Yahoo!

It's really about the roses you forgot to stop and smell

I’ve been following all this Web 2.0 business for a while, and it scares me. It’s hard to explain in a few lines — (I really want to, but I also have to evaluate the charniak parser, and the brill tagger, write appositions…. ) – it’s not because we’re heading towards a second dot-com bubble(we might be, but I don’t really care about it). It’s because there’s WAY too much technology out and about. There’s not enough people(or people’s resources) to consume it, and not enough data for it to be useful. The searchable internet may have billions of pages, but how much of it is really useful? Your intelligent social network may connect you to so many people, but do you really want to talk to all these people? You may relish the ability to suck in So Much Information with the press of a single button, but how much of the data you consume useful? I’m not just complaining about the fact that the information age has retarded our lives instead of making it better; I’m worrying about the fact that we’re heading towards an overprocessed, overnetworked, overmanaged world where we’re doing very little useful work.

My other worry is about the frontronners of the new Web: Microsoft, Google, Yahoo, Amazon, News Corp. Each one is building their own Map framework, their own index of the world and its libraries, their own social network systems, their own information monarchy. It’s all about “convergent, ubiquituous, live-your-life-on-my-website technology”. Imagine the redundancy in effort; in intellectual advancement; the waste of precious human capability because each of these players(and countless other startups, opensource mashups, and random developers) are eying the same piece of meat: the whole of your life. Not just a part of it: the only way to really strike a profit is to make it really useful for you. And the only way to make this really useful, is to take over the whole of your life. What you read, hear, see. Who you communicate with and how. Which parties you go to, What you eat, where you go to shop. And how you travel to get to party, shop and eat. It’s ironic, but from how I look at it, the global optimal(both my convenience, and their profit) is for everyone to surrender entirely to one of these Big Brothers. I’m not advocating an eventual 1984 here, just pointing out that the only way we will really ever get to the Web we dream of is by letting exaclty one of these players to win; and that situation is identical to the BigBrotherness we all have nightmares about.

(I know a lot of this text above would look like mindless drivel unless you’ve been carefully following the way the WWW has been changing over the last year. I wish had the time to hyperlink, exemplify and write this out clearly; but I’m afraid I’m going to have to sacrifice quality of writing due to lack of time.)

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a humble request to the email overlords

Dear Email Service providers like Yahoo! and GMail,

I would really appreciate if you would let me upload and import my MBOX files from my local email client into your email folders? That way I don’t have to bombard innocent smtp servers to bounce emails to your server. Also, simple email importing would preserve headers and not confuse the crap out of your interfaces.

Regards,
Arnab

PS: I would also appreciate MBOX export; but since you guys need vendor-lock-in to support your business; I’ll understand if you don’t provide it.

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Using Telnet to send mail by SMTP

This article tells you about the basic command set of SMTP that you could use to send email through Telnet.

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istrue!!

Flickr buys Yahoo! :)

Update: Just wanted to add an observation - notice a pattern with these companies(i.e. Pyra, Ludicorp)? They were both bought for their second venture: i.e. something that happened on the side, not something they initially planned out to do. Pyra was working on the next generation groupware solution( which didn't really work out), while Ludicorp initially set out to make Game NeverEnding, a pretty awesome game. (I was on the beta test team of GNE, and it was totally superawesome).

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messenger status yahoos

It's the latest thing that's not really got a purpose but it's cool anyway: putting all sorts of things into their IM presence / status. Yahoo Messenger's LaunchCast player automatically tells everyone you know what you're listening to. I have no clue why people would be interested in what you're listening to, but then again, I also have no clue why people would be interested in what I did on the night of Independence Day, so I guess it's better to discuss the hows and ignore the whys. So here's a plugin that allows you to change the status of Yahoo Messenger v6 to whatever you're listing to on Winamp.

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new gmail features

Gmail added some new features to it's arsenal today. The most important one for me being the ability to import contacts, of course. Combined with address auto complete, it's a wonderful thing to have.

The next big thing I'm looking forward to is Yahoo Mail's clean, fast new interface - thanks to its acquisition of OddPost. I expect it'll hit browsers within a month.

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fake faces for the masses

Yahoo Avatars - just the right thing that we need to make the world a better place. [/end sarcasm]

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yahoo vs google

Yahoo dumps Google. They're powered by their own search engine now, thanks to the acquisitions the made last year. It's amusing to see how the browser wars have turned out. In the very beginning, we had the following players:

Altavista - One time leader in the websearch engine. Commited harakiri by tranforming into a portal, among other things.
AllTheWeb - Indexes a LOT of pages. I used it for pages I couldn't find anywhere else. But that's about all I used it for.
Yahoo - Search, mostly dependent on the then-huge human-managed directory. Plus points: search quality, and portal features.

IMproper communication

It seems both my instant messengers have gone crazy. People don't get all my messages, get them 5 minutes late, and sometimes I don't get their messages. It's a little frustrating, because miscommunication is much worse than no communication at all.

Come to think of it, Yahoo! Messenger and MSN Messenger are both free services. I do not pay to peruse these services; so I can't really point a finger at them. Just like what's happened to free email - available, but unreliable. So just like email, instant messenging will also go paid? If it's not too expensive, I'd seriously consider

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diapers for christmas

Well, I open my much-spammed Yahoo Mail Inbox, and here's what I see:

Yahoo Inbox: One year's supply of Huggies Free

Going by the forms I filled while signing up, I think Yahoo already knows I'm 19 years old, and definitely grown out of the "out-of-control" stage. As far as I know. I don't think people have babies at my age, usually. I don't think its common for 19 year olds to have infant siblings either. Then why should I be offered such wonderous deals? Ms. Wenda, I have two words for you. Targeted Advertising.

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