Friday, April 29, 2005

Bill Gates on H1Bs

Bill Gates has always been known for his pro-immigrant policies. In his latest talk, he's insisted this again - that there shouldn't be a limit to yearly H1B visas. (last year USA had put a cap of 65,000) More on this here.

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Thursday, April 28, 2005

Boeing Vs Airbus

Air India is to buy 50 Boeing planes in what has been billed as the largest deal in Indian aviation history. And Boeing's competitor Airbus is ready with its A380, the world's largest passenger aircraft. I think Boeing is sleeker than Airbus but who's safer? It would be nice comparing the past safety records of these aircraft makers. (found this debate on Boeing Vs Airbus on googling). Months earlier, Indian Airlines had placed orders for 43 mixed Airbus aircraft. A case of Indian Govt satisfying both France & US of A?

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Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Catching Up

Some sports news. Michelle Wie, the 15 year old American Golfer can become the first woman to play in The Open at St Andrews. She has accepted an invitation to play at July's John Deere Classic, which gives an Open place to the leading player who hasn't already qualified. Golf has been one sport where 'colored' people, however talented, were not allowed to play in some clubs. No wonder it took women this long.

Dean Jones joins the club of aspirants who want to become the next coach for the Indian cricket team. Jones is remembered for his epic innings at the historic tied test in Madras (now Chennai), way back in 1986. More on this here

From the tech world, there's more news coming on collaborations, mergers & acquisitions. SAP and Microsoft will be linking their products according to this article here. Code named Mendocino, this product is slated for unveiling in the fourth quarter 2005, and will allow Microsoft Office users to access SAP applications via extended application menus. Users will also be able to synchronize information between Microsoft Exchange server and SAP systems and access the data in Microsoft Excel format.

In M&A, Juniper acquired Peribit & Redline while Cisco is bidding for VoIP hardware maker Sipura. Cisco had earlier bought Airespace, a vendor in WiFi segment.

Other than the above tech news, found this interview with MySQL CEO Marten Mickos interesting. Oracle, IBM, MSFT watch out. Here's a credible vendor who offers databases at a fraction of your prices. (Know what? MySQL has its origins in Norway/Finland)

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

The Kiss
Saw today morning in the BBC World the Kiss photograph that fetched more than $200,000. They interviewed the lady who's 75 now. The photo became a famed poster & was instrumental in its own way to promote the image of Paris being the romantic capital of the world because of the spontaneity of the moment. But the photographer, Robert Doisneau had it staged.

Francoise Bornet, now. More on this here.

Friday, April 22, 2005

Ok, the new Pope has been elected. If you are like me, there's every chance that you'd been immersed in info about him like his papal name will be Pope Benedict XVI, why he chose this name, why he didn't choose Pope John Paul III, that some guy had predicted it will Benedict XVI and had already booked a domain, that the Pope had been a member of Hitler Youth and he was a POW during WW II, that he's a conservative theollogian, that's he's 78, that he was born in the district of Munich etc etc. So much to the new Pope, long live him!

Some tech news, Oracle being a strong Linux backer is now releasing versions for Linux ahead of versions for Windows of its software, making Linux its primary release platform. More here.

Amazon has come up a directory of Free MP3 downloads. The download needs a sign in and there is also a 30 second sample for listening before you download.

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Sistine Chapel ChimneyIt was fun watching BBC world last night. They kept a live video shot of the Sistine Chapel chimney pasted at the bottom left corner of their screen till smoke began to come out. First it was white, then it turned black, conveying the message that a new Pope hasn't been chosen yet. Two more ballots today had again given black smoke too. More about this strange but interesting custom here.

Sunday, April 17, 2005

Bloglines went broke on Saturday, couldn't catch with the news stories. Some new & some old news here.

Channel 9 Forums of MSDN in what they call the inkernet has enabled support for tablet PCs.

In cricket, India again lost to Pakistan ending the series 2-4. What worries me much is the 4 straight losses & how we have become overly dependent on Sehwag (like we were on Sachin for more than a decade)

Here's a website that combines Craig's List & Google Maps. This will help you people in the US/Canada in finding houses. Btw, one of my first searches with Google Maps ended up with a page from MapQuest. Dunno what excatly is the connection between these two!

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Computer keyboards have always been a source of germs. Consider the publically used ones in hospitals. Alternatives are available like virtual keyboard & washable keyboards, says this article.

It was a great tragedy in India where waters from a dam were opened up wrongly on unsuspecting pilgirms. More than 50 people died due to this mistaken act.

George Soros' "reflexivity" : "people’s predictions about what will happen to the dollar end up having a major impact on what actually does happen to the dollar". This NewYorker article is one of the many which is warning of a upcoming dollar crunch.

Wanna have a fresh life to the otherwise boring Google Search page. Try this.

Intel has posted a $10,000 reward for an original copy, in mint condition, of the April 19, 1965, issue of Electronics, the technical publication in which Intel's founder, Gordon Moore, made his famous forecast. Why would Intel want copies of the old mag that too by posting it on eBay? False or true, here's Intel's page on Moore's Law.

Meanwhile, Intel says it has begun shipping the dual-core, 3.2GHz Pentium Extreme Edition 840 processor and 955X Express chip set. Competitor AMD is expected to announce its dual-core Opteron soon. Dual-core computing offers two processor cores on a single piece of silicon and improves performance by enabling the two cores to work independently.

Some news from the world of Mac. Apple has announced that the latest version of its Mac operating system will go on sale on April 29. Code named Tiger, the OS according to Steve Jobs, will be the "most innovative and secure desktop operating system ever created".

Monday, April 11, 2005

Tiger Woods is at it again. The blogspace is abuzz with the incredible shot he came up with to win the Masters. Have a look at it here.

And the Webmasters are talking about Google's latest move - oops, hope they haven't made another move than the one I'm about to mention - that of answering a question somthing likw what "Ask Jeeves"/MSN do. Type "What is the population of India" and you'll get the top result in a separate band from a site like the CIA, or Many are claiming Copyright infringement though.

The Chinese Premier, Wen Jiabao, who is on his visit to India had said that a combination of Indian software skills and Chinese hardware expertise can take both the countries to a leadership position worldwide in IT.

French Linux distributor Mandrakesoft has changed its name to Mandriva after Mandrake bought Brazilian Linux vendor Conectiva in February.

Thursday, April 07, 2005

The first Srinagar-Muzzafarabad bus in 57 years crossed the LoC, ushering in a new era in Indo-Pak relationships. The plan had a huge hiccup when 2 militants, apparently a suicide squad managed to lit a huge fire near the place where the first passengers from Srinagar were to board their bus to Mzfrbd.

China says it will build 40 new nuclear reactors in the next 15 years, in a bid to solve serious power shortages.

Veteran Kurdish leader Jalal Talabani was sworn in as Iraq's president Thursday, becoming the first non-Arab president of an Arab country and Iraq's first democratically elected president in more than 50 years.

Zimbabwe's President Mugabe flies to Rome for the Pope's funeral on Friday despite a European Union travel ban. And, the Syrian armed forces are due to start the final phase of their withdrawal from Lebanon.

According to a survey by security firm Sophos, more than a third of all spam e-mails originate in the US.

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

How do we better know Karol Wojtyla? Answer at the end of this blog.

Welcome rains lashed Chennai & other parts of Tamil Nadu in the last 2 days. A respite from the sweltering heat. But, will it be enough to take water-starved Chennai through this summer is the thought here in all our minds.

This article which says people strung themselves by meat hooks reminds me of 'aeroplane kavadi' and kavadi in general (where devotees of Lord Murugan pierce their torsos, including tongues & cheeks) in my hometown.

Iraq's parliament chooses Jalal Talabani as the country's new president, ending weeks of political deadlock. According to Western media, this will help further 'democracy' in Iraq.

Steve Rubel says, "Feeds might be Google's greatest enemy". Hey, aint he right? No need for me to visit Google anymore, if I get everything via feeds, right?

Indians are more vulnerable to HIV/AIDs than Westerners, thanks to some genes that we inherit. More than five million of India's citizens are infected with the HIV virus, second only to South Africa.

Advertisers have sued paid search companies (like Google & Yahoo!) for click fraud. More here.

Cricket : L Balaji, the pacer from TN is injured & our old seamie Agarker will jojn the India team. Marvan Atapattu and Mahela Jayawardene hit centuries on day three of the first Test against New Zealand.

Have you tried Google & Yahoo search together?

Karol Wojtyla is Pope John Paul II's real name.

As promised, here's something on WiFi. Actually, I was a bit concerned about WiFi making it to the top. The term's been around for sometime and more companies are going wireless. Hotspots are mushrooming in India (esp in Railway Stations and in trains too). Somehow, I have the feeling that the technology isn't moving as fast as it should. So, what's stopping it? For one, WiFi networks are still considered unsecure (even after encrpytion). Now, broadband mobile phone service is perceived as a threat too.

A techdirt article says : "In many places, mobile broadband data services are insanely pricey. However, it does show how a decent speed and ubiquity when done right (a big if) certainly can trump higher speeds and hotspots going forward. We're already seeing this in the US among people who are using EV-DO wireless broadband access where it's available -- and claim it's rid them of the need to use WiFi. The two technologies certainly can co-exist for quite some time. There are a variety of issues (technology, business models, interference, capacity, etc.) as to why one technology is unlikely to completely obsolete the other."

And, according to this O'Reilly blog hotspots aren't that popular in Japan. To quote from it "Native [Japanese] travelers probably do not need to plug-in to Ethernet or WiFi because of the widespread availability of broadband mobile phone service."

But this article tends to disagree. "... it is clear that the growth and distribution of Wi-Fi is accelerating. This is largely the result of two essential characteristics of Wi-Fi –- speed and interoperability (e.g. standards). The Starbucks crowd and the business traveler want mobile access to data intensive applications and services. Email, VOIP, CRM and quality picture messaging require throughput that 3G is currently unable to support. These proprietary wireless networks saddle users with “application fees” to run CRM or email programs on their devices. To contrast this, Wi-Fi’s interoperability and openness encourages innovation and development, in addition Wi-Fi offers at least an “order of magnitude” more bandwidth."

And Robert Scoble, the Microsoft geek in his blog has this to say : "Let's just say I'm hanging out at the hospital this week and I'm very grateful that the hospital has free Wifi! If I'm ever sick, put me into a hospital with Wifi." For more

So, will WiFi ever make it as the undisputable leader in wireless technologies? Only time will tell.

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

Thanks to a typical Sehwag start & a maiden century by Mahendra Dhoni (its glory time for India's new wicket-keepers!) India again beat Pakistan in the second cricket match in Vizag today.

Again a new project from Google - it is getting into Video Blogging. Google plans to collect home made digital videos that'll show up under its video search. This was unveiled by Google co-founder Larry Page when he spoke at the National Cable Television Association (NCTA) National Show in San Francisco.

This April 1 had its own share of pranks but this one caught my attention.

A survey conducted shows that China could overtake U.S. in broadband access this year, a boost to the believers that China & India hold the next big jump as far as emerging markets are concerned.

Blinkx plans to unveil the newest version of its PC search software, which combines search results from a user's hard drive and from the Internet in a single results list. (unlike Google whcih has them separate)

Wi-Fi hardware startup Xirrus Inc. last week debuted its flagship product, which combines a WLAN switch and as many as 16 integrated access points in a single circular device. My next post will deal with the threats to WiFi.

British Telecom will connect its five millionth broadband customer in the UK later this week.

Btw, Hitachi's record breaking one-inch hard drive (which got mentioned in an earlier blog) can hold 60Gb.

Monday, April 04, 2005

Scientists Identify Genetic Susceptibility to Pregnancy Complication. A genetic defect, which appears to increase the risk of developing the serious pregnancy condition pre-eclampsia, has been discovered.

At least two companies are developing speech-recognition products that will let viewers change channels with voice prompts. Hey couch potatoes, its time to go barking over what channel to see!

Hitachi Global Storage Technologies plans to announce a record for storage density on a disk drive. Hitachi will report a storage density of 230 billion bits per square inch, an achievement that would make possible a desktop computer drive capable of storing a trillion bytes of information, roughly twice the capacity of today's disks. More on this here

The Bell telephone companies, SBC and Verizon, will start selling television programming in their most recent effort to crack a market in which they have had almost no presence.

The Ebola-like Marburg virus claimed 20 more victims in Angola, raising the total death toll from the outbreak to 146.

World number one Roger Federer beat Rafael Nadal to win the Nasdaq-100 Open final. Earlier, Kim Clijsters beat Maria Sharapova in the Woman's Finals.

South African observers endorse Zimbabwe's ruling party victory in polls which were rejected by the opposition parties.

Election campaigning in Italy remained suspended out of respect for the Pope's death.

Sunday, April 03, 2005

Pope John Paul II finally dies after a long fought battle.

Thanks to some superb catching & bowling, the Indians had a thumping win against Pakistan in the first of the ODIs at Kochi y'day. Though Sehwag & Rahul's innings were spectacular, the best moments according to me were that of Zaheer diving towards his right to take Youhana's return catch & Sachin's around the stumps fastish delivery clipping just the bail of Inzy's half stump.

Google is planning to double the amount of storage offered (from the current 1 GB to 2 GB) on its e-mail service and plans to remove limits on message capacity as it competes with Yahoo!

MCI has agreed to reopen its talks with Qwest (after Qwest had earlier raised its buy-out bid)

A Swedish security group said Friday that they had discovered erotica stored among files inside Microsoft's Office XP suite. And, Microsoft is investigating a new set of potentially serious security flaws in IE and Outlook.

Friday, April 01, 2005

Terri Schiavo is finally dead. Almost two weeks after doctors removed the pipes supplying her food, the brain damaged 42 year old woman breathed her last. The Pope meanwhile has started another fresh battle against death. Earlier, a urinary tract infection coupled with high fever had put him in a 'very serious' condition. With a heart failure happening, the Vatican says it had performed the lat rites.

Surprise of surprises, the first 9 out of the 10 results in the Zimbabwe elections had gone in favor of the opposition.

Paul Wolfowitz, the America-Bush backed nominee has been finally confirmed to head the World Bank.

Tech News - Qwest with its never-say-die attitude has applied for a fresh bid of $8.9 billion even after MCI had earlier accepted a buy-out offer from Verizon for $7.6 billion.

A recent ecology report warns that humans have already used up two-thirds of the Earth's natural resources.