- Tweete - This gadget is quite useful with host of features which I will let you explore. You can change the theme of the gadget as well.
- BeTwittered - I used this gadget for quite sometime, but got blocked eventually, probably, owing to the usage that the Net Nanny tracked. Advantage with BeTwittered is that, it periodically looks for updates so that you don't need to refresh it yourself. This is not the case with Tweete.
Sunday, June 21, 2009
Monday, June 8, 2009
In my previous post about WolframAlpha, I compared it with Google where I mentioned that it is a great resource for research analysts.
Few snippets are below:
"The free Wolfram|Alpha service is available for ad hoc, personal, non-commercial use only." ...
"If you make results from Wolfram|Alpha available to anyone else, or incorporate those results into your own documents or presentations, you must include attribution indicating that the results and/or the presentation of the results came from Wolfram|Alpha. ..."
"Failure to properly attribute results from Wolfram|Alpha is not only a violation of these terms, but may also constitute academic plagiarism or a violation of copyright law. Attribution is something we expect you to give us in exchange for us having provided you with a high-quality free service."
There are not many such hassles with Google.
Twitter started with "What are you doing?".
Thursday, June 4, 2009
The first thing that came to my mind was "Chandler Bing" from Friends TV series but did not find Bing as funny. Neither did I find Bing that serious. Bing was launched recently.
My first impression after loading the home page was that there is something outdated about the page. I am not trying to criticize here, but when a search engine is named as a competitor of Google, it better live up to some minimum expectations. One example is when you search for "Google" on Bing, it give you two results. First one is the Google website and then a set of news on Google. Then it forces you to click another URL to see other results. This probably is not the right kind of user experience that I want.
One other observation is about how the image search compares against Google. I would just say that Google wins it hands down, because of the amount of relevant results that Google gives us. I searched for my name on Bing Image search and it gave me hardly 7 results, at the same time Google gave me 439 results of which atleast 50% were relevant images.
For exploring more on how Google and Bing performs against each other, I suggest checking out this webservice.
Till then have fun "Binging" as I go back to "Googling" ... Hope to see Bing match up to Google's level someday ...
Monday, May 18, 2009
Wednesday, May 13, 2009
Real-time web is the next big thing and there are quite a few real-time search services that are creating buzz around. Tweetmeme, OneRiot, Twitscoop, Scoopler etc. Most of these like Tweetmeme and Twitscoop focus around Twitter updates, but OneRiot and Scoopler takes it further to include other services like Digg. Scoopler, which I would really call a "social media search engine" covers Flickr, Youtube, Delicious and other services.
Scoopler keeps it simple and structures the information very effectively. It shows tweets in real-time along with the popular videos, links and images from Youtube, Flickr, Digg etc. Along with it, it also stores your last three searches thereby making it easier to switch between your results.
While your at discovering information through the search, Scoopler makes it easy by showing the entire headline and instead of going to the URL, you can get a "peek" of the content in the target URL and "share" through a host of other services.
More than real-time web I am inclined towards onDemand web as written in the post by @rickmans. With that in mind, Scoopler comes up with too many tweets if you search for a hot topic (Eg: Adam Lambert while American Idol is being aired) and keeps pushing information onto your screen. There is no easy way, time or provision to make sense of the flowing information especially when it is a hot keyword. A "pause" button is critical for Scoopler (or for any real-time service), like in a Tweetmeme or a oneRiot.
Its not eye catchy from a look and feel perspective and I think a lot can be done to improve it.
But, I like Scoopler more than the others right now available.
... and before I finish, Scoopler uses a less known Cloudant, a distributed database service firm (a new type of database) funded by Y Combinator.
Wednesday, April 22, 2009
Pouring out your frustrations online? Posting pictures of the wild party that you had? Hold on ...
41% - candidate posted information about them drinking or using drugs
40% - candidate posted provocative or inappropriate photographs or information
29% - candidate had poor communication skills
28% - candidate bad-mouthed their previous company or fellow employee
27% - candidate lied about qualifications
22% - candidate used discriminatory remarks related to race, gender, religion, etc.
22% - candidate's screen name was unprofessional
21% - candidate was linked to criminal behavior
19% - candidate shared confidential information from previous employers
1. Clean up digital dirt. Make sure to remove pictures, content and links that can send the wrong message to a potential employer before you start your job search.
2. Update your profile regularly. Make sure to include specific accomplishments, inside and outside of work.
3. Monitor comments. Since you can't control what other people say on your site, you may want to use the "block comments" feature.
4. Join groups selectively. While joining a group with a fun or silly name may seem harmless, "Party Monsters R Us" may not give the best impression to a hiring manager. Also be selective about who you accept as "friends."
5. Go private. Consider setting your profile to "private," so only designated friends can view it.
Sunday, April 12, 2009
Thursday, April 9, 2009
According to the post on Geek.com, first desktop in the cloud has been launched. iCloud allows users to have free online storage (upto 3GB free), applications, virtual desktop and backup.
It provides you with 30 free applications and at this moment, supports only IE and Firefox.
Does this service make sense?
iCloud gives you a whole host of options including a command line console. It also manages internet outage, which they explain in their Q & A section:
... if no Internet connection is available when attempting to save or perform changes to a document, icloud will simply store all changes in a transaction buffer that will be sent and synchronized to the data center once an Internet connection has been re-established.
In my first trial, after playing around for 5-10 mins, my IE crashed (which I can probably attribute to Microsoft), but my in subsequent trials, iCloud/IE refused show me a desktop. Firefox was no exception. It got stuck after using for 5 mins. I had to kill Firefox process to get my other applications work. Having encountered this scenario, I want to point out few things:
- iCloud has to evaluate providing an alternate provision to access the data in case the browser or iCloud desktop does not show up. Uptime of the service is very critical.
- Customization options to make the desktop lighter to a level which a user wants to use will become essential from a user experience perspective.
- After 8 years of development, even if it is an Alpha release, I would expect the application to be relatively fast, but it failed my expectation.
I think is a revolution in the making and I hope their beta release focuses more on performance and reliability more than functionalities. Also, there is massive amount of data going to be stored in the cloud once the user community starts using this application more. It's probably time that they also start thinking about monetization model.
Monday, April 6, 2009
In my previous post I talked about the benefits of working from home. Just when I was researching on quantifying the benefits, I spotted a recent article by Ted Samson on Infoworld about telecommuting. Interestingly, Ted covers the same points that I mentioned in my post but has given references to some telecommuting experiments and quantified benefits.
1. Increase employee productivity
2. Save companies money
3. Benefits the environment
4. Incentive for current and prospective employees
American Express teleworkers produce 43 percent more business than employees at the office, according to Colorado Telework Coalition. Productivity increased 31 percent among the 9,000 telecommuters in British Telecom's workforce of 80,000, according to the Telework Foundation.
According to the Telework Advisory Group of WorldatWork, employers can realize an annual per-employee savings of $5,000 through telecommuting.
... AT&T reports savings of $3,000 per office, for approximately $550 million, by eliminating or consolidating office space. Meanwhile, about 25 percent of IBM's 320,000 workers worldwide telecommute, saving Big Blue some $700 million in real estate costs.
Twitter has been around since March 2006 and has been growing ever since at an exponential rate. However, Twitter does not have a revenue model and has been running on venture funding from various Venture Partners. In the long run, the moment investors stop funding it, Twitter may not be able to sustain its unprofitable business.
"If I say any particular idea, it gets made too much of," he said. "We think Twitter will make money. I think it will take some time to figure it out."
Do follow me on Twitter @knkartha ...
Tuesday, March 31, 2009
There are a bunch of desktop clients available for Twitter, but here I am trying to target the clients that allow accessing other social networks, and facilitate cross posting. With this sudden surge of social networks and a lot of people are getting on to multiple networks like Facebook, Flickr, Blogger, Yammer, Twitter etc and it is high time that we have clients which connect to other networks too.
Twhirl has pretty slick interface and connects to Jaiku and Ping.fm. It uses Ping.fm to connect to other social networks like Facebook and MySpace but does not connect by itself. Twhirl does not let you see the status updates and activities in your other networks on your desktop client. Instead, it just facilitates cross-posting your updates only. The application is light weight and very user friendly.
TweetDeck is one of the widely used desktop clients for Twitter. It has Spaz, Snitter, Twhirl, DestroyTwitter etc as competitors. TweetDeck has column based view and you can add quite a few columns for search terms that you want to track. This is apart from your own stream, replies stream and direct messages stream. Twhirl does not give you this flexibility. TweetDeck recently brought out a pre-release version which integrates with Facebook where it allows the user to view status updates of friends on Facebook as well as post messages from Twitter on to Facebook. Being a pre-release version, they have kept it pretty simple. TweetDeck also has API usage statistics and Twitter status. It, however, needs to provide more customizations for the UI like changing fonts and resizing columns.
AlertThingy's enhanced version was recently released and allows access to Twitter, Facebook, Yammer, Basecamp, Flickr and a host of other social networks. Apart from messages, you can post links and photos on to Facebook which is not provided in TweetDeck or Twhirl. Not just that, AlertThingy lets you access news feeds too which I think is pretty cool. It lags behind in customizations of the UI though. It comes as a very handy tool when you want to use Twitter with Yammer and Facebook. They also have a FriendFeed version. If your popup notification is ON, it can become a little irritating after a while whereas TweetDeck and Twhirl have pretty slick notification system. TweetDeck and Twhirl also scores with reply and re-tweet buttons placed on the Avatar rather than as a separate "Option" in AlertThingy.
All three of these are built on Adobe AIR which makes it work on both Windows and Mac. AlertThingy is rich with functionalities and looks like it has become complicated, but Twhirl and TweetDeck keeps it simple. TweetDeck offers better experience in its simplicity.
Monday, March 30, 2009
TweetDeck has a pre-release version out with Facebook integration. Now, there is AlertThingy that connects to Twitter, Facebook, Flickr, Tumblr, Yammer etc which seems to be far more comprehensive. TweetDeck, however, has the edge of being one of the most popular tool that works with Twitter.
What you get from the Facebook integration is "status" messages. This integration helps us work from single platform to connect to all the social networks and communicate. But, for me, Facebook integration does not make much of a sense except for the fact that it just lets you see the status messages or cross-post messages on to Facebook.
The power of status messages on Facebook is just like tweets on Twitter, but with lesser frequency and more privacy. Status messages evoke participation and communication through responses in the form of comments. But with tools like TweetDeck and AlertThingy, the commenting feature takes a hit. Not just that, for friends who have not signed up on twitter, you need to respond through Facebook by logging in. TweetDeck and AlertThingy fails here.
If Facebook lets developers access comments through their API and TweetDeck can come up with a innovative UI design on Adobe AIR to pull comments from Facebook and also give provision to post comments back into Facebook, then the integration makes a lot of sense and is useful for social media geeks.
I used Facebook integration feature on TweetDeck for couple of days and did not see any benefit.
Did anyone of you find TweetDeck-Facebook integration in its current form useful?
No more road trips?
Seen flying cars in movies? Here comes one for real.
"Terrafugia Transition" is first flying car and it passed the first flight test on March 5th, 2009.
It can fly up to 450 miles at 115 miles per hour.
"... two-seat, four-wheeled, carbon-fiber-composite aircraft, which can fly up to 450 miles at 115 miles per hour and is distinguished by folding wings that ratchet out of the way when it’s on the ground. That makes the craft just 80 inches wide, narrow enough to tool down the highway—where it can go up to 65 mph and get 30 miles to the gallon."
The video of the first test:
I want 500 meters stretch infront of my apartment so that I can take off this "car". I am going to write a letter to GHMC for leveling the road.
Tuesday, March 17, 2009
Let me say ... I love it.
Working from home is not a new concept but in India, probably it is not encouraged. I am not talking about people who are into free lancing. This about those people who work for large enterprises and works along with a team to deliver services.
Now, why I love it?
1. Freedom: It lets me operate the way I want to and the pressure is far less compared to being nailed down to a ergonomic (or not so ergonomic) chair and the manager or team lead breathing down your neck.
2. More productive: Given the freedom and environment that I am most comfortable with, I get more work done than when I am in office. In fact, I log into start work earlier than what I would do when I am in office. Moreover, when I am at home, I somehow feel more responsible towards what needs to be delivered and does not feel that I am stretching myself.
3. No distraction: Working from home is a bliss if you need long hours of concentration. It is next to impossible to get that level of concentration if you are in office where people bump into you and end up in casual conversations that you sometimes cannot escape and ultimately lose time.
- No commute
- No traffic jams ( and no heart attacks)
- Save fuel
- No pollution
- Not stuck with canteen food (especially when Chinese Combo has banana and curd rice)
These were personal benefits. But, for corporates, there are huge benefits by promoting this culture.
1. Save on the infrastructure - Reduce investment in power, desk space, desktops, phones and other company utilities. Instead divert fraction of this investment to setup better servers and connectivity infrastructure (VPN, Bandwidth, 3G etc.)
2. People care - Employees benefit out of less travel (health, time and monitory benefit). The concerns of work-life balance by employees get addressed as they get to be at home and they feel responsible for their own time.
3. Business Continuity - For any incidents like 9/11, this kind of operation model always helps with such attacks never affecting the services because you don't station all you employees at one place. One recent incident was the snow fall in the UK where most of the services were disrupted. But there was one case where Silicon.com ensured business continuity by having people work from home.
Working from home has its own set of challenges which corporates may dig out. I am going to try an give some answers here for those challenges.
1. Collaboration & interacting with a team - While this may be one of the prime concerns, instant messaging (IM), VoIP and collaboration tools like Google Docs are always there as a solution to this. For the conference facilities across geographies, there are virtual platforms like SecondLife that can be tapped to reduce travel.
2. Monitoring the staff - Yes, this is a problem. Working from home culture is not going to start working just like that. Unified Communications Technology can be used to create monitoring mechanisms. Clear roles and responsibilities need to be defined for the employees who form a team and thereby creating accountability.
For people interested, here is a post about tips for working from home.
There are some things I miss when I work from home. The human interaction, all the gossips and office politics :). But then, there is Facebook, Twitter and IM for that (i know, not for human interaction). These not just things for personal use. Its high time business starts using these and avail the benefits.
C'mon, this is age of the internet.
Having said that, I have some work to finish before I go to office tomorrow.
Saturday, February 14, 2009
Introducing Bespin from Dion Almaer on Vimeo.
This is a radical change in development. This probably can be called as Coding-as-a-service. The best part for me is that your development environment is accessible anywhere, anytime.
Read more about Bespin and how you can contribute ...
Tuesday, January 6, 2009
Innovation getting better ...
- No keyboard
- Hummingbird battery that powers the laptop for full 19 mins before it needs to be re-charged
What's puzzling is how to type using the wheel to scroll to each alphabet. Looks cumbersome ....
Will wait for the next generation ...