Skip to main content

Net Effect

We've had a lot of talk lately about something called "Net Neutrality" in India. The basic idea of net neutrality is not that fishing nets don't have a gender - that's already been established, thank you. It's about our ability to visit whatever websites we may choose to without paying extra. You see, all these telecom chaps - the guys who give us our internet connections - hit on a brilliant idea. They could have all the large conglomerates pay them extra money and then allow their users to visit only those sites for cheap, charging extra if they want to use another website.

That may not sound too bad, but the implications are huge. Say, for instance, that you wanted to visit my blog (and if you don't, why not?), you would have to pay some company that's already making way too much money even more. Sites like Google.com, YouTube.com and so on would be available to us at sensible rates, but everything else would be insanely expensive. Call me picky, but I find that a tad outrageous. What if I want to (not that I would) use Bing?

 As a programmer, I use sites which distribute open-source software quite a bit, not just because it's free but also because it's very often as good as the paid stuff that companies like Adobe would love you to use. These sites rely on net neutrality to get visitors. If our wonderful telecom boys began charging us to visit these sites, we'd be forced to pay extortionate sums to big companies.

What I really wonder about is how this could ever become an issue. India is still a democratic country, right? I mean, I know China censors everything that they view as damaging to their citizens (which includes Google searches, for some reason), but we don't do that. The internet is the last truly free place on Earth. Couldn't we keep it that way for just a bit longer?

As of now, the TRAI (Telecom Regulating Associated Idiots - oops, I mean Telecom Regulatory Authority of India) is mulling over a bill that could very well legalize doing this. These are the guys, let us note, who blocked adf.ly as being somehow threatening to national security - though I fail to see how a URL shortening/monetizing service could possibly be an invitation to a national crisis. For all of you out there who would like to use the internet in peace, there's a petition you can sign over at change.org. Now stop reading and go sign it! After that, though, come back quickly and tell me what you think - before TRAI makes you pay for it!

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Exam Fever

As anyone currently in the twelfth will tell you, with varying levels of dismay, the final exams are right around the corner. Parents everywhere are seizing their children's phones and taking time off from work. Panicked screaming ensues at intervals.


I don't believe there's a person on the planet who genuinely enjoys exam season. Actually, I take that back - there's no one in India who enjoys exam season. Partially, I think this is our own fault. Exams are the most important things in an Indian student's life, so parents seem bent on bottling up all the worry and concern they have about their kid's education and allowing it to spew forth in a torrent of "No more video games!" and "Delete WhatsApp!" commands during the two months surrounding the exams. Small wonder, then, that at 17, I believe the purpose of exams is to seasonally blot the sunshine from otherwise happy lives.

This whole exam fever thing does have some upsides. Okay, one - it…

No Good Place To Do Mutra Visarjan In This Country...

At least, that's what Chatur Ramalingam seems to think. However, many of our fellow Indians seem to disagree with him. According to them, there are nothing BUT places to do mutra visarjan (for all you poor, masochistic folks - ah, I mean, non-movie-going folks - out there, mutra visarjan means urine expulsion). In case you haven't guessed already, we're going to be talking about one of India's most widely criticized and even more widely practiced issues - public urination.

I'm not exactly saying that it's our people's fault - I mean, come on, we have so much urine-related cultural history! Just in the past 50 years, we've had people who've used their urine for everything from watering plants to drinking it (I believe that some people also flush it down their toilets. How wasteful of them). Besides all the historical precedents, however, we also have some more practical reasons for peeing wherever and whenever we feel like.

If you've ever seen a …

Learning to Learn

There's an interesting concept that's gotten a lot of traction over the past couple of years called "meta learning".  It's a term coined by one Donald B. Maudsley, who defined it as "the process by which learners become aware of and increasingly in control of habits of perception, inquiry, learning, and growth that they have internalized". Translated from Sciencese, Maudsley is talking about how we figure out ways to become more efficient at learning new information.

HR managers (you know, those overpaid dimwits you complain to about your coworker stealing your lunch?) like to call it "learnability". Most people with real jobs don't call it anything at all. In reality, though, it's an extremely useful thing to understand, together with the techniques you would use to get good at it.

Myself, I'm a decent-ish learner. Mostly, that's because I've had to learn things on my own quite often - I had to teach myself web design, app…