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

Judges and Lawyers Cannot be Friends on Facebook

We never think about the impact of social media on different professions. For some, it is not as simple as we think it is. According to a ruling by the Judicial Ethics Advisory Committee of the Florida Supreme Court, a lawyer who appears in front of a Judge, cannot add him as a “friend” on a social networking website.

Here’s the actual link to the ruling and below are the exact wordings:

Whether a judge may add lawyers who may appear before the judge as “friends” on a social networking site, and permit such lawyers to add the judge as their “friend.”

ANSWER: No.

The other interesting parts of the ruling allows a Judge to post comments on a social networking site and allows lawyers to be ‘fans’ of Judges as long as the fan page is not managed by the judge himself.

Around 50 Android Phones Will Hit The Market In 2010

The news of Android gaining momentum is everywhere. Partly due to increasing number of awesome Android apps and partly due to the expectation of more Android-based phones coming to the market in the near future.

To be specific, the market research company CCS thinks that the number of Android phones will grow to 50 in 2010. Here’s why they think so:

  • Acer will ship up to 6 android enabled handsets in 2010.
  • Sony will enter the Android market with Xperia X10.
  • HTC will launch 5 more Android devices including HTC Legend, HTC Bravo, HTC Tide, HTC Salsa and HTC Buzz.
  • Motorola alone is believed to be launching 10 different Android based phones.
  • LG is launching a snapdragon-based Android smart phone in early 2010.

In addition, to these there are several other manufacturers that are entering the android market. The question, however, is if this momentum and growth is enough to give serious competition to the iPhone.

Mozilla Guy Prefers Bing Over Google

After the controversial talk about privacy from Google CEO Eric Schmidt, the director of community development at Mozilla isn’t too happy and shows users how to make Bing the default search engine.

Eric Schmidt expressed his opinion that only people who have something to hide care about privacy. He also goes on to say that if you are worried about privacy of your actions, you shouldn’t have done them in the first place.

The comments have rightly upset a lot of people including Asa Dotzler the director of community development at Mozilla. Right after the statement by Eric Schmidt, Asa wrote a blog post telling users that Bing has better privacy options than Google and how to make Bing the default search engine for your browser.

New Facebook Privacy Settings Are Controversial

Is Facebook really all about user’s privacy as often claimed by the Facebook team? If so, why would Facebook prompt users to make their status updates visible to the whole internet and even indexed by search engines?

This question comes after Facebook announced new privacy settings today for it’s 350 million users. You can always change your privacy settings and make your status updates visible to only friends and network, but for all the users who have ever changed their privacy settings, it would be defaulted to everyone.

Along with that, some of your profile information such as name, profile picture, current city, pages, network and friend list would be make public. This comes as a recommended setting from Facebook now but can be changed if you don’t want it to be so.

Facebook claims that these settings would provide user more control over their privacy, however, a lot of people have already started bashing these changes as awful and bad.

How do you feel about this? Are you okay with Facebook making your friend list public? At least I am not. I also don’t want the whole world to know what pages I am a fan of.

Here’s a snapshot of some comments posted by users about these new settings:

Here’s what some popular blogs and websites are saying about these new settings:

Gawker says:

Facebook begins ‘Privacy’ Con

ReadWriteWeb says:

This is not what Facebook users signed up for. It’s not about privacy at all, it’s about increasing traffic and the visibility of activity on the site.

Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) says

EFF Doesn’t Recommend Facebook’s “Recommended” Privacy Setting.

Apple To Launch Web-Based iTunes?

After the recent acquisition of Lala, the web-based music service, it is being heavily speculated that Apple will launch a web-based version of iTunes.

Lala lets users create a music library in the cloud and access it from any web-enabled device. Given the large user base of iPod and iPhone users, it is not hard to understand that Apple will use this to let the iPod/iPhone users stream music from the clouds.

Wall Street Journal also supports the speculation and says that acquiring Lala for $85 Million was part of Apple’s strategy to capture the music market on the web. This will allow users to stream music without downloading and configuring the iTunes software on their machines.

Is The Government Reading Your Tweets?

It is more than speculation that organizations like CIA and FBI have access to most of the content we post online. However, exactly how much they know and how much they are supposed to know is something debatable.

Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) is an organization that takes digital and social media privacy very seriously? They want to know how much access does the government agencies have. Can they see our private Facebook photos? Can they read our tweets? What about our direct messages on Twitter?

When EFF didn’t get a response from the Govt regarding the policies, they began seeking a court order to force government to fully disclose their policies about the use and monitoring of social media websites. EFF filed the suit in a San Francisco district court a few days ago and here is the full 8 page complaint.

What do you think about this whole issue? Should government be allowed to read your social media content if it is classified as private?

Google Revamps Homepage To a More Minimalist Design

Google is famous for experimenting with their home page design. The most recent update is the “fade-in” effect just rolled out by Google.

Visitors to Google home page would now only see the Google logo and the search box. Links to all the other Google services such as Gmail, Images, Settings e.t.c. would only appear when the user moves his mouse. This is being called the “Fade-in” effect. Google claims this will help people concentrate on their search efforts and only make visible the other components if the user needs them.

The goal here, like Google says, is to let the home page be used more efficiently. Do you think this strategy would help users or create more confusion?

Find The Most Popular and Most Retweeted Tweets

With millions of tweets everyday, it is hard to know what’s going on in the Twitterverse. What if you wanted to know what’s the hottest topic of this hour? How would you identify which topic is hot and which one is not?

DailyRT solves this problem by identifying the most popular tweets for you. These popular tweets are identified by the number of retweets they get in a short interval of time. DailyRT allows you to see which tweets have been retweeted most in the past 1 hour, 1 day or 1 week.

If you like something you see, you can easily retweet it with a single-click. You can also see live tweets which keeps updating every few seconds and includes any tweet that gets a minimum of 4 retweets. You can also see popular Twitter profiles and a list of trending topics.

If all these words such as tweet and retweet make no sense to you, DailyRT has some very nice and basic information about what is a retweet and how it works.

Techie-Buzz Verdict:

DailyRT is an excellent resource to find the most popular tweets on the web. The dynamic information and easy-to-use interface makes it a super handy tool for any one interested in knowing what’s hot on Twitter.

Rating: 4/5 (VeryGood)

Compress and Zip Files Online Without Any Software

There are tons of free compressing utilities available but what would do if you are using a machine with limited access and cannot install anything? In cases like these you are forced to reply on web-based tools.

One such great tool is FileTac. FileTac allows you to compress files online and download them as a zip file to your computer. You can add up to 30 files to your archive and each file can have a maximum size of 10 MB. No software to install and no registration to do, simply browse your hard drive and select the files you want to compress. Then click compress and your zip file will be ready within a few seconds.

You can access it from any OS and any browser hence making it universally accessible. FileTac also offers an option to upload images and email large files.

Techie-Buzz Verdict:

FileTac is a great utility to zip files online without any hassle. With a simple interface and easy-to-use functionality, it is one of the most useful web-based utilities. It would be even better if one could upload a complete folder instead of individual files.

Rating: 3/5 (Very Good)

Twitter Is The Most Popular English Word This Year

With just 1 month to go in 2009, people have started compiling lists of the top, best and worst things for 2009. GLM (Global Language Monitor) is an entity that monitors language trends around the globe. They have just released their list of the most popular words of 2009 and Twitter is at the top followed by Obama, H1N1 and Stimulus.

A lot of political events including Iran Elections helped Twitter in its exponential growth. As more and more TV channels, news reporters and other media people started using Twitter, it switched from “a social media tool for geeks” to “a social media tool for masses’.

GLM’s   monitoring strategy includes tracking words and phrases all over the media and internet including blogs and social media. The ranking looks at frequency as well as the contextual usage of the word. On a side note, Jai Ho, the famous song from Slumdog Millionaire ended up as the 8th most popular phrase of 2009.