Facebook wants to share your information without your knowledge!

As of today, there is a new privacy setting called “Instant Personalization” that shares data with non-Facebook websites and it is automatically set to “Allow”.

According to Facebook:

“You’ll find a personal and social experience the moment you arrive on our select partner sites — Docs.com, Pandora, and Yelp. We’re working closely with these partners so you can quickly connect with your friends and see relevant content on their sites. These sites personalize your experience using your public Facebook information. When you arrive on these sites, you’ll see a notification from Facebook at the top of the page.
You can easily opt-out of experiencing this on these sites by “No Thanks” on the blue Facebook notification on the top of partner sites.”

To disable this feature, go to Account > Privacy Settings > Applications and Websites > Instant Personalization and uncheck “Allow”.

(Thanks Arun Pattnaik)

Talent Vs. Attitude – Harsha Bhogle at IIMA

A must-watch talk on why attitude matters, not talent. Presented at IIM Ahmedabad by Harsha Bhogle, a well known cricket commentator in India.

(Thanks Harish)

Why the iPad is a #FAIL

The launch of the Apple tablet was possibly the biggest marketing hype I have seen in a long time. However, when I saw Steve Jobs holding the “iPad” for the first time, I could immediately sense that something has gone horribly wrong. Here are my top 8 reasons why I reckon the iPad will be a failiure:

1. As someone who owns both an iPhone and a Macbook, I wonder why I would want to carry a third “something in between” device with me.

2. The only possible reason i may want to use the iPad is to play App Store games on a larger screen. But why did this need arise in the first place? Because those games aren’t available on a Mac! Seriously people, if Apple really cared, they wouldn’t make you buy new hardware to play the same old games.

3. I’ve never used a Kindle and still don’t get the point of lugging around a dedicated e-book reader. There is a practical limit to the number of devices I can carry with me when I am travelling – and an iPhone + laptop should suffice most of the time. Hence, the iPad being projected as a “Kindle killer” may not be such a big deal afterall.

4. If the iPad screen is similar to a Macbook, why not read your e-books on your laptop instead? The iPad screen, no matter how good still cannot beat Amazon’s e-ink technology.

5. The iPad seems too big (and possibly fragile) to carry around all the time. Does the package include a casing?

6. A full fledged browsing device and no Flash? What were you thinking Apple?

7. Still no support of running multiple apps simultaneously. No way I’m going to close my browser each time I want to copy some text into my text editor.

8. (BONUS) The iPad is a silly name – Sounds like a feminine hygiene product to me!

e-Waste disposal and recycling in India

I always thought that e-waste disposal and recycling was a non-existent concept in India, till I came across these companies-

1. Attero

2. Ecoreco

3. E-Parisaraa (Thanks Ambuj)

Like most Indian households, even my house is filled with tons of old and obsolete gadgets which I no longer use.

But, Indians typically refuse to let go of anything unless they’re paid for it. Even if it means that it’ll continue to lie around their house for ages. Yes, they did pay a hefty sum for it when it was the hottest thing around. But giving it to the local kabari wallah, who has no idea what to do with it except weighing it in kilos and giving you a few pennies in exchange, is not the correct way to dispose it.

Considering the rapid innovation and ever decreasing “shelf life” of electronics, it’s time we also take responsibility of correctly disposing what we owned.

How Social Media is growing

This is how fast the Web 2.0 bubble is swelling:

Obviously this data is not real-time, but still provides a relatively accurate representation in terms of the average growth.

Do you think you can keep pace? πŸ™‚

Roundup of Tech TV shows in India

There are lots of TV shows to catch up with the latest technology and gadget headlines as well as interesting gossip and discussions. Here’s my roundup of the best ones I know-

1. Gadget Guru, on NDTV Profit, hosted by one of my favorite TV hosts – Rajiv Makhni

2. Tech Guru, on CNBC Awaaz hosted by Ankit

3. Cell Guru, on NDTV India (with re-runs on NDTV 24×7 and NDTV Profit)

4. Sony Style TV Magazine, on AXN hosted by Oli Pettigrew. Partially dedicated to Sony’s innovations but still a must-watch.

5. Tech Mantra, on IBN 7

6. Tech Toys, on CNBC 18

7. Click, on BBC World News

If you watch any other TV shows which deserve a mention here, please add them as a comment.

Why Apple products sell

The market is flooded with hundreds of laptops and mobile phones, each one claiming to be the latest, the fastest and the most feature rich. Choosing the right one is a difficult thing. Some people would rather prefer to stay out of the chaos and be happy to pay a premium to help them decide what is the best for them.

Apple targets exactly this segment of customers, which by the above description, fall under the “exclusive” category.

Here is Apple’s simple mantra:

1. Make your users feel they have a great product. Obsess over aesthetics or whatever that works.

2. Don’t confuse your customers by giving them too many choices. If you have to give a choice, keep the options easily distinguishable through features like screen size, storage capacity etc.

3. Don’t obsess about hardware specifications. Most users don’t really care how much CPU and RAM they have if their computer is fast enough for their work.

4. Don’t introduce products too quickly. Give your users enough time to boast about their new toy. Nothing works like word of mouth. Let the novelty fade away before you hype up and introduce the “next big thing”. Keep this cycle predictable.

5. Don’t leave any opportunity to bash your opponents. TV ads or whatever that works. People love to hate.

No wonder we call it the decade of Steve Jobs.

How to turn off the display on your Mac

You often need to turn off your laptop’s LCD display to save on battery power, but don’t want it to go on sleep. This used to be fairly easy on a Windows PC but I had a hard time figuring out how to do this on a Mac.

Just try this useful but not very commonly known keyboard shortcut:

CTRL + SHIFT + EJECT

I bet you didn’t know this πŸ™‚

Indian celebrities on Twitter

Indian celebrities usually leave no stone unturned to keep their popularity ranking high, whether it is by creating controversy, endorsing brands, appearing on TV shows or even owning an IPL cricket team.

I noticed that a few of them have also adopted Twitter, which upto now was only for the creme-de-la-creme of the tech community. The ones listed below are the “real” celebrities, since all of them have “Twitter Verified Accounts“, which I believe is trustworthy. Here’s the complete list-

Priyanka Chopra – @priyankachopra
Karan Johar – @kjohar25
Barkha Dutt – @BDUTT
Shashi Tharoor – @shashitharoor
Mallika Sherawat – @mallikala
Gul Panag – @gulpanag

For the sake of completeness, here are some Internationally known celebrities too:

Arnold Schwarzenegger – @Schwarzenegger
Britney Spears – @britneyspears
Oprah Winfrey – @Oprah
Janet Jackson – @JanetJackson
David Blaine – @davidblaine
Al Gore – @algore
Heidi Montag – @heidimontag
Richard Branson – @richardbranson
Pamela Anderson – @PamelaDAnderson
Serena Williams – @serenajwilliams
Venus Williams – @Venuseswilliams
Ricky Martin – @ricky_martin
Paris Hilton – @parishilton

If you come across anyone else who deserves a mention here, please leave a comment and help me keep the post updated.

Why most people don’t understand Twitter

Despite being well connected with a lot of my friends and colleagues online, only a handful of people I know use Twitter. Ask the others and I often get to hear “I just don’t get it!”. This got me thinking – I have never heard such a reply for any other website! Then what is it that people find so mysterious about Twitter?

The answer was right on Twitter’s homepage.

Check out Twitter.com. All I see is – “Share and discover what’s happening right now, anywhere in the world. Join the conversation. Sign up now”

There is not a single word on why and how you can start using Twitter. Anyone who comes to Twitter.com for the first time will most certainly have the following questions in mind –

  • what is a tweet? How do I start twitter-ing?
  • what does @someone mean?
  • Why do people say “RT @someone” and what does it mean?
  • Why do I need to “follow” someone and how is it different from adding a contact on a social network?
  • What does a #tag do?
  • What is twitter search and why is it useful to me? What exactly is a trending topic?

and none of them get answered. No wonder. In essence, Twitter needs it’s “missing manual”.