Archives for category: IT

I try to listen to TED talks whenever possible. I must admit that I don’t do it often enough. Today, I thought I’d share some of the good ones that I have seen.

I like this one since it’s about gaming and how it can be productive. Although I am an ardent fan of video games, I never got the hang of playing online. Maybe I should invest some time in getting better at it – at least to save the world 🙂
http://www.ted.com/talks/jane_mcgonigal_gaming_can_make_a_better_world.html

The story of the CAPTHA:
http://www.ted.com/talks/luis_von_ahn_massive_scale_online_collaboration.html

Schools killing creativity. So friggin true. I have seen many schoolmates who stigmatized by teachers because they didn’t follow the path that way layed out for them. Some of them still found their way despite this treatment while the others lost their way.
http://www.ted.com/talks/ken_robinson_says_schools_kill_creativity.html

Information bubble problem – very very true. You tend to notice this with facebook adicts (me included – when I was on it)
http://www.ted.com/talks/eli_pariser_beware_online_filter_bubbles.html

 

Those are the ones I remember off the top of my head.

Leave a comment and tell me what your favorite TED talk is.

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My good friend Sayy and few others are working on a new initiative. This is something very interesting and has a lot of potential, so I thought I’d spread the word.

Have a looksie when you get a chance.

http://sayys365.blogspot.com/p/yarl-it-hub.html

I won’t say much about this as there are millions billions of posts out there already about Steve Jobs passing away.

I will just share this video with you. If you haven’t seen this, do take the time out to watch it.

He was one of the greatest inventors of our age and his legacy will be immortal.

I’m  suffering from withdrawal right now. Facebook withdrawal that is.

Yes! I quit Facebook. Hopefully for good.

I have been considering it for quite a while now. Why? Well, it’s a combination of many factors. The constant and unwanted changes to the layout, the ever changing security policies, the repetitive copy paste status updates, everything Sayy talks about here, most of my friends slowly retracting from using it, people trying to enforce artificial rules on it, et cetera.

Last week it all came to a head. The final straw was when photo security was changed overnight. I had always restricted my albums to be viewable only to my ‘friends’ – people I had added. But, FB suddenly decided that any picture will be viewable to all the ‘friends’ of anyone who is tagged in that picture. If I wanted to change that, I had to go in and manually change the privacy for each photo/album.

I had over a 1000 photos on fb with plenty of ‘friends’ and even ‘friends of friends’ tagged in them. The fact that some people add just anyone and everyone to their friend list coupled with the new privacy setting meant that those pics would be visible to a whole bunch of people I didn’t even know about. The photos themselves were harmless, but it’s the principle that mattered. Where does FB get off just changing stuff up like that? Not just for new content, but for existing content. Content I had added over the past four years. There was no way in hell I was gonna sit there and go through each album and change privacy settings. And to what end? So, FB can change things up in three months or so? I had had enough.

Facebook had stopped being fun and started being work. Either FB had to change, or I had to change. I decided to go with the one party that I could control.

So, that’s it. The end of an Era. Also, the official start to me being full time on Google+. This time I’m wiser and so is social networking. So, hopefully we won’t make the same mistakes again.

*** Spoiler Alert: This article contains spoilers. ***

I finished the StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty campaign mode earlier this week. It was a thoroughly enjoyable experience so I thought I’d share the joy. I haven’t played many Real Time Strategy (RTS) games, but of the few that I have played, SCII takes the cake.

Let me start at the beginning. It was around ’93 when the bro brought home Dune II:The Building of a Dynasty. We played this game for days. Little did we realize that we are playing a game that would become a cornerstone of an entire genre of games. During that time we also played a game called Cyber Empires, which wasn’t a really a RTS but had some similar elements. I know I promised to write about this game before, and haven’t delivered yet – but I will, soon. 🙂

The next RTS that I remember playing is Command & Conquer: Red Alert. Our computer wasn’t good enough to play this, but we had a house guest and her laptop was a new one. C&C came installed on it, so away I went. The late 90’s and early 2000’s saw a significant increase in RTS’s. WarCraft, various C&C expansions, the original StarCraft, and many more came out. I was able to play a bit of Warcraft and Starcraft when they came out. However, by this stage the monotone nature of RTS’s coupled with me being distracted as mentioned here, made them less appealing.

After a hiatus of a decade, I got my hands on a RTS last year. It was in the form of C&C3: Tiberium Wars. It was quite a nice treat to see how far games had come. The most striking feature was the  improved graphics. But, the story telling was also above my expectations and I was captivated enough to read up on the history of the series. The game ended leaving me wanting for more, the way all games should end.

Last week I was able to get StarCraft II. Boy, was it a treat. It was a bit hard to get agrip of the story which continues from SC and SC: Brood Wars. It is a convoluted story with many different characters, many of whom seem to have fought against and with each other.  So, I did a bit of background reading and caught on to the gist of it before continuing. The graphics were pretty astounding to say the least. Have a look at what I thought was the best scene:

The gameplay was also better than any other RTS I had played before. You see, in the old RTS’s you would build a huge army near your base while fending off minor attacks and then go about destroying the enemy once your army is ready. This wasn’t possible on many SCII missions due to various conditions forcing you to go with what you’ve got making game was more challenging. Another nice feature of SCII is that you have choose between a lot of things which influence how the rest of the game plays out, albeit all paths lead to the same ending. You’ve got to choose from several possible missions, how you spend your money, who you ally with, what you research into, etc. – each with it’s own pros and  cons. All in all it’s a great game and a must for any fan of RTS’s!

I’ll leave you with this tune, which has become the tune of the week for me.

If you are one of the handful of privileged long terms readers on my blog, you would remember my post about Carmen Sandiego. Well, there is good news for fans of the game. There’s a new version of this classic game on Facebook. The adaptation to FB is quite commendable.

Check it out and don’t forget to let me know what you thought of it.

A lot happened recently in the social networking arena. Google plus arrived. After the epic failures of Buzz and Wave, the search giant has come up with something that may actually rival fb. Do you remember something called MySpace? Well, it was sold at a loss of over $500 million. Interesting to note that MySpace at its peak was worth $50 billion and it was sold for a mere $35 million!

The arrival of Google+ sparked the idea to carry out a simple social networking test. I wanted to test whether people still use the “poke” button on FB. That is if they ever did use it in the first place. So, I went ahead and “poked” about 200 friends on FB. When I say friends here, it means FB friends which include family, people I’ve known for nearly 3 decades, people I’ve met for 5 seconds, people I’ve only ‘met’ online, teachers from school days, students in my tutorial classes, work colleagues etc. So I just “poked” a bunch of them at random to see what sort of reaction(s) I get.

The first to react was the wife who PMed me immediately demanding “why did u poke me in fb?”. Here is another reaction:

I got about 25 “pokes” back within 12 hour as well:

All in all, it can be said the people still use the utterly pointless feature of “poking” on FB. I really couldn’t see why this feature was in FB. But it is one of the few features that has survived the many many changes that FB has gone through. Maybe Mark Z is a big fan of “poking” people in real life!

Speaking on social networking, check out this vid.