Friday, December 29, 2006

India to test fire Agni-III early next year

India is planning to test fire its surface-to-surface missile, Agni-III, early in the new year as defence scientists make a bid to wash out failures which plagued the missile programme in 2006. The maiden trial of Agni-III, the country's most potent missile which was to incorporate many advanced technologies conducted in July 2006, was a dismal failure as the missile crashed into sea just seconds after blast off from the Interim Test Range in Balasore in Orissa.

After undertaking a review of the causes of failure of the maiden test flight of Agni-III, which has a range of 3,000 kms, the DRDO has now planned a re-trial of the missile any time during January or early February, Defence Ministry officials said. For the defence scientists, Agni-III was not the only failure as surface-to-air Akash and anti-tank Nag missile programmes failed to keep deadlines for user trials and the Trishul missile, which the DRDO thought it could turn into a multi-purpose interceptor, faced near closure.

The failure of the Agni-III was a major dampner to defence scientists as it came even as Pakistan went ahead with a series of successful missile tests of its clandestinely acquired Hatf, Gauri and Shaheen range of missiles in 2006. It also marked a low point for the missile and defence scientists as it compounded delays and snags in the country's other strategic programmes in the year gone by.

The country's much touted indegenous Main Battle Tank Arjun remained to be certified for production by the army. The same was the case with the country's indigenous programme to develop the Light Combat Aircraft.

Source: MSN News

A brief of Somalia Conflict

Somalia and somalis are a people with a proud history of defiance against invaders and a rich, artistic culture, rooted in Islam and the nomadic way of life. Sadly, Somalia is today a nation wrecked by internal conflict - the consequences of prolonged clan warfare and latterly a power struggle between an Islamic movement and the Interim Government composed of former warlords. The lack of central administration has led to millions living in severe poverty and a virtual standstill in health care and education. Running contrary to this general situation are the semi-autonomous and self-governing north-western regions of Somaliland and Puntland, where more stable conditions have promoted redevelopment.

The October 2004 formation, in Kenya of the Transitional Federal Government (TFG) of Somalia was heralded as a breakthrough and a possible remedy to Somalia’s protracted crisis. This optimism dissipated over the next year as internal divisions prevented the TFG from making any progress on state building tasks. In June 2006, after months of fighting between Mogadishu’s U.S.-backed militia leaders and the Union of Islamic Courts (UIC), the UIC took control of the capital city and appointed a hardline Islamic leader to head its new legislature. The takeover caused international and regional concern that the country could descend again into civil war unless the weak TFG, based in Baidoa, and UIC were able to agree on how to rebuild the country.

After the ignominious departure of US forces in 1994, the plight of Somalia was largely ignored by the international community, until in recent years concerns were raised that the country might serve as a haven for terrorists and drug smugglers. Such concerns came to a head with the emergence of the UIC, prompting US fears that Somalia may become an Islamic state, ruled along the lines of the Taliban in Afghanistan with al-Qaeda links – an accusation denied by the UIC. Nevertheless, evidence suggests that US ‘war on terror’ dollars were made available to support the Mogadishu warlords in their fight against the rising power of the UIC. The defeat of these warlords in June 2006 was viewed as a setback for US policy.

As the UIC has subsequently swiftly taken control of a majority of southern Somalia to within a short distance of Baidoa, so the international community is organising itself to back the hapless government. A resolution passed by the UN Security Council that international peacekeepers (IGASOM) be sent to Somalia from the African Union has not been backed with any funding and has also been rejected by the UIC. A US-backed International Contact Group of 11 countries is trying to stimulate talks but there have been limited negotiations between the two sides, and serious conflict is a real and present danger.

A great and must watch Britney Come back Video: The Princess is Back

Too Many worst things for the queen of pop Britney Spears happened in 2006. Fans want her back in 2007. This is a come back trialer video: "The Princess is Back" from Youtube by a fan. Well, "The Queen is Back" should be a good title... anyways njoy the cool video.

Britney Spears to adopt a tsunami orphan

The 'Toxic' singer Britney Spears- who recently filed for divorce from Kevin Federline - fell for a four-year-old boy called Wang, from Bali, who lost his entire family in the 2004 Indian Ocean tragedy, after reading about his plight.

A source said: "She instantly wanted to help him and is sponsoring him until she can find out more.

"And she has even written to officials seeking advice." The tsunami disaster was a tragedy very close to Britney's heart and she has dedicated a lot of her time to its charities."

Britney - who has two children with her estranged husband, Sean Preston, 15-months-old and three-month-old Jayden James - has even consulted celebrity pal Madonna, who recently adopted a Malawi boy.

The source added: "She is even in talks with Madonna about it and is taking it very seriously."

The 25-year-old star's decision to adopt an underprivileged child is part of her plan to make a fresh start in the new year, following her bitter split from Kevin.

The source said: "Britney's had a turbulent year and wants 2007 to be brilliant.

"As well as wanting to look after little Wang, she is determined to make a music comeback with a difference."

Tag: Britney Spears

Miss Nevada: Katie Rees's issue

Katie Rees (born 11 August 1984 in St Petersburg, Florida) is a former American beauty queen who has held the Miss Nevada USA title. She was to compete in the Miss USA 2007 pageant but was dethroned in December 2006 following the release of pictures (in internet) of her semi-naked, kissing, sucking the nipples of other women, and simulating cunnilingus at a Florida nightclub three years prior.

Rees won the Miss Nevada USA 2007 title in a state pageant held in Las Vegas on 8 October 2006; it was her first attempt at this title. Rees was crowned by outgoing titleholder Lauren Scyphers. Her "sister" titleholder, Miss Nevada Teen USA 2007, was Danielle Hashimoto.


On 20 December 2006, allegations of Rees exhibiting raunchy behaviour in a Florida nightclub were made, and several photographs of Rees exposing her breasts, kissing and licking other women, and simulating sexual acts were released to the media. This followed a scandal involving Miss USA 2006 Tara Conner, in which news reports claimed Conner had been drinking underage; Conner was allowed to retain her title.

On 21 December 2006, Rees was stripped of her crown by the Miss Universe Organization, with the approval of pageant co-owner Donald Trump. She was succeeded by pageant first runner-up Helen Salas, who will represent Nevada in the Miss USA 2007 pageant in March.

Tag: Miss Nevada

Britney Spears loosing her Identity and Celebrity

What worse can happen for any celebrity than to loose what is considered the biggest fan site? Britney Spears is loosing World of Brintney as announced by its founder Ruben Garay. The announcement said "As Britney keeps losing her identity and credibility within fans and industry people, so is WoB. We're moving on to greater, bigger things. I would therefore like to announce the permanent shut down of World of beginning January 31st, 2007."

There is a post in that throws light on this and says "Was it the marriage to Kevin Federline? The crotch shots? The partying with Paris? Hooking up with that J.R. guy? Refusing to re-hire Leslie Sloane Zelnik? The rumors about getting plowed by Brandon Davis in the bathroom? Like flavors of Starburst, there are just too many options to choose from."

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Jobster to give a huge shocking gift to its employees for new year

Jobster, a Seattle-based job-focused vertical search engine, is mulling a big round of layoffs and may cut up to half of its 145-strong workforce, according to sources familiar with the company’s plans. Read the news at

In follow up news I read two letters circulated to jobster employees (most probably from top management) indicating Jobster's next year growth plan and the interesting thing is that the communication neither accepted the news nor completely ruled out the possible layoffs. Of course, it is the typical management style communication to the employees.

I personally feel very sad for all those work at jobster for that they cant really enjoy the holiday season. Some will be busy in applying new jobs (and how pity it will be for them to keep their resumes in Jobster itself) and some will be pinching nails in tension. Cant really complain...all part of the game.

Tag: Jobster

Military Honors for Gerald Ford

Former presidents are afforded specific military honors according to Department of the Army Pamphlet 1-1. Although the following honors are authorized, the family of Gerald Ford may choose to decline some or all of these specific entitlements.

Military escort for the immediate family - The commanding general for Joint Force Headquarters National Captial Region (JFHQ-NCR) and U.S. Army Military District of Washington (MDW) serves as the military escort for the former president's immediate family from the time of the official announcement of the death until burial. Maj. Gen. Guy C. Swan III is the JFHQ-NCR/ MDW commanding general and next of kin escort.

Guard of Honor - An armed forces element that provides a ceremonial presence when the former president lies in repose or state. Guard of Honor members are based in Washington, D.C., and belong to ceremonial detachments for the Army, Marine, Navy, Air Force and Coast Guard.

Armed Forces body bearers - A nine-person team carrying the casket.

21-Gun Salute - A cannon salute of 21 rounds fired with five-second intervals between rounds.

Military clergy - A military chaplain from one of the services assigned to assist the former president's immediate family.

Flag-draped casket – An honor afforded to all military veterans, including the president as the commander in chief of the armed forces.

Military flyover – Flyovers with missing man formation are provided at funeral or memorial services in honor of rated active duty aviation personnel, and dignitaries of the Armed Forces or Federal Government. During a State Funeral, the flyover consists of 21 tactical fighter aircraft, in formation as a single lead aircraft followed by 5 flights of four aircraft each. The number three aircraft in the final flight executes the missing man maneuver. This honor is provided as the caisson passes through the intersection of Constitution Avenue and 4th Street, NW en route to the U.S. Capitol, or at interment if there is no formal procession in Washington, D.C.

Caisson – First used by the military to carry artillary ammunition, the caission is now used in a ceremonial capacity during formal military funeral processions. The Caisson Platoon of the Army’s 3rd U.S. Infantry Regiment (The Old Guard) transport the remains during the main funeral procession in Washington, D.C. The caisson consists of six horses of the same color, three riders, and a section chief mounted on a separate horse. The caisson is a converted transport wagon for a 75mm cannon and is also used to honor fallen comrades during full-honor funerals at Arlington National Cemetery.

Caparisoned horse – A riderless horse that follows the caisson carring the casket of any Army or Marine Corps officer in the rank of colonel or above, and presidents as commanders in chief. A pair of boots are reversed in the stirrups of the empty saddle to symbolize the warrior will never ride again.

Firing three volleys over a grave – A volley traditionally fired by a seven-member firing party. This practice originates in the custom of halting battles to remove the dead from the battlefield. Once the deceased troops were removed, three rifle volleys were fired as a signal that the battle could resume. The fact that the firing party consists of seven service members firing three volleys does not constitute a 21-gun salute.

Military Musical Honors - The music played at a military funeral to honor Gerald Ford during each phase of the funeral. Some traditional selections include:

* Ruffles and Flourishes - Ruffles are played on drums and flourishes on bugles. They are sounded together, once for each star of the general officer being honored or according to the title or office held. Four ruffles and flourishes are the highest honor and are played for presidents.
* “Hail to the Chief” - Traditional musical honors played for the president and former presidents of the United States.
* The National Anthem, “The Star Spangled Banner”
* “Taps” - A bugle call sounded over the grave of a service member that dates back to the Civil War.

Tag: Gerald Ford

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

James Brown Passes Away

James Brown passed away on December 25th at 1:45am. He was 73 years young.

You may want to follow the links here.

James Brown "The Godfather of Soul" at his official site
James Brown in WikiPedia.
'Godfather of Soul' James Brown dies at 73 by USA TODAY
James Brown Passes Away by IntrigueMusic
Quotes about the death of James Brown by Yahoo! News
Tributes paid to soul star Brown by BBC
James Brown Biography, CDs and concert review by CosmoPolis
A critic's guide: The best of James Brown by USA Today

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Le Web 3: Shimon Peres

Read Noble Peace Prize winner Shimon Peres's comments at Le Web3.

I love the quote by him "Optimists and pessimists die the same. They just live differently."

Tag: LeWeb3

Follow LeWeb3 live in video

You can watch the LeWeb3 broadcast live.

For those who are wondering "what is LeWeb3"...It is the third Les Blogs Conference going on (Dec 11th and 12th 2006)in Paris.

The Bloggers are not just from France but from through out the world; to be exact from 36 countries

Tag: LeWeb3

Augusto Pinochet Ugarte: Mini Biography

Augusto Pinochet's Kill tally: At least 3,197 killed following the 1973 military coup d'état.

Born on 26 November 1915 in the Pacific coastal port of Valparaiso, Chile. Pinochet's father is a customs official and his family middle-class.

1933 - He is accepted into the Chilean Escuela Militar (military school) for a four-year officers training course, graduating with the rank of sub-lieutenant in the infantry in 1936. By 1939 he has risen in rank to second lieutenant, becoming a full lieutenant in 1941.

1949 - Pinochet continues his studies at the Academia de Guerra (war academy), is designated a general staff officer in 1951 and transferred to the Escuela Militar in a supervisory role. He also teaches classes at the war academy.

1953 - Now a major, Pinochet is transferred for two years field duty on the northern coastal border with Peru. Here he is involved in a military clampdown on the Communist Party of Chile, commanding a detention camp and disbanding local communist unions.

1955 - He returns to the war academy in Santiago as a professor and begins to study law at the University of Chile, though his studies are suspended the following year when he is sent to Ecuador to help organise a military mission.

Read More of Pinochet's Killer File on

Tag: Pinochet

Pinochet case: no turning back in the global fight against impunity

The fight against impunity for crimes against humanity, such as torture and ''disappearance'', will continue in Chile and elsewhere in the world, Amnesty International said today commenting on Augusto Pinochet's imminent return to Chile.

"The fact that Augusto Pinochet was arrested while travelling abroad -- almost unthinkable just 16 months ago -- has sent a powerful message: no one is above international law, even when national laws protect you from prosecution," Amnesty International said.

"The UK courts have confirmed that people accused of crimes such as torture can be prosecuted anywhere in the world. They have also firmly established that former heads of state are not immune from prosecution for such crimes," Amnesty international said. "This achievement is not affected by the UK Home Secretary decision not to extradite Augusto Pinochet to Spain."

"The international wall of impunity that has sheltered former and current heads of state accused of gross human rights violations started to crumble on the night of 16 October 1998, when Augusto Pinochet was arrested. From this point onwards there was no turning back," Amnesty International added.

Read More on Amnesty International

Tags: Pinochet

Britney Spears going out with a New Man

Newly-single pop star BRITNEY SPEARS stepped out with a new man on Sunday (10DEC06) in Los Angeles. The TOXIC singer was spotted with South African-born producer JONATHAN 'JR' ROTEM at West Hollywood shopping centre The Grove. The couple saw the romantic comedy THE HOLIDAY, starring CAMERON DIAZ, JUDE LAW and KATE WINSLET, before getting a bite to eat.

They headed to the nearby restaurant The 3rd Stop, where Spears sat on Rotem's lap and the duo kissed and cuddled at a corner table. Spears also unveiled a new style over the weekend, returning to a brunette look.

Rotem, who has worked with 50 CENT, THE GAME, DESTINY'S CHILD, RIHANNA, and SNOOP DOGG in the past, is producing tracks for Spears' forthcoming fifth studio album FEARS WITHIN. He also produced the songs AMERICA'S MOST HATED and LOSE CONTROL for Spear's estranged husband KEVIN FEDERLINE's flop debut album PLAYING WITH FIRE. The 25-year-old star filed for divorce from Federline last month (07NOV06) and has been regularly seen out partying with new pal PARIS HILTON.

Tags: Brintney Spears Celebrities

Monday, December 11, 2006

Microsoft finds second flaw in Word

Microsoft is reporting that it has found another security flaw in its Office software. If this sentence sounds familiar, it's because a similar bug in Office was reported last week. The zero day attack loads malicious software on to a targeted machine after the user downloads a rigged Word file. Once again, Microsoft is recommending not to open Word files from unknown sources, or files unexpectedly received from trusted ones.

On the Microsoft Security Response Center blog, Scott Deacon from the team confirmed that Word 2000, 2002, 2003, and Word Viewer 2003 are affected, but not Word 2007. The Mac versions are safe as well. Deacon also wrote that the vulnerability is being exploited on a “very, very limited and targeted basis”. Microsoft will not be releasing a fix for the two latest Office flaws in its routine, monthly patch update that goes out tomorrow. Five security patches for Windows, but none for Office, will be made available. There's a chance, if the threat from the two unpatched flaws is deemed critical enough, that Microsoft will release patches outside of the normal monthly schedule.

Nintendo taken to court over Wii Remote

Nintendo's Wii Remote seems a magnet for unwanted attention at the moment. First gamers complained of damage caused when the wrist strap reportedly breaks causing the Remote to go flying; now it turns out that Nintendo is being sued by Interlink Electronics, which alleges patent infringement. Interlink apparently received a patent in February 2005 for a “trigger-operated electronic device”, which is certainly one element of the Wii Remote.
It also supposedly covers pointer function, where the device picks up where on the screen the controller is pointing. However, Kotaku, who broke the story, has pointed out that the Nintendo 64 has a rigger controller that was released in September 1996, which is a year before Interlink filed the original patent. According to The Register, Interlink patented the elements for a mouse-replacement device, rather than a videogames controller.

Web entrepreneurs puzzle on how to cash in on their 'revolution'

For the companies and individuals inhabiting the web's ever-evolving ecosystem, three big revolutions have taken place almost unnoticed by outside observers. The first, they argue, was the initial phase -- or what they call "Web 1.0" -- when corporations like the BBC, Disney and established newspapers set up virtual shop and reached out to Internet readers and viewers. The second -- "Web 2.0" -- saw Internet users becoming content providers themselves, through blogs, citizen journalism, homemade videos and collaborative sites such as Wikipedia.

Now, they say, the time has come for Web 3.0 -- where both sides will be involved in a complicated tango that is at once a mating dance and a competition. And the question they are all asking is: What will this new phase bring?

The hope, according to many influential players on the web who gathered at a big European conference on the issue held this week in Paris, is money, and lots of it. But there is also a small fear, perhaps fuelled by Google's staggering 1.65-billion-dollar purchase last month of the popular YouTube video hosting site, that expectations are too high, and that the coming Darwinian struggle will be brutal.

Web 2.0 "is like controlled anarchy," said Anthony Rose, the chief technical officer for the music and movie distributor Altnet and one of the 1,000 attendees at the two-day Le Web 3 conference that opened Monday.

Read more on Yahoo Tech News

Condoms 'too big' for Indian men

A survey of more than 1,000 men in India has concluded that condoms made according to international sizes are too large for a majority of Indian men. The study found that more than half of the men measured had penises that were shorter than international standards for condoms. It has led to a call for condoms of mixed sizes to be made more widely available in India.

The two-year study was carried out by the Indian Council of Medical Research. Over 1,200 volunteers from the length and breadth of the country had their penises measured precisely, down to the last millimetre. The scientists even checked their sample was representative of India as a whole in terms of class, religion and urban and rural dwellers.

Read more on BBC
Tag: Sex

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Warren Buffet's life and style

I received a mail from one of my friends regarding the life style of Warren Edward Buffett. Here it goes...
There was a one hour interview on CNBC with Warren Buffet, the second richest man who has donated $31 billion to charity. Here are some very interesting aspects of his life:
1) He bought his first share at age 11 and he now regrets that he started too late!
2) He bought a small farm at age 14 with savings from delivering newspapers.
3) He still lives in the same small 3 bedroom house in mid-town Omaha , that he bought after he got married 50 years ago. He says that he has everything he needs in that house. His house does not have a wall or a fence.
4) He drives his own car everywhere and does not have a driver or security people around him.
5) He never travels by private jet, although he owns the world’s largest private jet company.
6) His company, Berkshire Hathaway, owns 63 companies. He writes only one letter each year to the CEOs of these companies, giving them goals for the year. He never holds meetings or calls them on a regular basis.
7) He has given his CEO’s only two rules. Rule number 1: do not lose any of your share holder’s money. Rule number 2: Do not forget rule number 1.
8) He does not socialize with the high society crowd. His past time after he gets home is to make himself some pop corn and watch television.
9) Bill Gates, the world’s richest man met him for the first time only 5 years ago. Bill Gates did not think he had anything in common with Warren Buffet. So he had scheduled his meeting only for half hour. But when Gates met him, the meeting lasted for ten hours and Bill Gates became a devotee of Warren Buffet.
10) Warren Buffet does not carry a cell phone, nor has a computer on his desk.
11) His advice to young people: Stay away from credit cards and invest in yourself.

Amazing individual indeed.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

How Does Google Calculate The Page Rank?

The most important thing for any page in Internet of any website is Google Page Rank. All most all of them care about the rank given by Google for their pages. The high the rank, the best the page or the site considers to be. Every one dies to get a link out from the pages which have higher ranks; the reason being the logic behind Google's algorithm on calculating the page rank works on the number of links a particular page has from other pages and the other pages' importance too is considered. So it is a must to know how Google calculates the page rank.

The advantages of having a high page rank is that you can get good advertisements to show in your page. But most of the times, pages with huge ranks like 8 or so do not have advertisements. For example's rank is always more than 8 some times goes to 10. But there never will be any advertisement on their home page.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

The First Compter With a Hard Disk Drive

IBM introduced the 305 RAMAC computer on September 13th, 1956, which was the first computer to include a disk drive named the IBM 350 Disk File. Prior to this magnetic computer storage had consisted of core memory, tape, and drums. The magnetic disk was seen as a replacement for the magnetic drum for the same reason 78 RPM Records eventually replaced Edison cylinders- more storage with less space.

The 350 Disk File consisted of a stack of fifty 24" discs that can be seen to the left of the operator in the above picture. The capacity of the entire disk file was 5 million 7-bit characters, which works out to about 4.4 MB in modern parlance. This is about the same capacity as the first personal computer hard drives that appeared in the early 1980's, but was an enormous capacity for 1956. IBM leased the 350 Disk File for a $35,000 annual fee.

Today the magnetic disc is the platform of choice for the temporary storage of digital video, but it wasn't until the late 1960's that the magnetic disc was used for any sort of video storage. At that time the Instant Replay Deck was introduced, which permitted the storage and playback of brief segments of analog video.

New Invention: Data Can Now Be Stored on Paper

Is it time to say goodbye to CDs, DVDs, Zip drives?

A student from Kerala, India has developed a technique for portable data whereby the data can now be stored on ordinary paper. And to boot, larger amounts of data can be had on lesser space. The immediate question that pops into the mind is how to retrieve the data. Will it be as easy as feeding a floppy disc or CD into the drive and having it on the monitor? Perhaps it will be much easier than that. The piece of paper or even plastic sheet storing the data has only to be scanned in the scanner and read over the monitor. So wait, scan drive would be part of your computer. The extremely low-cost technology will drastically reduce the cost of storage and provide for high-speed storage as well. Files in any format such as movie files, songs, images and text can be stored using this technology.

Currently, of the several options available for data storage, DVDs are the best mode. But a high quality DVD, which is very expensive can store only about 4.7 gigabyte (GB) of data. In contrast, the Rainbow Versatile Disc (RVD) can store 90 to 450 GB. And Sainul has simultaneously developed a scanning drive based on his Rainbow software which will come in smaller sizes to be initially carried with the laptops and later to fit into their bodies. Sainul says a CD or DVD consumes 16 grams of polycarbonate, a petroleum by-product. While a CD costs Rs.15 (SR1.25), his paper or plastic-made RVD will cost just about Rs.1.50 and has 131 times more storage capacity.

Sainul, who has just turned 24, says that instead of using zeroes and ones for computing, he used geometric shapes such as circles, squares and triangles for computing which combine with various colors and preserve the data in images. An RVD therefore looks like a printout of modern art. He says all kinds of data has to be first converted into a common format called “Rainbow Format.”
Read the full story at source.

Friday, December 01, 2006

Your Money, Your Life, or Your Seat Belt

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has released the following seat belt statistics(in 2003):
In 2002, 42,850 people died in traffic accidents. Of that number, 19,103 were not wearing seat belts.
4,200 lives could be saved each year if 90% of the U.S. population wore seat belts.
Fatalities and accidents involving those not wearing seat belts costs the U.S. approximately $20 billion per year. Of that cost, 74% of the tab is paid for by the public.
One out of four Americans still doesn't wear a seat belt.
View this public awareness video about wearing seat belts

I could not find the source to mention here but in other related story I read that seat belts are increasing the risk of driving recklessly which inturn is increasing the rate of accidents..

Blue Pill: Subverting Vista Kernel for Fun and Profit

File it under the category of "be careful what you wish for." In early August at the Black Hat Conference, an annual meeting of computer security experts in Las Vegas, Microsoft Corp. handed out 3,000 test copies of its new operating system, Windows Vista, and challenged attendees to help spot security glitches. A short time later, Joanna Rutkowska obliged. In a packed ballroom at Caesar's Palace , the 25-year-old Polish programming whiz delivered a devastating presentation in how to hack an earlier but similar test version of Vista. Before a crowd of fellow researchers and hackers, she bypassed security measures and implanted a potentially undetectable piece of malicious code called "Blue Pill." The presentation, titled "Subverting Vista Kernel for Fun and Profit," was rewarded with a hearty round of applause.

Read more at BusinessWeek
Tags: Vista Security

Ancient calculator was 1,000 years ahead of its time

An ancient astronomical calculator made at the end of the 2nd century B.C. was amazingly accurate and more complex than any instrument for the next 1,000 years, scientists said Wednesday.

The Antikythera Mechanism is the earliest known device to contain an intricate set of gear wheels. It was retrieved in 1901 from a shipwreck off the Greek island of Antikythera but until now what it was used for has been a mystery.

Although the remains are fragmented in 82 brass pieces, scientists from Britain, Greece and the United States have reconstructed a model of it using high-resolution X-ray tomography. They believe their findings could force a rethink of the technological potential of the ancient Greeks.

"It could be described as the first known calculator," said Mike Edmunds, a professor of astrophysics at Cardiff University in Wales.

Read more at TechRepublic

Most security tools not quite ready for Vista

Microsoft released Windows Vista for businesses on Thursday, but most security companies look like they need more time to deliver tools to protect the new operating system.

On the back of Microsoft's announcement, Symantec, McAfee, Trend Micro and CA all put out news releases promoting software for Vista PCs. Yet none announced actual product availability, except McAfee.

"McAfee is the only major security vendor with products available today that support Vista right out of the gate," said Rees Johnson, McAfee's vice president of product management. McAfee VirusScan Enterprise 8.5 and McAfee AntiSpyware Enterprise 8.5 support Vista and are available now, the company said.

Read More from TechRepublic.
Tags: Microsoft Vista

Romanian indicted for hacking into U.S. government computers

A Romanian national was indicted Thursday on charges of hacking into more than 150 U.S. government computers, causing disruptions that cost NASA, the Energy Department and the Navy nearly $1.5 million. The federal indictment charged Victor Faur, 26, of Arad, Romania with nine counts of computer intrusion and one count of conspiracy. He faces up to 54 years in prison if convicted of all counts, said Thom Mrozek, spokesman for the U.S. Attorney's office.

Faur was being prosecuted by authorities in Romania on separate computer hacking charges, Mrozek said, and will be brought to Los Angeles upon resolution of that case. It was not known whether Faur had retained a lawyer in the United States. The U.S. government alleged Faur was the leader of a hacking group called "WhiteHat Team," whose main goal was to break into U.S. government computers because they are some of the securest machines in the world.

After hacking into and taking control of the computers, Faur programmed the machines to operate as chat rooms so he could communicate with other WhiteHat members, Assistant U.S. Attorney Brian Hoffstadt said. During the break-ins, Faur searched for passwords that WhiteHat members could use to gain unauthorized access to other computers, Hoffstadt said.

The compromised computers were used to collect, store and analyze scientific data — including data from spacecraft in orbit and deep space — and to evaluate new technologies. The machines were located at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena; Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md.; Sandia National Laboratory in Albuquerque, N.M.; and U.S. Naval Observatory in Washington D.C. After the hacking, scientists and engineers had to manually communicate with spacecraft and the computer systems had to be rebuilt.

Tags: Hacking

Expert advice for defensive driving

Driving defensively means taking a proactive approach each time you get behind the wheel. While you must always be aware of the road and weather conditions, it is equally important to watch for the unsafe actions of other drivers and be prepared to act. Safety experts say that knowing how to sit properly, brake in an emergency and prevent skidding could help you avoid an accident. Here’s what they advise.

Tags: Automobile Advice Safe Driving

Choosing the best tires

Choosing the best tires for your car requires a little homework.

Tires are definitely not “one size fits all." It’s important to know what kind of tires are suited to your car, and to use the right tires for the weather conditions. Here are some tips on how to tell if you need new tires, and questions to ask when you’re shopping.

Is it time for new tires?

If your tires are showing uneven wear or have inadequate tread depth, it’s time for new ones. New tires usually have around 11 mm of tread. When the tread gets down to about 4 mm, it’s time for new tires. Less than that and the tires may not give adequate control on wet or muddy roads. Wear bars are solid bands of rubber woven into tires that start to show when there are 2 mm of tread left. If you can see the wear bars, it’s time to buy new tires.

Before you buy

Tires come in a variety of grades and meet different levels of safety standards. You’ll need to make some decisions before you hit the tire store. Radial or bias-belted? Tires come in a variety of types (such as radial or bias belted tires), sizes and treads. Check your owner’s manual or call a dealership to find out what the manufacturer recommends for your type of vehicle.

Standard, mud or snow? Depending on the weather conditions where you’ll be driving, you may need mud and snow tires (all-season tires), snow tires (good for areas with frequent or heavy snowfall), or standard highway treads (suited to normal driving conditions).

A, B or C traction? Tires are rated for their traction and are given an A (best), B (intermediate) or C (acceptable) rating. These ratings grade a particular tire’s ability to stop on wet pavement according to government test standards.

How fast will I be driving? Tires are graded from Q to Z according to the maximum speed of a passenger car tire. “Q” means a maximum speed rating of 159 km per hour and “Z” is 240 km per hour.

It’s best not to “mix” tire types, as different types of tires affect your car’s driving and handling. All four tires should be the same size and type and should have the same speed rating.

[Updated on 26th Aug,09]
I happened to stumble upon an extensive guide on tires. Read it at

Tags: Automobile advice Tyres

Google prefers dashes to underscores

Lots of computer programming languages have stuff like _MAXINT, which may be different than MAXINT. So if you have a url like word1_word2, Google will only return that page if the user searches for word1_word2 (which almost never happens). If you have a url like word1-word2, that page can be returned for the searches word1, word2, and even “word1 word2″.

Here is a funky post Dashes Vs Underscores, where you can get more.

Tags: Google Search Engines

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