Sunday, October 26, 2014

Phishing and Online Fraud: from UK Lottery Scams to the online reselling

I remember facing the phishing attacks way back in 2002-2004. We used to get mails from viagra advertisements to UK Lottery to our valuable 10MB inbox in rediff, yahoo and msn. Most famous was UK lottery style ones where the typical body starts with "We happily announce to you the draw of the UK-LOTTO Sweepstake Lottery International programs held on...."  or the 419 scams

Now it seems like it comes in the form of ads like "Smartphone Excellent Condition Never open in box with India Bill".
A simple search in OLX with "lg g3 32GB" price between 10K and 21K will open up lists with same price, with location listing different parts of the country. LG G3 launched a few months back at a price around 50K and the minimum price in Diwali time was around 36K.

I do not have a law degree, but I could see that either they are the scammers with old wine in new bottle or they are doing something illegal.  Contacted the OLX legal asking them an explanation. I really appreciated their quick response, removing the ad I was mentioning as example.  A check on the location of these ads, though the names vary; suggest that all of them maps to 2-3 different areas in big cities. It needs a bit of work from their technical team to detect such illegal business.

Screenshots of these listings and follow up to some of these sellers. 
NB: I actually checked the warranty policies of Sony and LG. Both does not have international warranty policies and it varies from region to region.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Sachin and Binny, I can offer better solutions for "better flipkart" experience

I respect you guys. Seriously. You have achieved something great.
I have received the "requirement specification" here.
I have converted them in to three problem statements
  1. I can automate alert mechanisms to detect if a product is routed farther from delivery.  This saves a lot of time and money for you, sir. 
  2. I can replace some (if not all) your customer-support with a robotic reply machine. What it does is pretty simple. Just reply
    •  "I understand your concern. We will deliver things as promised."  
    • "it is on the way and promise that it will reach you by XXX date"
  3. I can add a "go to hell" button to the feedback query instead of "submit" button.

I can deliver all the three and can offer you the third one free of cost. Take it as a "wow, Wednesday offer" from me.
Like the "flipkart guarantee", I promise that these features will be delivered "soon".

Update on requirements  from Flipkart on 19th

Feature additions

4. I can replace the embarrassing statement "will be delivered" to "oops, something went wrong, we are working on it" or "seems like logistics guys had a hangover" message.
5. If the product still available with "same day delivery", a desperate attempt to cancel this order and convert it to the "same day delivery".  (hoping that the statements in  4th will not be repeated)

Update 2 from flipkart : guys, you are the best in providing requirement updates. 

More Features I can offer based on your inputs

6. I can randomize the replies like "it will be delivered soon/ it will be delivered by XX date/ Logistics department is looking in to it".  This is for the replies to delayed deliveries and not to the context of feature 2.
7. I can fix the error that if it is stuck at HSR and out for delivery after 2 days, add a description that "hangover!!! we got stuck for two days".
8. I can fix the date of delivery to be something in present or future than in past.

Concluding remark

Dear flipart, thank you for giving me a chance to show what I can offer you. I feel every user will appreciate this "User Experience (UX)" than your current ones.
I look forward to serve you in future as well, as your team finally delivered it today (by 19th).

Yours sincerely
A Customer

Arrh!!!! the cost and refund 

I did not know flipkart sold ws retail!!! Interesting. 
Also, 10% of 1745 is 174.5 and not 174. 

So, let me calculate the savings I could have done by implementing my feature list. 
1. 10 % of the cost of a mis-matched order. 
2. Almost 2 hours of customer executive's time and the infrastructure cost for the same.

How much does my suggestions worth, Mr Binny and Mr. Sachin? 

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

3 Years cycling in Bangalore

Well, it is in December 2010 I joined Bosch. On the second day of joining, I bought an Act 110 Plus. Coming from Chennai, where cycling for five minutes makes you sweat a lot, Bangalore was like heaven. I have been cycling since then, missed around 6 months due to German classes and laziness.

When I started cycling, I have been to Nandi Hills  with Yousuf and Abhilash (my friends from IIT Madras), some weekend trips to Chika Thirupati and  3 day Kodai Cycling with Guru and  Adi. This wass apart from my daily commute to office.  Though I had a helmet back in 2011 Feb, I found it gave an alienated effect while I was cycling. Thanks to the  "poshness" brought in to the "green cycling" where the "IT Guys" buy cycles (oops Bikes) costing 50K to 1 Lakh and the campaigns by CycleDay-Bangalore, I can use helmet which creates a bit of sanity in the insane motor-commuters.

For past three months I was tracking my daily-commuting in Endomondo


One of the best


  1. Wearing a helmet and nice goggle is essential . Afterall when you cycle daily and have a fit 6 packs, why not get some attention from the girls 
  2. Your speed is 40KMPH does not matter, the assholes will try to corner you to the edge of the road. In most of the cases, they want to take the left turn and you want to keep the middle line to go straight
  3. The best way to drive is to keep that 20KMPH. You still beat the Bangalore traffic, but the tendency of assholes to overtake you is less. 
  4. In general, keep your speed slightly higher than your overall average. Why hurt your knee by overspeeding and breaking abruptly.
  5.  You have a tough time avoiding the bus stops. Mostly the BMTC buses and the private shuttles will occupy two lines. If there is a third line, you have a tough time going past the buses. 
  6. Most of the "free workshops" like the ones  in Cylce-day is just advertising campaign. We  may learn better things from youtube. 
  7. Have a repairing kit. Most of the workshops, though they does not do good job; are excellent in taking money. Some even charged 40 rupees for single puncture repair.