Friday, November 27, 2009

Google Wave...boring but brilliant!

Google Wave ScreenshotImage by marketingfacts via FlickrIf you're one of the lucky ones to have gotten an invite to google wave, you probably know that what you're using is something revolutionary. Okay, I admit I had my doubts over Wave. For starters it came from Google (a company I HATE with a passion). Second its in beta (oh well cant complain about that really. Orkut, Google's social networking cum Facebook copying wing has been in beta since I was a kid! :P). And third, I had the same old privacy concerns Google apps are renowned for gifting its users.

Anyway, all concerns aside, I had to have a go at it! (After all everyone's talking about Wave these days!) And for once, I was pleasantly surprised. Google wave is really a novel concept. You communicate with your 'friends' (who also must have received a Google Wave invite) via 'waves' which are sort of notes/ideas. The best part of it is, you can chat here in 'real-time' and I mean 'real-time'! You can see the other person type the words as the chat goes on! Should suffice to say that this is bloody brilliant! I dont think there's anything like this anywhere on the web, and I firmly believe this is what net chats in the future will look like.

However, apart from the brilliance comes the reality of it all. At the moment Google Wave isnt for everyone. You can only log in if you are invited by Google or if you've been sent an invite (which are pretty hard to come by! These invites were selling for 70 bucks each on ebay the last time I checked! And thats $$$!). As a result you wont find many users to 'wave' with. Now that could basically spoil your experience. Fortunately I have found some buddies to chat with on wave! But still it isnt as exciting as facebook or twitter simply coz I cant see any of my friends here! :( Also it can be pretty buggy at times, I was repeatedly asked to refresh my Google Wave page for apparently no reason whatsoever. In other words its more of concept right now than a real web application.

But I firmly believe Google Wave is here to stay. The concept is likely to be replicated by many other social networking sites.

If you have received an invite, dont waste it, give Wave a try! As they say...RIDE THE WAVE!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

26/11 one year on...

IMG_2388Image by Anand Krishnamoorthi via FlickrIs it really one year since those attacks? Seems like just days ago!

Of course newspapers and tv channels are talking loads about this 'anniversary'. But I'm a bit concerned about something else. Lets face it, our relations with Pakistan are at an all time low. Pakistan is a hot bed of terrorism, its a proven fact. The army chief reports that around 2000 terrorists are waiting on the other side of the border waiting for an opportune moment to sneak in to our land. Pakistan lets go of the terrorists responsible for the attacks. The US simply refuses to take stern action and President Obama is, as always, going about pleasing all country heads. Add to that the economic slowdown of the developed countries. And what you get is the perfect 'climate' for terrorists in our neighbouring countries to spawn.

Now many are asking a question. Isnt it time we took things in our own hands? In other words, isnt it time to take military action against Pakistan? The answer to this question varies from person to person but here's my take.

The Mumbai attacks have been one of the worst episodes of our country. I guess to some extent it reaffirmed the fact that our Union Home Minister Mr. P. Chidambaram confirmed on a documentary of National Geographic on the issue, 'no country is safe'. Let us not mince words in saying that the attacks were horrific and merciless attacks of terrorism.

But even having accepted all these facts, I wouldnt want India to go on an 'anti-terrorism' spree taking military action against neighbouring countries. The US has had a terrible impact on the world thanks to their so called 'war against terror'. Afghanistan is far from normal even after 8 years of anti terror actions. Iraq is another country which has had a similar effect thanks to the US response. Hundreds of lives lost, children killed, injured, seriously wounded, and thats just the human damage. Then there's of course the material and cultural damage. All in the name of anti terror actions.

The world hated the US action and so did I. And I dont want my country to commit the same mistake the US did. First of all, not all the people in Pakistan support terrorism. And not all of them are terrorists. Even if a very carefully planned military action is undertaken, there's no guarantee that it wouldnt kill innocent victims. And perhaps more importantly there's no guarantee that terrorists would be eliminated in totality! Also, India's image would take a beating. We cannot be an irresponsible nation at this juncture. Let the UN take action, or at least suggest proper action. Without the consent of the world, it wouldnt be very sensible to engage in a war with a neighbour. We dont want to be seen as another US-like superpower in the making, but as a responsible nation.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

March of the seasons

These are pics I took of my college throughout the year of various seasons.

Finally something useful from Google

This is one of the huge welcoming signs for Go...Image via WikipediaLooks as if Google does listen to its users! :) It has finally come up with something really useful. The Google Dashboard. Many of you may have already noticed it but for those who havent, the Google Dashboard is a collection of all the info collected by Google and contains all your user account info in various Google affiliated sites etc. So for all you privacy freaks (erm that includes me as well) this is really good news! Although I doubt if Google is releasing "every" bit of info collected from us. But hey, something's better nothing!

To check what info Google has collected about you, log in to Google Dashboard.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Cant we be just a little more far-sighted?

Rear View of the Babri Mosque.Image via Wikipedia

I'm seriously stunned at how myopic our politicians are! Our country is going through one of its worst phases with uncontrolled food prices, terrorism, inflation, economic slowdown, etc. and all we are worried about is something which happened more than 10 years back? Yes, I'm talking about one of the darkest days in the history of this country. The Babri Masjid demolition.

When we finally seemed to have buried the past and moved on, all of sudden comes a report leak and the opposition starts shouting and disrupting the Parliament session and development and other vital issues take a back seat. Largest democracy in the world eh?

Anyway, I somehow feel our political parties need to come to terms with the changing political scenario of this country. Most of these disruptions nowadays are telecast live on news channels, and it really makes me sad. These are the people we send to the Parliament for voicing our needs and here they are doing everything else apart from that!

Hope some sense prevails.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Image uploading sites

Image representing imageshack as depicted in C...Image via CrunchBaseWe all are born photographers arent we? :P Anyway, these days the trouble doesnt end there, you have to upload the photo somewhere to share it with others. There are loads of image uploading sites on the web. Some of them are really popular and some popular but useless. So, here's my take on some of them.

Flickr happens to be perhaps the most popular image uploading site. However it does have an uploading limit. So, basically its useful for posting private/family photos, but not for using it as a source for pics on your blog. And of course as with all yahoo services, you need to register to start uploading.

I learnt about a really cool image uploading site today called Imgur, which lets you do a whole lot of stuff apart from letting you upload your pics and it has a really cool interface. No registration is needed to upload. But the problem with it is, your images get deleted if they dont receive a 'hit' in 3 months. So basically if you have a huge blog which isnt very popular and you dont go through your really old posts at least once in 3 months, your images get deleted.

Photobucket is good, great options etc. but way too many ads for my liking. I dont feel like using it even for my family pics! You also require a registration to upload.

Finally, Imageshack. I'm sure most of you have used at some point in time, but fact is imageshack is the best we have! You dont need to register to upload images, your images get deleted only when they dont receive a hit at least once in 1 year (pretty reasonable), and if you register, your images dont get deleted at all! Plus, there are loads and loads of options (more for registered users). Registration, as with all these services, is free.

Chrome OS...what the hell is Google trying to achieve?

Ben Goodger and Google ChromeImage by niallkennedy via FlickrAnd here comes another OS...Google Chrome OS! (cant they think of any better name than that for an OS?)

Anyway, coming to the point, as of now Chrome OS is very much in development and currently the version thats "leaked out", seems to be a dampener.

First up, you require a constant internet connection to do stuff (even to log in to your OS, you need a net connection). Apparently your username and password are the same ones which you use to log in to your google account. Secondly, there are loads of google apps on this OS and all of it runs in the guise of the Chrome browser (hence the name). Although google apps are seriously cool, they still leave a lot to be desired when it comes to offline activities and privacy concerns. As of now, there's no provision for installing extra apps apart from Google ones (hope this will change by the time the final version comes out). So basically its more like icloud installed on your desktop! I seriously dont want to be in a situation where I have Chrome OS installed and find myself unable to connect to the internet!

One thing that this OS will definitely do is bring much needed attention to Linux. Hopefully we'll find better drivers, softwares and codecs for Linux if Chrome OS becomes a success. However I dont like an open source platform being used by corporate honchos like Google (oh well, thats my way of looking at it).

But, here's wishing Google Chrome OS all the luck! Hope it turns out to be something really useful.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Mobile number portability at last!

Sony Ericsson 2Image by NiklasNikon via FlickrTRAI has finally done something really useful! It has managed to introduce mobile number portability, which basically means that you dont need to change your mobile no. everytime you get a new SIM.

This will definitely come as a relief to all mobile users out there. India after all is acknowledged as the fastest growing mobile phone/wireless market, and perhaps its only appropriate that we had some of the cutting edge facilities users in many other countries enjoy. Quite surprisingly however our next door neighbour, Pakistan, seems to have caught the portability train earlier than us (way back in 2007)! [Source - Wikipedia]

As per the new rules, you need to pay upto Rs.19 (dont expect it to be anything less than that!) for the transfer (which is quite reasonable I think). Also you need to hold on to your service provider for 90 days (again, pretty reasonable I believe). What this will do is increase the competition among operators who will have to dish out some pretty customer friendly offers to hold on to their customer base. For instance, since Vodafone has discontinued its 'unlimited GPRS' aka Vodafone Live net-on-phone pack, I'm planning to take full advantage of this offer and switch to Aircel, which apparently has an unlimited GPRS plan for just 98 bucks!

At last we are free from the clutches of crappy offers! w00t!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Smile Pinki

Jonathan Curiel and Megan Mylan talking about ...Image by Steve Rhodes via FlickrI would say, I had the privilege of watching this movie yesterday.

Smile Pinki is the story of a five year old girl Pinki from Bihar who has cleft lip who gets a new lease of life when . The social stigma, the superstitions associated with cleft had kept the little girl in a miserable state until the family comes across Pankaj Kumar Singh, a social worker associated with G.S. Memorial Plastic Surgery Hospital in Varanasi. The movie follows the journey of Pinki as she goes through her surgery and smiles all over again!

A brilliant short film by director Meg Mylan, which deservedly received the Oscar for the best Documentary Short, this is a must watch for everyone. Undoubtedly one of the most inspiring movies I've seen in a long long time.


Check out the following links for official sites and videos of the movie: