Showing posts with label Technology. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Technology. Show all posts

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Attack of Giant Cellphones

Apple is soon releasing a sixth-generation iPhone with a larger screen. Along with our children, our gizmos are also growing up right before our eyes.

Cartoonist J.J. McCullough asks: Is this a good thing?

Credits: CNN

Thursday, June 27, 2013

The new media

Ever since the world of social network exploded on the internet, kids have been looking for cool hangouts. First came MySpace, an experimental ground for many. Several of us burned our fingers without knowing how cool it was.

Later, everyone flocked towards Orkut, abandoning MySpace - equipped with those valuable lessons learned. Orkut used to one merry and jolly hangout providing warm and fuzzy feelings, where thousands shared pictures and for the first time, met up with old and lost friends. People would not go to bed until they had added new 'friends', read updates from others or post scraps.

Then came along Facebook and millions flocked towards it, jumping ships from Orkut, making it look like an abandoned world. On the other hand, if you did not have a facebook account, you were frowned upon and looked down. Twitter flew in almost at the same time and many still use it. Facebook became the premier site for meet ups, sharing photos, chats and updating status quo. I had one (to look cool), but never used it.

During those early stages, facebook appeared to be a safe haven for hangouts - until Mom, Dad, Uncles and Aunts came along and started sending invites - even from ends of the universe. Kids could not resist these invites and were forced to accept them chiefly due two reasons - (a) to look cool by exhibiting more friends on their profile and (b) to avoid unpleasant conversation with Mom and Dad for ignoring Uncle Joe and Aunt Moe. Within no time, the 'friends list' soared to hundreds and arguably, even strangers were on that list. They later discovered that it was no longer a 'safe place' to hangout as their own privacy was compromised. During those long distance phone calls across continents, a child's fb posting becomes an inevitable topic and kids used to be confused and get into all sorts of troubles - for posting 'this' and not sharing 'that'. The reason - fb became more of a family get-together, than a 'private party' which kids envisaged; same story with Google+.

To avoid future mishaps, our kids found a way out - maintain the same old fb account with minimal or occasional postings (appearing innocent) - which provided a temporary relief for the parents, noticing reduced activity on the social media. What the parents did not know was that youngsters were already on other greener pastures. These would be places known only to those in the 'inner circle'. Further, they assumed 'avatars' which would not reveal their true identity to parents and the public. The idea is to weed out 'troublemakers' and have a secure and private world.

Microblogging sites such as Tumblr, Pheed, 4chan and Path saw more youngsters join. Tumblr is popular among girls, while 4chan is the one boys prefer. Tumblr and Pheed are bit skewed for mobile usage, but Path seems to be mobile friendly. Path also wants to restrict friends circle to 150 - your choice. There are umpteen social media websites to discuss, which is beyond the scope of this posting.

LinkedIn continues to be the media for professionals. Youngsters typically join it while they are in their senior year of college, just before job hunts.

Youngsters big on mobile messaging have found alternatives as well. WhatsApp and Kik have gained popularity. Folks in the middle east have seen user community switch to Line.

When Picassa continues to be a family photo share site for grown ups, youngsters were not quite happy with all the crowd - they had moved on to Instagram, only to find the same audience comprising of Mom, Dad, Uncle & Aunt there as well. The latest unexplored territory is SnapChat. The beauty of SnapChat is that those pictures are self-destructed after the recipient watches it - remember Tom Cruise in Mission Impossible, receiving those secret messages?



Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Firefox 17 is available

Mozilla Firefox 17 is available and can be downloaded. The latest version is available for windows, mac and linux. Click here to read more about the article

Click here to download Firefox 17 from the official website or FTP site.

Firefox users who browse fb frequently, this time there is an icon which can access fb in one click.

Another interesting feature - it searches for appropriate plug-ins. Remember when you try to play something using flash or so, a message appearing "your plug-in is not outdated" and you wonder - where and how do I look for the matching plug in.  Most folks just give up and move on. This version of firefox has something called 'Awesome Bar' which searches for the appropriate plug in.

If you are tech savvy, click here to read more about the technical stuff.

Mozilla Firefox is one of the best web browsers out there.

Credits: arstechnisia, thenextweb

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Boost your fb privacy

The era of social networks creates a challenge for individuals navigating the personal-data economy: how to keep anything private when it is difficult to predict where your information will end up.

Credits: WSJ

Monday, October 29, 2012

Driverless cars

Directions: Fill in the blanks in the first six paragraphs of the technology news. Use your own words and phrases, or choose from a scrambled list of the words or phrases that were removed. Use your imagination!

adjusted          been               accelerating    off    
Since               artery             system           But       
driven              recognizable   curves           situations

MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif.–The “look Ma, no hands” moment came at about 60 miles an hour on Highway 101.

Brian Torcellini, Google’s driving program manager, had _______ the white Lexus RX 450h out of the parking lot at one of the company’s research buildings and along local streets to the freeway, a main _______ through Silicon Valley. _______ shortly after clearing the on-ramp and _______ to the pace of traffic, he pushed a yellow button on the modified console between the front seats. A loud electronic chime came from the car’s speakers, _______ by a synthesized female voice.

“Autodriving,” it announced breathlessly.

Mr. Torcellini took his hands _______ the steering wheel, lifted his foot from the accelerator, and the Lexus hybrid drove itself, following the ______ of the freeway, speeding up to get out of another car’s blind spot, moving over slightly to stay well clear of a truck in the next lane, slowing when a car cut in front.

“We _______ our speed to give him a little room,” said Anthony Levandowski, one of the lead engineers for Google’s self-driving-car project, who was monitoring the _______ on a laptop from the passenger seat. “Just like a person would.”

_______ the project was first widely publicized more than two years ago, Google has ______ seen as being at the forefront of efforts to free humans from _______ when driving is drudgery. In all, the company’s driverless cars — earlier-generation Toyota Priuses and the newer Lexuses, _______ by their spinning, roof-mounted laser range finders — have logged about 300,000 miles on all kinds of roads. (Mr. Torcellini unofficially leads the pack, with roughly 30,000 miles behind the wheel — but not turning it.)

You got the scoop - right? Click here to read the entire article.

Credits: nytimes

Thursday, August 23, 2012

The secrets of iPhone and iPad

If you are and iPhone or iPad user, check out this article that appeared on Wall Street Journal.

It's with you every moment of every day. It reminds you of little things that you sometimes forget, like calling friends on their birthdays and picking up the dry cleaning. It sleeps by your side, resting when you rest and working when you work. It even talks back once in a while. But how well do you really know your iPhone?

Click here to read more.

Credits: WSJ

Monday, July 2, 2012

Magic Square

Albreich Durer developed this Magic Square in 1514. He was a mathematician, artist, wood carver, engraver and painter. The sum of all numbers in the boxes in every direction equals 34. Watch the video.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Invisibility cloaks

Any Harry Potter fan could explain about the invisibility cloak, and needs no introduction.  Now, that's becoming a reality.


Much of this technology is invisible to people like us, and is a guarded secret due to it's sensitivity nature.

Go here to read more.


Tuesday, March 27, 2012

New wave

I got into a brand new technology - which is one step higher than what I've been doing for the past several years.  It's called 'In Memory Computing' and is on the bleeding edge. Today I took the exam and passed :-) I am now an SAP HANA Practitioner.

Using In Memory technology, management will get feedback right the moment when things are happening anywhere within their organization around the globe - amplified 3600 times faster than what is there today.

Watch this to get an idea.

Never mind, if you did not get it - just hire an SAP HANA Practitioner, and he'll explain all of it in under an hour.

Oh, studying was not all that easy (to me).  The 1000 + pages of material published in February became obsolete by March, and had to reprint the newer manuals again - that's how fast this technology is evolving. Staying caught up at that pace (with the talented younger generation) is sort of tricky.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

RIP Ritchie


After a long illness, Dennis Ritchie, father of Unix and an esteemed computer scientist, died on Oct 8th, at the age of 70. Ritchie, also known as “dmr”, is best know for creating the C programming language as well as being instrumental in the development of UNIX along with Ken Thompson.

This news may not mean a lot to many.  However all of us, we run those programs developed by Ritchie everyday regardless of whether we are a Windows or Apple Mac users. Further, Richie's contribution to technology stimulated growth of the entire IT industry, thereby enhancing American leadership in the Information Age.

Apple Macs run on Mac OS, a flavor of Unix based operating system.

Windows Operating system was originally written in C language. Today, C remains the second most popular programming language in the world or at least the language in which the second most lines of code have been written.

In short, Ritchie breathed life into both Windows and Apple Mac computers.

Two popular quotes by Ritchie:

"UNIX is very simple, it just needs a genius to understand its simplicity."

"C is quirky, flawed, and an enormous success."

RIP Ritchie.

Hacking using photos

A downside of social network: just one photo of your's posted on fb or linkedIn can be used by hackers to get all related info (even ssn).

What what this Carnegie Melon Prof has to say.

One solution: Avoid making your DOB public, if possible.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Tech news

In the tech world, the only thing that remains constant is - change. What used to be hip yesterday could be obsolete tomorrow. Myspace used to be the social media leader until recently; now it's fb. Tomorrow it could be something else. You can just imagine how much this change makes technology consultants stay on their toes.

While it's fun posting things on the social media, a wrong post or something said about you by your friends could hurt you. Here is how: many large corporations are now doing 'social media background check' along with the regular background check to hire potential employees. They could refuse you a job based on some nasty posting you did, or something your friends may have said about you few years ago. So, be aware of how you handle the social media.

Fb started off as an address book with photos and profile back in 2004 at Harvard. If you search me on the social media, chances are you may not find me. It's because I can (still) remember the name, address, phone, email, birthday and interests of those people in my life - my wife, child and one (or two) friends. Granted, none of them would be available via social media (or even phone/text) if I am in an emergency - my best bet would be to call 911 instead.

Social media is for individuals who have hundreds, if not thousands of friends spanning across various continents and numerous time zones - those who need to constantly announce their whereabouts in this galaxy, else their friends and family will start panicking; those who need to publish pictures of their vacation travel, fun with friends, celebrations etc..; those who need to share their life accomplishments with their acquaintances, etc. If social media is to keep in touch with family and friends, guess what - my family and friends, if I ask them, will tell me, "We are toooo much in touch with you - what we need to do is to stay away from each other for sometime."

A recent survey results showed that 68% of women and 54% of men use social networking to communicate with friends; 60% women and 42% men use it to stay in touch with family; and 34% women vs. 22% men for colleagues. Click here to read more.

Use social networks to keep in touch

Facebook is introducing numerous changes along with new looks.  Click here to read a guide on everything you need to know. This article will prepare you for the new change.

However, if you are a regular fb user, be aware that the new features may not be as private. Here is that news article.

Meanwhile, Google + has started it's race in the social networking arena and added 43 million customers. If you are a regular google user, you must have already got the invite to switch to Google+.  Click here to view the demo about Google+.  By the way, this is not the same +1 you observe during google searches and blog articles, but is linked to Google+.  To use the +1 feature, you have to be logged in.  Once you click on +1, the entire screen will disappear followed by an explosion and you'll be taken to the next generation internet browsing experience using semantic Web 3.0, while the national anthem of your country of choice plays in the background - just kidding!!!!  The +1 button gives your approval, (along with optional comments) to the next reader visiting that site/article.  In other words, +1 is a digital recommendation indicating, "cool stuff" and will appear in google searches as well - similar to stars when we buy a product online after checking user reviews.

Even though I know that none of you readers will make a bold move by pressing the +1 button during this lifetime, below is a video explaining the +1 button for those interested.

I would recommend you give at least couple of weeks before you switch over to Google+ if you have not switched yet; unless you volunteer to be the guinea pig for testing.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Nintendo 3DS

According to CNN:

Nintendo is warning young children against playing 3-D video games on its upcoming handheld gaming system, the Nintendo 3DS.

Kids younger than 6 who play the 3-D games may have the growth of their eyes stunted, the company said in a statement on its Japanese website.

The warning notes that parents can turn off the 3-D functionality of the handheld 3DS. They can also set passwords that keep kids from using that feature.

The statement also asks everyone who plays the 3-D gaming system to take periodic breaks from the games as often as every hour or 30 minutes.

The warning follows many others on the potential health effects of three-dimensional entertainment. TV makers have issued warnings about young people, pregnant women and even drunk people viewing 3-D TV, noting that the medium may cause nausea, dizziness and seizures.

In one such warning, Samsung said those risks are heightened in kids.

Nintendo has largely gotten favorable reviews for the 3DS system, which lets players see games in three dimensions without wearing the clunky glasses that are required for most 3-D television and movie displays.

The company debuted the 3DS at a trade show earlier this year.

The $300 device is scheduled to hit stores in Japan in February and then in the United States in March.


Thursday, December 2, 2010

Free softwares

Sitting here at the airport, heading back home, I was researching an interesting topic: "What are some of the free softwares available."  It is snowing outside and I see various flights being delayed. There is a good chance of my flight being delayed as well.  Rather than going into a restaurant and grabbing some junk food, which I have been eating all week, I am rather thinking about yummy home cooked meal for dinner and sitting tight.

After using a Toshiba windows laptop for about 8 years, my wife decided to go for a new computer.  She literally used up every possible bit out of it - more than the manufacturers could have originally intended.  It was only because her old laptop could not handle any more of the latest softwares to keep current with, for our son's homeworks (they shared the old one together).  

Just before I started travelling few weeks ago, we finally agreed to go for a new computer, and it was a project by itself.  We both wanted to get something as frugal as possible, due to the fast technological changes.  So, with that in mind, we researched all possible combinations and narrowed down to few.  On the day of our shopping, we told our son, "Chris, get ready; we are going to buy a new computer for maama." 

Immediately, he shot back, "We should buy a Mac."  

On our way to the store, I thought about his suggestion, and thought it was a reasonable suggestion and I did not think about buying a Mac (due to price constraints).  Finally, I thought about long term, usability, technology, coolness, etc., and had to agree that Mac was a brilliant idea.  I later conveyed this with my wife and we walked over to the Mac section.  The sales agent gave us a good demo of the Mac.  Later, we asked for some private time and did our research on Mac, at the store itself.  Both my wife and I, we liked it and my wife decided to go for a desktop instead.  

We finally bought the imac 21.5 inch computer and took it home with us.  The sales agent pushed us hard to buy the service plan, but we finally decided not to buy the service plan.  The chances of something going wrong for such a device during the initial years are very low, and we did not want to waste $$ on service plan.  These days, they sell us service plan even if we buy a pencil!  Here is an image of what we got: 

Once home, it was easy to set up - wireless keyboard and mouse.  No CPU (it's built into the monitor itself). The design is slick.  For the first few days, I took it for a test drive and found to be in a new world.  Picture clarity is superb.  Programs are simple and intuitive.  No virus attack on Mac, etc.  Even though my wife has not asked me yet, I think it's my job to find reasonable programs (since I technically work in the Tech world).  And those programs should be free - I am trying to be as cost effective as possible.  Why pay when something is available for free?   

Now, after few weeks of Mac, usage, my wife is a pro on it, and absolutely loves the Mac experience.  She now looks down at me when I use my Lenovo Thinkpad with windows.  She even teases me that I am in an old world.  Yes, that is true, but I don't have much of a choice.  

Whenever I comment something good about the Mac, Chris asks, "Whose idea was it to buy a Mac?" and I have already answered that question a hundred times now.  He still keeps asking and wants to take the credit - looks like I will be doing this for ever.  

By the way, here's my research summary:  

1. Firefox
Replaces Internet Explorer and Safari
Safari is a very solid web browser out of the box, but it’s not nearly as extensible or useful as Firefox. With add-ons like Book Burro, FareFirst, and Package Mapping, plus the speed and reliability. 

2. Quicksilver
Unique but useful (productivity)
Quicksilver lets you set almost anything you can imagine in Mac OS as a keyboard shortcut. This allows to do things like start iTunes and have it auto-play a specific podcast with a specific keyboard shortcut. It’s a bit complicated at first, but once you get used to it, it makes you feel massively productive and it becomes almost an essential part of the OS.

3. Thunderbird
Replaces Mail
For most purposes, the default Mac OS Mail does the trick, but Thunderbird essential because it allows features like auto-replying to certain kinds of messages and far better IMAP support, and it’s faster, too. 

4. Sunbird
Replaces iCal
Mozilla Sunbird does one thing that iCal doesn’t – two-way syncing with Google Calendar. When traveling,, it’s just a click of a button and it all syncs up with Sunbird. That’s an amazing feature for me and it makes Sunbird far superior to iCal.

5. AbiWord
Replaces Microsoft Word
This is, by far, the best open source word processor for Macs. It functionally replaces Microsoft Word for almost every purpose and has a fast and slick interface to boot. 

6. OpenOffice
Replaces Microsoft Excel and PowerPoint
Need to make spreadsheets or presentations on your Mac? OpenOffice provides the tools you need for that. 

7. Seashore
Replaces (for most uses) Adobe Photoshop
This is a fairly simple image editor that takes care of most of the basic uses of Photoshop and is simple enough for most users to pick up. This is a great solution for those who want to do simple image manipulation but don’t want to shell out the big bucks for Photoshop.

8. Scribus
Replaces Adobe Pagemaker (desktop publishing)
It’s a very powerful desktop publishing program, giving you tons of freedom to lay out pages however you like. 

9. Adium
Replaces iChat
iChat is pretty slick, allows to chat in AIM and GTalk at the same time, but what about all of the other chatting protocols out there. Adium allows you to be on YahooIM, Windows Messenger, AIM, ICQ, and several other messaging services at the same time with the same program.

10. OneButton FTP
Replaces “command line” FTP
To FTP some files from one place to another - usually from one computer to another within our home network. OneButton FTP does the job in the simplest and easiest way possible – much easier than the default “command line” FTP.

11. Audacity
Replaces/supplements GarageBand
Need to make audio recordings of your own? All you need is a microphone of some sort and Audacity – and you can create podcasts, record music, or pretty much anything else you can imagine. I could consider reading aloud some bedtime stories for my grand kids in advance for any future traveling I might do :-)

12. Cashbox
Replaces Quicken
This is a very nice personal finance data manager for Mac OS. It doesn’t have quite all the bells and whistles of Quicken, but it provides a strong feature set and a huge number of different views of your personal finance state. If you’re a Quicken fan but don’t want to drop the cash for a Mac version, look into this one.

13. Vidalia
Unique but useful (privacy)
Many people are concerned about online privacy and don’t want their IP address shared with web sites that they visit or file servers that they access. Vidalia easily allows you to use proxy servers for your accessing needs, enabling you to disguise your computer on the internet.

14. Books
Unique but useful (book cataloguing)
It allows you to catalogue all of your books, create reports, and so forth. 

15. Bean
Replaces TextEdit
A slick little editor with features like automatic word counting that really help when you’re trying to keep some semblance of control on the length of your articles.

16. GanttProject
Replaces Microsoft Project
This is an excellent tool if you’re involved in the management of large projects with many staff members, particularly if budgeting is tight (as Project can be expensive). Good for even tracking a home project like a vacation plan, group outing, etc..

17. Nvu/BlueGriffon
Replaces Dreamweaver (HTML editing)
Many people prefer the aid of a tool to help them with layout, and that’s what these provide. Nvu is a bit outdated but is still very useful – the creator has moved on to a new project, called BlueGriffon, which should be available soon.

18. Blender
Unique but useful (3D graphics creation)
Blender is a magnificent tool if you like tinkering with 3-D graphics creation. It’s perhaps overkill for most people, but if you’re involved in graphic design at all, using and knowing Blender can be invaluable.

19. Colloquy
Unique but useful (IRC)
If you chat on IRC, Colloquy is essential software. For the uninitiated, IRC is a very large network of chatrooms on various specific topics, often developing their own culture. Colloquy is a wonderful solution for IRC chatters on Macs.

20. FreeMind
Unique but useful (brainstorming)
A tool that lets you toss out your thoughts in an unorganized structure, then build connections between them however you like. Use it for posts where you have a collection of thoughts and research notes, but you haven’t really decided how to order them or tie them all together. It’s brilliant in any brainstorming setting.

21. Celestia
Unique but useful (planetarium)
If you’re a space buff (like I am), Celestia is incredible software. It’s a great way to create star charts, help you identify good nights for viewing constellations and other stellar objects, and simply stumble around different views of the sky. I simply love looking at the night sky, and Celestia is a wonderful free companion for this hobby.

22. Transmission
Unique but useful (file sharing)
Many people like to upload and swap their own files with other users, such as live recordings of concerts, recordings of their own performances, free application software, and so on. BitTorrent is one of the most popular protocols for doing this, and Transmission is easily the best of the open source Mac clients for swapping them.

23. MacLibre
Supplements Software Update
Many of these software packages are updated fairly regularly by their authors. MacLibre serves as something of a “Software Update” tool for these things, fetching updates for you and helping you to easily install them with just a click or two. It’s a great way of keeping up to date on software updates for open software on a Mac.

I really feel like I am lagging behind my wife when it comes to Mac usage - simply because I do not get to use it - she really seems to love the new machine.  It's quite difficult to get her even to go to a electronics store for window shopping (I am quite big on window shopping and absolutely love it).  Now, she's the one who drags me out, I am back on the weekends to graze at the latest gizmo's.  

Well, the flight just arrived at the gate and they announced that we will be boarding soon.  

Credits: T Hamm

Thursday, September 16, 2010

IE 9 is available

For those of you who keep your web browsers updated, Microsoft just released the newest version of Internet Explorer - IE 9.0 Beta.  They claim it to be faster, and tightly integrated into their search engine - Bing.

IE is currently the market leader, in the browser space with 51% users.  However, it's loosing it's market share to Mozilla's Firefox and Google's Chrome.  Market share for other browsers are Firefox 31%, Chrome 11%, Safari 4% and Opera 2%.

Personally, I use Chrome, and would recommend using either Firefox or Chrome due to various reasons.