silence economy

I have been thinking and feeling a lot about silence. You can find posts on this topic in my blog : silence : Infact I lived the last 2 years of my life trying to appreciate in better :-)

This quote by Lao Tzu is so profound! Silence is a source of great strength


Meditating on silence

I mention about it in the following posts : Being Creative ; Creative Silence ; LoCuSt Theory . 2 years back i was so much into internet and mobile, I suddenly felt if I was too dependent on it. What if, I asked myself, I don’t have the connection? Will I be okay and happy? Am I too social? Can I be happy with myself and people around me? Or am I addicted to the internet to the extent that its a relationship I am dependent on? Hence over the last 700+ days I completely withdrew myself and now I am back to full form myself. Happy to say, I can go to an island and still remain happy with out electricity :-) The internet and mobile with facebook, twitter and google definitely keep me happy and entertained. But I shall be happy and thriving without it as well …

Coming back to the topic of the post, I see the whole world economy as a result of the human kind not be at ease with the silence. As I said in my earlier post, Locust Theory : The whole universe is built around Nothingness or impermanence. Actually a massive silence. The absolute truth is nothingness or silence!

The whole modern materialistic, capitalistic world seems to be making money from the inability of people to be at peace with the silence. The economy of the growth i.e. GDP is a measure of how much the country is working towards filing this silence! The only problem I see with this is its fundamentally unstable. Growth where the foundation of the economy is silence is more sustainable and democratic. Growth that is more thought out – a step though slower definitely towards a stronger, better and richer tomorrow. I think India’ growth trajectory is in the right direction with focus on sustainable development, long term development as the future i.e. as per needs and abilities. Of course, there is a balance of power, a big gap in the socio-economic structure. But the inclusive development will happen in sometime … if not now definitely by 2050! the internet and mobile will play a very critical role in this.

HAR PAL … KUCH ZAROORI ( Every Moment … something u need ) a new product we are re-launching and re-branding where I work. I guess this will add more fuel to the economy in general : ;-) and we take a cut! Hopefully in the more sustainable way.  Only time will tell but I am sure we are onto something really big here. Possibly the next google or facebook? I am sure this will be addictive. Atleast thats my job role to make it addictive – hope I live up to the expectations!

Coming to the more details of the silence economy, this is how the economy functions. In order to get away from the silence, a person, institution or group of people can do one of the following things:

  • create
  • consume
  • comment
  • curate
  • collaborate (co-create)
  • destroy
  • share

Depending where you are in the value making or consumption chain your either make or spend money! Thats the gyan session for today :-) too much philosophy. Next blog post on ‘life’ would be either on anger or how / why the future of money will be barter in the open, social and free world :-)

Being Creative

I have been following a process internally for the last 3 weeks to be creative. Sharing it everyone so that we can have a conversation and improve it such that it scales for everyone. Creative tendencies are still seen as a stroke of luck of pure genius! I think its a science yet to be discovered. So, we can have schools of creativity! Schools that can teach you to be creative in general ;-) Would love to do a PhD in this field and possibly start a ‘Department of Creativity’ ;-)

Here is the simple 3 step process:

  1. Keep your conscious mind blank or empty or silent (one step process for happiness! enjoy the silence!)
  2. Do something new
  3. Repeat step 1 and 2

At a fundamental level lot of people find that keeping the mind blank is difficult. Suggestions to make that a process – write down thoughts that come to your mind in paper and assure your self that you will think about it later :-) Possibly use technology (mobile?) if you cannot have paper and pen always! Better if you can read Getting things Done by David Allen

Next, when we keep our conscious mind blank (which I do naturally!), we are very sensitive to emotions. Especially destruction emotions. The book by Daniel Goleman – Destructive Emotions helps to give you an insight a lot! A quick summary – the three core ‘poisons’ from a destructive point of view are anger, craving and delusion!

On the delusion angle, basically  ego, the book by Eckhart Tolle – A New Earth gives you an insight.

The first week, I was doing this actively. Now, I am passively in this state without any effort and I am experiencing pure bliss :-) Filled with energy in terms of mind, body and spirit! Is this awakeing or nirvana or the buddha moment? You feel very child like with lot of empathy.

Just thought will blog it into Ether and see what people think! This is true spirituality with no religion. A process to be creative in all aspects i.e. love, curiosity and strength (my model of life – some time to be blogged later! already did that!! LoCuSt Theory) Have a good day all!

the media tree

My sister sent a lovely story as a forward and then it made me think about the Seventh Mass Media. This made me think a good way to help people visualize evolution of media is using a family tree analogy. Let me know how you like it. My family tree is different than what the story entails but I hope this make sense.

Grand Pa (Cinema – 1900) married Grand Ma (Radio – 1910) outcame daughter (TV – 1950) with strain of Richness+Mass
Grand Pa (Print – 1400) married Grand Ma (Recording – 1800) outcame son (Internet – 1980) with Curiosity+Interactivity
Pa (Internet – 1980) married Ma (TV – 1950) outcame (Mobile – 2000)!

I would say its a bit too soon to deciding its gender and its characteristics. Lets just wait and watch :-)

The story my sister sent The Stranger

A few years after I was born, my Dad met a stranger who was new to our small Texas town. From the beginning, Dad was fascinated with this enchanting newcomer and soon invited him to live with our family. The stranger was quickly accepted and was around from then on.

As I grew up, I never questioned his place in my family. In my young mind, he had a special niche. My parents were complementary instructors: Mom taught me good from evil, and Dad taught me to obey. But the stranger…he was our storyteller. He would keep us spellbound for hours on end with adventures, mysteries and comedies.
If I wanted to know anything about politics, history or science, he always knew the answers about the past, understood the present and even seemed able to predict the future! He took my family to the first major league ball game. He made me laugh, and he made me cry. The stranger never stopped talking, but Dad didn’t seem to mind.

Sometimes, Mom would get up quietly while the rest of us were shushing each other to listen to what he had to say, and she would go to the kitchen for peace and quiet. (I wonder now if she ever prayed for the stranger to leave.)
Dad ruled our household with certain moral convictions, but the stranger never felt obligated to honor them. Profanity, for example, was not allowed in our home… Not from us, our friends or any visitors. Our longtime visitor, however, got away with four-letter words that burned my ears and made my dad squirm and my mother blush. My Dad didn’t permit the liberal use of alcohol. But the stranger encouraged us to try it on a regular
Basis. He made cigarettes look cool, cigars manly and pipes distinguished.
He talked freely (much too freely!) about sex. His comments were sometimes blatant, sometimes suggestive, and generally embarrassing.

I now know that my early concepts about relationships were influenced strongly by the stranger. Time after time, he opposed the values of my parents, yet he was seldom rebuked… And NEVER asked to leave.

More than fifty years have passed since the stranger moved in with our family. He has blended right in and is not nearly as fascinating as he was at first. Still, if you could walk into my parents’ den today, you would still find him sitting over in his corner, waiting for someone to listen to him talk and watch him draw his pictures.

His name?…. .. .

We just call him ‘TV.’

(Note: This should be required reading for every household in America !)

He has a wife now….We call her ‘Computer.’

Their first child is “Cell Phone“.

The Seven Mass Media

  1. Print (books, pamphlets, newspapers, magazines, etc) from the late 1400s
  2. Recordings (records, tapes, cassettes, cartridges, CDs, DVDs) from the late 1800s
  3. Cinema from about 1900
  4. Radio from about 1910
  5. Television from about 1950
  6. Internet from about 1990
  7. Mobile phones from about 2000

iphone downgraded and cracked

Couple of weeks back, Dad’s friend’s iphone started behaving a wierdishly and he by mistake hit the restore button on the iTunes! It went back to locked conditions and he asked me to look into it. I had unlocked this phone around Feb when his son sent it as a gift to him from the US. I had used Ziphone (took only 5 mins to unlock!) and thinking it would be a no brainer, I took up the issue.

But after one full day trying to poke around I was clueless and frustrated. I attacked the problem the next day and I seemed to have gone nowwhere! Afraid that the phone might have bricked, I gave it one last shot to restore it and phew I successfully managed to do it. Its was frustrating for me to actually diagnose the problem and solve it as I had no idea what the uncle did & I had not followed iPhone developments.

Just bloggin this in case someone else faces the problemo ;P. Here it goes …

  • If you are getting error 20 (Version you are trying to load is older than the one you already have) check if you are really on DFU.(nice instructions there)

To put your phone in recovery mode simply:

1. Switch off the iPhone.
2. Hold the home button as you connect your iPhone to your PC/Mac.
3. Continue to hold the home button untill you see the iTunes/Dock Cable logo.

To put your iPhone in to DFU mode:

1. Turn on iPhone
2. Connect to PC/Mac
3. Open iTunes
4. Hold down power and home buttons
5. Wait untill red slider appears to shut down iPhone – keep holding the buttons.
6.Wait untill the iPhone shuts down
7. Release power button, keep home button pressed (if the Apple logo appeared you didn’t release the power button quick enough – try again!)
8. Wait about 7 seconds – iTunes should say there is an iPhone connected in “restore mode”

  • You will have to install iTunes 7.5 not the latest one! You need to remove all traces latest iTunes completely! Then you need to download 1.1.4 firware and install it (press the shift button when you click Restore to install a specific firmware) You will most likely come across error 1601 or 1602.
  • For exact instructions go to these links:-)
  • I had to use iLiberty+ finally to dissect the problem
  • Even then I was getting stuck with a problem where I had opened the phone but it was not recognizing the vodafone SIM! Duh, it was more like a iTouch! :-( Final solution came when I understood the crux of the matter was the baseband doesn’t change automatically. You need another software called the KiPhone. One has to do this as people haven’t still figured out how to crack the latest baseband 04.05.04

Hope this helps i.e. savnig time. The 5 minute venture last time turned out to be 3 days of effort ;P Mainly stalled due to pathetic download speeds. Who says experience helps!

Figure just for illustration ;-) borrowed it from the FaceBook News feed.

MVNOs in India

Read the TRAI consultation paper on MVNOs in India (thanks to contentsutra).

Decent thoughts there. Nothing great though :-) including some screenshots from the paper I think that are decent. For someone who has no idea on MVNOs the paper does a good job … The paper talks about how the licenses have been distributed as of now and then examines situations all over the world in terms of MVNO (lovely compilation). And yeah, there will be some entry barriers (cost and criteria) on MVNOs for sure I think!




Education Platform or Institution?

Jeff talks about distributed university, I am not happy that he titled the post Google U. He writes on the topic of collaborative education – the new category: openguru I have opened in my blog. This post very clearly elucidates my thoughts (still abstract) on this topic:

Once you put all this together, students can self-organize with teachers and fellow students to learn what they want how and where they want. My hope is that this could finally lead to the lifelong education we keep nattering about but do little to actually support. And why don’t we? Because it doesn’t fit into the degree structure. And because self-organizing classes and education could cut academic institutions out of the their exclusive role in education.The real problem with this for society is that it cuts out the core business of the university, which also produces research and scholarship.The problem here is that the internet is unforgiving of needs to preserve old models and methods. It disaggregates ruthlessly.

So I think that education has a rude shocking coming unless it gets ahead of this change and figures out how to become less of an institution and more of a platform.

To top this, put it in context of India. 2 years down the lane – mobile is where most of the Indian population will be accessing online content, 3G hopefully will be up and running (regulation is throttling it). The desire to learn is very much there in the Indian culture. Name the city (rural or urban): education is valued irrespective of the social strata. And finally  demographically, a young population which needs & wants to learn and will learn how to use the tools pretty damn fast irrespective of cost.

The only barrier according to me is TIME.


I have been wanting to write this post for a long time but delayed it beyond 9 to 10 months! I finally have internet and computer to write from close a year after. As I am usually ‘do in the flow’ kind of person, my blogging i.e the core dump (put in geek terms) had reduced considerably ;-) Feel like a free bird. I feel like blogging in the morning before reading the paper / having the cuppa of milk or late in the night when everyone in my house has slept off :-)

Coming back to the post – I am opening a new category in my blog today. Guess thats an indication of new area of interest .. ha ha. I am calling ‘openguru’. Quickly and abstractly the following tags explain the category well:

open, learning, collaborative, technology, internet, mobile, media

I get a huge sense of enjoyment when I am learning and I don’t this desire will ever go away (fortunately I have been good at getting things fast!). And I want to just point you to certain cool websites were you can learn. However point to be noted – they structed content for you to assimilate. Nothin collaborative about it!

I have used Knowledge@Wharton and am a regular reader, got the hang of it when I was invovled with their team to launch their mobile India website during their Indian Launch!
However yet to explore any other site. Do you have any links to throw? 


Join us Today (Sunday) for MoDeMo – a Mobilist Show and Tell Event
More Details at:
Location: ThoughtWorks Office, Bangalore

Tentative Schedule: (15 mins per Demo)
Morning Session ( 9am – 1pm )

Mobile Map Application that does not require GPRS, Vishnu
Foodie Hotline – Ubona Voice Search Engine, Vishal Lal,
Mobile Video Streaming, Kunal, Novix
iPhone and 3rd Party application, Siddharth
Mysore Dassara – Flashlite Based Application,Vivek,TheDesignTree
Online Video on Nokia Phones, Rajeswari, Nokia
Mobile Mandi Bhav , Parul Awasthy, TCS
Mobile Cruiser – Symbian Call Handling Application
MyDuniya – Integrating the Mobile and the Web World, Ganapathy
Game Developemnt Demo, Zarina
OpenGL based games, Selvan
Google my Location on Mobile, Ajay
Mobile commerece, mobile banking, Ritesh Mittal, NGPay

Post Lunch ( 2pm – 4 pm )

Mobile Photo Application, Manish
Mobile Adult Literacy, Aditya Mishra, TCS
Mobile Photo Blogging,Varun, Fonearena & MoMo Chennai
Mango Application Framework,Sunil Maheswari, Mango Technologies
Mobitop – a Mobile Application Platform, Lalit, Mobisy
Opera Mini Browser, Navjot & Sagar
SMS Gupshup – Mobile Social Messaging Platform, Tathagata, Webaroo
SMS Social Networking in Babalife , Sean Blagsvedt Company, Babalife

Post Tea ( 4:30 pm – 5:30 pm) – Mobile Social Search, Sameer Shishodia, Ziva Software
Mobile Visa Money Transfer, Naveen Thangiah, mChek
Entreprise Tracking with Mobile LBS, Anand, Mobiance
Activ Mobs

Open Group Discussion ( 6 pm – 7 pm)

Discussion about Mobile and India: SMS, GPRS, Apps & Hardware

Just Twttrd about it :-) Its going to be exciting – mobile geeks time it is!! All Mobile enthusiasts are welcome to attend if they have time. Just register (for free) up ahead. I think we might also allow spot registration …

google india launches premium SMS service

Well Well – finally here it is! Google India has launched SMS services :-) and here are the details.

54664 (5GOOG)

Types of services:
Local , Weather, Glossary, Movies, Q&A, Translation, Web Snippets, Calculator, Currency Conversion

I have loved the concept esp with relevance to India, this was something I tried and did succeed when I was in Mytoday. We didn’t take it to the next level as the management didn’t want to go that route. I like that I can query for:

  • movies and theatre phone numbers!
  • Find Thai restaurant
  • Rs to US convertor

Coming to some improvements / cribs I have:

  • Its taking more than 2 mins to get the sms back. common this is google I expect things to work quicker! I think they will have serious scaling issues!
  • Relevant text ads? or Deals?
  • Now that they have sms act to together … google calendars and reminders ??
  • A look into their mobile privacy policy
    • Sometimes, we record your phone number. We record your phone number when you send it to us; ask us to remember it; or make a call or send a text message or SMS to or from Google. {how clear are they going to be with this? I have my reservations!}
    • If you use location-based products and services, such as Google Maps for mobile, you may be sending us location information.
    • Certain of our products and services allow you to interact and share
      your information with others. Please consider carefully before disclosing any personal information or data that might be accessible to others.
    • The Nail on the Coffin - Google adheres to the US Safe Harbour privacy principles. For more information about the Safe Harbour framework or our registration, see
      the Department of Commerce’s Web site.

My advice – use at your own discretion … :-) Anyway, I am going to go ahead and use it! Remember its on an average 2 bucks a pop!

link burrp!

Facebook + iPhone = UltraCool
Airtel ties up with Affle for improved SMS-Telecom-News By Industry-News-The Economic Times
FrontlineSMS: The complete entry-level SMS text messaging system for NGOs and charities
SMS your ECG to ER
m-learning – 2 years28082007 Alexander Hayes » SlideShare
“If it doesn’t work on a billion phones, don’t bother” » SlideShare

Starting up … Luck and the entrepreneur, part 1: The four kinds of luck
Innovation Forum
Talking with the Receptionist, Pausing When You Speak (Leadership Success) – Knowledge@Wharton
The Flip Side of Entrepreneurship by Glenn Kelman – How to Bounce Back From a PR Blunder
The Official Palm Blog: A Message to Palm Customers, Partners and Developers
On a day of market turmoil;words of wisdom from Warren Buffett
Management Methods | Management Models | Management Theories
Startup Weekend
Media – Photo and Film
Announcing PFCOne : The Online Film Festival for One Minute Movies : PassionForCinema
FlashFlavor » Blog Archive » i’ve got a hotstick
gemma & justin barkhuff » about us
Whazzup Mumbai !!! (Bombay): Film Clubs in Mumbai
Benji’s Studio Lighting and Posing Tutorial
The Morning News – Still Life

General Fun
Learning by living: dare to buy
AlterNet: Are Men Threatened by Funny Women?

RhymeZone rhyming dictionary and thesaurus
Nano City
AdMob – AdMonitor
NAMI | “A Day in the Life” Contest

Social Networking and Communities

Unit Structures: New Essay: The Vibrancy of Online Social Space
White Label Social Networking Solutions Chart, Part II
My Social Media Toolkit : []
How to Save the World
Brad’s Thoughts on the Social Graph
PR 2.0 – Silicon Valley
Main Page – Facebook Developers Wiki

Personal Productivity

Get Off Your Butt: 16 Ways to Get Motivated When You’re in a Slump | zen habits
Peaceful Simplicity: How to Live a Life of Contentment | zen habits
Web Worker Daily » Your Information Manifesto: 21 Tips to Deal with Info Overload
100 Mile Diet: Local Eating for Global Change » Getting Started guide

comments on vibrancy of SNS

Just read Fred’s article Vibrancy of the online Social Space and wrote a comment there … given the fact that my blogging is coming down I think I repost the comment to the article as blog post. Some snippets from the article:

as I log in, I am engaged by a cross-section of my social relationships. In an instant, information is revealed, opportunities are discovered, and a website becomes a social nexus – from which I can derive a sense of gratification, meaning and identity.

In her 1961 work The Death and Life of Great American Cities, Jane Jacobs described the sidewalk ballet of a vital urban environment. Jacobs argued that a vibrant and diverse city should possess four characteristic design elements, the first being that a neighborhood should be multifunction, creating activity throughout the day. Next, a city should have short blocks and its buildings should be multiform, creating interest and promoting exploration by inhabitants. Finally, Jacobs argued for density, in which different populations intersperse, affording variety and shared resources.

Applying Jacobs’ criteria to an online space creates a challenge; as a neighborhood jumps from the physical to the virtual, the nature of its goods changes.

Arguing for shorter blocks, Jacobs felt that this type of design would foster exploration by city dwellers. The “short blocks” analogy is alive and well in online social networks, where the ability to browse and explore fellow network participants fuels use. In a social network, we enumerate our identity as we describe our interests, tag each other, and post on walls and message boards. These “digital traces” are often hyperlinked, permitting endless point-and-click exploration of the social space.

Indeed, online social networks are concentrated; in this sense they are unlike any neighborhood. Social networks allow for the centralization of one’s network in a single place; geographic boundaries are rendered insignificant as we connect across place and time. The social network allows the work friends to intermingle with grade school friends in an odd, often awkward dance.

In a study conducted at Michigan State University (Lampe, 2006), researchers found that friendships in social networks often began offline and migrated online, rather than the other way around.

The social cost of relationship maintenance decreases; the birthday card is replaced with a wall post. We can certainly lament the depersonalization of online interaction, but we can’t impugn the outcome – we are able to manage larger collections of friends with less effort than ever before. Do these extended friend networks increase sociality or simply introduce new digital tethers to our social life? That is a question we’ll work towards answering, as the effects of these digital publics on our real world is explored.

We flirt, we interact, we do business, we seek out information and gratification, finding a complex social world at our fingertips. While the digital spaces we inhabit will have a good deal in common with our cities of concrete and granite, they are unique places with unique challenges. While the technological emphasis of relevance and searchability will create new types of interactions online, it would be wise for developers to pay attention to Jacbos; they will find both the meaning and the letter of her laws instructive.

My comments:

Fred … nicely written will read this again and hopefully get back with more thoughts. From my personal experience, I see myself making more friends either in the offline or real world and enriching the boards in social networking sites like playing a game of scrabble or doing fun stuff.

However, I make more chance exploration kind of encounters in communities like Flickr and Flickr communities and special niche communities for like minded topics. When we have meetups – I like the interaction and then choose to go online hoping to find the people I liked online and grow the bond richer.

I have never come across party like behaviour in the online space. And yes, I haven’t tried second life as the bandwidth is very less in India. (Feel frustrated about that once I moved back from the Bay Area.)

But, there is one thing you should consider: the influence of the mobile and information convergence it brings on! It was also very interesting to see Steve Jobs showcasing facebook’s beta iPhone site :-) What happens as a next step as your social internet sphere moves with you on the go. What happens in countries like India and other where majority of population in a year or two is going to experience SNS primarily through the mobile??

I am just putting a screen shot from couple of applications to aid your thought process of the visualization of my facebook social sphere. Remember its going to be only 3 months I am on facebook and I am loving it completely. I have around 225 contacts on facebook and around 375 contacts on orkut – all decently meaningful ones so that my interactions there don’t get diluted!




I thought I will twitter quotes from Tryst with Destiny (TwD ) – but then thought it might just be too much ;-) for non-Indians twiter followers. Anyway my patriotric feeling were up on techcruch – thanks to thejo – for pointing it to me! here are the TwD tweets (some slightly modified):

TwD1: To the nations & peoples of d world we send greetings & pledge ourselves 2 cooperate with’em in furthering peace, freedom & democracy.

TwD: we take the pledge of dedication to the service of India & her people & to the still larger cause of humanity.

TwD: Are we brave enough & wise enough to grasp this opportunity & accept the challenge of the future?

TwD: Freedom & power bring responsibility. Nevertheless, the past is over & it is the future that beckons to us now.

TwD: service of India means service of the millions who suffer, means d ending of poverty & ignorance & disease & inequality of opportunity

TwD: as long as there are tears & suffering, so long our work will not be over.

TwD: Peace, freedom, prosperity & disaster in this ONE World that can no longer be split into isolated fragments.

TwD: freedom brings responsibilities & burdens & we have to face them in the spirit of a free & disciplined people.

TwD: thoughts must be of the unknown volunteers & soldiers of freedom who, without praise or reward, have served India even unto death.

TwD: We think also of bro & sis who’ve been cut off from us by political boundaries & who unhappily can’t share in the freedom that has come

TwD: To bring freedom & opportunity to the common man, to the peasants & workers of India; to fight & end poverty & ignorance & disease;

TwD: build up a prosperous, democratic & progressive nation, create social, economic & political instn. 2 ensure justice & fullness 2 every1

TwD: Jai Hind

mobile programs for Nokia E50

Well, my mind was torn between buying a Nokia E65, HTC Touch and waiting for the iPhone (Wi-Fi Phones). As each needed around 50% of my monthly (yeah I am taking home less than my student salary I was earning 3 yrs back … talk about personal progression!), I decided to ditch them and revert back from to my Nokia E50. I had given the Nokia E50 to my Dad for him to experience the new mobile life. His Employer (SBI) has given him a Nokia N70 and he is happy :-)

Having lived 5 solid months on a low end mobile with no internet – I felt different. My whole experience shifting to Bangalore has been different. Spent a few months with no net, no TV, no FM and no Newspaper at home. With Mobile being the sole companion … a revealing experience more on that later. But I searched on the net to equip my mobile with some programs and here are some links I found useful! Some of them did not install on my mobile as I have not upgraded the software on my phone I think. Here are some themes, games and utilities!!!

Going clean on the go!

I wanted to write this close to a month back but here it goes out finally: My Friend Dhana along with her colleague launched MizPee and the response has been zimply phenomenal. She was just super duper excited last when I had a skype chat with her before leaving for my himalayan trip. Its the first product at YojoMobile (you can expect more cool ones from them soon!)

Well the main idea about the mobile solution is it does just one thing really really well – finding the closest, cleanest toilet!! {local ads are matched} Read more about it on the MizPee website and reviews here and there. A quick google search give 145k hits! I am like wow … talk about using the mobile for really personal stuff ;P


I am like this has to be blogged – for future retreival :-) I got a bummer of a news in the morning that Tata Indicom the only provider that said will provide Internet to my place is sorry and is looking forward to revitalize our relationship on a later date ;P {I have a bigger post on that soon}!!

So, decided I will call airtel and activate GPRS (Mobile Office) and using internet on the go. Pained that its going to 43 kbps speed but atleast – its going to be always available. But I was really surprised with the activation messages I have to send. The cost is Rs 140/week (they highlight this plan only after you really dig and ask!)

Activate Mobile Office    : sms MO to 6123
Deactivate Mobile Office : sms MO CNCL to 222
Check Unbilled Amount  : sms UNB to 121
Outstanding amount       : sms OT to 121

Can airtel get more intuitive. Talk about customer experience and Usability. I wonder if this is the state everywhere else in the world. Something is really messed up in the corporate structure I think – otherwise who in the hell will say send sms to 6123 to activate and send to 222 to deactive!

I am blogging for my personal reference and hope other people benefit from it!

i3G spectrum and iPhone reviews

A post on mobile and India after a really long time. Interest got rekindled after reading the lovely interview on Indian @ Wharton with ISB’s Ravi Bapna (I gotta mail him) and Stern’s Arun Sundarajan on Spectrum revenues and Infrastructure subsidy. Excerpts from the interview:

looks like the infrastructure rollout costs over the next few years to get to that target of a few hundred million subscribers are going to be on the order of a minimum of $20-25 billion. But the flipside is that the revenue opportunity is actually extremely large given the numbers.

You don’t know how these things unfold. The rural segment could well surprise us in terms of the usage. Of course, there is a big market for micro credit, for insurance and for all kinds of services to get out there.

I think the more important issue is that the Defense Ministry and the Telecommunications Ministry need to really sit down together — perhaps under the aegis of the Prime Minister’s office — and take this as a national priority and resolve the issues. I think that is the key issue, and I think once that gets held, the spectrum should get rolled out. The operators are ready. Talking to them, they are just waiting for the regulatory “cholesterol” to sort of disappear and they want to start making money.

As Ravi mentioned, there are at least three layers here. You’ve got device manufacturers. You’ve got infrastructure and service providers. And you’ve got content providers. And unless there is a strong enough belief among the content providers that there’s going to be sufficient infrastructure fast enough, the content is not going to appear. If the content does not appear, the value of the infrastructure as perceived by the consumer is lower.

Nokia has a big manufacturing facility now, and they are trying to look at ethnographically how people in emerging markets would use the phone differently. So, things that they can learn from [India] probably would translate well into other emerging markets all over the world.

Overall, I think the picture looks good on these fronts. But getting these three or four key constituencies aligned in one direction, particularly the content side and fostering innovation

and then just mentioning a bit about the iPhone – this review from the BBC and Engadget sums it up!! Excerpt from the BBC review:

Apple’s claim that the iPhone is five years ahead of any other mobile is nonsense, in terms of actual tech specifications. In particular, the antiquated data system lets it down badly. However, as a user experience it is probably about 10 years ahead.

Using the iPhone makes you feel quite angry towards other mobile manufacturers. What have they been doing? Fobbing us of with such truly awful interfaces?

However, I am conscious that where we do benefit on other platforms is the wealth of third party applications. If Apple could sort out the camera, data speed and keyboard the iPhone would still not be perfect, but it wouldn’t be far off.

Returning to civilization

Seated on a rickety bus from Rishikesh to Delhi, I want to put pen to paper. Heart desires to be analog still … But writing seems impossible on the spiky terrain!

Suddenly I realized, Apurv my trekmate has a nokia e62 with GPRS & voila i can write (its easy to type even when the bus moves) and blog!!!!

Will write more soon but here I am just yelling: I am BACK.

And it feels good to be connected. Will write more shorter posts on the way if I can …

sms gupshup

Well Webaroo folks have launched sms groups {sms gupshup}. My first reaction is they seem to be lacking some real tech talent or innovation! Having pioneered offline mobile storage thought – they well ahead on the curve (and in the right direction) in terms or vision and technology. But their recent sms forays in terms of following twittr and textmarks and MyToday stuff – I am wondering if they have started gettting their priorities mixed up!

What I can see new here is just some lovely eye-candy regular web2.0 CSS stuff. Nothing new. Given the fact that SMS is here to stay and that they have got venture funded – can we see some more india relevant technology thats new and useful??!

May be its possible as I realized – they will be able to implement it properly and take it to market sooner/properly than MyToday folks. Reminsd me back in September when we started the SMS Groups at MyToday we were genuinely interested and really enthused. Though the service has taken sometime to build up (all virally! I estimate there will be close to half a million customers as of now), I wonder whether they have started making money with Ads. Rajesh needs to be more aggressive. Its was initially a Blue Ocean Space and its becoming bloody really really fast! There is definitely money to be made – but I guess its going to be a wait and watch game!!

PS: Don’t get me wrong if I was critical, I am just genuinely concerned of the mobile / tech scenario in India. Yes, its true I have personally worked at Netcore (MyToday) and have interacted with Webaroo when I was in MyToday and also checked them out when they called me for interview. We need innovation, hard core indian ones. Common the american mobile market is less mature and competitive than the Indian market and all we can do is ape the Americans in this matter too! wtf!!

This reminds me of my twttr comment a week back when I read about google gears – I had said:

Google gears + MOBILE! Webaroo better start thinking fast. Imagine possiblities of offline ajax apps on mobile – thats like being on ecstacy

yesterday it was me, now ajit talks about google gears on mobile – note: google checkout mobile is out!

Mobile Bill

Well, last month was a Bomb in terms of personal mobile bill :-) I usually used to call from my home land line and Dad used to pay the bill :P so in a way it was not factored.

Bill Duration: 26 Apr 07 to 25 May 07
Bill Amount: Rs 1450 (wow thats close to $35!) (90% was personal)

I am on Airtel India Roam Plan – as I expected to roam around and call more to my folks and friends in Bombay initially. Well the percentage distribution was like that!! Also I didn’t have GPRS – yet to buy a good phone and hence so savings there :P

Call Type %
Local Outgoing 26% (200mins!)
STD Outgoing 48%
SMS 6%
Roaming Outgoing 9.5%
Roaming Incoming 10.5%

All this analysis thanks to online airtel bill. Though I don’t like the UI much but I like the facility atleast!

In short – I had spoken 9hrs 53mins and 1 sec :-) i.e 600 mins of outgoing not caring about roaming and incoming/outgoing and local or STD. Now by US standard in terms of bucket plans its around $45 for 600 mins (in + out) (nights and weekends free!) – so India is cheaper but not cheap.

I am sure I would have spoken in total 1200 mins last month! – talk about me a vociferous social animal ;-) BTW that largest amount of minutes for me was 2 years back in the US – 3021 mins in March 05! and I paid $55 for that!