Just another brain-dead techie with views on everything under the sun!

Monday, August 02, 2004

A 'moving' post!

Paraphrasing Jivha...
Ultimately, my blog was mine and mine alone. And I decided to move it.
Please note that I shall no longer be actively blogging here. I have moved my web residence to...


Please update your blogrolls to point to my new blog rather than this one.

Saturday, July 31, 2004

Once in a blue moon!

If you ever thought of doing something but only once in a blue moon, then you'd better do it today... coz tonight is gonna be that blue-moon night!! ;-)

Friday, July 30, 2004

Outsourcing election campaigns

While on one hand John Kerry has been advocating lesser outsourcing and returning jobs to Americans, he does not seem to be averse to outsource his campaign to foreign nationals.

David Radulski poses an interesting question...

Then again, doesn't bringing in underpaid (unpaid?) foreign workers mean that a US professional campaign canvasser has lost his or her job?

Btw, I do realize that there's a big difference between a 'worker' and a 'volunteer'.

One of the commenters on David's post raises another interesting hypothetical question...

Suppose a foreign government truly wanted a particular candidate to win...

What is to prevent them from recruiting an army of 'volunteers' and sending them here to work for that candidate's campaign? They could mask their financing as some sort of sweepstakes for which there would be many prizes of an all expenses paid six-month stay in the U.S.. Conveniently that six months could start in June or July, ideal for college age "volunteers".

Now that is interesting! A perfectly shaped loophole to sneak through if you're a sneaky country with an agenda to swing voters' opinions armed with a swarm of fresh-faced young people with good 'persuasive' powers! Stuff that conspiracy theories are made of!! ;-)

Kerry not good news for India

For those Indians who continue to think that Kerry is the man to support for the top job in America, here's one more reason to think twice about that viewpoint.

Speaking at the Democratic convention (the one where bloggers have been given a position of preeminence), Kerry spoke, among other things, about closing loopholes in US tax laws so that incentives will no longer be available for companies that ship jobs to other countries. Which effectively means a blow to outsourcing and in turn... a blow to Indian interests.

One of Gaurav's posts gives more reasons on why Kerry should not be an Indian choice as the US president.

Another thing that Kerry said during the convention... i.e. "The tax breaks given to the rich by the Bush administration will be rolled back under Kerry's plan, and that money would be invested in job creation, health care and education" reminds of a recent post by Yazad which considers the concept of 'job-creation' as a wrong goal to work towards.

Thursday, July 29, 2004

Sour grapes!

A former Pakistani Test player has alleged that the India-Lanka tie was fixed.

I am not surprised. Someone or the other usually crawls out of the woodwork in Pakistan and makes these claims everytime an Indian win hurts the interests of the Pakistani team.

Perhaps the idiot did not know that the biggest reason for India's advance into the final was the terrible mis-calculation on the Pakistani team's part when India managed to scramble past 241 in their match against Pakistan. The bonus point that India received in that match was the nail in the Pakistani team's coffin... and not the Indian win against Sri Lanka (that was just the final straw on the camel's back).

In any case, its strange to see this player crowing about the ACC and the ICC while Javed Miandad is blaming Pakistan's mis-fortunes on their new coach Bob Woolmer!

Paypal class action eMail

In these days of e-mail scams, hoaxes and spoofs, its very difficult to trust emails from anyone who wishes to part with a lot of money. Remember the Nigerian e-mail scam and how it fooled a lot of gullible people or the hoax mails from banks or PayPal.

These hoaxes played on...

  • People's fears by cautioning them about a security policy update that required them to send personal information.
  • or people's greed by offering them vast amounts of money in exchange for a small initial investment on their part.

What people do not know is that they can avoid getting fooled in this manner by carrying a few elementary checks on the Internet.

  • The simplest way is to cut 'n paste the subejct of the email they've received in the search box of our favourite search engine. More often than not you'll come across a search result that leads you to a page which has more information on whether that email you received was a hoax or genuine (These emails are, almost always, discussed on online forums.)
  • Another method is to go to the official website of the organization that the email has purportedly come from. Once there, find out a contact email address and forward the e-mail you've received to that address asking them to confirm if the e-mail is genuine.
  • The best way is to go to the Urban Legends Reference Page and search if there is any information available there. Usually, you'll find reliable information there stating if the e-mail is genuine or a hoax.

This morning, when I checked my inbox, I found an e-mail from PayPal. It was titled, "Notice of Pendency of Class Action and Proposed Settlement". It referred to a class action suit against PayPal (Case No. 02 1227 JF PVT, pending in the United States District Court for the Northern District of California in San Jose) which alleged that PayPal had violated the federal Electronic Fund Transfer Act (EFTA) by not disclosing to its customers, dispute resolution procedures. As a result, any PayPal members who had joined the service between Oct 1999 and Jan 2004 were entitled to Injunctive and Monetary Relief and should go to https://www.paypal.com/settlement/ (which is redirected to http://www.settlement4onlinepayments.com/).

I was naturally suspicious about this e-mail. So I 'Googled' for it and found vague references to it on various online forums. Most of these forums indicated that this was a genuine case and I also got a link to a news item about the PayPal class action suit. To be doubly sure that this was not a case of someone using the class action suit to scam PayPal customers, I went to the PayPal site (which is https://www.paypal.com ... please note the https) and found a helpful e-mail address (spoof@paypal.com). I forwarded the e-mail, I had received,  to this address asking them to advise if it was genuine. To my surprise, in just about a couple of minutes, I received a reply from them (obviously an autoresponder)... the contents of which read...

Dear Sameer,

Thank you for contacting PayPal.

Thank you for bringing the "Notice of Pendency of Class Action and Proposed Settlement¨ email to our attention. We can confirm that PayPal sent this email. We apologize for any confusion this may have caused.


Straight from the horse's mouth! Now that settled the matter for me. :-)

In case you're not still convinced and want to be triply sure... have a look at this.

Wednesday, July 28, 2004

Ganguly's masterstroke

Was it a gamble? ... Was it cool calculation? ... Was it TINA at work?

Or was it a masterstroke?

Whatever it was... Ganguly's decision to throw the ball to Zaheer Khan for the final over turned out to be a successful move (especially after the 21 run rollicking that Jayasuriya gave Zaheer in his 4th over). And as we know... nothing succeeds like success!! :-)

Chalk one up for, arguably, the best captain in the world of cricket today.

Tuesday, July 27, 2004

No interviews needed in KG

Conducting interviews for tiny tots seeking admissions to kindergarten or pre-primary classes, is a totally unfair practice that schools have been adopting for a long time now. The reasons, why this practice is unfair, are:

1. Competition for marks/grades has grown to such an extent that it exists not only among students but also among the schools. In this game of oneupmanship, schools try to 'select' only those students that show the potential to bring glory to the school in a few years time.

2. Schools that run on private funding do not wish to 'waste' their resources on students who are slow on the uptake or those who would not provide the school with adequate returns on the school's investment (see point 1)

3. Little students have to travel long distances to reach schools just because the school in their neighbourhood refused admission on the basis of an interview. As a result, kids end up travelling during the time that they ought to spend playing or enjoying themselves.

4. Schools use the interviews as a convenient excuse to ask for donations. Affluent parents can afford to get their kid admitted in schools even though he/she might've failed the interview. Not-so-affluent parents have to go looking for other schools for their kids.

I know that the reasons I've stated above smack a bit of leftist thinking. But I firmly believe that primary education should be free from monetary and competitive considerations to an extent. Which is why, I am glad to note that the Delhi High Court has issued notices to the Central Government and the National Educational Planning and Administration in connection with a petition seeking a ban on interviews for admission to kindergarten/pre-primary classes.

Now I hope this translates into a ban on such interviews.

Saturday, July 24, 2004

Email space Vs. Web space

With the sudden increase in email storage space by nearly all major email service providers (yes! Hotmail has upped its offering too, though only for paid users. Free users continue to languish in the ridiculous 2 MB limit!... at least till autumn arrives.), I wonder when we will see a similar trend in webhosting?!!

Whoa... Bangalore burnout?!

Bangalore, it seems, is losing its sheen and the aura of invincibilty as far as IT is concerned.

Well... at least Wipro seems to think so.

Sameer/Male/27. Hails from India/Maharashtra/Mumbai/Prabhadevi, speaks Marathi, English and Hindi. Spends 60% of daytime online. Uses a Faster (1M+) connection. And likes Reading/Computers.