Tuesday, July 31, 2007

The Winner is Cricket

"Nothing gets the nation going like Cricket does." A few days ago, I would have thought twice before saying this, but the recent exploits of our Men in Blue in the European continent have ensured that we fans have converted back to our first religion of choice- Cricket!

They went to Ireland down and out- written off, forgotten by their fans, away from the radar of the media. And then, all it took was a 2-1 drubbing of the Proteas in Belfast and the "Team India" was on its road to recovery- the road to fame again.

Then came England and by this time, the media had got excited- again, the newspapers and Television were discussing cricket- again, and "expectation" was back- again. The Mighty Four were on their last full tour to England and all of a sudden, none wanted to miss the spectacle. Cricket was back, forgotten for just a while, but back in all its glory; much like one of its own disciples whom we all know as Dada. The nation was believing again, so much so, that by the time the first test ended at Lord's, the Rain God had himself intervened in the interest of this born-again "faith".


The Indians celebrate Andrew Strauss' wicket, England v India, 2nd Test, Trent Bridge, 4th day, July 30, 2007 © AFP

With victory in sight in the Second test, amidst all the hoopla around Sreesanth theatrics, Zahir's fondness(?) for jelly beans and the the umpiring, all I'll say is that it feels great to be back in the good old days where Cricket is the uniting force of the nation, where a victory makes us Indians feel Indians. You know sanity has returned to the country when you can simply start a conversation with a stranger at the bus stop on everything and anything involving Cricket- Sehwag or no Sehwag?, Dada or Dravid?, the umpiring blues and all!


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Friday, July 20, 2007

Pottermania

I'll have to admit that the nature of Pottermania is beyond my comprehension capabilities! As more and more fans of all ages and countries immerse themselves in Harry’s adventures, adding fuel to the belief that Pottermania is inescapable, I am purely and simply baffled by its ability to appeal to all ages.

Bored by the inactivity prevailing in this muggle world, I began to read the first one of the series and immediately concluded that reading beyond the tenth leaf was something impossible. Undeterred, I watched the first movie. I Hated it. But with the evil-wizard becoming apple of more and more eyes with every passing moment, around the world, it could only have been something wrong with me and so I watched the second movie. And then it became so easy to establish that I loathed the Potter Kid!

Just a passing thought - "Would it be a bad idea for a Potter special appearance in Oliver Twist? The poor kid could do with some wizardry."

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Wimbledon - Swan Lake and Bartoli

OK. In the last few hours, I've been asked this question thrice and hence this post: Who am I rooting for in this Wimbledon?

I no longer cheer for "Gentlemen's Tennis" these days. For it is unusually mundane and boring. FedEx and Nadal are way way ahead of anyone else that is clearly reflected in their rankings and hardly makes for any competition. Andy Roddick comes a distant third and this makes watching men's game a little less exciting when compared to the yesteryears of the men's game. The years that passed by had a different air to them, with the likes of Sampras, Agassi, Jim Courier, Goran Ivanisevic taking to the courts, the atmosphere that much more intense, the involvement all that much more. Plus as my friend Santosh says it- where are the serve and volley plays!

(For all those jigging about on this stance of mine on FedEX and Tennis, I won't still buy your arguments about Schumi's dominance making F1 mundane though! F1 without Schumi is still like a kiss without a squeeze ;) )

Sharapove Swan Lake LookOn the other hand, the Ladies game is as exciting as it has ever been. With all the gussied up stars packing such punch, amidst shots characterized by elegance; it is nothing but a spectacle.

And Yes, intermittently you'll find some things to talk about, like there's this Swan Lake style that Ms. Sherapova was seen in this Wimbledon. Really don't know what was in her mind but she was looking like a damn swan herself. Swan or no swan, she surely disappointed her fan!

BartoliBut coming to the first question, with which this post began: Who am I cheering for this Wimbledon? Well, honestly, till yesterday I had no doubts what so ever that Justine Henin was going to win (and I was happy in the same way I am when Chelsea wins.) She's still going to win it unless Venus can pull off a performance extraordinaire, but after the 4th of July, I am totally going for this French lady Marion Bartoli after seeing her match against Michaella Krajicek! Seeded 18 for this year's event, she is what one could call a surprise survivor- the one with the weird serve and that hyper-enthusiastic dance on the baseline. She should make it to the finals. But then, why does she have to play against Justin in the semis! :(

So, who're you cheering for???

Update:

Set 1: Marion Bartoli has just been given a tennis lesson by Justin.
I think that says it all. 6-1 for Henin.

Set 2: Ms. Plumpz takes the lesson!
Who would have thought so? Bartoli wins 7-5. Boy, does she pack some punch.

Set 3: "OMG, I can lose this!!! "
Henin trails 0-4 in the decider! None around can believe it. She's simply being toyed around with.

Sunday, July 01, 2007

Himesh, Paris and Piclens

The last Monday I woke up feeling not all that well- indisposed with some sort of weird cold, the sort that makes your nose go blue or pink, and a nasal tone that could give even Himesh Reshammiya a semblance of some competition. This illness streak has continued for the week and it's only now, on a cloudy, windy Sunday afternoon that I feel fine, almost perfectly.

Besides sickness, nothing really happening except that I moved in to a new place with another awesome bunch of guys. That adds something like 70 odd more minutes to my commute everyday and requires an ungodly time for me to wake up. But then, I get 24x7 Internet connectivity here which more than makes up for the trivialities :)

And for all those, who believe that the geek quotient of the enginerd weblog has come down drastically in the recent past, here's something real cool that I came across:

Piclens

I installed Piclens,a firefox plugin  which delivers an "immersive full-screen experience for viewing photos on the Web." The plugin enables us to search and browser images from Google, Flickr, Picasa, Yahoo, Friendster and others in full-screen theater like mode. Way too cool! Check this video:

 

Paris

And then, if this is still not enough to take the geek-meter of this blog higher, soon you'll find a post here about the geek gamer- Paris Hilton. Yes the same celebrity/ socialite/ business woman/ model/ actress/ recording artist we all know so much about. Surprised? Didn't you know she is in the list of "Ten Top Girl Geeks!"

 

Thursday, June 21, 2007

The Music-Impaired

I have a disability when it comes to music- understanding it and appreciating it.

So much so that sometimes when I stand with my friends, I can't help but feel that they are an alien bunch talking gibberish in an alien language about this thing they call music. I stand there dazed and confused, seemingly lost in their conversations laced with words like melody, rythmn, beats and what not.

They say its World Music Day today; and that I have a serious problem.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Sania Mirza and Laloo: The IE correlation

Sania Mirza appears again on the enginerd weblog.

This time for two reasons:
1. She is back in Top 50 again. Good going Miss.
2. The Indian Express (IE) goofup where her pic is with the caption: "Railway Minister Lalu Prasad cuts cake during the celebration of his 60th birthday as Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Congress". Some correlation this: Sania in 50. Lalooji just out of his 50s.





Not quite the intended caption!!!

Bombay update:
Last couple of days in Bombay have been hectic and a lot of fun. Back to Bangalore tomorrow morning. And I heard Desh was on Radio City!

Friday, June 08, 2007

TOI fanboy

Girl: Did you know this [...] happened?

Me: Yes, I read about it in the TOI.

Girl: You read the TOI?

Me: Absolutely. I am a big Information junkie.

Girl (with that unapproving look): You got to be kidding me! You mean you actually look up the TOI for information???

Me (quipping): Oh yes, I do! In fact, I start with the supplement- The Bangalore Times.

Wonder why girls got to act so smart!

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Weekend plans?

At lunch today, the topic of discussion was passion for motorcycles; and by the end of it, we had planned out midnight ride to Nandi Hills.

Didn't turn out to be a particularly bad idea, considering Local Live estimated it just over 6000 miles :O


Bangalore to Nandi Hill in just 6000 miles

Didn't know they had a Nandi Hill in Kenya too.

Monday, May 28, 2007

Kaapi and Cappuccino

So, what did I do this weekend? I drank a cup of coffee. And now, If you're wondering why would I be blogging about some cup of coffee I drank, its purely because I have understood that "life is not solely composed of tasks, but tastes."

Okay, continuing: I drank another cup of hopeless coffee at the ubiquitous Cafe Coffee Day. Hopeless, I say, because that is exactly what it appears when compared to the kaapi at any of the numerous Darshans or Saagars in every nook and corner of the city.

Filter kaapiIt's not that I realize my preference for kaapi only now but the law by Mr. Murphy, or any of the corollaries following from it probably played their part. I was there meeting a friend and it is only obvious that I ask the individual for a cup of tea/coffee. The answer in most cases is yes, for almost everyone knows my affinity for caffeine. The problem here was that I meant a filter kaapi and the friend here was more of a cappuccino type. No problems, I thought as it was just a matter playing my own convincing self but no, it was not to be. The friend wouldn’t budge an inch, and when I saw that condescending glare, CCD it had to be.

An hour and a half later, smoking passively all the while, I silenty shelled out two 100ers; bid the friend adieu, and headed for the same old darshan. Filter kaapi, it had to be!

Monday, May 21, 2007

Podworks.in - India's Biggest Event on Podcasting

As someone who is really hooked on to podcasts, I find it really odd when people are completely oblivious to podcasts, and that the term podcasting still remains geek to many. So much that The Times Of India once ran a whole article on Podcasting without even mentioning terms like RSS, web feeds, or subscription!!! What they said:
All downloadable audio files are now called ‘podcasts’.

[...]But while all those who download music from the net are indeed ‘podcasting’

Why I am writing about Podcasting today is because I just got to now that Chennai will be organizing another unconference this June 9th and 10th on Podcasting . Podworks.in, as the event is called is a "2-day workshop styled unconference dedicated to the sharing of knowledge around new / social media (audio and video podcasting, blogging, more.)

The event being a workshop styled unconference, is the place to know all about Podcasting ; and then start publishing/consuming all that media content with the available syndication technologies. After the event, I hope that at least in Bangalore, no one would call me weird if I am listening to an interview and not a song while commuting.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

SMS and Mobile Targeting

Writing his guest column at the Mobile Marketing Magazine, Richard Webster writes about how SMS and intelligent targeting can produce great results:

The key to unlocking the real potential for customer recruitment lies in understanding more about them and having the ability to interact with them directly. The availability of mobile data, and the intelligent application of it, is absolutely critical to SMS campaign success. Analysis and careful selection can be carried out before broadcast, and afterwards, with detailed responder profiling.

[...] With intelligent application and targeting, SMS messaging can enhance a brand, and produce great results. Furthermore, it is cost-effective, measurable and intuitive: lifestyle data in particular has a wealth of additional variables, because the way in which the information has been volunteered allows for the fine-tuning of campaign targeting like no other data can.   

[...] here is a pipeline for immediate, measurable and targeted communication bursting with potential, and waiting to be exploited to the full.  Delivery of message, capture of response, trackability of source-to-sale at a low cost-per acquisition: the next big thing for mobile marketing is the application of data. They say there is no idea so powerful as one whose time has come: so get targeting, get texting.

[via Emergic]

 

New Search Experience with Google Experimental

The ever-experimental Google now redefines our Search Experience with new User Interfaces for Search. The new interfaces provide a more "integrated" search experience, that means that you don't have to go about looking for different search engines for videos, blogs, news, pictures etc.

New Navigation Features

Navigation within search results and within different Google sites is going to be a whole new experience with a top navigation bar as seen in this screenshot:

Google results: The new top navigation bar


But the best part about the new navigation is the contextual navigation links on Search Results. With this, for any keyword searched, if there are relevant results in any other Google service like Maps, Blogs, Videos, the links to those would also appear. For example, a search for India would result in a dynamically generated navigation bar with links to results from Google's News Maps Blogs Groups Images Video etc. But I always liked the Live Search top navigation. At least the "More" option is better thought out!

Google Search results: The tall "More Dropdown



Live Search results: The multi columned "More" Dropdown

Experimental Interfaces

Three new experimental interfaces, and three very different ways to search. But definitely interesting. The Lab has come out with something stunning here, I guess.

Timeline and map views

See results on a timeline or on a map. The search results are dug to extract key dates and location and the results are shown on a timeline and map. The first time I saw that bar graph depicting the timeline, for a moment I thought Google had used the wonderful ajaxified slider timeline that was first used by the guys at Measuremap. But it isn't and one fails to understand why.

For example, a search for "Indian Independence", came up with the following results on the timeline:


Google Timeline Search

Left hand navigation and Right Navigation Context Menu

The other two interfaces are to allow users to search deeper and look for a particular type of content like images, videos, patents, products or news. Nothing really special about these. And I am not too sure why we have the right side navigation menu at all. Right side in Google the area with supposedly the least attention on the screen for users. So why the navigation? The left hand navigation contains 1.) Links to search results from within different Google sites and 2.) Related Searches (like the ones to the right column in Live Search)

Of all these, I think the Left Navigation is something that could be integrated into the search results page now. It is quite intuitive to use and people won't take one minute to get used to it.


Elsewhere on the web:
Google Marries the Static and Live Web
Google Experimental: Opt-In To Google User Interface Experiments.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

10 New Uses For Newspaper

Not in India, where newspaper readership is soaring, but everywhere else Traditional Media is finding new ways of not being irrelevant. Read these 10 New Uses For Newspaper from Net!!!

Pipl- People Search Engine

Just came across Pipl, a Search Engine for People on SEL.Pretty interesting is all I'll say at the moment; but the results I looked for were far from accurate.

Here's what SEL had to say about it:

Pipl is a people search engine that tries to be a little different. Rather than just go off and hunt for email addresses, this tries to search through the deep/invisible/hidden web to return content that other search engines are going to miss.

[...] This however maybe a little churlish, given that it's only recently launched. It's an engine that's worth taking a peek at - even if it's only to see what they have on you and your namesakes. It will probably be more than you expect.

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Every start.com has an end

start.com, the incubation experiment that finally led to the hyped Live.com is all set to retire on the 22nd of May 2007. I actually used start.com for a while before I moved on to Newsburst and finally Google Reader.

 

Announcing this, Sanaz Ahari wrote on the start.com blog:

This is a bittersweet moment as I reflect on what start.com accomplished from it's inception in February 2005, helping pioneer ajax homepages and gadgets on the web. We accomplished great things both in terms of technology as well as being an agile small team and connecting with our customers. A successful incubation project that evolved to live.com. Unfortunately it is now time for us to retire start.com as our incubation ground for live.com.  Effective next Tuesday, 5/22/07, start.com will redirect to live.com.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

How to search Google without ads

How to search using google  without seeing those ads in the right and top?

Simple: Use http://www.google.com/search?output=googleabout

Doesn't make sense, but that is the way it is!

 

Amit Agarwal at DI has another method to block all Google ads from showing in your browser by making certain entries in your computer's HOSTS file.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Mobiles- Push based advertising might work

The last time I wrote about mobile advertising, I had written that push based advertising could really get annoying. However, speaking at the PMN Mobile User Experience conference, Antti Ohrling-co-founder of advertising-funded MVNO Blyk said that it might just work!
From mobileuserexperience.com:

[...]push-based advertising will not annoy customers if it is correctly targeted. In fact, Blyk's research in the UK market (where it will launch this summer) indicates that customers perceive value in receiving push messages if they provide unique offers. Ohrling, who also chairs a global advertising agency, explained that push advertising can be a way of enabling customers to differentiate themselves from their peers by giving them access to information and events unavailable through other channels.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Microsoft Dead?

Microsoft, for a dead company has pretty lively profits, says The Var Guy. He sits down and comes up with 10 Stunning Facts About Microsoft’s Profits.

He compares Microsoft's profits with other giants, and computes how long does it take to beat the quarterly net income of some of the companies like Apple (just 2 weeks), IBM (5 weeks), Google (just 18 days), and Nike (1 week!)


Monday, May 07, 2007

Mobile advertising - Its about Timing

Timing is Everything

Telecoms.com has a wonderful piece on Mobile advertising. Timing is Everything, it says:

"The key to the promise of mobile advertising lies in the fact that the mobile device provides a very personal, direct and interactive communications channel to customers, he points out. In advertising terms, mobile operators own some of the best advertising inventories available anywhere. In addition they own two key assets: the customer's location and personal identity in terms of behaviour, demographics and content preferences. This puts mobile operators in a very strong position when competing for advertising budgets."

Somehow I am confused by the two possible ways of mobile advertising: First, the push based advertising where you just send an advertisement through an SMS to the user. The second, where the user sees an embedded text ad on his screen, say while browsing on his mobile. While the former seems too intruding and offensive, the second simply eats into the precious screen estate. Which one will turn out trumps? We'll have to wait and watch!


Mobile Is Going to Be a Larger Market Than Internet Advertising

K@W spoke to AdMob's Omar Hamoui on Mobile Advertising: How is mobile advertising evolving? How does it differ from conventional web-based advertising?

He makes an interesting comment: "Finding the inventory and getting ads to run on it is harder than getting advertisers to be interested in it"

Friday, May 04, 2007

Life in namma Bengaluru

"Life" has to be spiced up in Bangalore! Absolutely no second thoughts about it and when someone in the Government thinks the same way too, you can't help but wonder if what you're hearing is right.

Back in college, I can recall everyone excited about the prospect of moving to Bangalore. After all, it was supposed to be the city with a "night life" worth boasting about and what not. And boy, weren't expectations hurt when we set foot in Bangalore. Creatures of habit- we, who hardly went to sleep before pinging Sun God that it was his time to take over, were left devastated that there was not even a cup of tea and Parle-G to be had after 11pm. I've seen many an individuals feel let down by this city of their dreams seeing the roads deserted, the shops and eateries shuttered down, the auto-rickshaw-wallahs shouting obscene fares at them (come on folks, assuming you are a Software Coder and since almost all autowallahs in this city consider it their duty to penalize us who are obliterating this wonderful city which it once was, you ought to be willing to pay well for a royal ride home)

So, its really late, really late like 10pm, you can do one thing and that is to get down to the cheapest movie hall around- Urvashi and catch a movie or two. It's Bangalore and in bangalore you don't get movie tickets easily like you d in Mumbai. So Spidey-3 will have to wait for you. Till then, go catch Tara-rum-pum-pum. Better if you can take your doggie along too! If you're not amongst the ones who are obsessed with the so-called-meaningful cinema, you should be having a good time.

Others can go and watch Blood Diamond. I heard PVR at Forum is screening it and those who have not yet seen it, it's a must watch. From my unfinished review for a newsletter I should be contributing a lot more regularly: "One may call Blood Diamond an adventure thriller, but it is much more than that. It appeals to you; to wake up and see for oneself the grimness of the situation in Africa. The movie narrates the tale of the trade in conflict diamond, profits from which buys guns and fuels violence. If Hotel Rwanda made one feel guilty about not doing anything about the terror that torments the continent of Africa, Blood Diamond takes it a step further with making people realize how they are actually encouraging it unknowingly. Edward Zwick (The Last samurai fame) chooses to tell this story with a big name star Leonardo dicaprio and does a fantastic job of it."

Friday, April 27, 2007

AOL India

AOL IndiaAOL has come to India with their India specific portal www.aol.in, though I might wonder if they are too late. Nothing too interesting about it. It has the usual news channels, with Cricket and Bollywood getting obvious attention. Plus there's the email and the Instant messaging about which I am not too sure if there would be many now who'd be keen on an @aol.in web based email address with the much superior likes of Yahoo and Gmail.

How I'd see is that its just another India specific portal, and there is simply no need for it- with Rediff,IndiaTimes,Yahoo, and  MSN already around.

How, if they, do they actually pull it off will be interesting to watch. If you remember, long long time ago, Lycos had came to Asia, India included, www.lycosasia.com (the link doesn't work anymore), and didn't really deliver.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

PowerTwitter by 30Boxes

For a while I was beginning to think that the world had forgotten about about 30Boxes which I feel is a top-class Calendaring application and would be my first choice any given day.

If you thought so that they've been chilled by Google, the PC World Magazine doesn’t think so. They continue to roll out interesting stuff and have now have released a Firefox plugin called PowerTwitter to enhance Twitter with photo sharing, video sharing etc and other cool things.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

ICC CWC 2007 - The Final Four

ICC CWC 2007 - The Semi Final LineUp

There you go. The final 4 of the ICC CWC 2007 have been decided and it's basically what one had predicted even before the tournament started. A few hiccups here and there but things finally went the way they were thought to go! So, here's the final four:

Australia: The ultimate package. By far the favourites.
Sri Lanka: The most versatile attack. Invincibles in this form, just give them a slow dead pitch
South Africa: If they were called chokers, Greame Smith dismissd any such notions with utter disdain today.
New Zealand: The black horse. How much ever I want SA to win, nothing like a Aus-NZ final!


Stats Reveal

Another intersting thing I noted today. While everyone here want the likes of our "seniors" - Ganguly, Sachin, Sehwag out of our Indian Cricket Team (yes, the same Team India as it is more fashionably called these days) because of their age and the need of a fresh change, almost everyone forgot to see the top run getters in this World Cup- the average age comes upwards of 33. Apparently, experience does matter!





































Top Scorers in ICC CWC 2007

WC 2007 RunsCurrent AgeCareer ODIs
ML Hayden (Aus)l47735 years 170 days142
JH Kallis (SA)46331 years 183 days255
SB Styris (NZ)43531 years 281 days131
RT Ponting (Aus)41432 years 119 days277
ST Jayasuriya (SL)37937 years 291 days387

Sunday, April 15, 2007

At home - TV, Bollywood, and just about everything

There is no place like home! 2 days and I haven't got a clue how they flew off. I already feel I should have planned a longer vacation.

Anyways, what I've been upto here? Nothing at all except eating, sleeping, eating and sleeping. And ofcourse, the television, which somehow is never short of interesting offerings inspite of the cable wallah not kind towards my requests to improve the reception of Star Movies and HBO. A quick scan of my television watching during the last 48 hours:



I'll have to say, there simply can not be a more ridiculous channel than AajTak. Just a few hours ago, they ran a detailed story on how Richard Gere hugged and kissed Shilpa Shetty (now Big Brother fame) on stage for some AIDS awareness program. The newsreader was all bashing Richard Gere on how this is in stark contrast to his Dalai-Lama-disciple image that we Indians have and how this is so against Indian culture (or mentality?) Bull shit. If these news channel guys want to do moral policing, why the hell should they be showing that particular clip non-stop (literally) on the screen at all??? Aren't they doing more damage??? In fact, our heroine Rakhi Sawant, (whom they called up thinking she would be the ideal person to comment on this) showed more sense than the whole AajTak team when she gave her expert comments on the issue!

Richard Gere kisses Shilpa Shetty
Richard Gere hugs and kisses Shilpa Shetty during an AIDS awareess event was organised by Truckers Corporation of India Foundation. Photo: IBNLive/AP

The ICC Cricket World Cup is still on and apparently people are still interested in what Mandira Bedi is wearing. Honestly, her outfits have followed the path from crap to crappier to the crappiest. And just so you know, it was her birthday today and the nice folks on Sony Max's "extraa innings" pre-match show- Tony Greig, John Wright and Charoo Sharma, did get a cake for her.

The Men in Blue with the Pepsi Gold Cola
The advertising industry seems to have burnt a lot of midnight oil coming up with their new ad campaigns when our Men in Blue betrayed them like never before. But they seem to have done well. Pepsi Gold's "World Cup ko laa" program seems to have been rescheduled for 2011 now with a new young team appproaching a tailor uncle for new outfits. Real refreshing ad and makes one wonder why they need celebrities in first place at all? Sunfeast biscuits too have gone back to ads featuring Shahrukh Khan with Sachin not the flavour of the hour anymore.


And then, there is Soccer and F1. Couldn't watch Massa win it with Ferrari because of some stupid rescheduling by ESPNStar showing the race on ESPN. Waiting to catch the highlights now. In soccer, Ballack has scored too and Chelsea are all set for the Quadrupule!

That was television. I am also planning to spend some quality time looking at some of the DVDs I found lying at home too. Total bollywood entertainers, I can assure you. For tomorrow, it's going to be Vivah and Dhoom-2

0130 hours and am waiting for Ireland to cause yet another upset in this World Cup!

Friday, April 06, 2007

iPod saves Soldier's life

An apple can save your life!

Apparently, a US soldier somewhere in Iraq (where else would you find them) was hit in the left chest when an insurgent opened fire on him. Fortunately, his iPod was in his jacket pocket which slowed the bullet down enough that it did not completely penetrate his body armor! Check out this picture of the Life saving iPod.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Mobile Interfaces and Latency

"How long is half a second? In the context of a mobile user interface, it can be long enough to cripple the experience and make the difference between a converting a user from a casual browser to a dedicated customer."

This wonderful piece highlights how latency in Mobile interfaces is such a big Usability issue. This half a second delay has been the major undoing on the proliferation of mobile based applications. What a consumer looks for is an intuitive + quick interface that responds lightning fast. How the service providers and the developer network manages that with the device OS, Processor or the memory issue isn't of concern to him, and justifiably so. Unfortunately, all mobile applications we come across somehow haven't been able to get the UX right, and it would be interesting to see how and when are we able to come up with something to address this issue.

Talking of usable interfaces, I just came across a couple of mobile widget platforms:

The first one was iframe Microsoft's ZenZui, a mobile widget browser that allows searching through a grid of 36 widget tiles with each tile acting as a mobile optimized interface to a website. Interestingly, ZenZui’s zooming user interface was initially developed by Microsoft’s Redmond Research lab, and was spun off into it’s own company. MobileCrunch has more on this.

The other is GPS Widgets from Where. According to "where", "GPS Widgets are small (or large) applications that help you find interesting things and do everyday tasks." An interesting concept and definitely a sign of things to come in this domain!

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Technorati - heartTonic? haterTonic? niceThroat?

Just saw these weird mastheads on Technorati. Anyone What's with these???

haterTonic, heartTonic, Threaticon, niceThroat, Tonierchat and so on...








Saturday, March 17, 2007

Ireland upset Pakistan

Just the other day I was discussing with my boss about the banality of this Round I of the ICC Cricket World Cup 2007 . And boy, how wrong could I have been!

Two upsets, and two giants of cricket virtually eliminated from the World Cup! First, Bangladesh defeated India making quite a dent in the Men in Blue's golden hopes and plans of glory in the Calypso land. And second, in one of the most remarkable upsets we are to see in WC Cricket, an unknown bunch of players from Ireland defeated Pakistan, virtually eliminating them from the tournament.

0500 hours here and Team Ireland is doing a victory lap. I am loving it. For the unpredictable game called cricket!!!

Technorati Tags:
Pakistan

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

No surfing at IIT-M, or is it IIT-B

The last time I posted on this blog, it was all about goof ups that some newspaper called Central Chronicle did. This morning, however, I came across a couple of mistakes on LiveMint, the newest, slickest financial daily in the country.

In its story titled "Stop surfing, make friends, IIT-M students told", the newspaper refers to IIT-Bombay. The last time I heard, IIT-M was IIT-Madras and IIT Bombay was known as IIT-B. Thankfully, Bengaluru folks have thought enough to keep the first character same while renaming their city. Pretty smart, I must say.

Talking of the same story, one can't help but wonder about how stupid this decision is. From what I know, Internet nowhere would count as the culprit. A hostel without Internet is not a "dull" hostel by any means where "children" go to bed on time. Its the tons and tons of movies with the TBs of data the hostel networks boast of and the LAN gaming with the CS clans knifing around and the Conquerors traveling back in time to conquer the world, that keep the students busy at all hours of the night. Just restricting the Internet access won't work. The only hope is to pull off complete connectivity- reduce all machines to standalone good-for-nothing boxes. That might be your only hope to make the nerds "socialize" more.


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Thursday, March 08, 2007

Some reporting this!

There's this newspaper called Central Chronicle. I think I've seen it in some stands, when I was home last summer.

How is this relevant here? Naresh just sent me this link to a piece on IIM-Indore's placements. As he said, it's a comedy:
This year several renowned companies visited here to offer placements to the students; some of them are Macancy, Assenger business consultant, KPMG, Stern Stewart and company, Deloty consultancy, Aptiva consulting, Price waterhouse Coopers, Sap labs banking and financial services, Lehmen brothers, Goldman Saches, Duche bank, Ocvin financial, Bank of America, HSBC, City group, Standard Chartered and JP Morgan etc. Whereas in marketing field include Alghamin Industries, Colgate Palmolive, Asian Paints, ITC, Reliance, Dabur Astro meset etc.Some IT companies include Oracle, Cap Gemini, Hand strong, Cognijent, IBM, Kotek Mahindra and Kevonsis etc.


Astonishing.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Quidditch meets Formula One

Matthew Reilly has been one author whose work I have enjoyed thoroughly. You read Area 51, Ice Station, Temple, and Scarecrow and you can't help but become a fan of his writing style- slick, real fast paced, what some call as "improbability following improbabilities." And so I sat yesterday, reading his "Hover Car Racer" even when my friendly neighbourhood library-wallah virtually pleaded with me not to read it. And I'll have to say I should have listened to him.

After reading Hover Car Racer, I can't stop wondering if the Pottermania has caught up with Mathew Reilley too! There's a Race school, world's best for Hover Car Racing. And our 14 year old lad, who goes by the name Jason Chaser, manages to get admission into it. And what follows is nothing but high paced narration of one race after another where our hero Chaser takes on the big bad Draco Malfoys in school and the pro-racing world.

Exciting in the beginning, predictable in the middle and absolutely mundane in the end. In one word: Disastrous. Nothing else.


Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Its March, its F1 time

Its March 2007 and we will be witnessing two major sporting events kicking off this month: The ICC Cricket World Cup 2007 and the F1 2007 season.

Just a couple of quick thoughts though:
  • Is this the biggest cricketing world cup yet??? I'd rather say that it is definitely the Longest. 16 teams and one is rest assured that the first half of the event is going to be booring.

  • Will F1 be the same again without Schumi? They might say it will get more competitive but as our Mr. Siddhu would have said, "F1 without Schumi is like giving Kiss without a Squeeze."

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Monday, February 26, 2007

Virb Invites


Just received an invite for Virb. Thanks to Nogg3r5.

If you're interested in trying it out, leave a comment here :).

Cheers
Anand


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Publish

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

LiveMint : A Minty Approach

Okay, its been really really long since I last posted here and I'll have to say its been very boring and exhausting. Slaving away to barely meet the deadlines was pretty much the norm all this while and its only now that I have some time to pay attention to this much neglected weblog.

I recently looked at LiveMint, India's newest financial daily- for the "new, young readers and members of the Internet generation" and will have to say that it's got a splendid design at least for the online edition that I've seen so far.


The design for both the online and print editions was done by was done Garcia Media. On the approach to the design of LiveMint, Mario Garcia writes:
1. It should be colorful, like India itself.

2. Ideally it should be in a small format ---we did versions of broadsheet and Berliner, and opted for the smaller, easier to handle format.

3. It must have perfect fusion with the online product. And, in fact, I recommended from the start that this product should appear FIRST as an online newspaper, and then two weeks later on print. That is the way it will be. This newspaper is born as an online product.

4. There should be substance, but also quick reads.

5. Navigation should be paramount.

Very slick, very neat when compared to the some of the other biz papers we have. Now only, if they could put a small orange icon next to the Link for numerous RSS feeds they have, it would have saved me a whole lot of time looking for it. And btw, didnt we all think that we no more used partial feeds these days?


Saturday, January 20, 2007

Somehow I dont understand

Saddam Hussein:
1. was not an Indian.
2. was not hanged by India.
3. was not hanged in India.
4. cannot be back, come what may.

Then what is the point?

Friday, January 05, 2007

The iPod Car

Long long time ago, we had seen the MSN Messenger Car.

Could an iPod Car be behind?

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Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Firefox 3 and Microformats

The last week, I was trying to sell someone the idea of Microformats and how the whole semantics integration would make information on the web a lot more organized and I'll have to admit I was hardly making any sense to the individual and had to give up real soon. Perhaps, with Mozilla now looking at Microformats, it may just result into a wider acceptance and integration of Microformats. Here's a little something about Microformats for those who aren't aware of what they are. Mozilla Designer Alex Faaborg in a recent post explained how microformats will transform the future Web Browser (read Firefox 3) into an "Information Broker":

"Much in the same way that operating systems currently associate particular file types with specific applications, future Web browsers are likely going to associate semantically marked up data you encounter on the Web with specific applications, either on your system or online. This means the contact information you see on a Web site will be associated with your favorite contacts application, events will be associated with your favorite calendar application, locations will be associated with your favorite mapping application, phone numbers will be associated with your favorite VOIP application, etc."

A couple of happenings I came across in social bookmarking today. RawSugar seems to have shut down its shop last week and Duncan Riley recommends Bluedot, a social bookmarking service that Michael Arrington mentioned in his List of Web 2.0 companies he couldn’t live without. I haven't been able to look at it yet but the idea of not having to leave the page in order to bookmark it is a much better option than the del.icio.us way.

And on an ending note, you might want to double check that slick favicon on your blog/site is not using 27 GIGS of bandwidth a month!