Wednesday, August 29, 2007

The NetFlix of Books

I was excited to see two entrants into the space that is very similar to NetFlix. A kind of Netflix for books. If you are a avid reader then this is going to be very great for you and will save you a lot of money buying books.

BookSwim.com Has Books only starting at $19.99 with free shipping only way

BooksFree.comPlans start at $9.99 and they have a collection of books and audiobook titles.


If you have a long commute like me you probably have the XM Radio / Sirius or the Jack Diamond Morning Show which is a favorite if mine for many years.

The other thing that I do is listen to NPR. In my opinion one of the greatest things about the Montgomery County Library is that they have a good collection of Books On Tape. I love playing the books on tape and sometimes the plot gets so exciting that either I wish the traffic was more or linger in my car in the parking lot till the chapter is done.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Indian language Radio available on MSN for US

MSN has teamed up with WorldSpace to offer Indian language Radio stations online. They are offering the indian language Radio Stations for free for 24 hours.

I am not sure how I landed on this page but I was pleasantly surprised to AR Rahman, Chiranjeevi staring back from me from this website. I had seen billboards in Hyderabad for WorldSpace even though I did not meet anyone who actually owned one. They are the XM/Sirius equivalent in Asia and Africa. In fact WorldSpace was one of the founding companies of XM. To subscribe you have to pay $9.99. The signup page was not working when I tried it.

If you want to buy a radio for US servicemen In IRAQ Worldspace sells their radios at SkyBox. The World space channel list is here. it would also make a nice gift to people back home or even for expats going on assignment to Asia, Europe or Africa.

I always knew that if anyone offered Indian radio for cars I would definitely subscribe. In India today there are so many radio stations. I enjoyed the banter very often in English and moving easily in between to different languages.

I am waiting for the XM/Sirius merger which will allow Worldspace to enter the US market. ONce this happens I am sure i will not mind the traffic crawing on the beltway.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Buying A TV is not easy

LCD vs Plasma
720p vs 1080p
2HDMI vs 3 HDMI

I never thought these are the kind of decisons you have to make. I am buying a TV and I plan to do it the old fashioned way . Go to a store and "kick the tires".

I remember the time when we bought our first Tv in 1977 in India and we had no choice. I think we bought a ECTV ( company run by the Indian Govt) and I cannot tell you whats the screen size was but it was black and white. We were living in a middle class colony in Madras (now Chennai) India. As we were early adopters ( first to buy a TV) - we had a lot of company of people who would plan their visit to us after 6 p.m when the TV programs would start and it was such a novelty. Outside every TV owning house you would find crowds of people watching from outside the doorway.

My first TV when I setup home in Moscow in 1989 and it was a Panasonic imported from Denmark (At that time only foreigners living in Moscow could import foregin goods). So now I am pretty much partial to Panasonic . The 1992 set I bought still works fine in my parents house in Hyderabad India. A funny thing is when I was owup in India we had 2 TV channels and the US we were told had 100's of channels. Fast forward to today, I live in the US and subscribe to the basic TV package about 14 channels I think. I visited my parents last month in India and they have 100's of channels .

Back to my TV buying thoughts. I am seriously considering a Panasonic Plasma 50" TV ( 50PX75U) Its going on sale in Circuit City tomorrow. $2199 with a home theater and installation. For the bed room where we do our TV watching anyway I will probably go for the Panasonic 42" 42PX75U.

Both these are 720p resolution but many reviewers say that unless you look at the Tv from very enar you will never notice the difference.

I will keep you posted when I actually buy it.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Network Down delaying passengers at Los Angeles airport

This incident is a reminder, how dependent we are on computers. I cringe to think of what the passengers went through after maybe 8 to 13 hours of flight time. On the way back from a recent trip to India we transited through London on a day when the airport was recovering from a severe storm on July 20th. We waited for a hour on the tarmac till the flight got a gate. Even that one hour was long enough, my normally quiet son was hungry and we didn't carry enough baby food due to the "liquids not allowed" bru hah and luckily the crew decided to open the galley again to give us some baby food. Emirates Airlines rocks. !

I read news reports that it took 3 hours for the the network providers staff to come to troubleshoot. I am appalled at that. A network outage is an emergency and the response should have been faster. I hope there are some lessons learned here and they start having onsite support technicians.

I am sorry for all the people who were stranded that day, but this is a very isolated incident and could have happened anywhere. America is definitely more welcoming than that.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Zagat.mobi

I was thrilled to receive a email introducing Zagat.mobi - the mobile restaurant review portal. Access to this is free from mobile devices. No matter which city in the world I am in I can depend on Zagat.mobi to give me the best reviews from customers themselves of restaurants.

I think restaurants will benefit from having their own .mobi web sites and then linking to thme from lsitings in search engines and in review sites like Zagat.

BuildMyMobi
is the right product for restaurant owners to build their own websites.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

The Mobile Web Site Builder Gives the Mobile Web a New Life

I am really excited that Network Solutions has launched a new product called BuildMyMobi a mobile website creator. It is a easy way for anyone to build a website for a mobile phone themselves and costs just $20 a year. People save money by using the mobile site builder as the alternative is to hire a web designer who has to specialize in the mobile web.

Businesses can build a mobile website and put their information on a BuildMyMobi website to help customers who look for them on cell phones.

More and more people are looking for businesses online or a business's mobile web site. A internet enabled phone is carried everywhere and as phone carrier speeds increase the internet experience on phones is getting better. BuildMyMobi - Wap website creator / Mobile website creator will help searchers looking for more content on mobile devices.

Mobile web sites have a lot of uses - Taxi services, Limo rentals, school websites can publish schedules, Restaurants put their menu, retailers publish coupon codes or sale details.

When a contractor came to my house and I asked him a question about previous works he proudly took out his phone and showed me a few pictures. I am sure he could post these on a mobile website and show them to clients.

Since I got a internet enabled phone I find it very convenient to look at websites designed for mobile phones.
a) Look up the Indian restaurant website from the metro to order a carryout and look at their menu.

b) Look up restaurants, taxi companies and CPAs web sites after first doing a Google Search.

c) Desperately look up a address in Hyderabad India for a shop address and get the phone number.

d) Check Fed Ex tracking.

Its funny—I just recently returned from a trip to India to visit friends and family, and after that trip can really believe something that I read recentlyin a Gartner Report that there are over 2.3 Billion mobile phone users (1/3 of the world’s population) Worldwide. In India it really seems that people skipped the PC revolution, and went straight to the mobile Internet—I can only imagine what the landscape for mobile technology will be just a year from now!