Narain is the founder & CEO for 360 Degree Interactive, a web services firm based in Chennai, India. This blog is about his personal views on Web 2.0, RoR, Social networking,Digital media, interactive advertising, SaaS, Service Oriented Architecture, India Inc, rural education, Web standards, mobile 2.0 and more.

Friday, March 31

Does Standards really matter?

While working on our TracBac, where we test the application against multiple browsers on Windows and Mac, and validating the code for HTML, CSS etc, suddenly i wanted to know whether the biggies really care about standards. Using the W3C's validator, i tried to validate the big most loved/hated companies on the net. For this I just took 3 companies - Google, Microsoft and Apple. It's much more easier to in this lineup to find out the bad boys or guys who get the ugly press - Microsoft.

These are all the results for you to see and it's surprising. We are drawing our battlelines against Microsoft [as evil] for everything which is relevant to web. Although they produce one of the worst nightmare for a web designer, surprising their website perfect validates. Microsoft for all its bad press, actually, silently did the right thing.

On the other hand, a company which pronounce "less evil" and advocates open standards in their approach, failed miserably with 50 errors for their super minimal homepage. Worse is the case of their homepage that they don't even have a DTD declared in their page. Sorry state of affairs for Google. For all those people out there, who swears by this emporor of the web, actually the Emperor wears no clothes.

Next comes, Apple, the darling of the designers & on the web. Problems again. Their HTML 4.01 Transitional has 7 errors in their document. For Apple, although, they make the best workhorse for designers to work with, their own iWeb actually creates a whole bunch of useless code competing squarely against Microsoft Frontpage for tag souping.

The bottomline can be divided into two. Are standards really matter on the web? If so, why these companies are not taking any step towards that? This is not a compliant. But this is the sorry state of affairs of the web. One end, when the WaSP is trying hard to convince Microsoft to make their browser stronger support for standards, they are fighting on something which finds no grounds in the real world web. Safari, may be a better standard compliant browser than IE, but what if the very company itself is not creating a standard compliant site to deliver better experience.

I am not here to argue the shortfalls of W3C validator. There can definitely be problems. When Doug Bowman in his semninal presentation showed how Microsoft needed to rethink about designing a standard compliant website for them, why are we following a double standard when it comes to Google & Apple. Aren't they also should be given the same argument for making the web, more standard driven for people. It's much easier to criticize Microsoft, because we believe they produce some sub-standard stuff for the people. For argument sake, if you agree, what better experience & standards were followed by their hyped, celebrated, "anti-MS" companies like Apple & Google. Is it time for us to appreciate Microsoft that they have lend their ears to the "standards" crowd and reworked on their website. Surely, Web standards and standard compliant web development needs to be the norm of the future of the web, while we hit our bad press against Microsoft, why not against Google and Apple ?

Isn't time for change or we are talking about a "utopian dream"

Monday, March 27

The New wisdom of the Web

Newsweek's "The New Wisdom of the Web" says
The Living Web means that there may be plenty of opportunities to become the next Flickr, and hundreds of start-ups are trying to do just that. At Tim O'Reilly's recent Emerging Technology Conference, it seemed that 1,200 people had signed on to some collectively generated business plan: starting a company in a spare bedroom, outsourcing the programming to some Indian company they found on the Web, getting content from users and then having users organize the content by tagging, pocketing money from Google ads placed on the Web site and, finally, selling the company to Yahoo.
The future is just right here, right now! in India :)

Friday, March 24

Mesh Conference - Canada's web 2.0 conference

Canada is a buzzing hub for emerging technologies. Closer to US, it has some exceptionally talented people in the area of Web 2.0. Like we organise BarCamps, [which is an unconference and a more informal event]our canadian counterparts on technology are organising Meshconference -Canada's web 2.0 conference in Toronto. Just going thru' their site, I am sheerly impressed by the speakers they have roped in. The best in the Web 2.0 and modern web thinkers are there with them. Om Malik, Steve Rubel, Stowe Boyd, Tara Hunt, Paul Kedrosky and my much beloved Jason Fried everyone is there. If you are in Canada or even in US, take up sometime, dont' miss this. This gives us confidence, that in coming months, it's very much possible for India to organise a similar event. Good show guys!

Tuesday, March 21

Pour more "SaaS" to my plate

It's official. It's accepted, screams the zdnet blog. Infoworld's article about SaaS [Software as a Service or Software applications delivered as service via Internet] makes Web 2.0 Evengelists like myself, jump out of seat and scream loud about the upcoming Wave. This Tsunami called "SaaS" will revolutionise the way we interact with the software applications. Post 80's saw the Desktop PC revolution. Mid 90's saw the / internet revolution and as a cycle, mid 00's will be the SaaS revolution.

For a CTO, SaaS is a no-brainer. Upload, integrate and run the application worldwide. No need for custom installations, no long implementation cycles, no operating system switchings and most imporatantly with SaaS, the portability of the applications are now easier. Our TracBac [in private user base] is based on similar model. No need for any installation, configuration and system specification to use the application. Your computer will be a part of the larger network as Jonathan says "The network is the computer"

SaaS as a model will change the dominance of big desktop players like Microsoft, Adobe, Corel among others. The future is now just a browser away!

Monday, March 20

War of Ruby & Enterprise Architecture

Self proclaimed Enterprise Architectural genius (?!) James McGovern rips apart Ruby on Rails and says it is not enterprise ready and offers his own points of ruby bashing. David Heinmeier Hanson, the geek founder of Ruby on Rails offers his own take on that article and says why enterprise is dead. I certainly believe, Ruby on Rails has its own benefits in agile software development. With the Web 2.0 mania worldwide [yours truly is also a species of that genre] the requirement for doing something faster is getting fatter.

The traditional "Enterprise" which represents controlled systems, with system engineers, administrators and others has buried long time ago. Companies like Google, Microsoft, Yahoo!, Amazon, Salesforce are feverishly pushing distributed computing architecture and browser/mobile based collaboration & technologies to organisations. The inflated, fat "ENTERPRISE" in 20th century is already on its way to its mortuary. World at large is moving towards, anywhere architecture than a cubicle driven, cafteria gossiped, closed user system.

I am not an authority in Enterprise applications, I leave that to Sadagopan to dig this deeper and analyse.

Tuesday, March 14

25 Things Danny hate about Google

Over there at Search Engine Watch Danny Sullivan, one of the world's renowned Search Engine expert lists out the 25 things, he hates about Google. I was once a google affectionado and my choice today moved now more with Yahoo!. In this article, i like some of the points he highlights with the problems of Google. My favourites are below

1. Web search counts that make no sense. Why do search engines lie? has Robert Scoble recently poking at this, on how the reported counts don't always match reality. Heck, try class two contributions with "about" 59,800,000 matches. But then you find that only 879 are considered non-duplicates! Meanwhile, mars landing sites gives 1,050,000 matches while
mars landing sites earth
gives nearly double that amount, 1,840,000 listings. It shouldn't. Adding that extra word should give you a subset of the original query. It should come back with less results, not more. I know, I know. It's a bug, or search counts are hard to do, or they do say "about." I know, they aren't the only ones, nor have they been the first (see
Questioning Google's Counts, Danny & Tristan Talk About Link Counts, Site Counts & Index Auditing and Who's The Biggest Of Them All?). Long experience in knowing the counts don't add up has perhaps left me numb to the issue. And goodness knows, I don't want a return to page counts on the home page. But then again, if you are going to put out a number, perhaps it should be accurate?

7. RSS feed for web search. OK, I know the results don't change much, and I know that RSS feeds of web search that Yahoo and MSN are hardly winning over mass numbers of users. Still, why not? Since you offer RSS for news search results and other things, let me monitor web search the same way.

19. Let Gmail display more than 100 items. After archiving 50,000 messages 100 items at a time, I really wished for the ability to view more than 100 items per page. I still want that when I'm having to review about 300 spam items per day. This can't be that hard. Can't we have it?

22. Stop opening products to everyone, then getting overwhelmed. The story is getting tiring. Everyone's invited to use Google Web Accelerator, then you pull it down. Come get Google Analytics, then you shut it down to newcomers to demand. Come get Google Page Creator, then it closes (Missed out? Just go use Yahoo GeoCities). You know whatever you roll out is going to get overwhelmed. Figure out another way to open it up. The demand is no longer making it seem like your products are hot. I was in an Apple store the other day with a huge line. It's making it seem like you are lame and can't anticipate or handle the rush.

23. Charge for things! Seriously, I'm getting frightened. I love that anyone can get free analytics, email, you name it from you. But I'm fearful that people also can't get support for when things go wrong. I think this guy's still trying to get an official response on what happened to his lost Gmail account. Meanwhile, I worry that companies I want competing with you, to keep you on your toes, can't do so when you use advertising to underwrite everything. It just feels anti-competitive. Plus, aren't you kind of sick of shoving ads at us everywhere? Don't I have enough ads on the floor of my supermarket already? Can't part of Google's mission be to help reduce advertising in places where I don't need it?

Read the full article for an insightful view into Google's issues.

Monday, March 13

BarCampChennai - April 8 & 9 - Come, Geek & Rock!

BarCamp is an ad-hoc un-conference born from the desire for people to share and learn in an open environment. It is an intense event with discussions, demos and interaction from attendees. It's an unconference, so everybody will participate in the happenings, unlike traditional conferences, where one person talk and the other's listen.

India's first BarCamp happened in Delhi, and it turned out to be Asia's first. Well known bloggers in Chennai like Kiruba Shankar, myself and Vijay Anand are organising the Bar Camp Chennai. The BarCampChennai focusses on Web 2.0 and Next Generation Internet. The BarCampChennai's focus will be creating awareness about Web 2.0, showcasing some of the hot start ups work and also providing a wider network platforms for the people.

Although the event is named as "BarCampChennai", participants are from all over India. If you are a guy who says your browser is delicious or RSS is not a political party or XML is your Tshirt size, come join us. You can see the wiki set up for that and this is going to happen on April 8th & 9th of this year. Geek, sneak and rock!!

BarCampChennai, Web2.0, Ajax, RubyonRails, TracBac

Friday, March 10

Entrepreneurial Proverbs

Oreilly Radar has some good advice and proverbs for the startup minded entrepreneurs. Check theirO'Reilly Radar > Entrepreneurial Proverbs

Wednesday, March 1

This is Smarter Marketing

Search marketing is always a different animal to play with. What Monster India does this with this search is simply fantastic.

1. It connects well with the work offered for a single keyword.
2. It allows users to think in different directions for a keyword.

This is smarter marketing! Kudos to the search marketing agency which handles Monster

Tags: Search Marketing