01 October, 2007


Long time, no post! I was a little too busy with work. I just received an email which had these computer terms, some of which i had completely forgotten.

Short for original equipment manufacturer, which is a misleading term for a company that has a special relationship with computer producers. OEMs are manufacturers who resell another company's product under their own name and branding. While an OEM is similar to a VAR (value-added reseller), it refers specifically to the act of a company rebranding a product to its own name and offering its own warranty, support and licensing of the product. The term is really a misnomer because OEMs are not the original manufacturers; they are the customizers.

Acronym used to combine the terms "mobile" and "Web log". Where a Web log (also called a blog) is a Web page that serves as a publicly accessible personal journal for an individual, a moblog is a blog which has been posted to the Internet from a mobile device such as a mobile phone or PDA.

Also spelled as spIM, spam over instant messaging (IM). Spim is perpetuated by bots that harvest IM screen names off of the Internet and simulate a human user by sending spam to the screen names via an instant message. The spim typically contains a link to a Web site that the spimmer is trying to market.

In e-mail terminology a hoax is a message which is written to deliberately spread fear, uncertainty and doubt.

Slang term for spam e-mail address, a person's secondary e-mail address, which is used for registering to receive newsletters, discussion forums and for other Web sites requiring sign-ups where you may receive frequent e-mails. The spamdress is used in place of a primary e-mail address to assist in keeping spam out of the primary account.

Also known as stealth, a technique used by some Web sites to deliver one page to a search engine for indexing while serving an entirely different page to everyone else. The search engine thinks it is selecting a prime match to its request based on the meta tags that the site administrator has input. However, the search result is misleading because the meta tags do not correspond to what actually exists on the page.

16 May, 2007

Joost gets $45 mil from pals, partners -Om Malik

Joost, the P2P TV creation of Janus Friis and Niklas Zennström, the co-founders of Kazaa and Skype. The company, just raised a whopping $45 million in funding from five investors.

“This funding represents a tremendous vote of confidence in Joost’s platform,” said Janus Friis, co-founder of Joost. “We’ve carefully selected these investors from a variety of interested parties”

Selected! Interesting choice of words, from Friis, pretty much letting everyone know who’s da boss. More importantly, it also indicated the premium valuation Joost got received. hope Joost puts some of these new dollars to use in building an infrastructure that can actually handle the traffic loads, and not like this past week when the service went on fritz for many of the Joost viewers. That’s the kind of thing that can prove to be a buzz kill.

And for investors who are suddenly looking at P2P TV companies, here is a short list of names that might come in handy: Babelgum, RawFlow, Jaman, Zattoo, and Neokast.

11 May, 2007

Small is The New Big: Moo.com -Om Malik

Richard Moross, a twenty-something Londoner, was bored with the business cards most people were exchanging. He decided to do something about it. He started Moo Prints, a 10-person start-up that takes images from popular websites, like Flickr and Bebo, and prints them on cards that are exactly half the height (28mm x 70mm) of a regular business card.

Size alone makes Moo cards memorable. Moross cleverly dubbed them “mini-cards,” leveraging a marketing trend that’s already been über-successful in selling autos and iPods. Better still, Moo minis are highly personalized. For instance, Moross will take photos from your Flickr account and print it on your cards.

Getting your Moo cards is simple—sign up for the service, fill out your contact details, add your Flickr ID, and 10 days later 100 cards show up. All in, a set of Moo minis sets you back just $20 with $5 in shipping.

Because Moo works with existing communities (and social networks) such as Skype, Habbo Hotel, Bebo, Second Life and Flickr, the company has built a sizeable following without spending a dime on marketing. Moo is the epitome of a business that has truly harnessed Web2.0.

Several others companies fit the bill, too. Among them: Germany-based t-shirt maker Spreadshirt; Chicago-based Skinny Corp; and San Francisco-based 8020 Publishing, publishers of the JPG magazine. And CastingWords, which offers a transcription service based entirely on the web. In each case, the basic work product of these companies is no different from that of their traditional predecessors. (A T-shirt is a T-shirt. A business card is still a business card.) These young businesses are not inventing new things that distinguish them. It is the way they are using technology to execute and interface with their customers that makes them special.

5 Future Innovations -IBM

IBM writes about five innovations that will change our lives over the next five years:

# We will be able to access healthcare remotely, from just about anywhere in the world
# Real-time speech translation-once a vision only in science fiction-will become the norm
# There will be a 3-D Internet
# Technologies the size of a few atoms will address areas of environmental importance
# Our mobile phones will come close to reading our minds

Learning Life's Simple Lessons -Speaking Tree

We spent a tension-filled week in the office recently with many of us awaiting news of promotions and increments. As rumours snowballed, hurried meetings took place in corridors.

Some people were ashen-faced, others were jumping with joy. Some criticised the 'system', others consulted experts. I decided to escape to Haridwar and experience a peaceful meditative week.

The ashram was serene and peaceful. All one could hear was the chirping of birds. In the afternoon, a smiling boy of 25 came to clean our room.

He said he could not come earlier as he had to clean 50 rooms all on his own. Seeing my shocked expression the boy grinned and assured me that it wasn't that bad a situation.

He revealed that he had joined just three days ago as a sweeper-cleaner. A month back, he was working as a motor mechanic in a private company but got laid off with many others.

Wasn't that terrible, I inquired gently. "No, Ma'm. It's all destined. I am young and hard working and I will find a good job again, God willing. Why should I worry?"

But a loss of Rs 5,000 wasn't small, I pursued. "Money comes and goes, like this Ma'm", he said and snapped his fingers. What a brave boy, I thought.

And here was I who had 'escaped'to the serenity of Haridwar. Despite a string of academic degrees, achievements and experience we still panic because we are afraid we would not move to the next grade.

To learn from life and one's experiences one must be open, receptive and flexible. Learning is a state of consciousness that enables one to learn from all situations if only one retains the innocence of a child. Even a humble servant can teach us qualities of generosity, forgiveness, unselfishness and the strength to bear burdens....

read the full article

09 May, 2007

Taking on Google! -The Hindu

It's the classic David versus Goliath battle being played out in the 21st century. We are talking of the great race between Web behemoth Google and Zoho, the Chennai-based underdog, to launch a suite of online office applications.

However, Sridhar Vembu, CEO of AdventNet, the company behind Zoho services, doesn't see it as an all-out battle. ``That would imply that there can be only one winner, which I don't agree with. Business is not like sports in that respect. It is perfectly possible to have a profitable, growing business without `winning' the market in the sense of being number one.''

While Google has been going about its mission with a mix of buyouts and internally developed products, Zoho has a team of several hundred engineers focused on churning out one product after the other, sometimes within a span of a few weeks!

On how a company very focused on the telecom market forayed into Web services, Vembu says: "When the telecom bubble burst, the company found itself with a lot of talented engineers. That's when Zoho was born. We decided to diversify out of telecom and it was obvious that Web-based applications was a key area of growth."

Which is why Vembu and company decided to make the pragmatic choice of building a company without venture capital. Does he have anything against taking VC money? "I don't have anything philosophical or religious against it. It's just a strong personal preference for the operating freedom that comes from not having to answer to financial-minded investors, while being subject to the discipline of living within our own means."

With independence being at the core of its culture, Zoho is unlikely to be gobbled up by an MNC with deep pockets. "We have a track record of patient engineering execution. Based on that history, I would say we will be around as an independent player, though in business one learns to never say never."

Google buys DoubleClick for $3.1 billion -Om Malik

Google bought Double Click for $3.1 billion which is almost twice what Google paid for YouTube! Google really wants to get into the display advertising business in a big way, and they don’t have the relationships they need to make it happen, but DoubleClick does. It gives them immediate access to those relationships.

One thing is becoming clear - Google wants to dominate the online advertising business, and will pay anything to keep rivals like Microsoft & Yahoo on a weak footing.

07 May, 2007

Google's Personalization Push: iGoogle, Localization, Gadget Maker -Read Write Web

Google has been experimenting with personalization a lot this year. In regards to its personalized homepage, Google has always had far more gadgets available on its platform than live.com, Netvibes or Pageflakes. Currently there are over 25,000 different Google gadgets that you can put on your iGoogle page.

Here is some useful background to Google's personalization efforts. Google wants to compute PageRank for every single person, Google thinks of personalization in 3 parts:
  • Search Your own stuff (like Google Desktop Search, Web History)
  • Traditional (Pull) Search
  • Push Search (like recommendations, iGoogle/ personalized homepage)
Google seems to be fighting a two-pronged battle with their personalization efforts - one is to keep themselves ahead of the alternative search engines, and the other is to one-up Yahoo, Microsoft, Netvibes, Pageflakes and the other personalized start page contenders.

09 April, 2007

10 Things They Never Taught Me in Design School -Michael McDonough

1. Talent is one-third of the success equation.
Talent is important in any profession, but it is no guarantee of success. Hard work and luck are equally important. Hard work means self-discipline and sacrifice. Luck means, among other things, access to power, whether it is social contacts or money or timing. In fact, if you are not very talented, you can still succeed by emphasizing the other two. If you think I am wrong, just look around.

2. 95 percent of any creative profession is shit work.
Only 5 percent is actually, in some simplistic way, fun. In school that is what you focus on; it is 100 percent fun. Tick-tock. In real life, most of the time there is paper work, drafting boring stuff, fact-checking, negotiating, selling, collecting money, paying taxes, and so forth. If you don’t learn to love the boring, aggravating, and stupid parts of your profession and perform them with diligence and care, you will never succeed.

3. If everything is equally important, then nothing is very important.
You hear a lot about details, from “Don’t sweat the details” to “God is in the details.” Both are true, but with a very important explanation: hierarchy. You must decide what is important, and then attend to it first and foremost. Everything is important, yes. But not everything is equally important. A very successful real estate person taught me this. He told me, “Watch King Rat. You’ll get it.”

4. Don’t over-think a problem.
One time when I was in graduate school, the late, great Steven Izenour said to me, after only a week or so into a ten-week problem, “OK, you solved it. Now draw it up.” Every other critic I ever had always tried to complicate and prolong a problem when, in fact, it had already been solved. Designers are obsessive by nature. This was a revelation. Sometimes you just hit it. The thing is done. Move on.

5. Start with what you know; then remove the unknowns.
In design this means “draw what you know.” Start by putting down what you already know and already understand. If you are designing a chair, for example, you know that humans are of predictable height. The seat height, the angle of repose, and the loading requirements can at least be approximated. So draw them. Most students panic when faced with something they do not know and cannot control. Forget about it. Begin at the beginning. Then work on each unknown, solving and removing them one at a time. It is the most important rule of design. In Zen it is expressed as “Be where you are.” It works.

6. Don’t forget your goal.
Definition of a fanatic: Someone who redoubles his effort after forgetting his goal. Students and young designers often approach a problem with insight and brilliance, and subsequently let it slip away in confusion, fear and wasted effort. They forget their goals, and make up new ones as they go along. Original thought is a kind of gift from the gods. Artists know this. “Hold the moment,” they say. “Honor it.” Get your idea down on a slip of paper and tape it up in front of you.

7. When you throw your weight around, you usually fall off balance.
Overconfidence is as bad as no confidence. Be humble in approaching problems. Realize and accept your ignorance, then work diligently to educate yourself out of it. Ask questions. Power – the power to create things and impose them on the world – is a privilege. Do not abuse it, do not underestimate its difficulty, or it will come around and bite you on the ass. The great Karmic wheel, however slowly, turns.

8. The road to hell is paved with good intentions; or, no good deed goes unpunished.
The world is not set up to facilitate the best any more than it is set up to facilitate the worst. It doesn’t depend on brilliance or innovation because if it did, the system would be unpredictable. It requires averages and predictables. So, good deeds and brilliant ideas go against the grain of the social contract almost by definition. They will be challenged and will require enormous effort to succeed. Most fail. Expect to work hard, expect to fail a few times, and expect to be rejected. Our work is like martial arts or military strategy: Never underestimate your opponent. If you believe in excellence, your opponent will pretty much be everything.

9. It all comes down to output.
No matter how cool your computer rendering is, no matter how brilliant your essay is, no matter how fabulous your whatever is, if you can’t output it, distribute it, and make it known, it basically doesn’t exist. Orient yourself to output. Schedule output. Output, output, output. Show Me The Output.

10. The rest of the world counts.
If you hope to accomplish anything, you will inevitably need all of the people you hated in high school. I once attended a very prestigious design school where the idea was “If you are here, you are so important, the rest of the world doesn’t count.” Not a single person from that school that I know of has ever been really successful outside of school. In fact, most are the kind of mid-level management drones and hacks they so despised as students. A suit does not make you a genius. No matter how good your design is, somebody has to construct or manufacture it. Somebody has to insure it. Somebody has to buy it. Respect those people. You need them. Big time.

15 March, 2007

Mr. Picasso Head

You can go wild with this thing. Try it out for yourself and don't forget to visit the gallery [www.mrpicassohead.com]

08 March, 2007

Sony Play Station & Web 2.0 -Om Malik

If one console manufacturer is fully on board the social games movement, it appears to be Sony. The company just announced a slew of new features to its PlayStation Home community that aims to be the PS3’s user-generated epicenter. PlayStation Home will attempt to recreate the Second Life experience for PS3 owners, complete with customized avatars and outside advertisers. Sony also disclosed details on their upcoming SingStar game confirming their desire to become the YouTube of karaoke.

These announcements are significant for several reasons. First, the embrace of in-game achievements and customized game avatars by Sony give credibility to what Microsoft and Nintendo have already done on their respective systems. Sony’s mashup of sorts could take the idea further. Second, Sony’s betting big on the social games movement, something that’s in its infancy. If they can execute that strategy, they’ve just significantly diversified their PlayStation revenue model. Lastly, with the world’s largest home console maker backing user-generated content, it’s likely its existence on consoles is here to stay.

19 February, 2007

The Human Factor in Gadget / Web Design -cNet

"Design is starting to change who succeeds and who fails. A few years ago that wasn't true. If I had a better algorithm, I would win."
-Alonso Vera, senior research scientist at NASA Ames Research Center

NASA, which has faced cutbacks in recent years, has a human-computer interaction group that's grown to 10 people since it was started in 2002. It recently worked with Google and the Firefox browser team on a new iteration of Firefox. NASA used its cognitive modeling tools or computer algorithms that simulate how people will respond to new products to help Firefox and Google develop more intuitive browser tabs.

NASA's Vera has also worked on new design for the Mars rover expedition, creating a better interface for scientists programming the daily activities of the rover. It used to take the scientists 90 minutes to plan the rover's activities, but Vera's design team cut the process down to just 10 minutes. Its latest design for the Phoenix rover, which will launch in July, cuts the routine time to three minutes, according to Vera.

The future of design Industry, experts say designers will have to be mindful of human attention spans in an age of information-overload. and the technology's become so good that it's not the differentiator between products, it's the user interface that is becoming a huge differentiator.

14 February, 2007

Online Video Industry Index -ReadWrite Web

There are now so many companies vying to be the next YouTube, it's easy to lose track of them all. So let's take a look at the entire online video industry and categorize the major players.
In this post we've summarized the latest video industry innovations under the following categories:
  • Video Sharing
  • Intermediaries
  • Video Search
  • Video eCommerce
  • Video Editing & Creation
  • Rich Media Advertising
  • P2P (Peer To Peer)
  • Video Streaming
  • Vlogosphere
Video Sharing
Video sharing - and particularly YouTube - have been the poster boys of the online video industry so far. Video sharing sites allow you to upload your videos and share them with others. But even if you are not a content producer, you can watch others movies. So this is a very consumer-oriented industry that has been popularized via blog-based viral marketing.
Some of the players in this category are youtube, yahoo video, soapbox, grouper, gofish etc

Do you think you can legally host your commercial videos on YouTube or MetaCafe? The short answer is no. For professional use, you'll need to contact intermediary companies to do this job for you. Their main duty is to connect publishers, video creators and advertisers. Examples - videoegg, nbbc, brightcove..

Video Search
Google Video - after the acquisition of YouTube, Google now focuses its Google Video property on video search. This is a smart strategy, because the Google brand largely means search. YouTube was already the number one video sharing site and Google Video has exclusive access to all YouTube and Google Video data - which makes Google Video search much superior to others like blinks, pixsy, aol video search etc

Video eCommerce
Video eCommerce sites allow you to legally stream the latest cinema movies and TV shows from your computer. This is another crowded market. Players include movieflix, cinemanow, marketbeam, guba and many more.

Video Creation & Editing
You have videos, but how do you edit them? Are you willing to stick with desktop apps and pay hundreds of dollars in license fees? The Web is the answer again. One such site Jumpcut was acquired by Yahoo right after it got to its public beta status. Others include eyespot, mojiti, lycos mix etc.

Rich Media Advertising
Another hot area is rich media advertising. This is the field that will pump money to all other services. Rich Media Advertising can consist of advanced computer science techniques like voice recognition (speech to text) and visual object recognition. Most of the companies in this class are in early stages. Google and AdBrite are the major players.

Peer to peer is taking an important place in video sharing. Video sharing requires large bandwidth, which is why the burn rate of these sites is very high and only the VC backed ones survive. P2P is an answer to this problem, by spreading the bandwidth weight to clients using this system. There have been some recent large investments in companies working in this field. Bittorrent, Azureus and Kontiki(a Verising company).

Video Hosting
So who do you think serves you all these videos? Video hosting is not an easy job! Akamai is known as the world leader and serves big customers including Microsoft, Google and Yahoo. The company is traded on NASDAQ and has a market cap of $9B. Limelight is the site that powers YouTube, MySpace, iFilm and many others.

Blogs and photologs have already taken over many peoples lives - being an excellent way to share, communicate and self-express. And now with the commodization of digital cameras, comes the vlogs - a.k.a. video blogs.. They are either for fun or self expression, but a big industry can blossom here - there are a lot of opportunities. Tomorrows vlogs, for example, are candidates to replace your favourite daily TV shows. And popular vlogs don't just attract ads, but they also hold the potential to sign partnership deals with video sharing sites. Examples:

Ask A Ninja - this surprise hit recently become a member of Federated Media, John Battelle's directory of popular blogs.

Rocketboom is the best example of how far vlogs can go. This vlog is dedicated to reporting the latest developments in internet culture, in an original and entertaining way. It looks so professional that you may not able to differentiate it from TV shows you watch.

The list is certainly not complete. And this categorization is subject to change, for example with upcoming stealth mode startups. The innovation and opportunities in the online video industry are endless.

New Web safety institute unveiled -ReadWrite Web

The people behind the 7-year-old Internet Content Rating Association, a nonprofit aimed at labeling adult Web sites, have launched a new institute to promote kids safety on the Web.

Called the Family Online Safety Institute (FOSI), the group said that it will broaden its work from the ICRA rating system to include the development and support of other kid-safe technologies, educational programs and public policy work.

Every day, there's a story about how people are finding new ways to access pornography and other inappropriate content on the Internet... we need new tools and methods to reach parents and children alike with a new safety awareness.

13 February, 2007

Web Apps going Offline in 2007 -ReadWrite Web

Firefox 3 will offer support for running web applications offline. Though it’s not yet clear on which level this might happen, this is major news for SaaS providers (Software as a Service). Of course, Firefox isn’t alone in trying to move web apps offline - Adobe’s Apollo framework promotes offline-services on top of their successful Flash platform.

Besides Adobe, several open source projects are working on solutions for the offline-dilemma: the Dojo Offline Project and POW (Plain Old Webserver) both implement a proxy http-server for running local copies of web-applications. While Dojo Offline isn’t available yet, POW - a firefox plugin (which means basically a web-server implemented in Javascript!) - is ready for download.

Related: How Firefox 3 will deliver support for offline applications...

This is significant because you'll be able to use your web apps - like Gmail, Google Docs & Spreadsheets, Google Calendar, etc - in the browser even when offline. I deliberately mentioned all Google web apps there, because of course this plays right into Google's hands.

Although Mozilla is an open source organization, some of its top workers are employed by Google. So it's a very cozy relationship. We've discussed before how Firefox 3 as information broker suits Google very nicely, because the Mountain View company has a number of best of breed web apps - and if it's not building them, it's acquiring them (YouTube, JotSpot, Writely, etc).

04 January, 2007

Long Time... No Post!

I hardly updated my blog after I joined NID... which is from past 1 and half years! Hope I will get back to blogging soon... btw, u can check NID team blog at http://nidg.blogspot.com