Attending WordCamp India in Delhi

attend wordcamp india schedule venue register WordCamp is a conference that focuses on everything related to WordPress. India’s first ever WordCamp is happening right here in Delhi on 21-22 February 2009. The conference is being organized by Delhi Bloggers Bloc and Blog Design Studio. Currently the conference is in the planning phase. Matt Mullenweg, the WordPress creator, is coming all the way from US to attend the WordCamp here in Delhi. There’s also a surprise guest as mentioned by the organizers on Twitter recently.

In case you’re interested in volunteering for the event or delivering a presentation/keynote on WordPress, kindly get in touch with the concerned people;

Mayank Gupta – +91-9910786431, me (at) mayank.info
Twilight Fairy – +91-9811511719, twilightfairy at gmail dot com

It’s a must for every WordPress enthusiast. I’m gonna make sure I don’t miss this event! If you’re in and around Delhi NCR and you’d also like to attend the event, please do get in touch (use the comments area below).

Gmail Goes Offline. And it’s good news!

The good folks at Gmail have launched an experimental feature at Gmail Labs which will make Gmail accessible offline. No I am not joking and this is not another Google magic trick. At times when you’re not able to access your web based e-mail account due to connection issues this will come handy.

Offline Gmail makes use of Gears. Using Gears it will download a local cache of your mail. Your e-mails will be in sync with Gmail’s servers as long as you have a connection to the Internet. In case you lose your connection, Gmail will automatically switch to the offline mode. Now Gmail will use the data on your hard drive rather than passing it on to the network. You can do all sorts of stuff you possibly do while reading e-mails on Gmail. If you write new messages then they’ll be stores in your outbox until Gmail finds a connection and when it does, it’ll send your mail. Cool! Isn’t it?

Offline Gmail will be available to users from US, UK initially in the coming few days. It’ll be visible under the Labs tab inside your Gmail accounts. And yes you’ll need to download Gears to use offline Gmail.

Happy Gmailing!

The Great Indian E-Commerce Review

Even though e-commerce took a lot of time to get used to but the Indian web users have finally swallowed the feeling that it’s quite useful to shop online. I remember the good old days when people were scared at the thought of punching credit card numbers online on a web page. And then there were those chicks who wanted to touch their fabric before making purchases online. Making purchases online has it’s own ups and downs. I’d rather say it has more ups and downs. You just need to be smart enough not to let anyone phish out your sensitive information.

I’ve been an active online shopper for a long time now. Being lazy may be one of the reasons I vote for online shopping but the convenience is pure heaven. Here’s a review of major Indian online e-commerce websites.

1. E-Bay India a.k.a Bazee.com 

I had been an active Bazee user when E-Bay acquired them. E-Bay opened a whole new window of opportunities for the next door chunnu-munnu  to start selling online with minimal investments. Buying on E-bay has become a pleasant experience. There are seller ratings, feedback etc. which always tell you which seller to buy from and which one to stay away from. I’ve bought from E-bay several times and I have always had a positive experience. Simple gadgets, gift items and utilities sell the most at E-Bay. The user interface is neat and the customer care usually respond quickly.

2. IndiaPlaza

Ever since Fabmall merged into IndiaPlaza I have been using them for buying my goodies online. IndiaPlaza is one of the few Indian online stores that remain independent i.e no ugly merchants in the middle so you get-what-you-see on the product description page online. You directly buy from them and thus quality is maintained. IndiaPlaza boasts to be the largest online shopping mall in India. The shipping is a bit slowish. The packaging is great. The customer care is alive and normally responds in 12 hours by e-mail. I use Indiaplaza to buy books and sometimes gadgets. They accept all major credit cards and netbanking payment facility.

Continue reading “The Great Indian E-Commerce Review”

5 Reasons Why I love to hate Orkut!

Ever since the social networking bomb exploded in India I have been an active user of Orkut. I often used Facebook too but since most of my friends were dumb and unable to use Facebook I had no other option. Orkut did seem interesting and fun initially but now it seems like Orkut has hit an all time low. Harry tells me it’s mainly due to the shift of development in India itself. The quality has thus gone down. Well that doesn’t matter to me. I don’t care if it’s the Chinese doing all the crazy coding stuff but I have now started hating Orkut. Here’s why;
Continue reading “5 Reasons Why I love to hate Orkut!”

Indian Railways Website is dumb!

indian railways website for booking tickets

I’ve been using the Indian Railways website for booking e-tickets online for a really long time now. Every time I have to use their website I need to keep my fingers crossed. I also need a hell of good luck to be able to book tickets smoothly. Sometimes it take an awful lot of time to load. Then there are times when the so called communication failures crop up for hours. Apparently they have scalability issues. The poor server is supposed to dance to the tunes of the entire country trying to book tickets online and through railways reservation counters. The server is left with no juice at times. So it starts crying and people like me suffer. Indian Railways is not able to invest in a proper back-end solution despite the huge profits they generate every year.

Forget scaling. Here’s another issue I’m experiencing. It’s 1130PM and the railways website is not even letting my print my previously booked e-ticket. Now that is weird! I understand that booking is permitted only from 5AM to 1130PM but I should be able to at least print my tickets now! WTF!

I guess this is the time the server gets some sleep. And they don’t want anyone to disturb. Wake up moron, I have a train to catch early morning tomorrow!

My first Facebook Application: OyeLetsGo!

my first facebook application

I am supposed to come up with something for a Summer Training project. I can’t bang my head into Java (that’s actually what I am supposed to do) so I decided to play with Facebook instead. After a little reading and a lot of head banging I am finally there! All that time spent earlier on developing in PHP, MySQL and JavaScript finally paid off. The application is for movie reviews. I plan to integrate it with an upcoming venture in the future especially when Facebook Connect has been announced. The application is still in an Alpha stage. A lot of work needs to be done. That’s on my agenda for the entire next week. Wish me luck!

Here comes the Google Search killer!

Ex-Googlers have got together to bring out a new cool search engine called Cuil (pronounced cool.) The last time it’s developer Anna Patterson developed something similar it was purchased by search engine leader Google Inc. This time Anna says her search engine is not for sale. She quit Google in 2006 to develop a new comprehensive search engine. Backed by $33 Million in venture capital, Cuil has started processing search requests from today.

google killer search engine Cuil!

Cuil’s search engine index spans a whopping 120 Billion web pages. That is roughly three times the Google search index and ten times the MSN Search index. What makes Cuil different from Google and other conventional search engines is that it drills down the content of the page and doesn’t lay stress on ranking the quality and quantity of links on the web page. Cuil displays search results in a horizontal magazine fashion along with images. There are sidebars to further refine the search results. Whether Cuil will be a Google Search killer or not might still be a long distance ahead but it could certainly give Google a run for their money. Cuil joins a list of other search engines currently trying to grab the attention of web users. It includes start-ups like Teoma, Vivisimo, Snap, Mahalo and, recently Powerset which was acquired by Microsoft this month. All the best Cuil!

Surprised! Google thinks I’m a bot.

funny google message bug or error

We’re sorry…

… but your query looks similar to automated requests from a computer virus or spyware application. To protect our users, we can’t process your request right now.

Yes. Google thinks I’m a bot! Got this screen while using Lively. I didn’t do anything to bomb their servers, I simply clicked on Sign-in. Ok. I’m scared now. What if the next time I try to sign-in and they tell me I’m an alien or something?

Google launches Lively, a Virtual World!

Lively by Google reviewGoogle recently launched Lively, a virtual world service that it plans to deploy on social networks on the web. Using Lively, a user can create an avatar and a virtual room. These can then be embedded on any web page, blog or a social networking profile. Lively shall be heavily deployed in various social networking platforms. Your personal avatar and virtual rooms will be integrated with your Google accounts. These can be used on all Google’s services in the near future. Here’s how Lively works:

Lively Virtual CharacterDownload Lively:

To get started you need to download Lively first. It is a browser plug-in. You’ll need to have a Google account to start using it. Once you’re done with downloading it you can start creating your avatar. You can customize various attributes such as skin, clothes, hair color, eyes etc. This makes to eligible to enter the various virtual rooms at Lively.

Virtual Rooms:

Just like avatars, Lively lets you create your own virtual rooms as well. You can customize your own virtual rooms from the wide array of options available to you. Once you have created a room you can embed it on any web page.

Interact:

You can chat with other Lively users once you’re in a virtual room. You can check out several user created virtual rooms on Lively. Once you are inside a virtual room you can interact with other users in the room. You can build your own buddy lists by inviting your friends on Lively. Engineering Manager Niniane Wang hints that Lively would be integrated with major social networking platforms.

So here’s another way to kill time online. Although ambitious, this might just take a lot of time for it’s users to get used to it.