Friday, December 29, 2006

Innovation? Microsoft?

Yes, Microsoft is Innovative! PC World's list of The 20 Most Innovative Products of the Year has Microsoft Office 2007 on top. All because of that new ribbon. They must be celebrating out there in Redmond! But top spot for this seems a bit unjustified. Its cool alright but the remaining list has some pretty exciting "innovative" products. From the list below, I'll have to say these are all amazing products. So they've got the collection right, probably not the order.

1. Microsoft Office 2007
2. Intel Core 2 Duo
3. Parallels Desktop for Mac
4. Nintendo Wii
5. Samsung 32GB SSD
6. Sony Reader
7. YouOS
8. Dell XPS M2010
9. Seagate Barracuda 7200.10 750GB
10. T-Mobile Dash
11. Pioneer Inno
12. Farecast
13. Sony BWU-100A Blu-Ray Disc Rewritable Drive
14. Olympus EVolt E-330
15. Google SketchUp
16. Sony PlayStation 3
17. RIM BlackBerry Pearl 8100
18. Rhapsody 4.0
19. Logitech NuLooq
20. Shure E500PTH Sound Isolating Earphones

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Free SMS Greeting Service from MyToday

The "someday" I wrote of in the last post has arrived sooner than I expected. Things've been outright crazy: at work, and at home. But I hope they'd be relatively calmer in the days to come.

I've been in Bangalore now for 3 weeks and it's been pretty much fun albeit the fact that I spend a whole lot of my time commuting amidst blaring horns on the jam-packed roads . Met lots of my friends from college the past weekend and had great fun at the not-so-chilly hill station Coorg over the extended weekend. Also met Atishay but didn't get to see his Ferrari laptop. Perhaps Microsoft would bribe me too with one!

MyToday has launched a free SMS greeting service for Indian Mobile users. You get to type your greeting message of 110 characters and the message is sent free along with 50 characters worth of MyToday ads. Tried composing a cool 110 characters new year greeting. No success so far.

"Is Microsoft Driving Innovation or Playing Catch-Up With Rivals?" Microsoft critic Dave Winer and former Microsoft "technical evangelist" Robert Scobledebate the topic on WSJ. Certainly an interesting read. Another of Dave Winer's posts I've enjoyed recently is "Good Luck Jimmy" where he opines that "Someone should try to make the next big leap in search, there's little incentive for Google to try." I particularly liked the quote "Revolution, from time to time, is a healthy thing." that Soxiam had on this.

One thing that I often fail to understand is why Newshutch is overlooked when people talk about Feed Aggregators. I've used it for a very long period of time and will say that it is pretty useful with a very slick interface. And so I was very surprised today to see it being completely left out in this comparison of best RSS Aggregators on SplashCast.

Cheers!

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Someday

Someday, this space will be updated more often.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Zune's Monstrous Ads

What exactly is it that the guys at Big M are trying to achieve with these ridiculous (dangerously bordering absurdity) ads for the Zune?

The first one I came across was at RockInsider. How a couple of monsters swallowing down people and vans are related to MP3 players beats me.


Then the new redesigned YouTube also suggested that I see the other Zune ads. And could it have been any different? Looking at these and other Zune ads, I'll say I even believe this conversation did take place at the fictional Microsoft Zune Design Laboratory.

The ads on Soapbox were disappointing too. But atleast they made some sense!


Video: Zune TV Ad - Snow

Friday, December 08, 2006

Google ads on forehead?

OK. I couldn't think of any title for this post. So just picked up the last thing I mentioned in this post and made it the heading. But with Google now planning even “targeted measurable television ads” you never know!

But Google did one great thing and that was to come up with Gtalk. Things are such that I can barely manage without Gtalk at work. Now that's not because my team is separated all over the building, but it is necessitated because of the frigging earphones and all the stupid music people around me are tuned to. Somebody make them read this!

Browsing through Scoble's Link Blog, I came across this interesting piece titled "Dumbing Down of Programming". I am sure these guys will try to make a point at me through this ;)

Then, there's this wonderful Reformat option in Eclipse that Desh told me about. Its such a pity people can't write a clean piece of code. But this at least solves all the indentation blues. Just hit Ctrl+Shift+F and it indents all the code as per the preferences set. Talking of Eclipse, Google has now joined hands with Eclipse. How this will bring Google closer to the open-source community remains to be seen.

And this week's super comic. I'll have to say this kid is certainly showing signs of excessive blogging!

Thursday, December 07, 2006

What code DOESN'T do in real life...

In films and television code is always sailing across the screen at incredible speeds; it's presented as an indecipherable stream of letters and numbers that make perfect sense to the programmer but dumbfound everyone else! Matthew Inman has this amazing piece on how code, programmers and hackers are portrayed in the movies.

The best in his List: #10

10 Most code is not inherently cross platform
Remember in Independence Day when whatshisface-math-guy writes a virus that works on both his apple laptop AND an alien mothership? Bullshit!
If real life were like film I'd be able to port wordpress to my toaster using a cat5 cable and a bag of glitter.

[via Rushi]

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

MTV Back Pack Holidays with TravelGuru

MTV India, after Roadies, takes its adventure travel concept further with MTV Back Pack Holidays. Joining hands with TravelGuru, a travel site offering pretty decent deals, they've put together custom-made adventure-travel packages for the youth.

This for sure seems to be fun. And with packages that range from Rs. 800 for a day's adventure to Rs. 10000 for longer vacation, capturing the attention of the adventure enthusiasts in the country would be real easy.

The site currently has a package listed for KIHIM near Mumbai and they've got an exciting line up of activities there: rappelling, Rock Climbing, Beach baseball (wonder what that is?) and stuff. All bundled up within a weekend.

Too bad I leave Mumbai this weekend :( But they are to offer new packages around Bangalore too! Anybody game???

Want to play with the Vaio?

After cool iPod Shuffle ad, the uncool Vista ad, its now time to see the funny Vaio Interactive Flash stuff. It features a PC, a Mac and a Vaio (Remeber the I'm a mac, I'm a PC ad from Apple) . But wait a sec, isn't Vaio a PC??? But then, you can always say that Vaio is in a league of its own.

Beats me, how I couldn't convince my cousin to get a Vaio instead of the stupid Compaq thing she got.

Check out the funny Vaio Interactive Flash and the explore the new Sony Vaio C Series .

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The Vicious Circle

"And this, O Fate, is I think the most vicious circle that thou ever sentest" Remember the classic Poem by Ogden Nash. Caught up in a similar vicious circle at work for the past few days, these words from my primary school text book simply came to my mind. What fun days were those!

Is there a way out? Prasoon recommends spending more time at Digg rather then burning out with the build-compile-deploy routine. I honestly fail to understand how that could make things better, if not worse. No sir, I'd rather stick to my feedreader like BusinessWeek's Rob Hoff, without all that crap Digg throws.

And the feed reader and the unanswered mails in my Inbox are certainly keeping me busy. This morning, Andy Kazeniac over at compete.com informed me about their comparison of the demand for the three Video Game consoles through the week of November 25th. Really interesting to note from their research how the XBox 360 is holding its own in terms of popularity despite the recent launches and abundant press for the other two next-generation gaming systems.

Also, I saw this new network and web stats monitoring service http://mon.itor.us/ I just can't seem to pronounce it but certainly is something you might like to give a try. Then there's also this new Virtual Machine that Sun has offered Solaris on with software for calendars, e-mail, Web sites, Java server software etc. Great idea considering that VM is such a woderful and hastlefree way for people to try out new software. [via Andy Tucker]

Zune Hacks and Why Zune is better than the iPod

Its been a bash-Zune season so far with so much written about it ever since its first appearance, without anything being remotely positive about the Zune. Sometimes I felt that they were written with the sole intent of bashing up the big M and their latest offering. As I mentioned once earlier, Andy Ihnatko even proclaimed that it'll bedead and gone within six months.

But finally, someone has come up with praise review for the Zune, declaring that Zune is even better that the iPod itself. Unbelievable, it may sound, but thats what Matthew Miller at ZDNet thinks after three weeks with the Zune.

Unlike many people slamming the Zune, I have been checking out the Zune and the iPod with video in direct comparison and have to say I prefer the Zune for my usage.

In side-by-side comparison, I find the Zune with its directional pad much easier to navigate than sitting there spinning my thumb around in circles on the iPod wheel.

The Zune is taller and thicker than the iPod, but feels lighter in my hand since it isn't as dense as the iPod. [...]

While the display resolution is the same, the larger landscape display on the Zune is honestly more enjoyable for movies than the iPod and the movies don't appear grainy or poor in quality like some people have speculated without even seeing a Zune in person. I like the integrated FM radio with RDS support and find that the signal strength is actually quite decent.

Also, Matthew has put together this list of hacks for Zune that have surfaced over the Internet over the past few days. Take a look at these for a snazzier Zune experience:

The ability to playback Zune Pass content on up to 3 computers

Its really hard for me to understand the hue and cry over Zune's compatibility with Vista. The latter isn't even out yet for everyone!

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Monday, December 04, 2006

The 'uncool' Vista Television commercial

And Microsoft does it again. Just like everything else with the Vista, they screw up the first television commercial too. Its simply too boring . I couldn't even stand to see the whole one-and-a-half-minute video.


Judge for yourself.




Short notes

"They are grand memories." replies Max Skinner to the question "Are they good memories" in the movie A Good Year, prompting me to spend the whole of Sunday wondering what were my grandest memories. Surprisingly, nothing came to my mind- zero, zilch, nada. And so, I concluded finally that either I've had a pretty boring life or I simply do not realize the grandeur of my memories.

NR Murthy of Infosys was talking on one of the zillion news channels out there about the phenomenal growth of Infosys. And this he attributed to "the great Indian Middle Class" and its "strong work ethics". He said that "people didn't go home before completing their work." I am not too sure about Mr. Murthy and Infosys but others in this country's IT services companies seem to possess a completely different mindset with the sort of restrictions imposed on the employees, Internet access restriction being one of them. And the most absurd of reasons: "bandwidth availability!"

Tech2 has this review of PS3, Sony's next generation console, and they declare it a winner hands down over the XBOX 360. I wouldn't agree on that completely with what I've seen of the XBOX but still they've done a fantastic review.

Then, there are 250 Office templates for free download (via LifeHacker). [This link saved me the effort of creating a new template for a friend :P]

Over at ZDNet Blogs, Adrian Kingsley-Hughes writes how Microsoft Zune has grabbed a 9% market share in 4 days brushing aside "most awful, naive nonsense" by the pundits on how Zune would fail.

Stewart Butterfield and Caterina Fake, Co-founders of flickr talk about how they ended up building flickr when they originally started with the idea of a game conceived as a context for social interactions. Quite an interesting read this at Inc.com

Cheers!

Friday, December 01, 2006

Nine Video Sites Compared

Continuing with his experiment where Chris Pirillo comapred YouTube, Google and revver, he now has a "shootout" between nine different video networks.

Chris Pirillo: Nine Video Sites Comparison

Chris called it "multimedia madness". Yes, that's exactly what this is!!! And my results on comparing the 9 videos: YouTube- the best, Soapbox- didn't do bad either, and iFilm- took forever to stream.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Their Most Popular Blog Posts Ever

Philipp at Google Blogoscaped has put up a list where he asked the likes of Dave Winer,Joel Spolsky, Chris Pirillo, Om Malik, Niall Kennedy, Steve Rubel, Jeremy Zawodny and others "about their most popular, or one of their most popular, blog posts – the kind that made an impact on people, had skyrocketing traffic numbers, or triggered a meme or changes"

Here's what they considered their most popular posts:


Darren Rowse (ProBlogger.net):
18 Lessons I’ve Learnt about Blogging

Joel Spolsky (JoelOnSoftware.com):
How Microsoft Lost the API War

Chris Pirillo (Chris.Pirillo.com):
Windows Vista Feedback

Dave Winer (Scripting.com):
Scripting News: 9/11/2001

Nathan Weinberg (BlogNewsChannel.com):
Banned Xbox 360 Ad: Best Ad Ever!

Michael Arrington (TechCrunch.com):
Completely Unsubstantiated Google/YouTube Rumor

Om Malik (GigaOM.com):
Six Apart buying Live Journal

Niall Kennedy (NialKennedy.com):
Google Reader API

Nick Denton (NickDenton.org):
“... hard to measure, but celebrity babies and Apple announcements always do very well.”

Steve Rubel (MicroPersuasion.com):
Forbes Cover Story Blows It, Calling Bloggers Lynch Mobs

Tony Ruscoe (ruscoe.net):
What’s in Google’s Sandbox?

Jeremy Zawodny (Jeremy.Zawodny.com):
Diet Tips or How To Lose Weight with a Spreadsheet and a Web Site

Phillip Torrone (MakeZine.com):
MAKE’s Mostly Under $100 Gift Guide 2005!

Seth Godin (SethGodin.typepad.com):
Small is the new big

Dave Shea (Mezzoblue.com):
Google Maps and Accountability

Thomas Hawk (ThomasHawk.com):
PriceRitePhoto: Abusive Bait and Switch Camera Store

Deane Barker (Gadgetopia.com):
Why Macs Suck

Stuff: Coding, Orkut, Big MashUp and Podcasts

It has just struck me that of late I am spending more time documenting stuff rather than developing. Typical case of a developer in a large corporation. Long long time ago I had written that You remove fun from programming, include a whole lot of responsibleness and bring in hierarchy, what you get then is 'software engineering'. And I wasn't wrong then. If I were to throw a random number, I'd say I am documenting for about 40% of my time. Huge and terribly bad.

Its been ages I've logged onto Orkut. The Facebook account is dormant ever since I registered. It's high time the nice folks at Google release an Orkut API so that we can have something like this Facebook Firefox Extension for searching, notifications, and sharing. Great work there by Facebook developers. And it's all open so you can go ahead and modify it the way you like!

Then there's this new site I was looking at that Sun Microsystems have put up- The Big Mashup that'll feature "interviews and commentaries from some of the movers and shakers in the participation age". As this Sun Blog says it: "It features a documentary about how the network is changing how we get news, make social change happen, and are entertained. " I like the whole idea and have another subscription in my pod-aggregator now. I really dont understand why only a few are hooked to Podcasts.

And yes, apparently there's still hope for Zune. I always knew it!

Cheers

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

The snotty bunch that we are

Are we a snotty bunch of people? Given the way we like to flatter us and our fellow countrymen as a polite, accommodating race, the question might not seem appropriate. But this is how I am beginning to feel in the past few days.

angelina-india-1b First, we behaved in a ludicrous manner with Brangelina when they were here. And the couple themselves did nothing wrong. What instead we gained was the emergence of one of our cities on the global tourism map. Here were two of the biggest Hollywood stars, roaming freely carrying their children around towns in India, taking the Mumbai's trains, walking the seaside- what better endorsement could our Ministry of Tourism could have got? And yet we created a ruckus when none of their bodyguards supposedly 'abused' an Indian, something that none has been able to establish. With the treatment meted out to one of the most celebrated couple, it'll be hard to see India's already tattered image getting any better across the globe.angelina-india-2b

The next in line was our national cricket team's coach Greg Chappell. He made a remark about the political class in the mighty India. And the poor man has a defamation case filed against him. Apparently some respectable citizen of the country did not like to hear such remarks about his leaders. Freedom of Speech, anybody?

Why this rotten behaviour all of a sudden? Who doesn't overhear atleast ten profanities any given day, walking the footpaths, travelling the trains/buses? And who are these directed against- the country, the state of affairs, the people who are leading this nation of ours. And then, why don't these protectors of national honour do anything about it? Why are we picking minute issues and making mountains of them? Is it because of our new status as a 2.5th World nation? Or, as someone wrote in that column in DNA last week, is it that the frustration during years of subjugation under the colonial rule is now wanting to vent out?

Pictures: http://www.hellomagazine.com

There we go again

Not for the first time in my life, I am struggling to beat a deadline. I've always wondered how engineers like me always make it a point to meet the deadline. Never beating it.

Anyways, here is some random stuff:

This guy wrote on his blog, how he wanted to drive an aston Martin. And guess what, he got to drive it. The super cool people at Aston Martin SA arranged for him to spend a day driving an Aston Martin.

The new Apple 'Get a Mac' ads are out. I haven't been able to see them because somehow Quicktime declines to install on the machine I am currently on and the ads weren't yet on YouTube the last time I checked.

Wired is "asking for your help choosing the brainy men and women who filled your Google search boxes and fueled your dreams. " So go and leave your suggestions!

"Avoid the loony Zune." Thats how Andy Ihnatko titled his blunt review of the Zune where he wrote that it'll be dead and gone within six months. Till this morning, I was wondering if there did exist a 'positive' review for the Zune. And then, I read this.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

How to get a free copy of Windows Vista and Office 2007

wv_home_nav_pearlWatch some Webcasts,part way with some information and get a free copy of Windows Vista and Office 2007. Not bad at all. But doesn't make sense to me but who cares!

So here's how you can lay your hands on a free copy of Windows Vista and office 2007. Just a simple 1-2-3-4-5 process

  1. Visit the Power of Together website
  2. Sign up (it's only for US residents only)
  3. Watch three Webcasts/vLabs each for Windows Vista and Office 2007 within 30 days of registering
  4. Wait 6 - 8 weeks
  5. Your software will be delivered to you free of charge

Reminds me of the last time the folks at Microsoft were distributing free XP CDs. I was there and yet returned empty handed :(

And I am yet to decide what was it that Microsoft wanted me to see and what it did not in this video:

Source: » Get a free copy of Windows Vista and Office 2007

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Monday, November 27, 2006

Apple Tablet ?

AppleI'm a Mac. I'm a PC. And now we have I'm a Mac tablet PC! (Why use the word PC ???)

From Smarthouse:

"Apple researchers have built a full working prototype of a Mac tablet PC and three Companies in Taiwan are now costing a product for a potential launch in mid 2007."

Surprising given that Steve Jobs has maintained a NO/UNSURE stance on a tablet so far.

September 2002: [via MacRumors]

"We're not sure the tablet PC will be successful. It's turned into a notebook that you can write on. Do you want to handwrite all your e-mail? We have all the technology ourselves to do that - we just don't know whether it will be successful."

June 2003:[via MacObserver]

There are no plans to make a tablet. It turns out people want keyboards. When Apple first started out, "People couldn't type. We realized: Death would eventually take care of this." "We look at the tablet and we think it's going to fail." Tablets appeal to rich guys with plenty of other PCs and devices already.

But with Steve you never know. Video iPods were never on according to him. Similarly the Tablet might have looked like a pretty bad idea at that moment. Not anymore!

And I cant agree more with Scoble when he says: "I can’t wait, cause then all the Tablet naysayers will ooohhh, and aaaahhhh, and praise Steve Jobs for being a visionary."

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Thursday, November 23, 2006

lg3d: Project Looking Glass Demo at foss.in

lg3d: Minority Report like UIfoss.in 2006Just got to know from Atishay that he and his team will be giving a demo onthe super cool Project Looking Glass at the foss.in this weekend.

I must say the demo is pretty slick and if you're anywhere there, do not miss this chance to see and experience this "Minority Report like UI".

For those of you who haven't heard about lg3d: Project Looking Glass, here's a little something about lg3d from the Project Home:

What if your desktop was actually a 3D environment? What if your CD or movie database became a 3D jukebox? Project Looking Glass is based on Java technology and explores bringing a richer user experience to the desktop and applications via 3D windowing and visualization capabilities. It is an open source development project based on and evolved from Sun Microsystems' Advanced Development division. It supports running unmodified existing applications in a 3D space, as well as APIs for 3D window manager and application development. At the moment, existing application integration is supported for Linux and Solaris x86 platforms. The platform for 3D application development is available for Linux, Solaris and Windows platforms.

Update:
Atishay has made available these links to some demo videos from GoMonkey/Sun demo at CeBIT 2006:
Movie Clip One | Movie Clip Two | Movie Clip Three

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Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Top Ten Girl Geeks

lisaparis2Just yesterday, c|Net tried putting up a list of Top 10 Girl Geeks. And no surprises, they had to include a cartoon and Paris Hilton(yes, Paris Hilton!!!) to fill the list.

Here's the complete list:
1. Ada Byron, world's first programmer
2. Val Tereshkova, went to space
3. Grace Hopper, found computer "bug"
4. Daryl Hannah, eco-friendly geek icon
5. Rosalind Franklin, chemist
6. Mary Shelley, wrote Frankenstein
7. Lisa Simpson, future president
8. Marie Curie, plutonium in her pockets
9. Aleks Krotoski, very chic geek
10. Paris Hilton, famous girl gamer

I'd say put Lenna on this list too :P

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Apple's new iPod Shuffle ad

Wandering aimlessly, flipping pages after pages of my feed reader (which these days is showing lots of 500 errors), I came across this new iPod shuffle ad on UNEASYsilence. Cool, but definitely not extraordinary!



Talking of ads, you ought to see these amazing HP's Computer is Personal Again ads that Justin pointed out.

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Tuesday, November 21, 2006

The South African Safari gets underway

I just realized that a long long time ago, I really thought that our men in Blue were Champs and not Chumps! Something, I am afraid, is not the case anymore.

What if the Final Frontier could not be defended. As Team India lies all battered and bruised at the hands of visiting Aussies, why have millions of cricket lovers donned their hats of critical analyzers and have come up with the unanimous verdict- Ganguly's men have failed them. Why is it that contempt is all what the public is throwing at 'its' team.

I seriously think our players deserve much better treatment than what they are being meted out. This is the same team that took India to the World Cup finals, the same team that stunned Australia, with the very same bunch of 'invincible' players, on their own soil, and tamed the Pakistanis in their own den. The Men in Blue have not played upto their full potential. But no one likes to under perform. The guys are out there giving it their best, and they are the best in their own rights. The day we question the ability of the Sachins , the Sauravs and the Dravids, I say, we better question our own sanity.

And so, today when our team takes on the Proteas, after a really long time, I'm going to be there cheering for India sitting in front of the idiot box watching a channel that is something of a mix of white-noise and ESPN (courtesy the cablewallah.) This, should the rain relent.

Talking of sports channels, I've always believed that ESPN Star Sports have been the best producers/broadcasters of cricket in India. Not only is their production top quality but the line up of commentators they have is really impressive- Gavaskar, Boycott, Shastri, Harsha Bhogle, Alan Wilkins and Wasim. But if any of you had been watching Star Sports during the first washed-out ODI looking for sporadic rain updates, you'd have seen three clowns all gussied up in some sort of weird kurtas talking all crap on anything and everything but cricket. That was supposed to be Star Sports' answer to MAX's Mandira - Shekhar Suman and Arun Lal presenting the match in Hindi. Horrible is horrible. But this was b***s***!!! (a la Shiv)

Monday, November 20, 2006

Dilbert's First Date

Another of the many reasons why Dilbert is the magnifying glass and mirror to a geek's life!

Dilbert's First Date

Source: Dilbert.com

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Microsoft Zune - Weird Screenshot

This guy was lucky enough to lay his hands on the new Zune! And he's put up this image that shows up when Zune install failed for him.

Zune - Weird image on Install Failure

[ via Angry Asian man | Boing Boing ]

OK. This hardly makes any sense to me! Can you make out what's going on here in this image?

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

mymuv - Tracking Trends

mymuv2The other day Arun sent me this invite to check out their latest trend-tracking application- mymuv and today I finally got to take it for a spin.

I wasn't even remotely sure of what to expect but just as I keyed in the invitation code, I must say I found it pretty slick. I'd refrain from using the word web2.0 here for all the uncoolness that's now associated with the word but it's one of the best "next web" application we've seen from India.

The Idea
Lets begin by calling it a memedigger for trends. The whole idea is simple. Lifestyles change. The trends around you always change. So what do you do? You set a trend, or make a "muv" and let others rate it as cool or uncool, post comments on it, discuss the trends. As "mymuv Dilberts" put it, "you get to be cool! set trends. track trends. and tell others, what you think of their muvs!"

For example, if you're making a muv from a PC to a Mac, you'd mark this changing trend as PC Mac. And then people can click on either PC or Mac to show what trend have they followed and share their thoughts on it. Now this whole ratings/comments/discussion stuff essentially transforms mymuv into a wonderful direct comparison tool as you compare "apples to apples, and not peaches". This makes mymuv an excellent option to take a look at the emerging trends, compare them, take in what others have got to say and finally decide. The folks at muvblog have put up this image to illustrate how exactly does the muv thing works:
how-muvs

The Interface
mymuv provides an excellent feature set with a great UI to enable trend tracking and build a social community around it. On first looks, the UI appears very neat. It's all there- gradients, rounded corners, lively colours and even a mascot Treemy- an Asian Arowana fish!

For all its features, I found it pretty usable but still it could do with some changes. I felt that the area around a muv looks all crammed up. The idea I think is to show a comment each for muvs in either directions but maybe that's making it look a bit cluttered. But on the whole layout is clean with the sidebar holding the tags and the buddy list and the map locating the trendsetters placed just above the comments on the muv details page.

mymuv MyMuv- Homepage Screenshot

It remains to be seen just how well do people take to this trend-digging, and just how profitable this idea turns out to be but overall the concept is pretty interesting and exciting. Registrations for Mymuv would be open anytime this week and so you can expect to get muving real soon. And do let me know what you guys think.


Monday, November 13, 2006

Uniform Blues for Team India

kiran-more-india-blue-kitAlright. Just as Team India's departure to The South African Safari has made news for being sent off without official blazers or any formal attire, I was just wondering what happened to the Team India's navy blue one-day kit that Kiran More showed off sometime last December???

I thought this darker version of blue looked "much more smarter" :P than the current blue that Indian Team sports. But then, I am known to have a pretty bad taste in colour. What's your take on the Team India blues???

Picture: Kiran More poses with the new Indian one-day kit last December© AFP

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

The Big Bad Champions

Certainly not a behaviour expected from the world champs! Perhaps they dont realize that the same enthusiasm and attitude on the field that makes them champions transforms them into an ungracious and arrogant lot off the field.





Just wondering what Mr. Dalmiya and Co. would be thinking on this. What they've been trying unsuccessfully so far was so easily accomplished by Ponting and Martyn: nudging Mr. Pawar aside.

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Monday, November 06, 2006

Movie Review: The Departed

What's the first movie that comes to your mind when you see Mark Wahlberg on screen? Does it ring a bell?? Oh, I know, I know, he was in this movie; Arre yaar, I just can't get the name. How can I forget???

The answer, folks, is The Italian Job. This I figured out after one full day of watching Scorsese's The Departed.

The Departed is the fourth Scorsese movie I've watched after The Avaitor, Goodfellas and Cape Fear. And I can say that it is as good, if not better than any of these with a star line up of Matt Damon, DiCaprio, Jack Nicholson and a cop-mob plot that redefines deceit and deception.

Synopsis:

Mark Wahlberg and Matt Damon The plot isn't all that complicated. You've got a sadistic Irish Mob Boss Frank Costello (Nicholson) and a team of good cops, Captain Queenan (Martin Sheen) and a rough, ever-the-foul-mouthed sergeant (Mark Wahlberg). In the middle of all this are two moles placed in each other's camps- Bill (Leo DiCaprio), a young Irish kid working for Queenan, and Colin Sullivan (Damon) placed inside the Police Department by Costello. Their existence is known, but not their identity and thus starts a rat race to uncover each other.

Leonardo DiCaprio and Jack Nicholson in The Departed.

Leonardo DiCaprio and Jack Nicholson in The Departed.
© Warner Bros Pictures

It's Jack Nicholson's movie all the way. He is fearsome, he is evil, he is maniacal. The rest are all around him. Leonardo DiCaprio, working with Scorsese the third time is absolutely brilliant. Matt Damon was good playing the charming, greedy starcop. But the best package in the movie was Mark Wahlberg who gives profanity a new dimension. The only disaster, I could say, was Vera Farmiga, the psychiatrist who didn't seem to have any role at all. Why was she in the movie in first place is beyond my comprehension. But it doesn't matter one bit in the end amidst all the wonderful performances.

My two best moments from the film:

The conversation(?) between Bill and Collin over their cell phones. It's the silence that conveys the most- the fear that surrounds both the characters, Bill is scared shitless- he can feel Costello breathing down his neck and Collin can't believe his luck- will he be able to get to this rat?

The second, I guess is when somebody asks Wahlberg who he is. And boy, how he replies! "Who am I? I'm the guy that does his fuckin' job! You must be the other guy!"

Related: Bourne Identity, A Lot Like Love

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Saturday, November 04, 2006

Shiv Visvanathan on 'Sex and the Single Man'

My favourite Professor from college, Shiv, was on television yesterday talking about the findings of the fourth India Today-AC Nielsen-ORG-MARG survey on sexuality. The half hour piece on Headlines Today, was a discussion on his recent essay on India Today's cover story, "Men In A Muddle".

For the better half of those 30 minutes, I was frantically trying to reach all my friends asking them to turn on their Television sets and while some did manage to do that, some just had to make do by swearing at their cable wallahs. And so, I thought I'll just post here some of Shiv's lucid statements, which we've all been so used to of hearing in those Humanities lectures back in campus:

On Bollywood's role in changing the outlook of men on sensuality:

"Bollywood is the magnifying glass and the mirror of the middle class."

On Pornography: [Hehe, we've all heard that often, haven't we ;) ]

"Pornography is a part of the Information Revolution and it is here to stay and grow."

"Pornography is like Democracy. The only difference being that unlike democracy, pornography cannot be regulated through legislation [...]"

"[...] educational device than an erotic stimulus."

And finally, "Women might be oppressed but men might still be repressed!"

Friday, November 03, 2006

Blog sloth no more

And finally it appears that this long hiatus is coming to an end. It's been over six months that I last blogged here and the whole idea excites me again.

These past few months were quite something. Things moved at quite a pace and a lot of those did indeed make blogworthy content. But as ever, procrastination got the better of me and my return to the blogosphere just didnt seem to be happening. But now, lets just hope that updates here are not few and far between.

So, here's just a quick round up of what I've been upto recently:

I finally graduated. Yes, this'll come as a surprise to many who knew how keen some people were back there in the campus to have me around for a little longer :P

Crossed all limits of indecision, just as it came down to deciding which company I'd have pay me for going to their office daily. (It is quite a story and at some point of time, I'll be elaborating on that for sure.)

Moved to a new city, a city where I had spent three blissful years a decade ago. A city that just got itself renamed.
...
...

Then there've been lots of other things happening here in Mumbai, something that includes a 4 am joy ride across Mumbai, and the opportunity to meet an awesome bunch of bloggers - Amit Varma, Vulturo, Gaurav, Divya, Akshay, Ideasmith, Melody, Manish Vij, and Peter Griffin who were really nice to this baby blogger at Sakshi's place for Blog-a-Ween.

Monday, April 17, 2006

And, this is it.

These past few days, I have given it quite a thought on how do I continue this blog, and be more regular. I've been wanting to blog more often- blogging stuff that is interesting, and blog-worthy. But the fact is that Blogging doesn't appear as exciting to me as it used to, and it could only be due to what I've referred in the past as blogging-burn out.

And so, it's time that this journey of 400 odd posts comes to a halt. It was great fun writing about all the cool stuff and I'd like to thank everyone for reading the blog. I've enjoyed every bit of it right from the moment I decided to start this blog to this moment when I decide to call it quits.

I am not saying I am quitting blogging altogether. I might as well start a new blog or continue this one real soon, but for now, there are lots of other things in life that provide better distractions.

Cheers!

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

The tragic mistake

From Adam Green's The second coming of the Web:
“When Tim Berners-Lee first gave mankind the Web, he made a tragic mistake. He granted us free will to use less than perfect HTML. His tools, and the tools of those to follow him, allowed users to develop sinful habits based on ignorance and sloth. The result was a Web of corrupt data, in which misformed tags abounded. This great fall from grace by the users of the Web prevented it from ever attaining the state of perfection desired by all computer scientists, a completely machine readable database.”

Monday, March 27, 2006

The Joy of Tech - Windows XP on Mac

Without doubt, The Joy of Tech is the best techie cartoon site out there. Just browsing through their archives for the past week, I stumbled upon this awesome strip:


Vox Populi: "I couldn't give a boot load about this, gimme OS X on a non-Apple PC, ... it's what's inside that counts."

Saturday, March 25, 2006

Windows Live Developer Central

At last week's Mix 06, Microsoft announced the launch of their Windows Live Developer Central. There's lots of cool stuff available there if you're interested in developing apps using Windows Live Services.

From Windows Live Developer Central website:
The Windows Live Platform puts a deeper level of control into developers' hands by offering access to the core services and data through open, easily accessible APIs. Start building applications and mashups today with Windows Live.
The site has spme pretty useful information and resources that enables people to start building applications using the easily accessible APIs:

There's also a link to the Channel 9 video where Scott Swanson is interviewed by Robert Scoble about the Messenger Activity APIs and other Messenger-related demos.


Also, I stumbled upon this transcript of Bill Gates's opening keynote at Mix06 featuring Aber Whitcom from MySpace and Ashley Highfield from the BBC. At the end of the speech, there was a dicussion between BillG and Tim O'Reilly that makes quite an interesting read. (btw, MySpace uses SQL Server and Tim O'Reilly's Safari books online service runs on SQL Server and ASP.NET ;) )

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Sun Grid - The Network is the Computer

Whoever said that the world would need only five computers was probably correct. Sun has now released its on demand Grid computing for $1/cpu-hour. As Jonathan Schwartz writes about Sun Grid, "...experience for yourself what it's like to use one of the world's largest supercomputers. Without having to house it, manage it, power it, administer it, provision it... or buy it.

Sun's Grid Service is available at network.com, a domain they got with the acquisiton of StorageTek. From the About Sun Grid page:
Sun is changing the very nature of computing by delivering access to enterprise compute power over the Internet with its Sun Grid Compute Utility. Sun Grid provides an easy and affordable access to an enormous computing resource for the predictable and all-inclusive price of $1/CPU-hr.

Reminds me of what my Professor had said last semester in our "Introduction to Grid Computing" class: "As the world uses the Internet to communicate, soon it would use the Grid to compute".

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

ShameIt - Shame 'em into behaving better?

Alright. This is a wicked idea.
An exasperated father has discovered to his cost that cyberspace is not the ideal arena for family feuds. Two weeks ago Steve Williams became so fed up with his daughter's messy bedroom that he built a website featuring pictures of his slothful offspring's lair in an attempt to shame her into action.
But the public humiliation proved a short-lived victory. While it did spur his daughter, Claire, into tidying up her room, it also whet her appetite for revenge. With the help of her father's friends, the 20-year-old business student has now set up a rival website that displays photos of him in a variety of compromising situations.

So if you wanna shame somebody or something with something like this, just keep it in mind that it could backfire!

Saturday, March 18, 2006

MyToday - Online News Aggregator

I just cant help but think that the success of Digg and Newsvine has inspired a whole bunch of news tracking sites and mixups like diggdot.us and SlashDigg.

Another one to have sprung up recently is MyToday. MyToday is your another "public RSS aggregator providing the latest news, views and content on a topic-based collection of feeds."

I first heard of MyToday earlier this month at BarCamp Delhi and at that time I had thought of it like more of a memedigger with human-voting-system for news stories and it seemed a good idea to have an Indian memedigger at last. But as it turns out, MyToday is not a memedigger but only an AJAXy Public RSS Aggregator with an objective to bring the most relevant quality content to the readers through selective sources. This really is a wonderful thing considering the significant increase in the Indian Blogs that have sprung up and an assorted list of feeds in different categories would be a great help.

However, on first impressions, the whole news aggregator thing here looks pretty under developed:
- there aren't any customization features available
- no options to change colour schemes, font sizes.
- no Search within feeds
- no options to "Mark as Read/Unread" or Bookmark

It seems to be a good idea for the large number of people out there who do not use a News Reader but others might as well have the OPML and use their preferred Reader.

I just wonder how are the editors going to handle the vast number of requests they are soon going to be bombarded with by bloggers wishing to be a part of MyTodays Dailies.

Friday, March 17, 2006

The Web 2.0 Quiz

Ever got confused between a Web 2.0 Company and a Star Wars character?

How silly is the Web 2.0 hype getting? You tell us! Here's a quick quiz...we looked in 30Boxes and analyzed 37Signals that led us to come up with the 43Things below. So without further ado, can you decide...Web 2.0 or Star Wars Character?

I scored 32. You?

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Gmail Chat Disabled

Gmail Chat disabled on the Network The fact that it happened does not surprise me but that it took so long for our network administrators to figure it out does.

And if you are wondering how do you disable Gmail's chat features on your network, you only need locking DNS lookups to chatenabled.mail.google.com, by returning 127.0.0.1.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Windows Live Weather Forecasts - High vs Low

This is what I had on my Windows Live Desktop the other day:


Windows Live Weather Forecasts


Correct me if I am wrong but shouldn't the High and Low readings be the other way around in this case? I mean, how can we have a high of 10 degrees C and a low of 18 degrees C in a day?

Monday, March 13, 2006

Bumble Search

I received an email this evening from Andy about Bumble Search, a Firefox extension built by him and Chris. Bumble Search is meant to add to your search experience and it introduces the concept of Cross Pollination, analyzing pages for keywords and finding related or similar pages.

This was the second Firefox extension for Google Search that I was hearing in the day, the first one being Advanced Dork that lets users quickly search for specific information using Google's Advanced Operators. Curious with what Bumble Search was about, I installed it to give it a shot and was mostly impressed with what it had to offer.

The Bumble Search extension enhances Google Search to include specialized search engines like Wikipedia, flickr, Rotten Tomatoes, IMDB etc, resulting in multiple search options. You can also optionally remove certain commercial keywords like shop, store, bargain, shipping etc. thereby refining your search a great deal.


An example of Bumble Cross Page Pollination

Also, the extension lends the capability to cross reference an auction item in Amazon and Froogle or a product in Ebay and Amazon to find the best deal.


Cross reference items in Amazon andFroogle with Bumble Search


The extension puts up a Sidebar in your browser which provides for a Search and a Notes Tab. The Search tab lets you search for keywords with MSN or Google and the Notes tab lets you drag certain links in the "Pages to Remember" box or add notes on the searched pages on the Notepad. However, once I filled up the available screen space for the The Pages to Remember section, I had to close the toolbar and start it again so that more links could be added. This definitely is a problem.



From what I've seen so far, it seems a decent enough experience and I am going to use it for a couple of days. Don't go by all those negative reviews on the Firefox Extension Page. It really is a nifty extension that wouldn't go down well with all users because of different searching behaviour but for a select user group, it is going to be pretty useful.

You can download Bumble Search Extension from BumbleSearch.com or the Mozilla Addons site

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

It's been a long time

It just seems that this hiatus is coming to an end. Recent updates here have been few and far between but there is really not much that I could do. Things were moving at quite a pace and yet they somehow didn't fall into the category of weblog content. Those that did, suffered a result of my now famous procrastination streak.

Anyways, lets just hope that this trend takes a deviation. (Though, I am really not too sure how as I am again off the town for next 4 days beginning tomorrow)

Here's a run through of what I've been upto recently (in no particular order):

Been to BarCamp Delhi and met some really amazing people. I'll most definitely be posting about in detail later.
Formatted and reformatted my desktop.
Cleared an IBM Certification Examination
Saw the new Google Pages thingy. You can't imagine how glad I was to see it flop! But found the Google Calendar screenshots way too cool.
Struggled with tons and tons of meaningless assignments. It really amazes me how we engineers always manage to meet the deadlines. It seems that "beating deadlines" is concept alien to us.

There really isn't an end to this stuff...

And finally, thanks to Prasoon for posting here in my absence.

Monday, February 27, 2006

Microsoft’s Origami Project

Microsoft on 2nd of March is expected to be launching its Origami Project. Essentially, its just another tablet PC kinda hand held device which would allow you to listen to music, give Internet access, messaging, photo editing, and video gaming. The project details are expected to be out on Thursday and not the whole thing – the site itself suggests 3 weeks of timescale.

Photographs started surfacing about 3-4 days ago and then, finally came a video which is supposed to have leaked from the headquarters. The final product prototype seems huge to me and I doubt if it really gets all that well amongst the masses. A Microsoft Evangelist Robert Scoble himself says that the Origami Project is overhyped and may not quite deliver what's expected of it - quite possible. I'd be with Joe Wilcox who says that the best companies underpromise and overdeliver. It's a wait and watch on these big giants – Apple and Microsoft; who are using this week as a launch pad for their fun products.

- Prasoon

Thursday, February 23, 2006

The Big Guns at it again

Anything about Apple or Google draws my attention and today both of them need a mention.

Apple sold its Billionth song by itunes and that is one helluva achievement not just for Apple, but even the billionth buyer who would get – A 20” iMac, 10 60-GB iPods and a $10000 iTunes Music Certificate – so much for just spending those “lucky” 99 cents which earns him/her a lottery of about $16000.

A billion iTunes songs download


With Apple holding a special event to launch ‘fun products’ on February 28th, I wonder what would be launched now. I have Apple Fun Products Release. Feb 28already seen rumours which suggest that apple could be launching new iPods, may be even a Phone of a Gaming device but then, any rumour about Apple can never hold true unless Steve jobs holds that one more thing out in his hand. Reports also suggest that a mega event could be planned for April 1st this year, when Apple celebrates its 30th Anniversary when there could a touch screen iPod or even more sleek and faster MacBooks. Stay hooked – Apple is just getting better Day by Day; Month by Month and Year after Year.




Google Page Creator100 MB of space with a wysiwyg interface for making pages is what you get with Google Page Creator now. It was launched just a couple of hours ago and my first impression – It’s a product launched to compete with and the whole new bunch of wikis that have sprung up everywhere and the old-school Yahoo! Geocities!

With AJAX based interface and couple of templates and layout already available - Google Page Creator is a ‘perfect solution’ for beginners with minimum requirements who would want to maintain information pages n allow for a few files to be there on their pages. 100 MB might seem less but then, it could be used in integration with say flickr [for photos], or other file hosting services. Every change triggers an auto-save and all changes are published by a single click – The Google crawler would update all published pages within a few hours – this I suppose is a plus point over other similar services.

Currently all the pages are hosted on a url of type .googlepages.com and Google says that someday they could be allowing users to create new sites as well. I’d maintain a wait-and-watch strategy on this release of Google as of now.

- Prasoon

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

BarCamp Delhi

Alright. I know I am supposed to be taking a break from blogging here but I had to blog this!

Asia's first BarCamp is happening in Delhi this March 4th and whats' more I am going to be in Delhi that weekend!! How cool could it get??

BarCamp Delhi

If you are anywhere near there, just be there. C'ya at BarCamp Dehi.

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Flock it !!

First, I'd thank 'enginerd' for proving me a space here to write :)

Flock Flock - The so called next gen social web browser aimed at Web 2.0 gurus and bloggers has released an update and I should say - its impressive. The only flaw I still see in it is the memory leak, something native to anything built over Firefox 1.5 and sometimes, the RAM usage skyrockets itself to over 250 MB when Flock is left idle with an AJAX webpage like meebo.com running.

Whats new in this version -
I noticed a new and better blogging interface, advanced flickr integration and a host of tiny tweaks with the topbar. The upgraded RSS viewer is definitely fast and looks great. Good news for Wordpress users because now, categorization happens right from the blog editor within Flock. Next time, you use Flock for filling out forms, do not forget to use the inbuilt Spell-Checker. This version also supports shadows.com integration other than del.icio.us.

I wonder how many of you visiting have used the previous version but I would suggest all of you to at least give it a try for once.

Going by my description which Anand gave about me, I shall not end my post without criticizing Microsoft for its IE 7 Preview to Beta 2, it sucks - at least for bloggers using Blogger.com

-Prasoon

Monday, February 20, 2006

Finally...

It took me a week but I have finally succeeded in persuading Prasoon to guest blog here at the enginerd Weblog while I take a small break from the blogosphere.

Prasoon is a Mac geek and maintains a kind of antipathy against all software that come from Microsoft. He has a whole array of blogs online, from photoblogs to technoblogs to stuff you hardly hear about. I can't really say what stuff will he be putting up here but it could include photography, the latest gadgets, or even rants and raves on how Google is God and Microsoft is History.

Signing off for a while,
Anand

Saturday, February 18, 2006

Technology Festivals In India

About an year ago, I wrote:
I write this post in the middle of the biggest college technology festival in the country. With what would have begun as an attempt to create, connect and relate aspects of technology, it has now taken the shape of an entirely commercial event with enormous budgets and unprecedented extravagance.

Forced to wonder, is it still THE platform for the energetic and creative to push the frontiers of expanding technology, or is it the place to see 'branding' take new dimensions, the place to "walk away with a fortune".

The trend just can't seem to stop. In a year, this "festive spirit" is sweeping the country with every second institute organizing a festival boasting of budgets running into millions of Rupees.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Short Notes

Traffic on the enginerd Weblog is scaling new heights ever since Laurent linked to my Firefox Extension from the coComment Teamblog. Also, I checked out the GreaseMonkey script and it is simply awesome.

Meanwhile Microsoft Research has released GroupBar, a tool that allows window tiles to be rearranged in any order or dragged and dropped into "groups" with one-click task-switching and convenient group operations. Really useful and makes a lot of sense.

I got my invite for 30Boxes, the online calendar application (with a bit of social networking thrown in) from 83degrees yesterday. It's certainly the best online calendar application I've seen till date.

And finally, while browsing through my blog archives, I came across this post on software engineering that I thought would be quite relevant NOW for some of my friends on campus ;)

Monday, February 06, 2006

Firefox Extension for coComment!

I have put up the Firefox Extension for coComment! I and a few friends have been using it for a day now and it seems to work fine!

Download coComment! for FirefoxDownload coComment! for Firefox

coComment! for Firefox allows you to coComment! from the right-click context menu and is of great help especially when commenting in a pop-up window where you can't access your bookmarks.

Also, with this extension you will not have to move from the comment area to your bookmarks to click the 'bookmarklet' and then back, before you click the submit button on the blog. With this extension, you can directly move on to the submit button after writing the comment and merely hit the right click 'activating' coComment before submitting the post. Simple Fitts' law and it makes your browsing experience a great deal better and faster.

Let me know what you think of it!

More on coComment

Update:
I have put up the Firefox Extension for coComment! I and a few friends have been using it for a day now and it seems to work fine!


coComment! for FirefoxLaurent has posted a few coComment invitation codes in my previous post's comments. Thanks, Laurent. Make sure you get them before they are gone.

SolutionWatch has put up a quick review of coComment with a Greasemonkey script


Also, here is the screenshot of my Firefox Extension for coComment that allows you to coComment! from the right-click context menu that I quickly put together. This extension is of a great help especially when commenting in pop-up windows where you can't access your bookmarks. And even on a general page, reduces your onscreen movement time (Read more here).

Its high time I got myself some web hosting space.

Sunday, February 05, 2006

coComment - Tracking Comments anywhere

coComment So, all the cool guys in town checked out the very awesome coComment this weekend. The basic idea behind coComment is to help a user keep track of all the comments he leaves on other's blogs. One can simply get an indication of how much this was needed in the Blogosphere by merely looking at the number of comments on this post where Robert Scoble first writes about coComment.

Meanwhile, the cooler guys in town wrote a Firefox extension for it that just made their life a bit easier. coComment requires the user to click on the "bookmarklet" before you click the submit button on the blog to submit comment. So everytime I have to comment, I have to move from the comment area to the bookmark and then back to the comment area. This simply increases the amplitude of the movement if we talk of Fitts’ Law as you'll see here.

coComment!


So the workaround I thought was to write a Firefox extension that opens up the bookmarklet in the context menu of Firefox on right-click. Thus, now I can directly move on to the submit button after posting the comment and merely hit the right click 'activating' coComment before submitting the post. This invariably saves a lot of on screen movement! (I wonder if I should put the extension up online for others to use. I heard there is already a Greasemonkey script doing rounds.)


coComment


There is also the 'Blog Box' that that shows your visitors where you’ve been commenting lately. You require an invitation code to try coComment. Register yourself and wait for the invite code to be delivered to your inbox. Luckily for me it didn't take an eternity like it does for most other betas (Measuremap!!!) This one is a really killer app. No wonder both Scoble and Michael are excited!

And yes, the coolest guys were off to the mountains ;)

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Yahoo Mail Beta - Way too slow

Yahoo! Mail BetaSo after waiting for months, I finally got my Yahoo! Mail Beta invite a fortnight ago and wasted absolutely no time in clicking on the link which read something on the likes of 'Try the new Beta'.

However, two weeks into the Yahoo Mail Beta and I am left completely disillusioned. For all the AJAX thrown in with the objective of making it a "native" application supporting drag-and-drop, reading pane, and a very desktop application like interface (read Outlook like), the application is extremely sluggish. There is just too much of lag in everything- be it message loading, or the over-crowded contextual menu that pops up on right click.

Takes forever to load. Takes forever to respond. If it were the old days, I could have blamed it on my more-than-obsolete machine. But that is no longer the case. Thankfully, they have a "Switch Back" option sitting right next to "Sign Out"!