Blue Screen Of Duds

Where the alter ego of codelust plays

Archive for November 2007

On learning the Curve

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On a fateful day last month, I gave into temptation (and driven, in part, by frustration) and got myself a Blackberry Curve. Thus, I am now sans a soul and am now getting more and more comfortable with commandeering my ride on the information highway with the famed dual-thumbed approach.

Incidentally, I have not activated either the Blackberry Internet Service (BIS) or the office Blackberry Enterprise Server on it yet. I am using it for now purely as a full QWERTY keypad phone and using the Opera Mini Beta 4 of surf the interweb. The verdict for now is that I love the phone.

I did regret buying the phone earlier, when I could not find any decent way to get it to use the EDGE connection that I have on Airtel. At that time, for reasons that were very convoluted, it was impossible for me to get online with the phone and I even considered selling it off. Then, one day, I found the Opera Mini 4 beta and found ways to easily replicate almost all of what I used to do on my trusty E50.

I will post a longer review of the phone later, but the shorter version reads something like this: Things I love about it: The interface is snappy, fast and very intuitive. Same goes for the message threading.

Things that I hate about it: It badly needs a browser that is better than the piece of shit that it ships with. Opera, if they have even half a brain, will release Opera Mobile for it. I can see almost every executive who has one lining up to pay good money for it and it is kind of sad that Opera has not done that.

That said, Opera Mini makes my day on the device. And strangely, I’ve found the EDGE connection to be much faster while using the Curve as a tethered modem than the E50, but it does have a bad habit of getting stuck (only with the packets, not the apps) every now and then.

BTW, if you were wondering why the Blackberry Facebook application does not work on your phone, it is because you need an EDGE connection, other than BIS on your Blackberry to get it to run. Strange, but true.

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Written by shyam

November 7, 2007 at 5:08 pm

Is the Indian mobile advertising market _actually_ exploding?

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I normally tend to ignore studies done by market research firms since they are only an imperfect indicator of the market and it becomes your best buddy only when you have to selectively quote numbers during a Powerpoint presentation. A while ago, I had seen a report on Adotas (which quoted a Business Standard piece on a study by Thomas Wiesel) that mobile advertising in India will surpass traditional online advertising in 2009. Now, that is a tall claim for anyone to make, for various reasons that can fit easily in another post.

And as usual, I had ignored the post after giving it the regular ‘raised-eyebrow-followed-by-a-smirk’ treatment. That was till Russell started posting his mobile-specific website, Mowser’s, numbers. If you look at his numbers, it is a bit of a shocker. India leads the way in page views for the month of October with 611,319 page views, followed by South Africa at 303,380.

I do not quite know how to interpret this, but it is a whopper that we are at least 2x in terms of number of mobile page views, compared to any other country. Now, there is a possibility that Russell’s numbers are skewed, but if it is true I’ll have to start tracking one more segment.

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Written by shyam

November 3, 2007 at 8:56 am

Posted in advertising, India

OpenSocial = OS of the web?

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Plenty of commentary abound on the OpenSocial (OS) initiative, here are my two bits on it.

What it will do:

  • Cost of application development and deployment will be southbound once most applications start developing their OS version. Since it can also be deployed as a Google Gadget, OS applications will have multiple delivery methods, including ones that cost hardly anything to deploy and distribute.
  • It changes the rules of the game for applications. Now you can associate a single person with many identities across different networks. This is a core tenet of Brad Fitzpatrick’s Social Graph concept. OS becomes the force multiplier for applications and user data associated with it. This would be the first time that locally contained data and their containers will get to interact with each other over a defined specification at such a vast scale on the internet.
  • The end result is that application makers are now going to be a new breed of business that won’t even need an online presence outside of the application containers (the networks) to make a living. OS will send already insane valuations of application development firms into the hyper-crazy region. Try imagining what this could do to a company like Flock.
  • It will force Facebook’s hand to accept a specification that it did not create and join in the group hug. In the long run, the cost savings that an OS application will have over a Facebook-only application would be considerable, leaving most application developers with no choice other than to develop OS versions of their apps. With Myspace already on board, OS already has a vast number of users on it.

Concluding thoughts:

  • No, this is not the end of the world for Facebook. Not even close to it. What it does is to (eventually?) force Facebook cede a bit of control on how its closed ecosystem lets others interact with it. And this move is not aimed just at Facebook, though Facebook’s success has surely played a major role in how OS came to be.
  • It will force Facebook to clean up its act and improve weak links in its framework (example: groups) since it would now be possible to mix and match various features from disparate containers.
  • The longer term impact of OS will only be clear with the passage of time. It is halfway between an act of desperation and an audacious move by Google and its friends, though I’d be surprised if even they are sure about how this will pan out half a decade from now.
  • Does it not look funny that shortened version of Opensocial is “OS”? Is there a longer term plan with regard to this to make it the OS of the web?

Written by shyam

November 2, 2007 at 12:56 pm

PHP on Windows tip

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I have not seen much about this anywhere, but if you are wondering why you enabled extensions (in PHP.ini) don’t work in PHP on Windows, it is probably because your "extension_dir" path is wrong. This does not show up as an error anywhere other than in Apache’s error log, which is the last place where most would look for an error. To get rid of this error, do not use a relative path for the directory and use the absolute path. It is as simple as that.

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Written by shyam

November 1, 2007 at 1:24 pm

Posted in Apache, Web Servers