Harshdeep 2.0

July 23, 2006

Airtel trying to fool its customers

Filed under: Uncategorized — harshdeep @ 7:47 am

A couple of suggestions for Airtel

  1. Don’t try to fool your customers – they aren’t as stupid as you’d like them to be.
  2. If you can’t follow the first suggestion, at least don’t hire fools to fool your customers.

Yesterday, I got a call from one Bhupinder who said he was calling from Airtel. He tried to make me spend 60 bucks for a service that’s completely free.

He wanted to help me set up live TV streaming on my phone. Instead of just giving me the link to visit, he asked me to download a “hotbabes” mobile wallpaper from Airtel Live. That didn’t make any sense. I asked him why that was required. He vaguely answered that this was to activate the service – you need to download 6 such pictures, they are passwords or something. That’s plain idiotic – each download would cost me 10 bucks, and it’s definitely not a requirement to activate live tv. I told him so. He tried to reason with me that downloading the wallpapers wouldn’t cost me anything, though it was clearly mentioned on the website. He could sense that I was angry, so he left it there, gave me the URL for video streaming, which anyone can easily navigate to on the Airtel Live page, and hung up after making sure that video was streaming correctly.

After hanging up, I called up Airtel customer care. Their response to this story was that the number from which I got the call, does not belong to Airtel customer care. The customer care executive told me that she’d talk to her senior about this and will call me back in 2 hours. It’s been more than 24 hours and still no call.

It’s absolutely unbelievable that Airtel was not behind this call – they are the ones who get 10 bucks per download of the wallpapers I was pointed to.

I must say that I admire Airtel for the quality and spread of their network. They’ve played a big role in the mobile revolution in India.

But is it too hard to do business ethically?

July 19, 2006

Photoshopping

Filed under: Photoshop — harshdeep @ 8:27 pm

July 17, 2006

Labeling of maps by the people, for the people – Wikimapia

Filed under: Maps, Web 2.0 — harshdeep @ 7:11 pm

Some time back, I got hold of a PDA with a GPRS receiver. It was pretty neat but I was disappointed by the fact that there were no digital maps available for Delhi and surrounding regions that would work with it.

The task of labeling every street and corner of the world is mind-bogglingly huge and expensive. Add to it the complications of regularly maintaining it – it is impossible for any one company to do this.

This task is essentially suited for the community. And that’s where Wikimapia comes in. As the name suggests, it lets everyone label locations on the map. As with Wikipedia, there’s a good chance that someone somewhere is interested in the thing/place you are looking for and has already entered it in the database.

WikiMapia is a project to describe the whole planet Earth.

Every entry can be marked with an open set of tags. It makes search easier as users are generally interested in certain types of locations – restaurants, theaters, bookshops, parks etc. As data becomes denser (it’s already pretty dense for many regions, including Delhi), the search feature will become more important.

Along with the diversity and sheer amount of information, Wikimapia has also inherited the problems that vex Wikipedia. There is no guarantee of the accuracy of the user-marked locations and once in a while, you’ll come across locations like “Bunty’s old house”.

Some features that I’d love to see here

  1. Reddit-style user voting This is required to keep the content accurate. If some user discovers that a certain label is wrongly placed, he can give a thumbs-down to the entry. User gets a sense of reliability of the label by looking at the votes and sufficient number of negative votes can bury an entry. This mechanism can also be used to display the most popular locations in a region.
  2. On the handset This application is far more useful on a mobile device than a desktop/laptop. It may interpret my location from the GPRS chip on my phone and show me the neighbouring areas. Now that would be cool.

Mobile Monday comes to Delhi

Filed under: Mobile — harshdeep @ 10:57 am

Delhi is finally getting it’s share of geek events. August 5 will see the first gathering of the Delhi chapter of Mobile Monday (yea, it’s on a Saturday) at Adobe campus, Noida.

Mobile Monday, or MoMo, is a community of professionals related to the mobile domain. Sometimes they meet (not necessarily on Mondays) and talk geek. It was founded in 2000 in Helsinki but now has chapters all over the world.

Quote:

Mobile Monday’s Delhi Chapter aims to bring together mobile enthusiasts, developers, technologists, business folks, entrepreneurs, VCs under a common forum. The chapter would channelize efforts to develop an active mobile community that can network and share information.

MoMo plans to follow the “unconference” methodology wherein it will provide a platform for freewheeling discussion bitween everybody* interested in Mobile Technologies

A must attend event for mobile enthusiasts. Goto http://momodelhi.pbwiki.com for agenda, list of participants and registration (it’s free).

July 12, 2006

Another Indian cartoonist

Filed under: Cartoons — harshdeep @ 4:27 pm

Some time back, I’d written about Rajneesh Kapoor, a cartoonist working for Hindustan Times. Today, he mailed me that he met a girl in Barista who was buying one of his books. Supposedly she had read the review here. Small world!

Here is another cartoonist, Vikram Nandwani from Pune. He burlesques political issues in India and has only a handful of cartoons on his blog, but his artwork is nice.

Sample

July 8, 2006

Spider-Man falls to the dark side

Filed under: Uncategorized — harshdeep @ 9:05 pm

briefly, of course.

Sony Pictures has released a teaser trailer for Spider-Man 3. Looks very promising. The movie is scheduled for May 2007 release, and according to Wikipedia, it’s gonna be the most expensive movie ever made.

July 7, 2006

New avatar of Abazab

Filed under: Internet, Mobile, Video — harshdeep @ 10:21 pm

Some time back, I talked about Abazab and Umundo – these applications let you upload videos from your mobile (and desktop too) to your blog.

Looks like Abazab has got a face lift – the playbox looks much better now and it’s more functional. One thing that I like is the clip browser on the right hand side.

I’m still using my old blogspot blog to host my abazab playbox.

Sharing of uploaded video clips has also been enhanced. If you happen to like a video in someone’s playbox, just hit the share button while your mouse is hovering over that particular video in the clip browser and enter your friend’s email id. Your friend doesn’t need to go through any registration process to view the video – all he has to do is visit a static link that is mailed to him – pretty straightforward and very usable.

Fastest way to upload pictures for your blog

Filed under: Internet — harshdeep @ 9:08 am

Allyoucanaupload is the fastest and the simplest way to upload images to show on your blog. I’ve been hosting all images for my blog on it ever since I discovered it.

UI of the webpage is designed to let you do one thing – upload pictures. Can’t get simpler than this.


This is not flicker – you don’t need to create an account. If you lose the URL it generates for the uploaded image, there’s no way to get it back – you’ll have to upload it again.

Very useful if you host your blog on a public server.

July 3, 2006

Mobile subscribers “growth” – India set to take over China

Filed under: Mobile — harshdeep @ 10:50 am

Anything that we do here in India, inevitably gets compared to China – at least things that are related to economics, governance and population growth (thankfully, they haven’t started playing cricket yet)

Now, it seems like India is all set to take over China in the “growth” in the number of mobile phones sold. Touchy, but that’s just the bright side of the story. China had around 5 times the number of mobile subscribers compared to India at the end of 2005. So, lots of catching up to do. Can’t let Sehwag’s Maa down.

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