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Instant Boot PC’s : Asus Motherboards come with embedded Linux

Imagine you have a really important email to reply to, and you can't wait for the zillion minutes that it takes for your computer to load. Well, then you will really appreciate the latest technology offered in motherboards by Asus.

Dubbed  "Slashtop ", its an embedded Linux operating system booted directly from the motherboards memory. It promises near instant boot times and it has basic softwares like Skype and Firefox. Previously available only on its highend motherboards, Asus has now said that it will include the Slashtop OS in all its forthcoming motherboards.

Ubuntu 8.04 : My experience

Ok. I am a self confessed techno geek and I always like to try on new stuff. I have been playing around with Linux for the past 5 years. Every time I try to install a distribution (or distros as they are called) I was always left with a rather unfriendly OS and a PC that does nothing at the end.

With the hype surrounding Ubuntu (tagged as "Linux for Humans"), I decided to give it a try. A new version of Ubuntu 8.04 dubbed "Hardy Heron" was newly released. I downloaded the torrent, started up my favorite torrent manager and downloaded the ISO.


Installation went pretty smooth. I had the option to automatically resize my windows partition and install it. Really helpful for newbies who have no idea what a swap partition is (it’s the Linux version of the windows virtual memory).

Installation went really smooth without a hitch.







My first impression on booting up Ubuntu was, WOW. 'Am I really using Linux?' I thought to myself. I was simply blown away by the UI. It was comparable to Vista and the venerable MacOS X in many aspects, only faster. Everything in my system worked out of the box without me searching for any drivers. Even though it is still very much Linux at the core, the ubuntu development team has nearly done away with the use of the terminal, except for the more advanced stuff.

There were many open source apps for almost all the common home and office applications. All in all it was a very good OS for the average office and home user.

If you want to try Linux, this is the time. Get ubuntu, and comment on your experiences.

Canadian Bank offers free Asus EEE PCs

Yes. You read it right. The RBC Royal Bank of Canada is actually offering free EEE PCs to new customers who open a checking account with them. Looks like RBC is trying to woo all the geeks to bank with them.

Its just the basic version, but who would have thought that a bank would actually offer an actual computer for banking with them. Sign of the times?

If you're in Canada you can avail the offer here

Holographic Storage is Here!

When the humble CD made its debut, people never thought that they would need 700Mb of storage space. After that came the DVD, offering 4.35 - 8.70 GB of storage space. Now we have bluray which offers about 50 Gb on a single disk.

Thought this was more than enought? Wait. Enter holographic storage. Previously only talked about only in sci-fi movies, (most famously in 2001:A space odessy) it has now become a reality. Developed by InPhase Technologies, it holds great promise as the archiving format of the future.

How does it work?
Holograms use 2 coherent laser beams - a reference beam and an illumination beam - to create an interference pattern that is recorded on photo sensitive media. Shine a laser on the recorded interference pattern and the original image is reconstructed in glorious 3D. As the laser moves around - or you do - you see the image from different perspectives.

Holographic storage has a couple of neat properties.

  1. A small fragment of a hologram can reconstruct the entire data image. The fragment won’t let you move as far around the image, but for 2D images, like a photograph, it means a scratch isn’t fatal.
  2. Data density is theoretically unlimited. By varying the angle between the reference and illumination beams - or the angle of the media - hundreds of holograms can be stored in the same physical area.

Another factor: photographic media has the longest proven lifespan - over a century - of any modern media. Since there’s no physical contact you can read the media millions of times with no degradation.

Read more at the InPhase website. 


Chinese hackers stage DoS attack against CNN

Chinese hackers seem to be on a roll these days. After almost hacking in to the Indian MEA (Ministry of External Affairs) servers, they have now turned their attention on CNN servers. Apparently the Chinese boys are pissed off at CNN for covering pro-independence protests in Tibet. Tibet, which is controlled by China, has long sought independence from China.

Though CNN officially says they have no information as to the origin of the attacks, sources say they are from a group pf Chinese hackers. Whether or not they were government sponsored remains to be seen.

The CNN website was attacked using a method called DoS (Denial of Service). It is done by taking control of a large number of PCs by infecting them with trojans. And then all the computers are spam the server for page requests, flooding it until it cracks. CNN immediatly employed countermeasures and blocked most of the attacks. 

Twitter saves man from jail

Talk about technology saving the day. A UC Berkley student of journalism was arrested in Egypt without any charges. His crime - photographing  a noisy demonstration. He immediately used his mobile and changed his twitter status to "ARRESTED".

His e-SOS proved to be very helpful. Immediately all his friends who saw it contacted UC Berkley and also the US embassy in Egypt. They also twittered him encouragement. Finally the authorities got in to the action and he was a free man.

Following the arrest and subsequent release of the UC Berkley journalism student, it seems Dubai has blocked twitter. Apparently the when users try to access twitter in Dubai, they are greeted with the message "We apologise the site you are trying to visit has been blocked due to its content being inconsistent with the religious, cultural, political, and moral values of the United Arab Emirates."

iPhone to launch in India in September

The official news from apple is that it is going to launch the iPhone in India in September. I say "official" because the iPhone has already been unofficially "launched" in India. As soon as the iPhone's firmware was cracked to allow the usage of any network (it is by default tied to the network through which it was bought), phones were pouring in to the grey market, at prices initially ranging from Rs.30,000 to about Rs.21,000 now.

It seems that Apple is launching the iPhone through Vodafone in India at a price of Rs.28,000 for the 8GB version. Word is that initially only the 8GB version is going to be launched.

Considering the iconic status of the iPhone, and that people have already bought the iPhone for almost Rs.30,000 and also the fact that the same phone is available without warranty for 8000 bucks less, will you buy the iPhone? 


Google announces Weblogs

Google has announced through blogger buzz that it will soon launch weblogs or "GWeblogs"  or  "Gblogs".  Apparently this has beeb in the pipeline since Google acquired Pyra Labs in 2002. Touted as the next revolution in blogging, some of the features are (taken from the blogger buzz blog) :

  • Don’t limit yourself to “reverse chronological” publishing. Our advanced Google algorithms put your best content at the top of your blog. Even if your later work goes downhill your previous posts will still shine.
  • No more template languages to mess with or sidebars to get right. Our advanced Google algorithms automatically populate your blog’s sidebar with the most relevant possible content.
  • Stop worrying about your PageRank or your search engine optimization. Post directly into Google search results for maximum visibility.
  • Save your readers time and effort. We’ll automatically extract the most relevant sentence from your post for the index page, along with any necessary ellipsis. We'll also put some words in bold!
  • Your blog’s header will stay fresh with new images from our team of artists, each and every anniversary of a scientific achievement.
  • Unsure of what to post about? Just click “I’m Feeling Lucky” and we’ll “take care” of the rest!


Windows 7 releasing in 2009 : Bill Gates

News seems to be trickling in about Windows 7.  

The next version of Windows (Windows 7), has been rumoured to release in 2009. Apparently Microsoft boss Bill Gates himself said at a meeting of the Inter-American Development Bank (IADB) in Miami “that'll be sometime in the next year or so that we'll have a new version", referring to the next version of Windows.

Gates added, "I'm super-enthused about what it (the new version) will do in lots of ways." A company spokesperson reportedly said that Gates was talking about the test version and not the finished product. What exactly has the software baron “super enthused”, and whether the consumer will share his enthusiasm remains to be seen.  

With the lukewarm response to Windows Vista, Microsoft has earnestly begun development of Windows 7. Even though Microsoft has tentatively has 2009 as the release date, knowing Microsoft it is most likely to be late 2009 or early 2010.

Intel reveals worlds smallest motherboard : Moorstown

Yes. What you see is a motherboard. The world's smallest one. Meet moorstown.

Shortly after the launch of the new ultra-portable devices processor, the atom , intel has released info about another of its latest developments. Touted as the worlds smallest motherboard platform, about the size of a standard credit card, it has a CPU, chipset, WiFi, GPS, 3G cellular radio and memory.

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