Friday, November 30, 2007

Gmail's GTalk Has Emoticons ??

Just heard from Tech-Buzz, that the GTalk interface built inside Gmail has got Emoticons and Group Chat. There's a nice looking screenshot with the post. The emoticons have existed in GTalk, but it's been only Character-oriented and didn't have the icons.

This was a much needed addition to GTalk since every other popular IM has got emoticons with icons bulit into it. The new group chat is also interesting since IM also involves some group discussion at times. But like Thilak from tech-buzz mentions, only the web-interface gets the emoticons and not the GTalk client. I somehow like the GTalk thats built into the Gmail's interface and find it a very nifty IM that needs no installation. It's part of the Google web world, where the desktop is seconday and web-apps is Google's first child. So, I was excited to use the emoticons in the web-interface, but was sad that my account didn't have the emoticons. :(

Hope I get the emoticon icons in a few days and can share my facial expressions in the dull world of text IM!! I'm sure the GTalk client will get this feature pretty soon.

At, Virus = Windows

Found this interesting thing and thought it would be funny thing to share with friends before they leave for the weekend. Its just a piece of the all-famous Apple bashing Windows at apple's website.

On the top right of the webpage, you'll see a search box. Its an AJAX-enabled search box, which means its kind-of like Spotlight, where results are shown as you type. Yeah, so what everyone (read==>Yahoo) have already done this. But the fun thing happens when you type the word -virus- into that box. It says,

"Windows... Why You'll Love The Mac. View the latest TV Ads".

We've all already seen the ads from Apple with the Windows bashing, but this one is a good easter egg!! For a screenshot of how it all looks, look below or try it yourselves at


Complete Nehalem Details Leaked

True to the earlier reports about Intel's next chips having HT (Hyper-Threading) and integrated-GPU, some more details about Nehalem appeared on the web, courtesy of Japan's PC Watch.

image image

The architecture diagrams mention about 2 threads per core, which was what I had heard from James Reinders earlier. The PCWatch page also has pictures of the updated Intel roadmaps. It also has features of all the different variations of Nehalem that Intel is going to release. The code names of these are Beckton (Oct-core MP), Gainestown (Quad-core DP), Bloomfield (Quad-core, EE-Desktop), Lynnfield (Mainstream Quad-core) and Havendale (Mainstream Dualcore)

Beckton Gainestown Bloomfield Lynnfield Havendale

If you can understand Japanese, then go here and read all about it or use a translator and try to figure out what it means!!

Meet Windows Server 2008 Developers (Fun Videos)

A blog reader pointed out these videos which he created with the Microsoft Developers who developed Windows Server 2008. The developers talk about the different features that their teams have implemented. I have been testing Windows Server 2008 for the past year or so and its been a fun experience using the software. The videos are informative about the new features in Windows Server 2008 and its fun to see the excitement of these developers in the videos.

The screams from the guy in red is funny!! :))

Meet Navjot Virk: She talks about improvements in performance that has been developed in Windows Server 2008. Replication using DFS-R...

Meet Jefferey Snover: He talks about PowerShell and how it helps admins automate tasks

Look At All His Videos Here

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Firefox Update Screws Images

Update: Mozilla will release a new version of Firefox v2.0.0.11 with the fix for this bug today...

A recent update from Firefox,(v. seems to have screwed some sites because of a bug in the Javascript implementation. The bug seems to have affected sites that use the Javascript method canvas.drawImage(). The bug report can be found at: Bugzilla@Mozilla – Bug 405584

The method is popularly used to represent vector images into HTML using Javascript and hence the extent in which the bug affects websites could be pretty huge. But just to show the speed of bug fixing from the developers, a fixed build is already available at mozilla FTP. You can download the newer build which has the fix from: (Windows) and (Linux)

Firefox seems to auto-update these days and asks the user to restart firefox for installing the update. Hence, I'm expecting quite a few number of users who have got the bug in firefox. Google Maps is one website that seemed to use the method as well, but I guess they have found a nice workaround the bug.

The bug can be reproduced by going to the site:

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Results from NetCAT 6.0 Community Acceptance Survey

The survey gives an idea about how the community of netBeans 6.0 users have responded to the development of netBeans 6.0. Initially the survey was meant to be for the NETCAT users only, but was later opened to everyone from the netBeans community. The results seem to be fairly acceptable to the community...

editormatisse ruby

Of all the different parts of netBeans 6.0, The new Editor seems to have the largest number of showstoppers. But most users have responded positively to the work on the editor and seem to agree that improvements can be further done on the next release.

The Swing GUI Builder doesn't seem to have a lot of users from the community, but I know that quite a lot of new users as well as teams love this feature. Along with the Swing Application Framework, the GUI builder is an excellent feature from netBeans 6.0

As for Ruby/JRuby support in netBeans 6.0, I completely love the work the netBeans team has put on Ruby. A lot of Java developers think of Ruby as a competitor, but certainly not the netBeans team. One comment from the survey says that "Ruby is the flavor of the month scripting language". Just goes to show the normal Java developer's hostility.

There are other results from the survey on new Javascript Editor, Profiling and Consolidation & Installation. Read the full survey results here.

Monday, November 26, 2007

TechCrunch - FaceBook's Biggest Success Story

If you thought selling 1.6% stake of Facebook to Microsoft for $240 million (i.e valuation to $15 billion) or Mark Zuckerberg rejecting $1 billion from Yahoo was Facebook's biggest success story, then probably you are missing the point that success is never measured today, but reaped tomorrow.Facebook-TC

In my opinion, Facebook's biggest success story to date is TechCrunch and other technology sites that can't stop talking about Facebook and what's happening with Facebook. And I specifically mention TechCrunch is because it is "the big" tech blog of today. TechCrunch is #3 at technorati, #1 at Techmeme and probably the biggest tech site read by non-techies. I have immense respect for Michael Arrington and I'm not saying that they are biased for Facebook. Its just that Facebook seems to have gathered so much momentum and respect from everyone around, that TechCrunch ought to cover it as much as possible. Just to give you a hint on how much of Facebook features on TechCrunch, write "Facebook" on the search posts field and see the results for yourself.

Facebook is a big social networking website and a fast growing one as well. But like every other fast growing business, it has to focus on a larger market to keep up its growth rate. Nearly everyone would agree that publicity plays a big role in reaching a larger audience. Facebook's publicity through TechCrunch's genuine posts easily catches the eye. Every word about Facebook somehow plays a role in the publicity of Facebook and this is one reason why Facebook will continue to grow in the future.

One popular marketing mantra, "What you show is what sells", is very true in Facebook's glory. Social networking websites are hangouts for friends and what better way to reach the hangout than taking a lift in your friend's car to this new hangout. TechCrunch in many ways is like a friend to its reader base. When the reader gets his daily dose of Facebook as the place to hangout, your next job is to go chill out at Facebook, just like your friend advised. Be it negative or positive comments, it definitely sparks a curiosity in the reader's mind. And this curiosity is what will drive Facebook to grow in the future.

So don't be shocked if you see a story about Facebook being valued at some $25 billion. It's just because we all love to talk about the big things in life and with that they only seem to get bigger!!

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Use Office 2007 Online For Free

If you thought you had enough of the world moving online and everyone forgetting the desktop forever... THINK AGAIN. Google's promised its going to eventually have the OS and apps online and thats where your computer is going to be.

If Google Apps, Zoho weren't enough to convince you about the online office suite move, Sabeer Bhatia, the man behind creating "Hotmail" and selling it to Microsoft, has developed another web app. This time its to take your Office 2007 suite online and that too for free. The name as Microsoftish as it may sound is not a Microsoft product and is called "Live-Documents". Its still an invite-only process and you can go to to register yourself for an invitation.


If the statistics are correct Microsoft hasn't seen any decrease in its sales for the Office suite and people still haven't completely moved online for their work. So, I'm unsure of whether Sabeer Bhatia has thought enough on the success rate of this venture. May be he'll be pitching another one for a Microsoft sale with this one, but he'll also be tense, since he hasn't got much success in his ventures after Hotmail. Just for the record, if after using live-documents, you start liking the product, don't laud Microsoft about it. The product is actually developed by a Bangalore, India based company called Instacoll.

The good about this whole thing is that when you don't have Office 2007 installed and you want to edit the .docx file, you don't have to kill yourself for thinking everyone is up-to-date. You just have to find an internet connection and login. Open your .docx and have fun!! We'll find out more when it's out of the invitation beta!!

Sunday, November 18, 2007

AMD's Overclocking App: Overdrive Demo (VIDEOS)

Found these exciting videos on YouTube about demo of the Overdrive, AMD's upcoming overclocking and performance monitoring utility. Overdrive brings the same technology of overclocking and performance enhancing using drivers, that have been in use by ATI and nVidia graphics cards.

Overdrive seems to be a very exciting application and will be released with the "Spider Platform", consisting of PhenomFX / Phenom (CPU), AMD 790FX/790X (Chipset) and the RV670 (GPU-graphics). The entire Spider Platform is expected to be released tomorrow (19th Nov, 2007), and hopefully will be available in quantities before the shopping season starts this year.

The videos have exciting presentation and editing, with nice before and after performance preview. Watch the videos and get excited for the release...

AMD OverDrive - Performance Tuning Utility

AMD OverDrive Utility - Before and After Demo

Visual Studio 2008 To RTM On 19th Nov

Microsoft has finished all of its work on the highly anticipated Visual Studio 2008 and will be Released-To-Manufacturing (RTM) on 19th Nov, 2007, which is tomorrow. Visual Studio 2008 is the most popular development platform for Windows and Microsoft has made this version specifically for development of Windows Vista. Visual Studio 2008 comes bundled with .NET framework 3.5 which I covered earlier. Visual Studio 2008 comes after 3 years and developers are excited for LINQ, XAML Visual Designer and few other new features that are part of the .NET Framework.

The MSDN Subscription Blog notes that it'll be available for download to MSDN subscribers very soon and I expect it to be sometime next week soon after the RTM. Earlier, on Nov 7th, Microsoft had announced that the Team System of Visual Studio 2008 will be shipped at the end of November. The Team System is the largest of the Visual Studio Suite and is specifically designed for Team Collaboration in mind.

Jeff Beehler, Team System Chief Of Staff, said: "We're very close to shipping Team System 2008 and expect to make it available by the end of this month. This will include all of the team editions (Development, Database, Test, Architect, Suite) as well as the Load Test Agent and of course Team Foundation Server."

Friday, November 16, 2007

Samsung Beats Dell In LCD Sales

Guest Blogger: Steven Parker
16th Nov, New York

Based on the results from DigiSales for 3Q'07, Samsung beats Dell to sell the highest number of LCDs worldwide. Dell has been on the top of the list from Q4 '01 and this is the first time that Dell has been moved from its top position in the last 6 years.

Dell was the leader in the transition from the CRT to LCD in computers and had enjoyed great success in marketing its LCDs not just to consumers but other OEMs as well. The re-emergence of stand-alone monitor brand Samsung as the worldwide leader in LCD monitor shipments shows that the market is again in a new upgrade cycle for displays alone.

This is another failure story that has been lingering Dell for the past couple of years in its PC business. HP has won the race in the sales for PC over Dell and now its bad news for its LCD business.

DellLoss1 DellLoss2

You can read the entire report with response from the companies here at DigiTimes.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Sun Virtualization With xVM Server

Update: Sun xVM Server gets a discussion from Jonathan Schwartz

A friend attending Oracle Open World told me about xVM, Sun's Virtualization platform. I have to say, I hadn't heard of it before, so I went on to look for some resources and this post is what I've found about xVM Server.

Sun has a new virtualization server based on Xen hypervisor. It currently supports virtualization of operating systems like Linux, Windows and Solaris. I have been using Xen with openSuSE which is bundled on the DVD of openSuSE 10.3 and I think its one of the better virtualization software available. So I asked what was different about Sun xVM and is it just plain packaging that Sun will be doing. Going to their website, I found that xVM server has a few scoring points to it.

1.) It brings Sun's very efficient and cool ZFS filesystem with the xVM Server.

2.) Sun will provide xVM for free but would provide support (at some cost) for the xVM server.

3.) DTrace and Self Healing (FMA) will be available with xVM

4.) Another Sun open-source, Crossbow for network virtualization will also be bundled with xVM

SunxVM server is opensource and is working through a few different communities. All of those can be found at . VmWare which is the market leader for virtualization products only has 9% of the market share. This just goes to show how much the virtualization market is scattered and everyone wants a pie of the market. Sun's product is openSource and is bundled with some nice tools and good administration GUI as well.

Prof. Ian Pratt of Cambridge who originally developed the Xen hypervisor, must be quite happy with the development that Xen has gone through. The success of xVM Server largely depends on how much the market believes in the value proposition that Sun has bundled with Xen!!

Vista SP1 RC1 Available For Download

The Release Candidate (RC1) for Windows Vista's Service Pack 1 (SP1) has been released to beta testers today. The build for the SP1 is 6001.17042 and can be downloaded from Connect. I found an email from Microsoft about the release and is available to download, after you click on the invitation link.

A lot of people have been waiting for Service Pack 1 (SP1) for the adoption of Vista. For a lot of people service pack 1 means a lot since they feel Vista is not very stable and feature-rich at the moment. I personally think Vista is pretty stable and Windows Update has been doing a pretty good job. Vista SP1 does not bring any major feature like SP2 did for XP. Instead, SP1 is more about the fixing the compatibility issues and improving performance.

According to Microsoft, it has been released to "15,000 pre-selected testers". But it's not yet known when they are going to release the public version of SP1. All signs were towards a Dec, 2007 release, but now it seems it'll be only in Jan, 2008 that we are going to see the release. Also other tricks on Windows Update to get Vista SP1 as mentioned here, aren't the real SP1, since quite a lot of changes have occurred after that!!

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Download netBeans 6.0 RC1 has released the first Release Candidate to their servers. All the teams have said "Go" to the build 200711131200, which is the build for 13th Nov, 2007. Check the Go Status here.

Some ironing has been doing since they started working on the RC1. Some error windows have been hidden and a few P2 are yet to fixed and some errors yet to be found. Download the build and report some in-the-face bugs still present.


Download the RC1 release from here.

10 Reasons Why Android Will Be Successful

I was always skeptical about the Gphone. I thought the entire idea of Google making a phone seemed silly to me. Google being a software/web company making hardware seemed too big a step. There were obvious comparisons with the iPhone and I was one of the biggest critics of Gphone for my colleagues and friends.

But a few weeks back when I first saw Google's press release about the Android, I got a little more interested. But my doubts were still there... And on 12th Nov, when I downloaded the SDK and saw the presentation videos, I realized this is what programming on mobile phones will be in the near future. I try to present a developer perspective on why programming on Android will be successful. May be the handset manufacturers and operators would want to differ, but for the developers I think Google's done a great job.

1.) Free & Easy Access: Its "free" as in beer as well as "free" as in freedom. Operators and manufacturers will be able to customize and install for free. Thus, it'll be cheaper to build compared to say Windows Mobile, UIQ or Symbian. Also, Google/OHA intends to provide enough support for everyone which will be free or cheaper than anything else in the market.

2.) Promise of JavaME: If you downloaded the SDK, you know that its like JavaME and programmed on Eclipse. JavaME (earlier, J2ME) already has a huge developer base and the learning curve to develop applications for Android is going to be a small one. The porting of already developed application would be easy. You could add new functionality to old JavaME applications very easily.

3.) Good interfaces: The UI parts like Layouts, AdapterViews and using XML to design the UI, make Android what J2ME interfaces should always have been. Its more like J2MEPolish if you think of it as a developer. Something like Matisse (GUI Builder/ WYSIWYG Visual Designer) should have been done by Google for faster & easier GUI design... (I don't mean adding Swing, 'coz not every mobile device would be capable enough. Only a GUI builder).... 3D/2D with the openGL system is also easy to use. Its more like JSR239, so small learning curve again!

4.) Great apps: Being able to use Google's applications like Google maps, Gmail.... and WebKit (not Google's tech) within your application reduces a lot of effort for the developer and helps new innovative features. The use of the notification area across the platform is another exciting feature for developers. It feels like being able to use the system like Symbian development with Java...

5.) Linux based: Being Linux based is not new. Motorola among others already have a few Linux phones. But its worth mention because with Linux you know that there are fewer bugs as its been a few years that Linux is being used for mobiles. A lot of ironing as already been done, which means its stable than anything new Google would have developed.

6.) Hardware requirement: The hardware requirements with Android are not yet to be found. But the promise seems like it'll be available on most devices. If this turns out to be true then it means that our application is available to a larger audience. May be the Optional APIs like LBS (Location-based services), Media API, 3D and Low-level hardware access will be device specific, but other than that, it'll be probably common. For the developer it means you have to think less about which JSRs the device supports

7.) Eclipse & Developer love: Google's "Don't Do Evil" philosophy means that quite a lot of people love them including developers. Google's earlier tools like GWT, Google Gears are examples of excellent tools that developers love. The SDK is Eclipse and this means there are lot of developers who already know to use the IDE and platform.

8.) Publicity: As developers, the added advantage of developing for the Android is the publicity you may be able to get. Being the first apps to be built for Android, its obviously gonna catch the eye of a lot of other developers and consumers.

9.) Cash prize: Its part of publicity as well as getting rich. If money and fame are motivations for you as a developer, then Google has hit it right!

10.) Hype: Like they say, "Any kind of publicity is good publicity". Look at Apple's iPhone and you'll know that the hype created around it helped quite a lot of sales for the product. There so much hype around Android these days. Since Android/Gphones are already so much in the news, its pretty evident that

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

India's Tata Owns Asia's Fastest Supercomputer

Guest Blogger: Steven Parker
13th Nov, New York

I know a lot of the reader's at this blog are Indians and this one is for all the Indians to make you feel proud. Tata Group, which is India's popular conglomerate own the fastest supercomputer in Asia and the 4th fastest in the world. The supercomputer called "Eka" (One) is located at the Computational Research Laboratories (CRL) in Pune, a wholly owned subsidiary of Tata Sons.

The rankings were announced yesterday at the Supercomputing Conference held at Reno, NV. The list can be found here in all its glory. Its is the first time that a supercomputer from India has figured in the top 10 list of supercomputers. Eka is built by HP and uses Cluster Platform 3000 BL460c, Xeon 53xx 3GHz, Infiniband. It reaches a max of 117.9 TFlops and Rpeak of 170TFlops. It moved from its earlier ranking of 179 to rank 4, and is quite a big achievement. It cost the Tata's $30 million to build. Tata's announcement can be found here about the entire thing.

I do not agree with Sunny's view of using GPUs for supercomputing. The cost of the hardware would come down considerably, but the cost of software would be a lot higher considering the productivity of programming the GPU. Let's see how this one turns out!

Free Virtualization: VmWare Server 2.0 Beta

Guest Blogger: Steven Parker
13th Nov, New York

I have been a big fan of virtualization. Microsoft just yesterday announced that their Hyper-V server would be sold at $28 as an add-on to Windows Server 2008. This came as a surprise to me. Microsoft is entering into this market pretty late and with free alternatives from major players already existing, giving it free would have been the best strategy for widespread adoption. But may be Microsoft wouldn't be Microsoft if it started giving anything for free!!

VmWare which sells its flagship ESX-Server, also gives away free a smaller brother of ESX. They called it GSX and now its called VmWare Server. VmWare released just few hours ago, the VmWare Server 2.0 beta on their servers. This is downloadable for free and has lots of new features built into it.

What's New

New features and enhancements in the VMware Server Beta 1 release:

  • Web-based management interface: A new Web-based user interface provides a simple, flexible, intuitive and productive way for you to manage your virtual machines.
  • Expanded operating system support: VMware Server now supports Windows Vista Business Edition and Ultimate Edition (guest only), Windows Server 2008 (Longhorn Server Beta 3), Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5 and Ubuntu 7.1, among others.
  • Greater scalability: Take full advantage of high-end hardware with support for up to 8GB of RAM per virtual machine, up to two virtual SMP (vSMP) processors and up to 64 virtual machines per host.
  • 64-bit guest operating system support: Run high-performance operating systems in virtual machines with support for Intel EM64T VT-enabled processors and AMD64 processors with segmentation support.
  • Support for VIX API 1.2: This feature provides a programming interface for automating virtual machine and guest operations.
  • Support for Virtual Machine Interface (VMI): This feature enables transparent paravirtualization, in which a single binary version of the operating system can run either on native hardware or in paravirtualized mode.
  • Support for USB 2.0 devices: Transfer data at faster data rates from USB 2.0 devices.


I have just downloaded and installed Ubuntu on it. Doesn't seem like its running on a VM and is pretty stable being in beta. I have yet to play and tweak a few things, but the first impression is pretty neat!! I'm going to install Vista and try quick switching between them... If you want to play with it as well, then you can download it from here. Leave comments about your experience ==>

Microsoft branding: 8 Versions Of Windows Server 2008

Guest Blogger: Steven Parker
12th Nov, New York

Steve Jobs recently said at the launch of Leopard OSX, "And everyone gets the 'Ultimate' version", just to take a swing at the different versions of Vista. If that was not enough, Microsoft is prepared to give the world many more versions of its server operating system. Actually, when Windows Server 2008 will be released it'll come in 8 different flavors!!

Microsoft has figured it out that marketing different versions of the same thing is profitable. They understand that packaging stuff with different set of features makes people want more. Microsoft seems to understand that the entire culture of marketing now-a-days is about tempting the customer to buy the bigger box, more that what he actually requires!! ;-)

Windows Server 2008 is special because of its thin-hypervisor called Hyper-V, which enables virtualization out of the box! Windows Server 2008 will come in Standard, Enterprise and Datacenter versions with and without the Hyper-V. And each of these would come in 64-bit and 32-bit versions. CALs (Client-Access License) means the number of clients that are allowed to access the server.

Version Price CALs
Standard (with Hyper-V) $999 5
Standard (without Hyper-V) $971 5
Enterprise (with Hyper-V) $3999 25
Enterprise (without Hyper-V) $3971 25
Datacenter (with Hyper-V) $2999 per processor
Datacenter (without Hyper-V) $2971 per processor
Web Server 2008 (without Hyper-V) $469  
Server 2008 for Itanuim (without Hyper-V) $2999 per processor

The funny part of it is that "When Windows Server 2008 ships next February, those versions that have Hyper-V will include the beta bits for that, and those will be updated to the final version when that ships within 180 days". This means that you'll may for a beta product initially. When Microsoft releases the final product, which will be a standalone, you get the final as well...

Let's see how it all looks when Microsoft will release the product in all its glory in Feb 2008. I have heard good things about it from Sunny, who's been beta testing the Home Server and Server 2008 from it's early days. I seriously expected Vista to come with 32-bit and 64-bit versions on the same DVD, but that was not the case. Hope they have that for Windows Server atleast!

Monday, November 12, 2007

Intel Releases Peryn To Make Life Tougher For AMD

Guest Blogger: Steven Parker
12th Nov, New York

Its been tough time for AMD already, since Core2 Duo was launched. Intel then stuck two of these together and created Quad Cores. These Quad Cores have  been selling like hot cakes, and Intel's making lots of profit. Intel today released its 45nm Peryn processors which are hdr-txt-logosmaller in size and cheaper for Intel to manufacture. This means Intel can earn bigger margins on the same quad core processors. On the other hand, when AMD releases the Phenom its margins will go down because of the large size and competitive pricing as Sunny observed here...

The Intel Peryn is basically the same quad-core but built using a completing new process as well as substrate and gate transistors. Intel manufactures the Peryn using Hafnium-Based High-k Metal Gate Transistors, which seems to be reduce current leakages through gates. Infact, Intel's founder Gordon Moore called the technology "the biggest transistor advancements in 40 years". This technology would allow Intel to make faster processors in the short-term.

From Intel: (click here to read the press released)

New to the Intel line-up of server processors are 15 server dual-core and quad-core 45nm Hi-k Intel Xeon processors. The 12 new quad-core chips boast clock speeds ranging from 2GHz up to 3.20GHz, with front side bus speeds (FSB) up to 1600MHz, and cache sizes of 12MB. The three new dual-core chips feature clock speeds of up to 3.40GHz, an FSB of up to 1600MHz, and cache sizes of 6MB.

The 45nm Hi-k Intel Xeon processors are compatible with server platforms using the Intel® 5000 chipset family. In addition, Intel is launching three platform solutions to support 45nm processors, including:
   The Intel® 5400 chipset-based platform (previously codenamed "Stoakley") that is optimized for high-bandwidth applications such as high-performance computing (HPC).
   The Intel 5100 Memory Controller Hub chipset and Intel ICH-9R I/O controller (previously codenamed "Cranberry Lake"). These are cost-optimized solutions that support either one or two processors and also provide reduced power consumption using native DDR2 memory.
   The Intel 3200 chipset-based platform (previously codenamed "Garlow") that is specifically designed for single-processor entry servers.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Crysis Leaked!! Tread With Caution

The word has spread like wild fire on the internet that the highly anticipated game, Crysis has been leaked on to the torrent sites. Crysis is probably "the game"crysis_overview to be played this year and everyone have been sitting waiting for the game. And finally when there was only a week left, some notorious guys have leaked it off to the internet. This is really bad news for EA, since people who even had intentions to buy the original, won't be able to hold their patience anymore and download the game.

But I would suggest some caution to all the super-excited gamers, not to download any torrent with the alphabets C, R, Y, S, I, S. They should probably look at comments and also think if its the final version or some lame beta/alpha testers had received. And if EA has the final version, they should package it quickly, work night-out and send it to the shops by tomorrow. That would mean, the people who don't want to download 6GB, would go to the shops and get it first!!

Also, with the cracks not out yet, you never know who bundles the Trojan or Virus with the crack. Why do you as gamers expect the malicious crackers to crack his head without cracking your computer first!!?? So, don't rush mate.. Take your time and get the real package on the shelves... I mean who wouldn't want the manual for this all-time collectible ;-)

Update (18:00hrs GMT): Since, I talked about Dx10, the screenshots here are some food for thought comparing Dx10 Vs Dx9... I'm wondering if I like the Dx9 output??

Saturday, November 10, 2007 infecting computers

Update (13th Nov): cleaned the stuff. The announcement is here

The ScanSafe Blog mentions that the popular Indian website, has pages that are installing malicious code into computers that are visiting its webpages.

From the ScanSafe Blog:

The installed malware included a cocktail of downloader and dropper Trojans, assorted other malicious binaries, and large amounts of scripts, cookies, and other non-binaries. We ran some of the binaries through VirusTotal and looks like overall detection among signature-based antivirus vendors is low. Given the nature of the downloaded files, it appears the malware may be intended to create sites used to attack others or that there may be some malicious peer-to-peer or other filesharing/communication purpose.

There is no clear indication on which pages have been affected, but they say not every page is infected. The attack is basically done using some unknown vulnerability in windows. Microsoft has been asked to look into the report and is yet to give any reaction. Also, which browsers are affected have not been listed, but it seems like IE should be affected since some binaries are installed and activeX seems to be the common way to do it. But other scripts may also be working. ScanSafe advises all the users not to visit the webpage until a fix announcement is made by

All this malicious activity is going unnoticed because a lot of antiviruses are unable to detect the signatures of the malicious code. Which means that many of you already have been infected if you visited recently.

Friday, November 9, 2007

Do Indian Film Studios Know About Piracy Through Bittorent ??

I have always wondered how MPAA, RIAA and other foreign film industry watchdogs have tried to curb piracy. They haven't succeeded in the battle against piracy, but atleast they have tried to scare people. If not scare atleast they have sent some letters to the Bittorrent/P2P that have all the copyrighted movies/audios free for the entire world. The latest on the hit-list of the watchdogs is, which is a popular Bittorrent tracker. Today, the hosting servers of Demonoid were taken down and a warning displayed to the users...

That made me ask the question, what is the Indian Film Industry doing to stop online piracy?? Haven't heard anyone talk about online piracy... May be some producers or actors have asked people not watch pirated movies or download stuff off the internet, but no legal action has been taken against these online piracy communities. There are many "desi" community sites that offer torrents and trackers for Bittorrent downloads and I don't think anyone from the Indian film industry even knows about it... I wonder if they've even heard of Bittorrent??

With so many movies being made, may be piracy helps some movies get an audience. But it doesn't help them make any money. I think some big studios that use modern technologies know about it, but I guess they are scared to send the legal notice to their audiences. After all, they'll get a bad name if they do it, right?? May be the studios feel that it's a publicity thing, which can be recovered from the high ticket prices at multiplexes these days...

Whatever it may be, I think piracy is a crime and some noise from the studios will help reduce piracy. Atleast, the weak hearted will get scared. As for the real pirates, they'll always find the "patli galli"...

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Supercomputer On A Graphics Card (1 TFlops)

Not so long ago, who would have thought that a desktop computer would be able to process "trillion floating point operations per second (TeraFlops or TFlops). Most people not up-to-date with technology would say its impossible for a normal desktop computer to do it, but it isn't anymore!! Really..and I'm not marketing for any company...

Today AMD announced the FireStream 9170, a General Purpose Graphics Processing Unit (GPGPU) running at 775Mhz and performs 497 GFlops. That's about 0.5 TFlops!! The FireStream is based on the RV670 chip and has 320 double-precision floating-point (FP) units. The RV670 will also be available in desktop variants for gamers and will be known as the HD 3850 and 3870 as mentioned by me here.

But it is still just 0.5TFlops... right?? Yes, but in about a few months time, AMD (actually ATI) will be releasing R680 which will have 2 of these chips working together. Add a few more clocks to the chip and we'll have a chip that can perform 1TFlops!! Aint that great??

Consider this: The world's fastest supercomputer i.e. IBM's BluGene/L scores 280.6 TFlops and costs a few billion dollars to build whereas one GPGPU will cost some thousand dollars. Do the math and you'll know its some million times cheaper with the GPGPU!! But the entire comparison I did is comparing apple to oranges. And the reason is because BlueGene/L uses general purpose CPUs which are easily programmed, whereas GPUs require special programming. I don't say that programming GPU is tough, it's just that we are habituated to program CPUs and hence we currently don't have the same type of tools that are used to program CPUs. But as the tools come up and mature GPGPUs are going to be the next milestone in supercomputing.

Intel also about a year back showed a 80 core processor do some networking to process as much as 1.81TFlops at 5.7Ghz... But its still got a lot more tweaking to do and the yield I think won't be very good at the moment!!

All of this means that in the very near future, by the use of GPGPUs, each one of us may be having a supercomputer built into our computers. But where is the work that these fast mean machines would be doing??

NetBeans 6.0 Begins RC1

The netBeans 6.0 IDE which is under heavy development begins RC1 (Release Candidate). The nightly builds can be downloaded from here. This means that it is very close to release. I had previously covered the features from netBeans 6.0 and much of it has remained same through the development phase.

netBeans 6.0 added a lot of new features and when you add a lot of features, it generally means you have lot more bugs. Infact, netBeans has added so many features, that I dont think any other IDE could have dared to add these many changes in one version. netBeans 6.0 also has its share of bugs and we at the netcat team had some discussions on how many bugs were acceptable. From the netBeans 6.0 Quality Criteria:

Code Freeze (Entry) - FCS QC
All P1 bugs must be fixed (not waived)
All P2 bugs must be fixed or waived
All P2 bugs reported after cutoff date must be evaluated for showstopper status
All bugs must be evaluated before submitting for waive request

Based on the quality requirements, the netBeans 6.0 developers have already had a delay of 2 weeks during the beta 1 release. A lot of people who haven't had their favorite bug fixed want the date of release to be extended, but I think the netBeans developers have set a more realistic goal and I'm confident the final product released wont have any of the show-stoppers!!

Just a look at the Bugs Dashboard for people wanting to look at the different bugs:

Image Hosted by

The final version for netBeans 6.0 is supposed to be released on 3rd Dec, 2007 and if everything goes like planned then I'm all excited for this one.

Why Did RedHat Choose OpenJDK ?

RedHat just got itself into the openJDK community and this is apparently big news. Even Jonathan Schwartz, thinks its a momentum for Java!! I'm sure most of you remember the open letters that were written to Sun to make Java open source... OpenJDK was Sun's response to those letters. But all this is history... RedHat's promise has just taken its first step to contribute openly to Java...

But just integrating openJDK with its distribution is not going to help Java... not that Linux never had JRE (Java Runtime Environment). Every DVD distribution with had non-OSS software included jre or anyone could download it from Sun's website.

So what's RedHat going to do with an openJDK?? Firstly, it will be able to test compatibility with Sun's JDK 6 and make sure Java remains "Write Once Run Anywhere"... Only time will tell if it remains this way with the other JDKs

Secondly openJDK does not have classes that are Sun proprietary. RedHat will contribute open-source variants of these classes... I'm wondering how much time will it take to reinvent the wheel ;-)

Thirdly, it had to do it since it was one of those that pressurized Sun to open source Java. I'm wondering why it took RedHat so much time to join the openJDK community if it had it in mind since long!!

All those explanations do not make much sense to me... Sun was already doing very good with all the work in keeping Java version-compatible and language changes didn't have steep learning curves. Any answers from you guys why RedHat's joined openJDK??

Gamers should be less selfish: Buy the 3xxx series

DirectX 10 Cards That Will Be Cooler

Finally I think we will have DirectX 10 cards worth your money... DirectX 10 is widely publicized to be the best thing that happened to gaming since "PacMan". I really don't see many games on the shelf that use only Dx10. Nor did we want the cards!! Yet it's been months that ATI & Nvidia have been selling Dx10 cards with the 2xxx series and 8xxx series respectively.

Coming on 14th Nov (Apparently Children's Day in India), we have the next-gen Dx10 cards launched by ATI also known as the 3xxx series (RV670). The first cards will be called the 3850 & 3870. These cards aren't apparently any faster compared to previous Dx10 cards. But what's special about these cards is that it'll be cooler and taking less power compared to both the 8800 and the 2900.

When the 8800 and the 2900 were released, I didn't buy them because of the high power required by these cards. Even when not under heavy usage these cards easily suck in close to 200W power and close to 300W on load. That much power requirement is just plain insane and should have been banned by government agencies considering the Global Warming Issue..

The 3xxx series doesn't make the power requirement lower by much, but it still promises atleast 50W lower than the current cards. I hope gamers realize they are being overly selfish by buying these power sucking monsters and buy something less power hungry. We are going less power hungry in processors, but when do we expect such a trend with graphic cards?? [Fusion?? Larabee??]

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Do You Believe ComScore?

Lately I have seen a lot of tech sites talk about the popularity of different sites based on information from ComScore. ComScore is an internet marketing research company and it uses surveyed computers to study online behavior.

This made me enquire into how ComScore was collecting data and how it was monitoring the sites. I also wondered about the sample size that ComScore uses to report to its clients. ComScore is popularly used by a few tech blogs like GigaOm, TechCrunch and hence I wondered if these tech sites have reliably tried to find out how ComScore accumulates its data.

ComScore states that it installs monitoring software on computers with user's consent and tracks their behavior. In return the users get security software, virus-scanning and even cash prizes and goodies. This is the good way of monitoring, but then it makes me wonder how many computers can have this software installed ?? :-0

In the past, ComScore have also used not-so-righteous ways for monitoring user behavior. They have used spyware from DollarRevenue and also had something embedded into iMesh for reporting. They even gave away proxy servers to the world, so that they can be monitored. College dorms, libraries and public internet cafes are popular places where the tracking/monitoring softwares could be installed... This means that obviously sites where college/young students visit like Facebook and Orkut would get higher pageviews.

I have used many different types of web-tracking softwares and was once part of a web tracking application project. During that I realized how impossible it was to create a meaningful and true picture of the net-surfer's behavior.

Cookies distributed through popular sites is one way to track users, but is an expensive affair. Google easily does it due to its rule over the web and nearly everyone using analytics or urchin gives Google all the data. I'm wondering when Google would start selling its tracking data and become an internet marketing research provider!!

Run Windows Programs Without Booting Windows

Just found at, about this new virtualization tool called "HyperSpace". Its a new hypervisor much like VmWare's ESX Server which is a layer just above the BIOS and can boot multiple OS. HyperSpace is something similar but not entirely an independent virtual machine. Instead it currently allows only Windows applications to run above it.

HyperSpace is developed by Pheonix Technologies, which is famous for developing BIOS for a host of motherboards. Pheonix Technologies says that this product has been developed considering that the boot times for Windows has increased so much that people need 5mins just to login to their computers to check emails. Also, Pheonix provides an argument that Windows has become bloated and people who want to use only simple applications, don't want to load that bloat...

Although all of the above arguments from Pheonix may be true, it doesn't make much sense to me. With quick sleep and hibernate available in Windows today, it really takes 4-5 secs to start using windows after you wake up from sleep. Even with hibernate, it takes less than a minute and in that time you just stretch your arms to start typing!!

I think virtualization should be directed at multiple testing environments and servers with different applications. Virtualization should ideally allow you to switch between operating systems by the click of a button. To me, this approach of virtualization is not very useful and does not have a large market. May be some people will use it, but Quick Sleep and Hibernate are for the general masses!!

Monday, November 5, 2007

Microsoft's Animated Search MSDewey is Fun!

Microsoft is not very well known for doing different things and more so not for less publicity... But here is one thing I found out, thanks to called "MsDewey" that is microsoft, but yet hasn't been publicised... Infact the thing was launched way back in October 2006, a year back and nearly everyone I asked hadn't heard about it!!

MsDewey is a funny women who talks and emotes quite a lot of stuff depending on what you are searching. Basically it's meant to be a search engine, based on Microsoft's Live Search, but I don't look at it as search. Its more like an interactive UI that is more of a keyword test for Microsoft. Go here( and have some fun listening & watching Ms.Dewey do all her drama!!

Featuring as Ms.Dewey is Janina Gavankar who does different kinds of short behaviors whenever you search for sometime, or if you ain't doing anything, she'll tell you what you should be doing!! :)) The search results are cornered to a small section of the screen, and really it's not about search as much as its about the character!!

And if you just wanna watch all the kinds of things that Ms.Dewey can do, then keep clicking "Best Of Dewey" button and have fun!! Its definitely a better way to "feel lucky"!!

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Xoom's Fee-Free Transfer To India For Diwali

While I was reading about, "Withdraw Paypal Funds to your Indian Bank Account" for which I had received an email from PayPal, I also remembered an email from another online money transfer company called "Xoom". A lot of people from India, who had money in their paypal would use Xoom to transfer it to India as check from the host of pickup locations that Xoom provides in India...

For their service, Xoom would earlier charge $10 or somewhere close to that. But soon after the announcement of paypal transferring money to Indian Banks, Xoom also started a fee-free service... They say its only for this Diwali season, but I think it'll be longer than that, atleast for paypal transfers!!

From Xoom's announcement:

Choose from any of the 3 options to make it convenient for them to receive the money:

  • Deposit money to ANY bank in India
  • Send money to any of our over 4,000 pickup locations across India
  • Get it home delivered at no extra cost

PLUS: Fee FREE money transfers above $700 and enjoy a FREE 5 min phone-call with
every transaction.

Xoom is a nice service for transferring money to India... But with paypal making it free for amount more than Rs. 7000/-, I think most Xoom customers transferring money from paypal, would be using paypal's service rather than Xoom!!

Tips For Programmers To Save You From Death ;-)

You generally do not associate life-threatening situations due to a job with programming. But last week, I realized programming can be really stressful and if the stress isn't reduced, your physical existence is in question!! That is the reason why I haven't been able to write a blog post for the past week or so... Death is an exaggeration here ;-), but then it could be painful!!

Programming is about finding solutions and sometime it takes longer that you thought. Don't get stressed out. Plan for these mishaps before jumping into the project!!

5 Tips To Relieve You From Stress

1.) Sleep: In My Opinion this is the best stress reliever... or atleast it's been in my case. I had been working about 18 hrs a day with sleepless nights at times. It all took its toll and now I realize there's nothing more important than sleep... The IDE, Programming Language, The Solutions, The Algorithm, The Project Design etc... are all secondary when you compare it to your sleep!!

2.) Take Enough Breaks: Getting off your seat often is quite a nice thing to do... Don't think you'll loose the idea that was coming to you. Your subconscious mind is still thinking on the problem and when you come back to your seat, you'll implement it!!

3.) Skip Coffee At Times: Coffee can be your best friend when you are feeling a little tired. But the habit of coffee is another reason that can make you feel ill. Skip coffee, and be careful that you don't make it a routine to drink coffee when tired!!

4.) Workout: Give time to your body as much as you give to your mind... I have realized this quite late I guess, after I put on some 10 kgs in the last 4 months!! Now I know, just walking reduces all the stress and also the weight!! ;-)

5.) Vacations, Movies, Friends & Dance: These are extremely important for being a good programmer. Go on vacations, watch movies and talk to friends about life and not programming. I love dancing, so turn on the music and burn those extra ounces. Do anything that you love to do other than what caused you the stress!

I'm not an expert on stress management. Infact, I never knew programming was stressful. But it's my personal experience/doctors from the last few days and I thought I'd pass it on to other friends I know from my field...