Thursday, November 3, 2011

Fixing Google Reader

Google's recent changes to Reader have been widely panned.

One of the key things that's now gone, is one click RSS sharing. This has been extremely useful to me personally, as it allowed me to tag items and share the RSS feeds of the tags with different people, who could consume them in a time and manner of their choosing. 

One way to recreate this experience is to use bundles.

1. Tag an item you wish to share with a new tagname. I've used the name "bookmark" in this example, but you could use any name.

2. Right click on the little down arrow on the right of the "-bookmark" tag (or whatever you have named it) and select 'create a bundle'.

3. You can optionally choose to enter a header and a note. I've entered the note "My Shared Stuff" here. This will be visible to people with whom you share. Click on Save when done.

4. You will be presented with a 'Your Bundles' screen. Click on "Add a link"

5. Voila! you are sent to a page which has your shared items. This page also has an RSS\atom feed. You can copy and send this link to any of your contacts, who can subscribe to it using any RSS\Atom reader.

To migrate previously shared items, simply give them the same new tag - for example 'bookmark' - and follow the steps above.

It would be cool if  there could be a Greasemonkey script\browser extension to do some of this in the background and restore the familiar 'share' button. Would also love it if this could somehow be used to bring back the 'note in reader' bookmarklet functionality.

Hope this is useful for some of you :)

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Obama, Osama, Gandhi and Gates

On the eve of Barack Obama's inauguration, my thoughts turned to his oft repeated mantra - that about change.

What is change and the ability to bring it about?

As I see it the ability to bring about change is the ability to shape the direction of society's endeavours with the aim of significantly altering a facet of our existence.

If we accept that premise, then there are four routes to change, exemplified by four public figures:
  1. Gandhi - Inspiration : Gandhi brought change to India and the world by inspiring millions through his ideas. he had the right ideas, the strength of will to stand his ground and was able to acquire the right platform at the right time in history to make this happen. This is probably the most difficult path to bring about change as few of us can claim to have the ability to not just inspire but to move millions to action through mere ideas.
  2. Obama - Power : Obama has used the system to achieve political power, thus providing him the mandate and tools to bring about change. This path, though easier than Gandhi's still takes a lot of doing - witness the 2 year long presidential campaign ; and that was just to get to office, but business of bringing about change is yet to begin.
  3. Osama - Force : Osama has used blind, brutal force and has brougth about change in the world (albeit of a negative kind). This method - plain brute force - can almost never bring about durable and desirable change. It can however bring about escalating and durable negative change (witness the unending conflict in West Asia)
  4. Gates - Money : Microsoft changed the computer industry. Even more so, Gates is using his enormous fortune (all moral squabbling about Microsoft's business practices aside) to bring about change in the lives of millions through his charitable foundation. This is easy - once you're a (b/m)illionaire that is. [This is my personal favourite :) ]
Simply by the virtue of you having access to the web and reading this blog, you (yes both of you) are better off than a majority of the world. You (and me too) are the privileged ones. We are in a position to bring about change if we choose. Ofcourse these figures are bringing about massive change change on a global scale, we can aim more humbly. The path you follow is an individual decision, but the choice to bring about change - even a tiny positive change - in the lives of others less fortunate will give you unbelievable satisfaction.

(blah blah blah.. so what’s my plan? I'm no saint. Like everyone out there I want to take care of myself and my loved ones. I want to be financially free by 40 - i.e. I shouldn't have to work for money anymore. I want to then focus on the important things in life - like doing my bit to ensure access to quality education to less privileged or to assist in some way to help address climate change or make available cheap, clean energy. 

Yeah its a little audacious.. *snort* done by 40... but hey you've got one life.. and I couldn't forgive myself if I didn't try)

Anyway ... here's to a depression-free 2009 :)

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Bill Gates thinks i'm smart - and says so to the US Congress!

How would you feel if you were mentioned by name, by the worlds richest(3rd richest?) man in a testimony to the US congress?

Forward to 6:40

*update* Following Bill gates' speech, I was interviewed by a reporter of the Toronto Star yesterday regarding this issue. The article appeared today on their website.

Friday, September 7, 2007


So undergrad's team will not be able to support emnployees in Vancouver. Undergrad is thus effectively orphaned, and is now looking to be taken in by some other team which needs a PM in vancouver.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Still Waiting

The undergrad is still waiting for an answer on the vancouver option. A majority of his friends over at Microsofties2b have already received offers (special Kudos to Jenna Hall over at JobsBlog for this). But its friday again .. and nothing yet ... If anyone out there can help resolve this you''ll get loads of good karma.. and maybe a free lunch;)

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

O Canada ...

Just when the Undergrad had almost given up hope and moved on with Plan B ... yesterday this popped up.

from the above link:

So, what does this have to do with the US H1B visa cap? Not only will this be a full development center, but it will also be a great alternative location for some of the new hires into Microsoft who have not been able to get their H1B visas this year due to the limited quota. Since Vancouver is just a short train/car ride away, it will be easy to stay in touch.

The undergrad and his friends are excited by this prospect but still await official communication. The undergrad spent a rollicking 4 years in Canada and would be happy to go back ... Still many questions remain:

There are reports that the center will start with about 200 people and later ramp up to about 800. undergrad and friends estimate there are about 1000+ people who are h1b-less at Microsoft... Who makes the call on who goes to Vancouver? What happens to those who don't end up there?

Will it be feasible for people hired into positions requiring constant interaction such as PM to work remotely?

Hopefully these questions will be answered in the coming weeks.. still this is the best piece of news to come out of Microsoft in months - Kudos to them for taking this step...

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Whose Job is it Anyway? [Part 1]

I appreciate the comments left on the last post. I will continue the story of our undergrad as and when new developments take place. Based on feedback received, this is part one of a two part series regarding my friend Spikey Nsoft and his quest to make sure that *he* doesn't inadvertently "steal" a job.

Spikey Nsoft is a recent computer science graduate, currently seeking a job. He lives in Pinchunia - a third world country (TWC). He’s decided that he will never stoop so low as to steal anything – whether its movies from bit torrent or American Jobs. The trouble is, he needs a little help identifying an ‘American’ job.

Is working at Microsoft in Redmond stealing an American Job? What if the job was created to specifically service customers in Japan? Is that stealing a Japanese job then?

What about working for Microsoft in Pinchunia? What about working for CyberMagic – that Pinchunian company that does outsourcing work for Microsoft? How about working for Bits n’ Bytes , the restaurant that has sprouted up just to feed those hungry techies at CyberMagic?

Spikey’s mind wanders to his cousin - Pointy, who joined IBM in the US on an H1B visa (thief!) but has since then become an American citizen ... so is he still an American job thief despite being an American citizen himself?

After thinking about it for a while Spikey Nsoft figures that the nationality of a job, could possibly be determined by asking:

  • What is the nationality of the Majority shareholders/Owners?
  • Where is the company registered, has its headquarters and which government gets to buy $1000 toilet seats with tax money paid by the company ?
  • What is the nationality of the people due to whom the job exists in the first place – the Customers being screwed served by the firm?

Spikey proceeds to apply this test to the classic “stolen American job” – Big US corporation outsourcing work to firm in third-world country. He looks at a job at CyberMagic - the outsourcing company based in Pinchunia:
Owners: Pinchunian
Based in: Pinchunia
Customers: American

Bad bad CyberMagic! Clearly if they weren’t in the picture some US company could swoop in and provide Americans employment.

Same test applied to a job at Apple Inc, based in the US:
Owners: American
Based in: America
Customers: Pinchunian (and worldwide)

Huh … So what’s going on here?

Companies like Microsoft, Google, Apple etc have their employees concentrated primarily in the US -yet sell their products globally. Are these American companies stealing jobs from the rest of the world? What about the thousands of Americans working for foreign firms like Toyota?

To be continued ...

[No, I am not Anti American or anti-anything. The US makes for an easy example - the above holds true for a number of other countries]