Showing posts from January, 2010

NDTV New Design?: Ads Right On Top of Content

NDTV website now features new ad formats : ads right on top of the content itself. The ad displayed right on top of the content doesn’t go away unless you click on the ad. What a crap? Is NDTV so desperate?

On The Cloud : Stay On Top of News With NewsCred Custom News Paper

We have created a custom News Paper called “ On The Cloud ” to stay on top of News around Cloud Computing and platforms of interest to us. As of now, we have included news on the following topics : Google App Engine Microsoft’s Windows Azure Amazon Elastic Cloud and all general topics around Cloud Computing Here is a screenshot of the news paper on NewsCred allows anybody to create their own news paper based on topics of interest. Unlike others, NewsCred also allows to write your own editorials that will go with the news paper.

Marketplace : How the Banks make the big bucks

I love the way Paddy Hirsch explains complex market place dynamics in the simplest way possible that even I can get a glimpse of how it works. In this week, he explains how banks are making money without practically lending to people or small businesses that desperately need it. How the big banks make the big bucks from Marketplace on Vimeo . This is almost like a scam. How can this be all legal and allowed? Why do Government allow these banks to buy Treasury Bonds with money given by Federal Reserve for lending activities. Wouldn’t buying treasury bonds considered as an investment?

India : Which States Produce Rice ?

Ever wonder which State produce Rice in India? Well, except Rajasthan its in every state in India, with West Bengal leading with 6.15M hectares. Here are snapshots showing the map and top 9 states from a latest report(2009). Source: Hybrid Rice Seed Scenario in India : Problems and Challenges (PDF)

Swarna-Sub1: Rice Seed That Can Survive Floods

Image via Wikipedia Its quite remarkable. Scientists have developed a rice seed that can survive floods (under water) for more than 2 weeks. It is not uncommon to see many of us loosing the entire crop due to floods almost every year (particularly so in Andhra Pradesh, India). Hope, this will change our fortunes.   I have seen proof that agricultural science can make people’s lives better. This summer, I attended a roundtable discussion in New Delhi with scientists who developed a new variety of rice called Swarna-sub1. The amazing thing about Swarna-sub1 is that it can survive underwater for more than two weeks, which means it could revolutionize life for millions of farmers in flood-prone areas of India. The researchers used a fascinating technique called marker assisted selection to introduce a single allele, a version of a gene, into an existing rice variety to make it flood tolerant. I also met with representatives from local NGOs, seed companies, and the gove

Apple iPad : Break-through is in User Experience

iPad is now official and awesome. And in my view, there are two categories of products that will suffer a great deal if not completely get ignored in the market: Netbooks and e-Book readers (like Kindle) .  iPad will be a real break-through not because hardware (despite gigantic touch screen) or for software, but for great and intuitive user experience in consuming content. Finally, consuming content on web feels like reading a book or magazine, close to your heart. Something I always wanted. Hmm, I will be poor by at least another $500. The fact that any of those 140K apps that run on iPhone or iPod touch run on iPad without any modification is quite irresistible. And for those who already have an iPhone or iPod touch, using iPad is just natural and hence nothing exciting. It not only looks and feels like a gigantic iPhone or iPod touch, but powered by the same software core.

INDIA : Happy 60th Republic Day

Happy Republic Day and Best wishes to all fellow Indians.  We have come a long way, but even after 60 years, the Dream of India is not fulfilled, yet. We can talk about history. Or we can make history. You decide . (via ) ‘You’ meant me, you and all Indians. Ever wonder how our Constitution looks like. Here is a a copy of the first page of Constitution of India. (Picture of Indian Constitution @ Library of Congress ) You can access the latest copy of Constitution of India at the Ministry of Law website here . We can talk about history. Or we can make history. You decide .

Youtube to broadcast upcoming IPL Cricket live

YouTube has announced an exclusive deal to broadcast live online the entire cricket season of the upstart Indian Premier League this year. [This is] the largest and most extensive live streaming that weve ever done, I think thats ever been done on the internet before, Shailesh Rao, Managing Director, Google India said yesterday. The season will be shown everywhere around the world except inside the United States. Via Readwrite web

About 7.5 Hours of Entertainment A Day (8-18 yrs olds)?

It sounds quite alarming that 8-18 year olds on average spend about 7.5 hours a day on entertainment media (that includes cell phone, TV, Music players and computers). But considering the fact that some of those devices being an integral part of our lives (like cell phones), use of them for entertainment may be over quoted. A national survey by the Kaiser Family Foundation found that with technology allowing nearly 24-hour media access as children and teens go about their daily lives, the amount of time young people spend with entertainment media has risen dramatically, especially among minority youth.  Today, 8-18 year-olds devote an average of 7 hours and 38 minutes (7:38) to using entertainment media across a typical day (more than 53 hours a week).  And because they spend so much of that time 'media multitasking' (using more than one medium at a time), they actually manage to pack a total of 10 hours and 45 minutes (10:45) worth of media content into those 7½ hou

Trefis : Understanding A Business Has Never Been So Intuitive

If you are investing in stock market, it pays to understand how a company (that you love to invest in) works. Like,  how does a company makes money: what kind of products/services it sell, where it is making money, what markets it operate and what are its strategies for both short term and long term revenue generation. Easier and the cheapest way to understand where the money is made, is to look through the Financial statements. But, sifting through 100s of pages of SEC filings and financial statements is not easy and decipher the meaning hidden in complex market jargon. If you are looking for a simpler way, meet Trefis . Its a nice tool, that will help understand the revenue part, in a way that is quite intuitive and easy to understand. It breaks down revenue stream as a % of each product/service a company is offering. Another wonderful part of this tool is it will let  you forecast each of those based on your understanding of market conditions. For instance, you can forecast

If You Are Pissed Off, Just Follow It Through.

It goes without saying that everybody is pissed off with something. But if you have the guts to follow it through, you can unleash your creativity. And not surprisingly it is totally natural. The only people who can change the world are people who want to. And not everybody does. Human beings have this thing I call the Pissed Off Gene. It’s that bit of our psyche that makes us utterly dissatisfied with our lot, no matter how kindly fortune smiles upon us. Its there for a reason. Back in our early caveman days being pissed off made us more likely to get off our butt, get out of the cave and into the tundra hunting woolly mammoth, so we’d have something to eat for supper. It’s a survival mechanism. Damn useful then, damn useful now. It’s this same Pissed Off Gene that makes us want to create anything in the first place: drawings, violin sonatas, meat packing companies, websites. This same gene drove us to discover how to make a fire, the wheel, the bow and arrow, indoor

Amazon Opens up Kindle for Apps

These days every device manufacturer is trying to emulate Apple App Store .  Amazon is the latest one to join. With the release of some kind of tablet from Apple around the corner, Amazon is trying to prepare its ground for an onslaught. First Amazon introduced a new Royalty model for publishers, which can be considered as little friendlier than earlier. Now it opens up Kindle for developer apps. Kindle may not be suitable for all kinds of Apps that we normally see on App Store, for instance Games, but can have apps centered around content and in the long run may help Amazon to make Kindle more useful to its customers. Read it on WSJ .

Youtube : Most Watched Videos in 2009

Here is the list of most watched videos on Youtube in the year of 2009. Evian Roller Babies is one of my all time favorites. Most Watched YouTube videos (Global): 1. Susan Boyle - Britain's Got Talent (120+ million views) 2. David After Dentist (37+ million views) 3. JK Wedding Entrance Dance (33+ million views) 4. New Moon Movie Trailer (31+ million views) 5. Evian Roller Babies (27+ million views) Most Watched music videos on YouTube (Global)*: 1. Pitbull "I Know You Want Me" (82+ million views) 2. Miley Cyrus "The Climb" (64+ million views) 3. Miley Cyrus "Party in the U.S.A." (54+ million views) 4. The Lonely Island "I'm On a Boat" (48+ million views) 5. Keri Hilson "Knock You Down " (35+ million views) Source: Broadcasting Ourselves! - Youtube Blog

Apple to unveil its latest creation on 27th Jan, 2010 : What’s your guess?

Its now official that Apple has something NEW to offer to the market and it will be unveiling its latest creation on 27th of Jan, 2010 at 10AM PST. Rumors already abound that the new product will be a touch screen tablet. And probably an iPhone 4.0 and delivering BOOKS through iTunes. What’s your guess?

Piano Stairs : Making Better Choices Fun

Perception is everything. Marketers use this concept all the time, quite cleverly, to manipulate our behavior one way or the other.  Many times, not so in the best interests of consumers. Here is an example of the very concepts that influence our behavior. This time, though, it will be in the best interest of our health. In choosing a staircase rather than an escalator. This is awesome. We believe that the easiest way to change people's behavior for the better is by making it fun to do. We call it The fun theory. I wish we could come up with similar ideas to change our attitude towards eating fresh fruits and vegetables. Check out other ideas submitted for The Fun Theory Award by users at .

Google App Engine : Starting Over

I have been working on Google App Engine ever since it was released. Unfortunately my hard disk crashed last week. Now I had to start over with setting up the development environment, though I have all my apps source code saved (thanks to free SVN repository provided by unfuddle ). Last time, I did all this was almost an year and half ago, so I thought I will keep notes and share on the blog. I will be using Python for my development, so will be installing App Engine environment for Python. Python Install Python 2.6.4 version from I was little tempted to have the latest version 3.1.1 but read in the release notes that 3.1.1 by design is NOT backward compatible. So it may not work with Google App Engine. So just stick to 2.6.4 Install PIL Module required for Image manipulation on Google App Engine. Google App Engine SDK for Python Install Google App Engine SDK from Google App Engine Downloads page. Latest version at this time

How young is Indian population?

About 50% of Indian population is not yet eligible to vote (paraphrased) : Nandan Nilekani, Imagining India

What took 37signals this long …?

I am a big fan of 37signals and ‘ getting real ’. But don’t understand why it took so long for 37signals to add this simple yet quite useful piece of functionality to their blog.   We’ve added “Newer posts | Older posts” links to Signal vs. Noise so you can page through posts without using the archives. (Scroll down to the end of to find link for the next page of posts.) This allows visitors to read the backlog with minimal clicking as opposed to having to select individual posts in the archives .

Magnificent Lord Venkateswara @ Plano TX

Picture from Sri Lalitha Peetham

Google (India) Maps With Landmarks : “Street View“ Will make it totally outstanding and intuitive

Google India recently launched Google Maps with navigation based on landmarks , with landmark information fed by the local community in respective cities. Its quite amazing to see how crowd sourcing could be leveraged where structural data is hard to retrieve. There is no doubt, that this kind of landmark based directions first introduced in India by Routeguru almost a couple of years back. But, I am quite excited to see Google doing this as I see so many other possibilities that could redefine maps for navigating Indian roads. Street Views For instance, what a huge difference it will make if Google could add "Street Views" to those directions? Landmarks in text is something. But a picture of that landmark really makes it the most intuitive way of looking at the map. Instant offers/coupons en-route Since directions are based on landmarks, that include local businesses, instant offers and coupons from those businesses en-route would be quite beneficial to all. So

What would Separate Telangana achieve?

I have no clue, other than keeping those ‘politically unemployed’ busy with a job of their dreams. What those politicians could not do so far in the last (about) 50+ years while in the ruling party or in the opposition party, that they could suddenly do now if Telangana becomes a separate state? If you put rupee by rupee spent on each district after Andhra became a separate state, I don’t see any region of the state treated disproportionately. Then what’s all this fuss about backwardness of Telangana region?

C/C++ Programming : Do you know that free or delete will NOT release memory back to OS ?

Note:  Based on observations and tests  made on Solaris OS 10 with Solaris compilers. When you call free() or delete(), it will NOT really release any memory back to OS. Instead, that memory is kept with the same process until it is terminated. However, this memory can be reused for any future allocations by the same process. This ‘freed’ memory is never released to OS, even when the system is out of memory and other processes need memory. That means, a process is stuck with the largest level of memory allocation throughout its life time. This is big concern for most processes that are expected to run (literally) forever without a restart. There is an alternative, by linking to mapmalloc library, that uses map/unmap instead of sbrk for memory allocation. When linked with this library, memory could be really released to operating system when free/delete is called. However, memory allocation could be potentially 5 times slower . One heck of a trade off! Hope this information will help i

The French Got A Lot To Say. So does Chinese ???

Based on stats at , it appears an average presentation in French has 38 slides in it. I thought, French people have a lot of things to say. But when I looked at the stats to find that next language in the top of the list as Chinese, I started wondering, is it really they have more to say? Luck has it, at work place, I have been working with colleagues from both China and France. With due respect to both, not sure whether this bump in slide number has anything to do with ‘more’ to say. Both presentations and documents produced by these teams are normally larger than average in size, but when it comes to content I don’t see similar trends. Often, I found it otherwise. I observed the same in presentations or documents done by colleagues from India too.

Navigating Indian Roads On Google Maps With “Landmarks” : Amazing !

The kind of maps that work else where like in US don’t work on Indian roads. For starters, roads are not clearly and visibly marked that one can look at while driving. So, the best form of navigating on Indian roads is by “asking somebody” for directions and then by following those directions based on landmarks, that can’t be missed. We found that using landmarks in directions helps for two simple reasons: they are easier to see than street signs and they are easier to remember than street names. … We also discovered that there are three situations in which people resort to landmarks. The first is when people need to orient themselves — for instance, they just exited a subway station and are not sure which way to go. Google Maps would say: "Head southeast for 0.2 miles." A person would say: "Start walking away from the McDonald's." The second situation is when people use a landmark to describe a turn : "Turn right after the St

The Culture That Runs The Best, Super Fast And Yet Cheaper Movie Rental Service, Netflix

There is an old saying : “Price, Quality, and Time. Pick any Two.”.  It is quite difficult to argue or find an example that proves otherwise not because it is not possible, but because most businesses model their pricing based on this widely ‘accepted’ perception. But Netflix has been different.  Its lot cheaper . E xcellent quality. And yet it is simply super fast .  Add ‘streaming’ movies to the list, there is no comparison, not only in it’s own market but anywhere else. Netflix has been delivering that ‘aha’ experience all these years and after watching this presentation, I will have no doubt that Netflix can deliver even better in the years to come. This presentation is about the Culture that drives Netflix and it is totally awesome. Culture View more presentations from Reed Hastings .