Minus as a Megaupload alternative

MinusI loved Megaupload. It was my quick file sharing method of choice since it required no signup in order to upload (anonymous upload).

With the fact that Megaupload was based on anonymous upload, I really do not see how they can be held responsible for the content anonymous users send them. My business partner ran the scenario that he is a drug dealer and I am Kennards Hire, and if he stores drugs in a storage shed of mine even if he doesn’t pay me a cent, I can be held responsible for its contents, even though I have no reasonable grounds to search its contents (privacy). So how is data storage any different? Really, how is it because I don’t understand?

So anyway, Minus seems to be a really good alternative to Megaupload. It does require registration, however you just need to supply a username and password – all other fields are optional. You are limited to 50GB of uploads… but hey, whats stopping me from creating another account?

And all my posts to Minus are available from http://criten.minus.com

Indian web developers?

I’ve looked at this in the past and I’ve just tonight relooked at the potential solution again. I need to hire a web developer to assist myself with some of my web projects.

I’m not convinced that domestic developers offer a higher level of skill and expertise. John Larsen was featured in Slashdot today with his blog “Why I will never feel threatened by programmers in India”. I have interviewed potential domestic programmer employees in the past, and well, I can say the experience was virtually identical to when I posted some job ads in India (bar the Indian vs Australian names). The experience seemed to reaffirm to me that 90% of the IT Industry does not know IT, which is a huge problem when I’m paying some ones wage by the hour. Ultimately I will need to train any employee into the worker I want them to be, and this process will take years. After their training period is over I need to be careful the employee is retained as the trend with the IT industry is to gain experience then relocate.

I am concerned by the Australian governments choices with worker protection, with my position the reverse of most Australians, as an employer I want as much control to fire and pay as little as possible to any employee. Of course other considerations like employee satisfaction come into play, but ultimately with all expenses included, outsourcing to India is only a fraction of the cost.

oDesk, Guru.com and Talents From India all appear to be good sources of career seeking with Indian employees. Average wages seem to range from $6 to $15 USD per hour. Hiring an Australian on the alternative would have a minimum wage of nearly $20 AUD per hour and the employee would receive all sorts of extra rights like paid breaks, sick leave, etc. – which Indian workers do not ask for. Ultimately you could employ 5 Indians for the cost of one Australian.

Its absurd and racist to believe Indians, or anyone else from a foreign nation, has a lower level of skills as John Larsen has suggested. India does have its own local economies, and its own booming IT sector which seeks the attention of big businesses like Dell, HP & Telstra. While India remains a 3rd world country, there surely are Indians who believe in “doing a job right” which can be encouraged with job guarantees, salary bonuses, and interest and concern about the employees comfort of living.

I’ve had a long reputation with an Indian domain registrar and have found them to be absolutely wonderful. At one point when I was purchasing large volumes of domains I signed quite a few ex-GoDaddy customers who found my resold service from the Indian registrar was of a superior quality.

I also have frequent dealings with Exetel who have outsourced their technical support and agent teams to Sri Lanka. While sometimes I find a “useless employee”, this doesn’t seem all that different from when Exetel operated these teams from North Sydney.

So some time over the next month or two I will definitely hire a developer from India to work with me. My immediate concerns are giving the employee “small time work” and convincing them they want to please me with their work for the rewards they will receive from it, before later working on to some bigger more important works (which are crucial to remain totally confidential). I’ve recently signed a programming job which is no trouble for myself to complete, however if I hand it off to an Indian employee, it will likely cost me about 10% of what the customer has agreed to pay.

I’ve felt this for a long time that the Australian Government really needs to make changes to taxation in order to make Australia economically appealing again. Instead our Government only seems interested in adding further taxes that will set our industries backwards for no real advantage other than to make up for the current Governments shortcomings at the voters expense.

Money As Debt

Someone muttered to me today about how the banks make their money off interest. Unfortunately for them, I know this person is too arrogant to be taught anything. I said nothing.

It did make me think of monetary theory however, and how money is created not by reserve banks but commercial banks as people take out loans.

The following video explains it all better than I ever could:

No mobile tower on Woodlands Rd

In an update to an article I wrote 5 months ago, the tree hugging hippies have won and the local council decided to deny the development application for a mobile phone tower on Woodlands Rd.

I’m now wondering if the local council or the tree hugging hippies can be made liable for any injuries or deaths in the area where people have been unable to call Emergency 000 with their mobile phone.

I’ve voiced my protest in the form of rotten eggs to the front doors of the houses on Woodlands Rd where the tree hugging hippies live. Enjoy.

Microsoft shuts down Rustock botnet, Forbes lists Microsoft as ethical company

Microsoft and federal agents in the United States have conducted raids on hosting providers at 6 locations targetting “command and control” machines for the Rustock botnet in an effort to decapitate the botnet which is believed to have 1 million drone machines.

Employees of Microsoft’s digital crimes unit accompanied US Marshalls in the raids seizing computers and hard drives and is building a lawsuit against 11 unknown individuals believed to be responsible for the botnet.

"We think this has been 100% effective," said Richard Boscovich, senior attorney in Microsoft’s digital crimes unit.

Microsoft has conducted these raids because the spam generated by the Rustock botnet taxes resources on their Hotmail servers and impacts the Internet experience of users of Microsoft’s Office and Windows products. Its also likely Microsoft have conducted these raids for financial compensation.

Several days earlier Microsoft were added to Forbes World’s Most Ethical Companies list which is published yearly, although Forbes do not specify their reasoning in listing a company. It is however interesting that the likes of Apple, Intel or AMD are not on the list. I was surprised that Westpac and ANZ banks retained listing despite my experiences of bad customer service from ANZ and Westpac’s history of closing down branches in favour of ATMs.

Legal Injustice

I thought today I’d blog about legal injustice as a few things in recent months have bothered me.

I myself was once assaulted by a Police officer. I had an verbal altercation that was initiated by a neighbour at my work. There was a previous complaint of assault with this man. I was parked in the driveway for a matter of minutes and this blocked access to this neighbour. This prompted him to swear his head off at me and make threats of violence. I saw a Police officer and requested his assistance. He showed no interest in the altercation and proceeded to give me a parking fine. While disputing this parking fine with the officer this police man assaulted me. I was standing a metre away from him and was quite loud in my complaints. He shoved me. When questioned on why he assaulted me, he said I was invading his personal space. I complained to the Police area commander who showed no interest in the incident. I learnt then that if you have a complaint against NSW Police, you’re to complain to Police, which seems quite unfair and unjust, considering there was video surveillance footage of the entire incident.

Operating a business I also have from time to time been taken to the Consumer Trade and Tenancy Tribunal (also known as Dept. of Fair Trading). Every case I’ve won but its still a day or more of my time gone with no right for compensation for my time. I have a new case coming where I’ve offered a customer to collect their ordered product or a refund. The customer is not satisfied that I won’t provide numerous copies of the receipt or sign the receipt. I have no legal obligation to do this. So another wasted day in court.

Another problem at work is people parking in the driveway. If you call the Police about this issue they usually tell you that nothing can be done despite this document that states quite the opposite. If we lock the gate and happen to lock in a vehicle that was parked illegally, we’re in trouble, yet there is no issue of trespass? Apparently the entrance of every private property that does not contain fences in Australia must have a sign that says “Tow Away Area” – but convincing our estate agent to even maintain the building let alone install such a sign is something that cannot be done.

Another business owner I know last year was dragged over the counter by a customer. He called the Police about the assault. The Police refused to press charges on the basis that the customer intended to grab and steal a product rather than assault the retailer.

I have a very close friend who has a problem with alcohol and is on a road to recovery. They’ve had a couple run ins with the law in the past and yet no real help is given. On one incident she was sexually assaulted by several Police officers – however I’d already learnt there is no point complaining as the Police are self policing. It also seems very interesting that any call about her will see at least 6 Police officers turn up, yet for anyone else you’ll get 2.

Another incident she was very incoherent and suicidal yet despite the requests of her family and friends to be forcibly admitted to hospital for detox & suicide watch, this treatment was refused as they claimed she wasn’t drunk enough. She stated to Police she wanted to return home, and the Police had a duty of care to ensure she got there. So they dropped her off at the nearest Pub.

And the last incident she was so drunk she walked into an A-frame sign, fell on it, and was unable to stand up. The Police charged her with malicious damage despite the wishes of the owner of the sign. A witness who saw the incident was unable to be located so she plead guilty in court and in the end over a $250 sign that she paid to repair before going to court, she spent another $2,000 on legal fees and court fines.

There are quite some legal injustices in this country. When people tell me about problems overseas I laugh and tell them to focus on our own country.

Hot air from the NSW ALP

nswlaborWell the NSW State elections will be held on Saturday 26th of March 2011 so the political parties are starting up with their hype and propaganda.

So far I’ve only seen an ALP ad on TV which I found quite humorous.

The ALP is alleging that the Liberal Leader Barry O’Farrell intends to privatise electricity, water and ferries. They base this allegation on something that happened in 2008 – when Barry O’Farrell essentially refused to comment on their questions. Barry O’Farrell said “The one guarantee the public have is that before the next election, they’ll have our detailed energy policy.” Oh my! It certainly does sound like Liberal will privatise everything!

In addition this is the same ALP government that refused to build new electricity & water assets despite large shortages, and instead opted to build a water desalination plant at Kurnell which is the most expensive method to produce clean drinking water.

They’ve also stated they will provide households with $250 per year for electricity bills. Thats nice, but why don’t you do something about the price of electricity, such as commit to building new power plants.

The ALP also have attacked the Liberals for taking funding from tobacco companies and outlined their own actions against smoking. I’m not sure I agree that any of it has helped reduce the number of people who smoke, or serviced the state in any way, and therefore is money flushed down the toilet. Why does it matter where funding comes from? The ALP doesn’t seem to have any problem fraudulently declaring funding from property developers.