5-2022 Remembering Rene DAVID

I have many things to remember about my friend and guru Rene DAVID. I learnt a lot about Petri nets and Grafcet from him. My PhD work used Petri nets. DAVID courseI also managed to get him to India, Hyderabad, to deliver a one-week course on Petri Nets and Grafcet (along with Hassane Alla), in Dec. 1991. This course was conducted on behalf of IEEE Hyderabad, and was sponsored by the French Embassy in India.

He also gifted me DAVID Bookhis book on this subject (which was originaly written in French. I helped him in its translation to English). I cherish this book, till today.

He visited my home, celebrated Christmas with us, inspected and approved the accessible house I had built with the inspiration he had given me in Grenoble, France. It was a memorable experience for my children and me.

Rene might have left us, but his books and his memories will always be with us.

See also : Rene DAVID (RIP)

20-2021 Don’t look before you leap #2

Don’t look before you leap #2

Dont look before you leap #1

It was sometime in 1998. India had still not entered the Internet like we see today, or rather the Internet had not entered India like we see it today. There was still no public or private enterprise giving access to the Internet. The communication infrastructure was in an unbelievably pathetic state. Not every house had a phone connection. We were still living in a world of fixed landline phones and snail mail technology.

IEEE started activities vigorously in Hyderabad, at about the same epoch. It was necessary to reach out to as many people as possible. The w-w-web was found to be an inexpensive but effective option. I proposed voluntarily to create a presence for IEEE (India Council) and IEEE Hyderabad Section on the w-w-web. As usual, I did not look or hesitate before I decided to take the leap. There were of course many unseen and unknown hurdles which could have ruined my dream.

I recall some of the major obstacles which came my way:

0. I knew I was developing a high-visibility, long-lasting product for an audience of highly competent professionals. So I had to be extra careful at ever step. All the work had to be done by myself, single-handed, without any help from anybody. Web technology itself was not known to many people at that time.

1. Internet access was through remote terminals connected to the server via shell access. Familiarity with command line tools was a very helpful skill. Dial-up modems using slow, unreliable phone lines were the only choice we had.

2. Web technology itself was in HTML 3.x age. The browser I had to use was a purely text-oriented one : Lynx. The browser had many limitations, it could not even parse tables (or frames). No graphics, no colours and none of the fancy features commonly used today by everyone.

3. We had to be contended with dial up modems (over pulse-based telephone lines using ATDP commands). The mail client available was only mutt. Only serial-line protocols e.g. kermit were available (at least to me) for downloads/uploads.

4. Very little scope for browsing and obtaining online help. No way to Google for answers you didnt know.

5. Content for populating the website had to be collected and organised from scratch, almost all alone.

In spite of all the above obstacles, I managed to create fairly exhaustive websites for IEEE India Council and IEEE Hyderabad Section. This achievement received appreciation from all users, and also recognition by IEEE Headquarters in the form of an international award presented at Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia). The citation said “for providing excellent websites for IEEE India Council and other Indian Sections”. I am proud to note that IEEE Hyderabad led IEEE India to find a place on the web. This was further confirmed by another award from IEEE for outstanding achievements and contributions

The seed I sowed on 1998, has grown to be a lovely tree and is now helping many activities of IEEE in India.

This is one more evidence of the power of positive thinking, and taking the leap without hesitation.


Anti-climax :: I had to discontinue my 35 year old relationship with IEEE, because of a humiliating/insulting gesture by the Chairman of IEEE Hyderabad Section. They say “the axe may forget, but the tree cannot”.


10-2021 How I ruined my Sunday evening .

tankbund sundayYesterday, 12/09/2021, I decided to experience the much publicised traffic-free promenade, along Tank Bund in Hyderabad. Tank bund is a major artery connecting Hyderabad and Secunderabad, and runs along the periphery of the picturesque Hussain Sagar lake. And my GOD , I was so disappointed /disgusted and had to curse myself for this faux pas. This experience proves how good-intentioned schemes can be ruined by reckless , irresponsible and uncivilised behaviour by the very people who should be promoting such ideas.

I saw how filth and garbage can be spread or dumped in the name of religious liberty. They say that there is an order of the high court which prohibits immersion of plaster of Paris Ganesha idols in the lake. What I saw, was exactly the opposite. Hundreds of policemen in the area kept watching helplessly as people kept dumping all their idols into the stagnant and stinking lake. Added to the mess and filth were also thousands of plastic bags, styropor/thermocole material, with many more nondescript garbage. Vive la liberte !

The traffic-free aspect was just a farce. Traffic had to pass through a major part of the tank bund, which made the crowd more congested all over. The density of traffic was much higher than other usual days. A considerable part of the walking space (or whatever was left free) was also occupied by hawkers and street-side vendors. Blaring loudspeakers made the evening resemble more like a sojourn in hell. But who cares ?

fun at tank bundIf you ever think of visiting tank bund on a Sunday evening, just drop the idea pronto. Do not fall for all the organised propaganda, stay away and feel safe.

Do not get carried away by all the colourful publicity. (see examples above). What you actually see at tank bund will not be so good or enjoyable.

Moral of the story : If you are looking for some peace and tranquility, tank bund is certainly NOT the place to go to. There are many better places in Hyderabad, to go and spend a serene evening.

Filth and garbage, or religious freedom ? You choose !


NOTE : Readers are welcome to send their own experiences and opinions, to the author at drpartha@gmail.com .