A Complete Browser : Flock

I've always been a fan of Internet Explorer. I recently [about 6months back] started to use Mozilla Firefox. I cannot state an exact reason why I switched to Firefox. Some pages were not properly working in IE, so I thought I will try Firefox, and thats about it. Even after I switched to Firefox, there are some times when I preferred IE itself. Even with all those cool Firefox addons, I never felt I won't survive without Firefox.

Two weeks before I read about a new browser - Flock : The Social Browser [thats what the splash screen says]. The author mentioned both cons and pros, but in the end, he stated that, now its difficult for him to live without the cool features of Flock. Thats when I thought I will also give it a try. What more to say, within days, I became a fan of Flock. I don't think I can describe all the cool features of Flock here. Let me first say, its really one of the coolest [web-related] thing I've ever seen. The main thing I liked about it is, its built using Firefox code itself. So we will inherit all the things we liked about Firefox [including security feautres] plus the Flock specific features. I had customized Firefox in my way, and I was doubtful whether the change is worth. But its more than worth, I would say.

For explaining the features, I am attaching some screenshots here, out of which one shows this blog in the Blog editor...

From the first impression, it looks so flashy, right? The effective browsing area is less though, when we use all the features, but there is option to turn them off.

In the first image you can see the original Firefox features like tabbed browsing, the same Find tool bar etc. The Foxy Tunes [lower right - music] and the PicLens [top right] are 2 addons worth mentioning here. They are originally for Firefox and I wanted to blog about them separately. The third screen is of the PicLens. It shows all the images on a web page. It is really cool for Flickr users, google image searches etc. Foxy Tunes lets you control your music player from browser.

Now to the Flock specific features. You can stay connected to almost all the 'famous' social networking sites, photo sharing site, mail accounts etc. You can see the accounts bar, where I have logged in to my gmail, yahoo, flickr, youtube, blogger, picasa and accounts. Then, there is a media bar on the top of the browser. In the first screen, I have chosen flickr stream based on interestingness. You can select the stream based on ratings, key words etc and it supports you tube, photo bucket etc too. There is an integrated Blog editor and Photo Uploader.

In the button bar, there are buttons to display RSS feeds, Favorites, People, Web Mail accounts, Blog Editor, Photo Uploader, Web Clipboard etc on the left panel. In the second screen you can see the integrated Blog editor, friends list on the left panel, the Fast Dial - A Firefox addon [you can call it - visual book marks] etc

Even if I wrote lot of good things, there is still space for improvement. There is no support for Orkut, which is the social networking site I prefer. There is no support of Picasa stream in the Media Bar. The integrated blog editor is almost pathetic. You cannot format the text alignment [can see in this blog - no alignment and also the buttons for alignment are missing]. Then, adding an image to the blog, its difficult. I had to use the blogger editor to add the screenshots in this blog.

So thats the cons and pros which I think are worth mentioning [which I use frequently]. Over all I give this web product 9/10 score. Now its all up to you to test it. Good Luck!
Blogged with the Flock Browser

I Say No to Videos on Flickr

I am a huge fan of flickr [the photo sharing site] and photography is a part of my life. I like to keep a vivid memory of everything that happens around me and that’s how my craze for photography began I think and it dated back to my college days. But at that time, I only had a conventional camera, which uses films. You have to buy the films, take the photos and develop it which is a costly process. There was no place for errors. So my interests stayed only in moments with my friends and relatives. Even then, I have around 12-15 albums with all the memories of my college days.

Then came the digital revolution, everything was digitized. (ofcourse digital cameras existed long back also, but I couldn’t afford it) Then I saved for a digital camera and I searched for it for long time and acquired my Canon Digital IXUS 800IS, the first camera of Canon in the IXUS series with IS feature in it. Its been almost 2 years since I had it, and what more to say, I have taken more than 15000 photos in it. Now you know what I am talking about. I am looking forward for the day I will acquire an SLR.

I got the freedom to do all the experiments I want to do with a photography, I began taking pictures of everything of interest to me. I always loved the details of our nature. The beauty of leaves, the mighty clouds, the colourful sunsets, the intensity of flowers, everything was small wonders to me. And thus I got involved in photography and what do people say about happiness, it will grow when you share. I wanted to share my experience and satisfaction with others and that’s when I heard about flickr. First I thought flickr as a bit complicated, but slowly I saw the potential flickr offered. The flickr community! Also the flexibility of flickr, the things you can do with your photographs. They were not just photos anymore; I felt more than that, much more. You could share it with millions of people, you can place your photos in the world map, you can write comments, you can classify and categorize, and many more things. I became and admirer of flickr very fast. The quality with which they provide us with their services, it was superb.

But now, I have some disagreement with what they are doing now. They have added the video sharing feature in flickr. An ordinary person might wonder what I am complaining about. I have to be happy with it, ‘cos I have more features. But ask a true ‘flickerian’, you’ll know. There are groups which say, ‘We say NO to videos on flickr’ and ‘No videos on flickr’ and many administrators of groups are banning users from adding videos to their group. I feel I also have to do something about it.

Here it is… My protest to videos on flickr!

They are changing the true vision of flickr (the way I see it), by adding videos. May be people say I am afraid of change. But for sure Yahoo could have started another service like flickr video or yahoo video. But the chances of something like that to gain momentum in a short while, [competing with YouTube] are very small as compared to adding the feature to already existing, widely established, flickr. I can give you an example. What will you feel if the favorite flavor of icecream, is modified for better results by changing or adding another ingredient to it? [I know it’s a terrible example, but that’s all I could come up with when I tried to convert my feelings to words] I hope something will be done about it.

Lazzzzzzzzzy for 2 Days!!

What would you prefer to do, if you are given 2-3 days and nothing much to do? Well there are so many options, you can roam around the city, you can watch some movies, go to your friends place & have some fun, or visit some places/trips etc. But what if you are too lazy to do any of these things? But at the same time you want to do something also. Its the same thing which happened to me and other 3 of my friends last weekend.

Due to Ugadi [a local festival], we got a long weekend. Nothing in particular to do, even if there was something, I hope you all know the feeling of being lazy, that satisfaction you get when you have something to do and you just sit idle, not doing anything, anything at all. But I wanted to do something, something adventurous and decided to go on for a trip, a road trip - in bikes - to Coorg. The main reason - you may have guessed - not for trekking, not for sightseeing, not even for riding that long [a small %], not for mere adventure but for being lazy. Just drive 250-300kms and get to the place, you stay there for 2 days without doing anything, not even bathing, just because you are lazy, is the peak point of craziness, I can tell. But we did that.

In the brief, we started on Friday evening, reached & stayed at Mysore [~150kms] that night, continued to Coorg [~110Kms] the next morning, found a stay and settled there by noon Saturday, and then we started 'practicing laziness'. Our stay was in a small house inside a coffee plantation around 45acers in area and there was a small veranda there. All I did till Monday morning till we left was mostly sitting there idle looking at the foliage infront of the house, enjoyed music for sometime, ate and drank and thats it. Didn’t go out to visit any places [except after a few couple of drinks that we felt like climbing a mountain], no trekking, no movies, not even bathing, since the water there was too cold, just sat there talking to each others and the most important point is that, we absolutely enjoyed laziness for 2 days. :)

This trip was one of its kinds, out of all the trips I have gone for. After coming back, I was soo much in to laziness, that I didn’t even wanted to walk from where I sit to get some drinking water. The only thing we did against the ‘laziness agenda’ was riding that 250kms, but that was really adventurous, a really good road and a bike that can reach 110km/s easily, and the next thing you know, you are flying. Ok, I am not talking much, here are the photos, most of them are self explanatory I guess.

Starting our trip.

Taking a break!

We even had to drive through a paddy field to find a place to stay.

This is our place of stay. You have to travel around half a kilometer through steep mud road which is very slippery, from the tarred road, which is around 10km away from the main road, to get there.

Thinking whether to take a bath or not?

Helping with the cooking.

Being Lazy!

Discussions on different varieties of laziness, after dinner.

Doing some expedition just around the house!

I found some Mushrooms.

I don’t know what this is, but its definitely photogenic.

Again eating! You can notice the amount of fish [river fish] we are eating.

After the rain!

Nature is really beautiful after rain

Wild Rose - First time seeing real wild rose.

Again having food.

Tried another angle in photography.

Departing time.

Unlike previous trip, there are no expeditions, or trekking, just plain laziness.

ps: I will upload all the full size photos to flickr soon. Here is the link -