So I am starting a new series on this blog. A big part of who I am today is my fitness journey. I was 200lb around 3 years ago, I weigh 160lb now with a ton more muscle. My blood work is close to perfect and I am the healthiest I have ever been in my life.
A big part of being healthy is your diet. These days when I buy a product the first thing I look at is the ingredients list. Trust me the ingredients list is often more important than the calories tab.
In this new series I will talk about lifestyle changes that I undertook or am taking to ensure a healthy and fruitful life full of vitality.
Ingredients and Nutrition (4/5)
Recently I got the vegetable crisps by Sonoma from Costco. I was struggling with these as most mentions of Sonoma at Costco have to do with their Parmesan crisps.
The vegetable crisps contain Okra, Carrots, Tomatoes, Purple Sweet Potato, Potatoes and Cauliflower. Its seasoned with rice bran oil and salt.
Overall not too many bad ingredients except for the Rice Bran oil, the only reason I wont be eating too much is because they didnt go for an oil like Avacado oil or Coconut oil. Other than that, even though the 150 calorie serving is calorie dense. I feel full with just a handful due to the fiber content.
The taste of the vegetable crisps is pretty clean. Almost neutral with a tinge of sweetness due to the starch in the potatoes. I loved the taste. The vegetables add a nice profile both in terms of shape and flavor to the snack. Below you can see a comparison of the actual veggies v/s the packaging.
If the fiber(3g in a serving) wasn’t strong in this once, I would end up munching a lot more.
Overall I would give this snack a thumbs up. I loved eating the vegetable crisps. They are a good low guilt snack with a serving of veggies.
For some reason they only seem to be available to Costco, even Amazon doesn’t have these.
I recently started to get an error on my iPhone 11 Pro with respect to storage. The error was strange, out of nowhere, my iPhone had started to complain about the storage being full.
I hadn’t installed anything recently. In addition, I also pay for ICloud storage so my photos are always backed up to the cloud and not taking any space on the phone.
I initially deleted a few large attachments but it did nothing to fix the situation. When I went into the storage viewer, I got a strange storage allocation graph. According to the graph, most of the storage was occupied by the “system” component. Around 30 GB of my 64 GB memory was being used by System leaving just a few MBs of free space.
I researched the problem a little bit and discovered the steps to resolve it. If you are hitting storage related issues on your iPhone, the following workflow is worth a shot.
I quickly realized that it had to have been a bug. I did not want to goto the genius bar because lets admit it, no one is really a genius there and they will ask you to reset the phone anyway. Here are the steps I followed that fixed the phone:
Connect your phone to a computer with the latest version of iTunes.
Click on the phone icon within ITunes and select the backup option.
Backed up your iPhone including passwords using encryption. At this step you will be asked to choose a password, dont forget this.
After this I went into my iPhone and did a full reset in Settings -> General. I am using an e-Sim and did not remove cellular settings when it asked me. If you dont have an E-Sim, you dont need to worry about this step.
5. After the reset, I restored the backup I had made in step 3 by connecting the iPhone back to the computer. After the restoration was complete, the mystery storage bug was gone!
Its an obvious Apple bug however if you go to the genius bar at an Apple store they will ask you to do the same. I am happy the full reset resolved the problem for me. Let me know if you faced the same issue and fixed it. Do note that I don’t take any responsibility for any data loss you may encounter but this is a generally well known flow.
The TimeTec RoadHawk DC-2 camera is a fairly high end camera for the dash-cam enthusiast in you. Whether you love to record long drives or are looking for a camera for insurance purposes, this can be your goto camera depending upon your budget. The camera’s standard price is around $179.99 which when compared to other options in the market is a bit steep, but is the price worth the quality ? Lets have a look.
Real Full HD 1080p@30fps video latest A5s Processor (Ambarella).
High quality image sensor providing excellent video quality and tuned for low light sensitivity.
Gyro balanced image stabilisation
SD XC compatible up to 128GB (8GB included)
Built-in 1hz GPS Receiver
New vertical mount designed to have the lens of the camera sitting closer to the screen of the vehicle minimising reflection
Algorithm for detecting SD card errors.
Alarm input for remote triggering events and output for communicating with tracking devices.
Construction and Installation The camera feels sturdy to hold and comes with some 3M stickers and a long winding cable. I have connected it to my cigarette lighter but some people may feel like attaching it to the battery directly. The mount that comes with the camera I feel is pretty useless as you cannot take off the camera in a market or a crowded area while parking the car. this is an open invitation for prowlers.
I ended up spending some more money to buy the suction mount which I believe should be standard on this. The camera also has no battery which is a big negative for me since I use it with the cigarette lighter. What that means is that if my car is parked and someone hits it, I wont be able to find out who hit my car.
One of the main features of this camera is its HD 1080p recording. The company takes great pride in the recording quality of the camera and to be honest it doesn’t disappoint. Here is a sample video where a jerk runs a red signal, as you can see the violation if any would have been recorded quite clearly. Regarding recording number plates, the camera cannot do much on moving cars. However if you stop behind a car you can be certain that its number plate is recorded.
The internal Mic does work well, I cancelled some noise in the video but nothing that should be of concern.
GPS Logger and the G-Sensor
The GPS works great and so does the G sensor. GPS takes a minute or so to lock in at mornings and the G-sensor does go off on rough bumps so I believe if I were ever in an accident it would go off.
The Road Hawk comes with a nice side software through which you can view videos with speed overlays and Google maps integration. The software also shows X and Y G-Force for those interested.
Overall I am very happy with this camera. The battery is one thing I miss the most. Another thing is that the wire is so long it kind of coils near my cigarette lighter. But the joy of recording jerks driving like jerks is really priceless.
As digital payments grow in the US and India, it becomes important to protect your credit card from fraud. While many banks will take care of charges after you report your card lost or stolen, you may be taken for a ride if someone uses your card and the bank deems it to be your responsibility. There are some common sense tips you can use to ensure the security of your credit card. Some of these tips are common to the US and India, however most cards in US are much better protected against fraud even though they have much less security features.
1. Get a CHIP and PIN card. This is easier said than done in the US. Most banks in US are sending these out in batches but give your bank a call and ask them to send over a chip card. CHIP cards are harder to skim. In India, do the same. Many banks will want to charge you extra for a replacement. Tell them to go and pound sand. I had an encounter with Kotak Mahindra bank who wanted to charge me Rs.100 to get a Chip card. After I invoked their social media team at Twitter, I was able to get the chip cards sent to me for free.
2. Scratch that CVV out. Another way to do fraud is to memorize your card number and write down the expiry and the CVV. An easy way to prevent this fraud is to scratch out the CVV from behind your card (after memorizing it ofcourse ).
3. Swipe it in front of your eyes. Never let the waiter or the barista disappear with your card. Don’t get conscious or be embarrassed to ask the waiter to swipe the card in front of your eyes. A moment of inconvenience can prevent a large future loss. A lot of waiters would make a copy of your card using a skimmer while they take it to swipe it.
4. Turn on mobile alerts. Most banks and credit card companies allow mobile alerts. These mobile alerts serve as an early warning system to you incase your card ever gets compromised and banks can immediately shut down fraudulent use of your card.
5. Never share your OTP. This is mostly with the Indian context. OTPs or one time passwords are issued by banks in India to authenticate card not present transactions. Never share those passwords with anyone including someone claiming to be from your bank. Also never share your card number, expiry or any other sensitive information with your bank either. They will never call asking for such information.
Lets start from the beginning of the timeline. Its October first week, I am in the US. Out of OCD and habit I check my Indian credit card by Standard Chartered. I see that there is a charge of almost 30000 rupees which I don’t recognize. I immediately call their call center and after going through a tedious IVRS system I finally get to talk to a real person. My call disconnects twice before I can complete the dispute. I send in a dispute declaration form to the bank for further processing the dispute. If I were in the US, this would be the end of it, the merchant would be penalized. That was not to be. Since we were in the beautiful land of India, everyone was just hoping to take customers for a ride. Standard Chartered and as I found Bank of Baroda later which was the payment processor for the merchant were pushing for the same.
After submitting the dispute form, I received a temporary credit and the online customer service advised me to pay the disputed money otherwise they would charge finance charges. I was shocked and flabbergasted at this. This is directly in contravention of any rule or guideline concerning the dispute process. I wrote off a letter to the RBI ombudsman after this highlighting that not only is Standard Chartered not assisting me properly, they are trying to arm twist me into payment. I also highlighted other procedural lapses by the bank. Here is a relevant portion of my letter to the RBI copied to standard chartered bank :
I sent the letters and promptly got busy in worklife. Pretty soon the dispute was closed in the merchant’s favor. I got to know this in standard chartered bank’s response to the RBI. It was full of half truths, but the most fascinating thing was the proof the merchant had submitted.
They claimed that a chargeslip was the proof of the transaction as submitted by the merchant. Its ridiculous that Indian banks think their customers are so dumb and illiterate. And this too in response to the RBI ombudsman. A chargeslip is generated in every transaction, it cannot be proof that someone committed the transaction. It’s common sense one would argue, however Standard Chartered bank had the audacity to attach the chargeslip as proof to the RBI. Thankfully, I still had my card and the signature on the chargeslip was just swiggly lines. They also claim this is industry standard, wow and yikes at the same time. If our CC industry believes that a chargeslip is proof enough for a transaction then I can safely say no fraud has even been committed using credit cards offline in India. Is this really the industry standard ?
Here is the fraudulent chageslip in all its glory, notice that the name looks like Waseem, maybe its fake or maybe the thief signed his real name :
What was interesting in Standard Chartered’s response to the RBI was that they agreed to reopen the dispute after initially deciding against me only due to the fact that I was abroad. I cringe at what would happen if I was in India, then the chargeslip with fake signature would have ensured that Standard Chartered would hold me responsible for the charge ? They also cleverly asked the RBI to close the complaint. At this point, I asked dad to prepare filing a case in consumer court, there was no way I was going to pay the fraudulent charges.
So post this drama, I shot off a response to RBI and Standard Chartered bank again questioning the shoddy proof and also asking the RBI to not close the complaint since the essence of the complaint was infact the charge itself and not whether they were allowing me to dispute it. Here is a copy of some of my points in the letter :
However to get to the pertinent points regarding the dispute:
1. I was not present in the country when the said transaction happened, and I have the card in my possession.
2. The signature shared by the merchant bank doesn’t even look like my name and just seems like scribbling. This is the signature on the back of my card for reference. As you can see as a security measure I had even scratched off the 3 digit CVV and always used the card carefully.
The merchant has obviously done a poor job of matching the signature for such a high value transaction or checking the identity.
3. I have also filed a case with the Navi Mumbai Police’s cyber cell
<complaint numbers here>
4. Given the facts of the case, I am able to prove beyond any reasonable doubt that the transaction is fraudulent and not committed by me and I have the card in my possession so there is no negligence on my part. I reported the fraud transaction as soon as I got to know about it.
Question to Bank:
I fail to understand how the charge slip is any kind of ‘proof’ that I had committed the transaction. It’s not evidence, it’s a fact that anytime a transaction happens, a chargeslip is generated. How is that even pertinent to the case at hand?
What is evidence is that the signature is a complete mismatch and scribble and since I did not sign that chargeslip, I am not the one who entered into the contract to pay for that charge.
Since the bank claims the dispute is currently in investigation, I accept their submission to wait for an outcome.
I would request RBI to keep the complaint open till a decision is reached by the bank in the matter. The crux of my complaint is that the transaction is obviously not done by me and I should not be responsible for the fraud and that matter is not yet resolved by the bank.
Copy to :
Nodal Officer, Standard Chartered Bank
After waiting for another month and a half, today I finally seem to have gotten confirmation that the disputed charge is finally reversed from my account. I hope this is the end of it. There is an important lesson in all of this especially if you use credit products in India. the protections to consumers seem to be very flimsy. If you use a credit product in India, insist on a chip card and if you use your card at restaurants, insist to go along with the waiter to swipe the card. Scratch off the CVV from the back of the card and most importantly flex your rights. My blood still boils thinking of how the chargeslip was meant to be proof of me committing the transaction. In my opinion it was only because I was in the US that the dispute was decided in my favor (it still took 2.5 months).