Asam Bangia's Blog

i think there 4 i am ….

Your life is an open book if you use Facebook

Facebook has drawn flak from consumer groups for not taking user privacy seriously enough.

As the world’s most popular social networking site, Facebook has more data on us than any other private company, and a lot more than most governments.

So it can be both disconcerting and dangerous when the website — whether as a matter of policy or by mistake — lets out a lot more information than we would like.

Unfortunately for Facebook and its users, that’s happening all too frequently. As the magazine PC World so succinctly put it after the last debacle: “Another day, another Facebook security snafu.” The latest glitch was revealed on Wednesday when Facebook said it had fixed a security bug that allowed user’s to snoop on their friends’ private chats and view the pending friend requests by others.

In March, a bug exposed the private emails of many users and limited their ability to hide other contact information.

In December, Facebook changed its privacy settings, sparking a new Facebook protest group that now boasts more than 2.2 million members.

The new settings automatically share members’ information, unless they take specific steps to opt out of the info giveaway. That meant that your name, profile picture, gender, current city, networks, Friends List and all the pages you subscribe to were made publicly available and searchable for anyone on the web to see.

Prior to that there was Beacon, a Facebook information system that mined data from member profiles to send them targeted ads and displayed users visits to external sites on their Facebook stream.

Though a mass public outcry prompted Facebook to quickly abandon that idea, its newly-announced OpenGraph initiative is proving just as controversial.

Given that the aim of OpenGraph is to accompany Facebook members on their travels to every corner of the web, the problem could get much more serious.

The OpenGraph initiative allows websites to adopt the Facebook Connect sign-in system so that users activities on other sites are shared with all their Facebook friends.

Some aspects of the idea sound good in theory, because they will make the web more personal. But it also means that you could unwittingly expose your web activities to your wife, employer or anyone of the hundreds of people who might be “friends” on Facebook but who in reality are just as likely to be mere acquaintances, work colleagues or rivals.

That possibility scares privacy advocates. The Electronic Privacy Information Centre, an advocacy group, filed a complaint on Wednesday with the Federal Trade Commission.

“Facebook continues to manipulate the privacy settings of users and its own privacy policy so that it can take personal information provided by users for a limited purpose and make it widely available for commercial purposes,” Marc Rotenberg, the group’s executive director, said in a letter to the commission.

Facebook, which overtook MySpace as the platform of choice largely because of the control it gave users of their profiles, insists that it is fully focused on its members’ privacy needs.

The study of 2,000 online  households found that two-thirds of them used Facebook or MySpace. Of those, 52 per cent of them posted personal information that could pose a threat to them and their families, the report found.


May 8, 2010 Posted by | My Intrests | , | Leave a comment

To blog or not to blog?

There was once a time when random ranting; stories of crushes, broken hearts, workplace woe lists and happy moments were treasured between the wraps of a diary and locked away in secrecy, lest prying eyes intervene. However with a shrinking globe, the life of the common man has become an open book to read, laugh at and comment on. Blogs started out essentially as online journals where users kept a running account of their personal lives. However, they have now become more than just a medium to communicate and connect with the world. They have become instant portals for bloggers to capture a moment in time and reflect on life. With blogging steadily gaining popularity and with several bloggers garnering extensive followings, discussions on social issues and world events soon became a part of mainstream blogging.

Blurring boundaries

Blogging over time has become a fashion statement. It has become a medium for celebrities to market themselves as it allows fans across the globe to have an almost real time interaction with stars. With celebrities picking up stands on controversial issues and sparking the famed blog-wars, the essence of blogging has started disintegrating.

Blogging has had its share of controversies, with bloggers being sued by employers for disclosing trade secrets. There were also defamation cases being filed by ex-lovers  for the bloggers’ open discussions about their love lives and bitter experiences. Blogging has had unforeseen consequences in politically sensitive areas as blogs are much harder to control than broadcast or even print medium. Personal blogs have become an issue of the freedom of expression versus the blogger’s scant regard to protect their employer’s rights or the anonymity of their real-life associates.

The line dividing mass media has started blurring, with blogs gaining increasing notice and coverage for their role in breaking, shaping, and spinning exaggerated news stories. (For the first time in the history of modern journalism, the financial and political mess in the BCCI/IPL. – Lalit Modi, Shashi tharoor , Sunanda Pushkar, Poorna Patel, Praful Patel … all their relations are being analyzed in depth in the bidding process of new IPL  Franchises  ( Kochi) by the common man!) Bloggers sensationalise news items commenting on them with a sentimental point of view with scant regard for the accuracy of detail. This in the long run, will have detrimental views, for blogs have a greater say in shaping public opinion than any other medium currently available.

Blogging has elicited mixed feelings. On the one hand blog addicts glorify it as an instant connection with the world while most others have started feeling ‘too connected’ as they have to grapple with check in messages, posts and tweets at odd hours. Bloggers need to see the absurdity of giving blow-by-blow accounts of their monotonous and routine life.


The growth of such ambient intimacy is making blogging more a form of modern narcissism taken to a new extreme – the ultimate expression of a generation of youth who believe that their every utterance is fascinating and ought to be shared with the world.

Life has become a Blog  &  Blogs have become our Lives 🙂

April 25, 2010 Posted by | My Attitude | , | Leave a comment

Next, a Kin: Microsoft to try new consumer phones

The new KIN 1 is seen at a Microsoft news conference in San Francisco, on Monday.

Share this BLOG

The new KIN 1 is seen at a Microsoft news conference in San Francisco

Microsoft Corp. unveiled two cell phones on Monday that are meant for social networking-savvy teens and twenty-somethings, in an attempt to revitalize its mobile business and regain ground on iPhones and BlackBerrys.

Microsoft said its new touch-screen phones – a short, square-shaped handset called Kin One and a longer, more rectangular one called Kin Two – will be sold exclusively in the U.S. by Verizon Wireless. They are being made by Sharp Corp., which has produced Sidekick cell phones, whose software comes from Microsoft-owned Danger Inc.

In the past, Microsoft has mostly sold its mobile software to other companies to put it on phones they make. This will be the case with its recently announced Windows Phone 7 Series software, which is expected to be on handsets by the holidays. The Kin phones mark a departure, as Microsoft has sway over the creation of their software and hardware.

Verizon said it will start selling the Kin phones online in early May and in stores shortly thereafter. In the fall, carrier Vodafone Group PLC – which owns Verizon Wireless in partnership with Verizon Communications Inc. – will start selling the Kin phones in Italy, Spain, Germany and the U.K. Microsoft has not yet announced prices.

Microsoft needs help in the cell phone market. Its software has been losing share while Apple Inc. and Google Inc., which makes the Android operating software, have gained. Microsoft software ran on 13.1 percent of smart phones sold in the U.S. last year, according to research firm In-Stat. That put Microsoft in third after BlackBerry maker Research In Motion Ltd. and Apple.

Roz Ho, leader of the Microsoft team behind the Kin, said the company has been working on the Kin devices for several years, trying to create a handset for people who especially want to connect with others over social Web sites such as Facebook. The phones are also meant for people who want a handset that works simply, without forcing them to hunt through menus and icons, she said.

That setup could also present a risk. Unlike most popular smart phones, the Kins won’t have access to application stores that let customers download add-on software programs. Ho said her team studied consumer habits and then built the activities they used most often into the Kin phones.

For instance, in a demo for The Associated Press, the Kin’s home screen showed a live stream of updates to social networks and Web sites that can be clicked on and responded to. Users can send photos and other material to people by dragging it onto a little circle at the bottom of the screen. A finger swipe across the screen can then bring up a page with applications such as photos and music.

The music player will be based on Microsoft’s Zune software, which also will be incorporated into the Windows Phone 7 handsets that multiple manufacturers will be able to use. That software was announced first, at the Mobile World Congress trade show in Barcelona, Spain, in February, but will hit the market later. Microsoft and Verizon said they don’t think consumers will get confused.

The Kin handsets will not be obviously branded as Microsoft products. They will sport a sizable “Kin” logo on the back and, in smaller type, an indication that they are Windows phones from Verizon and Sharp.

Gartner Inc. analyst Ken Dulaney doesn’t think the lack of a dedicated application store will hurt the Kins’ chances. Instead he’ll be watching how Verizon prices the devices and accompanying data plans. He’s hoping to see the Kins cost $49 or be given free with a Verizon contract.

“By pricing it properly, they can give themselves some room to grow and differentiate themselves from Apple. If they put themselves in the same ballpark, I think they’re going to get hurt,” he said.

Both Kins are black with screens that respond to multiple finger gestures, similar to the “multitouch” technology on the iPhone. The shorter Kin One has a full QWERTY keyboard that slides out from the bottom, while the Kin Two has a full QWERTY keyboard that comes out from its side.

Both include Wi-Fi access and cameras capable of taking higher-resolution photos than most handsets: The Kin One will include a 5-megapixel camera, while the Kin Two will have an 8-megapixel camera. The Kin Two will also be capable of shooting HD-quality video.

Neither has a memory card slot; instead, the phones will upload content such as photos and videos to a Kin online storage service to free up memory.

Microsoft already does something similar with the Sidekick phones – it stores phone numbers, photos and other personal data on servers it runs. This resulted in an embarrassing incident late last year, when a server meltdown caused data to disappear from some users’ phones. T-Mobile temporarily stopped selling the phones, and some customers even sued.

Microsoft managed to restore most of the missing data, and gave $100 gift cards to affected customers.

The Kins’ arrival doesn’t signal the end for the Sidekick. T-Mobile, which owns the brand, said it will introduce new hardware and software and consumers should look for updates “in the months ahead.” But those new units will not use Danger’s software.

Share this BLOG

April 20, 2010 Posted by | My Gadgets | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Facebook told to add ‘panic button’

Share this BLOG
Facebook has said it would install links to child protection organisations on its reporting pages.

Facebook has been asked to add to its pages a child safety “panic button” that will guide users how to handle cyberbullying and inappropriate behaviour.

Officials of the social networking site, which has been criticised for defying calls to add a specialist link to every page, were asked by child safety groups to “turn words into action” during a meeting in Washington.

Jim Gamble, director of Britain’s Child Exploitation and Online Protection (Ceop), who wants such a link on every page of the website, said the matter was urgent after the murder of a teenager by a man she met on the site.

Speaking after the meeting, Gamble said Facebook was “one small step from doing the right thing” but had not agreed to his demands outright.

“What I am pleased about is there is a commitment from them to improve what they provide to UK policing,” he was quoted as saying by the BBC.

“There is no doubt they are looking to improve their position around child safety and we recognise that. What I am looking for is turning words into action.

“In our view they are experts at creating a fantastic online environment but they are not experts in law enforcement, the power of deterrents and the reassurance it brings for mums and dads.”

According to the report, chief constables from across England and Wales, including Scotland Yard Commissioner Sir Paul Stephenson, have signed a letter supporting the addition of the extra safety feature on every pages of Facebook.

Meanwhile, Facebook, which had previously said it would not install a “panic button” on its main pages for users to report suspected paedophiles, has not agreed for it, but said it would install links to organisations including Ceop on its reporting pages.

But Gamble said he could not understand why Facebook would not agree to adopt the button on every page as it was a free way to “help save some children“.

The “panic button” in question is already used by other websites, including Bebo. Clicking on it takes people to a site that details how to handle cyberbullying, hacking, viruses, distressing material and inappropriate sexual behaviour.

Share this BLOG

April 17, 2010 Posted by | My Intrests | , , , , | Leave a comment

Twitter users hit 75 million

A file photo of Biz Stone, co-founder and Creative Director of Twitter.

APA file photo of Biz Stone, co-founder and Creative Director of Twitter.

The micro-blogging site Twitter is rapidly growing in the popularity chart, if the humongous rise in the number of registered accounts is any indication – a staggering 1,500-plus per cent growth last year.

“In the course of a year, the numbers of registered Twitter accounts have grown more than 1,500 per cent,” Twitter co-founder Biz Stone said in a statement here. He further said the number of his staff also rose significantly to 140 during the reporting year.

A study by online analysis software company RJMetrics said the number of Twitter users reached an estimated 75 million by the end of 2009.

Twitter has gone up on the popularity charts with a number of celebrities, including pop star Britney Spears. The U.S. daily The New York Times started using this service, while tens of thousands use it for dissemination of information.

The most notable twitter face in the country is the Minister of State for External Affairs Shashi Tharoor, whose ‘flying cattle-class’ comment following the government’s austerity drive last year created a controversy. Many actors are also regulars on this platform now.

Twitter offers micro-blogging which allows users to send short text messages, among others, on various multimedia platforms.

March 4, 2010 Posted by | My Intrests | , , | Leave a comment

Yahoo Taps Into Twitter

  • By: Geoff Duncan
  • February 24, 2010
  • Yahoo has inked a deal with Twitter to get a real-time feed of every public tweet…and plans to integrate Twitter’s content across its global network of sites.

    Yahoo and Twitter have announced a new global deal that has Yahoo tapping into the Twitter “firehose”—a real-time feed of every public tweet created by Twitter users around the world, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. Yahoo plans to integrate Twitter’s real-time content and “social experience” across its global Web properties, exposing Twitter—and its tweets!—to the more than 600 million people who make Yahoo’s sites and services part of their online lives.

    Financial terms of the arrangement were not disclosed.

    “Let me try to capture the enormity of this integration in 140 characters or less: We’re turning the key to the online social universe—you will find the most personally relevant experiences through Yahoo,” said Yahoo consumer products group senior VP Bryan Lamkin, in a statement. “We’re also simplifying people’s lives by bringing their social worlds—and the world—together for easy access.”

    The integration between Yahoo and Twitter means that Twitter users will be able to tap into their personal Twitter feeds within Yahoo’s diverse online sites and properties—this will include not only the Yahoo home page and Yahoo Mail, but services like Yahoo Sports and potentially Yahoo News; users will also be able to post tweets of their own and share content from Yahoo in their tweets. Finally, general interest sites like Yahoo Search, Yahoo News, and entertainment, finance, and sports sites will present real-time public Twitter updates on a variety of subjects, all updated in real time. Yahoo’s integration with search is up and running right now; other Twitter-driven features are expected to launch on Yahoo later this year.

    The deal is intended to put Yahoo’s content and services more at the center of Internet users’ social Web lives; of course, having access to users’ Twitter streams and being able to look at followers, trends, and activity also means Yahoo will likely be able to take a closer look at the online lives of folks who sign into both Yahoo and Twitter…and that kind of information is a gold mine to advertisers.

    February 24, 2010 Posted by | My Intrests | , , | Leave a comment