Saturday, February 24, 2007

Weekend Blues !!

Although my weekend's getting screwed here working at office, but then there a lot more things that can be done normally on a weekend. Tough to locate what's on in the happening pubs in the city, or any live band or a special event scheduled in one of the clubs? Well, down2night comes to the rescue here. I hate to term it as a social networkin' site(damn, thats a sickenin' term now), but then thats what it is, but then the 'social' tag here is much more relevant.. at last!

Down2Night is a web application that allows users to subscribe to their favorite nightlife venues and receive SMS text message alerts about events happening on the nights that interest them most, effectively, giving viable options to the all important question: "What are we doing tonight?"

Features include:
- "Subscribe" are the venues you would like to know about.
- "Your Notifications" are the days of the week you will be notified of your subscribed spot/venue.
- "Whats Down" is a dynamic menu of the event/ promotion lists by each venue.
- "I'm Down" user powered ranking of events at individual locations.
- "Event" allows the user/venue to input an events/promotions at that particular spot.
- "Browse" enables you to search by pre-selected criteria ie: My Spots, Most Popular and All.
- "Search" live search of venues.
- "Next" at the bottom of the page moves you to the next page of venues.

Currently, this service is available for the folks living in San Francisco, Seattle and Tri Cities, but plans are underway to launch the same in New York City, Las Vegas, Boston, Austin, Madison, Miami, Denver, Portland, Vancouver, Chicago, Philadelphia, Phoenix, Atlanta, and Houston.

Interestin' concept though.. Further, other relevant information is provided for locating the venues in form of mashups.

Damn, I hope these folks go global soon rather than merely concentrating on the Big Sam!

Friday, February 23, 2007

Microsoft hit yet again!

Microsoft Corp definitely isn't having the best of weeks. First the news of Google Apps going pro is a huge concern for them, and now a federal jury in San Diego has ordered Microsoft to pay $1.5 billion to Alcatel-Lucent in a patent dispute over MP3 audio technology used in Windows.

In its verdict, the jury took into the account all the Windows PCs sold since May 2003. This entire episode can have some serious repurcussions as Alcatel-Lucent might now seek royalties from the other technology companies like Apple, Intel and Texas Instruments. Read the detailed coverage with the representatives of either parties here at TechBridge.


A stunner of a video that I came across on the God of car videos - StreetFire. Well, without wastin' much time.. check this Bugatti Veyron burning the streets. Keep the headphones on.. its better than the sound of music!! :D

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Its the GOOGs again..

The secret now finally has open with Google announcing that it will charge a fee of $50 for its online suite of software that includes e-mail, word processing, spreadsheets and calendar management. Labelled as Google Apps Premier Edition, it provides a 10 GB / account for emails and 99.9% uptime guarantee for the same. So the advantage offered above its free edition is a 5 fold increase of the email storage capacity. Further, it also provides APIs to integrate with your existing infrastructure - i.e. Organizations that already maintain a user directory can use the Google Apps Premier Edition APIs to automatically keep their user accounts in sync across systems. Now that is a huge plus that comes for the $50 prices that you pay.

The timing however, perhaps couldn't have been better, with Microsoft Corp. spending a fortune trying to persuade even the animals(damn.. k its an exaggeration) to buy their Vista edition with the revamped Outlook (personally I didn't like it though) et al.

However, documents and applications making use of online storage are yet to generate mass acceptance because they entail with them a huge dependability factor - the availability of internet. With memory getting cheaper by the hour, the only advantage that online storage provides is that they are accessible from almost any location - provided you've got the 3 w's runnin'..

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Required --- GUI Designers for Yahoo! ;)

I was trying to get an update on what's been on off late on the super sublime world of web, and came across some stunning criticism of Yahoo's new read-vote-submit system in place for their suggestion board. Well, on the first look it does look strikingly similar to Digg and yeah, at once I wondered what Yahoo was upto. Yeah, I do understand that Digg doesn't hold a patent to their system and there must be a zillion websites employing the same technique. But then, Yahoo ain't just another one of those zillion ones.

However on another thought, I wondered if this criticism was really asked for. Yahoo is not putting this system in place for polling for stories from the web.. rather, its just used for folks who visit their suggestion board, where the suggestions are marked by their popularity. Now that ain't a crime..

The only potential problem that I felt was the user interface presented by Yahoo. Now I have been workin' as a software engineer for almost 3 yrs, and have seen this fact - no matter what code goes in the backend, but the questions are raised on the interface designers, coz thats precisely whats visible to the end user. Now, although the algorithm, design, blah blah used by Yahoo might be strikingly different (perhaps better) from that of Digg, but damn.. the interface is so similar. Its just a 'another_template' version of Digg. This really forces me to wonder, what were their GUI designers doing, or probably too inspired with Digg.. In that case, its a compliment to the Digg Developers.. :D

Friday, February 16, 2007

Glorious Uncertainities!

Too many Davids.. one Goliath.. Usually, when so many matches are being played ahead of the big Cup, one tends to get lost and eventually lose interest during the proceedings. But then, the results that have come forth, really have summed up for a perfect recipe and actually thrown quite a few contenders up in the ring for the big one!

Nopes, don't get me wrong. Am not underestimatin' the Aussies, they still are the best team, and on sportin' terms, do deserve to win the cup. But then, after all, they are fallible, as was evident when an Collingwood-inspired outfit defeated them thrice in a row.. wow, I really can't recall that happenin' ever before.. And then, the Kiwis just scripted a perfect annihilation, handlin' them a 10 wicket defeat, for the first time in Aussie ODI history!! Avid cricket followers might argue, that the World Cup might change hands this year in the Carribean. I do second that thought, but not 'coz of the results, but more 'coz of the injuries to key players.. A bit of an analysis that I got into, and for me these folks might make a huge difference on the outcome of the Cup -

Brett Lee - Well, if this bloke misses out for his ankle injury, its gonna be ultra difficult for the team down under to regain the championship. Arguably, the hardest trier in the modern game, which also makes me a huge fan of his.. and it would be askin' too much of Shaun Tait to come in and have the same effect that Brett Lee does on the opposition. With all due concern, I really hope he gets fit in time..

Andrew 'Roy' Symonds - Well, the team has never look so disbalanced as it did in the CommonWealth Bank Series, once Symonds left coz of his Bicep injury. No more, did the opposition had to bear the sight of him lurkin' around the covers region, cuttin' off almost any ball hit in that vicinity and the batsman could finally do away with a few cheeky singles.. bowlers could bowl with a lot more freedom in the middle overs, without really fearing of gettin' hit into the stands.. and it was evident that Pontin' missed his off cutters in the middle overs.. No Roy, and that hits them by atleast a good 15%..

Sourav Ganguly - Incredible comeback.. villain one moment, and now the entire team looks to be kinda dependent on him after a year. The sublime drives through cover point are back, the pull over mid wicket is a big bonus.. but what stands out is the commmitment that he has shown. He's never been a great fielder, and niether is gonna be one, but its the commitment that he has shown, which has picked up on the other frail members. Gone for money, wasn't he a few months back.. u dare say that now!

Zaheer Khan - Is this just a coincidence, that the player who Ganguly was too fond off, went out almost the same time as his mentor.. and came back (with a bang) together as well.. hmm.. makes up for an interestin' storyline! He's never looked this fitter, this committed and this disciplined ever before! That spell of his on the final day at Newlands(which India Lost) was truly inspirational and was pretty sad that it wasn't capitalized by the others. India was gone for all money, but that 6-7 over burst against the likes of Kallis and Prince was somethin' he would be proud off. India does rediscover a potential spearhead, hope he doesn't fade away the way he did in the finals of 2003..

Jacob Oram - oh ho! Did someone in the Aussie media write, that he's a poor man's Chris Cairns, and did it piss him off.. phew, he whacked the Aussies all over the WACA park the next day.. and did it yet again against the poms the following match.. At 6 foot 7, this huge dude from across the Tasman, holds the key to their middle order, and makes up for an interstin' trio of McCullum, Oram and Vettori to take advantage of the slog overs.. Update: damn, he fractured his finger y'day takin' a dolly against the Aussies.. again that silly technique of catchin' the ball with palms pointin' up.. I'll have to put somethin' bout it for sure.. its so goddamn silly..

Well, don't think I missed Good 'Ol Collingwood.. Well, too much being written 'bout him everywhere, but this quote by Ted Corbett sums it up the best,

Instead, he is a great man, a never-say-die character who lives only for his cricket, and in the tradition of David Steele who confronted the all conquering Australians 30 years ago with courage.

A long week past..

Its been a good ten odd days, since I last posted somethin' here. But yeah, so that brings up quite a few things to write 'bout now.. Phew.. last weekend was a pretty long one, with an inconsequential B'lore Shutdown on Monday, and all I did do was to watch a plethora of flicks, a few of them which I won't mind watchin' again..

It ain't over till its over.. Open the doors once again for the relentless Rocky Balboa. The arthritic 60 yr old still managed to pull one of the greatest rocky flicks ever. Others might just have a different view of the same, coz of it not containin' enough adrenalin pumpin' moments. But for me, it was the crudeness of the movie in this age of highly sophisticated, ultra complicated ones. And as Rocky Jr. says,
"Hey, stay on him! Everybody thought this was a joke, including me! Now, nobody's laughing! Stay on him!"

Jason Bourne - Well, nothin' new 'bout Bourne Identity and Supremacy, but then hadn't seen them till now, and the surroundin' boredom literally forced me to check out their dvds. Can safely say now.. No Regrets! I ain't that huge a fan of the likes of (almost) super human, gizmo, he-can-do-it-all flicks, but then the vulnerability of Matt Damon as Bourne really pulls it off.

Apocalypto - Ain't got an idea 'bout what Mel Gibson is upto! What the heck, I just couldn't really figure out what was the idea behind this critically acclaimed movie 'bout the Mayan Civilization. Brutal, crazy and not for the weak hearted! Mel seems to be engrossed with the history of human civilization, but this one definitely falls short of the brilliant Passion of the Christ..

Aaarrgggggghh.. I am waitin' now for 300, that should be really interestin'..

Wednesday, February 7, 2007

Webbin' the next level..

This is so goddamn confusin'. NY Times, puts up an article on the advent of Web 3.0 (yet another zingo term), about how its gonna concentrate on core Computer Science concepts like Data Minin', AI, Natural Language Processin' and the like. Integrating Data, and not just Text Integration. Wow, sounds cool.. But is it takin' it a bit too far too soon. Came across a couple of blogs and they just kinda killed the article..

I'll keep on tryin' till eternity.. ;)

Well, nothin' of that sort though here, coz I do find it interestin'. But then, something somewhere tickles in this systema nervosum periphericerum (read my screwed up brain cells) of mine yet again.. I was wonderin' about the concept of social networkin' sites (read time killers) which are growin' by the day. Sometime back I did pull up a blog on Monetizin' Web which was all about where is the money gonna come from. However, this is another day.. analyze this - Is Web 2.0 paving a way to bigger things than just immediate revenues? Is it a 'oh so cool' way of makin' up a huge Knowledge base of vital information.. information of sorts which is not available on the net otherwise (com'on who'd know what my fav flicks are?)..As of today, Orkut has 42,614,553 members.. Imagine the plethora of information associated with it.. phew!

The so called Web 3.0 talks 'bout semantic analysis of information - which in terms of search-on-the-web would mean answerin' queries like 'which movie should i watch on the weekend' or 'i earn $XXXXX and work at Sweet Alabama.. Lookin' for a house on rent'.. MetaWeb as a few folks have termed this kind of information, which is a couple of notches above MetaData. Have a semantic engine runnin' on top of the information available, and have the best of your Natural Language Processors runnin' on it. You never know whats possible.. Check out Cycorp Inc, an Austin based firm on this..

Moroever, its not just the rate at which these time killers are comin' up, but one needs to also check out the rate at which they are acquired. Flickr-Yahoo, Orkut-Google and I believe a whole lot of movie networkin' sites like Flixster probably providin' data to folks like Amazon..

Am I readin' too much into it? Yeah.. I guess so!

Sunday, February 4, 2007

Persistent Discipline.. finally..

The prestigious Ranji Trophy finals are on, and its pretty much evident that the star studded team of M'bai despite its initial hiccups in the competition would once again take away the honors. But for me, its Bengal who have been a real revelation in the way that they have played the game. Without any big stars, barring Ganguly, they have been an inspirational side consisting of young blokes (especially in their middle order) who have really belted and toyed with the opposition. I'll write 'bout it later, but for now, its one man who's spearheaded their bowling attack. Ranadeb Bose, 27, who's taken 57 wickets this season at an astounding avg of 14 odd has been a nemisis for all sides including M'bai. Read more 'bout him in this article by Cricinfo.

Accuracy and discipline are his main weapons; he has taken 194 first-class wickets without having bowled a single no-ball. He corrects you, not in an official game: first class, club et al. Ten thousand seven hundred and eight balls without overstepping even once. This in a country and a time when coaches keep stumps to mark the crease at the nets to ensure bowlers do not bowl no-balls!

P.S: What the heck, this guy isn't even in the list of 30 probables for the WC ! In a championship which has historically been a demonstration of batting records on benign turfs, a performance of this scale is nothin' short of being exemplary. I am no Bengal supporter, but then I hope the self glorified folks(read BCCI) stop makin' a mockery of an already screwed up domestic championship..

Saturday, February 3, 2007

Mobile Lifestyle Portal, eh!

Mobio Networks announced their product GetMobio, a mobile product which offers over 50 mashup applications on your mobile which help you (re)define your lifestyle. GetMobio allows people to use their mobile phones to locate the hottest nightclubs, call a cab, find alternative flights, book a table at the latest restaurants or reserve tee times. Ramneek Bhasin, CEO of Mobio acknowledges that although point solutions do exist, but they aim at taking a holistic approach to delivering a wide range of lifestyle-specific mobile applications and making them fun, simple and useful.

Well, I haven't really tried their applications (can't do on my handset), but they are there for free with just a simple registration that is required. (Preview above from Venturebeat)Well, curious folks might think that in registration lies a business model, coz it provided customer preference information, which could be up for grabs. But according to these folks, "We collect personal info for one reason only - to get you the GetMobio software for your mobile phone"..

GetMobio ships with 10 collections, which are sets of mash-up applications, widgets and content feeds (RSS) tailored to the person’s location and preferences. These collections range from “After Midnight” to “Outwitting the Kids” and provide access to everything from hip lounges and comedy clubs to local hospitals and ice cream shops. Mobio also works with partners such as Kaboodle and OpenTable and develops targeted applications such as Mobile Flight Times, Mobile Movie Times and Mobile Fine Dining. Mobio’s applications are designed to be used in very few clicks (usually three or less), with no or minimal data entry, and are created for the most popular and widely available mobile phones on the market, such as the Motorola RAZR.

GetMobio Collections
The initial rollout of GetMobio consists of 10 collections with over 50 applications, widgets and content feeds, including:

After Midnight – Places to go after midnight
Stepping Out – High-energy places to see and be seen
Chilling Out – Low-key places to meet up and do things
Romance Me – Everything you need to make your night special
Panic Kit – In case of emergency
Outwitting the Kids – Stuff for parents at their wits end
Two on the Town – Treat your home town - or any town - as a vacation destination
Urban Trekker – Single destinations of interest – such as museums or shopping
Indulge Me – High-end cravings for cigars, chocolate, massage, body art & piercings
Gadgetophilia – Where to go to see the latest gadgets