Thursday, January 31, 2008

Why do you write a book? or a blog?

I used to believe until recently that people write a book or blog when they have some thing unique or different to share, some idea to spread or  to provoke a thought in the minds of readers. It will have your own voice. Your way of thinking and readers see the world through your eyes.

One of my favorite bloggers wanted to write a book for a long time. But not sure what to write about. So a new post appeared on the blog asking its readers what do they want to read.  And the community contribution to the book did not stop there. New posts appeared asking readers on how to cover a particular chapter/concept in the book specifically asking for examples and illustrations.

It looks like writing a book is just another business. Write a book that people wanted to read instead of write your own book and create your own trend.

Same things I observed in case of blogs as well. Are you writing your blog based on what will be read in the market or what will be interesting to general readers or you have something to share so you write and build your own community.

When I look at all the blogs I happened visit, almost all falls under the category of 'there will be market so I write'. Only a few believe they have something to share so they write. So it looks like entire Media works this way. Every blog wanted to imitate New York Times, in a subject they chose, just like another news paper. No more like a Column.

I was the one with the wrong impression so far. Good, I thought about this.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Midas-Touch Indians : 12 in the top 100

Indians with a midas-touch as Forbes calls it, with an eye on star startups. There are 12 of them in the top of the list.

People of Indian origin seem to have developed a habit of making it to the Forbes magazine -- this time it is for making investments in start-up companies and then selling off their stakes with handsome gains.

As many as 12 Indian-origin persons have made it to a list of 100 dealmakers with 'midas-touch' prepared by the renowned business magazine, based on the value of the companies these people have taken public or sold in the past five years as well as the capital and involvement it took to get there.

Ram Shriram, a founding board member of internet search giant Google, has been named at the third position in the renowned US-based business magazine's Midas 100 List

The Hindu News Update Service

Sunday, January 27, 2008

YouTube - High Note

What a delightful video!

India vs China : Debate is shifting gears

Review of a new book by The Economist offers an interesting insight of the shift of gears in the debate of India vs China.

FIVE years ago, Tarun Khanna, an Indian-born professor at Harvard Business School, grabbed attention with an article in Foreign Policy magazine speculating that India might eventually overtake China. Co-written with Yasheng Huang, a Chinese-American scholar at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the article argued that India's economic model offers more freedom to entrepreneurs which could help the country outpace its fellow Asian giant in the longer term.

From a macroeconomic viewpoint, this argument was rather implausible, except in the extremely long term, for China's economy is already three times the size of India's. At the corporate level, though, it made more sense: as its recent unveiling of the world's cheapest car showed, companies such as Tata Motors promise to make the global grade rather faster than their Chinese counterparts.

With his new book Mr Khanna has returned to the topic of entrepreneurship in Asia's emerging giants. But he has dropped the idea of India outpacing China and replaced it with thoughts about the potential for co-operation between the two countries. Their social and economic systems are vastly different, as he shows in admirably detailed but chatty studies of companies and cities in both places. But they have strengths that could be complementary, he thinks, and he argues that foreign multinationals need to start thinking about the countries together rather than separately.

Chinese and Indian capitalism | Shifting the balance | Economist.com

May be reality is catching up that India can't possibly overtake China as it stands, it would make a perfect sense to partner with it.

I in India suggest Inferior or No Infrastructure? (Part 1)

No Legal and Administrative Protection to you or your  Property !!

I am not sure about other parts of India, but in Hyderabad, Bangalore and most southern parts of India that is experiencing Real estate boom, when you buy a property there is no guarantee that you can keep it.  Politicians are the new mafia. Political mafia in close ties with the police force and state administration is ruthlessly grabbing land and property from people. They even resort to killing everybody that comes in their way. There is no way you can fight. Courts don't work. Police are already part of the criminal elite.  Who else can save the hard earned money and property of Individual citizens?

What kind of a Freedom do you really have when you can't even protect yourself and your house from these hard core politician turned mafia land grabbers.

When we talk about the brave optimism and vibrant economy we tend to see the brighter part of India. But  at the core, we have no infrastructure that can sustain the growth. The essence of Infrastructure including protection of your life and property is becoming a luxury that only very rich and politicians can afford.

What India are we talking about? We all Indians have a bigger dream. But we have a really long way to go.

Beware of What you download : Metered Bandwidth is here..!

When it comes to Internet connection, we always take it granted that there is no limit on the bandwidth. We are free to download and upload as much as we can. The only limitation so far is the speed at which we could do. High Speed Internet connection Speeds range from 0.7Mbps to 15Mbps. But Time Warner is moving to a metered model where you will be charged based on your bandwidth consumption. Beware!

Time Warner Cable this week said it will move away from the “buffet” model of broadband and start experimenting with a “metered” model. The cable operator is rolling out a trial program in Beaumont, Texas, in which customers will be charged based on the amount of bandwidth they use. Given the rise in bandwidth-sucking content, such as high-definition movies streamed over the Internet, the move is hardly a surprise. Of course before HD movies, the culprit was peer-to-peer file sharing and before that, gamers.

Source: Video Killed the Broadband Buffet

Notable Thoughts : Weekend Edition

“A thought which does not result in an action is nothing much, and an action which does not proceed from a thought is nothing at all” - Anonymous. Few notable thoughts that are worth sharing and spreading.


Lenovo: A Company without a Country
A handful of companies have two headquarters, but Lenovo might be the first multinational corporation to have none. The company, formed by Lenovo's purchase three years ago of the IBM PC Co., has executive offices in Beijing, Raleigh, Singapore, Hong Kong, and Paris. But it doesn't have an official headquarters.


How Fast is Social Media Growing? Akamai Should Know
The company counts 7 of the the top 10 social networking sites as customers and claims that 92% of traffic to such destinations was carried across their network in December. Overall, traffic to these sites increased more than 5x over the past year, with Akamai delivering more than one million requests per second


MacBook Air: Some closer looks
They say the MacBook weighs three pounds, but it honestly didn't feel even that heavy when I held it in my hand—it seemed lighter somehow. The screen was bright, the keyboard a joy to touch, and the trackpad "touch" software had specific settings for one-, two-, and three-finger operation

Source: Notable Thoughts :

Why Microsoft doesn't have a product targeting India?

Microsoft's India Managing directory cites piracy and lack of law enforcement as the reason why Microsoft doesn't create any India specific products.

The global software industry generally refrains from developing India-specific products mainly because of high levels of piracy and poor awareness among law enforcement agencies, said a top Microsoft official.

Microsoft (India) Managing Director Neelam Dhawan on Wednesday said enforcing IPR laws was a "challenge" and that the industry, as per studies, was losing almost 72 per cent of its revenue due to circulation of pirated software - a menace which hasn't been checked due to poor awareness among law-enforcing agencies here. "We have the best IPR laws in the world but their poor enforcement acts as a deterrent to innovation. This is why we do not have a product made for India," said Dhawan, at a function to award Microsoft IPR scholarships to 33 law students from 11 law schools.

Source: India losing out on country specific software dev: Microsoft - Times of India

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Economic Impact of Software & Information : A Report

Software for sure has changed the dynamics of Indian Economy. Here is an interesting report from SIIA about the Economic impact of Software and Information in US and Global economies. Read the report(pdf) here.

The Software & Information Industry Association (SIIA), the principal trade association for the software and digital information industry, today released a first-of-its-kind report that measures the substantial economic impact of the software and information (S&I) industries on the U.S. and global economies. The report, entitled “Software & Information: Driving the Global Knowledge Economy,” finds that these industries are among the fastest growing and most important for propelling continued economic growth — both in the U.S. and globally.

Software & Information Industry Association

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

H1B 2009: Will '2007 H1B Rush' repeat in 2008?

Update: Now its official. USCIS announced today that it received about 163,000 H1B petitions for year 2009 that starts from 1st of October 2008. About 31,200 of those are for Advanced Degree category. Read more. It will be a lottery to accept petitions. I wish you all good luck to you. So, to answer my question I posed in January, whether H1B rush will repeat in 2008, as expected, the answer is a big YES.





Update: USCIS announced today that H1B Visa cap has been reached for both regular quota(65,000) as well as Advance Degree exemption quota(20,000). USCIS hasn’t yet announced concrete number of petitions received. Read more...


Last year, the visa cap for H1B petitions has been reached on Day 1. USCIS had in fact received about 150,000 applications and had to resort to 'lottery'(Random Selection) to pick up eligible applications. Many applicants had to wait quite longer just to know that their application wasn't picked up. Due to sudden rush, many had to wait for months to receive a status on their accepted application as well.

Now, this year, its already almost end of Jan, that means 2 more months to go before USCIS accepts applications on 1st of April for Year 2009 H1B Quota. Having watched and followed the rush last year, I am wondering whether this heavy demand for H1B applications repeat in 2008?

Though there are few concerns that H1B prospects may be considering little carefully this year, the answer to that question will be a 'likely yes'. Here are few things that may affect the drama this year and may change the stats a little bit.

USA Economy Slowdown and Imminent Job cuts in 2008

US economy is not in its brightest of times towards the end of 2007 and economists are predicting that 2008 will be very tough. While some analysts are pronouncing a 'recession', many say that it may be just a 'slow down' of economy due to rising fuel costs and deep troubles in credit markets. Many consider that the recent announcement of such a high of 0.75% in interest rate cuts just confirms the impending deep trouble.

This puts a rather bleak outlook for all IT consultants and Prospective H1B consultants for year 2008. For some, it reminds of the "dotcom" bust in 2001, where 1000s of IT consultants lost their jobs and had to leave for India after spending months searching for their next gig. For H1B consultants, this is a lot more serious issue, as if they loose their job, they almost immediately have to leave US.

Are you ready to throw the dice?

Just like last year, it is expected that visa cap will be reached on day 1 and USCIS may again resort to 'random selection'. That would mean, there is no guarantee and chances are completely based on luck rather than a consultant's qualifications and specialization. That may make some consultants not consider H1B as a serious option.

New Competition for H1B Holders

2007 is a historic year in the sense that visa status became current for green card applicants from India and almost all submitted their I-485 applications. You may recall the Gandhian way of sending flowers to USCIS in protest. Many applicants already received EADs  for themselves and their spouses. Spouses of many of these applicants are currently on dependent visas like H4 and now they have EAD to work without any restriction. That brings in a totally new breed of workforce to the already downsized market for 2008. I am very sure that this additional supply of workforce surely put more pressure in the job market.

Rush of Entrepreneurial Activity in India

For those who want to come to US to work on new technologies and latest applications there is a good news. Recently there has been a rapid growth in Entrepreneurial activities in India and many new startups are hiring with irresistibly great packages. And working in a startup beats flat out working in big companies, for most techies. One of my friends resigned from his excellent paying, often considered as a safe job by his peers, to work with a startup in Chennai for the sheer joy of working in a startup. Its no longer fun and exciting to work at companies like Wipro and Infosys who became so large in such a quick time that no body cares about individuals any more.

Weak Dollar and Upswing of Salaries in India

Just a couple of reasons why US salaries may become less attractive in 2008 to IT consultants coming from India

  • In times of recession, you won't be able to negotiate on price. Particularly if you are on H1B, the whole vendor food chain will definitely exploit the situation to squeeze on price. In general, in times of recession the billing rates/salaries go down, as many are desperate to latch on to anything at any cost, as evident from 2001 bust. Salaries never went up again after that.
  • Upswing of salaries in India combined with weak dollar puts Indian salaries very significant if no way on par with US Salaries. Moreover, they can save daily chores, bland Indian food and little or no social activities in US and enjoy the much more vibrant India.

New IT Consulting Companies

However, there is a recent surge in starting up of new IT Consulting Companies in the last few months, mostly thanks to EADs received in 2007. For sure, these firms will try some innovative techniques to lure as many prospects as they can to bring them to US to work for them. It will be very interesting to see how the tides turn.

Little bit on numbers ...

The official H1B quota still stands at 65,000. No news about any possible increase yet. The actual number of visas available is infact about 58,000 once you subtract the visas reserved for Singapore/Chile. For those who received or receiving  Graduate Degree or any other Advanced Degree from US Universities, there is an additional quota of 20,000.

Better hurry up!

If you are considering coming to US to work, you better prepare now. Ask your employer to file at the earliest possible to reach on 1st of April. If your organization is a large one, make sure you put enough pressure to beat the red tape as quickly as possible. Once you file, it all depends on your luck. But most cases you will have about 50% chance of success. Considering the whole immigration process, it's not that bad.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Notable Thoughts : Tuesday Edition

The boom in India now heard overseas - Los Angeles Times
Foreign investment in India may double in 2008 for the second straight year to reach $30 billion, the government forecasts, as the world's second-fastest-growing major economy arrives at what Lehman Bros. calls its takeoff point. That's when consumer demand and business spending start feeding off each other and drive even more investment.


Saloni Malhotra among best young entrepreneurs - Rediff
The runner-up in the BusinessWeek.com competition is Saloni Malhotra, founder and CEO of DesiCrew Solutions. A graduate of Bharati Vidyapeeth's College of Engineering in Pune, near Mumbai, Malhotra launched her company last February.


Microsoft Trains 200000 Teachers in India - PC World
Microsoft has trained 200,000 teachers in India on the use of computers, ahead of its original target to train 80,000 teachers in the country during the five-year period ending December this year, it said.


Neat vintage computer photos from the Core Memory Project
The photos in Mark Richards’ Core Memory Project reveal technology’s evolution through the computer collection at the Computer History Museum in Silicon Valley.


Google revamps iPhone applications suite
Search giant Google announced a series of improvements to its Grand Prix integrated iPhone software suite, debuting an improved user interface alongside revamped Search, Gmail, Calendar and Reader mobile applications.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Google Sees Surge in iPhone Traffic

When it comes to web surfing there is no other device like iPhone. Nokia fans and Blackberry folks are very reluctant to accept that iPhone from a computer company beat the mobile phone companies flat out. But they all know iPhone has really done it. Data from search engines only confirms it.

On Christmas, traffic to Google from iPhones surged, surpassing incoming traffic from any other type of mobile device, according to internal Google data made available to The New York Times.

A few days later, iPhone traffic to Google fell below that of devices powered by the Nokia-backed Symbian operating system but remained higher than traffic from any other type of cellphone.

The data is striking because the iPhone, an Apple product, accounts for just 2 percent of smartphones worldwide, according to IDC, a market research firm. Phones powered by Symbian make up 63 percent of the worldwide smartphone market, while those powered by Microsoft’s Windows Mobile have 11 percent and those running the BlackBerry system have 10 percent.

Source: Google Sees Surge in iPhone Traffic

Google Sees Surge in iPhone Traffic

When it comes to web surfing there is no other device like iPhone. Nokia fans and Blackberry folks are very reluctant to accept that iPhone from a computer company beat the mobile phone companies flat out. But they all know iPhone has really done it. Data from search engines only confirms it.

On Christmas, traffic to Google from iPhones surged, surpassing incoming traffic from any other type of mobile device, according to internal Google data made available to The New York Times.

A few days later, iPhone traffic to Google fell below that of devices powered by the Nokia-backed Symbian operating system but remained higher than traffic from any other type of cellphone.

The data is striking because the iPhone, an Apple product, accounts for just 2 percent of smartphones worldwide, according to IDC, a market research firm. Phones powered by Symbian make up 63 percent of the worldwide smartphone market, while those powered by Microsoft’s Windows Mobile have 11 percent and those running the BlackBerry system have 10 percent.

Source: Google Sees Surge in iPhone Traffic

IT at the heart of India's development

IT is indeed has been pivotal and certainly fueled India's recent growth, though significant yet latent contributions by other sectors can not be ignored. A nice perspective at how IT is helping India shine.

One of the pillars of modern India, and one the country is relying on to complete its transformation from an economic backwater to a global superpower, is its IT industry.

From humble beginnings the industry has grown beyond what anyone imagined 20 years ago. It is currently worth about US$47 billion, or about 5.4 per cent of India's gross domestic product, and is still growing at about 30 per cent per year. It employs 1.6 million people directly, and many more indirectly.

Its phenomenal growth has led India to take IT to heart as a national industry, and everyday Indians have a real sense of pride now that its large tech companies are rivalling the established IT giants like IBM. This is proof to them that India can play and win on the global stage.

Source: IT at the heart of India's development - Stuff.co.nz

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Life Styles Apart : Monday Morning Edition

 


Motorola Seeking for a Comeback
It boasts 2 new attention-grabbing, "multimedia monster" handsets - the mobile film studio Moto Z10 and a powerful music phone Rokr E8 - much to the delight of journalists/bloggers and consumers alike.


Study: More than half of Americans embracing mobile data
According to Deloitte & Touche, millennials (consumers ages 13 to 24) lead the new media charge, with 46 percent embracing their mobile handsets as entertainment devices


Beam Files To Your Mobile For Free
Beam it up Scotty is a way to send pictures, music, videos, documents or any other file to any mobile device for free


Nokia's New User Interface an iPhone Look-alike
As expected, everybody wants to be iPhone lately. Take for instance this patent filed by Nokia in June 2007 for its own version of multi-touch user interface


A 100-inch WVGA Display in the Palm of Your Hand
Microvision’s new projector is small enough to fit in the palm of your hand and can project a DVD-quality widescreen 848 x 480 pixel image up to 100-inches in size!

Notable Thoughts : Monday Morning Edition

Notable thoughts Monday Morning Edition, few thoughts that caught my attention over the weekend surfing.

Taxes: How low (or high) can they go?
There was a fascinating (to us, anyhow) table in a recent issue of the Journal of Financial Planning. It showed the top marginal tax rates for married couples from 1913 through 2003. Those, you’ll recall, are the highest rates at which income over a certain amount is taxed. The rates ranged from a low of 7 percent (on income over $500,000) in 1913 to 94 percent (on income over $200,000) in the war year of 1944.


Undergraduate programming
From CrossTalk, The Journal of Defense Software Engineering: “It is our view that Computer Science (CS) education is neglecting basic skills, in particular in the areas of programming and formal methods. We consider that the general adoption of Java as a first programming language is in part responsible for this decline.”


India's first mobile soap - Times of India
Digital technology has changed the economics of India's Rs 440 billion ($11 billion) entertainment industry and entrepreneur Rajat Barjatya, the scion of one of Bollywood's biggest film banners, is set to tap it in a big way. Rajat, the younger brother of Sooraj Barjatya who owns Rajshri Productions, is coming up with the first ever serial for mobile phone users in India.


Top Ten Myths of Entrepreneurship
Many entrepreneurs believe a bunch of myths about entrepreneurship, so here are ten of the most common and the realities that bust them:


Will India Become the New Vanguard of the Open Source Movement? - Knowledge@Wharton (subscription)
The question that Sun's award raises is whether India can become the new vanguard of the open source movement and, if so, whether that is a desirable goal.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Auto insurance by the mile in Texas

Pay your auto-insurance based on miles you cover. Interesting, but will it be cheaper for Texas?  Based on the ball park estimate given by MileMeter CEO, it could be.

"The cost per mile varies with the geographic area and the age of the driver, but a reasonable ball park for a 30-year-old driver and minimum coverage in a midrange urban ZIP code in Texas might be 4 cents per mile, MileMeter CEO Chris Gay says. Multiple drivers in a household can also be covered for a single vehicle.". If we take an average of 15000 miles per year, then that would only cost about $600. We really need to look at the type of coverage to see if this is cheaper than conventional. 

But nonetheless, very interesting concept and would definitely workout if you are just about average driver in terms of miles you drive everyday.

Back in 2005, we covered Norwich Union's Pay-as-You-Drive program in the UK to charge consumers for auto insurance based on how often, when and where they use their vehicles. Starting in Texas, the United States will soon see a similar service for the first time thanks to MileMeter's "auto insurance buy the mile."

Website: www.milemeter.com

Source: Auto insurance by the mile

IIT India from American eyes

Little hyped up and say IIT is what you get if you put together MIT, Harvard and Princeton, while IITs are no way close in any aspect to any of the above institutes. The only one factor that is quite contrasting is in the number of people compete to get in. What can you expect when you have billion people and only 7 institutes. Does that makes IIT great, just because its tough to get in? I don't think so.


Source: IIT India from American eyes | Crackle - Stream On

IIT India from Italian eyes

Its not in English, but captions will come to your rescue.


Source: IIT India from Italian eyes | Crackle - Stream On

India and Open Source

Can Open Source help India?  Found this excellent article at Wharton Knowledge. discussing about how Open Source will impact Indian ecosystem.

Will India Become the New Vanguard of the Open Source Movement?

Last month, when Sun Microsystems announced a $1 million grant for innovative open source projects at the Free and Open Source Software conference in Bangalore, it wasn't the sort of news that makes major headlines. Larger amounts have been committed before. IBM, for instance, is spending $1.2 million to set up an open source Software Resource Center in partnership with the Center for Development of Advanced Computing in Pune and the Indian Institute of Technology in Mumbai. And this is only one of IBM's India projects. Sun has spent almost $2 billion supporting open source initiatives across the globe.

In general, while many Startups and businesses across the world use open source, almost none of those applications they develop are open source. If all those people who say, Open source is the best, why don't they use open source for themselves? I tend to think, while many take advantage of Open source movement, none of them really believe in being open-source. Sometimes, it looks lot like a political game, though impacts of open source are quite positive beyond a doubt for most economies, to thrive.

Top Ten Myths of Entrepreneurship

Good to know some of the myths of Entrepreneurship. Its all what people, most likely, non or not-yet entrepreneurs think about before they start.  Real entrepreneurs realize themselves pretty soon in their courtship the difference between a myth and reality.

Read details about each myth here at the original article, Top Ten Myths of Entrepreneurship, I just want to highlight a couple that are quite the few that motivates a many entrepreneurs.

  • Most entrepreneurs are successful financially. Sorry, this is another myth. Entrepreneurship creates a lot of wealth, but it is very unevenly distributed. The typical profit of an owner-managed business is $39,000 per year. Only the top ten percent of entrepreneurs earn more money than employees. And the typical entrepreneur earns less money than he otherwise would have earned working for someone else.
  • Starting a business is easy. Actually it isn’t, and most people who begin the process of starting a company fail to get one up and running. Seven years after beginning the process of starting a business, only one-third of people have a new company with positive cash flow greater than the salary and expenses of the owner for more than three consecutive months.
  • The growth of a start-up depends more on an entrepreneur’s talent than on the business he chooses. Sorry to deflate some egos here, but the industry you choose to start your company has a huge effect on the odds that it will grow. Over the past twenty years or so, about 4.2 percent of all start-ups in the computer and office equipment industry made the Inc 500 list of the fastest growing private companies in the U.S. 0.005 percent of start-ups in the hotel and motel industry and 0.007 percent of start-up eating and drinking establishments made the Inc. 500. That means the odds that you will make the Inc 500 are 840 times higher if you start a computer company than if you start a hotel or motel. There is nothing anyone has discovered about the effects of entrepreneurial talent that has a similar magnitude effect on the growth of new businesses.

Source: Top Ten Myths of Entrepreneurship

Friday, January 11, 2008

Your Child in a Cartoon movie

Around the world, Parents take literally 1000s of photographs and hours of video of their kids every day.  To capture those first moments of every thing to cherish forever.

At every opportunity, parents try to a make real cute movie of their kids, with all the professionalism they have accumulated through the labor.  Well, good news for those hard-working parents who want to see their kid in a movie. Not just in any movie, but a cartoon movie that kids just love to watch all the time.  Real cartoon characters with one new character, your kid. Read on.

Children can now watch themselves interact with their favourite cartoon characters, thanks to Kideo's personalized videos. How it works? Customers either upload a photo of their child to kideo.com, or go to a Lucidiom retail photo kiosk and scan or upload it there. The photo is cropped down to a head shot, which is then attached to a cartoon body. A few days later, a DVD is mailed to the customer’s house, with an animated movie that shows the child alongside popular cartoon icons like Dora the Explorer, Spiderman and the Care Bears. Besides featuring a child’s image, his or her first name is spoken by the characters throughout the video and also appears on the packaging.

Though the DVD’s static head shots lack a level of realism that would make them appealing to older kids, most small children will be delighted to see themselves on screen and to hear their name spoken by the cartoon characters. Kideo isn’t the only company providing personalized media for children, of course. In December, we told you about Flattenme, which produces lushly illustrated, personalized books. Kideo’s videos, priced around USD 39.95, are currently only available in English. Localized versions to follow?

Source: Cartoon stardom for every child

Guests beware, if you are visiting a new born's family. You have one obligation if not an order. Watch all those pictures and videos and listen to the live commentary and behind the scenes. 

A 100-inch WVGA Display in the Palm of Your Hand

There were lots of news stories and rumors about a mobile device that can be used as a projector to quickly make a presentation on the fly. But haven't seen any prototype so far until CES 2008.  Here it is.

As if there isn’t already enough out of CES 2008, this pocket-sized projector has got to be one of the coolest gadgets that made its debut at the show. What’s the big deal? Code-named "SHOW", Microvision’s new projector is small enough to fit in the palm of your hand and can project a DVD-quality widescreen 848 x 480 pixel image up to 100-inches in size! What’s more, is that the SHOW is designed to connect quickly and easily to a variety of laptops, mobile phones, PMPs, digital cameras and other mobile devices. The production model provides up to 2.5 hours of battery operation and will make use of the company’s single micro-mirror laser scanning display technology. If Microvision can partner with Wayne Szalinski to develop an eight-foot projector screen that will fit in the back pocket of a pair of jeans, we’re good to go. Read

Source: A 100-inch WVGA Display in the Palm of Your Hand

A 100-inch WVGA Display in the Palm of Your Hand

There were lots of news stories and rumors about a mobile device that can be used as a projector to quickly make a presentation on the fly. But haven't seen any prototype so far until CES 2008.  Here it is.

As if there isn’t already enough out of CES 2008, this pocket-sized projector has got to be one of the coolest gadgets that made its debut at the show. What’s the big deal? Code-named "SHOW", Microvision’s new projector is small enough to fit in the palm of your hand and can project a DVD-quality widescreen 848 x 480 pixel image up to 100-inches in size! What’s more, is that the SHOW is designed to connect quickly and easily to a variety of laptops, mobile phones, PMPs, digital cameras and other mobile devices. The production model provides up to 2.5 hours of battery operation and will make use of the company’s single micro-mirror laser scanning display technology. If Microvision can partner with Wayne Szalinski to develop an eight-foot projector screen that will fit in the back pocket of a pair of jeans, we’re good to go. Read

Source: A 100-inch WVGA Display in the Palm of Your Hand

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Finally a PC that is better than Apple Mac?

Well, in the words of Walt Mossberg of WSJ,  at least in certain aspects, there is a PC that can be set in the same class as of Apple Macs.

Though finally Walt recommends Apple Macs as they are cheaper (compared to this particular model PC) and have much better software, he finds some features of this stylish Dell XPS model very impressive, to an extent of better than Apple Macs.

Higher memory, Wireless keyboard and mouse, ability to just plug-in memory cards from your cameras, stylish speakers, sensors that can detect just waving off to activate multi-media controls and sturdy frame itself.

But hardware is not all about any computer. Dell just needs a better OS, instead of Microsoft Vista to really have a chance to beat out Apple Mac. Watch the review for a look at the Dell XPS.

I have a HP Slimline desktop and a 21" View Sonic and I am running Microsoft Vista Home Premium. I love it.  I am not convinced about Apple Macs that they are worth the buck yet. Too much to pay and they come with too little. Every other application I love, currently don't run on Macs. And the alternatives are priced too high. I don't hate apple or love Microsoft for that matter. I have a 30GB iPod and of course the revolutionary iPhone.

GM's Driverless Car

Not sure about the business case for a driverless car, but here is a demo of one from GM. The car is powered with  GPS, Cameras, a whole lot of sensors and a huge stack of computers (reminds me of a Telecom switch fabric). In the demo, the car even stops at a stop sign and take turns effortlessly and looks like it gives a smooth ride.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Fuel Cell Car : Cadillac's Provoq

Fuel Cell Cars may be reality very soon. Here is an exclusive video of Cadillac's Provoq at WSJ, that runs of liquid hydrogen. Unlike science fiction movies predicted, this car doesn't run on water, but on liquid hydrogen that is not available for general consumers anytime soon. Technology that creates liquid hydrogen out of water right inside a car is still a fiction. 

The car is amazing that it can pickup 60Miles in 6.5 seconds and it can go 300 miles before you recharge with liquid hydrogen. Watch the video for more.

World's tallest Bungee jumping Platform: Macau Tower

This tower is 233 meters tall and is the world's highest commercial bungee jumping platform. Do you dare?

  (Image: Flickr Image from http://ram.viswanathan.in/2006_08_01_archive.html)

The jump platform at Macau Tower is a full 233 meters high, placing the inaugural jump at its December 2006 launch into the Guinness World Records. Hardy jumpers who make the leap experience about 4 to 5 seconds of freefall—at speeds of up to 200 kilometres per hour—before stretching the 50 meter bungee cord nearly four times its unloaded length and rebounding at approximately 30 meters above the ground. The tower uses a guide cable system, allowing bungee jumpers to safely experience a few rebounds before slowly landing onto a specially designed airbag. Pricing is MOP 1,088 (USD 135 / EUR 92), which includes a certificate, membership card and souvenir T-shirt.

Website: www.macautower.com.mo/eng/adventure

Springwise: Bungee jump for high-end thrill-seekers

Map illustrating Cell Phone Usage Laws across US

Do you know your State laws on Cell Phone usage? Do you know whether it is already illegal for you to talk on cell phone while driving? Every state has its own set of rules on cell phone usage.

Here is a nice compilation of all State Laws in to a one map by Jalopnik.
rotr_cellphonemap.jpg

Rules Of The Road: Jalopnik Guide To Cell Phone Usage Laws

New fuel economy standards May be Little Unrealistic

If you have watched Al Gore's  Inconvenient Truth, you will remember the graph showing Fuel efficiency in USA and China and other countries. USA is far behind China as of now and will reach today's China fuel efficiency standards by 2020. That's lame for USA, otherwise dubbed as the high tech world with lots of innovation.

If you also think that its lame and quite inefficient, think again. Consumer Reports argue that the new standard to raise fuel efficiency to 35Mpg by 2020 is not realistic, based on where we are today.  So, cars in USA might not even reach there and ask for extension to that deadline. Who knows?

The new standards require all new passenger vehicles sold in the United States by 2020 to average 35 mpg. That's reported to be about a 40 percent increase over the current standards of 27.5 mpg for cars and 22.2 mpg for pickups, minivans, and SUVs.

However, in our testing, reaching a real-world 35 mpg would require a bigger jump than that. The current new vehicles we have tested have averaged 20.4 mpg overall on our fuel economy test loop—22.8 mpg for cars and just 16.6 mpg for pickups, minivans, and SUVs.

To reach a true 35 mpg in the real world would require an increase of more than 70 percent in overall vehicle efficiency, broken down to more than 50 percent for cars and more than double the efficiency for pickups, minivans, and SUVs combined. That would be a tall order, for sure.

New fuel economy standards won't bring real 35 mpg cars: Consumer Reports Cars Blog

Monday, January 7, 2008

Obama's Iowa caucus Victory Speech

ThingLab Prints Your Prototypes in 3D

3D Model Making made easy, as simple as printing. Quite fascinating.

UK-based advanced printing firm ThingLab specializes in taking 3D virtual models and making them a reality using their special line of inkjet printers. Perfect for product design, architectural models, concept evaluation and a plethora of additional projects, ThingLab’s 3D printing provides an amazingly cost-effective modeling option when compared to the astronomical price tag that prototype-modeling can carry. Simply deliver your 3D files according to ThingLab’s guidelines and your finished model will be shipped back to you as soon as one day later. The finished products are high quality plastic models with a stunningly sharp full color finish. ThingLab’s 3D printers are available for purchase and range in price from around $25K to upwards of $100K . This is certainly outside of many budgets, hence their 3D printing services which will quickly put a one-off of a 3D model in your hands for as little as a couple hundred dollars.

Read

Innovative ways to retain Indian talent

Some very interesting ways Indian IT companies are trying to retain talent.

The contest for tech talent in India has intensified to such a level that employers are trying out new approaches aimed at making work life better for their people. Infosys has opened an office in downtown Bangalore so pregnant women who live closer to the center of the city don't have to commute all the way down to Electronics City on the woeful Hosur Road. Other companies are trying flextime and work-from-home strategies, as detailed in this Economic Times article. As broadband connectivity gets better throughout the country, I figure, huge masses of people will be able to start working at home. If and when this spreads to the villages, it could be truly revolutionary--part of the solution to massive migration from the villages to the cities in search of opportunity.

Saturday, January 5, 2008

System that Made Internet Possible Turns 25


Twenty-five years ago a couple of guys switched a then-obscure military agency over to a new computer standard called TCP/IP. The switch suddenly made it possible for small experimental computer networks all over the country to talk to each other -- and that made the Internet possible. The obscure military agency was DARPA -- the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency. One of those guys was Vinton Cerf, who is commonly called "The Father of the Internet." (Source:NPR)

How to find the Best Camera Phone?

With so many Camera Phones in the market, how do you find the best Camera Phone? You can read reviews, ratings and blogs that all talk about and discuss about them. But here is another interesting and reliable source of information to find out the best one. Based on how many people are actually using them and what is the quality of pictures taken. While every camera boasts of excellent quality, you can validate the quality of those photos yourself, only by looking at the quality of pictures taken by them.

Flickr is one of the top Photo sharing sites where millions of individual users across the world upload their photos to share. Flickr offers a popularity page where it shows how its users are taking pictures (Camera Makes, Models etc). They report the popularity trends over a period of time as well. Let us see, how camera phones fare recently. Here is the recent trend chart for photos taken on mobile phones.

image 

Flickr: Camera Finder

Well. Now you know. Here are the Top 5 Camera Phones based on Flickr Popularity Trends

  1. Nokia N95
  2. Apple iPhone
  3. Nokia N73
  4. Sony Ericsson K800i
  5. Sony Ericsson K750i

You can also view all photos taken by those cameras and validate for yourself the quality of those cell phones. Go to Flickr: Camera Finder  and click on a phone you want to verify.

iViz Tech Solutions : AI based Hacking, ON Demand

Quite an interesting  concept of using AI to simulate Human hacker(s) to attack a system to detect vulnerabilities and fix them.

As per my understanding, its almost an impossible task to emulate even a lay man's brain. Then is it possible at all to think like a hacker?

Hackers hired to help companies discover internal security threats may soon be out of a job.

Just ask IDG Ventures India, which pumped $2.5 million into iViz Tech Solutions, an Indian startup that promises on-demand software that does penetration testing, or simulated attacks on systems, to detect network weaknesses much in the way a hacker would.

Incubated in one of India's top technology institutes in 2005, iViz develops artificial intelligence-based products that simulate an intelligent hacker to detect the security flaws in a system or network and suggest corresponding remedies.

Company co-founders Bikash Barai and Nilanjan De, graduates of the Indian Institute of Technology–Kharagpur, say that iViz uses an innovative technology that determines the threat in a network, finds the complex multi-stage attack paths that cannot be detected by normal tools and comes up with solutions for such attacks.

iViz Tech Solutions Aims to Put Hackers Out of Work

Friday, January 4, 2008

Indexing Text Data from Images :Google's new Patent

Dynamically extracting text information from images could have a new wave of applications even in everyday life of a consumer.  Mashable notes

Google has filed a patent (full text available here) for “recognizing text in images,” which could give Google Street View a whole new meaning and purpose. According to Information Week, the technology would involve capturing text from things like street signs, building names, and address numbers; data that could be used for everything for more precise driving directions to advanced image search.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Japanese Envy India’s Schools

The hype that maths and science are absolutely critical for the success of  a new economy is gaining more ground. 

While many new generation Indians aspiring to drop out of schools and start their own businesses inspired by Silicon Valley Entrepreneurs, everybody turns to India when it comes to primary education.  

It looks like even Japanese parents also believe that their kids need to go to Indian schools. Another huge opportunity for Entrepreneurs and Educators in India to bridge the markets.

Japan is suffering a crisis of confidence these days about its ability to compete with its emerging Asian rivals, China and India. But even in this fad-obsessed nation, one result was never expected: a growing craze for Indian education.

Despite an improved economy, many Japanese are feeling a sense of insecurity about the nation’s schools, which once turned out students who consistently ranked at the top of international tests. That is no longer true, which is why many people here are looking for lessons from India, the country the Japanese see as the world’s ascendant education superpower.

Bookstores are filled with titles like “Extreme Indian Arithmetic Drills” and “The Unknown Secrets of the Indians.” Newspapers carry reports of Indian children memorizing multiplication tables far beyond nine times nine, the standard for young elementary students in Japan.

And Japan’s few Indian international schools are reporting a surge in applications from Japanese families.

Losing an Edge, Japanese Envy India’s Schools - New York Times

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

T-Mobile's Customer Support - I hope it's true

Ryan of 37 Signals shared his recent experience with T-Mobile customer service that's so wonderful and quite unbelievable to me. Instead of waiting for about 20 minutes on the line to talk to an agent, T-Mobile's calling back the customer when they are ready is an excellent strategy of really caring about customer. I hope its not an exception but something every customer experiences with T-Mobile. 

The other two strategies, giving a specific date for resolution and automatically communicating customer once the problem is fixed are just excellent.

1. I never had to stand in line
Waiting on hold sucks. T-Mobile knows it so they gave me another option and called me back.

2. The agent cared about my problem
The girl on the line was kind, attentive, and apologetic. She made me feel like it was their problem and their responsibility. Which is exactly what I want as a customer. She also promised an update by a specific date, which eased my uncertainty.

3. When the problem was fixed, I heard it from them first
I received a text message as soon as my service was restored. That little victory SMS taught me that when they have downtime in the future, I can trust they will work quickly and notify me when it’s fixed. It’s so frustrating to repeatedly pick up the phone every half hour to see if it works. Thanks to their communication, next time I can relax and wait for the good news.

Kudos to T-Mobile for the good example.

Lessons from T-Mobile's support - (37signals)

Its a total waste of customer's time to wait on phone line for about 20 minutes every time they call to get to the agent. Thankfully, at least one company understands it. Hope they really mean it (so many others praised T-Mobile for its excellent service in the comments section of the above blog post) and other companies follow the suit.

T-Mobile's Customer Support - I hope it's true

Ryan of 37 Signals shared his recent experience with T-Mobile customer service that's so wonderful and quite unbelievable to me. Instead of waiting for about 20 minutes on the line to talk to an agent, T-Mobile's calling back the customer when they are ready is an excellent strategy of really caring about customer. I hope its not an exception but something every customer experiences with T-Mobile. 

The other two strategies, giving a specific date for resolution and automatically communicating customer once the problem is fixed are just excellent.

1. I never had to stand in line
Waiting on hold sucks. T-Mobile knows it so they gave me another option and called me back.

2. The agent cared about my problem
The girl on the line was kind, attentive, and apologetic. She made me feel like it was their problem and their responsibility. Which is exactly what I want as a customer. She also promised an update by a specific date, which eased my uncertainty.

3. When the problem was fixed, I heard it from them first
I received a text message as soon as my service was restored. That little victory SMS taught me that when they have downtime in the future, I can trust they will work quickly and notify me when it’s fixed. It’s so frustrating to repeatedly pick up the phone every half hour to see if it works. Thanks to their communication, next time I can relax and wait for the good news.

Kudos to T-Mobile for the good example.

Lessons from T-Mobile's support - (37signals)

Its a total waste of customer's time to wait on phone line for about 20 minutes every time they call to get to the agent. Thankfully, at least one company understands it. Hope they really mean it and other companies follow the suit.

The Second Decade Of Offshore Outsourcing

Quite an interesting aspect of offshore outsourcing, that outsourcing may become just as natural choice as expanding business into emerging markets like China and India.  The article also discusses how traditional cheap sweatshops have become strategic partners leveraging the models that they invented for themselves.

Two-thirds of companies on the InformationWeek 500 list of business technology innovators say they do offshore IT outsourcing, up from 43% in 2004. Consulting firm NeoIT estimates that 75% of the world's 2,000 largest companies are engaged in offshore outsourcing, with 20% of their IT budgets spent on offshore contracts; it predicts that could rise to as much as 40% of budgets in the coming years.

Cost cutting is usually the main driver, but as companies rely ever more on foreign markets for revenue growth, they're rethinking where they want their employees, including those in IT. For Genworth's McKay, it makes sense that globalization of the IT workforce follows globalization of the business: About 30% of the company's revenue now comes from outside the United States, and that's projected to grow to 50% by 2010. About one-fourth of InformationWeek 500 companies say they're expanding their IT operations in China, India, or another part of Asia.

The Second Decade Of Offshore Outsourcing: Where We're Headed -- IT Offshore Outsourcing

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...