Android Project Approved

Our second research and development project has been approved by the National ICTR&D Fund, Pakistan. ICTR&D is a highly reputable funding agency and funds only state-of-the-art projects in the field of information and communication technologies. We at SERG have become the first group in NWFP to have two projects approved by ICTR&D. This one brings 14.7 million to SERG. (Not that we can use it willy-nilly but still.)

This project is about Android security. We’ll be making the details of the project available soon using our group’s homepage but I can announce right now that we will be needing highly skilled, motivated and energetic individuals to work with us on this very interesting and challenging new technology. If you’ve been looking at the web, you’d know how much popularity Android is getting. I can also assure any potential candidates that the pay is very handsome.

So, keep reading this space to see when we announce the interviews, show up for the interview and join our team of dedicated, hard-working (and funny) individuals.

How’s about Corporate Microblogs?

This is a more of a brainstorm than an idea and I have no idea if this already exists. But here’s the thought anyway.

I read “Adobe Blogs” — a single interface to all the blogs contributed by the Adobe team. Is there an equivalent of that in the twitter/microblog world? To the extent that I’ve seen it, there is none. Each corporation dedicates a person to write on twitter for them. How’s about having a single aggregating microblog that provides a single interface to a corporation’s microbloggers. Right now, you have to subscribe to all the different microbloggers or have a single person write on behalf of the whole business. Can we not distribute this so that every employee can chip in?

HTC Hero

HTC (the guys who built the first Android phone for T-Mobile) have released a new Android-based smartphone called Hero. It’s an amazing piece of technology and looks really cute. We’ll be trying to get our hands on this one but only if it’s not SIM-locked. Not likely, since HTC is a manufacturer, not a carrier. It runs on a customized Android OS. Looks like HTC guys put a lot of effort into the UI of the device. Not only is it multi-touch, it also looks like the next gen of UIs for smartphones. Here are the specs:

Here’s the phone:

Android-based Hero from HTC
Android-based Hero from HTC

Using Twitter

I’ve been an ardent fan and promoter of all social networking sites for a long time now. I’ve brought many people to twitter and I’ve even setup my own local server. However, in light of recent news surrounding twitter, I feel it necessary to inform the people I know about the hazards of using twitter without care. Here’s why:

Twitter is a mass communication medium. It’s falls under the same category as a television channel, a news site or even a printed newspaper. As with all mass communication devices, it can and is being misused. I’m not talking about spammers here. I’m talking about the use of the media as a (to put it mildly) opinion shifter. You keep listening to a news channel long enough, you begin to follow their line of reasoning. You keep reading a newspaper long enough, you begin to believe the perspective of the editor. Similarly, if you follow your political news on twitter, you begin to think like the 10% of the twitter “actives” before you know it. (I got that 10% from @erictpeterson’s talk at the “140 characters conference” on twitter.) Twitter is one of the most convenient brainwashing tools if you’re in that 10%.

So, when you use twitter, here are my suggestions:

  1. Use twitter for your own domain only. Use it to communicate with your friends, follow the leaders in the area that you’re familiar with. Do not follow news sites! For me, I follow only computer scientists, bloggers and physics review sites.  Things I know I can trust my own logic and knowledge with.
  2. Tread with care around controversial issues. See everything with skepticism.

These are the two golden rules I follow for any mass communication media. For twitter, they’re just as important.

Google Wave: Re-inventing Online Communication

Google is aiming at killing email altogether!

I’ve been viewing the newest beta product from Google called “Wave”. It’s rightly named not only because it’s arranges all conversations and communication in a wave that participants can join and leave but also because it’s most likely going to give rise to a new wave of technology products. For the complete intro to this amazing new technology, you should head over and view the complete (80 minute) demo given at Google I/O. What I like most about the product is 1) the real-time features including instant appearance of the text input in one user’s account on the other user’s wave inbox 2) the collaborative features (including multiple simultaneous editing users and 3) the way everything is linked together, much like Tim Lee’s linked data.

We have often been led to believe that certain pieces of technology are paradigm changing but this piece of technology is one thing that is surely going to change the way communication occurs. If it’s as good as the demo, it may mean a gigantic step towards linked data and streamlining of different technologies such as social networking sites, (micro)blogging, online comments and certainly email! If this works out, soon we won’t need to send email.