26 April 2011

Top 10 cartoons from my childhood

When a friend of mine sent me this photo today, for a moment I could not figure out who the chubby dog was. I recognized his snigger well, but failed to remember the name. A little more search and it felt as if a corner deep away in my brain had been shown the light. He was Mutley, of course. And with him, came flooding the rest of the super awesome cartoons that I spent my childhood with. So for the record, here's the list of my top 10 cartoons.

Richest duck in the world, Scrooge McDuck with his little nephews, in the quest of saving his Number One coin from the evil Magica and the beagle boys - this one remains a childhood favorite!
Favorite character: Magica

The second treat of every Sunday morning along with Duck Tales, adventures of Baloo and Kit against the gang of air pirates led by Don Karnage in their mothership was always a treat to watch.
Favorite character: Shere Khan
This multi-galaxy, larger than life conquest to find the seven dragon balls is no less than a cult. Super-human extra-terrestials with their planet shattering fireball duels were a treat to watch.
Favorite character: Goku

[Best @TED] Salman Khan: Let's use video to reinvent education

About this talk

Salman Khan talks about how and why he created the remarkable Khan Academy, a carefully structured series of educational videos offering complete curricula in math and, now, other subjects. He shows the power of interactive exercises, and calls for teachers to consider flipping the traditional classroom script -- give students video lectures to watch at home, and do "homework" in the classroom with the teacher available to help.

22 April 2011

Is Intel on the burning platform?

On the outset, a company that just made $13 billion in a quarter seems to be far away from fire. But recent developments in consumer electronics means that if there is any company that is feeling the heat at this moment, it is Intel. Here's a look why,

  • Declining PC market. Its no secret that Smartphones and tablets are quickly displacing PCs, a space that Intel has dominated for years. In simple terms, Intel's addressable market is shrinking.
  • Dominance of ARM in mobile. While Intel dominates PC, its power friendly ARM based counterparts have beaten them hands down in the ever growing mobile market. Intel has been both late and slow and its current  line of Atom chips have failed to create any impact.
  • Windows on ARM. Microsoft's announcement to unlock itself from Intel in appreciation of the growing mobile market on ARM is no good news either. More and more enterprises are looking to adopt tablets and though they still would look to stick to Windows for compatibility, their dependence on Intel is longer implied.
Though the future looks gloomy, their game is far from over. Let's have a look at the growth areas for Intel. 

19 April 2011

[My Next Project] Personal SMS assistant: Spam SMS buster!

Elevator Pitch: SMS Spam buster is a simple and light weight mobile app which detects and kills all spam SMSes based on user preferences.

It seeks to provide respite to all mobile phone subscribers from folks hell bent on selling real estate, slimming belts, Bulk SMS and exotic holiday packages via unsolicited spam SMSes.

  • You can maintain a local list of words and senders which you want to block. Ex: Sauna Slim belt, plot, bulk SMS etc.
  • The app will intercept all incoming messages and put detected spam messages in a separate Spam folder without any notification
  • Spam folder will work like the one you have on email, with the ability to restore messages to inbox or delete
  • Your settings would be saved and synced with the cloud. In case you lose or change your phone, just re-download the app, login and have all your settings restored. Peer to peer transfer of settings would also be enabled.
  • Future versions of the app would support smart Spam filters, with an ability to automatically filter incoming SMSes based on your past interactions
  • To be made available for iOS, Android and Symbian (given their large installed base in India)
I realize that there are some apps which already do some of the stuff mentioned above. Would be indebted if anyone can point me to an iPhone app which does this and actually works.

My Next Project series is dedicated to my world of random and crazy ideas, giving a rare insight into the stuff I think about. Please feel free to pick stuff from here to build your next Google and Apple. I would be satisfied with a 30% stake, no questions asked. Deal?

16 April 2011

[Favourite Movie Scenes]: Dil Chahta Hai

Dil Chahta Hai marked a turn in Indian cinema. Real people, real talk and real situations. The movie and its music has since become a cult and remains one of my personal favourites.

This scene is towards the end of the movie, as Aakash comes back to India, he realises that life takes you around...its important to keep your close ones close.

Future projectors look nothing like the ones we have today, thankfully!

Simply put, office projectors are not the best thing we've ever made. They are bulky, unintuitive, and never work in the first go. I call myself a geek, but I always prefer to stay away from that stuff. While phones became Smartphones, PCs became tablets, TVs became Smart TVs, the projector, well, remained the same old dumb piece of hardware.

But there is hope. In this age of cut throat competition in the consumer electronics industry, as players scramble to differentiate, our long neglected friend is in with an outside chance. Hit the break to read more.

12 April 2011

[Favourite Movie Scenes]: Taare zameen par

Taare Zameen Par is one of those movies which you can watch over and over again and never get tired. And then there are some bits which you absolutely love. This one is one of those.(pardon the foreign credits, apparently the scene is so good that some Japanese guy found and uploaded it)

A lot happens in this space of 10 minutes. Nikumbh, on seeing Ishaan's paintings and craft-work, is fascinated. He tries to explain to a reluctant and a defensive father what his son is going through. To his credit, he has no way of knowing how it feels like when you cannot understand a thing as simple as alphabets. Nikumbh then spells out the ugly truth of the Indian education system where a child is robbed off his childhood by insensitive parents and teachers who believe their job is to create race-winning rats.

Aamir Khan is expectantly brilliant and delivers a very instinctive performance with emotions ranging from fascination, disgust, comforting to just being hopeful. SEL's music complements Prasoon's lyrics to create an immensely soulful background as Nikumbh peeks into young Ishaan's thoughts and his world of colors.

A must watch for all parents and kids.

Updated: Of Facebook Friends

The story continues...

11 April 2011

The great Indian mobile pack activation scam can be worth over 450 crores! [UPDATED]

As per TRAI's latest directive, the operator now needs to obtain confirmation from the consumer via SMS/e-mail/fax/in writing within 24 hours of activation of the VAS service and charge the consumer only if the confirmation is received. Further, every service provider shall, at least three days before the due date of renewal of a subscribed VAS, inform the consumer through SMS.
This new guideline will provide huge relief to customers plagued by unsolicited activation of VAS.

The timing of this ad was very coincidental. Just days before it was aired, my mom found out that the secret behind her disappearing mobile balance was a World Cup Live Alert pack, Mitti Ke Rang Stand Alone Night Plan and an Airtel advantage trial pack. Needless to mention, none of these were solicited.The culprit in this case - Airtel.

And she is not alone, and Airtel is not the only player in this game. The script remains the same - scan and pick unsuspecting low-worth prepaid customers with positive balance on the network,  pick a random mobile pack, activate and take cash in bank! How much cash you say - to the tune of 450 crores annually  if you do a quick back of the envelope math (Assuming 5% of active prepaid subscribers which is ~500 million, are subscribed to a plan worth Rs.15 on a monthly basis) 

10 April 2011

Should you buy an iPad? Here's what you need to know

Its no secret that the iPad has taken the consumer electronics industry by a storm. With over 15 million of them sold in a year, it is threatening the pants off a giant incumbent with an installed base of over a billion devices . If you work for the PC division for any vendor, you know what I am talking about.

Reports already suggest that tablets are set to impact the sales of PCs. Many manufacturers are feeling the heat too - Acer recently saw a churn in its management citing its failure to read the demand of tablets as a chief reason for the subdued future guidance. Lenovo now believes that tablets would take over 20% of the PC market in the next five years.

So the question is, do folks like you and I need one? Will it replace my PC, or end up like the treadmill in the corner serving as a cloth hanger. Let's try and find out.

Auto Mobile Optimization For Blogger Blogs

Looks like the decision to stick with Blogger is already paying off.

Blogger has an opt-in feature which automatically optimizes your blog for all your viewing pleasure on mobile phones. As you can see on the left, mine picked up a nice and elegant template appearance with all basic attributes of the blog on my iPhone. Same template should also work well with other non-touch/trackpad based phones.

How to enable Mobile Templates for your blog

Mobile Templates is an opt-in experimental feature available through Blogger in Draft (or Google Labs for Blogger)
  1. Log in to your Blogger dashboard via Blogger in Draft 
  2. Go to Settings>Email and Mobile 
  3. Select new option available to enable mobile templates for your site
  4. Save settings
Once this setting is saved, anyone who visits your website using a mobile device will be automatically redirected to its mobile version. Now that's what I'm talking about.

I'm Back!

So after a hiatus of over 2 years, I am back to this forgotten web real estate. It has always been a love-hate relationship here, I always get back here whenever I find a chunk of free time. So now that I am on a break from work,  its only fair that I give this dude another shot.