Welcome to the second edition of our new extended playcast, fondly called “playcast 2.0” by its hosts Sidin Vadukut, Krish Raghav and Samanth Subramanian.
This week’s podcast begins with a discussion on a new system by net regulator Icann that allows people to type complete web addresses without using any Latin characters. This essentially means that ”international domain names” such as [dot]in for India or [dot]uk for the United Kingdom can now be typed in Arabic and Cyrillic scripts. The move is the first step to allow web addresses in many scripts including Chinese, Thai and Tamil. (read more)Pranesh Prakash, programme manager for the Centre for Internet and society, joins us to talk about the significance of this move, who has been lobbying for it, and how it will affect the universality and standardization of the Internet.
Next we look at the new iteration of Wikipedia, which was unveiled earlier this month, albeit in a very low-key way. (The only official announcement was made on its official blog) The online encyclopaedia has a new theme called “Vector” (The old one was called “monobook”), is a lot more “web 2.0” in its design and has introduced a few interesting features. Even more interesting is news that Wikipedia been given a million dollar grant to “improve” articles related to public policy, with the help of academics and professors. But does this highlight a fundamental flaw in how Wikipedia uploads articles? What does this do to Wikipedia’s “open model”?
We then move on to the second segment of the show, where each of the panelists talk about something new/interesting that they are looking forward to, or have discovered over the past week. Krish Raghav kicks things off with a discussion on what we could possibly look forward to from E3 Expo 2010, which starts in two weeks time. Nintendo is set to unveil a new version of its “DS” gaming console at the expo, and we could also possibly have news from Microsoft regarding “Project Natal” and Sony’s “Playstation Move”.
Sidin Vadukut talks about Adobe digital signatures; a free service that allows users to digitally sign any document before sharing or uploading them. This news is particularly significant, given a story that recently appeared in Mint detailing how the security certificate of the Income tax department’s e-filing site had lapsed, leading browsers to warn against accessing it. The idea is to make sure that no changes can be made to the document after it is uploaded and to ascertain that its creator has authorized it. Unfortunately however, Indians cannot currently use Adobe to create a digital signature as it is not on the Indian government’s list of authorized vendors.
Finally Samanth Subramanian talks us through the new and improved Hotmail. The web mail service, which was once the toast of the cyber world, has introduced some new features in an attempt to win back users. But will this really be enough to woo users, or is Hotmail still trying hard to play catch up to gmail? Samanth and Sidin also go off on a nostalgic trip about email services they used before the gmail era, largely inspired by a slideshow on the various iterations of hotmail that can be viewed here.
The playcast team would as always, love to hear from you. Write in with any tech/gadget/gizmo related queries to firstname.lastname@example.org or in the comments section below.