Leave me alone!

Leave me alone; I am a private person. Who the hell is the world to know about my private affairs? My privacy is so important to me that I will not allow Aadhar interference. Finally, proponents of privacy won their battle in the Supreme Court, won the battle and ensured that Aadhar was delinked from many areas of our lives. The most surprising part is that financial institutes and banks have approached the Supreme Court to allow them to link their customers to Aadhar again. Why? Because they are idiots and do not know as the know-all gang knows. Mind you; I don’t want the Orwellian Big Brother watching me over my shoulders all the time.

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I was wondering what do the likes of Google know about us. Well, I can briefly say everything. Majority of cell phones in the world are android based. Whenever we do something on the phone, Google has its hand in it. It starts from unboxing the new phone to using apps, what you bought on Google Play, everywhere else. Whenever we perform these acts, the app seeks permission to access contacts, location, SMS, photos and God knows what! If we say no to anything, we get a message “Your cellphone or the app will not perform correctly.” 95 % of the people are like you and me. So we mutter a few expletives but say okay buddy take access to whatever you want. I don’t care, but Google cares. They use these permissions to monetise whatever they can. Honestly, I don’t care. I have no secrets to hide. It’s not only Google, but others like Facebook also do the same thing. I am searching for something on the net, and maybe I go to Amazon. The next day, advertisements for these products are seen on my Facebook account, while I serf.

Coming back to Google, it allows you to download the data about you that it has saved. The file can be enormous in Gigabytes, depending on our activity. The link includes your bookmarks, emails, contacts, your Google Drive files, all of the above information, your YouTube videos, the photos you’ve taken on your phone, the businesses you’ve bought from, the products you’ve purchased through Google.

These days I hear stories about men willing to accept their wives all demands if they find that the wife has the husbands cell phone in her hand. I understand that it is because the WhatsApp has quite a few “secrets” many times. Once you come to know what Google stores from your “activities”, well it saves everything. You will not allow your wife to touch your phone. It will store the details of the area you were roaming with your buddies or GF when you were supposed to be busy in the office meet the deadline. You would rather be dead if she knew where you were! You may say that Pramod is in a mood today to write some funny stuff; it’s nothing weird. I am very serious. You don’t believe it. Let me tell you all the secrets. If your spouse is in IT, then she knows the stuff anyway. But rest assured that she is ignoring your sojourns.

Here we go.

Google has data from your calendar, your Google hangout sessions, your location history, the music you listen to; they also have the Google books you’ve purchased, the Google groups you’re in, the websites you’ve created.

They also know the phones you’ve owned, the pages you’ve shared, how many steps you walk in a day.

Google stores your location (if you have location tracking turned on) every time you turn on your phone. You can see a timeline of where you’ve been from the very first day you started using Google on your phone.

Click on this link to see your data:

google.com/maps/timeline?…

Google stores search history across all your devices. That can mean that, even if you delete your search history and phone history on one device, it may still have data saved from other devices.

Click on this link to see your data:

myactivity.google.com/myactivity

Google creates an advertisement profile based on your information, including your location, gender, age, hobbies, career, interests, relationship status, possible weight (need to lose 10 lb in one day?) and income.

Click on this link to see your data:

google.com/settings/ads/

Google stores information on every app and extension you use. They know how often you use them, where you use them, and who you use them to interact with. That means they know who you talk to on Facebook, what countries are you speaking with, what time you go to sleep.
Click on this link to see your data:

security.google.com/settings/secur…

Google stores all of your YouTube history, so they probably know whether you’re going to be a parent soon, if you’re a conservative, if you’re a progressive, if you’re Jewish, Christian, or Muslim, if you’re feeling depressed or suicidal, if you’re anorexic …

Click on this link to see your own data:

youtube.com/feed/history/s…

Do you believe in me now? Or you still have some doubts. Okay. I will share details about what Facebook stores about you, discretely.

Don’t worry, and I will not write about it. Are you feeling a bit weak in the knees; are you feeling thirsty? Do you need to see your doctor? Don’t panic. The feeling was the same for us guys when a copy of Playboy magazine was found in our school bag in our younger days. But in those days, nobody knew that our friend, okay I will name him xxx, used to tell XXX stories after we completed our cricket or badminton!

Will Google use such data for nasty purpose? I don’t think so, at least I hope so. A simple response of Yes to the seemingly innocent question has led to this problem. It is tricky. Many people in the world use birth dates, abcdef, 111111 or such simple variations as passwords. Accessing your accounts with these passwords can be done by you and me too!

The other extreme was a friend. We went and stayed with him for a couple of days; Jaya and I requested access to his wifi network. He collected our phones and laptop and went to his library at home. I said, “Don’t worry, I will punch the password.” He smiled and said, “I use a password which is 26 characters long”. Phew!

Is what Google and Facebook doing the right thing? They claim that they collect the data to make our experience personalised. Maybe! They ask for permission to access, and we give permission every time because it makes things more convenient. We use the Google map, and they need to know the location. But they save all the activity that we did. Many apps make our life easier. There is no doubt about that. So finally it comes to Privacy Vs Convenience!

All things have their plus and minus points. If you have no secrets to hide, if you easily handover your cell phone to your wife, you have no issues. But else…

You have already handed over the control to Google; mind you, I have not written about how Facebook watches you! Sleep well!

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Are we ready? 

The year is 2029. The family is eagerly awaiting the birth of the child in the family. As the time comes nearer, the lady is in the labour room. Finally, a baby girl is born. The doctors give a couple of pats on her bottom, and she starts crying. All is well! Everybody is happy and thrilled. The waiting family takes a look at the baby girl who is naturally crying. Doctors tell the family that once the baby starts sucking the mothers breast, she will stop cryingThe baby sucks and stops after fifteen minutes. The mother hopes that she will finally be able to sleep at least for some time.  

But no, the baby starts crying again. An hour passes, but she doesn’t stop crying. Finally, they call the paediatrician again. Doctors phone rings while she is checking the baby. Two-three rings of Mozart’s Allegro 5 and the baby stops crying. The baby stops crying instantly. She is a smart doctor. She asks the mother, “Did you listen to a lot of Jazz during pregnancy?” The mother smiles. The doctor says, “Put some music on when the baby cries non-stop. She is used to your heartbeats and the Jazz. Buy a pair of headphones for the baby too!”  

Okay, this is fantasy but nothing surprising. In the last two decades, our lifestyle has completely changed. WWW, Internet, Social media have touched our life everywhere. Where it will reach in the future, we do not know. In the first decade, we felt that it is okay for senior citizens to stay away from these things. But the rapid proliferation of cell phones has changed many things.  

Bill Gates had made some predictions in 1999. All of them have become reality in the two decades. 

https://www.businessinsider.in/Bill-Gates-made-these-15-predictions-in-1999-its-scary-how-accurate-he-was/11-Online-discussion-boards/slideshow/47090642.cms 

It is both scary and fascinating at the same time. It shows his visionIt shows his smart thinking. Not bad for a college dropout- don’t forget that he was admitted to Harvard before he dropped out.  

The most surprising aspect is that Microsoft is the only company that has remained in the top ten performing companies list during this continuous transition period. They had products with them which were futureready. They were required to make changes to suit the changes in hardware and internet speeds. Their top products are the operating system (they lost out to Google on Cellphone OS), Office needs no introduction. They have gone towards cloud computing using Azure. They are offering storage- free as well as paid using one drive. We talk of Google when we search on the web. But you may not be aware that Bing, the Microsoft search engine, is used by Facebook.  My prediction is that Microsoft will be a top performer in the coming decade too.  

Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp and other chat sites had a phenomenal growth during the last decade. But I feel that they have reached their plateau. Now future growth could be average, or they will face fierce competition. Honestly, I don’t know who those competitors will be. 

Finance and banking sector will change drastically in the coming decade. I had two diametrically opposite experiences in the last fifteen days. I had made a couple of iTwitternvestments in equity and Mutual fund. I wanted to redeem both of them. For the mutual fund investment, I had to go to their office physically, wait till my turn came. My work was finished in ten minutes. But I had to travel for about two hours. Whereas in the equity-based investment, my experience was different. 

To begin with, I found out that the management had changed and the name of the company was different. I could locate my portfolio without logging in based on PAN number. I was wondering about the next step, and I saw the button “Call me”! I entered my cell number, and lo I got the callback within in minute, at 8 pm. The person guided me through the procedure; my user id was an extinct email id. He changed it for me online to my present email id recorded with them. I redeemed my investment in ten minutes again, but the system helped me to eliminate the two-hour travel. 

I bought an internet TV recently. Well, internet TV is a TV which is connected to the internet. So, there are distinct advantages. Jaya’s and my cell phones are of the same make as TV. In a zip, they have become additional remote controls. I have not bought Alexa, but finally, now someone in the house listens to me, the TV. Thanks to Google assistant (OS on the TV is Android) I can instruct the TV to do a few things.  

Am I getting too techy? But friends the world is becoming techy to help us perform our day to day things. No point in remaining away from these things. Take help of your grandchildren if required. My six-year-old granddaughter Rhea was talking to us on WhatsApp video call. Suddenly she said, hold on for a moment. I was wondering what she was going to do next. She said, “Now let’s group chat, I have taken so and so on the call.” Thank you, Rhea! 🙂🙂 

What I see in future is that we will have to use the technology, whether we like it or not. Traffic police stop you and ask you for the documents. Now you can’t carry all the original documents in the car. If the vehicle gets stolen along with the papers, god bless you! So, what is the alternative? Well, whether you are twenty or seventy, you need to show the documents like License, the RC book and maybe Vehicle Insurance policy. Simple it is. Open your Digi locker on your cell phone and display all these documents. It is now legal to show the documents on Digi locker. I was coming by an Uber one day. While chatting with the driver, he told me, “A policeman stopped me for a minor traffic dispute. I showed the license to him. He took it away and returned it after fifteen days; I could not use my taxi for those fifteen days.” When I told him about Digi locker, he was thrilled.  

But don’t forget that technology can make mistakes too! A technological error saved the world recently from major conflict. Yes, I am talking of Iran shooting down Ukrainian commercial aircraft. Iranian radar system made an error in judging if it were enemy aircraft or a neutral aircraft. The conflict was saved at the cost of 172 innocent people.  

Technology will have different effects in future. Technology will handle remote car repairs, and you will have driverless cars. But the similar technology will run Uber and Ola. So, people may buy fewer cars. Electrical Vehicles will turn the car business on ithead because twenty parts will replace 2000 parts from the drivetrain. Technology will help invent new drugs and investigation tools. It will bring down the death rate, but technology will make humans redundant in some areas. So many areas, jobs will not be created but will be lost! 

But you and I cannot prevent technological development, newer and better technologies. So, the right idea is to keep abreast with new stuff and start using it. It is no surprise that four-year kids take photos on cell phones, and do many other things. I am sure that in future eighty five-year-olds also will also use technology for everything.

 

 

 

 

 

Why technologies are replaced?

How does technology evolve? How long does it take for technology to become commercially viable? What are the pluses and minuses of this evolution? Who will win these races? All these questions always come to mind, but I am really not sure if there is a right answer for this. There are divergent technologies, and there are convergent technologies. What I mean is that some techniques start as all-encompassing technologies but end up into a particular technology or an application. Whereas some begin with a very focused technology but end up into divergent usage of the technology.  But the ultimate question is why technologies are replaced?

I am really not sure if the inventors of these are also sure how long the product developed will last in the market. It is possible that I may interchange the word technology and product. Some products have a very long life, and some have a very short life.  

Telephones 

The typical case is the telephone. The phone was invented more than hundred years back. Over a period, it became popular and useful; later it became mandatory in our lives. World over the proliferation of phones was quite fast and penetrating. I remember that during my visit to the USA in 1981, there were telephone booths at Carlsbad Caverns 800 feet below the surface. However, in India, it got delayed. Till 1984, I did not have a phone at home. In that year too we got it by making a misleading declaration of medical emergency to get it. Rest as they say is history. But nobody had expected the revolution that will come when the Telephone’s cousin Cell phone came around. As usual, it started as an expensive toy; they charged Rs.16/ minute to make and receive a call in 1997. The cell phones could store 100/200 numbers in the directory. Now 20 years hence, calling is free, data is as good as free, and storage space is as good as unlimited! Proliferation in India is 80% plus. Telephone, which is now called landline has now become a distant, poor cousin of the Cell phone. The cell phone has democratised the society. Now almost everybody has a cell phone. Along with this by providing decent cameras, cameras are also democratised. After ten years in what format cell phone will be available and what it will do is tough to predict.  

Credit and Debit cards 

Another product whose technological days seem to be numbered is credit/debit cards. These came into vogue on ‘70 s and ‘80 s. But the first one in use was Diners Club credit card in 1950. Initially, it took time to spread but later on it came up with magnetic tape authorisations, and now embedded chips have replaced the tape. With the introduction of debit cards, card business was also democratised. By democratised, I mean that the proliferation and spread have gone beyond 70% in the country like India with a very high population. But now the cards are getting a run for their money. With net banking, UPI, PayTM et al. making payments has become really easy. The only advantage with Credit cards is some Credit that people get when they use credit cards. But with QR code Technology the chip technology authorisation may become obsolete. Check the link below 

https://www.bing.com/search?q=QRCode&form=WNSGPH&qs=SW&cvid=7c3ff0870d024924a802ecbfc4cc27a3&pq=QRCode&cc=IN&setlang=en-US&nclid=24A557D17F20EE04675E8683A3F58054&ts=1546314473043&elv=AY3%21uAY7tbNNZGZ2yiGNjfMOcjiriOwJ1nqF69MVaiRhknXKq2yVeO57P6iMx77Fso5jrbCq%21wVi3FpaWVUx2j6Gw8VgYd6zPRlWeMWfOlVK&wsso=Moderate 

Click this link, you will see a box showing QR code generator. Type whatever you want and scan the generated code! There you are!  

TechnoQr1

I am giving below a link for QR code reader app for android

https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=tw.mobileapp.qrcode.banner&hl=en

This one is for iOS

https://itunes.apple.com/in/app/qr-reader-for-iphone/id368494609?mt=8

Download this or any other on your cell phone and scan the QR I have shown above! This is just for fun!

The QR code and touch type authorisation are the next technologies which can derail the business of Credit cards, but I am sure they will also come up with their own systems to remain in the race.  

Hotel Room Keys 

Another technology that has changed is the for room keys in the hotel.  

 

Hotel rooms had large locks and keys, which then graduated to brass keys, latch keys and so on. Then came the locking systems where customers were given a card, and the key for the room was “prepared”!  

Magnetic credit card size hotel key cards may soon be phased out in favour of smartphone app digital keys reasonably quickly. While key cards felt like a massive step into the future when they were first introduced, they do have their issues. 

Many large hotel chains like Starwood, Hilton, and Hyatt are already making the transition to digital apps in many of their establishments. Guests directly download the relevant app and enter and lock their rooms via Bluetooth. 

Car Mirrors 

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Many higher-end cars tend to come with camera-and-display setups as standard. Primarily, to provide functions like aiding the driver when reversing or parking. 

While each manufacturer will give the technology a different name but these technologies are all essentially a form of CCTV for the car’s immediate vicinity. These systems also tend to provide the driver with other information like speed, direction, and obstacle proximity etc. 

In fact, from May 2018 it became mandatory for all manufacturers to include backup camera systems for all new cars, in certain countries. Other manufacturers, like Tesla, have also announced they plan to replace all side-view mirrors with cameras in the future. 

This will provide various benefits to the driver but also make the vehicle more aerodynamic. Physical mirror replacement will also work in tandem with the drive, excuse the pun, for fully automated driverless, or partially automated, vehicles in the future. 

Photographic Films 

Kodak was the company which was linked to photography. It had so much hold on technology and market that generic name for photo films manufactured by any company would be called Kodak films. 

What happened to Kodak? They apparently dug their own grave, unknowingly.  They developed the digital camera and apparently forgot about it. Maybe their marketing arm did not understand and visualise the market potential for digital cameras. Kodak really never knew what hit them. Other manufacturers picked the digital camera technology and galloped ahead. Then the cell phones with the cameras started coming to the market, and they have become the norm for smartphones. Camera technology and camera film existed for a long time, but digital camera simply pushed them aside.  

This is a classic case having invented the technology and lack of vision from the pioneer company. But why are technologies replaced? Ease of use, safer and there is cost benefit. With the advent of IT and computers, many manual systems are getting replaced with software; software once established is effortless to use and cost-effective. The new technologies are superior too! There is one crucial aspect; nobody can stop the progress and onslaught of the latest technology, in any field. Some technologies come like typhoons or floods. Society has to accept it and go along with it. Those who ignore can become new Kodaks!