General ramblings

To Information “Over-loaders”

It’s OK.The world understands. It’s so busy with information overload that it won’t notice. Not that you’re forgettable, but your connections will be there when you come back.Really. Take care of yourself first.

Source: Couldn’t Tweet Today? Don’t Beat Yourself Up Over it, NY Times, 02/04/2010

You’re welcome.

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Business, Finance, internet, Life, Technology, Thoughts, Web 2.0

Alltop

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Guy Kawasaki introduced his news aggregating service, Alltop, sometime ago. It’s “inspired” by Popurls.com, another very popular feed aggregator.

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.

Some cons:

  • 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.

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Business, Finance, GMail, Google, internet, laptops, Microsoft, Software, Stocks, Technology, yahoo, YouTube, Zune

The War Between MSFT and GOOG’s Not Yet Over

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.

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Apple, Business, comics, Finance, jokes, Jokes / Funny Stuff, laptops, Microsoft, Technology, Windows Vista

Remove Vista and Repair Your Notebooks

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A sign outside the computer store A&D Computer. (Source: Seattlepi.com). I still can’t digest the fact that Microsoft’s profits are up 79% on account of Vista’s sales. Windows Vista’s got to be THE worst OS ever to be released. This increase in profits can be due to a couple of reasons-

1. Aggressive revenue recognition and fudging the numbers. I want to take a look at their balance sheets as soon as they’re released.

2. Bundling all the laptops/computers with Windows Vista instead of Windows XP, by default. People who don’t have an Apple computer get/got swayed by the way Vista looks/looked and start/started buying new machines.This might be a possible reason for the sudden increase in profits.

I have been working on both the OS’s and I can tell you how painful it is to work on Vista. For one, my wireless keeps getting shut off after a certain period of inactivity for some reason. I don’t have the patience to see what exactly is happening there. It’s not like I’m paying for my internet depending upon the number of minutes that I’m online. So, why exactly has Microsoft made Vista this way? I don’t want my wireless to go off!

Second, I don’t see any improvement in the OS, except for the “cool” looking UI, which I can do without. Give me some new features that are really helpful, dammit.

Please feel free to abuse Microsoft in the comments section.

Related Reading: Check out the Macbook Earth, Water and Fire

Article that explains how to uninstall Vista and re-install XP

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Blogging, Cartoons, comics, E-mail, General ramblings, Google, Life, Technology, Thoughts

Blogging Anonymously

2004-09-22

In the past twelve hours, I’ve read posts by at least two bloggers (Amrita and Broom) who have expressed their anger at people who take pleasure in “outing” the anonymous bloggers. I can perfectly understand their emotions and what they are going through. Many of us write blogs to express personal emotions. The least we can expect from our readers is to keep shut even if they realize who we might be. I don’t understand why some people have such an itch.

I remember changing my nickname quite often between Ruhi and my real name. I was not too sure if it makes sense to use my real name, the reason being that sometimes, I do write crazy stuff in my blog and I don’t want a potential employer tripping on it by any chance. It’s not that we are not to be blamed. If we want to remain completely anonymous, then we need to retain some pieces of information and never mention them on our blogs. This might include things like your birthdate, your current residence, your phone number, address etc.

There are some tools that can be used to remain as anonymous as possible:

1. Run a Google Search for your real name and see what the results are. You might be surprised to see that even though you might have taken a page down, Google still stores it in its cache for a considerable period of time. Anyone who’s smart can simply click on “Cache pages” and retrieve a Saved Screenshot of your page.

2. If most of the searches are professional and don’t reveal stupid things about you, then you’re fine.

3. Run a Google Search for your nickname and see if it connects you to your real self by any means. If it does and there are stuff that you don’t want anyone to see, then you may want to do something. You can delete some information from your previous posts. It might take time for Google’s cache to clean up (like I mentioned before). Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. This is what I don’t like about Google. I’m scared of sharing so much information with this organization. My business is not their business. Of course, they want all this information so that they can better target their advertisements, from where they generate 98% of their revenue. Anyway, I’ll leave my tech rant out of this post.

Many of us have Sitemeter or something similar installed that collects the location, browser and Operating System specification and certain other data from your computer. Apart from this, the comment system itself stores YOUR IP Address! Giving someone your IP address can be quite risky, if you know what I mean. Most of them wouldn’t do anything with it, but there are some smart people out there who can use it for anything.

If you visit ip2location.com and punch in your IP address, it clearly shows your location. So, even though you might have been very cautious on your blog regarding this piece of information, guess what? One visit to your friend’s blog can let him/her know your location.

You can use proxy servers such as http://the-cloak.com to browse your friend’s blogs. Your speed will reduce a bit, pleas be warned.

You can also go to websites such as http://publicproxyservers.com/ that will give you proxy IP addresses that can be used instead of your real IP address to surf the internet. You need to change your Network Setting in Mozilla Firefox (Tools-> Options->Advanced->Network Settings) from “automatic” to “Manual” and put in the proxy server information from the list. You might take some time to find a server that actually works at a decent speed.

If this is too much of trouble, then you can download a software such a Tor or Jap. You need to closely follow the instructions, which vary according to the type of browser that you’re using.

If you need to visit only a certain blog, then I think the-cloak.com should be enough.

Many of you who work in offices might want to use a proxy server if you have strict internet usage policies. Also, as an added precaution, you can “Edit the Timestamp” so that the post gets published a couple of minutes in the future. This way, the internet police of your company might find it difficult to associate your particular blog with the IP address. You might especially want to do this in case you are abusing your company 😛 Also, you might want to take a look at this page and listen to this person’s advice. Please be safe. You never know who’s watching you.

Even I have come across instances where I know that people look into Sitemeter and other applications to see where you live. People are very curious by nature. There is this other friend of mine who pestered me a number of times to reveal the URL of my private blog. I ended up making that blog private, scared that he or someone else might come across it. There are some parts of us which we don’t want to reveal and I strongly feel that others should respect that. It’s up to you to draw the boundaries and stay safe.

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