Friday, September 25, 2015

Firms' accounting entries in India are gradually moving to the Cloud - albeit indirectly

Imagine what would happen if every delivery of goods in a commercial vehicle was supposed to carry a form printed from the government's website after entering the corresponding invoice details [currently there are regional versions of this concept - e-TRIP in Punjab, DVAT DS2 in Delhi, etc.]. This implies that every vehicle which is not carrying such a form can be assumed by taxation officers to be moving without complete covering documents [in this case the government form corresponding to its invoice] and can thus be impounded.

From a technology standpoint, what's essentially happening in such a setup is that, for all practical purposes, one's accounting has moved online, into the Cloud, on to the government's website. Of course, one continues to have an accounting software on one's computer in one's firm, but the government trusts and requires the equivalent of an invoice that has been generated from its own website. One's own invoice is thus less important.

People's accounting, therefore, practically moves into the Cloud, into the hands of the government. So if everyone records all their accounting transactions in a single, Cloud-based service, one wouldn't need a separate accounting software on one's computers and all firms can rely on the online service alone. This online service won't allow deletion/modification of invoices, and will thus solve - in large part - the problem of illegal movement of goods without complete/proper covering documents.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

A Web application loads in two parts - the browser loads first, and the application loads thereafter

One of the benefits of Web applications that's touted quite frequently is that these applications always stay updated. That's true in the sense that the application is loaded from the server each time it's used, thus ensuring that the freshest/latest version is pulled and used. This fact is touted as a benefit of Web applications over native applications. While this might appear fully true at first, close examination reveals that there are some important fine points which merit a look.

A Web application - like Gmail - isn't just the Gmail running inside a browser tab. It's Gmail plus the Web browser [taken together], since Gmail can't/doesn't have any existence without a supported browser. This idea can be extrapolated to all Web applications; all depend on a browser.

Which implies that all the aspects along which Web applications are compared to desktop applications must include the browser in the equation as an inseparable component of Web applications.

When the browser is added to the mix, the scales start to turn against Web applications, since browsers have their share of high memory consumption, delayed launch, version updates, etc. When we launch a Web browser, we're basically completing the first half of the total process of launching a Web application. This step [of launching a browser] is no different from launching a native application such as Microsoft Word.

Monday, September 14, 2015

The world needs lean courts that quickly rule on small-sized issues which "clearly" violate public interest

For example, in 2013 Microsoft released a YouTube app for Windows Phone, which received praise from reviewers/users. However, Google blocked it, raising certain objections. In the world of Microsoft, the objections were addressed and the app was re-released, only to be blocked again by Google because the new app was also built using native code rather than Google-enforced HTML5.

Prima facie it appears that Google's demand that Microsoft's YouTube app be built using HTML5 [while noting that both Android and iOS have YouTube apps built using native code, and also that Google itself isn't willing to release a full-fledged YouTube app for Windows Phone] is unreasonable and burdensome, not to mention clearly against the public interest.

The regular route of filing a lawsuit, etc., is quite lengthy and bureaucratic, and so I believe that we need sort of lean or fast-track courts that speedily deliver judgments on small-sized issues where the public interest is quite clearly harmed. Such a court, for example, wouldn't interfere in issues such as Google's advertising being displayed in an improper way in Microsoft's YouTube app. However, it would deliver a judgment that Microsoft has the right to develop and deliver a YouTube app to Windows Phone users that's built using native code, using the argument that the Android and iOS apps for YouTube are both built using native code.

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

A manager should ignore sunk costs during decision-making - and also sunk time

I wanted to withdraw some money a few days ago and so I reached my bank's branch. There I saw a long queue and estimated that I would have to wait around 15-20 minutes in the queue for my turn to come. I wondered if I should return and instead withdraw the same amount from an ATM.

Just then the MBA learning - sunk costs should never be considered in managerial decision-making - occured to me and I decided to stay at the branch and wait in the queue. Why? Because going to the ATM and withdrawing money from it would've cost me about 20-25 minutes. Staying in the queue would've cost me 15-20 minutes. The better decision is obvious, since the time I have already spent to reach the bank branch is now sunk and thus shouldn't affect my subsequent choice.