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Patent Wars: Are they justified? [Opinion]

Patent Wars: Are they Justified

Apple was recently granted an injunction on Galaxy Nexus. The injunction was for infringement of three patents in Nexus. One patent caught my attention – Patent  No. 8,074,172touch screen word suggestion. From what I have read and understood, for a layman it is the spell check that we use in MS Word, Open Office, various browsers, etc. implemented on a touch screen. Does this sound new or innovative? Certainly not. I have used a Blackberry and it provides with word suggestions for incorrectly typed words. Would copying this feature on a touch screen (from computer softwares or non-touch phones) be worthy of a patent? Patents are supposed to be guardians of Intellectual Properties. Where is intelligence in it? This, I believe, is an important question.

Before I get into patents I would like to ask, “What is an Intellectual Property?” There can not be a proper definition to it but let me try (if you know a better definition then please comment with it.) It can be something that comes to one’s mind, generally (a path breaking) an idea, mixed with hard work and luck. Ideas without implementation are like dreams. See the greatest inventions – the light bulb, electricity, etc. these have revolutionized our lives. But are ideas restricted to a particular individual or group of individuals? I doubt that. There is a saying, “Wise men think alike.” – People generally think alike. Should ideas that are obvious to our mind be deemed fit to be patented? If yes, then LifeHacker would own the most number of patents. :P There should be a line that divides an ‘obvious idea’ from an ‘eureka idea.’

The (online) tech industry is divided into two halves – the ones who sue and the rest of the industry. Apple, Yahoo, Oracle are the ones suing other companies (Android Device Makers, , and Google respectively) for patent infringements. Now the important question that arises is, “How should the patents be used and protected.” has said that it would use patents only for defense and not to attack anyone. Facebook and have not sued each other in this issue given the fact that they are arch rivals.

Let us take an example. The browser that you are using right now uses tabbed browsing. The patent for tabbed browsing rests with Microsoft. What would have happened if Microsoft would have sued every browser on the web? Imaging reading this post on Internet Explorer. Gives you shudders, right?

Another example. The social networking patent rests with Reid Hoffman, founder of LinkedIn [1]. Not that he registered it he bought it from the original patent recipients. What if Reid would have sued every social networking site? Imagine a world without Facebook and Twitter. Again, it gives you shudders, right?

I am not suggesting anything on the use of patents, it is up to the patent owners to decide sensibly, we are nobody to suggest them. What can be done is making stricter norms for patenting. What should be patented and what should not. Share your views in the comments.

[1] The Facebook Effect by David Kirkpatrick

Changing my Online and Social Networking Strategy

Firstly, yes there is a strategy on it too. Even you must be having one, everyone has one. Previously I had deactivated my Facebook account, and now I have reactivated it. Reactivated it so that I can get some eyeballs on my blog posts. But the noise in my news feeds has forced me to rethink my decision. Hence I have decided to change my Social Networking Strategy.

Facebook

Use as a tool to interact with my current existing friends and the non-tech people.

  • I am tired of skipping to updates from people that I don’t know. Heck I don’t even know when I added them. But more importantly their updates don’t interest me.
  • I am tired of skipping updates from fan pages. Moreover I already know about the important ones from hence I would unlike most of the fan pages.
  • My target is to bring my current friend list down from 374 to 198 (a drop of 48%) and fan pages down from 477 to 172 (a sharp 63% decrease.) Hence I would like to apologize to the people whom I would unfriend.
  • Although this would not decrease the updates such as those of my friend commenting on his friend’s status that I cant comment or like, or a photo of his friend that is irrelevant to me but it would greatly decrease the noise in my news feed. Or when someone goes on a link posting spree on all the groups that he is a member of.
  • Unlike the fan pages of blog that are owned by my friends, they already share their links in their updates, and fan page would duplicate the links.

What about the new friend requests?

I would accept them if the profile and updates are good otherwise convert those requests into subscribers.

Twitter

  • Use it as a news aggregator as every thing fits beautifully in 140 characters.
  • Update with my tech opinions over there as most of my people on Facebook don’t ask for them.

Isn’t it KISS?

Nothing much. You can follow me @rahulpandeyc

Plus

I believe that it is a better product than Facebook and will slowly gain traction, after all it does not matter who gets there first [750+million users] but what matters is who gets it right (by @jack.) Hence I would not like to miss it out. Moreover it does not have the noise that Facebook pushes on me.

  • Update about tech and everything that is updated on Facebook.
  • Google Plus will be the super set of my updates.

Blogging

Blogs that I would be maintaining:

  • My PSW Musings – http://life.rahulpandey.net – My Personal and Humor blog (would try to put at least 2 blog posts every month.)
  • Techfrolic – https://techfrolic.wordpress.com or http://rahulpandey.net – My Tech blog where I would talk about various stuffs tech.
  • Hack-a-Path – http://hackapath.wordpress.com – My computing dairy online, I’d talk about my current, future, past projects and anything that my Googler Alter Ego would find.
  • a Tumblr blog where I’d write about quotes that I’d come across the books that I read and book reviews but I haven’t started it yet.

My other Social Profiles

LinkedIn – http://in.linkedin.com/in/rahulpandeyc – add me over there. (updates would go parallel to Hack-a-path.

Pinterest – http://pinterest.com/rahulpandey – I’d try to upload at least one original pin every week.

Quora – http://quora.com/Rahul-Pandey-1

GoodReads – http://goodreads.com/rahulpandey – List of all the books I have read, am reading , that are to be read.

About Me – https://about.me/rahulpandey

Google Picasa: http://pics.rahulpandey.net – the Shutterbug me.

Google Plus – http://plus.rahulpandey.net

Facebook: – http://fb.rahulpandey.net

Twitter – http://twitter.com/rahulpandeyc

My PSW Musings fan page – https://facebook.com/My.PSW.Musings

That’s All Folks!!

PS. the blogs are under development (the widgets, theme, designs, and pages. The content is up and published) Will begin work after my exams finish (after 23rd of April this year ;)) or ‘rather finish me’.

How to use twitter effectively–a noob’s guide

I had previously quit Facebook but owing to my addiction to social networking I couldn’t stay away from one. Thus I thought of experimenting with . Hence I created a new twitter account and the rest is what follows and unfollows!! :P

Below I’ll share what I observed and learnt in the last couple of days.

Twitter is a ghost town!! There is no activity in it!!

Yes you read it right. Twitter does not have any activity in it. It is boring and is nothing like . This is what I felt when I first opened my Twitter account in 2009. I was not having a ‘all time’ internet connection, didn’t know whom to follow, heck "I thought “why to follow?” When I look back I feel I was very naïve. The fault was with me and not with twitter. All this sounds somewhat familiar? Replace Twitter with Plus and voila!

Present day

Having quit Facebook I thought of trying my hands on twitter back again. This time I knew what the mechanism was, what i and how to use it. The important task was to use it properly and effectively.

Keep following and don’t worry about the followers (your and well as others’.) Keep tweeting and don’t worry about retweets.

Yes, the above words seem to be taken from Bhagwad Gita. They are true and perfectly apply to twitter.

Following like washing.

You soak, wash and rinse. You follow, see the tweets in your timeline, if they are good no problem, if not, you unfollow. One important point to note is that you don’t always need to follow someone with large followers or someone who is well established on twitter. For example, I don’t follow @GulPanag. She is THE celebrity to follow on twitter and is a Veteran Twitter user but still her tweets are not my type. So I unfollowed her. You get the point?

Followers count should not be considered in order to follow someone.

What matters is not the follower count but the quality of tweets. Same holds true for retweets.

To Follow Back or Not to?

There are many people who follow you so that you follow them back. But should you follow them back? Your Timeline is any important area of your screen. TL is the thing that you use the most. Thus I personally feel only tweets that satisfy your requirements or needs should enter your timeline. Thus if the person following you tweets ‘interestingly’ then follow back else don’t. Don’t worry if he unfollows you. If you are tweeting good you’ll find followers over a period of time.

What to tweet?

After following a dozen or scores of like minded people, companies or blogs. Next comes what to tweet? Tweet like what you feel. Don’t tweet for the sake of tweeting. Tweet what you feel and want to say or express.

There is a saying knowledge increases when spread (Gyan baatne se badhta hain.) Thus share knowledge that you have. (But remember to stick to what you say.) Share the links you find interesting your niche, if any. Don’t plagiarize. Don’t copy without metioning the source. I remember I unfollowed someone with 5k+ followers because his tweets were not what his linkedin profile claimed to be and many many of his tweets were lifted from websites. Be original.

One important thing to remember is don’t tweet manically. It can flood someone’s timeline.

Indian bloggers don’t give much importance to Twitter

Yeah many Indian bloggers with millions of page views don’t have many followers. Either they are not interested in twitter or they are doing it wrong or a more suitable reason can be Indians are not using Twitter.

An Indian’s reply to Sarah Lacy from Pando Daily

I stumbled upon a post on Pando Daily post titled Why Aren’t More Indians Using Twitter? by Sarah Lacy. It described or rather blamed Indians for not using it properly. I don’t quite agree with her and hence I thought of writing this blog post. Before you proceed, read the post over there and before commenting over there read this blog post!

Dear Sarah,

I am not writing this letter to deny that facts that you wrote, many of them might be right. I am writing this letter to bring to your notice that went unnoticed.

I would quote what you wrote and then write what I feel about it. So lets begin.

1. Size

… Only 33% have access to modern sanitation…

Link: Bihar paradox: Phones outnumber toilets

…Very few are on the Web– less than 50 million by some estimates…So when it comes to the consumer Internet, India’s gargantuan size doesn’t yet translate into users.

This small sized internet consumers doesn’t explain why India ranks second globally, in terms of YouTube video uploads, given that broadband in India is scarce. This was one of the many examples where Indians’ so-called-small-size is making a huge impact.

2. English

English is the lingua franca, but it’s hardly universally spoken. It’s spoken in the business circles in the big cities but fewer than 20 million Indians even work in the formal economy, by some estimates…

The figure is wrong. The total number of people speaking English is 125 million. It does not matter whether they use it formally or not, what matters is that they can use it! You don’t need formal English to be able to use twitter.

3. Democracy

Yes, it’s a democracy in name, but a highly dysfunctional one. Democracy doesn’t stop India from wanting to censor information, so some of the same thorniness and PR nightmares of doing business in China apply in India.

ROFL. If Indian democracy is highly dysfunctional then I must say democracy doesn’t exist in USA :P Democracy in India is one of the most functional and we Indians have pride in it. Of course there are some issues like censorship of information but that would be tackled. It were the Americans not us who came out with PIPA and SOPA. Had our democracy been dysfunctional then the person who speculated of a coup would have been behind the bars and not trending for days on “Twitter”!! Thus ours is a highly functional democracy.

4. Middle Class

In India, “white collar” outsourcing jobs have given Indians a much bigger leg up than a factory job. But there are far far fewer of them. So overall figures about soaring incomes can be misleading.

Yeah I agree, you need to have money to buy a computer, then get an internet connection but most importantly you need to have electricity. And only the rich can tackle this completely!!

Across a host of indices like literacy, life expectancy and quality of life, India is improving at the rate of about 1% per year, according to the World Bank.

Blame corruption for that. (Yeah we Indians are very good at the blame game!)

…In fact, it’s hurt India in the past because investors and Web companies have come in enthusiastically and then pulled out once the promises of the billion person economy didn’t translate…

…And a lot of the top line metrics can be highly misleading– as many VCs and entrepreneurs have learned the hard way….

Yeah, India is a promising country but the reality is very different. Many companies have tried their luck, energy, money, ideas, etc. and failed miserably. To name a few Amazon, EBay, and the countless companies. Even Apple ever managed to sell its iPhone (yeah the genius of Steve Jobs gave up when it came to India) here nor was Motorola able to sell its mobile phone nor Samsung or Apple or MSI or Asus or Toshiba – the largest laptop manufacturers – managed to sell laptops in India. But where Amazon and EBay failed, Flipkart succeeded; where Motorola failed Nokia and Samsung succeeded; where no one succeeded HP and Dell succeeded. Do I need to go into McDonalds, KFC, and the likes, no? From all the companies mentioned above only Flipkart is Indian proving India is not a misleading market. You only need to know how to sell.

When you said that the promises of the billion person economy didn’t translate, you forgot an important lesson – Customer is always right!

But even knowing all of this, I’m still surprised that Twitter isn’t doing better in India.

You mean above points don’t imply to twitter? All of my efforts in typing the above lines are in vain now. Damn! Then why the heck did you mention them? Just because you wanted to ramble about a not-so-good-condition of one of the emerging markets!! “Technically, a woman can not be called a virgin if she is raped. But is it correct? No. In the same manner you should not call a nation poor if she had been robbed for 190 years.”

The first guy in the comments had problem with the image of the lady with the phone that you used. But I don’t have any problem with it. Read the below quote to know the reason.

Then the villager held up a cell phone. “Is this you what mean?” he seemed to ask.
The little connectivity meter on the phone display had four bars. There are significant swaths of the United States of America where one can barely pull in a signal—or gets no bars at all. But here in rural India, the signal was strong.

Quoted from the book “In the Plex – How Google Thinks, Works and Shapes our Life” by Steven Levy

Now lets think why is doing well and twitter is not. That would be post in itself. Hence I am cutting it short.

And Indians are notoriously outspoken, loving to argue and debate anything.

You have said it. Facebook offers no limits. Twitter is just 140 characters short! Even our Diwali, Christmas text greetings exceed 160 characters then how can you expect us to use Twitter. Which offers better features to argue and debate? Twitter or Facebook?

Just make a list of features offered by Facebook and list of features not offered by twitter :P and you’ll figure out why twitter is not The Thing in India. You may also look into the comments on your post. Some of them are insightful.

Considering that you are an award winning journalist, it was disappointing that you did not reply to some of the valid comments on your post. But wait, isn’t journalism different from Blogging? Sorry I take my words back. And it is very sad that you did not tag your post under Ramblings. :P

Finally I am no one and my words don’t matter hence ignore me like the commenters on your post.

Yours truly,

Rahul Pandey

(Gujarati by birth, UP-Bihari by blood, Indian by heart and human by soul.)

PS. I have no personal, economical or emotional enmity towards any person, nation, or company or anyone else mentioned above. Forgive me for my grammar.

Facebook and Twitter – two mechanisms of networking

Lets go back in time about five years back. There were Friendster, MySpace, Hi5, Orkut, LinkedIn, Facebook, etc. – social networks fighting each other for supremacy (minus LinkedIn) Now a couple of years back. We have Twitter, Tumblr, Google Plus, Quora, Pinterest, etc. – the social networks around a particular niche. Notice a difference in the two groups? Yes, the former functions / functioned around the ‘friend request’ mechanism and latter on ‘follow-unfollow’ mechanism. If i am right then it was Twitter that first introduced the concept ‘following’ someone instead of friending.

So which must be the better of the two? Of course the latter one as its being adopted by the social networks that are emerging now. ‘Following’ provides better activity as it breaks the friending process into two “independent” halves. Thus the user is not kept waiting for the other user to respond. Thus is its better. I remember some 20 months back while using Good Reads i came across a new mechanism of friending. You send a friend request and wait for the other person to respond but there is a catch. The moment you send a friend request you start following that person. Sounds familiar? Yes, facebook implemented this soon after Google Plus came out. It is called ‘Subscribe’. I don’t know whether Good Reads was the first one or not but it had some novelity.

On some other note. I have seen my friends sending friend requests to hot chicks and then awaiting their confirmation in anxiety. They’d cheer up if they got accepted. This cant be found in ‘following’ but this is something that is flirt and not a utility.

Why I love Google

A few days back I was wondering if every link clicked on Google Search opened in a new tab and then I forgot about it. But yesterday when I checked out the search settings accidentally I couldn’t stop a smile on my lips. See it for yourself…

google-settings

Click to enlarge.

Yeah I might be late to know this but its never to late.

Twitter acquires #Posterous [my thoughts]

This is the ‘bestest thing’ that could have happened to Posterous. Now that both the services would become one in the coming days I feel that the tweeps and Posterous users would benefit. Twitter would bring more users to Posterous.

I always found Posterous to be better than Tumblr, in fact I started this blog on Posterous before moving here. And it still amuses what an email can do. The best blogging platform that is out there for the lay people who aren’t much comfortable with HTML coding. I moved to WP because I wanted HTML editing and Windows Live Writer doesn’t support Posterous, needs a plug-in.

Few things ideas that I can think of is:

  1. Long tweets, images from twitpic, yfrog, etc., videos uploaded to twitter can automatically converted to posts on Posterous.
  2. Followers of users of both services can be merged, tackles Tumblr.
  3. Something like a fan page can be developed to tackle Facebook.

Pour in your suggestions in the comments.

The new Facebook Messenger for windows [Review]

I just downloaded and tried the new Facebook messenger. It has some cool features, some not so cool features. Read On.

The Good

  1. Your ticker is now everywhere

    fb-messenger-screen

    You can dock the messenger to the right of the screen just as the ticker sits on to the right of the Facebook screen. As you can see in the above image the messenger is on to the right. This messenger resizes other windows just like the windows gadget panels. Now you can stalk your friends every time even when you are not using Facebook, or even surfing. All you need is an internet connection.

  2. Notifications, friend requests and messages are now everywhere

    You get notifications,friends requests and messages above the ticker. Clicking on any of them will drop down a menu, just like the web version.

  3. Message anyone for the messenger

    You can message anyone from the messenger just as you do in the web version. Search him from below the chat, click his name. <pop up opens saying that he is not online,> <you curse it because you know that,> you type the message <enter>

  4. Pop-ups for new notifications

    You get pop-up for every new notification. That’s a nice feature. Although it can worse if you get a lot of notifications. But still a welcome feature. notificaton-pop-up-facebook-messenger

The Bad

  1. The Clicks on ticker and else where would open your browser

    This includes the ticker, friend requests, messages, notification and the profile link at the top right.

    They could have had added these through a pop up, at least the ticker, as they have done with the web. But I guess they want to increase the user time on their web version hence a messenger that lest you track your and your friends’ activity everywhere but in order to contribute or engage you need to go back to the web version. But this is annoying.

  2. You can not select whom to stay invisible

    facebook-windows-messenger-options-does-not-have-advance-settingsfacebook-web-version-chat-options

    The Left one is Facebook Messenger, Right one is web version.

    Yes, you don’t get the ‘advance settings’ that you can access by clicking on the options button on the web from where you can select you visibility options.facebook-web-version-advance-chat-settings

  3. No Pop-ups for chat

    The pop-ups that you get for Gtalk or Yahoo! Messenger are absent here. A big disappointment considering that you get pop-ups for notifications.

  4. As I am using dial up, the profile images for some friends did not load.

    Not an issue though.

The Ugly

There is nothing ugly in it. You’ll love it.

Rating: 3.5/5

Verdict: Overall a decent windows software. I always wanted a messenger to chat with my Facebook friends without having to visit the website and all other services including Skype’s Facebook connect didn’t work as I wanted. This one just did the magic. Must Download and Use. Recommended highly, especially for STALKERS.

Download link:Facebook messenger

Its not available for Linux. :( Mac users wait for sometime its in the pipeline.

Update: One feature that is missing is the ability to stay invisible as in Yahoo Messenger, Skype and ohers but it depends on you how you look at it as Google Chat also does not offer to stay invisible.

When you close facebook chat it stays iny our tray and notifies of the new notifications and messages.

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