Google Plus vs. Facebook and the winner is …

We are all very aware of the type of revolution Facebook has brought in the domain of social networking. The types of innovations, the integration of various apps, unique customization of the update feed, etc. are all hallmark of Facebook holding the nerve of common man. Google’s Orkut even though had similar features but had limited success due to non-intuitive interface and simply because people were addicted to Facebook. Orkut was followed by Google’s Wave which turned to be a big disaster and now Google’s latest offering in social networking domain is “Google+”.

So lets try to see why so much hype on the Google+:

  1. Photo Tagging: Photo sharing is one of the key of any social networking and its made still better by tagging. By default FB doesn’t intimate the person being tagged in anyone else’s album while it is enabled in G+ which is a good security measure. Heck, I should where all I feature.

  2. Friend Management: Perhaps this is the best feature of G+ in which we can create different ‘circles’ and interact with them in different ways. So next time if you plan to write some naughty (f**k**g) comment in some of your close buddy your boss will not know that. Cool…

  3. Better Integration: With FB’s increased presence in business aspects, need of tools like editors, calendar, etc. to be integrated is paramount. This is another feature which will help G+ excel, with some of the best used features like Google’s Docs, Calendar, & Gmail integrated with G+, I feel that G+ will definitely has something to boast. Also Picasa & YouTube is real killer in friend and family usage.

  4. Privacy: No matter what FB advocates are babbling, FB treats that all the data uploaded or written by you is their property and they have full right to use it the way they want. Also if you have made an account in FB you have to struggle hard to remove your info from their databank and server. G+ is offering a service “Data Liberation” wherein you can simply download all your data, delete everything from server and walk away, nothing will be stored after that. Really good on Google’s part. Google for change.

  5. Chatting: G+ “Hangouts” is the group chat application is way better than the basic mono chat offered by FB. I feel this is going to be one of the most used features of G+ in near future both for personal as well as business usage. Chat on …

Well enough of G+ appreciations, lets see how FB fares in comparison

  1. Loyal User: FB is #1 visited site and almost all the users have a pretty active social account, no one wants to switch to a new platform every now and then so this is one of the biggest point which tilts the scale in favour of FB. Plus, I am addicted to Farmville.

  2. Better Search Feature: It sound contradictory that FB search is better than G+ specially when Google is best known for its search engine. But if you try you will find that Search Bar situated at top of FB will almost always give you relevant result while G+ search bar, where it is?

  3. Original Uncluttered Layout: Yes, FB doesn’t offer customization of its wall and that is its core strength, the simplicity of the wall and the way all relevant information is presented in front of eye immediately is the real strength of FB. G+ has currently adopted a similar type of interface but we all don’t like copycats. Right?

  4. Open ID: Yes I have seen many & I mean many sites which use Facebook credential as Open-ID to authenticate you as human. Recently even blogging platform Word press has also added this feature. Google profile also works in the same way but Facebook looks to lead the race.

So after all this comparison, who is the winner?

Well, it is very hard to say. Despite having some great features G+ is going to have a real tough time competing with FB and may be FB may emerge winner but if G+ is able to gain some critical mass then G+ will definitely overtake FB. And my vote goes to “Google +”

Google+ Invite

Well I finally got a Google+ Invite but I don’t have any of my friend or family as member of Google+ which makes the point of sharing and social networking pointless. As the invite is on trial basis and will slowly and randomly expanded by opening up to more and more people. But once you get an invite and had created an account you can definitely add more people in your circle, but the process is not simple and requires to dig a bit deep and needs more than few clicks. Here is what I have learned, I don’t guarantee that this is the only or correct method but I think this process of adding friend will get you going on the way to connect and form circles and hangouts.

 

Click on the Circles as highlighted below:

google1

You will reach a page as shown below, since I am using Gmail account all my contact show by default, however you can also add friends from your yahoo or Hotmail account.

google2

Once the contacts have been imported, it will show as stamps as marked by red and green circle. You can now add them into various circles  (pre-existing or make new ones). Once you have added them in circle you can double click on the circle and it will expand to show the members. Next double click on the name (highlighted in violet) and now you can send them an invite by clicking on “invite”

google3

BTW, it also possible send invite by simply double clicking on the name on the previous page, but it is suggested that you add the people in circle and then send them invite, this is the only way which has worked for me.

One point which came to my mind while registering for Google+ was that as most of my friends are on FB then why G+, well before FB become popular in India it was Orkut all the way, but FB overtook it in India may be Google want to strike back to FB with G+. But one thing is sure whichever offers better service, uptime and easiness of usage will be winner.

So best of luck on getting Google+ invite and inviting others.

Alternative Power Source: Artificial Leaf

Yes, this article seems little off the regular articles of my blog but I am and always will be disciple of science. A little science is also important in life. And it always good to bring a little variety.

As the title suggests, Artificial Leaf is not exactly an leaf producing glucose from sunlight, carbon dioxide and water but it generates energy is form of hydrogen by decomposing water in presence of sunlight. Now this process is quite old and people have been doing research for long time with different mechanism, different catalyst, different approaches. The major challenges in this domain has been the cost and efficiency of the catalyst, life of catalyst, up-scaling the process and efficient retrieval and storage of hydrogen. Most of the time the catalyst has very low efficiency which makes the process unfeasible for any large scale hydrogen production also the cost of the catalyst is unusually high. Second challenge associated was the deterioration of the catalyst which renders the catalyst unusable. The third major challenge which is still present even now is the up-scaling of the process from bench scale to pilot plant level to prototype and then final commercial product. To my understanding scientists are still struggling to take the process to pilot plant level. The fourth challenge of hydrogen storage and retrieval has been mostly sorted now but it is still a challenge considering the volatile, inflammable and dangerous nature of hydrogen. Other challenges which dependent on the process such as purity of the water being used, flow rate of water, other special requirement also served as hindrance for real progress to be made.

Imagine a house being powered by a bucket of water or a city having its power plant situated in size of a 50 yard swimming pool, such things may look impossible but humanity has moved closer to such reality even more and the work done by scientists of MIT and the news published on their website (Link Here ) is a example that we are not far away for true commercial artificial leaf. The scientists have been able to overcome most of the challenges in successful, continuous and up-scalable process which has to go through the process of testing and evaluation may be 10 years from now we may be driving a car having a a roof filled with water which will be powering the car.

Searching for Snaptu alternative for PC

For last couple of weeks, I was away on Diwali vacation to my hometown. During this period, my access to internet was limited through my mobile (Nokia 5230). As you may be aware the mobile is somewhere in the lower middle end of current mobile spectrum but features GPRS, EDGE, 3G, GPS & Bluetooth on connectivity front. This phone runs on Symbian 60 series 5 OS. . As the speed of GPRS in my hometown was low, it was not feasible to connect the mobile as modem and browse on PC. During this period, I discovered an excellent mobile application which could cater to most of my daily browsing need which includes checking, updating and commenting on facebook, twitter functions and RSS reader. The mobile application I am talking about is Snaptu. It runs on almost all the mobile phones and utilizes very less data transfer. It can also connect to other services like Flickr and Picasa. There is support to add shortcuts for other applications like Yahoo Mail, Gmail, Orkut and so on, however these application shortcuts will open in a separate browser. The best part of this application is that it can also be used as a robust RSS reader. The app is easy to operate and provides clean simple interface. Overall, this is a near perfect application for my purpose with a absolutely amazing price tag “FREE”. Yes, this is a great killer app for people who use visit websites like facebook, Flickr or twitter dozen times a day and keep on updating and commenting. I recommend this for all the mobile user as a must have.

Based on this concept of a single application/client for all social networking client, I felt that such a software for PC will be great. So, I started doing some research & I come across Gwibber. The software is good and connects with Flickr, Facebook and Twitter among others but it has mixed reviews on usability and convenience. Another aspect of this software that it has been designed for Ubuntu Linux OS. I tried searching for some multipurpose desktop client for Microsoft Windows OS and couldn’t find any software as comprehensive as Snaptu for PC. Only software which fulfils some of the requirement is Seesmic, which has clients for most of the famous OS viz. Windows, Linux & OSX and also for mobile phones like Android & iPhone. It also sports a web interface. However, this is good for Facebook and Twitter only.

My search for a COMPREHENSIVE  Social Networking Client for PC (Windows) continues, if you are aware of any please let me know. In the meanwhile enjoy using Snaptu.

EDITED: I found that few applications which may be an PC alternative for Snaptu are Sobees, Digsby and Yoono. I am trying to evaluate them and then will share my experience about them.

Cleaning your computer…

Well, we have multitude of software and correspondingly we use variety of maintenance software such as defragmenter, junk file cleaner, registry cleaner and so on  to ensure that the computer software is running fine. We often tend to forget the essential piece of hardware makes the software is the CPU and more often we forget to tend and take care of the CPU. Well, not only CPU but other components are also left unattended. Now, it is essential that one should take proper care of the CPU and keep it spick and spank. So lets see, how it can be done in easy way.

The computer hardware at minimum will have a monitor, a keyboard, a CPU (motherboard + processor + RAM + Hard disk). The CPU may also contains few fans, Optical Drive, other boards like graphic card and sound card and so on. The CPU is brain behind the working of the computer. If one observes, the number of component packed together inside a box (Cabinet) is a huge source of heat generation. This heat has to be dissipated to obtain optimum performance. And over time, dust, dirt, cobweb and what not gets accumulated inside the cabinet, over the moving fans and most of the opening, choking the airflow and increased load on the motors of the moving components like fans.

Cleaning a CPU is very easy. First one need switch off the computer and unplug all the cables running into the rear of CPU. Next, remove the screws at the back panel holding the side panel of the cabinet. Care has to be taken while sliding the side panel as sometimes a fan or two may be connected to provide additional air into the cabinet.

Best way to start cleaning is by removing all the cobwebs and dirt possibly by some soft cloths. Care is to be taken not to use any liquid or solvent. Next using a soft wide brush or vacuum cleaner remove all the the dirt and grime settled in fan. Possibly blow some air using air can or air pump into the various nook and corner of your computer. Care should be taken to blow air lightly over the fan otherwise it may damage the fan. If possible remove the RAM sticks and graphic card and clean them and their slot properly. After cleaning inside the CPU, clean the outside body using some solvent & wipe it dry.

Monitor/ Display Unit can also be cleaned by wiping using a  solvent soaked soft cloth, Always use a mild solvent and check that the solvent is not affecting the plastic part of the monitor. The keyboard can be cleaned by blowing compressed air into the gaps of keys.

Cleaning helps in keeping the computer running fine and avoids any overheating due to poor cooling. So happy cleaning.

Which is best compression software?

Compression of files into an archived file is a very common activity in our day to day office life particularly for easy transfer of the files over local network or even for copying in flash drives and so on. Sometimes when a complete web page is downloaded apart from one html file, it also contains few CSS files thrown in with couple of JavaScript files and lots of image files. I have personally saved web pages containing as high as 200+ files. Copying such documents takes lot of time. There are numerous compression softwares available along with numerous archiving format utilizing different algorithm, safety features and other features. Perhaps the most common compression archive is ‘zip’ but of late some other formats such as ‘rar’ & ‘7z’ has also caught on well. In world of Mac ‘sit’ isª perhaps the most common format. The world of linux also uses a multitude of formats the most common ones are “bz2″’, ‘gz’ & ‘tar’.

As Microsoft Windows is the most dominant OS in the world (and I also have the access to same), I have carried out some tests to determine which may be best compression software.

Disclaimer: The results presented in this post are purely based on my limited research and in no way is extensive or binding. Readers are suggested to evaluate the softwares by themselves and then decide what is suitable to them. These results are my observations and your results for same/similar test may vary. I cannot be hold responsible for any consequence due to these results.

Well lets see what I have done:

Test Rig: Intel C2D E7200 Processor, with 2 GB 800MHz DDR2 RAM & Seagate Barracuda 320 GB SATA HDD. I also run Avast Home Edition with Panda Cloud Anti-virus & MalwareBytes Anti-Malware & Online Armor Free Edition on Windows 7 Ultimate 32 bit Edition..

What is compressed: The set consisted of a large number of ‘txt’ and ‘html’ files also quite a few number of ‘mov’ files. Other files in the bunch were ‘doc’, ‘docx’, ‘odt’, ‘pptx’, jpg’, ‘png’, ‘psd’ and ‘log’ with few more. The total number of files were 312 spread over 16 directories/folder.  Total Size of the files 269 MB.

Other Conditions: The compression was done 3 times in each format  using each software and compression settings was set to Ultra/Highest/Maximum. The priority of the process was left at normal in each test. The time required for compression, and maximum memory requirements were averaged.

Softwares tested: The following Software were tested:

Results: Now coming to result comparison, the results are put in a tabular format for quick Viewing

Software Software Size Compression Format Archive Size Time reqd RAM usage Other Features
Winzip 13.8 MB zipx 170 MB 202 sec 178 MB
  • Option to repair corrupt archive
  • Beautiful but complicated  Interface
  • Tons of additional features like backup, FTP upload
  • Creating a self extracting archive is 2 step process
  • Costs $ 29.95
zip 212 MB 38 sec 10 MB
7-Zip 0.9 MB 7z 161 MB 121 sec 152 MB
  • Simple but efficient interface
  • GPL license, Freeware
  • Can handle large number of archive format
  • Self Extracting Archive is created in a single step
zip 209 MB 164 sec 29 MB
WinRar 1.3 MB rar 166 MB 103 sec 41 MB
  • Simple yet beautiful interface
  • Option to repair corrupted archives
  • Very Easy to use
  • Creating a self extrac
    ting archive is a single process
  • Costs $ 29 + vat
zip 212 MB 34 sec 6 MB
PeaZip 6.6 MB pea 211 MB 107 sec 10 MB
  • Excellent encryption option using keyfiles and passwords
  • Simple Interface and very easy to use
  • Can handle large number or archiving formats
  • Utilizes 7-zip core files for many of file format support
  • Creating a self extracting archive is 2 step process
zip 209 MB 231 sec 36 MB

Final thought on each software

Winzip is perhaps the most famous compression software. Its latest offering in much more than an compression software and that is the problem. The performance as compression software is average at best, high resource consumption and creation of larger zip files tilts the balance against Winzip. Rating 2.5 out of 5

7-zip is is perhaps the most famous free/GPL compression software and rightly so, the highest compression in its native 7z format as compared to any other format is a big positive and even though its interface is simple it is able to do an excellent job. However, a better documentation for some of the technical features will help users to utilize the best of it. Rating 4.5 out of 5

WinRar is second most famous compression software and  it looses to 7-zip by a small margin in compression. However, the fastest compression as compared to other softwares and incredibly low RAM usage and excellent usability makes its a ideal buy for corporate environment and for individuals who can afford it. Rating 5 out of 5

PeaZip has come up as an excellent alternative to 7-zip is GPL/free compression software. It offers the high level of encryption and supports creation of numerous archive format. The interface is simple and easy to use however the compression in its native format can be rated as poor. The software can utilize 7-zip core and compress in 7z format however, the memory optimization for using this core is missing and continuous memory usage in range of 650 – 700 MB was there upon testing multiple times. Some optimization in the code for memory consumption and it can become new king of GPL/free compression software. Rating 3.5 out of 5 .

MY VERDICT: Go for WinRar if you can afford to or 7-zip if you are looking for a free and stable compression software.