theanand

This website, TheAnand.com came to life 10 years ago today.  It has been a exciting journey so far and the world has changed so much!

Reflecting on a few things from the top of my head that have changed drastically since I started on Geocities in 2000s –

  • Dial-up internet! (those long cables that ran from the bedroom to living room where the phone was and came out after 11pm? Remember?)
  • WordPress had just got into version 2. At 100,000 downloads and just 4% market share. They were called Weblogs? Web Authoring tools?
  • MSN and Yahoo! Messengers
  • Websites had guestbooks.
  • Flash animations on intro pages to websites and animations that followed the mouse pointer!

Much simpler digital advertising times when you just had to buy a bunch of pop-unders, CPM ads to get traffic and we sprayed the whole wall to hit a fly. By comparison, digital marketers today have the surgical precision tools to target the eyes of that same fly!

So here is a thank you to you, my reader and the “internet” for teaching me so much and helping me and many others in so many unforeseen ways. Thank you! Also, a special shout out to a good friend from the Netherlands – King Nomar! (yea, we just had “screen names” back then!).

If you have been a reader of this blog since long, and are reading this post today, please say ‘hi’ in the comments. I want to hear from you! #nostalgic

TheAnand a.k.a Anand Subramanian. :)

On Saturday, I had the opportunity to speak at HeadStart organized event – Startup Saturday. I was invited  to participate on the panel discussion on “Digital Marketing” by Mittu Tigi from Zhooyi Communications. It was one of the first “unconferences” I attended in a long time and was looking forward to learn and share with the startups of Kochi. Here is a quick report on the event if you missed it :)

The event started off with a quick introduction by Mittu on what Startup Saturday was about and its history in Kochi. Previously, the events were conducted in Startup Village and this was the first time it was being organized at the Infopark campus. The introduction was followed with a impromptu session by Krishna Kumar of GreenPepper Digital on the importance of digital marketing and on how companies can leverage digital for their business for branding and lead generation.

kk-speaking-sskochi

I liked how he used the floor than the stage for the talk and it led to a discussion than a one-way radio show and the attendees were able to get answers to their questions on their digital marketing challenges. After the talk, we had a quick networking break where I had the chance to talk to interesting entrepreneurs ranging from a property consultant, a fiction writer and others working in the self publishing, education and electronics space.

sskochi-audience

The “Featured Entrepreneur”session by Rosh Cherian was well received and I was impressed with how his venture CogniCor uses Artificial Intelligence to enable enterprises provide better customer support to their customers.

cognicor-kochi

And finally it was time for the panel discussions. It was time. The last time I got on stage, I got reviews that said I was faster than cooking Maggie Noodles or a visit to the washroom!!

Expectation

wolf-wall-street

Reality!

stage-fright

 

Ah well! 😉

But this time, the discussions went on for a full hour, thanks to the interactive audience.  The discussion revolved around social media and search engines as a traffic source and the latest trends on digital marketing such as WhatsApp marketing. The ongoing dip of organic exposure on Facebook for pages was also discussed.

theanand-digital-marketing

I always love a brainstorming session on how businesses can leverage digital for lead generation and hence the panel discussion was a fun activity.

plant from headstart

@StartupSaturday Kochi, Guys, quick question, is it comfortable indoor or outdoors? Is it trained? I did not get the instruction manual! Jokes aside, I loved the memento! Thanks!

If you were at the event, do tell me your feedback! The next event by HeadStart Startup Saturday will be around the topic of “Funding” and you can follow them on Facebook to know more.

My twitter account was hacked a few weeks ago, thanks to a rogue app that ended up blocking all my followers, my follows and everyone on my lists. It was annoying to say the least, seeing over 2500 awesome tweeps blocked. Since all my network was blocked, I was no longer able to follow them without unblocking and Twitter does not have a “bulk unblock users” yet.

Turns out, third party apps that do this are not popular either. Here are two apps that help you manage your blocked users individually and in bulk.

UnBlock.IO

unblock-twitter-bulk

A simple application that worked the best for me. It shows a list of every you have blocked and has a “Unblock all” button that unblocks 100 users at a time. But once the unblock is complete, the page stays blank, so you might need to refresh the page to see more blocked users. But it works pretty well otherwise – unblocking 1000 users took just 10 clicks!

BlockedBy.Me

This is my second favorite tool, the only reason for it being second is because it does not have a “bulk unblock” button like UnBlock.IO does. But it does list all blocked users with a button that allows you to unblock them individually. It is useful if you have only a few followers to manage.

How to prevent rouge apps on Twitter and Facebook?

First step to prevent something like this from happening is to secure your social media profiles. Obviously, have a strong password. Remove permissions to API based apps you no longer use on both Twitter and Facebook. I was surprised that I was using over 200 apps on Facebook!!

 

Just came across the revamped website of KochiMetro rail and noticed the below image  –

Project Profile - Kochi Metro Rail Ltd

Who is the Kochi Metro targeted at?

Those who currently travel to work by private bus?

You expect a salaried workforce currently spending around Rs. 5 per 2.5 Kms to move to Rs. 15 /km?

Those who take the car to work daily?

This falls into two broad categories, those who stay near the station and those who are a bit away from the station

a.) Near the station – Any car in the market today gives a mileage of 10 to the litre at the minimum. That is ~8 rs. per km. KMRL can KMA?

b.) A bit away from the station – If I take my car to the station and park it at a conservative Rs. 5/hour and travel to my hypothetical office which is 5 kms away and travel further to office in an auto at Rs. 15/km. I am looking at an travel expense of Rs. 200/day minimum.

Those who have a bike?

A person who takes the bike to work does it because he works in the field and needs the bike or already has a car and wants to beat the Kochi traffic. Even if he is just a regular office goer – If a Mercedes Benz is more feasible than metro, comparison of bikes and metro is well, unnecessary.

Oh, those who do not want to wait in traffic for hours?

This is a difficult question to answer, but what would a person do with the extra time? Oh, time is money? But it is not like he is going to work in the saved time to make more money to justify his increased travel expenses. The question is whether someone will spend thrice more everyday to save maybe an hour of his/her life. I am sure majority would prefer to listen to the FM or sleep in heavy traffic than do it. Am I wrong?

So, who will actually use the metro?

south-bridge

Now that we have negated the majority of general Kochi workforce already as non-metro users, who else will possibly use the Kochi Metro Rail service? People who are visiting from other towns looking to explore the city or those seeking the thrill of going on a metro rail for the first time, just like those who go to Ooty to take a joy ride on the toy train. If yes, this is one hell of an investment for the joy ride of a few!

Then, why does one need a Kochi Metro Rail?

It is a Non-Profit Organization for Public Service?

Right. So, we end up paying much more than Rs. 15/km hidden in taxes to keep the system running? And by the way, don’t we have enough of loss making PSU entities in Kerala already?

Its a sign of emerging Kerala?

Right, so it is some crown jewel of Kerala..until one fine hartal day. As history as shown repeatedly, we Keralites have zero value for public property. It is so not feasible that it will be a sign of submerging Kerala!

Edit:- Short term pain and long term gain is what Kochi Metro rail wants us to believe. During the 2-3 years that metro rail construction will happen in places like M.G road will make companies shift to the NH 47 bypass where metro rail does not operate and has decent parking for customers. Would they want to come back afterwards?

It is Eco friendly!

How can it be eco-friendly when it is not feasible enough to convert users from any other mode of transportation?

Another White Elephant?

The title of this post says that the Kochi Metro Rail is another white elephant, which means we already have more white elephants in Kochi? Yes sir, we do.  thanks to late K. Karunakaran, we have India’s third largest cricket stadium which hosts more real estate exhibitions and consumer expos than cricket matches.

640px-Cochin_International_stadium_Entrance

Why doesn’t anyone say anything?

With the left initiating it, the right continuing it, anyone who goes against the Metro Rail will have his political future handed over to him in a urn and be branded as anti-development and anti-progressive.

Do we need a Kochi Metro Rail? Comment your thoughts below.

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vU1l1TB7GzI

Financial Planning is something that most youngsters in our country have no clue about. Found this little video called One Idiot made by the IDFC Foundation’s to educate the youth of India to be financially independent. Loved it and raises some serious questions on how we live our life, hope it helps you too.

And a question out to my readers out there, would you be interested in knowing more about financial  planning? Is it something you would want to read on TheAnand? Shout out in the comments section below.

Click here if you cannot view the video on email/reader.

Issues with Google Glass

As the technology world prepares to begin its transition into the era of wearable technology, with smart watches and smart eye wear, it might change the way we live in ways we might not have expected it to.

Google Glass is probably going to be one of the hottest must-have gadgets when it launches this year. A hands-free gadget that ensures that you see what you need to see when you need to see it. But what are the possible reasons that the gadget will be remain in a geeks’ wish list and never a commercial success?

It looks Geek-y!

Yep, however you put a spin on it, I cannot imagine this thing on someone who loves the way they look. After the novelty of the device wears off, the device will be something that needs a social approval. And if you are in a fashion crowd, it is best that you keep your Google Glass safe inside. Google perhaps knows this will be one of the major hurdles it has to pass through and has partnered with Warby Parker, who is known for designer eyewear.

Privacy Concerns

One of the major features of the Google Glass will be to record, store and share moments of your life. Google wants the Glass to be an integral part of your life extending the ways you go about life and being plugged online all day.

If the dork-iness of the glass can be fixed by making it smaller and more comparable to the prescription glasses down the line, but that makes it even weirder. How do you know if your interaction with another person is being recorded? Can you comfortably ask him to remove the glasses when you want to talk something private?

Attention Deficiency

Remember the last time you were having a serious conversation with someone who kept checking his phone every 5 minutes? If that wasn’t annoying, now you will have someone like that looking at you, but is probably distracted with all the notifications on the glass from FaceBook notifications, emails, funny cat videos and the like. And I can already see moms across the country looking to add the Google Glass to the list of items banned in the dinner table!

New level of Creepiness

If you are annoyed about the fact that you do not have the complete attention of a Google Glass user, you should think about the next level. You never know if you are being recorded! This is like the “Person Of Interest” TV Series. If you ever did something stupid in a public space, you will never know if a Google Glass user recorded it and its on Youtube already!

Google has always strived to connect all its services in its product. Can you imagine being voice tagged, identified through facial recognition and the like by hundreds of users every day you step out of your door? And there will be no way that you can stop it. If you thought the car with cameras that Google had running across the streets picturing people doing all kinds of stuff was creepy enough, imagine what can happen with the Google Glass.

I am not some freaked out privacy activist and I love the promise of an eyewear which will keep me connected to the digital world at all times. If I had my way, I’d have a WiFi chip in my brain if it will let me query Google! But the experience of those who are around those who wear the glass is as important as the experience of someone wearing it.

Thoughts?

The iPad Mini is the latest entrant into the tablet segment from the Apple stable. The product is said to be a miniature version of iPad and is premium priced. The design clearly lives up to its price tag with a built that is pleasingly light to handle.  However, despite all glowing reviews this device received for its hardware finish, the iPad Mini is a delicate device and needs to be protected. It is always wise to protect this device with several of the stylish cases that are available in the market. Here is an example of a few of them.

Case Mate Tough Xtreme Case

If you are prone to dropping your gadgets, then you are better off investing in this case than any other in the list.

With a spec that is US Mil approved and with three layers of protection, this is one tough case that has screen protection, an impact protector and a shock absorbtion layer. It also protects your ipad mini from dust and rain as well. However, this case does not add bulk as it is built with a slim profile. Check this case out and other ipad mini cases from Case Mate.

Dodocase Hardcover Classic

The Dodocase Hardcover may not look impressive on the first impression, but once you use it, it gets impressive.

The iPad when placed in the case looks like a book. While using the Dodocase, the device is stuck on a pair of adhesive strips. Now, this case should be got by those who do not remove the device from the case frequently. The adhesive strips do not leave any residues as such, but they are quite hard to remove from the strip. There is an opening for the camera and provisions to use all the other buttons and ports without being blocked.  The case is more on the economical side.

Gumdrop series for iPad Mini

The Gumdrop brand is very synonymous with protection. The cases are known for their durability.

The case in the first appearance has a back looking like a tyre . The case has a material which provides a good grip to the user. The case has removable openings for all the ports. One of the biggest advantages is that the case comes with a screen protector. The case consists of two parts; the inner part with the screen guard is where you place the case which is then placed into an exterior case that provides great drop protection. All in all the case is a great buy.

Speck FitFolio

The Speck FitFolio case for iPad Mini is almost similar to that of its counterpart for the larger iPad. One of its biggest advantages is that the cases are available in a variety of looks. The case is made out of two parts, a hard plastic casing with a cover that extends to the back of the iPad.  This is the art that is covered by the faux pas leather with the impressive design.  The case has all the required openings for the buttons and ports. The case also can be folded to be used as a stand.

Which case do you use on your ipad mini? Do you love it or hate it? Let me know in the comments below.