How GoDaddy robbed me.

Humble request to all readers: Share this post.

I really want to keep this as short as I can and address only the primary issue. For those who don’t know, GoDaddy is one of the most popular domain registrar’s in the market and I started using it a couple of years back as a means for getting rid of my local registrar who had been screwing up routinely in a most inefficient way.

Abstract: Lately, they have not only made a few irrational and immoral decisions, but they also robbed me of a rather large sum of money and then messed up my order completely. In short, I paid thrice for the same order and I didn’t even get what I ordered. Furthermore, somehow the same domain was purchased twice using my account and I have absolutely no idea how it’s even possible. … 

 

Did Nokia really not do anything wrong? They did.

“We didn’t do anything wrong but somehow we still lost.”

Those were the words of the CEO. Do I agree with them? No.

Let’s go back to, say, 2006. Every average person had a Nokia. The Motorollas? Those were what people bought between two successive Nokias. Sony Errison? Well, that one had its own cult. There was a wide variety of different lines of phones in the market, each aimed at a different class of users. The basic featured for those looking for a cheap calling device, the multimedia enabled for those that wanted more, the communicators for those that afforded them.

That wasn’t all. That was the time when Nokia did some strange experiments resulting in the production of some really weird and unique phones. And guess what? A large percentage of those took off as well. Examples of such models could be the NGage and the Ngage QD – Gamepad shaped devices aimed at gaming. I happen to have owned both models. Nokia was also infamous for coming up with some really weird designs, which, surprisingly, sold just as well.

Why? Cause Nokia owned the market. They were among the pioneers and they had almost monopolized the mobile market. What they produced was good and was pretty regardless of how shitty it might actually be.

All the awesome devices that Nokia ever made were … 

 

Monolingual Autism

You can google that if you like and realize that it may not really be a real thing. It’s something that I have been observing for a long time and I’m sure you’ve seen or felt it at different points in your life.

A while back, LifeHack posted about people having different personalities when speaking in different languages. So I thought: Is it possible for a person to be autistic in a particular language and enthusiastic and energetic in another? Sounds stupid, eh? Well, here’s an example that might make it sound slightly less stupid and slightly more relatable:

Think of a kid from India or Sri Lanka or even Russia — or any other place where English isn’t really the first language. If that kid goes to a decent school, he’s probably learning English and his teacher probably encourage him to converse in it when possible. Let’s name that kid Connor.
Connor is 14 years old, he goes to a decent school and converses in English with his teachers simply because it’s a school rule. Connor speaks his native language at home and when among friends and he’s pretty talkative. Connor has no trouble reading or writing in English. But sometimes, e.g. in a group of several people, that he doesn’t know very well, who are confidently speaking to each other in English (although they also know Connor’s language), Connor gets tongue-tied. Connor has to put too much effort into forming every sentence that he then speaks. Connor, therefore, chooses to speak in his own language. The greater the number of such occurrences, the stronger Connor’s belief that he can’t converse effectively in English and the harder it will be for him to do so the next time he is faced with the prospect. At times like this, Connor get’s mildly autistic.

I have a theory. If Connor were to speak to someone that doesn’t know any other language besides English, he probably won’t have this much trouble. I personally believe that all this happens because it feels stupid and illogical to converse with people in a secondary language when you don’t need to. If someone knows Connor’s language then he would prefer for them to speak it instead of English.

This makes it sound like just as much a matter of choice as a question of confidence. So what is the issue? And that, is exactly why I chose to compare it with autism. The thing with disorders is that you can’t just choose to not have them. Sometimes you know you have them and that they are stupid but you can’t just think your way out of it. I believe that this is something like a disorder where the brain just doesn’t accept the idea of doing something as illogical as conversing in a secondary language when you can choose not to. Secondly, every time it kicks in, it is accompanied by nervousness and hesitation and makes you look like this quiet, timid, shy personality and occasionally raising questions like “You don’t say much, do you?” or perhaps even “Is he autistic?”

Can it be overcome? No idea. Does it need to be overcome? Logically? No.

 

Albus Dumbledore’s sacrifices

Let’s get to it. We all know about Dumbledore’s past, and his friendship with Grindelwald and the whole “For the greater good” thing. Not all of us, however, realized the fact that he never stopped living his life by that motto. Albus Dumbledore always did everything for the greater good.

“You’ve been raising him like a pig for slaughter.” – Severus Snape.

Yes, remember that big reveal to Snape? Dumbledore making clear his belief that in order for the Dark Lord to perish Harry had to die? Remember how he didn’t even try to deny the fact that he was, in fact, just keeping Harry alive so that he could die at the right moment?

But that wasn’t it.  … 

 

Never do [insert temporal adverb] what can be done [insert another temporal adverb]

You may be familiar with the 2014 film titled “Predestination,” that involves the most mind-blowing time-loop. While watching it, I didn’t fail to notice this:

97d8c-11137604_805401089515710_1303419438_n.jpg

“Never do yesterday what should be done tomorrow.”

At first I laughed. Then I decided to give it some thought. My first and last interpretation of it was the same. In short, it’s about not messing with the past. If something happened at a particular point in time, then you have no reason to try and make it happen earlier.

However, there is a far simpler explanation for it. And that’s simply the fact that it’s just a tiny bit of humor from the creators and logically, in essence, it isn’t a lot different from what Aaron Burr spoke of: … 

 

Batmen Analysis

So, I’ve been wanting to do this for quite some time. You see, there’s a whole lot of Batman movies out there along with a good number of Batmen. With different actors, playing the same character, in different movie adaptations, there come arguments between fans over the superiority of certain adaptations and portrayals.

In this post, I am going to analyze all the live-action movie Batmen, from Michael Keaton to Ben Affleck, and judge them based on how well they portrayed both Bruce Wayne, and Batman. Before we continue, let’s briefly discuss the two personalities. Bruce Wayne is a billionaire orphan, disciplined and mature for his age. While he may be well known to the world, he can be called reclusive. His dark past is what gives him his wisdom and what gives him the look of a man who has dealt with the truth, up close. But that doesn’t mean he doesn’t have feelings or a sense of humor. He can be touched, and he ain’t witless.
Batman, Bruce’s vigilante personality, is an all righteous, assertive tough-guy who values human-life above all emotion and justice. His instincts and choices are rarely to be doubted. He is also a quick-witted strategist and a really skilled fighter. Also, he is worthy enough to lift the Mjolnir. He knows the difference between what’s right and what’s (seemingly) needed, and he knows better than to let his emotions drive him. Well, let’s start analysing, shall we? … 

 

Physics jokes

I’ve been casually going through the answers to this question for the past hour. I came across a lot of hilarious ones and an almost equal number of those that are probably hilarious to those that get them. Yes, that does imply that there are quite a lot of them that I don’t get. There used to be more, but I figured them out, all thanks to the internet.

It’s amazing how educational this shit can be. Consider the following scenario:

Joe is a Physics student. Joe loves Physics. Joe wants to be a Physicist. Joe idolizes Hawking, and shares – on his social media – jokes about Schrodinger’s cat. Joe is browsing Quora and he comes across this question. Among the answers, he reads this: Erwin Schrodinger and Werner Heisenberg are driving down the road with the top down, having the time of their lives. They blow past a hidden state patrol officer who jumps in his car and pulls them over a few miles down the road. The officer gets out of his car, hitches up his britches, and saunters up to Heisenberg who is driving.
He motions to roll the window down and Werner complies, then the officer asks: “Sir, do you have any idea how fast you were going?” To which Heisenberg replies: “No Sir. But I know exactly where I am.”

Joe doesn’t get it. He opens Google in a new tab and types “Heisenberg’s.” Googles suggest’s his uncertainty principle and the slightest bit of reading gets Joe smiling. Now he reads through the rest of the joke, which he gets, and reposts it.

Why does Joe behave this way, and how is this shit educational?

It’s understandable for people to not get jokes, and even more understandable for people to not get Physics related jokes. But is it acceptable for a Physics geek to not get a particular joke? Of course it is. Joe, however, was afraid that if people found out that he didn’t know Heisenberg’s uncertainty principle they’ll never respect his intelligence again. He is particularly afraid of his fellow “physicists” finding out. Joe felt ashamed of himself. He couldn’t stand how he’d failed to get a popular Physics joke – one that starred Hawking. He felt compelled to figure that joke out and chose to research and expand his knowledge enough to, if not more, get that joke. When he was done, there was one less Physics joke that he didn’t get, and one more principle that he knew.

It seems that Joe’s preferred road to being a Physicist involves reducing the number of Physics jokes that he doesn’t get to a minimum. It sounds funny, and stupid, but it’s smart, and it works. Let’s do a little math, shall we? There are 100+ answers on that Question. Most of the ones I came across had at least two jokes. It’s unlikely for two successive jokes in an answer to be about the same principle, so that means that there are at least 200 jokes below that answer. Obviously, there would be repetition, so let’s just go noob and halve the number. Now we got 100 unique jokes. If Joe reads them all fails to get half of them, he will research and read up on at least 50 different principles/theories.

Jokes motivate Joe to study. But what if Joe actually spent all that time, which he spends reading jokes, studying? That way he could still learn 50(or more) different principles/theories in the same time as he could before and he could do more.

Conclusion: Joe is lazy, not stupid.

 

“Omelette du fromage”

So, around the time Assasin’s Creed Unity came out, I came across this video. It was quite popular among my friends back then. At 1:18, we see two guys seated on a table facing one another and as something lands on it, one of them says: “Oh no! My omelette du fromage” at which, Arno pops up and replies: “It’s actually omelette au fromage.” That’s the first and last time I heard that phrase.

A few days ago, I came across the term again somewhere on the internet and so I googled it. Its literal meaning being “omelette of cheese,” it actually originates from an episode of the popular tv show “Dexter’s Laboratory.” The episode itself is called “The Big Cheese,” in which, Dexter can’t say anything except “oomelette du fromage”. 

Funnily enough, throughout the episode, his day at school is better than the average because, as it happens, saying that same damned phrase everytime he opens his mouth, seems to work out just fine for him. He nails a french test, and a mathematics question and gets a bunch of girls fawning, and even manages to deal with some bullies.

So why does Arno say “It’s actually omelette au fromage.”? Because “omelette au fromage” means “omelette with cheese,” and that’s the correct term to use for a cheese omelete. As you can guess, fromage  means cheese, while omelette means pretty much what you think it does. Therefore, “du”=”of” and “au”=”with.”

 

The Virtual Reality I want.

There’s something of a silent war going on around us at this time, and it has been going on for quite a while. I know that I wrote “Virtual Reality” in the title, but that’s merely due to the fact that it’s the generally preferred term for all of those projects out there making headsets and goggles, but otherwise this post does cover my ideas about its brothers that go by the names “Mixed Reality” and “Augmented Reality.”

So, before we go on, let’s talk about how the brothers differ. Virtual Reality is where Oculus is the major player in the market, and has met fine success. The HTC Vive is another which may not have stirred as much excitement but so far, all things positive have been said about it. The idea of virtual reality, in terms your grandma could understand, is that you put on a headset and you find yourself in a different world altogether. You look around, and all you get to see is what the headset shows you, while you are completely distracted from what’s actually around you. Rather like the Nygmatech in Batman: Forever. You put it on, and the next thing you know, you are in a forest; or perhaps in the middle of the French Revolution? … 

 

Interstellar vs 2001: A Space Odyssey

Ever since it’s release in 2014, Christopher Nolan’s “Interstellar”, has often been compared to Stanley Kubrick’s “2001: A Space Odyssey.”

I was fairly late at watching both. Since I missed the release of 2001 by more than 30 years because I wasn’t at all close to existing around the time it was released and for the the first few years after I had started to exist, it wasn’t entirely possible for me to watch and comprehend it.
As for Interstellar, all I have to say is that I wasn’t really watching many movies when it came out. I guess it was because my internet sucked and because I was dealing with exams so I put it off for a while, since I didn’t want to ruin it by watching it in a hurry. It wouldn’t have made much difference, but since I had heard good things about it, I wanted to be relaxed and with ample time before I set about to watch it.

My reaction to both was: What the hell?

2001: A Space Odyssey,  is considered the ultimate classic and some would go as far as calling it the best one of Kubrick’s works. (Having never watched any of his others, I can’t say much on the matter.)  So it started off with a music that sounded pretty familiar and that’s all thanks to Toy Story, and after a few minutes into it I was like what the hell? That scene didn’t have to be as stretched. And my reaction was pretty similar to the one in which a woman walks along a velcro’ed path carrying a lunch tray to a sleeping guy. The scene with the apes too was unnecessarily long so I fast forwarded through it and missed the actual punchline (i.e. how they suddenly discover that a bone can be used as a melee weapon). Oh and the part at the end that is known as the “Stargate sequence” All you see for 10 minutes is landscapes with colors messed up and for what?
Other than that, the lack of a decent conclusion might make it a cool suspense for some, but for me, it makes it suck. Nothing was explained. Although the novels that were released, and the sequel that followed, and countless fan theories suggested that it was aliens leaving all those monoliths and stuff. Let’s face it though, who watched the sequel or read the novels? Not a lot of people. 

… 

 

Minimalism and security.

Minimalism helps. It always does. It’s clean, cool, beautiful and relaxing. Oh and it allows for security in software. Every single element in an application, every single feature, every program in an operating system could open doors for attackers to get in through.

The recently discovered Mac malware Eleanor, which opens a backdoor, works by exploiting a vulnerability in the MacUpdate application.

iPhone jail-breaking applications, not that I have anything against them, make use of similar vulnerabilities. The original JailbreakMe exploited a vulnerability in Safari in iOS 1.1.1, while the second version used a vulnerability in the PDF reader.

I do realize that it looks like I am suggesting that Safari or PDF readers or updating apps should not exist, but what I am actually suggesting is that the more an app grows, the greater the chances for an attacker to get in. We can always, at the very least, keep stuff simple. For example, smartphones could have less pre-installed bloatware? Samsung could stop shipping their devices with apps like “Papergarden” or “Flipboard” or “Samsung Apps”  installed by default?

 

Progresive Web Apps

You are using a computing device, be it a smartphone, a tablet, a desktop computer. It’s new, shiny, with little or no applications installed, apart from the bloatware that the manufacturer could have generously shipped with it. You fire up Facebook in a web browser, like a couple of pictures, post a status, have a small chat with a friend, and then after a while, you close the tab and lock your phone. After a while you do it again, and this time, you spend a whole hour scrolling through the news feed, and then once again you close the tab, and lock your device.

Now while it’s locked, and still connected, your device makes a decision. Assuming that you like Facebook, it adds a Facebook icon to your homescreen, or your app-drawer, for easy access to facebook.com. So the next time you unlock your iPhone, you simply tap on that icon, and it opens facebook.com in your default web browser. You love it.. It’s just a simple link, but it already feels great, and it could be better. Soon enough, after another day’s usage of the site, you notice that tapping the app icon no longer opens a browser window with facebook.com. Instead, you get a window solely running Facebook like it’s a standalone native application for your operating-system. … 

 

From Windows 8 to 10 – The excitements and the disappointments.

tl;dr

I have been a Linux user for the past few years, but I grew up using Windows, and I have always been closely interested in it’s progress and moves.

When Windows 8 came out, I was like the only person I knew who didn’t hate the Metro. All my friends thought it was ridiculous, and truth be told, it was. It seemed as if they had forgotten that people neither have a bunch of huge touchscreens lying around in their place nor do they love the desktop experience in full touch, and Windows 8 was a weird cross between an OS optimized for touchscreen, and an OS that didn’t look like it would ever work well with touchscreens.

Accessing the desktop by clicking on a tile at the bottom left corner of the screen was oddly disturbing.. it felt like the desktop had lost it’s old integrity.. Like it was only a tile among many, like it was just another app like the ones accessed by clicking the other tiles. Furthermore, at times, it was hard to decide which world to live in: the metro, that had a really long way to go, and was far from mature, or the desktop that we’d both loved and hated for ages. For Developers, it both sucked and was an opportunity at the same time. They had a new platform to master; some would go on to proudly declare themselves to be of the first 100 developers for Windows apps. Some developers saw it as mere clutter. Another language and platform to come across and not-read articles of.

The question was: “Why?”

… 

 

Can machines think?

Back in 1950, Turing’s paper, titled “Computer machinery and Intelligence,” was published in journal called “Mind,” and it was one of the things that can be credited for changing the way people thought about machines. Some readers were awestruck, while others only saw gibberish.

The paper, in a fair-amount of detail, spoke of computers, and the possibility of them being indistinguishable from a human in the future. The present day, may or may not be the future in question, but we have most definitely made a fine dent. Turing spoke of storage, and memory and processing and instructions, and of word, in the second part of his article titled “Digital Computers.” The model of computing defined in his article is what we know today as the Turing Machine.

The part on digital computers was preceded by “The Imitation Game.” You might be familiar with the 2014 movie of the same name, starring Benedict Cumberbatch as a young Alan Turing who builds an intelligent-machine so as to be able to decrypt the messages encrypted by the german Enigma machine. The Imitation Game, which is defined finely in his article, is what could be used as a Turing Test, so as to determine how close a machine is to imitating the behavior and thinking capability of a human being, and whether or not it could possibly hoodwink a human into mistaking itself for a human. The Turing Test is a popular topic for discussion among enthusiasts, and developers perform different forms of it on their AI creations to this day.

I could go on for a while, but there’s honestly no point to it, and your time could be better spent reading the original article.

 

Fixing the brightness issue on Ubuntu 16.04

  • The issue: Random flickering when changing the brightness using the function key, while the change wasn’t steady. The slider in system settings allowed me to change the brightness normally.
  • The machine: Dell Inspiron N5110

The first solution I tried was creating the /usr/share/X11/xorg.conf.d/20-intel.conf file with the following lines:
Section "Device"
Identifier "card0"
Driver "intel"
Option "Backlight" intel_backlight"
BusID "PCI:0:2:0"
EndSection

This didn’t change anything. So I tried following “dushnabe’s” suggestion on this thread. Which too didn’t make any difference really. The problem, as I saw it was that I appeared to be using both intel_backlight and acpi_video0. Both use different ranges of values to change the brightness. Hence the flickering. It became clear that I had to force the usage of just one, and that’s exactly what the fix in that answer was supposed to do. Except that for some reason it wasn’t working.

After googling further on this, I landed on this page and I saw the list of kernel parameters that had to do with the backlight. I rebooted a couple of times, each time trying a different parameter, and finally,
acpi_backlight=native is what did the trick. I noticed that it doesn’t allow me to change brightness on login screen, but after login, there was no flickering, and when I ran ls /sys/class/backlight/, I saw that it no longer returned acpi_video0. The only issue I have right now is that there is no fixed minimum. Sometimes, it decreases to a reasonable minimum, while at other times, it results in a blackout, and I have to manually adjust it using the slider in system settings or using xbrightness..

To replicate this process, all you need to do:

  • Fire  up a terminal
  • sudo nano /etc/default/grub
  • At the very end of the string GRUB_CMDLINE_LINUX_DEFAULT, (which in my case was “quiet splash,”) add acpi_backlight=native.
    The final string, in my case, looks like “quiet splash acpi_backlight=native
  • Close and save the file, and run sudo update-grub and then reboot.

In the event that this doesn’t work, it’d be worth your time to try out the rest of the kernel parameters. You don’t have to modify the grub file every time. Instead you can choose to modify kernel parameters before boot. This you can do by pressing “c” on the grub screen and typing the desired parameter, in the correct place, right after “splash.”

 

Alexarank.io

On January 3rd, I launched a tool, that’s hosted at; yep, that’s right. You guessed it: alexarank.io. What the tool does, is pretty simple. It tracks the global Alexa ranks for domains, and shows the change over time in a chart. It’s not exactly tracking every damn domain on the web, but nothing prevents it from doing so. Except that someone, and I mean anyone who cares enough, has to submit the domain once, and that very instant, the tool would start tracking the domain.

On December 27th, Amin messaged me and shared his desire for tool that would track changes in Alexa ranks for particular domains. On the slightest effort at googling, we both discovered a shitty tool that offered to do so at some price I didn’t even bother to remember. Alexa itself offers to do that for you, but they too, yep you guessed it, do it for a fee. So I say to Amin, we need to make a free alternative, and we immediately start concepting, and after a while we started playing with code. Within the next few days we had a working buggy prototype up, but it was uglier than you could possibly imagine, so we fixed the bugs, and made it look presentable and on the 3rd day of 2016 we registered the domain and it was up.

 

The Swagway (and clones) “hoverboards” suck

Am I honestly the only one who thinks that?
Reasons:

  • They don’t hover.
  • They aren’t anything like a hoverboard is supposed to be.
  • People call them hoverboards.
  • They are slow and impractical. And therefore useless for the average Marty.
  • They cost a ridiculous amount.

I understand that the fact, that we don’t have hoverboards even after the BTTF day and its almost 2016, hurts.. Hoverboards are like the thing everyone expected to just somehow arrive with 2015, and then the year started and we were no closer to getting hoverboards then we were to getting an Android-based Apple device. Even then there was a small ray of hope.. that it wasn’t October ’15 yet, and so the world waited, until we were a day from the BTTF day and that was when we knew that we weren’t getting them, but did that mean we had to go for such a bullshit substitute? The “substitute” that doesn’t even remotely come half as close to the hoverboards in the movie as the first maglev based hoverboard.. or the Lexus one, or the Hendo?

Buy them if you want people, but please don’t call them hoverboards.

 

Shared Cricket Stadium for Pakistan and India.

A few days back, I was talking to a friend I picked up online, who happens to be an Indian, and as we were discussing some things loosely related to cricket, it hit me.

There’s this whole thing about Pakistan vs India matches. People, adults and teens and kids alike, all gather together some place where the live game is projected on a large screen. There’s something too exciting about this even for those who aren’t into cricket much. There’s this feeling of unity all thanks to this rivalry between the two countries. Note that this rivalry here, that I speak of,  is much more of a friendly rivalry, and there’s technically nothing wrong with it, with all those cheeky advertisements and all, it’s all about showing the other country who plays better.

The big idea is that a stadium, funded by both countries, be built, with the consent of the governments of both, where all matches involving Pakistan and India take place (tough but allow me to add “when possible”), preferably those that the two countries play against each other, and people from both the countries could come and watch them together.  …