Wednesday, June 25, 2008

The most psychopathic corporations

Here's an abbreviated list of a very enjoyable thread: If you haven't seen the Corporation, I suggest you do that as well.

Also, the link to Smithfield Foods is one of the grossest reads ever.

Amway: Ran by rightwing fanatics, tries to legitimize other rightwing fanatics
Bayer: Was a part of IG Farben, sold HIV tainted drugs to Europe
Blackwater USA: Cons just about everyone they work for and hire. Frontline Piece
British East India Company: Too much.
Chiquita/United Fruit: Banana Republics
Congo Free State: Holy shit. Just, shit. No single sentence can do it justice. BBC Piece
CSC/ DynCorp: War profiteers, illegal sex trade, illegal drug trade
Custer Battles: Criminally incompetent war profiteers.
De Beers: Practically a worldwide diamond mafia Frontline Piece
Dow Chemical/Union Carbide: The Bhopal disaster
Enron: Price fixing and stole their employee's money.
Ford: Illegal toxic waste dumping, the Pinto scandal
IBM: Produced computers used by the Nazis during censuses, probably quite aware of what they intended
Dow Chemical: Responsibility in over 90 Superfund sites, The Bhopal disaster
IG Farben: Produced Zyklon B during the Holocaust, chemical weapons after
Nestlé: Price fixing, marketing baby formula to third world countries contributing to health problems, child labor, slave labor
Monsanto Company: Agent Orange, pollutes at rates that makes Captain Planet villians seem tame.Frontline Piece
Seimens: Used concentration camps as a source of slave labor, produced gas chambers during the Holocaust, responsible for a great deal of Nazi Germany's infrastructure
Shell Oil Company: Murdered Africans in the name of "energy exploration"
Smithfield Foods: Vast lagoons of pig shit. For more on other assorted evil fuckery, see the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union's article
Wal*Mart: Assorted mistreatment of works and other tomfoolery. Frontline Piece
WWASPS: Widespread child abuse and endangerment. Also its based in Utah

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Avial - India's best rock band

I'm not as prolific a music listener as some of my friends, but after going through the Avial album, I wholeheartedly back this claim by Srikanth of Kvltsite:

I'd easily put my money on this for the best thing that Indian Rock has produced till date. Great progressive musicianship with an amazing sense of melody and groove, awesome sound, solid production and the CD comes in a nicely done package.

Review: Avial - S/T

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Tata Indicom Plug2Surf: Field Test Reports

Three months ago when I left for India, I'd started believing in the friedmanesque notion that India had actually leapfrogged the digital divide by investing in wireless telecom technology.
It's like how Laloo is praised for making the Indian railways profitable, but no one complains about the god awful smell, because it's such a part and parcel of Indian railways.
So you've got a shiny new technology that looks good on paper, but that doesn't matter, as I was about to find out in an endeavour that I call wake up and smell the bullshit

Because it was the only alternative to Reliance, which has rather aggressive and shady billing practices, (including a strap-on fee for cancellation and returning the wireless instrument), I decided to go with Tata Indicom.

The Plug to Surf modem, which I now lovingly refer to as "Piece of Shit" cost me Rs 3000. It's a clever ruse to keep you hooked to their service, because if you spend three grand on a modem, you're sure to at least give the service three months, just to get some value out of that POS

I'm on the third month, so I'll do my best to give a qualified review of the POS service.

Places where the POS somewhat:
Mumbai, Maharashtra.
Kodaikanal, Tamil Nadu.

Places where the POS zero had network coverage:
Vattakanal - Tamil Nadu
Amby Valley City - Maharashtra
Lonavala - Maharashtra.

Places where Jhaata had good signal coverage, but poor net connectivity:
Alibaug - Maharashtra.

I was told by a friend that CDMA does not have the range of GSM, it's perhaps why the Plug2Surf service sucks so much. All you hope for with a thing like this is for it to work in places where leisure and good air can be had, but you get the very opposite.

In terms of speed, it's probably a little faster than dial up at best, but speeds fluctuate wildly, so don't be surprised if you find yourself in front of the browser for over an hour just to book a flight ticket, or worse, a train ticket on Sometimes the connection might not transfer a byte for well over 10-15 minutes, so you'll have to disconnect and connect again. Hopefully you'll
not get the dreaded error 721 (the remote computer did not respond)., as I did for several days.

The dialer software absolutely sucks. Either you get five bars, or you get none. So you have no realistic way of telling whether you'll have a good signal unless you have a Tata Indicom phone around.

The Plug2surf modem has very poor build quality - it sticks out a bit, so there's bound to be a shallow knock or two. The first one loosened it, the second one just broke it. I had to get it re-soldered, and when I examined its construction I was appalled at how the entire weight falls on the connecting pins. Why would anyone make a device like this any less rugged than a swiss knife? Perhaps because service centres would make more money that way?

I haven't tried calling support, because there are enough nightmarish reports on that, and I hope this service dies a fiery horrible death. I have hopes for BSNL's EVDO technology - which is technologically superior, but assheaded at the present.

BSNL has decided to launch its Data Services on CDMA 2000 IX by using BSNL Internet Connect Card (ICC). The CDMA IX ICC will provide Internet Service @144kbps to computer users on their laptops as well as on desktops. This service will be available in all those locations wherever CDMA IX MSC based coverage is there. However, during roaming the said Internet connectivity will not work at present.

I wish I had a way to show you all how much MB I've transferred over the last three months, but the dialer's logs are not hosted online, but on the client. As a recent survivor of a hard disk crash, you'll have to take my word that I got about 400 MB for the 6 grand I got billed, so that comes to about 15 rs per MB.

Based on my experiences, I'm compelled to add Tata's Plug2surf to the Horror Service Hall of Fame. It's one of the most worthless networks in terms of reach, uptime, and speed. Like this guy says - it's the costliest dialup you will pay for.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008's 100% cashback offer - Read the fine print!

I was really elated to hear about a 100% cashback offer from an Indian dotcom,, which seemed like a legit operation.

"The company claims that everyone making a purchase on CafeGadgets till June 15 is sure to get a gift voucher of the same amount that they spend. The customer can redeem his voucher on his next purchase on CafeGadgets within 1 month of purchase subject to certain terms and conditions. For example, if a customer buys a mobile phone worth Rs. 5000, he will get a gift voucher worth Rs. 5000 redeemable on his next purchase on, which is to be made within the next 1 month of purchase."

Sounds like an awesome deal right? Me and a friend thought we'd go two way on a Viewsonic monitor, work it down to half the price.

Here's what a good friend dug out for me though:

6. Buy any item of Rs. X amount on cafegadgets. CG Cash-Back Voucher entitles the owner to a discount of Rs. X on a minimum value of Rs. 5X on next purchase.

This basically comes up to a 16% discount on your total purchases.

9. reserves the absolute right to withdraw and / or alter any of the terms and conditions of this 100% Cash Back Promotion at any time without giving any notice.

Hmm.. Maybe not.