Buying Apps on iTunes Store

The key to online business success is the return and refund policy. But Apple iTunes does not follow this strictly. In fact, purchase on iTunes Store has an opaque return policy.

Let me explain.

During purchase, the credit card which is configured in the iTunes account is charged immediately. But the bill is emailed after a day or two. The email has a link, “Report a Problem”.

So, in case you are unhappy or have an issue with the product, you click the link, which takes you to your account on the Apple website. There you choose your options on the drop-down menu. If you choose the option with an intention to return and get refund it is then that you will be informed if your purchase is eligible for refund or not. Many times you will be surprised.

Some free version of apps looks great but the paid version many times fall short of the expectations.

iTunes recently asked for feedbacks. So I wrote this.

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When buying Apps on iTunes the buyer should know beforehand if the purchase is returnable and refundable. There are apps which do not have trial period and it’s an outright buy. So there should be a fixed time period within which it can be returned with full money back. Or, while making payment it should be clearly stated on iTunes that “this purchase will not be refunded”. What I see is iTunes is following unethical trade practices and cheating the buyers. This must stop.

Regards
Neeraj
nshrivastav@gmail.com
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Letter to Jeff Bezos

Sir,

I’m mainly a book buyer. Mostly I buy the kindle version but sometimes I buy books that are important to me and are rare and are only available on print.

I’ve had two recent experiences where the delivery is not proper. The delivery is skipped stating strange reasons. The support is supportive but not creative and proactive. They are enthusiastic to refund the amount rather than find the root cause and resolve the issue.

I get a feeling that skipped delivery may not be impacting the costumer, because of ever enthusiastic and prompt refund offer, but it is in some way benefiting the logistics of delivery. They may be getting paid irrespective of whether they deliver or not.

Significantly, I’ve encountered this with Amazon Fulfilled orders promising same day delivery.

There is seriously something wrong here at Amazon India.

I’m not someone who is happy with refunds. If I get an item in my hands and then if I return it, then of course, prompt refund is welcome. But Amazon India support had only one solution to missed deliveries. REFUND. What about finding out the status of the shipment, where is it stuck, what has happened? Can it be resent? The support seems to have no answer to this.

I want order fulfilment. This doesn’t seem to be a motivation with Amazon employees in India.

Unethical trade practices, order defaulting and bluffing is the culture which has gained prominence on Amazon India online purchase.

I’m writing to you because I don’t have faith with support. This lacunae will never be highlighted to you. The culture is to sweep it below the carpet and bury the issue locally.

In this case(Order: 404-9504736-6222739), I got an SMS and website update that the package is delivered, when I didn’t receive it. How did this happen? How can anyone in Amazon India update the status and send me SMS? On querying support, I got information that it’s delivered to fulfilment and the package is damaged.

I’ve never encountered this before that the package is delivered to fulfilment and the buyer gets Delivery SMS and that too with a strange name that the order is delivered to so & so.

It’s time you crack the whip. I’m not buying furnitures. I’m buying books.

And you know what it means.

Regards
Neeraj
(nshrivastav@gmail.com)

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Bollywood Cycle

It was in 1988 when the transfer of power started, Hindi Movie-wise. Aamir Khan arrived thru Qayamat Se Qayamat Tak. The long name was more prevalent as QSQT. And Amir Khan was the first of the Cuties of the late eighties. In 1989, Salman Khan made his entry. By 1991/92, Akshay Kumar, Saif Ali Khan and ShahRukh Khan (etc) gave the industry a new economics.

But the old-timers were still selling. Prominent stars like Mithun, Dharmendar, Jeetender, Amitabh Bachchan (etc) strategically propped themselves against heroines half their age.

The new crowd might idolize the old stars but there is an identification issue. A Fifty-ish Hero, looking like thirty-ish, can kiss a twenty-ish Heroin on screen. But still. The audience knows. And the after taste is not zesty.

Presently, Khan and Co. are all pushing late 40’s. The demography who grew with them have also aged similarly. And, who knows. The aging fans might be switching to the younger side. Also, the demography who were born during late eighties and early nineties are the new crowd. Clearly, they will want a face and body to romance.

So the time has come for the new order. Ranbir Singh has made his mark. He is good. But yesterday I saw “Hasee Toh Phasee”. And I must say, Sidharth Malhotra has a presence.

The scope of this blog was to discuss the Hero side of the movie ecosystem. My idea is to make guesses on who all will replace the Khan and Co. In other words, who will get the Deepikas and the Parineetis.

P.S. Remember, a decade or so back, we had similar dilemma- Who will get Aishwarya, Salman or Vivek!

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Lone Survivor

You must have seen many action movies. Let’s put that on one side. Now here’s a new one – Lone Survivor. This one’s different. Trust me.

Though the movie has some American bias, still the Taliban side of action is not discounted. While watching, you may get a feeling that the “villains” gave back as good, if not better.

But the fire-fights are filmed with lots of staccato. There is precision in that mess. It is not gory. But it is not un-impactful either.

In the end, they relate the actors with pictures of real American fighters. You will sit through this movie right up-to the very end.

P.S. While watching this movie at Grovels, and towards the end, the usher opened the exit door expecting the usual rush-outs of audiences. Though few in numbers, none left. It was pretty touching towards the end.

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The Wolf of Wall Street

It may have been 1990 when the stock market bug bit my father. In those days there was no online thing in India. There were sub-brokers everywhere. I saw one of sub-brokers when my father took me along for his usual purchase of shares. I had instant dislike of this sub-broker.

He was sitting in his tiny office surrounded by piles of investment forms, some of the bundles almost encroached the road outside. My father was not alone. There were other losers too, briskly filling up some stupid forms to buy into fortune. Then, atop those forms, they stapled a crossed cheque of a certain amount. While doing this great act they sat around that Gab and listened to his unending moral-boosters. He was a sure-fire know-it-all mother-fucker. Little did those wizened bastards knew, while filling those toilet papers, that the sub was fucking their heads.

It took Harshad Mehta to give the idiots the first lesson in 1992. Probably, most of those form fillers were wiped out. I still have no idea how much money my father lost. But we still have piles of share certificates in plastic sheets abandoned in an old Godrej Almirah.

The lessons were not learnt. Damania came along with shares – the best hood winking device of the nineties. I think it still is. Anyway, being a loyal employee I got my quota. The case to note here is – my father who never supported my decision on any matter like sports or studies or hobbies, had extra enthusiasm to buy those shares and later got me interested in the rights issue of those shares. Mr. Damania probably got this early – some people can be fucked all the time.

By 1997 there was an Asian financial crisis which took many companies under. But by that time the smart asses had already exited the market. The ass-holes, again, were left holding defunct scrips and sagging dicks.

Cut to present time – Trying to relax from my Power-Walks I hit the theater to watch Sholey in 3D and Wolf of Wall Street. It is the later movie which has provoked me to write this. I also have memories of Sholey with which I will return later.

If you are interested to glimpse what happens behind the scene in any stock market, you must watch this movie. I am absolutely sure that it happens the way it is depicted. It is made interesting with all the horny orgies of the broker side of the story. But the movie starts with and implies throughout the gullibility of the believers.

The movie begins with lessons by a veteran in a restaurant demonstrating the unrealities of the speculative world.

The movie ending is significant too. The thrill of taking the investor’s ass is so enticing that the Broker refuses to quit. He changes tactics.

The Movie – Wolf of Wall Street is based on a book by Jordan Belfort, a convicted fraud of the stock market turned motivational speaker.

Tweedledum and Tweedledee !

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Ideas from Fiction

Most of my readings hover around Non-Fiction, mainly History, Military History, Biographies. Very rarely I stray towards fiction. My last read on fiction (which is also not entirely fiction) was Shantaram. Later I saw a CNN interview with the author – Gregory Roberts and I agree with what he said on writing – that Novel writing is an art and it means, “entering the readers mind, touching their soul”.

I just read a book – Why we Write by Meredith Maran. The book introduces twenty writers of various genres who talk about their writings, their motivations, their coping with the problem of actually sitting down to write. Two things become clear. The reason to write is both unique and common. Unique because every writer has one or more compelling reasons to type out his words. Common because all writers agree that writing is drudgery.

Stephen King in his book -On Writing- says that we don’t really know from where our writing comes from. I know it’s true. I just write and the very act of writing makes me search my thinking and tapping the letters on my iPad brings forth My Writing. For me, there is no “Which is first- Egg or Chicken” dilemma. For me it’s writing first and through this I dock with new thoughts. One day I will meet my best seller.

As I wait, I hustle with thoughts of great writer’s thoughts on writing. Also, I am reading them after I have some Ten Years of regular writing and then 5 more years of fits-and-starts. I haven’t been consistent but I love the idea of being a Prolific Writer.

I’m reading Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. I’m reading this because firstly, I forced myself to try fiction after an interval and secondly, the book’s first chapter got me. In fact, the publisher in me bought the book after, I think, one and half page. I am impressed when words paint a picture for me. Subtle descriptions of a scene makes me visualise the story. This is what I will call a successful story.

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Who Has Power

Who is powerful. Before this, one has to define power. Not from the point of view of any dictionary but by what we think is power. This can be subjective. 

For me, a person has power if he knows powerful people. I don’t intend to hit an unending loop. There are institutions headed by someone who gains power by his virtue of his being there at the top. He is the “approval” kind of a guy. All papers, decisions, what-next, falls on this guy. “I have to call him”, or “have you called him” or “I have spoken to him”, “as per him” – the constant reference to HIM begets HIM the power. Now, if you know HIM, you have the power of whatever you want to make use of HIM.
Likewise, there are several burocracy- created people, who are powerful till alive or retirement. The power of one man increases in direct proportion of how many of them he knows.
Now what is meant by “he knows so-and-so”. Even a parliament Chai-walla (not NaMo) knows the Prime Minister. Yes, that Chai-wallah can be powerful but in a certain sort of way. A Chai-Wallah can bring to the table a Chai and his power extends that much. A Chai for a Chai or probably less. A Chai walla in your office can provide you Chai then, for some limited period, use your office PC to surf Internet or use you phone to call his wife in jhumrilallaia. 
Hence, powers I muster is the powers I get on the table. That means, powerful are first powerful themselves – whether it’s an ownership of Chai or Television Channel. 
If I know someone who knows the Police Chief, an MLA or an MP, a tevelanglist Lawyer, Arnab et al –  to use his powers I need to have equivalent powers. In other words, I can use him to the extent of how much I can be used by him. 
Off hand, I can remember Malcom Gladwel’s one book (I think Tipping Point) where he calls such people – Mavans. You just have to know this One Great Guy. And he knows a hundred thousand. He can move things for you – definitely at a cost of Money or influence- mostly influence for all money is in influence.
So what can be concluded at the end of it is one should use time and energy to gain power. Your power depends on what you can give and how you can leverage that value to take what is desired. Remember, power is exchanged with power. Money is power if one gets onto a zone where there is power. Money buying a clerk who passes your goods without tarif is power. Money buying Smart Phones is dumb. 
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Hello Paul Walker, Do I know you….

Paul Walker died. The star of the Fast and the Furious. It doesn’t make any difference to me because I know neither. Today is the day when I hear his name first time though I have come across the name the fast and the furious. 

I want to analyse the feeling. Why is it so that the death of an individual make no impact on me. And I have concluded that this is because of how much emotional investment I have done on the person (any living being), place or thing.
Let me take an example. A few months back a bylane near our house went for concretization. Now there used to be a broken man-hole pipe stuck on the rain water drain by the side of the road. During the process of road-repair it disappeared. 

I had fond memories of that because often when I returned after a night of heavy drinking I sat on it to “cool off” and smoke a few cigarettes. I have emotional investment on that “Throne” and I poignantly remember all the good times I spent sitting on it. 
So, even when the matter does not reciprocate (or does it) , our own emotional investments makes us feel that nearness. A loss is mourned when the entity which necessitates the emotional link is no longer in that particular state.
Now, this appears like some Theorem. But I just set out to explain myself why I am not touched at all by Paul Walkers death.
Now suppose, due to some reason, I begin to explorer his life. I see his Fast and the Furious, I check out his life and living and suppose, his life resonates with mine. Not many. Probably his quirks are so like me. Recently, I was reading a blog of a certain someone and many of her habits and incidents where so similar to mine. This is another way where, after the person has passed away or the person does not know you, you can still start a emotional bond.
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A PSALM OF LIFE – Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807-1882)

    
        In the bivouac of Life, 
    Be not like dumb, driven cattle ! 
        Be a hero in the strife !

    Lives of great men all remind us 
        We can make our lives sublime, 
    And, departing, leave behind us 
        Footprints on the sands of time ;

    Let us, then, be up and doing, 

        With a heart for any fate ; 
    Still achieving, still pursuing, 
        Learn to labor and to wait.

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Shoulders by Naomi Shihab Nye

A man crosses the street in rain,
stepping gently, looking two times north and south,
because his son is asleep on his shoulder.

No car must splash him.
No car drive too near to his shadow.

This man carries the world’s most sensitive cargo
but he’s not marked.
Nowhere does his jacket say FRAGILE,
HANDLE WITH CARE.

His ear fills up with breathing.
He hears the hum of a boy’s dream
deep inside him.

We’re not going to be able
to live in this world
if we’re not willing to do what he’s doing
with one another.

The road will only be wide.
The rain will never stop falling.

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