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Musings about my first love - Technology !





I have moved

Dear Patrons,

Finally I have given in to my friends' persistent advice to move my blog to Wordpress. Blogger vs Wordpress debate had been going for too long and I admit that Wordpress surely has many advantages over Blogger. Fortunately I have been able to import all my posts and comments at the new address.

I have moved my technology blog to following URL:
http://www.jasginder.com/bizblog

I have brought my technology, marketing and finance blogs under single blog - Business blog. Please update your Blogroll and bookmarks (if any!).

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posted by Jas @ 10:31 AM, , links to this post






ISRO's Bhuvan to take on Google Earth

Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO)'s satellites have been making news all over world for their remote sensing capabilities. Come March 2009, ISRO will launch its own IRS (Indian Remote Sensing) image portal called Bhuvan. This was announced by ISRO Chairman G Madhavan Nair while delivering a lecture on “Benefits of Space to the Society,” organised at an inaugural function in Gandhinagar on Tuesday.

The portal will offer detailed satellite views of our subcontinent to users - akin to those seen on Google Earth and Wikimapia, but with a difference; this one will give sharper and more detailed pictures than provided by Google. Google Earth, which can zoom up to 200m, will have good competition in Bhuvan, which has a sharper zoom level capability of up to 10m.

While Google Earth provides single-layer information, Bhuvan would provide multi-layer information. Additionally, you would be able to view the images date-wise. The entire service makes use of Indian satellites and its focus will be the Indian subcontinent. ISRO plans to use it to enhance urban and forest planning and traffic management. Like Google Earth, a "special" version would be in the offing for professional and corporate users who might need higher resolution data. Of course, this would come at a price, though the base version would remain free. Apart from Bhuvan, ISRO is also readying an information portal called "Bhu Sampada." Both services are expected to be operational by March 2009.

Nair said that upon being integrated with application-specific Spatial Decision Support (SDS) tools, these two unique portals would open up a new era of collaborative mapping in the country. “These are not mere image or information browsers, but are the mechanisms for providing satellite images and thematic maps to the user community for the purpose of development planning,” he said.

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posted by Jas @ 2:34 AM, , links to this post






Google's another attempt to monetize on YouTube

In its continuing effort to find a way to make money from its YouTube unit, Google introduced on Tuesday a type of e-commerce ad that YouTube users can click to buy digital goods from Apple’s iTunes or Amazon.com.
Under the new program, viewers of a video with a music track, for example, would be able to click on an icon to download that song from one of the two music stores. "If you like the song, you don’t need to leave Google or leave the site to buy it,” said Bakari Brock, business affairs counsel at YouTube.
The new ad format is the latest that YouTube has introduced in recent months as it tries to turn the site’s large audience into substantial revenue. So far, that effort has met with limited success, according to many analysts.
Google, which paid $1.65 billion for YouTube nearly two years ago, is counting on the video site to help it expand into new forms of advertising at a time when the growth of its core business — small text ads that appear next to search results — is slowing down.
Mr. Brock said the new ads were YouTube’s first step toward building a viable e-commerce platform. For now, the program is limited to buying songs from EMI or the Universal Music Group on iTunes and Amazon. The recently released video game Spore is also available, Mr. Brock said. Over time, YouTube plans to expand the program to include other stores and other merchandise, like concert tickets, he said.
Music labels could choose to place the e-commerce links next to their own videos or on videos uploaded by users, whose images or soundtrack they identified using YouTube’s Content ID system, which allows content owners to find unauthorized material on the site.
Google executives have sent mixed messages about their ability to make money from YouTube. Earlier this year, Eric E. Schmidt, Google’s chief executive, said it had taken longer than he expected to find the right advertising models for YouTube. Last month, he said that he was satisfied with YouTube’s progress.
“You Tube is a huge end-user success and we are awaiting the monetization that goes with that, and we believe it will come,” Mr. Schmidt said. “We are where we should be.”
Peekaboo:
On Tuesday, YouTube also introduced a larger viewer that it said was suitable for the growing number of long-format videos available on the site.

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posted by Jas @ 7:00 AM, , links to this post






Indian entrepreneurship surging in recession

The fans of social bookmarking sites (like Digg) would be knowing how such a site - Reddit got its vital money during startup phase. YCombinator, an early stage investment firm had provided the seed funding for it, Scribd and many others. It idea is simple, help to get the new Internet ventures off-the-ground on the cheap, with typical investments ranging from $15,000-$20,000, when they need it the most - in earliest phase.

Well India has got its own version of YCombination in form of Morpheus Venture Partners providing seed capital and mentoring to startups in India. For some time they have been conducting interviews with the interested startups and yesterday only came out with the list of startups that they will be betting on. For the moment investments come directly from MVP’s partners as opposed to the fund, which is currently in the process of raising $5M from investors.

Here is the list of startups which are gearing up for new age challenges even as the traditional industries are trying to either converge or cut costs to survive the bear run.

1) CallGraph: Call Graph is a service to record, track, monitor, share and transcribe your calls. It is designed for distributed teams who use services such as Skype for their meetings, conference calls etc 2


2) Crederity: Crederity is a new service that applies sophisticated technologies and programs to helping people and businesses easily establish trust on the Internet. As the web’s first guaranteed trust builder, Crederity enables people and businesses to certify their own integrity and that of others.

3) DeskAway: DeskAway “simplifies teamwork”. DeskAway is a subscription-based online team and project collaboration service that enables small businesses & teams to organize, manage & track their work online.

4) Dhanax: dhanaX stands for exchange of dhana or wealth, works with the vision to connect people from different economic backgrounds and thus create wealth for them. dhanaX is an online/offline people-to-people lending platform that lets Indians to lend and borrow money from fellow Indians.

5) Fachak: A platform where you can share any form of content from a document to a video, it just needs to mean one thing to you - Fun! Fachak is in its pre-release stage right now but is soon going to be in private beta. You can register yourself for the launch invitation on the website.

6) LifeMojo: LifeMojo’s focus is on creating a platform for delivery of preventive health care services and partner with renowned health experts for their consultation.

7) SutraHR: Sutra HR is a full services People Consulting firm which has a unique partnering model with Digital, Mobile and Internet startups and entrepreneurial companies in India, to find retain assess and train talent to take them to the next level and beyond.

For additional details, check out the MVP website here.

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posted by Jas @ 8:36 AM, , links to this post






VISA payWave - next wave in payment mode?

Reacting to the success of RFID as payment mode, VISA has branded its RFID card as VISA payWave. Called so as one just needs to wave his/her card near the accepting POS terminal for transaction to be carried. To ease the faster payment, one doesn't even need to sign for most of the purchases made under $25.


According to the VISA website, over 32,000 retailers from 20 top brands accept Visa payWave payments, and the list is rapidly growing. Visa payWave is intended to make it simple to save time every day—at quick service restaurants, drugstores, movie theaters, convenience stores and more. The participating issuers are BB&T, Chase, INOVA FCU, SunTrust and Wells Fargo as of now. Some of the major names of merchants who are already accepting the card are Mc Donalds, CVS Pharmacy, 7-Eleven and Jack in the Box. The complete list of eligible merchants is provided at its sitepage -
http://usa.visa.com/paywave-merchants/

Well there are lot of benefits for users over here, like
But then it needs to be seen how much faith do cardmembers show in RFID payment methods. There has been recent reports of people being able to forge the RFID cards as what a legitimate merchant terminal can read from the card, a malicious scanning device can also read without a consumer’s consent or knowledge. Hence the design takes the prime importance over here. The most basic info of the card, the name of the cardholder is abused the maximum with these devices. There has been a good article on the vulnerabilities in First-Generation RFID enabled cards at blog of RFID Cusp, you can access it here -
http://www.rfid-cusp.org/blog/blog-23-10-2006.html

Visa has also announced that it is currently migrating to an enhanced global specification, Visa Contactless 2.0, to further support the growth of Visa payWave around the globe. The new global contactless specification is based on the international EMV chip standards, enabling Visa to take advantage of the industry's most advanced cryptographic techniques for Visa payWave transactions, regardless of where the card was issued or where the transaction takes place.

"Visa payWave is an excellent example of Visa's approach to innovation and our ability to extend the value of Visa to new stakeholders and new market segments," said Elizabeth Buse, Global Head of Product at Visa Inc. "As the payments ecosystem expands, so does Visa's opportunity to deliver innovative products and services to a diverse set of stakeholders."

Sources: VISA websites

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posted by Jas @ 10:58 AM, , links to this post






GTalk now provides the invisible model option

Probably one of the most important features I saw in chatting apart from chatting was the option of ‘invisible mode’. It lets you to have an important chat without everybody bombarding you with pings and hence your screen. It has been a strong feature that was missing in Gtalk and I know about many people who didn’t used to come online on Gtalk, me included, as everybody would be seeing you and hence it ends up a time consuming thing, especially when you have come online for some work on Gtalk.

But then voila, Google has now brought this option in its latest version of Gmail chat. For the people using AIM in Gmail (Google allowed AIM clients to be Google chat compatible few months back), invisible mode also makes them appear signed out on the AIM network. Invisible mode is one of the most requested chat features and so it’s a much awaited addition, starting in Gmail Chat, and in the future all Talk clients.

But at the same point Google’s official Gmail blog has mentioned that the chat may not be useful if lot of people go off line. So do give a feedback to them in case you have any opinion on this…

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posted by Jas @ 8:31 PM, , links to this post






HTTP -> Web -> Web 2.0 -> Shift

Internet has been seen as an invention as significant as discovery of uses of fire. These inventions/discoveries change the entire path on which the future of not only humans but also of the earth. But then with every such discovery/invention is attached the front runners, the laggards and the ones who doesn’t want the new change at all or may desire to be in oblivion of it. Fate of internet has been no different.

Web2.0 has brought in as much confusion as the benefits. It is changing the habits of the people without them knowing if that is a health practice or not. Recent studies have shown that more and more number of people have been discarding the newspapers as the source of news/info. People have started going to blogs and social bookmarking sites for the same. Its fast, it’s visually appealing, tangible, customized and interesting. But then there is what I call a ‘baggage attached’. When one decides to search for a news on such platforms, one is actually going to a mega mall of news to pick the things one likes. There will be many brands (read source) of the item (read story) wanted and one gets to choose various brands of same item, or maybe with different flavor – say spicy, Page 3, thriller etc. But what baggage that is contained is that you end up spending more time, looking at the variety, additional flavors. You may never be able to find the actual item you wanted and may end up buying/consuming the one that is flashy and catchy.

And not only habits it is also the understanding that is yet to mature. The older websites were ranked on the parameter of page views. You may see huge amount of money being pumped in various web2.0 startups. But in middle of this Web2.0 craze people are forgetting to check the feasibility of revenue. Page views won’t give a real picture of the success/ following of the website. Technologies like Ajax, Rich Media and widgets are making this parameter a loser.

The technologies today are trying to make the communication between server and communication low while making the change /page load on customer end minimal. All info requested is loaded on the page asynchronously and without letting user have to reload the entire page. So effectively there was a zero page load over here when user looks for additional information. Hence companies like AC Nielson have already started looking at other indicators like unique visitors, time spent on site per visit, no of clicks per visit etc as better metrics to drive the business goals.

As they say, shift happens!

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posted by Jas @ 7:55 PM, , links to this post