16 November 2009

Nokia WeMeet App is interesting

Nokia R&D invited some of us to preview their pilot project of WeMeet application. Its an interesting application. Its a simple application which allows you to have threaded sms conversation with friends as group chat generally does. Its a simple application though still in its testing phase or the pilot as the Nokia guys call it.

It has a simple interface (screenshots nicely compiled by Prashanth at TechBangalore). You can create groups in simple steps. Send message to friends is a breeze as  well. Just like other group SMS services like SMS Gup Shup, it allows you to send SMS to all your friends in that group in a single SMS. It sends a message to a local number in Bangalore(not a premium number), which in turn broadcasts this to all the people in the group. As this is currently only in pilot phase, its free and available only in Bangalore. To join create, modify and send message to groups an SMS is sent for your cellphone. When you receive an SMS from a group message, thats delivered directly to WeMeet application. If your application is closed, it will start up automatically and show you the message.

I think the beauty of this application is not the fact that it can send group SMS, but the fact that it can display the messages in a threaded manner is a killer feature. Another killer feature its that it runs also on S40 devices like my 5130 and others like 5310, 3600 etc besides the S60 based phones like the N and E series phones from Nokia. That kind of assures connectivity with most of my friends and family. Yeah we all trust Nokia with the low end phones.

The major difference between  this and other services is the location information which is encoded in the message so you can know an approximate location of the users. For phones which are devoid of GPS, the CellID & CBS messages are used to identify the location. This information seems to be optimally encoded in the SMS. It sure is really an innovative use of existing technology.

All said but this app is not without flaws. But then it being a Pilot project of sorts, it makes sense. Some limitations are like, max number of users in a group can only be 5 and only the creator can add new members. It crashed a few times on my 5130. One consistent failure I found was when trying to add a contact to a group from phonebook. It showed low memory error on my cell phone.

More information on it and downloadable apps are available at http://wemeet.nokiapaloalto.com/

21 October 2009

So finally I get a phishing mail from Income Tax Dept :-)

This particular phishing mail was very interesting. It claimed that I got a refund from Income Tax Department. That too of Rs 820.50. Here is the complete mail for you.

Dear Income Tax Department of India customer,

After the last annual calculation of your fiscal activity we have determined that you are going to receive a tax refund of $820.50 Rupees.
Please submit the tax refund form and allow 3-5 days in order to approve it.
A refund can be delayed for a variety of reasons.For example submitting invalid records or sending the form after the deadline.
To complete the form , please Click Here.

For security reasons your ip may be recorded..
Thank you,
Income Tax Department of India Online Department.

I love the fact that they are ignorant about me being a customer of Income tax department. I think I am more appropriately a victim of IT Dept.

But I was more in shock for the whether I am going to get $820.50 or Rs 820.50. I would have had been so very happy to get $820.50, But then I thought may be its a simple typo of some government babu. But alas, it was some stupid crook who is not smart enough to know English all that well or the ways of Babus.

Another reason was the ingenious use of http://tr.im . These smarties have used tr.im service to give the phishing URL. I guess its the best use of tr.im before it dies its natural death.

The forth thing that caught my eye was the Note. Not the note as in money but note as in notice. “For security reasons your IP may be recorded”. Dude, you could also tell that for security reasons you are taking over all my money, or wait does IP mean, Indian paise ??

I noticed this because Gmail filters did not detect it. Anyways it was interesting to read. Any please friends, dont believe in any of these unsolicited mails. 99% of the time, they are from crooks.

21 September 2009

The 8 series fiasco for Indian Telecom Operators

Well its was well known that mobile numbers with 8 are going to start soon. But it so happened that my dear friend Daaku took a new Tata Docomo connection. Now the amazing thing was that it starts with 805xx-xxxxx. So now if I try to call this friend of mine, my Vodafone network tells me that its an invalid number. I was confused and so I asked my friend daaku to call me. I got his number in caller ID but calling it was again not possible. Obviously its not mistake in dialing the number, rather its a stupid things that Vodafone and possibly other networks too have done.

So here is my guess what has happened. Vodafone, takes the number +91805xx-xxxxx as 91 for country(that India), 80(Code for Bangalore) and 5 would be Tata Indicom as they provide landline with that series. Interestingly Vodafone seems to have not configured its network to this change which happened for mobile numbers starting with 8.

I tried contacting Vodafone customer care, they seemed to be unaware of the issue and they said they would get back to me soon(24hours it seems).

But the point here is, whats TRAI and DoT doing. Have they not informed the operators of this change or are the operators at lax. Who ever it might be, the fault must be found and it must be ensured that in future such stupid things do not happen.

21 July 2009

Times of India #MEGA #FAIL on efiling

Times of India has again done the unthinkable. Its misguiding its readers completely by its flawed headline which says

Opt for e-fling tax, get discounts

But whats there actually is an advertisement straight out of a leaflet from some company called Taxsmile. It says, pay Taxsmile for e-filing of your tax and you will get a lot of discounts and prizes. Thats outright stupid to have as a story. If I have to e-file my taxes should not I head over to https://incometaxindiaefiling.gov.in/portal/index.do. Why should I bother to pay someone else for it. And as I have for previous two years, I have found it really simple. So Times of India instead of simply explaining how to do an e-filing, has advertised for a company. Smart people.

I guess Times of India is getting itself into a reputation of being an untrustworthy news source, the latest being http://wearethebest.wordpress.com/2009/07/18/25-years-moved-so-quickly-it-seems-like-just-12/. Probably its good enough for the Page3 and the rest can be handled by other newspapers.

23 June 2009

Mobile and Internet in India

Mobiles are something which we now take for granted to call anyone. I remember the days when I thought who the heck will pay  Rs300+ rental and then Rs16 /min for receiving or making calls as airtime charges. Obviously the call charges were separate. Who thought that things will reach this far that at Rs175 rentals, you would get 300 mins calling free. Its truly amazing.

Another thought that I had not very long back actually was that I had written on how my mobile should look like here. There were a few people who thought that its entirely impossible to achieve what I was wanting. But then today there was this story on CNET that talked about Toshiba coming out with an amazingly fast 1GHz smartphone. Well, I am not surprised by it. But what I am surprised at is that it runs the crappy Windows Mobile. It sure could have done better with Android or Symbian. Windows Mobile, duh. Dude I would need multi-touch, just to make sure I can give the three finger salute of Ctrl+Alt+Del.

So I have a significantly fast processor on the mobile, an 800 x 480 resistive touch screen is also there for u to have fun with. I am sure this is just the beginning and I have great faith in Android and probably that would be the choice of platform which will achieve what I dreamt of some years back

20 June 2009

Some tips and learning from cycling to work

For the past some days I have been cycling to work and overall its been a pleasant experience as yet. I thought I would share some of the learnings with this post. So here it goes in no particular order

1. Make sure your tyres have enough pressure in them. If it gets low, it will become difficult to ride it.

2. Make the seat position such that you can peddle on the full. It gives you more power and also prevents what’s called Biker’s Knee. By instinct we would like it such that our feet reach the ground easily. Never go by that.

3. Cycle fearlessly. Be on the left side of the road as much and possible, but never go to the extreme left. It might land you in trouble. You can surely take minor panga from the faster automobile users.

4. If in places like Bangalore, where you have too much ups and downs, keep trying different alternate routes so that you can take maximum advantage of the slope.

5. Dont wear headphone. You might not find out whats happening on the road. Sometimes I feel like the low sound making cars are better than ultra silent cars. You atleast realise if there one coming from behind.

6. In normal cycle brakes, sudden braking does not work well. It makes sense to gradually slow downhill by applying pulses of brakes rather than a constant one.

7. Cycle only if you are having fun doing it else it may become a burden on you.

Enjoy and happy cycling.

08 June 2009

Nothing special out in this post

Well as the title says, nothing special to talk about here. I wanted you to know that I have decided to make my tumblog as the place where I will put pics from my cell cam and quotes that I find really interesting. My tumblr blog is at http://the100rabh.tumblr.com .

Enjoy :-)

15 April 2009

Damn Small Media Player – My tiny Mp3 player for all platforms

Well building on my knowledge of WxWidgets and frustration with ever growing size of music players like Winamp or Windows Media Player, I decided that did not need those many features most of the time.

So what was that I was looking for
1. Play Mp3s
2. Have a playlists, retain it and ability to add all files to the player at once.
3. Mp3 tags are mostly useless, filenames make more sense
4. Shortcuts should be simple and also alternative global keys
5. Small size, preferably below 2MB.
6. Multi-platform code.
7. Playlist Queue

This was my priority, in no particular order, while I was designing this Mp3 player. But then I got some feedback from friends who wanted search feature as well. So there it was. All done and over. But then again most my friends and me felt that the UI sucked. Well it continues to. I am not good as styling so still looking for help from friends to make a better looking UI Happy

So now its a 716Kb file which you need to download and there you go. No installation, no setup. Its all in that 716Kb. Just download, Add mp3 files and run. You are all set to hear music.

If you are trying(development) it on Windows you will need WxWidgets library. For development you can also use wxDev-Cpp IDE . To reduce size further I have used UPX which is pretty cool and is also available for Linux too.

So how can you help ? Well I have no clue on how to write a makefile on linux. So any help in that direction is also appreciated. The code is hosted at http://code.google.com/p/dsmp/ for you to take a good look at it. The code is very simple. Well obviously I am still looking for someone to help me design a better UI with some styling.

28 March 2009

Bill for Prevention of Moral Policing

I now try to introduce this Bill for Prevention of Moral Policing. Now the most obvious question is that why? Well moral policing is becoming a menacing problem in India now. We need to create some sort of a law for prevention of this menace. But then isnt it that nothing is going to change if I put this Bill in here. Well that anyways happens, look at Women Reservation Bill for starters, its pending since eternity now.

So here I present the Bill for you.

By this Act, every citizen of India is given the right to dress, act and speak as he/she wishes to unless he violates any of the laws of the Indian Constitution. Any act by a person/group/organisation to forecfully stop or intimidate any person or group from acting according to his/her will be punishable under this act. Any such action would lead to the group/person/organisation being declared guilty and would be punishable with minimum 6years to maximum of 14 years of rigorous imprisonment and/or fine upto Rs 50lakhs or actual damages. Incase its a group/organisation the person leading it would be held directly responsible for the act of would be punishable under this law.


PS: I am no lawyer/politician but I hope someone actually made this law so that people the Muthalik and the Mullas who have no job but to issue fatwas for how one dresses, would be brought into reigns. They equally damaging as were the 26/11 terrorists.

25 March 2009

Some of my sad jokes on IPL

Well IPL is being moved out of India for all the reasons in the world. Now IPL stands for Indian Premier League. But who lifted the cup last time around ? Well it was Shane Warne. Interesting isn’t it. An Australian lifting the Indian Premier Legaue. Well if u consider that there are a large number of Indians in Australia, well its not all that bad to think.

Anyways from now on I would refer the event as IPL. I now seriously believe that IPL is a direct challenge to ICC. How? well, ICC can only organize the World Cup every three or four years. But BCCI would do this every year. The best part is that ICC cant do a thing about it. Since last year IPL was held in India, this year it is being moved to South Africa. And its not without a great deal of pitching by South Africa. So if you look at it, BCCI has clearly sidelined ICC by moving IPL to another country.

There is one more thing which comes to my notice when I look at the entire IPL saga. Well its Mahatma Gandhi. Interestingly, Mahatma’s journey started from India. Next he moved to England (So did IPL) and then he went to South Africa. So here is something I predict, like Mahatma, IPL would be kicked out in SA and it will trigger a movement.

IPL being moved out of India or outsourced to South Africa. Well India is sure turning out to be one of the costlier locations to outsource. It would be interesting to see how we Indian react to this. This would surely create history in the world of sports. English Premier League might be held in Afghanistan. NBA would probably be moved to Chile. Wow possibilities are endless. How about moving Olympics to Mars ?

Do let me know what you feel Happy