Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Cut the chirp! Get Filttr, with Twitter!

How many of you, like me, are on Twitter? Possibly, everyone! How many of you feel there is an overdose of information on Twitter? Again, possibly, everyone!

So, here's a chance to cut the chirp and get to the relevant! I guess, that's what Filttr sets out to achieve!

According to the Filttr site, its amazingly intelligent birds fetch you, the user, only those tweets that are relevant for you.

Interestingly, I could not sign up, as the "NEXT" link on the sign-up page refused to work. Maybe, it is a beta flaw or something. Hence, I was unable to test the system. I will surely try again later, so nothing much to report otherwise!

Nevertheless, more power to micro blogging!

PS: Later, I was able to email Filttr, and get a response as well. And yes, the site did work. Thanks Swaroop!

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Twingly helps searching blogs!

After a long list of web search engines, and then music search engines, now we have blog search engines as well. Well, I am referring to Twingly! Try it!

First up, I am always thrilled to see my blog and posts featuring high on search engines. So, it was no different this time! My first attempt -- semicon -- threw up a lot of my current blog posts from my award winning blog (some more of shameless, self promotion, ;) ok!).

Some of the blog posts that showed up on page one, as per TwinglyRanks, were:

1. Reviewing global/Indian semicon industry in 2008 -- top posts! Well, this was also the top or first search result for semicon!
2. Semicon outlook 2009: Global market could be down 7pc or more.
3. Top 10 captivating moments in Indian semicon during 2008.

I was particularly pleased to see the third post (above) figuring in the search results. Tells me, Indian semiconductor industry is still in good health and attracting interest from all over!

Coming back to Twingly, it is a blog search engine featuring a spam-free, faceted, social search for the global blogosphere. The site claims that without any marketing, Twingly currently serves 25M+ search results per month, most through its API. Also, the Twingly Blogstream is used by 50 newspapers, magazines and TV channels in eight countries to get more attention from bloggers, generating 200M+ monthly widget views.

What I liked about Twingly is that the search results also link the user straight to my blog's RSS feeds! Somehow, it also throws up a blog profile for my blog. So, I imagine, it is the same for all of the other blogs. You can also get your search results as widget for your blog!

There are some other features like microblog search, ping your blog, etc. If you join, you can also create email alerts for blog updates.

However, adding the widgets is not so easy! For instance, my profile page shows options for three widgets -- Recent posts, Most linked posts, and Recent linking posts. However, instead of embedding easily into Blogger or Wordpress, the site asks you to add codes on to your blog's HTML page, which can be a challenge! And well, this made me NOT add the widget. Well, Twingly's worth a try!

To all of my Chinese friends from all over the world -- Kung Hei Fat Choy :) 恭喜發財

Friday, January 23, 2009

Watch your favourite music videos at Jogli; and don't miss Slumdog Millionaire!

January 22nd has been a great day for the Indian cinema fraternity, with the widely acclaimed Slumdog Millionaire getting nominated for 10 Oscars! What an achievement for the underdog!

Yes, it is a movie about the triumph of an underdog in the biggest game show -- "Who Wants To Be A Millionaire"! The fact that the underdog wins this competition -- based on his knowledge of all the answers, which were all associated with his growing up -- first, in the slums of Dharavi in Mumbai, and later, as a young man in a call center. And all along, he feel in love too! Never mind, I've always been a poor story teller!!

Okay, what has this particular blog post got to do with technology? Well, since the movie only releases today, those who follow Indian cinema are well aware that Slumdog Millionaire's brilliant music director, A.R. Rahman, has been nominated for three Oscars for his wonderful music score! Therefore, I wanted to find some site where I could watch vidoes of the songs from this movie!

That's how I came across Jogli!

Jogli, my friends, is a music search engine! To my sheer delight, I was also able to locate videos of Abba, Beatles, Beegees and Bomey M as well, while listening to Jai Ho, from the Slumdog Millionaire! And that made my day!!

For all of you music buffs, Jogli has recently launched a widget as well -- the Jogli Widget! You can embed albums and playlists into your Web pages. Like all widgets, this can be customized too!

The site has a very interesting message on its home page -- register and be the DJ! I haven't tried it myself, but am sure most of you would definitely love to!

It also has a feature, called Scrobbler. You need to type names of some of your favorite artists and Jolgi will scrobble those for you! Means, it selects your choice of artists and prepares a playlist for you too! Wonderful! You can save the list as a playlist if you like! Surely, I can think of at least 50 artists I like, and I can't wait to have a massive playlist of over 500 videos or more!

Yet another feature allows you to upload your iTunes playlist or and make it a video playlist! Great! Hope you find the music that you love!!

Now, please allow me to get back to the music, for a change, away from semiconductors and telecom, and all sorts of technologies! Dance, while the music still goes on (Abba)! :)

PS: Don't miss the Slumdog Millionaire! ;)

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Print your blogs and make money!

Bloggers, especially those, who are just joining the blogosphere, there is a tool, which allows other people to print your blog!

Blog2Print has been around for a while, I believe. However, this site allows bloggers to have their blogs printed and convert those into 'blog books.' As of now, the Blog2Print supports Blogger and Wordpress blogging platforms.

According to the site, a 20-page softcover Blog Book is just $14.95, and a hardcover is $24.95. Extra pages can be added for only 35 cents (per page, I guess).

As a user, you can choose the blog book's cover and the images, as well as the number and the order of blog posts. The site allows you to edit the book, and add/remove comments, and add/remove pictures.

Blog2Print also allows bloggers to sell their own blogs. A blogger would need to add Blog2Print to his/her blog. Each time a blog book blog is bought, the blogger gets to receive 20 percent of the sales of the books sold from his/her blog.

Well folks, here's your chance to make some money! Write super blog posts having unique, relevant content. Soon, you'd be laughing all the way to the bank ;)

Monday, January 19, 2009

Online vs. Print: Who rules?

It is funny! Print, which ruled, and well, still rules, is now under some threat from online. However, in India, have no fear! We are a developing nation, and a very high number people do turn to the morning newspaper for their news.

Imagine, if the same people started browsing their mobile phones for their morning news! Unthinkable, for now!

Now, translate this into a scenario within a media company. Most media are now on the Web, and daily, and even hourly updates are given for! You also have social media to cope with. Well, what do print publications do? Naturally, ply their trade online!

What, if some people in editorial teams are reluctant to move to online? Are they still living in denial? Are they scared of having to do too much work? Probably both! It is NOT easy to maintain a daily Web site. Why, even maintaining a blog is a very tough task!

It has been noticed that those reluctant to change still brandish the print vs. online story. Print is bigger, and online, hey, it's of no consequence, since we are a bigger brand, they say! It is their ignorance, inexperience or folly, or all!

Cross media is now standard! Those who don't want to embrace it will be overtaken by it! Once written online, a story is circulated all over the Web. Imagine waiting 15 days or a month for a magazine to run the same stories!

I tasted cross media way back in 1996, when I first started work at Global Sources. We had to do print + online + CD-ROMs. Teams were divided thus, as were the events. Editorial teams were developed to contribute for various verticals -- electronics, telecom, components and computers.

Later, the bureaus went even better. Teams started becoming cross functional. The chap from electronics soon became equally adept with telecom and computers. Those who triumphed over components went on to establish themselves.

All this while -- cross media has remained unchanged!

Understand the power of cross media, friends. Don't hold on to your horse -- I have a bigger brand, and so, I am bigger! If you can't update your site and wait for others to seed your stories for generating traffic, you are asking for trouble!

Circulation levels of technology magazines have gone down than what they used to be. The reason -- Internet's much more faster! Even faster than electronic media, some would contend!

I do come across folks who still think that print rules, and that their print brand is bigger than a sister or any other online brand! Sure, it does, mate! However, print is no longer like what it used to be!

Consider this: good bloggers do get invited first to industry events today! Why? Their blogs are more authoritative and influence the social media! Blogs are also used for research. There's a huge blogosphere out there. Can't get funnier than this!

Friday, January 16, 2009

WHDI: New standard on the block!

Recently, I came across the WHDI standard on its Web site! This new standard on the block, expanded to wirless home digital interface, is the new wireless high definition (HD) video standard that will change the way people use audio/video devices in the home.

According to the Web site, WHDI's revolutionary video-modem approach enables top-quality and robust wireless uncompressed HD video delivery throughout the home, allowing consumers to connect any source in the home to any display. The WHDI Special Interest Group (SIG) was formed by Amimon, Hitachi, Motorola, Samsung, Sharp, Sony, LG Electronics.

This is such a new technology, and I am quite excited to learn more about it. Will surely be getting in touch with the WHDI SIG.

I am reminded of the time Bluetooth started getting discussed as a technology, and a Bluetooth SIG was formed. This PAN technology had to overcome hefty criticisms before becoming a de facto standard. In fact, I recall an article I wrote for Electronic Business Asia @ Reed, back in late 2001, and published in January 2001 -- "What ails Bluetooth?"

Unfortunately, the EB Asia site does not open, nor could I find my article, although there are some sites with links to other sites that ask me for a free trial to read my own article! :) So much for the beauty of the Internet!!

Well, one sincerely hopes that WHDI gets much better treatment than Bluetooth!

Sunday, January 11, 2009

You can now hear all my posts

Hi friends, after dilly-dallying over this aspect for quite some time, I finally decided to add vozMe on to my blogs -- and make available all of my posts in voice!

So, if you visited either Pradeep Chakraborty's Blog or TechFools, and scrolled down to the end of each post, you can see a link that says: Hear This Post!

Click on the link and it opens a new page, which is powered by vozMe. It creates an MP3 file, which plays automatically. You can download the MP3 file as well!

The drawl is American, and I wish it could be better. Have fun, if you wish, folks!

Saturday, January 10, 2009

KartOO -- search and see your own maps on Internet!

I stumbled upon KartOO -- a visual meta search engine! Quite easy and quick to use, you must have flash player installed to be able to draw and see your search maps!

A quick check on Alexa revealed a current rank of 78,405 with the description -- "Displays results in chart or classic list form. Options include different language interfaces and basic or expert version."

For instance, if I type my name, it shows up the results -- as you can see below in the search map!Well, I liked what I saw!

When you do a mouseover above each block of the search map, you can see a whole lot of options like Open this page, Related sites, More pages of this site, Modify/Watch, Erase, and Copy. Of course, you can zoom on the search map as well!

A list of topics on the top left half are shown quite nicely. If you do another mouseover above each topic, I believe the search map shows up all of the points where that topic is heaviest -- in terms of density.

On the top menu bar, you have features like Options -- parental filter, search the web, etc.; open, save the map, print and bookmark! The site lists eight languages for displaying search results -- German, Portuguese, Spanish, Italian, US and UK English, Brazilian and French!

This is a indeed a very good effort! However, I don't really know what the web site owners are doing about the promotion of this search engine. Do check it out! Even if it is for fun!

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Top 20 Indian IT companies! Really? What do they manufacture??

Who are the 20 companies in the Indian IT segment? Anyone can guess these companies! They are among the who's who of India Inc.!

Who are the top 20 Indian companies in the Indian IT segment in the manufacturing space? Well, difficult to list, isn't it? Or, what are the top 10 IT products being manufactured in India, by Indian companies? Well, this one also hits a road block!

These are just two questions that have been difficult to answer.

However, we all love to see a top 20 list of IT firms in India, don't we! The road blocks appear when you start probing a little deeper into things such as what they actually manufacture, where is their factory based, and well, how many SMT lines do they have?

Why do we find it so difficult to build IT firms that manufacture in India? Why can't we have more of such home grown firms? And, I don't mean some of the companies who are trying to produce handsets! We don't even have many successful business models to fall back on! Why, we don't even have an Indian equivalent of a Huawei or a ZTE!

My wish for the new year: dear lord, please give India several top notch home grown IT firms who are into manufacturing, and who can make a difference!

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Ignoring ignorance on GPS!

I have been really amused to find that GPS or global positioning systems and navigation are finding their way among the top 10 telelcom and/or technology trends for 2009!

To follow this tribe of enthusiastic analysts, I also mentioned GPS and navigation among the top trends to watch out for in 2009! However, it is really hilarious and amusing to find GPS being suddenly talked about so much!

Unfortunately, the terrorist attacks of Mumbai on 26/11/08 have probably turned the spotlight on GPS.

No matter, GPS is a technology around for close to a decade now. I remember seeing the first devices used in cars in Korea, back in 1998-99. Then, in 2000, I, along with a colleague, Pamela Yu (at Global Sources), were invited by Nokia and Citybus in Hong Kong, to showcase GPS solutions on Citybus. At that point of time, HS-CSD (high-speed circuit-switched data), had just taken its bow! In fact, Nokia was also showing off its HSCSD solutions. Come to think of it, no one even talks of HS-CSD now!

Back to GPS! Citybus and Nokia showed me a wonderful GPS network, which tracked all Citybus vehicles. And well, Nokia even demonstrated how a HSCSD phone could be used with GPS inside vehicles in Hong Kong!

In 2000-01, Japan produced first devices with GPS built in! At 2000 ITU Telecom Asia, I remember discussing with NTT DoCoMo regarding the accuracy of these devices in times of distress or emergencies.

Cut back to 2003, Geneva, ITU Telecom World, and prior to that, CommunicAsia. GPS has been present all the times! Why, if someone even cared to check Global Sources, or even Alibaba, they'd be spoilt for choice.

During several trips to Shenzhen, and also during the various China Sourcing Fairs, I came across GPS, embedded into various devices -- PMPs, MP3/MP4 players, etc. Since it has been in the mobile phone for some time, there's always no doubt of it not making an appearance elsewhere.

In India, I believe, the problem lies more with not having ready, detailed maps of places. However, this is a problem that is being addressed.

Recently, a colleague, a youngster, who's just started his career, quizzed me about GPS, where a client had told him that GPS can't be used in mobile phones! The moment I heard this, it immediately stuck me that this so-called client, who mentioned such a thing about GPS, isn't even aware of the industry, or rather, does not have a telecom background!

This is the Internet world. All the information I've given above, has been available on the Internet for a long time. No excuses, if people can't look it up!

God bless us all from ignorance! ;) Ignoring ignorance? At your own peril!

Wishing everyone a very happy 2009!