Virtual Karma

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Enter your email at Tomatogram and we will send you big deals on software each week!

What Cingular Did Not Tell You About International Text Messaging

Recently I switched from Sprint to Cingular because the later has GSM network and hence GSM enabled phones (I got the W600 from Sony Ericsson). Now when I travel abroad I can continue to use my phone. All I need to do is buy a pre-paid SIM card of any local service provider over the counter and slip it in. This works out much cheaper than using the roaming feature.

Cingular offers international text messaging for 20 cents a pop. Personally I feel that this is very expensive compared to what I have paid in other countries. But still I decided to try it out. So I sent a text message to my friend in Asia and asked her to reply back so that I have a confirmation. Here is her reply: “got ur sms frm a local no, got confusd”. I tried sending another message and again it was delivered from a local number. Every time it is a different local number. So I called up Cingular today morning and they confirmed that the messages are sent from a local number in the receiver’s country. I asked them if they state this fact along side their advertisements of international text messaging service. They said that they do not. I checked out their website and could not find any information of text messages being sent from a different number other than the subscriber’s.

The above problem is bigger that it sounds. You, me and any other person I have met hits the reply button to reply to a text message. In the scenario above this would send the message to a non existing local number and you won’t receive the reply. Also since the messages are delivered using a different local number each time, you cannot hold a conversation using text messages (many phone allow “conversations” using text messages). And one more thing, be sure to sign off all your messages with your name, else the receiver wont know who it is from.

This post is to inform the readers of a problem with international text messaging using Cingular. This post should not be interpreted as Cingular to be a bad service provider. In fact I’m very happy with the phone, the coverage and most of all the costumer service (till now). But I have been a customer only for a week and hence not the right person to judge.

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Enter your email at Tomatogram and we will send you big deals on software each week!

Digg Democracy

Few days back somebody told us where the lame kids went. He seemed to hate reddit and totally love digg. If you are that guy then please read no further. I would hate to break your heart.

My favorite news sites are Slashdot, digg, Google news and reddit. I spend a good amount of time reading the articles linked from these websites. I also happen to be a mainstream digger and that probably makes me least important to digg. This is not intentional and has more to do with the amount of time I can spare for my activities on various forums.

Between a full time job and projects I write some articles for this blog as and when time permits. As soon as I finish writing I email the link to a few friends and post it on some forums and groups. This is my way of sharing the articles with the community. After I discovered digg and reddit, I thought of it as a good way to share my articles with the community. Digg provides a democratic environment where the community decides which links make it the front page. In the past this has worked for me and one of my posts made it to the front page.

9 days back I submitted an article titled “Dad, what was Internet?” to digg. In a couple of hours the article managed to get 25 diggs. Then something unexpected happened. The count froze at 25. I checked the queue and discovered that the link was removed. To be sure I checked the cloud view. It was not there either. I’m clueless as to why the link was removed. I checked the terms of use to see if I was in violation of any clause. I was not. I sent the following email to digg last week and I’m still awaiting a response.


I had submitted an article on the night of Feb 2 titled “Dad, what was Internet?”. This is the digg link:,_What_Was_Internet_

In a couple of hours or so I received about 20 diggs. Then I checked again in the morning and the article had 25 diggs. But it had kind of frozen at that count. So I checked the queue only to discover that the submission was missing. I checked the cloud and the link was missing from there too. Was this submission “buried”? Could you please check as to why this link was removed from the queue? Is it something that I did wrong?

Thanks and regards
-Digg User

I would suggest that digg notify the submitter if a link is removed from the queue. All it would cost is an email. Also there could be a notification next to the link so that the submitter knows of the removal by visiting the permalink. I hope my feedback helps digg to be more democratic.

(The article being discussed here: "Dad, what was Internet?", made it to the front page of reddit on the same day it was submitted to digg)

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Enter your email at Tomatogram and we will send you big deals on software each week!

Dad, What Was Internet?

Year 2019.

Son: Dad, today in the history class they taught us about Internet and all the amazing stuff you could do on it.

Dad: Those were good old days before the Verizon-net, Comcast-net, BellSouth-net

Son: If internet was such a good thing, why don’t we have it today?

Dad: Because they decided to end it sometime around 2006.

Son: But why did they do that?

Dad: Apparently the telcos were not were not making enough money.

Son: That’s bad. Why didn’t you guys pay the poor telcos?

Dad: Oh! We did. Every month.

Son: Then how come they didn’t make any money?

Dad: They made a lot of money but I guess it was not enough. They wanted the big websites like Google, Amazon, eBay, MSN etc. to pay them and not use their network for free.

Son: That’s so bad of Google to not pay them. I have lost all respect for Sergey and Larry. How can they expect a free ride? So convenient for them to make all that Ad dollars while running their algorithm from public libraries?

Dad: Public Libraries?? What are you talking about? They had their own offices and datacenters.

Son: But you said they used the internet for free. How can they provide content without paying for the bandwidth?

Dad: Oh! They did.

Son: Wait. I’m all confused here. We paid for our end of the bandwidth and the websites paid at their end. So who is getting a free ride here?

Dad: I haven’t figured that out yet.

Son: My friend called to tell me that he won’t email for another month because he has exhausted his quota of 13 emails for the month. If he uses anymore they will be forced to upgrade to platinum plan and his folks can’t afford that.
Mom was telling me that you used to write a blog back then. What happened? Why did you stop?

Dad: They asked me to pay up if I wanted guaranteed delivery of content.

Son: So before that your blog did not reach your readers for sure?

Dad: It did.

Son: So what is the “guarantee” about?

Dad: Have they taught you about extortion yet?

Son: Not yet. They said instead they are making us read the book: “Telcos – Riches to Riches story”.
So what did you do about your blog then?

Dad: I hosted it on my computer and let people dial in directly. Many of my friends did that. It was kind of cool. They said that they had similar setups before the Internet.

Son: What about peer-to-peer networks? Why don’t we have it today? And what does startup mean? And why do Google search results say “censored by your service provider”? And why do we have only 87 functional websites? And…

Dad: Time to go to bed son.

Son: One last question. Did the greedy telcos kill the Internet?

Dad: Aren’t you glad we moved to Africa?

Update: This article made it to the front page of reddit 3 days ago. Thanks for all your votes and comments. It also "almost" made it to the front page of digg, but then something happened which I'm still investigating. I will let you know as soon as I hear from digg.