Thursday, May 12, 2016

Malicious Micromax ads- On phone, not the TV

Micromax phones are getting better and better in build quality and features. My Canvas Fire 4G Plus, is a testament to that.

But the evil is the ads and not just those foreigners posing on screen around the IPL matches, talking about how Micromax is ready to take on the world, especially Apple, using foreigners in their ads, rather than just Indians, because Micromax deserves to be the Make-in-India poster boy.

The real problem is the ads on the phone, and I am not just talking about ads through notifications.

I am talking about ads which pop up on your screen and when you click the close button, they try to install on your phone.

And this is after I took the phone to the Micromax service centre to remove ads.

See this:

You must be saying I am stupid, taking a picture of the phone, when I could just take a screenshot.
Yep, so there you have it.
Now, I click the X on the top right hand corner.

And what happens?

Yep, the application installs any way. Luckily I blocked Installation of apps, otherwise I would have a lot of apps.

But the issue here is that the app downloads reducing my data plan, which means that my data pack runs out quite quickly.

So here you have it, Micromax maliciously using ads to load the phone and reduce my net pack.


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Sunday, October 04, 2015

Smart Watches, from Parents to their children

A watch, is a statement, a symbol of independence, a Swiss army knife.

Hence, the concept of  a smart watch is a misnomer, especially with regards to today’s technology, where the watch is used as an appendage to the smart phone.

One inkling of the true power of the watch, is in the film Expendables III where Mel Gibson’s character is kidnapped by Sylvester Stallone’s men. He tells them “When my boys get here, you guys are in for  a lot of hurt.” They’re confused, till they realize that his watch, a normal looking analog watch, is a GPS tracker. Now, we are getting somewhere.

A watch is not for adults, since they would never replace their smart phone with it anyway.

But a watch for kids, hmm, now that’s an idea.

Kids love watches, it makes them feel like adults, like something their mom or dad wears. Today, there are already watches in the market for kids, which come with mini projectors, a baby of the Pico projectors available in some phones.

Then they want some kind of content, like cartoons and wallpapers, where the wallpaper is on the screen of the watch and the cartoons can be played through the Pico projector.

But, as a parent, what is the value of the smart watch to you?

Imagine the ability to turn on your smartphone at any time and find out where your kid really is at that point in time.

Imagine a device which lets the child contact you or your spouse or any guardian you define, in case of any emergency.

Imagine a device which stores all the relevant details such as blood group, Home Address and relevant contact numbers, in the case where an accident has happened and your child can’t communicate with emergency personnel.

So, there you have it, a smart watch which actually lets the kid call numbers programmed by the parent into his phone, via a SIM card in the phone, .

A smart watch, which lets the parent know the exact location of the child, via a GPS receiver in the watch and even if the GPS is not in range, the SIM card can be used for triangulation using GSM cell antennas.

A smart watch, where great content, like pictures, movies and music can be pre-loaded by the parent, from the operator.

While these concepts might sound space age, the technologies behind them have already been in use for over a decade.

A company called Satguide, has been producing a child phone for parents, with features like Geo Fencing, where if the child leaves the school, an alert is created and sent to the parent.

Amber Alert in USA, is a child abduction alert system, where alerts are issued by  authorities, using radio, television, road signs and wireless technology even through Google maps,Bing and Facebook, to broadcast information regarding serious abductions to the public based on the following criteria:

  1. Law enforcement must confirm that an abduction has taken place.

  2. The child must be at risk of serious injury or death.

  3. There must be sufficient descriptive information of child, captor, or captor's vehicle to issue an alert.

  4. The child must be under 18 years of age.

Now in India, there is an Amber Alert GPS device which alerts you towards the movement of your child.

For Pico projection, there are phones like the iBall Projector Andi 4a which even comes with its own tripod stand, to allow you to project images onto a screen.

For transferring content from an online dashboard, there is a technology called SyncML Device Synchronisation and Device Management, which lets you monitor the content on a device from an online dashboard. Hence, the content on the child’s device, can be fully controlled from a dashboard either on the parent’s smart phone or computer.

So, there you have it, a device which lets the child be a Man :p

A device which lets the parent be more at peace about the safety of their child.

A device which lets the child call the parents whenever there’s a situation.

A device where the mobile operator can source and distribute content for children.

And finally, a smarter watch for children, than has ever been worn by men :p

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Monday, February 09, 2015

A song on the beauty of Goa and Living in Goa

Having friends from all the big cities, and having lived in a few of them, the common refrain which made my blood boil was "Goans must be lazy".

I beg to differ!
I have seen more things happening in Goa, compared to all of the cities I've been in.

And the problem, the urban rural conundrum, is this:
  1. What does a person, leading a single solitary job life, from nine to five, actually know what means to live in a place, where you do things because you want to do them, not because someone forced you to do it for money.
  2. Why would you say that just because someone feels birthdays and weddings and funerals, are important enough to be attended, that a Goan lacks her priorities?
  3. Note that I use the word Goan loosely, but Goa is more than just a place, a culture, a people, it's a state of mind! Know what I mean?... let me remind-
Ooooh, Goa!
Ooooh, Goa!

Grew up in a gaon that is famous as a place of movie scenes
Noise ain't always loud, there are signets all around and the roads are mean
If I can make it here, I can make it anywhere, that's what they say
Seeing my face in print or my name in pictures found down on ICG

Even if it ain't all it seems, I got a pocketful of dreams
Baby I'm from Goa!
 Sand storm where dreams are made of
There's nothing you can't do
Now you're in Goa!
These beaches will make you feel brand new
Big fights will inspire you
Hear it for Goa, Goa, Goa!

On the bazaar, there ain't never a curfew, ladies work so hard
Such a melting pot, on the corner selling salt, preachers pray to God
Hail a pilot, takes me down from Baga to the Mandovi Bridge
Some will sleep tonight with a hunger for more than an empty binge

I'ma make it by any means, I got a pocketful of dreams
Baby I'm from Goa!
 Sand storm where dreams are made of
There's nothing you can't do
Now you're in Goa!
These beaches will make you feel brand new
Big tights will inspire you
Hear it for Goa, Goa, Goa!

One hand in the air for the big village
Street sights, big dreams, all looking pretty
No place in the world that can compare
Put your fenis in the air, everybody say
Yeah! Yeah! Yeah! Yeah!

In Goa!
 Sand storm where dreams are made of
There's nothing you can't do
Now you're in Goa!
These roads will make you feel brand new
Big tights will inspire you
Let's hear it for Goa, Goa, Goaaaaaa!

Let's hear it for Goa.

You can get up at 6.30 a.m. go for a walk on the beach or on the hills. You can sit with your friends, party with your family, it's all Goa.
You break your days into hours, where the first is for your self, the second for God, the third for your job, the fourth for your business, the fifth for your friends, and the sixth for your family. It is the ultimate sense of balance, where you can do what you love, for who you love and just the way you would love to do it.
Passion isn't a crime here, it's a way of life. Bombay, deal with it.
We don't work for money, we work for love or the love of work. We must think of the environment, the people, the politicians, the police and the neighbours.

It's one big happy world where everyone knows everyone else and we have to be soft to people, rather than treat them like shit, just because we feel like.
We are Goans, we love to work, but we also work to love.

And still you have the cheek to think WE'RE lazy?

So, this is it, this is where I BEG you fellow Goans (for a definition, refer to point number 3 if you already forgot it :-~) to join me and show the world what dreams are made of, for real!

It can be anything, but it has to be dream(drool)worthy! Join up. Tinkle me on hephail at and I'll see you around...

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Saturday, November 22, 2014

My Story of Light

The Sun has spoiled us.
It makes us believe that we need to look without, for the light that lies within.
Finding my own light took its' time, but the journey is its' own reward.
One recurring thought I always had, was that I was different, that I would make the world a better place.
Born in Dubai, I couldn't understand why we Indians were treated differently from the Arabs, almost ill-treated. My one attempt to save an Indian kid from torture, lead to me almost being choked to death.
In school, I was mediocre, never good at studies nor great at sports.
The view point which others had of me, never really bothered me, for I thought the problem was with them.
I failed many times from school, to college, to M.B.A. , but studies were never my forte.
The one I thing I knew how to do, from the age of 12, was to use my voice, which I first learnt to do when I started reading the Bible in church, focusing on the man snoring in front, so that all may listen to what the story was.
This led to my first time on the stage, where as luck would have it, the microphone didn't work.I got over it and over time, came to love the stage, especially when I had to learn my first Hindi dialogues as a blind man.The laughter of the crowd, became my Viagra, keeping me on the stage long after everyone else had left.
From there to theatre, where the love of the stage became a love to act and take on multiple roles, showing that the roles were merely different parts of my personality. Theatre taught me more about MBA than MBA ever did, that if you love what you do, you automatically create teams of people who focus on what they love, what they do best.
My love of the light, slowly became a way for others to see the light too, especially those in various stages of anxiety or mental trauma. After losing a friend to suicide in 2004, I started trying to seek out those who were in stress and help them out. I did that for six years, till it dawned on me that your best friend has to be yourself, that you never give up on yourself, even if others try to make you focus on them.
That's when I started working on the way I looked, finally getting rid of my glasses after 19 years and enjoying the wonder of being independent. That no matter who you worked for, the only person you should focus on, is yourself.
I had quit the corporate life and decided to work on the rural state of Goa, bringing my positivity to everything I did. Of course, that meant that I would take risks nobody else would, but that ensured that I kept raking more soil and planting more seeds, to ensure that every new idea I had, grew with someone else.
That's my story of light thus far, and it could be yours, if you believe that the journey is its' own reward.

For the Story of Light in Goa, click here. 

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Monday, November 10, 2014

The Internet of Things and what it means to architects and residents

The simplest kind of automation device, is a motion sensor connected to a light bulb. When a person trips the sensor, the light comes on for a specified interval.

When we were working on robotic vacuum cleaners, the one concept was, how could we use the same robotic vacuum cleaner as a robot for survelliance.

It is all quite simple, all you need is a 3G enabled robot which is directly streaming video from a camera embedded in the robot.

So this is one example of how equipment bought for cleaning, can be used for surveilliance.

The next is the concept of interlinked CCTVs, where multiple CCTVs can be connected to one central room, where any disturbances, can be viewed and the immediate notifications sent out.

From here, think of the event linked interlinked CCTV, where multiple CCTVs from 10 different houses are connected to motion and light sensors, hence only when someone trips the motion sensor literally, the CCTV lights up. This ensures that the security person only focusses where actual disturbances have occured.

Now the problem, for most architects, is feedback, like due to a certain design,
  • How is the WiFi coverage through out the house?
  • What is the average amount of light falling in the key areas in the house.
  • How is the water consumption, is it affecting the water table for the entire community.
  • What is the amount of sunlight currently falling on the property, is it enough to take the property off the grid?
This, for me, is the beauty of the Internet of things, since  little data collected from every device, will be enough for architects and designers in the area, to better their designs and make them more sustainable, more one with the environment.

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Architects, Artists and Authors suck at Marketing

Been for a few of these literature festivals here in Goa.

What surprises me, is that the authors in their discussions, are so focussed on the genre and technique of their writing, they have actually forgotten who is it that they write for. It worries me as a form of self-censorship, that they fail to realise what it is , that their readers seek. Hence, they compare themselves constantly with other authors, and create a vicious circle which actually prevents the connect with the reader happening, which should be their only concern.

The architect, has created such a tight club of architects, that it is just about self congratulations, rather than actual growth.

Maybe it's the feedback, that they just don't get enough feedback from their audience, to actually understand what is it, that the market wants and needs.

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The Amazon Kindle won't work in the hinterland

I liked the premise that the Amazon Kindle White (whatever!) will actually work in rural India.

Bollocks! Because people can't read to a large extent, much less read English.

The only thing which has worked for India, has been TV, because it is just about body language and spoken language.

If the Kindle has to work in India, it has to focus on short videos more than just text.

Or hire a guy to actually read text to people around :P

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Saturday, November 08, 2014

Building a mobile application : Going from Android to Apple

Every one thinks that it's a no brainer to build a mobile application.

That you just come up with the idea and voila! you have an application in a week.

It's like selling a product to an individual, versus selling a product to the government.

In the case of the individual, all that matters is merit, where you just convince the one individual.

In the case of the government, you have to convince an entire group of at least five people before you get an approval and then the payment.

Similarly, to build a mobile application, is much simpler and easier in Android, because all you do is that you first launch a beta application, give it to a lot of people to try out, they like it, they give feedback, then you publish the application.

Of course, being so easy to publish, means that you get a lot of competition, regardless of the type of application.

And that's the fun part, the survival of the fittest, that you need to really work hard to make your application unique, since the barrier to entry is so low.

The main differentiator has to be content. Think of content like a book. Hence, if you have enough content to fill a Reader's Digest magazine, it's a great start to building a lovely application.

So after say a month of seeing what your friends think of the application, you then release it to the public for a period of one month, to analyze the response and feedback.

If you are honest with the feedback and you quickly incorporate this feedback in your application, then you should publish it again, with the update, to see if you can actually receive a sharp rise in number of downloads.

The first people who should download your application, should be your mum and dad. If you can make it really simple for them to use and understand, then it's the first part of the hurdle which you have just covered.

The point of the Android application, must be all about getting the basic usability and functionality correct.

Once you have worked out basic functionality, then your focus in building an Apple application is all about the Wow factor, about making something really unique to the application, which is over and above the typical call of duty.

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Friday, November 07, 2014

Internet and MMS Settings for Android phones on Vodafone

Five years, after my post on settings for Windows Phones , I now realise, that the same issue is back again with Android phones.

The first question today is "How do I get Internet on my phone?"

So here are the ways you can set your Android phone for internet

Go to Settings -> More -> Mobile Networks
Then click on Access Point Names
Once you reach there, click on the + icon to add settings

Now you just do this:

Name: VMC
Proxy: Not set
Port: Not set
Username: Not set
Password: not set
MMSC: Not set
MMS Proxy: Not set
MMS Port: Not set
MMC: 404
MNC: 27
Authentication Type: None
APN Type: Default
APN Protocol: IPv4
APN Roaming Protocol: IPv4
Bearer: Unspecified
MVNO Type: None

Now you do the settings for MMS:

Name: Vodafone MMS
APN: portalnmms
Proxy: Not set
Port: Not set
Username: Not set
Password: not set
MMS Proxy:
MMS Port: 9401
MMC: 404
MNC: 27
Authentication Type: None
APN Type: mms
APN Protocol: IPv4
APN Roaming Protocol: IPv4
Bearer: Unspecified
MVNO Type: None

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The 20 second video is going to be Epic!

After a lot of trials at marketing in the rural area called Goa, I have come to the understanding that:
  • Websites don't really work here, because the local Goan doesn't use anything beyond his cellphone and the typical visitor to Goa from urban India or Europe, is using a big screen, so right there is the point that we need to have a mobile and a PC website if we want to reach anyone.
  • Content is non-existent, I mean businesses don't even have their logos with them.
  • The only thing which seems to excite anyone, is the video, with people in Goa watching videos of people crashing into things, which has to be small, since the bandwidth in Goa is really poor.
  • While the Europeans are watching their favourite TV serial.
Hence, in conclusion, the only format which is viewable and hence reaches the maximum audience in the world, is the 20 second video.

You want samples, I got loads ... here you go

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