Thursday, February 28, 2013

Train token and database locking

I've always had a great fondness for train related pictures. A simple search for the keyword 'train' on this blog will reveal more than 5 posts on the same topic. So today I adding one more in black and white.

The picture captures the tablet being passed to the train driver.

I am made to understand that its a fool proof system. It's used to restrict and make sure that only one train is allowed to traverse through the single track line with bi-directional travel at a given time, thus ensuring no collision could occur on the train line.

While watching this happen it reminded me of locking in databases. Like conflicts on rail lines, in databases we have conflicts in data updates, which need to be avoided. Thus giving rise to different types of lock implementations. Anyway database has some additional levels of complexity and has different types of locks, eg. read lock, write lock, Locking levels, table level, row level, page level etc. Perhaps a bit more complex to solve than the railway problem.

But the interesting thing is when doing algorithm design to solve problems perhaps we can actually find inspiration from past solutions and at times even from nature.

Its an interesting topic read the full detail on wiki

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Where 'gamification' meets advertising

The results of the global mobile awards for 2013 was announced by GSMA at the mobile world congress yesterday and the "Chok Chok Chok" application picked up the awards for the best advertisement and the best application.

Its an application which has been in the news for the last couple of weeks after its stunning success in Hong Kong. It has apparently gone viral and made a connection between the younger tech savy generation with main stream TV advertising. They had deviced a smart ploy in which they combined the concepts of advertising, gamification and augmented reality, but still managed to reach audiences and do the magic work!

Gaining inspiration from this model  I see countless possibilities of applications which can be deployed which could open up a new branch of interactive advertising?! Will this work in other cultures? Are people ready to seize a new opportunity before too much  of it kills the very spirit of it? Who is ready to try it?

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Icarus deception - You should listen

During the last two weeks I had got accustomed to the habit of listening to audio books during my train and bus journeys. I had always had this weakness of not being a good listener. When given a choice between reading and listening I would always choose reading. But for a change I wanted to utilze my walking time and travelling times in a better way and most importantly challenge my weakness of not being able to listen to stuff.

So the first book I picked was "All marketeers are liars" (since it was quite aptly name ;) ). A piece by Seth Godwin. It was good and I kind of got in to the rhythm of listening to audio books and slowly got in to the groove of listening and concentrating without letting the mind wander. It made me realize the importance of world view and framing stories to fit world views. The book perhaps didn't turn out to be a shake up for me, but it did create a good impression about Seth Godin on me and made me curious to listen to more of him.

Hence I picked Icarus deception, the first 10 minutes was very thought provoking and he did manage to get under the skin. I ended up listening to it for 5 hours on a stretch during the journey. I am probably one of the luckiest people on earth, when ever I get a bit lethargic and loose sense of direction, I get to read and listen to wonderful pieces of art which shake me out of slumber. Starting from Monk who sold his ferrari, Tuesday's with Morrie, Outliers, Siddhartha each of them have managed leave a lasting impression on me and helped me kick start things I had procrastinated for long. To that illustrious list now I will add Icarus deception.

While reading I remembered few friends of mine and wanted to recommend this book to them since I felt they are 'artists' capable of touching great heights and they need a shot of inspiration and this book could just do that to them. So some of you  are going to get 'the torture' from me with my recommendation for Icarus deception. Watch out!

Monday, February 25, 2013

Designing three wheel experiences

Few weeks back when I was taking a stroll around Kandy town, I noticed a colorfully decorated three wheeler ( aka tuk tuk) with 3 foreign passengers coming to an abrupt halt in the middle of the road. I was thinking "Poor souls, welcome to Sri Lanka". I expected them to panic but what unfolded in front of me was quiet a spectacle.

They got off the three wheeler and while one or two of the passengers were trying to push and start the three wheeler, others took turns to take pictures.From my view of the world, I expected them to be in dismay and frustrated. On the contrary they were fascinated, they took time to give different poses and each one was trying their best to get a perfect picture, so that it could end up as their profile picture on facebook!

Then I realized that they were taking the three wheeler not as a mode of transport or for the sake of ease of travelling, their whole idea was to experience a three wheel ride! For the experience seeker it turned out to be the epitome of their experience! I was thinking that people in tourism should probably learn out of this and 'design experiences'.

I thought I was smart to discover an idea, where something people look upon as a negative experience can be sold when packaged nicely as 'the experience'. This concept was working in my mind during the days after this and was making me feel good for a change, that I had been smart and spotted a different kind of opportunity. The notion of this 'feeling smart' evaporated a few days back, when I saw the same three wheeler, but with a different cast play out the same script! Co-incidence? Established model? Will let you decide...