Wednesday, October 25, 2023

Two "affordable" laptops

 "Affordable" is a relative word. I got hold of two affordable Windows laptops in different price segments. I felt both were value for money looking at the specs and their price points. The experience with one of them however wasn't good. The other I am still exploring. Read on... 

Ulitimus laptop had display issue after a day of usage. But otherwise, the machine was generally easy to use.

Infinix ZeroBook laptop has a pretty good spec, and a decent if not good display.

The first device was Ultimus by a company called Futopia Global (Futopia-Global). This company claims to be Indian, and this was the primary reason for me to get this device. Secondary reason was price: I needed a cheap laptop attached to my printer which has decent word processing capability. This could be purchased for around 8K INR with offers on Flipkart (Ultimus Pro Celeron - Flipkart) during the recent sale. I had very low expectation from this laptop, but when I got this I was pleasantly surprised with decent build quality, screen and genuine Windows 11. The sound is pretty bad, so use a headset if you want to use this for any online meetings. The pleasantry however stopped there - the display developed multiple horizontal lines on the second day, and any attempt to replace this product has failed so far. I contacted Flipkart, but they say electronic issues are only handled directly by Futopia, trying to reach Futopia has however been futile so far. Their numbers are not reachable, and they barely reply to the emails. Without the display issue, however, the device is pretty usable as a basic office device. You won't be able to handle heavy tasks, but a pretty much usable Windows 11 machine which has got the update to Co-pilot too. Would I recommend this machine? A big NO. Reason being that a machine is not just hardware and software, but the support that comes with it. With Futopia / Ultimus, however the experince is a big letdown. 

The second device was Infinix Core i9 Zero Book that was again on sale on Flipkart. The specs were perfect (32GB RAM, 1TB storage) for some of the projects that I was doing and my regular work machine - and M1 MacBook Pro had memory limitations. That was the primary reason to get this machine, the secondary reason was obviously the price, a similar speced MacBook Pro will set you back by 3+L INR whereas this one was on offer for less than 60K INR. Ofcourse the silicon is different - Intel vs tightly integrated silicon of Apple, and the OS is different Windows vs macOS - but on pure affordability to specs comparison - this wins hands down. The build quality of the machine is solid - it is a Macbook quality aluminum enclosure but has vents at the bottom. I have been using this machine for more than a day, and I have setup my full development environment on this machine, and it was a breeze. I have so far not faced any issues on this except battery life once charged. While the M1 MacBook Pro lasts for 20+ hours, I think this lasts possibly for about 6hrs for my kind of heavy usage. Call quality on Zoom is ok, the noise isolation on MacBook, however, just beats this hands down - but is not a deal breaker. The screen is only FHD - so if you have a graphics centered workflow, I will still recommend a Mac or another better display quality Windows laptop - say from LG or Asus. For an idea on computation-oriented benchmark, see my X/Twitter thread here: Would I recommend this? It is a qualified YES. If you are a developer, who doesn't need GPU and is on tight budget - this is a defo - especially if you are looking for a fully speced up machine. I am not sure of the support the company Infinix provides, but apparently their support of mobile phones is quite commendable in India. 


Update: I tried using Ubuntu on Infinix Core i9 Zero Book. It mostly works well - except that the sound is not as loud as is on Windows. Which is kind of strange. Else it is a blazing fast developer machine.

Sunday, March 12, 2023

OS usage for my programming

 I started professional programming in 2000, that decade I mostly used Windows and Linux. In the decade that followed 2010 - I mostly used macOS and Linux. I have been mostly still using maOS and Linux - but since I have bought an LG Gram after selling off my Chromebook - I am ready to make a shift to Windows as a primary development OS. I will still use macOS and Linux - but probably will be using a lot more of Windows now. 

Friday, January 20, 2023

Another Cyber fraud - Google Reviews fraud

Some frauds happen in a matter of minutes, before you could intervene - even if you are physically present with the victim and are passively listening to what is going on. This is one of them. 

Essentially, we were trying to book a hotel in Kolhapur. I am not so much into booking by directly calling the hotel - I generally use either Oyo or other hotel booking site. But my cousin wanted to book by Googling and directly calling the hotel. So I became passive to the discussion. By the time I entered actively in discussion - something had already clicked me that a fraud is in work - the guy on the other end was asking to punch in "12999" as the merchant code in place on amount and provide UPI pin - thankfully that transaction didn't happen and I could intervene and stop. 

But before that already 1500 had be transferred to the fraudsters account as the "booking amount".  

So here is how the fraudster (or probably a gang of fraudsters) worked.

They post google review picture with morphed image that has a phone number:

That fraud image is usually the first in the listing of the hotel. For instance this hotel in Kolhapur (TrushanDham) is actually a good hotel, but the google review from the users is hijacked by the fraudster.  The first image is this:

Obviously a morphed image with phone number. Now for me, this would immediately ring alarm - but for some reason, it didn't for my cousin. My cousin called this number (this wasn't the one on the day of the fraud - apparently this keeps changing) - and the other person sent a UPI QR code - under a personal name - another red flag, but again for some reason got ignored, before 1.5 k was transferred to the fraudster. Another real red flag was - he was giving free breakfast and lunch - impossible in any budget hotel. Any how, if you look into the profile of this person who posted this picture, you would see that this person has listed himself in multiple other hotel - so this is probably handled by a gang of fraudsters:

If you report this profile (I have reported multiple profiles like this), some new profile will appear again. 

I have reported this fraud on (you should too if you come across any such). I am not sure how to contact Google to notify it about this fraud. But hoping that the cyber crime investigations can be made to on-cover this obvious fraud. 

I also plan to volunteer at as I really feel the need for it for a safer digital society.