Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Centralized social networks ending as de-centrailized

There are plenty of articles written on the social network and what plagues them and definitely they will fail as is evident from the recent activities of these behemoths. I have seen people enter their most private information while creating a f*&$book profile as though they are filling up and admission form for college, as though they were to be awarded a lottery without winning. Humans want to belong but at the same time want individuality which I will not try to dwell into since I cannot and leave it to the philosophers. The public network is all about discovering content. The content as envisaged by the pioneers of the public network are linked files. Now to get to that particular linked file the search engines did the homework continuously day and night to have a dictionary of all the links on the public network. Tools were created so that people with minimum computer language added on the links and create sub links and so on.... Now the question is to monetize this situation. Since the Public network was designed to be open and not to be controlled by any single individual/corporation it was difficult. Thus was born the concept of advertisements. This was to put a layer on top of the basic web so as to lock the user out and provide a virtual screen between the content the user wants and the user in front of the computer screen. The user sees the advertisement or the popup and then he is allowed access to the content.

The public did work around this problem by making ad blockers/pop up blockers so that the user gets direct to the content. Now here again we are into two kinds of content creation strategies. Content creation on the public network for the fun of it/use of others and the other is for monetizing every glance a user throws on the content. The second group had no option but to lock the user out completely until he removes all the tools used for blocking ads/pop ups or request the use to allow ads and also consume the content. The second group of content creators were not happy with the situation. Enter social networks. In the beginning stage of the social network boom, users were mostly sharing links to their friends. This was still a healthy situation since these links were still available to the general public without any virtual walls. Trouble started brewing when the people who were sharing links they had created or others had created started creating content on the social network itself. Now this content got locked up within the social network. You cannot share these links with the general public and goes out of scope of search engines. This yielded itself to all sorts of monetization. This also created an artificial beehive where people swarmed to taste the new content created and shared.

Complete wedding albums, Family photographs, Friends photographs, photographs of houses, offices all uploaded with gay abandon to the social network. The network grew in al directions to hoard all this precious content. The content which people were not ready to put up for public consumption and for selective sharing. The same was now available to the social network. The social network is not in vaccum. It is a machine. It has to be maintained. It has to be checked for faulty components. It has to be updated/upgraded. Where does money for all this come from. It has to come from the users. But the users definitely will not pay. They would move to an alternate option or some individual/group might have created a free alternative. Think email.

So how would the user pay. He will pay in ways and means he will not know. The social network will make money from the content created without telling the content creator about these ideas. Why because the content creator is still a human being for whom sharing is at his heart.The thing with content creators is they want to reach the maximum number of consumers. They thought that the social network was the best way they can have this reach. The second level is the metadata of the members which has been collected over the years. The metadata, first and foremost includes the content and then all the other personal aspects of the creator. This combined with the personal aspects of the consumer can be extrapolated to target further creators and consumers. it is all about connecting the creators and consumers and keep them within this walled garden. Then start monetizing. The problem here is corporations also become content creators and the content can be created as though it has been created  by and individual which in turn carries more following. There is always content created to satisfy the need of the consumers rather than the urge of the creator. This is the most dangerous content.

The content, the creators and the consumers create such vast amount of data, the uses of which are impossible to gauge. It is difficult to tell what would be the uses of this data. It is limited only by the capabilities of the researcher. With the amount of computation power at our finger tips, the limits are endless. The trouble with this walled garden is that the monetizer is himself within the walled garden. He is already having an insider view and the holistic view would be provided by the social network data centers. This give a 360 degree view of any individual in this walled garden. You can throw ads at him, You can control his timeline. You can control the reach of his content and what not. Censoring content is most easy here. Since the user don't have any control over the working of this social networking machine. Censoring can happen influenced by big corporations, wealthy individuals, chauvinistic nations etc.

At a time where we have to decide the meaning of privacy, these walled gardens are not helping the cause. People don't know the value of privacy which is similar to the concept of freedom. The main issue is that this is too much of data in the hand of one corporation. How about the content creator owning his content and provide documented ways to access it. Welcome to the de-centralized social network. Think mastodon, Pleroma, peertube etc..

Monday, December 12, 2016

First 500 Kms on a Royal Enfield Classic chrome 500

1. The weight is well balanced with a very low CG
2. The seat height is OK. Can be reduced, if  possible with foot rests placed a little ahead, Might be a design disaster but can be tried?
3. The handle bar should be rotated a bit towards the driver's side to allow a little slack in the arms. On sitting at the sweet position on the front seat, the arms are fully stretched out.
4. Vehicle steering lock on the side adds to the retro feel of the bike. I remember the same setup on my old bicycle.
5. The look of the tires is good and road grip is good on asphalted roads(Not yet driven on any muddy roads)
6. The cables positioning and routing can be looked into. They are too naked to my liking. Yes it does add to the retro look, but this is one aspect which can be given a modern touch
7. The front brakes are good. The rear brake's travel is too high(To be reduce by adjusting). The seat height, the front foot rest pedal and the brake lever travel and positioning do not match. The sitting posture is totally disturbed when I try to brake hard as I have to move forward on my seat.
8. Waiting for fuel pump to start, on every ignition switch off and start, is a negative in heavy traffic. Be ready for a lot of honking if you wait for the last second before turning on the ignition key.
9. The feel you get the moment you turn the throttle to put the traffic behind you is in-expressible.
10. The sound of he horn is appropriate though I have used it only once in the first 500 Kms.
11. Mileage is approx 30 Km/litre driven only in city conditions(smooth rides in the morning with heavy traffic driving in the evening)
12. Have a good watch with vibration resistance. Be careful with your smart watches.
13. Nothing can beat the comfort of an open face helmet on a bullet. Yes lots of dust attack your face, but, a pair of aviators can be the ultimate style statement, which will also protect your eyes(Go for glasses which can be used both in the day and night). Couple these two accessories with a good cotton jacket(Not the ones they sell at RE with all the nylon nets and all, you are not a formula 1 racer, well if you are then you are on the wrong blog...he he...) and of course good pair of boots(Again don't overdo it), Liberation.........
14. The petrol reserve indicator is finicky. It gets switched on at occasional intervals when you brake all of a sudden which makes all the fuel in the tank to move to one side. It is a good indicator when your bike is exactly on a horizontal surface. Whatever be careful with the quantity of fuel and the distance you have travelled. Better to keep a record.
15. The default lengthy muffler is good, but, I am a fan of the swept back silencer(Which is still the photo of the classic 500 on the official website)
16. The rear view mirrors, my God, are a tragedy. They vibrate like crazy. In the night, a two wheeler behind you will appear like a four wheeler.
17. The engine and the muffler heats up quite quick. Be careful with your leg wear.
18. PLEASE dont change the default mufflers. The city is already polluted with sound and exhaust, please don't add to it. RIDE the bullet, don't SHOW it.
19. No grip bar on the right. Very bad design considering Indian women's pillion etiquette.
20. No hook for hanging a cover or a bag. It is criminal to not provide one. All the bikes have one.
21. Remember the tires are not tubeless ones.
22. Don't give it for a wash to your local cleaning fellow, There is a great possibility that you might damage few wires.

Monday, November 28, 2016

First drive on a Royal enfield Bullet classic 500 chrome graphite

The odometer reading on my bike was 8.3Km when the bike was handed over to me at the warehouse. The distance to my home was approximately 5 Km and it had to be done in thick traffic. I still had to get to the petrol bunk to fill up. Sonny was in the pillion seat. I had not driven a bike in the last 8-10 years. That too, now, I get to ride a bike so heavy, I was afraid I would be mocked all over the road. Anyhow, maintaining composure, started the bike with sonny on the pillion and made my way towards the petrol bunk. Reached the bunk and gave the 2 litres coupon received from the showroom and then told the boy to fill another 10 litres. Knowing that the fuel capacity was 12.5 litres. It has been my style that I would top up my vehicle well before reserve situation. But better sense prevailed and then asked him to top up with only 5 litres.

The drive home was very tiresome. Plenty of traffic. Reached home did the quintessential ode to God and asking his best wishes for a safe journey the entire life of the vehicle for the rider, pillion and all the other people and living things on the road. Here the priest was about to apply vermilion on the engine casing. I stopped him on time. The crank case and the cylinder were already so hot, one touch and the priest would have summoned the worst demons on to me and to my bike. While taking a turn, I really struggled to get the bike moving to turn 180 degrees. It was now time to rest the heavy slugger and its driver.

Woke up the next day and was still in two minds as to whether take the bike to work or not. Lot of work had to be done. The car had to be moved from its original position. There is one more bike which also had to be moved which unfortunately will be locked. At the last moment decided to bite the bullet and did all the above things to bring out the 500cc. Pulled up the choke lever and hit the electric start button. The engine chugged to life immediately. Waited for a minute or so and then off I went on my first real drive of the 500cc. The morning drive was awesome. The cold breeze, a rare vehicle here and there. Maintained a consistent 40-50 Kmph to maintain the ride in. The bike vibrates like crazy. The mirrors only tell you that you have a vehicle at your back. It is difficult to find out which vehicle is it.

The seating position is awesome. Sitting upright gives a princely air about the bike. It is difficult to drive at 60 Kmph in the 5th gear. The vehicle Will be nudging you to rev the engine but I remembered the limitations of the ride in and maintained the designated speed. The handle could have been bent a little towards the rider. The front disc brakes are excellent. The suspension is good enough. I did not feel the potholes much. It handles bad roads with aplomb. The major problem I faced is the rear brake lever. The foot has to go a long way down to use the brake. I think I should have raised the lever a notch and also reduced the total throw of the foot lever. This I will take up when I am free in the day. But, the rear brake pedal is a pain in the A*&. The driving position is completely destroyed when using the rear brake. I despise the total rear brake package.

The drive, is unique, one of a kind. The torque is available to you in all the gears. Perfect city bike once you get the hang of the bike and optimized the location and travel of the rear brake, of course. Reaching the neutral gear is something to be practised. Just in one day's drive my accuracy is nearly 60%. That is good going(patting myself). Don't change the gears when the bike is in stationary condition. hold on the clutch lever or switch of the engine in the same condition. Don't worry, you cannot move the bike that easily to change the gears all by yourself and also in the busy traffic where there will not be any place to do so. The thump, the vibration, I never knew that shortcomings in technology also could be used as USP and this bike is a mirror to this. I thoroughly enjoyed the drive in the mornings as well as traffic in the evening. The glances you get as you rev your engine, priceless and add to it the chrome. Now I know why people are so keen in going to Valhalla. Now I know the relation between chrome Valhalla. Now I know why chrome is sprayed on half lifes. Now I know why George miller is so adamant that he will not feature an electric car in his Mad Max series. Now...... I ............Know.........

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Part 4: Ownership experience of Royal Enfield Bullet classic chrome 500

So, waited for five days and called the evening of the fifth day. The sales rep hangs me up for a minute and then tells me that everything is in order. All the documents are ready. The registration number is already stickered on the bike and it is ready to be delivered. Now, if everything was ready why was I not informed. What will the showroom do with a bike which has already been sold? I don't know. Anyhow told him that I would be taking my delivery the next day.

Reached the showroom the next day evening. Not a single smile from anybody. No smile from the front desk lady, No smile from the sales rep, Nothing, Nada. Went to the sales rep he showed me to one more guy who is to show me the warehouse. I did not know anything about a warehouse all these days. I had to travel to Jayanagar to see the different shades of bikes and here right next to the show room is a warehouse. Was led to the warehouse where a short tube cylinder was being fitted on a standard bullet. Had to wait for 15-20 minutes for the job to complete. The sales guy left me there to fend for myself and went back to the showroom. The warehouse guy started cleaning my bike with some polish which made the chrome glow. He gave me a quick intro to the bike. It was so quick, I don't remember anything. He was in no mood to stay in the warehouse. He just wanted to rush out for something else. He handed over the keys to me and wished me happy biking. A coupon was given for 2 litres of petrol at a specified petrol bunk.

The bike is so heavy, even a small tilt to either side, you will be on the ground in no time with the bike over you and let me tell you, you will need at least 3-4 people to save you from that position. I sat on  the bike and pushed the bike out of its centre stand position and i felt a slight swerve to the left and thought that definitely it is going to fall down. But held on to the bike and pressed the self start button, the engine came roaring to life. It vibrates like crazy. RE should be definitely looking at twin cylinders and reduce the vibrations. The rear brake pedal positioning is not one of the best. It has to be depressed a bit more than normal bikes. The front disks are alright. The torque, the pull, the adrenaline rush is incomparable. Sitting and driving your dream bike, un-paralleled. People tell dream big. My thing would be dream real.

Monday, November 21, 2016

Part 3: Ownership experience of Royal Enfield Bullet classic chrome 500

Got a call from dealer telling that the bike is ready for delivery and that I have to reach before 5.30 PM for taking delivery. Rushed from work and by the time I reached the house wifey was ready and sonny super excited. Went to the showroom where I was led to the ground floor of the office which doubled up as a store room for spares. I though now, we would be discussing the spare required for the bike. I was taken to a lady crouched over a CRT monitor with its display so washed out, I was unable to see anything. Now the lady at the counter asked my previous bills. Without seeing them she asked my mobile number(which was already mentioned in the bill). It was told to her, but she was not hearing and started rummaging through a pile of papers. She then got agitated and told me that she would tell the phone number from the pile and I have to tell her if any of them belonged to me. So, now, the customer's name is not required. You are just a number. A coupon for fuel worth INR 200/- and some other documents were given and was asked to sign and the lady did not explain what they are but just indicated the place where I was supposed to sign. Then she told my vehicle still doesn't have a number. The insurance copy is in the "Head office". There I lost my cool. The first day I met the sales rep I had very clearly told that I would not take the delivery of my vehicle until all the formalities are completed. In this time of Information technology, I am being told that the insurance hard copy is in the "Head office", totally government office terminology. Thank god, RE is not a government operated unit, otherwise god save the customer. She got agitated with my argument and told that I am unable to understand the things going on. We both had an argument, in the mean time I realized I am arguing with a lady, which is wrong on my part.

Went to the first floor furious and asked the sales rep, what really is happening. My voice pitch is a little on the higher side and even little above normal talk would sound quite loud. The sales rep was silent to all the things I was asking. In the midst of it, there was a middle aged lady, who appears to run the place or is the wife of the man running the place. She wanted to show who is the boss. Customer is just a beggar standing at her door and asking for food in exchange for money, but still a beggar, This is exactly her attitude towards the customer. You open your mouth to talk, you will be shut down with a flurry of words related or un-related, the same with everybody in the showroom. I don't know how, but everybody is the same. All men and women are equal here. There is no disparity with respect to the mental thinking, a rare occurrence in this individualistic society. Now she started asking questions and I started to answer all the things mentioned in the previous posts were asked and replied for. Then, the most startling revelation. She told that it will take 4 days to get a registration number form RTO. I have purchased and have been a party to other purchases of vehicles, but never did I feel so puny as a customer. Your total helplessness is bought to the fore in a magnified manner. All this while you are worried about your bike. You are worried whether there would be any sabotage on your bike. You, Now I, should be very very worried................

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Are we humans any more?

People fighting over borders, religion, caste, color, race, position and what not. All the possible classifications even things like fat, thin, short can bring out bitter fights. Add to this the economic position of the individuals. Since the day purpose of human life changed from livelihood to hoarding to finding that USP of one human has over another. Since the day people forgot their whole capability by people bringing in division of labor, there has been no perfect man. People produce components without knowing what the end product is. What is the joy in that. Even the livelihood of people has these reflections. People run around small incremental aspects which will never give that ultimate happiness, the feeling of seeing and feeling the one. Even spirituality has been borught down to steps, of course since that feeling of joining the one results from a continium of thoughts and acts, people rarely feel it. Whoever felt it can never describe a continium of thoughts and feelings. You can always discretely descrbe the steps to reach there. But, what about the things which are in between which was lost in the incapability of human speech. Which is again a half hearted attempt. Improvements have rarely happened in this most important aspect of human nature.

Human race is unique in differntiationg components of its own. It is very difficult to find a parallel in other animals. We are evolving to lead a lonely life among lesser people. If there are people above we tend to grow in a manner to enslave the people above or be enslaved by the same. All th while doing it alone. Why has conscience taken a back seat. In fact i am hearing that particular word rarely. What had to be in abundance has become a rarity. The entire human race is behind rare things and wants it to be abundant. The rich desist the poor, the poor have so much anger within them, what is going to happen is anybody's guess. People are becoming plasticky. They can fake good manners like pros. Now again we come to the most important, Good and Bad. What is good and bad. The context keeps changing every day. Mass opinion can change anything to each other. The concept of democracy being utilized at its worst. What am I writing about. Is it good, is it bad, should it be written, Should it be read, should it be hated. What should w do? What are we going to do? What will be our fate. Wil we ever do what we are supposed to do in this multiverse. Are we doing exactly what is to be done. Is fate a reality? Are we in a simulation? Cant we control anything? Why have the oracles of the world failed in making us understand this world? Why do people who have seen and felt the one unable to communicate the same to everybody? When are we going to stop killing our own. When are we going to know what is really good and bad. When are we going to know that there is nothing like good and bad. Is morality a requirement? Why do humans dislike anarchy. Are they afraid it is going to bring harmony henceforth. Why do we love order so much and hate anybody who breaks this order. Why dont we understand the order of the person who is breaking it. Oh my.... Oh my......... What am I doing in all this, What am I TO do in all this..........The same question is also to you.........

Part 2: Ownership experience of Royal Enfield Bullet classic chrome 500

Please read the previouse post. This is a continutation of that one. A week passed without any information from the dealer. I then called the dealer regarding the status of my order. He told me that I have to come and pay the cash. The countdown to me getting my bike would start from the day I made the complete payment. The next sunday we went to the showroom for making payment. I also bought up the exchange of my old bike. Last week we had given the complete details of my old bike, but, the sales rep starts asking information from scratch. They dont remember anything. In the digital age all information is still on paper. You tell your order Number(Here there are two order numbers. One for internal usage with the dealer and one from Royal enfield. The dealer is not concerned with teh RE order number.). You want to know something, keep the dealer's order number ready and ofcourse, the date also. Otherwise they will make you wait on your phone for infinity. This applies for physical visits also. He asked when will be ready to exchange the bike. We told now. Then again a flurry of calls and couldnt tell the information about my old bike which he had noted down and handed over the phone to me. I asked the buyer when can he come? He told he will be at the showroom in 1/2 hour. I told I will be waiting for him here, at the showroom. Now the buyer changed his timing to two hours from now. The sale did take place on that very day. Please ask when will the actual transfer take place and take all the information regarding the buyer. He confirmed that the transfer of ownership will happen within 15 days. But, anyhow, you should be following him regarding the transfer of ownership.

As this was happening, I couldnt help myself but observe lot of comments on my order copy. I requested the sales person to let me have a look. He handed it over to me with a lot of regret. The previous week, i told the sales rep to take it cool and dont do it in a hurried manner. He didnt understand my intent and scribbled on the order "Customer wants to buy the vehicle slowly". That clears why I did not get any call in the previous week. Once the old bike was sold, I left the showroom and walked to my home. But, I left my helmet in the showroom. I found it out the next day and I was surprised that nobody from the showroom called to inform me regarding my helmet. Totally cheap. Wifey called the showroom the next day and luckily, they agreed that they indeed have a unclaimed helmet.

Another week, nothing happens. Then I start getting enormous number of calls while at work. The second day, the person calls me in the evening and I pickup the call. It is a verfication call from  a third party regarding the details provided for bike insurance. While he was explaining me the terms and conditions, I came to know that the insurance offered to me by the showroom chap is not the comprehensive one(Bumper to bumper). He told that he would call the dealer and the deaeler would in turn call me within 10 minutes. Nothing happened. The third party called me to ask whether I recieved any call from the dealer. That full day I did not recieve any call. Then, worried that I would be the owner of the bike, I went to the showroom for clarification. I did not see any repentance from any of the staff for not informing me regarding the type of insurance being given to me. Paid the little extra money to get comprehensive coverage and as instructed by wifey got my helmet. I saw my bike standing in the showroom being used as an exhibit and the sales person is not telling me that this is my bike. He told me that my bike would be of the same color and that it will take another 3 days for the delivery of my bike. Next day again a plethora of calls from the insurance third party during working hours.