Friday, April 29, 2011


It was a trip down memory lane for me while I was at my school  on Thursday  in this week. I had planned that visit to wade through the hundreds of photographs ever taken by my school management throughout its existence  dating back to 1979.Last week, on good Friday,I along with my old time friend Santosh, visited our principal at her residence.It was during this time that I requested her to give me access to this huge photo collection.My idea was to make a collage out of them taking out selective photographs of all the people with whom I had a relationship as a schoolmate.

I went to the school around 11.00 A.M in the morning.The scorching sun was not going to deter me to sit patiently through all those photos!.After a bit of searching,We were able to ferret out the photos which were stacked in a locked cupboard in the Library room.It was not an easy task for me to wade through all the voluminous collection while taking a beat from the hot sun. I sat down by ideating a strategy where I could select the pictures which would reflect my growth as a student right from my kinder garden days.While most of them were available, I stayed back for some extra time to get my sister's and my senior's pictures who also studied till one point of time in the same school as I.

[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="500" caption="Class 10"][/caption]

It was almost 1.30 in the afternoon when I was half the way.The best thing to sort out the pictures I thought were to bring them home and select them.By the time it was finished I was able to narrow down to 77 photographs on the whole from the huge collection. There might have been more,but then no one would accept them for scanning considering the huge maintainance   of HP scanners. I wish I could get more of them for scanning. The new school building was also the place where I pursued my last two years of school grade 9 and grade 10. The first thing when I went there was to go into the class which we left to enter college.

Thank you Madhu Miss for accepting my request to access such a timeless treasure! Good old days flashed through my mind in  this short span while I spent with this gave me a sojourn from the day-to-day chaos which we constantly face.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

3 years on,Facebook to me becomes both a Boon and a Bane

It was the year 2006, I was still getting used to the so called social networking sites in those days,we probably just had 2 or 3 in India, Orkut,Hi5 and Facebook. Orkut was something new to me in my bachelors.My friend recommended that I start using it in the hope that I will find my childhood friends in the longterm. I did find many of them already discussing our schooling  days and sending out "scraps" on to each other accounts..

"Orkuting" was the new  trend and was considered to be a must amongst over selves. Where ever I used to go - to the Internet cafes or to  my friend's place, Orkut was the talk of the town.Every youngster of my age were glued to it. Or so it seemed. When many of my friends  went  to the United States to pursue their masters, there was a paradigm shift.Since Orkut was unknown territory , people shifted to Facebook,I was forced to adapt it was well.  There was a choice I had to make,I could not say no to something new  at the cost of loosing  the connection with my friends.

I must admit that although I use Orkut less frequently now since most of my buddies are into Facebook,I cannot deny the fact that Orkut's  Interface is Very even and things are pretty neatly distributed across the board.
Older version of Orkut circa 2006

Orkut was pretty straight forward to use,your friends would send a scrap in your scrap-book or probably ping you within the built-in gtalk and you would reply back.Facebook for me on the other hand was like a labyrinth system which I had to wade through in order to  get what I really wanted.The continous flow of new feeds from your friends and their "friends" was something which I was not at all expecting. Getting updates amongst my friends was a melee, and it looked as if the information flowing  on the wall was never going to end. Why should I even give a damn for something which is not even related to me? If  my friend liked or commented  something on his "friend"s wall,I get an update !Makes no sense to me! This kind of  implementation forces me to block my friend's updates from my wall .what other choice do I have?

As if this was not enough,FB asks me all the time to share my phone number to increase my "security",what kind of security only almighty knowns!.With 500 Million users they must be looking at the commercial angle of  "sharing" user's info with their partner firms or perhaps big brother himself  ;)

I realized of late that Facebook has become so pervasive that I accidentally bump in into many friends, some of them from my early childhood while at school.This is only one of the reprieving things I had for some time now.Some of them have not been in touch for the past 14 years and all of a sudden they are conversing with me! Apart from this positive outcome everything else just casts a shadow.I must admit that I have become addicted to this drug called Facebook which is eating my valuable time,although I tend to analyze my online activities, of late some of them are simply going out of my hand. Facebook being one of them. I think its time I should listen to my mother again and probably spend less on the internet to an extent only when I need it. Some times I feel she is probably right when she says  how I  am isolating my self  by sticking to the PC and the internet all the time . May be I should just stick to some constructive things and leave the rest.I must read more books...

I am waiting for the newer version of Orkut to come out. While I can't deny that  Facebook is  bridging  the digital divide among my friends and family,the question remains...  but at what cost?

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Tinkering with Google Analytics

I finally managed to  learn some of the fundas  behind Google Analytics.Although  I was still searching for a domain of mine own to learn about this service, A friend of mine  offered me to help by sharing his portal's  data for starters.This was certainly a blessing in disguise for me since Ive been trying to get a hands on experience on the same for a very long time now. My only thought was to learn the know- how of utilizing the servicing to the best and henceforth optimize my blog accordingly.

I still use a third party analytic service which can cater to only some of the basic parameters of visitor numbers,but perhaps Google Analytics will provide more insights into visitor trends?My first day while I spend some time on it meant it definitely does!

I am no freak for getting more traffic to my blog, but my curiosity for  technology and web trends drives me to learn and explore these new spheres.While I still regularly use  the AJAX based, I wanted to find the variations in  the feature set between these two services. While  some of the options in both of them might be generic in nature, digging into the site,I find some new and interesting options to tinker with. Browsers,OSe's,Visitor locations all of them might be available in most of the services we find these days. Some new features which I found in this service :

Visitor Loyality:

Useful to assess   a Visitor's nth visit to the same page or site.  User's attachment to a brand or a blog  will bring him back repeatedly to the same site.Quite a useful feature to know about the kind of visitor's who visit your site in the longterm.It explains some parameters like length,recency and depth of Visits(Page Views)

Map Overlay:

Providing county wise breakup of visitors,including returning visits and unique visits,the advanced search filter will help in providing country specific web traffic trends .Performance and web traffic comparisions between various geographic location should give us an Idea of where our site is more visible and where it is not.

Monitoring your Ad words and TV campaigns :

Maintaining and monitoring your monetary spending  on the site and checking for your ROI,useful if you use your site  in conjunction with Google Ad words and  track your make ting campaigns.This is something new which I find here and should definitely learn more about them at the right time.

Content Segementation and Optimization :

Another new feature which I found in GA.This feature should provide the way in which your visitors found your site,the most clicked  segments within a single page and  navigation paths which lead visitors to your landing page. Considering all these parameters while we  re-design our  website or making  it more visible for search engines though SEO should be an added advantage.

Goal Conversions and Search Engine Referrals

While I would not want to concentrate on Goals and Custom Variables since I have no intention of  putting up Monetary elements within the my blog,I choose to ignore it for the time being. Search Engine referrals are intriguing in nature.While I completely don't know how Google and Bing crawl for information, I understand that in some ways their algorithms may be Organic.Page ranking and "Decision" based search   referrals  make a  little difference in getting to your site.

I might learn more about this when I get it on my blog, but till then this little learning experience is definitely a head-start.