Category Archives: Internet

Is it really a revolution on Twitter?

The world of social media is agog with the way the Iranian protestors are using Twitter to send streams of updates from various locations. Some have even gone to an extent of calling it a revolution. On the other hand, social media experts like Gaurav Mishra say that more than a tool to trigger a revolution, Twitter is acting as a medium to organize meets and disseminate related information all over the world. But the importance of Twitter can be gauged from the fact that many from Iran protested when Twitter had to shut down its services due to scheduled maintenance, and there was so much pressure from Iranian Twitter users that the company decided to postpone the maintenance schedule. Twitter users like @StopAhmadi have been featured in Washing Post and New York Times.

I feel Twitter is a great empowerer. In just a few words, less than 140 characters to be precise, your message can reach thousands, and even millions of people, and for that you don’t even need thousands of followers. You just need some people who will be eager to retweet your message to their followers. Remember that American student who was arrested in Egypt and he sent a tweet about his arrest from his mobile phone and the news spread like wildfire? There was so much diplomatic pressure that the Egyptian government had to release him. No news agency or media house could have achieved that so fast.

The use of social media tools seems disorganized sometimes, but I think this is the beauty of it. I would love to see NGO’s and activists in India using Twitter to gather and spread information and awareness. Even the normal public. Not just to update your friends on what you have for breakfast or what film you just watched, but also updates on what government officer is demanding bribe, what police person is misbehaving, who is eve teasing a girl at the bus stop, etc. The greatest power, of course, will come from people transmitting Twitter streams from their mobile phones, from rural and far flung areas.

Chrome – a new browser by Google

Just downloaded and installed Google Chrome…Google’s entry into the browser world. Many are wondering why Google launched Google Chrome when there are already some excellent browsers available, for instance, FireFox and Opera? I think Google has long-term plans to dominate the online software applications market. From e-mail to wordprocessing, from web analytics to ad-click management, Google is offering cutting-edge applications to its users on a platter.  Of course there is the search engine and RSS reader.  Once people begin to use Google Chrome Google will start building all the applications around this browser.

A time will come very soon when the only software people will have on their computers, apart from the basic operating system, will be the browser, and all the applications will be used through that browser. Most of the day-to-day applications these days are remotely hosted and accessed. For instance, many people in the West use Googledocs for their wordprocessing and spreadsheet requirements.  Entire versions of Microsoft Office applications are available online.  In India we don’t notice such developments very fast because pirated software is so easily available and there are no strict laws against copyright violations.  Google’s aims to target the market that uses remotely hosted versions of legacy applications.  I have already noticed that Gmail looks better in Google Chrome — the display is better, and, I don’t know if this is actual or just an illusion, it is quite fast too.

Google Chrome

Google Chrome screenshot

Of course there are many plug-ins and features in Firefox and Opera that we take for granted and are so used to using them. Their absence in Google Chrome is a bit annoying but I am sure these features and plug-ins will be available for the new browser very soon.  Another odd thing was when the browser was installing it mentioned something about importing the Firefox bookmarks but the bookmarks never showed up when I loaded Chrome.  Even when I imported the bookmarks manually they didn’t show up.  Nonetheless, it is a cool browser to use and it organizes information very cleverly, and has a few features that I had begun to miss in FireFox. It doesn’t even have the omnipresent menu bar but I don’t miss it.  I would like to use it as my regular browser as soon as I can use with it the plug-ins that I use with Firefox.

[tags]Google Chrome, FireFox, Opera, browsers[/tags]

Tools To Torture Kids

This blog appears on the first page of Google search results for this creepy expression. I was just going through my search engine traffic stats using 103bees, and somebody searched for this expression and found my blog on the first page. This is sad; I don’t want my blog to be found for such bloodcurdling terms.

My Sister’s Travails With Her TATA Indicom Net Connection

A few months ago I had written how Airtel was trying to fleece money out of me. Now my sister has been having umpteen problems with TATA Indicom whose Internet service she uses. I’m sure the management at the top level of these companies doesn’t intend to pursue such spurious measures (or maybe they do) and it all happens at the level of their incompetent staff but if this trend continues they’re going to leave lots of ripe ground for new, more efficient and sincere companies. Interestingly, more information can be found at the India Broadband Forum and it seems people even share their problems there with other users. This complaints board is a good option too.

[tags]tata indicom broadband problem[/tags]

How feasible is it to be able to work from anywhere?

I think this could be an ideal situation. In this connected world there should be no need to go to an office and work; you should able to do everything from home. Okay there are certain tasks where you simply cannot avoid commuting, for instance working in a factory (I think even that can be remotely operated), but still there is lots of stuff that you can do without having to go to your workplace.

Danny at the Outlaw Design Blog has decided to manage all his work from a beach in Costa Rica. I remember another person — an SEO consultant — who works from his beach house somewhere in Australia, right now I cannot recall his name. Danny in his blog post has delved upon a few online resources that can help you manage your work from any remote location.

So is it possible for everybody to work from wherever he or she wants to? I think it depends on what occupation you follow. I write content for living and I also program for an ongoing client in PHP. Although I stay in NOIDA (a small satellite town or rather a big city near New Delhi), all my clients are from America and Europe. My livelihood is such that provided I have a decent Internet connection, a laptop, and a place to sit I can work from anywhere. But in India it is easier said than done. There is hardly any decent connectivity at the places I would like to stay. Assuming one day I decide to buy a beach house in Goa (wishful thinking of course, I am long way from that ability) and start working from there; most of my money I am sure will be going towards maintaining my Internet connection because there wouldn’t be an easier, economical way of staying connected 24 x 7.  Or it may still be possible in Goa but I don’t want to go there. I would rather stay in a small, non-happening town somewhere either in Punjab or Uttar Pradesh; even the dial-up connection is not available there sometimes.

The tools that Danny has mentioned in his blog post also depend on the sort of connectivity you have. For instance it will take ages with my current “broadband connection” to manage all my files through a remote server; downloading and uploading files in itself will turn out to be an arduous exercise.

Nonetheless, this is a great idea: to be able to work from wherever you feel like. As technology and infrastructure improves I think most of us will be working from home. Just imagine working from your ancestral home in a small village, for a multinational company with cows and buffaloes mooing around you philosophically. This is not only healthy it is also good for family life and of course it is safe. With so much traffic congestion,  choking pollution, and so many accidents happening routinely, it is better that you stay at home and work from there.

It is much easier to be able to work from anywhere if you work as a freelancer just as I do.

[tags]freelancing, telecommuting, working from home[/tags]