Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Shifted My Blog!

I have shifted my blog to
Wordpress is so much better!
See you there!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Hush...the Net has ears...

An employee fired for calling her job boring. A cop losing a case as he made claims that ran counter to what he had stated in court. Multiple instances of college pics and party photos resulting in candidates loosing interview calls.

They probably deserved it is the general feeling. Except in the above cases, the revelations about the people involved all happened online on social networking sites. They were not overheard or caught in real life. The mentioned people incriminated themselves. Somebody investigated their wall postings and public album collections.

We Homo-sapiens are social creatures. We know how to sweet talk some one discreetly. Spread rumors and appear professional when some one asks us where we see our selves five years from now. We can handle peers and pressure because of two factors. Nature and Nurture. I.e. we have brought up to pick up behavioral cues about people around us or the skills are inborn. Many generations of nurture training fail us when online behavior is considered. We are not able to perceive how far our party picture will go; Our own sphere of influence. In the offline world we would choose to show it to say 7 close friends who we can trust because we directly interact with them. Also the photos are still physically with you.

In the online world. The ability to multiply infinitely the photos causes serious issues. Plus let’s say you trust seven similar people with the photos. Even if one of those seven fail in discretion, you now have the equivalent of infinite photos on the net. Imagine the shock of employees who were fired because their boss found some college snap “not consistent with the corporate philosophy”.

The boss was not on the friends list but still found out. We would continue to see this trend in the future because how counter intuitive the online world really is. Let’s say you want to tell your friend you have a boring job. You would generally check the surroundings, lower your voice and tell him if you trust him. Even if this friend betrays you, we can possibly deny totally what we are accused of. In the Online world, it’s hard to keep track of who is watching you. We forget who is on our friends list and often they might be people we have fallen out with. People generate hundreds of photos every year and it is difficult to keep track of whom you are sharing it with. The internet is simply not intuitive. And the worst part about the internet is that there is always proof left behind. Your not-too- honorable friend we just spoke about now has a screenshot to prove his case.

The non intuitive characteristic of the net also cost many cheerleaders and teachers their jobs in the United States when they were found in what is called "pictures not reflecting expected behavior standards". Ten years back the person involved may have carried on with whatever they were accused of silently. But now it’s broadcast on the net and all it takes is one leak. One person or computer or account to be compromised and often carriers go down. Similarly every tweet, bog post and email is now a permanent record that can be used in mind numbing number of ways to slander people.

It would not be surprising if self censorship steps in soon on a large scale. We might have to worry like celebrities about what we say, had said or dressed like might be used against us somewhere anytime in the future.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Awesome Free Google Service for India

Google has launched Voice Search for select Indian cities and its awesome!
  • Say you want to find out the phone number of a restaurant, maybe Corner House.
  • You have to call up 1-800-41-999-999 and you have to say "Corner House" after the Beep.
  • The voice recognition system takes what seems like 3 seconds to understand what you said and then repeats the query.
  • Then it asks for area,i assume if multiple locations are found, and again the system takes 3 seconds.
  • The system then sends you an sms and also reads out the results.

I tested the system for Hotel empire, Chinmaya Mission Hospital, Vidyarthi Bhavan and for Movie timings at INOX and they were all spot on.
Though for Hotel Empire I got the address and phone number but for others I only got the contact number.

And the best part is that its FREE! It is a toll free number you call. I have often ended up in MG road or Brigade road and have walked around looking for a newspaper to check movie timings.Now I guess that situation wont happen again.

Here is the official site with more details.
Google's aim is to organise the world'ss information. Good work so far!

Sunday, March 08, 2009

Google screws up, Again!

Google seems to be loosing it slowly. First, they marked the entire Internet as spam. Then the great GMail outage happened, and the latest, your private documents in google docs could have been shared and exposed to other people.

Even though this happened to less than " .05% of documents" its a huge setback to Google.I really don't want people to find out my collection of email forwards and 18th century poetry.This is enough to scare me off the Internet cloud promise; Which is supposed to be google's weapon to finish off Microsoft.

When Bill Gates came to India, Pranoy Roy interviewed him. Gates was asked about FireFox and how it was eating into IE's market share. Gates said this " Every few years we hear about a company that's going to finish off Microsoft, and we say the same thing, Not yet!".