~* The Holy Trail *~

From what I see, from where I stand,     Spreads the vast and vibrant land.
A wish to see the valley deep,           Up the wavy long lanes leap,         Hmm....miles to go before I sleep.
A song to hum till bright lights pale,   Picking and peeking, off I sail,     Along there, lies THE HOLY TRAIL....

Sunday, March 23, 2008

The New Media.

I was looking at YouTube 2007 video awards. Lots of cool content. Way better than traditional TV made by the "professionals". Well these are professionals too, but different. The content connects more than TV. It sort of exists in the same environment / context as we do. And not just the content/topic they concern with, but also the medium, tools, people, etc,.

My favorites from the pick:

The Guild - Episode 1: Wake-Up Call

[Good premise for a serial. I know I'll enjoy it.]

How to solve a Rubik's Cube (Part One)

[Ummm. Gotta lay my hands on one now.]

my name is lisa

[Away From Her inspiration.]

The Original Human TETRIS Performance by Guillaume Reymond

[The background music is crazy :P]

Potter Puppet Pals in "The Mysterious Ticking Noise"

[Dumbledore's gone nuts :D]

Battle at Kruger

[Awwesome once-in-a-time video. Have seen it lots of times with someone or the other.]

Stop the Clash of Civilizations

[Can this be realized? I think yes.]

Laughing Baby

[:)) :)) :)) :))]

balloon bowl

[Wish I could do that!!]

Lots of cool videos in the nominations too. Check them out here.

Blogged with the Flock Browser

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Friday, May 26, 2006

Attention Economy vs Net Neutrality.

There is this interesting discussion in /. about the costs of a tiered internet.

It has interesting points which highlight the extra burden consumers suffer in this whole _Attention_ economy concept, something which I tried to explain in this previous blog.

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Monday, May 15, 2006

Breaking free of Empires.

You know, as a kid I always admired empires. Great big empires. Full of grandeur, majesty and power. That is to say, I admired the great, huge and the powerful. Anyway, a kid grows up and so did I.

I now have a completely different view of this world. My definition of grandness, majesty and power have changed. I now find that the idea of _Empires_ contradicts all that I admired as a kid.

Not wishing to go into a lot of specifics about my changed perceptions and the reasoning behind it, I'll go straight to the intended point.

This article is to give my views about _advertising_ as the most powerful marketing tool.
There are many reasons I'm uncomfortable with the idea of advertising.

1. It _forces_ itself on us.
2. It undermines the principle of _freedom-of-choice_.
3. It's worse than the government taxes. [I'll explain why, a bit later.]

A month or two ago I was arguing these points with my friends and all were up against me saying,
"Advertising is the best proved tool."
"There can't be anything better."
"How else would you make ur product known in this huge market place?"
"Customer is lazy. He needs to be shaken up and told, 'look here!!'"
"Everyone is happy about it, why r u whining?"
"Look at Google's business model. Can anything better this?"
"Tell us one alternative thing that has a potential to beat this."

Am not an economist nor do I understand much of the dynamics involved. I don't have any alternatives. Whatever. I know things can be better.

Now explaining why it's worse than the government taxes:

Coke, Pepsi, et all, along with Beverage companies, invest a lot on sponsoring our favorite matches. They literally feed us our TV programs (never mind the nauseating commercials.) They put lots and lots of money making this _free_ for us.
With so much of free goodies one must obviously be happy. But I'm not. Where does all this money come from? From where do all the companies advertising with Google, get that money from? The _paying_ customer who buys products from these companies _pays_ for all this. We all know this. But whats wrong with this?

As a paying customer, I expect to get equal value for my money. I don't care about how many matches they sponsor or how much they pay to Google. I don't want to pay $10 for a 1 cent product. The more and more a person _spends_, more does he _sponsor_ things he wouldn't even care about.

Government charges tax on the pretext of development and national security.
But companies charge much much much _extra_ money hideously for cheap entertainment of the masses and of course for some great _free_ services. More _free_ stuff u consume, lesser u pay. What a _buyer_ pays for, includes not just my _needs_ but also puts on my shoulders the _needs_ of those who consume for free.

The cost of advertising exceeds, in some cases, the total cost of manufacturing itself.
The cost does not cover the actual _worth_ of the _product_ and the _producer_.

Here goes a few more of my ires against advertising:

They treat consumers are guinea pigs with peanut brains. Customers are _told_ and forced to believe what their needs are, when it should be the other way round: Customers know what they want. But as of now, customer needs are decided by the companies.

I believe in commodity-isation of products + the cost of the value added to it. (creativity + producers resource worth + quality, etc.,)

Every body gets as much as they pay up. There is no such thing called _free-food_.

Roughly these were the thoughts I was brewing upon and was not sure if such an alternative could actually exist and _work_. I was looking for business models, which respect _freedom-of-choice_ and give user the value for his money.

I was thinking that bettering upon the _Cataloging_ models would be the solution. Here the companies, put up their product's profile, which is _one-time_ and any customer would find his way out based on his _needs_ and the reviews and recommendations posted by other similar customers. Which would be much like Amazon's current model. This way, the process of letting people know of my product gets much simpler and much much much more economical. But those who know for sure, their products will sink in such a ship, will of course continue their attention grabbing spree.

However, a few days later, I saw the silver lining. Obviously, I'm not the only one irritated by the endless commercials that keep popping up in every conceivable place. And I found that people _are_ thinking and working towards alternative models.

Advertising is about _Attention Economy_, while the alternative is about _Intention Economy_.
Although in nascent stage, the blueprints for such an economy are being laid out.
Do read this follow up article too.

Finally..... it's becoming possible to "Break free of Empires."

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Sunday, February 26, 2006

Flocking Extensions.

Every net addict has developed their own _view_ of the Internet. As we go on browsing, we customize the browser the way we want it. For the _can't-help_ conditions, we just settle down with an eye open for a silver lining. That's when the extensions start calling.

With extensions we can customize and _extend_ almost all of our browsing needs. In fact, extensions are a must for any serious browsing. Everybody kind of has this _must-have_ list of extensions, without which browsing becomes an ordeal.

Just like people wish to expresses themselves in their way of dressing, walking and styles, extensions have become an integral part of our net presence and outlook. Extensions speak loads about a person's online tastes, preferences, way of presenting and existing.

Now, coming straight to the point, I was annoyed and had even uninstalled Flock and sweared never to use this thing again till it fixes this. Well, I just couldn't install my favorite extensions, without which it's like I'm a handicap :-) As we can use most of firefox extensions in Flock, I tried installing all my favorites and it just kept complaining about the unsupported version. So thought good old firefox is _the best_ thing. But then, the silver line did appear :-) There is this link where u give the link to a firefox extension and it'll do the magic for you. It will edit the version info inside the extension, to silence it's false complaints. Flock did provide a link to a tool which has to be downloaded and will make all our downloaded extensions Flock compatible, but it's much more easier to just give a link to my extension and get back the modified one for download. This way, I'll only download the version I want.

Here's my list of _must-have_ extensions :

  • Tab Mix Plus.
  • Restart Flock.
  • Download Statusbar.
  • NoScript.
  • FasterFox.
  • FoxyTunes.
  • StumbleUpon.
  • All-In-One Sidebar.
  • Bloglines Toolkit
  • Gmail Manager.
  • QuickNote.
  • SmoothWheel.
  • Resizeable Textarea. [especially when I'm frequently updating by blogger template code.]

Other useful extensions :

  • ImageZoom. [ Just ossom.]
  • WordIQ Toolbar. [ For dictionary/thesaurus.But online querying everytime is too slow.]
  • easyGestures.
  • MeasureIt.
  • Clean cookies for this site.

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Saturday, February 25, 2006


Here is our final year branch video. This is the video of IT 2K5 batch, NITK, Surathkal. Enjoyed every bit making it !! Really miss the great hostel life :-(

It's 3min approx and may take a while. I would suggest to pause the video until it's completely buffered and then play it, so that there won't be any hitches in between. You'll also need flash enabled for this.

Well, here it is, our moments of the four most wonderful years....

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Friday, February 24, 2006

TiddlyWiki - The Future?

Wiki came. Blogs came. Podcasts came. Vodcasts are almost here. Now this old Wiki thing is all set to become the next new thing.

TiddlyWiki is the Wiki flavor of the season. Why? 'cause it's got a funny name :-) Well, it's really fun using and building it too. It's built on a very powerful but simple concept. "Human minds are a lot better at taking information in little tiny chunks." They call a chunk of information a Tiddler :-)

Several Tiddlers make up for a topic. There are many other power packed features. The interface is great. The tags support is very much an integral part....This interface reminds me of moo.fx. We can selectively keep some Tiddlers on display, while closing the others. Which means, we only see as much as we want to see.

There is this another great story telling site built on TW. Gimcrack'd has got a small list of stories right now. The story proceeds in tiny tiny chunks and the interesting part is, it is revealed differently to different users, based on the order in which they open the Tiddlers. Everyone has their own tale to tell !!
Reminds me of those Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew combined mystery stories. Go to page xyz if you'd like Hardy Boys to solve the mystery or goto page abc if Nancy Drew has to solve it. We used to read both of them anyway ;-) But here, it's a truly different story, as we can track all the previous chunks read and decide on which chunk to serve next.

One thing that strikes me is, all these so called _powerful_ concepts are all so simple and makes me ask like, "This is so very simple. Wasn't this thought of before itself? basic common sense!!".

Here's my 2 cents on where this could lead to:

First, there is this inclination towards bringing programming language like fundas into our natural representation of ideas. Information is broken up into chunks and modularized. A small piece of information can be reused again and again. So, instead of links to external manuals for more information, we can get that information chunk into our document itself. Saves much efforts in redocumenting things as per the context.

Second, the DRM concerns have peaked up now. There are people ready to let go of the stringent copyrights and share their works under more relaxed Creative Commons licenses. Richard Stallman decries CC and tells GPL can be extended beyond software to cover _content_ also. I think, we can expect more and more publicly modifiable and reusable _content_. We'll soon see different flavors of a novel, all legally valid. ;-)
Or given a set of chunks, which can all fit into a particular part as alternatives, generate a random sequence of chunks and get a new novel generated !!

Or may be, feed and make the computers understand very small chunks of data, and slowly plug/load them with extra chunks to _teach_ them new things....

Before I start rumbling more crazy things, GOOD BYE.

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50 Tools For Writing.

I Stumble!d upon lifehack.org today. Great tips on writing technique. Quoting some snippets.

Tool 1: Branch to the Right

Begin sentences with subjects and verbs, letting subordinate elements branch to the right. Even a long, long sentence can be clear and powerful when the subject and verb make meaning early. Now imagine this: A reporter writes a lead sentence with subject and verb at the beginning, followed by other subordinate elements, creating what scholars call a "right-branching sentence."

Here's a right-branching sentence, from a news story in The New York Times:

Rebels seized control of Cap Haitien, Haiti's second largest city, on Sunday, meeting little resistance as hundreds of residents cheered, burned the police station, plundered food from port warehouses and looted the airport, which was quickly closed. Police officers and armed supporters of President Jean-Bertrand Aristide fled.

That first sentence is 37 words long and rippling with action. The sentence is so full, in fact, that it threatens to fly apart like some overheated engine. But the writer keeps control by creating meaning in the first three words: "Rebels seized control..." Think of that main clause as the locomotive that pulls all the cars that follow.

Contrast this with the sentence below :

A bill that would exclude tax income from the assessed value of new homes from the state education funding formula could mean a loss of revenue for Chesapeake County schools.

Eighteen words separate the subject "bill" from its weak verb "could mean,". A fatal flaw that turns what could be an important civic story into gibberish.

If the writer wants to create suspense, or build tension, or make the reader wait and wonder, or join a journey of discovery, or hold on for dear life, she can save the verb until the end.

Writer's Toolbox

This is the only tip I looked into. Rest are marked for _future-leisure-reading_ :-)

Well, following this tip, I'll rephrase as below:

I looked only into this tip. Marking the rest for _future-leisure-reading_

I know, it doesn't make much sence for short sentences :-)

What do u think?

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The First Trail

Flock has been around for some time now. A plethora of web browsers exist, each catering to almost all normal needs. Hence I didn't bother myself to try out this new browser. Firefox worked great. A host of extensions made browsing needs almost complete. It was like, there could be nothing better. Two days ago, after a lot of lazing around, I decided to try Flock.

Doesn't look much different from Firefox. Of course, it's a sister project. The important thing is about this social browsing concept being _in-built_ into the browser. Social browsing is becoming more of a normal affair. And extending browser through extensions doesn't somehow give that power and robustness. A more important point is, as the browsers evolve, Flock will naturally adapt to social browsing than would Firefox. As the global village emerges, social browsing becomes a _necessity_.

Some Features of Flock I Liked Most:

  1. The sharing of favorites and synchronizing with my online profiles. So, I don't loose out on any of my bookmarked links. Adds the powerful tag based bookmarking.
  2. Blogging tools like Shelf, Photo Uploader, My Blogs. These are indispensable tools for some serious blogging [ especially for some kinds of blogs as this one].
  3. Tagging My blog posts.
  4. Support for del.icio.us, Flickr, Shadows, Blogger, WordPress, TypePad.
  5. Supports most of the _can't-live-without_ firefox extensions.

This doesn't mean that Flock is an absolute bliss. It's not even completely beta yet. It crashes nearly 4-5 times everyday [which means I loose my ongoing sessions ]. Very Very Annoying. Some extensions don't work well. No extra themes yet.... But they'll anyway get better.

This is not my first blog. Once in a full moon I did write something at my _very-scattered_ blogs and forums. Later, I got my domain. After another half year, I got a free web hosting provider with no-ads at 50webs. Sufficient for blogging activities.

Now as I browse, I can put my notes, interesting web snippets, links, etc., on to the shelf. Start posting my day's blog. Retrieve from shelf, things relevant for that post using simple drag-n-drop. Publish the post.

Now blogging no more becomes a separate _task_ but a _way_ of my online presence.

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