Why Indians should stop buying GOLD?

Why are we Indians fascinated about Gold so much?

Having a friend’s or relative’s marriage in future? Mere 1 gm of gold coin costing about <3k INR would sound mightier than a washing machine costing about 8k INR. Over the last 5-6 years, Gold has been the most promising investment. Giving about 25% returns in a year. However, there is a problem. Gold is just a shiny metal which is over-hyped. I remember I attended a workshop in Bombay stock exchange where in the ex-president of the BSE just ridiculed Gold as an investment.

Some of my thoughts:

1. Gold is very trustworthy metal. It has a proven record in the history of mankind to bring them out of trouble in times of need – Be it marriage, Be it war, Be it a big loan repayment – Gold comes in handy. About 6-8% of human mind in India revolves around Gold. Whenever they want to go for ‘shopping’ when they have large amount save, they would buy GOLD. I know many people who would spend their entire savings only to buy GOLD. There are Gold schemes in India which encourages everyone to invest a part of their salary in GOLD every month!

2. Fact: Gold is not mined in India so much. Gold has to be imported. Like OIL, Gold is very less in India but the increasing demand has created a lot of Gold imports in India.

3. Gold is nothing but a stagnant yellow metal:  You practically can’t use Gold to do anything. Just sit back and relax while its locked in your locker. Its just a useless metal which has blocked minds of innocent Indians with its glittering sparkle! Btw, over the years, I’ve found one great use of gold. You can make Gold wires in your homes electrical cabling. Gold is a very good conductor with a very low power loss in transmission! I.e if you care for electricity bills and I.e if you’re super duper filthily richie rich!
But hey, for an average Indian, a locked asset in their locker – which they take a look at only to see that its safe, gives them mental peace and a feeling of superiority over others which is far more satisfying than a good meal – So yes, Gold does bring mental peace to Indians which is an Irony understated.

4. What next: Once you have all this Gold which is already imported into India by millions of buyers, what next? Since Gold has no other practical use, no one wants to trade gold with one another unless something important comes up like financial crisis or war. What’s the probability of such happening and to how much percentage of the general public? So basically it becomes a lumpy piece of metal lying in your locker giving you mental peace ONLY without any economic growth.

5. India doesn’t sell Gold. May be it does but the percentage is very less. Why would someone want to buy gold from India. Yes, Iran would get gold from India because India cannot pay them for the imported Oil – Due to the dollar problem (Not that Indian cannot pay)

In Conclusion: What can you do as an Indian ?
Its practically impossible to tell any Indian “Stop buying gold”. It would be like telling an Indian “Be there on time – Sharp”. What’s recommended is that do not buy Gold if you have excess cash. Invest in something else – in may be a business! Or something else..! Give a percentage of it as charity..

Mark my words when I say this: The more Gold India imports, the more liability will it add in the future. So its my very humble request to all you super duper richie rich fellas reading this blog – Invest wisely. All that glitters is not gold!

Apple iOS in-app purchase hacking – How to prevent specially com.zeptolab.ctrbonus.superpower1 hacks

Today I am going to list of various mechanism used by hackers to overcome our in-app purchase utility of one of our top apps in books section called “Story Time for Kids”

As you are aware apple stores each purchase receipts and allows developers an interface to verify each receipt before delivering the purchases (unlocking). Recently many jailbreakers have tried to hack into our system and unlock in-app content for free. I will discuss some very popular mechanisms and how we’ve tried to solve them:

1. Change the DNS of the iPhone. Hackers changed the DNS of the device and instead of redirecting the verification of purchase receipts to Apple servers, they could redirect it to their own custom server and send a custom verification. This way the app would get unlocked and no one would ever come to know. However, the good news is that Apple has patched this and now its kinda safe.

2. Change of DNS of the server side verification. If your in app purchase verifies the receipt via a server, then hackers could change the url via a firewall / middle-ware in between which could return a positive purchase of the unlockable item. There are many apps in Cydia who can do this and you as a owner will never come to know that the purchase was unlocked. Unfortunately there is no out of the box solution except your app keeps checking periodically with an online database if it was purchased or not.

3. Change of Product ID – Spoofing : Many jailbroken iOS devices just change the outgoing purchase receipt to an existing valid purchase receipt. (There are background apps to do this). Our server will then send this to Apple server for verification and guess what, apple will send a confirmation! A sheer good trick. But we’re smarter. Before sending the receipt for verification, unpack it (base64_decode) and extract out the product_id from it. Then check if the product_id is your genuine product or not. If not, just cancel it out. The most famous spoofed product id is :


If you encounter any product ID apart from your own, then simply block them. They are not genuine at all!


BB10 : BlackBerry 10 Review

So the much awaited BB10 is here finally!


Thank you BB for sending us the devices to test and review. From the first looks what I could say is: Not bad! Not bad at all…!

From past several days, I just felt that BB guys will push up the same OS as the PlayBook but they have done a great job in modifying many parts of the OS to make it more native “Phone’s OS” rather than a tablet OS.( In the starting days, BB has just ported their PlayBook OS on BB10 devices, they had many references of the Playbook everywhere in the ported OS). Currently, they have not only revamped the entire look and feel, but also have added many more usability features which would make user feel good.



Things I like:

IMG_00000003The device doesn’t have any physical Home button, but rather a swipe from bottom to the screen would act as one. This is good, saves a lot of time. This feature was there in Playbook as well and I liked it then as well.








The back buttons for all the native settings apps and many more are below near the thumb, which is again a good advantage.

IMG_00000001The BlackBerry Hub: Most interesting part is that they have created an app (I’d rather call it as a separate desktop) which contains “All in one place” conversation app called “The BlackBerry Hub” which is really fascinating. The app cannot be killed or started, its always ON! Really really convenient for much of the conversations.







IMG_00000006BBM: The BBM is completely revamped and has a lot of exciting look and features.









IMG_00000007Side slide menus: The menus slide in from both sides giving out extra options, which is very convenient as well.









IMG_00000008Browser: The browser is again a great one which I feel is more optimized version of the Playbook browser. I would call it the most advanced browser throughout all browsers. It passes every standard test with flying colors. Not only that, in my personal experience, I have been surfing on this browser in and out and have compared it with iPhone/iPad and Android browsers, but the rendering speed and look and feel is totally awesome! Specially the old websites with malformed HTML is also taken care of. Highly commendable job!





IMG_00000014AppWorld: BlackBerry guys have been very active in getting their apps ported and has been involving the developers very much. They have even sent developers cash + devices to get their apps tested proper and encouragement to launch more apps. I’m sure there are plenty of apps for the new device. Not to forget, BB has a very straight procedure of running Android apps on BB10 platform which will encourage many more developers to port their apps. Previously, BB10 Development was a big pain and developers like us wanted to move away, but this BB10 will give us enough flexibility to develop more and more apps and games!




IMG_00000011 This is our app on BB10!

Global search is another great feature, helps you search just anything on your phone.

Background apps is also great feature – but the apps do not run on background, they just go to the background (pause) mode.

Camera tools are great, they provide facility to modify the image. Lets say you shoot a picture and your eyes are closed at the very moment, you can go back 1-2 seconds and edit that portion of the eye. Good tool..!





Big Keyboard: Really comfortable in typing. There is a ring which allows pointers to be placed properly at the exact place you’d like to .(This is more comfortable than in iPhone / Android ). The special feature is auto complete are at dynamically placed on the keys itself , rather than moving your finger to another place to auto complete, you can just swipe above the key and let it complete it for you. You’ll have to use this feature to see how it feels!
















This is our Flash site looks on BB10!



Screenshot of Calendar



















System Settings










Things I do not like:

There is no great support for customize your phone. Its more like a professional phone and lacks a lot of fun side to it. I’m sure this is not a hardware constraint but the new updates to the OS would take care of it.

The starting of apps (initialization) is a bit laggy and makes the user wait for at-least 1second. I do not quite like this specially with my personal device where I’m most impatient to do several things at a time.

Multi-tasking is just as bad as the iPhone. I thought it would be like Android and specially they could have innovated multi-window like what the Samsung guys did with their Note II.

Conclusion: I like the device and it will definitely solve the business purpose. Much better than 9800 (except the qwerty keyboard!). The only question is how well the users accept it in the already neck-to-neck smart-phone market – Only time will tell!

Life without Jagjit Singh…


For all those of you reading the blog entry and know me already would know that I’m incomplete without Jagjit Singh. For those of you who don’t, now you know!

Jagjit Singh has been a passion in my life since the early days of my youth. I have enjoyed his music like any other person. May be one step further. I am a fan – an avid fan, a religious fan! Jagjit Singh’s music and choice of poetry has inspired me throughout my life. Now that he is gone, I miss him very much.

I have always tried to attend his concert while he came to Calcutta along with Ghulam Ali. I remember the concerts which I attended alone and with friends. I used to literally drag my friends.

Everyone in my family knows that I am passionate towards his music. Any song of his on tv, my parents would call me immediately. Any concert advertisement in the newspaper, everyone would call and inform me!

The first ever concert that I attended was in an open air auditorium in Calcutta called Nazrul Manch. I still remember dressing up and parking my first bike and entering the concert. I had only come to listen to Jagjit Singh but Ghulam Ali started first so obviously everyone had to wait. I have great respect towards Ghulam Ali as well, but lets just say Jagjit Singh is my favorite. Jagjit Singh always sat on a chair and never flat on ground/platform. The stage had to be re-designed immediately. It was such a pleasure. He performed magnificently!

Jagjit Singh was a real performer. When he saw his audience were a bit bored in between, he would then change the tune into a bit hip hop tip tap number and everyone would be back with him. At other times, he just cracked some joke on stage. His logic was that people have come to get entertained and its his duty to entertain them either by music and if not, may be some joke in between. What he delivered was worth all the money spent.

Jagjit always had a smile on his face. He was always jolly. Always cracked jokes even when someone went for an autograph. I remember taking his first autograph and I was surprised that he was a little short height-ed man. I never looked on TV but he was about in between 5’4″ or 5-8″.

I had once even visited the hotel he was staying and even talked to him on phone and have even written several fan letters to him. I had lots to say to him but then when he was before me, I fell short of words. I often remember his Ghazal’s words “Chaha tha ye kahenge, socha tha wo kahenge. Aaye jo saamne jab, kuch bhi na keh sake bas dekha kiye unhe hum” – (I thought I’d say this, I thought I’d say that, but when he came in front of me I fell short of words and just kept looking at him).

I remember once of his concerts where he had come from Delhi and one wouldn’t believe what had happened before. Jagjit Singh’s mother had expired and he came to the concert after finishing the final rituals of her own mother. As soon as the event organizer Mr Badal Dhar Choudhary heard about his mother’s death, he wanted to cancel the show, but Jagjit insisted that he would still perform. The show must go on… This kind of a person is Jagjit..

I just feel I miss him terrible now. I only have his memories from the past songs but I still miss his concerts and although he may not be there, but his songs are always on my lips..

I would like to end my post by famous words of Ghalib (again sung by Jagjit Singh). It goes like “Hui muddat ke Ghalib mar gaya par yaad aata hai, wo har ek baat par kehna ke yun hota to kya hota..”

A long time has passed since his death, but I still remember him. That on every small thing he would say this and that and what if and what if not..

Honour Killing : How many more indian youth will die?

I am not just sad but ashamed of the fact that in a country which gives secularism as a fundamental right to its citizen, incidents of ‘Honour Killing’ still occur, and in numbers.

So what is ‘Honour Killing’? Taken from wikipedia: :”Honour Killing is the homicide of a member of a family or social group by other members, due to the belief of the perpetrators that the victim has brought dishonor upon the family or community. Honor killings are directed mostly against women and girls, but have been extended to men”

Its only recently that these incidents have come to limelight, but I am sure that A Romeo & Juliet story repeats every month(in the news of course, 100s go unnoticed) with a tragic ending.

Let the view points of family disagreements be taken in consideration;
Let the view points of the couple-in-love be taken in consideration;

Who’s to blame, who’s right or wrong? Who’s to judge?

A impulsive decision taken by the the couple flames anger among family and the heat reaches the couple. Its really obvious that the couple’s blood is warmer than their parents, resulting in a bigger flame. No matter what, the end is always tragic.

Most of today’s youth don’t care for their parents. But the is the reverse also not true?

All parents want their children to stand first in class, but there is one and only one first position. Who is to be blamed? Generation Gap? Communication Gap or Society’s pressure?

No matter what, the end is always tragic.

I just fail to believe that the one who bears the child for nine month inside her could one day kill the same just because they chose a life partner without their consent? I also fail to believe that some youngsters chose extravagant life partners which parents are bound to deny. I have also come across parents who think children as their own property. I have come across children who take parents as a liability. Nevertheless, it all boils down to some tragic moments which this age (both oldies and youngsters included) fail to understand.

So what’s the solution?


Talking helps a lot. Talking leads to sharing of ideas, sharing of emotions, sharing of feelings. This leads to understanding which leads to a bonding. Most of the parent-children relation today involves least amount of talking and mostly assumption. Assumption, Miscommunication and EGO are the most satanic effects on any relationship. It dilutes the blood. Blood becomes less thicker than water.

So talk your problems! Take it out of the system. Speak, but listen too because the other also want to be heard.

In today’s mean world, society acts as a catalyst in fuming reactions. Many a times it has been observed that parents might not be opposed to the Child’s dream but the society would pressurize the entire family. I have heard several parents killing their own will when it comes to ‘showing face’ in the society. Do not let society bother you. Remember, society suffers from Amnesia. They will soon forget what they said or did.

Lastly, I humbly request parents and youngsters of my age – Be reasonable. Do not be stubborn. Sometimes its better to lose a battle to win others’ love. Both of you are important for the future generation to come. If you fight among yourselves, who will take care of the all so cool coming soon “NextGen” ?!

Dear Google, Why do you treat Android as an Orphan?

Dear Google, Why do you treat Android as an Orphan?

The problem with Google Android Market.

Android is a good platform, no doubt. But Google treats it like an orphan. Why, Google?

Did you give birth to Android just for fun? Have some responsibility! Nurture your child!

Believe it or not, Google doesn’t care a damn about Android. Why should they? Its not their primary product compared to Apple/Blackberry/Nokia! Google Search is!
Android is just a fun project for them with a bunch of investment as a throw away. Remember the time when Google wanted to have Android as an Independent company? Remember how Google didn’t pay lot of attention to the sale of Google Nexus One and finally shut the production?

There are some clearly visible problems with Android and why its not still the best in the market.

1. No Liability. Google doesn’t want to take responsibility of filtering quality apps. As I’m blogging at the moment, there are 300k apps in iTunes, 250k+ on Android, 50-80k on Blackberry and so on. None of the Android developers will disagree with me if I say that 80% of the Android apps are useless. Where is the Quality? People launch apps just to promote their own product?!
Hello? There is something called as HTML 5 and Mobile Web for that! But why would Google care for an orphan?

2. Lack of Interest: I have seen the forums. There are teams who answer questions related to problems but the entire thing is so slow and there is no fun involved. Developers are not excited about asking questions for the appstore.

3. Google Market: The market is a big big thumb down. I don’t like it at all. Lets take some examples:

A. Android Publisher accounts has big problems : There’s always some maintainence or upgrades or something or the other not working. Specially in last couple of months this has increased.

B. The Publisher account is a ONE MAN ARMY : Lets say you have a team, OH NO, Market doesn’t allow teaming concepts. Its linked to your primary account. How on earth Google assumes the app publishers will handover their primary account password to the developers to upload and maintain the apps? Companies like us launch 2-3 apps weekly and its a big problem for us to convince clients to send their Google Password.. This is surely not expected out of Google. To top it, our clients think we do not know our stuff!

C. Merchant Accounts: Well Google, Did you know how many Android developers are there in India? Atleast far far more than you think. For those of you who didn’t know this. Google DOESN’T ALLOW Paid apps in India and many other countries. Such a pity!

D. Ratings/ Comments: Oh Google, I am so disappointed with you on this. People keep commenting in and out. Negative comments on competitor products. A good product turns evil! One cannot even mark a comment as SPAM!

E. Free Apps to Paid Apps switching Not possible: Ok Google, You really scare me now. What if I want to offer my App free for a few days during holiday season? What if I want to run a promotion campaign? Really, have your team no marketing sense?

F. Copy Protection: Google missed out the long term thinking here. They have this feature of now allowing the apps to moved from Internal memory to SDCard. It was made to ensure that apps aren’t copied. Hey Google, didn’t you know ROOTed devices does that anyway. Obviously if someone wants to copy will copy it anyhow! But look at the negative side? There are devices with just 128MB of internal memory. How do you expect these devices to run apps out of internal memory?

G. No limelight for new apps: Google android store has become a place where there is no room for fresh apps. Whenever you open the Google Market, you’ll see top free/top paid etc and on the last is new releases. This is not the case with Apple iOS. Apple ensures that new apps do come on limelight by presenting the user with this screen first. As a result of this silly thing which Google fails to understand, the top apps keep topping all the time and there is very less scope for new apps to come on limelight

I. Google doens’t earn from Apps: They earn from selling support for their Android OS. There are 100s of manufacturers today who goto google for customizing their OS in the way they like it. Samsung and HTC are top ones. Google makes good money with this and they’re just not bothered about retail consumer markets.

Sales Reports:

So why all this?

I probably think is that Google doesn’t want to regulate the apps. Instead it wants as many apps as possible. The way google is behaving with the market clearly shows that it wants the app publishers to *NOT* earn money from their app’s sale but rather from other sources which is clearly Advertisements.

Due to such things, app developers are switching from a PAID app model to a FREE App + Adversting model. This is not good for publishers, but a very good thing for Google. As yet again, Google is highly interested in only ads! No matter where they come from.

Mobile devices are a new toy and platform for Google for their ad business to expand and the policies and strategies around the apps clearly suggests that Google isn’t going to improve their market in near future and just expect small little changes here and there to keep people happy!

Android has become nothing but just a dust in the glittering eyes of the users.

Google Search by Image API

Google hasn’t officially released its new search by image API so I thought of researching and writing a small article on how one can use this searching technique in their custom web, desktop and mobile apps.

Here’s a quick analysis first. Basically you replicate what the browser does for you and scrape the response.

Search Location: http://www.google.co.in/searchbyimage/upload

Request Headers:
Host: www.google.co.in
User-Agent: Mozilla/5.0 (Windows NT 5.1; rv:6.0.2) Gecko/20100101 Firefox/6.0.2
Accept: text/html,application/xhtml+xml,application/xml;q=0.9,*/*;q=0.8
Accept-Language: en-us,en;q=0.5
Accept-Encoding: gzip, deflate
Accept-Charset: ISO-8859-1,utf-8;q=0.7,*;q=0.7
Connection: keep-alive
Referer: http://www.google.co.in/imghp?hl=en&tab=ii
Cookie: PREF=ID=1d7bc4ff2a5d8bc6:U=1d37ba5a518b9be1:FF=4:LD=en:TM=1300950025:LM=1302071720:S=rkk0IbbhxUIgpTyA; NID=51=uNq6mZ385WlV1UTfXsiWkSgnsa6PdjH4l9ph-vSQRszBHRcKW3VRJclZLd2XUEdZtxiCtl5hpbJiS3SpEV7670w_x738h75akcO6Viw47MUlpCZfy4KZ2vLT4tcleeiW; SID=DQAAAMEAAACoYm-3B2aiLKf0cRU8spJuiNjiXEQRyxsUZqKf8UXZXS55movrnTmfEcM6FYn-gALmyMPNRIwLDBojINzkv8doX69rUQ9-

You can ignore most of the above and use standard HTTP headers of a normal browser or CURL it.

What’s important is the multipart form data which gets posted to the Search Location Above:



















The HTML form below posts everything for you, results of which you could scrap and use it for your app.

<form action = “http://www.google.co.in/searchbyimage/upload” METHOD=”POST” enctype=”multipart/form-data”>
<input type =”file” name = “encoded_image”>
<input type=”Submit” name = “Search” value = “Search”>
<input type = “hidden” name = “h1″ value =”en”>
<input type = “hidden” name = “safe” value =”off”>
<input type = “hidden” name = “bih” value =”800″>
<input type = “hidden” name = “biw” value =”1280″>
<input type = “hidden” name = “image_content” value =””>
<input type = “hidden” name = “filename” value =””>

Poetry and me

A language without its literature is like a beautiful beggar. She has her beauty but still unaccepted in society. Literature in the form of Poetry has been part of my life since childhood. I *do not* write poems. I have to admit that I did try writing but then I would also proudly admit that its not my cup of tea. And so I put myself amongst the cattle class who are confined to just appreciating poetry.

I love recitals. I love to know people by their words. I enjoy each and every word used by a poet in a poem or couplet. I try to dig deep into the mood or situation for which he may have chosen that word. Why not use another word in place? Has the poet done justice by using that word?

My love for recitals is not just confined to poems, but any form of creative writing. Recital is also an art and when done in the way it should be, would sound like music. Poetry which is easy to understand without the use of heavy words is mostly appreciated. Most of us regard Poets as a “Devdas” kind of a person. But remember, a Poet is not a mad-man scribbling anything. Its a perfect combination of words for the illiterates like us to understand and who do not know or care about poetry.

What makes me write this weblog is an incident over which me and my sister laughed tremendously a few days ago. It happened that I sent her an audio clip of a recital called ‘Mushaira’ of a famous Urdu poet. She started laughing immediately making fun of each and every couplet; I didn’t mind. I let her enjoy. After all, the reason I sent her the audio clip was for her to enjoy. Although the reason may be different.

Nevertheless, My journey with poetry started from the school days. We had poems in every class. Be it in English or regional language. Some poets/Writers who have inspired me back then were Wordsworth, Shakespeare, Vivian Derozio, Ghalib are some to be named. I enjoyed every moment of my childhood reciting poetry and speeches in front of the mirror, making expressions to myself, and clapping to myself. This is a gift I cherish till date. Many of the recitals I remember it till date. And I will not be modest to say that I have become an avid speaker now.

Words are really important in a person’s life and his/her upbringing. I am proud to belong to family of two cultures of my mom and dad. My Father and Mother are from same state of Gujarat but their hometowns are in opposite directions. Mixing up both has given me enormous number of daily proverbs, similes, and synonyms in their own literature. I always tried to translate them. Even my grandmother has played an important role. I still remember a proverb which my grandmother told me. She said “Measure your words and then speak”. When I was young, I made a funny comment. “Should I bring weighing machine”. She knew that I would one day understand its true meaning. Many other proverbs that still go behind my mind, and another such is “Go and earn and you’ll know how many 20’s make a hundred”. I used to immediately answer “5 20’s would make a hundred”. What a carefree was I ?!

Over the years, I myself have matured due to this. But this is dying. Today’s youth is more about social networking. Poetry for them is only to be shared over text messages. The literature behind the poetry or creative writing is lost. Who encourages his/her son to become a Poet except a Poet these days? Most students take up literature because they are poor in Math. The graduates in Literature usually become journalists or become literary quacks writing poor quality books.

Nonetheless, I encourage everyone to read poetry in any form. Poetry doesn’t only express the literature of the language but also the poet’s mind and mood.