atul jha

koolhead17

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Surge pricing debate: Question nobody asks

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Surge pricing for taxi aggregators has been banned in Karnataka. While I have been reading the opinions of various people on different social media platforms on it, there are a few voices that are missing – taxi drivers. They’re the ones who really suffer from this ordeal, especially drivers who have bought cars on loan and work 14 to 15 hours continuously to complete enough trips to get a bonus.

It was in the news that in Bangalore  Uber and Ola cars were seized. Even the government of Maharashtra is thinking of coming up with legislature to ban surge pricing on  taxi aggregators.

In Delhi as well surge pricing is banned, many vehicles were seized. As a result if you are booking Uber/Ola from Noida or Gurgaon asking to travel to Delhi the drivers will ask you to cancel the trip. Mr Kejriwal said surge pricing equals “daylight robbery” and his government does not buy app based taxi aggregator arguments.

It’s not like surge pricing is new. It’s common practice and we have paid for it plenty of times before. Here are five examples.

 

  1. Happy Hour at your favorite pub: Why do they give you 1+1 beer during the afternoon? That is because they want to fill those tables and sell more. Remember, only drinks are free & hence restaurants makes enough from food to compensate on your beer/drinks offer.
  1. Airline reservation : Compare today’s fare to the fare next month. There will be a significant difference in price. Why do you book tickets in advance for your  destination? Is it because you’re getting a good deal from the airlines? The economic principle for supply and demand has existed for ages. We have paid premium fuel prices to black marketers selling fuel during strike. We have also paid 5-10 times more on onions a few years back because they were unavailable. Those who were not interested in paying the price for it ended up without having it in their plate.
  1. Your favorite band’s show :  Take example of any event you like, they have early bird tickets, almost half the price of the real ticket.
  1. Technology conferences : Tech big shots come here and talk about recent trends or make a product launch {Apple/Google events?}]  The early bird access you love? That’s surge pricing
  1. IRCTC Tatkal tickets:  Why are you paying almost double for booking same tickets 48 hours in advance and end up paying start to end destination fare?

These drivers are poor, which means that they don’t have a Twitter presence and are not competent enough to participate in hour long debates on various news channels [english/hindi/regional]. Is that why they are losing?

We should be changing the lives of these drivers instead of making them lose their incomes. Some may even be ridden with debt, because they took loans, migrated to Bangalore away from living with their families – and instead living inside their cars (true story).  

 

Instead of debating surge pricing, we should have been pondering over :-

  1. Why do car aggregators only pay 30-40% of the surge money they make to those poor drivers?
  2. What kind of health benefits are these drivers getting? Are taxi aggregators giving any health insurance?  
  3. How can we empower the families of these drivers so they can raise kids and family in better and more empowered ways?
  4. How can we stop local authorities,  police and administration from harassing them?

 

Random Thoughts: On reading Bhagwad Gita.

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I finally finised reading Bhagwad Gita,  a hindu holy book which is collection of over 700 verses. It’s a  discourse between Krishna and Arjuna on the battlefield of Kurukshetra.  I would strongly recommend almost everyone to read it, it has nothing to do with your race/religion.  We all can relate to one or the other  discourse provided, I made small list of sentences/lines which had great impact on me.

  1. Our expectation is root cause of unhappiness.
  2. We have to maintain equanimity in almost every aspect of life & treat it equally so neither be too happy or too sad.
  3. Karma is what defines our caste not what we got at birth.
  4. Our mind is an asset and if we let Maya/Illusion control it, we are slave to materialistic aspect of life. This will make us unhappy.
  5. Our gunas  satva , rajas and tamas should not act on us & affect our happiness.
  6. Some task in our life are not done for a purpose to return outcome in our favor, we just have to do it.

The simple thought of reading Bhagwad Gita came to me from one of the tweets from @Arpit  [See his notes]

Notes from #Fosdem16

FOSDEM is the mecca for all the free software developers/hackers. No wonder the attendance in the event runs anywhere north of 7000+ developers coming from all corners of the world.

To attend FOSDEM this year is a dream come true for me. The event provides free demo booth to open source projects, also there is no entry fee to attend the conference [Yes, free to attend for everyone].

The two days spent in Brussels were exciting and nerve racking  at the same time. I got to meet old time open source contributors and friends.

Some take away from the event:  

  1. Open Source has emerged mainstream & is widely adopted as the way to develop quality software not just for hobbyists and hackers.
  2. There are numerous Open Source projects which has enterprise backing & are doing really well.
  3. This is the first event where I happen to  meet developers writing codes for over 30-35 years.
  4. It was the only event which I found had more developers than marketing folks.
  5. The amount of projects showcased on cloud technology & newer programming languages made me feel that we are going strong & following our open source roots.
  6. Organizers and volunteers of the event are self motivated & very passionate. They put up a great event and gets credit for putting together such nice event.

I spent most of my time in Golang dev room & met local Golang contributors from Europe. AB the chief architect of Minio project gave talks on why open core licensing sucks, Minio loves Go and Userspace Linux I/O towards petascale storage. The highlight was meeting two of our project contributors based in Europe.

Last not the least I happen to enjoy great belgian beers too.  🙂

Some photographs

Registration

Registration/Helpdesk 

Golang speakers dinner

Golang  dinner

me & fd0

me & fd0

AB with his talk

AB with his talk

Random Thoughts: Some life lessons.

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I am no billionaire philanthropist  or a startup guy who just made a big exit. The content of this post has more to do with my experience with life/people & surroundings over year of time.

These are some of the learnings:

1. Family should get all the attention.

2. Heath comes next

3. People will come & go in our life

4. You have to be honest with yourself

5. Its good to have one honest friend than bunch of  friends.

6. Learning does not require college degree it can come from everywhere

7. People will change over time.

8. You cannot be happy always, but you can try to maximize it with efforts.

9. Think before speaking in anger as its consequences can change your life.

10. Love comes from all corners, you have to keep eyes open to feel it.

11. Money come with stress/pain.

12. Your ego is what you own in reality.

13. Failure hurts, glorifying it does little help.

14. Successful people practice to perfection.

15. Working hard & smart both matters.

16. Empathy will make u more successful.

17. Worrying about future & screwing present will do more harm.

18. You have to clean your mess

19. Smile more, its free.

20. Slow down a bit in life it helps.

21. Go offline for one day in week.

22. Respect mother nature

23. Travel more, see the world.

24. Challenge yourself with some monthly goal can be hobby/learning/exercise.

25. Celebrate life, taking it too seriously will make you sad & stressed.

26. Eat healthy food [more fruits & vegetables], avoid junk and sodas.

27. Exercise regularly

28. Read regularly, it helps

29. Be grateful & respect everyone.

30. Anger, happiness, sadness are never permanent. It is part of life.

 

 

Some Apps/Hyperlocal service which I regularly/occasionally use.

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We are living in App driven economy from Match making to Cab to Pastry to Doctor all it needs is a mobile phone loaded with app.  You can get world news, podcast, jokes everything in this little supercomputer called smartphone.

I am part of this same world like you all & felt like sharing my favorite ones. I use Android hence adding app links in title.

Podcast Addict:  I am addicted to listening podcasts, podcast addict app on Android is one simple app for me.

Ola Cabs: I don’t have to say much about it, local commuting via a mobile app. I prefer taking Ola Auto & saves lot of my blood because autowalas go by meter.

Nafex : It took me less than 30 mins to get some Euro for my recent trip  & got great deal. They are aggregators of various forex agency in town.

Strike:  An app which runs inside google mail app & via email id tracks other social media connection. I use it regularly, it is still in early beta. [Disclaimer: Founders are good friend of mine.]

Reddit:  I get most of my news, crazy cat gifs from Reddit

Pocket: I get curated set of suggested stories & also save stories for future reading. Most of my Interesting Reads goes inside it.

Buffer: I don’t have any of the social media app on my mobile & Buffer is one app which gets me everything.

Dunzo: Its a concierge app available in Bangalore, India.  I get most of my little stuff including pastry & water delivered from them. [Disclaimer:  Founders are my close friends of mine]

Workflowy:  I don’t keep a note because i have got this simple app Workflowy, it solves my requirement.

I would love to know about your app kit, feel free to share the same if you like.

 

 

 

Random Thoughts: Food & Life

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I have been experimenting with what I have been eating for past 60 days.  I am adding  list of same & its outcome.

  1. Lots of fruits.
  2. Eggs in breakfast & sprouts in dinner.
  3. Heavy lunch rice/chapatti & some lentils.
  4. Beer 1.5 L/Week from one or the other microbrewery in bangalore.
  5. One death by chocolate from corner house weekly.
  6. A glass of green tea.
  7. A bottle of Red Wine/Month

The trick: I have turned into calorie manic & making sure i do not cross 1400 calorie a day so if am having beer that is my dinner or ice cream. I am using this app [Its not 100% accurate]

Walking & Exercise: I try to spend 2-3 km walk daily & 30-35 minutes cardio.

I got this Basis health tracker/watch to monitor my sleep patterns, steps I walked, heart rate.

Outcome:

  1. Lost 6 kg in 60 days.
  2. Getting much better sleep [ REM]
  3. More energetic & refreshed
  4. More happy & calm

PS: I am no health expert or dietician, I just wanted to hack my health & this is what i did. This worked for me, if you have similar story feel free to share. 🙂

My first 60 days at minio

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Most of my close friends know that I joined https://minio.io  couple of months back. As a developer evangelist, most of my time is spent getting application developers excited, evangelize Minio and also hack on Minio’s software stack (yes you heard it right!)

Minio stands for minimal cloud storage and derives from our belief in the philosophy minimalism.  “Minimalism is not a lack of something. It’s simply the perfect amount of something.” Nicholas Burroughs

Philosophy aside on the technical side –

Minio is an open source Cloud Storage server written in Golang, compatible with Amazon S3 and released under Apache 2.0 license.

I would like to share what has been my learning this far in this short duration:

  1. Got back to hardcore technology & spending good amount of time playing with newer technologies such as Cloud Storage, Micro Storage, Micro Services.
  2. Started using github almost daily.
  3. Writing bash scripts & hoping to convert them to python scripts later this year.
  4. Got into habit of waking up early, yes 9:00 am. (we have our daily round table)
  5. Contributing to stackoverflow, quora etc.
  6. Realized markdown is better than docbook. 😛
  7. Back on Ubuntu as my primary machine, did not enjoy Macbook for development/testing work.
  8. Getting mentored from every single member of the team about technology and life.

 

Minio is a Open Source project & contributions are welcome. We all hang out at Minio Gitter chat channel. My nick is @koolhead17, holler me!

2015 PASSED, 2016 WELCOME!!

Happy New Year to everyone to start with.

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Year 2015 been amazing in following ways :

  1. Joined minio.io as developer evangelist [blog will follow soon :)]
  2. Met long time friends Razique Heiko  in person after interacting with them for over 4 years on IRC regarding  OpensStack project.
  3. Two of my junior buddies Prashant & Jithesh are doing awesome, they got new job/task and are just loving it.
  4. Got in touch with awesome folks from startup community via aroundstartups  interview podcast.
  5.  Finally get to meet few of my life mentors & talk to them in person.
  6. Lost few kilos & yes not drinking too much of beer these days.
  7. Traveled across 6-7 different indian states including Kerala for first time & international trip to Canada.
  8. Started blogging regularly & launched my podcast aroundstartups on india’s startup  ecosystem.  Thanks to my friends Prashant & Abhishek for helping me on this project.
  9.  Made some good friends & lost few.
  10. Started  entrepreneurship journey, failed miserably & learnt a lot.

What I learnt from 2015 :

  1. Time heals everything & you have to keep moving with life.
  2. Its good to have few close friends always around who are there to listen to you & help you when you screwup.
  3. Parents are getting older & they need more attention from me.
  4. Keep finding mentors, learn from them.
  5. Each one of us are awesome, great in our own way & we have so much to learn from each other.
  6. Empathy is biggest asset a human can have.
  7. Don’t do things or commit to projects you are not motivated about. This will save time and effort to you and others who are working 100% on the project.
  8. Listen more & then act.
  9. Its good to get disconnected from the world once in few days & spend time reading or wandering in nature.
  10. Stay away from toxic/negative people, they will only add negatively around.

Plan for 2016

  1. Stay  happy, motivated & continue on healthy life.
  2. Work on upgrading my bash scripting skills.
  3. Keep meeting people, making friends, learning from mentors & helping whoever i can with whatever way i could.
  4. Read more books.
  5. Organize myself in much better way.

I hope 2016 brings more happiness to everyone’s life!!  Stay blessed & have a good one. 

Random Thoughts: On Depression

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Woke up & read this r/linux thread  where Ian Murdock [Debian Linux project founder] tweets are mentioned. Ian says he is committing suicide.  I will be more than happy if these tweets turn out to be hoax or coming from someone else who gained control of his Twitter account.

This incident got me thinking about one of the biggest issue we all have gone through in our life i.e depression.  We can easily track number of well known faces we have lost because of going in depression.

These are some advice I got when I was in depression, most of these worked:

  1. Don’t just stay alone, talk to parents/friends.
  2. This will pass, its just a phase
  3. Listen to some good music
  4. Exercise & meditate
  5. Avoid alcohol & eating junk
  6. Travel, connect, eat, meet, see newer part of this world.

How did you fight with your depression & came out from it?

Update : Ian Murdock is no more.

Random Thoughts: On-boarding new developers to open source projects. Then & Now.

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We are entering in 2016, my journey to open source started in 2004-05 when i attended one of the Linux User Group meetup in New Delhi, India. Those days we had to pay one$ for surfing internet for an hour, having a dial-up internet at home was considered luxury.

What was the scene those days?

  1. Linux user groups were more happening, we had demo days and most open source software developers were under single roof.
  2. We were more glued offline for beer/kebab/pizza and hangouts.
  3. To on-board new users to open source we were regularly conducting workshop across colleges and cities.
  4. We had mailing list, IRC, wiki [they still exists]

How are things now?

  1. Internet is everywhere & is part of our life.
  2. Mobile usage has exploded, information about everything is one tap away.
  3. Installing Linux & open source software has become much easier, internet & advanced GUI development gets credit.
  4. The whole open source ecosystem got divided into different camps & all started organizing/mentoring its own users/contributors.
  5. Web and social media platforms quora, stackoverflow along with free MOOC courses are loaded with all information.
  6. Online conferences like ubuntu developer summit summit and live streaming of conferences gave more wider audience.
  7. Github, Slack, Gitter are new cool among developers.

2016 & beyond new user on-boarding.

  1. We don’t have to spoon feed anymore, most of the information are available on the web. This generation is way smarter then us.
  2. We don’t have to go for extreme evangelism because web has enough information those who are interested will find a way.
  3. All we have to do is to mentor & help only if they need it.

 

PS: This is not a rant against all those who are still working on building a open source community in 2000 style, this is my thought & i might me wrong here. 

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