September 29, 2006

When is Zune going to release? Its 14th Nov.

Four color vertical Zune logoMicrosoft's Zune digital media player will ship in the U.S. on Nov. 14 for $249.99, the company said Thursday, in line with the price of video iPods already available from Apple Computer.

Microsoft announced its Zune player and the accompanying music store, called Zune Marketplace, earlier this month, but it did not provide pricing at the time. Some industry insiders believe Microsoft had to rethink the pricing after it learned that Apple was about to lower the price of its video iPods, which it recently did. Like the video iPods, the first Zune players will come with 30GB of storage.

Microsoft also unveiled pricing for Zune Marketplace. Unlike Apple's iTunes, which lets users buy individual songs or entire albums but does not offer a subscription service, Microsoft will offer a monthly subscription called Zune Pass. For $14.99 a month, users will have access to millions of songs, Microsoft said. However, they won't actually own those songs and will only be able to access them while they have a subscription.

Users will also be able to purchase songs individually using Microsoft's points system, which works a bit like a prepaid phone card. One track will cost 79 points -- or about $0.99, which is what iTunes charges per song. At retail, consumers can purchase 1,200 points for $15, 2,000 points for $25, 4,000 points for $50, or pay $44.97 for a three-month Zune Pass.

Zune accessories will range in price from $19.99 to $99.99. They include the Zune Car Pack, which offers a built-in FM tuner with AutoSeek and the Zune Car Charger, and The Zune Home A/V Pack, which includes five products that integrate Zune with a television and music speakers.

More information is available here

Microsoft is differentiating its Zune player from the iPod in several ways. In addition to allowing users to play music, videos and photos on a screen, the Zune player will include wireless technology and a built-in FM radio tuner. So far, iPods lack both of those.

Zune devices also will come preloaded with media content, which iPods don't have. Songs the players will include out of the box are: “Wicked Gil” by Band of Horses, "The Mating Game" by Bitter Sweet, "Alala" by CSS, "At the End of the Sky" by Darkel, "Signs of Life" by Every Move a Picture, "Stay" by Small Sins, "Tell Me Tell Me" by The Adored, "Open Book" by The Rakes, and "A Pillar of Salt" by The Thermals.

The music videos included with the Zune player are from several artists on Seattle's Sub Pop Records label, such as Chad VanGaalen, Kinski and the Fruit Bats. The players also will include film shorts on skateboarding, mountain biking and snowboarding.

Microsoft didn't provide any availability information for outside of the U.S.

Guy on Channel9 says Zune will not succeed this year..

According to him,

Microsoft Announced Zune's price. It's 249.99, if I recall, in US dollars. The same size iPod is 249.00.

What does the Zune have, that iPod doesn't? (Feel free to add)
* Wireless capability between other Zunes, but your friends have to have them for that to work, right?
* Slightly bigger screen

What does the iPod have that the Zune doesn't?
* HUGE name recognition
* Integration with tons of third-party products, including automobiles.
* 99 cents cheaper.

If Microsoft were to make the Zune, say, 40 bucks cheaper than the iPod, then I could see parents, whose kids say "they want an iPod", determining, "They're too expensive. This other thing, the Zune, does almost the same thing, and it's 40 dollars cheaper. "

But, why would parents pay minisculely more for a product that isn't being asked for by their kids, and they've never heard of (I'm still waiting for a Zune commercial)?

Or do I have it all wrong? Is Microsoft not trying to aim for the consumer market with the Zune? or if they are, why do they think they have a snowball's chance in Heck that people, besides us Microsoft geeks, would even think of buying it?

Seriously, I'm not trolling. I just think Microsoft has gotten it fatally wrong this time... Unless there's more info I don't know about, in which case, please tell me.

I dont agree with him after viewing video described at,

What you think?

Want to see Zune in action?

Have a look at,

They have captured the video using Zune !!

India's Economy Expanded at Fastest Pace (After China)

India has maintained its position as the second-fastest growing major economy after China as rising consumer and government spending drove manufacturing output to a six-year high.

Asia's fourth-largest economy expanded 8.9 percent in the three months to June 30 from a year earlier, after a 9.3 percent gain in the previous quarter, the Central Statistical Organisation said in a statement in New Delhi. The median forecast of 15 economists was for a gain of 8.4 percent.

Wal-Mart Stores Inc. and Carrefour SA, the world's two largest retailers, are vying to set up in a nation of 1.1 billion people where retail sales are expected to more than double in the next decade as incomes rise. India is stepping up spending on ports, power and other infrastructure to attract more investment in factories and lift manufacturing to a quarter of the economy from the current 17 percent, half China's level.

"Consumption and infrastructure spending are driving growth,'' said Sundaresan Naganath, who manages the equivalent of $2.4 billion in Indian stocks and bonds as chief investment officer at DSP Merrill Lynch Fund Managers Ltd. in Mumbai. ``If India is growing at 8 percent with poor infrastructure, then with great infrastructure it can even grow at 12 percent.''

Sustained growth has been a boon for companies such as Maruti Udyog Ltd. and ACC Ltd., the nation's biggest car and cement maker respectively, which have doubled profits in the past two years. Indian companies will need $175 billion of funding over the next three years as they expand further, K.V. Kamath, chief executive officer of ICICI Bank Ltd., the country's second-largest lender, said yesterday.

Record High

Prospects of accelerating economic growth have helped the Bombay Stock Exchange's Sensitive index climb 24 percent since July 19. An index of 18 bank stocks on the exchange reached a record 6094.47 yesterday.

India's economy has expanded more than 8 percent in five of the past six quarters. China's $2.2 trillion economy, Asia's second largest, grew 11.3 percent in the quarter ended June 30. That was the quickest pace among the world's 20 largest economies and more than four times the 2.6 percent growth in the 12 European nations sharing the euro.

Growth in India's economy is benefiting from Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's decision to increase infrastructure spending by a quarter to 992 billion rupees ($21 billion) in the year that started April 1 in a bid to attract overseas manufacturing companies and spur growth to 10 percent over a decade.

Steel, Cement

Infrastructure spending is spurring demand for steel, cement and electricity in India, which spends a seventh of China's $150 billion investment in public works each year according to Morgan Stanley.

Manufacturing increased 11.3 percent in the quarter ended June 30 from a year earlier, according to today's report. That's the fastest pace since the government started collating quarterly data in June 2000.

An index of trade, hotels, transportation and communications services rose 13.2 percent from a year ago after a 12.9 percent gain in the previous quarter.

"We expect India's economy to continue growing at 8 percent over the next three to four years considering the pace of infrastructure growth,'' said Atul Daga, joint president, corporate finance, at the Aditya Birla Group, which controls Hindalco Industries Ltd., India's biggest producer of aluminum.

Hindalco plans to invest $7 billion by 2012 to triple production of the metal to 1.5 million tons and tap rising demand in the country.

India's Steel Minister Ram Vilas Paswan yesterday called for restrictions in exports of iron ore, the main ingredient for steelmaking. India is aiming to quadruple steel production to 110 million tons by 2020.

Growth Momentum

"The growth momentum can be maintained if the government improves the quality and quantity of infrastructure,'' said Saumitra Chaudhury, chief economist at rating company ICRA Ltd. in New Delhi. Consumption growth "will abate as the credit market has since become tighter.''

The Reserve Bank of India has increased its benchmark interest rate by 150 basis points since October 2004 to 6 percent, a four-year high, to keep record fuel costs and an expanding economy from stoking inflation beyond its forecast of between 5 percent and 5.5 percent by March 31.

India's Finance Minister Palaniappan Chidambaram said in a Sept. 20 interview that he does not see a "dramatic slowdown'' in consumption and that all aspects of the economy are demanding greater and greater credit.

Chidambaram said commercial bank loans to companies and individuals are growing at 33 percent on year, the fastest since the central bank started collating data in 1971.

Mobile Phones

Consumer demand for manufactured goods and services is rising as agriculture production rose 3.4 percent in the three months ending June 30 after increasing at the fastest pace in two years in the previous quarter, increasing incomes of 650 million people who depend on farming for their livelihood.

India's Bharti Airtel Ltd., Reliance Communication Ventures Ltd. and other mobile-phone companies signed up a record 111.23 million users by the end of July, an increase of 5.28 million users in July, the nation's telecom regulator said Aug. 10.

In urban areas, HSBC Holdings Plc, Europe's biggest lender by market value, expects to double its current workforce of 22,000 in India over the next two years. ICICI Bank Ltd. plans to hire 40,000 people each year for the next three to four years to cater to rising consumer banking needs.

Apple Releases Mac OS X 10.4.8

Apple on Friday pushed what is likely the second-to-last update to Mac OS X 10.4, code-named "Tiger." The update includes several fixes to printing, Finder and Apple applications and networking, as well as several third-party fixes among other modifications.

The company said that on Intel-based Macs, the update would require two restarts, but did not specify the cause. PowerPC-based systems would require a single restart.

Among the updates comes a fix for the printing of documents containing certain Korean or Chinese characters, an issue that could cause preview to unexpectedly quit, and improved syncing with select iPod models.

In networking, Apple has corrected performance issues that could occur when connecting to a Comcast network, improved ExpressCard performance, and ended the need for a computer restart when restarting NFSD.

Third-party fixes include the repair of a flaw in Word that caused it to crash when saving documents with certain OpenType fonts, the addition and repair of issues related to RAW images, and corrects a problem with display resolution when switching from PowerPoint to another application using Command-Tab.

Other issues remedied include various USB issues with external devices, improved responsiveness of the translation Dashboard widget, and the inclusion of all recent Apple security updates.

Based on Apple's prior release schedules, the final update to Tiger before the company releases Mac OS X 10.5, codenamed "Leopard," would likely come close to the New Year. The Cupertino company said at WWDC 2006 that it expected to ship Leopard in Spring 2007.

AOL AIM (formerly Triton) 6.0 beta released

Publisher's Description:

AOL AIM is the next generation release of AOL Instant Messenger. Using the AIM Buddy List feature, see when your buddies are online and available to instant message. The sleek new design takes instant messaging to the next level. With screen name linking, Mobile IM, Quicknote mail, an integrated Address Book, and much, much more, instant messaging is more accessible, powerful and more fun than ever.

AOL AIM has the following other editions available: AOL AIM Pro.

Latest Changes:
  • Fixes several issues reported against the last Preview release, including the various formatting issues that affected the IM compose field and the My Buddy Info window
  • Several UI changes to this build, especially with Enhanced IM features such as Live Video, Instant Images, Talk and Voice Chat
  • Layout of the IM window has also been changed
  • Tabs have been replaced with buttons at the bottom of the IM window
  • Web cam selector which has been added to the Enhanced IM settings.

Orkut lovers, be aware Wallop is coming..

Wallop, previously a semi-forgotton Microsoft Research “sandbox” social network and photo sharing project, was spun off into a new, independent, venture backed business earlier this year (details here). Tonight at 9 pm California time, Wallop is launching a semi-public beta.

Wallop is a Flash based social network that will compete with Myspace, Facebook and others that is mentioned here in a post. It includes free unlimited storage for people to upload photos, videos and music.

Unlike the other social networks, Wallop CEO Karl Jacob says he has no plans to ever put advertising on the site. It just lessens the user experience, he says. Instead, Wallop wants a piece of the $3 trillion per year U.S. market for self expression items (clothes, furniture, beauty supplies, etc.). As sites like Cyworld have shown, people are willing to spend money for online expression items, too (Cyworld brings in a reported $300,000 per day in microtransactions to its users).

So Wallop has created a marketplace for “self expression” items on the site. Flash developers can create items and sell them to users. Music clips, animated widgets, artwork, avatars, clothing for avatars, etc. will all be for sale. Wallop handles payments and DRM, and takes 30% of the sale price. The rest goes to the seller.

Marketplace functionality is still being built, but Wallop says they will have the ability for sellers to create auction sales for one of a kind items, limited edition sales, etc. in the near future.

Invited users will be given five invitations each that can be used to invite others into Wallop. More invitations will be given to users based on how active they are in the service. Look for the service to leave beta and open to the general public in early 2007.

Wallop is based in San Francisco and has 27 employees. They’ve raised a total of $13 million in venture capital over two rounds, from Bay Partners , Consor Capital and Norwest Venture Partners.

Screen shots of Wallop are below.

.MAC webmail with new feautres

Earlier this week Apple announced that a new version of webmail for Mac users is “coming soon.” There was a bit of chatter about this around the blogosphere, with most people concluding that this fresh coat of paint on the inferior .mac product is a bit of a yawn. Even Om Malik, who’s been complaining about .mac for a long time and has reason to cheer, isn’t particularly positive about the announced upgrade and says that he hopes that “this is the first of many changes.”

I agree that .mac is Apple’s most difficult to use product and needs a lot of work. However, I think that the changes are important for one reason: There are very few Ajax webmail services today that allow users to access multiple email accounts. .Mac will be one of them.

I believe webmail is the single most important application to show off the power of Ajax. The reason is that we spend an incredible amount of time on email every day - at least 3-4 hours per day for me. When we spend that much time doing something, even small increases in productivity make a large aggregate positive difference.

Ajax makes a big difference in webmail, as we saw with Oddpost years ago. Oddpost pioneered the use of javascript to help it copy the desktop mail experience, and was one of the early Ajax applications. Users could drag and drop emails into folders, open emails without page refreshes, etc. All of these features were tremendous time savers. It had limitations (it only worked on Windows machines and Internet Explorer), but it was acquired by Yahoo in 2004 and forms the backbone of the new Yahoo mail beta (try it out here).

While other Ajax email applications are around (Gmail has some Ajax features but lacks drag and drop functionality, and Mail is very nice if often slow), none of them except Yahoo allow users to access other email accounts (it’s worth noting that Goowy has an excellent Flash email service that allows users to access multiple email accounts). If you use, you can only read Gmail emails. Same with While you can forward other emails to your gmail or email address, you cannot manage separate email accounts and aliases. That’s a big drawback for people who want an Outlook or Mac Mail experience on the web.

What users want is a rich internet interface for email. What they don’t want is four different interfaces for four different email accounts. What Yahoo and Apple get, and what Google and Microsoft don’t, is that to “own” the user you have to allow them to access competitor’s services as well as your own. Google has the best pure free internet service on the Internet. But they don’t have the best interface. Yahoo does. And now Apple is combining the power of Yahoo’s open approach to email with the ability to sync their service to a desktop client. A lot of people are going to be drawn to that.

.Mac webmail will now have both multiple account access and rich Ajax features. Only Yahoo currently offers that. And since .Mac syncs with a desktop client (Yahoo doesn’t of course), it is a completely end-to-end solution. Until now, you had to be using exchange server and Outlook to have anything close to that.

This is an important move by Apple that gives its platform a new advantage over Windows Machines and any of the webmail services out there, including Gmail and Yahoo. I look forward to its launch.

Google Reader comes with new UI..

The Google Reader team unveiled a revamped version of their online feed reader today and no one can say it’s not a real RSS reader anymore. They even took Robert Scoble’s advice and made a demonstration video!

Changes include a whole new look and feel, folder navigation, unread item counts and the ability to mark items as read or unread. There’s a “river of news” view (click all feeds, view settings, sort by auto) and one click item sharing with friends. The new expanded view lets you scan down lots of items all at once.

I really like it, but the Google team went to great pains to explain the use of RSS in the simplest terms (”your inbox for the web”) and made it easy to switch back to the old interface for users who prefer it.

Robert Scoble had pointed out recently that unlike with Microsoft, who produce videos about loads of products, he couldn’t find videos about Google products anywhere. (Make sure to check out Robert’s new video show too.) It looks like the team took his suggestion, here’s their video. I think it’s does a great job of making the product and the medium easy to understand in just 49 seconds. Now where’s the video for people already familiar with RSS that will convince us to switch readers? Richard MacManus and Niall Kennedy are of the belief that the improved interface could lead to GMail/Google Reader integration.

In related Google news, note that as of today anyone (with Windows) can use Google Talk, no GMail account required.

September 28, 2006

Zune v/s iPod !!


Windows PowerShell RC2 Released

Microsoft has made the second release candidate for Windows PowerShell available for download from its Web site. PowerShell is a command-line shell and scripting language that gives IT pros better control of system administration. It brings a new scripting language and consistent syntax and utilities that accelerate automation. RC2 includes direct ADSI support to allow easier administration of Active Directory; improved support for Windows Management Instrumentation; additional logical operators that make it easier to write sophisticated scripts; as well as improved help content and help functionality, including new views. Windows PowerShell 1.0 will be released sometime in the fourth quarter of 2006 and will be leveraged by Microsoft Exchange Server 2007 and System Center Operations Manager 2007.

T-Mobile to launch wVoIP dual-mode handsets

Attached ImageT-Mobile USA has plans to launch a whole host of new services, including UMA-based wVoIP services that make use of forthcoming dual-mode handsets.

According to a report in The Wall Street Journal, T-Mo will unveil the phones early next month. Wow!

UMA technology is currently the only standard for fixed-mobile convergence services, which allow a mobile user to switch from a cellular network to a WiFi network when at home, in the office or at any of T-Mobile's thousands of WiFi hotspots nationwide. It seems T-Mobile USA, a subsidiary of Deutsche Telekom, has declined to comment on future product announcements, probably because like most other AWS bidders they are still in a "quiet period" and can't talk about the future use of their newly acquired spectrum.

The dual-mode handset sector is apparently picking up this year. In the past, the lack of such handsets were largely blamed for the slow uptake in wVoIP services like those based on UMA.

In related news, Cingular said it plans to begin retailing dual-mode phones next year. Sprint Nextel has also indicated that its joint venture with cable companies including Comcast and Time Warner will also eventually yield dual-mode phones, which makes sense given the cable operators' VoIP offerings and broadband data plans.

Happy Birthday Google !!!

Google turns eight today. Happy Birthday !!.

You can try to see how the Google home page has morphed over time at the Internet Archive, but most of the logo images are broken. There's a fun discussion about Google's birthday at Google Blogoscoped, and Barry at SEW says there's some confusion over the exact birthday date.

Where is Google Earth today?


See, a topless sunbather in the Hague, a 'floating car' in Perth and an Iraqi missile.. These pictures are actually screenshots from Google Earth..

When most people use virtual globe Google Earth, they look up such sights as Sydney Opera House, Big Ben or even their own homes.

But two of the computer program’s users got an extra surprise when they explored the Dutch city of the Hague - and spotted topless sunbathers.

A Dutch blogger looking for his favourite pub accidentally zeroed in on a man wearing just shorts, lying on the roof of a house by a canal.

A woman lying face down on a separate rooftop terrace was spied by an unknown browser who mentioned it on an online forum.

The sunbathers found their way on to Google Earth because they were catching a tan when the satellite used for mapping the planet was passing overhead.

A Google Earth spokeswoman said: "Things like this do happen and people will find them for a bit of fun."

Other bizarre sightings include "hovering cars" in Perth and missiles in the deserts of Iraq.

With higher quality satellite imagery being added, it is now possible to see people going about their daily lives.

But these two cases are the first reported instances of this type of partial nudity.


Amazing, isn't it?

FeedDemon 2.1 Beta 1 released..

FeedDemon enables you to quickly explore the world of RSS from your desktop without having to visit hundreds of sites. Written by Nick Bradbury, creator of TopStyle and HomeSite, it makes RSS as easy to access as your email. Thousands of web sites offer their content as RSS newsfeeds.

News reader desktop client on .NET Framework 3.0 by NewYork Times

As usual, was reading one of my favorite MS star - Brad Adams' blog and found what I was wondering since last 1 year. Online News Reader Desktop Client

At last, New York Times has done it. And whats new, they have used .NET Framework 3.0 in it. This is how brad describes it,

The folks over at the NYTimes have released the beta of the NYTimes reader… a .NET Framework 3.0 based application that provides an amazingly rich experience for reading the newspaper… I have been on the internal pre-beta program for a while and I have found it great! A few weeks ago I actually read the newspaper end-to-end… I don’t think I have done that in 10+ years.

The other thing I love about the app is that is it is ClickOnce deployed, meaning I get new app features regularly as they are released… This was very exciting (and scary for demos) during the pre-beta phase… and I expect somewhat regular updates to continue… I get these new updates with zero additional install work.. it just gets updated in place…


I have downloaded it and started using it !!

Microsoft Forefront Security for SharePoint v262 Beta released

Forefront Security for SharePoint helps businesses protect their Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007 and Windows SharePoint Services 3.0 from viruses, unwanted files and inappropriate content. With a layered, multiple scan engine approach, it helps stop the latest threats before they impact business and users.

Microsoft Windows Live Writer 1.0.141 beta released

 Windows Live Writer is a desktop application that makes it easier to compose compelling blog posts using Windows Live Spaces or your current blog service. Blogging has turned the web into a two-way communications medium. The goal in creating Writer is to help make blogging more powerful, intuitive, and fun for everyone.

Windows Live Writer has lots of features which we hope make for a better blogging experience. Some of the ones we are most excited about include WYSIWYG Authoring, Photo Publishing, Map Publishing, Writer SDK, and Compatibility.

Latest Changes:
  • Tagging support
  • Support for Blogger Beta
  • Categories are sorted by name and support scrolling, plus improved support for reading categories from your blog
  • Improved startup performance
  • Paste is enabled for Title region and TAB/SHIFT+TAB navigation between title and body supported
  • Insert hyperlink added to context menu when text is selected
  • Title attribute in Insert Link dialog
  • Custom date support for Community Server
  • Improved keyboard shortcuts for switching views
  • Change spell-check shortcut key to F7
  • Add ‘png’ to insert image dialog file type filter
  • More robust image posting to Live Spaces
  • Improved style detection for blogs
  • Fixed issues with pasting URLs and links
  • Remember last window size and position when opening a new post

Download here for Windows 2.0.4 RC3 Beta released is the open source project through which Sun Microsystems is releasing the technology for the popular StarOffice productivity suite. It is an international office suite that will run on all major platforms and provide access to all functionality and data through open-component based APIs and an XML-based file format. It establishes the necessary facilities to make this open source technology available to the developer community.

Peter Jackson joins with Microsoft to create Game Studios

Microsoft has joined forces with renowned director Peter Jackson to establish a new game studio called Wingnut Interactive, as well as develop a completely new chapter in the "Halo" series along with an entirely original game that focuses on "interactive entertainment."

“My vision, together with Microsoft Game Studios, is to push the boundaries of game development and the future of interactive entertainment," remarked Jackson. "From a movie-maker’s point of view, it is clear to me that the Xbox 360 platform is the stage where storytellers can work their craft in the same way they do today with movies and books but taking it further with interactivity.” Microsoft also announced Wednesday "Halo Wars," a real-time strategy game designed for the "Halo" franchise by Ensemble Studios, developer of "Age of Empires."

Sony Ericsson partners with Fossil to create mobile - watch connectivity..

Convergence took another step forward Thursday as mobile phone maker Sony Ericsson announced a partnership with watchmaker Fossil to produce watches that integrate with the company's phones. Through a Bluetooth connection, the watch would connect with the cellular phone.

An LCD screen on the front of select Fossil watches enables consumers to view Caller ID information and text message alerts. In addition, the watch would alert the user of new voicemails, and allow for one touch muting and rejection of incoming calls.

Fossil said that the timepieces would be marketed until the Abacus MobileWear and Fossil Caller ID brands. The first watches to arrive would be available beginning in mid-October.

"Our goal for the Bluetooth watch was to create a product that enhances the lifestyle of the wearer without compromising style or usability," said Bill Geiser, Vice President of Watch Technology at Fossil. "Watches are evolving with technology and Fossil is at the forefront of that revolution."

The first watches would feature an analog watchface with a digital LCD readout at the bottom of the watch. It is here where information from the user's cell phone would be displayed. While Fossil's entrant would be available exclusively in the US, the Abacus watches would appear in the UK as well, Fossil said.

The Fossil Caller ID features a black ionic plated stainless steel case and bracelet-style strap, and will retail for $250 USD. The Abacus watches come in two styles, both priced at $200 USD: one with a stainless steel case and bracelet, and the other with a stainless steel case and black PU strap.

Other features include an out of range warning where the watch would alert the user that it can no longer receive a signal from the phone (approximately 10 meters), phone time/date view, two button pairing, and rechargeable battery. The watches are also water resistant.

Both Sony Ericsson and Fossil said the companies would roll out additional models in the future.

"The Bluetooth watch represents the best of both the world of fashion in its classic attractive design and the world of technology in its innovative functionality," Sony Ericsson product planner Daniel Sandblom said. "That synergy will change your relationship with your mobile phone."

Fire at LA airport due to Sony battery causes Lenovo to recall all batteries back

In conjunction with the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, both IBM and Lenovo announced that they were calling for the voluntary recall of approximately 526,000 laptop batteries manufactured by Sony. Lenovo had announced earlier this week that it was investigating reports of issues with laptops containing batteries from the manufacturer.

The two companies become the fourth and fifth computer makers behind Toshiba, Apple, and Dell to recall Sony batteries due to overheating problems. Altogether, nearly 6.8 million laptops have been affected, although in fairness Toshiba's recall of 340,000 had to do more with a defect in the laptop manufacturing itself.

Lenovo acknowledged over the weekend that it was investigating an incident in which an IBM ThinkPad T43 laptop overheated and caught fire at Los Angeles International Airport. Nobody was hurt, but officials have begun expressing concern about the safety of laptops on airplanes.

At the time, the company would not say whether it was considering a recall, however Thursday's announcement confirmed that the recall was sparked by that incident.

The issues affect the following models: in the T Series, the T43, T43p, and T60; in the X Series, the X60 and X60s; and in the R Series, the R51e, R52, R60, and R60e. The recall affects laptops sold, as well as replacement batteries ordered, during the period of February 2005 to September 2006.

Intel preparing potential replacement for Flash Memory

photo: Intel Phase Change Memory (PCM) ChipsIntel literally has, in hand, the first prototype of a new type of nonvolatile memory chip that its executives think could someday supplant flash memory and thus change the face of the industries such as cellular phones, music players and possibly even PCs.

Intel, as part of a lengthy joint venture with ST Microelectronics, has produced the first Phase Change Memory or PCM chips—nonvolatile memory chips that work well for both executing code and storing large amounts of data, giving it a superset of the capabilities of both flash memory and dynamic random access memory.

This means it can both execute code with performance, store larger amounts of memory and also sustain millions of read/write cycles.

It's necessary to invest in technologies such as PCM because flash memory will eventually hit a wall in which it can no longer scale with silicon manufacturing.

"This is pretty exciting stuff," said Ed Doller, chief technology officer for Intel's Flash Memory Group, based in Folsom, Calif., during an interview with eWEEK. photo: Intel Phase Change Memory (PCM) Chips

"We're getting pretty close to the limits [of fabricating silicon] in developing NOR and NAND flash memory; our engineers are wondering 'What's next?'"

Doller reached for an often-used but appropriate saying: "This is a case in which 'Necessity is the mother of invention' is very true. We were forced to look for something else, completely different. That's why we decided to invest in PCM.

"There are definitely limits to what you can do with our current flash methodology. There needs to be a complete quantum leap somewhere along the line to push everything forward. We believe PCM are going to be that quantum leap."

Moreover, PCM has the potential to go into production before many other flash alternatives, he said.

During the interview, Doller produced what he said was one of the very first PCM wafers, containing numerous 128-megabit PCM chips produced in a ST Microelectronics chip plant in Agrate, Italy, and sent to him just hours before.

Dollar opened a round, black plastic container to reveal several foam protective separations around a 10-inch round wafer of chips safely packaged in between.

The wafer represented Intel and ST Microelectronics' first grasp of the new type of nonvolatile memory chip.

PCM chips use the same material, chalcogenide, that's used inside to store data in a rewritable optical discs.

But instead of using a laser to change the properties of the material and thus create the zeros and ones that make up data, the chips use electricity that flows through a resistor.

The resistor heats up and does the job of the laser, changing the material's properties to represent a zero or a one.

The effort is the "culmination of [work by] some of the smartest materials guys on the planet," Doller said. "Over the years, this has an opportunity to be a very large memory technology."

Indeed, it has the potential to could replace both NAND—flash memory designed primarily for data storage—and NOR flash memory designed for executing code with one type of chip, streamlining manufacturing processes.

PCM chips, meanwhile, can be made backward-compatible to NOR flash—allowing them to fit into the same sockets—and also be produced using CMOS (complimentary metal oxide silicon) processes used by Intel and other chip makers in high volume today.

To be sure, "From a technology standpoint, [the 128-megabit chips] are a proof of concept product.

However, Intel can begin sampling them to customers soon, and it could begin selling them in the next couple of years, Doller said.

Intel already is the world's largest producer of NOR flash memory chips, which are used in cellular telephones and in many embedded applications.

The Santa Clara, Calif.-based company is also a big maker of higher-end NAND chips, although not quite on the same scale as Samsung and Toshiba.

Flash memory microprocessors are becoming ubiquitous, and industry experts expect them to be populating laptops, automobiles and a number of other products in the near future for the next five to 10 years.

Read more here about flash memory microprocessors.

But Intel believes PCM chips can pick up the ball where flash leaves off and go a lot further, due to inherent physical advantages that flash doesn't possess.

"PCM is like a super set of NOR or NAND flash," Doller said. "It's almost nirvana for an engineer. It reads fast, writes fast—it does everything faster."

Doller said that Intel will begin sampling PCM chips to customers over the next several months.

"But we're still years away from seeing these things in products," Doller said. "Will we be selling these? Yes. When will the volume start crossing over and above our current flash output? Probably not until 2010 or so."

Meanwhile, the arrival of PCM doesn't' mean that Intel will abandon flash memory. The chip maker will continue offering NAND and NOR flash memory as long as possible.

But PCM does appear to be flash's eventual successor for Intel.

Doller said the company wasn't spending any time or money with other flash-related technologies, such as MRAM (Magnetic RAM) at technology that Motorola has been focusing on.

Microsoft sues media player hacker

Microsoft Corp. has sued an anonymous computer hacker whose free program allows users to copy digital movies and songs by bypassing a software protection built into the company's Media player.

The world's biggest software maker charges the hacker known as "Viodentia" has illegally obtained propriety source code to produce the program called FairUse4WM, sparking fears it could enable consumers to illegally copy digital content.

The program's name is a reference to legal rulings in which courts recognize "fair use" as the ability for consumers to copy recordings for personal use. Some consumer advocates argue that the digital media industry is ignoring that right in its attempt to stop illegal duplication.

The lawsuit marks the company's latest attempt to stop the programmer, who has repeatedly released updates to the program in response to Microsoft patches aimed at stopping the tool that strips away digital management rights code.

The lawsuit seeks a permanent injunction as well as unspecified compensatory and punitive damages.

"This software program enables users to alter or remove Microsoft's DRM from Windows Media files (i.e. it allows users to wrongfully access or copy a copyrighted music or movie file," the company said in its lawsuit filed in U.S. District Use in Seattle.

But a person using the identity Viodentia said in a Web posting the program has never involved Microsoft source code. The programmer also said in an online interview with Engadget that the lawsuit was a "fishing expedition to get identity information" in a bid to bring more lawsuits.

Microsoft could not immediately be reached for comment, but one legal expert viewed the lawsuit as a way for the company to slow distribution of the program and scare would-be users from taking advantage of it to duplicate copyrighted content.

Allonn Levy, an attorney specializing in intellectual property on the Internet, said the program also highlights major problem facing content providers and software makers such as Microsoft as consumer demand grows for Web delivery of content such as movies and music.

"It shows that whomever is producing the DRM, even if it is the biggest software maker in the world, they are going to have to continually update and change that DRM because it is going to be cracked," Levy said.

Source [Router]

Attensa, RSS reader attached with Outlook releases 2.0 for Free of cost..

Tens of thousands of enterprise business users have put Attensa for Outlook 1.5 to the test. This new version is built on top of the 1.5 code that has been enterprise hardened and meets the requirements of the most demanding IT pros for an RSS reader that means business.

What's new in 2.0?

Deep connectivity with the Attensa Feed Server for seamless synchronization across Attensa for Outlook, the Attensa AJAX web reader and mobile devices and more meaningful attention analytics and reporting.

A mini player that lets you listen to audio and watch video content in Outlook, directly in the River of News. As more businesses take advantage of on demand video and audio to create and deliver specialized information, Attensa for Outlook let you choose how you want to consume rich media content. You can get instant access to the content using the new River of News player. Or, you can access the content when it is most convenient using the Attensa for Outlook Pod Catcher. The Pod Catcher automatically downloads audio and video attachments and puts them in a clearly labeled playlist in Windows Media Player or iTunes.

A desktop alert toaster keeps lets you track fast breaking business information whether you are working in Outlook or not. This Desktop Alert is smart. You can pick the feeds you want to be alerted to as soon as new information is available. When multiple feeds are updated, the alert box works the way you want it to work. It groups your alert notices so you can see at a glance when new information is available without being driven to distraction with constant interruptions.

Oh...and all of this is gratis. Did we mention that? We have made the move to a free download coupled with a premium support  model. Premium support is $24.95 a year and gives you guaranteed response time to your issue and priority treatment. If you have purchased a previous version of Attensa for Outlook you are instantly covered with premium support.

Download Attensa for Outlook 2.0 now.

Micheal's digital eHome

Was just referring to micheal's blog website ( and found a post saying Gannotti Digital eHome Video Posted.

View the video at,

Its amazing, one of the best example of how technology can be used. Hope to make my home also like this someday...

Words - Boyzone.. My favorite song..

smile an ever lasting smile
a smile can bring you near to me
don't ever let me find you gone
'cause that would bring a tear to me
this world has lost its glory
let's start a brand new story
now my love
you think that I don't even mean
a single word I say

it's only words
and words are all I have
to take your heart away

talk in ever lasting words
and dedicate them all to me
and I will give you all my life
i'm here if you should call to me
you think that I don't even mean
a single word I say

it's only words
and words are all I have
to take your heart away

it's only words
and words are all I have
to take your heart away

da da da da da da da
da da da da da da da da da da
da da da da da da da
da da da da da da da da da da

this world has lost its glory
let's start a brand new story
now my love
you think that I don't even mean
a single word I say

it's only words
and words are all I have
to take your heart away

it's only words
and words are all I have
to take your heart away

it's only words
and words are all I have
to take your heart away


Listen here..

Reminds me of something...

પાન લીલું જોયું ને તમે યાદ આવ્યાં,

જાણે મોસમનો પહેલો વરસાદ ઝીલ્યો ,

એક તરણું કોળ્યું ને તમે યાદ આવ્યાં.

ક્યાંક પંખી ટહુક્યું ને તમે યાદ આવ્યાં,

જાણે શ્રાવણના આભમાં ઉઘાડ થયો ,

એક તારો ટમક્યો ને તમે યાદ આવ્યાં.

જરા ગાગર ઝલકી ને તમે યાદ આવ્યાં,

જાણે કાંઠા તોડે છે કોઈ મહેરામણ ,

સહેજ ચાંદની છલકી ને તમે યાદ આવ્યાં.

કોઈ ઠાલું મલક્યું ને તમે યાદ આવ્યાં,

જાણે કાનુડાના મુખમાં બ્રહ્માંડ દીઠું ,

કોઈ આંખે વળગ્યું ને તમે યાદ આવ્યાં.

કોઈ આંગણ અટક્યું ને તમે યાદ આવ્યાં,

જાણે પગરવની દુનિયામાં શોર થયો ,

એક પગલું ઊપડ્યું ને તમે યાદ આવ્યાં.


Listen here

Saw movie American President

Yesterday I saw movie, American President. Very good movie to understand life of the President. Cast is also very good, as follows.

Michael Douglas
President Andrew Shepherd

Annette Bening
Sydney Ellen Wade

Martin Sheen
A.J. MacInerney

Michael J. Fox
Lewis Rothschild

Samantha Mathis
Janie Basdin

Shawna Waldron
Lucy Shepherd

David Paymer
Leon Kodak

Richard Dreyfuss
Senator Bob Rumson

Nina Siemaszko
Beth Wade

Wendie Malick
Susan Sloan

Joshua Malina

Plot summary is as follows,

As President, Andrew Shepherd (Douglas) is immensely popular (he has a 63% approval rating). As a man, he's a lonely father struggling to raise a daughter. His struggles multiply when his romance with lobbyist Sydney Ellen Wade (Bening) becomes fodder for both the press and a rival senator (Richard Dreyfuss)---precipitating a rapid drop in the polls...

Typing, my passion..

Just gave a typing online exam and bingo!! Got unbelievable results..


Dear Jigar Mehta,
Thank you for assessing your typing skills at - welcome back any time!
Here are your full test results:

- Test Name:   The Wonderful Wizard of OZ
- Date:        2006-09-20 19:10
- Test Time:   03:00
- Gross Speed: 75 WPM
- Errors:      0
- Accuracy:    100%

Take your typing speed to a whole new level with
TypingMaster Pro typing tutor. Free trial available!
Complete our certified typing test and get a
printed certificate by mail to prove your typing skills.
Best Regards,
TypingMaster Team

Intel Core 2 Duo Vs. AMD X2 AM2

A very good report on comparision of both the processors in almost all aspects. Visit at,

Following points are covered

  • Introduction
  • The Intel and AMD CPU Contenders
  • The Test Systems
  • The Benchmarks
  • SYSmark 2004SE Benchmark Tests
  • PCMark05 Benchmark Tests
  • ScienceMark 2.0 Benchmark Tests
  • Content Creation: Media Editing and Encoding Benchmark Tests
  • PC Gaming Benchmark Tests
  • Final Thoughts: Your Needs
  • Yahoo acquires Jumpcut

    The Yahoo! family expanded again today with the acquisition of online video editing service Jumpcut. Here’s the Jumpcut post on the announcement and here’s the Yahoo! Search post. Based in San Francisco and launched just six months ago, Jumput specializes in letting users remix videos already online or edit their own video with its interface. Mike Arrington gave the company a good review when it launched, writing that it was even better than Motionbox - a service he called the best yet for sharing online video just days before Jumpcut launched.

    Yahoo! Video
    already has one of the biggest video search indexes online and will be all the more compelling with the added ability to remix posted content and edit original video online.

    The terms of the deal are not being disclosed, although our guess is that Yahoo paid nowhere near the $65 million in cash that Sony recently spent to acquire Grouper, a video sharing site with a P2P focus. Wether the Jumpcut acquisition was large or small - it’s very cool. It’s one more example of the growing importance of remix culture and online video.

    Microsoft Releases beta for next version of DPM. (v2)

    In a continuing bid to capture some of the tape-backup market, Microsoft on Wednesday released a beta version of the upgrade to its file-and-application server recovery software, which includes support for a wider range of the company's server products.

    The product, System Center Data Protection Manager (DPM) 2006 version 2, builds upon a previous version of DPM released last year that marked the company's first move into the data-protection software market.

    Version 2 employs a patent-pending technology that constantly monitors data changes and can recover the data with zero loss, Microsoft said. During recovery, the new version can also draw data from tape, a new capability, as well as from disks, Microsoft said.

    DPM version 2 now supports Microsoft's Exchange Server, SQL Server and Office SharePoint Portal Server, plus the already-supported Windows 2000 and Windows 2003 servers.

    DPM is a candidate to replace low-end tape products with centralized disk-to-disk backup, the research analyst company Gartner wrote in a November 2005 report.

    Gartner wrote that Microsoft is expected to make gains in the field because of the wide use of Windows file servers and typically low use of file-protection software among small- to medium-size businesses.

    DPM Version 2 also employs new replication technology that reduces the input and output necessary to keep large data sets synchronized, Microsoft said.

    The most exciting thing about this DPM product is, its fully developed in Microsoft IDC, Hyderabad as I wrote in my another post,

    Attended Tech Symposium held at Bangalore

    Yesterday attended tech symposium held at Bangalore. Srini, VP and MD from Microsoft IDC (India Development Centre), Hyderabad came to give introduction to the organization.

    I dint know many facts like, the products that were developed fully by Hyderabad IDC centre (many products like, DPM, Pocket PC Softwares and Tools, Visual Studio Team Systems etc.) and the current headcount of the IDC.

    For more information about IDC look at,

    The current headcount of the IDC is, around 1200 people. Was also amazed to hear that IDC has developed a home computer (called project Microsoft Veda) which they are going to launch in some time. Cost would be around 20,000.

    Apart from the introduction to the organization, there were tech lectures by Mr. Vinay, Dev. Manager for DPM product as well as Abhishek Mathur, Program Manager for VSTS (Visual Studio Team System). Both gave very good information about their products and answered the audience questions.

    DPM v2 Beta is to be released today.. Read more about it in my another post at,

    September 27, 2006

    XBox Promotions Pictures

    XBox Promotion
    Jan 7, 2005 - 264 Photos

    On Saturday evening, in the Ansal Plaza in the heart of New Delhi, the moment hundreds of thousands of Indian gamers have been eagerly waiting for finally arrived – the launch of the Xbox 360 in their country. India became the 31st country to join Xbox Nation, and what a magical affair it was, as I was joined on stage by Bollywood heartthrob Akshay Kumar (who rappelled down a 100 ft rope suspended from a crane above the stage), and via satellite, Yuvraj Singh, superstar member of the Indian National Cricket Team. Broadcast live on MTV India, 2,000 members of the media, business partners and consumers were present as we announced a launch line-up of 25 titles, including exclusive rights to Yuvraj Singh International Cricket 2007 from Codemasters. Cricket borders on being a religion here, and obtaining an exclusive on this title will neutralize much of the grey market threat from other consoles.

    Vista will not support Visual Studio 2003 and older versions

    Windows Vista will not support older versions of Visual Studio, a move that will require many developers writing applications for the forthcoming operating system to upgrade to Visual Studio 2005, a Microsoft executive said Tuesday.

    Developers writing Vista-compatible applications will be unable to use Visual Studio 2002 or Visual Studio 2003 if those are running on top of the new operating system, wrote S. Somasegar, vice president of Microsoft's developer division, in a blog entry.

    The requirement was included as part of announcement of Service Pack 1 for Visual Studio 2005, which was released Tuesday on the Microsoft Connect Web site for developers.

    Microsoft is making the move to accommodate major changes in the way Vista works, said Jay Roxe, group product manager for visual studio. New features such as Windows Presentation Foundation and Aero and Glass take such a vastly different approach from previous operating systems that they wouldn't be well served by older development programs.

    "You need the new tools to take advantage of the new features," Roxe said in an interview. Developers may still write Vista software using older versions of Visual Studio as long as they are running on Windows XP, he said.

    Somasegar's blog entry also told developers who run SP1 on Vista to expect "compatibility issues." Roxe said incompatibilities include the inability in most cases to register com components, requiring the use of a command line. To work around other problems, developers may need to run SP1 on a Windows XP, he said.

    Microsoft plans to offer a Visual Studio update fixing the short comings after Vista is released to consumers, Roxe said

    September 26, 2006

    Attended NAP (Network Access Protection) seminar

    Today I got a chance to attend a seminar on NAP which is a feature incorporated in Windows Vista and Longhorn. It was held on internet live meeting.

    Network Access Protection (NAP) is a policy enforcement platform built into the Microsoft Windows Vista and Windows Server Code Name "Longhorn" operating systems that allows you to better protect network assets by enforcing compliance with system health requirements. With Network Access Protection, you can create customized health policies to validate computer health before allowing access or communication, automatically update compliant computers to ensure ongoing compliance, and optionally confine noncompliant computers to a restricted network until they become compliant.

    NAP in simple terms is a way for client to ensure that its up to date with the system-company security policy. Steps,

    • Validation : Client validates to check whether its up-to-date
    • Restriction : Client will be put on quarantine giving option to go to Remediation.
    • Remediation : Can get ready by installing updates/starting firewall or doing what is necessary and becoming healthy again.

    Various partners in NAP

    • System Health Agents : Declares status (patches, configuration etc.)
    • System Health Validators : Certify declarations
    • System Health Servers : Defines the requirements according to the policy
    • Remediation Servers : Installs the necessary things and does proper settings on the clients according to the policy
    • Health Registration Authority : Issues certificates to clients that pass checks.
    • Quarantine Agent : Reports client health status, coordinates with SHA and QEC.

    So, for example, you are not having latest antivirus definitions updated or say you dont have firewall turned on, or you dont have latest windows update installed on your machine and your administrator has defined policy so that clients must have both things, you will not be given full network access. You will just get few network locations enabled where you can update your computer with up to date configuration. So, system administrators can ensure that all clients are up to date and data disasters can be less, more security can be achieved. So, whole network protocol has been changed to incorporate these changes into Operating System.

    More information about NAP can be received at,

    I can tell one thing. NAP is a great technology!!!

    Microsoft, Redmond.. A dream..

    One of my team member visited Microsoft, Redmond.

    Cool photographs, isnt it??

    Microsoft Campus
    Aug 23, 2006 - 29 Photos

    Gujarati Shayari..

    હર એક શ્વવાશમા તારિ યાદ મુકુ છુ.
    મારાથિ વધારે વિશ્વવાસ તારા મા મુકુ છુ.
    સાચવજે મારા વિશ્વવાસ ને જતન થિ
    મારા શ્વવાશને તારા વિશ્વવાસે મુકુ છુ.

    Google page creator gonna get new features..

    Just recently I came to know that Google Page Creator has been improved to include new features. They are as follows.

    • Now, You can create total five different URL for your site (instead of one allowed previously-of course subdomains will be given :-))
    • The number of files were limited to 100 previously. Which was headache for people. Now they have changed it to 500.

    These new features will be released around starting of next week. Will update blog if come to know about any new feature...

    Good going google !!

    September 25, 2006

    Celebrated Priyatham's birthday

    Priyatham Birthday
    Sep 25, 2006 - 33 Photos

    New Tech. articles

    New technical articles at, MSDN blog..

    Coding Conventions

    I got following content in one of the university article. Thought its good to blog it so that can (make people) refer easily..

    1. Make Your Code Look Like Other People's Code

    Nothing hurts readability and maintainability more than developers mixing and matching coding styles in a file. Think of the guy who's going to come on this project after you. Okay, you have a prettier way of implementing that event handler.... So what? Two years from now, other developers will read the code. They'll wrap their brains around the coding standards used in the files--until they come to yours, which will make them scratch their heads and waste time figuring it out. Your's will probably look like a mistake and be treated like a bug.

    When you start on a new project, get the coding conventions document. Read it. Then forget it. Scroll through the file to see what style is actually used in the project and write your code like that.

    If you feel like reformatting the existing code to suit your preferred coding style, refer to rule number 10.

    2. Use the Simplest Design Possible

    Don't try to be overly clever when you're solving a problem. Just find an easy solution and use that one. Ignore the temptation to craft a complex work of art that will amaze and dazzle your teammates.

    This often happens when developers try to optimize prematurely. Developers think that this function is too slow and bloated, so they write some complex (and likely efficient/small) piece of code. It may be elegant code, but if the design or algorithm is too complex, no one will understand it, much less be able to maintain it.

    This same point counts for developers who see a problem and want to invent a framework to solve the current problem and any similar problems in the future. Don't do it... yet. Unless you can see several good known examples where this framework will be used in a future sprint, you will only waste time and effort. Wait until you start working on the future problems before creating the framework and refactoring existing code. This can be done safely if you have good unit tests. You do have unit tests, right?

    If you feel that you must write some insanely complicated, highly optimized, inline assembly code, refer to rule number 10.

    3. Don't Re-invent the Wheel

    Always use existing APIs and class libraries. Developers are sometimes tempted to show off their coding kung fu, but inventing a new way to sort only wastes time. Not only will you waste time solving a problem that's already been solved, you'll waste even more time fixing the new bugs your new "better" way introduces to the code base.

    Existing APIs and class libraries have already been tested and documented. And everyone knows them, so when you use them, your application will be easier to maintain. An easy-to-maintain application is good news for your team, your client, and the person who will have to actually do the maintenance.

    4. Document Your Code

    As my wife says to me, people don't know what you're thinking--you have to tell them. You can't always see the logic behind a particular piece of code from the code itself. Unless you're a mind-reader.

    Always document your design, implementation, and assumptions. Think of the poor developer who will inherit your code two years from now. He won't know that you intentionally passed bad parameters to that Win32 API function to take advantage of some undocumented, but badly needed API functionality.

    Code that's difficult to maintain might as well be a bug.

    Keep the documentation up to date. It may cost time to write clear, concise, and correct documentation, but this time will be made up in debugging and maintenance mode. If you let your documentation get out of date, it'll be harder for future developers to understand the code and work through all the design/implementation assumptions made. You also run the risk the code will just get re-written by the maintenance team because they couldn't understand what it was trying to do, which might introduce new bugs.

    If you feel you must write some insanely complicated, highly optimized, undocumented inline assembly code, refer to rule number 10.

    5. Keep Security In Mind

    Check your routine's input for length and correctness (and content, if required). Make sure you read the documentation for the function you're going to call for deprecation or security warnings. If a more secure version exists, use it!

    Taking these extra few moments to secure your code saves time and money down the road. More importantly, it saves your company's reputation, and maybe even your job.

    If you feel you must write some insanely complicated, highly optimized, undocumented inline assembly code that doesn't check its inputs, refer to rule number 10.

    6. Work In Increments

    Don't try to write the entire feature or user story in one fell swoop. If possible, break your feature into increments that could be coded in a single day. This helps enforce a simple design, increasing correctness and maintainability while making it easier for reviewers (see rule 8) to understand the problem and solution.

    When you break your feature into one-day increments, aim for complete code. Complete code doesn't mean finished code. The key is to produce code that could be introduced into the code base without causing regression errors.

    If you leave part of a feature to be implemented later, mark it using a tag that is common to the whole team. It's then easier to realize/identify what's left to do. At Macadamian, we add a comment with the "TODO" prefix.

    If you feel you must write some insanely complicated, highly optimized, undocumented inline assembly code that doesn't check its inputs, in one big patch, refer to rule number 10.

    7. Work In Iterations

    Okay, so you're already working in increments. What's the point of working in iterations? Well, unless you are psychic with a freaky mental connection, then you won't get what the customer wants on the first try.

    Instead, structure your work iteratively within your increments. For example, if you're working on a web application that interfaces with a database, do only the UI in your first iteration. Don't implement all the functionality. This way the customer gets to see what the UI looks like and fine-tune it before you waste any time implementing the backend.

    If you feel you must write some insanely complicated, highly optimized, undocumented inline assembly code that doesn't check its inputs, in one big patch, that doesn't actually work the way the customer really wants, refer to rule number 10.

    8. Have Your Code Reviewed

    I'm a big believer in code review (see the sidebar entitled "Code Review"). All code should be reviewed for correctness, maintainability, and sound design. The sooner you find and fix a problem, the cheaper it is to correct it. Another set of eyes is bound to catch errors that you've missed, and to double-check you've followed rules 1-7.


    Code Review

    The company I work for, Macadamian Technologies, has its own method for code review. . But our's isn't the only way. Whether it's Fagan Inspections or something less formal, code review is one of the best quality practices in the industry.


    If you feel you must write some insanely complicated, highly optimized, undocumented inline assembly code that doesn't check its inputs or work the way the customer really wants, in one big patch, and not let anyone check it for bugs, refer to rule number 10.

    The point of the review is to find and fix potential issues, not degrade or humiliate the developer who wrote it. If you feel you must publicly humiliate the developer who wrote the insanely complicated, highly optimized, undocumented inline assembly code that doesn't check its inputs or work the way the customer really wants, in one big patch, refer to rule number 10.

    9. Don't Stay Blocked

    Sometimes you encounter a tantalizing problem. It's an intricate web that draws you in, challenging you and firing up your brain cells for days.

    Yeah. Or you could just ask the guy in the cubicle next door.

    Unfortunately, your main goal as a developer on a project is to deliver business value to your customer as quickly and efficiently as possible, not to spend days taking on the personal challenge of unraveling some insanely complicated, highly optimized, undocumented inline assembly code by yourself. You may take it as an insult to your technical kung fu, but it's far better to spend a few minutes asking a guru for help than waste hours gnawing on a problem before working out the answer for yourself.

    The flip side of this is that you should share your expertise when someone else is blocked. If you feel don't have time to help out a teammate who needs it, refer to rule number 10.

    10. Do Unto Others As You Would Have Them Do Unto You

    The most important rule of them all. In fact, all the other rules in this coding convention actually come out of this one.

    When you start on a new project, what do you want the code to look like?

    • Do you want it to have a consistent style so you can understand it?
    • Do you want a simple design?
    • Do you want to see familiar APIs?
    • Do you want to see documentation for the code?
    • Do you want it to be secure?
    • Do you want it to be full of bugs?

    Write your code with the next guy in mind--the one who will inherit the code and not have you to talk to about it.

    You're on a team and everyone on that team must be able to trust and rely on each other. If you do something that jeopardizes that, the whole team suffers. Your teammates must be able to trust you to follow these simple rules so that the whole team can be more agile and efficient.

    Juniper Networks & Symantec heading towards merger

    Network equipment maker Juniper, Sunnyvale, Calif., and security product vendor Symantec, Cupertino, Calif., unveiled a partnership earlier this month to build and deliver integrated security solutions to enterprise customers.

    The alliance is aimed at creating an end-to-end security architecture through tighter integration of Symantec's client security software and Juniper's extensive network install base, said Juniper Chairman and CEO Scott Kriens. "Better security intelligence, faster response and comprehensive coverage" is the crux of the Juniper-Symantec partnership, he said.

    The pact makes Symantec more dependent on Juniper for the delivery of unified threat management (UTM) hardware solutions, said Symantec Chairman and CEO John Thompson.

    Symantec said in August that it would exit the UTM business and stop selling UTM products such as its Symantec Gateway Security 5600 Series. It will continue selling PC-based hardware products. With the alliance, Symantec will direct partners to Juniper for network-centric products, Thompson said.

    "We are going to get out of the custom hardware development business for UTM-related technologies," Thompson said. "We will rely on our partner Juniper to deliver the hardware capability [for UTM]."

    Symantec typically continues to support products for three years after announcing they have been end-lifed, said Jeremy Burton, group president of security and data management at Symantec.

    The vendor has not yet announced an end-life date for the Symantec Gateway Security 5600, Burton said, but effective immediately, it will recommend its partners go with Juniper UTM solutions, he said. "I anticipate some of the partners will move [to Juniper]; I anticipate some of the partners will not move," he said.

    Symantec's UTM products weren't faring all that well anyway, so making Juniper the go-to UTM dealer in partnership with Symantec makes a good deal of sense, said Andy Segal, president of Vandis, an Albertson, N.Y.-based reseller of both Symantec and Juniper products.

    "We are not getting the kind of traction I think [Symantec] wanted to have with those products," Segal said. "They were not getting the market penetration they needed to have for [UTM] to make sense as an ongoing business for them."

    In the next 90 days to 120 days, the first results of the partnership should begin appearing, Thompson said. Plans call for the two companies to develop intrusion-prevention systems, integrated access control and endpoint compliance solutions and other products.

    Juniper's J-Security Team and Symantec's Global Intelligence Network also will collaborate to deliver security and threat research, and the two vendors will participate in joint sales and marketing initiatives.

    The alliance isn't exclusive, and Symantec and Juniper channel partners can continue to sell and deploy security and networking products from other vendors, Thompson said. Continued third-party interoperability will be achieved by continued compliance with the Trusted Network Connect standard, a set of open access-control specifications for endpoints connecting to a network, he said. Still, the performance of Symantec and Juniper security solutions will be significantly enhanced when combined, he added.

    The thinking behind the partnership—that security running client-through-network-to-client makes the most sense—is spot on, Segal said. "This clearly resolves the question of, 'How do I deploy Symantec software and information products?' " he said. "And I think it resolves an issue for Juniper, which is, 'OK, I have this platform, but I need to do more with it than have a firewall. How do I integrate my antivirus, antispam, URL filtering, etc,?' "

    Financial terms of the partnership weren't disclosed. Thompson said a merger of Symantec and Juniper wasn't deemed necessary to accomplish the companies' goals.

    "I think it's a partnership that is certainly a statement of our times in our marketplace, where collaboration will be the great dividing line for success in this industry," he said.

    Responsibilities of a Software Architect

    This article describes the myriad responsibilities of a software architect, and attempts to identify human personality traits that naturally aid a person in such position.

    A software architect is responsible for creating or selecting the most appropriate architecture for a system (or systems), such that it suits the business needs, satisfies user requirements, and achieves the desired results under given constraints.

    Architect’s Responsibilities

    An architect abstracts the complexity of a system into a manageable model that describes the essence of a system by exposing important details and significant constraints.

    An architect maintains control over the architecture lifecycle parallel to the project’s software development lifecycle. Although an architect may be most visible during the requirements and design stages of a project lifecycle, he or she must proactively monitor the adherence of the implementation to the chosen architecture during all iterations. Architecture on paper is fruitless unless implemented proficiently. 

    An architect stays on course in line with the long term vision when projects’ scope creep attempts to manipulate software architecture in a certain way in order to satisfy the desires of myriad stakeholders. An architect must focus on actions that produce results early while staying on course for the long term. When project variables outside of one’s control change the architect must adjust the strategy given the resource available while maintaining the long term goal.

    An architect progressively makes critical decisions that define a specific direction for a system in terms of implementation, operations, and maintenance. The critical decisions must be faithfully made and backed up by understanding and evaluation of alternative options. These decisions usually result in tradeoffs that principally define characteristics of a system. Additionally these decisions must be well documented in a manner understood by others.

    An architect sets quantifiable objectives that encapsulate quality attributes of a system. The fitness of the architecture is measured against set marks.

    An architect works closely with executives to explain the benefits and justify the investment in software architectures. This may be done by participating in business process re-engineering activities, by using Cost Benefit Analysis Method, or by measuring the level of component / architecture re-use between projects with the help from the software process improvement team. Software architect must be effective in order to deliver results that are meaningful to the projects that have an impact on the bottom line that result in greater profits. 

    An architect inspires, mentors, and encourages colleagues to apply intelligently customized industry’s best practices. Educating the recipients and participants of system architecture is essential to successfully selling the chosen architectural path. Specifically the stakeholders must be able to understand, evaluate, and reason about software architecture. If an architect is the only one who can read and understand documented system architecture, then he has failed to integrate his best practices into the organizational culture. 

    An architect fights entropy that threatens architect’s structural approach to problem solving. It’s an architect’s job to keep the inertia going once the project is in progress. He or she must convince all relevant stakeholders that the chosen approach is sound – moreover the chosen architectural solution must be well explained and justified. The benefits of implementing a system in a particular way must be explained not only in terms of “that’s the right pattern for this problem,” but also to demonstrate the measurable benefits - such as easier integration. For example, in a product line approach an architect must be able to demonstrate how the subsequent projects will be easier to implement due to the presence of a common base from which subsequent work can be done. 

    An architect creates and distributes tailored views of software architectures to appropriate stakeholders at appropriate intervals. For example, a customer may demand to become more involved with a project and they may need to know an abstract view of a system on the level understood by them. A government customer may require an architect to demonstrate early in the project how a given system meets High Level Architecture requirements for a specific framework. It’s the architect’s responsibility to identify and present a sufficient level of information that a customer needs.

    An architect acts as an agent of change in organizations where process maturity is not sufficient for creating and maintaining architecture centric development. If the concept of software architecture is not well recognized in an organization it may be a “tough” sell to formally recognize the role of software architecture in a SDLC. Without senior management commitment and without mature software development process, architecture of the system on paper may not reflect the actual architecture of a system.

    Architect’s Personality and Other Traits

    No empirical studies have been done to determine the best character traits that define a successful architect. But it’s reasonable to derive the following traits based on the duties of an architect.

    An architect is a human filter that process complexities and outputs an abstract high level model of a system. Conveying the output to the stakeholders requires excellent communication skills – written, verbal, and presentational.

    An architect is a negotiator. The method of principled negotiation should be the tactic of choice for an architect. This method is most suitable in contrast to soft or hard negotiation method, because it seeks mutual cooperation between an architect and project stakeholders. An architect will be expected to deliver better, faster, and cheaper, but since only two-way combo can be selected an architect must negotiate to decide which aspects of a system will be considered first and under what conditions.

    An architect must convey a sense of credibility and trust; an architect must be perceived as successful. An architect can attain such status with his prior successful experience, formal training in the field (certifications in the future), and by his or her ability to deliver successful and relevant architectural artifacts through every stage of the SDLC. 

    An architect believes in his ability to perform well. In a leadership position attitude is everything – if the passion for success is absent, then an architect must step down from the leadership pedestal.

    An architect must be patient and resilient, as the only thing constant is the change itself. Since software architecture has direct influence on the quality characteristics of a system, an architect will interact with a great number of people with a full spectrum of personalities. He or she must quickly adapt to the way stakeholders operate, as it’s not possible or feasible to expect them to speak the language of an architect.


    In order to be effective, an architect must be familiar with the business domain at hand so that solutions crafted are practical and less academic. At the same time an architect must stay in touch with the rapid evolution of the field as the discipline grows towards becoming a true engineering discipline. New methodologies, practices, and vendor tools are re-defining, again and again, the responsibilities and duties of an architect. Proactive participation and involvement in the software architecture community in is a duty of every architect.

    What are the Duties of a Chief Software Architect?

    Human Resources’ view of this role (Monster).

    Odd Twist on the Title

    Battery that charges from USB port !!

    usbcell.jpgGood idea: One of the featured products at the Demo conference in San Diego this week will be Moixa Energy's USBCELL, a AA NiMH rechargeable battery that takes a charge from any USB port. Pricing for a two-cell pack in the UK is £12.99, including free delivery and VAT tax. Availability outside the UK is coming soon, according to the company. Taking advantage of the billions of USB port and getting rid chargers and cables and wasted energy makes this technology very compelling. The company has 9 volt and phone battery versions in the works. The Web site doesn't contain any information on how battery life holds up over the long term.

    Really a good idea for roaming profiles!!!

    Vista Build 5728 available to the public

    During the weekend Microsoft released a new build of Windows Vista to the public. While initially only available to registered testers, the new post-RC1 build can now be downloaded by the general public for a limited time. Although no specifics or release notes have been made available, you should expect a further polished build than RC1.

    This build (5728) has a number of improvements and updates from RC1, but has not been put through the same internal testing process as RC1 and therefore may be unstable in certain installations. We are making this release available for a limited time only (and only by download) in order to get broad distribution and testing in a variety of PC configurations.
    For those already running RC1 comfortably I wouldn't recommend upgrading until a more mature build is released. For the adventurous ones (like me I guess), you can expect fixes here and there plus some speed improvements, but like Microsoft said, this might not be the case for everyone.

    Powerful media layout to web by Scrapblog.. Flash rocks !!

    Scrapblog is presenting at DEMO this week and their new software is a great example of just how much can be done by web based applications. It’s a Flash application that lets users drag and drop photos, video, text and audio onto a background image to build scrapbooks that can be printed as a photo-book, burned to DVD, exported as a photoset to Flickr and soon will be exportable to YouTube and other video sites as a narrated slide show.

    The amount of smooth control over layout that Scrapblog allows is really impressive. It’s a tool that will appeal beyond the usual scrapbooking demographic and could be of great use in making things like artist portfolios and online graphic presentations. Even scrapbooking, though, is one of the leading folk arts in the US today. Don’t let that dissuade you if you’re an art snob; Scrapbook is lots of fun to use just for its web interface.

    The company was started by Carlos Garcia and is currently self funded. It will be monetized through printing photobooks, burning DVDs and selling pro-accounts. Some advertising may appear on the site as well. There’s a less sophisticated beta version available for free on the Scrapblog site today, but the site I previewed here will be launched before the end of this year.

    Scrapblog allows users to move and change the directional orientation of a long list of graphic elements, add effects like shadows, text and audio narration. It’s like having Photoshop Elements on the web, but with drag and drop image adding, multimedia support and bidirectional syncing with your account at Flickr, Webshots and Photobucket.

    Tabblo offers a similar service, but OneTrueMedia is a more direct competitor. OneTrueMedia has a far more locked-down corporate feel to it, but that company does also have a number of high profile distribution partners.

    Techmeme uses RSS as a transport to get advertisement content..

    TechMeme (formerly tech.memeorandum) is a site that bloggers and others check frequently for news. It is an entirely automated web service that looks at what bloggers are talking about, and linking to, and decides what is news based on that analysis. In many ways it is an anti-Digg. Humans have no say in what appears on the TechMeme homepage, other than by blogging about it.

    TechMeme is focused on technology news. It, along with sister sites Memeorandum (politics), WeSmirch (celebrity gossip) and BallBug (baseball news), is one of the more important technical innovations that has come out of the new web.

    Tonight Gabe Rivera, the founder of TechMeme, just invented something else - advertisements delivered via RSS. NOT advertisements embedded withing RSS feeds, but actually using RSS as the delivery mechanism.

    You can see the initial ads, which are for sale on TechMeme (details here), in the right sidebar on the home page of the site. The ads are also shown in the image to the left.

    Advertisers send the ad to Techmeme via RSS (typically this would come from a blog, but any content would work). If the advertiser wants to change the ad, they simply change the RSS content.


    The way it works is simple. A sponsor's blog feed is polled every few minutes, the latest post of which appears in its assigned slot (first, second, or third).

    Advantages of this approach over banner advertising are numerous. "Click-throughs" can lead to the visitor browsing, commenting on, and even subscribing to the sponsor's blog. And a sponsor has direct control over what appears on Techmeme simply by posting.

    Pricing:  First, second, and third slots are $4,500, $3,500, and $3,000 per month respectively, with a one month minimum term. CPM equivalents are low: in the $5-8 range.

    Great Thought !!! Keep thinking...