Apple’s iOS 6 Vs Android’s 4.0: Who Comes Out On Top?

For mobile and tablet lovers, the big news from Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) 2012 conference was the official unveiling of their new mobile operating system, iOS 6. Stacked with over 200 new features, we thought why not pitch Apple’s latest operating system against Android’s most recent, just to see which one really is the best. Here are some of the highlights:

Apple has finally ditched Google Maps with iOS 6, and their new map feature may finally come close to the might of the ever-popular Google Maps found on Android 4.0. Having teamed up with TomTom and C3, Apple’s new map feature boasts 3D imaging and turn-by-turn navigation which allows you to arrive at your destination thanks to spoken directions. However, Google Maps have been ruling the roost for years with 3D views, Street View, as well as their own turn-by-turn navigation.

Apple has also added enhanced functionality for Siri with iOS 6. You can launch apps, as well as ask for latest sports scores and fixtures. In addition, you can find out the latest movie listings and book a table at a restaurant. All very innovative and cool. In comparison, Samsung’s S-Voice, only exclusive to the Samsung Galaxy S3, is also innovative, but more basic than Siri.

Androids 4.0 introduced some fascinating developments on the camera front. Users can enjoy comprehensive editing functionality, as well as live video effects. There’s also a nifty feature allowing you to use the camera whilst in lock mode. On iOS 6 users can benefit from an added photo stream feature which allows the sharing of photos and photo streams across all devices. Both Android 4.0 and iOS 6 allow users to now chat over 3G and WiFi connections.

There’s a great deal more to consider when comparing the two, user interface, video calling, browsing and security too. Overall though, the inclusion of Apple Maps and a smarter Siri just gives iOS 6 the edge. The downside is that we have to wait until autumn 2012 to find out for ourselves.

Google’s Loss is Yahoo’s Gain. Will Marissa Mayer Make Yahoo Reputable Again?

Shock. Stunned. Amazed. Surprised. This is how users on the Web have been reacting to the news of Marissa Mayer being appointed as the new CEO of Yahoo. And the reason to be surprised is due to the fact that Marissa Mayer was previously working for Google for nearly 13 years, since she first joined the search engine giant (as employee number 20) in 1999.

Kudos to Yahoo, and indeed this is a great move for the company, which has been desperately hunting for the right leader in the last few years with having switched over to three not-so-good CEOs in less than a year and a total of five in the last four years. Yahoo has terrifically failed to shine in the industry, as its competitors grew stronger with innovative services, while Yahoo was left behind with barely anything to offer.

During the era of Carol Bartz, Yahoo’s worst nightmare, the company lost some of the popular services like Yahoo Buzz, Delicious, and Yahoo Geocities, which were either shut down, or were sold away. Yahoo not only lost most of its services during that time, but also it was this point of time where it lost many users to its competitors.

Yahoo has had a rough history. Today, Mayer takes over the CEO’s post, and I’m sure she has that potential to do great things for Yahoo, using her experience from her previous company and having the quality of a perfectionist executive. Sure Marissa is a challenging person who has always strived to take up challenging tasks, however, with Yahoo’s huge drawbacks and poor history, will she be successful enough to rightfully make Yahoo reputable again? Well, I see a very thin chance of that happening.
Marissa at Google

Speaking of Marissa Mayer, let’s look at some of her contributions she has supervised and managed at Google. Mayer has been an engineer, designer, product manager, and executive in her last 13 years at Google, and has also launched over 100 well-known features and products. She was in charge of services like Local Maps and Location Services, and has also supervised products which included Google Maps, Google Earth, Street View and Zagat for desktop and mobile.

Back in 2001, Mayer was a part of the 15 member team who created — recognized to be the most famous motto — “Don’t Be Evil.” She masterminded the layout of Google’s famous, blank, simple search homepage.

In The Plex: How Google Thinks, Works, and Shapes Our Lives, a book authored by Steven Levy states that, Mayer was one among the three member team who actually brought out the idea and invented Google AdWords. Today, Google AdWords is one of the main reasons why Google is a billion dollar company. For the record, Google’s total advertising revenues were USD$10.6 billion in the first quarter last year, which is over 90 percent of its revenue.

Mayer was also in charge for the following Google products that are currently used by almost hundreds of millions of users on the Internet: The Gmail Inbox, Google News, and Google Images.

According to Wikipedia, Mayer graduated from Stanford University with a B.S. in a symbolic systems and an M.S. in Computer Science. She specifically liked artificial intelligence, which she specialized in both the degrees. She also has a honoris causa doctorate degree in recognition of her work in the field of search from the Illinois Institute of Technology. Fortunately, Yahoo doesn’t have to worry about Marissa’s résumé or education background, since they are all for real, unlike the previous CEO Scott Thompson who faked his résumé.

She was promoted as the Vice President of Search Products and User Experience, after which she was appointed as the Vice President of Local, Maps, and Location Services in 2010.
Google’s Loss is Yahoo’s Gain

The only way Yahoo can make a comeback is by hiring talented and skilled teams, and the first move by appointing Mayer as the CEO seems to be great. However, Yahoo also needs to offer some innovative services and improvise its existing tools. Flickr could have been Instagram today, only if Yahoo had taken it up seriously.

Mayer has the potential and understands the weakness of the troubled company, and if she plays her skills and strengths in a right way — getting Yahoo to sell advertisements — Yahoo could see a positive change in its growth.

According to The New York Times, “As she hashes out Yahoo’s strategy, Ms. Mayer said she is intent on leveraging the Internet company’s strong franchises including email, finance and sports. She also hopes to do more with its video broadband and its mobile businesses.”
Win or Fail? We Don’t Know Yet

Mobile is THE future, and Marissa seems to be going in a right direction on this. However, she could equally fail big time amidst the competition between Apple, Google, and Microsoft. Yahoo has a lot of drawbacks and there is very less scope for improvement; a highly staked job that Marissa has taken up. Will Mayer be successful and bring about a change? I hope so. Yahoo’s co-founder has a lot of appreciation for new CEO, who in a statement said, “She is a visionary leader in user experience and product design.”

Once again, kudos to Yahoo for having appointed Marissa Myer as its CEO. Hopefully, we should see improvements and some great contributions made by the new CEO for Yahoo and help regain its lost reputation.

Why Facebook is Blue in Color?

When you open Facebook, the first thing that you notice is the blue color it uses. Ever wondered why is Facebook so blue in color and not changing its color scheme?

Ever since they started as 'thefacebook', Facebook has stayed with the blue color. Although major changes have been made in the Facebook theme since then, the major unchanged thing has been the blue color.

facebook blue color
Facebook from its early days when it was known as  thefacebook

An exciting fact: In its earlier days, required you to have an  .edu email id to join.

Everywhere from its login page to Facebook groups, you find only blue.

facebook is blue
Facebook Login Page. All Blue!

The reason for this is that  Mark Zuckerberg, the young founder of Facebook is red-green color-blind and blue is the richest colour for him which he confirmed in an online interview with Leo Laporte.

Another important commercial factor for using blue color is the fact that most colors tend to distract the viewers. Blue on the other hand acts as a transparent background to the main content as visible to the human brain due to which most popular websites tend to use the blue color. It can easily be called a webmaster's favorite color. Blue color is also sometimes referred to as 'Nirvana' for the brain.

All these factors make blue a prominent color on Facebook. 

The Best WordPress Plugins (Updated)

Here are the best WordPress plugins that will add new functionality to your WordPress websites that is otherwise not available in the vanilla version of WordPress software. These are all free and open-source plugins and you can download them from the official WordPress plugins repository.

  • Search Regex – This adds extremely powerful search and replace capabilities to your blog. You can find and replace almost any kind of data stored on your WordPress site including post titles, excerpts, comments, and meta data. It even supports regular expressions.
  • Redirection – If the URL of an existing post has changed or if an external site is linking to a non-existent page on my site, I can create redirection rules and automatically forward all the incoming traffic to the right pages. Simple 301 is also a good alternative.
  • Yoast SEO – This is probably the only SEO plugin you need for your WordPress blog. It helps you create better titles, you can block duplicate pages (like archive pages) from search bots, and it also adds the necessary meta tags required for more search-friendly Google snippets. The new releases also integrate Twitter Title Tags and Facebook Open Graph tags.
  • W3 Total Cache – This is possibly the best caching plug-in for WordPress and it will definitely help improve your site’s page speed score. I was previously using Hyper Cache but W3 Total Cache does much more – it lets you minify scripts, cache database queries, add expiry headers to static images and more.
  • 404 Email Notifier – This sends you an email notification as soon as a visitor lands on a 404 page on your WordPress website. The email messages have details about the visitor’s IP address, what browser they are using and the referral URL that led him to that broken link.
  • SlideShare – This helps you easily embed SlideShare presentations in blog posts with the help of short codes – see samples. Update: This maybe optional as WordPress core itself supports SlideShare embeds through oEmbed.
  • Smart YouTube – This lets you embed YouTube videos in blog posts using standing video URLs and the embedded player can be customized. It adds a thumbnail of the embedded video in the RSS feed and the same plug-in can also be used to embed videos from Facebook and Vimeo.
  • YARRP – The related posts plug-in adds links to old stories that may be contextually related to the content of the current article. It also helps expose your archived content to search bots.
  • WP Optimize – Use the WP Optimize plugin to clean-up your WordPress database tables. It can remove post revisions, trash spam comments and also optimize your MySQL tables so that it works more efficiently and also consumes less space.
  • Adminer – This will help you manage your MySQL databases from the WordPress dashboard itself. You can run SQL queries, browse tables or perform database optimization. Less complicated than phpMyAdmin.
  • Authenticator – Enable 2-step authentication for your WordPress blog, similar to Dropbox or your Gmail account. Authy is also a good alternative for enabling 2-factor authentication in WordPress.
  • WP-DBManager – This plugin will help you backup your WordPress database manually or you can set up a scheduled job for automatic backup and the database files will be sent to your email address at set intervals. Advanced users can use WP-DBManager to run SQL queries against their WordPress database without the phpMyAdmin tool. There are other plugins that can save backups to Amazon S3 and Dropbox.
  • Debug Queries – Is your blog slow? Use the Debug Queries plugin plugin to determine which MySQL queries are taking more time to execute and thus slowing down the blog.Debug Bar is another related plugin org that shows PHP warnings, queries and other helpful debugging information in the WordPress admin bar.
  • P3 Profiler – Use the profiler plugin to figure out which WordPress plugins are slowing down yor website. It generates a pie chart detailing the time it takes to run each plugin while loading the various pages of your site.
  • Auto Post Thumbnail – WordPress added support for Post Thumbnail Images in WordPress 2.9 but if you have been using WordPress for long, thumbnails may not be associated with your old posts. Use the Auto Post thumbnail plugin to automatically generate thumbnails for such posts using the first image found in the post content.
  • Regenerate Thumbnails – When you change the default size (height and width) of post thumbnails (or featured images) on your blog, you can use this plugin to regenerate thumbnails with the new dimensions.
  • Google XML Sitemaps – Since you want Google and other search engines to know about each and every page of your WordPress website, you need an XML sitemap and this plug-in lets you generate one in a click.
  • XML Video Sitemap – The plugin generates an XML Sitemap for your WordPress blog with all the YouTube videos that are embedded in your blog posts. I am also using XML Sitemap for Images and XML Sitemap for Mobile.
  • Date in a Nice Tone – This plugin offers an alternate way to display dates in your blog posts. It displays the amount of time – like “a few days ago,” or “in the last month,” or “over a year ago” – that has passed since a post or page was published.
  • SyntaxHighlighter Evolved – If you regularly embed code snippets in your WordPress blog posts, this plugin will help you highlight the syntax of the source code in different colors for more comfortable reading. Supports all popular programming languages.
  • Pubsubhubbub – This will help you beat content scrapers using Fat Pings. When you publish a blog post, it will instantly ping Google and that is a strong signal to the search engine that you are the original author.
  • Bing 404 – If someone lands on a 404 page for which redirection is not yet enabled, this plug-in will display links to relevant article on the error page. For example, a 404 page will have links to my Google Docs articles.
  • WP-Associatizer – This plug-in will automatically rewrite any Amazon URLs in your posts to use your Amazon Associates ID.
  • Template Tag SC – WordPress offers numerous template tags – like wp_list_pages() or wp_tag_cloud() – that you can use in your theme files. The plugin will help you insert the sam template tags directly in your blog posts or pages using Short Codes.
  • Limit Login Attempts – It logs the IP address and the exact date & time when a user is trying to log into your WordPress and also keeps track of unsuccessful login attempts. You can automatically lock out users after they have made ‘n’ unsuccessful login attempts.
  • CF Shortcode – This helps you insert custom fields inside your WordPress posts using the visual editor. This comes extremely handy when you want to add custom JavaScript inside your WordPress posts.
  • Advanced Excerpt – The post excerpts in WordPress are fixed at 55 words and often displayed with [...] ellipsis at the end. This plugin lets you to specify a custom length of excerpts, you can get rid of the ellipsis and the excerpts can be configured to have full sentences so that there are no weird cuts.
  • Threat Scan – If you are every notic any suspicious activity on your WordPress site, use the Threat Scan plugin to automatically scan your PHP files and your WordPress databse for any malicious code that may have been injected through the backdoor.
  • Nice Search – This creates neat permalinks for your WordPress search pages. For instance, /?s=wordpress%20plugins will be redirected to /search/wordpress+plugins.
  • AssetsMinify – Google’s Page Speed guidelines suggest that the best way to make your web page more responsive is to minimize the number of files that must be downloaded when the page is loaded. You can use the Minify plugin to combine and compress all the JavaScript and CSS files and make your website faster.
  • Options Optimizer – As you install plugins, new entries are added to the wp_options table. When plugins are uninstalled they are supposed to clean up their options but some may skip that part eating memory. The Optimizer plugin will help you get rid of these orphaned entries.
  • File Monitor – The plugin will monitor your WordPress installation folder and will send email alerts when any file is added, deleted or modified on your server. Use this with Senitelfor complete peace of mind.
  • Quick AdSense – While the title is AdSense, this plugin can be used to insert JavaScript based ads from any network anywhere on your blog pages including middle of the content. This can also be used for serving responsive Google Ads.
  • CodePress Admin – The Posts screen inside your WordPress dashboard display the post name, category, tags but with CodePress, you can add new columns to the view displaying meta data associated with the posts. For instance, you may show featured images next to the post title or even the value of a particular custom field.
  • Site Monitoring with Google Docs – This isn’t a WordPress plugin but should be a part of your WordPress arsenal. When the site goes down, you will get an instant email notification and an SMS alert through Google Docs.