Saturday, July 31, 2010

Happy Friendship Day Folks!

Friendship Day celebrations take place on the first Sunday of August every year. The tradition of dedicating a day in honor of friends began in US in 1935 and spread across the globe. On this day people spend time with their friends and express love for them. Exchange of Friendship Day Gifts like flowers, cards and wrist bands is a popular tradition of this occasion. So, what did we do this time?

This year again we made it very interesting. Designed a greeting and shared my wishes to all friends. Me and my photography friends gang planned up & gathered for a coffee  meet @ Barista, Jubilee Hills at 4.00pm. There were 35+ friends turned up, we greeted each others, cracked jokes, made fun on others, met some old  / new friends, clicking, planning for next projects, etc. BTW I had a Cold Coffee, with chocolate ice cream as's mouth watering & Yummmmmy!!!!

As usual, taken some candid pics and explored my friends new 5DMark2.. Its awesome!!! (Now added to my wish list :) How can a friendship day without a Friendship Band????  What is the difference if we wear a regular friendship band blowing OWN trumpets saying that we are creative??? Hahahhaaa!!! we did something creative....We had a Photo Negative as a Friendship Band,,,, It's our dynamic creative exponential brain (Sekhar's) Idea!!! I state again that our team is creative & amazing...!!!  Look at our Photograph below..i'm sure you will fall in love with this Lovely Friendship band idea!!! :)

(Our Group bands)
(Me & Madhavi's friendship bands)

I should proudly say about my photography club (HWS) and mainly the people... who really make the difference and think different. We all love each other and like the association / collaboration. I personally feel, It's a god's gift to have many  like minded friends. Taken some group pics and our core team (Me, Sekhar & Cishore) started explaining about our upcoming project "Save the lake" and asked everyone to take active lead for this social initiative. Spent almost 2-3 hours with these folks and headed back to home. This all made my day a memorable experience!!!

Ending up with my Favorite Friendship quote of Albet Cames.
"Don't walk Infront of me, I may not follow. Don't walk behind me, I may not lead. Walk beside me and be my friend"

Friday, July 30, 2010

Microsoft Surface FLIRTED ME!!! & My Facinations!!!

Microsoft dropped a bombshell with their new Microsoft Surface touchscreen computer that is a touchscreen coffee table.I have been very fascinated by the Microsoft Surface since the first time I tried & explored it in June 2008, at Microsoft Redmond. My manager was X-Microsoft UX'er and we both went there to play around with it and experience the touch.

We met some of UX folks and bit explored Microsoft Campus, Usability Labs, etc. and it was my first visit to US. You can imagine how exiting it would be!!!! Later we played for a while with surface table. It didn’t take time for me to fall in love with this Surface table... IT FLIRTED ME :) and felt WOW!!! We played and experiencing different applications. Amazed with photo gallery applications and very involved in exploration. The good part is that you can run several apps and multiple people can use at same time using multiple hands / figures.

Played some music, videos, maps, browsing, games... and what not dear!!! Just loved it. You know one thing... i read e-newspapers too! If you find an interesting article you want one of the others to read you can send it to him/her with just a wipe with your finger.

Tons of ideas and interaction imaginations bubbling on my head!!! and thought for a while... What am i doing, Where am I, Why am i still in a floppy disk era!!! Still old design school..Blah Blah Balh..! I was very curious to know how the surface table works and what kind of applications can be developed. Read many articles online, checked videos...done some exploration at that point of time. As usual left all these thoughts aside and back to my original work!!!

Again, never thought of Surface...Did not get an opportunity to design or think about multi touch. Recently (May 2010) again i got an opportunity to play with Surface in Europe. UID ( a leading UX design firm based out of Germany) has developed some kool apps for Microsoft Surface and they were gifted a Surface coffee table by Microsoft. Again looking at that UID - Surface Table... same fascination & same excitement....!!!

UID team showed me their demos, interactions and some cool apps which they have created for Surface and they are really cool. The new learning here was they had some RFID chips attached to some objects. Placing these objects on the surface will display the action / interaction accordingly and it was awesome! I asked many questions to get more clarity...& my brain started processing ideas...tic tic tic..!!! Again second time even after 2 years, my interaction with Microsoft FLIRTED ME !!! Same old story.. all my ideas gone to trash & back to my original work.

Again surprisingly, very recently i came across a design firm in Hyderabad and they develop surface apps. I never though that surface apps are getting done currently in Hyderabad, as Surface is not officially launched in India. Their surface apps portfolio which they developed were bit impressive. They walked me through RFID object interaction apps like BMW car interiors apps, Credit card apps, TV news paper apps, Games, etc. Most of them are developed using WMF & Silver light. Experiencing Surface, I felt the multi touch is not much smooth as apple i pad or iphone. Sometimes it was hard to close or to interact with action buttons, navigations, etc.

Let me talk something about my iphone & ipad Multi touch Interactions. No doubt that Apple is Apple and they make sexy and sleek with great experiences. I did played & explored with iPhone & iPad too (Yes, i have taken a pic tooo) and it rocks! If Apple comes up with coffee table size iPad (they may call iTabel), We don't know what in Apple's mind :) but I will vote for Apple :)

From Microsoft point of view, we are hearing these multi touch technology from past 6-7 years. I don't know why Microsoft was unable to launch innovative solutions and introduce to market quickly and expand their business rapidly. I feel they always miss their market share in many consumer centric areas and small players will be crossing them.  Any way they have launched surface first and hope tons of apps comes up and surface gets cheaper & available in coming days.

Coming back to Surface, I see there is lot of scope to create great user experiences with multi touch surface and the surrounding also adds more impact on the user experience. Physical interaction with bare hands and flipping items with your figures ... its awesome!!! How about thinking about designing some kool apps and FLIRT our own users???? I cannot express much and you should personally experience yourself...

More from the retail, hospitality, travel and banking sectors soon, there will be lots of very interesting consumer-facing stuff coming up in near future!!! Now its time to think... think... think...!!! How we can explore great user experiences with the multi touch technology!!! As a User Experience Designers, if we are not thinking... then we are definitely lagging behind competition & defining / crafting great eXperiences..!!!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Team Work Wins - Inspirational Video

Really a heart touching video for inspiration how team work wins. Be a leader!!! Drive things!!! Dont just follow! and dont wait thinking that some will do.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Hungry for creative inspirations, design ideas and found ZOO....a right place!!!

I had been thinking of visiting Hyderabad Zoo for a long time to see the new Giraffe. Wondering why? Yippee!!! Giraffe is the latest attraction at Hyderabad Zoo...nearly after 25 years. It was traded for 2 Marcus and 2 Asiatic Lions. I remember i have some photographs with old Giraffe taken in my childhood. Okz! let me reveal you one secret "Why Giraffe"???? Some kids in my family tease me as Giraffe, as you know i am just 6ft short guy!

My photography friends (Team HWS) planned up for a Zoo photo walk on 18th July (Sunday - weekend) and i not surprisingly I'm IN :) The weather was nice & sunny, When i arrived at the entrance of the Zoo, Amazed to see 50+ photography friends gathered for a group pic. Parked my car aside and just appeared jumped into the group pic capture!

Given a small intro session to new friends and moved ahead inside with all my gears. I'm exited to experiment with my new Canon 70-200 F2.8 L Series lens. Splitted into groups and slowly explored few areas which i find interesting in the reverse route. You have to see my happiness & excitement when i saw the new Giraffe. As usual clicking clicking clicking!!!! and enjoying the colors and the texture in the fresh air.

In fact, I am hungry for ideas and looking for design inspirations and found ZOO is a right place. The zoo is an artificial forest created by man. Though there are few trees compared with the natural forest, the animals, birds and other creatures found must always remind us of the forest. It is indeed an interesting place to visit for good creative ideas & inspirations from the animals. We can learn lot of things from animals, they too have affections, emotions, expressions, etc. just like us. Some of them are very cute & lovely where some wild makes us bit scary!!! :)

There are some small lotus ponds filled with beautiful lotus (white & pink). Spent some time capturing their beauty from different angles. I found many kinds of interesting animals and other creatures like Lions, tigers, reptiles, and other animals were moving about lazily in their cages. The monkeys!!! some from our gang too..., however, showed their natural agility.

The beauty of the birds and their color contrast & beautiful feathers fascinated me and mainly the peacocks. I really felt from my bottom of my heart that "THIS IS SOMETHING CALLED BEAUTIFUL" Birds are indeed one of the loveliest creations of god. I was completely thinking about the nature and god's creativity how nicely he have crafted and how artistic / creative he is.

As usual we have taken self portraits of each others in our gang, which was again Great Excitement again! Explored zoo till 11.45AM and headed back early to home as i had some personal appointments. Did not explored entire zoo this time. I am an animal lover and a frequent visitor of Hyderabad zoo (visit atleast once a year or so). I have also been to Nandankanan - Zoological Park of Orissa in my childhood which is called "Garden of God" and most recently Sea Loins caves @ Oregon -US in 2008 and Bangkok Safari World Zoo  @ Bangkok- Thailand in 2009 which was huge.... & no more words, it was just AWESOME!!!!  Thank you folks! who all joined with me for this photo walk!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

The 25 Most Innovative Companies 2010

Innovation Winners

Bloomberg BusinessWeek's Most Innovative Companies special report is based on data from longtime partner Boston Consulting Group (BCG). Last December the consultancy e-mailed a 21-question poll to senior executives around the globe. The 1,590 respondents, who answered anonymously, were asked to name the most innovative companies outside their own industry in 2009. 

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Met Seth Godin @ ISB - Hyderabad

Met Seth @ISB on 7th June 2010

"Seth Godin" a famous American entrepreneur, author and public speaker. Seth Godin has written twelve books that have been translated into more than thirty languages. Every one has been a bestseller. He writes about the post-industrial revolution, the way ideas spread, marketing, quitting, leadership and most of all, changing everything. American Way Magazine calls him, "America's Greatest Marketer," and his blog is perhaps the most popular in the world written by a single individual. Click here for Seth's full profile

I came to know by my colleagues that "Seth Godin" is coming to India and that toooo "Apna Hyderabad". Looking at his fan followers and his popularity, we thought we should have our presence and attend his talk @ISB. Me and my buddy colleagues Sampath, Manu, Kalyan, Sudhir attended Seth's talk as a special guests by paying a fee of $50 each. There were also some free seats but we did not pitch for them.

I just want to attend as i love to listen to the people who thinks different and motivates people in multi dimensionally. Before his talk, i met him personally, introduced myself and we discussed about the user experience profession in the software industry Vs Advertising.

After a while...the ISB auditorium got filled totally and he started his talk with a lovely presentation. His talk was more generic and not on any specific theme. He is a great passionate communicator and presenter. He used lot of contextual pictures & examples. I was expecting at least 3 hrs of his talk but surprisingly ended up not more than ~2 hour including some question & answers.

Some of the interesting snippets in his talk...!!!!

~ Think about "MORE" ...Make More, Sell More, Target More.....& on..!
~ Too many choices in this world! Media Every Where....
~ Branding... Every thing branded!
~ Ideas...! that spread "WIN"
~Make Connection (Advertisers  connecting multiple customers) & (Marketer connecting customer and customer connects other customers")
~ Marketing management is "Now TRIBAL management"
~ ? GENIUS!  - Care about something you do!!!!
~ ART - Art is act of HUMAN - Any can do make a painting but not an ART!
   (Unless new art comes up, no one will be bothered!!!)
~ INTERNET - You are every where in this world and you own the means of PRODUCTION!
~ COMPETENCY is no longer a Scare COMMODITY... its not interchangeable.
~ VALUE - Create & Invest, Connect, Sell, Produce, Lifting Weights......& on!
~ I'm Good at SCHOOL.....but WHO CARES? and said with a husky smile ...we are not doing school ..:)
~ Measure by Hours of EFFORT Vs PAY - Following Instructions Vs Insights
~ Make Decessions!
~ $$$$ DAYS Work .....DONT PAY!!!!
~ Replace FEAR - with unknown CURIOSITY 
~ Common things that Steve Jobs & Bill Gates does......"BOTH SHIPS"
~ The art is to figure out  "Who do you want to FOLLOW"
~ Survival is "SUCCESS"

There were some Q&A sessions and some one asked about failures where Seth replied that he has more failures than success. Finally ended up with HIGH TEA @ the lobby. It was nice meeting couple of my SumTotal X-Colleagues "Harshika & Sameer Mehta" who are studying currently at ISB. I have captured some sketch notes of Seth's talk and drawn Seth's rough outline cartoon and had his Autograph below that. Do you know what did he write above his autograph..... "GO SHIP" :)

I felt spending 50$ each was not worth for me at-least for this talk. I see most of the content was recycled across in Seth's blog and other mediums. Finally ended up the day with some take aways from Seth's talk about Making a difference, Creating a Value Add and being Different...& Importantly CONNECTING!!!!! As-usual felt good to have my presence for a Great Talk of Seth @ ISB !!! :)

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

My experiences @ The Indian Mountaineering Foundation (IMF) - Hyderabad cup

On Friday 2nd July, one of my close friend "Sekhar" calledup and invited for mountaineering cup held at Durgam Cheruv - Hyderabad and he want me to join with him for this unique event. I canceled my other photo walk at Tank Bund and joined this IMF Hyderabad Cup with my Gear.

The Indian Mountaineering Foundation (IMF) is an apex national body. It has the objective of organising, supporting and providing a base for expeditions for mountaineering, skiing, rock climbing and trekking at high altitudes. It promotes, encourages, supports and executes...

The Indian Mountaineering Foundation is introducing the IMF Cups, a series of climbing competitions spread over the country .This was held  at Hyderabad on 3rd & 4th July, 2010 and more than 100  climbers  from  the various parts of India. The Competition is named as Hyderabad Cup and competition will be conducted in two categories Bouldering Championship (Seniors)-On Natural Boulders and Speed climbing Competition (Juniors).

Seeing the flat mountains initially, I thought, no one can make it. But surprised to see most of them were climbing very easily. Small kids including girls of different ages are also climbing on a fly & giving a try even they fail couple of times. There is lot of risk involved as they are not even wearing any helmets or safe jackets. Just want to appreciate their parents for the encouragement and support for this sport. Lot of take ways looking at this and literally impressed and enjoyed this unique event.

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