* why don’t you do it, dammit?

Posted on April 17th, 2017 by Alex. Filed under Funny Emails.


Subject: IED
Date: Tue, Dec 20, 2016 at 3:10 PM

Sir, our group no. is 75. Our group member XXXXXXX has left the college. Therefore need a group member. So ,please do a needful.

Of course, sir, right away! Naturally I could have shot back in the same tone. However let’s change strategy by sending a totally unrelated reply:

Subject: Re: IED
Date: Tue, Dec 20, 2016 at 4:43 PM

Oh thank you. Merry Christmas to you too.

Alex

30 minutes later…

Subject: Re: IED
Date: Tue, 20 Dec 2016 17:17:59 +0530

Merry Christmas to you also sir, enjoy..

On Dec 20, 2016 4:43 PM, “Alexander Fell” wrote:

> Oh thank you. Merry Christmas to you too.
>
> Alex

Ok, so far so good. I thought that the student understood, why I sent that reply. But no, he was not able to get it:

Subject: Re: IED
Date: Wed, 4 Jan 2017 12:11:06 +0530

Sir, as I told you before that one of our group member XXXXXXXX has left the college and we are only three members in our group but now the problem is that our group member YYYYYYYY has also left the college and as result we are only tow members left in the group. So please do the needful

On Tue, Dec 20, 2016 at 4:43 PM, Alexander Fell wrote:

> Oh thank you. Merry Christmas to you too.
>
> Alex

Of course, as you told me before…

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* but we submitted something somewhere, so please do check it

Posted on April 10th, 2017 by Alex. Filed under Funny Emails.


Subject: Eld Lab
Date: Mon, Oct 17, 2016 at 12:57 PM

Sir

We had uploaded our files on Github and then ssh server. Somehow the folder we uploaded is empty. Attached below is the screenshot oof our “Git log” and “Git log –stat” for the same folder. We are from Group XX.

Kindly inform the TA’s to check our submission.

Thanks and Regards.

That is strange. All other 40 groups were able to upload the code without any issues. Usually the issues range from crashed systems which strangely always happens at precisely the time, when the enter button is hit to execute the command uploading the submission. Maybe the Enter button should be renamed to “Self Destruct”, when a deadline is close. Another excuse is an Internet problem, but sending the mail informing about the same, works flawlessly. So instead of “informing the TA’s” (TA = Teaching Assistant), I replied:

Subject: Re: Eld Lab
Date: Mon, Oct 17, 2016 at 1:11 PM

Eh, no.

Your repository is empty, so code is not existent. There is nothing to check regarding your submission, because there is no submission.

Sorry,
Alex

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* everything is for free

Posted on April 3rd, 2017 by Alex. Filed under Funny Emails.


Subject: Material for 3-D printing
Date: Thu, Sep 29, 2016 at 2:06 PM

Sir,

I need to 3-D Print one cylinder. So, May you please provide the material for the same?


Thanks and Regards,
XXXXXXX XXXXXX
Ph.D. Student, IIIT Delhi

Of course! Is there anything else I can do for you? So I replied:

Subject: Re: Material for 3-D printing
Date: Thu, Sep 29, 2016 at 2:17 PM

Dear XXXXXXXX,

may you please purchase the material by yourself? I do not run a free shop.
😕

Alex

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* when is class

Posted on March 27th, 2017 by Alex. Filed under Funny Emails.


After a month into the semester, there is a possibility that a student still has not found out the time of the class.

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* hurry up with those answer sheets

Posted on March 21st, 2017 by Alex. Filed under Funny Emails.


Date: Mon, Sep 26, 2016 at 11:16 AM
Subject: Mid sem answer sheets

Sir
Please try to give the midsem corrected answer sheets this week only well before late drop date ( 3rd october , monday ).
Thanks

Of course, sir. Right away!

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* Let me rearrange the time table for you

Posted on March 14th, 2017 by Alex. Filed under Funny Emails.


Subject: Monday Lab | ELD
Date: 11/09/2016

Sir

The CSE students who live in hostel have to travel around 35-40Kms to reach college. We do not have any other other classes on the coming Monday other a one hour AP lecture. So we’ll have to come to college just for about an hour(AP class) and fifteen minutes(ELD lab) and will spend around 4-5 hours traveling for this purpose.
Could it be possible if we could give our lab demos sometime else?

Thank you

Of course, sir! If you do not want to come, because you want to stay at home and not study, then let me rearrange the time table and make other people, who actually came to get the marks, adapt their schedules according to your conveniences.

If you do not want to have the marks, please do not make it my problem.

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* Interesting quality of a Springer book

Posted on May 13th, 2015 by Alex. Filed under Experiences with Companies.


SpringerRecently I bought a book: “Introduction to Reconfigurable Computing” by Christophe Bobda. It is about computer architectures and regarding the content interesting and useful (at least for me). However Springer did not fail to surprise me regarding the quality of the book and I was astonished to see Springer dares to distribute a book like this. So far on almost every page I found misspellings and grammatical mistakes. I am surprised that in the 7 years after the book was introduced initially and for more than USD100 less in my pocket, Springer does not see the necessity to do a proof reading. This book is way below the mark that I expect from any publisher.

Just let me give you a few examples. First my absolute favorite so far:

  • Page 63: “Figure 2.48. Pipeline Reconfiguration: Mapping of a 5 stage virtual pipeline auf eine 3 stage.” An interesting mix between English and German.

Those I just found by skimming through the pages a few minutes ago:

  • same page: “With pipeline virtualization, an application is pipelined implemented on a given amount of virtual resources.”
  • Page 62: “The NISC [92] processor consists of a Controller and Datapath on which any C program can be executed on it.”
  • Page 73: “…in some extend…”
  • Page 58: “The DNA Matrix 2.46…” this should be “The DNA Matrix (figure 2.46)”
  • Page 57: “…the domain bit manipulation ( DBN) node provides…” Do I have to tell Springer where to put a space around brackets? And even in 2007 sentences ended with a full stop.
  • Page 56: “The Pprogrammable…” Where is the second p coming from? A spell checker would have been useful here.
  • Page 55: “…an external processor that can be used to configured”
  • Page 54: “…the connection between PES…” “PES” does not exist, but “PEs” does. “PES” is a new abbreviation and misleading.
  • Page 48: “Xililnx” the company is called “Xilinx“.
  • Page 41: “connexion”: This word is rarely used in English (even in 2007).
  • Page 41: “Local bus segments span four cells whereas an express bus segments span eight cells”. Either it is “an express bus spans” or “express bus segments span”, but not a mixture of both.
  • Page 37: “…wasting too much LUT-resources”. Since LUT resources (without a hyphen) are countable it is “many” instead of “much”.
  • Page 23: “Many systems in high-performance computing were built with farm of FPGAs on different boards.” What does the author want to say here? Something is probably missing. Apart from that “high-performance” is wider than the text width, which happens many times in this book and does not look as if someone took care in creating the book.
  • Page 9: “‘Pragmatic problem studies predicts gains in computation speeds…”. This is a citation from a paper written by Gerald Estin in 1960 and it just needed to be copied from the original source, which does not contain the grammar mistake.

So I contacted the representative of Springer for northern India asking him, why for so much money and so much time passed this book was not edited properly, if at all. After a week and a reminder a reply came as follows:

Hi
We have forwarded this query to the editor and awaiting his response.

Regards

After waiting for a month and again reminders, the reply changed to:

Hi
Can we have a call to discuss this. Let me know when it is convenient.
Regards

During the call the representative said that Springer is sorry that the book “slipped” through the editing process. A refund can be offered. This reply is unsatisfactory. What I had preferred is a guarantee that this mistake does not happen again and what steps haven been undertaken to increase the quality and to prevent such mishaps. Apart from that, I would like to see a reprint of the book as soon as possible, which replaces my copy.

Concluding I just can say, that I have learned that Springer does not guarantee a satisfactory level of quality (anymore) and if a book slips through the quality assurance process, then Springer does not care much. The suspicion arises that Springer, once a trustworthy publisher, falls prey to the greedy business of quantity before quality like so many others earlier. For my part, I am very careful what I buy from Springer. Without extensively checking, I will save the money and trouble. Especially if Springer books are worth hundreds of dollars. And who wants to buy a car which, despite it works and brings you from A to B, is leaking, if it rains. From Springer’s point of view you are responsible to do the patch work or live with it after paying a nice pile of money. Nice business model…

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* People generalize!

Posted on January 4th, 2015 by Alex. Filed under India.


People generalize!

Although this statement is a generalization by itself, I would say that for most of us, it is true. How many times did we say “Politicians are corrupt”, if another case of money-in-offshore-accounts incident is driven through the media, indirectly accusing politicians who do their work honestly? Or lamenting about lazy students insulting all those, who are not. It easies the conversation, reduces the use of subjunctives and is accepted and widely understood that exceptions to these generalizations exist. However this is only true, if the conversational partners have knowledge about the generalized topic.

If the topic is unfamiliar, then the generalization might become a true statement. For instance: “While the female of the carnivorous species ‘Pagodroma nivea‘ is taking care of the young and does all the hunting, the males are lazy sitting all day near the cave.” So, is this statement even remotely true or completely false or true for most of the times and hence the generalization is justified/accepted?

While I am sure, that the males of pagodroma nivea do not care at all, what we say about them, a generalization might have an effect on a part of the human population. Recently I traveled for several hours in a plane from New Delhi (India) to Manama (Bahrain), Bahrain to Frankfurt (Germany), Frankfurt to Cancun (Mexico) and back.

The trip took 6 flights in total out of which 2 of them originated or landed in India. Those 2 flights were special due to the behavior that I observed during the flights:

  1. On both journeys as soon as the jolt went through the plane signaling a touch down back on Earth, many flipping sounds could be heard of people unfasten their seatbelts. That made me wonder, where do they want to go? Those people were too impatient to get down from the plane, even before it starts taxiing to its gate.
  2. A large number of passengers (especially on the journey Bahrain to India), had huge suitcases with them as their cabin luggage. It is known that the space in the overhead lockers is limited physically and that it is calculated by the size passengers are allowed to carry. Since luggage pieces must be placed in those lockers, there is a resource conflict. Hence the ground crew checked the luggage before the passengers entered the plane, fishing out those big suitcases and placing them on a trolley readily waiting next to the stair case. That trolley was full to the brim by the end of the boarding process.
  3. Quite some needed repeated reminders to turn of their electronic devices when required. In fact one guy had a loudly phone call during that time. When he was reminded, his reply was “later”.
  4. The polite and calm atmosphere usually emitted by flight attendants, was negligible. For instance the seat belt signes were turned on and the flight attendant went through the aisle shouting “seatbelts, seatbelts, seatbelts”. Never heard that before.
  5. The gate was packed and full of people. Many passengers consumed 3 or 4 seats to take their nap and other passengers had to stand.
  6. I was in the last group boarding the train (that’s why I know that the luggage trolley was full). The gate area looked like a garbage dump after all the passengers boarded. Many people from India simply do not care what they throw where.

While these observations could have caused by many factors, I am wondering that one of the factor was that the flight started or ended in India. Assuming that on these flights the majority were Indians, it becomes a very awkward situation. For an outsider who does not know Indians (and who can know everybody?), it is very easy and lazy to say: “Indian passengers are very impatient (seatbelts) and egoistic (not leaving locker room for others, disturbing others). Flying with them is very unpleasant.” Hence a whole population and even those who never lifted off the ground, are collectively judged for something they have no clue about.

My experience is, if an distinctive individual misbehaves, a larger group is condemmed. This opinion spreads and sticks. Primarily not because someone generalized and broadcast his/her opinion. Probably more because of self experience and the attitude to generalize. Not much can change this attitude. Hence people should be more considering, how their behavior affects the opinions of others about themselves. The world would be a better place, if more people live by the golden rule: “One should treat others as one would like others to treat oneself.

Disclaimer: All generalizations in this post are unintentional and I apologize for them.

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