Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Javascript sucks. So does multi-monitors


It was nice reading two different articles, about two topics, where the author had a viewpoint similiar to mine. One was about the javascript hype, or javascript psychosis. I have never understood the hype and attention which javascript has been getting these past few years. There is a overload of frameworks and libraries, and even companies like Oracle rushed to join the bandwagong by releasing their own javascript framework.




Check out a related video.


The other link I came across was this, where the author makes a clear stance for single monitor setups. Over the years, I have seen people (mostly on TV, but also IRL) looking at multiple monitor screens for their design/programming/hacking work.  They think they are multi tasking. But I am not one. I am an efficient single tasker. A single monitor to look at helps me maintain focus. And attention.  And a huge part of day to day work involves deep work, where I have to spend multiple hours looking at a single file. Specially helps when I have move my latop between rooms.

Monday, March 27, 2017

HCL wants to create its own zombie engineers


I was shocked to read this , HCL is going to train high school graduates into low paying programmer jobs, and these people will never be able to leave their company, because they do not have an engineering degree.

Also they salary the new high schoolers will start with, will be lesser than what entree level engineers currently earn at HCL.



Saturday, March 25, 2017

Too many wallets, not enough money.


The problem is cost

Looks like latest technology  startups are interested in are online money-wallets. You know, the system which allows you to keep some money in an online account, and use it for online payments. I guess, they identified something banks were totally unaware of , and built up a system to fill that up. But then, other startups too woke up, and started copying each other.  I only realized how crazy it had gotten when today I was trying to make an online payment, and got this screen.


Thats 10 different wallets !  Some I had not even heard of. So I got curious and searched for ALL the online wallet systems available in India. And I got this:


Yup. There are a lot of them. Even some mobile network companies (Airtel,Jio) have joined the race. Some banks have also released their apps. But I am not sure if they are solving the existign problems, or adding to users’ woes.

There has to now be some sort of regulation for these wallet guys. For one, there is now way to transfer money between these wallets, without first transferring to a bank. And some of them charge for those transfers. More on that later.

Second, money in the wallets do not accrue interest, like it does in your bank. That is one advantage the bank apps have.

Third, I am sure all these apps have security problems, specially on their andriod versions. Its only a matter of time before some or all of them get hacked. And the lack of IT security laws in this country means there is no proper protection to the end users.

And fourth, the ultimate problem is cost. These are all private players (except SBI). And they need to make their own profit. Which means sooner or later, they are gonna have to charge the customers for their service. What some online sites call “convenience charge”. Being in the IT business, guys like me know there are huge mulitlayered systems which power these online behemoths.  Even if they use open source, they will still need skilled programmers and support guys to power their frameworks. And all these are going to cost.

This is one advantage traditional cash transactions still have. There are no hidden charges. Unless they figure out a way to charge nominal to the customers, most of these apps are not going to survive.




PS: By they way, I have a PayTM account, the only wallet I used. Because they accept these at my company cafetaria.

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Jio still wins

So I was looking at the knee jerk reaction plans from Airtel , Vodafone and others , to Jio’s new paid plans. By subscribing to Jio Prime, existing Jio 4G users get 1GB per day for the next 12 months, and all they have to pay is Rs 303. Those who aren’t part of the Jio family and are keen on joining them post 1 April, can get plans that offer as much as 2.5GB for a month at Rs 303.


Airtel feels that a Rs 345 plan, which offers 28GB 4G data per month, will satisfy its existing users. They have launched plans priced at Rs 345 and Rs 549, offering 28GB free data for the month


Vodafone is offering a Rs 346 prepaid plan for its users in select circles, which is why it is hard to locate the plan on the company’s website and mobile app.



Going by the numbers and benefits on offer, Jio Prime trumps both Airtel and Vodafone. Jio is giving free voice calls, no roaming and up to 56GB of data every month till March 2018.

Airtel and Vodafone are trying their best with a new set of plans to compete with Reliance Jio, but are still lagging behind. Also, the lack of clarification as to how Airtel and Vodafone will offer their packs, leaves customers in a fix.


I guess the writing on the wall is clear, Jio’s clearly defined plans will work out cheaper to the average subscriber.


Wednesday, March 1, 2017

The Uber and Ola problem


In case you didn’t know, the Ola drivers are going on strike. Again. All over the country. And I guess rest of the world too, for Uber. What the strikers do not know, however, is that these companies are doomed. Their business models (if they still have one) is unsustainable , specially at such large numbers, and with costs going up everyday, they will have to price their services realistically. At which point, its game over.

Their strike might explain why I found the roads a little less jammed these past two weeks. It was relatively easier to drive around the city, even in areas usually congested. Never realized that these private cabs were causing a buildup of everyday traffic. So in a way, its good. More people should start using public transport like buses and trains.

Now I am not a fan of these new shared economy aggregators. Till date, I might have used Ola about 7 times. And that was always when we were travelling in a group, of more than 2 people. Even at the surge priced charges, I found it value for money, because the cost of the air conditioned BMTC buses in Bangalore is through the roof. And the actual driving in the city is a nightmare, better leave to someone else.  They do solve a problem, the ease at which you can get a cab booked from your vicinity. The ability to pay cashless. But they can’t actually make money. People are going to use these services only if they are affordable. Before Ola and Uber, when was the last time you hailed a sedan cab in India ? The three wheeled auto-rickshaw is the go to transportation of choice. Hiring a full taxi was only when you travelled for your company, in which case you can get it reimbursed anyway. Nobody hailed a taxi for day to day journeys.

Now the cab drivers now striking are demanding better incentives, and insurance and things like that. All of which will cost the company more. These are the very same drivers who once scammed their company out of crores. And there were those incidents of sexual assault on women too. Now that the tables are turned, they have resorted to protest.

But fact is that a more traditional model of aggrgating and pricing still works today. I was delighted to read that Meru cabs of radio taxis still operate without any problems. Meru is one of the first radio taxis in the city, and along with Fastrack, the only options till a few years back. But in their case, they own their vehicles, taking the burden of maintaining the vechicles off their drivers. That model still works. I guess Uber and Ola will have to explore something like this.

The only good thing which they introduced was their cab sharing system, where you share a cab with other riders travelling in the same direction. That has to be incentiviced. The government has to encourage ride sharing, and promote better public transport system. And a better city planning. Ultimately, the city has to be built for people, not cars.