mahatma gandhi with guy fawkes mask anonymous

When will India stop being retarded about the Internet?

So, you have probably heard about the spoof PMO accounts on twitter being banned. If not, then you have now.

To begin with, there is absolutely nothing wrong with spoof accounts, especially when they mention in their bio that they are spoof accounts. In fact, these spoof accounts almost always make more sense than real politicians. But then again, a lamp-post in the street makes more sense than most of our politicians. Well, except one, Rajeev Chandrashekar. I don’t know how this guy came into existence, and became an MP. And I am not making this up, but this is what he thinks about internet freedom -

Any attempt to expand the government’s power over the internet – however incremental, seemingly innocuous or pretending to advance democracy – should be turned back

This is from his editorial piece in the Times Of India.

He finally got the government to review his suggestion,and talk to the public before taking a decision. He tweeted -

The Govt has accepted my repeated position to review it’s May 2012 position & is now finally initiating my suggestion for an open public consultation on the subject ! PM supports my position !

Apart from the obvious problem of him not knowing his its from it’s, he seems, overall, pretty awesome, just because of his stance on the Internet. But he can easily get outvoted by a number of idiots MPs.

Which brings us back to reality. So, the retards, masked as the Indian government, got the ISPs to block a few twitter accounts, including @PM0India. The account is now accessible, but all the previous tweets have been deleted.

Other retarded stuff that happened in the past week on the Internet involved real people, and not only politicians. The result was SMSes being limited to 5 per day, and a number of sites being blocked, in order to curb the non-existent violence against north-east Indians. I might not be qualified enough to comment on this, but I think imagining a full-blown religious riot are symptoms of serious schizophrenia. Which means that most Indians with access to social media networks or mobile phones are schizophrenics. Or just fond of sharing shit. The only thing being shared in my feeds was content made to help de-bunk the rumor, not feed into it. Which makes me happy as that means that all of the filtering I did in my Facebook feed ( subscribing / unsubscribing ) was not in vain. BTW, most of the sites blocked, reportedly had nothing to do with the event. But who cares? Something had to be done, right? Read the detailed analysis of Prakash Prasanna, a programme manager at CIS ( Centre for Internet and Societ ), which explains what all was blocked and did it make sense ( short answer : no ).

As you can see, it’s not only the government that’s retarded, it’s also we, the people. And it’s not only about the Internet. It’s about us. Maybe we just are a bunch of retarded monkeys, frustrated with our mediocre lifestyles, looking for some kind of amusement. Maybe we are all just pieces of a mob waiting to happen, waiting to wreak havoc, as soon as the gears are set in motion.

Or, maybe, there’s hope.

The Higgs boson explained in 9 minutes

Minute Physics did a three video series to explain about the Higgs Boson, any why it matters. And in case you don’t know about Minute Physics already, and are a geek, you should visit the Minute Physics YouTube channel, and subscribe to it immediately. The channel has several videos explaining complex physics theories, in a very simple manner, in around a minute. These videos were all around 3 minutes though.

Part 1. What is the Higgs Boson?


Part 2. What is mass?


Part 3. How to Discover a Particle


Did watching these make you understand the Higgs boson better?

Being Iron Man is more than twice as expensive as being Batman

MoneySuperMarket.com has released two info-graphics, which calculate how much would it cost someone, if they wanted to be either Batman or Ironman.

Being Batman costs 682 million $

whereas, being Ironman costs 1.6 billion $.

And this is the very problem with superheroes. The one’s that you can be, are very rich, and that one’s that you can’t be, well, what’s the point in talking about those.

Which was your favorite superhero movie, this summer?

share from google search on google plus

Has Google crossed the line in promoting Google+?

Have you been seeing a lot of Google+ lately? I see it everywhere on the Internet, including places like GMail, Google Search and YouTube. And I think that Google has crossed the neutrality line.

Google+ in Gmail

You can also load hidden comments to the post -

Meaning that there is AJAX involved. The comments also get posted via AJAX, from within the email, so you don’t have to leave GMail.

 

All this functionality is cool, apart from one major flaw. Email clients including GMail don’t support JavaScript, apparently due to security issues. If that is the case, then why does Google+ get special treatment, Saying that they only trust themselves with JavaScript is exactly like Microsoft saying they only trust internet with IE. Verifying browsers for security is a lot easier than verifying a lot of emails. But they can at least allow other top social networks to use the feature. Top meaning every network, that is more frequented than Google+. Which includes

Google+ in search results

Hover over a result, to see the share link. Sharing links in search results are good, because they let you share content in your preferred network.

Which sadly is not the case here. This one only lets you share with your two friends on Google+.

 

It’s like Internet Explorer and Microsoft in the 1998 era. Google clearly has a monopoly of content distribution, as the two most visited search engines are both owned by Google ( Google search and YouTube ), and they are clearly misusing their position by allowing people to share easily to Google+, but not on Facebook/Twitter/LinkedIn. It can easily be argued that you can still take a link and manually share it on other networks, but you could also install Netscape manually, on your copy of Windows. The only problem was that IE did not go away. Neither does the Google+ share button.

What do you think? Has Google really crossed a line, or promoting their own product is fair game?

live on the internet

Learn how to behave on the Internet, before you start living there

I have been wanting to say this for a long long time. Ever since I have been on Facebook. One simple thing. Learn the rules of the Internet before you get on it.

I finally decided to make my first account on a social networking website in 2010, on Facebook ( I never went to that shitty place Orkut, which was cool because I did not have to waste my time on that horrendous UI, and crappy content. )

And since then, I have been appalled by how stupidly people use these sites. They use it like they were just talking to their group of friends, in real life. Which is not the case. No matter how much you wish for an Internet experience that just replicates your real life, online, the truth remains that this is a different place. This is the Internet. And like before visiting a foreign country, you need to learn the rules of the internet land, before stepping in. Google+ was a step in that direction, a social network that replicates real life, but that is the exact reason people don’t use it. People want the “serendipity” that Facebook offers. Being able to see what your friend’s friends are doing, and hence finding new friends. Which is completely awesome, given that you are not behaving like an idiot.

I have been collecting screen shots like this, for the past six months -

This one shows how people, unsuspectingly, make a lot of their friend’s numbers public,  by making a public event, and asking them to post their numbers, cause they lost their phone. Now take a breath, and think about the numbers of times your friend lost his contacts, and asked everybody to give him their numbers. It’s not wrong that you post your number publicly, but what I am saying is that you should know that your information is public. My number/address can be easily obtained if one was so inclined, but I know that. Most people live under the false pretense of security, not understanding how social networks work. Even if you don’t share something with the “public” setting, you are sharing with people who have two degrees of separation from you. Which could be anybody. Anyone could friend your friend, and get access to your info. The thing is, there is no “private” information sharing on the Internet. This is one of the reasons I like Twitter, because by default, your tweets are public, so you know that if  you tweet something out, everybody can read it. It’s a sad thing that people don’t even get that.

So, what’s so wrong if my information leaks out?

Well, I had a lot more samples like the FB event, and would explain how all the can be dangerous, but then I came across this brilliant talk by Tom Scott.

Oh crap! Is there a solution to this?

Kind of. Switch your Facebook account to public. I kid you not, do it. Your posts can be found by someone one way or the another, if someone is so inclined to do it. So if you start posting publicly, you would at least be well aware that this data is for everyone’s eyes, and you just might restrain yourself from putting stuff on the Internet which shouldn’t be on the Internet. There are other ways, like becoming a Facebook’s privacy settings ninja, and locking down your profile more and more. But know that, some info will always leak out. Also, I think that having to tinker with the setting to use a product is a design flaw, but that’s another issue.

BTW, none of this is Facebook’s fault. It’s the users fault. We don’t really understand the Internet, but just hop on it, cause it’s cool.

As one wise man once said “What’s cool, is not always safe”. OK, nobody said that. But, you get my point. Understand that the Internet is public, and when you are ready for the repercussions, you can move, and start living on the ”Internet. You can start posting your vacation photos to tell the world where you went. You can start publicly checking into restaurants, to tell the world where you are. And you can start posting your plans, to tell the world where you will be. And other over the line freaky stuff like live video streaming of you taking a dump, and tweeting the percentages of constituents of your pee, et cetera.

Solaris DTU - India's solar car team

How does Solaris, India’s solar car team from DelTech, make eco friendly cars.

DelTech is known for its mechanical engineering. Cars, robots, unmanned flying things, you get the idea, cool stuff. We sat down with Rohit Gupta of Solaris, India’s only solar car team to have participated in more than one race.

What does Solaris mean to you? Why did you choose this name?

Solaris was the name of the team before we joined it. A better question will be what do the name of the cars mean, because that’s interesting.

continue..

the car that we took to Australia for World Solar Challenge 2011 was christened Avenir which means the Future we perceive that the future to the Automobile Industry mobility sector in general is Electric Mobility Solutions which we aim to make more efficient accessible and cheaper

As a start-up, one of the biggest challenges is getting noticed by many people. Do you feel people in college are actually aware about it completely?

the problem is a necessity for our project

How?

Because the scale at which we work is large..the project cost varies to about 20 lakhs to the vehicle itself. We work very hard to make the technology as indigenous as possible to reduce costs which needs the local players in the market to help us

What challenges do u face ? are they more on economical front or on the technical front?

Thank fully Mobility sector in India touches a lot of people in India so whenever something new comes up in this area..a lot of people know about it via news or our public displays. Challenges are more on economic fronts than on technical terms people lack faith in such research projects they are more open to support some fest that support such initiatives

Is everything done by you or do you outsource parts of the process? Is anything assembled by other companies?

We design everything. We build most of it ourselves, like the mechanical parts and all other things like making custom parts for the A arms in the steering assembly are all done by the team at their workshop which we rent when we are to make a car the electronics are dont ourselves except the cell encapsulation all things are done in-house the cells are encapsulated by our sponsors based on the guidelines we give them this time we are working on an In-house encapsulator too.

What has been your inspiration in the development of this project? How has the university helped you in your ambition?

The inspiration was the sheer sense of human`s basic need after food,shelter and clothing - Mobility. With the price of fuel going towards the sky the need is for us-the “To-Be” engineers to work on much more better technologies that shall be the stone turners in the way man used to move and the way man shall move electric vehicles are already there but the range limitation is a problem that reduces their sales in the reliability based indian auto sector The college has been very kind to us they have helped us in times we needed it the most. I would like to thank our VC Prof. P.B. Sharma for his support.

How many team members and their roles?

There are 15 team members. As I told you that we need a lot of funding to build our car so we need a big, bright and dynamic Corporate team.

The team is broadly composed of 3 main departments

1) Electrical

  • Solar Array optimization
  • Auxillary System
  • Telemetry and Communication Support System
  • Drive Train Design
  • Battery and Power Control

2) Mechanical

  • Steering
  • Suspension
  • Drive Coupling and Installation
  • Vehicle Dynamics
  • Design and Simulation
  • Body Fabrication

3) Corpo

  • Corporate relations

 

You can visit these guys at their website ( beware of cool background music ), or their Facebook page.

if5I1HLrk0PA

CERN scientists have almost found the Higgs Boson

First of all, I am not trolling you again. CERN had a conference today. A big conference. Peter Higgs, the dude after which the particle is named, and two other science dudes, who had independently suggested the existence of such a particle, were invited. And then, during a serious presentation, full with comic sans fonts, they said that they have found a boson, that is 99.999% the Higgs Boson. But they played safe, and never said that it indeed is the Higgs Boson. This is a result of two independent experiments, CMS and ATLAS. There have been a couple of times, when such claims have been made, but later falsified. The results have been given a 5 sigma

For many scientists, it was only a matter of when, and not if, the particle will be found. But it’s discovery is a major milestone. How major? Well, more major than the one that proved that the earth is not flat. The Higgs Boson, completes the standard model, and helps explains what gives matter mass, and supports a lot of other important theories, that try to define our Universe. There are a bunch of other such particles, that do different things like make up light ( photons ), make non contact forces work, and other such cool stuff.

“I’m rather surprised that it happened in my lifetime – I certainly had no idea it would happen in my lifetime at the beginning, more than 40 years ago, because at the beginning people had no idea about where to look for it, so it’s really amazing for me to find out that it’s really enough… for a discovery claim,” Peter Higgs said at the conference.

I wonder if Peter Higgs has opened the bottle of champaign yet. An excerpt from his 2008 interview by Guardian.

 What will he do if data from the LHC does, as most physicists expect, confirm the existence of the Higgs boson? “I shall open a bottle of something,” he says, back in coy mode. A bottle of what? “Champagne,” he says thoughtfully. “Drinking a bottle of whiskey takes a little more time.”

This is a great achievement for the LHC, as this was one of the major experiments happening in there. I wonder when they will make canisters that hold matter and antimatter, and can annihilate and destroy cities, if misused. Hopefully, Robert Langdon will save us, if that happens.

BTW, it will take some more time, before we can say with 100% certainty that the Higgs Boson has been found.

And here’s Neil deGrasse Tyson on the discovery -

The Higgs discovery makes me feel heavier already. What we need instead is the anti-Higgs. A particle that takes mass away.
@neiltyson
Neil deGrasse Tyson

Image credit – Bloomberg

US and Japan lead the ‘Twitter Take Down’ Charts. India more passive.

Taking a cue from Google, Twitter published their first transparency report today, which includes reports of government requests to release user information, gov. requests to withhold content, and DMCA takedown notices by copyright holders, segregated by country.

Leading the pack is USA with 679 requests out of the total 849, in the first half of 2012. This is followed by Japan with 98 requests. Another interesting thing is that US requests have a compliance rate of 75%, which is 20% for Japan.

India, and many other countries filed less than 10 requests. 0% of these were complied by Twitter, meaning, that they were all non-sensical requests. All I am thinking is, Has Kapil Sibal found a new pass time, or he just can’t figure out Twitter at all ( not that he understands the Internet ). Oh! He is having a ball messing around with JEE. The man sure knows how to keep himself entertained.

Twitter plans to release these reports every six months.

Via - Official Twitter Blog

tablet nexus 7 google india

Why India will not get Google’s amazing Nexus 7 Tablet

Google’s Nexus 7 tablet is the definition of insanity. The good type. Have a look at the features to get started.

CPU Nvidia Tegra 3 (Quad-core)

RAM 1 GB

Screen 7″ (216ppi Back-lit IPS display)

OS Android 4.1 Jelly Bean

It’s long been clear that Apple rules the high-end in a market they created. Many ( Samsung ) have tried to unseat them from that position, and failed. Even if Samsung has a chance to capture a decent market share, they will first have to fight through the lawsuits Apple keeps throwing at them. There is only one way to enter the market now ( if you want a big share of the pie ),  which is the $200 price point.

Comparing it to the equally priced Kindle Fire, in terms of hardware and OS, the Google’s Nexus 7 is a clear winner. In terms of content delivery? Whether Google Play can beat Amazon, given their years of expertise, remains to be seen. If somebody asked me, I would my money on the Nexus 7. But for now, their prime aim is to sell. And then sell more.

Here’s the bummer, though. It’s not coming to India, for one simple reason – it’s priced too low. It will go on sale at $200 (approx. Rs. 10k). Most people I know would buy two at that price. The problem is, they are selling it at a 0% profit margin. They are probably making losses. But, this subsidizing model works in the US because of content consumption. Kindle can be priced at $199, just because of the fact that once people have the device, you can be the gate keepers, and make money selling content. This does not work in India, not because we don’t consume content, but simply because we can’t afford to pay for content. Ever played Angry Birds? Yes. Ever paid 50 bucks for it. Nope. You probably even switch off your internet before starting the free version of the game to save bandwidth costs.

What’s also interesting here is at what price will Microsoft launch the surface. They were smart enough to not put a price on it, before the Google I/O. According to features, the Surface is more a $500 tablet than a $200 tablet. But can they compete with Apple, where Android failed, with a completely new OS (with no apps) ? Microsoft has already upset tablet manufacturers, like LG, by competing with them by getting into hardware. This means that Microsoft is betting huge money on its success, and if they want a better result than the Windows Phone ( which is stuck at a 3% share, despite being awesome ), they will have to price it pretty aggressively, and make huge losses, just as they did for the XBOX. I think a $300 price point makes sense, for people looking for something in between the iPad and the Nexus 7. But again, don’t expect to be buying it for 15K in India. If they do release it in India, it will sell at a premium price point.

The good part is that Android devices are easier to root than Apple’s. Got friends/relatives in the US? Now would be a good time to say hello. ;)

Watch the Google team blabber about how the device was created to make money via content, below.

android-jelly-bean-statue

Loading Android 4.1, codename Jelly Bean. Access granted!

The next major release of Android OS entitled Jelly Bean(v4.1) is here to treat our geeky taste buds, with its exciting new improvements and features. Google took the curtains off the promising OS yesterday at The Google Developers I/O Keynote, taking us from its crooks to crannies in a matter of a few minutes.

The biggest change according to Google is something they call “project butter” which now allows the whole interface to run at 60fps, something the android has not been able to lay its hands on for a while when compared to its rival iOS. The difference in speed of the whole UI is visible when comparing it with previous versions, like google demonstrated:-

Home screen has been improved with dynamic resizing and movement of widgets across different screens. Also, there is a significant change to notifications, with user being able to make changes or take actions without actually opening the notifying app.

Camera, which was already the highlight of ICS, has been further integrated with slick gallery including gestures like swipe etc to quickly manage your photos.

Another major change is in Google Search UI & its functionality which now supports Natural Language Processing, mounting a serious challenge to the Apple lady, Siri. Google Now is another new part of Google Search, which can show you public transport listings, flight information as well as sports results automatically by monitoring your activities in advance , without your slightest interference! Cool,isn’t it?

A masterstroke by Google, I believe, is rendering Google Speech To Text engine offline, hence making it possible to send msg/emails on the go, avoiding the hassles of typing. Talking of text input, google has improved the predictive capabilities of the android keyboard so that now it tells in advance your next move, quite a handy feature.

For the devs out there, SDK preview of Jelly Bean is available right now, while the OS will be there by mid-July. Although most of the current devices lack even ICS, how manufacturers tackle the problem of upgrading to Jelly Bean remains as one of the major lingering issues.