One Complex Life – Is it just India ?

This post is the beginning and going to be the first in a series of articles which tries to bring awareness and attention to every citizen of India showing how we are being ripped and violated by bureaucracy, government/private entities, political parties and of course religion and science.

There is good and bad every where, in everything that we sense and in every person. It’s when individuals with selfish and ulterior motive manipulate, we see things not progressing and going backward. Science and even human logic is manipulated and some times misused just to propagate ideologies that destroys humanity.

Awareness, realization and acceptance is the first step to correct the wrong ways. Without admitting and accepting the mistakes, how can we progress? When the care givers and so-called protectors themselves are setting the bad examples, how can the younger generation look for nothing but instant gratification.

Yes its going to be controversial, but unless TRUTH is known and mistakes are understood and corrected there is never going to be progress.

There are no clean hands, there are enough laws in the country to ensure that we all violate one law or the other, intentionally or unintentionally so that bribes can be taken, you can be blackmailed, jailed or at the least made to pay penalty. Why can’t laws be simplified?

There is no perfect ideology, no perfect party and no perfect world, but I feel it all arises from our scarcity mentality, from lack of trust and consideration. The mechanism and system to ensure compliance to laws makes life so complicated that creativity, inventions and constructive thinking are spent in saving that little buck to survive on one side and to commit fraud on the other.

Why don’t we ask questions ? When are we going to be humane by going above the “follow instructions”

Do we need such a complicated life ? It was just survival in the beginning, then came those little comforts, then more money and more comforts. And then luxury and thinking on how to increase it, all forgetting the past.

Science and technology brought in many of the comforts that we have today. It was supposed to give more creative time, to discover, experiment and question mediocrity. To discover, invent and share the benefits to humanity. But what happened was that politicians and organizations taking advantage and credit of it as if the accomplishments was all due to them. Many times we see money being collected, as taxes, as donations small and big, by government, parties and religious organizations. Inaugurations and celebrations happen, on making a bridge, running a train, when roads are made with our money that was looted, stating a noble clause. Who takes credit, it’s the brokers. Brokers who take commission without, at times any investment of hard earned money.

Section V of our Constitution, Article 51A on ‘Fundamental Duties’ begins by saying:

“It shall be the duty of every citizen of India to develop the scientific temper, humanism and the spirit of inquiry and reform”

Why are we not taking it seriously ? Where is the spirit of inquiry and reform ? When is the reform going to happen which reduces the complexity created by the above mentioned lot ?

Yes, there is a teenage rebel still in me, that questioned injustice, that fought and some times ran away.

“DON’T STEAL”

Government doesn’t want competition
Unknown Author – referenced by CC Parameshwar

Disclaimer:

The opinions and ideas expressed are purely mine and not of my employer. I take responsibility for anything mentioned in my posts, my views and opinions may change over time. As they say, change is the only thing that is constant and uncertainty is the only thing that is certain and what not.

Portable Digital Copra Moisture Meter–Millennium Alliance Award

Dear friends,

First of all thank you all for the appreciation and interest taken in the achievement.

This post is about the article that recently appeared in Malayala Manorama news paper. Many of you asked for a translation on my Facebook post. So here’s the post, its translation and clarification. The translation is a line by line translation, so there could be stuff lost/added in translation Smile 

image

5.6 lakhs award for an invention from a Malayalee
Is the copra dry ? Digital meter will tell

Kozhikode: 5.6 Lakhs was awarded by Millennium Alliance to Malayalee scientist for developing portable digital copra moisture meter.  Sunish Issac, from Perambra  was selected from over 16,000 applicants on a national level. He’s the first Keralite to win the award. His invention will simplify the process of checking whether copra is dry enough for oil extraction. Currently its done by manually crushing the copra by using hands. Because of this most of the time farmers will not get the optimal price for the crop. 5-6% is the ideal moisture content and if its more the price would be reduced accordingly.


Since the article was covered in all editions of Manorama got quite a good number of calls from friends, family and well wishers. The kind of impact of newspapers is still so huge in Kerala/India.

Now about the selection process
1) Road shows were conducted by Millennium Alliance(MA) all over India, including Calicut inviting for innovations from individuals, universities, government and private institutions in various fields including Agriculture,Education, Energy, Health care,
2) Online application form submission, supposedly there were more than 16000 applicants.
3) Around 2000 were asked to send detailed proposals
4) 42 were selected and had to undergo due diligence and were invited to give a presentation to a big panel comprising people from USAid, FICCI, Technology Development Board and other organizations.
5) 15 people selected with varying amounts of funding. Among the 15, only 2 in agriculture and my digital copra moisture meter is one of the two.

Clarification:

  • The amount awarded is for converting the prototype to a full product and will be provided in tranches of 30%:30%:30%:10% based on the milestones.
  • As of 12-12-2014 no amount has been transferred
  • The award function was conducted in a grand function at Delhi. Sri Nithin Gadkari handed over the awards followed by an exhibition of the innovators.The awardees are listed on the Millennium Alliance website at http://www.millenniumalliance.in/Round2Awardees.aspxNow the story behind why I went into the development of moisture meter. In 2004 when my father passed away and I had to take care of our family business. I had some idea of the movie business but was clueless on the coconut oil mill. I knew that the most important part of the business was in buying as per my dad. I found it illogical to guess the price of copra based on just visual inspection.

    Being interested in technology I found that there was this moisture meter developed by Kasargod CPCRI (Centre for Plantation Crop Institute) was costing around 2.8 K INR.

    image

    Got one, only to find that it’s not very accurate. It can say whether its dry or not but not exact percentages. If copra is fully  dried and ready for oil extraction the moisture content should be 5-6%, in colloquial terms that is full dry. If the moisture percentage is say 7 % it would be stated as 1Kg loss per quintal (100KG) So if there is 2KG loss per quintal estimated that means the price offered to seller would be reduced by the estimated loss.

    Interestingly the scientist at CPCRI Dr. Madhavan who developed the moisture meter in 1980’s was a colleague of my friend Manoj Samuel. He was very helpful in giving the details and by that time I had opened the meter to find the circuit which was an astable multi vibrator whose out put was passed through the probe and then rectified and sent to a micro ammeter. There was a simple calibration mechanism. As the meter was measuring conductivity and since the variation of conductivity with moisture was non linear the meter will not be able to give accurate results. A simple way to increase accuracy was to have a lookup table and display a fixed value for all in between variations.

    I was able to tabulate the values of conductivity of copra in various stages of drying. To fasten the process, I used a microwave in baking mode and then compared the weight and conductivity. I made an important discovery during the process which is counter intuitive, but known by old copra merchants. When the copra is hot it will have lower conductivity and higher weight. I was told by Dr. Madhavan, who designed the original moisture meter that the assumption is right and the values have to be taken only on reaching room temperature. However I had to drop my tests in between when I had to return the accurate weighing machine that I had on loan.

    Last year, after attending the Millennium Alliance(MA) road show at Calicut I applied in agriculture section and energy. Digital Copra Moisture meter was selected for detailed submission and the energy project was rejected.  MA looks for bottom of pyramid innovations and since this helps coconut farmers and can be applied to other crop drying fields it got selected.

    Just before the Delhi presentation I visited Kerafed as I came to know that they are using something else for measuring moisture. Its the NIR (Near Infra Red )moisture analyser which is very expensive in tunes of 6-7 lakhs. That added lots of value to the prototyped moisture meter.

    Here’s the summary of the project as a one page document published in the MA awardee booklet.

    Challenge

    Copra is the dried kernel extracted from the coconut shell. It is crushed to extract coconut oil and oil cake. The quality of oil depends heavily on the moisture content of the copra. One of the important issues with coconut/copra farming is, estimating the price of copra based on its dryness. This is currently done purely based on the experience of the estimator. The farmer always thinks that he’s supposed to get a better price when the copra merchants feel it is not dried enough. There is also lots of time, energy and man power wasted if the drying process is not stopped when the ideal moisture percentage of 5-6% is reached. The challenge exists in most food crops that are dried for preservation or processing.

    The following solutions are available to check the moisture content, but they have drawbacks.

    NIR Analyzer (Near Infra Red))

    clip_image002

    Very Expensive  (6-7 Lakhs)

    · Non portable

    · Time consuming

    · Designed for lab use

    · Calibration required

    Imported Copra Moisture Meter.

    i. Supports lots of features

    ii. Very expensive (US$ 1795) http://www.kett.com/proddetail.asp?prod=HX120

    Copra Moisture Meter from CPCRI

    clip_image005

    · Inaccurate in giving exact moisture percentage and for values more than 6%.

    · Not user friendly.

    · Values manually averaged.

    Solution  (Portable Digital Copra Moisture Meter)

    clip_image009Portable Digital Copra Moisture Meter solves all of the above problems at a very low cost. It uses modern cost effective technology to provide accuracy and usability for all kind of users.

    Following are the key benefits of Portable Moisture Meter:

    · Portable

    · Very accurate

    · User friendly

    · 3 different models to suit farmers, merchants and lab grade users.

    · Auto Power Off to save batteries

    Impact

    · Cost effective usable technology for farmers and merchants

    · Prevents wastage of time in drying

    · Prevents wastage of fuel

    · Brings transparency to buying and selling of copra

    · Government organizations like NAFED,KERAFED other NGO’s will benefit from the speed and accuracy

    · Agricultural scientists can use it for quick measurement of moisture as its portable

    Since the moisture values can be displayed as percentage as well as in the format required by conventional merchants and farmers, it will be more usable.

    Potential to Scale / Global Transfer

    The technology can be used for other crops in agriculture and has industrial applications. Wherever fast and accurate moisture measurements are needed, the moisture meter can be used. Only the calibration data needs to be changed based on the material.

    Since the device is portable it can directly be used on the field. The device can be connected to a mobile or tab to do data collection and analysis.

    Apart from the coconut cultivating countries, the product can be used in other geographical areas for other moisture measurement applications like drying of fruits and vegetables.

     

    For those who have reached this far, you too can apply for the next round of Millennium Alliance Awards by applying at http://millenniumalliance.in/applyNow.aspx The online applications are being accepted since November 25th.

     

Moto E Restarts after latest update

 

UPDATE: I got my MotoE mainboard replaced from Rhidham Service Centre Calicut, it took around 3 weeks for the replacement to arrive. They did not ask for any more details as its a known problem for the service guys. Even though it was a  once rooted phone, had no issues with the service centre. No more restarts. I gave it to the service centre when there was just 2 more weeks for warranty to expire, as I noted some comments that even after replacement, the issue has started again for a few users.

So, the point is don’t waste your time trying to install 3rd party software or wait for the warranty to expire. Just get the board/power switch replaced in warranty. Its a hardware problem that got triggered after a period of use which is present in the initial batches.

Moto E for what its worth was supposedly the best Mobile in the value for money category. I got it on launch day from Flipkart and was pretty happy about everything except for 2 major limitations. 1) Lack of auto focus camera, yet there is enough resolution but you can’t use the camera as a scanner because there’s no auto focus. 2) No USB OTG , something which I wanted for all my experiments.

Now to the restart issue. It started after the KitKat 4.4.4 update and I happen to be one of the first to receive the update. Nothing was wrong during the test phase. Then I got this idea of rooting, yes you can do it officially which is a great thing. You get a message stating that Motorola is not responsible on bootup and everything was fine.  Then all of a sudden I started encountering frequent restarts at random. There was  not a single automatic reboot till or after the update. It looked weird for phone that was supposed to be “Made to Last. Priced for All”
First I suspected 3rd party apps, that too with rooting. I did a hard reset and still there were reboots. It used to happen while unlocking and tried changing from pattern lock to number lock to just plain slide, but invariably the reboots happened sooner or later.

Then on searching the net  I reached this thread. Yes the problem was not mine alone, many many users having the same problem. The exact reason is still not known but it was found that restart happens when power button is pressed to turn on the phone from sleep mode. It happens one or 2 seconds after power button is pressed so I initially assumed it happens when when we are unlocking. Thanks to forum members we have a temporary solution using tap tap app, which lets you unlock the phone using proximity sensor. Just tap the sensor area twice and the phone powers on.

To keep track of the reboots I have started using Reboot Logger.

In a recent forum posting somebody has indicated that if wifi tethering is enabled there’s no issue restart issue even with the power button. Too strange and too bad that Motorola is not able to solve this problem since the first report in July.
I assume the problem is there only for the initial batches as a friend of mine whoc bought it recently, even with the latest update has absolutely no issues.

Here’s the Quora link on the same issue http://www.quora.com/My-Moto-E-automatically-restarts-What-can-I-do-What-are-some-service-centers-in-Chennai-that-will-claim-its-warranty

Get Free Flipkart Discount Coupons as Voucher

As an online shopper you might already know that flipkart doesnt provide coupon codes. Buts they have an affiliate program. I just thought of becoming one so that we can both benefit. As a user you get 50% of what I get. Just search for the product that you want in the toolbar widget on the right of this site.(Note it doesn’t work with Ad Block Plus enabled) and buy the product from Flipkart. Current commissions for May are as below. Please send me your order id and email address using the contact form. Once my account gets credited, I’ll send you flipkart vouchers equivalent to 50% of the percentage that I get.

The affiliate commissions for May is given below.
Books 10%
eBooks 15%
Large Appliances 4%
Cameras & Accessories 4%
Laptops & Computer Accessories (except Storage) 4%
Computer Storage (Hard Disks & Pen Drives) 3%
Mobiles, Tablets & Accessories (except MOTO phones) 3%
MOTO phones 4%
Audio & Video 4%
Gaming Consoles 4%
Games & Gaming Accessories 10%
Sunglasses 10%
Clothing 10%
Watches 10%
Perfumes 10%
Grooming, Beauty & Wellness 10%
Bags, Wallets & Belts 10%
Footwear 10%
Home Furnishings 10%
Jewellery 10%
Luggage & Travel Accessories 10%
Home Improvement Tools 10%
Home & Kitchen Appliances 10%
Toys 10%
Baby Care 10%
Music, Movies & Posters 10%
Software 10%
Sports & Fitness 10%
Stationery & Office Supplies 10%

How to create folders on home screen of Moto E

After using 3 versions including Jellybean version of Android I couldn’t find a way to create a folder in any of the home pages. No menu button and long press on the home page just resulted in the option to change the wall paper, nothing more nothing less.

image

The version that came with Moto E is KitKat 4.4.2 and the problem probably exists on Moto G and Moto X. Searching with google just resulted in links with statement of the problem but no ‘solved’ postings.
The solution which I found intuitively is to drop the icon from apps over another. Now both the icons will be inside a folder automatically. Quite frustrating when previous version behaviour is removed without any easy alternative.
note: first post from WordPress for Android from my MotoE.

Overcoming the flash limitation of Moto E with Rs.10 – Not POSSIBLE

Update : Its impossible to have flash on Moto E as it doesnt support USB OTG, the hack was tried on Moto G before Moto E was available assuming it has OTG like Moto G. This post is just for reference. 

 

With a pricing of just Rs.6999 Moto E beats them all. Okay Moto E is out, with just one major limitation. It doesn’t have an LED flash. So here’s an idea to have flash on Moto E with just 10 Indian bucks if you have a USB OTG connector. Just solder an LED with a series resistor to USB connector. See the  result on a Moto G …Same applies to Moto E.

2014-05-13 16.05.52 2014-05-13 16.05.31

All you need is an LED, resistor and USB OTG cable.

2014-05-13 16.04.39Here’s the flash powered by Moto USB port.

The same technique can be used on any Android Phone or tab without flash. Practically we use the LED intended for camera flash more as a flash light in the dark. And yes if you have the USB OTG cable and led fixed you have it. Limitation is that we are taking the power for the LED from the battery directly through the USB connector using hardware. Battery can be drained fast based on the current drawn by the LED.

More than marketing ploy and to have product segmentation, companies get rid of the LED flash. I guess its not the cost.

No ID proof for IRCTC/railway ticket booked online – Aadhar might be a quick solution

Recently a relative and family visited me and they had some change of travel plans. I booked tickets for them using irctc web site, only after booking did I know that they did not have any valid ID proof acceptable by Indian railways. Photocopies are not acceptable FYI.

As per the FAQ of irctc at https://www.irctc.co.in/beta_htmls/etktfaq.html#Q6 

6.What if I forget to carry Photo Identity card?

A. One of the passenger booked on an E-ticket in a PNR is required to present any of the ten identity cards noted below in original during the train journey and same will be accepted as a proof of identity failing which the passenger will be treated as travelling without ticket and shall be dealt as per extant Railway Rules. Valid Ids:- Passport / Voter photo identity card issued by Election Commission of India / Driving Licence issued by RTO / Pan Card issued by Income Tax Department / Photo Identity card having serial number issued by Central / State Government / Student Identity Card with photograph issued by recognized School/College for their students / Nationalized Bank Passbook with photographs / Credit Cards issued by Banks with laminated photograph /Unique Identification Card “Aadhaar” / Photo identity cards having serial number issued by public sector Undertakings of State/Central Government, District Administrations, Municipal bodies and Panchayat Administrations.

So if you have taken Aadhar card but you don’t have it at hand, you can go in for eaadhar, which can be obtained from https://eaadhaar.uidai.gov.in/

But mind it, you need know your aadhar number and your phone number registered with  UIDAI (Unique Identification Authority of India). The mobile number is used to send the OTP for downloading the eaadhar pdf. Once you download it put it on dropbox or google drive or just plain mail it to yourself so that it can be downloaded and printed as long as you have net connection and printer. The password for the aadhar pdf file is the PIN code of you gave for your address.

If you don’t have your mobile to receive the OTP you’ll need the enrolment id which is even more difficult to have unless you have scanned it or have it with you.

Coming back to the problem faced by my relative, she did not have her aadhar number, but was able to call home and get it and had the same mobile registered with UIDAI (Unique Identification Authority of India). I got the eeaadhar and had a color inkjet printer. So printed it out and cut the ID portion of the page put it into a transparent plastic cover to look like original. Legally e-aadhar is considered legal and valid id proof as per the following links
http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/eaadhaar-valid-proofs-of-identity-address/article4869807.ece

http://www.thehindubusinessline.com/economy/policy/rbi-tells-banks-to-accept-eaadhaar-as-valid-document/article5749785.ece

But we know its India, if you just take a black and white printout and the TTE might say its not original, so better take a good color printout, laminate it if possible and then you can use it as original.

And yes, my relative was asked for id proof and TTE happily checked it and went ahead or she would have ended up with a huge fine and harrasment.

Search all online Indian shopping portals in one go with my google custom search engine

Search all Indian shopping portals in one go with google cse (Custom Search Engine)

Its always easy to google up everything but tried searching for buying something from one of the Indian shopping portals ? There is no easy way to search just the Indian portals and that is where google CSE or Custom Search Engine helps. I have added all the main shopping portals so that you just give the name of the product you want to search . If you want to exclude some site use the “-” operator. Of course there are sites and toolbars like compareraja this is more reliable for an example try searching nexus 2012 on both…

The shortened url for my cse is http://bit.ly/indianshoppingsearch (its longer but easy to remember)
The raw google link is https://www.google.com/cse/home?cx=001138685502448049082:izwx1tqzqsg

ICICI Mobile security vulnerability with imobile application activate mobile banking or loose your money..

Disclaimer: I don’t endorse any cracking or stealing activity. I had sent a message to ICICI regarding this issue on 9/8/2011and got the reply as below

Dear Mr. Issac,

We value your relationship with ICICI Bank.

Thank you for your feedback. We appreciate the efforts you have taken in order to improve our service standards and processes.
Your suggestions will go a long way in helping us improve the features on our website and security measures.
We look forward for more opportunities to be of service to you.

Sincerely,
X XXXXXXX
Account Manager
ICICI Bank Limited

—–Original Message—–

Subject:  RE: Password Related Issues

Ok received and changed password.
Its too bad that spaces are not allowed in passwords as its easy to create tough passwords with spaces in between.

BTW I have found a serious security flaw in your ICICI bank mobile application for android. Who should be contacted for security related issues ?

Sunish

I tried to use contact option on ICICI web site to report the issue, but could not find any link nor did I find any link related to reporting security issue on a site wide search. The contact option forces the customer to use messaging system of internet banking whenever the option ‘other’ is selected.

image 

 

Now to the real issue :
You don’t need ATM pin or any external authentication tools to activate iMobile app but just ICICI bank debit card (PIN NOT REQUIRED). The danger is when you have an ICICI bank account and you have not started using iMobile.

It should work on all platforms, be it android, iphone, windows mobile or symbian.

Scenario 1: Somebody steals your mobile and wallet containing ICICI bank debit card

The thief can transfer money and perform all transactions possible within the iMobile application by following the process below.

Steps to activate imobile and do whatever including tranferring funds using IMPS, shopping, mobile recharge, air ticketing and whatever.

  1. Install imobile on the victim’s phone or another phone with the victim’s SIM.
  2. Run the application and it will ask for a 4 digit pin for registration. (Yes the thief can put whatever pin he wants to use iMobile)
  3. It will go through the grid based authentication for which all you need is the debit card .

That’s it the thief has full access to iMobile with all transaction permissions with the daily limits through App.

The process of activation is explained here http://www.icicibank.com/mobile-banking/download.html#down. Step 3 without ATM pin is the problem step.

Essentially the grid based security is useless without asking for atm pin and that’s the flaw which was there ever since ICICI had the mobile apps released.

If you are already using iMobile app then nothing to fear as you got to enter the application PIN to start the app. If you have registered your mobile number for mobile banking but not yet activated iMobile, then if you loose that SIM with ICICI debit card, man you can get into trouble if you have big balances Smile

Search All Indian Electronics and Embedded Shopping Sites

Searching to know whether a particular component, module or board is available in India can be daunting. I made a google custom search engine (CSE) with all the main online embedded/electronics sites.


 

The URL for the search is
http://www.google.com/cse/publicurl?cx=001138685502448049082:odwaxexu1te

The current list of sites included in the search are

http://www.mgsuperlabs.co.in
http://www.ventor.co.in/
http://extremeelectronics.co.in
http://ventor.co.in
http://nex-robotics.com
http://sunrom.com
http://simplelabs.co.in
http://www.robokits.co.in
http://probots.co.in
http://onlinetps.com
http://embeddedmarket.com
http://tenettech.com
http://rhydolabz.com
http://bhashatech.com

Among these I have bought products from
http://www.ventor.co.in/
http://probots.co.in
http://rhydolabz.com
http://nex-robotics.com

and I was satisfied with the overall experience .