Friday, June 30, 2006

P2P Downloadable Television

TechCrunch reports:

The Downloadable Television space is heating up. PeerImpact, a service of New York based Wurld Media, announced today that it has signed deals with three major TV and movie studios to offer episodes of popular television programs for download through its peer-to-peer client.

Downloads will only be viewable for a 24-hour viewing period and prices will start at 99 cents per episode.

Tags: P2P, Television

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Mobile Phones & Location Based Services

Sadagopalan reports (indirectly from NYT):

"Japanese cell phone users are able to point their specialized phones at buildings and monuments and get information about the location. More than 700,000 locations have information or advertisements associated with them already. The NYTimes writes, "If you stand on a street corner in Tokyo today you can point a specialized cellphone at a hotel, a restaurant or a historical monument, and with the press of a button the phone will display information from the Internet describing the object you are looking at". The new service is made possible by the efforts of three Japanese companies and GeoVector, a small American technology firm."

Tags: mobile, smartphone

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Kleiner Perkins investment criterias for software startups: Consumer ? Enterprise ? Both!

Jeff Clavier reported:

KP's Ajit Nazre mentioned (in a panel at TiECon East) the 7 rules that enterprise software startups must meet in order to be considered for an investment:
  • Instant Value to customers - solve a problem or create value with the first use
  • Viral adoption - Pull, not push. No direct sales force required
  • Minimum IT footprint, preferably none. Hosted SaaS is best.
  • Simple, intuitive user experience - no training required.
  • Personalized user experience - customizable
  • Easy configuration based on application or usage templates
  • Context aware - adjust to location, groups, preferences, devices, etc.
Read more here.

Tags: startup, funding, software, entrepreneur, venture, businessmodels

Skype, Now On Your TV

Om Malik reports on his blog:

Oregan Networks, a London-based company has released a Oregan Media Browser, which allows information such as Skype’s in-coming caller ID and message alerts to be displayed on the television screen. Cable companies and Microsoft’s telecom, have talked and demoed such capabilities, but mostly for their own VoIP offerings, leaving Skype out of the loop. While consumers can’t go out and get this product, since it is mostly for use inside the set-top boxes, it is nice to see that some people are thinking about extending Skype to non-PC devices. (Link Tip, David Zatz)

skype, voip, TV

Business 2.0 says David Matters

Jason reports on 37signals:

Business 2.0 magazine just released their “The 50 people who matter now” list. And #34 is our very own David Hansson. 34 ranks him higher than Oprah (at 38), the Skype Co-founders (at 36), Jeff Bezos (at 42), among others. Sergey Brin and Larry Page, Steve Jobs and King Abdullah bin Abdul aziz al Saud (Saudi Arabia), Mahmoud Ahmadinejad (Iran), Hugo Chavez (Venezuela), and Vladimir Putin (Russia) ranked higher, but hey, who’s counting.

Tags: web2.0, software, opensource, rails, rubyonrails

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

A New Ring Tone Teachers Can't Hear

CBSNews reports:

Students are using a new ring tone to receive messages in class — and many teachers can't even hear the ring.

Some students are downloading a ring tone off the Internet that is too high-pitched to be heard by most adults. With it, high schoolers can receive text message alerts on their cell phones without the teacher knowing.

Try out the ringtone yourself, here. Can you hear it?

Tags: mobile, ringtone

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Spam Filtering Statistics from

Tim posted this on O'Reilly Radar:

I thought readers might enjoy this message that O'Reilly sys admin chief Bob Amen just wrote on our internal mailing list:

"Below is a summary of the incoming email to our gateway mail servers for all domains that we accept email for (there are 57 domains). This summary is for the last 7 days: Our mail servers accepted 1,438,909 connections, attempting to deliver 1,677,649 messages. We rejected 1,629,900 messages and accepted only 47,749 messages. That's a ratio of 1:34 accepted to rejected messages! Here is how the message rejections break down:

Link here.

Consider also that this is all done with open source software running on two Linux machines. The MTA is Exim with SpamAssassin used for spam analysis and ClamAV for virus analysis."

38 million mobiles sold in '05-'06

Mobile pundit reports:

According to the Indian Telecom Industry Report released by Voice & Data, around 38 million mobile handsets were added in 2005-06.

Nokia leads with over 50% of handset market, while LG surprises by coming second with about 18%.

The GSM mobile phone market had a 73% and grew at 42%, clocking revenues of Rs 10,506 crore.

Tags: mobile, india

Friday, June 16, 2006

Yahoo Hack Day

Techcrunch reports of Yahoo Hack Day Today:

Yahoo has had a a couple of regional “Hack Days”, which are day long events where engineers stop everything they are doing and just build stuff that they think is cool. The idea was first popularized by Jot last year, and a number of companies have picked up on the idea as a great way to stoke innovation and creativity in a semi-organized way. The goal? Take something from idea to prototype in 24 hours.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Mobile Geofences reports:

Verizon Wireless on July 12 became the latest mobile operator to launch a cellphone-based child-tracking service. With nearly half of teens owning mobile phones (PDF survey), operators hope parents' concerns regarding their children's whereabouts will make GPS services popular and lucrative.

Verizon's basic $9.99 plan uses A-GPS to show a parent the child's phone location on a map on their own phone or PC. The more expensive Child Zone plan at $19.99 allows parents to set virtual zones ("geofences") for the child based on time of day and day of week. When the child's phone leaves the zone, an alert is sent to the parent's phone.

Tags: mobile, software, smartphone, innovation, tracking, GPS

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

NASSCOM Product Forum (Pune)

I attended the NASSCOM Product Forum conference this morning at Pune. It was an interesting conference. Perhaps the first in Pune of this kind. Here are some highlights:

Mr. Kiran Karnik (President, Nasscom, India) started the conference by pointing out :
  • The difference between building a product vs. building a product company. The summary was that there are a number of technical ideas and sparks, but we (in particular Pune) is lacking on the sales and marketing front. Things such as how much do you invest on sales and marketing, especially when you want to go global.
Sharad provided some good insights later.
  • Getting seed funding and angel funding in India is a big problem; Indian startups are facing problems because of that. Though VC funding is getting easier, there are a lot of people of want to invest. NASSCOM is working with the Indian government in setting up seed and angel funding for smaller startups.
I think, there are a number of late stage investors, but there are issues with VC's funding during the intial stages.
  • Filing patents and protecting IP is difficult since each international patent filing costs between Rs. 5 to 10 lacs, which is very large sum of money for a startup company. Again NASSCOM is working with a the Indian government on a fund that can cater to such needs.
  • A big percentage of sales in India is in the government sector; to promote startup companies and IP entirely generated in India, NASSCOM is promoting the idea of a special preference (like subsidy) for buying products that have a high percentage of IP entirely generated in India.
  • Pune is becoming a major IT center, NASSCOM just opened it's office in Pune.
Dr. Deepak Phatak (Chair Professor, School of IT, IIT Bombay):
  • Dr. Phatak described the Business Incubator Pilot program at IIT Powai, and how successful it has been. It is currently incubating 15 startup companies. Next year (which marks the golden jubilee of IIT Powai) they will be incubating 50 startup ventures!
  • Young Entrepreneurs at IIT Powai now use "stocks" and "percentages" as their currency now, instead of salaries (big change)
  • The problem as pointed out by Dr. Phatak is that - they don't think much about management of the company (typical of very geeky people), so the importance of hiring the right CEO and CTO at the right time is not yet there.
  • Dr. Phatak introduced the EKLAVYA program, which is an opensource education program. He encouraged entrepreneurs and business people to share their learnings. EKLAVYA has online video stored and beamed to several locations.
I wish they made it online so I can see it on my desktop (need to buy a bunch of equipment to get the video feed - dish antennae and a decoder - IRD).

Mr. Deepak Ghaisas (CEO, India Operations & CFO, iFlex Solutions):
  • Noted that there are 175 product companies registered with NASSCOM, 75 of which are founded (or headed) by people returning back from USA; and 25 of which are located in Pune. 80% of these 175 companies are self funded.
Companies usually have to pay a pretty hefty amount to be a member of NASSCOM, so I don't expect startup companies to do this. Instead I have seen a number of them in The Indus Entrepreneurs.

Sharad Sharma:
  • Discussed the Blue Ocean Strategy, and the benifits of going after non-consumers.
  • Very interesting discussion about - why IIT Chennai's Rural ATM didn't take off, what can we learn from that, and how we can bring the next product offering.
  • This followed another interesting discussion about 'innovation blowback', a concept popularized by John Hagel.

Tags: startup, funding, software, entrepreneur, venture, businessmodels, emerging, enterprise, innovation, India, Pune, NASSCOM.

Friday, June 09, 2006

IPTV: Almost there

Business World India has good coverage on IPTV in India:

Reliance, Bharti, BSNL, MTNL and HFCL Infotel are spending a lot of money to find the answer to a tricky question. What will make you buy television signals from their existing phone lines instead of your traditional cable or DTH (direct-to-home) operator? Sometime this July, MTNL will become the first to launch Internet protocol television (IPTV) service.

It will determine how the Rs 12,000-odd crore pay TV market will get split between cable, DTH and IPTV operators. Third, it will decide whether 900,000 km of wires*, laid across the country at an estimated cost of Rs 51,000 crore will fetch returns.

Globally, there are very few markets like Hong Kong (PCCW, 500,000 subscribers) and Italy (FastWeb, 161,000 subscribers) where IPTV has any significant numbers.

DTH has already stolen some of IPTV’s thunder. Think about the IPTV differentiators — the ability to offer TV on demand, telephony and Internet. DTH already offers TV on demand and consumers have taken to it.

HFCL will offer a package deal at Rs 699 a month — an IPTV connection, 100 free calls and 500 MB of free data download at 512 kbps. MTNL, on the other hand, will offer two packages — a bundled service as well as a ‘pay as you use’ package.

* This means more potholes in Pune :-|

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

MySQL: Workers in 25 countries with no HQ

Very interesting article in FORTUNE:

MySQL: Workers in 25 countries with no HQ
This open-source software maker has figured out how to manage a world-wide workforce that rarely meets. Is MySQL the model 21st-century company?

MySQL hires strictly for skills
, assessing raw talent by watching prospective workers grapple with technical problems. CEO MÃ¥rten Mickos, who works in the 30-person home base, has hired many an engineer sight unseen. By some accounts that's just as well. "We have people with lots of tattoos," notes Widenius. "Some of them I would not like to be with in the office every day." From a safe distance Mickos will ask such questions as "How do you plan your day?" If a reply comes back that says "I always sleep until 11 A.M., and then I start working," Mickos doesn't want to hear any more. He's sold. "The brightest engineers like the calmness and coolness of the night," he says.

Naturally his final question is "By the way, where do you live?" "I'm not the sort of CEO who needs to see everybody sweat and work hard," says Mickos.
"These are passionate people who aren't going to stop because somebody isn't looking."

How to Kick Silicon Valley's Butt

Guy has put another great posting on his blog. I am reposting what I liked the most:

From the fjords of Norway to the sands of Israel to the ice of Alberta to the waves of Honolulu, many regions of the world have

Silicon Valley Envy. They look at the Valley as a place where people start cool companies that generate billions of dollars of wealth (and tax revenue), create thousands of jobs, and yet does not pollute the environment.

Second, to my knowledge, there has never been any “master plan” for the creation of Silicon Valley. What stands before you is an amalgamation of hard work, luck, greed, and serendipity but not planning. Indeed, Silicon Valley has probably worked because there was no plan.

Stuff You Can’t Do Jack About
  • Absence of multi-national companies—especially the finance industry. If your companies have to compete with conglomerates or banks like Goldman, Sachs throwing money at people, it’s going to be hard to get anyone for a startup. Pity the startups in New York, London, and Singapore. Come to think of it, how many tech success
    stories have come from these cities? There is intense competition for employees in Silicon Valley too, but we’re using the same currency: the upside of equity, not high starting salaries.

Stuff You Can Do Jack About
  • The goal is to infect them with the disease called entrepreneurship and show them that there can be more to life than “a job;” that two guys/gals in a garage can change the world; and that a lot of money = millions of dollars.

Saturday, June 03, 2006

Nokia turns cellphones into webservers reports:

Nokia has ported the Apache webserver to Symbian, in order to enable mobile phones to serve content on the World Wide Web. Many mobile phones today have more processing power than early Internet servers, suggesting that "there really is no reason anymore why webservers could not reside on mobile phones," according to the company. The technique could also be used on Linux mobile phones.

Nokia says it's "Raccoon" project started out with the Unix version of Apache ...

Nokia says it installed its experimental port, initially, on a Nokia 6630 ...

Friday, June 02, 2006

SMS news and statistics

SMS news, that I thought worth mentioning: reports:
SMS is riding a growing wave of popularity. Global consumption will increase from 760 billion in 2004 to a mind-boggling 2,379 billion messages in 2010 — generating a $50 billion in operator revenues. SMS is one of the most accepted and popular communication channels in the world. Even with the advent of exciting multimedia content, SMS remains irreplaceable, certain to continue to reach new milestones as a
global communications phenomenon.

India's Economic Times reports:

A new global mobile messaging product called Micro LMS, developped by Micro Technologies India, which enables users to send text messages up to 800 characters, instead of the usual limit of 160. Micro LMS enables location identification of the respective users and the 'Sent and Received' messages can also be archived online.

On the other hand USA Today claims that:

Text messaging is wiping out teenager conversation and that employers and communications experts are anxious. "This generation may be technologically savvier than their bosses, but will they be able to have a professional discussion?"

"We are losing very natural, human, instinctive skills that we used to be really good at," says Sonya Hamlin, author of Howto Talk So People Listen: Connecting in Today's Workplace.

Hamling claims kids today are used to re-reading an IM message six times before answeringand no longer know how to improvise, banter spontaneously or
chat face to face.

Among teens who go online daily and own a cellphone, 53% most often communicate with friends via written messages, according to a 2005 report by the Pew Internet & American Life Project, and 61% of the time they're chatting via IM. Texting wasn't prevalent enough when the study was conducted."