October 9, 2004 5:13 PM
Last week was eventful. The electrical department of our college had organized a 2 day technical festival called Corona inviting members from all over the state. Though we got few participants from outside our college, the whole thing rocked.
Corona featured a software debugging contest, working model presentation, paper presentation, quiz, fashion show, dance competition, etc.
There were some pretty interesting demos for the working model presentation. Software was allowed. First prize went to this really cool burglar alarm which sent SMSes to a mobile instead of sounding an alarm. Upon further inquiry, the electronics whiz behind the model revealed the secret of his interface to the Nokia 3310: Additional wires soldered to the appropriate buttons connected to a set of relays. When the relay turns on, it would simulate a button press. I won second for source code manager. More about that later. Third went to our senior IT gurus who presented elegantly their MFC based remote administration software named ION (It's our Network). Jijith and Jose had come up with an original scheme to hide text in text. Sort of like steganography using plain text. They used space (ascii 32 and 160) as a binary code to store the Huffman coded bit string (message text) inside a carrier text file. Though limitations involving number of spaces and length of the carrier file prevents it from being practical, the idea is original and does make one think about numerous hiding techniques. Another model that caught my attention was an automatic solar tracker. It uses two LDRs controlling a stepper motor to figure out and place solar panels at an optimal angle to the sun.
There were MCA students from Calicut University for the debugging
contest. Myself along with Adhiya won first. The preliminary objective
exam for the debugging contest was fun. 20 questions and 10 minutes to
answer them. Stuff like, "the value of
-1 << 4 is?" and loads of
pointer questions. We got through somehow and was wondering about the
actual debugging bit. The code we had to debug for the final was
interesting. There was C code that featured a data type independent
bubble sort using a pointer to a function for the actual comparison,
memcpy for swapping. The C++ snippet performed record creation,
updation, search, etc. using
write calls. It was easy to
debug as the bugs were slightly redundant. Never forget
fstream during updation of a record.
I'm back in the world of Hungarian notation and tons of API calls. Pure Win32 programming in C without using MFC or anything of that sort is still fun though I immensely miss the wonderful array of build tools available in Linux.
This hilarious and yet very honest article by Linus is a definite must read.