Never thought I’ll write another blog entry here. But I had to vent this out!
Have you guys seen the series of books that goes something like “Teach yourself X in 21 Days”? I mean, can someone, honestly learn something like the C programming language in 21 days and still be able to get some useful programming done? OK, looks like that is one way of selling books! If you thought that is ridiculous, just look at how many books are there on Amazon that go something like “Teach yourself X in 24 hours”!!
Now, people who write books, I believe are perfectly sane, wise people. Does the competition drive someone to use these horrid tactics? So, let’s suppose you own a publishing company and the competition comes up with these titles that claim to teach readers stuff in 21 days or 24 hours. How would you react? I believe that if you are worth your salt, you wouldn’t budge. Example: Take O’Reilly, they don’t have a single title that makes ridiculous claims. If you’re good, you’ll sell. This also reminds me of the movie business. It is not very uncommon for movies of one region to be banned by another, so that local cinema does not suffer! The state of Karnataka does this to Tamil and Hindi Cinema. Recently, Bangladesh lifted its 4-decade old ban on Indian Cinema to boost cine-hall patronage and the local cinema industry is apparently up in arms! Guys, just make good movies. When that happens, people in India will watch your stuff!
That brings me to broadband in India. There are several unlimited plans provided by ISPs here in India. Now, these guys have redefined “unlimited”. How creative! According to Tata Indicom, 50 GB/month is supposed to mean “unlimited”. After that, you will be warned! Their “Fair Usage Policy” document does not clearly mention the course of action when you cross that limit. Airtel’s “Fair Usage Policy” (FUP) document claimed that 100 GB/month was fair or “unlimited” usage and beyond that your connection speed would be cut down to half it’s original for the rest of your billing cycle. Now, its got murkier. Airtel’s now has multiple FUPs (clap clap….)
So, how come they have three 4GB “unlimited” plans for different prices? Does it even make sense to have 3 types of the same plan? Here is what they do. They have buried honesty and straight talk in the “Fair Usage Policy”. And to make matters worse, there can be as many FUPs as there are plans! Take a look at this:
This is the FUP for a 4Mbps plan that costs Rs. 1099. After a mere 12 GB you will be at turtle-speed 256kbps for the rest of your billing cycle! Brilliant! As you get ready to pay more(they have the same plan for Rs. 1399 and for Rs. 1799), your FUP will start looking better and better. Airtel, don’t you guys have ethics? This is so sad! Can’t you guys just talk straight? The average Joe will have absolutely no idea how much bandwidth he may need every month and he will end up choosing some plan that will have no correlation to his usage and he will either end up paying more or will get a useless plan.
On an ending note: Guys who are planning to lean a language in 24 hours or even in 21 days(huge difference, there), read this first. It’s called “Teach Yourself Programming in 10 years” and its by Peter Norvig. He is the co-author of the most widely used book on Artificial Intelligence and is a hacker working for Google. Now if he writes a book with that title, I wonder who will publish it!