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Once I was at an ATM machine, of course to get some money for a gift to a friend of mine. I keyed in the amount & was waiting for money. The machine took a while, printed the receipt, gave out the card. Yes that’s all. I got no money but a receipt saying that the machine gave this amount of money & that amount of money left in the account. I lost my tongue except to murmur Faaaark!. I pushed my card back in checked the balance in account & the machine was very happy to say that I’ve just lost this amount of money.
The gift I was planning to by was intended to be a wedding gift & my friend was/is not the kind which is gonna marry again ;). I went to the bank, talked to the pretty girl & my story didn’t amaze her in any mean. Hmmm…That’s something to think about.

Facing that inconvenience, my mind kept thinking of the very thing a lot, I mean about the technical stuff. Why the machine don’t handle that very little but so very important event? What’s the system run on an ATM machine? is it an embedded system? does it run GNU/Linux? :) hell a lot to think.

After few days I went on a long tour with two of my geek friends & the topic ATM took priority at a time. And my friends provided me with these info. There are ATM machines which runs Microsoft Windows XP :D (in Sri Lanka) & earlier days it was OS2, according to Such. Kunchana has seen windows XP booting on an ATM after a power down. [Wikipedia confirms Such and Kunchana :)]

In thinking deep about ATM machines I made some assumptions in my mind.

1) The machine keeps track of the money using some kind of a hardware mechanism or someone adds money & update records on the machine. So that the machine keeps track of the amount remaining. If this is the case it’s only a matter of a software modification to compare the remaining amount and requested amount to stay away from hassles.

2) Since there was no evidence to backup above assumption, I happen to think that ATMs don’t keep track of the amount of money they have. So in order to avoid problem I faced, the machines have to have a mechanism to keep track of remaining amount of money and of course compare the remaining and requested amounts.

appendage (17/12/09) :
This was quite an old writeup I never had chance to post till now. This is totally black boxed thinking without looking up Internet for more details how an ATM works. The incident I mentioned happened at Commercial Bank Nugegoda. I got the money back in my account in few days (The bank fixed it manually, I guess). I’ve heard few other cases like this but never again happened to me. And also Things should be changed and these problems should be ironed out by now. Anyway Off to Look up “How ATM works” :D

PS: And the friend who got married was geekaholic :D . The incident occurred  someday around 20/06/08, the wedding day.

It was another exam in Sam’s school for screwed up youngsters ;) . I was on time and was pretty much ready for it. Exam started when the longer arm of the clock rest on 12. I started answering like any other sane guy would.

Started from the second question and I’ve finished it in 20 -25 minutes. Then I took the next on. It was only 40 or 45 minutes passed when I finish that. Then came some question that needed more attention so I just kept doing them.

Another one down. and at this point I’ve lost track of time. And I can’t clearly remember how many questions I’ve finished at the time but It should be four. Now that I’ve lost track of time, the only option was to check how much time left. looked at the clock.


:'( Just forty minutes left and I have two full questions to finish, *including* the question I’m quite challenged by. OK now I’m done. But there’s no way out. I can at least try to make it a wee bit better.

I didn’t panic. Since I knew it’s gonna do more harm than good if I did. So I did the question number 6. Finished it without much pain and looked at the clock, Just to find out that I’ve got only twenty minutes to face the question number ONE. The hardest one for me as I believed.

I started with part ii of Question one finished without neither big problems nor confidence. Took part iii. My brain is not happy to process at the speed I want. So many hiccups. But I never felt upset or feared (It’s really difficult generate such feelings in a careless bastards mind). Though I wasn’t so confident I finished part iii without a feeling like “I’m gonna get 0 marks for this :(“.

Here comes the question 1 part i. I was somewhat nervous. But dude ma’m didn’t say anything that did sound like the conclusion. I have no clear memory what I did at the time but I remember I came up with a satisfactory answer just by 4.00 O’clock.

But why the hell everyone is still busy. Why ma’m is still silent?. 10 minutes after I was checking this and that. And started to curse the wall clock thinking it shows me the wrong time. There were few minutes that I tried so hard to understand what’s going on. But no clue. Cursed myself for only having the phone to check time (which is switched off right now). Checked the answers again. No new ideas coming. Corrected few mistakes found here and there. Still no idea what’s going on. One moment I thought this should be a dream or an illusion or something I just can’t understand. Another round of checking.

“You have only 30 minutes left”. That’s ma’m. And match over (for me).


Match over for me...

Last two papers were on 1.00PM-4.00PM slot. So all this time, I was _believing_ it’s the same game going on today. But it was 2.00PM-5.00PM this time. I thanked whoever deserves for todays paper not being anything like the Software Engineering paper (So much work for so little time). If it was, I don’t think I’d be writing this ;) .

So I have 30 minutes. I can’t go out now, that’s the rule. Found a question that I’ve missed which had 3 marks allocated. Hammered it like Thor. Checked the rest again but nothing new comes in mind. Brain was like totally blocked or maybe it was relaxing.

Came out and told friends. No one believed at first. Some time wasting at cafeteria. Laughter!

It wasn’t all that bad. And again thanks whoever deserves for the paper not being anything even remotely like Software Engineering paper.

Update: The reason why I’m here to sit this exam.

SinhalenFOSS, Sri Lankas very first tech related podcast, the podcast that I proudly feature in, turned one year yesterday(9th April 2009). We didn’t have big plans for the day but it was truly a big milestone for me. I’m sure the story is same for the other two co-hosts Bud (geekaholic) & Seejay.

We had the episode 21 recorded on last sunday (5th April 2009) but due to my busy schedule I couldn’t finish editing & upload it. Finally there was a hope for uploading it on SinhalenFOSS birthday. But I’m really sorry that I couldn’t make it on time since my father was sick & I had to go to the doc with him. Added to that, I couldn’t stay up all night & finish it off since I was tired of fairly a long journy. Actually I tried to stay awake but failed. However my computer stood awake when I find it on my bed in mid night (Poor thing!).

Anyway I’ll try to finish things up & put the final product in our loving listeners hands As Soon As Possible!. The bits are running in to interwebz right now :) .

It was a pleasant year passed giving me lots of experience, introducing lots of nice people to me, taking my life to another level & best of all, making me very happy for being a part of. It’s all thanks to you dear SinhalenFOSS, I really love you. Wishing you a very happy birthday!

Update: SinhalenFOSS episode 21 is on interwebz now :)

Yeah I miss Dimi a lot. *Specially* on this *special* day. I want you. But I can’t find you in this internet jungle. But somehow I want you man. Oh shit I said that. That, Dimi is a guy. Which makes you guys think I’m in love with a guy. And that means I’m gay. Oh shit.

OK. Dudes I’m not gay.  And I believe Gay marriages killed Dinosaurs :P. But man… I miss dimi. Specially on this day “The f*cking valentines day”. Now you wonder who the hell is Dimi right?. If you were on kottu & had a bad & nasty reading taste like mine you should’ve found him. Dimi was Dragon of “Dragons of eden“.

Why I remind him on v’tines day even when it makes me sound so gay?.  It’s because of the post valentines day post. A blogpost I wrote like “in reply to” a post from Dimi, which was about love, V’tines day & all that crap. I’ve linked to two post on his blog on my post. My post is having extra hits these days & so I see it on my stats page. And also people are talking a lot about it lately. That’s what makes me really miss Dimi & his blog. Without his posts mine don’t sound so cool:( .

Hey Dimi, you bustard, just come out from where you are hiding or stop f*cking around those planes (you were doing some avition related stuff?) & write some bad posts for us to read. You scumbag we (or at least I) wanna read some dirty posts from you. If you are reading this comment here or find my contact page on this blog.

If you know any clue about dimi-the-dirt please let me know. We seriously need to get him back in blogging SOMEHOW.

Update: Bugger is on Booz-feck – Oops I can’t reveal that. But he is out there.

PS: And where’s just mal?

I’ve read this fine article by rands, about the Attention Deficiency Disorder which nerds normally known to have. And it sounds like “Geeks are multitasking”. But I have another explanation for that. I’ll use the word Geek instead of nerd since it’s better known at the time.

I think I have most of those qualities which are known to be in Geeks. I never called myself a Geek until another geek called me so. I used the word tech-freak instead. But there are many people calling me a geek & I have no problem with that. So the so called explanation is based on what I think/know of myself. I know it cannot be hundred percent true or hundred percent false.

When I’m at home & at the computer, if mom comes with a hot tea & a good topic, normally in few minutes she gets angry with me & start complaining that I don’t LISTEN. When I’m on the phone, if I look into the computer screen, money spent for making the call is gonna be a big waste. What actually happened to that multitasking feature? Gone with the wind?

Most the time when I take input from my computer screen all the other inputs are getting closed. Or at least loosing priority. But why, I am supposed to have multitasking built-in.

Maybe I don’t have multitasking. But still there are 10-15 Firefox tabs open, few terminal windows/tabs open, email client, may be the text editor with few more tabs, IM client & irssi too. And also some music playing in the backround streaming through the net or in Amarok. I think I’m Alt-Tab-ing through them so many times. Hmmm… complicating huh?

OK, here’s what I think of “what’s going on?”. Let’s face it, I don’t do multitasking. Yes they say that normally men can’t do multitasking , But women can . I don’t know whether they are right or wrong. But I’m sure I’m not multitasking. It’s just dividing time. My brain divides & allocate times for each task. Listening to music at a given chunk of time & quickly jumping in to some coding at next chunk & then something else. (The task list has a priority & the way priority is given is another story & a half). Sounds like TDMA isn’t it? Time Divisional Multiple Access if you haven’t heard of it. For this to be done, ones short term memory and organizing of stuff inside brain should be very good. I’ve personally experienced good short term memory & relatively poor long term memory in my brain wiring.

This is what I have to say. I’m really sorry if you don’t understand what I’m trying to say. I just wanted to put these thoughts out and free up my brain. BTW did my post get any good position in your priority list? :D