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Archive for October, 2007

The touch screen phenomena is not a new thing, been there for few years now. But the launch of iphone created such a hype not just because of never-seen-before touch screen but for the touch screen hand-held device without a stylus. Of course, the way it was showcased, and the brand of ‘Apple‘ added to the hype.

iphone was received with never seen before enthusiasm even though the less preffered AT&T was the service provider. But the ‘phone’ part of the iphone received severe criticism. The iphone seems to lack many vital features of a good mobile phone(3G and many others). But the stylish 3 inch touch screen display with very good safari browser, and minimal keys were its best features. Also, the interface was like never seen before.

ipod touch

Soon there was launch of ipod touch, that’s iphone minus the phone. Was it to salvage the dent caused by the not so merciful reviewers of the iphone or the smart strategy of Steve Jobs, not to miss out the touch screen hype? ipod touch is very vibrant, and offers all that the iphone had to offer but the phone and all these at a much cheaper price!

N810, a new gadget by Nokia, is a device to compete with ipod touch. Why is the world’s largest telecom supplier going to something without a telephone?nokia n810 Internet has taken over huh? The technology sure seems to suggest this. A little over 4 inch display with reduced QWERTY keyboard, web browser, music player and WiFi makes it very desirable but for the ‘phone’. Who would be interested in such a device? There are many people showing their disappointment over not including the normal phone feature. Why did Nokia do this?

Why are they going for this ‘internet tablet’ hand-helds? Why don’t they want to provide the ‘phone feature’? Is it to make it stand out? The strategy is unclear to me, as i still prefer to have a good phone with add ons like music player, camera and web browser.

As the iphone’s launch date in India nears Nokia, Motorola and Samsung seems to be building new strategies to defend their territory. Motorola has plans of rolling out MotoMusic service, a WAP and internet based platform for music downloads directly to the handhelds, a competation for itunes. MotoMusic is available in China currently. Wonder why don’t they try that out in the US where more people would be actually buying music unlike in India. This still is to complement the music phones. Nokia has announced their mobile services brand Ovi soon in India, to host music, gaming, navigation, and many other services. Sony Ericsson having already made killer sales in the recent past with just their walkman phones would also be planning for something similar for India.

Touch screen seems to be ‘the thing’ for the next generation of mobile phones, if the ‘phone’ exists. Strategy Analytics study says nearly 40% of the phones by 2012 would be touch-screen ones. iphone, Razr 2 could just be the beginning.

Is the technology trend seems to be shifting towards no phone internet devices and touch-screen music players? Have to wait and watch if this would be the new era. Also, it would be interesting to see the response for such devices in India where majority don’t ‘buy’ music for their devices. Time would change the India buyer or the seller in India?

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Spid the spider caught my eye,

below the dark and cloudy sky.

She was weaving a stronger web,

working like a fearless deb.

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I tried to capture her on my cam,

failing to focus to my sham.

I wished to have a D-SLR,

capturing her becoming a czar.

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A stronger gust of wind i blew,

Spid raced to the center before my view.

Then I went back to my room,

wrote this poem to full bloom.

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Yeah, it was an awesome sight, and that’s my first poem ever! :-)

Arachnophobics would disgust at me. But i love, not the spiders, doesn’t mean i hate them, their webs and the way they are built. The silken thread shimmering in the sunshine at dusk was enthralling. Going over and over the skeletal structure or the framework created earlier, Spid made a closely woven cobweb. No insect could escape this finely woven net. I so wanted to capture the work of Spid, but my 1MP 7610 camera was not good enough to get a good picture of the magnificent masterpieces these spiders create. The work was between two telephone wires outside my house (balcony? not sure if i can call that one). What made me look at that? Well, ask me personally. Anyway, there are many such moments i wanted to capture have gone in vain.

I want a DSLR, i so want one. I had almost bought the EOS 400D. My research on buying one in the last few months has put me on hold, not only for the exorbitant cost of the camera and its set of lenses but also for not having live preview. I don’t enjoy the viewfinder. I didn’t like the Olympus E-330. Canon EOS-1D Mark III and Nikon D300 are out of my league at this time.

So, the wait continues. Till there are more DSLRs with live preview, affordable by a humble techie coding standard si-pro algorithms.

Spid, hang around till then…..

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A lot of speculation, and some hype. Stories of bankruptcy, and riches. A relatively not-my-cuppa-tea (kareem’s quote) venture. Seems to be promising, very bullish. Darn, did i miss out any? Well, how does this work? How do i learn more, quick, and better? As they say, the best way to learn something is by ‘doing it’.

Well, i didn’t wanna burn my fingers, at least after my dad quoting a few times from his knowledge ‘Horse racing gives immediate results, stock trading does so a little slower’. Come on, times have changed, isn’t it? See the way market has gone in the last few years.

Social networking got me to first hands on experience of the market, not on Sensex but on NYSE and Nasdaq. FSX had a pretty good interface, with real index quotes live from NYSE and Nasdaq, and provided 10 million dollar virtual money to start off. Soon i started on Equity challenge by ET for trading on Sensex. Cool huh, starting off virtually on a real wave!

FSXThe image on the left shows a screenshot of the FSX page.

Initially, i started off investing based on the performance of the share on that day, a week, 6 month, and 1 year prior to that. Slowly i started gaining insight into the companies i was investing, reading info from experts. The first few stocks i bought were GOOG(Google), GYMB(The Gymboree corp), and SHI(Sinopec Shanghai Petrochemic). I sold them soon. Today, the they gain i would have made from these stocks (if i held since i bought) are about 25% from Google, -8% from Gymboree, and a whooping 48% from Sinopec! From August to October, in mere two to three months, gaining 65% is something unthinkable.

Stock trading is a lot of fun, just like gambling. May be one could take a little more calculated risk in this, if you know how to calculate that is. It draws you towards it, makes you put in more, and more. You got to be careful in the game to win. Over these few months i have learnt a few things about it, and here i put them down.

Few lessons i learnt:

1. Never trade on very short term.

This is true especially for rookies like me. Invest and wait, have patience. It sure will pay to play in long term.

2. Information is wealth.

Get to know the company well, present targets, strategy, initiatives etc as much as possible. Building a strategic investment plan is the key.

3. If something can go wrong, it surely will.

If you buy a share at 52-week low there is no guarantee that it will not go further down. More likely that it does so. So wait, average it out if it goes too low.

The converse is also true. That is, if a share is at 52-week high don’t hesitate to invest, it can go further up.

4. The above lesson gives a lemma. Markets are sooooo unpredictable, the more time you spend there the better you will realize this.

5. You win some times, you lose at others.

6. Have a risk appetite, know it well. Don’t get carried away.

7. Diversify. It works for your best, averaging your losses, and of course profits as well.

8. More importantly, you don’t get 10lacs or 10million when you trade in reality, and you cannot reset if you make huge losses. So, invest cautiously.

9. Indian market in a way follows the American market, though not always and not exactly.

10. Read all the lessons one more time. :P

Well, these are a few points i wished to write, there are more lessons to learn i am sure. One interesting thing i have observed in this stint is that,

‘लहेरों के साथ थो कोई भी तेहर लेता ह,ै मगर असली इंसान वोह है झो लहेरों को चीर कर आगे भाद्ता है’

Anyone can make money when the market is going up, it’s more challenging to make money when the market is going down. I have not been able to do this successfully. Hopefully i get better at this, soon.

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Fear of Failure

An uncomfortable feeling. Cognizance of a fear does not alleviate it. The consequences of failure may not be much in actual, but the perception and expectation from one’s own conscience of achieving the best makes the inexistent consequence seem unbearable. ‘Expectation’ is the real culprit. Seems like the one who is ignorant about the result of a task would be more remarkable in completing the task, and it happens more often than not for me.

Fear of failure causes trepidation, unwillingness to try, and do anything new. The fear causes you to be a mute spectator, devoid of the beautiful world out there remained to be explored. When you have taken a brave front in doing things, unsettling the usual and try to get a spark, failure at that stage is catastrophic. Fear of failure increases multi fold, and start feeling like a loser. I am a victim of this fear. I overcome at times, and i succumb to it at others. Fortunately, i overcome more often than not.

As the expectation increases, i try and deliver, and i do so better than expected at times. I work under pressure, i work the best may be. There are times when i don’t want to take up things, i don’t understand the reason for it, may be intuition, may be not, an inhibition of sort keeps me from taking it up and i keep procrastinating it. But circumstances are not the same all the time. I do push myself for the task some times, and put a conscious effort towards it. The uneasiness which were for the initial few steps don’t exist anymore as i see things getting underway. I keep working at the task in hand. Another task accomplished, i conquer the fear for now.

Sure, i do give the best shot i can for the things in my hand. But what about the ones that aren’t in my hand? The fear creeps in again. ‘Hope’ is one which could rescue me now. It has a miraculous way of keeping you motivated, happy, and going. Confidence may give you the drive, but it is hope that keeps you trying until you succeed. ‘Hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things and no good thing ever dies’. Hope of a better tomorrow, tomorrow never dies.

Life indeed is beautiful, it is as you think.

P.S.: Lobster, and hope for many more! :D :)

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A great business idea, a cool place to hang out, get in touch with old buddies or make new friends/business contacts. A lot more.

A phenomenon at some US universities, sometime around 2003, for creating a web networking platform for university students, other than the e-mail, a more casual one. Orkut Buyukkokten, a Turkish engineer and Stanford grad, came up with orkut.com while at Google, and Mark Zuckerberg with facebook.com at Harvard. Notably the more popular ones.

Buyukkokten, having developed a similar networking site called InCircle while at Affinity(now called Affinity Cricles) which was only for university students, was accused by Affinity for using the same source code to develop orkut.com while at Google. (some 11 bugs in orkut were same as that in InCircle!!) Google settled the case without disclosing any information.

Zuckerburg is accused of stealing the design, business plan and the source code for developing Facebook from ConnectU.com. Zuckerburg was reportedly hired to do some petty work by the trio Cameron, Tyler Winklevoss, and their business partner Divya Narendra while at Harvard. Zuckerburg, may be having realized the potential of the idea, soon quit that work and in about three months launched Facebook.com. If you’d be thinking Facebook is sued only now because of its popularity, think again! The trio filed a case in as early as august 2004, barely months after facebook’s launch.

Now now now.. Orkut being Google’s own social networking site, Microsoft and Yahoo are struggling to keep with the hot ‘social networking’ era generating millions of dollars in revenues with advertisers going frenzy to put up ads over here. Yahoo! 360 and MSN Spaces failed miserably. Recently Mircosoft bid a whooping 500 million dollars for a mere 5% stake in Facebook. That takes Facebook’s total worth to 10 billion dollars! No wonder Zuckerburg turned down Yahoo’s offer of $1.6bn few months back. Reportedly Zuckerburg turned down Microsoft’s offer as well and seems like he wants to go for an IPO. A billionaire at 23? A cheater? Hacker? Whatever it is, social networking is ‘the thing’ that made him.

From a software developer’s point of view, building a social networking site is not a very hard task. A not so bad, bad server and few good web developers can come up with one. But getting users to it is the trick. Nope, spammers wouldn’t get you there neither will advertising. Well, what gets people is a tough question to answer or probably one with no answer. If there were any conclusive answers Microsoft and Yahoo would not be shelling out billions of dollars, isn’t it? Building a networking site is one thing, getting users to it is another. What’s a social networking site without users, ain’t it?

What’s getting users? A attempt to answer: Ease of use, offers something different, and interesting at the same time (Facebook with 3rd party developers doing this quite well), easier to search your lost friends not just by their mail id (Duh..?). More importantly i think the first one to catch your attention, and the contacts you already have there or the ease of building. That’d need more users! The answer is, Mark is tad luckier than you fellas!

With over 60 million on orkut and something close on facebook, the sites are differentially preferred regionally. More Brazilians and Indians use Orkut, while Americans seem to prefer Myspace and Facebook. What are Chinese on to? Isn’t China the next big market for all the world has to offer? Yeeyoo and Yeskee are a couple of social networking sites making it big in China. Investments in these Chinese social networking sites by VCs are increasing, seeing the global phenomena. Check this out. While Chinese are on Yeeyoo and Yeskee, Japanese seem to prefer Mixi and Koreans are on Cyworld. None of them are happy having users from only a particular region and are looking to expand world over. (with little success huh?)

The concept of networking doesn’t end being social. A-ha.. there’s anti-social networking as well. Check out Isolatr and Snubster for yourself. Then there’s business networking with Ryze and others. This would give you a peek at an ultimate list of social networks.

The concept of social networking is not gonna be ephemeral for sure. Why not soon get these on Mobiles and PDAs? May be soon.

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A short story

On the banks of a river, a childless sage was praying on a bright sunny morning. A small rat fell in to his hands from sky, dropping off the claws of a falcon above. The rat was alive and squeaking. The sage transformed the rat to a girl child. He took her to his home. His wife was delighted. They named her Roniya, meaning ‘joy of God’ in Hebrew, and raised her with great care, and zeal.

Years passed, Roniya grew up to be a beautiful young girl. Roniya’s adoptive parents wanted to get her married and asked her what kind of a boy she would be interested in. Roniya told them she wanted to marry the most powerful guy.

The sage thought Sun was the most powerful, and asked Roniya if she wanted to marry Sun. Roniya said “No.” The sage went to the Sun and asked “Aren’t you the most powerful of all?” The Sun replied “No, I am nothing when there are dark clouds covering.”

The sage asked Roniya if she wanted to marry Dark Cloud. She again said no. Surprised, the sage went to Dark Cloud and asked “Aren’t you the most powerful of all?” Dark Cloud said “No, I am just there as long as there is no wind, if the wind blows I’m gone!”

The sage thought Wind must be the powerful of all and asked Roniya if she wanted to marry Wind. Again, she said no. Perplexed, the sage went to Wind and asked “Aren’t you the most powerful?” Wind replied “No, No matter how hard i blow the tall mountains stop with ease”.

Sage was excited this time and asked Roniya if she wanted to marry the all powerful Mountain, who was better than Sun, Dark Cloud, and Wind. Roniya again said no. The sage was really confused, yet he didn’t say anything to Roniya. He went to Mountain and asked “Aren’t you the most powerful of all?” Mountain said “No. I may be strong in blocking the Wind, but there are these rats which drill and make holes creating burrows all over, wherever they want.”

Now the sage was enlightened and knew who the right choice was for Roniya. He knew Roniya would not say no this time. He went to her and asked if she wanted to marry a rat. Roniya jumped with joy and said “Yes!”

The sage transformed Roniya to a rat and he got her married to a rat. The rats lived happily ever after! :)

Moral of the story: A rat would only like to be with a rat, not any better. (or any worse? :P)

P.S.: Story i heard from my mom, sources not confirmed. No copyrights.

 

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