Tuesday, December 25, 2007

GMail outage

It almost makes me believe in magical thinking. Not long after I plugged Google to someone, GMail dies on me. It's been unavailable for 15 hours as I write this. If you're also experiencing this, you could try this section in GMail Help Discussion, or you could report the problem to Google.

Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.us

The error message is:
Temporary Error (502)
We’re sorry, but your Gmail account is currently experiencing errors. You won’t be able to log in while these errors last, but don’t worry, your account data and messages are safe. Our engineers are working to resolve this issue.

Please try logging in to your account again in a few minutes.

Fifteen hours is certainly not temporary!

Saturday, December 22, 2007

All your job are belong to Filipinos

So folks, the Phillipines is not just the land where Filipino maids come from, but it is the land where our future jobs are going to.

According to a recent market forecast by XMG, the Philippines is poised to overtake Malaysia in the race for global outsourcing revenues.

As expected, M'sia is in denial, and our government doesn't seem too concerned. One M'sian tecnocrat even claims Malaysia offers "high-value" services compared to the Philippines, though he also seems content to sprout techno-babble such as "process-oriented operational competencies":

Outsourcing Rivalry Doesn't Faze Malaysia

In fact, Mdec is still clinging on to a dubious consultancy report which ranks Malaysia No.3 in the world for outsourcing, just behind India and China. This ranking seems quite improbable to me, and appears to be symptomatic of the "inflated sense of self" that has been used to describe Malaysia. Are we really ahead of Singapore, Canada, Russia, and dozens of other strong outsourcing competitors?

In a related issue, check out this Economist article:
Gravity's pull
Is India's computer-services industry heading for a fall?

Also interesting is this article from Entrepreneur.com:
Five Out-of-the-Ordinary Outsourcing Trends

And now, to head off criticisms of my grammar ;-) , surf to:

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

New cover sheets on all the TPS reports

Well these things do exist after all, and not just in Office Space. According to good old Wikipedia,

"A TPS report is a document used in software engineering, in particular by a Software Quality Assurance group or individual, that describes the testing procedures and the testing process.

The term TPS report has come to denote pointless busy work assigned by employers without doing anything productive for the company."

Now that you know, why not download your own TPS report cover sheet (pdf) ?

Monday, December 10, 2007

Facebook becoming a real word?

Merriam-Webster (MW) recently concluded its annual Word of the Year poll, and the results are pending.

To my surprise, "facebook" is on this year's list. You might recall that MW ran a similar poll last year, and the word "truthiness" won by a large margin, beating out even "google".

The fellas over at Mountain View got the last laugh though - "google" was inducted as a verb in both the Oxford English Dictionary (OED) and the Merriam-Webster Dictionary last year.
News.com: Google joins Xerox as a verb
You can view the MW definition here, and the Dictionary.com listing here.

Facebook has some ways to go before it becomes a real word. For now, it has only made it as far as MW's open dictionary, which defines facebook and facebooking. I'm sure Mark Zuckerberg ordered all his employees to vote up "facebook" in the MW poll. At this point though, I feel that the word is mainly synonymous with "time-wasting" or "goofing off".

It should be noted that "truthiness", despite being 2006 word of the year, has not been included in the MW dictionary. It is still listed in the open dictionary. Unsurprisingly though, truthiness does have its own Wikipedia entry.

Just what is this open dictionary? MW says it contains words submitted by "other members of the Merriam-Webster Online community", which, as far as I can tell, means "any damn fool on the Net". If that is the case, then the open dictionary doesn't seem to be any different from the Urban Dictionary.

So what does it take for a word to be added to "real" dictionaries?

Graeme Diamond, Senior Assistant Editor at Oxford University Press provides some insight. He is responsible for researching, drafting, and editing dictionary entries for new English words and meanings.
New Words: How do they get into the Oxford English Dictionary?

MW has a FAQ covering the same topic.
How does a word get into a Merriam-Webster dictionary?

In a related issue, this article in the NYT seems to dismiss WOTY (word of the year) polls as gimmicky, publicity-seeking stunts by dictionary publishers.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Blocking stupid Zombies, Vampires, et al apps

Boy, is there anything more annoying on Facebook than those idiotic Zombies, Vampires, et al apps?

I didn't install any of them, of course, but somehow, other people's actions were showing up on my News Feed.

Turns out you can block all updates from these apps by surfing to their main page, and clicking on the Block app link. It's located at the lower right corner, below the "Afraid of abuse by this application?" question:


If you had previously blocked an app, Facebook will inform you. This step will also work for other abusive and spammy apps.