Economy Tech and Culture

The Net Neutrality Debate

I am sure everyone is aware of the raging debate over what is being called “Net Neutrality”. There’s a bill pending in the US Senate that deals with how our Internet experience is going to be fed to us in the coming years.

The first time I wrote anything about this ‘corporate plan’ was back in December 2005. The ISPs and telecom service providers were just opening up about this idea back then. What has become of the idea right now is a complete mess, a corporate disaster, and essentially undemocratic.

I supported the idea of charging premium content providers more for bandwidth/visibility services back in December. I still support that, but what this debate has evolved into is essentially trying to block content from a rival Internet content corporation in lieu of service fee. This is devastating, and is going to set up a wrong precedent.

Compare this to paying for long distance voice service. The pricing is generally based on interconnectivity of networks and load/traffic sharing. There’re no tiers of service. I don’t pay any less when I am calling someone on the BellSouth network than someone on the Verizon network. Then, why not the same with the Internet?

It is useless for me to argue about what is good or bad for the Internet. We all know those things very well. What bothers me is the kind of effect something like this could have on smaller content providers (blogs, personal websites, small scale companies) and those based internationally. Why are American Corporations so hell bent on curbing the free flow of information and content globally?

I fear that the Internet could have the same kind of future as radio or television – useless, and too moderated, commercial.

Watch this video –

Economy India Tech and Culture

The H1-B program brings in mediocre people ?

As expected, the H1-B quota for FY 2007 has filled up in less than 2 months since it started awarding those worker visas. This is a record. Last year, it took until the middle of August for the quota to close. This is going to ignite some major debate within the econo-political ecosystem as more people find out that they cannot hire experts from abroad.

Now, I have to say, some Indians speak the dumbest things possible if they have to make a point. I guess it’s just in our blood. Take the example of IEEE’s VP for Career Activites, Ron Hira. He is definitely not Indian by birth, but has Indian roots. Read what he says in this article in IT World about the H1-B cap.

Under a bill passed by Congress in 2004, the first 20,000 H-1B applications for workers with master’s degrees or higher are exempt from the cap. As of Thursday, the immigration agency had received about 5,800 exempt applications, it said.

With about 14,000 exemption applications still available, that suggests that some companies are looking primarily for cheap labor, Hira said. “That’s at least one indication that there’s not just geniuses coming in,” he said.

Yes, so basically, only the IT workers who have graduated from an American University at any point in their lives are geniuses. This is more disturbing than amusing. I guess what he’s trying to say is that all those workers outside America with decades of experience under their belts are somehow still inferior to that foreigner who just graduated from some shady small league school. Or maybe he is trying to say that recruiting companies are so stupid that they hire low wage foreigners from outside the country when they could essentially do the same from within the country!

I wonder what kind of a salary negotiation power advantage is held by a foreigner graduating from an American university compared to someone graduating from a foreign country. What is stopping an IT company from paying less to the foreigner already here in the US on a different visa? Does IT experience really not count when trying to find a job at a globally competing company?

I guess I am now an elite foreigner simply because I hold not one, but two degrees from an American university. I have a salary edge over other “regular” H1-Bs.

What about people who are “also” qualified but cannot enter the US?

Life and Personal Tech and Culture

I am 2 degrees away from Bill Gates

According to the Six Degrees of Separation theory, I am now connected to Bill Gates through a 2 degree long chain.

Here’s my Chain:

Bill Gates

CliffyB is the lead game designer for Epic Games in Raleigh, NC. I met him for an informal lunch in late 2004 because I was interested in learning more about the gaming industry. He designed one of my favorite PC games, Jazz Jackrabbit, more than a decade ago.

It is amazing how motivation and inspiration guide you towards your aspirations. This guy is a college dropout, and just had one goal in life; to make it big in the videogame industry. I would say he has achieved all that and more. Currently, he’s working on the new XBOX 360 game called “Gears of War” that is supposed to be the biggest game of this year.

CliffyB recently met Bill Gates for the first time ever, and you can see him with BillG in the videos posted at this blog. Watch Bill Gates say that Microsoft is counting on Gears of War for the success of their Xbox 360!

Now, I just need to shorten this chain…

Life and Personal

Twice in 3 weeks…my car gets broken into

How unlucky do you have to be to have your car broken into twice in three weeks? I mean, seriously. Well, last night, the scum of the society struck again, and stole every single gadget from my car, breaking my glove compartment lock in the process. One of the worst things about driving an old car is that it is TOO easy to get in them. I realized this after I discovered that the bastards had been able to get in without breaking a thing. They broke the glove compartment latch as it was locked.

The last time I had such an experience was when I went to Raleigh for my graduation ceremony. I had rented a Toyota Corolla, and was celebrating graduation with my friends in downtown Raleigh, when I come back to the car and see the passenger side front window shattered to small pieces. The robbers had been unable to steal anything, though, because I had nothing in the car besides my graduation robe. They were too dumb to realize its value, apparently.

This has been driving me mad for the last 7-8 hours. I really miss my navigation system. I miss my satellite radio. And, I miss my Dell music player. Yes, it was dumb of me to leave all that equipment out in plain view, but how the hell was I supposed to feel insecure when the car was parked a small distance away from my apartment in a VERY illuminated lot with lots of cars and houses surrounding it? I am just very mad right now, and hope that the culprits rot in the worst possible situation imaginable.

I know I am never going to see my stuff again. The cop somewhat assured me of that. It’s impossible for them to track transactions at every pawn shop in the city much less the state. Nevertheless, I am going to try to find out the serial numbers of the gadgets and pass them on. He refused to take finger prints, and I am not sure what the usual procedure is on that, because when my rental car was broken into in Raleigh, the cop there told me that they usually take fingerprints if something is stolen from inside the car. I was lucky then, but I was very unlucky now.

I just wish the scum of the society got cleansed out forever.