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Comments

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Why Portland Should Have Kept Its Water, Urine and All

140Mandak262Jamuna Where do the fish go? (210 comments)

Does the Portland city water supply reservoir has special aqua johns for all the fishes and frogs and all sorts of things that live there? And where do *they* go?

9 hours ago
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New 'Google' For the Dark Web Makes Buying Dope and Guns Easy

140Mandak262Jamuna Good. (145 comments)

Now the FBI and the Sheriff would be able to set up stings more efficiently. If they ever got around to learning how the tubes connecting the computers work.

yesterday
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The Design Flaw That Almost Wiped Out an NYC Skyscraper

140Mandak262Jamuna What happened to that undergrad? (170 comments)

When did (s)he graduate? Where did (s)he end up? Doesn't (s)he deserve at least a minor credit in this story?

2 days ago
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For $20, Build a VR Headset For Your Smartphone

140Mandak262Jamuna uh uho. problems.. (46 comments)

Rounded rectangles. Violates Apple patents. Regular rectangles.. Violates Microsoft Win8 design patents.

2 days ago
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Americans Uncomfortable With Possibility of Ubiquitous Drones, Designer Babies

140Mandak262Jamuna Re:Personal Drones (153 comments)

Now let us add a constitutional amendment to correct the second amendment.

A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people, who are properly trained to use guns, to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

I am sure you would agree to the idea of a gun license to keep arms, right mate?

2 days ago
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Mercedes Pooh-Poohs Tesla, Says It Has "Limited Potential"

140Mandak262Jamuna Re:Tesla needs just a few more things (353 comments)

Excellent summary of conventional wisdom. Emphasis is on the *conventional* part rather than wisdom part. Tesla has shown that conventional wisdom is often wrong. The situation is ripe for changing.

The automobile is the second most expensive things 95% of the consumers buy, after their home. The car is not driven for 95% of its life. 15000 miles a year, 50 mph speed, works out to 300 hours of driving a year, or less than 1 hour a day. The time between trips is long enough for recharging at home for 95% of the trips. Consumer attitude can change very rapidly but the car replacement cycle is typically 4 to 6 years. You don't need the second car to be a gasoline car. This reality will sink in. After losing 50% of the market to electrics, with similar production sizes, economies of scale and amortizations electrics will pose a very significant challenge in the "at least the first car must be gasoline car" segment.

2 days ago
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Mercedes Pooh-Poohs Tesla, Says It Has "Limited Potential"

140Mandak262Jamuna Re:Mercedes, BMW engineers are dimwits. (353 comments)

I am a BMW owner and am planning to replace my Prius with i3. My biggest beef is: No body thought of replacing the first gear with electric motors. Electric motors produce maximum torque at zero rpm. IC engines can not run below a certain RPM. Reducing the operating RPM range of IC engines gives the engineers to maximize other things like power or fuel economy or throttle response etc. The torque convertor, slipping clutch and other purely mechanical solutions posed constraints on the IC engine.

A pure electric first gear would marry the best torque range of electric motors would free the IC engine of its low end torque requirements. No battery, no regenerative braking or fancy nancy stuff. Just a super sized alternator and a supersized starting motor, some mechanical linkages, clutches to get the damned car to second gear speed. Subaru is apparently coming out with something like this.

I know I am playing the Monday morning quarterback with 20-20 hindsight. But I am not a professional auto engineer. I am just a run of the mill rocket scientist. They should have seen it. They should have at least produce experimental concept cars like that.

2 days ago
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Mercedes Pooh-Poohs Tesla, Says It Has "Limited Potential"

140Mandak262Jamuna Mercedes, BMW engineers are dimwits. (353 comments)

These guys were having pissing contest about 0 to 60 mph times. Fighting for fractions of seconds. Both companies were making engines bigger and bigger in an effort to shave a few milliseconds. They have gone far beyond the point of marginal returns. Their hot rods were merely some skin strapped on to these enormous engines.

Not a single one of them thought of adding an electric motor to go from 0 to 2 mph.Going from 2 mph to 60 using IC engines would be a cinch. They could reduce the weight of the engine, they did not have to engneer them to have enough torque at the low end to get the car off to start. The optimization curves will be totally different, and they could have gotten whole seconds shaved off. Like Tesla showed them when it debuted.

They saw diesel electric locomotives replace steam engines in just one decade in 1950s. They know how well electric motors work as traction motors. We are not talking about battery cars, electric cars or even hybrids. Simple lead-acid battery with enough juice to pull the car from rest to 2mph may be five times. Total battery capacity less than half a mile of range. This they could have done back in the 1960s. They could have had the bragging rights on the quarter mile time and 0 to 60 time pissing contests. But no. They did not think of strapping a small motor to remove the low end torque requirement in their ic engines.

They were very straight jacketed think with in the box conformists. May be these mechanical engineers hated the electrical engineers and did not want them anywhere near their crown jewel the power train of the automobile.

3 days ago
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Astronomers Solve Puzzle of the Mountains That Fell From Space

140Mandak262Jamuna Re:Quite interesting (51 comments)

That moon is too small to have strong gravitational field gradient to stretch any object into a long string.

The best source of large number of smaller meter sized rocks aligned in a long line is the rings of Saturn nearby. Since the moon is tidally locked to Saturn, and its orbit is oblique, if it passes the rings it would possibly pass at the same angle and same orientation every time. If it keeps picking up stuff from the rings, it could provide the source rocky rain drops all meter size or smaller that all will accumulate at the same place. It gels with their theory. Need to go back and read to see if they were speculating the rings to be the "source" of mountain that fell from the sky.

3 days ago
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Astronomers Solve Puzzle of the Mountains That Fell From Space

140Mandak262Jamuna Quite interesting (51 comments)

The explanation is interesting. The moon is half the diameter of our moon, which means 8 times smaller in volume, and possibly mass. Tidally locked to a much bigger planet Saturn, compared to earth. The only thing against "mountain range fell from the sky scenario" is that, we normally do not see 1300 km long objects in space that are just 10 to 15 km in diameter. One possibility is that a loosely accreted comet was pulled into a long string by the gravity of Saturn, (Remember? the Schoemaker - Levy comet colliding with Jupiter was pulled in to a string of rocks. ). And this moon got in the way and got whacked in the process. May be the accretion of matter into a spherical moon did not quite achieve completion.

Till we see 1300km long and 10 to 10 km diameter asteroids in space, we just have to file it under, "it is the best we could do, under these circumstances".

4 days ago
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Student Records Kids Who Bully Him, Then Gets Threatened With Wiretapping Charge

140Mandak262Jamuna Hit the school where it hurts. (793 comments)

Suspend it from foot ball league. As long as we value football trophies more than the mental health of the students, this will continue to happen.

Even though the recordings have been deleted, the officials can be called in and to testify what they saw. The teacher who was allegedly present in these bullying sessions can be called in to testify. Collect evidence of bullying and have the school suspended for three years. That will teach them.

4 days ago
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The Security of Popular Programming Languages

140Mandak262Jamuna Mean number of vulnerabilities is a good metric? (188 comments)

When you reduce a complex issue to just one number, like "mean number of vulnerabilities", it is often an over simplification. It is tempting to think it is better than nothing. But are we really better off making decisions based on an overly simplified view of things?

One bug that allows silent remote code execution on the WAN side and another bug that is a privilege escalation possibility on the LAN can not be treated as one bug each, right? This is not limited to just security vulnerabilities alone. Many software company top managers insist on looking at bug counts, sometimes sorted into 5 priority/severity levels or so.

It gets worse in the planning and progress monitoring. They use fancy tools like rallydev.com or something, but they allow each team to define its own story points. The Bangalore team uses 1 story point = 1 engineer week. The Boston team uses 1 story point = 1 engineer day. The Bangkok team uses engineer hour. And the top management gets the report, "This SAGA feature story was estimated to take 3264 story points, and it is 2376 points complete". Complete b.s. that is.

We pay ridiculously high salaries for the top management, and instead of expecting them to put in the time, energy and effort commensurate with that kind of pay, to make valuable judgement, hard decisions, step on people's toes, tell it like it is, and paint an accurate picture of the state of the company, we let them shirk their responsibilities.

5 days ago
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Slashdot Asks: How Do You Pay Your Taxes?

140Mandak262Jamuna Re:Grudgingly reluctantly... (385 comments)

The "givers" were the beneficiaries of investment done by the government. By the earlier generation of tax payers. A venture capitalist might fund 10 or 15 projects, hoping to strike it rich on one or two and be willing to write off as a loss the remaining projects. Same way, all the investment government did in establishing the rule of law, investments in irrigation projects, road projects, public education, very long term R&D, etc are all partly responsible for the success of the makers and the givers. Of course many of the makers worked hard and were very resourceful. But not all, some were lucky, some inherited their wealth.

So all in all, it is a fair system where the successful people of one generation, pay the dividends to the original investor, Uncle Sam, so that the gig can keep going for another generation.

You car argue about what is the fair split, what part goes to Uncle Sam and what part the "makers" get to keep etc. And you need to keep the Uncle Sam's part low enough to encourage innovation and hard work and enterprise. But at the same time, you need to watch out for people who would game the system and try to dodge paying their fair share. Making blanket statement that all taxation is theft is dumb.

Anyway that is what I believe in and vote accordingly. You may think differently and vote according to your belief. I think the system is fair and I am staying here. If you think the deal offered by the USA is not good enough for you, pack your bags and leave. Good riddance.

5 days ago
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Netflix Gets What It Pays For: Comcast Streaming Speeds Skyrocket

140Mandak262Jamuna When it looks hopeless ... (325 comments)

I listened to the NPR piece on the netflix band width consumption. Looks like most in the media do not get the basic issue of "truth in labeling". If Comcast sells 6 Mbps connection and does not deliver it, it is no different from Subway foot long sandwich being 11 inches long or the net weight of a bag of potato chips being less than the weight marked on the package. Either they don't get it, or they are paid not to "get" it.

But when it looks hopeless, just remember the dark days of Microsoft monopoly. By 1998-2000 time frame, Microsoft could kill projects and make venture capital vanish for its upstart competition just by issuing press release about vaporware. It really did look hopeless back then, how any one could fight that behemoth. Now Microsoft is still pulling in huge revenues, but it does not look like the unbeatable titan it was seen to be.

Right now, the last mile wiring cost is so high, Comcast has this monopolistic advantage. But wireless-in-the-loop (WITL fiber optics to neighborhood pillar boxes, and wireles from there) technology or micro cell or femto cell networks or something we don't know yet might come in and upset the apple cart for Comcast. WITL is quite effective for sparsely populated rural areas and is quietly building up strength and robustness there. If/when it transitions to compete with wired connections to homes, it could prove to be effective.

Only thing that will save us is competition.

5 days ago
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Slashdot Asks: How Do You Pay Your Taxes?

140Mandak262Jamuna Grudgingly reluctantly... (385 comments)

That is how I pay my taxes. But I do pay them. That is how I pay my taxes. I do not see taxation as theft, as many conservatives, libertarians claim. I see government as a long term venture capitalist, who invests in the entire next generation of America. Some of them will strike it big, and others will strike out. If I am one of the fortunate group that was able to take full advantage of the investment the government made in me, investments that protected my earning potential and my property rights, then the tax I pay is just dividend to the venture capitalist. So despite all the reluctance and the pain associated with parting with my money, I know it is the right thing to do. The government investment in the next generation depends on it. I can invest better on my children, and the government investment is creating competitors to my children. If I believed in Social Darwinism, I will fight taxes tooth and nail. But I believe human beings should rise above this level of self interest and pay the taxes. --

5 days ago
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How Amazon Keeps Cutting AWS Prices: Cheapskate Culture

140Mandak262Jamuna Reluctantly, grudgingly, (146 comments)

That is how I pay my taxes. But I do pay them.

I do not see taxation as theft, as many conservatives, libertarians claim.

I see government as a long term venture capitalist, who invests in the entire next generation of America. Some of them will strike it big, and others will strike out. If I am one of the fortunate group that was able to take full advantage of the investment the government made in me, investments that protected my earning potential and my property rights, then the tax I pay is just dividend to the venture capitalist.

So despite all the reluctance and the pain associated with parting with my money, I know it is the right thing to do. The government investment in the next generation depends on it. I can invest better on my children, and the government investment is creating competitors to my children. If I believed in Social Darwinism, I will fight taxes tooth and nail. But I believe human beings should rise above this level of self interest and pay the taxes.

5 days ago
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IRS Can Now Seize Your Tax Refund To Pay a Relative's Debt

140Mandak262Jamuna So we are going to let the banksters off the hook. (630 comments)

It is really sad that IRS, in its bumbling bureaucratic wisdom, enforces the law passed by congress critters to the letter and gets all the bad rap. Most of it, richly deserved. But it is also prone to be gamed. All those banksters and hedge fund managers who caused the financial collapse argued, "contract is a contract and my promised bonus must be paid" and got paid for their misdeeds on top of that. They all know what shenanigans they had pulled. They would jump at any opportunity to mess with the statuette of limitations and shorten it. I am sure, when it is all said and done, the time period will be shortened to six or seven years and these billionaire cheaters will get off the hook, again.

5 days ago
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Using Supercomputers To Predict Signs of Black Holes Swallowing Stars

140Mandak262Jamuna Ah! Now it makes sense. (31 comments)

There was a electromagnetic simulation software called Ansoft-HFSS. Most structures it dealt with were IC chips, packages, PCBs and antennae. Most of these were drawn in microns, or mils (milli inches, don't ask), mm or at the most in meters. But the drop down box for unit selection went all the way to light years. I thought must be some inside joke, some user must have complained some unit was not available and the developer, in a fit of indignation, must have added every damned length units he/she could find. Now it makes sense. You can use that software to simulate black holes gobbling up stars.

about a week ago
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Why the IETF Isn't Working

140Mandak262Jamuna Re:Private sector and efficiency. (103 comments)

Actually it is a lot more funny than this. You are only looking at crony capitalism of railroads. Expand your horizons to include transportation in general.

In the 1700s canals were the big thing. A nearly bankrupt Brit baron built a canal to deliver his coal to a harbor and became fantastically rich. Then there was this canal building boom. Eminent domain to take land and give to canal companies, tax incentives, tax abatements. Lots of speeches about how canals are going to create jobs and development would pass the city by, unless the poor, the unwashed and the indigent chip in to pay taxes. Canals were built. Early canals really created prosperity. But almost all the late canal extensions were boondoggles.

Then the railroads came in. The canal companies hated the railroad companies. Canal towns created stumbling block for the railroads. Local ordnances, zoning rules, misinformation campaigns. Rail roads passed the canal towns by. You can still see quaint little abandoned villages and hamlets all along the Erie canal untouched by progress. Rail road barons, who were canal barons earlier, ran the same damned schemes all over again. They got so egregious their exploits are more remembered than their fore runners in the canal era.

What is history if it does not repeat itself. When Eisenhower kicked off the interstate highway construction boom, the railroad towns fought the highways tooth and nail. But high ways also had powerful cronies based on the illegal cartel of Firestone, Ford Motor Company and Standard Oil. So railroads towns did not win completely. But there are hundreds of railroad towns like Altoona PA that made sure no high ways come close to them. Altoona with its location on strategic location in the Appalachia is still holding on to rail roads because almost all the East-West rail road traffic must go through that town. But it made sure I-76 came nowhere near it. Till data all auto traffic between Harrisburg and Pittsburgh curve sixty miles south to avoid Altoona. https://www.google.com/maps/@4... (The mountains in between are not the issue. All the railroads go through Altoona. The passage has been graded ages ago, with bridges too. Would have been cheaper to build the new highway through Altoona. But the resurrected the old turn pike)

America has always been afflicted by this crony capitalism. But our Democracy was bringing sanity and regression to the mean, till about 1980s. Then Reagan came, and they perfected the art, nay science, of persuading folks like our friend roman_mir to vote against their own self interest. No wonder we are going down the drain now.

about a week ago

Submissions

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Slashdot Beta. How to filter ? How to get to my comment?

140Mandak262Jamuna 140Mandak262Jamuna writes  |  about 2 months ago

140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) writes "1. In the slashdot beta I don't see the knob that lets you see more stories or less. Did I miss something, and it is under some obscure icon? Or is it gone?

2. When I post a comment, I often go my profile, find my latest comments, expand the threads there to see if there are any follow ups. In beta I am not able to get to my comment. It gives me the whole story. Will there be a link to a specific comment and the local view of that thread alone?"
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Facebook + Instagram asking for photo IDs

140Mandak262Jamuna 140Mandak262Jamuna writes  |  about a year ago

140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) writes "Apparently Facebook and Instagram are asking their account holders to verify their identity using government issued photo ids that include their full name and date of birth. Your account has been secured and requires account validation. Please login to Instagram.com from your desktop computer to validate your identify. is the message they are getting, according to CNET. CNET is speculating that it is an attempt by these companies to crack down on underage users because they are worried about the liability.

And here in slashdot we are obsessing with privacy and google getting to collect so much of info etc etc. Out there there are people who seem to be willing to upload their IDs to these sites, and think it is a fair price to pay for these services. Is there a site that will give a fake photoshopped government issued ID to upload to such services?"

Link to Original Source
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Indian engineering students develop solar powered moped

140Mandak262Jamuna 140Mandak262Jamuna writes  |  more than 2 years ago

140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) writes "The Tamil language newspaper news item reads, "Two engineering students [name, college] have developed a moped that runs on electricity charged by solar panels. It takes 8 hours to be fully charged. It has a range of 35 Km (19 miles). The moped is built entirely using parts salvaged from scrap yards. Commuters can charge it while working and return home. With more than 8 hours of power cut in the grid, ability to charge using solar panels is indispensable. It costs 60,000 Indian Rupees (1250$) and we hope to reduce the price down to 25,000 Rs (500$) in mass production".

If it takes 1250$ using scrap yard salvaged parts, I am not sure how it is going to be 500$ in mass production. But still it is a good attempt and a nice project for engineering college students."

Link to Original Source
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IE slips to third place in w3schools.com

140Mandak262Jamuna 140Mandak262Jamuna writes  |  more than 2 years ago

140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) writes "Well, w3schools visitor profile is not the generic run of the mill net surfer. It is a little skewed towards web developer community. That also makes it a leading indicator of shifts in the web user profiles. In April 2011, IE has slipped to third place after Firefox and Chrome."
Link to Original Source
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Digg overrunn with spammers!

140Mandak262Jamuna 140Mandak262Jamuna writes  |  more than 3 years ago

140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) writes "Conservative activists have been caught banding together to digg or bury news stories of the progressives. Blogger oleoleolson writes in alternet: A group of influential conservative members of the behemoth social media site Digg.com have just been caught red-handed in a widespread campaign of censorship, having multiple accounts, upvote padding, and deliberately trying to ban progressives. An undercover investigation has exposed this effort, which has been in action for more than one year. The article details the modus operandi of the net-mob. http://blogs.alternet.org/oleoleolson/2010/08/05/massive-censorship-of-digg-uncovered/"
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Why Chrome browser chokes on text files?

140Mandak262Jamuna 140Mandak262Jamuna writes  |  more than 3 years ago

140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) writes "I am trying to use Chrome to display some text files with non standard extensions (or no extensions like Imakefile). All the browsers handle this nicely. But Chrome keeps throwing up the file save dialog instead of just rendering the damn file with some fixed with font. Others are also reporting the same issue. Wondering why Chrome made it so difficult? I tried to make Chrome the default file handler for text files, (instead of notepad) that did not help. How does Firefox detect the file:/// resource is text file and displays it without fuss? Where is the file extension and mime type association defined for Chrome? "
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"Blaming IE is simplistic" says PCMag.

140Mandak262Jamuna 140Mandak262Jamuna writes  |  more than 4 years ago

140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) writes " PC Magazine is defending Internet Explorer with this piece contending the browser is merely a messenger and there could be more holes, and blaming IE is simplistic and provides a false sense of security.

It is worth noting that Kurtz used the phrase "one of the malware samples", implying that there are others and that additional attack vectors may be involved. There is a fair chance that Internet Explorer is not alone in enabling the attacks.

It concludes:

The main thing to keep in mind is that these attacks go beyond Internet Explorer and that simply switching browsers is not an adequate defense. Kurtz sums it up on his blog "The world has changed. Everyone's threat model now needs to be adapted to the new reality of these advanced persistent threats. In addition to worrying about Eastern European cybercriminals trying to siphon off credit card databases, you have to focus on protecting all of your core intellectual property, private non-financial customer information and anything else of intangible value."

"

Link to Original Source
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HP ships Linux on its netbooks quietly

140Mandak262Jamuna 140Mandak262Jamuna writes  |  more than 4 years ago

140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) writes "HP is including Linux in its 110 series of netbooks that are shipping now. It goes by various names QuickWeb or Instant Web. When you power on these netbooks, they boot into a splashtop linux instance. The OS is locked down and only the predefined applications could be run. They are browser, photo viewer, music player, skype and some file browser to view files on USB drives. WiFi works. Then if the you want Windows7 or WinXP, you press a button and the machine boots to a full Windows machine.

The Linux part can not see the hard disk of the machine. I just got the machine yesterday and have not poked around much to know how much it can be hacked. The browser is Firefox, I have not even checked to see if I can install noscript on it.

For most users of netbook, this is a very good deal. When you are in a public wifi in a coffee shop or an airport, you are guaranteed not to pick up a virus. I am not saying Linux is more secure or FireFox is more secure. Simply if you stay within QuickWeb or InstantWeb, there is no way any file can be written to the Windows disk at all!

This is such a big brand differentiation and it can be touted to high degree. But HP for some strange reason is very quiet about this feature in its ads and press releases. From business stand point, every company would strive for brand differentiation so that they dont compete on price alone. Quite strange HP is so silent about it. People are spending on purchase and subscriptions to antivirus software. All that revenue could be targeted by selling a device that is guaranteed not to be infected. Once many users realize that they rarely boot to full windows, they and their circle of friends and family would become more receptive to cheaper plain net access devices in various form factors.

I am very sure Microsoft is giving HP hell for this move behind the scenes. Is it the first sign of PC vendors growing a back bone? Or the lackluster promotion of this feature bodes ill for such an experiment? I wonder."
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The Levy has broken or is it a storm in a tea cup?

140Mandak262Jamuna 140Mandak262Jamuna writes  |  more than 4 years ago

140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) writes " Wall St Journal is reporting that Sony has decided to install Chrome browser as the default in its line of PCs. Though I have never been impressed by the Vaio line or its reliability, this is the first time a major PC vendor has decided to install something other than Infernal Exploder. I have always wondered what was keeping all the major vendors in line with Microsoft. Given the fierce competition between the vendors, at least one would have embarked on a strategy to position their line as the more secure one, with Firefox as the default browser. At least one should have decided not to compete on price alone and used something to differentiate their product line from the rest in the market. But none did. Till now. Is it the first levy to break? Or is it a company in trouble, i.e. Sony, trying to wring some money from some one with some cash lying around i.e. Google?"
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Port 4567 on Verizon FiOS routers

140Mandak262Jamuna 140Mandak262Jamuna writes  |  more than 5 years ago

140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) writes "I got my home connection upgraded to Verizon FiOS. I am getting a blazing fast connection 20Mbps clocked by three different sites. But one important thing about it is that, the router/modem that must be used for this is supplied by Verizon and it leaves port 4567 open on the WAN site. Quick googling shows that it is a port used by Actiontec, OEM vendor to Verizon, to upgrade the firmware automatically. The router is, in fact, running a server and presents a user name password dialog to the whole world. I used Grc.com to verify that the port is really open to the entire world, not just to the Verizon servers alone.

Though Actiontec claims this port could not exploited I have quite a few concerns about it. If that password is cracked, hackers can upload a cracked version of the firmware and disable all protections at the router. I tried putting another router behind the verizon router but then my speed drops to 10Mbps. Thinking of getting a switch with firewall or configure the second router as a switch to protect my computers in case the Verizon router gets hacked.

I really would like to know the protections against password cracking on the router. How many failed logins are allowed per minute, per hour, per day, per week? Verizon knows which of its banks of servers are authorized to upgrade the firmware on the routers. Should it simply filter out all traffic to these ports originating from any other IP address? And why is the firmware upgrade initiated by an inbound call? Why cant the routers initiate a peridic check and look up their home servers and get a firmware upgrade? I don't like the way Verizon is implementing the automatic firmware upgrade. I fear someday soon somebody is going to crack that password and the hackers are going to get a million bots all with 20 Mbps connection to the world. Even if you are not a Verizon FiOS customer, you will be affected then."
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Firefox respecting Internet Explorer settings?

140Mandak262Jamuna 140Mandak262Jamuna writes  |  more than 5 years ago

140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) writes "I have been using Firefox for a long long time. I also cripple the internet explorer in my home machines. Apart from hiding all the buttons and the address bar I use the tools/options to set the security level to the highest even for trusted zones etc. Just the basic paranoia, some hole in pdf reader or flash would let IE to be invoked and get to run ActiveX, so stop it. I have always been able to download software Gimp, OO, Firefox updates etc etc without any problems using FireFox.

Recently I had to install a MSFT software, PhotoStory, (for a child, school project, don't ask and get me steamed up again) and I found that even using Firefox, the software would not download and issue an error about security policy prevents the download. OK, this is MSFT, what to do? Brought up IE, set the privileges to default, downloaded the software and restored the status quo ante after download. But still I was irritated by the fact that MSFT is making Firefox respect the security zone settings for IE.

Yesterday I wanted to try the new video/audio chat through gmail. This time Google software that is needed to access the webcam and the microphone refused download with the same warning. Now Google too is making FireFox respect the stupid "security zone" based privileges. Why? How? Why do OpenOffice, Gimp etc download executables but Google and MSFT somehow make FireFox respect that security policy from IE?

(BTW, the gmail chat requires me to grant permissions to Flash to access my WebCam and microphone. No way, Jose. The menu items in flash settings asking for permission to access WebCam and the microphone have always bothered me. )"
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Privacy concerns with social networking sites

140Mandak262Jamuna 140Mandak262Jamuna writes  |  more than 4 years ago

140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) writes " This company tries to become a social website by allowing its registered users to construct their family trees. The idea seems to be once a vast tree is created the users will be able to find their rich and famous relatives etc. I could imagine this being a very useful service to many people. One of my relatives added my name to his tree and geni created an account in my name and added me to the tree and notified me about it. The email had options to opt out of more spam from them. I had a talk with my relative and expressed my concern about adding vast quantities of private info about our lives to a searchable, indexable database owned by some for-profit company over which we have absolutely no control. As it is the net has so much of our public information. Why compound the problem by adding our private information as well?

Looks like it had an impact and my relative decided to close his account and destroy the tree. But geni claims they need my permission to destroy my account. Is it reasonable for a company that bribes its users with free family tree service in exchange for private info about people to follow a opt-out policy? Shouldn't they be required to notify me and get my consent before they add my name? I have received invites from other social networking sites, but they all require me to create an account first. If I ignore the email, I hope, they would not add me to their databases. Probably they will just sell my email address to spammers and stop with that.

I believe there is neither a technological or legal solution to this problem. A new geni.com could easily be run by Russian mafia outside US borders and thumb their noses at us. I think the only solution is social. They are using social engineering to pry private info from the public by offering some service or the other for free. We need to educate the public about the implications of succumbing to the temptations by them. Today if I set up a stand in a fairground and ask people to give the names, addresses and phone numbers of their relatives and friends in exchange for small token gifts the response would not be overwhelming. Somehow people believe it is wrong to tell strangers such information. But set up the same stand in the internet and people are punching in the email addresses of their friends and relatives like gangbusters. What would it take to educate the public about the menace to privacy these companies pose?"
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Add Confusion to FUD. OpenDocument Foundation

140Mandak262Jamuna 140Mandak262Jamuna writes  |  more than 6 years ago

140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) writes "Yesterday in Slashdot we saw the first story about a misleadingly named organization "OpenDocument Foundation" abandoning Open Document Format for something else. Even a few slashdotters were confused initially, then a little digging revealed, that this organization had nothing to do with the founding or support of OpenDocument Format. They turned out to be a couple of shills for MSFT without event the proverbial garage. But the other news organization too are trumpeting around that ODF has been abandoned by its own founders. Story 1 and story 2 and story 3.

We know MSFT has the track record of deliberately confusing issues. It misleadingly named its format OOXML, trying to make the less informed think it is OpenOfficeXML while saying with innocent face it stands for OfficeOpenXML. It tried to buy votes in the ISO committee. Now either it promoted these shills or these shills are hoping to win favor from MSFT.



Will this back fire, the way the ISO committee vote back fired? Do we need to update the FUD=Fear Uncertainity Doubt with Confusion? Or do we wait till we get proper words beggining with K and E could also be added with just cause and make the acronym truly FUC D?"
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Inject mechanism to replace hypodermic needles

140Mandak262Jamuna 140Mandak262Jamuna writes  |  more than 6 years ago

140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) writes " Cnet is reporting a new drug delivery mechanism adapted from ink jet printers by HP.

The article says, "The company is licensing a medical patch it has developed to Ireland's Crospon that potentially can replace hypodermic needles or pills for delivering vaccines or other types of medication to patients. The patch contains up to 90,000 microneedles per square inch, microprocessors and a thermal unit."

I remember inkjet printer works by heating the ink, so much so that it is ejected in an micro explosion from the nozzle. I wonder how many drugs can still be potent after being subjected to that kind of heat and pressure. Still it could turn out to be useful mechanism for some drugs. But wait till the refurbished medicine cartridge makers to enter the market if you want it at a cheaper price. ;-)"
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Will Google lose its trademark?

140Mandak262Jamuna 140Mandak262Jamuna writes  |  more than 6 years ago

140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) writes "Once upon a time, Google was the new kid on the block in the search engine arena. Then it became the big kahuna of that area. There was a time when using google as a verb would have brought a smile. But now every body and his brother and even the prim and proper, stiff upper lip and what not types like the Deputy Attorney General Ronald Smetana are using it as a verb. The quotes have been dropped, the capitalization still persists as some vestigial token acknowledging it as a neologism.

Already a number of dictionaries define google as a plain English word. If OED or some such big name dictionary includes it, would Google lose its trademark? Does Google have lawyers who assiduously take steps to protect its trademark and not allow it to become a generic word to mean "search the internet"? Didn't Xerox lose its trademark or came close to losing it? Imagine a world where Microsoft Live could be branded as "Microsoft Live Google"!"
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Coming to a word processor near you: Ads!!

140Mandak262Jamuna 140Mandak262Jamuna writes  |  more than 6 years ago

140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) writes "Microsoft is planning a version of Works (its stripped down office package) that is ad supported . Works is usually part of the crapware preinstalled by many OEM vendors. Though it is supposed to sell for 40$ or so, I don't know anyone who bought MS-Works.

There is this ambiguous statement in the article, "Melissa Stern, Sr Product Manager for Microsoft, said the program will display advertisements when Works is being used online or off. The ads will be based on what the users are doing with the software, not the content they might be typing into a word processor."

Looks like MSFT believes that users will be using the word processor to do other things than typing stuff in it."
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JKRowling, Goblins and *IAA

140Mandak262Jamuna 140Mandak262Jamuna writes  |  more than 6 years ago

140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) writes "In the latest book, The Deathly Hallows by JKR I came across a very interesting passage. Don't worry, this is not a spoiler. It does not reveal any plot details.

"You don't understand, Harry, nobody could understand unless they have lived with the goblins. To a goblin, the rightful and true master of any object is its maker, not the purchaser. All goblin-made objects are, in goblin eyes, rightfully theirs."

"But if it was bought — "

" — then they would consider it rented by one who had paid the money. They have, however, great difficulty with the idea of goblin-made objects passing from wizard to wizard. [snip] I believe he thinks, as do the fiercest of his kind, that it ought to have been returned to the goblins once the original purchaser died. They consider our habit of keeping goblin-made objects, passing them from wizard to wizard without further payment, little more than theft."

I thought it is remarkably similar to the way a slashdotter would describe the mind set of *IAA people about CDs and DVDs! Has JKR expressed any opinion about *IAA and its tactics?"
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A bus built like a prius?

140Mandak262Jamuna 140Mandak262Jamuna writes  |  more than 6 years ago

140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) writes "Electric motors built into the hubs of car wheels can improve the efficiency of electric/hybrid vehicles, according to IEEE Spectrum.

The CEO of the company making such wheel-hub motors plugs thus: A motor housed inside a wheel hub can shunt up to 96 percent of the torque it generates directly to the patch of tire that touches the road, With a conventional drive train, roughly 20 percent of the power generated by the motor is lost to friction.

Hype and plugging aside, the company has actually built two buses that can run for 1 hour without using the diesels. It has two electric motors built into the hubs and has some pretty heavy duty batteries. In the stop-and-go city traffic the regenerative braking gives big boost to the efficiency. Still, these buses cost 250 K$ more each, and they save some 20 K liters of diesel a year or some 60 K$ a year.

IANAFinExprt but it looks like it is cost effective if the useful life of the vehicle is more than 5 years and we can assume faster than inflation rise of gas/diesel prices."
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140Mandak262Jamuna 140Mandak262Jamuna writes  |  more than 6 years ago

140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) writes "Apple says you need a iTunes account to use iPhone according to PC world . The article says: The move will allow Apple to create its own billing relationship with iPhone customers, rather than collecting payments for any iTunes purchases they make via the mobile operator. "It would be naive to imagine that Apple wouldn't leverage iTunes with iPhone," said Emma Mohr-McClune, senior analyst for wireless services in Europe at Current Analysis Inc.



Dont know what I hate more. Leveraging a near monopoly position in one area to muscle into other areas and reduce competition? Or the cell phone companies who charge an arm and length for trivial services like text messaging? Hope MSFT, AAPL and all the cellphone companies, *IAA and cable/sattelite providers will all fight an internecine battle to death. No it is not hope, it is a dream."

Journals

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HP ships Linux on its netbooks quietly

140Mandak262Jamuna 140Mandak262Jamuna writes  |  more than 4 years ago HP is including Linux in its 110 series of netbooks that are shipping now. It goes by various names QuickWeb or Instant Web. When you power on these netbooks, they boot into a splashtop linux instance. The OS is locked down and only the predefined applications could be run. They are browser, photo viewer, music player, skype and some file browser to view files on USB drives. WiFi works. Then if the you want Windows7 or WinXP, you press a button and the machine boots to a full Windows machine.

The Linux part can not see the hard disk of the machine. I just got the machine yesterday and have not poked around much to know how much it can be hacked. The browser is Firefox, I have not even checked to see if I can install noscript on it.

For most users of netbook, this is a very good deal. When you are in a public wifi in a coffee shop or an airport, you are guaranteed not to pick up a virus. I am not saying Linux is more secure or FireFox is more secure. Simply if you stay within QuickWeb or InstantWeb, there is no way any file can be written to the Windows disk at all!

This is such a big brand differentiation and it can be touted to high degree. But HP for some strange reason is very quiet about this feature in its ads and press releases. From business stand point, every company would strive for brand differentiation so that they dont compete on price alone. Quite strange HP is so silent about it. People are spending on purchase and subscriptions to antivirus software. All that revenue could be targeted by selling a device that is guaranteed not to be infected. Once many users realize that they rarely boot to full windows, they and their circle of friends and family would become more receptive to cheaper plain net access devices in various form factors.

I am very sure Microsoft is giving HP hell for this move behind the scenes. Is it the first sign of PC vendors growing a back bone? Or the lackluster promotion of this feature bodes ill for such an experiment? I wonder.

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Security concerns over Port 4567 of Verizon FiOS

140Mandak262Jamuna 140Mandak262Jamuna writes  |  more than 5 years ago Submitted to Ask Slashdot: I got my home connection upgraded to Verizon FiOS. I am getting a blazing fast connection 20Mbps clocked by three different sites. But one important thing about it is that, the router/modem that must be used for this is supplied by Verizon and it leaves port 4567 open on the WAN site. Quick googling shows that it is a port used by Actiontec, OEM vendor to Verizon, to upgrade the firmware automatically. The router is, in fact, running a server and presents a user name password dialog to the whole world. I used Grc.com to verify that the port is really open to the entire world, not just to the Verizon servers alone.

Though Actiontec claims this port could not exploited I have quite a few concerns about it. If that password is cracked, hackers can upload a cracked version of the firmware and disable all protections at the router. I tried putting another router behind the verizon router but then my speed drops to 10Mbps. Thinking of getting a switch with firewall or configure the second router as a switch to protect my computers in case the Verizon router gets hacked.

I really would like to know the protections against password cracking on the router. How many failed logins are allowed per minute, per hour, per day, per week? Verizon knows which of its banks of servers are authorized to upgrade the firmware on the routers. Should it simply filter out all traffic to these ports originating from any other IP address? And why is the firmware upgrade initiated by an inbound call? Why cant the routers initiate a peridic check and look up their home servers and get a firmware upgrade? I don't like the way Verizon is implementing the automatic firmware upgrade. I fear someday soon somebody is going to crack that password and the hackers are going to get a million bots all with 20 Mbps connection to the world. Even if you are not a Verizon FiOS customer, you will be affected then.

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Privacy concerns with social networking sites

140Mandak262Jamuna 140Mandak262Jamuna writes  |  more than 4 years ago 140Mandak262Jamuna writes " This company tries to become a social website by allowing its registered users to construct their family trees. The idea seems to be once a vast tree is created the users will be able to find their rich and famous relatives etc. I could imagine this being a very useful service to many people. One of my relatives added my name to his tree and geni created an account in my name and added me to the tree and notified me about it. The email had options to opt out of more spam from them. I had a talk with my relative and expressed my concern about adding vast quantities of private info about our lives to a searchable, indexable database owned by some for-profit company over which we have absolutely no control. As it is the net has so much of our public information. Why compound the problem by adding our private information as well?

Looks like it had an impact and my relative decided to close his account and destroy the tree. But geni claims they need my permission to destroy my account. Is it reasonable for a company that bribes its users with free family tree service in exchange for private info about people to follow a opt-out policy? Shouldn't they be required to notify me and get my consent before they add my name? I have received invites from other social networking sites, but they all require me to create an account first. If I ignore the email, I hope, they would not add me to their databases. Probably they will just sell my email address to spammers and stop with that.

I believe there is neither a technological or legal solution to this problem. A new geni.com could easily be run by Russian mafia outside US borders and thumb their noses at us. I think the only solution is social. They are using social engineering to pry private info from the public by offering some service or the other for free. We need to educate the public about the implications of succumbing to the temptations by them. Today if I set up a stand in a fairground and ask people to give the names, addresses and phone numbers of their relatives and friends in exchange for small token gifts the response would not be overwhelming. Somehow people believe it is wrong to tell strangers such information. But set up the same stand in the internet and people are punching in the email addresses of their friends and relatives like gangbusters. What would it take to educate the public about the menace to privacy these companies pose?"

top

JKR, goblins and *IAA

140Mandak262Jamuna 140Mandak262Jamuna writes  |  more than 6 years ago In the latest book, The Deathly Hallows by JKR I came across a very interesting passage. Don't worry, this is not a spoiler. It does not reveal any plot details.

"You don't understand, Harry, nobody could understand unless they have lived with the goblins. To a goblin, the rightful and true master of any object is its maker, not the purchaser. All goblin-made objects are, in goblin eyes, rightfully theirs."

"But if it was bought ---"

"---then they would consider it rented by one who had paid the money. They have, however, great difficulty with the idea of goblin-made objects passing from wizard to wizard. [snip] I believe he thinks, as do the fiercest of his kind, that it ought to have been returned to the goblins once the original purchaser died. They consider our habit of keeping goblin-made objects, passing them from wizard to wizard without further payment, little more than theft."

I thought it is remarkably similar to the way a slashdotter would describe the mind set of *IAA people about CDs and DVDs! Has JKR expressed any opinion about *IAA and its tactics?

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Telcos reject govt subsidy to serve rural areas!

140Mandak262Jamuna 140Mandak262Jamuna writes  |  about 7 years ago Before you break out the champaigne bottles, please note the story is about Indian telcos. According to The Economist , the government put up a pool of money to subsidize expansion of mobile phones to rural India and invited bids from the mobile phone companies. Most companies are bidding zero, and one negative!. "But something rather odd happened in India: in 38 of the 81 regions on offer, many mobile operators bid zero. In other words, they asked for no subsidies at all. In 15 regions, India's biggest operator, Bharti Airtel, even offered to pay. As a result, barely one-quarter of the 40 billion rupees ($920m) available in subsidies is likely to be allocated." says the article. The article says the companies will still benefit by the subsidy because atleast some of the infrastructure will be paid for by the pool funded by Universal Service Funds, a kind of tax on mobile phone service elsewhere.

The article goes further to say that now the Governments of these devloping nations like Chile, India, Brazil etc are looking to subsidize/build district level (regions the size of counties in USA) wi-fi broadband. Contrast this with what the telcos are doing to rural America. They are arm-twisting the State governments to prohibit (slashdot) municipalities and rural counties from building WiFi networks to serve their communities.

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MSN search default on Lenovo.

140Mandak262Jamuna 140Mandak262Jamuna writes  |  more than 7 years ago Lenovo has agreed to install MSN search toolbar as default search engine. The article also says more "Microsoft plans to announce more such partnerships in the coming months and has several in the works, Osmer said, declining to specify. Microsoft also may start packaging its search tool bar with some of its software downloads, he said."

Interestingly, compared to the last time when rammed Internet Explorer down the throat of all customers and vendors, this time the vendors seem to understand the real benefit of being "default browser" or "default search engine." The article says that Dell demanded its pound of flesh to install MSN as the default search engine.

I think the landscape (should have made a creative pun with netscape here) has changed a lot since the last browser war. Vendors know the deal. Customers seem to be more informed. Atleast in some circles people are noticing the deletrious effects of vendor lock. It is real or it is just an illusion created by the herd moving from one vendor lock to a different vendor lock? In this case from MSFT to GOOG?

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DOT bans Microsoft?

140Mandak262Jamuna 140Mandak262Jamuna writes  |  more than 7 years ago Citing the cost and compatibility issues, US Dept of Transportation has banned or racheted back the installation of Office 2007, IE7 and Vista.

Schmidt says the Transportation Department hasn't ruled out upgrading its computers to Windows Vista if all of its concerns about the new operating system -- the business version of which was launched late last year -- can be resolved. "We have more confidence in Microsoft than we would have 10 years ago," says Schmidt. "But it always makes sense to look at the security implications, the value back to the customer, and those kind of issues."

To me it looks like a ploy to wangle a better price from Microsoft than a serious attempt to get truly interoperable system for them.

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Google Moves into Microsoft terriotry, at last.

140Mandak262Jamuna 140Mandak262Jamuna writes  |  more than 7 years ago As expected Google announced that it is going to sell Office suite as a subscription service.

The link

I expected them to sell "application server in a box" with maintenance contracts. That will assure the companies that their data never leaves their control. Big companies would not allow their data to be saved in a third party server with independant logs of files subject to discovery and subpoena etc. But what google offers seems to be the higher level service than the free service but the data is stored in Google servers. May be this is a move by Google to pick the low hanging fruits, establish a large user base documents in the ODF format and capture the market of "I want my data anywhere, I dont care if you store it" people.

But in the long term, Google must sell "all-your-applications-in-this-box" server to companies. What Google is peeling away will not make a dent in the revenue picture of Microsoft in the near future. These users might have used MS applications, but either they are using old obsolete versions without upgrading or using bootleg versions. But if millions of users move to this application and move to ODF, MS wont be able to play the game of ever changing file formats and macro-api changes to keep the competition out. Once a standard that is really neutral and not controlled by any one company takes hold, free market will make sure there are some competition. Still MS will end up with a substantial market share but there will be alternatives for the users.

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World is going to end in 2036

140Mandak262Jamuna 140Mandak262Jamuna writes  |  more than 7 years ago UN urged to take action to avert asteroid collision in 2036. http://www.nzherald.co.nz/section/story.cfm?c_id=5&objectid=10424822

The collision could wipe out a country the size of England the article says.

Things like hitting them with a bomb or flying a spacecraft into them - you just do not know what the results of that are going to be." Scientists now favour deploying so-called 'Gravity Tractors', small spacecrafts that would travel close to a speeding asteroid and, with their own gravitational pull, try to drag it onto a different path.

It is just 2007, less than 29 years. There is simply not enough time for UN to make a decision.

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Microsoft getting taste of its own medicine.

140Mandak262Jamuna 140Mandak262Jamuna writes  |  more than 7 years ago Apple is claiming that Vista is corrupting iPods and advising people to wait for the new release of iTunes.

Microsoft used to play such tactics to sabotage competing software vendors. Everyone remembers the slogan, "DOS is not done till DR-DOS wont run". It created the impression that competing software is buggy and not backward compatible while MS products are guaranteed to work smoothly. Those were the days when it could kill companies and startups by merely issuing a press release, "Microsoft is considering a project to do XYZ" and all the venture capital for companies planning to that particular XYZ would instantly vanish. Even established companies would spend so much of their resource keeping upto date with the ever changing GUI and API of MS, and MS would laugh at them and keep changing it and spend its resources to create new features and make it more and more incompatible with the rest.

Now, there may be nothing to the story that iPods are corrupted by Vista. It could be intentional idea deep inside Microsoft skunk works nostalgic about those days. Or may be there is nothing wrong and those who are complaining of Vista corrupting their iPods did something stupid. Or it could be an unintentional bug. It could even be true that MS's update will fix the issues and make iPod really secure. But Apple is doing to MS what MS did to others. By creating the FUD that Vista is deliberately corrupting the beloved iPod, with its 90 million installations, it could put a damper on the speed of adoptation of Vista. All it takes is one top CEO saying, "Dont buy any new laptops for my (fortune 500) company till it is guranteed that my iPod will work flawlessly." Such things will cascade and PC vendors will feel the pressure.

I think Apple is just a Microsoft wannabe. It uses heavy doses of DRM to keep it incompatible with the rest of the world. Microsoft is doing it in the corporate office software market. Apple is doing it in the music business. Both companies engage in FUD. Let us just hope these two battle each other while some other standard complying nice companies emerge to take over computing. Yeah. I must be dreaming.

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Astronaut charged with kidnapping

140Mandak262Jamuna 140Mandak262Jamuna writes  |  more than 7 years ago Well, here is the bizarre story of an astronaut, a married mother of three no less, getting a crush on fellow astronaut and doing crazy things. But what caught my eye was that "emails" were discovered along with some physical artefacts. Are emails and their print outs one and the same? Do we need a course on Eastern Relgions to understand when the emails and their physical representations coalesce to become "one with the universe"?

Link: http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20070206/ap_on_re_us/astronaut_arrested;_ylt=As4pWcVg1TafjIgo_EjaMkas0NUE;_ylu=X3oDMTA2Z2szazkxBHNlYwN0bQ--

Relevant passage Inside Nowak's vehicle, which was parked at a nearby motel, authorities uncovered a pepper spray package, an unused BB-gun cartridge, latex gloves and e-mails between Shipman and Oefelein. They also found a letter "that indicated how much Mrs. Nowak loved Mr. Oefelein," an opened package for a buck knife, Shipman's home address and hand written directions to the address, the arrest affidavit said.

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