The Power of ‘Charm’

“But charm is more valuable than beauty. You can resist beauty, but you can’t resist charm.” – Irene (Hors De Prix)

Very powerful is ‘charm’ that it tends to bias people against rational decisions. Throughout history men who were charming got more public recognition and rewards than men who really performed. And charm is not beauty, only charm can make popular a person as weird as Einstein. Though Niels Bohr had more results to his credit, he is no way near Einstein in popularity. Successes of many such people including Rajinikanth  (Tamil Actor) cannot be attributed to anything but charm.

This irrational bias can be attributed to the Theory of Thin Slices as explained by Malcolm Gladwell in his book ‘Blink: The Power of Thinking without Thinking’. In his book he claims most of the decisions taken by humans are in the time period of ‘Blink of an Eye’ without applying conscious judgment. This sort of decisions he claims tend to be more successful than conscious decisions except for cases where people fall to ‘charm’.

Though every human claims that at the conscious level they treat all equally, there exists an implicit bias that tend to provide unconscious favor to people who are more charming.

‘Charm’ provides an advantage in cases where decisions are to be made in short span of time. That is why the leaders who are selected to represent political parties for President or Prime Minister are the not the ones who are really capable political administrators. They are the ones who the people find ‘Charming’ enough to vote.

How many times we have heard of, seen to ourselves, people getting selected in interviews may not be as good as their competitors. I feel the ‘Charm’ effect provides this advantage. However the beneficiary has to be beware, while ‘Charm’ can help getting through and interview only performance in the long term will help sustainability.

‘Charm’ is definitely powerful.

Note: The Book ‘Blink: The Power of Thinking without Thinking by Malcolm Gladwell’ does not make any references to ‘Charm’ and is not a reference to view points mentioned in this blog. The ideas mentioned in this blog are purely my views and inferences made from other sources such as this book. No proper research has been done by the author and no claim has been made for the correctness of views mentioned above.

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AVG 2011 – Surf Shield Bug – avg_ls_dom.js

Recently I faced issues loading webpages in Chrome. Many websites failed to load including my Blog. Websites that have a lot of java scripts especially Adsense units (Image and Text) took a lot of time to load. I tested the page elements load time with firefox browser with firebug and Google Page speed addon and found a mysterious Java Script ‘/A2EB891D63C8/avg_ls_dom.js’

It looks like the problem is due to Surf Shield a part of Link Scanner module of AVG 2011. "AVG Surf-Shield actively checks web pages in real-time every time you click a link or enter a web address directly into your browser". This is done by adding a script element to the very beginning of every HTML page rendered inside the browser. This element loads a local JavaScript file called ‘avg_ls_dom.js’.

The script is injected in a non-standard way, right after the document definition and outside of the <head> element, where such resources are normally defined. This technique is most likely used to ensure that avg_ls_dom.js is loaded before any other script possibly injected by attackers into the original page. The JavaScript code inside the file is supposed to create a buffer with the content of the page and submit it via POST to another relative URL called /CC0227228D62/CheckData.

httpRequest.open("POST", "/CC0227228D62/CheckData", false);
httpRequest.setRequestHeader("Content-Type", "application/x-www-form-urlencoded");
httpRequest.send(params);

This request should again be intercepted by the AVG module, which should inspect the code and give the go-ahead to display the page or tell the script to throw an error instead. However, it seems that a bug causes the proxy-like component to let requests through and get sent to the server from where the page was loaded.

Once I disabled the Surf Shield option in Link Scanner the issue got resolved.

Ref: http://news.softpedia.com/news/AVG-2011-Bug-Affects-Browsing-Experience-Could-Also-Hurt-Websites-160515.shtml

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What to Blog!

Its quite a while since my last post. Life has kept me very busy! Too many things happened in my life during this period that many blogs can be expected on these happenings. Nothing could be a perfect gift as my son’s birth just 2 hrs before the clocks strikes 12:00 to celebrate my birthday. He gave us a surprise visit just a day after ‘valaikappu’ with a nail biting suspense. Thank God our rules do  not allow to know the sex of a child earlier. There is nothing as thrilling as waiting long to know if your first child is a boy or a girl. Those crazy old wives tales! they didn’t work 🙂 .

And my visit to Taipei. Short visit it was; but a wonderful experience. I should admit that I was over confident with Taipei’s food due to my Beijing experiences. Taipei food is nowhere near Beijing. We didn’t miss out our visit to Taipei 101 and the famous night market. 

image

And my website crash. Oops! For three years I have regularly taken backups. Exactly when I have forgot to do it for more than four months my website crashed. Luckily since there was not much activity I was able to restore it with minimal loss. I never expected someone would break into my database and clear the records. Big lesson learnt!

And so many fun filled dramas in life and at work. But I am still thinking for a topic, for a reason to blog. What to Blog?

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Analysis Paralysis

I was wondering how helpful is ‘blinking’ (http://blog.shankarananth.com/?p=208) a few weeks back. Now when I have take crucial decisions I really find value to blinking. Too many facts and figures are only confusing as much as not allowing to take a decision at all. I wonder about the equilibrium that exists in this universe that does not give a distinct advantage to a particular option for final decision. This phenomenon can be explained mathematically too. When the degrees of freedom are positive we try to arrive at best possible solutions. However when the degrees of freedom is negative (too many information) it only leads to finding which of the available information is faulty (data reconciliation). Thinking at the next level makes it too philosophical and leads to rethink the validity of known facts.

Follow your heart, they mean much more than facts and figures.

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