March 31, 2008
In this competition there were 3 laptops, with different OS’s offered for being hacked into. These included an Apple Macbook Air running OS X 10.5.2, a Sony Vaio VGN-TZ37CN running Ubuntu 7.10 and a Fujitsu U810 running Vista Ultimate SP1. Anyone who could successfully hack or exploit these machines would win a $10,000 price from famous security company Tipping Point.
the MacBook Air on display was seized in two minutes by the presumably well prepared Charlie Miller, and after two full days of work, Shane Macaulay and a few of his 1337 associates managed to crack the Vista rig on Friday. Reportedly, Shane and his pals weren't expecting to do battle with the extra protected SP1 version of Vista, and while the exact loophole won't be divulged, we are told that it was a cross-platform bug that "took advantage of Java to circumvent Vista's security." In the end, it was reported that some folks on hand had discovered bugs in the Linux OS, but many of them "didn't want to put the work into developing the exploit code that would be required to win the contest."
March 29, 2008
With the release of Firefox 3 imminent, the rest of the Firefox team is cooking up some crazy ideas for Firefox 4
While Firefox 3 pushes the boundaries of a browser, delivering a cleaner graphical interface, numerous security upgrades, and a variety of new features, it still is far from the "perfect browser". Of course no browser on the market could earn such a distinction, be it Opera's "Kestrel" 9.5 browser, which is shaping up to be very nicely, Microsoft's Internet Explorer 8, which is sure to deliver top end performance, or Apple's Safari v3.1 browser, which although plagued with bugs of late is still one of the fastest, most compatible, browsers around.
However, perfection is exactly what Mozilla wants for its Firefox 4 browser and it intends to get it through outside the box thinking. With the release of Firefox 3 imminent, Chris Beard, VP of Labs for Mozilla, has started to talk Firefox 4. Beard is working on many features which, while their underlying components might start to pop up in Firefox 3, won't truly see the light of day until Firefox 4.
Beard's basic push is to un-isolate the browser. He says that after 10 years the browser still remains isolated from your browser on other machines and from your computer environment. This leads to the focal point of Mozilla's efforts for Firefox 4. Mozilla is pushing strongly for two very different new lines of research: Prism and Weave.
Prism is the main path of Mozilla's efforts to make the browser into almost a virtual OS, with applications, workspaces, and more advanced resource management and graphical abilities. Mozilla says the HTML 5 and Prism will make Google Gears obsolete. Google Gears is a beta service from the search giant which offers a way of accessing its online tools and applications, offline via clever caching and scripting. Mozilla also claims Prism will similarly be a death knell for Microsoft Silverlight and Adobe Air, two programs similar to Google Gears, attempting to meld online and offline applications together.
Mozilla's goal is to be able to take any website or application and turn it into an application that can run directly from the desktop. While part of the emphasis is removing the classic need to go into a browser to access these applications, another focus is to make the applications available when you are offline. HTML 5, the upcoming next standard of the classic internet language will be updated to provide explicit support for offline/local resources, which should significantly aid Firefox 4 towards accomplishing these ends.
While little of Prism will appear in Firefox 3, Weave will see some of its underpinnings crop up in Firefox 3.
Indeed, Sun is believed to have found a way to connect computer chips via laser beams instead of wires so as to make them communicate at much higher speeds -- paving the way for the next wave of computers that are more compact, faster, and more energy-efficient. The technology that Sun has chanced upon is part of a Computer Science discipline called 'Silicon Photonics', and promises to do away with that most difficult obstacle facing today's computer designers; namely rapid movement of information to solve problems that require hundreds and thousands of processors. However, Sun's nouveau approach has much to do with its ability to very accurately align processors so as to allow transmission of light beams across their surfaces in ultra-narrow channels known as 'wave guides'. Effectively, each chip will be able to communicate with every other chip in the array through a laser beam that will carry tens billions of bits of data per second.
Researchers at Sun are calling their new system "macrochip", and though it's prone to a 50 percent failure rate -- reportedly by their own admission -- in the event it can be proved both technically feasible and commercially possible, Sun claims that would lead to the creation of much better machines that are about a thousand times faster than the computers of today.
Sun's partners on the project are Stanford and the University of California, San Diego, as also two 'Silicon Photonics' companies, Luxtera and Kotura. The five-year project is being financed by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, and builds on an earlier Sun project that was intended to interconnect chips electrically by stacking them edge-to-edge.
Some of us now have computers with hard disk space in Terabytes, which implies you probably have a lot of content to store on the computer -- like movies, music, images, documents, presentations, and what not. With so much on your hard disk, to be able to track what you want quickly, installing Desktop Search on your computer only makes sense.
If you happen to use the Windows operating system, you'd be familiar with Windows Desktop Search (WDS), the operating system's indexed desktop search platform. Microsoft yesterday announced the release of an updated "preview version" of Windows Search 4.0, which is the next big thing to happen to the Windows Search platform. This first beta of Windows Search 4.0 is meant to help users find and preview any kind of text, audio, image files, etc, on the computer. Previously called Windows Desktop Search (WDS), Microsoft had initially introduced their version of Desktop Search as MSN Desktop Search, along with the MSN Toolbar suite.
The software giant claims that Windows Search 4.0 is much faster than the search tool included in Windows Vista. This was accomplished, they say, because they have been able to fix most of the bugs that were reported for it while in Vista.
Meanwhile, Windows Search 4.0 is available both as an update to Vista's built-in search engine, as well as an updated version of the XP add-on. You can download the Windows Search 4.0 (beta) application here, and find details about it here.
You may not use the Services [defined as “Google’s products, software, services and web sites"] and may not accept the Terms if ... you are not of legal age to form a binding contract with Google
The oddity of this has been pointed out before: many states in the US require that you be 18 year or more to form a binding contract... hence Google does not allow many kids and teens to use their services! Now, Chris Soghoian investigated a bit more and also got statements from Google, as well as comparisons with other sites’ terms. A Google spokesperson said:
We’re not in a position to verify the age or legal status of any user, given the tremendous number of users accessing Google services. That said, when we become aware of a user who is violating our Terms of Service, including not being of proper age to accept the Terms of Service, we take appropriate action, which could include the termination of the user’s Google Account.
Laws, it seems, are a language all of its own with little chance for people outside the craft to really understand it (even if it’s supposed to affect them; but do you read through every word of an agreement of a website though?). Chris points out that this discrepancy is especially interesting in the light of Google’s Doodle 4 Google contest... which is aimed at kids and teens.
However, is there any legal obligation for users to agree to a site’s terms of services in any case? Google’s terms say, “In order to use the Services, you must firstly agree to the Terms. You may not use the Services if you do not accept the Terms.” But can a site have a legally binding agreement that becomes active without any opt-in, just by visiting say Google.com... which does not even link to the terms straight from its homepage? (Imagine the terms would include a bit like “by using the site you agree to buy a dishwasher from us” etc.).
March 28, 2008
While it doesn't exactly come as much of a surprise, it seems that Apple has plenty more goodies in mind for the iPhone (and, presumably, the iPod touch), with a recent batch of no less than six patent applications revealing some of its plans to turn the device into what it describes as a "lifestyle companion." In this case, that rather vague term refers to what is effectively an upgrade to the Nike+iPod system, with the iPhone's accelerometer and other built-in capabilities also coming into play in addition to the usual external sensors. It doesn't stop with workouts, however, with the patent applications also indicating plans for a diet coach of sorts, which could even make use of the iPhone's camera to scan bar codes on products. Those components would also of course all work together, with the system able to suggest workouts based on your diet and physical condition and vice versa. Of course, these being patent applications, there's no indication as to when we might actually see such a system, but it sure seems a good deal.
With the ongoing growth drive, India is set to become the second largest wireless network in the world. By the month of April the subscriber base of the country is set to cross the 300-million mark. The user base has already crossed the 250 - million mark.
Presently, China is the largest wireless network in the world and is adding up around 6-7 million subscribers every month. The US which is currently the second largest mobile market with 256 million wireless subscribers is adding up about 2-3 million subscribers in a month. But, India is expected to surpass this by April as it adds subscribers in the range of 8-9 million a month.
With this growing trend we can expect some more telecom players in the market bringing in pocket friendly schemes for the consumers and at the same time telecom players who already form a part of the pie would further innovate their services to surpass competition.
More users, more choices, more offers, more schemes, more money…. Future of our telecom market
The last we heard about a consumer-oriented version of Microsoft Surface, Steve Ballmer was saying that the company was trying to get it out ASAP -- which is apparently three years, we've just learned. That's the word from Tom Gibbons, the MS VP in charge of Specialized Devices and Applications, who says Microsoft can "absolutely see how" to get Surface to consumers by 2011, but that it'll try to beat that deadline if possible. Of course, the $10,000 commercial version of Surface still hasn't been released to high-profile customers like T-Mobile and Harrah's, and although it's starting to make semi-random promo appearances here and there. Still, though, 2011?
March 27, 2008
Finally, we have some answers. Today we're releasing YouTube Insight, a free tool that enables anyone with a YouTube account to view detailed statistics about the videos that they upload to the site. For example, uploaders can see how often their videos are viewed in different geographic regions, as well as how popular they are relative to all videos in that market over a given period of time. You can also delve deeper into the lifecycle of your videos, like how long it takes for a video to become popular, and what happens to video views as popularity peaks.
How does this help you? Well, using these metrics, you can increase your videos' view counts and improve your popularity on the site. For instance, you might learn that your videos are most popular on Wednesdays, that you have a huge following in Spain, or that new videos that play off previous content become more popular more quickly. With this information, you can concentrate on creating compelling new content that appeals to your target audiences, and post these videos on days you know these viewers are on the site. (Maybe even post your next video in Spanish?) And for those of you who are also partners, the more popular a video is, the more advertising revenue it can generate.
We'll be making new features and additional information available fairly quickly -- like a specific breakdown of how viewers discovered the video -- so keep an eye out as we roll out new features. As for now, you can find currently available metrics by clicking under the "About this Video" button under "My account > Videos, Favorites, Playlists > Manage my Videos."
It's safe to assume that if you're using one of OLPC's XO laptops, you're not exactly a speed demon. Still, you probably wouldn't mind squeezing a little more power out of that innocuous Geode CPU -- and now there's a way to do it. The cats and kittens over at OLPC News have discovered a way to (relatively) safely overclock your system using a shortcut at the open firmware prompt. At least one reader reports a 21.8 percent boost in system speed, and claims that bumping the 433MHz processor to 588MHz, and the 166MHz RAM to 233MHz has resulted in a much smoother ride with Ubuntu. Of course, if you decide to try this, keep in mind that just like overclocking the big boys, you could explode your system, restart the Cold War, or attract tons of vampires.
And Adobe provides 2GB of free storage space for yous photos.
March 26, 2008
Google Docs includes all the menus from Microsoft Word 2003, except for View, Window and Help, but there's enough room to add more menus in the future.
March 23, 2008
Wall Street analysts said the Silicon Valley Internet search and advertising giant has succeeded in forcing open network requirements upon winning bidder Verizon Communications via Google's apparent strategy of "bidding to lose."
Verizon will control the open network but will be required to allow devices and applications from other companies to use it.
"Google was never in this game to actually build out a telecom network. Their key goal was to open up closed networks," Cowen & Co analyst Jim Friedland said of the control that carriers hold over handsets and services on their networks.
Google's participation in the US government's auction of wireless licenses is credited with helping to drive up the price Verizon paid to win a nationwide wireless license, giving it control of a major piece of the airwaves being vacated by TV broadcasters as they move to digital signals early next year.
Verizon Wireless, a joint venture of Verizon Communications and Vodafone Group Plc, AT&T Inc and Frontier Wireless, a partner of US satellite TV company DISH Network Corp, took the lion's share of new airwaves.
The auctions raised a record $19.12 billion for government coffers.
"By creating a system that is completely open, Google may prevent carriers from using their monopoly position to drive users in a particular way to their services," Friedland said.
These new personalization options can be partly recreated using a custom search engine. You can build a custom search engine for the entire web, that should include all the sites from Google's index. Every time you find web pages or web sites that are not very useful, but have good rankings, you can edit the search engine and them to the exclusion list.
To promote search results, check this option in the custom search engine's settings: "Add my Subscribed Link to this Custom Search Engine". Then create subscribed links for some of the terms you search often. Alternatively, you could use Google Spreadsheets to define a list of subscribed links. The subscribed links are also included if you use Google's standard search engine, but they're displayed after the third search result.
Verizon and AT&T won more than $16 billion of licenses, according to auction results released on Thursday. They plan to use the airwaves to enhance existing voice and data services, as well as underpin a new wave of wireless technologies.
The possibility of a nationwide video network was raised by a $711 million slice of the 700 megahertz airwaves being won by Frontier Wireless, a partner of satellite television operation DISH Network Corp. DISH declined to comment.
But No. 2 wireless provider Verizon and No. 1-ranked AT&T dominated the Federal Communications Commission auction that started Jan. 24 and ended Tuesday after 260 round of bidding.
"It means that the two big guys just got much bigger," said Rebecca Arbogast, an analyst with Stifel Nicolaus.
Verizon Wireless, a joint venture with Vodafone Group Plc, won the biggest nationwide block of spectrum, with a $4.74 billion bid that trumped $4.71 billion offered by Internet leader Google Inc, FCC officials said.
The Nokia 8800 Sapphire Arte is inspired from nature and makes a unique statement with its single Sapphire (world's most durable material) as the center-key. The handset features 3G capabilities along with 3.2 megapixel auto focus camera and boasts an OLED display.
Devinder Kishore, Director Marketing, Nokia India said,"As part of its premium range, Nokia brings yet another iconic mobile phone. Nokia 8800 Sapphire Arte sets the benchmark for quality and craftsmanship. The high-end materials and seamless surfaces celebrate the art of individuality - inspired by natural light with minimalistic design."
The handset has a high-end metal and glass composition. It has a smooth slide mechanism – comprised of state-of-the art ball bearings and a unique spring mechanism. It also sports a polished steel case with a genuine sapphire gem stone and an accent of soft brown napa leather. It comes with 'tap-for-time' and 'turn-to-mute' features while living wallpapers move throughout the day to give on-screen decoration. By double-tapping the steel surface below the display, an analogue clock appears – indicating time, while incoming calls can be silenced by simply turning over the phone, screen-side down.
The Nokia 8800 Sapphire Arte comes at a premium price of Rs. 62, 829.
Revision notifications let you set up alerts so you know when someone makes changes to a spreadsheet.
Other new features include the ability to select cells for formulas with arrow keys, an expanded color palette, text auto-complete from other cells in the same column, a new function auto-complete feature, and new sort(), filter() and unique() functions.
Standard, Premier, Education, Team and Partner Editions
How to access what's new:
Sign in to Google Docs, open a spreadsheet, and click the 'Add' button in the toolbar. (The icon looks like a bar chart.) Then select "Gadget..." to see all the gadget options.
March 7, 2008
What's interesting is that the contacts are tied to a Google Account, not necessarily to a Gmail account, so Google could release a separate address book for those who don't use Gmail.
Hopefully, social applications will use this API instead of asking for your Gmail credentials and we'll see synchronization utilities for mobile devices, Outlook etc. "The Google Contacts Data API allows you to own your own contact data. We expect the API to be useful for a big range of applications," notes Google's Sebastian Kanthak.
The problem is that your Google contacts aren't always your contacts: they're mostly a bunch of people automatically added by Gmail because you replied to their messages. And this is going to be a problem difficult to solve unless Gmail changes the way contacts are created.
If you'll recall, Microsoft announced that it was teaming up with SanDisk last May to conjure up a suitable U3 replacement. Not quite a year later, we're starting to hear the first whispers of what that replacement may be. Purportedly dubbed StartKey, the so-called Windows companion would essentially allow users to "carry their Windows and Windows Live settings with them" on any sort of flash memory device -- be it a USB drive, SD card, etc. Interestingly, it's also being reported that Redmond would like to "build an end-to-end StartKey environment," but aside from the tidbit that it should be out in at least beta form by the year's end, pretty much everything else remains murky.
So now that the nine-inch Eee is officially available with Windows XP pre-installed, people are wondering the obvious -- why XP and not Vista, since XP is being discontinued in June and Vista can kinda-sorta be made to run on an Eee? The answer, direct from Microsoft, is both obvious and a little surprising: Given the Eee's "other requirements," Asus and Microsoft "couldn't go the Vista route," presumably because the Eee doesn't really have the horsepower for it. Sure, but what caught our interest was that Microsoft is "in close discussions with Asus [regarding] how to take that forward... in regards to the Windows 7 Europe timeframe." Windows 7, you'll recall, has that lean new kernel, which would presumably make building a stripped-down version specifically for Eee-class machines easier -- but the last we heard, Windows 7 wasn't due until at least mid-2009 (and possibly not until 2011), so either Microsoft is planning to continue shipping XP after June or Windows 7 is coming much earlier than we thought. Our money is on XP continuing to soldier on, but here's hoping.
Following are the download links for IE8 mentioned on the Microsoft IE8 Readiness website.
1. Internet Explorer 8 Beta 1 for Window XP SP2
2. Internet Explorer 8 Beta 1 for Windows Vista
This release is essentially for people who want to make sure that their websites or web applications do not breaking in the upcoming IE 8 release that contains some key changes.
Virgin Mobile is here to give CDMA a revamp. The UK based service provider is clearly targeting the youth and it shows. If one visits the site, you’ll be mesmerised. Believe us, you will think of changing over to this operator. The website is lively and shouts out “it’s time to think Hatke”. The lingo and the appearance used is appealing to the youth, with the content being straight forward.
Why should you choose CDMA? Why do I change over to Virgin? What are the benefits? All these questions answered by just one click. The content challenges the users to demand more from their service providers and tags them to be “unexciting” and “crappy”. No Nonsense is the theme, that the operator focuses on and the website can keep you busy for quite some time.
Be sure to visit it and do let us know your views about it.
It seems as if Tata Communications is out to one-up BSNL -- or at least claim its share of the limelight, anyway. More specifically, the outfit has teamed up with Telsima in order to roll out the "world's largest commercial WiMAX network" in India. Over 5,000 enterprise / retail customers are already connected in ten cities, and there are plans in place to secure nearly a quarter million customers in retail alone during fiscal year 2009. Furthermore, we're hearing that the services should be stretched to 110 cities for enterprise users and 15 cities for the retail segment by the year's end, but users in Delhi, Mumbai, Pune, Bangalore, Chennai, Hyderabad, Cochin, Chandigarh, and Kolkata are the only ones celebrating at the moment. Not a bad way to grab a bit more market share from Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited, eh?
We've certainly seen some clever methods of searching from one's mobile, but Vodafone's latest idea is quite the stroke of genius. Showcased at CeBIT, the Otello search engine simply uses images as input; in other words, handset owners just snap a picture of anything -- a landmark, DVD case, unidentified flying object, etc. -- and Otello then "returns information relevant to the picture to the mobile phone." Reportedly, Vodafone is expected to conduct a trial with German paper Bild in which readers can "find out more about specially-marked articles by photographing them with their mobile's camera and sending the image to [the aforementioned paper]." Unfortunately, the carrier is being tight-lipped with its plans for Otello beyond the trial, but if this stuff functions as advertised, we can't see it remaining a secret for long.
- Franchisee Agreement with Tata Teleservices
- Here to provide CDMA services under the brand name: Virgin Mobile
- Will mainly target the 400 million youth population of India
- Will start off with 50 cities initially and operations in 17 circles.
- Will provide call rates @ 50paise and cellphones in the range of Rs.2000-5000
- A user will be paid 10 paise for an incoming call that is more than a minute long
What’s in store for you: The service provider has a good track record and can help raise the bar in terms of service offerings. Targeting the youth is a very smart option that the company has made and we hope to see better handsets being provided with the CDMA connections.
With the byline reading Think Hatke, let’s hope it really is Hatke.
March 3, 2008
Some of the most popular features requested by users are already available in the online interfaces: group chats, invisible mode, AIM integration, so we should expect to find them in a new release of Google Talk. Other features are already standard in other IM clients: video conferencing, conference calls, phone calls.
Last year, a presentation for Google Apps inadvertently included a screenshot of Google Talk enhanced with the ability to make phone calls. In the comments, someone informed us that "internally at Google, this feature is already active since long".
Intel Corp. has picked “Atom” as the new brand name for its latest microprocessor, the world's largest semiconductor company said. The Intel Atom processor is the name for the new family of low-power processors, the brains of digital devices, that will power mobile Internet devices and ultra low-cost and small notebook and desktop personal computers.
Intel sees a big market for the Internet-connected devices that can fit in one's pocket and for what it is calling the netbook, a low-cost PC costing around $250 (U.S.).
The Intel Atom processor is based on a new microarchitecture designed for small devices and low power consumption, Intel said. The chip is less than 25 square millimetres, and 11 of the chip's dies – the slivers of silicon with 47 million transistors each – would fit in an area the size of a U.S. penny.
The new chips, previously code-named Silverthorne and Diamondville, are made on Intel's 45 nanometer chip making technology and slated for introduction toward the middle of this year.
“Diamondville and Silverthorne both represent an attempt by Intel to sell chips profitably for a whole lot less,” said Nathan Brookwood, an analyst at market research firm Insight 64. “This is the first new processor design coming out of Intel since the Pentium Pro in 1995.”
Here's an example of video that's available both in the regular version (320x240) and in a higher quality encoding (448x336). The audio is now encoded at a sample rate of 44100 Hz, up from 22050 Hz. As you can see in the screenshots below, the right image is clearer and more detailed.
Mitsubishi has just announced that it is ending its cellphone manufacturing business, a venture that goes back some 25 years with the introduction of car phones on NTT's network. For what it's worth, the company says that it'll continue to support its devices and move the 600-odd employees in the business to other parts of the company. It also says that it will "work to maintain and further strengthen the partnership with NTT DoCoMo through the communication related business [it aims] to expand.