Monthly Archives: February 2011

Backup. Backup. And Backup some more.

You never know what you’ve got till it’s gone

Very rightly said.

This is the age of digital media. Your pictures, music, movies have value, that is why you keep them. The cheapest form of storage we as consumers have access to are hard disks, & though spacious they have the habit of failing. And failing bad. Once a HDD dies, a lot of the media which you suddenly took for granted becoming seemingly irreplaceable [it may be  recoverable but that may require professional help]. That is why you should always backup. Without fail. Sadly backing up is seen more as a chore than a necessity esp. as it is usually manual. And who want to keep making DVDs/copying files, keeping track of everything. Yes it is a form of insurance, you may never need to use it, but it is always safe to err on the side of caution.

I use two backup methods. My main backup resides in my ext HDD & a copy of some important files are backed up online via Mozy. I detest DVDs & consider them obsolete. They have this habit of being more unreliable than the local MLA. I never trust either.

Considering the pathetic broadband speeds in India, backing up online is not really feasible. My online backup is really specific stuff I would ALWAYS need. That is the address book, my calendar, documents folder, & passwords [separately encrypted, ofcourse]. Mozy runs once a week, at night, to automatically update any changes that may have been made. You can create an account & it will give you a free space of 2GB, more can be bought for a fee.

My primary backup is on the ext. HDD [80GB/320GB for backup] & is handled by Mac OS’s Time Machine app. It backs up everything [music/pictures/documents/mail/OS/installed apps] except movies, because I have assigned only 80GB to the Time Machine backup partition [rest is used for regular data storage]. It runs every 2 days & keeps the old backups till it runs out of space, after which it automatically starts to delete & replace the oldest backups.

As of yesterday, I had never had to use the backed up data. Yesterday when I formatted & re-installed Snow Leopard I thought I had copied all the required data but as turns out, I had not. Imagine the shock when I went to copy my iTunes folder & did not find it there. There was distinctive shiver that ran through me as I suddenly realized that my precious music was gone. Then I looked for my iPhoto library….missing. Documents….missing.

Status:DEFCON 1

It took me a moment to realize that I could restore through Time Machine & get (most) of the stuff back. But I was still unsure as I had never done a restore on such a large scale. Thankfully it all went through without a hitch.But for those initial 5 mins I was in numb. Sadly I lost all the movies & TV shows, but those are replaceable. My photos, music & apps on the other hand are not. So take this post to be your wake up call. Backup, & do so regularly. If you don’t have a HDD, buy one, you can get a 320GB one for around Rs.3000 [externally powered] & smaller ones even cheaper. If not, then use DVDs [make at-least two copies though]. Start of with documents/pictures & move up from there.

Trust me, you will be grateful one day.

———–

Here are some links you may find useful:

Complete Free Mac Backup

How to Backup Your Mac With Time Machine

Five Best Windows Backup Tools

Mozy Free backup [2GB]

Five Best Offline Backup Tools

———–

Image:Time Machine icon

Nokia & Microsoft Teamup

Microsoft has agreed to be Nokia’s Valentine. After the recent ‘burning platform’ memo’, we knew something big was in play, and so today we have news of the alliance. Expect a lot to change, but not too fast.

Will this stop Nokia’s downward spiral ? And will Nokia’s market penetration help WinMo7? Out of the two it is Nokia that needs this partnership more. Let see what the future holds.

HP Introduces webOS devices.

HP has come out with an entire series of mobile devices running on WebOS in their event ThinkBeyond. WebOS is primarily based on Palm which HP had acquired with the intent of entering the mobile market.

There are three major WebOS devices that HP announced:Veer, Pre 3, TouchPad. Or as HP calls it:the S,M,L lineup

Veer & Pre 3

TouchPad

 

Personally, I am not very excited with the phones though they are reasonably good. It is the TouchPad that is interesting. In-fact I would like to say that it is the only tablet that is looking like a competitor to the iPad [Xoom & Galaxy Tab are “Me-too’s”]. The OS itself is quite good, but we knew that already [It was smart of HP to snap it up when Palm was in trouble], it was the first contender to the iPhone in its heydays]. Highlights:

-Slick interface.

-Best Notification system on the market

-Tap to Transfer is AWESOME! Bring a Pre3/Veer near the TouchPad, tap it & the information displayed on the tablet is transferred to the phone! Brilliant.

-Another significant announcement was the introduction of WebOS onto computers. Will HP be dicthing its longtime partner Microsoft? Time will tell.

Hit up these links for in-depth coverage of the devices.

1.The tiny Veer

2 Hp Pre 3

3.Hp TouchPad

The point to note here is that HP is controlling the hardware as well as the software. So the tablet is polished & the features of the OS are tightly integrated for best performance & experience unlike Android which frankly, is all over the place. With Android its like firing a shotgun, some of the shots are bound to hit the bulls eye. I would rather you aim for the bull’s eye rather than depending on luck.

All is not rosy though. HP did not announce a shipping date [coming out this summer ] nor the price. Time is of the essence here with the whole mobile industry jumping on the tablet bandwagon. Once you showcase a product you can be sure others will try to replicate what you have done. After spending so much time effort on developing a good device it would be fatal to let it languish & give the competition time to catch up. The iPad2 is slated to release in a few months & rumors of iPad3 have already started!! Not mentioning the price is a worrying thing too. Like it or not, iPad is the benchmark of the tablet industry & it is very aggressively priced. Even after a year it is hard to match it [again I give you Xoom & GalaxyTab]. For the TouchPad to be a hit the pricing has to be just right.

Tablet signifies portability & that requires uninterrupted power supply. The iPad has 10hrs of battery, can HP do better? I sure hope so. HP also made no mention of apps availability in their presentation which was also quite surprising. I hope the devs of the Palm community have not totally given up & will come back to provide good support.

HP has released the video of the presentation on YouTube.

Nokia, A Burning Platform:Taking Control

Stephen Elop, the new CEO of Nokia talks frankly & brutally. But he does so with a sense of purpose. Accepting mistakes that were made & finely analyzing reasons for Nokia’s recent downfall, he presents a picture of A Man With A Plan. Suddenly, Nokia has a Leader.

Read the full memo below:

Hello there,

There is a pertinent story about a man who was working on an oil platform in the North Sea. He woke up one night from a loud explosion, which suddenly set his entire oil platform on fire. In mere moments, he was surrounded by flames. Through the smoke and heat, he barely made his way out of the chaos to the platform’s edge. When he looked down over the edge, all he could see were the dark, cold, foreboding Atlantic waters.

As the fire approached him, the man had mere seconds to react. He could stand on the platform, and inevitably be consumed by the burning flames. Or, he could plunge 30 meters in to the freezing waters. The man was standing upon a “burning platform,” and he needed to make a choice.

He decided to jump. It was unexpected. In ordinary circumstances, the man would never consider plunging into icy waters. But these were not ordinary times – his platform was on fire. The man survived the fall and the waters. After he was rescued, he noted that a “burning platform” caused a radical change in his behaviour.

We too, are standing on a “burning platform,” and we must decide how we are going to change our behaviour.

Over the past few months, I’ve shared with you what I’ve heard from our shareholders, operators, developers, suppliers and from you. Today, I’m going to share what I’ve learned and what I have come to believe.

I have learned that we are standing on a burning platform.

And, we have more than one explosion – we have multiple points of scorching heat that are fuelling a blazing fire around us.

For example, there is intense heat coming from our competitors, more rapidly than we ever expected. Apple disrupted the market by redefining the smartphone and attracting developers to a closed, but very powerful ecosystem.

In 2008, Apple’s market share in the $300+ price range was 25 percent; by 2010 it escalated to 61 percent. They are enjoying a tremendous growth trajectory with a 78 percent earnings growth year over year in Q4 2010. Apple demonstrated that if designed well, consumers would buy a high-priced phone with a great experience and developers would build applications. They changed the game, and today, Apple owns the high-end range.

And then, there is Android. In about two years, Android created a platform that attracts application developers, service providers and hardware manufacturers. Android came in at the high-end, they are now winning the mid-range, and quickly they are going downstream to phones under €100. Google has become a gravitational force, drawing much of the industry’s innovation to its core.

Let’s not forget about the low-end price range. In 2008, MediaTek supplied complete reference designs for phone chipsets, which enabled manufacturers in the Shenzhen region of China to produce phones at an unbelievable pace. By some accounts, this ecosystem now produces more than one third of the phones sold globally – taking share from us in emerging markets.

While competitors poured flames on our market share, what happened at Nokia? We fell behind, we missed big trends, and we lost time. At that time, we thought we were making the right decisions; but, with the benefit of hindsight, we now find ourselves years behind.

The first iPhone shipped in 2007, and we still don’t have a product that is close to their experience. Android came on the scene just over 2 years ago, and this week they took our leadership position in smartphone volumes. Unbelievable.

We have some brilliant sources of innovation inside Nokia, but we are not bringing it to market fast enough. We thought MeeGo would be a platform for winning high-end smartphones. However, at this rate, by the end of 2011, we might have only one MeeGo product in the market.

At the midrange, we have Symbian. It has proven to be non-competitive in leading markets like North America. Additionally, Symbian is proving to be an increasingly difficult environment in which to develop to meet the continuously expanding consumer requirements, leading to slowness in product development and also creating a disadvantage when we seek to take advantage of new hardware platforms. As a result, if we continue like before, we will get further and further behind, while our competitors advance further and further ahead.

At the lower-end price range, Chinese OEMs are cranking out a device much faster than, as one Nokia employee said only partially in jest, “the time that it takes us to polish a PowerPoint presentation.” They are fast, they are cheap, and they are challenging us.

And the truly perplexing aspect is that we’re not even fighting with the right weapons. We are still too often trying to approach each price range on a device-to-device basis.

The battle of devices has now become a war of ecosystems, where ecosystems include not only the hardware and software of the device, but developers, applications, ecommerce, advertising, search, social applications, location-based services, unified communications and many other things. Our competitors aren’t taking our market share with devices; they are taking our market share with an entire ecosystem. This means we’re going to have to decide how we either build, catalyse or join an ecosystem.

This is one of the decisions we need to make. In the meantime, we’ve lost market share, we’ve lost mind share and we’ve lost time.

On Tuesday, Standard & Poor’s informed that they will put our A long term and A-1 short term ratings on negative credit watch. This is a similar rating action to the one that Moody’s took last week. Basically it means that during the next few weeks they will make an analysis of Nokia, and decide on a possible credit rating downgrade. Why are these credit agencies contemplating these changes? Because they are concerned about our competitiveness.

Consumer preference for Nokia declined worldwide. In the UK, our brand preference has slipped to 20 percent, which is 8 percent lower than last year. That means only 1 out of 5 people in the UK prefer Nokia to other brands. It’s also down in the other markets, which are traditionally our strongholds: Russia, Germany, Indonesia, UAE, and on and on and on.

How did we get to this point? Why did we fall behind when the world around us evolved?

This is what I have been trying to understand. I believe at least some of it has been due to our attitude inside Nokia. We poured gasoline on our own burning platform. I believe we have lacked accountability and leadership to align and direct the company through these disruptive times. We had a series of misses. We haven’t been delivering innovation fast enough. We’re not collaborating internally.

Nokia, our platform is burning.

We are working on a path forward — a path to rebuild our market leadership. When we share the new strategy on February 11, it will be a huge effort to transform our company. But, I believe that together, we can face the challenges ahead of us. Together, we can choose to define our future.

The burning platform, upon which the man found himself, caused the man to shift his behaviour, and take a bold and brave step into an uncertain future. He was able to tell his story. Now, we have a great opportunity to do the same.

Stephen.

They New Design of Gawker Media Goes Live

Gawker Media has redesigned its blogs. It is a totally new look & quite pleasing to the eye. They have made efficient use of the sidebars & accesing the articles is easier.

The format is quite similar to the RSS app:Reeder for Mac. In the right sidebar you have the title & relevant pictures. Clicking on it loads up the article in the main block. Keyboard shortcuts have also been incorporated for easy navigating. Everything is more symmetrical & aesthetic as compared to the previous version which frankly looked a bit scattered.

Give it a look

Lifehacker. Gizmodo.

Motorola Xoom Launched. Batshit price of $800 [Update 2]

The first tablet powered by Android 3.0 is now announced. At a ridiculous price of $800. Motorola Xoom is supposed to be today, what Samsung Galaxy Tab was supposed to be six months ago. The iPad Killer.

Thankfully with Android’s Honeycomb OS on it, the Xoom has a better chance than the Tab ever did. If you have seen the screenshots/videos of Honeycomb you know it is a well thought out OS. Now it is up-to the hardware manufacturers to step up & create devices capable of harnessing its power

The problem right now? Well the most expensive iPad cost $830, just $30 more than Xoom. The biggest contention everybody has with Apple is the price vs features. You have to offer something brilliant if your product is going to be of the same range. And did I mention that the MacBook Air 11″ is just a $200 upgrade from Xoom? You get a full computer at that price, a very zippy one [Everyone who has used it has been blown away, just look it up].

All this with iPad2 coming out around march & like the iPhone upgrades, you can bet that the pricing will be same as the current ones. Infact you can expect the iPad1 to be available very cheaply with the release of iPad2. Or Apple may even step up the storage capacity as they have done with the iPod touch.

It is really astonishing how dead on Apple’s pricing of their iPad is when the competition is having trouble of getting an equivalent product shipped. This after one year since the iPad created the tablet market.

Oh and  that deafening silence you hear is of Apple haters who can no longer say ‘outrageous pricing’

UPDATE 1 :

It seems $800 was a mistake. Yeah, it sounded too expensive right? Well Best Buy just upped the price to $1200. Yes you read that right, an increment! I can get the 13″ MacBook Pro for that price Motorola.

So you want to guess how many Xoom’s will sell?

UPDATE 2:

After yo-yoing on the price Motorola has finally decided: $799 for 3G & $600 for wifi only.

Photography!

A new hobby is being developed. Photography. Thanks to digital cameras it is no longer an expensive undertaking.

A few shots that I have taken. Hit up my flickr for more

Lights

Shining Bright

Music Is Religion

Dear Google. Stop Whining.

Seriously. Stop it,

It makes you look like a sissy. You still are a leader in the Search domain. But it is strange to see you getting down & dirty once your primary source of revenue is threatened. You’ve been the White Knight of the Internet, but some of your decisions are starting to look real bad *coughNetNeutralitycough*

Bing allegedly copied your search results. So? Have you seen the crappy stuff you’ve been throwing out lately? When I have to use ‘search page’ function to get to useful information on the page YOU linked to, you are not doing it right. Stop trying to deflect & fix your work will you.

%d bloggers like this: