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Showing posts from July, 2006

What happens when we just never stop?

In MITWorld Videos "The Ceaseless Society: What Happens to Our Mind Body and Spirit When we Just Never Stop?", speakersJon Kabat-Zinn: Founding Director, Stress Reduction Clinic, University of Massachusetts Medical Center and Tenzin LS Priyadarshi: Buddhist Chaplain and Visiting Scholar, MIT discuss the effects of busy life patterns on human mind and body and how to cope with it. Also explains why it is so important to truly live in the present and 'mindful' living and effects of meditation.

“we can get entrained into the rhythms of society as if we’re guinea pigs in an uncontrolled experiment run wild. No one’s minding the store.” The demands of daily life and an increasingly digital age leave us living for the future, and “if the present moment is only a clever way to get someplace else, then we’re never where we actually are.” So we’re perpetually dissatisfied ....
When the brain gets going, it can be very creative, says Kabat-Zinn, and the body suff…

First-Ever NASDAQ Stock Market Remote Opening Bell From India

India's premier IT services firm Infosys(INFY) is set to create another record in the history of Indian IT industry and in the history of NASDAQ. On Monday July 31st 2006, Infosys Technologies Executives will ring the first ever opening bell remotely from the Infosys Global Education Center in Mysore, India. 
Media advisory released on 28th July 2006:

For the first time ever, The NASDAQ Stock Market will open its market remotely from India. On Monday July 31st 2006, Infosys Technologies Executives will ring the opening bell remotely from the Infosys Global Education Center in Mysore, India, the company's largest education facility, to celebrate the company's 25-year business anniversary.
The Opening Bell ceremony will be simultaneously displayed at the NASDAQ MarketSite from NASDAQ's premier broadcast studio in Times Square.
The Opening Bell is a ceremonial event that represents The NASDAQ Stock Market's virtual market model. As a result, NASDAQ can be opened from any…

Customer Service, in the deeds of Corporate America

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Whatever the Corporate America mean 'Customer Service' in thier words, I often find it confusing and contrasting in thier deeds. Another manifestation of such Customer Service deed at Corporate America. This time it is at Kohls on Frankford Rd and Preston Road in Dallas TX.

How is it a convenience to any customer?
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Complexifiers and Simplifiers

Read an interesting discussion at Berkun Blog: There are two kinds of people: complexifiers and simplifers.

There are two kinds of people: people that make things complex and people that simplify.
Complexifiers are averse to reduction. Their instincts are to turn simple assignments into quagmires, and to reject simple ideas until they’re buried (or asphyxiated) in layers of abstraction. These are the people who write 25 page specifications when a picture will do and send long e-mails to the entire team when one phone call would suffice. When they see x=y, they want to play with it and show their talents, taking pleasure in creating the unneccesary (23x*z = 23y*z). They take pride in consuming more bandwith, time, and paitence than needed, and expect rewards for it.
Simplifiers thrive on concision. They look for the 6x=6y in the world, and happily turn it into x=y. They never let their ego get in the way of the short path. When you give them seemingly complicated tasks they simplify, c…

India in News - News links that I read at Digg

I have started using Digg to report news stories on India at Digg. Here is the link to Digg. As always, I don't enjoy report or link stories because they are fancy or entertaining news. Only stories that inform about India towards its dream of becoming a super power and consolidate India's recent momentum in economic growth. . You can read real stories about Grass root innovations and the people that are making the real Indian innovation happen at Good News India. Here are the recent duggs



China, India hold world ecological balance
The choices China and India make in the next few years will lead the world either down a development path based on efficient technologies and better stewardship of resources or towards a future beset by growing ecological instability, said the US-based Worldwatch Institute in its State of the World 2006 report. More…






Hutch, Radio Mirchi, Nokia and HP launches Visual Radio in India
Radio Mirchi becomes the first FM radio station to offer interactive c…

Pictures from Last week's Trip to St.Louis

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632 feet The Gateway Arch, St.Louis

The Gateway Arch in shades

More to come..
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Google long way to go for Content, covers up usability with 'wow' factor

There is an interesting comparison on NYTimes comparing Google with Yahoo, "In the Race With Google, It’s Consistency vs. ‘Wow’".  "Wow" factor might get immediate attention in the media, but consistence and providing the features that make everyday life easy for users makes it a much better click. And on the article at NYTimes, there is an interesting graphic comapring Mail and News traffic on various sites. Google is far below in eMail and Google news sections.
Google maps is certainly a great tool for navigational aspects and for mixing the satelite images on the map. But the major short coming of google maps is that it won't allow users to store their addresses. Every time you visit google maps,  you have to type both the addresses manually, definitely not a 'wow' but 'ouch'. Yahoo maps allows users to store addresses so that next time you take directions from your house to a musical in your city, you don't have to type your home …

Amazon's Jeff Bezos invests in 37 Signals

The founders of 37 Signals, that set a new trend for web2.0 applications ( BaseCamp, Tadalist, backpack and Whiteboard) that are extremely simple and easy to use, have been long denying funding from Venture Capitalists. They have been looking for some thing special in a Venture capitalist, just like they have been some thing special in the world of vanilla web applications.
Since we launched Basecamp we’ve been contacted by nearly 30 different VC firms. We’ve never been interested in the typical traditional VC deal. With a few exceptions, all the VCs could offer us was cash and connections. We’re fine on both of those fronts. We don’t need their money to run the business and our little black book is full. We’re looking for something else.

What we’ve been looking for is the wisdom of a very special entrepreneur who’s been through what we’re going through. Someone who sees things a little differently and makes us feel right at home. Someone with a long term outlook, not a…

Bloggers - The Internet's New Story Tellers

Amanda Lenhart and Susannah Fox of Pew/Internet &American Life Project released the survey report "Bloggers - A portrait of the internet’s new storytellers", revealing some interesting statistics about Bloggers (in USA).

A telephone survey of a nationally-representative sample of bloggers has found that blogging is inspiring a new group of writers and creators to share their voices with the world.

Here are a few interesting stats about the Internet's new Story Tellers:


8% (12Million) of total internet users (147Million) have a blog.
39% (57Million) of Internet users read blogs.
54% of the bloggers are under the age of 30
84% of bloggers, blogging is a hobby, not an activity that consumes their lives.
52% of bloggers say they blog mostly for themselves, not for an audience. About one-third of bloggers (32%) say they blog mostly for their audience.
57% of bloggers include links to original sources either “sometimes” or “often.”
Only 18% of bloggers offer an RSS feed …

INDIA = Strategic Advantage * (Price + Innovation)

INDIA uniquely offers price advantage along with highly competent Product Innovation talent pool. Any organization can reap the benefits of the flat world if the off shoring activity is carried with a definitive strategy and understanding. Need more proof? Here are two news items from today, that explains both facets of India and its unique advantage.
Bloomberg reports IBM's Profit Gains 11% as India Expansion Trims Costs :

"International Business Machines Corp., the world's biggest computer-services provider, said second-quarter profit rose 11 percent after the company reduced expenses by shifting work to India."

Another report confirms India design firms as product innovators

"ATI is just one example of how Indian design organizations are moving beyond simple labor cost arbitrage to becoming true contributors to product innovation. In fact, this year a number of marquee brands have invested in new design operations in India or significantly expanded existing facil…

The Great Debate: Net Neutrality

Excellent debate on Net Neutrality at Center for American Progress, that covers a lot of background on the issue and how legislation could have helped the cause of open Internet.

The Great Debate: Net Neutrality
In navigating the complex issue of “net neutrality,” the government should protect consumers’ rights amid a rapidly changing and dynamic Internet. Two experts agreed on that much Monday during a panel discussion hosted by the Center for American Progress, but they disagreed on how to do that without stifling innovation.
Bringing together two of the Internet’s founding figures, the Center welcomed Vint Cerf, Vice-President of Google; and Dave Farber, Distinguished Career Professor of Computer Science and Public Policy at Carnegie Mellon University. Carl Malamud, the Center’s Chief Technology Officer, moderated.
Listen to audio of the event (mp3)

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Kaboodle is the best of Del.icio.us and Google Notebook

There are many social book marking websites available to users, which more or less offer similar functionality as  del.icio.us, the first and foremost that started all this social bookmarking. I have been using del.icio.us for a few months, and then I saw Google Notebook and started using it to create clips of webpages that I have been visiting, while still using del.icio.us to store bookmarks. But then I found  Kaboodle, which I think as a perfect blend of del.icio.us and Google Notebook, offering the best of both web applications and a lot more. Here is why I liked in all those three apps and why I think Kaboodle is a great social webapp.
del.icio.us is the first social book marking web application that I started using a few months ago. I liked the no-frills approach to web applications. The interface is clean and simple. There are many features that del.icio.us offer. But these are the few that I found interesting and use the most at del.icio.us.

Bookmark any webpage I am intereste…

HP's memory spots

Memory spot, a tiny microchip  by HP will let you store massive amounts of data. You can stick it anywhere you want.  And it can transmit data wirelessly.
Mercury News reports in Is this the next hotspot?

This microchip has an adhesive back, so it can be pressed like a sticker to the surface of just about anything. Put it on a photo to carry a voice recording of the person featured in the 4-by-6 glossy print. Stick it on passports so officials can examine images of travelers' fingerprints and iris patterns. Add it to soldiers' dog tags and diabetics' medical-alert bracelets so emergency responders can view their full medical records and make life-saving decisions.
The ``memory spots,'' as HP calls the microchips, are probably two to five years away from being sold on the market, if HP decides to run with this new technology.
The memory spots are similar in some ways to the more simplistic radio-frequency identification tags. But they are far smarter and more secure:…

Googleplex Architecture

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MetropolisMag has an excellent article 'Behind the Glass Curtain' on Googleplex architecture, Google’s Mountain View, California, headquarters. There are some interesting aspects of design in Googleplex architecture. Bright colors, book shelves on the corridors, electric outlets on steps ... and so on.
One other thing stands out though, and I still don't understand why each user's desk has two bigger monitors? (images from the above original article)



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Business Week: A ray of Hope for Linux desktop

A Ray of Hope for Desktop Linux by Steve Hamm at Businessweek reports that IBM is releasing Notes communications and collaboration software designed to run on Linux, and wishing that its (Notes) 125 Million users world wide may think of switching to Linux desktop.
I agree, that it is just a ray of hope.  IBM might put its all marketing muscle behind it. But I doubt this would be any reason for any user to switch from Windows desktop to Linux desktop. Linux does lots of things better in the servers arena. Not desktop, Yet.  If you have seen or played around with the latest Windows Vista or Windows Live offerings, I seriously doubt any user may even think about it. I currently use Notes, and if you compare with Microsoft Exchange and its pleasing user interface and ease of use, it is still a long way to go before it even catches up.
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Atlast Yahoo and MSN Messengers can talk

The long wait was over. The new beta versions of Yahoo Messenger  and MSN Messenger ( aka Windows Live Messenger)  can talk to each other. Now one can talk to buddies on MSN messenger right from Yahoo messenger. And vice versa. You no longer have to create, keep or maintain user Id on both networks, unless you have something else to do.
Visit Yahoo Messenger and/or MSN Messenger ( aka Windows Live Messenger) and install the latest beta versions.
I was so unhappy about the closed interfaces of Messenger applications (Open-Closed Messenger Services - Hyprocricy at its best 29th August, 2005) and wish that all these Messenger application can talk to each other.  I was delighted to see the announcement (Yahoo and MSN Messenger Deal 12th October 2005) of Yahooand MSN Messenger deal to make these two messengers work together. It was almost 8 months, but finally Yahoo and MSN kept their promise, to open up atleast between each other. For whatever reasons. Thanks anyways.
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RailsConf2006 : Key note videos

Videos of key note speakers from RailsConf 2006 are available at here. Currently only three of the Key Note presentations are available.

Dave Thomas (with Chad Fowler and Rich Kilmer)
Martin Fowler : Wonderful talk on 'Software Design' in general.
David Heinemeier Hansson

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Is there a new Browser?

A brief look at the 'Browser Statistics' at www.w3schools.com, all browsers except IE7 have been loosing their respective market shares as of June 2006, compared with their market share in Jan, 2006 respectively.
One can clearly see that IE7 has moved up a little from 0.2% in Jan 2006 to 1.6% in June, 2006, all other browsers have been loosing their respective shares. Firefox is there without any major gain. It has 25.0% in Jan, 2006 and stayed at 24.9% in June with little fluctuations on either side in between. So there is literally no or little growth in the Firefox users. While Mozilla, Netscape, Opera, IE5 and IE6 have lost little of their market shares.



2006
IE7
IE6
IE5
Ffox
Moz
N
O


June
1.6%
58.2%
4.3%
24.9%
2.2%
0.3%
1.4%


May
1.1%
57.4%
4.5%
25.7%
2.3%
0.3%
1.5%


April
0.7%
58.0%
5.0%
25.2%
2.5%
0.4%
1.5%


March
0.6%
58.8%
5.3%
24.5%
2.4%
0.5%
1.5%


February
0.5%
59.5%
5.7%
25.1%
2.9%
0.4%
1.5%


January
0.2%
60.3%
5.5%
25.0%
3.1%
0.5%
1.6%



Is there a new Browser in the market that is stealing these small portions of market share? …

Indian Startup IMIMobile get $10M funding from Pequot

Another Indian startup, IMIMobile gets $10M funding.  Silicon India reports

IMImobiles has received $10 million funding from Pequot Ventures, a technology venture capital firm.
IMImobile, an India-based developer of wireless data and voice technology platforms and content aggregation services for mobile operators. IMImobile will use the new proceeds to further consolidate its leading position in India, as well as fund additional support and expansion for its global customer base.

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Why We Don't Do It : Strategy and The Fat Smoker by David Maister

I loved this ChangeThis manifesto, 'Strategy & the Fat Smoker' by David Maister (widely acknowledged as one of the world’s leading authorities on the management of professional service firms).

Much of what professional firms do in the name of strategic planning is a complete waste of time, no more effective than individuals making New Year’s resolutions.
The reasons are the same in both situations. Personally and professionally, we already know what we should do: lose weight, give up smoking, exercise more. In business, strategic plans are also stuffed with familiar goals: build client relationships, act like team players, provide fulfilling, motivating careers.
We want the benefits of these things. We know what to do, we know why we should do it and we know how to do it. Yet we don’t change, most of us, as individuals or as businesses.
The problem is that many change efforts are based on the assumption that all you have to do is to explain to people that their life c…

Thought Garage Demographics

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Microsoft's AdCenter Lab put out  a service as part of a demo that can predict the demographics of your website readers.

You can use adCenter technology to predict a customer’s age,
gender, and other demographic information according to his or her  online behavior—that is, from search queries and webpage views.

With curiosity I checked Thought Garage blog, here is what it says.

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India's mobile commerce startup PayMate gets $5M from Kleiner Perkins and Sherpalo

Link to the posting at GigaOm
Kleiner Perkins Caufield Byers and Sherpalo Ventures (a venture vehicle of Google-backer, Ram Shriram) have decided that India is the next big market for mobile commerce–using the cellphone as a connected wallet to buy and sell stuff.
With over 100 million Indian wireless subscribers—-more than double the number of the land phones in the country–they could be right. The two firms are investingover $5 million in Paymate, a mobile commerce company, a start-up backed created by the founders of Coruscant Tec, a Mumbai-based company that powers mobile content, commerce and other data applications that land on Indian phones.

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India test fires Agni-III nuclear missile - Why and What for?

On sunday, the 9th July, 2006 India test fired Agni-III, a long range 3500 KM ballistic missile that can carry nuclear war heads.
I don't understand why India is still going strong on missiles with nuclear war heads. One reason, it can not afford, it is still one of the poor countries with limited infrastructure. If India has to prove its tech merits, building a nuclear war head is definitely not the way to go. It is definitely brutal intention for India or any other nation preparing nuclear war heads that it is preparing to kill people. More people in a single shot.
Forbes news item point out that recently New Delhi and Washington reached a landmark deal in March to lift sanctions on nuclear technology.

New Delhi and Washington reached a landmark deal in March that will lift sanctions on India's access to civilian nuclear technology.

The question that baffles me is what part of Agni-III is civilian? For sure, it can kill civilians of some other country who intend to attack with …

Software is fast becoming a commodity

Dharmesh Shah at OnStartups.com wrote an interesting article 'Code is not a commodity: Why software is not like soybeans' arguing that Software is not a commodity. You can read the full article here.
I fundamentally and totally disagree with argument. It seems to be an imminent confusion in differentiating the means from end. It is not uncommon for software developers to be frightened and threatened by the notion of 'Software being commoditized'. But unfortunately it is true that software is commoditized, very fast.
To understand with any kind of clarity it pays to see how we define a commodity. Wiki explains the commodity as follows on its page for Commodity:  ( I took the simplified version to avoid any confusion. You can read the whole discussion on wiki for better understanding.)

...electricity (most users of electric power are only concerned with overall energy consumption; only a minority of users are concerned with the quality and technical details of voltage and …

RSS Marketing - Is it just hype? or the next best channel?

At my workplace on the intranet, there was a poll yesterday asking whether they use RSS. Various options were given, like 'Love the conveniece of RSS', ' planning to use' etc etc and final one was 'What is rss?'. To my surprise, 71% of people voted for the big question, 'What is RSS?' and only about 4% said they love the convenience of RSS. There were around 700 votes total over a period of 2 days, and the % of 'what is rss?' always almost stood around that 70% mark throughout the poll.
Baffled by this low percentage of users in a IT company where people spend most of their time on the computers, I searched  for RSS stats in google to find out the figures among common users. I could not see any recent stats in year 2006. But I found some interesting stats at Rss Diary post'A challenge to the RSS Industry: RSS stats unacceptable':

Let's simply take a look at some of the more recent stats released by various research companies and other…

Upbeat India - Entrepreneurial dreams becoming reality

More news items and articles are pouring in, indicating the upbeat trend for startups and innovation in India. We will definitely see more new coverage as venture capitalists are either travelling regularly to India or have already camped in India.

Time magazine recently discussed in its coverpage story, "India Inc. - Why the world’s biggest democracy is the next great economic super power - and what it means for America".
And there is a USA today's news story, "Immigrants from India spread business success to homeland".
Yesterday I saw an article on silicon beat 'Ram Shriram: Things looking bubbly in India'. This article has links to many other resources talking about venture funding movingt to India.


".. Venture capital firms and private investors last year poured $2.2 billion into 146 start-ups in India -- compared with $1.7 billion invested in 71 deals in 2004, reports USA Today, citing data from TSJ Media's Venture Intelligence India Roundu…

IE7 Support of HTML+TIME - Do we need it in the first place?

On IE Blog there was a post 'Time, Time, Time, see what’s become of  me..'. posted on 7th April 2006, that i happened to read this evening. The post was asking users to respond to a series of questions on HTML+TIME.

How do you currently use HTML + TIME? Have you seen the Introduction to HTML+TIME article? What do you think is the coolest feature? What are your usage patterns? Can you point me to your sites or other sites that you know of that use HTML + TIME? Any input you can provide would be greatly appreciated!

I could not resist to give my feedback, as I have used HTML+TIME for a while and have been searching a viable alternative to create playlists that can be played across most, if not all, media players. For some reason, Peter and the IE team decided to block comments on the blog. So I sent an email to the IE team blog. Hope it will be read. But here is what I wanted to tell the IE team. I am posting here my email.

Hi IE Team,
I am responding to your blog post "Time…

Cool links on Web2.0 Applications - 'The Future of Web Apps' summit

Podcasts from The Future of Web Apps, a 'One-day conference focusing on the development technology you'll be using tomorrow' organized by Carson Workshops (Feb,2006) are available here. Don't miss the wiki for the summit hosted on socialtext, which has notes on sessions.
MP3 Links:

Joshua Schachter (Delicious) on Tags
Cal Henderson (Flickr) on Dev

Shaun Inman (Mint) on APIs


David Heinemeier Hansson (37 Signals) on Rails


Ryan Carson (DropSend) on DropSend


Tom Coates (Yahoo!) on UI


Steffen Meschkat (Google) on Maps


Panel Discussion


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Guy Kawasaki : The Art of the Start Presentation at TieCON 2006

If you are interested in Guy Kawasaki's 'The Art of The Start', here is a presentation given by Guy at TiECon 2006.

Guy's blog posting on this
Presentation in PDF format
'The Art of the Start' in ChangeThis Manifesto Format (PDF)
Video Stream from TiE website  or Video at Google Videos

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Indian startups to Watch

Red Herring profiled 8 Indian startups that are worth watching. Unlike buying too much into Web2.0 social applications else where in the world, these startups are focusing on technology areas like semiconductor design, biotech, mobile technology and consumer Internet. Not a surprise, keeping in view the technology savvy Indian entrepreneurs.
You can read more at Red Herring's web site , 'Eight Indian Startups to Watch'.   Here is the list, excerpted from that article:


Ascendus Technologies: Online training platform for Business Executives.
Converge Labs : Markets M-Bay, a Mobile Commerce platform that allows users to buy from their mobiles.
Drishtee : Help Entreprenuers in Rural India by providing internet kiosks and train them to operate their business of offering internet to local people. Similar to Public telephone service in private owned booths.
HelloSoft : Uses a commoditized processor rather than expensive specialized microprocessors to power handheld devices.
IBS : A …

How are you feeling today? Find about the world at WeFeelFine.org

Find how the world is feeling at this minute at We Feel Fine.  Here is how you can know the feelings of the world at http://www.WeFeelFine.org, explained in their mission:

We Feel Fine is an exploration of human emotion on a global scale.
Since August 2005, We Feel Fine has been harvesting human feelings from a large number of weblogs. Every few minutes, the system searches the world's newly posted blog entries for occurrences of the phrases "I feel" and "I am feeling". When it finds such a phrase, it records the full sentence, up to the period, and identifies the "feeling" expressed in that sentence (e.g. sad, happy, depressed, etc.). Because blogs are structured in largely standard ways, the age, gender, and geographical location of the author can often be extracted and saved along with the sentence, as can the local weather conditions at the time the sentence was written. All of this information is saved

Choose Age, Gender, location, weather or date …

Cool links on Boot Strapping a web application

Ten Rules for Web startups by Evan Williams, the CEO of ODEO. He was also the co-founder of Pyra Labs that created Blogger.
Signal vs. Noise blog at 37Signals posted a small Biz 101 series based on their experience bootstrapping the most popular 37Signals web applications. It pays to listen to people who did it. Here are the links:

How to get started
Cash flow basics
No one starts with a master piece
Tips for increasing sales and
Digg is your marketing secret weapon

The Cost of Bootstrapping Your App: The Figures Behind DropSend (part one) RyanC 06 Mar 2006 is an excellent primer to understand what it takes to bootstrap a web application, and exactly how they did it.You can listen to the MP3 and/or grab the notes of the presentation. 
Full time freelancing: 10 things learned in 180 days by Cameron Moll. Not specific to web application, but interesting insights from his Freelancing, I believe quite useful and related to any startup aswell.

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National TV meets Web2.0 Video Sharing

TV and Internet occupy most part of today's favorite pass time. No doubt. At any moment, most of us will be watching one of the screens. It is the age old bigger version (TV) or the new craze smaller version(computer screen).  These days, you can watch TV on your computer and you can get some of the internet content on TV (IPTV).

It does not stop there. One medium talks about the other and give all possible publicity to each other. Kinda, redefines what a synergy stands for. You see TV shows being discussed in blogs, emails an discussion forums. And you also see TV shows discussing about what is happening on the internet.  Recent addition, I watched last night, CBS Inside Weekend Viral Videos section where the show discusses the most famous videos shared on the internet. No surprise. In this edition, the top story on the Viral Videos section is the  video compilation of Shakira's fans dancing to the tunes of  "Hips don't lie". Watch the video here.

Very soon…