Thanks Alex for the feedback. Here's my take on why I choose them
1. Most of my traffic is from search engines with high bounce rate (Most tech blogs do have high bounce rates) and hence I have the recent posts widget.
No popular post widget as the Popular post widget in MD pulls out too much old posts with largest number of comments (mostly from software giveaways I had organised) long time back and not the real popular ones. Also, I don't want to use another plugin to grab Popular posts.
2. Email forms:- Yes I need to put them back in sidebar. ATM, they are below the posts.
3. Regarding Making the footer white, I may jump to ask the CSS
4. I removed a bit of space between header and footer to bring more content above the fold (One of factors in Google search algo)..