Ananya is 3 years old today

I am turning 3 years old today. It has been a fun filled journey. During the course of the year, Gautham developed interest in photography, and so you will see a steep decline in his technical blogs and photos figuring in many of the entries.

Here is how I am faring:
Journal entries: 195
Comments posted: 285
Comments received: 467

Last year at this time, I had:
Journal entries: 147
Comments received: 353

I along with Gautham, would like to thank all my readers especially those who took the pains to comment here (excluding spammers of course).

Google, Google, more Google

Google released spreadsheets recently. (Ok, now the world is not quite excited about Google releases).

But I am one of those guys who tries out anything that is thrown at us. I registered for the limited test of Google spreadsheets and tested it out today. And for the first time I felt that Google is losing its standard. They have done a good job no doubt, but it still needs a lot of work before it can be really used.

I could see some bugs and lots of usability issues. Some petty features that we see in full fledged spreadsheet applications are missing. For example, I miss the drag and populate feature where you write some numbers and then drag the pointer down from the last cell and see the rest of the cells populate automatically. I also miss the drag and move feature, wherein I can drag a cell's value and populate some other cell, there by performing an implicit cut/paste.

Am I asking for too much? I don't think so. For regular users of spreadsheets, I don't see an application like this suitable. The number of cells is far too limited (2000 cells). There are no graphs available. Lots of other important features are missing.

So now the question is who is Google targeting? I am sure Google has a definite agenda in mind. There could be 2 possibilities (may be Google is aiming for both):

1. Google is trying to build web applications and wants users to try it out and once they are stable you package everything together and sell an appliance that can help host these services in your enterprise (Software As A Service – SaaS). So users can use these from their browsers without requiring to install anything, but at the same time data remains behind the firewall and so is safe.

2. Google will provide API access to the spreadsheets so you will be able to manipulate your spreadsheets from other applications, and be able to send values, recalculate certain fields and get the calculated columns.

Now this is interesting!

Ok, so does that remind you of Ananya? It sure does! 🙂

And what is Google upto next? Google Presentations? Google Web Designer? If you ask me, I should say a full fledged development environment that can work out of a browser, full with syntax validating editors, inbuilt compilers, databases, web-servers and code sync utilities is something really cool to work on. That way, software is easy to maintain and also this ensures that people are using the same version of the products for development and thus eliminates some common problems faced during software development. Is anyone listening?

Gmail forwarding and service interoperability – an interesting observation

Ever seen the Gmail forwarding feature? Gmail helps you in forwarding your mails from one account automatically to another account.

It just occured to me (and would occur to any hacker), what if I forward mails to some account and then from that account forward it back to this?

Guess what? Nothing happens! Gmail has taken care of that.

We had a similar problem when we were discussing about service interoperability in Ananyeah. I guess it is easier to take care of this in Gmail as it is only mail. What if there are other services?

Let me give you an example for other services. It is possible to subscribe to a blog and get the feed delivered in our reader. Let us call the first reader, Reader1. Now assume, Reader1 provides the option of creating an RSS out of it. If I subscribe to this RSS using another feed reader, Reader2 and then subscribe to their RSS using the Reader1, what is bound to happen? Time to check out and start experimenting. (And if you did not understand this concept, don't worry. You will hear about it soon.)

Web 2.0 now… What next? Ananyeah?

Everyone is talking about Web 2.0. And almost everyone who sees it, seems to be a big fan of it.

Now let me tell you something that the GAGS have hidden from you all these days…

It is something that we wanted to base our 'company' on!

The idea is something that Web 2.0 is trying to achieve, but is not even close. In simple terms it is interoperability of end user services. Web 2.0 in its present form is just providing integration of services [See Live.com for example]. Live.com is talking about providing mail, messenger, gadgets and obviously an RSS feed aggregator. It is basically talking about integration.

Now put in some more spice and bring in the magic word “interoperability”. What we get is services talking to each other. For example, your mail service starts talking to your blog. Or your messenger starts talking to your feed aggregator. Now what do you get with such an interoperability? Well, it is limited only by our imagination!

The way this would work is by having rules defined to make services interact with each other. These rules would initially look very similar to the “Matches”->”Do this” found in Gmail. But that is just the beginning.

For a starter let me give you an example. You could define some rule, which says “When I am in office, I don't want my friends to see me online”. And lo, your messenger gets what you say! Or you could say, “Whatever offline messages my friends leave in my messenger should be immediately mailed to me”.

Web 3.0 is considered to be OS over the web and if you want more flexibility, you can even think of programming over the web. That is a different story all together!

And for Ananyeah, this is just the beginning. The vision of Ananyeah is something that will take quite some time to achieve.

What a vacation!!!

(This blog is subject to change and refinement. All irrelevant details have been suppressed.)
Our final exams ended on June 10th, 2005. It was a satisfying end to a great journey.

What happened after that was more exciting. Wanna know what happened? Read on… It's not a secret anymore.

I have this tendency. My mind works the most, during exams.

It so happened that this concept of Ananyeah hit upon me during the exams. And I was waiting for exams to end. Once the exams ended, I started working on it full time. Me and were quite excited about it.

Now nothing comes easily and for some vague reasons I had to try for other job options. (How bad, I am not allowed to work on my idea even in vacations 🙁 ). I found myself in Bangalore, the IT hub. That week, I talked to many people in Bangalore. (Company directors, managers etc).

Suddenly, Mr. sent me a message:

“Got placed in a cool startup. They want you to be director. Come online soon.”

What?! What?! What?!

I was already excited about all the developments (or rather the events) that were occurring and then this one.

I messaged him back and you know right? He does not answer properly. So I had to go to the browsing center to find out.

Now this is what it turned out to be:

An offer from a US company to start their India operations! They wanted us to start a “Private Limited” in India and they were ready to fund it. We were allowed to continue working in the companies that we were placed in and once we felt this company that we started is able to sustain itself, we could quit our jobs and continue working on it full-time. Sounds reasonable. Worth trying. That's what I felt.

So we started working on this for the next one week in home lab. The main problem that concerned us was, “How can we work in another company when we are already placed in another? Will it help us achieve our dream? We are not after money, so is this worth it?” The person who made this offer (hereafter referred to as Mr. CTO) didn't know how tough it is to start a pvt ltd in India. He wanted us to start it in 2 days and start work immediately. Also, he was probably unaware that in India nothing works without under-hand transactions. So we told Mr. CTO that since we have these problems, we won't start this pvt ltd immediately, but start working on the project. (It would violate BCG of our company, but let's see what can be done about it…)

We had read about the starting of a company in “Management in Engineering” and now we were looking at the practical aspects of it.

Mr. CTO, was not aware that we were placed in IBM. When he did, he was shocked. He knew it was impossible for us to work on this offer. So he made another offer:

Work on an open source project for the next 3 months and at the end of it, I'll give you the entire salary what IBM pays you in one year. You then quit IBM and join us full time.

Reasonable again. Remember that I had not -joined- IBM and so I didn't know what IBM allows and what it does not. But when I read the BCG, I knew that even this would not be possible according to the BCG.

Meanwhile, Mr. CTO, who was not even aware of our problems, was in full-zoom. He sent us the “First assignment”. We found that the “First Assignment” clashes with the interests of Ananyeah. It was clear that, if at all we were working on this idea, we had to make sure that we also own it. So we told Mr. CTO about this. Mr. CTO changed the offer. We soon felt, he was trying to “utilize” us. We could not see any advantages of working with him or his company. So we declined the offer.

In the meantime, we had joined our jobs. And you know how my IBM offer mail began,

“Hope you are having a nice vacation, free from worries since your examinations are complete and you have an offer from an excellent company in hand.”

Well said!!!

(All people relevant to this blog, may write comments putting in their own experiences or blog about it in their own blogs. There is no point in hiding it.)