rakhesh shows …

April 16, 2006

Bringing free software to the masses

Filed under: Links — rakhesh @ 8:17 am

It is time to show a contrast. GPL 3 is the first stake in the ground against DRM. For the first time, someone has said, "That’s it; we’re stopping it."

When we release the second draft of GPL 3 sometime in June, we’re going to be campaigning to end DRM. We will be campaigning with manufacturers and to get computer users to care about this issue–to not buy their hardware from certain manufacturers and to pinpoint the fact that if you’re downloading music, there are a lot of restrictions on how you can use it. For example, you can’t share it with friends, and the next device you buy may not allow you to play music you have already downloaded and paid for. §

Interview with Peter Brown, Executive Director of FSF.

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OpenSUSE and codecs

Filed under: Links — rakhesh @ 7:58 am

Fiddling with OpenSUSE nowadays, here’s an interesting article on how to install various codecs and propreitary packages to it. Its nice when you find ONE article that explains everything — so you don’t have to Google around on how to do this and how to do that. §

April 15, 2006

The world’s most modern management – in India

Filed under: Links — rakhesh @ 5:42 pm

I have seen the future of management, and it is Indian. Vineet Nayar, president of India’s 30,000-employee HCL Technologies (Research), is creating an IT outsourcing firm where, he says, employees come first and customers second."Everybody was aghast the first time I said that," admits Nayar. § 

 

April 14, 2006

Why Ubuntu isn’t for New Linux Users

Filed under: Links — rakhesh @ 1:36 pm

Ya, I kin d of agree with the author on this one. I gave Ubuntu a shot, and I was suprised myself on how much it relies on the command-line. §

April 9, 2006

Google Romance

Filed under: Links — rakhesh @ 3:53 pm

Google Romance is a place where you can post all types of romantic information and, using our Soulmate Search™, get back search results that could, in theory, include the love of your life. Then we’ll send you both on a Contextual DateTM, which we’ll pay for while delivering to you relevant ads that we and our advertising partners think will help produce the dating results you’re looking for. §

Too good! Google’s April Fools joke. :)

Be sure to read the FAQ and Tour and Press Release on the landing page. Hoooohohohohohohahahahahaa!! :) 

Google’s hidden payroll

Filed under: Links — rakhesh @ 2:29 pm

Because Adsense earnings can vary widely depending on a site’s traffic or subject matter, many Web publishers in the developed world don’t bother participating. Whereas a $25 monthly payout may not be worth the trouble to a blogger in Manhattan, it can mean the world to a blogger in Manila. §

Interesting. :)

The Flickr Gunners

Filed under: Links — rakhesh @ 2:12 pm

Go read. §

Pleasure Unit Theory

Filed under: Links — rakhesh @ 2:08 pm

Pleasure Unit Theory: People organize their lives to get their minimum required units of pleasure. While individuals vary in terms of how many units of pleasure they need, everyone is striving to reach their personal minimum.

When Eve looks at a piece of pie, she knows it might increase her total happiness for that day by only 1%, at the price of losing all the other things that bring her pleasure. By contrast, when you look at that same piece of pie, eating it might be the only good thing that happens to you all day. You NEED the pie to get close to your minimum pleasure units. § 

Hehe! Good one from Scott.  I think I am one of those people that have pretty whacky ways of thinking; but this guy is competition! :)

March 26, 2006

My Opinions

Filed under: Links — rakhesh @ 11:40 am

I think it’s entirely appropriate to have no opinion when you don’t have enough information on the topic. As far as I can tell, few people agree with that position. And that’s frightening. §

I soooooo totally agree with Scott on this one. I rarely have opinions on anything; and my parents keep telling me its bad. Point is, unless and until I feel I have enough info on something, I can’t make an opinion of my own. And even then, I am never sure if I have enough info. Many a times its happened that I form an opinion on something based on what I think is enough info, and then just a few steps down the lane I find that I was wrong and there’s info that I missed out previously and which would change the way things look.

Ofcourse, that’s not to say one should never make opinions (coz one can never be sure one has all the info), but I think its best to wait till one has "enough" info before forming an opinion. Whatever "enough" info means …  

March 19, 2006

The Complete FreeBSD, Released Under a CC License

Filed under: Links — rakhesh @ 4:56 pm

Ten years ago, on 24 February 1996, Greg Lehey submitted for publication the final version of the first ever book on the FreeBSD operating system, "Installing and Using FreeBSD". It was later renamed to "The Complete FreeBSD", as is now known and appreciated by the users of this OS. Grog have always retained full rights to the book, and for today he has decided to release it for download under a Creative Commons license. Besides, he doesn’t have the time to keep updating it, so he is asking for help. He can’t guarantee money, "just" recognition in the preface. §

In case you didn’t know …

Arch Linux

Filed under: Links — rakhesh @ 4:55 pm

"The recent emphasis of the Linux community has been on desktop distros that make it easy to install and configure the system without venturing beyond the GUI. Despite the success of these beginner-friendly systems, a significant segment of the Linux population prefers a simpler approach. These back-to-basics users want clarity, stability, and speed, and they do not care about the proliferation of redundant tools and glossy configuration helpers that populate the GUI-based systems. In the past, no-frills Linux users gravitated to systems such as Slackware, Gentoo, or Debian, but another back-to-basics distro is gaining favor among the Linux faithful: Arch Linux." §

I couldn’t agree more. I gave Ubuntu Linux a shot yesterday, and I am already thinking of removing it. Ubuntu is good, I’m not denying that, but I dunno, I always think of Linux a command-line kind of OS. I started fiddling with Linux when Slackware was "the" Linux distro and RedHat was just starting to put some colour into their initial startup lines; and more than Linux I’ve worked with stuff like Free/Net/OpenBSD and so I kind of like the command-line … and so Ubuntu put me off big time yesterday!

And its not just that. Personally, I feel Linux excels itself in the command-line. Things like GNOME and KDE and too slow or sluggish or complicated or whatever whatever whatever. GNOME’s taskbar is sooo funny for instance (I was using 2.14). If there’s only one window, the taskbar shows its button across half the taskbar. Even though I’ve set the button to have a low maximum size and all. GNOME’s menus are decent though, I have to say that. And as for KDE, its got these huge icons in the system tray, and its menus are sooo bloody complicated, boy! And both of them slow things down big time. I was trying to import my music collection into Banshee and amaroK, and both of them had difficulties doing so. Would just get stuck, and I wouldn’t even be able to open a command prompt or kill the processes etc. In Windows, I use iTunes and it imports things in a snap!

So ya, I think Linux has still a long way to go in the UI part. Even a distro like Ubuntu requires u to open the command prompt now and then. Sure, there might be GUI alternatives to the command prompt commands, but those are not default — you gotta check the forums and then download them etc. I’ve used Windows for long, and I’ve never had to resort to the command-line for simple chores. At the most I’ve had to tweak with the weird looking Registry — and that’s about it! Not like Linux.

I don’t think I’ll give Arch a try though. Dunno, not too interested. Have been put off by these Linux distributions infact. What I want to give a try to though is Bluewall. Its Debian Sid, with NetBSD’s pkgsrc — wonder how it is. I dont mind using the Linux kernel or GNU tools etc — have nothing against them — all I mind is Linux distributions that are trying to make Linux user-friendly and not really getting there.

 

Firefox 2.0 Alpha1

Filed under: Links — rakhesh @ 3:05 pm

Go get it! §

Screenshots. § 

March 17, 2006

Dapper Flight5

Filed under: Links — rakhesh @ 9:26 am

I think I’ll give this a shot today. §

greased lightbox

Filed under: Links — rakhesh @ 8:35 am

Sweet! §

March 13, 2006

Google lands on Mars

Filed under: Links — rakhesh @ 4:43 pm

Yes sire. §

Flofox – Flock Theme for Firefox

Filed under: Links — rakhesh @ 3:28 pm

Want your Firefox to look like Flock? Get the theme here. §

Why Free Standards Matter

Filed under: Links — rakhesh @ 11:59 am

A California State Agency web site that required Windows Media 9. I happened to be running my Solaris laptop at the time. So I couldn’t receive the video. As a tax paying citizen of the state, my government was inadvertently telling me I could not receive state emergency services without buying a Microsoft product. Governor Schwarzenegger, I don’t want my or my employer’s tax dollars going to promote a monopoly in California. (Love them though I do as a business partner.) §

Interesting post. Check the links too.

March 6, 2006

iTunes and non-iPods

Filed under: Links — rakhesh @ 11:36 am

Always wished you could sync your non-iPod devices (like Sony Ericsson W800i for instance) using iTunes? Well, its possible now thanks to iTunes Agent. Go get it!

Apart from that, I didn’t know till today (when I searched around for it) that its possible to have iTunes show up ON your taskbar the way WMP does. Awesome! § §

Prof says there’s no hacker he can’t foil

Filed under: Links — rakhesh @ 10:55 am

A University of Toronto professor says he can now use a photon of light to smash through the most sophisticated computer theft schemes that hackers can devise.Using the infinitesimally small light particles — and one of physics’ most confusing theories — U of T computer engineer Hoi-Kwong Lo says it’s possible to confound even the most elaborate decoding plots and, eventually, safeguard financial or classified information from electronic spies or burglars. §

 

NTFS resizing

Filed under: Links — rakhesh @ 9:34 am

I’ve been thinking of installing NetBSD on my laptop.  And for that purpose, I had to resize the default NTFS partition to something smaller so that I get space for NetBSD. (As is usual nowadays, all laptop manufacturers pre-install their laptops with Windows XP, giving it the full disk space. There’s no way to workaround that, coz even if u format and reinstall from their recovery cds, it creates full partitions).

Finally I found this document that lists some "open source" methods to resizing partitions. Since I was installing NetBSD, I didn’t want to download some Linux distro that supports resizing (like Mandriva, or SUSE for instance). Am downloading the SystemRescueCD and RIP discs that it mention — let’s see how they work.

March 5, 2006

Google shifts to AMD on the server

Filed under: Links — rakhesh @ 4:56 pm

Despite the fact that battery life is not an issue, rising energy costs have caused the industry to start looking at power efficiency in a whole new way. According to Urs Holzle, Google’s vice president of engineering and operations, the cost of running a server 24 x 7 x 365, for its three-year lifetime starts to approach half as much as it cost to buy the hardware initially. For a company like Google, which runs thousands of servers constantly to provide its core service, these costs can add up. §

 

It’s raining aliens!

Filed under: Links — rakhesh @ 4:14 pm

Investigations suggested the rain was red because winds had swept up dust from Arabia and dumped it on Kerala. But Godfrey Louis, a physicist at Mahatma Gandhi University in Kottayam, after gathering samples left over from the rains, concluded this was nonsense. ‘If you look at these particles under a microscope, you can see they are not dust, they have a clear biological appearance.’ Instead Louis decided that the rain was made up of bacteria-like material that had been swept to Earth from a passing comet. In short, it rained aliens over India during the summer of 2001. §

The article actually calls the state of Kerala a "district". Hehe! Interesting theory/ read btw.

March 1, 2006

Quantum interrogation

Filed under: Links — rakhesh @ 8:22 am

An nice explanation of Quantum Mechanics and its quirks. Gave me a headache at the end though — I guess I’m just dumb in figuring it out. :) §

February 28, 2006

Multi-Booting the Solaris 10 OS, Linux, and Microsoft Windows on a Laptop

Filed under: Links — rakhesh @ 4:58 pm

Sometime I plan to do this. On my brand new Seagate 300GB (woohoo!) external hard disk. Taking a print of this article for  reading then. §

February 22, 2006

Funny ad!

Filed under: Links — rakhesh @ 11:10 am

If you understand Hindi, check out this ad. §

February 21, 2006

MarkShuttleworth – Ubuntu Wiki

Filed under: Links — rakhesh @ 1:12 pm

Why do I do Ubuntu?

To fix bug [WWW] #1 of course. I believe that free software brings us into a new era of technology, and holds the promise of universal access to the tools of the digital era. I drive Ubuntu because I would like to see that promise delivered as reality. §

Nice read.

Humans: the survivors

Filed under: Links — rakhesh @ 10:16 am

The popular view of our ancient ancestors as hunters who conquered all in their way is wrong, researchers have told a major US science conference. §

Turns out its possible that early humans might not have been hunters; rather, they were hunted by other species and thus evolved to become more co-operative and take care of themselves. Its funny this article mentions that you know, coz I do remember reading somewhere that man is such a fickle puny two legged creature and yet its somehow managed to outwit all other species. Guess this is how we managed to be survivors. :) And I guess that’s why there’s such a big emphasis on social life and behaving properly in society and being extrovertish and social etc.

February 20, 2006

Retinal Detachment

Filed under: Links — rakhesh @ 10:13 am

The sudden appearance of spots or flashes can indicate a tear in the retina. A sudden increase in the number and size of floaters may also be a warning that the retina is tearing. This is sometimes referred to as a "shower of floaters."  § §

I don’t want to write much about this (personal reasons), but I’d like to point out readers to the concept of Retinal Detachment. Its something we must all be aware of. I wasn’t aware of it until about 2 years back, and as far as I know most of my friends/ foes aren’t either. 

How to Suck up to a Blogger

Filed under: Links — rakhesh @ 9:41 am

Blogging has flipped traditional PR on its head. It used to be that ink begat buzz. Life was simple then: you sucked up to the Wall Street Journal, one of its reporters wrote about your product, and the buzz began.

Nowadays buzz begets ink. Journalists no longer anticipate or create buzz–rather, they react to it: “Everyone is buzzing about FaceBook. There must be something to this, so I had better write a story about it.” This role reversal has fried people’s minds.

The latest development is that blogs beget buzz. Blogs have changed everything because they represent a cheap, effective podium for creating buzz on a massive scale. Technorati provides an easy way to identify the A-listers, so all you have to do is attract the most influential bloggers. Here is a guide to the process. §

A nice post by Guy Kawasaki. I found it funny that I was thinking alone these lines the past few days (coz I have been thinking about blogging in general), and also that I touched upon it very briefly and vaguely in my earlier post; and now I find other people too to be talking about it. :) And even funnier is that one of the other things I had thought about these past few days was whether I should continue having two blogs or not; and now I find that that too is being talked about a lot recently. Interesting. Seems there’s a common "idea pool" somewhere up in the Universe. 

BlogBurst

Filed under: Links — rakhesh @ 8:07 am

BlogBurst is an opt-in wire service for bloggers and publishers.

1. You sign up and tell us about your blog, then blog as usual

2. We promote your blog in our publisher workbench

3. Our top-tier publishers display your blog content on their sites

4. Clicks on your byline drive new traffic to your blog §

Hmm, so now we have blogs “bursting” out into news papers too. I guess its good for the bloggers coz most blogs are like anyways mini-publications nowadays. With a lot of thought being given into design and content and comments and stuff like that. For me, blogging is a pastime. When I am bored and there’s nothing much to do, and I have net access and I am reading up blogs — then I go ahead and write a post or few. But for most others, its a very serious activity — so this should be a Good Thing for most bloggers.

February 19, 2006

Botnet Master interviewed

Filed under: Links — rakhesh @ 9:55 pm

Hacked, remote-controlled home computers, known as robots or "bots," and large groups of robot networks like the one 0x80 runs — called "botnets" — are the souped-up cyber engines driving nearly all criminal commerce on the Internet. Botnets are used to relay millions of pieces of junk e-mail, or spam, touting everything from cheap Viagra to get-rich-quick business schemes. And the botmasters who control these computer networks are at the heart of ominous and increasingly common online shakedowns known as "denial of service attacks." In such an attack, Web gangsters demand tens of thousands of dollars in protection money from businesses. If the businesses refuse to pay, the criminals order the thousands of computers that make up their botnets to flood the Web sites with meaningless traffic, crippling the businesses and costing them thousands or hundreds of thousands of dollars in lost revenue. §

Its long and I skimmed through fast from around the middle; nevertheless, its a must read. 

New mobo == New comp

Filed under: Links — rakhesh @ 9:51 pm

An upgrade of the motherboard is considered to result in a "new personal computer" to which Microsoft® OEM operating system software cannot be transferred from another computer. If the motherboard is upgraded or replaced for reasons other than a defect, then a new computer has been created and the license of new operating system software is required. §

Hehee! That’s funny! :)

Bird Flu

Filed under: Links — rakhesh @ 9:44 pm

I am watching Oprah on Star World. Tonight’s show is about bird flu. Some expert is talking about how we should all be prepared; and while the situation does look hopeless, we can make it a hopeful one by being prepared — knowing about the problem, planning ahead on how we would deal with situations like tonnes of dead bodies and patients needing medical aid, etc etc.

I seem be reading/ talking about bird flu all the way since yesterday. My mom warned me yesterday afternoon to refrain from eating chicken. Seems a couple of our family friends have stopped having chicken dishes coz of bird flu, and she was telling me too to do the same. So as I do when I am confronted with something I don’t have much info on, I did a search on Google and read some pages on bird flu. And now I am more knowledgeable about it.

WHO Fact Sheet: for a comprehensive info on what bird flu is all about.

Of the 15 avian influenza virus subtypes, H5N1 is of particular concern for several reasons. H5N1 mutates rapidly and has a documented propensity to acquire genes from viruses infecting other animal species. Its ability to cause severe disease in humans has now been documented on two occasions. In addition, laboratory studies have demonstrated that isolates from this virus have a high pathogenicity and can cause severe disease in humans. Birds that survive infection excrete virus for at least 10 days, orally and in faeces, thus facilitating further spread at live poultry markets and by migratory birds.

The epidemic of highly pathogenic avian influenza caused by H5N1, which began in mid-December 2003 in the Republic of Korea and is now being seen in other Asian countries, is therefore of particular public health concern. H5N1 variants demonstrated a capacity to directly infect humans in 1997, and have done so again in Viet Nam in January 2004. The spread of infection in birds increases the opportunities for direct infection of humans. If more humans become infected over time, the likelihood also increases that humans, if concurrently infected with human and avian influenza strains, could serve as the “mixing vessel” for the emergence of a novel subtype with sufficient human genes to be easily transmitted from person to person. Such an event would mark the start of an influenza pandemic.

Based on historical patterns, influenza pandemics can be expected to occur, on average, three to four times each century when new virus subtypes emerge and are readily transmitted from person to person. However, the occurrence of influenza pandemics is unpredictable. In the 20th century, the great influenza pandemic of 1918–1919, which caused an estimated 40 to 50 million deaths worldwide, was followed by pandemics in 1957–1958 and 1968–1969.

Experts agree that another influenza pandemic is inevitable and possibly imminent.

MSNBC.com readers ask about bird flu. Turns out eating chicken doesn’t spead bird flu — or atleast there haven’t been any reported cases of that so far.

Some more questions and answers on bird flu.

And … (I like this one coz I am hand-washing obsessed) the best defense against bird flu is to regularly wash your hand and have a good personal hygiene. :) 

I wonder what’s going to happen … 

Full Circle with Open Source

Filed under: Links — rakhesh @ 7:45 pm

If we treat open source like a commodity to be exploited, rather than as a community to be nurtured, we’ll soon find that both the words “open source” and the substance behind them will be dissipated. But for now, we need to keep moving to a point where we can extract more value (read: dollars) from the trend so that we can foster more of it. More money = more development. Up to a point. §

A very nice post from Matt Asay. :)

I read one of the links he cites in the post: another interesting read.

The truth is, according to Love, nothing is for free. “Someone must pay for it. All these small modifications in the code… all this does cost money. To bring it to the point: The only way to make Linux a successful business is to cash in. This is the other side of the medal. In the future, all Linux applications will have a price tag. That’s the job of the movement’s marketing department. You will have to pay for it, but of course less than you would pay for NT products because one thing is clear: our main competitor is Microsoft.” §

Human Chimera

Filed under: Links — rakhesh @ 6:22 pm

The Chimera is primarily known as a creature of Greek legend – a fire-breathing monster with parts of a goat and a lion with a serpent for a tail. In biology the term has come to refer to any organism that contains more than one set of genes. There are chimera African violets, where the core of the plant is genetically distinct from the outer layers. Animal chimeras, or mosaics, as they can also be called, don’t usually divide so neatly.

The most common form of human chimera is called a blood chimera. This happens when fraternal twins share some portion of the same placenta. Blood and blood-forming tissue is exchanged, and takes up residence in the bone marrow. Each twin is genetically separate except for their blood, which has two distinct sets of genes, and even two distinct blood types. Up to 8% of fraternal twins are blood chimeras, and as the incidence of fraternal twins in the general populace increases with the popularity of in vitro fertilization, the number of blood chimeras should rise proportionately. §

All I knew about Chimeras till date was that it was the codename of the drug or something in Mission Impossible: II. :) Interesting stuff.

This and the previous post via Damn Interesting.

The Crypt of Civilization

Filed under: Links — rakhesh @ 6:08 pm

In the basement of Phoebe Hearst Hall at Oglethorpe University in Georgia, there is a stainless steel vault door which was welded shut over sixty five years ago. Behind this door lies a 20′ x 10′ waterproofed room containing a menagerie of once-modern artifacts and microfilm records, placed there by men and women in the years between 1937 and 1940. If their goal is realized, the contents of this vault will remain unseen and undisturbed for the next 6,107 years. This ambitious project, which began in the dawn of the Second World War, is known as the Crypt of Civilization; it represents the first concerted effort to collect and preserve a snapshot of human civilization and technology. Though the term had not yet been coined at its inception, it was the first modern time capsule. §

Cool! Now that was news to me! A vault that’s going to be opened 6,107 years in the future … wowow! (That’s to digg for this link. Must say, digg does dig up a lot of good links!) :)

Ubuntu DapperFlight4 released!

Filed under: Links — rakhesh @ 6:05 pm

This week brings us Dapper Flight 4, the fourth alpha release of Ubuntu 6.04 – The Dapper Drake. Dapper Flight 4 is the product of over 3 months of tremendous effort to mold the latest and greatest software the Open Source community has to offer into a coherent easy to use whole. The most significant milestone for Dapper Flight 4 is the UVF (Upstream Version Freeze). Aside from a few exceptions such as GNOME 2.14 and Espresso, most of what is in Dapper now is what will be in the final release in April. Let’s take a look at what you are going to get. §

I think I’ll download the install CD tonight and give it a whirl on my new laptop (whenver I buy that, that is. Hehehe!).

Scratchproof CDs

Filed under: Links — rakhesh @ 5:37 pm

One of the most frustrating things about CDs and DVDs is that one bad scratch can render them worthless. Now a Denver startup called Scratch-Less Disc is marketing a version that can be clawed at, dropped–even smeared with peanut butter–and still play like new. To protect their playing surfaces, the discs are made with aerodynamic bumpers around the edges and a clear 4-micron layer of a polymer developed by General Electric. §

 

Creators, Synthesizers, and Consumers

Filed under: Links — rakhesh @ 4:30 pm

In the new paradigm of “programming” where there are a million things on at any instant, we’re going to need some new and different models of directing our attention. In the transition from atoms-to-bits, scarcity-to-plenty, etc. instead of some cigar-puffing fat-cat at a studio or label “stoking the star-maker machinery behind the popular songs” we’re going to have the ability to create dynamic affinity based “channels”. Instead of NBC, ABC, CBS, HBO, etc. which control scarce distribution across a throttled pipe… we’re going to have WMFAWC, WMNAWC, TNYJLC and a whole lot more. (The what my friends are watching channel, The what my neighbors are watching channel, The New York Jewish Lesbian Channel, etc.) I expect we’ll also have QTC (the Quentin Tarantino channel) but this won’t be media he made (necessarily) but rather media he recommends or has watched / is watching. Everyone becomes a programmer without even trying, and that programming can be socialized, shared, distributed, etc.

Instead, interestingness relies on the natural activity on and traversal through the Flickr site. It’s implementation is subtle, and Stewart has hinted that a photos interestingness score depends on putting a number of factors in a blender: the number of views, the number of times a photo has been favorited (and by whom), the number of comments on a photo, etc. I would guess that Flickr activity the day after interestingness launched didn’t change much from the day before, i.e. the cryptic nature of the algorithm (”interestingness” is the perfect, albeit arcane term) didn’t lead to a lot of deliberate gaming. But dammit, it works great. §

An interesting first post by Bradley Horowitz of Yahoo! (he began blogging today). Boy, he’s got one hell of an About page!! Somebody’s been busy! :)

For its part, Yahoo! is working with SBC and Microsoft on an IPTV/fiber-to-the-curb initiative called Project Lightspeed that uses Yahoo! software to deliver video-on-demand, instant messaging, photo collections, and music. Meanwhile, chief executive Terry Semel, who spent 24 years as an executive at Warner Bros., has recruited a crew of network personnel in Santa Monica to crack open the contractual vaults containing 50 years of rights-encumbered TV and film archives. And Yahoo! has already become the Internet home of broadcast fare like Fat Actress and The Apprentice. “They’re clearly thinking of themselves as the fifth network,” says Jeremy Allaire, founder of Brightcove, a Net video distribution startup. §

In some ways I find it discomforting that pretty soon my tv and video are going to be in the hands of computer outfits like Yahoo! and Google. That my computer us going to be the centrepiece of everything. Somehow I’ve never associated computers with stability. They crash, for goodness sakes! And they keep throwing up errors or have network problems or god knows what. While tv too has similar problems, somehow they are not as frequent or as “affecting” as those of computers. I mean, when was the last time I had to sit all nite and reformat and reprogram the tv coz some virus was beamed into it eh!?!

Toilet seat covers are not thaaat bad

Filed under: Links — rakhesh @ 1:51 pm

A University of Arizona microbiology team tested a dozen office surfaces including the bathroom. The scientists found that phone receivers had 25,000 bacteria per square inch, while toilet seats had only 49 bacteria per square inch. § (via Orange)

I’ve always been fussy about toilet seats myself. But for me, it hasn’t  been much about hygiene per se. It just gives me a mental satisfaction to know the toilet seat is clean and wiped and hence not ewww-ey. :) And its for similar reasons that I keep washing my hands whenever possible — I just like them smelling neat and nice. :)

Atomium

Filed under: Links — rakhesh @ 12:47 pm

Discovered via Google Sightseeing: I give you Atomium! :) §

Has the world become a better place?

Filed under: Links — rakhesh @ 11:54 am

A damn interesting (flash-based) presentation here by Gapminder. §

Minister offers £6m to behead cartoonist

Filed under: Links — rakhesh @ 11:11 am

A MINISTER in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh has offered a £6m reward to anyone who beheads one of the Danish cartoonists who outraged Muslims by depicting the prophet Muhammad. §

Gross! Reading this article, all that I thought of was Gandhi’s famous quote: “An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind“.

Apple Blockbuster

Filed under: Links — rakhesh @ 11:06 am

Apple’s Blockbuster product strategy is simple. Start with a new iPod that has video- and audio-out capability. This iPod — which will be just as good at playing songs as any iPod that preceded it – will be more than just a video storage device. It will be a video player. No make that plural – players – a whole family of video-out iPods, some with flash storage and others with little disk drives.

Take your Video-out iPod to Blockbuster, drop it in a kiosk dock then download from the local xServe your choice of 50,000 movies. You can rent the movie or buy it and you can even choose the resolution, which may or may not affect the final price. Take the iPod home, drop it in the dock attached to your TV and watch the movie. H.264 decoding takes place in the iPod in hardware.

For Apple the point here is to sell iPods to people who might not otherwise ever buy one (my Mom, for example), to bring digital downloads to people who don’t have broadband or even a computer, and to make it all incredibly easy. You don’t even have to return the videos when you are done, since they will automatically time-out. §

Hmm, that sounds interesting! Robert Cringely’s posts are usualy quite perceptive … and give you the "wowow" feeling after you read them. And he’s usually quite on target too. :)

Alzheimer’s Progresses Faster in Educated People

Filed under: Links — rakhesh @ 11:00 am

Previous studies have shown that people with high levels of education are less likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease. The new study shows that the brains of more educated people can tolerate changes for longer periods of time, meaning signs of decreased mental agility typical of Alzheimer’s disease appear later. When those signs do appear, the disease progresses faster than it does in less educated patients. §

I’m not quite sure what to make out of this report. Does it mean more educated people have higher chances of getting Alzheimer’s disease? Heck, wow, that’s like the first sensible reason I have seen against not getting educated! Mom, Dad, I don’t want to go to school today as I don’t want to increase my chances of getting Alzheimer’s! Wooweee! :)

Flcok 0.5.11 released!

Filed under: Links — rakhesh @ 9:44 am

Go get here: §

If you are upgrading from Flock 0.4.10, read the upgrade notes here. The profile paths have changed, so take care: §

And lastly, here are the release notes for a list of the new features: §

Since I have been using one of the Flock hourlies for a while, none of this was too new to me. I’m downloading 0.5.11 now — will install it on my home machine as I am going back tomm. :) 

The evolution of Fedora Core Linux

Filed under: Links — rakhesh @ 9:09 am

After core Fedora Core release 5 get’s released, Fedora will continue to evolve. We will eventually see Gnome 3.0 (I can’t wait) and KDE 4 late in 2006, and more than likely we will see the rather amazing XGL implemented. There will be countless other improvements to the operating systems installation routines and user experience. There has to be, in order to compete with Windows Vista which is scheduled for release some time at the end of this year. §

An interesting read on the history of Fedora Core Linux. I just excerpted this para above coz I liked the fact that so many exciting updates are due this year for Linux. Yaay! 

Alt 0167

Filed under: Links — rakhesh @ 12:27 am

That’s the keys I gotta strike to make this "§" symbol appear. Till date I used to open up "Character Map" (charmap) everytime I wanted to insert this special character, and that was starting to be a pain in the butt. Then just now I figured that there’s a shortcut key shown in charmap when I choose these special characters — Alt 0167 — but trying it out didn’t work. A bit of search on Google showed me that I have to on NUM-LOCK and then type the numbers on the numeric pad — that did the trick! Cool! 

February 18, 2006

Firefox vs Deer Park

Filed under: Links — rakhesh @ 8:20 pm

Though the post is in the context of the BSDs, I find the info very useful. I wasn’t aware of this until I read this post; and I used to always wonder why some of the Firefox downloads I ran (the nightlies usually) had a different icon and were called Deer Park. I assumed the Deer Park part was an indication that it was Firefox 1.5 Beta or something, but that never explained to me why post-Firefox 1.5 nightlies are also called Deer Park. Now I know. :) §

Opera Desktop Team Blog

Filed under: Links — rakhesh @ 8:13 pm

For all you Opera fans out there, the Opera Desktop Team is now blogging here. And every week they are releasing a weekly build until the final version of Opera 9 is ready. Whoo Whee! :)

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