Thursday, December 13, 2007

Unethical marketing

Quoted from GMSV,

"It will chew up bandwidth and sell a ton of racks."

-- Cisco CEO John Chambers concisely explains with a smile the business reasoning behind the company's interest in bringing TelePresence to the home.
An offering like home Telepresence doesn't just make life easier for geographically separated families, of course. It also drives network usage and related router purchases by the carriers, Chambers added.
Not unlike what Intel did here
........Intel Corporation's online "Intel Inside" campaign. Intel has offered for sometime a commission to Web sites that feature its "Intel Inside" logo, with a clickable link back to the Intel Web site. In a scenario only possible online, Intel has asked Web sites to intentionally slow down their Web sites by adding three dimensional graphics and animations, and adding a message that says if you'd upgrade to an Intel Pentium II processor, this site would run faster (i.e., be "optimized"). In return, the sites receive an even larger larger commission from Intel.......
Not to mention the recent European ruling that gave a painful knuckle-sandwich to Microsoft.

For a remarkable example of indirect price discrimination, go to the Dell website. The first thing you are asked is what type of customer you are. It gives you four choices: You can be a medium to large business, a home, a small business, or a government agency. If you search for the price of a 512-megabyte memory module (remember to clear your cookies in between your choices) you will be quoted $334.99 for medium and large businesses and government and $267.99 for home and small business.

Conniving, isn't it? Using information on customers against them! By the way, MBAs might recognise this as value based pricing.
Then there's the case of IBM which had developed a fully functional 10-page-a-minute laser. They added extra 7 chips to the high speed printer to slow it down so that they could charge just slightly more than half the price for it.
That's an example of a clever manufacturer, spending more money to 'damage' his product, so that he could sell the undamaged product at a premium!
The Intel 486SX processor was just the regular 486 processor with the math co-processor disabled, and was sold for about two-thirds the price.
The Sony MiniDisc comes in two sizes, a 60-minute version and a 74-minute version. They’re exactly the same except that the 60-minute version has a software instruction that prevents writing on a portion of the disc, cutting its length by 14 minutes.
If you buy an inexpensive DVD player from a company that also makes expensive ones, such as Sony, and pop off the top of the remote, you’ll often find hidden buttons that provide functionality not accessible on your unit because you didn’t pay enough for it. The DVD player and remote possess the functionality, but the company has hidden it from you, so they can sell the player for less.
If you want to read more on how big companies are fooling you, read this. John Chambers' comment doesn't sound too bad now, does it?

It's an evil world out there and there are not many on the good side.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Fun in the desert

It doesn't need much effort to have fun in a desert - if it's anything like UAE. Spending a couple of days in the tax free haven makes you realise what a big dent the vile 'tax' makes in your paypacket. It comes as a pleasant surprise when you step into a shop or a taxi or a restaurant - in short anytime you need to reach for your credit card. Not to mention the HUGe Indian population that will welcome you at every nook and corner.

Getting ready for the Desert Safari

I happened to go to a Desert Safari and guess who the organisers were? A team of very enterprising mallus! Guess who were the cooks? Mallus again. There were some people dressed up as Arabs - I really felt that they were just playing a part to appease us. By the way, the belly dancer was a local. Mallus haven't reached there yet.

If you like adventure theme parks, you should definitely try Desert Safari - highly skilled drivers will take you on high-end SUVs through some of the moderately big sand dunes. And believe me, its hard not to scream when you think you are just about to fall off a dune. And sometimes not to throw up.

Friday, December 07, 2007

A bumpy ayurvedic massage

It's partly curiosity and partly an intention of pampering myself that let me sign up for an Ayurvedic massage during my vacation in Kerala. Considering that it cost less than £5 for one hour of massage, it felt like a really good bargain.

It turned out that out of the two masseuses who were assigned the mission of massaging me to good health, one of them was my super senior at school. Undressing and handing over your body to an acquaintance was as awkward as the time your skirt flies up to reveal a 'What day is it today?' cartoon innerwear during the school assembly (It wasn't me btw!).

Once I lay on the table and the warm oil was poured onto my body and the massage strokes started, I forgot all the embarrassment, closed my eyes and actually started to relish the procedure. The enjoyment did not last for long though. Apparently my idea of a massage was grossly different from the actual ayurvedic massage. I expected slow and soft strokes. What I got was sharp slaps and rolled up fists that came down mercilessly on every nook and corner of my body.

When two quite well-built people slap you around, and you wonder you paid good money to get beat up, and one of your tormentors happen to be someone from your social circle, you can't do much other than bite your lips and pray that it gets over soon. It didn't. I counted every second of the 60 minutes and every slap inflicted on me before the masseuses finally led to me to the relaxing steam bath.

Have to admit that my body felt absolutely wonderful the rest of the day, probably because I wasn't being hit or slapped.

My experience seems to be out of the ordinary, as my parents who regularly pamper themselves with a massage, were surprised at my mention of pain. Neither did my husband who promptly fell asleep as soon as his massage began.

Ayurvedic massages are quite the in thing today with celebrities and people from all around the world flocking to Kerala to try this alternative therapy. Even in London, there are several Kerala Ayurvedic medicine outlets. It has been claimed that ayurvedic massage has surprising medicinal benefits and is also used as a diagnostic tool by experienced masseuses. Imagine you get a massage and you are told that you have a liver problem or a spine problem. I am not joking - it is routine work for some people in this profession.

Though my experience wasn’t entirely pleasant, I would advocate an Ayurvedic massage at least once in your lifetime.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

For a good laugh

I used to think this way two years back when I entered the blogosphere. Not anymore. I've tamed it, you see.

If you liked the comic above there are plenty of them here. There's plenty in there to snicker at. Don't miss the warning on the home page.

And if you have time to wade through it all, you might as well try this I-look-simple-but-I'll-bring-you-down-in-5-minutes geo-knowledge game.