Auto Expiring Emails Concept – A Big Step Towards Zero-Inbox

Last week I had about 5890 unread emails in my personal Inbox. I spent a couple of hours and managed to shave off about 2500 of those emails. In the week since then I got approximately around 1000 new emails more, and now my Inbox count stands at a grand 3649 emails.

inbox_count

Mind you, I don’t get lot of spam, but most of these unread emails in my Inbox are months old and in most of the instances have been sent to me more than a year ago. Now you would say that I am a lazy boy, but I am not. I use several devices to read my email and some of them support POP and some support IMAP. While most of the emails I read these days are through IMAP (which is synced with the server), my read emails are also marked as read in .

But what about those emails which are lying around unread for months and years. Some of them may not even be useful to me anymore. Some of them may just be marketing emails which have already expired. So aren’t those emails useless, shouldn’t they just go away?

Well they don’t do it right now, but a new proposal by Joshua Baer, CEO of the e-mail company OtherInBox makes a lot of sense to me. He is pitching for a standard which will allow emails to auto-expire on it’s own without the user having to delete it.

Well, before you raise your eyebrows, let me explain this feature in a little more detail with some examples from Joshua himself. Let’s say a shopping newsletter you have subscribed to sends you an email with offers that are valid from February 26, 2011 – February 28, 2011 – Now you as a user forgot to check that email and those emails remain in your Inbox forever without any use. The offers have expired and you definitely will not be able to get those no matter whether or not you check it later than those dates. So wouldn’t it be good if those emails just disappeared from your Inbox altogether?

Well this is just a use-case example where emails would know till when they are relevant and then automatically delete itself? Yes it would, and it would be more than useful to so many users.

However, implementing this would not be easy. First of all it would have to become a standard which is implemented by all the current email providers for it to make a significant impact. Secondly, there might be a lot of problems which will be associated with features like these. Let me elaborate about them in brief:

  • It would be a severe overhead for email providers to expire emails, they would basically have to run checks every minute on all of your Inbox to find out when emails expire. Unless the Email standards are changed to incorporate a new database structure to quickly query all the existing emails this will not be implemented across the board. This may require modifications to the POP, IMAP, Exchange and other custom protocols in use today.
  • Email providers just can’t delete emails without user consent. If they start doing this they would be in a lot of trouble.
  • You will get lot of spam/hate emails which expire in 15 minutes or so, and if these emails are deleted without consent it could cause a lot of trouble.

Well, these are the few things that pop up in my mind right now, but I do believe that there would be several other things which could cause problems once this is implemented.

However, I also do have some suggestions on how this could be used with user consent and also on just specific emails. Here are my thoughts:

  • Extend the filtering feature in emails to provide an option to expire emails from certain email addresses or “keywords” after a while. This could be done outright or when the email contains the proposed expire headers
  • Add small UI changes to show when an email is expiring so that people can act on them.
  • Allow users to browse expiring emails through an internal folder which populates such kind of emails.

Some of these features are very easy to implement and won’t take much time. I am really looking forward to the expiring emails feature becoming a reality and will be more than happy to test it out.

Do you think that such a feature would increase your productivity? Do you have any other great ideas that could change the way we use emails? Do feel free to let me know your thoughts.

What Is Quora?

For the past few weeks, I’ve been following an increased interest about Quora on social networking sites. Tech evangelist, Robert Scoble, started a Quora frenzy with his post; Is Quora the biggest blogging innovation in 10 years?

Quora

Now I certainly did not agree fully about Quora being a blogging innovation, however, after using it for a while now I can say that it is addictive, interesting, informative and has the A-Listers answering questions from anyone and everyone.

So What is Quora?

I believe that this question is very well answered in the about page of Quora and also a question which was posted on Quora itself. However, here is an easier interpretation of what Quora is in my honest opinion.

In a nutshell, Quora is a simple site where you can ask a question and expect an answer from other community members. It is similar to Yahoo Answers and Answers in that sense. However, Quora goes much more further than this.

Quora basically documents knowledge through questions and answers and provides users with an easy way to find it. Think of it as a knowledgebase created by people for the people.

In addition to that Quora also provides users with a platform to collaborate and make things better. For example, if one person has asked a question, a second person can edit it to make it more descriptive or to frame it in a proper way. Similarly, when one person answers a question, another user can suggest edits to the answer. Using the collaborative feature in Quora, people can improve on the quality of the accumulated knowledge.

Quora is also a source for continuous knowledge by the way of it providing each and every user an opportunity to add their answers to any question. This way newer and maybe better answers can always be added.

As many people think, Quora is not overwhelming at all since it allows you to choose which topics you want to follow and only displays questions related to those topics. For example, if you would love to know more about Startups, you can follow the Startup topics and you will be displayed questions and answers

This is the most basic definition of what Quora does according to me.

Is Quora A Social Networking Platform?

Yes and No. Quora is not exactly a social networking site, but it does borrow quite a lot of features from sites like Twitter, Facebook and maybe several others.

For example, Quora has an option to allow users to follow other users, this feature is similar to Twitter. In addition to that it allows users to comment and up vote answers, this feature is seen in sites like Reddit and Digg. It also has an Inbox feature which can be tied down to LinkedIn or Facebook Messages.

Quora also allows users to subscribe to questions without asking or answering it, so that you will know whenever a new answer has been added.

Overall, there are several aspects of Quora which make it to look like a social networking site. However, those features are not the USP of Quora. Those features basically provide an enhanced community experience for Quora users.

What do you think of Quora? Have you used it? Do you like it? Do feel free to tell me your opinion about the service through your comments.

Hey Google, Can We Have Some Meaningful Results? Please

You don’t use Google because it’s “Google”. You use “Google” because it offers relevant and meaningful results.

AdSense Scraper Sites Joke

Image credit

Back in the year 2000 – web search was largely dominated by short web queries and the results were very “generalized”, users had to click through multiple links until they were able to find the exact webpage they were looking for. The search volume was fairly low, hence the requirement for a polished algorithm was not laid forward.

Also Read: Hey Google, Here is How You Can Make Google News Spam Free

Then came Google and web search took a significant turn in it’s “relevancy”, “exactness” and “value”. Google changed the way   folks used to find content, people started writing blogs, created information and Google organized all the information in their “index”.

The sad part – Newton’s third law of motion holds true universally.

The reaction: Google’s way of ranking webpages was huge, so big that it gave birth to a giant search marketing industry. The welcome mat for SEO Firms was laid out, which consequently gave birth to content farms, aggregators and scraped websites. Their entire goal of producing content is from the outside in – find the phrases which are profitable, judge the competition, gain a good amount of links and make your way to the SERP’s.

In recent times, there has been much speculation on the way Google search is populated with content aggregators and scraped websites. TechCrunch, Venture Beat and other tech blogs have put down their observations earlier.

It’s not that only we are saying this. Jeff Atwood from Coding Horror recently nailed down their observations

In 2010, our mailboxes suddenly started overflowing with complaints from users complaints that they were doing perfectly reasonable Google searches, and ending up on scraper sites that mirrored Stack Overflow content with added advertisements. Even worse, in some cases, the original Stack Overflow question was nowhere to be found in the search results!

Why Do Content Aggregators Beat The Source In Search Results ?

Let’s take a look on the factors that influence the ranking of a webpage in search results.

Google says that there are more than 200 signals but practice shows that the most important factors which determine whether you page is going to rank well or not are:

1. The quality of the content
2. Number and authority of the links to your content.
3. The Title Of the page.

Let’s say you wrote an informative article on “iPhone cases” and published it on your blog. Since “iPhone cases” is a profitable phrase, this will alert the content aggregators, link farms and scraper sites running AdSense ads. These guys have set up Google Alerts and other ways to get instant notifications whenever a phrase they are targeting, gets found by Google.

They come to your blog, copy an excerpt from your article, publish a new post on their “Aggregation channels” with a link back to your post.

You think it’s cool? ” “Hey Mike, I just got a backlink from xyz.com they have 60,000 RSS readers. I am famous !”

Yes, a lot of people will read your thought but not on your blog. The majority will read it on the “Aggregation channel”.

The Result

Since a large portion of the blogosphere is paying attention to that Aggregation channel, who do you think is going to attract more links?

Social Media Influence Aggregators

As soon as the scraped post hits an “Aggregation channel”, a huge number of blogs will start linking to them (not you). They have an enormous amount of social media subscribers, Twitter followers, newsletter readers and getting 6 dozen backlinks to their own article is child’s play.

Yes, you have written that 900 word article but that doesn’t qualify your post to be linked from other sites. Social media influences search rankings and these content aggregators use huge social media influence to dominate SERP’s.

Conrad Sam from Search Engine Land performed an internal study on profitable keywords, in order to find out which search engine (Google or Bing) returns relevant results. The SEL team followed this convention:

  • 5 points were awarded for a good quality result ranking first, 3 for second and 1 for third.
  • 2 bonus points were added for top 3 results being on a highly authoritative site.
  • 5 points were subtracted if the entire first page didn’t contain any good results.

Search Engine Ranking Authority
It’s no wonder that Google is losing it’s ground on relevancy and exactness. Richard MacManus from Read Write Web puts an interesting comment on why blogs and search engines need to embrace a “change”

I can only hope that Google and other search engines find better ways to surface quality content, for its own sake as well as ours. Because right now Google is being infiltrated on a vast scale by content farms.

That pretty much sums it up. Google has been promoting leechers more than the actual publishers and we ourselves have been victim of this problem. You can read more about it on this post.

What is your opinion of the quality of search results in Google? Are you happy with them? Do you think that they need to improve? Are you a victim of RSS scrapers? Don’t forget to tell me your thoughts through your comments.

Why Is Opera Not Popular?

Lets get this straight. Even though I find browser quite  feature rich when I compare it to other browsers, it is not one of the most popular browser as you know it. As a matter of fact it only has 2% of browser market share. I have been closely following topics related to Opera on Quora (my new love! but more on that later) and found few interesting topics about Opera!

Opera Logo

But let’s discuss Why is Opera not popular?

Xudong Yang, a Web Developer, has jotted down exactly my thoughts in a blog post. To Quote him:

Poor advertisement: IE is the default on Windows, Safari the default on Mac, Firefox/Chromium the default on several Linux distributions. Moreover, we see IE9 ads, Chrome ads, and (rarer these days) Firefox with Google Toolbar ads. I’ve practically never seen Opera ads. Whether this is due to poor finance or bad marketing strategy I’ve no idea, but Opera sure could be much better off if it were in the first place more widely known.

I won’t quote his entire blog post as I’m only interested to concentrate on the advertisement part. But I really suggest you read his blog post. He makes a lot of good points.

Recently, I had a once in lifetime opportunity to meet the founder of Opera; Jon Von Tetzchner, during his Mumbai Meetup. I had always wanted to ask Opera why they did not spend money on advertising and what’s better than asking the man himself. So I did.

Jon Von Tetzchner explained that for spending money, Opera needed money, which they didn’t have. And that word of mouth publicity has worked for them. Bullshit I say. Opera recently announced that Opera had reached a new milestone of 150 million users and here’s the breakdown of it.

For the uninitiated, Opera, for the major part, earns from the search bar on the browser when you make a search query. Assuming 75% of Opera Desktop users use the search bar  at least once a day it’s freaking 37,500,000 searches a day. Now we know that users do not search that freely on their mobile device than they do on desktop. So let’s consider 25% of Opera Mobile and mini users use the search bar daily. That’s again 25,000,000. That makes it a total of 62,500,000 searches EACH DAY! So, don’t tell me you don’t make money!

And if you remember, Mozilla’s Firefox initially rose to popularity because Google promoted it. It has come to the point that Firefox has actually overtaken Internet Explorer as Europe’s dominant browser.  As much as I like Opera browser it really hurts to see the other below standard browsers winning more market share. Opera really needs to do more than Potato videos when it comes to marketing and be more visible to internet users.

IS RSS Dead? Well No, It’s Powering Up Things Which Are Supposedly Killing IT

Before I start this article, I have to be very frank. I stopped using almost 16 months ago. I no longer read RSS feeds. However, that in no way means RSS in itself is dead. RSS lives on in every product we could possibly imagine using, be it mobile devices or tablets.

RSS is Not Dead; Biggest RSS Icon

I am having this discussion because I want to drive home a point. Website Syndication might be down, but RSS will live on. It will continue to be a way to deliver content to mobile devices, embedded devices, tablets and what not. The RSS platform in itself is not dead at all. It’s the preference on how users want to read their content is what is changing.

Earlier today, TechCrunch said that RSS is dying, and then declared a RSS war with the developer of RSS. The whole thing sounded amusing at best, but here is what the case is, MG Seigler is missing the point. RSS is a technology that provides a backbone to syndicating content, not feed readers. Just because you read news on your or Twitter or Facebook does not mean that RSS does not play any part there.

RSS provides an option to users to provide data in a structured format and many apps, apps and other mobile platform apps make use of this structured data to display data in a customized format, without RSS it would be very hard to pull in data if not impossible. Even and provide feeds in some form or the other, this is because other users or devices or apps make use of this data to provide you with data in a customized format.

Having apps designed to query your database directly when RSS exists is not only bad programming, it is stupid. Why? Because, RSS provides you with the same data without having to go through all the pain and is much more easier to consume.

Now here is a question? Where does most of the links in Facebook and Twitter come through? Sites like Twitterfeed and Networked Blogs, which well use RSS to post links to these sites. Of course, you might say that I post my own links, but have you researched how many links on Twitter or Facebook are actually posted by users verses these automated clients?

So, the matter of fact is that RSS is going to live through a long life. People will stop reading RSS in their feed readers, but they will continue reading RSS on their phones and Twitter and Facebook and continue proclaiming RSS is dead. That you don’t notice it does not mean that it is dead, it means that you don’t know what you are talking about. Feed Readers are getting extinct for God’s sake.

These are just my 2 cents about some opinion that is not just flawed but also puts the wrong perspective into users mind. I would suggest you read Matthew Ingram’s article about RSS being dead too.

Update: RSS is rocking, well, Google is putting RSS leechers on top of actual content writers, which is good sign for content stealers who steal other’s work and post it on their own website. This would never be possible without RSS. You cannot blame Google for it, for the past 16-18 months they have been tackling the same issue, but it looks like they are still clueless about it.

Google is F**ked UP

Check the screenshot above, you will spot my name in the top two articles, my signature bad writing et al, but not Techie Buzz where I write? But this all thanks to RSS.

Why Twitter Does Not Need Media Integration

I read a very interesting post written by Zee on The Next Web about Twitter adding media services. I found the entire article pretty interesting, however, I did not entirely agree with his statements there.

Of course, I wanted to write my thoughts as a comment on his post, but I really don’t comment on sites which require users to create an account for their websites. I feel it’s a good thing to exercise my thoughts out without having to go through the pains of getting it through.

So here are my thoughts (in more words) on why does not really require any media integration.

Twitter is not Facebook

Twitter is not , it is Twitter. The difference between Facebook and Twitter is simplicity. Facebook is so complicated, it requires users to get through the loops of learning how to upload pictures, upload videos and more. Twitter on the other hand was about “What are you doing” and now about “What’s happening?”

The reason Twitter exists even when Facebook is doing so well is because they are simple. A simple update like “I just woke up” and “Goodnight” does the job, you don’t have to worry about who is reading your updates, whether someone will feel bad or not and so on.

As per Zee’s recommendation, Twitter should also provide an option to upload pictures. Well, if you have to teach a user to upload pictures to the internet before they have used Twitter, that user is a noob, complete noob. I have seen 10-11 year old kids uploading photos, so this shouldn’t be as difficult as it sounds and it should definitely not be a feature in Twitter.

Photo and Video Sharing Services Have Twitter Integration

I clicked a photo and uploaded it to , or I recorded a video and uploaded it to . Now how do I get it to Twitter? Well there is a simple button out there to do the job, so it is not hard. Twitter is not about uploading, it is about sharing and almost each and service out there has Twitter and Facebook sharing option available.

So uploading videos, photos or what not does not require Twitter, because everything around it does it. I believe that almost every site I do anything on wants me to share it on Twitter (and Facebook), so it is about integration, not implementation.

Twitter IS KISS

The reason there are so many apps for Twitter is because it leaves the nitty-gritties out while keeping in the “Simple”. Twitter has lists, but apps like and Seesmic make them ever so important.

For the record, I hardly use the web interface on Twitter, because there are so many apps out there which do the job Twitter should have done. The Twitter web interface is so simple, that I am really lost around it. I can’t function without the apps I use to use Twitter.

Of course Twitter is aware of these apps, however, they know that they have to be simple enough to KISS. If they try too much, they will obviously be something what Facebook has already been doing for so long.

Apps like TwitPic and YFrog supplement Twitter. They allow users to share content without having to put a heck of an headache on Twitter and users who don’t want Twitter can use something else. Heck, I see imgur.com being used more than anything else on Twitter for images.

Twitter Can’t Kill The EcoSystem

URL Shorteners only came into existence because of Twitter, but they have almost become a primary way of sharing URLs on the internet. When Twitter decided to start using Bit.ly as their default , there was a big hue and cry. Heck, a company even folded up and resurrected because of this decision.

Now, Twitter dropped Bit.ly and went with their own URL shortener T.co, but without hampering with the ecosystem that existed around it. Imagine when Twitter comes up with their own image sharing service, what would happen to the others? They would revolt and stop doing business? Would they just shut shop because Twitter has the control over things? Would they develop new apps around Twitter?

I highly doubt that, because Twitter knows their importance. I share almost 20-30 pictures a week, and I hardly visit TwitPic to upload my pictures. It is all done through TweetDeck, so I am not even visiting either Twitter or TwitPic to upload pictures, but I get my message through. This is because of the ecosystem Twitter has, they will survive because of this, not without it.

Twitter spends a heck of a time keeping their service up, these value-added services will only add to their headaches. Right now they have the ecosystem worrying for that, I doubt that they will change their ways here.

Twitter Is About Real-Time Not My Marriage

The reason we see real-time topics on Twitter and sites like Google and Bing using their data to supplement results is because it is real-time. Bing uses Facebook data to show you recommendations based on your friends updates, so do many other sites. But when it comes to serious topics, Twitter results are often up there and do matter. Your cute cat picture or video would not make it to real-time search because that is what Twitter is, a steady stream of updates which is built up based on user input, not a meme on your cat.

Many of the trends on Twitter are demented, but none of them came from a video share. Of course, the New York plane crash (trend came through because of a picture shared by someone near the scene. Captain Sully anyone?), but the person who uploaded the picture used TwitPic or something, not Twitter, but got through with the message.

The main reason that message came through was the picture he uploaded, but it came through Twitter, not through the picture. If that person would have put his status somewhere else, that topic would not have got as much attention as it got.

Simple enough, you got a picture, upload it, post it to Twitter, if it is viral, it gets through. If not, it doesn’t. That is the power of Twitter, getting through the message not the media accompanying it. Heck, YouTube has videos which go viral without Twitter.

Twitter Is About Adapting, Lay People Or Celebs

Some of the top Twitter accounts, and several more are about followers not following. These people have millions of followers. Some of them are Hollywood and Bollywood actors who I am very sure never knew about uploading pictures, leave aside URLs. However, I see several of these users uploading pictures on TwitPic and YFrog and getting thousands of comments.

These people did need a lesson in uploading but they learnt it nevertheless. If a normal user is dumb, these guys are dumber because they rely on someone else do all their job, but the same people are aware of clicking a photo and uploading it to whichever service they want to.

They don’t need Twitter to fulfill their media needs?

Summarizing

Of course, we would want all social networks to upload pictures et al, but is it worth it? Well, I put my thoughts out here. It definitely does not make sense for Twitter to add media integration. Of course they do have media integration for third parties, but that does not mean that they should add all these services.

I loved Zee’s article, but I have been using Twitter since May 2007, way before many of you have used it. I use it because it is simple and easy to use, from wherever I want to. I would prefer to keep it that way. I would certainly not mind not having few people not using it because it is not Facebook, after all they have 220 million users.

(This article is incomplete, links and references will be up shortly)

Chrome Web Store Analysis: Millions of Downloads, Top Apps and Interesting Facts

Google launched the on December 7th, 2010 at the conference. I have downloaded and used several of these apps on , many of these are really good apps and shows that the future of the web store is really bright.

However It has been almost 2 weeks since the Web store launched, so how has it performed? How many apps have are there in the web store? Which are the best selling apps? Which apps have been downloaded the most? To find answers to these questions I decided to do an analysis on how the web store has worked out and what the stats are like.

Chrome Web Store

I have based this analysis on the current numbers available at the Chrome Web Store since Google has not provided users statistics about the Chrome Web Store yet.

Facts About Chrome Web Store

First of, Chrome Web Store has seen millions of downloads, with the top 15 seeing over 1.5 million downloads so far. Here are some more facts about the Chrome Web Store and Apps:

  • There are ~2200+ apps in the Chrome Web Store right now
  • There are over ~10,500 and themes.
  • Top 15 apps have been downloaded over 1.5 million times
  • The top two most downloaded apps in the Chrome Web Store are games, and they account for almost half a million downloads
  • All apps except for are web shortcuts
  • NY Times is the only news app among the top 15 downloaded apps
  • Out of the top 15 downloaded apps, 9 are Google products
  • Groove Shark is the only music app in the top 15

Top 15 Apps in Chrome Web Store

The Chrome Store has several apps to choose from. I have written about quite a few of them (read about the Chrome Apps). Many of the apps are just web shortcuts, but the number of in-browser apps has been increasing. The top 15 apps on the Google Web Store currently features the following:

What’s Lacking In Chrome OS Cr-48 Right Now? 100% Cloud Storage

I have been playing around with the new Cr-48 (check out pictures) for over a day now and I can tell you that I can live with it for a long time. However, before I do my full review of the experience, I have to talk about certain things that are lacking in the Cr-48 and in general.

Chrome OS Cr-48 Netbook

One of the important things I have missed is the password sync, of course it should come out soon, so I will not delve much into it right now, however Chrome OS and Cr-48 have a bigger problem on hand than that.

Chrome OS Cr-48 is Not Cloud Safe

Let me backtrack a bit. When the came out, I started using a lot of , several of which provided me with in-browser experience (apps which were not just shortcuts). I reviewed quite a few of them including TweetDeck, Write Space  and Sticky notes and Note taking apps.

All of the above mentioned apps stored their data locally. I have also been using an excellent weather app called Weather Bug which works inside the browser and does not use a shortcut, however, all this data is stored locally.

Now the problem is not the apps itself, when I setup the Cr-48 and logged in all my apps were there thanks to Chrome Sync. Google is definitely driving the point of no data loss with it destroying 25 laptops, however, here is the BIG problem I wanted to talk about, If your Chrome netbook dies, you LOSE data.

What data? Well the data which these apps have stored locally, you lose them. You cannot get back that data even if you use Chrome Sync, maybe not for which stores profile information in the cloud. However, you will lose all your tabs in TweetDeck and have to set it up again.

So if you have taken tons of notes and stored it locally, when your Chrome OS Cr-48 crashes all that data will be gone, forever. There is no way to get it back and this is the biggest problem with Chrome OS and Cr-48 in general.

Like a good beta/alpha tester I reported this problem to Google, hopefully they should take note of it. Here is what I had to say to them:

I am not sure if you already do, but you should definitely provide App developers with an API to hook into Chrome Sync.

The biggest frustrating experience I have had with Cr-48 is having to reset all the settings for the apps I use. This is fair enough, little work, but your concept of having destructed several laptops to drive the cloud storage feature seems a bit flawed in this case.

If I destruct my laptop, I can get all my extensions back, but not the settings and saved data, so you are definitely not 100% cloud safe. I would seriously love to see developments in this area and also a push to developers to start using Chrome Sync rather than an external service to store data.

Of course not everyone will oblige, but I am Ok with it as long as I have access to my data no matter which laptop or netbook I use.

Cheers

Keith

As you can see, my biggest problem has been the lack of cloud storage for information which Chrome does not have access to. Of course, it is up to Chrome to provide an API to Chrome Sync so that developers can make use of it to sync data in the cloud. I believe that would be a good move since many developers do not have the money to setup their own servers to store data. And frankly, I would prefer all my data sits in one place rather than it being scattered across the internets.

I am very sure that Google will add this feature to and the shortly. But, if you wanted an honest opinion from me about the Cr-48, I would say that it is not yet 100% cloud-safe.

No Video Recording Capabilities

Another feature that is lacking in Chrome OS and Cr-48 in general is the lack of native video recording. Though this is specifically my own blogging rant, I do feel that it should include a feature.

For example, I wanted to record something on Chrome OS itself, but wasn’t able to do it properly. Of course I used a camera to do it but the video was not perfect at all. To top it there are no apps right now in the Chrome Web Store which support video screencasting. This is not a big deal but people will want it in future.

Overall, there are several more things which I am exploring right now, however, the app data store in Chrome Sync is definitely a feature I will be looking forward to.

Notion Ink Adam Tablet’s Video Is Still Coming, I Stopped Waiting For It A Day Ago

Updates at bottom of post..

It is well past December 18th, 2010 in India, where Notion Ink is based. It is a really big day for their team because they announced the Adam Tablet on this date, they also promised a video of the device, however, it looks like we’ll have to wait 6 hours countless hours or maybe until eternity to get a chance to watch it.

Notion Ink Adam

Backtracking:

In a very short and brief post on Notion Ink’s official blog, the founder Rohan said this (do read the comments there):

The video is being sent to Android Police and they will have exclusive access to it for the six hours before we can post it here.

Regards

Now there are few things here. Notion Ink has had over 8 days to get this video ready. They already passed their deadline, technically they didn’t but according to the IST they did. Now, it has been over two hours since they had promised the exclusive video to Police, however, they seem to have not received it yet. Here are couple of tweets from AP.

Hey guys! We’re still waiting on the video from Rohan, re: the Notion Ink Adam. Once we have it, it will be posted ASAP.#notionink #adam

@keithdsouza From what we were told, we were to have to video a bit ago, and that, supposedly, we’d be the only ones to have it for 6 hours

Prior to the post being published on their site, several people including me started tweeting about how Notion Ink hadn’t posted their promised video. I bet the folks at Notion Ink are savvy and might have caught up on it; as if they thought that no one would notice; and went ahead and wrote that post.

So, why is Notion Ink in such a haste? Why couldn’t they write the blog post after they sent the video there promised in the post? Why are they acting in such a suspicious manner? Why are they alienating customers who pre-ordered through their system, which was a stupid way to start out with things in the first place.

So is the Notion Ink Adam for real? Well I certainly am very very skeptical about it right now. The wait is not six hours though, here is the catch: The video is being sent to Android Police and they will have exclusive access to it for the six hours before we can post it here.

So this means that people can only see the video 6 hours after Android Police has seen it, now when Android Police will see it is a mystery, when people will see it is not. However, here is hoping that these guys get a better PR agency to handle the shit storm they have created.

Update: Wow, I am glad I turned out to be the one eating my words on this. Notion Ink just released a video demonstrating the Adam and it looks really good, check out the Notion Ink Adam Tablet Demo.

TradeLeaks Wants To Be Wikileaks For Business Whistleblowers, Failure Awaits

By now the word must bring several thoughts to your mind. Sensitive government documents and cables have made their way to this popular/un-popular site and through it to the hands of several news publications and the common man in the end.

TradeLeaks Logo

However, what about businesses? Do they have secrets to hide from us? Well, just like Julian Assange, another Australian business entrepreneur has Ruslan Kogan has unveiled TradeLeaks.com, a whistleblowing website that will make retail and trade open and transparent.

Just like Wikileaks, TradeLeaks will provide a simple way for consumers and whistleblowers within organizations to anonymously leak information, revealing any dodgy business practices of retail and trade around the world. However, there are several problems as I see it with TradeLeaks. Here are some of my views about them.

First of all, I am not sure how anonymous these leaks will be since they use an online web form on an unsecure network (read non-HTTPS) which might leak out a lot of information to the website and anyone who wants to snoop in to.  They also use Analytic tracking software from several services on the leak submission page. Wikileaks does complete anonymous submission through methods they have perfected over the years.

Secondly, There is no verification of information except for public votes and comments. This is exactly opposite of what Wikileaks does. The site’s about page says:

We do not independently assess the veracity of any information posted on our website. Rather, we rely on users to assess the merits of all information posted through posting reply comments and queries, and by rating the quality of the information posted. This verification process does not mean that all information posted will automatically be true, rather it means that users ought to independently assess each piece of information to satisfy their own minds of its veracity

Boom, that is a deal-breaker for me. How could you just not verify information while you call yourself a whistleblower website?

Thirdly, anyone can use the second fault to post false information about another company. Thanks to search engines like Google, such information could quickly make it to search engines and also kick in Google’s algorithm’s to block them in SERPs because of bad business reviews.

Fourthly, there are hundreds of sites including Ripoff Report, FTC Complaints among others which allow users to post bad experiences with any company. TradeLeaks looks more like a consumer complaint site to me rather than a whistleblowing website. The few postings on the current site strongly suggest that.

I am not against TradeLeaks or what they are looking to do, and yes they are just starting out. However, considering all these arguments, my judgment about TradeLeaks is that it is bound to fail for reasons beyond it’s vision. What do you think?