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The Static Page

The demonetisation dilemma

I

f you are reading this, you are one
of many loyal readers who chose to
spend your limited cash reserves on
an issue of Digit. A good decision, and
I’m sure it was a difficult one since we’ve
all been facing these tough choices since
the demonetisation announcement on
the 8th of November.
Why am I talking about demonetisation? Although most would think this
isn’t a topic that a tech magazine should
be bothered with, the fact is that technology is the key enabler and facilitator
of everything these days.
Tech-savvy city dwellers like me
were fortunate enough to not be affected
too much. All my money is legal and
digital. Since the 8th of November, I’ve
been using netbanking and digital wallets exclusively for all (if not most) of
my daily needs. And Mumbai has
enough POS debit card readers for
me to go on about my life without
being inconvenienced at all. That said,
I will probably have to stand in line
pretty soon as the end of the month
approaches, because I will have to pay
my doodh-wala and dabba-wala and we all
need to spare a thought to those hardworking sections of society who have
been the most affected.
What we really need now is wide
scale digitisation, because without it, all
that will happen is that the government
would be successful in hitting a reset
switch on black money. The black money
buildup will just begin again. A crooked
businessman could theoretically put all
his black money in the bank, and then
wait to deal with the over-burdened and
perhaps corrupt income tax representative who will come calling and then settle
with an under-the-table deal. Basically,
the same problems that have plagued the
system before will continue to do so even
in a post-demonetised India. Remember,
people are fallible. Machines are not.
A move to digitisation may seem
almost forced on the people, and whether
that is right or wrong is for the history
books of the future to decide. However,
I see something akin to the mobile
revolution happening again. We might
actually manage to go cashless faster

Siddharth Parwatay
Managing Editor
siddharth.parwatay@digit.in

“Without digitisation,
the govt will have only
succeeded in hitting
the reset switch on the
flow of black money”
than western economies – imagine how
cool that India would be!
Digitisation is an all or nothing game
though – the entire supply chain needs
to go digital. The informal sector within
the country is a mind-bogglingly large
employer of unskilled labour. Until the
movement of that money, materials and
labour (via official contracts) comes onto
the books we can’t expect much to change.
What is encouraging is that even the
RBI in its Vision 2018 document emphasises the need to encourage greater use
of electronic payments by all sections
of society so as to achieve a “less-cash”
society. I’ve been able to observe steps in
this direction for sometime. Around the
beginning of September, banks started
publishing their UPI apps. For those of
you who don’t know about UPI, don’t
fret because even I never bothered to
explore UPI properly and get myself a
Virtual Payment Address (VPA) until
demonetisation happened. UPI or Unified Payment Interface can be thought
of as the backend layer on top of the
existing IMPS system , created by NPCI
for enabling easy transfer of money
between all bank accounts.

Banks are free to create their own
UI layer around this base technology. It
eliminates the need for “loading” wallets
with money (so that’s one step less) and
you don’t even have to reveal your phone
number to random people when making
or accepting payments – just your
unique VPA will do. The system is interoperable across the various banks so you
don’t need the the same apps installed
on the sender and receiver’s phone – all
money is transferred between accounts.
There’s also the RuPay initiative, and
alongside, within the private sector,
there are a number of apps and services
such as Udio, PayUmoney Seller App, and
RazorPay that are doing their bit to enable
merchant payments. There are also
startups like Paynear One that are trying
to push their low-cost mobile-enabled
POS machines. To ease the transition
for the large section of the population
that have feature phones, carriers have
already waved off charges for USSDbased mobile banking (the *99# service).
So yes, all of this is there, but the
point is, more education and simplicity
is needed through the supply chain in
order for digital payments to become
second nature. There might also be
the legislative push needed to increase
adoption. For example, I still don’t find
UPI as an option on many payment
gateway providers.
Now I don’t know what other trump
card the honourable PM has up his
sleeve to follow up this 500 and 1000
kiloton bomb, but if it doesn’t involve
providing a much-needed boost to digitisation, we will be back to square one in
a decade.

Reach me at:
facebook.com/staticsid | @staticsid |
editor@digit.in

www.digit.in | December 2016 | Digit | 1

Big Bytes

Farewell

D

Jayesh Shinde
Technical Editor –
Test Centre
jayesh.shinde@digit.in

“One of the best
things about
Digit is the love
and respect it
commands among
fans who’ve
followed it for
close to 15 years."

Let me know your thoughts on this
column at: facebook.com/jayesh.
shinde | @jshinde | jayesh@digit.in

ear Reader, it has been an honour
and a privilege writing for you
within the pages of Digit. This
column is literally the last piece I wrote as I
bid farewell to the past five and a half years’
way of life. Because that’s what Digit is, it’s
not a job, it’s a way of life.
I invite you on one last journey, a trip
down memory lane with me as I try to put
into words the highs and lows of my time
here at Digit, and my decision to move on.
There comes a time in everyone’s life
where you have to do what you believe in,
test your limits and see how high you can
fly. It was the same belief that made me join
IDG and PCWorld back in Jan 2008 (much
against my parent’s wishes) and brought
me to Digit back in May 2011 (easing my
parent’s stress levels). Moving away from
Digit was the last thing on my mind as an
opportunity presented itself not too long
ago. As much as I was happy at Digit, I
knew deep down that I would forever regret
not accepting what was on offer – a chance
to prove something to myself. Which is
what my last nine years spent in technology
media have been all about.
I have no regrets of my time at Digit, only
treasured moments and memorable lessons.
I remember my first day vividly: no sooner
had I finished unpacking my bags from
Bangalore than it was time to report to duty
at Digit’s Mumbai office. Why HR wouldn’t
allow me to take a week off before joining
soon became clear as Robert dropped the
10th Anniversary Special Issue challenge
(no less than a 10 gigaton nuclear bomb to
my unsuspecting eyes). I remember gulping
audibly, no exaggeration, as the immensity of the task sunk in. As things turned
out, I ended up planning and closing one
half of the special double-sided Digit issue
and an additional SKOAR supplement!
And in the process spent many a sleepless
nights at the office with the team (good
fun!), stressing out whenever we missed a
deadline but working extra hard to ensure
the issue shipped out on time. Scrambling
to the finish line, not against each other but
with everyone together. I was reassured
constantly that if I could survive that manic
anniversary issue month, I could survive
anything. We still use that line on any intern

2 | Digit | December 2016 | www.digit.in

who joins us in May or November every
year, because it’s true. I can proudly proclaim that I survived the Digit experience!
And what an experience it has been!
Digit gave me lots of opportunities to
flourish. My managers (Robert and Soham)
never said no to anything, fought on my
behalf, gave full freedom to pursue stories
and demanded analytical approach and
thought for every process-based review
and comparison. It wasn’t easy, let me tell
you, and I didn’t always do a great job, but
I think I did enough to not get fired! I rose
through the ranks and pretty much ended
up doing a little bit of everything on the
editorial side -- ideating, executing and
publishing a story, working closely with
junior and senior team members in edit
and other business units within 9.9. I’ve
also had the honour of representing Digit at
various international tech forums, speaking
at events, and of course meeting important people shaping our tech world -- all
opportunities that I wouldn’t have had if it
weren’t for Digit. And for all that and more,
I’m eternally grateful.
One of the best things about Digit is the
love and respect it commands among fans
who’ve followed it for close to 15 years. And
having made the transition from a Digit
fan to Digit Editorial member, let me tell
you it’s great to connect with fellow Digit
admirers and well-wishers. I am living
proof of the fact, as are several others at
Team Digit, that if you have an inconsumable passion for technology you, too, can
realize your dream of working for Digit. So
don’t wait, apply now!
While I’m sad to no longer be behindthe-scenes at Digit, I’d like to sign off on a
positive note. There are plenty in the team
to rise to the occasion and do a better job
than I ever did, and I’m rooting for their
individual and Digit’s success from the sidelines, as I transition back to life (coming full
circle) as a reader.

Contents
DECEMBER 2016

VOLUME 16 \ ISSUE 12

QUICK

NAVIGATOR
001 ENTER
016 DGT
Desire

Greed
Temptation

LIFE
032 DIGITAL
Geek Life
Origins

TECH
064 SCI
Tomorrow’s Tech
Space Age

070 TOOLBOX
Workshop

Q&A
Tips and Tricks

083 DEVWORX
087 WORLDVIEW
TRIED AND
091 TESTED
Bazaar

SMART
100 STREET
Agent 001
Killer Rigs
Top 3

Awards 2016
38 ZERO1
If you want the best gadget money can buy, you
can’t go wrong with a Zero1 winner.

105 TECH@WORK
Industry Connect
137 ESC
Unwind

Living Machines

Machines are coming alive to advance
human technology

67

TRIED &
TESTED

4 | Digit | December 2016 | www.digit.in

93
CANON 5D MARK IV

95
XIAOMI MI MIX

User-friendly, fast, versatile and
powerful

96
BLACKBERRY DTEK60

Xiaomi’s futuristic Mi Mix is a
concept for the future

BlackBerry’s latest smartphone
packs a punch, but is it too late?

ON THE DVD
Software
updates
7-Zip
Brackets
Burnaware
EaseUS Todo Backup
Intel Graphics Drivers
K-Lite Codec Pack

113 SKOAR! (Now inside Digit)

Nintendo has the world excited about the
Switch, have they cracked the console code?

MAKE THIS ISSUE OF DIGIT COME ALIVE
FILL SCREEN
FILL SCREEN
WITH IMAGE
WITH IMAGE
DOWNLOAD
DOWNLOAD
BLIPPAR BLIPPAR

BLIPP...BLIPP...

FILL SCREEN
IMAGE
JUMPS
IMAGE JUMPS
WITH
IMAGE
TO LIFE!
TO LIFE!

BLIPP...

Free to play
games
Awkward Dimensions
Redux
Battle Islands:
Commanders
Off-Peak
Shadowverse

IMAGE JUMPS
TO LIFE!

DOWNLOAD
BLIPPAR

Step 1

Step 2

Download the
Blippar app

Keep an eye out for Blip the image and get access
the Blippar icon next to video reviews, interactive
to some images
games, and much more!

Step 3

35 The Origins of
Photography

PC Benchmarking
Tools
AS-SSD
CatZilla Image
Cinebench
CrystalDiskMark
FurMark
Geekbench 4
Unigine Heaven
PCMark8

Prime95
SuperPi
USB Flash Benchmark
Unigine Valley
VRMark
NASA eClips
NASA eClips™ are
short, relevant
educational video
segments. These videos
inspire and engage
students, helping
them see real world
connections.
Blizzcon 2016
Highlights
BlizzCon 2016
Warcraft Cosplay
Compilation
Forged by Fire: Heroes
of the Storm
Overwatch Developer
Update
The Conflict of
Warchiefs
The Upgraded Vikings

Photography’s journey through
history to the perfect shot!

100 Buying a Gaming
Laptop?

Here’s your guide to picking the
optimum gaming laptop

BLIZZCON 2016
HIGHLIGHTS
NASA ECLIPS

DVD

97
ZEBRONICS MAX
The most affordable gaming
mechanical keyboard is here

PC BENCHMARKING
TOOLS

99
ASUS TRANSFORMER
3 PRO
Providing the same as what is
available, for cheaper

www.digit.in | December 2016 | Digit | 5

The RSS Feed

Cheats and monopolies

I

’ve had a seriously hectic month, and
it isn’t because of the December special
issue you’re holding in your hand. As
you know I moved to Australia last year. As a
newcomer to the country, I took up residence
in a fully furnished apartment. However,
we decided to shift into a house to get more
space, and this was the month I shifted. It
was to a house that was totally unfurnished,
and so I had to furnish it from scratch.
Obviously, this meant I went online and
used the Australian equivalent of Quickr
and Olx – it’s a site called Gumtree. One of
the first things every modern house needs is
obviously a refrigerator – we can do without
beds and chairs, but we need a fridge. So I
went on to Gumtree, went through hundreds
of fridge ads and found one that seemed
like a really good deal. I contacted the seller,
bargained (I’m Indian after all), he said he
would deliver it (perfect) fixed a time, he
came and delivered it, was super polite, I
turned it on, it whirred to life, all the lights
came on, etc., I paid him, he left, and a few
hours later I realised it wasn’t cooling at
all. I tried to call him back, his number was
disconnected, and I found that I had been
cheated. I tried looking up his number
on TrueCaller and other such services...
nothing… it was a new number, probably
prepaid, and the guy was obviously a professional swindler.
My friends claim that I trusted him
because he was a white guy, or because it
was Australia, whereas I wouldn’t have been
cheated in India… they even made jokes at
my expense about me being racist...Oh well.
Lesson learnt.
As I started using the classified site more
to try and buy all the other things you need
in a house, I realised most people were cagey
and distrusting, and everyone had stories of
being cheated – sellers and buyers both.
Luckily, Facebook had just launched its
Marketplace feature in the US, UK, Australia
and New Zealand, so I started using that.
Just a month after launch, I found Facebook’s
Marketplace to be more active than Gumtree,
and the people were generally more trusting.
This is probably because the buyer and seller
could both check out each other’s profiles,
you could see when the other person joined
Facebook (new accounts could be fake), and

6 | Digit | December 2016 | www.digit.in

in general, you felt like you’re dealing with
a person, and not just a phone number, or
nickname. Because you are a real person
on Facebook, you behave better on it than
you would on a site where your identity is
anonymous. This makes Facebook perfect
for classifieds.
Sadly, Facebook forces instant messaging on the phone to be done via Messenger (which I hate). Thus, when you
message someone about an ad on the
Facebook app, Messenger opens. If this is
not irritating enough, Messenger hasn’t
been rebuilt to work with Marketplace, and
what they’ve done seems more like a hack. I
digress though…
This service will probably come to India
in 2017 (Facebook haven’t announced it
officially, I’m just assuming that it will), and
if what’s happening here is any indicator,
the existing classifieds sites are either going
to be pushed out of business, or will have to
seriously innovate to stay alive.
The impetus is certainly with Facebook,
since we all have the app and already spend
a lot of time on it. For us users it just makes
sense to quickly click a picture, set a price
and try and sell stuff on it. If you’re buying,
the interface right now could use a bit of
polishing, and searching could be made a
lot easier, but that’s sure to happen given
that Facebook has developers coming out of
their ears, and large software development
budgets. Facebook’s R&D spends are a lot
less than the $13 billion that Amazon and
Alphabet spend per year, but it’s still in the
billions… and they pretty much only work
on software!
Be prepared for the Facebook juggernaut
to squish a lot of online businesses next
year – and like a reality TV show, all of us are
going to watch in glee, because competition
means we users win, no matter what. Either
way, it’s going to make for a very interesting
2017 for all of us. What other businesses do
you think will be threatened by the likes of
Facebook and Google soon? Write in and tell
me, I’d love to discuss it with you.

Robert Sovereign-Smith
Executive Editor
robert@digit.in

“Because you are
a real person on
Facebook, you
behave better on
it than you would
on a site where
your identity
is anonymous.
This makes
Facebook perfect
for classifieds.”

Liked or hated this column?
Let me know at:
robert@digit.in | @raaabo
facebook.com/raaabo


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