F

Four-THs

Like you, a little enthusiastic about art, tech & things in general - - "THis, THat, THese and THose" to make each day interesting... and now, taking up the #100Days of writing

Phew!

[100] ... [General]


Phew!, that's how Wordle reacts when you manage to guess the cleverly set TRAIN in the sixth and last attempt, when BRAIN, DRAIN and GRAIN failed.

It feels the same way on reaching the 100th post. I am not used to setting new year resolutions that never work for the likes of us. When I discovered Listed.to blogging built into Standard Notes, I just jumped in, with nothing to lose. On coming to know of #100 Days of writing, it was the same instinct after a few minutes of consideration when a couple of subjects came to mind, saying you can do it.

Let's be frank, a couple of subjects are just that, not lasting more than a fortnight at most. In the beginning it's all roses, like entering a cave attracted by the paintings or sketches done by our ancestors centuries ago, and as you go deeper, the quality of light comes down, further down, additionally the air feels heavy on the lungs. But you keep on, confident on an outlet somewhere, a natural vent or some trickling water from outside that can show a way out than beating the retreat.

That’s how the journey has been. I didn't take it as a challenge or a promise to myself, but more as a ritual. Like someone said, promises tend to break, but attempts succeed. The ritual worked, with a hope of testing one's capability.

Finding subjects or topics isn't easy when your space has nothing specific to cover like food, travel, hobby or a profession, or your views on daily news, all of which offer easy material, with may be dedicated following. This has been kept just on a general note. Too general in fact, steering clear off politics and religion, the two touchy aspects, specially these days when the former has almost either become the latter or hopelessly intertwined like in some places. More often it began with nothing on mind, and somehow things got assembled with a vague idea, to form a subject where none existed.

It's more difficult on not knowing the type of audience or readership. There's no way you can get statistics on the number of visitors here unlike in other platforms, where you are sure of at least someone having seen. Except myself and at most one other who evinced some interest on being given the link, I tend to think there have been hardly anyone else, except may be by chance. I kept the daily ritual going, simply out of commitment, and also on seeing this regularly cropping up under the recent authors. As to my identity, though nothing to hide, may be leaving it unsaid is better off.

As to the way of putting things, the method has been casual, being myself. How much ever you read the writings of others, wondering at their stock of vocabulary, the right word in the right place, when you start typing, you can only be yourself to say it in your way. I can't go beyond the simple words, may be a few particular ones here and there, and thanks to the in-built dictionary of keyboard, that can rightly guess and offer them spelled correctly without effort. The other aim is to keep it short, as no one these days cares to read through lengthy pieces on the Net, me included. Though some topics tempt to make essays out of them, the contents have been deliberately cut short, leaving out the most obvious that's already known. I ended all with an ellipsis or the three dots just to convey the unsaid. Fixing up a heading for each post is another dilemma, and often may not convey the intended unless the content is read to catch the relevance. The posts were also numbered to keep track. Since we can't additionally label each to categorize to enable finding the similar, I put in my [own], though it hardly matters or served any purpose.

I began initially posting on the computer through the web version and occasionally from the phone. I prefer the former anyway to be able to see the whole matter on the large screen with the typos glaringly visible. On the phone you don't get the complete picture till previewed after publishing in the browser to make corrections or restructure with multiple updates.

It's been an interesting ride. If you have been a regular or even catching up occasionally, a big thank you. If seeing this straightaway, care to see if the past ones hold your interest. Though there is a subscribe button, I don't know how it works. If the system mails out on its own or needs your input, without being told of anyone being subscribed.

I preferred to do this last piece on the PC, but it is busy munching the monthly update and won't let me till digested after a restart, and that may take a while. From hereon, I am not sure if the daily habit would continue, but will try to keep it going, however spaced out. Besides, we need to let others show up as the recent contributors. By the way, with much to say, this no doubt is the longest I have ever written...

Almost there

[099] ... [General]


Poetry is one form of fine expression, to be slowly savoured like chocolate, enjoying and digging into the content word by word, marveling at the thoughts and appreciate the way ensembled that convey the joys, sorrow, pain, philosophy -- a way of looking at the world, both in nature and the man-made. Some have an inborne bent towards the medium to just read or even write, may be some develop it later. Somehow I never got into that circle to be involved or look up to it, but definitely try going through when coming across accidentally.

I don't feel it necessary to be reading poetry to be poetic. If being poetic or romantic is a form of being imaginative, besides having a broader viewpoint towards the world, that is. We come across not so educated folks who have a better understanding and express the ways of life in down-to-earth manner. Be it the proverbs or adages they convey observations and experiences put in an effective form in such simple words.

This vague reference to poetic expressions didn't really come out of the blue, but casually occurred when the sequential numbering of daily posts gave a hint on having reached 99 with a bit more to go. To quote Robert Frost (again) in conjunction:
The woods are lovely, dark and deep.
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.

Definitely there neither are woods nor miles to draw parallels on inching closer towards the set target, but just an excuse to interpret the similarity...

It just happens

[098] ... [Technology]


There was this old joke about a father explaining the greatness and powers of God to do just about anything to his little son. A bit confused at that age to grasp, the son innocently asked "Can he put back half the tube of toothpaste I just squeezed out?".

It happened to me once when trying to move an extracted setup folder with huge contents nestled under multiple subfolders to an external drive. Midway the operation stopped saying some system files in use can't be moved. Ended up with a mess, not knowing which remained and which got deleted. As the original zip file was deleted long back, the only way was to re-download or get it from someone else. Unnecessarily what had remained on the disk for so long was lost. Copying and then safely deleting the source could have been better, but who knew? Now that it's known, I am careful.

It keeps happening in other ways. You delete a duplicate file only to find the other copy is corrupted. You delete a file locally, preferring to keep the same online since having sent it as a mail attachment, and later while cleaning the unwanted messages, include this as well by mistake.

You cut the contents of a text file done temporarily and close it without saving, to insert into a mail or an existing file -- a call from someone or a desktop notification interrupts, you copy something else by mistake while right-clicking before pasting the contents, and the whole thing is gone. Unless you remember it all in entirety, the redo often doesn't live up to the original.

Rather than clicking the Save button, you prefer pressing Ctrl-S, and unknowingly combine with Z, and move over to some other process, sure of having saved.

It was beginning to get dark one evening, being lazy enough to get up & switch on the lights, preferred to work with reduced light from the window, though the all black laptop keyboard was proving difficult to find the right key. By habit I pressed Print screen going by the approximate location, only to realize it was the Power button, with the OS started shutting down promptly.

Surely we all have gone through such self inflicted digital mishaps, mostly on days when one is either feeling jittery or when the matter is most important. If you haven't, please accept my congratulations...

In a Net-shell

[097] ... [Technology]


Saw something on teddit.net (reflected of course from Reddit), don't recall the exact heading, but ran like "Things Only Internet veteran can remember". Though not a veteran in the true sense (having started with Win98 when XP was already launched) to have been through since the early days of BBS, ARPAnet and such that we have only heard about, did come across the many things others have mentioned, both in hard and software front.

Floppy of course, rather Floppies since they came in two sizes: the 5.25inch with I think holding 1.2MB and the later 3.5inch giving you 1.44MB, used to both boot when needed and copy stuff between computers through MS Briefcase that synced them smooth. There were some DOS based software that enabled extending storage to 1.6MB. CD was a novelty holding close to 650MB. Anyway I never used ZIP Drive the 100MB predecessor and the later BlueRay discs. DVD was considered expensive. My first USB Flashdrive costed close to $30 by today's terms and came in a blister pack along with the mini CD to install drivers, a USB cable and an instruction leaflet. That it could hold 256MB was a blessing in disguise to do away with multiple floppies. The little thing still works despite taking much beating, and the cable is still handy. It also allowed creating a secret partition of required size within to hide anything personal through the built-in software to both create and launch using a password.

Hotmail gave you 2MB of storage and a mail from the provider came in promptly when the quota was getting filled, to delete unwanted or archive in Outlook Express, which anyway I was using already. When a newspaper launched their Net services and offered 5MB, it looked unbelievable. Then of course came GMail offering 1GB with account creation through invitation. In fact I thought G meant the offered GB, till later realizing it to be the short form of the company. Hotmail of course increased the storage in stages, 256MB to begin with and gradually allotting 1GB for the serious users who stuck with it.

MP3 and WinAmp were undisputable rulers, both complementing each other, and there was PowerDVD to play DVDs in particular. Senseless email forwarding with all the recipients mail-ids openly put under the To field, and countless mail-ids from the previously forwarded in the body, so each mail began with the subject line Fw:Fw:... To some, anything received necessarily had to be forwarded, never mind even if sending to someone's official id. Now of course the messengers have taken over this aspect luckily for the general users who set up email accounts to just register on the phones, and mainly seem to use for the bank and other transaction related.

Weekly anti-virus definition updates weighed less than 5MB, and there were alerts to be beware of CodeRED, SirCAM and other prominent viruses that lurked on the Net, besides things like "I love you" that spread through floppies or mail attachments. Pop-up blockers to smother down unwanted popping Ads were all the rage, and separate scanners were used to get rid of adware.

MSN or Yahoo messengers looked too good to believe some contacts were online to exchange thoughts in real-time, than shooting mail and waiting till they saw and responded.

From the slow, Modem based Net connection that was charged as calls every three minutes (besides sounding the engaged tone when someone called during then) to 1GB for 3 Months Broadband that gradually rose to 60GB per year, to the present 1 or 2GB per day schemes, we have a come a long way in a short period. There are so many other things from the past two decades if you sit back and recollect, and having seen if not the deaths, outdated forms of many of the above mentioned technologies and terms. You surely know much more if from the same boat, and if a later entrant may wonder if MB wherever mentioned should have been GB...

Ends and ways

[096] ... [General]


All is well that ends well. Wish the phrase stood applicable to all aspects. There are things that leave a feel of parting when ended. Like the OS versions that you were so used to, liking some aspects and having got adapted to as second nature, only to say it good bye to move over to the new after a few years.

Some realize it in relationships, some feeling the pinch even with their favorite dress, or the pet laptop that may seem trivial to others, but carries much significance to the concerned. We all feel it at some stage, small or big the reason. Seems Dickens was at loss when David Copperfield came to an end, having to part with characters he enjoyed creating and penning. Seeing the new owner driving away the long-served vehicle or having got to do away with the house, shop or office for whatever reasons, seeing it with new occupants or coming under the hammer, chipping away the brick and mortar enclosure that robs off the memories and the sense of having grown with it, are often felt even by the neighbors.

There's no end to things that end, positively or otherwise. Change of course is inevitable till the cycle repeats...

Very Verify

[095] ... [General]


The way we see things invariably differs from many others. When people across the world don't accept God in one form, it's natural on differences even in the mundane. Logical viewpoints even if from the other side needs consideration than mere arguments for the sake from those who share your opinion without the basic analysis.

Something similar surfaced during a renewal recently. The agency wanted to verify certain documents, though already done last year. Since I had carried copies, there were no issues. But the next customer who came later started a huge argument on having already submitted the previous year. The concerned tried explaining the need of it owing to some online data getting removed automatically after a set period of years, when yearly verification becomes customary. Didn't make much sense to me either on how submitting the same each year to verify manually serves the purpose. But that seemed to be their way which the other person found hard to swallow, having come all the way unprepared, and to come again before the due date.

Even some online services keep bothering to verify your alternate mail-id or phone number whenever it feels like, doubting if it's really you. Alibaba was lucky needing to remember just "Open Sesame" to get in. Possibly that was the first place needing a passcode, and he the first hacker?

Luckily at home, you are let in on confirming your voice when tapping on the front door, without having to further answer "Which was the first movie you saw?" or "What's the name of your first school?"...

Both way errors

[094] ... [General]


Found an old hand-written bill that has been marking a page in an old book. No doubt the date and prices were nostalgic. Wonder if the shop still exists or continues in a new get-up. But what interested was the little phrase at the bottom-right. E&OE, supposedly "Errors & Omissions Excepted", a disclaimer used in an attempt to reduce legal liability for potentially incorrect or incomplete information supplied in a contractually related document such as a quotation or specification. Though in general, it was humorously considered as Accepted than Excepted.

Don't know if the little phrase still exists as haven't noticed in the electronic printouts that we normally encounter these days--on or offline, or perhaps used in bill books of some trades. But errors do exist despite the all sure electronic way. Like you buy something that's offered much lower on the day, but ovelook the original price printed out while billing that doesn't seem to be programmed for the day, standing to lose if the item wasn't really of immediate need as you went by the catchy price. It has happened many times when you get sick of the slow moving queues at the malls, amid devoted shoppers with loaded carts and wish to be done with sooner. And even if noticed, you find another line of similarly placed at the help desk, some arguing on the mistake, and prefer walking away than bear with the time consuming hassles.

Ironically I stood to gain once, as if partly making up for the previous losses. An item was billed much lower and when duly brought to their notice, turned out to be a festive discount a month back which wasn't updated at the POS, and was asked to enjoy at their expense. May be some would have made hay while the sun shone by buying more of the same in the second round, but didn't seem worth wasting another hour or taking advantage of the lapse. Sometimes we do benefit from the errors that are accepted with grace...

Auto-kill

[093] ... [General]


Autosuggest. If correct, this was first seen in .chm format help files that tried narrowing down your search when you preferred to look for terms & phrases than wading through the long list of ready links. Picking up from the readily indexed, they showed the available topics for your query. Later this feature got into the browser, linked to the online index, perhaps with added popularly searched keywords apart from what's already scooped from various sources, to guess what's on your mind to make it quicker. May be it is their way of getting to know you more, specially when logged in with your account. I prefer staying away, not to become a product for such all too keen services.

While it saves some typing for the routine searches to select from the offered suggestion, many a time turns out a bit annoying, forcing to auto complete as you start keying in. The only way seems to be to just ignore, keep typing and press Enter to stay away from the drop-down choices, since there seems no way to turn it off.

I once visited someone and their kid turned out to be real cute. But anything that I asked the kid on my lap to strike a conversation, was getting answered by one of the duo, hardly giving the little one to express. So much of parental care reminded of autofill.

Some people have this habit of assuming things about others than getting it straight from them. Another form Autosuggest, the know all syndrome. You didn't attend an event for some reason, and a guy who did is interested to know. "Oh you were busy, OK must have forgotten, Is someone at home not well...?" Such a lot of rattled assumptions, hardly giving you a chance to convey none of the above, as we had to attend some other the same day. And when told, "Why he was not invited, Who all attended, Why they had it on the same day...?"

Once an year

[092] ... [General]


I don't know if such a custom exists elsewhere, down here a day is marked to honor the aids that support your trade or profession. Machinery, tools, gadgets, instruments, and the like that makes your line of work possible. Factories, offices, workshops of all sorts, follow it giving them a day's rest. For individuals at home, a scissor, knife, screwdriver or anything you wish including pen and pencil substitute, and of course the vehicles they own, that keeps them on the move. In large establishments it's also time for a bonus. The age old custom supposedly stems from an incident of mythological background.

Today is such a day, and with changing times, offices naturally look up to their computers and laptops, printers and routers in place of typewriters and fax machines, filing cabinets and safes that once filled the working places. The law enforcing one must be doing it to their guns and rifles, though as a custom for a while than letting them take the day off. The other end too, may or may not be doing the similar in their possession, though crime never pays.

I remember a brief stint at a large office, saw the place beginning to get cleaned up a week before the day, and the staff in anticipation of two or three months bonus. A couple of us, just a few months into the setup weren't neglected and a token of appreciation seemed good enough to partly aid in buying a wristwatch that still comes to life with eighteen winds.

The day is almost a routine seeing the same scene each year. Buses and all sorts of heavy and light vehicles clean and shiny, moving around decked up in fresh flowers, and dried heaps of the same the next day at road corners. Hope the garbage pick up vans turn up tomorrow, unlike last year, after all those too obviously get pepped up, and deserve a day off, and we tend to think just from our end...

Thereafter

[091] ... [General]


... and they lived happily thereafter. All fables end that way on a positive note. Thereafter or for ever after shouldn't be the concern fully knowing the characters being mortals, allowing some poetic justice.

Wish things were that simple with all things concerned. Like he got a job and lived happily thereafter, unless it's a government service entitled to pension. No layoffs, pink slips, no hurdles as in other streams. Or he installed the OS and did the same. No hassles of patches & fixes, updates & upgrades, running in an undisturbed linearity. It is only in the stories that the narrative ends at a safe and happy juncture, leaving the rest unsaid.

A Bluetooth speaker had given such an assurance of running happily thereafter, but ended saying sorry when the charging port suddenly conked out. Five years is a good duration of service that came as a gift, though not used continuously. Things happen. Laptop display goes dead, hard disks begin to chatter, phone suddenly refuses to come to life, and, and of course so many other ands that are means to the ends. Change is the law of nature, new nudging away the old with the same promise...

Less and more

[090] ... [General]


More and less are often expressed in conjunction, though being the opposites. "Less is more" said the late architect Mies van Der Rohe and applied the dictum in his works, stripped off the unnecessary and ostentatious features, so the basic structure stood in its minimalistic elegance. But Less is bore quipped some who saw the role of seemingly unnecessary, that was necessary to bring semblance and human aspects than be machine-like.

Some put in more work though getting paid less. The opposite is also true to some professionals whose less, but supposedly quality time fetches more. In our grand father's time they could buy more paying less, but inflation has turned it the other way. One known person however denies it, saying the monthly expenses hasn't changed for their family for years. Two of them can manage comfortably now, while it served eight earlier.

I liked a comic strip with Lucky Eddie beginning to believe in the philosophy of Less is more, and his viking friend and head of clan, Hagar (the horrible) instantly seizing the opportunity with "It's time to talk of your salary".

This aspect of less and more occurred when watching some old TV classics like Alfred Hitchcock Presents, with so much stuffed into twenty minutes without missing a detail, in comparison with some movies that turn out to be little more than two or more hour drags, needing a bit more time to drive the point. Or when reading novels with unneeded fluff and verbosity, just to be voluminous. Or when listening to some political speeches running to over an hour, and wondering at the end on what actually was said...

Decisive discoveries

[089] ... [General]


More than "To be, or not to be", "To do, or not to do" is something we all face more often. Small or big the task, it's a required decision. From taking a backup on phone or computer to doing your laundry, to declassify or press the nuke button, fish or egg, decisions vary with the ones concerned, placed accordingly.

Long ago, having finished the hardbound collection of Holmes, it was time to move on. There are authors of yesteryears whose finesse remains unknown unless explored. A random search displayed so many, and out of some instinct I just picked one by J.S. Fletcher. Joseph Smith that is, the English novelist, and the decision led to seeking more. The mystery and narration kept me absorbed. And after a few of them, the next seemed puzzling. Rather than mystery, a story was getting built with some characters speaking in old English. Looked interesting any way, and as pages went by, I realized "The root of all evil" was a novel than the genre expected, but equally appealing and moving towards the end. I realized he covered various forms. Detective, mystery, long and short novels, short stories with twisted ending, and non-fiction with historical background which of course I haven't ventured into.

The same way I discovered Austin Freeman, Arthur Morrison, Louis Tracy, Emile Gaboriau, Fergus Hume by accident, and found their writings enriching. Sometimes a minor decision lands you among the company of likable, and in turn decided to make a mention for taking back in time that we never saw and the enjoyable time spent...

Days to reckon

[088] ... [General]


Every day carries some importance in general for all or in particular to some. Earlier a selected few like the Independence day, Republic day, Thanksgiving day or the Memorial day, Labor day and such governmental or federal holidays came in and were easy to remember. Don't know if they existed before or keep getting added to signify something we are not aware of, since a decade, or perhaps ever since social media took control, every now and then we are told of that day being marked special. It's quite confusing to remember them all, and better left to those concerned to keep us informed.

Out of curiosity I just looked up if today being dedicated to something. Of course it turned out to be, the "International Translation Day" to honour the work of translators and language professionals across the world.

Now that's something thoughtful to acknowledge regional works cutting across language barriers. In fact during school we had a few translated, abridged versions of classics to get interested in the originals later. Hope the translators of computer programs related that support many languages too are covered. Like an apple a day, significance for a day is no doubt educative. If ever a quiz, I may not get past the pre-qualification round, don't know about you...

Visual conveyers

[087] ... [General]


Once upon a time, is how most fairy tales begin, and as children we imagined people and places stretching our imagination, though the King and queen always were taken to be what we had seen pictured elsewhere. Pictures that represent something to convey as a symbol stays with us throughout. Like the Desktop icon in old Windows 95 that showed the top of a traditional office desk in green felt secured on the four corners, with the paraphernalia needed to work. Now of course with the icon no longer used, we know what a desktop on a desktop computer or a laptop means, taking it for what's on the opening screen to begin with. I am not getting the word used for such representation, probably Pantocrator?

This topic came to mind on seeing a cartoon on a thief. It was a bit interesting on how thieves are pictured, nothing different from the olden days. Invariably he is always bald, wears a T-shirt with broad zebra stripes, mask over the eyes like Zorro, though to hide his identity in other way, and necessarily carries a sack behind holding the loot during the night with crescent moon. In fact, if not shown that way, we probably can't figure out his trade though times have changed. A stolen phone in his pocket would be of more value than all that old clothes and junky stuff in the large sack that even donkeys may refuse to carry.

In a way such visual representations continue in even other aspects, like religious buildings that still try to evoke traditional looks, hardly justifying the modern construction and materials used.

Though most people these days follow an universal dress code and hairstyle (to be in vogue or because others do it), in cartoons the traditional outfit springs up to convey someone's origin. May be such clues are needed in some forms of expression to readily guess, but wonder if a necessity where can be avoided...

Constant breaks

[086] ... [General]


It's difficult to do anything with constant distraction that crops up just then. Specially writing, that too without anything in particular to start with. You are into an online transaction on the phone and a call that could have waited a bit does its duty methodically, sometimes even cutting off data connection thinking the caller is more important. In the middle of some work on the computer, the firewall pops out an alert, or a program comes up with a notification, when there was no such hurry. You wonder why things are running a bit slow with constant disk activity, only to realize the OS is silently working on the monthly updates reminding it's the second Tuesday of the month and time to restart any moment. Like the commercial breaks on TV, they surface unexpectedly.

In technology everything considers itself important to be of service. Every program wants to start at boot, every app on the phone requires permission to run in the background to send alerts. You are not sure if to appreciate their concern on serving you or feel annoyed by their untimely interferences. The thing is you went for it, not the other way round and obviously have to put up with. Like the in-laws and their family, they come bundled. While the former can be uninstalled selectively, the other, as in the cases of some, how much ever they wish, can't be.

So, when I started putting up something at twelve noon, a constant barrage of this and that kept creeping in, and just when past a few characters a message on the phone kept nagging, requiring to either read, delete or mark read. Now that having got immuned, decided to read anyway, to know never share passwords, keep your PIN safe and to follow safe measures on the Net, the hundredth time and thanked it for caring so much. And with no specific subject on mind, decided to turn it into one, beating it at its own game...

Archived expressions

[085] ... [General]


Once at the museum, it was interesting to see a wide variety of weapons, ranging from knives of all sizes & pattern, matchets, swords, spears to cannon balls from various periods. Those didn't seem to be for hunting. Don't know if we were supposed to appreciate the craftsmanship or the clever design aspect understanding the materials available then, or merely wonder if people down the ages had no other notion on mind than being preoccupied with violence and killing one another, in defence or offence.

Things haven't changed much, except the weapons getting more and more advanced and longer ranged. They however looked of lesser harm that aimed just at those on the field, rather than the current ones that can wipe away entire cities, it's architecture, art, lifestyle and the innocents. Cities can be rebuilt, though with large expenses, over a lengthy period of time, but you can't bring back the character and feel.

As a contrast, there were also paintings, pottery and ceramic ware in pieces or whole, and a host of fine art creations that seemed to silently convey But make allowance for their doubting too; as in the later expression from Rudyard Kipling's poem...