Saturday, March 05, 2016

~ Killing time in Bangalore traffic ~

I lose (spend) 3 hours of my day in Bangalore traffic. That's significant amount of time for me. Here are some ways I kill (utilise) time while commuting in office shuttle. 

  1. Read a book - kindle fits the need
  2. Listen to music - if I need to relax
  3. Talk to friends - helps me keep connected with friends regularly.
  4. Twitter - mostly evenings
  5. Sleep - if too tired
  6. Youtube Offline - Dev Talks, TED, Documentaries, John Oliver, NewsLaundry, etc
  7. News / Blogs - Mostly aggregate content on Pocket. 
    1. Pocket - really cool app if you are an avid reader. 
    2. Medium, has some great content too.

If you are an urban commuter in Bangalore or elsewhere, who happens to spend gruelling hours travelling in traffic then I would like to know how do you kill your time?

Sunday, January 10, 2016

~ Jingalala Part 2 ~

After 9 months hiatus, I had my second jingalala moment with TATA Sky. Here is Jingalala Part 1, in case you are interested.

This time around it was related to the renewal of my annual subscription of MEGA HD pack. Renewed it on 7th Jan evening and noticed that the renewal wasn't reflecting. Hence, called the customer support to check what could be the issue. Below is the gist of the conversation between me & the CSR executive 

Vivek: Hi, have renewed my annual subscription but it doesn't seem to be reflecting against my TATA Sky account & still a message on the TV screen.
CSR: The renewal has not been activated; should I go ahead any initiate?
Vivek:Yes, please proceed with the activation.
CSR: Sir, there is a slight problem.
Vivek: What is it about?
CSR: Actually, there is a slight difference in the annual subscription fees. Its not Rs 7500/- but Rs 7990/-
Vivek: Sorry, that price is never listed on your website. I paid for what was shown to me during the renewal.
CSR: Sir, actually there is some glitch on the site and hence the latest prices are not reflected on the website. So, you will need to pay the difference amounts for me to proceed with the activation.
Vivek: *Surprised to hear that*. Told, will not be paying anything extra as it wasn't my fault in the first place if the site didn't reflect the correct amount. I paid for what the site displayed.
Vivek: Have shopped on any of the ecommerce sites; What do you pay for - what is listed on the site or the invisible price that should have showed up?
CSR: Yes sir, I have used ecommerce site and agree it is not your fault. But, you need to pay the difference in order to activate.
Vivek: Am not paying the difference, coz it ain't my fault nor yours. The fault lies with your business, marketing and QA teams who failed to validate the correct pricing on the product offerings. Please ask the respective team to correct the same so that in the future you don't need to fight with customers.
CSR: Sure will pass on the details to the team, but you need to pay the difference.
Vivek: I would like to talk to a superior in the chain of command.
CSR: Sure sir, please hold the line.

Conversation with Sr CSR 

Sr CSR: Yes sir, how would I like to help you.
Vivek: Have the same conversation once again and same response.
Sr CSR: No sir, you need to pay the difference.
Vivek: Lost my patience, told him about Jingalala Part 1. I can once again escalate it to your CEO South region and get this problem rectified, if you don't activate.
Sr CSR: Sir, What is your subscriber number? Is your TV & setup box on?
Vivek: Yes.
Sr CSR: Sir, activation completed. Your subscription has been renewed.
Vivek: Thank you. But TATA Sky has lost the difference amount thanks to bad validation from Business & Marketing teams. If the pricing isn't updated then customers will not pay the amount and your company will loose the amount.
Sr CSR: Agree sir. Will pass on the message to the internal teams.
Vivek: I shall check your site after 24 hours and see if you have updated the amount on your website.
Sr CSR: Sure sir. Will get it fixed.
Vivek: Thank you. Good night.

4 days later, nothing has been changed. It still lists the price at Rs 7500/-

A bit of googling provided the info on the number of DTH (78million) subscribers in India. According to TRAI, there are 39.74 million active DTH consumers in India. Going by the 20% market share of TATA Sky sums up to 7.94 million or 79 Lakhs subscribers.

If we go with 5% of them as Annual Subscribers then we have 395K or 3.95 Lakhs Users. Off these 395K, if we go with various % of users who do their renewals in January then below are the lossese for TATA Sky due to wrong pricing on their website :)

  • 19.35 Lakhs @ 1% in January
  • 96.77 Lakhs @ 5% in January
  • 1.93 Crore @ 10% in January

P.S: Not sure how many subscribers would challenge TATA Sky for the pricing errors & not pay the difference.

Thursday, December 31, 2015

~ Messi & Ronaldo ~

Two contrasting individuals in the world of football. Both play their games differently and compete fairly on pitch while playing for their respective clubs. 

Last month when the documentary on Ronaldo was announced I was surprised to hear from CR7 that he wanted the documentary made. He wanted the world to know about him. After watching the documentary, it appeared narcissistic, massaging his big ego.

He happens to be so jealous of Messi winning Ballon d’Or four times he states, “To see Messi win four in a row was difficult for me. After he won the second and third I thought to myself: ‘I’m not coming here again.'”

This week I stumbled upon Messi's documentary, which happened to have released in 2014. It captures the life of Messi from childhood to international stardom. The numerous videos of Messi filmed during his childhood show how talented he was as a little boy then, till now at FCBarcelona. He definitely found the right home & coach at Barcelona.

Watch both the documentaries & decide yourself who is the better one :)

Just yesterday, Messi made his 500th appearance for FC Barcelona against Real Betis. After scoring a goal last evening he increased his goal tally to 425. No doubts for guessing, he also holds the club’s all-time leading scorer. The game also was historic coz they have 180 goals for this year, bettering Madrid’s milestone of 178 from 2014.

Here is the club's tribute to Messi on his 500th appearance.

Wednesday, September 02, 2015

~ James Kingston | Don't look down ~

The risks urban climbers take to scale new heights. This documentary by Channel 4 captures the life of, James Kingston, an urban climber from the UK.

If you didn't know, James Kingston did hang atop a crane at Ulsoor Lake, Bangalore last August.

You can watch the Bangalore video here 

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

~ Bangalore commute ~

Has been 2 years & 6 days since I changed my job & that's how my date with Whitefield started. It has changed my daily lifestyle from my previous job. 

Earlier, my commute was 3kms to my workplace with an average of 5 minutes (via bike). Now, it takes an average time of 75 mins (via company shuttle) to reach office, covering 25 kms with 10 pick-up points doing North Bangalore darshan.

The journey to home gets even better in the evening based on when I exit office
  1. 5pm shuttle will take an average of 90 minutes to reach Hebbal
  2. 7pm shuttle will take an average of 110 minutes to reach Hebbal
  3. 9pm shuttle will take an average of 65 minutes to reach Hebbal
On rainy days, one requires 45 minutes to just cross Whitefield & Mahadevpura area. In a nutshell, here is my commuting timecard:
     Mornings = 6 hours 25 minutes / week
     Evenings = 8 hours 33 minutes / week 
     Total Commuting per day = 2 hours 55 minutes (3 hours round off)
     Total Commuting per week = 15 hours

Assuming that I went to work for 202 days in a year (i.e. deducting 50 days for Leaves & Work From Home) then the total commuting hours sums up to 606 hours (25 days). 

So, I loose 25 days of my life in Bangalore traffic every year discounting weekend commuting :)

I had thought of writing this article last year but that never materialised. Today, after reading this article The upside of living in the cities with the worst commutes, it motivated me to compute the hours I loose in commuting.

Am still better off than the Urban American who is spending 40 hours commuting every week. But, imagine the total number of hours wasted by all of us in traffic jam. Companies should pro-actively need to adapt remote work for better work-life balance & productiveness of their employees.

Here is my list of longest commutes in Bangalore.

Would like to hear how much time you spend commuting to work in Bangalore or which ever urban city you live in.

Monday, April 20, 2015

~ TATA Sky Customer Care ~

If you are TATA Sky subscriber in India you must have seen their promos / teasers of the upcoming upgrade to their network. I happened to be one of the customers who suffered with the loss of channels - HD, news, regional.

Registered a complaint on 4th April 2015 and happened to wait for the technician to visit. I did give 4 days before calling the Customer Support & stating that no one had visited us. They said that a technician will be sent in the next couple of days. 

Eventually, the technician calls on 11th April when we were away from home and hence requested him to drop by at 17:00hrs. As he didn't turn up, called him to check when he would be visiting. He stated that he wouldn't be able to do much as it was raining (whole evening in Bangalore) and would visit on 12th April.

12th April goes by and he doesn't show up nor answers the phone. 

This is where things getting repetitive:
1) Wait for 20+ mins to get through the IVR process to speak with an (CSR) Customer Support Representative in Mohali, Punjab
2) Appraise them the situation
3) CSR apologies for the inconvenience caused & states we shall send the technician before next day.
4) *Hope* that technician shall visit :)

13th April
As usual, no show from the technician till 8pm. Repeat Step 1-4

14th April
No show once again. Me & wifey repeat Step 1-4. 

15th April
No show once again. Argument with Wifey because she had preferred Airtel over TATA Sky when we were deciding on the DTH connection.Can't even get out due to 12 month subscription which ends in 2016. Me & wifey repeat Step 1-4. 

16th April
No show once again. Repeat Step 1-3. Escalate the matter to Sr CSR & then escalate the matter to Floor Manager (FM). FM says we have a ticket closed that a technician had visited. Was surprised to hear that. Asked Floor Manager, if that be the case then why would I be calling the Customer Support again? Also asked for reference number or acknowledgment for technician's visit. No proof for the visit, FM guarantees that technician will definitely come tomorrow and problem will be resolved.

17th April
Shit hits the fan. Me & wifey are both frustrated & angry that they aren't able to send a technician. When the CSR spoke, asked him to put through to FM directly. Asked the FM, is he sending me a technician from Mohali & should I book a train ticket? He says sorry for the inconvenience caused we are looking into the matter. I stated, "you have been looking into the matter for 13 days without any resolution. Again the same guarantee every other day". This time I took the call reference numbers which I could use in the future.

Then I got an idea, why not find email of TATA Sky CEO, board members or other TATA subsidiaries. Next 30 minutes was spent on LinkedIn and TATA corporate site to get the details. Then sent the below email to various people from different subsidiaries of TATA across globe.

18th April, 12:30pm

Checked my inbox at to see if I have received any response from the CEO. Pleasantly surprised to see that CEO had indeed responded the same night.

Replied back immediately.

Post that email, the action began. Received a call from Mr Das and assured that the problem will be resolved by evening.

At 4pm, receive a call from technician. He resolves the problem in 15 minutes. I tell him that I had to reach the CEO to get this matter resolved. Then he tells me that he had visited another Customer's home the previous day which was again a CEO escalation ticket.

Now you see the pattern. I feel that the main problem here is lack of communication & coordination between Customer Support in Mohali and various nodal centers across the country. 

Wonder if every customer needs to reach out to the CEO of TATA Sky for resolving their issues? I don't know the answer but that definitely worked for me, this time. 

If you are facing similar issue then you know what to do. The entire experience with TATA Sky Customer Support definitely wasn't Jinga La La.

Friday, March 06, 2015

~ One Plus One: Black screen of death ~

Until last night I had only heard & experienced blue screen of death, the famous fatal error on your Windows OS. It all changed when my 3 month old OnePlus One went completely dark. Double tapping or pressing the power button didn't wakeup the display nor the glow on softkeys. However, the notification light was glowing & the phone had about 65% battery. 

My wife noticed that something was wrong w/ my phone and when I explained what had happened, she taunted me saying that's why I never want to own a Chinese smartphone. 3 weeks ago she had told me about her colleague's experience, who switched from iPhone to One+, had similar issues. She got the issue resolved by visiting One+ Support Centre. Never found what the problem was with her device, am guessing mine was similar. The last thing I wanted to do find & visit the support centre. All this at 1am IST & didn't have energy to google on the issue.

Woke up today morning and the first thing I did was lookup "Black screen of death one plus one", lo and behold what do I see? I wasn't the first one to have experienced this. Many of them had already experienced & I knew there would be DIY solution.

Went through the official forums and was able to resolve the issue. Here are the steps:

  1. Press both the power and volume up buttons for about 10 seconds. The phone will reboot and entered the "Fastboot" mode. Did wait for few mins thinking it will reboot, but didn't.
  2. Next press both the power and volume low buttons for about 10 seconds. This time the phone rebooted in the standard boot cycle and started fine.

Not sure of the RCA (Root Cause Analysis) for this one. The last action I had performed yesterday before the phone slipping into the blank screen, was using the camera. Additional reading on the forums for similar issue didn't find yield any commonality. The use-case is diverse:

  1. Just after a ending an voice call
  2. While browsing
  3. When the battery was very low < 9%
  4. Processor strategy value
  5. In my case, I had used the camera app without any issue
As you notice, there is common pattern which could cause the issue. Nor is there an official communication from OPO on the site.