• Apps,  Lifestyle

    Destress by colouring books

    Sometime back a friend, Mr Kiruba Shankar, had written about using “Adult” Colouring Books to #Destress. While he recommended using Paper n Pencil, I went with the easier way – should I say ecofriendly way – downloaded “free” apps in Microsoft Store for Windows. My drawing skills are limited to a straight line with a ruler and a circle with a compass, but here it is just clicking and filling colours – I can combine any number of #colors and use any amount of them without caring about aesthetics or wastage :-) These apps are available for #Windows, #MacOS, #Android & #iPhone, aplenty. Try them out! Take a bit of…

  • Apps

    Simple thing that I am finding amiss with Amazon India and PayTM

    This week I encountered two examples of how even the giants in e-commerce have a lot towards improving the usability of their apps. The first was with Amazon India. You expect the Internet juggernaut to have perfected the whole online shopping pipeline, yet I found there was a bug in the invoice that was displayed – Amazon engineers might argue it is a feature, but for me, a consumer it is a bug. The below invoice should be showing for the second item, the amount which should 2 * unit price (₹834), instead it was wrongly showing the unit price (₹417) alone, not taking into account the quantity. I got…

  • Microsoft SMS Organizer
    Apps,  Microsoft

    Microsoft SMS Organizer

    Microsoft has a mobile messaging (SMS) App called “SMS organizer” for Android that is the best out there. Sporting automatic SPAM blocking, Bank Transaction summary, alerts for important payments/Travel dates, Categorization into Personal / Transactions / Promotion / Starred – the app is awesome. Today when I checked they have introduced a feature to get #CBSE exams results right from the app. மைக்ரோசாப்ட் குறுஞ்செய்தி செயலி தமிழில் – Microsoft SMS Organizer supports Tamil User InterfaceI wish Microsoft develop a Phone Dialer too, that has a similar set of features, TrueCaller feels like bloatware trying to do everything and the kitchen sink. #MicrosoftIndia #SMS

  • Apps

    WordPress Plugins I use

    I love WordPress. This blog has been using WordPress, the “open source” software for many years, which I have self-hosted in an Azure VM. The power of WordPress as a content management platform comes from its open architecture – which extends the core capabilities through thousands of plugins and themes made by third-parties. The ecosystem is simply amazing. As on date, 28% of the web uses WordPress, from hobby blogs to the biggest news sites online. Following are some of the many themes and plugins, that I have been using to run this blog. The below list is not exhaustive. Themes: Voice – Magazine WordPress Theme – This is a…

  • Apps,  Economy

    Can Google Tez help India go cashless?

    India is a cash economy – and everyone knows this. Venture capitalists see a huge opportunity and are investing in companies that provide financial services for the over 1 billion people in India. I have written last year about the numerous payment related companies that are working in India. The government of India has undertaken many initiatives from its side to wean people away from cash – let us leave the politics aside – GoI has tried to jumpstart digital transactions through demonetization of ₹500 and ₹1000 currencies last year and are promoting digital platforms like UPI which integrates AADHAAR with your bank account to provide a seamless service. NPCI…

  • Apps,  Gadgets,  Music Review

    Plex Media Server

    Over the last decade and half I have moved between various platforms to manage the digital media I have. First it was simple folders in an external hard drive to store all the movies, tv shows, music, pictures and home videos I had. The media would be ripped from optical disks I owned using software I described here. Later, I graduated to categorizing and storing all the digital content in my home with Zune, then to Windows Media Server so that I can share it to my XBOX and other devices in the home. After this was moving everything to Apple iTunes so that all the iDevices like iPad, iPhone & Apple…

  • Apps,  Economy

    90% of App store apps are zombies

    Yes, Apple’s AppStore has been a phenomenal success with over 2 million apps for iOS and $50 Billion payouts made till June ’16. It has certainly democratized software buying, simplified distribution and improved update rates. Anyone who has ever written a desktop app will remember these to be huge problems that existed forever. Around 1997 when I started EasyTools.com writing shareware (what’s called freemium today) for a living, I was spending more time in doing the software distribution, collecting payment, generating product keys and troubleshooting installation than I was in writing the actual application. Thanks to Apple’s App Store, Google’s Play and Microsoft’s Windows Store software developers today can focus…

  • Apps,  Microsoft

    Microsoft Outlook for iOS, Android

    A few years back, no one in the Microsoft ecosystem would have dreamed these will happen. I for one certainly didn’t see it coming. In the last year under CEO Satya Nadella, there have been waves of change at Microsoft. I am loving these! Last week, Microsoft released a unified mail app for iOS and Android. The apps allow you to connect your Microsoft Exchange Server, Office 365 subscription, and Hotmail (Outlook.com) accounts. Apart from those, the mail app supports Google Gmail, Yahoo mail and Apple iCloud. There is great Calendar, Contacts (People), and Files (Onedrive.com & Dropbox) integration as well. I was pleasantly surprised to see the calendar and…