Monday, December 31, 2007

What Indians are really searching for? Nov'07 Update

Earlier this year, I tried to gather What Indians are searching for.  The results I found were quite interesting and a few are little surprising too. Over the last 6 months I have observed a clear change in that trend. More Indians are increasingly looking for Investments, Auto and Digital gadgets.

Entertainment is no longer in the top of the list towards the end of the year of those elite few who access Internet regularly. See the top 10 gaining queries as in November 2007. The November numbers clearly consolidates the trend that I have been trying to predict for some time.

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(Source: Google Press Center: Zeitgeist )

Apple iPhone - Best of Cellular Lifestyles 2007

Apple's iPhone is without any doubt has been considered as the "Best Gadget" of 2007, for it has dramatically changed our Cellular Lifestyles. It would be unfair if we limit iPhone to just that. It has completely changed the meaning of a Cellular Phone.

Time's Invention of the Year and Top 10 Gadgets of 2007

No wonder, it has been named Time Magazine's Invention of the Year 2007: iPhone. And also, Time Magazine's Top 10 Gadgets of 2007 gives iPhone No.1 slot:

The iPhone changed the way we think about how mobile media devices should look, feel and perform. The design is exceptional inside and out:

Apple iPhone

NPR's Best Technology Innovation of The Year

NPR's Morning Editions cites iPhone as the Best Technology Innovation of the Year

Tech guru Mario Armstrong claims the iPhone as the best technology innovation of the year. The iPhone's touch-screen technology, visual voicemail, and integration of the digital camera, iTune software brought new energy to the design of cell phones. Consumers' appetite for wanting to stay in touch is pushing the advancement.

Whole World is Looking for iPhone

Though only little more than 1 Million iPhones have been sold as per most recent reports, the whole world is looking to get one.  iPhone is the fastest raising Search keyword both globally and in US  as per Google Search trends. (Google Zeitgeist 2007)

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Without any doubt, iPhone is a revolutionary phone that changed the meaning of mobile phones that we always knew of. The best that could happen to the world because of iPhone is that everybody started thinking differently about a mobile phone. That is the best achievement of iPhone. Now you can expect more devices subscribing to the new idea of a cellular phone, the idea that we at Cellular Lifestyles have been constantly trying to communicate. Cell Phone is a lifestyle. No longer just a gadget.

With that Life Style Changing Gadget of the Year, We would like to  wish all our readers A Wonderful and Eventful New Year.

Friday, December 28, 2007

Cell Phone : The itchy Second Skin

If you haven’t noticed, Mobile or a cell phone is no longer just a phone that we knew. Today, we CAN take pictures, record video, access email, browse internet, download music, watch TV, use cell phone as a smart card, pay at a shop, listen to podcasts, write your blog and the list goes on almost endless.

NPR's Eric Weiner wrote an interesting summary of how Mobile phones are changing our lifestyles here.  Few interesting snips:

Americans spend, on average, seven hours a month talking on their cell phones, but that figure doesn't capture how much the cell phone has become a part of our lives. It is, as one researcher put it, "a second skin"— itchy at times and prone to blemishes but something that increasingly we can't imagine living without.

2007 will likely be the first year in which Americans spend more on cell phone calls than land line ones.

In other ways, too, cell phones are changing how we relate to one another.

On the other hand, cell phones loosen the bonds with those outside our inner circle.

The article also points to an interesting graphic about US mobile consumers, "The Rise of the cell phone".

Also don't forget to watch this wonderful video "The Evolution of Cell Phone".

While watching the above video, I came across this interesting conversation of "Three Generations View of Cell phone".

Cell Phones Do Double Duty in India

Listen to this 5 minute special on how Mobile phones are changing the lifestyles in India:

All Things Considered, December 24, 2007 · In India, people use cell phones for more than just talking and texting — they're entertainment tools, as well. Partly because broadband Internet access isn't widely available for computers, Indians use their cell phones to download and share music and watch videos — especially swapping MP3s and watching musical numbers from Bollywood movies.

Listen Now

NPR : Cell Phones Do Double Duty in India

Frame by Frame, Animation Moves to India

Read NPR's report on Animation Industry's increasing reliance on Indian Designers to produce stunning animations for Hollywood.

Both The Golden Compass and Alvin and the Chipmunks used digital animation that was created in Mumbai.

India is rapidly becoming a player in the global cultural marketplace, and animation is no exception. Los Angeles-based animation company Rhythm & Hues worked on the films from their Hollywood offices — and from the offices that they have opened in India. Employees stay in contact through daily video conferencing, bridging 12 time zones and 13,000 miles.

NPR : Frame by Frame, Animation Moves to India

Also read  "Ancient Indian Tales Inspire a Modern Indian Art"

.. in a building on a quiet residential street downtown, an army of Indian animators is working to export their culture to the rest of the world. Their source material: The elaborate pantheon of Hindu mythology.

Software Project Failures - What's new TCS?

TCS released results of a survey conducted by Dynamic Markets on behalf of TCS recently. Folks from TCS suddenly think that they uncovered something new. I am not sure I understood the revelation part of their press release.

1 in 3 companies’ IT projects fail to perform against expectations. Yet despite these worrying levels of failure to deliver, 43% of organizations say that their business managers and the Board accept problems as the norm. This attitude is especially common in Europe (44%) and Asia-Pac (48%). (Source)

Consider the snip, I understand, released in 1995 revealing something about IT Project failures.

According to the Standish Group ... ... only about one-sixth of all projects were completed on time and within budget, nearly one third of all projects were canceled outright, and well over half were considered "challenged." Of the challenged or canceled projects, the average project was 189 percent over budget, 222 percent behind schedule, and contained only 61 percent of the originally specified features.

Major Causes of Software Project Failures - Jul 98

How TCS Stacks up?

Delivered on time:
Industry survey: 37%; TCS: 97%, customers give it an 87% rating.

Quality meets expectations:
Industry survey: 42%; TCS: 97% without severity level 1 or 2 defects, customers give it an 86% rating.

Budget compliance:
Industry survey: 11% average variation; TCS: 0.05% average variation (Source)

Not surprisingly, TCS claims that it performs monumentally better than its counter parts. It would be interesting if TCS release more information on IT firms that these businesses have been dealing with and some numbers for other top 10 firms as well to validate the unique distinction of TCS. Without those numbers, % comparisons could be totally misleading.

Some thing incredible about Japan

Japan stands out in many aspects for its quality. Does 'Made in Japan' say something? As per the report 71% of Japanese IT managers say that their Business Managers and Board of Directors tend to accept the problem as a norm and necessary evil. What? And 81% say that their IT Projects are continued to be funded.

This is quite incredible. Having worked with one of the top 3 out sourcing IT companies for about 7 years, I guess there is something fishy about this report. I never heard of a Japanese client manager considering not-on-time delivery or budget over run a norm and necessary evil. Ask any body that is working or worked on a IT project for Japanese client. Our teams have been literally killed even for a delay of one day.

97% on-time-delivery record of TCS, too good to be true. Hope it is true.

dimdim : Great Yet Free Web Collaboration Software

The unusual name dimdim attracted my attention when I was searching on the web for free web collaboration alternatives to webex. 

dimdim is the world´s first free web meeting service based on the open source platform. dimdim is a browser-based web 2.0 service that allows anybody to share their desktop, show slides, as well as talk, listen, chat, and broadcast via webcam. dimdim´s hosted service is available for free and can be easily used for small gatherings, to seminars with hundreds of attendees. With absolutely no software to download for attendees, dimdim gives everyone the opportunity to hold Web meetings and to customize and brand these meetings.

Welcome to dimdim

I finally found dimdim on moodle discussion group.  I looked it up and visited the dimdim web site and watched a demo and wanted to try out but little disappointed when I saw limited beta only by invitation.

Then I saw Open Source Community edition that I can download and install on my own server to host the application. Again I was disappointed to see that installation requires 'root' access and I am currently on shared hosting server that doesn't give root access.

I registered for invitation and was waiting for one.

This morning I was configuring a few things on my moodle site and I hit discussion groups to answer a question on themes. I found out that DimDim has been integrated with moodle. Live again. I went to dimdim site and downloaded moodle integration kit and installed it in a minute. In the next minute, I could host a web meeting.

The application is wonderful and is beyond my expectations.

Few lovely features

First of all, the application works wonderful. I had little difficulty in sharing an application. But everything else works beautifully.

  1. Hosted Application. So we really don't have to worry about infrastructure. If needed, there is always an option of installing on our own servers.
  2. No installation other than a browser Add-on is required for both Presenter and Attendees. I tried with Fire fox browser.
  3. If your Internet connection allows, you can in fact  use both Audio and Video of the presenter in the meeting. No additional conference bridge is required or need to start another special application. (Take Yugma, you need to pay for their conference bridge or use skype for audio and video. That would mean your attendees have to have a skype account)
  4. You can allow your attendees to use their microphone to make the meeting interactive.
  5. Unlike Zoho and Yugma where the video quality suffer a lot while sharing your desktop, DimDim did almost 100 times better in terms of quality of video.
  6. The latency between presenter and attendees is very low and not noticeable. Particularly if you use PDF or PPT to present, you don't notice any latency at all.
  7. Whiteboard is simple and yet elegant. You can in fact have multiple pages of white board and you can move between those pages. Excellent. You don't have to erase to make room for next dabble. Just move to next page.
  8. Integration with Moodle. Few simple steps, I could get it working with Moodle. 

Few things I couldn't do (Not possible or I don't know yet)

  1. Ability to save whiteboard drawings to a file.
  2. It would be excellent if we can record the web meetings like webex. There are other alternatives to record, but they may interfere with performance of dimdim if started.
  3. I couldn't share a specific application yet. I could share a PPT and desktop itself. But not a specific application. There is an option, but couldn't get it working.

Great application. Thanks a ton DimDim team.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Mobile Web: What Americans are searching for?

Mobile Web is increasingly gaining momentum in US and more Americans are now using Mobile devices to quickly search web.  While most men eagerly look up Sports on their Mobile devices, weather concerns most women followed by News and Entertainment.

About 23 Million Americans have been reportedly using Mobile web. As per M:Metrics, here are the top 10 categories of news and information accessed by Cellular Subscribers in US:

  1. Weather
  2. News
  3. Sports
  4. Entertainment News
  5. Maps and Directions
  6. Movies Information
  7. Finance Information
  8. Business Directory
  9. Financial Account Access
  10. Travel

Source: M:Metrics News

Monday, December 17, 2007

India - A Must Visit Destination


India, a Stirring Giant, Is the New Place to See and Be Seen - New York Times
A soaring economy and crumbling trade barriers are making India a “must visit” destination for foreign politicians and executives. The crush of visitors, often first-timers but also companies seeking to expand their existing operations here, lands daily. They all hope to sign deals, find local partners, sell their wares or just soak up the contradictions that characterize the world’s largest democracy, a singular melding of chaos and opportunity.

Bald demographics make India impossible to ignore, and the slowdown in the United States economy adds to its appeal. About half of the country’s 1.1 billion people are under 25, and its rapidly expanding middle class is already estimated to be as large as the entire population of the United States. A rocketing stock market and a fast-growing class of the superrich add to its appeal.


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Monday, December 3, 2007

Sliced bread and other marketing delights

In a world of too many options and too little time, our obvious choice is to ignore the ordinary stuff. Marketing guru Seth Godin spells out why, when it comes getting our attention, bad or bizarre ideas are more successful than boring ones. And early adopters, not the mainstream's bell curve, are the new sweet spot of the market.

TED | Talks | Seth Godin: Sliced bread and other marketing delights (video)

Our cell phones, ourselves

Nokia researcher Jan Chipchase's investigation into the ways we interact with technology has led him from the villages of Uganda to the insides of our pockets. Along the way, he's made some unexpected discoveries: about the novel ways illiterate people interface with their cellphones, or the role the cellphone can sometimes play in commerce, or the deep emotional bonds we all seem to share with our phones. And watch for his surefire trick to keep you from misplacing your keys.

TED | Talks | Jan Chipchase: Our cell phones, ourselves (video)

Latest Mobile Phone Reviews

User generated content is good in more ways that we can think of. They give fresh, honest and raw opinions of real users instead of biased and often cooked up reviews done by well known media houses.

Well, I found quite a few video reviews of all latest and hot mobile phones. Enjoy the gut feelings of mobile phone subscribers and while you are there at it get to know little more about the phone itself.

Most interesting thing we can all learn from these videos is lot more that what the phones do. But what really people are looking for and what they really like in a  mobile phone.

Have a blast. Bookmark this post as the play list gets updated every hour or so. Here we go.

NDTV.com : Fact or Allegation ? Just another twisted title for sensationalism

This is yet another example of NDTV.com’s sensationalism twisted titles. The title says, as if this was a fact, woman made to urinate in pub...