Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Much ado about Doodle. Thumbs down to Google

I have been doodling during classes all through my high school and the habit has hardly betrayed me in the University. And yet, ever so cruelly, none of my doodles seem to have made ANY impact at all, especially when you compare them with the ones by Gates at Davos or by Ofir at Israel!

And, MSN Search rocks! I had to dig out this link about Gates and Davos Doodles which I had posted way back in the beginning of the year. Apparently, the BloggerBar (powered by Google) at the top of this blog is supposed to search this Blog. But it yielded NOTHING.

Google search for the keywords "Gates doodles enginerd" returned exactly Two (2) results which were way off target.

And then I tried MSN Search. The same keywords. Four results:
The first: Link to the exact Post.
The second:
Link to the-enginerd's February archives.


MSN Search just found a new fan!

Blog Day 2005

Blog DaySeptember 1, 2005. Thousands of Bloggers yesterday could be seen linking to their blogkins celebrating the BlogDay 2005. Prasoon, an avid Blogger told our correspondent about how the date 3108 (August 31st) reads like the word "Blog".

Our correspondent traced the history of Blog Dayback to June 21, 2005 when Nir Ofir posted about it on his blog on the same date. It has been learnt from reliable sources that Mr. Ofir had, in fact, noticed the resemblance between "3108" and "Blog" while doodling at the first Blog conference that was held in Israel.

-TheEnginerd News Service

Monday, August 29, 2005

Dontclick.it : Mouse Gestures for the click

Vanessa Tan has this link to a wonderful new experiment in User Interface Design promising click-free navigation.

The Institute for Interactive Research is apparently trying to study the "change in the behaviour of navigation" and whether the missing click has any "influence on our perception of the interface."

The website has three new buttons for you to experiment. The replacement of the traditional 'click' in the three buttons is as follows:

Button 1: Activating the button by wiping the mouse from left to right or right to left over it.
Button 2: The button is activated by moving the mouse pointer in a circular motion around it.
Button 3: The button has a self activating timer. To activate, keep your mouse pointer over it for a few seconds.

I find the second idea of moving the mouse pointer in a circular manner over the button extremely appealing. The other two have obvious disadvantages.

The 'wipe' that activates the first button requires that the origin and termination of the mouse movement stays on the button. So, my "flick of the wrist" has to ensure that the mouse moves just the perfect distance. Not too much, because it will move outside the button; and not too less, because then the button wont get activated. This requires extreme caution on the user's part, making life miserable for him. Also, as the website itself states, the user may accidentally activate a link by unintentionally moving the mouse over it.

The third button that has a self activating timer is certain to significantly increase the surfing time. Plus the fact that since most web designers haven't read 'Don't Make Me Think', a considerable number of users simply are unsure whether they really should be activating the particular link or not.

Be sure you check their website out. It is simply too much fun to be missing out. And yes, these are really wonderful experiments in interface design.

Sunday, August 28, 2005

No word-verification!

By the way, if you haven't yet observed, Blogger word verification is still disabled here on the comments. You are all too precious to be bothered.

Friday, August 26, 2005

New MSN Homepage Beta

My friend remarked about living on Earth Beta. Apparently every software that he was using at the moment was Beta: Be it the Messenger1 or Messenger2, or the latest Visual Studio Beta 2.

As if that was not enough, I came across this MSN Homepage Beta http://beta.msn.com First look and you'll get the feeling that you've stumbled upon the Yahoo! Homepage. I dont like the fact that they are doing away with the sidebar and the blue theme!!!

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Google talk: Not so cool

Google talk : Another uncool product from Google's stable. The first was Sidebar. If you remember the Google Webaccelerator, then, add that too.

+
Awesome sound quality.
Runs even on an obsolete machine (mine ;)
a clean and neat interface

-
No timestamping of messages. No logging
No "Appear Offline" like Yahoo!'s stealth
Too simple. The world likes it nifty!
  • No Text colours,
  • No emoticons [ Remember, Microsoft is about to patent them ;) ]
No file tranfers

btw, where are the Google ads accompanying my messages in an IM conversation?
Imagine I say "I feel like sleeping.", only to find an adsense window showing sleeping pills best deals!!

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Roaming MSN Favorites

Just so you know. Your MSN Favorites are now roaming.

PS: Be sure you're logged in to your Passport before you hit the URL.

Monday, August 22, 2005

SEM - Maharajah to do without the hyphen

The 71 year old Maharajah is on an image rebuilding flight course. In its continuous quest of a contemporary look, Air India today decided to do away with the hyphen from "Air-India".


According to an official:
"The dropping of the hyphen means AI moves up in the alphabetical list of airlines and will be displayed much earlier in the computerised reservation systems and Web pages than before. This will lead to more visibility for the airline"
A case of Search Engine Marketing?

New "Communications Tool" from Google on Wednesday

From an article in New York Times:
Google executives say they plan to unveil on Wednesday a "communications tool" that is potentially a clear step beyond the company's search-related business focus.

While executives would not disclose what the new software tool might be, Google has long been expected to introduce an instant messaging service to compete with services offered by America Online, Yahoo and MSN from Microsoft.

This is something that was long speculated. I can hardly wait to see what Google has up its sleeve this time round. By the way, I've heard some good things about the new Google Sidebar. I'll be giving it a try as soon as I find some time.

Sunday, August 21, 2005

Bourne Identity

Bourne IdentityI am reading Bourne Identity, almost a couple of years after watching the movie. And it leaves me hugely angry at the movie adaptation, what I'd only call as a gross injustice to the brilliant and gripping spy novel by Robert Ludlum.

The movie is, in itself, quite thrilling from the beginning to the end. But when you look at it as an adaptaion of the great Ludlum novel, it leaves one baffled if not frustrated. There's the protagonist in the movie Jason Bourne, but without the antagonist Carlos, whose name in the novel surfaces almost as many times as does Bourne's. Another thing. Marie, whom Jason takes hostage in his quest to run and saves from an attempted rape and murder(followed by the hostage-kidnapper romance paradigm,) is replaced by Marie, a needy girl whom Bourne pays 20k to help him escape. Halfway into the novel, I was beginning to get the feeling that barring the opening scene in the movie, no other scene is as it is in the novel. Pretty frustrating!

However, I feel for those involved in the adaptation. What is in print, cannot always be translated into reel. The picture that we develop through imagination can almost never be perfected, and hence cannot be captured in a film. Perhaps what they have tried to dish out in the movie is the core that makes the novel so wonderful. And it is with this crux, Bourne Identity translates into one of the most entertaining spy thrillers I have seen, albeit not the same thrill that came reading the novel.

A resemblance too many

I happened to visit DD India's news website http://www.ddinews.com today for the first time. What struck me immediately was the resemblance it had to the BBC News website.

Here are a couple of screenshots to judge for yourself.


Screenshot: BBC NEWS | WORLD

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Another semester...

t e s t p o s t/gibberish

Twice in an year we are confronted with the beginning of new semesters and somehow every time it throws open a can of nutty university policies that I am hardly aware of; the consequence of which results in mine being involved with troubles galore.

Of other things, everyone is found discussing about the courses one should be opting for. What rules the choice of a course is neither the content nor one's personal interests, but the ease with which it can be done with, with an easy top-notch grade in the 'kitty'. As if this were not enough, personal differences and preferences with members of the faculty have also to be weighed sufficiently, for these can have a significant impact on the end result.

Thus success in the first battle requires strategy down to the last detail. But then, there are surprise enemy tactics too. The university decides to scrap of a course completely, leaving all preparations useless and disturbing all well formulated equations of many a brave enterprising youth depriving them of something immensely valuable- an 'A' in their kitty. Then comes the task of picking the next easier target, but there's another catch too explaining which in itself is an ardent task, and so will go unmentioned here.

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phew! The prospect of having to spend more than necessary time here scares thhe hell off me!

The new Blogger 'Flag' Button

I just happened to observe the new 'Flag button' on the Blogger navbar. The new feature has been added by Blogger to let users immediately report "objectionable content" to Blogger by clicking the Flag button.

Blogger Navbar Flag Button


How it works from Blogger:
When a person visiting a blog clicks the "Flag?" button in the Blogger Navbar, it means they believe the content of the blog may be potentially offensive or illegal. We track the number of times a blog has been flagged as objectionable and use this information to determine what action is needed. This feature allows the blogging community as a whole to identify content they deem objectionable.

Also, just as I signed in to flickr for posting this image of the Blogger Navbar with Flag button, I learned of the new flickr sign-in with Yahoo! ID. One caution though. If you choose to combine your Yahoo! and flickr logins, then you wont have the persistent flickr login as all Yahoo! services need you to relogin after 24 hours.

Lets bring'em down

Hijackers. Beware! India now has its own hijack policy! After learning the lesson the hard way in the form of the hijack of the IC-814 flight and 9/11 it was expected that India would come up with a tough policy to deal with hijacked aircrafts and that is what it has come up with, taking a few years longer than it should have.

It is obvious that such a clear policy could have averted the whole IC-814 episode. With clear instructions and well defined responsibilities, that aircraft would have never left Indian airspace and India would not have had to compromise in some foreign land playing by the rules as dictated by a hostile regime. If one were to apply this new policy in the circumstances that sprung up in that horrible incident, its effectiveness is amply proven.

One would expect that this new policy will send a strong message to those in business of using civilian aircrafts as missiles. However, what would really determine its success would be the ability of the people involved to implement it as a whole. With our government's proven track record of bending rules for almost all possible reasons, how strictly would they enforce this policy is anyone's guess. Also, with so many ministers that it takes for foraging support to form a democratc government in this country, it might not be all that impossible for one of these ministers' kin to be on board that aircraft. Try storming that aircraft then, leave aside the thought of shooting it down!

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

The tale of the fired

The recipients of the pink slip now have a site of their own- simplyfired.com featuring stories of those who have been laid off. The most prominent being the the Mark Jen Story, the fired Google employee of ninety nine zeroes fame.

The site is also running the Simply Fired Contest where the the story of your being fired or laid off could fetch you prizes such as a week-long trip to the Caribbean, an Apple iPod Shuffle, or a SimplyFired t-shirt.

A must-visit-website for all. No one teaches you about how not to get fired from your job! Too lazy? Subscribe to the fired feed!

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Sunday, August 14, 2005

More similarities!

Alright. IE7 to quite a few is more or less the old IE with a few things stolen from Firefox.

What about this? Just compare this new logo of IE7 with the splash screen from Netscape...

IE7 Logo
Netscape Splash Screen

[via minghong]

Saturday, August 13, 2005

The new 'e'

The IEBlog just released the new icon and logo for Internet Explorer 7.

IE 7 Logo and Icon

However, the logo and icon will sport a slightly different look for the Windows Vista™ version, more consistent with the icons there.

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Microchip and stray cows

With 40,000 cows straying on the roads of Delhi, the local municipal corporation had announced that anyone bringing a stray cow would be awarded a handsome sum in cash. These cows would then be sold to new owners thereby ridding the streets of the hazards these cows cause

But fearing that the same cow would be again turned in for the easy money involved , the authorities have had to resort to a microchip in the cow's gut to tell them about a cow already brought in.

via BBC News

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Google News Feeds

Finally we have Atom and RSS feeds from Google News for search queries. Something that was found missing for a very long time.

Monday, August 01, 2005

Pottermania rolls on! The world can't wait for Harry Potter

Pottermania knows no bounds! 45 hours to translate Harry Potter in German. Awesome work!!

From Guardian Unlimited:

Thousands of German Harry Potter fans who could not wait for the latest JK Rowling epic to be published in their own language have translated the book in less than two days.The "hobby translators" were too impatient to wait the 77 days required by German translator Klaus Fritz to complete the task and logged on to Harry-auf-Deutsch.de to finish the job in 45 hours.