Friday, December 17, 2010

Yahoo to shut down Delicious

It has now emerged that Yahoo will be shutting down some of the services that it deems unproductive. Surprisingly among those services to be axed is Delicious, the very popular social bookmarking service.

To be quite frank, this decision of Yahoo isnt surprising since they had revealed a need to cut down on employees. However that having an effect on its services, especially popular ones like Delicious is quite unexpected. There are only a handful of services from Yahoo which I find useful. Among them would be Flickr (the image sharing site cum community, which happens to have an incredible numer of professional photographers), Yahoo mail (yeah some of us still ue it) and Delicious. Yahoo search engine is nothing even remotely close to relevant, even the new Bing seems to have become more popular than Yahoo search (although Yahoo does contribute to Bing in a very complicated and weird way). So frankly Yahoo would be closing down one of its three most relevant services. Now thats really shocking.

Anyway the only thing one can hope is that Yahoo does get its act together and maybe integrates Delicious into one of its other social portals.

Friday, December 10, 2010

India's new climate policy - a layman's view

Cropped from image of Jairam Ramesh the Indian...Image via Wikipedia
Cancun has turned out to be something of a surprise as far as climate change is concerned. The world seemed deadlocked in the 'no change in the stance of developing countries' debate, especially so after the Copenhagen fiasco.

And then came Jairam Ramesh. India's charismatic environment minister with a hairdo, even David Beckham might find hard to pull off. When the Cancun conference on climate change was heading the Copenhagen way, he announced that India was after all willing to change its rigid anti-emission reduction stance and enter into a legally binding agreement for the same.

India has for a long time held a view that the developed countries contributed more to global warming than the developing ones. Something which is factually true. However the US and the other developed countries were of the view that India shouldnt take the same path to development that others have taken in the past. Hence, a complete U-turn of India's stand does come as a surprise.

India is an emerging superpower, or in the words of the current US President, India has already emerged! Now a legally binding stand on reducing emissions will take a hit on India's economy and growth. In a country which still has a large number of people living below the specified poverty limit, can we as a country afford to think about saving the greens? Arent we being burdened by a problem which has been created by the West? Why should India suffer because of their mismanagement and failed planning of the West?

Well, we could go on arguing about these. But frankly this will lead us nowhere. Decades of such discussions, confrontations and negotiations have yielded absolutely no results. Unfortunately these have left us with little option but to act, with immediate effect. It is the responsibility of everyone regardless of their contribution to the present climate scenario to chip in with whatever they can. However balancing growth and reducing emissions will be a tough act which will have to be addressed by the governments.

Notion Ink Adam - Doubts and Confusion Abound

portada_notion_ink_comImage by darkpollo via Flickr
It has been a long time since Notion Ink started on their journey to create that tablet of dreams. A tablet to rival even the mighty Apple iPad and the now immensely successful Samsung Galaxy tab.

Slowly the technical specifications started rolling in. And astounding they were! Dual core Nvidia Tegra 2 processor, Pixel Qi display, HDMI ports, inbuilt Adobe AIR/Flash compatibility, Android 2.2 and beyond compatibility, etc.

The company was however very careful in what it released. I never found a single video of the tablet in action. Everything from the boot screen demo to app functions were 'custom made' videos. Even pictures of the tablet being posted were either immensely photoshopped or had serious typographical/grammatical errors (check out this screenshot posted yesterday). Although this was indeed making me suspicious, it didnt really dampen my spirits especially since its an Indian made tablet which hopefully would be much better and cheaper than its Apple and Android counterparts.

Yesterday, after long and long and extra long delays, Notion Ink finally opened their 'store' to pre orders. However thats when things started to go wrong, horribly wrong. Notion Ink had promised the Notion Ink "family" that it would open its doors first to them and then to the world, 6 hours later. Many many 'members' then commented on the blog that they hadnt received the notification mail even when they were part of the Notion Ink 'family'. Later when the store opened up for everyone, there were payment faults, error messages, payments getting failed etc. Notion Ink has admitted now that there was indeed a problem with the servers.

To add to the slew of problems was Notion Ink posted their terms and conditions and warranty policies which not just shocked many but also made Notion Ink Adam a contender for 'scamware of the year'. To be short and precise, Notion Ink will charge you for every single manufacturing fault of theirs even if its within the warranty period and will deduct the shipping charges from your pocket too! I cant remember the last time I came across such insane warranty policies. Oh wait, there's more. Notion Ink Adam will apparently ship from China! (Yea even I was WTFed when I first learnt about it) And so, you will have to shell out $50 for shipping plus import duties regardless of where you are located.

Compare this to the support system of Samsung which gives you Samsung warranty without any such weird preconditions and shipping issues. I really dont mind shelling out the extra $$$ to get the largest selling Android tablet. Notion Ink's business just seems way too fishy right now. What a shame!

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Nexus S - A Gamechanger?

Its quite known now that Samsung will be coming out with the next version of Google's beloved Nexus 2, now of course universally known as the Nexus S. Although the technical specs arent very clear right now, it is expected to be very impressive, in the league of the Galaxy S and HTC Desire.

Android is clearly the smartphone of the future and is bound to overtake the iPhone in due time (provided of course Apple doesnt come up with an outstanding phone by next year or so). And since the Nexus one has been such a legendary phone, its expected that the Nexus S will take that bandwagon forward and build a whole new N class (not to be confused with the N series of Nokia, which has become pretty pointless by now). Something very interesting therefore awaits us in the coming months.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Why I Hate Winters

Windbeeches on the Schauinsland in Germany (Bl...Image via Wikipedia
1. Winters are cold.
2. Winters are cold (pun intended).
3. Winters are for vegetables (no pun intended!)
4. Innocent animals get killed in winters (for the pleasure of the fashionistas).
5. Winters are for people who like "dressing up". (not that I'm a nudist. But wearing layers and layers of woollen clothes SUCK!)
6. Winters have shorter days. (I mean seriously, arent the above points torturing enough?)
7. Winters have long nights. (oh that was kinda the continuation of the last point)
8. Winter is a bad time for birdwatching. (pun intended? Well I'll leave that to you)
9. It impossible to wake up early in winters.
10. Did I say winters were cold?

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Should the online world have complete freedom of speech?

Icon for censorshipImage via Wikipedia
Blogs, websites, online diaries or any other form of online publishing enjoys quite frankly the complete absence of censorship. To be fair though, there is 'some' amount of filtering which is done but its mostly regarding absolutely outrageous content. 

Then again, if one has a self hosted blog that censorship doesnt happen. So frankly everone can have a field day on the internet expressing our beliefs, opinions, concerns and fears without having to worry about any part of it getting blocked.
Then something like the wiki leaks episode happens and politicians go crazy and the moral police all over the world start talking about excessive liberalisation happening all over the internet. This in my opinion is a valid debate and should be discussed. Even though something like wiki leaks is about exposing the deeds of various governments by leaking various documents obtained by shady and unethical means, it still is a glowing example of the freedom of 'speech' in the online world.

The question is though, is this freedom being misused? Is this freedom an example of all rights and no duties? Does this freedom need some curbing? Do we need some sort of censorship of sensitive content?
Time and again, the internet (rather some people using it) has been used for outrageous hate speeches. Be it against religious icons, celebrated leaders or regarding sensitive classified content. Some of these actions have led to public outrage and chaos in some parts of the world which could have otherwise been avoided. Some of the web is registered for unethical and illegal activities.

Total and complete freedom may be essential for a flourishing democracy, the online world being one but its upto the users to ensure some sort of filtering mechanism. Now that sort of a thing cannot and should not be imposed upon us by governments but by independent people around the world of considerable repute. Only then will the web be a safe, smart and civilised domain.