Facebook’s evil Free Basics

It is hard to appreciate the evil in FB’s “Free Basic”. The simple facts.

If and when “Free Basics” becomes very popular, which in all likelihood it will, if government does not ban it, then people will mostly probably stop renewing their mobile data plans. That means they will be able to access only “basic” sites when on the go. If tomorrow a startup creates a competing social network – Coolbook, there is no chance, no matter how good it is, Facebook will allow it on its “Free Basics”. So that means a lot and lot of users who are now already used to “Free Basics” will rarely access that site, causing it to shutdown due to poor response, even if few people like us want to use it.

So, if majority supports “Free Basics” we are basically screwed since that will make Mark and FB to become our country’s internet gatekeeper; even if the minority does not like it. This is such an evil but genius scheme.

However, there is still slim sign of hope. In India we are very demanding customers, even when freeloading. When “Free Basics” takes off people are going to use it real heavily, and due to the sheer volume it will inevitably result into slowdown, and public outcry, giving it the much needed negative publicity.

Needless to say, all and everyone should oppose this. Do not bank on the small hope. Take action and goto savetheinternet.in.

Relief Trust India review – It’s a Scam!

I should admit that I donated to them once after a preliminary cross-check. However, it seems I still got fooled. After that they started calling me at any time for more donations, and tried to use their “pressure” tactics. I requested them many times not to call me, but just send me an email. However, they continue to ignore this and call me up at odd hours (sometimes). Anyway some more Googling brought me to this post. This post looks genuine enough, if you read its long comments section.

Sting Operation – Relief Trust India review – It’s a Scam! – Complete review and analysis with proofs!.

ADF: EntityImpl.refresh(…) has no effect

Many times we use entity.refresh(REFRESH_FORGET_NEW_ROWS | REFRESH_UNDO_CHANGES) to prevent any changes we made to that entity from getting committed to the DB. What the refresh() method effectively does is change the post state of the entity. (See difference between entity-state and post-state.) The post-state is later used to decided which DML operation to use for the entity, i.e. DML_DELETE, DML_INSERT or DML_UPDATE (ref).

I recently came across a code which called refresh() from the entity’s prepareForDML() but that had no effect. ADF documentation says nothing about such a behaviour. I read the EntityImpl code and got my answer there. When we are saving data to DB the call chain is like – transaction.postChanges() -> entity.postChanges() -> entity.prepareForDML() -> entity.doDML().

prepareForDML() and doDML() have first argument operation; this is the DML operation to undertake. The code to decide which DML operation to perform based on entity’s post-state is in EntityImpl.postChanges(). That method invokes prepareForDML() method with the DML operation to undertake. Changing post-state from prepareForDML() or doDML() is useless. So, post-state needs to be set no later than postChanges(). However, if you do need to do this from prepareForDML() or doDML() then you could modify the operation param’s value appropriately.

How to register your Aadhaar number with your bank (ICICI) without the physical Aadhar card

If you are one of those unfortunates who need to register their Aadhaar number with your bank to get LPG gas subsidy, but you lost your Aadhaar card or did not receive that, then read on…

About two years back I enrolled for Aadhaar. I never received that, but I did not bother checking, since in those days Aadhaar was mostly like a passing fad. Well, now it is different. We have probably three more months of grace period before this abomination kicks in.

I went to ICICI bank with my e-Aadhaar print out, but they refused to accept that, citing company directive to accept only physical cards. This was done to prevent fraud. I contacted Aadhaar “Customer Care” to request for a duplicate physical card, but was informed that there is no such provision! In fact they have been informed that e-Aadhaar should be accepted in lieu of Aadhaar card.

I had hit a stone wall. The only way I could resolve this by trying to reason with ICICI (my bank). We cannot reason with the Govt., which keep on inventing nasty little things to make our life difficult. I tried sending my concern via https://infinity.icicibank.co.in/web/emailus/jsp/emailUs.jsp but that ended up in internal server error. Nice! (sarcasm)

I let the issue rest for sometime. After reading about the LPG deadline again in the newspapers I shook myself up, and started finding alternative ways to get in touch with ICICI. During my hunt I ended up with the email id of the CEO. I mailed to her my plight and requested her to invent an alternative process for people like us. After all, if the aim is to prevent fraud then there should be other ways too. Also they are our banker who already know so much about us to form an informed likely-hood of fraudulent stunts we may try.

I was pleasantly surprised to hear back from a Senior Manager within one business day. She assured me they will address this. On the second day I got a call from my bank Branch Manager that a new process has been sanctioned and I need to bring my Aadhaar Enrollment slip with me. Yeeaah! The Manager used the Enrollment slip to download my e-Aadhaar from uidai.gov.in directly onto his system. Some form fillings and photocopies of an Id proof and I was done.

So, if you have an account in ICICI then you can use the above process. You might want to directly check with the Branch Manager if the bank employees insist that original Aadhaar card is a must and there is no other way. They may not be informed. This process came into effect on 21st May, 2013.

If you have account in other banks and they do not yet have such a provision then you might want to communicate with the bank senior management. I was informed by a reliable source that the banks received a circular in March of this year from Govt., that e-Aadhaar should be accepted in lieu of original Aadhaar card.

I also got another info that you can download your e-Aadhaar for a maximum of five times. I am not sure how true is this, but I am not keen on testing this myself. 😛

BTW, for your information I will reiterate that – there is no way as of now to request for duplicate Aadhaar card.

Anyway, happy enrolling your Aadhaar. BTW do not forget to take your mobile phone too since you will receive your OTP on your registered phone when then bank employee tries to download your e-Aadhaar.

Update 26-Aug-2013 I am an Indane LPG customer and when I checked my Aadhaar status on their site, it showed Red for LPG and White (Invalid/Unkown) for Bank. I seeded my LPG information online from https://rasf.uidai.gov.in. Also I created an account on Indane and there they again ask for the Aadhaar details, which I provided.

Update 2-Sep-2013 Now Indane site shows Green for LPG side and Bank side is Red! I already seeded by Aadhaar with bank in May. I followed up with ICICI customer care and got it confirmed that they have my correct Aadhaar number. They suggested, I check with the Gas agency, since enrolling online may not be same as enrolling offline.

Update 6-Sep-2013 Went to my Gas agency. According to them my Aadhaar is already enrolled. So, it seems enrolling online is enough. Now I am stuck again. My guess is that the Indane software checks the status in its own database. Maybe it sycns the Bank linkage details on monthly basis for accounts with valid LPG linkage. I will now wait till the end of this month. If it becomes Green till then, fine, else I will have to pay a visit to my bank.

Update 18-Sep-2013 Finally! Now Indane site shows that both IOCL and bank are linked. It is showing green for both now. I have been checking almost regularly, so it took around 15 days to refresh.

Update 10-Oct-2013 I received my first DBT (Direct Bank Transfer) subsidy! The subsidy was credited one day before I received SMS from Indane that cash memo has been generated. However, the amount is Rs.435 only. This time they charged Rs.1096 (plus Rs.20 extortion by delivery boy) so the net cylinder refill price comes to Rs.661! That is damn costly. Few months back it was less than Rs.500. PS. The subsidy from Indane was credited by the name ‘APBS_IOC R_07-10-2013’, so look for similar name in your bank statement.

Update 18-Dec-2014 Today I finally received my Aadhaar card! That is, I received it after around 3.5+ years later!!! Kudos to Indian bureaucracy, they do get things done, even though it may not matter by then.