Welcome to the 1970's

logo_google_apps.gif…Google style. Google has done it again, first they took the search engine market by storm then they raised the ante in the email space with Gmail. Prior to them you had a couple of choices that were so damn stingy with storage space it was pathetic, Yahoo had a 5 or 10mb limit and Hotmail was around 2mb, but then Gmail came to the rescue and offered 1gb from the get go and now is hovering around 2.7gb.

Anyways, Google has quietly been beta testing a new product called Google Apps. It allows small companies to use Google to host all their files, websites and use Gmail. The whole thing smells of network computers from way back in the day, where all the data resided on a server and you got to it via a terminal (in this case a web browser). I’ve had a chance to use it and so far it’s been great. They just introduced the service yesterday to the public at USD 50 a head/a year, which is next to nothing considering all the support costs for having a mail server, backup server, etc. This product should really take off in India, since with frequent power outages you know you always have an updated copy of your files backed up on Google’s vast server farms.

The are still working out the kinks such as no BlackBerry support with the Google Apps Gmail edition, however my BlackBerry does work with regular Gmail.

If you are a small business and want to stop wasting time tinkering and fidgeting with websites, mail servers, shared folders, backing up data, etc…then Google Apps is the way.

Name the 2nd largest airliner?

logo_fedex.pngYeah, I was shocked to find out that the 2nd largest airliner in the world doesn’t even fly passengers. Explains how they really can absolutely, positively deliver a package anywhere in the world. FedEx was started by Fred Smith who wrote a half baked business plan at Yale about a business that might compete against the US Post Office. Everyone doubted that he could actually compete against the government, but he focused more on the high end business clients and not the junk mail category. In fact today the US Postal Service is one of FedEx’s largest clients. The top 10 fleet sizes are:

1. American Airlines – 685 planes
2. FedEx – 670
3. Lufthansa – 534
4. Northwest Airlines – 513
5. Southwest Airlines – 477
6. Delta – 470
7. United – 460
8. SkyWest – 400
9. Air France-KLM – 397
10. Continental Airlines – 366

Indian property report

clsa_property_jan_07_page_0.pngCLSA has come out with it’s latest report on India and this one is focused on the boom in real estate. The research reports issued by CLSA have been my favorite as they seem to add more depth then the typical “everything is great” reports issued by other research firms. The first half of the report is really useful as it talks about the key drivers for the boom and the potential reason for it to continue. The latter half deals with the stocks they recommend, I personally think many of these developers are just jumping on the real estate trend and have nothing to really offer. Many of them will advertise they have thousands of acres in their “land bank.” However, don’t confuse land bank with actually owning the land, which is what most of them try to do when raising money from retail investors.

Anyways, the report is concise and makes you wish you had bought property in India in 1999/2000 during the lows of the Indian real estate market and the highs of the US dot com.

5 must have apps for the Mac

It’s been awhile since I’ve last talked about some of the applications I use on my Mac (last time was in Dec 05). A lot of the big names such as Toast and Mac Office get all the attention, but the Mac community has some damn good programmers who produce some amazing programs albeit without all the fanfare.

Xtorrent is one of the best looking torrent clients today, in addition it works very seamless with torrent files. Although, the developer David Watanabe seems to create a lot of controversy, his programs are cleanly written and look great. I used a couple other programs such as Transmission, BitRocket and Acquistion but Xtorrent is the current king in my book for downloading bit torrent files.

Adium – Instant Messaging software that connects to all the major IM networks

Galerie – Export pictures from iPhoto to an HTML based photo gallery an example

Skype – A great VoIP client that just seems to get better and better

World Clock Deluxe – If you are a globe-trotter then this program is a must have

Behind the scenes at celestri.org

Several people have dropped me a line to find out how I created this website/blog. I figure I would start from the very beginning which is the domain name.

Domain name – I use GoDaddy for getting domains. There are many companies out there, but I have been using them for the past 3 years and they are really good and reasonable – about USD 7 a domain name. Don’t be lulled into the web hosters that provide a free domain name, they end up locking you into their platform and essentially you are held hostage, all for a couple bucks.

Web hoster – I selected iPowerWeb back in the day because they were located in Santa Monica, California. Honestly, it makes no difference. I will probably soon migrate over to GoDaddy as they also provide good hosting for around USD 50-60 a year

Blog package – WordPress, i stumbled upon WordPress because iPowerweb offered b2 – which is the predecessor to WordPress. About the time I was going to use b2, WordPress came out and I started to use it. And it rocks. As they say, all the cool kids use WordPress, I’ll get into more detail about WordPress at the end

MAMP – It allows you to run a local version of your remote server. MAMP stands for: Macintosh, Apache, Mysql and PHP. This is needed if you are going to edit the WordPress themes and customize your blog and want to test it locally on a Mac such as a PowerBook

iPhoto – I use the iPhoto program to export my picture albums to static HTML pages and then link them into WordPress. Not ideal, I’m waiting for a more streamlined iPhoto/WordPress solution

Dreamweaver – I use the program to edit the web pages and themes of WordPress for a more customized effect

Photoshop – to edit the graphic images that appear on the blog

Back to WordPress. I’m using v2.0.5 with a modified Cutline theme. Some of the plugin’s I’m using are:
Akismet – Comment SPAM protection, included with WordPress
Google Analytics – Track user behavior via Google
Snap Preview – Gives a preview of links
WordPress Database Backup
WordPress XML Export
WP lightbox 2 – simple, unobtrusive script used to to overlay images on the current page
Sidebar Widgets – included with WordPress

The widget(s) I use:
Google Adsense – Monetize with Google AdSense

That winds up the behind the scenes look at celestri.org.

BlackBerry Pearl

I got the new BlackBerry Pearl 8100 about a month back and so far the phone is great. Granted when Apple came out with their iPhone announcement a couple weeks after getting the Pearl, I had buyers remorse but that lasted for a day.

The phone is very slim and feels good to the touch, typing is a bit of a challenge on the smaller sized phone but doable. One of the coolest features that I have been using is the voice dialing, it recognizes the names from the address book and dials them based on your speech recognition, and it works even with some of the more complicated names in my address book.

One of the main reasons I got the latest iteration of the BlackBerry is because I didn’t have a lot of time to tinker around and move my data from one platform to another. So having used the BlackBerry 7100 I was sorta forced to get a new BlackBerry. Since I use a PowerBook, that always compounds the issue since Mac and Blackberries don’t like to place nice in the sandbox. But, using PocketMac SyncManager I was able to sync my data to the new Pearl. It wasn’t all smooth sailing but once I figured out the order in which to connect the Pearl to the PowerBook it was seamless. If not done precisely as described below, it will fail and make you want to throw the motherfu!#@$@!# Pearl out the window and kick your PowerBook to the curb.

1. Launch PocketMac SyncManager
2. Connect Pearl to PowerBook via USB Cable
3. Hit the green Sync button

I would recommend the Pearl if you are looking for a small form factor phone, then the usual large screen, large size BlackBerries.