‘ Technology ’ category archive

Predictions from a Futurist 50 years back

March 07, 11 by Bharani

It amazes me how someone can think in such a far-sighted manner. I came across these two videos of Sir Arthur C Clarke - A British inventor and a futurist - who explains way back in 1964 how the science and technology will pan out 50 years from then. Pretty impressive…

Facebook Messaging System

November 16, 10 by Bharani

Facebook announced about their new messaging system at web 2.0 2010 Expo opening day. Though it is difficult to grasp the offering until you see it in play, the following video will help to get some clarity on the offering.

Few Highlights:

1. Every user has preferred mode of communication. You have better chances of conversing with someone if you reach them through text message, some through chat/IM, most through email and few through social networks and some more channels. You cant have a lookup table to figure out the best mode of communication to each of your friend. What if a system can take care of that for you? Facebook messaging system promises to take care of that…!

2. Social Inbox is a feature that allows only the emails from your friends and colleagues to reach you and keeps away every other email from your inbox. Sure, this feature can be achieved through some smart filters and cool plugins that sit on top of existing email systems. But Facebook knows your social connections and it can offer you the ’social inbox’ feature easily. The other nifty feature is the ability to block unwarranted emails. If by chance a false email gets through to your social inbox, you can just block the email. What happens next is interesting. Once blocked, the emails are bounced back..It doesn’t go and sit in your spam box!

3. By now we are familiar with grouping the emails based on Email subject lines. Another cool way of organizing would be to group the messages based on people. Yes all messages from your friends will be grouped under their name. Though it sounds interesting, I am not sure if can handle tens of thousands of emails grouped under same name!

The other features are “Conversation history” where your entire conversations are backed up! This is nothing new though.

Electronic Voting Machine Security Issue

August 23, 10 by Bharani

A very disturbing security concern over Indian Electronic Voting Machines has emerged recently. VeTA has performed a kind-of sting operation on Indian EVMs and has published a white paper briefing the security flaws in the Voting machines. VeTA is an independant National level citizen’s forum for promoting Verifiability, Transparency and Accountability in Indian Elections. Some of the well known computer experts, political scientists, public activists, legal professionals, academicians have come together to analyze the state of Indian Elections. On Saturday, August 21 2010, Hari Prasad, Chief Technical Coordinator of VeTA was arrested for the possession of Electronic Voting Machine, which apparently was acquired through anonymous insider source! The Anonymity is still not revealed.

VeTA did a very thorough analysis on the EVM Hardware and software and proved in various ways that the EVM can be hacked and the results be easily manipulated. VeTA not just content with the findings went on to publish a white paper based on the findings. Now the whole world knows that Indian EVMs are not tamper-proof and the findings are completely contrary to the claim from Indian Election Commission “totally tamper proof, perfect, fail safe and requiring no improvement”.

I am surprised why Indian government and Election commission would have disallowed any independant security evaluation! This raises a serious integrity concern about ECI. While the cyber-hackers are growing powerful and while the cyber security is always playing a catch up game with cyber attacks, this lack of concern and total underestimation of EVM Hacking from ECI needs to be addressed immediately. I think ’sting’ operations are the only way to reform the Indian government and remove the inefficiency and corruption from it.

You can watch the video below to understand the technical flaws of the voting machines and how naive the security mechanisms are.

References:
http://www.indianevm.com/blogs/?p=402
http://www.freedom-to-tinker.com/blog/jhalderm/electronic-voting-researcher-arrested-over-anonymous-source

Conferences, Meetings and Training

August 19, 10 by Bharani

Early this month, there was a 3-day SEO Training programme conducted by Bruce Clay (One of the Prominent thought leaders in Search Engine optimization industry) in Gurgaon. I decided to attend the training to crystallize my learnings, to learn new techniques and tips and to meet people with Similar Interest. It was quite useful and comprehensive. I would say the 3-day training gave me a structure and discipline towards how we approach SEO. And Bruce Clay did warn everyone of us about the brutally tough SEO world! As he put it, “every monday it’s (SEO) a new industry” (Google apparently makes 500 changes every month and on good day it might make 20 changes!). It’s like solving a 200 variable non-linear equation, which changes every day! It’s like chasing a moving target! Get the drift? Add to this, the new search result pages which google is experimenting with. The new SERPS (Search engine result pages) apparently show more of google content (google maps, google local, google news, google real-time, youtube, images and what not?) than external content. Alright, I am making myself nervous again :)

There is a Open source conference coming up in chennai next month. If you are interested in open source, PHP, Mysql, web development trends, mobile computing, cloud computing etc., you should try and make it to the event! Checkout more details at www.osidays.com. I am sending my developers to attend the event at company’s expense. Needless to say, they are mighty-excited and looking forward to learn some new things! If they learn, its good for company too :)

I always wanted to attend a TED Event. But being an super-expensive event and going by the difficulty to get ‘invited’, I was giving up on it. Then came along the concept of TEDX (local TED Clubs). TEDX Chennai is the chennai local chapter for TEDX. I am attending the event and have booked my tickets. Hoping to hear from some great speakers and gather some insight into their minds. Not to forget the opportunity to meet some really interesting attendees!

Now Godaddy pulls out of China!

March 26, 10 by Bharani

Western companies pulling their business roots out of china is becoming a hot trend these days. Just few days after Google officially pulls out of china, Godaddy follows suit and closes down its operations in china. Citing the new regulations which requires domain registrars to gather relevant document proofs such as photographs, residence proof, email address, telephone numbers and signed forms (!), godaddy stops offering “.cn” registrations.

The world’s largest registrar of internet domain names said Wednesday that it was pulling out of China in the wake of strict new laws that allegedly will increase government surveillance of web sites…

Jones [Christine Jones, general counsel for Go Daddy] said the new Chinese policies required every website owner to submit photographs, business information and individually signed forms, as well as their physical address, email address and telephone numbers.

‘We didn’t want to act as an agent of the Chinese government,’ Jones said. ‘We can’t let them be strong and us be weak all the time. We just have to stop it, and then we’ll start offering .CN domain names again.’

link

Is china trying to enforce the closed economy even on the internet turf? I guess so..They are not doing directly, but they are doing it through indirect means such as regulations, strict guidelines, tight web monitoring etc., For now, we will have just observe the cyber-war between the western supremacy (read US) and the new rising power China. Who is next in-line to close the operations? Dell (they are already showing some signs)?

Google Adsense serves multiple ad-networks now!

March 17, 10 by Bharani

It’s been 3 months since Google announced that it would be serving ads from third party ad networks through its own publisher network called adsense. Today, Google has rolled out the feature to all adsense accounts. Currently, Google is accepting ads only from third party adnetworks from North America and Europe. Publishers can opt-out of select adnetworks or can decide to opt-out of all adnetworks completely. I am going to test this by turning on and off adnetworks and see how this impacts my bottomline. As of now, there are 92 ad-networks certified by google adsense. Shown below are the list of 92 ad-networks.

Adchemy
http://adchemy.com/
Adchemy: Technology for Relevant Digital Advertising
Adchemy enables marketers to compose, deliver, and optimize millions of highly relevant ads from a single platform at massive scale.

Invite Media
http://www.invitemedia.com/
Invite Media - Next generation platform for display media trading

Specific Media
http://www.specificmedia.com/
Home - Specific Media
Specific Media provides advertisers, marketers, and agencies with multiple distribution channels to reach consumers on the Web.

Turn
http://www.turn.com/
Turn - The Smart Platform for Digital Advertising
Turn’s advanced platform combines predictive targeting, custom behavioral modeling, and powerful analytics to deliver exceptional performance to global agencies, publishers and premium advertisers.

Read the rest of this entry »

Internet Report 2009 from JP Morgan

November 03, 09 by Bharani

JPMorgan Internet Report 2009

Great Interviews with Google Folks!

October 09, 09 by Bharani

Recently Businessweek came up with a very interesting story on Google and how it is planning to stay ahead of the competition and whether it can stay on top of the web. Anyone interested in Search and Google should definitely read these articles. It throws lot of light on how google takes things seriously and why Search is still an unsolved problem and the challenges associated with Search. Worth Reading…

Can Google Stay on Top of the Web?
http://www.businessweek.com/magazine/content/09_41/b4150044749206_page_2.htm

Interviews with Google Folks
Google’s Udi Manber: Search Is About People, Not Just Data - BusinessWeek

…Udi Manber, Google’s vice-president of technology for core search, joined the company almost four years ago after stints running Amazon.com’s A9 search project and serving as chief scientist at Yahoo. He, like some other leaders on the search quality team,……

Google Search Guru Singhal: We Will Try Outlandish Ideas - BusinessWeek

…Inside Google’s search quality group, Amit Singhal runs the core ranking team, which is responsible for those algorithms you hear so much about. The team ran some 6,000 experiments last year that tried tweaking those mathematical formulas, ultimately producing between……

Matt Cutts: How Google Deals With Web Spam - BusinessWeek

…It’s up to Matt Cutts and his team at Google to keep search results as free as possible from Web spam, those pages full of Viagra ads or even malware. A 10-year veteran of the company, he got into this……

Google’s Scott Huffman: Many More Search Features Coming - BusinessWeek

…Scott Huffman runs one of the least-known units at Google: the evaluation team that measures the impact of every little proposed change to the leading search engine. And with some 6,000 experiments run annually, he’s pretty busy. Not to mention,……

P2W2 - Online Marketplace for Services

August 03, 08 by Bharani

P2W2 is an online marketplace for accountants, writers, graphic designers, software vendors, tutors, researchers and other major professional services. P2W2 stands for “People To Work with”!

Who is the target audience?
Small businesses and Individuals can use p2w2 to post project requirements or to bid for the projects.

How it works?
As a services vendor
1. You can create your detailed profile by describing your service offerings, your capabilities, your portfolio, your testimonials etc., Creating a good profile is very important to successfully win the project bids. As a service provider, you need to pay 13 USD or 500 Rupees to create profile.

2. Once you have created a profile, you can search for projects posted on p2w2 and bid for the projects.

3. Once the client is convinced about your profile and your bidding price, client will give a green signal to start the project. P2W2 provides you great tools to manage the project and client communications. Some of the features are sharing files, project tracking and feedback module.

4. Once the project is complete, P2W2 will ensure that the payment is settled between client and the vendor. P2W2 takes a commission of 4.5% of the project value.

As a Buyer of services:
1.You can create your detailed profile by describing your Company information, your capabilities, your portfolio, your testimonials, your credibility etc., There is no cost to create a profile. FREE!

2. You can search for professionals or vendors. Go through detailed profile and initiate contact with shortlisted vendors. P2W2 maintains a track record of vendor performances. Through this history, P2W2 helps buyers to decide on the software vendors.

3. Once the project is started, buyers can track the progress of the project, review the work and assign requirements through P2W2’s tools.

4. Once the project is complete, P2W2 ensures the payment settlement.

Major Features:

* Reputation management:
* Selection Tools:
* Online Project Tracking:
* Payment facility:

Innovations:

* They have launched a voice-enabled service wherein a client can express his requirements through his own voice by audio recording the requirements/feedback. The Vendor then can go through the audio and gather a very good understanding of the client requirements.

P2W2 is founded by ISB alumni. Chaitanya Sagar from Class of 2005 and Amit Mullerpattan from Class of 2006.

Existing Players [Few examples]
elance [www.elance.com]
ebay [www.ebay.com] yes, ebay has a facility to connect buyers and sellers of services.
Guru [www.guru.com]
rentacoder.com [For software services]
and quite a few freelance exchange sites

My Verdict:
The success of an online marketplace is dependant upon the the familiar network-effect. Unless there are more vendors of high quality, there is no real benefit for buyers of services to use this service and vice versa. This whole cycle of building the userbase takes time and good community building strategies. I am not sure about the current status. But cracking this is of utmost importance.

Moreover, weeding through fake profiles, fraudulent buyers and protecting the interests of both parties (buyers and services) is not an easy task. There are lot of security and trust issues to be taken care of.

Services like elance.com is generally considered good for buyers and bad for seller of services. Because sellers compete fiercely on prices and sometimes the prices are close to nothing. This makes it a place to find cheap sellers or service vendors rather than a quality and reliability-based hunting ground. So, P2W2 should focus on quality, reliability, trust and security if they need to create a niche and success. Will have to wait to see how it all pans out…But they have all the right elements in place…Wishing them lot of success

What is your take on P2W2?

Websites with Google Pagerank 10

May 13, 08 by Bharani

Was curious to check the websites that have pagerank 10…

* validator.w3.org Downgraded to PR9
* web.mit.edu
* www.adobe.com
* www.adobe.com/aboutadobe/index.html New on the list
* www.adobe.com/downloads/ New on the list
* www.adobe.com/products/index.html New on the list
* www.adobe.com/downloads/ New on the list
* www.apple.com/quicktime/download Downgraded to PR9
* www.doe.gov New on the list
* www.energy.gov
* www.google.com
* www.keio.ac.jp Downgraded to PR9
* www.mac.com Downgraded to PR9
* www.macromedia.com (redirected to adobe.com)
* www.microsoft.com Downgraded to PR9
* www.nasa.gov
* www.nsf.gov
* www.real.com
* www.usa.gov/index.shtml New on the list
* www.w3.org
* www.whitehouse.gov
* www.yahoo.com Downgraded to PR9

Both Microsoft and Yahoo have lost their Page rank of 10!