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Secondary Exam Results In India Mean An SMS Flood

timothy posted more than 10 years ago | from the what'jdaget-huh-what'jdaget? dept.

Education 244

syrinje writes "The Times of India reported that Indian high-school seniors who took the exams conducted by the Central Board of Secondary Education sent more than a Million SMS messages within a 11 hour period to query the result database and receive detailed examination results. In addition making the results available to cellphone users, the CBSE has also published the results online at a dedicated web-site . Since the results were announced on the weekend, students would otherwise have had to wait for Monday to get their results from their schools. A spokesperson for Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited , one of the operators involved in setting up the SMS result system estimated that they handled 100,000 messages per hour during the day on Sunday and said that "There was no problem in the network due to the heavy SMS traffic and we were able to give subjectwise marks to the students"."

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Crazy fucks (FP) (0, Offtopic)

users.pl (689022) | more than 10 years ago | (#9235595)

The thing that's great about Slashdot is the whole anonymous thing. I can be a trolling dick on this site and be completely normal off the site. I'm so different IRL than I am here that you never know who I could really me. You might even know me IRL and not know of my secret little Slashdot life.

With that being said, I work with lots of people IRL. I work in a very public place with lots of public computers. I help people with the computers. The other day I helped an old lady copy a text document from the computer to her floppy disk. Like all technophobes, she proceeded to inform me of how difficult computer concepts are to her, and graciously thanked me for my polite assistance.

She also went off on kind of a rant. She told me she's a social worker, taking care of people with health problems. She told me that the day before she searched the internet for a cheap source of bulk adult diapers so she could provide one of her incontinent clients with a cheaper source. In doing her search though, she ran into a bunch of adult diaper fetish websites. She almost blew up at me as if I'm the source of all the bad things on the internet. "That's sick! That's terrible! I was so disgusted! Why are things like that allowed to exist on the internet?"

Rather than debate people's personal fetish preferences with her (no matter how odd) I just decided to nod my head and smile, like I do often with old people. After that, she proceeded to tell me how much one of the other people who frequents the area annoys her. Though, I have to agree with her on this one. The guy she was talking about always comes in with maxed out volume headphones with the most annoying trendy rap songs, sports a pink backpack, is extremely loudmouthed, and bursts into fits of laughter out of nowhere. Generally, a crazy fuck.

So after about 15 minutes of listening to this old lady tell me everything that's wrong with the internet and the people around us she finally decided to leave. On her way out she said, "And if that weren't bad enough, my therapist recently diagnosed me as bipolar!"

My calm, reserved, collected personality prevented me from saying any of this to her... but WTF?! What a fucking hypocrite! She rants for fifteen minutes about how sick in the head people on the internet are and how crazy that loudmouthed guy with the pink backpack is then she goes and tells me she's bipolar!

Boy I'll tell ya... you see some crazy shit working with a lot of people

Comment here [slashdot.org]

hey now (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9235598)

why don't we slashdot the slashdotted SMS server?

fp (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9235599)

fp

Ok. (-1, Troll)

Estanislao Martínez (203477) | more than 10 years ago | (#9235600)

Who is the first racist that will make jokes about outsourced tech jobs?

Re:Ok. (2, Insightful)

mphase (644838) | more than 10 years ago | (#9235614)

Err...that is not racism. Granted racism may also be present along with anger about outsourced jobs they do not really go hand in hand. Even if you wanted to associate some sort of prejudice with anger over outsourcing (which you do seem to want) then it would be a form a nationalistic discrimination. Really all it comes down to is looking out for your own interests.

Yes it is. (0, Offtopic)

Estanislao Martínez (203477) | more than 10 years ago | (#9235667)

You're picking nits that don't exist with this "nationalistic discrimination" distinction. "Nation" and "race" are not at all dissociated concepts in US society.

Re:Yes it is. (1)

mphase (644838) | more than 10 years ago | (#9235680)

No I'm not. I said that if you want to call it a form of discrimination than at least call it the correct closest form, which is not racism.

Just saying so doesn't make it so. (2, Insightful)

Estanislao Martínez (203477) | more than 10 years ago | (#9235733)

"Correct closest form" on what grounds? Just because you say so?

You used the word "nationalism". The notion of a "nation", classically, is tightly linked to that of "race": a nation is a group of people who share certain characteristics: race, language and a homeland. This linkage hasn't evaporated from the folk usage of the term in the USA: Americans, for example, popularly judge Hispanics to be "non-whites" in general, regardless of actual skin pigmentation.

Re:Just saying so doesn't make it so. (1)

mphase (644838) | more than 10 years ago | (#9235815)

Not because I say so, because of the definition of the words and what they mean. I don't accept your assertion of what a nation is especially where America is concerned. I'll agree to disagree if you will.

Re:Ok. (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9235618)

Well, I went to Caltech and I'm an Indian who reads slashdot.

Calcutta Tech.

Praise Shiva!

Re:Ok. (1, Informative)

tarunthegreat2 (761545) | more than 10 years ago | (#9235660)

This would be funny, 'cept that it isn't. There is no Calcutta Tech. You might mean the Indian Institute of Technology, Calcutta/Kharagpur [ernet.in] , but then you'd still be a liar. Further, Shiva is part of the Holy Trinity, which consists of Brahma the Creator, Vishnu the Preserver and Shiva the Destroyer. If you praise the Destroyer, u start sounding like George Bush. Now u wouldn't want that, would u?

Re:Ok. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9235732)

Please don't feed the trolls.

Re:Ok. (0, Offtopic)

tarunthegreat2 (761545) | more than 10 years ago | (#9235779)

Sorry I couldn't resist. I'm still hoping to get modded "Informative" by the Slashdot Gods.

Re:Ok. (1)

verittaas (774774) | more than 10 years ago | (#9235846)

"Further, Shiva is part of the Holy Trinity, which consists of Brahma the Creator, Vishnu the Preserver and Shiva the Destroyer. If you praise the Destroyer, u start sounding like George Bush"

The Destroyer holds an equal and important place just like the Creator and the Preserver. So praising, worshipping and courting Him is all part of the game.

Just imagine the traffic... (5, Funny)

Advocadus Diaboli (323784) | more than 10 years ago | (#9235607)

...if you could get the answers for the exam by SMS during the exam. :-)

Re:Just imagine the traffic... (3, Interesting)

Viceice (462967) | more than 10 years ago | (#9235645)

you maybe trying to be funny, but i've read that in some places (Indonesia?) that is a problem. Apparently parents who want their children to score well in an exam will hire a syndicate where during the exam, the candidate will be provided with a phone, and the syndicate will obtain a copy of the exam paper and a genius outside will do the exam and sms the answers to the candidate.

The invigilators and so on are duly paid off.

Re:Just imagine the traffic... (4, Insightful)

gl4ss (559668) | more than 10 years ago | (#9235717)

that's not a sms or tech problem at all.
it's just a bribery/corruption problem.

if the officials holding the exam are paid off succesfully what does it matter HOW the right answers end up on the cheaters papers?

Re:Just imagine the traffic... (3, Interesting)

ArsenneLupin (766289) | more than 10 years ago | (#9235866)

that's not a sms or tech problem at all. it's just a bribery/corruption problem.

In that particular case, it may be a bribery problem. However, given the ubiquity of phones (or worse: highres camera phones) and smart calculators which can communicate via infra-red, etc., high tech cheating becomes a real problem. Go into exam, discreetly snap highres picture of paper, MMS it to a team of accomplices outside, and get the answer back.

Or alternatively, enter short message into calculator, point its infrared diode to the calculator of friend accross the hall, and now work together on the question!

With the number of different phones and different calculators out there today, how will the teacher know which are cheat-enabled, and which are innocent? And in today's world, where phones are part of normal teenage attire, banning phones altogether may not be an option. And banning calculators (in a math exam) is even less feasible. In the olden days, the only thing to worry about where programmable calculators (used to store "notes"), nowadays, you need to worry about comms as well.

Re:Just imagine the traffic... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9235853)

Re:Just imagine the traffic... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9235729)

funeee.....but oh it does happen...and some studets even sneak in a digital diary and tell the examiner its a calculator...and the poor old sod bought that.

Wow (5, Insightful)

Loonacy (459630) | more than 10 years ago | (#9235610)

That's a lot of work for something that really doesn't matter that much. I mean sure, grades are important, but they're not so important you can't wait until Monday to see your results.

Re:Wow (1)

vvatsa (697755) | more than 10 years ago | (#9235621)

Actually they are very important to schools kids over there, kids are under so much pressure, results from these exmas can make or break your life for the next few years.

Re:Wow (1)

nacturation (646836) | more than 10 years ago | (#9235639)

Mods on crack again? Someone please enlighten me why the parent is a troll. Honestly, what does 24 hours matter in getting your grades? Very cool use of technology, but the end result isn't all that technologically cool, except from the perspective of volume of messages handled.

Re:Wow (0, Redundant)

Zusstin (518914) | more than 10 years ago | (#9235752)

Perhaps this is one of those instances where technology was put to some good use. In India, education is still a very high priority - among all families. Thats one of BIG reasons why you see all this outsourcing to India. If you dont trust Indian's, read that article by some Friedman article in NYT (if I am right). Here it goes for you in Friedman's words: The Great Indian Dream By THOMAS L. FRIEDMAN Published: March 11, 2004 BANGALORE, India Nine years ago, as Japan was beating America's brains out in the auto industry, I wrote a column about playing a computer geography game with my daughter, then 9 years old. I was trying to help her with a clue that clearly pointed to Detroit, so I asked her, "Where are cars made?" And she answered, "Japan." Ouch. Well, I was reminded of that story while visiting an Indian software design firm in Bangalore, Global Edge. The company's marketing manager, Rajesh Rao, told me he had just made a cold call to the vice president for engineering of a U.S. company, trying to drum up business. As soon as Mr. Rao introduced himself as calling from an Indian software firm, the U.S. executive said to him, "Namaste" - a common Hindi greeting. Said Mr. Rao: "A few years ago nobody in America wanted to talk to us. Now they are eager." And a few even know how to say hi in proper Hindu fashion. So now I wonder: if I have a granddaughter one day, and I tell her I'm going to India, will she say, "Grandpa, is that where software comes from?" Driving around Bangalore you might think so. The Pizza Hut billboard shows a steaming pizza under the headline "Gigabites of Taste!" Some traffic signs are sponsored by Texas Instruments. And when you tee off on the first hole at Bangalore's KGA golf course, your playing partner points at two new glass-and-steel buildings in the distance and says: "Aim at either Microsoft or I.B.M." How did India, in 15 years, go from being a synonym for massive poverty to the brainy country that is going to take all our best jobs? Answer: good timing, hard work, talent and luck. The good timing starts with India's decision in 1991 to shuck off decades of socialism and move toward a free-market economy with a focus on foreign trade. This made it possible for Indians who wanted to succeed at innovation to stay at home, not go to the West. This, in turn, enabled India to harvest a lot of its natural assets for the age of globalization. One such asset was Indian culture's strong emphasis on education and the widely held belief here that the greatest thing any son or daughter could do was to become a doctor or an engineer, which created a huge pool of potential software technicians. Second, by accident of history and the British occupation of India, most of those engineers were educated in English and could easily communicate with Silicon Valley. India was also neatly on the other side of the world from America, so U.S. designers could work during the day and e-mail their output to their Indian subcontractors in the evening. The Indians would then work on it for all of their day and e-mail it back. Presto: the 24-hour workday. Also, this was the age of globalization, and the countries that succeed best at globalization are those that are best at "glocalization" - taking the best global innovations, styles and practices and melding them with their own culture, so they don't feel overwhelmed. India has been naturally glocalizing for thousands of years. Then add some luck. The dot-com bubble led to a huge overinvestment in undersea fiber-optic cables, which made it dirt-cheap to transfer data, projects or phone calls to far-flung places like India, where Indian techies could work on them for much lower wages than U.S. workers. Finally, there was Y2K. So many companies feared that their computers would melt down because of the Year 2000 glitch they needed software programmers to go through and recode them. Who had large numbers of programmers to do that cheaply? India. That was how a lot of Indian software firms got their first outsourced jobs. So if you are worried about outsourcing, I've got good news and bad news. The good news is that a unique techno-cultural-economic perfect storm came together in the early 1990's to make India a formidable competitor and partner for certain U.S. jobs - and there are not a lot of other Indias out there. The bad news, from a competition point of view, is that there are 555 million Indians under the age of 25, and a lot of them want a piece of "The Great Indian Dream," which is a lot like the American version. As one Indian exec put it to me: The Americans' self-image that this tech thing was their private preserve is over. This is a wake-up call for U.S. workers to redouble their efforts at education and research. If they do that, he said, it will spur "a whole new cycle of innovation, and we'll both win. If we each pull down our shutters, we will both lose."

Re:Wow (3, Interesting)

nabil_IQ (733734) | more than 10 years ago | (#9235692)

I took a similar secondary school exam in Iraq. You whole Future (and past) rests on 8 subjects examination. 3 hours per subject, one subject a day.

if you get high marks, you get into Engineering or Med. school, i.e. big bukcs. If get low marks you get into "community colleges" i.e. no money. I wish we had something like what India has now back then, that would have saved me teh 4 sleepless nights I had when I heared the results are out in 5 days :|

p.s.: if you are curious, I got 93% in the examination and got into Computer Engineering. This was 8 years ago.

Re:Wow (1)

verittaas (774774) | more than 10 years ago | (#9235714)

First of all, I wonder why this is a "news" to talk about in slashdot. I have seen pretty "high" volume SMS handling networks elsewhere.

I got to say that CBSE results are one of the much awaited results over here. This is not just any grades - a 0.5 percentage point can decide whether you are into medicine or engineering or nothing. it decides your future!!

You either get into one of those professional fields or be damned - I can hear a dad of a poor Indian student shouting. So I can understand the anxiety and rush to see those results. And besides no one can ignore the vested interests of BSNL in all these.

Re:Wow (3, Insightful)

turgid (580780) | more than 10 years ago | (#9235727)

When your acceptance into university depends on your exma grades, there can be many sleepless nights between your final exam and the notification of the results. In my day, they came by post.

Re:Wow (4, Informative)

manavendra (688020) | more than 10 years ago | (#9235833)

While this may sound surprising to the western world, kids in India are under tremendous social, parental and peer pressure to perform well in exams, especially the Secondary (high school( exams, and for several reasons:

1. Your chances of getting even your application considered for admission in any college depend entirely upon the Secondary school results.

2. The Seconday exam results are seen as a measure of success and dedication of not only the kid, but the parents as well. Unlike the developed countries, it is extremely difficult for anyone to find a job without a college education. There aren't all that many alternative, yet well-paying streams to choose from.

3. With a population of a billion, competition is fierce over every single seat in every college. There are instances where more than 100 students compete for a single place, and even a tenth of a difference in high-school percentage can make a difference

4. Parents as well the kids are under pressure to make a showing of their emphasis and sincerity towards education. It is almost unthinkable for a parents that their kid would fail in Secondary - that's virtually a stigma on the entire family.

And finally, in typical Indian fashion, there are hearty celebrations and distribution of sweets if the kids score well (the definition of "well" means anything over 80 or 85%)

Re:Wow (2, Informative)

guy-in-corner (614138) | more than 10 years ago | (#9235885)

In the UK, if your 'A' level results are marginal, you might have to apply to a different university than the one you originally applied for. It's called 'clearing'.

Knowing your results earlier allows you to jump straight into the clearing system, possibly allowing you to grab a place at a better university than if you'd waited until Monday.

India Shining!! (1, Troll)

gdnr (729829) | more than 10 years ago | (#9235623)

that's good use of the technolgy....
otherwise it would have been so painful for students to wait till monday to get their results from School!!
It shows that indians are making use to the technolgy in their day to day lives and yes, the network can support it!!!
Yes, India is shining!!

Re:India Shining!! (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9235640)

this proves the fact that india is catching up with the telecommunications field. few years back in india, having a mobile is a luxury, but now every one carries one.

Re:India Shining!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9235681)

Mods on Crack, Why is the parent a troll???

Yes but ! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9235722)

Arriving at school to get the result is something much more exciting that getting a blody SMS : "U GETI" :o)

Sorry, but i still much preffer the pupils stressing at home and enjoy the moment where they see the result ;-)

Maybe they should, first send an SMS "Result incomming..." then make a count down, and voila :P

Re:India Shining!! (3, Insightful)

nshravan (652679) | more than 10 years ago | (#9235753)

I'm tired of all the India Shining crap. Being an Indian myself, its embarassing to see my fellow countrymen gloating over this as an example of India Shining. STFU. And posting on slashdot aint a status symbol. Now that I've posted its a pity I cant mod down these idiots.

Re:India Shining!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9235796)

Ummm, I think that the Parent post (i.e. grandparent to mine) was being _sarcastic_ ....
and there's no need to get all fucked up about India Shining. To quote my fellow Americans, if you don't like the country, you can always leave. India is shining my friend, so take off your blinders and try to enjoy it.

Re:India Shining!! (1)

gdnr (729829) | more than 10 years ago | (#9235809)

it's not boasting something or talking crap about india shining. it's a simple fact that new technolgy is being used for people's benefit. to ease a little tension the little children are having when they can't see their results when they are actually declared. This is just the beginning that indians are make use of technolgy and more will follow.

Re:India Shining!! (1)

2674 (661934) | more than 10 years ago | (#9235812)

I don't understand. If I were an Indian, I would be at least moderately happy that my developing country is finally catching up in some areas, at least. Why would you tell this poster to STFU? Or you one of those Indians who are living in US and are ashamed of their Native country. I know a couple of people like that. If yes, then I am sorry for India to have ignorant and un-appreciative citizens like you who bad-mouth their own country. I have worked with Indians IN India before and I think it a great country with lots of Potential. I just feel sorry for you.

Re:India Shining!! (2, Interesting)

nshravan (652679) | more than 10 years ago | (#9235860)

I am definitely happy that my country is catching up. I thought I made my point pretty clear when I said, this isn't an example of India Shining. IT touches a minisucle of India's population and the Indian elections are proof that the majority of the population who vote haven't been touched by the economic properity which we seem to associate with India nowadays.

Go read up on post-election analysis as to why one of the stalwarts of India's IT boom, Chandrababu Naidu got kicked out by his electorate. Lot more issues which effect Indians than IT and the earlier we realise that and start addressing them the better. At the same time,I do agree that the money coming in because of IT helps in alleviating those basic problems.

But we still have a long way to go before we can say India's Truly Shining.

To answer your last point, I love my country. Its just that having the second largest population in the world causes a lot of bs to filter thru.

Re:India Shining!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9235868)

Dude - the country with a billion people cannot all shine togehter. But there has been a move or an effort to move in the right direction.

You should appreciate that - even if you dont like BJP.

Re:India Shining!! (1)

tarunthegreat2 (761545) | more than 10 years ago | (#9235889)

IT touches a miniscule amount of the population

When a software company opens up in India, it needs to pay construction workers to set up a building. Plumbers to make bathrooms. Security guards. Canteen workers. Cleaners. Pay for electricity. Pay the transporters for ferrying their workers to the buildings. Shops and restaurants open up nearby to cater to the high-income software workers. The high-income workers have more money, to pay rent, buy cars, computers. When they buy more cars, the auto factory workrs get more money. When they pay rent, they are giving a landlord his due. When these people get paid, they spend (and save) further and so on. This is basic fucking Economics 101 - it's called the Multiplier Effect. And Naidu didn't lose because he was pro-IT. He lost because he forgot about the rest. But that's no reason to stop supporting IT. India is richer now than it has been in the entire 57 years since its inception. But as a typical Cynical old-style Indian, you find it hard to look at the positive.

I want it. (3, Funny)

mphase (644838) | more than 10 years ago | (#9235627)

I would love a service like this for US Colleges. Currently I have to go through various problems with postcards and other bull trying to get grades sooner then a month after the semester ends. Though currently there are some online grade services but not many teachers use them so maybe I should be complaining about the lazy luddite professors.

Not really a record or something.... (3, Informative)

aralin (107264) | more than 10 years ago | (#9235633)

I understand this might be interesting, considering all of them came from the same source, but for a country so large as India it should not really be a big deal, one million SMS. In Czech Republic thats a pretty much a daily standard for one of the three cell networks and thats a country with only 10 million people. Last Christmas there was over 10 million SMS in about one evening. So, what I am trying to say, considering they have about 100 times more people, they should prepare for much larger loads in the future.

Re:Not really a record or something.... (2, Informative)

martingunnarsson (590268) | more than 10 years ago | (#9235655)

You said it yourself, this was to one single service! Not all the messages in an entire network.

Re:Not really a record or something.... (1)

ongeboren (734626) | more than 10 years ago | (#9235910)

Did somebody of you guys ever bothered to think of the ammount of traffic that passes through an IRC network of 80K+ users?
That's for sure orders above the SMS traffic.

So why is this so interesting?

A billion people (3, Interesting)

darnok (650458) | more than 10 years ago | (#9235636)

I'm sure IT managers in India must chuckle to themselves when they see discussion of the dreaded "Slashdot effect".

A one-off hit of 100,000 SMS hits per hour on a site would be newsworthy and probably site-melting just about anywhere else, but in India it's just another day at the office.

If it isn't already, Indian IT infrastructure should be THE reference testing ground for application scalability and load testing. Doesn't matter if it's systems for voting in elections, distributing exam results, traffic information, drought/flood information - if your system works in India, it's pretty much guaranteed to work anywhere else in the world from a load/stress perspective.

Re:A billion people (3, Interesting)

2674 (661934) | more than 10 years ago | (#9235662)

You are absolutely right. I once worked on a project for implementing an SMS service for a portal to check availability of Movie tickets Online and they planed for 50,000 Hits an hour on a friday evening (when the New movies come out) in the City of Bombay. Moreover they were pretty non-chalant about it.

Re:A billion people (2, Insightful)

torpor (458) | more than 10 years ago | (#9235881)


Not to put a damper on this India-net-testing-ground concept, but I regularly designed systems for ISP's in the US during the 90's that were intended to experience similar work loads, sometimes even greater.

At one point, a deployed RADIUS setup for one of my larger network clients was getting 40-50,000 hits an hour, persistently, for weeks on end. I slept pretty well in those days, due to good, balanced, working-order network design. An operational network able to withstand millions of hits per hour was a very common requirement, and I often had contractual clauses that would require this sort of load-testing as a payment requirement, so you can bet your melted modem we would scale to those sorts of heights in our design, from the starting gate... /.'ers are pretty proud of their 'slashdot effect', but in my opinion the only thing that differentiates the /. meltdown from any other meltdown is that /.'ers have worked hard to get the description of the event into a modern, contemporary online vernacular. heavy mass loads are pretty common in IT infrastructure, wherever you are in the world, by definition ... its just that those responsible for it either a) do make a lot of noise about it, or b) do not make any noise about it, and just go on with regular business ...

That said, it sure would be nice to one day be able to say that I was responsible, in some way, for deploying a massively useful, massively used, network topology in the Indian market. I'd be happy to do that for the cultural effect on my CV, not just for the dick-swinging effect of having 'built a network that could withstand India' ...

Re:A billion people (2, Insightful)

L.Torvalds (548450) | more than 10 years ago | (#9235678)

For a country that cannot feed itself, they sure do waste a lot of time, effort, and money, on SMS.

Re:A billion people (3, Interesting)

tarunthegreat2 (761545) | more than 10 years ago | (#9235693)

This is a valid point, which Car companies have picked up long before IT.. If your car can withstand high temperature ranges (-10 degrees C in Kashmir to 52 degrees C in plain - I can't be bothered to convert to Fahrenheit, DIY), deal with some really awful roads and traffic, still manage to not bust your suspension, blow your radiator and keep the a/c cooling, you've got a winner. So even though most Indians can't afford BMW SUVs, or the Porsche Cayenne (it's being relaesed this month in India), they are still sold there. The problem is that when India's National Highway Development Project nears completion, they'll have to find a slightly more thrid-world country to carry on testing... Getting back on topic, you want to see scalable software - Try Indian Railways...!

Not a billion people with net access (1)

delibes (303485) | more than 10 years ago | (#9235810)

I acknowledge that India has a huge population, with many cities that have over a million inhabitants, but... they don't all have broadband Internet access do they?

This reminds me ... (0, Offtopic)

torpor (458) | more than 10 years ago | (#9235643)

... anyone know how to send an SMS from a shell? Is there an "Internet Way" to do it that can be auto-scripted somehow?

I really want to be able to send myself SMS' when processes finish, but I don't want to have to subscribe to any service for the privilege.

Why can't all these damn nets be wide open, grr... (Don't answer that, I know the answer, I'm just being whiny.)

The last time I did this ('94/'95) it was with a modem and a dedicated 800-# calling into my cell provider, which I was lucky enough to wangle the use of, for free, by doing the legwork servicing of some of the POP's for a friend who worked at the cell-co, but things have changed a lot since then ... surely there are open, public SMS gateways around that folks can use?

*sigh* ah, for the days of UUCP, where men were men and nets weren't unless they were connected to someone else, freely and openly ...

Re:This reminds me ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9235687)

Under Debian (the command looks for available packages with the given keyword):

apt-cache search sms
[...]
sms-pl - Send SMs via Polish GSM operators
smsclient - A program for sending short messages (SM / SMS)
smssend - Utility to send SMS messages to GSM mobile phones
[...]

Re:This reminds me ... (1)

jcenters (570494) | more than 10 years ago | (#9235690)

Well, if you're on Verizon Wireless, you can email yournumber@vtext.com. I'm sure the other providers offer a similar service.

The "mail" command is your friend.

sms? (1)

mgebbers (252737) | more than 10 years ago | (#9235652)

why are they using SMS ? don't they have cool telepathic guys over there?

sreb.

and the thoughput is: (5, Insightful)

dominux (731134) | more than 10 years ago | (#9235658)

SMS =160 chars max *100,000 messages per hour *11 hours 176,000,000 bytes /11 /60 /60 =4444 bytes per second *8 =35555 bits per second = about the speed of a modem.

Re:and the thoughput is: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9235785)

Funny - I immediately made the same calculation. However, I was a bit more generous and used a factor of 2 to allow for framing/signaling. Still *not* exactly a great deal of data. On the other hand, 100,000 messages per hour mean serious $ for the telco (US$ 30K per hour?)

Re:and the thoughput is: (2, Interesting)

mcpkaaos (449561) | more than 10 years ago | (#9235864)

There's actually a bit more to SMS than that. Sending a message is more like:

Submit request: = 300 or so bytes (max message length with latest protocol (3.4) is 254 characters, not 160). With optional parameters the request will bulk up even more since a TLV requires a minimum of 4 bytes per use.

Submit response: Can be up to 81 bytes with the id assigned to the message.

If delivery receipts are supported and requested, you can expect yet another message from the remote that is a receipt that the original message had been received by the handset. That is going to be the size of the header (16 bytes) plus all the required fields for a submit message type (etc etc) with maybe some info in the message body field (add some more bytes to that...). And to add to the fun, that delivery message needs a response, too.

All of that with the size of the occasional ping/pongs and the other commands in the SMPP, the bandwidth can really start to add up. We're still not breaking out fiber here, but SMPP actually is a pretty heavy protocol. And with all the overhead (i.e., many required fields that 99% of the time are set to protocol defaults or NULL), it will eat up more bandwidth than you might think.

And you could always add an XML wrapper to that, and people do...

Hmm, that was pointless. Just felt like typing, I guess. ;P

Re:and the thoughput is: (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9235892)

yes, assuming that every message is maxed out, which im sure the requests were more in the neighborhood of 1/10 the max message size. which makes the throughput even less impressive. this story is more feel-good than gee-whiz, in my cowardly opinion.

Can most Indians afford mobile phones? (2, Interesting)

Andy Mitchell (780458) | more than 10 years ago | (#9235668)

I've been out to India twice for business trips (mostly in Bangalore) and you cant help noticing the contrast between the rich and educated in the tech industries and the incredibly poor people in the same city. Of course there are a lot of inbetween people as well, but the contrast between the extremes is scary.

Considering a mobile phone is an expensive bit of kit (if you get it "free" you pay for it over a few years on calls) you have to wonder if most people can afford a mobile phone.

Re:Can most Indians afford mobile phones? (2, Informative)

Zusstin (518914) | more than 10 years ago | (#9235712)

Not until an year ago. But last year, when Reliance launched their CDMA services, they made sure that *anybody* could buy one. Since then, Reliance have added 40 million subscribers. And thats in just one year. They were offereing LG/Samsung CDMA handset for Rs. 500/- which would be ~ 12 USD. Offcourse, their air-time usage charge was also *very low*. An CDMA to CDMA call would cost you Rs. 0.40 per minute. That could be less than 1 cent.

Re:Can most Indians afford mobile phones? (2, Informative)

tarunthegreat2 (761545) | more than 10 years ago | (#9235716)

Answer to your header - yes. They can.
Expensive bit of kit? The cheapest mobile phone is available for US$50 in India. But if you buy it thru the commitment plans, you pay nothing for it. How is that expensive? Get opver the fucking contrast. There are 1 billion people living in India. There are lots of poor people, and there are lots of rich.

Re:Can most Indians afford mobile phones? (3, Informative)

cygnusx (193092) | more than 10 years ago | (#9235854)

Well, many vegetable-sellers* (the kind who have little push-carts full of vegetables) have cellphones now, so do many auto-rickshaw [google.com] drivers.

Do most poor farmers have cellphones? Nope. As you pointed out, the extremes in India are astonishing. I believe this can be best explained by the fact that a lot of India is uneducated, has a feudal mindset, and believes that suffering is their destiny in life (Karma, however we use it on /., is not a joke to most Indians).

That said, there are _lot_ of vegetable sellers and autorickshaw drivers in India, and they are usually classified as LIGs (Lower Income Groups). So it's sort of heartening to see how far we've come that many of them can afford a cellphone.

Btw, a cellphone could be had for as little as INR 1500, and a pay-as-you-go card that'd last a month can be got for INR 50-200. Not for the "poorest of the poor", but the urban poor can probably afford it.

*Btw, the reason the urban poor buy cellphones is because they get better business this way. For example, people can call a veggie seller up and get veggies on demand at home. Ditto autorickshaw drivers - parents are more likely to trust their kids (to drive them to/from school) to an autorickshaw driver who is always reachable via a cellphone.

Vegetable Vendors Have Cell Phones (1)

toofanx (679091) | more than 10 years ago | (#9235900)

I completely agree with your post. Infact, I was myself stumped when I was busy haggling with this cart vendor, and his cell phone rang. He picked up, apparently talked to a buyer who wanted him to keep the vegetables ready so that he can just drive up and pick up everything.

You have your own e-tailer here.

Results viewable by anyone... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9235671)

Click on the exam results for 2004, and you can type in a roll number to see people's grades. 1211322 is a good one.

Re:Results viewable by anyone... (1)

cujo_1111 (627504) | more than 10 years ago | (#9235735)

1211323 is a better one...

Re:Results viewable by anyone... (2, Funny)

cujo_1111 (627504) | more than 10 years ago | (#9235741)

1234567 is the guy who will take your job...

Re:Results viewable by anyone... (2, Insightful)

saurabhchandra (415513) | more than 10 years ago | (#9235801)

I think thats OK - even when the results are put up on bulletin boards (physical one's) everyone can see all the results.

India... (4, Funny)

Viceice (462967) | more than 10 years ago | (#9235673)

There seems to be a lot of talk about India on SlashDot lately. Are the editors being outsourced there too?

Re:India... (0, Redundant)

2674 (661934) | more than 10 years ago | (#9235709)

In Soviet Russia, YOU Outsource to India err... Sorry

Re:India... (0, Redundant)

umeshunni (37684) | more than 10 years ago | (#9235728)

I think you meant.. In Soviet Russia, India outsources to you!

Re:India... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9235786)

I think the grandparent poster meant exactly what he said...It is funny in a reverse way, while being true..Get it?

Re:India... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9235730)

U mean, in Soviet Russia, India outsources YOU!...oh er.. never mind DOH! x1000

Re:India... (1)

torpor (458) | more than 10 years ago | (#9235887)

There are a lot of nerds in India. Slashdot is news for nerds. Whats the problem?

Re:India... (1)

dedazo (737510) | more than 10 years ago | (#9235896)

Well if they do we won't be able to tell, just like I am, like, totally fooled when I get a phone call from "Dany" in "Wisconsin" trying to sell me a credit card with an accent right out of those Fanta Shokata commercials.

Why is this news? (0, Redundant)

houghi (78078) | more than 10 years ago | (#9235683)

I realy wonder why this is news. There was a service offerd to get info per sms. That can not be news. There were no technical problems, so that can not be news.

Re:Why is this news? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9235736)

It's basically a way to get a few more racist comments out of Slashdotters - "But wait aren't there a lot of poor people in India? I thought they didn't have enough money to breathe" (Meanwhile, in your Boss's cubicle - "Hey Smart Alec spends too much time flaming on Slashdot. Let's send his job to India!"

My sister took the exam this year (2, Interesting)

arvindn (542080) | more than 10 years ago | (#9235691)

She got her results from the website, there was no problem. Which surprised me, since results websites are usually "slashdotted" when the resutls are announced.

Incidentally

http://uptime.netcraft.com/up/graph?site=cbseresul ts.nic.in

cbseresults.nic.in was running Microsoft-IIS on Windows 2000 when last queried at 24-May-2004 08:16:18 GMT

*sigh*

This year, election [slashdot.org] result updates were also available through SMS.

Re:My sister took the exam this year (1)

dedazo (737510) | more than 10 years ago | (#9235818)

cbseresults.nic.in was running Microsoft-IIS on Windows 2000 when last queried at 24-May-2004 08:16:18 GMT

And this is relevant because...?

Way off the record! (4, Informative)

dnnrly (120163) | more than 10 years ago | (#9235695)

New Year 2003/4 in the UK, 111 MILLION SMSs were sent between midnight 31 December and midnight 1 January, an average of 4.625 million/hour. In reality the first couple of minutes around 37.2 million were sent.

See here [bbc.co.uk] for details.

Re:Way off the record! (1)

snkmoorthy (665423) | more than 10 years ago | (#9235848)

These SMS you mention are static, the article is referring to query based SMS, makes a lot of difference load wise.
India: Even minorities can be elected Prime Minister
USA: Even morons can be elected President

Re:Way off the record! (1)

sould (301844) | more than 10 years ago | (#9235871)

Informative? You're talking about a different record.

Your link was about the number of SMSs sent.

The story is about the number of SMSs sent to (and handled by) a single SMS server.

Re:Way off the record! (1)

mcpkaaos (449561) | more than 10 years ago | (#9235878)

Regardless, you have to realize that a SMS service that can handle 100K messages in a single hour could be written in VB script. Any way you look at it this is truly not news.

Re:Way off the record! (1)

ponxx (193567) | more than 10 years ago | (#9235888)

As the article you link to also pointed out, this just about wrecked the mobile phone network in london for a few hours. I happened to be there and tried to call someone, no chance... even SMS arrived hours later...

Too Open (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9235713)

If you go to the page, and click on exam results, you can enter a roll number.

Roll numbers starting with 12 seem to work, and in less than a minute I had the results of 5 students. Complete names, grades, pass/fail status.

This would never fly in the US. There are laws against the publication of this type of data (apparently)

Re:Too Open (2, Insightful)

tarunthegreat2 (761545) | more than 10 years ago | (#9235762)

1. So u have their names. What can YOU do with that? Publish it on the internet?
2. Pass/Fail status..hmmm... I think most students would be able to figure out if their friends/enemies made it into the next grade, without the help of this website.... As for future prospective employers, you have to provide your original certificates to them anyway.
Finally, there's a disclaimer on the site saying they're not responsible for any typos, and this site should not taken as the final Word on your grades. Anybody can just deny that the grades in this site are valid.

Re:Too Open (3, Insightful)

dedazo (737510) | more than 10 years ago | (#9235852)

So u have their names.

It's "you", not "u".

What can YOU do with that?

Take a wild guess as to what I can do with all this [slashdot.org] . Ever heard of social engineering?

I could care less, but for someone who is in India it might prove rather useful.

Re:Too Open (2, Insightful)

tarunthegreat2 (761545) | more than 10 years ago | (#9235872)

I am in India. New Delhi, in fact. I know Manvendra Singh passed his Exam. I don't know which Manvendra Singh, I don't know where he lives in all India, I don't know what he looks like. And to a non-Indian, you don't even know if it's a He or a She. I would really like to know, What can I do with the information given?

Re:Too Open (1)

tsager (196659) | more than 10 years ago | (#9235767)

Same in Switzerland. It's not allowed to publish names in conjunction with marks.
Only roll numbers and marks are allowed (and there is no directory of names/numbers).

When the SMS is incorrect (5, Interesting)

Rurouni Joe (772302) | more than 10 years ago | (#9235737)

Below is a link to a story of teenager who commited suicide after receiving an sms telling her she had failed, when in reality she had passed. It just goes to show the pressures some of these teenagers face in India today.

news.com.au [news.com.au]

slashdotting... (0)

tsager (196659) | more than 10 years ago | (#9235746)

So let's at least kill the web server then.

Drawbacks (3, Interesting)

gokulpod (558749) | more than 10 years ago | (#9235792)

Just so that we don't get all gung ho over the news, here's a very sad story. [news.com.au] . A girl committed suicide when she got a result over SMS that she had failed. She had in fact passed the exams.

Re:Drawbacks (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9235820)

blame her parents and relatives who created such insecurity. even it was paper result or the sms result, its the pressure the student is facing which has to be thought abt.

Try 100,000 messages in 5 seconds (4, Interesting)

jpatokal (96361) | more than 10 years ago | (#9235798)

This is newsworthy more from a societal than a technological point of view. 100,000 messages per hour (=27 msg/s) is chicken feed for your typical SMSC, which usually measure traffic in hundreds of SMSes per second. There are even SMS bulk delivery tools that plug directly into SS7 and claim a throughput of 20,000 messages per second [bmdwireless.com] . Working in the industry myself (at a competitor, mind you) I'm a little skeptical about this particular claim, but I do know that there are SMSC networks out there capable of handling sustained loads of several thousand msg/s.

But it's neat anyway. Then again, I thought it was pretty nifty to be able to call me university's automated service and get my results via phone 10 years ago... although I'm sure that little wait between "You have..." and "passed" was put there on purpose!.

Cheers,
-j.

This is what can happen when you get it wrong.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9235806)

Suicide [news.com.au]

Some more details? (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9235823)

I think this might have been more interesting on Slashdot if we could have gotten some more details. What systems and programming languages did they use? What development methodologies? What unique problems did they face and how did they solve them?

That would have been an interesting read (and a sure way to start "my language is better than yours" flamewars ;)

This headline trivia is just...meh.

Incidentally, I was involved in a project dealing with SMS processing. It was the worst thing I have ever seen. Several development teams had worked on it and then quit or burned out. We got the task of trying to save it before the last bits of funding were cut.

An enormous Oracle database with around 50 tables (all with obscure nondescriptive names), most of them were not used anymore but remained because something just might break if you deleted them, they tables did not have proper keys, foreign keys or normalisations. The code itself was several HUNDRED java classes. Most were not used (same story with as with the DB tables, you could not be sure you didn't break anything by removing them). Actually what did all the work in the system was basically a single huge class, 4000 lines or so of procedural code written in java. The whole class was a single main method (no additional methods to speak of), consisting of an infinite loop with nested if/switch/try/catch/loop constructs. Lots and lots of cut and paste, empty catch statements, repeated string comparisons instead of final variables, messages built with String instead of StringBuffer, thread concurrency issues, many short lived database connections without a pool, etc etc etc etc. Almost every bad programming error you could think of.

There were almost no documentation or comments in the code. Once we understood the state of the mess we tried to tell the customer that their demands ("You MUST get this working in a couple of weeks! We told or sponsors we would be able to do a demo!") were impossible, but they wouldn't listen. Our relationship with them did not end well and they refused to pay us money for the time we spent. The project remained a mess of course.

But do you think they got their funding cut? No...becuase it was public sector money, so they got a firm admonishment to do better and kept getting money they wasted. Tax payer money... (Swedish tax payer, so no need to get angry if you live in another country. I you are a fellow Swede, please be furious.) So off they went to hire more consultants who would save them this time.

I'd better post anon this time, I think you can guess why.

So, that's my story of how to do it wrong. I would have liked to see how the Indians did it right. :-)

Don't they protect the privacy of their students? (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9235824)

Browsing the site I came across a results page:
http://cbseresults.nic.in/class12/cbse12.as p
it asks for a 7 digit number, and within 3 attempts i found a working one: 1228540
Roll No: 1228540
Name:
SREEJA SURENDRAN
Mother's Name: BHARATHI SURENDRAN
Father's Name: SURENDRAN NAIR

and from their i can continue harvesting information and school scores for my devilish purposes:
Roll No: 1228539
Name:
SNIGDHA THAKUR
Mother's Name: BITHI THAKUR
Father's Name: RAVINDRA NATH THAKUR
I guess privacy isn't that big of an issue to them

Re:Don't they protect the privacy of their student (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9235836)

What will you do with this information? And who has got the time?

Re:Don't they protect the privacy of their student (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9235893)

Heh. you and I are different creatures.

I viewed the source, figured out what a correct value would be from the handy javascript (whichever fuckmuppet thought client-side variable parsing was a good idea should be shot), and figured it out that way - 1200XXX, where XXX is your choice of integer, for instance. You can even pick results by schoool district.

And I'll bet you since it's client-side parsed, it isn't in the *LEAST* bit server-side parsed. That site has to be vulnerable to a fuckload of SQL injection, because it will almost certainly be running mysql or mssql, since it's asp-driven.

I pray they fix it before someone malicious gets into it.

SMS Costs (1)

HeghmoH (13204) | more than 10 years ago | (#9235844)

This is slightly OT, but everybody's talking about how little bandwidth these messages actually take up.

My question is, why do SMS's cost so damned much? For a max of 160 bytes of data, the phone companies charge an unbelievable amount! It's something like a tenth of a second worth of voice traffic, but they're not priced accordingly. Is there a technical reason for this or, (more likely) are the phone companies just money-grubbing rat bastards?

India's educational system is super-de-dooper! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9235903)


Time to hire American, hm?
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