Blabberings on technology, the web, mobile world, India, books, events, communities and everything else (Chautauqua: An old-time series of popular talks intended to edify and entertain, improve the mind and bring culture and enlightenment to the ears and thoughts of the participants)

Location: United States

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

RSS Scalability

How to deal with an RSS feed overload without losing any important feeds? I'd vaguely hit that question somewhere in my mind, but hadn't quite articulated it yet. However, as soon I saw Jose's article, I saw the light of the day. He writes:

"as a means of improving the scalability of the RSS aggregation approach, i have begun using an approach of doing second order analysis on the aggregated materials to make use of the redundancy in the information. i dub this technique “RSS clustering” because i group stories by topic. the redundancy observed in any collection of RSS feeds can be used for two main purposes. the first is to highlight the interesting bits of news within a pool of feeds, basing this on the assumption that the apperance of the topic in multiple entries is proportional to the importance of that topic. the second is that entries can be clustered around these topics, reducing the volume of information presented to the user at any one time. "

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

MoSoSos : Mobile Social Software/Services

...and I was going to write this essay elaborating my last post on why social networking on mobile phones might be the way to go, when I ran into sixth sense and this article on MoSoSos or mobile social software/services.

It seems that in my previous post, I failed to capture one essential component of mobile phones - they're mobile!!! So, networking becomes proximity based and maybe that's what differentiates it from PC-based social networking. At least that's what all of the above seem to be doing. However, is that really the only way to go? Why are stories of mobile networking still far and few in between? Why isn't the mobile revolution catching on?

Apparently, as I read here, using mobile phones for proximity based networking has been around for a while. Was it the business models, or is it something fundamental about the service that is not making it succeed?

Sunday, July 24, 2005

Social networking and mobile phones

The recent sale of myspace has once again brought the spotlight on social networking. While people are still trying to figure out how to monetize social networking and asking whether it is actually paying off, the number of sites providing the service keep on growing and diversifying. Whether one can come up with a succesful business model or not, the demand for such a service is undeniable, which is why the business has continued to grow.

If you haven't still haven't figured out where I'm headed with this, I'll lay it out now - Cell phones as mediums of social networking. There are a lot of driving factors that make it appealing for mobile phones. A recent post on mobile gaming by Oliver Starr quoting Greg Costikyan's edited version of a presentation to nokia on the true mobile game, is what set my mind running with the possibilities that mobile phones offer for networking.

What is a mobile device?

"Well, for one thing, they are first and foremost voice communication devices. And they store quite a lot of information about your circle of friends and business contacts, in the phone book. Along with a datebook (which most people don't use, but some do, particularly on higher-end phones where they can hotsynch to an Outlook calendar). They are personalized devices--people add ring tones, screenery, and images of friends so they can see a pic when someone calls. And they're networked--as computing devices, they may be primitive, analogous to (say) pre-Pentium computers, but early home PCs weren't networked until comparatively recently.
From a user perspective, they areprimarily social devices, used to keep in touch with friends, family,and business contacts, mainly via voice and texting." (Excerpted from Greg Costikyan's talk on the true mobile game)

So, what do we need for social networking?

A profile, which in most cases has contacts, pictures of contacts, interests and some other information. It also has a way in which one could get in touch with the profiled person. And it allows one the ability to look at a contacts' contacts.

Now, I'm not going to try to make the prophetic statement about how exactly mobile networking will come about, but the synergies I see between the capabilities of a mobile phone and the needs of a social networking service, drive me to believe that somewhere over there is a big opportunity to bring them together.

And I'm not quite done with this yet, I'll continue this once I've sorted out some more thoughts on this...

Saturday, July 23, 2005


In 1974, Robert Pirsig wrote a book that captured the imagination of an entire generation and captivated many in the following generation. He called it "Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance". In '99, my second year in college, when I read the book, I encountered the term Chautauqua for the first time.

"I would like to use the time to talk in some depth about things that seem important. What is in mind is a sort of Chautauqua — that´s the only name that I can think of for it — like the traveling tent-show Chautauquas that used to move across America, […] an old-time series of popular talks intended to edify and entertain, improve the mind and bring culture and enlightenment to the ears and thoughts of the hearer. "( Pirsig, p.17)

While I'm not going to pose myself as being wise enough to enlighten anyone, but the idea of talks meant to improve intellect and entertain at the same time catches my fancy. Hence, the title of this blog.