Monthly Archives: October 2010

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Check on your Facebook privacy and Fix it with these Online tools

If you have been following this blog, Facebook Privacy is a topic that regularly comes up, right from some stupid mistakes that people have made up until the latest in privacy settings here on Facebook. Its been a long and gruelling battle between Privacy and openness for Facebook, and with the user base steadily growing its more or less certain that the end is no where to be found. Since Facebook’s Privacy Settings are quite confusing sometimes, people around the web have started building tools that allow you to check these settings and have a control on them. As always trying to caution Facebook users about this sort of important information, today we will look at the various websites you can go to to check and update on the privacy settings.

Most of these tools are able to access this information from FaceBook and analyse the same only when you are on Facebook. So you might need to create a small Bookmark-let on the screen and then access Facebook and click on the bookmarklet to be able to finish the analysis. I usually am against scripts that use the bookmarklets to run as they could be potentially harmful, but for the sake of the precious visitors I have run though all of the above personally to make sure that they are safe before using them. The most interesting tools is the last tool that can not only analyse but also fix the settings.

1. Privacy Check

Privacy Check is a nifty app that evaluates your privacy settings and gives you a score out of 21. The details of the score reveal which objects of your Facebook account are publicly accessible. Check out Privacy Check here : http://www.rabidgremlin.com/fbprivacy/

2. Privacy Defender

PrivacyDefender is a Facebook application that evaluates your Facebook privacy settings. You need to drag its bookmarklet to your bookmarks toolbar. When you access your Facebook account, click this bookmarklet to evaluate your settings and view which information is viewable by whom. Check out PrivacyDefender @ http://apps.facebook.com/privacydefender/

3. ReclaimPrivacy

ReclaimPrivacy is another tool that works similar to PrivacyDefender. You get a bookmarklet which you need to click once you are on your Facebook’s privacy settings page. You privacy settings are evaluated and shown to you. Check out ReclaimPrivacy at http://www.reclaimprivacy.org/

4. Zesty Facebook Privacy Checker

Zesty Facebook Privacy Checker is a useful tool which takes in your Facebook username. It then displays a comprehensive list of all your Facebook content that is set to public. Check to Zesty Facebook Privacy Checker @ http://zesty.ca/facebook/

5. SaveFace

SaveFace is a simple bookmarklet that evaluates your privacy settings. Unlike the tools mentioned above, it can even restore your settings to friends only. Here is how you use SaveFace:

  1. Drag the SaveFace bookmarklet to your bookmarks toolbar.
  2. You need to enter your privacy settings, and click on the SaveFace bookmarklet. Your settings will then be reset to “friends only.” This means that only your Facebook friends will be able to view your Facebook contact information, search settings, friends, tags and connections, personal information and posts. SaveFace’s script will take a little time to run, so you will have to be patient.
  3. Once the process is through, you can use anyone of the abovementioned tools to verify that your data is set to “friends only.”

Check out SaveFace @ http://www3.untangle.com/saveface

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Nokia Phone charging with body heat

Nokia has been working with technologies that are really well different, when the Apples and Androids are innovating in trying to find different ways to be able to make our Mobile Phone experiences interesting, Nokia the world’s largest Mobile Phone Manufacturer seems to have different ideas when it comes to Mobile Phone Innovation.

I have written about similar innovations that are mostly from Nokia, dealing with trying to make a mobile phone work without really being powered, and here are some of their earlier attempts.

There are more than just Nokia working on solutions like this, like Indian Innovators who are really trying to make a mark on the renewable energy for Mobile Phones like

So after  some crazy inventions like the ones mentioned above, its at last back to what we wanted to actually talk about today, Mobile Phones powered with body heat. Charging your new phone might just be a as simple as dropping it in your pocket. Now with a future like that we might never have “The Phone Ran out of Juice” stories when that person dodging your call give the same BS.

That’s the promise of the Nokia E-Cu concept phone, developed by British designer Patrick Hyland. Hyland’s Nokia E-Cu (E for environment, Cu for Copper) phone features a copper exterior and a thermogenerator integrated interior that converts heat energy into electric energy.

Theoretically, the phone could be charged on any hot surface–from a radiator to a pants pocket. But as we previously mentioned, the phone is still a concept – and we’ll probably see ideas like the piezoelectric power make its way into future cell phones before Nokia’s idea. However, we certainly look forward to the day when our body warmth alone can juice up our electronics!

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Worlds Most Expensive Home completed – In India

Costing over $1 Billion the Ambani Residence has now completed and is now open. There is one part of me that is really proud that the Most expensive home in the world is built in India, but on the other hand I am also appalled at it. The Antilia is the product of a partnership between architecture firms Perkins+Will and Hirsch Bedner Associates. The building, which has taken nearly three years to complete, hosts 27-stories, which are far from modest. The tower would in fact hold 60-stories, had Ambani settled for standard-height ceilings, rather than opting for an exceptionally high floor-to-ceiling program. The building currently stands on Mumbai’s Altamount Road – prime real estate in the dense metropolis – towering over surrounding structures less than half its size.

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The home contains a health club with a gym and dance studio, a swimming pool, a ballroom, guestrooms, a variety of lounges, and a 50-seater cinema. Three helicopter pads have been installed on the roof, and a car park for 160 vehicles sits on the ground floor. Clearly more space than a housekeeper, or full hotel staff can handle, the Ambani family has employed a staff of 600 to tend to the home!

When I looked at the home and its Carbon Footprint I was surprised at the claim that it was one of the greenest homes ever built. Antilia initially marketed itself as one of the greenest buildings to in the world, not surprisingly, the singular green element first portrayed in the initial renderings is far from evident. The image once depicting a structure covered in green foliage, has in fact been replaced by a vision of stark steel geometry stacked up towards the sky. Experts are saying that no other private property of comparable size and prominence exists anywhere in the world.

So then I started looking at another way to hate it, thinking about how in a country filled with poverty and homelessness this is one monstrosity that stands 27 floors for a family of 5, Mukesh Ambani, his wife and 3 kids. But isint it something that we Indians are known for, when another person achieves something that is matter of dreams instead of looking up to the achievement, we look at various reasons why we would not like it.

At the end of the day, the home is now built and it signifies more than the poor India from the Slumdog Millionaire, It shows the world that the ‘Sleeping Tiger’ is now waking Up. It is ready to show the world that we have now a bigger, better thing than even the arabs lol … :)

Wordless Thursday – What do you know about SPAM

We all talk about it, are annoyed my it, and even swear that we never send any of these, still India ranks second in the sending of SPAM. More about SPAM in this week’s Infographic.

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Your Facebook DP requires a touch up ? This might help

Most of our Online presence is through Facebook, I agree that a lot of us have blogs, websites, LinkedIn Profiles and profiles on other sites. But Facebook seems to be the one profile that all of us are known by, which is why we put a lot of time in finding the perfect picture that would make a display profile (DP) and also are concerned when a bad picture shows up on Facebook. What I would like to share are tutorials for Photoshop that will help make our picture look more appealing. Just please don’t go too crazy — your friends should be able to still recognize you. Whether you want to remove acne or add a tattoo — these tutorials will teach you how to retouch your photos like a pro.

1. Change Your Hair Color

2. Remove Wrinkles

3. Remove Acne

4. Apply Makeup

5. Enhance Eyes

6. Add Eye Lashes in Photoshop

7. Soften Skin

8. Whiten Teeth

9. Add a Tattoo

10. Lose weight in Photoshop

11.  Turn your Photo into Pop Art

12. Give your Photo a Sketched Pencil Effect

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Awesome Robot Dancers at Gitex and more

Last year at the Gitex show there ware Robot Dancers from Sony who were trying to bridge the gap between the Robots and the emotional Quotient that humans need towards them in order to be able to adopt these Mechanised creations. What could come this year in the robotics front is something worth keeping a look at. The biggest electronics and Computers trade show on this side of the globe is expected to attract over 1 Million visitors, with loads of services and apps companies making their appearance this year. In fact, the company that I work for SI Consult, also will have a stand through its sister concern SI-Secureview a Network IT Security based company dealing with the nitty gritties of running a major network.

Getting back to the Robots dancing, Being someone from the Automation Industry, Robots are mechatronics that are close to the geeky heart. And seeing these robots dancing nearly bought tears to the geeky hearts that were at the event last year, and I admit I was in the crowd hiding the joy and emotions running parallel. Anyway, just ahead of the Gitex this year here are some awesome robots that well COULD make an appearance this year, If they actually do, I might just be there for the entire 5 days (considering I already have an exhibitor pass). Lo and behold, the best of the robotics videos on YouTube.

1. Sony Qrio (Same guys fro mGitex)

We can start off with the video of the Robots dancing, these were the same guys that put up the performance last year, although this video is not from Gitex. Sony’s Qrio (notable for being the first bipedal robot capable of running) never reached production (it’s development was axed at the same time robo-dog AIBO got his marching papers), but as this video shows it could bash out some sweet moves when it was active.

2. Giant Robotic Dinosaurs from Japan

Straight out of the Nightmare from Jurassic Park, these Dinosaurs from Japan are Animatronic wonders that don’t require a  human puppet operator. They were supposed to be in Dubai at the Restless Planet part of Mall of Arabia, Does anyone remember that project ?? now shelved, but would have been a great attraction if it would have opened.

3. Honda Asimo Humanoid Robot Demo

The First company to put out an actual Humanoid was Honda, with Asimo the Humanoid Robot, its been close to 5 years since we first say this robot that looks like a small boy in a space suit. Why a car manufacturing company indulged into making a humanoid robot was something that still puzzles me to this day, but the fact remains that Asimo is the face of the Humanoids.

4. Aldebaran Robotics’ Nao

This amazingly advanced robot boasts cognitive skills, a high level of motion (with 25 degrees of freedom) and is programmable, so you can customize it to do pretty much anything. Currently available to academic institutions for a high price, a consumer model is planned for 2011, so watch the demo above to start getting excited.

5. Toyota’s Robot Quartet Band

Another car company trying to make a mark in the Robotics field is Toyota, it seems Toyota’s wings are spreading everywhere in the mechanical and automotive field, from eco friendly cars right down to these cute little Robots. In fact most of the robots from Toyota seem to be playing music, check out another one below here.

6. Alice the Robot

Hanson Robotics busies itself by “awakening intelligent robotic beings and granting them sparks of true consciousness and creativity.” Its Alice-bot is one example of the progress it has made with giving robotics realistic facial impressions with the aim of enabling “machine empathy” in the future. I should say the future might be creepy, think going to a bar, taking a date home to find she is a robot !! She will have expressions to make you feel guilty about it as well.

7. NASA Humanoid Robotic Arm

When it comes to high end robotics, who can keep NASA away. The importance of putting these machines in the place of Humans trained over thousands of hours seems to be what is required for the space missions. Considering which it is important for NASA to be working in this field and of course they are. Here is one of the best robotic arms in the world. Why is it so difficult for anyone to replicate the arm, well we can sense pressure, heat, sensitivity etc. It is difficult for the robots to work on similar basis and thus this is really an engineering marvel of its kind.

Weather all these robots are going to be at Gitex or not, this year could be a very interesting year at Gitex. Consider that the exhibition is right in the storm of the recession in this country. The spending of the companies along with the various activities, what are the industries in focus etc will give an indication of the health of the electronics and automation industry in Dubai and the middle east. For the sake of all, I hope that the Gitex will be a success.

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Water on Blog Action Day

Today is blog Action Day, and for a lot of people who do not know, its a day blogger like myself get to gather world over to write about a particular topic that requires world wide attention. Last year we wrote about climate change which made a bit of a difference during the Copenhagen Summit. This year I am joining 15,000 other blogger today on October 15, 2010 to write about something that will have an impact on all our lives weather it is now or in the next 20 years time. Water.

The elixir of life and soon to be liquid gold, is something that is definitely something that we need to be looking at seriously not only in terms of an irreplaceable resource but also in the context that, the same about of water exists on the planet for the past billion years and its not going to change. So the more water we actually pollute, the more we loose as water is not created, but transformed from one form to the other and one place to the other. I have also believed that it is definitely better to use presentations better than text where possible, because like we all know a picture is worth a thousand words and a presentation is worth an entire book.

There is three things I want to touch with this post, first of all the importance of water and what is available to us, the second well what would happen to us if we do not preserve it. Have a look at the below two presentations for it.

This third presentation is basically a presentation that is actually a letter from the future, a letter from someone who might live in the future and tell us what we are doing wrong in this lifetime especially when it comes to the precious commodity called water. Finally, another important word about the water we have.

Water is most definitely something that needs to be preserved and saved and unfortunately in a country like India where the water that is safe is still not really pure, it definitely seems like there are a lot of people who are trying to misuse the situation in a way that is detrimental to the economy and in a way that they might make more monetary gains. And this definitely is not something that can be tolerated.

I did write about how India is planning to import water in huge quantities from Alaska for drinking water, and then there are the Bisleri”s the Pepsi’s the Aquafina and million other Bottled Water brands that are well, driving the economy down and causing more harm with the plastic bottles that they use. Here is another short movie/ presentation that might be something that you need to not only take note of but also apply if possible.

Like I mentioned earlier, if I am able to even ensure that a few people who read this make a small change or even if this is shared enough that the message goes through, I am going to consider that this post for the Blog Action Day 2010 is a success, please let me know about what you think is the way to go keeping the above in mind.
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The most expensive Home Theatre in the world

I got an interesting mail with the pics for the most expensive Home Theatre in the world, and let me tell you something it was worth writing a post about. Once I received the pictures I started getting more and more curious about the composition of the system. The Kipnis Studio Standard Experience, also known as “The Greatest Show on Earth” is exactly the most expensive Home theatre in the world. I don’t really know what to actually say about this awesome gadget, a big waste of money or a true piece of art, but I am inclined to think that $6,000,000 is way to much for a home theatre, you could do a lot more than just a Home Theatre in that money.  Now let’s see a few details that make this home theater so amazing.

First of all the person who spent the money and the effort on this monstrocity. Jeremy Kipnis, a music engineer, producer, classical music lover, has paid a whooping US $6 million for this amazing collection. And you have seen nothing yet. Wait until you find out what gadgets make this home theater so top notch.

Picture Elements:

  • Sony SRX-S110 Professional Video Projector (4,096-by-2,160 resolution)
  • Stewart 18-by-10-foot Snowmatte 1.0 Gain Laboratory-Grade Motion Picture Screen

Players and Sources:

  • Sony BDP-S1 Blu-ray Player
  • Sony PlayStation 3 Gaming Console
  • Toshiba HD-XA1 HD DVD Player
  • JVC HMDH-5U D-VHS Recorder
  • SATA Drive (72 HDTV Hours Total)
  • Mark Levinson Reference N°33 and N°33H.
  • Pioneer HLD-X0 Hi-Vision HDTV MUSE Laserdisc Player

Surround Processing and Decoding:

  • Theta Digital Generation VIII 32-bit 8x Oversampling Dual Processors (13)

Amplification:

  • Mark Levinson N° 33h Amplifiers (2)
  • McIntosh MC-2102 Amplifiers (30)
  • Crown Macro Reference Gold Amplifiers (3)

Speakers:

  • Snell 1800 THX Music & Cinema Reference Subwoofers (16)
  • Snell THX Music & Cinema Reference Towers (8)
  • MuRata ES103A Super Tweeters (10)
  • Snell THX Music & Cinema Reference LCR-2800 Center-Channel Speakers (3)

Look at these awesome pictures that will complete the experience of ooh and ahs, we will then talk more about why this beats going to the theatre.

Now lets get to the list of why this really makes going to the Theatre crappy :

The Cell Phone That Goes Off

Honestly, with all the messages we see during the previews that mention how NOT to have your cell phone on during the movie?  How in the world is this still going on in theaters?  Not only that, whenever the damn thing rings at least three times it’s usually cause for murder.  No question.  Giant sign:  TURN CELL PHONES OFF.  Cell phone still rings.  How?  How?

The Tall Person

This is just the luck of the draw I guess.  I’m 6’0 tall so I doubt that I’ve caused trouble for those behind me.  And I have to say theatres have made advancements in seating.  However, if someone is 6’5 or taller you are absolutely screwed.  And if you’re in a crowded theater, God help you.  Ever watch an entire movie with your head tilted?  Its not very nice.

The Talker or Laugher

I didn’t realize how many people thought that a movie theater was their own personal living room.  Not only that, sometimes you get the people that actually speak just to piss other people off.  The worst thing is when you get a group of people that are either drunk or stoned. I guess its fun for them, but at the expense of the rest of us.

The No Seat Situation

You know what that means.  It means you’re sitting in the front which is about the worst possible thing that could happen to you at the theater other than being vomited on, the theater collapsing on your head, or having exploding diarrhea. Aching necks, twisted eyes and tears accompany such a trip to the theatre.

No matter what said and done, spending 6 Million Dollars on a Home Theatre is not something that beats going to the theatres, but surely getting a good system will make the experience at home more personal and better.

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Formula Rossa in Abu Dhabi opening on 28th Oct

A lot of the readers here will know how inquisitively I wrote about the Ferrari Roller Coaster in the World’s One and Only new Theme Park in Abu Dhabi. First of all I was sad considering that I am working in the construction industry in Dubai and that I did not get a chance to be a part of this amazing theme park in Abu Dhabi. In fact having worked on Dubai International Airport expansion of Terminal 3 and the Burj Dubai I would have loved to be part of this one as well.

Knowing that I will be able to visit it, and its still within traveling reach by car is still good enough for me I guess. Personally I have not been to the amazing Roller Coasters that they keep showing on Discovery Channel, but always wanted to. Having said that I have always wanted to go there.

Have a look at what might be in store at the Ferrari Theme Park, opening just before the F1 race in ABu Dhabi, I guess people have more than just 1 incentive to go and visit the Ferrari Theme park. Anyway let us know whats the most interesting one of these that you want to absolutely go to.

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The future gadgets for DJ’s is here – from YouTube DJ to Gadgets

Last weekend I was at a party at Ajman, where a Ryan, a friend was the DJ and me was telling how the laptops have made DJing so much more fun. Instead of carrying a case full of CD’s like earlier DJ friends used to now he just need to ensure that the laptop is working and powered. This would usually mean that he has more than his collection of music for the parties he goes to. DJ’s these days have so many tools available on the laptops to enable to perform complex tasks they used to perform with analog machines a while back, except it used to be more difficult earlier. Now the focus seems to be on making the music better than worry about the technicalities.

Ryan also mentioned how improvements are happening all the time, and as promised he also shared the link of an awesome DJ video showing the Emulator for the DJ kits. I am sharing the video below, that was shared by Ryan. Anyway, moving from the video showing the ultracool touch screen DJ, I thought it would be worth while to look at other possible developments in this field, now with the Weekend here you might just spot some of these on your weekend clubbing spree.

The List of things that I am putting up is going to be some hardware, geek food, and also some software to try and convert you into a YouTube DJ. First things first, some YouTube videos of awesome fuuristic DJ equipment:

A little more scouting on Google shopping leads more results as well, check it here. After the gadgets now, here is the turn to get your self prepared into a YouTube DJ. Well not always is it convenient to carry all your kit around and at those times it might be awesome if the entire collection of music be available to you at any time. The internet is the biggest storage for music and imagine if you could DJ with that collection, and by becoming a YouTube DJ you could do just that.

StreamDrag

StreamDrag allows you to create playlists of music that is available on YouTube.

You don’t have to register for an account to use the site, but the advantage of signing up for a free account is being able to save multiple playlists. Search for your favorite songs and add them to your playlist. Once you’ve got your playlist up and running, you can share specific songs with your friends on Facebook, Twitter, StumbleUpon and Delicious.

MuzakBox

MuzakBox takes a simpler approach by essentially creating the playlist for you. You choose the artist you want to listen to and MuzakBox does the rest – pulling all of the songs from YouTube into one list. Of course if you’re the kind of person who gets bored listening to one artist for too long, MuzakBox isn’t the ideal choice for you.

YouTube Music Player addon

Firefox users can benefit from the YouTube Music Player Addon. Once installed, a new menu item will be available in your browser where you can access all of the YouTube Music Player controls, from searching, to add songs to your playlist, to playing them. Accessing these controls opens up the addon in a sidebar in your browser. Search for songs and add them by right-clicking the results.

Once a song has been added to your playlist it is highlighted in red. YouTube Music Player is jam-packed with features, allowing you to create and save multiple lists, preview videos before adding them to your list by hovering over the specific search result, and giving you full control of playback with shuffle and repeat settings. Playback settings can be accessed from the Firefox menu, from the status bar, or from the small window that opens displaying the video itself.

YouTube jockey

YouTube Jockey is a slick Adobe Air app which allows you to create one playlist at a time. Search for and add songs to your playlist, and then you can choose whether or not to display the video as it plays. Don’t worry – there is nothing you have to do to save your playlist – it will automatically be saved for you to return to when you open the app. While it’s great to have a cross-platform desktop app that allows you to easily create YouTube, being able to create and save multiple playlists would make it even better.