October 14, 2014

Nexus 6 confirmed to be announced tomorrow!

After I saw the leaked picture of the Motorola made Nexus 6 listed on AT&T's website being shared on Google+, I immediately went to check it there myself. As expected, there was no trace of it - the link had been removed. Now I didn't think it would work, but just thought of trying my luck - and initiated a chat with their customer representative by their 'Chat' link. This is what I got from that conversation:

AT&T sales representatives are happy to assist you with your questions.
AT&T sales representatives will not have access to your personal account. This service is provided to you under AT&Ts Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policy.
You are now chatting with Samantha No., an AT&T sales representative.
Steve: Hi Samantha
Samantha No.: Welcome to AT&T online Sales support.  How may I help you with placing your order today?
Samantha No.: Hello Steve!
Steve: I want to buy a phone from your website,
Steve: but its link was apparently removed
Samantha No.: What phone were you looking at?
Steve: It's the Motorola Nexus 6
Steve: May I know when will it be available to buy?
Samantha No.: Let me check if we still carry thta device!
Samantha No.: that*
Steve: Thanks
Samantha No.: That device will be available tommorow!
Steve: What? Really? Awesome!
Steve: Thanks
Samantha No.: Yep!
Samantha No.: Is there anything else i can help you with tonight Steve?
Steve: Nope, that's the greatest help I got from any AT&T representative ever ;)
Steve: Bye, Good night!
Samantha No.: Thanks Steve have a great night!!
The chat session has been closed by your AT&T sales representative.

January 22, 2014

BJP supporters, are we done with the one sided criticism yet?

For past few days, my facebook feed is full of either staunch BJP or AAP supporters, each criticizing the other party and singing praises for their favorite one, especially the BJP and Modi fans. I have no problem with criticism, that should always be done when needed. I also agree with many of the BJP supporters that Arvind Kejriwal is naive right now and not ready to run the central government. And yes, I support Modi for PM so you have to believe that I'm not opposing any of these posts for some political inclination. But for past many days, this bitching has only become more excessive, even up to ridiculous levels. I also believe some people here in my friends list would just oppose his actions *regardless* of the steps AK (Arvind Kejriwal) takes, which cannot be right. Let me explain why.

(Note: I only explore the double standards of the fans here and no other arguments):

1) Starting with this classic. A lot of anti-AAP people were complaining, "Oh see! He's scared of forming a govt. When Congress is giving outside support, why are you running away from responsibility now and want to bring about another election, or create anarchy!". And when he formed govt. by asking the people, all ANTI-AAP people were saying ... "See! We told you! He is Congress B team ... he mingled with Corrupt Congress, means he is corrupt. Now there is only one of these two steps he could have taken. He gets bashing on both. Not only FB friends, Harsh Vardhan of BJP clearly criticizes AK on BOTH these contradicting points in a difference of a few days on his twitter . I did not see any of you posting about that complete U-turn. Why? Wouldn't you call yourself biased?

2) He went to the people of Delhi to ask for their opinion on forming the govt. He was thus criticized about "not able to take decisions". Man, why is asking for public opinion so wrong. I will in fact be very happy if it happens MORE whichever govt. is in center. The methods, can be improved, not the concept. This kind of micro-polls happen in a lot of developed countries. It's him who's ultimately taking decision, but after knowing public opinion, and realizing that he would be criticized no matter what.

3) They allow some not so great, or a 'not so aam' aadmi to join the party, you criticize harshly. BJP takes in Yeddyurappa. You guys don't say a word and keep quiet.

4) Talking about Freebies. Has BJP never given freebies? What is 1 Re/kg rice promise in MP and Karnataka? Arun Jaitley says that was not populism, water is . What is promise of free laptops, or promise of a free cow to every BPL family in UP! - Not a populist decision? At least AK he is not giving TV, mobile, laptops - He is giving life line water, and that too, it's just the first step. He never said he will not work for actually full uninterrupted supply to all. In fact he explicitly said they are working on that. So you don't criticize the populism when done by BJP. I want you to do it for BOTH.

5) The electricity subsidy costs extra 200 Crore. He is criticized by you. Modi plans 2500 Crore statue. You don't say a word.

6) His dharnas are political dramas. What is then 'Run for Unity'? In all of your right mind, do you REALLY and honestly believe Modi is such a big saint that he is doing it for unity, not gaining political mileage? Didn't that extravaganza cost public money?

7) AK tries to take a modest 5 BHK flat, you all go angry. CM Raman Singh plans to make an 81 Crore rupees Bunglow, why don't you mock/criticize him? You are again silent.

8) AK takes U-turns, says things that he doesn't fulfill may be - you criticize heavily on that three weeks old party. Super mighty Modi lies about *facts* multiple times - but that is just a 'innocent mistake'. Why? Also, there is a whole list of blunt promises Modi made and didn't fulfill. (http://exitopinionpollsindia.blogspot.com/.../would...

9) Sure, you keep on insisting that even Modi and BJP are honest and 'corruption free'. If yes, why don't they post ALL of their donations on their website, just like the AAP has done?

10) Forget everything above, people have even gone down on discussing on Modi fan pages - "Kejriwal ki khansi theek kyun nahi hui abhi tak !" (Why has Kejriwal's cough not been cured yet?) And discussing how even that could be politically motivated or a way to gain sympathy. I mean, Come on! ! I have sinusitis for past 12 years. Does that mean even I have political motives?

It is this one sided bashing that has made me annoyed, which is clearly not very wise for any analytical person in my opinion. If Modi is capable, he will still win in elections, via democracy which you are all touting (And I think he will). Why are we afraid of AK dividing his votes? Isn't Democracy all about anyone being able to stand against anyone? You have to understand that everyone tries to gain through political dramas one or the other way, be it Modi or Kejriwal.

I just hope we all become a bit more balanced, think twice before doing this one sided 24x7 mindless bashing about any single party.

November 14, 2013

Why Google+ integration to YouTube comments is a DUMB move?

Google, it's not without a reason that everyone in the world is pissed off by your Google+ integration to YouTube comments. Good that you are aware that people are not happy, but unlike what you think is the reason of the unhappiness, spam and abuse are not the real issues. You have to realize that it is a reaction, not a cause of the problem! Your move to try to 'fix' those is just a way to curb those protests you are looking into.

The real issues are :
1) *Killing anonymity*: BAD BAD idea. Many people just don't want to let their friends and relatives know what are they commenting on. It's human. Tell me one successful commenting system which doesn't support anonymity. Know Quora? Disqus?

2) *Most Google+ comments ASK to watch the video*: by sharing the link, which we are already watching on the YouTube page itself. The comment "See this awesome video" does not make ANY sense. They shared it on their page. Leave it there. Do you understand the biggest spam now is not the abuses in protest, it's just those "Watch this video!!" comments? Come on Google! How could you miss that?

3) *Comments are now related to PEOPLE*: DRASTICALLY wrong. Comments should be related to the video, not people. Did you see the new comments at all? A celebrity shares a video link on her Google+ account publicly. Now those USELESS comments appear when I open the YouTube video to watch. All fans are commenting on how they love the celebrity, NONE of the comments are seriously written about the video, and those posts are shoved into my throat. You understand how big a flaw this is?

4) *Sorting 'top comments' is wrong again*: As in the above example,  since that person is a celebrity, he gets the most top votes. Her comment is top not because it's a great comment. It's top because she is a celebrity, who did a few dumb movies, or twerked her ass recently.

The method of sorting by upvotes was good enough, if implemented correctly. Everyone knows you have been unable to sort YouTube comments correctly for all these years. Don't hide your inability to write a good algorithm for that in the veils of Google+ integration. Learn from this brilliant algorithm on how reddit sorts its comments if you want: http://blog.reddit.com/2009/10/reddits-new-comment-sorting-system.html

Finally, fix the sorting, don't break YouTube comments just to make your Social website work.

April 23, 2013

How to find out if a shared post is HOAX?

Sharing HOAX messages/emails/social networking posts might be more dangerous for the world than you think. So not only should you not share them, but it is also your duty to actively try to stop them by necessarily asking the hoax sharers to remove it, and to contact their source to do the same (and so on). To be able to do that though, the first step is to find out if a given post is a hoax or not. While a Google search for only 30 something seconds can tell you that, most of us don't bother to do that - especially when it's coming from someone we trust. The problem is, someone you trust might have been fooled by someone as well. So what are some strong signs that a shared post might be a hoax?
  • It lacks any specific information at all -  Made up stories generally deliberately avoid details as otherwise more people would have either already known, or will be able to check their validity quite easily. "It was shown on TV" is much easier to spread than "It was shown on Discovery Channel yesterday at 4:00 PM" (though even that could easily be a hoax). For example, the "World's largest tortoise" reportedly found in Amazon sea had no source whatsoever. 
The World's largest Tortoise - is actually a scene from a movie

  • Or, it shows very accurate value of something - when by common sense it can't really be measured with that accuracy! For example, the eggs on windshield hoax said eggs thrown on the your windshield can reduce your visibility by 92.5%. First question you should ask yourself is 'What?' It didn't mention anything about the number of eggs, the kind of eggs, the shape of the windshield, the angle and spacing between the 'egg shots', frequency of eggs thrown, the speed and direction of the car, coefficient of adhesion or surface friction between eggs and the windshield, but still calculates the "loss of visibility" pretty accurately to a globally correct value of 92.5%. Here, you catch it, it HAS TO BE a hoax. 
When eggs are thrown on your windshield, DO spray water and start the wipers

  • It relies too much on your emotional vulnerability - be alert if it asks you to be kind, have heart and share something, especially by showing some gruesome pity evoking picture of some people, kids, babies, exploiting your kindness, patriotism or religiousness. And most of the times, these pictures are stolen and spread without any consent from their parents. Would you like it if it happens with your daughter? So check the authenticity of the same, before giving in to them. Remember, your emotional vulnerability is the biggest tool hoax creators have. 

Don't these kids, most of whom are NOT suffering from cancer deserve their privacy?

  • Here's an example of how your patriotism is exploited. Do you really think out of all world problems related to Education, Science and Culture UNESCO will try to decide which nation's National Anthem is the 'best'? And how do you even define 'best' in this case? There is just no way one best anthem can be objectively found out, and there you know even without searching that it has to be a hoax.
UNESCO has really got better things to do than deciding which nation's anthem is the best:)

  • It shows paranormal, unusual living forms - it is absolutely possible that you would see actual photos of some genuinely but unusual living forms like animals, insects and plants which you never even imagined would exist. However, a lot of times they're plain lies created by image editing software like photoshop. Just like the giant tortoise reportedly found in Amazon sea shown above (which was actually a movie scene), or like this mermaid, or this three headed snake hoax. Validating that again takes just 30 seconds. 

Isn't she really beautiful? :)
There was a version containing seven heads of the same snake :) (Click to Enlarge)

  • It asks you to share or your email/ facebook/ bank etc. accounts will close - it's ALWAYS false. Do NOT share it.
  • It talks about spread of HIV and other dreaded diseases: No, your Pepsi, Frooti or other beverages aren't mixed with HIV contaminated blood by any worker. And yes, neither your theater seats nor your gas stations(petrol pumps) are fixed with HIV infected needles. For your knowledge, HIV virus can't even survive outside your body for long. 
  • It claims money will be donated on each Like/ Share - for cancer, or any other public cause. No, Microsoft/Google/Facebook/Yahoo or any other company will never do such a stupid thing. For all the time to come in future, these posts will be false. Don't share without checking (In all my life I have seen just one such case when someone was actually donating $2 per 'Like' for a very limited time, and that was an organization's Facebook page to get more visibility. But that was a special case, and the chances of that happening are around 1 in 10,000 :) ). 
  • It asks you to share to get God's blessings in 5 minutes - such posts are of course, always hoaxes. Don't share them. The are generally accompanied with a threat of having to bear god's wrath if you don't share it. STILL don't share it. Check after 5 minutes, you are still alive, and healthy.  
Surprised by people believing this, I tried my hands on Photoshop. :) (Click to Enlarge)

    It's a facebook post telling you to write a comment on a photo - to "see the result/magic" after you do that, is again always false. Nothing like that will happen - there is no connection between comments you write and the photo you upload. Facebook doesn't even allow animated pictures. This is again done to get into maximum number of people's News feeds - riding on the wave of your gullibility. Do not become  a victim by helping them in their cheap way of getting publicity!

    The only thing that 'happens' when you do it is, you make a fool of yourself

  • Anything which looks too good to be true - Dial 1098 (in India) and a truck from an NGO will come to collect your leftover (cooked) food items and distribute amongst poor children. This is one of the hoaxes which has harassed that particular Childline help NGO with so many useless calls that even after more than a decade they still have to display a message on their home page debunking this hoax, but the hoax just doesn't end, along with the problems of that NGO. It not only jammed their telephone lines, but also made it difficult for actually distressed children to contact the organization and receive help in time. So with the seemingly kind share,  rather than helping the "poor hungry children" with your leftover food, you might actually be pushing a distressed kid towards suicide, just because he/she couldn't connect to the helpline in time. Do you still think hoaxes are worth sharing? 

IPC Section 233 is actually about Counterfeiting of Coins :)


Spread knowledge, not hoaxes. Good luck! :)

How to write a shitty website?

I know a huge number of you web admins are trying that really hard, and many of you really succeed. :) For those who don't, here's my small guide on how to write a really shitty website. Write in comments about other ways you can think of !

  1. Create a password making process which is not less than a big puzzle. Force them to use special characters, but don't allow to use underscores, don't allow more than 12 or less than 6 characters, but still force them to have one number and one uppercase and one lowercase letter. Have the same restrictions on the username. Half of the users will run away at this point.
  2. Do a session timeout EVERY 5 minutes of inactivity, and make them lose all the work they did, or forms they filled. This is one thing you can do which will not only make more than a shitty website, but possibly also get a brick or two thrown on your office walls. I know you get a sadistic pleasure out of this, don't feel shy.
  3. Offer a check box which says "Remember me", but NEVER, EVER remember them.
  4. Do unnecessary server redirects for everything possible under the sky, like populating items for a dropdown, sorting a simple table, showing a Textarea at the bottom, and even for calculations like 5 * 5 = 25. That would remind people of the days when internet was just invented.
  5. Keep a flashing ad on top of your text content, which appears every once in a while at random places. 
  6. Create Search boxes containing text like "Search ..." in light grey color, and DON'T make it disappear when the user clicks in the search box. Let them start typing, searching and then realize they actually searched for Sea'My Question'rch ... . Users really enjoy that.  
  7. NEVER have a clear and unobtrusive way of contacting you, because a lot of motivated benevolent souls will still try to help getting your website fixed. You obviously don't want that, do you? 

January 16, 2013

Testing Facebook's Hindi Interface (Fail!)

Switched to Facebook's Hindi interface to test it for a day, before I recommend it to some. I was instantly surprised that a huge company like Facebook could release it with such a minimalistic level of testing, totally ignoring its third largest user base in the world (India), for a language which is having the fourth highest number of native speakers on the planet. Observing my news feed for just a few minutes, the gracious mash up of Hindi and English I saw was hilarious and shameful at the same time.

It knows how to translate the verb 'Likes':
  • X को Y का लिंक पसंद है |   (Correct)
But doesn't use it at all the places:
  • X likes Y's स्तिथि   (Really, Facebook? That's all you can come up with?)

It knows how to translate 'commented':
  • X ने अपनी स्तिथि पर टिपण्णी की  (Correct)
But doesn't use it at many places:
  • X commented on Y's चित्र  
  • X commented on Y's लिंक

It knows that s with an apostrophe ('s) translates to 'का' (used above in the first sentence), but again doesn't use it at all the places:
  • X को Y's दर्ज करना पसंद है |

If you try to close your homepage with an incomplete status(without posting it), it shows you a dialog box with two buttons literally like this: 1) "इस पृष्ठ को छोड़ दो" 2) "Stay on this page". (Yes, exactly one out of the two buttons in Hindi ! )

 Many other sentences are just plain not translated.

  • X commented on your पोस्ट on Y's दीवार  (No joke!)
  • X and 4 अन्य मित्र like this  (Wow.)

I wouldn't recommend Facebook's Hindi Interface to anyone. :)