Random Thoughts, Cricket, Movies, Music ...

Friday, April 28, 2006

Google's neat marketing trick

As many of you know, Microsoft recently released the IE 7 beta version. Amongst the many enhancements, one of the most important ones is the ability for Tabbed Browsing, a feature that was made popular by the Firefox browser and which people have started to just love universally. What this meant was that Google, a firm supporter of Firefox (and anything anti-Microsoft :)), came up with a neat Marketing trick, which I found out today by accident.

To find the impact of this trick, you need to do the following:

In IE, visit http://www.google.com - you will see the home page with a little image that promotes the Tabbed Browsing and Security features in Firefox.

Google Home Page using IE (April 28th, 2006)

On the other hand, open up your Firefox and visit http://www.google.com - you will see no such image.

Google Home Page using Firefox (April 28th, 2006)

I thought that it was indeed a very good Marketing trick - most people who use IE may get vowed by the tabbed browsing feature that was already present in Firefox. So, when they visit Google for searching, they would be presented with this neat little message which talks about that and also emphasizes that it is more secure.

Lets see how this works out - this is going to be fun. What do you think? - leave me a note.


Thursday, April 27, 2006

Santa Cruz Half Marathon - April 2006

Last weekend, I ran the Santa Cruz Half Marathon. Although, I had not trained a lot for this, I was confident that I would be able to complete it. The challenge then was that how much was I going to struggle to complete. As I told my wife a few days before the race - as long as the weather was cloudy and the sun did not show up, I would do fine. I dehydrate very fast and so, the difficulty level for the race just adds up (I realized this while running the Jungle Run Half Marathon last year).

Anyway, we got up early at 5:00 am and then started off at 5:30 because Santa Cruz was a little far away and I had a feeling that we might run into some traffic. Also, I had to pick up the registration tag at the starting point. We reached around 6:20, got the registration tag and I was then all set for the race. I looked up at the sky and I was so pleased to see it nice and cloudy :). Actually, the trail was beautiful - it was along the cliffs of the Pacific coast and so, one could forget about the pains and enjoy the beauty (ya right!)

The race started on time and we were on our way along the coast. It was indeed a pretty site - I looked at the houses there which overlooked the ocean and wondered that it must cost a fortune, looked at the old lady next to me, who had water strapped all over her waist but was running faster than any teenager, I was looking at the enthusiasm amongs the people who were running and it just inspired me to keep going. I took a Gu packet around the 4 mile mark and kept the pack with me till the very end of the race. After the 4 mile mark, we entered a ranch and this was a pretty interesting trail - it took us through stables, unpaved roads, sharp cliffs with exquisite scenery and then back to the main road around the 9 mile mark. Throughout the trail, I faced 4 really steep uphills. I managed to cover the first 3 quite easily but I really struggled on the 4th one. But with a lot of courage and determination and getting inspired by people around me, I managed to cover that. I slowed down quite a bit in the last couple of miles probably knowing that the end was right around the corner. Of course, I was tired too :). At this point, I saw a man old enough to be my grandpa chugging along and going past me - I thought that I should stop and give him a salute - amazing sight indeed!

I finished the race in 2:20 mins - the pleasant site of my wife waiting for me was worth more than millions! Vinay, Jyoti and Tiya also joined us later for brunch and after a heavy brunch, we all returned home.

All in all, it was a great run - highly recommended indeed.


Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Happy Birthday Tendliya

HAPPY BIRTHDAY SACHIN ! - May this year see you break more records and crush more opponents. Go make it a great year!

A quick comment from the God himself yesterday:

"It really surprises me - you are so consistent and I'm not"
Sachin Tendulkar, on his 33rd birthday, thanks mediapersons for their unwavering love and affection


Friday, April 21, 2006

New Intel - Apple Ad

-- Thyaga

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Google's Recommendation Engine

Today, i accidentally realized the power of gathering user data. I use Google for searching (who doesn't :)) . Of late, I have been doing a bit of research on Google APIs and AJAX techonology. Today, I went to the Google Groups site to join one of the groups and guess what! - based upon what I had searched, it had some recommendations for me which were SPOT ON!

Google Groups' Recommendations on which group to join were perfect!

I was amazed by the power of technology and the improvement in Search Recommendation Engines over the last few years - truly the Web 2.0 is coming together? ;-)

What do u think? - leave a note - shall try to respond.

-- Thyaga

Jajah - a new way to talk ... over the Internet

At first, when I heard about Jajah, I couldn't believe it. This was a company that was offering a unique way to connect telephones over the Internet and this did not require any software downloads (Skype) or hardware installation (Vonage). This required that the user had broadband internet access and had a telephone - landline or mobile. It was as simple as that. I was wondering how this would work and as I kept reading their FAQs, I realized that what they do is actually neat. And as expected, they are cheaper than other VOIP providers currently in the market.
So, this is how it works - you go to Jajah's website, enter your telephone number, enter your destination telephone number and then click on Call. After a moment, your phone will rin and then the destination phone will ring and you will be connected to the other phone over the Internet. Extra software and hardware is not necessary because it is the Jajah server that is actually making the call from the Internet to your phone and connecting you to the other phone. As such, you don't need to worry about any firewall or proxy issues on your computer. Here is a detailed server architecture blog for the really interested folks.
I think, the idea is simple yet very powerful. I am yet to use this but those who have, swear that the quality is absolutely wonderful. No wonder that it is one of the fastest growing and hottest Internet companies around. As my Entrepreneurship professor would aptly put it - this is an example of "disruptive technology". This might be worse than existing services currently but it also has its advantages. Over time, the "worse part" will go away and it will soon rival the existing players. Got the idea?
If any of you have checked this out, leave me a note.
Ads by AdGenta.com

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Blogosphere Doubles Every Six Months ...

According to the latest report from Technoratti, the Blogosphere doubles every six months - read the report. Here is a pretty neat visual showing the number of Blogs along with events that trigger it:

Amazing indeed.

-- Thyaga

Prime Rates Site

If you are a homeowner in the US and have a mortgage/loan based on the prime rate and you are wondering where to find the current prime rate, then here is a very good website.
http://www.moneycafe.com/library/prime.htm - the prime seems to be going up and up. God only knows when this will come down. If you know of any other sites, then please do leave a note.
Ads by AdGenta.com

Top MBA Recruiters of 2006

Fortune has come up with its Top 100 list of MBA Recruiters for 2006. What is interesting to note is that in the top 10, there are 2 hi-tech companies - Google and Apple. Normally, the first 10 is made up of mostly investment banking and consulting firms. What makes this also noteworthy is that people are starting to prefer hi-tech companies to work in - a gradual shift from few years ago, when people shunned tech companies after the dot com bust. But then Google and Apple now represent the new face of the valley with their fantastic innovations and technology and of course, the great bottomline that is keeping shareholders happy. Google especially has been great as far as leading the Web 2.0 revolution is concerned. It is not surprising that the top MBA students prefer to be employed at Google and to be part of the next wave of hi-tech innovation.
Ads by AdGenta.com

Monday, April 17, 2006

Converging TV and Internet - First Step

Till now, Internet and TV have been separate media. In spite of that, the TV channels have seen a drop in ad revenues thanks to the rise of the PVRs such as TiVo, which gives the ability to skip commercials to the end-user. It looks like Disney has a solution to the problem. They are offering free streaming of the TV show the very next day from their website - however, their shows will contain ads embedded within the stream WHICH CANNOT BE SKIPPED. I think, that is a very smart move indeed - this helps them to reach more customers and also help maintain their ad revenues. Read on here.
Ads by AdGenta.com

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Great Video about IIT KGP

This is bound to make one feel nostalgic, especially if you hail from IIT KGP too.

Enjoy the video:

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Ajax - a new fad or a design paradigm

It has been more than 1 year since Jesse Garrett, co-founder of San Francisco consultancy Adaptive Path, coined the acronym AJAX to promote the idea of using "Asynchronous JavaScript + XML" as a way of building Web applications with freely available technologies. This is the technology that is being used in "cool" web applications such as Google Maps, GMail etc and since Google was leading the revolution, it was time to take notice. But that begs the question - is AJAX new? - definitely not. So what's so cool about AJAX? - well, it uses existing technology and helps you to design your web applications so that it can be made faster e.g. no more server hits when a user is interacting with your server - when the user clicks on the web page, the normal behavior would be to go back to the server and churn some scripts and then return the results back. Not any more - most of the processing is done on the client browser with the server being informed "Asynchronously" - this makes the web application to appear faster to the user increasing the user's experience dramatically.

This is all part of the new wave of web applications called Web 2.0 - or the "rebirth" of Internet technology companies. Hopefully, this time the boom will be based on some "substantial" technology - only time can say.


Thursday, April 06, 2006

Google and Earthlink bag the SFO Wi-Fi project

Sometime last year, the city of SFO was accepting bids from companies to provide FREE Wi-Fi access in the city. Since SFO is in the Bay Area and is a great tourist location, it provided an excellent marketing opportunity for any company that bagged the rights. I remember that amongst the many companies that bid for this project, Google was one of them too. That is what made everyone to take notice to this bidding process.
Anyway, now the decision is out - Google and Earthlink have bagged the deal to provide FREE Wi-Fi in SFO. Well, whoever bags the project, the customers are the ultimate winners. When this is implemeted, you can just go with your wireless laptop to SFO, turn it on and you will be on the Web. Sometimes, this sounds straight from a sci-fi novel :). Amazing indeed.

Cricinfo wins prestigious award

Cricinfo.com has received a prestigious industry award recognising it as the UK's best performing cricket website. (Read More). I have been a fan and supporter of Cricinfo since its inception. It is probably one website which i definitely visit without fail everyday, irrespective of whether or not there is a game going on. So, amongst the 3 million visitors who go there daily, I am one of them :) and so I feel good about Cricinfo winning the prize.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Iqbal - an inspirational movie

Sometimes, a movie comes along that leaves a deep impression within you and one that you will remember for a long time. Iqbal is one such movie.

Superbly directed by Nagesh Kukunoor, Iqbal is a touching story of a deaf and dumb boy (played remarkably well by Shreyas Talpade) for whom cricket is more than a game - it is a passion. His aim in life is to become a great bowler and become part of the Indian cricket team. His mother and sister (wonderfully portrayed by the young Shweta Prasad) encourage him all the way but he faces resistance from his father, who wants him to think about what he is going to do in his life, how is he going to earn his living etc. Naseeruddin Shah plays the role of the village drunkard Mohit who was once an aspiring cricketer and whose career was cut short by the politics of the higher level coaches. Having found a new zest in life, Mohit coaches Iqbal, teaches him some new tricks and tips and finally, after a lot of hard work and a bit of luck, Iqbal manages to enter the Ranji Team and finally into the Indian cricket team.

It is a very inspiring story indeed. When you finish seeing the movie, you feel a sense of enthusiasm about you and makes you feel that you can achieve what you want - you just need to want that badly!

Go watch it and hope someone of us can turn into an Iqbal in whatever we do.