All posts by Tehseen Baweja

Tehseen likes to write about Internet tools that make life easier. Check out his blog at Ijaar.com for more good stuff or follow him on Twitter @tehseenbaweja

Bollywood Movie ‘Tera Kiya Hoga Johnny’ Leaked On YouTube

Bollywood Director Sudhir Mishra’s latest film featuring Neil Nitin Mukesh and Soha Ali Khan is set to release for April 2010. However, this didn’t stop somebody from uploading a ripped version to YouTube. According to the Hindustan Times article, the film has been premiered in a number of film festivals, but has not been released yet.

Official complaints were sent to YouTube and the videos have been removed now but not before getting around 500 views. The production company claims that the version uploaded on YouTube is the first rough cut and the final production is quite different from it. Official complaints have also been filed with the cyber crimes cell of local Mumbai police.

TeraKiyaHogaJohnny

Here are the actual YouTube links for the videos. Even though the videos were removed from YouTube before getting a lot of audience, a simple google search reveals that it might have leaked to other sharing sites and forums. The role of YouTube in this case is quite interesting as on one hand people are using it to share illegal content while on the other hand, producers are trying to partner up with YouTube to officially share their content.

Lockheed Martin Gets Into The Flash Drive Business – Introduces “PC On A Stick”

When you think of Lockheed Martin, you think of fighter planes, laser technologies and missile systems. However, that perception is about to change. Lockheed Martin just introduced their first flash drive called IronClad. The drive is manufactured by IronKey and is an innovative approach to secure portable computing since it would allow you to carry much more than your data.

IronClad

Being termed as “PC on a stick“, IronClad would allow you to carry your operating system as well as all the applications along with your data so you can plug it in to any public computer and get access to your laptop. It is an excellent way for employees who travel or have to work from home to access all their stuff from any computer without compromising the security. It also comes with a built-in anti-virus to safeguard your data against any malware. Each IronClad device includes at least 8 GB of space and uses a 256 bit encryption technology to ensure the security of your data. The surface of the drive is reportedly water and shock resistant. Accompanied with an enterprise management software, the technology will make it easier to manage and control the cyber security profile for each drive.

The technology will be featured at the 13th Annual Congressional Internet Caucus Advisory Committee Kickoff Technology Policy Exhibition on January 26th, 2010. Right now the drive and the enterprise software are available directly from Lockheed Martin.

TwitPic Rejected a $10 Million Buyout Offer

With Twitter experiencing tremendous growth, a lot of Twitter apps have also taken off. We recently heard about OneForty raising $1.9 Million for its Twitter app store and now there is talk of TwitPic being valued at more than $10 Million.

TwitPic is the most popular photo sharing site for Twitter with 6.5 million registered users and thousands of photos uploaded everyday. A recent interview with Noah Everett, the founder of TwitPic, reveals that TwitPic rejected a buyout offer of more than $10 Million last year. This interview with Mixergy further reveals that TwitPic makes around $1.5 Million every year out of which 70% is net profit.

It is a remarkable achievement for a service that was started by Noah single-handedly without any outside funding. Even now, the TwitPic team only consists of 4 people including Noah’s parents. Here is the complete interview.

If you want to know more about TwitPic, check out our previous posts here and here.

How To Find Backlinks To A Website

Anybody who knows about search engine optimization understands how important high-quality backlinks are to a website. The more backlinks you get, the higher you rank for a search engine query. However, how does one go about seeing what backlinks a specific web page or website is receiving?

Here is a little tool to help you with that. Backlink Watch is a crappy looking but very useful little tool that gives you a detailed information of backlinks for any website. Just enter the URL and wait for the report to generate. The tool will tell you the total number of backlinks and then give details of each link including the PageRank info of the linking website as well as the number of outbound links the linking website has.

The tool also raises a flag if any abnormal tag, such as the nofollow tag, is used. The report also displays the exact anchor text used by the referring website. You can click on any of the links to go to actual referring web page.

Techie-Buzz Verdict:

Even though Backlink Watch has a poor interface, it is a highly functional and useful tool to get backlink information for any website. It can be used as a first step to analyze the number and quality of backlinks a website is getting so appropriate steps can be taken to optimize the search engine ranking.

Rating: 3/5

Yauba: A ‘Privacy Safe’ Search Engine

Search engines like Google and Yahoo! are great when it comes to accuracy and relevancy but they aren’t the best thing if you are concerned about your privacy. They store information about your search history and use that to improve their algorithms.

If you want to search the internet anonymously and don’t want the search engine to remember what you searched for or what was your IP address, Yauba is an excellent alternative. Yauba is a “privacy safe” search engine meaning it doesn’t store any information about your searches, your IP address, your browsing habits or any other personally identifiable information.

Other than that, Yauba works like a regular search engine allowing you to search websites, news, blogs, images, videos, files and even torrents. You can select any of these categories to narrow down your search or select all the places to perform a global search. With Yauba, search results include a thumbnail of the website and provide a link to the home page of the website in addition to the page containing your keywords. Another feature that makes Yauba unique is the consolidation of results in different categories such as news, social networks, real-time search e.t.c.

Yauba also works as a proxy server by letting you browse websites anonymously. Every search result includes a little link titled Visit Website Anonymously that lets you browse the website without compromising your privacy. Yauba also offers a lite version of the search engine that is even faster.

Techie-Buzz Verdict:

Yauba is a great search engine that is both intelligent and privacy-safe. You can use it as an anonymous search engine or a proxy server to visit websites anonymously. Yauba’s intelligent algorithm combined with a great interface makes it one of the best search engines around.

Rating: 4/5

Baidu: A Day Of Criticism, Soaring Stocks and Hacked Website

A lot of people knew about Baidu already, but last 48 hours have put the Chinese search engine in some serious limelight. Baidu is suddenly the talk of the day after Google announced their new approach to China and indicated that they might even close down their business in China. However, being talked about is not the only thing Baidu enjoyed recently, they also had some other interesting developments:

Rising Stock Price:

Firstly, Google’s exit from the Chinese market, leaves Baidu as the top and only serious search engine available in China. The stock market understands this and responded with a 13% rise in Baidu’s NASDAQ share prices. On the contrary, Google saw a 12% drop in their stock price.

Site Hacked:

A lot of reports show that Baidu.com was hacked for around 3 hours on Tuesday by the Iranian Cyber Army. People going to Baidu.com saw the Iranian flag and the words “Iranian Cyber Army” along with some other symbols. It isn’t yet clear why the Iranian Cyber Army would want to hack Baidu, but reportedly Chinese hackers responded by hacking a number of websites registered in Iran.

Criticism:

With Google being praised on one hand for its ethics and integrity, Baidu is naturally getting all the heat in terms of negative criticism. Twitter and blogs are full of people criticizing Baidu for compromising with the Chinese authorities and abandoning “freedom of speech”.

Experience Baidu Censorship Firsthand:

Baidu also got some heat from the international community when tweets about how to experience censorship on Baidu surfaced. Simply go to Baidu.com and search for anything. Now search for google.blogspot.com and you will be banned.

Good or bad, it seems like a lot is happening for Baidu in a very short time.

Valleywag Paying up to $100,000 For Apple Tablet Information

Despite months of speculation and thousands of blog posts about the Apple Tablet, there are still no confirmed details or genuine photos available about the device. Everyone is adding their own bits to the information after being tipped by anonymous insiders, something which has just added to the confusion instead of putting up a clear picture.

Well, one blog has had enough about it. Valleywag, a popular blog, is willing to pay up to $100,000 if you can provide some solid material about the Apple tablet. Here’s how they will pay:

  • $10,000 for genuine pictures.
  • $20,000 for a video of the device.
  • $50,000 for pictures/videos of Steve Jobs holding one.
  • $100,000 if you can let Valleywag play with one for an hour.

The prizes, however, would not be paid until after Apple officially announces the tablet (rumored to be on 27th January 2010) and it is confirmed that the photos/videos are genuine. Valleywag promises to keep your information anonymous. If you have some authentic information, you can send it to [email protected].

One a side note, popular blogs like TechCrunch are speculating that Valleywag can get into some legal trouble over this scavenger hunt for Apple tablet since by offering an incentive, they are inducing a breach of the NDA that everybody with a tablet must have signed.

15 Awesome Tools To Share Images On Twitter

With millions of tweets everyday, Twitter is one of the most popular social network on the web. People use it to share everything including their media. Here, we bring to you 15 great tools to share your photos/images/pictures on Twitter without any hassle:

1. Twitter2Press: A sleek WordPress plugin to share your images on Twitter. Your images are hosted on your WordPress blog and are hence advertisement free.

2. TwitterGram: Send your Flickr photos to Twitter automatically. Just provide your Flickr username and Twitter credentials, and TwitterGram will scan your Flickr feeds every 10 minutes and post new photos to your Twitter account.

3. TwitPic: One of the most popular image sharing tools for Twitter. Just upload an image from your computer or phone and easily post it to Twitter.

4. PictTweet: Upload hand written pictures on Twitter using your iPhone/iPod Touch.

5. Imj.tw: Sign in with your Twitter or Facebook account to share pictures securely on Twitter. You can also edit titles, descriptions and other options. Maximum allowed size is 10 MB per image.

6. TwitPaint: Feeling creative? Paint a graffiti and share it on Twitter. You can also browse and edit graffiti created by other users.

7. TweetPhoto: Share your photos on Twitter and Facebook. Log back in any time to see the images you have shared.

8. FlickToTwitt: Announce on Twitter as soon as you post an image on Flickr. A very simple yet useful tool to sync your Flickr and Twitter account.

9. SnapShack: A simple photo sharing tool for Twitter that lets you resize pictures before sharing.

10. Pikter: Share your photos on Twitter via email or MMS. Just send your photos to Pikter and they will automatically be posted to your Twitter account.

11. PixaVid: A very simple and to-the-point tool that lets you share images on Twitter.

12. Rosa.ly: Found an interesting image on the web? Share it on Twitter using this great Firefox extension. Also lets you save and organize images.

13. Twio.cz: Upload pictures on Twitter via web or email. Twio also lets you comment on other photos. Maximum allowed size is 3 MB per image.

14. Tvider: Share your pictures, audio and video on Twitter. Record from your webcam or upload from your computer. Tvider also has mobile apps for iPhone, Symbian and BlackBerry.

15. TwitBooth: Take pictures with your webcam and share on Twitter. A no-hassle tool.

How Tweets Are Ranked By Google?

Google rolled out their real-time search last month that includes results from Twitter, blogs and other web pages generating real-time content. Even though everybody appreciated the feature, nobody exactly understood how Google works when it comes to ranking tweets.

Technology Review is breaking the silence on this after talking to Amit Singhal, a Google employee, who led the development of real-time search at Google. Amit mentions 3 major things that the Google algorithm considers while ranking a tweet higher than others:

1. Number of followers matter:

Just like a web page with 1,000 incoming links ranks higher than a web page with 5 incoming links, a tweet by a person with 1 Million followers would rank higher than a tweet by a person with 1,000 followers. To Google, number of followers is one of the key methods to calculate the reputation of a user.

Interestingly, if I only have 5 followers but those 5 followers are very reputable (have large number of followers), my reputation would also automatically be higher.

2. Hashtags are not always good:

A lot of people insert hashtags in their tweets to identify them with a certain topic. Similarly, a lot of spammers also use popular topics as hashtags to get people to read their tweets. For this exact reason, Google treats hashtags with skepticism. It doesn’t necessarily mean that using hashtags will decrease your search engine ranking, but it does mean Google will analyze tweets with hashtags more carefully than regular tweets to see if they are spam.

3. Displaying timely and topical results:

Since the search is real-time, Google has a job to pick out and display the freshest tweets and filter out the older ones. This is done by analyzing the words next to the keyword and evaluating which tweets pertain to a more recent topic.

Even though these points don’t completely explain how Google ranks tweets, they are a good starting point to understand the algorithm behind it. However, it does open up a few more questions like :

  • How does Google algorithm factors in the ReTweets?
  • Would a ReTweet by a more reputable person rank higher than the original tweet?
  • If a hashtag included in a tweet becomes a trending topic, does it affect the ranking?

Unfortunately, we might have to wait for sometime before Google answer these and other dozens of questions about ranking real-time information.

Google To China: “Enough Is Enough”

In a surprising move, the official Google blog posted an entry today about taking a new approach with China. The entry explains in detail how various hacking and phishing attempts have recently been detected that tried to access Gmail accounts of a number of human rights activists in China. These attempts had been originated in China and were very sophisticated.

These recent attempts combined with the heavy censorship that Google has to do in China, on request of Chinese authorities, has made Google take a bolder stance on the issue. The blog entry went as far ahead as saying

We have decided we are no longer willing to continue censoring our results on Google.cn, and so over the next few weeks we will be discussing with the Chinese government the basis on which we could operate an unfiltered search engine within the law, if at all. We recognize that this may well mean having to shut down Google.cn, and potentially our offices in China.

In short, Google is telling the Chinese authorities that they won’t compromise on integrity and freedom of speech any more even if it results in Google closing down their business in China.

What does this mean for Google?

Google is giving the impression that the business and revenue they would lose from China is not really significant to them. According to a JP Morgan estimate, Google will lose $600 Million in revenue every year if they close their doors in China. This might be an insignificant source of revenue for Google right now (compared to their $26 Billion global revenue), but one should also consider the growth of internet in China and the potential revenue Google might be getting from the Chinese market 10 years down the road.

Some critics are also stating that Google had already decided to close down their business in China since they were not doing too well, and this recent move is just a marketing tactic to gain some positive PR on an already decided issue.

Do you think Google is doing the right thing?