All posts by Joel Fernandes

Joel Fernandes (G+) is a tech enthusiast and a social media blogger. During his leisure time, he enjoys taking photographs, and photography is one of his most loved hobbies. You can find some of his photos on Flickr. He does a little of web coding, and maintains a tech blog of his own - Techo Latte. Joel is currently pursuing his Masters in Computer Application from Bangalore, India. You can get in touch with him on Twitter - @joelfernandes, or visit his Facebook Profile for more information.

Windows 8 Picture Password is Amazing

Say goodbye to long, old-fashioned alphanumeric passwords. How about authenticating yourself by just drawing a circle on a picture, or tap at a particular point? Sounds silly? Well, this is how you will be logging in to your Windows 8  system.

Microsoft on Friday revealed details on its new “Picture Password” technology, which basically allows Windows 8 users to login to their system by simply drawing preset patterns on a picture that is manually selected. So, every time you want to login to your Windows 8 system, you need to draw those specific patterns and get access to the computer.

Windows 8 Picture Password

In a blog post, Steven Sinofsky explains –

The experience of signing in to your PC with touch has traditionally been a cumbersome one. In a world with increasingly strict password requirements-with numbers, symbols, and capitalization-it can take upwards of 30 seconds to enter a long, complex password on a touch keyboard. We have a strong belief that your experience with Windows 8 should be both fast and fluid, and that starts when you sign in.

Microsoft filed a patent, numbered 8,024,775, for the feature in February in 2008, but was approved in September, giving Microsoft legal protection for its new approach to device security.

Also Read:  Interactive Authentication Methods Get Rid of Annoying Passwords

How does it work?

To create a Picture Password, you need to go to “PC Settings” panel, where you will be presented with an option “Create a picture password.” You will be prompted to enter your Account password, before you proceed further. You’re then asked to select a photo from your album.

Once you have selected a photo, you will have to draw three gestures on the screen (or the photo). Each gesture must either be a circle, a line between two points, or a tap. Once you have successfully confirmed and entered the gestures, the system will call up the photo at login. You will need to perform the same gestures, and if you get them all correct in the right order and direction, you will be given access to the system.

Technically, the image that you have selected will be divided into a grid. The longest dimension of the image will be divided into 100 segments. The shorter dimension is then divided on that scale to create the grid upon which you draw gestures.

Windows 8 Picture Password

While setting up the gesture, individual points are defined by their coordinates (x,y) position on the grid. For instance, the line gesture will have starting and ending coordinates. The coordinate points will be saved in the system, and when you’re attempting to login with Picture Password, the system evaluates the gesture you provide, and compares them in the background. If it matches, you’re given access to the system. Otherwise, the authentication will fail.

The new feature will only work on touchscreen devices, like smartphone, tablet, or touchscreen PC, since it involves finger gestures on the screen.

Also Read:  Windows 8: When Two Worlds Collide

The new feature definitely sounds interesting and I’m looking forward/quite curious to   trying/try it.  However, we’re not sure how secure the picture password is. Microsoft should probably allow free-form movements rather than the three gestures. What do you think of the new Picture Password? Do you think it’ll be secure enough?

Finding Ways to Disable the Timeline? Unfortunately Facebook Doesn’t Let You Do That

Earlier this week, Facebook rolled out its new Timeline feature to all 800 million users on its network. Although the new profile layout offers new and interesting features, some users on Facebook are finding it too complicated and cluttered with the advertisements and news ticker on the right hand side. Annoyed users are dreadfully finding ways to disable and get rid of the Timeline feature.

Facebook released a Developer application through which you could enable the Timeline and test it. Users also had an option to downgrade to the old profile by simply deleting the app from the Developer settings page.

Now that the Timeline has been released for all users, Facebook stated that it will go live automatically after seven days, no matter if you like it or not. Timeline is here to stay, at least for the next few months. Unfortunately, there is no way you can disable it.

Facebook Timeline

Also See: How To Hide Facebook Timeline For Yourself

A spokesperson for Facebook explains –

Once you click Get Timeline,you will have seven days to review everything that appears on your timeline before anyone else can see it.

If you choose, you can publish your timeline right away. If you decide to wait, your timeline will go live automatically after seven days. Your timeline will replace your profile.

Eventually everyone on Facebook will be rolled over to timeline.

You have no choice, but are forced to get used to the new profile layout. When Facebook released its new Facebook News Feed and Live Ticker, everyone hated it. Users had no choice, but to accept it. Few users also announced that they would delete their Facebook account and switch over to Google Plus. However, that never happened. I see the same set of users now likingthe Timeline. Such straightforward statements don’t bother Facebook, since they know that people will eventually get used to it.

If you’re finding the new layout too cluttered, then you can try disabling the ticker and chat. We had posted an article earlier on how you can disable the news ticker on the right.

We have posted an in-depth guide about Timeline. I recommended you to go through it and know all of its features. Who knows, you may start loving it.

Also See: Easily Hide/Remove Facebook Timeline With This Trick

Type “Let It Snow” on Google for a Christmas Surprise

Christmas is in the air and so are celebrations. Google  has surprised users all over the Internet with an awesome Easter Egg presenting snowflakes falling down the page, and eventually filling/blocking the search results  and the information on the page with snow.

Go to Google and type “let it snow,” and sit back and enjoy the snowfall. Slowly the entire page will be filled up with snow. Not just that, you can also write your name after the page is completely filled with snow. Here’s a screenshot of what I wrote (Techie Buzz) –

Let It Snow - Google Easter Egg

After the page is filled with snow, you can simply click the defrostbutton to clear the screen, and the snow begins to fall again.

Google brings in something new and innovative on every occasion, and this time it has simply amazed us. Everybody loves how Google keeps presenting these little Easter Eggs. Recently, we saw some new Easter Eggs, like do a barrel roll, tilt, and askew.

When you perform the “do a barrel roll” search at Google.com, the search page will flip over and rotate just like a plane would do while it is doing a barrel roll. Google is known for its impressive  Google Doodle  however, there are several other interesting features in Google search which are  hidden as Easter Eggs  and sometimes not so hidden like the  Google Pirate Edition.

Google is also celebrating Hanukkah! Type the word Hanukkahon the Google search form and you’ll see a special surprise. Hanukkah is also known as the Festival of Lights. It is an eight-day Jewish holiday commemorating the rededication of the Holy Temple in Jerusalem. It is observed for eight nights and days, starting on the 25th day of Kislev according to the Hebrew calendar, which may occur at any time from late November to late December in the Gregorian calendar.

We’ve compiled a list of Google’s best hidden Easter eggs and gags. Hope you’ll like them all.

Facebook Threatens to Sue “Mark Zuckerberg”

Facebook has threatened to sue Mark Zuckerberg. Well, not the real Mark Zuckerberg who is the co-founder and CEO of Facebook. I’m actually talking about an Israeli entrepreneur named Rotem Guez who has legally changed his name to Mark Zuckerberg on December 7, 2011.

Earlier in January, Facebook shut down Guez’s Facebook account for violating Facebook’s TOS. Guez stated that Facebook was unwilling to return his Facebook profile for no apparent, legitimate reason.One of the main reasons why Facebook kicked him off the networkFacebook to Sue Mark Zuckerberg was because he offered service for selling “Likes” and creating fake accounts.

For this, Guez filed a case against Facebook after the networking giant refused to give him access to his profile. He co-founded the site “Like Store“, a social marketing company which mainly offers selling “Likes” to companies for their brand pages.

The site states – “Want to boost the traffic to your site? you’ve came to the right place! Join hundreds of satisfied Likestore customers and begin seeing results right away.”

It is known that Like Store not only offers “Likes”, but also Google +1’s, YouTube views, Site traffic, and Automatic SEO Programs.

On September 1, Facebook filed a lawsuit claiming the Guez and ‘Like Store’ violated Facebook’s TOS by selling advertisers ‘Fans’ for their ‘Fan Pages’, and stated that only Facebook can provide such a service. Facebook also demanded Guez to shut down his company and the services offered by it.

“The idea was, if only ‘Mark Zuckerberg’ is allowed to sell likes, then for that matter, I’m ‘Mark Zuckerberg,'” he said. The Israeli, however, acknowledged that his company violates Facebook’s terms of use, but said many U.S. companies offer similar services.

A Facebook Page created by Guez (Or probably a supporter of Guez) states the following – “This is the true story of Israeli entrepreneur Mr. Rotem Guez, Co-Founder of ‘Like Store’, an international social marketing company, who got a threat of a lawsuit from Facebook and changed his name to Mark Zuckerberg.” The Page is nearing 4,000 likes, but we’re unsure if Facebook would take it down.

Guez changed his name legally to “Mark Zuckerberg” on December 7. After changing his name, he told Facebook, “If you want to sue me, you’re going to have to sue Mark Zuckerberg.” In the video below, you can see his visit to the Interior Ministry to make the switch official; he says he plans to change his family’s names as well

A Facebook spokesman stated the following – “Protecting the people who use Facebook is a top priority and we will take action against those who violate our terms.”

Facebook Launches Timeline for Android, and Mobile Web

UPDATE:    The iPhone version is now available for download from the  Apple App Store.

After the worldwide release of Timeline yesterday, Facebook has now made an announcement that the new profile layout is available on both the mobile web (m.facebook.com) and the Android Facebook app, which can be downloaded from the Android Market here.

In a blog post, Facebook explains –

Mobile timeline starts with your unique cover photo. As you scroll down, you’ll see your posts, photos and life events as they happened, back to the day you were born. Photo albums and other posts are horizontally swipeable, so you can quickly view multiple photos or posts inline without leaving timeline. You can also swipe through the views at the top of your timeline to navigate to your map, photos, subscribers and more.

Apart from photo albums, subscribers, and maps, users can now know which apps they are using on their Android smartphone. The social networking giant aims to create a highly visual experience. However, it’s strategically taking advantage of the ever-expanding mobile market, focusing mainly on increasing its user base from 800 million to a big milestone.

Facebook Android App

With the new mobile app, Facebook users can easily scroll through previous updates, featuring larger photos and the ability to swipe horizontally to see additional information (or content) without leaving the Timeline. Similar to the full website version, the mobile app allows users to browse all rich media and to hide, or delete items. However, these editing controls are less in number compared to what the full website provides.

For instance, users are not allowed to edit the Aboutsection of their profile using the app, however, they can change their cover photo. Users also cannot change the privacy settings of an existing post. Mobile users are also unable to add life eventsor make posts that are dated in the past.

Worth a mention, the mobile Timeline also features Open Graph app activity. For instance, tapping on any Spotify content will open up the native app if it is installed on the device.

Facebook Android App

iPhone users will have to wait a little longer as Facebook hasn’t mentioned about the release date for Timeline in the iOS app. However, Facebook notes that the app is underway. iOS apps go through an approval process before making its way to the Apple’s App Store.

To find out more about the new Facebook Timeline, check our in-depth guide.

Google Defines “An English Person” as “C**T”

Probably by the time you read this, Google will most likely have fixed the issue.

When Google goes wrong, it goes wrong like a spectacle. Recently, users on the Internet reported  that search results for the phrase  “define English person”  on Google returned a link to a Wikipedia article, which is considered by many to be the most offensive word in the English language. It is also used in the US as “an offensive way to refer to a woman”.

Define "English Person" Google Bomb

Some people consider it as a general swear and is used comically. However, it’s not always considered the same in polite company. In others, the “C word” is widely considered to be the most severe curse in the English language. And Google returning such a result for a phrase like that is completely not acceptable.

There are only two possible explanations for such a cause. One, this is simply a “glitch” in the search engine, or bad case of ranking. The second possible reason could be “Google-bombing”. According to Wikipedia, the terms Google bomb and Googlewashing refer to practices, such as creating large numbers of links that cause a web page to have a high ranking for searches on unrelated or off topic keyword phrases, often for comical or satirical purposes.

Similar examples of such errors include searches for “miserable failure,” which brought up a picture of the U.S President George W. Bush. Searching for the phrase “weapons of mass destruction” brought up a parody 404 page, and the word “Hell” took users to Microsoft’s home page. In 2004, after the controversy that erupted in the Philippines over the allegations that President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo had cheated in the elections, the phrase “pekeng pangulo” (“fake president”) was linked to her official website.

Google "Miserable Failure"

Google is aware of the problem, and according to one employee, it “looks like a bad case of ranking that we’re looking into.”

According to Google, the team does not fix such errors by hand. They rather look for an automatic way to solve the problem instead of trying to fix a particular search by hand. This enables the extra effort to find a good algorithm helps detect Googlebombs in many different languages.

The glitch works on  both  google.com and google.co.uk. Go on, try it for yourself before it’s corrected.

Facebook Timeline Goes Live for Everyone; Get Facebook Timeline Now

The wait is finally over. After three months of long delay (and trademark issues), Facebook has finally rolled out its new profile to all users on its network.   Facebook announced this news in a blog post a few hours ago.

For those who are not aware of what “Timeline” is all about, then let me brief you a bit. Timeline is a new layout of Facebook profile, which allows you to tell your life story and shows a detailed overview of your life on Facebook. It also allows your friends to check out what you did (updated) at a particular point in time very quickly and easily. Basically, it creates a sequence of your time to time events that can be accessed later on.

Facebook Timeline

Facebook introduced the new profile design way back in September during its F8 conference. It comes with a new feature called Activity Log, which gives you full control of what appears in your Timeline. You can perform actions, like delete, hide, or update a status.

The new layout was scheduled to roll out to all users in September itself. However, due to trademark issues a case was filed against Facebook by a small Chicago based company, Timelines.com. Due to this, the social networking giant had to reschedule the launch date. Recently we reported that Facebook counter-sued Timelines.com stating that the word timelineis a commonly used word.

How to Activate Timeline on your Profile:

To activate (enable) Timeline, go to facebook.com/about/timeline  and click on “Get Timeline”. To find out more about the new Facebook Timeline, check our in-depth guide.

Facebook also notifies that when you upgrade to the new timeline, you will have a seven days review period. During this review period, your timeline will be visible only to you. You can make all necessary changes and modify things the way you want. At the end of the seventh day, the timeline will go live automatically and can be viewed by all your friends. However, if you wish to publish your timeline anytime during the review period, then you have the option to do so.

You can choose to see how your timeline appears to a specific friend or the public. To view how your timeline appears to other people, click on the gear menu on the top (next to activity log) and select “View As”.

Timeline will also be available on Android devices as well as the mobile version of Facebook m.facebook.com.

This Amazing Camera Captures Speed-of-Light in Slow Motion

If one asked me to believe that some researchers have developed an imaging system to capture light in slow motion, say about five years ahead from now, then I would probably believe it with a blink of an eye.

I was told about the same technique today (by a friend of mine) that researchers at MIT have created a camera that rendered the speed of light in slow motion. Believe me, I literally kept blinking after I heard about it.

I was filled with awe when I read about the New York Times report, which stated that “scientists at MIT have created an ultrafast camera that captures light as it passes through liquids and objects, creating a snapshot in less than two-trillionths of a second.”

Speed of Light Captured in Slow Motion

Well, if you still haven’t got the idea on why I’m so surprised, or if this news hasn’t really blown your mind away, then consider this – The video you see below would require an entire lifetime to watch one tenth of a second of footage on this camera. Hence, it is actually delayed down to 30 frames per second, so that you can actually watch the speed of light in slow motion.

The team headed by Ramesh Raskar – Associate Professor at MIT Media Lab, terms the technique as “femto photography”, which consists of femtosecond laser illumination, picosecond-accurate detectors and mathematical reconstruction techniques.

The light source used in the demonstration is a Titanium Sapphire laser that emits pulses at regular intervals every ~13 nanoseconds.

According to Raskar –

A laser pulse that lasts less than one trillionth of a second is used as a flash and the light returning from the scene is collected by a camera at a rate equivalent to roughly half a trillion frames per second. However, due to very short exposure times (roughly two trillionth of a second) and a narrow field of view of the camera, the video is captured over several minutes by repeated and periodic sampling.

The recording is done at roughly 480 frames and each frame has a roughly 1.71 picosecond exposure time. A fixed delay is maintained between the laser pulse and the movie start time. After all the process, an algorithm uses the captured data to compose a single 2D movie of about 480 frames.

Speed of Light Captured in Slow Motion

Raskar also notes that the use of such cameras can be done in “Medical Imaging, Industrial or Scientific use, and the future for even consumer photography.” He also explains that one can use this technique in Industrial Imaging to analyze defects in objects and materials, while in consumer photography, people are generally fascinated about lighting effects, and with this we can create photos showing how photons move through space and analyze their movements.

Hidden Facebook Messages That You Have Not Read

Facebook announced the new version of Messages earlier in February, which everyone thought was a “Gmail Killer”. However, after Facebook rolled out the new feature to all users, they stated that the functionality of the new  messaging  system is more like chatting, and is definitely not an email killer.

After having launched the new version of Facebook Messages, users on Facebook failed to notice the feature – “Other” Messages – which was released along with the messaging system. The “Other” folder (sub-folder under Messages) basically contains those messages that aren’t important, and are mostly sent by those people who are not there in your friends list. Sources indicate that Facebook automatically sends “spammy” messages to this folder and acts more like a “Spam” folder.

Facebook Messages

Very few users  knew about the “Other” folder since the launch of its new version of the messaging system, but the real story narrated by Elizabeth Weingarten has made it clear that many people never knew about the existence of the folder. Unaware users are now learning about the new folder and are growing mad, since they are finding important messages that were sent months ago and Facebook never cared to notify them.

One of the main reasons why users are not aware of this folder is because Facebook never displays any notification when a message is received in the “Other” folder. However, the best way to make sure that you don’t miss any messages is by regularly checking the folder, until Facebook decides to implement the notification system for it.

If in case you were not aware of the “Other” folder on Facebook, then you should probably go to Facebook and check for any important unread messages in the folder. Most likely you will be surprised to see a number of unread messages. These messages were designated as “unimportant” by Facebook, and that is why they were assigned that folder.

Facebook Other Messages

When I opened the “Other” folder, I mainly saw invites to various Facebook Events, which of course weren’t that important to me. Apart from that, it also contained a few spam messages, like “I got my 500 Facebook credits.

If you find any important messages, then you can move it to the (main) Messages folder. To do so, open the message and select “Move to Messages” from the Actions drop-down. Here’s a screenshot that can help you locate it –

Facebook Other Messages

Google Doodle Celebrating Intel’s Founder – Robert Noyce’s 84th Birthday

In celebration of Robert Norton Noyce’s 84th birthday, Google is honoring the great man by featuring a Google Doodle on its search home page. The doodle features an integrated circuit with “Google” written over it.

Robert Norton Noyce is famously known for co-founding Intel, one of the largest semiconductor chip maker in the world. Nicknamed as “the Mayor of Silicon Valley”, Noyce was born on December 12, 1927, in Burlington, Iowa. He is also known for inventing the integrated circuits (or microchips).

Google Doodle Celebrating Robert Noyce's 84th Birthday

Noyce grew up in Grinnell, Iowa and attended the local schools. He exhibited a talent for math and science and graduated from Grinnell High School in 1945. He then entered Grinnell College in the same year. Noyce obtained his Ph.D. in physics from Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1953 and studied the first transistors, developed at Bell Laboratories, in a Grinnell College classroom.

After having completed his graduation from the MIT, he took the first job as a research engineer from the Philco Corporation in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Later in in 1956 he joined the Shockley Semiconductor Laboratory in Mountain View, California.

In the year 1968, Noyce along with Gordon E. Moore founded Intel, which is currently one of the largest semiconductor chip maker in the world. The company’s net income as of 2010 was US$ 11.464 billion.

In July, 1959, Noyce filed for U.S. Patent 2,981,877 “Semiconductor Device and Lead Structure”, a type of integrated circuit. He has been granted a total of 16 U.S. Patents.

For his invention of the integrated circuits, he was honored by three presidents of the United States. Some of his awards include –

  • President Ronald Reagan awarded him the National Medal of Technology in 1987Robert Noyce
  • George H.W. Bush inducted him into the Business Hall of Fame
  • President George H. W. Bush presented the award, sponsored by the National Academy of Engineering, in a black-tie ceremony held at the State Department
  • He received a “Lifetime Achievement Medal” during the bicentennial celebration of the Patent Act
  • He received the Franklin Institute’s Stuart Ballantine Medal in 1966
  • He was awarded the IEEE Medal of Honor in 1978 “for his contributions to the silicon integrated circuit, a cornerstone of modern electronics.”
  • The National Academy of Engineering awarded him its 1989 Charles Stark Draper Prize

Robert married Elizabeth Bottomley in 1953 and divorced in 1974. He married again on November 27, 1975 to Ann Schmeltz Bowers, who was the first Director of Personnel for Intel Corporation and the first Vice President of Human Resources for Apple Inc. She is currently the Chair of the Board and the founding trustee of the Noyce Foundation.

Noyce enjoyed reading Hemingway, flying his own airplane, hang gliding, and scuba diving. Noyce died from a heart attack at home on June 3, 1990 at the Seton Medical Center in Austin, Texas.