The great firewall of … UK

Ok maybe not so dramatic… and maybe not as restrictive as the Chinese version…

Yesterday, it was revealed that the UK is employing a transparent proxy Рin the lines of the system used in china to filter ISPs Рto block pages on Wikipedia. The page in question is about a 1970 LP Cover (Rated M16) which is considered to be in violation of child pornography laws.

The issue here is not that residents have protested the protection of children online – infact that is one thing that should be done whole heartedly, and actually parents should be made an active part of this effort (which is not happening) causing the state to intervene (which is not a good thing)

The problem is the way that it has been done, Users have raised a concern that it was done quietly, without consensus of users and information, the filters were put into place..

My biggest fear is that, implementing something like this in India is actually very possible, and the problem is that peoples laissez faire attitude will allow this…

So say no to two things

No to Child Pornography

No to Government controlled Internet censorship

Yes to parents controlled Internet censorship

NTT DoCoMo & Tata Teleservices – See what the promise of 3G brings

So the deal was  closed yesterday as most people would know Рunless you crawled under a rock РNTT DoCoMo has bought into a 26% stake in Tata Teleservices (The Indicom people). Rs 13,070 crore investment.

So what do I read in it –

  1. Recession – it is a subjective term, this is a time for the long term investors to come forward
  2. Indian Mobile Industry and Market – Still extremely nascent, There is a lot of potential in the form of VAS and even basic communication and data services.
  3. 3G – 3G services will quite possibly be of a world class if not better grade than the rest of the world, with some of the worlds most ablest providers in the market coming in…
  4. Some of the best technology phones – NTT DoCoMo pioneered live streaming television on mobile, but they also have phone which can alieviate the need to run around on trips with computers…
  5. NTT DoCoMo and Tata – CDMA brilliance – This might finally be a reason to switch to the Tata provided service – once number portability kicks in… In my opinion – if NTT brings in its technical knowhow, which I believe is quite likely
  6. Internet – And this one is wishful thinking but I can hope for it – NTT DoCoMo is providing FiBo (Fiber Optic) internet in Japan and with speeds up to 16 Mbps and unlimited… drool..

Parallels 4.0 for Mac released on tuesday

With this release my need to run a seperate windows laptop has come to an absolute end.

Parallels allows me to run my last remaining XP licence in Leopard and use the 3 or 4 Windows products i cannot get replacements for, and I have to use, Access, Live writer and Neverwinter Nights 2 (It runs beautifully).    So while parallels is running NWN keeps dyeing post the movie.. Ian, Frank, sorry guys no D3D support as yet.

Improvements include speed boosts, (havent tried these yet), An intelligent Hypervisor Load balancer and a virtualisation engine that consumes 15-30 percent less resources. (I have noticed previously too, running a virtual machine on osx is less stressfull than on my Mac)

I can play games as DX9, Pixel Shader 2.0 and OpenGL 2 are now properly supported (hopefully)

Coherence is also cleaner, with the items in the windows tasjbar, moving to the Mac menubar.

The best feature in my opinion though is the Safe mode, a Kind of Sand box if you will. Everything runs exactly as normal, except at the end of the VM session you get an option to save the changes to the VM or not….

I guess I will be downloading the trial tonight and trying it out… The Migration to the Mac is hopefully complete.

@Twitter – an effective marketing channel – as told by the Mars Lander.

The NASA Mars Lander was a highly watched experiment, by the world’s scientific, space faring and geological community. The possibility of life on the Red Planet, and any fears of attacks from Martians, due to constant jibes by Bugs Bunny have to be inspected! (And kids if you don’t know what I’m talking about here, you need to watch some Looney Tunes – the Original ones )

It is another fact of this whole operation that the digital marketing community should also look at this project, as a correct way of how to propel a subscription based model of providing information.

Ok let me give some details, Phoenix – the Mars Lander – created a Twitter profile and was twittering away through all of the 5 months of its mission, till its demise on the 10th of November. Ok so it wasn’t twittering itself, the Mission crew created the profile, but the point is that it was a simple way to bring the mission to the people and to add some relevance & mass appeal to what may be a defunct agency.

So what were the statistics – Over 5 Months, 39,032 Unique Subscribers (Twitter calls them followers) who received 605 updates. That a willing receipt of 4 messages a day on avg. WOW!!

What marketer, traditional or digital should ignore a channel where you can get a willing subscriber base that is willing to receive this much communication.

Not that this is an isolated example, in the recent US presidential elections, The Obama faction (sorry my quirk, I like to call all political parties everywhere – factions) also made relevant use off Twitter, giving campaign updates and sending campaign messaging.

CNN also uses twitter to publish live news with a link to the story

So, how should you use twitter.

Well the very first thing is to establish, can your brand and product utilize the short message system that is twitter and its clones. The next step Рand this is the toughie Рis to generate the content. You cannot pollute the  content stream with generic branding messages, the messaging has to be crisp, concise and relevant. After all by subscribing to you, people are giving you their mind-space.

As an aside to this story… The Mars Lander also wrote a final guest blog on Gizmodo. There was a constant series of guest posts on Gizmodo, while the mission was on.

Oh and by the way if you thought the twitter feed  was dreamt up by a top dollar Media agency, think again, this was all the brain child of one Veronica McGregor at the NASA Jet Propulsion Lab. I guess we can all learn from her.

Will you get an iPhone legally?

On the 22nd of August, Apple in conjunction with Telecom partners worldwide will be releasing the iPhone in 15 Nations worldwide. India, Singapore and the Philippines lead the rush in Asia while the Czeck republic is added in Europe not forgetting 8 Latin American Countries.We can truthfully¬† say that Apple is truly taking over the cell phone market…

What is hard to understand about this phenomenon is the price difference though, and speaking from an Indian consumers pointof view,I will possibly not be purchasing the iPhone 3G, I am very happy with my Nokia e71.

When the iPhone was first launched, almost a year ago, it was something exciting, frankly something worth having, and it was a desirable piece of technology…

It was so desirable that it was available Jailbroken and illegally and very easily in India. And the best thing about this was that the price was actually quite reasonable, – an unlocked 8GB iPhone could be had at a street price or Rs 20,000 – 22,000 (approx $400) which was almost the price it was available for in the US (After the first price slash). If you had someone coming from the US, even cheaper…

So when people heard that with the launch of the 3G and the $199 price,¬† customers expect a similar if not the same pricing… It was a big surprise to consumers, – infact even causing a bit of international attention by pcworld – when the pricing for the 8GB and the 16GB models was announced at Rs 31,000 & Rs 36,100 respectivly.. And while no one has mentioned you can bet on the fact that there will be a VAT on top of this, not to count usage charges.


This puts the price of the iPhone solidly at $823 Far above the price that just about any country is paying for it… Bear in mind that these prices are for the phone only.. No data or voice OR ANY OTHER SERVICE THAT MAKES THE 3G GREAT, as India does not have any 3G yet, and no visual voicemail. Both the carriers who are offering the iPhone, Vodafone IN and Bharti Airtel have mentioned that all of the iPhone services will not be available, without mentioning which services in particular will be affected. No special data plans for the iPhone have been released either.

Another problem is that, both carriers would be selling the phone locked to the network. The first experience for Indians with this was with the Blackberrys which were not subsidised in price either. The carriers are getting away with basically screwing the customer… Its a known fact that worldwide a network locked phone is made available at a far more subsidised rate that its unlocked varient, hence the whole point of network locking.

Apple is not helping either, while the Apps store is available in India, ( It has been available since the launch of the app store for purchasing apps for the iPod Touch) the iTunes store for purchasing music is not enough available.

India’s economy may be driven by the desire to “Keep up with the Joneses”. It is this attitude that is fueling the unmitigated desire of companies to drive this type of pricing without providing a Quality of service. Sharninder over at Nomadic Rider made a valid point that Fanboys will be just that… but I think Fan Boys also gotta wakeup…

A 19″ Monitor and Games a plenty

This weekend, I finally did it, I recreated my home-media-server machine into a Roaring Gaming Monster (Well little one anyway).

Over the past 2-3 Months I had slowly added more and more to this machine.. so much so that it now has more than 1500 GB of Storage capacity, Granted almost 1 TB is taken up by media and assorted data.

This Server is connected to all the 5 Computers in the house is constantly on, and serves my media collection to my tv as well.

Sexy setup… but the problem was, my laptops, even though they are ludicrously overpowered when compared to my first pc (1990) or my second pc (2000)… I wanted a larger screen to play Jade Empire, and Gears of War (havent got to Crysis yet)

Also my brother has a thing for Flight Simulator …

So Upgrade time… First things required a monitor for this headless server – A 19″ Viewsonic VA1912W was just right, with a dvi input, it was perfect for even watching HD movies when connected to my MacBook or My HP TX2009.

Second Upgrade – Graphics Card, Now I wanted something that could play my games – Most demanding one being GOW… But at the same time I didnt want to spend too much… After a bit of research and a boo boo.. I settled on the Nvidia 8600GT

Before I could get my card though… I made a mistake, a mistake which cost me a whole day of gaming.. I misread a port on my MB and picked up a sick (as in ill) AGP Card… Oh well lost out the 15th of August (everything was closed in Delhi)… Oh well, I just Installed all the games I wanted on the Friday.. (BTW Vista Ultimate – Damn good for games, didnt find out until ¬†after though, on my Onboard graphics it was a little sucky (like the lemon)

Anyway.. 16th meant a trip to Nehru place and a quick Swap… Very understanding Shop Owner – I recommend SMC International in Nehru Place btw to anyone, Competitive pricing, and almost every old and latest tech you could want, damn good for component shopping – and I was on my way home with a MSI NX8600GT 512MB based card… and a bigger power supply (Cooler Master – Very quiet) for good measure.

This card is silent, does not have a fan, and works by distributing its heat across heat pipes, it is fast and can drive all my games at the monitors highest resolution 1440x (I cannot remeber how big but it is huge)

Saturday evening and Sunday were spent in playing games and having fun like I havent had in a while…

The only problem that is there now, is that there is going to be a fight as to where this machine is going to be kept, once just about everyone want to play their favourite game.


For those who are interested here is the current Setup (Vista Rating of 5)

  1. Asus P5MX (Well it was just supposed to be a file server when I started)
  2. Intel P4 3 GHZ with Multithreading
  3. 2 GB DDR2
  4. MSI NX8600GT
  5. Microsoft Sidewinder Mouse
  6. Logitech Internet Keyboard
  7. 1 Seagate 750 GB SATA Primary (2 Partitions)
  8. 1 Seagate 250 GB SATA Secondary
  9. 1 Seagate 80 GB IDE
  10. 1 LG DVDRW IDE
  11. 1 USB 250 GB Seagate MyDisk
  12. 1 USB 160 GB Seagate MyDisk
  13. 1 USB 100 GB Lacie Harddisk
  14. Viewsonic 19″ VA1912W
Come and meet me for a Game online

Has Google lost the ability to Innovate?

For a word that is almost synonomous with digital search, infact when you are looking for some information related to anything you more often than not ‘Google‘ it. ‘
But for a company that has grown to the size of a towering behemoth it seems more and more apparent that Google may have lost the ability to innovate. beyond a few core products and competencies the Google stable has yet to produce a product that can change the world the way Search did.

Google Search – Did Google invent search? No. I believe Google redefined the paradigm that was search. To search for a website, meant to search through multiple engines or directories, to see what offered you the best product for your needs, Google said, No! ” Lets actually index the keywords in the data, so you actually see the content being searched for.. This was the birth of Google, a company destined to be called Gogoole ( if i havent missspelled that)

Google Adsense – What is the point of any world pervading business empire, if you cannot be making any money out of it. This was where Adsence came in. Adsence was different – in a world where you were bombarded with ads from apples to online casinos, adsence offered a bit of sanity, not just to publishers, but also to viewers. In a world of nonsence advertising,users were seeing ads that finally made sense to them, advertisers had a new concept of payment – per click and they could see how users actually used their ads. Actually adsence was not a new idea.. Google may have polished the technology but the idea was Old..infact Google were reluctant followers of the PPC model

Gmail – Is Gmail an Innovation? Well in the day when all providers were giving you 2 MB of space Gmail gave you 2GB and growing, It was unheard of and it integrated google search and some of the best Spam filters out there and it was good…


and it was right there that Google first stumbled, Gmail has yet to come out of official Beta, in what has been Invitation only since 1st April 2004 to a public beta of 4th April 2004, it could be the longest April fool’s joke in History. On June 5th 2008 Gmail Labs was introduced as a new feature that allows users to test new and experimental features of Gmail… hmm is’nt Gmail still officially an experiment.

Now in 2008 Gmails competition has beaten it in my opinion, Hotmail and Yahoo both offer large attachments, Storage you are not going to run out of and a searchable interface that while fast can knock the socks of the elementary Gmail Interface – thats right I dont believe the Gmail Interface is great, it is in need of a serious ovehaul.

So what else did Google Innovate…

Docs…Nope that was Writely

Analytics…Nope that was Urchin

Picasa…Nope another Purchase

Youtube… Need I go onn

Sketch Up …@last software


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