‘Tweetups’, ‘unfriend’ added to Oxford English Dictionary

December 30, 2009

The increasing popularity of Internet has led to the inclusion of ‘Tweetups’ and ‘unfriend’ in the Oxford Dictionary.

While ‘Unfriend’ means removing someone as a ‘friend’ on a site such as Facebook, ‘Tweetups’ is used for meetings or other gatherings organised by means of posts on the social networking service Twitter.

Other words in the list compiled by Oxford University Press, come from the economy, fashion, and politics, which include “great recession”, and “Zombie Bank”, a financial institution whose liabilities are greater than its assets, but which continues to operate because of government support.

The past year also saw some of the old words coming into use again due to recent events, reports the Telegraph.

Redact, which means to censor or obscure part of a text for legal or security purposes, has gained prominence due to the parliamentary expenses scandal.

The word “snollygoster”, meaning a shrewd, unprincipled person, has been applied to politicians.

Words of the Year 2009:

Bossnapping – noun: (in France) the prevention of senior managers from leaving company premises for a period of time by their employees, in order to protest about large-scale redundancies and cutbacks

Zombie bank – noun: a financial institution whose liabilities are greater than its assets, but which continues to operate because of government support

Jeggings – plural noun: close-fitting leggings made of fabric that resembles denim in appearance [from jeans + leggings]

Tweetup – noun: a meeting or other gathering organised by means of posts on the social networking service Twitter. [from tweet + up on the pattern of MEETUP]

Staycation – noun: a holiday spent in one’s home country rather than abroad, or one spent at home and involving day trips to local attractions

Simples – exclamation: used to say that something is very easy to achieve [from the ‘compare the meerkat’ TV advert]

Great Recession – noun: term for the current recession, modelled on the Great Depression.

Freemium – noun: a business model in which some basic services are provided for free, with the aim of enticing users to pay for additional, premium features or content

Paywall – noun: a way of blocking access to a part of a website which is only available to paying subscribers

Unfriend/defriend – verb: to remove from one’s ‘friends’ list (e.g. on a social networking website)

Tag cloud – noun: a visual depiction of the word content of a website, or of user-generated tags attached to online content, typically using colour and font size to represent the prominence or frequency of the words or tags depicted.

Slashdot effect – noun: the slowing down or crashing of a small website due to a huge increase in traffic when the website is linked to another, much more popular one.

Snollygoster – noun: a shrewd, unprincipled person, especially a politician

Redact – verb: censor or obscure (part of a text) for legal or security purposes.

Epigenome – noun: the pattern of chemical switches in all 2000 types of human cell that indexes genetic information. (ANI)


Gmail Overtakes YahooMail in India

October 14, 2009

According to ViziSense, an online audience measurement and analytics provider platform, Gmail, Google’s free e-mail service is now India’s largest free e-mail service provider with more than 18 million users. Yahoo Mail, which held the top spot until the previous month has now been relegated to the second spot.

Yahoo Mail boasts of 16.8 million unique users and has seen its usage dip 8 percent since August this year. This, coupled with Gmail’s continued growth which averaged 3 percent since August, has ensured that Gmail surpassed the number of Yahoo users in early October. Microsoft’s Windows Live Mail too is seeing a surge in its userbase with it managing a very impressive 8 percent growth in India since August. Rediff Mail is at number three with 6.25 million users.

However, on the global scale, it might be a while till Gmail usurps the throne from Yahoo to be the world’s largest e-mail provider. Besides, it also has another adversary to counter, Windows Live Mail from Microsoft which is right up there at number 2. As seen in a recent ComScore report, Gmail has been growing pretty fast in U.S. as well– and unless Yahoo and Windows Mail don’t do something drastic, Gmail, in its current form, will eclipse the “traditional” webmail providers in the years to come.

Incidentally, it was just last week that Yahoo carried a full front page ad across leading national dailies in India. Was this an attempt to woo its once loyal users who have started migrating to Gmail?

Microsoft leaks details of Windows 8 and Windows 9

October 8, 2009

Microsoft is planning to make Windows 8 an 128-bit operating system, according to details leaked from the software giant’s Research department.

The discovery came to light after Microsoft Research employee, Robert Morgan, carelessly left details of his work on the social-networking site, LinkedIn.

The senior researcher’s profile said he was: “Working in high security department for research and development involving strategic planning for medium and longterm projects. Research & Development projects including 128-bit architecture compatibility with the Windows 8 kernel and Windows 9 project plan. Forming relationships with major partners: Intel, AMD, HP and IBM.”

Morgan’s LinkedIn profile has now been pulled down, but a version remains in the Google search cache.

A move to 128-bit support would be a bold move for Microsoft. Many, including PC Pro’s own Jon Honeyball, were urging Microsoft to make Windows 7 64-bit only, but the company continues to offer a 32-bit version of the forthcoming OS.

Microsoft has said very little publicly about Windows 8, although on a visit to the UK earlier this week, CEO Steve Ballmer denied rumours that Windows 7 would be the last major client OS the company produced. Ballmer admitted that planning was underway on Windows 8, although it’s highly unlikely that the OS will arrive until 2012 at the earliest.

Morgan’s talk of planning for Windows 9 supports Ballmer’s claim that the company thinks there is plenty of life left in Windows yet.

Hacked Hotmail accounts used weak passwords

October 7, 2009

The majority of passwords revealed in the recent Hotmail phishing attack would not have taken much cracking in the first place, according to a researcher at security firm Acunetix.

Bogdan Calin said in a blog post that an analysis of the phishing attack and the hacked accounts revealed that the most common password was ‘123456’.

The details of some 10,000 Windows Live Hotmail accounts were posted online by an anonymous hacker earlier this week, and Calin suspects that it was rather a crude attack that managed to grab just low-hanging passwords.

“My impression is that these passwords have been gathered using phishing kits. Even more, the phishing kit used most probably was badly designed. I think it just returned an error message after grabbing the credentials. I noticed this because some of the passwords are repeated once or twice (sometimes with different capitalisation),” he wrote.

“What most probably happened is that the users didn’t understand what was happening, and they tried to enter the same password again and again, thinking the password was wrong.”

Calin found that the most popular passwords were rather similar, and that the majority were made up of alphanumeric combinations, as opposed to the often recommended letter/number/symbol combinations. Sixty-four accounts used ‘123456’, and the second most common was ‘123456789’ with 18 users.

Forty-two per cent of users stuck with lower case alpha passwords containing only characters from ‘a’ to ‘z’, and 19 per cent used numeric passwords containing only the numbers ‘0’ to ‘9’. Just six per cent used mixed passwords containing letters, numbers and other characters.

Twitter may help shed some extra pounds

October 5, 2009

Here is another reason for you to join Twitter, for slim people worldwide are now posting their healthy food diet on ‘Tweet What

The food chart also gives the calorific value of the food. And because millions around the world see the online food chart, people are “shamed” into following their healthy diet.

Some report to have shed a good measure of flab. Actor Stephen Fry reportedly lost about six stone in six months, using his Twitter page.

Comedian Matt Lucas wrote on his Twitter page: “Have lost half a stone in the last fortnight.”

“Tracking what you eat using technology helps, as most of us are appalling at estimating what we’ve eaten,” the Sun quoted the WeightWatchers as saying.

Only 44% Indians have clean hands

September 2, 2009

Indians’ hand-washing habits may not be up to sniffles, but Canadians have the cleanest hands, a hygiene survey.

While 90% of people surveyed in Canada feel that washing hands regularly is good protection against catching flu, only 44% of Indians believe the same, says an international survey, conducted by Global Hygiene Council supported by Dettol, in 2008.

Ideas of hygiene and health vary from country to country, and in India, food also comes into play: 20% of Indians believe that avoiding eating meat can keep the flu away, while other countries, especially Australia and South Africa, do not believe it at all.

The survey – which also covers South Africa, Malaysia, Italy, Great Britian, Australia and USA – revealed some interesting nuggets on people’s perceptions. The questions, on measures to prevent flu and washing hands, were posed to 1,000 respondents.


Even as 58% of people in Italy believe that avoiding public places is another preventive measure to prevent the flu, only 12% of Indians agree. While 71% of Malaysians believe a rubbish bin poses the greatest risk of transmitting germs to a person or child, 16% of Indians think the bin poses the greatest risk, while 44% Indians think the toilet seat is a risk best not taken.

Though 27% of Indians wash their hands for a minute after using the toilet, in Italy, 28% do so. However, 41% of people in South Africa wash their hands after using toilets, but only for five seconds.

Kiddy habits

When it comes to children washing their hands before eating, 79% of Indian kids obediently do so, while only 29% of Australians do, and 80% of Malaysians wash up before eating.

The survey says 45% Indian parents believe in asking their children to wash hands as they come home from school or nursery, to prevent them from picking up germs and becoming ill.

The importance of teaching children good hygiene habits was highlighted by the survey, which revealed that 50% of Indians do not wash their hands after coughing or sneezing, thus pushing up chances of picking up germs from each other. When someone coughs or sneezes, millions of germs can be expelled into the air, so it’s important that children understand the ways to protect themselves and their classmates from illness.


* Leftover food in lunch boxes should be discarded, and the box thoroughly cleaned. Crumbs in school bags can spread salmonella and cause gastrointestinal upsets

* Kids should be taught to clean even hard-to-reach areas like between the fingers, around the nails and even thumbs. They should know that just because they can’t see dirt on their hands, it doesn’t mean there are no germs

* When kids cough or sneeze, they should use tissue and dispose it in a bin. If they don’t have a tissue, teach them to cough or sneeze into the crook of their arm rather than into their hands – this way, bacteria and viruses aren’t transferred to their hands, and then on to the surfaces they touch, and on to other children

Top 5 illnesses picked up at school

Common cold
Stomach flu (viral gastroenteritis)
Ear infection
Sore throat


12% believe avoiding public places prevents contracting flu
44% wash hands use regular soap
32% prefer anti-bacterial soap
3% use sanitizer
11% only running water

How to be a Good Girlfriend

August 28, 2009

Being a good and caring girlfriend is a nice way of letting your boyfriend know, how lucky he is to have you. You don’t have to go out of your way to be ‘good’, just to please your boyfriend. You already have it in you, that is why your boyfriend chose you in the first place. You just have to express what you genuinely feel about your boyfriend.

Following are a few tips on how to be a good girlfriend.

Give Him Space – Don’t Nag

Most girls are so overwhelmed with the feeling of having a boyfriend that they tend to cut themselves off from the rest of the world and expect their boyfriends to do the same. However, there is a difference in the way men and women look at a relationship. Women tend to devote all of their time to their new relationship, while men only think of it as an addition to their existing ones. However, that does not mean that your boyfriend does not want to spend time with you, he only needs his own space. Let your boyfriend spend time with his friends and family if he really wants to. Don’t nag all the time, because nagging is something men really hate. After, all what’s the use of having a boyfriend by your side all the time, when his mind is somewhere else?

Be Independent

Men really like women who are independent and capable of taking care of their lives. Calling your boyfriend at the slightest sign of trouble is definitely not a good idea. In the initial stages of a relationship, your boyfriend may like it when you turn to him for help, for every petty reason, however he may get irritated, if you make it a habit. Instead, show him that you can look after yourself and can handle problems without having to rely on him. It is best if you make yourself financially independent as well, not only will it help you to support yourself but will also make your boyfriend respect you.

Share His Interests

Sharing his interests and participating in his favorite activities is a nice way of showing your boyfriend, that you are ready to go that extra mile to make the relationship work. Obviously, nobody expects you to enjoy his activities as much as he does but your willingness to share his interest will make your boyfriend very happy. Sacrificing a romantic flick for a football match, once a while, can help you build a healthy relationship, without you knowing it.

Be Honest

Be honest to yourself and your boyfriend but do not expect it in return. You can be honest about your life, your past relationships, your ex-boyfriend, etc. but it is unfair to expect the same from him. He may have his own reasons for not divulging details of his past, so respect his feelings. However, you can always communicate your feelings and expectations. Being honest about your expectations from the relationship will help both of you to understand where your relationship stands.

Don’t Be Overtly Possessive

Although, over-possessiveness is usually associated with guys, some girls just don’t let go of their boyfriends and cling to them all the time. Beware girls, this attitude may make your guy claustrophobic and it won’t be too long before he sees red. Don’t confront him if some chick checks out your guy because it is not his fault. Instead, be happy that you are dating a guy, most girls would be desperate to be with. Similarly, don’t hack his passwords and read his mails or text messages. Such behavior may make you look like a desperate person who feels insecure about her relationship.

Don’t Be a Control Freak

Most girls try to get the control of the relationship by trying to change their boyfriends. Criticizing his looks, clothes, habits can really turn him off. Just as you wouldn’t want to change yourself for anyone, your boyfriend also loves himself the way he is. Always remember that you fell for him for what he is. If there is something unpleasant about him or his appearance, give him subtle hints, don’t ever yell at him, that’ll make the matter worse.

Be Patient

Men do not believe in expressing their feelings the way women do, hence be patient if your boyfriend seems in a sombre mood and refuses to talk to you. Do not frustrate him by asking too many questions. Just leave him alone, he’ll himself come back to you whenever he feels like talking about whatever was bothering him.

Don’t Ask Awkward Questions

Women have this habit of asking a wrong question at a wrong time. Nothing infuriates a man more than a ‘do you love me?’ amidst a romantic sequence. Use your common sense ladies, would he be with you, if he never loved you in the first place? Do not expect your boyfriend to profess his love for you, all the time. And for God’s sake, refrain from asking him ‘how much?’ if he ever bothers to answer your first question.

Being a good girlfriend is really not that difficult if you let your guy get some life and learn to get some yourself. You may feel like you are sacrificing some things in the process of becoming a good girlfriend but remember these small sacrifices go a long way in consolidating your relationship. Finally, follow the above ‘how to become a good girlfriend tips’ only if you think your boyfriend is worth it, else you know what to do!