Airtel HSDPA [Sri Lanka]

Hi folks! Couldn’t write for about a month I think. But now I m back again with my Brand new HSDPA kit. Well HSDPA means speedy internet isn’t it? But I would have to say that life would be little more difficult and hard when you have Airtel HSDPA!



I’m using Airtel’s middle package. 600Rs per month, 3 GB free download and 1Mb/s speed. Ya its worth. But the problem is there coverage. It sucks. Not totally. But mostly! I also brought a Huawei e220 modem from Dialog GSM. It’s in good shape after unlocking. Now they both working well. But as I mentioned early I m not satisfied about Airtel HSDPA coverage and their system. Usually when some one tries to connect to a network (as other service providers do) it detects the user and gives the required setting. Like its ‘APN’ and stuff. But Airtel isn’t capable of that. I didn’t get any HSDPA settings when I tried to connect them for the 1st time. So I had to have some calls to a friend (chanux) of mine requesting to google the setting. Luckily I didn’t call their customer care, because after some time I found that its something like fallen from the sky (more..) . There APN was AirTelLive and I gave the access number as *99#. It worked! But first I got only GPRS signals. That’s because when the signal strength is low the modem software detects it and only allows the device to receive the most available signal type. If you are an Airtel data user this would be your ‘Frequently Faced Problem’.  To avoid this you can set the modem only to receive WCDMA/HSDPA signal frequencies. If you are also using an e220, go to Tools -> options -> Network and set the Network Type as WCDMA only. The handy thing is these setting are also being saved in the device. So Linux users like us don’t have to suffer thinking to find solutions to run the modem software in Linux.

So after doing some work now I’m receiving HSDPA signals. Now it only varies between WCDMA and HSDPA (no more GPRS). The signal strength is about 40% but it’s far better than having GPRS. Under 40% of signal strength I got hardly satisfied about my service provider. Also I didn’t find a way to detect my data usage over the month. It doesn’t matter if the Data package is unlimited. But there should be a way to detect it for limited users like us.  And have to say another thing! If you ever thinking to get support from Airtel’s website, then forget about it. Its totally Crap!



Reinstalling the GRUB

      New Linux users like to keep windows in their computers while getting use to Linux. But I don’t recommend that because when they find something hard in Linux or something new to do in Linux, most of them just forget about everything and get it done in windows. So they won’t learn anything new.

             However most new users think whenever they run a new installation of Windows the GRUB gets disappear so they also have to reinstall Linux. But that’s not the way! Oops, I almost forgot to tell what GRUB is. Well GRUB stands for GRand Unified Bootloader. It’s a flexible and a powerful boot loader which comes with Linux. It’s useful when we use more than one operating system in a single PC.

            So the reason for the disappearance of GRUB is when user installs Windows or any other OS after a Linux installation, the newly installed OS rewrites the MBR (Master Boot Record) with its own boot loader. OK then this is the way to re-establish the GRUB.

       0. Boot the machine from your Live CD/DVD.


1.      Open a terminal/konsole and get into root mode by giving

sudo  su


            2.Then type ‘grub’ and press enter. This allows the user to run the grub shell.


3. Setting the root device. Root device means the partition which contains the ‘/boot’ directory. If you’re not sure with that, you can find the corresponding partition by giving,

grub> find  /boot/grub/stage1

                        I have resulted this,


grub> find  /boot/grub/stage1

grub> find /boot/grub/stage1

            This says my hard disk number is 1 and partition number is 3.

            Note: hard disk numbers and partition numbers are starting from 0.

(According to me, this is the 4th partition of my 2nd hard disk)

                        Now, I’m setting it as the root device.

                        grub>root  (hd1,3)


4.After setting the root device correctly run the following command,

 grub>setup  (hd1)

            This tells to install the GRUB to the MBR of the 2nd hard disk.


            5.Now exit from the grub shell



   The missing GRUB is back on business. 

The Flavor of Mint

       At the beginning I was so unhappy about Linux distributions. Because I didn’t found the right thing to satisfy me. So I tried lot of distribution. I tried Fedora 8 (it’s my 1st shot), Debian Etch, Elive, Ubuntu and Kubuntu.

            But finally I found Linux Mint. Presently I’m using Linux Mint4 Daryna KDE Community edition. Well all I have to say is “Cool”! It comes with all the latest Linux packages, and especially it’s a good solution for people that don’t have an internet connection at their home.

            There are some special features I really like in Daryna. The first thing is its very user friendly so it’s easy to work with, and it’s also focused on Entertainment side. I mean about the players, like Kaffeine, MPlayer and Amarok. Yet I didn’t found any media format which is not running in these players! Amazing huh! Usually in other linux distros we have to download the codecs and stuff to run media files for the first time we use it. But Daryna provides all those things in its DVD.

            I have to say something about the ‘Kate text editor’. It makes my work very convenient.  I use it for my coding purposes instead of ‘vi editor’. I use it to code “html, xml, java scripting, c++, c and php”. K3B is another exiting software to use! Once I heard that it’s the finest CD/DVD writing tool in Open Source Software.  When I want to do any Art Work I usually open GIMP.  Daryna provides the latest version of GIMP. It works just like adobe photo shop, but very simple and low memory consuming.

            Some other Software I like in Daryna is Gwenview, Kpdf, OpenOffice and FireFox.  You only have to spend 25 minutes of installation time to experience its taste. I personally think all other Linux distributions should be like Linux Mint. Because its very attractive, accurate and reliable to work with. I think Linux Mint is another tremendous achieve of GNU/Linux.        


Internet censorship makes me sick!

 The government of Sri Lanka is going to censor the internet and going to ‘BLOCK’ the sites, which contains adult content! Namely, “PORNOGRAPHY”. They say that they are doing this process to protect the culture of Sri Lanka and to protect the minds of the future generation. It seems to be that their determining to do this in a good, community friendly manner. If so I agree with them. But will it really works?? And are they really going to do that?? After this  what would happen??
   White listing or black listing the sites makes local users blocked temporally visiting them. Let’s say it’s good. But it’s not the end! After that if any one wants that kind of material can personally pay to the government to gain access and get what they want.  It makes the government the only authorized agent of Sri Lanka who sells porn to the citizens! Just like selling alcohol, and earn money by its taxes.  And if any one wants porn they won’t just stay and masturbate, they will pay to the government and get them.
 People like them won’t stop because of money. They will throw money without thinking about the price. And after downloading the stuff they won’t hide the content from others, they will expose them to the community may be they would resell them to local buyers. Who knows?? Then what would happen?  Of course the only thing can be happen is to put government on the 1st place in “porn selling and the content will go again to miners hands”. Someone can say, if government can put new rules and regulations for its customers it will put them down….. Ya ,its good if it can be done. Would these types of people follow rules?  I don’t think so!

 Countries like ‘Peoples Republic of China’ is also using internet censorship in their country. But most of the citizens of china don’t like it. The China’s authorities have put more than sixty rules for their internet consumers. The Freedom to brows the   internet is totally been abused by its government. The rules are changing day by day without even considering the old ones. Most of these rules are based on to take political advantages. China’s internet users cannot even browse the most common social sites like Wikipedia, Facebook. And even they have put rule to Google. Most of the international news site are also been blocked. They also sensors the local Bloggers on live.  If they found any blog page with something that government doesn’t want to expose, it only takes one or two minutes to erase them without warning. It doesn’t have to be sex or anything in their list. All it has to be something that authority don’t like! With this kind of restrictions have they able to put down pornography in china?? May be they have been able to control coming ‘unwanted sexual content’ from foreign countries into their country, but we all know  about the china’s local sex productions!           

 And on other hand, will it work in a country like ours which uses “Free Trading Methods?”  The traders will ship “SEX” to Sri Lanka from all over the world to supply to the demand. Another problem is these kind of blocking systems are sometimes not working properly. Sometimes they misunderstand valuable sites as restricted ones and block them. Usually the ‘school net’ does. 

 Giving the control of Internet to government’s hand is also can be cause problems in future. Because the limitations are always depends on government’s attitudes. Political corruption effects directly to their attitudes. If the internet freedom of Sri Lanka starts to get pollute by political corruption the damage would be dramatic. They can stop any site as they want. They can do that by saying “its a threat to the National Security……….”                  
    Like this you can see, this is just another hack to put some more new taxes!   I saw some government agents while speaking on the media about the affection causes by the internet to children of Sri Lanka. They speaks like the internet is all about porn! They are putting that attitude into the community of Sri Lanka. We should not forget that the majority of our country, still not using the Internet. So they don’t know much about the internet. So most of the people get only the good side of Internet censorship. And they get a bad image of internet.

 If they really want to do this there are options to follow. Like… using child protection systems at there home. Most of the countries are already uses these type of techniques….. Don’t think that I’m yelling because I’m a ‘sex addict’!!! I’m just saying that “No body can stop someone who watches PORN by putting restrictions, the only way to stop him/her by changing their attitudes”. Yes it’s hard but it has to be don in that way. Internet censorship is not the way.

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