News You can Use


Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Of what use is this when the horses have already bolted

The horses have bolted. You cannot have horsemeat for dinner. Congress party is into overdrive, posturing for votes by projecting this in the media may backfire.

The Indian Government had actually negotiated a "blood money" deal with the Italians, but someone in their wisdom, overturned it. The Italians were ready to pay compensation to get out of the mess, but it was not permitted. Maybe it is politics at play, but will the Indian Government actually take concrete action to get back the 2 Italian soldiers? To do that, they do not have to go to the press with statements, but start moving the Interpol and other mechanisms. It is unlikely that they will do anything concrete. And even if they do, it is a long haul.

Sweep your own house before sweeping that of your neighbours

Trust Indian politicians to make issues out of nothing and try to garner attention. The way the DMK is pursuing the Sri Lankan vote in the UN, appears to make it the sole custodian of the rights of neighbouring countries' citizens.

This is nothing but electoral gimmick and the main beneficiaries of this posturing by India will only be the Chinese. It is high-time India thought out a clear strategy on what it wants to sweep. It's own home, or it's neighbours' homes. Keep off the neighbours and focus on bettering the lives of your citizens instead.

Congress party's media management strategy - one of the best

One should visit Just for knowledge on how well the Congress is avoiding the media and indirectly managing it using the best method available.

Everytime you switched to a news channel at night pre-2010, you would find the top politicians from ruling and opposition parties bickering and slugging it out on arguments presented to them by the news anchors.

Of late, Congress party politicians are missing from most TV channel talk shows and rarely come in to indulge in the argumentative debates that are played out day after day.

The Congress party has found one of the best solutions to this problem. Put forward a representative in place of the politicians since the media recall would not be that of any Congress representative known to the public, but would be that of Sanjay Jha, who constantly comes on these channels, talks, argues and then goes away. Mr Jha is not even the face of the Congress party, but yes, all in all, the main politicians do not get seen or associated with the debates. This strategy works very well in our country, as media channels are too loud and try to hype up issues unnecessarily. In fact, some sort of law is needed to curb this, because it is very clear that there is no self-regulation and no politicians want to curb this menace.

As an Indian TV viewer, the time has come to lock up the TV and move on, since the idiot box is actually turning people into idiots. The sound volumes are too loud during advertisements, during news headlines, advertisements are repeated more than once within a 10 minute period, basically, all the attributes of making one a dodo.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

LibreOffice alternative to Microsoft Office

Finally, a very viable alternative to Microsoft's Office has emerged. It was heartening to see that files saved in the .docx format using Microsoft Office did not need any changes when imported into LibreOffice. As a user of OpenOffice earlier, this change is great.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

India is only good at framing laws. Enforcement is selective

India's ruling politicians have either gone deaf, become insensitive, become like Assad or have forgotten that those who elected them to power voted them in and have now started taking those votes for granted. The point is that a politician whose family business is politics since generations would find that over time, they take that business for granted with a guaranteed vote. That is now changing. To this end, the Egyptians were much more mature at the time of Arab Spring. Unfortunately, not all nations have that.

Citizens now begun to asset themselves. The politicians are at a loss on how to react to an assertive citizenry and resort to asking law enforcement to disperse crowds that gather spontaneously. The simply have run out of canned scripts that provide assuring and meaningful responses. Normally, for past several decades, the line was an inquiry commission or judicial commission will be set up, but this no longer holds good. Therefore, politicians in Delhi have responded by implementing riot control measures.

Lastly, this news is definitely a suspected leak. Our law enforcement is good at it and the news papers are also good at getting these leaks. The investigation will now get into a media trial, if this is the way the police leaks out investigation proceedings.

Framing a law is easy. The difficult part is implementation and enforcement.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Microsoft Windows 8, Laptop Manufacturers and Monopolistic Practices in India

Ever since Microsoft announced the release of Windows 8, I have had a very tough time at retail outlets trying to buy a decent laptop with no operating system or just Windows 7 Basic Home on it.

Microsoft has gone all out to have it's own monopoly by pushing all laptop manufacturers to install and demonstrate the Windows 8 operating system on all their laptop models. I asked for a laptop with no Operating System, as I wanted to install Ubuntu Linux on it, but was denied a sale.

I visited the Dell showroom at Bandra, Linking Road, Mumbai, India and was shown only laptops running Windows 8. Unfortunately, when I asked the sales staff that I wanted to use Windows 7 on them, I was flatly told that I will only be sold laptops with Windows 8 on them. This post explains very much the reason why I am not interested in Windows 8. By forcing me to buy a Dell laptop with only Windows 8 on it, the Dell folks are stifling their own sales and think that Indian users are fools. Moreover, the practice of forcing consumers to buy a Windows 8 loaded laptop is monopolistic and restrictive on consumers' right of choice. Finally, this statistic will turn up on their balance sheet as sales lost due to recessionary pressures on the economy rather than a stupid decision on their part under Microsoft's pressure.

The same case was a Croma store at Lower Parel. The sales staff were totally helpless and said that the laptops with the specifications I want will be sold with only Windows 8 on it. Some idiot in Microsoft India has decided to push all manufacturers to load this useless Operating System on their laptops and expect me, the consumer, to forcibly buy Windows 8. I protest... simply by not deciding to go for a Dell, HP, Lenovo or Toshiba laptop with Windows 8 on it.

Personally, I like the Dell Vostro, but it is now a matter of negotiating with the online sales staff over a chat to decide if they will give me a laptop with Ubuntu on it. Ubuntu is a better choice over Windows 8 and also over Windows 7. Microsoft has decided to jump off a cliff, but I am no fan of Microsoft and am happy to see them do that. Hope the Competition Commission of India and MRTPC are listening to this post. Touch interface on laptops is also another negative. Each time you want to click on a tile in Microsoft Windows 8, you have to lift your finger off the keyboard, touch the screen and bring it back to the keyboard where you can type. Not a good choice for high-speed typists and heavy keyboard and mouse users.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

India and it's Corrupt Politicians and Businessmen

Finally, the attention that big-ticket corruption has, has been amplified by the Indian media. Politicians of all kinds and businesses have been inter-twined in such a manner that they appear to exist to enable the corrupt to stay shielded from the law. How else can one explain the BJP shielding it's own corrupt members and the Congress shielding their own corrupt members.

The corrupt must keep indulging in corruption, just to ensure that they are able to pay-off any investigators to suppress further investigations. Therefore, corruption is a never-ending cycle. The only way to tame it is to put a very heavy penalty on the giver. As long as the taker is available, a giver will be forced to give. But the moment the consequences of giving are very high, the giver may think twice before giving. The case in point is the cancellation of the 2G licenses by the Supreme Court.

However, the dangers of corruption are more dangerous in the psyche. Every time someone approaches a government office for some work to be done, the first thought is whether they will get their work accomplished and how much would it cost in bribes. If the work is done without a bribe, the person is relieved. The bribe giver takes it to be a function of time, wherein the expectation is to have a hassle-free and timely completion, and the taker takes it to be the additional income basically a function of fulfilling their needs. Needs are again subjective and the takers in some cases know no bounds. At some point, it becomes taken as a right to receive compensation for working and in a society where ethical values are depleting very fast, this could soon become a moral right.

The HP Congress Chief Minister has gone one step ahead and tried to launder his corruption money by retrospectively adding to his income tax returns. So, is that the future? The legalizing of corruption? It remains to be seen.