September 17, 2008

The (possible) Indian WiFi crackdown

Filed under: Blog — krkhan @ 10:47 pm

The blasts go off, the government comes under pressure, and going by the books, they pull out an egregiously absurd law out of their asses: They inculpate WiFi hotspots, as one of them was used by the terrorists to send an email.

“We cannot blame anyone if we forget to lock our own rooms. The ISPs should provide all these features of password and password protection,” said a Ministry of Communication and Information Technology Indian Computer Emergency Response Team (CERTC-in) senior official an incompetent dork.

First of all, I do not sympathize with terrorists’ motives because of Indians getting targeted (as distasteful as that sounds, some people did suggest it when I argued with them about WiFi-blaming being ridiculous). With that said, I find it hard to believe that clamping down on hotspot security is going to reduce the level of terrorist threats. The Indian government shall have to outlaw real life mailboxes, phone-calls and anonymity all together as well as install GPS-trackers on every Indian resident for an approach like this to work. On the other hand, exploiting public fear by labeling inane regulations as being Anti-Terrorist is much more convenient than implementing adept law enforcing, don’t you think so?

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July 29, 2008

Orkut jumps the shark

Filed under: Blog — krkhan @ 8:46 pm

Google is obsessed with AJAX.

No, really. It’s starting to get on my nerves now. For those who’re unfamiliar with the term AJAX, it’s a combination of technologies (like Javascript) that, in essence, allow you to navigate on a web-page quickly without reloading the whole thing. The most prominent example people may recall is of Gmail’s interface.

So, why is it such a bad thing? Here’s the answer: it isn’t. When used properly, it can be great. Gmail, once again stands out as one of the leading examples here. Nevertheless, like any other technology, it has the potential of being abused. And, AJAX, when abused, can only be surpassed in terms of pure annoyance by Flash and Java. Quite surprisingly, the most effective example of “what not to do with AJAX” is also provided by Google, with its recent redesign of the social networking website Orkut.

In my opinion, Orkut is already a lost cause. No, not because Facebook is better. When Facebook started taking Orkut’s share, it wasn’t because Facebook was technologically superior to Orkut. And until just yesterday, I considered Orkut to be superior in at least that regard.

But now, Google decides to make all of Orkut’s pages empty. That’s right. Empty. All stuff would be loaded in those pages using AJAX and here’s the insane thing: they’re uniquely identified by anchors. That’s batshit insane. From a browser’s point of view, all of Orkut is a single page now. Stuff is just loaded on it dynamically using identifiable anchors like #Home.aspx. And no, there isn’t any fallback version. You just can’t use Orkut without Javascript now. All CGI-proxy access to Orkut (using sites like KProxy) is also broken now. My Orkut login frequency, thus, has taken a considerable hit and I really don’t think I’ll be using it even on weekly bases.

Aeternum vale, Orkut.

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