Posts Tagged ‘ digital infromation ’

Some cool websites that you must try ..

I wanted to drop off a list of some cool and interesting websites for you all to check out. Well here goes :

Give away of the day

Welcome to Giveaway of the day project, the new initiative in the software distribution world! Everyday Giveawayoftheday offer for FREE licensed software you’d have to buy otherwise! The idea behind this initiative is that many sites and publishers offer trial downloads; but only we offer giveaway downloads. What does that mean?

Basically, every day they nominate one software title that will be a Giveaway title of that day. The software will be available for download for 24 hours (or more, if agreed by software publisher) and that software will be absolutely free. That means – not a trial, not a limited version – but a registered and legal version of the software will be provided.

Online Alarm Clock

There is no need of describing what it is the use of Online Alem Clock but it is worth mentioning the very user friendly interface of KuKuKlok. Once loaded, the online alarm clock will work even if Internet connection goes down.

Online Text to Image converter

IMG4Me is an online service to convert your text into image instantly. This way you can Protect your e-mail and other private information online against spammers and web crawlers.

Here is the result you get! You can use such images for protecting your email account from crawlers and spammer bots

Identify the language

Many time you visit a webpage which is written in a different language or you may get a document oe a letter that is written in some other language, so what do you do, you can use Google Translator to convert the language to your native language. But the problem is you need to know in which language the letter/message is written before you can translate. This is where LanID come in use.

LangId is a free web service that allows you to identify in which language was written any text you need to analyze.

So just copy/paste the text the text in the box and press identify as simple as that.Now you can switch to Google Translate to translate the text in whichever language you want.

Send Anonymous & Fake EMail

Fake Send allows you to send Fake Emails easily. All you have to do is simply fill out the fields to have an email message delivered to the recipient specified. Your recipient will receive an anonymous e-mail message at the address you provide as well as see the message as sent-from the sender you input. Click send message and your anonymity is protected while we deliver your email message(s), keeping you anonymous!

This website is a perfect way to prank your friends, your boss, or anyone at all! There’s no signup, no fees, nothing. Just free emailing. Sending fake emails is also makes a perfect April Fools joke, so be sure to come back then as well!

All in one Online messenger

Meebo lets users gather their friends on a single buddy list where they can talk and share content in real-time across different IM platforms, communities, and traditional social networks.

It is a multiplatform Messenger clien which includes major messengers like Yahoo Messenger, GTalk, MSN/Windows Live Messenger and FaceBook Chat and MySpace. Also It has Included ICQ Chat and Jabber Chat options.

Check which games will run on your PC

Many time you want to know whether your computer supports the minimum system requirement for the latest game you want to play, for this the best option is to check the game homepage, but most of US don’t know whats is our current system configuration than how should we check/confirm whether a particular game will run on our computer or not.

This site provides a One-Click solution that looks at your computer’s hardware and system software to determine whether or not your current system can run a product. Each of your computer’s components is evaluated to see how well it meets the minimum and recommended requirements for specific products. Recommendations are made on how to update or upgrade each component which does not meet the listed requirements. Sometimes, a simple, free software download is all that is needed. Sometimes you’ll find that you need a different videocard to fully experience what the game has to offer.

All you have to do is go to Can you run It. Choose the name of the game for which you want to check your system requirement and click on Can U run It button.

This valentines day try the 3D valentine’s card

If you have been taking your time to write some of the posts of this blog, you might have noticed that I do like Augmented Reality a lot and the reality that this coming to life is an aspect that I am incredibly excited about. In this post I wanna look at some new commercial applications that are coming out.

First of all, a 3D greeting cards which have been adopted as a first by Hallmark. Yes the worldwide leader in greeting cards has taken on a step to combat the dip in sales because of eCards. Like the age old saying goes if you can’t beat them join them. Meaning that the cards now mash up the real world with the Virtual world, to create a one of a kind Augmented Reality Greeting card. The person receiving the card can visit www.hallmark.com/extra and follow the directions to be able to view a 3D animated feature by holding the greeting card up to the web camera. The technology breathes a digital life into the card. The animation tracks with the movement of the card, so no matter which way the card is moved, the animation will rotate along in full 3D. In many cards, various scenes appear as the card is turned in different angles in front of the webcam for a range of digital experiences.

It does makes a lot of sense to add content to a static piece of cardboard; this would imply that although you don’t need to give an ugly marker to a person, you still give a nice greeting. They can see the card through the webcam for additional content, however if they don’t have one, then definitely they have a greeting card.However, it would have been cooler if the application was accessible on the phone so that you can see the message when you receive it and don’t have to wait to get in front of a webcam. Anyway check out a demo of the greeting below :

Give it a try, maybe this valentines day you could give a special 3D card to your geeky girl / boy friend. The link for the Hallmark card is here.

Invisible text … made visible for Mobiles – QR Codes

In one of my earlier posts, I had showcased a very interesting Business card, the augmented reality business card. Right next to the 3D picture of the person was another 2 Dimensional code which was also displayed and a few guys asked me about it. That was of course the QR code, and I was surprised to find that not many people knew about the humble QR code. So this post is dedicated to the QR code. Although invented in 1994, the QR code which was then heralded as the ‘next big thing’ and the ‘replacement to the age-old Barcode’, this technology did not really take off worldwide as it had the potential for.

qrcode

The main difference from the bar code is that since it’s actually a 2 D  matrix, it can contain far more information (up to 4,296 alphanumeric characters), and the scanning device is any 3G camera phone with proper QR software installed. A smaller version, Micro QRCode, holds up to 35 characters.

The QR Code is a way to use the camera of a mobile device to capture a bit of data, be it text or a URL. The user snaps a photo of the square bar code and an application on the device makes the translation. It is bit of a fringe technology and the primary reason being not all Mobile Phones ship with an application built-in, and even when it does, they do not really advertise it.

QR codes are now mainstream in Japan, and have been for a few years.  Originally developed by Denso-Wave, QR codes gained a foothold in print media in Japan at the end of the last century, and international recognition with the publication of an ISO standard in 2001.  Since then, QR codes have become ubiquitous in Japanese print media, outdoor advertising, and even on the occasional T-shirt. Sushi bars use them to track plates of sushi consumed by their customers. They appear in Japanese bus shelters posters, linking travelers to a site that provides up-to-date information on bus arrival and departure times. In fact there is a Blog from Japan where all the posts are in QR Codes. Check this sample of a post.

Here is a How to video to use your Bar code scanner built into the Nokia N95

Now with mobile penetration increasing world over the QR code is making a slow comeback into the world through Mobile Marketing. But people have not only used it for Mobile marketing but further with creative used of this technology. Some examples that I came across are :

  • Business Cards – a QR code could take people to your company’s website or your profile on LinkedIn.
  • Google Maps and QR Codes Mashup.
  • Memorial at graves ?
  • Mashup Augmented reality with QR Codes, not only the business card that was on my earlier post. Check out this.
  • Booking Appointments – some businesses such as doctors’ offices and hair and beauty salons are using QR Codes to enable their clients to book appointments over their mobile phones. This is great if the office is closed when you pass it or if you’re in a rush and can’t wait around to make your appointment with the receptionist.
  • Adminstration – online interactive Canadian passport application forms have integrated a dynamic QR code that changes as you complete the form. The code stores all the applicant’s information and when scanned by the government processing centre, to accurately upload the applicant’s information and to allow for much faster application processing times. This video shows how the code works and changes over time.
  • Event Ticketing
  • Opt-In Marketing – For permission based marketing solutions, companies can offer a free download in exchange for a prospect’s email address or cell number.
  • Marketing Collateral – learn more about a product or service, whether via a general website or dedicated webpage, or with the power of multi-media via a video presentation.
  • Retail Signage – show current sale events, promotional discounts, download mobile coupons to the mobile device and so much more.
  • Invitations / Event Announcements – gather further information or RSVP on your mobile device.
  • Real Estate – a quick scan of an MLS listing, or from a ‘For Sale’ sign, brings up an instant virtual tour of the property.

Check out some of these Youtube videos here to check them out.

You can check out some of these free online QR Code generators to make your own free ! Yes Free !!

Awesome new Business Card … Unbelievable

Everyone wants to have an identity, this and leaving some information to contact or get in touch with a person have led to tremendous business card designs. And to make one stand out people usually go through a lot of trouble. You can see some extreme examples of the same in these links below.

http://www.smashingmagazine.com/2009/05/20/effective-business-card-design-better-than-a-plain-ol-business-card/

http://blogof.francescomugnai.com/2008/05/70-new-amazing-business-sards/

http://www.reencoded.com/2008/05/20/42-awesome-business-card-designs-with-links-to-100s-more/

http://www.graphicmania.net/most-amazing-business-cards-design-inspiration-ideas/

But that is still in a flat 2D world, introducing the new Augmented Reality Business card solutions to enable posting yourself in 3D, in fact the makers are looking at including your latest status update from social networks, tweets from twitter or any other content from the internet. This definitely goes down as a cool innovation, more will soon come.

Augmented Reality is going to be Big in 2010 and this is one of the first in the list of innovative applications that people are going to come up with for this awesome technology.

Check out my other posts about this cool technology :

Augmented Reality – The possibilities are endless

Future Tense ..

Hierarchy of needs cause of Dubai crash ?

I just stumbled upon the Hierarchy of needs by Maslow which was published in a paper in 1945. Maslow’s hierarchy of needs is also predetermined in order of importance. It is often depicted as a pyramid consisting of five levels: the lowest level is associated with physiological needs, while the uppermost level is associated with self-actualization needs, particularly those related to identity and purpose.

[picapp align=”none” wrap=”false” link=”term=pyramid&iid=6306164″ src=”b/9/2/1/Tower_of_tin_78a0.jpg?adImageId=7943474&imageId=6306164″ width=”451″ height=”379″ /]

The higher needs in this hierarchy only come into focus when the lower needs in the pyramid are met. Once an individual has moved upwards to the next level, needs in the lower level will no longer be prioritized. If a lower set of needs is no longer being met, the individual will temporarily re-prioritize those needs by focusing attention on the unfulfilled needs, but will not permanently regress to the lower level. For instance, a businessman at the esteem level who is diagnosed with cancer will spend a great deal of time concentrating on his health (physiological needs), but will continue to value his work performance (esteem needs) and will likely return to work during periods of remission.

[picapp align=”none” wrap=”false” link=”term=dubai&iid=309626″ src=”0306/0000306359.jpg?adImageId=7943827&imageId=309626″ width=”413″ height=”413″ /]

What has all this got to do with the Dubai crash that has been so vastly publicized earlier this week, well I think everything. Most of my friends who left India looking for better prospects a few years ago are now residents of those countries or well and truly getting there.  There might be various aspects in which I might be doing a bit better than some of them, but definitely they are in a position where they are now nearly getting their citizenship in those countries.

Looking at the attitude of those guys I realized that my love for Dubai is like a fish loving his bicycle. I mean its not that I dont really like Dubai, but I do not have a sense of belonging here. I have worked my way up a fairly small ladder and have spent my earnings .. all of them in this country. But still I have no sense of belonging. Being an Indian I have seen first hand the sort of discrimination that happens in this country when it comes to how much money an Indian guy makes or an european/arab national makes for a similar role. Moreover the largely Indian population in Dubai are to a certain extent responsible to keep the machinery of Dubai rolling. Having said that they are subject to a sort of discrimination and the “emiratization” they still seem to work here, one because their need of money / security or lifestyle is met in Dubai at some level.

[picapp align=”none” wrap=”false” link=”term=discrimination&iid=258701″ src=”0255/a61b79e4-d715-419e-8ab6-bbbf8e8fda27.jpg?adImageId=7943837&imageId=258701″ width=”500″ height=”354″ /]

But South Asians ( mostly Indians) in Dubai have found more than just the nominal construction worker / cleaner / driver / clerk roles and have made their way into the greater roles like Financial Advisors, Financial Analysts, Planners, Engineering Managers etc. In fact the UAE cricket team that is playing to qualify for the Asia cup will not be allowed to play even if they qualify !! Because they are not citizens of this country. Why does this not happen to a South African cricketer who now plays for Australia ?? or an Indian Player who is now playing for England ? Because they are now up the ladder in the hierarchy of needs and have already received their citizenships.

[picapp align=”none” wrap=”false” link=”term=cautious&iid=285325″ src=”0281/ec50a61a-66ca-497b-ad5f-46b66a763eea.jpg?adImageId=7943864&imageId=285325″ width=”473″ height=”480″ /]

Getting back to what we were talking about, as these guys move up the ladder the sense of belonging to a country or a place where you dedicate a huge chunk of your life gives you a motivation to work in another country than your own. Bearing all this in mind I began to think would the financial advisers of the bigger firms in Dubai would have been the same like they have been ? And this is not only the Indian community but also the expatriates that are in decision making positions in Dubai. I think people would have splurged less and been more cautious with the decisions that they would have made. I could be wrong … but there is no way to find out.

What happens to your digital self when you die ?

Today morning I got a very depressing news, A very good college friend of mine took his life. In as disturbing as the news was, there was something that was even more disturbing. Another friend of mine actually started looking up his last few online contributions which included his linked in profile, mail from various sites, orkut profile, some job site registration and application and even some bank statements.

Now, I started to think, that digitally this person has not actually lost his life. There is still a vast amount of information available on this person in terms of his profile: professional, personal and even all the posts, wall posts, scraps, pictures etc, what happens to all that information ? He was one who was not as active as some of us, especially online. There are some of us who have mail ID’s at various sites, blogs, added videos on daily motion, you tube, created tons of content, podcasts, pictures on flickr, several testimonials, referrals .. the list goes on and on.

All this information maybe good or something if misused can tarnish the image of a person who is no longer able to defend himself. There is a side of me that thinks that this is something that needs to be informed to the respective sites, that dudes, this person is no more and please remove all personal information about this person and looking at it practically this service can be misused by a lot of people as well, just like most internet based services available. Well is there a solution to this problem ? I personally feel that it’s not right of me to think this, but I think this is something worth having a look at. In terms of a service this is something definitely that someone should look into. Just like we leave all our worldly possessions to someone when we leave this earth, we should be able to assign our email passwords, profile passwords etc to someone who can handle all this as deemed appropriate.

Well like most ideas I found that there are other people who have also pondered in this question and there are some instances that I want to quote from other internet sources on how to plan for your digital death well in advance.

Email Accounts

As a general rule, you own your email and electronic correspondence and you can leave this to whomever you choose in your will. However, if your family or executors don’t know your email passwords, they may have trouble retrieving it. Email providers have struggled with how to deal with this issue and to balance privacy and security concerns with giving access to grieving families. In 2004 the family of Justin Ellsworth, a young Marine killed in Iraq, tried to get access to the contents of his Yahoo! account. Yahoo! refused, and a prolonged lawsuit resulted. The court ultimately ordered Yahoo! to provide the family with copies of the emails contained in the account, although they didn’t actually get electronic access to the account itself. Other web-based email providers have taken a similar approach, albeit without having to be forced by the courts to do so- Gmail and Hotmail will both give access to email contents upon proof of death and proof of relationship.

Take Google’s Gmail, for example. The company demands the following from the deceased’s family:

  1. The full name and contact information of the requester, including a verifiable email address.
  2. The Gmail address of the individual who passed away.
  3. The full header from an email message that you’ve received at your verifiable email address, from the Gmail account in question.
  4. The entire contents of the message.
  5. A copy of the death certificate of the deceased.
  6. A copy of the document that gives the requester power of attorney over the Gmail account.
  7. If the requester is the parent of the individual, they should send a copy of the birth certificate if the Gmail account owner was under the age of 18. In this case, power of attorney isn’t required.

So not only do you need to have been sent a message from your own husband or wife – which is by no means a foregone conclusion in a typical relationship where you talk to one another every day – you also need to have a document specifically awarding you power of attorney. In other words, the Gmail account had to be listed in the person’s will. To make matters worse, the request has to be sent in writing or faxed to Google’s US offices. “We’ll need 30 days to process and validate the documents you’ve provided”, Google claims. Bang goes any chance of tracking down friends for the funeral at short notice.

It’s quaint to think of your email archive like a long forgotten box of love letters from the war, pages yellowed and corners tattered. But the reality is a little more complex- do you actually want your family to be able to read your email after you’re gone? I’m not sure that I do. While some old messages may bring some joy or shed some light on aspects of my life, there are a lot of messages that are nobody’s business but mine. Do you want your family to have access to ribald jokes and gossip sent between friends? To e-fights (or e-love, for that matter) between you and your lover? To receipts from all those adult sites you subscribe to? Probably not. But do you have a plan in place to make sure this doesn’t happen?

Facebook and Social Networking Accounts

Facebook and other social networking accounts are a little different than email accounts as the information on your profile isn’t as private as your emails- your profile is accessible and viewable by anyone who you’ve granted access. Your profile also appears as a friend of countless others, and will continue to appear until the account is either closed or your friends delete you. I’ll admit to a bit of e-voyeurism on my part- when I hear about a young person killed in the news, I have on at least one occasion searched for their Facebook profile just to see if it was still there and, if it’s an open profile, what has become of it. It’s morbidly fascinating to see the last few days of banality in someone’s life documented when you know the outcome. Silly status updates seem much more ominous, tagged pictures a little more haunting. For friends of the deceased, their Facebook page may be a source of comfort or a constant reminder of the loss. But how do you deal with it? Can you bring yourself to just delete your lost pal from your friends list? When is it appropriate? Who decides what happens to the account?

Myspace advises that their policy is to allow access to a deceased’s account upon verification of death, and a significant number of Myspace profiles remain active as memorials. There’s even an entire website dedicated to the Myspace profiles of the recently deceased. Facebook’s approach has been more restrictive- the original policy was to delete the account of a deceased one month after death. This was a controversial approach, and the family and friends of many deceased users protested. Facebook has since revised this to allow for the “memorialization” of accounts, where the accounts remain open as a tribute. There’s even a form you can use to report a user who has died . However, Facebook won’t release login information, so the account can’t be accessed, changed or updated and your final status update may forever remain “MGL is going to stuff his face with hot dogz!!!”.

Blogs and Online Content

An additional consideration for managing your digital estate arises for those of us who run blogs. Much like social networking and email accounts, online service providers such as Word Press and Blogger are reluctant to release login details, even to an executor. If your blog is hosted on your own server or through a third-party hosting service, the task of accessing the site is further complicated and in some cases may be close to impossible. And consider this- many bloggers set up articles to automatically post at a certain time in the future, allowing them to continue regular posting even while busy or on vacation. It is quite conceivable that a blog could continue to be updated and appear to be “live” even when the author isn’t. In one case, a blogger who committed suicide intentionally set his blog to continue posting after his death . Heck, I could be dead right now and you’d never know!

If you’ve got a blog, you’ve also got intellectual property including copyright to your writings and any trade-marks associated with your site. You may also have photographs, music, and other works that are published and maintained online. Copyright generally lasts for 50 years after the death of the author, so there’s a significant tail period of copyright protection that vests in your estate and, just like any other form of property, IP can be given to a specific individual in your will. If the will does not specify who gets your intellectual property, the standard rules of distribution apply. Exactly how much this IP will be worth varies greatly, but even more important than the monetary value may be the continued control and moral rights respecting your content. We each have preferences for what will happen to our content once we join the dearly departed, but without proper instruction to your executors or beneficiaries there is no way to know what will actually happen.

Data locked on your PC

While Google, PayPal and the like certainly make relatives jump through hoops to retrieve their loved one’s data, at least you know that data is there, stored safely on the company’s servers. But what about the digital photos, documents and other valuable data trapped on the deceased’s computer, for which you don’t have the password? Checked on the internet if Microsoft would assist a family who didn’t know the Windows password of a dead relative, there is not information available. However, number 37 of Microsoft’s top 50 Knowledge Base questions is, “How to log on to Windows XP if you forget your password or if your password expires.” The prognosis isn’t good. “If you’ve forgotten the password for all user accounts, and if you did not create a password reset disk [and, frankly, who’s got one of those?], you cannot log on to Windows XP. This is for security reasons. If this problem occurs, you must reinstall Windows XP.” Provided Windows is installed over the top of the existing OS without a disk reformat, your personal data should survive the reinstall, but it isn’t without risk – and it’s a procedure littered with pitfalls for the technically naive.

Removing the hard disk and connecting it to another PC or running a live Linux distribution from its CD are alternative methods of retrieving the data. Again, such procedures might come as second nature to PC Pro readers, but are a daunting prospect for amateurs. The less technically minded could turn to the professionals. I were told it would cost Dhs 500 for the drive scan and a hefty Dhs 1495-Dhs 2995 for the recovery of the data. Not a cheap option.

Moral of the story : Plan Ahead for Life 2.0

For some people, this mishmash of postmortem procedures may suit you just fine. But if you’re like me, you may find them inadequate and unreliable. If that’s the case, here are a few suggestions for getting your e-affairs in order.

First, find a “digital executor”, someone who you trust to carry out your wishes with respect to your online personas. Who you choose may depend on what you want done- if you want your emails wiped so your wife doesn’t find out about your girlfriends, she may not be the best choice and a trusted and close friend may be a better option. It is also important to make sure that this person has the technological know-how to carry out your wishes. While it may make for an awkward situation, let this person know ahead of time that he or she has been selected as the lucky contestant to take care of your online estate.

Next, create a “digital will” telling your executor what you want done and giving him or her the information needed to carry out your wishes. This doesn’t remove the need for a real will, doesn’t require the help of a lawyer, and is likely not legally binding in any way. Instead, it’s a way to provide clear information on your wishes with respect to things that may fall outside your will (or just be overlooked) and make the processes much easier for all involved. Prepare a list of your email and social networking accounts along with your login data and brief details on how to access the accounts. If there is anyone from your online contacts that you want notified, write it down along with any other special instructions, such as what you want done with email and other data. Make it clear what data you want destroyed, what you want preserved, and how you want your representative to deal with your online presence. This list is going to contain very sensitive information, and you don’t want it falling into the wrong hands- don’t just jot it down on a piece of paper or save it on your hard drive. Consider keeping it on a password encrypted USB drive that you can update regularly and keep somewhere safe, but make sure your digital executor will know where to find it and what the password is. Don’t include banking information or accounts- your executor will be able to access your accounts without your online sign-in info, and having this data compromised could be disastrous.

Finally, it is important to remember that I totally made up the idea of a digital will and executor. They don’t exist at law, and your real will can override any designations you make. With that in mind, this is a good time to update your will to include specific provisions for who will take ownership of your intellectual property and any data that you leave behind. Discuss the options with your lawyer and let her know that you’ve made separate arrangements for access to your accounts, and see if there are any other changes that need to be made to give effect to your wishes.
Some more interesting services apart form the ones listed above are :

  1. http://www.greatgoodbye.com/
  2. https://www.legacylocker.com/

Both are paid sites, but they are have an important aspect of our digital life that is not something that we often think of.