Thursday, January 31, 2008

GrandCentral, Jott, Ribbit, Gmail, Gtalk (and everything else from Google)

I wish these three companies would merge. yes, I know that GrandCentral is already acquired by Google. But there are reasons.

  1. GrandCentral is one number for everything. But it is also a place that keeps track of who called you, whom you called (if you called thru Grand Central). It also keeps track of my voice mails.
  2. Combine that with Gtalk. Well, that is easy. Ability to call a number or receive a phone call on Gtalk will just be amazing. (Not that you can not do today using other 3rd party tools that work with Gtalk).
  3. Combine that with Gmail. All my emails, voice mails, contacts and phone numbers in one place.  One consolidated journal for everything.
  4. Jott. Yeh... that is the one I can use to dictate my voice mails and emails and other things. B.t.w. it is already having option to integrate with Google Calendar.
  5. Ribbit- this is not out of Alpha yet. but it promises to combine feature of many.. e.g. it can transcribe (imagine voice mails going to grand central, jott converting it to a text and sending it to gmail - yeh all of that).


What do you think?

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Tomato 24 hours, So far so good


My Buffalo Router is now running for more then 24 hours with Tomato. And it is running fine. The issue with my browsing is the anti-phishing features of Internet Explorer 7. That is slowing down the browsing as it has to send each URL to Microsoft to validate. I wish if Microsoft could speed up the way it runs those checks.

Why isn't there an anti-trust case against Oracle?

Now that polarization is almost complete in the industry.

Microsoft is still the leader in the desktop space, with Windows Operating System. Apple is second with Mac OS X, Linux is probably at Number 3.

Google is inching closer to achieving monopoly in the web space. It probably just needs to acquire Yahoo, AOL and FaceBook (and shut down Orkut, if merging proves to be difficult). MSN and Lycos will remain to cater to rest of the market till Google acquires more and more of it.

Oracle has already acquired Siebel, Peoplesoft & JDEdwards, Agile, BEA Systems and so on.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Tomato Live on My Buffalo WHR-HP-54-G

I was fed up with my Buffalo WHR-HP-54-G's stock firmware. It posed several issues connecting over wireless since day 1 (not sure what caused it). I have been using it with WPA personal encryption. I am not sure if someone used aircrack-ng or something similar to keep knocking me off the network.

Based on some of the recommendations I received from DD-WRT Users and other folks on FatWallet, I switched to Tomato. Installation was smooth (took 3 minutes). Configuration took another 3. Will post more updates based on experiences I get.

Since my router is now not running original firmware, I am taking it off the Amazon.

Nokia acquires Trolltech

Trolltech is the company behind Qt Toolkit that powers many of the GNU/Linux user interfaces such as KDE has been acquired by Nokia. It makes a large foray for Nokia into Linux world. It is expected that Trolltech acquisition will help Nokia complete its mobile phone transformation to Linux Platform. But it will also have an impact into Linux PCs as KDE remains a popular. Other technologies that Trolltech had contributed to include KHTML.

The Linux Mobile space is crowded with three serious contenders: Nokia, Access (who owns PalmOS), and Google with its Android Platform.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Posting from Word 2007

Okay, I am finally onto Microsoft Office 2007 (Err! But isn't it 2008 already?). Silly me, that is the problem with versioning your product by year – that the year you don't have a product, people using older product feel weirdly outdated and developers make the world feel that they are not doing enough to get a new release out.

Think about it, What Windows Operating System came after Windows Server 2003? Do you remember? Ha ha.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Pixel QI

Mary Lou Jepsen, who was CTO of OLPC, has started a company called as Pixel Qi, which will commercialize technology created that lets users switch from color to black-and-white when it is in direct sun.

Her idea is to commercialize technology, increase its penetration, and there by introduce comparative advantage, reduce price, everybody gets a better deal overall.

A very good idea indeed.
I wish OLPC Foundation would think that too. If they were to sell OLPC for say about 250$ in open market, I am sure there will be a lot of people to buy it. They would make little money and increased sale, would allow them to increase production, as well as drive down the cost.

If I get a chance to buy OLPC in 2008 for 250$, I would buy one, just to use it as a portable book reader. I am sure one with built in Wifi, crackable battery would allow one to read anything anywhere, as long as it is available on the net or on the disk.

OLPC, Are you listening?

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

ActiveState Komodo Edit

Recently I got hold of ActiveState Komodo Edit 4.2, an open source(rather open sourced) editor. It uses components from Mozilla's framework and has a neat look.


I intended to use it with XML and HTML files. It has good editing features, but misses few things to be used as an XML Editor.

  • It does not have a way to indent an existing file. It can indent the file while it is being created. Probably needs a plug-in to be developed to take an existing document and generate indented XML.
  • You can create and edit the file in intended mode, and it offers it to be viewed as tree. But if the file was not intended, you can not view it as tree, which can be easily brought over from Mozilla.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Open Source Code Bombs

Various companies have been getting benefited from open source technologies while they build their product, but not all of them are doing enough to contribute back to the original open source project.

E.g. Meraki and Fonera created their firmware by modifying OpenWrt and building their custom code on it. They have also complied with GPL terms by releasing source of their code on their site. Note: I have never tried to use their provided code and build firmware, but people have reported various level of success (Indicating that the procedures are for Hard Core Geeks only - no muggles allowed, documentation is sketchy).

This also occurs with other technology such as GPS, where TomTom and Dash both have created GPS devices based on Linux. They have released open source portion of their code as downloads available from their site including modified Linux Kernel and various utilities.

Apple also did same when they used KHTML and created WebKit. They released occasional  Code Bombs for modified KHTML.

So what is it that they don't do right now?

What they do not do is, they do not contribute the code to the original project. They release the modified source code, but it remains separate as it was forked. It does not get merged into original code. The issues it creates are listed here:

  1. It is left to open source community to explore the code bomb and extract, merge, retrofit the changes into original code.
  2. It is left to open source community to identify missing pieces as sometimes the code does not provide details into where the code was taken from, and what was changed.
  3. Sometimes open source community and the vendor who forked starts moving the code to two entirely opposite directions making it very difficult to merge the code.
  4. Software company gets an advantage as so they have visibility into Original Code, changes they have made and changes made to original code by open source community for their next release, but this does not get passed to community.
  5. They just make it harder for community to merge the code into main tree.

I wish that they would also make effort to merge their changes into original  projects, there by keeping original projects relevant to real world applications and updated.

Dash GPS

Well, I wrote about capability being added to TomTom that would allow it to collect data related to trip timings etc. But the first company to actually announce such as product was IMHO Dash.

Dash offers a device called as Dash Express. The device features concepts such as a built in WiFi receiver (Others provide bluetooth and require a phone with data plan, Dash needs a Wireless Hotspot with an Internet connection, something easy to have for most people) ,Autoupdate over Internet, ability to send data to Dash over the Internet (such as itinerary). Most important thing it offers is ability to collect information about trip timings, route taken, road block encountered, analyze historical traffic patterns and suggest a better router.

Dash Express is based on open source technologies such as Linux just like TomTom is. In fact, Linux Kernel as modified by Dash is available for download (I wish they would submit their changes to Linux Kernel rather then releasing such code drops, but that needs another discussion).

My wish-list for such devices:

  • Give me a free device with a free subscription
  • Have a tie up with multiple large hotspot providers such as T-Mobile Hotspot (Think of yourself stopping at a Starbucks for a coffee, and your GPS system uses their Internet connection for free and updates itself with map updates, updated traffic/weather information etc).

A bigger wish:

  • Create a standard POI exchange format, which multiple GPS providers can standardize. GPS providers should create standardized POI registry which people can access for free or a very small fee (If the repository is shared, then individual GPS providers do not need to maintain it, it saves them the efforts).

I can ask for more, but this is sufficient for now.

Chili Systems' all-in-one Appliance may be based on Open Source

The Appliance created and sold by Chili Systems ( may be based on open source software. The appliance runs on VIA hardware and Chili Systems claims that it runs ChiliOS which is based on Unix. But it does not offer any more information about it. Anyone who has such an appliance? Have you taken it apart to see what is under the hood?

TomTom collecting data from GPS Systems

TomTom's GPS devices can collect data about how much time was taken by an user to go from Point A to B, or what route was used (in case you did not follow what it suggested due to a roadblock or just because you knew a better way).



This is a feature similar to what Dash GPS plans to offer in its GPS Devices.

It does have some privacy implication, but overall it should improve its navigation capabilities.