Google Product Ideas : Where Ideas evolve…

Posted December 31st, 2008 by Ashwin and filed in Technology, Web 2.0
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Do you have productive ideas for Google Products? Do you want Google to hear them?

Here comes, Google Product Ideas. Right now Google Product Ideas is open to Google Mobile Users, who have innovative ideas and love to visualize them. It may not just be a brand new idea; you can use this channel to suggest an improvement that you wish to see in any of the existing products.

Google Product Ideas use your Google credentials for identification. Once logged in, you can assign a nick name for yourself and start posting new ideas or vote existing ones. In addition to this, you can also mention Things that you like and don’t like about the Google Product. This is a nice approach to obtain feedback on Google Products from real users.

Once the ideas are posted, they are either voted up or down. Thus good ideas would make it to the top, picked up and considered for implementation.

Based on the success, this approach might be extended for other Google Products too. So, gear up and start shooting your ideas!!

Via ReadWriteWeb

Android Market in 2009

Posted December 31st, 2008 by Ashwin and filed in Technology
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There is a lot to expect in the New Year, with reference to Android Market.

As announced earlier, Android Market will soon allow developers to sell their applications.  This is expected in the Q1 time frame of 2009.   The payment agreement as per the official post, would be 70:30;  developers getting the major share and the rest towards the Carrier charges.  Yes, you read it right - Google doesn’t get a dime!!

Support for paid applications can be initially expected in the USA and UK regions.  Then the support might spread to Germany, Austria, Italy, France and Spain, once the Android Market sets its foot.

This is a really good news for passionate Android developers, who can now boast with the likes of iPhone developers, who make handsome money through their applications.  So, let’s Go Android in 2009!!

Blogging Resolutions for 2009

Posted December 31st, 2008 by Ashwin and filed in General

First things first - Wish you all the readers, a very happy and productive New Year!

I have a regular habit of coming up with attractive new year resolutions, but find it really tough to achieve them.  So, one of my resolution is always to - Achieve all other resolutions

Here is the list of my Blogging Resolutions for the year of 2009.  I hope to work on these, for the days to come:

  • Make my blog and posts, much better!!
  • Increase the Subscriber base to at least 100 and Page hits to at least 25000
  • Better my Alexa Rank by at least 50%
  • Enter Google Page Rank!!
  • Start with Guest Blogging
  • Start with SEO Services

Wish me good luck on moving towards these targets and Wish you good luck on whatever you do!

Things to AVOID, once your Blog is established

Posted December 30th, 2008 by Ashwin and filed in Blogging & SEO
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You have a blog, it is popular and boasts of over 1000 subscribers. Now What?

Make sure you don’t make any of the following mistakes, which might affect your blog’s popularity and reputation.

1. Change the Permalinks Structure

A Permalink or a Permanent Link is an unique URL to any blog entry that you make. Many bloggers use custom Permalink structure, as they tend to be more Search Engine friendly. An example of a custom Permalink structure may be - Wordpress users can refer to this tutorial, on how to use Permalinks.

Changing the Permalink Structure on an existing blog, hugely affects the Search Engine Index. Posts indexed with the older Permalink structure are no longer valid and this might lead to a subsequent reduction in traffic. So, NEVER CHANGE THE PERMALINK STRUCTURE OF AN ESTABLISHED BLOG. When you start your blog, choose the one right permalink structure and stick to it!

2. Shuffling Blog into a Subdirectory on your Domain or to a Sub-Domain

This is even more critical. Doing this can adversely affect the traffic to your blog. Decide on the domain and the structure of your Blog URL and stick to it for life!

3. Change the FeedBurner ID

If you use FeedBurner for all your RSS feed needs, there is a way to update the FeedBurner ID from within the site. But, FeedBurner rightly gives out a warning, which says that all existing subscribers must be updated to the new ID. This is a pain for the readers and you might ultimately lose them. So decide on the FeedBurner ID upfront and stick to it!

4. Change the Blog Name or Logo

Popular blogs like TechCrunch, CopyBlogger and ProBlogger are universally known by their blog names and not by their authors. Blog Name is an identifier to the personal brand of the blog. Once a brand is established, changing it might ruin the reputation. Also, once the Logo of your Blog gets popular, changing it might have unintended consequences. So, freeze on your Blog Name and Logo. However, you can choose to suitably modify the Tag Line or Blog Headline, if your is blog is getting more specific or more diverse

Introduction to OpenID

Posted December 29th, 2008 by Ashwin and filed in Technology, Web 2.0
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What is it?

OpenID is a free, universal digital identity across the Internet. It can be considered similar to a Single Sign On (SSO) login, in terms of enterprise applications.

Why is it required?

  • Eliminates the need for maintaining multiple User IDs across websites
  • OpenID is non-proprietary and completely free to use
  • Ability to choose the OpenID provider, that you trust
  • Reduces the account management effort and cost, for developers and business

How does it work?

Once you sign up for an OpenID, you get an URI as the OpenID login name.  This URI will vary depending on your OpenID provider.  For example, if your login name is ‘thoughts’ with MyOpenID, then the URI might be something like ‘’.

You can use these credentials wherever OpenID is accepted.  For example, following is how MyChores let their users use their OpenID, for authentication purposes.

Where can I get an OpenID?

There are many providers in the space, who manages your OpenID creation and usage.  Following is the list, which may grow soon:


Verisign Labs

You already have an OpenID, if you maintain an account with any of the following services.

Since the support for OpenID is spreading fast, the list might grow very soon.  Refer to the original list of OpenID services, for accurate results.

For Developers

OpenID is a free, user-centric digital identity based on well known standards like HTTP, URI etc. and leverages the usage of various IDs that people create over various services across the web. This eases the account management effort and offers users a seamless browsing experience.

Couple of guides to get started with OpenID:

Further, the OpenID community has developed lots of libraries and documentation, for OpenID usage. All these can be found here.


OpenID is still in adoption phase. Heavyweights like Sun, AOL etc. have started to adopt OpenID, which is a really good sign. Currently, there are about 160 million OpenID URIs, with 10000 sites accepting them for logins.

Windows 7 : Crash handling

Posted December 27th, 2008 by Ashwin and filed in Technology
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Such a crash alert cannot be a surprise for a long time Windows user. This is how Windows has been traditionally handling unexpected application crashes.

Thankfully, Windows 7 may put an end to this unhelpful way of reporting errors. Following is an example Windows 7 Crash alert:

In Windows 7, one can expect an option to cancel the non-responsive part of the application and continue working. This was conspicuously missing in all the earlier versions of Windows. This is much better than killing the entire application and offering to restart, with an option to Debug which doesn’t make sense to most of the users.

Via Windows 7 News

IBM Blue Spruce

Posted December 26th, 2008 by Ashwin and filed in Technology
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IBM is working actively on Blue Spruce, a fully browser based application development platform. To be precise, IBM is NOT working on a brand new browser but on a platform for developing and delivering applications through the existing browsers. This is a direct challenge to Microsoft’s Silverlight and Adobe’s AIR platforms, that aim to bring application level functionality to the level of browsers.

Motivation behind Blue Spruce

IBM’s customers reportedly abhor lengthy and heavy applications installs. They are looking at rich applications providing the core functionality, delivered through the web browsers. Also, IBM is looking at collaboration between the application users and sharing of information, with Blue Spruce.

Components of Blue Spruce

Conceptually, Blue Spruce is made up of 2 components:

  • Blue Spruce Client Toolkit
  • Blue Spruce Web Server

Blue Spruce Web Server provides Conference Management and Real-time Application Synchronization facilities, thus facilitating interactive communication.  Also, the Server can subscribe to Push services, that can serve as data for the mashup components.

Blue Spruce Client toolkit provides the collaboration API that the application developers can use to communicate with the Web Server.  Also, the architecture will most likely be plug-in based, that enhances the extensibility.

Blue Spruce uses lots of open standards like - WebKit Open Source Browser Engine, HTML, Javascript, CSS, XMPP, Ajax etc. But it is clear that, Blue Spruce will NOT be “open source”, but “community sourced” meaning that the members of the community can contribute.

Blue Spruce in action

Right now, IBM is focusing on finance, health and “heavy industry” for their application development.  The Proof of Concept demos are mainly characterized by mashups (containing various audio, video and map components in a single page) and real-time collaborations by users across geographies, all within the scope of a browser.  These demos were performed on the Safari browser.

So, the Big Blue is again all set, to be noticed by the likes of Microsoft, Adobe and Google.

Presentation - IBM Blue Spruce Demo

Via ReadWriteWeb

BrowserShots - Test your website appearance across OS and Browsers

Posted December 26th, 2008 by Ashwin and filed in Technology, Web 2.0
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Every web developer must have confronted with the need to test the - layout, appearance and behavior - of their web site across Operating systems and browsers. Though the behavior testing requires the physical installation of the browser, the appearance and layouts can be easily tested using BrowserShots, an open source initiative.

BrowserShots takes in the web site URL and the list of browsers to test, that varies across Linux, Windows, Mac and BSD. Then the jobs are queued up, processed by distributed systems and results are uploaded as screenshot images. These screenshots can be downloaded by the web developer.

This is a really quick way of performing a smoke test on the web site, during development.

Via Smashing Magazine

Windows 7 : Accessibility Improvements

Posted December 25th, 2008 by Ashwin and filed in Technology
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Windows 7 can be expected to have huge improvements, on the accessibility front.  You can read the official post here, on the accessibility features with Windows 7.

In summary:

  • UI Automation framework introduced with Windows Vista, has been greatly improved.  Now, the UI Automation and the legacy Microsoft Active Accessibility (MSAA) system combine together with a nomenclature of Windows Automation API
  • Windows Automation API enables easy development of applications, that focus on accessibility
  • Windows 7 will also have more accessibility utilities, out-of-the-box.  Also the existing On-Screen Keyboard and Magnifier utilities will be enhanced
  • UI Accessibility Checker (AccChecker for short) and UI Automation Verify (UIA Verify) utilities, that are developed by the Windows 7 team, will be handy for developers to validate their applications and identify Accessibility problems, to eliminate them.  This will help to greatly improve the quality of accessibility utilities and make them compatible with the current and future tools based on Windows API

So, both the developers and end users can expect improved Accessibility features with Windows 7.

Can you expect Windows 7 by 2009?

Posted December 25th, 2008 by Ashwin and filed in Technology
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Microsoft, earlier in 2008 has announced that Windows 7, a much needed successor for the troubled Windows Vista, will be released in early 2010.

But, Don Reisinger of CNET News thinks otherwise. In his recent post, he discusses why Windows 7 might hit the shelves in 2009. In a similar note, Microsoft is working hard on making Windows 7 much lighter than Vista, particularly targeting the growing Netbook market and as an alternative to Linux.

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