Saturday, November 28, 2009

Amazon Kindle for Free

Why is the Amazon Kindle so expensive?
For that matter why does it come at a cost at all?
It is like the shaving razors. Companies like Gillette and Wilkinson doe not make money from selling the stick that holds that razor blade, rather from the razor blades. Razor blades are a repeat buy and yields much more revenue.
Ok a better analogy. Did you know you could by BlackBerry 9000 bold for $0.01? It comes bundled with the AT&T plan. So how do you At&T recovers the cost of Blackberry it is offering free? Yeah, you got it? Talk time, Texting, Internet access, etc.
Ditto with Kindle. It is the content (books, and magazine and newspaper subscriptions) that will yield revenue. So why not just sell The Kindle for free or at a very nominal cost. I am sure by now Amazon and other e-ink book sellers, like Sony, have already recovered the initial investment.
Already the Sony Pocket-sized Reader comes pre-loaded with 100 e-books (at least that's what I saw in England in my last recent trip). That sort of reduces the real cost to almost zero. (It is possible that the pre-loaded books are free e-books; not sure about that though). But eventually the costs will come down. because of competition and because it will make better business sense to follow the razor blade model.
Consider this. You can download "Kindle" (the software) on to your PC or iPhone. Soon it will be available for Blackberry. These are free. So why not the hardware Kindle?
What you did not know you could have a kindle on your laptop?
Go here and download kindle and get access to e-books.
It is not the same as buying the Kindle itself. But it is a stopgap. One day Kindle will be available for free.

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13 Spectacular Blogs

It has been over a year that I compiled a list of blogs that in my view spectacular. I thought I should give them a visit. Except for one who has stopped blogging - who I removed from the list - the rest are still going strong. Want to spend the next two hours browsing some good, varied stuffs. Visit the list of spectacular blogs here.

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Wednesday, November 25, 2009

An Affiliate Program That Pays You 51%

No it is not a gimmick.

If you have been an affiliate, you must by now know that all your earn is pittance. Must affiliate programm suck. Now here is one good example of how the affiliate program should actually work. You actually get 51% of the proceeds. Now that is cool.

And no I am not an affiliate yet. And I do not get paid anything for this.
Just doing what is best done on Internet - help others. :-))

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The Statistically Insignificant Wall Street Journal

In my previous post I have been a little unfair. I took a potshot at Wall Street Journal without actually quoting Fooled By Randomness. So here goes ...

On rare occasions when I boarded the 6:42 train to New York I observed with amazement the hordes of depressed business commuters (who seemed to prefer to be elsewhere) studiously buried in The Wall Street Journal, apprised of the minutiae of companies that, at the time of writing now, are probably out of business. Indeed it is difficult to ascertain whether they seemed depressed because they were reading the newspaper, or if depressed people tend to read the newspaper, or if people who are living outside their generic habitat both read the newspaper and look sleepy and depressed. But while early on in my career such focus on noise would have offended me intellectually, as I would have deemed such information as too statistically insignificant for the derivation of any meaningful conclusion, I currently look at it with delight. I am happy to see such mass-scale idiotic decision making, prone to overreaction in their postperusal investments orders - in other words I currently see in the fact that people read such material an insurance for my continuing business of option trading against the fools of randomness.

Do you still want to read The Wall Street Journal?

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Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Microsoft is getting desperate

Talk of being retro.

Microsoft is back to its form and this time they have a friend in the form of Robert Murdoch.

Apparently Robert Murdoch has decided that the content of his vast news media will not be available through Google but only via Bing. This obviously flies in the face of the free flow of information that Internet stands for. See the report here in Speigel.

Free information is obviously desirable. Failing that, I can understand redacted information available only on full payment, but this? This is downright retro.

Is this sign of Microsoft getting desperate? "Let's dominate the Internet. Whatever it takes."

In any case, after reading Taleb's Fooled by Randomness, who wants to read Wall Street Journal?

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Friday, November 20, 2009

Observations as London Goes Past

Imagine going all the way to UK and spending all day with customer or inside the hotel room. Last week the weather in England was miserable. It rained incessantly - almost like tropical rains. So instead of visiting my favourite museums and reliving the past, I opted to observe the present.

And here is what I observed.

1) A Marathi lady, just married, working at a restaurant as a waiter. We talked to her. She wouldn't be caught dead as a waiter in India. So, do Indians learn about dignity of labour only when they are away from India?

2) A Mongolian girl, all of 28, has a 10 year old son in Mongolia. She works 7 days a week. 5 days as a waiter and 2 days in a company where she hopes to join soon since she has completed her MBA. She pines for her son but works hard to achieve her dreams. Some day her son will join her and lead a comfortable life. We can learn life lessons from everyone.

3) Pani Puri being sold at a pound a piece - 5 pounds a plate. In Bangalore, I gobble down 7 for Rs. 10.

4) Corn-fed Chicken seems to be the flavour of the season. I had it twice, once in an reservation-before-6pm restaurant and then in a small bar. I never noticed "corn-fed chicken" in a menu before. Perhaps I was not looking. Or perhaps, it is a delicacy only on Worcester.

5) London Underground is very clean. No empty beer cans, or wafer packets. Even on a weekend! Is it the London Olympics?

6) Blackberry users seems to far outnumber any other smart phone user in London. And before anyone screams bad sampling, I would like to tell you that this was on a Saturday and in non-rush hour. SO it is unlikely that I sampled all office goers.

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The Lost Symbol for £0.99

It pays to be loyal. Though I see no reason why customers should be loyal - if the customer is the king, shouldn't the companies be loyal to the customer? I would rather call it patronage.

In any case, this "patronage" resulted in obtaining The Lost Symbol by Dan Brown for £0.99. Now isn't that cool?


I have been buying books from Foyles for some time now. Every time I buy something worth £15 I get a stamp. The personnel at the cash counters are pretty decent. They stamp the Foyalty Card (that's what they call it) even when the cost of a book is £14.50 or thereabouts. Once you get 10 stamps, you are eligible to buy anything worth £15 (basically, 10%).

So, The Lost Symbol beckoned me and I am now following the exploits of Professor Robert Langdon (he always ends up with a super smart lady companion, have you noticed?).

Why didn't I purchase a book of more lasting value, you ask?

Oh come on! Don't be a snob!

Besides, I do not think it would have made for an attention-grabbing headline. Do you think you would have stopped to read a blog titled "Think Twice for £0.99".
That was the other book I picked up :)

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Friday, November 6, 2009

Distorted Brain True Images

I have an issue with those who claim that the world you see around is just a holographic projection of what your senses tell you. And that, that is not the reality.

Let's examine this for a little while. Right now - this very moment - what you see, or rather what you do not see is because of your brain's limited capacity to process electro-magnetic radiation beyond the visual range. The sound that you do not hear in that distance is limited by your brain's capacity to process the frequency limited to the audio range. Birds can see more colours than us. Sharks "see" electrical impulses with the help of the sensors that line their sides.

Fair enough. What we see and hear and feel and taste and smell is limited.

But it is not unreal, is it?
Perhaps, a portion or a subset of the reality. But still a reality, nevertheless.

But is the reality distorted by our brain? After all the brain is a product of random evolution that merely helped us survive (some of you may disagree, feel free to do so). So if distorted reality helps us survive, so be it. The brain is not in any hurry to see the reality as is - there is no apparent evolutionary advantage. Or is there?

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Wednesday, November 4, 2009

The Next Nobel Peace Prize Winner

Bill Strickland.

No, he is not a Nobel Laureate.

Not yet.

But if his job training centre and crafts school model is successfully replicated all over America and the World then it wont be long coming. If microcredit can win Prof. Mohammad Yunus a Nobel Peace Prize than why not Bill Strickland?

I am terribly impressed by Bill Strickland's achievement.

He lives The Secret.

Want to know more about him.

Check this book review out => Making The Impossible Possible

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Sunday, November 1, 2009

Enhance Your Egyptian Experience

Ancient Egypt has a strange attraction to most of us. Many of us yearn to go to the land of Pharaohs. But do you want to be just like any other tourists: been there, done that? Of course not.

Now here is a way to enhance your experience. Learn how to read ancient Egyptian Hieroglyphs. Imagine yourself in the ancient rock temples of Nubia, reading the script for yourself instead of depending on some tourist guide spinning stories.

You think I am joking?
Check out How To Read Egyptian Hieroglyphs and tell me if you still think I am.

What? You are not interested in ancient Egypt? Then how about some brain exercise? Learning to read an ancient script is just what the doctor ordered. Check it out anyway.

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My Library