i as a qrcode

forget my visiting card. forget my vcf file. forget me. but just remember to hold my qrcode with you always. in case, you are feeling confused go here. this youforia is after getting reintroduced to the QRCode concept after a year or so at the barcamp yesterday…

myqr.png

road to redemption

i have a story to tell. a story because that has nothing absolutely funny or whimsical about it. but because it taught me a lesson. a lesson of how much abuse my own body suffers silently at my hands and though i was very much aware of the problem, never recognized it really, because as i say ‘it depends’.

most of you might be knowing about tirupati, the magnificient temple town atop the seven hills – to reach the top either you take to the road by bus or a private transport or you could just take the road and your feet again.

we chose to go by foot as usual, its a breathtaking sight while climbing all the way to the top, you are truly in the cradle of nature, dense forests in the valley, trees along the walkway to the top. the whole trip walkway has three parts to it. the first part is a half foot high steps marginally steep till the checkpoint called the Gaali Gopuram. the second part is fairly flat and easy and you could easily sprint through it. the third part is what is called the MokAlu parvatam (The mountain of Knee), partly from the steps that the old steps were so tall that if you were to step on one of it and your foot was in the previous step, you ankle would touch your chest. thankfully though, it isnt so bad now, but yes its half a foot in height and is quite steep.

the journey in itself is a reward.

about three years ago when we had climbed to the top we had done it in 3 and a half hours and we had set a target to ascend in 3 hours flat this time and if numbers are anything to go by its quite easy to accomplish if you are fit marginally fit.

after reaching the first half of steps of gaali gopuram, i was giving a serious thought to giving up the walking plan. knowing me i belong to that class of idiots who believe giving up is never an option. dizzy, nauseated and quite sane, the truth hit me like a ton of bricks. not to speak of thigh cramps in the third part of the trip.

  • i was living the lifestyle that combines the worst of everything thats wrong with a software engineer
    • irregular sleep/work timings
    • no exercise
    • no balanced diet
    • 30-40 inch waistlines
    • 100 calorie cool drinks for refreshments
    • binge eating of extremely spicy, ghee laden food (aka biryani)
    • extremely sedentary lifestyle

thankfully, not being a addict to smoking or drinks turned to be a saving grace. living in a hellhole of financial returns it was an fall from grace – atleast the self image took a heavy beating – always fancied myself to a strong guy, the extra fat notwithstanding i was pretty ok at physical fitness and stamina levels – and this experience completely blew that to bits…

we finally finished the trip in 4 hours. but then it was a decrease of efficiency of 15% in three years! and that coming from a guy in his prime of his years…

and this is when the nail finally hit the coffin when yours truly spoke of my revelation to my folks. paraphrasing my dad “we come from a generation where we had lot less money to spend and so couldn’t eat all the goodies we yearned for. but you are a generation where money is not at all a  problem but you guys have no health where even if you want to enjoy them you cant”

BarcampHyderabad4 – PostBlogging

After having attended BC1, BC2 and missing BC3 I was very much looking forward to BC4. And what a change it has been. My biggest dissatisfaction with Barcamps in Hyderabad had been the proportion of passive audience, including myself. A small dissatisfaction was also with the amount of work done to get goodies for the audience. And so this time we just had a barebones Barcamp, true BC style!

Today was an awfully small number of audience and that contributed quite well to the amount of interaction in the camp. Looks like a coffee-camp model is an amazing way to get the tech, startup community crowd get very closely acquainted with one another.

Without much ado, here is the lowdown into the proceedings at the BarcampHyderabad4. Oh before that, Prayank had already twittered BarcampHyderabad here. And one final thing, to all the campers at BCH4 today, you made an amazing crowd; and we should have more these more often.

BarcampHyderabad4 – Passive LiveBlogging
TCS – Godavari Auditorium
1410 hrs

The participants:
5 guys from Juno online
3 from Veon
3 from Pennywise
2 from IIIT
1 from M$
1 from Adobe
1 from TCS
1 from Spinaxys

1410hrs First round of formal introductions are done.

The schedule of the demos/talks is as follows:

  • Talk by TolMolBol.com folks
  • Talk by Aveon guys
  • Talk about Flex and AIR/Apollo
  • Talk about Silverlight/DLR

RL had an important personal commitment to attend; hence we had Dekoh off the list. And there vanish my dreams of a impending bloodbath into thin air. And so we have our evangelist from Adobe, Prayank volunteering to demo both Flex and Dekoh 😉

First to go was tolmobol.com by Rithesh (ex-Adobe guy for 4 years). Now with Pennywise.

Session 1.
TolMolBol.com / Rithesh Prasad / Cofounder of TMB & Director for portal solutions on Pennywise Solutions / 1420 hrs – 1520 hrs.

They had an interesting story to tell on how TMB’s idea came into being. When one of the members was searching for houses for rent in Hyderabad they had to approach the oft-doubted but seldom useful creature called the Rents Broker who would take money in advance to show the possible houses but would not refund the money if none of the houses were to our liking.

  • What they are: Its a portal site for review of businesses and services primarily. They also have classifieds and events tracking in the same portal.
  • What they are not: They dont provide reviews for products as they are not local
  • Competitors: mouthshut.com, fullhyderabad.com, onyomo.com
  • Features
    • Sort review search results by many options. Reviews by friends is one of them – authenticity, most nearest.
    • Right now results are ordered by number of reviews. Currently the system is open to gaming – considering that they are in the user review space its quite important that they need to protect themselves from gaming by businesses receiving bad reviews. As they are still a 3 month old company, the technology is still under development; so there is lot of scope for improvement.
    • Ability to bookmark friends, businesses.
    • Quite a heavy implicit emphasis on social networks which was not very convincing. MIH – IBIBO is in the same space and they have a quite a full fledged products in the space of social networks, Q&A.
    • Reviews can be sent to mobile – tied up with smscountry to provide this service.
    • A new feature under development was unveiled in the Barcamp – Geotagging the businesses. Considering that Indian cities are unplanned and are chaotic at best, its a commendable effort that this feature has been added to TMB. Impressive.

There was a very interesting observation related to business reviews given out by their CEO, Anand Morzaria. Paraphrasing Anand

“TMB is a UGC site for businesses reviews. Just having a rough look at the numbers, we have about 1500 reviews in our site. And considering that approximately each review has 100 words each. Now assuming we remove all the common words etc, we get atleast 20% is keywords, we already have close to 15000 – 30000 keywords which the search engine has indexed… we can even enable local businesses to be found from the major web search engines – GMY – each again is a business referral. So we are not a search engine by itself but a content provider ourselves!”

Session 2
Indicode / Nagaraj / 1520 hrs – 1605 hrs / Nagaraj / Veon Consulting.

  • What they are doing right now: Bread and butter through OpenSource CRM, ERP & OSS. Into consulting.
  • Numbers
    • 10+ minutes to day
    • lowest tariff – ARPU – 16$
    • talk & sms a lot – traditionally the low end of ARPU
    • can people in india use mobiles?
    • data other than sms is very low
  • “Japan as the crystal ball of the best usage of mobile phones”. Originally quoted from here
    • Having in touch with Rajan and his near fanatical belief in the future of mobile phones, its no wonder I have too come to understand the medium in more intimate manner; no that does not give me the bragging rights yet. I digress, but the Veon guys had a very good question to ask, “If we want to make the mobile to work for users in the way they want to make use of it, what is exactly stopping them. Is it just monetary or a a cultural barrier as well?”
    • Nikozu Itu Mizuko Ito– Ethnography – Reference to the book “Portability Presentation Pervasivenes” “Personal, Portable, Pedestrian: Mobile Phones in Japanese Life”.
    • Right now we can make connections in virtual (online) world using URIs and URLs. We even have connections from online world to real world. But the question is can this connection between virtual and real world be bidirectional?
    • Follow Japan 😉 – QR Codes – 2D Barcodes
    • generate QR Code for every content. Stick them to the item. Take your cellphone camera and click it , decode it and get the content related to it!!! 🙂
    • QRCoding everywhere
    • encoding easily – decoding easily
    • NTT DoCoMo has built a complete ecosystem around the mobile code
    • I personally heard the first time about this system during my very brief association with Rajan and Rajat during their Advetta times
    • Coke used a proprietory 2D barcode called ShortCode ShotCode in one of its campaigns created by the company ShortCode ShotCode.
  • Challenges facing this team
    • Get the encoder-decoder apps onto the mobile natively through download
    • The ecosystem for QR Codes is quite cumbersome to be built up from scratch
    • There are quite a number of companies already looking at this barcode as a way to bridge between real world and online world – Adobe barcode, Microsoft, Google SOC, HP ActivePrint. USPS and RoyalPost already use this 2D barcode technology very actively.
    • Distribution choice – OTA downloads
    • One of the things that was very refreshing was their emphasis to look at this problem as a marketing problem than a technology problem. 2D barcodes is pretty much a solved problem, image recognition, etc. and most of it is quite standardised and use open systems. So their only aim is to just tackle the marketing problem ecosystem instead of the technology problem. Right now their focus is to monetize this system with enterprise systems and inventory management systems.
    • Quite a number of ideas were given too to tackle how a campaign is tracked with these 2D barcodes including using EXIF headers, mobile cell phone numbers (with MMS only).

Session 3
Adobe Flex & AIR/Apollo / Prayank Swaroop / Evangelist – APAC Region, Adobe / 1620hrs – 1700 hrs

Readers here have to excuse me. Had been really lazy to note down the contents of the ppts here. As I had already played around with Flex sometime over some previous weekends, it was a sort of been there, done that for me! 😀 It would be quite impossible for a techie to not to have missed this Adobe marketing juggernaut and the obvious (in this case, quite justified) hyperbole.

  • First demo was of Flex book. A software book built completely with Flex. Quite impressive considering that you could flip pages just like real pages, could embed images, videos and even dynamic charts in the pages
  • The Yahoo Web Messenger is built using Flex. So is the Google Finance’s stock tracking widget. The complete site of Harley Davidson.
  • What is most impressive for me about AIR – a runtime that has to be installed on your desktop and all applications built using Flex, HTML, JS, AJAX, can be built as a executable on your own desktop! So just think of your favorite site on your desktop itself. Personally this is as close as it gets to remove any learning curve associated with tradition GUI platforms – MFC, Qt, Tk. All the developer/designer has to do is build it using HTML and viola the same apps can be used on your desktop as a native executable!
  • The drag and drop feature was definitely a great addition to AIR. Now we have just created a base for a draggable web widgets from browser to desktop and vice versa!!!
  • AIR is free. So is Flex. The things to pay are charting component for Flex and the Flex coding IDE, FlexBuilder

(Mini) Session 4
Dekoh/ Prayank / Evangelist – APAC Region, Adobe / 1700 hrs – 1710 hrs

Though Prayank gave us all a quick overview of the system, it was not completely comprehensive and we were divided on what it exactly was.

Prayank’s impression was that it was a way to sync my web apps online with the app and also vice versa on the desktop portal; my personal impression was that it was mainly the way to get desktop apps onto the web seamlessly. But I think the best way would have been to listen about it from the horse’s (RL) mouth. :D. Well, fireworks missing again…

Session 5
Microsoft Silverlight & Javascript on “Orcas”/ Microsoft / Deepak Jain / Program Manager, MS India / 1711 hrs – 1736 hrs

  • Silverlight 1.0
  • Silverlight 1.1
  • From the end users perspective, it is in the same space as Adobe Flash Player – Browser Plugin.
  • From a developers perspective however, its immensely powerful! Personally this was my most suprising moment of the day. I will have to give it to Microsoft to be able to give this sort of thought to the developers pains about developing RIAs on the Web
  • Note to self: first impressions – immensely powerful
  • All the magic happens in DLR (Dynamic Language Runtime) – extremely powerful – all languages in Silverlight compile to an intermediate bytecode called AST. Can code using any of the dynamic languages, python and C# JScript. Future support is going to be for Ruby.

There was this story about Jim Hugunin, creatorof Jython after listening to a critique lambasting C# decided to do a critical evaluation of C# was completely blown away by its power and is now in MS. [http://blogs.msdn.com/hugunin].

There was this live demo of the DRL where you could just code the complete controller in the language of choice of developer (Ruby, Python, C#, JScript) and the objects could actually be used by different languages seamlessly! Definitely blown away.

Orcas JavaScript development

  • javascript editing in VS08
  • intellisense, dynamic typecasting + interpretation, syntax errors, dynamic debug, html code/string preview
  • This definitely makes a life lot easier for Javascript developers who till now only had notepad to help them 😉

Update: Thanks to Nagaraj from Veon.in who has given me the list of errata for their session.

BarcampHyderabad4 – RIA bloodbath predicted? ;)

Looks like a RIA bloodbath tomorrow – not to forget the desktop <-> web apps aka the browser-based desktop applications. Just head over here for the proof: Silverlight, Flex, Dekoh, JS in MSVS 08, not that I mean they are all same and pitted against one another blah blah, but tomorrow is going to be a very interesting barcamphyderabad.

And among all these is TolMolBol – the very own Hyderabadi startup in the local review space. Its very interesting though that the biggies seem to be in majority than the davids. Note to myself: Propose to pass benevolent rule to mandate the biggies to sponsor something if they are presenting to this geek crowd; wishfully thinking t-shirts wont make a bad goody.

Its going to be an interesting place; just wish there were more startups coming their and showing their wares. We had coupla very interesting ideas last time in the coffeecamp… Well anyways, about tomorrow, wouldnt miss it for the world!!!

BarcampHyderabad4! – Whatta top ka is Hyderabad!

For all this talk of Hyderabad being a laid back Nawabi city, its a wonder that Barcamp is alive and kicking and is already in its fourth avatar this time. The theme this time for barcamp is demos. Well, all you aspriring startups, startups, gods, students, etc whoever is working on a demo, has a idea for a demo, or is looking for partners for your product, whatever come right in to the Barcamp4.

Where you ask? Its the Deccan Towers, TCS building thats opposite to Cyber Pearl and a stone throw away from Cyber Gateway in HiTecCity Madhapur. Head over to the
venue on the 14th. And come prepared to ask questions 😉

Oh and that title btw is a obvious potshot at Pepsi’s new bakwaas ad campaign – looks like they want to get the most profitable market segment (what else but youth) onto their bandwagon… social networking ;D