Mobber with online presence launched today

Presence is defined as knowing that a person is online, and on a connected device with a certain device profile. Each part of that definition is critical to fully understanding presence and how it is changing, and will continue to change, the face of business communications.

The most common use of presence today is the status indicator displayed on most instant messaging clients. A more simple everyday example is the 'on-hook' or 'off-hook' state of a telephone receiver, resulting in a distinctive ring tone for caller. Some states that offer extended information on the user's availiability are "free for chat", "away", "do not disturb", and "out to lunch", which are often seen on many modern instant messaging clients.

AOL Instant Messenger, Antepo, Skype, Microsoft Live Communication (LCS) Server, Lotus Instant Messaging and Web Conferencing, and other products provide facilities for presence management today. They differ in how they deliver this functionality and the audience for which this function is made available. But they are all similar in that presence is only conveyed to those on the same network.

However, in order to realize the full potential of presence it will have to be relayed in a consistent manner, regardless of the network that the individual may be connected to. Doing this is going to require new products based on standards, and efforts to make that happen are underway now.

There are several groups trying to standardize the presence protocol. XML based XMPP(Extensible Messaging and Presence Protocol) by Jabber, was approved in 2004 by the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) as an industry standard protocol, and is used in private enterprise instant messaging systems. Boeing selected XMPP to provide chat and presence services for the U.S. Army's Future Combat Systems (FCS) initiative.

SIP stands for Session Initiation Protocol, and is a signaling protocol used to establish sessions in an IP-based network. The SIP protocol is stewarded by the IETF and is being broadly extended and enhanced to support the requirements of secure instant messaging and presence management (SIMPLE) . Another leading standard (OASIS), also called the Liberty Alliance Project has released a specification for a presence management Web service within the context of the Liberty Alliance, a federated identity management solution.

Presence is a much hyped word in instant messaging domain. One of the startling factoid is that 40 percent of business IM use leads to a phone call. This points out that the core value of IM isn't messaging, but presence, that capability integral to IM systems that lets others know if you are online and available.

Will Web 2.0 change the definition of online presence? Noticed Mobber today. It shows you who's on a particular web page, allowing you to chat with them privately or in a group. It's their first day and they are already rocking.

For anyone who wants to chat with me or with anyone else looking at this page, I've added a Mobber bar to the bottom of the site - it's pretty slick. Talk to each other or ping me.

Entrepreneurs in India

Who is an Entrepreneur
Wikipedia introduces Entrepreneur as a loanword from the French language that refers to a person who undertakes and operates a new venture, and assumes some accountability for the inherent risks. Being in business or being an entrepreneur is about taking risks and confronting challenges

Entrepreneurs build companies that are specifically crafted to exploit a particular opportunity. This gives them an advantage over older companies that were designed in response to challenges of the past and must change to adapt to today’s requirements. Entrepreneurs can build new companies. They can also rejuvenate existing companies via buyouts and turnarounds. They can also build new companies inside existing companies, which can be called corporate entrepreneurship.

The will to spot opportunities and take risks in order to realize them is part of a person’s overall makeup, which is partly innate and partly a product of his upbringing. The best way to learn how to be an entrepreneur is to work at the side of a successful one. The problem is that entrepreneurs are understandably reluctant to hire those who cannot help them immediately. It appears that the best way to learn this is to work for a startup which offers more opportunities to learn Entrepreneural skills.

Risk-taking and opportunism go along with frugality. Really good entrepreneurs squeeze as much as possible out of limited amounts of cash. They leverage the money of others, and never invent the wheel when a good, cheap one is available in the marketplace. By keeping the rate at which they burn cash low, entrepreneurs can try a lot of ideas, most of which do not work, without losing because they ran out of money before they hit upon a workable value proposition.

Many "high-profile" entrepreneurial ventures seek venture capital or angel funding in order to raise capital to build the business. Many kinds of organizations now exist to support would-be entrepreneurs, including specialized government agencies, business incubators, science parks, and some NGOs.

Venture capital investments generally are high risk investments but offer the potential for above average returns. An angel investor (business angel in the UK, or simply angel) is an affluent individual who provides capital for a business start-up, usually in exchange for ownership equity. Unlike venture capitalists, angels typically do not manage the pooled money of others in a professionally-managed fund. However, angel investors often organize themselves into angel networks or angel groups to share research and pool their own investment capital.

in India...
According to Global Enterpreneurship Monitor(GEM) project India Report 2001, Due to social rigidities, Indian women are half as likely as men to be entrepreneurs. Younger, moderately educated, and reasonably well-off people are more likely to be entrepreneurs. The types of startups encountered (established within the last 42 months) were mostly consumer-oriented, comprising of trading activities; most have just about a handful of employees. Main sources of funds in decreasing order were personal, financial institutions, close family members, and government programs.
The wheels of India's bureaucracy still turn too slow for entrepreneurs, the educational system is not good at promoting entrepreneurial skills and attitudes, Indian institutes have not been as good as multinationals in R&D transfer, and India's physical infrastructure ranks lowest among the countries surveyed in the report - all prime areas for study and improvement by policymakers, academics and business leaders.

According to Vivek paul, former CEO Wipro "The stuff that’s been done in India is staggering in terms of range and depth. I don’t think that anyone can say that the work we’re doing is trivial. But the work we’re doing is under somebody else’s direction. Let me put it this way: For an engineer, there’s a big difference between discovering something, versus discovering something that you know somebody else says can be done. That difference is the difference between the service business and the products business. In the service business, what you’re doing is great stuff, but it is in some sense something that someone else told you to do. "
He further argues "If you look at that service business as leading to innovation and product outcomes, the answer is absolutely not. Frankly, I feel that when people work in a service business like ours, it’s almost like we give them a lobotomy. I don’t think - and I hope I’m wrong - you will see a single successful product startup coming out of people who were working at Wipro or any other similar companies. You’ll find that innovation comes from people who worked for Intel India; they’ll go off and come up with a new chip. Or someone at Cisco India will come up with a new router. Why that is, God knows. But I truly believe that there is some sort of inadvertent lobotomy that we give people. "

Is India a right place to start a startup? Following are few interesting observations:
1. People: India is a land of technologists. It is the best place for techies with similar interests to combine their skills and innovate than in any other countries.
2. Funding: Indian startups can survive for much longer time than in any other countries looking at the limited amount of cash requirement for running business here.

Does India lacks Entrepreneurship skills? India Venture Challenge organized by The Draper Fisher Jurvetson (DFJ) and TiE (The Indus Entrepreneurs) met with a stupendous response and saw participation of 125 budding and aspiring entrepreneurial teams from across India, representing both new ventures and existing early stage businesses.
According to Tim Draper, Founder and Managing Director of DFJ,“Entrepreneurial talent abounds in India and needs the right atmosphere and encouragement for the skills to be honed and met with success."

I believe it is required to create right environment to create successful business builders in India. To do this India should be focusing on following areas:
1. Create the right environment for success: Entrepreneurs should find it easy to start a business. To do so, most Indians would start slow with capital borrowed from family and friends, the CEO playing the role of salesman, a professional team assembled months or perhaps years after the business was created, and few, if any, external partners. Compare this with a start-up in the Silicon Valley: a Venture Capitalist (VC) or angel investor would be brought in early on; a professional management team would drive the business; a multi functional team would be assembled quickly; and partnerships would be explored early on to scale up the business.
To a large measure, culture shapes this style. Silicon Valley is abuzz with ideas to build global businesses; deals are continually being negotiated, teams are pulled together and partners are identified. There is almost unlimited access to multiple VCs and angel investors. Critical support services abound, including professional managers, legal firms, venture capitalists, angel investors, and placement agencies. Combine this with excellent infrastructure – connectivity, communication, and office space – and getting started is easy.
2. Ensure that entrepreneurs have access to the right skills: A survey McKinsey & Company conducted in 2000 revealed that most Indian start-up businesses face two skill gaps: entrepreneurial (how to manage business risks, build a team, identify and get funding) and functional (product development know-how, marketing skills, etc.). In other countries, entrepreneurs either gain these skills by hiring managers or have access to “support systems” such as universities or other institutions that may nurture many regional businesses. In addition, business schools give young graduates the skills and knowledge required for business today.
3. Ensure that entrepreneurs have access to “smart” capital: For a long time, Indian entrepreneurs have had little access to capital. It is true that in the last few years, several Venture Funds have entered the Indian market. And, while the sector is still in its infancy in India, VCs are providing capital as well as critical knowledge and access to potential partners, suppliers, and clients across the globe. However India has only a few angel investors who support an idea in the early stages before VCs become involved.
4. Enable networking and exchange: Entrepreneurs learn from experience - theirs and that of others. Much of the success of Indians in Silicon Valley is attributed to the experience, sharing and support TIE members have extended to young entrepreneurs.

My experiments with iPod

What is this iPod
iPod is a brand of portable digital audio player designed by Apple computer. The first three generations of iPod use two ARM 7TDMI-derived CPUs running at 90 MHz, while later models have variable speed chips with a peak of 80 MHz to save battery life.

Is this an article on iPod
This article is intended for iPod users on Linux and also for Linux users on iPod.

Locating your iPod
Before getting started with using iPod on Linux, the first step would be to locate the iPod on Linux. After connecting the iPod with USB port, check the location of iPod:

# cat /proc/scsi/scsi
Attached devices:
Host: scsi0 Channel: 00 Id: 00 Lun: 00
Vendor: Apple Model: iPod Rev: 1.50
Type: Direct-Access ANSI SCSI revision: 02

scsi0 means that iPod is connected to /dev/sda, scsi1 means that iPod is connected to /dev/sdb and so on.

I am assuming that /dev/sda is used throughout this article.

Mounting and unmounting iPod
Now is the time to start exploring iPod. For this we need to mount the iPod on Linux:

# mkdir /mnt/myiPodSongs
# mount -t vfat /dev/sda2 /mnt/myiPodSongs

After mounting iPod, the content of iPod can be browsed as a normal file system.

Once done, iPod can be unmounted as follows:
#umount /dev/sda2

Copying and playing music
Ok, this was neat, but what about playing some music.
On Linux, gtkpod can be used to copy and organize your music into playlists .

After installing gtkpod, mount point of iPod can be specified from "Edit->Edit Preferences".

Once the mount point is added, gtkpod let's you create and modify playlists, add or remove songs and even export your thunderbird or evolution data to the iPod.

Podcasts are radio-style shows for iPod. Unlike streaming audio, which requires you to listen in real time, podcasting lets you control how and when you hear your favorite shows.

Some of the podcasting clients available on Linux are amaroK or BashPodder, a command line utility to download podcasts.

Installing Linux on iPod
Now that we know how to use iPod on Linux, it's time to use Linux on iPod.

But why bother to install Linux on an iPod? because it includes loads of new games, movie player, voice recorder and the freedom to write new applications.

iPodLinux can be used to install Linux on iPod. First, second and third generation of iPods are officially supported by iPodLinux.

After playing with installer a bit I was able to install Linux on my 60GB photo iPod.

The port uses uClinux, a Linux flavor designed for devices that lack a memory management unit (MMU). While the iPod has some MMU-type capabilities, they are not sufficient to support the Linux kernel.

Before installing Linux, it will be a good idea to take backup of iPod boot loader and OS, which can be restored if something goes wrong:

# dd if=/dev/sda of=ipod_boot_sector_backup count=1
# dd if=/dev/sda1 of=ipod_os_partition_backup

After the backup is done, next step would be to create a new partition on iPod to hold root file system for Linux.

Partition can be created using "fdisk /dev/sda", I created following partitions for a 60GB iPod.

Device Boot Start End Blocks Id System
/dev/sda1 * 1 1 8001 0 Empty
/dev/sda2 * 6 7296 58564957+ b W95 FAT32
/dev/sda3 2 5 32130 83 Linux

Once partition is done to hold root filesystem, create the filesystem with an ext3 journal:

# mke2fs -j /dev/sda3

and adjust the maximal mount count between two filesystem checks to never:
# tune2fs -c 0 /dev/sda3

To install Linux kernel and boot loader, download either

Official Boot loader(for 1,2 and 3 generation iPod)
Boot loader for 4G photo iPod

Also, download the latest kernel from nightly build.

Extract the kernel and boot loader in a directory. Assuming that name of the kernel is: uclinux-2.4.24-ipod2.bin

Now extract the apple image from the boot loader and create a new image including Linux and Apple OS:

# ./make_fw -3 -o apple_os.bin -e 0 ipod_os_partition_backup
# ./make_fw -3 -o my_sw.bin -i apple_os.bin -l uclinux-2.4.24-ipod2.bin loader.bin

NOTE: -3 is required in make_fw only for 4G iPods.

Once this is done, we can copy the new image and Kernel modules into iPod:

# dd if=my_sw.bin of=/dev/sda1
# mkdir /mnt/ipod
# mount -t ext3 /dev/sda3 /mnt/ipod
# cp -r lib /mnt/ipod
# umount /mnt/ipod

For userland installation, I downloaded the iPodLinux compress FS and performed the following steps to install filesystem:

Mount iPod root partition

# mount -t ext3 /dev/sda3 /mnt/ipod

Extract the filesystem

# mkdir /mnt/linuxos
# mount -o loop \
floydzilla-2005-08-28-ipod+iboy+doom.img /mnt/linuxos
#cp /mnt/linuxos /mnt/ipod

and finally, unmount the iPod partition

#umount /mnt/ipod
#umount /mnt/linuxos
#eject /dev/sda

And we are done. But before you start playing Doom on iPod, it needs to be rebooted.

To reboot disconnect your iPod from the USB port. If the iPod did not automatically reboot hold down the menu and the play buttons for 3 seconds to reboot it.
After reboot keep the back button pressed to boot Linux, otherwise the default interface will load.

Programming your iPod
First thing required to compile hello world on iPod would be ofcourse a compiler.
But why a new compiler? because iPod have ARM processors and a cross compiler is required to compile programs for this architecture. Download the compiler for uclinux from here.

After the cross compiler is installed, next thing to do would be to write a hello iPod program.

Once done, compile the program:

# arm-elf-gcc -o hello hello.c -elf2flt

copy the program into iPod:

# mount -t vfat /dev/sda2 /mnt/myIpodSongs
# mkdir /mnt/myIpodSongs/myprogs
# cp hello /mnt/myIpod/myprogs

and reboot the iPod(After unmounting the partition)

# cd $HOME
# umount /mnt/myIpodSongs
# eject /dev/sda

After booting into floydzilla, goto "File browser->/mnt/myprogs" and click on the "hello" to see output of hello world on iPod.

Click on read more to view some of the images.