Archive for January, 2008

Short Term Training Programme at RIT

January 31st, 2008 2 comments

This week I was at Department of Computer Science, Rajiv Ghandhi Institute of Technology , Kottayam in connection with a short term training program for young Computer Science Lecturers of various Engineering Colleges. AICTE has made attendance in this kind of training programs mandatory for all lectures( of course for promotions). Usually, these programmes are conducted in a leisurely manner. Teachers take a break from their routine work and enjoy the course as leisurely exercise . The course at RIT was also running in the same manner. There were expert talks on java html and some other hot technologies, but nobody was bothered.

I was asked to take 4 sessions ( 12 hours) on developing web applications in LAMP environment. The first thing I asked the course coordinator was to arrange classes in the computer lab. I made a few simple slide explaining how to write “hello world” in php and did the entire presentation in the lab. I asked every one to actually type the scripts and upload it to a web server.

I found out several interesting thing. Most of our young computer science lecturers have never used thing like ftp, ssh and vi. I had some real trouble in making them understand the basics of web programming. Another strange thing was that no one knew sql.

At the end of my fourth session , I forced all of them to write a small database driven mark list lookup and printing program. Most of them were astonished to see that such a web application is trivial.
I am pretty amazed to see a vertical drop in the quality of teachers in Engineering College . ( I feel this daily at my college too). Nobody knows programming. The only programming experience they have is in Turbo C. Any programming with out an IDE is disastrous for them. ( I have banned the use of Turbo C in my college. Our students have no problem adjusting to gcc and vi. But some of our teachers were frantically looking for conio.h :D)

Any way, the two day program rekindled my interest in FLOSS as a tool for better Engineering Education. I am going to motivate some of my student about it.

Categories: Engineering Education Tags:

Option Technology Globe Trotter PCMCA card on Debian GNU/Linux

January 30th, 2008 Comments off

My friend, Ramakrishnan VU2KUC, has been asking me to install necessary drivers for his Option Technology Globe Trotter PCMCA card on Debian Linux. I think he has made at least 20 phone calls for same. This morning he brought his Compaq laptop to my home and asked me to fix it. I had no other choice left.
I made a google search and found that Option does not officially support Linux. But they gave me a link
which gave a general outline.
The actual driver for this GPRS modem is at
(Later on I found out I can apt it as apt- get install gcom)
The man page of comgt/gcom is very informative.
I inserted the card. It was recognized as a modem at ttyS2

pccard: PCMCIA card inserted into slot 0
pcmcia: registering new device pcmcia0.0
0.0: ttyS2 at I/O 0×3e8 (irq = 3) is a 16550A

I made a link to /dev/modem

#ln /dev/ttyS2 /dev/modem

Then installed wvdial and ran wvdialconf, which created a basic wvdial.conf in /etc/
# apt-get install wvdial

I tweaked /etc/wvdial.conf as below

[Dialer Defaults]
Init1 = ATZ
Init2 = ATQ0 V1 E1 S0=0 &C1 &D2 +FCLASS=0
Init3 = AT+CGDCONT=1,”IP”,””
Modem = /dev/modem
Phone = *99***1#
Idle Seconds = 3000
Password = dummy
Modem Type = Analog Modem
Stupid Mode = 1
Compuserve = 0
Baud = 115200
Auto DNS = 1
Dial Command = ATD
Ask Password = 0
ISDN = 0
Username = dummy

“ ” is the APN, which you have to obtain from your service provider.
Then I did
# gcom -d /dev/ttyS2

SIM ready
Waiting for Registration..(120 sec max)
Registered on Home network: “CellOne”
Signal Quality: 15,99

This registered the SIM to the BSNL ( local provider) network

I tried to dial into the BSNL network

The modem connected to the Internet and I could browse.
But after 2 minutes the connection dropped suddenly. This happened several times. I examined the log and found this error message

The PPP daemon has died: Lack of LCP echo responses (exit code = 15)
–> man pppd explains pppd error codes in more detail.

It seems the gprs modem is handling the LCP request properly. I edited the /etc/ppp/peers/wvdial as below and disabled LCP echo failure

name wvdial
lcp-echo-failure 0
lcp-echo-interval 0

Now the connections stays even after 2 minutes.

VU2KUC is a happy man. :)

Categories: Gnu/Linux, Micro controllers Tags: