Madhav's Blog

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Random thoughts on technology, books and anything else …

Project of the Month – Internet Search ideas (July)

My side project this month is to figure out how to improve Internet Searches. over the last several years, I have been constantly impressed by how good its become.  

I strongly believe that an effective search is when the human brain is involved as opposed to just doing computational “tasks of Hercules”. I also think that for Search to go to the next level, you have to restructure the way the Internet organizes and sorts information. I will add ideas as I think or come across them throughout the month.

– Trusted websites (e.g., Wikipedia etc)

– Pivoted Search – Search Tree – bounce off different nodes, search for an people – looks for events then identifies people who were there

– Aggregate search – multiple terms stringed together more logically as opposed to by Binary association

– Search by association – literally give the search engine a standardized test question. Adam Sandler is to Happy Gilmore the same way Jim Carrey is to ?

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Going green, a tap at a time

Over this past 4th of July weekend, I realized that each time I turn on the tap, I use a lot more water than I really need. For example, I just need a few drops to moisten the brush.

What if, taps were set to deliver only a certain quota of water. I know many public restrooms use sensors but cannot we “hard code” this for all taps. Just a thought.

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Tech Breakthrough – Bulb Changer

Finally figured out to use the telescopic bulb changer.  It is not as easy looks.  Major lesson that I learned – do not throw away packaging with instructions.   It took me 3 months to realize that I was using the wrong “bulb grabber”, so could never really get it to grasp the bulb.  Also, I did not figure out how to get the rod to telescope until after spending a few minutes on the ladder which induced my fear of heights.

All in all, an eureka moment when the bulbs came off.

Filed under: Tech Ramblings

Sugar and Salt

Two stories on NPR caught my attention this morning.  Both were interesting but together even more fun to listen to:

  • Salt – its commonly known that some people have far more taste buds than others.  What is interesting that these “super tasters” crave salt even though they are more senstive to it than anyone else.

http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=127914467

  • Sugar – Drinks containing as much sugar and calories as a big mac

http://marketplace.publicradio.org/display/web/2010/06/07/pm-drink-this-not-that-q/

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Thought of the Day – May 17, 2010

I was struck by zappos.com and its approach to customer service. “Powered by Service” is even the company’s logo and it takes it absolutely seriously.

http://www.sitepoint.com/blogs/2009/03/30/how-zappos-does-customer-service-and-company-culture/

http://about.zappos.com/press-center/media-coverage/zappos-milestone-customer-service

http://marketingdeviant.com/zappos-customer-service-strategy/

Filed under: Thoughts of the Day (TODs)

The Digitization Credit

Using my treadmill in the basement this morning, my eyes wandered to a shelf laden with books.  I wondered their future with ebooks and also the future of folks like me who have a ton of “paper and glue” books but want to go digital.  Not sure if someone has thought of this, but how about owners of actuall books registering and then scanning ISBNs to get a credit on the same (and possibly other) books.  I am sure that will encourage a lot more folks to ipads, kindles and their like.

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Google in China

Stunning news out of China this morning about Google.  Recently saw a CNBC special called the “Mind of Google”.  For Google to walk away from China is truly astonishing. but then its probably Death by a Thousand Cuts.  From the stifling censorship to its inability to dominate the market to the arcane rules it need to abide by, I donot blame the company.  Paired with the controversy that it is in India, where Google posts have lead to rioting and city-wide shutdows, it shows the perils of being an information multinational.

But I do wonder, if Google falls who next.

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Back from Hiatus …on a Mac!

Wow, its been a long time.  I am glad I still remembered my logon and password for WordPress.

Last week was interesting at work and other simulation that I am exposed to.  After being a Windows user for over 12 years, I finally gave up Dell at work and switched fully to a mac.  Ofcourse, using a parallel for certain apps is a minor transgression I hope.  But that timed with watching “Welcome to Mac” on CNBC, made me appreciate the design masterpiece that I am currently banging away at.  From the inherent stability to the design of the interface, I can see why there is a loyal following for a machine that does not fit in the groove neatly.

In addition, a colleague of mine pointed me to a video that showcases the “Woz” and what he is up to currently.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uCehSfNRPs8&feature=youtube_gdata

Filed under: Tech Ramblings

“Cash for Dial-ups”

The recent focus on ‘Cash for Clunkers’ and why it deserves billions of $s has me thinking.   If a populist program like this can become so popular in spite of such narrow scope (aimed at only dealers and auto industries) and dubious long-term environmental benefits, why not design similar programs for other industries

Not sure if this will ever fly, but  may I suggest “Cash for Dial-ups”.  It will help with Universal broadband access and long-term, it will drive innovation by letting more people get Online and do more.

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Weekly Thought (August 3, 2009)

“Swiss Innovation, German Engineering, American Nothing.”

This is the first sentence from Tom Friedman’s Hot, Flat and Crowded and it struck a nerve in me.  Apparently, this is a slogan that Daimler has been using in South Africa to market its Smart cars.  Obviously, Daimler is trying to distance itself from its failed marriage with Chrysler but at the same time I felt that this is very indicative of the beating that the American image has taken.  Gone are the days when America was known as the land of opportunity and where innovation and entrepreneurship ruled.

Filed under: Thoughts of the Day (TODs),