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..

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