Thursday, April 24, 2008

Eko In Action - Video (Hindi)

An Eko video trying to track customer response to Eko at the Pilot site:

The language being used is Hindi. I guess someone might put together an English voice-over / sub-titles - till then, please catch hold of a Hindi speaking friend to translate ;-)

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

"Banking@the Grocers" - Dataquest on Eko

What if you could just walk up to your good old neighborhood general store or chemist shop, spend around five minutes (a few minutes give or take), and come back opening a bank account?...

Here's the link to the complete article on Dataquest.

Saturday, April 05, 2008

An A4 sized problem

This issue shows how important it is for product and services companies to make sure that their offerings are localized for their target locations.

Now, the office stationary world is divided into two main standards - The (North) American and the International. (All paper size standards and figures courtesy: Wikipedia)

While the North American system uses the following:

Size in × in

Letter 8½ × 11
Legal 8½ × 14
Ledger[2] 17 × 11
Tabloid 11 × 17

The International system uses this:

Size in × in

A0 33.1 × 46.8
A1 23.4 × 33.1
A2 16.5 × 23.4
A3 11.7 × 16.5
A4 8.3 × 11.7

The most common forms of paper used for office/home printing are the A4 and the Letter size.

You'd notice, that the A4 is almost the same width, but longer than the 'Letter' size by three quarters of an inch.

Now, here is the real problem:

A4 is the de-facto paper-size standard in India. You go to any paper/ stationary shop and ask them for office printing paper, they will hand you a pack containing A4 sized sheets.

Unfortunately, most software (and printer drivers) used in India are thoughtlessly set to the American 'Letter' size. So when you make a document on say - MS Word, the document is formatted and margins are left based on the Letter paper layout. And guess what happens when you click the Print button? This 'letter' sized document gets printed on A4 sized paper and that leaves close to an inch of unprinted paper at the bottom (not considering the 'margins' one might have set). And most people printing them out are blissfully ignorant of this issue!

What a sheer waste of precious ecological resource! Roughly, for every 15 pages you print, 1 page is just wasted due to this simple setting! Add the numbers up for your entire organization and across the country - thats a COLOSSAL waste we can easily live without.

Here's my recommendation to all people who use word processing and printing on their computers - please, check your default print settings and match them with your paper sizes - especially if you are in an A4 paper country, forced to use a Letter setting.

And to all developing print products - please ensure that the default values for paper sizes match the standards prevalent in that locale.

Lets do our bit in cutting paper waste and making this world a better place :) Please spread this message around at least at your work-place.

Motorolling down

- Here's an icon that gave the world a technology product that would have the power to connect its people in a way it would probably have never imagined. Unfortunately, it is today an icon of what complacency can lead to. Its a lesson on how even a technology pioneer, a product giant, can be beaten in its own game by relative newcomers with the fire of innovation in their bellies.

Beginning of 2008, there were rumors of its mobile handsets division being spun off, then there were talks on its imminent fall, and finally signs on the ground - close to 10K layoffs reflecting its dismal state.

Sad, but thats what happens when a company like Motorola puts all its eggs in one RAZR basket. RAZR was an OK phone (I think it was pretty average) - but they stretched it way too far, refusing to come up with market-shaking new products at a time when the competition was churning new stuff by the dozen every week!