Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Why you should add Facebook Comments Box to each Blogger post

If you are not aware yet, Facebook Comments Box is a social plug-in by Facebook that allows people to comment on a website. With what I had read, the comments are linked to the user's Facebook profile and anything that' posted on the comment box appears on the user's profile. Replying to the update on the user's profile updates the comment on the comment section as well and vice-versa.

Ok. I will try to avoid the word 'comment' from now on.

To cut to the chase, I am not a programmer and do not understand complex coding. That's why, when I tried to add a umm... comment box to my blog. I came across a strange problem. I found out that there are two versions of it and each with a critical shortcoming for Blogger.

First version:

Following the instructions laid our here, I successfully managed to integrate the box. However, when I tested it out, there was a major problem as can be seen below -

Yup! There is no option to 'like' or 'reply' to any comment posted there which sort of defeats the whole purpose of trying to reach out the Facebook audience. However, the advantage here is that each post has its own unique mention on a persons Facebook feed.

2nd version:

Since the previous version didn't meet my need to engage people on Facebook, I tried to integrate the box which can be seen on TechCrunch. For the actual implementation, I found help here.

Great! So now I can reply and like other users comments but then... there was another problem. Using this method displayed the box not only on each post, but also the blog homepage. Moreover, the post made on Facebook leads the users to the blog home page and not the post itself.


Simple. Add the following code at the end of each blog post's HTML.

Don't for to place your post's URL instead of 'URL of post goes here'. So there you go! Good day...
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Monday, April 18, 2011

A few reasons why ET isn't here yet

Think about ET and chances are you will recall something from Hollywood - big round eyes, slithering fingers and even Keanu Reeves; who by the way has a 'massive sad' (sorry just had to say that). Not bad but what are the possibilities that they will actually look like that? More importantly, will we even come across any of them?

Sorry to disappoint you but I think the chances are quite low. Here's why -
  1. Intelligence:

    As Neil deGrasse Tyson puts it - 'when is the last time you stopped and had a conversation with a worm'? Chimps share 95-98% of our DNA and yet we cannot really understand their ways and to be honest, most of us don't really care.

    So if there really are aliens who have discovered us, they must be much more intelligent than what we are. In that case, why would they even bother to communicate with us? We are nothing but what worms are to us. Probably, all they might be doing now is studying us.

  2. The 11 dimensions:

    We as humans can see only 3 dimensions and are woven into a 4th one - time. However, M-theory suggests that there are 11 dimensions in all! So it is highly probable that these life forms we are seeking maybe existing in a dimension we cannot sense.

    If you have a lot of time in hand, check out this long series which explains everything.

  3. What is a life form anyway?

    The general view about a life form is that it needs nutrition, water and air. Now we know nutrition can be different things for different creatures. Moreover, scientists have now discovered that there are creatures on Earth itself that don't need oxygen to survive.

    In that case, how do we define what an organism is? In a possible scenario, we may have already come across living organisms made up of chemical compositions in outer space which we have plainly dismissed as galactic clouds or something. Sam Neill wants you to think like that too :)

In the light of those arguments, common sense would dictate that we will probably never be contacted. However, we do know that life does exist somewhere in some form out there and that it is up to us to contact them instead.

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Sunday, April 17, 2011

The most comprehensive collection of Clarkson's quotes - Part 1

There are car show presenters, and then there is Jeremy Clarkson. If you are not a 'petrolhead', here's a good place to start knowing him. The most epic things about Clarkson are his quotes; mostly about cars but limited to almost nothing.

With this post, I am trying to compile some of the most hilarious, controversial, shocking, complex and rhetorical quotes that we have heard from JC on Top Gear ever since the new format took off in 2002. I also promise to come up with more posts on this so that you can eventually find all his quotes on my blog!
  • Porsche Cayenne
'I have seen more attractive gangrenous wounds than this. It is a monkfish among cars. It has the sex appeal of a camel with gingivitis and frankly i would rather walk back to the studio than drive another yard in it.'

'0-60 takes 5 and a half seconds and about 17 gallons of fuel.'
  • Fiat Panda
'People who bought the Fiat Panda said that it wasn't as bad as they were expecting it would be. That's like buying a ton of manure and saying "It doesn't smell that bad actually"
  • Alfa Romeo Brera
'Think of it as Angelina Jolie. You’ve heard she’s mad and eats nothing but wallpaper paste. But you would, wouldn’t you?'

'It's like Cameron Diaz. You know she's a vegetarian, you know she's a commited eco-mentalist... would you say no? That car is like Cameron Diaz, with wheels.''
  • Porsche Carrera GT
'Supercars are supposed to run over Arthur Scargill and then run over him again for good measure. They are designed to melt ice caps, kill the poor, poison the water table, destroy the ozone layer, decimate indigenous wildlife, recapture the Falkland Islands and turn the entire third world into a huge uninhabitable desert, all that before they nicked all the oil in the world. This does't feel like it will do any of those.'
  • Land Rover LR3
'As a result, it weighs 2.7 tonnnes - and that makes it heavier than a Rolls-Royce Phantom. It's so heavy, that if you were to load it up with stuff, and then hitch up a trailor to the back; technically, you need an LGV licence.'
  • Bentley Continental GT
'It's (adjustable suspension) really as useful, as a snooze button on a smoke alarm.'
  • Audi R8
'Driving most supercars is like trying to manhandle a cow up a back staircase, but this is like smearing honey onto Keira Knightley.'
  • Ferrari 355
'The Ferrari 355 is like a quail's egg dipped in celery salt and served in Julia Roberts' belly button.'
  • Porsche Boxster
'It couldn't pull a greased stick out of a pig’s bottom.'
  • Mercedes Benz CLS55 AMG
'It sounds like Barry White eating wasps.'
  • Aston Marting DB9
'That's not really a racing car, that's just pornography.'

'I’m sorry, but having an Aston Martin DB9 on the drive and not driving it is a bit like having Keira Knightley in your bed and sleeping on the couch. If you’ve got even half a scrotum it’s not going to happen.'
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Saturday, April 16, 2011

Living with my Nokia N97

For anyone who knows even a reasonable amount about phones, Nokia's ads for their smartphones look rather optimistic.

'Over the competition I am towering'? I don't think so, not with an aging Symbian platform, resistive touch screen, not so class leading hardware and so on. I bought one because Android was still an infant at that time, and the iPhone wasn't available in India. Even if it was, I think the closed Apple environment would have put me off anyway.

Having survived (both me and the phone) for over 2 years, I think its a good time to talk about what made sense and what didn't.
The good:
  1. 32 GB internal storage. Yes! 32 GB! Will you ever need another portable storage device?
  2. The tilt slide design which makes it extremely comfortable to watch videos or just browse around
  3. Ovi online and Ovi Suite which I think is a great triumph in organizing smartphone data from multiple sources
  4. A home screen that never feels cluttered
As you may have noticed, those features are rather unique to the N97 or at least Nokia phones.

The bad:
  1. A 'resistive' touch screen with no multi touch.
  2. Hardware which runs out of breathe when you don't want it to
  3. Extreme flash flooding while using the camera. I had to fix this manually by lining up the camera glass covering with a permanent marker!
  4. An Ovi store for apps with not so many apps in comparison to the Apple and Android market
  5. A default email manager which feels like a slightly modified text messaging system
  6. And now the worst sin of them all - a mere 75 MB memory out of 32 GB devoted to the main phone memory! That's as bad as being given wings to fly but permanently confined to some underwater city.
The ugly and the beautiful:

It has the same element for phones as Alfa Romeo's have for cars - a personality. I cannot recall the number of times it decided to do things on its own or plainly refused to do them. The GPS especially loves to update the location at a leisurely pace and sometimes, forgets to update it altogether.

Sometimes I get the impression that Nokia has accidentally built a phone with artificial intelligence and should reverse engineer its own product to unearth this stroke of ingenuity.

But most of all, just like Alfa Romeo's, you will develop a love-hate relationship for this phone. It will drive you to madness with its shenanigans. Every other time though, you will be so amazed that it is actually working well that you will be overcome with a great sense of joy and amazement. Now I don't know how many other phones can give you that experience.
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Friday, April 15, 2011

Battle of the 700+ bhp

First there was Ferrari, then Lamborghini and then there was Pagani. Pagani shamed the might of the established supercar manufacturers with the Zonda and its countless iteration (about 18) of them! For a manufacturer which has made ummm... only 1 car, that was quite an epic achievement.

Now there is a new Pagani - the Huayra. Difficult-to-pronounce-names aside, it takes the manufacturer forward in terms of performance, but also 'backward' in terms of styling. I really don't think it has the same 'shock and awe' effect as the Zonda had. Look for yourself and decide.

Here's the Zonda:

And now the Huayra:

Not exactly a looker is it? Regardless, the vital number here is 730 bhp which should take the Huayra to 233 mph or a point where you would be making 'huayra' noises from your mouth. However, the Huayra is not the only predator in the automobile jungle.

Let me introduce you to another 700 bhp monster - the Gumpert Tornante. Its predecessor, the Apollo, whipped all other supercars (including the Zonda) around the Top Gear test track. The Tornante should be faster and far more pleasing on the eyes at the same time. This car should be able to take Gumpert from being a 'neither here nor there' manufacturer to a serious contender. Or will it?

Not to be outdone, the biggest bad boy in history isn't lying around waiting to be dethroned. Lamborghini is all set to join this 700 bhp battle with its Aventador! Easily the best looking of the trio, it will hit 0-60 mph in under 3 seconds and reach an estimated 217 mph. While those figures may be top trumped by the Pagani and the Gumpert, the Lamborghini would cost 'only' $370000 compared to the Huayra's $1.5 million and the Tornante's $800000.

The supercar scene is move alive and kicking that it ever was! Which side are you on? Me? Well until the replacement for the Ferrari Enzo is launched, I will side with the current supercar king - Pagani.
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Monday, April 4, 2011

There's just one thing about Firefox 4...

I love Firefox; prefer it over Chrome most of the time. I love it because I prefer the add-ons and the flexibility it provides with options like 'View Page Source'. With Firefox, I feel invincible :)

But if it continues to reinforce its status as the undisputed champion of resource hogging, my laptop will surely not be able to cope up. It turns out that the new version goes on guzzling mode while displaying Javascript. The only solution would be to turn it off but that isn't the solution I am looking for.

Is there an add-on or tweak I can apply to crawl on till the next patch?

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Why Blogger?

Finally, I decided to choose Blogger as my platform. I tried Tumblr and WordPress and contemplated TypePad for the last few days but they had to go. Here's why -

My requirements were simple - it had to be free, it had to be SEO friendly and it had to allow easy integration of Google Analytics.

Now, TypePad wasn't free, Tumblr wasn't easy on SEO and HTML changes cannot be carried out in (So no Google Analytics).

With that, I come back to the place where I started my first blog a few years ago. Read further

Marketing: PC vc Mobile

I had a classroom discussion today about the future of Digital Marketing - Will mobile prevail over PC marketing? Despite mobiles becoming as powerful as PCs and tablets (take the Atrix for example), they are still limited by their screen size.

Do we really need multiple devices depending on their screen size? One of the ways we can end that discussion is by removing the display from its physical entity, which would automatically free us from carrying around two or three devices. Here are three examples of a future free of a display screen -
  1. Augmented reality contact lenses and glasses as predicted by Dr. Michio Kaku. (skip to 14.20)

  2. MIT Media Lab's Pranav Mistry with his Sixth Sense Technology

  3. Glass display using corning

What do you think the future holds?
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Hello world!

The beginning as in my first post with my Blogger account. For now I have no idea what this is going to be about or what I will be posting here but it will eventually emerge.

With this, I want to understand how I can offer people something to read about which they will not find anywhere else on the internet. A tall order but then there wouldn’t be any fun otherwise.

My Blogger experience will see me talk about my understanding of all things close to my heart, viz. automobiles, astronomy, technology, gadgets and pretty much everything under the sun and around it towards infinity.

Also as a passionate digital marketer, it would be interesting where the blog leads and where I lead it in return. :) Read further