Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Firefox 3 launch Goof up?

Many a times when techies talk about goof ups and product launches, they remember the OS crashing at the launch of Microsoft Windows 98, the video of which I have included just in case you forgot about it.

While that certainly is something which will probably rank first in the list of product launches and goof-ups, we have another one today.

Yes, today is Download Day. I did get the mail on time reminding me about the download. But there has been a goof up in this all hyped Guinness style product launch.


As you can see in the above screen shot, I have showed you the mail which I got informing of the download time. There when I hover above the link download Firefox 3, I get the url on the status bar of the browser which I have encircled.

Now, when I go to the same url what do I get?


Firefox 2?? You got to be kidding me!! And all we get is a sneak peek into Firefox 3, to test drive the latest version.

Probably, the guys at Mozilla were so busy counting the numbers pledged for the download that they forgot to make the to do list, or worse they made the to do list and forgot to update the page that the url redirects to.

I dont know what was the mistake and who made it, but you sure dont want to this to happen when you are publicizing the event with the Guinness tag attached to it!

So what do you guys think went wrong?

Saturday, June 14, 2008

My Date with the VC's

As I had said in one of my previous posts, one fine Saturday I had been to an event called Startup City organized by the The Smart Techie. I had mailed a few of my friends about the event and lured a few of them to wake up early on a Saturday morning. I almost did not make it, as I was feeling very sleepy and did not feel like getting up, but since I had promised NEO that I would be picking him up around 8:00 am I got up and got ready. We reached 10 minutes before the start of the event and decided to have breakfast somewhere. By the time we were finished with our Masala Dosas and Musambi Juice it was well past 9:30. I had already missed the event which I had come for, opening address by Mr. Ashish Gupta about the milestones in the journey from an idea to a successful venture. When I reached, a techie from Sun Microsystems was talking about how Sun can help startups. Frankly, it was more of a marketing presentation which I did not find very riveting.


I moved around the stalls where some startups were displaying their products and services. It reminded me of BangaloreIT.In of 2006 where Darshan and me had gone though the venue this time was very small as compared to that. You can read about the exhibiting startups here. I then went in to the room where you could meet the VC's. People from different Venture Capital firms from over India were present.


I must say that never before has there been a better time to start a company. With 13 Venture Capital firms, each planning to invest around a million dollars per annum into new Ventures in India, you have approximately 10 million dollars of Venture Capital flowing in. That is huge! And it is not just for the technology companies!


So what did I get to know in my date with the VC's? I have put them down in points as follows:

  • They got the money and they are looking for ventures to invest.
  • An Idea is not good enough! They need a Proof of Concept!
  • If you worry about the hassles of managing things like marketing, finance etc., don't worry. They have their networks and will help you find people who can help you manage aspects of your company.
  • They are looking to invest in areas which have a proven market and growth areas. So in case you have something revolutionary as Google, don't expect it to be easy to get funded.
  • People in their network help them to evaluate their ideas. e.g. if I have been funded by a VC and have been successful, she may ask me to evaluate your idea.
  • Be as frugal as you can.

One very important thing that I noticed there was that there were quite a lot of people there who had already started off something and were looking for venture capital to expand. I mean like anything else in India, the competition to get a slice of the VC pie is hot here as well. But that doesn't mean you wont get a slice.


All said and done, it is always good to be aware of what is happening in the world. I became aware of a whole range of things thanks to event.

So, what do you feel about the points I mentioned above?

Guinness World Records

If you have studied MIT, Manipal around the same time that I did, you would think I was talking about the successful attempt by students of MIT to break the Guinness World Record for the longest chain of straws in the world. Around 1500 or so students of MIT joined hands and made a straw chain of over 8 kilometers if I remember correctly, breaking a record by made by some 16 school kids in the US. The record made has already been broken by someone else quite a while back, though I think it still holds good in the Limca Book of Records.

So how did a thousand students decide to come together to break into the Guinness Book of World Records? Was Manipal such a boring and dull place that the restlessness of the students got the better of them? Well, by no means is Manipal dull. With just students it is one of the most vibrant and energetic places to study in India.

The Guinness World Record attempt was a branding and marketing strategy by my old pal Rishabh Sachdeva, for the inaugural edition of techtatva. He wanted to create a niche brand for the event among other similar events in the region, and if I may say so, it is one of the most successful marketing and branding strategies that you will come across. Not only did it generate a buzz within Manipal, but was also responsible for attracting sponsorship for the inaugural edition of the event. Without this strategy I wonder how would the sponsors have looked at the event which was happening for the first time! The sheer genius of the idea is why I would have Rishabh be the marketing and strategy guy if I were to start a company some day.

Anyway, the idea behind the post was not to discuss about Rishabh or Manipal, but how Guinness World Records provide a great way to market your product. That is what Mozilla Foundation is doing by targeting for the maximum number of downloads in 24 hours for Firefox 3.They are calling this initiative as Download Day, which is on June 17. I have tried the beta version and it was pretty impressive. It is supposed to be fastest browser till date. I have already pledged my support for the initiative. What are you waiting for?

Monday, June 9, 2008

What's Cooking?

Now that the IPL is over, what am I up to these days? Well, last week I was completely involved in understanding the concepts and implementation of a 3 tier architecture using C# in an ASP.NET application. In fact, I had started on this subject about two weeks back and I am quite satisfied with the progress over the last the last two weeks. But more detailed posts on that may not be coming anytime soon as I have some other engagements till July.


Meanwhile, another news is that I have invested a heavy chunk of my savings in buying a Lenovo Ideapad Y500.Why the need for a notebook PC? Well first of all, I was kind of bored with my desktop. It has been a very good companion for the past five years and has been party to many memorable times, but was somewhat losing its charm. Secondly, there were issues with the Ethernet Card which really started to get on my nerves. Thirdly, and most importantly, I felt the need for a notebook PC. This was because earlier I was not at a level to use my desktop for writing code or anything like that. In fact, I did not write a blog as frequently and never felt that I needed my stuff with me all the time wherever I am. But lately, I have been having an itch for such an arrangement and decided that it was time to graduate to the next level. Plus Notebooks have a very different feel to them don't they!


So I guess now that I have a Notebook, you would expect a lot more blogs and info from me. Well, I don't blame you, especially given the fact that I am writing this blog using Windows Live Writer, a special editor especially for writing blogs easily. And I must confess, that the experience has been good so far. One of the only problems is that the Ideapad shipped with Windows Vista Home. I had heard a lot of people criticize Vista and after using it, I can see why. You will be a bit challenged by the OS and some of its irritating features like User Access Control, which prompts you for your permission every time you start a installation or a program. True that it improves the security vastly, but I was beginning to wonder what was better, being irritated by the security alerts every now and then and being secure or just plain and simple reinstalling Windows whenever you had taken a bad hit from a Virus attack. Or as some of my friends would say, use Mac or Ubuntu.


Anyway, I guess I am getting used to it. The UI certainly makes it a nice experience and goes to show how rich applications are going to be the driving force for developers in the next few years.


Here's a picture of mine clicked from the webcam. This is just to test how easy is it to post pictures using Live writer. It may look as if I am sleeping but my head is positioned in such a way that it looks like that. When I was in school, I was reading a book kept on my lap rather than on the desk and my head was straight but my eyes were down on the book. The teacher thought that I was sleeping but was surprised when I responded to the question that was asked. I told her that I was merely referring to the book. Later on I have used the same ploy many a times and teachers have never been able to make out if I was sleeping or awake! (At least no one has ever asked me not to sleep in the class or go and wash my face.  My aunt thinks that's because I look like a cute baby when I am asleep(Ahem! Are the girls listening??)and no one would want to wake me up.)BTW, the notebook has a face recognition software which is pretty cool. 


I had been to an event organized by The Smart Techie in Bangalore focusing on Startups. My friend Darshan Santani had asked me how was my date and I am yet to respond to him. Will be doing that in the next post soon.

And lots more coming on 3 tier architecture and Object Oriented Design in the weeks to follow. Cheers!!