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

40-2019 Anagrams

An “anagram” is a “figure of speech” used by highly literate authors. It is a word or phrase formed by reordering the letters of another word or phrase, such as satin to stain. It usually adds a comic flavour to the text where it is used.

I discovered these interesting anagrams on a “lazy Sunday” :

“Madam Curie” = “Radium came”
“funeral” = “real fun”
“teach” = “cheat”
“adultery” = “true lady”
“customers” = “store scum”
“rail safety” = “fairy tales”
“listen” = “silent”

And the best anagram Prize goes to:

“mathematical games” = “metamagical themas”

“Mathematical Games” by Martin Gardner”

“Metamagical Themas” by Douglas Hofstadter

In case you did not know, both of these are famous contributions to recreational mathematics, by two famous mathematicians.

See also: oxymorons

39-2019 Turning the tables around


There is no limit to discovery, if you do'nt give up midway.You can also add a border if you like:


Just trying a tables plugin, to see how tables work in WP. I use the plugin “tablepress” here.

A table without chairs


The next table was made using Ninja Tables plugin.

I am also testing some PhP scripts here.

38-2019 Filthy Festival #2

It is going to be time soon, to spread filth and garbage, in the name of religion. Ganesh chaturthi, the festival which venerates the elephant God, Ganesh, is just round the corner. GaneshThere will be countless processions carrying Ganesh idols of all sizes (even almost 20 metres tall), accompanied by loud, blaring and irritating noises. The idols themselves are often made out of potentially toxic, bio-persistent (non bio-degradable) material of dubious origins. The processions will lead to public water bodies like rivers, lakes, ponds, seashore, where the idols will be immersed. Never mind the pollution and never mind the traffic snarls (and even communal clashes enroute). All the route will get littered with all kinds of garbage. Never mind the feelings of all those who do not care about all the frenzy. In many Indian cities, the festivities drag on for about ten days (or more). All over these cities, “pandals” (tents) are erected in the streets or public places, blocking all traffic. Some fanatics will take the liberty of illegal tapping of power lines in the neighbourhood. It is also an opportunity to earn money by extracting donations. No one complains, since these activities, done in the name of God and faith, are often promoted or orchestrated by men with muscle power and political affiliations.

All this, in the name of religious freedom and liberty. We seem to have an endless supply of ideas and resources to spread anarchy, in the guise of religion.

And, at the top of the list is this festival .

One more filthy festival (filthy festival #3).

Vive la liberte !

37-2019 How I escaped getting swindled ……

Prevention is better than cure …. here is a true story.

I am apalled at the number of people who complain of poor and irresponsible service from Broadband Internet provider Excitel . To a large extent, the blame lies on the victims. They fell into a trap because they “did not look before they leap“. Just a little more care and precaution would have saved them from all the misery. And now, they want to “lock the stable after the horse is lost”.

A few days ago, a stranger visited me stating to be a representative of Excitel. He was very sweet and very polite, which made me smell a fish. It was clear that he was hiding all the essentials and was dodging my questions. All he was interested in was the subscription/fees which he wanted me to pay in advance and in lumpsum. And after he left, I wrote down all the queries/questions I had and sent them to Excitel’s helpdesk (e mail given in their website). As expected, Excitel failed to answer my simple and strightforward queries, even after two days. I escalated the matter to their nodal officer (e mail given in their website). The mail to the nodal officer failed promptly. I sent yet another reminder to the nodal officer by name (e mail given in their website). This time another person visited my office and very politely took note of all my queries. I knew that they were clearly avoiding my questions. As expected, Excitel came up later with a story that the connection was not feasible. In any case, they had no answer for any of my queries. Strange, that their own reps never knew about this. It is stranger that the same company has offered connections to neighbours on both sides of my house. Good riddance for me.

I now realise that my alertness and vigilance frightened away a potential swindler and trouble maker.

Only your own vigilance can save you. Do’nt blame the swindler if you feel swindled. You usually get what you deserve.