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Category Archives: Technology

I know that I suck at blogging. I really do, I’ve been trying to blog since I was 12. But it turns out either I’m too busy or too cbf to blog. Anyways, this month, I’ve decided to hack the world of blogging. Truely, I need to know more about it. Not commercial blogging, and making money off it. Just personal blogging and sharing amazing things with the world. So this month, I’m taking a crack at blogging platforms (mammoths like WordPress and MovableType as well as simple ones like Tumblr and Posterous). I’ll also be blogging everyday, like like Fred Wilson or Seth Godin. I’m planning to force myself to blog regularly long enough for the habit to take over. Apart from just testing out these blogging platforms, I’ll look beneath the hood of WordPress, try and figure out how the whole thing works. Plus, I’ll also try and hack the blogosphere, who produces the content, where does it come from, how you get it, how can you get it faster, and dozens of other nitty gritty facts about it. I hope, if nothing else, I’ll be a better blogger for knowing these things.

Okay, this month, the online service that I’m hacking is Twitter. Just so that the Feds out there know, by hacking I mean taking full advantage of. Now, there’s no one way that I can measure my effectiveness gain on Twitter. Getting more followers seems childish, and following more people is a matter of whacking out a 25 line mass follow script. So, the only objective way of measuring my success is to see how many new friends I make on twitter since a recent poll suggested that the majority of people tweet to meet new people. By friends, I mean real good connection, not just “Hey, I’m GVRV” kinda conversation. Plus, for all intensive purposes, I’ll be giving Twirl and TweetDeck a shot. Plus, at the end of the month, I plan to code a simple client written in C to fully understand the Twitter API. Currently, I have 429 followers, I follow 673 people and I’ve tweeted 337 times. Hopefully, this experiment will go as planned. Right now, though I’m following some truely amazing individuals on Twitter, I haven’t made any friends through the service. I’ll keep you updated on how it goes.

I’ve been programming seriously since 4 years, but the first language I ever learnt was HTML about 8 years ago. I learned it over a couple of weeks, and became really good at it. So obviously, people wanted me to create websites for them. At that point I didn’t mind having a few projects on the side, but there was one thing I couldn’t do. I was really good at coding the page in HTML, but an utter failer when it came to designing stuff in PhotoShop or focusing on UX or any sort of aesthetics. 

 

I think that’s a problem a lot of programmers face. They can design the backend of a system effortlessly, but once they start working on the design or the aesthetics, they’re dumbfounded. But I’ve always been fascinated by aesthetics of software. I follow a lot of design blogs and try to learn design. And I think good programmers can learn design, because even if they’re not good with visual aesthetics, they can churn out aesthetic flawless code. So I’d suggest you fire up your favorite image editting software, get some advice/motivation from this Hacker News thread and start designing. I’ll keep you posted on my design adventures, are you starting yours?

There have been a lot of comments about Arrington or Scoble recently, about how they’re not good journalists and how they’re misusing their authority. As someone who has been following a lot of mainstream blogs since quite some time, this is my opinion. I love mainstream blogs. They are there so that I can get my news from a single source rather than search through hundreds of thousands of blogs. It’s like a human filter that brings the best news to me. And generally, because they’re an authority in a niche, they are the ones to break news or get insider tips. Some of them even live blog certain tech events and bring real time news to my reader. You cannot beat that. And Arrington and others have worked days and nights to get their blogs up there. They have made sure they attend every event, network with every startup, break every story and spend 20 hours a day blogging whereas there are a million other blogs which just re-publish whatever mainstream bloggers write and thrive on it. So they deserve the authority they have, cause they work hard for the breaking the news. 

 

But thats where it stops. They only provide better news. Raw facts, fast. You may not agree with their opinions. And everyone can have an opinion about any news story. So, opinions are best found elsewhere. Even more analytical articles are better to be found elsewhere. Because there are always smarter people elsewhere with their expert opinions. So even though TechCrunch can tell me about the latest startup launch, I don’t trust them about whether it’s good or bad. I check it out myself, I read the startup’s blog, I see a demo, I read through founder bio’s and their blogs. This gives me the complete picture. I see whether the community is liking the software, what first reviews are like, and then make my own decisions. And that’s why I read TechCrunch before I read Hacker News. Get the news, before forming an opinion. 

 

So, I don’t mix up news with views. I highly regard Mashable, TechCrunch and other blogs as news breakers. But I’ll still read reviews on other hackers’ blogs and then form my opinion. So people should not take mainstream blogs as absolute authorities. Neither should they take it personally if they are not featured. Arrington first wrote about “Twttr” the day it was launched, but didn’t mention “Twitter” till a year later. So take it in your stride. What do you think?

It’s that time of the year and companies have just released their Q4 results. We at TVR have collected all the data and this is our “Earnings Report” for Q4, 2008. 

Introduction
We all know that times are tough and results would be hit by it and in fact, the numbers do not paint a gloomy picture. Even though it’s a little bit better than Wall Street predicted, it’s nothing to celebrate. 

The Big Three
Google: Great at search, not great at investing. 
Net Revenues(%age change): $5.7 billion (+18%)
Net Profit(%age change): $382 (-68%)
Epic Fail: Investments in AOL and Clearwire 
2009 Focus: Android
Recession: Shut down Video, Notebook, Jaiku, relocating engineers, closing office in Austin. 

Apple: Healthier than people think
Net Revenues(%age change): $7.9 billion (+27%)
Net Profits(%age change): $1.14 billion (+26%)
Epic Fail: Steve Jobs Health and Stock Market issue (and still no Cut and Paste)
2009: Simple product line 
Recession: Recession-proof 

Microsoft: Looking out of better Windows
Net Revenues(%age change): $16.6 billion(+2%)
Net Profits(%age change): $4.17 billion(-11%)
Epic Fail: Yahoo takeover bid
2009: Windows 7
Recession: 5000 laid off

Recession Hits Others… 
Digg has decided to cut 10% of their staff as growth is beginning to flatten. EA has laid off hundreds at Black Box bringing their grand total to over a thousand people laid off. Millions others are downsizing, the TechCrunch Layoff Tracker officially stands at about 200,000. 

Sources
TechCrunch 
Apple2.0
Kotaku
Wired

Conclusion:
The Earnings Report is meant to provide you with the summary of all the numbers you need while removing all the confusion. We really hope this helped. We’d love to hear feedback, if we’ve missed something or need to remove something.  

I’m no Apple fanboy. Infact, I even sold off my iPod. Not to say that I hate Apple. They make remarkable products with extraordinary GUI and they are constantly revolutionizing the tech sector, pushing new boudries. Like when they launched the iPhone. Though the iPhone does have it’s fair share of shortcomings, it’s application distribution platform, the AppStore is great for developers like me. You can code up an app within a couple of weeks, push it into the market, see if it makes it, or start working on another app. It cannot be more rewarding than that. And small time developers who coded apps in their spare time are earning hundreds of dollars every hour. So iPhone development is one thing I wanted to get into as soon as possible. 

 

After Apple removed the NDA, it became easier to work on the iPhone SDK but its still elusive. My university’s library only has one book on iPhone development (currently borrowed, I think it’ll always be in demand) and most of the classes we’re working on at university or at work usually focus on Windows or Linux based development. So, when I started searching for a reliable source to learn iPhone development considering that I was completely new to Mac programming, there were few and far between. But, the holy grail of all tech universities came to my rescue. 

 

Stanford introduced a new class called “CS193P: iPhone Application Development” last year. I think it’s the best source to learn especially for new programmer getting into Mac development because it is aimed at students, Stanford students nonetheless. I checked out some of the slides, and I think it’s the best thing I can get to a good book, to teach myself iPhone development. Even the applications that the current batch developed as a part of their final project seem professional and interesting. And the best part, all of the lecture notes are freely available. Starting tommorrow, I’m beginning CS193P from Week 1, are you with me?