Wednesday, December 29, 2004

NADRA will 'authorise' phone connections?

Heard this on the radio to work: "New cellular phone and landline connections will be given after online verification by the National Database and Registration Authority (NADRA)," says Interior Minister. The story offers no other details on the statement. So, if NADRA keeps giving a server error for extended periods, does it mean getting a cell or landline connection will become a pain? Could there have been another way to curb "terrorism" through the phones? I thought the ID card copy attached to the forms is supposed to serve as a verification anyways.

Tuesday, December 28, 2004

TIME and Blogs

This is courtesy NJ: TIME has announced its Person Of the Year and bloggers get a special mention. Here are 10 Things We Learned About Blogs in 2004!

Monday, December 27, 2004

China Welcomes IPv6 Internet

China has broken the United States monopoly on the Internet by launching the first backbone network of the next-generation Internet popularly called as CERNET2 (China Education and Research Network).

According to reports, CERTNET2 is now being called the biggest network running the next generation Internet since it connects 25 universities in about 20 cities. Tests have proven that the network is capable of reaching speeds of about 40 gigabits per second, setting a record for real-world applications, while the average speeds are about 2-10 gigabits for universities.

About half of the key equipment, including routers is being provided by Huawei Technologies, the Chinese telecom giant, and Tsinghua Bit-Way. The network is expected to spread to about 100 universities soon.

Source: Link

Friday, December 24, 2004

This is to announce the sad demise of Suprnova.org.

'They' got em too! Suprnova.org, one of the most popular bittorrent website, will be forever be loved and remembered by the traces of torrent files it has left behind on our harddisks.

Hotmail Reloaded.

Hotmail finally decided to do something for its customers without extorting money from them, and is now offering a 250 MB inbox for new users after a one month verification period, along with 10 MB attachments. However, the older accounts of Hotmail are still stuck at a paltry 2 MB. So do we now have to sign up again to get a larger inbox or are they imposing a one month period for 3 year users of Hotmail as well?

2004 Year-End Google Zeitgeist

Based on billions of searches conducted by Google users around the world, the 2004 Year-End Zeitgeist offers a unique perspective on the year's major events and trends.

Top 3 Winners of selected Categories are: -

Popular Queries : britney spears, paris hilton, christina aguilera.
Popular Men : orlando bloom, eminem, usher.
Popular Women : britney spears, paris hilton, christina aguilera.
Popular Television Shows : the simpsons, pokemon, south park.
Popular Tech Stuff : wallpaper, kazaa, mp3.
Popular Country Queries : france, china, india and #10 pakistan.
Popular Sports Topics: david beckham, tour de france, euro 2004.
Top Public Figures: george w bush, janet jackson, john kerry.

Lots of Other Categories @ Year-End Google Zeitgeist

Thursday, December 23, 2004

Blogger Confession

Blogs have turned me into a nervous person. Reading them makes me want to run around in circles squeaking like a beaver,” excuse me, Annalee Newitz says this. I say, “It was already in my heart.” Bloggers! confess this or discuss this.

Habib Bank selects Symantec to secure IT operations

Habib Bank selected Symantec Client Security and Symantec Enterprise and Corporate Anti-Virus Solutions for roll out across 3300 users in the organisation in partnership with IBM Pakistan and IOP. Habib Bank joined Symantec at their executive meeting rooms during the GITEX 2004 exhibition in Dubai held earlier this month. Symantec,the leading company in Internet security services, has worldwide operations in 38 countries.
Source

Federal Cabinet approves Broadband Policy

Quote from a press release: "The Minister for Information Technology Awais Ahmad Khan Leghari on Wednesday unveiled the government's broadband internet policy, setting the stage for what he called 'an affordable, always-on, broadband high-speed internet service' in the corporate and residential sectors across Pakistan.
He also announced reduction in IP bandwidth rates from US$ 3,950 per E1 per month to US$ 2,000 per E1 per month with monthly copper rental for DSL reduced from Rs 771 per month to Rs 250 per month, monthly PRI rental reduced by 50 per cent, domestic bandwidth rates reduced by 25 per cent of the existing prices to facilitate peering services, and DXX connectivity also reduced by up to 63 per cent. 'We expect that as a result of the implementation of this policy, the number of broadband subscribers will increase from the present 29,000 to about 200,000 in about two years as tariffs drop substantially and the number of operators providing broadband services increases rapidly,' said Awais" Really? What do you guys think of the policy?

Wednesday, December 22, 2004

Microsoft to open 20 training centers in Pakistan

Computer giant Microsoft will set up 20 training centers in Pakistan, says the Microsoft Middle East Region Chairman Emre Berkin.

He met Pakistan Senate (Upper House of Parliament) Chairman Mohammadmian Soomro and lauded Pakistan government's investment-friendly policies, according to an official statement.

Berkin, currently visiting Pakistan at the head of a five-member delegation, said these policies had created conducive atmosphere for foreign investors.He briefed the Senate chairman on his organization's future plans for investment in Pakistan.Berkin said the Microsoft Corporation was in contact with various Pakistan government departments to promote information technology in Pakistan.Soomro appreciated the Microsoft Corporation for taking keen interest for investment in Pakistan's IT sector and said the setting up of the training centers would motivate people to actively participate in strengthening the national economy.He assured Berkin that the government would extend full cooperation to the Microsoft for the implementation of its investment plans.Soomro said the telecommunication sector in Pakistan, especially in the IT sector, had grown at a rapid pace and undergone an impressive transformation during the last five years.

Source: Link

Story on local IT companies from employees' perspective

Spider is doing a story on the working conditions of IT professional in the local industry. We'd like insight and comments from people working at different software houses/ IT companies/IT departments in Pakistan. We are not approaching the companies directly as we want to hear the employees' point of view.

Payscale
  • What's the Initial Payscale for entry level in your organization?
  • Whats the payscale for people with experience?
  • Does your company have a formal appriasal(pay increase) system? Is it followed? If its not a formal process, do your employers live up to their promises of pay increase?
  • Do you get ad hoc or scheduled bonuses in addition to your base salary?
  • Do you get any other perks in addition to your base salary e.g. medical insurance, a car, etc.? If yes then, please specify which ones.
  • Salary appraisals are [pick one]: Annual, Half-yearly, Quarterly, Ad Hoc.

Work timings

  • Usually at what time do you reach home after work when you are on a deadline and under normal circumstances?
  • Do you need to work on weekends to complete your assignments? (At least one weekend per month.)
  • Do you need to work during later hours of the day (i.e. after sunset or late in the evening) to accommodate activities with international customers?
  • Is your job goal-oriented (i.e. need to complete assignments irrespective of the time taken and working hours are generally flexible) or time-oriented (i.e. you work from Xam to Ypm irrespective of the workload)?
  • Does your company have a formal policy for off-time (vacations, sick-leave, paid-leave, etc.)?

Organization Structure & HR Issues
  • Is your organization partnered with any industry leaders such as Microsoft, Sun, Cisco, etc.? If so, which one(s)?
  • Is your company certified under any standard such as ISO or CMM? If so, which one(s)?
  • Does your company have a formal, documented employee hierarchy?
  • Approx. at what rate does your company hire or induct new manpower. Pick one: Monthly, Quarterly, Half-yearly, Annually, Ad Hoc.
  • Does your company make use of internees i.e. people who are in the process of getting a degree and also working in some capacity while they are studying?
  • Organizational Stability -hire, fire, quit rate?
  • On an average how long do employees stay with your organization?
  • How long has the senior most employee been with the organization?

Project Management
  • Do you have a dual-role as far as working on projects is concerned? E.g. you are a coder and also a technical writer, or an analyst and also a QA person?
  • Is the project well managed?
  • Does your company have people with specialized job descriptions? Such
  • as analyst, coder, tester etc.
  • Do you have formal and experienced project managers on your team(s) or does a senior technical person play a dual role?
  • Do you use any formal tools for tracking and working on projects e.g. MS Project, bug tracking tools, project communications tools, etc.?
  • Does your company's project management function take into account the input of your whole team before drawing up milestones, deadlines and plans, or commit those based on their own judgement? Are the project deadlines realistic?

Any additional comments? Insight?


Send the answers/comments to zq@spider.tm or you can post your comments here.

Please mention the name of your organization, the name of the institute you studied from, along with the year of graduation.This is important so that we know how many different organizations/institutes we have covered and the demographics of those who have responded. If you dont want to be named in the article then please mention that in your mail. I ensure the confidentiality of your mail. The last date for sending in your answers/comments is January 15th 2005.

[more questions added on Dec 23 2004. Thanks Merlinx]

10 Worst Spyware

For those who use Cool Web Search please now know that it's a spyware!

You can read them all here and from this threat list too.

Be warned!

Monday, December 20, 2004

Google Launches "Print" Service

After putting Google Scholar on BETA, the search engine giant just announced another cool new service called Google Print.

Just do a normal search for anything related to a book, some books are included on the top of the search results.
Usually, only two or three books that match the searched item most will be displayed together with the authors and page numbers. If you follow the result links, you will find more information about the book, including the cover page, ISBN, bookshop informaiton and some pages (scanned image) from that book. As claimed by Google, if this book does not have copyright, you can read the entire book online. However, the main purpose of this Google Print service is to tell you how to find the book instead of providing the content of it.

The beta service seems to working for US based google servers for now. Screenshots and Example Query here

Saturday, December 18, 2004

A 'critical' bug in IE 6.0

The bug, which has been confirmed on a fully patched Windows XP system with IE 6.0 and Service Pack 2, could allow a scammer to display a fake Web site with all the attributes of a genuine, secure site, including the URL and the icon indicating SSL security, according to researchers.

"Ordinarily, to spoof a site you have to have some issue on the Web site that you want to manipulate, which restricts what you can do," said Thomas Kristensen, chief technology officer at an independent security firm Secunia. "Because this is embedded in IE by default, it's possible to inject content into any Web site. There's no way for a Web site to protect itself against this."

For example, you go to say, paypal.com. Following best-practices, you even look for the little padlock icon on the bottom right of your Internet Explorer, thinking the website is surely safe. Not so. With this bug exploited, the scammer/hacker can 'hijack' your browser. The address bar will show paypal.com with all its attributes but all the content will be provided by the hacker.

"After you set up Microsoft Windows Firewall in Microsoft Windows XP Service Pack 2 (SP2), you may discover that your computer can be accessed by anyone on the Internet when you use a dial-up connection to connect to the Internet," Microsoft said in a knowledge base article.

The update was not included—or mentioned—in the five critical updates Microsoft released earlier this week, also mentioned in this blog.

Gary Schare, director of Windows product management at Microsoft, said it was "an unfortunate oversight" that the SP2 update was shipped without notice. Notice to whom?

Anyways, Microsoft did release a patch for the vulnerability after it was found by the security firm Secunia. The patch can be automatically downloaded through Microsoft's updates website.

Friday, December 17, 2004

Yahoo Introduces New Video Search Site

Today, alongside a re-vamped front page, search engine Yahoo! has added two new features on its website.Yahoo is launching a video search (beta) tool to compliment its other search options. In a similar layout to Google Images, the tool allows you to search through online movies (example) and offers a screen caption of video results. Yahoo has also announced that they will be adding traffic information to their existing map service for US.
In an ongoing and fierce battle for dominance of the search market, companies like Yahoo desperately need to innovate, or face death. Increasingly, users see little difference between the search engines in terms of core functionality; the differences are in the extra features offered, and it's these that make the difference between success and flop. Yahoo might just have scored a long needed victory over its rival Google with these two features.

View: Yahoo Video Search Example
Visit: Yahoo Video Search (Beta)


Thursday, December 16, 2004

Firefox 2-page New York Times advertizement

You might have remembered the compaign launched by firefox people to gather enough money from donations to put up an advert in NYT. Well its due on December 16. If you donated more than 300$ you might see your name in the advert too.

Below is a preview and large scale image links: -



Here are the links to the high quality pics:
http://www.mozilla.org/press/nytimes-firefox-final.pdf
or
http://www.mozilla.org/images/nyt_ad_2004.png

Visit: Press Release

National NCR IT Excellence Awards 2004 - 7 Days to go

NCR is proud to announce the launch of nomination campaign for the 6th National NCR IT Excellence Awards 2004 as it calls for nomination from all over the country.NCR National IT Excellence Awards are considered to be the most prestigious IT awards in Pakistan. These awards have now become an integral part of the IT industry recognizing various professionals associated in the field of Information Technology – be it software developers, researchers, electronic and print media journalists, youth, university students, exporters, educationalists, pioneers in the disciplines of IT and life time achievers.
The winners are honored at a grand ceremony where their achievements are highlighted in front of an august gathering of dignitaries and press. The recognized individuals are awarded gold medals, certificates and IT Awards. The last date for nomination is December 24,2004


Visit: http://www.itexcellenceawards.com/

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

Most Bloggers Women

Where are the tech savvy women? Word is that women blog more and abandon less than men.

Microsoft Issues 5 New Critical Security Updates

Microsoft has released 5 new security-focused updates for NT-Based operating systems, including Windows 2000 and Windows XP. All updates are labeled as "Important", and should be applied as soon as possible.

Users of Windows XP SP2 need to apply these updates: Link

Tuesday, December 14, 2004

Virtual Library in the Making

Google is planning to announce an agreement with the major research libraries as a result of which printed material from these libraries will be put online. Apparently Google is looking to make a searchable database of books and research material - a virtual library. More details in this news story

MSN Toolbar Suite Beta Released.

Find anything anywhere! Thats what Microsoft people are saying.

Download here : http://beta.toolbar.msn.com/

Demo Videos and System Requirements: Here

Monday, December 13, 2004

IT-related seminars in Pakistan

How many of you find seminars conducted here useful? Ever attended one? Do you find yourself slouching at the backseat for the heck of attending or looking forward to anything related to "IT" put together in local hotels? Recall any that proved a cut above?

From personal experience, seminars conducted to explain "internet security threats", "ebanking", "ecommerce in pakistan", and "digital divide" have rarely provided anything one hasn't come across on the net. The programs put together by most organization combine "basic definitions" with "case study"--an approach that comes off as very theoritical and dry. My pick: TMT Ventures once hosted a very good roundtable on "VC funding problems and prospects" where the audience was as proactive as the guest speakers.

Sunday, December 12, 2004

Cisco Turns 20

Cisco Systems traces it roots back to 1984, when Stanford University computer scientists Sandy Lerner and Len Bosack, with the expertise of Greg Salz and Kirk Lougheed, set out to enable disparate networks to talk with each other.

View: Cisco Celebrates 20 Years of Innovation (News Release)
View: Cisco Corporate Timeline

Mozilla Celebrates 10 Million Firefox Downloads

The Mozilla Foundation has announced that its Firefox browser has been downloaded over 10 million times in the last 31 days. On average, Firefox has been downloaded 4 times per second since its release on November 9th. The Foundation originally estimated 10 million downloads to be reached after 100 days of public availability.

Friday, December 10, 2004

Yahoo Adding Tool to Search Hard Drives

Yahoo is adding a tool to search computer hard drives as it scrambles to catch up with Google. Unlike Google's desktop search tool, Yahoo's won't operate within a browser.

Google New "Suggestive" Feature

Google Suggest quietly debuted this week on the company's Labs site, which showcases Google features that "aren't quite ready for prime time," according to a message on the site. When a user starts typing a request into the search box, a drop-down menu appears with possible suggestions as to what the user could be looking for. For instance, typing in "Mi" generates a list starting with "Microsoft" and continuing with "miniclip," "Michael Moore" and "miserable failure," among other suggestions.

Wild, wild internet

In his latest article on BBC's Technology News, Bill Thompson writes about the newest techniques on the block (a mixture of phishing and browser hijacking) to fool uncautious users into thinking they're browsing through legitimate bank and auction websites.

Thursday, December 09, 2004

China Tops DSL Subscriptions Worldwide.

The DSL Forum released figures showing the top 20 subscribers up to the third quarter this year.

The figures show that by region, the European Union has the largest regional DSL population worldwide for the first three quarters of this year - amounting to 26.5 million for the period. But such comparisons with other regions such as the Middle East and Africa and the Americas are a little misleading, given the spread and population demographics of these areas.

A better guide is by country. The DSL forum said that China added 5.14 million subscribers during the period, which accounts for over 90 per cent of the South and South East Asia totals. Latin America is showing a surge, with 1.2 million subscribers between January and September, amounting to 1.2 millions - half of these are accounted for by Brazil, with Mexico, Argentina and Peru the next three major countries in line.

Here's the DSL Forum's top 3, by country.

Top 3 DSL Subscribers: -

1. China:13,700,000
2. Japan: 12,739,564
3. USA: 12,594,346

Microsoft sets second Longhorn event for September

Microsoft has set a date for a second Longhorn-themed Professional Developers Conference (PDC). The event will be held in September 2005, almost two years after the company first detailed the Windows XP successor at the 2003 PDC.

Longhorn has undergone a lot of changes since the unveiling. Microsoft has sacrificed some key advances it had planned for the operating system to be able to make a 2006 ship date. Also, Microsoft now plans to offer updates for Windows XP and Windows Server 2003 to support technologies that previously were reserved for Longhorn.

At the second Longhorn PDC, to be held Sept. 13 through Sept. 16 in Los Angeles, Microsoft should be able to give developers more concrete information on the operating system. A first Longhorn beta is scheduled to be available in the first half of 2005, several months before the event.

Visit PDC Homepage: Microsoft PDC 2005

All men with Laptops Read this ...

Thousands of men across the country will be crossing their legs and groaning in despair today when they learn that their trusted friend, the laptop computer, has become the latest threat to their manhood.

Just months after they were warned that carrying mobile phones in their pockets might damage their sperm count, men now have to absorb the news that laptops can similarly threaten their fertility.

Under the title "Increase in scrotal temperature in laptop computer users", researchers today reveal in the journal Human Reproduction that a combination of the heat generated by the computers and the position of the thighs needed to balance the machines leads to higher temperatures around men's genitals. Yefim Sheynkin, who led the research team from the State University of New York at Stonybrook, said it was possible that years of heavy laptop use "may cause irreversible or partially reversible changes in male reproductive function".

Until there was further research, teenage boys and young men might want to limit the use of computers on their laps, he said.

Wednesday, December 08, 2004

Indian movie to debut on cell phones

An Indian cellular phone company (AirTel) plans to air a new Bollywood movie on mobile handsets for free and in full Thursday in a bid to promote its video-streaming service.

"Rok Sako To Rok Lo," will be available to Bharti Tele-Ventures customers in 11 Indian cities, provided their phones have the supporting technology. To be among the first to see the movie, Bharti customers' phones must have EDGE, or Enhanced Data Rates for Global System for Mobile Communications Evolution. EDGE enables mobile phones to connect to the Internet and transfer data at high speeds. A maximum of 200 people will be able to connect and watch the movie simultaneously, and the movie cannot be copied or replayed.

The company hopes to air more movies, and may charge a fee depending on customer reactions to Thursday's preview, another Bharti official said.

Bharti Tele-Ventures: http://www.airtelworld.com
Movie Web site: http://www.roksakotoroklo.com

IBM Sells PC Business ... Its Official Now.

After speculation last week, it's become clear that IBM has sold its PC business to the Chinese company, Lenovo. In a deal worth $1.75bn, Lenovo will take buy IBM’s PC unit and its debts. As part of the deal, IBM will maintain an 18.9% stake in the company. Lenovo will be the preferred PC supplier to IBM, and will also be allowed to use the IBM brand (e.g. "Think") for the next five years.

Post purchase, Lenovo will be selling ~11.9 million units per year, making it one of the top ten PC makers worldwide. Lenovo, previously known as Legend, was formed in 1984 and has since become the largest PC maker in China. After a failed attempted at entry into foreign markets in 2002, the purchase will allow the company to expand out of China, and conversely allows IBM further entry into Asian markets.

Although IBM sees several billion dollars revenue from its PC business each year, it makes very little profit. The move highlights IBM's shift towards services and software, as well as providing high end (and high profit) computer systems like servers. IBM is one of the longest players in the PC market; the company founded the "Personal Computer" in the 80's, and its departure from the market highlights the changing times that PC makers are facing.

Moreover on the Ironic Side,there missing on the IBM UK home page today.
If you flip over to here, before the web developers develop a sense of irony, you'll see an interesting little picture of a chap looking to heaven and asking the question, "Something missing?".




Visit: IBM | Lenovo

Toshiba and disc maker develop dual format DVD

Toshiba Corp. and a Japanese disc maker said on Tuesday they had developed a disc that can store content in both conventional and high-definition DVD formats, in a move they hope will strengthen their hand in a battle for the next-generation DVD.

Toshiba, with NEC Corp. and Sanyo Electric Co. Ltd., is backing a next-generation DVD technology called HD (high-definition) DVD. Sony Corp. and several other giants of the electronics and computer industries have developed a competing standard dubbed Blu-ray. Both HD DVD and Blu-ray technologies use blue lasers, which have shorter wavelengths than conventional red lasers and allow discs to store more data, enabling the clearer and sharper pictures of high-definition films and television.Toshiba and disc maker Memory-Tech said they developed a dual-layer ROM (read-only) disc which stores data in the conventional DVD format on the upper layer and content in the HD DVD standard on the lower layer that is further from the DVD player's optical head.

The DVD layer holds 4.7 gigabytes of data, while the HD DVD layer has enough room for 15 gigabytes, the two companies said.

'Thinking Cap' Controls Computer in New Experiment

Four people were able to control a computer using their thoughts and an electrode-studded "thinking cap".

U.S. researchers reported on Monday. They said their set-up could someday be adapted to help disabled people operate a motorized wheelchair or artificial limb. While experiments have allowed a monkey to control a computer with its thoughts, electrodes were implanted into the animal's brain. This experiment, reported in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, required no surgery and no implants.

"The results show that people can learn to use scalp-recorded electroencephalogram rhythms to control rapid and accurate movement of a cursor in two dimensions," Jonathan Wolpaw and Dennis McFarland of the New York State Department of Health and State University of New York in Albany wrote.

Tuesday, December 07, 2004

Microsoft Windows Server 2003 Service Pack 1 Release Candidate 1 (32-bit)

Microsoft posted the RC1 of Service Pack 1 for Windows 2003 server.

It's worth taking a closer look to get up to speed with the enhancements, including the Security Configuration Wizard (SCW) and the Post Setup Security Updates (PSSU). SCW allows for the configuration of roles for a server to ensure that the firewall is configured for this role. PSSU locks down the computer to prevent it being hacked after installation.


File Name: srsp1.exe
Download Size: 31,6343 KB
Date Published: 12/6/2004
Version: SP1

Download: Link
More Info: Link

Note: Beta versions of software are intended only for installation in a test environment.

Yahoo goodies

As strange as it was for consumer electronics giants Philips to re-join the PC market, Yahoo has started branding a few of its own consumer goods.

I was skeptic at first at the idea of seeing a Yahoo DVD player (I mean a Yahoo DVD player!!!) but the designs are really cool.

Monday, December 06, 2004

Trend Micro to launch Mobile Antivirus Software

Trend Micro will become the latest major antivirus software company to provide protection against mobile phone viruses, with new antivirus and antispam software for mobile phones running the Microsoft Windows Mobile and Symbian's operating systems.

The company plans to introduce Trend Micro Mobile Security Version 1.0 and will allow so-called "smart phone" users to download and use the software for Free until June 2005. The product contains protections against mobile threats like the recent Skulls Trojan and Cabir worm, as well as filtering for SMS (Short Message Service) spam, according to a statement.

Trend Micro hopes to attract hordes of new customers who will purchase or receive sophisticated new handsets as gifts during the holiday season, allowing them to install the new Mobile Security product and receive antivirus updates at no cost until June 30, 2005 said Todd Thiemann, director of device security marketing at Trend Micro.

Homepage: Trend Micro Mobile Security

IBM's Cell Microprocessor

When IBM gave a sneak peek at its new Cell microprocessor this week, it was short on specifics about what it calls a supercomputer on a chip. But details are leaking out thanks to a recent patent awarded to IBM and Big Blue's own disclosures for an upcoming conference.

The Cell chips -- jointly created by IBM, Sony and Toshiba -- are expected to have a wide impact on everything from handheld computers to supercomputers. But the biggest potential use is for Sony's PlayStation 3 video-game console, which is expected to debut in 2006. Many analysts believe that if the Cell is successful, it will become the biggest threat to Intel's dominance of the chip industry.

In a disclosure to the International Solid State Circuits Conference, IBM said it has made Cell chips that run at 4.6 gigahertz and operate at 1.3 volts.

That speed is notable in part because Intel canceled its 4-gigahertz Pentium 4 chip this year. IBM earlier in the week would say only that a rack of Cell chips could compute 16 teraflops, or trillions of precision math operations, a second. The world's fastest supercomputer currently deployed in the commercial market is NEC's Earth Simulator, which computes 36 teraflops.

Sunday, December 05, 2004

Firefox is Microsoft's Friend

Dont Believe it... Open up firefox and pass the URL: -

http://http://www.spider.tm

You will find yourself surfing the Microsoft Website.

Infact any site with double http:// prefix ends up at microsoft instead of a invalid URL error.

Saturday, December 04, 2004

MSN Web Messenger

Some long time back I posted a link for an online web based MSN Messenger (Messenger on-the go) however there were concerns on the credibility of this non-Microsoft service would save and use your password.

However, worry not Microsoft now offers the same service MSN Web Messenger and you now know your password is safe. Handy if your corporate environment has blocked the MSN port. You can now beat the administrator ;)

Just make sure to allow pop-ups from the site for it to work.

You will never look at you Inkjet the same way again.

Looking for a place to toss your old inkjet printers? A team of scientists working to create human tissue may have a good use for them. Inkjets that are ten years old, they say, are perfectly suited to create sheets of human skin and other tissue that one day may help burn victims and even manufacture organs.

Vladimir Mironov, director of the Shared Tissue Engineering Laboratory at the Medical University of South Carolina, is one of the scientists who has rigged Hewlett-Packard and Canon inkjet printers to shoot out proteins instead of ink, and to capture tissue on specialized gel instead of paper. Older printers work well because their spray nozzles have larger holes and are less likely to damage fragile cells.

It would be great to have a use for these old printers instead of searching for a place to recycle them safely.

IBM may exit PC business, Up for Sale !!!

International Business Machines Corp. has put its personal computing business up for sale in a deal that could be worth as much as $2 billion, the New York Times reported Friday.

IBM (Research), now the No. 3 PC maker behind Dell Inc. (Research) and Hewlett-Packard Co. (Research), is likely to include all of its desktop and laptop computers in the sale, which could earn it between $1 billion and $2 billion, people close to the negotiations told the newspaper.

Lenovo Group Ltd., China's top PC maker, and at least one other company are said to be in talks with IBM, the Times reported. There have been media reports that Lenovo, which controls more than a quarter of China's PC market, was poised to set up a joint venture with IBM.

Gartner Inc., a leading research firm, forecasted earlier this week that three of the top 10 personal computer makers would exit the market by 2007, citing slower growth rates and narrower profit margins. It did not name any companies.

Despite its large size relative to smaller competitors, Gartner added that IBM and HP's PC divisions were vulnerable to being spun off "if their drag on margins and profitability are deemed too great by their parent companies."

IBM could not be reached immediately for comment

IE losing its market share

All the doomsayers who hoard anti-microsoftism (you are right, it’s not a word) deep within their hearts, rejoice! The market share of Microsoft Internet Explorer has dropped.

More and more people are using alternative browsers like Mozilla’s Firefox and Opera to view the Internet in all its glory.

The total usage share of Microsoft declined 5 percent and the total usage share of Mozilla (the company behind FireFox) increased 5 percent

Yeah, the market share dropped like 5 percent. Microsoft still holds the lead at a comfortable 87-88 percent. Big deal?

Friday, December 03, 2004

'A potential Achilles' heel'

When will the net stop endangering geographical boundaries? This via SQ: 'Former CIA Director George J. Tenet yesterday called for new security measures to guard against attacks on the United States that use the Internet, which he called 'a potential Achilles' heel..."in this age when we still think the Internet is a free and open society with no control or accountability...ultimately the Wild West must give way to governance and control." The director is concerned about more and more organizaitons linking up to the net, making 'the system' vulnerable.

Thursday, December 02, 2004

SANS Top 20 Vulnerabilities - The Experts Consensus

These are the top rated vulnerabilities that folks at FBI found. In fact these are two Top Ten lists, one being for the Windows platform and one for the Unix platform.

Another good thing is that it not only shows the problem, it gives out possible fixes and related links. Comprehensive.

I'd say that this list is not for the casual surfer. Reason? Well, most of the TOP vulnerabilities are for stuff like remote access services or web servers like Apache etc, to name a few. Unless of course you run your own servers or the system registery is your playground, you might find all of the list not that helpful. But as expected, web browsers and email and even messengers are on the list of vulnerabilities. It is worth a look...even an attempt at prevention is always better than the cure.

MSN Messenger 7.0 Beta Open to Public

Microsoft has just opened its "Public" release of MSN Messenger 7.0 Beta.Winks: Express yourself with impact. Send animations with sound to really get some attention. Drag and Drop Backgrounds: See an image you like? Drag it to your MSN Messenger window to set it as your background. Set Status Before Logon: See who's online before others know you've logged in by setting your status! Subsequent logons can start you up in stealth mode. Send Feedback: Tell us what you think. Send the MSN Messenger team feedback right from the MSN Messenger Help menu. Download:MSN Messenger 7.0 Beta

And in other News ...
MSN Spaces is now OPEN for English language. You can easily create and manage your blog from your computer or your mobile phone.

Wednesday, December 01, 2004

Blogging War - Episode 1

According to eWEEK, MSN is set to launch its own blogging service titled MSN Spaces, which will also allow users to share music lists and photo albums easily. MSN previously launched the Japanese version of MSN Spaces, still in the beta version. I'm personally looking forward to MSN Spaces - hopefully they'll introduce features Blogger has yet to offer. I suppose MSN really is feeling the heat, what with Google's purchase of Blogger. After the recent browser and e-mail wars, maybe a blogging war is next?

Why blog?

Why do you blog? To gratify your ego, eliminate frustration or be a wannabe writer? Sounds cynical? This is what John C. Dvorak details in his latest article in PC Mag: The Blog Phenomenon.

NCR: First big-time hire by a tech MNC

NCR, represented in Pakistan by Teradata, have established the first "global consulting" center by a tech multinational. This means that the company no longer just sells software [as most big companies do]. It now supports services for its CRM setup for clients in Middle East, Europe and Africa through skilled techies based in its Islamabad office. 75 locals have been hired and the target is set to reach 150 by next year at the Center of Expertise and Teradata Professional Services. The company also became the first software house to reach CMM Level 5 certification. Sigh. I hope certification speeds up for some players in the industry.

Entries are also invited for the 6th NCR Awards. Deadline: December 22nd. Some categories allow 'self-nomination'. Hurry ;~)