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December 21, 2004

News using RSS/Images

Scoble lists few  news sites. One of them is 10x1o.  Its a nice little application. This is how it works -

Every hour, 10x10 scans the RSS feeds of several leading  international news sources, and performs an elaborate process   of weighted linguistic analysis on the text contained in their  top news stories. After this process, conclusions are automatically drawn about the hour's most important words. The top 100 words   are chosen, along with 100 corresponding images, culled from   the source news stories. At the end of each day, month, and year, 10x10 looks back through its archives to conclude the top 100 words for the given time period. In this way, a constantly evolving record of our world is formed, based on prominent  world events, without any human input.

Flickr guys should try building something similar to this  using Google apis (correction: Google doesn't provide news api).

There is this uncanny link  similarity between wordcount concept and the tagging feature as implemented by flickr. 

December 21, 2004 in Emerging Technologies | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack



A little known company in Bangalore—Bluechip Infoway—has developed a platform on which process-independent software applications can be built. The functioning of such an application works is governed by externalized rules. Intergarden currently deploys Bluechip’s platform, and the client seems extremely happy with it.

The founders of Blue Chip Infoway took a cue from what had happened in the database space. In the previous generation of data management applications, data was embedded. Hence it did not facilitate sharing of data across different applications or transactions. As the volume of data grew, relationships across different data sets became apparent. Companies then rushed to deploy a standards-based DBMS that could share data across several applications—they deployed a holistic data management platform.

Its a very compelling idea of automating processes in industries where processes are adhoc and inherently disjointed.

Ok innovation part done , go get some kick-ass world class marketing.

December 21, 2004 in Emerging Technologies | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Losing in Indian IT legal battles

In India every scandal is different , remember we have layers - layers of social and political complexity.
Add to that this newly emerging layer of virtual morality and digital legal issues. 

Avnish Bajaj got dragged into this issue, there is no doubt about this. Those well connected parents instead of controlling their kids harmones went after "sabko andar kara doonga".  Poor guy didnt anticipate how crazy Delhi's socio-political landscape gets. It stinks.

Lets look at the silver lining. Now Indian businessmen will be IT-law savvy. We have a precedent now. This will be quoted in cases and hopefully law will be revised as well. Under normal circumstances legal issues get overlooked. Try digging into popular sites terms and conditions or privacy notices. This unfortunate case will change all that. We will be better off in the long run.

This is where law needs some revision. From IT Act 2000 :

Section 67: Publishing of information which is obscene in electronic form.

Whoever publishes or transmits or causes to be published in the electronic form, any material which is lascivious or appeals to the prurient interest or if its effect is such as to tend to deprave and corrupt persons who are likely, having regard to all relevant circumstances, to read, see or hear the matter contained or embodied in it, shall be punished on the first conviction to five years and with fine which may extend to one lakh rupees and in the event of a second or subsequent conviction with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to ten years and also with fine which may extend to two lakh rupees.

Section 79: Network service providers not to be liable in certain cases. For the removal of doubts, it is hereby declared that no person providing any service as a network service provider shall be liable under this Act, rules or regulations made thereunder for any third party information or data made available by him if he proves that the offence or contravention was committed without his knowledge or that he had exercised all due diligence to prevent the commission of such offence or contravention.

Explanation. For the purposes of this section

a. 'network service provider' means an intermediary;

b. 'third party information' means any information dealt with by a network service provider in his capacity as an intermediary.

Avnish will be a hero in the long run since he volunteered for this. He is smart enough to enjoy this in the long run. I mean Harvard grad/IIT alumni doing time in country's elite jail is story which is worth talking about.  He should champion some key digital legal reforms in the country and dont let this become a bogey issue for that crazy song I keep hearing every now and then - "What will foreign investors think about this?".

Here is what they need to do now -

- Free Avnish and Avnish should become a new champion for legal reforms concerning online business and online activism in general.

- Setup a forward looking legal watchdog which not only in retrospect but also proactively evaluates different technologies for its social, economic, and politicial impact. It should evaluate technology the way Engadget reviews gizmos for fun. Issues involved here are very sensitive and far reaching. Once every kid in India and other developing country starts wielding cameraphone then all hell will break loose.

- Introduce digital manners early in the school.  Its not right to upload somebody's picture on the Internet. Tell them early on that they can go to juvenile correction centers for those kinds of things. Atleast somebody needs to tell them that IT'S WRONG. NO ITS NOT FUN.

- Parents ! Parents wake up. Next time you go looking for nice iMac or new Moto. Think for a second how it can be used for nefarious activities as well. Remember the lesson - "Failure of imagination".

I hope we all learn from this.

December 21, 2004 in Emerging Technologies | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

December 19, 2004

Science breakthroughs

[Via Slashdot] BBC lists Science magazine's breakthroughs of 2004 -

  • Winner: Water on Mars. Nasa's Mars rovers Spirit and Opportunity discovered compelling evidence for the prolonged existence of salty, acidic water on the surface of the Red Planet.
  • Runner up: Indonesian "hobbit". A team of archaeologists made the mind-blowing discovery of a new species of human that stood only one metre tall and lived on the Indonesian island of Flores.
  • Human cloning. South Korean researchers made headlines across the world after announcing they had cloned human embryos, the first published and "peer reviewed" evidence this technique could work with human cells.
  • Understanding condensates. In 2004, scientists made giant leaps in understanding ultra-cold gases called condensates, shedding light on some key problems in physics.
  • Hidden DNA treasures. Stretches of "junk DNA" proved to be far more important than previously thought. They turned out to be essential for helping genes turn on at the right time and in the right place.
  • Pulsar pair. Astrophysicists discovered the first known pair of pulsars, spinning neutron stars that shoot out jets of radiation.
  • Declining plant and animal diversity. There was disturbing news this year about the decline of species diversity from large studies that surveyed amphibians, butterflies, plants and birds.
  • Water on tap. New results on the structure and chemical behaviour of water could reshape fields from chemistry to atmospheric science.
  • Medicines for the World's Poor. "Public-private partnerships" emerged as a force in 2004, according to Science magazine, affecting the way medicines are developed and delivered to emerging nations.
  • Genes in a Drop of Water. This year, researchers hit on a new way to identify lifeforms too small and too remote to see. They collected water from diverse environments and sequenced the genes floating in it.

My personal favorite is Mars mission and the medicines for the world's poor. Last one reminds me of a open source dual licensing model. Open source pharma !

(as always enjoy the Slashdot discussion at the bottom)

December 19, 2004 in Science | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

December 18, 2004

Linux market on the hockey stick

The IDC study estimates the overall Linux ecosystem will grow 25.9 percent annually to reach $35.7bn in 2008. Of that, IDC estimates $14bn will be packaged software, $10bn PCs and $11bn servers.

December 18, 2004 in Open source | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack


Didn't I tell you that flickr is much much more than just the photo sharing application.
Check this out.  Next small big thing is Tagging. Concept of tagging will pick up.

December 18, 2004 in Emerging Technologies | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

After the acquisition

InfoWorld: Talks about what Peoplesoft users think about the future. According to Ephraim there are three choices for Peoplesoft users -

Resignation -- many customers will quietly make the switch because it is the cheapest alternative. I am sure that Oracle  will provide a lot of support to encourage this.

Rebellion -- some customers will look for third-party support solutions. This will be especially true for customers with customized applications or bolt-ons.                      

Defection -- those customers with not a lot of investment in customizations, that do not find the functionality that they  want in Oracle, will look elsewhere."                      

As in most M&A's customers and employees get the short end of the stick. And some ecosystem players get to benefit more than others. Lets do a quick analysis of who wins in those three cases.
In case of resignation obviously Oracle wins along with better pricing power to the business application vendors (SAP, Seibel etc). In case of defection it  will benefit  the likes of SAP and Microsoft and possibly may spawn an IT driven DIY-enterprise app by stiching together bunch of legacy and open source apis.

What will be interesting to watch is this user community who is going to rebel and may go for 3rd party support.  This will reinforce the "software is a services" trend and will help shift the center of power for enterprise apps back to the system integrators. In another twist this will help the offshoring trend as well.  Specially when majority of the support and maintenance staff of these three companies (SAP, Oracle and Peoplesoft ) is all between Bangalore and Hyderabad.

To give credit to these outsourcing firms,  friend was mentioning that Wipro started preparing Peoplesoft-migration tools way back in september !!

December 18, 2004 in Economics of IT | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

December 17, 2004

YAG Story

[Via Technology Review] Thats Yet Another Google Story :

Whether Google or Microsoft wins, the implications of a single firm’s controlling an enormous, unified search industry are troubling. First, this firm would have access to an unparalleled quantity of personal information, which could represent a major erosion of privacy. Already, one can learn a surprising amount about ­people simply by “googling” them. A decade from now, search providers and users (not to mention those armed with subpoenas) will be able to gather far more personal information than even financial institutions and intelligence agencies can collect today. Second, the emergence of a dominant firm in the search market would aggravate the ongoing concentration of media ownership in a global oligopoly of firms such as Time Warner, Ber­telsmann, and Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation.

Short-term lesson for all early stage companies out there - be ready for the search api. It will make ton of sense to integrate this functionality in your software, doesnt matter who provides it in the end.

Ever wondered why nobody talks about Pepsi versus Coke with this passion. Yeah I can hear you - Information is much more powerful than just the sugared water. Well there is a thought worth dissecting just to sense the long term implications of this winner-takes-all bet (wild it may sound) - what if some of the information industry leaders start playing favorites in the consumer and other non-technology markets. For example Google only showing Pepsi ads in all their network !

If  Google's mind of the God and God's preferred soda is Pepsi. Now what can you do about that ?

Implications of this search war transcends technology industry. Outcome of this battle will redefine the way we value information not the way we find information.

December 17, 2004 in Emerging Technologies | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

December 16, 2004

Php for the masses

If Php is the language for the masses then there needs to be a hosted IDE where any user can come in and developer web pages, database driven applications, store it, integrate it with other utilites and publish those scripts/resources to his or her desired website. It should be as easy as writing ain a word doc.

why does one need to have a local copy of the html/css/javascript/php editor and mysql/system service interfaces ?

By making this available in a free hosted version one can move further along in bridging the gap between programmers and users. There are users out there who are very sophisticated and they want to build business applications but dont want to do anything with the install/versions/library issues.

What comes close to something like this ? - Jotspot ?  Maybe ? they are close to this vision. What is really needed is a stack independent approach to assembling components on an on-demand architecture.

December 16, 2004 in Emerging Technologies | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

It's time..

Its time to give a new spin to this blog. What started as a "test drive to understand blogging" has become a must participate avenue for online socializing and thought sharing.

Also to start talking more about the things I do during day job and stop throwing random long short comments and ahas ! Its very easy to talk about some big vision. Challenge is in connecting your daily activities with that overall vision and writing about that in a convincing way. Its like walk the talk.

Will be updating the templates with links, blogrolls and better categorization.


December 16, 2004 in Random Thoughts | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack