Making the stream navigable – What Facebook should do next

I recently enabled cross posting of my tweets to my Facebook profile. This was pretty awesome for the most part, reach two sets of my audiences with one post. Less work and a neat solution you got me. However a couple of days ago I saw myself tweeting quite a bit, and that was when I realized I was spamming the my friend’s Facebook timelines.

streamI have just over a 1000 friends on Facebook and I am spamming all of them with content when I most my posts are targeted only at a specific group. Yes I know I can create multiple lists and share my content with only the people on that list. This can probably be improved….

Interest based sharing/following

Here is my two cents on an improved sharing mechanism

  • Let people categorize their friends into interest categories.
  • Each friend can be a part of multiple categories.
  • My friend should be able to “unfollow”/”follow” any of the categories their friends originally put em in.
  • Each persons timeline should only show posts from the interests categories of his/her friends that he/she follows
  • However anyone visiting my timeline should be able to see all my posts …all of my noise.

This would let me share my noise without shouting out all I have to say to everyone, and yet reach the people I want to. This also leaves way for people who might be interested in the other random things I want to say to go look it up, and if they find that kind of stuff interesting maybe follow that category too.

Yes this will considerably reduce content discovery which is something Facebook might be worried about. The solution -> the “#discover” page which shows me a timeline with all the noise, everything that everyone is sharing.

The Belkin Incident – How one system broke the Internet for a lot of folks

My dad had internet issues this morning. I was in the process of blaming our ISP back at home in India, and then I noticed a Twitter trend of Belkin routers causing an internet outage across the globe. NO! That seems a bit messed up. What I found most interesting was the fact that it supposedly wasn’t a firmware update which caused the issue. So how did devices which are supposed to connect you to the internet fail on their own without a firmware update?Belkin

Belkin hasn’t clearly put down what the issue was but after reading their workarounds and a couple of other websites including a reddit thread, here is a quick analysis of what happened.

  • A certain subset of Belkin routers seem to ping heartbeat.belkin.com to see if they have internet access.
  • If they don’t get a response they stop doing a bunch of DNS related things which includes forwarding requests from all devices to DNS servers.
  • Belkin’s workaround was to set static DNS to Google’s DNS Servers (8.8.8.8 and 8.8.4.4), while they danced about trying to fix the issue.

In very simple terms, a Belkin router assumed it could connect to the internet only if could connect to a certain Belkin server. And if it could not it just assumed the internet was dead and sat there looking pretty.

Sure heartbeat.belkin.com need not have been just one server, but for Belkin to have programmed their routers such that their service had to be up for the routers to work seems retarded to me. Yes everything is back up now, but definitely a fun story.

Badam Barfi (My mom’s style)

Being completely bored and I decided to give Badam Barfi a second shot. My mom is a pro at this and my brothers and I would constantly be walking into the kitchen to get us some more.

Of course I asked her for the recipe and if you follow this you should be able to end up with heavenly diamond shaped objects which everyone will be vying for. I usually work better with dropping in ingredients based on what I feel while cooking as opposed to following numbers, but I shall put down the numbers here for anyone else who might want to follow. Also I took some shortcuts along the way, I will put down what my mom told me to do, and what I did. You are welcome to pick.

External Libraries

  • Badam (Almonds) – 2.5 cups
  • Sugar – 4.25 cups
  • Unsalted butter – 550 grams or so
  • Milk – you’ll need a little…. About a cup I think

Algorithm

  • My mom’s recipe said to soak the almonds in water overnight in order to make it easy to remove the skin. Yeah, I didn’t pre-plan, so my method was dunk the almonds in water and set it on the stove to boil.
    In about 10 minutes or lesser, pick out an almond and the skin should be lose. If not leave it there for longer. Essentially you should pick out the almonds if you are able to take an almond squeeze the skin and see the almond fly right out.
  • Peel the almonds. Shouldn’t be too hard, hold and squeeze the white almonds should come right out.

    Peeled Almonds
    Peeled Almonds
  • Making the ghee
    • Heat a pan and drop the sticks of unsalted butter in.
    • First the butter melts, and then a white foamy thing forms on top. I got rid of this using a spoon and a paper napkin or two.
    • after a while you should see the liquid starts bubbling,  after this stops, and the liquid is clear, keep the ghee aside.
    • Look at this site for more detailed instructions  (Every Day Maven – How to make Ghee)
  • Grind the peeled almonds with milk to a thick white paste. The recipe said the paste should be thick, but lose enough to stir. She compared it to Idli batter. In any case I’d say as thick as cake batter before it goes into the oven.
    Ofcourse I didn’t know how much milk that meant. So i added a bit of milk with the almonds and blended it. Kept adding milk every time it got stuck. At some point in time all the almonds had become paste and it was a fine thick paste.
    Make sure you have no chunks
  • Almond Paste
    Almond Paste
  • Heat the almond paste with some ghee in a non stick pan (medium heat) (make sure the pan is big enough to add the sugar as well). Do this for about 5 minutes. I assume the reason for this is to get rid of the raw smell. Make sure you keep stirring. Do not let it stick to the pan.

    Heat the paste with some ghee
    Heat the paste with some ghee
  • Add the sugar to this mix. Don’t panic, the sugar will melt and the whole thing will become all liquidy. Make sure you keep stirring so that almond paste mixes with the sugar syrupy thing.
    Keep stirring till those white chunks disappear
    Keep stirring till those white chunks disappear

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zyKFjnXrq8M

  • Now stir…. for quite a while I might add.
    Some stages you will pass till it finally becomes a paste. You can keep adding more ghee as required … By the time I ended up with the paste I was left with very little ghee.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9LFSmICQxXg

  • it finally becomes very like a paste like. The video shows when its almost a paste

    At this point, take a flat plate like thing to pour the paste into. and grease it with ghee at the bottom and the sides. You could use a baking tray used for a cake :)

    Pan Greased with ghee
    Pan Greased with ghee
  • When the paste is pretty thick and and stirring is hard. Pour onto the plate.
    Use a flat bottomed thing and hammer it to make a flat surface, while it is hot. (it hardens pretty quickly)

    Hammer it down to a flat surface
    Hammer it down to a flat surface
  • Let it cool for a while, and then take a knife and cut lines into it before it hardens completely, but is still a tad soft.

  • let it cool for atleast half an hour. In the mean while you can scrape the crumbs of the pan which you used to cook. Or maybe your friends have already gotten to it  :)

  • Enjoy the barfi.
    Badam Barfi ... ready to be devoured

    IMG_20140517_215105
    Badam Barfi … ready to be devoured

Thats it for this post. Let me know how it turns out :). And if you have any questions feel free to give me a shout.

Google Io 2013 Registration Dates Opening

Hunting around for tickets to Google IO 2013 is something I’ve been hooked on to for the past few days. Funnily enough none of the major sites like Gizmodo or Tech-crunch have a post out there for their readers to know when the registrations open.

With a bit of digging I did manage to find out that ticket sales open on the 13 of March 2013. Mark your dates folks… its going to be a rush. “How do I believe you?” you ask me? I stumbled upon a page on the IO site … sadly they seem to have taken it down…. but i do have a screen grab.
https://developers.google.com/events/io/?2012=ticket-terms (it was here)

Launch Date
Launch Date

However just having thisi info may not be enough…. I am willing to offer cookies and more to anyone who can get me an academic pass

Mapping NCSU AFS to your personal Laptop

Yeah I know expandrive is easier to use…. install, enter credentials, and you are done. But lets face it, expandrive isnt the fastest and most stable stable thing you’ve used. try to copy a lot of files and it leaves a few. The other problems … you know them

So after messing around with the MIT Kerberos and OpenAFS I found a solution (Windows for now). With a bit of work I’m sure linux users would be able to replicate the same.

So here’s a simple walkthrough to getting this done.

  • Download and install the MIT Network Identity Manager tool (64 bit users need both the 32 bit and the 64 bit).
    Edit : Use version 3.2.2 . Version 4 doesnt seem to work properly.
    link : http://web.mit.edu/kerberos/dist/index.html
  • Download and install Open AFS. The versions which work together with MIT seem to be a bit messed up. Below are the links to to the versions which worked for me
    64bit
    http://dl.openafs.org/dl/openafs/1.7.21/winxp/openafs-en_US-64bit-1-7-2100.msi
    http://dl.openafs.org/dl/openafs/1.7.21/winxp/openafs-32bit-tools-en_US-1-7-2100.msi
    32bit
    http://dl.openafs.org/dl/openafs/1.7.21/winxp/openafs-en_US-1-7-2100.msi
  • Once you are done installing everything, its just a matter of getting everything to talk. open the NIM (network Idenitity Manager). Add a new credential with details as follows.
    username : YOUR_UNITY_ID
    Realm : EOS.NCSU.EDU (capitals seem to matter)
    password : UNITY_PASSWORD
  • Add this and it should add it to the list of your credentials and it should also say something like “Expires in 9 hours and 59 minutes”.
  • Choose the credential that just came up.
    options ->general->identities (left tab) ->move to the identity which you just created -> AFS (tab)
  • Add new cells
    BP.NCSU.EDU
    UNITY.NCSU.EDU
    leave realm and method as auto
  • You should be done. Try navigating to \\afs on explorer….
  • Your home folder is at
    \\afs\unity\users\FIRST_LETTER_OF_UNITY_ID\UNITY_ID
  • if you have a locker it is at
    \\afs\eos\lockers\people\FIRST_LETTER_OF_UNITY_ID\UNITY_ID

If you set up NIM in such a way you can make it mount these drives to a particular drive during startup…. or you could use shortcuts…

Give it a shot ! trust me when i say its sooo much “cleaner”. People facing trouble can give me a shout :)

I’m Alive.. yet Again

I’ve started blogging many-a-times before….Each time with a sudden burst of interest I started a new blog vowing to myself to be better than last time and not let it die. The first one was not even a blog… a bunch of HTML pages strung up together and hosted on the once popular geocities (yes I was a kid back then!) When I look back i realize that I did manage to better myself each time, but somehow, all those blogs died a gradual death as I realized my interest waned.

My last blog however started of with a different concept and had a couple of my friends posting articles as well (on any random thoughts under the sun). Some of those articles were pretty popular too. (the blog can be found here)

This time however, I start a new blog not with the hope of posting articles once every n days, but rather as a space to put down anything I might find of interest… (you have been warned!)