Thursday, September 24, 2009

Creative launches Zen Mozaic EZ300 MP3 player in India

Creative Zen Mozaic EZ300
It’s a pity to see the Apple iPod take out MP3 players that are superior in so many ways. But such is the marketing blitzkrieg that Cupertino launches that no one else stands a chance, even with a superior product. Creative has long come out with portable media players that offer better audio quality and bang-for-buck than Apple, but it has sadly always been relegated to the sidelines.
The company is now seeking to change that with the launch of the Zen Mozaic EZ300 in India, but we doubt the result will be any different.
Here’s a quick look at the features it offers:
  • 1.8-inch TFT LCD (65K colours, 128x160 pixels resolution)
  • Supports MP3, WMA, WAV
  • Supports JPEG, GIF, BMP, PNG and TIFF
  • Built-in speakers to share your music
  • Audio recording
  • FM radio with 32 presets
  • Equaliser with 8 presets and 5 customisable settings
  • Battery life of over 32 hours of continuous playback
  • Drag-and-drop file transfer
  • Creative Centrale software
  • Calendar, contacts, task list
  • Weighs 43 grams

The Zen Mozaic EZ300 is available in two models in India:
1. The 4GB Mozaic, which lets you store up to 1,000 MP3 songs or 66 hours of MP3 (approx. 4 mins per son at 128kbps), costs Rs 4,999.
2. The 8GB Mozaic, which lets you store up to 2,000 MP3 songs or 133 hours of MP3 (approx. 4 mins per son at 128kbps), costs Rs 6,499.

SSD's Versus Traditional Hard Discs - What Are The Main Differences?

SSD or 'Solid State Drives' are an increasing term we hear these days, and by the looks of it this technology may just be getting more popular.

SSD or Solid State Drive is the alternative for the more traditional hard drives found on laptops and pc's, and there are a number of differences between the two storage devices.

The traditional hard drives found on pc's and laptops have some moving parts which include the spinning disc (where the magnetic data is stored) and an arm that moves around inside (which actually reads the data from the disc)

A SSD has no moving parts though, but it does have a limited amount of times that data can be writen to the device. Because there are no moving parts, it is also silent and accessing the data is much faster than a conventional hard disc. One of the biggest advantages also, is the fact that a SSD normally uses less energy, and is much more robust, being more resistant to external impact such as bumping or dropping which would normally damage traditional hard drives.

Probably one of the biggest manufacturers of SSD's - SanDisk, released their SanDisk Netbook SDHC Removable Flash Memory Card in June 2009. One drawback for SSD's are that until now, they have been fairly expensive compared to normal hard drives.

SDD's will probably become the norm eventually, replacing the normal hard drives we have today, but for that to happen the technology needs to become cheaper. This will most likely happen over time, as new technology continues to improve on, and even replace more traditional technologies.

First images of Microsoft’s Project Pink 'Pure' and 'Turtle' phones leak

Just 3 days ago, i read that Microsoft’s had plans to step into the mobile phone hardware market by coming out with two new handsets under the codename Project Pink. These phones are going to be made by Sharp, who'll get to share branding with Microsoft. Sharp produced the Sidekick hardware for Danger, who was bought by Microsoft two years ago. Pink will be primarily aimed at the same market as the Sidekick (teenagers), and the branding and identity for it is highly developed, pointing toward a later stage in the development cycle.

Microsoft Turtle
The Turtle is being described as “a chunky child’s version of the Palm Pre”. The phone has a ‘plasticy’ look to it and should appeal to teens. We spot a slot for a camera at the back, but no LED flash – usually an indication of the price being kept down. The idea of a low-cost handset with ample social networking (as is apparent by the interface) should go down well with that segment. But enough of our dribble, take a dekko yourself:
Microsoft Project Pink Turtle
Microsoft Pure
The Pure, on the other hand, is more a well-rounded attempt at a competitor to something like the HTC Touch Pro. It’s a regular slider, looks to have the basic features that any of the other mid-range phones do (including an LED flash, by the looks of it) and retains the bubble-plastic keys. Have a look here:
Microsoft Project Pink Pure
My Impression? The phones look perfect for entry-level social networking handsets, and the possibility of them syncing with Zune Marketplace and being able to run Apps from there is quite a pleasing though, apart from the numerous programs already available for Windows Mobile, which the handsets will run.
The idea of Microsoft’s maiden foray into the mobile phone market to be by targeting the low-cost teen segment is a bit surprising. But as long as the price is kept down, these shouldn’t do too badly

Tata DoCoMo brings Samsung’s first Google Android phone, Galaxy I7500, to India

Samsung India has launched its first phone based on Google’s Android operating system, the Galaxy I7500, in an exclusive partnership with new mobile carrier Tata DoCoMo.
As for the Samsung Galaxy itself, here's what you'll get with it:
Samsung Galaxy I7500 Android phone India
The phone is apparently available on Tata DoCoMo’s GSM service for an introductory price of Rs. 28,990, along with a special offer that avails the buyer of 500MB of free data download for the first six months. The handset is available in other services as well, although those were not detailed.

Data transfer at light-speed!

Your ethernet may be quitely chugging away at 10 or 100 Mbps, but if Intel has their way, you'll be upgraded to 100Gbps over the decade! The new Light Peak technology uses light instead of electric signals to transmit data, meaning faster speeds, smaller cables, and less signal loss.

While this technology is already in use in data-centers, it hasn't beached into mainstream computing yet. As current electricity-based solutions begin seeing their limit, it was only a matter of time.

In the coming year Intel plans to release this technology for use in consumer devices and mainstream computing, for the first time giving people the taste of transfer speeds up to 10Gbps. Over the decade Intel hopes to bring this up to 100Gbps.

Since this as optical technology, multiplexing multiple connections over a single cable will be much simpler, and thus a single cable cold be used to connect your computer to multiple "peripherals, workstations, displays, disk drives, docking stations, and more."

Light Peak is designed to be cheap, and in fact claims to be smaller and cheaper than current telecom modules. The Light Peak optical modules are up to 120 times smaller and up to 30 times cheaper than current telecom modules! The optical fibres used in it are in fact nearly as thin as human hair, and use LASER chips called VCSEL (Vertical Cavity, Surface Emmiting LASER) which are a mere 250 microns by 250 microns.

Light Peak module with four fibers each capable of carrying 10Gb of data per second.Close-up of the Light Peak module.Light Peak module with laser light added for illustration (actual infrared light is invisible to the eye).Light Peak module close-up with laser light added for illustration (actual infrared light is invisible to the eye)

Linus Torvalds says Linux is bloated

Windows has always seemed like such a perfect example of software bloat, that Linux has always somewhat escaped attention. Since the latest version of Windows, (Windows 7) somewhat reverses the trend, perhaps Linux is the next to be cross-examined?

Linus Torvalds, the one who started it all, has himself claimed that Linux, has begun to acquire some unnecessary fat. During LinuxCon on Monday, he claimed, "We are definitely not the streamlined, hyper-efficient kernel I envisioned when I started writing Linux."

Most Linux fans would love to claim that it is evolving faster than Windows, yet that also means that it is accumulating features and bloat as much faster!

Even so the thing to note here is that while one wouldn't dream of running Windows Vista on a 5 year old computer, one can get nearly any recent distribution of Linux running on even a 10 year old computer with a little bit of optimization. This isn't just because Linux is more optimized, but also because Linux still supports those old chipsets.

Any popular software is popular because it caters to the needs of a wide range of people, and as Linux gets more popular, it risks the chance of bloat in the forms of features and support for hardware which only a few really need. Linux is created to fit in everywhere from a PS3 to a research laboratory!

interesting statistic: on an average, 10923 lines of code are added to the Linux kernel every day and 5547 lines are deleted every day. This still means that the Linux kernel is growing at a rate of 5376 lines of code a day.

While many Linux users enjoy the freedom of choice that the OS supplies by allowing the desktop environment, the command line, the file manager, and nearly everything, to be replaced, few touch the Kernel itself, and as such it is that which needs to be optimized.

Linux is surely getting bloated, and chances are your stock kernel is filled with support for hardware which you have little chance of encountering, and features you are unlikely to use. However, the fact that it is still possible to use Linux in embedded devices (Moblin, Android, Maemo, Linux on the Amazon Kindle, etc.) is thanks to the fact that the Linux Kernel is open source and highly configurable and adaptable.

Over time software are bound to accumulate features which will have little use to many of the people who use it and people will have to realize Linux is no exception.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Teaching computers to read: Google acquires reCAPTCHA

The image above is a CAPTCHA — you can read it, but computers have a harder time interpreting the letters. They tried to make it hard for computers to recognize because they wanted to give humans the scoop first, but i am happy to announce to everybody now that Google has acquired reCAPTCHA, a company that provides CAPTCHAs to help protect more than 100,000 websites from spam and fraud.

Since computers have trouble reading squiggly words like these, CAPTCHAs are designed to allow humans in but prevent malicious programs from scalping tickets or obtain millions of email accounts for spamming. But there’s a twist — the words in many of the CAPTCHAs provided by reCAPTCHA come from scanned archival newspapers and old books. Computers find it hard to recognize these words because the ink and paper have degraded over time, but by typing them in as a CAPTCHA, crowds teach computers to read the scanned text.

In this way, reCAPTCHA’s unique technology improves the process that converts scanned images into plain text, known as Optical Character Recognition (OCR). This technology also powers large scale text scanning projects like Google Books and Google News Archive Search. Having the text version of documents is important because plain text can be searched, easily rendered on mobile devices and displayed to visually impaired users. So they'll be applying the technology within Google not only to increase fraud and spam protection for Google products but also to improve books and newspaper scanning process.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Oracle Shows Its Commitment to Sun Customers

I got a mail from the VP & Managing Director of SUN on Monday, September 14, 2009 4:27 PM saying that::->

Many of our customers and partners have been asking for additional clarification around Oracle's intentions relating to Sun hardware, Solaris and other products once the acquisition is completed*.

I would like to draw your attention to the latest Oracle advertisement that appeared on the front page of the Wall Street Journal on September 10, 2009 and on Yahoo Finance You can also find it on the front page of and

This advertisement makes a very clear statement about Oracle's intentions and commitment to Sun technology and customers after the transaction closes.

I would like to thank you for your continued patience and understanding as our organizations continue to take the steps toward a future that will bring a new level of commitment, service and excellence to our valued customers and partners worldwide.

Yours sincerely,

Anil Valluri
VP & Managing Director

*Oracle's acquisition of Sun is subject to certain closing conditions. Please refer to Oracle's SEC filings for additional risks related to the proposed acquisition of Sun.

LG finally beds Android with GW620

LG GW 620

LG GW620 high res

It’s been a long time coming, but LG’s love for Windows Mobile phones has finally waned enough for it to feel the itch and stray to Google’s Android OS.
The company has officially debuted its first Android-based mobile phone, the GW620, which comes with a touchscreen and slider keyboard. The phone will be released soon, but the price has not been indicated. Funnily, the press release talked a lot about what the company is doing with Windows Mobile, given the occasion!
But first, the new phone: The LG-GW620 features a 3-inch resistive touchscreen (320x480 pixels, 256K colours) and slide-out Qwerty keypad to meet the growing needs of consumers who rely on their mobile phones for more than just making calls.
The device benefits from an operating system that was created from the ground up to take advantage of the many mobile applications and services developed by search leader Google.
“The LG-GW620 will appeal to first-time smartphone customers by offering a new and different kind of user experience,” said Dr. Skott Ahn, President and CEO of LG Electronics Mobile Communications Company. “Our objective is to provide a wide selection of smartphones to satisfy the diverse preferences of today’s consumers. This Android phone is just one of many smartphone models we plan to introduce worldwide in the years ahead.”
And this stress on diversity throughout the press release makes us wonder why LG is so adamant on making sure people know it still loves MS. Take a look at these two paragraphs, for instance:
  • “The announcement of LG’s first Android-powered smartphones comes only a week after the world’s third largest mobile phone company announced that it would be introducing three new Windows Mobile smartphones in the next few weeks. These developments underscore LG’s commitment to offering greater consumer choice in the expanding smartphone category."
  • “In addition to the Android model, LG announced in early September that it will be introducing a minimum of 13 new smartphones over the next 16 months that utilise Microsoft’s Windows Mobile. The newest release, version 6.5, was announced just last week.”

Nokia's 'Booklet 3G' Netbook With 12 Hour Battery-Life. Form and Functionality.

If you're a fan of Netbooks, and also a fan of Nokia, you'll soon be able to indulge your preference. On 2 September 2009, Nokia plans to release availablity and pricing details for their new netbook called the"Booklet 3G"

Yes, Nokia is bringing out its own kind of Netbook, and even though it may look like a regular netbook, it will carry the classy, smooth design we're used to see from Nokia.

The Booklet 3G will be Windows based and powered by the popular and efficient Intel Atom processor with a whopping 12 hour battery life. This means people will be able to leave their power cables behind a little more often, without losing connectivity.

Weighing only 1.25 kilograms, this new lightweight plans to pack a significant punch with its highly portable alluminum casing. It's little more than 2 centimetres thick.

Connectivity options include 3G/HSDPA as well as Wi-fi, offering users high speed access to the internet.

The device features a HDMI port enabling HD video out, a built-in camera for video calling, bluetooth and SD card reader. Featuring a 10-inch glass HD ready display and a built-in A-GPS (which works with the Ovi Maps gadget), pinpointing your exact position takes only seconds.

We cannot really be surprised by this move, considering that Nokia is one of the world's leading providers of connectivity. Considering that Nokia is probably one of the most well known names in the world today, consumers should be able to look forward to be able to add to their list of gadgets the new Booklet 3G.

Nokia seems to be upping their game every time a new product is released, and we expect pretty much the same this time. Of course consumer expectations will likely be high with this new addition to their product line, but if Nokia continues to deliver the high quality we've grown accustomed to over the years, I'm sure it will be a hit with users.

JetLev-Flyer - A New Dimension Of Entertainment In Watersports

The last 10 years or so has seen a significant increase in watersports, with new technology on boats and other forms of entertainment such as the jet-ski becoming very popular.

We've even seen an off-road quad bike transform into a jet-ski at the push of a button. However, the JETLEV-FLYER is truly unique and interesting, some may even say slightly off the wall, but very interesting none the less.

You may have seen those modern day jet-packs on display somewhere - you know, the one where the pilot straps a jetpack to his back, and literally takes off like a rocket. The JetLev-Flyer however is slightly different in the sense that instead of using a gas propulsion system, it uses water. The system was designed for watersports afterall.

After a period of about 9 years of development, testing and refinement, the manufacturers are now confident that they have a product that is literally...taking-off.

So how does it work?

The JetLev-Flyer uses a powerful 4-stroke engine poducing (155 - 215 HP), and water nozzle reaction force that results in a stable and controlled flight experience for the user. The controls are light, simple and intuitive, able to accomodate pilots of between 1,50 and 2,00 meter in height, and 40 - 120 kilogram in weight.

The system uses a digital fly-by-wire system to control the throttle.

According to the company's website, a standard JETLEV-FLYER can reach a height of 10 meter, able to cruise for one to two hours, and has a top speed of 65km/h. Future designs may be developed to reach higher altitudes and faster top speeds, with an exended range of up to 300 kilometres. It is reportedly very easy to learn and operate.

Now you're probably wondering how exactly a pilot can stay in the air for that long. The solution is rather simple. Instead of storing its propellant (water) inside or on the JETLEV-FLYER, the actual engine remains on another vessel that trails behind the pilot on the water surface. The vessel and JetLev-Flyer is connected by a rather large waterhose. Water is sucked in from the water surface, and then pumped up to the nozzles on the pilot's back through the hose connecting the two. Using this method, the pilot does not carry any excessive weight such as an engine or fuel.

For more info visit the website at

BMW Vision EfficientDynamics Concept Car

Well, this week we saw BMW release details of their latest sports concept car, but it's more than a sportscar.

BMW Vision EfficientDynamics is a combination of the potential of BMW ActiveHybrid technology, and the power of BMW EfficientDynamics.

Technology on BMW Vision EfficientDynamics concept car consists of a full-hybrid concept, and is powered by a three-cylinder turbodiesel and two electric motors

The combination of these technologies provides overall system output of 262 kW/356 hp, with maximum torque at 800 Newton-metres/590 lb-ft. The car is an all-wheel drive consisting of an electric motor on both rear and front axles.

Projected performance is anticipated to be in the region of zero to 100km/h in 4.8 seconds, with a top speed of 250 km/h (155 mph) - this is electronically limited. Fuel consumption in the EU test cycle measured at 3.76 litres/100km, with CO2 emissions 99 grams/kilometre.

Electric power is generated without compromising any fuel consumption efficiency, using a particularly efficient concept of Brake Energy Regeneration. The energy is stored in 98 lithium polymer cells, with a range of about 50 km using the electric mode alone.

Article continues below the images:

The aerodynamics have been developed with input from Formula 1, and the result is a drag coefficient that has been optimised to just 0.22.

The body has been designed with consistent lightweight technology as well as aerodynamic technology, with these qualities ensuring optimised sporting performance, as well as excellent efficiency.

On top of all this, the car features a 4 seater capacity which makes it not only a sports car but also well equipped for all round use.

Possibly, the cherry on top for some buyers will be the implementation of Gullwing doors, which open upwards. Even the doors have been designed to make entering and exiting the vehicle easy, making use of weight-optimised door kinematics.

And of course, moving onto the interior, the cabin has been designed using the very latest in modern technology. Last but not least, the roof and door inserts (made of polycarbonate glass) automatically become darker in light conditions, easing eye strain on both driver and occupents.

Having said all this, the car looks incredibly impressive, and BMW has once again shown why they are among the leaders of innovation, style, efficiency, class and performance. What more can we say?...It's a BMW.

Turning Roads Into Solar 'Power Stations' - A Brilliant, Fresh Approach From Solar Roads Founder Scott Brusaw

Every once in a while, a really brilliant idea comes along, and we find ourselves wondering: Why didn't I think of that?

Well, this has got to be one of those brilliant ideas. Energy, especially solar energy, is a very hot topic these days. And with good reason. As the world's energy demands grow, the resources needed to supply this power seems to be getting less and less.

So, we have to think 'out of the box' to come up with a sustainable solution.

And that is exactly what Scott Brusaw from Solar Roadways, in Idaho USA, has done. What's more is that U.S. Department of Transportation is so impressed with his proposal that they have granted Solar Roadways USD$100,000 to further develop his prototype that turns roads into giant solar panels. The idea and the research behind it also makes a lot of sense in terms of cost, and environmental impact.

Firstly, Mr Brusaw believes that solar panel roads may last up to three times longer than current petroleum-based asphalt surfaces which have an average lifespan of about 7 years at a cost of USD$16 per square foot. Mr Brusaw hopes to produce solar panels with a lifespan of 21 years for USD$48 per square foot, which would not only save the inconvenience of road maintenance, but would also cost the same as a conventional asphalt road. Allright, so if it costs the same, then why implement solar roads instead of asphalt? Well, the answer is simple.

Although it costs the same, the solar power generated from the solar roads could potenially be more than what is needed for every home on the entire US power grid. In fact, if you were able to convert all the existing roads, parking lots and driveways in the US to solar panel roads, there would be more than three times more electrical power available than what all the homes in the entire US requires.

These calculations are not based on a more efficient type of solar panel, they are based on the average efficiency of a solar panel (which is only 15%). In effect, for this to work you do not even need to build more efficient solar panels. The efficiency on existing models produced will be enough.

Now, in addition to homes being powered just from this 'road grid', these roads can also be fitted with LED's that would further enhance driver experience by lighting up the roads much like the runway lighting seen at airports. The challenge now, is just to design the glass for the solar panels to have the same traction and load bearing qualities as current asphalt roads. But, Mr Brusaw says he has already spoken to scientists at Penn State University’s Materials Research Institute, and they have assured him they would have no problem in producing the type of glass with these requirements.

To put all of this into perspective, if they would replace one mile of a multi-lane highway with solar panels for instance, that would be enough to generate enough electricity to supply 500 homes completely, without having to tap into the main power grid. And all this can be done with an average of only 4 hours of sunlight per day.

If this system is implemented, Mr Brusaw says solar roads would be able to generate enough electricity to replace all centralized power stations (coal and nuclear powered plants included)

Inspired Living

You start with an ambition, a raging desire to do something big and something that adds meaning to your and then, after a while, it all fizzles out. You stop doing things that should have put you on the path to success. Instead, you start doing things that lead you to nowhere, because these things — those that lead you to nowhere — are easy to do.

When it comes to business, making money, earning fame and respect or feeling loved – there is consistent effort involved. There is a lot of work that goes in and most of it is done without a thought.

Money Comes In Where Sweat Goes

Take it easy, they say. How wrong could they get?

Easy is the word that plagues many of us and we are blissfully unaware of this. We don’t want to work hard but yet we creave for things that are made possible only to those who work hard for it. We know it all, we don’t do a damned thing about it.

Money is confusing for a lot of people; they have no idea about what they want to do with it when they have it and when they don’t have it, they despair. Everything else in between is even more vague.

Here’s the principle: There is all the money in the world if you want it; it’s just that you have to sacrifice your sweat for it. Apart from the really successful entrepreneurs you and I are aware of, there are many more people I know who are a living testimony to that fact. They put in long hours and they follow “delayed gratification”. They sacrifice fun, family and relaxation just so that they can hit the nail home.

Money comes in where sweat goes. Without sweat equity, there can be no enterprise. No sweat, nothing is ever sweet.

You got to start by working hard and then find ways to accomplish your tasks in a smart manner. By doing it well and optimizing your efforts, you can establish a system which will form an enterprise. This is what entrepreneurship is all about, isn’t it?

No matter what you are currently doing in life, please do sweat it out. Without that, you will walk out of that door with nothing in your hand but shame that comes from incompetence.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Try out, DROPBOX, the impressive file manager which makes it easy to sync your files across multiple computers and the web, has released a brand new version of its online interface. The Latest upgrade brings with it a number of new features that will make it much easier to manage the large number of files users often have on their Dropboxes.