Akhilesh Sabharwal Ideas and Other Things

Of Nokia and Finland

In 2011 I took an opportunity to visit Nokia House in Espoo. I still remember looking out from the dining hall onto a semi-frozen lake with a few weather worn trees on an island.

In my mind that lake represents Finland and the attitude of its people. A nation which in its young(ish) history has successfully challenged larger foreign forces. Occupied by a Swedish monarchy till 1803 and then becoming a Russian domain, Finland gained its independence from Russia at the end of World War 2 after fighting for it since 1917 (an interesting history). The Finns are a strong and resilient people (Look up Simo Häyhä). Moving forward from this strife they have developed a culture with a standard of living which is amongst the highest in the world.

And this spirit is reflected in what still remains one of Finland’s most iconic brand – Nokia.

History

I went for a visit to my old neighbourhood in Delhi today. I had to run some chores and also needed to pick up a couple of things from my old home. We moved from the house a year or so ago to Gurgaon, a city next to Delhi, which forms part of the National Capital Region. We moved for reasons of necessity and practicality, and we had balanced rational vs the emotional when we moved. And yet when you do return, its hard not to remember all that has happened in those years. The house where I grew up in has 69 years of history.

Blooms to beat the Winter glooms

I was a bit of a busy beaver this last week. I got a lot of my winter blooms and some of my edibles planted. Who says you can’t go plant happy in an apartment?

Gallery after the jump.

New year realisations

It is a tradition that you should start a new year with a few resolutions that you should try and keep. Maybe, lose some weight, try and save more- heck I’ve tried to do some of that myself. But the painful thing about resolutions is that they are very very (near impossible) to keep for people (aka: ME). Change is inevitable, it is constant and out of the control of us mere mortals. Resolutions are a feeble attempt at trying to control change, let them flow. Rather, I think we should start 2014 with a few realisations. So my realisations for 2014

The ABC's of content marketing in India

Content marketing is amongst the most popular marketing strategies in the world today. Defined as any format of marketing which involves the creation, publishing and sharing of content with a view to acquire customers. Content marketing as a principle is not new. In as early as 1895 John Deere launched a magazine titled The Furrow providing information to farmers on becoming profitable.

One key aspect of content marketing is obviously the content. While it is obvious that the content being developed has to be inline with the product or service being marketed, there are some subjects which can act as an ideal support. Read on to know about the ABC’s of those subjects for India.

Five

Today makes it 5 years since I have written on again and off again on this blog. Over the past five years, I have changed 4 web hosts, and many domains before settling on asabharwal.com. It’s also taken me a while to settle on a name I have been happy with.

This blog has been like me – experimental in design and content. People who have followed me over the past five years (there are some) have seen my blog transition from – Twobeans.net to digiFAQs.com. I have toyed with ‘secretingredient.in’ & ‘thehungrygeek.com’ in between for writing about my interests in food. I was buying domains like potato chips. Almost two years ago I finally settled on two domains asabharwal.com and binarybreakfast.com.

Using IFTTT to automate the web

Wouldn’t it be handy if images you take on your iPhone were saved to your Dropbox folders? Or if starred emails in Gmail automatically got sent to your Evernote notebook? Or even if you receive a SMS if it is going to rain? If This Then That (IFTTT) is a web service that can help you achieve all of the above plus a lot more. IFTTT links up your preferred web services simplifying information transfer between them. IFTTT allows you to connect with popular web services like Gmail, Facebook, Instagram, Evernote and many more. IFTTT has a bit of a learning curve when you start, but it doesn’t take long to get a hang of it.

The best social networks you don't know about

Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn are the defacto names which come to mind when anyone thinks of social networks or social media. These 400 pound gorrilas of the social networks have embodied what social means to the web. They have large audiences who are uploading millions of photographs and even more status messages and stories. But within this reality, an interesting phenomenon has been occuring over the last few years. People have been moving away from these platforms, to more specialised networks which meet their particular needs. None of these networks have as much traffic or volume as the big three, but it probably helps increase the signal to noise ratio. Find out more about some of these networks after the jump.

Finally, a good use for QR codes

QR Codes. Most consumers hate them. Most marketers love them (and think consumers love them too). This often misused little graphic usually found on magazine ads and 20 foot high billboards (not kidding) is usually only used for sharing links. But technically speaking – a QR code is capable of linking to a lot of pertinent information and not just a Facebook page. Mercedes Benz is using this capability to redeem the QR code. Mercedes Benz are placing QR codes in prominent locations on their vehicles so that emergency crews are just a phone scan away from the rescue sheets and schematics that show where to cut a wrecked vehicle to remove accident victims.

How getting locked out of Gmail made me kick the Google habit

I learned a hard lesson last week. A lesson which began with me getting locked out of my Gmail. After reading about Matt Honan’s nightmare last summer, I had migrated all of my online communications to GMail, under the security promise of its two factor authentication. The two factor authentication lasted all of 2 weeks, because it was more trouble than help. Between Chrome and my accounts across three machines and two mobile devices, I was spending more and more time logging in rather than getting any work done. Still i was secure in the belief that Google would flag me off on unusual activity on my mobile.