Friday, June 13, 2008

Google Gears as 1st HTML5 implementation

Today Techcrunch posted an article about whats the game play behind Google Gears. Some interesting points:
The choice of Ajax may be because it is simply the best solution, but it may have more to do with the fact that almost every alternate web development technology stack is produced and controlled by a direct competitor (read: Adobe and Microsoft)
To this point however much Adobe claims that AIR supports both Flex and HTML and that they are complimentry, I am sure they know internally that they do compete and any web app (presentation editor, website editor) done in pure HTML and javascript and NOT using Flex is a loss for Adobe.
The idea [Google Gears] was simple: bring forward the features of tomorrow’s web technologies into today’s browsers.

The shortcut was to skip past the browsers and add a new layer above them – the Google web layer. ... Browsers would now do all the boring bits: rendering HTML, presenting an interface, user options etc. while Google leveraged what was there and dashed ahead.
I have decent share of web app development using both HTML/Javascript and Silverlight and I know what it takes to develop against them. A part of me agrees that client framework for cloud computing should be non-proprietry yet supported by a big company. This promises low cost of development from tool and deployment standpoint. Although I would argue that lack of a good development tool seriously hurts adoption of HTML, Javascript and CSS as programming environment.

I am looking forward to such a tool from Google (who else has best interest) that would reduce the cost of entry for new developers into HTML/Javascript world.

Google Gears Presentation from Google IO

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Bioanalogy of an agile team

(If) firms are breaking up into smaller, agile units, the economy will resemble the human brain - dense, dispersed clusters of small inter-related units (neurons!) forming transient, agile patterns, constantly being remodelled.

There are 4 components to the system you could copy:
  1. be a neuron - basically small firms, startups, road warrior consultants and creatives;
  2. be a synapse between neurons: the service that lets neurons talk to one another, form temporary networks and memories;
  3. be the extracellular matrix - half incubator, half director, it's the YCombinator of the brain on which every neuron finds its position and develops under its occasional signals.
  4. be the blood supply - the main supply of resources (multimillion VC?), but *not* directly involved with neurons. Often aligned with the neurons via the extracellular matrix. 5
  5. be the skull (i think government's already got that one figured out pretty good)
This century, if the economy is edge-bound, is certainly going to need some damn good synapses and extracellular matrix. A shakeout is also needed to weed out the underperforming neurons.


Thursday, March 13, 2008

What if semantic print were to exist?

Today's news about Yahoo embracing Semantic Web got me thinking. What if semantic print were to exist?

From Techcrunch post:

"Yahoo’s support for semantic web standards like RDF and microformats (hCard, hCalendar, hReview, hAtom and XFN) is exactly the incentive websites need to adopt them. Instead of semantic silos scattered across the Web (think Twine), Yahoo will be pulling all the semantic information together when available, as a search engine should."

What I mean by semantic print is application of RDF & microformats like standards applied to components that make up a print publication (flyers, brochures, newspapers, magazines, etc...) Just like semantic web promises to make search engines and mash ups better among others, semantic print would allow content repurposing, new packaging/print products and cost efficiencies in print production.

Google's interactive ads is also a step in this direction where by content also carries intent/action. On the production side there are a lot of print content management systems (Alfresco, Quark Publishing System, Documentum) out there promises this, but no clear winner exists yet in this space.

I guess evolution happens out of chaos only and not every information in the world can be structured.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

What if newspapers go purely "distribution" model

After my initial comment about distribution vs destination, I realized what if such a theory is applied to traditional print media?

Traditional print houses have a lot of investment in infrastructure to support editorial, product and delivery. And report after report suggests news print market is shrinking. Idea is to leverage that investment by offering that infrastructure to bloggers, influencers (if there is such a thing), evangelists, what not whose primary channel is web and would like to add print as well.

  1. Independent journalists add another medium to their work > reach more masses
  2. Opens the door for content monetization besides ad based revenue. Posts/articles that cost less to produce and are time critical may be delivered via web while ones that need lots of research, has high quality editorial analysis and is not time critical may go purely print for which customers have to pay.

Distribution vs Destination

After reading about new YouTube API and Hulu launch, I guess I realized difference between distribution & destination.

As I understand it, a web service is "destination" where people stay there, like It essentially is a portal which have original editorial and may aggregate external content. Techcrunch noted with new YouTube APIs there is a strong indication that YouTube wants to be in hosting and distribution business as opposed to destination.

On the "distribution" side, Hulu CEO Jason Kilar notes that he is happy to know that that somebody who’s consuming the full episode of 30 Rock was within Yahoo. I guess the main motivation behind "distribution" business model is it is hard to create new destination. a good analogy from physical world is how many malls one can open. So it is in best interest of content providers that they keep open mind towards having somebody else host their content. Of course, one needs to make sure that balance doenst tilt all the way like what Steve Jobs did to music industry.

Half-Assed Startup: Work on a startup while working full time

Excellent points to consider from Venture Hacks. I can attest to most of these.
  • You need a co-founder and some cheerleaders < you'll hit a motivation wall
  • Pick a day or two per week where you always work, ideally in the same room as your co-founders < keeping a fixed schedule helps
  • Have a boat-burning target - a goal when you can go full steam. < dive in full-time?
  • Pick an idea that is tractable < No extraneous features
  • Understand that your first version is probably going to suck
  • If you’re going to screw off at work (everyone does), spend it getting smarter about the stuff you don’t know < stealing time
  • Be sure you own your startup

Friday, March 7, 2008

My work @ Quark Labs

Wanted to send out a quick note. 2 of the the projects that I conceived and developed are live @ Quark Labs. I will be adding more information soon. Stay tuned.

Shared Picture Map for QuarkXPress 7:
Shared Picture Map is a QuarkXPress XTension and Apple Aperture/iPhoto plugins that allows both the applications to exchange images and layouts.

QuarkViewer for QuarkXPress 7:
QuarkViewer is an XTensions module for QuarkXPress 7.3.x that allows users to export QuarkXPress layout pages for viewing in Microsoft Silverlight player. QuarkViewer may run as a pure desktop application or a Web application.

Hello World App using iPhone SDK

Got my hands dirty with iPhone SDK. Here is the code to display Hello World.

UIView *mainView = [[UIView alloc] initWithFrame: [[UIScreen mainScreen] bounds]];
UITextView *textView = [[UITextView alloc] initWithFrame: CGRectMake(10.0f, 10.0f, 320.0f, 480.0f)];

[textView setEditable:YES];
[window addSubview: mainView];
[mainView addSubview:textView];
[textView setText:@"Hello World"];

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

What if newspapers were delivered electronically on weekdays and in print on Sunday?

Being entrepreneurial, I keep thinking about ideas to solve current and future problems. I thought its high time to document those and hence I am starting "what if" posts with this one.

What if newspapers were delivered electronically on weekdays and in print on Sunday?

Of course problem I am trying to solve is dying print media. How many of us read newspapers any more? Google News, blogs, aggregators (such as Techmeme) are where we get our news from. Recently I got to hear from an IT director at a leading print magazine - he mentioned that they are trying to be a media company. This was the first for me, but it does make sense. Now-a-days audio, video is at par with print and is a must.

Coming back to solution. I must add this is inspired by Scott Karp's post on Publishing 2.0 blog. What if publishing houses deliver more of editorial edition and less of news (late breaking :) and that too either saturday or sunday? This product would be somewhere in middle of editorial section of a daily newspaper and a weekly/bimonthly magazine. Ads would be more for brand awareness as opposed to "call for action". This way one can get some time on weekend to take a step back from internet news world and see it from pure editorial perspective. Further such a product should be customizable by the end user. Say I would like to read more about technology and health. Even better if they can let one pick the writers. Say for example I like to read Scott Karp and Michael Arrington, so have their blogs included in this product.

Monday, March 3, 2008

Tips for building Facebook apps

  1. It's never too late to create a winning app
  2. Simplicity & clarity are key to app success
  3. Aim for speed & flexibility in launch and iterations
  4. Community cooperation leads to success (in other words, the most successful students shared the most)
  5. Individual opinion about apps are worthless, you need to get out there and see what happens
  6. Copying success is a cheap / fast way to succeed
  7. Metrics do matter, but today's tools are too weak
  8. You CAN learn to create a winning app
  9. Success comes from the CHAOS / CONTROL Cycle
  10. Mass Interpersonal Persuasion is finally here

From teachers @ Stanford

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Brian Lara Cricket 2oo7 Xbox Controller Map

I own Xbox 360 in US. Of course its NTSC format and Brian Lara Cricket 2007 isnt released here. Being a cricket fanatic, I so desperately needed to play it that I bought PC version, put it on my MacBook Pro (Vista via Boot camp) and used my Xbox Controller (via wireless gaming receiver) to play the game. Now I had no way of knowing which controller key does what so I asked a friend of mine in UK to send screen shots of the Xbox game. Posting them here for future reference.

Attacking shot/Abort runRun up/Normal deliveryChange field type
Lofted shotRight-breaking deliveryChange field type
Defensive shotLeft-breaking deliveryThrow to keeper/Field variant
RunSlow delivery/Top spinnerThrow to bowler/Field variant
Move left/Attacking sweepSwing left
Move right/Lofted sweepSwing right
LT+X,B,ADance down wicketSpecial delivery 1

Special delivery 2

Cricket 025

Cricket 026

Cricket 027

Monday, February 18, 2008

Hindustan Times Google Gadget

Add this gadget to your iGoogle page to view Hindustan Times front page.

Add to Google

Zero click folder browsing via Mac OS X Dock

I am primarily a windows user and had hard time finding my way through files and folders by just using mouse.

I was pleasantly surprised when Mac OS 10.5.2 allowed me to set display of folder (in dock) as "Folder" and "List" for "View Content as". Now I have a way to keep browsing folders using mouse without switching to finder.

Six principals for making new things

I like to find
  1. simple solutions
  2. to overlooked problems
  3. that actually need to be solved, and
  4. deliver them as informally as possible,
  5. starting with a very crude version 1, then
  6. iterating rapidly.
Read this piece by Paul Graham and coudnt resist shamelessly copying it here. By the way I discovered it via Techmeme, which I am using frequently to get good tech articles.

For my 18-year-old self

Marked the ones that I most believe in.
  1. How to control impulse spending.
  2. You gotta stay active.
  3. How to plan finances.
  4. Junk food will come back to bite you in the butt.
  5. Smoking is just dumb.
  6. Fund your retirement, son. And don’t withdraw it.
  7. All the stuff you’re doing that seems hard — it will be of use.
  8. Don’t buy that used van without checking it out closely.
  9. That guy you’re going to sell your car to? On a gentleman’s agreement? He’s not gonna pay you.
  10. Make time to pursue your passion, no matter how busy you are.
  11. All that stuff that’s stressing you out — it won’t matter in 5 years, let alone 15.
  12. The people you make friends with are so much more important than your job or the things you buy.
  13. All that time you spend watching TV is a huge, huge waste of time.
  14. Your kids are going to grow up way faster than you think. Don’t waste a minute.
  15. Forget the drama. Focus on being happy.
  16. Pay more attention to blogs when you first hear about them. They’re more than just journals.
  17. Speaking of which, keep a journal. Seriously. Your memory is extremely faulty.
  18. Tequila is seriously evil.
  19. Yes, you can do a marathon. Don’t put this goal off — it’s extremely rewarding.
  20. All these mistakes you’re going to make, despite this advice? They’re worth it.
From Zen Habits.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Are you right brain or left brain?

From funderstanding

This theory of the structure and functions of the mind suggests that the two different sides of the brain control two different "modes" of thinking. It also suggests that each of us prefers one mode over the other.

Experimentation has shown that the two different sides, or hemispheres, of the brain are responsible for different manners of thinking. The following table illustrates the differences between left-brain and right-brain thinking:

Left Brain
Right Brain
Looks at parts
Looks at wholes

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Indoor cricket

Finally, after college, I found a bunch of guys who play cricket religously. 6 months ago I started playing with them and now I am playing a tournament as part of this team - Crazy Cricketers.

This is a variant of regular cricket and played inside. Check out FAQs here.

I call myself a bowler who is handy with bat. In this tournament I have done fairly ok with both bat and ball. We have had 2 matches so far - 1 loss, 1 win.

I am going to work hard and concentrate to help take Crazy Cricketers to semifinals.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Flying alarm clock

"When the alarm goes off, a helicopter flies into the air, carrying the key to turn off the alarm. The only way to silence the alarm is to get out of bed and find the key! The true late sleeper has finally met their match!"

Whats next? A shower? All those funny scenes from cartoon channels coming to reality.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Evaluating Silverlight technology

At Quark Mohan and I have been working on Silverlight for a while now.

For those who dont know, Silverlight is a technology similar to Flash. Currently it is at 1.0 version. Runtime that enables silverlight has a small footprint (5MB) and is cross platform. Technology looks promising and I am really counting on Microsoft to get it mainstream.

Recently we sat down with Warren from Microsoft to talk about it.