November 23, 2009

Words of wisdom: Shortcomings of democracy

Democracy assumes/gives all citizens of a nation a power (and duty) to decide on its leader. However, one of the biggest shortcoming of it is the assumption that all those who vote love their country in equal quantities, which intuitively is false. Azharuddin's rise to power is one such example of how such a democracy can go horribly wrong. Further, it is by far one of the best real life examples of villains one gets to see in the movies.

The mentors of Azhar, the breed of goons turned politicians, kidnaps girls, make them whores, use them with liquor during elections, and get voted to power. Now with armour of a filthy interpretation of the constitution to protect them they relish on the money and muscle power (including the police) to kidnap more girls and sustain this self feeding cycle of lust and power. The modus operandi is simple, once voted to power cleanse the sins legally and become a new messiah. Sadly this works because most of us have become short-sighted. Further, the press is filled with celebrity orgies, and socialites burning candles; events bombarded at people ensuring these so called celebrities are not forgotten in this world filled with people with limited and hence short term memory. Short sighted behaviour has been studied and the scary part is that such systems are sensitive to external behaviour (a villian from another land trying to destabilise the nation). A stark reminder that freedom which is an ongoing process that can be lost!

November 22, 2009

Words of Wisdom: Be wary of what you wish for. It may come true in a manner you never imagined

Something happened today. When I tried to analyse it, it was exactly what I wished for. My boon had been granted, however, the event was not exactly how I wished for it to happen. I had read stories about the devas and asura's being granted boons -- with a conditions apply tag ;) -- from the essence of the universe to enable them perform their tasks better. When they misused their powers obtained from the boon, their nemesis, a manifestation of their conditions apply tag would be unleashed to annihilate them. I am not sure how this would happen in my case as it was a simple thing as 'let my code run' :). However, the results produced just put light on a problem I had never imagined would be encountered. Enough of the digression, the beautiful part was the dream I had when I went to sleep.

The animals of a jungle were sick and tired of their constant games. They wanted ever lasting peace and harmony in the forest. They worshipped the lord of the jungle. When the lord appeared, they wished for ever lasting peace and a messiah who would guide them to this peace. Their wish was granted and a human babies was placed before them.

Moral of the story: Be wary of what you wish for. It may come true in a manner you never imagined.

November 13, 2009

Did someone win a patent for sudo command?

Here are a few patents about elevating user rights.

Of these patents, the patent going by the name Rights Elevator is receiving a lot of attention these days especially because of this xkcd comic.

I am not sure if someone has been able to patent the sudo command, however, they are pretty close onto something which can prove to be really nasty in the long run as the brief history of sudo shows that sudo seems be present from a time when this someone was in its infancy.

PS: I am using someone as I do not wish to add a disclaimer about rights and trademarks and I do not like using *doze ;).

November 4, 2009

Tips and Tricks: Scheduling Jobs Without Cron in Linux: An Example on using the at command (or batch command)

Cron is one of the most widely used job schedulers in the *nix systems such as Linux. However one needs to add jobs in the crontab file to schedule the jobs and this is not possible (typically) for users without super user privileges (In my case I needed to schedule an scp from a remote machine at 03:00 from a machine in which I did not have super user priviliges).

For such users job scheduling is possible with the help of the at/batch command or (batch command).

An example for using the at command to schedule the executing of the file present at /tmp/ is as follows:

Create a file /tmp/ by executing the following command

#> echo "touch /tmp/abc.text" > /tmp/

#> chmod +x /tmp/

Make sure that the atd deamon is running, which is the daemon process that is responsible for scheduling the jobs.

#> ps -ef | grep atd

Now schedule the job at say 03:00 tomorrow

#> at -f /tmp/ 03:00 tomorrow

The output will be something like

job 1 at 2009-11-05 03:00

The process will execute /tmp/ at the given time. Do a 'man at' for a glimpse of the complex time specifications the batch/at command allows.