Wednesday, September 06, 2017

A Journalist Was Killed Yesterday


Gauri Lankesh, a journalist/activist, was shot dead yesterday. A progressive, she spoke and wrote against communal politics, caste system and the establishment. She was a mentor to rising young leaders like Jignesh Mevani (social activist in Gujarat) and Kanhaiya Kumar (Ex-JNU students Union president). She worked in Karnataka, a state in news of late for not being that friendly to journalists, even by Indian standards.

Are journalists more in danger today? Because they are targets of people hiding behind mobs hiding behind governments? Gauri Lankesh said some time ago:

“We had UR Ananthamurthy, Kalburgi, my own father P Lankesh, Purna Chandra Tejaswi, all these people. They were all trenchant critics of Jawaharlal Nehru, of Indira Gandhi, of Rajiv Gandhi. But none of them were ever physically attacked, let alone [receiving] death threats.”
We know the answer. We know deep inside that we should all be journalists/activists today. That would be the best tribute to Gauri Lankesh.

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Friday, September 01, 2017

We may be killing and hurting less, but are we thinking about it more?

Steven Pinker might have some facts about there being less violence (at least in the developed world) on this planet than before, but I am with John Gray and don't believe humans have become peace-minded animals.

Truth: We are too busy with our smartphones to go out, riot and kill, and too fearful of army-like police and CCTVs everywhere, where even small crimes may result in big punishments.

Saying 'millennial' all the time doesn't mean we all have become more 'moral'. Doc Searls writes about the decline in usage of the term 'non-violence' in searches and books.

Use of non-violence term in books

Searches of 'non-violence'


Does it mean we mean we are not interested in 'non-violence'? Does it mean we are thinking about 'violence' more? Does it mean our language has changed, that we project our anger, frustrations and policies in other words when writing books or searching? I want to go with the third explanation. You?

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Modi Government = Sellers of Vaporware = Pivot Government

The massive failure of demonetization, one of the worst things done by an Indian government, affected every common Indian citizen. Old men saw their fixed deposit incomes go down. Small businesses shuttered down for months. Millions of workers lost their jobs. The unorganized sector, responsible for most jobs in the country, took a left hook (this government loves big business only). RBI's credibility took a big beating. Farmers couldn't get timely and adequate payments for their produce, resulting in protests and suicides. GDP growth slowed down.

The Modi government is best at two things:

1. Sell the public on fancy plans and slogans - They call all this vaporware in the software industry.
Three + years of this talkative ('vachaal') government and all India got was shitty phrases...'smart cities' anyone? Hope your street isn't flooded during this monsoon.

2. Announce new plans as soon as you learn about the failure of the existing plan - they call it pivoting in the software industry.
The habitually pivoting government explains the demonetization failure as saying it was all about a cashless economy anyway, as if cashless economy would take away all the corruption, and it didn't matter that the consumers and small businesses would have to pay the fees associated with all digital transactions.

The people of India are gullible and anxious people. They sent a bunch of dubious and mouthy people to power. If only we had acted as smart VCs and tried to see behind their marketing.

Remember 'shining india' of 2004? Actors from the same training institute that time too.

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Friday, July 07, 2017

Truho.com: An easy, all-in-one online publishing tool for businesses & professionals

How about creating and maintaining a comprehensive online business presence that is as easy as using your email/social media account?

Meet Truho, my latest project. Truho brings you these: Quick and easy online presence, easy online marketing, easy resume, easy lead generation...and soon, easy payments and invoicing.


Basically, Truho is 'Wordpress meets Paypal meets Magento'.

I know it is a handful.


I have been working on the Truho, on and off since 2009, and was able to finish it, working full-time on it for 12months.

If you are a business, you can use it do a lot of things - business listings, products, services, deals/offers, rewards progams, job posting, other business pages, lead generation pages...and much more.

(Truho for business - screengrab)
If you are individual or a professional / freelancer, use Truho  to post your resume on a dedicated url, have a'hire me' button to get new job leads, maintain a 'project's page, answer people's questions.

(Truho for Individuals - screengrab)
I am working on adding the payments component to Truho.

Try it out for yourself.

About Truho
Truho for individuals
Truho for businesses

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Wednesday, March 08, 2017

Annals of 'Post Truth': Is Rajeev Chandrasekhar The Peter Thiel Of India?

So, a rich man in India got the courts to issue a take down order to a news website, TheWIre, even before giving it a chance to explain itself. That most of our media is prostrating itself before the Modi government is not news. What is a bigger news that the rich and powerful people are being able to openly dictate what the Indian people get to read about them in the media. From Scroll.in:

The Wire took down two articles that  (Rajeev)Chandrasekhar. The first, published on January 25, was a report by Sandeep Bhushan on the Republic TV, a news channel Chandrasekhar is set to launch in association with former Times Now editor-in-chief Arnab Goswami.

The second, published on February 17, was an opinion piece by Sachin Rao on the alleged conflict of interest in Chandrasekhar being a member of the parliamentary committee on defence and investing in defence companies.

The offending articles are here but they show the take down notice instead.


All this seems familiar to the way Billionaire Peter Thiel went after Gawker, eventually succeeding in getting Gawker.com to shut down and paying loads in fine, just because Thiel didn't agree with the stuff Gawker was prublishing. In his response to a questionairre sent by Scroll.in, Chandrasekhar replied in an eerily Thiel-like manner:

“This court action is not about a take down, it is about holding those who did this accountable for their actions,” he added. 
Of course he meant that the rich and powerful are not accountable for their actions at all, only those in media who dare to speak the truth.


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Saturday, November 12, 2016

Ignore Facebook As Much As Possible

What should we do with Facebook, this 'glorified Flickr'? Facebook ads (and Mark Zuckerberg) may shout about Facebook being an 'agent of change' and all that B.S. but fact is, Facebook has become a powerful force of misinformation, especially in today's polarized societies and nationalist governments, fueling echo chambers and making billions along the way with gloried display ads.

During the recent US General Elections, President Obama called Facebook a 'dust cloud of nonsense.'

Nieman Lab, which studies media, says Facebook has become a sewer of misinformation. Facebook has also been called the world's leading distributor of lies.  Quickly Facebook is losing whatever goodwill it had.


What can be done to fix the Facebook problem?

1. Time for FB to start acting like a media company, and taking the responsibility.

Hire editors to manage what shows up in its Trending section. Better, hire a team of journalists and charge them with separating at least the worst of the fake news from the stream.

But Facebook doesn't want the responsibility, and hides like a coward behind the 'platform' excuse.


2. Time for governments to regulate Facebook's walled garden, or at least reset regulations for what so-called 'platforms' are required to do.
This is not some poor platforms we are talking about here. Google and Facebook make billions without taking the full responsibility their reach foists on them.


3. Ignore Facebook itself.
Or commit yourself to seeing the latest friends and family update, keeping in mind that Facebook doesn't produce the news, it is your friends etc who pushing the shit down your throat. If you need the news, go to the newspaper's site. The journalist will thank you too. Facebook doesn't pay for the production of good news and opinions.

Facebook has only made fake news and uninformed opinion easier to spread, and Zuckerberg knows that the market or government/s don't punish it for doing some shitty thing day after day. (If it helps the case, just the other day Facebook mistakenly showed memorial banners on profile pages implying users were dead.


During the current backlash against Facebook regarding fake news stories during the US General elections, Mark Zuckerberg denies all responsibility, only vaguely saying 'there's so much more we need to do'.

Oh great. But it is not Facebook but we who need to do much and stop using Facbeook for our news and helpful information source. When did we loose our common sense?

All day long, you all are busy refreshing your FB feed. Stop. Take time out and check out the world outside, starting with some news that you don't agree with. Talk to people with views different from yours. Don't let Facebook help you dig your prejudice-lined cave too deep. Even Narcissus would be ashamed if he looked at you right now.

Whatever happens, for sake of humanity, I hope people use Facebook only what it was meant to do, news and updates from friends  and family, not fake news and poison stuff from people posing as friends.

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Sunday, October 23, 2016

Introducing Foodglad.com

I just made live my latest project, foodglad.com, a collection of food calorie burn calculators, health stats calculators (all on1 page) and healthy food lists.

Believe me, getting older is no fun when you have no idea of how much your eating is affecting your health.

I was reminded of a poster I saw, which said "Take the stairs, for one day you will find out you can no longer climb the stairs."

Foodglad contains food calorie burn calculators (choose from a database of 4500+ food items), five health stat calculators on one page and a Mets value search tool (600+ activities) - these are prompts to track what we eat and how much we are doing to keep ourselves active.


Screenshots from Foodglad.com:

Home page 


Food calorie burn calculator (just choose what you ate and voila!)

Five Important Health Calculators On One Page (just enter your weight, age, height and gender, that's all) 


Mets Value Search: Search for Energy Intensity of more than 600 activities.


Foogdlad also has 40+ Lists of Healthy Foods.

The future: If I get time, I may as well as add more food and activity tracking features.

I hope you will find this small website useful.




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Monday, September 26, 2016

State of the World Series of Polls on Honestpage.com

I have been working on Honestpage polls, where you can create, share or vote on interesting polls, summaries and pitches. I know, there are many online tools to create and share polls, but there is poll-based community. That was my idea behind Honestpage. It is a work in progress.

I am especially excited by State of the world series of polls (there are 100+ polls in this section), where I hope to gauge the world's opinion on politics, morality, society etc. It would be great if you check out the State of the world polls and share your views. Thank you.

Some other interesting polls in 'State of the world' series:
Men and women should have equal... (check all that apply)
Rank things that are causing the most stress in your life
Most responsible for polluting the environment?
Most Hated Employment Ritual? (choose all that apply)
Rank The 50 Most important Problems In Your Country

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New Online Quiz Types On Basicversity.com: Beat The Clock and Word Of The Day

New features on Basicversity, where more than 200,000+ people have taken a free online quiz: Beat The Clock and Word of The Day. Please check out an online quiz and see how many correct answers you can give in 3 minutes!

(screenshot from a Beat the Clock quiz type)

(screenshot from Word of the day quiz type on Basicversity)




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Friday, September 16, 2016

Why Facebook advertising is a waste of money

Came across this smart writeup on how Facebook advertising waste advertisers' money. We knew this always, but the explanation is very good:

I once liked a dance company on Facebook because I know the person who made their website. Now I see adverts for dance productions. That's not advertising gold; that's a waste of advertising money.

I reckon most people's profiles are like this - a few likes or posts about something that you'd never actually buy and all that ad money is just thrown away. 90% of the adverts could be getting your profile wrong but simple confirmation bias makes us notice that 10% far more than the useless, poorly targeted adverts, so when advertisers survey people they get the impression their profiling is working. Or worse, the ad networks know that the profiling doesn't work but they carry on the myth in order to charge advertisers more.

I might well be wrong on this, but while I see adverts for things that have no appeal to me I'll keep suspecting profiling doesn't actually work.

Seems only internet marketing agencies and Ad networks, with their overpaid 'marketing experts' and their lesser-paid 'army of trolls' push the case for more FB advertising, polishing the turd masquerading as a golden egg (for some, maybe).


Also read: Can Adwords help sell ebooks? No.

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