Archive | February, 2005

GCalendar from Google?

26 Feb

Somebody posts something about a bot’s (supposedly from Google) hyperactivity on a calendar oriented site and then some people link to some very irrelevant blog posts about possible things Google could provide and then what you get is a complete speculation in the whole Internet community of Google building a killer calendar application.

It would be real splendid if Google actually does come up with a feature packed online calendar. And so would it be if they built the IM that they were again thought to be building, what with all those acquisitions and all. Probably you must read about it on an earlier post of mine: Google rolling out a new instant messaging client.

And if you wish to have more details of the Google Calendar speculations,

The real priority of Open Source

25 Feb has a very interesting article that raises a very simple question: What should be the priority of Open Source? FREE or OPEN?

The free side sees complex software licenses as an enemy, binding each algorithm to different conditions, making real progress impossible.

The open side calls the GPL the “most restrictive” possible license, because it obligates you to offer what you make with GPL tools under the GPL.

Not everyone loves Firefox

21 Feb

In a world that is ever so cruelly dominated by IE, we are fortunate to have with us alternatives. And so we all get busy figuring out which is the best alternative! Not everyone will love Firefox, or for that matter hate IE, and understandably so. Individual preferences vary and so does the usage pattern. So when it comes down to drawing a comparison between these alternatives, it ain’t an easy job. All the more difficult, when the alternatives happen to be much superior to the original and similar to each other in ways more than one the way Opera and Firefox are.

There is no denying that Opera is the fastest browser around. Yes, faster than Firefox too. But then, Firefox comes studded with splendid extensions. AdBlock for one, thus providing an opportunity to get out of the clutches of advertisements and have a hassle free experience. Also the way Firefox handles JavaScript secures poinst over Opera and the fact that Firefox is more stable makes it the browser I prefer. Then there are secondary issues. About new links not opening up in tabs in Firefox. which I presume is very easily compensated for with Tabbrowser extension. So Firefox and Opera draw level again. Printing- Firefox does a much better job. Mouse Gestures- Opera scores better, much better. A deadlock.

Again, these are individual preferences, and the comparisons may go on and on without us ever being able to substantially claim which is better!

Outsourcing is Insourcing of competence

19 Feb

A few days ago, I had the opportunity of attending a talk by management guru C. K. Prahlad, the propounder of the concept of “core competence”. Amongst a variety of topics he had covered in his lecture, he talked of the recent evolution of the entrepreneurial culture in the country, the needs of grassroots innovation, and the tremendous opportunity to tap the market of the poor and building businesses for the masses, citing examples of success stories such as the IndiOne Hotels, a low-cost hotel conceptualized by the man himself.

Also, he made a very intriguing comment: “Outsourcing = Insourcing of competence“. A very subtle remark but when we dwelve deeper, it has a whole lot of significance. The tremendous amount of success in Outsourcing business is lending confidence and experience, to the leaders of tomorrow, helping promote innovation and also the intricacies of managing global level opertaions.

Talking of the role Outsourcing can play in cultivating entrepreneurship, the MIT Technology Review has a very interesting article:

Big outsourcing providers like Infosys may not be fountains of innovation, but their presence will have—in fact, is already having—trickle-down effects. Outsourcing, many Indians argue, is training India’s next generation of tech entrepreneurs.

Firefox – 99 days, 25 million downloads

19 Feb

Sheer demonstration of ther power of open source.

25 million downloads!

The world is on fire!

Programmer or a Software Engineer

14 Feb

Whoever believes that there isn’t any difference between a programmer and a ‘software engineer’ is living in an illusionary world. By the way, when I talk of a software engineer here, I refer to a person who tries to address the requirements of the client applying the rules of engineering systematically (I don’t understand why people so often use this title incorrectly), in a substantial contrast to the way a programmer would have gone about the same task.

Well, to be honest, all my escapades into the world of software engineering have only lead me to develop this opinion: You remove fun from programming, include a whole lot of responsibleness and bring in hierarchy, what you get then is ‘software engineering’.

Software engineering is all about ensuring quality, cost effectiveness, thereby in some ways having to put aside creativity, and innovation! Now that does not necessarily go down well with a programmer. For years, since we were in high school, we’ve been coding, writing the most imaginative pieces of codes, driven by some hidden zeal for creativity and innovation, all for fun. And now when we have to do all these things with a great vigil over us, with continuous monitoring and control, all in an environment that is more hostile than motivating, we realize that the shift from a programmer to a software engineer is not entirely a smooth sail.

For all its great features, I wonder if guys at Rational hadn’t build all those innumerous functionalities, I wouldn’t have had to do so much work 😦

Newsburst: Yet another Web Based RSS Reader?

13 Feb

I am currently playing around with c|net’s Newsburst. It might just be another web based RSS reader, but certainly it looks nice to use.

What is interesting here is that this reader is provided by one of the biggest news providers via RSS itself. This launch of newsburst follows the launch of similar branded RSS readers by The Guardian and LA Times last week. The question we need to ask is why are news companies rolling out these branded RSS Readers? According to The Internet Stock Blog,

“Branded RSS readers come pre-loaded with RSS feeds from the content provider. That locks in customers and guarantees traffic. Hosting the RSS reader on the content provider’s web site also makes that site the customer’s destination of choice.”

And we must also remember that such branded RSS Readers bring to the user not just its own contents but those of its competitors too. Now isn’t it an interesting way to stop people from visiting your competitors websites? It’s like getting people to come to your site to get contents from your competition!

Screenshot of Newsburst RSS Reader
Screenshot of Newsburst RSS Reader from c|net