Google+ Google+ Google+!

This was what everyone’s mind was screaming about a month ago. The fact that the site had gained 20 million users after just three weeks of operation (and that was the ‘invite-only’ phase) clearly speaks of its popularity. So what is G+? What is it that made everyone go crazy about this site when there are clearly other related websites?

Google+ is a social-networking site by Google. Many people had named it ‘The Facebook Killer!’ Needless to say, this name served to increase its demand even more. Facebook, the social networking giant, had everyone hooked (which it still has, no doubt). Yet, all of a sudden this new site appeared which was said to throw that giant out of the market. Everybody, especially those who like to keep abreast of new technologies, became intrigued by this curious new site and wanted to know more about its special features and services. This intrigue was compounded by difficulty in registering, which afforded users a sense of exclusivity. At first the members could simply invite the people they wished but the high demand from users compelled the administrators to block the invitations.

Well, blocking the invites only increased its already high demand. If people are said told they are not allowed to open a locked box, they will try everything in their power to get that box open. A similar situation emerged with G+. Everyone wanted to join and everyone wanted to see what it was all about. Hence the 20 million users in three weeks, a feat that no other site has been able to achieve. Moreover, Facebook was, for some long term users, becoming old and boring so a new social networking site seemed just the perfect thing. It was quite interesting to see people’s Facebook status and tweets (mine included) exclaiming ‘I want a G+ account!’

So how does it differ from Facebook and other social networking sites? The concept of ‘circles’ in G+ is quite similar to lists in Facebook and Twitter; one simply creates a circle or uses the default ones to add people. Then you can just share it with the circle you like. Each time before sharing a post, the user selects the circle they intend to share it with; that makes it easier to limit the availability to the ones we want. Then, there are sparks. These are similar to the interest pages; there are different fields to choose from such as fashion, movies, recipe, novels, dogs and Harry Potter (these are the ones I have added).  News related to these topics can then be displayed with just one click. The site is also easily accessible.  One can be using Gmail or Google search or any other Google app and then check G+ from the same page. So, even if you are searching for your college assignment on Google, you can simply click the top right notifications tab to access G+. And, of course, there is the great tracking capacity of G+; I was shocked when it pinpointed my exact location on the first attempt.

Well, even though it hasn’t exactly ‘killed’ Facebook as first expected, G+ is certainly attracting a lot of users in its beginning phase. What you have read are just my personal opinions as a G+ user. I have only touched on a few basic elements as I haven’t explored the site deeply. So there are still so many features left to be discovered. But, don’t blame me; Twitter, Facebook, mails, chats and now G+ really is a lot to handle at the same time!


Why Linux?


— Chandan P. Gupta

A couple of years ago, the Linux desktop was a pimply adolescent with half-baked ideas. Today we see a handsome, well-dressed grown-up who handles a range of tasks with confidence and even performs fancy tricks. No longer need we make allowances for his dress sense or his strange habits. The timing couldn’t be better. Vista is a Wagner Opera that is usually late to start, takes too long to finish, and is spoilt by floorboards creaking under the weight of the cast. Mac OS X Leopard, meanwhile, is the late show in an exclusive nightclub where the drinks are always too expensive. In contrast, the Linux desktop is the free show in the park across the street — it imposes some discomforts on the audience, but provides plenty of entertainment.

The first challenge is getting hold of tickets, since you can’t just choose your new PC and then tick the Linux box in the list of software options. The good news is that installing Linux is no longer a challenge that rivals splitting the atom. With a handful of mature distributions designed for simple users, the benefits Linux offers are much easier to verify.

And there are plenty:

Cost — Linux is free, and that includes all the apps. Microsoft is greedy. Vista Home Premium and Ultimate cost hundreds of dollars, even when upgrading from Windows XP. Moving up to Office 2007 involves handing over another bundle of dollars.

Resources — Even the most lavishly equipped Linux distros demand no more resources than Windows XP. Vista is greedy: a single-user PC operating system that needs 2GB of RAM to run at acceptable speed, and 15GB of hard disk space, is grossly obese.

Performance — Linux worked faster on my Dell Inspiron Core Duo than XP, at least the way XP worked out of the box. After cleaning out the bloatware and trading McAfee’s Abrams Tank for the lightweight NOD32, XP and Linux (with Guarddog and Clam-AV) perform at similar speed.

No bloatware — Linux is free from adware, trialware, shovelware, and bloatware. Running Linux is like watching the public TV network.

Security — Last year, 48,000 new virus signatures were documented for Windows, compared to 40 for Linux. Still, most distros come with firewalls and antivirus (AV) software. Programs like Guarddog and Clam-AV are free, of course.

Dual booting — The best Linux distros make dual booting a simple affair, along with the required disk partitioning (so you don’t need to buy partitioning software). Windows on my Dell laptop is still intact after installing and uninstalling a dozen distros.

Installation — Anyone who’s done it once knows that installing Windows from scratch takes hours or even days by the time you get all your apps up and running. With Linux, it can take as little as half an hour to install the operating system, utilities, and a full set of applications. No registration or activation is required, no paperwork, and no excruciating pack drill.

Reinstalling the OS — You can’t just download an updated version of Windows. You have to use the CD that came with your PC and download all the patches Microsoft has issued since the CD was made. With Linux, you simply download the latest version of your distro (no questions asked) and, assuming your data files live in a separate disk partition, there’s no need to reinstall them. You only need to reinstall the extra programs you added to the ones that came with the distro.

Keeping track of software — Like most Windows users, I have a shelf full of software CDs and keep a little book with serial numbers under my bed in case I have to reinstall the lot. With Linux, there are no serial numbers or passwords to lose or worry about. Not a single one.

Updating software — Linux updates all the software on your system whenever updates are available online, including all applications programs. Microsoft does that for Windows software but you have to update each program you’ve added from other sources. That’s about 60 on each of my PCs. More icing on the Linux cake is that it doesn’t ask you to reboot after updates. XP nags you every ten minutes until you curse and reboot your machine. If you choose ‘custom install’ to select only the updates you want, XP hounds you like a mangy neighborhood dog until you give in.

More security — These days, operating systems are less vulnerable than the applications that run on them. Therefore a vital aspect of PC security is keeping your apps up-to-date with the latest security patches. That’s hard manual labor in Windows, but with Linux it’s automatic.

No need to defrag disks — Linux uses different file systems that don’t need defragging. NTFS was going to be replaced in Vista, but Microsoft’s new file system didn’t make the final cut. Instead, Vista does scheduled disk defragging by default, but the defrag utility is a
sad affair.

A wealth of built-in utilities — The utilities supplied with Windows are pretty ordinary on the whole, that’s why so many small software firms have made a nice living writing better ones. Linux programs are comparable with the best Windows freeware, from CD burners to photo managers, memory monitors and disk utilities. PDF conversion is built-in, both into OpenOffice Writer and into the DTP application Scribus. All you do is click a button on the task bar Well, thats pretty enough to make anybody understand why linux rocks. If you really want a real linux experience: try once, believe me you are gonna forget things like windows. Linux recently celebrated its 20th birthday and has won over each and every field from mainframes to super computers and tablets to phones except desktops. Soon linux will be all around. Get yourself rocking, get linux!