Internet & Technology, Technology & Gadgets

Remembering Tesla

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Just stumbled upon this quote from Nikoli Tesla, which accurately predicts pretty much everything we see today from live streaming to text to speech  technology.

” It will be possible for a business man in New York to dictate instructions, and have them instantly appear in type at his office in London or elsewhere. He will be able to call up, from his desk, and talk to any telephone subscriber on the globe, without any change whatever in the existing equipment. An inexpensive instrument, not bigger than a watch, will enable its bearer to hear anywhere, on sea or land, music or song, the speech of a political leader, the address of an eminent man of science, or the sermon of an eloquent clergyman, delivered in some other place, however distant. In the same manner any picture, character, drawing, or print can be transferred from one to another place …”

– Tesla, 1908.

It has taken almost a century for all of these things to actually emerge. How far ahead of the times was Tesla!

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Internet & Technology, Technology & Gadgets

Hello, Google Allo

 

screenshot_20160921-155548So I tried Google Allo for a few hours, and what I experienced was really refreshing. To sum it up, Google Allo is WhatsApp for the lazy people. Apart from features of WhatsApp such as sending texts, voice messages, videos, and emojis, here are a few extra things that this App lets you do.

Chat with @google 

Google Now was suffering with a terrible predicament. It did not have a personality as distinct as Siri or Cortana. With @google, Alphabet is trying to hedge the bets slightly in their favor. @google has a distinct personality and gives quirky replies when asked a question. On a 4G connection the responses were instantaneous.

Autocomplete on steroids

Forget about your keyboard completing the words for you, Allo completes the whole conversation. It gives extremely appropriate responses for the usual questions. For example, if you asked your friend

“Do you want to have lunch?”

They would immediately get following suggestions from Allo.

“Yes”, “No”, “Sure”

If they select “Yes”, you would immediately get following suggestion.

“What time”, and then finally they would get a suggestion

“Whenever you want”.

To put it simply, two lazy people can end up having an entire conversation without having to actually type anything. It’s still developing as often the suggestions are not to the point, or too short. However, as the usage increases, this should only improve.

Overall, Allo seems like a very friendly chat messenger app, and I would recommend it to everyone.

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Internet & Technology, Technology & Gadgets

Hipsters, Apple, and Motorola

I don’t like shaving my beard. I don’t have a very dense one anyway. I don’t like wearing clothes that make me uncomfortable, and I am routinely unwilling to look squeaky clean. I like to think my tastes in music are eclectic, and I have an unquenchable thirst for the outdoors. All qualities of a hipster, right? Yet I don’t identify as one.

It has to possibly do with the fact that unlike hipsters, I have no real craze to be eclectic just for the sake of being eclectic. I openly admit that I sometimes have some guilty pleasures such as watching mind-numbing, action films. However, one thing that separates me from hipsters is my disbelief in iPhones.

Apple and iPhones to me represent a manufactured ‘alternative’ culture, that has ironically become mainstream now. Yet it has been heralded as the epitome of uniqueness. Under this feeling, there is a notion of showing off that you are ‘different’. In my mind this screams desperate, and is an act of someone who in fact feel  insecure.

I just don’t seem to fit into this culture of being ‘alternative’ for sake of being ‘alternative’. Also, I can’t bring myself to appriciate the fleeting quality of Apple products. I find them overpriced and lacking in innovation. On the other hand, Motorola has been innovating consistently for many years now, and the recent Moto Z series has great promise. Would it mean that Hipsters will shift to Motorola next? Who knows… I don’t look forward to that day since I own a Motorola.

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Internet & Technology, Society & Culture

Aadhar, and the future of digital authentication

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The Aadhar program by Government of India has come under much criticism. However as technology develops, the real value of this program will emerge. As a matter of fact, the government has already taken initiative to talk to some of the leading technology companies. Until last year, smartphones with finger print scanner were not in fashion, and now courtesy companies like Xiomi, you can get one under 10k INR. It won’t be a stretch of imagination to think that soon this technology may become as ubiquitous as a smartphone. Here is what I think it would mean for future of digital authentication.

No need for physical verification documents 

We may no longer need to submit identity proof. Indians are very much aware how tedious it is today to do any government related activity. You need to submit five different proofs of who you are. Linking Adhar to a smartphone may finally make India completely digital.

Apps can be authenticated and access can be controlled

Once the Aadhar card is synced with the smartphone ecosystem, all the apps would know exactly who is using the app. This will improve the security of the app and allow the users another way to sign-in using their finger prints.

Payment verification 

The current issue with two step verification is the fact that it doesn’t take into account the possibility of theft of identity. With additional sync of Aadhar and fingerprint scanning technology, we can finally have a more secure method to conduct bank transactions.

Surely these benefits are going to make things easy for the consumer. However, at the same time it opens up a new avenue for hackers to completely steal identity, and security of the Aadhar database would need to be impregnable. Recent attack and theft of secret naval documents of the Indian Government, does not boost confidence enough and is something the Aadhar team will need to work at. Apart from these concerns, Aadhar verification seems like the way to go!

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We live in a strange world. It’s often too easy to forget exactly how quirky we are as a civilization, and how we must look to others. Perhaps because we feel no one is watching, but what if they are? The Transmission follows two alien agents sent with a mission to observe us, and possibly understand us.

Original series exclusively created by me for amagi.com. Follow @amagicorp for all episodes.

 

 

 

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The Transmission #1: Why we are missing signals from ET

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Internet & Technology, Technology & Gadgets

Put it on my tab, Gmail.

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I love technology. There is something beautiful about it, and only those who love it with passion can understand what I am talking about. It’s nice to spend time researching technology. Better than cloudwatching I guess. So I am spending a lot of time doing this. The joy I get when an upgrade is released for well.. anything, is greater than most things. So naturally, I have signed up on receiving the updates as soon as possible, and could often be seen formatting or upgrading my devices often. So how could I not do something about how I access my mails. 

These days, I use the applet in windows 8 to access my mails, whenever I am working on my laptop. Other times ofcourse, I have to use the web interface of the email service. Gmail has been my primary choice for many years now, and I am sure it’s the same for many others. So when they came up with these tabs, my first two reactions were : 

1) This is going to kill the emailers. 

Yes, this is beginning of the end for how we do our emailers right now. This is such a big thing because google has essentially created a section that is going to be largely ignored. It’s like creating a separate suppliment in news paper that is called ‘ads’. Yes, it’s a bit similar to classifieds, but it’s not the same. So I think most email marketing folks would not want their emails to go in this ‘open-once-in-a-blue-moon’ section of gmail. Believe me, other email services are already copying the code, and soon it will be a thing. Google has a habit of doing that to technology. So now is a good time to think of ways to avoid getting into the promotion section. 

Obviously the mass mailing softwares cannot be used to bomb a million mails easily. I haven’t had enough time to test this, but I am pretty sure that it’s how this works. Now that it’s out of question, perhaps we will move again to good old customization, and smaller groups for email, and more people managing outbound emails. ( so can I see some jobs? who knows.. maybe, unless someone finds another way.)

2) Yes! 

Of course, this is so cool as a user. I have signed up on so many websites over the years that my inbox is always getting some mail. I could try to filter it manually but well who has the time! 😛 Filtering is lame and boring anyway. I am glad gmail is doing this for me. 

So far it seems to be working well, no mails have been sorted in an unjust way. Although I am going to keep a keen eye on it for a while.I am watching you gmail, I have got my eyes on you, and I take no prisoners. 

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Internet & Technology, Society & Culture

Then & Now Part I- Chatting

So, after ages, I decided to go back to a few basics after a long time. I was horrified to find that they have changed! Given below is my episode with chatting online lately.

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I spot her, in her glorified green dot, available stauts. I am thinking hard on what to say, how do I start. Gosh this wasn’t this difficult back in the teenage. Things were pretty simple, ASL etc.. Facebook has messed up big time. Now you know everything before chatting, so there is nothing you can start with. ASL sounds cheap and stupid. and… hey !! Wait up!!

And just like that all hopes and dreams become- ‘offline’ . Where she was a second ago, is now an unmoving, unblinking grey dot.

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I am a persistent soul, and so I thought I would learn from my mistakes and this time would not waste much time, thinking about how to start topic. There was someone I thought was extremely interesting for years. So I just decided to let it all go this time. For convinience, lets call my chatting partners as ‘X’.

Me: Hi

X: hey hi!

Me: Wassup

X: brb

I was waiting impatiently, as the green dot went ‘idle’ and orange.

By the time I was too eager to shut down everything, she was back.

X: Sry, on phone.

Me: So, what do you do.

X: hey, i gotta go, t2u later.

Me: so what I was saying,

X: bye!!

and she signed out.

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Its weird how facebook has transformed, what was a nice, one on one mode of sharing thoughts, and feelings into a pretentiousness, know it all group party. Well either that, or maybe I am not able to keep up with the pace of it. Suddenly its too weird to get around to the real stuff. Perhaps a part of it is inhibitions ? Talking to someone anonymous, is not really dangerous in a way that it doesn’t matter if you are going to say something wrong. I remember talking to some people I knew, but I only understood them after chatting with them. Nowadays every little detail about you is already there on your profile. It’s completely pointless to start a conversation based on that, because you already know what is the other person about. The worst part is, what you think you know, may not be the truth after all! I mean, how many people put honest stuff in their profile? It’s sad when good things have to go away, because of false notions of improvement. Internet changes so much, and so fast, but one has to wonder how much of it is really necessary. But then again, what would all those developers do if there are no changes for a long time?

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