Plan to be at Delhi Dec Mid

Got encouraged to attend the Global Voices Summit at Delhi – thanks to Dina.

I'm attending the Global Voices Summit in Delhi!

Some excerpts from the GV SUMMIT DELHI page:

The Global Voices Summit, on December 16th, will be our annual opportunity to take stock, come together and explore our central question: How can we use the Internet to build a more democratic, participatory global discourse? How can we create a more inclusive conversation about what is happening on our planet, and how human beings in different parts of the world are impacting each other in countless ways we don’t realize every day?

This year we also hope to address two further questions:

  • How do we bring more unheard, ignored, or disadvantaged voices into the global online conversation?
  • How do we help people speak and be heard – even when powerful people try to stop them from doing so?

WHO: Global Voices editors, contributors, community members, interested bloggers and journalists. Basically, anybody who is interested in what it means for media, geopolitics, and global society when the whole world starts talking online. Click here to see who is already committed to attend.

WHEN: 9am-5:30pm IST, Saturday December 16th, 2006
(A smaller private planning meeting will be held for GV editors and authors only on Sunday the 17th.)

HOW: If you’d like to join us, please add your name to the sign-up wiki here.

blogosphere round up

I checked up on some my feeds related to mobility – thought will point all of you to intereting ones :-)

  • Politics – manipulate on the move ;-) => Pat Mobile : SMS based as of now {I recently read a ebook on using mobile for political campaigns – will talk about it soon!} We are soon see things like these for India too!
  • Watch Lakme fashion Week – live web streaming :D
  • Hinkmond – J2ME evangelist – talks about a new mobile LG phone with alpha numeric keys FAST TAP. And guess what – I think its cool! but $450  :-(

     

  • Smart Mobs – mentions Henry jenkins thoughts on Participartory culture and Media literacy. Highlights – core set of social skills & cultural competencies, youth should have to be full, active, creative and ethical participants in the new culture are:
    • Play – able to experiment / problem solve
    • Performance – adapt alternatives to improvise, discover
    • Simulate – intepret & construct dynamic models of real world
    • Appropriation – meanifully sample and remix media
    • Mutlitasking – scan environment & shift focus as needed to salient details
    • Distributed Cognition – interact meaningfully with tools to expand mental capacities
    • Collective Intelligence – pool knowledge and compare notes towards a common goal
    • Jugement – evaluate reliability and credibility of different resources
    • Trasmedia Navigation – follow stories & info across multiple modalities
    • Networking – ability to search for, synthesize & disseminate info
    • Negotiation – travel across diverse communities, discrening n respecting multiple perspectives & grasping n follow alternative norms
    • Seems to be the 7th part of a series of blog posts! I think it could be called a media education in the connected world in its truest sense.

the 4 Cs

All the excitement in the internet world now (sometimes termed as Web 2.0) according to me can be summarised in 4 Cs:

  • Content (Micro chunking. tagging)
  • Connectivity (Communication, Mobility, RSS, Voip)
  • Community (Collaboration, smart mobs, user generated content)
  • Commerce (platform providers, Craigslist)

From what I see – I have listed them in that order of importance.

Content first because “Content is the King“! Content in form of data – raw data, information, knowledge / wisdom for personal use, interaction, entertainment is the main driver. Because of RSS and mashups – we see the benefits of micro chunking and tagging them as much as possible

Next comes technology, Connectivity which is the engine (enabler) – Internet, Lan, wired and wireless, communication technology + Mobile phones. Cost had been a barrier in terms of infrastructure i.e for a priviledged few. I would say its a blessing in disguise – Indians haven’t embraced an older technology as the US has done in terms of infrastructure. Indians are hungry for connectivity – the mobile phones technology comes at a lower cost and though may be inferior in certain aspects – serve the basic needs.

Just content + connectivity have limitations! Man inherently wants to communicate with his near and dear ones (social hunger). Just connectivity does that to an extent. But when connectivity and content come at a cost or have limitations (literacy + learning technology + language limitation) – basic voice is left as sole driver to fill his needs. This is one of the reasons why the mobile phones have been largely successful – all one has to do is press a buttin and start talking!

Community, according to me, the passengers. The costs & tools to create content have come down. All you need to make your own audio, photo or video can be done on your phone on the go! you can edit and share them right from your phones. Some of the phones (depending on features, 2nd hand) are selling at Rs 5,000 (grey market ;-) ) People want to share the content and contribute to content. This is not only in the form of mobile blogging, You Tubes, podcasting but also community based working e.g community internet radio, newspaper or TV – adaptions of public RSS aggregators where media is audio, text or video or content streaming server.

Finally, something I have missed in the equation i.e Commerce. According to me Commerce is like a spark. Once we have the right conducive environment – Commerce mostly have a symbiotic nature i.e everything will be free / sustainable in nature.

Just to wrap up, I am viewing the current internet sphere using a metaphor.

Internet is a Car. Content the driver. Connectivity which is the engine. Community the passengers. And Finally Commerce the spark! After you start the car – you actually may not need the spark ;-)

Note: Ajax is nowhere in the picture ;-)! Surprised? Well I am not. Its somewhere in. between All the first three … In web 1.0 – commerce was the spark + road! and community was mostly for the privileged few.

PS:Awaiting your comments …
I shall expand on these more later when I have time (I am falling short
of it nowadays). I want to spend more time in the real world. Have not
read any blogs for around a month! Hope I am not missing any trends. I
loved being a maven in this area :-)

human sociality

Alan Page Fiske on ‘Human Sociality‘, a great read. Do we see this in the making in Blogosphere or the p2p world or the sim city / communities that are spurning out? My notes from the article here:

Relationships are patterns of coordination among people; they are not properties of individuals.

Sometimes people even buy and sell for the satisfaction of the social game, not just for the material objects they acquire. Even when people act in pursuit of material goods, they typically do so for the sake of the social significance of the goods: to create or transform social relationships. Your house, your car, your clothes, your meals, and of course your money mediate your relationships with your social world. Even your health or your life may be valuable to you primarily because of the social relationships that it permits.

What is adaptive (in every sense of the word) is coordinating interaction with the people around you. Patterns of interaction differ greatly across cultures, so people need to be able to fit their sociality to their particular community, meshing their motives and actions with the culture. But the diversity of culturally organized, complex social relationships presents a seemingly impossible learning problem: how can a child, an immigrant, or a visitor possibly discover the principles that underlie relationships in a strange culture (such as the one into which you are born)? The coordination of interaction is all the more challenging because of the variety of domains that must be coordinated: work, exchange, distribution and consumption, moral judgments, sanctions and forms of redressing wrongs, aggression, sexuality, social identity, the meaning of objects, places, and time. If people use different models to coordinate each domain, how can they deal with the resulting cognitive complexity of social life, let alone integrate several domains to form a personal relationship or an institution?

The answer, surprisingly, is that people use just four fundamental models for organizing most aspects of sociality most of the time in all cultures (Fiske 1991a, 1992). These models are Communal Sharing, Authority Ranking, Equality Matching, and Market Pricing.

Communal Sharing
(CS) is a relationship in which people treat some dyad or group as equivalent and undifferentiated with respect to the social domain in question. Authority Ranking AR relationships are based on perceptions of legitimate asymmetries [linear hierarchy], not coercive power; they are not inherently exploitative (although they may involve power or cause harm). In Equality Matching relationships people keep track of the balance or difference among participants and know what would be required to restore balance. Market Pricing relationships are oriented to socially meaningful ratios or rates such as prices, wages, interest, rents, tithes, or cost-benefit analyses.

People often use different models for different aspects of their interaction with the same person. For example, roommates may divide the rent evenly and take turns cooking dinner for each other (both EM), buy ingredients for the meal at the store (MP), share their food and drink at the table without regard to who consumes what and share living and bath rooms (CS), pay for long-distance calls according to the costs they each incur (MP), and one may sell her used car to the other. On the softball field one is a coach, the other player (AR); yet in their sexual relations they like to reverse these roles of domination and submission.

People use these models to construct, coordinate, and contest social action, as well as to interpret, plan, and remember. The term “models” may suggest that these relational coordination devices are primarily cognitive, but they integrally comprise emotions, motives, needs, evaluative attitudes and judgments.

The complexity of social life comes from the combinations of models that people use. The diversity of social relationships comes from the fact that using the models to generate action, affect, or evaluation requires cultural implementation rules that are indefinitely variable. The models themselves are not sufficient to determine behavior or cognition without setting cultural parameters, paradigms, and prototypes that specify how, when, where, and with respect to whom the models can be implemented. For example,  … Traditional Africans pool labor, food, and living space to an extent that often astonishes Americans. But in these same societies, people almost never disclose their past actions, their plans, their aspirations, their attitudes or their feelings even to family members—the Communal Sharing of these subjective matters in America often astonishes Africans.

Even if it’s plausible to imagine that these four models could govern most of everyday social life, do they? What’s the evidence? Nick Haslam and I, as well as several other researchers, have conducted dozens of studies that show how the models shape diverse aspects of everyday, real life social cognition, interaction, and evaluation. In a series of 11 studies, we found that the theory predicted how people confuse one person with another in naturally occurring social errors. People often call someone they know by the wrong name (calling your daughter by your younger sister’s name), or they misremember with whom they did something (thinking they told you something, when actually they told someone else).

This prediction has been strongly confirmed in every case: people do not think about their own social life in terms of continuous variables such as power and solidarity; nor in terms of game theoretic motives such as competition, cooperation, aggression, cooperation, or altruism; nor in terms of complementarity versus symmetry (Fiske, Haslam, & Fiske 1991; Haslam 1994a, 1994b, 1995a, 1998; Haslam & Fiske 1992).

We are currently studying the ontogenetic emergence of the relational models and the manner in which children discover how to implement them in a culturally appropriate manner.

popurls.com and more

Lately I have been using this site popurls.com a lot! I mean real lot :-) It seems to be my source of the status of the web now. The guys have a great job putting things together – visual as well as content wise. Nice combination of website sources + media (pics + videos) sources. They also have a mobile website at m.popurls.com

See the site through the MyToday’s mobile websurf {makes the site/suceeding links xhtml and strips images} and its blissful! So, here is m.popurls.com through MyToday websurf and of course using GWT (google’s phonifier version).

Other links: {I am cleaning my bookmarks toolbar :-)}

Thats it for the day – have great week.

linkage storm

The mechanics of Blogosphere – “free production model” – thats Gen Z

John Furrier on New Platforms, New Economies and New Realitieslovely Podcast. I am sure lot of you will appreciate this. Quoting some words around 15 mins into the podcast:

This is an example of word of mouth distribution scenario that we paid no cost for has no PR firm no press release but yet it took off like crazy … my earlier comment about RSS – a world of relationships is being formed right now and thats really the new model – so the network of relationships (word of mouth relationships) are forming.

The bloggers are linking to one another, and creating credibility and influence relationships. Whats interesting is they are high velocity networks, highly efficient and super targetted.

So, the word can travel around super fast around the internet and it can impact everything from events to movies to entertainment to conversations.

TCP/IP -> HTTP -> RSS => Global Universal Access, subscriptions, Access and Choice.

cutting down reading …

I am enforcing some discipline in myself – as my health needs it. I cannot afford to have behaviour that encourages short attention and I am anyway slightly bored with the happenings of the blogosphere.

Off late – I have bee noticing I am writing more and reading less. As of today my number of feed I read have been cut down to 40. I have made a resolution to keep the number below 42 ;-) – the answer to Life, Universe and Everything :D

Will give a list soon – but the broad categories are: Mobility, Cool, Monitor, News, Other, People, Private and Tech.

Leaving you with links for the day:

I just love this graphic from kathy’s site:

progress.jpg

Metaphors in Design

I came across ‘real’ use of Metaphors thanks to Jono when I was doing my research in Berkeley at Berkeley Institute of Design. Off late I read the Master’s thesis by Dan Saffer from CMU on “The Role of Metaphor in Interaction Design“. In this post I am going to highlight specific points in the report. However, I would recommend you to it if you have a time. Its a quick and nice read.

Personally Metaphors I feel help in design. Help being more creative while designing a product. And also help people use something easily.

I am highlighting the key takeaways first – guidelines for Metaphor Usage:

  • Metaphors are cultural
  • Metaphors are contextual
  • Fit the Metaphor to the functionality, not the otherway around (obvious but difficult once you start using the metaphor)
  • Use metaphor to uncover otherwise hidden aspects of the material
  • Discard process metaphors when necessary
  • Don’t let metaphors ruin key features
  • Choose Metaphors that are appropriately scalable
  • Let your Metaphors degrade and die

Classic Example: Computer is a Desktop
I think this one has been really powerful and still applicable. I think its time we start looking at a metaphor for ‘ Mobiles / cellphone ‘. Any examples anyone can think of?
Mobile as a Remote? I think its good but not that scalable! Expect some comments here.

Use of Metaphor in Design Process:

  • Redifining “Problems”
  • As a Reasearch Tool
  • As Inspiration
  • As a Communication Device
  • In the process itself!

Metaphor in Products:

  • As a Conceptual Framework
  • Define Space and structure via Container Metaphors
  • To Orient (users)
  • Introduce New Concepts

Critique of use of Metaphors in Interaction Design:

  • Physicality of object being compared cannot be matched more by abstract subject
  • Abstract object has more properties than the correct object.
  • Metaphors don’t scale well
  • Metaphors degrade with time
  • Metaphors are overused as a design tool – hinder advanced users

blog map: a visualization

Roland Piquepaile talks about a cool blog visualization applet – check these web-maps (as i call them) on flickr tagged ‘websiteasgraphs‘. The legend meanings are:

blue: for links (the A tag);
red: for tables (TABLE, TR and TD tags);
green: for the DIV tag;
violet: for images (the IMG tag);
yellow: for forms (FORM, INPUT, TEXTAREA, SELECT and OPTION tags);
orange
: for linebreaks and blockquotes (BR, P, and BLOCKQUOTE tags); &
black: the HTML tag, the root node; and gray: all other tags

Check it out for your site with this applet (Creator:Aharef). I tried for my wordpress blog and it was damn slow. Will try it later – bandwidth is pretty low in India! Let me know if it works for you and how your site looks :-)

two interesting flickr groups!

I have been seeing some resurgence in my online community activity lately. Somehow you can leave the online community world. The scraps in my orkut have increased! Hence I am compelled to go back and be in touch :-) … with my friends and dig for more. My sister is right now she is spending ‘n’ time finding more friends, communities and chatting with them :D

Blame it on me! I now its addictive when you get started. I wasted time a year back should I say till I reached 100. Now the number of people I know in real life + linked on orkut is 230! Decently huge. The orkut scrapbook feature helps me to get a window view on my friends’s life. Non – invasive way of keeping in touch. And also at my own time!!

Anyway coming back to the topic of the post – the two groups I came across on flickr are:
1. Top20India
Whats cool is only 20 pictures remain in the group at any time! lovely concept click on the link for more funda… I submitted the following picture –
South India on wheels

2. Infinite Flickr: Amazing concept! to understand either click on the link to see the rules. This picture will give you an idea:

And now look at the series of these pics to appreciate the group!! Even better watch the ‘slide show of the pool snaps!’
I picked these photos because I just loved the eyes of the first person :D

I am really glad to see lovely creative stuff people are coming with as the costs of technology, media and networking are coming down! Can anyone imagine doing this a decade back? Remember all this is across time and space. The only thread that holds all of them together is ‘pure’ interest.
We are definitely at the threhold in terms of possiblities of outcome of what can happen if people get together just because of interest. The possibilities are ‘endless’! I wonder if even the mind is a barrier anymore … Have a good day folks.

MoMo India

Added later:

{ What is Momo? MoMo stands for Mobile Monday. Do read more on about it in Wikipedia. }

Rajan, Rajiv, Prashant and I have created the a yahoogroups for Mobile Monday – India Chapter. We decided to start with India as we didn't see much interest in each city. We shall spread as we become bigger. For the yahoo groups go here – http://groups.yahoo.com/group/momoindia/j

Also – I have created a MoMo grou.ps ID which is integrated with the yahoogroups (its getting integrated as I am writing this blog post). The grou.ps is great as we can share blogposts, links, photos and there is a wiki also! Click this for MoMo – Dashboard. You can also access it on the mobile at – http://m.grou.ps/momoindia

A flickr group has also been created – http://flickr.com/groups/momoindia for sharing pics related to mobile development in India.

Use the tag 'momoindia' whatever you do! :-) We are sure this is a small beginning of a bigger community! More inputs and suggestions are really welcome. And yeah do join the groups if 'mobile development' is your interest.



Click to join momoindia

grou.ps 2.0

I got this mail today from GROU.PS – a service I had registered for months ago didn’t come back to check it out. Its cool that Yahoo is now synchronised :-) I will soon check it out. Meanwhile folks anyone interested in a groups 2.0 concepts – register there and let me know.

By groups 2.0 I personally mean using RSS, tags (blog posts, flickr, delicious bookmarks) wikis and email effectively so that the people in a group use the entire internet and work as a group all the time i.e work and think as a group. Its no longer just uploading files and emails! I don’t see any groups service offering this as of now. No one is harnessing the power of the web as of now.

Here is the email I got from them. Would been good if they could have used my name instead of just saying ‘early adopters’! But you know what I am happy somewhere someplace someone actually called me an early adopter.

Dear early adopters,

Now it’s very easy to synchronize your existing Yahoo! Groups with our
services; import group members and archive mails in our Talks section in
one simple step. Here is what you need to do:

1) Sign in @ http://grou.ps/authentication.do
2) Select your grou.p from the left pane (you need to have admin
privileges)
3) Follow the “Grou.p Administration” link
4) Click on “Wrapper” button
5) Enter your Yahoo! account information (username and password) and Yahoo!
Group name (nothing stored)
6) Voila..

You may also want to see our latest features…

Thanks for using GROU.PS services.

Rajesh – thoughts on blogging

Rajesh Jain (My Boss) just blogged on Blogging and himself. I thought it would be a nice reading for all of you. He blogs at www.emergic.org

I met him through his blog and also got interviewed and got a job in his company through his blog!! (There you go about benefits about blogs)

Four Blog Years: The Beginning [May 15, 2006]
How I Blog [May 16, 2006]
MyToday [May 17, 2006]
Thinking Evolution [May 18, 2006]


“make our offline lives richer”

Two great back to back posts on why web apps fail!

The 7+7 reasons he mentions are:

  1. Focus on social instead of personal.
  2. They solve too many problems, or try to.
  3. They’re about making someone other than the user happy.
  4. They sell it the wrong way.
  5. Not in it for the long haul.
  6. They show too much of what’s going on, and get gamed.
  7. They don’t have an underlying business strategy of improving people’s lives.
  8. They’re never built.
  9. They’re modeling an offline activity incompletely.
  10. They’re ahead of the curve.
  11. They don’t plan for change.
  12. They don’t charge money.
  13. They have no barrier to entry…at all.
  14. They don’t think holistically.

He finally ends with this sentence:

“If we look closely, that’s what most successful web apps do: they make our offline lives richer.”

I completely agree. We are all here to make a difference in everybody’s life! Lets make the so called web 2.0 really social so that the impact comes back to the ‘real’ world.

another day in blogosphere …

I am glad that I discovered the blogosphere pretty early. I have been blogging for more than a year and reading blogs close to 2 years. I think I can call myself as an early adopter. Why I do it? I shall be soon writing a post of it (I am collecting my thoughts and also other’s thoughts).  Will leave you all with some links for the day …

All of them are a real good read. Enjoy …

A DVD shop blog!

Well, I spent a couple of hours with my DVD shop owner and I started a blog for him at of course wordpress – check it out at studiodvd.wordpress.com.
His shop name is “StudioDVD”.

I understands how a blog is going to help him! I explained him the difference between a post and blog. Told him how he could use categories – action, drama and romance … includes softporn (as of now a page) too ;-0

He has learnt how to enter a post and link it to Imdb. He is really impressed about the concept of blog and wordpress! He love the ‘stats’ page.

The benefits I have – I can easily see what new movies have come. And also see the rating immediately. I don’t have to bother calling him, then ask him whether this movie is good or not … saves his time and my time and both of us are better informed. And guess what – I check out the blog on my cellphone while returning from office. and then I call him up and say bring this dvd home. And the dvd is they delivered at my home before I reach my house! :-) cool na?

… and another huge benefit – he has asked my sister and me to come for a dinner someday (I loved that) and yeah in terms of perks of my work – 50% discount in my dvd rental prices.

Well, I am sure blogs will permeate into indian business and the cool UIs with internet technology – Indian small shop and business entreprenuers will adopt it in a great way!

What is RSS?

I came across this page ” RSS – A Primer for Publishers and Content Providers“. I should say that this page does a great job of explaining what RSS is! The explanation is plain, simple and lucid. Thoughts are clearly illustrated with pictures … All I can say is if you are still wondering what RSS i.e Really Simple sydication is then click here. It clearly explains the technology for a non-technical audience.

The page also talk about some case studies. I liked the following diagram (taken from the site):

Other links that explain RSS can be found in my delicious bookmarks on introductory RSS articles on the web.

blogger meet wrap up …

I reached Barista around 4:15pm. Looked for some know faces … I had been to a blogger meet in January earlier. Was going to approach the counter asking the folks at Barista about this when at one corner – I saw a face I recognized …

I raised my hand and he acknowledged. I approached him and said … "err does your name start with a 'V'?!" " No, but I am Saketh" he said. Then it sruck me and I said "Oh you write a blog called vulture something right?" … Saketh replied "hmm .. Vulturo (check out his blog, i just did its kewl)". He continued talking about himself. Then I asked him how often do bloggers in bombay meet. He said it used to be often last year – but the people who used to be enthu about it have fizzled about but they all somehow still manage to meet everymonth.

Then Yaz from Yazadjal.com came in and Saketh knew him and then there was a crowd. There were also a bunch of bloggers sitting at the other corner and our main aim was to grab some benches and chairs … and soon we all settled in and more people joined in. We all had a quick introduction and I live video – blogged it using my phone.

Amit from IndiaUncut pointed out I was supposed to ask permission before doing that … well I told them that I am well within my rights and I know it as a photographer! well, as a group they thought Amit was right and I didn't bother arguing and asked for permission before taking pics again. {but I know this … as a law its completely okay to take a picture of what you see through your eyes without straining it i.e use telephoto lens etc!} Here is the video of the round of introductions :-)

Then the focus shift to Nitin Pai from 'The Acorn' while the blog-call was being taken.
The noise at Barista and the lack of space made it difficult to clearly hear and participate in the discussion easily. The blog-call was as follows:

The conversation started out on whether economic development and peace are related or can be dealt independently. Soon transitioned into Indo-Pak relations. Analogies being drawn on how china dealth things in the late 80s. Nitin's basis was tackle the terrorists as india is doing now and Liberalize and once we have enough economic clout the borders will sort out themselves.


A brief video:

Nitin believes what the Pakistan society thinks of India in not important as the state overrules controls the psyche of the society. Amit, Ravikaran and I were against it. I have met lots of Pakistanis and believe me there is lot of mutual respect and friendly outlook.

Anyway, at this juncture in my life I am slightly out of Politics as I feel if people look into their hearts and think even slightly sensibly all the issues can be settled. Violence is a measure for the people who are impatient or are afraid. And 'Vengeance is a lazy form of gried' (comment from a movie – the interpreter?)

There was also lot of 'literary' talk which I couldn't relate to. I did feel slightly out of place as the obvious had their community feeling having interacted for quite sometime online world. i was not really following their blogs.

People then whipped out their cameras and clicked here and there:

I saw Amit had a Rebel XT – the camera I also own. I was slightly disappointed this month on myself when I broke the lens :-( Mistake on my part that I dropped it. The lens is good that its electronics is not functioning properly. Suman dropped in as I left (had some other appointment at 6pm. Asked her where she blogs. She said – I just blog about 'myself'! :-) I replied even I do 40% myself! She replied " just google suman kamath" and unfortunately I can't find it! (in the top 10 links meaning)

Managed to grab a mango milkshake during that time and get to know Ravikaran well. Will definitely be adding them to my blogrolls. Its simply a great feeling when the online clouds (internet) and the grounded coffee (real life) merger. Aroma is just blissful!!

Other people who summarised yesterday's meet: (will add later)

  1. ShriRam Karra
  2. Amit-Verma

Amit mailed me pointing out that I have to take permission for all the snaps and videos I take and mentioned that if I removed them from the post he will link me. I did come back and remove his photo. I still see he has linked me. Anyway, what are you thoughts folks on this? I feel you are free to blo, take a photo and video of what all you see! …