Why I have deleted Radius related post!

Somedays back I had written a blog titled “When Radius Infratel came to College Campus!”, all the opinions expressed in that post were Personal and basically from a view point of a Freedom Evangelist, but over time I realized that some one might be offended by my opinion so have removed it, Thanks!

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Institutes Playing with our Privacy?

I have a lot of my friends who have appeared for some or the other MBA Entrance test like CAT, MAT, or some exam of individual college, for which they filled forms with their mobile nos.,addresses and other personal details! So these days which is the *high time of admission* and every institute esp. the Private ones(which are there to just make money!) are actually taking this form data at least the mobile nos. of Students from sources 1 or 2 below.So nowadays they are getting a lot of calls and message from institutes like IIPM and other B-Schools which are asking them to take admission and all, which is really annoying getting 10 messages a day and around 5-6 calls!

So, the sources from where these institutes might have taken/bought their nos.
1. from the exam organizing institutes
2. from coaching institutes
3. from institutes, students are previously in!

IMHO, the personal data even if just the mobile no. being shared with any other B-School or institute without the consent of the student is *bad* and is a *breach of privacy*!

So I think all the forms being filled should have a Privacy Policy attached with them, telling the students with whom their data can be shared and all!

Tip: Every time, you get such a call, Do ask them from where did they get you number?

This is not the case with MBA aspirants only, this must be happening with engineering aspirants also, and with others too, a serious issue IMHO!

I would like to see your comments on this, if you are facing such problems and all, and would also like to have some comments from Experts on this issue about how it can stopped and what can be done legally to stop this?

UPDATE: Recently, one of my friend, even got a brochure mailed to her home from Amity University regarding MBA admission, although she hadn’t filled up any form of Amity Univ.

Unfortunately, India does not have comprehensive privacy/data protection law or the office of privacy commissioner as told by Sunil Abraham, all we can do is play the *NAME* and *SHAME*

Here are the names of some Institutes doing such things a.k.a HALL of SHAME!

1. IIPM
2. Amity University

more coming soon…….

If you have any such experience do write in comment, the name of institute and I would add the name of institute in this list!

Why am I leaving Facebook??

Well, in short because of Privacy issues and the closed nature of FB, it really zucks!

You won't find me on fb after this week

Here are some links, which you can read to know more about that:

if you are convinced how to do that really see How to actually delete your account

If you are still not convinced because of these REASONS, then you can find more links at DuckDuckGo

So Where to find me now??

On Identi.ca

or Send email

or on DIASPORA*

My experience at a not-so recent Conference on ICT in India!

>Well not so recently i.e. on Aug 28,2010 I went to a conference on "ICT: AN ENGINE FOR INCLUSIVE SOCIAL GROWTH" organised by CSI-DC, the reason I went there as there were some big people coming there from NASSCOMM and NIC so I had some questions in my mind which I wanted to ask them for so long so this was the golden chance + wanted to see if they were aware of FOSS, and how can FOSS help in ICT stuff, in bridging the Digital Divide.

Before I get into all the real stuff, let me tell you the arrangement from CSI – Delhi Chapter were awesome, nice food, nice goodies and awesome venue (Constitution Club of India, Rafi Marg), and a damn chilling hall. So kudos for that.

RIGHT Way, with the WRONG thing

Now lets get back to work ya the Conf. started with Chief Guest Dr. B.K. Gairola, Director General NIC in his speech he told about an incident of some rural area in south where they were deploying something, and a little girl was preparing a some list of people in her village with some calculation stuff in MS word and then he asked her that is there a better soln./app to do the same stuff then he told her about MS Excel……

Yeah the story is good but IM(not-so)HO the incident was good but here the the right way of ICT is taken with the wrong thing i.e. MS Office in place of some Open Office suite, had that been the case I would have given this a +1.

And then I didn’t get a chance to ask them questions because like every other conf. they were running out of time.

A common problem/issue with all the presentations was that they all were PPTs. (M$’s proprietary Powerless Point Presentation format)

NIC guy’s laptop running Windows 7


next was the session of National Knowledge Web by Mr. R.S. Mani, Senior Tech. Dir, NIC-HQ, ND he told about NKN which is basically a project of around 6000 Crores in which they will connect all major organisation/institutes of the country with the high-speed Internet, Gbps lines. But this guy had Windows7 running on his laptop what that meant was these guys are wasting taxpayers’ money in buying these proprietary s/w total fail for me!! He talked of security and more but no talk about how the  OS used in most of these organisations i.e. M$ Windows with awesome IE 6 browser used in many of these place can be a security threat to everyone!!
 But there was a small mention of Fedora in context to IIT Chennai and JNU which brought smile on my face.. finally something good.

Biometric Application in Social Sector

This was truly a great session by Prof.(Dr.) H.M. Gupta of IIT Delhi, his presentation was nice, he discussed both pros and cons of the technology.

I asked him about the privacy issue in UID he said yeah that’s a issue so needs to be discussed.

Next was a Presentation on "Transformational impact of Rural areas thru Broadband N/w" by Mr. Tanay Krishna, GL, C-DOT, ND. In his introduction they told that he has three patents under his name and obviously this was told with "he is the innovator" kind of pride in the voice so I said fine I am gonno ask him about that too. After that he started his presentation told about the Broadband N/w and the devices C-DOT had developed. Then he talked of low cost terminals with nice GUI and localization stuff.  So after he was over with his presentation it was q&a time Since he talked about terminals I asked him what Platform they are going to use… GNU/Linux?? LTSP will be best? to which he didn’t reply properly said we are thinking and all…. then I straight away asked him about his Patents….on what thing he had patent but as expected he hesitated, and couldn’t explain and organisers told me to contact him offline/personally.

His hesitation was another proof of how Patents are taken and why they can’t be discussed publicly or may be he didn’t what he had patent on coz of the vagueness the Patents have so he needed to contact his lawyer before that LOL……..Whatever it was this was a fail for me……

then was a session on "Smart Cards in Rural areas" by Mr. Vivek Varshney, Head-GD, Nokia-Siemens, Gurgaon he told about many success stories related to ICT in Rural areas where people get loans on smart card and more and then there was mention of Lao Localization project based on KDE, OLPC and Kerala also overall nice session.

Then "ICT in healthcare" by Dr. Thanga Prabhu nice thought, nice presentation but still no mention of foss as such but its k he is doctor and when the S/w guys don’t know about FOSS how will a doctor and hats off to him coz he came from Bengaluru, gr8 work sir.

After that "ICT in Education: eLearning" given by Prof.(Dr.) M.M. Pant
I was excited about this as the topic seemed interesting and yes it was.
He told about the changing role of a teacher these from a typical teacher to a curator or mentor and told about the next in thing that will be Personalized learning and about M-learning too….. no doubt his ideas were just awesome and so I wanted his presentation to be a bit longer…but Pant sir had to cut short his presentation and he finished his presentation real fast and organisers were happy coz they were on time now.
And was happy to see that he is on Facebook and Twitter too!

Now was the time of Panel Discussion on "ICT as an Engine of Social Economic Growth"

Dr. Mahesh Chandra (DDG, NIC-HQ) as Chairman & Moderator

and the Panelists were :

1. Prof.(Dr.) P.S. Grover, Ex-HOD, DU
2. Ms. Rama Vedashree, V.P.,NASSCOM
3. Mr. Pradeep Gupta, CMD & Chairman, Cyber Media

This discussion started with intro and then Presentation of Prof.(Dr.) Grover , nice presentation then came the time to introduce the Lady from NASSCOM, Ms. Vedashree, and I was stunned to hear that the V.P. of the National Advisory had 3-4 certifications from the MICROSOFT, with some odd long names which obviously I don’t remember, so now I understood how Proprietary M$ stuff is being pushed in to eGov and our country and how our future is being spoilt. My point here is that these a person who herself is certified from Microsoft can advise our eGovt. to work with Open Standards.

Next was Mr. Pradeep Gupta’s presentation he made some good points gave an example to support the fact that why should we bridge the digital divide he said 0/0 is not defined, 1/0 is infinity , 0/1 is 0 itself and only 1/1 is 1 and that’s what we need to be that is bridge the gap and we all become 1 and hence country will progress.

After this Dr. Mahesh Chandra, the Moderator of this talk summed it all up nicely and now was the questions time and I was literally dying to ask him
Why the hell do govt. websites give info in .doc files and why OpenStandards like .odt aren’t used, why not OpenOffice is used, what will happen to our data after say 20 years from now when M$ will stop making Office or will no longer exist/support it ?? Why are you wasting taxpayers’ money in buying those licenses of bad software but obviously I asked all this in polite manner with all respect to his position…. he replied that now they are using OpenOffice and Odt at places but the .doc has to be used as they get it from other people and OpenOffice can work with .doc so this is not much of issue.

My next question was Why do the govt. websites recommend and some even make it mandatory to use IE, do I need to purchase useless s/w worth 20000 INR just to access my data??
His reply was simply that they get are not the advisory people they simply get orders from above so they have to follow them and I knew he got orders from the lady sitting right next to him Ms. Vedashree from NASSCOM, who have and are polluting the computing culture of the country and making us slave of these Corporate houses!!

Overall this conference was good for me because everything happened almost according to expectation I knew that this is going to happen how corrupt NASSCOM is and more but just wanted to get more proofs and wanted to ask them f2f that why are they doing this to us, but according to me ICT is a fail without FOSS and so I will call this conference a fail because the sole reason behind this workshop can’t be fulfilled with bad proprietary, non-standard stuff!!

To all the readers of this article well thanks for your patience to read the long article and please now at least now open your eyes don’t get fooled by these corporate houses and corrupt organisations like NASSCOM!

These are my personal views great if you agree and even more great if you don’t, well in both the cases do comment!!

Thanks and JAI FOSS!!

Back to Alma mater with FOSS!!

>Recently on 30th June 2010, I got an opportunity to give back something to my school, my  Alma mater !! Below is a small story how things started and went….

I had this thing in my mind for quite some time, schools are the places where we are taught basic morals, etiquette, sharing things, knowledge and other good things but unfortunately most of the Schools in India teach Proprietary software like MS Windows, Office and other Adobe stuff like Flash etc. so was the case with my school, DAV CPS[1], Paschim Enclave, New Delhi. So I talked to Anand Wardhan sir, one of the best teachers, I have met in my life!! Although, he is an Economics teacher but still he understood my point when I told him about FOSS Stuff and he immediately agreed for a workshop in School. So it was 30th June, the day I was eagerly waiting for but was a bit nervous too because it was for teachers!! OMG, now I had to present something to teachers to who taught me some years back but I knew it will be good!! So it was 11:45, and I started, first telling about FOSS history and then its advantages, then SchoolOS[2] but since I had just 1hr or so, I had to quickly jump to the Demo Educational FOSS….I started with Maths S/w like Kig then showed Chemistry tools and I tried to show almost every subject related FOSS but as always I fell short of time and had to wind up my presentation showing FET and Dia Diagram Editor, but as a start, it was enough, the teachers were all smiling, blessing me!! It was a wonderful experience…. many teacher in particular my chem teacher asked me to install BKChem and other chem S/w asap because she found them really helpful! Overall it was awesome but this is not it, I want things to get implemented asap, want students and teachers to use FOSS!! Looking forward to it…All I wanna tell everyone reading this, seriously its a beautiful experience doing something for your school, your people!! Try it this summer go back to your previous schools and tell them about Freedom that you get when you use FOSS, so that the next gen coming can live in a pure Free World! In the end, I would like to thank Anand Wardhan Sir, Manju Malik Ma’m(Principal) and above all the Almighty, for the opportunity and all my teachers for their patience and support..

[1] My School’s Website – http://davschoolpemn.org
[2] SchoolOS – http://schoolos.org

You can also view/download my presentation from: http://www.slideshare.net/parinsharma/fos-sintro-presdav

Auto shutdown your PC after completing heavy Downloads !!

>

This is a small Tutorial which helps us in making a script and running it again and again to Shut down PC after all my downloads complete  !! I am using it on Ubuntu but it should work on other Linux distros too!

#power_off Shell Script

no_cons=`netstat -nt | egrep ESTABLISHED | wc -l`

echo "$no_cons Connections" #Display no. of active Connections 

if [ $no_cons -eq 0 ]

then

echo "Your sys Idle now shutting it down"

sudo shutdown -P 5 # will shutdown PC in 5 minutes if 0 connection

else

echo "Still Downloading...." #displays message if download is on !!

fi

save this script it in your home directory and make it executable by writing :

On Terminal:

chmod +x power_off #power_off is the name of the script here !! 

now we have to make a cronjob so that we can run again and again at specified time intervals(like every 5 minutes or so) !!  

For this we will use cron utility which helps in scheduling jobs. For more on cron have a look at http://kevin.vanzonneveld.net/techblog/article/schedule_tasks_on_linux_using_crontab/

 To make a cron job do the following:

On  terminal:

crontab -e #edit the crontab file 

this will open up an editor (as given in EDITOR environment variable in ~/.bashrc)

now in this file in a new line write 

*/5 * * * *  ~/power_off # This will run our script every 5 minutes 

after you quit your editor if no errors it will show "crontab: installing new crontab" !!

now the only problem we are left to solve is that to run shutdown -P  as a normal user without prompting a  password !! For more on this refer to https://help.ubuntu.com/community/Sudoers#Common Tasks from where the following part is copied:

On Terminal:

sudo visudo

 An editor will open where do the following:

Add some cmnd aliases (under their something like #Cmnd_Alias heading in the file opened) as follows:

Cmnd_Alias SHUTDOWN_CMDS = /sbin/shutdown, /sbin/halt, /sbin/reboot

You also need to add a user specification (at the end of the file after the "%admin ALL = (ALL) ALL" line so it takes effect – see above for details):

ALL=(ALL) NOPASSWD: SHUTDOWN_CMDS

Obviously you need to replace "" with the username of the user who needs to be able to shutdown the pc without a password. You can use a user alias here as normal.

Now we are done with this save it and quit if no errors it will come out !!

Note: Please close any browser window with a site which updates it automatically otherwise you sys will not shutdown (coz a connection is always)!!

Hope this helps someone! till then bye Jai FOSS !!

PS: Thanks to Mr. Arun Khan who gave me imp. pointers for the script above (on ILUGC ML) !!

>FOSS Darshan on Gyan Darshan !!

>Today was the first day of a TV show telecast of which can be considered a major breakthrough in itself  !!  Yes, It was the live telecast of the Computer Learning series which is based on FOSS and SchoolOS on Doordarshan’s Gyan Darshan  (GD) channel !! I was waiting for it as it was debut of FOSS on TV, was so excited that glued myself to TV from 2:45 (as if the show will start early for me).

Finally it was 3:00 PM I was ready with my lunch and the show started, saw the anchor and then camera was focussed on our Panelists ya our very own, Narendraji (@nsisodiya) and Vivekji (@hiddenharmony)  !! So Narendraji started by telling a bit about FOSS and SchoolOS, and how FOSS licenses lets us and encourages us to share S/W  !! After that it was the time for the first HOW TO of the day !! Sound recording with Sound Recorder , then a bit about Ogg format, then Vivek ji show how to convert a Video to Audio (Ogg) with the help of WinFF(a front-end to FFMpeg) and then after conversion played it for Demo and Guess what it was RMS’s voice, It was awesome to hear the Father of Free SW on Indian TV for the first time but then they stopped it rather they had to stop it (It was just a demo na..) !! By this time lines were open so that viewers from all over the country can call and ask their queries. As expected people started calling and asking what is Open Source ?? whether FOSS have viruses and all the normal questions that we are asked, Narendra Ji and Vivek ji gave answers to their queries !! Even the anchor of the show asked some questions like Why FOSS apart from being cost effective ??then Narendraji told about the Full Freedom that FOSS gives to us and it is much important aspect than any other thing !! Then Narendraji showed a demo of Cheese Webcam Booth which can used to make video tutorials !! After that narendraji told two meanings of “Free” as in Freedom and other “Free of Cost” the former one is what it stands for in FOSS (though many FOSS are Free of Cost too)!! In b/w one caller asked about availability of IIS server to which Apache (50% of the websites run on it) and NginX were given as substitutes by Vivek ji!! A caller also asked about Mandriva installation problem from Pen drive to whom Vivekji suggested either to check his drive or get Mandriva in a Fresh CD !! Another caller was Dr. Desai, a Microbiologist hearing whom I was amazed when he said that he already had an Ubuntu CD and Knoppix CD (Nice to see even Doctors interested) , he asked how to install Ubuntu with M$ XP so Vivekji told him about Dual booting and stuff !! then a demo of gtk-recordmydesktop which can used to make video tutorials and screen casting etc.(by Narendra ji) overall it was an awesome show !! I liked it very much and hopefully other viewers too, I wish I could be one of the Panelists someday but its k the show must go on in any case and hopefully will become the most popular show on Gyan Darshan rather on any channel  !! Thanks Narendraji and Vivekji for giving your time!! Narendraji, All the best for the show !! May god bless us with more FOSS culture in our country!

And in the end hats off to Narendraji and his team who convinced NCERT people for SchoolOS and this FOSS show !! Really it is not easy to bring change and  convince people for even good things !!
But this is this will definitely help in spreading FOSS culture in India!!

Would like to hear more from you in comments !! Thanks for reading !! and ya Do Watch…….. the
Next show on 20th May Thursday [3 – 4 PM] only on Gyan Darshan (Topic: Chemistry Tools)


til then bye and

JAI FOSS !!

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