Where is the Rust Rider

Getting involved in the quaint hashtag weekdays on social media is quite interesting.  As the hashtag day you have managed to get caught up approaches, you are on the lookout for that special photo which would make your day.

Actually I have been on the lookout since last Sunday for this #rustysunday snap.  As it happens, I found one right on the street corner.

This broken down abandoned bike had been there for several months now - some say for more than an year. It does not matter how long the rusty bike had been lying there, it now takes its place for posterity this #rustysunday.

Whoever the last rider was, only a Rust Rider can drive it from now. 

Pillayar Chaturthi Puja & Sama Upakarma 2014

There is an idiom, 'when it rains, it pours'.  It means that when something happens after a  time gap, it happens at once in large or huge amount.  For e.g., no one might visit a store for a couple of hours, but suddenly the salesmen may be overwhelmed with a dozen or more customers barging in at the same time.

Another similar expression is 'trouble always comes in threes'.  Over the last week, it did find me in threes. 

It all started with the old man falling ill before the weekend.  He had to be hospitalised, but still we had high hopes of putting up the Ganesh Chaturthi Puja procedure 2014 in Tamil, and also the Sama Veda Upakarma, scheduled for today, 29 Aug 2014, as we had almost completed the draft document.

Then, soon after the #rustysunday post of 24th, the internet connection broke down.  First the ISP diagnosed a line problem - because the Signal to Noise Ratio (SNR) margin was too low at around 6 - 9 dB.

Once the technician made himself available, the line problem turned out to a modem problem too.  After a few hours of to and fro arguments, the ISP finally consented to replace the modem.

And then the Windows decided to act up.  The PC simply refused to wake up from the hibernate/sleep mode.  For the last 3 days, none of my tricks have had any impact on the bleeding Windoze, which refuses to wake up.

If Windows is becoming more and more like Linux with several user profiles and user files stored as part of the boot partition, Linux is evolving more like Windows by refusing to bypass/disable/disregard the Windows flags and attributes. 

I remember a time when all it needed was a Linux boot to safely copy the desired documents and files from a Windows partition to an external drive.  The idea was to extract the draft versions of Pillayar Chaturthi pooja procedure in Tamil 2014 and the Sama Upakarma 2014 in Tamil, and release them as such.

But this week, all the Linux flavours I tried found the idea of bypassing Windows to be distasteful.

In the bargain, the draft documents have been lost.  That is the reason you will not find any Ganesh Chaturthi puja procedure in Tamil for 2014 or the Sama Upakarma procedure in Tamil, Sanskrit or English for 2014 here.

Even this post is being made from a Linux Mint LiveCD, which seems to be the only good thing left over in the Linux operating systems.

Here is a screengrab from an attempt yesterday evening to recover the draft documents of Ganesh Chaturthi pooja procedure and Sama Upakarama 2014.  As you can see it Linux Mint 13 (Maya) can easily recognize and save the screenshot into the Samsung Mobile.  But is flatly unwilling to work around the Windows hibernate/sleep flag.

So, I better get on to the job of a format/reinstall of Windows, and hopefully the old man will be all right in the next few days for the next innings - Mahalayapaksha Tharpanam and the Navarathri pooja procedure 2014 in Tamil.

Rust needs a place to rest

If you are regular user of social media sites, especially Google Plus, you may have come across these quaint hashtags.  Some of them sound a straight pun on the name of the days - like #caturday and #goaturday on Saturdays, or #mondayblues or #manicuremonday on Mondays.

But there are some really inexplicable hashtags too.  Like #wordlessonwednesday or #rustysunday.  Why we should be worldless only on Wednesdays, and not on other weekdays, or see rust on Sundays, but not on Saturdays is a mystery!

With whichever logic the hashtags were thought up, woebegone anyone who posts a wrong hashtag on an inappropriate weekday.  The least of the humiliation is the lack of likes or +1s.  A post with a #goaturday tag on Thursday, is sure to provoke someone’s goat.

So all said and done, here is my first ever weekday related post for #rustysunday.

The chair has been on our terrace for several years.  The hot sun, and the occasional showers have turned the chair into a proper resting place for rust.  I placed the Button Rose flower on it for effect.


BBC experiments, abandons Older Posts notification

Almost an year ago, I wrote an article on recycling old posts in a blog.  It made fun of the BBC website for pushing very old posts - perhaps unintentionally - back to the front.  That article pictured how a BBC report of 2006 on J.K. Rowling’s 7th Harry Potter novel, became the most popular in 2013. 

It was not a one-off incident.  The popping up of very old articles from 2004 to 2009 as most popular read, is a continuing headache - at least for the readers, in the BBC website. 

It would feel great to claim that even the editors of BBC read my article, and act on it.  But the fact is the old posts popping up as the most ‘popular reads’ in a news site like BBC is a horrible mess, and the people responsible would act, even without stumbling on to my blog.

However it came about, in July 2014, the BBC on its website tried to implement a notification for such older articles.  As we hover over the article links on the sidebar, a notification appears with the warning that ‘This story is older than 1 month’.

Which is a fine, sensible, and one of the most practical solutions ever. 
  • practical: because it must be the easiest coding insert;
  • sensible: because it will not ‘break’ whatever coding is in place;
  • fine: because it alerts the user about the out dated nature of the article;
Only it turned out to be neither sensible, nor practical, and not fine at all.

Here is a snapshot of the problem on 07-08 July 2014.


The article ‘The joy of bidets’ was posted online on 07 July 2014.  By 08 July 2014, it was being tagged with ‘older than 1 month’ alert, in an inexplicable mess up.

BTW the proof that this screenshot was taken on 08 July is the other articles which show up before the bidet one.  Just Google for them like ‘Rare clouds seen over seaside town BBC’, and you will still find them as they were.

Someone must have pointed out the fiasco to BBC.  For it disappeared within a few days (weeks?).  And we are back to square one. 

Reading about the mess-up in the ‘Galileo satellites on wrong orbit’, the ‘Many dead in Madrid plane crash’ caught my eye.  It was the number 1 most popular read today, 23 August 2014.  Only the article is from 2008 - about the Spanair plane crash!


Guess BBC does not have to worry too much about Google and other search engines, unlike ordinary bloggers like me.  Still, I hope they would give one more thought to their readers.

Happy Madras Day on the 375th birthday

On 22 August 1639, two Englishmen standing south of the Lake Pulicat, signed a lease agreement for a parcel of land adjoining the sandy strip of a beach.  That lease deed signed by Francis Day and Andrew Cogan, established the First Colonial City of the Empire*.

Thus the City of Madras, now renamed as Chennai, is older** than both Bombay (or Mumbai) and Calcutta (or Kolkata).

The only city in India which has connection with Clive of India, Elihu Yale of Yale University, Marco Polo, Ptolemy, Huen-Tsang, and even St. Thomas or Doubting Thomas.  The city which educated Sir. C.V. Raman, and supported Srinivasa Ramanujan, is also connected with at least six other diamonds - of the gemstone variety - from Koh-i-noor, to the Hope Diamond.

What better way to express the joy of this day, than reproduce this banner for the 375th Madras Day, by The Hindu?


*Madras is the First Colonial City of the Empire, because unlike other cities which try to boast/boost the title, Madras is the first city to be ‘leased’ and later ‘bought’.  All the others were either barren land, and thus ‘settled’ or ‘occupied’ by the Empire.

**The modern cities of Calcutta (Kolkata) and Bombay (Mumbai) were again obtained, leased or bought with a sale deed much later than Madras (Chennai).  The point to note is that there were always villages nearby to these leased or bought out parcels of land, and so they are not taken cognizance of while calculating the ‘age’ of the modern cities. 

For the record the islands of Bombay were part of the ‘dowry’ to King Charles II for marrying Catherine in 1661 (22 years after the lease of Madras), and the Calcutta trading licence was granted in 1690 (full 51 years later).

Happy Birthday Madras, that is Chennai!

Related Posts:
Previous Madras Day articles