Skip to main content

Living off the Net

I need to mention that the Title "Living off the net" means living using the resources off the net and not living without the net, that would be apocalypse, a world war .. just hell. 


Maybe a lot of you've heard of the Chromebook recently, the net book which runs on Chrome OS, developed by google. Basically a browser, completely online life, all online apps, nothing install-able on the computer. I quite liked it the first time i read it's reviews until someone pointed out it's defects. one, It's as costly as any netbook but not many better perks and especially in India, where we dont have Wi-Fi everywhere, using netbooks on the go maybe a problem if not at home, office or at the college and we'll have to use the 3G services. 


Anyhow, i was quite interested in the concept of living online, documents, movies, songs, everything online, everything on the cloud. And maybe we don't need to have Chromebooks or even netbooks to be living off the internet . Almost all of us, students and everyone now a days has a computer or better a laptop. Almost all of us have 24hour net connections and we use them daily. So, i say why dont we try using the net to the fullest extent. I use chrome as my default browser, migrating over to firefox once in a while. And in chrome, like firefox there are a lot extensions and add-ons available. I'm trying to use these and other net based / cloud based applications and work on my computer when i say live off the net. 


For a start, storage space. Apart from the huge movie or sitcom collection most of us have on our comps, around 10-20 GB of space is what we use to store documents, ppts, pdfs or some music. I say move this to the net. Gmail gives you almost 7GB space on the net, you can attach docs, ppts or music to a mail, save them as drafts and just organise them in folders for better organisation, also you'll easily be able to look for documents rather than going through the folders in the computer. 


Google Docs gives us around 2GB of space, along with the ability to upload stuff into the docs folders, making docs and ppts online, a lot like the microsoft office products or from my point of view, a lot better. I just hope they make this facility available offline too, then it would be invincible.


There are a lot of websites online which give a user around 5-10 GB of space online, no strings attached other than just signing up for it. For example, im using Box, giving me 5GB of online storage space, for music or bigger stuff than documents. 


Another thing is music. Well, i've been able to store music online, but how do i play it.  I for one like to have something playing in the background whatever it is i'm doing, right now AC/DC to be exact. So, music apps. iTunes has an online radio service, i suppose based on the cloud or on playlists created by individuals as an internet radio, anyhow it's completely free again. Shuffler, an online radio service with a wide variety of songs is another online radio service, among many other and the lst but not the least, in fact the very best, Youtube, Im pretty sure is just infinite and omni present, every song in the world is on the youtube (though i haven't checked) and you can upload, share, listen to it all you want. 


Other stuff like Google Sky is an online planetarium by google, Planetarium is another free Chrome App which is a much simpler planetarium, which maybe used like Kstars or Stellarium installed on my comp. Though the online resources are not as good as the others i mentioned, they can be developed to be as good i suppose, especially with the amount of resources available online.


I dont' think i can ask for anymore than this and as a student i dont think i should be given anymore than this. One other reason i was interested in Chromebook was because i couldnt install other kinds of crap, like DC++,  a local P2P sharing software i keep open 24HR a day, from which i just keep downloading stuff onto my comp, i could stay away from malware or viruses i might download from the net. 


For programming or simulations SAGE is another excellent software (though you install it first on the comp), as a replacement for Matlab which is just too costly which works through your web browser, write code, simulate, everything through your browser and even post it online if you have a net connection. I can't recall right now, but there are a looot of other stuff which i can do online. 


Coming to an end, all i'm trying to say is, try supporting and using free ware/ free software, try adapting or changing yourselves just for fun sometimes and contrary to what i've been reading the past few weeks, your brain is in now way affected from using the net for resources, educational or otherwise,  Google and Wiki add to your knowledge base, sometimes even help you remember better and sometimes remove the necessity to remember too much unnecessary stuff. 

Popular posts from this blog

Animation using GNUPlot

Animation using GNUPlotI've been trying to create an animation depicting a quasar spectrum moving across the 5 SDSS pass bands with respect to redshift. It is important to visualise what emission lines are moving in and out of bands to be able to understand the color-redshift plots and the changes in it.
I've tried doing this using the animate function in matplotlib, python but i wasn't able to make it work - meaning i worked on it for a couple of days and then i gave up, not having found solutions for my problems on the internet.
And then i came across this site, where the gunn-peterson trough and the lyman alpha forest have been depicted - in a beautiful manner. And this got me interested in using js and d3 to do the animations and make it dynamic - using sliders etc.
In the meanwhile, i thought i'd look up and see if there was a way to create animations in gnuplot and whoopdedoo, what do i find but nirvana!

In the image, you see 5 static curves and one dynam…

on MOOCs.

For those of you who don't know, MOOC stands for Massively Open Online Course.

The internet is an awesome thing. It's making education free for all. Well, mostly free. But it's surprising at the width and depth of courses being offered online. And it looks like they are also having an impact on students, especially those from universities that are not top ranked. Students in all parts of the world can now get a first class education experience, thanks to courses offered by Stanford, MIT, Caltech, etc.

I'm talking about MOOCs because one of my new year resolutions is to take online courses, atleast 2 per semester (6 months). And I've chosen the following two courses on edX - Analyzing Big Data with Microsoft R Server and Data Science Essentials for now. I looked at courses on Coursera but I couldn't find any which was worthy and free. There are a lot more MOOC providers out there but let's start here. And I feel like the two courses are relevant to where I …

On programmers.

I just watched this brilliant keynote today. It's a commentary on Programmers and the software development industry/ecosystem as a whole.



I am not going to give you a tl;dr version of the talk because it is a talk that I believe everyone should watch, that everyone should learn from. Instead, I am going to give my own parallel-ish views on programmers and programming.
As pointed out in the talk, there are mythical creatures in the software development industry who are revered as gods. Guido Van Rossum, the creator of Python, was given the title Benevolent Dictator For Life (BDFL). People flock around the creators of popular languages or libraries. They are god-like to most programmers and are treated like gods. By which, I mean to say, we assume they don't have flaws. That they are infallible. That they are perfect.
And alongside this belief in the infallibility of these Gods, we believe that they were born programmers. That programming is something that people are born wit…