Monday, 21 May 2012

Microsoft Launches So.Cl Network Amid Facebook Hubbub

Microsoft’s So.Cl quietly launched out of beta. The social website was tested by a handful of students at select universities since late last year. The site combines search and sharing for research purposes — making students the perfect group for testing the site. It’s similar to Pinterest in that users can create boards. And just like the early days of Facebook, the network is only for college students right now.
Pronounced “social,” the site was developed by Microsoft’s FUSE Labs to encourage collaboration and enhance social search for learning purposes. In a report from December 2011, Microsoft asserted the site is not meant to compete with Facebook or search engines, but to allow students to share materials for academic purposes.
“We expect students to continue using products such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and other existing social networks, as well as Bing, Google and other search tools,” So.Cl noted in its “About” section. “We hope to encourage students to re-imagine how our everyday communication and learning tools can be improved, by researching, learning and sharing in their everyday lives.”
Would you like to use So.Cl? Tell us in the comments.

Sunday, 20 May 2012

Indian woman on hunger strike for 12 years against Indian army atrocities

An ordinary Indian woman has been on hunger strike for the last 12—repeat 12—years in an effort to have the Government of India withdraw the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act, 1958 (AFSPA) from Manipur and other parts of India. Irom Sharmila Chanu, also known as the Iron Lady of Manipur, went on a hunger strike on November 4, 200 after Indian military soldiers gunned down 10 civilians at a bus station in Malom. She said
I was shocked to see the dead bodies. There was no means to stop further violations by the armed forces…. It (fast) is the most effective way because it is based on a spiritual fight… My fast is on behalf of the people of Manipur. This is not a personal battle, it is symbolic. It is a symbol of truth, love and peace.
After just three days of fasting, the police arrested her for attempted suicide, which is punishable according to Indian Penal Code. The administration started force-feeding her via nasal tubes and confined her to the Jawaharlal Nehru Hospital in Imphal. Because the maximum sentence for an ‘attempt to suicide’ cannot exceed one year, Irom Sharmila Chanu is released on completion of one year, and re-arrested after 2-3 days, on the same charges. This has been going on for the last 12 years.
The Indian Parliament passed this draconian act September 11, 1958. It gives the country’s armed forces the power to do what they want to do in the ‘disturbed areas’ in the states of Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland and Tripura. It was later extended to Jammu and Kashmir as The Armed Forces (Jammu and Kashmir) Special Powers Act, 1990 in July 1990.

Pakistan blocks Twitter access over 'blasphemous content'

Pakistani authorities today blocked access to Twitter on the ground that it was being used to publicise a contest for blasphemous caricatures of the Prophet Mohammed on Facebook. The move came hours after Interior Minister Rehman Malik's claim in a message posted on Twitter early this morning that no restrictions would be imposed on the popular micro-blogging site. The Information Technology Ministry said Twitter had been blocked for publicising "blasphemous and inflammatory content". Calls for participation in the contest for blasphemous caricatures were being made on Twitter, it said.
The ministry said Twitter was blocked after it failed to respond to several requests from Pakistan for taking action against blasphemous content. The ministry claimed it had contacted Twitter several times but the site's administrators had failed to respond. Users from across Pakistan reported that they were unable to access the site on their computers and mobile phones since the afternoon. An estimated six million people use Twitter in Pakistan.

Day after historic IPO, Facebook's Zuckerberg weds

A day after the historic Facebook stock offering, Zuckerberg on Saturday wed 27-year-old Priscilla Chan, his girlfriend of nearly a decade, according to a guest authorized to speak for the couple. The person spoke only on the condition of anonymity. Zuckerberg gave his new bride a ring he had designed with a "very simple ruby" to end an incredibly eventful week, according to the guest. The couple married at his Palo Alto, Calif. home in front of fewer than 100 stunned guests who thought they would be attending a party to celebrate Chan's graduation from medical school.


On Monday, Zuckerberg turned 28 and Chan graduated from the University of California, San Francisco School of Medicine, where she'd studied pediatrics. Then on Friday, Zuckerberg took his blue-and-white web behemoth public in one of the most anticipated IPOs in Wall Street history. The seemingly well-coordinated timing was largely a coincidence, the guest said. The wedding had been planned for months and the couple was waiting for Chan to finish medical school, but the date of the IPO was a "moving target" not known when the wedding was set. Attendees, including Facebook's chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg, were told after they arrived that they were not mere party guests but wedding guests.
Ditching his trademark hoodie and sneakers, Zuckerberg sported a dark blue suit and tie with a white shirt for the ceremony, while Chan wore a traditional white wedding dress with veil and lace. Food was served family-style and included dishes from the couple's favorite Palo Alto sushi restaurant. Zuckerberg met Chan at Harvard, where he founded Facebook in a dorm room in 2004, and have been together for more than nine years.
Chan's own Facebook page, which now lists her as married to the founder, said she is a native of Braintree, Mass., and attended high school in nearby Quincy. She graduated Harvard in 2007 then taught science to fourth and fifth graders at the Harker School in San Jose for two years before starting medical school, according to her profile. Her page also says she "loves cooking and soft things." Even after the IPO, Zuckerberg, who grew up in Dobbs Ferry, N.Y., remains Facebook's single largest shareholder, with 503.6 million shares, and he controls the company with 56 percent of its voting stock. The site has grown into a worldwide network of almost a billion people and made its founder, Time magazine's Person of the Year in 2010, one of the most famous businessmen of the Internet age.