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Saturday, July 31, 2010

When Facebook's privacy settings can lock you out...

       Facebook has undoubtedly grown into one of the biggest social platforms, outperforming Google's Orkut, Buzz and the popular MySpace. Its developer API has made way for some of the most addictive games like Mafia Wars and FarmVille. But, the security and privacy settings they adopt can sometime lock you out of your own account.
       For instance, here is a true story of my friend who was an active Facebook user and had over 928 friends!! He is studying in Bangalore and so uses Facebook here. When he went to his native for vacations this time and tried to access his account there, he got locked out. The reason being - they doubt whether it was him accessing the account because its from an unfamiliar place for that account. Here is the exact wordings used by facebook to show the error - " Your account was recently accessed from a location we're not familiar with. For your protection, please review your recent activity to make sure no one is using your Facebook account without permission.

Reviewing your activity takes just a few moments. We'll start by asking you a couple of questions to confirm that this is your account. (If we recognize your computer, you'll be able to skip this step.) "

       Okay, they give you profile pictures of your friends and ask you to identify in order to authenticate the account. But, the funniest part is, they give pictures of your friend's farms (virtual farms created using FarmVille) and ask you questions like "Whose farm is this?". Can you beat that. My friend obviously didn't know whose farm it was, he never was the "farming" kind too. So facebook decides that he's an intruder and locks him out of his own account. Apparently the situation is called a Roadblock.

Check out the screenshots of Facebook's hilarious questionnaire :
These are screen shots asking him to identify the friend based on profile pictures...

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Apple now keeps mouse away

       We all have heard of "Apple a day keeps the doc away". But, Apple computer corp. has been redefining that saying by keeping "mice" away.
       Apple on Tuesday unveiled the Magic Trackpad, a touchpad which allows a user to operate the computer using only the gestures made by the finger, thereby eliminating the need for a mouse. The Magic Trackpad costs $69 in the online Apple Store. The battery-powered device looks like a notepad and is made of aluminum and glass. It operates using the Bluetooth wireless technology. The entire surface of Magic Trackpad is one large button, so you can click and double-click anywhere. Magic Trackpad also supports a full set of gestures, including two-finger scrolling, pinching to zoom, rotating with your fingertips, three-finger swiping, and activating Exposé or switching between applications with four fingers. The device incorporates the pinchs and gestures familiar to Apple i Phone users. The maximum range of the device is said to be 33 feet away from the computer and is already featured in Apple's Macbook Pro notebook.

The Trackpad stripped :

World's first 3D camcorder

       The 3D revolution has been rapidly spreading, starting from movies like Avatar to home entertainment that includes 3D TVs and 3D mobile displays. The latest addition to this family is the World's first 3D camcorder, launched by Panasonic on Wednesday.
       The HDC-SDT750 3D, priced at £1,300 works on a sophiscated double lens model. Company spokesman Barnaby Sykes said "Just as we have two eyes, the camcorder has two lenses side by side". The camcorder imitates the human brain by merging the images from the two lenses to create a single 3D vision. The images recorded can be viewed on the already available 3D TVs.  Also, it is capable of recording full-definition images even if the 3D lens is detached from the camera. It features a time lapse recording that plays scenes at a desired accelerated speed. The camcorder is expected to be available from September.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Is Java Dying ???

       Though many projects still continue to be developed using Java, some analysts predict that the language is already dying, especially in the SOA world. SOA emphasizes interoperability more than cross-platform deployment, and the analysts say that Java EE is ill-suited for this (despite the existence of efforts such as Project Tango to directly address this.)
        Lets try to separate fact from fiction in this discussion. Only a small percentage of developers go to conferences like JavaOne. These people constitute the majority of those who read, write and comment on blog sites and they are the first-adopters of new technologies and languages. These people are enthusiastic evangelists of new and cool technologies fueling, for example, the rise of Dynamic languages (which I applaud). But these same folks can be vocal complainers, ignoring possible work-arounds of existing features in languages such as Java, and predicting the death of Java. For many developers, these dire predictions can inspire fear for their jobs, compelling some to prematurely drop Java, further perpetuating the rumor that Java is indeed dying.
       It is impressive that Java has been consistently popular for over 12 years (Ruby was created in 1995, but only really became popular once David Heinemeier Hansson released Ruby on Rails in 2004). In our industry it’s impossible to predict how something will be used in a decade and maybe we shouldn’t try. Have Sun got carried away with the popularity of Java and tried to make it into something it wasn’t designed to be, creating an overly complex beast? Are these proponents of Java-Death simply Java gurus that who are just seeking perfection?