Tuesday, June 20, 2006

New home for my blog

My blog will shortly be moving to http://rake.sh/. For those of you who subscribe via RSS or otherwise, you shouldn't have to do a thing. And for there rest of you, click here!

(yes, until some recent DNS changes made get propagated, http://rake.sh/ will simply loop back to this blogger blog)

Monday, June 19, 2006

Why Apple left India

Since I heard that Apple had curtailed plans to build an Indian operation, I've been wondering why and BusinessWeek claims to have found some answers. In short, it was a cost thing, India's getting too expensive and turnover's too high. I wonder if we'll see this as a larger trend. I tend to believe this is an exception limited to Apple and the fact that their focus was strictly technical support.

Friday, June 16, 2006

Movie makers should respond to reviews

I liked Mark Cuban's idea for a rebirth of the 30-second ad spot. Great out of the box thinking.

So I was reading a review of the new Jack Black movie, Nacho Libre, on my drive into work this morning (yes, I've gotten into the unsafe bad habit of reading email and news on my cell phone while driving) and doing some out-of-the-box thinking myself, it occurred to me that the moviemakers should respond to reviews of the movie. Most of reviewers, based on a quick skim of the 300+ reviews of the movie on Google News, try to deliver some sort of intellectual commentary/analysis of the movie. Come on folks, who wants an intellectual dissection of "Jack Black's coming of age as an actor vis-a-vis his performance in Nacho Libre"? This is Nacho Libre (and Jack Black) we're talking about!!

So not only would this make for a great publicity stunt but it would be sure to galvanize fans of the movie. I mean, let's face it, no one goes to see a movie like Nacho Libre because of what Roger Ebert had to say about it!

In general, apart from Nacho Libre, moviemakers should respond to reviews of a movie and engage their customers in a conversation about their product. Why not? It seems to be working for everyone else. Da Vinci code, for example, got panned by reviewers. Why not let moviegoers hear from the moviemakers and have them defend themselves, speak up about where reviewers are wrong? Extras and interactive features on DVDs are popular, why wouldn't they be popular while a movie is still in the theaters? And with the high-cost of advertising in newspapers, engaging customers in a conversation about a movie would deliver a high bang-for-the-buck.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Let me pay for more space on Gmail (aka I agree with Paul)

I had the same thought as Paul Kedrosky when I read about the paid space increments you can buy for Picasa Web Albums. Why not offer the same thing for GMail? I'm a heavy Gmail user and I'm soon going to need more space (I'm at 80% now, 2.2GB space used). I'd be MORE than happy to pay $25 / year to get up to 6gb. Like Paul, I'm baffled at why they aren't offering this. I spent some time trying to figure it out and it just doesn't make sense to me. E-mail is an extremely important communication tool for me and Gmail not only fulfills my needs here, but it adds quite a bit of value over other options IMO. I guess for now I'm fine and hopefully when I get closer to not being fine, Google won't force me into a position to start deleting stuff. After all, that would violate one of the basic tenets of Gmail: "Don't throw anything away"

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Picasa Web Albums: first look

I happened to be up when I noticed that Google had launched Picasa Web Albums. I'm a long-time Picasa fan so I took it for a quick spin. So far I think it's pretty slick, it's possible I might actually use it in place of my Flickr account just because it's so well integrated with Picasa and that's the first place all of my digital photos go. But we'll see, I'm also hooked pretty deep into Flickr. Some initial notes:

  • I need to figure out how to limit sharing to family and friends.

  • Uploading is PC-only -- I don't believe this version is available for Linux yet, even in beta. And it definitely doesn't work on the Mac. I know because that's what I was using when I first logged into Picasa Web Albums. :-)

  • I like the fact that albums can be downloaded (at least it seems that way) -- my family in India always wants a local copy b/c net connections aren't as plentiful there (at least not yet) and are left to do a bunch of right click and saves.

  • Slideshows are nice, I prefer them to the flickr flash-slideshow, one-size-regardless-of-how-big-your-screen-is thing.

  • Tagging hasn't ever mattered that much to me, so I won't miss Flickr's tagging, but I know it means a lot to other people. I suspect this will be the topic of a lot of conversation in the blogosphere. That and the absence RSS subscriptions (another item that I don't use much) (Correction, PWA has RSS subscriptions.)

  • As I mentioned, the integration is really great -- sure beats exporting from Picasa and then uploading using the Flickr upload tool (which is pretty unsophisticated and pretty not-integrated with flickr, unlike Picasa - Picasa Web Albums).

Fittingly, you can see my screenshot walkthrough of Picasa Web Albums as a, well, Picasa Web Album.

Or click on any of the thumbnails below...

The new Picasa client (Windows-only) with Web Album button

The built-in upload manager uploads your photos to Picasa Web Albums

Back at the Picasa Web Albums website...

All of my albums

Inside of one of my albums

Play a slideshow within your browser

When a choose a photo, it loads progressively

The same photo after the first pass at loading -- subsequent photos are pre-fetched so browsing from one photo to the next is fast

Organize my photos (move/copy photos from one album to another)

Re-arrange my album

Share an album of mine through e-mail

Sunday, June 11, 2006

rest in a room

"All of human unhappiness comes from one single thing: not knowing how to remain at rest in a room." -- Blaise Pascal (from The Intelligent Investor by Benjamin Graham)

Saturday, June 10, 2006

Barcamp Houston photographs

I've uploaded my first batch of photographs to flickr -- see them among other photographs tagged with barcamphouston.

heading to barcamp houston

I'm headed to barcamp houston this morning. Look for a full report later on. Here's a write-up of my experience at barcamp delhi in March.