It’s Killing Brands

Armchair strategy is the death of brands. But poor they, little do they know that that’s what most “creative” agencies aspire to. Here’s how your typical social media campaign is planned: the old and wise ones gather around a table and “brainstorm” ideas. Out of these are selected some, based on what happens to suit the whims of the ultimate decision maker.

No research, no hard data, no customer insight. That’s strategy for you.

Resolving htdocs File Permissions

Getting the WebRoot folder to work correctly has hassled me for months. So far my “solution” had been to give a 777 permission every time a new directory or file was added and Apache complained. Today, I’m ecstatic to report, I was able to solve it!

Here’s how.

Objective: Be able to modify files in /opt/lampp/htdocs and running your web apps in the browser without requiring root privileges.

First find out who you are:

# who am i

Then make yourself the owner and group of WebRoot:

# chown -R ankush:ankush /opt/lampp/htdocs

Ensure that httpd.conf exists in /opt/lampp/etc/httpd.conf. If not, or if the file is empty, create it from the backup file:

# rm httpd.conf

# cp httpd.conf.back httpd.conf

Find lines that define group and owner, and change them to:

Owner ankush
Group ankush

In my case the lines said:

Owner deamon
Group deamon

Add the Apache process to your group

# usermod -a -G ankush www-data

Restart system.

Party! :P :P :P

Hating CakePHP

Selecting a PHP framework can be as difficult as finding a life partner. After getting over the shock that CodeIgniter no longer exists, I started gather information about other frameworks. The sea of information and arguments and counters that I came across in the next few days were enough to make my head spin. It’s still spinning, by the way.

What settled it for me was CakePHP’s awesome presentation and documentation. I recalled people saying that they hated CakePHP forcing people to do things their way, but I thought maybe this is something an expert worries about — not me. But I was wrong. Just a few lines into the first official blog tutorial, CakePHP tells me to name my table posts and the fields created  and modified, because these conventions have been “distilled” over “years of Web experience”!

ARE YOU KIDDING ME?!

So I was out as quickly as I was in. Maybe CakePHP is super awesome, but for me this forced convention looks like a fundamental design flaw.

Bless the Stick

It’s a common sight to see old people carry a stick with them for their morning walk. What are they trying to accomplish? If it’s for security, I can only feel pity for them. Can a surprise and brutal attack by a 20-year-old hooligan be warded off by a wooden stick? No chance.

It then stands to reason that the stick provides only psychological comfort. Bless the stick!

Desires and Enjoyment

“The more you try to enjoy, more disappointed you will be as desires and expectations can never be satiated.

Every fun that you have will take you one step lower than your present state, leaving you disappointed. The things, with which you have maximum expectation, will disappoint you the most. The people who enjoy good food and make efforts to render it more tasty are the ones who crib the most after eating, that the food was not up to the mark. Not just food, you may also look at your relationships. When you establish a relationship with a lot of excitement, there is a lot of expectation from it, but then the same expectations become the biggest source of your disappointment. The bottom line is, the more attached you are to something or someone, the more disappointed you will be.”

– Yogi Ashwini

Posted in yog

Small Details Matter

A lot has been said about the recent Airtel vs. Vodafone branding war, and there’s no doubt about who’s losing it. Ultimately, it comes down to little things that brands who are in a haste overlook. Consider the online payment portal for Airtel, whose URL says pay.airtel.com. Every time I visit it, it makes me cringe: Pay?? Feels like I’m obligated to give you my money. They could have come up with something better, like shop.airtel.com or even smile.airtel.com (what’s wrong with “smile”, after all?).

Anyway, I’m not in charge and will now shut my mouth.

Marketing Bites

I love marketing as a creative endeavor, but I’ll be damned if I’ve come across a good enough book that teaches it.

I looked through many books on Amazon.com, and every one of them had a few reviews that made me shudder. Apparently, these books are rehashing common sense as wisdom, and promising you the moon while at it. And I’m talking about big names, modern classics here.

It’s a painful truth that before the effectiveness of a marketing idea can be demonstrated, it must go through the furnace called client approval. And since it’s mostly idiots paying for the campaigns, many sound ideas worth trying never see the light of day.

It’s one fucked up world.

The Human Body

“A body has to go and in its place a new form will be taken, but you do not have the gyan of either the form after it, or of the one before it. You just go and listen to lectures, read books, some even give lectures, but if you do not have the gyan of this form itself, then all of it is useless. The term shareer itself means that which is heading towards destruction constantly. No matter how high your position is, no matter how much money you have, how good-looking you are, eventually, ‘you’ or the body (which you think is you) will fade away and will be put to fire or buried. All the things will be left behind. Understand that body is not forever, it is destructible, and so instead of wasting your time on that which is temporary, focus on yog as only yog will take you somewhere. No matter how ‘gyani’ you are, unless you have the experience, you cannot reach anywhere.”

– Yogi Ashwini

Posted in yog

A World of Excesses

Our world is definitely one of excesses. We buy in excess, we eat in excess, and now, we are generating data in excess. The last of these is being addressed through something revolutionary known as big data analytics, but I can’t help wondering: How will we deal with the excess of reports that are generated? It seems like there’s no solution to the problem of managing complexity, no matter what tool we adopt.