Archive for the ‘ tribute ’ Category

Facebook and Death

A while ago I wrote two posts, one about Facebook learning to deal with Death and the second asking the question what happens to your digital self when you die ? Yes, FaceBook did come up with a solution to Memorize pages of friends who were no longer amongst us, but Facebook has now gone one Up with the concept of a sort of a virtual cemetery: a place where people could record their thoughts, memories and life lessons for their family and the public to learn from and discuss. Our Facebook pages are our living testaments. They feature some of our most important memories, the people we care about, and in some cases, our life’s work. They’re a version of our autobiographies and when we die, they can serve as a form of our obituaries.

If your friends have lost someone recently, you’ve probably seen them mourn and celebrate the person’s life online. Sometimes friends or family will create a group dedicated to the memory of that person., and people will add in the memories that they have had with them. When the family or close relatives of that person visits the page, I imagine the feeling is rich and meaningful in a way that’s different from visiting the cemetery.

Facebook’s addition of the ability to “memorialize” pages — a policy born of the 2007 shooting at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University was a good start. Memorializing pages turns a personal page into a memorial page. The page is only accessible to confirmed friends and sensitive information like phone numbers and status updates are removed to protect the privacy of the individual. Friends can leave messages on the page and look at the deceased person’s wall postings and photos.

If nobody goes through the process of having the page memorialized or taken down, the page lives on indefinitely and can lead to the jarring experience of seeing their photo pop up on your page with a message to “say hello” to them or add them as a friend. Facebook sets up those notifications to get infrequent users more involved so, naturally, people who have died are among those who show up most.

I suggest to utilize groups and group discussions to mourn and remember the deceased. The group pages allow anyone to join, not just people who were Facebook friends with the deceased. Groups are set up to be more of a community so it facilitates interaction among people. People can discuss specific memories, or upload photos for example.

Facebook doesn’t have specific numbers of memorialized pages or groups, but as Facebook users get older, the numbers will increase. Perhaps someday there will be more memorial pages than pages for living people.

To report a deceased person’s profile on Facebook, and turn it into a memorialized account.

For more information on creating and managing a Facebook group.

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Where is Innovation required in India – i.e Where is the money ?

This is a question that has been asked before and a lot of people and companies are striving to get the answer to this. India is a big country with varying socio economic sectors, each with a different requirement than the other. However the numbers is each sector would dictate what sector is the best sector for the maximum market reach or most profit.  Here are my views on where is the real market for an aspiring service or company in India.

First things first, to categorize India into sectors is very difficult. There are many factors and many conditions that dictate what the consumers need and where is the best place to work. But, largely based on the socio economic front there can be 5 distinct sectors in India.

  1. The Very Rich
  2. The Consuming Class
  3. The Climbers
  4. The Aspirants
  5. The Survivors

The first and second sectors are the ones that expect the products and services the same as that of the developed countries. For the most part, the rest of the sectors are only aspiring to achieve any sort of service that can be there. This is the real market for an aspiring new company. The majority of enterprises in the Climbers or aspirant sectors have ten or fewer employees, and are the main contributors of employment for the poor. Hence micro-entrepreneurs form the backbone of economies in these regions, and their development is crucial for socioeconomic improvement in a country like India.

The climbers / Aspirants and Survivors form the largest sector of the country. In India these sectors represent the sleeping tiger, which is the part of the country which has the most potential but still have to deal with infrastructural requirements that plague the country. There are great markets that can be worked on considering the sharp downfall of the government to provide these services to people:

POWER : For instance, for many it still is a daily struggle to get enough electricity to go about their daily lives. Those living in rural areas or in urban slums simply don’t have electricity. This could be addressed by integrating new battery technology, solar recharging, low-power technologies, or via devices that automatically utilize other ways of charging or saving power that are still being explored.

LITERACY : The UN estimates that nearly 20% of the world population is illiterate – with the vastmajority residing in developing nations. Before even basic information services like SMS can be used, more effort needs to be made into creating new user interfaces for those who can’t read, and more effort into finding the best ways of teaching literacy with mobile devices.

COMMUNITY : Rapid technological change in the world is going to inevitably create friction, as well as great opportunities. Finding ways to integrate technologies into traditional social structures in a positive way could play a huge role in community enhancement. Micro payments, encouragement for Entrepreneurship, Venture Capitalism are all venues where we could approach the community issues.
There have been certain products that have come around in the past few months to cater to these sectors. Good examples to these have been Mitti Cool, the Refrigerator aimed at the villages without electricity and made entirely of clay, and other innovations. You can check more of these inventions at http://www.jugaadu.com/.

Though it is tempting to simply assume that eventually growing economies will need many of the same things that developed nations already have, innovation and new services to help the poor and uneducated can’t stop because some parts of these sectors have crossed into what can be called “lower middle class.” For the vast majority, there are still many problems with accessing just the most basic requirements of human beings. The opportunities to improve the lives of millions of people with new services aimed at growing economies are incredible. As time goes by and new technologies become cheaper and accessible by more people, the possibilities for even greater services that truly improve the quality of life are enormous.

10 Websites that changed the Internet (India Edition)

Ever wonder what made the Internet the monster it is, starting only within the CERN research facility to now reaching nearly ever home with a computer ? Well it was the services and the websites that were there online. The more people saw value and entertainment, the more they got involved and more the internet grew. Influenced from the article here, I wanted to make a list of my 10 websites that actually made a difference to the Internet.

1. Geocities.com

Like a few million people around the planet, this was one of the sites that helped amateur web enthusiasts like me to enable my first attempt at making an online presence. I saw a lot of web pages, self learnt HTML from the pages and got to a stage where I wanted to really make a mark online. Unfortunately engineering in Instrumentation and Technology did not make it any easy to keep in touch with the internet. But it sure told a lot of us that making and keeping a website was not very very hard, and its a skill that can be learnt with a bit of patience and a liking for web design. However, amateurs like me are responsible for most of those ugly websites that started during the days of Geocities and exist even until this day. The internet bid farewell to this beauty last year. Geocities will be missed but the job is now taken on by a few websites out there like Google Sites, Tumblr etc

2. Wikipedia.org

With an intent to enable the entire world free access to knowledge, this was one of the real success stories of the Internet. I think the donation doors have time and again raised enough money to ensure that such a great resource as wikipedia stays alive and more importantly free. Giving a major competition to closed loop education and knowledge resources like the Microsoft Encarta Encyclopedia, this is one world class product and project that definately changed the internet. Did you know that you can download a copy of the latest backup version of wikipedia ? Check it out at this location for yourself. http://download.wikimedia.org/

3. Hotmail.com

India’s first big mark on the online world came from a relatively unknown guy then named Sabeer Bhatia, and what he did was not only did he give a face to email but also a big mark for startups that get bought up. Starting Hotmail with some investment from a venture capitalist this Indian American Entrepreneur sold Hotmail for about $400 Million to Microsoft. Hotmail generated the interest in people to actually go online and create the account for an Email Address. Later the major chunk of the emails was taken up by USA.net which converted to a paid service at which point people moved to Yahoo Mail or Gmail. This was the state in India at least.

4. Rediff.com / Indiatimes.com

Between the international players, India had some shining stars for web portals. Rediff.com and Indiatimes.com are two sites that are running successfully even today. Both the sites integrated the online news / mail / sports / entertainment sections so well that it seemed that a lot of people had accounts with Rediff or Indiatimes at one time. After the popularity of Gmail this is shifted a little bit. However quite a few friends of mine still use their Rediff account as their primary communication medium. Interestingly, these sites were the first news sites in India, additionally they added the other craze of India cricket with live scores etc. Other similar sites at that time were sify.com and Indya.com.

5.  Amazon.com / eBay.com

The entire eCommerce bubble I would say was fuelled by these websites. Amazon and Ebay showed how to legitimately make money and substantial amounts of it. They provided customers a lot of support for people who were looking for collectibles, home appliances etc. Interestingly they grew so big that there were individuals who survived by searching eBay and providing people who were looking for stuff from stamps and coins to electronics and real estate; all for a small premium. They provided people a platform to buy and sell things and make money with garage sales and second hand goods and make money without having to build their own website.

6. Youtube.com

You tube provided the missing piece to the expanding internet, Video. Vanity is one of the most famous things that gets people do unbelievable interesting or goofy things. You tube gave people an outlet to get their 15 minutes of fame. Be it by making their dog sing a song or perform bizarre stunts. However, it now is one of the most visited website on the planet. Providing millions of hours of entertainment to people with a lot of time on their hands and looking for entertainment. From movies to the present IPL, India is all over the You Tube.

7. Blogger.com


Blogger is an awesome platform that provides amateurs like me a platform to post their views about anything under the sun. Although I am not using Blogger anymore and have moved on to WordPress.com, it is still one of the first services with Live Journal that enticed users to blog and made the buzz on the blog-o-sphere. Blogger is not only easy to use but also allows users to monetize their blog by posting Google Ads on it. It is one of the services that encourages users to write and make money at the same time.

8. Facebook.com


There is no introduction required for facebook.com. Nearly everyone is hooked on to this magical website. Although there were earlier sites that encouraged people to network socially like orkut.com, hi5.com, friendster.com, facebook is the one that we can see taking over the internet. In fact it just surpassed Google as the most visited website within the U.S. Facebook not only revolutionized social networking, but also sharing photos, websites, videos, messaging, walling and the ever famous pokes.

9. Twitter.com


It is not something that can be comprehended in the world of blogging, websites etc, a website that restricts you to 140 characters is now taking the internet to the next phase of its evolution. The Mobile. Before twitter, Mobile internet was completely restricted to emails through exchange and messages and some websites that were wap friendly. But twitter along with good mobile hardware has just changed how people use the internet on their phones. This definately is worth the mention.

10. Google.com

The Search Giant that indexed the Internet and provided information to all people for free to be able to get around the vast and ever growing Internet. AdSense provided them with enough revenue for them to be able to provide a lot of services from the Google stables for free. Gmail, Google Earth, Google Docs, Google Maps, Google Sketchup, Google Picasa and many other services that we have come to love have all been born out of the revenue of AdSense. Google is one of the most loved and most visited single website on the world and they definately changed the Internet for good.

On a more personal note, the very first website that I had visited was unbelivable http://www.bharat-rakshak.com which is not as popular as one wold think, considering that they are almost like an unofficial website of the entire Indian Armed forces, the Army, Nave and the Air force. I was then looking for information related to getting to the NDA and this was one of the best resource, The internet was at a cyber cafe off Brigade Road in Bangalore and they were charging about Rs 140/- per hour, the internet connection was dial up and the one hour that my friend and I used the Internet we just browsed about 8 pages of that website.

10 Alternative uses of Vodka

[tweetmeme] Today’s article is not really to do with technology but Inquisitive nevertheless, its about drinking and vodka. A lot of us drinkers have had the Vodka trip more than once, its one of those drinks that both Men and Women seem to enjoy in all its forms. And as far as rumors go, Vodka does not seem to be the best drink for guys (really need to verify this one) anyway, most people are contended to get smashed with vodka (including me) but some people have tried to do other stuff with it, and believe me the results seem too good to not share (apparently) I stumbled on one of those sites, well here is the list posted there and I am sure a 99% of us will not use vodka for anything but getting smashed, this is for the 1% who do not mind spending that precious liquid on something else 😉

1. Treat Poison Ivy


For many, one of the hazards of enjoying the great outdoors is an encounter with poison ivy. It can lead to a nasty, long-lasting rash. Unfortunately, poison ivy is spreading, thanks to global warming.

To avoid the uncomfortable reaction, immediately pour vodka on skin that has come into contact with poison ivy, and the alcohol will wash away the itchy culprit, urushiol oil. Some have said that the vodka needs to be at least 100 proof to work. Others have argued that straight rubbing alcohol works better, but I’m guessing you may not have that as handy if you are on your average picnic.

2. Freshen Laundry


You can keep your clothes smelling fresher with vodka — really! Simply spritz your duds with the stuff, then hang to dry in a well-ventilated area. (Do a spot-test first to be safe.) Vodka kills odor-causing bacteria, but doesn’t leave a scent when dry.

3. Shine Your Fixtures


It’s easy to get your chrome, glass and porcelain fixtures shining like the top of the Chrysler Building. Guess what does the trick? Moisten a soft, clean cloth with vodka, then apply a little elbow grease.

4. Preserve Flowers


If vodka can help you find love, then it can also help you preserve it — or at least the symbols of it. Add a few drops of vodka and a teaspoon of sugar to the water in your flower vase. It should help keep your flowers fresh longer. Change out the mixture with fresh ingredients daily.

5. Repel Insects


Unless you are intent on proving how hard-core you are, or you have a bizarre fetish, you probably don’t enjoy getting feasted on by insects. But you’ve read media reports questioning the safety of DEET-based repellents, and you are pretty sure you don’t want to take the risk of spraying yourself in the face with poisonous bug killers. Who knew that vodka can kill pesky insects, as well as nagging doubts at the bar? Pour a little of the saucy spirit in a spray bottle and squirt on the little buggers, or yourself as a repellent. But please don’t take aim at any beneficial bees!

6. Soothe Jellyfish Stings


Jellyfish are fascinating, beautiful sea creatures. But their stingers can pack a powerful, painful punch. For vegetarians and others who don’t travel with meat tenderizer (or who don’t feel comfortable asking friends to, um, relieve the pain), take heart. Vodka can also disinfect and alleviate some of the bite of a jellyfish sting.

7. Get Great, Shiny Hair


Vodka doesn’t just make you think people look prettier. It actually can make people prettier. How? Try this remedy for healthier, lush hair: Add a jigger of vodka to a 12-ounce bottle of shampoo.

8. Clean Away Mold


Got mold? The stuff spreads easily and can severely diminish indoor air quality. Unless you are shacking up with the Crypt Keeper, who wants to look at those grimy dark stains that build up on caulking (sometimes even on mold-resistant varieties)? But instead of harsh chemical sprays, try filling a recycled spray bottle with some bottom-shelf vodka. Spritz on, then let sit for 15 minutes. Scrub away with an old toothbrush (please don’t use your sister’s).

9. Make a Soothing Lavender Tincture


Do you find the scent of lavender soothing? Here’s a fun DIY tip: Fill a clean glass jar with fresh lavender flowers, then top off with vodka. Seal the lid tightly and place in the sun for three days (same idea as making sun tea!). Strain the resulting liquid through a coffee filter, and poof! You have a homemade tincture to rub into aches and pains. You can pour into smaller bottles, decorate them and give them as unique gifts.

10. Ease a Toothache


Got a toothache? Your first priority should be to see a dentist. But sometimes you can’t get an appointment right away, or the professionals tell you it will just have to heal on its own. In that case, try swishing a shot of vodka over the affected area. It can help disinfect, and should numb some of the pain in your gums. I know Neville tried this, the only way it helped is by getting him knocked off and forget about the pain 😉 Well that might be an advantage 🙂

You can check out the original article here.

The new ABC on Einstein’s Birthday

[tweetmeme]

A for Apple

B for Bluetooth

C for Compact Disk

D for DELL

E for Energy Star F for Facebook

G for Google

H for HP

I for Intel

J for Java 

K for KDE


L for Lenovo

M for Microsoft


N for Ning

O for Orkut


P for Pokemon


Q for Quicktime

R for Real

S for Skype


T for Twitter

U for USB


V for Vista


W for Wikipedia


X for Xerox


Y for YouTube


Z for ZooZoo


Pi day 3 – 14 and Einstein’s Birthday

[tweetmeme] Today is March the 3rd and with the american system of dates it would be represented as 3.14 which ofcourse is the first 3 digits of the mathematical Pi, when I say of course it is nerds and mathematical geniuses that will be more intrigued about it than anyone else. π (Pi) is the mathematical constant that has helped school children and mathematics professors determine the circumference of a circle based on its diameter for centuries. The constant starts with 3.14 and continues forever (as it is an irrational number). Many math geeks celebrate the famous math constant (and mathematics in general) on every 14th of March because that date represents the first three digits of Pi.

There is a less known fact of Pi actually there are many, but this I found a bit interesting and non geeky.

Pi is an irrational number, which means its decimal representation goes on forever. This means that potentially every possible number you can think of is hidden somewhere in pi – your date of birth, phone number, or even your bank details. What’s more, using a code that converts numbers into letters would let us find the Bible, the complete works of Shakespeare, or indeed every book ever written, if we looked at enough digits.

There’s one catch: for this to be true, pi would have to be a “normal” number, and we don’t yet know if it is. If it’s normal, the numbers 0 to 9 will appear equally often in its decimal representation. That means any single-digit number occurs one-tenth of the time, any two-digit number one-hundredth of the time, and so on.

The probabilities get vanishingly small when you start looking for the huge numbers of digits corresponding to the Bard, but just like those infinite monkeys and their typewriters, you’d get there in the end.

Did I also mention its Einstein’s birthday ?? well some people are born with it.

India Shining: A Technology update – Part 1 the Military

Republic Day brings about great memories of National Cadet Corps camps, Parades, Republic Day Parade preparations (although I never made it there), my National Defense Academy Selections (which I missed cos of some certificates) well all in all my what-might-have-happened-if career in the Indian Defense; But most of all it reminds me of my childhood days when I would sit glued in front of the television on Republic Day parade when India showed off her military competency or at least the weaponry that we have stacked.

Over the years, I watched the parade slowly change from borrowed technology and bought technology to indigenous technologies taking over. However, I think we all believe that its happened very slowly, especially after we have been watching US based military technology in Hollywood movies, it is getting relatively difficult to impress us. The Indian Government has been increasing the defense budget considerably to develop some of the most ambitious projects undertaken by the scientists from India. All of us know that some of the most popular organizations from the Defense sector have made it through this recession without too much of a hitch, in fact they are some of the most profitable organizations within the government sector and we can figure why.

Getting back to the Republic Day, this year is no other than the previous years we have had. India is going to go in all guns blazing to display some of its technologies that are now on the brink of commissioning. India’s first Indigeneously built multi role fighter aircraft christned ‘Tejas’ (formerly LCA – Light Combat Aircraft) is going into operations at the Indian Air force this year, no wonder that it will make an appearance at the Republic Day this year. Although it has had its share of  hurdles for the proposed ‘Kaveri’ engine, the swelling costs, R & D costs etc, the Tejas is a testament of Indian Engineering at par with the best in the world. However, one would have loved to see it fly rather than just being a display. Continuing on the Air force front, the Medium Combat Aircraft another ambitious technological leap from the makers of the Tejas (HAL) and Sukhoi 30-MKI (Sukhoi Industries) who are now working on the specification of the latest Multi Combat Stealth Fighter; is supposed to be better than the the American F22 Raptor, can you imagine that. (Have a look at some of the Artists Impressions (Credits – Alexander Dueller)

Another major highlight of this year’s Republic Day Parade would be the showcasing of the Indian Army’s Arjun tanksand the ambulance-tracked vehicles, “Smerch” multiple rocket launcher systems, engineer reconnaissance vehicle, indigenously built “Sarvatra” bridge, infantry combat vehicles and ICV-based communication vehicles of the Army along with the “Agni” ballistic missile, “Shaurya” canister-launched hypersonic surface-to-surface missile and “Rohini” radars from DRDO. (Check out Equipment of the Indian Army from Wikipedia)

Apart from all the actual military equipment, the Indian Army is looking to introduce Eco friendly technologies in the outposts, by that I mean power generation from renewable sources. Why ? well first of all out Military is in need of such technologies to provide for basic amenities in the remote outposts and also the maintenance and installation costs are going to be far lesser than trying to get to areas like the Siachen Glacier, the highest battle field of the world. It would also help to save the glacier from pollution, as also to cut down on the cost of the fuel and logistic efforts.

All in all it might be an amazing Republic Day parade this year, unless the weather decides to play spoil sport with fog. For all of you who might be interested to see the republic day parade and who might not have access to Doordarshan like me, can check out the parade here online.