Monday, January 29, 2007

A Closer Look At The iPhone

This is a must watch. I am becoming more and more a fan of iPhone. And these days I am thinking around buying a Mac box too... Well no wonder why they dont call this a touchscreen phone. This is much more than that. I really liked the scroll screen... like a wheel it scroll up and down! And the album flips!

Monday, January 15, 2007

Why Apple is sweet still

The touch screen is not for Apple and LG alone. Nokia has started shipping the Internet Tablet N800. With a Wide VGA touch screen display. With full browser. With music and video players. But Nokia missed what Nokia means. This device is not a phone. This is just an internet device plus a media player. What it misses compared to iPhone
- no iPOD. Well, media player is not iPOD. iPOD is iPOD and only iPOD
- no phone. Though Nokia
- even lesser talk time than iPhone! Well, guys say - wait for the real one. The N95. Things should be better

Now what it fares better is the good screen resolution. A good WVGA of 800x480! Only Steve Jobs mocking talk has a better resolution than this. iPhone chucks on 320x480.

iPhone is not the best phone. Its not the best camera on phone. Nokia N93 has a VGA video camera. And a player too. Its not the only full internet ones. Many others have. Its not the only touch screen. N800 has. LG will have soon. Its not the only media player. N93i does better. But its the only iPOD. And its probably the best all rounder?

Anyway the biggest success for Apple is the talks it has generated. Something which N93 or N800 could not.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Apple is not alone

The touchscreen keypad for a phone is probably the first for the UI experts at Apple. But not the only one for a long time. The Koreans are coming up. Look at LG-KE850. That sounds good for Apple. The industry is picking up its new "standard"

For me, I really like the single screen multi-function idea, but not the touch screen. Apple click-wheel would have been there too?

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Job well done or Magic Jobs ?

Finally the iPhone is out. The industry has been speculating this. Papparazzis has been behind it - tracking some order that went to a Chinese company and so on. Jobs has raised the curtain now - not fully yet, though. Its iPhone finally. A new device that you can call a phone. Or an iPod. Or a PDA. Or an internet device. Or everything in one.

The Apple touch is there. Of course yes. Like the small device that caters multiple things. Nothing new. Theres Sony Mylo which is a PDA with WLAN. Theres Sharp WZero3 which is a phone with PDA with Winmobile. Though only for Japan. Then theres Nokia devices that are rugged and heavy too. All for the geeks. No one had targeted a common man. Or an apple fan. This is where Apple wants to sell. To the apple fan. Who does not want to stop biting the apple, does not want to stop listening to itunes. Still want to make a phone call. Want to look into the web. No office automation. No word, excel and outlook. Let blackberry handle that. Period.

Whats new here? Of course the Apple invention continous. The UI. First time its a phone with touch screen keypad. Apple fans will love that. Industry will study it and try to copy it. Like the Mac UI, like the iPod wheel. This is a new concept for the phone world. Time to prove how the market responds. And how robust the technology will be one year down the line. Hopefully you dont have to jump on the screen icons like you are forced to on the bank ATMs. While phone majors are trying the best of mechanical engg to squeeze in a QWERTY keyboard, Apple reuses the 3.5 in screen to come up with a keyboard when in phone mode. Though I still worry how this will be received, Jobs magic is not always as easy as the Gates one to understand.

Too many devices kill a lot of power on iPhone. The intel processor runs OSX. Hmmmm.... Neither OS-X nor Intel is supposed to be running on a battery-minded device. So it is. A 5 hour talk time and 16 hour music time max. No replacable battery. You need to put the phone or a charger everyday for sure. Even the Samsung video accelerator is new. Thats what killed the erstwhile PortalPlayer who thought Apple a day keeps revenues ever. Gone Apple and gone the company too. Anyway battery life is bad on iPhone.. at the very best.

Other features are mixed. The sensor detection to switch video into portrait and landscape modes as the user holds the phone, sorry, iPod, is probably a good feature. But the face detection - when you get the iPhone close to your face it switched into phone mode - is probably an overkill. While iPoders uses the white earphone, normal phone users are on BT headsets. Why the hell I have to remove the headset and then take the phone close to my face? I would call it an unwanted feature adding on the device cost.

There is something for the Apple fans also to feel sad. No 3G on it. But why. 3G is not a big market and for iPod users, its still smaller. You definitely do not appreciate a $100 extra bill for an iPhone3G with 2 hour talk time. Do you? Probably this is a valid setback for the Japanese Apple fan. They cannot talk on this iPhone. Probably thats the next stop for Apple. A 3G phone with HSDPA where iTunes can be downloaded over the air. No USB. No PC.

Remember the iMac? Jobs defined it as a machine that people can use to connect to the internet. Thats it. No floppy. No printer connectors. Only USB. Many frowned. USB is yet to mature. Not many devices available. Yet iMac survived. Nay, it succeeded. USB peripherals followed. This is now a new step. Let us wait and watch. But by the time it reaches half of the world, it will be two years. The concepts would have either won or dead by that time. People in India will not have to take a risk. Prices will be down and direction will be clear by that time.

Anyway its phone companies taking their bite on Apple now. Sore or Sweet??

Monday, July 31, 2006

Listening to the new tunes

July was a hot month in terms of weather across US and Europe. And it has been harsh to the east - rains, floods and tsunami.

Though no such tsunamis in the tech world, the Intel announcement of a new core architecture to power computers from servers to handheld is seen by the media as a big change to come. When Intel moved from memory to processors in the early days, it was becoming a leader. The x86 architecture went on for a very long time. The Wintel relation took it forth balancing between capability consumption - the business balancing between the semiconductor giant and the software behemoth. Giving the users a wild run for a new box every year. Recently but Intel has been trying to keep rather than to grow, thanks to "faster, cheaper" strategies from AMD.

The important point in the new move is the departure from single core and the ever mutiplying clocks. Instead of doubling the clock and betting the entire human life on processor clock, Intel has agreed that there should be multiple players. The new architecture is now multi-core. Multi-core is not anything new in the industry, but this is a new architecture for multi cores in the PC world - the bread and butter for Intel. Now that Intel is to focus on this new architecture, with the network processors XSCale being sold off, I guess there will be more interesting news to come in the coming months. And may be in a year from now, we could be working on new fast laptops that will not stall when Virus Scan starts at the busiest hour of the day.

We need to wait for some more days to see what Steve Jobs has in stock with the new processor. Mac will not announce this in an Intel show. They have their own Macworld, where Macfans jeer as Jobs announce every piece of a new Mac. And when he vents his harsh remarks on Windows. May be Mac is better poised to take advantage of Core2 Duo than Windows?

Another noted announcement was Zune from Microsoft. Gates had gone on record earlier that software and hardware has to be separate businesses to get users the best of both worlds. Visions and ideas are for the CEOs and Chairmans to talk on great shows. The business guys are to create dollars. Microsoft has been trying hardwares - like mouses and keyboards and later the succesful XBox. Steve Jobs theme on product has proved more productive - hardware and software are two sides of the coin and has to be rolled out in full alignment. The way he turned the business situation for Apple was really wonderful that opened Microsoft eyes too? In late 90s Microsoft plan was to have PC as the one for all. Microsoft was supporting PC games while Sony Playstation took over the world. Now with the all-new XBox Micorosoft is back into the game as a game console maker. Not as someone who believes Software and hardware should be separated for best user advantage.

Gates et al were focusing on PC based audio and Windows DRM while iPods invaded every pair of ears. The white headphones were too applish and not well taken in Redmond. So MS employees went for alternate ones. But there was no alternate iPod. MS had been trying to work with a host of partners on iPod likes, but none of them could create any crack in the solid iPod growth base. The Zune is said to be total new experience. With Microsoft user interface being great and good looking - though still lagging behind the Macs in terms of innovation - I guess this could make new waves. It might take some more time to get the full ecosystem to be in place - to reach where the iPod + iTunes model stands now. Let us see what are Microsoft plans on the new handheld. Soon we can hear more about Zune.

Anyway this shows the vast potential of the personal music player market. Bored people, busy people, lonely people, idle people, travelling people, stressed people, joyful people - all want to plug something on their ears. So far they could close their eyes to reality around. But God never gave them earlids. So find something nice that sings right into the ears.

Nero was listening to music when Rome was burning. I am pretty sure many in the US administration were listening to Podcasts while Katrina was on rampage.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006


Well, I am getting to believe what I wrote. Just came across this article on FT

Not exactly on mobile TV, but it says how the future of broadcasting corporations is not going to be too bright. How things are to change. And again, the personalised ads on broadcast too. Since every program also transmits the content info and since the user is known too, Adsense kind of personalised sales will be very much of interest

Monday, July 03, 2006

Playing LIVE on a mobile phone near you

Thought I would touch on a technology that I was remotely watching for around 2 years now. Mobile TV. Looking through my lowest resolution, smallest , monochrome screen, cheapest available Nokia, initially I was not impressed of the idea of watching KrishiDarsan on the mobile TV. Until I saw a real one at Samsung Korea.

I think the mobile TV, if the current interest and pace are to be believed, will be a reality in India too soon. Well, let it come. How is this going to change our life? So many technologies come and go. This could be just one of them. May be. May be not. I was just trying to visualise the way TV has changed the world we lived.

I was around 10 when I had the first chance to see a Television. When I went to Madras, there was a B&W TV broadcast there. It was interesting to watch the news with video clips. It took another 5 years to have a TV in Kerala. Local language still had to wait. It was interesting to watch LA Olympics on the mini screen. We used to go to the basket ball ground where Stalwarts Club had put up a TV. Or to the Children's Park where HMT had put up TV for the dwellers of the colony.

Down the years, there was a huge transform. KrishiDarsans moved away to accommodate more and more Serials and Mega Serials. I think TV serial is probably one large factor in Kerala culture now. I used to avoid visiting someone on Sunday evenings, when the Malayalam movie was scheduled on Doordarsan. They will talk to you staring on the TV. Same was true for Sunday 11AM during Ramayana. You were not supposed to press calling bells during that time. With more and more channels now, I am not sure if there is any timeslot for people visiting. More and more local channels meant more and more serials, more and more "serial actors/ actresses" - not to rhyme with "serial killers". Mini screen is affecting the culture in a mega way. For many retired people, acting in serial is an income earned in leisure. For many new aspirants, it is probably like the silver screen entry, but much more wider and apparently easier. How many recent rapes/prostitutions are being linked to these "serial" aspirations?

Now the mobile TV could be a second stage of screen revolution. From mini-screens to micro screens. Looking just at the current broadcast technology, possible changes are not huge. In many of the available technologies, it is either the same digital TV transmission or only a reformatted transmission to fit the micro-screen. Things of interest are going to be a huge shift in prime time and another milestone into converting advertisements into enquiries. As people drive to office, or like in Japan ride trains to office, they could now be watching TV. Ladies travelling to office in Trivandrum by Kannur Exp could be watching "Sthree" on the mobile. The evening 7-9 prime time will now extend to include 8-10 in the morning too. Then again 4-6 in the evening. More serials, more serial actresses, more aspirants, more Kiliroors and more Vithuras. When Mamukka comes up on the Paragon Chappal ad, a small hyperlink will appear on the screen. Click on that, buy your chappal and wear it the next day.

So far it looks good. But I think there is more to this. The current mobile TV is viewed as an independant technology. Other than the user clicks (and user subscription authentications in some standards) this has no relation with the mobile "phone" or with the other features on the phone. The new phones to come up will be having a high quality video camera that can record BluRay formats at DVD quality. The blog revolution could bring in a new video jouranlism and new video blog streaming services. The broadcasting corporations might give way for new amateur broadcasters cooperations. Like we have free blog hosting services now, there could be free mobile broadcastings, with ads or adsense. And the boradcast might quickly adapt to internet too. Which could mean virtually uncontrolled "mobile TV" producers and stations? This is what I am trying to visualise. I do not think this is too far a future. This might well happen.

Those of you interested in the real technology behind mDTV - there are multiple standards across the world now. DMB in Korea (Digital Media Broadcast. There is one for Terrestrial and one for Satellite T-DMB and S-DMB as they are called), ISDB-T in Japan (Integrated Services Digital Broadcast-Terrestrial. This one is common for normal digital terr TV and mobile phones) DVB-H in Europe and parts of US (Digital Video Broadcast-Handheld) and the Qualcomm proprietary MediaFlo. Japanese and Korean standards uses MPEG2-TS streams and DVB-H employs IP datagrams in transport.

Have a good week and make sure your mobile phone is under control...

Monday, June 26, 2006

nanni munni bachi teri mutti mein kya hai?

What the common man in India needs is not phone and TV. Give them good job (means wages not really work) and rice - used to be the slogan of the communist parties in Kerala during the Rajiv Gandhi era.

Ten years later. A lot has changed and everyone is now on a mobile phone. Communist Party office was said to be giving instructions to Police chiefs over mobile phone on how to handle a BJP bundh in Trivandrum.

Back in Bangalore, one day I was rushing to office in the morning and pulled in to a petrol pump to quench the thirst of my car. There rings my Nokia 1100.

"Good Morning sir, I am so-and-so from so-and-so company" goes the sweet voice
"Good Morning......."
"Sir sounds like you are at a gas station now. Shall I call you later"

Please do not. Finish off and go to hell ..
"that's fine, go ahead"

"Sir, we have a great loan offer for you......."

"Oh! Sweet. Is that an interest free one?

Since I had been in the lowest rent scheme from my carrier - Airtel - probable that these telemarketing guys made more business than Airtel from my connection? Credit Cards. Loans. New phone connections. Vacation packages.......

Targeted sales is not a new concept. Many niche industries were doing this. But with the widespread coverage of mass media, everyone started to sell to a general market with limited success. And huge sales expenses. The same got repeated onto internet during the big bubble during 90s. Free homepages. Only thing is they can host a free ad on your page. The free ad could now be for a free photo hosting page. That will be sponsored by another ad. Another free service? The link continued and finally burst.

Google is now in the process of - if not fully succeeded in- bringing targeted sales to the internet mass media. Let it be the news you read, the search you do or the emails your friends send you, they put related ads. What about a resort in Cochin, asks my friend in a mail and my gmail page is full of Kerala resort ads. Adsense makes sense, right? Concept is simple. Like earlier, do not assume the basic usage of the web service as a revenue generator. Use these as windows to people. Now Google went one step ahead. Understand the guy and then sell him what will best fit. Track what he reads, what kind of mails he sends, what all searches he does, what are his vacation schedules from his calendar, which are the communities he is involved with etc. Now create a character code for him and match the ads. I am not sure how Americans are allowing Google to do such a deep study of someone and keep a database of his character!

Softbank Japan has bought the ailing Vodafone KK (Japan arm of Vodafone UK) for a huge sum. The new company will be called Softbank Mobile in a couple of months from now. Softbank already has proven to Corporate Japan that they think better ways and means. And after the takeover, Softbank demonstrated what they mean by quick actions by having Vodafone offices move to Softbank premises in just two days! Vodafone KK has been losing their subscriber base for a long time against DoCoMo and au. What does Softbank has in hand - other than $$$ - to revive this ailing business. What is the motive behind entering the limited size, already at max penetration market, and again by buying a loss making carrier?

Being in the industry, this is a good food for thought for guys like me. Some recent analysts thinking are interesting. Just look at what Softbank did with the ADSL magic. The little thing that the Yahoo! BB guys and gals distributed in front of all railway stations has made ADSL a huge success. They not only routed VoIP and internet connections but slowly started into providing more Yahoo and BB services. Like Yahoo Auctions which is unbeatable for eBay in Japan. Like the new BB-TV with so many channels to chose from. All on the same ADSL. Get a guy, give him basic services for zero or minimal fee, then sell him additional higher value services. While Google provides a platform for ads, Softbank directly arranges to sell the services.

Looks like the same concept might run on Softbank Mobile too. You get the Yahoo homepage (Softbank holds majority stake in Yahoo) as the mobile handset background image. Then a host of services. Net shopping. Softbank might prefer the end to end control like the Japan style it seems. Not just selling platform. The cell phone will no longer be a cell phone per se. It will be a personal device that has a mobile phone function. A WLAN function. VoIP function. PDA function. GPS function. Camera function. Digital TV function. Embedded Credit card function. Embedded railway pass function. That lets you access many things at home and elsewhere. And would let many Softbank services reach you. How is WLAN, PDA, Camera, and DTV functions going to help the carrier? Unless they have their own services to tap this? I think this is what Softbank is targeting. Provide the infrastructure. Create business using the infrastructure.

Now if Yahoo Japan wants to add an Adsense kind of targeted ads too, I guess it is a huge potential on a mobile than it is on the web. It can track where you go (GPS), whom do you talk to (Well, that's what the device was known for), what TV programs you watch (DTV), how much money you spent in what kind of shopping (Embedded credit cards) etc. in addition to what is available on the net.

Wait and see. Or may be another bubble waiting to burst?? What if you are getting more ads than you can afford to buy? Specifically the google adsense have no idea of the buying potential. With more and more internet connectivity in the third world, we are getting a good chunk of the ads - and do we buy?? May be Softbank is better positioned with their mobile handset (not mobile phone anymore).

Monday, June 19, 2006

Gates, Fences and Exits

"In a world without fences, who needs Gates?" - ran a TShirt slogan in one of the earlier days Linux Developer Meets. Linux was not so popular that time, but it was seen by fans as very promising. To take over the world dominated by MS in actions, thoughts and dreams.

Not to debate on where does Linux stand now, MS has announced last Thursday that very soon its going to be a world of no Gates. After buidling a strong fenced domain where his brain child grew up without bothering much about competition, Gates is now on the exit path.

Gates, no doubt has been a huge force in the technology market. Agree or not, he released the concept of Personal Computer from the purest imaginations of Steve Jobs to the real avenues of various jobs and even jobless. In 30 years he changed the perception of innovation - by researching needs and not just researching solutions. Microsoft, Windows and Gates became household names. Some modelled Gates as the career goal-model. Gates became the second word for IT. He used to define what next in IT - before the real convergence took place. Remember the earlier microsoft tagline - Where do you want to go today?

Interesting story is Microsoft could never create a fan-base. Neither did Gates. The more popular Windows became, equally hated it became. Jokes flew about Microsoft standards and Microsoft support standards. Japan called it Makkurosoft, while accepting PCs in their Mac-fame homes. Companies rallied against using anti-trust and monopoly charges. Europe made laws to strip WindowsXP off its music players. And someone in Europe physically threw apple pie on Gates face. May be it was another Gates theory in business. You do not need to be liked by people, for being used by the same people. But how long? Time will say.

I remember in 90s when the converegence was yet to start off - Gates was on time with Windows CE plans and the PC centric home ideas. When Tamura san used to object the idea of PC as the entertainment center, I did not fully understand. I really thought world would move the Microsoft way. PC is the phone, it is is TV, it is the music system - its everything. But ended up so only in the labs. In real world, consumer electronics makers had real strength which probably was not the NYSE or NASDAQ stock prices. Microsoft concept of HomePC or PCHome never happened.

On the OS front Microsoft remains the leader. Mac as a home OS and Linux as server OS probably might make it in future. Especially with Steve Jobs back in affairs in Mac and with Google et al backing Linux server farm projects. Still no competition in the "productivity" or business PC domain. No big changes expected very soon in the OS world by MS too. Vista had some stunning concepts, which would no longer be stunning when it comes out after huge delays. Its partner Intel has now stepped into Mac world also.. will it be Mactel vs Wintel?? Or will Windows go the ARM way and create custom use PCs instead of a one for all? It is WARM already in WindowsCE domain.

WindowsCE took ages to come to a product level. All the RTOS were there to get it a tough entrance. Promise was that WInCE will be everywhere. I remember Jayan talking a lot of that - phone, washing machine, cooking range everything will be WindowsCE.. . Concept was right. But the huge inertia MS built into the WIndows code in years did not allow to move so quickly and smartly. When I see the market that I work on, WinCE version of SmartPhone and PocketPC are probably picking up slowly. Thanks to the award winning MS Office, the "productivity suite" which made Windows popular in office, is helping leverage the business phone market. The file formats doc, xls, ppt were the real fences that protected the growth.

Here again, new theats are coming up. People are now working to get Office doc formats out of MS proprietary world and hook them on to standards. xml looks like the new buzz here. MS might have the best editing tools, but might not be the only ones. Like the OpenOffice, which I use at home. Good enough. Now Google is on the move. After beating MS and Yahoo on the search front, Google is now trying to spread everywhere. But they keep one theme - no fences. They keep things open. Their venture into portal is really huge than expected. Google account is getting richer in services and contents. The old services such as mails, chats and groups apart, they are into the new age ones such as custom news, custom search, blogs, photos (picasaweb), networking (orkut), maps (earth and maps) and the futuristic like the newest office tools (online spreadsheets). Perhaps Google is the biggest competition that give MS sleepless nights now? And with Gates not there, Google will be eyeing to cross over the fences he has built in the last 30 years.

All eyes on Steve Balmer - will he opt to guard the fences as Gates leaves? Or will be tear down the fences and guide MS grow in new land?


Thursday, June 15, 2006

Still Googled

For no valid reason I signed for a new Google product yesterday. Of course a free one.

This is called Picasaonweb. I have been using Picasa for a long time now and flickr for putting pics on web. I am definitely happy with flickr, its tagging and its google like UI. Still when Google started Picasa web, thought of giving it a try. I dont appreciate what I did. When I am satisfied with something, I should stay there. I can improve, but I should know what I should improve. Picasa web is yet in a very rudimentary stage. It has to come a lot to get closer to flickr even. Then why?

I donno. I just did. And created two albums online too. For no valid reason.

This is what is killing good inventions. The real hardworking guys who fail to impress the stock market. Just expectations and betting on past graphs. I am getting to the same channel!

I also tried to sign up for Google spreadsheets. Thats just to evaluate. Have not got Google invitation yet for this.

Monday, August 29, 2005

Reflections re-visited

Taken with a later technology. On FOMA901i 2MPixel camera-phone.

Monday, August 01, 2005

Switch off and Slow down

For all the people in the engine room of technology and IT tools. Slow down and read this news item from BBC.

I remember my first year in college. I stayed at a place with not many eat outs around. We had one "puttu nair" for breakfast. No questions - he will have only puttu and pazham. At times a blue moon and he will have "payaru". A "kanjikkada" for the afternoon "kanji". The same kanji everyday, his choice of curry from payaru/kadala etc.
with occational "mathi porichathu". Evenings back to Puttunair for his "chaya" and "pazham pori". Life was so cool and had no confusions. No choice was good.

Recently moving from Trivandrum to Bangalore (though through an international route) I faced the same problem. Trivandrum being the capital village of Kerala was better of sorts in terms of choice. No choices. Want to buy a shirt - go to Parthas. Kids dresses, same place. Cane furniture? Near LIC. Food? Veg or non-veg? Answer that you get the location too. In Bangalore, there was no right answers - only approximate answers, that too, too many. Was life better? Not in any way for me.

So go on creating more options and choices. My Nokia 1100 worked fine for the purpose in Bangalore. The FOMA 901i in Tokyo boasts for WCDMA bandwidth, 2M camera, 64K colour screen. Voice of the customer comes as harsh as ever.

Anyway read what the industry is asked to think on

BBC NEWS | Technology | Time to switch off and slow down

The 10 months of Google

A great read. I did not know how Google was born. Now the mom and dad is talking about that. It was not the search engine that was invented. It was the algorithm that the search engine uses, that was invented. Read on

Wired 13.08: The Birth of Google

Wednesday, February 09, 2005


I am no tech fan. I am not non-titanic. I am not amused by what I see around. I am not unaware of what I do not see, what haunts a huge section of mankind, with God's grace.

I am not planning to write some serious mail today. I was just looking through the window as I sat in the "break room" at TI Japan. The whole glass buildings reflecting the other buildings around. A reflection of growth. Construction in Japan has been in both directions - upward and downward. The Oedo line platform at Azabujuban is at B5. I know that is not the deepest platform. Probably Keiyo line platform at Tokyo station? Dont know.

Japan and Tokyo are just not the Pheonix after war as we all heard in school. If they were nothing, they would not have been in war. Just look up some pictures of Tokyo after the great Kanto earthquake and the Tokyo fire followed. (great used to mean big before US invaded English -btw the new meaning of invasion seems providing freedom) Just see the Tokyo that was carpet bombed during the war. It was rebuilding Tokyo and Japan that they did. Someways, you and me rightfully think, they still don't know what and what for all these...

I took a snap of the view using the old FOMA phone - TIJ visitors phone. Thought I would share. The reflections of constructional growth captured by a reflection of communication technology growth. Really, is camera a communication technology? No. May be. Yes. The phones these days boast of a lot of features. See the latest FOMA releases?

2M camera. Videophone. Barcode reader (visiting cards). Built in charge cards with RFID. (Flash the phone at billing is a reality now) Forthcoming phones to have more - WLAN access. Migration from walkmans to watch-while-you-walk mans with mobile digital TVs. wow, just now, as I typed the last line, there was a mild earthquake. In future, they want the phones giving out messages immediately after such a quake for getting people to safe locations. (Read that they are thinking of a legislative amendment that would allow local authorities do all these without having the cabinet committee to sit and approve:)) Dial 119 from your mobile and ambulance should be able to zero in. And, definitely, more fancies too. You are going on a bus and you happen to hear an old music, just get your phone listen to that for a few seconds, then would find the song from the server and buy it and play it for you. For the funnily un-necessarily dressed, feel-like-fairies-in-late-twenties, there will be UV detectors that would tell them to cover their skin from sun.

Who named phone a phone. Bell himself? I feel these days phones are becoming no longer phones. And bells have been replaced by ring tones and now sing tones. All said and all heard of, I still prefer landlines when it comes to talking to someone! And especially so if it is a con call. Good camera, good colour, good resolution, good MP3, good MIDI. But bad voice quality.

Don't write it off still. People now talk about voice centric phones !!! Hmmm... great!!!!! People should no longer mock at my Nokia1100 back in India.

I remember the days when PC was boasted as the financial, entertainment, information (and what else) center of every home. Lets see. Icebergs and tsunamis kill boasting and pride too.

"deepasthambham mahashcharyam
namukkum kittanam panam"

Tuesday, February 01, 2005

Still searching and sorting

When I started off based on a mail from a friend, Mozilla Firefox was not any special browser for me - I just installed to see how it looks like. I still don’t feel it is fast. I have even felt that, left open for a long time, it gets slow to act. Still, by mistake I made it default. The standard ways of getting IE back has failed so far. I asked IE to check if it is the dafult browser everytime it starts up, so that I can re-enable it was defalut. It does not. I told Mozilla to. It also does not. Interesting.

True that Firefox is opensource based, Mozilla powered, even there is possibility that Google sponsors. And it has some cool features. Like the tabbed browsing. I don’t like so many windows opening. I still do a lot of browsing on the "mini screen" that pops up off deskbar. All the more, the select and right click for search is really cool. I like that. Like the MSDev users, I can just click a word, right click and do a google search. Now, that is called integration. Or call it a good lock-in feature. Users can get locked in.

But there are many internal official sites which are on MS SharePoint. No way to work on this using Firefox. At least it fails for me. I need to use IE for Sharepoint. But, again not just the Sharepoint. It is the same love I have for Google that I want to revert to less-Google IE!!! I am too much tied to Google search these days - to be specific desktop search. I just cannot believe I was working so long without this desktop search. Now every mail, every file, every piece of info, I just type on my deskbar and press CTRL+D. Well, that’s my customisation. It gets me all the mails (almost all, well) all web history (heres the catch) and all the files on disk, in a second or two.

But one big lack I have found with Google desktop is that I cannot force a rescan. I have to uninstall and reinstall. Since I still follow to be sorting guy, I sort my mails, but not as soon as it comes. Google scans this mail and later I move, putting Goooogle in trooouble. It shows the message from cache, but cannot locate back in Outlook. Moved or Deleted is what it can infer. Well, now I have all the details from the cache that I can use Outlook seach to locate the mail. Not a cool way though. The same way, it does not scan the archive folders. If the old mails get moved to Archives, Google reports them as lost.

To my great wonder, with all google integration on Firefox, Google desktop ignores Firefox history. That means you cannot search for pages you viewed using Firefox. Bad.

Well, it’s a beta, so this is what they have. I expect at least these few issues be solved by the time they get a full function version! I will continue my searching and sorting to get me my paychecks every month..

Some of the deskbar customisations I have done (type the input and press CTRL+---)
D - desktop search
Q - Qur'an search
M - M-W dictionary
T - M-W Thesaurus
I - TI Infolink site
S - Stock Quote (NYSE and NASDAQ) This is what I do followed by typing TXN every morning:)

Anymore suggestions?

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Search and Sort?

Whats Google upto?

Till Anoops dissertation I never thought Google is entering into the portal world taking head on with Yahoo. He has proofs for that. To me it feels that they will look for a value - value business. They will give value using an execellent serach'n'sort'n'search algorithm, and they give some ads alongwith the results. Thats the business model.

Why a blogger? Where does it come in this strategy?

Pinhole is matching with the theme. You search for something, now you want to locate that. Well, you might need to place a call too? Thats what people say Google is planning

Now, a browser? They just want to head on with MS? I need to understand what is the browser business model. Right now I am typing from a FireFox browser. Why a open source browser? Why so much of court battles on IE? Anyway, read the Google gbrowser story -
Read on

Business the google way - Search for all oppurtunities, Sort them. Index them. Search again....

Tuesday, January 11, 2005

Sort and Search!

I am getting better out of Google deskbar. Today I added customisations. Now I can get desktop search also from the same deskbar. And a shortcut too.

Good, now my m-w dictionary search also is simpler. I dont have to type in site address. Type the word on the deskbar, and press Ctrl+M, my shortcut.

Well, I really like the mini-broswer. Google calls it a mini-viewer. So what. I just added a few favourites as short cuts. Like the daily news paper, the blog site etc.

Saturday, December 25, 2004

Search, don't sort

Search, don't Sort

Keeping things sorted used to be part of discipline.

Used to be. May not be well into future. Google has started changing that concept. Discipline is keeping the right tools handy with you.

Search was always a problem. Kids started with searching the number of birds in the picture problems and later grew into efficient sort and search C programs. The problem of search. My father used to advise me a lot for keeping things at proper places to avoid seach when needed. Still I remember my mom complaining that my father does not search well. And my wife, she is bothered I spend more time seaching for things than actually doing anything productive. The search problem prevails!

Thanks to Google, but this looks like changing. They have made search a solution than a problem. Really. With all long file names and all folders and file details- how many of us can find a file right when needed. The meeting notes - what did I name it - MinutesRiyaz, RiyazMeeting, NotesMeetingRiyaz, BullshitConsolidated……We all ended up searching. Why not do it at the first place? Windows had a file search - when did you modify, when did you create, what did you name it - well, if I had remembered all these

Google web search was a normal search for me. I still don’t know how good it is. I am fishing in a vast sea. How do I rate the quality of the choonda? It does something. That’s all. But I knew Google was making a lot of money and they were giving all other search engines a ride for theirs. Anything, anytime, I googled. Google images helped me beautify (?) many a presentations. Google news allowed me read specific news alone than all stories that the so called newspapers run through. I added Google toolbar to avoid typing Google everytime.

When I was invited for gmail, I was not passionate. Even now, I don’t use that much. I had to wait for the Google Desktop search to even understand the slogan of Google mail. Don’t delete, don’t sort, SEARCH. There is no folders in gmail. Why do you need. You need to find something, search. Simple, one step.

Google desktop is fantastic. Really great tool. I have been using Outlook for years now. I have developed a lot of discipline on that. A hundred folders. Key board shortcuts for moving to folder and copy to folder, for category, for flagging. A mail can belong to three different topics. Keep a copy in every folder. Category is the theoritical answer to that. I always wanted to use that. I tried to use to many times. And never did I succeed. Mails in Outlook was kind of dreaded for me. Keyboard shortcuts and fast moves caused errors - some mails move into wrong folders - and that’s it! Outlook search means I have lost all confidence of getting back a lost mail - the trust I have is almost the same as the trust I have on MS.

But again the Google desktop is good. Now I search for everything. Hey, this guy had sent me his phone number sometime in mail. Search. Which is that presentation that talked about such-and-such? Who sent that? Search. Hey, I had seen a web page recently that talked about sushi ingredients - what was that? Search. All in one search. Files, mail, chat, web history… I really enjoy. Though I still have folders, I still move mails around (with less fear of losing them), I still name files meaningfully (don’t worry it is Minutes or Notes but), when I want something, I just search. Do not sort, search. Good.

The main worry I have now is that I have to open an IE window to search my desktop. I wanted a simple text box in my task bar. Great, I found Google deskbar yesterday. I can type in my taskbar, and a small window opens up with the serach results. I can go back and forth or even choose to get it on a normal browser window. Cooooogle. The only thing is missing is what I wanted - this does not include desktop search, only internet search. Hope Google will merge these soon.

I remember Sindhu (receptionist at NeST) had a good algorithm for people search. In those days of no mobile phones and with the management feeling of phone-per-desk will be a nuisance, she had a nice algo to locate anyone in just 4 calls. She could not patent it nor make a tool out of it!!

I am waiting for Search solution to solve all our sort and locate problems. I am sure TI will also want this soon with the no-static-cubicle concept. A future Google@Office would locate a person with data from computer, cell phone, RFID readers and voice.

Where is Mr.X

X came to office at 9:29 in the morning. Had tea till 10:15, went for a smoke till 11:03, was talking over phone for 37 minutes, went for lunch, was found chatting with Y for 11 minutes, came back to his desk at 2:29 and no updates after that. Must be sleeping. You want to call him up?