Archive | October, 2004

A viable solution?

30 Oct
The past week I had written about the need for cheaper computing and Internet access devices for emerging and hugely potential markets like India. And when AMD launced its Personal Internet Communicator (PIC), Priced at $185 and $249 (the $249 would also fetch you a monitor), one can’t but help get the feeling that it is a step in the right direction, involving the masses in the vision of bridging the digital divide, taking the powers of the Internet to one and all. But it is only a step. The cost is still too high- still too expensive of a computer to get into the hands of those that don’t have one.

According to News.com,

The Personal Internet Communicator, or PIC as AMD calls it, will cost about $185 without a display. To reach that price, AMD selected several standard PC components, including one of its own Geode x86 processors, 128MB of Samsung RAM and a 10GB Seagate hard drive. The company also specifies a version of Microsoft’s Windows CE operating system, fitted with Windows XP-extensions, allowing it to provide consumers with a graphical interface, e-mail, Web browsing, instant messaging and word processing. The PIC machines will also be able to play multimedia files and show PDF and PowerPoint files, AMD said.

This PIC from AMD certainly has whaty it takes to be a mass-market phenomenon. The market is huge, the opportunities aplenty. With applicatons like distance education, telemedicines beginning to catch the fancy of many including the Govenment and the availability of a reasonably costing device (reasonable compared to the existing. The cost is still too high) , the rural scape of the country can gain a lot. And yes, this is perhaps an ideal option for those who’re going in for their second computer at home, and numerous self employed people earning their lives from the internet access nodes, aka cyber-cafes.

ComputerWeekly.com: AMD and VSNL to sell net communicator device in India
News.com: AMD offering blueprint for $185 PC

MileWideBack Extension for Firefox

28 Oct

The last week I installed MildWideBack, a really superb FireFox extension. With this extension, navigation back and forth in a tab becomes very easy. All you’ve got to do is to ‘throw’ your mouse to the left edge of the screen and navigate back or forward by left-clicking or right-clicking on your mouse.

This extension works on the simple theory of Fitts’ Law. For all of you who are aware of this law, you would know that the time to acquire a target is a function of the distance to and size of the target, the target here being the two *small* back and forward buttons on top left of your browser. This implies that acquiring these targets, ie, pointing to these buttons is not very easy. All the more difficult if you are using the smaller buttons so as to get more space for web page content.


But withthis extension our ‘target’ effectively has considerable height and an infinite width! And thus one need just move the cursor with high velocity to the left and navigation is much easier.

Usability Glossary: Fitts’ Law
Get MildWideback

It s been a while

28 Oct

I know its been a while since I posted anything on this blog of mine. I have just been too busy preparing for the stupid mid terms. But now I can safely say that… mid-terms are over! And I’ve fared well in all courses, atleast I guess so 😉

And yes, FireFox download count is well past 6 million!

We need $100 PC

23 Oct

Taking computers to the next level of users is someting that has remained a challenge to policy makers and the biggest of corporates in India. Just as India aspires to be a IT hotspot, there aren’t two opinions about the fact that the penetration of computing resources remains nothing to boast about.

When Steve Ballmer talks of having a $100 PC, one may begin to wonder if this has potential to become the launchpad for making computers ubiquitous in the current scenario. Steve Ballmer’s primary concern here may be to curb piracy, but what we could also achieve is reaching out to a completely new set of users, whom we refer to as on the other side of the digital divide.

The cost of computers may be falling continuously but is still considerable when looked at from the point of view of a common man. But a $100 PC looks to have exactly what it would take to be a mass market success, a phenomenon!

The Indian Broadband Policy 2004

18 Oct

The Indian Broadband Policy 2004, the drawing board of India’s digital future was announced sometime ago. According to the preamble,

Recognising the potential of ubiquitous Broadband service in growth of GDP and enhancement in quality of life through societal applications including tele-education, tele-medicine, e-governance, entertainment as well as employment generation by way of high speed access to information and web-based communication, Government have finalised a policy to accelerate the growth of Broadband services.

Broadband has huge potential to bring about far reaching changes in far flung regions of India. Besides revolutionizing entertainment and communication, it can pave way towards better standards of educaton and healthcare with telemedicine and distance education programs for those in the remotest of areas.

But how do we achieve a ‘ubiquitous Broadband service‘? The sad reality as of now is that connectivity remains a major problem of India. The cost of bandwidth is on the higher side and as result of these, the ‘broadband experience’ remains restricted to a few of its huge population. Does this policy address these issues? Disappointingly, No.

sfx Campaign 3: Overambitious

15 Oct

I always had the feeling that meeting a target of 1000 pics in a week was going to be tough. But it seems that we won’t even get anywhere close to it. Currently we have what, some 82 pics in the gallery and just 4 days remaining. No two thoughts in saying the target was overambitious!

I sincerely feel that the newer campaigns should be much better thought of else we’ll falter to build up on the momentum that we’ve gained from the super-success of the ‘1 Million Downloads’ campaign.

Never the less, the gallery is nothing but laced with spunk and splendour, the images simply breath taking. How about this picture?

GMail based blog

14 Oct

How about an alternative use for the huge unutilized storage space of your 1000 megabytes Gmail account? Blogging, for example!

Gallina is a blog based on Google’s Gmail. Gallina allows you to post blog entries by sending a message through Gmail, with the “star” function. Any replies to the e-mail are posted as comments in the blog. This practically has given you a 1000megabyte blog!

I was just wondering how would the guys at Google react to it? For now, Blogger still remains the most popular blogging service but who knows… 😉

Gallina’s screenshot:

0.1

Gallina
Gallina Demo blog