Wednesday, October 05, 2005

VIA and Mini-box Announce the VoomPC

VIA and Mini-box have revealed the ultra-compact x86 VoomPC, a barebones computer system for your vehicle priced between US $299 to $399. The VoomPC integrates the Mini-box M1-ATX 12V power supply unit, this is specially designed for vehicles since it can protect itself from power surges, it can also eliminate car battery drain by monitoring car battery levels, even when the car is off.

Vehicle manufacturers will be able to easily integrate a wide range of GPS navigation, communication, entertainment and information functionality into private cars or professional service vehicles such as law enforcement, rescue and commercial transport, where access to data on the road is essential.

The processor powering the system is VIA’s C3 1000MHz chip, it consumes a low wattage of about 15-30 watts, this less than the dimmest parking lights found in any car. The VoomPC also features advanced audio control, with 'anti-thump' technology that keeps car amplifiers turned off while the PC starts, eliminating annoying speaker thumps and pops, while the VIA Vinyl Audio Six-TRAC audio codec enables stunning six-channel surround sound for a more authentic listening experience with greater depth.

Compatible with all standard Linux or Microsoft Windows operating systems and built within Mini-box’s signature compact chassis of just 21cm x 25cm x 6.7cm, the VoomPC is equipped with rich peripheral connectivity, multimedia and telematics options afforded by the feature-packed VIA EPIA Mini-ITX mainboard, including USB2.0, Firewire, Ethernet, PCMCIA types I and II CardBus interface for GPRS/Wifi, S-Video, VGA and six-channel audio.


Monday, August 08, 2005

On the road to WiFi

An interesting article on the use of WiFi along the country side. This bit in particular caught my attention..

Driving along the road here, I used my laptop to get e-mail and download video - and you can do that while cruising at 70 miles per hour, mile after mile after mile, at a transmission speed several times as fast as a T-1 line.

VERY Cool!!

Usually, the police and fire agencies communicate just by radio, but Hermiston decided to go with a public-private partnership that established a Wi-Fi network. The police chief, Dan Coulombe, showed me the wireless computers that all police officers now carry. They can download data and receive images from video monitors - and, if nerve gas ever escaped, display the cloud's direction and speed.

Fingerprint readers are now being added to these portable devices so a police officer can almost instantly run a person's fingerprint through a multistate database. And if there's a report of a burglary, the police rushing to the scene can download floor plans of the building, live images from video monitors and information about the alarm system.


Sunday, August 07, 2005

Windows Vista May Degrade OpenGL

The implementation of OpenGL on Windows Vista turns up an interesting debate. To summarize this issue,

a] A wrapper will be used to get OpenGL to work along with Direct3d. So, performance of OpenGL apps could face a performance hit of up to 50%.

b] Microsoft implemented the proprietary Direct3d and so created this situation of incompatibility between the two.

c] By creating a proprietary system for gaming, vendors would find no reason to port to Open GL based platforms such as GNU/Linux..?

The debate

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Exploit writers team up to target Cisco routers

LAS VEGAS In a room at the Alexis Park Hotel, a nightmare scenario for Cisco has begun to unfold.

It's Saturday night, a time for blowout parties at the annual DEF CON hacker convention, including the Goth-flavored Black and White Ball. But a half dozen researchers in the nondescript room quietly drink, stare at the screens of their laptops, and in low voices, discuss how to compromise two flat metal boxes sitting on a sofa side table: Cisco routers.

They argue that it's the logical conclusion to Cisco's attempts to censor a presentation given by Michael Lynn, a security researcher who resigned from his company, Internet Security Systems, to present his method for compromising and running code on Cisco routers at the Black Hat Security Briefings earlier this week.

The companies made good on legal threats, settling on Thursday with Lynn, who signed a permanent injunction preventing him from using the presentation or disseminating the information at either Black Hat or the following DEF CON convention.

The legal tactics acted to mobilize security researchers and hackers at the shows to glean whatever information they could about the methods used by Lynn and reproduce his work.


Friday, June 17, 2005

Bluetooth: A tooth too long?

Cellphones, Smartphones, Blackberry, Windows Mobile, Palm etcetera etcetera ALL want to grab a market share of a booming 'mobile small devices' category. Each vendor adopts different standards, so sharing information between them ain't no simple task.

Bluetooth, which sounds great is yet to see the light of day. A device which is Bluetooth enabled contributes to only 50% of the equation. A USB cable has to be used inorder to sync the contents with a PC. The device in turn should be compatible with a email clients like Microsoft Outlook, Evolution etc. To add to the woes, the cable is usually not bundled with the device and is sold as an accessory. From the Operating System point of view, pre Windows XP SP2, doesn't support Bluetooth well and may not work at all. Add to this the motherboard manufactures who have been extremely slow in releasing Bluetooth enabled motherboards. Laptops and Notebooks have pretty good support for WI-Fi.

Open Source pundits commonly proclaim, "Open Standards are Good". But what is the point, if the standards are not enforced in the first place. I think the only way a standard becomes mainstream is for a giant to come-a-long and implement it. In this case, Microsoft. With Windows XP SP2, and Windows Mobile 5, Microsoft's goal is to allow a seamless integration between devices. Maybe we're getting there, but slowly.

Now what we need, are Bluetooth enabled printers, home theatre systems, digital cameras and a whole slew of gadgets!

Products which support Bluetooth

Thursday, April 28, 2005

Google Gmail vs Microsoft and the Desktop

Google Gmail is the future of email. Maybe just not email, but how we store information.

I've been trying an experiment. Instead of saving emails and docs locally, I forward the content to my gmail account. The next step is to organise the info through labels. Labels are not to be mixed with folders. A label is like a tag. Combining the search & labels feature makes it very easy to find the info. Google search is a very powerful tool. Unlike navigating to a document burried deeply under some directory on my PC, a search on gmail takes just seconds!

Microsoft has been adding features to Outlook that turn it into an all in one Information Manager.

The shift to online webservices as in the case of Gmail make it easy to store, manage and most importantly retrieve info quickly. All Microsoft has is the Desktop. I think they realize this and are trying to further lock users to the desktop with the upcoming Windows Longhorn which is slated to be released by 2006.

The advantages of web based services are plenty. In such a case the computer only acts as a medium between the user and the web. Apart from the ease of use, this could also mean huge cost savings for users. If the computer crashes, its easy to get on another PC and continue transparently. Most desktop users do not backup their critical data. A crash can result in a tremendous amount of downtime. Not to mention, the time spent in reinstalling the OS, apps and configurations.

It could be only a matter of time, before we login to a google account and begin editing documents or listen to music by simply booting the computer through a GNU/Linux based bootable CD. The possibilities are endless. This would really make on-the-move technology a reality!

Friday, April 22, 2005

Outsourcing on a Cruise Ship off Los Angeles!

What if you could outsource to a company that offered the cost savings of an India-based outsourcing firm, but whose facilities were just a few hours away?

That’s the premise of three entrepreneurs in San Diego, who are in the final throes of launching a company that will offer software development off the coast of California—three miles outside Los Angeles, to be specific.

The three plan to buy a used cruise ship and station it close enough for a half-hour water taxi ride to shore, but far enough to avoid H1B jurisdiction. According to CEO David Cook, who was a tanker ship captain before going into IT ten years ago, project pricing “will be comparable to a distant-shore firm.”

By stationing the ship in international waters, the company, called SeaCode, will be able to remain close to U.S. clients while picking and choosing IT talent from around the world—something that tightening H1B visa requirements have made difficult in the U.S.

Read full article here:

Monday, April 18, 2005

Business & IT

Being involved in the IT field, business concepts are pretty new to me. Coupled with Info Systems, it's interesting to learn these new concepts. The business culture is all about creating and managing a Plan. The plan includes everything, from finances to responsibility to coaxing and motivating employees to be efficient and productive.

I suppose without a marketing framework, even the greatest piece of software would'nt stand a chance.

From an IT point of view, one gains a better understanding of the overall picture, why a product needs to be coded a certain way, the kind of users who will be using the product, idiot proofing, profits etc.

Sometimes the two concepts do not meet..and just then your looking at a Kernel Panic! aaarrggg...

Saturday, April 09, 2005

Hitachi - Lets Get Perpendicular

Hitachi storage has revealed this new perpendicular storage based HDD. Instead of reading a huge list of specs, they put together a groovy SWF animation. The characters explain the restraints on current horizontal based disk technology and go on to highlight how parallel works. This is by no means a substitute to a full length whitepaper, but a great way to understand quickly what the hype all about!

Done correctly, snazzy marketing does help in removing the confusion that people generally associate with bits and bytes. Ofcourse, a solid product with consumer demand is needed in the first place. Google and Apple(ipod) are perfect in the field of marketing.

Hitachi Technologies Lets Get Perpendicular

Thursday, April 07, 2005

Search Engine Spiders & Dynamic Content

Spiders and dynamic content just dont like each other. A spider visits a webserver, grabs static content and is out in a jiffy. Even if they do grab some dynamic links, the search result will be buried deeply somewhere in 1 out of n results. I've been exploring the possibility of converting a dynamic link ( ok, not exactly converting, but rather masquerading) into a static one. The whole idea is to turn the content more spider friendly.

Apache powered webservers have excellent features. The 'mod rewrite' rule for .htaccess is just the kind of thing which will make those dynamic links appear as static. There are a lot of tweaks which are needed in the PHP too. But, once that's covered, the spiders are friendly.

The Apache docs on mod_rewrite are a good starter for this kind of an experiment.

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

Hello World!

Today, I finally got down to creating a Blog account. I've been contemplating about this for ages. This weeks BBC's ClickOnline episode on 'Blog Life' was interesting. I guess it was pretty brief with a slightly greater emphasis on the political aspect and implications of Blogging.

This is going to be an interesting hobby as keeping this Blog updated will be quite a challenge!