Monday, April 27, 2009

Where I am Spending my online and Why?

Well I have decided to check where I spend most of online time. You know Google Chrome and Firefox can do that for you so I took their results and my own analysis.
  1. GMX (Global Mail Exchange): My main server. I started using it about 2 years ago when I found out its ad on a PC world page. What attracted me to it was that I could actually have myname@gmx.us, I can have more than one address with the same inbox and it was FREE. Back then the user interface was bad and it took forever to load but I liked that it was desktop like. Now with their new home page, fast loading time, support of POP3/IMAP, largest set of available Arabic addresses and being ads free I recommend it to everyone.
  2. Google Reader: Until 2 months ago I used My Yahoo! to read the feeds I liked. It had a lot of drawbacks, if you have more than 10 feeds you'll spend a lot of time trying to reach them, the boxes were are not a good idea for blogs feeds, actually it was not built to handle 100 feeds with updates happening every minute. But with Google Reader it's all there. I can read all the blogs I like, check all the news and even skip the ones I don't like easily, share what I liked and star links for future use.
  3. FriendFeed: So I wanted to share links I like with friends and found that Google Reader was not enough. A friend recommended FriendFeed. It's that coolest way to share everything on the web. So Facebook is too social, google reader is not alive enough and you can't share everything on those two but with friendfeed you can share everything from facebook comments and google reader shared items to delicious bookmarks and flickr images. Also you can follow some very interesting groups and get links and news that you won't find otherwise.
  4. Twitter: I am pretty new to twitter as I did get it untill 2 weeks ago when I started to follow tweets on FriendFeed. Usually I shared my personal messages on Yahoo messenger and Live Messenger (I don't use facebook as it is too public) but with twitter it's fun to share those 140 charchters to tell people what you're doing.
  5. Google Analytics: Syntax and Semantic is not that famous but I like to know everyday before I sleep how the one or two who visited my blog found it and some information about them. Also I like every now and then get an overview of how my blog is doing.
  6. OSUM Network (Open Source University Meetup Network): As most of frequent readers of my blog know I am a Sun Campus Ambassador and OSU
    M is the social network made for Sun Microsystems by Ning for Sun's open source community of students and academic staff. I usually post their my seminars and presentations and check what is happening on the network.
  7. Facebook: I guess I can't say about anything that you don't already know.
I hope that you'd share with me your online habits and your opinions of the websites I mentioned.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Make a difference NOW!!

Have you ever thought about how you can make a change, improve the world, help others and make your actions count ?? Well, I did. I have no money, no way to travel nor a plan. I found out that you can actually improve the world by just some clicks and signing ups while you´re at home enjoying your usual day.
The two websites that I found that helps you make a difference all over the world without leaving your room are Greanpeace and Save the Children.

GreenPeace: a website that is concerned with protecting the environment from greedy states and multinational companies that are abusing the environment. So how they help you?? Sending e-mails to officials , signing petitions, online demonstrations(banners on your blog, virtual activities,...). Actually they keep coming up with amazing ideas to tell the decision makers that there are people in the world that care and that what they are trying to do is dangerous, whether it´s cutting trees, killing whales, using dangerous chemicals, ...
So how can a simple e-mail make a difference?? actually it´s not just you, it´s 60,000 e-mails, 70,000 signatures and more. You are just being a part of the crowd making it more powerful. And they have a list of victories to tell you their stories.

Save the Children: as the name suggests is an organization that is concerned with children´s well being everywhere. Using the same methods as Greenpeace they provide you with petitions to sign and e-mails to send plus they also have cool ways that make children feel that somewhere people care, you can go and make e-cards for children and send it to them. They keep coming up with ideas.
So if you´re busy studying, delivering projects, reading or even watching TV. Just login to one of the two sites once a week and see what you can do, it would take no longer than 10 minutes but it will have a great impact.
Note: If you know any other websites that does the same thing please tell me about them at ahmad@gmx.us and for suggestions and comments please leave comments on the post.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Prezi: An Easy Way to Make Cool Presentations

I was checking out startups that are competing in The Next Web'09. The post is on Tech Crunch. A line that caught my eyes, one of the startups was introducing a way to make presentations. I wanted to check out how they are making a PowerPoint like software on the cloud. To my surprise it had nothing to do with presentation as I was made to know it during my college years.
Prezi introduces a flash software that helps you to make flash presentations. It's easy, looks great, flexible to some point and free.
Prezi is was founded by two designers/computer scientists that found - as I personally think- slide based presentations so boring. So they -as I personally didn't- made their own presentation mapping and Zui Labs was founded, more information here.
Back when I was in high school I thought that soon all presentations will be flash based but what happened is that powerpoint got stronger, good looking and smart and flash made kind of a not worth the effort to make an ordinary presentation using it. What Prezi offers is "the best of both worlds" amazing flash presentations and an easy way to make them.
The editor is web based and they offer you 100 Mbs of space for your presentations for the free account. You can export a .exe file to present offline. The limitation with the free account is that you'll have the Prezi logo in the bottom-left of your presentations, another draw back is that they don't have an offline version for Linux.