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Over a decade long career , I have often been reminded of this saying from erstwhile mentors in long forgotten consulting email group- It is not WHAT you KNOW, it is WHO you KNOW. The power of WHO you KNOW can defeat even what you know , have learnt or worked hard at. Accordingly these are some wry observations on how businesses sometimes take shortcuts in India, and the whys and wherefores.
1) Regulatory Arbitrage due to Lack of Regulatory Oversight- This is especially true in terms of labor practices. This includes under-paying Caucasians and non -Indians for internships , or jobs (in the name of sponsoring the work visa). India is an extremely inexpensive place to stay in, but it is sometimes unfriendly (in terms of laws not people) to people visiting from the West. This ranges from amusing things to paying 10 times the price for non Indian visitors to Taj Mahal- to not so funny things as paying them lower salaries because they need a reason to stay on. Unfortunately this is true in many countries -underpaying aliens, but it is much better regulated in the West.
2) Stealing Intellectual Property- I have often known people to steal presentations and even excel macros from the place they were working to the new place. Almost no one gets prosecuted for intellectual property theft (unless you are caught with 10,000 pirated music or film cds)
3) Using Pirated Softwares – Lack of awareness of FOSS means many SMEs use shortcuts including downloading software from Pirate Bay and using this to work for clients in the West. Example- This could be as simple as downloading SAS software from Internet, or using WPS software for training and mis-representing SAS Institute’s name. (added confusion due to SAS -software,company,language ) . There are other major companies who suffer from this too, notably Microsoft.
This could be as complex as using academic versions of enterprise software for businesses purposes. In each case because of the geography, legal risk is quite low, and returns quite high from pirated software. It also helps lower the unethical vendor’s quotation of prices compared to the one who is doing it straight.
One way to avoid this is -ask your vendor to show you copy of how many legal licence’s for software. It can also help in cutting down exaggerated bench strength claims of vendors, as sometimes businesses hire many people and then put them on internal projects.
4) Illegal Trade practices- This include making employees sign a 1 year bond for not leaving the company after they have visited the West for company work- in the name of training . This also includes abusing the loopholes in various types of visa.
5) Ignoring signed contracts and negotiating to lower prices at every step illegally, in collusion with other vendors ( there is no effective anti -trust act ) and using the complete inadequate and lengthy nature of filing court cases in India.
Almost every non Indian client I know pays on time- almost every Indian client I know needs reminders. This is more of a mindset problem , knowing the reluctance to file lawsuits in India given slow progress in the courts ( India has 1.2 billion people and per capita access to judges and lawyers is quite low). The buzz word is- How much can we settle this? Lets do a settlement!
In the long run, this is choking off growth and potential of SMEs in India. In a continuing series- I will help the non Indian users with ways to use technology for legal remedies in India for intellectual property along with known case studies and examples.
I really liked the software Qbittorent available from http://www.qbittorrent.org/ I think bit torrents should be the default way of sharing huge content especially software downloads. For protecting intellectual property there should be much better codes and software keys than presently available.
The qBittorrent project aims to provide a Free Software alternative to µtorrent. Additionally, qBittorrent runs and provides the same features on all major platforms (Linux, Mac OS X, Windows, OS/2, FreeBSD).
qBittorrent is based on Qt4 toolkit and libtorrent-rasterbar.
qBittorrent v2 Features
- Polished µTorrent-like User Interface
- Well-integrated and extensible Search Engine
- Simultaneous search in most famous BitTorrent search sites
- Per-category-specific search requests (e.g. Books, Music, Movies)
- All Bittorrent extensions
- DHT, Peer Exchange, Full encryption, Magnet/BitComet URIs, …
- Remote control through a Web user interface
- Nearly identical to the regular UI, all in Ajax
- Advanced control over trackers, peers and torrents
- Torrents queueing and prioritizing
- Torrent content selection and prioritizing
- UPnP / NAT-PMP port forwarding support
- Available in ~25 languages (Unicode support)
- Torrent creation tool
- Advanced RSS support with download filters (inc. regex)
- Bandwidth scheduler
- IP Filtering (eMule and PeerGuardian compatible)
- IPv6 compliant
- Sequential downloading (aka “Download in order”)
- Available on most platforms: Linux, Mac OS X, Windows, OS/2, FreeBSDSo if you are new to Bit Torrents- here is a brief tutorialSome terminology from
- A tracker is a server that keeps track of which seeds and peers are in the swarm.
- A Seed is used to refer to a peer who has 100% of the data. When a leech obtains 100% of the data, that peer automatically becomes a Seed.
- A peer is one instance of a BitTorrent client running on a computer on the Internet to which other clients connect and transfer data.
- A leech is a term with two meanings. Primarily leech (or leeches) refer to a peer (or peers) who has a negative effect on the swarm by having a very poor share ratio (downloading much more than they upload, creating a ratio less than 1.0)1) Download and install the software from http://www.qbittorrent.org/2) If you want to search for new files, you can use the nice search features in here3) If you want to CREATE new bit torrents- go to Tools -Torrent Creator4) For sharing content- just seed the torrent you just created. What is seeding – hey did you read the terminology in the beginning?5) Additionally -From
Trackers: Below are some popular public trackers. They are servers which help peers to communicate.
Here are some good trackers you can use:
- When a file is new, much time can be wasted because the seeding client might send the same file piece to many different peers, while other pieces have not yet been downloaded at all. Some clients, like ABC, Vuze, BitTornado, TorrentStorm, and µTorrent have a “super-seed” mode, where they try to only send out pieces that have never been sent out before, theoretically making the initial propagation of the file much faster. However the super-seeding becomes less effective and may even reduce performance compared to the normal “rarest first” model in cases where some peers have poor or limited connectivity. This mode is generally used only for a new torrent, or one which must be re-seeded because no other seeds are available.
- Note- you use this tutorial and any or all steps at your own risk. I am not legally responsible for any mishaps you get into. Please be responsible while being an efficient bit tor renter. That means respecting individual property rights.
- Any effort to combat online piracy must guard against the risk of online censorship of lawful activity and must not inhibit innovation by our dynamic businesses large and small (AJ-yup)
- We must avoid creating new cybersecurity risks or disrupting the underlying architecture of the Internet. (AJ-note this may include peer-to-peer browsers, browser extensions for re-routing and newer forms of encryption, or even relocation of internet routers in newer geographies )
We must avoid legislation that drives users to dangerous, unreliable DNS servers and puts next-generation security policies, such as the deployment of DNSSEC, at risk.
While we are strongly committed to the vigorous enforcement of intellectual property rights, existing tools are not strong enough to root out the worst online pirates beyond our borders.
We should never let criminals hide behind a hollow embrace of legitimate American values
We should all be committed to working with all interested constituencies to develop new legal tools to protect global intellectual property rights without jeopardizing the openness of the Internet. Our hope is that you will bring enthusiasm and know-how to this important challenge
Victoria Espinel is Intellectual Property Enforcement Coordinator at Office of Management and Budget
AJ-Why not sponser a hackathon, White House and create a monetary incentive for hackers to suggest secure ways? Atleast a secure dialogue between policy makers and policy breakers could be a way forward.
SOPA in its current form is dead. We live to fight another day.
Let us never negotiate out of fear. But let us never fear to negotiate. John F K
some questions in my Mind as I struggle to bet my money and pension savings on Facebook IPO
1) Revenue Mix- What percentage of revenues for Facebook come from Banner ads versus gaming partners like Zynga. How dependent is Facebook on Gaming partners. (Zynga has Google as an investor). What mix of revenue is dependent on privacy regulation countries like Europe vs countries like USA.
2) Do 800 million users of Facebook mean 100 billion valuation ? Thats a valuation of $125 in customer life time in terms of NPV . Since ad revenue is itself a percentage of actual good and services sold- how much worth of goods and services do consumers have to buy per capita , to give $125 worth of ads to FB. Eg . companies spend 5% of product cost on Facebook ads, so does that mean each FB account will hope to buy 2500$ worth of Goods from the Internet and from Facebook (assuming they also buy from Amazon etc)
3) Corporate Governance- Unlike Google, Facebook has faced troubling questions of ethics from the day it has started. This includes charges of intellectual property theft, but also non transparent FB stock option pricing in secondary markets before IPO, private placement by Wall Street Bankers like GoldMan Saachs, major investments by Russian Internet media corporations. (read- http://money.cnn.com/2011/01/03/technology/facebook_goldman/index.htm)
4) Retention of key employees post IPO- Key Employees at Google are actually ex- Microsofties. Key FB staff are ex-Google people. Where will the key -FB people go when bored and rich after IPO.
5) Does the macro Economic Condition justify the premium and Private Equity multiple of Facebook?
Will FB be the next Google (in terms of investor retruns) or will it be like Groupon. I suspect the answer is- it depends on market discounting these assumptions while factoring in sentiment (as well as unloading of stock from large number of FB stock holders on week1).
Baby You Are a Rich Man. but not 100 billion rich. yet. Maybe 80 billion isnt that bad.
The chrome extension MafiaaWire basically gives you an updated list of redirected websites. So the next time , your evil highness shuts down your favorite website- the list promises to give you an update. While obviously entertainment intellectual property is a very obvious site category for such redirects, in some cases these extensions can be used for simple things like hosting dissents or protesters against govt corruption in non US countries .
Basically under the new SOPA act (an oline version of pepper spray http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stop_Online_Piracy_Act) even browsers like Firefox and Chrome would be liable for any such extension that can be used to download American Intellectual property illegally.
In the meantime – this is an interesting and creative use case of technology and sociology merging in the brave new world.
You can read about it here-
MAFIAAFire works by downloading a list which contains the names of the “blocked” sites as well as the sites to redirect to. This list is downloaded every time Firefox starts up or every two days on the Chrome version (although the user has the choice to force an update on the Chrome version instead of waiting for two days).
When a user types in a domain name from the list of blocked domains, the add-on recognizes this and automatically redirects the user to the secondary site. Since this happens before the browser connects to the DNS server, this renders any DNS blocks useless.
Although the add-on checks for which sites are entered into the address bar every time (as it needs to check if that site is on its block list), it does not log these requests nor send these requests to any central server. In other words: it does not track the user.
Download it from
Interesting times indeed!