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Showing posts from June, 2014

App families, app constellations and why you need a dozen apps to succeed

Have you been amused, confused, or just p***** off by the number of games that King, the maker of Candy Crush Saga has been releasing? From Pet Rescue Saga to Papa Pear Saga to Farm Heroes Saga and what not. Yet, one can understand that the game maker is under pressure to keep producing and converting existing players to new games so that people do not become bored and migrate to some other company (who still plays Angry Birds? And  who still plays Farmville, or will even admit that they do?)

But did you know that the strategy that applies for a gaming company, is equally valid for other mobile app developers? in his blog, venture capitalist Fred Wilson dedicated an entire post to explaining the concept of app constellations. Wilson points out that as the app market matures, big companies like Yahoo, Google and Dropbox are simply acquiring the best apps in the market place to attain leadership. 

For examples, you probably use multiple apps from Google. Across all these apps you have a c…

Mumbaikars, you can now pay property tax online again!

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The post I made three years ago about paying property tax online in Mumbai received a lot of comments from people who were unable to follow the steps I outlined. I gather that in between, for reasons best known to them, MCGM had discontinued this useful facility which saves at least half a precious day that would be spent locating, and standing in some arbitrary queue at the nearest BMC Office.
Now it appears that the facility to pay online has been re-introduced. And basis a mail exchange with my neighbours, I have gathered that it is working smoothly and they have successfully made their payments.
Here are the steps:
1) Log into http://www.mcgm.gov.in/
2) Locate the property tax hyperlink on the left side of the home page (circled in red below)

3) Enter your property account number (it's mentioned on your property tax bill) to login to your account. For your reference, this is a 15 digit number starting with ME
4) Your property tax details will be retrieved and displayed on the screen…

The future of marketing? Make machines think like humans do.

What's the next big thing in internet tech? It's getting computers to think more intelligently and laterally the way that the human brain does. Artificial Intelligence (AI) is the science and engineering of making intelligent machines (Source : Wikipedia) and it's been around for some time. It has led to some fun and interesting applications like the Turing Test, intelligent supercomputers that beat humans at chess and increasingly smarter robots - the latest one is Softbank Mobile's emoting robot Pepper. But the newest and most exciting trend in AI is 'deep learning'. Put simply, deep learning understands and models how the brain works to improve computing tasks and it is increasingly getting applied in areas like image recognition, voice recognition, language modelling etc. 
Google unsurprisingly has led the way in this field with the "Google Brain" project, an ambitious attempt to recreate the human brain using hardware and software. It's not su…

Is an Android phone better than an iPhone?

My answer to this question has not changed down the years, it remains the same 'It depends on what you are looking for'. The huge differences between the Android and iOS platforms have narrowed down over time making it a choice that is based on your preferences and priorities rather than any inherent superiority of either platform.
I have been pondering an observation made by A B Bernstein analyst Carlos Kirjner who wrote;
We believe … Larry Page’s discussion about the new mobile, multi-screen world …. is really about the importance of cloud services in that world. This is by no means a trivial statement and we believe goes against a more device centric model favoured, we believe, by Apple.
This really sums up an importance differentiation in what you buy into when you use Google-backed products (Android phones) vs. Apple-designed products (iPhones or iPads). Increasingly, intelligence resides in the cloud and not on devices. Whether it's a Google Glass or a Google Driverless…

A handy guide to the Internet of Things

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The Internet of Things (IoT) is a word that has been bandied around a lot in the past few years. But now, with the advent of mobile, it is actually becoming a reality. Put simply, the future is about connected devices that can capture and transmit data on a constant basis. This data will give us a new level of control and understanding in our daily life.
IoT consists of many different categories of devices and technologies, so let's take a look at them;
1. Wearable tech 
Wearable tech is the first frontier of the IoT. It started with health trackers, which are increasingly syncing data through smartphone apps. Next came Google Glass, which sees the world through your eyes and takes pictures when you blink your eye. And a more recent trend is Life logging - using gadgets that clip on your clothes or around your neck, and keep taking pictures of the world around you. 
And of course, there are the ubiquitous smartphone watches from literally every manufacturer, which allow you to control…

The Basis Watch analytics

Since two months, my newly acquired Basis Health Tracker has become an integral part of my fitness regime. I have made a short video to share with you the analytics offered by the Basis, which are fun, pictorial and truly help you to improve your habits.

Hope you enjoy it :)