Thursday, June 19, 2008

Monday, June 16, 2008

TRP Loses... Sport wins

We have all witnessed the TV spectacle that IPL was. TV viewership of the other soaps and reality shows took a serious beating, thanks to IPL. Many of the Bollywood filmmakers decided to delay the release of their films, so as to avoid competition with IPL. All this went according to the Modi TRP plan and guaranteed that players would actually fight with their respective boards, if needed, to get a chance to play in IPL.

Lets now talk of the most played and viewed sport in the world, Football. In stark contrast to how IPL did things, Euro 2008 has chosen to given give more importance to the game rather than the TRP or viewership. During the first half of the group matches, we had two matches per day and each being played at different times. Now that we have gotten near the end of the group matches, and many of the quarterfinal spots are going to be decided by these matches, the organisers have chosen to play both the matches at the same time. This almost halves the neutral viewership, for e.g. as in todays case, I am watching the Austria vs Germany match and haven't been following the Poland vs Croatia match. They did it so, because, no game should become a dead rubber, if they can help it. In IPL, we didn't have a single such situation of a clash in match timings. No way can the money-hungry-TRP-craving administrators afford to lose viewership.

As made note by me in an earlier post too... there is always going to be more to sport than money. And this simple fact eludes the money-ruled cricket administrators in India!

Do Not Disturb - Does Not Work!

About a year back, TRAI (Telecom Regulatory Authority of India) introduced the "National Do Not Call" registry. This was supposed to help reduce the number of unsolicited calls that we receive on our mobiles. I registered myself within a few months of seeing this news in the paper.

Since then I have seen no reduction in the number of "spam" calls I get. Each time I get the call, I remind them of the registry and why they don't update the databases with the information in it. Most times the poor soul calling me has no clue of the registry and feigns ignorance and cuts the call. I wait for all such calls daily and then call up my service provider (Airtel) and inform them of the numbers. They promise to "work" on it. Nothing ever happens and calls never stop!!

Do Not Disturb.... having registered for this sh*t service has only had me spending more time trying to get it to work!!

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Intention ?

One of the unsung heroes on the chaotic roads of Bengaluru are the traffic policemen. They usually do as good a job as can be expected, at least for the extent of monetary motivations they have. They also are now part of a chicken and egg problem on maintaining road etiquette. The growing traffic results in traffic police not able to stop people who are violating rules, because that will result in a bigger traffic jam. And since the traffic police are not hauling people up, people tend to bend/break the rules more brazenly. This has to be bettered and looks like they have found some method.

What the traffic cops do now is to be more active during non peak hours and weekends, when they doing their job will not result in adding to traffic jams. While this is all good, the intention behind fining people for traffic violations seems to be lost. We have drivers licenses which have the scheme to allow for warnings to be marked. We don't necessarily have a centralized system to track this, but that isn't an absolute must at this point. If someone is found violating rules, take note of his number and if he has exceeded the max number of warnings, send notices to him to pay the fine. This is already been done for some cases (parking violations) and needs to be made the de-facto mode, in my opinion. Instead, what happens today is, stop people who haven't broken any rules, ask them for every possible document (which is good), point to silliest of things physically not right with the vehicle (not so good) and if nothing works, use the trump card, emission test report. Most law abiding people will have all the paper work except for this, coz lazy folks (me included) can't get a lifetime emission report and hence will most probably forget about it.

By fining a person who has all his papers right, but doesn't have emission report is not wrong. But when this same person sees blatant traffic violations happen day in and day out and see them going about it merrily, while he waits behind a pile of vehicles following lane discipline or stopping at red lights of giving right of way to pedestrians etc etc. it does dampen the spirit. Why doesn't the government think of outsourcing the traffic violation fining to a 3rd party who can hire enough number of people to do the job. Assuming governement makes Rs.300 per violation, I can see several stretches from my home to office where daily collections would be more than Rs.1L. This will fill the coffers and also put the fear of the traffic police in everybody. Once the coffers are filled, they won't have to fine Rs.600 for not having an emission test report, and leave such poor souls at peace.

p.s: The above is not a work of fiction, and any resemblance to any person living or dead is purely intentional. :-)

Monday, June 09, 2008

Lurking for feedback

Looks like BIAL folks are on the net looking at junta response to BIAL and this does auger well it general. Being attentive and sensitive to peoples feedback is half the job done. Here is the comment I got for my blog post.

Hi Ajay,

Thank you for your interest in Bengaluru International Airport. Your comments and feedback are appreciated. If you have any queries on the airport do feel free to get in touch with us.

BIAL Communications team


Saturday, June 07, 2008

Reliably Stale!

One of Indias most touted people company, Reliance, has made several inroads into the retail and consumer business. One of these forays is into daily commodities, FMCG, fruits, vegetables etc. via Reliance Fresh.

Like anything that Reliance does, they started their Reliance Fresh wing also in a very big way. They have many outlets in Bangalore and are growing. They have one conveniently close to my place and we decided to give it a try. Since it was their first couple of weeks of operation, I didn't expect things to be smooth and they sure were not. They were so far from not smooth, they were abysmal in service. We decided to never use Reliance Fresh again.

Many months have since gone by and Mango season has come around. I happened to go to Reliance Fresh with a cousin of mine to help with his shopping and I saw that they had a Mango mela on, and had the famous Alphonso Mangoes for Rs.75 for half a dozen which comes to approx 1.5kg. Seemed like a good deal, bought it, and surprisingly the mangoes were damn good! Since then, I have frequented Reliance Fresh to get these mangoes and have continued to have bad experiences with their service every time! Todays experience:
1. I got there at 7:30AM, the time the person in charge of Mango sales told me to get there to get fresh mangoes.
2. They officially open only at 8:00AM and I am told to wait.
3. It ended up opening at 8:15AM and I found only one stale box of Alphonso Mangoes. I asked the person in charge of the Mango sales and he said "I have 4 crates of fresh alphonso mangoes being unloaded", and suggested me to wait. I had anyway lost my sleep, so, there was nothing more to lose, hence waited longer.
4. I waited till 9:00AM, inquiring every 10 minutes on the status of mangoes and all I get is "They are being unloaded".
5. Finally the sales person tells me, "Sorry Sir, no alphonso mangoes today!". I asked him, "Didn't you tell me you had 4 crates of it!" He just gives me a blank face in reply. I am pissed, but what could I possibly say or do! I decided to buy some other variety of mangoes and headed towards the billing area.
6. I was among the first few who got into the store, but with all the waiting, there were hoards of people already near the billing area.
7. To my surprise, they opened only one billing counter!
8. To save some pennies, they have decided to have the person doing the billing to be the same person who does the packing! Double the work, less efficient, more than double the time!!
9. I went and complained and had another counter opened. But not to my surprise, the bar code scanner was not functioning properly and the lady at the counter had to hand edit all the items. And this of course, gets very messy for someone who doesn't know English well, but is supposed to bill Spinach and button onions and what not, while all she knows are the Kannada names for the same!! She is running all over the place to get them translated.
10. I got out of the outlet at 9:30AM, 2 hours since I started the saga of trying to buy 2 kgs of Mangoes!

Reliance is probably very good with their energy and petroleum and chemical factories and refineries. But when it comes to direct consumer service, its pathetic and penny wise pound foolish! They can learn more than a thing or two from a much smaller competitor, at least in number of outlets, M K Retail !!

Now on, never going to Reliance Fresh, even for Mangoes!!

Friday, June 06, 2008

Futbol Time!

Get ready people.... Euro 2008 is here! For those who use google calendar, here is an event reminder which is smart enough to adjust the start times to IST.

Goooooooooooaaaaaaaaaaaaaaalllllllllllllllllll !!!!!

SmartyPants Idea

How often have you gone... "Wow... now thats an idea!". This is something what I say almost on a daily basis, thanks to the whole lot of information at disposal these days via the internet. The ideas that people get for new products are not necessarily big money ideas or grandeur-spelling-headline-making always. But even the simple ones are so uniquely fresh!

Here is a site that helps you with auctions on products you want, but have been misspelled by the seller on the auction sites. As is the case with any auction, more people that see the product listing, the more the item is in demand, and more the cost. If the product name is misspelled (ipoo for ipod ;-) ), then there is a low chance of people having viewed it and hence number of bids on it will also be less. And since the seller is bound by the auction site to sell the item for once listed, you end up getting it for cheap.

Now how is that for a simple yet smart idea. :-)