Sandeep Venugopal’s Weblog

July 29, 2008

7 Amazing Holes in the world!!! WoW!!!

Filed under: Uncategorized — Sandeep @ 12:16 pm
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These holes are not only amazing, but some of them are really terrifying. The sheer scale of these holes reminds you of just how tiny you are.

1. Kimberley Big Hole – South Africa

Apparently the largest ever hand-dug excavation in the world,
this 1097 meter deep mine yielded over 3 tons of diamonds
before being closed in 1914.

2. Glory Hole – Monticello Dam, California
A glory hole is used when a dam is at full capacity and water needs to be drained from the reservoir

This is the ‘Glory Hole’ at Monticello dam, and it’s the largest in the world of this type of spillway, its size enabling it to consume 14,400 cubic feet of water every second.

3. Bingham Canyon Mine, Utah

This is supposedly the largest man-made excavation on earth. Extraction began in 1863 and still continues today, the pit increasing in size constantly. In its current state the hole is ? miles deep and 2.5 miles wide.

4. Great Blue Hole , Belize

This incredible geographical phenomenon known as a
blue hole is situated 60 miles off the mainland of Belize.
There are numerous blue holes around the world,
but none as stunning as this one.

5. Mirny Diamond Mine , Serbia

I’m pretty sure most people have seen this one.
It’s an absolute beast and holds the title of largest
open diamond mines in the world. At 525 meters
deep, with a top diameter of 1200 meters, there’s
even a no-fly zone above the hole due to a few
helicopters having been sucked in.

6. Diavik Mine, Canada

The mine is so huge and the area so remote that it has
its own airport with a runway large enough to accommodate a Boeing 737.
It looks equally cool when the surrounding water is frozen.

7. Sinkhole in Guatemala

These photos are of a sinkhole that occurred
early this year in Guatemala . The hole swallowed
a dozen homes and killed at least 3 people.


Interesting Stuffs! Yah Right!

Filed under: Uncategorized — Sandeep @ 10:39 am
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Its been a while since I posted interesting and funny images. Here are a few I liked.

Germany lost the war simply because —

Scissors beats Paper!

How to wash a T Shirt?

Google Logo Made By Kids!




July 26, 2008

AOL shuts down Xdrive and other free services!… AOL = LOL!…

Filed under: Uncategorized — Sandeep @ 7:27 am
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AOL will phase out several online services as the Time Warner unit continues to struggle in its transition from a business model based on subscription fees to one based on advertising revenue. AOL will put out to pasture Xdrive, a hosted-storage service for individuals; AOL Pictures, a photo sharing and management site; and Bluestring, designed for sharing photos, music and videos, according to an internal memo obtained by technology news site TechCrunch. In the memo, AOL Executive Vice President Kevin Conroy said these and mobile services AIM World and MyMobile will be “sunset” because they haven’t gained enough popularity. A source close to AOL said the leaked memo is legit and that it was intended solely for Conroy’s team.

AOL’s popularity problem among end users and advertisers seems widespread, judging by the anemic growth AOL achieved in advertising revenues in the first quarter: 1 percent, when compared with the same quarter last year. AOL has been on a years-long shift away from its traditional business, based on charging people for dial-up Internet access service and for exclusive online content. It has been trying to move to a model based on online advertising, which has been experiencing strong growth in the past five years. AOL will try to sell Xdrive, AOL Pictures and Bluestring so that existing users of those services will be able to transition to a new provider, but if no buyer is found, the products will be shut down by the end of the year, according to the source.

Source: NY Times

Scrabble clone: Hasbro sues Facebook! Scrabbled!

Filed under: Uncategorized — Sandeep @ 7:24 am
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Hasbro, the owner of Scrabble filed suit Thursday against the developers of Scrabulous, a word game played by millions of Facebook users each month. “We view the Scrabulous application as clear and blatant infringement of our Scrabble intellectual property,” said Barry Nagler, Hasbro’s general counsel. Hasbro also sent a letter to Facebook asking the social networking site to shut down Scrabulous. As of noon Pacific time Thursday, the game was still up. Filed in the Southern District of New York federal court, the suit against Rajat Agarwalla, Jayant Agarwalla and their company, RJ Softwares, claims copyright infringement under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act.

This month Hasbro introduced a beta version of its official Scrabble game on Facebook. Developed by Electronic Arts Inc., the game is slated to be available to all Facebook members next month. “We want to give Scrabble fans a legitimate way to play the game,” said Mark Blecher, Hasbro’s general manager of digital media and gaming. So far players have ruled in favor of Scrabulous. Scrabble counted 8,862 active Facebook players Thursday, and Scrabulous had 512,961. Blecher said the match hadn’t really begun, given that Scrabble was still in beta.

Source: LA Times, Martin

Study: bank websites totally insecure! That sucks!

Filed under: Uncategorized — Sandeep @ 7:22 am
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A soon to be released University of Michigan study will show that more than 75% of banking websites have serious security flaws.  According to Atul Prakash, professor of electrical engineering and computer science, these flaws are design issues that cannot be quickly solved with a simple patch or upgrade. Prakash, along with doctoral students Laura Falk and Kevin Borders, studied 214 financial institutions and found that the most serious issue was the placement of contact or security information on insecure pages.  Prakash argues that this can easily lead to phishing attacks by the placement of bogus numbers that lead to scam artists.

Approximately 55% of the sites had this problem, while 47% placed login boxes on insecure pages.  Prakash is recommending that banks use SSL protocol to secure their login pages.  Why any bank still has a non-SSL login page is beyond me. Rounding out the top five security problems are poor email security, broken chain of trust where banks redirect users to insecure outside sites and inadequate user id and passwords.  31, 30 and 28 percent of websites had these problems, respectively.  Prakash’s study titled “Analyzing Web Sites for User-Visible Security Design Flaws” will be released later this month on his website here.

Source: TG Daily, Martin

Google launches Knol, Wikipedia competition! Coooool!

Filed under: Uncategorized — Sandeep @ 7:20 am
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Google opened its website Knol to the public on Wednesday, allowing people to write about their areas of expertise under their bylines in a twist on encyclopedia Wikipedia, which allows anonymity. “We are deeply convinced that authorship — knowing who wrote what — helps readers trust the content,” said Cedric DuPont, product manager for Knol. The name of the service is a play on an individual unit of knowledge, DuPont said, and entries on the public website,, are called “knols.” Google conducted a limited test of the site beginning in December. Knol has publishing tools similar to single blog pages. But unlike blogs, Knol encourages writers to reduce what they know about a topic to a single page that is not chronologically updated.

“What we want to get away from is ‘this last voice wins’ model which is very difficult if you are a busy professional,” DuPont said. Google wants to rank entries by popularity to encourage competition. For example, the first knol on “Type 1 Diabetes” is by Anne Peters, director of the University of Southern California’s Clinical Diabetes Programs. As other writers publish on diabetes, Google plans to rank related pages according to user ratings, reviews and how often people refer to specific pages, DuPont said.  Knol focuses on individual authors or groups of authors in contrast to Wikipedia’s subject entries, which are updated by users and edited behind the scenes. DuPont said that rather than competing with Wikipedia, Knol may end up serving as a primary source of authoritative information for use with Wikipedia articles.

Source: Reuters, Martin

Intel announces high-end CPU price cuts! Yipeee!

Intel announced prices for some of its latest, most powerful chips that might disappoint digital gaming enthusiasts because they’re more expensive than reports had speculated. The latest Intel processors for gamers, the Intel Core 2 Extreme Quad-Core processors for desktop PCs that run at 3.2GHz will cost US$1,499 each in lots of 1000 processors, with a slightly different version for $1,399. Another version of the chip that runs at 3.0GHz will cost $999 in the same amounts, according to Intel’s latest price list. Gamer blogs and some news reports had speculated the new 3.2GHz Core 2 Extreme Quad-Core might come out priced at around $999, far less than Intel actually announced.

Each of the new chips comes with four calculating engines on board for more realistic 3D images and ultra-fast gaming speeds, according to Intel. Several gaming PCs have already been designed around the chip family, including Velocity Micro’s Raptor Signature Edition for around $5,995, which will ship next month and Gateway’s FX541XG for around $2,707.99, which starts shipping this week. The Core 2 Extreme Quad-Core chips had been code-named Bloomfield. A price war with rival Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) over the past few years has helped push microprocessor prices generally lower. Microprocessors made for laptop PCs have held up better in price because the laptop PC market has been growing at a breakneck pace.

Source: PC World, Martin

Sony plans to sell 150M PlayStation 3 consoles! Hmmm…

Filed under: Uncategorized — Sandeep @ 7:14 am
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At present, Sony PlayStation 3 is the worst selling latest-generation video game console. However, Kazuo Hirai, chief executive of Sony Computer Entertainment Inc., hopes that the latest system will eventually outsell its predecessor, Sony PlayStation 2 with 150 million units sold worldwide. “It’s not fun for me replicating the PS2 numbers. I’ve seen that movie already. I want to try to see if we can exceed the PS2 numbers after nine years, otherwise why are we in this business?” said Mr. Hirai in an interview with Financial Times. The original Sony PlayStation that was launched in 1994 was sold in 102 million units quantity worldwide, whereas the PlayStation 2, which was released in 2000, passed the 140 million units mark recently. The market of video games is increasing dramatically, particularly in the U.S., these days, hence, setting an unprecedented goal for the PlayStation 3 is not something strange.

But there is one thing that should be kept in mind when comparing PS2 and PS3: the former dominated the previous round of console war for the market and neither Microsoft Xbox  or Nintendo GameCube could rival it. Nowadays Nintendo Wii has outsold both PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360, moreover, the latter is still ahead of its Japanese rival in terms of installed base. Game developers already recognize Wii as the winner of the current round and predict that both PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 will trail Nintendo’s latest video game system. Mr. Hirai did not reveal any strategies or initiatives that would help PlayStation 3, which is sold for $399 in the USA, to outsell Microsoft Xbox 360 and Nintendo Wii substantially in the coming years. Still, he indicated that he would work hard in order to PS3 to surpass sales of the PS2 over a similar time period.

Source: Xbit labs, Martin

July 20, 2008

US video game sales increased by 52%! WoW!

Filed under: Uncategorized — Sandeep @ 8:57 pm
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U.S. sales of video game hardware and software rose 53 percent in June from a year ago, with Konami Corp’s “Metal Gear Solid 4″ helping to fuel a dramatic increase in the number of Sony Corp’s PlayStation 3 units sold, market researcher NPD reported on Thursday. “Metal Gear Solid 4″ claimed the top slot as June’s best-selling game, overtaking the two month reign Take-Two Interactive Software Inc’s “Grand Theft Auto 4″ enjoyed since its launch in April. The Konami game is made exclusively for the PS3. PlayStation 3 console sales jumped 94 percent from the prior month. U.S. consumers bought 405,500 PlayStation 3 consoles in June, up from 208,700 consoles in May.

“Exclusive content usually fuels hardware system purchases and PS3 sales certainly reflect the impact of Metal Gear Solid 4,” NPD analyst Anita Frazer wrote in the report. PS3 unit sales hit a record for a non-holiday month, she said. Nintendo sold 660,000 Wii consoles during June, a slight decrease from the 675,100 Wiis sold the month before. But the Wii’s solid sales have secured its spot as the best-selling video game console in the U.S. of the current generation of machines. The console has sold 10.9 million units since its November 2006 release. “The Wii appeals to people of all ages, generations and ability, and more and more new consumers continue to discover the Wii,” Cammie Dunway, executive vice president of sales and marketing for Nintendo of America, told Reuters.

Microsoft sold 219,800 Xbox 360 consoles, a 17.8 percent increase from May. For the first half of 2008, the U.S. video game industry has generated $8.3 billion in sales. This is a 36 percent increase in sales from the same period a year before, indicating that the sluggish economy is not hurting the industry’s performance as people turn to home entertainment, NPD said.

Source: Reuters, Martin

Facebook sues German clone StudiVZ!

Filed under: Uncategorized — Sandeep @ 8:55 pm
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Attorneys representing Facebook have filed a lawsuit against a German-based social networking web site that has a user interface that is virtually identical to Facebook. StudiVZ, the most popular social networking site in Germany, has 10 million regular users and also is the most popular networking site in German.  Even though Facebook has a German language web site, it has had a hard time trying to get new users due to sites like StudiVZ and others.  The English Facebook web site reportedly has as many as 80 million users spread across the world. Facebook claims the slight changes were “nominal” and the German site simply replaced “Facebook’s blue color scheme with a red one.” Also in the lawsuit, the German site also copied the Facebook wall, groups, friend feed, and other features used in Facebook.

A quick glimpse of the web site does reveal that even from the sign-up page onward, it is almost 100 percent identical to the English version Facebook web site, except in a different color. Facebook could launch lawsuits to stop at least nine other Facebook clone web sites to get shut down, with Xiaonei, operating in China, likely Facebook’s next target.  Xiaonei closely mimics Facebook and its user interface, and is the most popular social networking site in China.

Source: Dailytech, Martin

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