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How Dropbox Won

How Dropbox Won published on No Comments on How Dropbox Won

A couple of days ago, I came across something very interesting Dave Winer shared on twitter. It was a link to the application Drew Houston, the Dropbox founder submitted to YCombinator for their Summer 2007 cycle. I opened it out of curiosity and found it very interesting and thought provoking to read. Here’s is the answer from the application, to the  question: What is your company going to make?”

“Dropbox synchronizes files across your/your team’s computers. It’s much better than uploading or email, because it’s automatic, integrated into Windows, and fits into the way you already work. There’s also a web interface, and the files are securely backed up to Amazon S3. Dropbox is kind of like taking the best elements of subversion, trac and rsync and making them “just work” for the average individual or team. Hackers have access to these tools, but normal people don’t…”

The moment I read this I realized how well Drew saw the future of his product way before even anyone else sees it. He had a very clear vision what the product is and how it’d help to solve what he waned to solve. And looking at the success of Dropbox, it’s obvious that he has executed his plan precisely. This sure is a winning mix. I’d be surprised if a product fails to achieve suceess with the founders having this kind of insight about what they’re going to do. I’m sure Paul Graham had his winning smile when he saw this one… well, here’s exactly what came to his mind when going through the Dropbox application Y Combinator received that summer…

125 points by pg 452 days ago | link

What happens when I read this:

File syncing. Superset of backups, which people will pay for. Good. Single founder. Bad. But at least he’s looking for more people. Went to MIT, 1600 SAT. Probably fairly smart. Wrote a poker bot. Now I’m starting to get interested; has the right attitude. Description of the software sounds plausible but generic. Maybe it’s good, but who can tell. But little sister uses it; that’s impressive. Scroll down to what he understands that competitors don’t get. Wow: very concise and unequivocal. I’m now basically sold. Scroll through the rest. No red flags. Did not make the usual joke single founders make when asked how long the founders have known one another. Good answer to what might go wrong. A-. (Would be an A with a cofounder.)

Very interesting indeed. It seems PG sure knows when he sees a killer idea and a brilliant mind behind it.
The application is full of very interesting questions like What do you understand about your business that other companies in it just don’t get?”  and brilliant answers from the Dropbox founder. It’s really worth a read if you are a startup minded person and I strongly suggest that you answer yourself to this application for any products you are building.
Oh and btw, If you haven’t used Dropbox yet, Trust me! you have no idea what you are missing.
-SeeJay

The Reader

The Reader published on No Comments on The Reader

Wow! it’s been a long while since I typed anything here… πŸ™‚ this is definitely a record duration and no, I’m not gonna start ranting on how twitter killed blogging for me or anything… to be frank, I didn’t even tweet that much, I did a little bit of tweeting, definitely not as much so that anyone would call me an addict of twitter… So a couple of days ago I actually went and changed my twitter bio from “microBlogging addict”, to “Information addict” πŸ™‚ Err… an Information addict? you’d ask, yup! that’s what I am…

I finally realized what I spend most of my time on… I read! :-S I read like freaking all the time… I even get my dinner in front of the laptop reading some ebook or something from HN or reddit or slashdot… or some nerdy site with some awesome stuff you’ve probably never heard of.
So yeah! that’s what I do… I read, and I know things! πŸ˜‰

23 years…

23 years… published on 133 Comments on 23 years…

So here I am, back on blogging after a long silence. But this long break was not because of the fact that I didn’t have anything to write. I think its fair to say that it was because I had so much to say that I couldn’t really figure out how to manage them all in to this little blog of mine. There were so many interesting things happening around me. They’ll always be in my memories. (Naah! I’m pretty sure I won’t forget them. So no! you won’t be reading them here hehe!)

Also its been a crazy semester. Just finished the last paper of the 2nd year final exam yesterady and I think I’m feeling kind of relaxed now. It’s funny, when I looked forward at this moment few weeks ago I never thought I’d be able to happily blog about the end of the exam πŸ™‚ But it went really well and I’m pretty satisfied with all the papers I had to answer. Considering all the crazy things I went through in the past few months I should be glad to be able to blog about it like this…

Anyways! yes! It’s my 23rd birthday today. I’m not quite sure what I’m feeling right now… But when I look back at the last round around the sun, I notice something different than the ones before. I see that I have learned so much about life on this ride. I saw how some things that seem to matter so much in our lives has no real meaning… I saw how easy it is for people to completely ignore the things that really matter in life… I saw how unexpected life can be… I realized that we should not be having too much expectations in life.

And also a really good outcome of all the problems I faced is that I got to make out the people around me. I realized who really cares about me, and who… well, lets say “doesn’t give a sh*t what happens” πŸ˜› Not that I’ll be treating the latter party differently(being angry with people for too long is NOT something I’m very good at) But its good to know that they will not be there for me when I need them. I was glad to see that there were people who believed on me. People who cared about me even when I was not in the usual “guy who saves the day” mode. And I pity the poor souls who tried to enjoy the show when I was down. Hope they’ll be able to stick to the mentality that they did the right thing. πŸ˜›

So after all these incidents I’m still doing pretty fine to start the next year of my life. And this time with a little more knowledge about life πŸ™‚ there’s a saying “You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face.” There were many of those moments in the past few months and I really gained strength from them. I will be facing good times and bad times as usual but I’ll know enough not to worry too much about any of them. I was having a great life with pretty much everything I really needed. I stupidly forgot that truth about me sometimes and I’ll try my best not to do that mistake again… because now I know, It’s good to be me! πŸ˜€
C.J.

Playing with pligg

Playing with pligg published on 29 Comments on Playing with pligg
So I had this idea for a small (i guess) project which uses a digg like voting system. So I installed the pligg cms and tried playing with it for some time and after two days I decided to go with its well known drupal based competitor drigg. Of course pligg is a good cms and I don’t necessarily mean to suggest that anyone shouldn’t use it. But it was a little too messed up. Atleast for me. 😐

The things I didn’t like in pligg includes the not so clean code, which requres to change dozen places when you need to do something as simple as switching a theme, The not so active development of the cms, unlike drupal which has a very powerful developer base. The not so open karma calculation, which obviously gonna be a PITA later on. And the not so friendly user support which is “known” not to listen to its users πŸ˜› (which I did NOT experience btw)
So I switched to drigg and I’m glad I did πŸ™‚ it’s drupal based and you can feel the cleanliness of the code πŸ™‚ of course if you choose to do the manual installation it takes some time to configure the the modules needed to get drigg up and running, And you’re gonna need to know the basics of drupal, but it’s all fun and I don’t think it would be that hard to learn, even if you are completely new to drupal.

So now I’m tweaking the site and I might write a post on getting drupal+drigg up if I have enough time. And yes! of course I’ll reveal the project i’m working πŸ˜› and if you people have any interest in Free Software you might even like it heehee. but that’s yet to see… πŸ˜‰

How to Unlock the Huawei E220 HSDPA modem

How to Unlock the Huawei E220 HSDPA modem published on 1 Comment on How to Unlock the Huawei E220 HSDPA modem

Huawei e220 or Vodafone e220 is the HSDPA modem we usually get from Dialog Telecom or Mobitel GSM (probably from Airtel) when we purchase a mobile broadband connection. But usually it’s operator locked, so we can’t switch between networks when the current ISP starts treating us like dust, If you’ve read my previous post you know I have my reasons to unlock the Huawei e220 modem I got from Dialog Telecom. Here I’m gonna explain how I did that and I’ll try to be as simple as I can. But Feel free to ask for help if u need any.

e220

Disclaimer: I’m not responsible, nor will be held liable, for anything you do with the information I provide in this tutorial. Use it at your own risk.

Ok, since we are done with the traditional “Disclaimer” Lets see what you have to do.

First you’ll have to download the following tools.
e220 CardLock UnLocker
e220 Updater version 11.117.09.04.00
QC Mobile Analysis Tool
And a Hex editor. But if you do it correctly you can do it with an ordinary text editor too πŸ˜‰

Or you can download and extract this file. It contains all the tools we need for the job, including a lightweight portable hex editor πŸ™‚

Basically, Unlocking the e220 is simple as running the E220 CardLock Unlock tool and entering the unlock code and pressing the “Ok” button. But that’s when you “know” the unlock code.

unlock

So how do we find the unlock code for our modem? that’s where the other tools come in handy.

Plug your modem to the computer and run the E220 Updater. Wait till it detects your modem and then press the “Cancel” button. yes! Cancel it! This is just to make it easier for the “real tool” to identify the modem.

e220UpdateNow open the QC BQS Analyzer and click on Hardware forensics menu, select Use Com/USB Port
QCMob-1Now the “QC Com Diag” window should be open. Most of the time your modem and com port is automatically selected on the Serial Com port drop down list. If not you’ll have to select it manually. And then click on the “Send Cmd” button and wait till the message “Successfully sent command” appears on the bottom right.
QCMob-2

Now Select ” Read EFS” from the Diag Functions drop down menu and Click the “Lets go” button. When it asks, enter the file name e220.bin and save it. A message saying “Successfully read EFS” should appear.

QCMob-3

Now its time to do some hex reading πŸ™‚ Open the e220.bin file from your Hex Editor. And search for the ASCII string Sd, (including the comma) or Search for the for the Hex string 53 64 2c
After few random characters you’ll see a clean 8 digit code. Believe me, it’s easily recognizable and guess what! thats our Unlock code πŸ˜€

HexOnce you’ve found the unlock key all you have to do is enter it on the CardLock Unlock utility and click “OK” And your modem is… Unlocked!!! πŸ˜€

Hope this will be helpful. I’d absolutely love to know your views on this. Good luck with unlocking your modems πŸ™‚
-seejay

Why I unlocked my HSDPA modem (and why you should too)

Why I unlocked my HSDPA modem (and why you should too) published on 1 Comment on Why I unlocked my HSDPA modem (and why you should too)

As usual it’s old news to my twitter followers that I’ve unlocked my Huawei e220 HSDPA modem I bought with the Mobile Broadband connection from Dialog Telecom. It was operator locked and could only be used with Dialog. Well I must say that I loved mobile broadband. I absolutely loved the fact that I had internet access wherever I go. But unfortunately Dialog has been doing everything possible to ruin that amazing experience. When I got this connection they promised 3.6mbps but I’ve never ever experienced anything more than 1mbps with this. And sometimes the DNS servers get messed making the connection totally unusable.

“Well, they’ll improve the quality of the service eventually and we’ll have a good speed one day” that’s what I thought, but boy was I wrong.

Few weeks back I found that Dialog has officially “changed” the speed of the mobile broadband to 1mbps, It was changed on their web site too. But wait! Then what about the connection I purchased? what about the so called “very very fast” (hilarious! I know! but that’s how they advertised it :p) Internet connection which was supposed to be 3.6mbps???
What came to my mind for the first time was “WTF! who do they think we are? how do they expect to get away with this???” well answer is simple. They perfectly knew that there’s no way they can provide 3.6mbps speed but they LIED! why? why not? They are the *all mighty* Dialog Telecom, and we are just helpless customer fuckNuts.

“They’ve paid us already, So why bother, they can’t switch to any other provider since it’s operator locked” that’s probably what the people at dialog must be thinking.
Well Dialog, I’ve got news for you, Anything which can be locked can be unlocked, at least it’s true with the HSDPA modem you sold us πŸ˜› And thats exactly what I did πŸ˜› and now I own a fully functional Huawei e220 HSDPA modem πŸ˜€

The Unlock process was pretty easy and, NO I didn’t pay any money to any company to unlock it πŸ˜› I did it my self after a fair bit of Googling (Thanks to opendns we can still brows the web which is almost impossible if you are using Dialog’s crappy DNS servers πŸ˜› if you are still using them you should seriously try http://opendns.com you’re gonna luv me for suggesting it :P)

Anyway, the first question I got via twitter was “are you gonna switch to Airtel now?” My answer was “No!”

No, I won’t be switching away from Dialog right now. Why? Simply because I’ve agreed to use this connection for 6 months and I will act according to that. Then why did I unlock this? Simple, After 6 months I’m free to do anything, but they know that I can’t switch to any other network and use this modem so they DON’T CARE. But now, since I can switch between networks and still use the same modem, they know I will! and that’s what keep these money hungry companies like Dialog from screwing the customers. And thats exactly why we all should do it! That will teach them a lesson to treat their customers with some respect.

There are lot of places to find ways to unlock the HSDPA modems. And my next post which I’ll be writing tomorrow morning, will also be a how-to on unlocking Huawei e220 which is the most common HSDPA modem in Sri Lanka. Almost all my friends have this model so there’s a good chance you have the same. Let me know If you have any other model. I’ll always be happy to help.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not paid by Airtel or any other company or individual to take down Dialog telecom(LOL!) And this is not just about Dialog. This is true with Mobitel or even with Airtel. My point is that the customer should always have the freedom to switch to a network which offers good quality service. And If they don’t offer that. We should fight for it! I just took the first step.

Using Huawei E220 HSDPA modem in GNU/Linux

Using Huawei E220 HSDPA modem in GNU/Linux published on No Comments on Using Huawei E220 HSDPA modem in GNU/Linux

If you’ve been following me on twitter you already know that I got a mobile broadband connection. But if you don’t know it yet, thats a good reason you should follow me on twitter. Anyways! the modem I got with my connection is the Huawei E220, And I’m very happy to say that it works perfectly fine under GNU/Linux. I was actually planning to write a blog post on that but was busy by some projects done with our local kde developer siraj πŸ™‚ (nothing related to KDE by the way)

Few days back I stumbled upon a blog which the blog owner has written a post on switching to GNU/Linux. One of his consernce was getting his Huawei e220 working on Linux. Well, of course its a piece of cake, but I could risk a new linux user steping away from linux because he had a small prob with his 3g modem πŸ˜› so wrote this comment on his blog to realize that I almost wrote a complete blog post on how to get it done. And decided that I should publish it on my blog so anyone else having problems with 3G connectivity on linux can solve them. so here goes my mini tutorial. Btw, I did some adjestments to it so it fits in.

*******************************

E220 works perfectly with wvdial on ubuntu Hardy Haron.
Here are the steps…
(1) Plug in the modem and run
sudo wvdialconf
(2) Then edit the wvdial.conf file…
sudo vim /etc/wvdial.conf Uncomment Username and Password lines in wvdial.conf and add the following to the end of the file “stupid mode = yes
(3) Save the wvdial.conf
(4) run wvdial to get connected πŸ™‚

If you are using ubuntu 8.10 then the Graphical Network Manager recognizes the modem and connects you within seconds.

I usually use kppp with my Slackware installation and it runs really well too. I prefer kppp over wvdial because it even logs the data usage of the modem.

*******************************
Thats all folks! if anyone needs help, I’m just a blog comment away, or just send me an @message on twitter and yes I’m the seejay on twitter.

~seejay~

Wanna learn GIMP??? (!!!)

Wanna learn GIMP??? (!!!) published on No Comments on Wanna learn GIMP??? (!!!)
Me too!!! πŸ˜€ We gotta develop this web site for our Internet Techs&Apps module for this semester and I’m suppose to design a nice header and a logo for the site. Well, the whole site actually. I’ll have to do all the coding but my other group members are doing a great job collecting required data drawing the layouts and stuff. That kinda stuff are the most difficult for me so I’m really REALLY thankful for them for not putting me in that hell.
But guess what! I suck at graphic designing πŸ˜› well, not exactly. I just didn’t have time (oh no! not the same old excuse again!) to spend for graphic designing. I’d say graphic designing is not my thing exactly. I haven’t done much of Photoshop on my windo$ days either… But now that I have to do something for our project I thought it’d be nice to give GIMP a try. Hope it’s gonna be easy coz I’m not addicted to evil propritery graphic designing tools such as… u know… photoshop (yep! i just said that! πŸ˜€ )
So I’m now hunting GIMP tutorials on the net and found these cool sites so far, which i’ll add to my scrap book to use anytime i want (err… scrapbook??? well, thats another post hee hee…)

gimp-tutorials.net
gimp.org tutorials
youtub GIMP tutorials
gimpguru.org
gimp-tutorials.com

ok! thats all folks! feel free to let me know if you know any cool sites with nice tutorials for GIMP, i’ll keep the Links section updated as i find more stuff.
~seejay~