Reviews

August 10, 2009

Kolkata Bloggers' Meet

Hello Friends,

A fortnight back, I was having some communication with Kamanashish Roy (@doubts) and he told me about his interest in organizing a Kolkata Bloggers' Meet. The idea struck a chord in my mind as I always wanted to organize an "Internet Strategy Summit" in Kolkata. So I thought let us start with the Bloggers' Meet and check out if there is sufficient demand for the mega show that I was dreaming of! And I chipped in with the required funds to organize the event.

The discussion started off on twitter and soon the idea picked up steam with a steady flow of people showing interest. The list of attendees kept on growing and soon it crossed 160+ registered blog addicts who showed interest to turn up! The interesting thing was use of twitter for spreading the word and coordinating the entire event. We hardly exchanged emails!

The event was organized at Cafe Coffee Day in Sector V, Salt Lake. 125+ blog enthusiasts turned up to share their passion and ideas about blogging. It had talks by Arun, Saptarshi, Aji, Vikas (via video conferencing) and yours truly.

There was energy in the air as the most vocal and active Kolkata + Web2.0 citizens gathered to learn, make friends and speak up! It started with a cake-cutting ceremony by the youngest blogger who turned up for the event – definitely a great way to encourage someone. Participants were given an opportunity to do a one minute elevator pitch. Very few could actually do a 'real elevator pitch' and hardly anybody maintained the one-minute deadline. But nobody complained. Everyone was enjoying the experience. This was followed by presentation by speakers and ended with product demo of FusionChart (by Sanket Nadhani) and HeadStart (by Mitesh Ashar). Throughout the event, networking was ON.

We all got to taste the de-facto Cafe Coffee Day cold / hot coffees and snacks. When we thought all is over, we were surprised by the dinner (surprised – since we were so engaged in the event, we felt that 'we are full'). This was topped up with t-shirts and an ELearning CD (from Indus Net Academy) as a parting gift.

The success of the event is evident from the fact that even after 10 pm, participants were in no mood to return home 😉

My small presentation was on blog monetization. I tried to cover both the audience – i.e. a blogger who blogs for a company and as an individual. Here are the slides for you!

The four people behind the success of this event (in my opinion) are the guys who represent a virtual organization called Webreps.in. In fact I was amused to know that there is no structure, format, legal existence of the organization. But then I realized – who cares! I have myself flouted the 'conventions' so many time. And this is cool. There guys are Anirudh Lohia, Kamanashish Roy, Shimul Aich and Saikat Sengupta.

Photographs of the event are at: http://www.facebook.com/home.php?ref=home#/album.php?aid=128692&id=129612851702&ref=nf

Can someone share the video links to all the presentations?

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April 20, 2009

FREE Website Clinic @ Internet World 2009

Hello Friends,

I will be holding a FREE Website Clinic from 28-30th April at Internet World (Earl's Court, London) at our booth.

I will be helping website owners improve their website one-step-at-a-time by giving them up to five actionable tips specific to their website after analyzing the same and understanding their online business goals.

Website Clinic is absolutely FREE of cost and there are no strings attached to it.

There will be a lot of rush as we have started getting request for booking time slots. So I suggest that you send an email to talash@indusnet.co.in and book your time slot in advance to avoid disappointment.

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February 21, 2009

Bestseller website template design trends

I was analyzing the sales history of TemplateKingdom.com. I could not resist myself from analyzing the common style elements that are common among the best-sellers on my website. Here is the list:

  • Three column templates are in demand.
  • White & gray color for background is working well.
  • Sufficient text-area and eye-space is common amongst the bestsellers.
  • In cases, where people have bought two column layouts, preference has gone to layouts with wider left panel.
  • Buyers prefer small, simple images that are smartly placed instead of portrait sized screen wide panoramic graphical layout.

So, when you make the next design, keep these in mind, so that you are closest to the taste of your customer. 10K registered users cannot be wrong 😉

 

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February 20, 2009

Good explanation of the credit crisis

I recently came across this interesting series of video that explains the current credit crisis. It is worth a watch.

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February 9, 2009

My interview at new-web-business.com

Hello Friends,

I have recently given an interview to Viraj Sawant of new-web-business.com on my views as "Blogging as a career". I found the interview interesting and have expressed my opinions strongly. Feel free to have a look:

http://www.new-web-business.com/internet-entrepreneur-in-india-abhishek-rungta-interview/

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January 27, 2009

Slumdog Millionaire – a sadistic satire

The hype around Slumdog Millionaire hit me and I ended up in the theater to watch the Anglo-Indian movie which bagged the Golden Globe and is nominated in several categories (ten nominations to be precise) for the Oscars. To be honest, I went with high expectations. But it turned out to be a sadistic satire.

There was no takeaway from the movie:

– No entertainment
– No message
– No reality

If the movie is all about its technical excellence, I did not see anything exceptional (as an audience).

I found the story line to be a sadistic satire, which picked up the the 'worst' of the slum life and has portrayed on a large canvas to tell the world that India is not only a country of snake charmers and call centers, but also a country of slums!

It seems the movie follows Murphy's Law – "If it can go wrong, it will go wrong".

I was also shocked to see the nomination for Mr. A. R. Rahman. It is not that I don't like his music. Undoubtfully he is one of the greatest musician in India. But he has done better scores than the ones that have been nominated. The ones he has done for Slumdog Millionaire does not come close to his best. If he has to be honored, then why not honor his best work. Why was he ignored in past? Only because he was part of a Bollywood production house?

These nominations leave a lot of questions unanswered.

I wont be excited if they win the Oscars. It is unfortunate.

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November 6, 2008

CreateOnlineBuzz.com – A new approach to blog marketing

Dear Friends,

We have recently completed an innovative project for one of our prestigious client 9.9 Media. It is called CreateOnlineBuzz.com.

CreateOnlineBuzz.com is an initiative to create a high value eco system for the bloggers and advertisers. From this online platform, advertisers can purchase online campaigns for marketing their products or services. They need to mention the number of reviews they need from the bloggers. All reviews are independently written by different bloggers, who have signed up on the platform.

How will the advertisers benefit from createonlinebuzz.com? One immediate benefit is from the direct traffic from the blog post of the blogger. Usually the blog review will contain links of the client website and the visitors of the blogger will visit the client website via the links on the blog post. Another benefit will be the longer term benefit of Search Engine traffic for relevant keywords for the business drivers of the clients. Hence, having many reviews written and link backs to the website will be an effective way to increase web traffic.

Another benefit for the client is that they get valuable feedback on their product or service from the bloggers. Getting different perspectives will potentially help the client to improve their product or service.

The blog marketing platform, createonlinebuzz.com, provides an opportunity for bloggers to generate some revenue from their blog. We do believe that blogging is driven by individual passion and coupling it with monetization opportunities will only improve the eco-system of the blogosphere and make it more sustainable.

It is a great product and the team behind is very committed. I am sure they will redefine the way blog marketing is being handled currently. I wish them all the best in their venture.

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September 12, 2008

Will you like to save a child's life?

I will not wait for your answer. I know you cannot see a child die when he can be saved with medical intervention.

But the fact is that millions of newborn infants die worldwide due to Congenital Heart Defects (CHD). These are a lethal constellation of birth defects of the heart. Eight of every 1000 children born alive (0.8%) will have some form of congenital heart defect.

CHD affects not only patients, but entire families. Along the winding, tortuous road ahead, with major surgery and continuing medical care looming, most families need a helping hand, a friendly shoulder to cry on and peers they can count on for support and encouragement in difficult times. Here is a list of some wonderful resources to find such assistance.

More info about CHD can be found at CHDinfo.com

So what can you do?

There are thousands of families below poverty line, who cannot afford the medical expenses when CHD strikes them. You can help them by donating at (http://www.chdinfo.com/chdaware/donate.htm). You can also help by donating some valuable time by spreading a word about this problem and the noble work Dr. Mani is doing to help people who are suffering from CHD.

Now who is Dr, Mani?

I was told about Dr. Mani by my colleague Arun Agrawal. I was curious about this person who is an expert heart surgeon, an Internet marketing professional and someone who find enough time for social cause. It encouraged me to dig deep into his profile and this describes him very well:

Dr.Mani is a heart surgeon. He lives in India. He treats little children born with congenital heart defects.

Heart surgery is expensive. Many of his patients, from poor families, cannot afford the cost of treatment. So Dr.Mani decided to try and help sponsor the operations.

This was the simple concept behind an online adventure that started in 1996.

Ten years later, Dr.Mani's team has raised over $100,000 and funded heart surgery in 23 children, with many more to follow. He's well on his way to achieve an ambitious mission – make high quality heart health care accessible and affordable to every Indian child.

More information about Dr. Mani can be dound at http://www.drmani.name

So friends, come up with an open heart and help Dr. Mani in every possible way for the cause he is so committed. Donate for those poor children who cannot afford heart surgery and medication on their own. Give them the right to live. Save them.

I will be off to participate on my 4 hour tweet_a_thon which Dr. Mani is doing to raise awareness about this noble cause. If you care, do follow us there and tweet about it to spread the word. My twitter feed is available at http://www.twitter.com/abhishekrungta

Have a great weekend!

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September 10, 2008

Google Chrome does not support Google Toolbar

I thought only Microsoft messes up their products / releases.

I could not understand, why will Google release such a major product i.e. a browser to compete against Microsoft and the Firefox without support for their own toolbar. Also, after five days of usage, I find Google Chrome still lacking in many areas:

  • Browser plug-ins won't work!
  • Text editor of my blogging software does not load (Must have some problem with Java Script)
  • I am missing the option where Firefox posts the POST-DATA when something goes wrong, so that you do not have to fill up the form from scratch.

So, I have again started using Fire Fox after the initial Google Chrome mania. Yes, I will still continue to use Chrome to see how it develops.

Will keep you all posted.

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September 6, 2008

Google Chrome – A quick review

I was reading about Google Chrome.

> Some blog says that it has snapped up 2.8% market share in 24 hours. Amazing. Isn't it?
> Some feels they have dumped and back-stabbed their partner, Mozilla / Firefox

So I decided to try it out. My observations (based on two days of usage) have been:

> Quick to download and install
> Faster than IE (for sure) and seems to be faster than Firefox
> Wide, open interface gives a feel of "freedom" and gives more space to see the website
> Interesting pop-up blocker. It minimizes the pop-up!
> Incognito window – for those who want to surf without leaving a trace
> A quick homepage with most visited websites listed to improve productivity
> Address bar doubles up as search box of Google.

So far it looks fantastic.

Few things I did not like (mainly interface and usability):

> Favorite button is not very intuitive
> Settings icon is definitely not a decent visual metaphor!
> It has a minimalist design. So some less-used features has not been accommodated.

However, one question is disturbing me – What is Google trying to achieve?

Is it "organizing the information of the world" or "becoming the central processing unit of the world" with a thin client (the chrome browser) and the client to access the web based operating system to access this massive central processing unit powered by clustered Linux servers!

Their attempt to monopolize is very evident. And with monopolization comes manipulation. So keep your eyes open.

Are anti-trust activist taking note of it?

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September 4, 2008

Quillpad – Type in Indian regional languages

Today I came across an online tool called Quillpad.

This online software let you type in most Indian regional languages (including Hindi, of course). The quality of application and usability has blown me away! I think such applications will make vernacular content a reality on Internet.

This is how they describe their service:

Quillpad is a free online Hindi typing tool. Now it is very easy to type in Hindi. For example, type 'aap kaise hain' in the text field below. Quillpad will convert it directly into Devanagari script. If you write a word like 'vishesh', first sh should become 'श' and the second sh should become 'ष'. Quillpad will intelligently do that for you. No need to use shift keys or to memorize any key mappings. So 'राष्ट्रपति' can be written by typing 'rashtrapati' or 'raashtrapathi'. Quillpad can also predict if multiple words are possible for your input. You can click on the word to select from those options. In addition Quillpad allows you to type English words freely in between Hindi words. It intelligently transliterates them into Hindi.
(taken from their website)

It took me a minute (yes – just one minute) to get used to this tool and I was off to a flying start. In minutes, I managed to write this line in Hindi, which is near perfect.

मैने आज क्विलपॅड मे हिन्दी में टाइप किया. यह बहुत ही आसान है. इस तरह की आसान टाइपिंग सुविधा होने से कई लोग कंप्यूटर्स पे हिन्दी का उपयोग कर पाएँगे. क्विलपॅड के डेवेलपर्स तो मेरीशुभकामनाएँ.

I highly recommend this wonderful software.
Go use it and start typing in Hindi, Bengali, Gujarati or Tamil. Feel free to post your experience with this software.

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Started using Twitter

I have finally started using Twitter.

My twitter page is http://www.twitter.com/abhishekrungta

To be honest, I do not think Twitter is a great thing. Micro blogging does not catches my fancy, since it does not help me to add any value to myself or anyone else. It is the last thing that could have happened to me after the distractions from phone calls, emails and blogging.

But then why did I joined? Good question!

Millions of people may not be wrong. So, I joined in to validate my assumption. I do not want to get left behind if Twitter turns out to be something a world-changing application. Again, I wanted to have a first hand experience before confirming my theory about micro-blogging.

So I thought – Lets give it a try and see what people love about it.
Keep following me on Twitter!

Regards
Abhishek

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August 4, 2008

You got to pay me to pay me! – The TalkMobile story.

For my stay in the UK, I bought a TalkMobile Pay-As-You-Go mobile connection. (Quick tip: It is the cheapest option to call abroad while you are in the UK. All incoming calls are free for you. And yes, It just takes few minutes to get activated) 

Honestly speaking, it worked quite nicely. But I was shocked, when I ran out of balance and wanted to recharge. I guess I had only 5p balance left when I called their helpline 5888 so that I can get a top-up by credit card. And then I heard the funniest thing – "We need to put you through our account executive to register your credit card. This call costs 25p. Since you do not have enough credit in your account, please top-up your account and call back"

Give me a break. I called up to top-up! So are you saying that – "I will charge you a fees to pay me!"

Sounds stupid. I hope they get back to their senses and stop losing business.

And, I still did not get, why they will not have an on-line top-up facility. It is surely cheaper than working with 72,000 stores (including Tesco, Sainsbury, Post Office, etc.) across the UK (a joyful announcement that they sent proudly to me through SMS). It is high time that hi-tech telecom companies adapt technology in the right way.

P.S.: Even after this stupid flaw, I will still recommend them for the quality / price combo – It is a good value for money.

 

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April 3, 2008

Use EasyBM today to boost your productivity

I came across this rocking website called EasyBM (www.easybm.com), a FREE online service, which can help you in boosting your online productivity to new levels. I generally do not get excited about something so quickly. My exposure to new ideas and business plans make me immune to general ideas. But I got excited by the simplicity of the idea and how it can make life simpler for everyone.

Enough of social bookmarks, lets get personal!

This is a personal bookmarking website which gives you a 1-click access to your favorite websites, thus acting as your portal to Internet in the true sense. (If you don't believe me, check out the definition of portal). When you note a site URL on your private bookmarks page, only you can to access that shortcut. Your favorite sites appear on a password protected page and a result, only you (or someone you allow access to) can see which sites you have bookmarked. So these bookmarks become your personal bookmarks!

Social bookmarking is a great way to find and recommend interesting sites. But let us face the fact – You don't want to share all the information with everyone out there on the web. Let us consider some scenarios:

  • Access your Internet banking account
  • Research about a top-secret project which you cannot share with anyone
  • A valuable list of resources which you only want to share with *yourself* which helps you to be more effective in your job that your competitor

I am sure you will not like to share these website links with everyone out there! But, you do access them everyday – every time. So what do you do? The answer is simple – Personal Bookmarking.

Don't we have personal bookmarking in our browsers?

Now, you might think – Every web browser has personal bookmarking feature built in – then why do I need a service like EasyBM. Let me tell you – you still do need them for these simple reasons:

  • Your personal bookmarks are not available to you when you are not accessing Internet from your regular PC
  • You may lose those bookmarks when your PC catches virus
  • You cannot open "first bunch of sites" with 1-click. With EasyBM, you can!
  • You cannot make an organization-wide internal bookmarking system to collect knowledge at a central place using your browser bookmarks

And above all, you still need to click on "Favorites" and scroll down to the right site and click on that when you use a browser bookmark. So it is good for things that you do not need every-now-and-then! But EasyBM (once set as your homepage) opens with those selected bookmarks every time you open a new browser and is simply a click away!

I wish easyBM all the best and I am sure this nice little idea can make positive change to the way people use Internet.

P.S.: BTW, this is not a paid review. I don't do them. I only write about something when I really like it.

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March 29, 2008

Top SEO Blogs!

In a fast changing world of SEO, the best way to keep your knowledge up-to date are the authoritative blogs on the subject.

I stumbled upon a nice post by Daniel from DailyBlogtips.com, who has done a thorough research and listed Top 25 SEO Blogs. He has considered various factors including Google Pagerank of the blog, Alexa Rank, Number of Bloglines subscribers and the Technorati Authority Rank to get a holistic comparison and derive his list.

The list was prepared and posted on 23rd July 2007.

Click here to check out The Top 25 SEO Blogs list.

 

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