Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Seagate's 750GB drive

Very interesting review of Seagate's 750GB drive by

"Earlier this month, when information was leaked about Seagate's 750GB drive, jaws dropped. To picture 3/4 of a Terabyte in a single drive is amazing. Thanks to Perpendicular Recording, this is a reality. Key features and Benefits - Highest capacity in a single disc drive—up to 750GB of digital storage space, 8- and 16-Mbyte cache buffer options, Maximum sustained data transfer rate: 78 Mbytes/sec, Spindle Speed (RPM) - 7200

So we have this huge 750GB drive, which should prove far more than enough for anyone unless you are a hardcore media buff. I can say right now that this drive is awarded a 9 out of 10 and our Editors Choice award, and it well deserves that title. However, this is not a drive for everyone. Not everyone will remotely need 750GB of storage, myself included. However, if you do have such a need, then this drive is perfect for you.

The price will be another factor that may sway you from a purchase. The price will not hurt the score however. Why? Because this is the -only- 750GB drive available on the market, and it has no competition. A quick look at an e-tailer shows that the previously reviewed 500GB currently sells for $0.55 per GB, while the 750GB sells for $0.66 per GB. This is actually not that much of a hike, considering you are paying for the top drive available.

Due to the high price, you may be better off putting together a RAID of dual 500GB drives, which would give you 1TB and cost only $50 more than the 750GB single drive. That could also result in a speed bonus. As it stands though, a 500GB vs. 750GB, the 750GB comes out at the top in most of our performance tests.

There's a couple things to also note. First, due to that problematic 1024 byte per megabyte, the 750GB drive is essentially 750 Billion bytes. In terms of real GB's, it turns out to be 698GB total. Also, this drive get's very HOT. The 500GB easily got up to the 47°C mark, but this 750GB sits at around 53°C. Though these drives are designed to handle this heat, 53°C is still too high for my liking. After throwing on a hard drive cooler, it brought the drive down to a much more comfortable 40°C. I highly recommend you plan on having sufficient cooling if you purchase this drive."

Pricing: Page Computer: $413.92, $449.99, iUnitek: $458.06, PCNation: $464.56, MNM SYSTEMS: $471.00, $439.00

Monday, May 29, 2006

Ebay India sales statistics has posted some very interesting statistics about ebay India:

E-commerce in India is currently worth Rs 2,300 crore. According to a survey, while there are a number of players in the online marketplace, eBay India is the most preferred website to shop online with 42 per cent (out of 12,700 people) people voting for eBay. Other players to follow are Rediff (23 per cent), Indiatimes (18 per cent), Yahoo (3 per cent), Fabmall (3 per cent), Sify (3 per cent), Google (1 per cent) and MSN (1 per cent).

On :
  • One MP3 player sells every 17 minutes
  • Mobile accessories sell every 18 minutes (data cables, headsets and hands free kits)
  • PC game selling every 32 minutes (GTA and FIFA 2006 are the most searched)
  • Digital camera every 40 minutes (digital SLR cameras are showing significant growth. Digital cameras also outsell film cameras by 8 to1, most digital cameras sold are in the 5-7 MP range.)
  • Laptop sells every 56 minutes (Compaq and Dell are the most popular laptop brands)
  • A camcorder sells every 2 hours.
  • Handhelds and PDAs every 3 hours (O2 and I-mate being top selling brands)
  • DVD player every 5 hours

Thursday, May 25, 2006

15 startup companies to watch

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

"Premature optimization is the root of all evil"

Very nice quotation from (originally by Donald Knuth):

"It's often frustrating to early developers with big visions when something later comes along and steals their thunder by offering far less. But there's a lesson here: as Donald Knuth says, premature optimization is the root of all evil. And that doesn't just apply to performance, it applies to design. It's impossible to think through what people are going to want to do until they start doing it, so sometimes it's best to seed the market with a hack that gets people going, and then follow up as you watch what they do with it."

Saturday, May 20, 2006

A Conversation with Amazon CTO Werner Vogels

Very interesting conversation, I am posting my faviorite excerpts:

Jim Gray: Have you done anything so that the tools dovetail with your standards?

Werner Vogels: I think part of the chaotic nature—the emerging nature—of Amazon's platform is that there are many tools available, and we try not to impose too many constraints on our engineers. We provide incentives for some things, such as integration with the monitoring system and other infrastructure tools. But for the rest, we allow teams to function as independently as possible. Developers are like artists; they produce their best work if they have the freedom to do so, but they need good tools. As a result of this principle, we have many support tools that are of a self-help nature. The support environment around the service development should never get in the way of the development itself.

Jim Gray: Examples of our advanced technology investments

Werner Vogels: A cool application I saw recently in Japan runs on a camera phone. You can walk up to any product, make a photo of the barcode, send it off to the service, and it will come back to you with reviews, comparable products, and, of course, the price at Amazon. This was developed outside of using the Web-services interfaces. The small company that developed this is running a very successful service.

Jim Gray: What about headaches? What are the things that are driving you crazy?

Werner Vogels: An important part of that is, for example, testing. How do you test in an environment like Amazon? Do we build another Amazon.test somewhere, which has the same number of machines, the same number of data centers, the same number of customers, and the same data sets?

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

The Hardest lessons For Startups To Learn

Paul Graham has written a great article on this subject, a must read. I am reproducing my favorite excerpts:

"I was talking recently to a startup founder about whether it might be good to add a social component to their software. He said he didn't think so, because the whole social thing was tapped out. Really? So in a hundred years the only social networking sites will be the Facebook, MySpace, Flickr, and Not likely.

The reason we don't see the opportunities all around us is that we adjust to however things are, and assume that's how things have to be. For example, it would seem crazy to most people to try to make a better search engine than Google. Surely that field, at least, is tapped out. Really? In a hundred years-- or even twenty-- are people still going to search for information using something like the current Google? Even Google probably doesn't think that.

In particular, I don't think there's any limit to the number of startups. Sometimes you hear people saying "All these guys starting startups now are going to be disappointed. How many little startups are Google and Yahoo going to buy, after all?" That sounds cleverly skeptical, but I can prove it's mistaken ..."

Read more here.

SkypeOut…Is It Really Free?

Om Malik has very interesting insight on why Skype would make SkypeOut free in USA and Canada:

"There is the unsaid reality of Skype in the US: it doesn’t nearly have the penetration, usage, or mind share as it has in Europe and Asia. The ultra-low cost calling plans on Mobile phones, and more recently on the landlines make it even less attractive. By offering free calling, they are desperately trying to get something going on this side of the pond."

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Adding Five Million Subscribers Per Month, India Will Become the World's Second Largest Mobile Phone Market by 2008

Datacomm Research reports (on 8th May):

The pace of India's mobile phone market growth is accelerating and the country is on track to surpass Russia and the U.S. in total subscribers. That is one of the conclusions of the updated 86-page report, India's Wireless Market: Model for the Next Phase of Global Wireless Expansion, released today by Datacomm Research Company.

"The number of mobile phone subscribers added each month in India has more than tripled over the past year," said Chetan Sharma, President of Chetan Sharma Consulting and the report's author. "India passed Japan in total subscribers last month. Within the next few weeks, India will break through the 100 million subscriber barrier," he added.

Tags: mobile

SMS: most used data service on the planet

Tomi T Ahonen reports:

Almost two thirds of the world's mobile phone users are already active users of SMS text messaging - at 1.4 billion SMS users (63% of 2.2 billion mobile phone users in the world today, May 2006) SMS text messaging is the most used data service on the planet, over twice the size of the second most popular data service - plain old e-mail, used only by 668 million people on the planet (and those 668 million people maintain 1.2 billion e-mail mailboxes, according to internet measurement specialists, Radicati). And for those into dollar numbers, SMS text messaging was worth 75 billion dollars of annual revenues in 2005 - thats about as much as total music sales, total hollywood box office revenues, and total videogaming software revenues - combined.

We've seen this kind of addictive behaviour in various Asian countries - the world's leading countries for SMS use are the Philippines (averaging 15 text messages per day across all mobile phone users), with Singapore second, and South Korea third.

Tags: mobile, SMS

Jajah VOIP

Guy Kawasaki did a reality check on Jajah:

Jajah is a VOIP company. It enables you to make long distance calls for about $.02/minute. Some people's initial reaction will be, "I can already do this with Skype."

I don't think so. Jajah enables you to make a VOIP call from any phone to any phone. The call is initiated through the Jajah web site, but once initiated, the caller's and callee's computer are not utilized.

You can, for example, initiate the call for your cell phone, turn off your computer, jump in your car, and drive off. (You can't do that with a Skype phone in a Wifi network.)

Monday, May 08, 2006

Instant Booting Comes Close to a Reality

Samsung, Microsoft Plan to Introduce Hybrid Hard Drive Later This Month:

Samsung Electronics and Microsoft will next month show off the ready-to-market version of a hybrid hard drive (HHD) which can greatly reduce boot-up time of laptops and desktop PCs.

The new product will be introduced along with Microsoft’s Windows ReadyDrive feature at the U.S. software maker’s annual Windows Hardware Engineering Conference on May 24 in Seattle. ReadyDrive refers to software technology that supports the HHD.

The HHD is the convergence of a flash memory chip and a conventional platter-type magnetic disk drive. To save the time and energy spent spinning a metal disk drive it is designed to use static flash memory when starting a PC.

Friday, May 05, 2006

Yahoo! looks at acquisitions, tie-ups in India

DNA reports (on Thursday, May 04, 2006 21:16 IST):

NEW DELHI: Global internet company Yahoo! On Thursday said it is scouting for acquisitions in India and has identified some target companies.

"We have identified some companies (for acquisition). Our team in India keeps talking to potential targets. We have come here to go deeper in to the conversations and bring them to conclusion," Terry Semel, Chairman and CEO of Yahoo! said.

Semel said India will be the most important country in Internet, though these are early days for the country.

Tags: funding, software, entrepreneur, venture, emerging

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Innovalight & Silicon Valley's green economy reports:

There may have been doubt about it until now, but Silicon Valley steadily is gaining status as a leading center of innovation for green technologies -- especially in solar.

Innovalight, a Santa Clara solar company, has announced it has raised an additional $7.5 million in venture financing.

The company says it has come up with a new way to build solar energy modules from the popular, prevalent silicon. Only, it won't do it using silicon in its costly, inflexible crystalline wafer state. It will reduce the silicon to nanosize crystal dots, so that it can be used as a sort of ink, where it can be painted onto surfaces.

This is intriguing, because it threatens to do an end-run around all the other companies that are working on nano-solar technologies based on materials other than silicon, such as Konarka and Nanosolar.

Here's a good article in Time about Innovalight.

Tags: Innovalight, startup, funding, solar, green technology

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Venture capital switches to India

Florian Gimbel reports on The Austrialian (on May 3rd 2006):

INTERNATIONAL venture capital groups are increasingly shifting focus from China to India after years of reduced exposure to the subcontinent, a move that underlines the pull of India's fast-growing market for internet and consumer wireless applications.

The head of the venture capital advisory practice at Ernst & Young, Gil Forer, said: "Since many of the Silicon Valley firms concluded their China strategy development last year, they will be able to devote more time to their India strategy. (US) east coast and European funds that have been more conservative about China than their Silicon Valley counterparts will likely initiate investment activity in India."

A partner at US-based WestBridge Capital Partners, Sumir Chadha, said: "A lot of core technology development has shifted to India in the last three or four years and the natural progression is to see teams of engineers leave the big firms to start their own product and IT-based companies focused predominantly on the Indian market."

Tags: startup, funding, software, entrepreneur, venture

Red Herring coverage on Indian Mobile Gaming

Red Herring wrote some good observations on Indian Mobile Gaming industry at "The Games Indians Play" (dated 24th April 2006):

On the subcontinent, they’re either dreaming up games for cell phones or devouring them.

A game based on India’s first full-length animated feature film, Hanuman, clocked between 20,000 and 30,000 downloads a month for over six months now. There’s a reason for all this madness: a recent survey by Pyramid Research showed that nearly a third of cell phone users in India play games on their mobiles, and gamers are showing a growing preference for local content.

“Game downloads are increasing 400 percent year on year.” … there are currently 600,000 game downloads a month.

Short messaging service (SMS) tends to dwarf all comers in the value-added services, accounting for 80 percent of India’s VAS market. Next comes ring tone downloads, followed by games. Alok Shende, an analyst with Frost & Sullivan, reckons a 6 to 8 percent VAS share for games is about the norm.
It’s a nice story so far, but Pyramid analyst Nick Holland points out that there are obstacles to growth: a third of Indian mobile users, for instance, remain cut off from serious gaming for lack of decent handsets like Java-enabled phones that support games.
The biggest hit so far has been Sholay, based on the blockbuster Bollywood movie of the same title. Rajiv Hiranandani, CEO of Mobile2Win, the company that created the game, reports over 1 million downloads.
Dhruva’s Mr. Rao finds that most Indians game casually, to pass the time while waiting in queues or while commuting. So, the games are designed to be entertaining and are priced low: between a dollar or two per game. As India’s wireless population grows by 4 million subscribers every month, industry players will benefit by having a new revenue stream and channel for selling their entertainment content, says Deepak Kapoor, Pricewaterhouse-Coopers’ Indian entertainment & media practice leader. Since competition has sliced talk-time rates to about two cents a minute, revenues from gaming should make up for any losses incurred on voice calls, he says.

Tags: mobile, software, smartphone, gaming

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

IDC India Mobile Handsets Study 2006

VeerChand Bothra, reports on Mobile Pundit:

According to the IDC India Mobile Handset Usage Satisfaction Study 2006:

  • Sony Ericsson left behind all other mobile handset brands to grab the No. 1 spot in the handset user’s overall satisfaction, followed by Nokia, LG and Samsung at the No. 2, No. 3 and No. 4 spots respectively.
  • According to this year’s study, current mobile users are willing to spend on an average Rs 7,100 while buying the next handset, which is a shade below as compared to Rs 7500 last year.
  • On average a mobile handset is used for less than one hour in a day for voice communication (incoming and outgoing calls) whereas it was more than an hour a year back.
  • Usage of SMS has increased as compared to last year. An average SMS user sends 6 messages in day, while the number of messages received is slightly higher, at 8 per day.

Tags: mobile