Articles, Geek stuff

Google Has Messed Up Social Once Again

I know I might be in the minority right now but that’s how I feel. It seems Google has learned little from Wave and Buzz. Here’s what I think has gone wrong this time.

First, Google engineers have probably never heard of the phrase, “less is more”. They tried doing everything with Wave — everyone knows how that turned out. They’re doing the same thing with Google+ (or Google Plus). It’s twitter, friendfeed, skype, facebook and slashdot all rolled into one. The problem is, I don’t know which one I’m using when I navigate to the G+ interface.

I know I can divide people into circles and keep them separate but I don’t know if I can keep track of it all. I have separate ‘circles’ for friends and ‘professional connections’. Most often, though, I want to share a thought with both of them so I just post that to the  ‘public’ circle. My friends, goofy as they are, start commenting on the post and it quickly turns into a dorm room crap fest. That’s not the ‘professional’ image I want to project — that was the whole point of circles. The solution, post the same thing twice, once to public and again to friends. But then, why don’t I just go over to twitter and post there?

That, I think is the core of the problem. Why would anyone want to use Google+ — after the initial awe of the cool interface for dropping your friends in a circle subsides? For sharing news — I already have a neat little twitter account for that. It’s streamlined and it does what it’s supposed to do. When I’m there, I know what I’m there for. I don’t get distracted by comments from my goofy friends. Well, how about keep tabs on my friends? I don’t use facebook myself but last time I checked a lot of people were already using that social network. Just as people haven’t jumped the Yahoo! mail ship despite the immense impotence of Yahoo!, I don’t see why they’d move everything over from Facebook over to Google+. Not everyone likes to play with new and shiny geek toys.

And that brings me to the second point: Google engineers just can’t shake the geek within them. They think everything will be adopted if it’s similar enough to Gmail. They tried doing this with Wave. They did the same thing with Buzz, integrating it too tightly with Gmail and that was a fiasco. Now, they’re doing this with Google+. It’s all about how cool the technology is. They’re going to release the API soon.  That’s all great but what about the social aspects? I don’t see any incentives for moving away from my existing social networks — except maybe Buzz. So, I don’t think Google+ is a facebook killer or a twitter killer. It might be a  Buzz killer but that too is a maybe.

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Articles, Geek stuff, Tutorials

Regression with Gradient Descent in Low-level Matlab

I just finished writing my first machine learning algorithm in Matlab. The algorithm is based on gradient descent search for estimating parameters of linear regression (but can be easily extended to quadratic or even higher-dimensional polynomials). It’s fairly easy if you know the theory behind the model. So, first a very brief theory portion. This isn’t a tutorial on statistics. Go read a book if you don’t know about regression.

Continue reading “Regression with Gradient Descent in Low-level Matlab”

Articles, Geek stuff, Linux, Tutorials

Writing a Skeleton Linux Security Module

I recently had to write a Linux Security Module (LSM) for one of my research projects and I was surprised to find that there are few tutorials out there and most of them don’t work because of the discrepencies in kernel versions. They’re talking about 2.000.x kernel versions! The only good tutorial I came across was the one on Linux Journal but it assumed some background knowledge (which I didn’t have). So, I had to struggle for a day to figure out how to go about writing the LSM. Hence, this tutorial.

Now, this isn’t strictly a newbie tutorial. It isn’t even a tutorial per se. It’s more like a guideline that will tell you where to look to find what you need. The reason is that if I write something specific, it’ll go out-of-date in a giffy. So, I’ll tell you the process of how I figured out the steps and you can (probably) reproduce them even if the specifics have changed. This might not be the best way to do it but it certainly gets you going. I had to take quite a few detours to get to these steps; so they might save you some time. Ok, let’s go.
Continue reading “Writing a Skeleton Linux Security Module”

Articles, Islam, Personal

Why I’m leaving facebook

I’ve had enough. Some of my friends initiated the boycott a few months back but I wasn’t convinced. I was mistaken. Facebook has, time and again, refused to take action against hate speech and hate groups that operate within the platform. I came up with many excuses to keep using the platform and fabricated many arguments in its favour. Fortunately, I gave it time and now realize that facebook is to blame. Continue reading “Why I’m leaving facebook”

Articles, Islam

Confusion amongst Zaid Hamid Fans

Zaid Hamid is cornered. He has nothing to say and nothing to clear his name with. As one of my friends put it, “there is no need to expose Zaid Hamid”. He is clearly deviated but some people still don’t get it. So, I thought I should help these people figure out what the question under discussion really is around here. It’s not about Zaid’s ideas about khilafat. It’s not about how good his speeches are. It’s not whether he works for the CIA or against it. It has nothing to do with any of it. The question that we are concerned with here is only of Yousuf Kazzab. If Zaid Hamid defends a kazzab, then:

  1. We can’t let it go. We can’t forget about it because it’s part of our Imaan to care about such things. We cannot tolerate someone who denies the finality of the prophethood of Hazrat Muhammad (Sallallah-o-alaih-e-wasallam). Period.
  2. It doesn’t matter what other things he does. It’s not relevant any more.

So, if you’re a “Zaid Hamid Fan” here’s a simple flow chart that can help you decide what your opinion is regarding Zaid Hamid. Clear your mind and come clean with what you think about him. Then decide what the real situation here is. (Click the image to see full size.)

Confusion among Zaid Hamid Fans
Articles, Islam

The Lies of Zaid Zaman Hamid

For those who can’t bother to read the whole thing, here’s the short version: Zaid (Zaman) Hamid is a supporter of Yousuf Ali Kazzab who claimed prophethood for himself and was convicted by a court of Pakistan on those counts. Scholars of almost all sects agree that he was a kazzab and got what he deserved. Zaid Hamid waited a long time before answering any queries regarding this issue and when he finally had to come out, he did so by defending the kazzab. So, he is a follower of the kazzab and in no way should be followed or supported by muslims. Read on for the full version.

Continue reading “The Lies of Zaid Zaman Hamid”

Articles, Tutorials

Matlab 7 under Windows 7

I had trouble getting Matlab 7 to work with Windows 7 RC even after setting the compatibility options. So, after a bit of search, here’s the solution (copied from ELFEHRIJ on http://bit.ly/Jt7ij with some minor changes).

After installing Matlab (use Classic Windows Theme if you have problems with the installer):

  1. To use Matlab with other windows 7 themes you have to change Java VM used by matlab.
  2. Download latest Java version and install it.
  3. Go to  <Matlab-installation-dir>\sys\java\jre\win32 you will find a folder named jre1.5.0_07 (or a similar version). Rename it to Original_<whatever was originally there>
  4. Go to C:\Program Files\Java you will find file named jre6. Copy it to <Matlab-installation-dir>\sys\java\jre\win32 and rename it to <original jre directory name>

This will ensure that Matlab uses the new JRE instead of the old one. Just start Matlab now!

Update: Thanks to “ra” and larry for the corrections.