with love to indore

Friday, September 17, 2010

History of LAN at my Alma mater

Dedicated to the spirit of IIT-Kgp, and it's LAN...

Ask any Kgpian you may know, about the significance of LAN in his/her life... maggu or non-maggu, gult or non-gult, dude or non-dude, bong or non-bong, juice or non-juice, fresher or senior (or even super senior for that matter), batti or ghaasi, chhagi or nehli, makhau or studd, Patelian or RKite... no one, absolutely no one can deny that their lives would have been very different if not for LAN.

The STD Age(2001-2002):

Very few people had computers at this time. The trend was to rent a CD/video from tech market for Rs.10 and watch it in the TV room. Most people used to go to STD booths on a weekly basis to talk to their families or on daily basis if you had more than just family to talk to! ;)

The hostel phone was always a zone of activity. There would be guys making fun of the others talking to their bandis on the phone, or the guy on the phone asking the other fellow to hush-up the swear words because his mom could hear him. I even remember people running to the phone booths when they heard they got a call from an IIM.

It was around the mid-semesters of Spring 2002 that everything in KGP was about to change. HCL had provided the students with the subsidized computers. Obviously, the guys screwed up their mid-sems. Then by end-semesters of Spring 2002, the institute provided them with an amazing gift of LAN. They screwed up their end-sems too.

The Shareaza Age(2002-2003)

By the time we entered KGP (after summer), LAN was being used to its fullest. Shareaza was the most popular software then. It allowed multiple user download and even then getting 1MBps was considered good. There was no share limit and people didn’t bother to share. Sharescan was another popular choice. But even then, KGP was still wasting most of its time playing cards (LAN was going to kill that soon).

Yahoo Messenger was the favourite IM amongst the masses, while Yahoo/Rediff/Indiatimes/Sify were the most used email services.

SERVER™ hosted the only CounterStrike server in the insti and it was rampantly popular.

A prized few had Cell phones. Only Reliance and BSNL were there to offer service. Reliance was costly and to get BSNL you would either have to wait for long or you needed to have the correct contacts in the BSNL office.

The Yahoo Age:(2003-2004)

Yahoo messenger was the backbone of communication in Kharagpur (Most SF and Kshitij work is still done using YahooGroups). The LAN did not have any Latest™ Offliner and Friends and Seinfeld were the funniest shows available. TV rooms were reserved for Cricket matches only. There is a Murphy’s Law associated with things on LAN – “All good things on LAN come during the mid-sems or the end-sems.”

During the mid-sems of Spring 2004, a new trend came up - SKYPE. But Skype did not have the mettle to dislodge Yahoo from its top position. Yahoo was so popular that people had two yahoo accounts because you could have only 100 friends on one account. I even know someone from my Hall who got married to his chat friend from abroad. Can You Beat That!! [ Trying my best :) --Shrey]

This was the last year Kgp has Direct Connection.

For a few days in the Spring Sem, TV was aired on the LAN using the TV-Tuner card. Various channels including the Saas-Bahu mega-thrillers were popular. (I remember watching the Oscars Live on my comp that year.) It was soon stopped when the people realized that it was eating too much bandwidth and moreover, it was illegal. :P

By the end of Spring 2004, something came up that would become an integral part of a KGPians life… ORKUT.

The best part about Orkut was (is) that it gave the guys something they badly needed – Hope. With Orkut spreading fast every KGPian had only one bubble floating over his head, “I never knew there were so many good girls out there.”

The DC++ Age:(2004-2005)

ORKUT grew to its full potential in the autumn of 2005. [The cynic in me refused to believe that Orkut could be of absolutely any use, and it wasn’t until 2 years later that I joined Orkut]

I remember I was spending my second yr summers at home when Hazro told me about the 'In-Thing' in Kgp. It was called DC++. Even today I don’t know what DC stands for, but the first time I heard about it I didn’t care at all because there was a 5 GB share limit which I wasn’t very happy to comply with and people were using both Shareaza and DC simultaneously. Pretty soon everyone shifted to DC and. Soon after that there was a Latest™ [and the sub-sections in latest were introduced soon after]. Unlike Shareaza, you could get kicked from DC for any reason. DC was controlled by the admin, who would be one of the quietest fellows in the real world but a real cat on DC.

When I was spending my December vacations of the third year at home someone from Kgp told me that Kgp was embroiled in some big-time controversy. It was this kaand that brought us and our LAN to national publicity for the first time ever.

The RaviRaj kaand [More popularly referred to as the DPS MMS case outside Kgp]. Kgp became notoriously famous overnight as a giant Hub of unlimited porn. It was an extremely embarrassing situation for every Kgpian. Most of them were at their homes when this news broke out. Everyone was asked by some parent or a nosy aunt or a distant friend, "Raviraj tera dost tha kya ??"

After this huge turmoil, when KGPians returned to college in January, explicit notices were put up everywhere and for a couple of days, DC++ was off too. Even uttering the word 'porn' was serious sacrilege. There was a rumor that someone somewhere is monitoring your computer. It was during this period that vast amounts of 'resources' were destroyed and people had turned into puritans, temporarily of course.

Then after a few days, no one knows how or from where, a term was coined, a term that would become as popular in the KGP lingo as ‘Bhaat’, 'peace' or even 'makhana'. This was the term 'Bhajan'. Slowly with time, people started sharing more bhajans on DC and soon life was happy as ever for the KGPian. This was the time when SERVER™, mkd, Nukem and MrMast ruled the Kingdom of LAN.

Later in this semester came along another craze. Google started Gmail. Gmail was then on a purely invitational basis and it was a privilege to have a Gmail account. It was the first e-mail service to offer 1GB of storage (to store all the junk fwds in the world).

The Google Age:(2005-2006)

As soon as people returned from the summers they were introduced to Gtalk which eventually changed the way KGPians chatted with each other. Gtalk was small, fast and people could use it as a phone too. Yahoo messenger was becoming a pain with every passing day. I remember I read a status message on a friend's YM, "Yahoo is History.. My Gtalk ID is ***"

Soon Gtalk became the norm. People started blogging quite often. All the hidden poets and journalists started off with a simple blog.

Soon Orkut and Blogger were integrated with the gmail account and the Kgpian had one password for all.

Nukem, Frosty, Nefilim, nullchar and ReligiousMonk ruled the Kingdom..

The New Age:(2006-07)

KGP's LAN had evolved at a tremendous pace and had reached saturation. Soon the LAN became bigger and better. DC++ had taught people to share more, so much so, that people had bought more hard disks to share stuff on LAN. There was a race to share more stuff on LAN. For the first time the total size shared stuff on DC++ had became more than 1 TB in Spring 2005.Today it has around 15-20 TB of stuff at any point of time.

Yahoo had INFACT become History.

The Current Age(2007 - Present day)

The evolution has continued to the present day, and faster than ever. Very soon, people started bringing over external hard disks to increase their share size, which resulted in some of them sharing over 1 TB individually (Yo garrett !!) A minimum sharesize of 8 GB was fixed, and DC++ saw over 50 TB being shared for the first time in Spring 2008, during the inaugral IPL session. The min.sharesize went from 8 GB to 16 GB, to 24 GB as of now. The average total share is around 60-70 TB nowadays, and over 97 TB has been touched, during the last India/NZ T-20 series. DC++ pundits expect to cross the magic figure of 100 TB during the oncoming IPL season. ]-[ELLFRAGGER, Garrett, ak_rulz and THE_DON are emperors of the LAN. DC++ also got its first ever female "VIP" recently.

LAN has started showing new colours, with useful stuff like eBooks, video lectures, good documentaries, funda files etc. So now we have LAN for the froost, LAN for the maggu, LAN for the nerd, LAN for the geek, LAN for the dude, and for pretty much everyone there is... If it exists, it's there on DC++.

Streaming TV from the common room is quite popular nowadays, with everyone enjoying the broadcast in their rooms. Even during key cricket matches, the common rooms can be seen empty except for the occasional fachcha waiting for his lappy to arrive. The number of TV series available and watched has exploded as well, which now include, besides Friends; How I Met Your Mother, Roadies, Prison break, The Big Bang Theory, Boston Legal, Coupling, Heroes, 24, Two-and-half Men, House, 8-Simple-Ways... etc. to name a few. Anim├ęs, and other cartoon series (I have surely managed to offend some people by comparing Animes to cartoons) are largely popular as well, with Naruto and Dragonball Z being the favorites, though I wonder why. A HUGE number of movies, from Mackenna's Gold to Mithun's Gunda, are available and watched with fervour.

A very recent development would be the new campus "radio", kNUTS, started by a handful of enthusiasts, which is streamed using an internal proxy, and slowly gaining listnership.

CS still remains the most popular timepass (Again, some people may be offended by me calling it a timepass), while AOE, NFS and FIFA are popular as well. Gaming freaks have come up with their own battle grounds by forming Cyber Leagues to find out the most HuHaa player of all.

Blackberries, iPhones, iPods have begun showing up (and disappearing as well)!!

Orkut looks ready to give way to facebook as the ultimate social networking website. Yahoo is completely out of the picture now, with most fests and societies switching over to Google Groups. Blogging is the rage, with more and more Kgpians joining the Blogosphere every day. Even fests and societies are realizing the importance of Blogs and consequently, of Bloggers, with some of them outsourcing the Chronicler's job to makeshift "Official" bloggers. Some students even maintain 2 or more blogs, and some go in for niche subjects like litt, tech, quizzing, art etc. Microblogging is also catching up, though most people wouldn't know what I'm talking about unless I actually mention twitter.

And how can I close on DC++ without mentioning the part everyone loves to hate, the MainChat. It is used as a platform to express opinions and vent frustaapa, while maintaining anonimity under nicks like toofan and jaanam_samjha_karo. I would have loved mentioning some of the topics discussed, but this is a family blog afterall... :)

The response to my previous entry has been overwhelming, and I've been flooded with "eagerly awaiting the next post..." messages, which goes on to show the kind-of "sento" people have for their beloved LAN. Recent rumours about the insti "taking control" of the LAN have especially heightened the sentiment. One only needs to read the History of Kgp's LAN once, all that it has went through in so few years, yet only growing stronger, to realize that it has become something more than just a network, something bigger than all of us, cause afterall, HiT Hi FiT Hai!! For us, it is as much of a "symbol" of the insti, as the insti tower or its Halls, the difference being that these remain static don't grow with time. We shall come and go, and LAN will continue to evolve and influence the lives of whole generations of Kgpians.

Yo Kgp... Yo LAN!!!

Dedicated to the spirit of IIT-Kgp, and it's LAN...

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