I read stuff like this all the time, but I don’t know why this one’s stuck to my mind since the past 36 hours or so. Some newspapers have built articles based on Orkut scraps left behind by people, known and unknown. Since when has Orkut become an authentic source of information? I remember reading similar articles when Minal Panchal was shot in the Virginia Tech massacre.
Perhaps this is good reason to activate those privacy settings in your Orkut scrapbook- even if you happen to die, people won’t hound your scrapbook. Google, of course, won’t delete your account, unless it has been notified to do so. I don’t know the exact procedure, but I’m guessing that it is very elaborate.
During times like these, I feel happy that I don’t use Orkut and that I’m not much of a Facebook user either.
Coming back to the killing case, does anything ever justify taking someone else’s life? For most of us, the answer would be no. It is only when the answer is a Yes that we get to read about it in the media. If you think that everyone is condemning this act, then think again. You will be surprised to know that there are tons of people out there (mostly men) who support Amit Budhiraja’s killing act. I was reading the scraps left in their Orkut profiles and going by that, people have given various justifiable reasons-
“..If the story is true about the affair, I don’t condemn your decision.. I feel sorry for the pain you must have gone through, insecure or not, there’s no man in this world who is going to have the woman he truly loves even in the thoughts of another person…” – If every man would kill a woman because of adultery and justice is meted out in this manner, then why bother having a judiciary?
“…You saved more than 3 people by killing just 2, you saved your parents, yourself and your relatives from the dowry harrassment!! You set the right example for others.”- Which brings me to the question of Dowry Harassment. The Dowry Laws in India have been deemed inadequate by lots of people, who feel that a woman can always file a false dowry harassment case against her husband and put the husband and her in-laws behind bars. Is it so simple? Of course not. So why exactly are we over-simplifying this issue?
I’m not denying the fact that there are women out there who misuse the law and undermine the genuineness of some other dowry cases. But an eye for an eye will make the entire world blind.
There are others out there who don’t know the couple personally, yet are hasty in drawing conclusions based on shaky premises. For example- Some are accusing Rinku of adultery and of cheating. Do we know her side of story? All that’s come to light is a 6 page suicide note written by Amit. And there are some more who have taken their hatred one step further and have abused Rinku’s office colleague, Arvind Kejariwal, of having an illicit affair with a married woman and for being responsible for the deaths. Why blame him? Why blame anyone?
I came across this quote sometime back, that tries to explain the psychology behind cheating-
“I’ve thought a lot about the psychology of cheating and reckon it flows largely from one thing – you don’t value yourself as a person: if you did, you’d end a relationship that was not fulfilling because, knowing how valuable you are, you’d be sure to find someone else.”
Why not just keep quiet, take a note of the matter at hand and move on? You don’t need to physically end someone’s life. This can also be achieved through mental torture…something like what V.S Naipaul confesses to have done. Isn’t he a murderer then? Why not put him behind bars?
Online social networks seem to be proliferating at an exponential rate and it has become quite necessary for us to aggregate them in one place. It’s difficult to keep track of different people and their online activity in different networks. There are lots of websites online where you can aggregate all your online accounts and then, circulate a “master feed”, that simplifies the entire process. I really love this idea and have been tinkering with it since the past couple of days. These are some of the websites that I would recommend:
1. Friendfeed- Started by three ex-Google employees, and still in beta phase. You need to request an invitation to join it. I got mine on the same day. They plan to make this service public by the end of next month. The UI is extremely simple and resembles Google. Friendfeed tops my list for the simplicity of the sign up process (less than 30 seconds), and the overall usability. You can aggregate all your online accounts, such as Twitter, Jaiku, Pownce, Facebook status updates, Netflix queue, Amazon wish list, Tumblr, Youtube, Blogs, Digg, Stumbleupon, Reddit, Delicious…I’m tired! Your friends can just subscribe to the “master feed” and know what you’ve been doing everywhere. Simplicity is what we should aim for. Take a look at my Friendfeed page.
People can also comment on your activities and decide if they “Like it”. Deleting a particular activity from your feed is also very easy and takes only a single click. You can also install a bookmarklet that lets you post anything that you liked to your friendfeed profile. You can also install a Facebook application that will integrate your Friendfeed with your Facebook profile. I haven’t seen these features in any of the other “Aggregation” services.
The only drawback that I see here is that there is no way of adding any sort of single sentence profile. Louisgray.com has ten suggestions for its improvement.
2. Soup.io- Very similar to friendfeed, minus the ability to comment. The best part is that you can try the service without even signing up. Of course, if you want to make your profile permanent, then you need to make an account, that takes only 20 seconds. You can customize the look of your page by adding a theme and editing the CSS. But I didn’t like the fact that I need to click twice in order to delete a particular entry (once, initially, and the second time, to confirm) and for me, that’s very important! But yes, it’s open to public and you don’t need to wait for an invitation. Take a look at my soup page.
3. Readr- This has been in existence since a longer time, compared to Friendfeed and Soup.io. Again, you have the ability to comment on particular items, choose a theme and merge all your online accounts together. There is nothing unique about this service, IMO. Soup.io and Readr are clones of each other. Readr’s output of the feeds is not that nice looking and it kind of looks jumbled up. Another problem is that when you initially set up an account with them, then your items will be shown in the order you added the feeds and not in the chronological order. So, you might have three pages of Delicious, two pages of Stumbleupon, one page of Digg etc. You get the picture. Take a look at my page for an example. The process of adding accounts was a little more cumbersome because the default number of accounts that are available are less compared to Friendfeed or Soup.io.
Apart from these major player, there are others such as Mugshot, 30boxes (the sign up process needed me to click on a link in an email and that is a complete no-no when we compare it with its competitors), etc. The bottomline- The web 2.0 sites are showing a tremendous upsurge in the usage. If you don’t sign up for an aggregator today, you very well have to a couple of months down the line. And what are those RSS feeds for? We need to embrace anything that helps us save time (and become lazier).
In this Web 2.0 picture:
I thought that Reddit was bigger, but it’s reach is 900 and valued at just about $30 milloon. Of course, Stumbleupon is much bigger, with a reach of 1,800 and valued at a little less than $100 million. Digg remains strong and steady with a reach of 6,000 and a little less than $500 million in valuation. The biggest joke here is Windows Live Spaces, right at the bottom of the graph (towards the middle), with a reach of 15 and any guesses regarding its market value?
MyBlogLog, Netvibes, and Meebo (also won a Crunchie) are almost in the same category. Orkut (reach of 26,000) is still bigger than Facebook (reach of 9,000), yet the latter makes more noise in the Web 2.0 world.
And you know the best thing? Google owns three out of the top five market value/reach grossers- Youtube, Orkut and Blogger. Just another graph to show how powerful Google is becoming. The only thing is that I see Bloglines in the third tier, with a reach of 2,200, but I don’t see Google Reader anywhere. It might be possible that Google Reader was excluded (very unlikely though). Bloglines was my first feedreader. Then I changed to Google Reader and now I use the in-built feed reader provided by the social web browser, Flock.
Box is also doing pretty decent with a reach of 500 and I strongly feel that it will rise very soon because of its lovely user interface.
Where is Yahoo Mash? It seems to have disappeared already. I wanted to do a follow up on it…maybe I need to take a look at my account and see if Yahoo has introduced any new features. There is no way Yahoo Mash will be able to play catch up with Facebook or Orkut. Something that is very evident from this graph.
While we’re on the topics of Web 2.0 start ups, maybe it’s not too late to assess what kind of a Web 2.0 user are you? I’m sure most of you are at least Spectators (33%), else you wouldn’t be reading this blog.
I could write miles about Web 2.0 and each of these companies, and still not get done. So, it’s better if we just talk about issues in the comments section, right?
The power of customizing your internet experience with the help of Greasemonkey Scripts is limitless and it’s one of the best things about using Mozilla Firefox. All of these scripts also work with the social web browser, Flock. In case you didn’t know, Greasemonkey is an add on that lets you install user made scripts.
Here’s a list of my favorite Greasemonkey scripts (I’m using ALL of them currently)-
For Facebook Users-
UnF*ck Facebook- If you’re sick of rummaging through millions of third party applications on your friends’ profile pages before you reach the Wall, then this is the script for you. I have been using this script since yesterday and I would give it a 5/5. It’s that good. I was transported back to the time when Facebook didn’t have all those annoying Facebook applications.
Cleaner Amazon(screenshot available)- I really love buying books and electronics from Amazon and if I were richer, then I would have spent al my money there. This script “gets the useful book information (pub date, ISBN, #pages) closer to the top, eliminates some useless sections (best value, customers also bought, etc.).”
The Movie Dude(screenshot available)- It adds cross links between many movie sites, such as Rotten Tomatoes, IMDB, Netflix, Yahoo! Movies, Flixster etc. It’s really cool and you should definitely give it a try. For example- Just search for any movie in the IMDB wesbite and you’ll find small favicons that will cross link to the other movie sites.
Search function made easier- LookItUp lets you search for any word of your choice on various websites such as Google, Wikipedia, Answers.com, The Free Dictionary etc. without leaving the web page. All you gotta do is highlight the word and press “?”. There are many other shortcuts that can be learned from the developer’s page.
Delicious_Blank: Adds a target _blank to links so that they can open in a new tab instead of a new window.
Textarea Backup: The primary purpose of this userscript is to save having to retype lost emails, forum posts, bug submissions, etc. The backup should be transparent so if the page is reloaded for whatever reason, be it browser crash, unintended exit or a forgetful website, the previously entered text will be restored.
Pre-Fill Comments Form: Complete the author, email & URL fields (& focus on the message box) in most comment forms by hitting ‘ALT+C’ .It is designed to work with wordpress blogs, but will work with any blog that uses the same id’s for fields. You will be asked for your name/email/URL the first time you run the script. It will then remember your values so you never have to fill them out again! To change your name/email/url at a later date just hit ‘SHIFT+ALT+C’ and you will prompted for your new values.
Google Service Enhancers-
Google Search Results Ultimate Makeover- It adds a number of amazing features such as Google Suggest, search results are displayed in two columns instead of one, Adds Google Page Rank, enables snap shot, add favicons to all links, embeds videos right into the search results, removes all ads from the search page etc. Personally, I love this script a lot.
Edit: Forgot to add that I also like to use Customize Google along with this add on because it provide links to other search engines and blocks Google Analytics cookies.
Mailto 2 Webmail: Makes “mailto” links open in your favorite web-based email account, instead of a pop-3 client (like Outlook, Eudora, Thunderbird, etc.) Supports Gmail, Yahoo Mail, and Google Apps Mail.
Google Services in HTTPS: Change Google Url services using HTTP by same service using HTTPS for security.
Google Extra- Displays results for google image search, video search, wikipedia search, dictionary.com search and Dict.CN search alongside normal google searches.
From my Previous Posts-
WordPress Ninja Comment- Respond directly from the comment administration panel on your dashboard, by either a comment or an email or both.
Social Bookmarking for WordPress- Generates pure html code for adding social bookmarking links (with favicons with buttons)to blog posts at wordpress.com which users can click to add the blog post page to their fav. bookmark sites like del.icio.us,digg & 20 other bookmarking sites.
Are you lost? First time using a greasemonkey script? don’t worry! All you gotta do is make sure you’re using Firefox/Flock web browser. Then install the greasemonkey add on. After that, you’re ready to install any of the above mentioned scripts.
Those of you who love Mozilla Firefox will absolutely swoon over the ‘social browser’ Flock. It’s out of beta finally and version 1 was released in early November. It’s an absolute pleasure using it because it has a number of blogging and social networking tools. It has a number of wonderful features:
1. Inbuilt tool for writing a blog post: Just like Firefox users can add Performancing, Flock has this tool which has all the basic features needed for writing a bog post. I haven’t yet tried it, but for those of you who write short posts (esp. after reading something on the internet), this feature will definitely come handy.
The greater amount of integration there is in a browser, the better it is.
3. Remain signed into all those networking website right from the comforts of your browser: Yes! All you Facebook, Youtube, and Flickr enthusiasts, this one is for you. (Take a look at the picture above) You can use all the basic features of Facebook right from this sidebar. Same goes for Flickr and Youtube.
4. Upload pictures to Photobucket/Flickr/Facebook directly from your browser when the pictures are stored in your hard disk.
5. There is a “Media” tab that lets you browse through different Youtube videos and search and play your favorite ones in a mini window that always remains at the top. So, even if you are browsing the internet, the video window will stay on top of your current page. This reduces the need to stay on Youtube while watching videos. You can also browse recently uploaded photos on Flickr/Photobucket or photos uploaded by your friends on Facebook. (Take a look at the picture above).
6. Inbuilt Clipboard: Let’s you drag and drop any URL, picture, text from a webpage on to the sidebar for later use.
Too good to be true huh?
6. I even like their Feed Reader. It’s much cooler than Firefox’s.
8. You can add other Flock users to your friend list using an add on called “Me.dium” and see what they’re browsing. I haven’t yet given this one a try, but soon, I will. If any of you want to add me, then leave me a comment.
Most of the Firefox plug ins and add ons work with Flock. My biggest fear was if the Greasemonkey script will work and it does!
Flock has special features that imports all your settings (including the add ons) from your Firefox browser.
The only thing lacking now is perhaps “Themes”. I’m not really a user of browser themes; so it doesn’t really matter to me.
Another really cool thing that I noticed is that suppose you are reading one of your friend’s blogs. When you hover your mouse over their pictures, which in case they’ve uploaded from their Flickr album, then your browser will prompt you and let you view their entire Flickr album in the “Media stream at the upper corner of your browser. You can also ask your browser to let you know if your friends have updated their albums recently. Yes, lots of cool stuff…
So, why don’t you give it a try? Let’s flock n roll!
After ages, Microsoft did something smart and got a small slice of Facebook for $240 million, which is actually not much for the software giant if you take a look at the company’s cash flow statement. The deal ends in 2011. This gives Facebook lots of cash to hire more developers. Microsoft gains access to a new advertising venue, but what is probably more important for them right now is the fact that they’ve beat Google. If you guys remember, Google had partnered with MySpace earlier and they also own the “immensely” popular (at least in Brazil and India) social networking site Orkut. I think Microsoft really needed this deal, especially after Ballmer said that they are looking to acquire around 100 start ups in the next year or so. Looks like he’s finally doing something right.
Zuckerberg is smart too. He’s given Microsoft only 1.6% of his growing empire. Right now, it looks like a win-win situation for both the parties.
What kind of advertisements do we expect to see? I definitely don’t want to see “Live Search” boxes. Else I’m quitting Facebook too. As it is, all those crazy application requests are driving me crazy. So, I generally don’t send requests to my friends to add these applications. I wish they would do the same. It will save me a few clicks.
By the way, I would love to see personalized URLs on Facebook- something like what MySpace and LinkedIn let you do. I wonder why we haven’t gotten that option yet.
Raphy sent me an invitation for Yahoo! Mash a couple of weeks ago. Thanks to him, I got in within 48 hours of its opening I have been meaning to do a post on it since quite some time, but haven’t been able to. Mash is still in Beta and is available by invitations only. So leave me a comment if you want an invite!
Customization- There is a lot of customization that you can do to your profile AND to your friend’s profiles, if they allow it. I think this is a new idea and can become a hit. However, I wouldn’t like someone editing my profile and writing stupid stuff all the time. You can restrict it to “Only Me”, Some of my friends (Best friends only, family only ), Any of my friends, or to Everyone (meaning even someone who is not on your friend list can edit it)
Profile Creation- Very easy process. Just click on any area and edit. You can also customize your wallpaper, fonts etc. By default, your display picture is the same as your Yahoo! Messenger (or Yahoo! Mail) display picture.
My Pet- You get to have your own pet and name it to. You can feed it, kill it (like I did), lick, mash it etc.
My Stuff- Add videos, songs, any other links etc.
Modules- Just like Facebook has Applications, Yahoo! Mash has Modules. Some of the most popular ones are- Flickr RSS Gallery (what is it with people posting every damn photo in their digital camera on Flickr and then showing off? I find it to be highly irritating and repulsive. I know Scoble does it all the time. He’s very happy that he’s already clicked about 36 GB worth of pictures of his new baby boy Milan), PimpMyPet (customize your pet), EgoBoost ( Is self loathing getting you down?), Astrology, Asteroids (Shoot the asteroids before they destroy you), Yahoo Weather, Gift for Friends (something like Free Gift on Facebook).
There is a lot going on there, but Yahoo! Mash faces stiff competition from Facebook, MySpace and Orkut (even though I’ve deleted my profile here. Can’t stand this social networking site. It sucks!). Not to forget, it’s only in Beta testing mode right now. The later it hits the general public, the more difficult it will get to play catch up. I don’t find any reason to become active on Mash in addition to Facebook.
Check out the screen shots in this blog.
You can read the Official Mash Blog to remain updated!