Ronnie05's Blog

Network Scalability: The challenges from an Indian perspective

Posted in Business Cases, Industry updates by Manas Ganguly on January 31, 2014

This was presented by me to Accenture on 31st January 2014 and defines the challenges in terms of technologies, standards, networks and the investments and costings underneath.

Network scalability – The Indian perspective from Manas Ganguly

The pace of innovation is outstripping the RoI recovery cycles for Telcos worldwide and then again, there is no single standard and one unified eco-system. Betting and hedging on future is a difficult task for even the most seasoned Telcos.

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Mood sensing Ads on Apple’s mind (We always knew that, didn’t we??)

Posted in Applications and User Interfaces, Device Platforms, New Technologies by Manas Ganguly on January 25, 2014

I fell out of love with Apple when they launched iPhone5S. I fell in love back again when i read their iWatch concept.

iWatch

In an earlier post, i had written about iWatch and the path breaking dimensions it was adding to the whole technology domain by being able to monitor (and possibly measure) the state of being. The state of inner being is key to Apple’s ambitions.

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By being able to infer a person’s inner state of being, inferred by changes in Systolic, Diastolic pressures, pulse rates, Apple has an algorithm that estimates the person’s mood and serves him with suitable triggers based upon a variety of other external coordinates such as time, location,visit frequencies, past behavior. Apple has filed a patent application that describes a system that would try to gauge some of the user’s physical and behavioral facets to serve up ads that may better appeal and contextually relevant.

The ad delivery system would start by compiling a “baseline mood profile” against which it can compare your future moods. Information that might be captured would include your heart rate, blood pressure, adrenaline level, perspiration rate, body temperature, vocal expression, and even your facial expression. The time of day and your current location may also be incorporated to associate those factors with your various moods.The system would then select a specific type of ad based on your current mood and other criteria. As one example listed in the patent application, certain ads might be sent to someone with the following characteristics: gender, male; age, 19-24; location, Northern California or New York City; mood, happy.

Apple's filing describes the system as

It may not be exactly music to advocates of privacy – who could be considered to getting creep-ed out, but this is one exiting dimension which could do a new tthing to the world of ads…

The Mac turns 30. And here’s what the history is like.

Posted in Device Platforms by Manas Ganguly on January 25, 2014

The Macintosh is credited as the machine which transformed home computing and was at the core of the rivalry between Bill Gates and Steve Jobs. However the softer aspect that is often lost in translation is the impact that Mac as a design concept had on Apple’s devices, designs and interfaces – it set the gold standard in design expression. Accompanying the launch, was the hugely famous big-budget Ridley Scott-directed commercial called 1984 – named so because of its depiction of a grey, soulless, totalitarian computing environment where one woman dares to break the mould – it promised to change the world forever.

This weekend, the iconic Mac will celebrate its 30th birthday. A quick Look back at the Mac and its Impact on History.

Macintosh 128K

Macintosh 128K

Simply as the Apple Macintosh but has since come to be remembered as the Macintosh 128K. The Macintosh 128K might not have been a perfect machine but its importance as the first computer to offer normal people an acceptable and affordable graphics experience is utterly undeniable, along with its status as the first in a line that’s still with us today.

Macintosh II

Macintosh II (1987)

The Macintosh II was a series of computers that represented the very best in what Apple could make in its first golden age. Unlike the 128K, the 512K and the hugely popular Macintosh SE/30, the Mac IIs were modular machines in the true desktop computer sense. Unlike the previous all-in-one devices, you had to buy a monitor separately and you were welcome to expand and add on hardware as you pleased.

They were the first Macs to support colour screens and the first to cope with high resolutions, meaning that you could really see the effects of all that superior graphics processing with which the Apple Macintosh had made its name.

These bumpy beige boxes might not be much of a looker to our modern eyes but they were some of the most powerful personal computers of their day. In processing terms, they had the grand elegance of what the 128K had always been born to have.

Powerbook 100

PowerBook 100 (1991)

In May 1990, Microsoft released Windows 3.0 to the world. It was the first of the company’s operating systems to be graphically based. It was the same black and white command line system of DOS but dressed up and represented in a pictorial way that made sense to normal people for the very first time. What’s more, it came on IBM and other Intel-based machines that were far cheaper to own than the Apple Macs.

Apple was forced to diversify to survive and its greatest achievement in that period of its history has to be the PowerBooks: miniaturised and actually portable Macintosh computers. The company had a crack at the idea with the Macintosh Portable in 1989, but it was the PowerBook 100 that got it right. It was the first true Macintosh laptop.

The PowerBook 100 came with a built-in trackball and space on the chassis for users to rest their palms – two areas that any portable PCs at the time had entirely missed. By the second generation there were even stereo speakers, colour screens and Ethernet sockets too.

Running all the way from 1991 until 2006, it remains one of the longest-serving lines of Macintosh computers and, in all likelihood, an important the precursor to a laptop you own today.

Power Macintosh 6100

Power Macintosh 6100 (1994)

Another success story in what were the darker days for Apple was the Power Macintosh. In 1993, Intel introduced the Pentium processor as the successor for the 486 CPU for Windows PCs, and the advantage that it gave over the old Motorola chips at the heart of the Macintosh threatened to flatten Apple.

After rejecting Intel’s advances, Apple funded and designed its own microprocessor known as the PowerPC. It brought the computers coming out of Cupertino (home to Apple’s HQ, in California) back up to speed with the competition and it was the Power Macintosh 6100, with its affectionately dubbed ‘pizza box’ design, that was the first machine to hold one at its core. It was fast, upgradeable and it allowed users to run all kinds of software the like of which they’d never dreamed before. It might not have changed the game, but it certainly kept Apple in it.

Macintosh Tam

Twentieth Anniversary Macintosh (1997)

To celebrate the 20th birthday of the company, Apple came up with the Twentieth Anniversary Macintosh in 1997. Known to those who owned one as the Tam, it was something of a disaster.

It featured a 12.1-inch LCD screen, a 2GB hard drive and a custom-made Bose 2.1 sound system with satellite speakers and a sub-woofer built in. The trouble is that it was something of a design mess and absurdly expensive given that the Power Macintosh 6500 had similar specs but was $6,000 less expensive.

At the beginning of its year-long life-cycle, the Tam retailed for $9,000. By the end, it had been cut to just $1,995. So, why was this an important Macintosh? Well, because it just might have been the moment that someone on the board decided to give Steve Jobs a call and tell him it was time to come home.

iMac G3

iMac G3 (1998)

In 1997 Steve Jobs returned to Apple and with the British industrial designer Jonathan Ive in charge of the look and feel of its machines, Apple’s dream team was finally in place. Their first project was the Apple iMac G3. It was an all-in-one machine, just like the original Macintosh 128K, and is probably the most important Apple computer of all time.

Up until the G3, all computers were ugly. No one expected anything different. The brightly coloured, translucent plastics that came in a choice of 13 designs, most famously Bondi Blue, was so beyond what everyone else was creating in the computing world at the time that it’s one of the real occasions that can truly be described as a paradigm shift.

With the iMac G3 came the first of those white-background Apple adverts that are still part of the company’s sales patter today. This wasn’t just a Macintosh, nor simply the turning point. It was the moment that Apple became cool.

iBook G3 Snow

iBook G3 “Snow” (2001)

While the PowerBook series was seminal to Macintosh laptop history, they still look rather ludicrous in comparison to what we’d carry around today. It required the iBook line to turn up for us to get an idea of the Apple-filled future that lay ahead.

Arriving in 1999 with the rather bizarre clamshell iBook G3 – it was essentially the Bondi Blue iMac G3 squashed flat – the idea was to create a range of laptop computers for the entry-level and consumer markets; laptops for real people.

It took until the 2001 Snow edition for Apple to ditch the bulky build and extraneous carry handle and come up with recognisably portable solution that was now 30% lighter and took up half the volume of the previous model.

With more USBs and connectors than ever before, this was pure Macintosh convenience of the type we all expect modern laptops to be. It was a true answer to a genuine computing need. It was a laptop at which no one would snigger.

iMac 65

iMac G5

The iMac G3 was important. It was. It was the turning point, it was colourful, it was cool. But if you really want Apple style on a plate, if you want a piece of industrial design so very rooted at the heart of what this company is all about, then you need look no further than the Apple iMac G5.

It was this machine that ditched the idea of a computer altogether and it’s so very bang-on a piece of industrial design that it’s still the basic face of iMacs 10 years on. The G5 got rid of the desktop box and hid everything into the screen. For the first time, all your needed was your monitor and a keyboard and mouse to go with it.

It became the gold standard of desktop PCs and every other company wanted to make something like it. They still do.

Macbook Pro

MacBook Pro (2006)

There are a lot of reasons that make the MacBook Pro both classic and important. It remains very much the laptop of choice for those that can afford it. From its beginnings in 2006 to its Retina Display present, it has provided a compelling combination of processing power, portability and stylish good looks.

Whether you work in technology, the movie industry or you just fancy sitting in Starbucks and looking at Facebook, the MacBook Pro is that one that lets you do it all. From video editing to sending emails, with this machine you’ve got it all covered.

The reason it makes it into our list, however, is because it was the first Macintosh computer to run an Intel chip. Sure, the PowerPC plugged the gaps but teaming up with the king company of microprocessors is what cemented the Mac’s unbeatable status in the modern era. It represented a great unification – great for the two companies and great for the consumer.

MacBook Air

MacBook Air (2008)

It took years for the Windows-based PC world to come up with anything to compete with the MacBook Air. Apple proclaimed it to be the thinnest in the world when it was first held aloft in 2008 and, even though its tapering design caused some disputes on that fact, what nobody can deny is that it heralded the dawn of yet another era in computing – the ultraportables.

Having decided that tiny netbooks were not actually what people wanted to use for their computing needs while on the move, Jobs and his pals were able to keep that full keyboard size and ease of use by creating something that was convenient to carry around thanks to its relatively small weight and super-slim lines. What they came up with was the 13-inch MacBook Air – the beginnings of a Macintosh line that still exists today.

Six years on and you can pick up thinner and lighter Windows-running Ultrabook laptops for a fraction of the cost and, indeed, the MacBook Pro line has become so small itself that we might see the end of the Airs in the next year or two. Nonetheless, the MacBook Air will be remembered as the one that was bold enough to rid itself of an optical disc drive and slim enough to fit into a Manila envelope.

MacBook Pro 2013

Mac Pro (2013)

With both the iMac and MacBook lines all but perfected, there had been little going on in the way of obvious innovation with regard to Cupertino hardware for a few years. Perhaps it had something to do with getting over the sad passing of Steve Jobs 2011 but it went against the grain for a company like Apple. Sure, we saw some Retina Displays and a change from white polycarbonate to a unibody aluminium but the core of the older designs had yet to move on.

It took the arrival of the Mac Pro desktop computer in 2013 for things to get exciting again. It’s hard to know quite how significant this Macintosh will be, given that it’s only just gone on sale, but the look and the features have all the hallmarks of a classic.

The 2013 model shifts things from a desk-hogging tower to a sleek cylinder the size of a cocktail ice bucket. There are enough ports to power as many 4K TVs and displays as you can find and more dual graphics card, quad-core CPUs and insane additional amounts of RAM to keep it relevant for many years to come.

What’s more, the whole design is set around a unified thermal core that draws cool air up through the bottom of the Pro with a single fan of such efficient performance that you’ll barely hear it at all.

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The multi-device ownership scenario amongst Indian internet users

Posted in Industry updates, Mobile Computing by Manas Ganguly on January 19, 2014

Multi device Ownership scenario

RoboEarth: Is this the origin of (Terminator) Skynet?

Posted in Machine Learning, New Technologies by Manas Ganguly on January 16, 2014

We do remember the Skynet in the Terminator series, dont we? Or the Matrix for example?

Roboearth

In a striking resemblance to the Skynet, a world wide web for robots named RoboEarth has been conceptualized which could help machines learn from each other and share tips and information. The eventual aim is that both robots and humans will be able to upload information to the cloudbased database, which would act as a kind of common brain for machines. RoboEarth’s database stores knowledge generated by humans — and robots — in a machine-readable format. It will provide software components, maps for navigation, task knowledge and object recognition models. At its core RoboEarth is a world wide web for robots: a giant network and database repository where robots can share information and learn from each other about their behaviour and their environment.

The goal of RoboEarth is to allow robotic systems to benefit from the experience of other robots, paving the way for rapid advances in machine cognition and behaviour, and ultimately, for more subtle and sophisticated human-machine interaction. The problem right now is that robots are often developed specifically for one task. Everyday changes that happen all the time in our environment make all the programmed actions unusable. By docking to the RoboEarth, machines will be able to share learning, cognition, knowledge and experiences such that other machines can also do tasks without having to be specifically programmed for that. All machine knowledge and experience are shared worldwide on a central, online database. As well as that, computing and ‘thinking’ tasks can be carried out by the system’s ‘cloud engine’, so the robot/machine doesn’t need to have as much computing or battery power on-board.

This database of operations could be regarded as the Wikipedia for Machines and Robots.The platform, dubbed RoboEarth, will be presented next week after four years of research by the team of scientists from six European research institutes – Eindhoven University of Technology (Netherlands), Philips, ETH Zurich (Switzerland), Technical University of Munich (Germany) and the universities of Zaragoza (Spain) and Stuttgart(Germany), according to a release from Eindhoven University. The operation of the platform will be demonstrated to a delegation from the European Commission, which financed the project, using four robots and two simulated hospital rooms.

The greying population of advanced countries has created an urgent future need for robots to take over caring or household tasks. To enable robots to successfully lend a mechanical helping hand, they need to be able to deal flexibly with new situations and conditions.

4 Technology trends to reshape the future

Posted in M2M: Telemetry and Telematics, New Technologies, The Technology Ecosystem by Manas Ganguly on January 15, 2014

The biggest changes happening in the internet space are those which affect more that one industry at a time. These changes alter the basic economic dimensions across industry. In 2014, what looks to be is that 4 trends that could alter the economic landscape across industries are

1. Digitization of content, communication, services, identities
2. Internet as an enabler, provider and connector
3. The sensor network that links up “all things” to internet
4. Algorithms and cognitive programs which build intelligence across a standard unit of everything

The smart brush with more teeth

Posted in New Technologies, Sensor networks and devices by Manas Ganguly on January 12, 2014

The vision of the technology future is DISC – Digitization, Internet, Sensors and Cognition. Ergo, it is hardly a surprise that a French start up takes the sensor up close and personal – into the mouth of the user – thru the first internet connected brush called Kolibree that was was displayed at CES in Las Vegas. The idea is that with better metrics on the quality of your brushing, users will be able to keep your teeth healthier.

Kolibree-toothbrush-640x525

As Kolibree founder Loic Cessot puts it, the brush is designed to “outsmart your dentist,” and is outfitted with an array of sensors that track the areas of your mouth that you’re hitting. It’ll measure how long the brushing lasted, how rigorous it was, what teeth you’re cleaning well, and the areas that need a little bit more attention. It’s even got some nifty gamification features that challenge you to do a better job next time you brush, and Kolibree has even developed an API in hopes that third-party developers will devise additional apps that will encourage users to brush more often and more effectively.

To use it, users need to simply download the Kolibree mobile app on their smartphones and sync it with the brush via Bluetooth. After that, every time one brushes, the brush will log data from your session. Post the brushing, one can just pop open the app and it’ll display all the data in a simple visual format. The app can even record data from multiple brushes, for parents to monitor the brushing habits of juniors. Kolibree is planning to release several different models of the toothbrush, ranging in price from $100 to $200, in the third quarter of 2014

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The dawn of post PC!

Posted in Device Platforms by Manas Ganguly on January 10, 2014

The PC is dead and this year’s CES proves it- BBC’s Timothy Lee.

Going by the product roadmap declarations from Intel, the surprising popularity of Chromebooks, the visions of augmented reality and touch based future interfaces and (the old news) Google Glass – computing is evolving and the PC is a dead generation.

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The general-purpose PC became the dominant computing paradigm of the late 20th Century because computing hardware was too expensive and cumbersome for most families to own more than one or two of them. But processing power is getting smaller and cheaper, while display technologies with flexible and durable screens are getting more flexible and powerful. The PC was the jack of all trades, but master of none. In contrast, special-purpose designs can be tailor-made for a specific application. As those devices become smaller, cheaper, and more versatile, the cost, size, and complexity of conventional PCs will be more of a turnoff for ordinary users. Right now, no one is clambering for computers in their wristwatches or tables. But the combination of tiny, cheap computer chips and increasingly strong and flexible displays will eventually mean powerful computational capabilities being integrated into a wide variety of household objects.

Obviously, PCs won’t go away completely. After all, IBM still has a thriving business selling mainframes.Also, if you want to do serious spreadsheet wrangling, photo editing, or software development, a Chromebook or a Tablet probably won’t cut it. But most people have no interest in doing those things outside the office. If, like millions of people, you mostly want to check Facebook, read your email, and watch YouTube videos, then a ChromeBook works just fine. And ChromeBooks aren’t only cheaper, they also avoid many of the hassles and pitfalls—software updates, malware, baffling error messages—of Windows PCs. Most users don’t actually need all the features of a standard PC, and for them the extra complexity just means more headaches. Hard-core gamers have long been a key market for PCs. Gaming consoles aren’t new, of course, but the most sophisticated and powerful games have always relied on the superior horsepower of a full-scale PC. However PC Gaming gaint Valve, unveiled a line of special-purpose gaming devices designed to entice PC gamers into the living room. These machines should have enough computing power to satisfy even the most demanding gamers.

The key concern here for PC is that most of the vertical innovation is happening out of PC. This then is the era when the Consumer innovation on PC as a major platform is over.

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The future computer is only a miniature – and Intel shows how. Enter Edison

Posted in Sensor networks and devices by Manas Ganguly on January 10, 2014

A computer that is “not bigger than an SD card” is Intel’s latest attempt to get into the new world of wearable computers. Edison which packs the SoC Quark, looks smart enough for the job.Basically, the Edison is a miniature computer in the form factor of an SD card. The tiny 400MHz computer is built on the company’s 22nm transistor technology, runs Linux and has built-in WiFi and Bluetooth modules. What’s more, the tiny machine can connect to its own app store. It will cost $199 in the US (about £120) and includes three onesies, a Turtle and a device that functions as a charging station.

intel

To get the eco-system enthused, Intel also reported the first eco-system of devices, technologies using the Edison – a small collection of “Nursery 2.0” products using embedded Edison chips: a toy frog that reports an infant’s vitals to a parent via an LED coffee cup, for example, and a milk warmer that starts heating when another connected item (the frog, again) hears the baby cry.Intel has also announced the “Make it Wearable” competition for developers, and says it will be offering up to $1.3 million in prizes for developers churning out wearable tech.

Nice and smart start. Would this be good for Intel to stay ahead in the chase and race for wearables? We shall see..

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The rise and rise of 3D printing

Posted in Uncategorized by Manas Ganguly on January 9, 2014

How hot is 3D printing? Going by CES indications, its the future happening and at a magnificent pace. Presenting a video of MakerBot CEO, Bre Pettis talking to the BBC’s Rory Cellan-Jones about the rise and rise of 3D printing. Bre Pettis traces the history of 3D printing from the early days to present day where 3D printing is set to go mainstream.

I especially like it when he answers the querry – “Is there any specific Application that will make 3D printing go mainstream?” through the analogy – “Is there any particular song that you think will make music take off”.

CES 2014 showcases 3D printers and concepts from at least 30 different companies all with an eclectic size, mix and function.

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