September 30, 2007

Chat Rooms for Google Talk

PartyChat adds one of the many missing features from Google Talk: chat rooms. You need to add partychat@gmail.com as a friend and use commands to create a room or join an existing one. To make sure nobody joins your room accidentally, password-protect it.

PartyChat is like a group chat, except that it's less obtrusive and persistent across different login sessions.

For example, say your friends are in a party chat named "drivel". To enter the chat, IM partychat@gmail.com with the line "/enter drivel." After that, you'll receive messages sent in "drivel" from partychat@gmail.com and all messages you send to partychat@gmail.com will be broadcasted to your friends in "drivel."

If you log out of Google Talk and then log back in, you're still in the party chats you were in prior to logging out. To leave a party chat, IM "/leave" or "/exit" to the address you were chatting with (e.g. partychat@gmail.com).

PartyChat is an open-source project created by a Google employee: Akshay Patil in December 2005, not long after Google Talk was released. Since then, Google Talk didn't add too much features. Only Google Talk's gadget has an option for group chats, while PartyChat can be used in Gmail Chat, the desktop client or any other Jabber client.

Some useful commands:

/create chat_name [optional_password] - creates a new party chat. If you provide a password, then other users must give this password to enter the chat.

/join chat_name [password] - join an existing party chat. If the chat has a password, you must give the password to enter.

/alias [name] - give yourself an alias; if you do not specify a name, your current alias is removed

/commands - displays the list of commands

Microsoft Excel Fails Math Test

Microsoft's Excel 2007 spreadsheet program is going to have to relearn part of its multiplication table.


In a blog post, Microsoft employee David Gainer said that when computer users tried to get Excel 2007 to multiply some pairs of numbers and the result was 65,535, Excel would incorrectly display 100,000 as the answer.

Gainer said Excel makes mistakes multiplying 77.1 by 850, 10.2 by 6,425 and 20.4 by 3,212.5, but the program appears to be able to handle 16,383.75 times 4.

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Apple Attacks Hacked iPhones

"Hackers Inc" are seeing red after Apple Computer released a software update that renders useless -- unlocked iPhones aka iPhones that have been altered so as to be able to work with cellular carriers other than the official one, namely AT&T.

Hackers had it coming when earlier this week, Apple Computer warned about its upcoming software -- that would not only offer access to iTunes and fix a few security bugs -- but significantly, possibly end-up permanently disabling the unlocked iPhones.

Put-on-the-defensive, the hacker community has responded saying that depending on the type of unlocking program used, iPhones may or may not continue to work after installing Apple's newest software update.

In case of unlocked iPhones that live to tell of the software onslaught, they will be workable only with the original SIM card that ties the phone firmly back to official carrier, AT&T.

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Customize Your Email Address Completely for Your Live Hotmail ids

Microsoft recently unveiled its personalized email service in India, CoolHotmail.com, where users can get to chose unique customized Live Hotmail id’s from a list of over 130 names/domains.

Instead of the default @hotmail.com or @live.com address, you can now opt for other email address choices that relate more closely with your personality, interests or lifestyle.

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September 20, 2007

Hutch is Now Vodafone

Come September 21, 2007, Hutch will be renamed Vodafone. Vodafone had acquired 67 per cent in Hutchison Essar from Hong Kong-based Hutchison Whampoa a few months ago, in a bid to enter the fast-growing Indian market.

Global player Vodafone completed the acquisition of Hutchison Essar in May 2007 and the company was formally renamed Vodafone Essar in July 2007.

Asim Ghosh, MD, Vodafone Essar, says, "We’ve had a good innings as Hutch in India and today marks a new beginning for us, not as a departure from the fundamentals that created Hutch, but an acceleration into the future with Vodafone’s global expertise."

This transition is estimated to touch over 35 million customers across 400,000 shops and thousands of Hutch’s own employees, as well as employees of its business associates. This makes it the largest ever transformation for Hutch, considering the fact that in India, the brand itself has undergone several changes in the past.

Presentation Added to Google Docs

Earlier this year in April, Google had announced plans to add a new, PowerPoint-like presentation application to its Web-based Docs suite.

Reportedly, starting today, the application named 'Google presentation' has been added to Google Docs. Using this application, users can create Web-based presentations, as well as view and update them from any Internet-connected PC anytime.

Similar to what Microsoft's PowerPoint offers, 'Google presentation' users will be able to create presentations, including series of slides with text and graphics on them.

Users will be able to manage, and share presentations with colleagues by sending simple email invites to the latter. This would enable them together edit online in real-time, or contribute at different times to the same presentation online.

In addition, users will be able to present and control slide shows over the Web without any additional software, and simultaneously chat with viewers via integrated chat.

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DigiTimes: Google will definitely launch its own branded handset


Citing sources at "Taiwan handset makers," DigiTimes is reporting that "Google will definitely launch its own branded handset." However, the Googlephone's OS, hardware specs, production contractor and operating partners have still not been finalized. Given that we're already pretty sure that Google has developed their own mobile OS based on Linux, we'll assume that their use of "finalized" refers to the final feature set and UI polishing -- not the possibility of the gPhone running Symbian or WinMo, for example. DigiTimes' sources also note that Google is contemplating going with a 3G handset instead of EDGE for its initial foray into the cellphone market.

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Gordon Moore predicts end to Moore's law in 10 years

After more than 40 years of empirical truth, Moores law -- the maxim which declares a doubling of transistors on a computer chip roughly every two years -- is under attack... by Gordon Moore himself. Ok, he's just the messenger in this case; it's the laws of physics that will render Moore's Law obsolete in "another decade, a decade and a half" according to the co-founder of Intel. Fact is, space on a chip is finite so eventually, (this isn't the first time he's predicted the end) he'll be right.

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September 12, 2007

Free iPhone Unlocking Software Released Into The Wild

Only a day after the release of the iPhoneSimfree software to retailers, the enterprising "iPhone Dev Team" has managed to reproduce the functionality for a much more appealing price: free.

Twelve dedicated coders, known only as Daeken, Darkmen, guest184, gray, iZsh, Nightwatch, pytey, roxfan, Sam, uns, Zappaz, and Zf, have managed to decipher the unlocking codes for the iPhone and are making their software available to the world for download -- and at the miniscule size of 6,458 bytes.

While a direct link cannot be provided to the unlocking software, it has been tested and confirmed working. It remains to be seen if updating the iPhone will disrupt the functionality, but testing will continue and updates will be provided as events warrant.

Even with the small size of the unlock code, websites hosting the file or discussion of the procedure, such as hackint0sh.org, are being brought to a crawl by hordes of visitors. With the recent $200 price cut to the 8GB model and newfound freedom from AT&T, iPhone orders may rise sharply in the next few hours alone.