Amazon’s Kindle

November 26, 2007

The blogosphere has been abuzz with Amazon’s ebook reader named ‘Kindle’.

I think this gadget is indeed disruptive if you consider the fact that, you can read magazines, newspapers, blogs, any textual content on Kindle downloaded straight from the internet for some cost. This totally eliminates the need of a middlemen like the publisher, distributor, retailer and also paper which can save a lot of money and trees. A creative writer can directly reach the masses thanks to the internet and get his due.

But will I buy a Kindle for myslef? The answer is NO.

Why?

1. Its not Open. Though a good thing about Kindle is that you do not need a Computer to use it, it soon turns out to be a disadvantage because, you cannot transfer your existing ebooks from your computer to the Kindle reader. I think this is a huge negative because you should given the freedom to use your device, the way you want it.

2. $400 price tag.

3. Doesn’t look ergonomic. I can’t imagine holding it while lying on my bed.

4. Why does it have a hardware keyboard? Didn’t the iPhone render it obsolete? Especially, for a e-book Reader where you’d expect one to read more than write, the keyboard doesn’t add much value and seems to add to the bulk. Touch screens cannot be done on e-Ink displays?

5. You cannot share your ebooks with your friends. Ofcourse, you can share the Kindle gadget itself  🙂

6. No color. Yet.

But even with these disadvantages, I think the e-reader, given its internet backend does have a future. How many young people read the paper-newspaper anyways? Most of my friends read their news from google.com/news.

Advertisements

Mac or PC?

October 28, 2007

Well, I am going to buy a new computer while I am still in the US of A, and 1000 dollar question is whether to buy a Mac (MacBook) or a PC (Lenovo ThinkPad T60).I will be using the computer basically for browsing, listening to music and for Java development.

Why Mac?

1. First of all, it is a beauty. The quality of both the hardware and software is amazing and the UI is the best. To me, its a very inspiring piece of art.

2. No Viruses. Atleast for now, there are no known viruses targetting the Mac.

3. Unix ancestry.

4. The applications for Mail, Chat, Photos, Videos etc all come free.

5. The webcam is something the Lenovo laptop does not have.

6. I hate Vista. I have tried using Vista and I feel that the new features like Aeroglass only make it difficult to read. Vista felt like bloat-ware when I used it.

7. Leopard looks amazing.

But then, why am I thinking of Lenovo if Mac looks good.

1. Because Mac too has its problems. Tim Bray and Scobleizer have reported that they have experienced crashes on the Mac. And I am worried about this because I will be using it in India and Apple does’nt really have a good product support there.

2. Because I love the ThinkPad T60 from Lenovo. It is my work laptop and I am very happy with it. The keyboard is fantastic, good battery life, portable etc. It is the ideal laptop, I feel.

3. Because MacBook (120GB harddisk, 2 GB RAM) is going to cost $500 more that the Lenovo T60.

4. Because, I am not going to use most of the features like GarageBand, iMovies etc.

5. Because, Mac cannot play my huge video collection (mostly in wma, avi format)

Friendfeed v/s Yahoo Pipes

October 13, 2007

Friendfeed is a new service which allows you to consolidate all your feeds and have a single datasource to everything you publish on the web. For instance, you can add your Picasa photo stream, your blog stream, Twitter stream etc into a single source and then publish that to your friends.

Pretty much what Yahoo! Pipes does. Only less feature some. But Friendfeed has this ‘social-networking’ angle which I don’t think Yahoo! Pipes has yet.

Onsite trip

October 13, 2007

Its been a long time since I have added any post inspite of my desire to update my blog regularly. One main reason is that I have traveled to onsite now for a Knowledge transfer engagement for my project. I am at Cincinnati, Ohio and have been for the past month and so far this visit has been great.

Cincinnati is not a big city and is really a nice calm place to work/live. The escape from the congestion in Chennai is a welcome reprieve. The climate is really nice at around 23 celcius and its a pleasure to walk around in the mornings. But this might not last long since I hear that the winter is a little harsh in this area. The people are also very decent.

Official Python Documentation Revamped

August 19, 2007

I have been looking for some neat Python tutorials and I just find that the tutorial on the official Python site has been revamped making it very readable.

Much love to the Python team 🙂

IE modal dialog crash issues

August 16, 2007

Everyone who has worked with modal dialog windows, a feature of the IE browser knows the irritants of using it. JavaScript debugging is difficult, you cannot do ‘view source’ and plugins like the IE Dev Toolbar just do not work on the modal windows.

I needed to refresh a screen on a button event in a modal dialog. Rats! HTML form submit does not work on modal dialogs.

I redesigned it to close the current modal dialog on form submit and then open a new modal window again from the parent. How? I passed the window object from the opened modal Dialog to the parent by invoking a method.

for e.g.

function openNewModal(url) {

parentWindowObj.openNewModal(window, url);

}

In the parent, I did

function openNewModal(modalWindow, url) {

modalWindow.close();

window.showModalDialog(url, ..);

}

But this has a problem. On opening and closing modalDialogs by refreshing the screen multiple times, the browser just crashes. I found that this happens because IE does not release the memory of the modal dialog even on closing it until the method which opened it is complete. In other words, the opening and closing of modal windows needed to be completely disjointed.

To make the opening and closing of modal dialogs disjointed, I used events triggered by a timer 🙂 . For e.g.
var openModalInterval = setInterval(“fnOpenModal()”,1000);

Now, fnOpenModal will open a new modal dialog based on a global JS variable. like this.

function fnOpenModal(){

if(openmodal == true) {

window.showModal(url…);

}

}

This worked and IE releases the memory of the closed modal dialog since the events are disjointed 🙂

“Open source software is no threat”

August 14, 2007

Says Larry Ellison in this article:

“Open source is not something to be feared. Open source is something to be explained. Open source wins not because it’s open and not because it’s free. Open source wins only when it’s better

He also says:

“Whenever open source gets to be better than what we do, like in the case of Apache and Linux, we will simply adopt it, distribute it and support it.”

This really sums up what the effect of open source. Of course in some cases, you would want to go for ‘open’ code but generally in the enterprise world, the cost of software is not the main concern as much as the ‘performance’ of the software.

In Larry’s words:

“The purchase price of software is only about 10 percent of the total cost of ownership of software. So even if the software is free, the most you can save is 10 percent off. Now the question is, what are your other costs of developing applications, of running applications on a daily basis, of dealing with problems when they occur?”

Google too is evil, after all!

August 1, 2007

Look here and here. Google adds a small header into Google Video files so they are unplayable on Windows Media Player forcing you to download their own Google Video Player which is far from a decent video player.

Other instances of Google playing evil? Download a browser and you are most likely to download the Google Toolbar crap with it! Without your permission. Heck, it even came along with the Avast anti virus I installed!

Well, Google what happened to all that talk about open standards, open API, open everything?

How to download youtube and google videos?

July 28, 2007

Here are some ways to download YouTube videos.

Personally, I like the ‘The All-In-One Video Bookmarklet’ which is hassle free and works well. This way, the files are saved in flv format which can be played on VLC player

 Video DownloadHelper is also a great Firefox add on which accomplishes the same thing. It shows up neatly across the addressbar and when a video site it can help with shows up, it notifies without being intrusive at all.

Snimmer is a virus

July 19, 2007

The *my web IM space* Snimmer is a virus. For logging in, you need to enter a Jabber/Google Talk account user ID and password. On logging in, it starts sending out invites to *everyone* on your mailing list without asking for permission! So, if you get an invite to this menace, IGNORE IT!

I am wondering if it stored my google account password too.