December 31, 2007

Highlighting posts of 2007

Highlighting some of my good posts in the year '07 classified by tags...

Attitude (23)

  1. Web2.0 startups earn assets, but not ...
  2. Don't forget the subtle half
  3. Life, Education, and Society
  4. Truth alone Triumphs
  5. What can't money buy?
  6. Making of the Frankenstein

Autobiography (33)
  1. One step up
  2. Techtribe's Blogging Challenge
  3. Sony Vaio at my doorstep

India (37)
  1. Take Lead... with Unity!
  2. How to make brand India glitter?

My Labs (23)
  1. Sanskrit Voice on NDTV
  2. SAB Graduating!
  3. Launching 'Saywit'
  4. My first Sponsor

Review (9)
  1. Happy Days
  2. Chak De! India
  3. Guru - The movie for inspiration
  4. A movie for mixed emotions

Technology (17)
  1. How to quickly develop a Web application
  2. New Trends in Programming
  3. Is MD5 the God of Hash?
  4. Open Web Standards unify internet

Travel (13)
  1. Fantastic trip to India
  2. Canada Trip

Web (49)
  1. Social Networks for Entrepreneurs
  2. GTD works for me!
  3. Top 25 Web 2.0 Search Engines
  4. Revenue Models for blogs & personal sites

December 30, 2007

Heros - A superb thriller

I am usually a big fan of comedy TV series like Friends, Seinfeld, and 'That 70s Show'. Just when I was looking for a change, my friend Vinodh recommended Heros - the TV series on NBC. To understand the story better, I watched its first episode on Netflix streaming mode. I just loved it! The story, screenplay, suspense, and the cast are all very impressive.

I really loved the touch of Indian elements to the cast, and the inquisitive voice that talks about human purpose and adaptation. I also liked the characterization of the Japanese guy with his little knowledge of English, and the pretty looking cheer leader.

So far, I have watched a handful of episodes in its 1st season. With one episode each day on Netflix, I can catch the latest on TV within a month. If you've never watched it, its time you buckle up and give it a try. Don't miss a superb thriller!

December 15, 2007

Take Lead... with Unity!

The Lead India campaign by Times of India is receiving an elevated support from fellow Indians. The support from the commoners, celebrities, and bloggers for this campaign is appreciable. They not only make us proud Indians, but also inspire us to make a difference. Here are a few viral videos that promote this campaign. Truly touching...

Emphasizing the importance of unity in diversity yet again... Be it independence struggle or a daily living, Unity works! Check out this video.

The second video is the talk by Amitabji. I especially loved the words... A pulsating dynamic new India is emerging quietly while the world is not watching. An India whose faith in success is far greater than its fear in failure.

I am reminded of the 'India Shining' campaign by the BJP, though launched for complete different reasons.

December 08, 2007

Sanskrit Voice on NDTV

My non-profit effort to revive Sanskrit to the modern age has now been acknowledged by NDTV. Yesterday, NDTV profiled my website along with the viewpoints of a few people in Sanskrit Vidyapeetha. Thanks to NDTV for featuring this website, and I'm honored to be of service to the country.

You can read the full article, or watch this video on NDTV. Here is a snippet on YouTube.

Cover Story on NDTV
Video coverage on NDTV
YouTube video snippet

November 21, 2007

Web2.0 startups earn assets, but not ...

Single handed startup stories like PlentyofFish and HotorNot inspired me the most to develop webapps. Only after launch that I realized its not easy to become overnight millionaires.

Creating an Amateur Web 2.0 startup has become a hobby or a pass-time activity for many techies (software developers). They are cheap to build, relatively easy to market, and just requires a person or two to manage it. Should you take this path? YES and NO!

For people who make webapps with the only intention of earning money, the chance of making it BIG is too feeble, and may not be worthy of the hardwork. Check out the article 'Warning: Software Startups are Not as Easy as Everyone Says'

On the other hand, there are people like me who make webapps in spare time NOT for the money… but to express our passion & pride in owning a startup, and gain experience in the process. There is sure only a 2% chance to become a super-hit, but its worth exploring.

Yes... Web 2.0 is a great way to startup a venture if the purpose is to have fun, or express the passion to build something new, or prove creative & technical abilities. As a result, we can get a taste of entrepreneurship, and is a good first step for an amateur. Now, lets talk about funded startups...

Observing many Web 2.0 funded startups, I really wonder what their business strategy is. Most of them offer services for free, and just rely on an unstable advertising model. The only exit strategy is being bought by a Bigshot company. Can anyone guess or assert what their Plan-B is? Each startup only aims to earn assets in the form of userbase, traffic, etc... But, how will it recover the invested $$ and make a decent profit on the venture?

November 13, 2007

Free Give Away : Fancy About-Me Icons

Here are a few campaign buttons that I created last weekend. Its just an easy way to tell the world whats your kind. Feel free to use them in your Blogs, Websites, MySpace, Forums or any place where you would like to mark your presence. There is no obligation to link back, but I would appreciate it.

Here is the first set...

. .

The second set of images can be viewed in the RSS feed. Subscribe here!

Here is the second set...

. .

Note: You are NOT permitted to re-distribute these images. Right click on the image, and save the image to your PC.

November 01, 2007

Online Tipping is now fun & useful

Here is an impressive alternate to those unattractive donate buttons on the web. ScratchBack is a new online tipping widget that allows a blogger or web-publisher to accept tips (fixed-donation) and publish links/images in return. This makes the tipping system both fun and useful. Check out the Techcrunch review.

To give it a try, I tipped ScratchBack today morning. As a tipper, I'm happy becoz my website gets listed on its Topspots widget as an acknowledgment of my contribution. The process is simple and easy as they use PayPal for transactions. I also signed up for the service, and placed a widget on one of my websites - SanskritVoice. Lets see how good the response is.

This is a simple concept that is well executed. Its timing could not get any better as it was launched just when bloggers are searching for an alternate to the Text-Link-Ads framework. By the way, Google will not penalize us for using the ScratchBack widget since all links are nofollow and javascript-generated.

I like the additional uses of this widget. It can be used as a Text-link advertising widget, paid shout-out box, or a fancy tip-jar. Well done Jim Kukral, and kudos to the ScratchBack team!

October 30, 2007

Don't forget the subtle half

I often observe the presence of a subtle half that makes a concept complete and effective. For instance, consider the following concepts and their associated subtle halves.

  • Data, and the subtler Meta-Data
  • Intelligence, and Creativity
  • Talent, and Integrity
  • Force, and Direction
The complementary subtler aspect should be given as much importance as its other half. The data becomes more useful when associated with its meta-data. Similarly, Intelligence accompanied by Creativity is a killer combination. A talented person without integrity can be harmful to the society, and so is the force which lacks direction.

On thinking like an entrepreneur, I believe we can create a great value if we can connect the subtler portion with its crux in any domain. For instance, there are schools that teach knowledge education, but not much of character education. If a new school wants to become the best in its lot, it should consider offering both kinds of education.

In many occasions, a concept can contain several such subtle aspects tagged to its main body. Not everyone will focus on all the subtleties. In order to gain perfection or to differ from the rest, focus on the hidden aspects that are long forgotten by most. Blogging for instance is such a simple concept, but was not explored until early 2000.

October 27, 2007

Explore them this weekend

Here is a collection of impressive websites that I came across in the last week. Hope you too will find them interesting...

  1. Jiglu : It plugs into your site to automatically create intelligent tags and inner links for your web content.
  2. GoodWidgets : Good looking Photo widgets for your blog / website.
  3. BeFunky : Create funky stuff from your photos
  4. MangoLanguages : Fun and easy way to learn a new language on their list.
  5. Yuuguu: Instant & easy remote access and conferencing. I'm yet to explore it!
Some useful stuff for web developers and site admins:

October 23, 2007

Life, Education, and Society

While listening to the podcast of Ben Casnocha's interview, my attention was completely drawn by the following 4 words that he talked about.

  • On Demand education
  • Real Life University
  • Life Entrepreneurship
  • Intellectual Society
They all conceptually refer to the same ideal state of living. I can quickly think of a cool idea for a startup company to be built around these concepts. I should appreciate Ben Casnocha for having coined such wonderful terms to convey his thoughts. Here are my views...

On Demand education is learning on the go, as and when it is required. We, software developers are usually very good at this style of learning. Of course with a solid design in place, we pick the right tool for the task in hand, and start off with implementation. We educate ourselves of the technology as we march along the path to get the software functional. With the advance of internet, learning just got easier. With Google search results, online tutorials, developer forums, Wikipedia, and e-books, we can get the desired information in minutes.

The term 'Real life University' fascinates me... Learning is fun, learning is essential, and learning should never cease. Visiting new places and being inquisitive helps to explore the life to its fullest. The idea is to be an eternal student and to learn from life as it comes by. For instance, when you visit an alien land, get to know their history & culture. Participate in social gatherings, exchange views and thoughts, and express via blogs.

Everyone of us can be an entrepreneur in our own little ways. What differentiates an entrepreneur from the rest is his ability to take a stand. If one is able and willing to make a decision on his own, he is a Life Entrepreneur. We often see people who are mere head-noders to a public opinion, and lack an identity of their own. Such people end up becoming members of a herd that is taken for granted.

Speaking of the basic traits of an Entrepreneur... He is one who does not only follow rules, but also tries to invent them. Simply said, he is a leader who makes a high impact on the world with an exceptional quality of work, socializing skills and a willingness to take risks to solve problems. One can become an entrepreneur in his own field of choice (Engineering, Medicine, Law, etc...), and not essentially Business alone.

Intellectual society is the basis for every kind of social experiment (democracy, betting, share market, ... ). It is required for people to think on their own when they participate in a social activity. Following the trend like a sheep in its herd does not contribute much to the society. Agreeing to what is being said in Spiderman 3, each of us have a choice. We should evaluate our choices and make an informed decision on our own.

Unfortunately, we are currently living in a non-intellectual society. People buy Toyota/Honda cars without even attempting to evaluate them. People use Google search just because others use it. For the same reason, democracy is a failure in India regardless of what the govt of India claims.

October 21, 2007

The day for Victory

Today is Vijayadasami, the tenth day of the Dasara festival in India. 'Vijaya' means victory and Dasami is the tenth day. So, VIJAYADASAMI is a day to begin new ventures, be it business or education, as it is an auspicious day and assures success.

According to Hindu mythology, goddess Durga slays the demon Mahishasuran on this day. It signifies the victory of good over evil. My salutes to the goddess, and let good prevail in this world. Symbolically, when one makes an effort to remove a negative personality in oneself during the Dasara festival, he will achieve his goal on the Vijayadasami day.

On this auspicious day, I'd like to get FundooWeb (one-click search mashup) out of its Beta phase. Lately, it has been displaying a satisfactory performance in terms of speed and relevancy of search results. FundooWeb was launched on Sep 27 2006, and it graduates today after a year long study.

October 14, 2007

Happy Days

Last weekend, I watched the telugu film "Happy Days" at a far-away theatre. The director Sekhar Kammula did an excellent job of entertaining his audience with a touch of class. The film portrays the college days of Engineering students, while touching upon their immature mind-states, ambitions, friendship, and fun.

I enjoyed the movie from start to finish. The climax gave the movie a perfect end with a powerful message and an emotional touch. A couple of dialogs at the end especially won my heart.

After graduation, one of the students feel sorry because he did not achieve anything during the 4-year stay in college. The Dean consoles him saying "College is not for you to achieve a thing ; It is to prepare you in order to achieve something in life". Thats an excellent statement. I'm reminded of the words from Swami Vivekananda who always laid emphasis on Character-education that should complement knowledge-education in schools & colleges.

Here is another good one... "Today is the end of the most happy days in your life, and the beginning of the most purposeful days in your life" says Dean to his students on their graduation day.

The movie creates a nostalgic effect among us, while refreshing our college memories. Its director (Sekhar Kammula) experimented with a fresh new cast, corporate-deals, offbeat release date, and no drama. The melodious music hit from Mickey J Meyers will sure earn him many laurels.

I especially liked the characterization of Chandu, Rajesh, Maddhu & Appu. This movie makes everyone say "I miss my college days!".

Some related links: Cast Profiles, Team Celebration

October 03, 2007

SAB Graduating!

Today, I'm pulling Stuff-a-Blog (SAB) out of its Beta phase, as its been more than a year since its initial launch in Sep '06. Several new features including BStir module, support for Unicode, and performance enhancements were being added in its Beta. They are all working great lately.

To mark this occasion, I'm launching a dynamic BStir widget along with a few additional display options. For those who are using an old static BStir widget, you may want to update your widget. Click here for a preview (widget in action). Its free... and you will love it!

Also, a discussion group is created for the interested ones. Here... You may ask questions, request features, or just give your feedback.

October 01, 2007

Netaji - A leader and a philosopher

Y'day, I read an article about our Netaji (Subhash Chandra Bose) whom I always admire for his vision, and his action that supports his vision. A true leader and a patriot who is equally spiritual and character oriented. He is a great follower of Swami Vivekananda and his teachings. He truly believed in the wise words...

"Iron nerves and a well intelligent brain and the whole world is at your feet."
- Swami Vivekananda

Netaji is a revolutionary thinker, and a university ranker who finishing his B.A. (honours) in Philosophy. I love the courage and the energy of Netaji, and now I understand the source of his ever lasting energy level - the teachings of Swami Vivekananda.

Read the entire article

September 29, 2007

Wana build a revolutionary web product?

This is a good start for developers who dream to revolutionize the web! However, to build a Next-Gen web application, it takes more than just brainstorming. Extend this list with your comments...

Mix n' Match
There are some killer combinations yet to be explored. For instance, how about "Blog + Social Network + Wiki". I'm sure several such combinations can be introduced by trying to mix 'n match the existing web.

Induce intelligence
Self learning & pattern-matching algorithms can be used to develop decision-capable applications. Such software can literally change the way we depend on computers for our daily lives. Imagine an application in which we can record our concrete experience & drop a line on what we learned each day. The application remembers the lessons learned and shall advice us in similar situations on demand.

Provide a solution to unify data & processes from several sources. Think of how MS Outlook provided a unified approach for communication at work. Get hold of a concept that is available in numerous forms... try to group them, aggregate them, and unify them! Recently, Plaxo aims to do just that with address book. What more? I can quickly think of Social networks which keeps growing in number and are hard to manage.

Extending what Web2.0 taught us, we should bring forward the concept of collective intelligence into several other online activities. Google has already shown us the way for collaboration in its Calendar, Spreadsheets & Docs applications. How about a collaboration to compose an email, or to make a decision. I remember reading about a Microsoft's research project that collects a set of location-based images taken by several individuals, and creates a wholesome image of that location. Great effort!


Our blogs live in their own worlds isolated from one another. How about a way to connect the web, and enhance the content we publish with additional links and pics. Imagine a web that relates our experience with other people's experience via semantic meta data.

Meta-Data will be the KEY for a Next-Gen Web company. Semantic-Web is the only technology contender so far to create a revolutionary web experience. If you are not impressed, you do the research on what you believe can enhance today's web. Of course, research is not everybody's cup of tea. But, its a sweet avenue to explore by PHD geeks and research addicts.

Ubiquitous Computing
Several electronics now include micro-chips and software to communicate with the web, create information-flow, and provide a utility value. PDAs, MP3 players, Cell-phones, GPS devices, and many more such products in the market provide computing outside the PC. Future software should cater to the needs of such products, communicate with Software-Agents, and instruct micro-robots.

September 25, 2007

Google's path widens for good

google_iconGoogle is sure enough the Next-Gen Microsoft. In 1990s, Startup CEOs feared to get in the way of Microsoft, as it was the Don of the decade. Now in 21st century, they have one more name to fear, and that is Google.

Google is slowly spreading itself to every corner of a geek's life. Though only a few of its products including 'Search' are positioned to be the best in their domain, they're all certainly exquisite & rank within Top 5.

If rumors are true, Google is supposedly building a G-phone that would be offered for free. Read more about its possible configuration from Engadget. We've seen how Google directly competes with Yahoo in many of its services such as Email, IM, Calendar, etc. In the recent past, Google had also bid for wireless spectrum. It contributes heavily for all things that is OPEN - open apps, open platform, open devices, open services and open network.

Google is trying to diversify like how Microsoft did, but without the evil tag. Take time to look at how Microsoft gets into anything that is hip and trendy. Be it O.S, Software, Game-Consoles, Web, Keyboards, Webcams, or Programming. That's a very impressive strategy. However, some wonder why? ? ? The answer is - If they are glued to their expertise alone, death will not be far off.

A good case-study is Apple, Inc.. Apple is sure a great company and they make the coolest O.S, Software, and Computers. But, it was in great trouble until Steve Jobs launched Ipod and pulled Apple into the music industry. It realized the importance of diversification a little later than the other big-shots like Microsoft, Oracle, IBM, ...

So, Google has made the right choice to diversify their product line-up, and continue to focus on their core strength (Search).

September 20, 2007

You can now have a Social Network of your own

I'm greatly impressed by the effort of the 2 geeks in building the framework called "NoseRub". It is a de-centralized white-label social network that supports basic content types like media, links, micropublishing and text.

Each of us have a blog of our own, then why not have a social network of our own too... NoseRub is an effort to fill that space. This light-weight social network will display a lifestream of our online activity, track friends from various other networks, and make quick notes to the web.

You always have full control of your data & layout, as you can install NoseRub on your own server and have it connect to other servers out there. Check out this page for a walkthrough using screenshots. Btw, its free and open-source.

Are you wondering what de-centralized means...? Here is an explanation from its founder:

NoseRub is not only a social network aggregator, but claims to be decentralised. What does this mean? You can install NoseRub on your own server and let it connect with your friends NoseRub server, or with hosted NoseRub servers. A good similarity is wordpress. You can either host your blog at, or install the software from on your own server.

Example: I have an account on a NoseRub framework running on my server, and you may have yours on your server. I will still be able to add you as a friend and communicate seamlessly with your account.

I'm also impressed at how it makes use of FOAF micro-format to store information and communicate with other NoseRub servers. FOAF provides a RDF/XML format for downloading profile and relationship data, and is a project under the umbrella of Semantic Web. Great work by NoseRub folks!

Update: A similar approach taken by SixApart is worth watching out for. They just announced the upcoming launch of "open social graph". Also checkout this huge news on Google's Open API plans.

September 12, 2007

Scalable Architecture

I came across the blog 'High Scalability' that deals with the underlying Software Architecture of several webapps and enterprise applications. This will sure help developers like us in building a scalable product.

Check out these links

September 10, 2007

Flaky Mondays - Sep10

Lets kick start our lazy Monday mornings by engaging in these rejuvenating flaky topics of the week. Looking forward for your participation!

Just login with your OpenID. Then, make an Entry for the following topics!

  1. Write One-Liner - Stupid People & their activity
  2. Imagine - Aliens visit Earth
  3. Brainstorm - Challenges facing the youth

September 08, 2007

How to quickly develop a Web application

Now, developing a web application has become a weekend activity for some... Gone were the days when you have to deal with complex code behind .NET or J2EE. So, what are the options to quickly build an industry standard webapp?

Use of Ready-made software

Easiest of all, you can use white-label frameworks to clone an existing webapp. Check out the chart published by Techcrunch on white-label social networks available. Below is a summary of clone projects mentioned by Read/WriteWeb.

Folkstr is a micro-blogging platform that mimics Twitter, but without the SMS features. It is a self-hosted and extensible social network developed in PHP and uses MySQL.

Pligg is a perfect replication of Digg, and adds some features such as tagging and the ability to automatically share links on other popular social news and bookmarking sites.

Scuttle is an open-source project that replicates the popular Delicious Bookmarking service of Yahoo. But, a new version hasn't been released in over a year.

Video Share Enterprise is a PHP/MySQL script that clones YouTube. Video Share duplicates most of YouTube's features pretty well, and powers a number of small-to-medium sized sites. Yet another You-Tube clone script is vShare.

One of the most popular and well-developed MySpace clone scripts out there is phpFoX. This is behind some fairly large niche MySpace clones, and has most of the features of MySpace.

AJAX DeskTop StartPage Enterprise is a PHP and MySQL based AJAX start page script that mimics the sites like Pageflakes ands Netvibes.

UPDATE: Check out more such frameworks listed by AjaxFlakes. There is a mention of NewsCloud, Dolphin, PHPizabi, Elgg, Mugshot, AroundMe, GetBoo, and more...

Using frameworks based on dynamic languages

Ruby on Rails (RoR)
The open-source RoR project innovated the coupling of the powerful Ruby language and the Rails framework. It aims to ease database-driven website development with a template pattern called 'Convention over Configuration'. But, many developers including me are not yet ready to get away from core Java. Luckily, Grails framework is now a good substitute to RoR.

Groovy & Grails
Groovy provides powerful features of a dynamic language, and proves to be a handy tool to Unit test Java applications. It offers a syntax similar to Java, supports Java libraries, and compiles to Java Byte Code. So, calling of methods between the two languages can be interoperable. Groovy can serve as a good alternative to Perl and Ruby.

Grails is a open source web application framework based on the Groovy. Similar to RoR, Grails also embraces convention over configuration. Additionally, Grails uses other proven tools to provide state-of-art technologies. In Grails, you will find ORM mapping provided by Hibernate, Dependency Injection and MVC architecture by Spring Framework, and layout management by SiteMesh.

PHP 2.0
We can create portals and simple web applications using PHP. Its the most preferred implementation language by all of Yahoo Portals.

Rich Internet Applications (RIA)

RIAs like JavaFX, Adobe AIR / Flex, and Microsoft Silverlight are slowly getting popular among developers. You may want to experiment with them.

UPDATE: The description of RoR & Grails framework is updated with original content.

September 07, 2007

Meta Blogging - Purely Boring

Meta Blogging - Purely boring! There are several blogs on the web that talk about blogging itself. They ramble about what to blog, how to make blog-revenue, and good practices of blogging. As a beginner, I find a handful of posts useful... But later on, they make me feel sick. Probably a few articles on this topic would be good enough. An entire blog about meta-blogging might be an overkill. Anyway, that's my stand on it!

Some of the meta-bloggers I (occasionally) read are ProBlogger, and Performancing. These are truly good and useful. Some good links here...

  1. 10 Sure-Fire Ways to Get RSS Readers Visiting Your Blog
  2. 10 Techniques I Used To Go From 0 To 12,000 RSS Subscribers In Seven Months
  3. Blog Revenue Options
  4. How to write great blog content
  5. How to find readers for your blog
  6. SEO for Bloggers
  7. More Blog tips from Darren

If you are an amateur blogger, you must have written about your blogging experience, how you started it, what you have learnt from blogging, etc... All such stuff is also referred to as meta-blogging. I usually consider them as topic fillers. Topic fillers are the ones that we write about when we cannot find any other topic to blog. I know what you're thinking, and you are right! This post also falls into that category.

September 05, 2007

Blog re-branding

Thanks to all the readers and subscribers of my blog. I've been enjoying my blogging experience for all these years. But, I always wondered what type of articles interest my readers the most... Of course, A quick Poll can give me a rough answer. So, Please take the Poll on the sidebar and help me write more posts that match your interest.

I'm planning on an upcoming series of "Flaky Mondays!"
Lets kick start our lazy Monday mornings by answering a rejuvenating flaky question of the week. You will also have a chance to suggest a flaky question for the upcoming weeks. Looking forward for your participation!

Meanwhile, hope you have noticed the refreshing header, a tagline that describes my blog theme, and a better look & feel!

September 03, 2007

Love with Life

Today is Sri Krishna Jayanti! Lets think of him, and learn a few lessons from his teachings on his birthday. Here is a quote by Osho...

Krishna is the only person in the whole history of human consciousness who is tremendously in love with life, with the poetry of life, with the music of life, with the dance of life. He is not at all life-negative, he is very affirmative. And he accepts life as it is; he does not put god and the world as opposites.

Krishna is far closer to life. The flute is the symbol of life. Dressed beautifully, standing in a dancing posture, the flute in his hands on his lips, it looks like he is going to sing a song at any moment. He looks so alive, and he is wearing a beautiful crown of flowers with peacock feathers. This is far truer to life. That's how life is. It is tremendous joy.

Links: The essence of Lord Krishna's teachings.

September 02, 2007

What kind is your Blog?

Lets now look at the various ways to classify a blog...

Ref: CorporateBlogging.Info

Ref: ICE

Closedblog Bloginfoconduit Blogparticipation
Closed Blogs
such as Baby blogs
Blogs as Conduit of Information Blog as Participant in "The Conversation"
Connectors of ideas and people.

Ref: CyberSoc

Here is what my blog is... It is a personal blog that resembles the last 3 mentioned types. In my blog, you will find a great variety of topics blended with my standpoint. So, what is the theme of my BLOG?

My Blog Theme: "Attitude, Technology and Reality"

Wow! I never thought my blog will ever have a theme. This is something I came up with as I'm writing this post. Some other day, I will write a detailed post on my theme after I invest more thought on it.

August 31, 2007

New Trends in Programming

Here are a few technologies that are making a Buzz on the web, and every tech-blog is beginning to talk about them. These are just brief introductions to those non-Microsoft technologies that I'm excited about. Now, I am one in the crowd to experiment and tell the world.

GridGain provides computational grid platform for Java that is fun, simple and productive to use. As you would expect, it is open source and professionally supported. It's ideal for performing parallelizable tasks (i.e. Split the work, calculate, and aggregate the results). GridGain now supports integration with Jboss, Spring, AspectJ, Weblogic, Websphere, and many more... You can find good documentation and a quick demo at its homepage.

Erlang is a concurrent functional programming language designed at the Ericsson Computer Science Laboratory. Erlang processes are very lightweight (lighter than threads) and the system can support several thousands of processes.

Unlike most languages that use shared state concurrency, Erlang uses pure message passing concurrency. Thus, making things scalable and fault-tolerant is relatively easy. If this interests you, read the fine analysis of Erlang by Hendy Irawan. Here is an excerpt...

Erlang is built on the ideas of
  • Share nothing : Process cannot share data in any way. Actually, this is not 100% true; there are some small exceptions.
  • Pure message passing : Copy all data you need in the messages, no dangling pointers.
  • Crash detection and recovery : Things will crash, so the best thing to do is let them crash and recover afterwards.

Google Gears is an open source browser extension that enables web applications to provide offline functionality. It provides Javascript hooks that will interface with a few locally running services such as Cache, Database, and asynchronous Thread pool. If you are a user of Google-Reader, you might have noticed the Offline support... This is made possible only with the help of Gears plugin on our browser.

This effort from Google is what lays the foundation, and gives fullness to the concept of Web O.S. As a developer, you’ll be able to make an application with the assurance that it will work offline and online across browsers. Check out the Google Gears API Developer's guide for tutorials. The version 0.2 release of Google Gears will support Cross Origin API, and will be a huge treat for Web application developers.

Java DB is Sun's supported distribution of the open source Apache Derby 100% Java technology database. Amongst the many changes in Java 6(u2), Sun introduces Java DB as a part of its SDK. This is great news for Java lovers who are looking for a light-weight database. I'm thrilled!

Interestingly, we can use it within browser, Web-2.0 applications for easy distribution, one-click install, secure local data storage, and data persistence if the Internet connection is lost or for use off-line. Further, it is easy to migrate an application using Java DB to other open standard databases.

Groovy provides powerful features of a dynamic language, and proves to be a handy tool to Unit test Java applications. It offers a syntax similar to Java, supports Java libraries, and compiles to Java Byte Code. So, calling of methods between the two languages can be interoperable. Groovy can serve as a good alternative to Perl and Ruby.

Scala is a general purpose programming language designed to express common programming patterns in a concise, elegant, and type-safe way. It smoothly integrates features of object-oriented and functional languages. It is also fully interoperable with Java. Check out the beginner's guide for getting started.

August 30, 2007

Be Bold and Strong

Here is my one of my all-time favorite anecdotes by Swami Vivekananda.

Turn around and face it! Once at Varanasi, as Swamiji was coming out of the temple of Mother Durga, he was surrounded by a large number of chattering monkeys. They seemed to be threatening him. Swamiji did not want them to catch hold of him, so he started to run away. But the monkeys chased him. An old sannyasin was there, watching those monkeys. He called out to Swamiji, 'Stop! Face the brutes!' Swamiji stopped. He turned round and faced the monkeys. At once, they ran away. Many years later, Swamiji said: 'If you ever feel afraid of anything, always turn round and face it. Never think of running away.'

August 28, 2007

A fortune making machine for some!

Anything that is shown intact can be hacked... And to spice up things, hackers get rewarded big time! George Hotz, a 17yr. old kid unlocked the IPhone from its better-half AT&T and displays the phone on sale. According to the News, he traded the hacked IPhone for "a sweet Nissan 350Z and 3 8GB iPhones". Considering this as a summer project with nearly 500 hours burnt, the reward is good.

IPhone is a fortune making machine for some... Here is another lucky guy Jay Westerdal who earned a million dollars by selling the domain to Apple. Apple shares shot up with the launch of IPhone, and is a treat for Apple share holders and believers. AT&T is profiting to a great extent from the deal too... inspite of what many believe that its a bad marriage between Apple and AT&T. It is one of those couples where a pretty chic embraces the ugly dude.

I hope to see several features built into luxury products to integrate seamlessly with IPhone. Just as how IPod is integrated with Nike shoes, Mercedes/BMW cars, and dock stations, IPhone will soon become ubiquitous!

August 27, 2007

Chak De! India

Yesterday, my friend and I saw the film 'ChakDe! India' at a nearby theatre. Its a superb one-of-a-kind movie that Bollywood has ever produced. The film displays the culture of India along the sidelines of team spirit and sport training. I'll let you read the storyline and actor profiles from Wikipedia and others. There are several scenes in the movie that I appreciate.

The virtual concept of 'Unity in Diversity' that India is always proud off is well presented. We often hear people say that this is India's greatest strength, and one of her greatest weaknesses too. Most Indians relate themselves to their state first, and then the country.

The movie actually makes me think that Hockey is more of a sport than Cricket, as it is lively, entertaining and time-bounded. I hope this gives a kickstart for India to embrace Hockey once again, and show an all-round performance in Sports. Let there be options for the youth to choose their sport, and an increased support from schools & colleges. Not to forget the need for more sponsors!

The committee's attitude is well portrayed in the movie, as it discusses the religious, regional and gender conflicts in India. I hope Bollywood will continue to make such good movies in time... Its a very good effort from all the actors on screen and on the field. Coming out of the theatre after the movie, we atleast get a pseudo-feeling of India winning a World-Cup. It does feel great!

August 23, 2007

Walking by the Pond

A few months ago, I quit gym and decided to take a stroll along side a beautiful pond at Cottonwood park in Richardson (TX) for 45 min everyday. The freshness of open-air, the scent of surrounding trees, and the view of birds is immensely refreshing. Sometimes, I'm accompanied by my Ipod, and other times I prefer to experience the solitude.

The liveliness of the ambience vitalizes my daily exercise routine, and makes it pleasurable. I feel fit with alternate rounds of jogging and speed walking, and is a damn good alternative to a boring visit to the gym. Here is the best part... The park is just 7-minutes drive from my house.

Spread out on 25-acres of land, the park has 2 small lakes, a swimming pool, 2 tennis courts, multi-use court facilities and a playground. Families laugh and argue around the grills in the picnic area or hang out in the pavilion. Looks like fun!

In the pond, we can find several colored-ducks, 2 white-duck couples, and a few birds whose names I don't know. The white ducks are so cute that I wanted to pet one of them (like Joey/Chandler in Friends). Of-course, that's ridiculous!

August 20, 2007

Success of lightweight JAVA

The Spring Framework and Hibernate revolutionized the concept of POJOs with the introduction of lightweight technology. Then came EJB 3.0 spec which was inspired from the Spring guys. Meanwhile, Hibernate won the hearts of millions of people for its excellent ORM support. Latest to the party is JBoss Seam 2.0.

The lightweight frameworks promote better and cleaner application architectures, and make it easier to reuse business components. The rise of lightweight technologies was largely due to developers' rebellion against the heavyweight of EJB 2.1 (and earlier).

The Central Theme?
The core principle shared by all lightweight enterprise Java frameworks is the use of plain old Java objects (POJOs) for the data access and business logic. There are no more infrastructure classes or interfaces to inherit or implement. You just create a POJO to model your data or to implement a business process using the data. Then the POJOs are "wired" together using metadata.

How it works?
A key technique in the wiring of POJOs is a design pattern called Dependency Injection (DI). DI uses the lightweight framework container (Eg. Spring container or an EJB 3.0 container) to inject services or other objects into a POJO. This way, all object instances are created and managed by the container. A POJO need not manage the life cycle of its service objects or to look up services.

The Distinguishing factor?
The major differences between lightweight frameworks are how they wire container services together and implement Dependency Injection.

Ref: Java Developer's Journal

August 17, 2007

Social Networks for Entrepreneurs

Below is a short compiled list of social networks that are popular among techies and tech-entrepreneurs.

Saywit is a social webapp to share our ingenuity, creative thinking, and out-of-box solutions. It aims to bring out our creative intelligence naturally through participation! It has an ALGORITHMS channel that might interest many software programmers & developers. is a catalyst for innovation. It is a professional network and marketplace for ideas and businesses. Anyone, across all industries, at any stage, can share ideas, products, services and businesses with the rest of the world, mainly through video.

People use to pitch their ideas, businesses, skillsets or needs, such as capital, partner or staffing requirements. Hence, the tagline, "What's your pitch?" Through these pitches, people on can network, exchange knowledge and collaborate with other people who can help those ideas get to the next level.

TechTribe is India’s career network. It’s a place where professionals connect to advance their careers. Developing a career requires professionals to network with people – for Jobs, Advice, Knowledge, and Relationships. techTribe is a platform that enables professionals in India to do that.

The offerings include frontFoot, a referral recruiting service which enables professionals to refer their friends to great jobs at market leading companies; and Answers, an advice forum which enables professionals to seek advice from their peers, and to offer advice as experts.

Cofoundr is a private community for entrepreneurs -- programmers, designers, investors, and other individuals deeply involved with starting new ventures. Members use the site to find co-founders, build teams, and get advice.

BizToo is an online community that lets you meet new business contacts. It's also an online business marketplace and social business networking site where you can ask
and get business advice form global entrepreneurs.

Ecademy is a Social Network for Business People founded in 1998 now with over 150,000 member profiles worldwide. It is unique as business people connect both online on the web site and offline at events and 1-2-1 meetings. Ecademy includes both a free basic membership and a paid premier membership.

Ryze helps people make connections and grow their networks. You can network to grow your business, build your career and life, find a job and make sales. Or just keep in touch with friends.

Members get a free networking-oriented home page and can send messages to other members. They can also join special Networks related to their industry, interests or location. More than 1,000 organizations host Networks on Ryze to help their members interact with each other and grow their organizations.

LinkedIn is a place to find and leverage professional opportunities, now and throughout your career. There are already 13 million professionals in the LinkedIn Network and that number is growing fast. LinkedIn is an irreplaceable resource for building your professional relationships and achieving your goals. Locating connections is as easy as a simple lookup for employees listed under any businesses you worked for.

Doostang is an invite-only professional social network that started in 2005. It is an online career community that connects people through personal relationships and affiliations. The members of this site can share relevant career opportunities and interact with one another.

Other Notable ones for Business Networks include Xing and Spoke. In India, the social networks like Brijj and ApneCircle are getting popular among the professionals. The new comer EyeMany comes up with a slightly different approach by introducing video resumes, but still has a long way to go.

August 16, 2007

Is MD5 the God of Hash?

It is 'Yes' according to Skrentablog. I found some interesting uses of MD5 in the article 'We Worship MD5, the GOD of HASH'. Here is a gist of it.

MD5 takes any length string of input bytes and outputs 128 bits. The bits are consistently random, based on the input string. But if you make even a tiny change to the input string, you'll get a completely different output hash.

MD5 tips & tricks

  • Unique ID generation

    Say you want to create a set of fixed-sized IDs based on chunks of text -- urls, for example. MD5 (url) is 16 bytes, consistently, and you're unlikely to ever have a collision. So, it's safe to use the md5 as an ID for the URL.

  • Checksums

    Don't trust your disk or your OS to properly detect errors for you. They CRC and protocol checksums they use are weak and bad data can get delivered.

    Instead, bring out an industrial strength checksum and protect your own data. MD5 your data before you stuff it onto the disk, check the MD5 when you read it.

    (data,md5) = read_from_disk()
    if (md5(data) != md5)

  • Password security

    You could store the password in your database, "in the clear". But this should be avoided. If your site is hacked, someone could get a giant list of usernames and passwords.

    So instead, store md5(password) in the database. When a user tries to login, take the password they entered, md5 it, and then check it against what is in the database. The process can then forget the cleartext password they entered.

  • Hash table addressing

    MD5 isn't a weak hash function and you don't need to worry about that stuff. MD5 your key and have your table size be a power of 2. You will never have to worry about Hashtable bucket collisions and similar issues.

  • Random number generation

    The typical library RNG available isn't generally very good. For the same reason that you want your hashes to be randomly distributed, you want your random numbers to actually be random, and not to have some underlying mathematical structure showing through.

    Having random numbers that can't be guessed or predicted can be surprisingly useful. MD5 based sequence numbers were a solution for the TCP sequence number guessing attacks.

July 29, 2007

SPADE for Developers

A "Single Page Application and Development Environment" (Spade) is a Spa application with an integrated development environment, all fitting onto a single web page. Popular among SPADE apps is Tiddlywiki, a wiki implemented in a single page. With Google Gears in place, a wide range of applications can sprout up with a little effort only.

July 28, 2007

Truth alone Triumphs

Here is a famous Sanskrit saying to which I'd like to add my perspective.

Sanskrit Verse: "Satyam eva Jayate"
Meaning: Truth alone Triumphs

The phrase 'Truth' in this context refers to righteousness, integrity, and morality. No matter what, Dharma will finally be achieved. Even when the dark forces seem to take over the world, a new hope will rise from nowhere and restore the law of dharma. I'm sure StarWars fans will completely agree with me...

Remember Kurukshetra (the war between Good and Bad)... The Kauravas had an incredibly huge army. But, they lost to Pandavas. Here is a possible fictional conversation~

Kauravas: Hey... Our army is freaking huge & mighty. We have 100,000...0 knights, warriors and soldiers with us. What do you have? Huh!
Pandavas: We have the God himself with us!

The path to victory is never easy. Being on the path of righteousness alone is not enough. A display of courage, discipline, perseverance and hard work is needed to be a winner in Life.

We may lose any number of battles, but we should win the war. Life is certainly full of ups and downs. Every trough in one's life can be regarded as losing a battle. We should learn from our mistakes, and get ready to face the world again. Eventually, we will be a winner in LIFE.

We often ask the question to ourselves... Why does god give so much wealth and goodness to bad people? I remember a popular dialog by the Superstar Rajinikanth in the movie Badshah. Here is what he often says~
God may give a lot to bad people, but will leave them halfway.
God may not give much to good people, but will hold their hand forever.

July 26, 2007

Open Web Standards unify internet

Here is a note on some open standards that are intended to provide greater collaboration among websites, and create a unified Internet for the user. Instead of rephrasing the concepts, I'll borrow excerpts from Wikipedia to display clarity & correctness.

You may also checkout Videntity's social network that combines three recent web technologies: OpenID, XFN, and FOAF.

  • OpenID allows people to login to a website using a global identity.
  • XFN describes a standard set of relationships and a mechanism for embedding them into links in a web page.
  • FOAF provides an RDF/XML format for downloading profile and relationship data.

OpenID is an open standard that lets you sign in to other sites on the Web using your openID account. This means less usernames and passwords to remember and less time spent signing up for new sites. How do I use my OpenID? Look for sites with sign in forms that look like this:

Complete OpenID form

XHTML Friends Network (XFN) is an HTML microformat that provides a simple way to represent human relationships using links. It puts a human face on linking. XFN enables web authors to indicate relationships to the people in their blogrolls simply by adding one or more keywords as the 'rel' attribute to their links, as in this markup example:
<a href="" rel="friend met">...</a>

FOAF is a project under the umbrella of Semantic Web. The semantic web is an evolving extension of the internet in which web content can be expressed not only in natural language, but also in a format that can be read and used by software agents to find, share and integrate information more easily. A popular application of the semantic web is Friend of a Friend (or FoaF), which describes relationships among people and other agents in terms of RDF.

If you are interested in open standards, you may also want to check out Broadband Mechanics. The Broadband Mechanics’ strategy is to help change the world by providing the software and open standards necessary to inter-connect disparate social networks and blogging tools together.

July 25, 2007

GTD works for me!

Ofcourse, I've been making TO-DO lists ever since I was a child. But not all lists are in one place. My ToDo list usually contains discrete items placed out of context, and poorly organized. The much hyped concept of GTD (Getting Things Done) is actually working well for me. Just out of curiosity, I was exploring the various GTD tools on the net... and soon I fell in love with the concept.

Its dead simple and to my surprise, it proved effective. GTD is just a minor tweak to the way we write ToDo lists. In this, a context, project, and an optional timeline can be associated with the tasks. This way, we can brain-dump all our tasks and focus on executing them.

Here are a few resources I found useful...
Massive GTD Resource List, 50 Essential GTD Resources.

I found the following tools impressive...
Offline: Next Action; Online: Tracks (Hosted), SimpleGTD

July 17, 2007

Web2.0 for traditional Web companies

I came across this slide-show at Wat-Consult, and wanted to share with you all. The content is well aggregated and presented to the reader. I especially liked the classification of web2.0 apps, that you can find in the initial few slides.

July 16, 2007

Gigya - A great addon for webapps

When I read about Gigya on Techcrunch last week, I knew my wait was over. It allows one click posting of specific content to blogs and other social media. This widget provides a great value to social webapps and user-generated sites. Last weekend, I incorporated the widget into my webapps Stuff-a-Blog and Saywit. The implementation was a breeze! This will sure encourage users to participate and contribute content to web2.0 sites.

July 14, 2007

Me too Micro-Blogging!

Yesterday, I started using micro-blogging & nano-blogging! Oh... I just mean Tumblr and Pownce. Very soon, I fell in love with the simplicity of Tumblelogs. They are too cool, easy and addictive! Check out my shoutings at My Tumblr. Pownce is pretty good too. It makes more sense than the Twitter service. Catch me powncing here...

Relevant pics from Flickr

Related News
Micro-blogging on the rise -
How the LAFD Keeps Us Connected: An Interview with Brian Humphrey - LAist
Personalizing the Internet - Richmond Times Dispatch

Nice revolutionary services! Long live Web2.0

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July 10, 2007

Practical means to become creative

Being creative is as simple as thinking/doing anything outside the usual. If you are flaky or a wit-loving person, you are already well packed and bundled with creativity. Life is so much fun with a pinch of ingenuity in our daily routine.

How can we improve creativity? Simple! Just by practicing to be creative in our thoughts & deeds. Here are a few techniques proved to be effective by several psychologists and scientists. These are grouped by the subject of focus.

(Some points are borrowed from Brian Hunt, filtered for practicality, and grouped)

1. Exercise regularly. This will improve the blood flow to your brain.

2. Make sure that you get enough rest. Every hour of sleep lost leads to a drop of one IQ point.

3. Get rid of the rules you don't need in your life or at work. Start learning to break non-essential rules.

4. Change your ambiance; Try to find ideas in a different environment. Go for a stroll, enjoy nature, change places, etc.

5. Change your routines. Creativity comes from seeing things that others overlook and from questioning what we are seeing and why. For example, take a different route to work once in a week.

6. Make time for reflection and daydreaming - give your ideas time to form.

7. Brainstorm first! Go for quantity of ideas first, and then look for the good ones. Each idea will spark another one.

8. Look for ways to make a problem even worse - then turning these ideas around can lead you to the solution. For every good idea there’s an opposite one.

9. Write metaphors, similes, poetry and jokes to use your imaging right brain. This can help you see an object in a different viewpoint.

10. Practice creative thinking each day. Exercise your mind with daily puzzles.

11. Enumerate unexpected uses of familiar products.

12. Consider yourself to be a dialog writer for a movie, and construct imaginary dialogs. This technique was first introduced in the best-selling book by Napoleon Hill, "Think and Grow Rich".

13. Get a different perspective by discussing your ideas with someone else. Organizing your thoughts to describe them to others can help you find gaps and things you've overlooked. Creativity arises from the differences of opinions and perspectives between people.

14. Take up creative writing. Write a blog or a diary, and empty your thoughts in it.

Making it easy for you! Check out Saywit, a web2.0 app that lets you practice techniques 6 - 13 in an organized collaborative manner. It aims to bring up your creative abilities naturally, and makes it fun all the way!

To read an analysis on creativity, check out the article 'Introduction to Creative thinking' by Robert Harris.

July 06, 2007

Self-made Entrepreneurs

If you now do what others don't, you can later do what others can't. I read this line in one of the entrepreneur blogs, and started to realize what it takes to be a self-made entrepreneur. In my best effort to become one, I created a few webapps on weekends just by myself. The works of my personal heroes Markus Frind (Founder, & James Hong (Co-Founder,, and several entrepreneurial blog posts motivate me.

Creating a webapp in one's garage, and selling it for a few million dollars has become hip now-a-days. Check out the article by Markus Frind that outlines how creators of self-initiated projects can make as much money as VC-backed founders do. In one of the recent events, Guy Kawasaki moderated a panel of 5 self-made entrepreneurs who provided many good insights into starting and funding a company today. You can download the MP3 from Guy's blog.

Also do checkout this amazing book that will interest young individuals aspiring to become entrepreneurs of tomorrow.

The success stories of several entrepreneurs, bundled with wisdom and lessons learnt from their startup days is packaged in the form of a book titled "Founders at Work". As Guy puts it, "It’s a gold mine for great stories about entrepreneurship". I recently purchased this book as a gift for my friend's b'day, and he loved it. Someday, I will buy one for myself too...

If my dreams can come true, my name will appear in the second edition of this book ;)

June 27, 2007

Sprouting of creepy web2.0 apps

Recently, I came across a web2.0 site titled 'My Biggest Complaint', and I said to myself 'What a creepy idea!'. The word 'Complaining' itself has a negative connotation attached, and creating a platform for a group of people to share their complaints is even worse. Guessing who would be the target audience for this site is pretty obvious... all whining unhappy losers.

The creator could have given a positive spin to his site by encouraging people to brainstorm ideas to overcome their complaints. Solutions are what we need!

June 26, 2007

One step up

Today, I was informed about being promoted to 'Software Engineer 2' position at Intervoice, Inc. It was brought into effect from June 1, 2007. I'm filled in with a mixture of emotions... feeling happy, encouraged, and thankful. Thanks to my boss and my colleagues for bringing out the best in me.

June 21, 2007

Distinguish yourself from the herd

I recently came across a PDF titled "25 ways to distinguish yourself - by Rajesh Setty" on the web. I gave it a quick read, and jotted one-liner notes for each of the 25 points. Just wana share these notes with you...

Why? Being part of the commodity crowd erodes your value. If you need to leapfrog and succeed beyond dreams, continuing to do whatever you have done in the past may not be the answer. You need to distinguish yourself!

Not all will/can have the following qualities... So, you acquire them and differ from the rest!

1. Care as if its your own
You may just be an employee, but you care no less than your boss!

2. Do your daily work with passion
Love what you do, and Do what you love with extreme energy.

3. Build strong social relationships
Trust is the key factor in a relationship.

4. Dream Big
Your effort will follow your dreams

5. Set the right expectations
Actions should outgrow the words (Under-promise and Over-deliver)

6. Ask for help
Throw away ego, and gain the freedom of the skies

7. Celebrate small victories
Each celebration induces a feel-good factor that is crucial for self-confidence

8. Set higher standards
Compete with your higher self, and challenge your limits.

9. Know your values
Prioritize your values, and live by it! Living life by principles is the only difference between a man and a beast

10. Pursue right memberships
Become a part of right social groups (Satsang), and they will payoff big time.

11. Help people help themselves
Tell your people how to do, rather than doing it for them. Teach entrepreneurship!

12. Be a Reader (Learner)
Learning is a never ending journey that should never stop/slow-down with age.

13. Plan
Have a Plan-B beside Plan-A for every crucial action/decision of yours.

14. Think Long-Term
Be aware of your destiny during your entire path.

15. Embrace uncertainty with ease
Keep moving on... Never get bogged down with surprises & failures.

16. Ask yourself the right questions (introspection).
The answers you get on contemplation will set right the course of your action.

17. Engage with a couch
Sometimes we need a guru to show us the way for reaching the destiny.

18. Be relevant
Your comments, feedback, words & actions will be taken seriously only when others believe in your relevancy.

19. Get back on your feet fast
(Similar to Pt.15)

20. Lead a volunteer effort
This brings out the leader in you, and for a good cause. Your service will be rewarded!

21. Balance Innovation & Continuous Improvement
Whenever an innovation project succeeds, the next immediate step would be to put that project on a 'continuous improvement' road-map.

22. Learn to sell
Let the world know about whatever good stuff you have.

23. Learn Systems thinking
Learn to work in teams

24. Walk away from free
(Does not make sense)

25. Influence the influencer
Deal with the main person in charge, and do not get stuck with middle men.

June 20, 2007

Fantastic trip to India

I had a fabulous trip to India for 3 weeks (May 26 - June 19). It was a great feeling to be in the midst of family, relatives & friends with lots of hugs and kisses. I probably gained a few extra pounds from my mom's tasty home food. No matter what amount of traffic, pollution, and hot weather, I loved my stay in my homeland. Time just vanished...

May 21, 2007

OpenID 2.0 support

In my earlier post about OpenId, I mentioned that IdPrism implementation was easy and straight-forward to use. However, they don't support OpenId 2.0 specification, and their website is inaccessible since long... I guess they flew away! So, I switched to OpenId4Java implementation for better support. Frankly speaking, I was amazed at its simplicity & documentation, and it was a breeze to make the switch. My webapp (Saywit) now supports both OpenId-1.x and OpenId-2.0 standards.

May 16, 2007

Garden in a Box

I was fascinated when I first heard the concept of an EarthBox. It is a high-tech growing system in a controlled environment that doubles the yield of a conventional garden, and requires less fertilizer, less water and virtually no effort. They claim that the results has been proven in the lab and on the farm. In simple words, its just a plastic box in which you can grow your garden.

Early this month, Google participated in The Growing Connection by planting several EarthBoxes in its garden at MountainView campus. The Garden was planned in cooperation with the Chefs at Google. This is a great initiative to give a boost to the EarthBox campaign, and benefit from it as well. Check out the video...

I'm not sure about how affordable it is... but it is a viable option for our backyard.

May 06, 2007

The making of Saywit

Below is brief story on how Saywit was made...

Several months ago, I was pondering on what kind of a web2.0 application to create. I wanted to stay away from the "Me-Too" model of existence, and provide a substantial value to my users.

While having this in mind, I came across a few interesting blog posts related to Creativity on Lifehack. The following points were key to the forming of the base idea.
# Become a whole-brain thinker.
# The final tool for developing your creativity is imaginary dialogue.

These articles essentially answered my question "What value should I provide to my users?". Also inspired from the humor & wit filled posts at Ouch-My-Toe, I decided the central theme of my webapp would be to share the wit and creativity in people.

I did more research, and short-listed 6 channels. This concept is much different from Q&A sites whose focus is on knowledge (not creativity). This is sure refreshing and vitalizing!

Having got the business plan laid out, its now all about implementation. OpenId came to my rescue in providing an easy way for users to login and interact. I used Spring framework and Hibernate along with MySql to build the application.

The site incorporates several web2.0 concepts like REST-API, Widgets, RSS-feeds and Tags. After several months of hard-work on weekends all by myself, it was finally good to go. I formally launched Saywit on May 5, 2007 (my mom's birthday).