Archive for June, 2012

Smile factor in Google Nexus 7

June 29, 2012 Leave a comment

Time for Nexus 7, the second in the Nexus series and the 1st Tablet in the series. So its smile factor is the purpose it is best at – gaming, watching video, reading e-books.

Nexus 7 has been built by ASUS, and is powered with a NVIDIA® Tegra® 3 quad-core processor with gaming in the mind. Pages load fast; game is smooth, responsive; running multiple apps is cool. 1 GB Ram and 12‐core GPU delivers rich and immersive graphics while patented 4-PLUS-1(tm) CPU design gives you processing power when you need it, and battery saving efficiency when you don’t. – Smile.

It runs of the latest Android Operating system – Android 4.1, Jelly Bean. Android is already the leader in smartphone operating systems. Smile now.

The tablet enjoys a 7 inch wide screen with stunning clarity on 1280 x  800 high-resolution display protected by scratch resistant Corning® glass. With Corning glass display, also called flexible displays, the advantage is that you can avoid glass breakages, and it is also lighter in weight. It is scratch resistant and gives a sharper text with over one million pixels. HD movies are more vivid and gameplay is smooth and dynamic. – Smile again.

It has in offer 4 million books for you. It also has an option to switch to day or nighttime modes. You could directly hit movies and TV shows instantly available on Nexus 7 in full HD – no waiting for downloads and syncing, or worrying about storage space. It comes with 8 or 16 GB memory options. Use a Micro USB if you need more memory. Over 600,000 apps for Google Play are also accessible. – Smile more.

Price $199. This surely would make you smile.




Smile, smile and smile – Google Nexus

June 29, 2012 Leave a comment

Everybody is writing about Google Nexus 7 tablet. Let me write about the first in the series – Google Nexus mobile phone first. Expect a review of Google Nexus 7 late in the evening today.

When Baden-Powell said “A smile is a secret key that opens many hearts.”, he forgot that Google would follow it word by word. With the Google Nexus, Google now says “A smile is a secret key that opens your mobile phone.”

Work pressure,  daily life tension, stress, anger. Be sure your Google Nexus will make you smile always, whaever the situation be. At least you have to smile whenever you need to unlock your phone. It boasts a “Face Unlock” feature which makes you smile to unlock the phone and also because you now don’t need to remember passwords.

With a 1.2 GHZ dual core processor (only few in competition) Nexus was already faster. It is 4G ready so, In India you will find it useful for a longer time. Another reason to smile.

“Galaxy Nexus is the world’s first phone with a 4.65″ high-definition sAMOLED display making text, videos & games look crisp, vibrant and rich. ” says Google. And yes, it is. the first Super AMOLED screen on a phone.  With an edge-to-edge 720p screen high-definition, videos look amazing as in the Pic. Another reason to smile.

For those who share contacts, websites, apps, maps, directions and YouTube videos to other people close by, Nexux  gives another reason to smile- simply hold two NFC enabled Android phones close to each other and touch to beam and share. (very little competition)

Tired of typing alphabet by alphabet. Touch the microphone on the keyboard and use your voice to instantly type your emails, SMS, or anywhere you want to enter text. Don’t you think this is another reason to smile.

Nexus gives you a high-end camera with zero shutter-lag, automatic focus, top notch low-light performance and a simple, intuitive way to take panoramic pictures. No stitching needed – Aha. Videos at 1080p which can be edited and shared right from your phone. Smile again.

Price – $199 (at today’s exchange rate of 57 it would cost around Rs.11,500) – So you finally agree that – it is the biggest reason to smile.

FCC to think again on mobile phone radiation

June 29, 2012 Leave a comment

For those who believe that mobile phone radiation do not pose a threat to human health, it is time to think again. Well, Federal Communications Commission is doing so.

For years the FCC neglected to update its scientific statements on cell phone radiation. It is now going to launch a review of its safety standards related to mobile phone radiation. The rules now in force for cell phone radiation were developed in 1996, based on research from the 1980’s. New research has rendered those studies obsolete.

“This review is long overdue. It is impossible to imagine how the FCC will be able to retain its current standards, which allow 20 times more radiation to reach the head than the body as a whole, do not account for risks to children’s developing brains and smaller bodies and consider only short-term cell phone use, not frequent calling patterns over decades.” said Renee Sharp, director of Environmental Working Group’s California office and senior scientist, who have been demanding safer norms.

In May last year, the Interphone Study Report on mobile phone use and brain cancer risk was published. The study conducted by the International Agency for Research on Cancer and World Health Organization suggested “There were suggestions of an increased risk of glioma, and much less so meningioma, in the highest decile of cumulative call time, in subjects who reported usual phone use on the same side of the head as their tumour and, for glioma, for tumours in the temporal lobe.”(Press Release No 200, 17 May 2011)

Following this in June th same year in its Fact Sheet No 193, June 2011, World Health Organization recently said that the electromagnetic fields produced by mobile phones as possibly carcinogenic to humans, though it denies increased cancer risk due to long-term exposure to animals.

(More news on radiation: all about mobile phone radiation)

Monsoon time – Akash again in the sky

June 28, 2012 Leave a comment

Its monsoon time in India and Akash- the much awaited, much talked about and enough criticized low cost tablet again appeared in Akash.

The 1st $35 version of course got washed away without reaching anybody with its share of twists and turns. The next version Aakash 2, is set to launch in August for a price of  $39 now. (Rs. 2,263).

This tablet will run on Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich) operating system and and will have a 2GB flash storage, a 256 MB RAM and a 800Mhz processor. It has a 7-inch capacitive multi-touchscreen, supports Wi-Fi and GPRS a micro SD card slot and a USB port, but doesn’t have a 3G compatibility.

The original Aakash tablet was bashed by the users for having poor responsiveness and bad quality overall.

Akash I was being manufactured Datawind along with IIT Rajasthan. First news reports showed that it has been decided that Akash would be given to school kids for trial. The price tag would have been around Rs. 1100 for the kids and around Rs. 3000 in the market. Few months later there was a decision that these will be given to university students, at around Rs. 2,200. Something went wrong and Akash went into oblivion. We also heard of a rift between these two, because IIT Rajasthan wanted the tablet to be water-proof and loaded with military-style specifications, which Datawind didn’t approve of.

In the Budget 2012-13, about Rs 765 crore was allocated for the second phase of the project expected to begin this April.

The project went to IIT-Bombay. The HRD Minister, Kapil Sibal is now confident about the release of Aakash 2. Hope this time it reaches the market successfully.

Anybody to buy a village- eBay has one in offer

June 28, 2012 Leave a comment

Pratariccia is one of hundreds of abandoned or semi-abandoned hilltop villages in stunning locations in Italy is up for sale at €2.5m to potential international buyers – thanks to eBay.

Proving that property deals in Tuscany are not just the preserve of rock stars and aristocrats, an entire Tuscan village has gone up for sale.

According to reports in Guardian today, this small village nestled among oaks at 850 metres altitude is blessed with stunning views over the Casentino valley. The medieval village of Pratariccia has stood empty for 50 years, ever since its population of farmers and shepherds abandoned their stone cottages for factory jobs during Italy’s economic boom.

Now the owners of the remote village – reportedly a religious order – are seeking to cash in with an online sale.

“They tried and failed to sell the village through agencies for years but have got a lot of attention by putting Pratariccia on eBay and should get a result,” said Luca Santini, mayor of nearby Stia, who walked in the woods around the village as a child picking mushrooms.

Pratariccia is being eyed by developers as potential hotels – where guests get their own cottage – or health spas, or boltholes for Italian émigrés to return to for retirement, like San Basile in Calabria, which has been selling empty cottages cheaply.

Barclays-Libor-emails-investigation: Its pay time

June 28, 2012 Leave a comment

Reuters today published the matter of barclays, regarding investigations into whether banks manipulated the London Interbank Lending Rate, know as Libor, in which Barclays has agreed to pay $453 million in fines to UK and US regulators to settle its part. Communication which happened over email, helped as evidence against Barclays. I hope this makes for an interesting reading.

“We’re clean, but we’re dirty clean, rather than clean-clean.” “No-one’s clean-clean.”

“Done … for you big boy,” read a message sent by a Barclays (BARC.L) banker to one of the lender’s traders, who had asked him to fix a key lending rate artificially low.

“Dude, I owe you big time! Come over one day after work and I’m opening a bottle of Bollinger,” a trader from another firm emailed a banker at Barclays, showing his thanks for the rate set artificially low.

UK-based Barclays has agreed to pay $453 million in fines to UK and U.S. regulators to settle its part of an investigation into whether banks manipulated the London Interbank Lending Rate, know as Libor.

Investigators were helped by extensive emails and other messages about Libor, a set of benchmarks designed to indicate the rate at which banks estimate they are able to lend to each other. Libor is used to set corporate and personal borrowing rates worldwide.

Communications released by authorities on Wednesday showed Barclays traders calling each other “superstar” and with little concern for covering their tracks as they urged colleagues responsible for submitting Barclays’ Libor rates to try and influence final prices.

Requests came in such as: “We need a really low 3m fix, it could potentially cost a fortune. Would really appreciate any help.”

And: “Your annoying colleague again … Would love to get a high one month. Also if poss a low three month … if poss … thanks.”

Traders made their requests in person, via email and through electronic “chats” over an instant messaging system.

On a few occasions, some traders even made entries in electronic calendars to remind themselves what requests to make of Barclays’ Libor submitters the next day.

One trader would shout across the desk to make sure other traders had no conflicting preference to ask the Libor submitters.

“The traders were barking orders like they were at a fast food drive-through and the submitters were so accommodating that they might as well have said, ‘do you want fries with that’,” said Bart Chilton, a commissioner at the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission, which led the settlement agreement.


Some 257 requests were made to rate submitters from at least 14 Barclays derivatives traders over four years. Traders at other banks also tried to influence Barclays’ rate, while Barclays’ traders put pressure on the rates offered by others.

Most of the world’s biggest banks are under investigation as regulators from Europe, North America and Japan attempt to prove banks rigged rates. Barclays is the first to settle.

“This is the way you pull off deals like this chicken, don’t talk about it too much, 2 months of preparation… the trick is you do not do this alone … this is between you and me but really don’t tell ANYBODY,” a Barclays trader told a trader at another bank.

Investigators said Barclays derivatives traders got the bank to submit inaccurate rates between 2005 and 2008 so they could profit. The bank also submitted artificially low rates from September 2007 to May 2009 to ease fears it faced funding problems during the financial crisis.

Judging by the messages, Barclays was not alone in having an interest in lowering their submitted rates during the crisis to avoid signalling to markets their distress.

On one occasion, a manager said if Barclays submitted its correct rate, “It’s going to cause a shit storm,” and the bank submitted a lower rate.


But the bank’s treasury staff were beginning to become uneasy. In late 2007, Barclays told the UK Financial Services Authority and the British Bankers’ Association, the trade body under whose auspices Libor is set, of its concerns that rivals were setting rates too low.

Months later, a senior Barclays treasury manager called the BBA and warned them that rates were not accurate, but that Barclays was not the worst offender.

“We’re clean, but we’re dirty clean, rather than clean-clean,” he said.

“No-one’s clean-clean,” the BBA representative responded.

Hackers are young, or, Crackers are Young?

June 28, 2012 Leave a comment
  1. In Russia, police detained a hacker who created a system of networked computers and stole more than 150 million rubles ($4.47 million) from people’s bank accounts. The network infected  around 6 million computers with a Trojan virus helping access to user’s bank accounts. The hacker is 22-year-old men.
  2. This week, FBI made 24 arrests of hackers  after a sting operation spanning four continents that targeted online financial fraud of stolen credit card and bank information. All of these hackers were men between the age 18 to 25 years.
  3. The Bulgarian police in Feb this ear arrested an alleged member of the loosely associated Anonymous hacktivist group, for website of Prophon, a Bulgarian music licensing company. He was against paying for music and movies. It was a 20-year-old boy
  4. In March this year, hacker who was the first person to “jailbreak” an iPhone was booked and charged with felony marijuana possession by the police in Sierra Blanca, Texas. He jailbroke the iPhone by physically taking it apart. The hacker was a 22 year old boy has worked with Google and, up until recently, as a software engineer at Facebook.
  5. The LuckyCat virus which attacked Indian computers for about 10 months was devised by a former graduate student (male again) at the Sichuan University, Chengdu, China. He is working at Chinese portal Tencent and was recruiting students for his school’s computer security and defense research.
  6. Computer expert of Sunny Bank, Kingswood, used a router to tap into BT phone boxes and made hours of calls to expensive numbers, worth £10,000 of premium-line bills. He is a the 27-year-old.
  7. 2 British members of Lulz Security hacking collective pleaded guilty to computer crimes today. They are Male, 20 years and 19 years. They did DDoS attacks against several targets, including CIA, Arizona State Police, PBS, Sony, Nintendo, 20th Century Fox, News International and the U.K.’s Serious Organized Crime Agency and National Health Service.
  8. In March this year the 5 members arrested (suspects), belonging to the Anonymous group of hacktivists, 23, 29, 25, 19 and 27. They are all men.
  9. A 30 year old Linux administrator from Galveston, Texas was arrested by FBI and charged with unauthorized access to a protected computer and posting vulgar pics of his girlfriend.
  10. February this year, Interpol arrested 25 suspected members of the the Anonymous hacker group across Europe and South America. All were aged between 17 and 40 including 17 year old.
  11. Federal Judge in Boston, sentenced a man, Ryan Harris, 28 to three years in prison to step up a crackdown nationwide on computer fraud.

Teenage hackers have always been in abundance mentions cyberwarzone.

But, why are the young turning to hacking?

Part answer is the 22 year old Slavas case. A Russian, an accomplished athlete at teenage, fanatic lover of high-risk sports like snowboarding, skiing has taken to hacking. A snowboarding accident left him paralyzed from the waist down. Salva says ”For me, hacking is mostly sport. But if someone offered me big money to hack someone else’s system, I’d give it serious consideration.” For young people in Russia, a country where Internet use is growing rapidly but where there is still a frustrating lack of jobs, hacking has become a subculture with a strong allure.

Frustrations of not being able to do something, being able to harass someone, to earn more, to avail benefits for free, wanting to make a point through demonstrating power/control, might be some of the reasons.  Also governments taking a strong step by decided hackers as a threat to computer security also adds to the bucket of reasons. I suspect that most members of Anonymous group are young techies, advocating information should be free. Hacking as such has also increased as a tool of state sponsored espionage, so number of hackers has also increased. The Young are a part of it as indicated in the case of LuckyCat operation.

Last …. young geeks were always dominating the Tech world…. (a blanket statement :))

Is it that young are turning to hacking or the difference between hackers and crackers is diminishing.

Well, the question remains to be analysed- why are the young turning to hacking or cracking?