Archive | September 2011

Happy 13th Birthday Google!

It all started with a research paper, and next thing we knew it took over our lives. From a search engine to an email platform, maps, browser, smartphone operating system to a social network, Google has it all. And today our much loved and appreciated internet friend, Google celebrates its 13th birthday.

They publicized it by making a doodle of course! And this is the doodle to celebrate their 13th birthday.

Happy Birthday to Google and thank you for revolutionizing the web.

The Facebook Timeline ain’t that bad after all

fbnew1

As we all know Facebook recently rolled out loads of changes to the site. It started off with the list feature on the news feed, and then a huge change to the news feed followed by the introduction of Timeline. While Timeline is not publicly available to everyone, a beta version can be enabled. If you want to know how to enable the Timeline before everyone else, click here.

As usual, changes to Facebook ends up being filled by cries, rants and anger by its users. It’s common isn’t it? I’ve seen my news feed filled with anger everytime they change something ever since I got an account. So I guess I’m used to it now. Well, at first I wasn’t all excited about these changes (if anyone followed my Tweets), and that was largely due to the fact that I’m partially out of Facebook (well, how long can you spend at one social media site?). I had my rants, especially on the new news feed which even to this very moment of writing this post, is annoying me. And also the fact that Facebook is copying off other social media sites and trying to make Facebook “the site” to visit bothers me. For example, why would I want to check in on Facebook Places when I can do it on Foursquare (and then post in to not only Facebook but also Twitter)?

To be honest, the news feed is slightly more organized but I just feel like I’m not getting my news right. Everything is divided as “Top Stories”, “Recent Stories”, and “From Earlier Today”. I don’t know if it fits, because Facebook isn’t as real time as Twitter. One thing I like is that all the unneccesary stuff like comments and likes ends up at the little ticker at the side. Personally, I’m still pissed off that Facebook messed with my Lists. I had them organized the way I wanted it and now I have two lists of each because Facebook smartly created their own. It sort of messed things up a little.

But this post isn’t about the news feed, it’s about the Timeline. My profile page transformed from this:

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to this:
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Finally, and organized layout

Yes, it is a complete overhaul! All the posts are moved down, giving room to a good introduction about myself. I really think the cover photo feature comes in really well with the new layout. Things are more organised. Information is easily found because the cluttered profile page is gone. Recent activities also do not clutter my profile or outdo other important stuff on it anymore because it’s well organized into one box on my timeline.

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A Virtual Time Capsule

The best part of the Timeline is that I am able to go back in time and view not only what I have posted on Facebook but also all the memorable events in my life over the years. It’s like a time capsule. I spent loads of time just scrolling down, going through past memories until I ended up at the date I was born (which obviously, Facebook didn’t exist then).

born

 

Featuring the big moments

But really, the Timeline just features everything well. And I’m pretty sure it wasn’t easy to code that. You can also feature posts on the timeline, so not everything comes out in two columns. Featuring the posts happens to be a huge part in the timeline, and helps differentiate big moments from the small ones.

feature post

 

Bye bye Ads!

And did anyone notice the lack of advertisements? The old profile was filled with them, especially one the right column of the profile – The ads and the “People You May Know” or as I call it, people Facebook assumes you should be friends with. The Timeline equals to no more sponsored stories. So, where is Facebook going to dump all these ads, you ask? After all, advertisements are the sole reason they’re surviving. Well, I think the right answer should be your News Feed. Because where else are they going to put them. But to be honest, it wouldn’t just be the News Feed, I’m pretty sure other pages will have them too, but the Timeline to date doesn’t contain ads and even if they do include ads, would be limited in numbers.

 

Privacy isn’t (exactly) dead

A lot of people I came across (not just on Facebook, but on all other medias) was complaining about the privacy features on Facebook being thrown away. To my opinion, privacy on Facebook isn’t (exactly) dead. Just because you can now view all your past posts, photos and videos clearly on you Timeline, doesn’t mean your privacy controls are missing. They’re just not the way they used to be. Have a look at this:
privacy options1
When posting a status with the old profile, users only had the option of “Friends of Friends”, “Friends” and “Custom”, now they have added the lists options (which previously wasn’t there and could only be included if you clicked “Custom”) This makes a whole lot easier to block content from reaching a specific group of people. And you can easily feature or hide news from your Timeline. And a few additional stuff (a few, not much) were added to the Privacy Settings, such as this one:
privacy options2

What is this Subscribe?

Facebook also introduced the “Subscribe” feature. It’s is actually meant for those who have a Fan Page, so they don’t have to manage two accounts at once but instead just control the setting on their account while posting feeds. By default, you are subscribed to all your friends and you can unsubscribe of subfeatures your friends post about, such as their Games updates. For a better view into the subscribe feature read this article. It gives a comprehensive review of the whole thing.

 

So basically, privacy isn’t dead, and having a time capsule for your online presence isn’t a bad idea after all. As a huge critic to Facebook (I have my reasons), and as someone who doesn’t spend more than ten minutes on that site (I still have my reasons), I have to admit that they might have got it right this time around. But, one thing that really bothers me is that it’s called a Timeline. Now, I have two Timelines on two different social media platforms (yes, I’m talking about Twitter). Originality might be the key here.

6 Accessories for the Geek

Here’s a random compilation of accessories / gadgets for the Geek community. Some of them are personal favourites, others just caught my attention.

1. Rubik’s Cube Mug

$12.99 [approx. RM41.33]

Rubik’s cube are amazing things, the complexity of the logic and the easiness to solve (well, if you know how to solve it). It certainly represents the geek in many of us. And what a better way than to show it off while having a drink.

2. Nintendo Wall Graphics

Nintendo Wall Graphics$49.99 – $69.99 [approx. RM159 – RM222.70]

Who doesn’t love Mario?? And trust me the next best thing is to have it on the walls around you house. It may be a little bit pricey but hey, it’s Mario :)

3. Ghostbusters Proton Pack Backpack

Ghostbusters Proton Pack Backpack

$40.00 [approx RM127.26]

There’s something strange in the┬áneighbourhood, who you gonna call?? GHOSTBUSTERS! What a better way to share our inner geek than going back to our childhood. This is seriously something worth buying.

4. Universal Gadget Wrist Charger

Universal Gadget Wrist Charger

$39.99 [approx. RM127.20]

This is for all the people that are on the go – and keep forgetting to charge their gadgets. This wrist chargers your device as you use it and works for iPhone, Nokia, Mini USB, LG, Samsung i900, Sony Ericsson, PSP, NDS Lite and Nintendo DSi.

5. Pizza Pi Cutter

Pizza Pi Cutter

$17.99 [approx. RM57.20]

We all used Pi in school while bombarding our maths teachers with questions like “Why would we need this in life?” Well, at least now you can cut pizzas with it.

6. Smart String Tape Measure

Smart String Tape Measure$11.99 [approx. RM38.15]

Ever tried using a tape measure to measure an object and then struggle reading the measurement? Not any more. With the Smart String Tape Measure, the length is calculated for you and displayed on the string. You can also store three measurements and use them in calculator mode.

Oneiric Ocelot (Ubuntu 11.10) Beta 1 Released

The next Ubuntu, Ubuntu 11.10 or more know as Oneiric Ocelot has finally got its Beta release. This version features a host of changes, mostly to the Unity dash when compared to Natty Narwhal (Ubuntu 11.04). The dash know features a better interface with more filter options. It also adds in a Music Lens in addition to the Files Lens and Applications Lens. Among other changes are the new look of the Ubuntu Software Center, Alt-Tab previews and a nicer login screen.

On a personal note, I actually like the changes to Unity, especially the dash as it was the one part of Unity I didn’t like on Natty Narwhal. And yes, it is much prettier and would be something to bring new users in (although not really liked by most Linux users). And even though it lacks customization abilities as compared to Gnome, Unity still has my vote. Although more keyboard shortcuts on Unity would really help, the fact that I have to keep moving my mouse to do stuff annoys me.

Tell us what you think about this release and to download Ubuntu 11.10 Beta 1, click here.