Shame on you, NIC (National Informatics Center)!

If you’re the one who is working with NIC, this post is for you. Please help me in knowing how you got recruited there?

I don’t mean to sound rude or bad or foul but I am ashamed of myself to see NIC guys who represent national level Information Technology system come up with such downgraded websites which even my 10-year old neice would design with just common sense.

In my previous posts about Rediff and Bank of India, I have taken out their faults. But for your site, Its just not worth the efforts.

Either you guys don’t get paid well, or you don’t have the technical skills, or you’re the wrong person to represent the country’s Infomatic center. Shame on you guys! You read me? SHAME ON YOU.

Just take a look at the site you guys have put on (Click to enlarge)


You call this a web site? A web portal ? Its nothing but a mere shame on the country. I am not just ashamed of you but I am angered. There are so many jobless people who can do much better than that. So the only question I come accross is How the hell do you get recruited in NIC?

Guys, Please take your job seriously. Don’t fool around. If you think you’re not suitable for the job, just quit and do something else. Take this as a piece of advice from an elder brother – With great power comes great responsibility.

Please guys, don’t bring a shame to the country. Code well, check out standards, Internet is a boon, take advantage from it. Read well, implement well. Please bring quality. Don’t run the Informatic Center like just another government office with lazy attitude.


Now I should start thinking how the UUID project’s infrastructure, technology and output will turn out to be?

Will thousands of crores of rupees be wasted on another set of Idiots like above?

An open letter to Bank of India : Are you bothered about your users?

Bank of India has launched its yet another terribly ‘faltoo’ service. This time its a software! There are no more browser based services available after March 18th 2010. I am not surprised but rather annoyed at the foolishness these people carryout sometimes always.

1. It works only on Windows. I gave up windows due to virus & security reasons. I am now on Macintosh. I can’t use any of Bank Of India’s online services. So its a waste for me. There are 20% people like me who are using non-windows operating system.

2. There is not much information about the digital security. The first time I use star token it asks for a PIN. How can I confirm that the information is going out securely from my system? It is not mentioned anywhere on the website.

When we install it says Publisher is Uniken Systems Pvt. Ltd. : Who is this Uniken Systems? How many of you know these guys? How does a lay man know about it? Should Bank of India website give some instructions for this?

Its ok to have a vendor do certification for you. But where is the information passed to the users ?

3. The first time Bank of India has mailed a secret PIN number to all their customers.(note the huge postal cost). What If I format my windows? I have to re-install the Star Token which will demand an authentication PIN which is mailed to me via post. It appears that this pin is usable only once! I am stuck! Help me!

4. Not sure if Bank of India thinks long term or not. According to a news, Microsoft windows will be shipped with an option of NOT having Internet Explorer. How will you guys deal with this? The software is heavily dependent on embedded Internet explorer control(Not just heavily, but rather say fully dependent!) which internally connects to BOI website! I am sure the software was heavily invested product. An unplanned investment. Any Answers BOI?

5. The software’s usability is very annoying. It blocks the entire screen. This means I can use only and only one program at a time. I am not sure if it has been tested with other intrusion detection / anti virus programs. Technically speaking, when the program requests for a full screen hook blocking other program, its a virus like activity for many anti-virus programs unless you add a exception to it.  Have you tested it BOI?

6. The whole idea of Internet Banking is ruined. This particular software restricts me to use the services from ONLY and ONLY 1) Windows AND 2) Internet Explorer AND 3) Only single Application at a time as it disallows me to use any other program at other time. I am not sure how this will work with ONLINE payment gateways!

7. According to a news report, French and German government has officially asked everyone *NOT* to use Internet explorer. Indian govt systems were compromised due to usage of Internet Explorer. Time and again it has been proved that Internet Explorer has been more vulnerable towards attack than any other browser/system. Why so much dependency on a single browser and racism towards other browsers? Isn’t Bank of India technically capable of providing services to another operating system?

8. Most of the Internet explorers in *India* are A) IE 6.0 and IE 7.0. Out of them 90% are default with their operating system which are *NEVER* patched to the current security level which Microsoft has to offer. There is always a threat of hackers using existing loopholes in the system.

With this step Bank Of India may publicize that it has added an extra level of security with all these hassles and restrictions, I rather use my old banking way of depositing a cheque/ draft than using such system. Or may be just close an account with them. They don’t care a damn for a single person! Do you BOI?

Security doesn’t mean you will narrow down options for users. It rather means you have to narrow down Hacker’s options and attempts to break into the system.

And yes, its not the end of the world. There are other banks which provide higher and secured system without A) annoying the user or B) Restricting the user for a particular operating system which has time and again proved to be more vulnerable than other operating systems. Any comments on this one, BOI?

Why does Bank of India invest in padding up existing technology and not open to newer options and not giving a though that ultimately the service is going to be used by end users! If you be evil to the the end users and they aren’t happy, it will be inevitable that sooner or later they will close an account with you.. !

Bank of India, I am not going to close the account with you immediately(But with such ‘funny’ services, I will soon). But yes, Its my humble appeal, Please employ better brains to put up a better security system which is easy and user friendly.

10 things I hate about India

India is my country and I love my country like any other foreign national. And this gives me right to criticize about the things I hate most about it.

1. People spitting on road: I just hate it. I am a biker and I cannot go near a bus. You’ll find people spitting out from the window of the bus and that too without looking if someone is down below. People spit on the road, corners of a building staircase, they empty their nose and stick the material on the walls and practically any place where they don’t find another person’s spit.

2. Getting the garbage out of your property only :  In India people keep their houses clean by dirtying their neighbor’s. It takes enormous amount of effort to just throw your garbage at the right place. Instead people just push it to the place which is out of their property and jurisdiction – To their neighbor’s land. Use of plastic and paper in daily lives has increased the garbage to another level, Not to mention that there isn’t a good recycling system, but all this just spreads out on the streets, sewage or some remote area which contributes to a very bad smell everywhere around the place.

3. Bribe: One may have heard about politicians being corrupted, but corruption at local level is also very common. Giving bribe is very common. Without bribe or tip money, its not that your work wont get done, but definitely not smoothly. Everyone takes a bribe or commission in whatever manner they may get the opportunity for. The term ‘chai-pani’ or tea-snacks is quite famous which means some tip for snacks or sweets. Even after paying service charges + service tax , a person would ask for ‘chai-pani’.

4. Unnecessary Wastage: What’s the point in cooking for 10 dishes for a family invited over for dinner. Answer: Show off. This results in a major wastage of food, decoration. Lavish marriages, Lavish apartments, Lavish use of Petrol & energy and everything. Its like “Have money, will spend it”.

5. Media & Controversies: Media plays very important role to destroy the real meaning of news. Some news channels present news in a manner which we call “Masala” or spice which just increases viewer’s attention and not awareness. Political controversies, Celebrity controversies juices up everything which is just unnecessary!

6. Traffic. : Everyone in India is in a hurry. Pedestrians and vehicle owners share the same area of road. Foot paths are for Hawkers selling things on road right from junk computer hardware to cheapest food. Traffic congestion is everywhere.

7. Attitude of people and Competition: In India people compete with each other forgetting the common goal. They keep fighting for their own self meaning rather than achieving a common goal. Everyone has a lazy attitude, until poked by higher authorities they don’t start working or improving things on their own. Laziness among the people doesn’t allow them to be creative and even make others lazy. One dirty fish in the pool makes the entire pool dirty.

8. Caste system and Reservations: Everything in India has caste systems, there is hidden discrimination everywhere. I just hate it when a job is denied to a person just because he may be from another state or another culture. I hate it even more when people treat each other as outcast if one is from separate state. They forget that they are from the same country afterall.

9. Reuse until death. The mentality of people in India is to re-use everything until its final death. A new shirt will be a shirt for a year,  A second hand shirt for a poor guy. Then a dusting cloth for a few months, then a further degraded cleaning cloth for a few months and finally it will end up as a unusable rag. I am ok until the last part. The cloth has finally lost all its recyclable value and ends up as a dead end.

10. Cheapest bargain: Indian’s want to get the best deals from the shop owners. They bargain to the level where in a shop owner will have no profit margins. There are something which can’t be bargained and Indian’s will bargain on that as well. Bargaining is good, but the thing I hate most is that’s its not equal. A shop owner may slaughter a newcomer customer with a sticker shock because some previous customer gave him the least profit margin of the day!

But alas, India is pretty pretty better place to live in comparing its neighborhoods… 🙂

Best friend’s wedding

You know you’re someone’s best friend when you goto to that person’s wedding and everyone knows you! And for those who don’t, you’re introduced as a very special member with words like ‘Hey, Meet my best friend”, and their family members as “Meet him, he is bride/groom’s closest friend”

I had this experience yesterday when such friendly love was bestowed upon me by my friend’s family members. I felt like a family member. Simple yet meaning words like ‘closest’ and ‘best’ carry a very special meaning for me as I don’t get to hear this a lot.

Yesterday I understood how much happiness I’ve given my friend by being present on her wedding. And the same on my side to have received such warm gift of being special. I was too excited that she is getting married with a guy who will take care of her no matter what! Its not everyday you get this but its a life time opportunity.

My friend had an inter-caste marriage at a mosque(she being a muslim) and a church(groom being a christian) on the same day. The Boy converted to Islam and she converted to Christianity. Very rare in India and I’m quite lucky to have witnessed both in front of my eyes.

When I was leaving the reception she said to me “and you know the best part is that you attended all the events in the mosque and the church and finally here at the reception party! “. I enjoyed this wedding more than any other social events.

I wish the lovely couple my heartiest congratulations and may they enjoy lives and fulfill their dream.

Welcoming 2010

2009 was indeed a good year. Made good money, spent good money and it was all worth it. Made a lot of serious decisions. Gained a lot of experiences.
My 2009 resolution was to travel a lot as I’d not traveled anywhere in 2008. And so I ended up visiting 10 countries which include China, UK, US, France, Italy, Austria, Netherlands, Switzerland, Belgium & Germany.

I plan to get the following things done in 2010.
Travel – Plan to travel on a pilgrim to places around Iraq, especially Karbala. Hopefully take my grandmother along.
Social – Be more Social. I will try 😉
Donate – 10% of all profits and income shall be donated in Charity.
Renounce – I plan to renounce all income which involves interest on money or bonds. Banks are unavoidable, Plan to distribute interest earned in Charity.
Reduce – Shell of some extra pounds. This is my resolution every year!
Re-gain – Try to regain old friendship with lost friends.
Expand – Expand like always 🙂
Spend – I plan to spend and invest like before.
Marriage – Yes, Lets keep our fingers crossed!

Besides I have a big wish-list like always!

So wish you all a very pleasant 2010 with lots of prosperity and solace! Shalom!

Kolkata Job evaluation for Software Industry

Previously wrote a blog on Why Kolkata will never have a barcamp, like two years back. And even now Barcamp never happened in Kolkata!

Here are some of my experiences as an employer in a Metro city which tried to hide away from its siblings when The Software Industry boomed. Thanks to its People and its Government Both!

Recently we posted an advertisement in the largest subscribed newspaper twice. We received some responses which I shall describe. I would treat this as my personal survey for what kind of people exists around Kolkata, West Bengal. Their current pay scales, their expectations, their competency levels, and their adaptability and everything else that a company needs from an employee

1. Almost 90% of all job seekers didn’t know proper English. They somehow managed.

2. Almost 90% were unemployed. 10% were looking for change.

3. 30% were irrelevant job applications. We mentioned requirements of technical people but people even applied for “Any suitable opening”. A CV came in for receptionist post as well.

4. All CVs had TONS  of technologies known but master of NONE. Many CVs were tailored to our requirements mentioning “basic knowledge of XYZ technology”

5. Most funny part was, they CC’ed to other companies’ HR too.

6. Some people didn’t have an email ID, they applied using the cyber parlor or Internet cafe guy’s email ID.

7. We asked for some sample work of their own. We got cut-paste templates from the internet.

8. We received very late responses. These people check emails once or twice a day.

9. Some people applied just for an opportunity.

10. They expectation was quite low. Not sure why, May be lack of confidence. Not many computer software companies in the region, or perhaps they don’t want to fight harder. One person was ready to switch job for a just 12% hike. He was even willing NOT to serve notice period to current employer. This means he could have a ‘sudden departure’ with us as well.

11. Freshers are useless unless we train them for at least 6 months. Colleges are least bothered as they get their share. And still the atmosphere in 90% of the software companies in Kolkata is Lazy. Work starts at 10 and finishes at 5. Life is slow here.

12. 75% of people are from non technical background who have undergone a diploma from some ‘so called’  reputed computer training industry where faculties are faculties there because they’ve not got any other job!

Some other small things:

1. Our HR is female, People kept addressing Sir.
2. No proper cover letter, Just a cv attached.
3. People email twice. First time they forget to attach their CV
4. Many never replied back at all.
5. They just forward their CV without removing previously applied “TO” in the cover letter.

I cannot blame anyone for such a crisis but may be an eye-opener for the government and the people too, that its high time they should change their attitude towards software industry – Only talks wont do.

ApacheCon US 2009 and Barcamp Apache

I was at the Apachecon US 2009 from 2-6 November 2009. Lot of inspirations. A lot of thoughts of doing something for the community and guess what, I’m now stronger on how much money OpenSource involves..! The conference’s platinum sponsors was Microsoft. I’m not astound because Microsoft also funds the foundation since long time! Many don’t know this!

Apache and Microsoft have been working quite closely. Both on a win-win situation.  Microsoft treats Apache as their technical research and Apache treats Microsoft as a support for building and taking technologies to another level. This is one collaboration which I really like.. Any open source foundation if backed by a Big Fish is a major success.  Most committers are on a job in their respective companies and working dedicated for Apache! Why? Because the company they work for uses apache products heavily

The event was a 2 day Barcamp & 3 day ApacheCon together. 2-6 November at Marriott Conventional Center , City Center of Oakland. Oakland is pretty cheap compared to San Francisco. Nothing much to see here apart from a good lake(which I missed). You might want to avoid going to West Oakland. Google for “How not to get shot in Oakland”.

The conference had speakers and committers from all around the globe. For those of you who don’t know who a committer. He is a person who will do the actual release and commit the code. Contributers from anywhere can submit code and patches, Its the job of a committer to do the release. There are more than 5-6 committers per project. At least 2-3 committers should review one another’s code and agree to the release of the code so that the release is watched by more than a single eye!

A good project in apache has a good adoption rate. For example Apache Tomcat for Java servlet has a 10,000 downloads per day! And the figures are like this and increasing over the last two years! Now that’s something cool.. ain’t it?

Its the 10th year of the Foundation. Apache has grown to a full scale Open Source foundation which has not only proved that Open source works! , but its processes and operations has made a mark on how an organization should run. Hats Off to you guys! Everything is very process oriented in Apache. They have very formal structure like any other company, but with a major touch of community development.

After all , social networking and community development is all that matters in the end.

Here are some pictures from my trip.