Google's android, the new mantra or a damp squib?

There was a time when we would relate the term Google with "web searching". Even the Oxford dictionary has added a verb "Googling" which means searching something online. But, since the, Google has grown too big. Their web presence virtually spread to all around the spectrum from banner ads, social networks, Video hosting and what not. But it seems, Google is not ready to stop with what they have. They are now on the process of developing an OS, No, I am not talking about the Googubuntu. This time the stage is different.
Google last month, in a consortium called Open Handset Alliance, announced a new platform for the mobile, called Android. Android is supposed to be very flexible and support 3rd party apps to any extent. The kernel is basically built around a modified and trimmed version of Linux GNU 2.6 kernel, and the whole framework works on Java Language. Java apps for mobile are supposed to be very secure, while limited and rigid in functionality. Now, Google is all set to change this concept with Android. Saying that, the coding would not be in J2ME as in normal mobile Java programming. Android has its own set of APIs and function to play with.
Even though there was initial excitement on this news, soon there were dark shadows cast, when I came to know the Open Handset Alliance does not include the major players in the mobile industry, like Nokia, Sony Ericsson, Motorola etc, whom refused to accept the offer. (But still some like T-Mobile, Qualcomm, Intel, LG, Samsung, DoCoMo etc have lent their support.) Also, some already established mobile developers like Symbian, Microsoft, etc believe that this will only create more fragmentation rather than uniting the development.
But Google is again working with the magic world "Open Source", with Android. The android code is open and very easy to develop. They is offering a mammoth $10 million developers developing great apps for Android. But the news from Developers themselves is that Android is not very stable, at times it does not respond at all! But we need not take this very seriously since the actual Android release would be only by mid 2008, by which they can make the platform more reliable.

Android Home page
Android SDK Download
Android Wallpapers


Road "Vista to Vienna", begins from Mini Kernel...

Sounds too cryptic? First of all my apologies for my absence for over 100 days, my life shifted gears as I am now a Software Engg. in Bosch. So was busy with the new seat.
Anyway, let me unlock the riddle. Most of you know that Vista is the latest buzzword in the desktop market (I agree it was a damp release). Now, the successor of Windows XP, took almost half a decade to hatch out, after a bunch release dates and revises, when it did come out, it was not really welcomed as hyped by the market. All this is history. Vista is already there, what next?
Oh, the Vista Service Pack v1? That will be out in an year, don't bother about that, nothing really hot in that to fill up a whole article. So, Vienna? Yeah, Vienna is the successor of Vista, to be more precise, it is now called Windows Seven. The next release of Windows. The projected timeline is by 2010, but the exact details are yet to be known.
The Windows Seven is supposed to sport some complete new hood and internals. The first step for it being a fresh trimmed down kernel. It seems Microsoft is feeling the heat of the market, very unlike their style that they have put up a video about their new kernel for the public, which shows Eric Traut, a distinguished engineer, seen describing the new offing at the University of Illinois.
The kernel is codenamed MinWin, after a release where the Vista kernel would almost suck up 4gb of physical storage, the MinWin kernel megazips this to 25MB, or even less, according to Traut.
"That's kind of proof that there is actually a nice little core inside of Windows," Traut said. "A lot of people think of Windows as this really large, bloated operating system and that's maybe a fair characterization, I have to admit. It is large. It contains a lot of stuff in it, but at its core, the kernel and the components that make up the very core of the operating system actually are pretty streamlined."
He also mentioned that this kernel might be used for various purposes ranging from the Desktop to the embedded scenario, conveniently adding layers over it, still keeping the actual core slim. "This is an internal only (thing)...You won't see us productizing this, but you can imagine this being used as the basis for products in the future. We're definitely going to be using this internally to build all of the products that are based on Windows," he said. "We build a lot of products based on this kernel...It's still bigger than I'd like it to be" Traut said. Seems Microsoft is trying the Stephen Hawkings way, attempting for the Universe in a Nutshell.

Some say that project Vienna actually called Blackcomb earlier, was started as early as 2000, and was supposed to be the successor of XP and Vista just an interim release, but the hype and other reasons made Vista a full release by itself and eventually caused its flopped release. Vienna might well be the last of the Windows era, or may even be first of the new era.

Here are the 7 Windows Seven picks for you,
Windows Seven news
Windows Seven Blog
Windows Seven Transormation Pack
Windows Seven UserInterface Video
Windows Seven Wallpaper 1
Windows Seven Wallpaper 2
Windows Seven Skin Screenshot

Wishing all the best for the new W7, (7 being my own lucky number).

Google search for Linux Desktop.

The Google desktop search was one of the first of its kind, when it was launched for Windows, even as its fighting the desktop space with the likes of MSN desktop search, Coppernicus etc, they have launched the same for the Linux desktops. Not to forget that they had released the Desktop search for Mac. This Linux search can help you find files from your system and even retreieve your GMail and other saved documents.
The most interesting thing is that Google has moulded this to suit Linux users, as most users are programmers, it helps to find source code and other details easily, also it is released in various languages, English, French, Italian, German, Spanish, Portuguese, Dutch, Chinese, Japanese, and Korean --and it works with many versions of Linux too. The search can be accessed through the quickbar, or by pressing cntrl key twice.

With this launch, Google Desktop is now available for Windows, Mac, and Linux. Try it out now and read more on the Google Desktop Blog.


AMD trying to pull Transmeta out of woods?

A few months ago, I had written about the AMD- Raza deal,AMD selling off its Alchemy range to Raza and also stopping its Geode division, now it seems they did that to help Transmeta with their Crusoe and Efficeon family which where directly in contention with the formers' market. Now, they have gone a step further by granting a mammoth 7.5$ cash for preferred stock deal with Transmeta.

Transmeta was once one of the better processor manufacturers who were known for their low power processors, but lately are struggling int the market. Last year they posted a net loss of over 24$ million. They had to make amends by cutting over 39% of their employee strength and also concentrating more over lawsuits over intel on Intellectual property infringement. Maybe AMD felt they have to back Transmeta now, already AMD has lost a lot of money in 2007 Q1. As the saying goes, "Enemy's enemy becomes friend...".

Transmeta did not waste the oppurtunity to lavish praise on AMD, "AMD has long been a leader in the development and delivery of energy-efficient, high-performance computing technologies, standards and initiatives," stated Transmeta president and CEO Les Crudele. "Transmeta has been proud to endorse and contribute to those industry leading activities, and we look forward to continuing our collaboration with AMD on technology initiatives in the future."

In return
AMD may hope to take advantage of energy-efficient Transmeta technology to their own advantage . AMD President and CEO Dirk Meyer claims, "Transmeta was a key ally in helping to bring our highly-successful AMD64 technology to market and has supported the widespread industry adoption of both AMD64 and AMD’s HyperTransport technology."
But I am not sure if there is going to be a repeat of the ATI merger, here.

Interesting note: Linus Trovalds was an employee of Transmeta once upon a time.


Sony Ericcson to take over Motorola??

Motorola has one the oldest tradition when it comes to mobile phones.. Martin Cooper of Motorola is widely considered to be the inventor of the first practical mobile phone for handheld use in a non-vehicle setting. While, Sony Ericsson is the new kid in the block, a company established only in 2001. But, it seems the kid is going to take over the big daddy of mobile phones. At least that is what the rumour mills are spreading over the last few weeks. Motorola has not had much success in the last few years, their sales have gone down, and conversely, Sony Ericsson is even competing Nokia for the Prime Market. Now, that makes the rumour believable.
This is what Mobile Mentalism says,

For the first quarter of 2007, Motorola's mobile handset sales were down 15% from the previous year, and incurred an operating loss of $231 million. This was in stark contrast to Sony Ericsson and Nokia, both of whom enjoyed considerable success with their range of handsets.

Internally, Motorola has been having a battle with Carl Icahn, who owns 3% of Motorola's stock, and who recently failed in his attempt to win a seat on the Board of Directors at Motorola. Icahn has pulled no punches in his criticism of Motorola's current management.

Against this backdrop comes the rumour of Ericsson buying Motorola.
Also the analyst Ed Snyder at Charter Equity Research, has allegedly claimed that two of the main shareholders in Motorola told him that Carl Icahn has spread the rumours about this possible merger. And it's not like Icahn doesn't have his own agenda!

Who knows we might get too see MotoRokrs with Megabass, or a Motorazrs with CyberShot. Let us wait and see. You may be excited, I also may be. But this might be sending nightmares to Nokia, as this merger would definitely remove them from the top spot. Already Sony Ericsson is known for its perfection and is dominating the middle and high end market. Also, the critics have acclaimed Sony Ericcson for the better sound and camera. If this merger happens, they could easily invade all the markets.

AMD's new desktop PHENOMenon

AMD has said last month that Barcelona range of processors will get them their lost glory. Now, they have moved a step forward from dream to reality, as they announced that later this year they would be launching their new range of powerful desktop range of Quad Cores and Dual Cores named Phenom. Atleast the name looks appealing than the Core2 from Intel, for now. But we will have to wait and watch how they differ in performance. Later this year the quad core Phenom FX, Phenom X4 and the dual core Phenom X2 will be ready.

AMD has been pleading for long that the Intel quad cores, which are actually 2 dual cores fused are no match to their actual quad cores with 4 independent cores, better connectivity, independent processing backed up by the powerful and fast Hypertransport, [read Barcelona]. Intel who were arguing at first are now actually designing chips in the similar way with integrated Memory controllers and point to point links, this would be ready only by 2008. The product is called Nehelam.

The AMD quads are based on Barcelona architecture, and would be a big test for them. The enthusiasts are looking forward to this release as this is the superior to Intel's fused quads. This would also give AMD a chance to revive its multicore market which it lost to Intel last year.
AMD will also give 4x4 a boost, which was introduced in between a big hype but which eventually died down. They will also introduce a product called FASN8 which could hold to Phenom quads. That would be a nice fiesta for performance hungry users.

Microsoft annoyed with Linux

Microsoft lawyer Brad Smith, in an interview with Fortune said that Open Source violates over 235 patents. It said the Linux kernel itself violates around 42 Microsoft patents, while its UI and other elements around 65. The Open Office also violates 45, and 83 more by other Open source softwares. The allegations come as a surprise as Microsoft had lately signed a deal with Novell to work on bridging software between Windows and SuSe Linux.
No clues were given on how Microsoft would proceed with these findings, as the Open Source community has grown strong enough to defend their fort, Microsoft has to play safely. The Open Invention Network has been piling intellectual property, some of which could be used to counter attact Microsoft. The Network includes major players like Sony, Philips, NEC, IBM and Red Hat. They could virtually choke out Microsoft.
The violations are not a new discovery for the Open Source world, this was well identified a few years back, the community has been working towards eliminating the "evils of patents" and has been urging the developers to pool in the rights to the Open Source community for free use. In fact they have been forcing the developers to do so. The new GNU Pubic license in making, also includes clauses which would make the pacts like the one between Microsoft and Novell, virtually impossible, says sources.

Intel going for the kill??

Two weeks ago, at Bejing, Intel revealed its new plans, which revolved mostly around a new chip, codenamed Larabee. which is actually dubbed as a processor for consumer devices, which uses an array of cores running in parallel to give trillion floating point instructions per second. The processor is also x86 compatible and hence easier to program, according to Intel. The processor would go public by 2008, maybe after the Fusion release by AMD. The processor is aimed at high end scientific apps.
Another one in the making is Tolapai, which also combines x86 processor core with an encryption co-processor, which will also consume less power and space. It would go in air later this year. It is aimed at the security computing sector.
Though the Larabee chip was slated as a competitor to the Fusion processor, the real threat is actually Nehalem processor, which would have a GPU core at some point of time. The chip which would be out the late 2008 will have upto 8 cores. It is also dubbed as the "dynamically scalable procesor", meaning the intel designers would develop variants of the processor for each sector. It would also support mutithreading, and also take the most successful technologies that brought AMD to top, a faster memory controller bus and the point to point links connecting the cores. This processor would be fabricated in the 45 nm technology.
Already the Penryn processor, which is etched on 45nm cores, will provide 20% performance improvement over Core2Duo on general apps and 40% on games. This is more or a less a shrink of C2D architecture into 45nm.
Intel already is working hard with Beyond3d to get their GPU homeworks correct. So, tighten your seatbelts and watch the processor war.

e-mail eats Internet time, says Stanford

Recently Stanford University had conducted a survey on Internet and its usage patterns. It has revealed that around 90% of people use Internet for emailing primarily, followed by general information, and surfing. The survey finds that still E-mail rules the internet. It says the Internet today is a giant public library with a decidedly commercial tilt and the current Internet is also emerging as an entertainment utility.
The survery has been even more wider, exploring the number of activities people do online, demographic tilts, the way internet has changed people etc. It has found that on an average, people do around 7.2 activities online. And also has found that internet is addictive, people tend to spend more time on it, as they go on using it.
The most important effects of internet being, people lose social contacts, spend less time with traditional media, love to work more in office and even home and do less shopping. The survey was conducted over 4000 respondents to select among a list of 17 common internet activities.
The full report is available here.

Google My Maps!! Simple mashups for everyone.

The Google maps service lately has introduced a new feature, the new My maps mashups lets you create your own version of My maps, where you can tag your favourite cafeteria, restaurant, hang outs and add your own descriptions, picture icons and labels to them. That too with a few drag and drops and cut-pastes. It is so simple that any person, with no coding experience can create his own mashups in less than an hour. The maps can be kept private, when it is not indexed and you can share the map URL, for others to see. Or, made public when, it is indexed in the Google Maps index, and anyone can search for it, though, it would take weeks for the webcrawler to find it.
You can add markers onto the maps and label them with descriptions. To make it even more interesting, there are a quite a few marker styles available to choose from, starting from the default teardrop icon, to icons of restaurants, apartments etc. That is not all, you can simply scribble all over the map, create outlines, shade areas etc. You can also tag each location with custom pictures or even videos from youtube.
There are other similar services aimed at laymen mashups, Platial, popular as "The Peoples' Atlas," and Microsoft's Live Search Maps Collection Hub. But both does not match Google my maps ease of use and immense search indexing.
And for more technically sound people there is a version of the same, which uses data from Google Spreadsheet, this needs a bit more programming skill and also they are not indexed.

Apple all set to release torrent client : iPirate

Well, the name might look a little bit out of the box, but the features of it are going to be awesome. The whole thing is still in alpha testing phase, but I managed to get a screen shot of it from the internet. The Mac OSX exclusive bit torrent client would include built-in private tracker search, Pirate Bay and Mininova RSS feeds, bandwidth limiting, automatic RIAA and MPAA detection to ensure your torrent isn’t bugged (damn those public trackers!), and a beautiful aqua-based UI that won’t lag like Azureus. That is simply a lot to ask for.
This should be a part of Leapord when it would be released this year end or beginning of next year.

More Vista WoWs!

Sorry, I meant woes. Vista has been released under much hype and expectations and Microsoft had a very hefty campaign to get it to the mass, the "wow" being their advertising keyword. But, it has not been all that smooth for them with over a month and a half after Vista's release, it is still not on track.

Animated cursor? I am afraid of it.
Those who have been closely watching the Microsoft the earlier versions of Windows, this might not a new issue. Right from Windows 98 through Windows XP SP2. this issue has haunted the software giant. Buffer overflow can be caused by a simple, malfunctioning .ANI file, putting the system in a crash-restart-crash loop. This was partially fixed in Windows XP SP1, but this recurred in SP2 and now in Vista too. This is simply ordinary stuff from Microsoft.

Security engineers at McAfee's Avert Labs confirmed today - and posted the video to prove this. When the system detects a crash because of the faulted cursor, it tries to save the vital system information before restarting, one of the new features of Vista, but this causing system to keep trying to load Windows Explorer each time and fail. The only remedy being to switch the power off. Many hacker circles are already exploiting the flaw to jeopardize Vista systems.

It seems Microsoft is not ready to take the embarassment, they announced last week that they would release the patch sooner, than the earlier announced date of April 10. "Since testing has been completed earlier than anticipated, Microsoft has released the update ahead of schedule to help protect customers", a Microsoft representative said in an e-mail. Customers can manually download the patch, or if the Automatic Update feature is turned on, it would be automatically patched.

Lately news have rolled out that the patch has been more of a thorn for many users as it is having conficts with the audio and networking drivers. Many lost all their ethernet and audio functions once they installed the patch, and regained as they removed the update and used the system restore. The funniest part is that Microsoft admitted they knew this Realtek driver issue. They had released a support article about that and later another patch for this, along with the cursor patch.

Avert Labs video
Microsoft Advisory

Lawsuit over low-end Vista
The "Vista Capable" sticker has proved to be costly for Microsoft, a Washington State woman has filed a class action action suit against Microsoft, complaining about this. Her system would not run the full version of Vista (read Ultimate) despite of her system having the sticker.

Her lawyers argue that Vista Basic lacks many features showcased in Microsoft's marketing campaign, the company has fooled the customers. This might not be a big case that would bring Microsoft to bankruptcy, but still this has scarred their reputation.

Microsft Vista campaign
The lawsuit


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Open Source is not just for software.

It seemed awkward to me when I heard it at first, but now it seems quite feasible. Opensource is making its presence felt at all walks of life. No, not because some of the Opensource software are used in many embedded systems like mobile phone and other electronic gadgets. But it has gone even more further, in the Autoshow, AutoRAI held at Amsterdam last week, an Open source car was unveiled. It was jointly developed by the Dutch Universities: Delft, Eindhoven and Enschede.
The car can take four passengers and runs in zero emission hydrogen. Anyone can contribute to the car's design and machinery as the design blueprints and technical data are available freely over internet, and the contributions would still be under Opensource.
The name of the may not be that impressive as the very news is, it is named c,mm,n (pronounced common, I am not sure why those commas are for). The c,mm,n site provides further details about the project and technical data, though most of the content is in Dutch.
c,mm,n website


Google offers TiSP, the free wireless broadband!

Google has offered so many wonderful services like, Google Romance, Google Gulp!, Google Lunar Job, Pigeon Rank, and The MentelPlex, all of those have been wonderful, overnight hits and even have had the internet jammed for a few days from release.
Now Google has come up with a better, bigger and utilitier product, Google TiSP. Once you sign up, Google will ship you with a self installation kit with which you can set up your own Wireless broadband internet for free! This kit setup guide, fiber-optic cable, spindle, wireless router and installation CD.
The broadband is to be installed on your closet and Google will make use of your sewage lines to connect to the server and provide high speed broadband. They offer it in 3 variants, The tricke, #2 and Royal Flush. The first one being the free version. Google cleared the doubt many had, announcing that this broadband kit will in no way hamper your actual working of your closet, but insisted to take technical support of a plumber to install the kit correctly.
Anyway if still have not figured it, then you deserve the kit, because you really are the right candidate for the Google's April fool pranks. Here are the links for you to sign up.

Google TiSP sign up(free)
Google Press Release


myLot User Profile

Intel and the benchmark scams?

We all believe that now, it is Intel's time to beat the hell out of AMD after the release of the Core Microarchitecture. But, for so long AMD had been shouting foulplay by Intel to mislead the analyst, Wall street and the consumers to make them believe this. Until recently, I never gave my ear to it, despite being an AMD fanboy. But, now analysis and post mortem of the presentation meet by, Intel Server Platforms Group general manager Kirk Skaugen on February 21st, and later on 28th is shocking to say the least.

The way Intel has presented the presentation has been very unprofessional and unethical. They have tried to impose and highlight their supremacy over AMD in a very cheap manner. These are the few of those.

  • Intel has compared their latest Xeon processors with pretty much old Opterons to declare themselves the leader. To make it worse, they even have a unnamed processor compared with the Xeon. Some of the benchmarks are with dual cores, some with single cores, and one nameless processor. All the while the Intel counterpart remains the same.
  • Lot of footnotes and disclaimers on each of the slide, which are hardly legible and the scores have been twisted, the slide title showing two high end Intel and AMD processors while tests being done between, the best Intel and a weaker AMD.
  • In the 1st presentation (on 21st), a footnote says " the latest opteron XXX has not been used because the benchmarks are not available, and hence we are comparing against an older version". Next presentation(on 28th) , the footnote is missing, so we naturally assume that it uses the latest Opteron, but on close examination, it is still the older one.
  • A slide show titled comparison of Xeon 5xxx with Opteron 2xxx, and not a single comparison is with 2xxx and this fact is safely buried in the cryptic footnotes.
  • They were using a six year old SPEC benchmark to prove that they were leaders and the wide gap in the benchmarks, while no one is using those benchmarks and the new ones are pretty common.

These medley of errors, or delibarate makeovers flooded the whole presentation. I wonder how could a high profile company even dare to do this? Obviously, every single analyst would have figured out these. This has simply been shameful, to say the least.
Adopted from:

myLot User Profile

download the Intel presentation and check for yourself.
Read the original article.
Post-mortem report (must see).


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WoW! Vista bugfixes start to flow in.

Microsoft holds its tradition once again, this time with mega release of Windows Vista. Even before it was officially out on January 30 earlier this year, a number of bugs were found out by many product watchers and analyst. Now it is their turn to bring out the bug fixes. This is the pattern, at first they give you the fixes for free. After some time, they begin to call them as the Service packs and charge for it. May be I am being anti- Microsoft here. I am sorry, I was just kidding. Hope they fix all the bugs soon. And hope new bugs sooner.

I am not sure how many out there following my blog has already using Vista, I would not, at this very early stage, I want to get everything stabilized, before I make the payment for my copy. Anyway for the unfortunates, here are the fixes, you can download them right away.

I know you are as much shocked as I was when I first saw these. Yes, these are the patches for those using PPP and iPod issues and some other trivial issues. Sorry for the prank,as you may call it, but the real, bigger, bugfixes should be out soon. Till then, this is all you can get.

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Flock: the social Mozilla

I had read about the new free browser available in the web, that uses the same Mozilla engine used by Firefox. Recently I downloaded it and tried it. I found it interesting, and useful. Here is the review.

It took me less than hour to download the 10Mb installation file over my 64kbps cable net. The installation was smooth and the post installation setup gave me a deja vu. Yes, it was very similar to Firefox installation. Then I went over the web and read the biography of the browser. It uses the Mozilla engine, no wonder the similarity. I opened the browser, after importing the settings from Firefox which I was already using. The Flock homepage loaded and it said, "Flock, social web browser". I wondered what it could mean, I would find out soon. Initially I had a cold feeling, everything seemed to be like Firefox, I was amazed about the popularity of the browser as I could not find how it was different from Firefox, even the logo was quite similar, Firefox has a logo of globe being stormed by a fire, while flock uses globe with few water droplets. But, despite the striking similarity, something kept me using Flock. Was the the elegent theme? Or the simple and light weight mode, without any extensions? Or those few extra buttons which I was yet to figure out what they were?

Once again I went to do my homework and explored the Flock website, somewhere it said, this is the Mozilla browser custom made for blogging, photo sharing and other socially sharing web services, like Flickr,, Technorati, Photobucket, and various popular blogging and news aggregation services. Soon, I was pulled in, I added my social accounts onto the browser, Accounts and Services menu was useful for this. Now, I can upload a photo onto Flickr in a single click, I am writing this blog from the browsers' own editor which will automatically add it to the blogger. I get all the news from the news tab. I am already a flockstar within a day of use.

The photo button, when clicked will open a photostrip near the toolbar with a slide of photos from flickr and it loads insanely fast. You can download, upload or view them. The news button will open a news sidebar, neatly organized, with different categories and unread news highlighted. You can save the feeds or blog them and do much more. Another amazing feature is the Create snippet feature. You can drag text or image onto this icon in the status bar and tag it. It could be saved for later use.

Grey areas
The versioning has only reached 0.7.1 beta and quite understandably a lot has been left desired. Checked for the extensions available for flock and could find only 3 of them. Also, though the themes tab is there, no themes are listed yet. But, I am not reverting back to firefox, I would like to see flock grow, and hope you people would like it too. It is an entirely different rendering of the Mozilla engine.

Product rating:

flock home
mozilla home
firefox home


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Yahoo! Mail goes infinite

Yahoo! Mail was launched in November 1996, when Internet was still in the nascent stage. Now over 10 years has passed and the Internet has grown, so has e-mail providers and competitors. Yahoo! has faced and is facing stiff competition from GMail, AOL, Hotmail etc, but still it is managing to hold its fort, with over 250 million users and is still the largest e-mail service provider, globally.

Google Bomb
Yahoo! received its biggest competition in April 2004 when Google began offering its own GMail with 1GB storage space. Many people even thought this was a Google prank, but shockingly Google did come up with it. Yahoo! was then offering paltry 4MB. Soon Yahoo! increased its space to its space to 100 MB, then 250MB later onto 1GB. Now, they offer 2GB as compared to GMail's 2.5GB, for the free accounts.

Going Unlimited
Yahoo! Mail Vice President, John Kremer, said that "We are watching the trend lines of how people are using e-mail...and they are sending more photos and videos and rich media," and that by May they would offer, unlimited storage space for the free webmail users. The process would be completed within a month, globally except Japan, China users. He said, "We will continue working with these markets on their storage plans".

This may be only the beginning, as Google did in 2004, it would only be a matter of time before other major players follow the suit. Anyway, this is a healthy competition and more importantly very good for the end user.


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Citizendium, the ghost of Wikipedia...

Citizendium is a project similar to Wikipedia, started by Larry Sanger, the co-founder of Wikipedia. It was officially out on March 25th. The word Citizendium means citizens' compendium of everything according to the site. They already have over 1000 articles with over 1200 authors and around 200 editors. Unlike it is big brother Wikipedia, Citizendium has more stringent rules for posting. Here you have to sign up with your original name to access the edit, and each post would be reviewed and verified before putting up to the public.

The members are called the citizens. Though most of the existing articles are brush ups of imports from wikipedia, they have claimed that their main project now is the Big Cleanup.
Here the editors' main job is to simply select the best version and inspect the overall postings. There are Constables, who are actually doing the real work to proofing every article posted in this site. These are all volunteers, contributing their time, energy, and professional expertise in support of a shared vision. A "CZ Constable" is a volunteer who is required to have a bachelor's degree and be "at least 25 years old." Larry is one of them. Articles which are branded "Live" have been proofed by CZ.

This wiki improves and overcomes the problem that Wikipedia has, by allowing free editing. This is also a bit more organized with the categories like Natural Science, Social Science, Humanities, Arts etc appearing on the home page to select from. The overall layout powered by mediawiki, as in Wikipedia has more or less the same look and feel with an little bit more lush of colors.
This site does look promising though my searches, "Google" and even "Larry Sanger" failed to return any articles, though when I did get hold of some article to watch over, I found it is no different from Wikipedia at least in layout. The Wikipedia framework has been adopted for this site. But, it seems all the articles in Wikipedia will be put under microscope before listing in citizendium. It seems, clarity and factual correctness is more important here.
Only the beta is out, so the actual release may be lot better and may really put wikipedia rest in peace.

Citizendium home
Wikipedia home

Youtube under fire!!!

Youtube has been one of the most popular video sharing sites available over the internet, and much more dearer than its rivals like Google videos, metcafe etc. But Google to noticed this very early and bought Youtube for a mammoth price of 1.65$ billion. Since then, many software giants(did I mean Microsoft?) have had sleepless nights and are fearing Google getting closer to invading the cyberworld. I am sure if this had anything to do with Youtube, maybe it is because Google did make Youtube a lot better and popular, attracting jealousy. But since the time Google took over Youtube, it is having a really hard time. You will find why.
A lot of criticism had been raised over Youtube's unconditional hosting of videos and many issues like no restriction on explicit content, copyright infringement etc were accused against Youtube's policy of free hosting of videos. Some even went to the extent by saying Youtube is the next napster. Here are the latest woes.

Viacom gets into the picture
Latest to run riot into Youtube is Viacom, they have sued Youtube ( and Google, of course) over a 1$ billion lawsuit for Massive International Copyright Infringement and have asked for compensation, and also has asked to stop the infringement. In fact, Google had agreed to add filters and checking of videos for any infringement, but has not moved a toe in the direction.
This fight is seen as the act of desperation by Viacom after Google turned down their offer to pay for the alleged 160,000 videos (100,000 owned by Viacom) that violate copyright. Now, Google has reverted their stand and say they are not doing anything illegal and are going by shielding themselves from liability on a 1998 law called the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). Anyway Google has negotiated with many entertainment companies, including Warner Music Group, CBS and most recently, the BBC.

"YouTube appropriates the value of creative content on a massive scale for YouTube's benefit without payment or license..."
"YouTube's brazen disregard of the intellectual-property laws fundamentally threatens not just plaintiffs but the economic underpinnings of one of the most important sectors of the United States economy."

"YouTube has deliberately withheld the application of available copyright protection measures in order to coerce rights holders to grant it licenses on favorable terms,"
Viacom said in its complaint.

Viacom isn't the only entertainment conglomerate yet to partner with the Google division. Some executives have been very critical of YouTube's practices, includeing Jeff Zucker, CEO of NBC. He though, refused to comment on the new lawsuit.

TV networks out with "Youtube Killer"

Adding fuel to the issue, now the Television networks are coming with another Video sharing site, which will be promoted by MSN, Yahoo, AOL, MySpace to name a few. This seems to be a collective war to end the Google's smooth voyage. Not surprising, Jeff Zucker, CEO of NBC along with
Mike Arrington, Peter Chernin (COO News Corp.) have announced the idea, which would be backed by two major film studios and over a dozen TV networks, branding it as the largest video distribution network ever assembled.
This seems to be impressive, they are trying to knock out Google from many angles. But they have left lot of details missing, about this new venture. But will they be able to get the fan support and community that Youtube has? Only time will tell. In the meantime here is a part from the press release.

At launch, full episodes and clips from current hit shows, including Heroes, 24, House, My Name Is Earl, Saturday Night Live, Friday Night Lights, The Riches, 30 Rock, The Simpsons, The Tonight Show, Prison Break, Are You Smarter than a 5th Grader and Top Chef, plus hits from the studios’ vast television libraries, will be available free, on an ad-supported basis, within a rich consumer experience featuring personalized video playlists, mashups, online communities and video search. Plus, the extensive programming lineup will include fan favorite films like Borat, Little Miss Sunshine, Devil Wears Prada, The Bourne Identity and Bourne Supremacy with bonus materials and movie trailers.


Fusion, the AMD way...

The ATI merger by AMD in the second half of 2006 was seen as a very strategic move by AMD. And the analysts got it right when AMD did not take much time and in late 2006 revealed its plan for the unique processor codenamed Fusion. Intel got back their prime spot with the release of Core series of processors, while AMD was caught napping over the 64-bit success. So, maybe this is the act of AMD to get closer to Intel once again.

What is Fusion?
The innovative plan of AMD is to integrate the GPU and CPU into a single die as two heterogeneous cores and hence improve the performance-per-watt-per dollar, a new yardstick posed by AMD. AMD already has the Hypertransport advantage. Now, in Fusion you have two cores, one for processor with its own cache, and another, GPU with its own buffers. Both of these are joined by the crossbar and integrated memory controller. Obviously everything is connected through the high speed hypertransport technology. But, it is not too clear whether the GPU will have a frame buffer for itself.

Is it good for me?
It is a hard question to answer, though AMD claims this compound processor will provide a reasonable graphics performance, it is not quite clear what do they mean by reasonable here. Anyway this is not for those hardcore gamers and AMD will continue to churn out graphics card under the ATI brand, as they agree graphics cards are necessary for high end users and physics processing. This fusion might be best suited for Laptops and notebooks.

When would the egg hatch?

Anywhere around 2008 Q4 or 2009 Q1 if everything goes well. But I still believe that is a far fetched call. They should get it by at least Q1 2008 if they need to pose any competition to Intel. As Intel is already getting ready for 45nm fabrication and even 30nm chips.

Anyway I feel this might well turn out to be a trump card for AMD to once again do the impossible, beat Intel. They have done it once, with 64-bit processors. But can they repeat itself and prove to the critics that it was not a fluke? Only time can tell.


MyLot: e-arn for your thoughts

myLot is fast earning reputation over internet. myLot is an online discussion forum like portal, where you get paid for your contributions in the form of new posts, responses, images etc. It is a very lively forum more than anything while the money earned is a bonus. But, if you are looking to buy the state of the art mobile phone by myLotting, you may have to post for a few years. You could earn around 20-25$ a month, if you spend around 1-2 hours a day.
Once you sign up for myLot, you get your home URL something like, which shows your profile, and you can choose your interests, which are basically the categories which you would love to post. Though it is not necessary, to choose interests, it helps you find posts easier. You can add friends and keep an eye discussions they start. Now you get points for every discussion you take part in, whether you start one, or respond to. You also get rated by others and this is reflected in your star rating, you can get upto 10 stars, showing your reputation.

Earning in mylot is proportional to your points and you can get anything from 0.05$ to 0.20$ or even more for every point you score, this depends upon the "quality" of your posts, which depends on the content, the language and length of your posts, though the exact algorithm used to find the quality is known only to myLot creators. Also you get points for each image you upload. Your earning will be updated everyday and you get paid every 15th of the month for the previous month's earning. Your payments are sent to your paypal account or e-gold account. One thing is that myLot though pays modestly, it DOES pay. I earned my first payment last month, a shade less than 20$. So, you can guess the amount you could earn, in fact I was not posting too often, and not as a way to earn as well, but to share my ideas and thought with others and get ideas for blogging. If you work harder, you could earn around 50$ a month. You also have a referral scheme where you get 25% of your referral earnings.
Those who own an orkut account and do regular scrapping, myLot will surely interest you. Think how it would be if you get paid a dollar for every 5 scraps you make!! It is very much like that. With over 82,000 members and even more tons of discussions and interests, this really induces you into it. myLot other than helping you with some pocket money, helps you improve your English and general knowledge, I can assure you it is not another of those internet marketing frauds, as I have already got my first payment, as I mentioned. It is worth a try.

myLot home
my profile

product review: Picasa

Picasa is the digital photo management software from Google Inc. This product is available for free download from the Google's website. Picasa is one the best products in the market which can be used to manage digital pictures, videos, organize them, sort them and what not.
Google acquired Picasa from Idealabs in mid 2004, and applied the Google's magic onto it,now it is the part of the Google's goodies package. It has a sleek and glossy interface with graceful transition effects and fade downs, on loading and other refreshes. Picasa is available for the various platforms such as Windows XP, Vista, and beta versions for Linux flavours and Mac OSX. The latest version out in market is Picasa 2.5.

Simplicity is the main standout of this product. It is very easy to use. You can import images virtually from any device, you digital camera, mobile phone, or remote PC and Picasa will add it to the image library. Image library is very well organized and can be viewed as folders or tree stucture. You can also sort the library the way you like. The light weight process Picasa Media detector adds every new picture that enters your hard disk directly onto the library. The process does not eat up CPU time. Other features includes the Slideshow and Gift CD creator. You can also search pictures easily, and add tags to each image, or even rate them with "stars".
The timeline feature is a really creative idea by Google. It creates a three dimensional spiral of folders in your library chronologically sorted. You can select your "era" you want to explore. It turns you photo viewing into an amazing experience. Other such features include Geotag which lets you tag your pictures geographically with Google Earth. You can also find and remove duplicate copies of same pictures. You can create a collage, poster, slideshow, or video from the albums, or even publish a web album or blog from it. You can even e-mail or send the pictures to hello.

Image editing in Picasa yet again impressed me to say the least. It has excellent features right from red eye removal, adding light to dark pictures, adjusting shadows and highlights, auto adjust contrast or brightness etc. You can also tune the color temperature and add effects like sepia, tint, glow, film grain etc. The best part of the editing is that the original picture is always backed up and even if something goes awry you can get back the original. You can even forget saving the changes to the actual image file. Each time you open Picasa you can see the touched up picture while on disk the picture is still raw. I could easily touch up pictures I took from my digital camera within minutes, which otherwise would have taken me hours with Photoshop. But to my surprise the quality of edit is very much high and comparable to that of Photoshop edits.

before editing after editing

That is not a joke, that is how effective the filters in Picasa are.

To be frank, I could find anything serious which is really annoying with Picasa. Even though I don't like unwanted programs residing in my system tray, Picasa Media detector still found its place there, as I never felt any system load because of it. The only thing which I can argue of being a bit annoying is that, for each folder that Picasa scans and adds to its library, Picasa creates an .ini file in that folder. My system has a several hundreds of them. But otherwise Picasa consumes very less disk space, so this can be tolerated.
To sum up, Picasa is one of the better softwares I have come across in recent past. More amazingly it is offered free of cost. This is a must have for every home PC user.


In late 2006, Google acquired another technology from Neven Vision which can be used to recognize faces and search them from the pictures. Google has promised to add this feature to Picasa soon. As a matter of fact, Neven Vision has won several awards for its face recognition technology. So it is going to be even more exciting in the near future.



Reason#1001 to port to Vista...

Everyone is geared up to face it...The underground brought it way back in December 2006, the official OEM version was already with the vendors a few fortnights back, if you are not interested in any of those, then you can buy a retail license for yourself, it was released last week. Obviously, I am talking about Windows Vista. I don't think it is unfair to say the wait has been little bit too long, but hey! it is almost over. The most printed letters on the desktop screen.. X-P- will cease to exist soon and will be replaced by clearer..glossier...vivid letters V-I-S-T-A.

Now there would be very few people who's not heard of the blazing features of Vista.. the Aero's visual delight...3d cascading of windows...are just a few of them. But here is one of those which you might not have heard about. But sure you are gonna love this one.

The concept of Wallpaper is pretty old, the practice of covering the walls with beautiful paperwork is centuries old, but it was Macintosh which actually bought it to the computer "desktop"and Windows made it popular. Now every computer desktop has a wallpaper but our conventional walls are decorated by razor thin plasma televisions. Maybe that is what made Bill think over it and give decade old wallpaper concept a break.

If that seems too poetic, I can't help it. That is how much "poetic" my technical mind can go, anyway, the news that got my jaws hitting the basement is that Vista is going to support video wallpapers. It is called Windows Dreamscene, and what they claim is that, the wallpaper, which could be your favourite mpeg/wmv video, will not eat up your CPU time. The idea sounds really unbelievable. They say they have some kind of "pre-rendering", by which your CPU is kept at lower heat. You can also put a Direct3D animation as a wallpaper. They have introduced a new format DREAM which would help author protect his creations.

But I am not surprised. When Microsoft came up with Windows 98, they added the feature where you could put a webpage as your wallpaper. Now, this is one step ahead, though, I must agree that the step has been rather steep.

Here is the rest of the story.

Google: The rising of 2006??

2006 saw the rise and fall of many new brands in the Corporate IT. Whoever has been familiar with the silicon world would not find it hard to identify the names like youtube, orkut, adsense, wikimapia, blogger to name a few. But not all know that all these names are the derivates of one brand, a brand which is now familiar to every household, you can't get it wrong. Yes, it's G-O-O-G-L-E. Who would not have seen the nice and clear logo with red, blue and yellow letters? If you browse through my archives you may find it a little bit pro-google, but in fact this is not at all intentional, they were earned by their presence in the field.

Google filled the news columns of small and big perimeters all over the world throughout the year, be it the the much hyped youtube- google merger, the acquisition of this very blogspot, or the widespread of the orkut epidemic amongst the youth. They have easily pushed down the Microsoft with Vista, or Intel's release of the Core Series processors to become the newsmakers of 2006. What remained at the end of the day was google searchbar in every websites, even in desktops in the form of google desktop, and google adsense ticking the cash register of every small and big firm. The forecasters of the corporate have been predicting that Google would overtake Microsoft within 2009, I cant see a reason why they should go wrong.

Even though only a couple of nights of 2007 have seen dawn, already google is facing lot many challanges, the founder of wikipedia Jimmy Wales already have been caught commenting on cashing on flaws of google search to beat them, also heuristic search engines like powerset threaten to push google off the No.1 seat. Gmail was under the microscope after a serious flaw was discovered which could help spammers hijack the address book. Also a series of lawsuits are becoming the speedbreakers on the road to the victory for the search makers of the web. So let time decide the position of Google for the chinese year of pig.

Meanwhile here are a few Google's useful utilities that's yet to be popular but are worth a try.

Google Suggest
This a in the predictive version of Google search which still in the workshed. But anyone can try it. It is really worth a try.
Try it here

Google Download Accelerator
This is a small piece of software used in tandem with your browser to achieve faster loading of pages over a broadband network. It simply works a ISP which caches and preloads pages in a heuristic manner onto your local computer for faster loading.
Try it here

Always remember that google tracks every user with its umbrella of services like Search, blogger, adsense, which is present almost in all sites, so when you use any of Google services your behaviour is being watched and tracked...
As the Google's slogan says... "You can make money without doing evil"