Update!

I have been busy-

1) Finally my divorce came through. My advice – dont do it without a pre-nup ! Alimony means all the money.

2) Spending time on Quora after getting bored from LinkedIn, Twitter,Facebook,Google Plus,Tumblr, WordPress

See this answer to-

 What are common misconceptions about startups?

1) we will change the world
2) if we get 1% of a billion people market, we will be rich
3) if we have got funding, most of the job is done
4) lets pay ourselves high salaries since we got funded
5) our idea is awesome and cant be copied, improvised, stolen, replicated
6) startups are painless
7) it is a better life than a corporate career
8) long term vision is important than short term cash burn
9) we will never sell out or exit. never
10) its a great idea to make startups with friend

Say hello to me – http://www.quora.com/Ajay-Ohri/answers

3) Writing freelance articles on APIs for Programmable Web

Why write pro? See point 1)

Recent Articles-

http://blog.programmableweb.com/2012/07/30/predict-the-future-with-google-prediction-api/

http://blog.programmableweb.com/2012/08/01/your-store-in-the-cloud-google-cloud-storage-api/

http://blog.programmableweb.com/2012/07/27/the-romney-vs-obama-api/

4) Writing poetry on http://poemsforkush.com/. It now gets 23000 views a month. I wish I could say my poems were great, but the readers are kind (364 subscribers!) and also Google Image Search is very very kind.

5) Kicking tires with next book ” R for Cloud Computing” and be tuned for another writing announcement

6) Waiting for Paul Kent, VP, SAS Big Data to reply to my emails for interview after HE promised me!! You dont get to 105 interviews without being a bit stubborn!

7) Sighing on politics engulfing my American friends especially with regards to Chic-fil-A and Romney’s gaffes. Now thats what I call a first world problem! Protesting by eating or boycotting chicken sandwiches! In India we had the world’s biggest blackout two days in a row- and no one is attending the Hunger Fast against corruption protests!

8) Watching Olympics! Our glorious nation of 1.2 billion very smart people has managed to win 1 Bronze till today!! Michael Phelps has won more medals and more gold than the whole of  India has since the Olympics Games began!!

9) Consulting to pay the bills. includes writing R code, making presentations. Why consult when I have writing to do? See point 1)

10) Reading New York Times to get insights on Big Data and Analytics. Trust them- they know what they are doing!

Cyber Cold War

I try to write on cyber conflict without getting into the politics of why someone is hacking someone else. I always get beaten by someone in the comments thread when I write on politics.

But recent events have forced me to update my usual “how-to” cyber conflict to “why” cyber conflict. This is because of a terrorist attack in my hometown Delhi.

(updated-

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/02/14/world/middleeast/israeli-embassy-officials-attacked-in-india-and-georgia.html?_r=1&hp

Iran allegedly tried  (as per Israel) to assassinate the wife of Israeli Defence Attache in Delhi using a magnetic bomb, India as she went to school to pick up her kids, somebody else put a grenade in Israeli embassy car in Georgia which was found in time. 

Based on reports , initial work suggests the bomb was much more sophisticated than local terrorists, but the terrorists seemed to have some local recce work done.

India has 0 history of antisemitism but this is the second time Israelis have been targeted since 26/11 Mumbai attacks. India buys 12 % of oil annually from Iran (and refuses to join the oil embargo called by US and Europe)

Cyber Conflict is less painful than conflict, which is inevitable as long as mankind exists. Also the Western hemisphere needs a moon shot (cyber conflict could be the Sputnik like moment) and with declining and aging populations but better technology, Western Hemisphere govts need cyber conflict as they are running out of humans to fight their wars. Eastern govt. are even more obnoxious in using children for conflict propaganda, and corruption.

Last week CIA.gov website went down

This week Iranian govt is allegedly blocking https traffic on eve of Annual Revolution Day (what a coincidence!)

 

Some resources to help Internet users in Iran (or maybe this could be a dummy test for the big one – hacking the great firewall of China)

News from Hacker News-

http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=3575029

 

I’m writing this to report the serious troubles we have regarding accessing Internet in Iran at the moment. Since Thursday Iranian government has shutted down the https protocol which has caused almost all google services (gmail, and google.com itself) to become inaccessible. Almost all websites that reply on Google APIs (like wolfram alpha) won’t work. Accessing to any website that replies on https (just imaging how many websites use this protocol, from Arch Wiki to bank websites). Also accessing many proxies is also impossible. There are almost no official reports on this and with many websites and my email accounts restricted I can just confirm this based on my own and friends experience. I have just found one report here:

Iran Shut Down Gmail , Google , Yahoo and sites using “Https” Protocol

The reason for this horrible shutdown is that the Iranian regime celebrates 1979 Islamic revolution tomorrow.

I just wanted to let you guys know about this. If you have any solution regarding bypassing this restriction please help!

 

The boys at Tor think they can help-

but its not so elegant, as I prefer creating a  batch file rather than explain coding to newbies. 

this is still getting to better and easier interfaces

https://www.torproject.org/projects/obfsproxy-instructions.html.en

Obfsproxy Instructions

client torrc

Step 1: Install dependencies, obfsproxy, and Tor

 

You will need a C compiler (gcc), the autoconf and autotools build system, the git revision control system, pkg-config andlibtoollibevent-2 and its headers, and the development headers of OpenSSL.

On Debian testing or Ubuntu oneiric, you could do:
# apt-get install autoconf autotools-dev gcc git pkg-config libtool libevent-2.0-5 libevent-dev libevent-openssl-2.0-5 libssl-dev

If you’re on a more stable Linux, you can either try our experimental backport libevent2 debs or build libevent2 from source.

Clone obfsproxy from its git repository:
$ git clone https://git.torproject.org/obfsproxy.git
The above command should create and populate a directory named ‘obfsproxy’ in your current directory.

Compile obfsproxy:
$ cd obfsproxy
$ ./autogen.sh && ./configure && make

Optionally, as root install obfsproxy in your system:
# make install

If you prefer not to install obfsproxy as root, you can instead just modify the Transport lines in your torrc file (explained below) to point to your obfsproxy binary.

You will need Tor 0.2.3.11-alpha or later.


Step 2a: If you’re the client…

 

First, you need to learn the address of a bridge that supports obfsproxy. If you don’t know any, try asking a friend to set one up for you. Then the appropriate lines to your tor configuration file:

UseBridges 1
Bridge obfs2 128.31.0.34:1051
ClientTransportPlugin obfs2 exec /usr/local/bin/obfsproxy --managed

Don’t forget to replace 128.31.0.34:1051 with the IP address and port that the bridge’s obfsproxy is listening on.
 Congratulations! Your traffic should now be obfuscated by obfsproxy. You are done! You can now start using Tor.

For old fashioned tunnel creation under Seas of English Channel-

http://dag.wieers.com/howto/ssh-http-tunneling/

Tunneling SSH over HTTP(S)
This document explains how to set up an Apache server and SSH client to allow tunneling SSH over HTTP(S). This can be useful on restricted networks that either firewall everything except HTTP traffic (tcp/80,tcp/443) or require users to use a local (HTTP) proxy.
A lot of people asked why doing it like this if you can just make sshd listen on port 443. Well, that might work if your environment is not hardened like I have seen at several companies, but this setup has a few advantages.

  • You can proxy to anywhere (see the Proxy directive in Apache) based on names
  • You can proxy to any port you like (see the AllowCONNECT directive in Apache)
  • It works even when there is a layer-7 protocol firewall
  • If you enable proxytunnel ssl support, it is indistinguishable from real SSL traffic
  • You can come up with nice hostnames like ‘downloads.yourdomain.com’ and ‘pictures.yourdomain.com’ and for normal users these will look like normal websites when visited.
  • There are many possibilities for doing authentication further along the path
  • You can do proxy-bouncing to the n-th degree to mask where you’re coming from or going to (however this requires more changes to proxytunnel, currently I only added support for one remote proxy)
  • You do not have to dedicate an IP-address for sshd, you can still run an HTTPS site

Related-

http://opensourceandhackystuff.blogspot.in/2012/02/captive-portal-security-part-1.html

and some crypto for young people

http://users.telenet.be/d.rijmenants/en/onetimepad.htm

 

Me- What am I doing about it? I am just writing poems on hacking at http://poemsforkush.com

Using Opera Unite to defeat SOPA?

Lets assume that the big bad world of American electoral politics forces some kind of modified SOPA to be passed, and the big American companies have to abide by that law (just as they do share data  for National Security under Patriot Act but quitely).

I belive Opera Unite is the way forward to sharing content on the Internet.

From-

http://dev.opera.com/articles/view/opera-unite-developer-primer-revisited/

Opera Unite features a Web server running inside the Opera browser, which allows you to do some amazing things. At the touch of a button, you can share images, documents, video, music, games, collaborative applications and all manner of other things with your friends and colleagues

I can share music, and files , and the web server is actually my own laptop. try beating 2 billion new web servers that sprout!! File system sharing is totally secure- you can create private, public, or password protected files, a messaging system that can be used for drop messages (called fridge), a secure messaging system and your own web server is ready to start at a click. the open web may just use opera instead of chromium, and US regulation would be solely to blame. even URL blocking is of limited appeal thanks to software like MafiaWire Extension

Throw in Ad block, embedded bit torrent sharing and some more  Tor level encryption within the browser and sorry Senator, but the internet belongs to the planet not to your lobbyist.

see-http://dev.opera.com/web

Top Cartoonists:Updated

Here is a list of cartoonists I follow- I sometimes think they make more sense than all the news media combined.

1) Mike Luckovich He is a Pulitzer Prize winning cartoonist for AJC at http://blogs.ajc.com/mike-luckovich/

I love his political satire-sometimes not his politics- though he is a liberal (surprisingly most people from creative arts tend to be liberal- guess because they support and need welfare more, 🙂 ) Since I am in India- I call myself a conservative (when filing taxes) or liberal (when drinking er tea)

2) Hugh Mcleod- of Gaping Void is very different from Mike above, in the way an abstract painter would be from a classical

artist. I like his satire on internet, technology and personal favorite – social media consultants. Hugh casts a critical eye on the world of tech and is an immensely successful artist- probably the Andy Warhol of this genre in a generation.

3) Doug Savage of Savage Chickens http://www.savagechickens.com/ has a great series of funny cartoons based on chickens drawn on Post it notes. While his drawing is less abstract than Hugh’s above, he sometimes touches an irreverent note more like Hugh than anyone else.

4) Professor Jorge Cham of Phd Comics http://www.phdcomics.com/comics.php is probably the most read comic in grad school  – and probably the only cartoonist with a Phd I know of.

5) Scott Adams of Dilbert http://www.dilbert.com/ is probably the first “non kid stuff” cartoonist I started reading-in fact I once wrote to him asking for advice on my poetry to his credit- he replied with a single ” Best of Luck email”

They named our email server in Lucknow, UP, India for him (in my business school at http://iiml.ac.in ) Probably the best of corporate toon humor. Maybe they should make the Dilbert movie yet.

6) Randall Munroe of xkcd.com

XKCD is geek cartooning at its best.

For catching up with the best toons in a week, the best is Time.com ‘s weekly list at http://www.time.com/time/cartoonsoftheweek

It is the best collection of political cartoons.

Towards better quantitative marketing

Cycle of Research and Development, from "...
Image via Wikipedia

The term quantitative refers to a type of information based in quantities or else quantifiable data (objective properties) —as opposed to qualitative information which deals with apparent qualities (subjective properties)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quantitative

Fear, uncertainty, and doubt (FUD) is a tactic of rhetoric and fallacy used in sales, marketing, public relations,[1][2] politics and propaganda. FUD is generally a strategic attempt to influence public perception by disseminating negative and dubious/false information designed to undermine the credibility of their beliefs.

Source-

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fear,_uncertainty_and_doubt

Top 5 FUD Tactics in Software and what you can say to end user to retain credibility

1) That software lacks reliable support- our support team has won top prizes in Customer Appreciation for past several years.

  • Our software release history-
  • graph of bugs filed-
  • turn around time box plot for customer service issues
  • quantitatively define reliability

2) We give the best value to customers. Customer Big A got huge huge % savings thanks to our software.

  • Pricing- Transparent – and fixed. For volume discounts mention slabs.
  • Cost to Customer- Include time and cost estimates for training and installation
  • Graphs of average ROIC (return on capital invested) on TCO (total cost of ownership)  not half a dozen outlier case studies. Mention Expected % return

3) We have invested a lot of money in our Research and Development. We continue to spend a lotto of money on R &D

  • Average Salary of R and D employee versus Average Tenure (Linkedin gives the second metric quite easily)
  • Mention Tax benefits and Accounting treatment of R&D expenses
  • Give a breakdown- how much went to research and how much went to legacy application support
  • Mention open source projects openly
  • Mention community source projects separately

4) Software B got sued. Intellectual property rights (sniff)

  • Mention pending cases with your legal team
  • Mention anti trust concerns for potential acquisitions
  • Mention links to your patent portfolio (or even to US PTO with query ?=your corporate name )

5) We have a 99.8% renewal rate.

  • Mention vendor lock in concerns and flexibility
  • Mention What-If scenarios if there are delays in software implementation
  • Mention methodology in calculating return on investment.

 

 

 

Also

http://blogs.computerworlduk.com/infrastructure-and-operations/2010/10/three-fud-statements-used-not-to-implement-standards-based-networking/index.htm

LibreOffice News and Google Musings

Tux, the Linux penguin
Image via Wikipedia

Official Bloggers on LibreOffice- http://planet.documentfoundation.org/

Note- for some strange reason I continue to be on top ranked LibreOffice blogs- maybe because I write more on the software itself than on Oracle politics or coffee spillovers.

LibreOffice Beta 2  is ready and I just installed it on Windows 7 – works nice- and I somehow think open Office and Google needs an  example to stop being so scary on cautioning—— hey,hey it’s a  beta – (do you see Oracle saying this release is a beta or Windows saying hey this Windows Vista is a beta for Windows 7- No right?)-

see screenshot of solver in  LibreOffice spreadsheet -works just fine.

We cant wait for Chromium OS and LibreOffice integration (or Google Docs-LibreOffice integration)  so Google starts thinking on those lines (of course

Google also needs to ramp up Google Storage and Google Predict API– but dude are you sure you wanna take on Amazon, Oracle and MS and Yahoo and Apple at the same time. Dear Herr Schmidt- Last German Guy who did that ,  ended up in a bunker in Berlin. (Ever since I had to pay 50 euros as Airline Transit fee -yes Indian passport holders have to do that in Germany- I am kind of non objective on that issue)

Google Management is busy nowadays thinking of trying to beat Facebook -hint -hint-

-buy out the biggest app makers of Facebook apps and create an api for Facebook info download and upload into Orkut –maybe invest like an angel in that startup called Diaspora http://www.joindiaspora.com/) see-

Back to the topic (and there are enough people blogging on Google should or shouldnt do)

-LibreOffice aesthetically rocks! It has a cool feel.

More news- The Wiki is up and awaits you at http://wiki.documentfoundation.org/Documentation

And there is a general pow-wow scheduled at http://www.oookwv.de/ for the Open Office Congress (Kongress)

As you can see I used the Chrome Extension for Google Translate for an instant translation from German into English (though it still needs some work,  Herr Translator)

Back to actually working on LibreOffice- if Word and Powerpoint is all you do- save some money for Christmas and download it today from

Economic: Indian Caste System -Simplification

I am often asked by Western and non Indian people regarding the caste system. It trips me a lot trying to explain the complexity, necessity and current scenario given the history.

Here is an effort- The Indian /Hindu caste system was primarily an economic system to divide labor. In the original Manusmriti ,named by the King Manu- it was flexible.

A son of blue collar worker could become a warrior if he was brave etc.

A couple of centuries later – the top castes primarily the priests decided to make it rigid. No more social intermingling or marriage between castes, and no more migration of occupation regardless of merit.

This led to a lot of lower caste people leaving Hinduism to join religions like Islam ( post 1000 AD, Muslim Invasions and Mughal Rule) and Christianity ( post the arrival of English).


Post 1947 , many of “lower castes” preferred to remain within Hinduism but adopted Buddhism as their primary worship mechanism.Also India‘s leaders in the 1940’s , many of whom were educated in UK as lawyers ( including Mahatma Gandhi, Subhash Chandra Bose, Jawahar Lal Nehru) decided this system had weakened the nation state and divided the energies of India, besides being obviously inhumane and degrading.

The Constitution of India was shepharded in 1950  by an assembly led by Dr. B R Ambedkar , one of the very first educated lower castes ( also called Harijan , after Mahatma Gandhi’s name for them, literally Hari -Jan people of the Lord).That Cosntitution endures as India remains the finest example of a Democracy in the non Western world.

The Indian constitution established 7.5 % jobs reservation in Government jobs and educational institutes at a college and masters level only for lowest and most educationally backward castes ( hence called scheduled castes), 15 % jobs reservation in Government jobs only for tribal people ( hence called scheduled tribes). The provision is renewed every 10 years. Think of it as a constitutionallu bound affirmative action.

In 1990, another 27.5 % of jobs and educational seats were reserved for castes that were socially okay but educationally backward. This caused some riots, delays, political actions, but was finally implemented by 2007.

Opponents of the new affirmative action say that this is like doing two wrongs to make a right. Supporters say data proves that reservation has led to social advancement ( especially in the State of Tamil Nadu).Rollback of the new system is a political impossibilty thanks to unity among hitherto repressed classes.

As an upper caste Hindu ( embarassingly enough my caste is both a warrior and a kingly royal caste , which gives me zero benefit in 2010 AD)……..

In God we Trust..All others must bring Data.

Unfortunately, when it comes to politics the same data is either hidden, partially hidden, or interpreted in different ways especially with regards to projecting sampling error or decisions.

Phew…!! That was an analytical layman definition of the Indian Caste System over 2000 years.

Note- The Indian soldier caste is Kshatriyas not Kshatritas..