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September 4, 2015

App created to tell slow people that they are bored and why this is a bad idea

Filed under: My Thoughts — Suramya @ 12:10 AM

A couple of hours after I wrote the last post, I saw this tweet from PopSci that linked to a study on boredom done by researchers from Telefonica Research in Spain. Basically the researchers created an app that detects if the owner of a smart phone was bored and if the app thinks that the user is bored, it pop’s up a suggestion for the user to visit BuzzFeed.com to alleviate their boredom.

From a technical perspective the study is quite interesting because the researchers managed to train a machine to identify signs of an emotion with up to 80% accuracy (though for a very limited set of users). If the study can be validated for a larger data set the the same algorithm can be incorporated into other systems like computer games to allow the game to make itself more interesting by throwing twists/surprises when the it feels that the player is getting bored.

However if you taking the technical aspect aside then I don’t think this is a good idea. The whole idea behind killing boredom is to use your creativity to come up with alternatives but if you are so dependent on devices that you can’t even be bothered to figure out that you are bored then there is no way you will be motivated to think up ways to kill your boredom. Long term that means that a lot of people will stop thinking creatively and become solely dependent on an external system to amuse them. I shouldn’t have to explain why that is what can charitably be called a ‘BAD IDEA’.

Basically if an external party is providing all the entertainment for the public then they are in a position of immense power and very few leaders would be able to resist the temptation to abuse such power. So if that leader wants to invade another country all they have to do is tell the public that unless they invade that country they would not be able to maintain the level of entertainment that they are used to and they would get all the support they require. If you think I am over-reacting about then think about the Roman empire, the entire gladiator arena was constructed to keep the masses entertained and as long of the people were entertained they didn’t care what was happening to the kingdom or how corrupt their leaders were becoming.

Well this is all for now. I am going to go entertain myself by finishing my book and then crashing for the night.

– Suramya

August 21, 2015

List of Relatively lesser known Indian Special Forces which are among the best in the world

Filed under: My Thoughts — Suramya @ 10:14 PM

If you ask people to list out special forces in the world most people will remember Delta Forces, Rangers, SAS etc. This is thanks to the abundance of references to them in Media be it books, movies or TV series etc. Which is all well and good but what people don’t know or realize that India also has eight kinds of Special Forces that are relatively unknown to most people. Infact even though I am a son of an Indian Air Force officer I only knew about 2 out of the 8 forces listed below which is kind of sad. So to make things right I am sharing the list so that more people are aware of this and the knowledge is shared.

Without further ado here’s the list of Indian Special Forces: (Click on the name to visit their Wikipedia page for more details)

MARCOS:

MARCOS or Marine Commandos is India’s most lethal special force. Though they are trained to engage in battle on all terrains, MARCOS commandos are experts in maritime warfare. The physical test to join MARCOS is so gruesome that more than 80 percent of the applicants drop out in the first, three-day long, physical fitness and aptitude test. Those who successfully complete the test are subjected to a five-week-long process called the ‘hell’s week’ where commandos are put through extreme sleep deprivation coupled with the most difficult physical tasks. These commandos are even capable of firing while lying down, standing, running full-sprint, even backwards and looking into a mirror – with a reaction time of 0.27 seconds. The final stages of the training include an 800-meter long thigh-high mud crawl called the ‘death crawl’, loaded with 25 kg of gear which is concluded with shooting a target 25 meters away with a man standing next to it.

They are also known as the ‘Dadiwala fauj‘, meaning the “Bearded army” because of their bearded disguise in civil areas.

Para Commandos:

Para commandos is one of the most highly trained special forces of the Indian Army. Because of the extremely fatal nature of the operations they perform, they are kept at optimum level of operational efficiency and physical fitness, and only the most physically fit, mentally robust, intelligent, and highly motivated soldiers are inducted in the fleet. Para commandos go through the most grueling commando training regimes in the world, apart from daily 20km runs with 60km baggage and man-to-man assault practices; they even have to free fall from belligerent heights of as much as 33,500 feet. They are also highly trained in terrain and environment warfare and deep sea diving. Their most notable and fatal operations included the 1971 war with Pakistan, the 1999 Kargil war and the infamous Operation Bluestar in 1984.

Garud Commando Force:

The Garud Commando Force formed in 2004 with over 2000 commandos a unit of the Indian Air Force and specializes in Airfield Seizure, Special Reconnaissance, Airborne Operations, Air Assault, Special Operations Combat Search and Rescue, and counter insurgency. The training for being a Garud commando is so tough that it can take up to 3 years to qualify as a fully operational Garud. Also, Garud commandos are extremely adept at anti-hijack and counter insurgency training, jungle and snow survival techniques, specialized weapon handling and advanced driving skills.

Ghatak Force

The word Ghatak means deadly in Hindi and it aptly describes the members of the Ghatak Force which is a special operations infantry platoon that acts as shock troops and lead man-to-man assaults ahead of a battalion. They specialize in raids on enemy artillery positions, airfields, supply dumps and tactical headquarters while also being experts at directing artillery and air attacks on targets deep within enemy lines. Only the most physically and mentally fit soldiers make it into the Ghatak force which is usually 20-men strong. Since they face the enemy face-to-face, they are trained to be undisputed at heli-borne assault, rock climbing, mountain warfare, demolitions, advanced weapons training, close quarter battle and infantry tactics.

National Security Guard Or Black Cats:

Created in 1986, the NSG or Black Cats fall neither under Central Armed Police Forces nor under Paramilitary Forces of India. It’s instead a mix of commandos from both the Indian Army and Central Armed Police Forces which is lead by a ‘Director General’ from the Indian Police Service. Comprising two units – the Special Action Group (SAG), which consists entirely of Indian Army personnel; and the Special Ranger Groups (SRG) for counter terrorism activities – the NSG is equipped with some of the most advanced weapons in the world. The selection process is so brutal that it has a dropout rate of 70-80 percent. And the few, who qualify to become NSGs, are sent off to train for another 9 months to become Phantom NSG Commandos.

COBRA (Commando Battalion for Resolute Action):

No, this is not COBRA Command from G.I Joe. :)

COBRA actually stands for ‘Commando Battalion for Resolute Action’ and it is probably the only Indian special force that is specifically trained in guerilla warfare to tackle the notorious Naxalite groups in the country. A part of the CRPF, COBRA commandos are masters of camouflage, jungle warfare, parachute jumps, precision strikes and ambushes. Their sniper units are also one of the best among the armed forces of India.

Special Frontier Force

Created on 14th November 1962, the SFF is a paramilitary special force which specializes in special reconnaissance, direct action, hostage rescue, counter-terrorism, unconventional warfare and covert operations. This specialized force was created in the wake of another Sino-Indian war and it operates in sync with RAW (Research and Analysis Wing). The commandos are supremely trained in guerrilla tactics, mountain and jungle warfare, and parachute jumps.

Force One

After the Mumbai terror attacks, the Maharashtra government brought together the best commandos and assembled the youngest Indian special force called Force One. The sole motive of this squad is to protect the Mumbai metropolitan area when under threat. Force One is one of the fastest response teams in the world and can get ready for action in less than 15 minutes. From over 3000 applications, 216 of the best soldiers were selected who were then trained under close guidance from the Israeli Special Forces.


So how many of these did you know about?

Well this is all for now. Will post more later.

– Suramya

Source: My Dad :)

June 14, 2015

Why cataloging all my books was a bad idea, sort of.

Filed under: Books Related,My Life,My Thoughts — Suramya @ 8:53 PM

A little while ago there was a book sale happening and I wanted to buy a few books but couldn’t remember for sure if I had already bought them earlier or not and I couldn’t check because a lot of my books are in Delhi. I didn’t want to buy the same book twice so I ended up buying a different book but this made me think that I should keep a catalog of all the books I own so that I know which ones I need to buy. So I asked Surabhi to take a photo of all the books in Delhi and over the past few weeks I have been transcribing the names of the books to a text file.

As of today have a list of 334 books (excluding ebooks) that I own. I still have to go through another 5 shelves so the final count will be about another 125 books. Yes, that is a lot of books, but I did tell you that I read a lot.

During this time I realized that there are books from some of my favorite authors that I don’t have in my collection so I made a list of books that I need to buy to complete the collection. The list is not complete yet but I have already ended up buying 18 books in the past 2 months. Thankfully there were a couple of sales happening so I got a whole bunch of discounts but I need to start controlling my shopping sprees before my credit card files an official complain :) as this is turning out to be a very expensive undertaking.

The good part is that I now have complete collections for some of my favorite authors. The remaining books that I am missing are in my queue to be purchased and I will be buying them as and when I see a sale or a discount on books in any of the stores. Interestingly I found that Flipkart is no longer the cheapest source for books in India as Amazon.in beat their prices almost 90% of the time.

Well this is all for now, I am off to make space for the new books in my bookshelf here in Bangalore.

– Suramya

May 23, 2015

Trekkies join the readers of magazines like Linux Journal as potential threats

Filed under: My Thoughts — Suramya @ 11:30 PM

Yes, you read that headline correctly and no, I am not joking. According to the information revealed thanks to a freedom of Information request, Scotland Yard was worried that British fans of Star Trek might turn against society. This was tracked as part of a file called UFO New Religious Movements (NRMs) And The Millennium. In addition to Star Trek they were also worried about people who watch shows like X-Files, Dark Skies, Roswell, Millennium and The Lawnmower Man.

I already knew that I was being monitored by US Intelligence agencies thanks to my reading and occasionally writing for the Linux Journal. In case you are wondering if I have become insane or paranoid. Unfortunately (or fortunately) that is not the case. This is based on the information revealed in the recent intelligence leaks and was covered on various sites and articles :

While that is troubling in itself, even more troubling to readers on this site is that linuxjournal.com has been flagged as a selector! DasErste.de has published the relevant XKEYSCORE source code, and if you look closely at the rule definitions, you will see linuxjournal.com/content/linux* listed alongside Tails and Tor. According to an article on DasErste.de, the NSA considers Linux Journal an “extremist forum”.

Now, thanks to my love for Star Trek and X-Files I guess I must reconcile myself to being tracked by Scotland Yard as well. I did find it really interesting that Star Wars fans are not part of the potential threats they monitor. Could it be because the person who implemented this tracking was a Star Wars fan and was taking the Star Trek vs the Star Wars argument to a whole new level? That is the only reason that could possibly explain why anyone thought this was a good idea. I mean sure fans of these shows are vocal, enthusiastic and sometimes very disturbing (Try searching for Star Trek Slash Fic if you have a strong stomach for some really weird stuff. Fair warning though, the material you will get back is for adult audiences and just plain weird at times.). However that being said it is not correct to classify them as a cult and start tracking the members as if they did something wrong by liking the wrong show.

From the article:

But the police feared British fans of the cult American show might boldly go a little too far one day.

It has emerged that Scotland Yard kept a secret dossier on Star Trek, The X-Files, and other US sci fi shows amid fears that British fans would go mad and kill themselves, turn against society or start a weird cult.

The American TV shows Roswell and Dark Skies and the film The Lawnmower Man were also monitored to protect the country from rioting and cyber attacks.

I have this mental image of a spy/program monitoring all websites/conferences where Star Trek is discussed, items/props sold or just links to these kind of sites. Once you visit this site, you are automatically added to a database of potential troublemakers and if you actually buy something then you get a higher grade. The more you buy and the more involved you are in fandom the higher your perceived threat level gets.

If the people of the world insist on being idiotic, then there is nothing I can do to stop them. Unfortunately these are the folks in power so they can cause a lot of damage by creating these fictional enemies. I will end this post with the following quote taken from a book by one of my favorite authors (Mercedes Lackey) which is really relevant here :

When those in power intend to abuse that power, they look to an outside enemy in order to trick their people into pressing the means to their own abuse into the hands of the abusers. If an enemy does not exist, it will be manufactured, and all manner of horrors attributed to it, so that anyone who demands truth and accountability is set upon as being unpatriotic. And so that, when someone said to be an enemy is found, there will be few questions asked about guilt or innocence, and many faces averted when he is taken away.

We are setting ourselves up for disaster, stop turning your faces away… Else you soon will be saying “Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.”.

Sources:
* Slashdot
* The Telegraph

– Suramya

May 19, 2015

Drug use can now be detected using fingerprints

Filed under: My Thoughts — Suramya @ 12:00 AM

Saw this interesting article on Slashdot about research being done in University of Surrey in which they claim to be able to detect the use of cocaine by testing fingerprints using ambient mass spectrometry. As per the paper they do this by spaying solvent on the fingerprint slide and then checking for chemical residue in the print which results from drug abuse.

This will have a big impact in a lot of areas if it is viable to do so cheaply. Companies, cops etc can check for Drug usage in non-invasive fashion and if a positive match is found then they can match the finger print to a person as well making it becomes extremely difficult to fool a drug test. Which is a good thing. Though I wonder how long after a use the chemicals are detectable in the print. I would be surprised if there are there forever but even if they are there temporarily it will reduce the drug abuse at work.

However I am sure there are a lot of legal hurdles etc which will need to be solved if the technology is going be widely used. Currently the test only works for Cocaine, it will be interesting if they can do a similar test for other drugs like Heroine etc.

From the paper:

For their research, scientists sprayed a beam of solvent onto the fingerprint slide (a technique known as Desorption Electrospray Ionisation, or DESI) to determine if these metabolites were present. DESI has found use in a number of forensic applications, but has never been used to demonstrate drug use says lead author Dr Melanie Bailey from the University of Surrey.

Researchers took fingerprints and oral fluid from patients attending a drug and alcohol treatment service. Using a technique called gas chromatography mass spectrometry (GC-MS), they tested the oral fluid of patients for the presence of cocaine and benzoylecgonine. They then employed DESI, which operates under ambient conditions and Ion Mobility Tandem Mass Spectrometry Matrix Assisted Laser Desorption Ionization (MALDI-IMS-MS/MS) and Secondary Ion Mass Spectrometry (SIMS), to analyse the corresponding fingerprints.

– Suramya

May 16, 2015

Facebook Command Line (FBCMD) no longer works fully

Filed under: My Thoughts — Suramya @ 7:08 PM

Thanks to FB constantly changing their API the maintainer for FBCMD finally decided to call it quits and shut down the project. I found out about this when I started hitting issues with syncing my blog posts automatically to my Facebook account. I would keep getting an error that the app didn’t have the permissions to post to my wall even though I explicitly granted it permissions again. From the maintainers site:

I am now raising a family and have a demanding job. When I do get precious “free” time, there are other projects I’d rather spend my time on.
I stopped using FBCMD myself. I log in to facebook once a week and lurk around for a bit, but I rarely interact or share anything.
Facebook is moving away from apps that have broad access and permissions.
It was too frustrating to keep up with facebook perpetually depricating features and changing its API.
The straw(s) that broke the camel’s back were: depricating API 1.0, removing offline_access and changing the authentication model.

Now I need to figure out another way to automatically sync my posts to FB. There are a bunch of plugins that people talk about but I still need to decide on which one to use and try them out. Or I could hope that someone decides to pick up the project and fork it.

– Suramya

April 30, 2015

Microsoft is becoming more and more OpenSource Friendly

Filed under: Computer Software,My Thoughts — Suramya @ 8:32 PM

Gone are the days when MS compared open source software as a cancer. If you are wondering what I meant by that statement then here’s a brief history lesson: Back in 2001 Steve Ballmer, then CEO of MS said that “Linux is a cancer that attaches itself in an intellectual property sense to everything it touches. He made other similar statements and accusations over the years during his time at the head of MS. Now that he is finally out of the picture MS has suddenly gotten a lot more friendly to the Open Source movement and over the past few months has made major announcements to woo developers back to the Windows eco system.

Today MS made two major announcements at it’s Build Developer Conference that mark another step in the right direction for the company. The first was the Launch of Visual Studio Code, A Free Cross-Platform Code Editor For OS X, Linux And Windows.

This is the first release of a cross-platform code editor from Microsoft as till now all of their offerings required you to be running Windows. Which immediately prevented all developers running Linux or Mac OS from using their software. This is no longer the case, however it still remains to be seen how many folks switch to this new editor from their existing favorites. As you know that arguments/discussions on which editor is the best for development is akin to a religious war for developers. So not sure how many will switch to the new IDE.

Please note that this is a Preview release so is not ready for prime time yet and that also means that the software sends data back to MS. From the download site: “When this tool crashes, we automatically collect crash dumps so we can figure out what went wrong. If you don’t want to send your crash dumps to Microsoft, don’t install this tool. “. Don’t think they can be clearer than that about what they are up to.

Visual Studio Code offers developers built-in support for multiple languages and as Microsoft noted in today’s Build keynote, the editor will feature rich code assistance and navigation for all of these languages. JavaScript, TypeScript, Node.js and ASP.NET 5 developers will also get a set of additional tools.

The editor features all of the standard tools you would expect from a modern code editor, including syntax highlighting, customizable keyboard bindings, bracket matching and snippets. It also works with Git out of the box

The IDE is available for download at this site.

The second announcement was the release of their .NET Distribution For Linux And Mac. This is a follow up to their promise back in Nov 2014 to release the core features of their .NET platform for Linux and Mac.

Microsoft says it is taking .NET cross-platform in order to build and leverage a bigger ecosystem for it. As the company also noted shortly after the original announcement, it decided that, to take .NET cross-platform, it had to do so as an open source project. To shepherd it going forward, Microsoft also launched the .NET Foundation last year.

You can download the Preview builds for the .NET core from their site.

Additional details on their announcement and other things in the pipeline are available on their blog: .NET Announcements at Build 2015.

Well this is all for now. I just finished downloading their new IDE so I am going to go try installing it and see how it looks/works. Who knows I might actually like it. :)

– Suramya

April 25, 2015

There is no such thing as a completely secure OS

Filed under: Computer Security,My Thoughts — Suramya @ 1:47 AM

Every once in a while while talking to folks about computer security I am told that I should switch to Mac’s because they don’t have security issues or viruses. I find that very amusing and I think the following comic sums up the ‘apple fanboi’ thinking quite succinctly:

Even though it is funny, unfortunately a whole lot of folks still believe in the Myth that Apple computers/devices are secure/don’t get viruses. Now, don’t get me wrong, there are a lot of good points for the Mac OS and they just work for some people. I am not one of them but that doesn’t mean that I ‘hate’ Mac OS or Windows for that matter. I like Linux, others don’t. That is their choice and this is my choice. This post is to talk about computer security and high light some of the major flaws that have hit Apple computers over the past few months:

Firmware Boot kit: Thunderbird

This was discovered by Trammell Hudson back in Jan 2015. It allows a user to quietly, persistently and virally compromise Apple Macs from boot. Since the code is stored in the firmware it is very difficult to detect and remove. It works against all Macbooks released since 2011. Apple has released a fix but it is hard to ensure that your computer isn’t already infected before applying the patch.

Details are at: Thunderstrike shocks OS X with firmware bootkit.

Shellshock: Mac’s are vulnerable

Shellshock allowed attacker’s to insert malicious pieces of code from a remote location and get full system control of a victim’s machine. The scary part of the story wasn’t that Apple computers were vulnerable (plenty of systems were), it was the fact that Apple refused to acknowledge the issue and took over 15 days to release a patch for the problem, even though it was being actively exploited in the wild. Their justification was that “The vast majority of OS X users are not at risk to recently reported bash vulnerabilities… With OS X, systems are safe by default and not exposed to remote exploits of bash unless users configure advanced UNIX services”.

So basically if you don’t use your computer to do anything other than the default configuration you are good. (for the most part) Those of us who use Mac’s to actually code or develop stuff are not a priority for Apple.

Bypassing OS X Security (Gatekeeper & xProtect)

Patrick Wardle, director of research at Synack spoke at the RSA conference a few days ago about OS X security and as per him getting around the restrictions put in by the OS X Security tools is trivial.

“Gatekeeper doesn’t verify an extra content in the apps. So if I can find an Apple-approved app and get it to load external content, when the user runs it, it will bypass Gatekeeper,”

More details on the issue are at: Researcher Discloses Methods For Bypassing All OS X Security Protections

iOS WiFi Bug Allows Remote Reboot of All Devices In Area

This one is my favorite. It allows an attacker to cause all iOS devices (iPhones/iPads) in a particular area to Crash and/or reboot. It involves setting up a rogue wireless access point (WiFi hotspot) and manipulating the traffic to it to cause all apps and iOS devices in range to crash. The best part is that there is no fix for it. The only way to resolve the issue is to move out of range of the Access Point. Even putting your phone in Airplane mode doesn’t work. Which is scary on it’s own because that means that even when you are in Airplane mode the phone is still transmitting/receiving data from wireless networks.

Since there is no fix for it yet, the researchers have not released a lot of details on the exploit but once Apple releases a fix they will give more details it. Then I can just imagine someone setting up one of these using a Raspberry Pi at a conference hidden under a table causing a whole bunch of people a whole lot of pain/annoyance.

Additional details of the issue are at: Evil Wi-Fi kills iPhones, iPods in range

There are a whole lot more where these came from. So the moral of the story is that there is no system that is 100% secure. If you want to stay safe, follow best practices, update frequently and pray.

– Suramya

April 24, 2015

Some thoughts on the mails on how folks born in x-y range are the best

Filed under: My Thoughts — Suramya @ 1:04 AM

I am sure that you have received a lot of emails/sms’s/WhatsApp messages that claim that folks of a particular age range were the best and did the most with our lives as opposed to people in earlier/later generations who couldn’t have possibly done anything worthwhile. Today I got this forward and I thought about it and decided to share it and my thoughts/comments on it.

> We, the people born between 1950-1989, are the blessed ones…
> We are d awesome people. Our life is a living proof……….

Ok, if you say so. I am not sure what made us the blessed ones but fine if you think so. I think that is just conceited and egoistical. You might be awesome, but you sure don’t know how to spell or write.

> We were never treated like a pack of animals to carry our books to school.

Hmm, I distinctly remember carrying a lot of books to School. In fact we had 7 classes every day so I had to carry 7 books, 7 notebooks and other assorted stuff to class. I think you have forgotten about the thick math & Physics books that we all had to carry to school everyday.

> While playing and riding bicycle, we never bothered to wear helmets.

I don’t think you need to wear a helmet even now while playing in the field (unless you are playing american football). Being safe is not a bad thing. Unless you are one of the idiots who think that it is cool to ride bikes/scooters without helmets?

> After school time we played until its dusk but never watched t-world (TV) by locking up ourselves in a room.

I know enough people who did that (watched TV all day) when we were kids and enough kids nowadays who spend their evenings in the field, or in the pool, or up a climbing wall etc etc. Don’t generalize.

> We played only with our real friends, not with NET friends.

What constitutes a ‘real’ friend? Actually, before you answer that let’s take a look at What a friend is… Dictionary.com defines a friend as “a person attached to another by feelings of affection or personal regard. “. You can be attached to a person even when you don’t meet every day. Or do you mean that anyone you can’t meet on a regular basis is no longer considered a friend. If that is true then anyone not in the same city as you automatically is demoted to an acquaintance.

I have friends whom I met online and then became really close to and after we met up in real life we stayed good friends. Just because you are not comfortable with maintaining friendships in mediums other than Face-to-Face, doesn’t mean that those relationships are any less meaningful.

> If we ever felt thirsty, we used to drink tap water but never searched for bottled water.

Ok, however the water was usually filtered. which is what we still do for the most part.

> We never got ill even after sharing the same juice with four friends.

You still don’t. (Unless one of them had the cold/flu)

> We were never put on weight even after eating plate full of sweets and rice everyday.

Umm… Not true. It depended on how much exercise you got playing, which is still the case. Kids who are active don’t get fat, those you are not get fat.

> Nothing happened to our feet even after roaming bare foot.

Not true. You could get blisters, get a thorn. Just that when that happened our parents didn’t freak out and try to wrap us in cotton when that happend.

> We never used any health supplements to keep ourselves healthy.

Speak for yourself. Most kids I knew got to take a ton of Vitamin tablets/cod liver oil etc on a periodic basis. Though we didn’t take as many antibiotics, those have gotten a lot more prevalent nowadays.

> We used to create our own toys and play with them.

Kids still do that. Watching my nephew and niece I see that for them anything is a toy. e.g. for my nephew a screwdriver is the worlds best toy. My niece loves playing with my watch and glasses. Older ones create whole worlds using games (both online and in real world). A few days ago I watched a bunch of kids play Lava Lava (the game where the entire floor is Lava and you die if you touch it).

> Our parents were not rich, they never ran behind money and wealth. They just searched for and gave only love.. not any worldly materials.

What makes you think people in past generations weren’t after money? If they were not then we would have a lot more ascetics in the world, instead we got Harshad Mehta, Chara Scam’s, 3g, 2g scams etc etc (these were done by folks our parents age).

> We stayed nearby to them so that they can communicate with us. Just one word by them was enough to communicate. hence we never required any mobile phones to communicate.

Just because people stayed near their parents didn’t mean they communicated, you can stay in the same house and not talk or stay in a different country and still talk daily. Which is why so many properties ended up getting divided. If I am so close to my parents that I need just one word to communicate with them, then I can do that over the phone as well. I don’t need to be in the same room to do that. I talk to my parents on a daily basis (for the most part) over the phone and I know people who haven’t talked to their parents in years even though they are in the same city.

> We never visited doctor when we got ill but the doctor visited us during our illness.

They still do. Just costs a lot more. 😉

> We never used to share our emotions just by emoticons in mobile phones.

Ok. I give you this one.

> We used to listen to the truth and voice of our conscience and used to write those things only in the letters, hence we never used to change our words.

Oh really? You mean to say that no one in our generation told lies, or cheated anyone? If you think that then I have some real estate that I need to sell that you would find very interesting.

> We never had cellphones, DVDs, Play stations, XBoxes, video games, Personal computers, internet, chat but we had many real friends.

So do kids in the current generation. You can have friends even when you have all the gadgets in the world as they are not mutually exclusive.

> We used to visit our friend’s home uncalled and enjoyed food with them. We never had to call them and ask their permission to visit their home.

Umm.. you still don’t have to. I see my cousins, nieces and nephew’s walk over to their friends place to play daily without having to ask for permission. At my sister’s place I see Vir’s friends over all the time and Vir is at their place just as frequently.

We come up with these lists to show how much better off we were as kids but to me they tell a different story. The lists tell me that our parents did an awesome job in raising us and maybe we are not doing that great a job of raising the next generation. If the kids today are anti-social (in your eyes) or don’t go out to play then they are not to blame. I blame us (the parents/previous generations). The kids will do what they get trained to do.

We are the ones who freak out when the kids go out and don’t get back home exactly on time. We are the ones who tell kids not to play in front of the house. We are the ones who protect our kids to the extent that they don’t know how the real world works.

Relax, stop protecting the kids so much. Give them some leeway to make mistakes as that’s how they will learn. If you remember we made our fair share of them, so now it’s time for the next generation to make their mistakes and learn from them. Let the kids know that you are there for them if they need you but give them some space as well and you will see them blossoming.

Well this is all for now, I need to crash for the night so will write more later.

– Suramya

April 15, 2015

Please defend Internet Freedom in India

Filed under: Computer Related,Interesting Sites,My Thoughts,Techie Stuff — Suramya @ 1:34 AM

Not content with watching the US and certain other countries screw around with net neutrality the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has decided to pitch in and make a mess of things (again) in India. These are the same brilliant folks who decided in 2007 that an entire IRC network (undernet.com) should be blocked in India because there are a few channels on it that promoted piracy. It took a few years for the stupid ban to get lifted. Even now a bunch of URL’s are blocked but for the most part things are ok.

Unfortunately that is not going to be the case for long if the telecom lobbyist’s have their way. They want to break up the internet access to Paid and free access with the Telecom’s deciding what content should be available to a user. If a site doesn’t pay then they would either get blocked or get put on a ‘slow-lane’ where traffic to the site is artificially slowed down to give more bandwidth to paying sites. In short they want to take away net neutrality. So what exactly does net neutrality mean? In short it means:

  • All sites on the internet must be equally accessible (that means that no site’s traffic is given priority)
  • The same access speed at the telco/ISP level for each (So assuming all else is the same then all sites will be accessible at the same speed)
  • The same data cost for access to each site (per KB/MB). (No reducing of data cost to sites that pay Telecom’s money)

TRAI has released a consultation paper with 20 questions and wants you to send them an e-mail by 24th of April, 2015. Please visit Save the Internet to submit your responses to TRAI. It is as simple as going to the site, reviewing the email with the answers and then sending it out. Your 5 mins just might save the net in India.

More information on this issue is available at the following sites:

Once you have emailed your responses please help in spreading the word to others via Social Media/Email/Smoke Signals.

– Suramya

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