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July 28, 2005

Why blog?

My father-in-law is here and we used this opportunity to have fun with all the recent tools and gadgets. He is on iBook and happily missing all the problems related to Windows machine.

Today he is playing with Skype and blogger.com. While collecting links on role of blogging in education I came across this good blog. Picked above image from that blog. I like this T-shirt.

July 28, 2005 in Emerging Technologies | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

July 27, 2005

One degree factor at play?

As if we needed more proof that the global weather pattern has really gone nuts in recent times. 
Monsoon rain in India's financial hub Bombay caused the life to come to a standstill. Bombay monsoon is infamous for this reason. Every Bombayite knows that there will be couple of days in a year where he or she will be forced to stay back in the office. Everything stops - local trains and every other transport mode. I did this once when I used to work in Bombay. 

I hope situation improves quickly and people get on with their life.  Though something has to be said about this sudden change in the intensity. Part of the reason should go to  The One Degree Factor:


  Dust clouds are building high over the Atlantic. An entire population of caribou is declining, while other species are pushed to the limits of their physical survival in the oceans. A respiratory illness, once uncommon among children in Trinidad, is now widespread. Amazingly, many scientists now believe these disparate phenomena may be linked to global climate change.

This and other such extreme changes happening all over the world constitute new normal. This is not your mother nature playing it's random dance sequence, this is very much our own creation.

Now only if we can stop screwing around with the nature.


July 27, 2005 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

July 26, 2005

Learning language can be fun

Try this if you are not convinced.

It's not just the language specific features which excite me about Ruby but also the type of projects and community which is building around this language.

July 26, 2005 in Emerging Technologies | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

July 24, 2005


Om Malik points to a very interesting software called  "Ninjam" developed by Justin Frankel, same guy who wrote Winamp and Gnutella.

It's a software which allows people to compose real music over the Internet. Creating music over the Internet is like touching the limits of collaboration itself.  If such a nuanced activity  as music can be created over the wire then pretty much everything is up for grabs. How this software accomplishes this amazing feat?

Since the inherent latency of the Internet prevents true realtime synchronization of the jam2, and playing with latency is weird (and often uncomfortable), NINJAM provides a solution by making latency (and the weirdness) much longer.

This line also caught my attention on their site in the context of artists agreeing to donate a sample music under CC license -

since they agreed to CC license their parts when they connected

This section  "their parts when they connected" is very interesting. In case of open source you step on the legal train when you commit but when you are creating your music over the Internet it's the moment your music connects with others which matters.

Neat stuff.

July 24, 2005 in Emerging Technologies | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

July 22, 2005


Just heard one CEO tell the world that his is a very customer focused company.

Having experienced the  painful sign-up and eventually the canceling process for their  service, I am just wondering whether these web2.0 companies understand customer support in the same way as other companies do. It's one thing to provide uber-cool solution but providing boring and essential customer handholding is a different ballgame.

At the end of the day we have to get our job done.  That hasn't changed in web2.0.

July 22, 2005 in Emerging Technologies | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

July 19, 2005

Go Arfa

Other reason I like this news besides the obvious achievement by a kid is that it creates  healthy role model for kids in that region. Sort of like what we see here in US in the Spelling Bee phenomena !

From this cached  link

Little Arfa, who is the youngest MCP girl of the world, has invited Bill Gates to visit Pakistan and stay at her home. The invitation was accepted by Mr. Gates who had invited her to his home. She asked him to visit Pakistan and insisted that Gates stay at her home which he accepted and remarked that it would be fun.  

July 19, 2005 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

What I wish I knew when I was 20

This goes out to the all the folks who are still in their 20s.  All the points are worth internalizing but this  particular one is my favorite -

The harder I work,  the luckier I get

More useful presentations at STVP website and on this site.

July 19, 2005 in Entrepreneurship | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

July 18, 2005

Apple leading the way

As Longhorn gets more and more delayed, Apple is really taking advantage of that by introducing some cool apps for all the new hot trends. After nailing down the music market they are aiming to extend iTunes to the video market.  Starting from podcasting support they will no doubt go all the way to make vlog look good on iTunes.

So what's next ? Going to Apple store to rent out Sundance movies ! Or may be on-demand download of hard to find movies !


I think this lead by Apple has very important implication for the developers  market.  Developers market will eventually become a three way contest.  Split along  -

Superior aesthetics       (Mac platform)
Superior convenience  (Windows)
Superior economics      (Open source)

It will be hard to avoid any of the three platforms but aesthetics will come around to differentiate every developer's innovation. Importance of aesthetics will grow suddenly, more so in the highly commoditized IT landscape.

So my advice to developers- dont just pass on ipod and iTunes by saying its all about music and video ! Time to include audio and video in your good old  enterprise app is now ! Atleast start thinking about it.

If I have to borrow developer's jargon then I would say Apple is successfully transforming the basic data type of the development from text to rich media (sound and video). Implications will be significant.

July 18, 2005 in Emerging Technologies | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

July 17, 2005

Whitney's Legacy

Story of Eli Whitney is very relevant in our times. Times of intellectual property debates, patent controversies and general concerns related to piracy.

Whitney's greatest contribution to American industry was the development and implementation of the American System of manufacturing and the assembly line, which he was the first to use when producing muskets for the U.S. Government. Whitney's concepts were later exploited by Henry Ford and others in manufacturing.

There exists question today over whether the cotton gin, which Whitney received a patent for on March 14, 1794, and its constituent elements should rightly be attributed to Eli Whitney; some contend that Catherine Littlefield Greene should be credited with the invention of the cotton gin, or at least its conception. It is known that she associated with Eli Whitney (along with other historical figures such as George and Martha Washington). Some historians believe that this invention allowed for the African slavery system in the Southern United States to become more sustainable at a critical point in its development.

Born in Westborough, Massachusetts, he was graduated from Yale College in 1792. While his ideas were innovative and useful, they were so easy to understand and reproduce that the concepts and designs were readily duplicated by others. Whitney's company that produced cotton gins went out of business in 1797.

He never patented his later inventions, one of which was a milling machine

Doron S. Ben-Atar, associate professor at Fordham University draws upon  Eli Whitney's story to drive home new findings regarding the evolution of intellectual property issues in US.

His central thesis captured in the book will remind everybody of other country - which apparently is following US but in a more secretive (and some would say more methodical way) way in exploiting the interpretations of intellectual property. That country is  China.

In Doron's word -

This book focuses on the role policies relating to intellectual property played in promoting the appropriation of smuggled technology which led to the emergence of the United States as the premier industrial power in the world. I study the evolution of the American approach to the problem of the relations between intenational boundaries and intellectual property from the colonial period to the age of Jackson. I examine the role of federal and state governments in that transformation and study the contradictory (some would even call it hypocritical) American policy. Officially, the young republic pioneered a new criterion of intellectual property that set the highest possible standards for such claims - worldwide originality and novelty. At the same time, through a variety of measures, the government endorsed and supported the violation of intellectual property of European states and individuals. The United States emerged as the world's industrial leader by illicitly appropriating mechanical and scientific innovations from Europe.

This issue needs to be understood at three levels - individual ownership(and later on corporate) of intellectual property, protection and interpretation within national jurisdiction and finally in the increasingly flat world protection  and interpretation across national boundaries.

Have we come full circle and finally met Eli Whitney in acknowledging the futility of patenting any technology?  In this world of fast innovation and fast replication - next generation Eli Whitney's will not be motivated to go to the patent office.

National level issues are well understood.  It's the global protection which is raising new concerns.  In a short history of the very idea of intellectual property - its only 200 yrs old ! - countries will be driven by their social-economic compass to interpret the property rights.  Be it providing cheap AIDS drugs to Africa or China proposing new technology standards to bypass patent regime, every country will use their domestic agenda to build new rules to either flout or to respect the ip issues. Near evangelical adoption of Open source in developing world is another aspect of this same phenomena.

Countries at the receiving end will definitely be quoting from Doron's work.

This issue will be here for some more time.

July 17, 2005 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Open source components on the rise

Evans Data research suggesting a sharp increase in  open source share in the overall component mix (as preferred by developers).

While 38.1 percent said they used OSS modules in their applications in Spring of 2001, in the most recent survey, 56.2 percent said they had.

Looks like cost is not an issue any more !

July 17, 2005 in Open source | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack