The one great thing about the library or the LRC (Learning Resource Center) at ISB is the wide variety of books available for one to read. Since we are pretty much allowed to issue a lot of books (I dont even know what the upper limit is…), I usually end up picking up 1 or 2 of them whenever I go there to study/discuss something with the group etc. However, as always, theres not much time to actually read the books, and I end up with an increasing pile that I need to read.
I was playing around with Meebo recently as part of prep for an interview, when I came across this cool product they have called meebome. You can see the widget active on the right side of my blog page in fact.
A day after the beginning of the Google-China soap opera (still ongoing of course) and the reported mail hacks, came the news that Google was making Gmail more secure by enabling https access by default (reported here and here). While https access has been available to users since at least beginning of 2007 (earliest reference I found, check here), you had to go into settings to turn it for default use or use a different URL to login. The funny part is that even last year, privacy advocates had asked Google to enable it by default.
However, the announcement itself was prompted by the attack news. “The Gmail team decided, why wait?” he said. “We want our users to be as safe as we can make them be.”
– from Nytimes Blogs
The funny part? If this was ‘completely unrelated’ to the China issue and Google had planned it all along implies that Google was pretty much prepared for the transition. Indeed, the above comment mentions that it was in process for about 6 months, with ‘extensive testing and technical fixes’.
However, if you look at the bottom of the announcement page (here), you see that multiple applications from Google itself, including Gmail Notifier, Gmail for mobile, Google Toolbar, offline Gmail and the iGoogle email widget are all having incompatibilities/issues with the https default setting. Now if this was planned in advance, I dont think it would have been too difficult for Google to simply push out updates for these products. All that was needed was a check to switch to https inside the app automatically if it detected that the user account was configured as such!
Bottomline: While it may have been under consideration, this was clearly a sudden decision without the ‘extensive’ testing that is Google’s trademark. Why they dont they just admit it? Dunno…
The reason for this post? A couple of audio calls I had recorded on my mobile phone for a report we were doing. However, when I transferred them to my laptop to transcribe them, I realised that they are all recorded in the *.amr file format. This is apparently a standard for speech recordings and used by multiple firms (including Sony Ericsson on my k790i). On top of it all, I don’t have the phone anymore (got a new one, more on that later), but I needed to read the files. Amazingly, most of the standard players I use, including winamp, windows media, and even VLC were of no help (license issues apparently).
A search on the net led to www.amrplayer.com, and the reason for this post. Its a pretty light and useful piece of software for what it does. Theres a simple UI. Just add your files, and go ahead and play them, or convert them to WAV or MP3 formats. The reverse is also possible (in case you want it). Best of all, there’s no trial period or anything. The software is free.
So if you need help with this strange looking format, you know where to go.
Chetan Bhagat has stepped into a fair bit of controversy over the last month or so with the whole twitter #chetanblocks thing and then the ‘3 Idiots’ credits issue. Talking about his books however, I did find his first book, ‘Five Point Someone’ pretty interesting, primarily because it was a good description of engineering life. I cant say the same thing about the next couple which were strictly ok, though I did make it a point to read them. I managed to snag a copy of his latest book, 2 states, from a classmate 2 days back. The ‘Now Reading’ in the title is kind of inaccurate since its a short 270 pager that I finished in a couple of hours.