We live a large part of our lives online these days. The services that we use carry sensitive and personal, data on their servers - data, which, if lost or compromised, can cause us a whole lot of worry.
We use passwords to protect that data. Many users have had their data compromised due to weak passwords and then have a hard time getting their lives back on track. I have seen many of my friends & family suffering such data compromises and the resulting embarrassment and even financial loss.
Experts reiterate a three-point security rule to ensure that loss due to a single compromised password is minimized:
- Have a unique password for every website - i.e. use a different password for every online account
- Make your passwords a combination of random alphabets, digits and special characters
- Don't write down or share your passwords with anyone
Those rules are all good and truly help us stay safe. However, users still choose weak passwords, reuse passwords across sites or keep a written record of their passwords in some diary or piece of paper somewhere. Why?
The reason obviously is that those rules are to too damn hard to live by. I was personally guilty of reusing passwords across sites; that was before I started using Password Safe.
Until recently I have been periodically taking manual backups of the content on my website. However given that life has been extremely busy in recent times, I have often missed my backup schedule. That I had to login onto my CPanel to take the backups, then manually download them - all time consuming activities - did not help. I kept deferring my backups reasoning to myself that I hadn't made any recent updates in any case.
One day however, I found that some comments that had been left on my blogs were missing. I tried to investigate but couldn't figure out what had happened. I then encountered some missing files - again without explanation. Then my website just rolled over and died! Every time I got unsatisfactory explanations from my webhost: a planned server migraton had been cancelled; they had performed some security updates at the server level; etc. All the time they assured me that my content should be intact - well, I felt different.
That was when I decided that an Automated Backup solution was a necessity. I needed something that had minimal necessity of manual intervention.
Back in 1991, on my 9th grade school trip, we had an incentive to look forward to. We were all going to be allowed access to some money to buy stuff of our choice from the shops during one of our breaks. For a 14 year old who did not normally get access to cash, this was a big deal. That opportunity - to handle cash, bargain with shopkeepers and buy stuff of our choice - was something that each one of the about 100 students in my batch looked forward to.
As it so happened, some of the boys in our group decided to step out of line and as a method of disciplining them, the teachers accompanying us decided to withhold that shopping privilege from them. Not to be out-done, they soon got in touch with their friends with requests to buy stuff on their behalf. I too got one such request from one such defaulter. Hoping to be of some help to my friend, I agreed.
Ever since Google came up with their latest challenge to Facebook in the form of Google+, there has been quite a lot of buzz about this new Social Networking platform.
Having been a person who wasn't too kind to Facebook, Google+ had the two qualities that made me decide to try it out:
- An ability to control your data; Google call this Data Liberation
- An ability to control what you share and with whom; Google call this Circles
Google's Circles feature has generated a lot of buzz as well as confusion. While Google has started off each one of us with a few suggestions for the circles we can organize our contacts into, I have seen numerous other websites also providing their own insights.
I thought, why not share my own insights as well! So here goes…
I have been asked many times by many people: "What is root and what is the advantage of having it on my phone?". I could reply by the standard answer that we so often come across on Android forums, that if you don't know what root is you probably don't need it. However, I personally find that response a bit offending — how is anyone supposed to learn new things if everyone who knows is unwilling to clearly explain?
Though I don't claim to be an expert, but my experiences in the past year with Android has taught me enough to understand what the pros and cons are with rooting an Android device.
Here, I explain the few points that you may want to consider before you decide to root your Android phone.
As we drove through the Bandipur Forest in the safari jeep, the mood was getting increasingly desperate. We hadn't sighted a thing! On the safari the previous day, a lady in the seat behind me had been yapping off as though there was going to be no tomorrow and whatever chances we had had of sighting any wildlife, diminished with her high-pitch, high-volume voice regularly piercing through the forest. We pinned our exasperation on her and requested a more private safari for our next day.
Today we were on our own and yet, things had gone from bad to worse. Even with the lady's continuous commentary, we had managed to see a family of elephants yesterday. Today we hadn't even seen a langur! It was like the light rain had driven every animal into some secret hiding spot deep within the jungle.
At each fork on our trail through the forest, with each turn we took, I found myself wondering "Are we taking the wrong turn? What if there is an animal just beyond the line-of-sight on the path we aren't taking?" Turn after turn we saw only wet trees and muddy puddles.
After having fruitlessly driven through the forest for more than an hour and a half we had all but given up hope of seeing any wildlife. It was then that our luck changed.
This post is more a user's rant than an expert opinion. I have used Android for just about an year now and have wondered why certain things were the way they were. Having moved to Android from Windows Mobile 6.0, the first thing that struck me as odd was the lack of flexibility for the users to install their applications into the SD Card. That meant that the users were confined to whatever Internal Storage was available on their phones and more often than not that was very limited.
As soon as I bought my first Android phone, I started fishing around for a solution to this problem and found it in Apps2SD+ (now called Legacy Apps2SD+ or, at times, Apps2EXT). However Apps2SD+ needed root access and was tricky to set up. It took every bit of my technical acumen to understand and execute the steps it entailed. It was also risky and could have easily bricked my phone!
Hence when Google released Froyo with in-built support for Apps2SD I had high expectations. The Froyo Apps2SD turned out to be a disappointment though. I believe that Google got the design of their Apps2SD solution wrong, and although I can think of a few reasons why they might have chosen the design that they did, I cannot help but think that they could have done a better job.
Recently, I got the opportunity to visit two of Karnataka's well known Wildlife destinations: first, as a birthday present to me, my wife planned a day visit to the Dubare Elephant camp; second, we decided to take a break from the work schedules and head off to the Nagarahole Wildlife Reserve.
Both outings were planned spontaneously via Jungle Lodges & Resorts (JLR) and turned out to be extremely enjoyable; we came back thoroughly refreshed and elated.
This blog post is to share our experience as well as some of the pictures I managed to click on these trips.
2010 has not been a great year for photography. Though I did get many shots, and many good ones at that, I must say that this was the year in which Photography took a backseat. I can blame it on my move back to India; an unpredictable work schedule, difficulty getting around and slow broadband connection did not help.
However, I did get my camera out of its bag time and again and got some shots. Here are the ones I consider my favorites from among the photographs I clicked in 2010. You can click on the image to go to the original gallery where the image was hosted. Feel free to provide a rating for the image in its gallery and leave a comment.
When I first started off on Twitter, Tweetdeck for Desktop was my preferred client. I found it to be extremely user friendly, feature-packed and intuitive. Once I got my HTC Desire though, I realized that the best way to use Twitter is through my mobile phone. Twitter is all about instantaneous sharing of views and opinions and my phone allowed me to do just that; it soon became my primary platform for Twitter usage and I longed for an equally feature-packed Twitter client. I longed for Tweetdeck for Android.
Though I initially used HTC Peep, the in-built Twitter client on my phone, once I discovered Seesmic for Android, there was no looking back. Seesmic had everything I was looking for and was the perfect client for me.
That is why when Tweetdeck finally got around to releasing their client for Android, I found myself in a dilemma. Should I stick with my new found loyalty to Seesmic or should I go back to Tweetdeck?
I decided to compare the two with regards to the functionality that I use most and here is what I found.