Tuesday, October 30, 2012

The Mindset of Champions

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There are many ways to skin a cat.

All people have their uniqueness and also share something common with other human beings. You can classify them as just one race or classify them in million ways. Take a look at cast system in India and tribal groups in Africa. Classifications are always interesting. Like Date Line murder stories, they have their origin, motives and gains. Biggest part of understanding history is to understand the classifications.

Carol Dweck makes one of those interesting classifications of people.

  1. People with fixed mindset. They think people either gifted or not. They think genes control their ability to succeed.
  2. People with growth mindset. This kind of people see the world as a place to learn and get better. They believe, with time and effort they can be better at anything.

In my work, I have identified two mindsets about ability that people may hold (Dweck, 1999; Dweck, 2006; Dweck & Leggett, 1988). Some hold a fixed mindset, in which they see abilities as fixed traits. In this view, talents are gifts—you either have them or you don’t.

Other people, in contrast, hold a growth mindset of ability. They believe that people can cultivate their abilities. In other words, they view talents as potentialities that can be developed through practice. It’s not that people holding this mindset deny differences among people. They don’t deny that some people may be better or faster than others at acquiring certain skills, but what they focus on is the idea that everyone can get better over time.

-The Mindset of a Champion

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

First world problems: android adb reset

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Elevator to my gym is not working. I have to climbs the steps to do my workout. Shit. –Someone from First World

I remember how hard it was working with Windows Phone 6.x versions. With Android, Windows Phone 7 development is much more easier and straight forward. Still always room to improve.

Android ADB randomly stops working. When it does, Eclipse won’t stop popping the LogCat window. Its annoying. ADB provides two different parameters to stop and start ADB service, but there is no restart option.

Here is what my solution to this first world problem.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Elon Musk

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Innovation thrives where different technologies and fields converge. People or company that understand different markets make great products/services. Sony the great hardware makers and music production company, is not the inventors of iPod. Google the search company is not the leader of people/social search. Nokia once the the largest phone manufacturer is struggling to survive in the age of smart phones.

There are three notable companies that understood this and succeeded so far.

  • PayPal An ecommerce company that brought Peer to Peer pay to internet.
  • Tesla Motors Electric car manufacturers. When giant auto makers were asking for bailout money, this Silicon Valley company launched their first all electric sports car.
  • SpaceX There are few nations launched something to the orbit successfully. This small company sent a cargo capsule to international space station in ten years of its invention.

All these three companies have one thing in common. Its founder Elon Musk.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Kiva Systems

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Some time ago Scott Hanselman blogged about  ordering a lawn mower from Home Depot. In that blog post, he talked about how fast Amazon ships things. Here is the snippet from that post,

Seems like Amazon has your package being prepared while it's still in the shopping cart. Click Checkout and walk to the mailbox, bam! With other retailers, not so much.,

Speed and accuracy comes to my mind when I think about Amazon. But I never thought about how retailing system works. Today I came across an article about how Amazon plans to deliver thing on same day across united states. Interesting article talks about Amazon’s strategy shift from few big distribution centers to many distribution centers. This same article mentions about one of the Amazon’s recent acquisitions. Kiva Systems.

Kiva systems has very interesting product not only for the retailer, but for any one with admiration for technology and innovative problem solving. If you ever shopped in any big stores like Sams Club, Costco or Wal-Mart, you would know the pain of finding the things you want. You pick a cart and walk around different aisle and pick items you want and bill it, you would easily pass an aisle that has the stuff in your list. If you want to do this efficiently, you need to know lot about their product catalog, aisle arrangements and lot of mindfulness.

Imagine this situation for bigger retails stores that may have more than 10,000 items and 100s of aisles and many miles of navigation. Kiva solves this problem by placing 100s of robots that carry items to the worker. Aisles come to workers auto magically and disappear later. Its very fascinating to watch and think about the software and hardware solutions they invented.

Here are some videos of how it works and a TED talk from the founder of Kiva System Mike Mountz.

Kiva Order Fetch Solution http://youtu.be/1FKMniE_q1Q
Kiva Warehouse Robotics (History Channel) http://youtu.be/gvQKGev56qU
Kiva Warehouse Robotics (Discovery Channel) http://youtu.be/g-JJPbwXbog
A Day in the Life of a Kiva Robot http://youtu.be/6KRjuuEVEZs
TEDxBoston - Mick Mountz - Let The Inventory Walk and Talk http://youtu.be/szU2-1infqc

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Quote of the day

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We do not inherit the land from our ancestors, we borrow it from our children. -Native American Proverb

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Facebook acquires Instagram for 1 billion dollar.

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Acquisitions happen every day. Big companies acquire smaller companies for their product, customers, talent, knowledge. It’s like big sharks eating small fishes in the ocean. Very ordinary event.

But some acquisitions stand out. Facebook acquired Instagram for 1 billion dollar is such an acquisition. In my opinion it stands out for few reasons,

  • Instagram is not even two years old
  • Instagram has only one product and that is photo sharing app with bunch of filters. But to be fair, they were good at what they were doing. In less than two years, they have 30 million plus users.
  • Instagram has 13 employees.
  • Instagram has 30 million plus users.
  • Instagram hasn’t made any money yet.

So what made Facebook to pay 1 billion dollars for Instagram? What Instagram has and Facebook doesn’t have and that is worth 1 billion dollars?

Like any other acquisitions, it has very complex answer.

Facebook has some problems and Instagram is the quickest solution.

  • Though Facebook has 100+ million active users using its website, it has very small user base in mobile platform. So Facebook wanted to strengthen its mobile presence before its IPO. On the other hand Instagram is purely a mobile company. Their website is nothing but links to their apps.
  • Though Facebook users share 250 million images daily, Facebook’s photo sharing is very basic. You take a picture [after several clicks/touches Sad smile] and share it. Most mobile pictures look really bad and Facebook doesn’t help user to take beautiful pictures. Where Instagram makes people happy by turning ordinary pictures to beautiful pictures. If Facebook didn’t acquire Instagram, it could be competing against Facebook.
  • Facebook reports that, photos get more participation than text. I use very little Facebook these days, but videos and pictures always holds my attention longer.

Facebook acquired Instagram for its technology and talent.

  • If you have used Instagram, you would know Instagram’s technology is not that ground breaking. Facebook is filled with talented people and it attracts lot of talented people from other pioneer companies like Apple, Google and Microsoft. So can’t these talented engineers recreate Instagram’s technology?
  • Yes they could recreate the technology, but making users to switch is a long journey and Facebook has very little time before it goes to IPO.

Facebook wants Instagram’s user base

  • Instagram is new kind of social networking site. You can follow people and other people can follow you and people can comment on your picture. Social networking for photo enthusiast mainly on mobile platform. More like Flickr but in mobile platform.
  • One interesting fact here is, Instagram app lets you share this picture with Facebook and Twitter but not Google. If already Instagram lets people to share their picture in Facebook why waste money by buying it? Simple fact is either Instagram user share their picture in Facebook or not. If they already share it, then Facebook secured those users, it may look for ways to attract the people who don’t share their pictures in Facebook.

Stop Google acquiring Instagram.

  • Google has failed many times in Social Networking with Orkut, Buzz, Wave. It’s again on the field with Google Plus. It desperately wants Google Plus to succeed. If Google acquired Instagram, it would have given huge boost to Google Plus.
  • Google already owns biggest video sharing site. Instagram is YouTube for pictures. Remember how much Google spent on YouTube?

Is it worth 1 billion dollars?

I think price went up,

Let’s wait for couple of years and see how this acquisition affected Facebook and Google.

Update:

24-Apr-2012: Facebook reports, 901 million monthly active users and 500 million of them from mobile devices.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Exposing multiple endpoints in WCF service

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When you deploy a SOAP based web service, test clients are essential to test the web service. This gets complicated when you deploy secure web services. Lot of config sections to add on both server and client side. If you had a REST endpoint, testing your service is very simple. Just open a browser and type the URL, it should execute the web method and return you some results. This helps you to test your test to all the way down like database layer.

image

Enough said, Let’s see how we can add SOAP and REST endpoints to a WCF web service.

  • Open Visual Studio and File –> New project.
  • Select WCF on “Installed Templates” section and select “WCF Service Application”.
  • Let’s name our application as “SoapAndRestService”. It should create a WCF service project with bunch of files.
  • Let’s rename all Visual Studio named services and variables. I am going to rename IService1, Service1, to IHelloService, HelloService.
  • Let’s see code for IHelloService and HelloService. We just have two web methods that can be only accessed via SOAP clients.
  • When you create a “WCF Service Application”, you won’t see any services or bindings configured in “web.config” file. But when you run your service using “WcfTestClient.exe” or accessing it via web browser, you can see, WCF “magically” displaying your service meta data and service contracts. It is because WCF configures a “basicHttpBinding” if noting was configured.
    image
  • To make it less magic and more clear, lets add the defaults things[Service, Endpoint, Behavior] to our project. This is how our web.config file looks after adding default SOAP endpoint.
  • Binding determines, how an “endpoint” is consumed. To consume WCF service via browser or HTTP GET, we need an “endpoint” with “webHttpBinding” binding and “webHttp” behavior.
  • So let’s add Rest endpoint with “webHttpBinding” and “webHttp” behavior. This is how “web.config” file looks after edit. You can consume the “REST” service at http://localhost:62611/HelloService.svc/Rest/
  • One last thing, we have configured endpoints to access our “HelloService”, but we haven’t configured which methods can be accessed via HTTP GET.
  • So let’s add “WebGet” attribute to HelloRest method in IHelloService.cs
  • Now we are ready to test the web service using a browser, If you access the HelloRest method using this URL, http://localhost:62611/HelloService.svc/Rest/HelloRest/Hey . Server should respond back for your message.
    image

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Stop SOPA

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(US) Internet has blacked out today to protest SOPA act.

This is so far the best Stop SOPA campaign I have seen.

sopa

From [The OatMeal]