Category Archives: Advertisement

Summer Programmes @ VASCSC

Vikram A sarabhai Community Science Center, Ahmedabad has announced schedule for special programmes for this Summer – 2009.

Click below image to enlarge.

Program Page1Program Page 2

VASCSC is really a wonderful place to learn and have lot of experiments.

It had been my favorite place to hang and do experiments in vacation time during my school days.

I highly recommend at least a visit to this organisation.

Wake Up call for Indian Consumers

CERC has started consumer grievance helpline – 1800-233-0222. This helpline is toll free for BSNL Gujarat users.

This is really a welcome step by CERC in association with Consumer Affairs, Government of Gujarat. This helpline is available from 10.30 AM to 5.30 PM as per IST. (GMT +530)

CERC is very reputed non profit NGO serving and solving sonsumer complaints / grievance for its members. Its membership detail is here. You can become member by paying online instead.

To add few lines about the organisation’s prestigeous standing I can summarise few of my experiences:

  • When Vodafone Essar was Hutch, in undisclosed billed amount about Rs.500 for my postpaid mobile connection, I requested for justification and company ignored. I stopped using mobile services by paying genuine amount along with accounting statement which was genuine. Later, the company sent a legal notice that drove me to CERC. I have been member since then. CERC did some correspondance on my behalf. Company failed to respond and that proved the legal notice was no more legally valid or important!

  • HP refused to replace damaged front panel, damaged due to its design defect. Legally and as per company’s terms it is possible to replace such parts under cosmetic damaged parts category. Again, approaching CERC solved, front panel get replaced without any legal procedure.

  • In the matter of unsolicited call from ICICI Bank, I did some correspondence with bank and just by sending copy of the same to CERC taught the bank. The bank sent letter of forgiveness through courier!

Some points about CERC:

  • Complaint department listens and guides to complaint very genuinly. Consumer can feel free to express whatever his / her experience is / was.

  • Complaint department has very systemetic approach from receiving and registering complaints from its members to dealing with associated parties / business houses.

  • Genuine complaint can be registered through email to CERC as well. CERC’s method for dealing with non local complaint is really appreciative.

  • Insight, a bimonthly magazine from CERC is really worth to read. It is a leading publication in India for consumer awareness.

  • One membership serves complaint registered by his / her family members. (of course, not a joint family! :P)

  • Membership fees are normal or perhaps nominal for the kind of activities CERC does.

  • Most importantly, an Indian can be a member, get free Insight magazine and register for grievance too.

  • Different consumer product surveys carried & published by CERC are added advantage for consumers.

I highly recommend to become member of CERC, to boost its activities, to have Insight knowledge of consumer laws and if required to solve your complaints being a consumer.

Bus time table – an SMS away!

GSRTC has already started time table (schedule) search service by SMS since August, 2007.
I also had heard about this, but haven’t come across more details.

Today I found two things:
1. Time Table and other services are available online, through GSRTC website.
2. You can search buses running between <source> and destination by sending an SMS : <type> <source> to <destination> : to 09998805656.

<type> may be either of following
– ignore this field if you wish to find any kind of bus.
– luxury

e.g. ahmedabad to baroda send to 09998805656
or luxury ahmedabad to anand to 09998805656

If you know exact and more details about the SMS format, feel free to share.

The SMS service is really very useful and is very prompt. Also, being an SMS, gives most immediate 5 bus routes belonging to <source> to <destination> based on the time SMS was sent.

I highly appreciate this way to promote public transport. The idea is simply superb.

AXIS Bank website & services – reviews & suggestions

www.axisbank.com is official website of AXIS (formerly UTI Bank). The bank brands their Internet enabled services as iConnect. I eventually came through and accessed the website some time back.

Here is what I felt…

  • The website is simple, and belongs to the professional look. However according to the footnote, it’s friendly with IE only. Where did firefox & safari go?

    Home Page

    Home Page

  • The login window does not have virtual keyboard which is very important shield to fraud cases, when user keystrokes are being recorded. ICICI Bank and Bank of India provides this.

    Virtual Keyboard

    Virtual Keyboard

  • In any case, the script should be written so that browser cannot store username and / or password even if user forces. Again, ICICI Bank takes care of this. Disabling ctrl + C & ctrl + V is added advantage, that can be provided!

    Storing private data

    Storing private data

  • Once user successfully logs in, welcome page has menu bar on left. But, again, a usability suggestion When user selects anything from drop right menu (menu to be displayed after selecting main menu item) item, it should be closed. It gets hidden only when user mouse focus is lost! So few user might not feel, whether he / she has clicked to menu item or not.

    Drop Right Menu

    Drop Right Menu

  • Account bifurcation is simply good.

  • The eMail section is not so good. The email text is given less importance in user interface design. The eMail body text is shown in 8 or 9 lines only, user need the help of scrollbars. Better UI design is required.

    eMail Section

    eMail Section

  • Mobile banking service can only be enabled, there is no option to either disable or change number! The Input Area to mention mobile number is non editable! Also, the bank is charging for this services a sum of amount which is higher compared to its accuracy and conditions for SMS alerts etc.

    Mobile Banking - no second chance

    Mobile Banking - no second chance

  • Session management seems handled with respect to time & browser activities such as back and forward button clicks, which is good way to prevent misuse. However, if you click multiple menu items before the respective page being actually loaded, the last clicked item will load, and session will not be lost – this seems unusual!

These points are just to save the bank from future online fraud and legal procedures. Banks have always been soft target of attackers.

This bank belongs India’s one of the well reputed and old established and recently converted to private bank. Of course, banking services are poorer than an Indian nationalise (so called Government!!! :P) bank, charges are like normal private bank!

Few highlights of the banks’ unprofessional approach!

  • Irregular & sometimes irrelevant response.

  • Rare response to queries / request via authentic emails.

  • SMS server is less dependable in terms of timely delivery or acknowledgment to request SMSes. No error message for wrong SMS / inappropriate SMS sent to the bank!

  • Response from bank via email lacks proper formation of text. Just ctrl+C and ctrl+V.

By the time I am posting this, I received one simple screenshot of a duplicate website of ICIC Bank via alert email.

This is not ICICI Bank's official website - beware before you log in!

This is not ICICI Bank's official website - beware before you log in!

Security tips – mostly generic for all banks.

  • Never give your PIN, Card No., Internet banking username, passwords (login and transaction), etc. to anybody.
  • Changing login & transaction password regularly is good practise.
  • Never keep login and transaction password similar.
  • Keep an eye over URL of bank’s login page. It must be the bank’s original one. Someone may easily prank you by similar name. (as shown in ICICI Bank’s duplicate site – above)
  • No bank asks for whole 16 digit debit card number especially for any online purchase. It might ask very few randomly selected numbers for authentication, which is acceptable. ICICI Bank has introduced GRID Card which is really unique and addition to its security features.
  • In most cases, user ID will be required to log in, no account number or card number will help.
  • Avoid accessing net banking like services from public / shared computer.
  • Use virtual keyboard, on screen keyboard etc. utilities to enter username / password or any confidential information, especially if accessing website from someone else’s computer. In short avoide keystrokes, use mouse clicks!!
  • Last but not least, clear all URL, access history, form details from Browser Settings when you are done.
  • Close browser. All instances / tabs of the browser, if multiple are running.
  • And yet many more…. that you can contribute by comments. 🙂 Thanks in advance.

Danger

This is yet another post, to clarify a major difference about a wrong or incomplete information. This is about LPG Cylinders, widely used.

E-mail with following content is spreading at higher speed than the myth, or undeclared clarification about the same.

Here is what the incomplete e-mail reads like:

Have U ever heard about LPG gas cylinder’s expiry date….!!

I also didn’t know how to find LPG cylinder’s expiry date? Expired Cylinders are not safe for use and may cause accidents. In this regard please be cautious at the time of accepting any LPG cylinder from the Vendor.

Here is how we can check the expiry of LPG cylinders:

On one of three side stems of the cylinder, the expiry date is coded alpha numerically as follows A or B or C or D and some two digit number following this e.g. D06.

The alphabets stand for quarters –

1. A for March (First Qtr),

2. B for June (Second Qtr),

3. C for Sept (Third Qtr),

4. D for December (Fourth Qtr).

The digits stand for the year till it is valid. Hence D06 would mean December qtr of 2006.

Please Return Back the Cylinder that you get with a Expiry Date, they are prone to Leak and other Hazardous accidents

Of course, the content is partially correct. However, it is incomplete!!

In an FAQ, Indian Oil Corporation says,

In any case, this is not the date of EXPIRY of PHYSICAL LIFE of the CYLINDER .

It is further clarified that, during service, every empty LPG cylinder when it comes from the Distributor to the Bottling Plant for filling, is checked for its condition including the marked date for Statutory Testing due. Cylinders due for testing are segregated and sent for testing.

This seems more logical.

Thus, I can conclude that in case the date period mentioned on cylinder is passed, it is better to be sent for effective testing, not just sent to trash.

Confusion cleared

Yesterday night we were discussing about BSNL’s tariff change for ‘Lo Kar Lo Baat 111’ an added facility plan for landline users.

BSNL Gujarat circle has changed LKLB 111 to either of 2 selectable plans with different monthly rents.

As per my myth, any provider cannot modify (or increase rate in) plan structure for existing cutomers. Even provider cannot stop the plan and force subscriber to opt for another.

But no, TRAI says…

A tariff plan once offered by a service provider shall be available to a subscriber for a minimum period of 6 months from the date of his enrolment into that tariff plan. During this 6 months period, the service provider is free to reduce the tariff; but increase in any item of tariff in the plan is not permitted. However, the subscriber is free to choose any other tariff plan even during the 6 months period.” Visit this.

So, BSNL is legally allowed to make such changes since the LKLB 111 was no more for new customers from December 25,2007.

This is how TRAI also favors service providers, not just subscribers.

Dumb Spammer

Receiving spam messages via email is old way. Receiving unsolicited calls and SMS is present tense! And that makes us tensed at times!!!!

Here are two samples of idiot spammers:

1.

An email

From hrd.hcl.com@gmail.com

Dear Candidate,

Ref: Selection and initial response of your Resume online.
It is our good pleasure to inform you that your Resume has been
selected for our plants in NOIDA ” HCL Technologies Ltd Unit – 4″.
The Company is the collaboration concern of “HCL Groups India Ltd”.
Dealing in IT and Electronics manufacturing business in India.

You are selected according to your resume in which Project you have
worked on according to that you have been selected in Company.

Your interview will held on 14th to 20th of OCT. 2008 in Delhi.

You will be pleased to know that Company has advise you in the
selection panel that yourApplication can be progress to final stage.
You will come to Company corporate office in NOIDA. Your offer latter
with Air Ticket will be send to you by courier before date of
interview.. You have to come with photo-copies of all required
documents. First you have to deposit the (Cash) as an initial amount
in favor of Company HRD. Department. for Rs 4,250/- through any
[CANARA BANK] Branch from your Home City to Company Senior HRD.
Account NO- 2886101000289- Name of Mr.RAKESH GUPTA. This is
refundable interview security. Your offer latter with Air tickets
will be send to your Home Address by courier after receiving the
confirmation of interview security deposited in CANARA BANK . All the
expenditure will be paid by Company to you at the time of face to face
meeting with you in Company.. The Company can be offer you as salary
with benefits for this post Rs. 35,000/- to Rs.70,000/- P.M + (HRA +
D.A + Conveyance and other Company benefits. The designation and Job
Location will be fix by Company HRD. At time of final process.

REQUIRED DOCUMENTS BY THE COMPANY HRD.
photo-copies of Qualification Documents (Must)
photo-copies of Experience Certificates (If any)
photo-copies of Address Proof (Must)
Two Passport Size Photo-graph (Must)

The Job profile, salary offer, and date -time of interview will be
mention in your offer latter. Your offer latter will dispatch very
shortly after receiving your confirmation of cash deposited in CANARA
Bank. The last date of interview security deposit in bank 6/10/2008
TO 7/10/2008. We wish you the best of luck for the subsequent and
remaining stage. You have to give the information after deposited the
security money in bank to same Email ID Your offer latter will be
dispatch same time after recd. the information of security deposited
by email..

Thanks

Mr.. RAKESH GUPTA ( HRD)
HCL Groups India Ltd.
H.O. B -125, HCL House,
Surajpur Industrial Area,
GREATER NOIDA
Cont No :-09837772058

2.

An SMS received from No. 919116655433 (yes, I don’t know whether it’s international SMS of prefix is short for +91)

“IIM CALCUTTA invites graduates from 2006-08 with min 50% for a course with a guaranteed job for the post of Sales Manager with 4.5 p.a. Cal:9903456704/9433248198”

I can never imagine that IIM contacts some advertisement agency, or perhaps I might have received the SMS from some frustrated – failed student of IIM!!!!

Please donate some brainstorming food to those dumb! :p

Digital v/s Optical zoom

Today we are crazy about gadgets. But very few of us know very few of true features and manipulated features.

PMPO is a buzzword for hype. Actual measure of an audio system (or hi-fi system) should be considered in RMS watts, not PMPO. We are attractive to high figures of PMPO.

Similar is the case with zoom – enlargement.

Today a lot many varieties available for different ranges of digital cameras, even shopkeepers are unknown to the basic difference between digital and optical zoom.

Many articles are available on internet to clarify difference.

However recently I had gone through an advertisement by famous camera brand Olympus. This will probably be like a picture is equals thousands of words!

Optical Zoom

Optical Zoom

So, the basic difference is that when you say digital zoom, it means that the picture has that much depth – in other words, you can enlarge them up to certain limit after taking photo, using some software. Lesser the digital zoom, lower will be the quality of image after enlargement. In short this is considerable factor after picture is stored. For more clarity just remember those attempts when you tried to make a big picture from a small photo using some software. And you perhaps end up with blur image with large size. Pixel (no of horizontal & vertical lines in a frame) is the measure for that.

On other hand, optical zoom has relation with the moment when you want to take picture. Higher zoom gives you benefit of taking photo from higher distance.

Also, too high range is not always good. It may happen that you fail up on your own camera when you want to cover a wide (not far!) area with close distance.

DSLR (digital SLR) or SLR camera is a type of camera that really teaches and shows real photography skills. Every minute and manual setting is possible – whether its aperture or shutter speed or even flash light effects at some extent, focal distance and many more….!

My father is learning how to operate and play with his newly purchased D60 from Nikon. I hope and wish to learn after he gets good grip over it. 🙂

Must watch : The Story of Stuff

Or visit http://www.storyofstuff.com/

Happy & Safe Diwali

SHHHHHHHH……….. It’s Diwali – Celebrate like never bofore – Quieter , Safer & Better! Wow…. really great concept, let’s understand something.

Thank you TOI.

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