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Coffee break

Posted in Coffee Break, technology by Sumit Thomas on March 3, 2012
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My Top 10 Tech moments in 2009

Posted in technology by Sumit Thomas on January 1, 2010


10. The Satyam fraud

It was a bad start to the year for the Indian IT industry as the news of Satyam Computer Services’ Accounting Scandal started to emerge. The fraud of Rs.40 billion shocked the Indian corporate industry especially the investors and employees. Some of my friends in Satyam had a difficult time as they were desperate applying for jobs elsewhere. I am glad that the company is back on track after some good measures by the government.

9. HTC launches India’s first Android based phone

After Apple’s iPhone 3G, it was HTC’s turn to grab the attention of the Indian Mobile market. HTC launched its new touch screen phone powered by Google Andriod, HTC Magic. This is the first Android phone to hit the Indian market.

8. Steve Jobs back at work

He is a true inspiration to many people around the world and that includes me. In June 2009 he continued to inspire many as he returned back to work after 5 months following his liver transplant. When he delivered the keynote in his customary attire, he mentioned the word Twitter and the micro-blogging site was down with a 503 error for about 15 minutes. Good that Microsoft’s business was not 100% internet based ;)

7. Bing!

In May, 2009 Microsoft launched its decision engined coined Bing! Bing was a talking point for quite sometime at work and on Twitter. Bing was intended to do things differently from its competition(Google?) or even from Microsoft Live. Though it was far better than Live, it has not a reached a stage yet where it can be called a clear competition to Google. Bing is getting better and I can see better results compared to its early days.

6. Google Wave

The last time I saw everyone madly running after free invites was for GMail. In 2009 it was Google wave. Every techie I met had one question in mind – “Do you have any Google wave invites left?”. The requests continue even now in Facebook and through emails. Even without fully understanding what it is all about everyone was on the “Give me, give me” bandwagon. Those who got the invite saw their excitement turning in to confusion, including me. Google wave has a confusing interface and does take a long time to understand what it really does. But sure there are some powerful collaboration features that many people may find very useful in the long run.

5. Google Maps India launched driving directions

This was a huge time and fuel saver for me. Driving in Bangalore is maddening because of the traffic and it gets crazier when you get lost. Before Google Maps launched the driving directions, I always used to get lost in Bangalore, thanks to its bad sign boards, confusing roads and one ways. Nowadays I use Google maps in my Nokia N82 and it gives me an accurate direction most of the time. Google maps in India keeps getting better and hopefully will catch up to its US counterpart pretty soon.

4. Social networks and Twitter

Social networking was on the boom in 2009 with many people joining sites like Facebook and Twitter. Twitter has become one of the important social media tool. Everyone from newsreaders to politicians to writers, techies, companies etc. have their own Twitter handle to share and collect information from the masses. 2009 saw thousands of tweets spreading real-time information covering everything from the Indian Parliamentary Elections,the demise of Michael Jackson, casualties of Swine flu etc. etc.

2009 also saw a rise adaptation of single sign-on services from Google FriendConnect, Facebook Connect and Twitter connect. The power it has brought to the whole social networking arena is immense.

3. Google Chrome OS

Google announced its planned for Chrome OS and vision behind this venture. According to Google

Google Chrome OS is an open source, lightweight operating system that will initially be targeted at netbooks.

Chrome OS is expected to be out in the second half of 2010. This is exciting given the popularity of netbooks is on the rise.

2. ASP.NET MVC Released!

After working on the beta version for weeks and falling in love with it, this was a much awaited announcement for 2009. The announcements by Phil Haack and Scott Gu spread across the web development community like fire. It was a great start to the year for the ASP.NET community in particular! Kudos to the team who worked really hard to come out with the RC and the different releases thereafter.

ASP.NET MVC 1.0 Released, 2.0 Release

1. Windows 7

Definitely the hottest news of 2009 was the launch of Windows 7 on Oct 22nd. This was Microsoft’s best ever release in a decade. After its bad run with Vista, Microsoft had to come out with a OS that will win back its customers and take its grip on the OS market. Windows 7 did take care of the many issues with Vista and offered little more than its predecessor. Windows 7 is quite a relief to those who had to put with Vista.

Those were my top 10 tech moments in 2009, which was quite an eventful year. Hope this year turns out to be better and more exciting than last year. Happy News Year to you all! :)

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YouTube says I have shorter URLs too!

Posted in technology by Sumit Thomas on December 22, 2009

Following Google’s launch of its Short URL service Goo.gl, its subsidiary Youtube has come out with its own Short URL service Youtu.be

YouTube’s intention for coming up with its own Short URL service is as per this blog to provide a shorter version of Youtube links.

To use youtu.be manually, simply take a URL like http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FdeioVndUhs and replace the “http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=” with “http://youtu.be/” to get: http://youtu.be/FdeioVndUhs Plug that shorter URL into a browser, and you’ll see it redirects to that video.

Well it doesn’t look too short to me. The shorter version of http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FdeioVndUhs in bit.ly is http://bit.ly/7Se5hu compared to Youtu.be’s http://youtu.be/FdeioVndUhs. The Video ID in YouTube links are very long and needs to be shortened further.

The big question for me though is why did YouTube come up with its own Shorter URLs when they could have used Goo.gl? Is it some kind of marketing technique or is it YouTube’s way of saying we have it too!

Whats next? Yah.oo?

Another URL Shortener and it is from Google

Posted in google, technology by Sumit Thomas on December 18, 2009

Twitter has opened the way for a new stream of online service – URL Shortening! and cousin, the business is booming! :)

Goo.gl is Google’s version of URL Shortening service. Unlike its counterpart tinyurl.com or bit.ly, Goo.gl is not a stand alone tool to generate short URLs. For now, the only way you can shorten a URL using Goo.gl is by using the Google Toolbar or if you have a Feedburner account, integrate your Feedburner feeds with your Twitter account.

If you are a Google Chrome user, you can install this extension which lets you use Goo.gl without the toolbar. But it works only in the Google Chrome Beta version though.

Facebook has its own URL Shortener as well fb.me. I am not sure when it started but I’ve seen couple of tweets with fb.me URL. It will be very interesting to know the long term objective of Google and FB and what it will do to the existing players.

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Taking your Site from One to One Million Users by Kevin Rose

Posted in technology by Sumit Thomas on October 14, 2009

In this talk from FOWA London (bit.ly/fowa-london-09) Kevin shares the secrets to digg.com and wefollow.com explosive user growth. He covers nine unique strategies that turn passive users into passionate advocates.

You’ll learn:

1. How to encourage users to tweet about your app
2. The concept of “The Circle of Life” in web apps and how it affects you
3. Growing your userbase: What worked and what didn’t for digg, WeFollow and Pownce
4. And more …

more about "Taking your Site from One to One Mill…", posted with vodpod

I search for it and ‘Bing’ there it is…almost

Posted in Microsoft, technology by Sumit Thomas on June 11, 2009

I’ve been using Bing, the worlds first decision engine for the past one week. I’ve set it up as my default search engine in Chrome(and its not complaining :)). I like the images and videos section for the way it displays the search results and the ability to view or play videos inside the interface. I wouldn’t say the search results are better or even close to Google but to be fair we need to wait and see as it is still rolling out worldwide.

I guess you would have tried Bing already, if not give it a go. Here is an article on how you can set up Bing as the default search engine in various browsers http://tinyurl.com/ldjntp

Happy Binging :)

Tagging and Folksonomy database schema

Posted in SQL, technology by Sumit Thomas on July 5, 2007

Here is a nice presentation on designing a database schema for tagging.

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Sitemap for Search Engines

Posted in technology by Sumit Thomas on June 18, 2007

Sitemap is a simple XML file that you can put in the root of your website to help search engines crawl your site better. It helps the search engines know which pages in your site to index and the frequency of updates in those pages. A simple sitemap.xml file looks like this…


http://www.yourwebsite.com/

      2007-06-01
      monthly
      1.0
   
 

Check sitemaps.org for more information.

Google and Yahoo have good Webmaster tools that allow you to submit the path of your sitemap.xml file for crawling. Make sure you validate you sitemap file before submitting it to the search engine. Sitemap validator is an excellent tool to check your sitemap file.

Google’s Webmaster Central is a great resouce for information on Sitemap. You can submit your sitemap at Google Sitemaps.

Yahoo has a similar service called Yahoo! Site Explorer

For Ask.com just ping to their server with the following URL http://submissions.ask.com/ping?sitemap=http%3A//www.yourwebsite.com/sitemap.xml

MSN doesn’t have a sitemap submission tool(I couldn’t find one). Placing the URL of your sitemap in robots.txt would do I guess.

Sitemap is not a replacement to the crawling methods adopted by search engines to index your website, it just helps the search engine to crawl your site better.

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Safari on Windows

Posted in technology by Sumit Thomas on June 14, 2007

Its Troy all over again. It started with iTunes and now there is a new horse on the block claiming to faster and better than its bigger rivals. Safari, the new Trojan horse is available for Windows. The popularity of iPod grew several folds when Apple released iTunes for PC. It raised Apple’s awareness in PC users. Steve Jobs at the recent WWDC claimed that Safari is twice as fast as IE 7 and 42% faster than Firefox 2.0. Also, he announced that 3rd party developers will be able to develop apps for iPhone via Web apps. Its looks like a move to open up the iPhone development environment to a much wider audience. Probably we might see some tools for Windows to develop iPhone apps.

This is my first experience with Safari. The download and installation is easy. The installation comes bundled with three separate Apple products: Quicktime, Bonjour and Apple update. The startup page took almost 10 seconds to load. Contrary to the claim, it doesn’t seem to any faster than Firefox or IE 7. Here is an interesting benchmark test for Safari. Its beta 3 and obviously there will be some improvements in the final release.

Apart from some of the common features like tabbed browsing and pop-up blockers found in the advanced browsers, Safari has few cool features that are noteworthy. You can drag a tab out of the main window turning it in to new browser window. The inbuilt RSS reader is neat. If you click “Installed Plug-ins” under Windows menu, it shows a comprehensive list of plug-ins, some you never though you had. Private browsing is another cool feature that comes with Safari.

On the downside, the home button is not available on the toolbar by default, but you can drag and drop the toolbuttons you want from the “Customise Toolbar” dialog box on to the toolbar. The OK-Cancel buttons are reversed in dialog box, which was bit annoying. Search box support only Google and Yahoo. Another feature that you would see is that when you try to key in a URL in the address bar, Safari suggests few sites in a drop-down list, probably sponsors. I am not sure how many users will like this form of advertising built-in to their browser.

Safari’s beta 3 for Windows looks promising on the whole. I am interested to hear what Microsoft has to say about it. Personally I feel Firefox is the real deal.

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Folksonomy: Unordered categorization

Posted in technology by Sumit Thomas on June 13, 2007

Recently I’ve been reading few articles on Folksonomy. It is interesting to note that user generated classification is as much effective as the traditional structured classification found in many websites. Infact it works much better and creates a social environment which can expand in dimension and depth. Tagging is a term usually associated with folksonomy based websites. Some popular sites which allow users to tag their content are Flickr, del.icio.us, Technorati and 43things.com. There are many more websites which fall under the Web 2.0 classification sprouting up with this concept.

I would be interested to know about your experience in developing Folksonomy based websites, the underlying database schema used etc. Share your thoughts.

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