Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Tale of two artists

January 22, 2012

Reading about the travails of Chinese artist Ai Weiwei when he was detained by Chinese authorities last year reminded me of the way Indian Government forced Indian artist M F Hussain to leave India because it could not provide protection to him. Atleast in the case of Weiwei he is able to live in his own country. When someone tweeted to Weiwei “Ai, be a bit heartless and immigrate”. Ai responded, “I’m Chinese, this is my land.” (Newsweek Nov 21, 2011). It’s hard to say what’s worse, a country harassing its biggest artist or a country not protecting its biggest artist and forcing him to leave the country. The tale of these two artist tells us the way these two countries deal with people that challenge the status quo in society.

Four years on…

January 20, 2012

…it’s time for a new beginning.

Sniff sniff…

April 9, 2007

Unusual title for a technology post, ain’t it? Its unusual but very exciting. It’s exciting for me because it’s the final project of my degree. “Sniff” is a web application developed by me and two of my classmates for a Media Application project. Our aim was to develop a social networking site, which is the buzzword everywhere. We looked around several social networking sites including orkut, facebook, flickr and youtube, to get a feel of what’s available and more importantly, what’s missing. Each of the mentioned site offers lots of features but they are all segregated. So, if you want to connect with friends you goto either orkut or facebook, if you want to share videos you goto youtube or orkut, if you want to share pictures you could choose any of these sites. The only common thread that binds these sites is the “commenting” feature, which is a core feature of all social sites including blogs.

Title

“Sniff” combines a number of features from different social-networking site and gives them a common platform. The distinguishing feature of our application is the “relationship” feature. We segregate people into “relationships” like in real life. So, you can add people as friends or family or co-workers or classmates or others. The person visiting your profile can only see relationships which connects that person to yourself. For e.g, say my friend Andy visits my profile and I have added him as my friend. So, he can see list of my other friends but he cannot see my family members, so on and so forth. This way I can keep my family members seperate from my friends because I may not want my family members to know who my friends are. or vice-versa.

Here’s how the application works in pictures…

Welcome Page

This is the “Login” page. The user can login using his/her password or click on “Register” on the left side bar, if they are a new user. A user can see random pictures but cannot comment on them or create an album untill he/she is logged on.

Trivia: The name of the web application, “Sniff” and the picture of the Dog was my idea.

The name “Sniff” came to my mind because the application is a way to “sniff” through relationships and check their media (either pictures or videos). It’s a way to search and connect with different relationships.

Login

This is the page user sees after he/she logins using their account. Its shows random media files, which may or may not be created by the user. Under “Welcome Ricky”, the user cancheck his/her Albums for e.g., Delhi, Ladakh, Kerela, Taj Mahal, India, are the Albums created by user, Ricky.

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The user can then scroll down to check various “relationships” that he/she has. For e.g.,the user “Ricky” has Andy as his friend and Andy and Mindy as his classmates. Since Andy is both my friend and classmate so I can click on his name and check both his friend and classmates (and add them if necessary to my list) but I can only check Mindy’s classmates. I can always add a new relation or friend using the link “Add a new relation”

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The user can click on their or their friend’s album, for e.g, here I am checking “India” album, which has some pictures and some sub-albums, Goa, Cricket and Mumbai. I can also comment on this Album using the comment window or click on individual pictures and comment on them individually.

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After the user clicks on the picture (or video file), they can write a comment on it, like here Cindy has written a comment on my picture which has a fortune-telling robot on the streets of Mumbai. I thought the picture was pretty cool and so did Cindy apparently.

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Another cool feature is the”Search”. So, I can search for any media file and the application will search it using tags or name of the album or media file. So, when I search for “Taj”, it gives link to my Album “TajMahal” and also the pictures, “Front.jpg”

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And clicking on “Front.jpg” shows me the eternal beauty…

The web application is written entirely in Ruby on Rails, which is the cutting-edge technology in web application development. Working on it was as fun as it was to explore the application once it was completed. Me and my project mates chose a “cultural” theme to create our albums and it was fun going to their albums and checking pictures from their culture and leaving comments. This social-networking thing is truly addictive and fun. Let me now go and leave a comment on my friend’s breath-taking pictures of Taiwan’s countryside.