Saturday, April 22, 2017

~ Future of transportation: Lilium ~

This week, Lilium Jet, successfully completed its maiden flight in Bavaria. So what's special about it? Well, it happens to be "world's first electric vertical take-⁠off and landing jet". While most technology companies are looking at disrupting the transport sector with automated cars, the implementation / realisation of the project has been hindered for various reasons in many cities after initial test runs. 

The Market

As many cities, in the developing countries, have been expanding inorganically due to lack of town planning or sustainable policies from governments & transportation department; the chaos can be very much experienced by everyone who is living or visiting the city. One such city is Bangalore, the valley of South Asia. Anyone who has stayed here for a month or more can relate to the traffic snarls across the town. 

The Disruptors

Compared to other cities in India, Bangalore has decent public transportation system via state-run BMTC & limited Namma Metro coverage. We have on-demand cab & rickshaw hailing services from Uber & Ola. To that, add all types wheelers - 2, 3, 4 & 6 - both the private & commercial vehicles, on the roads of Bangalore. This creates enough chaos which throws life out of gear for moving from Place A to Place B. I feel any new means of urban road transportation will not solve the problem for a population of 8.42 Million people, due to the lack of infrastructure & bad planning. 


Even though the implementation of metro is challenging considering the hurdles of land acquisition & terrain, it offers a more economical option to carry more number of people in the cities.

Electric Jet

Lilium, an electric jet, that can do a vertical take-off and landing could be the key disruptor in not just urban transportation in developed & developing countries. This jet can solve the transportation problem as it doesn't need much infrastructure to land & take-off making it a viable on-demand service. The USPs of Lilium (source: 

Here is the maiden flight of Lilium that happened on 20th April 2017.

Sunday, November 06, 2016

~ Think. Act. Recycle ~

It all began when me & wife visited Lavannya's home 2+ years ago, Aug 2014. Spotted a Kambha in her backyard and asked her what it was. After an introduction to Kambha & seeing the impact of composting at her organic-jungle or rooftop garden we decided to go for composting at home.

A photo posted by Lavannya (@lavannyag) on

A photo posted by Lavannya (@lavannyag) on

I shared the idea with Malhar and we both decided try composting at our homes. Thanks to Malhar who gifted 3T Kambha from DailyDump & our experimentation began. Whenever one tries to introduce something new, it is more often met with resistance & the same thing happened at home. Parents didn't accept the experimentation easily, it took almost 3 months for them to come out of regular process. 

During the rainy spells of Oct & Nov in Bangalore, the maggots used to crawl outside the Kambha and wander all over our backyard. When it occurred the first time, during a weekday, my dad was furious that they were all over the place & they didn't know what needed to be done. After returning home that evening, cleaned up the place & did some reading on how to tackle them. 

The maggots play an active & important role in composting process. They munch on all the veggies / fruits. The video shows how they devour the food waste.

A video posted by Vivek (@vevck) on

After 3-4 months of composting, our first compost was ready for use in the garden. It was mixed in some of the pots and the end results were amazing. The plants responded very well & the harvest of tomatoes, beans, spinach was good. 

A photo posted by Vivek (@vevck) on

A photo posted by Vivek (@vevck) on

A photo posted by Vivek (@vevck) on

A photo posted by Vivek (@vevck) on

A photo posted by Vivek (@vevck) on

A photo posted by Vivek (@vevck) on

This June, we spotted a runner in our garden and couldn't identify until the flowers began fruiting. We realised that the runner was actually Musk Melon plant. Thanks to composting, all the veggies and fruit waste that goes into kambha, composting process and eventually into the soil led to the germination of the musk melon seed into plants in the garden. 

A photo posted by Vivek (@vevck) on

Composting has some pleasant surprises too.

A photo posted by Vivek (@vevck) on

In the past 26 months, none of the kitchen waste has left our home and has been recycled. It isn't tough process, but requires discipline and 10 mins of your time everyday. Make this part of your routine and it shall become an habit, that makes significant difference to Earth

All the learning happened due to recycling of the kitchen waste from our home. So, recycle & help reduce the wet waste that leaves your home. If each one of does our bit then the burden on city's ecosystem would reduce significantly. 

There are plenty of online resources available for one to learn the art of composting. DailyDump has good resources where one can learn the basicsDon't wait, start today and begin composting at your home.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

~ Butterflies ~

Was looking for something on my Instagram feed and then came across one butterfly photo. Then thought let me go down the memory lane and see how many of these colourful flies I have captured one my smartphone.

Was pleasantly surprised to see the number of clicks. Here you go! 

A photo posted by Vivek (@vevck) on

A photo posted by Vivek (@vevck) on

A photo posted by Vivek (@vevck) on

A photo posted by Vivek (@vevck) on

A photo posted by Vivek (@vevck) on

A photo posted by Vivek (@vevck) on

A photo posted by Vivek (@vevck) on

A photo posted by Vivek (@vevck) on

A photo posted by Vivek (@vevck) on

A photo posted by Vivek (@vevck) on

A photo posted by Vivek (@vevck) on

A photo posted by Vivek (@vevck) on

A photo posted by Vivek (@vevck) on

A photo posted by Vivek (@vevck) on

A photo posted by Vivek (@vevck) on

A photo posted by Vivek (@vevck) on

Thursday, October 13, 2016

~ AIR Bengaluru | FM station ~

I was only aware of the AIR (Android) app through which I used to listen to Raagam station. Thanks to Harsha's tweet I got to know that All India Radio (AIR), Bengaluru also broadcast their radio stations on internet. 

Two options:

1. Listen to below stations on AIR Bangalore site 

2. Via Playlist - Have created a playlist of all the above stations, which allows easy switching of stations while commuting / working, without having to visit web-browser. Import the playlist in iTunes or VLC & you are set to stream. Download the playlist file.

Saturday, March 05, 2016

~ Killing time in Bangalore traffic ~

I lose (spend) 3 hours of my day in Bangalore traffic. That's significant amount of time for me. Here are some ways I kill (utilise) time while commuting in office shuttle. 

  1. Read a book - kindle fits the need
  2. Listen to music - if I need to relax
  3. Talk to friends - helps me keep connected with friends regularly.
  4. Twitter - mostly evenings
  5. Sleep - if too tired
  6. Youtube Offline - Dev Talks, TED, Documentaries, John Oliver, NewsLaundry, etc
  7. News / Blogs - Mostly aggregate content on Pocket. 
    1. Pocket - really cool app if you are an avid reader. 
    2. Medium, has some great content too.

If you are an urban commuter in Bangalore or elsewhere, who happens to spend gruelling hours travelling in traffic then I would like to know how do you kill your time?

Sunday, January 10, 2016

~ Jingalala Part 2 ~

After 9 months hiatus, I had my second jingalala moment with TATA Sky. Here is Jingalala Part 1, in case you are interested.

This time around it was related to the renewal of my annual subscription of MEGA HD pack. Renewed it on 7th Jan evening and noticed that the renewal wasn't reflecting. Hence, called the customer support to check what could be the issue. Below is the gist of the conversation between me & the CSR executive 

Vivek: Hi, have renewed my annual subscription but it doesn't seem to be reflecting against my TATA Sky account & still a message on the TV screen.
CSR: The renewal has not been activated; should I go ahead any initiate?
Vivek:Yes, please proceed with the activation.
CSR: Sir, there is a slight problem.
Vivek: What is it about?
CSR: Actually, there is a slight difference in the annual subscription fees. Its not Rs 7500/- but Rs 7990/-
Vivek: Sorry, that price is never listed on your website. I paid for what was shown to me during the renewal.
CSR: Sir, actually there is some glitch on the site and hence the latest prices are not reflected on the website. So, you will need to pay the difference amounts for me to proceed with the activation.
Vivek: *Surprised to hear that*. Told, will not be paying anything extra as it wasn't my fault in the first place if the site didn't reflect the correct amount. I paid for what the site displayed.
Vivek: Have shopped on any of the ecommerce sites; What do you pay for - what is listed on the site or the invisible price that should have showed up?
CSR: Yes sir, I have used ecommerce site and agree it is not your fault. But, you need to pay the difference in order to activate.
Vivek: Am not paying the difference, coz it ain't my fault nor yours. The fault lies with your business, marketing and QA teams who failed to validate the correct pricing on the product offerings. Please ask the respective team to correct the same so that in the future you don't need to fight with customers.
CSR: Sure will pass on the details to the team, but you need to pay the difference.
Vivek: I would like to talk to a superior in the chain of command.
CSR: Sure sir, please hold the line.

Conversation with Sr CSR 

Sr CSR: Yes sir, how would I like to help you.
Vivek: Have the same conversation once again and same response.
Sr CSR: No sir, you need to pay the difference.
Vivek: Lost my patience, told him about Jingalala Part 1. I can once again escalate it to your CEO South region and get this problem rectified, if you don't activate.
Sr CSR: Sir, What is your subscriber number? Is your TV & setup box on?
Vivek: Yes.
Sr CSR: Sir, activation completed. Your subscription has been renewed.
Vivek: Thank you. But TATA Sky has lost the difference amount thanks to bad validation from Business & Marketing teams. If the pricing isn't updated then customers will not pay the amount and your company will loose the amount.
Sr CSR: Agree sir. Will pass on the message to the internal teams.
Vivek: I shall check your site after 24 hours and see if you have updated the amount on your website.
Sr CSR: Sure sir. Will get it fixed.
Vivek: Thank you. Good night.

4 days later, nothing has been changed. It still lists the price at Rs 7500/-

A bit of googling provided the info on the number of DTH (78million) subscribers in India. According to TRAI, there are 39.74 million active DTH consumers in India. Going by the 20% market share of TATA Sky sums up to 7.94 million or 79 Lakhs subscribers.

If we go with 5% of them as Annual Subscribers then we have 395K or 3.95 Lakhs Users. Off these 395K, if we go with various % of users who do their renewals in January then below are the lossese for TATA Sky due to wrong pricing on their website :)

  • 19.35 Lakhs @ 1% in January
  • 96.77 Lakhs @ 5% in January
  • 1.93 Crore @ 10% in January

P.S: Not sure how many subscribers would challenge TATA Sky for the pricing errors & not pay the difference.

Thursday, December 31, 2015

~ Messi & Ronaldo ~

Two contrasting individuals in the world of football. Both play their games differently and compete fairly on pitch while playing for their respective clubs. 

Last month when the documentary on Ronaldo was announced I was surprised to hear from CR7 that he wanted the documentary made. He wanted the world to know about him. After watching the documentary, it appeared narcissistic, massaging his big ego.

He happens to be so jealous of Messi winning Ballon d’Or four times he states, “To see Messi win four in a row was difficult for me. After he won the second and third I thought to myself: ‘I’m not coming here again.'”

This week I stumbled upon Messi's documentary, which happened to have released in 2014. It captures the life of Messi from childhood to international stardom. The numerous videos of Messi filmed during his childhood show how talented he was as a little boy then, till now at FCBarcelona. He definitely found the right home & coach at Barcelona.

Watch both the documentaries & decide yourself who is the better one :)

Just yesterday, Messi made his 500th appearance for FC Barcelona against Real Betis. After scoring a goal last evening he increased his goal tally to 425. No doubts for guessing, he also holds the club’s all-time leading scorer. The game also was historic coz they have 180 goals for this year, bettering Madrid’s milestone of 178 from 2014.

Here is the club's tribute to Messi on his 500th appearance.