Feb 22, 2009

7 ways to make your laptop battery last longer

With the latest portable PCs, working on the move has never been easier, but laptops are still slaves to the National Grid.

You can do practically anything on a modern laptop, but their advanced features drain battery life to the extent that you can only get a couple of hours out of your laptop before it turns up its toes.

While battery life is a chief cause of mobile moans, it's possible to get significant improvements by simple good practice and a few software tweaks. To help you get the most from your laptop battery, here are seven easy ways to make it last longer.

1. Dim your screen

The screen is one of the most power-hungry parts of the laptop. It takes serious amounts of battery power to keep your display looking clear and bright. Saving this power is simply a question of turning the brightness down. The screen brightness button is usually located as a second function of one of the F keys, and is represented by a little sun symbol with up and down icons. To use it, just hold down the correct function key and then choose up or down.

2. Change power settings

Windows Vista comes with some great power features, which enable you to eke out the best performance when you're plugged into the mains, and optimise battery life when on the move. Type power options into the Start Search box and choose Power saver from the list. The Windows Mobility Center has more methods for saving battery life. These include settings for powering off the monitor and kicking into sleep mode more quickly.

3. Switch off Wi-Fi

One of the biggest battery sappers is the wireless networking capabilities built into most laptops. Wi-Fi drains the battery by constantly drawing power from the battery and, when not connected, looking for networks. When you're using your laptop away from the grid, the likelihood is you're away from wireless networks, so you can turn this device off. Many laptops have a function button that enables you to turn off the wireless adaptor manually to save yourself the unnecessary waste, but older laptops often don't have this. If this is the case, just go to the Control Panel, access the Network Connections menu and disable your wireless connection manually.

4. Turn off peripherals

Using USB peripherals can put a big drain on your system, because your motherboard has to power them, so unplugging everything saves juice. USB sticks, mice and webcams are common offenders, so copy all your information across and eject your devices as soon as possible, and put up with laptop track pads over your USB mouse. Many laptops have function buttons to turn off the built-in webcam, which drains the battery if given the chance.

5. Eject your disc drives

Having a disc spinning in the drive is a huge drain on resources, and many programs constantly do this. Simply eject your discs before you switch to battery power to gain vital extra minutes from your working day.

6. Invest in some hardware

Good practice can go some way to extending your battery life, but if you need to use your laptop throughout your working day, you're going to need some help. Most laptops come with a six-cell battery, but many manufacturers offer eight- or even 12-cell optional upgrades, which can double your power. The alternative to expensive laptop batteries are products such as the Philips Portable Power Pack, which gives you valuable extra hours for all your devices. The Philips is a compact battery unit that has adaptors for most laptops and mobile phones, which is portable enough to be placed in a bag and has enough capacity to double the length of your charge.

7. Disable features

Windows Vista has some handy built-in features, but many put demands on your system that are unnecessary when working on the move. Take the simple measure of turning off Windows Aero and the Windows Sidebar when you're on the move to make your laptop more efficient.

BSNL to launch 3G in 12 cities by 27 Feb

CHENNAI: By the 27th of this month, mobile telephony will enter its third generation (3G) in 12 cities in India, courtesy the state owned telecom
service provider BSNL.

Union minister for communication and IT A Raja launched BSNL's 3G services pan India, from Chennai, on Sunday, by making the first video call to TN chief minister M Karunanidhi.

The PSU was awarded one block of 2*5 MHz 3G spectrum in all telecom circles in the country, six months before, without participating in the auction, at a price equal to the winning bids in the respective circles, in the auctions to be held before March 31st.

"Considering the need for faster penetration of 3G, and the need for telecom access to rual areas, the Government policy will allow telecom infrastructure sharing between commercial telcos as well as infrastructure providers," Mr.Raja said. DoT also plans enable mobile number portability (MNP) in major cities by August, and in other towns by end of this year. Bids have been invited of providing MNP switches.

On the occasion, BSNL also launched its India Golden 50 tariff scheme, where, by increasing the pulse duration for all calls to 120 s, the tariffs have been have been reduced by 50-80%. Presently, a pulse is calculated at 90 s for national calls to other networks and 60 s within network.

"Besides upgrading mobile data speeds to 2 mbps from the present 144 kbps, we will also offer video screening of calls, video on demand, mobile surveillance, Live TV, movie downloads etc on our 3G platform," BSNL CMD Kuldeep Goyal said. For this, the company will scale up tie-ups with its existing content providers. However, the telco will not be providing its previously launched IPTV service, which has garnered 5000 subscribers, on 3G.

"We plan to operate 5 million lines spanning all district headquarters and important towns by end of this year at an investment of Rs.2700 crore," Mr Goyal said. "We expect 5% of our 2G subscribers to migrate to 3G." The company expects a revenue addition of Rs 500-1000 crore by this customer addition, and a 20% revenue augmentation by infrastructure sharing.

BSNL has tied up with Nokia, Sony and Samsung for handset bundling, the cheapest of which is priced at Rs.7000. Voice tariff schemes begin from a fixed monthly charge of Rs.350 for prepaid, and Rs 500 for postpaid. Data subscriptions are available starting Rs 250. The company has tied up with Micromax and Huawei for offering laptop data cards at prices ranging form Rs 3800 to 6000. "Trials are on to launch mobile banking on our 2G and 3G platforms," Mr Goyal said.

Feb 21, 2009

How to Read Popular Magazines on your Desktop for Free

This is a very simple & non-geeky trick to help you read the latest issue of popular magazines like PC Magazine, MIT Technology Review, Popular Mechanics, MacWorld, Lonely Planet, Reader’s Digest, etc without paying any subscription charges.

You will also get to read adult magazines like Playboy and Penthouse. Best of all, these digital magazines are exact replicas of print and served as high-resolution images that you can also download on to the computer for offline reading.

How to Read Online Magazines for Free

Step 1: If you are on a Windows PC, go to apple.com and download the Safari browser. Mac users already have Safari on their system.

Step 2: Once you install Safari, go to Edit -> Preferences -> Advanced and check the option that says "Show Develop menu in menu bar."

Step 3: Open the "Develop" option in the browser menu bar and choose Mobile Safari 1.1.3 - iPhone as the User Agent.

Step 4: You’re all set. Open zinio.com/iphone inside Safari browser and start reading your favorite magazines for free. Use the navigation arrows at the top to turn pages.

For people in countries like India who are already subscribed to Zinio Digital Magazines, this hack is still useful because you get access to certain magazines which are otherwise not available for subscription via Zinio (e.g., Penthouse and Playboy).

Geeks may write a AutoHotKey script or create a "scrolling capture" profile in SnagIt that will auto-flip magazine pages and save all the images locally.

Single Google Query uses 1000 Machines in 0.2 seconds

Google is normally quite secretive about their search infrastructure but, in a break from tradition, they have revealed that a single search query on Google can consume the processing power of 1000 machines.

Google Fellow Jeff Dean, in a keynote talk at WSDM 2009, shared some numbers about Google’s impressive growth run from 1999 to 2009. According to Dean, while both search queries and processing power have gone up by a factor of 1000, latency has gone down from around 1000ms to 200ms. Crawler updates now take minutes compared to months in 1999.

Another significant change was the switch to holding the complete search index in memory, resulting in the use of 1000 machines to handle a single query compared to just 12 previously.

This revelation may be a bit embarrassing for Google, which has defended its ecological record in the past, claiming that a single Google query takes just 0.0003KWh of energy and that the Google datacenters are "the world’s most efficient."

Facebook Won't Let You Remove Dead Relative's Page, Per "Policy"

Facebook thinks it knows better than the sister of the deceased journalist Bill Bemister about what to do with his Facebook page. Stephanie Bemister sent them a copy of his death certificate and asked it get taken down for privacy and respect purposes. Unlike every other single social networking site she dealt with, Facebook said no. They have a better idea. Stephanie's letter inside...

Dear Ben,

It is great that organizations such as yours have such an impact for consumers. Please accept my heartfelt thanks for all you do.

I have a problem which has not been mentioned so far and I have to say I am heartbroken, angry and am lost for words.

My brother, William Bemister, died very suddenly mid November. He lived in Oxford, England. I went to the UK to hold a service for my brother who was divorced and lived on his own. However, if anyone believed he was just another single, and lonely middle-aged man with no friends or family to speak of, this was far from the truth. He was a successful Nazi hunter, Emmy award winning investigative journalist with thousands of contacts all over the world. He was about to start filming his next documentary, 'Admissible Evidence.'

He had a Facebook page. The day before he died he promised me he would accept me on his friends list. We spoke on the phone two, three times a week. And were very close even though thousands of miles apart. Also on his friends list were my two daughters, his nieces. He only knew, personally, three other women, the rest of his friends were strangers he met through Facebook Oxford links.

The dilemma I had was that he had posted a lot of personal information such as phone number, company website, email address. If you have ever lost someone you will appreciate that when someone dies you need to have this information removed quickly for several reasons: for security purposes, to stop strangers incessantly phoning and emailing the deceased and the worst of all, the sheer grief of dealing with hundreds of people who believe he is still alive and need to be informed of his death. It just made sense to remove his membership.

I emailed their 'privacy' division, attached a copy of his death certificate and asked them politely to remove his membership. Facebook refused with the following comment:

"Per our policy for deceased users, we have memorialized this person's account. This removes certain more sensitive information and sets privacy so that only confirmed friends can see the profile or find the person in search. The Wall remains so that friends and family can leave posts in remembrance."

Facebook is the only group social site that has refused to remove his membership. I am sickened by them. My two daughters are heartbroken as his face still remains on their own member's page. They will not delete him off their own pages or we will never know when or how his site will be deleted. There are strangers in his membership list who can write whatever they wish on his Wall and I, his next of kin and sister, cannot even view his page. It is horrible. How can Facebook be so insensitive to the wishes of a deceased member's family? I have never in my life felt so betrayed, angry and sickened.

What do they think they are doing? What if a teen dies for example. Parents are rarely invited onto their child's friends' list. Can you imagine what a parent would feel if they received such an inexplicable email from this company?

I have spoken to a number of advocate groups. They all say the same thing. They have never heard of such a thing, think it's disgraceful and suggest I would probably have more luck writing to Mark Zuckerberg a personal letter. If this issue is not common now, it will become a serious problem in the future as Internet users find that they have no rights over deceased family members.

Please help.


Stephanie Bemister
Seattle, WA

Wow. Sounds like something a company that thinks it owns its users' content would do. While the policy is surely a well-intentioned "default" move, if the family requests for it to be taken down that request should be honored. If Stephanie is the estate's executor, it's not just ethics, but the law.

Indians prefer orkut over facebook !!

India ranks seventh in the number of people visiting social networking sites

When it comes to the most preferred social networking website, Indians have chosen Orkut over all the others, hands down!

According to a recent report published by comScore, Orkut reigned as the most visited social networking site in December 2008 with more than 12.8 million visitors, an increase of 81 percent from the previous year. Orkut's audience was three times the size of its nearest competitor in the category, Facebook.com, which captured the the second position with 4 million visitors, up 150 percent from a year ago. This was followed by the local social networking site Bharatstudent.com with 3.3 million visitors (up 88 percent) and hi5.com with 2 million visitors (up 182 percent).

It would come as a surprise to many, but the report added that the overall social networking activity in the Asia-Pacific region revealed that India ranks seventh when it comes to the number of people visiting social networking sites.

The report also said that the engagement in social networking in the Asian Pacific region is highest in Singapore followed by Australia, South Korea, Malaysia, Hong Kong, New Zealand, and India. It was surprising that Japan, the hub of technology and every techie's paradise, ranked eighth, followed by China and Taiwan.

What do you have to say about this? Is Orkut your favourite way to keep in touch with your pals too? Let us know your comments in the section below.

Use your fingers as remote control - ipoint 3D

The first CEBIT story of 2009 is a strange one - a system called iPoint 3D that lets you use your fingers as a remote control.

The new gadget lets people communicate with a 3D display through simple gestures – without touching it and without 3D glasses or even a Minority Report-style data glove.

It's been developed by researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Telecommunications, Heinrich-Hertz-Institut (HHI), and will be unveiled at CEBIT on March 3.

No longer rude to point

At the heart of iPoint 3D is a recognition device that can be suspended from the ceiling or integrated in a coffee table. The system responds instantly, as soon as someone in front of the screen moves their hands and no physical contact or special markers are involved.

It works using two built-in cameras to detect hands and fingers in real time and transmit the information to a computer.The two cameras are inexpensive, off-the-shelf video cameras connected by Firewire.

HHI boffins envisage the iPoint 3D being used in gaming (naturally), as well as offices, kitchens and even hospitals.

"Since the interaction is entirely contactless, the system is ideal for scenarios where contact between the user and the system is not possible or not allowed, such as in an operating room," says lead researcher Paul Chojecki

Nanotech to increase storage capacity - Massively

Materials researchers in the US have come up with a new kind of storage medium that promises tiny devices capable of holding terabytes of information.

Thomas Russell of Massachusetts University and Ting Xu from the University of California, Berkley have developed nanotechnology techniques that pack around 15 times as many bits of data in a given area as current methods allow.

Super-dense data

They did this by effectively getting silicon or sapphire crystals to arrange themselves into optimum configurations for data density.

Existing ways of etching data-storing dots onto silicon are approaching their limits because the wavelength of the light used to do so is bigger than the dots needed.

Size of a coin

The method created by Xu and Russell promises more than 10 trillion data bits in an area the size of a coin – that would be enough to hold 250 DVD movies.

Although the theory is in place, nothing commercial is imminent, as reliable ways to read from and write to the material haven't been worked out. Should that happen, we can all expect our iPods to get a lot smaller and our storage abilities exponentially greater.

10 signs that Twitter is screwing up your life

It may not cause cancer, but there's no doubt that Twitter is addictive.

For most people that's not a problem, but some people simply can't handle it.

Will you end up mugging people for their mobiles so you can send just one more tweet?

Here are ten signs that Twitter might be taking over your life.

1. You use @ everywhere
If you find yourself typing "I will be @thepub" without irony, using @john when you meant to type an email address, putting @ in front of people's names in forum posts and blog comments or spending Valentine's Day in the shed because you wrote "@wife" on your partner's card, you may have a problem.

2. You know the numbers
Here's a question no sane person can answer instantly: how many friends do you have? Some people hear "friends" as "Twitter friends" and the exact number trips off their tongue. Not only that, but they can tell you how many new friends they added yesterday. You really don't want to be one of those people.

3. Unfollows make you miserable
Yesterday, you had 32,344 followers. Today, you have 32,343. Cue angry messages to @stoppedfollowingyou demanding an explanation while you sit in front of your PC, rending your garments and weeping softly.

4. Everyone around you is on fire
If you can keep your head when all around are losing theirs, you've completely misjudged the severity of the situation. If the people around you are on fire, being attacked by space lizards or turning into flesh-eating zombies, sending a tweet really shouldn't be at the top of your to-do list.

5. You're talking like a two-year-old
Hello tweeple! What's happening in the twitterverse today? How's my favourite tweeps? Why do twooligans twy to twab me with twives every time I leave the twouse?

6. You're tweeting while removing a cancerous tumour from a man's kidney
It's bad enough tweeting during your own surgery, but there's something deeply disturbing about surgeons doing it while they operate. Hey, don't let our life or death surgery keep you! Tweet away! Why not play a bit of Xbox while you're at it? It's not as if surgery is difficult or dangerous, after all.

7. You know too much about people you don't know
Alexei Sayle once said that your brain is like a warehouse, and there's only so much room inside it - so if somebody tells you something inane, you might forget how to breathe. If you know Stephen Fry's exact location but aren't entirely sure where your kids are, what they're called or how many you have, you're proving his point.

8. You've licensed your tweets
Tweet.cc enables you to publish your tweets under a Creative Commons license. With very few exceptions, if you're thinking about which particular Creative Commons version you should use for your tweets, you're thinking way too much about Twitter.

9. You tweet when you meet
"Having a drink with @bob and @bert and @barb", tweets Billy. "Having a drink with @billy, @bert and @bob," tweets Barb. "@thepub with @barb, @billy and @bob", tweets Bert. "Are you going to order a bloody drink or what?" says the barman.

10. You think in 140 characters
Your wife has been attacked by a shark in the middle of the high street. "How can I make this poignant but funny in 140 characters?" you think. "This would be a lot easier if it weren't for all the screaming."

What does the 'i' in iPod and DSi mean?

Now and then you have to stop and wonder what the names of those everyday gadgets we often claim to not be able to live without actually mean?

What, for example, does the 'i' stand for in the Apple iPod and the Nintendo DSi?

A quick office poll drew up blank faces and an even quicker Google search of 'what does the 'i' in iPod mean' suggests that it originally stood for 'internet' in the case of Apple's iMac brand.

However, an Apple rep told us that the i in iPod was just a brand name and not an acronmyn.

i and I see

With regards to the 'i' in DSi, our original guess was that it stood for something startlingly obvious such as 'interactive', with Nintendo keen to impress upon gamers the fact that its latest handheld is considerably more than a simple toy for gaming.

However, we were wrong. A Nintendo rep told us that the i in DSi means two things:

· The "i" is symbolic of the subject "I" and its personal aspect.

· Plus, the addition of two cameras gives the system its own "eye" on things.

"Nintendo hope that the Nintendo DSi becomes more than a game system and more of a personal tool to enrich our daily lives," the Nintendo rep added.

That's that cleared up then! And there we were thinking that Satoru Iwata and Shigeru Miyamoto just liked the sound of 'iPods'.

Feb 20, 2009

Free download rush hour 3 movie mp4 for mobiles

size: 119.32MB
Download Link

An interview

Subj: electrical engg
People come up with peculiar or funny answers in interviews or exams:
Interviewer: Why is a thicker conductor necessary to carry a current in A.C. as
compared to D.C. ?
Candidate: An AC current goes up and down (drawing a sinusoid) and requires more
space inside the wire, so the wire has to be thicker.
Interviewer: How will you tell if that wall outlet carries AC or DC ?
Candidate: I will put my finger in. If it is pushed away, it is DC. If it gets stuck, it
was AC.
Interviewer: How will you reverse direction of an induction motor?
Candidate: I will remove the four bolts at the base, turn the motor around, and put
back the bolts.
Interviewer: How do you start a synchronous motor?
Candidate: Vrrrrrrrmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm (in rising pitch)
Interviewer: Stop! Stop!
Candidate: rrrrrrrmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm (in falling pitch)
Interviewer: How do you limit surge current within an integrated circuit?
Candidate: By using a miniature circuit breaker.
External (to student) : " Why does a capacitor block DC but allow AC to pass through
Student: See, a capacitor is like this ---| |--- , OK. DC Comes straight, like this -----
-----, and the capacitor stops it. But AC,goes UP, DOWN, Up DOWN and jumps right
over the capacitor!"
Examiner : "What is a step-up transformer?"
Student : "A transformer that is put on top of electric poles."
Examiner (smiling): "And then what is a step-down transformer?"
Student (hesitantly):"Uh - A transfomer that is put in the basement or in a pit?"
Examiner (pouncing): "Then what do you call a transformer that is installed on the
(student knows he is caught -- can't answer)
Examiner (impatiently): "Well?"
Student (triumphantly): "A stepless transformer, sir!"

Software husband

Husband : ( Returning late form work ) "Good evening Dear, I'm now
logged in."
Wife : Have you brought the ring ?
Husband : Bad command or filename.
Wife : But I told you in the morn...
Husband : Erroneous syntax.
Wife : What about my new blouse ?
Husband : Variable not found ...
Wife : At least, give me your Credit Card, I want to do some shopping.
Husband : Sharing Violation. Access denied ...
Wife : Do you love me or do you only love computers or are you just being
funny ?
Husband : Too many parameters. Abort!...
Wife : It was a grave mistake that I married an idiot like you.
Husband : Data type mismatch.
Wife : You are a useless nut.
Husband : Default Parameter.
Wife : What about your Salary ?
Husband : Access denied. File in use...
Wife : Who was in the car this morning ?
Husband : System unstable. Press CTRL + ALT + DEL to Reboot

Some Blade jokes

Ramu : I've just become a member of Rotract Club.
Somu : public member or private?
Ramu : Hey.. my submarine is not sinking into the water!! what could be
Somu : may be u have used float instead of double in the software.
PS : Hey Bull, Can you do me a favor? Can you pass on these 500
rupees to Suthi..?
Bull : Sure.. why not? But tell me one thing. Tell me whether its pass by
value or pass by
PS : ???!!!
Ramu : I am very very sure that the guy who just talked to me is a
software engineer...
Somu : how do u say that?
Ramu : he asked my physical address instead of my home address!
Ramu : shhhh...I think the SW Engg who is sitting in the next cabin must
be a farmer before ...
Somu : How do u know...?
Ramu : he asked me today that is there a way to cultivate the bit fields..!!
Computer : Please sit over the hard disk to compress the files!
Computer : please pour Engine oil in the floppy drive to enhance the
performance of Search Engine.
Ramu : why people are beating that SW engg black and blue?
Somu : it seems, he asked one of them that whether "vante mataram" is
new kind of RAM in the
Ramu : Hey.. I think that SW Engg is very very naive..
Somu : How do u say that?
Ramu : He believes that there is an Arabian Sea++ next to Arabin Sea.
Ramu : Hey.... whats time now?
Somu : System time or local time...??
Ramu : Hey.. I have a problem. My system is not booting up!
Somu : may be, its internal buses are on strike.. check out!
Ramu : (while browsing the TV) what is this? I have heard of Star
Sports, Star Movies and Star P
Plus. Whats this Star Equals??? Is it a new Star Channel?
Somu : No. = operator has been overloaded in Star Channel.
Geetha : I think that SW Engg is very naive..
Seetha : how do u say that?
Geetha : He believes "Rascal" is a new version of Pascal!
Ramesh : Hey.. u know.. Micorsoft Visual C++ 5.0 has got everything...
The Developer Studio can
really do magic...
Umesh : Can we use that to develop the photo-negatives?
Ramu : why are u wiping ur terminal very often with a cloth?
Somu : clear command is not working properly for my terminal. that’s
Babu : yesterday I bought a new TV whose terminal is compatible with
computer... but its audio
portion is not at all working :-
Gopu : may be its compatible only with dumb terminals???
Vani : We have shifted our home to Malleswaram now..
Soni : right shift or left shift??
Kannamma : do u have Design Specs for brinjal sambar?
Ponnamma : u mean recipe..?
Ramu : Somu, I am going to file a case against my landlord yaar. He's
harassing me too much.
Somu : What case? Upper Case or Lower Case or.......
Vanish : Hey.. why is that sardaarji inserting a cover into the floppy
Bull : He wants to send an e-mail it seems!

Feb 19, 2009

Verizon, Vodafone to launch 60Mbps 4G internet

"Utilizing their existing spectrum, Verizon Wireless and Vodafone have been field testing 4G LTE networks in Minneapolis, Columbus, Ohio, and Northern New Jersey in the United States, as well as in Budapest, Düsseldorf, and Madrid in Europe, with a variety of network infrastructure providers. These field trials have demonstrated download rates of 50 to 60 Mbps peak speeds, though actual average download results will not be determined until the commercial launch of the new Verizon Wireless LTE network. Utilizing its recently acquired 700 MHz spectrum, Verizon Wireless will expand trials this summer, and Lynch said the company will commercially launch its LTE network in 2010. Once the initial rollout is complete, plans are in place for aggressive deployment throughout Verizon Wireless' entire network, including areas not currently covered by th existing Verizon Wireless footprint."
And in India we are still waiting for 3G launch all over India.Pathetic...

Welcome to the world's first 3D casino

Yearning for a little more than the free-food enticing local gamble spot, those with a more elegant eye should cast their chips in the direction of LeCroupier - the most realistic online casino experience.

Bringing the kind of sophistication virtually unknown to the online gambling world LeCroupier recreates the working innards of an actual casino where the action is not just at the tables.

Under the expert hands of Lucien Barrière Hotels And Casinos, this 3D equivalent has been shaped to look every bit as much as their casino in Deauville, Normandy, the one a certain Mr Fleming possibly based his tales of the shaken Martini drinker.

Aside from indulging in classic gambling pursuits of roulette, blackjack and slots, you are free to wander away from the table and chat amongst the other money dwindlers. Simply create yourself an avatar assume a more polished identity, and dress him up as if he has just walked out of an Italian boutique.

Knowing that repeatedly throwing your cards down can sometimes be a little on the monotonous side, your croupier in minding has been given that extra personal touch having been modelled on an actual Lucien Barrière employee. Exhibiting exemplary customer handling skills and all their card-knowing ways you'll be kept entertained even though your luck is running dry.

With minimum bets at 1p those who don't have the cash to match the luxurious surroundings are catered for while minimum deposits start at just £10.

Le Croupier opens its doors to the public in March 2009, so get practising that all important poker face.


You are not human ,type in 40 5/8

A very hot Halo fan

`So, when you've got a new computer game to plug what do you? Easy, you trawl the UK to find UK's hottest female Halo fan.

And after a rather vague selection process which just might have involved wandering round a few modelling agencies, Xbox decided on 25-year-old Amanda Johnstone from South London, a girl who likes nothing more than 'being snuggled up in bed with her Xbox controller, playing Halo to help take her away from her daily stresses.' Halo duvet cover and pillow case set naturally.

At this point, we'd love to tell you (Miss World Style) about her charity work, measurements and star sign, but sadly we can only inform you that aside from walking round her house in a skimpy top and hot pants, Amanda runs her own events management company, hangs about the Halo Club night at The Cross, Kings Cross, London, sings karaoke and walks her pet Chihuahua 'Chiefy'. Come on, at least it's not quite as obvious as calling it Halo. Ok, maybe it is. Check out the bedroom too, packed with Halo goodies, almost as if it's been dressed for a photo shoot *cough*.

Unsurprisingly, Amanda can't wait to get her hands on Halo Wars (shelf date 27th February 2009), but is it any good? Well, you can find out from this Saturday, as we'll have a full review of the strategy game online from that very day. And if you want to know more about Halo and the man behind it, check out our interview with game developer Bungie. or just check out the images of Amanda at play. Go on, you know you want to.

Feb 17, 2009

Microsoft renames windows mobile OS to "Windows Phones"

Don't call them Windows Mobile phones anymore. In announcing the latest revision of Microsoft's OS for handsets at Mobile World Congress today, MIcrosoft CEO Steve Ballmer said that henceforth, the devices will be known as Windows phones.

"It's a mouthful to say, 'You want a Windows Mobile phone?'" Ballmer said when asked about the decision to once again re-brand the OS, which has over the years been known as Windows CE and Pocket PC.

Ballmer's three main announcements to a crowd of journalists in Barcelona, Spain, had been widely leaked beforehand: Windows Mobile 6.5, a new version of the handset OS with a revamped, touch-optimized user interface; My Phone, an online backup and sync service for Windows phones, and the Windows Marketplace for Mobile app store.

My Phone and the Windows Marketplace will be accessible to Windows phones running Windows Mobile 6.5; Ballmer said support will be available via download, at the discretion of the vendor, to Windows Mobile 6.1 devices, but not to handsets running earlier versions of the OS.

Windows Mobile 6.5, which in addition to the new user interface sports an improved, more desktop-like browser, will make its debut later this year on handsets also announced on Monday, including the HTC Touch Diamond2 and the LG-GM730.

Interestingly, however, neither handset presents the new user interface unadulterated: Both HTC and LG have made changes they believe make the UI more user friendly. In fact, fiddling with the Windows Mobile UI is not uncommon, and Ballmer squirmed when asked how bothersome this was to Microsoft.

"It's not the area where I would have aspired to see the first add-ons," he admitted. But he said that with the new UI, Microsoft hopes to get more vendors on board without significant changes.

Woman Sues Microsoft Over XP Downgrade Charge

A woman has filed a class-action lawsuit against Microsoft over a US$59.25 charge for downgrading her Windows Vista PC to XP.

In a suit filed in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington in Seattle, Los Angeles resident Emma Alvarado is asking that Microsoft return the fee she paid for downgrading a Lenovo PC with the Windows Vista Business OS preinstalled to Windows XP Professional. Alvarado purchased the PC on June 20, 2008, according to the suit.

Alvarado also is inviting others who have paid fees to downgrade to XP to join the suit (PDF) and is requesting refunds for them as well.

Many customers who purchased PCs with Vista installed opted to downgrade to XP because they weren't happy with Vista's "numerous problems," according to Alvarado's suit.

"As a result, many consumers would prefer to purchase a new computer preinstalled with the Windows XP operating system or at least not preinstalled with the Vista operating system," according to the filing.

The suit goes on to accuse Microsoft of using its "market power to take advantage of consumer demand for the Windows XP operating system" by requiring people to buy Vista PCs and then charging them to downgrade to the OS they really want.

This action violates Washington state's Unfair Business Practices Act and the Consumer Protection Act, according to the suit.

Microsoft spokesman David Bowermaster said the company has not been served with the lawsuit, so it would be premature to comment about it.

When Microsoft released Vista to consumers on Jan. 30, 2007, it gave people the option to downgrade to XP if they weren't satisfied with the new OS.

As a result of overall dissatisfaction with Vista, Microsoft had to extend the amount of time it allowed original equipment manufacturers and custom system builders to sell PCs with XP preinstalled. The company also is facing a class-action suit in the same court over the "Windows Vista Capable" sticker program that let customers know a PC could run Windows Vista. Customers said they found the program misleading.

While the damages that could be awarded in the suit would likely not be a large sum for a multibillion-dollar company, the suit brings up a larger question of whether Microsoft will allow Windows 7 users to downgrade to XP.

Microsoft so far has not said publicly whether it will, and no one from the company was available for immediate comment Friday. Vista, being the OS released before Windows 7, would be the logical choice for a downgrade from Windows 7. However, given customers' dissatisfaction with Vista, Microsoft could offer an XP downgrade as well.

Al Gillen, an analyst with research firm IDC, said it would be a "very risky thing" for Microsoft to do to eliminate downgrade rights with Windows 7. He said it would alienate Microsoft's customer base to not continue giving customers an option if they're not happy with a new version of the Windows client


There's not a whole lot to look at with the GD900 slider, but in this case, that's exactly the effect LG was shooting for. The high-design phone was being carefully guarded by plastic and metal not its own at MWC this week, making a true hands-on impossible -- but the good news is that we were able to get a good look at the phone's headline feature. That nearly transparent keypad has a glow applied around its edges to illuminate etched numbers, but with tactile feedback hovering near zero, this is a situation where you've really got to value form over function (and in this case, we just might). Interestingly, documentation by the GD900 says it'll start launching in May, though LG's press documentation claims we won't see it until the second half of the year -- so it's unclear when you'll be able to get one imported. Question is, do you really want people to see your cheek while you're on the horn?

Michelin's e-wheel : almost the whole car minus the engine

Electric car development is prompting a rethink in virtually every aspect of the automobile, from the size of the vehicle to the number of wheels and beyond. Nowhere is this more obvious than in the newest collab between Valeo and Michelin. The companies have agreed to collaborate on "electric and rechargeable hybrid vehicle systems such as the drive train, engine and battery cooling management, climate control, lighting, energy management and tires," beginning with the e-wheel. Using Michelin's Active Wheel Technology, this new device puts two electric wheels inside the hub -- one for motive power, one for active suspension -- a design that negates the need for gearboxes, drive shafts, and conventional suspension assemblies. The design has previously been tested in the Venturi Volage concept car, and the companies are currently looking to get involved with a mass-market auto maker to take this project to the next level. So if you're a large auto maker, give these guys a call -- and tell 'em Engadget sent you. Another image after the break.

Nokia N86 makes an 8 megapixel debut

The dual-slider (keypad on one end, camera and playback controls on the other) naturally centers on its 8 megapixel camera, which includes a Carl Zeiss Tessar lens, AutoFocus, a mechanical shutter and a dual-LED flash, but there's plenty of other N-series goodies like 8GB of storage, a 2.6-inch OLED screen, TV-out and a microSD slot. Nokia Maps, Ovi integration and all those other goodies are onboard -- though the new email capabilities of its E-series brethren seem absent. The phone is due in Europe in Q2 2009 for around 375 Euro before taxes and subsidies.

Nokia Nseries soon to have skype

Nokia has just made its Nseries handset range that little bit more desirable, with the announcement of a partnership with Skype.

The link-up means that those with a Nseries handset will be able to make free Skype-to-Skype voice calls.

Free calls? In these penny pinching times, that sounds great to us.

To make things easy for the phone user, Skype will be accessable via your phone's address book. Simply choose whether to phone them on landline, mobile or on Skype.

The first Nokia handset to officially get Skype will be the N97.

Enabling the world's conversations

Scott Durchslag, Skype's Chief Operating Officer, said about the partnership: "Making Skype available everywhere through mobile devices is essential to fulfilling our vision of 'enabling the world's conversations'.

Jose-Luis Martinez, Vice President, Nokia Nseries, reiterated Skype's excitement at the link-up, saying: "With more than 400 million Skype users worldwide, the integration of Skype on Nokia Nseries mobile computers is a significant step in bringing converged Internet experiences from the desktop to the world's most advanced mobile computer."

Feb 15, 2009

Google chrome to release Mac version

For a supposedly cutting-edge firm, Google surprised many when it launched its Chrome browser first on Windows only, leaving Mac and Linux users in the cold.

The Chrome launch in September last year on Windows inevitably spawned legions of Mac fans eager to help with getting their own version ready. Now, five months later, the first evidence of progress has been made public.

Simple start

A Google Group for Chrome developers has posted the first screenshots of Chrome running on OS X, along with a detailed description of the work done to date.

Before anyone gets too excited, we should say that the OS X Chrome project so far shows just a simple browser window running, with no bells and whistles and plenty of crashes in the screen-rendering engine that powers Chrome.

Clicking links doesn't work yet, but developers are positive about the groundwork they've done and are hopeful more progress will follow soon.

Keeps on running

One dev, Mike Pinkerton, explained: "Now mind you, clicking doesn't work, and the renderers crash like nobody's business, but the other great thing is that the user interface stays running even if they do. Just open a new tab and keep going!"

So far, so good, in other words – we predict a Mac release for Google's browser by spring, with something for Linux to follow soon after.

OLPC laptop soon to have a price cut

The so-called $100 laptop that arguably spawned the currently popular generation of netbook PCs may just about to get closer to its price goal, as the founder of the OLPC Foundation revealed price cuts are imminent.

Nicholas Negroponte told the IHT that the One Laptop Per Child Foundation would soon cut the price of its laptop from $204 to $180 (£125). That's still some way off the $100 mark, but Negroponte says he still hopes to get there eventually.

Cheaper parts

The price cut looks likely after the US dollar recovered some of its recent fall in value and raw materials became slightly cheaper to buy from the Asian sources that make the OLPC machine.

Negroponte also gave details on the next version of the OLPC – a dual-screen model with a virtual keyboard that he hopes to sell for $75 (£52) and talked about providing free internet access to children using the machine in developing countries.

Tech giants working on untangling the mess of cables

As if we didn't already have enough wireless technologies competing for our attention (and cash), a consortium of some of the industry's biggest names is clubbing together to add a couple more to the mix.

Fifteen Japanese firms, including NEC, Toshiba and NTT DoCoMo, are working with the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications on both a faster wireless data conduit and wireless power transmission.

High-def video

The data link is planned to be in the gigabit class, or around 50 times faster than current Wi-Fi implementations. The companies see it as necessary for getting high-definition video from receivers to screens.

More surprising, perhaps, is the group's plan to untangle the nest of power cables behind most home-entertainment systems.

Medium-range power

Instead of direct connections to AC sockets, the researchers are aiming for a wireless power module that can send and receive current across up to two metres.

Clearly, if the scheme bears fruit by the planned 2015 deadline, we could be looking at very different-looking living rooms within a few years.

Feb 14, 2009

Now bumpy roads will generate power

A team of MIT undergraduate students has invented a shock absorber that harnesses energy from bumps in the road, generating electricity and smoothing the ride more effectively than conventional shocks.

The prototype shock absorbers use a hydraulic system that forces fluid through a turbine attached to a generator, with a (6-shock) heavy truck generating up to 6kW on a normal road.

That's enough power to completely replace the alternator in heavy trucks and military vehicles, and in some cases even run extra devices such as hybrid trailer refrigeration units.

Big fuel savings

Shakeel Avadhany says they can produce up to a 10 per cent improvement in vehicle fuel efficiency by using the regenerative shock absorbers, and has calculated that Wal-Mart could save $13 million (£9 million) a year in fuel costs by converting its fleet of trucks.

"Simply put, we want this technology on every heavy-truck, military vehicle and consumer hybrid on the road," Avadhany says.

The students are doing a series of tests with a converted Humvee to optimize the system's efficiency, and plan to have a final, fine-tuned version of the device ready this summer.

They hope that it can be perfected in time for a military vehicle company to secure the expected $40 billion (£28 billion) contract for the new US army vehicle called the Joint Light Tactical Vehicle, or JLTV.

Good news for India.....

Silverlight 3 to capture Adobe's throne

When Microsoft shows off the next version of its Silverlight technology at the MIX09 Web Design and Development Conference in Las Vegas next month, many commenters will use the F-word.

According to Microsoft, Silverlight is on one in four consumers' PCs - but Flash is on 98% of net-connected computers, and the latest version is breaking all records.

According to Adobe, Flash 9 reached 35% market share in the first two months of release; Flash 10 hit 55% in the same period, and it's on track to hit 80% early this year. More significantly AIR, Adobe's Flash-based application platform, hit 100 million installs in January.

Of course, you need to take manufacturers' figures with a pinch of salt - so while Microsoft claims 100 million Silverlight 2 downloads it doesn't say whether those figures are unique users, or whether Microsoft is counting pre-release downloads, beta downloads and final code downloads.

We suspect it's the latter. However, if you look at RIAStats' real-world figures for different platform's adoption it's clear that Flash really is miles ahead of Silverlight.

To address that, Microsoft is adding stacks of new things to Silverlight, sticking Silverlight into everything - it's in the betas of Windows Live Mesh and Windows Live Essentials - and releasing new versions very quickly. Version 3 of Silverlight will include vastly improved media support including H.264 video, graphics acceleration and tight integration with Microsoft's developer products.

Is that enough? Rob Sanfilippo is research VP with Directions on Microsoft, the analyst firm that eats, sleeps and breathes Microsoft. "Silverlight delivers some great technology and quick release cycles are definitely building its capabilities fast," he says. "Flash has a big market advantage for Silverlight to overcome - I believe the numbers show that installed Flash clients outnumber Silverlight clients by more than three to one - but the real measure is in developer adoption. Silverlight 2 added .NET language support, which brought about 4 million developers into the mix, and H.264 support will help the platform gain momentum too. There are many large video libraries in that format, and reformatting isn't an option for most customers."

Part of a bigger picture

Silverlight is also part of a bigger picture that includes the Live Mesh and Azure platforms for cloud computing. "Before Silverlight, Rich Internet Applications (RIAs) were a gap in Microsoft's development platform," Sanfilippo says.

"They had thin clients and thick clients addressed, but not the middle space, where RIAs fit. Silverlight is their answer to that gap, and I believe they will continue to enhance it to have capabilities beyond Adobe's offerings. WPF [Windows Presentation Foundation, of which Silverlight is a subset] has great features, and it's finding its way into more products like the Visual Studio 2010 IDE. And Silverlight/XAML apps are convenient to move from browser-hosted to the desktop. So I think technically, Silverlight won't be seen to have any shortcomings."

One obstacle that might slow Silverlight adoption is economic. When firms are sacking staff left, right and centre, boosting IT budgets isn't going to be a top priority. Microsoft will be hoping for more stories like this Netflix one: when Netflix moved from Windows Media Player to Silverlight, it no longer needed 50 support staff. Such stories are, of course, terrible news for the people concerned, but they're great news for Microsoft.

"Microsoft's 'better together' strategy may be the key, as it has often been in the past," says Sanfilippo. "Works better on Windows, works better with IE, works better with Visual Studio, works better with Live Mesh, works better with Azure, maybe - these are all good points for dev teams to consider when picking a platform, so the price tag may be worth it."

Now download videos from Youtube

YouTube is trialling a system that would allow users to take content offline and also download videos to portable devices.

The site, which claims to have listened to users who "told us that you wanted to take your favorite videos offline", has begun work with academic and general uploaders to see if the system could work.

Credit where it's due

YouTube says, on its official blog, that the videos will be available under the Creative Commons License as long as they are given proper credit.

Users will also be able to choose whether to offer their videos for free or for a price in association with Google Checkout, so YouTube will now offer an even greater incentive to budding film makers and comedy scientists.

Off-line campus

YouTube is testing free downloads for universities in the US, including Stanford, Duke and Berkeley, meaning students can catch up with lectures and research.

Users looking to get some offline YouTube action will see a download option in the bottom left hand corner, and will have a separate section of their account where they can keep track of their purchase, a la iTunes.

Hibernate not working in windows vista

If hibernate option is not displayed on your PC then here is the resolution
  • Go to the command prompt icon in the Start menu under Accessories and right click the icon: click "Run as administrator".
  • Paste: "powercfg.exe /hibernate on" and hit Enter and also paste "powercfg -h on" and hit enter just to be safe.
  • Open Control Panel and type in "Hibernate" in the Search.
  • Click "Turn hibernation on or off"
  • Click "Change advance power settings"
  • Scroll to and expand the "Sleep" option.
  • Select "Off" to the "Allow hybrid sleep" option.
  • Scroll to and expand the "Power buttons and lid" option.
  • Select "Hibernate" for the "Sleep button action" option. 10. Select "Hibernate" for the "Start menu power button" option.

Feb 11, 2009

Computer whizz-kid, 9, creates popular application for iPhone

Most children his age may draw pictures on paper with crayons, but nine-year-old Lim Ding Wen has a very different canvas.

The primary school pupil from Singapore writes applications for Apple's iPhone.

His latest project, a painting programme called Doodle Kids, has been downloaded over 4,000 times from Apple's iTunes store in just two weeks.

iPhone users can draw with their fingers by simply touching the iPhone's touchscreen. They can create squares, circles, lines, triangles and stars of different sizes and colours. Pressing the space key animates the picture and pressing delete or shaking the phone clears it.
'I wrote the programme for my younger sisters, who like to draw,' Lim said. His sisters are aged three and five.
Enlarge Hit: Doodle Kids has been downloaded over 4,000 times from Apple's iTunes store in just two weeks
Lim, who is fluent in six programming languages including ActionScript and JavaScript, is thought to be the world's youngest Apple IIGS programmer.
He first used a computer at just two years old and began learning programming by the time he was seven.

He has since completed about 20 programming projects. One of his games called Paddle is modeled on the famous arcade game Pong.
His father, Lim Thye Chean, a chief technology officer at a local technology firm, also writes iPhone applications.
'Every evening we check the statistics emailed to us (by iTunes) to see who has more downloads,' the older Lim said.
The boy, who enjoys reading books on programming, is in the process of writing another iPhone application - a space race game called 'Invader Wars'.

Google offers 1.5million books to download FREE onto your mobile phone

It is one of the world’s biggest libraries,but fits neatly into the palm of your hand.
Google has unveiled a free service thatallows users to access a wealth ofclassic books on their mobile phones.
The internet firm is offering 1.5million electronic novels to download, including classics such as Oliver Twist, Emma and The Jungle Book.
It believes the latest generation of phones, which have large colour screens, now make it viable to provide the service.
Google said it hoped it would lead to more people reading regularly.
The move will see the firm taking on Amazon and Sony, which offer dedicated electronic book readers.
Experts said they expected an online battle for the market.
Stuart Miles, of gadget website Pocket-lint, said: 'Google has obviously seen how Amazon dominated the online selling of real books, and wants to stop that happening again.
'By offering free, out-of-copyright books they can instantly offer this huge library.
'Google's approach is also very clever because it is costing them very little, as they don't have to develop their own hardware.'
The service is only available to those with iPhone or Android phones. Users in the UK will have access to 600,000 books whilst those in the U.S will have the full 1.5million. All the works are out of copyright, keeping Google's costs down.


Scientists find women send more expressive and longer SMS messages than men

An Indiana University researcher has found that when it comes to sending SMS texts, women are more expressive and send longer messages than men.

Susan Herring analysed 1,164 gender-defined dating messages posted on-screen during an Italian music video show, and found that women push their messages closest to the character limit.

They also found that women are more likely than men to use abbreviations, insertions and incredibly annoying emoticons.

Shock findings: Men talk more

The research contradicts previous findings for most real life social situations, when men tend to dominate conversations while using more slang and jargon.

Apparently, in everyday life "women use standard language more than men because it is seen as a type of symbolic currency used to acquire upward mobility."

Which I think means that if you talk posh, people will treat you like you're posh.

Herring, a professor in the IU School of Library and Information Science, says: "In the linguistic marketplace there have always been different values associated with standard and non-standard language, and here we have found results that are paradoxical, that are the opposite of the recognized socio-linguistic gender patterns."

Which makes us glad we're not studying at the School of Library and Information Science at Indiana University. But slightly sad that we're not watching saucy texts on an Italian music video programme.

Ten, Foxtel To Broadcast Commonwealth Games 2010 Delhi In HD

Network Ten and Foxtel have scored shared live broadcasting rights for the Delhi Commonwealth Games in 2010. The 2010 Commonwealth Games will also be the first to screen in high definition.
The two broadcasters partnered up in their bid for the coverage rights. Under the deal, both broadcasters will be able to screen the games live, simultaneously, except the opening and closing ceremonies, for which Ten has exclusive live coverage.

Foxtel has snagged exclusive live rights to broadcast coverage via mobile, internet and digital video broadcast handheld (DVBH) as well. Foxtel and Ten will look to on-sell radio rights to the Games.

On TV, Foxtel will broadcast all 17 sports live on multiple HD channels, while Ten will broadcast in HD, SD and analogue.

Network Ten chief executive officer, Grant Blackley, said: "Securing the 2010 Commonwealth Games rights reinforces Ten's position as the industry leader in broadcasting premium high definition sporting events. Ten will showcase the Commonwealth Games as never before across our HD, SD and analogue platforms. The Commonwealth Games will be broadcast in a highly favourable time zone attracting audiences and premium advertisers alike and will deliver Ten both outstanding ratings and significant revenue.

Foxtel Chief Executive and Managing Director Kim Williams AM said: "Australians have always enthusiastically embraced the Commonwealth Games which have consistently dominated Australian television ratings. Foxtel is looking forward to redefining the way in which its subscribers watch this prestigious sporting celebration with unparalleled, high definition coverage of the entire games, the likes of which has never been seen before.

"And in honoring and serving its customers, FOXTEL will not only provide access to complete coverage of the 2010 Commonwealth Games, it will do so also via new technologies including mobile and the internet

Blackberry curve 3G details leaked

Details on RIM's new BlackBerry Gemini 9300 have been leaked onto the internet, with a planned release sometime in 2010.

The leaked pics and details come courtesy of Boy Genius Report, which describes the BlackBerry Gemini 9300 as an evolved 8900, with a slightly larger screen, more rounded keyboard and silver casing.

So BlackBerry fans can look forward to high-speed HSDPA connectivity, an improved CPU, Wi-Fi, GPS and a decent camera of 3.2 megapixels or more.

BlackBerry Curve 3G

"We're told to think of this as the BlackBerry Curve '3G'," reports Boy Genius.

It all sounds good, although TechRadar hopes for a release sooner rather than later, because those specs might not look that impressive in a year's time from now

Feb 8, 2009

Nero 9

There are two big names in CD and DVD copying and burning on the market, namely Roxio and Nero. Both started out as simple copying tools, but increasingly they now offer a host of video and music editing tools.

Consisting of over 20 different tools, from the standard Nero Burning ROM and Nero Express through to Nero WaveEditor and Nero SoundTrax, Nero 9 continues this trend. While its core skills remain preparing data for copying to disc and archiving, Nero is increasingly beefing up its extras, so you’ll even find back-up tools and even online storage being offered with this latest edition.

This version of Nero isn’t so much an overhaul, more a gentle upgrade of many of the features it introduced in Version 8. For instance, the interface that was drastically changed in Version 8 has seen a cosmetic update, but you won’t find anything too drastic.

Tools now launch through a portal called the Nero StartSMart menu, which is a neat touch as it makes finding the right program for the job a lot easier. One such new tool is the TV tuner software, which allows you to change channels, record and then edit files a lot easier than simply importing them.

Video is handled in a slightly more intuitive way than in previous versions. You’ll still find support for Blu-ray as well as AVCHD and an increasing emphasis on editing in HD formats. However, your projects can now be saved to disc as usual, or converted and sent straight to your portable media player, or even MySpace and YouTube.

The full set of tools takes up over 1.5GB of hard drive space and, unless you’re really going to make the most of all the tools on offer, this suite can seem a little resource-heavy. Nero 9 isn’t a great leap forward in terms of usability, but it’s certainly a better proposition over Version 8. That said, Nero remains one of the more powerful choices out there and certainly matches Roxio blow for blow.

Google goofs up

Google went bonkers with all of its search results coming with a warning indicating that the site you are about to visit might be harmful. For almost an hour on Saturday evening, users across the world were left awestruck as the trusted Google played truant - all thanks to a human error. The fault was soon rectified and order restored.

iPhone can now act as a web server

The iPhone is many things to many people, but we bet few of them ever imagined it becoming a web server all by itself.

That impressive piece of trickery has been achieved by a Japanese network specialist called FreeBit and its new iPhone application, the oddly named ServersMan@iPhone.

Local connection

The application allows access to upload or download files through a normal browser or the webDAV protocol. FreeBit says that the iPhone or iPod touch then appears just like any other server computer on the internet.

In operation, the PC accessing the phone can connect to it directly if they're both in the same part of the network, such as on the same wireless connection.

If the two devices are distant from each other, then FreeBit's VPN will facilitate the connection.

Tribute brand

As for the name, the company says it's a tribute to the Walkman brand – the concept being lots of stuff in a small package. It has also hired ex Sony CEO Nobuyuki Idei to advise it.

ServersMan@iPhone is currently available only in Japanese from the App Store, but FreeBit says it will have an English version ready shortly and a port for Windows Mobile devices.

Nokia set to launch Symbian App Store

Next week's Mobile World Congress in Barcelona is sure to be jam-packed with news on all things phone-related, but here's an early teaser that suggests Nokia has something big up its sleeve.

The Finnish giant is reportedly going to announce its own version of the iPhone's App Store, thereby providing direct software downloads to the 100 million+ Symbian phones in the world.

Numbers speak volumes

Apple's 500 million downloads from the App Store have clearly made companies sit up and take notice – RIM, for one, recently followed suit and created the Blackberry Application Storefront.

If Nokia gets the formula right by making it easy for average users to download applications and keeping the developers happy with fair revenue sharing, there's clearly no reason why the Nokia store can't quickly replicate Apple's success.

Feb 7, 2009

In Depth: What's happening to all the CRT TVs?

Where have all the CRT televisions gone? In the global rush to junk these 20th Century TVs in favour of slim, HD-ready LCD and plasma displays, you'd think that the classic, bulky CRT is all but obsolete.

But you'd be wrong. The low cost of CRTs still makes them wildly popular in China, Latin America, Asia and the Middle East. While the big TV manufacturers have stopped making their own CRT-based sets, some are still selling them. Sony, for example, still lists a wide range of CRT TVs on its Middle East & Africa website.

And, as we'll see, their components are also being given new lives, thanks to stringent recycling arrangements here and in the rest of the EU.

Fare thee well cathode ray tube...

The invention of the cathode ray tube in 1897 is what originally made television possible. Scottish inventor John Logie Baird is credited with the first demonstration of this TV technology in 1925.

84 years on and the CRT TV is now a dying breed. In the UK, many of us still own one. This writer has a colossal Toshiba 2857DB, still working after 10 years, and a hardy 14-inch portable (plugged into a Freeview box) in the kitchen.

But the boom in digital TV and high-definition (PS3/Xbox 360 gaming, HD TV and Blu-ray) is accelerating the switch to newer, flat-screen models. And these are getting cheaper all the time.

How to get rid of a CRT TV

So what can you do with your old CRT TV if you do want rid of it? You could give it away for free, trade it in against the purchase of a new TV (if you can find a suitable offer) or try to sell it for peanuts on eBay.

Of course, most old TVs get dumped. But rather than end up in a landfill, they're now being recycled according to the Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) Directive, which came into force in January 2007.

Under a watchful WEEE, two things can happen. "When you take an electrical item to your local SORT IT! Centre," a spokesperson for South Gloucestershire council told us, "it will either be sent for reuse or, if it is not in near-to-working order, for recycling."

Over at the Recycling Lives website you can type in your postcode to see where your nearest recycling centre is and what types of waste they process.

This is where old CRTs go to die...

Our spokesman from South Gloucestershire told us that all TVs are sent away to the Sims Group in South Wales for reprocessing. Here the TVs "are dismantled by hand on work benches and the main glass CRT tube must be split in two," explains David Robertson, Recycling and PR Manager for SITA South Gloucestershire.

"This is because the back [of the CRT] is coated in lead (environmentally toxic) and the front is coated with phosphor. The two pieces are then recycled in different ways to sort the glass from the chemicals. All the other components are recycled along with the plastics and metal casings."

At the end of the process, all of the constituent materials in a CRT TV can be reused. Circuit boards, for example, contain precious metals and any steel recovered can be re-used. Leaded glass is reclaimed and sold on to the small Asian OEMs that still produce new CRT sets.

Recycled plastics can eventually be used in a wide variety of new products such as polyethylene bin liners, carrier bags, compact disc cases, garden furniture, water butts and even fibre filling for sleeping bags.

The only remaining advantage of CRT

Worldwide, the writing is on the wall for CRT. Production is certainly dipping. According to the most recent hard data from DisplaySearch, CRT shipments totalled 23 million units in Q3 2008, down 15 per cent from 2007's numbers.

But when you compare this to the 26 million LCDs and almost 4 million plasmas that were shipped in the same time period, you can see that CRT technology is still hanging in there.

The key to CRT's staying power (at least for now) is price. In China, Latin America, Asia and the Middle East, flat-panel prices are still too high for many consumers. But once LCD prices fall, nothing will save CRT from ending up alongside cassettes, Teletypes and HD DVD in the technology dustbin.

Feb 6, 2009

New shows in HD format on itunes

A whole host of new television shows have been given the hi-def treatment, and are available now from the iTunes Store.

There has been very little hi-def television content available to download from Apple's UK store, with the majority of episodes from big budget US shows.

Finally some home grown talent has appeared, including Channel 4's Skins and the BBC's Planet Earth.

The amount of British programmes on the site is set to increase too, with this week's announcement that the BBC will be adding its HD content to the iTunes Store sometime in the near future.

720p quality

As well as adding some British shows to its HD line-up, Apple has also bolstered US content. Series five of Lost is now available to download in HD, as is shows like Battlestar Galactica, Grey's Anatomy and 30 Rock.

All episodes are shown in 720p and cost between £1.99 and £2.49. You can also download whole series for roughly the same price as their Blu-ray counterparts.

Virtual reality goes High Definition

Get ready for a revolution in virtual reality: interactive high definition video at up to 4K (at least four times as sharp as Full HD) resolutions.

Until now, immersive virtual reality (VR) environments have had trouble rendering data-heavy video clips at a constant frame rate, meaning jerky playback and headache-inducing lags.

Han Suk Kim, a computer science and engineering PhD student at the Jacobs School of Engineering in California, has developed an efficient algorithm that shrinks high-resolution video content so that it can be played interactively in VR.

Kim derived his algorithm from 'mipmapping', a technique to reduce detail that is used widely in computer games, flight simulations and other 3D imaging systems.

Mipmap mayhem

By using mipmap to downscale the size of high-resolution media datasets, Kim was able to stream the video - including a 45GB 4K tornado simulation - in real-time, at 25 frames per second.

By adding various optimizations to allow for constant frame and rendering rates, Kim was able to rotate, zoom in and otherwise manipulate the video playback screen to make the experience fully interactive.

"Our approach reduces the memory required to display high-resolution images, depending on distance and visual perspective," Kim said. "If the area is big and close to the viewer's face, the video is streamed at a high resolution; if it's small and far away from the viewer's face, it's streamed at a low resolution."

The breakthrough should enable much higher resolution video in everything from tele-conferencing and CCTV surveillance to simulators and virtual cinemas.

Virtual reality goes High Definition

Get ready for a revolution in virtual reality: interactive high definition video at up to 4K (at least four times as sharp as Full HD) resolutions.

Until now, immersive virtual reality (VR) environments have had trouble rendering data-heavy video clips at a constant frame rate, meaning jerky playback and headache-inducing lags.

Han Suk Kim, a computer science and engineering PhD student at the Jacobs School of Engineering in California, has developed an efficient algorithm that shrinks high-resolution video content so that it can be played interactively in VR.

Kim derived his algorithm from 'mipmapping', a technique to reduce detail that is used widely in computer games, flight simulations and other 3D imaging systems.

Mipmap mayhem

By using mipmap to downscale the size of high-resolution media datasets, Kim was able to stream the video - including a 45GB 4K tornado simulation - in real-time, at 25 frames per second.

By adding various optimizations to allow for constant frame and rendering rates, Kim was able to rotate, zoom in and otherwise manipulate the video playback screen to make the experience fully interactive.

"Our approach reduces the memory required to display high-resolution images, depending on distance and visual perspective," Kim said. "If the area is big and close to the viewer's face, the video is streamed at a high resolution; if it's small and far away from the viewer's face, it's streamed at a low resolution."

The breakthrough should enable much higher resolution video in everything from tele-conferencing and CCTV surveillance to simulators and virtual cinemas.

Marriage ended over Facebook status

A woman found out that her husband wanted a divorce when he updated his Facebook status to claim that his marriage had ended.

Emma Brady found out that her IT consultant husband Neil was leaving her when friends contacted her over the Facebook comment.

The status simply said: "Neil Brady has ended his marriage to Emma Brady" a court was told.

"This whole thing has been really terrible. All the friends I have on the site are people I have known for years so it's been really humiliating having everything happen so publicly," she said.

"The irony is if he had just asked me for a divorce I would have agreed because I would never have wanted to make him unhappy."

Adding injury to insult

The news became public at Blackburn Crown Court where her husband pleaded guilty of assaulting Mrs Brady in a subsequent argument.

"We were like any other couple. We had our ups and downs but as far as I knew things were fine between us," she added.

"When I got the phone call I was shell-shocked. My first instinct was to phone him but my friends at work insisted I should speak to him face to face.

"When I got home I asked Neil if he had anything to tell me and he simply said no. He acted like everything was fine."

57 versions of Windows 7!

Let's play a game called Ask The Internet.

Internet! How many versions of Windows 7 will there be?

"Six! Five! Six! Five! Seven! Eleventy-three!"

Let's play another game, called Let's Go Into A Shop.

Shop Person! How many versions of Windows 7 will you sell?


Any advance on two, Shop Person?

"No! Two!"

The stories of multiple editions are technically true, if you include versions of Windows 7 that you and I will never, ever see, such as the versions for emerging markets, for enterprise customers such as global corporations, or the Media Player - and instant messenger-free versions Microsoft is legally obliged to sell in some countries.

But if we're going for technically accurate, we might as well factor in different languages and conclude that there will be 132 different editions.

We're the first to mock Microsoft when the firm deserves it, but the Windows 7 line-up simply isn't as complicated as some reports would have you believe. For the majority of us there will be two choices, just as there were with Windows XP. Home user? Windows 7 Home Premium. Home worker or small business? Windows 7 Professional.

For the very few people who want both Home Premium and Professional without the hassle of dual-booting or the expense of twin licences, there's a third, halfway house option in the form of Ultimate, which is essentially Home Premium and Professional glued together.

And that, for most of us, is that. Is Microsoft selling more versions of its OS than Apple? Yes, but Apple doesn't have to support low-spec kit in emerging markets and it doesn't sell squillions of copies to multinational corporations. Will Microsoft sell other versions of Windows 7? Yes. Will you see them in the shops, or as an option when you spec a new PC? No.

Will you be stuck with the Starter edition when you buy a netbook? Not unless your idea of a netbook is a calculator with a keyboard glued to it: according to a Microsoft spokesperson, "Customers who have only basic computing requirements can choose Windows 7 Starter Edition... however, Windows 7 was designed in a way that any edition of the OS should be able to run on small notebook PCs with sufficient hardware."

Does Microsoft deserve a kicking? Not this time. Ask us again when we've seen the price list.

MTNL commercially launches 3G mobile services in Delhi

India has entered into the 3G (third generation) mobile arena with the launch of state of art “MTNL 3G Jadoo” by MTNL in its Delhi Region. MTNL has become the first 3G Mobile service operator in the entire country.
“MTNL 3G Jadoo” core network is built with most reliable IP based next generation network. All you need is the 3G enabled handset. MTNL is also poised to provide the High speed data services through mobile HSDPA using the 3G enabled handset or HSDPA data card.
With the 3G mobile services, customers of MTNL can enjoy the host of data related services through their mobile handset:
1. Video Telephony: Customers can watch and talk simultaneously using the 3G mobile services of MTNL as if they are making face to face conversation.
2. High Speed Internet for smart phones and laptop. The customer can have the HSDPA data card with MTNL 3G USIM and can enjoy the broadband like speed in 3G coverage area.
3. A multitude of Data related VAS services will be available as per need of the customers. 4. Mobile TV – Live Broadcast . Customer can enjoy sports, music, movies or their favorite program of TV through their mobile handset without any buffering problem in 3G covered area. 5. Remote Video Monitoring – The customer can monitor their office place or production site while sitting at other place using this services simply using your mobile set. Elders in the family or Children at home can also be taken care by using this service. 6. Video on Demand
Tariff plan for 3G services
1. Activation charge
Rs.500 + service tax
2. Fixed charges
Rs.599/- per month
3. Voice call to own network
Rs.0.60 per minute
4. Calls to other network
Rs. 1.00 per minute
5. Video call own network
Rs.1.80 per minute
6. Video call other network
Rs. 3.00 per minute
As per Budget plan
7(a) STD video call
Rs.3.75 per minute
7 (b) ISD video call
Rs. 30/- per minute
8. Local/STD/ISD SMS
As per Budget plan
9. Data @ GPRS/3G/UMTS/HSDPA usage rate
Rs.5/- per MB
10. Data @ HSDPA monthly service charges.
11. MMS
12. HSDPA card (Optional)*

Feb 3, 2009

Sony 80GB PlayStation 3 Now in India

Indian gamers, it's time to rejoice for now Sony has now come up surprise package. Sony has launched PlayStation 3 with 80GB storage and also bundled copy of Resistance 2 with Dual Shock 3 controller. The entire package of 80GB PS3, Resistance 2 and Dual Shock 3 controller is priced at Rs. 25,990.

This new bundle will help you save some quick bucks, as Resistance 2 copy sells for Rs. 3499 and Dual Shock 3 controller is priced at Rs. 2,990. Sony does not bundle any of this with their 40GB PS 3 version.

Social networks 'make teenage girls depressed'

A new study compiled by Stony Brook University in New York has found that excessive chatting on social-networking sites, like Facebook, can lead to depression and anxiety in young teenage girls.

The study, which looked in-depth into the lives of 83 13-year-old girls, found that "Texting, instant messaging and social networking make it very easy for adolescents to become even more anxious, which can lead to depression."

Dr Davila and her colleague Lisa Starr, who conducted the research, interviewed the girls about their social-networking habits, then contacted them a year later to see how their mental health was.

After testing the teenagers for depressive symptoms they found that talking about their problems too much, either online or through text message, was significantly linked with higher levels of depression.

Excessive talking blamed

Speaking about the findings, Dr Davila said: "We wanted to start the process at the beginning and follow them over time to see what happens.

"Lots of talking can help if those involved have strong problem-solving skills because it helps them reach a solution and it builds friendships.

"They often don't realise [however] that excessive talking is actually making them feel worse."

Flash on iPhone: Adobe and Apple collaborating

Despite a number of setbacks, Adobe is still working to bring Flash to the iPhone and it now seems that the company's biggest obstacle, Apple, has been overturned.

Speaking at the World Economic Forum in Switzerland, Adobe CEO Shantanu Narayen revealed that Adobe was collaborating with Apple to bring out a Flash version for the iPhone through the company's SDK.

He did insist, however, that they were still some way off a finished product, saying to Bloomberg Television: "It's a hard technical challenge, and that's part of the reason Apple and Adobe are collaborating."

On a more optimistic note, Narayen revealed that it was now up to Adobe to create a viable Flash platform, insisting: "The ball is in our court. The onus is on us to deliver."

Too slow

Apple has not allowed Flash to work legitimately on its iPhone, as it believes that the full software is too slow and the Lite version of Flash, according to Steve Jobs, "isn't capable enough to be used with the web."

The news that Apple is now collaborating with Adobe to bring a version of the software out for the iPhone is promising for Adobe – who last year saw its share price cut in half.

Flash is currently available on around 800 million mobile phone handsets in the world and is completely dominant in the online video market, as it's installed on 98 per cent of all computers.

Feb 2, 2009

Reliance GSM Service Launched in Delhi

Company also launches a Customer Experience Programme for consumers who choose the Reliance Mobile GSM Services

After Mumbai and Rajasthan, Reliance Communications has now launched its GSM service in Delhi, targeting over 16 million customers.

The company has also launched a Customer Experience Programme for consumers who choose the Reliance Mobile GSM Services. This plan offers a Life Time connection for Rs. 49 and 100 percent savings to sub Rs.150 ARPU mobile customers in Delhi at a one-time subscription charge of Rs. 51.

The plan offers Rs. 450 minutes worth of talk time on local calls and SMS to any network, which can be accrued by Reliance Mobile GSM customers in daily tranches of Rs. 5 spread over 90 days. In addition, consumers choosing the Customer Experience Programme can make unlimited calls between 11pm to 6am to any Reliance Mobile subscriber located in Delhi and the NCR region by opting for the Night Pack, which costs Rs.15. Customers also get a variety of Top-Up cards to make calls and SMSes, over and above the free talk time.
Reliance is also offering double talk time with every recharge till March 31.

Man Killed in Mobile Phone Explosion

Incident might have occurred due to one of those cheap duplicate batteries

Here's one more reason to stay away from those spurious batteries.

A 20 year-old Chinese youngster died when a battery inside the phone he was carrying in his pocket exploded, severing his arteries leading to massive blood loss and eventual death. According to some reports, the person had recently changed his phone battery and had charged the same moments before the fatal accident. The accident occurred in front of a Lenovo store in Guangzhou, China.

Exploding phone batteries are not a new phenomenon. However, fatalities from such occurrences are rare and this one just might be the worst ever recorded. The incident also makes us wonder if it is really worth saving money when it comes to batteries. While we still do not have details regarding the phone or the kind of battery that was involved in the incident, it is likely that this might be one of those cheap duplicate batteries.

We hope your plans to invest in a "cheaper" option might have been thwarted by this unfortunate incident.