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Tilak Rishi, born in India, has been working as a career corporate executive, after doing his MBA. Passionately pursuing his hobby for writing, he also remained a regular contributor to newspapers in India and the U.S. Many true happenings and characters he came across in life, including interaction with former president Bill Clinton, inspired Paradise Lost and Found, his first novel. A family saga, it starts from Kashmir, when this paradise on earth is lost for the tourists who thronged in thousands every year to enjoy its scenic splendor. Terrorists have turned it into one of the most dangerous places in the world. The family is not only a witness to the loss of this paradise, but also to another tragedy of much bigger magnitude. In the aftermath of the partition of India, along with millions uprooted from their homes in Pakistan, the family leaves behind all that it has in Lahore. Starting from a scratch on the difficult path to progress, it still has many joyful moments when along the way it makes a difference in many a life. The survival-to-success story climaxes in California where the family finds the paradise that was lost in Kashmir.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

New Year Wish For Facebook Friends!

The following news on CBS Early Show put me on alert and prompted to put in this post in the interest of my friends on Facebook:

Everyone you consider a "friend" on Facebook, may not have the friendliest intentions. That was the hard lesson homeowners in New Albany, Ind., believe they learned after their home was ransacked by two men. Keri McMullen and Kurt Pendleton left a status update on Facebook Saturday night that said they wouldn't be home because they were going to a concert in nearby Louisville at 8 p.m. At 8:42 p.m., two burglars entered their house, using a screwdriver to force open a back door. However, luckily for McMullen and Pendleton, they had recently installed a surveillance system in their home. The cameras caught the entire episode on tape. The video shows the two men going through McMullen's purse, stealing electronics -- more than $10,000 worth -- including a plasma television right off the wall. The burglars are then seen driving away with a laundry basket filled with the stolen goods. After posting images of the suspects on Facebook, McMullen realized one of them had "friended" her about six months ago. On "The Early Show," McMullen said after looking over that Facebook "friend"'s page, she thought the man in the surveillance video was him. "Early Show" co-anchor Maggie Rodriguez added that if the surveillance camera hadn't captured the burglary, this person wouldn't have been suspected in a million years.

Facebook, enables its users to present themselves in an online profile, accumulate "friends" who can post comments on each other's pages, and view each other's profiles. Intensity of Facebook use is positively associated with individuals' perceived bridging of social and strong ties with family and close friends, who might be in a position to provide emotional support or access to scarce resources. As a social networking site, Facebook encourages you to find old friends and meet new ones. As you find friends, you can add them to your account, opening up a range of options for sharing your news and daily happenings. Now Facebook claims to be signing up 150,000 new members a day. Oxford professor Robin Dunbar has posed a theory that the number of individuals with whom a stable interpersonal relationship can be maintained (read: friends) is limited to 150. Facebook begs to differ. It encourages adding up to 5000 friends. The Facebook obsession of amassing 'friends' creates the impression that some users are wildly more sociable than others. It encourages a disturbing competitiveness around friendship: it seems that with friends today, quality counts for nothing and quantity is king. The more friends you have, the better you are. You are "popular"!

The creators of the site need do very little bar fiddle with the program. In the main, they simply sit back and watch as millions of Facebook addicts voluntarily upload their ID details, photographs and lists of their favorite consumer objects. Once in receipt of this vast database of human beings, Facebook then simply has to sell the information back to advertisers. Indeed, this is precisely what's happening. Furthermore, have you ever actually read the Facebook privacy policy? It tells you that you don't have much privacy. As if this was not enough to pierce through your privacy, here comes news of another technology tool from Facebook that would reveal your present location to all your “Friends”. Facebook's 500 million-plus users will soon be able to track friends' whereabouts across the United States, as the world's largest Internet social network adds technology to increasingly tie its virtual world to everyday life. The new "Places" feature is touted as a tool to help users share where they are, figure out who is in the vicinity, and check out happenings and services within the same locale. The addition of so-called location services to Facebook opens new revenue opportunities for the company, but also presents it with delicate privacy challenges.

In all this scary scenario, if you’re experiencing a bit of bloat on your Facebook friend list, here is a silver lining. You can snag a free burger by dropping 10 of your Facebook friends, courtesy of Burger King. That’s the gist of Whopper Sacrifice, an advertising campaign from Burger King to promote a new version of the company’s flagship sandwich called the Angry Whopper. To earn their free burger, users download the Whopper Sacrifice Facebook application and dump 10 unlucky friends deemed to be unworthy of their weight in beef. After completing the purge, users are prompted to enter their addresses and the coupons are sent out via snail mail. Brian Gies, vice president of marketing for the fast-food chain, said the company had been eyeing Facebook as a marketing platform but wanted to use it in a way that was somewhat tongue-in-cheek. “Facebook is an amazing way to keep current with your friends, but it’s becoming more of a popularity contest with how many friends you have as the barometer,” said Mr. Gies. “We wanted to be part of its momentum and growth, but in an inverse way.” Facebook declined to comment on the campaign.

If you're on Facebook, you've no doubt got a bunch of friends. And if you're like most Facebook users, you're certain those friends are exactly who they say they are. And you might be right. Or you could be wrong. They could be scammers posing as your friends. Facebook represents a perfect storm of fraud factors. The whole "friend" system creates trust, but the reality of social networks prevents verification that people are who they say they are. While some Facebook fraud involves strangers posing as existing "friends," other types involve making new "friends." Eventually, that fraud may become so widespread that signing up for Facebook will require a verified cell phone number. But in the meantime, difficult-to-detect fraud is exploding on Facebook, and you would be well-advised to verify every unfamiliar friend. And you may ever remain prosperous and never fall prey to any fraudulent friend on your page is my New Year wish for Facebook friends.


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