Archive for 09/01/2011 - 10/01/2011

Will The New Facebook Profile Make “Nostalgia” Disappear For Ever?



Last week Facebook started rolling out the much anticipated updates which were to follow their substantial revamp aimed at catching up with Google+. The timing was just right to create the necessary uproar and interest among its 800 million followers and the rest of the world and make them ready for the quantum leaps Mark Zuckerberg was about to announce during F8, the annual conference of Facebook developers.

In fact Facebook went ahead and implemented the change to its news updates a few of days back which in itself drew wild worldwide reactions. Though there seemed to be wide support (more than 2000 likes and 100 tweets as received by this innocuous comment, which raised the author to a HuffPost Influencer status) for the changes, there were also avalanches of protests from disgruntled users who objected to Face book’s arbitrary choice of what the user should see in the status update timeline. One survey showed disastrous results.

The main changes announced concerned how News Feed will act more like your own personal newspaper, and how you won't have to worry about missing important stuff. Because all your news will be in a single stream with the most interesting stories featured at the top.
The other most important feature was a new Twitter-like timeline called Ticker with real time streaming of friends' activity like “likes” of an update, comments on a post or subscribing to a page.

Though these innovations looked nice, especially visually more appealing with larger photos and suited those with a large number of friends or those who visited Facebook less often to check friend’s updates, they seem to have incurred undue wrath of loyal members, threatening to switch to Google+
 
The protests were surely following a now familiar pattern:

“In the history of Facebook changes, the pattern has typically been that users complain loudly at first and threaten to leave the site but then eventually learn to live with, if not like, the new approach.”

However, Facebook has announced seven important updates in the conference, of which the changes to the Profile page seem to be the ones which will have far reaching consequences.

In a nutshell, the Facebook Profile page is becoming your life story, your illustrated autobiography, a chronicle in which everything you chose to appear right from your birth day, everything you posted on Facebook reflecting your daily life and interaction with those around you will be available to anyone who is allowed an access. The whole information will be nicely indexed, year wise and moth wise for easy access.

The social impact of such a feature, available on the 800 million members and possibly billions who will eventually join the network is, at the minimum mind boggling! We may bid good by to “Nostalgia”, or  the simple joy of discovering a lost picture, for ever, because nothing is hidden farther from a mouse click!
Friday, September 23, 2011
Posted by Sreedhar Pillai

The Big Indian Fascist Farce of Fasting.


INDIA is supposed to be the biggest democracy in the world with its population of 1.3 billion people and an elected government.  Its IT industry which needs logical thinking minds at its core which thrives on the work force of millions of highly educated young Indians is the biggest in the world with a turn over of USD 20 Billion.

Why is it then people, who have no track record of generating national wealth of even one rupee, are able to hold India to ransom by the farce of self denial of food? A farce    India should be truly ashamed of because pathetic emaciated human carcasses nearly dying of hunger stalk the busy streets of its cities, completely ignored by its speeding upward class.

Mahatma Gandhi invented fasting as a tool to fight against a cause; to send the British occupiers back home. He knew that he can get  millions of hungry people to realise fasting can kill the only leader  they have to stand up to the British and they have no choice but to stand behind him. But even he discovered its limitation when it took several days of fasting before a national indebtedness towards him for getting rid of the British, just about worked to stop the sparring Hindus and Muslims and bring about a feeble truce. 

But none of the  declarations to fast which have been recently made in fast succession, including the latest one by the Gujarat Chief Minister Modi seemed to be worthy of a death by  food deprivation, in a country where people die of hunger as a routine and least of all worthy of causes like the one stated by Modi.

"The mission is to unite, not divide. Gujarat is my family, the six crore Gujaratis' happiness and grief, dreams and aspirations is mine”

What makes the farce  of fasts even more despicable is the fact that they are merely motivated by easy publicity abetted by topic hungry media who is willing to put up any story as long as they get the eye balls and ratings and conducted with exorbitant five star comforts and security to get maximum footage for the event.

But the real danger seems to the creeping in of hidden fascist elements in the whole process. Gandhi’s  fast had not even a remote semblance to the fascist elements  which seem to be the driving force behind  the fasting farce of post Gandhi era.

Whether it is an ex military truck driver who runs a village through its own court where whipping by an army belt may be the right punishment or a physical Guru who is an epitome of manly strength and wants to build an army of armed supports but had to be whisked away from Police in a woman’s garb by women or a chief minister who had to be reminded by the country’s prime minister that he can’t act Like A Nero in a burring Rome, it looks like there are serious and disturbing fascist strains in the veins of the  proponents of modern fasting In India.

The definition fascism include:
 radical, authoritarian nationalist political ideology  that seeks the mass mobilization of a nation through indoctrination, physical education, to purge forces, ideas, people, and systems deemed to be the cause of decadence and degeneration, and to produce their nation's rebirth based on commitment to the national community based on organic unity, in which individuals are bound together by suprapersonal connections of ancestry, culture, and blood.”



It may be worthwhile to examine   which of these characteristics fit each of them

Article first published as The Big Indian Fascist Farce of Fasting. on Technorati.
Sunday, September 18, 2011
Posted by Sreedhar Pillai

The 9/11 Memorial, A Pilgrimage Of A Different Kind


If for the two thousand nine hundred and eighty three unfortunate souls their lives were tragically robbed on 9 /11 in the cruelest way, God has bestowed the kindest of mercies in death. For each one of them, there can’t be a more serene and happier place to rest than the wonderful memorial built for them.

In God’s wisdom, the 9/11 memorial has turned out to be a most beautiful place where the departed souls will rest in eternal peace, yet always be in the company of their loved ones and millions of others from future generations who will stroll by, sharing the same love, compassion and heroism they have come to uphold in their death. 

Conceptually, the memorial is nearly perfect, preserving the sanctity of ground zero for eternity and the hopes and aspirations of the lives, which were never really lost, in the gentle streams of water flowing down the walls of the massive ponds ever reminding the immensity of the tragedy that happened. The memorial has certainly achieved everything described in the words of its President Joe Daniels and much more:

“Our mission is twofold: to create a Memorial at the very site of the attacks, where people will come to honor those who died on September 11 and reflect on the compassion and humanity evidenced in the aftermath of the attack, and to create a Memorial Museum where people will not only examine “what happened” on 9/11, but also the questions of “why” and “what does this mean for our future?”
Collectively, the Memorial & Museum will remind us of the powerful and binding connection we share with one another. A connection that eclipses politics, race, economic class, and geography.”

What makes the 9/11 memorial unique and even more special is the manner in which the names are engraved in marble, in a way everyone can physically touch them, kiss them and embrace them, which in fact make a huge difference .

The power of this simple but unique architectural feature rendering  natural ways to communicate with the lost ones possible was evident during the memorial ceremony not only for the loved ones of the departed but also for millions around the world who watched sharing the same feelings, with tears swelling in their eyes, with each name being read out.

The great men and women who conceived the memorial certainly understood the needs and aspiration­s of the people who lost their lives more than anyone else, which were reflected in the commemoration speech of President Obama.

"Decades from now, Americans will visit the memorials to those who were lost on 9/11. They will run their fingers over the places where the names of those we loved are carved into marble and stone, and they may wonder at the lives they led.

And they will know that nothing can break the will of a truly United States of America."

Over time, the 9/11 memorial will no doubt become a centre of pilgrimage of a different type,  a rare heart rending and touching experience­, the meaning of which will take years and generation­s to fully understand and appreciate­. 

Article first published as The 9/11 Memorial, A Pilgrimage Of A Different Kind. on Technorati.
Wednesday, September 14, 2011
Posted by Sreedhar Pillai

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