Thursday, May 31, 2007

Surface Computing.. A Long Standing Due..

Style and Innovation is definitely in - after Apple announced iPhones, a novel concept, its now Microsoft which has managed to turn people's heads. On May 30, they announced and showcased their latest venture - Surface Computing. Well, as novel as it may sound, however this computing concept has been there since the 1980s with firms such as PerceptivePixel, Microsoft is now trying to bring it to the common world.
For the introduction, a Surface features a 30-inch tabletop display which acts as a multitouch and hence multiuser interactive interface, all without a mouse and a keyboard. So you can just let your fingers do the talking on the surface itself - manipulating images, painting pictures, navigating maps et al. Intuition now is changing its interface!!
I saw a couple of videos related to the same, and the gizmo looks jazzy enough to deserve a mention. Well, it might not really be of use as a computing powerhouse for now, and with the initial offering hovering around the $10,000 mark, it might also not be a part of common man's household, but things change fast in this digital world, ain't it?

Barring, the multitouch fundamental concept of this device, the one thing that really hit me was the terrific data transfer capabilities that are possible. With multiple infra-red cameras built in, the digitized surface can intercept any object that is placed on it. Now consider a camera on the surface along with a infra-red enabled phone!! Did the bells ring? Once the camera is placed on the surface media, data i.e. the images can be extracted out of it and dragged into the phone.. with your hands, without actually connecting the 2 devices......

Code named Milan, this multipoint device is all set for an initial rollout as early as 2007 (though we don't trust Microsoft after the Vista deadline debacle) and the first buyers would be the casinos and the retail outfits.
Needless to explain, check out the videos..Its like Minority Report revisited.. ;)

The Bill 'n Steve Show!

Well, a conference probably never seen before. Welcome Mr. Bill Gates and Mr. Steve Jobs together.. View the entire conference here, which was held in the annual D conference. As expected, Walter Mossberg and Kara Swisher were the mediators. Its a classic..

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Yet another Search Revolution?

This could be the sensational declaration of the year. I just came across a new Search Engine, My Live Search, which is due to be launched in June this year and claims to bring about a revolution in the Search Technology. Apparently the research on this has been on since 8 yrs now and not in the Silicon Valley, but in Melbourne! Michael Arrington of Techcrunch has also reported on this and suddenly we see a buzz about this being created.

As the name indicates, they claim that their search results for your queries will be fetched out from live pages, rather than from already indexed pages in the database, which is the way todays search engines work! Live searching and indexing, huh? Sounds interesting but we'll have to wait till June to see their beta version!

Monday, May 28, 2007

Facile Wins..

Another season begins for world cricket after a forgettable World Cup, and it was quite expected that the season openers will be as disappointing as its preceeding event. India went on to Bangladesh whereas the West Indians marshalled to meet the Poms. Well, sans Brian Lara its difficult to really categorize the once-upon-a-time world beaters as a serious contender.
The innumerable matches played has not only resulted in a over the top hectic schedule for the players, but also for us mortals and the broadcasters. Bangladeshi crowds form one of the most vociferous crowds in the world, and it was pretty sad to see near empty stadiums in the ill scheduled tour.
On the quality of the game played, it was indeed a very sorry display. Even being a staunch Indian supporter, it was disappointing to say the least to see the way they performed. Be it the 4 tons and the record margin of victory over their neighbors, but the high adrenalin factor was nowhere to be seen. A struggling Tendulkar, according to Cricinfo summarizes the tour in entireity.

Even the just concluded game involving the Poms and the West Indians was pretty pathetic. I am not sure, but guess a county side would have probably given more fight to the English Team. Yeah, a few bright spots like the Pietersen double or a Monty Special or a Sidebottom comeback, but on the whole.. nnaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhhhh..
Perhaps Pakistan beating the Lankans was the saving grace, though just. Though sans Murali and Vaas, I'm not sure if we can put the Lankan tigers in the same category. But on the contrary, it was indeed refreshing to see a seemingly rejuvenated Paki outfit under the ever reliable and street smart Shoaib Malik. This chap might just get the team to a position where it belongs, i.e. near the top of the charts!

Friday, May 25, 2007

Google Desktop Search 5

Google Desktop Search 5 has been launched, and the 1.8Mb download doesn't really tickle much. There's nothing really much different from its earlier versions. I did go through the release notes, which had this to say -
- Faster Search
- Inline preview about the document, which can give an overall idea of its contents
- Advanced Security Features
- Quick Search option
- Jazzier gadgets

However, I wasn't really satisfied with the results. For instance, I keyed in Synergy, but didn't get the result that I was looking for. Ideally, it should have showed me the Synergy application location, from where I could have fired it. Colibri still remains my favorite in this case.
But yeah, document searching is pretty fast and the tool can be a handful in this case. I'll update on this more, as and when I come out with some more on this. Download is available here..A more comprehensive description has been put by Google on their page.
Downsides -
- Damn, I still have to restart my system to complete the installation!
- With Vista already integrating desktop search, I am not sure how many Microsoft systems will Google be able to penetrate with its own Desktop Search..

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Welcome to Roland Garros!


This is what the French Open 2007 holds in it for me. Be it anyone, the Nalbandians, the 'Rafas', the Federers or the Canas', anyone can win it and that's why I love this competition. Folks might differ from me in this respect since quite a few find this Clay Court Grand Slam too boring and even exhausting to watch, but for me this is the ultimate test of character when it comes to Tennis. Marathon matches in the sultry heat, eternal rallies and every aspect of the game tested - What else can one crave for?The seedings will be released today, but history says that they haven't really been that critical when it comes to the French Open. Rafael Nadal, or "Rafa" was the popular choice, but with him getting beaten at the recently concluded Hamburg Open by Federer pulls the door wide open. Damn, still tough to believe the final set scoreline, 6-0 to Federer! Prior to the final, I had little doubt in my mind regarding Nadal extending the 81 match winning streak and thought that he'll carry the same in the French Open. But bang.. that's exactly what sport is.. UNPREDICTABLE!
A 7-4 head to head record definitely puts the odds in Nadal's favor, but the amount of tennis that he has played in the past couple of months would have probably added to the levels of exhaustion which was evident at the Hamburg Final as well. Nadal also admitted after the match,
"I lost a little bit of power after the first set and maybe I was mentally a little bit tired."

Federer understandably is a upbeat about his chances against Nadal,
"I'm feeling very good going into the French Open and I'm excited it's coming around now."

But its not just these 2 super-humans (well almost) who have the ability to lift the trophy on June 10th. History has it - that the Brugueras, the Gaudios, the Ferreros and the Costas have come out of no where to emerge champions at Roland Garros. Match of the French Open till now for me - Andre Agassi beating Andrei Medvedev in the 5 setter marathon in 1999!
Anyone playing the prediction game? Well, the predictometer can really go wrong here. Will the man from Basel do the ultimate, and win the highly coveted Grand Slam thereby filling up the missing trophy in his kitty? Or win Rafa kick start another of his winning streaks? Or we'll have yet another Grand Slam winner? Whichever guess comes true, the party beginning May 27th is surely going to be one helluva one..
Tennis has never been the same again for me since Andre Agassi called it quits. Well, slowly gaining back interest again, though it will be tough to get it to the same in this post-Andre period..Nothing to do with the French Open, but guess this clip really says it all about Andre Agassi!

Talk 'bout Acoustics? Check this out..

Emails have poured today in my inbox asking me to open a link, finally I did let it go. Damn, you can call it creepy, realistic or just brilliant. Get on your headphones and listen to this..

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Back in time with President Whitmore!!

Its been more than a decade since this movie released, and was the first english flick that I saw in a theatre at Chanakya, Delhi.. and its been more than atleast 100 viewings that I have done for this movie.. but even now whenever it's aired on the television, like it did last sunday prime time, I'm instigated by myself to gear up for another viewing, thereby adding to the numbers. Independence Day just rocks. I am surprised its been given a 6 pointer on the mother of all movie sites, IMDB, but thats the way it is. Sometimes, the Gods also do get crazy. Be it Jeff Goldblum or Will Smith or Bill Pullman, the characters potrayed by them are just brilliant. Ignore the critics pointing at reasons such as how can a virus bring down the entire mother ship or a space ship of the size of 1/4th of the moon would cause tidal waves or the destruction of such a huge ship would be catastrophic for earth and its inhabitants - aah, I guess I'll find a reason to negate all that stuff.. Never again as any movie involving the ETs has generated this hype.
Moment of the movie.. errrrrrrr.. can't be anything but President Whitmore's stirring speech to his fellow fighter pilots at the Area 51 base.. For the ID lovers, here it is.. yeah courtesy You-Tube again..

Monday, May 21, 2007

High on Flyin'..Low on Basics..

The Low Cost Airlines continue to embarrass themselves and they do that pretty badly. One such air liner is Go-Air. I've had a tough time with them in the past, when they cancelled their flights multiple times, and eventually again doing the same thing a day before the departure. Sorry state to say the least, since I won't be using any expletives here.
However, y'day morning they were supposed to release some tickets, or rather low priced tickets, and I was again up early morning checking out their rates. Voila, this is what I get on submitting the details..In a country where a substantial percentage of workforce forms the IT core for majority of international firms, it is pretty frustrating to notice instances like these..

P.S: My friend Venu, interestingly had posted this on the ongoing marketing warfare between these so called giants..

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Search.. Continues to Grow..

One of the biggest buzzwords to come out of the last decade is 'Search'. Since the evolution of the Internet from the days of the ARPA, there were millions of web pages in the early 90s with hardly any organization associated with them. Cometh the likes of Alta Vista, Infoseek, et al and we had the basic search torches with us. Google obviously redefined the search business through their PageRank algorithm. Its nearing the end of first decade of the twenty first century, and there has been this seamless migration towards metadata search and searching across networks. The trend's changing and last week had some startling news to support these facts.
Social networking is getting on the next level now. ZDNet reported last week on how Explode, the meta-social-networking site has added search api's which would enable searching for a soul across networks such as Flickr, Live Journal, Vox, YouTube, and Tribe, as well as the Explode network itself. Incredible as it may sound, but an 'A' can get across to a 'B' so damn easily now, even though not really knowing each other. I did try to check out Explode, but it's currently in the beta stage and accounts are created by invitation, and am yet to get one to try it. On similar lines, Spock was also launched which allows user to claim the search results, and linking themselves to the networks/communities that they belong to. No validation is done by Spock in this case, and is left to the community to authorize the details.
The whole fundamental issue of crawling across networks to yield search results is as exhaustive as it can get for the user. This might definitely look appealing but if referred to a more holistic view, the privacy takes a hit in the former case of Explode and Spock. Too much leverage to the end user and hence the feature itself partly becomes a security hole. The entire concept of metadata crawling and intra network search is bound to generate some heat when the beta stage websites go live.
Apart from social networking, last week Google also announced that its search results will now combine the results from other web services to provide a more exhaustive result sheet for the end user. For instance, searching Google Videos for a particular video would not also incorporate results from Metacafe. A classic case of dual level indexing, where the already indexed results by a certain search service is indexed again by another service.
'Search' is definitely going places..

Thursday, May 17, 2007

World Hold On.. :D

Some wierd ideas keep creeping in..

P.S: Please click on the image to expand. Yeah, and if you are caught up in the numbers, use this for conversion.. :D

Monday, May 14, 2007

Microsoft, Sandisk, Apple.. et al

I haven't been busy really, but haven't been posting anything since the past few days. All I've been doing is reading a lot of stuff, and I guess it would be appropriate to share what I've been going through. A lot of Microsoft is in the news, and somehow the leaders have managed to stay on the headlines since their Yahoo acquisition talks. I have no idea what happened to all that hoopla which was expected to carry forward since the last week, but then here is something else -

- Microsoft and Sandisk (the flash drive makers) partnering to come out with the next generation of USB drives and memory cards that lets users carry a personalized desktop and applications to any Windows PC. Well, to be more specific this next generation is carrying forward the U3 technology to the next level. I wasn't aware of this 'U3' buzzword, and then wiky-ing made me aware of the concept. In brief, U3 allows applications to be directly launched from the flash drive through a U3 launchpad which is similar to a Windows OS Start Menu. So basically you can personalize any desktop with your own settings by plugging in your U3 drive. Now both Microsoft and Sandisk are working towards carrying the entire desktop with you on your flash drive, so you can virtually personalize any desktop with your own settings. Interesting read..

- This might seem hilarious to a few, and audacious to a few more - Microsoft claiming that Linux has stolen 235 of its patents and is 'planning' to sue Linux out of the market. Well, as audacious as it might seem, it definitely won't be easy to even plan to take out the deep rooted Open Source Software from any realm. Happy Suing folks..

- This isn't new, but somehow didn't lay my eyes on this article earlier. A damn good analysis by Scot Finnie of ComputerWorld, on why Microsoft should fear Apple. Citing reasons of Apple being more market share savvy, superior products and the never-before seen buzz about itself, it makes up for a good read and some alarm bells for the giants.

- Further, nothing concrete about this article, but just the deft comparisons made. Dan Farber of ZDNet talks about recolonization of the world.. rather the web world!

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Indian Sporting Arena..Dying?

Often a question arises - why can't a country of 1 billion people produce sportsmen of supreme quality who can compete on a world stage? Even after a huge amount of money which is being pumped in, the quality of sportsmen is not on a uphill graph unlike most other sports loving nations. Somewhere, something is definitely lacking, something is not quite upto the mark!
Sports is an indispensable facette of any Indian individual. But sadly the two leaders in this genre (read Hockey and Cricket) are on a rapid decline. Well, the downhill graph of hockey could have been attributed to lack of funds and nationwide coverage earlier, but with the likes of Indian Premier League coming up, this hasn't been the case for the past few years. All the dailies, news and various sports channels are studded with the news regarding IPL. On the other hand, cricket is definitely not suffering from any of the obvious factors, be it lack of funds or coverage. Perhaps an overdose of these has cause its undoing!
I didn't watch India play Bangladesh, but was tuned to the online commentary, courtesy Cricinfo. It was indeed painful and disturbing to see the latter as being favorites for most part of the match, till a couple of sensible innings settled the draw in India's favor. I'm definitely not undermining Bangladesh, but the vigor is missing with folks wearing the Indian colors. Half of the 11 playing there aren't sure of their future and the other have been maligned pretty badly by the media. Not having the mind in the place won't be too difficult in that case, I guess! The proud champions of the '83 saga are being found wanting..seriously wanting! Bruised and battered by their World Cup performance, they need some kind of an enigma to get them back up and standing on the world stage.

The situation now is pretty much the same it was when India folded out of the competition in the '92 season down under. They suffered badly and with the likes of Kapil Dev bidding adieu to the game, Indian cricket seemed to have entered a dark tunnel. It was a tough journey, but then the flash was provided by Sachin Tendulkar, a player who single-handedly turned the fortunes of Indian Cricket. No, I'm not talking about him winning games for India, but what his contribution to the Indian Cricket has been much more than that. He pulled the crowds back into the grounds, and made the entire cricketing world talk about this genius, thereby putting India back on the charts of World Cricket.
A spark was provided then, and a similar one is needed now. Winning is required, yes.. but what's more required is someone to pull the crowds back, to infuse new interest into this game. I was particularly excited about Manoj Tiwari, he looked to be someone who might have belonged to the real genre, but with him getting injured, it couldn't have been bad. There are no doubts in my mind that India is going to win the series, and may be a few Indian batsmen might hit some serious runs, but Indian Cricket definitely..definitely needs much more than that!
I really don't want to delve into aspects like people becoming sports ministers inspite of them probably never stepped into an atheletes shoes. No point trying to find solutions to problems which would be deemed as not viable.
Thankfully, India has reached the semi-finals of the Azlan Shah hockey, I'll be definitely tuned to that. Its been long since our stick players have done something, which is worthwhile mentioning.

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Walter Mossberg..

Just came across an article on how a certain gentleman named Walter Mossberg can influence the future of a product..

Monday, May 7, 2007

Apple Inc..Innovation Kings

Google might have become ruled the roost by notching up top stop in the Millward Brown - Top 100 most Powerful Brands survey for 2007, but in the recent survey on the Most Innovative companies, its Apple which has taken the top honors. It has taken this spot for the third time in a row, beating Google by twice as many votes!
Read the details of the survey held by BusinessWeek-Boston Consulting Group here..

Battle of the Browsers..

ComputerWorld today reported that the growth in the % users using Microsoft IE7 browser has stagnated. To quote these folks,
Within weeks of its October 2006 launch, IE7 accounted for nearly 10% of all browsers used on the Web, reported Aliso Viejo, Calif.-based Net Applications in its latest look at browser use. Over the next three months, IE7 posted month-to-month gains that ranged from 4% to almost 10%, so that by the end of February, it owned 29.1% of the market. Since then, however, it's taken two months to grow another point and a half.

Well, although it is expected that graph inclination becomes stable with time, but to get to the stabilit point so soon was not really expected. Interestingly, IE6 still holds the top spot for the largest number of users, with the figures hovering around the 47% mark (ComputerWorld)!
Microsoft's monopoly and rise in the browser market started when they etched out Netscape in the mid-90s to emerge as the winners of the browser war. But from there on, with Mozilla has managed to draw significant attention and with it a steadily increasing bunch of users. Today, they account for an impressive 16% of all users.
Well, time for a new player to enter the market..and who else other than the Google folks. There has been a lot of debate of them coming out with their own browser. They even managed to stage their April Fool prank out of the same. But on a serious note, I think they might just be making an entry into this field as well. If one does look at the applications that Google provides, it does make up for a perfect recipe for the 'browser-o-dish'. The Google Toolbar is actually a kind of mini browser which most of us have integrated in our existing browsers. With a plethora of options provided from this mini-toolbar, it does provide a strong 'googlish' them on the underlying browser. Launching Google news, Gmail or for that matter any of their websites - its just a matter of a single click. This 1.1 Mb of a small download has a powerhouse of an impact.
So I was wondering that if Google does come out with their browser, what would it be like -
- I use Opera 9 for now, which I somehow find very good. It does cache in a lot of data, and hence does score some brownie points on this front, but then it happens at the cost of memory leaks as well. So I'd like to have caching + no/less memory issues.
- All google portals available at single click of mouse. (likes of picassa, orkut, blogger included)
- Google's own web history (accessible from client across any location)
- Integration of Google desktop search with it as well
- Minimal or no ads
- Kill the irrelevant popups
- Antispyware integrated

Well, I just googled about the 'Google Browser' and people had posted about it way back, as early as the early part of this decade. The discussion has now died down and so have most of the links! How about a Browser Wars 3: Clash of the Titans?

Friday, May 4, 2007

Here comes the Biggie.. Microsoft keen on Yahoo acquisition!

Just wondering.. Did it all start with Yahoo Messenger's integration(almost) with its Microsoft's Counterpart???
So here comes the biggest story of the day - Microsoft have approached Yahoo (once again!) tryin' to work out on some kind of a merger/acquisition between the two! Now thats more like acting on a do-or-die kind of a platform.
According to New York Post,
The new approach follows an offer Microsoft made to acquire Yahoo! a few months ago, sources said. But Yahoo! spurned the advances of the Redmond, Wash.-based software giant. Wall Street sources put a roughly $50 billion price tag on Yahoo!

Attack is often the best line of defence! Its evident that Microsoft has been stung badly after the DoubleClick deal went in Google's favor. I had written then about the analysts speculating a possible MSFT-YHOO merger; and its been barely a couple of weeks since then.
Microsoft hasn't been having the smoothest of times -
- Vista delay already getting a rough panning
- Apple has been a revelation with iPod and seems to be workin' hard on the Mac OS X (Leopard)
- MSN's steadily declining % share (down to 9.1% from 13% last year)
- Losing the DoubleClick deal to Google

On the other hand, Yahoo has been facing the music for a while as well. With the profits falling down below 10% for the first time ever last quarter, its not been a rosy start to the year for them either.
Both Yahoo and Microsoft have been trying to improve their search engines and also trying to gain some of the lost ground in web/mobile advertising. A successful merger and the two companies would account for about 27 percent of the world’s Web search queries, compared with Google’s share of about 65 percent, according to data from comScore.
But such 'huge' deals often look tough until they come off. Consider this, Yahoo possess a market cap of $40 Billion and Microsoft $290 Billion.. Did I refer to this one as a 'huge' deal? Damn.. its a 'giant' one!
Further, even if the deal does go through, things won't be very easy. Corporate cultural differences could lead to a lot of senior folks leaving the board. On the other side, a lot of Yahoo users might just look elsewhere after their merger with the Seattle giant.
Whatever happens, its definitely one helluva war going out there. Time to see what's King Bill going from here on..

Thursday, May 3, 2007

Tennis' gone Crazy!

Facts first please..
Organizers needed 19 days and $1.63 million to create the court, which divides the surfaces by halves for a unique match in which a player can receive on clay and hit a winner on grass -- or vice versa.

Roger Federer might be the undisputed king of grass court tennis, but Rafael Nadal had the better of him in the match on the mixed surface(half clay-half grass) at Palma De Mallorca, Balearic Islands.
I managed to see a few clips of the match on ESPN's SportsCenter, and it was evident that both players suffered from the inconsistent bounce extracted on the grass court. Though it was an exhibition encounter, but the intensity was very evident with both the champions trying every bit to prove themselves. Rafael though came out trumps with 7-5, 4-6, 7-6 (10).
Just managed to get hold of a video - decides to take 'em on!

The community-based popularity website Digg founder Kevin Rose has come out with a strong statement,
If we lose, then what the hell, at least we died trying.

After taking down the posts containing the code which allows individuals to remove the encryption from HD-DVDs by revealing the encryption keys, Digg faced with a massive user revolt in form of reposts of the original story. After initial attempts to take down all such stories in the fear of copyright infringement, Digg finally took a stance and decided not to take off any more stories thereby respecting the users' sentiments. This might turn out to be a difficult phase for Digg, as Motion Picture Association of America and the Recording Industry Association of America, the two giants trying to fight off piracy are not likely to take this stance by Digg in a positive manner.

As Portfolio aptly sums it up,
Digg may be the first victim of "Web 2.0" style user control

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Yahoo..finally wakes up..

Google's generally the one making all the headlines and scripting interesting stories for bloggers like me. But the business up there is getting really heated up. Yahoo is finally making heads turn towards itself. First it acquired RightMedia, an ad-services company with a distinctly different business model in a $680 million deal. Now, this certainly isn't mere coincidence considering Google did buy off DoubleClick for a whopping $3.1 Billion just a couple of weeks back.
Further, Yahoo has now launched the browser version (beta) of its much famous Messenger version. I did check it out and it looks a pretty jazzy version of its chat application, sans the Plugins (Music LaunchCast, et al). It is more like a basic web client version similar to what Meebo came out with. But better late than never - Google has been trying to incorporate their chat client, Gtalk, with almost every application they can lay their hands on - be it Orkut, Gmail and now even on your blog (Read about it here). But it seems like, Yahoo has spent some time on the details as well. Try first logging to your existing Yahoo chat client and then doing the same through their browser chat client! Hmmmmm..not bad!

The Marine - A Bad Dream..

Normally, I don't post any movie reviews, unless I really find them worth mentioning. 300 was the last one that I had mentioned because of obvious reasons. But then sometimes, one has to mention them, or rather forced to mention them because they surpass all boundaries of sense and sensibility. The Marine was one such experience!
Sense and Sensibility - that was precisely what I lost while watching it! Action flicks are appealing, and if that features John Cena (silent admirer of that bloke) it adds another reason to watch it. For non WWE regulars, John Cena's is among the top blokes in that 'business'..
The Marine was the #1 most rented DVD in its first week of release.[1] It has so far made over 24 million dollars in home sales and rental.


It did begin with a decent backdrop with the main protagonist, Cena, getting fired from the Marine Corps, but then where did he land up after that - as a security officer in some firm!!! Am not really sure if the pride associated with being a Marine Corp would allow one to do that!
Loads of bullets, rocket launchers and almost every piece of equipment and tactic tried to give it a Rambo-ish feel, but sadly it falls flat on its face.. A big ttthhhuuuummmpppppppppp..No one can kill the hero, and as one of the bad guys refer to him as a 'terminator'.. Damnnnnnnnnnn..
Silly bad guys killing each other for no reason, a stupid humor which rather seemed so absurd that it did force a smirk. I really don't know but this movie probably defied lesser logic than a WWE fight.

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

$4 million funding for WinePod - Raise A Toast for 'em!

Didn't I mention in my last post that the zing in the information flow has never looked so terrific in the past.. New gadgets and startups get rolled out almost every other day, each trying to create a market of their own. Rolling out a startup is commendable but not as difficult as to keep it going. The survivors of the Great Dot-Com burst would pay testimony to that.
VCs today go for a thorough review before deciding to invest in any firm. They need the profits, but just that they are more careful now. Niche companies have maintained their edge, and draw more interest towards them. ProVina is one such firm, which has managed to raise $4 million for their award winning product WinePod. Though this might not sound really big but it gave me an oppurtunity to have a look at what WinePod does. Did I say they are niche sector folks? Check out for yourselves..
Winepod created the initial buzz more than a year back with San Francisco Chronicle saying this -
Styled to look like a sleek, stainless steel egg, the WinePod is a high-tech home winemaking machine that promises to turn enophiles into instant winemakers -- just add grapes.

Aha! It did sound interesting. From the initial $1,999 model to the current 2007 roll out which costs $3,499 - the concept remains the same. Provide the inputs to the WinePod through the software interface + the grapes (obviously) and you do get a wine which is very much your own product!
This egg shaped instrument does the job for you, which includes the fermentation process and maintains appropriate ageing temperature using electronically controlled thermoelectric heating and cooling. Further, the entire WinePod management is provided by the WinePod Software, which acts as your consultant towards creating supreme quality wine. Have a look at their demo dashboard here..
But where do the grapes come from?
Well, the WinePod folks are your vineyard managers and they work towards providing the highest quality premium grapes from proven vineyards in world-renowned growing regions at all price-points.
Introduced in 2006 and with patents pending, the WinePod has been recognized with numerous innovation awards. Most recently it was named one of the "Next Big Things" in February 2007 by USA Weekend. In April 2007, the WinePod won Business 2.0 and Frog Designs 2007 "Bottom Line Design Award" for design innovation and strong financial prospects.

According to PR NewsWire, ProVina will use the funds from this round to ramp production to meet the significant demand and launch the product globally.

The Idea..

There has always been so much happening around, be it in any domain. Technology, economics, sports, et al. Perhaps it has always been the case, but the way in which the information flow has expanded has been terrific which makes the entire scene all the more dynamic - which is why the reason to start up with writing a blog. A late idea for sure, but then atleast I did wake up! But why the heck am I writing all this? Well, some of the stuff here might not be the latest, and you might have already read about it elsewhere. After all, I'm not there to put the big guys out of business, isn't it? ;)