Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Tata Docomo Broadband - The worst thing you can get

Tata Docomo Broadband Review

After 10 years with BSNL I had decided to look for other broadband ISP. BSNL never had problems about customers service or the broadband speed. Their problem was in their phone network which is not well set. Whenever it rained the connection went down till the rains sobered down a bit. Not to mention their lines getting cut usually due to corporation work. So I went for Tata Docomo as suggested by some.

Tata seemed to give a bit costly plan of 1740 for 2 MBPS unlimited data. Considering the recommendations I decided to go for it. I was ok if I was getting a stable connection. To my horror , this is one of the worst connections I have had in my life.

I have an average downtime of 5 days in a month, which has gone upto average downtime of 2 days a week many times. The technicians of this company are good but they are overloaded with the number of calls they attend and the area they cover. Tata needs a team with more people to handle these issues. The SMPS of their connectivity boxes at places get busted with little lightnings n' stuff. The last time 150 SMPS in Pune we gone bonkers. The battery backup they provide for these are also like 10 mins.. and they keep saying that they will upgrade soon.

There is no clear communication in between the technician on the floor and the customer service. Both tend to give different reasons. And here comes the best.....

When you lodge a complain for a refund in the amount for the downtime, though customer seervice during the downtime acknowledges the total amount of hours the connection was down, the customer service that deals with the refunds give a different picture. There is no co-relation to their claims. Its not due to the inability or less knowledge of their team but simply because this company is not organised well.Considering the downtime they have given, till date they have given me only one refund of 4 days around a year ago which would be like 1% of total downtime till now.

This company sucks. Don't go for it. You can prefer something like BSNL and keep a JIO phone handy as a backup. Unfortunately my area isn't feasible for any service providers 4G so I dont have this option, but then I am taking BSNL as backup.

Thursday, January 19, 2017


I or probably many have chosen BANK OF INDIA over other nationalized banks because we thought it is better than others but the experiences I mentioned below are horrible. Also so many queries which remain answered. I would like to have an honest reply from you. When honourable prime minister Narendra Modiji is pushing our country in the new era with demonetization your bank seems to be making it as difficult to go about it as much as he makes it easy.

Please note that I have nothing against any employee against any branches of BOI. They try their best. There is a lot of load. Less staff and more people.. cramped up bank space.
Here are a few experiences  :

1.       My passbook finishes so I ask for a new passbook. The concerned person gives me a troubled look. She gives me a passbook but then tells that she cannot make entries as printer is not working. By that time I go and withdraw some money after a long queue. Another lady is sitting in the same place. I ask her if she can print my passbook. She promptly prints. Seems like the printer started to work magically.
2.       I have MINOR joint account with my son who is 4 year old. I request for an ATM card. Strangely no ATM card for minors in this demonetized world. I am informed that there is a BINGO card which they will give me. Am supposed to fill in a  form and submit it with my identity proof as well as my son’s birth certificate and a photo. Its all accepted by the employee and then in afternoon I receive a call saying they cannot issue the bingo card. I ask why?? I am told to come and meet madam again the next day. I go there and am told that they don’t issue bingo cards to children below 8 year old. Now here are some questions about this
a.       How do you expect to withdraw money or do transactions in this demonetized world without an ATM/DEBIT card? Even if its in minor’s name it is a joint account with an adult.
b.      Why aren’t you employees well informed about things. If bank rule says no card below 8 years I could have been told that. Instead your people made me scatter for documents and waste my time in all the procedure over nothing
3.       Since your branches are always overcrowded with denial for ATM/Debit card I asked for internet banking of the minor. About this your employees were in a debate. Some said its given, some said it is not. Manager missing as always or there is a huge queue at his cabin. I am told to come back next day, and the next, and the next and it goes on till after a month I am told that they have no clear idea. They say internet banking for my joint account with child should appear after I login into my my own account in STAR CONNECT . I have been into softwares. I am baffled. I ask how will it come automatically if I never applied for internet banking of this account. The Your employee asks me to try. They see some screens on your portal and say everything is clear from here. Finally I threaten to complain. So I am told to go to your regional office and enquire there.
a.       Internet banking is an essential. I need it to transfer money to my child’s PPF account as well. Apart from that there might be some transactions I need to do online to save time instead of coming to any crowded bank.. not essentially BOI. Whats so difficult in providing internet banking to the parent who has joint account with a minor?
b.      Again your employees are not well informed. They are more confused than the customers. They wasted my time.
c.       Your branch which holds my account took like a month to finally tell me that I should enquire at regional office. Do you really think that your regional office where I know no one will entertain me so soon and will be confused any less. I have to go far from my home/working place to solve these simple problems?

4.       I wanted to open a current account for my company which is private limited.  There is again a confusion since usually they are used to only current accounts for proprietary and partnership accounts. I was told to meet the manager who told me things needed. All documents except renewed shopact (expired 5 days back) needed. I told him the urgency and requested him to open account since I am an old customer. He said he could not. I can understand him being very disciplined. He said that he will surely open account in a day when I get shopact. I told him it will take a week for renewal as the corporation website is down. He said I just need to come back. I went there to know he is on a 15 days leave. Finally I found someone I knew at the bank who helped me. The account finally opened yesterday.

We have opened your with some faith as your bank is nationalized. Also feel that we shouldn’t be giving business to international banks. With the kind of services you provide no one would want to do business with your bank. The 80% of the middle class customers like me you have are because of trust.
In this new era of demonetization you are not supporting our PM nor the citizens with silly rules and confused employees. Please improve your standards if you want to retain customers. Let your employees know exactly what they have to tell your clients. And last but not the least please solve my query about internet banking for my son’s account.

Friday, September 23, 2016

10 Years of Stock Photography

It seems like yesterday but its been 10 years since I got my first digital camera Canon Powershot A320. A 3.2 mexapixel camera that opened the world of stock photography for me. I was a hobbyist and was happy with my Nikon SLR till I understood the potential of digital photography and the market it had.

I was very confused initially whether to go for RF (Royalty Free) or RM (Rights Managed) . Since I had won quite many awards as a hobbyists in different photography magazines, online contests and newspapers I already had an open offer from GETTY through their Indian agent. I probably might have been a fool of not to accept that one might think... but considering that photography wasn't my main source of income in those days, it was a wise choice. Especially knowing that the pictures I was clicking were not from an SLR. Royalty free even if was very clear about the quality and technical aspects while approving a photo wasn't very strict on the equipment one used.

My first agency was Dreamstime and its still the best RF agency I would recommend to anyone. I receieved a lot of training in there and the customer support or rather the contributor help team was simply wonderful. None of their team members were ever impatient or rude about the silliest questions I had for them. My understanding of the stock photography market and also the quality of photos simply enhanced due to all these guys. So I would personally like to thank Serban, Carmen, Sid, Ioana and all others that I might have missed mentioning. Dreamstime laid it like a tutorial for me which made it easy for me to get to other agencies like shutterstock, istockphoto and fotolia. I saw the rise and fall of Corbis's RF site which was then named VEER.

Settling down after 10 years I agree that the RF market has got down when it comes to average revenue but the sales are yet going good. There are millions of contributions in a month with new photographers coming in. With some slide down in quality due to allowing of images taken from mobiles the database has become weird. Its surely not a good time for new contributors to join in and its also not a good time for old contributors who are not adding new stock or renovating.I have seen that not just holiday seasons but even stock markets rise and fall directly affect the sales in RF. I dont know the exact reason or relation for such a huge effect but yeah its been happening.

My experience tells me that almost all topics and categories in here are saturated there is always a room for more because buyers need new models, new locations or simply a new feel to things. So every contributor should try to brainstorm and think of all possibilities in attracting buyers. White Background studio shots according to me always have been over-hyped, you should be having some of them in your portfolio but see that you dont overindulge. Do images with models always sell more??? NO. Over the years I had been advised the other way round but my experience says something else. If you click poor people and they are willingly signing a model release just because they are happy to be clicked, make sure you pay them some money. They are already a lot poor than we are and we are going to earn from their photos. Its always wise to share that income. Though we can never be sure of the sales one can always decide a fixed amount per model release signed. It will help their family.

 Last but the most important point. Avoid clicking your family members or friends for your concepts. They might not mind initially for their photo being used somewhere but the trouble happens when it gets used in a wrong context and you can't do anything about it. Try to find models who want to get into modeling or acting and will be open to such situations. Remember that eventually relations are way more important than money, so don't risk them. I risked unknowingly but make a point that you or your friends don't do it knowingly after knowing my experience.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

- (minus) Windows Phone = Android Phone > (Greater than) iPhone

So here goes... they say... me.. a privacy advocate shifting my loyalties by shifting from windows phone to android.

Well its true in a way but it has its own reasons. 
  1. Windows 10 which is the next thing in windows mobile has total disregard for privacy of users just like android has been. And believe it or not, I have been cursing Microsoft and Windows 10 on my " Your Privacy Matters " page just like I have been cursing android over the years.
  2. No OEM is coming up with any new interesting windows phones and neither is Microsoft. There was a ray of hope with HP Elite X3 coming up with a real kickass phone which I had almost finalized to buy but then I realized its more for the enterprises with a different kind of layer. Also Windows 10 would be no better in terms of privacy than android with a bad app avaibility.
  3. Developers are running away from an app store  which already has been lacking major of the apps since many years. Not to mention that even the leading apps are way behind when it comes to receiving updates.
  4. Microsoft seems to be least interested in Mobile version eversince Nadella has taken up. The hope that windows fans had after the Nokia buyout has totally died. With each month passing Nadella has proved that he has least importance for mobile and more importance for enterprise. 
  5. All the apps I use on Windows Phone are also available on android officially made by Microsoft, so my workflow goes through as planned.
  6.  Android Marshmallow versions and later (like latest released Nougat) offer a lot of detailed privacy settings and layered security which keep you safe from third party risky apps.
  7. Android offers me a good way of customizing the phone which can get very boring on Windows Phone or iPhones as well.
  8. Connected devices like wearables. Well look at lack in compatibility due to non-windows compatible devices out there and would anybody want to buy the boring looking Microsoft Band?? No way. I was never liking that device and was waiting for a Windows Wearable that is stylish. But MS failed in there too.

So why not iPhone when I expect a lot of privacy??

iPhone has lost its lustre even since Steve Jobs is gone. They have nothing mindboggling to offer apart from yes... Privacy. The guys can give FBI a hard time to break through their phones. I respect them for that. But then when I am investing in a $700 flagship phone I expect a lot of other important things in a phone that Apple might not find important.

  1. Compatibility : I can't plug and play. use their cable shit, use the itunes, no folder access to transfer my everyday files from PC to the i-device. 
  2. Just because I might afford an iPhone on EMI I will afford to whole APPLE ecosystem to feel great just for the kicks. It all starts getting expensive. And its not just about money. I can't customize my MAC like I can keep shuffling hardware in my PC (a.k.a. whitebox).
  3. No bluetooth transfer within devices for songs
  4. A strange piracy issue where itunes wont simply detect or transfer songs that I have legally downloaded from my windows phone buy paying for them. The reason probably it thinks its pirated stuff. The same thing it does with my own music recorded at my own home studio. It can't get shittier than this.
  5. A review with apple users (in India) , I found 7 out of 10 ELITE users of Apple shifting to android for one or more reasons than I stated above. I think those are the ones who were not apple fans anyway but were trying to make a style statement.
  6. Having said the above point, apple is no longer a style statement like it or even Blackberry used to be. The market is cool and there is no luxurious product when it comes to electronics market. If there is its probably the wearables or VR headsets which the showoffs dont understand.

Well there was an option of going for Blackberry Priv phone which is kind of an android version with features that secures your privacy, but that phone has no biometric security. So paying 52,000 rupees for a phone that lacks such a feature seems stupidity as well.

Bioling down again to the point of privacy I am sure that as said before by me or many privacy advocates... Privacy is the Luxury of future. And you can see it in iPhones, Blackberry Priv who have nothing better to offer than Privacy at that price. Probably Google's parent company will also launch a total privacy respecting android version in future which will cost more. Privacy infringing OSs and apps have thrived because we have got used to the free meal which was never free.

Saying all that and with a shift to android within a month, I will still hope that MS weaves some magic and turns around on its privacy policies on Windows 10. I would still like to go back to that platform in future. What I would miss the most about my windows phone is the seamless compatibility with Windows PC/Laptop, Continuum and Live Tiles. 

Friday, December 5, 2014

R.D.Burman - The Man, The Music Review

The reason I bought this book was simply because I dont read fiction. Considering I work in music studying a great person like R.D.Burman was surely a great opportunity at hand. Also since I have been associated with Shammi Kapoor he and me had already discussed this book when he had read it. I had not jumped into buying it because though I respect Panchamda and the way he changed Indian (Film) Music, I am not a hardcore fan. And maybe that became a problem when I was going through the book.

This book is very well researched. The authors have taken every effort to go through archives and meeting people that R.D.Burman was associated with. The details with which they have explained his life is something that only true fans can do. The details about the subject are so overwhelming that sometimes you feel like putting the book down to let everything absorb properly. There are also parts where the narration looses its grip and it can get boring, especially where the musical details of the unknown songs (especially the ones which authors claim were neglected but are masterpieces) can really get boring.

This book will be more enjoyable and going ahead beneficial for people having little knowledge in music. Fortunately for artists like me and unfortunately for people who want some maseldar scoops about anyone in bollywood, this book doesn't involve any masala from Panchamda's life. Infact the authors and the people whom they talked to seem to have deliberately avoided all that. Considering the authors are not neutral writers but fans, it is obvious that they will try to write anything negative associated with Panchamda (Despite of the claim in the book that they have tried to highlight his mistakes and reasons for Panchamda's fault). True they have highlighted what suited, not everything.

Though the technical(musical) details of the songs might be boring for normal readers, the stories behind these songs and the efforts behind them will be quite entertaining.

Also at many points again due to non-neutrality of the authors, many fans of other Indian music artists might find some statements and claims offending. The book seems to be only one way perspective of explaining things.

The sources of information should be mentioned in the book. I have read a lot about the Indian Films era from 1940 - 2000 but I had never heard that Rajiv Gandhi was to be casted in Bombay to Goa. Might be true as well, but there is no way to confirm this fact. It simply seems impossible to believe this.

The author's repetitive arguments/explanations over the subject of plagiarism is irritating for anyone who is not (only) a Indian Film Music buff. I have studied without choice the issue of plagiarism in Indian music only because I always found a bass pattern, guitar riff, rhythm patterns or sometimes some main tunes in Indian music. But this was not only associated with Panchamda. Ignorant people have followed the fact initiated by critics and media that only Panchamda did it the most. Everyone did. Saying this I will continue to say, Plagiarism - Music that is copied/stolen/improvised/meter-changed or whatever explanation you use is simply THEFT. And no great or lesser composer should be spared of criticism or punishment of this offence. If they were saying they were inspired, they should have been nice enough to list the original compositions and composers in credits as well as play the royalty license to the originals, which is not the case. So defending Panchamda so many times in this book for this act has made the book very very irritating. Maybe people who didn't know this fact will come to know about it and highlight it more in future generations to come.

But despite of whatever said above, I will say that - "The book is a best buy and must buy for all Indian Film Music enthusiasts and an unavoidable possession to have for Pancham fans"

Summing it all up : R.D.Burman is R.D.Burman! He is ones of the legends when it comes to Indian Music. This book could have been a lot better if one of the author was a professional writer and they would have avoided the defense of Panchamda, which is not needed. He is great, at a place where untouchable and least disturbed by whatever the offenders might say.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

An Honest Review of Dilip Kumar's autobiography - The Substance and the Shadow

Before I begin my review I would like to clearly mention that I have been a great fan of Shammi Kapoor it doesn't mean I have not liked other legends from Bollywood. Dilip Kumar is no doubtably one of the THREE PILLARS of Indian Cinema which include Raj Kapoor and Dev Anand. I have also been a huge admirer of all other stars also. About actresses though I didn't have any real favorites because I liked them all I think its only Saira Banu in the yesteryears and Sonali Bendre in my teenage years that made my heart skip a beat.  
Now with the review...

The book is a true treasure of Dilip Kumar fans, especially those who haven't ever read or followed the vintage issues of magazines during his times. His wonderful memories from Peshawar including how a Fakir had predicted his future when he was a toddler. He talks about his struggle while growing up and his childhood friendship with Raj Kapoor that went on forever. He tells about his love for football and badminton and how he struggled to attend football matches after college days. To prove his independence or capability to his father, he narrates how he went to Pune and did a job at the military canteen. The book also tells about Dilip Kumar's love for reading and studying various subjects and ability to understand film making than his directors did.


The book gives detailed insights of how Dilip Kumar became a screen legend. He didn't have any previous actors except for a few like Ashok Kumar, Saigal and others. The Indian cinema was at its infant stage and the techniques were constantly changing. He probably was the first person who understood how body language mattered than the loud dialogue delivery due to avaibility of sound recording. He understood how closeups of facial expressions could express a dialogue (without actually delivering the dialogue verbally). Like any other autobiographies ever written, this one also seems biased in showing certain things and hiding certainthings. Its human to try to project oneself in the best way possible and try to forget bad things oneself and making others do that too. Everything in the biography seems believable apart from references about Madhubala or no-references at all about some women Dilip Kumar has been linked with. Strangely apart from his so-called first wife Asma no other serious allegations faced by him are mentioned in the book.

Many times there are irrelevant references of his wife Saira Banu in the many sections of the book which ascertains the fact of her control over the book. Also seems like the editor had a lot of problems in writing a book in-sync with a timeline. Episodes about his mom,dad or family in general keep jumping from past to present n' then to future again confusing users many times. Many things from the main content of the book clearly contradict the reminiscence section. E.g. Ramesh Sippy clearly states (in reminiscences section) that sahab had got married the second time (something opposite to what the autobiography states). 

Also a point worth noting is that, Harish Salve mentions that Sairaji called him to write an account, why Dilip Sahab didn't? Dilip Kumar himself didn't speak a word during the launch event of the autobiography and seemed only mersmerised vaguely with the ongoing event (from whatever shots were shown.) I don't follow bollywood gossips as much as I indulge in the study of old stars during their shiny times, but something doesn't feel right. Seems like the latter part of the book or rather half of the book doesn't seem to be narrated by Dilip Kumar at all. Did Dilip Kumar first agree to write this autobiography and then wanted to backout for some personal reasons that he appeared so aloof at the launch event or is he unwell due to old age factor like dementia that he really doesn't know what is happening? Bollywood superstars and their PR can be strange and cunning. They will want their fans to appreciate them, buy their work and support their causes, but when their claims are questioned by the same fans they might act weird. The recent case involving the launch event of the book involving 7 Crore shows that the book had a lot of financial interests and tie-ups apart from the real intentions meant to publish it.

Incidents don't match with history (published in magazines/newspapers of those days which weren't normal tabloid press but authentic) and there is undue emphasis on family life instead of film-making. The earlier part of the book does have family life but its more about experiences than people, but half of the book revolves around Saira Banu. Its nice to read about her, especially I liked it since I loved her, but it seems irrelevant in a Dilip Kumar autobiography that could have so many more interesting things. The reminiscences could have more film personalities than horde of relatives! The remin

This book is a must read for anyone doing any kind of job related to film making but those who know bollywood history for real and in detail should happily skip this book. This book is for kinda newcomers (new fans of classic era), who might find something new in it. Also, a few chapters from the book can make up as a textbook for people involved into filmmaking or acting. This is what makes the book incomplete especially if you have really followed classic bollywood. This could have been a better and more authentic book especially its 'official', but for a normal reader one might find better information on Dilip Kumar's life from the Film Archives that might be available with some memorabilia collectors or official bollywood media departments.


Friday, August 8, 2014

Reconnect after Malware Removal

Today after a long time I got a chance to do what I love to do the most. Get a computer system out of trouble.

I had installed a software called Malwarebytes AntiMalware some months back and had forgotten about it since it wasn't updating its database. Today as I smelt something fishy in the connectivity I just clicked started and went to programs (something I don't do often since the frequently used 5 programs in quick launch). In there I suddenly noticed Antimalware and ran it. To my surprise it updated its database and ran well.

After its first run it detected some entries which have been causing trouble to a lot of users. And strangely detected CDex, an ages old Audio CD extractor as a malware. Nevertheless, I happily quarantined/removed all that it had detected. It asked me to restart the system. I did that happily as well since I was expecting any antivirus to ask me that after a virus removal.

After the system restarted I lost my internet connection. I called BSNL because they usually have problems in rainy seasons. They said everything is fine. Now that worried me. I knew the modem was fine and it was something to do with registry and things like that. I couldn't connect to my wifi modem through other devices like smartphone either. I fiddled around and then went for a quick nap (which lasted more than a nap). I woke up. Hard resetted everything and then suddenly realized that I was having connectivity on my cellphone (through the same wifi connected). Then something hit me. It was only to do with the LAN / Ethernet connection of my PC now. Since my laptop connected as well.

I quickly grabbed my phone and started searching for websites that offered solutions for this problem. Seems like many people faced this issue but the solutions provided were horrendous and very dicey. Dicey because seems like they were provided by some other malware creators or similar people redirecting people to their servers/dns eventually infecting them. Some more intelligent hackers provided removal tools which were infact malware installers to do so.

Many of them gave ways of flushing DNS, and things like that which a normal user will find tedious to do.

Nevertheless, let me cut it short. Consider this situation and see the solution.
1. You have removed an virus/malware and lost connectivity on the device that you ran the antivirus on.
2. Check if other devices connected to the same modem work. Close all open browsers.
3. IF they work simply go to your Windows Control Panel
4. Open Network Connection
5.Right click on Local Area Connection and click on PROPERTIES
6. In the list select Internet Protocol (TCP/IP) and then click on properties button below
7. Simply punch in the default entries that have been provided by your ISP (e.g. BSNL) else just select - "Obtain IP Address automatically"
8. Wait for 5 minutes for your LAN (Local Area Network) to restart and then start the browser

Everything starts working fine. No need to install anything no need for complicated process.
This process is actually the first thing I would have done back in 2001 n' around, but with more devices in hand and solutions on internet a faster option I had forgotten this simple step. Thankfully this process awakened that part of my brain. Feeling refreshed. Hope your connections feel refreshed too.

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