Al-Avalathi's Life (Al-Avalathi is the last Mallu to go to the Gelf)
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Posts from — March 2006

Lynx, that was

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****Dedicated to all the surfers who think, broadband ,Wi Fi , Google, Mozilla, IE were herer long back*****

Circa 1998. A dry , dust town in Andhra Pradesh. Warangal

A place otherwise known for all wrong reasons.

The hub of naxal movement in that part of India.People’s War Group or PWG as they are affectionalety called rules the outskirts of the place.The town is rules by the cops.There are cops everywhere.Being beaten by lathi atleast once is just an add on qualification that every REC Warangal alum would cherish, much later after they apss out.You would be lucky to enjoy the taste of lathi, if you were standing outside Nice Restraurant at 9:00 or go to Kazipet station at 2am to have idly.
***I am not going to give you a description of how the place was.Digressed enough from what I thought to pen.***
Just thought of writing on how I became a netizen.

It was in the November of 1998.Internet was something unheard for almost the whole Indian population. I was suddenly lucky to be among the few who knew internet was a reality,www is something to do with it.
When I landed in RECW, I barely knew the difference between a desktop and a TV. The only difference I could find was the keyboard. The CPU was never visible as it was always under the table. So didn’t quite know such a thing existed at all.

Ragging was officially over for Kerala State,that was how we were referred to.A grand freshers’ party at Hotel Ashoka after 40 days of ragging. End of those 40 days was like a dream come true…after hundreds of slaps that landed on my cheek and the streak of blue light that passed everytime through my eyes after each slap, all the push ups, all the situps, ducks ,aeroplanes and other excercises that was made to do……

The day after we were free birds, I decided to go to the Computer Lab and start surfing. Windows 95 was the operating system in most of the comps.Some had 98. Those were the comps for the uninitiated. For the reasonably sound techies, Solaris/Linux/Unix systems were in plenty.Internet Explorer was unheard of. Neither did I know, though I had read about internet before I reached Warangal. Netscape navigator was a browser that was a luxury. Luxury because, we were supposed to use only Lynx, well for all the newbie internet freaks thats a text based browser. Using Netscape and seeing the meteor shower on the top right hand corner was a punishable crime…more or less…Lynx was the only thing to be used.

Lynx, a browser in which image would be displayed as IMAGE1 IMAGE 2 etc. Mouse could not be used as it was text based. Tab and Alt Tab were my favourites. But for Lynx and those days of net surfing, I would not have learnt any of the keyboad commands.Email account was something a very few seniors had. Carthik, Siddharth, Ravi etc. I remember it was Ravi who took me to the lab for the first time.

It was after hours of discussion that I had with Carthik and Harish Raman, who tried to explain how to use Lynx and surf that I ventured into the lab.They would have spent hours telling me what an active link was, someting that when selected by the unlimited number of tabs that you hit turns RED in color!!!

Ravi asked me if I knew to boot a comp, I said,”boot, whats that?”. That was my first tryst with e-gnorance.Angelfire and Mailcity were the most favourite email sites.Yahoo!, was supposedly slow in the lab, so no one used.

After hours of struggle, tens of system restarts, and “username unavailable”,I created mail ids in Angelfire, mailcity and Yahoo!…years have passed, Angelfire is no longer free or is it dead? Used Angelfire till 2002, later graduated to Yahoo! which was in disuse for about 4 years.Never used mailcity in my life though. Remember creating mail ids in Indiatimes,Rediffmail and Hotmail and hundreds of other sites.

Like every guy who has a new mail id, used to ask friends to mail me. The only way to get mail was to signup for newsletters like wired.com Altavista and Ask were the best search engines available. Google was still in the incubator stage.

Checking mails and searching was something that caught me during those times. Almost after every class , i used to run down to the lab and check if someone had mailed me and and whats the latest news…I was mad!

There were many days when I stayed in the lab surfing from morning to night, without moving my butt by an inch. Did not really care about lunch or dinner. Then used to finally go to Kalinga dhaaba to have dinner….

Those were the times when only a handful of comps had net.People used to wait for others to move and the most irritating dialogue that one would get was,”How long will you be here?” or “Could you please open a website for me?”

*************

Times have changed…RECW changed…last time I went there a year back.

Circa 2005
Almost every room in the hostels is wired. Desktops are there in almost every room. No one would ever ask what booting a comp was. Google is just everything. Mail ids are never created in RECW. No one landed in REC without a mail id. Lynx is history.Netscape is buried. Firefox is rocking. Windows 95 is a memory.

But, chappals are still flicked from the lab.(something dint change, huh!!!), Warangal is still dusty, dry…the campus is still lovely and green….times have changed REC’s name has changed.

I still continue to be religiously hooked to the net, thats probably something that has not changed … in me…or thats never gonna change.:-)

Down below is a snapshot of Lynx browser.

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March 28, 2006   9 Comments

ET in the classroom

More on this later…busy with exams

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March 21, 2006   3 Comments