Quadra

Connecting Technology and Business.

Can your Free Facebook account prove Costly?

If you already have a Facebook account, this post is for you.

Does Facebook threaten YOUR privacy?

Here is a collection of all Information Facebook has about YOU which it uses and shares with its affiliates and with who knows who?

Information YOU provide at account creation

(Items in italics are treated as content for public sharing)

  • Your name
  • Your user name and User ID
  • Your cover photo
  • Your networks
  • Your email address
  • Your birthday – (this is used for showing you age-appropriate content)
  • Your gender
  • Your telephone number (if disclosed)

Information YOU provide while sharing

  • Your status updates
  • Your uploaded photos
  • Your comments on others' content
  • You add a friend
  • You Like a page or a website
  • You add a place to your story
  • Use Facebook's contact importers
  • Indicate you are in a relationship

Information YOUR FRIENDS provide about you

  • When they
    • upload your contact information
  • Tag you
    • in a photo or status update or at a location
  • Add you to a group

Information YOUR DEVICES provide

  • About the computer, mobile phone, or other devices you use
  • Info about multiple users logging in from the same device
  • Network and communication information
  • Your IP address
  • Your Mobile phone number
  • Your internet service
  • You devices' operating system
  • Your location
  • The type (including identifiers) of the device or browser you use
  • The pages you visit
  • Your GPS or other location information

Facebook could request device information from your devices to improve how their apps work on your device.

Information YOUR ONGOING FACEBOOK ACTIVITY provides

Whenever you use or are running Facebook

  • When you look at another person's timeline
  • All Messages - Sent or received
  • Your Search for a friend or a Page
  • Your Clicks, Views or other interactions with things
  • Facebook mobile app usage
  • Purchases made through Facebook.

When you post things like photos or videos on Facebook,

  • Additional related data (or metadata) such as the time, date, and place you took the photo or video.

Information the game YOU PLAY, application YOU USE, or website YOU VISIT that uses Facebook Platform or a Facebook feature (such as a social plugin) provides

sometimes through cookies.

  • The date and time you visit the site
  • The web address, or URL, you're on
  • Technical information about
  • The IP address
  • The browser
  • the operating system you use
  • Your User ID if you are logged in to Facebook

Information Facebook's affiliates or their advertising partners, customers and other third parties provide

  • information about you (like how you responded to an ad on Facebook or on another site)

The End User License Agreement (EULA)

The EULA is a very important document that comes as a part of a software license (or license for any other products). This contains details of the terms and conditions that the parties to the agreement agree to comply with during the term of the license or as long as the agreement is in force. This might also contain some fine print especially in in click wrap license agreements - a common type of agreement often used in connection with software licenses. Such forms of agreement are mostly found on the Internet, as part of the installation process of many software packages, or in other circumstances where agreement is sought using electronic media. It allow companies to hide unfavourable conditions from their customers which might create some problems for customers in due course. But innocent or careless consumers don't read these clauses or terms and so end up signing agreements with terms and conditions that they don't really agree with. Here is an example to illustrate that end users don't read the EULA.

On 1st April 2010, Gamestation (currently owned by Game) temporarily added the following clause to its online sales contract:

By placing an order via this Web site on the first day of the fourth month of the year 2010 Anno Domini, you agree to grant Us a non transferable option to claim, for now and for ever more, your immortal soul. Should We wish to exercise this option, you agree to surrender your immortal soul, and any claim you may have on it, within 5 (five) working days of receiving written notification from gamesation.co.uk or one of its duly authorised minions. We reserve the right to serve such notice in 6 (six) foot high letters of fire, however we can accept no liability for any loss or damage caused by such an act.

If you a) do not believe you have an immortal soul, b) have already given it to another party, or c) do not wish to grant Us such a license, please click the link below to nullify this sub-clause and proceed with your transaction.

It wasn't just a gag though: the roughly 12% of customers who clicked the links were given a free £5 voucher. It's all in good fun, but it does demonstrate how dastardly EULAs can be.

An analysis of the terms of service of major consumer websites has found that they frequently contain clauses that impede consumer rights in substantial and often unexpected ways.

EULA new.png 

 www.clickwrapped.com

Moral of the story: Read the EULAs before you click on the "I agree" button when you buy a license to any product online.

Crowdsourcing - A shot in the arm for people looking for big data

Data for research and analysis aimed at quality of life is essential for the wellbeing of the society at large. Thankfully, data is available.

Data is available everywhere – in the devices we use – servers and desktops, laptops, tablet PCs, mobile phones, enterprise storage devices like SAN and NAS and individual storage devices like CDs, DVDs and pen-drives. Big data is available in the Cloud – the online service providers have invested billions to create datacentres that cater to the needs of enterprises large and small as well as government offices, educational institutions and non-governmental organizations. A huge amount of data of individuals is also in the cloud in the form of mails and social media content.

While technology today provides all ways and means to access all this data – more importantly data that is shared – no individual is authorised to snoop into others' data. The non-disclosure agreements signed at the very start of every data sharing endeavour does not permit the service providers to either access data themselves or allow other agencies to access the data of the tenants.

When researchers and analysts need data they are dependent on the owners of this data. Again, just data from one person will not serve the purpose. They will need huge database to arrive at credible results. The larger the sample space, the more reliable the conclusions of such research and studies. So, the people in need of such data venture out the users through various means – currently the social media is a good approach path. They call for users to share their information voluntarily and participate in their studies. If the cause for which a particular study is carried out interests them, the users share information which in turn would help in better analysis and interpretation of data. This is crowdsourcing.

Right from studying the preferences of end users of products (software, hardware, consumer products and commercial products) to choosing the winners of competitions held through various media through voting to verifying the validity of a claims by individuals of agencies, crowdsourcing has become a very powerful means of predicting risks or evaluating facts. Even the medical research has got a shot in the arm in the form of crowdsourcing.

A typical example for crowdsourcing enabled study - Recently a claim by the US government was found to lack credibility as a result of a study conducted by The Center for Internet and Society at Stanford Law School.

Get your customers to work for you!

Get your customers to work for you!

Impact of social media on all aspects of our life has been discussed to death. The question is, have you integrated social media into your customer outreach channels? If you have, then congratulations, you have direct mindshare of your customer. Your interaction with your customer has moved beyond the structured parameters of business communication dictated by normal business hours, organizational roles and hierarchies and most importantly the interaction is customer driven. This is exactly why smart businesses are already engaging their customers using social media. Data generated by social media analytics is central to the way your products are developed, bug fixes are prioritized and the manner in which your firm reaches out to various demographic segments.

As in everything else, for leveraging social media optimally it is essential to know your customer. Demographic profile will dictate whether your customer is using Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Foursquare or WhatsApp. Customer engagement can take various forms like obtaining feedback, disseminating information and promotion of events. The structure of the platform will of course impact the manner in which you engage with your target audience. While Facebook is ideal for creation of special interest groups to engage with each other thereby driving brand loyalty, Twitter is focused on reaching out to customers to resolve their issues, address their concerns and event promotions.

Social media has the ability to affect all aspects of your customer's lifecycle and tackling all aspects of Social CRM may prove a bit intimidating initially. You need to determine which phase(s) you want to tackle first and accordingly develop a plan which clearly defines objectives, responsibilities, milestones to be achieved and their timelines. Creating awareness within the organization is mandatory for optimal results.

Also you can use social media to increase intra organizational communication two-way dialogues, driving engagement throughout the whole organization by getting your employees on the same page and streamlining communication between them. We can break down communication barriers across cultures, geographies, and levels to accelerate innovation.

Social analytics can help you by enhancing your understanding your customers and employees much better than the competition. It facilitates direct interaction with the customer and enables collaborative decision making by sentiment analysis and study of customer behavior. Software offerings from premier companies enable you gain deeper understanding of customer needs to enable you to target new offers and products and enhance customer experience and ensure a consistent brand experience across all sales channels.

How Quadra can help?

If you are serious about connecting with your customer, you cannot ignore social media. However, like all CRM initiatives, engaging your customer base through social media needs is to be carefully planned and executed keeping in mind both the customer and the social media platform. This is where Quadra comes in. Our experience and expertise in working with portals and content management systems can help your organization leverage the extremely powerful capabilities of this medium in the most effective and risk free manner. We have expertise on major enterprise social collaboration tools, and help you to evaluate options, decide on a platform and technology, and devise the most effective way to harness this medium within and outside the organization. By increasing knowledge sharing and leveraging experts across an organization, regardless of location, we can help you to innovate rapidly, speed up decision making and achieve your business goals. When it comes to interfacing with the external world, our 360 degree services help you in technology evaluation, media monitoring, market research, competition analysis, while ensuring that it is in tune with your business objectives and corporate culture.

Cognitive Systems and the Classrooms of the Future

Technology that understand individual human behaviour and act accordingly are called cognitive systems. This is the next level of Artificial intelligence that is now getting incorporated into the machines that are being built today. Repeated actions, the frequency, the time of those actions and the related reactions of an individual are learnt by the computer systems that are equipped with various sensors (cameras, mikes, touch surfaces). Over a period of time the systems fine-tune themselves and start proactively functioning with the acquired intelligence. They provide assistance to the individual to do his activities better and much quicker. A new era of Cognitive systems will learn, reason and engage with individuals in a more natural and personalized way.

While software evolves to "think" in ways similar to the human brain, computing power and troves of data kept handy in the Internet "cloud" will enable machines to power innovations in classrooms. Over time these computers will get smarter and more customized through interactions with data, devices and people, helping technologists take on what may have been seen as unsolvable problems by using all the information that surrounds us and bringing the right insight or suggestion to our fingertips right when it's most needed.

All these while we have heard of students walking into classrooms to learn. But one of the predictions by the technology stalwart IBM for the next five years is classrooms getting to know students. Classrooms will be equipped with systems that track and analyse each student's progress to tailor curriculum and help teachers target learning techniques. Students with learning difficulties can look forward to these classrooms that will help them move ahead at their own pace but in ways that will keep them on track to better learning experiences. Brighter students can aim for much more challenging learning activities that will give them an edge over the others and stay ahead in the competitive space.

Enhanced Personal Security through Digital Technology

One of the five predictions by the technology stalwart IBM for the next five years is smart machines tapping into the Internet cloud that will be able to serve as "digital guardians" protecting people from hackers by recognizing unusual online behaviour, such as shopping binges at dubious websites, and spying scam email messages or booby-trapped links. This is the result of the cognitive systems that have recently pervaded the technology scene promising to improve quality of life.

Digital technology is available today not only to protect and safeguard an individual's online avatar, but also assure an individual's physical safety while away from home.

Microsoft has introduced new Windows App named Guardian, a new safety application available exclusively for windows phone users in India. Guardian enables users to switch on a 'track me' feature in the app that lets friends and family track them in real time using Microsoft Windows Azure cloud services and Bing Map APIs. The app was developed with an aim to protect women and to make them feel safer in the cities. Guardian users can call for help through an 'SOS' alert button and also connect to security agencies, police and hospitals easily via this app in times of distress.

A second example is that of another independent Software solution start-up in Bangalore who has developed a cloud based integrated child and school bus tracking and monitoring solution that can track students and the vehicles they take that ensures a child's safety and security when he or she travels to and from school. The solution communicates with cloud servers every 10 seconds and automatically sends alerts and notifications to authorized users - usually parents - via SMS, email, web and mobile channels. At last, parents can breath free.

3D printing - an overview

Introduction

Concept modelling or functional prototyping of a certain physical product is a very time consuming process. It starts from detailed research to designing, dimensioning, drawing, sketching, choosing the right material and then building the model or the prototype. While the first set of activities can be achieved faster using various technologies like Computer aided designing (CAD), Computer aided Engineering (CAE), Computer aided industrial design (CAID) and Computer aided Manufacturing (CAM), the final leg of producing the actual model or the prototype is a real challenge. 3D printing helps industry professional meet the challenge head on with its innovative technology - converting the 3D models on screen to actual and functional 3D models. 3D printers, instead of printing onto paper using ink, moves back and forth, printing layers in order to build up an object using various materials.

Industrial relevance

Industries across various verticals have started adopting 3D printing technology to arrive at results faster. Consumer goods & electronics, aerospace & defense, automotive, education, dental, medical and medical devices, architecture, industrial machinery, footwear, sporting goods, toys and service bureaus – 3D printing finds its relevance in a number of industries. Consumer-product designers, automotive manufacturing engineers, dental labs and countless other professionals use this technology to accelerate designing and manufacturing of their products.

Architectural design

Computer simulations have been used in engineering and architecture to visualize buildings but traditionally real live models were built using wood or foam boards which let the architect see how the building would stand in physical space. Architectural models can now be created with the precision offered by computers rapidly using 3D printing.

Architectural models.png                                         

Ergonomics

Ergonomic designing is essential to prevent injury and improve productivity. 3D printed models permit accurate testing of ergonomic performance during the product development process.

concept modeling.png 

3D printed concept models help market products powerfully. Focus groups can be shown a pre–launch model of a new product that's nearly identical to the real thing. They can see it, hold it and examine it from every angle.

Functional modelling

The 3D printed prototypes and models can also be functional – they work the way the intended end product functions. This is achieved using original or nearly original materials like thermoplastics, Photopolymers and Polyetherimides that can withstand thermal, mechanical and chemical stresses that come into play during functional testing. Jigs, fixtures, tool masters and even low-volume production tooling can be produced in-house in hours or days.

Consumer Products

Customized end user parts can also be manufactured using this technology. MRI components with ultimate accuracy can be developed to meet very specific needs in the medical field. Dentistry can take the help of 3D printing to digitally design teeth models.

Digital dentistry 2.png 

3D printers

A leading provider of 3D inkjet printers is Objet. Another example is the Replicator 2 from MakerBot which is a fourth-generation 3D printer, and it lets you print just about any creation you have in mind out of plastic. Well, as long as it fits within the printer's confines, that is--it can print anything about the size of a shoebox. For instance, you could print your own toys, jewelry or household objects, or if part of a gadget breaks, you can just run off a replacement part (though there are some potential copyright pitfalls there). There's also a growing MakerBot community that offers plenty of templates for you to print off to get you started. Prices of 3D printers today range from less than $500.

3D printer from MakerBot.png 

3D printing Windows 8.1 app from Microsoft

Even Microsoft has released a 3D printing app for Win 8.1 users enabling them to print 3D objects. The simple, simplistic, free app from Microsoft provides a basic way to print common 3D objects, as well as to import other files from SkyDrive or elsewhere. But the degree of customization that the app allows is small, so 3D Builder basically serves as an introduction to the world of 3D printing.

3D printing – Sidelines

There is a choco-creator that will print customised chocolates for you and your loved ones. By connecting it to an iPad and taking a photo, you could have your face printed onto a vase, all done with a 3D printer. Want to make electric guitars more practical without compromising sound? Then you can print a more- streamlined version of the instrument. You can also create your own unique fashion accessories with the help of 3D printing.

3D printing – IP issues

Unfortunately, printing off copies of objects, even if it's just to innocently replace a personal item, does raise intellectual property issues—both in terms of patent law and copyright. The problem here is that 3D printing is still regarded as a new technology, so the issue of intellectual property and what's legal is yet to be fully clarified. Still, it would probably be advisable not to reproduce someone else's idea in its entirety.

Arranging Content In A Page Is Easy – Use Tables

I have seen users struggling to hold various contents at particular places. If the page has to hold a certain tables, some text boxes and graphics with title, headings and subheadings, quotes, notes and various such items, it is a real challenge to put them in the right places.

This can be addressed in various ways. The easiest is to insert a table with certain number of rows and columns to begin with. Then we can put each of the contents mentioned above in various cells of the table. The next step is adjusting the heights of individual rows, width of individual columns, merging cells or splitting cells so that the contents fits well. Filling the cells with suitable colours will give the contents a distinct look. There is no set rule to do any of these but experimenting with these will make you a professional page designer over time.

The final step is to remove the borders (or at least the unnecessary ones) so that the contents in the page all look naturally arranged in their respective places (but we know they are held in place by the table).

I am presenting a simple example of this here for better understanding.

Yammer eDM.png 

Electronic direct mailers, brochures, quick reference cards, datasheets and one page letters can be designed quickly and with much less effort using this method.

Use A Term In MS Office Documents With Confidence

You are in the middle of a Word document – say a report. You are trying to use a word that you though will be the best fit in that contest. But you are not sure. Does this word really mean what I think is its meaning? Is the tone expressed by the word right? Word is here to help.

Right click the word and immediately you are presented with one or more synonyms that will help you decide whether to use the word in question or to choose a weighty or lighter word in its place. It also helps you with one or more antonyms (if available in its installed default dictionary) so that you are doubly sure you are not using a word that conveys a completely opposite meaning than the intended one.

What happens if there are no synonyms to a given word in your default dictionary? (I was searching for the word 'Trove'). The Thesaurus comes to your rescue now. Word will look for an installed dictionary or help you download a dictionary (if not done earlier) to display the meaning. Many such dictionaries are available even free of cost in the Office Store today. (The audible pronunciation in US English and UK English is a bonus).

Strikethrough Scenarios In Mails

When can the strikethrough option be used in everyday documents? Many keep wondering whether this feature would be really useful at all. Think again.

You are forwarding (or replying to) an email. You are intent on discussing one or more points related to the original mail received by you. But you also want to draw the attention of the recipient/s of your mail to certain portions of the original mail while the rest is irrelevant to the receiver. (You also do not want to add a highlighting to the selected content which might lead to a confusion as to whether you added the emphasis or it was originally there). All the while, you also don't want the reader to lose the context in which the selected portions of the text were found. What do you do now?

You can strikethrough the content that is irrelevant to the point you are discussing in your mail. It preserves the complete context of the selected content and drives home the point quickly and well.

If you have another scenario for this this strikethrough feature, please share.