Stranger in a strange land

An unusual set of circumstances had me making some additions to my technology surroundings the last couple of days. My OS X computing serenity was disturbed by the need of running a Windows version of an app (looking at you Powerpoint Mac and your inability to embed fonts) caused me to run Windows 10 in Bootcamp. To compound that horror, today I went out and bought an Android phone.

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The dawn of the very vertical app

A friend of mine on Facebook invited me to a FB page yesterday and introduced me to a new app GottaGo. An Android app that lets you find the nearest restroom in Delhi, Mumbai, and Pune. This got me thinking about how some product ideas are becoming more niche and focusing on doing one thing and only one thing, while trying to do it well. Continue reading The dawn of the very vertical app

There’s intent for that

Last week was an interesting week in the world of technology and gadgets. Google’s Android 5.1 started rolling out, bringing fixes and some new features to the popular mobile os. Google calendar is finally available as a native app on the iPhone. And Apple gave us a spring forward event to begin the season… While the event was ostensibly to give more details about the Watch, but they pulled out a surprising one more thing in the form of the new Macbook.

The two products are a technical marvel and are a testament to the engineering and design prowess that have made Apple’s devices some of the best in the world. A laptop that is so thin and — if the display is anything like the display in my retina MacBook Pro – has one of the finest displays out there for a consumer grade device. Or a smart watch which may not have been the first in its category, but with its concepts will likely reinvent the category.

Take a step back from all thats shiny in these new devices however; look under the sapphire glass screens and the aluminium unibodies, there are changes, subtle and not so subtle. Changes in how you use devices and how they work. And that… that is what is really exciting.

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Of Nokia & Finland

In 2011 I took an opportunity to visit Nokia House in Espoo. I still remember looking out from the dining hall onto a semi-frozen lake with a few weather worn trees on an island.

In my mind that lake represents Finland and the attitude of its people. A nation which in its young(ish) history has successfully challenged larger foreign forces. Occupied by a Swedish monarchy till 1803 and then becoming a Russian domain, Finland gained its independence from Russia at the end of World War 2 after fighting for it since 1917 (an interesting history). The Finns are a strong and resilient people (Look up Simo Häyhä). Moving forward from this strife they have developed a culture with a standard of living which is amongst the highest in the world.

And this spirit is reflected in what still remains one of Finland’s most iconic brand – Nokia.

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Using IFTTT to automate the web

Wouldn’t it be handy if images you take on your iPhone were saved to your Dropbox folders? Or if starred emails in Gmail automatically got sent to your Evernote notebook? Or even if you receive a SMS if it is going to rain?

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If This Then That (IFTTT) is a web service that can help you achieve all of the above plus a lot more. IFTTT links up your preferred web services simplifying information transfer between them. IFTTT allows you to connect with popular web services like Gmail, Facebook, Instagram, Evernote and many more.
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The best social networks you don’t know about

Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn are the defacto names which come to mind when anyone thinks of social networks or social media. These 400 pound gorrilas of the social networks have embodied what social means to the web. They have large audiences who are uploading millions of photographs and even more status messages and stories. But within this reality, an interesting phenomenon has been occuring over the last few years. People have been moving away from these platforms, to more specialised networks which meet their particular needs. None of these networks have as much traffic or volume as the big three, but it probably helps increase the signal to noise ratio. Find out more about some of these networks after the jump.

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Finally, a good use for QR codes

QR Codes. Most consumers hate them. Most marketers love them (and think consumers love them too). This often misused little graphic usually found on magazine ads and 20 foot high billboards (not kidding) is usually only used for sharing links. But technically speaking – a QR code is capable of linking to a lot of pertinent information and not just a Facebook page. Mercedes Benz is using this capability to redeem the QR code.

Mercedes Benz are placing QR codes in prominent locations on their vehicles so that emergency crews are just a phone scan away from the rescue sheets and schematics that show where to cut a wrecked vehicle to remove accident victims.

QR code on fuel tank lid. Image: Mercedes-Benz / Diamler

Without such immediate knowledge, rescuers may have to wait for a positive identification on the model or else risk cutting electrical wires and fuel lines.

The car manufacturer is not patenting this method in the hope that all car manufacturers will embrace this technology and method.

When every second counts: with a small yet effective innovation, Mercedes-Benz wants to make the rescue of accident victims safer and swifter. In future a QR code, which can be read by smartphones and tablets, placed on Mercedes-Benz cars, will provide a rescue map for every vehicle type, which can be shown on the device’s display. This chart contains all the information necessary to rescue any injured occupants speedily.

Full Mercedes press release here : media.diamler.com