Web for seniors now live

bigscreenlive site

Web does not exclude anyone. While most web 2.0 sites/services are targeting the young, BigscreenLive brings a special service for senior citizens.

UI challenge of creating an interface for seniors is big. We had a great time working with BigScreenLive team in developing it. For developers on the project, putting themselves in the user’s shoe was not easy. After all an apparently simple task might be challenging for seniors. The touch screen interface was also a new for the team. Pramati team had good learning on how to make software interface easy to use. The BigScreenLive team was great to work with on this very interesting project.

Another highlight of the project was use of Ruby on Rails. ROR came very handy in this case where the requirements were extremely loose. It helped us iterate very fast, quick to and fro, and sometimes bring changes in less than 3 days.

Read product review here.


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Netgear agreement with Dekoh

ReadyNAS Photos

Pramati Technologies recently signed an OEM Agreement with NETGEAR, Inc. Under this agreement Dekoh Media Sharing Platform will be shipped with ReadyNAS product targeted at home consumers market. Home users who are experiencing explosive growth in their digital photo collection can buy ReadyNAS ($399 on Amazon now for 500GB) and they will get easy-to-use ReadNAS Photos, which is rebranded and customized Dekoh Photos.

Users can easily import, organize and transfer photos on their PC to their NAS storage for lifelong archival and also sharing with friends or family. Dekoh Photos will enable users to selectively share photos with who they want and no software installation is required for those who would see the pictures and they would be served directly out of NAS.

For those of you technical, who would like to know why Dekoh, here are a few key points:

  • Dekoh simplifies setup required to make NAS content accessible from outside internet, even when the NAS is behind firewall or DSL (no static IP address). Earlier, home users had to install additional open source software, obtain dynamic IP, open ports, etc.
  • Dekoh gives better user experience with its Ajax interface, which today’s web 2.0 users have come to expect. NAS by itself has limited CPU power and memory for sophisticated user tools.

More in my next posting on Dekoh architecture and how it can play a central role at digital homes where device-PC-Web should come together for better user experience.

More and more, hardware vendors are finding that Web 2.0 technologies can be a good way to improve the end user experience of their devices…read posting by Om Malik.

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Segmenting web platforms

Web as a platform is an interesting topic for most people in the software industry. Marc Andreessen (Ning) recently made an attempt to classify this platform in his post The three kinds of platforms you meet on the Internet. In the follow up analysis posted by Josh on ReadWriteWeb Platforms on the Web are Platforms on a Platform, this classification and value of different platform levels is questioned. Before I state my views on this, let me capture Mark’s classification in a summary below:

L1 platform. Loosely coupled REST/SOAP based API integration. Example: Flickr API.

L2 platform. More deeper integration of developer’s application injecting into the platform UI. Example: Facebook API.

L3 platform. A runtime that hosts developer code. Example: Ning.

Marc’s argument that L3 platform are the best, is certainly questionable and Josh makes points in this line. While a scalable web platform with Social Networking API is a powerful one, expecting others to bring their users and user data to your hosted platform is not in the best interest of the company/group that wants to add those features to an existing site/application.

A better solution could be a add-on social networking platform with API which the company/group can co-host and integrate. They get to keep their users and user data and can achieve better integration.

This is like a “Web 2.0 Application Server” as shown in the picture below. Deployed alongside the current Web 1.0 website and can provide social networking features overlayed on top of it.


Would this be more acceptable to those currently on using web as a Web1.0 platform and would like to add social networking among their users (use web as a Web2.0 platform)?
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Yahoo! acquires Zimbra

Today Yahoo has announced acquisition of Zimbra. This is great news. Zimbra was a brilliant team with very good product. With Yahoo owning Zimbra, the product will have greater reach. Zimbra had an offline client, it will be interesting to see if Yahoo mail will have an offline version. Offline and desktop-web integration technologies will see increasing usage over coming years. Watch for Dekoh developer release soon :).

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Desktop integration increases user interaction

An active internet user may voluntarily visit up to 15 websites like email, social networks, shopping sites, online banking etc. However, the number of services and interests of a person is much higher. Typically, what gets attention and a visit to a web site is the current interest (momentary). The reason why it is difficult to get a daily dose of all interests on the web is because, web works in a request-response mode. You type a URL or click on a link to visit the website and access the services. The moment you close the browser or go to a different site, there is no way the website can interact with you.

Desktop integration helps websites and consumer brands increase interaction with the user and offer valuable and timely alerts that can benefit the user. As long as the user has control on receiving such alerts and these widgets don’t mess up the computer (desktop icon, startup program, tray icon etc.), it serves a great purpose for the user. These widgets act as agents on behalf of the user to filter content and bring useful information periodically.
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Desktop Apps built like the web

I was heartned to find this early posting on Netwizard’s blog that points to the thinking behind Dekoh.

Writing applications using markup instead of platform-API-based code is so much more easier. Browser-based UI brings significant advantage of using combined teams with programmers (who generally can’t build great looking UI) and graphics and UI specialists (who can’t wire it up with the backend). The last decade of focus for developers has largely been on building to the web. The programming model and the deployment environment are all too familiar.

A browser-based application need not necessarily mean a hosted application, when a desktop runtime such as Dekoh can serve to your local browser. You have the twin advantage of a common environment for quickly building to the desktop (and web) as well as a fluent integration between the such desktop applications with existing web applications. The best way to build web-desktop integrated applications of the future.

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My interview at blog.Lifebeyondcode.com

Rajesh Setty has published my interview with him Behind the scenes – Dekoh; Interview with Vijay Pullur. I have talked about several topics like our history, why Dekoh?, how is it different from Adobe Apollo and Google gears, enterprise and SaaS ISV use cases for Dekoh etc. Thanks Rajesh for interviewing me and publishing it.

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