Blue Screen Of Duds

Where the alter ego of codelust plays

Archive for February 2007

Marissa Mayer takes a leaf out of Rummy’s book

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Compare and contrast:

Before you could be signed in and be using one of the three products or two of the three products but not all and, of course, because people like to experiment with a new product, they forget whether they signed up for personalized search.  Had they signed up for search history?  This just makes it cleaner. If you’re signed in you’re using and/or have access to all three, if you’re signed out, you’re on the anonymous version of Google that doesn’t have personalization.

Marissa Mayer: Feb 26, 2007, on personalization of search results.

As we know,
There are known knowns.
There are things we know we know.
We also know
There are known unknowns.
That is to say
We know there are some things
We do not know.
But there are also unknown unknowns,
The ones we don’t know
We don’t know.

— Donald Rumsfeld: Feb. 12, 2002, Department of Defense news briefing.

Is Google the new WMD?

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Written by shyam

February 26, 2007 at 6:05 am

Posted in Google

(Dis)charge of the MBA brigade

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This article, Three out of four MBAs are unemployable, says study, in DNA is a lovely example of how to write a scatterbrained story and still have your editors clear it for publication, typos included. The story starts with a quote from a MBA graduate, who having passed out in 2005, ended up working in a BPO because he could not find a job anywhere else. It goes on to mention a legion of jobless MBAs, the existence of which goes contrary to every number mentioned in the article. I can only assume that the writer does not know the difference between unemployable and unemployed.

But the article does make a larger point, that every Tom, Dick and Harry these days (or should it be every Tarun, Dinesh and Harpreet?) is doing an MBA these days. I can’t count the number of times numerous well-wishers, including friends and family, have asked me to do the same. And there is already a fair number of people that I know who are doing a MBA (or planning to do soon) as a way out breaking through the glass ceiling into the echelons of senior management.

That makes me really wonder, who is really an ideal candidate for doing a MBA? I don’t agree too much with the ‘do-it-to-get-ahead’ crowd because I’ve always hated shortcuts in life and you need to have a better reason than pelting stones at celings made of glass to do it. I don’t like 90% of the MBAs out there (the unemployable ones, that is), because they don’t understand business, operations and most importantly, common sense and think life is all about making amazing Powerpoint presentations.

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Written by shyam

February 26, 2007 at 5:51 am

Posted in India

Bittorrent gets in bed with Hollywood, cluelessness ensues

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Am I the only person who finds the idea of Hollywood studios using bittorrent to distribute their movies being ridiculous beyond any imaginable degree? While going through the latest offering from Bittorrent Inc., of some 3000 odd movie titles, I saw the pricing details that range from $1.99 to $3.99, depending on what you download. Where it gets even better is with the DRM, since they only allow you to ‘rent’ the movies you have downloaded, where they explode expire 30 days into the download, or 24 hours after the first viewing.

One of my greatest doubts about what is being attempted is that it has hidden costs. The $3.99 price is the cost to unlock the movie, it will cost you more in terms of bandwidth to download and distribute the movies. In sharing the files, if anyone has a share ratio of more than 1, it is then costing that user more than what it cost to download him/her to seed the same file. And if there are seedless files, then you lose out on user experience. If Bittorrent Inc runs computers just to seed the files, then it ends up being not very different from any regular online distribution form.

In short, it is a situation where nobody, other than the entertainment industry, wins.

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Written by shyam

February 25, 2007 at 10:31 am

Posted in /etc, Music

Iphone killer

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Can it be called the ikiller?

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Written by shyam

February 19, 2007 at 9:46 am

Posted in Mobile Tech

Firefox to support offline applications

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This is excellent news coming from New Zealand that Firefox3 will have support for offline applications. I’ve always clamored for applications like Gmail to have an extension version, so that we can spend all the lovely bits and bytes transferring data than the same UI elements all over again. It is nice to see some movement in that direction finally from the Mozilla guys, but there is not much by means of detail out there regarding what route they would take to achieve it. The current way of doing apps in Firefox — via extensions — has no data protection or encryption and I do not see many SaaS companies queuing up to use it, even if they introduce the feature in the same manner.

On the other hand, they could considerably overhaul the extensions spec and introduce all such features, but I am not sure if that would be a brilliant idea for any such overhaul would almost certainly bring out another round of compatibility nightmares for existing extensions. Another option would be to develop a fatter and fully-featured scripting component in the browser that will be an add-on than being a part of the core Firefox install. But communities don’t often react too well to such drastic changes and it also territory that’s not usually charted by your friendly neighbourhood browser. Firefox already has enough space for improvement without getting sidetracked by such developments.

In any case, most of this nothing more than idle speculation on my part. For now we just have to wait and watch out for more details.

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Written by shyam

February 12, 2007 at 1:39 pm

Lingering thought about Indian internet

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One of the wonderful aspects about working in the Internet industry in India is that we have no clue about total numbers. There are varying estimates about the percentage of the population on the internet in India, who uses it and how much, but none of them are comprehensive (as it is with almost everywhere else on the planet) or even remotely accurate, at the best they can be called projections.

That said, most of the players do have a decent idea about their internal usage numbers. And from what I’ve seen in my 5 years worth of experience is that it is nowhere close to being earth shattering, be it the English-speaking or the vernacular crowd. Thus, we have, what Sramana would call an emerging market, where you are betting on the future than the present. How long would that market take to ripen is anyone’s guess. My wild guess is that it would take at least another five years before we start seeing the numbers we’d like to see in India.

But that’s a different story altogether. What I keep wondering about is the so-called market opportunity and if it actually exists today in India. In very simple terms this is how it can be put: You can develop the best product on the Internet in India, but you’d still not get traction beyond a point, because the market just does not exist for it.

It is a lousy situation to be in, which is why the first mover advantage is mostly a curse in India. You can develop, build and deploy a world-class application or a web framework and still not have too many people use it, not because it is not good, but because of the fact that there are not too many people around to use it. Then you sit around and wait, until the market matures, while others watch and learn everything that needed to be learnt from your mistakes and do it better.

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Written by shyam

February 12, 2007 at 12:13 pm

Posted in India

Two weird weekend developments

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Sometime ago, I used to be subject to pretty scornful looks when I used to tell people that Justin Timberlake, unlike his ex-flame Britney, is a prodigal talent. And today we have the NYT running a story crowning him as the new king of pop. To be very honest, I had no idea about how good he was during his boyband days. I don’t even remember which boyband he used to be a part of before he started out on his own, but seeing him perform live at some award ceremony on television, with some hip-hop group blew me away. I think it is a bit too early to hail him as the new king, but the guy has got oodles of talent, which is a refreshing change from what mainstream music has come to represent these days.

The other interesting development, which I had no clue about, is that Ministry of Sound has set up shop in India and that too in Delhi of all places. They’ve promised to bring in their star line up, including Pete Tong, to Delhi, which I could not have even dreamed about. Granted, that we have a pretty decent club in Elevate at the NCR, but the crowd there is not exactly the best anymore and it is a pain to trek over to Noida or hop over after work and then drive all the way back. Besides, we badly needed a new club in Delhi, that’s not some old club redone, with a new attitude. Will have to drop by one of these days and check it out.

But seriously, if someone were to have told me that we’d have a MoS club in Vasant Kunj, I’d have laughed my heart out. Then again, let us hope it is not one of those concepts that get ruined beyond recognition once they come to our shores.

Written by shyam

February 10, 2007 at 1:27 pm

Posted in Music, Nightlife