japan_earthquake_tsunami_infographic

Wordless Thursday – Japan, The Earthquake and the Tsunami

Hi all, Its Thursday again, and this week on wordless Thursday, I would like to present the Infographic that would describe the Japanese Earthquake and Tsunami. Yes, its a not a very pleasant event and we all need to help and donate to help rebuild Japan. Already having faced the wrath of the A-Bombs of America, I don’t think they need to go through another disaster. However, nature has subjected them to it, and we need to help. This Infographic is just to be able to give an extent of the disaster, so that you can see for yourself and help if possible.

Via [Cool Infographics]
screen-shot-2011-03-23-at-1-06-32-am

Will Amazon do to Android what Google could not (in the middle east)

A few weeks back I wrote about how Google might be killing Android in Dubai, not directly but indirectly. The mistake of Google of not telling users here in the middle east that Google Market is not part of the Android offering, and the Handset manufacturers are the bigger scammers (read Samsung, LG, HTC), not publicizing the Android App Market, but not letting users even see it. But for all those guys who have had some trouble getting apps from the app store, especially here in the middle east or anywhere Android Market is not available, here is an option. The Amazon App Store.

You read that right, a company that does not really have anything to do with the Android until now, has an App Market that rivals the one from Google itself. The advantage that it provides over the Android Market is simple, access to the vast bank of Android Apps that are available in the app store. Although they have been sued by Apple for using the word App Store, Amazon has gone ahead with the release of the software for android phones. With the launch, they have also launched a new feature called test drive, which lets customers like us experience the app before buying it. This along with the great recommendation engine and app discovery feature make this one of the best app stores around. You can also shop in the Amazon App store online using your computer and sync the same with the device when you open the app. The service is just great.

The greatest news for the guys in the middle east will be that apart from the free apps, they will now have access into the paid apps for Android. This is possible with the 1 Click check out feature that many of us are already used to here, ordering from Amazon. So the Android user who is excited and wants to get this software, here is how you can do it. First of all visit the following link : http://www.amazon.com/mobile-apps/b?ie=UTF8&node=2350149011

Forget about the warning that says App store is available only in the United States, enter your email address at the right of the screen and click go. You should see an email with the link to the App as well as the step by step process to install it. Here is the screen below.

Download the application and install it on your phone. Once you are done installing , login with your Amazon Username and password and you are good to go. I have used it on my Nexus one and have not yet bought a paid app. However, the free apps are downloading just fine and working great. Looking forward to what’s next ? A Tablet from Amazon like the Kindle, or even another phone from Amazon this time. Why not, even Micromax in India has an Android Phone. Amazon has built the app store that Android should have had from the beginning. (And the free app a day ploy is genius.) What Google does next will be interesting. Do they embrace what Amazon has done? Or do they shun it in fear? But at the end of the day, this may well be Amazon eating Google’s lunch — off of their own plate. Well let’s just hope that this competition brings about better experience for us customers and better apps into the market place.

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Wordless Thursday – 15 Things you did not know about the dead

Death is not the best topic in the world, but still for Wordless Thursday this week is 15 things that you did not know about the dead. Did you know that a human head stays conscious for 15 – 20 seconds after decapitation ? and a cockroach up to 9 days ? Interesting facts that you might have not thought about or had no idea about at all are portrayed in this interesting info graphic.

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April Fools is round the corner, here are some tricks for you

It’s nearly the end of march and soon, that dreaded day where people play some pranks on each other will be here. And to be prepared this time around I started looking at some interesting options that are really different or maybe some that you have not tried. I thought that just a list of geeky pranks would be like last year, if you missed that, here is the link for the post from last year. Last years list was of some harmless computer pranks, this year I am going to put up a longer list, from geeky to the regular pranks. Before we get there, why should we attempt pranks ? Well it’s that day of the year when we are given the freedom to do it without too many repercussions of the prank itself.

Even the larger software companies do it, Google with all its products and fan base is the biggest company that does it. I guess it makes them feel like a young small company and not the giant like it is. I guess it’s the same with me too, pranks would let me reminiscent the good old college days where all of us would want to go back to. Let me get into the list and its details. So here’s the list :

Kidnapped

Take an item from the victim’s office (something they use a lot such as a special coffee cup, stapler, pencil cup, etc.). Take a picture of the item and leave it on the victim’s desk (in the same spot where the item was located), along with a “ransom” note.

Wake Up

If your target uses a powerbar with their computer try this one. Get aportable radio and plug it into the Powerbar. Turn off the powerbar then turn the radio volume to really loud. When they can’t figure out why their computer has no power – they will turn on the power bar and get a big surprise.

I Hate Those Guys

Whatever your target hates (Like a certian Sports Team or Politician) – post their entire office with posters or promo stuff clebrating that hated thing.

Dripping Cup

Poke some small holes in the paper water cups so that next person that gets a drink of water will have some bonus sprinkles.

Food Stealers

Take pictures of you spitting on the food or rubbing the food on a dog’s bum. Leave photos on counter after the theft and in plain sight for everyone to see.

Good Eats in the Garbage Trick

Hide potato chips or any other kind of food in a bag and put it in the garbage. When someone comes by, spot the “Find” and then dive in and eat away. Ask them if they think it is bad to eat from a garbage.

Change your Clothes

Tell everyone but your target to bring a couple of changes of clothes to work. Then walk by your target with a different set of clothes on every time.

Change the Location

If you have a coworker that is extremely picky about the placement of their work materials, adjust them ever so slightly every day. It may be work tools, pens, supplies, computer monitor anything else in their work area.

The Award

If anybody wins an award send out a fake memo that the award has been discontinued.

Who’s Calling?

Leave a note on the victim’s desk that “Mr. Lyon” called for them (Mr. Behr also works) and wants to be called back as soon as possible.  Make sure to include the phone number of a local zoo as the call back number!

Important Papers

Take random papers from the recycling bin (it doesn’t matter what they way but it is better if they look important) staple pages together in random order and put them in a coworkers desk file drawer or their mailbox.  For better results, make a memo sheet (or a post-it) that says “Confidential” and watch the coworker going nuts trying to figure out what it means.

Taking Notes

Replace the victim’s pens with pens that have caps super-glued to them.  Another alternative includes painting the tips of pens or pencils with clear nail polish. When they try to write, none of the pens will work.  The nail polish can be later removed by dipping tips in polish remover.

More pranks here.

I want you to turn off your cell phone

Cell Phone Etiquette – someone should really make some rules

Cell Phones are everywhere; nearly all of us have one. In fact during an earlier post on wordless Thursday, we did manage to look at the overall numbers of cell phones and usage statistics which were quite shocking. So, it is absolutely great right, everyone has a cell phone, loved ones are closer? Yes it is. But like everything good in this world when it comes to technology, there is a dark side. Cell phone etiquette.

People somehow do not really seem to know when is it acceptable and not acceptable to use a cell phone. Although I know some of you might think that it’s a free world and there are no written rules for cell phone usage, I still believe that some people should have. Mind you I am not talking about life safety here, like talking on the phone while driving, or using your phone during your wedding anniversary (ask me, it is life threatening), but generally using the phone, the when, where and how. Good cell phone etiquette involves following some simple guidelines of common courtesy when using a cell phone in public, designed to make those spaces enjoyable to all.

I want you to turn off your cell phone

All of us have been annoyed by the guys who talk like their voice would reach the other person even without the phone, the guys who think that technology is still in the late 80’s where we had to scream into the mouthpiece of a wired phone, inside a booth lovingly also known as the Standard Trunk Dial Booth (STD). Yes, we are told the issues that they have even if we don’t really want to hear about it. Be it Private conversations, arguments of details of meetings or even what they just are, things that don’t really want to know. Add to this inappropriate ringtones in places where they are not to be used.

People these days put up sign boards for people not to use their cell phones in certain places, like places of worship, government offices, meetings etc. But you do have the regular rings from the careless people. So people have actually got fed up and have started installing cell phone jammers in these places. These devices knock cell phone users off their lines and prevent a reconnection with the cell tower until the user wanders out of range. The rate at which jammers are selling speaks to the lack of manners among the chatters. If you’re wondering what you can do to contribute to a more polite society, cell phone etiquette can be boiled down to 7 simple guidelines according to me:

1. When a Private Conversation Isn’t Possible. Intimate public settings such as restaurants, public restrooms, waiting rooms, hallways, buses, subways or anywhere a private conversation is not possible is a bad place for a cell phone conversation. To practice good cell phone etiquette, put the ringer on vibrate or silent mode and let the call roll over to voice mail. If it’s an important call, step outside or to a secluded area to return the call. If that’s not possible and you must take the call, keep your voice low and the conversation brief. Let the caller know you’ll get back to them when you’re able.

2. Lights Out, Phone Off. Phones should be turned off in movie theaters, playhouses, observatories or any other public place that creates an atmosphere to transport the imagination of the audience. People pay good money to be entertained and a ringer breaks the illusion.

3. Modulate Your Voice. Cell phones have sensitive microphones that can pick up a very soft voice while blocking out ambient noise. Yelling into a cell phone is not necessary. When people are nearby, be considerate and keep your voice low, your tone unemotional and even, and your conversation private. Arguing or airing dirty laundry in public is very poor human behavior let alone cell phone etiquette.

4. Observe the 10-foot Proximity Rule. Maintain a distance of at least 10-feet (3 meters) from the nearest person when talking on a cell phone. No matter how quietly you speak, if standing too close to others they are forced to overhear your personal business.

5. Love the One you’re with. It’s rude to take a cell phone call on a date or during a social engagement with others. It’s also inconsiderate to take a call in the middle of a conversation. If the caller were present he or she would likely wait to politely interrupt at a more appropriate time. Let the call roll to voice mail and return it later.

6. Drive Now, Talk Later. Multitasking isn’t always a good thing. Some evidence shows that accidents are on the rise due to cell phone use. Most calls can wait until you’ve reached your destination, and if a call is upsetting or distracting pull over to have the conversation.

7. Use Common Sense. Turn off your phone before a job interview, presentation, or boardroom meeting. Leave it off at funerals, weddings, or anyplace a quiet atmosphere is mandated, such as a courthouse, library, museum, or place of worship.

Cell phone etiquette is just a matter of being considerate of others, which pays off for everyone; sooner or later.

 

job-hunt

RESUME, C.V. and BIO-DATA – The difference

I know I write a lot of technical happenings in the world, but one topic of mine that you will see coming through every once in a while is the topic of Resumes, Business Cards and such. I believe like most of you would that these resumes, business cards etc are more or less like an advertisement for yourself. Consider yourself as a brand; these would definitely be on the top of the list of the marketing materials for the brand. If you look it up, the process of creating a personal brand statement is increasing exponentially within the design community. However, there is nothing stopping form anyone creating a personal brand about you. After no one loves you more than yourself right?? Oh don’t worry I am not questioning is any of us is being a megalomaniac, just that we care about how we are perceived, in terms of looks behavior, mannerisms etc. So these documents should reflect the same. But before I go into what I think is the right and wrong approach and what we can do to increase awareness etc, I want to point out the difference between the above 3 documents if you may.

People use the words RESUME, C.V., and BIO-DATA interchangeably for the document highlighting skills, education, and experience that one submits when applying for a job. On the surface level, all the three mean the same. However, there are intricate differences as I found out and as I would like to share.

RESUME

If you look up the meaning of the word, you will see that RESUME is actually French for summary. So ideally this document should be a summary of one’s employment, education and skill set. This would help in applying for a new job. Ideally a Resume being a summary should not exceed 1 or 2 pages. The idea of a Resume is not to have a list of all your educational experience, skill set and experience. On the contrary, the Resume is to identify only the specific skills customized to target the job that you are applying for.

Additionally a Resume should be broken down into bullets, and importantly is written in third person to appear formal and objective. I think the third person writing, was initially written as a summary of one’s skills etc, by another person who would have to be the person used as a reference of your work, and credibility. Not sure if I really like the concept of third person writing though.

An ideal structure of a Resume in this case then would have to be

  • Brief Summary of Qualifications [ Relevant to the job]
  • Areas of Strength or Industry Expertise Keywords
  • Relevant Professional Experience in reverse chronological order
  • Personal Affiliations, Computer Skills and Education

While writing the experience it would be of at most importance to focus on the most recent experiences and prior experiences summarized.

C.V. or Curriculum Vitae

This document is a lot more like what most of us have. The C.V or Curriculum Vitae is a Latin word meaning Course of life. And as the name says it would be a lot more detailed than the RESUME, wherein it would include details of a regular or particular course of study pertaining to education and life.

This contents of this document is not restricted by the size of the document itself, meaning it can be as long as you wish it would be. However, I would not suggest a 50 page booklet talking about that neighborhood cricket tournament you won, or that dance competition during Holi in Mumbai. Keeping in with the skills related to work that you have acquired over the years showing the progression of work, this document would be a course of your life, academically and professionally.

This is not written in third person. This would be as if you were telling a person what you have been up to and what you are capable of. So ideally a structure of this document would have to be a bit different.

  • A detailed summary of qualification in terms of courses, affiliations etc
  • All areas of strength including every skill set acquired over time
  • Professional experience in terms of al professional jobs undertaken ( could include part time jobs as well) in chronological order.
  • Educational Qualifications with possible marks put in
  • Professional Affiliations
  • Courses and Seminars attended
  • Computer skills and interests
  • Personal information and References

A CV is then a document that shows your general talent and not just be restricted to the specific skills for any specific positions. As you can see it’s like putting your professional and academic life on paper.

BIO-DATA

This is a very Indian term, seldom used in countries outside the sub continent. The BIO-DATA or Biographical Data is the sort of Old fashioned term used for Resume of CV. But more importantly the emphasis in a bio data is on personal particulars like date of Birth, Religion, Caste, Race, Nationality, Residence, Marital Status and so on and so forth. For those of you who did not know, some of us Indians are quite racist when it comes to us Indians.

The government supports the fact, to the extent of having reservations for certain religions, casts etc. One of the reasons that this information would be required as part of your job skill sets. This BIO-DATA is used mostly for applying to Government Jobs in India, as you can imagine. Apart from the personal information, this would have the regular information as well and the structure of such a document would be:

  • Personal Information
  • Chronological listing of Education
  • Chronological listing of experience
  • Professional Accreditations, affiliations
  • Specific Skill sets (may or may not be included)

The BIO-DATA these days are slowly coming back as specific formats that companies want to collect information about applying candidates, mostly these are in the form of Online Applications to be filled by the candidate.

Usage

Usage of these documents would be based on the company’s preferences. It is not uncommon to have a RESUME and a CV available to provide it to companies; in fact most people have multiple versions of Resumes for various jobs. The C.V however cannot be altered too much and would just be updated.

A resume is usually used while applying for middle and senior level positions, where experience and specific skills rather than education is important. Resumes present a summary of highlights and allow the prospective employer to scan through the document visually or electronically, to see if you would fit in the position that they have.

A C.V on the other hand is perfect for fresh graduates applying as freshers, inters etc. This as the companies would not really have another form of gauging the caliber of the candidate as they are just outside college.

Like I said the Bio Data is used only in India while applying for Government jobs, research grants etc. They come in handy at the back of a book that you are trying to author maybe ;)

Variations

The variations to the above would be Online CV, Visual CV, and Visual Resume etc which I have written on this blog before as well. For an online Resume you can check out the one I have here are http://melvinpereira.com. I am working on a Online CV and I will share it when done.

 

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World’s Cheapest Android Phone – IDEOS

From the beginning of the Android ecosystem, a lot of people have been pushing Android to be the one competitor that can match the flexibility and the feature list of the iOS (iPhone) ecosystem. And all of them have been right, it is everything that a competitor needs to be for the iPhone. Its robust, has the apps, more updates, better online connectivity and great hardware from various manufacturers to match the price.

I have been singing the same song as well, however in the past few months I have also pondered over the possibility of Android overtaking Symbian for world wide mobile phone domination :) Now I am completely convinced that the Android operating system would be ideal to replace the Symbian operating system. First of all you would ask me why ? Well first and foremost its free, open source and not connected to any big player (Google is not evil on this blog) with an agenda. Secondly, the cost of development on the android is on a steady decline making it cheaper to develop specific applications etc for the Android simpler, cost effective and viable. This makes Android an awesome competition to the Symbian. But most Symbian phones (the Nokias) are made for the less expensive markets, and Android Phones tend to be expensive.

Most Android Phones, tend to be expensive because of the touch screen, and related hardware. Most phones that Nokia provides for the less expensive markets do not really have touch screens, wi fi or other expensive components. So, your next question would be is it remotely possible to have an android phone today that is not expensive. The answer to that question is yes.

I just received an email from a social media marketing firm windchimes.co.in, introducing me to this product. Normally I am not one who writes reviews for the sake of writing it, but I looked at the phone and the features that it packed. I wanted to write about it. Enter, IDEOS from Huawei, yes those guys who are famous for networking components. Why was I exited, first of all its the world’s cheapest Android Phone that still includes the touch screen and related features. Yes, its not as cheap as your Nokia 3200 which does not have any smartphone features, but this is comparable to any real smart phone. To tell you more about what got me exited, here are some specifications of the phone.

The IDEOS X5

  • 3.8” 800×480 TFT Capacitive Touch
  • Support multi-touch
  • Auto rotate (G-sensor)

Connectivity

  • BT 2.1 (A2DP)
  • Micro USB (High Speed USB)
  • A-GPS/Compass
  • 3.5mm audio jack
  • 4G Memory

Frequency

  • UMTS 900/2100MHz
  • HSUPA 5.76Mbps,HSDPA 7.2Mbps (U8800)
  • HSUPA 5.76Mbps,HSPA+ 14Mbps(U8800H)

Battery1500mAh Lithium PolymerCore Value

  • HSPA speed with high performance
  • High quality video playback
  • Capture 720p real life

Internet

  • Google Native browser
  • Streaming Audio & Video
  • Support more markup (XHTML/HTML/WML)

Media

  • 5 Mega pixel Camera AF with Flash
  • 720p Video recording and playback
  • SRS professional audio effect

Applications

  • GMS (like Google Mail, Google talk, Youtube )
  • Google Maps with street view
  • Integrated phonebook with Facebook
  • E-book reader: Aldiko
  • Smart search Local & Internet : Servo Search
  • Office & PDF reader: Roadsync
  • Microsoft® Exchange Email solution : Roadsync

Here is an extract of the press statement that they had made.

… an affordable smartphone powered by the latest iteration of AndroidTM2.2 (also known as ‘Froyo’). The smartphone is priced between US$100 and US$200, depending on the market. IDEOS redefines the “entry-level” concept by combining high-quality hardware and software with a high price-to-performance ratio. IDEOS will be released in a number of countries across Europe, Asia-Pacific, North America and Latin America. …

… it boasts downlink speeds of more than 7.2Mb/s, offers WCDMA + WiFi dual network support, and offers ubiquitous mobile broadband services. The device also doubles as a WiFi router for up to eight devices at a time, making IDEOS an all-in-one solution for a range of wireless connectivity options…

Here are some videos of the phone concept and some features as well.

The Story of IDEOS

Official videos of the Phone

You can check out more videos on their YouTube channel here : http://www.youtube.com/HuaweiIdeosIndia. If you are interested to read more about the Phones, you can check out the website here : IDEOS Website. More about Huawei here.

Remembering the past 7 years, professionally

Not so long ago I completed a hefty 7 years in Dubai, and I have loved most of my stay here. Physically, Personally and professionally I have grown in Dubai, it has been more of an all round development if you can call it that. Having worked very little in India, most of my current professional development has happened in this city. Even now I can remember the time when I was arguing with y folks about not coming into this city, as I thought this was not what I was meant to do, I wanted to work in India, server the nation in what ever way possible. But, fate it seems is not without a sense of irony. I came to Dubai to find it being difficult initially and then as time passed, easier. Like the famous quote from the Movie 7 years in Tibet, Dubai was more than what I had thought initially.

A place rich with all the strange beauty of your nighttime dreams.

From gaining loads of weight, to getting married I have been given new things at every turn in Dubai. Meeting with my ex boss Mr. Thomas changed my professional life fr the better. I was introduced to a world of possibilities, where new technology was the norm and thinking about the future was essential to be in business. The Inquisitive Mind was nurtured and grown in this city, hence the blog as well. The particular focus of this blog was far from just self recognition, the concept of the blog was to share my insights into technology and future thinking mapped with the developments around the world.

In between all of this if there was one particular aspect of mine that has taken shape the most it had to be the professional side. As an engineer finding my bearings in the city to an experienced project manager, the projects I have worked on has really helped along the way. So here’s a small homage of sorts to the various important projects that I have had the good fortune of working on. The best part of working in Dubai in construction is that most projects are unique and high-profile and you are provided with videos that help show what you have been working on. So here is the videos that are available for the projects that I have worked on. (Not all projects used).

Dubai International Airport – Terminal 3, Concourse 2 and Car Park

I worked on this project in various capacities over the years, (5 years in Total) and this is the best of the lot, with a built up area of over 16 Million Square feet, this is the largest building in the world, and the biggest I might ever work on. Emirates has some brilliant videos for this project. Check them out below:

Burj Dubai – Burj Khalifa

Being the tallest building in the world will definitely bring in a lot of recognition to the people involved in the construction. Here are some videos from the Burj Khalifa.

Atlantis, Dubai

Another landmark in Dubai, my involvement for Atlantis, the Palm was very small. But it was there nevertheless. Here are a few videos about the Atlantis.

Dubai Metro

The world’s longest autonomous metro, no manual intervention in the trains. All communications working in the central control room.

I can maybe write another post on the rest for next time. But for the time being, will sign off with these architectural marvels.

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The Earthquake, Tsunami and how the world has changed

First of all, my heart felt condolences to all those who have lost lives and property in the earthquake that just happened in Japan today. It is considered the 5th largest one since 1900, from when we started keeping serious track of these earth quakes. This time however, the effect of something like the world’s 5th largest earthquake is not bringing in as much news of destruction and loss. Its an absolutely fantastic thing to happen, so what has changed ? A few years ago if there would have been an event like this one in a place like Japan, where cities have some of the highest density of people on the planet, there would be more loss of life and property.

What has had an impact is the engineering and the government codes and standards. These are the unsung heroes of Japan, who might or might not be recognized in the near future, but should be. Having spend the last 7 years in the building industry, I know how incredibly difficult it gets sometimes for engineers and architects to keep with the budgets, while maintaining budgets. Japanese architects and engineers have since mastered the art, with the infamous Japanese Engineering. Like testing entire building strengths for Earthquake proofing, or designs like the door above that works as a shield in terms of an earthquake.

Apart from the fact that the building codes and standards are helping with the incident, the other part is the way the digital world has evolved, from providing up to date information on the quake on Twitter right up until, videos on YouTube and Facebook. Videos Like these below have been showing up on Youtube and Facebook at the rate of  hundreds per hour.

But the real power of Social Media was not really shown by Twitter or Facebook, but the miracle of Social Media happened when Google showed up to help.

Unlike companies who are providing condolences on their website, Google has reacted to the devastating 8.9 magnitude earthquake that hit Japan with a tool that helps you find a person or provide information on missing persons. The site also aggregates important resources, maps and other related information.

Google has previously used the Person Finder tool. The Japan earthquake version of the tool currently lists about 5,500 records, but the number is rising quickly as news about the catastrophe spreads around the world. Although the tool can be useful for finding information about a friend or a loved one, Google warns users that it doesn’t review or verify the accuracy of the data.

Google’s Crisis Center also shows a map of the earthquake, the latest related news and lists link to warning centers, disaster bulletin boards, and train and blackout information. Another example of why I love Google, and how a complete City Wide Data Management can be achieved through some of Google’s tools.

5 jobs you did not know could be outsourced

Business models are all around us, people all the time talk about doing something apart from your real job to actually find something to provide with a second source of income. One of the ways you can make some money is by helping someone with a service you are good at, s that they can pay you for it. Outsourcing in other words. Basically outsourcing in the broad sense could be interpreted as ‘sourcing’ services or products ‘outside’ of your normal routine business line.

The buzz word in India is Outsourced, so much so that jobs lost to Outsourcing in Bangalore got their own word in the dictionary, Bangalored. Initially I was annoyed, but then proud that Bangalore is featured in more places around the world not just for software development (which in itself is outsourced work). Moving on, Outsourcing solutions, call centers, engineering etc is one thing. People who like the concept sometimes have taken it a step too far. Of course when it comes to taking things too far creatively, we Indians are hardly featured. Most of these examples are from the US, and am sure that if someone thinks of doing them seriously else where, they might accumulate income doing it. Like they say, if someone is will to pay money for a service there is always someone else ready to do it.  Here are 5 interesting examples :

5. Fake Paparazzi to make others feel that you are important and famous

There is no better way to let the world know you have arrived, then have paparazzi follow you around. From being pinned to the death of princess Diana, right up to making Paris Hilton famous. But this service makes you think how genuine most of these Paparazzi are actually ? The Insider magazine reported of such a service operational, on further research I stumbled upon Celeb4aday the service that allows you to have fake paparazzi follow you around for as little as $500.

Basically, you schedule a time and place, and the company sends its photographers out to call out your name, barrage you with questions and take endless photos of you. It has packages starting at $500 for 30 minutes of irritation and going all the way up to a heroic $2,500 for two full hours. With that package, you also get a bodyguard to protect you from the fake paparazzi, a publicist to field the fake questions for you, a limo, a fake gossip magazine with you on the cover and after the whole thing is over a DVD with a handful of the pictures that your pretend entourage took of your’s.

It might get you noticed, but publicity, I think is a long distance away. Anyway, I guess that some of the struggling Bollywood stars could use this service. Although you could get a bunch of friends do it for you for lesser maybe.

4. Alibi service

If you are into something that you don’t really want people to know about, you always need to have handy alibi’s ready. Alibi’s can range from covering up your tracks when you are caught with something as simple as not being in the office on a particular day to a court case. Generally people rely on their general knowledge, common sense and what they see like movies, series etc for inspiration. However backing up your story with hard evidence is something that everyone falls short of, cos more people knowing about the hoax, means that it can actually be leaked.

Now step in, the Alibi Network; It will come up with some crazy story like how you were actually going for a secret job interview, but on the way you were in a car crash; the hospital had to save your life, and you’re groggy from all the morphine — and you will have all the documents from the “hospital” and “job interview” to prove it. Its as if MI6 prepares documents for their spies a.k.a 007.

You can even get the company to help you fool potential employers into believing that you have attended certain classes and seminars to boost your resume. The prices run $75 and up, depending on how much effort is required to back up your story. One thing to note for sure is that these guys do not really help in criminal activities, although the entire operation somehow seems illegal for me.

3. Break Up with someone

Now your eyebrows are really going up, I can see. Breaking up with someone when a relationship goes sour is one of the hardest thing to do for most of us. Unless you are a person who is just there for a short stint, this is the part of a relationship that causes the most heart ache. The company iDUMP4U has decided to capitalize on your pain (or happiness, depending on which side of the breakup you’re on) by offering its services to dump your significant other. For a nominal fee of $10 for a basic breakup, $25 to call off an engagement and $50 to announce a divorce, they not only provide the service but also records the whole thing to play on its YouTube channel, providing your significant other with their 15 mins of fame as a parting gift.

The company’s online form provides an interesting warning, below.

“Remember, we are ASSHOLES … we dump people for a living. So if you feed us fake information, or wrong info, and waste our time. We will make fun of you on the web. That is what we do …”

Breaking up over the phone is something that is generally frowned upon, Facebook and twitter even worse. If that is the case then really this service should be rated the worst way to end a relationship with someone. However, it does let you get away from that awful deed yourself. Would you use it ?

2. Someone to wait in line for you.

Now we are down to the grand daddy’s of these outsourced services. Someone to wait in line for you. I don’t have enough words to describe how stupid this service really is. But the fact that they are operational and doing business should really shut me up. Standing in line is the bane of our over populated, overgrown life. We stand in line for everything, for the tickets for a match to even getting a decent cup of coffee at the Starbucks.

Most people including me, hate this. Imagine if someone would be your personal “line stander” to stand in lines for work. All you have to do is call this queuing agency in the U.K. called Q4U, and for 20 pounds an hour, you can get a full-time professional line-stander to hold your spot. This service is so poplar that companies in the US and Ukraine are also adopting it. There are also freelancers who get paid up to $1,000 for the particularly desperate — for instance, if you need tickets to the next Shah Rukh Khan movie on opening night. Yes, people are paying for this service.

1. A rented relative / friend / company

At some point in time we all have considered using an older friend as an uncle to visit the school / college and get you out of trouble. The idea is not really new, its being tried and tested in Indian movies many times over and with good result. However, the idea is not being used in India. But Japan. Yes those guys who are full of Zen Gardens and fans of Rajanikanth movies. Japan apparently has some of the most loneliest people in the world, maybe due to over indulgence in technology, social media or just plain fact that they as a society are growing apart. But the fact that a lot of people are lonely means that there would definitely have some people who would pay for someone else to talk to.

No listening to their sorrows, no being a weeping pole to others, but to have someone listening to you in the form of maybe friends, family or a relative. One such person-renting exchange occurs in places called Campus Cafes, where grown men pay to come and hang out with college girls. There’s no sex or groping involved — the men are literally paying money just to talk to girls about whatever. Hagemashi Tai (which is Japanese for “I want to cheer up”) is a friend-renting agency. You can hire one of its actors to act as just about anyone for just about any situation. For example, at a wedding in Saitama, Japan, the groom’s manager gave a heartfelt speech about how great a guy he was and how lucky everyone at the company was to have him. The thing is, this “manager” had never set eyes on the groom or anyone else in the wedding before. The groom hired him from the friend agency to the tune of about 20,000 yen.

It doesn’t stop with fake employers — you can rent people to play absolutely any part you want them to, for any occasion you see fit. You can hire a husband to tutor your kids and yell at the neighbors. You can rent yourself a father to walk you down the aisle at your wedding. You can pay someone to go to Disneyland with you. Creepiest of the lot !!

 

So what do you think ?

People always say, that if you are able to solve a problem for someone, then you can provide them with a service that they will pay for. This goes for Blogs, service industry professionals and also these extremely personal services. Its ridiculous to think that some of these services exist, but traditionally we are all known to use outsourced services in India, and even in Dubai. Household help to do your chores, tutors to help with the time in college where you were lazy enough to concentrate, and even chauffeurs to drive our cars. Would you really use any of these services if they opened in your city ?