What every web startup ought to know about public data sets ?

  • Question 1 : Gimme a hot startup idea  ?

Answer : Amazon has released public data sets of 1 Terabyte(and growing) which can be integrated with AWS .

  • Question 2 : What the heck is public data sets ? And I am asking you to give me startup idea, not a company PR news

Answer :  In simple words, its a centralized repository of public domain, non proprietary scientific, demographic and medical data available in Linux and Windows Snapshots.

  • Question 3 : Yes, that was quite simple (arghhhh….)

Answer    : Okay , there are 4 categories of information you can find in these repositories

1. Biology      2. Chemistry      3. Economics      4. Encyclopaedic

Let me take an example of Encyclopaedic data.

Suppose you want to build a music mashup and you need albums data. In these data sets you will find DBpedia Knowledge Base with data of 57,000 music albums. DB Base has 2.6 million things readily accessible to you  And that is just encyclopaedic data. There is  human genome data (55 GB) , US census information , Economics , busines and industry summary data and labor statistics(inflation, employement, pay) and its going to grow with more organizations adding public data with time.

  • Question 4 : Sounds Interesting, Can machines read this data ?

Answers : I think Yes,  for example, the entire English section of Wikipedia can be dumped into a machine readable format and in postgresql database. According to Read write web , “This is like a network of libraries for robots”

  • Question 5 : Man, this is awesome. I was thinking of Location aware+ Google maps+airlines mashup and you have given me the entire US Department of Transportation Aviation data. Just Imagine what it can do for research ,analytics and knoweldge process industries.

Answer : What is your next question ?

  • Question 6 : How to get started ?

Answer :  Read How it works ? section. If you are a developer, its a great opportunity to build something interesting. If you are a business, there should be some developers who can help you to integrate these massive libraries with your next small startup with big vision.


24/2 – 14 things I learnt from gmail Outage

Source : PC Disorder

Web version of Gmail is down (working with some IMAP accounts). And I am  learning few things here :

1. How to back up your gmail account ?

2. Developers and Server Administrators are HUMANS. Even google can have occasional server glitches.

3. There is something known as IMAP and POP.

4. Dont put your life – critical stuff on one web service even if it is Google. TRUST YOUR BACKUPS. Take Backups or store your data somewhere else. Whether its delicious or gmail or twitter. You dont know what you need in next moment. here is http://www.gmail-backup.com/

5. Life is more than just checking emails.

6. There is something known as gears Gmail offline with google Gears - http://lifehacker.com/5140668/gmail-goes-offline-with-google-gears
7. Its a rare outage. Just don’t leave gmail back to your corporate emails again. Its one of the best SAAS in market.

8. We know gmail on iphone is working, but don’t expect next iphone ad to feature this – “Gmail was working on iphone even when gmail was not working“.

9. Acknoweldge fast if there is trouble : Google almost puts up an update on gmail help page as naturally people were looking at their help page.

“We’re aware of a problem with Gmail affecting a number of users. This problem occurred at approximately 1.30AM Pacific Time. We’re working hard to resolve this problem and will post updates as we have them. We apologize for any inconvenience that this has caused.”

10. If  you have doubts that any of your web services is not working, don’t disturb your co workers. visit twitter.com or Google apps status Dashboard


11. Its the first anniversary of Amazon Web Services Outage. On 15 of February last year. February is not the good month for big companies.

12. Don’t depend on any cloud computing service for customer services. Have a backup system ready  : “Today’s Gmail outage is affecting our support system. Customers should login at  some_URL to contact us.”

13. Use Gmail Paper , in case you are not using it.

14. If your gmail is not working, try gmail HTML https://mail.google.com/mail/h/

Calm down guys. Its good that email is down. Now do some productive work.


Hoptoad: A Rails Exception Handling Service

Many of you guys(as me) may have used Exception Notifier plugin to get Rails app exceptions right into your mailbox, and may also have faced some problem like this.

Also if you have 2-3 or more apps running in production then managing such exception mails is also a big headache. In such case one have to keep track of many things like which type of error is resolved/unresolved for which project etc… .

So, here is a good news for those who don’t know about Hoptoad. It is an hosted service by thoughtbot which receives your exceptions, notify you once per error type by email and keep track(resolved/unresolved, count etc…) of your errors on project basis.

By now its a free service. I’m gonna use this as my next project goes live. What abt you??? ;-P