Smorgasbord - Politics, Lisp, Rails, Fencing, etc.

My musings on assortment of things ranging from politics, computer technology and programming to sports.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

On this day:


Hey Elance, we want our money back!

Recently, I also was talking to this crook, after his email in Ruby Forum, his messages where very cryptic, and he never signed his email messages with a name. Initially he wanted, a per hour rate, and then later asked me to quote a fixed rate for a particular spec (I think I have seen it on rentacoder, but I am not able to find it anymore, anyway I have put it online). I had some questions, about the spec, and when I asked him to talk to me, he agreed for a chat over AIM (no voice chat, only text based chat, didn't say anything about my offer to call me or use skype). He introduced himself as Mark, and said he is not a technical person, and other developers will be coming shortly to answer my questions. But, then he himself tried to answer my questions, and finally came to the conclusion, that he has given me the wrong specification. This really pissed me off, and I showed sarcasm, and this ended our conversation abruptly.

Before this, I had asked him if was his company's website, he said no it is, which is rather wierd.

As a precautionary measure to all elancers, I will suggest before accepting any work, check the following:

  • Do a thorough background check of the company or individual before accepting work from them. Google them.

  • Try to get a written deed or an agreement with the company before accepting work.

  • Make sure that you get some advance payment, before you deliver the work.

  • If something makes you feel suspicious, recheck the company, call them up, or demand fees for every module which you finish, before starting work on the next module.

  • It is always safer to use websites like, or; inspite of the hefty fee charged by them. You should try to have some sort of escrow mechanism.

If there are any other suggestions which you would like to make, then please post them as a comment.

Info which I collected about Naveen:

Latest company - Nakshtra Systems
Email Id-
Spec which he gave me is here

Saturday, April 15, 2006

On this day:

Amritsar - Wagah Border

Besides the Golden Temple, we also went to Wagah Border for the ceremonial changing of the guard at dusk. One should reach there at least one hour before sunset, to be able to comfortably go in and get a good seat.
As soon as people are seated, Hindi patriotic songs such as are played, and between songs the host leads people to shout the slogans 'Hindustan Zindabad', 'Bharat Mata Ki Jai', 'Jai Hind' and 'Vande Matram'. There is even some dancing and Bhangra to some of the songs. The whole atmosphere is filled with excitement and anticipation.
Then the spectacle begins. One would expect the drill to be some smart looking show, but in reality it looks funny than anything else. The soldiers march, and while saluting they raise their foott above head height (which is well more than 6 and half feet, because of the excess heel in their shoes) without bending the back. The way both Indian and Pakistani soldiers march and try to outdo each other, is really humorous.
Finally, the flag is lowered and this marks the end of the show.

Monday, April 03, 2006

On this day:

Amritsar Golden Temple

I will rate the Amritsar Golden Temple as one of the most tourist friendly places in the world. The people over there are very hospitable and friendly.

The Golden temple is situated in the middle of a lake in a citadel. As a mark of respect, all visitors are required to cover their heads. One can use any piece of cloth to cover the head, but if none is available on hand then free scarfs are available inside the temple complex but just outside the citadel. Also, shoes need to be removed, and people must not drink alcohol, eat meat or smoke cigarettes or other drugs while in the shrine. The citadel has four entrances and is open 24hrs for people of any religion/caste/colour/sex etc.

The temple houses Sri Guru Granth Sahib which is considered the Supreme Spiritual Authority and Head of the Sikh religion. Sikhism rejects idol worship, so the book is not worshiped as an idol, but is respected for its contents. In the evening around 10:30pm there is a Sawari during which the book is removed from the Golden Temple and taken to its resting place. The book is take back to the temple early in the morning around 2:30am. In the mean time, the temple is washed and cleaned with milk.

The citadel also contains Akhal Takht, the supreme decision making body for Sikhs all over the world. Besides the citadel there is a building where in langar people are served free food 24hrs, 365 days. Many visitors also take bath in the pond (Sarovar) surrounding the temple. Roughly, for every worker in the temple there are three sevaks who work and help in performing the various chores voluntarily. Anyone, interested in performing seva can also approach other volunteers and ask for guidance.

If anyone goes to Punjab, I will highly recommend a trip to the Golden Temple.