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Showing posts with the label Digital Lifestyle

How will travel industry transform post-Covid

Unlike philosophers, journalists and teenagers, the world of entrepreneurship does not permit the luxury of gazing into a crystal ball to predict the future. An entrepreneur’s world is instead made of MVPs (Minimum Viable Product), A/B Tests, launching products, features or services and gauging / measuring their reception in the market to arrive at verifiable truths which can drive the business forward. Which is why I have never written about my musings or hypothesis about travel industry – we usually either seek customer feedback or launch an MVPised version and gather market feedback. However, with Covid-19 travel bans across the globe, the industry is currently stuck – while a lot of industry reports and journalistic conjectures are out, there’s no definitive answer to the way forward. Besides there is no way to test your hypothesis since even the traveller does not know what they will do when skies open. So, I decided to don my blogger hat and take the luxury of crystal gazing

Bookstore of the future has arrived

I had written about an aspirational bookstore idea almost 2.5 years ago - I am glad that the idea is taking root and no other thanthe big daddy of e-commerce Amazon has come up with physical bookstores which encompass some of the ideas I proposed in my original piece.  Here are some news items along with excerpts on this.  Amazon officially opened its first brick-and-mortar store in New York City.  Every single book is turned to face outward, so that you can shop with your eyes--which only confirms that people do, in fact, judge books by their cover ... customers can find recommendations based on other books, just like they would when shopping online. On entire walls, customers will find books side by side, with arrows pointing and instructing, "If you liked this, then you'll probably like this." .. the tag under each book provides customers with a real Amazon review, along with the total number of reviews and star rating Source: https://www.inc.com/nic

Socialism, Communism, Open Source and Browsers

I love Firefox and the Mozilla foundation - it was the beacon of innovation when Microsoft tried to kill it with repeated versions of its buggy Internet Explorer! If you were involved in software development or managing online products circa 2005-2008 , you would know the nightmare it was to develop a website compatible with IE and its myriad of versions (IE6 was especially notorious)! At that time, Firefox was our ray of hope, and I would have tried to evangelise almost every friend, family or client to ditch IE and embrace FF. With clients, however, the big problem was, Firefox was an Open Source software and the corporate world has a certain amount of scepticism towards this species of software. [Ironical because most of the largest software services in the world run on Operating Systems which are clones of Linux and most of the web's websites run on Apache - these two being probably the largest Open Source projects in the world!] Source:  Netcraft Webserver survey 2017

The Bookstore of future

In my previous post , I outlined why the bookstore, even if inefficient in selling books, has reasons to exist beyond mere 'sales'. If the bookstore is to continue to exist, without the inherent value of selling books, it needs to find other ways of generating cash flow, and that too while it serves the other purposes outlined. But let me first recap the purposes which a book store should serve: Serendipity and discoverability of books  Browse a book before buying  Meet like minded people One key element which is implicit to the above is quiet surroundings. The list sounds more like the requirements we have from community libraries than from bookstores, but indeed good bookstores are no less than libraries! So let's start in the reverse order: To satisfy #3, the bookshop needs to have sufficient real estate which should be utilized through a combination of large seating area - preferably a coffee shop - and enough room between the aisles for customers to

The Lost World of Book stores

Indie book stores have seen a revival around the world; In US, numbers increased from 1,651 in 2009 to 2,094 in 2014 http://t.co/gWKLGZCiIQ — Nikhil Kulkarni (@kulkarninikhil) September 12, 2015 This article in Mint  made me think of the dying trade of bookstores, which as a bibliophile pains me.  Independent book stores have been downing shutters for a few years now - Borders the iconic bookstore chain - its Oxford street store was a landmark (even tourist attraction for Bibliophile Asians like me where I have spent couple of Sundays just reading) - shut shop in 2009 ; Fact & Fiction a similar iconic store in Delhi shut shop  recently. Some non-bibliophiles wonder why are bookstores needed when you can buy any book online much cheaper? Well, (at the risk of sounding politically incorrect) any woman would tell you why - the pleasures of Window shopping! Yes indeed - for bibliophiles, bookstores offer the same pleasures of serendipity - discovering a new book in a compl

The future of personal computing

This post is co-authored by Hemantkumar Jain who writes on the shoOOonya Blog . Personal Computing is probably a word from the 90s, not quite apt for the post iPad era. The reason we use it though is because, this post starts with a recap of a discussion from 2006. As the news spread about Flipkart.com and its affiliate Myntra.com moving to mobile only websites - our minds went back to a discussion we had in 2006 which started at Hemant's apartment in Geneva and continued for next 5 days through our train journeys across Switzerland . The 80GB iPod had just been released, and Hemant mentioned that at the end of the day, the iPod which fits the pocket had hard drive space and a processor. So all we needed now was to load a light weight OS on it, connect it to a monitor, keyboard/mouse and you have a personal computer ready. Today, the relevance of the personal computer is almost lost in context of tablets and mobile phones. The question is - will this 'mobile-only

How to solve the distracted driving problem
Is talking on the phone while driving illegal? [Part II]

Photo Credits: Flickr user Lord Jim Humans are cognitive beings, we instinctively get attracted to actions which involve thinking, perception and interaction with others. And the  crucial difference between human cognition and that of other species is the ability to participate with others in collaborative activities with shared goals [Michael Tomasello, Malinda Carpenter, Josep Call, Tanya Behne, and Henrike Moll (2005),  Understanding and sharing intentions: The origins of cultural cognition ]. Hence, as I argued in the first part of this post  - given a chance, any human will prefer talking and interacting with others, even if it means talking or texting on the phone while driving! Making laws declaring mobile phone usage illegal is probably the easiest but the most difficult to implement solution to this problem. The solution lies in using technology to circumvent the problem. Humans today do not engage in several non-productive tasks such as those involving physical labou

Is talking on the phone while driving illegal? [Part I]

Photo Credits: Flickr user  OregonDOT Short Answer: Yes . Long Answer - read below . Depending upon which source you trust [ 1 , 2 , 3 , 4 , 5 ] - anything between 88 to 30 percent of people admit to using mobile phones (talking, texting and using apps) while driving. Several cars (even those not so pricey) available now integrate your mobile phone with the car stereo systems acknowledging that usage of mobile phone while driving is not just acceptable but also to be encouraged and aided with technology. Given these stats, is it really worth having laws which prohibit mobile phone usage while driving? These laws are similar to the sermons of the 16th century Church which decreed the Copernicus system of astronomy to be false. I remember one of my maternal grandfathers telling me that is mother never allowed him to ride a moped or a scooter in his youth because she was afraid of accidents. (Ironically, he got injured on the road was when someone else hit him while he was walki

Enjoy Internet content [videos / net radio] on your TV & Home Theater

How did I spend my Sunday afternoon? Well .. (aside from being in front of my laptop) - listening to songs on Gaana.com/Mirchi Internet Radio Channel - but through my home theater. Now why would I listed to Radio on the internet through the home theater when the home theater itself has an option of listening to public radio directly. The reasons are many: Public radio does not always suit my mood on weekends - on internet radio I have a choice to listen to songs which I am in mood for: Meethi Mirchi if I am in for latest hits, Puraani Jeans if I am in mood for old classics, Mirchi Edge if I am in mood for offbeat and Club Mirchi for dance numbers (think Saturday Night) [Ref:  http://gaana.com/#!/radiostations ] Internet Radio offers far superior quality - as good as listening to MP3 on my iPod Listening to radio is far better / hassle free than playing songs from your own playlist. You don't have to choose each song you want to listen but just choose either an pre-existing pla

Winamp is still a great music player but ...

I remember my college days when Internet access was only through the nearby cyber-cafe or the college labs. Home speeds were pathetic (thanks to dial up access - no broadband), where you would take 1/2 hour to check your mail and if you wanted to do extended reading you'd rather download the page, disconnect internet and read the document offline. However, computers were still the primary forms of listening to music - hostel rooms used to buzz with all kinds of songs from dawn till late nights. There were no iPods but students used to carry their songs in USB drives and CD's. I even remember once removing the hard-disk of my PC, connecting it as a slave to my friend's PC and copying my 10GB music library to his computer. In these pre-iPod/iTunes days - the music player of choice across the world was Nullsoft Winamp. Winamp was a pioneer in the 'app design' space. Unlike any existing Windows applications, it did not have a title bar, its colours were not shades of