Saturday, August 30, 2008

Laptop vs Desktop

A laptop has a huge advantage for students and people on the go: mobility. Laptops offer the ultimate in mobility, allowing you to take your laptop almost anywhere. While you may not have as much power, you’ll be able to take everything with you much more easily then it would be to drag a desktop across the city.

Desktops do offer more performance per rupee, but they are stationary, and getting your data around can be a bit more difficult.

However the final verdict differs from person to person.


Windows Vista?? O@*^&Q^W*&*&T!&*&#

It’s time for everyone to admit Windows Vista is a bad OS. Sure it works and all, but it’s still bad. Don’t tell me people couldn’t have come up with something better in 4-5 years’ time. The unofficial Longhorn release with WinFS had some potential, plus it was free of charge. Sadly it was taken down due to legal issues.

I am a Linux user and I feel sorry for the Vista users. No offence meant, but I urge everyone out there to at least give a try to Ubuntu or Kubuntu. Explore. See how powerful your computer really is.

Let us return to our subject. I’ve been reading a lot of articles about Windows Vienna or Wnidows 7 lately. Last time I heard about it was November. If I remember correctly, the developers are making huge core midifications, so this time it’s going to be something special. Hope it is not another vista brother. But for me it is always Linux (Ubuntu Linux) for the rest of my life.


Quick Start: Four Steps to Linux Enlightenment

Want to jump into Linux? Download, then install or run the Ubuntu LiveCD on your computer, and follow these four steps, recommends Mark Shuttleworth, founder of the Ubuntu Project:

1. Explore the desktop. “The browser is Firefox, so it looks and feels very slick and easy to use. The various primary applications will be pretty familiar to anyone who has used Windows or a Mac.”
2. Look “under the hood.” “Fire up a command line, run ‘ps ax’ and see what’s running on your system, then look through the included documentation to start learning how a Linux system is put together — essentially, what all these individual pieces of software that are running are doing.”
3. Check out the package manager. “There are nearly 20,000 packages of software accessible, so if you have a hobby or interest, start exploring the free software that’s out there.”
4. Meet the community. “Go to the Ubuntu Forums, lists, to see what the community is all about. You’ll find tens of thousands of super-smart people who are passionate about Linux — both for business and as a social movement. Not only are they a great source of knowledge and information, they are a real community that helps to shape Ubuntu from release to release.”


My Baby

Hi guys, I and my wife are expecting a baby, and I want to make the baby a sports person in the future. If it is a girl it will join the ranks of world swimmers like Haley Cope, Gabrielle Reece and Natalie Coughlin. If it is a boy then he will join the ranks of Michael Phelps.


Friday, August 29, 2008

Torvalds calls Apple file system “utter crap”

I was reading last week how Apple fans feel an air of superiority against Microsoft users. Well it seems that Linus Torvalds, the famous Linux boy, is not eating any of this. When in Melbourne for Linux Conference Australia that finished on February the 2nd, he was asked to compare Microsoft Windows to Apple OS X.

Depending on what you read and who you speak to, you will hear opposing opinions. Well Torvalds did not hesitate to say that the OS X file system is “utter crap”. This sinks in heavily, but wait for the second part, he thinks that “OS X in some ways is actually worse than Windows to program for”. One would expect that Torvalds would prefer to compare Linux against Windows and Apple separately without getting involved in the endless Microsoft against Apple debate.

As far as Torvalds is concerned, I am limited to what everybody knows of him related to Linux and his involvement with open source operating systems. But I have a suspicion that he is a guy that has got bored of listening all the time by Apple users how much better OS X is, and how it turns everything else into dust. And as an open source driving force, it is certain that the close approach that Apple takes with every single piece of software and hardware it delivers is hardly promoting a neutral stance, against everything that Torvalds and Linux represent.

As for the file systems, I am not a programmer and therefore would not like to take chances and judge one way or another -or in favour of Linux either. However, I agree completely with Torvald’s other statement that a new version or update of an operating system is not a cause for major celebration and marketing. In Microsoft’s case, things are bad enough as the things to be fixed with Vista’s SP1 should be working in the first place. But at least you get this for free -after you have paid for the initial installation of course- something which is not the case with OS X whose new versions are sold as a new operating system or upgrade with hardly any serious feature to convince that it is worth the expense.

Of course Torvalds did not forget to stress the all important mobile operating systems where a new battle is forming up and Google is attracting his praise. It is certainly interesting to hear a different view and although Linux has not managed to carve out a sizable portion of computer users for everyday tasks, it is good to know that it is a credible alternative that shapes up nicely with time.


Wednesday, August 27, 2008

The Pursuit of Happiness

I have recently not got enough time to post any good articles on my blog and previously my blog was over flooded with tech articles. I was actually busy with meeting deadlines in my professional life.
One Friday evening I returned home from office. That night I was happy because the next it was weekend. That night I watched “The Pursuit of Happiness”. This movie almost brought me to tears.

To begin with the movie was awesome and the actors have done a great job. The movie shows how a man struggles in his life and faces the problems that come across. He then fights back hard and becomes on of the most successful persons.

The movie is surely to be seen by everyone who thinks life is full of problems and is difficult to live. It is surely a very inspirational movie. So If you have not seen it, go grab yourself a CD or DVD versions of the movie and watch it.


Thursday, August 21, 2008

Why not Windows

To all the Windows fanboys: if you like Windows and it works for you by all means keep using it! Windows didn't work for me, I thought it was a horrible nightmare. I sometimes spent weeks trying to get things working. I kicked it to the curb 4 months ago and haven't regretted it for even a nanosecond. (Yes, I missed out on all the fun with Melissa and I Love You, etc. viruses.)

Linux does absolutely everything I need. That is not the case for everyone. I don't play games on my PC. Some people need Photoshop for example, my cousin runs Photoshop with Crossover Office and says it works fine.

I occasionally get some grief with Linux, but it is nowhere near as bad as the grief I used to get from Windows. And with Windows there were problems that I never found a good solution for.

I admit, I would like to see more people using Linux. The more people that use it the more incentive there is for hardware manufacturers to make drivers and software vendors to port their software to it.

What I find annoying is the people that use Windows and complain constantly what a piece of crap it is. Yet they keep buying it and won't try anything else.


Ubuntu Linux goes retail

The cheapest way to get Ubuntu Linux is to download it, burn it to a CD, and then install it on your PC of choice. The easiest way to get Ubuntu is to buy it pre-loaded on a Dell PC. The U.S. consumer way to get Ubuntu may turn out to be buy it yourself at Best Buy.

Steve George, director of corporate services for Canonical, announced on a blog that Canonical along with ValuSoft, a U.S. retail software distributor, have paired together to get a boxed version of Ubuntu 8.04 into Best Buy retail stores. The retail box contains a "Ubuntu 8.04 CD, a Quick Start Guide and 60 days of support from the ValuSoft team, trained and backed by the Canonical support guys. The support covers installation and getting started using Ubuntu and is priced at $19.99."

"The aim" wrote George, "is to provide Ubuntu to users who want the software and support conveniently presented in a boxed set. Making it available through Best Buy is an opportunity to reach users who are unaware of Ubuntu or who are bandwidth restricted and don't want to download Ubuntu themselves."

If that describes you, and your closest Best Buy is several hundred miles away, you can also order the Ubuntu package from Best

The packaging is designed to make it clear to anyone that Ubuntu enables users to do the PC basics of "Web Browsing", "Productivity Suite" and "Email" without any additional software. Or, as I'd put it, $19.95 for the operating system and the office suite vs. $279.90 for Windows Vista Home Premium and Microsoft Office Home and Student 2007.

The real value-add for new users is that the 60-day support contract will make it easy for people who'd get the shakes at the very thought of installing an operating system. It gives the reassurance of having a helping hand no more than a phone call away.

For users who really don't want to try to do it by themselves, Best Buy's in-house tech crew, Geek Squad, will install it for you for $129.95. That's still cheaper than Windows, but at this point, you'll really be better off just clicking your way over to Dell's Ubuntu store.

Dell not your speed? There are smaller companies, like LinuxCertified, that will also sell you preinstalled Ubuntu systems. In addition, other OEMs will soon be offering Ubuntu-powered PCs.

Desktop Linux used to be pretty geeky. With moves like this one, and the flood of Liunx-powered cheap UMPC (Ultra Mobile PCs) like the Asus Eee PCs, by year's end, it's going to be just as easy to buy a Linux PC at a local retail outlet as it is to buy a windows PC today.


How to configure broadband in Ubuntu linux

To configure the DSL connection in Ubuntu please follow the steps provided below.

1. Connect your modem/router to your computer using a LAN cable .

Note: In Linux, the LAN cards in your computer are named as eth0, eth1, etc. depending on which one is detected first. If you have only one LAN card, it will most probably be called eth0. If you have another, it will be eth1, and so on. If you have multiple cards, you need to find out which one is really eth0 and which one is really eth1 etc. (in Debian and Ubuntu, the configuration script will automatically detect the card which is connected to your ADSL modem/router). You can use trial and error to find this out.

2. Install pppoeconf package

In Debian based distros (e.g. Ubuntu), you may use either the pppoeconf package.

This can be installed from the installation CDs or DVD.

$> dpkg -l ppp* | grep ^ii
ii ppp 2.4.4rel-4 Point-to-Point Protocol (PPP) daemon
ii pppconfig 2.3.15 A text menu based utility for configuring pp
ii pppoe 3.8-1.1 PPP over Ethernet driver
ii pppoeconf 1.12 configures PPPoE/ADSL connections
ii pppstatus 0.4.2-8 console-based PPP status monitor

3. Detection of router/Modem

Once you have the package installed, you use the pppoeconf command as root to do the setup. This script will automatically detect which interface in your computer is connected to the router/modem, and will continue and will ask you for the usename and password and nameservers. It will ask you for MTU, leave it at 1452 (for pppoe connections, max can be 1492, IIRC).

After the setup, you give the command:
#> pon dsl-provider
to start the connection, and
#> poff dsl-provider
to stop the connection.

Note: You can also install the pppstatus package. It shows you the stats for your ppp connection (data speed, connection time, etc.) in a terminal.


Friday, August 8, 2008

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Online Shopping in India

If online shopping has to become big in India, we would need scale both on the transacting buyers as well as on the sellers’ side. Currently, there are less than 1,000 merchants in the country who are doing business online. Large chunk of these merchants are SMEs. Most of them do not even have their own websites but are just plugging in as vendors / suppliers to the major online shopping portals.

The number of buyers who are buying stuff online also remains low. Major reasons are low internet penetration (around 25 million total internet users), low credit card population (less than 15 million credit card population with unique credit card owners even lower than 10 million), non-willingness of people to use credit cards for online purchases, adverse taxation rules etc.

No wonder, online shopping still remains a small activity. If we were to exclude Travel & online stock broking then the total size of online shopping in India will be in the region of US$ 60-70 million annually (Gross Merchandising Value basis). On the net commission basis it will be as low as US$ 15-17 million.

The current proposition online shopping portals are giving to their customers are “convenience” and scattered “deals” they are able to get from the vendors / brands. This is not compelling enough. The proposition needs to move away to aggregation & comparison. This can only happen when more merchants (SMEs), brand owners and retailers have their own online stores and strategies in place.

In US all major retailers – Walmart, Target etc have their own online portals. All the big brands too have their own online presence. However, in India barring LG who were early movers, I cannot even recollect any other Indian brand being available online! Amongst retailers, I know of only Pantaloon who are now in the process of setting up their online shopping portal. In 2005, ComScore Networks estimated to be the third most visited online shopping site after eBay and . Also, in 2005 online shopping in USA contributed more than 5% of all non-travel retail sales: Shopper’s stop, Pyramid, Lifestyle, Westside.. are you listening?

I am sure over the next 18-24 months we would see several national brands / retailers having their online shopping offerings. In the same timeframe, I estimate that the total number of merchants online would reach 50,000 and the total internet users around 50 million. Once this happens, I estimate that the B2C online shopping will scale up to US $ 500 million.


Friday, August 1, 2008

Acer Aspire 8920

While the Asus Eee PC and MSI Wind set the stage for smaller and lighter laptops, that’s only one side of the story. As low cost sub-notebooks evolve, manufacturers are simultaneously making larger models that narrow the gap between a full-fledged desktop and a laptop. We laid our hands on one such large powerful laptop — the Acer Aspire 8920. With a large, wide-screen size of 18.4 inches, a full high-definition resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels, and speakers that produce quality sound, you can think of this laptop as a machine with desktop-like features that is portable.

Best in Class Features and Specifications
Every core component in the Acer Aspire 8920 screams performance. One of the faster mobile CPUs, the Core 2 Duo T7500 (2.2 GHz, 4MB L2 cache and 800 MHz FSB) lies at the heart of this laptop, matched by a 3GB RAM and an Nvidia Geforce 9500M GS video chip. There is also a 1GB turbo memory to help further speed up the laptop. Storage is best in class at 320GB. These specs match up to a mid-range desktop of today and naturally, the performance from this Aspire 8920 is top notch by laptop standards.

A WorldBench 6.0 score of 85 places this at the top of the laptop performance list. The 3GB RAM and the fast CPU makes multitasking a breeze. WorldBench 6.0 (PC World’s real-world benchmarking tool) multitasking test took 360 seconds to complete, while the time taken by mainstream laptops in last month’s shootout hovered between 440 - 500 seconds for most machines. PC Mark 2005 produced a score of 5461 points, over 25 percent more than the numbers posted by mainstream laptops that we tested last month. Responsiveness and performance with CPU intensive tasks such as 3D rendering or multimedia editing is as on a desktop.

Impressive Gaming Performance
This was not really a surprise for us, given the Nvidia 9500M GS video chipset that is inside this Acer. 3D Mark 2006 gave a score of 3200 – not quite in the league of mid-range desktop video cards, but competent nonetheless. On a desktop with 2GB RAM, AMD Athlon X2 4000+ and an Nvidia Geforce 8500GT (a fast entry level video card), we obtained a score of 2850, about 10 percent less than what the Acer Aspire 8920 managed. We ran Company of Heroes as a real world test – at 1024 x 768 resolution and medium settings, the benchmark managed a very healthy 112fps, indicating there is enough room for increasing detail levels and / or resolution. We also played Need for Speed Pro Street as an informal test, and found the game playable without any problem at 1024 x 768 resolution and medium quality settings. Depending on the resolution and detail levels, current and one generation old games will be playable on the Aspire 8920.

Design and Connectivity
The grey-black dual color scheme works for the Aspire 8920, lending its exterior a graceful look. This is not one of those Acers that try too hard to look chic. But build quality should have been a couple of notches higher. The chassis flexes easily under pressure and this alone can rob this laptop off the classy look that it tries to project. The touch-sensitive media control keys to the right of the keyboard seem a tad overdone as well. And they require a bit of pressure to operate – not really touch ‘sensitive’.

The inclusion of a number pad, similar to a desktop keyboard is a valuable addition. People who work with spread sheets or data entry that requires numeric input will find this a blessing. Given the generous space on this 18.4 inch display laptop, we cannot comprehend why Acer decided to go with smaller sized arrow keys and navi-keys (Page Up / Down, Home, End). For a desktop replacement laptop, this is a downer.

Display and Sound
The display can have you smile and frown at the same time. While it is high on brightness and contrast, and makes movie viewing a pleasure, a part of the experience is lost due to the very evident backlight bleeding.

Play your favorite music track, turn up the volume and you will have a hard time concealing a wide smile as you pleasantly note its superb sound quality and volume levels. This is certainly one of the best sounding laptops that has made it to our labs. Thanks to a dedicated sub-woofer, you can even watch movies on the laptop without losing too much of the experience.

For an asking price of Rs. 63,000, the Acer Aspire 8920 is splendid value for money, in spite of some shortcomings that we have mentioned above. We wish Acer had ironed these out, even if that meant a higher price tag. For Rs.70,000 this still would be a great buy if the display gets better, build quality upped a bit and with a more desktop like keyboard. In its current trim, this makes for a great desktop replacement at this price point. The inclusion of a Blu-ray ROM (writes DVDs) is a pleasant surprise. You’ll be hard pressed to find a similar model from competing companies like HP or Dell in this price range.


Making Linux Work for Business

You may find that certain employees rely heavily on specific Windows software for which there is no adequate Linux equivalent. In such cases, you have several choices, though none is ideal. One option is to configure desktops as dual-boot systems, which allows the user to select either Linux or Windows from a menu at startup. This isn’t very efficient, however, and it can also be problematic; for example, files created under Windows will be accessible from Linux, but not the other way around. Don’t be surprised if users lapse into old habits and spend most of their time in Windows.

A third solution is to use Wine, a Windows compatibility layer for Linux that allows many Windows applications to run as if they were native Linux software. Not every application works properly with Wine, however — you should consult the project’s application database to see if your software is compatible. A commercial version called CrossOver Linux, which offers additional installation and runtime support for selected applications, is also available.

Finally, a number of thin-client solutions, available from such vendors as Citrix and Sun Microsystems, allows Windows applications to run in terminal windows on Linux desktops. This method has the additional advantage of favoring lower-end hardware. Be aware, however, that most such solutions will require additional infrastructure investments to get up and running.

Krish image

Internet Boom in China

China’s online population has surpassed that of the United States and has become the world’s largest online community with 253 million people online despite government controls on Web use.

The data was reported by the Chinese Government. As of June, online activity in China has had a 56 percent increase from last June (07).

And the number of people using the Web in China is only 19.1 percent of the total population, so officials from the China Internet Network Information Center said there is room for rapid growth.

The Communist government in China encourages online users to use the Web for business and education but attempts to block websites deemed pornographic or subversive. In financial terms, however, China is behind the U.S, South Korea and other economies when it comes to online investments.

Krish Cool