Stories about technology

Didn’t you know everyone hated you?

While social networking sites may have made their founders billionaires, they have created trouble for many of their users. Or I should say many users have created trouble for themselves and others around them. Social networking sites have become online gangster spots for many rebellious youngsters around the globe. They have even allowed  older people to act in a childish and immature way, causing problems for their families. This week Vivek High School in India suspended 16 students for starting a thread containing vile remarks against a female teacher.  It turns out that this is not the first time someone ...

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Mechanised lives

I remember having this conversation with one of my seniors, a few days back, who expressed discontent and concern over the fact that technology has absolutely taken over our lives. All of this came from an individual who belonged to a generation that was greatly shocked by the increased penetration of computers and associated gadgets in their professional and personal lives, which greatly replaced conventional typewriters, pen and paper, hence almost forcing them to reinvent their thinking, actions and personalities, in short their entire lifestyle. She was of the opinion that all of us have started believing in gadgets to such ...

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Taking the Nokia N8 for a spin

Nokia has been promising to deliver the goods in terms of a ‘sexy’ high-end Smartphone for some time now and a lot of Nokia fans (you can throw a stone in any direction and likely hit a few ‘Nokians’ in Pakistan) have their hopes set on the N8, which is going to be available via Ufone (and reportedly one can pre-book a set as of now) in the local market at a figure of roughly Rs40,000. I’ve had the pleasure of playing around with this phone during an N8 pre-launch event in Dubai, so let’s take a look at what ...

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I love Facebook (sort of)

Old people, parents, employers and techno-phobes all love to expound on the many reasons to just bite your lip, rip off the Band-Aid and be done with Facebook forever, but most of us don’t really care. I’m going to be honest-the usual reasons people give for why social networking is such an insidious villain to the average twenty-something don’t matter to me at all. I don’t really feel that that my real personality is being compromised in favour of a Facebook-friendly version of it. I don’t have any secret sex tapes or otherwise questionable content floating around cyberspace and I ...

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Dear (name), Eid Mubarak!

This eid, my mother got an sms from my aunt’s number. It was signed “From Sobia”. Funny thing is, that’s not my aunt’s name. Upon further inquiry, we found out that my aunt had really liked that particular message and had forwarded it as eid greetings to everybody in her phone book, without bothering to change the name. Welcome to the age of automated emotional bonds. Thanks to technology, “Send to all” will be the weapon of choice for every occasion. I predict that very soon, phone manufacturers will simply build an “Auto-wish” feature into their cell phones. Right out of the ...

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iPod: The next generation

Apple has upgraded its line of iPods as was widely anticipated in its September media event. So what are these products and what’s new in them? How different they are from their predecessors? iPod Shuffle In terms of design, not much has changed with this device. The major change is the wider dimensions and a new circular control pad. The older iPod shuffle had most of these control on its earphone cord, but Apple has finally realised the importance of having physical buttons on the device itself. The new design saves you plenty of time. The device ...

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Bye-bye BlackBerry

There are reports that the BlackBerry maker, Research in Motion (RIM), has come to an agreement in Saudi Arabia and the government will now have access to RIM’s communication service for BlackBerry Messenger. However, as of yet, RIM in the UAE has not agreed to give the government access, meaning that the plan to suspend BlackBerry services starting October may continue. The debate between governments and RIM is not new and the Indian government raised security concerns about messages shared via the BlackBerry in 2008, when they suspected militants used the phone to plan the 2008 Mumbai attacks where 166 ...

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The trouble with free information

Wikileaks makes over 90,000 classified US military documents public. An aspiring activist posts offensive content on Facebook. Iranians oppose broadcast of their election protests over the internet through Twitter, fuelling international outrage at the regime. What do these events have in common? These events all represent the changing face of war. For a modern state now more than ever, insecurity is going to be measured by how secure its information systems and databases are, and not just by how many troops it deploys along its borders. This new threat that governments fear is well illustrated by Julian Assange’s attack on US strategy ...

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The real deal on cell-phone stalkers

In the days before the cell phone (does anybody even remember those?) stalking was fun. You could call the object of your desire, harass him/her on the home/office phone number twenty times a day and all you would get is an agitated “Ayenda yahan phone nahi karna” and if it’s not your lucky day then “ &*@# ayenda yahan phone nahi karna &*@#.” In those days you were kickboxing in the dark and your opponent was almost twenty feet away. Then cell phones came along and ruined everything. They brought the opponent a bit too close (shudder). When I first acquired a ...

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Internet – the final frontier!

Not so long ago, a group of smart British MPs (236 to be exact), sitting on their cushiony green benches, decided to vote on and accept the Digital Economy Bill. The bill enabled copyright holders to block a household’s internet connection for downloading copyright material without permission. Quite naturally, the “criminals” were angered. Not to worry though. Shortly thereafter a group of  smart unknown coders, possibly sitting on their not-so-cushiony chairs of unknown colour, wrote an 86-line code to make bittorrents (choice method of downloading for “criminals” all over the world) untraceable. Joy returned to the e-world and all was ...

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