“Somebody Else’s Problem” Field

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Murphy’s law was proved. Yet again. While working on a laptop without a mouse, adding sound and video files to a Powerpoint presentation is a Herculean task. The scroll pad of the laptop with its virtue to be hyper senstive, will go several slides back even with the slightest contact that the finger tip makes. I had to insert several sound files in several slides, and every time I did that, an irritating prompt, “Do you want the sound file to play since the start of slideshow?” or something to that effect. I would have very much preferred if there was a tool bar button to insert several sound files without a prompt asking for ridiculous questions like those.

The other testing times are those “Cannot read from CD” moments. It happens when I do stuff from my home PC, make a copy in a disc and load the CD in somebody else’s laptop/PC in the presentation venue. It happens often. I spend a considerable period of my time in making a presentation, burning it in a CD, and the next day, to add more woes, apart from sleep deprivation, the CD which I burnt isn’t read or recognized, I feel the previous night’s work wasted completely.

It was during those moments when I desperately felt that there was:

(a) More widespread WiFi access than there is already. I could work in a WiFi hotspot not far away instead of relying on a CD drive that is prone to scratch and shock.

(b) A Web Based presentation software, so that I can do my work from home and save it in some third party server which is more reliable than a Disc or pen drive, go to a WiFi spot close to the venue where I have to make a presentation, export the web-based presentation to the hard-disk of the laptop.

I’m positive that there are shorter ways than what I’ve mentioned above. But web developers can atleast think in these lines, to make matters simpler for frequent users of Office packages.

Can some bloggers make or break Web 2.0 start-ups?

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Phil Sim at Squash writes :

I’d suggest if you’re a start-up expecting that a bit of blog publicity is going to get you kickstarted then you need to have another look at your business plan. Most trackbacks that Squash gets generate half a dozen or so page views.

I can’t agree with him more. Prominent bloggers can at best have a temporary impact with their positive, negative or ignoring attitude towards a start-up but it is finally the product/service that counts.

Phil’s view warns Web 2.0 product companies not to depend on marketing to the bloggers alone. And I would like to take it a bit further. Each blogger has a different viewpoint. Take the example of 30boxes. While Om Malik, Robert Scoble, Thomas Hawk & others raved about it, Joel (on Software) thrashed it saying, “I’m not going to look at 30 Boxes again — I’ve spent enough time evaluating it. G’bye” & went on to add, “the proof-of-conceptware that people are hyperventilating about”. Now, how can a product be seen at such extremes? I sincerely hope that these blog posts don’t decide the success/failure of 30boxes in the long run.

PXN8 is Cool

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Welcome PIX-EN-ATE.

The ‘thick desktop client’ bastion is fast breaking down. The comment “You ever think that doing Photoshop inside a Web browser would be impossible? Well, PXN8 gets a lot closer than I would have expected” from none other than Robert Scoble (who’d used Photoshop as an example of why thick clients are needed still) makes it all the more true.

Dion Hinchcliffe reviews Zoho Planner at Web 2.0 Journal

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Thanks a lot Dion, for the extensive & cool review of Zoho Planner.

He writes, “Using a wiki-like page model as a unit of work and collaboration, Zoho Planner lets you drop to do lists, appointments, file attachments, and notes on a page at will and then share them out for others to view or work on”, “Zoho Planner offers the now expected Ajax client and in my tests, the resulting interface was clean and natural to use, in fact, probably one of the best I’ve seen, “Long running tasks always provided a visual cue that something was happening, and I encountered no bugs in my testing. Overall, interaction experience gets a big thumbs up”, “Overall Zoho Planner is a basic but capable planning service that is exceptionally easy to use”.

And he lists no RSS support or API, permalinks are basic as cons.

We sure will work at your suggestions & make Zoho Planner evolve into a more feature-rich app, Dion. Thanks, once more.


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Fon seems to be getting a lot of attention, what with the $22 million funding it received from Google & Sequoia among others. Instead of depending on municipal governments to get towns WiFi-ed, I like the grassroots level approach that Fon is taking in spreading WiFi. While I do wish Fon success, questions are being asked on why/how would anyone share their broadband accees, it being not-so-easy to install/use & most of all, it being at the mercy of ISPs & telcos. But Google betting on them (Google has its own interest in popularising free braodband) makes Fon a good bet. Let’s see how they fair.
More at Mark Evans blog.

Differences between podcasting and MSM

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Loic lists the differences between podcasting and radio or TV. Actually its all the advantages of podcasts over MSM that he lists there. A good example of the power of podcasting is of Loic himself conducting various interviews from the World Economic Forum recently. And with ‘podcast’ being the word of the year 2005, we are yet to realise the full power of podcasts.
That said, it would do good to list some disadvantages & difficulties also. (I’m not a regular podcast listener, meaning I don’t subscribe to podcasts yet & I just listen to whatever I think is interesting. I don’t own a iPod & listen to podcasts in my laptop).
# Many podcasts are amateurish (blogs like this are too!) & the sound quality is often bad. If the podcast is conducted over phone, the quality detoriates even further.

# Many of the regular podcasters, for content’s sake, just ramble on prolonging the podcast.

# If I download a 45 minute podcast, it occupies around 20 MB & deleting the old podcasts becomes a chore.

# If I want to save some important podcasts, I find it difficult to retrace them. Should I rename them in such a way to reflect what the subject is about? Should there be folders where I store similar podcasts? Hmm, I can use del.icio.us to tag my favorites (but I’ll have to go back again to the site to find the URL) or use Odeo, I suppose. (aint clear whether I can store my favorites there)

# How do I comment on a podcast? It can be through blog comment/trackback but again I should know the URL. If I have my own podcast & if I comment on another’s podcast, how does the feedback loop work, the conversation happen? (Loic’s point 7 on interactivity answers this but still I think it is inadequate)