The so-called state-of-the-art banking enterprises still clinging to obsolete technology (components)
I have been observing the tall claims of two private banking entrepreneurs in India (ICICI Bank and Citibank India) who seemed to having tall claims on the state of the art banking style but when closely analysed their internet banking modules suffers from serious flaws. I have personally reported them to their customer care which just ‘acknowledges’ the feedback but it had been more than twenty four months now (on the average) with no improvements on the horizon.
  1. ICICI Bank Infinity Logout still uses defunct Web Browser object and gives Scripting Errors: When you are logged on to the Internet banking module of ICICI Bank (called Infinity) and after completing the transaction when you logout, you would for sure encounter weird scripting errors because of the now obsolete Web Browser control. You can see the following code in the view source of the page which reveals the bad programming practice used by their development team and also use of old unsupported code:

    <OBJECT ID=”WB” WIDTH=0 HEIGHT=0 CLASSID=”CLSID:8856F961-340A-11D0-A96B-00C04FD705A2″>
    <SCRIPT LANGUAGE=”JavaScript1.2″>
    function winload()
    if(navigator.appName==”Microsoft Internet Explorer”)
    var BrowserVerStr =navigator.appVersion;
    parts = BrowserVerStr.split(“;”);
    var preBrowVer = parts[1]
    var BVNum=parseFloat((preBrowVer.substring(5,preBrowVer.length)))
    if (BVNum >= 5.5)

  2. Every page in Infinity gives a warning like ‘This page contains secure and insecure items’ warning page, which is rather very irritating when one seriously is involved in a banking transaction. There hasn’t been any visible effort by the bank to correct the same too.
  3. Citibank Online seems to be nurturing an aspiration to make internet banking as difficult as possible for the user. You have to logon using a big debit or credit card number. Only a few days now, they have started to bring the concept of storing a nickname for the number and that too as a cookie in the computer. So if you use five to six computers to logon to Citibank Online, you would need to setup the nickname in five to six computers. You also end up effectively in divulging your debit/credit card numbers to multiple systems and the fiscal peril increases its wings and dimensions when you are using a shared computer from a library or an internet kiosk. Standard Chartered was using this workaround long time back but now they have migrated it to a friendly username rather than beguile numbers for logon process.
  4. All these internet banking applications also have something called timeouts. Even if you are typing a long message to customercare, the timer still keeps ticking and half away through the message the clock would alarm and signout of the application, if you aren’t careful. Not sure, what is causing them to monitor keystrokes within the application and have the timer automatically renewed.

I just thought I would share these observations with other readers so that people can be careful whilst dealing with these buggy internet applications.

Airtel sends obscene Messages as Service Messages

Bharti Airtel now ushers to give preactivated GPRS to every user and you can make use of it without rental other than the charges for download which are like INR 1 per 100 Kb. But once the GPRS is active, you also get regular promotional messages under the banner of ‘Service Messages’. Some of the messages are really vulgar and I can brand them as obscene pornography. I even reported to Nodal officer to opt out but till date there has not been any redressal of the same.

Particularly, when you are in an austerity like to Swamiye Saranam Ayyappa where abstaining from woman relationship is strongly recommended; messages like ‘Sizzling Beach Beauties. click http:// … wml’, ‘Smashing Saturday Hits. Visit …’ are just very indecent. I am planning to report this to TRAI also and let me keep posted over the developments.

Thursday Teal

What the heck is Thursday Teal? I was actually looking out for something equivalent to Monday Blues for Thursday? But why? This time, Pongal had been quite long holidays in Tamil Nadu. With the core Pongal (Thai 1st Day) falling on Monday preceded by two days weekend and succeeded by two days of Pongal flavors like ‘Kanu Mattup Pongal'(also observed is Thiruvalluvar Dhinam) and ‘Kaanum Pongal’, Tamil Nadu featured a virtual state holiday for about five days. Simply put all banking and financial houses had downed thier shutters. So no banking transaction whatsoever important could be done these days. My friend (Redhy) too was also acutely affected by this, since he had to transfer funds to his State Bank of India, Kerala branch but none of the banks’ Chennai components were operational. I think Government should something in regularizing the holidays in ensuring that it does not affect the normal (business) life.

Coming back to the discussion — After five days holidays, Thursday morning featured acute traffic snarls everywhere in Chennai. Almost what we have discussed in our ‘Monday Blues’ could be observed and was applicable to the Thursday syndrome. I was searching for a befitting word to describe this. ‘Teal’ was a good color and was rhyming with Thursday and hence named it as ‘Thursday Teals’.  The other reason, it can be called ‘Thursday Teals’ is that normally during anxieties we say ‘butterflies in stomach’ and different colors like this befit a better description of the situation too.

How was your Thursday Teal experience this year? Share it with us.

Importance of Time

Time is very precious. Every second is invaluable. Even a second that we waste can not be recovered or compensated. Hence for this reason, it is often said that Time is almost next to money and both of which should be handled with extreme care.

I came across a video called Meetings Bloody Meetings in  a presentation which humourously talks about how much time is wasted in meetings by teams in many organizations. This is a must-watch for any one who attends or chairs a meeting. The underlying thought of the video is how to shorten the meetings and make the most of out of each sitting.

The hero of the film is John Cleese. He is depicted as being charged to criminal sentence in court (in his dream). The charges against him was wasting of his and his team’s precious time. The other charges are:

  1. Coming to the meeting unprepared
  2. Failing to keep everyone in loop
  3. Missing Agenda for the meeting
  4. Poor control of the directions in which the meeting progresses.
  5. Failure to record the discussions of the meeting (Minutes of Meeting).

I think point no. 4 is typical at least to state legislative assemblies and the speaker is not able to exercise control over the proceedings of the assembly. We have already discussed an issue about unruly scenes in Tamil Nadu Legislative assembly over here.

A search for the video revealed this website of The Richardson Company, from where the video can be ordered in DVD format. It comes to about USD 870.  The website has also given a small preview link.

Travel Enrichments

Travelling to long distances via any channel be it road, rail or air is indeed a pleasure as long as you gain yourselves a vision to enjoy your journey. Even the commuting to your workplace daily can be a pleasure if each journey could show you something new, some new discovery.  The only thing that is lacking in  Chennai is the acute traffic problem and I am sure we have been discussing this time and again. A few of the top discussions on Chennai traffic is here (for your reading pleasure)

  1. Monday Blues and Chennai
  2. Acute Road Indiscipline 
  3. Educated Illiterates

Well! Coming back to our discussion on enjoying travel, there are two great sayings that share this too.

  1. The Woods are lovely dark and deep,
    But I have promises to keep,
    And miles to go before I sleep,
    And miles to go before I sleep

    (From Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening by Robert Frost)

  2. Rolling Stone Gathers No Moss
    A famous English proverb

In Chennai, you can observe in workplaces and elsewhere some clowns always asking this negative wave tainted question “Are you travelling from soooooo…. far daily?” I really feel pity for these type of educated illiterates. I simply brand them as educated illiterates for the simple reason they just embrace defeat. They might be having a sinister motive of discouraging others but both in the short and long run, it is a defeat for them indeed.

There is indeed a Tamil proverb too which describes those who are afraid and/or reluctant to travel to different places as toads in the domestic well water (kinathuth thavalai). The meaning of this phrase is that “One who does not travel to different places would not get diversified picture of the world and people. He always thinks that his place is the entire world. This is similar to the toad in the domestic well that thinks the well is the world”.

Readers –> What do you think? Share your views too.

Misusing Religion and Religious Concepts

One of the great saints in Tamil said that though there are so many religions all religions are different roads that lead to the single Almighty. Even in English, there is a well known proverb ‘All Roads Lead To Rome’. But for the past few years, at least from the region of Tamil Nadu itself, there has been a steady increase in the atrocities created by anti social elements on the pretext of religious heads.

It all started with Premananda, who started his Ashram near Viralimalai, Tiruchi. He had been involving in largescale sexual exploitation of young woman and children and he had been going scott free till two young girls managed to escape to Chennai, took shelter at the social service organization (Udavum Karangal). Media like Nakkheeran took greatest efforts to bring the bureocratic red tape procedures which were saving him to broad limelight and judiciary woke up. It was then the Pudukkotai judge, Banumathy, gave the world’s most desired judgement for the heinous crimes that he has conducted on humanity — double life sentences to be executed in separate terms along side the clause that future judges should not overwrite this judgement.

It was then the Kanchi seer, Sankaracharya was arrested for murdering the manager of Sri Varadaraja Perumal temple in Kanchipuram. This one brought to limelight too much of atrocities that has been created by this seer.

For sometime these incidents were sailing low and now it is again cropping its ugly face again. We have covered some of them briefly in our earlier discussion. A few more, now from the Christian society arena.

I think the nation’s antisocials have decided to pick each religion and its followers in turn to wreck thier anger and vengence for no proper cause and reason.

  1. Realtor case and Bishop Anandaraj.
  2. Realtor case and Bishop Saravanan (from Vellore) — http://www.tamilmurasu.in/

I think, the HR & CE department of the government of Tamil Nadu, should stop its petty causes like interfereing with Archakas and first try and solve the religion misuse problem.

Unrelented Telemarketing Calls — Total Fun

Yesterday seemed to be a real fun day. Two interesting calls landed on to my mobile number duly to be taken by Airtel Missed Alerts and Voice Mails service. Since the call persisted, I adopted a different strategy like the one below:

  • Pick the call.
  • Put it in low volume mode.
  • Let the caller keep barking ‘hello hello’.

Dhruva claims that this this is the best way to manage unethical telemarketing calls at least in India. In US, I guess there are sophisticated devices like TeleZapper which help people save themselves from such menace. But in Indian arena, I think, this is the only option left. If at least about twenty five per cent of the population could do this, I think, the unethical telemarketing shops would go out of market and this will cleanse the atmosphere too.

Now coming to the actual calls in detail:

  1. “Citibank Fabulous Offer for Prestigious Customer” Almost like a tape recorder the tele marketers repeat this for each and everyone. The ‘recorded tape’ kind of runs for about 4 minutes and then a threatening type query — “Would you still use the card?” I still don’t understand the meaning of this card? Some of my assumptions are:
    1. Was this guy a true representative of Citibank?
    2. With this type of question, was it a threat from such underworld mafia for Citibank Card holders?I have rised this doubt to Citiphone Chennai (+914428522484) and at indiaservice (at) citicorp.com

      As the replies come, I would keep this post updated.

      The bad telemarketer was tangibly clear in his goals in both English and Tamil.

  2. “Naukri.com Super Duper Bumper Millennium Comedy HR Consultant” I got a call from a placement consultant and supposedly he was telling me about opportunities for a ‘prestigious’ client in Chennai. The communication skills of this person itself was really pathetically broken and what do you call as butler English in Tamil Nadu. Here is my simple doubtCandidates are also precious assets to organizations right? They should be treated on par thier clients. They (employees) after absorption are valuable assets to the organization and I would put them as ‘internal clients’ of the organization. When presenting before the ‘deemed clients’ of the prospective relationship, would’nt that ‘prestigious client’ ensure that the communication is good. And interestingly my Naukri profile is deactivated.

Taking it on the lighter vien, I think my Airtel Network had some real fun in taking these calls and I just put both of them on long long holds while they were barking for a while and then whispering some bad words before banging thier phones. And they were barking ‘Hello Hello Hello Hello’ for at least half a dozen times. Two things struck my mind at that occasion:

  1. “The Hello Hello Song” in Monisha En Monalisa.

I wanted to suggest them one thing — Instead of barking ‘Hello Hello’ they could have at least chanted ‘Rama Rama Rama Rama’ and at least Lord Rama would give His divine blessings for these cursed souls.

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