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Comments

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Lots Of People Really Want Slideout-Keyboard Phones: Where Are They?

140Mandak262Jamuna Re:Looks like it is market opportunity. (513 comments)

If it is there, find it and buy it. If it is not there build it, sell it and make a decent profit.

yesterday
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How Bird Flocks Resemble Liquid Helium

140Mandak262Jamuna what happened to the Voronoi polyhedrons? (40 comments)

Last time the bird flock was mentioned it was about how a flock flies past an obstacle without colliding. Something about each bird maintaining its position by maximizing the distance to its nearest neighbors. The math would work out such that each bird would form a vertex in a Delaunay tessellation and the "space" associated with each bird would form a Voronoi polyhedron.

I was kind of scared. You know, you spend all your life learning computational geometry and suddenly a flock of shearwaters or starlings show up and solve the same problem you have been solving for decades. You are given the pink slip and be replaced by a flock of bird brains. Man! that would suck.

But I am glad now, the birds are after bigger prize. No stupid engineering and mesh generation for them. They want pure science and may be they are after the Nobel prize. Glad they have moved on to simulating the liquid helium. Good for them. I think next thing will be they have solved the Cauchy-Riemman integral and they have a deterministic solution to Shroedinger's equation. They are going to finish off with a solution to Navier-Stokes equation with k-epsilon turbulence modeling.

yesterday
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How Bird Flocks Resemble Liquid Helium

140Mandak262Jamuna Re:There have been attempts before (40 comments)

Bertram Wooster, is that you? Slowing stirring from the bed sipping tea and eating breakfast at the ungodly hour of 10:45 AM? How is Jeeves, old chap, Can I borrow him, I, no, no not I, my friend is batting on a sticky wicket, say. Toot. toots.

yesterday
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Google's Mapping Contest Draws Ire From Indian Government

140Mandak262Jamuna India has disputed borders too. (94 comments)

I have seen numerous Govt offices in India with a rusted metal sign saying, "Photography prohibited". But cut them some slack too, routinely attacked by terrorists looking for soft targets.

Also the border is disputed with Pakistan and China. Since Pakistan has been the "ally" of USA since 1950s, and India kept dallying with USSR all those days, almost all the American magazines will carry maps that show disputed parts of Kashmir as part of Pakistan. I have seen so many Reader's Digest, Time, National Geographic, Life mags with maps of Kashmir region stamped with, "This map does not agree with the official map published by the Surveyor General of India. No significance may be attached to the differences published here. " (quoting from memory, actual wording could be even more bureaucratese ).

yesterday
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Lots Of People Really Want Slideout-Keyboard Phones: Where Are They?

140Mandak262Jamuna Looks like it is market opportunity. (513 comments)

I too like slide out keyboard and I like seeing more of the screen while typing.

But are we so dependent on the manufacturer for this? Someone can design a compact bluetooth keyboard. With some kind of harness/clip to slide in any smartphone. Or make it part of a slide out or fold out phone case. Almost all the people I know buy a case for their phones. I think Steve Jobs was probably the only one who used a naked iPhone. I see people putting really horrendous looking cases. Would these guys buy an after market Hummer body and strap it on to their Corvettes? Well that is a different rant. I use a fold out leather wallet style case, to store a credit card, a bus pass and my driving license along with an android phone. My wallet has gone into some deep recess of my backpack. I rarely need it.

Anyway if there is as much demand for it someone would be stepping in to fill the need. One good thing, this keyboard might work in the next phone, at least one part of the phone/keyboard gets an extended life.

yesterday
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Do Apple and Google Sabotage Older Phones? What the Graphs Don't Show

140Mandak262Jamuna In conclusion... (276 comments)

Finally, we see a big limitation: This data reveals only correlations, not conclusions. We are left with at least two different interpretations of the sudden spike in “iPhone slow” queries, one conspiratorial and one benign. It is tempting to say, “See, this is why big data is useless.” But that is too trite. Correlations are what motivate us to look further. If all that big data does — and it surely does more — is to point out interesting correlations whose fundamental reasons we unpack in other ways, that already has immense value.

And if those correlations allow conspiracy theorists to become that much more smug, that’s a small price to pay.

And the cost is going to be paid by some company or the other for the benefit of some class action house or another.

2 days ago
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Do Apple and Google Sabotage Older Phones? What the Graphs Don't Show

140Mandak262Jamuna Graph is search results, not speed measurements. (276 comments)

The methodology of testing the hypothesis is to look for google searches about "iphone slow" or "samsung slow". Assumption made is if people search for "iphone slow" Apple might have done something to slow down iPhones. The control group is Samsung which has the same motive as Apple but not the means because it does not control the OS.

It is a big leap, there could be various other explanations of varying degrees of malice. As the new release comes through, bug fixes for older releases are put on back burner, apps are changed and tuned to take advantage of new version run slower in older version.. Or the way graphics subsystem is organized in iOS might have different bottlenecks based on the display resolution. So as new releases come in, default sizes for buffers and hashtables might change deep in the OS slowing down older apps.

And if you are going to postulate "Apple might slow down older versions deliberately", why can't you postulate, "Google might spike and skew the history of the past searches to make Apple look bad"?

2 days ago
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Soccer Superstar Plays With Very Low Brain Activity

140Mandak262Jamuna I must be a coding superstar (157 comments)

My brain activity is abysmally low when I am coding. I must be engaging hardly 5% of my brain during coding. Often times when I am debugging my own code, "what the hell was I *thinking*?" But now I realize I must not have been thinking at all. I must have been a coding superstar unbeknownst to myself.

3 days ago
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Enraged Verizon FiOS Customer Seemingly Demonstrates Netflix Throttling

140Mandak262Jamuna Re:Could be a different route involved for the VPN (393 comments)

If I offer to sell you "unlimited" beers from my fridge for $50 a month, but I only resupply it at a rate of one six-pack per week, I have intentionally cheated you. That basic relationship doesn't magically change because of some hand-waving technobabble about peerage agreements and network congestion.

This analogy is a little flawed. Let me correct it. Let us say the local municipality has granted pla (258480) a local monopoly in selling beer to its residents. And you sell beer at different service level all unlimited number of trips to the fridge, but at 1 trip/hr, 1trip/6 hours, 1 trip/min, 1 trip/sec etc. And you stock it with brewed-by-your-local-sewage-company beer all the time, and stock Buds, Coors and Coronas one bottle a month. Then your analogy is complete.

What is really insidious is, pla is NOT buying any beer. All the beer companies come stock the fridge for free. Pla's only cost is keeping the beer cool. And it does not cost any more to cool a bottle of Corona than to cool a bottle of brew-from-sewer. Just because pla noticed people are drinking Corona more, pla wants Corona to pay him more money. Remember it is a monopoly. Corona has no other way of selling its beer without going through pla's fridge. Now you get the idea.

3 days ago
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Long-range Electric Car World Speed Record Broken By Australian Students

140Mandak262Jamuna Re:Range is not the issue. Cost is. (120 comments)

I know about Musk and the giga factory. The giga factory for batteries are not exclusively focused on automobile batteries. They are going after residential solar energy storage. Those batteries do not have weigth, volume or crash worthiness requirements of auto batteries. So that problem is likely to be solved first. Musk is also promoting distributed solar utilities, companies that would own and operate solar panels in residences and sell the homeowner metered electricity just like a utility. Thus homeowner does not do any up front investment, nor has to do any break even point calculations. Solar PV is just coming around to a price point to make this viable. Giga factory is likely to benefit them first.

4 days ago
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Long-range Electric Car World Speed Record Broken By Australian Students

140Mandak262Jamuna Range is not the issue. Cost is. (120 comments)

Almost everyone focuses on the limited range and the longer recharge times as the main reason why electric cars have not taken off.

I think that is not really the case. The initial extra cost of the battery is so high, even after subsidies the break even period for an electric car compared to gas car is very long. If this issue is addressed, some people will be interested in buying these cars, with 80 to 100 mile range.

Once people start buying electric cars purely on economic grounds, a whole array of secondary services will come up to alleviate the range problem. Charging stations would expand the commute distance from 30 mile max one way to 60 mile max one way. Gas car rental companies will come up with subscription plans to give access to a gas car a few times a year. Even car makers might offer such deals. BMW already offers gas car loaner for a few times a year for the buyers of BMW i3. Towed range extender batteries might show up. Towed range extender diesel packs might show up. Franchises offering charged battery swaps can happen.

Free market is a bitch. It is thwarting electric cars right now despite many great things about electric cars. No timing belt replacement, no oil changes, clean and simple cars, without any serious tranmission issues. Motor replacement is an order of magnitude simpler than IC-engine-transmission replacement. But battery cost is too high and the free market is emphatically saying thumbs down. Once the battery cost problem is fixed, the very same free market will turn around in a dime and nothing can stop electric cars from peeling of a significant market share. But it will happen only if the cost issue is addressed. It will not happen before that time.

4 days ago
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Two Cities Ask the FCC To Preempt State Laws Banning Municipal Fiber Internet

140Mandak262Jamuna Re:this is also known by a different name (198 comments)

Apathy is the greatest danger to democracy. If the voters did not care to know the issues, if the voters could be bamboozled by a few million dollars spent on an ad campaign and turn against the mayor who tried to help them, how can the be helped?

4 days ago
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Earth In the Midst of Sixth Mass Extinction: the 'Anthropocene Defaunation'

140Mandak262Jamuna It is their fault. (318 comments)

They were delicious. And we were hungry. God did give them tooth and claw. Despite it they did not defend themselves. May be they wanted to be eaten.

You may not agree with this statement. But shockingly there is a strain of political thought in America that applies exactly this principle to the human society and the poor people. And ironically those who profess these "maker vs taker" are shocked when they are told they are practicing social Darwinism.

4 days ago
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Will Your Next Car Be Covered In Morphing Dimples?

140Mandak262Jamuna yeah, why can't they suck boundary layer ...? (136 comments)

All that complexity of wrapping an airtight skin around sheet metal with holes, a vacuum system to create dimples on the fly... All to get some fuel efficiency through lower drag? An plug in electric car effectively buys as at some 2$ a gallon. Still, the extra price of battery makes the break even time longer than the life of the car. And what kind of pay back period for ugly looking warty lumpy bumpy car?

There are tons of complex technologies to reduce drag. Boundary layer suction for example. Drill small holes all along the skin of the aircraft or the car. Create channels below, connect to a pump and suck air. This controls the growth of boundary layer and it could delay the "separation" way beyond what a dimpled surface can. Typically smooth ball flow separates two or three degrees past the poles, and dimpling can delay it by another 10 degrees. Boundary layer suction can delay it way past 45 degrees. NASA experimental aircraft with boundary layer suction showed drag reduction by a factor of 2 or 3, can't remember. Remember the airliner makers are fighting in the third significant digit of the drag coefficient. Do you see any boundary layer sucking aircraft around?

Moral of the story, there are tons and tons of complex technology that can do wonderful things. Most will not get beyond a couple of papers in Journal of Thingamajigger, a tenure track position for a post-doc, and may be, if it is really interesting and really unusual, a 2 inch side bar in Popular Mechanics. (BTW does it still exist? Popular Mechanics, I mean).

4 days ago
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Western US States Using Up Ground Water At an Alarming Rate

140Mandak262Jamuna Why would they conserve? (373 comments)

What is the real incentive for any one to conserve the ground water? If some one owns a square inch of land, he/she gets to suck out as much as he/she can out of the "his/her" ground. It is private property rights, stupid. If the owner did not do so, the neighbor will do so. So all it takes is a few short term "my property, my way, you go to hell" people, and it will be a race to the bottom in the earnest.

Half the congress is corrupt and is paid to keep quiet. The other half makes some half hearted noises and then it too keeps quiet. Gutless administration is not able to arrest and throw in jail a defiant scofflaw who did not pay taxes for decades, who owes millions of dollars and a few rag tag militia with some rifles drove off the BLM officials.

How can there be any water conservation?

5 days ago
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Amazon Fire Phone Reviews: Solid But Overly Ambitious

140Mandak262Jamuna But.. but... how can this be... (58 comments)

This phone from Amazon has the rounded rectangle look ad feel.... How can this be? It violates the patents of Apple. Only genii like Steve Jobs could imagine a rounded rectangle. Now Jeff one-click-patent Bezos is ripping off the intellectual property of Apple...

about a week ago
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Verizon Boosts FiOS Uploads To Match Downloads

140Mandak262Jamuna aaargh! pinheads in the IT. (234 comments)

One of my friends was complaining about his VPN. Fellow has 50 Mbps/25 Mbps FiOS set up. But the corporate official VPN uses some strange protocol. Once the VPN is connected ALL the traffic from the local machine will go the corporate VPN host. The host sends the packet out. And the corporate VPN host connection is something similar 100/100 Mbps. But that connection is divvied up into fixed slices per VPN connection. Between 50 and 75 users at a time. So each connection gets 1 Mbps or 2. But the site is drawing ALL the traffic from all the VPN users. The damned thing crawls to snails place. So his pricey 50/25 connection is useless as far as the VPN is concerned.

Symmetric upload/download will help him a lot because he runs OpenGL 3D graphics clients displaying CAD/CAM geometry over this connection. So this automatic upgrade to 50/50 should be a great news for him. Except he is in ISP giveth IT taketh away situation. Should call him, send this link and rub some salt into his wounds. Schadenfreude never felt this delicious.

about a week ago
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California In the Running For Tesla Gigafactory

140Mandak262Jamuna Plain business as usual. (172 comments)

California was not in the running. Suddenly it is in the running. Looks like it is a simple bargaining strategy to extract more pounds of flesh from whoever is despo enough to want that factory. Expect 20 year tax abatement on property taxes, pledge to improve road/rail access to the factory site by local municipalities, some "flexibility" in enforcement of some regulations...

Or typical evil big business as usual.

As long as we coddle these "big" guys, they will take it all and come begging for more.

"An arm and a leg? That was last year? What are you giving me this year? How about the other arm and the leg?"

"Both arms and legs? That was last year? What about this year? Look, as business we are supposed to look for profit and not feel stupid things like gratitude. I hear the other state has both legs and arms. If I don't extract it from them, my shareholders will sue. So see ya."

about a week ago
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Japan To Offer $20,000 Subsidy For Fuel-Cell Cars

140Mandak262Jamuna Dumb idea. (156 comments)

Subsidies will not make the product viable.

Electric cars has many inherent advantages. Maximum torque at zero RPM for the electric motors is a big one, removes the transmission and all complexities associated with it. Electric motors are far more reliable than IC engines. There are instances of traction motors, whose coils were wound and sealed in 1920s hauling street cars till they died circa 1960s. No oil change, no tune ups, no timing belt replacements... Charging them overnight from the grid would be like buying gasoline at 2$ a gallon.

Still the initial cost of a 100 mile range battery is so high, it does not break even for a long time. That is the major hurdle. Not range anxiety. If the battery price drops people will buy them. Car rental companies will come up with competitively priced plans to access gasoline cars for the few times a year people need the longer range. Third parties will develop towable battery packs or gasoline range extenders. U-Haul franchises might start offering battery swap stations. Range is NOT what killing electric car. It is the price of battery.

If/when that price breakthrough comes, you would find all the gasoline car companies stand line at Washington DC, holding their hats asking for more government subsidies for gas cars.

about two weeks ago

Submissions

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

140Mandak262Jamuna 140Mandak262Jamuna writes  |  about 6 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 and a half 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 3 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  |  about 4 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 5 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  |  about 7 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  |  about 7 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 7 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 5 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?"

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JKR, goblins and *IAA

140Mandak262Jamuna 140Mandak262Jamuna writes  |  about 7 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  |  more than 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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