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  • Yahoo! mail

    Posted on June 30th, 2004 Sandeep No comments

    Ha ha, this is funny. Yahoo! mail is pretty good at blocking spam. Since the past two days, however, it’s not moving the usual “penis enlargement” mails to the Bulk folder. That’s because the spammer’s subject now reads “p enis enlargement.”

    On the same note, JD (the same guy who set up http://weblogs.us – thanks, JD!) has installed MT-Blacklist, so I am now safe (hopefully) from comment spam on Techbook.

  • Back to Mozilla

    Posted on June 26th, 2004 Sandeep No comments

    Yesterday, I moved back to Mozilla 1.7 for Windows. I was previously using Firefox 0.8, then upgraded to 0.9. The reason? NewsMonster refuses to work with Firefox. I had been using RSS Reader the past few months for my, uh, needs. The thing hogged so much memory that my poor Wintel box could not take it. Then, about two days back, I did a glorious “dd” from my C: to D: and screwed up the Windows 2000 installation, requiring a complete re-install of the system.

    Then I thought, to heck with it, I want my NewsMonster. I’m hoping the new version that supports Firefox comes out as soon as possible. Mozilla is, umm, consistent, but I need my Firefox!

    IE? What’s that you say? No, sorry, I don’t think I’ve heard about it. Jokes apart, there is AvantBrowser that gives you a tabbed interface using the IE engine.

  • Mobile Services

    Posted on June 25th, 2004 Sandeep 1 comment

    How would you like it if you received your favorite RSS feeds into your mobile phone every morning? By mobile phone, I do mean a Smartphone that is capable of receiving content and displaying it as appropriate. Just think about it for a moment. The Register, BBC World, Wired.com, Russell’s Notebook, Jeremy’s Blog, what have you. The latest and hottest news delivered (for a small fee, of course).

    How is this possible? Well, you already have Mobipocket Reader, which supports eBooks, eDocs and eNews (RSS feeds). So, all the mobile service provider has to do is set up an aggregator that gets all the headlines that a user is interested in, create an eNews file and push it via GPRS to the phone. It’s that simple, really.

    Let’s look at the existing services in Bangalore. Airtel and Hutch (and I suspect Spice) provides news headlines, sent as an SMS message. Then there are the horoscopes, movies in town and other such information. All well and good. Not free, but that’s obvious.

    If they gave enough serious thought, they can actually bundle the phone with their services (where a user can opt out by returning the phone, of course), sell the data services and make a killing. How does this work out? Take an entry-level Nokia Series 60 phone like the 3660 (3650 is out). It costs about Rs.18,000 (about $400). Install the necessary software (in this case, Mobipocket Reader), do not charge for the initial mobile plan expenses, and charge a monthly flat fee of, say, Rs.500 for the mobile rental plus RSS data service. Voice services are separated out here, so they will be extra.

    Of course, you might argue that now that phones have enough computing power, why not have an aggregator on the phone itself, and use a GPRS connection to get the data whenever you want it. It’s true, but GPRS is not yet in widespread use here. Last I heard, there were some 35,000 people in Karnataka hooked on to GPRS. That’s quite a pathetic number, given the number of GPRS-capable handsets out there in the market. (Heck, I know people who have GPRS-capable handsets and are not aware of it).

  • Bad designs

    Posted on June 23rd, 2004 Sandeep No comments

    How many times have you visited a web page and wasted time searching for something that should be readily available? Let me draw your attention to http://www.digitalinfolife.com – the website for Digital’s (now HP) InfoLife product. Care to tell me where to enter the username and where to enter the password? It may be obvious, but a little cue wouldn’t hurt. Whoever designed this site probably did not have the time to add an extra column for “Username” and “Password” fields.

    Also notice the awkward positioning of the “Forgot Password? Change Password” links. They are actually supposed to be two distinct links. But it looks like “Have you forgotten your password? Please change it!” to me. Now click on the “Go” button without entering anything into the two fields. You get a “UserName is a required field” prompt. WTF? It’s like the designer’s got a field called UserName, and he is using the same name in the prompt as well. Bad idea. Why not just stick to “The Username is a required field?” Why the unnecessary capitalization, just as it was in the variable?

    Let’s come to Google Alerts. I just received a mail requiring me to renew my service there, so I clicked on the link. And what do I get? A box asking me if I would like to renew the subscription, with two prompts: No and OK. No and OK!! ROTFL! What should I make out of this? Was the designer too lazy to use a 3-character Yes? It certainly seems so.

    Don’t even get me started on browser compatibility issues. In the future, I certainly won’t be accessing the Internet for very long periods using my desktop browser. (I prefer to be online on-the-move). If Minimo is successful, it suffices for me. I don’t need too much of jazzy graphics (heck, even if I did, there’s even a Macromedia Flash player for mobiles now).

    Resources:
    Minimo
    Mobiclip (Macromedia Flash player for S60 phones)

  • Python for UIQ

    Posted on June 22nd, 2004 Sandeep No comments

    I’m a little late for posting on this, but anyway, here goes: Tim Ocock has a port of Python for UIQ phones. So all you lucky Sony-Ericsson P800/P900 owners – go download it! It’s available here. Of course, if you have the Symbian C++ book, you can use the UIQ emulator that comes with it (which is what I’m planning to do).

    Until I get registered at Forum Nokia Pro, this will do. Hopefully.

    Heck, if the SE P900 wasn’t so costly, I would have had a real test bed to work on. The emulator is fine, but nothing beats the actual phone, right?

    Resources:

    Python
    Forum Nokia Pro
    Symbian
    UIQ

  • Firefox plugin required

    Posted on June 17th, 2004 Sandeep No comments

    Is there any Firefox plugin/extension that automatically opens links in a new tab, when the link has target=_blank or target=_new set? I hate when websites force you to open new browser windows.

  • Battery!

    Posted on June 16th, 2004 Sandeep No comments

    The battery on my 3650 is becoming old. It seems like I need to charge it at least once in two days. Maybe it’s got something to do with the fact that I update my RSS feeds almost daily (and it’s about a 3 MB transfer via Bluetooth!). Mobipocket rocks.

    In other news, I found this news item on Cabir, a worm for S60 phones. Oh, wow. MS Smartphone 2003, anyone?

  • Smartphone Revolution

    Posted on June 9th, 2004 Sandeep No comments

    I’m proud to have started a Smartphone revolution at office. It’s been more than a year since I purchased my 3650, and several people have switched to Smartphones in this period. Just to give you an example of what some of my colleagues purchased:

    o Motorola A760 (Linux-based)
    o Nokia 6600 (Series 60)
    o Nokia 6610 (alright, it’s not a “Smartphone”)
    o Sony-Ericsson P800

    People are still in the process of figuring out how to get the best out of their devices. Cool stuff!

  • Sun blogs

    Posted on June 7th, 2004 Sandeep 1 comment

    Sun‘s employees are blogging on http://blogs.sun.com. Microsoft already as more than 500 employees blogging at various places, with all kinds of postings (and the technical ones are pretty darn interesting). I recall reading elsewhere that through blogging, companies can reach out to their current and potential customers (was it Scoble who said that?).

    I wonder how much time it will be before other major companies start with this. Does your company have employee blogs? Let me know. My company doesn’t have it yet (there’s an internal blog site, but the frequency of updates is low).

  • Privacy Laws

    Posted on June 2nd, 2004 Sandeep 1 comment

    It scares me to no end that there just aren’t any privacy laws in India. Maybe I’m just ignorant. Or, maybe the Government doesn’t care a bit. How many of us are even aware of Privacy International? Sure, I agree that computers haven’t really spread throughout the length and breadth of the country, but we should not forget that we are the second most populous country in the world.

    If you see any Government-collected data (for example, voter information), you can see huge numbers of people turning up. How safe are their data? Personal information, including info like date of birth, address, etc. are given to total strangers, without even thinking if one of them is a mentally deranged idiot just waiting to take on your identity. (Ok, I’m exaggerating here… but hey, anything can happen).

    I don’t even want to get started on online privacy issues. The bozos at Indiatimes spam you to no end as soon as you sign up for an e-mail address (boasting of 6 *MB* of space). And it’s not just porn that you get – a lot of junks from some of India’s premier banks, regarding loans, credit cards and other assorted junk. I admit that you can’t expect too much from a free service, but selling your e-mail address to different parties without the consent of the concerned user is downright illegal. Wait, there are no laws on such things yet.