Archive for the ‘Technology’ Category

Is Nokia losing it?

Over the last few months, I have progressively noticed that Nokia is getting staid in its designs and almost ‘following’ other manufacturers. Where is that robust originality Nokia was known for?

There are plenty of phones being launched by the Finnish manufacturer, but none that excite me anymore. I don’t think my tastes or choices are so strange because what I want is available from other manufacturers.

Nokia has tried their hand at PDA phones and other high-end stuff, but are perhaps finding it difficult to break away from their image of being a ‘junta’ phone. Sony Ericsson, on the other hand have managed to carve a niche for themselves and with their P990i, are actually getting into the PDA market that has some rather loyal followers of models like the Nokia Communicator and even some Palm and Windows Mobile phones.

Up until March this year, I was a die-hard Nokia user. Then I got bored and frustrated that they were not doing anything new. So I went on to O2. And then to Motorola and now I am using a Sony Ericsson. Very happy!

Wake up, Nokia!

I no longer feel ashamed to say that my Hotmail account is still active! Especially after I finally joined the Windows Live Mail Beta. It was a pleasant surprise to finally see hotmail look usable. And the other small changes to it like change of themes and layout at a click (using options drop-down) is awesome.

Once it is publicly available, Gmail and Yahoo! had better watch out.

So that’s now the third Windows Live service I am using after Windows Live Messenger and Windows Live Writer (used to post this too!). What’s next?

Bring it on!

 

Here we go!

No sooner than Microsoft Vista has hit the computers (pun!), have hackers and other experts hit back!

On Dec. 15, a Russian programmer posted a description of a flaw that makes it possible to increase a user’s privileges on all of the company’s recent operating systems, including Vista. And over the weekend a Silicon Valley computer security firm said it had notified Microsoft that it had also found that flaw, as well as five other vulnerabilities, including one serious error in the software code underlying the company’s new Internet Explorer 7 browser.

Right, so let’s get ready for the next round of MS bashing, shall we?

Waddle they think of next? Maybe a browser that can make me coffee and bring me someone elses money. Wait! They already have that. It’s called keylogging!

One drawback: I cannot upload a photo. Something that the Windows Live Writer allows me to do. Sad!

Goliath and Goliath Jr.

So this is the story of Goliath and Goliath Jr. No room for any Davids in this story. Not at least according to Steve Berkowitz, head of Microsoft’s online services group! He says:

“…Yahoo! is likely to end up becoming a smaller player relying upon third party services.”

And then he goes on to deliver the knock-out punch. Why MS and Google will rule the world:

“You have to be able to invest at a level that only right now two companies in the world can invest at and that’s Google and Microsoft.”

Hm. Maybe what he says is true. But so far, it’s only true on the money in the pockets part. Let’s see what Vista does. Then maybe Google’s online Office suite may change the dynamics!

Indiatimes. At its best.

Irresponsible? Or plain callous?

Indiatimes.com homepage at approx 6pm (Dec 11, 2006)

Indiatimes

The above headline implies that the Sensex fell to below 500 points. While the fact is that it fell BY about 500 points. And the story is correct. This is some editor messing up on the prepositions. Or a brain!

Story page image: [Link to story]

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Google- Relevant! Not a bad idea, this… filtering out the unwanted Google results to see only some of the more relevant ones. Not sure how well it would work. But it sure sounds useful. Give it a go!

 Oh, it’s called Give Me Back My Google!

[Via: Dumb Little Man]

First time usage

I’d been using Zoundry Blog Writer all along. Then it would give me trouble uploading images. So I tried w.bloggar. That would not configure my WordPress.com blog. I thought about Qumana, but it was too heavy. Performancing is ok, but demands Firefox.

So here I am back with good old Windows (and MS) with the new Windows Live Writer. And so far, it’s surprisingly good. One post old!

And whadd’ya know… it wraps around the photo too! Hallelujah!

This is one tool you simply MUST try out for a while. It’s killer. (Am I seriously talking about a Microsoft product? Wow!)

TV is dead?

And nobody told me? Did you know this?


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Should all the Kaavya Viswanathan‘s of the world watch out? Big Brother Google is at it again and claims its Book Search project may well spell the end of plagiarism by making book passages and all searchable. Interesting. More about this on SearchEngineWatch.

As the Slate.com reports:

Conveniently enough, a few literary greats have already had their mug shots taken. It’s long been known that Poe plagiarized his first book, a hack project titled The Conchologist’s First Book, and that Herman Melville swiped many technical passages of Moby Dick whole from maritime authors like Henry Cheever. Even more inventively, Lawrence Sterne’s immortal diatribe against plagiarism in Tristram Shandy was itself … plagiarized from Robert Burton’s Anatomy of Melancholy. There have always been a dizzying array of ways that authors can rip each other off, even in reverse: Literary critic Terry Eagleton has written entertainingly of “anti-plagiarism,” a 19th-century literary wheeze favored by Irish critics, who pounced on poets or novelists for plagiarizing or surreptitiously translating some little-known domestic or foreign work and presenting it under their name. The trick was that the “original” work presented by the prosecuting critic was itself a forgery, written after a new work’s publication to frame an enemy.


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Backward compatibility?

Thesre are two of the biggest Internet giants and both are keen on a big (read: huge) pie of online advertising. I know that Yahoo! aims to be ‘the’ biggest in display advertising online in years to come. And obviously, so does Google. But the way Google’s built its advertising business so far, they have a massive (read: humongous) chunk of the online classifieds (AdWords) pie. And now Yahoo! wants to make it big in that.

If the Peanut Butter Manifesto was anything to go by, Yahoo! is still not learning from what Brad Garlinghouse thinks are its mistakes. Without securing the display ad space, they are embarking on the classifieds space. Taking Google head-on again. In a domain Google practically owns. We all know what happened the last time things came to a, well, head! The result of that is known as Google Search. Heh!


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There was a financial advisor who advised his clients to sell Google and buy Yahoo stocks. Not very smart. And he admits it! Honest!

Good man!


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The P990i and I

After many delays, Sony Ericsson finally launched the P990i and those who did buy it at the obnoxiously high initial prices (almost like IPOs), would vouch it was worth the wait (and money). I got mine for about 29K (INR, that is!) and think it was a fair price considering i paid some Rs 38K for my O2 Atom.

Back to the P990i… I was originally rather sceptical as to whether I should give up my Atom for a phone that is bigger, looks a little less cool (yes, accept it) and does not have Windows Mobile 5. But it had the one thing I desperately wanted: a keypad. And the more I used it, the better it seemed. It still tends to crash a little (I’ve had it for almost a month now) but it’s nothing that the Atom wouldn’t do either!

The only thing I find missing in this one is the sleekness of the Atom. And of course, the stylus sucks. But then again, I rarely use it! I wanted the keypad and I got it.

More later!


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[Blogcamp.in] Goodbye

It’s time to leave and as the event winds down, one can’t help but feel that this event will only evolve with time. This year’s event should be considered a rousing success for more reasons than one. I would not want to say that some things may have gone wrong because this was the first event. It’s not fair to the efforts put in by Kiruba and gang.

Great venue, super participation and very enthusiastic organisation ensured a good and educational time was had by one and all. Have to admire the efforts of people like Kiruba, Dina Mehta, Peter Griffin, Jace, Ravages, Neha Viswanathan, Syed and all the others who put in endless efforts into making this a success.

See you next year!

[Update]: As we were leaving, we bumped into Peter and Dina and were really pleasantly surprised to hear that Blogcamp may just happen more often… like once a quarter. That does sound exciting. Hope it does work out. More details as they become available…


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The Great Man of Indian Cricket made his presence felt and got a rousing reception from Bloggers at the Blogcamp in Chennai. Speaking on podcasting among other things, Sunny also said that he would start blogging soon. Wow! Moreover, he was thrilled about the way podcasting has become a main method of communication and he himself is keen on exploring the possibilities of taking this forward.

Take a look at more posts about it here.


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Peter Griffin, Neha Viswanathan, Dina Mehta, Scott Carney, Chandrachoodan G and some others on collaborative blogging. Disaster blogging in particular.

Suddenly, we’re talking about rural blogging. Er. Ok.

Scott Carney’s is an interesting story. Perhaps the only real case I think I have heard for collaborative blogging. All others are “We want to, so…” but this guy has a reason to ask people to come together. The Tsunami effort apart, trying to bring the power of blogging together to get answers from normally difficult sources (like the Indian Govt), would be worthwhile.

Dina had a proposal to set up a Technorati tag so anyone who wants to pursue it or write on it. A good point by Scott was that Bloggers should ask questions. Not necessary to be a journo. “Sure we will be refused. But even journalists are.”

I’m headed to the Podcast session… this one is not going anywhere…


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A raging debate is underway. “Why don’t corporates take blogging seriously and why don’t their employees blog?” Hm. Apple, Google were two companies who’s employees were “accused” of not blogging. Microsoft and Sun, though seem to have kept Indian bloggers happy allowing their employees to blog.

An instance that Dina mentioned (from what I could hear sitting at the back here) was about GM running ads (please someone correct me if I have heard this wrong). Will try for some more dope on this!


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So I ran out, got myself a Wi-Fi dongle and am finally connected :). The enthusiasm continues and we are now starting to fall behind schedule. 30 mins and two speakers to go in this session. Will we make it?


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A nice breakfast was followed by a leisurely drive to Tidel Park and once we got here, it was a hark back into college days. Not in the way things were happening, but just the enthusiasm. It reminded me of days when a college fest was the most important thing in the world and something around which your entire world revolved! Welcome to Blogcamp!

A collection of some of the best blogging talent from India, this place has an infectious enthusiasm. You just don’t want to be left out. Hats off to Kiruba and team for putting this together.

Setback 1: Wi-Fi is the way to go for connectivity at the Tidel Park auditorium. Unfortunately, my official issue laptop does not have Wi-Fi and Sify, the connectivity guys around here cannot install their client on an XP machine. They need Win 2000. Hu? You kidding me right? No.

Blah. So here goes me. Archiving all this and now on my way to the city to get myself a Wi-Fi dongle! Hope my boss reads this and gets me a Wi-Fi (and Bluetooth) ready laptop.


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I’m going to Blogcamp

I’m going to Blogcamp. What’s that, you say? Know more about it here. And watch out for more updates as they happen.

Cheerio.


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Vista RC1

3d vista.jpg

Wondering what the new Vista will look like? Here’s a terrific photogallery courtesy PC Mag. Check it out.

(Above: 3D view)


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I was skeptical as to how well this would work, but by the looks of it, it’s doing fantastic! What better than to use MS Word to post directly to your blog?

Registering a blog is a breeze… as easy as using say Zoundry or any other third party application. This is amazing, guys. And it works for WordPress, Blogger and a few other popular ones. You can also set up your own hosted blog.

Er… did I mention this is using MS Office 2007 Beta? Might be worthwhile keeping that in mind!

Cheers!

What is this country coming to? After an initial block on blogs after 7/11, the Congress party (in power) has decided to flex its muscle and ban all Anti-Congress blogs and sites. The explanation states:

India’s Department of Telecommunications (DoT) passed an order to ISPs on July 14 to block blog sites, as they were said to be spreading anti-national message. The list of the websites to be blocked was confidential

Now. since when did Anti-Congress become Anti-National? Most sites that have been asked to be blocked talk negatively (or truthfully, if you will) about the Congress and its allies. Why are these bans never extended to the mainstream media? Why can newspapers write true stuff and survive? Ditto for TV Channels?

Or is that because blogs are new media, they are being experimented with? Something similar had happened recently in Pakistan and China… and we were sandwiched in the middle thinking, “Hm. Nice place, this India”. Well, wake up.

Two points come to mind:

1. Bloggers should be proud of what they do if the govt. needs to block them for it obviously means they are “in the public eye”.

2. The Bajrang Dal blogs? (Don’t bother, it’s blocked!)


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On the backdrop of the Mumbai blasts a week ago, the Indian Govt. has decided to blackout blogspot hosted blogs. Good thing I moved to WP! But more seriously, this is insane. If they could not track it before and block the abuse, how will having some IPs (which would mostly be dynamic) tracked and all help?

Well, that’s the way Indian bureaucracy and politicia (like militia!) works. Reactive rather than proactive.

More details about the blackout at The Great Indian Mutiny.

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Didn't they also have a Google-killer, an Apple-killer (on the whole) and a killer OS? Wait, that's Windows… and that's more like a computer-killer!

Microsoft has iPod killer in the works: report – Digital Music – Gadgets

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Wii. Whee?

Sure sounds like another way of saying “Whee!”. The actual product name for Nintendo’s new game console that was hitherto known as Revolution.

Wiird! (Hey, if they can say that “Wii” is pronounced “we”, I can write wiird!)

Tossed!

Camera toss is a technique that involves literally tossing the camera around to capture an artistic image. Like the one of the Indian flag below.

Check out more such photos by offstage4 on Flickr and here is some more information about the technique including more awesome pics.

India flag

Ads by AdGenta.com

The above are not keywords for SEO. Back in 84, that did not exist. But Apple, advertising and technology did. And how brilliantly they came together in this campaign that ran in Newsweek’s November/December Special.


Take a look
and drown in the nostalgia that is Apple. They are still as good, btw. Just wish they would not be so keen on bringing Windows on to their platform

And another PhD. student joins the ranks or Larry and Sergey. And more revolutionizing of the search engine to happen. I will be truly amazed only when a search engine can throw up a result as I think of a query. Hmmm… there’s an idea for a PhD!
Whooppee!!

No, this is not a movie review, but more of how things change in 7 days. My last post was exactly 7 days ago and since then, I have seen a fair few many changes… India won the 2nd Test, Australia and South Africa slugged it out in the best ODI ever (debatable!) and I bought a new O2 Atom. It was on my wishlist, but I did not think I would get it so soon!
The first two are related, the third is not. It’s just to announce that I now own the little unbelievably powerful PDA phone (again, debatable, but not open for debate yet!). What made me go and spend all of Rs 38,000 on this is a mystery that even I cannot answer. But all I can say so far, is that it was worth it.
So changing lanes right along and jumping straight into a review of it, let me assure you that if e-mail, messaging and Internet are high on your daily requirements list, this is the phone for you. If making simple calls is your poison, look away.
The Atom is targetted towards a rather specific breed of business users (I don’t fit that description) and is a sleek black beauty. Instant access buttons for Windows and the media functions are also a good addition to the minimal design. There are four keys in concentric circles on the front that are customisable and should be lest you waste them. But once you get used to tapping and typing, everything else seems mundane.
Since I do have this phone now, I have already gone on and subscribed to a costlier GPRS package that allows me to browse the Internet and access my office e-mails. Sounds impressive, but it also means that I’m accessible 24×7 on mail, phone and soon, IM. Hm. So much for the gadget that ‘frees me’!
Running Windows Mobile 5.0, this device is an absolute must-have if you are interested in quality phones that are scalable. Only things missing yet are a MiniSD card and a pouch for the phone.
I would rate this a hefty 8/10 and recommend it to power users. (Note to self: Must try posting a blog entry using the stylus!).
Here’s a comprehensive review of it and the product site.