Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Facebook's new feature

Hi all,
Just laid my eyes on this fantastic article, about how facebook is going to outdo Google+. So here goes.

Friend Lists, of course, have been available on Facebook for years now. But most people never bother with them because they’re a total pain — scrolling through hundreds upon hundreds of friends to compile lists is just a chore without much immediate reward. But Facebook thinks this new feature will change that, at least for some users.

The feature, which I’ve been briefed on but haven’t gotten a chance to test out myself, works much as you’d expect. First, Facebook will generate a handful of lists automatically — one for your coworkers, one for people you attended school with, and one for friends who live within the same city as you. That’s a good start, and it’s also easy to make lists of your own. Facebook says that if you create a new list and add a few friends, the site will automatically suggest additional friends that it believes belong in the same list.

Finally, there’s one list, adorned with a star, that highlights your very best friends. Facebook won’t automatically suggest anyone for this list — the company thinks users will only want to include five or ten people, and that it’s best to leave it to users to choose them. And the list has a special property: every time someone on this list of close friends makes an update or posts a photo, you’ll see it in your feed no matter how small a change it is, and you’ll (optionally) get a notification about it (notifications are those alerts marked with a red badge at the top of the screen).

And there’s a new list called Acquaintances that also has special properties, but in reverse: add someone to it, and only the most important status changes (marriages, new jobs, etc.) will appear in your News Feed; you’ll ignore their day to day posts.

Once you’ve created your new friend lists, you’ll be able to use them the same way you’ve always been able to: namely, you can selectively share content with certain groups, and you can change permissions on your profile visibility for each list.

Today’s launch will doubtless draw some comparisons to Google+, which has a strong emphasis on sorting your friends into Circles, which are analogous to Facebook’s friend lists. But despite that emphasis, Facebook has actually beaten Google+ to the punch on recommending who you put into these groups — Google+ is great at surfacing people you might be interested in following, but it doesn’t yet do much to help you sort them.

Friday, September 2, 2011

A 21st century blunder

With so many web designers and so called web designing companies, we are now on the verge of "Designer Explosion" somewhat similar to our very own problem of the country, "Population Explosion". Anyway, it is also heartening to know that many young and old alike, responsible citizens of our country are now channelizing their energies into designing than just waiting to vote every year and see how that plays out until next.

Now with all sincerity, these freelancers have now got to also understand that by just sitting their for years doing the same thing over and over again is not only squashing their designing world's but also making them redundant and useless. There are certain things which one needs to be aware about regarding working in a dynamic environment, where change is bound to happen one point or the other. Now you either be a part of the change or say "ta da" to your so- called profession. Many designers and sometime people themselves commit certain common errors which diminishes their power to impress prospective clients. These errors are the biggest blunders, that could tarnish your own portfolios and profiles.

Some of the things a designer has to keep in mind all the time are:

1) You create a website to engage your viewers in the content and images on your website and not to squander their patience. The imagery and content has to be relevant to the central theme of the website, making the most of USABILITY, adding confusing language and images to impress God knows whom, our so called designers make the visitors impatient, resulting in them calling these designers a few names and saying goodbye. SO STOP THIS.

2) Flash based websites- It looks good when those images are moving in a particular manner on your website and then you have flash intros and flash headers which make your website look really "Exclusive" (Yes, that is what designers have told me,Exclusive), however, how much of good are you going to get out of that, if only you can pleasure yourself out of it and no one else even sees it. Grow up! it is time we used "latest technology" (which is available freely) and use them for these similar effects rather than conning your clients out of money promising them exclusivity.

3) Using images for text- For the vast majority of basement web designers doing this for the first time, it is extremely common to pitch a site with an unsupported font for a header or body content. Come development time you realize that you can’t put that font in real text and your client absolutely loved it! In fact it’s so unique they’d never seen a site do that before (for a reason), you’re a hero! We’ll guess what ::fail::… now you have to put all that great content in an image and none of the engines will ever get to read it.. Stay away from this mistake, learn the difference between a web safe font and a non-web safe font. D'oh!

4) Check your spelling and Grammar- When I have some time to waste, I indulge myself in reading letters and articles which have spelling mistakes, and there is no shame on laughing at these errors. When there are many ways of proof reading and making sure whether your statements are grammatically correct and your words are spelled correctly, people still commit these follies, and so do our "basement designers". You give websites marvelous designs and layouts but then throughout the website, if there is one spell error, you are done for! Those hate mails, disgusted looks among fraternity and taunts from customers and the woman walking her dog would be unbearable, confining you to your basement.

5) Set your design standards as high as possible- Never refrain from learning, don't go around saying, "Oh, I know everything", people who say that, normally, are the one's living in the Ice age, because in the 21st century, technology, criteria, mechanisms etc. are changing every day, in fact every hour. So get out there read books, blogs, articles related to latest trends and keep your webbed head up to date.

Saying so, I must warn each and every one of you designers out there, We have the Chinese, American and designers all over the world to compete with and not just "Basement buddies" Pull your socks up (if you wear any) and get your designs out there. Happy Eid and Ganesh Chaturthi to all.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Using Gmail, Calendar and Docs without an Internet connection

The great thing about web apps is that you can access all of your information on the go, and we’ve introduced ways to use Google Apps on a variety of devices like mobile phones and tablets. But it’s inevitable that you’ll occasionally find yourself in situations when you don’t have an Internet connection, like planes, trains and carpools. When we announced Chromebooks at Google I/O 2011, we talked about bringing offline access to our web apps, and now we’re taking our first steps in that direction. Gmail offline will be available today, and offline for Google Calendar and Google Docs will be rolling out over the next week, starting today.

Gmail Offline is a Chrome Web Store app that’s intended for situations when you need to read, respond to, organize and archive email without an internet connection. This HTML5-powered app is based on the Gmail web app for tablets, which was built to function with or without web access. After you install the Gmail Offline app from the Chrome Web Store, you can continue using Gmail when you lose your connection by clicking the Gmail Offline icon on Chrome’s “new tab” page.

Google Calendar and Google Docs let you seamlessly transition between on- and offline modes. When you’re offline in Google Calendar, you can view events from your calendars and RSVP to appointments. With Google Docs you can view documents and spreadsheets when you don’t have a connection. Offline editing isn’t ready yet, but we know it’s important to many of you, and we’re working hard to make it a reality. To get started using Google Calendar or Google Docs offline, just click the gear icon at the top right corner of the web app and select the option for offline access.

IT administrators can deploy Chrome Web Store apps to users en masse by setting uporganizational policies for Chrome.

Today’s world doesn’t slow down when you’re offline and it’s a great feeling to be productive from anywhere, on any device, at any time. We’re pushing the boundaries of modern browsers to make this possible, and while we hope that many users will already find today’s offline functionality useful, this is only the beginning. Support for offline document editing and customizing the amount of email to be synchronized will be coming in the future. We also look forward to making offline access more widely available when other browsers support advanced functionality (likebackground pages).