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Lisa The Laptop

She is slow, She is old and not up-to-date. No body cares her. She is
lying at the corner of IT department. She is a P-III laptop. Now the IT
department is garnished with latest P-IV laptops with latest model
Operating System 'Vista' , claimed to be virus free. Eye dazzling flashy
screen savers. Bundled with latest model micro soft office package.
So when I asked the IT man for her he willingly spared it for my
special work. She was so neglected that her power adapter was
missing , the lithium ion battery was totally discharged and beyond
repair. For power supply I'd to arrange a separate 15 volt power

And it took start.

It was really awfully slow. On 128 MB RAM they even loaded her with
Windows XP and service pack-2 whereas originally It came with
Windows ME. With a screen resolution of 1280 * 900 and a color
scheme of 24 bit she is buckled to ground. Any command takes at
least not less than 4 minutes time to execute.

I am dreaming to make this machine work like a server ! I have to do

some magic to get her moving. Entire 20GB hard disk space was
occupied by Windows XP .

I needed space. At least 10GB space. There was no fear for data loss
so I was free to do any sort of experiment on her. For the first time I
tried for a partition re sizer to resize Windows XP . The painfully slow
process asked me in every step to back up my data but I went
fearlessly for the 'continue' button. Finally it did resize the windows
partition. It shelved Windows XP to a 10 GB corner keeping the rest
10GB as free space.

I was thinking of a very light linux OS. Red Hat 8 or Minix was hovering
on to my mind but since they are quite outdated I choose Fedora Core-
1 for this laptop. FC-1 got installed flawlessly into this laptop and It
gave her quite a speed. The additional packages I choose are Apache
and PHP. The games and Sounds are totally removed but since I love
to listen music , I installed XMMS and XMMS-mp3 plugin.

Now my dear laptop is ready for the next level. FC-1 was running quite
smoothly on her . The music was playing nicely . The firefox browser
opens in less than 10 seconds compared to the 4 minutes start up
time of the Internet explorer on the other partition. In the
configuration part, I named her Lisa.

I further decorated Lisa's firefox browser with 'shockwave' and 'java'

plugin. I surfed a while on internet with my broadband connection.
Lisa was so smooth !!!

Web Camera Server:

Next was to set up the 'Camsource' program . The older version of

'Camsouce' program comes in binary package. I downloaded and
neatly installed it on her. Attached the web camera and pointed firefox
to the said location.

The camera was sending the picture very nicely. The pictures are
smooth and perfect. I set camsource for still picture once in 30
seconds and enabled the picture through apache webserver layer. I
further set the image quality black and white and frame size to 200 *
200 pixel.

So far so good. I did not expect such a smooth sailing so far. I gave
Lisa an IP address allowed by our LAN . Next I set on the in built-in ftp
program of camsource and set it to transfer the collected image
automatically to my main server at Pune once in 30 seconds. I also
enabled the firewall and called my friends at Delhi and Bilaspur to
access the image from Lisa. They said that the image was perfect
and with out any drop.

I allowed them to access Lisa from these two

locations for next whole day and it worked flawlessly. At the same time
I checked the Pune server where Lisa was sending images
immaculately with time stamp from Lisa.

Real Mission:
I board on the flight with my laptop and camera. Reaching site I head
for the site GM's office. Somebody showed me the terminal where
from the data to be picked up and to be displayed across the
organization. Right now the local GM only has this view (this terminal
is the part of the digital control system so it cannot be connected to
the WAN )

It took me just 15 minutes to start Lisa , connected the webcam

,focused it to the screen and started the camsource program. From
the next moment onward the data was available live on the LAN.

A carpenter helped me to fix the web cam unobtrusively in front of the


Final Touch:
Next one and half hour I did some tweaking with Lisa. I checked my
FTP server at pune and found that it was getting image immaculately.
I stopped apache on Lisa and enabled firewall. I called my friends to
check image at my main server at Pune.

The result was excellent. The Pune server is so powerful that I need
not to bother about it's capacity. Only I have to see that poor Lisa
takes image and sends data incessantly to the Pune server .

For next 20 days she sent images without failing to my main server at
pune where from it was shown to the entire organization for any no of
viewing. Lisa became a popular name around the organization. Lisa
was reborn.

Similar programs are available for windows environment but none are
free and not so scalable like camsource and not to talk of the usage of
poor laptops like Lisa.
also the stability of Linux is incomparable for network related works.
Linux is born with network therefore anything to do with network , I
rely on Linux for solution and always look out for Lisa like computers.
They can still work like horse.

Abbreviation: ftp = File Transfer Protocol, LAN= Local Area Network,

WAN = Wide Area Network, IP = Internet Protocol, RAM = Random
Access Memory

S. Bera