22 February 2007

First Woman to Win Turing Award

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For the first time in the 40 years history of Turing Awards, a woman (Frances E Allen) has won the prestigious computing award.

Turing Awards are considered the "Nobel Prize of Computing". They carry a $100,000 (Rs 4500,000) prize with financial support provided by Intel Corporation.

Since 1966, when the Turing Awards were first instituted, the winners have always been men. With a woman winning the award, this year marks a new beginning.

Frances E Allen (75) has been given the award for her work at IBM on techniques for optimizing the performance of compilers, the programs that translate one computer language into another. Programming code has to be converted into binary zeros and ones that are actually read by a computer's colossal array of miniscule switches.

Allen joined IBM in 1957, when the company was recruiting women by circulating a brochure on campuses that was titled "My Fair Ladies." She joined the company to teach 'Fortran', a revolutionary high-level programming language, to the scientists there.

According to Ruzena Bajcsy, Chair of ACM's Turing Award Committee,
"Frances Allen's work has led to remarkable advances in compiler design and machine architecture that are at the foundation of modern high-performance computing. Her contributions have spanned most of the history of computer science, and have made possible computing techniques that we rely on today in business and technology."

Bajcsy added,
"It is interesting to note Allen's role in highly secret intelligence work on security codes for the organization now known as the National Security Agency, since it was Alan Turing, the namesake of this prestigious award, who devised techniques to help break the German codes during World War II."

Allen, now retired, still plays an active part in programs to encourage girls/women to study Computer Science.

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Asus Reveals Gaming LCD Monitor

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Asus India has introduced its latest gaming LCD monitor, the PG191, which incorporates the power Bass System and the fastest 2 milli-seconds gray-to-gray response time to deliver audio and video performance demanded by hardcore gamers.

The PG191, which is a 19-inch TFT-LCD panel, comes in Black and Silver color along with a Sleek Aluminum alloy neck and circular base and glared panel frame. And for gamers, the display contour is based on stealth bombers, and the subwoofer speakers at the back look like tank cannons.

The PG191 comes with 2.1-channel speakers (2 x 10W speakers and 15W super bass system) to deliver an exhilarating audio experience when battling in the virtual world. And complemented by SRS Lab's Flagship TruSurround XT audio technology, the display supports the latest game titles' 5.1 and 6.1 channel sound standards.

The PG191 incorporates the 'Trace Free' technology, which accelerates gray-to-gray response time to 2 milli-seconds to enable smooth video quality whether it is football matches, 3D gaming, or DVD playbacks.

The built-in 1.3 Web cam and headphones and microphone jacks together offer a total interactive solution for online gaming. Gamers can also battle online, and strategize with teammates through video conference. And the bundled 'Life Frame' video communication software further lets users take snapshots and record video with ease.

The PG191 also offers 6 convenient hot keys to activate its special audio and video modes. There are 5 audio modes, including Standard, First-Person Shooting Games, RPG Games, Theater and Music; and 5 splendid image enhancement modes, which include Standard, Scenery, Night View, Theater, and Gaming.

This LCD monitor also has 'Splendid Video Intelligence' technology that detects activation and usage of video applications, and automatically optimizes image quality for the best visual results. Besides the five modes (Standard, Game, Theater, Scenery, and Night), this innovative technology also enables users to select three skin tone options for the best visual results in different video applications.

The other key features of the PG191 include resolution of 1280 x 1024, 800:1 contrast ratio and 320nits brightness, 3 USB 2.0 ports, touch sensor key controls and power on/off melodies, flexible tilting and swivel angle adjustment, support for both DVI-D and D-SUB inputs, 3-year system and panel warranty, and 1-year Zero Bright Dot Warranty.

Meanwhile, this Asus PG191 LCD monitor will be available in the India market at an approximate end user price of Rs 29,500 plus taxes.

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20 February 2007

You Can Now Click On Your Own Google Ads!

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Google's AdSense is currently a popular service on the Internet because it helps users earn money by placing ads on their websites. Every time a user visits the site and clicks on a Google ad, a certain amount of money is transferred into your account so, more users, more money. Because the service works with financial data, it imposes several terms of service to registered clients that must avoid infringing them or they can get their account banned. One of the most known rules is that users are not allowed to click on their own Google ads because the search giant records the user's IP and, if it's similar with the owner's, it represents a click fraud.

Some time ago, the company released another type of adverts meant to increase their appearance but also display more products and an attractive commercial for a specific solution. Google Video Ads is not being implemented to a limited number of users but some of them are now encountering some simple issues with the adverts. In a discussion published on the WebmasterWorld forum, a webmaster reported that some video ads by Cadillac were included on his site but he avoids clicking on them because he's aware of click fraud. AdSense Advisor, a preferred member of the forum, posted a reply to the message, saying you can play the ads to view the content of the commercial.

The AdSense Advisor said in the WebmasterWorld discussion. Perform an advanced search query SOFTPEDIA
“Actually, you're welcome to watch the click-to-play video ads that appear on your site by clicking the Play button. We want publishers to be able to check the content of video ads playing on their sites, so we only count clicks that lead a user to the advertiser's site, such as a click on the display URL or on the video while it's playing. Clicking only the Play button will let you watch the ad without generating invalid clicks”

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Commercials from Gmail

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Here are the Commercials by Gmail as they have gone free now :D. Have a look and enjoy

Gmail Theater : Act 1 (Why use Gmail)

Gmail Theater : Act 2

Gmail Theater : Act 3

Gmail Theater : Act 4

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Google Search Engine Improved Again

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Google's Search Engine provides access to a variety of functions that help you find multiple types of information using a single keyword typed in the search box. Take the example of the Plus Box that provides you additional details about a website by clicking on the plus sign displayed under the link. Some time ago, the search giant removed map links to other rivals' services to allow you to view a tiny map displaying a certain business. This time, the company updates the search giant with a brand new feature meant to return stock quotes about a specific firm.

The procedure is quite simple: all you need to do is to type your desired keyword, let's say “computers”. After you'll press search, the Google technology will return you multiple weblinks to companies from all around the world. Then, you should be able to see a plus sign connected to the link of the page that provides you stock information given by the Google Finance solution.

“Google tests a new Plus Box for stock quotes. If a site is connected to a business listed on a stock exchange, you'll see a link that says: "stock quote for GOOG", for example. If you expand the box, you'll get information from Google Finance about the stock and the company. Unlike the OneBox results that show up at the top of the search results or at the bottom of the page, Plus Boxes are connected to individual search results and give more information about the context of the site. We can expect to see more expandable boxes in the months to come,” Ionut Alex, Google blogger, sustained about the new function.

This is not the first attempt of the search giant to provide additional results based on the OneBox technology. You can also find more information about music, movies, news, weather, travel, shopping and many other search services designed by Google.

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Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 1.0 Launched

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The first commercial version of Photoshop Lightroom 1.0 has been released by Adobe.

For more than a year, the photographic software has been available as a free downloadable beta. The current beta 4.1 is due for expiry on Feb 28, after which users will have to purchase the full version if they want to continue using it.

The 1.0 version is an improvement over the 4.1 beta in terms of advanced keyword tools in the library module that help photographers filter through large collections; more flexible file handling in the import dialogue that allows greater choice while determining file location; and a new and improved key metadata browser that offers quick access to key information tags, with color labels plus a pick/reject system.

This apart, the develop module now features virtual copies and snapshot tools for providing multiple versions of the same image for comparison, sans the need to save physical versions. Besides, a new tool gives precise control over hue, saturation, and luminance; and Clone and Healing brushes are provided for sensor dust removal.

In Photoshop Lightroom 1.0, support for a number of raw image formats has been added, including those used by Nikon D80 and D40 and Pentax k10D.

The new version runs under Mac OS X 10.4 or Windows XP, and requires: a 1GHz Power PC or an Intel Pentium processor, 768MB RAM, and a 1024 by 768 resolution screen.

The Mac version of Photoshop Lightroom is a universal binary application that runs natively on PowerPC and Intel-based Macs.

The software is available in the US for $199 (Rs 8,955) initially; after April 30, the price will rise to $299 (Rs 13,455). Lightroom will not be included in the current or next versions of Creative Suite, Adobe said.

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19 February 2007

Virtual Reality Goggles for Consoles?

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If you were to see this picture at a distance, you'd probably say that the woman is doing something indecent and her face is partially censored.Well, it's not, you pervert! Yeah, I know I said it but you were thinking it too, all right? All right then. The device looks neither out of the ordinary nor common but everyone can guess what it is. That's right, it's a Virtual Reality device from Icuiti and it's called iWear VR920.

It is said to work on every machine that outputs video and whether it is a laptop, or a gaming console, the iWear VR920 will work the same. Oh, and if you were wondering why is the girl smiling, it's not because she's playing a game and it's fun, she's just been instructed to, she's a model-another reason for which we should believe she's doing anything else except playing a game. I'm kidding...

Anyway, the iWear VR920 will literally let you "step inside" the game as it uses a 3-degree-of-freedom head tracker. Virtual reality is a technology which allows a user to interact with a computer-simulated environment, be it a real or imagined one. Most current virtual reality environments are primarily visual experiences, displayed either on a computer screen or through special stereoscopic displays, but some simulations include additional sensory information.

The simulated environment can be very similar to the real world and sometimes a person's perception of that can be dangerous for them, if the program is running something intense and the person is afraid. Of course, this has nothing to do with getting trapped in Virtual Reality like many movies say, it's just a device that basically projects 360 degrees of environment around you. Icuiti's VR920 is the winner of the 2007 CES innovations award so maybe it's the next big thing concerning gaming.

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Yahoo Plans 100 Entertainment Sites

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The entertainment is surely one of the most popular domains on the Internet because more and more users are attracted by the latest news about celebrities, games, movies and many other topics. Because Yahoo is currently the best portal on the Internet, its entertainment area is improved periodically but now, it seems like it becomes the main concern for the Yahoo's employees. The giant portal now plans to develop almost 100 entertainment sites especially for a single topic such as movies, celebrities, games and television shows.

As you might know, Yahoo currently owns a special page designed for the Nintendo Wii fans that provides quick access to news, photos, videos and other useful information about the game console. The company aims to create 100 more similar services for multiple products, announcing only 6 of them: Harry Potter, The Sims, Halo, The Office, Lost and The Transformers.

Broady said,“We don’t connect the dots for our users around those brands”. The Financial Express reported,
“Brand Universe is designed to fix that problem. What we are really trying to do is create environments where fans of brands can hang out when they are online. Among all the entertainment categories, hopefully, we have found 100 willing partners, but if not, we’ll move on to other brands.”

The Yahoo employee sustained all the topics will be announced next week while all of them will be available by the end of this year. Although the products will attract an impressive number of visitors, the giant portal plans to share the revenue with the brand owners to avoid potential problems caused by the copyright infringement.

If you want to preview the numerous products planned by the giant portal, you can visit the Nintendo Wii page available on this link.

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18 February 2007

Carl Zeiss's 1700mm Telephoto Lens

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Lens manufacturer Carl Zeiss has made one of the world's largest telephoto lenses. I know you are still thinking of it as a "lens", then you're in for some shock. This lens is so big in fact, that you nearly need 10-15 titanium tripods to support it. Weighing about 256 kg (yeah that's KG), this baby has a focal length of 1700mm (over 5.5 feet!), a speed of f/4, and has 21x magnification. It will be displayed in this year's Photokina convention in Cologne, Germany starting September 29.

Based on the company's press release, it sounds like it was custom-built for a client who wanted to shoot wildlife at a distance on the very high-end Hasselblad 203 FE using 6 x 6 medium format film -- in other words, some rich dude might've wanted to impress his girlfriend. No word on if it will be ever made available to us normal people. I didn't even look for the price.

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17 February 2007

Games2win Announces 'Temple of 7'

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Games2win India has announced the launch of 'Temple of 7'.

'Temple of 7' or T7, said to be the first of its kind talent platform for gamers, is a team of professional gamers, exclusively signed up by Games2win in order to compete in all key gaming tournaments in India and abroad, and compete against some of the best teams nationally and internationally.

Alok Kejriwal, CEO and Founder, Games2win.com, says,
"There are talent platforms for all kinds of professionals in India, and given the momentum that gaming is picking up, we believe that the time is right to create a gaming talent platform. Our mission is to make gaming a great profession that gamers, their parents, and society will recognize."

Kejriwal added,
"Indian youngsters who are passionate about gaming need to have their expertise and energy channelized into the right direction, and T7 will do just that. We will provide training, equipment, travel, and boarding for tournaments, and also make sure that our gamers are well represented to corporates for the purpose of sponsorship and endorsement."

T7 has identified two most popular games played in the country, 'Counter Strike' and 'Need for Speed' and the members of T7 team are known as experts at these games.

The T7 gaming clan has Mikhail Mehra, Ben Verghase, Amar Ratnam, Ritesh Shah, and Hasnain Sayed for 'Counter Strike', and Dhruv Mody and Arun Singh Ravi for 'Need For Speed'. Besides, the company says it is constantly enlisting new members in the team.

T7 Need for Speed champion, Dhruv Mody, said,
"Unlike other companies who force gamers to play games they don't want, T7 lets us play the games we want to, this venture is an ideal platform for top gamers across the country, and I am sure T7 will be very popular with gamers across the country."

T7 members sport special gaming gear and T-shirts with logos around Gothic Rock that have an underground look and feel - that have a great youth connect.

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16 February 2007

Five New WM6 Handhelds from i-mate

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I don't know about you but this photo gives me high hopes and a lot of time to think about why i-mate hasn't thought of applying this design line in their handsets. I know they are just renderings and not the real thing but they really look as sweet and beautiful as a handheld can be.

This new series i-mate is going to launch very soon on the mobile market known as the “Ultimate”, a line-up of handsets with pretty much the same spec sheet but with different designs that, hopefully, will satisfy every user’s opinion on how a cellphone should look.

Beginning with the top left one, these are the culprits: the 5150, the 6150, the 7150, the 9150 and the 8150. They will feature the new Microsoft Windows Mobile 6 operating system, will have tri-band 3G radios, Bluetooth 2.0 connectivity and FM radio tuners.

The 5150 already has a leaked photo on his resume (the one you can see on the left) and is the only one with a more detailed spec sheet available. It has an Intel Bulverde 520 MHz processor, quad-band GSM/EDGE, tri-band UMTS/HSPDA, Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/e/i WLAN (according to some sources), 256 MB ROM and 128 MB RAM memory, microSD memory expansion card slot, a 262k colors VGA LCD touchscreen display, miniUSB and Bluetooth 2.0 connectivity, direct XGA video out, a 2 megapixel digital camera and an FM radio, all running smoothly on a Windows Mobile 6 OS.

The 6150 is 15.7 mm thick and adds in a 2.8 inch display, the Ultimate 7150 PC Tablet features a 3.8 inch internal screen, a 2.2 inch external OLED one and measures 18 mm in thickness.

The last two in the Ultimate line-up are the 8150 and the 9150, two handsets that both have a 2.6 inch display and a spec sheet still remaining a mystery(until an official launch that is).

The final word is this: whatever i-mate is doing right now and whatever they work on, they should leave it aside for just one moment and get those pretty looking things on the stores' shelves please.

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LG Unveiled the Internet Loving Smartphone KS10

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If you like the Nokia N80, I'm sure you'll also fancy the looks of the recently unveiled LG KS10 smartphone. It seems to be N80's step brother and this impression will probably follow every one of its future buyers.

However, this is not a thing you should mind because LG has learned its lesson and has come with enough features not to let anyone down. They added to the recipe a Symbian Series 60 operating system (a Nokia favorite as we all know, could this be a coincidence?), a 2, 4 inch QVGA display that is supposed to let the phone's user enjoy a totally new kind of Internet browsing experience with the aid of its advanced browser.

Using this piece of software, you will be able to record browsed web pages, sort and capture web images and according to what LG has said there is a lot more still to be found.

The KS10 also provides a tri-band GSM radio (900/1800/1900 MHz networks), this being a good hint that we're not going to see it on the US market,HSPDA for high data transfer rates of up to 1.8 MB/s, Bluetooth 1.2 connectivity, a built-in music player with support for MP3/AAC/AAC+/WMA audio files, a microSD memory expansion card slot, a 2 megapixel digital camera with auto-focus and a secondary VGA one for video calls.

This spec sheet makes it a good catch for every user with an Internet surfing mania because, if LG's promises are true and it really has “full Internet browsing capability”, you'll be a very happy mobile Internet surfer after buying it.

One thing is for sure: this device looks good enough to catch a lot of attention from the mobile users worldwide and, although its price tag is yet unknown, I bet there will be a lot of you ready to pay the money necessary to get it home.

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15 February 2007

The Empire Strikes PS3, Xbox 360

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Lucas Arts has officially unveiled 'Star Wars: The Force Unleashed', which will be coming to PS3 and Xbox 360, along with versions for PS2, PSP, and DS produced by outside developers.

The company said that 'Star Wars: The Force Unleashed' is the next chapter in the Star Wars saga, which casts players as Darth Vader's 'secret apprentice' and promises to unveil new revelations about the Star Wars galaxy.

'Star Wars: The Force Unleashed', which has been created under direction from George Lucas, is set during the largely unexplored era between 'Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith' and 'Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope'. And in this game, players will assume the role of Darth Vader's apprentice, who is tasked with hunting down the remaining Jedi Knights.

According to Lucas Arts, the game completely re-imagines the scope and scale of the 'Force' by taking full advantage of newly developed technologies that will be seen and experienced for the first time. It has Digital Molecular Matter (DMM) by Pixelux Entertainment and euphoria by Natural Motion. And paired with the powerful Havoc Physics system, these new technologies create gameplay only possible on the new generation of consoles.

The company also explained that DMM incorporates the physical properties of anything in the environment so that everything reacts exactly like it should - wood breaks like wood, glass shatters like glass, plants on the planet Felucia bend like plants on the planet Felucia would, and more. Meanwhile, as a revolutionary behavioral-simulation engine, euphoria enables interactive characters to move, act, and even think like actual human beings, adapting their behavior on-the-fly and resulting in a different payoff every single time.

It is further learnt that the game is Lucas Arts' first internally developed title for next-generation consoles and it represents the first in-game collaboration of talents and technology between Lucas Arts and Industrial Light and Magic.

Meanwhile, 'Star Wars: The Force Unleashed' game will be released in November this year.

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Evangelion NERV mouse

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Although, there's nothing particularly great or exciting about this mouse, anime fans who follow Neon Genesis Evangelion or simply Evangelion will love this mouse. This is because its a mouse branded with the Nerv logo, and a cool red light underneath which is plenty of value for Evangelion fans. Besides this feature, there's nothing else it has to brag about besides the fact that it comes with a 800 dpi optical sensor.

Now you can get your own NERV-inspired mouse, complete with NERV leaf, red laser glow and Apple-ish design for a mere $32 (around Rs.1500)

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Airtel, Reliance Curb roaming Tariffs

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According to reports, both Bharti Airtel and Reliance Communications have reduced roaming tariffs and also scrapped rental rates for roaming services with effect from today, following the guidelines issued by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) last month.

Bharti Airtel, which has slashed roaming charges by 56 percent as compared with the current market rates, hopes that this move will definitely benefit its over 33 million subscribers.

After the reduction, a mobile user on roaming would be charged at Rs.1.40 per minute for making a local call as against existing rates of Rs.2.89-3.09. The charges for making STD calls on roaming would come down to Rs.2.40 per minute and that for incoming calls while roaming will be charged at Rs.1.75 per minute. The current charge for receiving incoming calls and making STD calls while roaming stand at Rs.3.54-3.99 respectively.

Moreover, Bharti Airtel has also waived off the roaming rental of Rs.49 per month along with the charges of the outgoing SMS while roaming that would now cost Rs.2 as against Rs.3.45.

Speaking at the occasion, Sanjay Kapoor, Joint President - Mobile Services, Bharti Airtel, said that they now usher in an era of simplified roaming tariffs wherein all Airtel mobile users will benefit from their seamless network and have the opportunity to make calls while traveling anywhere in India.

In a similar development, Reliance Communications has also reduced roaming charges by up to 44 percent on its pre-paid connections.

After the reduction, the company's local outgoing calls for roaming on mobile and fixed lines stands at Rs.1.40, inter circle outgoing at Rs.2.40, and incoming on roaming at Rs.1.75 per minute. However, Reliance Communications does not charge any roaming fees from their post-paid customers.

It is, meanwhile, learnt that the reduction in tariff is in line with pricing changes ordered by the TRAI in January this year, under which a reduction in roaming tariff of up to 56 percent had been stipulated for operators, besides an abolition of roaming rental charges and surcharge on national roaming services.

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14 February 2007

Casino Royale Chooses Bluray Disc!

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Can't find a good enough reason to opt for PS3? There's one now...

Sony Computer Entertainment Europe (SCEE) will be gifting Blu-ray discs of the latest James Bond flick, Casino Royale, starring Daniel Craig and Eva Green, to the first 500,000 buyers of PS3 - who manage to register it on the PlayStation Network.

The movie will come gift wrapped in a 50GB dual-layer Blu-ray disc, encoded in MPEG-4 AVC with 1080p true HD resolution and uncompressed audio.

Speaking about the offer, Darren Carter, VP Brand and Consumer Marketing, SCEE, said that the PlayStation Network lets loose the broad range of interactive entertainment features of PS3. It is easy to set up, presents free online gaming, has vast tools for staying in touch with friends and family, and comprises a wide variety of content for download through the PlayStation Store.

Carter said that all this and more would enable users experience a whole new world of interactive entertainment, and that is why the company is offering Casino Royale on Blu-ray disc to PS3 owners who register on the PlayStation Network.

Carter added that not only does Casino Royale make the most of the features and capabilities of the Blu-ray format but that it is also one of the most exciting and entertaining movies to debut on Blu-ray this year.

Of course, now that Carter has put it in so many words, one of the scenes in the movie actually features a Blu-ray player...

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13 February 2007

Sandisk 4GB microSDHC

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Feb 13, 2007 Following in the footsteps of Kingmax; Sandisk has also announced its plans to produce 4 GB microSD cards. It was obvious that sooner or later Sandisk would announce its plans but what better way than at the 3GSM in Barcelona.

They haven't declared dates for the release of the cards into the market, but have said that they are still testing the OEM. The testing process is to ensure that phones do not freak out on the insertion of these high capacity cards. These cards will support your multimedia needs in your phones instead of carrying around those USB pen drives.

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Motorola at 3GSM World Congress

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At the ongoing 3GSM World Congress 2007, Motorola has announced a portfolio of devices and solutions that demonstrate the company's leadership in design, music, media, high-speed performance, wireless broadband, and connecting the unconnected.

Starting with, Motorola has unveiled a series of new HSDPA-enabled handsets, including MOTORIZR Z8 and MOTOKRZR K3.

MOTORIZR Z8 provides quick downloads of streamed media via ultra-fast HSDPA technology. It features 16-million color 35x50mm QVGA full screen display, and boasts outstanding video quality playback with speeds of up to 30 frames per second.

The phone, besides allowing users to access BSkyB's Sky mobile content services along with an on-demand library of updating news, entertainment, and sports, provides an access point to Sky's range of live mobile TV services. MOTORIZR Z8 also features the company's first ever 'kick slider', a graceful mechanism that achieves a 'fit-to-face' profile by gliding open in a curve to match the contour of a face. It is expected to be available from April this year.

The new MOTOKRZR K3 features the MOTOKRZR design language, while providing a full multimedia experience through HSDPA connectivity. It is a wireless high-speed multimedia handset, incorporating no compromise use of color, materials, and finish. It is expected to be available in the first quarter of this year.

Motorola has also expanded its award-winning MOTOQ platform with the new MOTO Q q9 and MOTO Q gsm.

MOTO Q q9, which operates on the new Windows Mobile 6 platform with Motorola's Good Mobile Messaging technology, provides easy and intuitive personal and corporate email, as well as Windows Mobile 'PlaysForSure' enabling compatibility with hundreds of music and video stores worldwide.

Built on Motorola's SCPL platform, the MOTO Q q9 is thin, lightweight, with an ergonomically-optimized keyboard and five-way navigation key, and boasts one of the world's smartest screen displays, automatically adjusting to produce the best visual experience, indoor or outdoors. It is expected be available in the second quarter of this year.

Where as, MOTO Q gsm retains all the productivity features and style of the original CDMA-based MOTOQ, while adding a few new twists. It features quad-band GPRS and EDGE capabilities to deliver world-wide connectivity, Windows Mobile 6 software for flexibility and power, as well as a full suite of multimedia and messaging options. It is expected be available in second half of this year.

Motorola has also introduced an expanded MOTOMOBILE portfolio, which now includes features such as megapixel camera, speakerphone, MP3 playback and video functionality, as well as Motorola's CrystalTalk technology, making it easy to hold conversations in noisy environments.

The MOTOMOBILE line up includes Motorola's W510, offering the best in design and value with uncompromised functionality. This stylish clamshell features sleek MOTOKRZR inspired design, and boasts a vibrant 262k color TFT screen.

The company has also announced MOTOSLVR L9, merging powerful multimedia features with its sleek MOTOSLVR form factor. MOTOSLVR L9 provides a rich visual entertainment experience via its 2.0-megapixel camera and full screen landscape playback as well as integrated FM radio with a dedicated key. It is expected to be available in the second quarter of this year.

In addition, Motorola has unveiled MOTORIZR Z6, a multimedia phone with the latest music features and a powerful digital imaging platform. MOTORIZR Z6 is Motorola's first Linux-Java software based handset that incorporates Windows Media technology, allowing users to sync music to their phone from over 200 music stores worldwide.

Lastly, Motorola has announced the T805 and T815, both featuring the company's new MOTONAV solution. MOTONAV adds turn-by-turn GPS navigation to compatible Bluetooth-enabled handsets, providing exact locations, on-screen maps, and turn-by-turn spoken and visual directions.

According to the company, the compact T805 and T815 GPS receivers fit easily in the user's pocket and come complete with a car charger, phone holder, and flexible mounting options. The T805 comes with a 12-month MOTONAV national subscription, while the T815 includes MOTONAV loaded on a memory card.

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Yahoo! Bridges email, IM Divide

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According to reports, Yahoo! has blended its free email and Instant Messaging (IM) services, thus making it simpler for users to chat online from any computer connected to the Internet.

The company said that starting yesterday and continuing over the coming months, Yahoo! will activate this feature for users of the new version of Yahoo! Mail, which is in beta phase but available to all users of the service.

In a statement, John Kremer, Vice President, Yahoo! Mail, said that they are bringing the fun of instant messaging into the e-mail experience. It is about bringing to the masses choices on how they communicate. They are hopefully bridging the gap between email users and IM users, as there is still a chunk of Yahoo! Mail users who are not using IM.

According to Yahoo!, the new feature alerts Yahoo! Mail beta users if their contacts are logged on to Yahoo! Messenger and gives them the option of starting a text chat session from within the mail interface. And if the user is composing an email message but wants to chat instead, Yahoo! Mail can take the text and paste it into the text chat window. Similarly, the chat session can be automatically imported to an email message form.

Kramer added that they are giving users more ways to connect to communities, friends, and peers, and will continue to add more social networking features into Yahoo! Mail. And by referring to features like Web phone-calling that are already part of many IM services, Kramer explained that by allowing users to jump between two modes of communication, they are laying the groundwork for other types of communications.

It is learnt that Yahoo! is in effect moving the mountain of its 250 million Yahoo! Mail users by eliminating the elusive technical distinctions that have separated the two modes of communication and limited the appeal of IM among many users.

Meanwhile, the beta version of Yahoo! mail, which is a free service, offers a number of improvements over the current version, including a more agile interface based on AJAX (Asynchronous JavaScript and XML) that works like a desktop application. It also allows users drag and drop messages into folders, provides a pane to preview message content, and offers the ability to have multiple message windows open.

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Windows Home Server Beta 2 Out

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Microsoft has reportedly released the second beta of its Windows Home Server backup and media server application.

Windows Home Server, first introduced by Microsoft in January at the 2007 International Consumer Electronics Show, is aimed at offering users a new way of connecting and managing Windows Vista-enabled PCs, devices, and printers at homes.

The company said the second beta of Windows Home Server has been made available to the general public only after getting it tested by over 1,000 Microsoft employees, and software and hardware partners.

The first beta release was limited to Microsoft employees and hardware partners, but now with the second beta, it is open to the general public as well.

As the company plans on soon extending the beta program, they have invited interested people to join the second beta testing by signing up for it on the special company site (http://connect.microsoft.com/WindowsHomeServer). However, participants will have to provide their own PCs to run the application.

The first server based on the application will be built by HP later this year, and will be called "HP MediaSmart Server".

Presently, Windows Home Server will be made available only through OEMs, and not directly to consumers. The final availability of Windows Home Server is scheduled for the third quarter of this year.

The company also announced the Windows Home Server Blog, which will be track the progress of the application. Besides, General Manager of Microsoft Windows Home Server, Charlie Kinder, will be maintaining a blog where product information/details will be updated.

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Nvidia Aids Mobiles Evolve into PCs

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In order to meet growing multimedia demands of mobile phone users, Nvidia has unveiled its first application processor, "GoForce 6100".

The "GoForce 6100" is a first for Nvidia, which claims that the processor is a highly integrated and optimized multimedia solution that consumes less than half the power of any applications processor available on the market today.

The "GoForce 6100" has been built to support compute intensive multimedia codecs, as well as a high quality audio subsystem, integrated WiFi, USB 2.0, and more to target the rapidly growing applications processor market.

The "GoForce 6100" promises to be the ultimate platform for exciting and compelling content combined with ultra low power technologies to provide maximum battery life.

Michael Rayfield, General Manager of Handheld Business Unit, Nvidia, said, "Nvidia is uniquely positioned to capitalize on the explosion that this market is about to experience with regards to dramatic changes in how we use, interact, and share multimedia content on handheld devices."

Rayfield added, "Nvidia has been a driving force behind the transformation of the visual experience on computing and consumer electronics devices for over a decade, and as the mobile phone evolves into our most personal of computers, there has never been a better time for us to enter this exciting new space, and deliver on the expectations of the market."

IDC predicts that the market for applications processors is set to more than double in terms of revenue in the next four years, increasing to $3.3billion in 2010 from $1.5billion in 2006.

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Nokia Shining at the 3GSM Show

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At the 3GSM show, Nokia unveiled an array of devices and services, including the next generation of Eseries devices, plus navigation and Mobile TV devices targeted at the mass market to lead the next phase of mobility.

Nokia announced a trio of new Eseries devices, designed for business professionals, including E61i emailer device, E65 slider, and E90 Communicator, each packed with features and using 3G and WLAN technologies plus the flexible S60 software platform. The devices also feature high-quality cameras.

The E90 Communicator is claimed to be an all inclusive business device with advanced technologies, such as HSDPA (High-Speed Downlink Packet Access) and integrated GPS. It is expected to be available during the second quarter of 2007, with volume global availability during third quarter of 2007.

The E65 slider is now available in select markets, with volume availability scheduled for the first quarter of 2007, while the E61i will be available during the second quarter of 2007.

Nokia also released its first mass market navigation-enabled mobile phone, the 6110 Navigator.

Using integrated GPS (Global Positioning System), the phone enables consumers quickly and easily view their current location on map, search for destinations, find specific routes, or locate nearby services such as restaurants, hotels, or shops. In addition, the full turn-by-turn 3D navigation feature suggests the best route using voice or visual instructions on a map. The Navigator phone is expected to begin shipping in the second quarter of 2007.

Another Nokia device unveiled at the 3GSM show is the N77 multimedia phone designed to accelerate the taking-up of DVB-H mobile TV devices. This particular market is predicted to reach between 5 to 10 million units by end of 2008, and around 20 million units by the end of 2009.

The N77 is an easy to use and stylishly mobile TV device featuring a 2.4-inch wide screen with up to 16 million colors, high quality stereo sound, alerts when programs are starting, and a guide to view program information for up to seven days, browse TV channels, and purchase new channels. This device is expected to start shipping during the second quarter of 2007 in countries where DVB-H services are available.

Nokia also launched the Nokia Video Center, an application that brings together all sources of mobile video. The service combines branded video services, Internet videos, and sideloaded videos from the PC in one single place.

According to Nokia, this device will be available globally in markets where Nseries devices are sold. In addition, it will be first pre-installed in the N95, and will then be available for download to other Nseries devices. As of now, the company has tied up with YouTube and Reuters as global content partners.

Apart from this, Nokia also introduced the new 3110 classic, a device with a contemporary design and applications including an FM stereo radio, music player with expandable memory, video ringing tones, and a 1.3 megapixel camera. It offers a wide range of conventional features, and is expected to be available in the second quarter of 2007.

Also unveiled at the show was Nokia Bluetooth Display Car Kit "CK-15W," offering features that enable easy in-car communications. Compatible with the 3110 classic and a wide range of other devices, CK-15W is expected to be available in the first quarter of 2007.

Amongst the array of devices, Nokia also announced the launch of Nokia Intellisync Mobile Suite 8.0 mobileware, claimed to be the industry's most flexible platform, providing mobile email, mobile file and data synchronization, and robust security and device management capabilities to the Eseries and over 100 other devices.

Considered as the most extensive support in the industry, it includes new or enhanced features such as a two-tier licensing model, a new user interface, enhanced mobile security capabilities, and extensive additional language and connectivity support.

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12 February 2007

Titan USB Flash Drive

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Made by creator Slava Tyukalov, the Titan USB flash drive is constructed from a graphite/aluminum composite metal matrix that is traditionally used by NASA and other space agencies. This matrix is then covered in titanium (yes, the same thing that space shuttles are made of) to avoid corrosion.

This makes the drive a waterproof, anti-shock, and anti-static drive that can withstand 2,000 pounds of pressure. The 1GB model costs $197 (about Rs.8900) whereas the 2GB costs $247 (about Rs.11200), which is not that expensive when you consider it's a partially handmade product that is limited to 100 units produced.

No word on the availability in India yet.

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BlackBerry 8800 Debuts Today!

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According to an Associated Press (AP) report, Research in Motion (RIM) is today unveiling a new version of its BlackBerry smart phone.

The all new BlackBerry 8800, the company says, will replace RIM's signature side navigation wheel with a front trackball that first appeared on the 'for consumers' BlackBerry Pearl last year.

The report says the new device will enter a market far more crowded than the one which was prevalent when the BlackBerry 8700 debuted in late 2005.

RIM claims its BlackBerry 8800 is the thinnest BlackBerry till date, measuring a wee 0.55-inch from front to back. The 8800 is also a tad narrower than the 8700 from right to left, although slightly taller.

Besides, it has the ability to pick up signals from Global Positioning System (GPS) satellites for location tracking, as it comes installed with BlackBerry Maps, an application that can use GPS signals to provide driving directions plus integrate with other applications such as sending a map via e-mail.

The BlackBerry 8800 also comes with a media player and an external storage slot for removable microSD memory cards.

In a statement, Jim Balsillie, Co-Chief Executive, RIM, said it was not a tough decision to switch to the front trackball and ditch the traditional sidewheel, which has been used to scroll through e-mail on every BlackBerry model except the Pearl since the BlackBerry and its predecessors were introduced in the 1990s.

Balsillie added that the response to the trackball has been universally positive, and that 80 percent of non-phone usage on the Pearl involves multimedia applications rather than traditional BlackBerry e-mail. If it is just messaging, users need to do only up-down, and left-right. But if they are doing multimedia, the navigation aspects become more important.

Meanwhile, the BlackBerry 8800, which will be available in the US through AT&T's Cingular Wireless starting February 21 this year, is priced at $300 (Rs 13,246 approx) and will come with a two-year contract commitment. According to RIM, the phone will be available from a variety of carriers world-wide beginning this month.

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