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  • Root CA of India

    Posted on July 28th, 2009 Sandeep No comments

    When it comes to secure transactions over the web, you probably would’ve seen that a website URL starts with “https” instead of “http”. For a website to be trusted, it needs to have a digital certificate issued by a trusted third party, called the Certificate Authority (CA). Companies like VeriSign and DigiCert are examples of CAs. It is also possible for governments to have their own Certificate Authorities.

    Which is exactly what the Indian Government has. The Controller of Certifying Authorities issues the root certificate for CAs in the country. Essentially, all certificates below this root gain the trustworthiness of the root certificate.

    Unfortunately this root certificate is not included by default in many browsers, so if you happen to visit sites carrying a digital certificate by any of the Indian CAs, your browser may incorrectly try to prevent you from accessing them. The fix for this is quite simple: you need to install the root certificate in your browser.

    The following steps assume Firefox 3.5.

    1. Download the root certificate from the Controller of Certifying Authorities
    2. Open Tools > Options > Advanced > Encryption tab
    3. Click on the “View Certificates” button
    4. In the subsequent “Certificate Manager” window, click on “Import”
    5. Browse to the downloaded file (it will be a .CER file) and select it
    6. Firefox will prompt if you wish to trust this certificate. Since this is the root certificate, you can select all the options listed in that dialog
    7. The root certificate should be successfully imported. You are all set to go!
  • Mobile Number Portability in India. Finally.

    Posted on May 11th, 2009 Sandeep No comments

    While mobile number portability (MNP) has been in use for the last several years in many parts of the world, India was still lagging. The Department of Telecommunications (or DoT) finally mandated the provisioning of the MNP service. Officially, the department defines the MNP service as follows:

    Mobile Number Portability Service means a service which allows subscribers to retain their existing telephone number when they switch from one access provider to another irrespective of mobile technology or from one technology to another of the same or any other access service provider (sic).

    This is good news!

  • Save on Calling India with Airtel Call Home

    Posted on April 7th, 2009 Sandeep 5 comments

    So you just signed up for a shiny new Airtel Call Home account to call India (and other countries) from the USA. The rates (at the time of this writing) are competitive, at ¢6 per minute to call mobile phones and ¢7 to call land lines, when you call their toll-free number. What Airtel does not let you find easily is the fact that you can bring this down to ¢5.5/minute and ¢6.5/minute respectively if you call their non-toll-free numbers.

    What is a toll-free number?

    According to the FCC’s website:

    Toll-free numbers are numbers that begin with one of the following three-digit codes: 800, 888, 877, or 866. Toll-free numbers allow callers to reach businesses and/or individuals without being charged for the call. The charge for using a toll-free number is paid by the called party (the toll-free subscriber) instead of the calling party.

    Which basically means that when you call Airtel’s toll-free number, they pay for the call. If you call their non-toll-free number, naturally the savings are passed on to you. If you call this number from a mobile, you end up using your minutes anyway, so you can save some money by calling their non-toll-free number. (Also, many companies offer triple play packages – phone, internet and cable TV – where they bundle unlimited national calling within the USA).

    Where do I find Airtel’s non-toll-free number?

    From the Local Access page, that’s where. Local access numbers for the Newark, NJ area are, for example:

    • (201) 300-4547
    • (732) 284-3376
    • (908) 279-8561
    • (201) 621-0638 and more

    The next time you call Airtel Call Home, make sure you call the local access numbers!