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.