Most of the developers are used to using Firebug or Chrome Developer tools and are used to the nice overlay at the bottom of the screen. Firefox has added new developer tools which is built-in with version 10 but it mostly feels like they have re-invented the wheel. Nevertheless, it is always nice to have new tools that enhance the productivity of a developer. The only annoying thing with the debut of the dev tools in Firefox 10 is that it hijacks the “Inspect Element” context menu which was previously used by Firebug, the swiss army knife of every developer who uses Firefox and builds stuff for the web.
Here is how you can remove it.
1. Type in “about:config” in the address bar and click the ‘I’ll be careful! I promise!’ confirmation.
2. Type in ‘inspector’ in the filter input box and you should be seeing the preferences like in the screenshot
3. Double click on the option ‘devtools.inspector.enabled’ and you can see the value change to ‘false’.
Close the tab and continue working. You don’t have to restart your browser which is really nice! The default ‘Inspect Element’ option should now be gone.
PS: Setting the user value to false for the devtools inspector totally disables it throughout the browser and not just on the right click context menu.
HTML5 is definitely one of the hot and happening things in the web technologies arena. Many of the big names like Apple and Google are embracing HTML5 and are aggressively adding it on to their products. I have been following some of the new developments that are coming up in this version and also trying to learn it by building forms, layouts etc. There are many awesome tutorials out there in the design and coding blogs if you are looking to join the wagon.
Web Forms have always been an obsession for me and with HTML5 and CSS 3 they have got really pretty and usable. This post is a small exhibit of how easy is it to build a beautiful web form by using HTML5 and CSS3. There have been many input types for forms and this article from Dive into HTML5 sums it up nicely. The inline validation for the webform is performed using jQuery.
What’s good in this form?
- Meaningful HTML5 tags like required input, placeholder text, autofocus on pageload, new attribute types.
- A few CSS3 properties like border radius and text shadows.
- Regex based validity checking for the input fields. (part of the jQuery plugin). I did make a few modifications in the plugin to suit my needs but it is good to use in the way it comes.
This webform presents itself with all the HTML5 and CSS3 goodness when viewed on Chrome, Safari or Firefox 3.5. It makes use of some of the recently introduced HTML5 tags making the mark-up meaningful and also some nifty CSS3 properties to enhance the look and feel. The inline validation is made possible with the awesome jQuery plugin from Cedric Dugas
This was built using the examples from the W3C HTML5 forms page. The markup and design are very similar to the one illustrated in this fabulous tutorial by Inayaili de Leon for 24Ways.org. I did try it on my iphone and everything worked perfectly including the validation prompts.
The Indian startup arena is undoubtedly a rapidly growing one with hundreds of passionate entrepreneurs. Being a part of the Proto.in team in the early stages was one of the best things that happened to me when i was an undergrad. It gave me the opportunity to meet some of the best inspirational minds who threw away cozy jobs to work on their start ups. Inspiration is one vital thing to keep us going forward but what sucks is when that inspiration takes an ugly face and becomes a rip off. I can recall the lines from a talk given by Mahesh Murthy during the Delhi edition of Proto.in where he said there is no good reason to build the “Indian” version of Twitter or the “Indian” version of Flickr when the original versions are out there strong.
The ‘Indian version thing’ is completely fine and might even turn out really well but the bad thing is when the startup starts ripping off things from their western inspirations and this post is a small showcase! The point is not to hurt the people behind these companies but just to let out my thoughts. I bet these guys are burning their midnight oil to make things happen but some minute things like these are going to put the black mark which will definitely be hard to erase in the long run.
Infibeam from Amazon.com
Infibeam.com is one of the big names in the Indian e-commerce arena. The site’s alexa rank (~2340, Apr 2010) is a clear indication that they are receiving a pretty good inflow of traffic. I did read that the company’s founder was a part of the Amazon M&A team and there are rumors about Amazon acquiring them but neither of this is a reason to rip off the logo/design/color schemes. Not to leave aside the “PI reader”!
The color schemes used in Infibeam.com are also pretty similar (if not the exact hex code stolen from the stylesheet!).The layout isn’t different either.
Grabbon from Groupon
This is the kind of service where i said the Indian version will make good sense. A site like Groupon will definitely be beneficial for a city like Bangalore filled with a bazillion software engineers hooked on to the internet. Grabbon(!) did capitalize the opportunity well and started off at the right time but …..
There are also a handful of other indian websites which use the group buying concept and the story isn’t much different there. Exhibit : Group2Deal.com, Mydala.com
PS: If you are replicating the idea it doesn’t mean that the the menu navigation wordings, footer design etc need to be the same across all sites.
24HoursLoot from Woot
This one replicates the hugely popular ‘one day, one deal’ model. Not a big rip off and brownie points for not copying the design.
Bid20 from Swoopo
Bid20 is the Indian version of the bidding fee auction site Swoopo.com. Swoopo is a highly controversial site which made a revenue of $28 million dollars according to Wikipedia. The user has to pay money upfront and buy credits in order to make bids. This shopping model is pretty addictive as it gives the scope to get products at really low prices. No wonder this site is doing good in India!
I bet these are not the only ones which fall under this category. The only question which i have is “WHY”?
Now that we have all had a detailed look at the features and specifications of the new Nexus One phone from Google, all the hype has settled down. The Nexus one is the new android mobile OS based phone which was built by HTC in collaboration with Google. Nexus one boasts of many technical advancements both with respect to hardware and software when compared to its predecessors. The phone was also dubbed as the iphone killer but lets us see why it is not.
The Mobile OS
Nexus one runs on the Android Mobile Technology Platform 2.1 (Eclair) operating system which is undoubtedly one of the feature rich ones in the current market but the iPhone OS is way better in several different ways. The most primitive of all is that the usability factor of the iPhone OS. The reason why most of the iPhone users find it really hard to switch to other phones is the really awesome iPhone OS.
One big selling point for most of the Apple products is the rich user interface and the iPhone is no doubt a forerunner in that arena. Multitouch on the iPhone allows the user to do wonders with fingers but this is one of the main features which is missing in the first release of the Nexus one. This is surprising since the Android OS 2.0 provides support for multitouch and guess we can expect this feature to be included in the next release of Nexus one.
One other comparison metric which many are using to prove the superiority of Nexus One over iPhone is the cost of ownership. The comparison chart from BillShrink made its way to a good number of technology blogs. With the unlimited minutes + data+texting, the iphone does look a lot costlier but i wonder how many people go for that plan. For instance, i pay $66/month for my iPhone 3GS and it comes with unlimited data and 400 day time minutes a month. I have hell lot of rolled over day minutes which i am sure i am not going to use since most of the people who i call are on AT&T and the calls are free. I pay $780 an year or $1560 for the 24 month contract period. I assume most of the Iphone users pay around the same amount, may be a couple of hundreds more.
The App Store
In my opinion the best part of owning an iPhone is the appstore but many will disagree and give brownie points for the other important features. With over a 100,000 apps on the app store, you can find innumerable apps both free and paid. Be it productivity apps or motion sensor games or fun apps which have no particular utility, the app store is one huge repository. The Android market has also got a sizable number of apps but it is way behind the app store in this aspect.
The iPhone also doubles up as a 32 GB/16GB iPod which can be synced with your computer and also your itunes account. Finding podcasts, videos and other multimedia is really easy with itunes in comparison with any other phone.
There is no doubt that the Nexus One is one wonderful and innovative piece of hardware and kicks the iPhone’s ass in several areas with better hardware, better battery life, bigger screen size, better camera etc but there is very little for it to be an iPhone killer. The next generation of iPhone is expected by the middle of this year and there will definitely be many enhancements on the hardware front. It is totally agreeable that the iPhone has its own flaws and restrictions but we should also remember that there are several other smart phones which boast of better hardware than the iPhone but they are no where in the picture. The Nexus One is definitely one of the best phones right now but there is a good chance that it might fade away in a few months like all the other HTC phones.
Like Lord Alfred Tennyson says
For men may come and men may go,
But I go on for ever.
For droids may come and phones may go,
But the Iphone will go on for ever(at least for sometime!)
After wondering for long about how Twitter is going to make money, we did learn from many sources that Twitter was indeed profitable for this calender year. Thanks to the search deals which this San Fransisco based company has struck with the two big giants Google and Microsoft. By feeding in real time tweets in the search results of Google and Bing, Twitter has pocketed a massive $25 million according to the reports from Bloomberg. With $155 million VC funding in the bank and a valuation some where around a billion dollars, Twitter is definitely here to stay for quite a good period of time.
Twitter is definitely not perfect and except the search deal, the company has not made any real money till date. With ample scope for improvement in various arenas, Twitter is definitely going to hire more talented folks to get things done. Here is a take on the job profiles which Twitter ought to create right now.
The Whale Killer
The fail whale is one thing which most of early Twitter users would have seen every other minute. For those who are unaware, the fail whale shows up whenever there is a server failure. It mainly happens when there is a huge blow of traffic to the website. Things have improved a lot over the past few months but the fail whale still makes its presence felt once in a while. When many of the big corporations are using Twitter in full swing, it is really important to have a highly reliable server. With plans for corporate accounts, Twitter definitely cannot afford showing the fail whale to its paying customers. The ‘whale killer‘ needs to ensure that the website stays up and running round the clock without any intermissions.
The Trend Setter
‘Twitter Trending Topics‘ is really a valuable section to find what people are talking about. This is also one of the favorite destinations for spammers. As illustrated in the picture we can see that one of the spamming topics made its way in to the trending list. Getting on the list will give immense exposure in the form of traffic even if it is for a few minutes. Although some quality check is being done in the recent times, we can still see some spammy content once in a while. Not to leave aside the NSFW topics which get on top of the list many times. It is also important to combat spam to make Twitter a better place. Automating this process is greatly possible but only to a certain extent. The ‘Trend Setter‘ needs to keep this section clean and ensure that spammers don’t take advantage.
Twitter has faced many security infringement issues and it keeps increasing with its popularity. Some of them were the server status vulnerability, compromise of DNS records, leakage of confidential documents and more importantly the recent site hack by the so called Iranian cyber army. The path has definitely not been smooth for this company with a little over 100 employees. Recruiting ‘Securitas‘ – the roman goddess of security to the team might help!
The Money Minter
We have talked about it with our friends, we have discussed the possibilities, we have even made suggestions but we are still unsure as to how Twitter is going to make money! Twitter is one huge information repository with many different monetization possibilities. The recent search brought in a pretty good sum and it was indeed a great start. The machinery is set in place, the molten metal is ready to get cast and all Twitter needs to do is find the right money minters to bring in the magic.
Some of these profiles may exist already and they are definitely doing a wonderful job. This post was just an informal take on this topic.
The real power of Google Wave can be witnessed only when more members of your contact list start waving! I know i am way behind in this race and most of you would have got a chance to try Google Wave. For those who are still looking for a Google Wave invite here is a chance.
Just do ONE of the things listed below.
1. Leave a comment in this post with your Gmail ID and i will send one at the earliest.
(Important: For privacy reasons it is better not to disclose your Email address in a public medium like the comments section. You can enter your Name and Email in the comment form instead and it will not be visible to anyone except the site admin. I will make sure that the email ID will be used only for sending you a Google Wave invite and not for any other purpose )
2. Retweet the message below and let me know via Twitter.
If you are still looking for a Google Wave Invite, SocialCouch.com has a few invites to give away! http://tr.im/FO4u
3. Just ask! If you follow me on Twitter or if you are Facebook friend, leave an @reply or a comment and i will get back at the earliest.
What is Google Wave?
If you don’t know what Google Wave is, take a look at this short video and it will help you to know more. Alternatively you can also head over to Google.com/Wave for detailed information.
Points to note
1. The invites will not reach your inbox instantly. You will receive the activation link in a day or two. So kindly be patient.
2. Invites will be sent on a First Come First Served basis.
UPDATE: Invites have been sent to all those who left a comment. I have got 15 more invites. So if you are looking to get one just leave a comment. I will post an update if i run short of invites.
Paul Stamatiou is an interesting personality who apart from being a popular blogger also started a company right out of college. Paul Stamatiou is more commonly known by his internet handle @Stammy. I am glad to publish this interview with Paul where he shares some interesting information about his startup life.
1) Paul, tell us briefly about yourself and your startup Skribit.com.
I am a 23 year old alum of Georgia Tech, currently living in Atlanta. I am mostly known for my 4 year old tech blog, PaulStamatiou.com. Skribit came out of Atlanta Startup Weekend back in 2007, from a problem I had with coming up with original topics to write about on my blog. Two years later and I have been working on Skribit full-time for about a year. Skribit helps bloggers “cure writer’s block” by receiving suggestions about what to write about via our sidebar widget or suggestions tab. The Skribit website lets website owners manage those suggestions and lets readers follow suggestions they like and get notified of changes and when they are published.
2) Like most of the startup guys you do wear different hats. (Programmer, designer, marketer, user support). Which one do you like the most and how hard is it to change hats and act accordingly.
I definitely, definitely wear many hats. Changing between them is not much of an issue, except for when I am programming and “in the zone”, it’s hard to get back to it and in my train of thought so I generally block out a few hours of development, switch to replying to user support for a bit, then go back to developing (which goes hand-in-hand with designing/front-end work that I do). My favorite is probably developing and fine-tuning the user experience for various features of Skribit. Communicating with our users via email, Get Satisfaction, Twitter or whatever it may be is also rewarding but I feel like that will soon be a job in itself – keeping track of all the Google alerts for Skribit can be rather time consuming.
3) When you graduated out of college most of your classmates would have picked up high paying jobs at top notch companies. Going the startup route is definitely not an easy choice both financially or with regards to job security. Your thoughts and experiences?
I figured the best time to try out the startup life is right out of college while I’m used to living cheaply. It would be very hard to go from a high-paying job to doing a startup later on. However I am in a rather interesting situation as my blog pays my basic living expenses so I am not really going into much debt working on my startup like others doing a startup right out of college might. Several of my friends are working jobs with amazing pay – upwards of $100k – but whenever we meetup and chat, it is easy to see that they hate their job. They regularly stay in the office from 8am to 11pm doing work they dislike. I work many hours as well, but it’s in the comfort of my own apartment and I enjoy what I do. That being said, I fear that one day if/when I do work a regular office job, adjusting will be very hard for me as I’m so used to the being-my-own-boss and working from home lifestyle.
4) Social media has helped many startups to gain the exposure and the attention which they deserve. How well are you leveraging social media for your Startup? Any good learning?
Social media has helped Skribit a bit, but not as much as it will in the near future. We have been “laying low” until we are ready for a real launch, big marketing push and spreading the word. Even without actively spreading the word about Skribit just yet, we have seen people talk about Skribit on Twitter and their blogs. Social media makes is easy to find the people talking about us so we can go in and thank them, offer feedback, solve any issues they might have and so on. This will be put to the test very soon – we are tentatively planning on actively spreading the word about Skribit in the next month.
5) Going to the big blog conferences and startup events does help a lot, but how good is to spend money for registration,travel etc and more importantly the time while the startup is in bootstrap mode. Is it really worth the efforts?
I am kind of mixed about the rewards of attending big conferences. Chances are if you are online everyday, actively read all the big blogs and Twitter, you will know most of the things people talk about at the conference panels, sessions and speeches. And if not, most everything from that conference will be online shortly after for you to catch up on. You don’t need to go to such a big and expensive conference to learn. That being said, you do go to conferences to network with others in your space and build a relationship with them that might turn out to be beneficial to you both. A good friend of mine spent a few thousand dollars to attend a music technology conference out-of-state. But the sequence of events after that conference landed him an amazing interview on NPR for him and his startup. There are many other stories like this. You need to go out there and meet people; can’t do everything online!
6) Having a blog helps and that too being a popular blogger helps a lot! How has your blog helped you in your startup journey or otherwise?
My years of blogging have helped develop a loyal readership that values and trusts my thoughts on things. That has helped me build a story around Skribit that I have tried to embody on the Skribit about page. We’re trying to get the point across that Skribit is not just some startup from a bunch of no-names, but rather is founded from real bloggers that understand the space. While I have used my blog to discuss Skribit and document our growing pains and so on, I don’t really consider that marketing rather than giving people an inside look on how a startup operates. In short – I think Skribit in a good position to be backed by my blog and help get the first users trying it out.
7) What are your future plans with skribit?
Building up our userbase and managing a happy community!
8) Finally, has there been any big mistake in your journey and what did you learn from that? In order words have you ever felt you could have done things in a different way?
Honestly I can’t say that we have had any big mistakes lately. One thing that is up for discussion is how we have been holding off on promoting the product while we were actively developing it. Some prefer to market from the very beginning. We chose to wait a bit until we were happy with our product and know that people would not just try it out, dislike it and never come back again.
Hope you enjoyed the interview. If you have any questions or suggestions please do use the comments section.