Sandeep Venugopal’s Weblog

February 27, 2008

EU Fines Microsoft $1.35 Billion!

Filed under: Uncategorized — Sandeep @ 10:01 am
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The European Commission fined Microsoft a record €899 million ($1.35 billion) on Wednesday for defying sanctions imposed on the software giant for antitrust violations, far exceeding the original penalty.

The EC’s decision finds that, prior to 22 October 2007, Microsoft had charged unreasonable prices for access to interface documentation for work group servers. The 2004 Decision, which was upheld by the Court of First Instance in September 2007 , found that Microsoft had abused its dominant position under Article 82 of the EC Treaty, and required Microsoft to disclose interface documentation which would allow non-Microsoft work group servers to achieve full interoperability with Windows PCs and servers at a reasonable price.

“Microsoft was the first company in fifty years of EU competition policy that the Commission has had to fine for failure to comply with an antitrust decision”, said European Competition Commissioner Neelie Kroes. “I hope that today’s Decision closes a dark chapter in Microsoft’s record of non-compliance with the Commission?s March 2004 Decision and that the principles confirmed by the Court of First Instance ruling of September 2007 will govern Microsoft’s future conduct”.

The Commission?s Decision of March 2004 requires Microsoft to disclose complete and accurate interoperability information to developers of work group server operating systems on reasonable terms.

Initially, Microsoft had demanded a royalty rate of 3.87% of a licensee’s product revenues for a patent license (the “patent license”) and of 2.98% for a license giving access to the secret interoperability information. In a statement of objections of 1 March 2007, the Commission set out its concerns regarding Microsoft’s unreasonable pricing. On 21 May 2007, Microsoft reduced its royalty rates to 0.7% for a patent license and 0.5% for an information license, as regards sales within the EEA, while leaving the worldwide rates unchanged.

Only as from 22 October 2007 did Microsoft provide a license giving access to the interoperability information for a flat fee of €10 000 and an optional worldwide patent license for a reduced royalty of 0.4 % of licensees? product revenues.

Today?s Decision concludes that the royalties that Microsoft charged for the information license ? i.e. access to the interoperability information – prior to 22 October 2007 were unreasonable. Microsoft therefore failed to comply with the March 2004 Decision for three years, thereby continuing the behavior confirmed as illegal by the Court of First Instance. Today’s Decision concerns a period of non-compliance not covered by the penalty payment decision of 12 July 2006 starting on 21 June 2006 and ending on 21 October 2007. The Decision does not cover the royalties for a distinct patent license.

After fining Microsoft 497 million euros in 2004, the Commission fined the company another 280.5 million euros in July 2006 for failing to comply with the sanctions.

The latest decision picks up from where that fine left off, for the period from June 21, 2006 until October 21, 2007. After that, Microsoft agreed to reduced royalties and to provide needed information.

Last week, knowing a large fine was imminent for its failure to provide interoperability information, the company publicly promised to publish critical information so rival programs worked better with Windows.

The Commission took a wait-and-see attitude. It said Microsoft had several times made similar promises, only to have no real effect.

Source: cdrinfo

February 24, 2008

Japan successfully launches high-speed Internet satellite!

Filed under: Uncategorized — Sandeep @ 10:54 pm
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This is what I’m talking about… High-speed satellite internet….

Japan successfully launched Saturday an experimental satellite aimed at providing high-speed Internet access across Asia, even when terrestrial infrastructure goes down, the space agency said.

The domestically developed H-2A rocket carrying the Kizuna satellite was launched at 17:55 pm (0855 GMT) with no glitches from the Space Centre on Tanegashima island off the southern tip of Kyushu Island, southern Japan.

The communications satellite, expected to be in use for five years, separated from the rocket approximately 35 minutes after the launch, said an official of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) during a live broadcast.

The 342 million dollar-Kizuna will allow super-high speed data communications of up to 1.2 Gbps, which would make it the fastest in the world, the agency said.

That rate would translate to 150 times that of the average high-speed ADSL connection rate of 8 Mbps, or 12 times the speed of a fibre-optic communication delivery to a person’s premises (FTTP).

The “Kizuna,” which also means “bond” in Japanese, is expected to begin transmitting and receiving data with terrestrial infrastructures in July after completing preparations and confirming the satellite’s safety.

Japan is looking to use the satellite to allow communication when a ground-based network is severed by a disaster in any Asian country, in which case it would be used to transmit data to crisis management offices.

The agency is hoping it can also be used as an educational or medical tool to reach people in remote or mountainous areas.

“The Internet is now an integral part of our lives; but its infrastructure levels vary. Urban areas … have a better environment, whereas some mountainous regions and remote islands are not well-equipped,” JAXA said on its website.

The satellite will enable students in Asian countries to communicate smoothly and with no time lag among one another, as if they were in the same classroom, it said.

The satellite will to last five years, an agency spokeswoman said.

The launch was delayed by one week after JAXA said it had discovered a problem with the gas jet thruster for its launch rocket.

Japan, like developing Asian powers China and India, has been stepping up its space operations and has set a goal of sending an astronaut to the moon by 2020.

Japan faced an embarrassing failure in November 2003, when it had to destroy a rocket carrying a spy satellite 10 minutes after lift-off because a booster failed to separate.

However, Japan’s first lunar probe, Kaguya, was successfully launched last September, releasing two baby satellites which will be used to study the gravity fields of the moon among other projects.

The 55-billion-yen (500-million-dollar) lunar probe is the most extensive mission to investigate the moon since the US Apollo in the 1960s and 1970s.

Source: AFP

EU invests $20m into BitTorrent project

Filed under: Uncategorized — Sandeep @ 10:40 pm
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The European Union has invested $20.5 million in a research project that is exploring the use of peer-to-peer technology for Internet television delivery across Europe. The P2P-Next project is using an open-source BitTorrent client called Tribler, which partners including the BBC and European Broadcasting Union plan to use to stream live TV. “This cooperation with both the British and German public broadcasters indicates that P2P is here to stay. We welcome the decision of the European Union to award this proposal around P2P. This means that Europe can expand its roughly two year lead in this important area,” Tribler’s Johan Pouwelse told TorrentFreak.

Total funding for the project is $28 million, with the remaining $7.5 million coming from some of the 21 partners on the project. Aside from the broadcasters, other partners in P2P-Next include Lancaster University, Markenfilm, Pioneer Digital Design Centre Limited and VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland. “This ambitious project is investigating new ways to deliver video using the P2P paradigm making possible to everybody to distribute videos from anywhere to any number of people anywhere in the world,” said Luis Rodríguez-Roselló, head of the EU’s networked media unit. “I ensure that the project we are launching today will help European stakeholders to be at the frontline in pioneering the looming media revolution enabled by the Internet.” It will be interesting to see whether the project meets its original goals or turns into a heavily sponsored platform for obtaining warez.

Source: rls, dmw 

February 22, 2008

Stanford waives tuition if income under $100,000! Niceeee…

Filed under: Uncategorized — Sandeep @ 10:25 am
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Its time I started applying for my MBA… 🙂

Amid calls by some U.S. lawmakers for wealthy universities to lower tuition costs, officials at Stanford University said on Wednesday they would no longer charge tuition to students from families earning less than $100,000 a year.

For students whose families earn less than $60,000 a year, Stanford University will not charge for either tuition or room and board, officials at the prestigious university near San Francisco said.

Harvard University, Yale University and Stanford have the three largest endowments among U.S. universities. Some lawmakers want universities to use investment gains in endowments to make college more affordable.

Tuition costs at leading U.S. universities have soared in recent years to levels that can leave students and their families tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt at graduation.

In December, Harvard overhauled its financial aid system so that families earning up to $180,000 a year would pay only as much as 10 percent of their income on annual tuition and fees.

Yale announced last month it would spend roughly 37 percent more of its own money from its $22.5 billion endowment on financial aid for students and scientific research in 2008-2009.

Stanford has an endowment of about $17 billion, which it plans to tap to pay for its new financial aid program. The university also plans a $200 million fund-raising effort to bolster the program.

Stanford University projects its undergraduate tuition for its 2008-2009 year at $36,030, with room and board an additional $11,182.

Source: Reuters 

February 21, 2008

School 1960 vs. School 2008!!!

Filed under: Uncategorized — Sandeep @ 11:02 am
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Wow! six days since I logged into my blog!!! Guess, I’m becoming more lazy now… boo hoo…

Anyways check this out!

School 1960 vs. School 2008

Scenario: Johnny and Mark get into a fistfight after school.

1960 – Crowd gathers. Mark wins. Johnny and Mark shake hands and end up mates.

2008 – Police are called, SWAT team arrives and arrests Johnny and Mark. Mobiles with video of fight confiscated as evidence. They are charged with assault, AVOs are taken out and both are suspended even though Johnny started it. Diversionary conferences and parent meetings conducted. Video shown on 6 internet sites.

Scenario: Jeffrey won’t sit still in class, disrupts other students.

1960 – Jeffrey is sent to the principal’s office and given a good paddling. Returns to class, sits still and does not disrupt class again.

2008 – Jeffrey is given huge doses of Ritalin. Counselled to death. Becomes a zombie. Tested for ADD. School gets extra funding because Jeffrey has a disability. Drops out of school.

Scenario: Billy breaks a window in his neighbor’s car and his Dad gives him a whipping with his belt.

1960 – Billy is more careful next time, grows up normal, goes to college, and becomes a successful businessman.

2008 – Billy’s dad is arrested for child abuse. Billy is removed to foster care and joins a gang. Psychologist tells Billy’s sister that she remembers being abused herself and their dad goes to prison. Billy’s mum has an affair with the psychologist. Psychologist gets a promotion.

Scenario: Mark, a college student, brings cigarettes to school .

1960 – The Principal makes Mark smoke an entire packet, Mark gets violently ill, never touches the things again.

2008 – Police are called and Mark is expelled from School for drug possession. His car is searched for drugs and weapons.

Scenario: Vinh fails high school English.

1960 – Vinh goes to Remedial English, passes and goes to college.

2008 – Vinh’s cause is taken up by local human rights group. Newspaper articles appear nationally explaining that making English a requirement for graduation is racist. Civil Liberties Association files class action lawsuit against state school system and his English teacher. English is banned from core curriculum. Vinh is given his Y10 anyway but ends up mowing lawns for a living because he cannot speak English.

Scenario: Johnny takes apart leftover firecrackers, puts them in a model plane paint bottle and blows up an anthill.

1960 – Ants die.

2008 – Security and ASIO are called and Johnny is charged with domestic terrorism. Teams investigate parents, siblings are removed from the home, computers are confiscated, and Johnny’s dad goes on a terror watch list and is never allowed to flyon planes again.

Scenario: Johnny falls during lunch break and scrapes his knee. His teacher, Mary, finds him crying, and gives him a hug to comfort him.

1960 – Johnny soon feels better and goes back to playing.

2008 – Mary is accused of being a sexual predator and loses her job. She faces three years in prison. Johnny undergoes five years of therapy. Becomes gay.

February 14, 2008

FBI warns before Valentine “Storm” virus!

Filed under: Uncategorized — Sandeep @ 8:46 pm
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The Valentine’s Day campaign that the bot-building Storm Trojan horse has been running for weeks is running at such volume that even the FBI issued a warning yesterday. “With the holiday approaching, be on the lookout for spam e-mails spreading the Storm Worm malicious software,” the FBI said in an alert posted to the home page of its Web site yesterday. The Storm Worm virus has capitalized on various holidays in the last year by sending millions of e-mails advertising an e-card link within the text of the spam e-mail. Valentine’s Day has been identified as the next target.

“This year’s version looks like a stripped-down version of last year’s,” Jamz Yaneza, research project manager at Trend Micro said in an interview last month about Storm’s one-year anniversary. “They’ve optimized the way [the bot is delivered] over the past months,” he said, citing an example of how this year’s Valentine’s Day campaign would differ from 2007’s. “They’ve learned that there’s no need to add an attachment.” Trend Micro senior antivirus researcher David Sancho spelled it out in a post to the company’s blog on Monday. “The spammed e-mail messages are just plain text, but contain links that lead to malicious Web sites displaying one of eight cute Valentine images,” he said. Sancho’s post cycled through the images that Trend Micro captured from the malware-serving sites. “If you run the executable named ‘valentine.exe,’ your system will join the Storm botnet to start spamming other Internet users,” Sancho concluded.

Source: ComputerWeek, martin

February 13, 2008

R you a Netflix subscriber?

Filed under: Uncategorized — Sandeep @ 12:33 am
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I am! and If you are too then I’m sure you will be watching movies online. Here’s something I came across. This will help you to download the streaming movies to your hard disk. Haffun!

Shitburger has written a Greasemonkey script to automate most of this crap.
It adds “Download” links underneath the “Play” links at the Netflix.com Watch Instantly section.
When you click a Download link, it retrieves the proper URL to the movie, and puts together a working command for you to copy and paste at a command prompt. (Start->Run->cmd)

In other words, you don’t need Internet Explorer, you don’t need to View Source and find WNPLaylistMovies and notepad and all that business. This script does it all for you.

YOU STILL NEED cURL. http://curl.haxx.se/latest.cgi?curl=win32-nossl
YOU ALSO NEED FIREFOX 2 FOR THIS HACK.

1. Install the Greasemonkey add-on for firefox. https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/748. Restart firefox after installing.

2. Rename the attachment netflixdownloadlinksuserzip.doc to netflixdownloadlinksuser.zip and unzip it onto your desktop. drag the unzipped .js file into your firefox window. Click Install when prompted.

3. go to netflix.com and try out your new and enhanced Watch Instantly section. pretty slick, eh?

Make sure you run the command you are given from the folder where you want to save the movie. In other words, if you want to save the movie in d:\videos, you need to enter d: and then cd \videos at the command prompt BEFORE you run the command.

Note to users of Linux/OS X/BSD: you can use this script with firefox to download netflix movies. just change the IAmRunningWindows variable near the beginning of the script to false. you’ll still need access to a windows box to de-DRM the downloaded movies.

netflixdownloadlinksuserzip.doc

Source: rorta

February 12, 2008

APX 2500 cellphone applications processor from NVIDIA! Niceeee…

 

It’s been a long while since we’ve seen anything from NVIDIA on the cellphone front, but the company has changed that in a fairly big way today, with it showing off its first major cellphone applications processor: the APX 2500. As CNET points out, that chip is largely the result of NVIDIA’s acquisition of PortalPlayer back in 2006, and represents the company’s first attempt at building a true computing processor for cellphones. From the looks of it, they sure look to have gotten off to a decent start, with the chip itself (based on an ARM11 core) able to run at speeds up to 750MHz, and encode and decode 720p high-definition video, opening up the possibility of some pretty capable cellphone / video camera hybrids. Of course, this being NVIDIA, they also squeezed in some of their GeForce graphics technology designed especially for low-power devices, which they say is to allow for 3D interfaces, but we’re sure could also be put to some other uses as well. No exact details as to when and where we can expect to chip just yet, but it’ll apparently start to make its way into phones sometime next year, with Windows Mobile in particular able to exploit the technology in the chip — no surprise there, given Microsoft’s hand in the chip’s development. Follow the break for a shot of NVIDIA’s totally trippy demonstration interface that’s in use on the APX2500’s reference platform.

 

 

 

 

 

The concept phone is also hooked up to a big plasma screen outputting full HD video (720p H.264).

NVIDIA is keen to stress the efficient power management of the APX 2500 too:

“Not including the screen, just the power of the chip, you can run 10 hours of HD,” says Clark. “The reason we don’t include the screen is you don’t know the variables involved in the connector and the screen. I could hazard a guess, but I’d get in trouble…”

Enough for a movie? “Oh certainly, enough for a movie at a quality halfway between Blu-ray and DVD.”

Here’s a shot of the phone (at the bottom of the pic) outputting HD video to the big plasma screen:

nvidia-apx-2500.jpg

 

 

NVIDIA is working closely with Microsoft’s Windows Mobile operating system to get this tech into phones. “It’s in four of the five major manufacturers’ handsets now, after Sony Ericsson announced Xperia last night,” says Clark. “For us, working closely with Microsoft is a speed to market thing.”

Here’s the APX 2500 demo clip. Checkout its true potential.

Source: nvidia, tech dig, eng net

Indian Spice Movie Phone has a built-in optical disc drive!

Filed under: Uncategorized — Sandeep @ 10:56 am
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spice-movie-phone-1.jpg

Indian handset manufacturer Spice is unveiling its innovative Movie Phone later today, but I’ve had a go on it already. It’s the first handset to come with a built-in optical disc drive for playing movies, and goes on sale in India this June. The discs are a proprietary format, but they use blue laser technology, and the compression uses the H.264 standard.

The phone has a 2.8-inch screen, and its headphone jack doubles as a TV-Out port for connecting to a big-screen TV. But it’s that optical drive that makes it stand out – you slot the tiny discs into a tray that pops out from the back of the phone – much like loading UMDs into a PSP.

You can fit a two-and-a-half hour film onto one of the discs – and a bit more if the compression is tweaked. The 40 films that’ll be available at launch are mainly Bollywood movies, and Spice told me they’re readying 1,000 more through deals with studios. The films will be sold in mini DVD-like cases for the equivalent of $5.

Here’s a shot of how the disc drive works:

 

spice-movie-phone-2.jpg

 

And here’s a shot of one of the discs:

 

spice-movie-phone-3.jpg
Nothing’s been announced regarding distribution outside India and South East Asia yet. Could the Spice Movie Phone be a hit in the West? The flop of UMD, even when backed by Sony, indicates a challenging market for distributing films on yet another disc-based format, compared to sideloading films onto a phone digitally.

Source: Tech Digest

U r screwed, if you download stuffs in UK!

Filed under: Uncategorized — Sandeep @ 10:20 am
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Do u download a lot of illegal stuffs? If u are in UK then you are totally screwed Mate!

Music on computer

The entertainment industry says illegal file sharing costs it millions

People in the UK who go online and illegally download music and films may have their internet access cut under plans the government is considering.

A draft consultation suggests internet service providers would be required to take action over users who access pirated material.

But the government is stressing that plans are at an early stage and it is still working on final proposals.

Six million people a year are estimated to download files illegally in the UK.

Music and film companies say that the illegal downloads cost them millions of pounds in lost revenues.

FROM THE DOT.LIFE BLOG
Dot.Life blog graphic, BBC
If the law were enacted it would turn ISPs, like BT, Tiscali and Virgin, into a pro-active net police force

The government proposals were first reported by the Times newspaper.

Voluntary scheme

The Times suggested that broadband firms which failed to enforce the rules could be prosecuted, and the details of customers suspected of making illegal downloads made available to the courts.

According to the Times, the draft paper states: “We will move to legislate to require internet service providers to take action on illegal file sharing.”

Internet providers are no more able to inspect and filter every single packet passing across their network than the Post Office is able to open every envelope,
Internet Service Providers Association

Some of the UK’s biggest internet providers, such as BT, Virgin and Tiscali have been in talks with the entertainment industry over introducing a voluntary scheme for policing pirate activity, but no agreement has been reached.

So far, they have failed to resolve how disputed allegations would be arbitrated – for example, when customers claim other people have been “piggybacking” on their internet service.

‘No liability’

The Internet Service Providers Association said data protection laws would prevent providers from looking at the content of information sent over their networks.

“ISPs are no more able to inspect and filter every single packet passing across their network than the Post Office is able to open every envelope,” the association said.

“ISPs bear no liability for illegal file sharing as the content is not hosted on their servers,” it added.

The Department for Culture, Media and Sport said that early drafts of the document had been circulated among stakeholders.

“The content and proposals for the strategy have been significantly developed since then and a comprehensive plan to bolster the UK’s creative industries will be published shortly,” it added.

“We will not comment on the content of the leaked document.”

Source: BBC

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