Saturday, June 7, 2014

Goodbye - Over and out (for now)


With a mixed feelings of sadness, happiness and apprehension, I am announcing my “resignation” from the post of CEO of Innowix, Inc. I am taking on a full-time employment opportunity as an Enterprise Architect/Technologist with a global quick service food company right in Ann Arbor, Michigan area. The company will continue to offer services it has been providing so far but I will have much less of an involvement going forward.

I want to provide a perspective into how things panned out Innowix.


I started Innowix in October 2007 with a vision of creating an innovative, honest, and pragmatic IT consulting company to help our clients leverage technology in the most effective fashion to solve their business problems. I am happy to say that it carried out this vision.

Clients and Projects Executed

Along the way, we helped many clients in Healthcare, Automotive and Government segments.
We executed projects ranging from a single to a few consultant on a time and material basis and a few on a fixed-price basis for our clients. Needless to say, I have learned a few lessons. Some projects were smooth and some were a bit painful.

These projects were for small and large enterprises ranging from HP, Henry Ford Health Systems, GM, Commonwealth of Kentucky, MathTech (for various State Governments) and Xerox. I am also very happy with the fact that ALL the clients can serve as references. 

I am very thankful to all my clients, partners and people who helped me in many ways along the way. I very much appreciate your help, inputs and guidance.  

Intellectual Properties Created and Used

I was successful in creating and using useful approaches for IT strategies, processes and architecture at various levels. I intend to publish some of these to public domain under Creative Commons license.

So, why the change in direction?

Well, lately all my engagements required extensive travel. That meant much less time towards family and on personal health and few fun projects with the kids I have grown to enjoy - Robotics, Science Olympiad and other similar pursuits with the kids. This was the primary drive to make this change.

Missed Opportunities and Lessons Learned

Start with one or more partners

Looking back, I believe a start up such as Innowix would have been better served with couple of additional like-minded partners. I had put together a financial model towards that but I probably should have started the company along with these partners instead of expecting to add some later. I came very close to adding couple of great individuals as partners but it didn't materialize. You need a set of close partners who you can bounce off ideas and who can keep each other on track.

Find time/resources to build products (or now services)

Another missed opportunity is in the development of product(s). I had (I still do!) a few ideas but putting them into execution required a lot of resources which I was very short on.

Maintain positive cash flow and be profitable

I am very proud to say that Innowix was profitable from Year 1 and continued to hold a positive cash flow for the most part (except one year end where one of the client was changing their financial system and payments took more than 3 months to materialize! That put us in a tight spot for a few months but we eventually caught up). BTW – maintaining a positive cash flow is much more difficult than it sounds on paper. This was one advice I received in the very beginning from a friend who strongly recommended that always manage your cash flow and I cannot emphasize this enough to any new entrepreneurs.  

What’s Next?

As mentioned before, Innowix as a legal entity will continue to exist but may go in a “dormant” state. I am going to stop blogging here (not that I was blogging a whole lot!) and move to a new destination to express my personal views on the IT industry and other things of interests. I will continue hosting Puzzle Parties.

May be in future, I will re-start/re-launch this type of operations, hopefully with few partners. But till that time, see you around on the Internet! 

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Publishing your Office 365 Calendar (free/busy times) with your clients for scheduling meetings

Trying to schedule a meeting with a client is always a challenge as they cannot see your availability and you cannot see theirs as we are on separate calendar/mail systems. I recently moved to Office 365 and clients that I work with have their own internal Exchange 20xx implementation (or some other system).

Now, with Office 365, there’s a way to publish your availability (free/busy) information with the world (see this: - Look for “Setup the Publishing option). I imagine it is available with Exchange 2010/2013.

However, for a user in your client organization to review this calendar through a browser and then trying to figure out available time slot still doesn't provide the best user experience.

A better way would be for them to simply open this calendar in their Outlook as if it is yet another calendar.
To enable an external user (outside your organization) to open your calendar, the Office 365 calendar URL needs to be in the form of webcal ending in “.ics”. This is simple to achieve.

All you have to do is take the Office 265 calendar URL which is shared to the public, change the https:// to webcal:// and change the “.htm” at the end to “.ics”.

Give this URL to your clients. Let them go to Outlook Calendar and click on the “Open an Internet Calendar”. There they can paste this URL and Outlook will open this calendar. 

Now, you can view my availability easily (and schedule meetings - sigh)! 

Thursday, January 24, 2013

What Social Network Platform would you use to build a network specific to a user community

One of my clients is looking for help in building a brand new social network targeting a specific community which have specific attributes. They have requirements which are different from today’s general purpose social networks available on the market (i.e., LinkedIn, Facebook etc.). Of course some basic features are very similar (i.e., finding people, advertisements etc.). However, we are looking for a very extensive user profile information which current platforms cannot offer.

I looked at utilizing a cloud based platform such as

  3. Bloomfire
  5. OneSite 

However, with each of these, we will end up implementing additional code to meet our specific requirements. I am also not sure what type of APIs are available which can allow us to build the functionality we are looking for.

I also looked at some of the packages (typically targeted for Enterprise Social Networks) including:

  1. Joomla
  2. Drupal
  3. phpFox 
  4. Jive
  5. Telligent

Some of these fall under the category of "Social CRM" and others in "Enterprise Social Network". These provide the basic building blocks for the network. However, the time-to-market along with implementation/operations overheads may become prohibitive.

SharePoint 2013 might be a good choice but not sure how licensing will work out for a large user community.

So, question is – Are there any good social network building platform (either a cloud/SaaS type offering or a framework which we can install and build upon)?


Saturday, December 8, 2012

How to find your lost Android device such as a Tablet or Samsung Player etc. which doesn’t have SMS support

Recently we helped a friend of ours locate a lost Android music player. It was lost inside the home and they were unable to locate it. Here are the steps we took to find it:

Luckily the device had enough power and it was connected to the home network so that we could do few things with it.

  1. Go to your router and look at the DHCP client list. If the device is turned on and connected, you should see an entry in the DHCP client list.
  2. If you have multiple devices then you might want to look up the vendor from the MAC address. There are few lookup databases but few we tried didn’t work. Eventually we found a page which listed the vendor name and first three segments. From that list, we confirmed that this nameless device is indeed the device which he was trying to find.
  3. Next, we went online and found couple of apps.

  4. First was Android Lost Free -

    It requires the user to register the device with their site. Now, that was NOT possible in this scenario.

    So, next up was another companion app called AndroidLost Jumpstart -

    Both the apps are written by the same developer (Theis Borg).

    The AndroidLost Jumpstart app simply registers the phone with and ties to the Google account with which the device is registered to.

  5. Sequence of installation and registration is something like this.
    1. Install the AndroidLost Jumpstart first.
    2. Register with using your Google account. Please ensure that you use the same Google account which is used for logging in the device.
    3. Install Android Lost Free.
    4. Wait few minutes (4-5 minutes in our case)
    5. Login to the with your Google account and after some time, it should pop up a message congratulating you and saying that this device is registered.
    6. Now you need to go to the Control web page and turn on the Alarm on the phone through the site. The device starts blaring and flashing and it is easy to locate it inside the home.

Anyways, I am installing this Android Lost Free on my android devices to keep track of them.

To Theis Borg – this is a very useful app.

Now, there are other apps which can help locate the devices and allow you to remotely control these too. However, what I find unique about this app is that you could register the device remotely and then start using the app. That is way too cool.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Innowix Puzzle Party 2012

Welcome to 7th annual Innowix Puzzle Party. For those who haven't participated in past, please check out the arrangements and conclusion from previous events at

Location and Time
Shelter C - Kensington Metro Park, Milford, MI
Date: Sat Sep 8, 2012 11 AM onward

Guest Puzzles
I had asked people to bring puzzles for the last event to challenge the Puzzlemaster and some of you did. However, we didn’t get time to attempt those. I still have those puzzles stored and haven’t looked those so we will bring those out this time around.
You can bring some more puzzles if you wish (be gentle please!). We will entertain at least one puzzle per team (may be more if time permits).

Just like last time, this time around also, you will have nothing to bring. The food (mostly pizza and snack items) and drinks will be served. Please bring your own food if you have any dietary restrictions.

You are welcome to bring some games to play in the park.

Can I bring guests/friends?
Yes – you can bring guests / friends. Just RSVP soon so I can keep count. The picnic shelter has some limitation in terms of number of people it can host but I don’t think we will reach that number.


11 to 1:30 – Gather, games and lunch (sponsored by Innowix) – May be a quarter-marathon (4.5 miles?) walk through the park? Not sure – will decide later. 
2 – 4 – Puzzle solving
5 – Prize distribution
5:15 onwards - Games or go home
We are looking forward to seeing you there.


Send in your RSVP soon.  

If you didn't get Evite invitation, please leave me a comment here with your name, e-mail address and how you came to know about this event. I will NOT publish your comment here but will include you in the Evite invitation. 


Tuesday, September 27, 2011

A friend asked: What Blogs do you read?

Here are some of my favorites.

Kurzweil - Accelerating Intelligence -  - very good insights into the evolving field of AI and Future of technologies

Lifehacker - - Generally good and useful content

J.D. Meier's Blog - - Very good content around Microsoft’s Patterns and Practices and now he has moved on to Azure area. He maintains a personal blog called “Sources of Insight - Skills for mind, body, emotions, career, financial, relationships, and fun” at - worth reading  

MSDN Blogs –

Nick Malik’s Inside Architecture blog - - Good insights into Enterprise Architecture and general debate on value of EA etc.

Mashable - - good commentary on social happenings

Some personal interest stuff - Engadget, Gizmodo, My Next and other similar blogs on consumer electronics

I do maintain (rather attempt to maintain and update) two blogs:

Blog Innowix - Promoting my company

Nitya Nivedan (mostly for kids) - - Some of the cool happenings in the world and pop culture items to expand their horizons

Content consumption in Social Web World

My content consumption style has changed significantly. I am more into Twitter feed and checking out the headlines on the blogs mentioned above and many more on my personalized iGoogle page which includes the latest news from multiple sources, finance and stock market pulse, my e-mails, Facebook updates, weather and few other things. If something interests me more then I click on the link and read the details. 

Otherwise, 6 to 8 word headlines (less than 100 characters!) is sufficient. ADHD has kicked in and finding that one long article and reading through has become more and more difficult.

That is why books are much better to read - on paper. Much less distractions and impulses to jump around. 

Your thoughts? 

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Puzzle Party 2011 Conclusion

The Puzzle Party 2011 is over. It was held on Aug 6, 2011 at Kensington Metro Park Shelter C (Spring Hill Shelter). It was a hot and muggy day but it did rain a little during the afternoon. However, shelter was big enough to accommodate all the participants well.
We had approximately 50 participants ranging in age from 2 years all the way to 60+.

Read more at Google Site page: