Saturday, April 29, 2006

W3C MWI presentation

Great high-level presentation how the W3C is hoping to step in and help the mobile web reach its full potential. They've dubbed their efforts in this area the MWI (mobile web initiative). The presentation has some great data on mobile web:
- 63% of handsets are "web-capable"* (1.1B handsets)
- there's almost an order of magnitude difference between the number of "web caapble" handsets out there and the number of wifi connected laptops (there are a lot more handsets!)
- people spend as much time on the net as they do watching TV (14 hours a week in the U.S.)
- browsing represents the majority of data packets for cell phones
- (if you check out the presentation, slide 20 is a great articulation of the myriad of usability problems with the "mobile web")

* I suspect that this definition of "web capable" sets a low bar for qualification, just a guess... :-)

Thursday, April 27, 2006

United Flight 93

I've been wondering whether United 93 would be worth seeing -- Xeni seems to say that it is.

Monday, April 24, 2006

blogging = cannibalism?

"The truth is, it is still an open question whether the growth of cannibalism around the world is due to the blogosphere"

Funny article from Anil Dash.

Friday, April 14, 2006 terrible usability

I was recently gifted a fancy coffee machine by my parents -- a Nestle Nespresso machine. It's a razor - razor blade business model (though they definitely don't send you a free "razor" when you turn 18, this razor is expensive!). You buy a Nespresso machine and then you buy coffee capsules for it from them for $0.49 / piece. I don't know how this compares pricewise to the more traditional, less-yuppee coffee grounds approach to making coffee, but the nespresso system is clean and fast and the coffee is good and on price, it sure beats daily $4.00 cups of cappuccino / espresso at Starbucks. So I'm generally happy with the machine.

But I had to make a quick posting about their website. It's really, really bad. I've used it twice. Both times I've been completely bewildered when trying to buy the coffee capsules. First, they make it so you can't buy the things anywhere else (to quote from a 3rd party website, "To make sure Nespresso capsules are the freshest they can be, Nespresso handles all coffee orders through their web site") and then their site is terribly unusable. Lot of money spent on fancy graphics and animations, cryptic navigation, and who knows what else. Somebody at Nespresso, please, please, please spend some money and hire someone with an eye for usability to redesign your site!!

The coffee machine

$0.49 apiece!

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Crazy headline: "YouTube lubed..."

I've seen sensationalist and crazy headlines before in mainstream publications, but this one breaks new records:

YouTube lubed with second-round funding

Looks like mainstream media is getting some edge and attitude from the blogosphere.

I love the "subscribe" feature in Google Toolbar v2

Before I switched over to bloglines from Newsgator for Outlook, I was using this newsgator for Firefox plug-in so I could right click on an RSS feed and subscribe to it in newsgator.  This is something I have been missing since the switchover to bloglines (though on almost every other count, I've been happier with bloglines vs. having my blogs in outlook) and now the Google Toolbar v2 (in beta right now) gives this feature back to me with it's subscribe feature.  Visit anypage configured with an RSS feed and the subscribe button lights up -- click it and subscribe yourself to the feed in bloglines (or in any number of other feed readers -- see below).

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

reverse brain drain and India-U.S. mash-ups

India have always talked about brain drain -- the phenomena of India's top talents, educated in India usually by schools where tuition is heavily, heavily subsidized by the government, leaving India for the West. Hell my Dad was part of the so-called brain drain -- he topped in his States (Madhyapradesh), went on to study at one of India's top technical universities, paid very little for it (something like 50 rs / month! About $10 USD / month at the exchange rate back then), and then ended up here in the States. We moved back to India when I was in high school and my Dad maintains a lot of activity in India, but I digress...

Now the reverse appears to be happening -- Indians that came to the States from India are moving back to India to pursue professional opportunities there (Gaurav and Ashish at Tekriti are prime examples of this -- IIT educated engineers working for Microsoft in the States moving back to Delhi to start a software company in Gurgaon). And, as CNN writes in this article, Americans are going to India (and not Americans like me with Indian ancestry) to pursue opportunities there.

On my recent trip to India, I felt at times that I was inside some sort of strange mash-up, whether it was while I was at BarCamp Delhi and heard engineers talking about Chris Pirillo's, whether it was at my uncle's house in North Delhi (the older, more conservative part of Delhi) giving a demo of Beyond TV to my cousins while they asked me very astute and challenging questions. I expect to see this mash-up trend continue and it's something that I'm excited about.

And as a sort of aside, my favorite mash-up story is one that I recently heard from my friend and co-worker, Soham. Soham has an American friend of Indian descent who recently took a sabbatical from her job at Andersen Consulting in the Bay Area to move to Bombay to try and make it in Bollywood. She's a talented dancer and since she's been over there, she's made it into a few TV commercials and as a dancer in several Bollywood movies. Great, but to make things even more interesting, she scored a gig as a dancer in this Bollywood extravaganza as a dancer so now she's touring the States as a dancer in an Indian production!

I'm an early riser

Evan Williams links to Steve Pavlina's post about how to become an early riser. (And Steve, as it turns out, is the author of a bunch of articles on software marketing that I've read and am a fan of)

barCamp Houston, May 20

BarCamp is coming to Houston. (I recently attended a BarCamp in Delhi)

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Windows Mobile getting serious traction

I've suspected that Microsoft's Windows Mobile was headed towards alot of traction in the mobile space since I switched to a Cingular 2125 from an old Nokia phone and this story today confirms it:

Microsoft Wins Biggest Phone-Software Order, Rivals BlackBerry

I suspect that Microsoft is throwing a lot of money at carriers and handset manufacturers to seed the market with their products (case in point: you can get a T-Mobile SDA for $30) but in this case they really have a great product that I think will do well beyond the purchased marketshare.

I also ran into Dipsu this weekend at Rice's Beer Bike. Dipsu's a friend of mine from Rice, my neighbor my freshman year and an up and coming doctor here in Houston. He's beginning his cardiology residency next year and I've found him to have become pretty damn tech savvy since we knew each other in college. Anyways, Dipsu had a new phone with him. What kind? A T-Mobile MDA. I was surprised. I quizzed him about his choice of the T-Mobile MDA since the last time I had talked technology with a Doctor (at least a year ago) the PDA of choice was the Palm. His comment: "All the medical apps are moving over to Windows Mobile and away from Palm -- the last thing I would have done was buy a Palm device."

Go Windows Mobile!