May 11, 2011

Microsoft takes away Skype from Google & Facebook!

Following rumors of Facebook and Google eyeing a deal to acquire Skype, we now have a surprise winner who is none other than the beast from Redmond, Microsoft.

Microsoft and Skype have now obliterated any lingering doubt in the matter: the Redmond-based software giant will acquire the internet telephony company for a cool $8.5 billion in cash. Xbox and Kinect support are explicitly mentioned in the announcement of this definitive agreement, as is Windows Phone integration -- both the gaming and mobile aspects being presumably key incentives for Microsoft to acquire Skype. Importantly, this purchase shouldn't affect Skypers outside of the Microsoft ecosystem, as Steve Ballmer's team promises to continue "to invest in and support Skype clients on non-Microsoft platforms." Skype was first sold for a relative bargain at $2.5b to eBay in 2005, who in turn sold most of it off to Silver Lake in 2009 at an overall valuation of $2.75b, and now Redmond is concluding proceedings by tripling those earlier prices and offering Skype a permanent home. A new Microsoft Skype Division will now be opened up to accommodate the newcomers, with current Skype CEO Tony Bates becoming president of that operation and reporting directly to Ballmer. The deal is expected to close by the end of this year.


April 21, 2011

How To: Reset forgotten root password

DISCLAIMER -- I do not take any responsibility for your actions if you go and try this on your friends machine!!

  1. Reboot the system and when lilo/grub boot loader get to the point where you select the various installed kernels on the system, type the letter "a" for "append".

  2. You will get a prompt like this to add boot options to the boot string found in your lilo/grub conf file:
    grub append> ro root=LABEL=/

  3. Append "init=/bin/bash" to it to look like this.
    grub append> ro root=LABEL=/ init=/bin/bash

    This tells the kernel to drop to a root prompt bash shell instead of starting the "/sbin/init" process.

  4. The root filesystem is currently mounted read only which needs to be changed to read/write prior to resetting the password.
    # mount -o remount,rw /

  5. Now that the file-system is remounted read-write, go ahead and type `passwd` to change the root password.
    # passwd

  6. Since "init" isn't running to safely take down the system, remount the system to read only prior to shutting down the system.
    # mount -o remount,ro /

  7. You can now safely press on the power button to shutdown the sytem.

----------For Advanced Users only---------

To Protect Grub & restrict access to single user mode, assign a password to grub

Edit grub.conf @   #vi /etc/grub.conf

After Timeout entry add a new entry as -

password=<grub password>

Save & exit

Next time you reboot grub will not allow you to use 'e' or 'a' options. To go to single user mode press 'p' enter password and then use 'e' or 'a' as the process on top.

P.S - Tested on RHEL 5.1


April 13, 2011

Nokia E6 official: a 326ppi portrait QWERTY handset optimized for business

A VGA resolution on a 2.46-inch display equals 326ppi. Talk about pixel density! Nokia's Symbian "Anna" update has found itself a delightful little carrier to market in the new E6. This business-centric device touts awesome battery life, with up to a month of standby time, features both a touchscreen and a portrait QWERTY keyboard, and will be targetting E71 / E72 upgraders, BlackBerry lovers and, evidently, pixel density enthusiasts. Shipping in Q2.


Nokia X7 with Symbian 'Anna' now official

So, it's official. The Nokia X7unfit for a US launch, has finally found a home with Three in the UK. Theheavily leaked stainless steel handset runs an updated Symbian^3 "Anna" (aka, PR2) OS that finally introduces a vastly improved browser and portrait QWERTY with split-view data entry among its 50 new enhancements. Rounding out the specs are an 8 megapixel cam with dual-LED flash, 4-inch OLEDClearBlack display, HD video recording, and 256MB RAM / 1GB ROM with an 8GB memory card tossed in the box.

X7 features 720p video recording, and a 680MHz CPU -- presumably the same old (and we mean old) ARM 11 proc and found in the N8 and E7. Oh, and it's the same Broadcom BCM2727 GPU and 8 megapixel EDoF camera we reviewed in the E7. The X7 will be available in Q2 with a price set at €380 before taxes and subsidies.

Nokia announces Symbian 'Anna' update for N8, E7, C7 and C6-01; first of a series of updates

And now it's completely official: the new and freshened up version of Symbian we saw leak out over the weekend is indeed coming to Nokia's latest batch of handsets. The N8, E7, C7 and C6-01, the phones that ran what was formerly known as Symbian^3, will all be getting it "over the coming months," while the newly announced X7 and E6 devices will ship with it preloaded. The change list includes realhomescreen scrolling, an overhauled browser, and yes, even a QWERTY onscreen keyboard in portrait orientation. There's also new iconography and heavily refreshed Ovi Maps, which now include predictive search. Nokia is resolute in its belief that Ovi Maps is the best mapping solution on the market, and Microsoft's decision to integrate it into Bing would suggest that's true.

The "Anna" Symbian update will be the first of a series and has been driven almost entirely by consumer feedback. Nokia also shared some Ovi Store stats with us. There are now five million downloads per day going on from the company's app repository, which now includes more than 40,000 apps in total. 158 developers have passed a million downloads each.


April 7, 2011

Samsung Galaxy S II gets upgraded to 1.2GHz, delayed until May or June? [UPDATE]

Well, it looks like there's some good news and some bad news for those holding out for a Samsung Galaxy S II. GSM Arena is reporting that Samsung has decided to upgrade the phone's dual-core processor from1GHz to 1.2GHz, something that was first revealed on Samsung Estonia's Facebook page and has apparently be confirmed by GSM Arena itself from an "internal source." The bad news is that it seems you'll also have to deal with a bit of a delay. Some UK retailers are now listing a release date of May 6th, while Samsung India has tweeted that the phone's global launch has been delayed by "at least" a month, and that it won't roll out before June.

P.S. There's no indication as to how this upgrade will affect the Tegra 2 version of the phone, which was confirmed to be on track last month.


[UPDATE - 08/04/2011 ] - Today, the company has tweeted out a two-part notice assuring us that that will not be the case and things are proceeding "as planned." April will see the first retail appearance of the 8.5mm-thick Android phone, though Samsung does advise that "it will be gradually rolled out in each market according to the local launch timetable."


Indian Launch of Samsung Galaxy Tab 8.9 and 10.1 this Month too

The month of April in 2011 is likely to be a very big one. For the first time in 28 years, India won the Cricket World Cup, but there’s other stuff going down in the country as well. It was only yesterday that LG announced the launch of their Optimus 2X and Optimus Blacksmartphones, the Xperia Play and Xperia Arc are expected to be made official by Sony Ericsson tomorrow, Samsung brought the Google Nexus S to India and are expected to do the same with the Galaxy S2 as well.

We love April 2011

Well, the fun doesn’t seem to be stopping there. According to a tweet by the Samsung Mobile India account, Samsung are also planning to release the 8.9-inch and 10.1-inch variants of the Galaxy Tab in India this month. This could be one of those extra rare cases where India is one of the first markets where a product releases. The Galaxy Tab 10.1 was announced back at MWC 2011, and the Galaxy Tab 8.9 more recently at CTIA.

Tweet, little birdie

The source was a solitary tweet, so there’s currently no information available regarding the exact launch dates or the pricing, but we hope to hear from Samsung soon on that regard.


March 31, 2011

Samsung reportedly installing keylogger software on laptops (update: official response)

We'll start by saying that we've reached out to Samsung for a response here, but as of now, no reply has been given -- neither a confirmation nor a refusal of truth. Why bother mentioning that? If this here story proves true, Sammy could have a serious problem on its hands -- a problem that'll definitely start with a rash of negative PR, and a quandary that could very well end the outfit up in the courtroom. According to a report by Mohamed Hassan over at Network World, Samsung allegedly took the initiative to install a keylogger into his recently purchased R525 and R540 laptops. The app was noticed right away after a security scan on both systems, with StarLogger popping up with the c:\windows\SL directory. Where things really get strange is on the support line; reportedly, a supervisor informed Mr. Hassan (after an earlier denial) that the company did indeed install the software at the factory in order to "monitor the performance of the machine and to find out how it is being used." Unfortunately, it's difficult to say if this is a widespread issue, or if the tale is entirely correct, but we get the feeling that Samsung will have little choice but to respond in some form or fashion here shortly. Naturally, we'll keep you abreast of the situation -- meanwhile, you may want to reconsider that hate-filled comment you're about to bang out on your Samsung laptop, and instead, feast your eyes on the video just past the break.

Update: Kudos to Samsung for hitting this head-on. An hour after we inquired for comment, a company spokesperson tossed over this official quote: "Samsung takes Mr. Hassan's claims very seriously. After learning of the original post this morning on, we launched an internal investigation into this issue. We will provide further information as soon as it is available."


Google +1

Google +1 is yet another attempt to make Google more social. It's Google's version of the Facebook "likes", a simple feature that's very powerful because it's part of a social network.

Google will show +1 buttons next to all search results and ads, while encouraging other sites to include the buttons. All +1's are public and they're tied to Google Profiles. The goal is to use this data to personalize search results and ads by recommending sites +1'd by your friends. Google Social Search already does this, but there's no support for Facebook likes, so Google had to come up with a substitute.

"+1 is the digital shorthand for 'this is pretty cool.' To recommend something, all you have to do is click +1 on a webpage or ad you find useful. These +1's will then start appearing in Google's search results," explains Google.

This feature is slowly rolled out to, but you can try it by enabling the +1 search experiment.


January 7, 2011

Honeycomb: Android for Tablets

Google has accidentally made public a YouTube video that shows Android 3.0 in action. It's a completely new interface for tablets that borrows a lot of ideas from BumpTop, the 3D desktop software acquired by Google last year.

Engadget says that the new interface "looks more or less nothing like Android". You might think it's a new operating system. The video mentions that this is "the next generation of Android" and that's built entirely for tablets.

Google has focused on improving the user interface and Android 3.0 comes with fluid home screens, better app switching, browser tabs, video chat, dynamic app shortcuts and new versions of Google's Android applications that take advantage of the bigger screen.

It seems that the Android tablets that will be launched in the coming months will have impressive hardware and an updated operating system that looks stunning, so they're poised for success.

[youtube M-80QD5Zjyc]