Intelligence and grammar

by Yash 0 Comments

For last many years I have been using an online logical reasoning test to recruit programmers. I see a lot of candidates writing their names with proper capitalization and many others who don’t care about capitalization, signifying poor grammar. I was curious to see if there was a correlation between the scores and proper capitalization of the name. The test has 10 questions and scores range from 0 to 10. I mapped the scores with the percentage of candidates who have written their name with proper capitalization.

Yash Gadhiya is proper capitalization. yash gadhiya or YASH GADHIYA is not.

Here are the findings

10    100%
9    100%
8    78%
7    77%
6    75%
5    81%
4    80%
3    77%
2    56%
1    54%
0    All – 73%, test completed – 61%

Everyone who managed to score 9 or 10 had written their names properly. There was a fair amount of consistency between scores of 8-3. Only at scores 2 and 1 did the percentage dip around 50%.

0 is an interesting case where the numbers are in live with higher scores. But it also includes candidates who have abandoned the test. If I take into consideration candidates who had submitted the test then the ratio is 61%.

So apparently there is some correlation between logical and analytical skills and grammar. However it does not mean everyone with higher intelligence has proper grammar and those who don’t care about grammar are idiots. But if I was comparing two candidates who have similar scores and similar educational background, then I would rate the one with better grammar a tad higher than the one who doesn’t care about proper capitalization of his/her name.

What to do in case you get an error while paying TDS online thorough HDFC Bank?

by Yash 0 Comments

I was paying TDS today through HDFC bank. Have been paying it for many years without any problem. Today I faced a problem. After I filled up all details on NSDL’s site I was redirected to my HDFC net banking and I filled up the amount there and paid and on the last stage where I can see the challan complete with challan serial number and code I got an error. ON the other hand I got an SMS confirming the tax amount so money had been deducted but the challan could not be generated. Now what to do?

First I logged into HDFC net banking and checked the statement. Sure enough the amount was debited and an entry in the format of 0510308060413#####- CBDT Tax was showing. So the tax was paid but I did not have the challan. The challan is important because when I file the eTDS return I need to put the challan serial number along with the BSR code and everything else. I could get BSR code from other challans I had because I always use HDFC for paying tax and the BSR code is the same. I needed challan number.

So I searched online for a solution and I found this page where you can view all your TDS challans by entering your TAN or a specific challan details by entering the CIN (Challan identification number) I entered my TAN and searched but the tax was just paid and so it didn’t show up in the search. Because obviously it will show up in NSDL’s database only when the bank submits it. I could wait a few days and then check again.

Then I thought may be the entry in my bank statement can give me some info. So I looked at my older challans and their corresponding entries in the statement and I found my challan number! My last month’s challan entry had the format 0510308040313#####. This is made up of three parts 0510308, 040313 and #####. The first number 0510308 is the BSR code of the collecting branch for HDFC bank and all tax paid online will have this BSR code. Next six digits are the date in DDMMYY format and the last five digits is the challan serial number or the CIN. So I looked at today’s entry 0510308060413##### and found my challan serial number.

Based on this serial number I will check on Monday again at NSDL’s challan status page to see if my challan has been submitted.

Connection of Cadbury’s Dairy Milk and Petroleum

by Yash 0 Comments

What is the connection of Cadbury’s Dairy Milk and petroleum?

One of the ingredients is Ethyl Vanillin which is artificial Vanilla flavour
Ethyl Vanillin is produced from Catechol (also used in pesticides and perfumes)
Catechol comes from Phenol (also used in producing nylon, detergents and pharmaceuticals)
Phenol is produced by Oxidation of Cumene
Cumene is produced from Benzene which is a natural constituent of crude oil

So every chocolate has a tiny part coming from petroleum.

How Facebook helped an aspiring artist with his career

This is a true story and by no means over. The guy in question happens to be one regular lower middle class chap who grew up selling combs to confectionery to augment the family income. He spent his childhood in the company of comic books. He wasn’t alone. For kids growing up in early nineties comic books was an attractive and very economical option of entertainment because those were the days where there were no 24 hour cartoon channels and animation was limited to 2 hours of fun time every Sunday morning on DoorDarshan.

So when this guy grew up comics became his passion. He graduated from Indian super heroes to Marvel and DC. But comics remained his first love. And then he discovered the world of computers and Internet. At first he didn’t understand a thing. He couldn’t afford a computer so he would visit his friends and would visit web sites of his favourite comic publisher. He got intrigued by the world of comic art. He became interested in the process. He took a particular liking to the colouring process of the comics. He started asking people how the vivid colours of the comic pages were created and somebody mentioned Photoshop to him.

So the guy joined a course at a local institute and learnt Photoshop. He was helped by a couple of his friends who were in the designing field and he started honing his skills. He even managed to buy an old computer to practice. He would procure black and white drawings from the Internet and colour them and he would show them to his friends. That was all about it for a while. It would have ended there and he would have continued to sell biscuits for commission to local shops. But then something happened.

Somebody introduced him to Facebook.

And that changed his life. He didn’t understand it in the beginning. He did not know what that site was, or what its features were. One of his friends helped him create a profile and taught him how to upload images and how to make friends. The first thing he did was he befriended the publisher of the comic book which he had been reading since his childhood. Then he started uploading his colouring works on Facebook. And every time he would upload it, he would tag everyone in his friends list in the image. He didn’t know what he was doing. Someone just told him to tag people and he followed it religiously. It had a profound effect. Because the editor he tagged was friends with hundreds and thousands of other people and every time he tagged him, his image appeared in the timeline of that person. So all his contacts would see that work.

His free uploads on Facebook were now being seen by hundreds of people. And he started receiving feedback and friend requests from strangers. He accepted everybody’s request and the more people became his friend, he started reaching a larger audience. He would post a recent artwork he had coloured and he would get instant feedback and encouragement. That kept him going. And very soon his efforts were noticed by an upcoming publisher. And he offered him colouring assignment. With the encouragement and guidance of his mentor who had made a good name for himself in the field he accepted it and soon his name was printed as a colouring artist on hundreds of comic books.

He was elated. He had spent his life loving his comic books and now his name was there on a real comic book! Although he still wasn’t a professional artist cause it still wasn’t paying him much and he had to continue with his travelling salesman job, he had found a start. He continued posting refined samples of his artwork on Facebook and another publisher approached him and more work poured in. And then one day he landed the most prized assignment of his nascent career as a colouring artist. He got an offer to colour the comic version of the upcoming Bollywood Superhero movie. Although it was because of his mentor that he got the assignment, Facebook was responsible for taking him to that stage.

Facebook gave a new lease of life to this aspiring artist. Without Facebook he might not have got the wide platform to showcase his talent. For lack of feedback and encouragement he might have given up on his ambition. And Facebook’s photo tagging feature was instrumental in getting him the huge audience that eventually landed him a paying assignment for doing what he loved. Even his mentor who is a successful artist now wishes if he had Facebook when he had started out.

His story is by no means over, he has just started. He is working on 3 comic books right now and has even got a job offer from another comic publishing house at a salary that is double of what he is making as a travelling salesman.

He owes his career as much to Facebook as he owes it to his mentor.

Note: He is a friend of mine and the mentor I am talking about is not me. I am not into comic artwork, I am a programmer.

The real cost of Zero interest EMI on credit cards

by Yash 5 Comments

Many banks offer zero interest EMIs on credit card transactions. They apparently don’t charge any interest but only take a one time processing fee which looks to be very reasonable.

Say you bought something for 6000 on a credit card and bank offers you an interest free option of paying it back in six months with a one time processing charge of Rs. 70 per thousand. Do you think its a good deal? 70 per 1000 doesn’t look like much although if you calculate you would see that its 7%. So on a 6000 sum your processing charges will be Rs. 420. You pay 420 up front and then pay 1000 every month. So 7% looks like the rate of interest that company charged you isn’t it? Even though they say its zero interest.

Wrong. Nothing comes for free. And there’s no such thing as a free lunch and no such thing as zero interest loan. And you think you just paid 7%? That looks really low compared to home loan rates of 11.5%, auto loans of 12% and personal loans at 24%. Lets calculate the real rate of interest you actually paid.

Remember you paid 7% for using 6000 for six months. So on a per annum basis the rate of interest comes out to 14%. But its not really 14% either because you are paying the interest in advance. Not unlike a typical loan where you pay the interest at the end of each month AFTER using the money for that month. Here you are paying the processing fee BEFORE using the money. You paid 420 on 6000 and you will still pay 1000 every month. In effect you only got to enjoy 5580 in the first month. And on that principle amount you will be paying an EMI of 1000 per month.

Using the Interest rate calculator at yash.info/emicalc you will see that a loan of 5580 for 6 months where you pay 1000 EMI is having a rate of interest of 25.36%! That’s the real cost of the supposedly zero interest EMI scheme on the card.

PS: How clever are the banks to disguise a 25% rate of interest in sweet words like Rs. 70 per thousand. They don’t even say Rs. 7 per 100 because that “sounds” too much. Anyone can instantly calculate that 7 per thousand is 7% but 70 per thousand doesn’t really sound like that much.

However Kotak Mahindra Bank is having a genuinely zero charge EMI option for three months where they don’t charge interest or processing fees. And so do ICICI, Citibank and HDFC for transactions on eBay (For 3 EMI option only). I have tried them and I know they are genuine zero charge but all those 6 months, 9 months are just hogwash.

Edit: Kotak has withdrawn the 3 months, zero charge, zero interest EMI option, however almost all major eCommerce vendors now have tie ups with credit card providers to offer 3 months zero charge EMIs. ICICI, HDFC and Citibank seem to be available on every major site.

Do you think those who do not follow your religion will go to hell?

If you believe in god and if you are a Christian, then do you think those who do not accept Jesus as their saviour i.e. the people who follow other religions like Islam, Hinduism, Judaism, Buddhism will got to hell?

Every religion claims that it is the “ONLY” way to get a ticket to the heaven. 1.3 billion Muslims believe Islam is the only way you can get there. 2 billion Christians and 900 million Hindus think the same. Natives in the hinterland of Africa who follow their own obscure religions believe the same.

Who is correct?

Which is the right path?

There are three possibilities

1. All of them are correct: If all of them are correct paths to the god then why each of them “claim” that it is the only “authorised” path? That is Bible says only pray to the Jesus or else get ready to go to the hell. Quaran says Islam is the only correct path and Mohammad is the only saviour – follow him or face the wrath of god on the judgement day. Same story in all the religions. How can all of them be true and claim others to be false at the same time? Get the paradox?

2. Only one is correct: Which one? Christianity? Islam? Hinduism? Buddhism? How do we decide? By the number of followers? Then Christianity is definitely the winner. Hey all ya Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists and Jews stop wasting your time praying. You are in minority so you are going to hell! Ha ha! If any one of them is true then what all the other books are teaching is pure bullshit. It’s logical isn’t it? It may be Quaran, Bible or Geeta? Which one?

3. All of them are false: The logical conclusion. If all can’t be true because that would create a paradox, and we can’t decide which one can be true because that would make all other religions false then it could only mean that all are false.

Think about it. If you can think of any other option let me know.

Think of one of your friends who is not of the same religion as you. Think you will get to see him/her in heaven?

This is a question for all you god-believers!

Web2Watch – Keeping an eye on web 2.0 startups

by Yash 0 Comments

w2wlogo.gifI have launched a new blog – web2watch.com. This is a blog where I will write about new interesting web 2.0 sites/businesses that I come across. Internet is my passion and I LOVE to spend time surfing the web, discovering new interesting sites and seeing at what amazing ideas creative people come up with.

There’s a site that lets you create free audio forum for your website, there one that gives away one software title a day for free, there’s another that lets you create online surveys for free, a remote backup service and more. I will review all of these here. Everyday I plan to spare at least 15 minutes to review at least on site. There are hundreds of web 2.0 sites cropping up everyday, some will be crap, some will be killer apps. Some are launched by a teenager from his dorm room or his father’s garage and some are founded by seasoned professionals backed by VCs. I will find out the most interestning one and will review them on this blog.

Visit www.web2watch.com.

Logo Tales.com – a blog about famous logos

I’ve started a new blog – Logo Tales. It’s a blog about famous corporate and brand logos. LogoTales tells the story of logos. Their history, their meaning, little known facts about the logos and interesting trivia.

I’ve been attracted by logos for a time. Whenever I see a logo I try to analyze it and try to find out its meaning. I was always interested in knowing how a logo relates to the brand that it is representing. When I was looking for a good logo for Trade4Half.com (for which I also conducted a poll on this blog) I had a good debate about the effectiveness of logos with my friend Ullas. We discussed about some famous logos and their connection with the brand. I thought may be I can write something about the logos and their meanings, significance, the messages they convey and their history.

So thus was born LogoTales.com. Because every logo has a story to tell!

Check it out at www.logotales.com

Tools to find a good domain name

by Yash 0 Comments

It is becoming very difficult to get good domain names. Especially .com domain names. Virtually every name that you can think of is booked by some domain squatter who wants to sell it for thousands of dollars! I was looking for a good domain name for our new venture and was getting frustrated checking out names on GoDaddy and DomainsBot. I was running out of ideas when I cam across two good websites which can generate some exciting domain names for you.

One is Web 2.0 Domain Name Generator. It randomly generates some good Web2.0 like names. Some examples – skytown, backpost, xanzu (That’s VERY web2.0ish!!! B-) ), tag32, eventblitz etc. Cool names I must say. Although it doesn’t exactly tell you if a .com for the name is available, it does give you some food for thought and some new ideas.

Another one is makewords.com. This site actually creates domains names and even reports if one is available or not. It can generate random names based on language rules and domain name length. You can also give a dictionary word and it will creates hundreds of domain names with synonyms and affixes.