Category Archives: Rants

Aaarrrggghhh — PC Acronyms

Fittingly, even the title has an acronym (technically an abbreviation although all acronyms are technically abbreviations). From Modi’s initiatives to texty relatives to Reddit’s narratives, acronyms are everywhere. But none of these spheres manage to come close to the PC (Personal Computer) industry. BTW, Macs (Macintoshes) are also PCs.

A prosumer (professional–consumer) is building an HEDT (High End Desktop) computer with the latest Intel Broadwell E (E for Enthusiast) Core i7-6950X (X for Extreme) CPU (Central Processing Unit) which has 10 overclockable multi-threaded cores (for a total of 20 threads), is base clocked at 3.0 GHz (Gigahertz) with 25MB (Megabytes) of L3 (Level Three) Cache, has a TDP (Thermal Design Power) of 140 W (Watts), supports up to 40 PCIe (Peripheral Component Interconnect Express) lanes, and plugs into an FCLGA 2011-3 (Flip-Chip Land Grid Array).

Equip that chip with 128GB (Gigabytes) of quad-channel DDR4 SDRAM (Double Data Rate 4th Generation Synchronous Dynamic Random Access Memory) clocked at 2400MHz (Megahertz).

For graphics, a two-way SLI (Scalable Link Interface) through the HB (High Bandwidth) Bridge using the latest Nvidia Titan X (unofficially called Titan XP with P standing for Pascal, the codename of the current generation, to differentiate it from the previous generation card of the same name) each of which is clocked at 1417 MHz, has 12GB of GDDR5X SGRAM (Graphics Double Data Rate Type 5 [X is a fancy letter although GDDR5X is faster than the simple GDDR5] Synchronous Graphics Random Access Memory), has a memory speed of 10 Gbps (Gigabits per second) for a maximum bandwidth of 480 GBps (Gigabytes per second), supports 8K (K stands for Kilo or a thousand meaning, in this case, a horizontal resolution of 8000 pixels, actually 7680 pixels) Video though its three certified DisplayPort 1.2 ports, and also has an HDMI 2.0b (High Definition Mutimedia Interface Version 2.0b) and one Dual-Link DVI–D (Digital Visual Interface Digital only) port.

System storage is the 800GB Intel 750 Series PCIe NVMe SSD (Non Volatile Memory Express Solid State Drive) with an advertised random 4KB (Kilobyte) 210k (K for Kilo meaning thousand)  IOPS (Input/output operations per second) write and 420k IOPS write as well as sequential  128KB 2100 MBps (Megabytes per second) read and 800 MBps write performance. For other storage is a couple of 1TB (Terabyte) Samsung 850 Pro 6 Gbps SATA 3 (Serial Advanced Technology Attachment 3rd Generation) SSDs. They are the first consumer drives to use 3D–NAND MLC (Three Dimensional–Not AND Multi Level Cells) for storage chips. And damn you HDDs (Hard Disk Drives).

All that will have to be accommodated by a motherboard based on the Intel X99 “Wellsprung” chipset, a PCH (Platform Controller Hub) aimed at the enthusiast market. The ASUS X99 Deluxe II with its 8 DIMM (Dual In-line Memory Modules) slots  each supporting upto 16GB — that’s the only way you get 128GB of system memory — support for multi-GPU (Graphics Processing Unit) configurations, five full length PCIe x16 slots (meaning 16 lanes each) although one of them has just a Gen 2 x4 (4 lane 2nd Generation) connection, and an x1 (one lane) slot, two U.2 (U dot two) slots, one vertical M.2 (M dot two) slot, ten SATA ports four of which support RAID (Redundant Array of Independent Disks) configurations, four are SATAe (SATA Express) ports and the other two are just normal SATA ports, USB (Universal Serial Bus) 2.0, USB 3.0, USB 3.1, S/PDIF (Sony/Philips ….

Phew, you get the idea! That’s if you are still reading, which I don’t think you are… hmmm!

Aaarrrggghhh — Ad Hominems

Ah! most fallacious of the fallacies, the fallacy fallacy included — these ad hominems, common as M&Ms, or Eminem’s rhymes, only more decadent and subversive, a blot on the mechanics of reason and reasoned debate.  Why thou existest?

I once said ‘Praise be to reason for that with which life be understood and lived! Praise be to knowledge for that with which life be made sober and calm.’ I also said ‘Death be to God for that with which life be left unknown, unlived.’ Scarce had these escaped my tongue, the lot of salt and knife was thrown at me.

My pedigree, my loyalty, my trespasses of yonder past, my debts, my hair which long I keep, my parent’s work, how they earn their daily bread, and many things more — all brought up, questioned, inverted to make the argument, nay, pass the judgment, eternally binding, that reason and knowledge be cast away till Thy kingdom come; for what can I say, these sins attendant, oh such unforgivable unfathomable sins, that might be listened to, that might be of value except for the blasphemy of the Lord. They’ll none of it.

This fate I faced, this fate you’ll face. These things I’ve seen, these things you’ve seen. But to destroy the person to rid the idea, to target the person to weaken the idea — what myopic folly! What, sigh! influential, baloney fit for a felony; what poppycock deserving the 17 Glock; what balderdash waiting for a crash!

Argumentum ad hominem must die. But it continues ad nauseum. Alas!

Aaarrrggghhh — everything-you-need-to-know articles

No greater disregard for the collective conscience and intelligence of the human mind has been displayed than by the arrogant pronouncements of the self-appointed improperly informed establishers of propriety, deciders of ‘everything you need to know’ and assumers of ‘things you didn’t know’.

Lazy clickbaitery obliges dull assemblification — that’s an invention, deal with it — of simplified, often falsified, information fed through the medium — ah the tedium — of serialised, trivialised, bullet points which, after reading, you invariably realise were not at all things you needed to know and even if they were, that they definitely not everything you needed to know.

The obsession with simplification, the fixation with, indeed celebration of, short attention spans — inshorts! I am looking at you — leads to the eventual production of sterilised info-packs that convey neither the subtlety nor the severity or sometimes even the sense of what they purport to convey.

Must this stain be permitted to soil the absorbent canvas that is the human mind in a bland black monochrome rendering it incapable of producing the shades of colour that would otherwise make it beautiful?

Equality, Women=Men

Reservation makes sense, opposition doesn’t

The story…

So the Government decided to, after “thorough deliberation”, hold elections to the Urban Local Bodies (ULB) granting  33% reservation for women as provided by the Nagaland Municipal Act (NMA) 2001 through its first amendment in 2006. I am not sure if the deliberation was thorough or indeed if there was any deliberation at all. But a cause for celebration, yeah? Finally, the government has taken a bold measure casting aside its retrogressive tribal and patriarchal garb and clothed itself in a new progressive outfit fitting for a government alive to its time. Except, dispelling any cause for rejoicing, the CM explained that the decision was taken as the state has been “unable to avail the annual developmental funds granted by the Centre” for the development of ULBs. What?

(The government’s decision, which it arrived at after “thorough deliberation”, is interesting (and shocking) when we consider the fact that the current CM was the chairman of the seven-member select-committee appointed by the then govt., in 2012, which, after “thorough deliberation”, “unanimously” rejected the applicability of the provision for reservation which had been added by a “unanimous” decision of the NLA in 2006. This is a mockery of the public’s intelligence which sadly might turn out to be not so misplaced after all.)

But why is this happening in August 2016  — 15 years after the passage of the Act? As much as I would love to relate this shameful saga, it will have to wait for another time. For now, it is enough to know that Naga women have been urging the government to implement reservation policy in municipalities and town councils and the government has, to be very mild, so far been going where, and only where, the wind blows. It did not include reservation in the original Act (2001); then added it after Naga women took the issue to court (2006); then did not implement it (2006-2010); then rejected the applicability of reservation (2012); and now, it has decided to conduct elections with reservation (2016).

No to reservation… what?

(Disclaimer: Politics is a massively complex web that extends to and influences everyone. No commentary will satisfy all. This is a rant in defense of women’s reservation in the light of recent news and so, other connected issues like the one regarding taxation by municipalities through NMA 2001 vis-a-vis Article 371(A), will get a pass. And since this is a rant, subtlety will be sacrificed.)

The state government had a guiding role to play on this issue but it has not delivered. It has to be chastised but this essay is directed against the “civil societies”, the “stakeholders”, the “mass-based organisations”, the “apex bodies”, the “tribal Hohos” which have been the biggest roadblocks towards reservation becoming a reality. The term ‘tribal’ becomes even more ironic given the tribal ‘watch this clip‘ arguments that are being tossed around. It’s crazy.

Argument #1 The door is open for all.

This is a classic argument. You are welcome to throw you hat in the ring. We are not actively debarring you from contesting, why, then, is there the need for reservation?  Well, because this is not the way affirmative action policy operates or the reason why it actually works. Would the people floating this argument resign to their fate if, hypothetically, the Indian government decides to do away with reservation for STs citing the same argument? The appalling absence of women lawmakers in governance is the reason why they are being guaranteed a certain percentage of seats in local bodies. Similarly, the appalling backwardness of tribals when it comes to education is the reason why we are guaranteed a certain percentage of seats in educational institutions.

The opposition to reservation would be legitimate if women were proportionately represented in and had equal access to positions of administrative and political influence. The fact is that they have never been represented well, if at all, in our polity since time immemorial — to use a popular phrase among us Nagas. This is a fact no apex Hoho can dispute. That our society does not discriminate against women in other spheres of life, which I find it hard to believe but will swallow albeit with great difficulty for the sake of brevity, is completely beside the point.

Argument #2 Only the kitchen door should be open for women.

Some still think that women are ill-suited for decision-making. I’d imagine, just for laughs, that those menfolk are the hen-pecked ones who fear that decision-making is the only realm where they can safely escape to. Silly banter aside, a recent press release argued that men and women both get “due importance” and that “importance differ in different arena”. The audacious insinuation! What is intriguing is that you’ll often find this argument alongside the previous one. The hypocrisy! (link is NSFW)

The fact that only the kitchen door has been open for women doesn’t mean that other doors should remain closed for them. There is no reason to think that women will be unable to handle the pressures and perform the duties that come with public office. Just look at Angela Merkel, Theresa May and Hillary Clinton (Trump can’t win.). Just look at the HSLC and HSSLC toppers list. Just look at the innovative start-ups. Just look at their selfies. Okay, maybe not those. Also, it is absurd to be fearful (What if this is the underlying reason?) that women will come to dominate and subjugate the men. (If you are a woman reading this in a women-dominated future where men slave for the reserved queens, remember that I was on your side!)

Argument #3 We should not open doors to strange things.

Reservation is alien to our ‘culture’ But so are suits. Our forefathers never practised reservation.  And they never practised Christianity. This is such an uninformed argument. Culture is not a constant. It is dynamic and reflects the zeitgeist. This weak argument is often supported by the claim that men and women in our tribal society have always been considered equal. Infact, some were “disheartened”, and this is true, to see “women folks drawn to sink down to second class status by the state government” through the policy of reservation.

Wait a minute! The contention that Naga men and women have equal status (everyone remembers NaMo’s gaffe, no?) is fiction. Also, reservation does not degrade, it uplifts. Reservation is not negative, it is affirmative. Any force or combination of forces — social, cultural, economic, institutional, political etc — may work to undermine certain sections of society. The institution of caste undermined the position of the Dalits, for example. The patriarchal social system led to the exclusion of Naga women from decision-making enterprises. Reservation is a policy to correct such aberrations caused not by the incapacity of the impinged sections but by unyielding larger social forces outside the influence of those that are adversely affected (and, unsurprisingly, often under the control of those that are benefited).

Argument #4 We should not open doors for reservation now.

This is the position of the apex Hoho among the (lesser?) apex Hohos. It stands by the observation that it is still “premature to introduce 33% women reservation in Naga society” and that we should instead “advocate women empowerment by creating various opportunities”.

If not now, when? No, seriously. The observation is from a 2011 federal session. And I have no idea what the “various opportunities” are and whether they have been created at all. Throw in a resolution number and a few sophisticated words and boom, legitimacy appears before thee upon a cloud. It’s 2016 and the same position is being maintained. To be fair, their position is a lot more nuanced (read: ambiguous) than simply that and they do want for women to be represented.

Argument #5 Article 371(A) is a room whose door should not be opened to reservation.

Oh that article of articles! Article 371(A) Clause 1(a) safeguards Naga customary practices by making the state’s legislative assembly responsible for everything that ultimately gets implemented in the state. Only when the state legislature passes it does a parliamentary act become law. The fact is that the provision for 33% reservation was passed and added to the Nagaland Municipal Act by a unanimous decision of the state assembly in 2006.

Putting procedural quibbles aside, let us, for one moment, entertain the argument that reservation infringes upon Naga customary practice. First of all, there is no and can be no such thing as Naga customary practice. It is a myth. Every tribe has its own set of practices and there are variations even within tribes. Second, the reservation is for municipalities and town councils which are constitutional institutions and not customary institutions. If we adhere to this line of reasoning, we will find that almost everything that we practice today infringes upon our specific customary practices. Such a perspective is not only disingenuous but destructive.

In conclusion…

To be honest, I know of 20 year-olds who are more sensible, mature and alive to the realities of today. I get the impression that the mega organisations that we have supposedly furthering our agenda are neither well organised nor concerned about our collective agenda. It is sad. What’s worse is that they are peddling in paranoia and flinging incorrect facts (or fiction; since they are not correct? hah) to make their ‘help me Obama‘ arguments.

A certain organisation lamented the passage of the Women’s Reservation Bill in August without consulting the “civil society” and the “stakeholders”. It was actually a Cabinet meeting that decided to go ahead with the election for the ULBs in implementation of an Act which is not the Women’s Reservation Bill and which had been passed long ago.

Meanwhile, another questioned the “hustle” of the state govt. in implementing the Act pointing out that the bill is still pending in the Lok Sabha. While it’s true that the Women’s Reservation  Bill for reservation of women in the Lok Sabha and state assemblies is still pending, the concern here is the reservation with respect to local bodies which was made constitutional in 1992.

Yet another advised against making rash remarks as they might be “counterproductive to our adversaries(sic)!”(this is a joke, no?) while expressing concern for female candidates whether they would survive the dirty world of politics filled with “corruption, manipulation and muzzle(sic) power”. (The pun is strong on that one.)

The learned would read and laugh, the literate would read, the rest wouldn’t care and none of these would matter. But the thing is that here is a bunch of people incapable of making a sound argument with clarity or, more correctly I presume, unwilling to admit that they don’t have any argument at all and they are indulging in spreading misinformation and abusing grammar (subject-verb agreement is never their strong point) and they are the ones stalling the march towards gender equality despite valid and rigorous arguments as well as eloquent, heartfelt and sensible appeals from the other side of the debate. Naga women should be angry. The youth should be alarmed. And the leadership? They ought to be penitent.

mp3s without tags

Aaarrrggghhh — mp3 tracks without tags

Unknown song (what?) of an unknown genre (seriously?) from an unknown album (oh come on!) released in god-knows-when (‘ok calm down! breathe!’) by god-knows-who (I am gonna find you and…). You see, I turn to my impeccably organised music library for solace when I am depressed by my appallingly disorganised desk. Worshipping the spine-chilling album cover of Blackwater Park as Bleak’s first heavy riff kicks in is the only way I can temper the otherwise revolting scene of open books, capless pens, tangled cables, tea-cups and half-eaten biscuits (dis)gracing my desk.

Opeth Bleak AIMP
Everything is dark, bleak and black.

Fearing my descent into the distressing depths of the dark side — worship, spine-chilling, blackwater, bleak…see the drift? And I haven’t even started on my infatuation with Behemoth — I figured that listening to the ‘happy’ major scales that underpin Methaneilie Jutakhrie‘s classics would rescue my unrepentant soul from infernal torment.

Unknowns Methaneilie
The unknown unknowns

And before long, there is a folder of about 60 tracks, some quite literally, on my hard drive ready to be added to my, I can’t stress this enough, impeccably organised music library. The only problem being that there is no way I can even recognize let alone organize the songs. Some don’t even have proper filenames. And the ones which do have filenames have nothing else; which infuriates and then distresses, more than my desk.

If you only download songs at 128kpbs from shady sites or extract mp3s from Youtube videos, you probably don’t know anything about properly tagged music and you certainly don’t care. You are a leech: you are a sore sight for sprightly eyes and you suck. But I am not angry at you. If you torrent full albums, you definitely have songs and albums with (mostly) correct tags. Thank you, you lazy cheapskate. I’ll take them. If you buy CDs, rip them to losslesss formats, scan their covers, and then convert them to 320kbps mp3s and share them with the world, you are a hero. You are the chosen one: the messiah we need but one we don’t deserve.

Purple Fusion Folk Reminiscence Folder
Once you go flac, you never go back.

But if you buy CDs (or cassettes and digitise them) and rip them to 128kbps mp3s without any tags — and this is exactly what happened with Methaneilie’s songs or, for that matter, most other local songs that you’ll find— your actions are unpardonable and you must be sacrificed to atone for your sins.