Monthly Archives: April 2008

PageRank Up Again

Today I noticed that my blog is back to PR 5 after a dip to 4 last time. Few of my other websites also had an increase in the PR.

And BTW, with WordPress’s recent introduction of “related links”, the traffic for the blog certainly has increased a bit. Hopefully the increased PR also will improve the traffic further.

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Filed under poeticcode

Should you buy Nokia N810 Internet Tablet?

I had been using a tablet pc for more than 2yrs and it is from Averatec. So, when I was deciding on buying the Nokia N810 Internet Tablet, I already know some aspects of tablet pcs. I never figured out a way to properly use the stylus and type in the words fluently, so that’s definitely not the reason why I bought it. But there are plenty of other good reasons to buy it and they are listed below

* The form factor. It’s weight is half-a-pound! Anything more would make it painful especially if you want to sleep and browse the web relaxedly.
* It has WPA support so that you can connect it to the internet using my existing Wireless Lan.
* It has a built-in GPS receiver. Yes, it can serve as a GPS unit! So, if you don’t have a standalone GPS unit, then you will get two things in one gadget, albeit at a bit higher price. More about GPS is mentioned below.
* It has a built-in keyboard making it possible to type text rather than using the stylus to do free-form writing or tapping the onscreen keyboard. While the keyboard is not as convenient as your typical full-size keyboard, it is reasonable enough. The keyboard is backlit so when you are typing in the night with lights off when everyone is sleeping, this option comes handy.
* It has a built-in camera and possible to do chatting using Google Talk or Skype (I didn’t get it to install Skype, but it’s possible). Built-in speakers and microphone are there for playing songs and chatting.
* It is based on the maemo linux distribution and comes with Mozilla browser that allows accessing any Web 2.0 websites possible. Possible to watch YouTube videos using the 4.1″ screen which is a bit bigger than an iPhone (it’s everything the iPhone offers less the phone but support for VOIP reduces this gap a bit).
* While the number of apps available to this are limited, if you have several Palm apps already, there is a Palm emulator that makes it possible to run all those 30K+ Palm applications on this device. Heck, it comes with an xterm and you can ssh to rest of your network as well. Depending on how geekish you are, you can run a few linux commands from the xterm and feel good about :). And there is an SDK which makes it possible to satisfy your developer desire if you so wish by writing a few apps.

GPS support with Nokia N810 By default it comes with an application called Map. This doesn’t provide directions and navigation instructions but possible to buy that service for $100+/3yrs price. However, there is a “Maemo Mapper” application that provides the ability to create routes and also voice announcements. What’s best, using the maemo mapper, you can overlay the map with Google Satellite images! For voice announcements to work, you need to also install a library called flite. Few issues I have with GPS are, sometimes it takes a while to get the GPS service to work (There are three options for GPS information within maemo mapper. A bluetooth option which allows to use an external GPS reciever, a /dev/gpsd internal device or a gps server on the network. I initially used the 2nd option but based on reading, it’s possible to use the bluetooth option without specifying any value to it). So, perhaps it’s not as fast as using a dedicated GPS unit (this is not exactly a great concern for me). Also, it tries to do what’s called “Establishing gps fix” which again seems to take a lot of time but didn’t interfere with the ability to start using the map while that is happening. So, overall it seems like an acceptable choice to use it as a GPS device.

Power The N810 battery is BP-4L which comes for about 7hrs of normal usage like listening to songs and web surfing. As I have been running multiple apps at the same time, I never got it to go for 7hrs. If you want to use the device as a GPS unit on a long trip, the battery life becomes critical so having a mobile charger with car adapter is an option. If you are going to the city and want to use the GPS while walking, there is an extra power pack as well.

I think overall, N810 is a good choice at about $400 for those who want a light-weight internet connectivity product which also serves as a GPS unit and is more than your typical PDA.


Filed under gadget review, Uncategorized

SAAS & Traffic Rank

Alexa has recently changed it’s algorithm for computing the traffic rank. Instead of just relying on their toolbar and widget based traffic, they are now going to get traffic details from other sources and that would certainly make the rankings more credible.

Recently there was also some buzz on what should be considered as traffic and page views due to the heavy use of AJAX in Web 2.0 applications.

Just when you thought now we have a robust means of getting more accurate traffic rank, unique visitors, page views and related metrics, SAAS is going to start skewing these numbers. For a few of the SAAS websites I follow, anywhere from 50% to 80% of their traffic is coming either from their customers using their SAAS application (this is possible to figure out by looking at the traffic by sub-domain and most companies use a separate sub-domain per customer!) or using their forums, bug tracking (you would know if a SAAS company has development in India based on traffic by country!) and other internal applications. While this traffic is “Internet Traffic”, it is not a traffic in the traditional sense. There are not so many SAAS companies at present, but as time passes and more SAAS vendors sprout up, this is going to skew the stats a bit. Just an observation!

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Filed under alexa, SAAS, traffic rank

Product Catalog Search By Color

Today I happened to see a website that offered searching for products by color. I actually seen this in another site a few months back but I didn’t think much about the underlying technology. Then, today, as a first reaction I thought “wow! are they hiring people to look at each product image and capture the colors”. Then I realized, this can be done easily by processing the product image. The idea is, every image is made of a bunch of pixels, and the color of each pixel is available through the API. So, one approach is to get the frequency of each color and order the colors by frequency and finally picking first N or based on some threshold. However, as with any image processing, there are other alternate choices available. For example, if the image is jpeg instead of gif, then the number of colors is too many and the frequency of each individual color might be very little. So, perhaps treating all the colors that are very similar into one single color would help. Similarly, sometimes a color with high frequency could be just small specs scattered all over the image and it’s not really useful. Or a ring with a small diamond in the middle could contain a very small but the most important color. So, a color based on clustering rather than purely based on frequency is also a good choice. Only thing is, there needs to be a way to not include the background color, which in most product images is a white color.

Keeping all the above in mind, assume each product is related with a few colors. Then, the next thing is to take the color that the user has picked to search and matching against the product colors with a delta difference since getting precise match is not always possible or gives many choices.

For a retailer doing the above is simply processing the images in the system and creating the color index. However, if this were to be done by a search engine, the search engine has to first retrieve each product image for processing.

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Filed under Product Catalog, search engine, Search Indexing