Idealog: Peer to peer cash transactions

I’ve been thinking how simple and wonderful will it be if I can open up an app, specify the amount I wish to withdraw and find depositors with similar amounts around me, connect with them, collect my cash, transfer the money to their bank accounts and we’re done. And of course the other way round.

Irrespective of the bank either of us bank with, all the required pieces are in place to enable this. We have UPI, we have smart phones where we can locate nearby people who have what we need and who’s profile and rating reflects on their genuinity. Perhaps the only challenges could be counterfeit notes which is addressable by way of technology as well as user education.

I welcome your comments on this topic.

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10 reasons you should learn story telling

Irrespective of the profession you are in, one thing you need to do on a daily basis is communicate. That’s true even if you are sorting mails for postal service or writing software pieces from the privacy of your room or operating a train engine. There’s shouldn’t be any big deal about communication since that’s what separates us from the rest of the animal kingdom – the multi-layered sophisticated and rich methods of communication we’ve established. We write, we speak, we sing, we dance, we do body language, gestures, facial expressions, non-facial expressions and to beat it all, some of us have gotten around to establishing a language in the freaking silence. But, it is and we also have miscommunication, misunderstanding and misinformation happening all around us.

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How to use RTFTemplate to generate report documents

If you are looking at generating document report based on templates, RTFTemplate is a good choice. It allows you to use from a list of template engines at the back and allows for good user experience for template creation as well as the final product. Continue reading

Idealog: Indoor positioning system

GPS and GLONASS are satellite based positioning systems which work wonderfully outdoors however, due to wall penetration issues, indoors is a different story. This is a problem if you are trying to get to a place in a huge Railway station, Airport or a mall. Briefly, positioning with GPS works is as follows –

  1. Satellites broadcast a signal at the speed of light containing two information i.e. transmit time-stamp and its own location
  2. GPS receivers in devices e.g. smart phones, car devices receive these signals
  3. If signals are available from at least 3 satellites, an algorithm in the receiver calculates its distance from all the satellites and hence, the is able to derive its own location
  4. The accuracy of this is within 10 meters

Think of a system which is made up of beacons installed within a premise transmitting a similar signal and leading to devices being able to locate themselves within an indoor infrastructure. Ideally such system should rely on the current radios within the devices to provide them location information so as to minimally disrupt the landscape however, that seems unlikely as if light transmission is used, the travel time would be too less to actually be able to calculate location based on travel time and distance.An app on the device would need to provide user interface for map and navigation using this location information and perhaps that’s where other radios could be used to process a slower signal.How about it?

What external scripts gotta do with page performance?

Any modern website or mobile site heavily relies on scripting to make its pages more interactive and neat to provide an overall good user experience. All these scripts are usually included as external scripts in the page. Not only this, 3rd party external scripts are also included for a bunch of purposes including marketing, click tracking, web analytics, social integration and the like. Where these bring considerable value to the table however, the value generated can very well be offset by the drop in traffic or transactions if user experience is damaged by poor page performance. And hence, this post. Continue reading

Word processing Java utility

A while ago, I ran into a word processing requirement of converting documents to web pages and processing the document text to extract information. While working on this, I ended up wrapped a few APIs e.g. JODConverter into a small set of utility classes. I am not sure of the value of to a developer however, documenting this might just help someone reach the open source APIs I used and use this as sample code. So, here I go with some of the use cases –

I was looking for a way to convert MS Word documents to HTML web pages and Rich Text Format documents and used JODConverter to accomplish this task. It utilizes an Open Office headless service to carry out the task. TextExtractor exposes two methods in this regards – one each to extract text and html markup from documents.

public String extractTextFromFile(String inputfile);

public String extractHtmlTextFromFile(String inputfile);

The extraction process relies on document conversion operation provided by JODConverter . It requires a locally running Open Office process which can be run headless and the configuration of such process can be provided in config.properties in the classpath.

Another use case I ran into required me to persist an email body (html content) while processing incoming emails and JODConverter came to rescue again with its simple document conversion operation which is wrapped in another TextExtractor method.

At the time of writing this post, the code available at Github repository is being finished off.

Idealog: Health Buddy

Here’s a thought.

A health service, where you could

  • seek secondary opinions when necessary from a doctor of your choice from the directory made up of top rated specialist from across the country and global perhaps,
  • seek a medical counselor to tag-long on doctor visits or the like and help you understand the whole deal i.e. the illness, treatment options, pros and cons etc in layman terms,
  • store your health records

There are plenty of ways to seek secondary opinions and a lot of people do that in today’s world since it allows them to vet the diagnosis and the treatment and let’s face it, the doctor-patient trust equation isn’t really what it used to be. It’s doable for people in the big cities however beyond that, it’s very difficult. Having your health records available electronically and having access to a doctor of your choosing electronically can however fix this.

How many of us have seen or experienced people, otherwise great at their day jobs, when into health issues especially involving a surgery seek counseling from a doctor or “wise” people in their circles. And by wise I mean people who’ve had prior experience of dealing with doctors and health issue in some form. This is usually sought as a favor. How about someone professional – a health professional with sufficient experience at your service to accompany you to the doctor on your visits or sit beside you on a doctor’s daily rounds and help you understand the choices you stand up against. You still have to make the decision, of course however, an enabler of making an informed well-understood decision.

All this would surely be riding on the infrastructure of electronic health records, a directory of health professionals, online appointments, recommendations basis yours and your family’s history.

Welcome any views on this.