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Internet Cafes with Linux

Linux is a great operating system for networking. So how is it possible to not see Linux in Internet cafes and LAN houses ??? There are no cyber cafe / LAN house managers in Linux? [...]

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Adobe Flash- The best platform so far

Adobe Flash. The evil, unsafe, insecure, unreliable, resource hog platform has scored a big win from Youtube. According to John Harding, Software Engineer at Google,
"While HTML5’s video support enables us to bring most of the content and features of YouTube to computers and other devices that don’t support Flash Player [a la iDevices] , it does not yet meet all of our needs. Today, Adobe Flash provides the best platform for YouTube’s video distribution requirements, which is why our primary video player is built with it."
I'd asked not so long ago if  HTML5 is ready as a Flash replacement (not alone though). Now the verdict from the world's biggest user of the platform is a resounding no. I love open standards, protocols and platforms (hey, I'm a Linux user OK :-)), and I also love not having one company control the most widely used platform for rich media on the internet. But that does not negate the fact that Flash is still an integral part of our online lives.

We have Steve Jobs bashing Flash for all its ills and extolling the virtues of HTML5 for being the best thing since sliced bread while at the same time restricting the demo he was using to showoff the capabilities of HTML5 to his browser and to some extent, his OS. Where is the openness in that?

I know you probably disagree with me on Flash, being that it is not open and is owned by one company, but the fact remains that it is an integral part of the web and has contributed in creating a lively and interactive virtual world for us all. Sure it is as unsafe as the other OS out there, but rather than bashing it, finding a solution to its insecurity would be more appropriate.

Google realized the importance of Flash and how vital it is to the web, so now they are shipping their Chrome browser with Flash preinstalled, to be updated together with the browser. This is a better way to go about the Flash-HTML5 debacle rather than bash it while being a closed company or platform yourself.

Chances are 9 out of 10 people have the Flash player running on their computers, why don't we find a way of making it safe for them while HTML5 gets readied instead of suddenly trying to shove the latter down their throats? 

Steve Jobs may not like Flash for reasons he believes in, but I can safely say that with all its weaknesses, Flash has a role to play today and in the foreseeable future in our online lives. You don't agree with me, ask Youtube.

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By Seraaj Muneer with 2 comments

Back in time- 30 years of Apple in 2 minutes

The Katz Blog has put together the various Apple peripheral releases over the last 30 years. Not all releases are included but you get a fair idea of how things have evolved since the early days.

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By Seraaj Muneer with No comments

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Goolge Inc- Finally pressing the Facebook panic button

Google Inc. is finally being rumored to have pressed the Facebook panic button. Digg CEO Kevin Rose started it all with his tweet (which has apparently been taken offline) about information he has gathered that indicates Google is working on a new social network called Google Me.

Finally Google feels it has to react to stem the growing influence of the ever so large Facebook. But if you ask me, the big G only has itself to blame for the massive popularity of Zuckerberg's brain child. Orkut, launched in 2004, is in so many ways similar to Facebook and older.

But for some strange reasons Google seemed to have let Orkut be. A stagnant social network that was not used in North America is not deserving of the time of its engineers. And for some reasons too, Google thought the tidal wave called Facebook was just a temporary hype. Well now it is obvious they were wrong. And now they are trying to make it right.

I headed over to Orkut and the first thing I realize is that the Orkut logo at the upper left of the screen is shrouded by the words "My" on the left and "Beta" on the right. The rumors might just be true. Google for a long time has been one massive social network with disintegrated pieces. Talk of Picasa for pictures, Buzz for newsfeed, Gmail for mail, Profiles for profiles, Blogger for notes among others.

What was really lacking was a way to unify all these pieces into one whole such that once a person logged into their account, they had everything there and then. Google Me might just be aimed at that. One problem though that Google will need to scale was amply put by Jack Tse over on a discussion we having on Buzz. He states 
"Google's problem is that their functional design works for mail and search but they have shown little prowess in creating websites that need to function on an emotional level. They need to hire talented creative directors and designers who understand how to grab somebody aesthetically and keep them there functionally to make any social product work. They need to reach out to Happy Cog Studios who have been a leader in standards and understand high level problem solving."
Google might be well off having someone with the charisma of Steve Jobs to head its social network efforts. So far, it seems Google has scored in terms of engineering feat. What it needs now is something people can relate to emotionally.

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By Seraaj Muneer with 4 comments

Monday, June 28, 2010

The best accessory for iPhone 4 reception problem

You probably know by now that there is a problem with the latest of the shiny gadgets from Apple. If you hold your iPhone 4 a certain way, you do not get cellular reception. Well thanks to the ingenuity of some people, the accessory below, called iHold, should help you hold your phone anyway you want.
Originally posted by @jaymontano

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By Seraaj Muneer with No comments

Sunday, June 27, 2010

A cult called Apple

Steve Jobs no doubt is the most charismatic business person on Earth today. He is the man that made the world go crazy over an MP3 player, supposedly defined what smartphones are, again is being credited (wrongly?) with defining what tablets are and now he's out with the iPhone 4.

People lined up all over Apple stores to lay their hands on the new, groundbreaking, unprecedented iPhone 4 that comes with front facing cameras, record videos in HD and can multitask. The iPhone 4 however, is not all rosy this time around.

For some technical miscalculations, users are unable to get a good cellular reception when the phone is gripped in a certain way. When the complaints got to Steve Jobs, his reply was simply to "either hold it the way I'm showing you or get the case". Only problem is, the case comes at a damage of $29. Phew.

I have been wondering a lot with all the massive publicity that Apple gets and the range of products it releases whether it is more of a cult than a company. Apple almost always releases completely locked down products with features that other competing products have had long before it and yet you have its users (I'm talking to you fanboys) applauding it incessantly.

Most features in the iPhone 4 have been around on most Nokia handsets from long ago. I find it very amusing that Apple will tout a feature like multitasking as something new on its devices. How were iPhone users coping without multitasking?

The cult of Apple though, has been a good thing for Android (Linux for that matter). With the rate at which Android devices are flying off the shelves, it's only a matter of time before iPhone users get compelled to give them a try. It's also not bad to note that an iPhone wishlist almost always looks like an Android feature list.

I sure like the enthusiasm of Apple's customers. But it really would be nice if they started demanding for more features and real innovation instead of being happy to be cuddled with old features by Stevie.

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By Seraaj Muneer with 2 comments

Friday, June 18, 2010

ExtensionFM- A revolutionary Google Chrome extension for music lovers

For music lovers, nothing beats an easy way to locate and download free MP3 files while you surf the internet. ExtensionFM for Google Chrome does exactly that. While you wander around the internet, it sits quietly in the background and catalogs all links to MP3 music that you come across.
Clicking on the ExtensionFM icon in the far right of your address bar opens it in a new tab with a beautiful interface just like any other music player. It has two tabs in the upper left corner namely Queue and Library. The queue tab comprises songs you are currently streaming (right in your browser) and the library tab contains links to all free MP3 files you stumbled upon during your internet surfing activity.

You also have the option of creating an account, a process that takes less than a minute and requires no email confirmation to have your lists and everything synchronized across multiple computers. At any given time, a cursory look at the extension icon tells you how many MP3 files the addon has gathered and are available to you for download.

This extension is way too cool for me to amply describe here. The best way to take it for a spin is to have it installed. You'd be more than happy you did. I also do believe that this extension gives us a sneak peak at how Google is going to handle music streaming in its up coming Chrome OS. It's also worth knowing that native support for PDF files is coming to Chrome very soon.

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By Seraaj Muneer with 1 comment

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Native PDF rendering coming to Google Chrome

In line with getting the Chrome OS ready for shipment in the last quarter of this year, Google has been adding more features to Chrome, its base browser for the Chrome OS. Tonight on the Chromium blog, a new feature addition is the ability to render PDF files directly in the browser like any other webpage.
"PDF files will render as seamlessly as HTML web pages, and basic interactions will be no different than the same interactions with web pages (for example, zooming and searching will work as users expect)."
This and other developments on the Chrome browser makes me rethink my earlier views of what the Chrome OS is. More importantly, functions and features like this seem small, but added up, they become great factors in wooing people away from other browsers and winning Chrome more market share. Not to mention being a big threat to the now obese Firefox.

They warn however, that advanced PDF features will still require a separate launch of Adobe Reader.
"Currently, we do not support 100% of the advanced PDF features found in Adobe Reader, such as certain types of embedded media. However, for those users who rely on advanced features, we plan to give them the ability to launch Adobe Reader separately."
They are however working with the Adobe Reader team to get all those features to work natively in the browser via the "next generation browser plugin."

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By Seraaj Muneer with 3 comments

Be a true soccer fan- Get the Vuvuzela experience right in your home

It's taken the world by storm. It is the fastest selling football souvenir on the African continent. Blown collectively, it sounds like a swarm of flies. A traditional South African way of supporting  teams. You guessed right, I am talking about the Vuvuzela. The noisy horn that has become a trademark of the FIFA World Cup in South Africa.

In case you enjoy soccer and you'd love to have a feel of what being at the stadium in South Africa is like, now can in the comfort of your home. Simply head over to Vuvuzela Time UK and enter your web address without the preceding http:// and hit go. Now as you browse your favorite site, you'd be enjoying the now famous sound of thousands of Vuvuzelas blowing in the background. 

In case you'd want to have the real thing at hand, it is readily available on Amazon. Try it and show your support for your team, get the feel of being on the stadium and enjoy the traditional African way of supporting a football (or soccer) team. Go try the above tool or get a Vuvuzela for a full World Cup experience.

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By Seraaj Muneer with No comments

Firefox- A browser in danger?

The third version of Flock, the popular social media centric browser is in beta. Well, not just an ordinary beta. This time around, it is based on Chromium, the Open Source implementation of Google's Chrome browser. This is a very interesting and important development with regards to Firefox which had always been the base for Flock since it first debuted back in 2007. 

The latest beta release spots some very impressive features such as real time search of what your friends are talking about concerning your search query and the easy way in which URLs can be shared and discussed with friends on the various social networks. 

This move away from Firefox comes right after recent news that the netbook edition of Ubuntu 10.10 will have Chromium as the default web browser, also replacing Firefox. Other Linux distros like Lubuntu also ship with Chromium as the default browser. Hitherto, Firefox had had absolute exclusivity on Linux desktops. Now all that seems to be changing, albeit gradually.

Looking at these developments, one cannot help but ask the question, is Firefox an endangered browser? Better still, has the phenomenal growth of Firefox become its own Achilles' heel? Has the browser grown too 'fat' such that it is becoming obese? Only time will give answers to these questions and more. 

But one thing remains certain, unless the Mozilla Foundation restructures the entire Firefox development process, together with its massive ecosystem (especially the plugins), the Fox will have a bleak future. The long time strength of Firefox, being its addons, is also being eaten up by Chrome at an alarming rate. 

There have been suggestions as to how Firefox could maintain its position as the second most used browser, including the Mozilla Foundation having to fork the browser itself to compete head on with Chrome. Also a point made by ZDNet's Dana Blankenhorn resonates loudly with the current way addons are handled by the Foundation. He states 

"While Firefox acts like a typical open source project, listing whatever comes in, working with everyone, Chrome acts more like a proprietary outfit, strategically. This is a key difference between Google and most open source companies. Most are looking to build an ecosystem however they can get one. Google can be more careful."

I'd not love to read someday how Firefox was once a formidable browser. It has played an important role in shaping the browser market, this is not the time to see the beginning of its decline.

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By Seraaj Muneer with 2 comments

Friday, June 11, 2010

Top 5 ways to follow the 2010 World Cup on the go

The entire African continent is in a state of excitement with the kick off of the FIFA World cup being hosted by South Africa. Not of us can be by our sets when our favorite teams play. If you are such person, take heart. The following are 5 ways to follow the World Cup as it happens

The name says it all. Livescores auto-refreshes recurrently and updates you in real time about the progress of the match with all statistics and text commentary.

Google has just published a blog post on how you can follow the tournament via their various outlets. The official Google World Cup site has the details on how to keep up with us here in Africa while you are away from your set.

This is more the commentary of the masses. This is a special Twitter site with real time updates from people all over the world about the tournament. It is rather interesting to see the rants of people about their teams and more. There is also the staff picks site for more fun stuff from Twitter about the World Cup.

Footiefox Firefox addon
Yes you guessed right. There is an addon for that. Footiefox brings the action on the pitch to your browser status bar. You choose your configurations to your taste and Footiefox does the rest for you, displaying real time updates in your browser's status bar as the action happens.

This site also has a really impressive coverage of the World Cup with in depth analysis of all 32 countries, player profiles and professional commentaries from seasoned sports journalists.

These are the 5 ways I'm keeping up with this historic tournament when I am away from my TV set. How are you keeping up with it?

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By Seraaj Muneer with 2 comments

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Microsoft spreading Internet Explorer in Africa under new guise!

"Ghanaian based internet service provider, BusyInternet, and Microsoft Anglophone West Africa (MAWA) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to provide internet users with modern software security.

"The software, known as Microsoft Internet Explorer Eight (IE8), enables users to take full control over who can and cannot track their activities, ensure adequate peace and security; and provide regular update of personal information."

The above quote is from a news article that I sighted on Myjoyonline, Ghana's leading news site. After being beaten by the relatively under funded Firefox over the last 5 years, Microsoft is now turning to Africa, a rapidly growing internet market to salvage its once formidable window to the net.

It is very interesting to see how suddenly IE is no longer a browser but a "security software [that is] the latest internet protective technology developed by Microsoft that enables computer users to access [the] internet for a range of activities." I see.

Other than the blatant lies, I feel somehow offended by this new Microsoft tactic. I am not a geek, a coder, or have any formal qualification in IT. But I can still tell the difference between what is a browser and what is a "security software" as an African. Microsoft seems to be capitalizing on some archaic premise that Africans are relatively "noobs" to IT and thus it can just throw dust into our eyes.

Firefox to the best of my knowledge is a formidable force here, and for Microsoft to make any gains , it has resorted to its traditional obfuscation strategies. Will it succeed this time around? 

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By Seraaj Muneer with No comments

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Privnote- A simple way to send longer messages on Twitter

I have become somewhat a power [meaning I spend a lot of time there] Twitter user for sometime now, and I really love it. One thing however, that still irks using Twitter is the 140 character limit. Privnote now makes sending longer messages easier. It's simple.

Hop onto the site, write you message or note, click submit, get the URL and send that to your recipient. The message self destructs after your recipient has read it. As simple as that. Best of all, it's free, no need to register whatsoever. You don't need any email address for anything.

It is also ideal for sending private messages since the URL you send can only be used once, meaning even the recipient cannot use it twice. So next time you want to send me (or anyone else) a message on Twitter and the 140 character limit does not cut it, then try Privnote.

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By Seraaj Muneer with No comments

Keepmeout!- An easy way to break your addiction to a site

All of us have sites that we frequent too often at any given time, some to the detriment of our other commitments. Keepmeout! is a simple tool to help you control the number of times you visit these sites.

All you have to do is

1. Enter the URL of the site you want to control your visits to
2. Choose a duration within which you should not visit the site more than once.
3. Hit enter.

Keepmeout! will then return a URL that you will be asked to bookmark. That's it. Next time you want to visit that particular site you chose in step one, just use the URL you bookmarked. If in step 2 you chose say 45minutes, trying to visit that site more than once will result in this message
You'd have to then wait for 45 minutes before you can visit the site again. Nice little tool to keep you in check. Try it out and tell us what you think.

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By Seraaj Muneer with No comments

Monday, June 7, 2010

Could this be what the iPad is used for?

Mashable has the rich infographic below about the current state of the device that will revolutionize the way people "spend" money, the iPad.

Now the question that comes into mind is, what do people do with the iPads they buy? Could the video below be the answer?

Video courtesy of Dyscultured.

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By Seraaj Muneer with 2 comments

The Apple iPhone 4? - I'd rather have this one!

While everyone is excited about the new iPhone 4 which now has a front facing camera, bluetooth, support for UMTS and GSM 3G among others, I sit quietly here in my room and dream about the phone in the video below. In case you do not know, there is a bigger, better and more innovative phone maker out there called Nokia that also unveiled their N8 phone not so long ago.

Oh and here is some info to accompany the video

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By Seraaj Muneer with No comments

3 questions for Apple and HTML5

There has been a lot of activity from Apple Inc in terms of HTML5. Essentially the company has suddenly become a passionate advocate of the upcoming standard that is set to replace the proprietary Flash.

This looks very interesting in the sense that Apple being the most closed company on Earth- compare its iPad with this alternative- preaches about "web standards [that] are open, reliable, highly secure, and efficient." I just have three questions to ask about this new found Steve Jobs evangelism

1. Is Apple promoting HTML5 because it seriously believes in it or because of its row with Adobe?

2. Sure HTML5 is really cool and can do loads of things that Flash can, but should we wake up tomorrow and realize there is nothing like Flash, can HTML5 fill in the void without us feeling the absence of the Flash?

3. What is Steve Jobs's understanding of an open web?

I find it very interesting how suddenly Flash is the devil's incarnate. Sure it is as unsafe as the other OS out there. Heck, Adobe has warned just last week about a zero-day flaw in both Flash and its PDF reader. But it is also nice remember that it has given us a very enriched internet experience, without which I doubt most of us would spend as much time online as we do.

Finally, if Apple wants to be taken seriously about its supposed love for HTML5 and an open web standard, I'd expect them to let me be able to take a look at their HTML5 demo without telling me "if you’d like to experience this demo, simply download Safari. It’s free for Mac and PC, and it only takes a few minutes." So as a Linux user, count me out!

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By Seraaj Muneer with 2 comments

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Fixing Gtalk Connection with Pidgin 2.7.*

The latest version of Pidgin, 2.7.*, is experiencing some difficulty connecting to Gtalk.
The reason for this was a change in the libs used. Prior to version 2.6 .* the SASL (Simple Autentication and Security Layer) libs were not used by Pidgin to connect to Gtalk.
Outcome: Older versions of Pidgin easily connect to Gtalk, while newer versions can not.

How to fix it ???

   1. type in the terminal: sudo apt-get install-y - force-yes cyrus-sasl libsasl2-plug-*
   2. The following libs should be installed: cyrus-sasl, libsasl2, libsasl2-plug-plain (needed to be able to connect to Gtalk network)
   3. Now set up the account:

Accounts > Add or Modify > xmpp or googletalk
User Name: your Gmail username without the @
Domain: gmail.com
Resource: Home
Password: your password

click Advanced Tab:
  • Require SSL/TLS
  • Force old (port 5223) SSL
[  ] Allow plaintext auth over unencrypted streams
Connect port: 443
Connect server: talk.google.com
File transfer proxies: proxy.eu.jabber.org

Click save and you have from now on  google-talk IM.

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By Alessandro Ebersol with 3 comments

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Goosh- the unofficial Google shell

For power users, the shell (or command line interface) is their computer. If you are one such people, then Goosh should be of interest to you. If you have used the Linux command line before, then just picture that, only this time, your queries return a Google result.
It really to me is a great tool to help break the phobia of people with regards to the Linux terminal. It also has the bare bones interface in case you are not so impressed with the increasing pace at which Google is doing away with its Spartan interface. 

Goosh is also "open source under the Artistic License/GPL." Not being Google directly, I am not so sure that the big G is able to gather your data as it would if you were on their site. If you are a terminal phobic, Goosh is a good place to get a feel of what it is like issue commands: only this time your commands are your search queries.

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By Seraaj Muneer with 1 comment

How ready is your browser for HTML5- Take the test

HTML5 is the second most buzzed word around I think, second only to the Hypepad. In case you're wondering whether your current browser is compatible with it or not, a simple tool to help you determine this is the HTML5 test tool

Simply hop onto the site and you will have a detailed report of how ready your browser currently is for HTML5 with an overall score of 160. I tried it and Chrome scored 142, Firefox had 101 and Midori scored 138 (quite impressive I'd say).

What was your browser score?

Thanks to @niyyi.

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By Seraaj Muneer with 5 comments

The Nokia Point and Find- Add more usefulness to your phone

Unlike in North America where the iPhone is the dominant player, in most parts of the world Nokia still rules. A few hours ago I had an email from the Nokia Ovi service (I'm on the mailing list) introducing me to the Point and Find Application.

It is a really cool application that could make using one's Nokia phone more fun and useful at the same time. Basically what it does is you point your mobile device’s camera at a landmark or barcode and receive immediate information such as descriptions, phone numbers and reviews, no typing required. 

With Point and Click, you can get instant information about restaurants, landmarks, scan barcodes to get product reviews and price comparison, tag your favorite locations and more. There is also a "growing database of user-generated and third-party content" to add to the mix. 

The best thing about the Nokia Point and Click is that it is free and available worldwide for download to compatible versions. If you have a compatible phone, just give this application a try and tell us what you think. 

Before the iUsers jump on to lambaste me about how there is an app for that, please know I am not doing any comparisons whatsoever. I just saw an application that I think may be of interest to Nokia users.

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By Seraaj Muneer with No comments

Friday, June 4, 2010

[FOSS Friday] A roundup of FOSS stories you missed from across the web

With the end of the week, we take a look at interesting FOSS stories from around the web that you may have missed.

Ubuntu 10.04 vs Fedora 13
Linux User and Developer had this comparison of the latest releases from the Ubuntu and Fedora Projects. They write "whereas Canonical pursues OEM deals with Ubuntu LTS releases, Fedora has an approximate 13-month shelf life, after which the project consigns the release to the end-of-life bin."  Continue reading.

Three Floppy based Linux distros
Motho ke motho ka botho takes a look at three Linux distros that can be run from floppy disks. He writes "I can vouch for two or three as possibilities though, if you’re working with hardware that is terrifically old, or extremely underpowered. Usually these are offered as solutions to machines with very, very little memory (4Mb or 8Mb) , and if that’s the case they will probably be lifesavers." Continue reading.

An Auto Company Zips Along the Fast Lane with FOSS
Linux for U had this piece on how an auto company was using FOSS to realize cost benefits. He writes "the simplicity in managing the infrastructure, scalability and performance compatibility of the SAP business suite and HP ProLiant servers,  coupled with low cost solutions, led to the decision to go for open source technology.' Continue reading 

15 minutes with an iPad.
Open Attitude had this article on his brief (15 min) experience with the latest tech craze from Apple, the iPad. He writes "as a glorified clipboard I don’t really see how it’s better than the Tablet PCs that have been on the market since 2002. Yes, they require the use of a stylus (gasp!), but they also have handwriting recognition — something else the iPad sorely needs." Continue reading 

Women Who Tech in Open Source
Opentechdiva had this write up about sexism in the FOSS world, especially towards non-developers. She writes "I tend to agree with the NY Times article that some woman tend to migrate to the human side of IT. Not that we are here to be the mothers/nurturers of the team, but I chose to work with the end users of OSS instead of developing code" Continue reading 

Does the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Get the Web?
Glyn Moody over at Open had this piece on the T&C of the site of the Gates Foundation. He writes "unpicking the complex weft and weave of philanthropy and self-interest at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation would require an entire book (and no, don't worry, I won't be writing it)." Continue reading

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By Seraaj Muneer with No comments

[VIDEO] Google I/O 2010 - Developing web apps for Chrome Web Store

Last month, Google held its I/O gathering at which it unveiled lots of things it's working on. Among them was a web store for web apps, not so dissimilar to the Apple App Store or Android Market. If like me you had no way of being there but would like to hear Google's plans for its Chrome browser and upcoming OS from the horse's own mouth, then check out the embedded video below from Youtube.

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By Seraaj Muneer with No comments

[VIDEO] Patent Law at a Crossroads: Bilski and Beyond

Dr. Eben Moglen, Director of the Software Freedom Law Center, in a talk hosted by the Cardozo Intellectual Property Law Society and The Internet Society New York Chapter (ISOC-NY) at the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law on Monday Nov 2 2009. He addresses the topic Patent Law at a Crossroads: Bilski and Beyond.

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By Seraaj Muneer with No comments

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Say hello to the new Nokia dual sim phones C1 and C2

Nokia today announced the arrival of their first dual sim model phones, the C1 and C2, "with the target [users] firmly set in the developing world." The two phones, which will be available in Q4 of this year, will allow users to have two different sim cards running concurrently in the same phone.

The highlights of the phones (C2) include

  • Up to 16.5 days standby battery time
  • Micro-SD card slot with support for up to 32GB
  • 1000 phone book entries
  • VGA camera
  • Bluetooth and GPRS
  • The ability to change one sim while the phone is still on
  • Ovi Life Tools
  • Ovi mail
  • FM radio and music player

The blog post states that the phone will come at a damage of 45 Euros "before taxes and subsidies." The two sim phones have been quite popular here in Africa, my country especially, but so far Samsung had been the only known brand that has two sim phones.

I think with the trust people have for Nokia here- we have nothing to do with expensive iStuff- and the popularity of those phone models, we are set to see the company solidify its hold as the biggest phone maker around. I personally though, am not a fan of two sim phones. I am not sure the level of radiation emitted from such phones so I like to play it safe. Will you be giving the phones a try?

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By Seraaj Muneer with No comments

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

The Google Chrome bookmarks sync really sucks!

Google Chrome now ships with a bookmark synchronization feature that keeps your bookmarks and preferences in sync across various computers on which you have the browser installed. This feature would have been really cool if it were anywhere near Firefox's Sync or Weave feature.

With the latter, all your history, passwords, bookmarks, form data and everything is synced. Get to another computer with Firefox running (with the Weave addon of course) and you need not type much to get going.

Not so the Chrome bookmark sync. All it does is sync my bookmarks, preferences and theme. I can do all those. I want to have my history and other stuff synced as well Google! I don't like to retype all my passwords and usernames again. Just follow me with my browsing history including my tabs!

It is well known my recent sour affair with Firefox as I ranted here, here and here, but this feature still stands unrivaled and unbeaten. Google Chrome is still my primary browser both at home and the office. But it really would be nice to have more features added to the bookmark sync than what Google currently gives us.

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By Seraaj Muneer with No comments

Can we get a break from the iPad number crunching please?

"The iPad is selling XYZ units per ABC...," and so what? I really am at the point of getting sickened with all the iPad counting frenzy going on in some quarters of the web. Come on folks, there's over 2 billion people on that information super highway. 

And mind you, there are 6 continents that make up this world. So if the iHype is making some "pretty impressive" sales in North America and some parts of Europe, the rest of us still want to read news other than how much is being added to the Apple bottom line. 

Sure it is nice to see such a "revolutionary" slab that will change the way we read e-books and consume even more data from the iTunes store. But that is for those that are in the Apple hype bandwagon. There is still more of us that will rather use something we can for now, play Farmville with.

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By Seraaj Muneer with 1 comment

So Microsoft has always been in bed with hackers?

“When it comes to security, even hackers admit we’re doing a better job making our products more secure than anyone elseBrandon LeBlanc of Microsoft.

I find the above quote both interesting and serious at the same time. The blog post linked to above is a Microsoft rebuttal of claims that Google is shifting from MS Windows to Mac and Linux given the insecurity of the Redmond cash cow. 

Brandon claims in the blog post that they are doing a lot in terms of security so much that even hackers attest to the fact. The hackers attestation in the blog post links to a long article on C-Net about "the quick rise of a teen hacker." 

The entire blog post raises just three questions in my mind: 

1. So is Microsoft implicitly conceding that in the past hackers used to have a field day?
2. Why has it taken them so long to now be taking security related risks "seriously?"
3. Who are the "anyone else" Brandon refers to? Perhaps Apple or the Penguin?

Maybe you could help me answer?

Thanks to Mashable for the original story.

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By Seraaj Muneer with 4 comments

Twitter found Jack Dorsey on realizing your dreams

This video is Twitter's co-founder Jack Dorsey sharing his views on how to realize your dreams. In short, he preaches you put your ideas on paper, being a great timer and "iterating like mad." Hope you get some ideas from it. And let me know what you think

Original video link.

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By Seraaj Muneer with No comments

Tweepi- Put some sanity back into your Twitter account

The make money online for nothing spammers seem to have taken over Twitter these days. I doubt if there is a single one of you that has more than a 100 friends and is still free of those accounts. Tweepi is a very geeky (no terminal for sure) application that will help you prune out the bots from the humans in your stream.

"We created Tweepi out of our own need for some of these scripts. We're constantly looking to follow quality tweeples, and trying to unfollow deadbeat users. We simply want to do more on Twitter in less time!"

Tweepi gives you various statistics that helps you determine if a particular account is worth following. Some of the stats include number of replies sent and received, number of tweets sent over a give period among others.

It is a free service where you log in with your Twitter credentials via OAuth. I personally used this tool recently to cut down on the number of people I follow because I was beginning to lose track of the real humans in my friends' list. If like me you want to get rid of those make money for nothing spammers, Tweepi is definitely a tool worth giving a try.

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By Seraaj Muneer with No comments

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Why does Ubuntu keep shipping with Evolution?

The Evolution mail client has been the default such application in Ubuntu since I got to know of Linux. Sure it is the default GNOME mail/calendar application, but I really am of the view that Ubuntu needs to drop it in favor of say Mozilla's very brilliant Thunderbird

For one thing running Evolution on my machine makes me wonder if it is IE in disguise. It is, for starters, very heavy on my system resources. My hdd light keeps blinking to hell when I click on that application at any time. It also seems to take an eternity to respond to my mouse clicks.

And worse of all, it is only once that I remember ever being able to access my Gmail account via Evolution. Since that time, whenever I enter my mail credentials, it just sits there, tells me it is reading and fetching the mail. That's it. Nothing else. It just does nothing else again after it shows me those messages in the status bar.

It may be that I am just unlucky with it. Or that my 1GB memory (that is what I use) is not for it. Mozilla's Thunderbird on the other hand, just begs me to add my mail credentials and it takes less than a minute for it to connect to my Gmail account and fetch me my mails, including all my folders. And it is very much system resource efficient.

Evolution has become one of the first applications I remove upon every fresh Ubuntu install, replacing it with Thunderbird. If we are going to keep priding ourselves on how well Linux does on older hardware, then it would be wise to stop shipping some really fat applications like Evolution.

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By Seraaj Muneer with 13 comments
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