Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Blogging community in trouble ?

Cyberworld was one of the invisible pillars of democracy signifying freedom of speech and expression without fear of appraisal from the Govt agencies.  The move to muzzle the freedom of the blogging community through the IT ACT 2008 amendment calls for penalty of upto  Rs 3 crores or imprisonment upto to three years.

The due diligence specifies that the intermediaries should not display upload, modify or publish any information that is harmful, threatening, abusive, harassing, blasphemous, objectionable, defamatory, vulgar, obscene, pornographic, paedophilic, libellous, invasive of another's privacy, hateful, disparaging, racially, ethnically or otherwise objectionable, relating to money laundering or gambling.

IF the law is passed there will be no whistle blowers, RTI activists, or seekers of punishment to wrong doers active on the forum.  Will the likes of  TWITTER, FACEBOOK, ORKUT, survive the draconian law proposed to be introduced.  Gone will be days of opening up your mind on these forums.  The blogging community will become another impotent tool being subject to intense due diligence by the law enforcement agencies.

I am afraid that the need for regulation should arise from the blogging community itself.  There should be an automous body like PRESS CLUB OF INDIA or BAR COUNCIL OF INDIA, which will decide upon the censuring, regulating content rather than being penalised by law agencies.  Reporting of in appropriate content should be referred to such independent body.  The body should be able to judge from the merits of the post.  The aim of the blogging community should able freely express against any wrong doing by whomsover without fear of reprisal.  Immunity should be provided against legal hassles.  An opportunity should be provided for the blogger in case of erroneous judgement, that he should either withdraw the post or apologise for the indiscretion or wrong judgement.  I invite suggestions from fellow and concerned bloggers to express their views on the the proposed draconian law against the bloggers.  

Note :  Headlines in economic times dated 9/3/2011 Bloggers call content regulation " a gag on Freedom "

Bloggers Call Content Regulation a Gag on Freedom 

Amended Indian IT Act which seeks legal position of intermediaries at the heart of controversy 


A proposed government move to regulate content on blogs has ignited a firestorm of protest from the blogging community which is accusing the government of restricting free speech and acting like the guardians of a police state.At the heart of the issue is the Indian IT Act which was amended in 2008 to incorporate the much-needed changes to clarify the legal position of intermediaries or those who provide web-hosting services,internet service providers and online auction sites.However,the term intermediaries,for some reason,was also broadened to include blogs,though they neither provide the same kind of services like the ISPs nor have large-scale commercial interests.The law stated that the government should clarify the rules under which the intermediaries should function and the list of prohibitions applicable to them.The list was published sometime last month and comments were invited from members of the public,bloggers and other members of the intermediaries group.Intermediaries include web hosting providers which would include companies like Amazon,cyber-cafes,payment sites like Paypal,online auction sites,internet service providers like BSNL,Airtel etc.Blogs also fall in this category as networked service providers.The due diligence specifies that the intermediaries should not display,upload,modify or publish any information that is harmful,threatening,abusive,harassing,blasphemous,objectionable,defamatory,vulgar,obscene,pornographic,paedophilic,libellous,invasive of anothers privacy,hateful,disparaging,racially,ethnically or otherwise objectionable,relating to money laundering or gambling.Its a fundamentally flawed exercise.One has to keep in mind the nuanced role of bloggers.The government needs to understand the power of the blogging community, said Pavan Duggal,senior advocate,Supreme Court and cyber law expert.The blogosphere has to align themselves to the changes in the norm, he said.


Thursday, March 3, 2011

A Star on Indian Roads too

Suzuki in India seems to be best option in terms of economy and performance. The fact that 2/3rd of your cost is borne by maintainence of the vehicle is highlighted in the website for cautioning thebuyers. Under this circumstance one has to be careful in choosing a vehicle depending on ones needs. We were in a delimma whether to go in for a car which had recently been recalled for defect in one of the oil seal or gasket. Secondly the waiting period on Wagon R, Swift, Echo, put me off totally. I am always convinced that if one has to wait than he will get a shoddy deal.

After test riding various options, i found A Star stood out for its design, it looked close to a formula car, no wonder it is the highest exported car from India. The alimunium body gives one a creep that it is easily prone to denting. This vehicle also is Euro 5 complaint which is a huge plus, which is not highlighted in their advts. The ABS version is quite risky for city drive, but can be life saving in long drives. We compromised on VXI since we did not want the risk of getting bumped from the back by a biker with powerful brake.
The initial haggling over the exchange of old vehicle for which we got only 65 k was a downer. But the greatest shock lay before us to get the RTO clearance for transfer. Guys never migrate your vehicle to another state and try to sell your vehicle, you will get a shocker, with additional taxes. You may never get back your refund from the previous state. It is surprising none of the car dealers or mfg educate their customers on this aspect.

After this our experience to check on the features, we were slightly misguided by some trainee that A Star VXI had defogger and fog lamp, which was misleading. Next when we confirmed the booking, we wanted the best offer, in terms of freebies. This was not properly explained so we checked out with Garuda who confirmed a host of freebies. So we came back to our dealer and he had to offer the same to match with the competitor after gr8 reluctance. Transperancy regarding freebies need to be ensured by the principal i suppose.

K Series Engine : This engine seems to be powerful, we can flog it to the maximum. I found that in second gear it is little sluggish. Third gear is powerful. Overdrive is a beauty but we rarely get to use it in city like Bangalore.

Milege : The milege with AC is anywhere between 10 to 12 kms per litre, with AC on and off we can get 13 kms, on highway one can expect upto 19.7 kms as against the claim of 21 kms. But it will depend on the load. Next time around with four passengers we got a milege of 17 km without AC. I am convinced that milege depends on the load factor.

Extended Warranty : 2 additional years of warranty is a great feature. Guys one should subscribe to this feature since one can burn a hole in their pocket since higher end cars will involve higher cost of spares.

Customer Meet : Recently i attended the customer meet, for educating the customer. This seemed to gr8 way of linking with the customer.

Pick up and Drop : Lady owners will be given special additional facility of the vehicle being picked from their residence for servicing. Males are eligible provided they pay up. Drop facility within 5 kms is gr8 idea. So guys buy your vehicle with 5 km range.

AC : The cooling effect of the AC is gr8. Heater too works absolutely fine, particularly when you get wet in the rain. It acts as a blower which is a boon. So you can just walk in the rain and yet get dried with a powerful heater.

Audio : This is part of the original fitting which is gr8, plus antenna is fitted for FM radio. The speakers are quite powerful.

The negatives are :

While reversing one has to be careful, Brakes are off when you switch off in signals, Fog light is not part of OEM, Defogger cannot be fitted later in VXI, Airbags is not part of VXI model. Milege of 21 km is only under ideal test condition. It also depends on the purity and quantity received at your bunk.

Overall i would rate A Star as a good vehicle, with a Caveat, that buyer has to be clear on his or her requirement. If one is looking for a cute car with an average milege with AC on, than A STAR is the right car. It s tubeless tyre is a real surprise package, i was able to drive the vehicle even though it was punctured after 24 hours. It is so easy to get the puncture repaired a tubeless tyre, but nitrogen air is not available everywhere. RNS is equipped one of the best servicing facilities. For me A STAR is a real bargain because of exchange bonus of 25 k and 25 k discount. This review is written after 8 months of purchase so guys i have tried a honest review, because you can t judge service or performance in a month or two. The contours of seating is absolute beauty, one has to just sit and feel the absolute pleasure of driving a STAR on road.

UPDATE : Engine Oil, Wheel Alingnment and balancing was undertaken at 7000 kms, which should have been a free service, but i had to pay for it. Further after 12000 kms i had to undertake wheel alingnment. I had requested the management that the customer should not spend a single np upto 20,000 kms or upto 1 year of age.