50-2019 Yet another filthy festival (#3)

We just crossed a filthy festival in India. It is time to drown in one more display of filth, noise, garbage and nuisance. durgaThis is called “Durga Pooja” (aka Durga puja) and was once celebrated, only in Assam and West Bengal states of India. It is now common to see it almost all over India. This time, it will be the goddess of strength/power who will be venerated with all the din and noise she deserves. Streets will be blocked, to erect pompous “pandals” . Blaring noise will be played on loudspeakers, austensibly to promote devotion and prayers. The grande finale will, as usual, include processions in the name of immersion, where all lakes, rivers and water bodies will be poisoned. Add all the filth and garbage which will fill our streets, and with anti-social activities of the muscle-men behind all this.

Long live “religious freedom”. Too bad for you, if you do not agree.

49-2019 Better light a candle than curse the darkness

I recently saw some cynical and illogical remarks from a learned friend about my
sunset webpage.

What should you do when someone says “Behold the beautiful sunset ” ? React with some cynical remarks about all that is not so beautiful around you ? Or complain about irrelevant and unrelated issues which people have not solved ? Why can’t people understand the value of appreciating the sunset ? Why don’t they learn to light a candle rather than curse the darkness ? Why do they criticise and belittle the person who lit a candle ?

In a way, this learned friend is much better than all the others whom I informed about this “sunset” web page, and who did not even care to give any signs of having seen it.

A big thank you to all others who watched and appreciated the sunset.

47-2019 Making-a-mockery-of-privacy — a sequel

The ridiculously shameful display I reported in my earlier post is not over. I discovered some more blunders in that site. For instance, that site does not mention anything about the Head of that institution. It does not display the name, official designation e.g. Dean/Principal/Director, contact details etc. Neither do we know his date of birth, qualifications if any etc., unlike the details given for all other faculty in this institution. Needless to talk about the numerous typos and linguistic gaffes. Ignoring all norms of decency and responsible behaviour, the website provides no “contact me” for giving feedback. There is no way you can report these blunders to anybody responsible, unless you use some public platform like this..

All this speaks a lot about the quality, competence and maturity of the people running this institution. Their website stands as proof of the saying , “where ignorance is bliss … ” Like Mark Anthony famously said “Oh judgement, thou art fled to brutish beasts …. “.

Take look at this web page

46-2019 Making a mockery of privacy and decency

See the actual web page now.

Recently, I came across a ridiculous display of violation of decency and privacy. I was shocked and ashamed to see that this blunder occurred in the website of my own alma mater, where I studied almost 50 years ago. The website displays a whole lot of academic information as well as some irrelevant information and misses out on some meaningful information. For instance, it announces the date of birth of all its teachers/faculty (including the ladies). Why should anyone know who is older / younger than who in the University ? Strangely, it does not give the date/place where the teacher acquired the qualifications listed against their names. Strange ! No one seems to have noticed this goof up or has any objection to the public display of personal, non-academic information.

If you don’t believe me, take a look at this faculty details webpage.

Notice that this is the webpage of the Professor and Head of Computer Science ! Is this what you teach your students ? What quality can we expect from students trained here ?

45-2019 Every coin has two sides

Are you part of any email based mailing list ? Do you follow the discussions/conversations, on these email based communities ?

Recently, I came across a lecture on the perils of top posting: http://www.idallen.com/topposting.html . The person who posted this, used it for vehemently justifying the reason for his imposing bottom posting in the mailing list.

A longer lecture, which gives the whole picture, is available at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Talk:Posting_style.

In many practical situations, top posting makes more sense than bottom posting, both for the reader and the writer. Blindly and unconditionally condemning top posting is like putting the cart before the horse. It does not always make sense to post/view messages “chronologically” (as in bottom posting strategy) all the time. Imposing one or the other strategy blindly is a short-sighted policy which can cause more harm than good.

1. “Bottom posting” ensures that the last opinion expressed is at the very end of the message. This implies another irritating phenomenon. When some one adds a comment or opinion to the above, the comment \ opinion comes after the last opinion given earlier. Any body trying to get at the final opinion/comment has to go all over **again** all the earlier posts.

2. In many serious documents/publications, all the references are grouped and presented at the end of the document as a “Bibliography”. This avoids the need for the reader to read up all the background material before reading the main document.

3. When you watch the news, say election results, you want to know who won from which constituency. You do not want to know all the background stories about all the contestants, before you come to know about the results.

4. Imagine this scenario. You have a long thread “A” of discussion on a certain topic. A user X posts his opinion, views about A, using the bottom posting strategy. To read X, you have to go through all of A. Now comes Y with his view/opinion and bottom posts his view . To read Y, you have to go through all of A once again and then read X. In the end, you have a nightmare of posts.

5. By contrast to the above, in the top posted pile, you first read Y, and decide whether or not you want to to read X and A. Life become far easier now.

In short, it is a wiser approach to let the writer use his judgement and choose either top posting or bottom posting. Taking the context into account is more meaningful (and less myopic) than imposing one or the other approach blindly. After all, every coin has two sides.

May wisdom prevail. Amen.

44-2019 A world without crooks

I have just now disconnected my BSNL phone which has been my biggest pain for the past so many years. This marks the cessation of all my relationships with BSNL. Good riddance.

In all these years, I have not felt more peaceful and comfortable as I am
now. I started by eliminating the sick BSNL from my life. In my search for an alternative, I discovered two more incompetent and dishonest crooks : Airtel, Excitel, both of whom were quickly spotted and brushed away. I have now blacklisted all the three crooks : BSNL, Airtel, Excitel. It is more than a month now, and I have had no reason to complain.You too can enjoy peace, if you recognise and avoid crooks. Peace at last ! Amen.

I hope this peace will last long, Insha-allah.

41-2019 Time to ditch the sinking ship

sinking BSNLI learnt this from the legendary rats. It is time to abandon the sinking/stinking ship, get some peace of mind, and save your life. That is what I am doing by ditching the Indian phone company BSNL. For nearly 35 years, I put up with BSNL. I gave them enough notice and warnings. I have had enough of incompetence, arrogance and indifference which seems to only get worse day-by-day. I am sure, many more will ditch BSNL like me, before it is too late for them.

No hopes for BSNL– the sinking ship

Also see ::

How to dig your own grave — ask BSNL