Tuesday, September 22, 2020

On Apple's App Store and Google Play - one of the worst and most evil developments that has taken place in the area of application software

  • THE PAYTM CASE, SEP'20: A non-US company like Paytm invests years of blood and sweat into establishing its products and services in a non-US nation [India, in this case], but it's a US company - Google - that makes the decision that Paytm can no longer be allowed to be newly downloaded/installed, in effect suddenly completely crushing the company? What the actual F is this? Further, and crucially, how can Google be allowed to be 'the' custodian of what's allowable and what's not on Google Play when clearly, Google itself competes fiercely in the digital payments space with Paytm with Google's own Google Pay as well as other products? Do we expect a proven extremely evil American giant to not try to severely harm its competitors using dubious or made-up excuses?
    • Google has forced Paytm to remove key promotional features in the Paytm app in order to 'get back' into 'compliance' with the Google Play 'policies'. In effect, Google has actually been able to cripple the features/functionality and even the marketing abilities of one of its chief rivals. Is this the healthy competitive landscape we all want?
      • It must be noted that Google Pay itself runs promotional campaigns similar to Paytm's campaign that Google arbitrarily and unilaterally claimed was akin to 'gambling'. It would be foolish to expect a giant evil US technology company to be fair.
    • What if a particular feature is fully compliant with the law of the land - as Paytm insists its promotional feature in question is - but in so-called 'violation' of Google Play policies? Will Google's policies dominate over and above India's sovereign laws? Further, Google itself isn't consistent in enforcing its so-called policies. When it comes to making money on YouTube ads, Google is ignoring the so-called violation.
      • "Conveniently, Paytm First Games can do a paid promotion on YouTube (which is owned by Google), but it is not allowed to do the same advertisement on the Paytm app, as per Google Policy."
    • The story behind Paytm App’s de-listing from Google Play Store [link]
    • Interim solution - strengthening alternative app stores: Samsung's Galaxy Store, for example.
  • Q

Saturday, August 15, 2020

The air filter on an air conditioner [AC] exhibits the snowball effect - or maybe also the positive feedback loop [COMPACTIDEA]

Initially its filtration power / ability depends solely on the design of the material used to create the filter sheet. However, as dust and other filtered particles start to accumulate on the filter, the filtration power grows, because the extra particles that have now settled on the filter create further and tightened restrictions on the flow of even smaller particles. And this process continues.

Saturday, January 11, 2020

A strange, scary new world is coming towards us - where tiny, invisible sensors will be all around us - will it spell a full end to privacy? [COMPACTIDEA]

  • OnePlus phone whose camera module can be hidden behind a glass that changes its colors. You won't know that there are cameras and/or other sensors behind such glass. You won't even know that a particular glass is of such type.
  • Behind-the-display / under-display cameras in smartphones without any visible notch or hole. Eventually one will never be able to be sure that there isn't an "invisible" camera lurking behind the innocent-looking displays of phones, TVs, maybe even somewhere inside home appliances such as washing machines or air-conditioners. Privacy loss as well as spying / surveillance will increase massively. Females, in particular, will be negatively affected if all those 'hidden cam', 'spy cam', voyeur type photos and videos start to be collected and spread. One example is if there are such concealed cameras planted in changing rooms / trial rooms for clothes, or in bathrooms / toilets / washrooms.
  • A camera that can shoot at a trillion FPS [or several trillion FPS]. Nothing can be hidden from this.
  • As of Jan'20, passenger cars are increasingly and forcibly getting "connected". Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, proprietary platforms such as NissanConnect or Honda Connect, microphones, touch screens, voice commands, live GPS location tracking of a car, inbuilt maps, bluetooth streaming, diagnostics and data logging, even 4G network connections are increasingly being added to cars. No one's giving options to disable these if one wants to [using hardware, not using fake 'soft' switches]. Round-the-clock tracking is becoming the norm. The good old cars of yesterday which quite simply just didn't track you in any way whatsoever are disappearing.
    • And yet this is just the tip of the iceberg. Upcoming electric and self-driving cars with tentacles of Amazon/Apple/Facebook/Google/Microsoft deeply penetrated into their systems will take tracking, spying and surveillance to an unprecedented level, justified by the ever-familiar excuses of "personalization" and "safety/security".
      • In particular, self-driving cars are an especially-worrying menace because in a way these are like remotely-controlled military drones. The American government could assassinate anyone it wanted to with sufficient plausible deniability by causing a genuine-looking accident or malfunction of a self-driving car. No logging. No one will know. Nonstop face recognition and voice matching in the car's passenger cabin will of course deeply assist with locating and tracking the target person(s). [The ethical dilemma of self-driving cars - Patrick Lin]
  • Tiny, beetle-mounted camera, Jul'20. [link 1] [link 2] [link 3]

Wednesday, January 8, 2020

Amazon's secret incursion into Google's Android turf using MediaTek Helio G90T's dual wake-up word feature is admirable [COMPACTIDEA]

No idea if this feature was conceived by Amazon or MediaTek. It's a masterstroke in the sense that Amazon has been able to establish Alexa as an equally-available digital voice assistant on what was formerly a Google-only space. Xiaomi must be receiving payments from Amazon for pre-installing and also integrating Alexa on their superhit Redmi Note 8 Pro handset - so far the only phone in the world powered by the G90T [did Xiaomi 'lock' MediaTek into selling the G90T only to Xiaomi - promising guaranteed huge sales - so that Realme, Oppo, Vivo, etc., wouldn't be able to offer an equivalent phone anytime soon?]. For Xiaomi, Amazon, MediaTek and also phone-buyers, it's a win-win. Xiaomi gets subsidies to price the phone lower [or maybe to raise profits, or even both], Xiaomi also gets bragging/marketing rights ["the first and only Alexa inbuilt phone"], Amazon firmly penetrates Google's hitherto monopolized arena, MediaTek achieves commercial success with huge G90T sales and maybe a snowball effect will follow [also setting a favorable atmosphere for its upcoming Dimensity flagship chips] and it also gets to look like a Qualcomm-challenging innovator and not just a poor-man's chipmaker, while customers get a powerful device at possibly subsidized price point plus a good feeling / flaunt value of owning a phone with Alexa [the "in thing" today in India]. Google is the big loser here, especially if this trend of two [and more later?] wake-up words sets in and Qualcomm, Huawei, Samsung, and others follow MediaTek's lead.

Monday, December 30, 2019

Thinking out of the box - a bathroom geyser (water heater) is also fundamentally a sort of a battery [COMPACTIDEA]

This thought occurred to me while bathing, a few days back. The time when the water heater is heating up the liquid water inside can be compared to the process of charging a battery using a charger. Heated water's heat is analogous to stored charge in an electrical battery, and this heat can theoretically be used to do useful work, even if the efficiency ratio is very low. Further, with proper thermal insulation, heat loss can be reduced [though definitely not anywhere near the duration of time for which batteries retain charge]. Heat loss as a phenomenon is comparable to loss of charge in a conventional battery. So it does seem like a water heater can be correctly called a sort of a battery.

Saturday, November 9, 2019

The day Web search engines such as Google start to understand the meaning of content such as text, they will covertly censor or demote content that's critical of them

Even though Google / Bing / Yandex can currently translate text content, this doesn't mean that these Internet search engines "understand" the "meaning" of whatever text they work with. The translation happens using lifeless algorithms, on a statistical basis, and doesn't involve "knowing" what's "being said" in the content.

Looking this way, it seems like there are some parallels between the related concepts of [ knowing / meaning / understanding ], and the close concepts of [ awareness / consciousness / sentience ]. A super-smart robot or computer program isn't self-aware the way humans are, and similarly an excellent language translation tool such as Google Translate doesn't know an iota of what's the intent and meaning of the text it works with.

Anyway. There could / will come a day when computers actually start to capture the broad meaning of text [whether this capturing takes place in a dumb/lifeless computer or a self-aware/sentient computer is irrelevant actually]. When this happens, private search companies such as Microsoft and Google will have every incentive in the world to censor and/or demote that content which criticizes these companies, exposes their crimes, or otherwise makes them look bad [or makes their competitors look good]. This is a scary prospect, and one that's within the realm of what's possible - and it's not too far into the future either. Worst of all, this censorship will happen covertly, quietly, silently - there's hardly any practical way to prove that an engine such as Google is hiding some type of data from its users.

Sunday, October 13, 2019

It should be possible to travel at a speed faster than that of light, even if we may not be able to measure that speed

What does it mean to travel near or at the speed of light? Does it mean "actually" traveling near or at that speed? Or does it mean that whenever the measured speed is near or at the speed of light, it's sufficient to say that the object is traveling near or at the speed of light [even if it "actually" is not]? What does "actually" mean? Does "actually" mean the speed that "God" sees? Can there be a divergence between the "actual" speed of an object and its measured speed, without us having to call it a measurement error? If yes, what's the relevance or value of such an measurement then?

Anyway, the point here is that it should be possible to travel at a speed faster than that of light. Why shouldn't it be, after all? Keep increase the quantity of energy and force and there's no reason why an object's speed shouldn't keep increasing. It isn't like once the value hits c, suddenly more energy and more force stops having an incremental effect. But how do we measure such a faster-than-c speed? Do we even have to bother with measuring? And just because we can't measure, should we conclude that the speed isn't faster than that of light? Does an object placed in a completely dark room become nonexistent and irrelevant just because we can't see it? It still is there, just that we cannot see it.

Those are some half-cooked thoughts in my mind.


Wednesday, July 24, 2019

It may be correct to say that fractions are not numbers but are instead sentences written in a shorthand notation [COMPACTIDEA]

Fractions have intrigued me since my school days. Why are we able to represent certain values, or rather shares, precisely as fractions but not as whole numbers or decimal numbers? This can sometimes get irritating. Today a thought occurred to me which could be correct [could be wrong as well - need to think more]. Perhaps fractions aren't numbers at all. Instead, they're perhaps a quick/shorthand notation to write sentences [or instructions]. Might sound weird, but the fraction 2/3 is basically the same thing as the sentence:

Two parts out of three.

Now, the sentence - two parts out of three - definitely is not a number but is a sort of rule telling us how many parts out of how many are we talking about. A compact way to write this sentence is to write 2/3, because we've been taught from childhood that the "/" is to be interpreted as "parts out of". Just because we're all using a certain notation to write these sentences shouldn't mean we should start treating 2/3, 3/7, etc., as numbers.

Or it could very well be that due to inherent limitations of our base-10 decimal system, we aren't able to represent 1/3 precisely as a number, so we've started taking 1/3 itself as a number.

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Response of American technology giants to scandals - should've communicated better or should've responded faster, rather than addressing the root problem, or making major changes to software or to business model

I've seen this type of "response" from people like Facebook's Sheryl Sandberg a few times, so I believe this is more of a pattern that can be stated. When it was revealed in 2014 that Facebook was secretly conducting psychological experiments on a few hundred thousand of its users by manipulating their emotions to observe their reactions, Sheryl Sandberg's response wasn't to apologize for these actions of Facebook. Instead, it was:
  • Facebook chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg is sorry if anybody was made angry by the whole "we're going to make you sad and see what happens" experiment, disclosed last week, that alarmed many of the service's users.
  • Speaking in New Delhi Wednesday, Sandberg said the study was a routine practice in the commercial sector — echoing some defenders of the social network — but that the nature of the study was "poorly communicated" to users.
  • "And for that communication we apologize," said Sandberg, according to the Wall Street Journal. "We never meant to upset you."
Bullshit. Evil monster this Sandberg creature is. I've made some text bold above. Total bullshit. Calling it "routine", and that "if anyone was offended then I say sorry" apology, and "we need to communicate this better", and so on. As if merely communicating better can make a wrong right.

Actually, if you think really carefully, she's being honest here. She isn't sorry, so she isn't giving out fake sorries. She doesn't think that there's any problem with such experiments/practices, so she's not apologizing for these. She really thinks and believes that such experiments and other anti-user stuff needs better packaging and spinning, so she's honestly saying that FB needs to better "package" this stuff into better language that its foolish users will believe.



Similarly, as Boeing is facing a crisis related to its 737 MAX plane, it has mounted a full-blown media and public relations [PR] campaign. These American companies seem to think that by aggressive, "360 degree" communication/PR, they can actually solve the underlying technological issues in their products. Fortunately, science isn't affected by PR and spinning.



"Boeing Max 737 jet crisis: we should've been more open, says CEO"

"Boss says aircraft maker failed to communicate properly with regulators and customers"

Boeing's CEO isn't admitting that their aircraft is poorly designed. He's not admitting that due to commercial reasons, MCAS was deliberately/knowingly not put in the manuals and not discussed with airlines/pilots. He's not admitting that they changed the software without certifying it again. He's laying the blame on poor communication. What a loser.


Tuesday, May 28, 2019

Superpower nations need complete self-sufficiency in all spheres - food, medicines, technology, raw materials, currency, minerals, military, etc.

  • China, and not just China, but also other current/aspiring/future superpowers such as Russia, USA, India, and maybe Europe, each of these needs complete technological independence. Which means owning the entire stack - the instruction set architecture (ISA), the code inside microprocessors, the raw materials to make chips, manufacturing fabs, operating systems, all of the software programs that run on the systems, and so on. Nothing can be such that a superpower is dependent upon the mercy of a foreign power. Because as the Huawei case has clearly shown, adversaries can and will cut-off technological connections/dependencies in order to cause crippling, instant, and irreplaceable harm to the companies and people of nations.
  • Huawei should drop American courier / package / logistics providers such as FedEx worldwide as much as possible, and give priority to Asian and European providers [in that order]. Just like sensitive digital data cannot be carrier over untrusted digital lines, physical objects shouldn't be transported over adversary-owned physical lines.
    • Do the same in the whole of China. No need to send $$$ to US firms.
  • A coordinated effort is required to simultaneously deprive the USA of the vital ores/minerals/metals its economy and people need. China's restrictions on exporting rare-earth elements to USA alone isn't the ideal response. Simultaneously, Russia should announce restrictions on titanium exports to America [remember how America simultaneously makes multiple countries support its foreign policy moves - whether it be expulsion of Russian diplomats, or the recognition of Juan Guaido as Venezuela's President]. If America's other similar critical dependencies/vulnerabilities can be discovered and can be simultaneously announced, all the better. A sudden, unexpected and crippling ban on multiple essential raw materials will quickly and immediately bring America to its knees, and also damage its invulnerable global image.

Friday, December 28, 2018

The world's peoples are increasingly speaking and listening through American communication, social media or social networking services - thus subjecting their speech to the draconian laws of these services

  1. This whole "Instagram Influencer" thing that's going on these days. These young girls who're trying to make a career for themselves by posting ever more controversial and/or nude photos of themselves on Facebook's Instagram service - do they realize that they've subconsciously censored and restricted their own speech and expression of thoughts so as to fit Instagram's rules? One "mistake" [which is a violation according to them, but they won't explain what exactly was the violation] and without warning they delete your entire account and all your investment is gone forever. Better to choose the self-censorship route and focus on one's career, isn't it? That's what's happening.
  2. I've written something similar in one paragraph of this post.
  3. Look what happens when one or a few private companies start to de facto dominate any particular industry or technology - like the total dominance of Ant Financial’s Alipay and Tencent’s WeChat Pay in China's mobile payments sector. Retailers have started to refuse cash and are asking to be paid using only mobile payments. This is not good. Chinese people are increasingly paying only through these mobile payments companies' services. The effective control of currency has come in the hands of these companies, which sit between the Chinese government/banks and the Chinese people. [link 1] [link 2]
  4. Instagram asks bullies, ‘Are you sure you want to say that?’ [link 1] [link 2]

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

America could secretly be conducting photographic or signals spying using regular commercial aircraft [COMPACTIDEA]

Rule number 1 is that when it comes to USA, consider anything possible. Don't assume that they can't or won't do it. It's possible that using hidden cameras and/or sensors in airplanes of US airlines such as American or Delta, America's CIA / NSA are conducting spying over the territories of other countries such as Russia and Turkey.

Friday, November 30, 2018

Russia needs a special low-capacity but long-range aircraft in order to properly connect and integrate its various distant regions [COMPACTIDEA]

For strategic reasons, it's vital that the various far-flung regions of Russia be connected and integrated tightly into a well-knit and cohesive unit. Railways is going to be too costly, so air travel is a more feasible option. But traffic won't be too large on these regional routes. Yet distances are usually great. Usually low-capacity planes also simultaneously have low range. Won't work within the mammoth Russia. Russia needs a special airplane that has low number of seats yet enough range to be able to fly between its various distant regions [say 30-50 seats and a few thousand kilometers]. Maybe an evolution of Saab 2000 or Beechcraft Super King Air or Fokker F27 Friendship, or perhaps Dornier 328. Or it could be a single airliner in 2 variants - a 30 seat version and a 50 seat version, to serve different intra-Russia routes depending upon expected passenger volume. And why restrict this plane to flying only within Russia? From within Russia - say from regional cities that are close to Russia's border areas - this bird could also fly to nearby second-tier or third-tier cities of other countries, something which wouldn't otherwise be commercially viable, but will now lead to more trade, more cultural exchanges, more tourism, and so on. Exports are obviously possible as well, especially to other similarly large countries that need to connect their far-flung regional areas - Brazil, Canada, Australia, China, etc.

Thursday, October 25, 2018

The Lockheed Martins, the Boeings, the Raytheons, etc., should beware of the Amazons, the Googles, the Microsofts, etc. [RAWDUMP]

  • When you cannot sync your Google contacts [which you built over the years] with a phone, that phone starts to seem pretty useless even if its hardware is excellent. And an otherwise inferior phone that can sync your Google contacts starts to seem more practical and useful. Switching costs basically.
  • Sony might build excellent hardware, but what's stopping you from switching to another company for your next buy? Nothing. Sony doesn't know how to create switching costs for its customers [obviously this doesn't apply to Sony's PlayStation business]. Software and online services make you invest your time, energy and information in their services and create switching costs for you. The more you use a service, the more "invested" and locked you get into that service. Sony, Toshiba, Panasonic, Sharp, etc., focus on and create great hardware, but there's nothing in their products that makes it difficult for you to switch to another provider. And now that these online companies are dominant [people are totally locked into these services], that if you don't support all of these, even your great hardware won't sell.
  • No one should be fooled that the Amazons/Googles/Microsofts don't salivate uncontrollably when they look at the limitless revenues and profits of the military-industrial complex. Heretofore it was isolated from these companies. Electronics, software and Internet have made it possible for these companies to enter the defense/military/weapons business.
  • For now, these software companies are touching only the Cloud storage business. But they already own and are developing many technologies for consumers that have full-fledged military applications - image recognition, object recognition, video analysis, and a whole spectrum of other stuff. Step-by-step these technologies will be offered to the military.
  • What stops the Googles from finally starting to build software and associated Cloud-based services to fly and operate a fighter jet in a fully-unmanned fashion [aided in no small manner by the various image/face/object/video recognition technologies that they already possess]? None of the Northrop Grummans or the General Dynamicss have any of these technologies [nor can they quickly build high-quality ones even if they decide to invest the required amount of money]. It would be foolish to wager that BAE's software - any software - would be better than Facebook's or IBM's.
  • Dassault Group is a notable exception in the military-industrial complex. It has a full-fledged software subsidiary, which it can far more easily expand into a Internet+Cloud division, compared to pure-military players.
  • As the importance of software, Internet and Cloud grows in defense products, expect a lot of acquisitions of software/Internet/Cloud players by defense giants.
  • Smaller Cloud players such as IBM, Oracle, and others shouldn't lose sleep if the Pentagon awards its Cloud contracts to Amazon [or a mix of Amazon, Google and Microsoft]. Defense contractors will need deep software+Internet+Cloud capabilities and expertise in the coming future, and they'll be forced to turn to these "other" players to fulfill vast capability gaps. Lucrative business is right on the horizon from contractors, if not from the government.
  • An American Chevrolet or Ford car of the future which quickly and properly syncs with and works with all your Google, Amazon, Kindle, Alexa, Apple, iCloud, MSN, Microsoft, Gmail, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Yahoo Mail, Netflix, Hotmail, Outlook, and other accounts and services is better from the customer's standpoint than a German Audi or BMW which is weak in software and online services [even if the latter's car hardware is somewhat better]. Pay a lot to these American online giants or else people won't buy your cars. This is loss of control for Germans.
  • Think of what Android has done to the smartphone industry. Dozens of so-called "manufacturers" [basically assemblers] running after crumbs, and dictated to by Google. The real power is with Google, with YouTube, Play Store, Chrome, etc. All of these phonemakers are "expendable assets". Replaceable assets. German cars could become the same. The car of the future could be such that the real value would be in the operating system, applications, data and online services attached to it. Buy [or rent] a car from anyone, and login to your Google account to transform it into your personalized vehicle. Later logout and the car is ready to be used by another fella.