Monday, October 31, 2005

Ruby on Rails chases simplicity in programming |

Ruby on Rails chases simplicity in programming | CNET News.com: "Can one man and a mantra of 'radical simplicity' change the world of Web development?

David Heinemeier Hansson, a 26-year-old Copenhagen native, has built a 'framework' to help Web developers be more productive and has released the package of tools through an open-source project.

His software, Ruby on Rails, only out for a little more than a year, has started a buzz among the legions of developers and high-level executives that track the trend-driven world of software development." ,

Monday, October 24, 2005

Joel on Software - Monday, October 24, 2005

Joel on Software - Monday, October 24, 2005: "Something Rotten in AdSense

Google AdSense is a system for web publishers of all sizes, from big newspapers to tiny bloggers. They sign up with Google to place a small box full of text ads on their site. You've probably seen it, but if you haven't, check out Michael's techInterview site for an example.

Advertisers pay Google to have their ads appear in little sidebars. Well, that's not technically correct. Advertisers actually pay Google if anyone clicks on those ads. In turn, Google gives a percentage of the money to the web site owner. As a web site owner, you can make some serious spending cash this way. Popular sites make hundreds or thousands of dollars a month.

The minute you put AdSense on your site, you might start thinking, hmm, gosh, what happens if I click on the ads on my own site? Will I make more money?

Probably not much. This problem, called clickfraud, is a tricky one, and Google claims to have algorithms to prevent it. They won't tell us what they are, justifiably, I think, because that would it easier to defeat the algorithms. Still, how would you explain complaints like this one from an advertiser:

When I activate my AdSense campaign, not much more than 5 minutes go by before they are all over it.. Multiple clicks from the same Internet IP's in Malaysia, Poland, Hongkong etc. (I tried to exclude certain countries in my AdSense account, but they seem to go through proxies, so its not much use)..

Tried just now and within 2 minutes I had around 20 clicks, which were clearly fraudulent (they seem to use some kind of tool - no pictures on the site were loaded according to my log). I guess that was around €20, which went up in smoke there. The super-duper top secret internal Google clickfraud prevention system, which is supposed to deduct the invalid clicks at the end of the month, only seems to catch an extremely small fraction of the clicks, but not nearly enough. I can't see which clicks I actually pay for in the invoice from Google, so it's a bit hard to say.

When you connect the dots, what seems to be happening is that scammers are doing four things.

1. First, they create a lot of fake blogs. There are slimy companies that make easy to use software to do this for you. They scrape bits and pieces of legitimate blogs and repost them, as if they were just another link blog. It is very hard to tell the difference between a fake blog and a real blog until you read it for a while and realize there's no human brain behind it, like one of those Jack Format radio stations that fired all their DJs, or maybe FEMA.
2. Then, they sign up for AdSense.
3. Then you buy or rent a network of zombie PCs (that is, home computers that are attached to the Internet permanently which have been infected by a virus allowing them to be controlled remotely).
4. Finally, use those zombie PCs to simulate clicks on the links on your blog. Because the zombie PCs are all over the Internet, they appear to be legit links coming from all over the Internet.

There might be a technical solution to this, although I can't think of one offhand. The minute companies start cutting checks to "affiliates" at the end of the month that are based on nothing more than clicks, you're bound to get the AllAdvantage phenomenon. AllAdvantage was probably one of the most spectacularly stupid business ideas to come out of the first Dot Com bubble: a company that paid you to look at ads. That's because they fell victim to one of the better business ideas from the first Dot Com bubble: hiring armies of low-paid workers to look at AllAdvantage ads.

Eventually, it stops benefiting the advertiser, and the advertiser figures it out, and stops paying for the whole charade.

It is important to remember that AdSense is just one part of Google's revenue. A more significant part is AdWords, which covers the ads that appear on Google's own site. AdWords are still susceptible to some fraud, although you can't make money clicking on those ads, so it's much less of a problem. There is a minor problem where advertisers hire clickers to click on their competitors' ads, which cause their competitors to waste money, but that's penny-ante stuff, and rare enough that advertising through AdWords still works well.

Still, with Google rapidly approaching 50% of the global search market, they can double the number of searches they get on their home page, but not much more than that, unless they can get more page views somehow. Which is why they are frantically trying to sign up non-fraudulent web sites for AdSense (they call me every two months) and constantly seeking new sources of ad inventory, which sounds a heck of a lot like what the web portals of the 90s tried to do.

This is where Google is actually hurt by the long tail world of millions of small sites. It's easy to evaluate the top 100 or 1000 web sites to make sure they're reasonably legit. It's much harder to monitor 1,000,000 blogs to make sure that none of them were machine generated for the purpose of scamming AdSense revenue. Still, I don't think Google has a choice: I predict that you'll see a massive expulsion of smaller AdSense sites by Google, and it better happen soon, or AdSense will ruin Google's reputation among advertisers, something which could be deadly.,

They make hay while it rains in Bangalore

Deccan Herald

First the good news: Like Mumbai, Bangalore too has its share of good samaritans — strangers who will willingly lend a helping hand as you find your way in waist-deep water, give a push to a stranded car, and flash a cheerful smile as you groan over your soiled clothes.

Now the bad: Good deeds, in Bangalore, cost money.

For holding your hand while you wade your way out: Rs 15. For pushing a two-wheeler: Rs 100-Rs 150. For pushing a two-wheeler: Rs 250-Rs 300. For repairing a vehicle: Rs 300-Rs 500.

The local population around Hosur Road has hit upon a profitable business proposition overnight. Over a hundred villagers from surrounding villages have posted themselves next to the flooded Hosur Road, waiting, and praying, for the passing cars and two-wheelers to get stuck in the submerged stretch. Fortunately for them, this situation is not a possibility, but an eventuality, on this clogged road where the water level has reached over three feet. There are over 10 mechanics on the job, making the best of the situation. Each had an army of at least 10 younger boys, who were responsible for bringing in customers-in-distress for help. Thousands of broken down vehicles were pushed or repaired by these men over the last two days, and many have managed to earn up to Rs 10,000.

“There is nothing wrong in charging money, because we are, after all, providing a service,” says Shankar, a resident of Bommanahalli. One of these “helpers” admitted to having a differential rate chart. IT professionals are charged more, and so are owners of swanky cars. This reporter, who was at the site, was let off at a discounted price of Rs 25.">Sights, sounds and smells from Bangalore: "They make hay while it rains in Bangalore

Deccan Herald

First the good news: Like Mumbai, Bangalore too has its share of good samaritans — strangers who will willingly lend a helping hand as you find your way in waist-deep water, give a push to a stranded car, and flash a cheerful smile as you groan over your soiled clothes.

Now the bad: Good deeds, in Bangalore, cost money.

For holding your hand while you wade your way out: Rs 15. For pushing a two-wheeler: Rs 100-Rs 150. For pushing a two-wheeler: Rs 250-Rs 300. For repairing a vehicle: Rs 300-Rs 500.

The local population around Hosur Road has hit upon a profitable business proposition overnight. Over a hundred villagers from surrounding villages have posted themselves next to the flooded Hosur Road, waiting, and praying, for the passing cars and two-wheelers to get stuck in the submerged stretch. Fortunately for them, this situation is not a possibility, but an eventuality, on this clogged road where the water level has reached over three feet. There are over 10 mechanics on the job, making the best of the situation. Each had an army of at least 10 younger boys, who were responsible for bringing in customers-in-distress for help. Thousands of broken down vehicles were pushed or repaired by these men over the last two days, and many have managed to earn up to Rs 10,000.

“There is nothing wrong in charging money, because we are, after all, providing a service,” says Shankar, a resident of Bommanahalli. One of these “helpers” admitted to having a differential rate chart. IT professionals are charged more, and so are owners of swanky cars. This reporter, who was at the site, was let off at a discounted price of Rs 25."

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Food of the future to be developed on the base of molecular biology and genetics from PRAVDA.Ru

Food of the future to be developed on the base of molecular biology and genetics - PRAVDA.Ru: "NASA makes sandwiches, which stay edible for several years

In addition, NASA studies food products, which will be able to satisfy personal needs of a particular consumer taking into account his/her allergies and other peculiarities of human organism. It is scientific alchemy rather than ordinary culinary techniques. Laboratory engineering rather than traditional industrial processes. Food that will be in the supermarkets and restaurants in the future will not have visual differences from that of today. However, it will be manufactured, processed and cooked in a different way. The future is near: 'functional foods' - foods and drinks with added vitamins, minerals and fatty acids omega-3 - will look tastier (just for reference: the manufacturing of these products accounted for 800 million euros in Europe in 2004). However, the main surprises - products developed in molecular studies, genetic discoveries and space research - are still to come."

Molecular gastronomy has a flavor of the future in its name. In other words, molecular gastronomy is the analysis of physicochemical laws while cooking and the use of recent discoveries for creating unusual recipes. This is a new tendency, which appears in Europe mostly and has restaurant chefs, matter physicists and experts on chemistry among its participants. The starting point was the notion that there is a surprising molecular linkage between different products (for example, chocolate and caviar, asparagus and liquorice). Its discovery can lead to invention of unexpected mixes.

Englishman Heston Blumenthal is considered to be the founder of molecular cuisine: he is the first youngest chef who has already 3 Michelin stars in his 39. In Italy the most famous representative of the new trend is Davide Cassi, specialist in matter physics at the University of Parma. "Except for some recipes all the technologies which are used in scientific gastronomy (such as liquid nitrogen freezing) will be applied at home kitchens. As a result, menu will be enriched thanks to "molecular dishes", Cassi says.

New technologies left their mark on another sphere, which will play the main role in the future. That is flavors and odors, synthesized in laboratories. Especially when it comes to the laboratory of perfume elaboration of Swiss perfume giant Givaudan. Contributing to the elaboration of more than 20 thousand artificial odors (300 for strawberry only), biologists from the multinational company organized an expedition to Madagascar forests in search of molecule, from which new aromas could be extracted.

Scientists claim that these fragrances are identical to natural ones on the molecular level. The only difference is that they will be the results of chemical processes.

In this sphere the impulse comes from NASA. L'Advance food technology of American space agency specializes in preparing foods for space missions. Such technologies as microwave ovens were developed thanks to its research. The immediate task is to make products stay fresh for longer period. "Products, which can be kept for months or even ages without losing their nourishing properties and vitamin quality," Michele Perchonok from NASA claims. Techniques that are used include high-pressure treatment, pulsing electric fields, and high frequency sterilization. A sandwich prepared in this way turned out to be edible in seven years. The results can prove useful during the mission to Mars (although it seems that nobody dares to taste this sandwich yet).

The elaboration of artificial meat from animals' muscle cells grown in test tubes is under way in the University of Maryland laboratories. "The substitutes of meat for vegetarians already exist. They are developed from special mushrooms processed in the way that their tissue is not different from that of meat," the author of the book "The Future of Food" Brian Ford recalls. "We will witness nothing new in this sphere in the next few years."

Food science may soon be united with molecular biology and genetics. At least that is the goal of nutrigenomics, which tries to study connection between genes and particular food products for creating personal diets depending on genetic profile of a person. "People show different reaction to food depending on their DNA", says biochemist and biologist from the University of Davis, California, Jim Kaput. "At the moment we are studying the effects produced by olive oil in people who consume it versus those who do not. Taking all the population into account, we will be able to prescribe more effective diets in the future. It used to be a mere fantasy and in 10-15 years it can become a reality."

Food of the future, whatever it might be, will be kept in special packages that will provide for the safety of the product, determine when it gets out of order and inform the consumer about this. The crucial point in this case will be nanotechnologies, or the possibility of matter control on atomic and molecular levels for creating new materials.

It is not accidental that such multinational corporations as Kraft in collaboration with 15 universities of the world opened a nanotechnological laboratory a few years ago. The first goal was to tighten control over overall production chain. More pretentious goals are set for the future: manipulating the matter on molecular level can help in creating the products that will identify consumers' needs, his/her allergies, lack of any substances and will be able to supply those substances in amount needed - all this with the help of nanosensors. The future looks promising.or black. It all depends.

Friday, October 21, 2005

diGit Blog

diGit Blog: "No, I’m not talking about a group of birds or a herd of animals or anything else!! Its not some new term or rage(that might be debatable) either, but its a new browser for sure!! Yes, Flock, a browser based on the open source Mozilla FireFox!!",

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

The Hard Work of Failure Analysis : Career Effectiveness : HBS Working Knowledge

The Hard Work of Failure Analysis : Career Effectiveness : HBS Working Knowledge: "It hardly needs to be said that organizations cannot learn from failures if people do not discuss and analyze them. Yet this remains an important insight. The learning that is potentially available may not be realized unless thoughtful analysis and discussion of failure occurs. For example, for Kaiser [Permanente's] Dr. [Kim] Adcock, it is not enough just to know that a particular physician is making more than the acceptable number of errors [in misread x-rays]. Unless deeper analysis of the nature of the radiologists' errors is conducted, it is difficult to learn what needs to be corrected. "

Telling the Numbers Story : Career Effectiveness : HBS Working Knowledge

Telling the Numbers Story : Career Effectiveness : HBS Working Knowledge: "Understanding what numbers say is a core competency for senior managers. Communicating what they say should be as well. Unfortunately, this is a task that few do well. Time and again, leaders fail at conveying to employees just what the latest quarterly update, competitive analysis, or division report really means in terms of the work they'll do today and the challenges that await them tomorrow. Rather than motivating and inspiring employees with data, leaders end up boring and confusing them instead.",

Rajesh Jain's Weblog on Emerging Technologies, Enterprises and Markets

Emergic: Rajesh Jain's Weblog on Emerging Technologies, Enterprises and Markets: "Bootstrapping a Business: Greg Gianforte’s Book

Greg Gianforte, CEO, RightNow Technologies, has co-authored a book on the subject: “Bootstrapping Your Business: Start And Grow a Successful Company With Almost No Money.” This is what he wrote in an article on Sandhill.com in March 2005:


I define 'Bootstrapping' as the act of starting a business with little or no external funding. Bootstrappers don't write lengthy business plans, chase deep-pocketed investors, or indulge in overly academic market research exercises. Instead, they focus all of their considerable energy, brainpower, determination and skills on creating a business that can actually succeed in the real world."

Andreessen: PHP succeeding where Java isn't | CNET News.com

Andreessen: PHP succeeding where Java isn't | CNET News.com: "The simplicity of scripting language PHP means it will be more popular than Java for building Web-based applications, Internet browser pioneer Marc Andreessen predicted Wednesday in a speech here at the Zend/PHP Conference.

Java enjoyed great success when its inventor, Sun Microsystems, released it in 1995, largely because it was optimized better for programmers than for machines, making software development significantly easier, Andreessen said. Unfortunately, Java has acquired many of the unfavorable characteristics of its predecessors, he added.",

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Sights, sounds and smells from Bangalore


Sunday, October 09, 2005

Silicon Valley: Google's small steps, giant leaps

MercuryNews.com | 10/09/2005 | Google's small steps, giant leaps: "Google's small steps, giant leaps

INTERNET TITAN IS EXPLORING, EXPERIMENTING AND AIMING HIGH

By Michael Bazeley

Mercury News

Is Google taking over the universe? You may be forgiven for thinking so, given the events of the past couple of weeks.

In a short, seven-day span recently, Google revealed plans to partner with NASA on research, offered to provide free WiFi to the city of San Francisco and announced it would collaborate with Sun Microsystems in creating desktop software for office workers.

Seemingly every week brings a new announcement from the Mountain View Googleplex, each one bigger than the last and each provoking wide-eyed speculation -- and confusion -- about the 7-year-old company's ambitions."

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Indian Express : Pelicans in Lalbagh

The Pelican Pride is back in Lal Bagh
New Indian Express

BANGALORE: It’s a rare sight and a feast for the eyes. In the pristine surroundings of the Lalbagh lake, an endangered species of White Pelicans can be seen swimming in the vast expanse of water.Watch a while and you will see these huge Pelicans diving to catch fish, perching on the trees, spreading out their wings and soaring high into the sky. They scoop up fish with their huge beaks, used as a basket.

This has brought cheer to bird watchers and the officials as well since these species of Pelicans are found only in peninsular India.

A fervent bird watcher and frequent visitor M B Krishna says the birds are fish eaters that swim in open waters. They have been given endangered species status under the Wildlife Protection Act.

Lalbagh is witnessing these winged visitors after the lake was dredged so that the vegetation decreased. There has also been a change in the shoreline.

This year, Lalbagh officials have counted 15 Pelicans at the lake. The birds choose this area because of the lake, which supplies them with food in abundance. Madiwala and Yellamallappachetty are the areas where the birds can be found in large numbers. Their breeding area is Kokrebellur near Mathur.

Krishna says there has been a decline in the number of birds in Lalbagh for the last three decades as the public and the government have been misusing the gardens.

“These birds need privacy and must not be disturbed. In the ‘80s, a thousand migratory birds used to visit the area regularly. But now they are not seen,” he added.

According to him, there should be a national monitoring framework for natural resources.,

Monday, October 03, 2005

Google, Sun plan partnership | CNET News.com

Google, Sun plan partnership | CNET News.com: "Sun Microsystems and Google plan to announce a collaborative effort that some analysts speculate could elevate the profile of the OpenOffice.org and Java software packages.

Details won't emerge publicly until Google CEO Eric Schmidt and Sun CEO Scott McNealy take the stage on Tuesday at a news conference in Mountain View, Calif. But one strong possibility is a partnership that could help shift personal computing out of Microsoft's domain and into Google's.",

InformationWeek > Google's Microsoft Strategy > Author: Google's Patents Reveal Strategy To Beat Microsoft > September 30, 2005

InformationWeek > Google's Microsoft Strategy > Author: Google's Patents Reveal Strategy To Beat Microsoft > September 30, 2005: "According to “The Google Legacy,'' history is about to repeat itself. Microsoft today is where IBM was years ago. And Google is in a position to do to Bill Gates what he did to IBM. The result could be a new industry kingpin.
By W. David Gardner ",

Dripless Ice Cream now in India

The Hindu Business Line : Dotz - an ice cream sans the hassles of dripping: "HEARD of free flowing ice cream? This is the next generation ice cream that Pune-based Mr Manish Vithalani and his three business partners have developed.",

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