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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.

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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.