Saturday, December 10, 2011

Change The World Wallpaper


Tuesday, September 27, 2011

You Cant Logout in Facebook!

How would you feel if Facebook, or any other site for that matter, is able to monitor each and every action of yours over the web?
Well, look no further because that’s exactly what is happening! Australian Tech Expert Nik Cubrilovic has revealed in his blog post that when you log out of Facebook, they merely modify the cookie, and in some cases install new ones that send user information as you continue to surf the net, even after logging out.

When you log out, Facebook only de-authorizes your browser from the web application. A number of cookies, including your Facebook account number, are still sent to the main site. Even if you are logged out, Facebook still knows and can track every page you visit.
So much for privacy.

In his experiments, Nik found that there are a number of cookies not being deleted, two cookies that are being given new expiry dates and three new cookies being sent. Also, after logging out, when he surfed another site, the primary cookies, that identify us as a user, are still there along with the account number. That is, even after logging out, when you visit a page with a Facebook like button, or share button, or any other widget, the account information is still being sent to Facebook.
The only solution is to delete ALL Facebook Cookies. (Here’s an article on how to delete cookies.)

Also, there are serious implications if you use Facebook from a public terminal. Even if you log out there, you are leaving behind your “trace”. The account ID remains there until someone deletes the cookies. And this account ID is used to identify your profile!

And as if that wasn’t enough, in their own help desk at this page, Facebook has specified that they use the cookies to help advertisers “measure and manage the effectiveness of ads and advertising campaigns”. In simpler words, Facebook provides the advertisers with the cookie information so as to help in their advertising strategies. Though in this Help Center topic, Facebook has stated that the user could opt out of the placement of cookies, nowhere on the page have they specified or provided instructions as how that can be done.

Over all that, the partnership between Nielsen and Facebook could turn out to be a bigger headache for users, once they get to know the truth. The company, best known for its television ratings system launched a product dubbed – Online Campaign Ratings (OCR). Their release note says – 

“The service will allow the company to combine data from its panels with data from third-party contributors, like Facebook, to more accurately measure how many people are viewing advertisements online.
For example, if a user logs on to Facebook (a Nielsen media partner) and then visits another Web site where an ad that Nielsen is tracking is shown, Nielsen will put a pixel in the ad that will prompt Facebook to send Nielsen the age and gender of the people who viewed the ad.”

Though Nielsen have later specified in the post that this data “will be viewed in the aggregate and not on an individual basis” and that  “third parties will not know what site the user came from or the identity of the advertiser”, it’s a little bit hard to digest that fact.

When criticized on this deal with Nielsen, Facebook authorities replied by saying – “there are ways users can opt out of having their activity incorporated with OCR”. Again, they haven’t specified how exactly a user can do that!

Though Mark Zuckerberg has always been going on the stand that its an open world now, I doubt compromising their privacy is what the users had in mind when they signed up on Facebook.

Understanding the need of the hour, a number of applications and plug-ins have surfaced in reaction to this “privacy policy” of Facebook:
  • Google Chrome has created an app called Facebook Disconnect which removes the Ticker Feed from your page when you use the Chrome Browser.
  • Firefox’s ShareMeNot add-on also prevents third party add-ons from tracking you until and unless you actually click on the “like” or “share” button.

Now the question remains – Will users turn a blind eye to this privacy issue and continue using Facebook, or will they stop trusting and using Facebook altogether? The latter seems almost impossible because Facebook has grown so much that it has now almost become a daily routine for many users, if not all. But least assured, Facebook has something to lookout for and rectify, if they plan to continue on in the future with the same impact on the web, and on people’s lives.

So the next time you surf the web without deleting the cookies, remember, someone’s watching!



How to Delete Cookies

INTERNET EXPLORER

1.       Go to the Control Bar at the top of your browser and click on “Tools”.
2.       Click on “Internet options”.
3.       Hit "delete", where it says "delete temporary files, history, cookies, saved passwords and web information
4.       Click “delete cookies”
5.      When it says “are you sure you want to delete all cookies in the Temporary Internet Files Folder?”, click “yes”.



 

FIREFOX

1.      Go to the control bar at the top of your Firefox browser and click “Tools”.
2.      Click “options”
3.      Go to Privacy -> Show Cookies
4.      When a pop-up box named “cookies” appears, scroll down until you see a folder that  says “facebook.com”, click “remove cookie.
5.      (Alternatively, you can also click on “remove all cookies”).

 
 
CHROME


  1. Go to the control bar at the top of your Chrome browser and click the little spanner icon in the top right hand side of your page.
  2. Click “options”.
  3. Chrome will take you to a settings page in your Chrome browser which lists a series of options down the left hand side of the page including “Basics”, “Personal Stuff” and “Under the Hood”.
  4. Click on “Under the Hood”.
  5. Click “clear browsing data”.
  6. A pop up menu will appear. Select “from the beginning of time” from a dropdown menu that says “Obliterate the following items from”.
  7. Select the box which says “delete cookies and other site plug-in data”
  8. Click “clear browsing data”.


Adapted from this article.
Image courtesy - infocarnivore.com 
 

Friday, September 16, 2011

Zuckerberg "Leaves a 'Mark' on Page"

With Google+ trying its best to keep up its place in the list of Social Networking sites, it has managed to live up to its expectations, in the beginning. And adding to the value of Google’s own answer to Facebook was its founder and Chief Executive – Larry Page.

In order to probably enhance the usage of Google+ and to make it seem more casual and friendly, the Google CEO regularly shared articles, posts and even his vacation photos with the 300,000 and more followers in his Google+ Circle.

But now it seems that the CEO himself has had enough of one of his products! His last post in G+ was about a month back on 15th August regarding a couple of quotes from Android partners and top brass from Samsung, Sony Ericsson, HTC and LG. Ever since, there has been no updates in his public profile. Its possible that he might still be active in his private circles, but why play the risk when a lot matters to Google on the success of Google+? And that might cause people ask the million dollar question – “Why do you want us to use something that you yourself stopped using?”

Good Question!!

As Paul McNamara quotes in his article:
          Google+ is not for everybody, of course; certainly not for every CEO.
But if that's the case with Page, why not just come out and acknowledge it instead of going through the motions of creating an account, participating in the early weeks, using the forum for public relations, and continuing to suggest that users follow him?

Meanwhile in another part of the world (probably not that many thousands of miles away from Page!), is another CEO who’s making the headlines again with a new added feature in his website – Facebook. Yes, am talking about Mark Zuckerberg and his new idea of a “Subscribe” button in FB. Kind of reminds me something that Twitter works on!

The new feature in Facebook allows a person to subscribe to the News Feeds of a person even if they are not Facebook friends. Similar to following someone in Twitter or adding someone to your Google+ Circle. But that’s not all. The place where Zuckerberg “leaves a Mark on Page”, is in the fact that he converted his 5+ Million Facebook fans into subscribers of his. And the number is rising at such a pace that each time I click refresh on his FB page, the number increases by about 10-20!

Now that’s what I call a trick out of the box. Neat!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

SEO – The First Step Towards A Healthy Social Media Presence


While focusing on Social Media Marketing a few people tend to forget how important SEO can be for your business’ website. Just as you need a strong foundation for your home before you start building it, similarly a successful social media campaign could really do with an optimum amount of SEO for your website. Don’t overdo it, and don’t keep it too minimal. Just the right amount of salt!

HOW IS YOUR SITE INDEXED?
First try to understand how search engines index your website. Search engines find websites using softwares that follow links to crawl the Web. These are called Bots. To be found quickly by search engines, it helps to have inbound links to your website. More important, the links within your site should be working properly or the bot would not be able to reach the page pointed by the link, and hence will not be able to index it. That’s one point lost!
Regarding images in your website, they mean nothing to the bots. The only info a bot can gather from a picture is if anything is specified in the ‘alt’ attribute. Therefore, always make sure that you provide description about the image via the ‘alt’ attribute. This not only helps the bots ‘read’ your site better, but is also helpful in cases when the viewers of your site use a browser that doesn’t support images.

REGARDING META TAGS
Meta Tags, also called as meta information, is a method you can use to provide information about a web page.
The most common meta tags provide a description and keywords about the website to the search engines. It tells the search engines what the content of your website is all about.
More details about the syntax of Meta Tags can be found here.

IMPORTANT POINTS TO NOTE WHILE DESIGNING YOUR WEBSITE
-        Make site navigation as easy as possible.
Structure your pages of the website clearly in a clean order and try to give a link back to your homepage from all the pages of your website


-        Provide a SiteMap
          The whole of your site should be contained as links in your sitemap. If there are hundreds of pages, you could separate the different pages under different sections or even divide the sitemap into different pages.

-        Don’t focus on fancy graphics and heavy use of images
          Since the visitors to your website will be keener on your content rather than how flashy it looks, don’t give undue importance to what fancy font you plan to use. Similarly, try using images only to the level of that needed. Overuse of images will increase the time it takes for your site to load, and that could cost you some serious number of visitors!
All said, make sure you don’t make the site look boring. Make it a pleasure for the eyes but at the same time, know the limits.

-        Provide ‘alt’ attributes to images
          As said before, make sure you provide correct ‘alt’ attribute text to the images in your site

-        Focus on content
          This is the most important fact that you should keep in mind. Content! That’s the reason why people visit your website and unless you provide them with quality content, you can’t expect them to revisit your site.


INBOUND LINKS
Links on your website form an integral part of how search engines index your site.
Inbound links are links to pages in your site from external websites. They are considered as a means of determining the value of your site, because the more the number of inbound links the more number of sites think that your site has content worth linking to. Also, an inbound link from a site that itself is highly valued is worth more than an inbound link from a low value site.

OUTBOUND LINKS
 As the name suggests, outbound links are links from your site to external websites. They provide credibility to your website and can also be of service for visitors, providing them additional information about the topic. However, optimize the use of outbound links because using too many outbound links can even lure your visitors away from your site, which is bad for business. Also, search engines penalize your ranking if you have too many outbound links. For a page with about 300 words, you could have a minimum of 2-3 and a maximum of about 10-12 outbound links.

CROSS LINKS
Cross links are links within your site. It is good to have as many cross links in your site as possible, at the same time keeping in mind the ‘overdo’ factor. Effective cross linking helps keep visitors on your site longer, which in turn can seriously affect your SEO in a positive way.


GOOGLE TOOLS BEST FOR SEO


These simple points, if catered to in a well enough manner can make Search Engine Optimization of your site a breeze and in return, have a big impact on your Social Media Presence.
Happy SEO’ing…

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

04:29 PM - 11th May 2011

09:15 AM
Walk down the same old familiar path I have been walking through for the past 4 years, towards college. Am supposed to feel odd. Feel different. But nothing. Two of my friends beside me share what’s there in their heart. Wish I could do the same… Only problem is that even I don’t know how am feeling….

09:30 AM
Reach my class to find it filled with lots of balloons and lots of bubbly hearted people. Everyone has already started writing and scribbling down their thoughts and words on each other’s shirts. Looks good. I decide to join the fun. Take out my latest idea in the book- a brush and four bottles of poster paint. Its time….

09:45 AM
My camera somewhere else, am busy painting out my “symbolic Vj” on everyone… Start off with my first bottle of yellow. By the time the bottle is finished, I’ve hardly made my mark everywhere… Looks like the perfect time to bring out Bottle two!

11:00 AM
This looks good… Everyone’s shirt is filled with different forms of graffiti art… But who cares. Its not exactly that we’ll be needing those shirts for a better use. THIS IS the best use we ever made out of it!! And I see everyone having a bright yellow Vj on their heart… That too looks promising. Atleast I made my mark where I really wanted to…

12:00 PM
With everyone inching into the littlest of little space they could find, all of us sit and watch the class video. A trailer of how the 4 year long movie went on without any commercials, with a full house all the time…

12:30 PM
The TCS placed people treat us with their Chicken Biriyani lunch. Probably the last time we all would be having a lunch together (unless the department is kind enough to give us a farewell. But well I guess thats too much imagination on my part!)

01:30 PM
The “yellow Vj” is being coated with an in-design of red. A few of the people are busy with retests and filling out the condonation forms. As for the rest of them, its time for more and more graffiti art.

02:30 PM
Though the day was filled with on-spot photo sessions, the official photo session and get together begins. All of us sit around, singing off, talking crap, shouting….. Feels good to see everyone enjoying together. Lots of nonsense talk, lots of comments… But who minds? Because somewhere, someplace deep inside everyone’s mind, everyone knows this is the last time we’ll be doing this together….

04:00 PM
Almost everyone has looked at their watch atleast a dozen times in the past half an hour. Nothing different as compared to what we have been doing for the past 4 years. The action is the same. Intent – different. Before we used to stare at the watch, wishing it would move faster. Wishing time would be kind enough to increase its speed. But today, it’s a different story altogether. Everyone’s wishing that not just the watch, but the whole calendar would rewind. Cursing the second hand for its speed. Blaming the minute hand for helping the hour hand move forward….


04:29 PM
I stare at my watch. Not sure about what I should do. Not sure whether stopping my watch would help me stop time altogether. The events of the day form clouds in my mind. The memories of last four years are clear, yet fade away deeper…. I watch my friends sitting and singing. Having fun. Close my eyes to try and focus on the laughter and cheer I have been hearing a lot for the past couple of hours. Feel like imprinting that moment and the sounds into my mind forever. Feel scared opening my eyes again. Scared of the fact that when I open them next, it might all be over. It might just become a memory like all that has happened so far. A memory, as exactly how the first day of college felt. A memory, of all the times I laughed with my friends. A memory, of all the things that fill my mind with more memories…
Amidst those thoughts, amidst those moments, I don’t even hear the sound of the bell ringing… All I hear is the sound of friendship. With the laughter and smiles increasing around me, I feel a drop rolling down my cheeks…. Still scared to open my eyes again….

Sunday, May 8, 2011

And Finally....


I have always found late nights to be pretty creative. Pretty thoughtful. And here I am, on yet another poorly lit night, struggling between reality and sentiments….
 Just 3 more days of college remain…. At one point of time it was 3 years. Then 3 months. And now 3 days. I would be lying if I say am not scared. I am. Scared not of the fact that soon I have to face the world and all.  I don’t give a damn to that aspect. But scared of the fact that, something which had become so valuable to me, would be ending soon…
College life hadn’t just been a phase of my life… It had been THE phase. It had taught me a million things I wudnt have learnt otherwise. Where else would you learn to write with one hand and text with the other!!
Then there’s the best part of college life- hostel. Somewhere, sometime, someone smart forgot to say – The real fun of college is not only what you do in college, but the life you live in hostel. With all due respect to the day scholars, in my opinion, if you are studying in a college, you gotta live in hostel. For the day scholars, college life is valid for 6-8 hours a day. For hostellers its 23 hours and 50 minutes a day. The rest is the time you spend talking to your parents over the phone, over the sound of the blaring speakers, trying to convince them that you are in fact studying and the music in the background is just someone’s phone ringing….
 All lies said in those 10 minutes aren’t lies. They are just the facts, twisted  beyond its limits…
Boy have I changed in the past four years!! And no, I don’t mean that with respect to my well partitioned hairstyle being changed to the present spike! The changes are much worse!! :D
It all started on 22nd September 2007 when I actually came to the college to get admission. The usual paper works, transferring of Green Gandhiji here and there, and voila! I was officially an engineering student.
Then a few days later came the 25th. That’s when all of us came to know where our classes would be and saw our classmates for the first time. An uneventful day except being trying to be nice to everyone. That  night was our first night in hostel. And what a night it turned out to be… The room looked like it had been home to Tipu Sulthan and the bathrooms looked as if the Jew Holocausts had been carried out there!
The morning of our first class, the 26th, everyone woke up early. It was a matter of pride after all. Why? Obviously everyone wanted to get ready early and show everyone else they were the good guys (This attitude lasted no more than a week). And then we were off to college, moving in a pack, so as not to be isolated and massacred by the seniors. Upon reaching the class, everyone was getting acquainted to each other. Everyone, especially to the good looking girls(That’s predictable psychology). And there I was, sitting and gaping at the guy next to me, trying to understand WHICH LANGUAGE ON EARTH was he speaking? (I later came to know it was Kozhikode Malayalam. The slang very different from my home town. And with my limited Malayalam vocabulary, almost impossible to decipher his code).
Slowly and steadily we all got used to the different slangs, different  faces and even the variety in which each one wrote their exam bits!
Time moved on…. 2nd year…. 3rd year…. 5th sem tour… Projects… Finally the final year… But even then we consoled each other – oh come on dude, there’s a whole year ahead.
That was one year back. And now, it’s on the verge of the end. Time seems to have gone so fast that I doubt whether God even did us justice. What had once seemed like four long years, now seems like just a flash memory. When we had all the time in the world, didn’t want to do anything. And now that we have hardly a couple of days left, there are a million ideas in mind. 
Whoever said that all good things come to an end, was right. But I hate that guy for being right!
It’s strange how a bunch of people you never knew before, have now all of a sudden become such an important part of your life. An integral part. Some of them, I pray, stay on with the same importance till the end of life. I hope that’s not too much asking for. Then there might be some, we might never meet after college. To them, I say – Wish we could.
A single place and a number of people have given me so much to think about and cherish throughout my life. Some people helped shape me into a better person. Some taught me to trust, dream and improve. Some taught me to love. But whoever they are and whatever they taught me, what they have done is give a better meaning to my life. And that’s what has happened to everyone….
Everyone came from different parts of the world. Each with an individual dream. And now, when we scatter again, some dreams have been realized. Some have been changed. And some are under construction. But when we leave, we won’t leave alone. We’ll leave with the memories of a beautiful past. Memories that will keep us connected….

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Abstract Color Wallpaper

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The first wallpaper I have made using a Graphic Tablet. Just wanted to get the feel of the thing. Nice.... Real smooth..... Gives a lot of freedom of movement...

Che Guevara Wallpaper

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The "Che Guevara" effect is one thats famous. With a few changes in the blending options and mixing a couple of effects, with the real photo of Che, I came up with these couple of simple designs.