Nov 25, 2008

101 Steps to Becoming a Better Blogger

If you are new to blogging and looking for a help, then “101 Steps to Becoming a Better" Blogger by Ellie Harrison e-book is the one you were waiting for. It’s really easy to follow and things are explained in simple words.
The book contains links to the contents, plug-ins you need as a blogger. And remember IT’S FREE. NO SUBSCRIPTION or EMAIL ADDRESS at all. To download the e-book click here.

Nov 21, 2008

WWE Smackdown vs. Raw 2009

Wrestling game fans need no introduction to the Smackdown vs. Raw (SVR) franchise. After all, it's been the definitive game in the genre for many a generation. Over the years there have been a number of improvements to the visuals and the gameplay, but at first look you can't help but feel that you're playing the same SVR that you completed last year. So my main motive in playing through SVR 2009 was to see what's new and if it's worth a purchase if you already own SVR 2008.

When it comes to the player roster, nothing beats SVR 2009. There are over 60 playable wrestlers on first boot, with options for two costumes for almost all of them. Plus there are unlockable characters that you will get access to as you play through different game modes. If there's a wrestler you love to play as that's not featured in the game roster, there's always the industry's best Create a Wrestler option, which is hands-down the biggest character customizable tool in the history of video games. You won't have to worry about the gameplay going stale with this at your disposal, especially considering that THQ has promised downloadable content on Xbox Live in the near future.

The control system has made a comeback from SVR 2008. In all honesty, it was the right thing to do, considering that the last game had pretty much perfected that comfort-plus-accessibility ratio. The only issue I have with the control scheme is that running towards an opponent is still not very accurate or as comfortable as I would have liked it to be.

The best part about SVR 2009 is the Road to Wrestlemania mode, which captures the kind of drama you'd expect from WWE. You get to select one of seven available superstars to play through (no Khali unfortunately), each with their own storylines, complete with real voice acting and the drama that gets you playing through just to reach the ending. That's not to say the stories penned for each of these superstars is a masterpiece, but they do have a quality about them that gets fans of wrestling charged enough to support their superstars in the main events.

Read the full article here

Source :

Internet Startups Face a Change of Plan

Internet firms are looking down the barrel, in terms of the financial crisis. Yahoo Inc. (Nasdaq: YHOO), for instance, faces a 64 percent drop in net profits, as 1,500 employees are scheduled to lose jobs and the stock price touches $12. (Some investors think Jerry Yang’s decision to turn down Microsoft for $33 was a huge mistake.) Even Google (Nasdaq: GOOG) stock has fallen (in spite of strong financial performance) from a 52-week high of $747 to a recent new low of $310.

As the overall bailout and new stimulus packages from the U.S. Fed take effect, the scene will get tighter for Silicon Valley firms of all sizes, including startups, as VCs revise their investment plans.

So, how does the situation affect the lifecycle of an Internet startup?

Up to now, the philosophy for new companies has been: Get an idea, bootstrap a company, show that your model works, get seed funding, show some scaling in terms of traffic, and then get proper VC funding to build the traffic. Revenue will come once the traffic is there (the Google way). Funding is based largely on revenue “potential.”

This philosophy will be tested in the worldwide severe economic downturn. “R.I.P. Good Times” is Sequoia Capital 's response to the current situation, in a leaked presentation that is proof -- if any were needed -- that startups should expect a lifecyle plan more like: Get an idea, bootstrap a company, show that your model works, make some money in a short amount of time, demonstrate your viability, then seek VC funding with some running cashflow at decent burn rates.

It hasn’t helped that a lot of funding for the Web 2.0 bandwagon has been quite unworthy. There are tons of social networks and video publishing sites that have been funded in arenas where even leading lights don't have revenue plans. Example: Twitter is still undecided on revenue channels. Bijan Sabet, board member of Twitter, says: “Stay tuned, they are working on it.”

Startups interested in making it in the present environment could benefit from the following tips:

  • Get costs down. Burn rates must get lower in order to justify startup expenses, period. “Time is money," after all.
  • Get cashflows higher. Don’t expect to get funding unless you can generate revenue.
  • “Get Real or Go Home.” This admonition from the Sequoia Capital presentation tells it like it is -- and will be -- for those seeking VC funds. Companies without a demonstrable product or service with a robust revenue model can’t expect much in the way of financial assistance.
  • Expect high expectations. In today’s startup market, VCs will focus on better apples in the portfolio and quickly drop the rotten ones. A viable exit is the way VCs and angels make money, and in these tough times, it’s going to be difficult. Startups will need solid key metrics to keep themselves saleable.

There is some good news: Since this isn’t the first economic crisis Internet startups have faced, some firms are better prepared this time with lessons from the dotcom bust eight years back. Also, Internet penetration is far higher than it was in the year 2000. Web sites today have solid traffic with high user involvement -- giving TV viewership a run for advertising dollars. The SME segment and other ROI advertisers are getting more direct purchases from the Internet than from any other medium. Vertical startups have strong niche traffic, which is useful in targeted advertising.

Still, most funding will dry up for the next two or three quarters -- during which time robust business models will be promoted, while frivolous copycats will meet their demise.

Written by Sandeep Amar