Google Labs recently launched Offline Gmail a feature that was most wanted. The advantage of using a web based email client is that the mails can be checked anywhere where there is internet connection. But one of the disadvantages is there is no local copy that can be used offline and also act as kind of backup. For an ardent fan like me this is an additional point to promote Gmail against a desktop email client.
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A Barcamp event is scheduled tomorrow, 16th of February 2008 at Hyderabad (the 5th in the series in Hyderabad) focusing on the following - Technologies, Startups- betting on Web2.0, Social web, Semantics Web and beyond! I will be talking on “Building Low Cost Scalable Web Applications”. I am looking forward for the event, for great sessions and to get to know any one of you coming down there. I will update more about the event after I am back and will also post my presentation. Have a fantastic weekend!
By the way if you are wondering what’s Barcamp, click here.
If you ask me, if I love documentation, I would join the majority club, a big NO. But something I am fascinated to do is typing real fast. I would say that I have significantly gained time because of it. If you ask me how, my answer would be the fraction of second I save over a period of time that has made a difference. Maybe hard to realize but I value it. Typing is less of a pain for me for tasks like sending mails, writing a post on the blog, coding when I know what I am doing and the list can go on. I am a keyboard man rather than a mouse man. I love working on my laptop, using my keyboard most of the time (after some thinking I realized I use mouse when I only need some action dependent on a right click). That’s another reason I love to work on a shell prompt or DOS prompt as much rather than on a GUI environment.
I am thankful to my mom, for without her I would not have learnt typewriting. After I finished my schooling my mom wanted me to learn typewriting. I asked her why. She told me that she wanted to do it when she was young but couldn’t do it, and so she wanted me to do it. When I completed the senior grade typing I never thought it would help me until recently when I started observing people more closely, particularly people involved in Software industry.
Those who do not know typewriting, key in looking at the keyboard rather than looking at the monitor. Because they are not used to the keyboard layout and hand-eye coordination is needed to press each and every letter. This definitely causes considerable time lag. The next disadvantage is if one looks at the keyboard and types one has to go back and forth looking into the monitor and keyboard to see if there were any mistakes and correct them. An addendum to this problem is sometimes people don’t realize that due to some reason the focus would have gone to another application which is not expecting an input from the user through keyboard. And the person doesn’t realize until he/she looks into the monitor. You might ask how does it matter but the saying “Small drops of water make an ocean” is what I could think of. The fraction of time I save makes an overall difference. For example typing mails is the quickest thing that I could finish off, provided I know what I have to write.
If you want to leverage speed of typing and learn typewriting, you could do it online. Just Google and you will get lot of sites that teach typewriting online. The first basic rule when learning is to never look at the keyboard and type. It is OK you will make mistakes initially but slowly your hands know where the keys are and you will realize how easy it is to see the monitor and keep typing. By the way if you want to test your typing speed click this link “See how fast you can type“.
Most of my monthly payments like phone bills have an online payment option, I subscribe and pay it online and make sure I pay exactly up to the last paise. For those things that cannot be paid online, if cheque is a possibility I pay by cheque. Anything that is taken electronically it is accounted up to the last paise. I realized when I traveled to USA the first time, wherever I have to deal with cash, any balance amount I was to receive, I would get it exactly up to the last cent. In India, when there are situations where you have to pay cash, there are some denominations losing their value and people take it for granted by not returning it back or replacing it with something as simple as a toffee. Examples where this would happen include grocery shops, city buses etc. When I was young I used to get a stick ice, flavored with fruit syrup for 5 paise. It’s hard to see 5, 10, 20, 25 paise coins these days. Slowly 50 paise coins seem to join the list. A change of 50 paise is either not returned or replaced with a toffee.
If you have had an experience traveling in the city buses, particularly in metropolitan cities most likely you would have experienced this. The ticket denominations are still in such a way that you would have to give or get a 50 paise. The conductor (personnel deployed in the bus to collect fare and issue ticket according to the stop where the traveler wishes to step down) either doesn’t give back 50 paise or he writes the balance amount on the back of the ticket so that the traveller can collect it back before getting down. If you are traveling during peak hours, most likely you have to give up the balance. One of the reasons is because of the crowd, you would find it difficult to locate the conductor, and second you would be focusing on getting down from the bus in the stop you want to get down without getting stuck in the crowd. Even if you get a chance to get to the conductor, he would most likely ask for the 50 paise to return back one rupee or whatever rounded off balance is. End of the day it is not the business that gets this additional money but the individual, because anything in excess during accounting at the end of the day goes to his/her pocket.
What happens to the accounts of the person who lost that 50 paise? Usually people ignore it and in local terms call it off under Gandhi’s account. Not sure why it is called so, but I have a feeling it was called so because whenever you see Gandhi’s smile in the currency after you have lost money that cannot be accounted, it so seems to be a sarcastic smile . If someone tries to recover, it is more likely that he/she has to spend time and effort in recovering it back.
The thought seed - People who face such losses are usually of the middle class segment. India’s estimated middle class population is about 350 million. For the sake of assumption let’s say if every person in the 350 million looses 50 paise in a year then almost 125 million Rupees go into “The Gandhi’s account” every year. If there was a way to collect this amount by the Government, this can be used for noble cause, since it is handsomely a large amount. Of course there’s again a choice for the person to donate that balance or put it back into his/her bank account. What if there was a deposit card, like a credit or a debit card that works the other way? The business that has to pay back an amount (even if it is 5 paise) deposits that respective sum back through the user’s deposit card. Am not here to explain on how the logistics or the business rules behind it would make it work, but I am sure with some thought, there could be several rules framed around it to make it happen for the right purpose and this in itself is not used for more corruption. As always there are technologies that can help make this happen.
Images/Image Editing Courtesy - Naveen Kumar
Here is an amazing quote to keep in mind when hesitation blocks the mind not to attempt because of fear of failure.
“The important thing is not being afraid to take a chance. Remember, the greatest failure is to not try. Once you find something you love to do, be the best at doing it. - Debbi Fields”
Thanks Sowmya Ambiti for sending me this quote. Have a great weekend.
We recently launched ActiveVibe, a website dedicated to people who are keen in active lifestyle. ActiveVibe is an online platform for people who want to get going with an active lifestyle by getting help, tips and advice from professionally trained and certified coaches on different active lifestyle activities. Find a coach, fix an appointment and start moving forward to a healthy life. ActiveVibe is also for the coaches to register and market their business online. A user registered as coach can get his/her own personal profile, a personal URL, create a training calendar and access it from anywhere, set appointment reminders and the marketing will be handled by ActiveVibe. It is a great medium for coaches to expose their business and get active consumers in their respective area. So if you are a coach do check ActiveVibe or if you have a coach let him/her know about ActiveVibe and get him/her more business through ActiveVibe.
Mon.itor.us is a new web based monitoring tool that can monitor web sites, servers, visitors etc. with personalized interactive interface, where you can add server performance and availability tests, get uptime reports, track visitors, check CPU, memory and other systems resources, add contacts to get the alert notifications. I am thinking of Google Analytics here which can also do some tracking but it is more a visitor statistics tool whereas Mon.itor.us is more from resource statistics. Every web application will need a heart monitor to make sure it is going healthy and not running out of gas. The service providers could provide some of that stuff but you might want to check it out then and there. Rather than going into the box and trying to figure it out or contacting the provider Mon.itor.us will enable you to check the status online. What I see as additional bonus is to monitor the health of applications and servers internally too with the help of a smart agent installed on the servers. The agent communicates with the Mon.itor.us and the statistics is available online. But you might be thinking why to expose your internal resource statistics, well it’s not exposed to the public world but only you as a registered user can access it. On the positive side I think it is a great tool to quickly utilize for resource monitoring. What’s more it notifies when something goes wrong. It has a great look and feel and usability too.
While there are many blog software’s as well as online blogging systems where users can register and start blogging right away, why another blogging system? Well Tumblr is like any other blogging system but makes it easy for starters and also for users who want to just blog a quote, a photo or a simple message clearly differentiating from a post where normally an article is expected. But Tumblr can still be used to write posts like any other blog. For starters and those who want to quickly share a message Tumblr is a right starting point.