Shaadi 2.0

No, its not about collaborative marriage over the web :-). Amol gave me this crazy idea. We were discussing the Indian SMS site, Vakow which enables us to push normal SMS into a web-based RSS/Atom feed. There are about a gazillion applications for an RSS feed. Well, this is just one such mashup between a practical application of Vakow and Google Reader.

Well to be honest, the title of the blog should not be Shaadi 2.0, but rather Event 2.0, but since we are using the my marriage as the event to cover, I decided to name the title so, well ..  and this one is more exciting na? So here is what we did.

  1. Register on Vakow, get a username and have your phone number associated with that username, so that you can SMS messages to your Vakow id.
  2. You are on track now, and you should be able to post a feed … now that your feed is set, we just need to integrate that feed with my marriage feed
  3. Send me the RSS link, I will add it in my Google Reader public folder, and voila!! You can view the sample page here.

People who cannot attend the wedding in person can keep on hitting the RSS page for an up-to-date status.

Then, Now and Will be

Got tagged by Archana, I know this tag is going to make me do a lot of introspection; much needed at that. Tags spread through viral referrals, and I hope that this one spreads out … through me and through my friends (you are going to be tagged!!).

The tag:

Two questions in each category answer them and then tag your friends from the blog-o-sphere. Leave a comment on their blog letting them know they have been tagged and you are all set.


Your oldest memories

  • Getting spanked on my derriere by the nurse … ohhh the blood rushing to my head … for crying out loud!! (he he .. was just kidding :-) )
  • Throwing toys down the 9th floor and watching them disappear as they fell fell fell … from my grandparents flat in Churchgate when I was a toddler
  • The glee when I saw my first horse at the age of 6
  • The achievement I felt when my aunt taught me to draw a horse shortly afterwards … I was addicted to horses after watching the movie Betaab … had seen the movie 3 times in one night!! … for the horse … no I dont mean Amrita Singh :-D
  • Seeing my first computer at the age of 9, it was a 80386 and my mothers brother had forked out one lakh for that machine … shucks … so much for Moore’s Law. Played Prince of Persia for an hour, I was thrilled … decided then and there that I would be a computer engineer :))
  • Owning a XT 8086 with a monochrome display and 640KB of RAM, the machine did not have a hard drive, and I was happy
  • Feeling the pride when my Maths teacher called my parents to commend my papers and explain the empty class notebooks in my 4th standard
  • Feeling an even greater humiliation when I finished last in class during the mid-terms of 9th standard … cable TV is a great evil
  • My first ship cruise to Goa … fresh fish and a choppy sea
  • Standing atop a spiked gate and then the horror I felt when I saw that my new cream chappals had turn blood red … weirdly I do not remember feeling any pain

What were you doing ten years ago?

November 1998, I was a first year engineering student, the first semester was coming to an end; and I was fast learning that I am loving engineering more and more since it does not adhere to the sad mugging pattern of school. I remember going to college, attending tuition, bartering notes, copying assignments, discussing over the phone, the long bus rides along the beach. My engineering college was Fr. Conceicao Rodriguez College of Engineering … it is on bandstand, Bandra and generally a very nice place to hangout if you get over the engineering studies :). I was having a rocking time.



Your first thought in the morning

I should not have stayed up late in the night to finish Brisingr.

If you build a time capsule what would it contain?

Hmmm … good question. It would contain nothing; the present is to be lived … enjoyed … why give the future excess baggage to dig up. (pun intended)


Will Be:

This year…

I intend to get married to the love of my life, possibly shift jobs and find a way of means to be near my loved ones. Activities such as blogging, web dev, tweeting, et al are bound to happen!!

What do you see yourself doing 14 years from now?

Why the no. 14?? Well … I would be attending PTA meetings … and planning my retirement as well. Archana, are you up for co-authoring that book?



To WordPress or not?

Baba aka Amol has seriously taken up blogging, you should check out his blog. He can write a nice rhyme when he does find the time! (in case you did not notice, that was my attempt to rhyme :-) ). So Baba tells me that I should check out the great set of features that WordPress has. I had a wordpress powered blog once, but the moment my free hosting provider stopped MySQL support, the blog stopped working. I then migrated to a file powered blog using SimpleBlog, but that was a very minimalistic blog. Giving that up, I moved on to platform.

What Blogger gives me is a very stable platform which is never to go down. Although the themes and the set of features are there but still very less in number, Blogger gives me reliability. Over a telephonic conversation, I tried to see how easy it is to migrate from Blogger to WordPress with all the content … and you know what?? It was a piece of cake … smoothest transition ever!! You can check out the work-in-progress blog here.

So, oh helpful readers of mine, can you help me out in this … whats it going to be … the stability of the blogger platform on google servers or the flexibility of the wordpress platform on a hosted server?

No more IE readers

Following up from my last post. I have decided to take my hate for IE to the next level. Readers will not be able to read my blog in IE. I have used the browser specific HTML to identify the browser, and dish out customized content to the reader. If you are a Firefox user, you should see the blog as it is without any changes. IE users, beware, you will see that nice grey banner across this content asking you to use Firefox :).

I checked the site statistics, turns out a hefty 35% of my readers use Internet Explorer. Call it creating a niche, or call it active evangelism.

Stay Safe. Get image Firefox.

Twitter uses

I have posted earlier on Twitter as well, but this time, its for a more practical purpose. It is on how to use this web tool to market your site online, to get those readers/customers to your portal. Social media is a powerful thing, and using it to promote your product/service online at minimal cost is even better :-)

So here are a few ways you can use twitter to tweet your way to more hits.

  1. Have an RSS Feed on your site, if it is content based, eg. Crazy Engineers, put that RSS in Twitterfeed, and push out regular updates through twitter! Similar updates can then be sent to your twitter of your blog/corporate blog as well.
  2. Once you have your twitter account setup and your tweets are flowing a-go-go, then you can have your social networking accounts like Facebook, to display the same tweet.
  3. Take care not to over do the feeds, since your followers can get bugged with you. I know a few friends who have complained of me tweeting of what songs I am listening to and all that jazz, so keep a filter on those feeds.
  4. It also helps if you are tweeting every once in a while by yourself, so you get a more human face. For eg. Zappos’ CEO, Tony Hsieh is there on twitter, and he actively tweets about his daily routine. How cool is that, direct access to a firms CEO, can you be more customer-centric?
  5. Use twitter for simple market surveys, qualitative and quantitative as well. For eg. You can tweet, “What do you think is going to happen to the Indian economy?”, the answers would be more than enough to put forth a blog post. Later, you can tweet that post url, and there is a likely chance that people who participated in your twitisurvey would also read your post
  6. This latest in: Use twitter to resign!!

Try it out, give twitter a twhirl!!

Remember the Teacher

I was reading my feeds when I came across –

A Teacher on the Front Line as Faith and Science Clash and Now THERE’s a Teacher

Takes you back to movies like To Sir, with Love, doesn’t it? Just that the students are not half that bad. What often moves or works against the teacher are the preconceived notions of the students. In our lifetimes as students hell bent to finish the term as soon as possible, we sometimes forget the main task at hand – knowledge and learning.

I remember one of my Services Marketing professors in this regard, Prof. Ram Kumar, who was the faculty at IIM-A. In the second lecture, he gave us senior students as quiz, one simple question – “What is services marketing?”

Having finished our preliminary year with a lot of poppycock, we had learned the management mantra and more than eager to try it out. At the end of the quiz, Ram Kumar made us write a textbook definition of the same, 20 times on the back side of the question paper. Honestly, I felt like a school kid. The only thought that was going through all our collective minds was – “This is what they do at IIM-A, huh?” or “All this effort for doing this?”. The rest of the course was awesome, with presentations and assignments which made us think … no, really think. Come out with ideas, collaborate, discuss the merits and demerits of different services, and most importantly, learn to ask the question Why?

At the end of the course, the last session had us sitting in the class, with one minor change. The class’ mike was attached to a mini stereo system. Our disastrous quiz papers were distributed amongst the class … I was staring at my bad handwriting and wondering, what am I to do with this paper? Ram Kumar, then hit the stereo’s play button … and asked us to tear up the quiz sheet where we had expressed our rote learning and throw them in the air. The background music was – Another Brick in the Wall by Pink Floyd.

Tearing up a piece of paper never felt that good.


I am testing the w.bloggar windows application to publish to my blog directly. At first, I am not able to understand how the Title of the post can change. Lets see if this works.

Sadly enough, it doesnt work as I desired. I guess its back to the blogger platform only. Earlier, I had tried ScribeFire, which did not fire at all!!

On Biggie’s suggestion, I tried out Windows Live Writer … its pretty cool, just the thing I was looking for. Infact I might just get addicted to it!! Surprising that google has not come out with anything like this :-)