Interesting reads

This is some stuff I’ve read recently and thought of sharing.

The spat between IRDA and SEBI on ULIPs has been ugly and the only victim is the common investor. This article by Jeff Gerth on Propublica shows how such spats are more common (than at least I thought) and lead to sub-optimal outcomes for the common man.

A lot of people get very confused on legal aspects of software licensing. Here is a checklist for buyers which would be useful for entrepreneurs too. Do note its a good starting point but isn’t exhaustive.

We all have had our own frustrating experiences with Corporate IT and most of the time we have just given up for the sake of  “reliability, scalability and security”.  Here is a very comprehensive and pithy rant/counterpoint against the Corporate IT. I like it because it covers it all and makes a persuasive case. Also because James is a CTO with Dept of Works and pensions in UK. He’s arguing for change from inside the heart of the beast!

James is also sharing his learnings from his experiments to monetise his online book. I’ve reproduced below what hit me the hardest but do read the entire article.

Retweets are excellent predictors of Google’s pace at recognising content

Here’s the top line, though: “Pay What its Worth” works less well than the Tip scheme, and I think its because people don’t like having to make a decision on value AND tell me what they think it is. When I told them what the fixed amount was, they were far easier with it.

This is a description of a Facebook based phishing attack conducted by a security consultant for its client as a penetration test. While the consultant makes his points about remedies, I think a crucial point is missed

Another interesting finding is that targeted users will often provide more than one login and password when a displayed page indicates “Under Construction.” Frequently, a respondent will enter a relatively hard password, but with a numerical sequence like Summer1, Summer2, and so on

Isn’t this behavior a result of the security policy of password reset every 3 weeks and it can’t be any of past 5 passwords etc coupled with no single sign on? I think most people have many passwords to remember and to make it easy they end up making up passwords that a computer thinks as “strong” but really is weak for a human mind.

Here are some interesting insights and data from the Mobile world:

  1. Chris Skinner has a very interesting round up of three case studies on Mobile Banking across US, Africa and Japan. India does not figure here but my guess is that in account count though not in deposits or transaction value, India will figure in top 3 within a year. This would be largely be driven by the Financial Inclusion drive by RBI.
  2. Smaato published the March metrics for click through rates (CTR) for different mobile operating systems and the fill rate for the different mobile ad networks. An intriguing statistic is that Android languishes at the bottom on the Global CTR index but zooms to top when it comes to South East Asia. I wonder why?
  3. Some insightful statistics on Location based mobile advertisement from McDonalds in Finland reveal a fairly high CTR on both the advertisement (7%) and the navigation option (39%). While these numbers look good, I’m not sure that location based advertisement would work across categories.
  4. Some insights into the Apps usage for the Middle East Market. My guess is that the users have higher ability to pay than the US users and hence the higher price. Also, messaging’s popularity reminds me of a bluetooth based messaging app which was wildly popular as it was a way of blind dating in a restricted society. Maybe this is an extension