What's New? - November 2001

Mon 26 Nov 2001 - News

The K-Test Testing Engine v1.0 - 27/11 00:05

Come play my game I'll test ya!  Well, I finished my VB project called K-Test today, and I have uploaded it to this site.  Go to the Downloads Page to get it.  Or, just click on one of the links below.

K-Test was done as a project for NIIT.  This is a testing program written in Visual Basic that allows you to take a timed test, with 15 random questions taken from a database, to be answered in 10 minutes.  There are a number of other options in the program too, and some easter eggs!  And there's a cheat code...

Download ktest10.zip (1.14 MB) and the source if you want (1.67 MB).  Requires Visual Basic 6.0 to compile, of course, and I think you will need the VB Runtimes if you want to use the executable.

Dim str as String... str = "Updates" - 26/11 23:23

Been working a lot with Visual Basic, as you'll see in my regular presentation of the latest news!

Good news - Doom Center's hosted sites are going to come back online soon, after a long period of server problems.  So the Phobos Wad Lab and Doom Inferno will be back by tomorrow!  And Tobias, I look forward to playing your Duke Nukem 3D episode, I know it will be fun and well designed, so send it soon!

Thu 22 Nov 2001 - News

IMP Practical Exam and ... - 23/11 01:15

Yesterday I was busy studying for my IMP (Interfacing with Microprocessors) Practical Exam.  This morning, I was hoping I'd get an easy experiment to do.  What I had to do was to Display the characters CSE1 on the LEDs of a Seven Segment Display.  The assembly program was an easy one and I completed it soon (within 15 minutes!).  I then ran it through debug.exe and got all the machine codes.  I fed those into the Microprocessor Kit, hoping to see CSE1 on the display, but unfortunately, it didn't work!  I tried a lot of variations in the program, removing loops, changing instructions, etc. but NOTHING worked.

Instead of CSE1, I was getting something that looked like alien numbers on the display (remember the last scene in Predator, when the alien activates the self destruct device?  The numbers ticking down on the alien's bomb?  Well, the symbols I got looked somewhat like that!).  I spent time trying to figure out what was wrong, and so did the lab assistants, but to no avail.  Finally, they told me not to worry about it and stop trying to fix it - because this was no fault of mine, the program I'd written was right.  This was disappointing... since I'd studied well and I knew how to do that program, and I'd written it correctly!

So what went wrong?  Well, later on, I was looking at the machine codes for the same program I'd done before (earlier, they had given us the program with the microprocessor codes already generated).  One statement had a different op code!  The code which debug.exe gave was different, because of which the program refused to work!  Now what am I supposed to do if the debugger itself interprets the same instruction mov si, string in a different way, and gives a 4-byte code (8b, 36, 00, 30) instead of the 3-byte one (be, 00, 30)?  If I were to generate the bytes myself, I'd also have to recalculate all the jumps and things like that, which would make the whole program a big mess of hexadecimal numbers.

Anyway, I was happy when it all got over, and after coming home, in the evening I was so tired I slept for two hours.  Later in the night I downloaded a few Blood levels (grosse.map, stop666.map, and outlet.map).  These levels suffered from the same texture problems that the earlier Duke Nukem 3D maps I'd downloaded had, and I didn't like their design either.  Since not many people build levels for these games (especially, Blood maps are very rare) unlike for Doom, I guess that's expected.  I should probably ask Tobias or Pablo to send me some of their levels for these games, since I know they'll be good.

I forgot to mention this in the earlier update.  STAR Movies is showing Police Story 3: Super Cop on Friday, 23 November, 7:30 PM.  Starring Jackie Chan and Michelle Yeoh, directed by Stanley Tong.  A great movie, this... and the nice thing is that they're showing the original English dubbed version, not the U.S. re-released version (called Supercop) which I believe is a good 20 minutes shorter.  Fight Club premieres on 30th.  As I said before it's a movie I've been waiting to watch for a LONG time.

One more thing - Toby and Pablo have set up a site at http://fehler404.tripod.com - which will have jokes and serious stuff too, or so Toby tells me.  I'm looking forward to content on that site!  I'll add it to the links page next time, feeling tired right now, it's almost 2 AM.

Tue 20 Nov 2001 - News

Saturday's Dragonball Z / Movies on TV - 21/11 02:21

This Saturday's back-to-back episodes of Dragonball Z were terrific.  Piccolo continues his training of Gohan, and Goku requests King Kai to train him in the martial arts that will help him save the world from the two Saiyan Warriors who will be arriving in about 3 months time.  Kai's first test for Goku - catch Bubbles, his monkey!  The catch?  King Kai's planet has very high gravity!  Second, Goku must bonk King Kai's talking grasshopper on the head with a heavy hammer.  After passing these tests, King Kai trains Goku to fight.  And back on Earth, Krillin and the rest of the Special Forces have also completed their training.  With everyone ready to fight the Saiyan Warriors, there's only one day left before the planet destroyers arrive on the Earth!  Next Week's episode: The Saiyans arrive, and the Eternal Dragon is summoned... awesome stuff!

White Fury (1990, A.I.P.) was a very low budget movie that reused footage from the beginning again in the end!  Anyway, it's about a group of people who want to spend some time in a mountain cabin, unfortunately they must contend with two nasty bank robbers.  Starring Deke Anderson, Sean Holton, Directed by David A. Prior.

30 November, STAR Movies: I absolutely do not want to miss Fight Club, which premieres at 10 PM.  I've been waiting to see this for a very long time.

Older News - 21/11 01:24

Here's all the news from 14th November till this update.  I'm quicker this time, it's not a week yet!

System Programming Practical Exam - 21/11 01:07

Final Exams for this semester started today... first we have the practicals, then the theory exams starting on November 30.  Today was the System Programming Exam.

Yesterday and the day before, Varun and my parents were surprised to see me actually reading a textbook before an exam... in this case, the book in question is Peter Abel's IBM PC Assembly Language and Programming, and surprisingly, I read almost 70-80% of this 500-odd page book in a day and a half!  In fact, this is one of the rare textbooks that I actually felt like reading, because firstly, I like the subject, and secondly, I liked the author's writing.  There's a companion website for the book, which is http://www.prenhall.com/abel - you should see it, atleast to have a look at that snazzy cover for the 5th edition :)

Anyway, though I had studied well, I was still nervous today because, well, it's considerably harder to debug assembly programs than those written in higher level languages (when something goes wrong, that is).  Also, what would I do if I got a question like "Generate a menu", "Simulate the DIR command", "Find whether a given string is a substring of another"?  Given enough time, these are possible for me to do, but NOT in an exam!

The program I had to do went like this.  Write a program to copy one file into the other.  Accept filenames from the user, display appropriate messages.  At first I thought this was a tough one, but as I started typing, things became clear, everything came together nicely, and when I assembled it, there was just one small bug with a jump that was a few bytes out of range.  Within some seconds I fixed that and the program worked on the first shot!  Great!  Finished the whole thing by 11:20 AM.  I hope all my other exams will go well too, especially the IMP practical exam on 22nd.

Wed 14 Nov 2001 - News

Reviews - 14/11 19:04

Two movie reviews, two TV reviews and a game review this time -

Old News - 14/11 18:30

As usual, here are the updates for the past week...

Happy Diwali to everyone!  And thanks for all the wishes sent by email and Yahoo! Messenger.  Today in the afternoon I was playing Doom E2M2: Containment Area - it's been some time since I played this nice large map - and I liked it a lot.

Final exams start on November 30th and go on till December 15th.  Right now I have my 4th AND 5th Internal Tests going on, which will get over on 17th.  After that there are practical exams.  And I also have my VB project to complete.  So I won't find a lot of time to update this site... but I will find time to watch Fight Club on STAR Movies which is premiering either this Friday or the next.

Thu 8 Nov 2001 - News

IEEE Contest - 08/11 15:44

Our college is holding a Technical Paper Presentation Contest (organised by our IEEE Students Chapter) on December 21 and 22, 2001.  The posters for this have already been sent to various colleges all over India.

I have put up a page on this site that basically contains the same thing the poster does, but I've added some information and have emphasised some parts of it.  Here it is.

Exams! - 08/11 14:53

The past few days at college have been very hectic.  So much is being done at such a fast pace that it's hard to keep up!  Tomorrow, I have one test, and from Saturday onwards we are going to have TWO tests everyday, with classes being conducted also - until 17th.  After that, we'll have our practical exams, and then on 26th, our Final Exams start.  Not much of time to do anything else.

Pi and Pitch Black on STAR Movies - 08/11 12:32

This is why I like STAR Movies so much.  They show good movies (that is, movies that I like to see).  And I got to see two good movies recently.

Past News - 08/11 11:59

From 31 Oct. till 7 Nov., here is the news...