May 29, 2013

My Phone. My Rules.

I don't like Mobile Phones. Mobile Phone might be single biggest annoying device for introverts like me, ever invented. Life was simpler when I didn't have a phone. But now it has become something that I can't avoid. 

BTW for those uninitiated, I have switched for X2-01 to MMX A89 !

I don't talk to a lot of people on phone during the course of my day. But still I end up attending at least a dozen phone calls from the time I wake up and till I go to bed (and sometimes even later). And this adds to the stress of working under pressure for long hours, travelling long distances daily, sleeping for less than 7 hours etc. No wonder I feel like a zombie on weekends!

I am not sure if I suffer from ADHD but I do have a short attention span. And having such an enticing device only worsens the condition. We all know how we get hooked to a social network and then become so addicted to it that we have to check it every now and then, mostly unconsciously. Phone is far more dangerous in that department. Sitting in your pocket it contains all the social networks that you "Love" so much, it has your songs, it has your audiobooks, the ebooks that you read, your news feed, your videos and what not. And on top of that, it is device which lets hundreds of people who know you (and sometimes don't even know you) connect to you at a moment's notice, unannounced, almost whenever they wish to be. I know this is exactly why phones were invented, but, in between all this just when do you have the time to do what you love, or spend time with yourself, pay attention to the people you are with?

I also have problem talking on phones. So, I don't call people for weeks, even after promising them, sometimes don't pick up the phone because 'I don't feel like talking', or reject a call thinking I would call them later, which mostly never happens. What's worse, this happens even when my good friends or family members call me. And this is of course, inconvenient for them many times, as they might need some urgent help from me which I won't be able to provide. 

So, today through this post, I state a few rules underpinning my usage of mobile device. It's written mostly for myself, but hopefully after reading it you might get inspired to set your own rules. I also make them public so that you can point it to me if/when I break any of these rules. Because, let's face it, phone is an untamed beast which will require some strict discipline to make it work to my advantage.

1. No checking messages/emails/tweets in the morning: A good morning can have a great effect on your day. And there can't be a better start of your morning than doing something for yourself. But when checking your phone is the first thing you do in the morning you are allowing dozens of other things enter your mind, most of them useless thus taking away the precious little mental energy to do something fruitful.

2. When I am focusing on something, my phone must be switched off: How many times it has happened with me that when I am programming, reading a book, an interesting blog, really enjoying my music or a movie, the damn phone starts ringing. I have a choice to reject the call, or silence the ringer but the whole experience gets ruined due to it. 

3. No phone after 11 pm: I am Not the person who can be reached 24x7. Sorry about that. But again, if phone rings after 11 pm, when I am trying to sleep or just relaxing in general, it is a huge put-off. I can't allow that to happen.

4. No phone on Sundays (except when I am working / travelling): Sundays don't feel like Sundays anymore. I don't really remember when was the last time I had a Sunday all by myself, doing nothing but relaxing. So, Sundays must be reclaimed.

5. No checking notifications/Internet at the workstation: Workstations are meant for working, seriously. You don't want anything distracting you.

6. Internet off when not in use: Always-on Internet not only sucks out the battery from my phone, it's also a great distraction through chat notifications.

7. If I get a call, and I don't want to talk right now, then
    a) I Must still pick up the phone, 
    b) Inform the person about my inability to talk right now,
    c) Give them a definite time to call back later
    d) Actually call them at that time
I don't do any of these parts right now.

8. If I have a choice between making a call and sending a message to a person, I must call them: Right now, I use messages because I am an awkward phone conversationist. But an important part of getting better at something is to start practicing it. Also, it's quite obvious text messages/chats, as an alternative form of communication are a huge time-wasters.

9. If I have an important call to make, I do it first thing before checking off anything else from my To-Do list of the day: I repeat, I dread phone calls. But what's gotta be done, gotta be done. Call the person, keep it short and be done with it.

10. I Must answer every phone call immediately if conditions #2, #3, #4 don't apply.

If you are reading this and happen to be my friend, this is an important piece for you as well. Please do not mind, if I am not reachable at a certain point of time.  You can drop me a message if I am not available to pick up my phone, and I promise to call you as soon as possible.  

I know emergencies come and phone calls at off times are inevitable but those should be exceptions rather than the norm. We all have a right to live our life in our own ways. I am just trying to live my life, my way.

May 26, 2013

Devil's Advocate: Facebook

FB led me download my whole profile as HTML files in a neat 60 MB archive. Sweet!

When I wrote about Why I am Leaving Facebook, I was told that probably I am incredibly frustrated with FB to be taking such a decision. And it's as true as it can be. 

But here I want to argue that Facebook is not totally bad. It has a number of great things working to its advantage. Otherwise it wouldn't have sustained its growth year after year for almost last one decade. Otherwise, it wouldn't have over a billion people connected to its network. Otherwise, I wouldn't have taken 2 long years to ditch it...

1. Facebook is a great platform to broadcast: There are some things that you want to share only with your close friends. And for that you pick up the phone and call them. Or just tell them in person.  But the other stuffs like your big and small achievements, the places you went and had fun, the awesome anecdote that played out today etc. ; you want to share with as many people as possible. Facebook does an awesome job in broadcasting such stories.

2. Facebook is big: We all know that almost 1/7th of Earth's  population is on Facebook. This essentially means that almost everyone you meet or have met in your life till now, there is a high probability that they will be available on Facebook. No other platform - twitter, Google+, Pinterest- can match its scale. So, assuming you want to be active on a single social network, it makes sense to have a Facebook account  . Another important point is that we humans are not great in 'Letting Go' of anything, be it possessions or people. And Facebook does a great job in giving us at least an allusion that we are in constant touch with everyone.

3. Facebook integrates everything: You don't need to go to different platforms to play casual games, to chat with friends, to speak your mind, to share photos, to participate in groups, to learn more about bands/artists/communities, to connect with like minded people. Facebook provides all that and more in a single place. Who really wants all their online activities to be disintegrated into gazillions of sites which gives an added stress of keeping up with all the accounts and remembering passwords and all.

4. Facebook is great blogging platform: I love blogging! I love to speak my mind (or should I say Write my mind, for the lack of oratory skills!). People do not realize this, but their medium to long-length Facebook updates make a great blog post to read. And I have enjoyed quite a few of them on Facebook. Creating a full fledged blog is a little intimidating and maintaining it requires dedication. Facebook does away with all those obstacles. Of course, we can say that Twitter also does a similar job and probably even better. But Twitter has a 140 char limit, there is only so much you can express within that confinement. Plus it gets incredibly difficult for your micro-blogs (tweets) to get noticed in a torrent of tweets.

5. Facebook is not going anywhere: Every website you visit has a fairly good integration with Facebook. Almost every small/big business and every flourishing artist has a Facebook page to connect to their fans and take their feedback. There have been so many successful online campaigns organised over Facebook in past few months. I am sure Facebook (and other online platforms) is going to play a pivotal role in upcoming elections. If statistics are anything to go by, Facebook is only getting bigger. So, you can be almost sure its not going the path of Orkut or Google Buzz or Myspace or gazillions of other social networks that came and went by. In the end, you will be the one who has to decide to leave Facebook if ever. Facebook, with all its faults, is not going to leave you, ever!

Personally speaking, I had contemplated about leaving FB so many times in the past, but as I mentioned, the lure of being connected with all the friends at one place was too hard to resist.
  • Although I like blogging, it takes time to create a blog post. And there are many things I cannot post on a blog, or are too trivial to require a blogpost. Facebook filled that gap to perfection. If anything, Facebook helped get better in writing and champion my 'weird' sense of humour.
  • There are only a few times you are able to connect with all your friends together. Facebook provided those opportunities in ample amount. I had so many late nights chatting with Facebook friends and having fun. I would forever be grateful for those moments. 
  • Before coming to Facebook I had very stringent rule of thumb about online interactions: 'My online and offline lives are totally different. I must never mingle the two. And I must share minimum details about who I am, how I look and what I do over the internet.'  Facebook led me break this rule quite a lot, and be a little less... socially awkward. But now, I will definitely be missing out a few important details about my friends' life.
  • If I write something, naturally I want more and more people to read it. Facebook provides a ready made audience that will at least notice your writing and probably read it too. And if you are lucky appreciate it (which matters a lot!) and provide feedback (even more important). Sharing the same thing on other social networks is not that effective because of lack of audience. And I find it intrusive to message/email people, asking them to read my creations. So, leaving Facebook would mean having to let go of an easy medium to share my creations.

So, as I said, leaving Facebook is not as easy as I make it sound like. But I guess, this is what I have to live with if I want to achieve what I have set out to do. I have given it a lot of thought and I guess I was right with my reasons for not having a FB account in first placeHopefully, this will be the last time I would talk about Facebook.

May 20, 2013

An Open Letter to My Reader(s)

Dear Reader(s),

Let me start by thanking you for reading this blog of mine. You might have been following it from its buzzRSH days, might have just started reading it, or might have read a few post here and there; I tell you what, you matter to me!

Every creative person, genius or not, needs an audience. Everytime I post a blog and share it with you, I wait impatiently for your appreciation, and more importantly, your feedback. That is a stamp that I was able to connect with at least a single person, which naturally encourages me to write more stuffs, to explore more ideas. While I might not have been really creative on this blog, I have been an experimenter and the support- direct or indirect- that I have received from you has been invaluable.

The principles with which I started this blog, stand true even today. My first audience is me, and I am very clear about that. But I can't ignore the fact that you have only grown in number over time, and you have spent at least some of your valuable time reading my posts. And so I must apologise that I have not been consistent and I mean really consistent with this blog. It's not fair either to me as a writer or you as a reader.

Writing is not a child's play. It is easier said than done. Thousands of blogs are made everyday but most of them never get more than a handful updates. Innumerous thoughts revolve around everyone's mind; but to recognise them and to sit and stay with them, to put them cohesively, is matter of practise and discipline. Something that I am still working on.

In my latest endeavour to recognise what's important in my life, I am trying to take out all the fluff out of it. I am leaving Facebook soon, and I hope that I will now be able to contribute more to both my blogs. But it will also create a huge problem, because Facebook was an important medium for sharing all the new stuff. Without Facebook, it is going to be up to you to do the hard work to find out and read all the latest updates.

Personally I make use of RSS readers to automatically get new updates of my own favorite blogs. But I know you don't use it. So, I have (re)activated the "Get email updates" functionality. Please do subscribe to this blog through your email ID.

Your continued support is what I desire. I just wish you could be a little more consistent with your feedbacks. Nevertheless, thanks for what you do! Till next time...

Yours Truly,

May 19, 2013

Untitled: Part 7

[Previous Part]

I got down from the busMy head was still spinning from the hard pounding that it had received. It was difficult to make sense of what was going around. I somehow managed to reach the front of the bus. I got a glimpse of a cattle, probably a buffalo, lying in front of the bus. It didn't seem to be bleeding but was limping and trying to get up. 

I tried to make a quick script of what would have happened: the buffalo must have suddenly come in the front of the fast moving bus while trying to cross the road, and the driver despite his best efforts wouldn't have been able to stop the bus from hitting the animal. Result: Bamm!

People had formed a circle around it, and were talking in their own 'alien' language, something that I obviously didn't understand and wasn't interested to understand anyway. I was more concerned about the missing lady. I looked around desperately but she was nowhere to be seen. 

The bus accident in the middle of the busy road had also caused a huge traffic bottleneck. People from behind were slowly trying to move ahead, not forgetting to stop their vehicles for a second and peek to know what had happened.

As I circled around the bus for the third time, the man who had helped me get up, chuckled "heh! Looking someone?" He seemed to have guessed whom I was searching for. I mirrored back the smile and mumbled, "Uhh... Not really!".

"I knowing. She sitting other side" and pointed towards the other side of the road. Clearly the guy wasn't well versed with English, but he did save my day! I saw the lady in black, sitting on the bench under the shade, talking on the phone. I took a huge sigh of relief and passed on a grateful smile to the black guy this time. I could see the glitter in his eyes, as if he had helped me found my long lost treasure without taking even a single penny from it.

As I moved away from him, waving my hand to say good bye, I made sure to make a mental note of how helpful these 'Madraasis' were. If only we "Northies" could make a little more effort in understanding them, we won't have 2 different Indias in a single country.

As I reached the pavement besides the road near the shelter, she was still on the phone talking to somebody, concerned expressions still continuing on her face. Barring a few English words here and there, I struggled to understand the conversation from one side. I realized this was the first time I was hearing her. And what a mesmerizing voice she had!  

If her face hadn't already done it, her voice certainly made me go head over heels. The tone was not too girly but was pretty soft, just like a lady should have, in my humble opinion. And at some places, she was using the word "Ayyyo". The way she pronounced it, was incredibly cute to hear. 

I have come across a tonne of girls in my life till now. Many of them incredibly beautiful. But most of them carried around a 'don't care' attitude that was such a repellent for me. And that smugness reflected in their voice, as if  trying to show how superior they were. Why do girls need to become so rough and tough, that they don't seem like girls anymore?

I was standing near her, but still made sure to be at a distance so as to not cause her any discomfort. After about 10 more mins, she dropped the call, and immediately started looking around. Then suddenly she got up and waived at an auto coming from far. It was already taken, so it didn't stop. Then 2 more autos went by. Same result. 

Disappointed, she gathered her stuffs from the bench and started walking away. But I had done enough of silent stalking by now. I decided either I would talk to her in next 5 minutes or just part my own way. 

So, I followed her, like a pug from a famous advertisement, determined to make my move this time. May be...

[To be continued]

May 17, 2013

Reviewing Shaadi.Com

Even in this age of pop-up blockers and Ad-blockers, some advertisements somehow manage to reach you. Incidentally, I came across an Ad of Shaadi.Com, a marriage portal. Looking closely at the poster, I noticed a number of interesting stuffs. I hope people from Shaadi.Com won't mind my interpretation of their advertisement (which could be way off the mark), or my use of their poster without permission. Here goes:

PS: I did not make any account over it, nor do I have any such plans!

May 15, 2013

A rant against 'Society'

Society: A community of people living in a particular region and having shared customs, laws and organizations.

Society is not really a new concept. Mankind has been living in societies, big or small, since ages. And it even makes sense, you feel much more empowered and secured in a group than as an individual. But what about the concept of society in modern times?

I am an introvert. And as an introvert I seldom feel the necessity to interact with people without any reason. Let me give you two examples here:
  • It's been 7 years since I have shifted to a new neighbourhood, but I still don't know the names of most of my neighbours. I don't know what they do, and how many family members they have. I don't care what they do for a living. And I don't remember taking any kind of help from them, although I might have helped them a few times.
  • When I was in college, we were told to be seniors' pet because ultimately they are going to come handy in all the situations. Now I may be an exception here, but I never really required any senior in any matter whatsoever in my 4 years of college life. And I beg to differ that the situation would have been much different if the seniors were there to 'guide' us.

Now, I am not saying that we shouldn't be interactive with our neighbours/seniors or people who may not be directly or immediately helpful to us. Of course, it's useful to live in harmony with everybody. But, I just want to prove that while it may be difficult in some situations, it's not at all impossible to live sans the help of the society in modern times. All you need is own your support staff (which in most cases is your immediate family and friends).

And this lets me make my main point: if we don't really need society to live in present times, my question is why are we still expected to conform to the arbitrary norms set by this intangible entity called "society"? If I never cared what people in the society are doing, why should I give a rat's arse about what society thinks of my behavior and attitude?

Again, I am not saying that we shouldn't behave ourselves or be allowed to do whatever the heck we think of. That will invite nothing but chaos. I am just saying that I don't feel the need of this society's acceptance to do something. My only concern has been and will always be what my family and friends think of me. Whether they accept me for who I am or if they have some problem with anything that I do.

So, what's the catch then? The problem is that your near & dear ones don't feel the same. And it's their self-inflicted need to behave in accordance with what the "society" wants:
  • Nobody cares if I wear certain types of clothes but your family wants you to be a 'gentleman'. They don't want the society to think that you are a 'rogue'.
  • People might not notice your drinking/smoking habits, but your friends won't want to be seen with a chain smoker/addict.
  • There is an extreme pressure on you to live up to your family's expectations by getting education from the best institutions possible and bag that top-notch job, so that the family doesn't feel humiliated by hearing the relative's kids' salary tab.
  • Your spouse would want you to behave in a certain way so that They don't feel embarrassed in a party.

...And you will have to oblige, because you love them!

I feel that there are just too many unsaid rules, besides those that are stated in Law, which one must follow in order to live up to the 'expectations' of the society. Otherwise, you will be branded a 'rebel' or a 'loose character'. 
  • You won't get good matches to marry (as if this is the ultimate goal of life).
  • You won't have too many friends (why so much pressure to have 100s of friends?). 
  • Society won't accept you as their own (I ask who gave this society the right to tell what's wrong and right for us?).

I don't know where it ends. And I don't understand why this society can't let us live our own damn path3tic life? Why does it need to interfere in every matter of our life? 

Or may be all this is just not true at all. May be everyone is only concerned about themselves and they don't have time to think what others are doing (at least I don't). May be this pressure to live up to the society's high standards are created by our own fickle minds. Nobody actually gives a rat's arse. 

Think about it. 

May 14, 2013

My Tux Story

Long ago I wrote about How I bid XP goodbye and I also mentioned a little bit about my love for Linux. Here I elaborate my decade long journey with Linux OS and my current views on it. 

*Initial Days* 
I heard about the word Linux probably towards the dawn of 21st century when I was in mid school. And like many others it was simply an alien word for me. I knew that it was an Operating System that only geeks used(!). Computers at home were a rarity at that time, so using Windows OS itself was a new and exciting XPerience for me. I had not idea I would become a regular Linux user someday. 

*When it all started* 
By the time I passed school, I had a fair idea that Linux is in fact not just used by scientists, but also by some regular users. But I still hadn’t tried it yet. I now had a computer at home (with a Windows XP copy which I had no idea was pirated!). While the Linux OS kept me intrigued, I didn’t knew how to get hold of it. Then one day I got a Live CD of (a pretty redundant distro) dyne:bolic. After much resistance, I finally gave it a try. And it really was a surreal experience! After a coo! picture of Tux and some geeky Matrix style texts flowing on the monitor, I got to use a GUI which was quite different from Windows. But it wasn't as scary as I had heard in myths about Linux. 

*Growing Up* 
Dyne:Bolic made me realize that you can access the whole system using an OS on a compact disk! Sometime later I would try Ubuntu (6.10, I think). And it was even coo!er than dyne:bolic. But it didn’t play MP3s and it was disappointing (codecs issue, but I didn’t know why at that time). But I continued to fiddle with a lot of new live CDs (even ended up creating and wasting a bunch of CDs in the process), also learnt to use virtualization mechanisms to try out Linux OS. I even ended up installing a few of distros on the hard disk (funny I was kind of pro in installing Linux, but had never installed a Windows OS by myself at that time!). But the experiment was mostly cosmetic, and would remain confined to exploring the GUI environments (GNOME, KDE, LXDE, XFCE, xterm, you name it!) and a few installed applications. 

Current OS: Linux Mint: Maya Cinnamon

*Teething problems* 
But almost none of Distros I tried came with codecs pre-installed, meaning I won’t be able to play audio-video. Codecs required an internet connection and I was still at least 2 years away from getting one. I still believe that the Linux experience is half without an internet connection. So, I remained a loyal Windows user. I had Linux as an undergraduate subject and it helped me learn more about the OS, giving me a new perspective about Linux itself. Ubuntu was innovating fast, and they made the Wubi software which allows one to install Linux ‘inside’ Windows. This again allowed me to try out more of Linux (albeit with a few quirks), but I was still not comfortable using it as a primary OS. 

*And then 2010 happened* 
I got the Internet connection and while I continued using Ubuntu inside Windows, the experience wasn’t complete (I wanted to try Compiz and its coo! visual effects!). At some point I would turn to Linux Mint and was instantly hooked to their “Isadora” version (even did a review for it!). So, I decided to give Linux (Mint) a full blown try. But with my fetish for the latest versions, I decided to patiently wait till the end of the year (November) to get the newer version, installed it the same night it released. Hacked to find out how to run Internet over it (my ISP required me to use a software to log in before using Internet, which wasn’t available for Linux). And, BTW, we also made (compiled actually) a small Linux OS of our own during this period! 

*The journey* 
Today it's been close to three years of me becoming a full blown Linux Convert. Like all great journeys, it was also full of adventures. There used to be a time when I would swear by Windows. Then, I started hating Windows (and all Microsoft products in general). So much that I would even hate a Windows lover/user. For me, Linux was supreme, once and for all. But, now after 'actually' being a Linux user for sometime, I know Linux has its faults too, and while I still continue to preach about Linux, I do not have problems using Windows (more so when I have started using a legal copy now!). But, the dream to use a Macintosh still remains to be fulfilled! 

*At Last*
I can proudly say I have helped at least half a dozen people to try Linux and most of them are still using it happily. If you are (still!) reading this and have never given Linux a try, I would urge you to do so. If you try it out with an open mind, I am sure you will Love this beautiful OS. 

And I hope I don’t need to elaborate why you should give it a try. (Oh I just did!).

May 13, 2013

Why I am Leaving Facebook... Forever.

On 29th of May 2013, I will be completing 2 years on Facebook and I will use the occasion to PERMANENTLY delete my FB account, hopefully never to come back to it again. In a way, it's not a big deal. I mean, it's not as if I am leaving my online life forever. But, looking it from another angle, it IS a big deal. Facebook, like it or not, is the second identity of millions of people online. 

So, why leave Facebook? And why is it required to explain why I am leaving Facebook, anyway? 

Let me answer the second question first: it's required so that I don't need to give an explanation each of my (Facebook) friends again and again. And it is also required so that if I ever think to create an FB account again, I can read this first and remind myself of why I left it in the first place. 

Coming to the question of "Why am I leaving Facebook?" There are plenty of reasons, some personal, some ethical and some plain silly. I enlist the random 10 that come in mind: 

1. Facebook has become boring: I admit, I have been guilty of overusing it in past. But, now it has become more of an 'unconscious habit' than what I do 'willingly'. And hence I don't enjoy it as much as I used to.

2. I am trying to create time: So, will deleting FB account buy me hours of time from my daily schedule? Certainly not. But I am identifying areas where my time goes down the drain, and trying to rectify the problem, FB being (just) one of them. 

3. I am trying to lessen my obligations: One could argue, why delete the account, why not just stop using it? You see, I have already tried that method. But it doesn't work well in my case. If I will have an FB account, I would feel obligated to use it. Also, there is no point of keeping something when you don't use it. 

4. Facebook was taking away my freedom of expression: I have traditionally used Facebook to push out the ideas/thoughts coming up in the mind, throughout the day, similar to how I have used this blog and Twitter in past. But, overtime I found my ideas getting stifled by not just getting criticised, but also ridiculed. Naturally, I considerably reduced expressing myself. Now, if you take that away, Facebook is of not much use to me anymore. 

5. I do not like where Facebook is going: They just want more and more people to join the network. It's good for them: more people, more data, more advertisement, more mullah. I think, the original idea of creating FB i.e. to allow people to connect with their friends, has been forgotten. Now, it is more about projecting a false over-inflated-ego-filled identity. It's more about posting your pictures now and thanking people when they Like them. 

6. The way it's used simply irritates me: A few cases in point: 
  •  Mass wishes on profile: I have ranted about it in past. If you are really friends with the person, write them a personal email or a private message. Why make a show out of it? These one lines wishes seem to be as if people are just trying to complete their duty. 
  •  Posting about how girls are the victims: If you feel that you are a victim being a girl, then I say you shouldn't have been born at all. Do not tell me, that this happens or that happens to me by the 'cruel male dominated society'. You are a human before a female and you can fight against the wrongdoings just like anyone else. Can we please stop wasting everybody's time now?
  •  Posting obscure status updates and not elaborating when asked for: God damn it! Why did you post it in the first place, when you didn't want to share it?
  • Tagging unnecessarily: In the past I have accepted getting tagged in pictures where I don't belong so as to keep a friend or two happy, but not anymore. I do not like it, I do not support it and I do not do it myself.
  • Posting new profile pictures every other day: I sometimes feel like they are just craving to be 'Liked' by people. Probably it helps satisfy their ego.
  • Telling the whole world where are they currently and with whom they are and whatever on earth they are doing: I don't know how people miss that it's too much information to give away. Eventhough we like to imagine FB as our own little family, it's NOT. I can assure you 99.99% don't care. 
  • Sharing stuffs without checking the facts: Pure stupidity. With so much information being thrown at us in such a short time, it's easy to forget that it may actually not be true! I suspect using FB makes us an idiot over time.
  • Sharing whatever idiotic stuffs they get to see wherever on FB: Well what can I say about it.
  • Spreading superstitions in the name of God: I have never Liked any of those pictures "in 3 seconds". Unfortunately nothing great happened in my life, but nothing overtly bad happened as well. Seems like we are trying to suggest that only Facebook users are entitled for great luck because they get to Like God's pictures whole day and night. .

Of course, I can't change people using it. But I have a choice to get away from it and I am utilizing it.

7. It's not intentional but I want to show people that they CAN leave FB after all: I have only seen people leaving a social network when either their accounts get hacked or when they get an even 'better' network (Remember moving from Orkut to Facebook?). But otherwise it is painfully difficult to willingly leave a site. I know a lot of people, who share the same sentiments I listed above, but they just 'can't leave it'. After all, you have spent hours and hours into creating your Facebook identity, how can you just delete it all in one stroke. There are just too many sentiments attached to it. Plus, the lure of remaining 'connected' to ALL the 'friends' made over a lifetime is just too much resist. And even if, by any chance, if someone decides to leave FB, their friends will guilt-trip them into returning back sooner or later. 

8. It's certainly NOT a necessity: I have remained without FB for many years and I was just fine. I remained in REGULAR contact with only a handful of friends, and that did not change much even after joining FB. And, I also know a few people who almost never log in to FB and they don't seem to be missing a lot in their life. So, when someone says they can't imagine life without FB, actually they don't want to imagine a life without it. 

9. It does not serve its real purpose for me: While it's fashionable, I have seldom seeked a tonne of friends. I only want a handful of friends but real friends, with whom I can express myself without any apprehensions. After coming on FB, although I did join a lot of people, I seldom made any real connection with any of them. I can safely say it DID NOT bring me closer to anyone, maybe barring a very few individuals. I thought FB was about me and my friends, but I found out it was actually about 'my friends and their friends'. 

10. I want to go back to Twitter: I only have a very limited time to be online. I did try hard, but ever since I joined FB, I just couldn't keep up with Twitter regularly. But, if I compare Twitter and FB, Twitter gives greater ROI for time to me. So, I am choosing Twitter over FB as my defacto social account. 

But really, it's not about Facebook. It's about people using the Facebook. If you see Google+, it seems refreshing at first sight. But, if everybody were to shift to Google+, it will become the next FB overnight. Also, I am in no way trying to tell that everybody should leave FB or FB users are not as coo! as me. But I am pretty sure now that I no longer want to use it and would like spend my spare time doing something more worthwhile. 

And I will find ways to connect to people worth connecting, Facebook or Not.

This is it!

May 12, 2013

Killing Multiple Online Identities: The Experience

Time and again a new Online service starts, and I being a trier of all things new would be there to catch it up. The problem with me (and most of us) is that we never think about the footprints we are leaving with all these accounts over time. Of course, most of the information shared on these networks would be harmless, but with people spending more and more of their lives over Internet, you can' really be sure what information you may end up sharing on the network which may compromise your privacy/security.

So, this weekend I reviewed all the online accounts that I have made on different sites. And it came as a big shocker that I had over 50 online accounts for different types of services. Some of them were of course a necessity, like a Gmail account, but many more were just tried for a while and then forgotten, or may be used heavily over a period of time but were of no use anymore. So, I spent a few hours trying to delete these accounts one by one. And I must tell you, it wasn't as easy as one would think.

  • tweetdeck: (Difficult: Couldn't find a 'delete account' button anywhere on the client or their website. Had to search for it to find a link which led me delete the account.) A twitter client which was later taken over by Twitter itself. Nice little client for heavy twitter users. But Twitter announced that they will be shutting off this service so I went on to remove this service in advance.
  • Pinterest: (Easy: Pinterest doesn't seem to have a "Delete" option but you can "Deactivate" it which is as good as deleting.). Pinterest is the latest fad in online social networking after Facebook, Twitter and Google+. I tried it a few months ago, but didn't seem to get a hang of it.  
  • Secondary Gmail Account: (Easy: Was easily able to find the link and after a few necessary warnings, Google conveniently deleted the account with all the associated information. Neat!). Already have a Gmail and Yahoo account and this was not really necessary to keep. Good riddance.
  • Advirtus: (Easy). It's a site for developing habits in group and keeping each other accountable and taking up challenges. It was fun for a while.
  • Wacchen: It was site to mark videos to view later, just like ReadLater services for texts. The site doesn't seem to exist now.
  • 123greetings: (Can't delete.) A site used almost a decade back when sending online greetings was a fad. And it came as a rude shock that they don't have an option to delete the account (although they have it in their plan!)
  • Forum: Similar to Advirtus. The forum of this site has gone premium now so my account doesn't exist anymore.
  • tweetstreamapp: A service to back up the tweets and get coo! analytics about it. It was closed last year so no option to delete any account on it. A weird blog remains on the site.
  • Can't seem to remember what this site was for! It was a little difficult to open the site, but was Easy to delete once opened.
  • (Easy) A site to create online comics. Tried it but found it to be a little difficult to use, so never came back to it.
  • (Easy) An Online IDE to write and compile code. But this IDE is a little advanced for my needs. I use codepad to practise throwaway code sometimes.
  • deviantart: (Easy: They tried to emotionally blackmail me into keep my account but allowed me to delete it when I persisted.) A place for digital artists, not really somewhere I should belong!
  • (Moderate: The link to delete the account was hidden in one of the menus) An online service to backup and tag your bookmarks. With Chrome and Firefox's own bookmark syncing, this service isn't required anymore.
  • (Easy) A service to find related information on site you are on. Wasn't much useful to me.
  • (SuperEasy: Open the account, done!) A productivity site with a difference. Instead of ToDo today list you create IDidThis today list.
  • (SuperEasy: Open, delete, sign out) Awesome Task maker, but a little too advanced for the needs.
  • (Easy) A site for Image hosting, sharing and editing. With better alternatives like Instagram, Flickr and Google+ existing now, it's not needed anymore.
  • Minus.Com: (Moderate: No apparent link exists anywhere, so had to request them via their contact form. But the operators were curteous and did what was expected). A social networking site in its infancy, with a minimalist look.
  • (Moderate) A file hosting and sharing site. With much better alternatives like Dropbox and Google Drive existing, it's not required anymore.
  • Box.Net: (Easy) One of the first cloud hosting services I tried. Has become better but nobody beats Dropbox today!
  • Freebooks.Net: (Moderate: Had to email them to delete the account, which they did after a few days). A site to view and download free books. They also have premium account with better services but I don't have time to download and read random books from Internet. Also, better sources available now.
  • Way2Sms: (Difficult: They authenticate your identity before taking action which was an arduous process to go through) At one time, heavily used by me. The ease of typing and sending messages on computer made it an essential site to use everyday for almost an year. But DND services on phones and the slow death of SMS itself has made this site obscure now.

The sites have made it super easy for you to join them but it's not that easy to leave them! But it is important to review the kind of sites that you have shared your online credentials with and if they are of much use in the present scenarios. Spending these few hours has enabled me to get rid of these many services listed above (and a few more!). This also enables me to review what's important and where I want to invest my online time. After all I have it in limited amount!