Category Archives: GeneralRant

First C program.

Somebody on the interwebs said we could all talk about our first C programs when Dennis Ritchie died. This was supposed to be my rant. It was stuck in ‘draft’ for 2 years and would not have moved forward had it not been for the spammers who messed with my old wordpress installation and started sending mails in my name.

My first C program was written on a notebook (and was never compiled or run). Pascal was my swiss army knife when I was in my 11th standard (after qualifying from BASIC). Around that time my uncle got me a small book (no it was not K&R). All the talk about ‘C’ and its power that I read in electronics for you magazine got me buzzed. Unfortunately the school computer lab had just 8086 (PC-XT)s with two 5.25″ FDDs at the best. No C compiler anywhere to be seen. So it was “translated” versions of couple of my pascal programs in a red notebook book (hand written) for a long time. Till around end of 12th I got my hands on unc’s 486 DX2 (66 Mhz !) which had Borland C on it. It was exciting. Not because I knew anything about unix but the small book told me about functions to do stuff that I did not know how to do in Pascal (don’t remember what it was though : thinking hard it might have been printf !! or probably reading a directory). I got my hands on gcc only at the start of my college. That was for the lack of a 32bit compiler on windows or DOS. It was the times of ‘dos-extenders’, VESA video modes and DJGPP !! DJGPP gave me company for a long time (even after I started with Linux (RHL 4.2 or 5 IIRC)). For some time it was also MSVC, learning DirectX. Finally towards the end of my course I was entirely into OpenGL and Linux.

MSNE4K Fail.

I had bought two of those the Microsoft NaturalĀ® Ergonomic 4000 keyboards. The (newer) one at home has started failing. I’m guessing its part from all the button mashing games. The problem presented as spurious ‘x’ (like around 50 of them) coming in when the OS/Bios initialized the keyboard and then no more ‘x’, even when you type.

MSNE4K internals

MSNE4K internals

First time it occured, I shook it, vacuumed it and it started working. Second time it happened I opened it up I found snack fragments mostly from Lays. Cleaned it up and it started functioning normally. Today its messed up the third time and after an hour of moving the membrane around (or rather praying and hoping it works) its working.

In case you have one of these and want to dissassemble here is the thing: After all the screws on the bottom are removed, pull out the soft wrist padding pieces. Then you’d find two more screws to be removed. Then pry the space bar out (carefully) to find the two final smaller screws.

I thought they would not screw hardware up and wished it was more durable.