Showing posts from April, 2012

Measure your cyber-fame

There are no introverts online. A few comments, a few likes, a few followers -- you gain a strange sense of accomplishment and self-confidence. Yet, some remain cocooned in cyberspace, using it as an eternal refuge from real-life claustrophobia. For others, it’s a launch pad for many a real-life venture.

Most cyber-beings are bitten by the self-promotion bug at one point or another. It manifests in various ways (filling up an elaborate profile, putting up photos of oneself and family) and for various reasons (letting oneself known to others, making friends or for business promotion). Cyber-fame is key to leveraging the full potential of one’s online existence, be it on blogs or networking sites.

You need to work your way to it, though arguably it’s easier than in real-life.
One, make sure you blog on topical issues; two, regularly post updates; three, network by visiting blogs, liking updates, and leaving comments; four, link your blog to networking sites so that each time you have fres…

Rise of right wing in France

Not in the recent past has a French election commanded so much attention as yesterday's poll. It could be because of Nicolas Sarkozy. Not surprisingly he came second, first time in many years that an incumbent President has failed to come on top of the poll. He looked more busy on matters other than governance.But the rise of far right wing Marine Le Pen is the real news of the first round. She came 3rd. It poses questions about sustenance of multicultural societies. With globalization and democratization of media, the world has become more and more pluralistic. But are we getting more intolerant of diversity? This is the pertinent question that many events of our recent history, big and small, raise.

Dive underwater to explore Great Barrier Reef

Google’s Streetview -- which gives a 360 degree panoramic view of landmarks and such prominent places -- isn’t available for India, though it is in many countries enabling us to virtually walk through cities and villages of the world; and also see, for example, Swiss Alps, Amazon River and London’s National Gallery.

Soon, we will have an oceanic variant, called Seaview. Thanks to technology, we will be able to dive underwater and get a breathtaking view of Australia’s Great Barrier Reef. Google in collaboration with the Catlin Seaview Project will help us explore the Great Barrier Reef -- the world’s largest coral reef system located in Coral Sea off Queensland in the northeast of Australia.

Coral reefs -- the rainforests of the sea -- are underwater structures consisting mainly of calcium carbonate secreted by corals, a type of marine animals. They have many ecological benefits: serving as habitats to aquatic organisms, besides protecting small islands from being gobbled up sea. It’s …

There’s nothing private online

From the password you type to access email, to the texts and photos you put up on social networking sites -- they are all visible to someone other than you. Theoretically, that is. Practically, of course, there are institutionalized safeguards to prevent data from being accessed.

But, how much privacy can Facebook, Google, Yahoo!, Microsoft etc ensure? After all, our data are on their server, right? And, for free, in most of cases!

We define privacy differently online. Offline, private means, only I have access to it. But online, we trust the owner of the server where our data is, and we co-opt him into our personal space. This handing over of data to a trusted guardian will become the norm as we move more and more to the cloud.

While we fret about privacy, we have no qualms about proclaiming either to the entire world via Twitter or to our “Friends” via Facebook and similar sites, our location, our travel plans, what articles we read, our political views, our religious faith etc. (By t…

Virtual pinboard gets into news feed

Six months ago, very few of us had heard about a site called Pinterest. But Friday last, cyberspace was abuzz after "The 2012 Digital Marketer: Benchmark and Trend Report” reported that Pinterest was the third-most visited social networking site by people in the US, after Facebook and Twitter. The report also said that 60% of visitors to the site are females and 55% in the 25-44 age group.

Pinterest, development of which began in 2009, is a virtual pinboard (or a notice board, as the Brits would say) on which you can pin interesting items. It could be photos of animals like puppies or decorative items like wall hangings, or nature like mountains or culinary delights. To join you have to send a request or you can join by responding to an invite sent by someone on Pinterest. You can also connect Facebook and Twitter accounts.

There are three ways you can pin: “add a pin” by pasting the URL of site where you found the item or “upload a pin” from a folder in your computer. Also, you c…

Desktops go online

Our increased dependence on internet and the need to access simultaneously data lying on multiple devices -- smartphone, tablet, netbook, laptop -- has led to the growth of cloud-based services.

Dropbox, an online storage and sharing service, is a popular one. Users can drop their files into the Dropbox folder on the desktop which gets copied in your Dropbox online account, which can be accessed from anywhere. The data also gets sync’d with other linked devices. These files can also be shared with others. There’s free 2GB storage and works on all operating systems.

Google and Microsoft too have them. On Google Doc, using the Gmail password, you can create documents, presentations, speadsheets and tables; access them from anywhere including mobiles, share them and even edit them collaboratively. Windows Live SkyDrive is very similar, having Office Web Apps, Hotmail and Bing Search integration. There are SkyDrive apps for iPhone and Windows phones.

Now, cloud-based services are moving bey…