Why Yahoo mail (the classic UI) needs atleast one change !

I use Yahoo mail quite a bit (yes, not everyone has switched their faith to GMail !). My default browser is Opera. But, one of the most annoying feature (if you might) of Yahoo mail is their address book. For some unknown reason, Yahoo messenger contacts are not listed in the address book for the user (and this is irrespective of the browser). One needs to specifically add a user to the contact list. And the user interface to do this not intuitive either. On the left pane is the list of users that they probably got from the messenger list and when you click a user, there are options to edit the user or to add a work /home email. Now, this definitely feels a little archaic given the auto complete option that they already have; only that the find-as-you-type option for the email addresses works for contacts in the address book !

So, if you have someone in the messenger list and want to get that person’s mail id in the auto-complete list, then you go to the Contacts tab –> Click on the person’s name as stored in the messenger –> Click Add –> Provide their email id (which is the messenger id) in either the work / home (work ? come on !) and save the person’s contact. Once you do that, you can see the user in the auto complete when you type in the To: field.

Now there is another problem (and I have been bitten by this more than once) – and it is a major annoyance (as in you getting very irritated and it happens only with Opera). As you type the person’s name in the To: field and the user’s contact information from the address book is retrieved, if you pressed enter – then instead of the auto complete finishing, an empty email is sent ! Yup. My guess is that the default focus is on the Send button and an email is sent to he user. This is definitely a bug I think. I am not sure how their new user interface operates (and I don’t plan to change real soon), but in the classic interface this is a problem. And I don’t think an argument that this is works right in the new user interface is substantiated. I think this is a problem. I hope the Yahoo mail team can fix this.

Like I mentioned before, I face the second problem when I use Opera. On Firefox this doesn’t seem to happen. I haven’t tested it on Chrome / IE. It could be a non supported browser problem, but then it still is a problem isn’t it ?

I didn’t see any option in their settings page to do the (1) mentioned above. Please leave a note if it is something that is available and I didn’t look hard enough.

World’s most famous Math problem – don’t bother to read this one!

I found this book in the library and wondered how a book to describe the proof of one of the toughest problems of Mathematics – Fermat’s last theorem could fit in 80 pages. I am no mathematician, but I watched the documentary about the proof and knew a little bit of history of the conjecture (now theorem of course). This site has the links to the video on YouTube. The conjecture that Fermat propose is rather simple; it states that there is no n (where n > 2) which satisfies the equation a^n + b^n=c^n. For the case of 2, this is the Pythagorean triple and has been proved, well, for a while !!

Fermat’s last theorem, or FLT as it is referred to was proved by Sir Andrew Wiles (he wasn’t knighted when he proved it) in 1993 (when he published it first, and republished it with corrections in 1995). As any Internet search would reveal, the proof is not something that even a well trained mathematician would understand unless and until (s)he knows a lot of advanced mathematics.

So, I was curious how somebody could have fit the proof in 80 pages of a book. And boy, I was so wrong. This book is no where close to the proof. On the contrary this book merely has the title and nothing else. Except for some part of the first chapter, the book does not touch the proof at all. And there are parts wherein the author expresses doubts about the validity of the proof. Like I said, I am no mathematician, but I think something like this will attract enough peer review that vacuous doubts like this would have been squished. The book is, like one of the reviewers on Amazon.com mentioned, a way to cash on the opportunity of the interest in the topic. The only thing I thought was interesting in the book is that the author manages to collate some interesting conjectures in Maths together. That is the only saving grace for this book. And also, I found it irritating the author quoting other books like The Mathematical Experience. It almost felt like a sales pitch for the other book.

I would not suggest this book to anyone, even if they have to pick it up from a library. And while you are at it, check the timeline for Fermat’s last theorem (and note, there is a midi file that is going to start playing when you open the page ! ). And like this site suggests, there seem to be books by authors which cover this proof exclusively. Hmm, Simon Singh has a book on it. I bet that is going to be an interesting read.