Calling in from Reading

[Trring triing]
Hello, this is Jaa. I'm away right now, please leave a message at the beep.

Hey ya! I'm calling in from Reading (UK) from the (dis)comforts of my room in a university accomodation hall. I flew in to Gatwick via Doha from the Maldives on Qatar Airways. The trip was bothersome and the planes were really a disappointment, really. The wait at Doha was terrible more so contributed by the horrible airport itself. The fellow at the boarding gate took a clean 5 minutes looking at my passport. At first I thought he had something in his eye and was using my passport as mirror - he surely had it up close to his eyes! Then he started eyeing me up and let me go after ages of waiting and getting wierd looks from fellow passengers. Just as I thought the hassle was over, the fellow came over as I was sitting the boarding lounge and took away my passport for another 15 minutes, all without a mention of what was up. Later he came back with it and was courteous enough to let me know there was something "abnormal" about my passport. Oh well, the Maldivian government issued the passport so I should let them know there is something abnormal with their passports...

On arrival to Gatwick, Qatar Airways had managed to loose my luggage somewhere - hopefully not into a deep ocean. I continued my journey to Reading -minus my luggage- on a train on which I kept falling in and out of some wierd reality. Maybe the lack of sleep the previous night contributed to this yet again "abnormal" event. I took a cab from Reading Railway Station to my accomodation hall. Ofcourse, this was no easy feat when I kept feeling wierd realities mixup with each other but I finally stumbled into some university representatives that pointed in me the correct direction and rid me of using my intellectual faculties at all.

The accomodation hall is quite wicked and I love it. The building is quite new, modern looking and beautifuly decoured. (Coolest of all, all access to building areas including my room are controlled by RFID cards). There are 7 other tenants in the flat block I am in. All of them British and none of them study any science. Oh yes, there are girls too and some(one?) quite yummmyyyy delicious too.... sigh.

It is the fresher's week now and lots of stuff happening. The enrolment stuff and faculty and course introductions going on as well as lots of fun social activities. While I am trying not to be anti-social, I don't think I'm making much progress in being sociable. My eyes are bloodshot from continuous wear of contact lens - part induced by the lack of spectacles and lens cleaning solution with me.

I'd post some pictures but I don't have the camera cable either. Oh well I guess I shall continue wearing the same clothes for a little more while too! All these thanks to Qatar Airways. These airline buggers have been crawling at the speed of snails. They are being really really careless and have not located my luggage still.

On a slightly more optimistic cheerful note, I am liking it here. I really am. I guess I'll have to wait for uni studies to start to make a solid comment though.



Much of the Male' populace goes out in the streets on vehicles as the time approaches midnight. This occurs without fail every night, much similar to the night creatures that crawl out when the sun drops and the moon rises. Now, this may happen for a variety of reasons but I am not going onto a discourse on the wierd lives led by Male' residents; not this time anyway.

Anyway, tonight I too came out of my shell and roamed the streets of Male' on the back of a motorbike with my kid brother in the driving seat. On the backseat, yes, because I had decided to take the risk of looking totally ridiculous carrying a laptop and an antenna which was hooked onto my 802.11 b/g card. It wasn't the least bit easy feat to pull off, especially when I had to carry the laptop on my lap and the antenna with one of my hands with the rest of the useless gear inside my laptop backpack strapped onto my back!

Yes. This is what you call wardriving, or maybe warriding in this case. I chose not to go in a car because while I could have been sitting much more comfortably inside a car, the narrow, crowded streets of Male' ain't too welcoming to a wardriver driving at 15mph. Additionally, I was using a Cantenna as my antenna which happens to be directional thus limiting angles and maneouvarability inside a car.

The Gear:
+ Laptop with MS Windows 2003 Server.
+ ORiNOCO Gold 802.11 b/g PCMCIA card.
+ 12 dBi commercial Cantenna.
+ NetStumbler 0.40

While I did not cover the entire island, I presume I did cover much of the business and government office areas. We went once around Male' - starting the scan near the Maldives Ports Authority, travelling on Boduthakurufaanu Magu till Lonuziyaaraiy "kolhu" and then travelling down Ameenee Magu uptil the turfed football field at "ohggaa" stadium where we made little detours to cover Kalhuthuhkalaa Koshi and the new Faculty of Health Sciences building and SHE building, then continuing on Boduthakurufaanu Magu going past Indira Gandhi Memorial Hospital, Maldives Centre for Social Education and ending near the new STO building. The scan continued till I reached home.

The little trip picked up 73 Access Points and 4 Peer-to-Peer networks. Of this total, half of them had encryption off! Majority of the networks seemed to be "b" networks and the prevailing brand of APs happen to D-Link. There were 11 APs with the default SSIDs. Most of the WIFI networks bore the name of the office or home it belonged to, thus making it easily identifiable.

Looking at the results, it is good to see that atleast half of the networks are protected by some form of encryption. The fewer number of SSIDs with default names suggest that in most cases someone atleast took to the task of properly setting up the WIFI network. How secure these networks really are, however, remains to be tested. I intend to do a more thorough wifi investigation around Male' soon, with Kismet (under Linux) and an omni directional antenna. Check here laters for updates on that.

By the way, here is the NetStumbler file generated by this wardriving session.

Departure. Tick tock...

Sigh. Been a while since I posted here.

I have been occupied by work: wrapping up projects, catching up on projects, starting new ones and thinking of possible future projects.

Meanwhile, the clock has been ticking towards my departure. I am leaving Sept 24th to Reading, UK. I'll be there for the next four years working towards a Bachelor of Science degree in "Applied Artificial Intelligence and Cybernetics" at the University of Reading. I am impatient, excited and overwhelmed... Wish me luck!


Return from Ungoofaaru

I returned from Ungoofaaru (Raa Atoll) this morning. I had a wonderful ride on a tiny speed boat from Ungoofaaru to Meedhupparu Resort early in the morning when the sun was low on the horizon and life was waking up to a new day. The ride to Male' from Meedhupparu was on a sea plane. The view out of the plane window was amazing thanks to the good weather today - too bad I didn't have my camera to shoot a few pictures of the wonders of the Maldive islands.

I felt sad leaving the island behind, watching it disappear into the horizon. I've made a bunch of new friends among the trip mates and I quite like them. They are energetic and each posses an amusing, unique personality. I also picked up a few acquaintances from the island... though it's a sad possiblity that I may not meet them ever again :-(

The Raa Atoll website project, which I was there for, couldn't be finished before I had to leave. The project is still going ahead fullspeed. I also taught a crash course on Microsoft Access while I was there. The course was conducted by Resource Education - the company that (sub)contracted me the website. Teaching was a thrill and I loved educating people! I think the students loved my class. I am satisfied that I imparted a bit of knowledge to them.

The quiet, relaxed time I've had in Ungoofaaru has injected me with new energy and given time for reflection on a lot of things. Sitting in joali's under the cool shade of trees, thinking and observing the world as it is in the island, gave me the jolt that I needed snap out of the dreary life in Male'. I left the island refreshed and a bit more enlightened...

A couple of my students taking their test after the end of the course.

Kids playing carefree on the quiet, empty road.

This was just so cutttee! A baby with her brothers in front of their house.

Scene from the life at temporary shelters for tsunami victims from Kandholhudhoo.

Sunrise, captured in its glory on my way to Meedhupparu.


I'm still in Raa Atoll. This is something I wrote after observing and listening to the tales of my trip mates...


I smile at her. She smiles back, already being overwhelmed by the same loneliness that propels me. She reaches up, prays and grabs a handful of hope ? the kind that deludes her to think that I would be the one that quenches her thirst for a companion. The one that accepts what she has to offer, that loves her for what she is. The one who sees how really deft she is. These I know, from secrets she has disclosed to all evening.

I lie to her. Lie quite easily, for I am no longer bound by what would have killed me dead in the tracks otherwise. I am being sneaky. Desires have gained possession of me. Desires that arise unknown to my conscious. These needs seem to stem from something more animal, something more inherent to the human than my conscience moulded by society.

I tell her things. She feels her magnetic charms working. I tell her of the wonderful things she has on offer. I articulate with handsome portions of praise and compliments. Suddenly, the conversation becomes flooded with expressions of love and desire. I tell her of the rarity of me kneeling down to a woman and licking feet. I tell her how I savor the delicious tang of her feet. I tell her how beautiful she looks, how wonderful she feels, how her aroma has got me imprisoned in something beautiful.

I sense something wild building up inside. We both feel it. We are aware of its increasing intensity. We are aware of the immediacy - of the eventuality, that this whole drama is escalating towards. We just sped past any countering rationality, way past the concerns for warnings from the wise crowds of humanity. We?ve landed in a fluidic space where just the two of us subsist. We?ve reached nirvana - a world of fantasy where actions need no justification.

Moments later, she is lying on this bare bed, she herself in all her nakedness. Her petite, brown, scrawny body sprawled under the dimmed lights above. The air stank of the spent energy of sexual gymnastics. Then, from some where deep in the still struggling sagacity of my mind there comes a warning. The warning is bleary. The warning appears meaningless. I refuse to take heed - the warning is wasted. I drift back from this momentary internal struggle to the present in all agility and swiftness. I lay entwined with her female body - both expended - and drift off into deep slumber.


360 view at Ungoofaaru beach

Here is a 360 degree panorama conjured up from a lazy session of stitching up sloppily shot images on the beach here on Ungoofaaru. Boredom is productive sometimes... innit?

With Love, From Ungoofaaru

Haha. This is wicked! It's my third day in Ungoofaaru of Maalhosmadulu Dhekunuburi (better known as Raa Atoll). I'm away from the honking of vehicles and grinding of construction machines of Male'. I'm free in the wild. Free in the abundance of nature.

Work is light and I get a lot of time for myself. I've completed the requirements analysis, developed a concept and I am now onto layout designs and systems setup. The prototype of the website would be up soon. I hope.

The day begins with energy. The bright sun,the blue ocean and the green and orange hues of palm trees really keeps me upbeat. The people here are relaxed and don't seem to have much to do. Amazingly, they've got two establishments offering Cable TV! There is also a CyberCafe here offering internet via dialup. (Speaking of internet, the GPRS connection wasn't worth the time or the effort!) The night sees the island go quieter, with the sounds of waves and swaying of trees becoming more prominent. The sky is dark and unpolluted and I can enjoy star gazing - I wish I brought the telescope. Venus is bright as ever and Mars makes the red dot unmissable. Scorpio and Libra constellations are visible directly overhead from 8pm to 10pm.

I took a stroll around the island yesterday, snapping some pictures to keep the sights stored for later. Here are a few…