CrunchPad: a Keyboard-less Netbook

I admit I was skeptical when Mike Arrington first announced he wanted to build a  lightweight  Web Tablet.  Skeptical partly because I had just witnessed Ismael Ghalimi of the Office 2.0 fame feverishly work on the Redux Model 1.  I had been doubtful about his effort, too, but his energy level was just radiating, he actually convinced me, I started to believe…  But in the end, all the effort (and quite some money Ismael spent along the way) came down to nothing, he nuked the device, and the Office 2.0 Conference gadget became an HP 2133 Mini-Note PC.

Fast-forward half a year, and TecCrunch is showing off a prototype.  Granted, it’s not as cool-looking as the initial sketch above, but this one is working.

Continue reading


Why Cambrian House Failed – it’s All in the Pizzaz

Cambrian House, the poster-boys of Crowdsourcing are essentially dead – assets being sold in a garage sale for a fraction of what investors put in. TechCrunch and Mark Evans speculate the House collapsed due to poor execution.

Of course.. in fact they were doomed to fail, and it was obvious ever since the 1000 pizzas episode. This is what I wrote back then:

They are not afraid of unusual publicity stunts, although frankly Feeding Google was more about noise than being smart: followed by cameras, completely unannounced, they descended on the Google campus with 1000 pizzas at 3pm.
Did you get that? Google, as in Google the company famous for it’s free gourmet food, at 3pm, as in just after lunch, before dinner – no wonder they were soon escorted off campus.
Cambrian guys, I have a free idea for you: next time set up camp with your 1000 pizzaz at Stanford, you’ll be heroes and won’t leave without 100’s of new ideas…and I don’t even want 75 points, just invite me for the pizza-fest.

OK, I admit I am being sarcastic. And I liked the concept, too bad it did not work.


Would You Like Your Spreadsheet in French? German? Chinese? Japanese? Any Language?

Zoho Sheet is currently translated to 13 languages, although I hesitate to write thirteen, by the time you read this post, the number may jump:

If it jumps, it won’t be because Zoho has an army of translators busy typing away… nothing beats the wisdom of the crowds. Yes, Zoho outsourced crowdsourced the translation to their users: you and me. Would you like a to use an online spreadsheet in your language? Take a stab at it.

Anyone can pick the language of their choice and contribute translation in one of two modes. Power mode is nothing to write home about: a table where all all English messages are listed and you can write the translation right in the next field. Simple and efficient. Yet if I were to start translating, not being a power spreadsheet user, I would probably prefer to see the messages in context.
That’s where the WYSIWYG mode helps: you can use the live Zoho Sheet UI, and be guided by colored highlights as you translate different parts of the spreadsheet. (Note: if you’re reading this in a feed reader that does not display embedded graphics, please click through to the blog post, or you’re miss most of it).

The translation tool is not a mock-up, it’s the actual, fully functional spreadsheet (but don’t save your private data there). The wisdom of the crowd does not lack QA though: once a language’s translation progress reaches 80%, the Zoho team verifies it and makes it available to all spreadsheet users.

You can keep track of progress here: currently the Japanese version is most complete with 97.77%, followed by Simplified Chinese (92.15%), then Russian and Spanish at 91.20%. The lowest one is Hungarian, at 0.11% – it looks like someone just started it. I have no idea who it was… smile_wink

Update: See the Zoho Blog post and a demonstration video here.

Update (9/14): Wow, never underestimate the power of users! smile_wink A day later, my measly contribution of one single word to the Hungarian version grew to 13.62%. Even more impressive is what some Romanian users achieved: they requested Romanian added to the list in a comment yesterday; next thing I read today was this blog post – I don’t understand a single word, but the table shows 33.94% readiness, and finally, by the time I clicked through to check it myself, Romanian is up to 84.04%. Congratulations, you’re very close to having your own version!