Happy Pakistan Day

Pakistan Day, 23rd March 1940. The day when this amazing country’s freedom movement was formally started by passing the Lahore resolution. On this day, I pray that may this country prosper and progress and God bestows this land with peace and harmony.

I also appeal my fellow bloggers and every other individual that continue to post content online, that please do celebrate this important day with the same zeal and festivity that we do for the other non-national days ( take an example of Valentine’s day? ). 🙂

All my Pakistani brothers, please work hard in whatever capacity you work and wherever you are in the world. Each small achievement by any Pakistani does count towards the progress of the country.

For my foreign readers, Pakistan is a magical country not only in terms of its natural resources, geography, its history or its politics, but also in terms of its loving and talented people.

I love my country, Pakistan.

Pakistan Zindabad! (Long live Pakistan!)

My Facebook profile has Google PR 3

This is quite interesting to notice that my Facebook profile found at http://www.facebook.com/basit.ali has PR 3 out of 10 in Google’s books. I’ve always been curious about Google’s behavior and this one is one of the interesting things that I’ve found so far.

This means that for Google, my Facebook profile is as important as greenwhite.org or my friend Imran’s blog ? Any comments?

Apache Tomcat turns ten years old

I don’nt know if it is of any interest to most of my readers but all the Java lovers must have this of significant interest to them. Right from the early days of Servlets and JSPs, I’ve been using Tomcat as my preferred server. This image on Tomcat site draws my attention today. Apache tomcat has turned ten years old 🙂

Long live Tomcat, lol !

Facebook Pages can access all your posts

Are you a Fan of something on Facebook?
Facebook privacy policy has been creating some stir out on the web already. Like every Facebook user, I have been trying to be careful when posting things on the Facebook. Moreover, I have created friend groups. As I have pre-defined access levels assigned for each of these groups, all I have to do is to add all my friends to the appropriate groups. Moreover, I make sure I do add new friends to a group too. In this way, everyone has an appropriate access level in my friend’s list.

Pages are your friends and they have all the access
I was shocked recently when I figured out that all the pages I am a Fan of, are showing up in my friend’s list. Wow, what is that supposed to mean? Well, anything that is posted on those pages are posted on my profile and everything I post on Facebook will also appear on that page’s feed too. So if you think posting your family photos is safe because you know who has access to that post, you are mistaken. The photos will actually get posted onto the Page you are a fan of. Facebook does give you an option of adding a newly added friend to a group, but ironically when you Fan a page, there’s obviously no reason of adding the page to a group. Hence all your posts are visible to the Page you are a fan of.

How to fix that? From your Facebook home page click on Account -> Edit Friends . You will see the list of your friends. You will be surprised to see that the pages you became Fan of, are showing up as your friends. You can either click the small cross next to the name to remove yourself from being the Fan of that page, or you can add this Page to one of your Friend’s Group to give similar access level.

Now it adds one more step for me, if I become a fan of a page, I should go set its privacy setting too to make sure my content dont openly get posted to these pages.

Everything you post is visible to everyone in  your Networks
Then you have Networks that you have joined. Your college, school, locality, city networks and so on. By default, your posts and content are public to these groups as well. That means, everyone from your old school whose group you joined, can view your content. Crazy, is’nt it? Make sure you revoke this access from Account->Privacy Settings-> select each of your online item and set its access level. Yeah, I know its tedious but that’s how Facebook wants it. They want it all to be public.

Posting and Privacy Guidelines
In general, one should follow these guidelines to ensure you are not compromising your privacy:

  1. Don’t post anything online that you think should not be posted in public.
  2. If you post something online thinking it is appropriate for now, think if it will be appropriate to stay online in the future? If not, just don’t post.
  3. And then what you post online, make sure you have absolutely clear privacy settings defined. This is tricky because you’ll have to be as efficient as a watch dog to keep updating them for every new user joining your network and things even get worse with every update of the privacy policy of social networks.

Happy social networking. Keep your private content private!


Google Earth on your Mobile

Do you love Google Earth? Now it is available on your android mobile phone as well. Google earth has already been available on iPhone but obviously for a Google powered android phone, it’s a must have product.
I was happy to find out that Google earth is avaiable on Android phones. I immediately pulled out my android phone and tried to install it but figured it out that its not going to work on my phone. Then I dug further to figure out that the software is available for only iPhone and Nexus one and it will be available soon for Droid.

To download Google Earth on your mobile go to http://m.google.com/earth from your mobile.

Send Free Text Worldwide. Free SMS for life

This sounds too good to be true but things are moving in that direction. To promote the use of text messages on cell phones in my country, I remember cell phone operators were giving free SMS to subscriber around a decade ago. Once they started using it, it has never been free.

Today I will tell you a very simple method of sending free text messages to any phone, anywhere in the world. There’s no restriction how many messages you send but I recommend you use this service wisely and don’t lose the duck that lays golden eggs.

This is not going be surprise for some that this free world-wide sms service is being given by nobody else but Google. Free text messages is one of the feature of Google Voice that has not been talked about much. If you succeed in getting a Google Voice account, you can send out international text to your friends and family. Following are the steps that allow you to send free SMS to any number in the world.

Free SMS for Life

Step 1: Google Voice is still invite only. Goto http://www.google.com/voice and request an invite.
Step 2: You will have to wait for some time till you get the invite email, but it’s worth the wait. Once you have the invite email, sign-up for the service immediately. 🙂
Step 3: Log-on to the service and send free SMS. This apparently is your free outgoing text message account for life.

If you are outside US or Canada
Google Voice is available for US and Canada users only for now. If you are living outside US/Canada, you can read this tutorial to figure out how you can sign-up for Google Voice outside US/Canada.

One water bottle can power your whole house

Remember electrolysis from the chemistry class? Yes, the process of separating oxygen and hydrogen by decomposing water. Dan Nocera, an M.I.T chemist claims that he has found a way of using sun-light to perform a photosynthesis like process to generate energy. Nocera’s method will use carbon-dioxide, water and sunlight to convert it into oxygen and energy. The amount of energy generated from one bottle of drinking water is expected to power a whole house.

Watch this video uploaded by US department of energy and hear Dan Nocera himself expliaining this process:

If things actually start working this way, the day is not far when every house will generate its own power and the concept of power grids will be found in the books of history only.


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Google Gesture does not work on my Android phone

If you’ve been reading about Google Gesture, the new hand-writing based search mechanism on android phones and have not been able to find it to download, there is nothing to worry about. If  you have any OS version that is lower than 2.0, the app will neither install nor will show up in your Android market. Similarly, if you are outside US, the app is expected not to work.

So if I use the QR code on my good old G1 with an older OS, the QR code and URL is recognized but no download is available for my phone. Time to buy a new android phone?

This fact is also confirmed on the discussion groups here on Google Gesture’s own discussion forums. 

If you have a device with 2.0 OS and you are in US, you can download the software from http://gesturesearch.googlelabs.com/download.html .

Google search has 4 out of 5 senses if you are on Android

You can touch, you can see, you can hear when you are searching Google on Android phones. Human beings are said to have 5 senses including touch, see, hear, smell and taste and then some of them have a sixth sense too.

Android phones can search based on what they see through their camera, what they hear from their microphone and what do they feel when the user touches them on the touchscreen. To see all these three in action, grab a Google Android phone and start using Google Search for mobile on that.

I’ve already discussed how Google search responds to the two senses i.e “hear” and “see” in my earlier article “Google gives eyes and ears to mobile“. Today I will also mention the sense of touch. All android touchscreens are quite brilliant and here is an application that gives the sense of touch to the android phones.

Google Gestures allows you to search using the written gestures. The app comes from Google labs and is available for Google Android platform only. Here is the official announcement of the availability of the Google Gestures and you can download the application from to Google market or here from the Google Labs page.

You must be wondering, if touch, see and hear are the three senses, where is the 4th sense that Google has given to its search on Android phones? Well, every search that happens has a background knowledge of you and your location. GPS in the phone tells your location and your search trend and surfing history tells about your interests and eventually this helps refining the search to a big extent. I take that as the 4th sense of Google search on android phones 🙂