I’m getting a little sick in the stomach, seeing Mumbai terror attacks coverage on CNN. Most of the times, their news is “stale”, in comparison to the news posted on Twitter.(Just search for #Mumbai). Citizen journalism is turning out to be more comprehensive, well-timed and exhaustive compared to traditional media. Lots of articles on the net that are talking about the power of twitter and bloggers. Lots of bloggers like Arun Shanbag, Vinu etc. have come into limelight because of their responsible journalism- they care for you and me. News channels cover these events only for their own good, to increase their TRP ratings etc.
I have only been a moderate user of Twitter- a couple of tweets here and there. Nothing more. This incident, however, has changed the way I feel about Twitter. It has the potential of becoming a stronger force to reckon with. A force fueled by ordinary people like you and me.
I came across a nicely put Google spreadsheet that has the list of people who are either injured/dead. My eyes welled up with tears. Two of my friend’s friends at Leopold Cafe and another friend of my friend’s younger brother, who was interning as a chef at Taj Mahal Hotel, were shot dead. I was speechless.
Of course, there are haters who talk about the side effects of Twitter and how lots of Tweets were only rumors. I have only one response to these haters- don’t news channels run their business based on rumors too? What’s new?
People have issued statements saying that “people need to tweet responsibly and stop airing all important news on Twitter; this can be used as a weapon etc”. I understand how this can be dangerous, but complainers need to find a way to deal with it! Restricting the use of social networking sites is tantamount to taking away our freedom of speech.
How many citizens sitting in the comforts of their homes and tweeting away to glory have actually done something (donated blood, tried to find information for people who are yet to hear from their loved ones etc.) is questionable. And I’m sure there are others who think this is a great party and a trendy topic to talk about. Leaving such people aside, I do hope that some good comes out of it.
Related Reading: In Mumbai, Bloggers and Twitter Offer Help to Relatives
I went “offline” in the sense that I completely stopped blogging. It’s not that I got bored of it or anything…just had a lot of other stuff lined up and didn’t know how to prioritize. Thank you all for reading and commenting. It feels nice to be missed. I’m sorry for not keeping in touch though. I can really disappear if I want/need to.
The WordPress page’s layout has changed- quite a bit. Just noticed it a minute or two ago, when I was trying to log in. I wasn’t even sure if I’ll be able to guess my password at one go. Yes, it’s been that long. I started on this new job about three months back and it’s been an uphill battle to try and wake up by 7 am and be in office by 8 am. I’m proud of the fact that I’m almost always on time. And what is my job related to? IT of course.
My folks came over from India for a couple of weeks. I finally took my long, impending trip to New York City. I so wanted to watch Woody Allen perform at Hotel Carlyle. Lallo, you can be happy now. Good enough reason to visit NYC again. I could write pages and pages about my trip. Unfortunately, I really don’t have the words. Some of the places that I visited- Times Square, Brooklyn Bridge, Manhattan Bridge, Queens, Soho, Liberty Island and The Status of Liberty, Ellis Island, Empire State Building, Wall St, 5th Avenue (did lots of “window shopping”), ate Brooklyn style pizza in some Italian restaurants, walked by foot and traveled by the famous subways all the time, ate honey roasted almonds, learned how to read the complicated subway map, Trinity Church, Ground Zero (site of WTC) of course. It’s only when you are in Manhattan that you realize how easy it is to fall in love with this city and New Yorkers. Woody Allen, this trip was for you.
Also heard that J.K Rowling is releasing “The Tales of Beedle the Bard” for everyone. I’d already predicted this, in fact. Who’s buying the $100 leather bound version?
I did some movie watching too! My top favorites are The Dark Knight (9.5/10), Turtles Can Fly (9/10), Terminator 2 (9/10), and Omkara (8.5/10). And finally, I bought the entire collection of Decalogue by Krzysztof Kieslowski off Amazon.
Now for some NYC pics-
Generally, I don’t post gossip stuff. But this was too good and too controversial. Jimmy Wales, the creator of Wikipedia, first broke off with his girlfriend, Rachel Marsden through an announcement on Wikipedia. (Yes, this is worse than JakobandJulia).
The current price of T shirt (while I’m writing this ridiculous post) is $102.50 and the sweater is $202.50, excluding shipping costs. Can’t believe that people are actually buying this crap. The woman is definitely smart. At least, she’s making some money from two pieces of clothing. There are 9 days and 3 hours left for the bidding to end.
This is the Ebay description:
Hi, my name is Rachel and my (now ex) boyfriend, Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales, just broke up with me via an announcement on Wikipedia (http://valleywag.com/362730/wikipedia-creator-jimmy-wales-dumps-girlfriend-on-wikipedia). It was such a classy move that I was inspired to do something equally classy myself, so I’m selling a couple of items of clothing he left behind, here in my NYC apartment, on eBay. Jimbo was supposed to come visit me in a couple of weeks and pick up some of his stuff, but obviously that won’t be happening now.
Both of these items have been washed, twice, with Tide extra-strength liquid detergent. Otherwise, they would not be in salable condition. I took them out of GitMo style isolation from a plastic bag in my closet (where they were placed to prevent the ongoing terrorism of my olfactory senses) and washed them out for the purposes of this auction. Even so, this particular item — a medium sized, black “Starter” brand shirt — has two white stains (one on the sleeve, as shown in the photo, and one in the back) which I have been unable to remove.
PS: Sorry that my hair is such a mess — I’m in breakup mode right now and really couldn’t be bothered.
Go and bid guys! Don’t you want to be a part of the history? Heh.
Of my absence is this darling tumblelog that I made sometime back. I’m not being able to control my new found obsession. It’s so easy to post pictures, quotes, video, audio (yes, you can upload everything to their servers free of cost), and many other things in a couple of seconds with the help of a bookmarklet. It might very well bring around the death of blogging of one day. Okay, so I’m going over board. Not death, but Twitter, Tumblr, Pownce, Soup and other micro blogging platforms are here to stay, which is apparent from the number of posts that people make in their tumblelogs, compared to their blogs. And I seem to be one of them.
As much as I love blogging, there are times when I don’t blog about stuff (that I would really love to), because of the need to tailor my post to a particular length, or to include links etc. and all of this is very time consuming. I’m finding my tumblelog to be quite liberating in this way, in that there is no pressure. It’s more personal by nature and I’ve already made an awesome set of “followers” there.
Consider getting yourself one of these, if you like writing shorts posts. And we can be neighbors and follow each other.
Here’s a donut for you people- Take a look at all the lovely pictures/funny stuff that I’ve collected so far on this interactive page.
Finally, EU hits Microsoft with a hefty 899 million euros fine, because the latter, has been defying the court’s ruling since 2004. This case has generated a lot of media attention in the past few months and why not? Whenever there is anything to do with Microsoft, people in the media (including me) get excited.
So, why was Microsoft fined? Because-
The commission hit Microsoft with the new penalty, the sum of daily fines running from June 21, 2006 to October 21, 2007, because it said Microsoft had failed to charge rivals reasonable prices for access to key information about its work-group or back-office servers in contravention of the 2004 ruling.
Oh, and this too:
In particular, it accused Microsoft of using its stranglehold on PC operating systems to elbow rivals out of the more competitive markets for media players that play music and videos, and operating systems running back-office servers.
The European Union has also launched new cases against Microsoft targeting a broad range of software, including MIcrosoft’s Office suite.
And where did I read this piece of wonderful breakfast news? At Google News of course.
Microsoft’s second quarter Net Income was around $6.48 billion and for a company this large, $1.40 Billion will prove to be a lot of money, if you consider the intangibles and the future revenues that might (and will) fly out of the window.
Related Reading: Microsoft’s Core Competency
Blogged with Flock
Alltop has nine sections:
As you can guess, Ego features the rantings of “top” bloggers, such as Kawaski himself, Scoble, Fake Steve Jobs, Seth Godin etc. I am surprised that he’s given Mac a separate section. On second thoughts, I’m not really that surprised. But it does look a little unfair. If he’s given Mac a separate section, then why did he hesitate in giving technology and science two different pages?
The news sources that Alltop uses are quite good content wise. For example- The Science section has New York Times, BBC, Newsweek, Yahoo! Science News among others. Popurls is more focused on user driven content, such as, Digg, Delicious, Reddit, Stumbleupon, Truemors etc.
- I’m hoping that with time, he will let us customize the look of the site.
- Don’t like clicking on different pages for accessing different sections. Probably I’ve gotten too Popurlized.
- Also, if you notice, the page footer is quite annoying because it keeps moving as you scroll up or down the page. A static footer would have been much better.
Will it be a popurl killer? Probably not. The crowd that Alltop wants to attract seems to be quite different. Unless Kawasaki makes some changes to the basic layout of the site, I don’t see myself being a regular reader. That footer is way too annoying.
The other day, I made some points on this entire move made by Microsoft. Most of this was focused on the effect it will have on Yahoo and how the combined entity will be able to pull off such a humongous merger. There is a very interesting post in the Official Google blog that totally highlights their insecurity:
So Microsoft’s hostile bid for Yahoo! raises troubling questions. This is about more than simply a financial transaction, one company taking over another. It’s about preserving the underlying principles of the Internet: openness and innovation.
Could Microsoft now attempt to exert the same sort of inappropriate and illegal influence over the Internet that it did with the PC? While the Internet rewards competitive innovation, Microsoft has frequently sought to establish proprietary monopolies — and then leverage its dominance into new, adjacent markets.
It’s tantamount to one thief calling the other person a thief! What about Google’s interest in the 700 MHz spectrum? What about their “habit” of copying each product that their competitors release? None of their products like Google Documents, Google Talk, Google Mail etc. are totally “original”. They shouldn’t even be talking about Microsoft’s “legacy of serious legal and regulatory offenses”. Their financial statements were being audited sometime back because the regulatory authorities felt that they were incomplete. Correct me if I’m wrong.
It’s not that I’m against Google. In fact, most of my regular readers call me an “Anti Microsoft” person. So this post is quite out of the line for me. You won’t read such good words for Microsoft very often on this blog.
I think Google feels quite threatened and they have good reason to be. Microsoft has a huge share in the PC Market and if they were to merge with Yahoo, then the internet dominance fight will only get more interesting. The consumers will benefit in either case. So it’s good for the consumers I would say.
Further, they say:
Could a combination of the two take advantage of a PC software monopoly to unfairly limit the ability of consumers to freely access competitors’ email, IM, and web-based services?
Google shouldn’t even be commenting on the monopoly issue here because this is exactly what they are trying to do now. How else would you explain their coming out with every possible internet service and all of them being accessible from a single Google account?
And you’ll find it interesting to know that I could hardly find any “Google suggestions” when I started typing “Google trouble” or “Google audit”. Of course, Yahoo! gave me more results for once.
Market Watch (owned by News Corp) has another take on this entire issue. I kind of agree with what they have to say because it’s perfectly logical and quite unbiased. While they mention this positive point:
If Microsoft’s acquisition of Yahoo is consummated…
…the Goliath of the PC desktop will represent the one truly credible competitor to Google in the online world. (News Corp. is the owner of MarketWatch.com, the publisher of this column.)
They also mention the negatives:
Put it all together, and Microsoft/Yahoo vaults to the number one position with site traffic that’s nearly double Google’s. That’s the good news. The combination would still lag Google’s sales by a factor of two to one — $2.6 billion for Microsoft/Yahoo in the last quarter of 2007, despite the traffic advantage, as compared with $4.8 billion for Google.
And I agree that Microsoft +Yahoo is the only way that Google can be stopped. Otherwise, even though Google propounds “Do No Evil”, this is exactly what the company has started to do and will do full scale in the future.
UPDATE: Now my Yahoo! account has been hit. I don’t know what’s happening. I’m not being able to log-in. I use this email for a lot of correspondence work. I had used this account to purchase a domain name today and my credit card detail’s stored. This Yahoo! account was earlier being used as the Alternate Email address for my GMail account. Before this problem started, I’d changed the alternate email address for my GMail account. I’ve been trying to log in. Doesn’t work. I’m trying to use the Forgot Password Page. But all that I get is a BLANK PAGE. No Password. I am on hold with Yahoo! Small Business Center because I bought a domain through them and my Yahoo! Mail account is linked to my Domain account. Let’s see if they’ll be able to help…else I don’t know what to do.
In the mean time, if you want to contact me, email me at timeandagainblog at gmail dot com. I’ll answer your comments once this tension is over. Please bear with me. If you have any advice, please leave me a comment or an email at the above mentioned GMail address.
A couple of weeks back, Ish had written a post saying that someone is trying to hack his GMail account. The same thing’s happening to me now. I got a “Change Password” link in my secondary e-mail address thrice. Good thing that I was online when this happened.
Me: Is this a genuine email? This can’t be happening to me!
Yahoo! Mail: Yes, this is a genuine email. We’ve verified it.
Me: Okay! I gotta think fast.
So, I deleted those emails with the “Change Password” links. Next, I logged into my Google account and Changed the Password and the Security Question too. Unfortunately, I use the same Google account for all my services- Google Mail, Google Reader, Google Analytics, Google Calendar, Google Notebook et al. Not to forget, the most important of all, Google Checkout, which has my credit card details. So, I’ve deleted that too. The last thing I want to be hit with is a bill costing me thousands of dollars.
The GMail account associated with this ID is quite important because I use it for lots of important work. Anyway, after doing some preliminary damage control, I sat down to think who could be behind this attack. Can be anyone, unfortunately. People are so curious to know about other people’s private lives…it’s quite funny.
Did the hacker really think that clicking the “Forgot Password” link would be a good way to hack into my account? Didn’t he know that the “Forgot password” link would be delivered in my secondary e-mail address? I’m guessing that whoever tried this method is probably an amateur hacker.
This incident reminds me of another one that happened a couple of months back. One of my good friends tried to hack into my Yahoo! Mail account. I was dumb enough to assume that nobody will ever try to hack my email account. This friend knew enough about me to guess the answer of the Security Question. The next day, I tried to log into my Yahoo account and failed to do so. It didn’t even occur to me that it might have been hacked. I thought that Yahoo’s server must be down.
Next, I logged into my GMail account to check my emails. To my surprise, the very first email was from my friend, explaining to me that he tried to hack into my account and has not read any of my personal emails and he’s very sorry about it. He also gave me the new password. Now starts the fun part. I logged into my Yahoo! account to change the Password and the Security Question. Well…there was no direct link to change the Security Question! Can you believe it? I had to contact Support and verify my identity. A whole bunch of administrative hassles later, my Security Question was changed.
1. Never ever trust anyone. By anyone, I mean just that. Look at my friend. If a friend tries to hack into your account just because he’s very curious, can you blame a stranger?
2. Don’t panic. First do the needful (Change your password and Security Question). If you have confidential information in your email account, then forward those emails to another account and then delete them from the primary email address.
3. I’m thinking of contacting Support, but probably it won’t help. The GMail help section says:
When an attempt to recover your Gmail username or password is made, an email from Google is automatically sent to your secondary email address.
If you didn’t request to recover your username or password, you can ignore the message. If you’re concerned about the security of your account, we recommend changing your password and security question.
The Gmail Team isn’t able to provide you with information about attempted logins to your account including, but not limited to, the IP address from which the attempted login was made, and the time and date attempted logins occurred.
So there is no way that I’ll get to know who did this sinful deed. But you can follow these directions in case your account gets compromised.
4. I tried the “I cannot access my account link” and clicked on “Forgot my password”. After I entered my username, I got this message:
We’ve sent instructions to the secondary email address you provided during signup.
If you don’t have a secondary email address, or if you no longer have access to that account, please try the ‘Forgot your password?’ link again after five days. At that point, you’ll be able to reset your password by answering the security question you provided when you created your account.
To prevent someone from trying to break into an account you’re actively using, the security question is only used for account recovery after an account has been idle for five days. The Gmail team cannot waive the five day requirement or access your password under any circumstances.
If you’re unable to answer your security question or access your secondary email account, we regret that the Gmail team cannot provide further assistance. If you’re concerned about the security of your account, please visit our Security Center.
So, this person might try to retrieve my password after the five day lock period is over. On my part, I’ve changed the Security Question and no one knows the answer except me. Unless the person uses a brute force mechanism. *shudders* I like the way GMail is handling this by providing a five day safety period. That’s an amazing find because it gives me an opportunity to react and change the password/security question in the mean time.
Yahoo! has started a sign-in seal process that will help you distinguish a genuine Yahoo! site from a phishing site. It’s a good idea to do that. Earlier, I had seen that sign-in seal process only while signing into my credit card accounts. Good to know that email service providers have also introduced such a feature. I’m waitig for GMail to come up with something like this too.
In other tech news, Microsoft has offered to buy Yahoo! for $44+ billion. This came as a big surprise to me. Ballmer has been trying to acquire Yahoo! since more than a year. Yahoo’s share price has been declining since a couple of months. Recently, it hit an all time low of $20. Just two days back,
Layoffs and a refocusing effort can only do so much. CEO Jerry Yang needs to find exciting new products or services if he hopes to make Yahoo sing again.
Shortly after, I read this piece of news about Microsoft’s public offer to buy Yahoo! Yahoo’s share price increased as soon as this piece of news was disseminated. Google’s share price has recently been on a downward spiral, because the company has missed the earning estimates of the analysts. Nevertheless, Yahoo and Microsoft are facing increasing pressure on account of Google’s Search Engine.
Yahoo! has a very strong brand value, which, in my opinion will be compromised if this deal fructifies. Even Ballmer has said that he’s not sure if the brand name “Yahoo” will remain. As an avid Yahoo! user, I’m not very happy with this announcement. My dislike for Microsoft is well known. All that Microsoft will bring to board is its 75,000+ strong work force, who’re anyway bundled up with useless ideas. Yahoo’s email service and the photo sharing service Flickr are really popular. But it does lag behind Google by a very wide margin in the search engine depart. Perhaps an acquisition with help Microsoft, which has the 3rd highest share in the Search Engine market, compete with Google on an equal footing.
Almost all of Google’s income is due to its Adsense business, which is indirectly a success thanks to its killer search engine. If Microsoft were to acquire Yahoo, the former will capture Yahoo’s market share and also bring on board its R&D department (how good is the R&D department….is another question) and tremendous wealth. Recently, Microsoft posted high profits on account of its new Operating System Vista and very low profits in all other departments. Perhaps this deal is all that this company needs to revive itself. Maybe Microsoft will still manage to screw up its business. Who knows. Merging two companies that have different work cultures, different product offering, different set of business principles and ethics is not so easy. Not to forget, lots of Yahoo! employees will be laid off, in addition to the already announced 10,000+ people who are being given the cut. This will only leave the other employees disgruntled. On top of this, imagine working for a new boss. The problem will only aggravate for people who are higher up in the corporate ladder.
It takes a couple of years (in the very minimum) to pull off such an acquisition. $44 billion is not exactly peanuts either. Ballmer says that he’ll save at least a billion dollars if this deal comes through. Let’s hope he’s right and let’s hope that Yahoo and its products survive. He’s known for his craziness and I hope that this is not one of his “pet projects”.
In the mean time, you might want to look for other email and photo sharing applications. I don’t know if Yahoo! Mail and Flickr will remain the same.
UPDATE: Found this on Digg- What Will Happen To Flickr if MSFT Buys It