Too much info on Facebook is why it is no longer Cool!

Humans speak or portray their ideas best when they say it anonymously. This is a fact that remains at the epicenter of conversation and critique. This is why most meaningful and trusted polls and gallops are annonymous. Expression is most pronounced and accurate when you do not have the fear of subsequent rebuttals. This is when most speak their hearts out.

Facebook was great. It was the “in thing” that every one used to talk about. It has however gradually turned into a monster where all your personal information resides and all your friends and family also reside. This is the kind of place you do not want to be in. This is the kind of place that you used to take a hike from.

As a result, a majority is now stuck somewhere between being politically right and being right. Facebook is generating patients of multiple personality disorder far more than we will ever be able to cure.

Facebook has little to sell now. It has every bit of information it needs about you and this is the information any company will spend millions to get their hands on. However, the same predicament exists here – this is not the room you want to get exposed in. Simple.

Moreover, this is exactly the reason why Google+ is turning out to be such a huge disappointment for Google.

“Abundance of personal data bars its use with other non-personal services.”

Some reports suggest, and Facebook denies, that teenagers are no longer interested in Facebook because their parents are also on Facebook stalking them. Stalking or not, they are there and the kids don’t like it.

It is no wonder then, that services such as Instagram and Snapchat have gathered so much crowd at their servers. They act as a get away from home, a get away from Facebook.

Which “cloud” storage is right for you?

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The question is no longer “if” but “which” cloud storage is right for you.

Not very long ago I had a bunch of USB drives. I used them to keep backup, transfer information from one device to another and in some instances for storing an operating system. USB was a great thing that offered freedom from desktop. You could have your data in your pocket all the time. At the time the internet was not very common or not high-speed enough.

Things have changed now though. High-speed internet is no longer a luxury with average download speeds peaking at 45Mbps in Korea. Koreans are the first adopters for most of the technological advancements. In the USA, higher and higher internet speeds are available at much lower costs compared to few years ago.

As bandwidth increases more and more services pop up to make use of it. One such service is cloud storage. The term “Cloud” is indeed broad and encompasses a wide range of services from computing to infrastructure and virtualization of both but for a non-techy user the storage part is often the only interface to the cloud hence the preamble about USB drives. Since, for most of us, USB was a revolution in itself the Cloud has potentially taken over and for all the good reasons.

Cloud offers the benefits of portable storage and much more. It is ubiquitous and highly available. The distinction is so significant that moving towards the cloud seems like the only obvious choice.

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Therefore, for the benefit of all, the cloud storage providers offer free hook-on-to-us services. DropBox can be considered a defacto pioneer in cloud storage services and has been thus far the best on the market for easy storage and retrieval. Coupled with efficient clients for Mac, PC, Linux, Android and iPhone, DropBox offers so-far the best all-round service. The DropBox leadership is due to its simplicity – it just works. The drawback however is that it offers only 2GB free storage which can be increased to 18GB with referrals.

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Other services such as SkyDrive, Drive, iCloud are backed by behemoths like Microsoft, Google and Apple respectively. Given the rivalry among the three, it is understandable that either these services often face issues on a competitor OS or are completely absent. This never-the-less is one of the biggest reasons why they could not compete DropBox despite offering considerably large free storage space.

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A new comer, and a rather good one, is Mega. The service is hosted in New Zealand and offers encrypted 50GB of free storage. There is an Android app but Mac and PC clients are still in the factory. The web client is THE best of all. It beats DropBox by miles in both storage space and the web app. Whether the Mac and PC clients (to be released soon according to their website) are also as good as DropBox remains to be seen but the encryption is an added benefit.

Will you miss Windows when you shift to a Mac?

I must admit that my review of the differences between the two OS’s is just going to fit somewhere in the wall that separates the Mac and PC worlds, if at all. Nonetheless, I would like to offer my view for those of you who are probably thinking about making the move. Some of you are on the verge of buying a Mac and others have just spotted one with a friend and thought it is “kool”. Well, here are some of my thoughts and why you should or should not go for a Mac if you have been an avid PC user all your life.

The obvious first step would be to ask yourself, “why do I want to shift to a Mac?”. Seriously, this is the first and the most important questions. If your answer is that you want to look cool, then you should get a Mac. Macs are pretty, agreed, but they are expensive too. Therefore, your decision must be based on need unless you have just over a thousand dollars to spare.

Do your research and see for yourself if the OS offers the features that you are looking for. It may not be for you!  Moreover, more software are avialable for PCs rather than Macs. Even universities that offer productivity softwares free for PC, don’t offer the Mac version for free.

Would you want to buy a $119 MS Office that you could otherwise get for free from your university? This alone will take the price of your computer from $1199 + tax to just shy of $1400. I have not found anything else that you would immediately need after you shift as much as MS Office. You do have alternatives though, the best being Open Office from OpenOffice.org and it does a pretty decent job only if you do not need compatibility with MS Office.

Another surprising thing about shifting to a Mac in this day and age is that Windows has really come a long way, and you will miss Windows for few of the most basic things that you hardly ever noticed in a Windows system before. Win 7 has improved a lot from its predecessors and it is comparable to the Mac OS X Lion in many aspects. I completely disagree with those who say that OS X is a superior OS.

Win 7 is stable and does not require restarts that often either. I do sometimes see a message stating that Win 7 has re-started due to some error but that happens once in 6 months, may be less. Also, I haven’t seen a BSD (blue screen of death) on my Win 7 system for almost a year now.

In terms of hardware, the new Macs do get hot even with minimal load. I could never fill the 4GB RAM on my PC, but OS X did show the rainbow circle few times with low load. You will find the same fan noise intensity that you would find on a PCs fan. Also, the uni body, with all its hype is something that you pay for, bring home, keep protecting, and then sell. You will hardly ever enjoy the beauty of the thing since it is so fragile. But it does look good, infact better than any PC laptop out there.

My point is, that if you are buying a Mac thinking that it will give you something more than Win 7 than it is not true. If you think that OS X is superior, that is also not true. What is true however is that the trackpad that you find on Mac is far far superior than any trackpad found on any of the windows machines but that alone, does not justify spending $400 extra, in my opinion.

Award winning customer service

All companies these days boast about having award winning customer service (CS).  AT&T, T-mobile, Apple, Sony, HP, everyone! I guess two of the companies that do not beat half as much the drum as others are Sony and HP. I, like many of you, have had experience with all.

Call AT&T and you will be greeted with a beautiful voice telling about the “award-winning” AT&T CS. Then wait for a couple of minutes before someone on the other end answers your phone and tells you that you can only be helped by the other person who also tells you the same thing. 20 minutes and a lot of frustration later you will hang up the phone and will start wondering who can help.

This attitude however, is not unique to AT&T. All large corporations, like Apple and T-mobile, are the same. T-mobile for instance will accept money from you no matter how you want to pay but when it has to pay you back it will send you a check (the only mode of pay back) and if you want to talk to someone about it, you need to write a letter. Yes, snail mail. Tough luck there!

Apple makes great products but its “care” comes at a price. Otherwise Apple does not give a …. You know what I mean!

On the contrary, Sony and HP both have great customer service departments but you would not hear them boasting all the time. Sony makes great laptops and HP does not but both these companies really take care of their customers.

All this makes you wonder, who certifies these awards? Who gave AT&T an award on their customer service. I mean you only have to call AT&T once to see how they throw you from one person to another, still they got this award.

I guess I have broken the code here. Award winning customer service actually means, win an award if you manage to get any customer service out of a company. And in today’s market, awards are like money in a highly inflated economy. Everyone has some but it is useless.

Windows 8 Consumer P/review

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Hello everyone! Welcome to my first Blog. Well technically it is the second blog. The first one just says “Stop it!”. Anyways, we all know that Windows 8 is due to be released, according to some rumors, by the end of this year and it looks like with the release of the latest version, all Windows users will enter into a whole new experience, that Windows 8 is all about. The touch experience!

Installation is pretty easy. Do you guys remember the time when it was almost impossible to install a copy of Windows in one go? Sometimes the process required taking out RAM and putting it back in (routine for clearing RAM, as it was called). I have also had the privilege of meeting my AMD Athlon processor once when Windows 98 would not install, but let’s keep that story for another day. We are in an era of wonderful technological advancements and Windows is as easy to install as it gets. The only natural evolution would be installing it online and I am sure Microsoft is on it. Apple has already started doing that with OS X Lion.

The first thing that you will notice is that the lock screen now looks like a locked screen on any random tablet. Actually, you do not have to go in to see the change in the OS. In my opinion, the lock screen tells everything about Windows’s new direction. It is no longer a PC desktop/laptop OS. It is a unified operating system that can be installed on practically any compatible (hardware wise) device. This includes tablets, touch screen all-in-one computers, and of course laptops and desktops. This indeed is a paradigm shift from Microsoft’s end and was confirmed in the Windows 8 Consumer Preview keynote two days ago.

Microsoft is one of those companies that sees the market and changes it’s strategy and of course it turns out to be good for them and the industry. Compare this to Apple that arguably drives where the industry goes. Therefore, it looks like Microsoft has seen the potential in tablets and has played a safe game. It can never make sense to get rid of the desktop therefore, now, the “desktop” is just another app on Windows 8 except that it is as fully functional as it has been.

Once you enter the OS you are greeted by a tiled interface (called the Metro Interface) that is not new. This is the same interface that Windows Phone 7 boasts but the apps are tailored for the bigger screen. It must be noted that there are not many apps right now. Even the basic most frequently used apps do not work as apps. Although, every app (formerly known as application) that works on Windows 7 does work on Windows 8 but not all work independently from the Metro Interface. These apps open inside the desktop app in a very backward compatible way. This also makes the whole new experience kind of “old”.

It is a beta testing version so not much can be conclusively said about functionality in the apps but there is a learning curve to it. Even hard-core Windows users will find it difficult to get around initially. But as you use it, it grows on you. One thing that you will notice however is that the interface is very fluid and responsive. Apps are connected and can talk with each other, mostly. I am sure it will get better with time. The OS with some apps open uses about 2GB of RAM on average which is amazing keeping in mind the Windows tradition of increasing RAM requirements with each new OS. I think this has a lot to do with the fact that Windows 8 targets not only desktops and laptops with more resources but tablets as well that may not have enough. This is a very welcome change and I hope it continues in the future.

I do want to talk about the Mail app though. It is good and that is about it. I am assuming that it is a beta version and that is why it is missing many key features but the way it looks and works is superb. I miss Outlook 2010 at this point primarily because of lack of basic features in the mail app but I can always install Outlook on the desktop app. Nothing much to say about the store though. Microsoft has got the idea and has implemented it pretty well.

To sum it up, I think Windows 8 will prove to be a winner both in tablet and in desktop/laptop category. It has a long way to go but the start looks like a million steps already.

Lamar Wilson – The Funniest Tech Reporter Ever

Talking about technology is difficult, in fact it is so difficult that some famous tech-talkers (famous famous) absolutely don’t get it. We all agree that it is an art. In the midst of many unworthy tech-talkers is one who is loved by many and I admire him for doing what he does. He makes tech-talk fun and in doing that, he very effectively makes his point. Unique gestures are impactful.

Yes, I am talking about Lamar Wilson (wilsontech1 on YouTube). I wanted to write a small blog for him in the early days of my blogging and here it is, the second blog is dedicated to the # 1 tech-talker, Lamar Wilson. You rock!