Posts Tagged ‘facebook’

1. Giving You More Control

Facebook had some very interesting announcements last week. Probably the most analysed was the creation of groups. The post also contained a paragraph missed by most – whic says that you can now export your facebook data ! To me it looks like a bigger news 🙂 Ofcourse it is not in a immediately machine translatable form but still it is cool ! It is currently not possible to import it back but its a great move forward. Kudos to facebook. In line with the tradition that all new facebook announcements come with some issues, Groups also seems to have lot. For a humorous account check out Facebook new groups feature rife with abuse . In a related issue, some people realized that Facebook app on smartphones sync more information than expected – In case if you use the app check out Is the Facebook App Playing Fast and Loose With Your Personal Data? .

2. Amazon Amps Up Apps Rivalry

This is a surprising move from Amazon – Not sure what is their ultimate aims are : Will it just stop with providing proper recommendations to users or will it be a rigorous process like Apple. Also will there be additional APIs that allow app developers and make the app Amazon distributed only ? We will know soon the success of this move.

3. Change to BIOS will make for PCs that boot in seconds

The much hyped EFI technology atlast seems to get used in a wider scale. Now that the recent versions of Ubuntu have around 10 second boot times it should be interesting see the new boot times.

4. Stuxnet: Fact vs. theory

Stuxnet seems to have captured the imagination of public much like Conficker. This post discusses some of the fact and myths.

5. G2 Detects When Rooted and Reinstalls Stock OS

Hmm this is a bit worrying as I was planning to move to an Android smartphone sooner or later !

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1. Ultraprecise clock helps cut relativity down to size

Looks like by using highly accurate atomic clocks, scientists have concluded that relativity theory works even under normal conditions although the difference is somewhere around 90 billionths of a second. It is always amazing to know that scientists can precisely measure quantities as small as this !

2. Open Facebook

An interesting site that aggregates publish Facebook statuses. I did a superficial search and found lot of potentially embarassing posts. Not sure if the post owners even know that the posts are out for the whole world to see !

3. Seabird – A Community-driven Mobile Phone Concept

An interesting effort from Mozilla. Hopefully Android phones copy these features soon 🙂

4. Turning Thoughts into Words

Some of the cutting edge work in Brain-Cognitive studies are simultaneously both exciting and scaring. Even though it can detect 10 words with 48% accuracy , I am sure within 10 years we can do much much more.

5. Google Blacklist – Words That Google Instant Doesn’t Like

A master list of words which will not be completed by Google Instant.

6. India Launches Project to ID 1.2 Billion People

National ID is one of India’s most ambitious project. Lets hope it succeeds in its aims.

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Biweekly Links – 09-24-2010

1. Why Our Schools Suck, The Movie
I have started hearing about the documentary ‘Waiting for Superman’ from different blog posts. I have not yet see but the premise is promising.

2. The Twitter hack: how it started and how it worked
Some technical details about this week’s Twitter XSS hack.

3. Facebook Hopes Credits Make Dollars
Now that most of the important Facebook applications has started using facebook credits , I wonder what’s next. I always think that in-app purchases are only the low hanging fruit. I keep thinking how else these can be used – lets see if Facebook figures out more creative usages.

4. Researcher Claims ‘Evercookie’ Can’t Be Removed
Kamkar did some neat hack in Defcon 2010 which I linked in a previous biweekly link. The latest exploit is relatively simple and I think it should be easy to prevent by proper settings. But the idea is very creative. Talking about security, another news circling is this : Blockbuster Worm Aimed for Infrastructure, But No Proof Iran Nukes Were Target.

5. Comparing Spamhaus with Proactive Connection Throttling
Some hard problems seems to have simple enough working solutions !

6. Netezza shows there’s more than one way to handle Big Data
I first learned about Netezza from Daniel Abadi’s post. They seem to have some really nifty ideas like hardware accelerated DBMS and more. The strength of IBM’s analytic unit is growing more and more 🙂

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1. Google News
Google was in the news this week quite frequently. The most buzz worthy was the integration of Google voice with gmail. My favorite news though was Google Acquires Angstro. This company had been doing some neat work and had some good code in github. Hopefully, these tools will be integrated into Google services. Another interesting news was Google’s instant search – most likely they are doing some A/B testing but I think it is a cool idea . I also found a presentation from a Googler called The Real Life Social Network v2 which was very insightful (but looong !).

2. Facebook Looks to Develop More Social Startups
An interesting partnership – although I do not know how much Y-Combinator benefits from it !

3. Want Instant Delivery of New Blog Posts & Comments?
This is a post from WordPress about cleverly using Jabber for getting real time information about blog posts and comments from the blogs you are interested in ! I feel the idea is pretty geeky but not sure how useful it is in practice.

4. A Search Service that Can Peer into the Future
This is probably the most innovative application using NYTimes’ articles. The interface is slick and it shows information in a very interesting manner. I guess the articles were heavily tagged with micro formats – I cannot see how this tool could be built otherwise. The coolest idea is that it can peer into the future (sort of). It has become one of my favorite past times – To see the references in NYTimes for 2010 and 2011 (and beyond). Check this tool out !

5. Running On Empty
This post discusses issues faced by documentation translators and the stigma attached when you work for Ubuntu related stuff (that is an exaggeration but kinda true).

6. Bad News, Good News
This post brings a very valid point that I have noticed many times. All the newspapers discuss about bad news and usually ignore good news – Most of the time , the only positive news comes from sports. What effect this has on us ? I remember Dr.Abdul Kalam made a similar observation some years back. May be time for introspection.

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In the last couple of weeks after my masters, I have been trying to streamline my daily routine (now that I am going to start my PhD) . So this week’s biweekly links has a strong bias towards productivity tips !

1. Narrowcasting and the Facebook News Feed
An insightful post. I have lot of annoyances with Facebook and the inability to make only a group of my friends see my status message has been the most maddening. Facebook does offer few customizations but their expressive power does not extend to user created groups – a feature other tools like friendfeed or buzz have for long . This post also offers why the newsfeed that Facebook shows me is so dumb 🙂

2. Inbox Zeroer
This was the best post I read last week – Some of the ideas suggested seems pretty interesting ! I intend to wait for couple of weeks and if no one picks up, I might develop a thunderbird extension for it ! In the other email related post, some tips in Email Sucks – 5 Time Saving Tips were quite innovative.

3. How do you consume media?
This is something I used to think often. As a person who spends quite a bit of time (1-2 hours a day) reading news and blogs, I kept wondering if there is any more efficient way – Even though my friends keep touting Twitter , I am still one its skeptics. So it was timely to see other people I respect too having the dilemma. Additional discussion is at Readers kill blogs? .

4. Virtual Router Smashes Speed Records
Virtual routers are finally moving away from emerging areas to "proven" areas !

5. Great Resources on NonNegative Matrix Factorization (NMF)
NMF was one of the topics in my blog queue – Although I kept pushing it due to the breath of the topic. Now that there are other good resources, I will try to discuss more advanced ideas like its relations to other algorithms etc.

6. Roommates Who Click
The number of applications of matching algorithms continues to amaze me. 

7. India Tries Using Cash Bonuses to Slow Birthrates
Two things were interesting – I did not know India offered incentives for delaying child birth . Also the fact that 2.1 is the magic number for stable population was news to me.

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1. Carnegie Mellon Tries Crowd sourcing To Develop Optimal Electric Car Formulac
In a very interesting move, CMU tries to do a NetFlix by crowd sourcing the problem to find efficient current flow between an electric car’s components. I have my doubts if this will be ultimately successful. The price seems to be just right. But this seems to be a fairly intricate problem and also needs some knowledge of coding which might dramatically reduce the potential audience. I would have preferred a Foldit like approach which made the designing stuff (in that case protein folding) more like a game which would have lowered the barrier for entry and also increased competitiveness.

2. A Taxonomy of Social Networking Data
An insightful classification of the data that we make available to social networks. I would have preferred a longer exposition that talked about user expectations, monetary potential of individual data (from social network point of view) etc but still it does gives you something to think about. Hopefully the people behind Diaspora are reading this !

3. Firefox 4 Beta Adds Multi-touch Support
In one of the big news, Firefox supports multi touch – I am still not sure what this holds for the future but it is exciting to see Firefox bringing multi touch into the arena. In the other cool news, Multi-touch Support Lands in Maverick . Doubly sweet !

4. A Chip That Digests Data and Calculates the Odds
In one of the surprising news recently, an MIT start-up introduced "plans" to build a chip that uses probability directly instead of approximating using digital bits. As of now, I am skeptical about the claims – Even if they can build the chip, I do not see any one other than academia / big companies like Google/Amazon etc will have an use case for it.  I have to say their other product which corrects errors in flash memory seems more practical and cool. Lets see how this pans out.

5. Google never removed Oracle from its index
Lot of ink was written last week about how Google removed Oracle from its index as Oracle sued Google. It was a very neat homograph prank and the mechanisms used is given in the linked post.

6. With McAfee Deal, Intel Looks for Edge
I am baffled at this deal like many others – I do not see a need for Intel to buy McAfee for almost $8 billion ! This deal almost completely depletes Intel’s free cash. Hopefully Intel has a good plan to utilize McAfee !

7. Facebook Unveils a Service to Announce Where Users Are
FaceBook has launched the widely expected location services. It is pretty surprising that it almost steals all its ideas from Foursquare. Looks like another Microsoft Vs Netscape scenario to me.

8. Reanimated ‘Junk’ DNA Is Found to Cause Disease
A neat discovery in genetics. Although the discovery almost resembles a patient detective, I am a bit worried about the really long time they took to find the culprit. Hopefully this discovery will produce enough knowledge to speed up things in future.

9. Simplifying the Lives of Web Users
This is post by David Pogue about OpenDNS. I have been using their name servers for some time but did not knew they had so many features. Sweet !

10. I read a few funny tweets – 1) Welcome to the new decade: Java is a restricted platform, Google is evil, Apple is a monopoly and Microsoft are the underdogs (from @phil_nash)  and 2) The main idea of "Inception": if you run a VM inside a VM inside a VM inside a VM, everything will be very slow (from @myzt) .

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1. How Asimov’s Robot Laws Ended Up on Last.fm’s Server
Pretty geeky. Asimov’s three robot laws in a machine understandable format in last.fm’s robots.txt file – Notice the last few lines of the file.

2. Questions. But Why?
An interesting post about the resurgence of websites with community question answering.

3. Murder: Fast datacenter code deploys using BitTorrent
A very innovative way to deploy code in a fast distributed fashion. From this post, I also learned that a pack of crows is called murder – Who knew !

4. GTalk-compatible file transfers in telepathy-gabble!
Tele(Em)pathy at last gets a neat feature by which you can share files from empathy to another user using google talk.

5. How Do I Hide from Specific People on Facebook Chat?
A very useful facebook tip. Link courtesy : Suresh.

6. A Proof That P Is Not Equal To NP?
The biggest item so far. The entire blogosphere is abuzz with the proof that claims to prove P \neq NP , which was probably one of the most important open questions in computer science. I am really curious about this proof as it uses ideas from graphical models which was the topic of my Master’s research. I will a more detailed post on this relation later !

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