Archive for the ‘ Technology ’ Category

The Waking Life

Excellent thought provocative movie.

The trick is to combine your waking rational abilities with the infinite possibilities of your dreams. Because, if you can do that, you can do anything

via IMDB

Make Terminal look good

The IR theme is one of the cleanest themes out there for terminal. Grab it from Todd's detailed blog linked below. I also use some of the colors from the theme to pretty up the shell a bit and make it look like:

Terminal Window

Put these settings in your .bashrc or .bash_profile

export COLOR_NC='\033[0m' # No Color export COLOR_WHITE='\033[1;37m' export COLOR_BLACK='\033[0;30m' export COLOR_BLUE='\033[0;34m' export COLOR_LIGHT_BLUE='\033[1;34m' export COLOR_GREEN='\033[0;32m' export COLOR_LIGHT_GREEN='\033[1;32m' export COLOR_CYAN='\033[0;36m' export COLOR_LIGHT_CYAN='\033[1;36m' export COLOR_RED='\033[0;31m' export COLOR_LIGHT_RED='\033[1;31m' export COLOR_PURPLE='\033[0;35m' export COLOR_LIGHT_PURPLE='\033[1;35m' export COLOR_BROWN='\033[0;33m' export COLOR_YELLOW='\033[1;33m' export COLOR_GRAY='\033[1;30m' export COLOR_LIGHT_GRAY='\033[0;37m'

Specify your shell to display time and current folder with home abbreviated as ~

export PS1="[[${COLOR_LIGHT_RED}]\T[${COLOR_NC}]][ [${COLOR_LIGHT_BLUE}]\w [${COLOR_NC}]] [${COLOR_PURPLE}]> [${COLOR_NC}]"

via Todd Werth

Chrome Release Cycle

Google has essentially mastered the release process for it's Chrome Browser and made version numbers for their software essentially obsolete. The release often strategy is an excellent approach to client software. It's good to see Mozilla following the same path.

Think of any major website, even the fancy Web 2.HTML5 ones... do they have version numbers? We took the same approach to our client software as an online web service. That is... we treat releases as a means of getting features out to users and not goals in and of themselves. It's about flow

via Chrome Blog

One Man’s Ceiling

Excellent Article!

What’s true for low-interest disposable consumer goods is even more true for websites and web applications. As creators, it’s our job to fashion experiences that gently tug at the heart or lightly tickle the pleasure centers, lingering in the mind and quietly demanding reengagement. Good enough is not good enough, unless we want our web products to sit on the cyber-shelf, gathering digital dust.Jeffrey Zeldman

via Cognition

Why Can't Developers Estimate Time?

It's not just developers that are bad with estimates either. Everyone at some point is just winging it because it's something they've never done before and won't be able to successfully make a judgement until they have.

Via PatchSpace

Working with the Chaos Monkey

When you work with the Chaos Monkey, you quickly learn that everything happens for a reason. Except for those things which happen completely randomly. And that's why, even though it sounds crazy, even though it sounds crazy, the best way to avoid failure is to fail constantly.

via CodingHorror

The Facebook hype

Don't get me wrong, I use social networks and media heavily. It's painfully obvious that all internet fads die eventually. Staying relevant is hard, because the internet has a serious attention disorder. It's a matter of time until the current concept of a social network will be replaced by the next myspace or facebook. Check out the article linked below for a well argued opinion.

So it's not that MySpace lost and Facebook won. It's that MySpace won first, and Facebook won next. They'll go down in the same order.

Douglas Rushkoff via CNN

iOS vs Android App Development

Never has there been a truer statement made about either ecosystem

Fragmentation on the device side is not a huge problem, but Steve is absolutely right when he says that there are more challenges for developers when working with Android. But that’s fine, developers will figure out how to work any given ecosystem and as long as it doesn’t cause physical pain, it’s ok;-) Nobody else will be able to build what Apple has built, there just isn’t that kind of market power out there.

That doesn’t mean that model is superior, it’s just important to understand that Apple is Apple and Google is Google. Different. And developers need to understand that. Different business models for different ecosystems. And wouldn’t forget about Nokia and MeeGo either, new leadership always tends to shake things up and create opportunity. And HP-Palm. And RIM. And even Microsoft. It’s a fragmented world.

- Peter Vesterbacka (Rovio)

Webkit Scrollbar CSS

If you find yourself developing a Chrome App or want to enhance an experience from the default browser behavior, webkit lets you define a skin to override the OS stylesheet. You can use any css attribute to style the scrollbars including CSS3 gradients

::-webkit-scrollbar { background: #303030; border: 1px solid #292929; height: 8px; width: 8px; }

Via : Webkit Blog

Ls Treeview

On Unix based operating systems if you would like see a treeview of your directory structure, try running the following command in your fav shell

ls -R | grep ":$" | sed -e 's/:$//' -e 's/[^-][^\/]*\//–/g' -e 's/^/ /' -e 's/-/|/'

CSS Tap Highlight Color

Saw this on YUI Blog. Very cool and useful for mobile apps

Evolution of Storage

The evolution of storage

The Irony...

Net Neurality and why its important

Net Neutrality

If Net Neutrality didn’t exist

Death of Web 2.0

Death of Web 2.0

Since late 2005, there had been much buzz of this Web 2.0; the new Internet. What really is was Web 2.0?Web 2.0 was a "revolution" on the Internet that lead to services and sites being created that relied heavily on user generated content. Blogging platforms,photo publishing sites, news aggregators and RSS feeds were all the hype until mid 2009. Not much innovation has been happening in the core technology that powered these colossal user driven websites. In the mean time, the Internet kept growing and it got a larger user base. The masses are now hungry for information and try to use every possible resource on the Internet to satisfy their needs. Search, as we know is what we associate with the word Google.Though google still commands a majority of search, a new searcher junkie has evolved; One that is thirsty for information that is absolutely up to date which is not the case with google whose crawlers could take hours to get the content. This gave rise to sites like Twitter. In terms of content aggregation and visual representation Yahoo Search Monkey, Wolfram Alpha and Google Squared have come out in the forefront as customizable and option driven platforms that let you do all sorts of fancy stuff with your data. Twitter, for now is the king of real time search. From recent history, it has played crucial roles in the US Elections, Iran Election, Sports Events and the most recent death of Michael Jackson. Web 2.0 lacked this functionality. It is not just about community driven websites, a lot of it has to do with the contribution of individual users and how they want to control what they see.I found an interesting quote online about real time search via inchoo.net

Real Time Search

This leads us to the topic of crowd sourcing. There has been a recent spurt of sites where the site depends on its users to contribute to the data on the site. Wikipedia is the best example for a crowd sourced website. How much of this information is valid and relevant? I think with the next wave of web technologies coming in, there has to be a defining line between user generated content and accurate content. Search relevancy is an important progression in the events that lead to Web 3.0. Many of you might argue that the third iteration of the web is already here. I think its almost here. With advances in HTML5 and technologies like Google Wave which are still in the works and not completely comprehensible to the normal user, I think many companies are making the right steps to forward the web. The web is an important source of information and I see no reason why it can't continue to become better. It's a matter of making the right technological decisions.

Crowdsourcing the Interwebs

Opening up API's, letting users mash-up content from their existing user base with another service with not only generate revenue for both the parties but will result in an overall pleasurable experience for the user which is what it comes down to at the end of the day. Twitter, Foursquare , Facebook, Last.fm etc.. are not just the childish social networks you think they are. They have an enormous user-base who generate an enormous amount of data that could be used from tons of stuff like marketing to recommendation engines to discovering new music. I think these guys have taken the right step. It's a matter of making it more appealing to the average person. Soon enough, with a better business model and wider mobile accessibility I think these websites will define the future of the interwebs. I will leave it at that.

Please leave comments and let me know what you think about Web 3.0? What do you think it is going to be? Is it going to rock your world?

Wall Street Art

Stock Market

“What you see might not be real”

Social Networking in a picture

via Constatine Graphics

Power of Money - Adam Khoo

I got this interesting email from my dad about Adam Khoo, one of the most prominent entrepreneurs in Singapore and the youngest millionaire there:

Some of you may already know that I travel around the region pretty frequently, having to visit and conduct seminars at my offices in Malaysia,Indonesia, Thailand and Suzhou (China). I am in the airport almost every other week so I get to bump into many people who have attended my seminars or have read my books.

Recently, someone came up to me on a plane to KL and looked rather shocked. He asked, ‘How come a millionaire like you is traveling economy?’ My reply was, ‘That’s why I am a millionaire. ’ He still looked pretty confused.

This again confirms that greatest lie ever told about wealth (which I wrote about in my latest book ‘Secrets of Self-Made Millionaires’ ). Many people have been brainwashed to think that millionaires have to wear Gucci, Hugo Boss, Rolex, and sit on first class in air travel. This is why so many people never become rich because the moment that earn more money, they think that it is only natural that they spend more, putting them back to square one.

The truth is that most self-made millionaires are frugal and only spend on what is necessary and of value. That is why they are able to accumulate and multiply their wealth so much faster.

Over the last 7 years, I have saved about 80% of my income while today I save only about 60% (because I have my wife, mother in law, 2 maids, 2 kids, etc. to support). Still, it is way above most people who save 10% of their income (if they are lucky).

I refuse to buy a first class ticket or to buy a $300 shirt because I think that it is a complete waste of money. However, I happily pay $1,300 to send my 2-year old daughter to Julia Gabriel Speech and Drama without thinking twice. When I joined the YEO (Young Entrepreneur’ s Orgn)a few years back (YEO) is an exclusive club open to those who are under 40 and make over $1m a year in their own business) I discovered that those who were self-made thought like me. Many of them with net worth well over $5m,travelled economy class and some even drove Toyota’s and Nissans,not Audis, Mercs, BMWs.

I noticed that it was only those who never had to work hard to build their own wealth (there were also a few ministers’ and tycoons’ sons in the club) who spent like there was no tomorrow. Somehow, when you did not have to build everything from scratch, you do not really value money. This is precisely the reason why a family’s wealth (no matter how much) rarely lasts past the third generation. Thank God my rich dad foresaw this terrible possibility and refused to give me a cent to start my business.

Then some people ask me, ‘What is the point in making so much money if you don’t enjoy it?’ The thing is that I don’t really find happiness in buying branded clothes, jewellery or sitting first class. Even if buying something makes me happy it is only for a while, it does not last.

Material happiness never lasts, it just give you a quick fix. After a while you feel lousy again and have to buy the next thing which you think will make you happy. I always think that if you need material things to make you happy, then you live a pretty sad and unfulfilled life..

Instead, what makes me happy is when I see my children laughing and playing and learning so fast. What makes me happy is when I see my companies and trainers reaching more and more people every year in so many more countries. What makes me really happy is when I read all the emails about how my books and seminars have touched and inspired someone’s life.

What makes me really happy is reading all your wonderful posts about how this blog is inspiring you. This happiness makes me feel really good for a long time, much much more than what a Rolex would do for me.

I think the point I want to put across is that happiness must come from doing your life’s work (be it teaching, building homes, designing,trading, winning tournaments etc.) and the money that comes is only a by-product.

If you hate what you are doing and rely on the money you earn to make you happy by buying stuff, then I think that you are living a life of meaninglessness.

100 Mac Applications I Use Daily

app_storeI have seen way too many of these 100 applications to use lists. I figured i make my own, something that is less commercial and more from experience of breaking my computer a dozen times. Some of these might be different compared to public opinion but give them a shot and you might just see yourself starting to like them. A lot of these are biased from the perspective of web development because thats what I do. Anyway,here goes:

Browsers:

Firefox 3.5 with the following plugins:

Audio:

iTunes is hands down the best music client for MacOS or Windows Gimme Some Tune keeps my songs updated with album art and lyrics and also features a last.fm plugin Garageband for music editing occasionally Audacity would rank pretty high on this list to edit music. It is really versatile and its open source!

Video:

VLC is something i rely on this for all my video needs. It's really close to version 1 after close to 5 yrs of development! DivX Player for those random sites that complain about DivX Flip4Mac is one of those things that every mac user has. Enables browsers to support wmv format and plays wmv within Quicktime Quicktime comes with MacOS. A plugin called Perian enables all sorts of video support and makes is a lot like VLC iMovie for small video edits iDVD to make those fancy DVD's that i need for random occasions.( I rely on the iLife Suite a lot just because it is really well integrated with everything on the system)

Images:

Adobe Photoshop CS4 is the king of editing any photo. I can't remember a day when its not open Preview for quick editing and color adjustments for which I dont want to fire up Photoshop iPhoto to keep my photo library organized Picasa is not really on my computer anymore. It got replaced by iPhoto 09 Automator and Applescript for repetitive image tasks.

Web Development:

Adobe Dreamweaver CS4 for managing projects and intial design work Textmate is one of the most wonderful pieces of software ever created Espresso has been a recent program for me. I really like the interface for managing projects Rapidweaver and iWeb for really fast work :D Adobe Flex for Flex App Development Adobe Air because i use a lot of little tools for development Font Picker to view samples of fonts before using them Boks is a visual grid editor which gives me css prototyping using grids. Eclipse for C++ and JAVA development xampp to operate a local server for testing before deployment CocoaMySQL Sequel Pro to manage MySQL databases Merlin as a project managment tool Transmit to sftp for projects

System Utilites:

Cocktail to keep my computer clean Shovebox to manage my clipboard notes MacSpeech Dictate to use voice commands to manage tasks AppZapper to uninstall apps Toast Titanium to burn CD's and DVD's 1Password to manage Password and serial numbers Little Snitch as a network filter SuperDocker to modify my dock :) Unarchiver to manage all packages since the built in one doesn't support a lot of extensions Geektool to embed script results into my Desktop. Scripts available in the code section of this site Parallels to run virtual machines. I have a lot of these mostly to test browsers Google Search Box to extend spotlight a little bit

IM and Social Media:

Adium for mostly everything IM iChat for audio video chat on AIM Skype is my preferred VoIP application Meebo is more of webapp but it works on the go TweetDeck for Twitter and Facebook stuff

Random Stuff:

Tofu to read ebooks. It formats them in a more readable format Chmox to read those old chm ebooks iCal for my calendar needs as it is integrated with Mail.app and Address Book Anxiety is my preferred to-do app. It is really lightweight and integrates with iCal Mozy and Time Machine are for my online and physical backups NetNewsWire Gruml is the best news reader out there. Also syncs with my iPodTouch Google Reader Account which syncs with my android phone and iPod MSOffice for all my .doc,.xls and .ppt needs AppFresh keeps all my apps updated PSPWare manages my PSP and syncs stuff between my mac and PSP Awaken is something that I rarely use since I have an alarm for my phone

So i lied about the 100 apps but I'm pretty darn close. I'll update these as my preference changes. Leave suggestions for more apps or replacement in the comments below.

Fluid.app

I'm not going to lie. I thought it was a completely stupid idea to have a site specific browser. I started using Fluid.app about 2 weeks ago and it have grown to really like it. Over the last year, the advent of browser based RIA interfaces has made Firefox crash more than once when I was doing some work within the browser. I am a big google apps user along with a the Zimbra Suite for school. These tend to take up a lot of browser memory and over time, firefox tends to take up a significant amount of memory and becomes extremely choppy. This is where the SSB(site specific browser) comes in. I have mine setup for quick access to a few websites I use a lot.

Here is what it looks like:

  • Facebook
  • Gmail
  • Wordpress-Admin!
  • Google Reader Dock Icons

Some other sites I use with the SSD are Mint.com and Youtube ( This one actually saves me more memory than firefox would).

The Good : It is a fairly easy setup. Put the URL in for the app and put the application wherever you want on your computer. It has also been well integrated with Gmail and Facebook and it shows badges of unread email or messages from each inbox.Create SSD Window

The feature that I really like is the option of converting the app from a normal window based app into a MenuExtra SSB - an SSB that exists only as an icon in your OS X system Status Bar and displays when you click the icon into a resizable window. This is very useful if you want to have Facebook chat or google chat within the SSD Frame. There is also an option for setting the web-app to a fullscreen window. I love having this feature for accessing my Wordpress dashboard. Blogging feels a lot better on a full screen as you have less things to distract you. In fact, I wrote this review from within a Fluid SSD! There is a library of icons available to give the SSD icon the custom look. You can always search through flickr or the internets to find what is right for you.

The Bad : I noticed if I have a lot of these open, they tend to eat similar amount os memory as a firefox window would, which sort of defeats the purpose of the SSB. It needs more frequent updates. Also I would like to see a more active plugin development system. The current plugins are pretty good, but it would be nice to implement something like Mozilla since this program is originally based from their Prism project.

Overall : This a great piece of software if you are all about the web-apps. I wish it were supported on multiple Operating systems as that would help manage web-apps better between,say Windows and Mac OS. The program is extremely easy to use and adds some color to my dock. Best of all the taskbar with multiple webapps running makes my life easier by instant access rather than having to open a browser. Rating: ★★★★

Download Fluid @ www.fluidapp.com

DRM Paper

I wouldn't really call myself a writer, but I was particularly proud of this paper I wrote for a CS ethics class. Check the paper out and leave some feedback if you have the patience to finish reading it.

All material in the paper is obtained from various sources. Some views are views of the author and he would like credit where applicable. Read the paper below!

You can also download it as a pdf file( Right click > Save As ) PDF

Cafe Banner Design

I was working on redesigning a cafe website and I came up with this great banner idea for something outside the cafe. If you don't get the banner, it's supposed to say STOP! DETOUR! and go to Queue Cafe to grab a quick bite. It is based on the cafe's slogan. Check it out below Logo

Job Market

The recent spout of firings in America is clear proof that we are in some deep trouble. Hopefully Obama can work some magic and set something on track. From the reports, it only seems like its going to get worse no matter what is going to be done. I pulled up some stats for the layoffs and here is a chart I found on CNN. To make things look worse , Techcrunch has been tracking layoffs in the tech industry. Look at the chart below:

Source: CNN.com

Facebook Glitch

So I was commenting on some photos on facebook, and somehow the timestamps made the comment display as if it was in the future. You can see that in the photo below.

Apparently it can predict my future. I wonder what actually caused this to happen. Notice the time is 2.59 am. It is right about to change to 12.00 am pacific time. Maybe that server time caused the error in the timestamp. One can only wonder eh?

No 1 on Google.

I discovered today that I am the first Akshay Patel on Google Search results inspite of the thousands of people out there with the same name.Thank you Linked In.I consider this a proud moment (as sad as it sounds). I took a screen of the search. Lets see how long it lasts.

Here's the search:

Here's the follow up page:

Linked in Profile

Dance Team Logo

I was assigned to make a dance team logo for a local dance team @ Georgia Tech, so that it would print on track pants. The requirement was to get it to fit on the side and still be readable. So here it is. I'm guessing they liked it, because I have seen quite a few of them around campus. Check out the design below.

Nazaaqat Logo

Dorm Room Poster

A few years ago i came up with this poster idea to put up on my door. It sounds offensive, but hey i was a freshmen in college.

Moonlight

This is one of the effects i am really fond of. It came out real nice. The image can be used on flyer's, a small announcement or on website graphics that need to be subtle but eye-catching.

Google Maps (EuroTrip map)

I didn't realize until recently the power that Google Maps wields. It lets you add POI's to give you a feel of how the places you are visiting are laid out. Not only that you can approximately draw a line from these points giving a rough reference of how far these distances are on the map.Europe

One thing I would like to see them incorporate is some kind of a Trip Planner like TripIt. Only downside to that is the user would have to let Google access their trip data which i suppose many people don't mind since TripIt uses the same technique. Keeping in mind the powerful ADsense Google has, suggestions about these places on one's 'Trip' could be shown making it a very powerful user-oriented Web 2.0 app.

Hopefully someone in the mysterious googleplex has the same idea on their minds.

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