Sunday, December 24, 2006

Metacafe censors Bugmenot 'How-to' video

Metacafe censored this video. click the metacafe video link to see the removal notice

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Google Docs and Spreadsheets now enters Desktop- open war on MS Office!

Today Google has launched its newest front on its fight against Microsoft's domination of PC world.
With the release of Google Toolbar 3 beta for Firefox, Google has quietly launched a direct attack on MS Office. Users who install new Google Toolbar 'can' now 'double-click' any compatible document (.doc, .xls, .odt, .rtf, .csv) on their computer and it will open straight in a browser in Google Docs and Spreadsheet. It doesn't end there, when users click on links to any such file online, it will open straight in Google Docs, no more need to download files first and then upload them to your online word processor. Users can also 'drag' files to their browser to open it in Google docs.
This is yet another signal on Google's intention to use its huge market cap in Internet to gain access to Microsoft honeyspot. Google never misses an opportunity to attack Microsoft where it hurts the most, the toolbar for IE doesnt have this cool feature yet, so in a way, if people want latest toolbar, they have to get firefox. The latest toolbar update includes the much awaited bookmarks button and many new features.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Skype releases official wifi phone for 159$

Skype has released a its first official Wifi phone. Now you can buy it for 159$. Along with it you will get 500 minutes of SkypeOut minutes and one year voicemail. The phone is from SMC, which is not that great brand-wise.
Skype is also giving a FON router along with this.
Skype and Google have invested in FON, which is the largest community of shared Wifi hotspots in the world. Previously it was said that the phone will look like this,
but the model now released isn't that gorgeous. Still no news about the free calling within US and Canada, if it will be continued beyond the year or not. Anyway unless I hear about it I am happy with my sipphone. I use Skype a lot now, but still I cannot agree with its business model around a proprietary encoding and non-standard voip adoption.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Amazon learns from Xbox mishap, changes 'terms' of customer vote program.

This thanksgiving Amazon turned the online community upside down by offering Xbox 36o for just 100 $. But it was not a very sweet experience for most netizens
World's largest online shopping mall was down for almost 15 minutes when all the gamers out there tried to grab this sweet deal. Those 1000 pieces where sold out in some 30 seconds.
One guy even sued Amazon for not getting one of those.
Some even suggested new techniques to avoid missing such a deal in future (use https instead of http).
But all these has gone under the water, Amazon has changed the policy now.
Now you need to 'vote' for the item you are interested in the voting period. Then you stand at a chance of getting the claim code which will be distributed only to people who voted.

I think Amazon should not have done this. Anyway this shows that Amazon doesnt want to repeat the mishap that showed its own EC2 in a very bad light.

Friday, December 08, 2006

450 GB on a paper, the researcher speaks up..

Finally, 2 weeks after stirring the IT world with the claim of storing over 450 GB of data in a sheet if paper with colored dots, Sainul speaks up here. He posted a comment with a link to his press release. Its interesting to read he says "Rainbow Storage is not a method to store data on paper but it is a group of techniques to represent data in the form of colour, colour groups and some symbols."
He feels that people have mixed up the newspaper article.

Many technical groups are discussing about this and they are wasting their valuable time. I think they are mixing my two statements.

1) We can store data even on an ordinary paper

2) We can achieve huge density by using rainbow storage"

He also says it was "the concept of disposable storage.", so there is no prototype yet.

The problem starts now, when he says "The picture will be highly compressed ( Not in magical ) and it can be represented in any color representable medium"
The question many people asked in this blog and else where in Digg is, if you have a binary data and that binary data is of a picture it makes sense to compress that picture almost lossless, because you are compressing the binary data.. But when the picture itself is the data, and each dot actually represent as Mr. Sainul claims 8 bits, how is he going to compress that again? what format will that data be in? as picture? or binary!!!?

Anyway I think there are many experts out in the field who knows better than me, but I am still skeptical when he says he is going to release a product for consumers by 2008!

Just in case Mr. Sainuls page gets dugged, I am quoting his entire press release below
"There are some rumors spreading around the world about my work, Rainbow Storage. �We can store 100s of GBs of data in a sheet of ordinary paper� is a great misunderstanding and I do believe that it is impossible with existing technologies. Many technical groups are discussing about this and they are wasting their valuable time. I think they are mixing my two statements.

1) We can store data even on an ordinary paper

2) We can achieve huge density by using rainbow storage

I used an ordinary sheet of paper to demonstrate this work, I think that�s why the misunderstanding.

Actually Rainbow Storage is not a method to store data on paper but it is a group of techniques to represent data in the form of colour, colour groups and some symbols. We can use any colour representable media as storage medium including paper and plastic sheets. Paper and ink is not the only way to represent colour, there are other efficient methods available now and many kind of researches are going on in different parts of the world .

Definitely, Ordinary sheet of paper with normal printer and scanner will give poor density, but it can be used for some specific purposes. (Acid paper with special ink can last to decades and fading problem can be solved considerably by using some techniques in Rainbow Storage). It put forward the concept of disposable storage. We can create many useful products like digital catalogue for commercial products.

I prepared Rainbow Storage as my academic seminar paper and it was a study to explore data representation capability of colors. Most of the living organisms are getting huge amount of data through vision. Our eyes can only understand colours and colours only. But our brain is doing many complex operations (like distance calculation of objects by using images from two eyes) by using this colors. We can identify distance of two objects (which one is closer) in different environments (eg : Brightness difference). So the visible light (colors) contains a huge amount of data.

Instead of using 0s and 1s here we are using color dots. Each color dot can represent minimum 8 bits (1 byte). If we are using some powerfull mode of representation (forget about ink and paper) we can represent more data on a single spot. By using some groups and symbols , we can also increase the density in to some extent.

Please mail me your suggestions and queries to Kindly give me time to reply because 100s of mails and enquiries are getting daily. So I am unable to reply them all.

If anyone interested in my projects and interested to work with me (Both technical and financial), please mail me to

In Rainbow Storage, we are converting digital data (any format) into somo clors, color combinations, and some symbols known as rainbow format. Hence a rainbow Picture will be generated. The picture will be highly compressed ( Not in magical ) and it can be represented in any color representable medium. We can use the medium as a secondary storage device. The density will be according to the medium, read and write methods using. For retrieving the contents from the medium, readers capture picture and generate data from the color combinations. Although environmental light differences and colour shading is a problem, it can be overcomes up to a certain limit by using efficient mapping functions. Each rainbow picture contains a header, body, footer, parity, Rainbow boundary mapper etc. Header contains the measurement of the rainbow picture. the algorithm (not basic) which is being used etc. It also contains an efficiently designed error checking mechanism.

By using Rainboe Storage, we can develop many kind of products. It Includes

1) Disposable storage

2) RVD

3) Rainbow cards

4) Datacenters

Rainbow storage can be used to achieve Disposable storage. We can store any kind of data in any kind of color representable media. It can be used as one time storage. We can use bio degradable materials here (because it is not intented for long time). These category of products can be used for Distribution of files, documents, etc. Here we can use even printers, scanners, cameras etc as input and output devices. I am planning to release two useful products in this category by the middle of 2008.

RVD (Rainbow Versatile Disk) is another product that can be developed by using Rainbow Storage. We need to develop specific drives for reading and writing. It can hold huge amount of data and it will be very cheap enough to reduce storage price dramatically. The technique Vertical lining is used in RVD to ensure high density. Storage capacity will vary according to the nature of mediums used.

Rainbow cards can be constructed as a cheap secondary storage medium for PDAs (Personal Digital Assistant) and other small digital devices. It can be constructed in many standards and sizes. The size can be vary from visiting card size to size of a SIM card. Specific readers need to be attached with such devices.

Datacenters are the static storage servers that can hold Peta Bytes of data. It will be a sequential access storage system that can be used for secondary storage of data. We can construct a datacentre with cost around 35 lakhs.

My new project is named as Project Xpressa. It is a software/Embudded package for regional languages. By using this, news papers, stories, novels etc can be made audible in its own style. An importance of this is that the newspapers and novels and other stuffs which are available in the Internet can be enjoyed through a mobile phone. This project is designed in such a way that any person who has a GPRS connection (internet access) on his mobile phone can enjoy stuffs which are available in the Internet.

Myself, I had just finished my MCA (Mastar of Computer Application) from MES Engineering college, Kuttippuram , Kerala, India. I am a native of Karingappara, near by Kottakkal Arya Vaidya Sala, Kerala, India. Now working with some projects and trying to setup a software company. "

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Kim family Fund - paypal donation- suspicious

It is suspicious to see that "Kim Family Fund" account was created 9 months ago, when the tragedy happened over last 20 days. The donation link came up in this digg article here
What I am suggesting is that website is probably a hoax. The whois search reveals that the owner information is blocked. The website itself doesnt says that is it official or set up by close friends. see this cached link.
It doesnt mention who set up the website., please tell us how many of your users use Firefox

Many people find it really hard to beliee that 65% of Digg users use firefox, may be its time Digg should release that data..
I find it really suspicious that the article (here)I wrote saying the above statistics got buried within minutes it hit the frontpage..

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

65 % of the Digg users use firefox!!

65% Digg users use Firefox, in a span of 10 days I had about 30,000 unique visitors from Digg and around 10,000 visitors from Slashdot. So it gave me an idea to compare the browser preference and platform between the two user communities. As you can see about 48% of the visitors were from Digg and about 13% from slashdot.

So it can be seen that about 65% of the Digg users (see below) use various versions of firefox while only 17 percentage use Internet Explorer (all versions combined). When this is compared with Slashdot users again around 65% use various versions of firefox (mozilla excluded), only 11 percentage use IE.

Digg Users stats below:

Slashdot users:

Eventhough Firefox usage is comparable between the two communities, Linux adoption vastly differed. About 20% of Slashdot users were on Linux compared about 9% in the Digg community.

Slashdot stats;

Digg Users stats:

What does the statistics means
  • The Firefox is almost 4 times as popular as Internet explorers among the Geeks or early adopters, if this trend stays in another 3-4 years firefox will be as ubiquitous as Acrobat reader.
  • Between the two Slashdot community is definetly more 'geeky' when we consider the adoption of linux (Slashdot beats Digg 2:1 in terms of linux penetration), but numberwise digg has more readers so it could mean that if we take raw number of linux users Digg may be having more 'number' of linux users.
  • Ofcourse the above two data has to be understood bearing in mind that there are thousands of people who are members of both these wonderful websites.
  • Cnet has reported that only .1 percent of the Firefox users click online ads and .5 % of IE users click online ads. This bad news for adsense users because bulk of their traffic is from Firefox users on the other hand this also corroborates this article because geeks are unlikely to click through ads..

Update: Some have commented, how this can be extrapolated to all the users of Digg?
The answer is, during the period of study, the article which got frontpage in Digg was under 'Technology' category which is one of most frequented sections of Digg.
I would love to see if any bloggers who got dugged has different stats..

Saturday, December 02, 2006, Kevin please give us more RSS feeds gives RSS feeds for frontpage stories, there is option is get feeds for frontpage stories in individual categories. But one thing that is lacking is upcoming stories, the only feed that is available is the one that shows the most recent stories. It will be a great help if digg gives another feed for the most popular upcoming stories. It wouldn't be hard right?

Please bring this to the attention of Kevin and team at

powered by performancing firefox

Search for Yahoo in Google and it takes you to a phishing site..

I was trying to sign up for Yahoo! alert service and a quick check on Yahoo News page didn't show up the link to Yahoo Alerts. So I typed 'Yahoo alert' in Google and hit "I am feeling lucky".

Many people use this "I am feeling lucky" feature and have reported upto 80-90% accuracy. I often found it be a great defense against phishing especially since you can search right from Firefox address bar. But I was in for a shock when I hit the button this time, this is the page that came up.

The site that came up was a phishing site. See the url that ends with "" I dont know what has gotten into Google algorithm to rank a phishing site the top most for such a simple query. You can try the query here.

Both firefox 2 and IE 7 showed only website certificate errors but passed the site as not a phishing site.

Update 1: Searching for 'yahoo alerts' also gives the same phishing site as the first result.

Update 2: Elderberry has commented that it could most probably a proxy site, here is my response,
A little google search has found some suspicious records of this site.
This site is talking about how is faking Googlebot, read here
Also I couldnt find any official page from saying that they are indeed a proxy site.
The only page I could find was this,
and it was japanese site for flouri fans.
The ssl certificate they have is from, both Mozilla and Microsoft have so far refused to acknowledge them as valid. read here
Last but not the least this is the first time I am seeing a proxy site high up in the search ranking for such a popular site like Yahoo. But I have to agree the issue is open..

Friday, December 01, 2006

Adsense Referral gets Firefox v2 but loses Google Toolbar!

Ever since Firefox version 2 was officially released, I was wondering why Google Adsense referral program is still carrying the older version 1.5. Today Google Adsense team has updated the installation file to include version 2 but mysteriously the Google toolbar is missing. Even after installing the package, the toolbar is missing, see the screenshot.

I don't know if its an error or a deliberate decision. Anyway this is good for bloggers, now you don't need to 'convince' people that not just Firefox is great, but Google Toolbar is also great.
If this is a deliberate move then the possible reasons could be either Google decided to update the Firefox version of Google Toolbar which is currently lacking in features vis-a-vis the IE version, or it could mean that Google is thinking that even without the toolbar it can make money from Firefox
For those doubting Thomas' you can try the adsense referral in this page. But let me warn you, I am definitely not soliciting you, dont want to get bounced by Google adsense.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

"That was between my boy and me, Mr. President"

Jim Webb made my day today, many newspapers have covered his retort to President Bush at a White House party thrown for new members of Congress. CNN and other media have covered it you can see his response video in the CNN link. excerpts from CNN

"Democratic Sen.-elect Jim Webb avoided the receiving line during a recent White House reception for new members of Congress and had a chilly exchange with President Bush over the Iraq war and his Marine son.

"How's your boy?" Webb, in an interview Wednesday, recalled Bush asking during the reception two weeks ago.

"I told him I'd like to get them out of Iraq," Webb said.

"That's not what I asked. How's your boy?" the president replied, according to Webb.

At that point, Webb said, Bush got a response similar to what reporters and others who had asked Webb about Lance Cpl. Jimmy Webb, 24, have received since the young man left for Iraq around Labor Day: "I told him that was between my boy and me."

Jim Webb is a real hero you can find lot of Jim Webb videos all around the net.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Wal*Mart to enter the largest market in the world >> India

The largest retailer in the world Walmart is going to enter (one of) the largest markets in the world, India. Walmart's 315 billion dollar revenue outsmarts many countries in the world, but until now couldn't get access to India's vast market. So it has teamed up with Bharti Enterprises.
It will be exciting to see how the socialist government of India reacts to this entry.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Scam of Indian student developing technology to store 450 GB of data on a sheet of paper

Mr. Sainul speaks up story here
Today I saw for the second time story coming up in Digg about this Indian student who developed and demonstrated a technology to store 450 GB of data on a sheet of paper. This story was first reported by Arab News and later other media outlets started quoting them.
This shows how technically illiterate the news reporters are.. The idea of storing something in paper is good, but trusting someone blindly when they say they are showing a movie from a piece of paper is absolutely naive.
For people who still believes such stories, please try to find answers for these fundamental questions.

  • How did he make his paper disk?, though the reporter missed to ask this question directly, it seems he used some sort of printer (laser or inkjet). So if we take the best printer available and try to print a digital photo with such a high resolution so that its size is 450 GB, will you be able to print that with out loosing its resolution?
  • Even if a printer is able print at that high resolution, the paper is made of fibre which has uneven surface, think about your CD or DVD being rough like paper, will the drives read it. When you want to store such a huge amount of data, even micron level of difference do matter a lot.
  • Some people where suggesting by using different colours one can squeeze in more data, but what about error tolerance then? This guy is questioning the fundamental reason why digital / binary technology became popular, its because its either 0 or 1 , so its mostly fool proof, we could have used different voltages and instead of binary, use 0 1 2 3 4, but then it will not be fool proof.
  • This guy is claiming he used circles and triangles to store data, so but even for triangle he has to use 3 co-ordinates , that itself utilized 3 bits, so how is he saving space?
  • Barcode companies did their maximum when they tried to develop 2 D barcodes and the maximum they could get was around 2000 bytes of data!!
  • These types of scams happen regularly in India, a guy claimed he got alien cells from rain, someone developed gasolene from leaves in started selling it in large quantities
update 1
Some people have requested me about how many bits is 450 GB, well lets see what Google says...
3 865 470 566 400 bits!!

So he printed these many dots in an A4 paper? even if printed just 1 in 100th of
3 865 470 566 400 ie 38 654 705 664 bits (ie compressing 100 bits to the space of one bit by using different colors and triangles and circles) with a 15 megapixel camera he will be able to detect only
21 037 500 000 bits!!

A4 paper = 8.5 X 11 inch
Using a 15 megapixel camera he can detect 8.5 x 15000 pixels on the breadth side and 11 x 15000 pixels on the length side so total will be 21 037 500 000

update 2: some people have noticed that the arab news article says 256 GB in a paper, and I was saying 450 GB, actually 450 GB came in the story that broke in digg day before yesterday

update 3: I am an Indian and there are many Indians who are brilliant and hardworking, the graduates from IIT are the best in the world!

update 4: I am going to patent this idea, instead of geometrical shapes, we are going to imprint the whole 26 letters and numbers 0-9 on paper, so I m saying it can hold 500 Terrabyte of data on a stamp size paper :) how is that?

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Thursday, November 23, 2006

How and Why Techcrunch ditched MyBlogLog ?

UPDATE: MYBLOGLOG has reappeared on Techcrunch. No news on what really happened..
Today I was doing my routine check on Techcrunch and I felt something odd, MyBlogLog is missing. Although I wasn't a big fan of MyBlogLog, but I got to know about them through Techcrunch only. Techcrunch recently wrote a story about MyBlogLog about to be acquired by Yahoo , and that was on 17th Nov and MyBlogLog was still their on Techcrunch sidebar.

"MyBlogLog is a blog community and analytics tool used here on TechCrunch (see sidebar) and many other blogs around the web. Just recently out of beta, the site gained traction in a hurry."
I wonder if that story has to do something with this latest move. Google cache still shows MyBlogLog in Techcrunch here. You can see the screenshot of that sidebar along with this post

update: Or is it because of privacy concern as Crunchgear points out.

I had a doubt if this was because of some technical issues at the MyBlogLog end as happened with Google 'Click to Call' early this week, but MyBlogLog sidebar is working in other sites.
Does Techcrunch has the moral responsibility to inform users when they decide to stop using a feature?
my answer- Techcrunch and many super-blogs got their popularity by writing similar stories about other websites, so I think they do have that responsibility.

Goodtree scam exposed, Gmail started marking their emails as spam/phishing

I had previously written about Goodtree scam in this blog.The 'CEO' of Goodtree, James Currier posted a comment saying that they are a legitimate business, and that sites like myspace also use users address books. But he choose to leave one serious question unanswered, why the mails from Goodtree says that " Google, Yahoo and Microsoft are contributing their technology to a new website called GoodTree" when Google, Yahoo and Microsoft has no involvement in Goodtree. James Currier must realise that he might be able to get some money by cheating people, but you cant build a big business by fooling innocent people.

But the real story today is Gmail has started treating Goodtree mails as spam, and they are warning people. See this screenshot, the mails received last month now has the red warning banner from Gmail.

Some people had raised concerns about them in the past, but its sad to see how easily people get fooled. Goodtree never answers why they always use Google, Yahoo and Microsoft's name in their promotional emails. And what technology they use to "NOT" save users Gmail, Yahoo and Hotmail passwords "In order for people to access their address books, they need to log in to those address books, so yes, they enter their email and password, but we do not save anyone’s passwords. ". Read Goodtree CEO reply here.

  1. Some employees from Goodtree left their comments here, I will try to counter their arguments
  • "Your post says that "the real story today" is about a Google warning about a GoodTree invitation email. I'm looking at the email and it's from Oct 23rd, the time of your original post. That's not today's story." - Google made sure that even old emails from Goodtree are labeled properly with phishing warning. That is why the mail I got from Goodtree on Oct 23rd got that label when I opened it last week. To make it really clear, when I first got the mail on Oct 23rd that phishing warning was not there.
  • " James *did* address your question of how Google, Yahoo and Microsoft and Ask search results are involved: GoodTree gets its search feed from InfoSpace, a public company in Seattle, which aggregates all those feeds under contract, and then we are under contract with InfoSpace." - No James did NOT answer my question, when you license/use Infospace technology why you use the following words in your email "Google, Yahoo and Microsoft are contributing their technology to a new website called GoodTree that gives money to charity when you use it"
  • " The warning label that appears on the screen shot is a result of the fact that we send out GoodTree invitations from our own SMTP server with the email address of the inviter in the 'from' field. Gmail's servers, using SPF authentication, are smart enough to realize that the 'from' address and the originating mail server probably don't match, and dutifully warns the user."- Sorry to disappoint, Google has started to label any invitation mail *talking* about Goodtree as phishing, if you look carefully at the "from" address of the screenshot of the mail you can see that it was an invitation mail my friend got from Goodtree and because he was suspicious he forwarded it to me and the SMTP server is not of Goodtree's its of an ISP in India. So its *not* because of the SMTP issue. Secondly sending mail by changing the "from" address is not good business practice, be bold and say that the mail is from Goodtree.
  • "I'd also like to note that if Gmail/Google had somehow "identified" us as scammers, we'd be ending up in your spam box, not your inbox. Please watch the alarmist language."- I get the comments in my blog as email in Gmail, even the comments these Goodtree employees leave has been marked by Gmail with phishing warning!! see the screenshot below
2. If Goodtree really want to do charity (anything for charity is good), they should stop asking users their email passwords, stop sending spam emails.
If Goodtree wants to email someone say that the mail is from Goodtree, don't cheat people by editing the "from" field. Basically what they need to do is do their business ethically. You cannot promote a good cause by spamming people.

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Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Openoffice can't get MS Office 2007 interface

In a major move today Microsoft today announced that it will allow third party applications to use MS Office 2007 interface. On the outset it might look like Openoffice could use the ubiquitous MS Office interface but it clearly states that direct competiters to MS Office application will not be allowed to use the interface.

Xbox 360 for 100 USD!!!

Xbox 360 is available from amazon for 100 USD. Only 1000 pieces will be available and the sale will start from 11am PST on Thursday (23 Nov 2006). You have to go to this link here.
If you buy it directly from amazon catalog you will not get it for the deal price, read here.

To make sure you get one of those 1000 pieces try these tips

  • login in Amazon early itself.
  • make sure you have your credit card info or paypal info saved in amazon
  • You can use this firefox extension to auto-reload the page here
update: the item got sold out in 3 minutes, I tried but the amazon site refused to load for me. Anyway I learned a new trick, use https:// instead of http:// when this happens next time :)

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Google pulls plug on "Click to Call"

Update: Google has brought back the service as of 22 Nov 2006. No news from Google about why the service was unavailable for almost a day.
Google atleast for the time being seems to have pulled the plug on "click to call" feature from both Google Local and Google Maps. Check this out, these links had click to call feature for every business when it was launched a week back, now they are missing, here and here
I think the wide spread abuse of the feature was the main reason as explained here
check out the snapshot.
Even the example shown in google blog, the hardware link is not showing up the Click to Call link..
As of 1.15 CST 21 Nov 2006 there is no posting in google blog about this change..

Monday, October 23, 2006

Goodtree Scam

Today I got a mail from a friend,

He was inviting me to a new website called GoodTree

"I just found out that Google, Yahoo and Microsoft are contributing their technology to a new website called GoodTree that gives money to charity when you use it.

It's invitation only. I thought you'd love it"

From the wording I was sure that it was an automated mail. But the wording also made me nervous, it has that touch of a scam. So I clicked the "Accept" button

And I got this website. update: see the encircled (red) area, they are making people believe that this is some venture by Google, Yahoo and Microsoft!.

I checked "Women" and clicked continue and got to this page..

This was it! Yet another scam to get their personal information. Im pretty sure, by this time scores of people must have submitted their personal information here. But I hope this post will convince some to stay away from this website.

I written a new post on Goodtree here

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