Recommended Articles In The Past Fortnight

So very sorry for not being able to write a single word for about a week. It's a misfortune that electricity is such a rare commodity in my college. Anyways, thanks to Google Reader and my mobile phone, I have been reading a lot of great articles and a lot of interesting tech news, lately. Thought I'd share a few of them with you too. At least, that'll keep you busy till I come back to the blogosphere. Thanks a lot for bearing with me.
  1. Preview: NOKIA N81 Phone
  2. Use These 5 SureFire Headline Formulae At Your Own Risk
  3. Blogging To Get a Job
  4. The Ultimate EMail Search
  5. 9 Things You Can Learn About Blogging By Watching Me Sell My House - Problogger
  6. NFS ProStreet - Rule The Street
  7. The Right Width For Your Blog
  8. EMail A Blogger That Linked To You To Say Thanks
  9. 10 Ways to Hurt Your Blog’s Brand by Commenting on Other Blogs
  10. The Best Website Taglines Around the Internet
  11. Microsoft Sidewinder Mouse : A beauty
  12. Case Study of a Teenage Millionaire: Ashley Qualls and
  13. Find a Sponsor for Your Blog
  14. If Your Blog Disappeared, Who Would Miss It?
  15. Do You Use American English, British English or do you Swing like the Canadians?
Well, that is it, for now. Hope you have a good time and enjoy reading the above articles as much as I do. They are a combination of latest tech news, blogging tips and some more miscellaneous tips. As for me, I'll try to be back as soon as possible.

Good Ol' Orkut Has Changed

It was high time that Google had considered me too to be worthy enough for being bestowed with the latest look of Orkut. I have been hearing about the change in their popular social networking site Orkut's layout on The official Orkut blog , Google Blogoscoped and various other news sites for the last 4 days. Even here in my college, quite a few students have been blessed with the new design, but not me. Although Orkut's blog had said "We're rolling it out to groups of users at a time over the next week", it was getting tough for me to keep patience. Well, finally I too get to use the latest layout from today and I thought, why not check out every nook and cranny of the new layout and find out how much our good ol' Orkut has actually changed.

Changes in Orkut (that I could figure out):
  • Added a few lovely round corners here and there.
  • The tabbed links actually look and feel like tabs now.
  • The special first character for your name is missing now.
  • It looks like a complete package now. No more a social network under the development phase, if you know what I mean.
  • They have now added breadcrumb-like navigation for communities.
  • A very useful navigation bar added at the top (reminds me of free blogs on Blogspot, though).
  • Options like "send message", "send teaser", "add to crush list" etc have been removed from the main profile page. Rather, they can now be view by pointing your mouse on the "more" link below the profile pic. This is for others' profile page, not your main homepage.
    Update: However, I feel the "Report Abuse" link should not have been hidden. It should rather be prominently visible to the users.
  • The way "trusty", "cool" and "sexy" meters have been incorporated looks much better now.
  • "Edit Profile" page looks much cooler.
  • The fact that you can now crop your profile picture after uploading just rocks!
  • Update: Thankfully they have done away with the line "You are connected to xxxx users via xxxx friends" from the main page. It was an useless piece of information, anyway.
  • Update: You can now know about every change that your friends make, right on your homepage.
Changes in Orkut that would have been desired:
  • Akin to the Orkut extension for FireFox, I would have preferred if I could have direct access to a profile's scrapbook, album or communities or send message to him/her just from a profile's picture or name.
  • I wish instead of just "scrap tips", there would actually be a rich text editor for scraps and messages to be able to modify fonts, add pictures or insert smilies.
    Update: Or, how about keyboard shortcuts? Say, Ctrl+B for bold and Ctrl+I for italicized text.
  • I would've preferred to be given an option to write in Indian languages.
  • After you reply to someone's scraps using the "reply" button just below that profile's scrap, you can't refresh your scrapbook without sending the same scrap again to that profile. It's so irritating while trying to chat with a friend that I just end up scrapping on my friend's scrapbook itself, the old way.
  • I hate the fact that you can send a message to either one person, a group or all friends at the same time. What if I want to send a message to my classmate, my girlfriend and my brother? How do I group them then? I would rather have the option of tagging people and then message them according to tags or I should be allowed to manually select profiles from my friends list, the way my email client allows me to select addresses from my address book.
  • It's time for Orkut to shed the Beta tag.
  • Update: Just as, in GMail, we get a notification and request to "update conversation" the moment we get an email concerning the same conversation that I am currently reading, I'd love it if I could get a similar notification asking me to "update scrapbook" the moment I get a scrap from a contact. That ways I don't have to keep a track on my GMail inbox or Google Talk to know whether someone has scrapped me.
My perception of the latest change:
On the whole, Orkut definitely looks much better than how it was before. Yet, as I've already pointed out, there are still more scopes for improvement. Allowing user post videos and html on scrapbook was a huge step Orkut had taken. Somehow, the very first time I looked at the new design, it suddenly reminded me of Windows Live Mail and Hi5.

Anyways, I guess we just got to change to survive. Darwin's theory always stands true, be it a living being or be it a website. I have pointed out as much changes and wanted features as I could. But that doesn't mean you aren't welcome to add to the list ;-).

Happy Orkutting!!