portable telephone

DAY 3358

Malta                   June 7,  2017                Wed 8:14 PM local time

Birthday - EF - Tejas Mankodi …  Thu, June 8 … to Tejas our love and greetings for his Birthday .. all happiness and success from the Ef family  

The world communicates at such alarming rates times and connection facilities, it astonishes and brings great surprise ..

I am happy to be and privileged too, that I survive in this extremely exciting days of this generation .. where connectivity is such a boon .. rapid almost akin to sitting across the table and having a chat, when we are thousands of miles apart and distant … where this shall lead to is beyond comprehension .. Abhishek keeps egging me on to travel to the ‘Valley’ .. the Silicon Valley, for an experience of a lifetime .. to know and to gauge where we are heading ..

Quite quite remarkable really .. and filled each day with incredible surprises and inventions and a mastery that one could only have dreamt when we were growing up .. 

Growing up .. growing nostalgic .. growing in the remembrance of the days of Allahabad .. the years being in the 50′s .. yes the 50′s .. when none of you perhaps were even thought of being brought to this world ..

Getting a phone in the home was an unbelievable celebration .. the rotating numbers phones, black in colour, situated and placed at that special place in the house .. a place of eminence and pride .. one that almost decided for you your social status in the city and among the friends .. the digits within rounded circles, enough spaced for the index finger to occupy it .. for men .. for the ladies, who did not wish to damage those well manicured fingers, it was the wrong end of a pencil, the rubber end, that was used for dialling !!

For long we did not have one .. we could not afford it .. but when we could a long waiting period was announced and we waited anxiously for that mechanic with the black machine to walk into our house and fix the instrument .. and having done that, the first activity was to call that special friend and boast the presence of the ‘telephone’ in the home .. and of course limiting the speaking time, because we could not afford the bills that accumulated at the end of the month ..

At times there was always the thoughts of an emergency .. that is when we did not have a phone .. an illness, a medical need, a robbery, a connect with the Police .. !!?? how was it all to be managed ?

And then one day it happens. You have no phone and your Mother falls desperately ill .. Babuji is in England for his thesis and his Doctorate studies, and you are the elder son matured by the age of 10-12, to deal with such a situation. It is the middle of the night, and Mother is in serious condition .. cannot speak, walk, communicate .. nothing .. you are the man of the house and there is need to act .. so ..

The nearest doctor friend is miles away .. what does one do how to contact him  .. as note written in great desperation (and somewhere the doctor has given that note to my Mother, which I cannot find) is quickly scribbled, with the best grammar at my young aged command and the house help is put on a bicycle and told to deliver it to the doctor .. !! The doctor comes several hours after and attends to my Mother, delivers some medications which have to be got again by the help from the market in the middle of the night .. a nightmare .. because nothing is open in small towns .. at least not then in the 50′s .. doctors often stocked important medication in case of an emergency such as this .. and that has to be thanked for  ..

Or .. the thought of a dacoity .. a dacoity was a most prevalent occurrence, in those times .. we would hear stories of Man Singh Daku, the dreaded dacoit, who had a kinder side as well .. he raided the rich to feed the poor .. but for us at that age it was looked upon as a terror .. so ..

What if Man Singh Daku decided to invade our little home ..Daku is not a surname it is the Hindi word for dacoit …  so … yes what if he decided to attack us .. at that young age you imagine all kind of ghosts and evil … what would I do .. I the elder and only male personified, my younger brother was there but just that .. young .. very young ..

So what ..

The Police station or a small outfit for the region was a good 300 meters away from our home, luckily .. but getting to those 300 meters and seeking help, was that task which kept playing the mind .. RUN .. that was it .. run .. run from the back of the house and reach the police chowki .. on many an occasion, during the day I had practiced and timed the 300 meter run .. just to be acquainted with the process and the terrain  .. OR 

RUN .. another 500 meters to dear Sushil Uncle, head of the fire brigade in the city .. a large well built Bengali, most dear to the family .. living nearby .. and breathlessly give him the news of the extenuating circumstance, or the dacoity, or whatever ..

WHY ..

Because there was no phone in the house .. not capable of having one !!

BUT .. the most exciting was that most important phone call, being made by my Father from Cambridge .. a month or so in advance letters were exchanged from him to us, from us to him .. this took about a month or two .. a date was fixed as to when he would attempt a call .. a luxury for him from his very limited financial state .. and for us an unbelievable event .. being able to hear Father’s voice after almost 2 years .. !!!

And where would the call come .. at a dear friend’s place some miles away in the city .. planned and waiting to be executed after a wait of two months ..

The days went by slowly .. anticipation and the excitement unabated .. comes the day and the sleepless night before .. it is by the evening .. the entire day is spent in deciding what must be worn to attend this most important and unbelievable telephone call .. the travel to the home of our friend with phone .. me cycling it .. Mother and brother, in another mode of transport .. and the call .. and the voice of Babuji .. and the emotion and the joy .. and ..

OH ahhhhh .. it is difficult to describe those times ..

ALL because there was no possibility for us to possess a phone, a telephone !!

And time has passed .. and time came for me to hold up the first mobile phone in my possession to my Father’s ear, as he sat in his wheel chair in the evening by the lawn of Prateeksha .. to tell him to talk to a friend on the other side ..

I can never forget the absolute look of bewilderment on his face as he spoke hesitantly, on to that portable mobile telephone !!

“ ye kaise hota hai” , he asked still not prepared to accept the contraption ..

And a journey 40 odd years just flashed by ..

Good night 

Amitabh Bachchan

A DC Universe RPG sourcebook from 2000 predicted the smartphone

The JLA Sourcebook from 2000, made for West End Games’s DC Universe, had an adventure in back that was based on time travel, made possible by the android Hourman from the Tom Peyer series. It involved travelling to three eras of JLA history, including the beginning (the status quo at the time was based on Mark Waid’s JLA: Year One, which had Black Canary as a JLA founder), the “present” (2000), and future. 

It was the part of the adventure that was set 10 years into the future that was the most interesting. In it, the player characters run into the JLA of the year 2010, which included an adult Robin (Tim Drake version) as leader. But the most interesting part of it was that in the description of the future age, it involved everyone “constantly staring at a device that was part PDA, part computer, and part telephone.” 

Predicting portable computers doesn’t require a genius (we had PDAs in 2000, after all), and cel phones were starting to become universal by 2000. But the most impressive part of the prediction was that a combination of the two would 1) be universal and everyone would have one, 2) people would be on them a lot and staring at them in public constantly. 

These kids today, with their sleepy expressions
and their Satanic tattoos
and their running around in the arcade parlors
and their shiny gold blam blam, or whatever they call it
and their dangerous skateboards
and their Chef Boyardees
and their dang-fangled computer machines teaching them how to make bombs
and their iFrogs, or whatever they call it, 
and their automobiles with the wheels that look like they’re still spinning when they stop
and their trenchcoats
and their colorful tee-shirts with the Marxist propaganda on them 
and their thong sandals
and their Britney Spears husbands
and their powdered wigs
and their peg legs with decals on em
and their low-carb diets
and their Rockin the Vote
and their collectible bottle caps
and their tiny little cameras inside their tiny little portable telephones
and their Fo-Shizzle McFizzle-y Ding-dong Dizzle Snoopy Dog language
and their general disrespect towards their elders,
Well they can burn in hell I say, every last one of them! 

Black Inventors Day 2

Shirley Ann Jackson - Dr. Shirley Jackson was the first black female to receive a doctorate from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), and is the first black female president of a major technological institute (Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute). However, she also has a staggering list of inventions to her credit. Her experiments with theoretical physics are responsible for many telecommunications developments including the touch tone telephone, the portable fax, caller ID, call waiting, and the fiber optic cables that make overseas phone calls crystal clear.

As a postdoctoral researcher of subatomic particles during the 1970s, Jackson studied and conducted research at a number of prestigious physics laboratories in both the United States and Europe. Her first position was as research associate at the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory in Batavia, Illinois (known as Fermilab) where she studied hadrons. In 1974 she became visiting scientist at the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) in Switzerland. There she explored theories of strongly interacting elementary particles. In 1976 and 1977, she both lectured in physics at the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center and became a visiting scientist at the Aspen Center for Physics.

At one time her research focused on Landau–Ginsburg theories of charge density waves in layered compounds, and has studied two-dimensional Yang-Mills gauge theories and neutrino reactions.

Jackson joined the Theoretical Physics Research Department at AT&T Bell Laboratories in 1976, examining the fundamental properties of various materials. In 1978, Jackson became part of the Scattering and Low Energy Physics Research Department, and in 1988 she moved to the Solid State and Quantum Physics Research Department. At Bell Labs, Jackson researched the optical and electronic properties of two-dimensional and quasi-two dimensional systems. In her research, Jackson has made contributions to the knowledge of charged density waves in layered compounds, polaronic aspects of electrons in the surface of liquid helium films, and optical and electronic properties of semiconductor strained-layer superlattices. On these topics and others she has prepared or collaborated on over 100 scientific articles.

The place was an ancient cemetery; so ancient that I trembled at the manifold signs of immemorial years. It was in a deep, damp hollow, overgrown with rank grass, moss, and curious creeping weeds, and filled with a vague stench which my idle fancy associated absurdly with rotting stone. On every hand were signs of neglect and decrepitude, and I seemed haunted by the notion that Warren and I were the first living creatures to invade a lethal silence for centuries. Over the valley’s rim a wan, waning crescent moon peered through the noisome vapours that seemed to emanate from unheard-of catacombs, and by its feeble, wavering beams I could distinguish a repellent array of antique slabs, urns, cenotaphs, and mausolean façades; all crumbling, moss-grown, and moisture-stained, and partly concealed by the gross luxuriance of the unhealthy vegetation. My first vivid impression of my own presence in this terrible necropolis concerns the act of pausing with Warren before a certain half-obliterated seplchre, and of throwing down some burdens we seemed to have been carrying. I now observed that I had with me an electric lantern and two spades, whilst my companion was supplied with a similar lantern and a portable telephone outfit. No word was uttered, for the spot and the task seemed known to us; and without delay we seized our spades and commenced to clear away the grass, weeds, and drifted earth from the flat, archaic mortuary. After uncovering the entire surface, which consisted of three immense granite slabs, we stepped back some distance to survey the charnel scene; and Warren appeared to make some mental calculations. Then he returned to the sepulchre, and using his spade as a lever, sought to pry up the slab lying nearest to a stony ruin which may have been a monument in its day. He did not succeed, and motioned to me to come to his assistance. Finally our combined strength loosened the stone, which we raised and tipped to one side.

The Statement of Randolph Carter - H. P. Lovecraft (1919)

Call me Jezza Slobovic — I’m fat, I have a tennis bat and I will win Wimbledon

My friend Jodie Kidd, who doesn’t want a job on Top Gear and hasn’t been asked, dropped round last week to say she had recently spat in a jar and then sent the sample away for DNA testing. “It’s great”, she said, “because they’ve worked out that I’m genetically averse to exercise.”

Of course I don’t need to go to such lengths because one glance at the greeny-brown docker’s oysters that I produce every morning is enough to tell even the most untrained observer that I too should not think about going for a run or joining a gym. Any form of exertion is plainly going to be beyond the capability of a lung that is gummed up with what looks like a Doctor Who special effect.

And yet I am 55 years old and well aware that unless I take steps soon I shall become like one of those ashen- faced Americans you see at airports, weeping tears of regret as they glide past a McDonald’s on a motorised scooter, surrounded by oxygen tanks, with tubes going up their noses.

I’m on the way already. I get out of breath pulling on my socks. My knees ache after scaling a doorstep. I get dizzy if I have to carry a six-pack of wine back from the corner shop. And my gut is now so enormous it looks like I have accidentally swallowed a space hopper.

The solution is obvious but impossible for someone with the determination and drive of a teenage cannabis enthusiast. I’ve tried the gym and it doesn’t work. It hurts me. And I’ve tried running but so far I haven’t made it out of the drive before collapsing. I just have no will power. And my pain barrier is so low, only single-cell entities could get underneath it. If I were to be tortured, I would reveal the attack plans and the location of our base if the baddie even so much as mentioned the word “pliers”.

I looked recently at all those people doing the London marathon in open-mouthed awe because to me running 26 yards is out of the question. I would sooner gouge my own eyes out with a spoon than run 26 miles.

To me the notion of doing exercise for the sake of getting fit is completely alien. Running when you’ve nowhere to go and you’re not late is impossible. And so is spending an hour in a room full of mirrors and priapic businessmen picking things up and putting them down again. It’s not that I don’t want to do that. I just can’t.

Sport, though, is different. With sport there’s a point. If you join a local football team you have some fun with your mates while trying to win a game. You get out of breath, up your heart rate and there’s a point, most notably in the pub afterwards.

But I can’t do football because I’m useless at it. Once I tried to take a penalty and — I’m not making this up — the nearest the ball got to the goalmouth was when it was on the spot. From the moment my foot connected with it, it was somehow moving away.
It’s the same story with snooker. People look at me for a while and you can hear them muttering to their mates, “Oh dear. There’s something wrong with him.” There is. To me, snooker proves there is such a word as “can’t”. And anyway, I’m told it’s not really a proper sport.

Tennis, though, is different. I’m good at tennis. Really good. Apart from the small fact that I cannot for the life of me do a forehand. When it comes to serving, I’m a tower of power with a hint of slice. Backhands? I’m your man. I can whack the bloody thing right into an opponent’s testes. I can chop or add topspin. I’m a backhand wizard.

But forehands? No. It either hits the net, or it loops in a crazy arc off the racket and into the neighbour’s vegetable garden. And not being able to do a forehand in tennis is like not being able to sing if you’re the singer in a band. It’s an issue.
So in an attempt to get fit while doing something I enjoy, and which I can mostly do, I have joined a local tennis club. It’s a fabulous place, set in a few acres of 1952. There are some grass courts and a bar where one can enjoy a refreshing glass of lemonade. There is also a coach whose beauty is so extraordinary many of her clients have been known to faint. And “portable” telephones are banned.

For my first session, I dressed in what I thought was a suitable uniform. I had a white T-shirt, a pair of what I understand are called “tracksuit bottoms” and some shoes I bought for no reason at Dubai airport in 1987.
I then needed a bat. But that’s fine because I have one. It’s been in the boot of my car for eight years in a snazzy and very modern-looking bat wrap. However, unfortunately when I removed it for my inauguration session, it turned out to be a Dunlop Maxply that looked like an LP that had been left on a radiator, in the sunshine, for about a century. Warped doesn’t quite cover it. Rolf Harris is warped. This was something else altogether.

After much thought I decided not to turn up at my new tennis club with a bent racket, especially as I was wearing a pair of shoes that were the same colour as my teeth. So I borrowed what was necessary when I got there and soon I’d used my forehand to send all of the balls onto Holland Park Avenue. This was a good thing because after 12 minutes I was completely exhausted.

However, I had enjoyed it very much and tomorrow morning I have my first lesson with the very beautiful eastern European coach. In my mind, by teatime, I will look like the bastard love child of Willem Dafoe and Jon Bon Jovi and I’ll have won Wimbledon by mid-July.

I won’t bother reporting back on my progress. You’ll know.