Ramakant Yadav Internet Edition

Random Ramblings From Ramakant Yadav
I am mad as hell and won't pay for it anymore
I finally let go of a number of television channels today. My annual subscription came up to renewal and I finally had had enough. Now the monthly entertainment expenditure is down 50%. It is a great feeling not to be gouged by all the useless television networks. Most of TV is advertising anyway.

While on the topic, how is it that "free to air" channels all became "pay" channels and all of them continued to carry ads? When star plus or zee tv had initially been launched in the Indian market[sometime around 1990s], they were "free to air" and they carried advertisements for various products. It is my understanding that they were very profitable at that time as well as they are now. Somewhere along the road, they became "pay channels", which meant that the subscriber would have to pay to watch the programs as well as pay to watch the ads.

Well, today is the day I say no to highway robbery, mistimed ads and bad programming. To paraphrase the famous line from the classic movie "network" :"I am mad as hell and I won't pay for it anymore".

Spring is almost here
10 Feb 2011
Spring is finally in the air. The afternoons are not so cold anymore. The sunlight is brighter, even warmer these days. Most of the trees have new leaves and look absolutely gorgeous in the soft sunlight. This is absolutely the best time of the year to travel and see new places.
Today is the time for poetry.

No man is an island,
Entire of itself.
Each is a piece of the continent,
A part of the main.
If a clod be washed away by the sea,
Europe is the less.
As well as if a promontory were.
As well as if a manor of thine own
Or of thine friend's were.
Each man's death diminishes me,
For I am involved in mankind.
Therefore, send not to know
For whom the bell tolls,
It tolls for thee.

--John Donne

From http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Devotions_upon_Emergent_Occasions

No man is a financial island
We all give bribes or "speed money" in order to get our work done. Most people in the media like to identify themselves as "anti-corruption". Fact of the matter is, corruption is a fact of life in India. No matter what you do, no matter what business you are in, you would have to pay money to those in administrative positions to get your work done. Most people know full well the impact of corruption and the fact that they should be getting the services for free, however they either turn a blind eye to it or tacitly condone it by simply paying some money to speed things up. I mean, why stand in a queue on a hot sunny afternoon when you can get the documents done for a few hundred rupees?

The educated classes have this image of government as big, bad dark building, with files piled from the bottom to the top. When I say educated, I mean people who have been educated till at least class 8. Since even the educated people have no clue of how a government office is supposed to function, it is difficult to imagine how the uneducated marginalized people are able to visualize the interior of a typical government office and what happens there.

So at the end of the day, everybody pays a bribe. Either it is due to a "need for speed" or due to a "lack of knowledge". From the bigger economic perspective, maybe, paying bribes is not a bad deal after all. The money does enter the economy after being stashed away for some time. If you are a government employee sitting on wads of cash underneath your mattress, it does make sense to invest all that money into different places. The reason for that is simple, it does not make sense to keep wealth as cash. Inflation eats away at cash wealth and there is always the danger of a income tax raid or the risk from burglars. If the cash gets stolen, good luck trying to lodge a police complaint. With the speeding up of computerization, it is just a matter of time before the I.T department gets real-time updates about stolen cash from the police department.

Therefore it makes sense to spend that money or invest it into land, products or services. Once the money has been invested into either of these three sectors, it re-enters the economy and someone gets a job as a real estate broker, factory worker or maybe a cook in a hotel. It is almost impossible to spend money without benefiting someone else. That is the beauty of the economy, no man is a financial island[ from "No man is an island entire in itself" :John Donne]. And that ensures that any money that is paid as bribes is returned to the larger economy in form of payments for goods or services.

Who represents the people in India
07 Feb 2011
I was reading the times of India the other day and came across a report about the environment ministry clearing another project in Orissa. The activists were up in arms about it as usual. To me such behavior is really odd. Why would the people affected by the project approach activists and environmentalists to make their point? Why not approach their local MP or MLA? Don't these people vote in the elections? My understanding from popular media was that most of the urban people do not vote. Since the government does get elected during each election, therefore the rural people of the country must be voting in large numbers. If that is the case, then why do they need other representation?

If I were a villager affected by one of the plants in a rural part of the country, I would make sure that I approach the local leadership and ensure that my point reaches the government. Why would I approach a environmental activist to make a point? Is not India a democracy? The media always covers general elections with great detail. I wonder why the local MP or MLA's opinion is not sought by the media covering these environmental issues.

The conclusion from the lack of local leadership is clear. Most of the people affected by these environmental actions are probably in favor of getting the project up and running. There must be a vocal minority who probably want more money and therefore make a huge noise in order to ensure that the industrial projects are stalled for ever.

Ramakant Yadav

Privacy INTERNET and dangers of Airtel
06 Feb 2011
Sleeping in the afternoon does more than ruin your night time sleep. Not only that it proves that Internet is only useful for a narrow group of people for a narrow range of interests. If you want to know about what is happening in any part of the world, the INTERNET makes it easy to find out. Bad news spreads fast. Food shortages, riots, accidents, murders the INTERNET is full of it. All the information that you do not need. All the bad news that is better left unread.

Fact of the matter is, it is easier to survive on little or no global news. It really does not matter that I know what happens in Egypt today, I could learn about it in 6 months time or 6 years time, it simply does not matter. My life will not change regardless of what happens to any gulf country or any country for that matter. Not immediately anyway, unless someone uses a nuclear weapon or some other similar device. And even then not immediately.

So why does Google and other firms feel compelled to put their content on line? Are they trying to help out the people in the "oppressed countries"? But if that were true, they would be offering those services in those languages. What good is an English language news service to you if you are in one of those countries? Any authoritarian regime worth its name knows well how to block the INTERNET or render it useless to dissidents.

The wonderful nature of the INTERNET means that everyone and everything is theoretically traceable. In practice, most governments tend to react the same way when faced with adversity of opinion on the INTERNET. Governments in China and US have proved again and again that nothing and nobody on the INTERNET is anonymous. You can remain hidden from your fellow citizens, however it is not possible to remain anonymous from the Government. The Government has access to INTERNET logs from your INTERNET service provider. That is not necessarily a bad thing, terrorists would have a hard time sending out emails and planning their activities and remaining untraceable. Not that they were untraceable in the first place.

The government in our country has a rather patchy record on this. Culture is a sensitive issue in the country and police seem to take a dim view of anyone trying to express opinion that may be divisive or derogatory. Of course if the opinion is expressed by politicians is a completely different matter. Although the right to freedom of speech is guaranteed by the constitution, the right to freedom after speech is not guaranteed.

For example this Bangalore based engineer found out that free speech can lead to time behind bars, even if it not you doing the speaking. Airtel error leads to jail time for Bangalore man . The person in question was arrested and detained for a crime he did not commit based on bad information provided to the police by his ISP Airtel. Poor guy had his career crushed had to spend a few weeks in jail. The case was thrown out of court and he did sue for damages. But 4 weeks jail time and a dead career is a lot of headwind, if you get my drift. And when he did sue for damages, he got Rs 2 Lakh, that is probably less then what he would have earned in a year.

From a technical standpoint, it proves that agencies in India have the capacity to intercept and record all communications that go from your machine on to the internet. This guy was commenting on orkut and Airtel was extremely positive that they had the correct person. It is understandable how the ISP was able to record at what time the person logged on to the internet. I have a tough time understanding how Airtel was able to so confidently claim that he was the one who made the comments on orkut. To do that, they would have recorded his orkut identity as well. Does this mean they record all incoming and outgoing communication? Even if they store it for a few days or few weeks, it must be massive amounts of data. And if they are storing it, is any unencrypted communication sent from their network free from snooping? Does it mean for instance, that if I send confidential documents over an unencrypted email link, Airtel is going to record it and use it for whatever reason they see fit.

Just in case you are wondering, the police locked him up for another person's comments on orkut. Still think you are anonymous on the INTERNET in India? Heck, you could get locked up for someone else's crime, thanks to our shaky cyber laws and thoroughly incompetent ISPs. Don't get me wrong, it could happen to you.

Ramakant Yadav

My site disappeared from Google Search Results
05 Feb 2011
But do I care?

Ways to use delegates in code

05 Feb 2011

There are three ways to initilize delegates in C#

1. Use a named function which has been defined somewhere else.

2. Use an unnamed inline function that contains the implementation inline.[These are anonymous functions].

3. Use Lambda expressions.

Ramakant Yadav

Icomparable and Icomparer
What is the difference between IComparable interface and IComparer Interface

1. Comparer uses System.Collections 2. Comparable Implements CompareTo(obj): throws exception when obj is not the same type as this instance. 3. Comparer implements Compare(obj x, obj y): here either obj x or obj y must have implemented Icomparable already or must be comparable ie. we must implement some way of comparing the objects.

So if there are two ways of comparing, either implement icomparable or implement icomparor.

However we do get more flexibility when implementing IComparor because we can have multiple sort orders and multiple compare conditions.

Ramakant Yadav

Unrecognized attribute targetFramework.
This is the error that we get when we try to deploy a website to a host that does not support framework 4.0
Ramakant Yadav

Interesting Facts
February 03, 2011
Did you know that decimal numbers in spain are represented by , and not by ., for them it is not 12.21 it is 12,21

Ramakant Yadav

The internet is full of Trash
Feb 01, 2011
Those who have been busy predicting the death of old media should look at what the internet offers before jumping to conclusions. The main problem is the lack of editing. Most blogs do not run their content by an editor, some don't even bother with a spell check. Furthermore, there is no guarantee of authenticity. A person running a anonymous blog on a free site somewhere has no reputation to protect and does not need to guarantee the authenticity of the news articles that he puts out.

If we search in Google, we will see the huge amount of trash that masquerades as content. Without an editor and without any incentive to be truthful, most blogs are simply a reflection of their owner's opinion. It can be argued that old world newspapers are also nothing more then a mouthpiece of their owners, nevertheless old style newspapers are in the business of selling news, if they are not credible, nobody will spend money to read them anymore.

Blogs on the other hand have no reason to be credible, they have no reason to be non-fiction.

Ramakant Yadav

©Ramakant Yadav 2010-2011