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Movie Review – Hanna


Intense. & Incredible!

Movie Review – Inglourious Basterds


Wicked. Incredible. Tarantino Stuff. Nothing else to say !!!

Two months of Posterous Awesomeness

I’ve been using Posterous for 2 months now, and I have to say it is great. Actually, it is WOW. I very much regret not coming across it earlier, as Posterous was launched much earlier in May 2008. Where was I?  :(

Anyways, I now have two cool blogs powered by Posterous:

1. live.rameshkoneru.com – The lifestream link in the header of my personal domain is powered by Posterous.

2. Jokulu.com – A custom domain hosted on Posterous. Take a look and subscribe. Its fun.

I own a couple of other web domains, but never really used them because developing and maintaining each of these was a tedious and time consuming task. Posterous could prove otherwise.

Ok, now onto the Posterous story: Pre-posterous, Posterous and Post-Posterous.

PRE-POSTEROUS

WordPress

I use WordPress for my personal domain, and it serves me well. It had extensible, i.e., it had plenty of themes, was web based, was highly configurable, was search engine friendly, and even had plugins for almost any task.

However, posting to WordPress was time consuming, and sharing to social sites required a lot of fiddling around. You could autopost to twitter and facebook. Users could retweet or share your posts on facebook. But the process was never seamless. It required adding plugins, activating and configuring them, among other things. Most important of all, you had to wade through tons of junk plugins before you found the one you were exactly looking for. Those were the days.

If I were to develop and maintain another of my other websites with WordPress, it would take a good chunk of my time. And so I looked around for alternatives, and came across Tumblr.

Tumblr

Tumblr was neat. It had tons of cool themes, allowed autotweeting of new posts, and even had a “tumble this” feature (like retweets, in Twitter). I thought this was great, and so created a couple of accounts, and had each of these tumblelogs pointing to their custom domains. But somehow, I was not quite happy. Many things were lacking, and it somehow did not feel right. Facebook integration was lacking. Commenting was lame. Writing a post was not as easy as it should be. And in a way, it seemed just like blogger. Nothing great. Nothing innovative to ease my workflow. There had to be a better solution.

Chancing upon Posterous

Around the same time, I was reading the wonderful blog of Abinash Tripathy, founder CEO of Infinitely Beta. In one of his articles, he mentions how he and his former boss, Satish Dharmaraj built a kickass product: Zimbra and later sold it off to Yahoo for a whopping sum of money. I’ve been using Zimbra for a while and really like it, but never cared to know who built it and stuff. Well engineered products are rare in India, and so it genuinely surprised me that such a wonderful product was actually built by an Indian team, with an Indian CEO.

I googled Satish Dharmaraj, and came across his blog. It was minimalistic, and barely contained images, but the blog posts were great. And what intrigued me was the small yellow icon with a word POSTEROUS at the top of the blog. So I dug into it, and that was how I chanced upon the Posterous way of doing things. Incidentally, Posterous was funded by Y-combinator, of which Satish was part of (not too sure). Incidentally, Satish is an investor in Posterous. This was in the first week of December, 2009.

POSTEROUS

Posterous is simple. Dead simple.

Posting

Email stuff to post@posterous.com, and the contents are posted to your Posterous blog. You could configure Posterous to autopost to any or all of your social sites (facebook, twitter, wordpress, youtube, flickr and a ton of others). However, what’s great about autoposting is Posterous always does the right thing. If you had emailed a pic, it is automatically uploaded to flickr, facebook and to Posterous. Emailing a video would upload it to Youtube, Vimeo and to Posterous. And this in turn is posted to your facebook wall and twitter account, with a link back to your posterous blog. It might not seem much in writing, but in actual use, it is a terrific workflow.

You can also post stuff via the Posterous bookmarklet. Drag the bookmarklet to your bookmarks bar in your browser and you’re good to go. While browsing any page on the web, all one has to do is select all the content they want and hit the bookmarklet button. A window pops up asking you to add a comment, edit the post, and even select the autoposting services. Almost instantly after you post it, it appears on the Posterous blog. Now check your twitter and facebook accounts, and the link is already there. Wow! This kind of a workflow would take atleast 5-10 plugins in WordPress, and it still wouldn’t be seamless.

Continue reading…

Apple announces the iPad


Computing will never be the same again. Steve Jobs just announced the iPad, a personal computer/pmp/mobile device all combined.

The tech pundits as usual are quick to write it off saying “don’t need one”, “doesn’t have a camera”, “no multitasking”, “no flash”, etc. However, I strongly feel that it is here to stay, and that it will probably change the way we compute on a day to day basis.

The iPad would be great for consuming media – your RSS feeds, tweets, etc. Moreover, it is by far the best device for browsing the web, for email, watching photos & videos, playing games and of course – for reading books.

It is also very competitively priced, and those considering buying a first/second computer for their homes will increasingly choose the iPad over netbooks and PC alternatives. Microsoft – Watch out!

apple ipad

Book Review – Fountain Head

I’ve just finished reading Fountain Head (by Ayn Rand), a book on Architecture, Integrity and Individualism.

At the outset, I never guessed this book is going to be so sensational. The title of the book did not excite me, nor did I know the author. However, when I was told that the book was about Architecture, I decided I had to read it. It’s not everyday that someone comes along and writes a book on something as complex as Architecture or Individualism. And so I started to read.

A few choice quotes from the book

1. The opening sentence: “Howard Roark laughed.”

What a way to open one of the greatest books ever written. I think it shows everything Howard represents in the simplest of terms.

2. “My dear fellow, who will let you?” - Dean

“That’s not the point. The point is,WHO WILL STOP ME?” - Roark

3. “You’re too good for what you want to do with yourself.?(p. 62)

Henry Cameron tells Roark that he will suffer greatly because in spite of designing the most beautiful buildings, they will remain on paper and never be erected while he will watch mediocre others reap high commissions and glory because they are willing to copy the past.

4. When Toohey urges Roark to say what he thinks of him, Toohey presses the issue, saying: “Mr. Roark, we’re alone here. Why don’t you tell me what you think of me? In any words you wish. No one will hear us.” and Roark replies, “But I don’t think of you.”

5. “We don’t want any great men?I shall rule.?(p. 635)

In his lengthy monologue in Keating’s apartment, Toohey finally confesses his intentions. He wants power and in this effort attempts to make people into selfless beings, who in addition to altruism and excessive guilt forget how to be happy themselves. Since great people don’t buy into this philosophy and thus obstruct his path to complete power and domination, he wishes to eliminate them.

By the time I finished reading the book, I was so much in awe of the characters, the author’s perspective and deep insights. Also, this was a book written in 1938, and yet surprisingly stays relevant in today’s context.

Recommended Reading.

Protected: An eventful decade!

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Taking the human race forward – Avatar

Just watched Avatar, Cameron’s latest. The movie is breathtaking, and simply blows your mind. I’d rate it 5/5.

Avatar is a milestone in the history of Cinema, and James Cameron reminds us that we should settle for nothing less than the best. It’s people like him that push the human race forward, by taking on tasks that seem otherwise impossible.

This movie will be the benchmark by which all movies from now on will be judged. I will be writing a full length review after I watch the IMAX version soon. Can’t wait to experience the magic again.

UPDATE: I watched the IMAX version, but could not get myself to write a review. The movie was magnanimous, and well beyond my capability to express in words.

Just launched Jokulu.com

jokulu

Just launched jokulu.com, a fun website to read and share jokes. You can subscribe to the RSS, follow on Twitter, or become a fan on Facebook.

I will try and update the website whenever I can, but those interested in contributing can let me know.

Hav fun!

Why Indian Media Companies fail on the Internet…

I wanted to write on this topic for some time now.

However, I recently came across an article by abinash tripathy, which makes for an interesting read and provides an excellent overview of the great Indian Media companies (and why they continue to fail on the internet).

Instead of writing a new article, I will be linking you to this wonderful post, as it pretty much covers most of the points I had in mind, and much more!

Check it out….definitely worth a read!

Create stunning keynote presentations

As mentioned in my earlier article on Stunning Keynote Presentations, I will now take you through various stages of creating the presentation: the workflow, sourcing and integrating quality content, export options, etc.

This is going to be a lengthy article, and hence I’ll be dividing the content into various subsections. The following article is primarily for Apple Keynote users.

Keynote Pipeline

In the illustration above, I’ve created a simple workflow that you could follow to create an attractive presentation.

SOFTWARE: KEYNOTE VS POWERPOINT

I would strongly recommend Keynote over Powerpoint anyday. Keynote is easy to use, faster to setup and gives fantastic output with minimum effort. Powerpoint is quite the opposite: it takes double the time and effort while giving half the quality. With powerpoint, you also spend a lot of time fiddling around with the software, just to get it working the way u intend to use it. If you still must use Powerpoint, all is not lost. You can create simple and good looking presentations by following the basic principles explained here.

keynote_screenshot

PLANNING

Who’s your target audience, and what is the presentation for? This is the first question that needs to be answered. You’ll need to create variants of your presentation, depending on how and where you intend to use it. Refer to the last topic “Export Options” for more info on creating variants.

Scenario 1: You are presenting to a huge audience. Prepare a keynote. You’ll need a laptop/monitor (facing you, so that you can refer to the next slide)

Scenario 2: You are presenting to a small audience in the boardroom. Prepare a keynote and print handout notes(for distributing to the audience). You’ll need a laptop (facing you, so that you can refer to the next slide)

Scenario 3: You need to send the presentation across to a number of clients. Prepare a keynote video with dubbed audio, powerpoint and a PDF document of the presentation.

Continue reading…



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