Communication; Version 2019

I think I come back to this rant every year. Every year I do something and slowly forget about it. Then the next year, the cycle repeats. I’m still looking for a solution. Maybe I’ll start over this rant next year if I don’t find a solution. Until then, I’ll put my thoughts out there, anyone who is reading.

This is about internet monopoly. Giant corporations that has taken our life hostage. Corporations that don’t pay us any money, but they own our lives. Our memories. Our identities. Our business. And there is nothing we can’t do anything about it. Therefore, my rant. 

I don’t even have to name these companies anymore. Had it been 3 years earlier. I might need to. But now… now you guys know. You’ll either harmonize with me and let out a sigh. Or keep scrolling. Whichever you choose, we are powerless.

Last month, my wife’s Facebook account was frozen. Why was it frozen? That is for another time. The day it was frozen she tried to do whatever she could. Checking her email for some kind of notice. Trying to reset password. Submitting govt. Issued ID to Facebook which has a spooky privacy policy attached to it. Despite all her effort, the account was still frozen. Whom is she going to complain to? The whole process is automated. There is no customer service phone number. 

“OK. So what? It’s just Facebook. Just open another account” you may say. We could. Our friends are family would be notified. A fresh page. Fresh. Your old memories erased. It is there. Just not available to you. The way the world works right now, if you never never posted on Facebook about it, it never happened. 

Fortunately, we found out a way. Submitted scans of our passport. And a selfie of my wife with the passport visible in her hand. She got her account back. She got her memories back. She got her identity back. Only to be governed by an organization. Not a government. But an organization. We are at the mercy of Facebook. 

I have 7 different apps on my phone. All to make calls and chat with my friends. There is only 1 which is used everyday. Facebook. For some reason, nobody I know uses something different. I uninstalled messenger from my phone last year. I did not post on Facebook of my action! Still I received complaints. why am I not available? So I reinstalled it. 

I prefer email over phone calls. For that too, I am relying on a company I have no financial transaction with. No agreement between us. Should I be banned from google servers, I’ll have no identities left. Not even Facebook. I’ll be erased from the internet. 

I tried to find for options. I tried to find a way out. I’m still trying. If you found the way before me, help me. Drag me out of this house of cards.

Maisun

1909232157

BlockBuster Might Make a Comeback

Not really physically as a brick and mortar store though. That would be absurd. Even my laptop has no optical disc bay. Hear me out,

When Netflix launched, it was this beautiful dream streaming service. Nobody had time for cable. Somebody might be working a late night shift on a Saturday. I made perfect sense pay $X to netflix instead of subscribing to cable. I’m more than happy to pay $20 a month for a streaming service which has many of my favorite shows. Since a single person cannot watch all the shows on the platform, I’d imagine it is profitable for the company. Just upload a show once, make sure you have the bandwidth to stream to all your customers and everybody stays happy. According to this article, netflix makes $43 million dollar per month. Not per year, per MONTH. This is all from a single customer paying $15 a month. I don’t know if the prices are revised this year or how much profit Netflix make this year. I see this as a win-win. I pay a little money to stream my favorite show during dinner, no ads. Netflix makes the profit. 

How about now? In September 2019? By now you should have heard about the Sony Vs Marvel fight over distribution right over Spiderman. These new Spiderman movies were great. I love Tom Holland as Spiderman. Much better and enjoyable to me when compared to Toby’s Spiderman. And now, good stuff is coming to an end it seems. All because companies want more profit. Greed. Well too bad. If Marvel has nothing to do with the next Spiderman, then I’ll probably not watch the next Spiderman. You can’t have my money.

Same greed is taking over the other media producers. They don’t want to share profit with Netflix or any other third party streaming platform. Companies are offering their own streaming service now. NBC just announced their streaming service. Then there is Disney

LOOK, guys. I love watching TV. I like wasting my time on your shows, rather than doing something productive on weekends. In the early days of the internet, contents were just available on the net. You didn’t have to look for it. Just download episode of your favorite show overnight. Then services like Netflix came along and everything was just better. No risk of downloading virus. Shows would stream much faster thanks to local servers. Now, however, things are looking bleak. You go to youtube, ads are getting longer and more frequent (just like the cable TV was). You go to instagram, 1 out of 3 post is an ad. (At Least in my case.) Everyone is tracking you on the web, selling your personal data. Things you discussed with your friend on messenger app, suddenly popping up as ad on facebook. Eventually, everyone will get tired. Tired of the ads. Tired of privacy breach. 

Another point I always complain about, in 2019, you don’t actually own anything. Your movies, books, and music are stored on your amazon cloud. The moment you go to a different country, your digital library is lost. Because Amazon will not give you access to media files unless you are in the same country as you originally purchased. If you go to a country where there is no WiFi, you cannot listen to your offline music. You’ll be asked to log in again to verify your ownership. But you downloaded those music in the first place because you knew there would be no internet in your vacation resort. For a guy like me, I’m going to leave Japan once my work here is done. I’m pretty sure, i’m going to lose my digital library once I leave Japan. What about my money? Will they refund? I think not. Same goes to sony playstation. Once you change your country, you need to register a new account to play new games. When you do that, you cannot transfer your achievements from your previous account. So you have to start all your games from the very beginning. That sucks. 

I really hope, in future, I can just purchase a media content without being annoyed. Share with my friends; maybe. Maybe pass on my digital library to my offspring. If I’m done playing a video game, sell it to my friend. Not pseudo ownership, real ownership. 

I’m really looking for an alternative. I hope somebody out there is looking for it too. 

Maisun

1909232122

This Month in Space – July 2019

GPIM (Green Propellant Infusion Mission)

Green fuel is not only for terrestrial use. It should be looked into for extra-terrestrial use also. This is a growing field of research in rocket fuel. Before talking about green fuel, let’s talk about something that is not green. Hydrazine. 

Hydrazine (N2H4) is a traditional rocket fuel. Mixed with dinitrogen tetroxide, N2O4, it makes a hypergolic fuel. Isp of 339s. Very energy dense compound with tendency to explode if not careful. Hydrazine has one very big short coming. It is highly toxic. Handling Hydrazine has to be done with extreme care. This builds up cost overtime. Therefore, despite being a good rocket fuel, it is not always sought after. 

Of course, very rocket fuel has its advantages and disadvantages. LOX & LH combo for example, relatively cheap. Good performance figures. But takes too much space & the rocket has to be fueled at the last minute. 

Wouldn’t it be great if you could pump in some gasoline make the rocket go on and on. Having energy dense fuel. Storing as long as you want in the rocket hanger. Just like your car!

Unfortunately, what we can do with our car, doesn’t work for rockets. That’s brings us to green fuel. 

Researcher at Bell Aerospace and Technologies Corp. are working on a Safer, faster and cheaper rocket fuel. Hydroxyl Ammonium Nitrate or AF-M315E. 45% denser than hydrazine. Has lower freezing point. Not toxic as hydrazine. As a part of STP-2 mission, the researcher flew and tested thruster fueled by this AF-M315E. Initial news release say the tests went well. 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YcXpSdbDNkM&t=88s

What should all take away from this, just because something works, doesn’t mean we can’t make it better. For me personally, I’ll be keeping an eye for more news related with Green Rocket Fuel. 

https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/tdm/green/index.html

Galileo is down

On July 12th all Galileo navigation satellites were reported non-operational. All 22 of them. The outage was caused by some ground issue.  As of aug 18, a full month later, only 4 Galileo satellites are non-operational. 

It is to be noted, Galileo satellites are still in testing phase. They have not been declared fully operational yet. So we have nothing to worry about. But it is a good reminder, how dependent our modern life is on satellites. And how much effort goes into building these systems and keep them functional. 

https://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-48985399

Chandrayan-2

India has launched it Chandrayan-2 mission on 22nd July . This 145 MUSD mission aims to be the first rover to reach the south pole of the moon. 

The news caught my eye, especially because this is a completely homegrown mission. It shows how capable Indian technology has become. In the course of time, these technology will flow into other sectors and India is sure to reap benefits. 

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-india-48919572

Too many managers

I don’t know how to describe this. Some may see this as a funny news, some as tragedy. For me, I’m left speechless. 

Team Olik, a 4 person team, won the NASA Apps 2018 Competition. It’s a crazy story, I encourage people to read the news articles. I won’t go into the details. Basically their, Visa was denied. They couldn’t be where they needed to be. Instead, some other people went on to USA Kennedy Space Center instead of them. 

This is incredibly unfortunate and hilarious. Unfortunate because Team Olik had the right reasons to be given US visa and attend the ceremony for their hard earned success. Funny because other 12 Govt. official didn’t cancel their trip. They went on ahead to “Thank NASA”. 

This whole event is just stupid.

https://www.prothomalo.com/technology/article/1605183/

https://www.thedailystar.net/country/news/nasa-space-app-challenge-winners-denied-us-visa-1773856

https://www.thedailystar.net/country/news/nasa-space-app-challenge-winners-denied-us-visa-1773856

https://www.thedailystar.net/city/news/nasa-space-apps-challenge-winners-denied-us-visa-1774168

https://www.facebook.com/olikstudios/

Are we ready with our own techonology

I wanted to write about this topic back in July 2018, when FBI director issued a warning not to use Chinese phones. Somehow, I forgot about it and my notes were just sitting in a corner of my drive. In light of latest development around Huawei, I was reminded and this time I intend to finish my article / note.

I’m sure you guys have heard about the recent Huawei incident. Long story short, USA intelligence believes Huawei is spying on behalf of China and therefore should be banned. Which President Trump eventually did this week. From the other perspective it could be argued that USA is just afraid that Huawei equipments will take over the global market since they are so good. We could go on forever. Let’s not talk about what has already been covered.

The lesson I want to take away from all of this is TECHNOLOGICAL DEPENDENCY. Not that is bad thing. We are a social being and we will continue to keep depending on others. Be it Silicon technology or toothpaste. What I take issue with is MONOPOLY. Having one company or and individual being so big and dominant you have nowhere to go. But we are left out of option. (Confession: I actually wrote this on Google Docs, which actually goes against my ideals)

Imagine If one of these companies goes down. Will we be able to sustain our life? What if Google drive goes down for good someday? I don’t know about you, but I’ll lose a portion[1] of my academic documents, few photos and lots of notes. If Gmail goes down, I’ll lose all emails.[2] When Flickr was acquired by SmugMug, I lost couple of Gigabyte worth of online photos.[3]

Are we really prepared with our Plan B?? Do we have alternate source for our ingredients? Do we have alternate channel for trade? Do we have alternate method of communication when disaster strikes?[4]

I want to take this opportunity to remind all of us that we need in-house technology development. Yes, there might be better product out there in the market (and we will continue to use them) but we need our own technology, no matter how weak it is.[5] Yes, we should still invest money on Silicon fabrication and learn to do it ourselves. Yes, we should set up tent[6] and try to build our autonomous car.

Yes, we should keep on tinkering.


[1] Last six months. Probably.

[2] I do have a personal mail server that no one uses!

[3] I did have offline backup. I received a warning mail from the company. I just didn’t have money to pay for the storage.

[4] Yes. HAM.

[5] I always faced comments that building satellite in Bangladesh is never gonna work. I see their point. We still don’t have the infrastructure. But if we never start, we will never improve. I understand if we start making CubeSats at home, they won’t have all the standards met. Unless we nurture the technology, it’ll never grow.

[6] Probably a workshop. Tent is a little fragile.

Our digital life

Every month on the first Thursday, we have an International Engineering Seminar in our lab. It’s basically an improving ground. The topics are only limited by 6 categories. This month it was my turn. My topic for presentation was “Data Security for Everyday use”. What I have in the ppt, is nothing ground breaking, rather a look back on how we could have control over our data.

Download the ppt >> “space engineering seminar Maisun” <<

দায়ী আমিই…

গতকাল খুব স্টেক খেতে ইচ্ছা করছিল। হাতে সময় ছিল। বাজার হল, রান্না হল, খাওয়াও হল। আর একটা বিপদ হল। তেল! রান্নায় তেল বেশি পরে গেছে। কি আর করার। কিচেন পেপার এ মুছে নীল ময়লার ব্যাগে ফেলে দিলাম। দেশে থাকলে নিশ্চয়ই সিঙ্ক এ ফেলে দিতাম দ্বিতীয় বার চিন্তা না করে। জাপানে করলে খবর আছে। সিঙ্ক এ তেল ফেললে পরের দিন সরকারের লোক হাজীর হয়ে যায়। এই জন্য বোধয় এদের ড্রেন আটকায় না।

জাপান এ আসার পর পর ওয়ার্ড অফিস এ যাওয়া লাগে। প্রায় ২ ঘণ্টা ধরে নানা ফরম ফিলআপ করা লাগে। এর মধ্যে এরা একটা বই ধরায় দেয়। “কিভাবে ময়লা ফেলতে হয়”। মজা নেয় নাকি আমার সাথে? বেশির ভাগ কাগজপত্র জাপানিজ এ হলেও, এ বই ছিল ইংরেজিতে। প্রায় তিন বছর হয়ে গেল জাপানে থাকা। এখনও মাঝে মধ্যে বইটা দেখা লাগে।

জাপানে আবর্জনা ৪ প্রকারের। ১) পচনশীল / জৈবিক ২) প্লাস্টিক ৩) PET বোতল ৪) কাচের বোতল / ক্যান । প্রত্যেক প্রকার আবর্জনার জন্য আলাদা রং এর ব্যাগ। সেগুলা আবার টাকা দিয়ে কেনা লাগে। ময়লা ফেলার আগে ঠিক ভাবে ভাগ করে আলাদা আলাদা ব্যাগে রাখতে হবে। তাও শান্তি নাই। সেই ব্যাগ আবার মনের ইচ্ছা মত যেখানে খুশি ফেলে যাবে না। নির্ধারিত দিনে, নির্ধারিত যায়গায় ফেলতে হবে। ভুলে গেলে আবার পরের সপ্তাহ পর্যন্ত অপেক্ষা। কি ঝামেলারে বাবা।

ঝামেলা হলেও একটা শান্তি আছে। কনফারেন্স এর জন্য যখন জাপান এর বাইরে যাই, তখন বুঝতে পারি। জাপানীদের রিসাইক্লিন টেকনোলজি খুব উন্নত। মানলাম প্রত্যেক সপ্তাহে আমার ২টা মিনিট সময় বেশি লাগে, ৩ টা ব্যাগ ঠিক ঠাক মত তৈরি করতে। কিন্তু দিন শেষে বাসায় ফিরার সময় কন কালো ধুয়া খাই না। বৃষ্টি বেশি হলে রাস্তা ডুবে ঠিকই, তবে ময়লার কারনে ড্রেন আটকায় না। আটকালেও সমস্যা নাই। নদীর পানির মত। একটু ঘোলা আরকি।

ভাবছি এবার ছুটিতে দেশে ফিরে স্টেক রান্না করে বাসায় সবাই মিলে খাবো। তেল বেশি হলে সমস্যা নাই। সিঙ্ক এ ফেললেই হবে। দেশেতো আর লাল, নীল, বেগুনি ব্যাগ এর মাথা ব্যাথা নাই। যাক বাবা। আমার ২টা মিনিট বাঁচল।

[আমার জানা মতে বাংলাদেশে recycling এর জন্য সরকার থেকে কোন উদ্দক নাই। বাক্তিগত ভাবে বা বেসরকারি ভাবে কেও করে থাকলে আমাকে জানাবেন অনুগ্রহ করে 🙂 🙂 ]

Before you buy Bitcoin

Maisun Ibn Monowar, 13 September, 2018

As of writing this article, the price of Bitcoin is something $6000+. The support is holding still now. Lot of indicators will tell you to buy them right now. Most probably I’ll buy some within the week. But before you do so, I want to remind you few things.

Global Market Cap:

I’ve seen the bitcoin chart to react heavily to Global Crypto Market Cap. The market cap is now something like $190 B. This is the lowest in last 11 months. This doesn’t indicate a good news.

 

Pump and Dump:

I’m no expert, but I feel BTC has been the victiim of Pump and Dump after institutional players joined the market.

 

FOMO:

Just a reminder, don’t surrender to it.

Conclusion:

I’m not going to tell you why you should buy BTC now, because there are articles already doing so. I just need you to keep these 3 points in mind.

BIRDS 3 CDR

BIRDS 3 CDR has concluded today. With this, major design of the BIRDS 3 satellite is now fixed. We now have a pretty solid idea of the upcoming satellite.

BIRDS 3 CDR Group Photo