Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Traffic analysis of my blog after posting it on reddit.com

I wrote a post comparing reddit.com and memeorandum.com on my blog on 22nd october. I have been a leecher on reddit till that day. I only used to read links not contribute links to reddit. But the next day my post received a comment from prez, one of the founders of reddit.com. Till that day the total number of hits on my blog was around 210 with a maximum hits/day being 4. I had hits from all continents except Africa but only India (which is my home country) contributing more than 10 hits per city. There were two cities in india contributing more than 10 hits. I had hits from one city each in Australia and New Zealand, 5 from Europe, two from South America and around 10 from North America. People from city each in Chine and Japan also read my blog.

That day I decide the post was worth a read by others and posted it on reddit.com. Within 5 hours of my posting it reached the hottest tab in reddit. It was in the top 20 hot links for around 20 hours. In that time it garnered 295 hits. The visibility reached is amazing. More power to unknown bloggers!!! I can now imagine what slashdotted can mean. If we assume that 10% of the users of reddit hit on my link that day, reddit might have around 3000 users that day.

It is also pretty enlightening to see the spread of hits. It can be seen via this clustermaps view of that day. As expected US dominates but the spread of cities throughout Europe is also interesting. At last there is a hit from Africa (South Africa I guess). The (non)-spread in China (and many parts of SouthEast Asia) and the Cresent area of West Asia is a matter of concern. Or maybe people from these places are not interested in the topic under consideration. This seems more likely. There were many cities which contributed more than 10 hits but most of them were in US. Of course India and London also contributed to this. I guess the hit from a spot on the Indian Ocean (near Madagascar) is an error or non-categorizable hit.

Most people came to the blog either from reddit, bloglines or other posts in techgossip. All three sources contributed equally. Firefox dominated with around 60% users using it to reach techgossip, while IE was 19% and Safari was a credible 10%.

Saturday, October 22, 2005

reddit Vs. memeorandum (Distributed Vs Monopolistic control)

I have been following reddit.com since I got my eyes on it (I suspect I have been one of the first 100 users of reddit). I start my day with it; be it office or home. And I am amazed every day.

For the uninitiated, it is a news/articles aggregator. Basically any registered user can contribute any link to the site and the link will come up on the newest links tab. Then users can rank the link with either a "+" or a "-" showing their interest/preference for the link. The most popular ones will then be lifted to the hottest tab. there also exists an all time favorite tab.

The links that come up on the new tab are themselves worth the time one spends on the site. They are an eclectic mix mirroring the interests and biases of the frequent contributors to the site. I may be the target audience for such a site so the presented links generally interest me a lot. There are many sites which do that. Kuro5hin and slashdot come to mind. But what really drives value in reddit is the unexpected surprise of a link which is both rare as well as very pertinent or interesting. This I guess is because of the way the site has chosen to rank the links: people vote with their eyeballs/mind/clicks.

On the other hand there exists memeorandum. This site was started by Gabe Rivera, the 32-year-old programmer who quit his job at Intel.it started off with a politicas section and now it has a tech section too. This takes more of a centralised approach. Links are selected in a pseudo algorithmic way from pre-picked sites which Gabe selects. "Credibility and Engagement within peers" seems to be the ranking index for selection. memeorandum has received its share of publicity which can be seen via links at the right hand pane on its blog.

memeorandum serves up a mix of links which turn into talking points because of the close coterie of high visibility bloggers and "web 2.0 conference attendees". the discussion and the feedback among bloggers is the only reason I frequent this site.

Both the sites greatly alleviate the need to go through hundreds of links served by feed aggregators. But in my opinion reddit clearly is more informative and enjoyable than the staid, polictically correct style of memeorandum. Also reddit is faster, way faster. This can be seen in the number of days it took memeorandum to pick up the flock story. It has come on memeorandum today (Oct 22, 2005) only while it appeared on reddit almost a month back. This i think is because reddit gives power to the people. Links with nuisance value only, get segregated into the new tab guaranteeing that links in top tab are really useful. I think in future this the way to go: people vote within a system which filters content with only nuisance value. The centralised way of filtering content will slowly fade away or get slotted into niched applications where freshness of content or new innovations are not necessary.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

more on ruby and rails

last week i made a quick helloWorld application on rails, just to see what it takes to do a webapp on ruby and I was amazed. everything was up so quickly esp considering that I know next to nothing abt ruby and rails. the idea of "convenience over configuration" is pretty handy esp for trivial apps. these will get people hooked into this enterprise. It took me all of 3 minutes to have a webapp with web ui to do all crud operations on a backend database. (By the way, it took me something like one hour to setup MySQL properly with permissions and all.) Then I played around using ActiveRecord and some simple AJAX. I am convinced rails and ruby will gain ground pretty quickly.

I wonder how many serious efforts are on to make music and video players in ruby. I saw some by googling but was not impressed by their maturity.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

links (on startups, usability, startups money, BitTorrent and other such topics)

http://www.paulgraham.com/ideas.html -- the grand daddy of startup
links from Paul Graham.

Startup School: Michael Mendel and Chris Sacca
This weekend, I visited Y Combinator's Startup School in Cambridge,
MA. It was awesome.

Distractions (?) in office

http://ycombinator.com/ -- Venture setup by Paul Graham to fund at
very early stage.

http://www.useit.com/alertbox/weblogs.html -- The venerable Jakob
Nielsen -- Weblog Usability: The Top Ten Design Mistakes

One thing common to new Internet companies in Silicon Valley these
days is that they don't need a lot of money
to get off the ground.

-- a good mainstream article about BitTorrent, Do read this

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Bill Joy's webs

Bill Joy's taxonomy of the net:

1. The Near Web: This is the Internet that you see when you lean over a screen - like a laptop.
2. The Here Web. This is the Internet that is always with you because you accesses it through a device you always carry - like a cell phone.
3. The Far Web. This is the Internet you see when you sit back from a big screen - like a television or a kiosk.
4. The Weird Web. This is the Internet you access through your voice and which you listen to - say when you are in your car, or when you talk to an intelligent system on your phone, or when you ask your camera a question. Joy concedes that this Web does not yet fully exist.
5. B2B. This is an Internet which does not possess a consumer interface, where business machines talk to other business machines. It is chatter of corporations amongst themselves when they do not care about their human drones.
6. D2D. This is the Internet of sensors deployed in meshes networks, adjusting urban systems for maximum efficiency. This Web also does not yet exist. Joy says that it will embed machine intelligence in ordinary, daily life.

As usual I believe we tend to overestimate the near future and underestimate the far future. I believe we have not experienced even half of the so called Near Web. And what exactly are the differences between the Near and Here Web? Just that you are not accessing the web through a PC? Is the delivery form factor of such importance? I don't think so. I feel in the next 3-4 years the first three Webs will be merged or indistinguishable from each other.

Why is voice communication with devices called the Weird Web? I agree there is lot more here coming. B2B, I understand, with Grid/Webservices and the semantic making things so easy for enterprise developments. D2D I can't still imagine. Let the smart dust create a storm.

What about devices talking among themselves (like the Jini fav of refridgerator-ring-net combination)? Is that part of D2D? And finally what about Sentient beings generated from the net?

links:piracy + Web2.0==Dot Bomb ? + Disney shows on apple IPod Video

how piracy works. here is a good article for

Dot Bomb All Over Again?
YouTube is cool. Great product. I'm sure someday they will be worth $20 million just not today. How long have these guys been around? How much do you think it would cost to outsource a clone of YouTube? Less than $20 million I'm sure.

Disney offers next-day iTune downloads of TV shows
Opening the door to a new revenue stream for television content, the Walt Disney Co. said on Wednesday it will begin offering next-day digital downloads of its biggest ABC prime time hits for $1.99 per episode.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

google does social tagging

tagging of google search is something Suresh and I have talked about many times. Better still accessing tagged searches through the community is something which will increase the quality of searches by a big margin. Google is finally doing this. I am very happy.

Saturday, October 08, 2005

more cribs on ruby :)

why cant rails have a port/package system like free/net/open BSDs.
Today i started playing with rails and had to download activesupport, activerecord, rack, actionmailer, actionwebservice and actionpack seperately.

this was what i was going to say, then i realized there is a include-dependencies switch too. they seem to have thought of that. i guess this is the basic funda of ruby. they already have thought of what you will do and have devised the defaults for you.

i am not too sure if this idea of videos for quick tutorialsis a good idea (at least for techies). Maybe i will get used to it.

google rss reader

the rss reader from gmail is ok, not great. rss reader from google

links of interest to me

often i send links which interest me to people who i feel be might be interested in them. i have decided to post them here too

a repetition of known facts but still worthwhile given the ideas being
presented might be of use.
What lessons can be learned from this experience?

* Never get too far ahead of the market. Creating new markets, new
business models, and value propositions is very difficult and takes
lots of time and money. Pioneers are usually unsuccessful, the fast
followers make most of the money.
* Understand who your customer is, what problem you solve, and how
much they are willing to pay for it. Sounds simple enough but you
would be surprised how many start-ups get excited about their
technology innovations and forget about the basic business
* Never start a business focused on solving a big company's
problem. They don't know they have a problem…and they are probably
right. That is how they got to be so big in the first place. The
record labels didn't know they had a digital distribution problem and
were not interested in our solution to it.
* Test your assumptions before spending lots of money. Interview
your potential customers. Understand what their top 10 problems are.
Don't try to convince them that you have a solution to a problem they
don't know they have. Take a survey of 100 potential customers. Ask
them to list their top 10 problems, without prompting from you. If you
don't see your problem area listed…move on to another problem.
The long tail of software. Millions of Markets of Dozens.
Kathy Sierra is like Paul Graham (great to read once one gets the
hang of the taste). I have read all of her books.

Sunday, October 02, 2005

ripped away

Ripway ripped me away. Source files referenced in this blog are hosted on their server. When I checked today I could not reach the files. Then when I went to their site I could not login. Then I saw their notice that they have disabled my account as I had not logged in last month. I was not sent any emails regarding this but I regularly get spam aka "promotional material" from them. Fortunately I have back up on my machines.
But what do you think is a good solution for this problem. Do you know of any hosted service which could solve my problem. Of course I am not looking to pay for this. :)

ruby and me

Since Suresh was raving about ruby so much I decide to check it out. I did a simple (tic-tac-toe) game in ruby and came away a little interested and a little bemused. I have used python before and am familiar with it. I understand that python is limited in the OO world but I like it. I think Ruby is pretty similar to python (not so strong typed, less stress on syntax, flexible and so on). Then why is there so much hype about Ruby? Is it because of its webapp development (rails) capability. but python has Zope. well i dont know much about ruby so i wont comment and will wait till i get more experience on it. in the meantime i will start exploring rails.

Does ruby have a multi line commenting facility? i have not seen till now. I also liked the smart way it does multi-dimensional arrays (i guess following the module-based--kernel is better than whole-os-in-a-kernel philosophy).

i found some nice links on ruby:
ruby book