Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Buying online rather than offline can make you richer on an overall basis even if you pay more money for your online purchases on, say, Amazon

The basic idea here is that if buying online - say on Amazon.in or Flipkart or Jabong - saves you time, then you can utilize the same time to earn more. The extra income [or profits] that you generate from this newly-released time will most likely compensate [many times over] for any [slightly] higher prices that you might have paid for making your purchases online. One of the questions to be asked is this - will you be able to invest the time saved into raising your income? This is related to the fantastic concept of opportunity cost. Another question to be asked is - [how] does buying online save you time? The answer to this question is a relatively straightforward yes - you don't have to drive to the market [or to different shops], you don't have to waste time finding parking spot for your car, you can do comparisons far more quickly online than offline, you won't get stuck in costly traffic jams, you can sort and filter as you like, and so on. Another thing, if you don't want to invest the newly-liberated time into increasing your income, you can always use this extra time for enjoyment and entertainment activities, say with family and/or friends. You'll certainly be happier even if not richer. And who knows, your extra happiness might by itself make you wealthier!

Sunday, January 7, 2018

Thought experiment - how would we think about alternatives to Microsoft Office if we were told and assured that compatibility of file formats will be pristine and perfect for all suites

ALSO SEE OID 224Z, 225Z

Just like compatibility of JPEG or .txt or HTML is largely similar and perfect irrespective of application used. If 100% file-format compatibility was assured, I'm sure that the landscape of productivity suites would be much more fragmented in terms of market share. There wouldn't be just Microsoft Office dominating. Corel WordPerfect Office, SoftMaker Office, LibreOffice, Apple iWork, Google Docs, IBM Lotus SmartSuite, AppleWorks, and others would also have had meaningful market shares, depending upon which customer segment they targeted/target. Different office suites from different vendors are priced differently, have innovations of their own, and are targeted at different types of customers, but the only thing that stops people from happily accepting these is compatibility with Microsoft Office file formats. Remove this barrier and all of a sudden people will start choosing that particular suite which best matches their requirements for features, contained applications, price and other factors. Currently people are forced to ignore these other requirements because of file-format issue.

North Korea's rocket, missile and nuclear weapons programs all probably got significant help from piracy of widely developed and available Korean-language software packages, research papers, and other scientific books and knowledge

It's kind of ironical. The very fact that North Korea and South Korea are brethren is one of the likely factors for the fast pace at which the North's rocket, missile and atomic bomb projects have evolved. Because of the South's vast, developed and flourishing economy, there's widespread availability of advanced, Korean-language 3D CAD, CAM and simulation programs, as well as top-quality scientific and research papers on physics and mathematics, including perhaps on engine design and rocket science. It isn't hard to imagine that a lot of this knowledge got transferred to the North, either because it was already available on the Web, or because of piracy. Once the North got/gets access to a particular advanced program, it was/is forever. You can't undo it. And because it was/is in Korean language, they're immediately comfortable with it and start milking the benefits. Had the North been a state with its own, separate, nowhere-else-used language, it wouldn't have been able to as easily understand and/or use software applications in other languages [because no meaningful software company would've developed applications in this nowhere-else-used language of North Korea].

Saturday, January 6, 2018

It can't be ruled out that Meltdown and Spectre vulnerabilities were deliberately crafted by Intel at the request of NSA, or to force the world to replace, or both [COMPACTIDEA]

Don't take whatever is happening at face value. In the case of these giant American corporations, anything is possible. It's more likely than not that these spectacular "bugs" were deliberately introduced in the microprocessors, either because the rouge agency NSA wanted to covertly steal data from all over the world, or because Intel wanted to force the entire world to spend hundreds of billions of dollars on buying new technology equipment from the computing industry [including itself, of course], or both. The general public can never understand the nefarious thinking of those at the top of these evil private companies. There's more to this development than meets the eye.

Sunday, December 31, 2017

Products, a majority of whose functionality depends on physical components that can be seen and measured, are more susceptible to getting copied than electronics and software [COMPACTIDEA]

Realized this when reading this article on China's first high-bypass turbofan engine. It's so much easier to reverse-engineer a "physical" product such an aircraft turbine than it is to, say, Microsoft Office. You can see a powerplant's components. You can disassemble it and measure each component and how one component connects to another. Only the software portion of the engine might not be possible to copy. But a bulk of what constitutes a CFM or Pratt engine is out in the open, naked, unprotected, ready for copying by China. Can the same be said for Microsoft Office? No. You have no idea of Office's source code, and so it isn't easy to reverse-engineer software. Software's very nature dictates this. Online services such as Facebook that rely on server-side software are even more difficult to copy, if at all - you have zero access to Facebook's backend software. Even if you had access to it and built a copy of FB, how will you overcome network effect of the billions of users of FB? Seems next to impossible.



Friday, December 29, 2017

Device manufacturers aren't forced to strictly follow net neutrality - Amazon's Fire range of products use a clever, hybrid model

Start with this from Wikipedia: 

"Amazon Fire OS is an Android-based mobile operating system produced by Amazon for its Fire Phone and Kindle Fire range of tablets, Echo and Echo Dot, and other content delivery devices like Fire TV; the tablet versions of the Kindle e-readers are the Fire range. It is forked from Android. Fire OS primarily centers on content consumption, with a customized user interface and heavy ties to content available from Amazon's own storefronts and services." - [link]

It's these "heavy ties" to Amazon's products/services that make Amazon's Fire Tablet and other products sort of hybrid when it comes to following net neutrality. Ostensibly they do follow, but "effectively" they're somewhere in the middle, because even if the device does technically support other storefronts and services, Amazon actively steers/nudges users to its own goods and services.

Further:
  1. By just not having any app for some/all of competing storefronts and services, and
  2. By forcing users to have a heavily degraded [perhaps unusable] experience when using these rival storefronts and services from Fire's Web browser,
Amazon effectively provides only its own storefronts and services. It's able to make a legal claim that others's stuff too can be used, but it knows that:
  1. Others' stuff isn't much usable, and
  2. So Fire users practically won't use others' services.
This sort of a hybrid, deniable approach isn't easy to prove because it looks benign on the surface. But just because it's hard to spot and prove doesn't mean that it doesn't exist, or that it doesn't have distorting effects on the market [effects that net neutrality is/was meant to avoid].




Thursday, December 28, 2017

To break Google, high-quality, Google-free, Android-based, Android-compatible mobile operating systems are needed [COMPACTIDEA]

Application compatibility must be maintained. Google-free or Google-presence-reduced versions of Android, such as Amazon's Fire OS, OxygenOS, Samsung Experience, Aliyun OS/Yun OS, ColorOS, etc., are good steps in this direction. Of course, a full-fledged alternative app store is also needed [Yandex.Store? Amazon Appstore?]. Native YouTube support is also an issue, since Google won't provide its YouTube app for these alternative operating systems. But to break Google's back, alternative OSes need to be done. Even Microsoft should launch a full-blown, Microsoft-powered version of Android, complete with Bing/Cortana, Office, Outlook, etc.

Saturday, December 23, 2017

Rivals of Google's search engine should combine their crawling, indexing functions to massively reduce their costs [COMPACTIDEA]

Yandex, Baidu, Naver, and maybe Bing too, should combine their crawling and indexing assets to significantly reduce their costs. They're merely duplicating the same activities without any extra benefit. Their innovation is in the actual ranking [and also the interface/presentation] - that's where they can and should differentiate. But why waste billions on duplicating crawling and indexing? No point. Perhaps they could create a separate firm called "Global Search Crawl and Index" which maintains exact copies of the index [and also the crawling and indexing software/technologies] in the different countries in which these rivals are domiciled [so that due to political reasons a certain client - say Baidu or Yandex - cannot be cut off from the system]. If such a combined system is made, it'll massively reduce the costs for Yandex, Baidu, etc., and thus allow them to better compete with Google. Who knows, a combined index might even make the index much bigger [after discarding duplicates of each one] and thus produce better results for each of the rivals.

Monday, December 18, 2017

The only reason why I don't like Bitcoin is because of its exorbitant, staggering energy usage [COMPACTIDEA]

Can our planet, our world really afford to do billions of transactions using a system that consumes so much energy that your eyes could really pop out?

"The electricity consumed for a single transaction is 251 kW⋅h..." - [link]

My 1.5 ton air-conditioner consumes only 2 kWh of energy per hour of usage. Now imagine spending 251 kWh for every single Bitcoin transaction. Bullshit. Forget capitalism and free markets - the world, on an aggregate basis, shouldn't be wasting such a large amount of energy on doing and recording Bitcoin transactions, even if it's profitable for a subset of the folks.

Monday, December 11, 2017

Does Rossiya's Ilyushin Il-96-300PU presidential plane realize that it shoulders the entire world's safety and future each time it flies with Vladimir Putin?

Realized this while watching this nice video. Mankind really has all of its eggs in one basket. The Rossiya Ilyushin Il-96-300PU aircraft really carries the one man who is single-handedly saving this planet from getting enslaved by the American monster. So much weight on the shoulders of the Ilyushin airliner. So much responsibility. We, the rest of the world, don't realize the gravity of each of Putin's flights. Out fate, our future, our safety, all depend on the safety and well-being of Vladimir Putin. America would chew us all alive if not for Putin. He is the one indestructible, impregnable adamantium wall that's standing between the insatiable greed and lust of America, and the rest of us.


Bisleri's Vedica premium drinking water from Himalayan mountain springs is worth a case study [COMPACTIDEA]

In short, it's a product directed at the affluent, rich, status-conscious types. The extra/high price is more about the premium brand than about any actual marginal benefits of the product compared to "regular" mineral water. Brilliant - essentially the same product but with double or triple margins. Today I frequently/regularly see Indians serving Vedica to guests when they have to portray themselves as rich, where they have to showcase a certain "image" in the society. And I think Bisleri has been quite successful - I see a lot of [and growing] usage of Vedica around. Sales and profits are probably growing [in general I'm not in favor of companies looting people on the basis of merely brands, but because Bisleri is an Indian company, it's less bad compared to Western companies such as Coca Cola or Pepsi taking away Indians' hard-earned money]. Overall, Bisleri's Vedica is a brilliant idea and a good candidate for a business school case study. Packaged mineral drinking water was already considered a premium, luxury product in India, but before Bisleri launched Vedica, who knew that you could go even higher in this product?








Sunday, November 12, 2017

An important paradox - he should've helped in the situation instead of filming it with his camera

Recently, a video surfaced in which a staff of the Indian airline IndiGo could be seen manhandling an arguing passenger. So many people sympathized with the passenger and expressed anger at the airline, while some thought that the passenger was the first one to provoke. Regardless, a large number of people expressed their views about the situation. This video was recorded by another IndiGo staff member. I personally read many comments [on FB, Twitter, etc.] from Indians, suggesting that this second staff member who recorded the video should've instead "focused on his duty" and should've helped to stop the manhandling of the passenger, instead of being busy recording the video.

Rubbish. Nonsense. The incident couldn't have become public without this recording. Similarly, the world wouldn't have come to know about the evil acts of the United States, if not for the leaks by Edward Snowden. The debate taking place within the US about Snowden's leaks is focusing only on the criminality of the act of leaking [by Snowden], and not on the utter criminality of America's acts that have been exposed in the leaks. The question here is the same as the IndiGo question - how could've the world come to know about America's brutal, illegal actions and worldwide spying operations without someone leaking records related to these? Doesn't an otherwise illegal leak retrospectively become legal and pardonable if it exposes crimes and illegal acts?

So although we might complain that some bystanders chose to film and record certain incidents that took place in front of them, instead of helping, but we ought to ask ourselves how could've or would've we come to know about those incidents without watching those very photos and videos?

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Android is not the last operating system - this is both my wish and my prediction

Have we reached the point where Google's Android has become so popular/ubiquitous, so familiar, so entrenched into the ecosystem, and getting so much help from network effect that no other OS can ever hope to challenge it? Just when we start to think this way, it's worthwhile to recollect the utterly dominant position that Microsoft's Windows once had in computing, when Windows' market share made it feel like nobody could ever challenge it - not because Windows was/is the best OS, but because of reasons similar to Android's current apparent insurmountability - sheer popularity, network effect, strong and increasing familiarity, and a deep ecosystem of applications/developers, support services and industry backing.

Let's not blindly assume that Android is mankind's last, final operating system. One never knows what changes can and will occur in the future. At one point it seemed like Android's popularity will lead to the demise of Apple's iOS. But it hasn't happened yet and doesn't seem as likely today as it seemed back then. Firefox is rising once again now, just when it was beginning to be ignored. Russia is now a food/grain/wheat export superpower, and this didn't seem likely some years ago. So wait. And let's see what happens.

Friday, October 20, 2017

One way to visually understand why total surface area of a sphere doesn't double when its volume is doubled [COMPACTIDEA]

This explanation uses a cylinder, but if you think carefully, it applies to a sphere too, albeit it's tougher and more complicated to visualize it properly. Now, when the length of a cylinder is doubled, its volume doubles, but the original and new surface areas are as follows:
  1. SAW + SAE + SAE
  2. NSAW + SAE + SAE
Where SAW= surface area of wall, SAE= surface area of end, NSAW= new surface area of wall. When volume is doubled, NSAW= 2*SAW, but SAE remains SAE. So when volume is doubled, 2*SAE remains 2*SAE rather than becoming 4* SAE [size of caps at the ends remains the same], hence the total surface area is lower than twice.


Saturday, October 7, 2017

A major limitation, a weakness of MBA programs at business schools is that they can't and don't teach you illegal, immoral or unethical practices [COMPACTIDEA]

Whereas, in real life, perhaps all big firms and all high-ranking folks routinely use ways and methods that anyone would call illegal, immoral or unethical. Like bribes, kickbacks, lobbying, abuse of monopoly position, "relationships" with ministers and politicians, forming anti-consumer cartels, abuse of employees, threats, deliberate theft of intellectual property, use of forged documents, use of harmful ingredients in food products [knowingly], and so on. It isn't like it's optional - it's very much essential. Numerous documented examples show that while companies and officials speak only moral, ethical and legal stuff in the public, in private the same companies and officials hold highly repulsive views and conduct equally repulsive actions.

And they're successful.

But business schools can't, don't and won't tell you to use accounting tricks or to stuff bribes down the throats of high-ranking officials. No MBA program will teach its students that even though America and Europe preach morality, human rights and democracy to the rest of the world, in reality the British, the French and the Americans knowingly resorted to mass-murder of Libyan people, destruction of Libyan infrastructure and property, daylight theft of Libyan oil and arming of terrorist groups inside Libya. The latter is what is done in reality in order to quickly get rich and to preserve the American/European "way of life". But no business school will teach doing any of this.

And all of this is a major shortcoming of current management programs.