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Ponder Point



Thoughtlets on Technology, Palm PDAs, Gizmos and Project Management.



Copyright: Copyright yyyy
 



Wikipedia success faster than expected?

Fri, 14 Jan 2005 10:48:33 -0500


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Wikipedia is taking off faster than it can handle....

I have been dabbling with Wikipedia and editing articles there since June 2004. Since then it seems to have come a long way in terms of awareness and usage amongst the Web surfer community.

How did I figure out?

The servers at Wikipedia are choking and unable to handle the traffic. It happened twice today for me in the span of 4 hours. Servers are either down or way too slow. I Investigated further to understand why....

Alexa's website says that Wikipedia's daily page views has tripled in the last year. To get a sense of comparison, Yahoo's daily page views are 250 times more than that of Wikipedia. Wikipedia is 159 in rank in terms of the daily traffic on the Net. The following graph shows slashdot.org reach declining in the same period.

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Guess, its time to upgrade servers and uncork some champagnes.... Way to go wikipedia!




Linux Bangalore 2004 - Dec 1-3

Sun, 28 Nov 2004 02:36:25 -0500

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India's largest Free and Open Source Software event. Great deal of passion behind the event every year. The annual event is being organised 4th year running.

.




Get Firefox 1.0 - The browser that rocks!

Sat, 27 Nov 2004 12:18:28 -0500

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Firefox 1.0 is out! Bring back the puch in your browsing!

http://www.mozilla.org/products/firefox




Open source on my Windows Desktop

Mon, 1 Nov 2004 23:08:14 -0500

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I was going over the applications on my Windows PC (Yes, MS is still my primary desktop, though I use Redhat Linux occasionally). I discovered that the mainstream applications I use are increasingly comprising more Open Source applications. They are competing for my mindshare and jostling for space with the Commercial software. Here is a list of Open Source Applications I used on the Windows PC. None of these are freeware.

  • Firefox - The standards compliant browser from Mozilla.
  • Thunderbird - The Mail client from Mozilla.
  • YahooPOPS, HotPOP3 - POP tools for Web based email services.
  • RSSOwl - Open source RSS reader.
  • OpenOffice - The Open source MS Office nemesis!
  • Gaim - The universal IM protocol client  - Supports Yahoo, AIM, MSN, ICQ, IRC, Jabber and Blogging with elan.
  • GIMP - GNU Image Manipulation program.
  • Cdex - For audio editing.
  • 7-Zip - File archiver with highest compression ratio.
  • FileZilla - Fast and reliable FTP client.
  • eMule - File sharing clients. Reliable peer-to-peer file sharing clients.
  • Bit Torrent - File sharing clients, Bit Torrent client.
  • Shareaza - File sharing clients for several popular P2P networks.
  • Cygwin - Cygwin brings the best of GNU tools to the Windows Desktop.

That's a handful. None of them are Freeware. All of them are are Open source! You may also be interested in the OSSWIN page that lists Open source and freeware and  applications for the Windows platform. Other useful resources for Windows Open source are: OSSDir, WinLibre, Freshmeat, Sourceforge (Win32, NT/2K/XP, XP), Tigris, GNUWin2

The push  is on...




Wishlist for Yahoo Messenger

Mon, 1 Nov 2004 06:07:51 -0500


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Here's my wish list for Yahoo Messenger:

  1. Search contact (MUST HAVE) - The ability to search the Yahoo contacts by typing a name. I find an annoyance to scroll through my large list of contacts to locate a name. Considering the search bandwidth Yahoo has this should be a breeze.
  2. Group by City/State/Country (MUST HAVE) - With the details captured in contact details one would wish that Yahoo could group by City/State/Country all contacts. This would be useful for people on the move to remind themselves to sync up with local friends or contact. Yahoo currently allows sending a message to all in predefined Groups. This facility should be available for Official and Personal addresses.
  3. Group by Company (MUST HAVE) - Ability to group by Company is very useful for users who like to locate someone they know in a certain company.
  4. Group by Profession/Designation (MUST HAVE) - This allows for the capability to locate people by professions.
  5. Group by Birthday/Anniversaries (MUST HAVE) - The best online reminder one can have. Show birthdays/anniversaries around the corner (allow configuration for time window).
  6. Group by custom fields (COULD HAVE) - This is essential to allow to specific user needs. I for example use custom fields to remember "First Met" and "City of origin" for my friends. None of these can be stored in the existing fields for contacts. Grouping by the custom fields would be a boon.
  7. Group by Web site (COULD HAVE) - Group by Have's and have nots for web sites. Useful ready reckoner when one wants to catch up with contact's web sites.
  8. Provision to save Chat archive online (NICE TO HAVE) - This would help roaming users like me to download chat archive down to my personal PC after a trip. The message archive are a great way to keep track of developments over time with friends/family.
  9. Easy access to message archive (SHOULD HAVE) - The Right click menu should have a menu option "Past Chats" that gives direct access to the list of sessions with the contact. Currently it takes more than a few clicks to locate the message archive for a user. Samll tweak but great value.
  10. User profiling (NICE TO HAVE) - Categorize each contact based on interactions on Yahoo messenger from the users perspective. For example - Daily/Weekly/Monthly/Quarterly/Not in touch etc. Group by this feature would also be a great addition.
  11. Integration with Album/Image management tools (MUST HAVE) - Google already has this with Picasa and Hello. I really find the feature so useful that if Google comes up with an IM I would switch! Yahoo don't lose out on the innovation edge.
  12. Integration with Blog hosts (MUST HAVE) - AIM already does this. I find this feature really cool.
  13. Posting pictures to Photoblogs (NICE TO HAVE) - Ability to upload photos to Photo blogs.
  14. Integrate RSS capability (NICE TO HAVE) - Buy out a company like NewsGator and allow OPML files to be uploaded to Yahoo. Give users access to RSS feeds on the go. RSS feeds on My yahoo exist which help on see these feeds but a separate capability is worth adding in.

Its been a while since we had an update from Yahoo. There's lot more that could be done. I should  be posting some time a list of great features I love on Yahoo Messenger.




Books on good Programming

Sun, 31 Oct 2004 07:57:16 -0500

Some new programmers at work were asking me - what might be the good books to read to pick up a thing or two on programming.

It dawned on me that I had learnt most of my programming hygeine factors along the way...through experience. It set me thinking and I looked up Amazon for such books.

I came cross a Programming Booklist by Matthew Van Horn.

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Neat list of books. To my surprise I figured I had read some of them too! My brother tells me the title - Code Complete - by Steve McConnel is a must read. Got to check it out sometime...




Extension woes with Firefox 1.0 PR and Thunderbird 0.8

Sun, 31 Oct 2004 07:56:26 -0500

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I am quite excited by Firefox. Thunderbird seems to be a good beginning and seems to be doing the job. I recently upgraded to Firefox 1.0 PR from an earlier version and upgraded Thunderbird to 0.8.

Many extensions I used to use with the Firefox 0.8 dont work anymore. To name a few...Basics 1.0, Close Tab on Click 0.1, Undo close tab, Duplicate Tab 0.1, FLST 0.6, BugmeNot 0.3, Slogger 0.1.0, Stumble upon 1.994, ImageZoom 0.1.2, Checky 2.2, Blanklast 0.4, WindowsUpdate 0.5. Yes, that a whole log of extensions that dont work.

Yes, I use 24 extensions on my Firefox. And 12 (50%) of the extensions don't work after my upgrade. I really fancy the extensibility of the Browser. Addicted as I am to these new little extension thingys, it is becoming a challenge to upgrade and manage them.

Firefox 1.0 PR did a great job in spotting these incompatible extensions and atuomatically look for upgrades and upgraded many of the old extensions.

Mozilla needs to do a better job to managing the ecosystem. They need to ensure / encourage the extension authors to keep pace with the version upgrades. You can throw these extensions as bait and not get the authors to upgrade when a version upgrade happens. This really takes away the edge that these extensions promise. Nothing can be more irksome than not being able to use what you have gotten used to.

Thunderbird extensions are another challenge. When I upgraded to 0.8 I wanted to pick up popular extensions for Thunderbird. Sidebar 0.3 for example.

All one gets is the message...

Contacts Sidebar 0.3 could not be installed because it not compatible with Firefox.

Here we go again....

Well given the fact that these products (Firefox and Thunderbird)are not 1.0 versions one needs to eb careful while critiquing them. But still...




w.Bloggar configuration settings for freeroller.net

Sun, 31 Oct 2004 07:55:56 -0500

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I upgraded to the latest version of w.Blogger my Blog client and my existing settings went for a six. Took some googling to figure out the fix.

Here is a posting from Dave's posting that makes things a lot easier.




PalmSource finally does something sensible and long due - Expert Guides

Sat, 20 Dec 2003 14:44:10 -0500

Palm has long been claiming that the greatest differentiator between the Pocket PC and the PalmOS PDAs is the availability of a huge cache of applications for every need. And they have also been aware that a majority of the users of the Palm OS have thus far used only the default applications that come with the PalmOS based PDAs. Most users don't really every got to use the 20,000 plus applications the PalmOS platform boasts of!

Palm did try bundling applications but that was only a handful! Digging through the poorly organized lists like Palmgear can really overwhelm a new user. Despite the Categories Palmgear has, one really needs to still dig for specific apps.

Expert Guides from PalmSource now cuts through the clutter!

"Expert Guides" are a set of 40 odd guides written by experts that look at PalmOS Application from the following perspectives - Profession, Interest and task on Hand. This list is growing. Even regular users of sites like palmgear like me found a great deal of value in these guides. For example - The guide on "Emergency Preparedness" is a case in point. Many of the applications listed here were unknown to me and so many of them were free too!

Expert Guides are steps in the right direction. PalmSource needs to make many more to stay in business - gettting firmly onto the smartphone bandwagon is one such pending step.




Louisiana Polls - Bobby Vs Blanco

Mon, 10 Nov 2003 15:22:58 -0500

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The Louisiana gubernatorial polls has my attention even though I am on the other end of the world. Even though most of the US doesn't seem to care. 

The candidates: Bobby Jindal  |  Marco Blanco

My interest does not stem only from the fact that one of the candidates - Bobby Jindal is of Indian origin.  There is a lot more to this poll that interests me.

  • Bobby Jindal is young and has a great track record.
  • The Mayor of New Orleans - a democrat - from Louisiana has endorsed the republican Bobby Jindal. View the TV AD.
  • Louisiana is predominantly a Democrat-base over the years.
  • Bobby may be the first non-white to be elected governor.
  • Bobby was leading a few weeks back the polls and now Marco leads by a thin lead (1%). 12% undecided. 3.8% possible sampling error.
  • Jindal is attracting a larger chunk of the African American vote which is typically pro-democrat.

Some interesting perspectives on the poll:

Way to go Bobby! My fingers are crossed. Good luck!

 




Jogdial location to change in new Sony PDAs

Tue, 23 Sep 2003 10:24:54 -0400

Apparently Sony is moving the location of the Jogdials on their new PDAs. The Jogdial is expected to move from the side to the front (where the Page up/Page Down buttons were in earlier Clies). The Jogdial for me is one of great innovations that I like with Sony Clies.

Why on earth would Sony want to move the Jog Dial to the front?

It simply doesnt make sense and I protest!

It was so easy to scroll (to choose) and click and use the Clie while driving with the other hand engaged on the wheel. Moving the Jogdial to the front kills the ability and to me this is a step backwards.




32MB on the to-be-release PEG-TJ35, PEG-TJ25!

Tue, 23 Sep 2003 10:23:11 -0400

Brighthand.com RumourMill carried an article on the to-be-release PDAs from Sony.

Guess what? They will have 32MB RAM on board memory! How many times I wished for this on my Sony Clie 610?

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And more... - Motorola i.MXL processor than run at 200MHz.
- Multiple PDA colours.
- Piscel view for multiple doc formats

And a price tag of around 200-250 US$!! I am all ears now!




PalmOS PDAs support in India

Mon, 22 Sep 2003 13:00:22 -0400

It is quite shocking that none of the Palm PDA majors have any kind of support in India. We have many users of Palm based PDAs - dont have a number but quite a sizeable number for sure - going by the PDAs I see people walking around with.

The Bangalore Palm User Group mailing list has numerous people complaining about the difficulties they face in getting repairs done, buying accessories. Even simply things like Screen protectors are an issue.

The websites of Palm, Handspring and Sony for support India lead you no where. One simply lands on the APAC page. Really disappointing.

There are also many companies that work on PalmOS applications for their customers. It is high time Sony and Palm offered some support in India for the hardware people use.




Raising the bar

Wed, 27 Aug 2003 13:46:57 -0400

One of the things that has been a challenge for me at the work place is to get the best out of people. If I To get them to define their own goals and to align them with those of the task/project on hand. To get them to keep their "fire in the belly" going and to instill in them as sense of positive competitive spirit. To get them to be self accountable and to challenge themselves to do better and seek greater milestones. To get them to think of the whole than the part.

If I could achieve these, well my job becomes easy. In reality, that is not the case.

I enjoy getting people realize their potential and for this I feel everyone needs to constantly "raise the bar" - need to set higher goals like a high jumper or pole vaulter would do. To stretch their horizons, to realise the potential of their creation.

But many people dont realize that they need to "raise the bar". Some are contented with where they, others naive about where they are, some truely indifferent and the rest indulge and are immersed in what they do to! Such are the ways of people.

To raise the bar one needs to:
- Stop, pause, catch a breath and reflect
- Know where they are
- Realise their potential
- Take calculated risks
- Set revised goals that "raise the bar"

If one does not "raise the bar" at the right time, then one fine day one would shocking realise that time and people have flown by and one got left behind.

To Quote Pink Floyd number Time:

Ticking away the moments that make up the dull day
You fritter and waste the hours in an off hand way
Kicking around on a piece of ground in your home town
Waiting for someone or something to show you the way

Tired of lying in the sunshine staying home to watch the rain
You are young and life is long and there is time to kill today
And then one day you find that ten years have got behind you
No one told you when to run, you missed the starting gun

And you run and run to catch up with the sun, but it's sinking
And racing around to come up behind you again
The sun is the same in a relative way, but you're older
Shorter of breath and one day closer to death

Every year is getting shorter, never seem to find the time
Plans that either come to naught or a half page of scribbled lines
Hanging on in a quiet desperation is the English way
The time is gone the song is over, thought i'd something more to say

To quote Swami Vivekanada:

Arise, awake, and stop not till the goal is reached.




Great food and pathetic customer service - Queens@Bangalore

Wed, 27 Aug 2003 13:40:56 -0400

My wife seems to like Queen's (on church street at Bangalore) for some reason. For the uninitiated they are a small ethnic restaurant in downtown bangalore that serves spicy North Indian food. I must say the food is generally good here and most people get attracted to the restaurant to devour (yes devour is the word) their phulkas (Thin Indian bread, you could say extra-slim rotis). I have been a visitor there for the last 5-6 years.

The restaurant is cosy and small. Just enough place to qualify for being called a restaurant. The interiors are every ethnic and the lighting is very nice. The walls have some terracota work (or what do they call it?) with some nice art work.

They are really very adept at making us upset. It has happened the last few times we visited them. Now I am beginning to think it is more a trend than a one off incident.

We went in really hungry souls around closure time. We beat the clock by 5-10 mins. We were exhilarated to see the "We are Open" sign. We were sure we would make it to dinner this evening. We were received by a waiter who saw us, paused, checked his clock, contemplated for a few seconds and then declared that they were closed.

This really upset me. At the very least he could have said they were closed without the contemplations! And guess what ... We were introducing a good friend of ours to the restaurant!

It appeared he just wanted to close things and get on with the day. We explained to him that we were in on time and welcomed by a "We are Open" sign and that he must honour that. He agreed after a lot of reluctance.

We made it!

And I was animatedly introducing to this friend of ours, the great dishes we thought she should taste.

The waiter came in and gave us the menu and almost barked "This is the last order!". We said fine and we went about ordering a few the gravies that go with the phulkas (or Indian bread). We were for a moment lost in our contemplation of dishes (you could call it greed too..). The waiter interjected "You need to order now". I tried to explain we just needed a moment. He wasnt willing to buy that. We tried to go over our decision making a little faster. He persisted and pushed us again. This time more forcefully. My wife who is normally quite patient in some of these things lost her cool. She couldnt take it anymore. She told the manager that this treatment was unacceptable. And she even went on to give them a small lecture on customer management.

Great food. But what's the point of the experience if one were ot receive it at Gun point?! If one cast even make one's choice? Is one cant even expect basic courtesy?

If you are looking for great food and great service. Try Aangan! They beat everybpdy in town with their service. They wont disappoint you.

And Queen's - if you want to pickup a lesson or two on customer service, head to Aangan!




Young Moms keep Kids up till midnight for coffee!

Sun, 24 Aug 2003 17:11:30 -0400

It was quite some time past dinner last evening when my wife and I decided to drive down to our favourite coffee shop in Indira Nagar - Barista's for my favourite - Latte. It was one of those nice cool evenings in Bangalore. We were a bit tired after the busy tasks at home. As we got into the coffee shop, it was around 11:30 PM and I was surprised to see a couple sitting on a table with a small 6 year old along with them wide awake and drinking coffee too.

Whats a small kid doing here so late I thought? May be they are leaving I guessed...

We ordered our favourite coffees and got down to our regular habit of the game of scrabble. I always lose to Madhavi (my wife) and whatever I try it always ends up that way. We dunked in our coffees and it was getting closed to the midnight hour.

I could'nt get my mind of the other table with this couple discussing away to glory with the kid still sitting there wide awake.

Is this the way to bring up a kid I thought? Isnt it way past his sleeping time, I thought? What the hell is this kid going to do when he is a teen ager. And do his parents care? I dismissed my thoughts and told myself maybe its one of those days that need them to close out their talk!

The scrabble gave was on. And oddly I was getting in the long words and hitiing the triple word tiles on the board. The game was slowing tilting in my favour, to dismay of Madhavi.

It was nearly 12:30 AM....And I was'nt tired one bit. It was one of those odd days I was in the lead....

There comes this couple... And to my shocking surprise they were carrying a small 4 year old. There were coming in for a coffee!!!

Whats up with the young couples in Bangalore? DO you take parenting seriously at all? Does'nt one need care a hoot about the small kids and their sleep?

Or am I just getting downright old fashioned?
Time alone will tell....




FIRST POST!

Sat, 21 Jun 2003 07:54:28 -0400

This is my first post