Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Twitter co-founder Dorsey's company gets $100 million

Square, the mobile payment service started by Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey, secured $100 million in a financing round led by Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers.

Tiger Global Management also participated in the Series C round, Square said on Tuesday.

Square plans to use the money to accelerate its growth, said Dorsey, the company's chief executive.

Mary Meeker, a partner at Kleiner Perkins, is joining the board, which also includes former U.S. Treasury Secretary Lawrence Summers.

Square's technology lets people use their mobile phones to accept credit card payments from other people. In April, Square said Visa invested an undisclosed sum in the company.

The San Francisco-based company has plenty of competitors eager to get into mobile payments. Google in May debuted a digital wallet that lets people to use their smartphones to pay for clothing, food and other items.

Source: Reuters

Twitter founders return to roots, relaunch Obvious

Twitter co-founders Biz Stone and Evan Williams plan to revive Obvious, the company they conceived years ago as a technology project incubator that eventually spawned Twitter.

Stone and Williams will continue to advise Twitter on strategic matters, but devote the lions' share of their time to The Obvious Corporation, Stone told the Aspen Ideas Conference at the ski resort on Tuesday.

The pair, along with others such as Jack Dorsey, who now runs payments service Square, created the four-year-old website that allows users to send 140-character messages across the Internet. It has grown into a microblogging phenomenon used by celebrities and heads of state alike, hailed at times as a crucial tool in promoting the free flow of information.

Neither Stone nor Williams told conference attendees explicitly what they intended with Obvious, apart from saying that they were excited about building projects that will improve people's lives.

"All the biggest ideas are obvious in retrospect," said Williams. "If we get as lucky as Twitter, that would be great."

Dick Costolo replaced Williams as Twiter's CEO in October, a move Silicon Valley sources have said re-focused the microblogging sensation on monetization, or translating its fast-growing pool of users into revenue.

"The Twitter crew and its leadership team have grown incredibly productive. I've decided that the most effective use of my time is to get out of the way until I'm called upon to be of some specific use," Stone said in a blog post.

"Our plan is to develop new projects and work on solving big problems aligned along a simple mission statement: The Obvious Corporation develops systems that help people work together to improve the world."

"This is a dream come true!" Stone said.


In a conversation with Walter Isaacson, the Aspen Institute's chief executive, the duo skipped from topic to topic, flummoxing audience members hoping for clues on their new venture.

They discussed the advantages of closed versus open systems online; how the Internet was changing philanthropy through services such as Kickstarter that allow crowdsourced funding; and how the Internet has affected distribution of content much more than content itself.

"There are more fundamental things than how distribution evolves to change publishing," Williams said.

The two charmed the audience, frequently drawing laughs with their deadpan wit. Stone described himself and Williams as "hallucinogenically optimistic", while their Obvious partner Jason Goldman, formerly vice president for product at Twitter, "is always like, 'here are the 10 ways we can get screwed'."

Social networking services like Twitter and Facebook are increasingly challenging established online powers like Google Inc and Yahoo for Web surfers' time and advertisers' dollars.

Twitter, which began courting advertisers one year ago, is still in the early stages of building a business. The company is expected to bring in about $150 million in ad revenue this year, compared with Facebook's roughly $4 billion in ad revenue, according to research firm eMarketer.

In December, Twitter was valued at $3.7 billion in a $200 million funding round led by venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers. An auction of Twitter shares on the secondary market in March suggested investors were valuing the company at more than $7 billion.

One audience member asked if there was a bubble in technology.

"Maybe investor excitement is outpacing the development," Williams allowed. But he was firm about his corporate progeny.

"I'm holding my Twitter stock long-term," he said. "If there is a correction, these things always go in cycles. So that will be fine."

Source: Reuters

Google boasts 500,000 Android activations per day

Consumers are activating more than half a million Android devices every day, and week-to-week growth in gadgets running the Google Inc software is at 4.4 percent, according to Android chief Andy Rubin.

Rubin did not disclose, in his Tuesday announcement on Twitter, how many of the devices being activated are smartphones and how many are tablet computers, a relatively new competitive battleground in wireless communications.

On Dec. 8, Rubin had tweeted that daily Android phone activations had surpassed 300,000.

Android smart phones have surpassed Apple Inc's iPhone in popularity as the Google software powers the main handsets of manufacturers such as Samsung Electronics, HTC Corp and Motorola Mobility.

These companies have also developed tablet computers based on the Android software to compete with Apple's market-leading iPad.

Source: Reuters

Google targets Facebook with new social service

Google Inc, frustrated by a string of failed attempts to crack social networking, is taking another stab at fending off Facebook and other hot social sites with a new service called Google Plus.

Google designed the service, unveiled on Tuesday, to tie together all of its online properties, laying the foundation for a full-fledged social network. It is the company's biggest foray into social networking since co-founder Larry Page took over as chief executive in April.

Page has made social networking a top priority at the world's No 1 Internet search engine, whose position as the main gateway to online information could be at risk as people spend more time on sites like Facebook and Twitter.

To set its service apart from Facebook, which has more than 500 million users, Google is betting on what it says is a better approach to privacy, a hot-button issue that has burned Facebook, as well as Google, in the past.

Central to Google Plus are so-called "circles" of friends and acquaintances. Users can organize contacts into different customized circles -- family members, co-workers or college friends, say -- and share photos, videos or other information only within those smaller groups.

"In the online world there's this 'share box' and you type into it and you have no idea who is going to get that, or where it's going to land, or how it's going to embarrass you six months from now," said Google Vice President of Product Management Bradley Horowitz.

"For us, privacy isn't buried six panels deep," he added.

Facebook, which has been criticized for confusing privacy controls, introduced a feature last year that lets users create smaller groups of friends. Google, without mentioning Facebook by name, said other social networking services' attempts to create groups were "bolt-on" efforts that do not work as well.

Google Plus will be rolled out to a limited number of users in what the company is calling a field trial. Only those invited to join will initially be able to use the service. Google did not say when it would be more widely available.


Google's stock has been pressured by concerns about rising spending within the company and increasing regulatory scrutiny -- not to mention its struggles with social networking. The U.S. Federal Trade Commission, among others, is currently reviewing its business practices.

Its shares are down almost 20 percent this year after underperforming the market in 2010.

To create Google Plus, the company went back to the drawing board in the wake of several notable failures, including Google Wave and Google Buzz, a microblogging service whose launch was marred by privacy snafus.

"We learned a lot in Buzz, and one of the things we learned is that there's a real market opportunity for a product that addresses people's concerns around privacy and how their information is shared," said Horowitz.

Google, with $29 billion in revenue last year, drew more than 1 billion visitors worldwide to its websites in May, more than any other company, according to Web analytics firm comScore. But people are spending more time on Facebook: The average U.S. visitor spent 375 minutes on Facebook in May, compared with 231 minutes for Google.

Google Plus seems designed to make its online properties a pervasive part of the daily online experience, rather than being spots where Web surfers occasionally check in to search for a website or check email.

As with Facebook's service, Google Plus has a central Web page that displays an ever-updating stream of the comments, photos and links being shared by friends and contacts.

A toolbar across the top of most of Google's sites -- such as its main search page, its Gmail site and its Maps site - allows users to access their personalized data feed. They can then contribute their own information to the stream.

Google Plus will also offer a special video chat feature, in which up to 10 people can jump on a conference call. And Google will automatically store photos taken on cell phones on its Internet servers, allowing a Google Plus user to access the photos from any computer and share them.

When asked if he expected people to switch from Facebook to Google Plus, Google Senior Vice President of Engineering Vic Gundotra said people may decide to use both.

"People today use multiple tools. I think what we're offering here offers some very distinct advantages around some basic needs," he said.

Source: Reuters

Facebook, Twitter sound 'death knell for holiday postcards'!

Gone are those days of postcards as Facebook and Twitter are the new mantras to keep in touch with your family and friends while on holidays.

A survey conducted by online travel firm ebookers has found that one in two Britons admitted to checking and updating social networks or emails when on a holiday.

It has emerged that four in 10 people no longer send postcards to loved ones from a holiday destination.

The assessment of 2,000 respondents revealed that as many as ten pc of the people felt anxious and lonely when they were unable to access email or social network sites.

Although, 50 pc of the people who update social networks while on holiday considered it a waste of time, as many as two thirds admitted to spending two hours or more doing so.

The rise of the 'social network postcard' is not confined to the younger generation, as one in three silver surfers over 55 years old confessed to checking social networks while on holiday.

According to the survey, Facebook is the most popular social network site for holidaymakers to use while abroad, followed by Twitter.

Furthermore, Londoners are the worst for feeling lonely and anxious when they do not have access to their favourite social networking site.

"It's fascinating to see just how dependent British holidaymakers have become on social networks to keep their friends and family up-to-date," the Daily Mail quoted Mario Bounas, head of marketing at as saying.

"As a nation, our growing reliance on social networks is laid bare by the fact that many feel anxious or lonely if they can't log on, he added.
Source: ANI

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Motorola launches Xoom tablet in India - Price Starts from Rs.32,900

Motorola Mobility became the latest entrant in India as it launched the Xoom tablet in 3G and Wi-Fi priced at Rs 32,990 and 39,990 respectively on Tuesday.

"Motorola Xoom will delight customers with its ease of use, speed and vivid graphics," Motorola Mobility mobile devices business country head for sales and operations (India and South West Asia) Rajan Chawla said.

The Indian tablet market has heated up over June with more than half-a-dozen handset makers launching their tablets.

Motorola Xoom will compete with the Apple iPad and Samsung Galaxy Tab , recently launched BlackBerry PlayBook and Chinese manufacturers such as HTC, Huawei and G'Five. Homegrown brands such as Spice and Olive that have launched tablets at competitive price last year may enjoy the first mover advantage over the rest.

Canadian phone maker Research In Motion launched the PlayBook in India last week, which will be available at Rs 27,990 for 16 GB memory, Rs 32,990 for 32GB and Rs 37,990 for 64 GB.

Chinese handset maker HTC plans to launch Flyer at Rs 39,890 in the Indian market. It's competitor G'Five announced a price point of sub Rs 10,000 in May for its tablet that would run on Android and Windows platforms, slated to hit the market by June-end.

Huawei launched the light and slim MediaPad this month and would launch its tablet S7 in India between July and September.

According to the International Data Corporation, sales in the tablet market are expected to increase more than fourfold in the next two years. While sales in the tablet PC segment in India are expected to touch one million units over the next 12 months, say analysts.

Source: Economic Times

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Saturday, June 25, 2011

Winklevoss twins push another suit against Facebook

Olympic rowing twins Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss are pushing ahead with another suit against Facebook, a day after they decided not to appeal a U.S. Supreme Court ruling upholding their $65 million settlement with Facebook and its founder Mark Zuckerberg.
In a status report filed on Thursday with the U.S. District Court of Massachusetts, the twins and their business partner, Divya Narendra, said they would move the court for discovery on whether Facebook "intentionally or inadvertently suppressed evidence" during settlement proceedings over claims that Zuckerberg stole their idea for a college social networking website.
The claim in the Massachusetts Court relates to documents and communications that would have thrown light on the exact relationship between the twins and Zuckerberg at the time of Facebook's founding and says that Facebook should have disclosed those documents during the original settlement discussions.
The original settlement was intended to resolve a feud over whether Zuckerberg stole the idea for what became the world's most popular social networking website from the Winklevosses, who like him had attended Harvard University. Their battle was dramatized in the 2010 film "The Social Network."
After agreeing to the cash-and-stock accord, the Winklevosses sought to undo it, saying it was fraudulent because Facebook hid information from them, and that they deserved more money.
Tyler Meade, counsel for the Winklevoss twins and Narendra, declined to comment.
In a statement, Facebook's outside counsel Neel Chatterjee said, "These are old and baseless allegations that have been considered and rejected previously by the courts."
Source: Reuters

Friday, June 24, 2011

Major quakes strike in Pacific off Alaska

A major earthquake of 7.4 magnitude struck in the Pacific Ocean more than 1,000 miles (1,600 km) west of Anchorage on Thursday, prompting a brief tsunami warning for part of the remote Aleutian Islands chain.

No damage or injuries were reported. The warning, which extended for roughly 800 miles (1,300 km) -- from Unimak Pass, northeast of Dutch Harbor, westward to Amchitka Pass, west of Adak Island -- was canceled after a little more than an hour.

A tsunami wave measuring just 6 centimetres tall was recorded at Nikolski, a tiny Aleut village on the island of Umnak, and a 10-centimeter wave was observed at Adak, said Becki Legatt, a spokeswoman for the West Coast and Alaska Tsunami Warning Center in Palmer, Alaska.

The coast of the entire Alaska peninsula and all of the Alaska mainland were never considered to be threatened.

The quake struck shortly after 7 p.m. local time (0300 GMT) at a depth of about 25 miles (40 km). A second tremor of magnitude 7.2 hit in the same vicinity of the Aleutians a half-minute later, the U.S. Geological Survey said.

Quakes of 7 to 8 magnitudes and higher are relatively common in the Aleutians but are generally of little consequence because the island chain is so remote and sparsely populated.

"This is a very seismically active area," said Randy Baldwin, a USGS geophysicist with the National Earthquake Information Center in Golden, Colorado.

A tsunami warning means all coastal residents in the warning area who are near the beach or in low-lying regions should move immediately to higher ground and away from harbors and inlets, including those sheltered directly from the sea.

Source: Reuters

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Coming soon to the Internet: The .whatever address -- Domain Suffixes as your wish in future

SINGAPORE — A quarter-century after the creation of ".com," the agency that assigns Internet addresses is loosening its rules and allowing suffixes named after brands, hobbies, political causes and just about anything else.

Under guidelines approved Monday, Apple could register addresses ending in ".ipad," Citi and Chase could share ".bank" and environmental groups could go after ".eco." Japan could have ".com" in Japanese.

It's the biggest change to the system of Internet addresses since it was created in 1984.

More than 300 suffixes are available today, but only a handful, such as the familiar ".net" and ".com," are open for general use worldwide. Hundreds of new suffixes could be established by late next year, thousands in years to come.

"This is the start of a whole new phase for the Internet," said Peter Dengate Thrush, chairman of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, the California nonprofit organization in charge of Internet addresses.

The novelty addresses will be costly — $185,000 to apply and $25,000 a year to maintain one. A personal address with a common suffix such as ".com" usually costs less than $10 a year.

ICANN says it costs tens of millions of dollars to write the guidelines for suffixes, review applications and resolve any disputes. Even with the hefty fees, the organization says it plans only to break even. It's also setting aside up to $2 million to subsidize applications from developing countries.

The expansion plan, which runs about 350 pages, took six years to develop.

Before 1998, the United States, which paid for most of the early Internet, was in charge of handing out Internet suffixes. ICANN, which has board members from every inhabited continent, was a way to take the administrative burden off the U.S. government.

ICANN was always supposed to expand the number of available Web suffixes. But the progress was slow because of concerns that new ones could infringe on trademarks, be obscene or give a platform to hate groups. Competing interests wrestled with ICANN over guidelines.

ICANN has come up with procedures for any party to object to applications for trademark, or other reasons.

Internet addresses, technically known as domain names, tell computers where to find a website or send an email message. Without them, people would have to remember clunky strings of numbers such as "" instead of ""

But the addresses have grown to mean much more. has built its brand on one, and bloggers take pride in running sites with their own domain names, uncluttered by the names of hosting services.

The address expansion could create new opportunities for companies to promote their brands and allow all sorts of niche communities to thrive online. But they could create confusion, too.

And they might not make much difference. More and more people online find what they're looking for by typing a term into a search engine, not tapping out a full address. Or they use an app and don't type anything.

ICANN will start taking applications for new suffixes Jan. 12. Approval of individual applications is expected to be quick if there are no challenges for trademark, morality or other reasons. Proposals that are challenged would have to undergo more thorough reviews, including possible arbitration to decide on the merits of claims.

High-profile entertainment, consumer-goods and financial-services companies will likely be among the first to apply for the new suffixes to protect their brands.

Canon Inc., the camera and printer company, already plans to apply for ".canon." And Apple could go after not just ".apple," but also ".ipad" and ".iphone." Apple had no comment Monday.

Groups have already formed to back ".sport" for sporting sites, and two conservationist groups separately are seeking the right to operate an ".eco" suffix. Trade groups for bankers and financial-services companies are jointly exploring applications for ".bank," ''.insure" and ".invest" for their member companies.

Smaller companies stand to benefit, too. A florist called Apple can't use "" because the computer company has it. Previously, the shop might have registered a longer, clunky address. Now it can just be ""

Of course, a small florist might not be able to afford an expensive suffix. But an entrepreneur or a trade group might, and it could sell individual addresses ending in ".flowers" for $10 or $100 a pop. A successful suffix owner could make millions, much more than what it pays in application and annual fees.

When two or more groups have a legitimate claim to an address, ICANN expects them to work it out on their own. If they can't, the nonprofit will auction the suffixes.

"Things are going to have to be decided, like 'Who's a better guardian for .golf?' The PGA or some global group?" said Jeremiah Johnston, chief operating officer at, which helps companies resell domain names.

"Even though the new extensions come around, the ones that are most rooted and most popular in the minds of consumers, their value has only gone up," Johnston said.

Source: AP

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

ICANN to accept applications for new domains from Jan

SINGAPORE: The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) said it will start accepting applications for new domain names from January 12 to April 12 next year, a move that will give organisations more options for branding themselves.

ICANN said internet domain names can consist of any word or words, in any language and any script, including Chinese or Japanese, giving unlimited options to internet users.

Presently, it allows 22 suffixes such as .net, .com and .org.

Meanwhile, Singapore will host a cyber security facility that will help verify the authenticity of websites and email addresses, according to a report in the Straits Times today.

Singapore Senior Minister of State Grace Fu said the facility would be based at the National University of Singapore.

In a related development, Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean announced a five-year e-government masterplan for the city state.

He cited examples of how smartphone users can get access to government information anytime and anywhere.

Smartphones make up 72 per cent of all mobile phones in Singapore.

Meanwhile, the government today announced a 15 million Singapore dollars investment plan to create user-friendly mobile applications for the retail, food and beverage, hotel and attractions sectors in the city state.

Announcing the investment, Minister for Information, Communications and the Arts Yaacob Ibrahim said the government was looking for proposals from companies on innovative mobile services suitable for those industries.
Source: TimesofIndia

Google suspends Street View service; says reviewing matter

NEW DELHI: In a setback to its global mapping project, internet search giant Google on Tuesday said that it has suspended its 'Street View' service in Bangalore following an order from the police.

"We can confirm that we received a letter from the Commissioner of Police regarding Street View. We are currently reviewing it and have stopped our cars until we have a chance to answer any questions or concerns the police have," Google spokesperson said.

Last month, Google had launched its Street View service in India and had begin collecting images of streets by driving across the city in specially designed cars and trikes, (three-wheel pedi-cab) possessing high resolution cameras on top of the vehicle.

The images were to be made available at a later date in Street View on Google Maps.

It is believed that Bangalore police has objected to the data collection Google's cars due to security concerns.

India is not the first country where this project by Google has faced trouble. Last year Google came under probe from several European nations following its Street View vehicles inadvertently collected email addresses, passwords and other personal information from Wi-Fi networks.

Street View, which was launched in 2007, is a popular feature of Google Maps and is already available in more than 27 countries.It allows users to virtually explore and navigate a neighbourhood through panoramic street-level images.

Google, however, had earlier said that in order to protect privacy, the vehicles will capture images of public places alone and blur out faces of people and number plates of vehicles to make them unidentifiable.

Moreover, Google had said that it would be extremely responsive to any request received from a user for additional blurring of any image that features on the web.

It had said that Street View is designed to comply with all local laws, including those related to security and privacy in India.

Bangalore is the IT hub, where Google employs thousands of people. The city has various organisations such as DRDO, HAL and ISRO and the fear could be that overall view of the roads leading to them could be used by a various anti-social elements in the future.
Source: Economic Times

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Saturday, June 18, 2011

Facebook users have more close ties with offline friends than non-users

London: Wondering whether you will leave your real-life friends behind by using Facebook? Well, it's not true.
A new study has said that Facebook users have more close ties with their offline friends than those who don't use the social networking site, reports New Scientist.
The researchers at the Pew Research Center in Washington DC, who surveyed 2,255 Americans, found that the average Facebook user has 229 friends on Facebook, which turns out to be 48 per cent of their total offline social network.

Read about hacks? Think you're immune? Think again

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - While the big news is about hacks into the CIA's and Senate's public websites, Citigroup and Lockheed Martin, tens of thousands of people are victimized by cyber criminals each year, sometimes with devastating effect.
The FBI, which has a special Internet fraud center, received more than 25,000 complaints a month last year from people who were defrauded over the Internet by fake companies which offered to sell goods that never arrived, by people whose identities were stolen and by victims scammed by someone who claimed to be an FBI agent.
Victims lost hundreds of millions of dollars, according to the FBI's Internet fraud report for 2010.
The conventional view of hackers as pimply faced, isolated young men out to harmlessly joyride some big company's servers is out of date, despite the presence of groups such as Anonymous and Lulz Security, which strike for fun and political reasons.
The more worrisome hackers are crime rings in Asia and Eastern Europe or elsewhere beyond the easy reach of the law, where hackers may use a wireless connection in a Russian library to avoid detection.
These are the individuals who steal personal information, like names, addresses, dates of birth and email addresses. They then sell that information to thieves in Internet chat rooms. Those thieves often round out what they know about victims from Facebook pages -- maybe a birthplace from a Facebook quiz -- or other social media.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

China floods death toll hits 94, with 78 missing - China Floods - Latest News - Heavy Rain in China - Exclusive News China floods 2011

BEIJING (AP) — China's flood control office says the death toll from heavy rains lashing central and southern China has risen to at least 94, with 78 people missing.
The State Flood Control and Drought Relief Headquarters said on its website Sunday that torrential rains over the last week had triggered floods and landslides in 13 provinces, impacting 8.48 million people and destroying 1.15 million acres (465,000 hectares) of crops,
Water Resources Minister Chen Lei was quoted as saying the scope and intensity of the rains had caused grave casualties and damage to property.
Source: AP

3 Great Gadgets for College Students

College life can be better with the aid of gadgets. Since we are now living in a high-tech world, having the best gadgets can give a college student an edge when it comes to access to the latest information and up to date programs and applications.

Here are the three best gadgets for college students:
A college student no longer needs to bring his laptop to school. With his iPad, he can do a lot of things since it already has the functions of a laptop. The iPad is simply a must-have. With its large screen, one can use it to read e-books, take pictures, listen to music, and a lot more. It’s really useful for studying, organizing one’s schedule, and it’s a good source of entertainment. Its GPS also makes it handy when going around college communities.
There are a lot of things a student like you can do with the iPad. One of the popular applications for is Evernote which is perfect for note-taking. Using your iPad, you can take notes during class and this is automatically synched with your online account. This means that your notes can also be readily accessed with your computer. You can also organize your schedule as well as your homework and projects with iStudiezPro.
Apple is still working closely with academic publishing companies and universities so that the iPad can have a standard fair for viewing textbooks.

Another must have for college students is the smartphone. With its GPS locator you can easily find location of products and services which you need for college. It also enables users to link with social networking sites like Facebook, MySpace, and Twitter. We all know that keeping up with friends, classmates, and teachers is part of college life. The smartphone is also a good communication tool- it enables students to make cheap calls, broadcast text messages, and have SMS conversations. The smartphone is also a good tool for organizing. You can stay on top of all your tasks since the phone comes with a task editor which lets you create, edit, and complete tasks.
In fact, you can even have an entire encyclopedia in your smartphone. You can look up words in the mobile dictionary, visit the mobile edition of, and read books, news, and references using your smartphone.

Voice recorder
With the voice recorder, you can easily record your professor’s discussion so that you can listen and review it later. You can also use it to take your own notes after class so that you can pay close attention to lectures. Having this gadget can also let you do interviews for your research data gathering work. This gadget is also cheaper, you can buy one in less than $75.
As you can see, there are some great gadgets on the market today.  Make your life easier, more organized and up to date with technology by considering these three above.
Source: Business to community

Friday, June 10, 2011

Exclusive Photos: The eruption that shook Chile and Argentina

AFP PHOTO / Chilean Air Force

This handout picture released by the Chilean Air Force shows the cloud of ash billowing from Puyehue volcano near Osorno in southern Chile, 870 km south of Santiago, taken on June 5, 2011. Puyehue volcano erupted for the first time in half a century on June 4, 2011, prompting evacuations for 3,500 people as it sent a cloud of ash that reached Argentina. The National Service of Geology and Mining said the explosion that sparked the eruption also produced a column of gas 10 kilometers (six miles) high, hours after warning of strong seismic activity in the area.

AFP PHOTO / Claudio Santana

A cloud of ash billowing from Puyehue volcano near Osorno in southern Chile, 870 km south of Santiago, on June 5, 2011. Puyehue volcano erupted for the first time in half a century on June 4, 2011, prompting evacuations for 3,500 people as it sent a cloud of ash that reached Argentina. The National Service of Geology and Mining said the explosion that sparked the eruption also produced a column of gas 10 kilometers (six miles) high, hours after warning of strong seismic activity in the area.

AFP PHOTO / Claudio Santana

Lightning is seen amid a cloud of ash billowing from Puyehue volcano near Osorno in southern Chile, 870 km south of Santiago, on June 5, 2011. Puyehue volcano erupted for the first time in half a century on June 4, 2011, prompting evacuations for 3,500 people as it sent a cloud of ash that reached Argentina. The National Service of Geology and Mining said the explosion that sparked the eruption also produced a column of gas 10 kilometers (six miles) high, hours after warning of strong seismic activity in the area.

AP Photo / Francisco Negroni, AgenciaUno

A column of smoke and volcanic lightning are seen over the Puyehue volcano, over 500 miles south of Santiago, Chile, Sunday June 5, 2011. Authorities have evacuated about 600 people in the nearby area. The volcano was calm on Sunday, one day after raining down ash and forcing thousands to flee, although the cloud of soot it had belched out still darkened skies as far away as Argentina.

AP Photo / Francisco Negroni, AgenciaUno

A column of smoke and volcanic lightning are seen over the Puyehue volcano, over 500 miles south of Santiago, Chile, Sunday June 5, 2011. Authorities have evacuated about 600 people in the nearby area. The volcano was calm on Sunday, one day after raining down ash and forcing thousands to flee, although the cloud of soot it had belched out still darkened skies as far away as Argentina.

AP Photo / Alfredo Leiva

A blanket of volcanic ash covers a neighborhood in San Carlos de Bariloche, southern Argentina, Sunday, June 5, 2011. The Puyehue volcano, dormant for decades, erupted in south-central Chile on Saturday. The wind carried ash across the Andes to Argentina, dusting this tourist town which had to close its airport.

AP Photo / Alfredo Leiva

A car is completely covered in volcanic ash in San Carlos de Bariloche, southern Argentina, Sunday June 5, 2011. The Puyehue volcano, dormant for decades, erupted in south-central Chile on Saturday. The wind carried ash across the Andes to Argentina, dusting this tourist town which had to close its airport.

AP Photo / Alfredo Leiva

A man removes volcanic ash from his roof using water from a garden hose in San Carlos de Bariloche, southern Argentina, Sunday June 5, 2011. The Puyehue volcano, dormant for decades, erupted in south-central Chile on Saturday. The wind carried ash across the Andes to Argentina, dusting this tourist town which had to close its airport.
Photos courtesy: AFP
Source: Yahoo Widescreen

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Widescreen: A Day Out in Munnar

Munnar, which means confluence of three rivers, was the summer resort of the erstwhile British rulers in the colonial days. In the late 19th century, A.H. Sharp planted the first tea bush and since then tea has been the main agricultural crop in the region. Today, the hills around Munnar are blanketed with best-in-class green tea bushes. With its sprawling tea plantations, pristine valleys and mountains and cool air, it’s no surprise that Munnar has been rated the second-best Asian travel destination for 2010.

If you are a true admirer of nature who has a passion for driving, Munnar is your dream destination and cruising along winding smooth roads across mist-sheeted lush green tea gardens is the finest experience you can ever have.

Around every corner is another stunning view. You do not need a map or a guide; all you need is a good pair of shoes and the curiosity to see what is around the next curve. You need not necessarily be a shutterbug; random clicks can get you incredible photographs.

On the way to Munnar, some 22 kms before reaching there, I stopped by Anayirankal dam, a vast expanse of water surrounded by green carpeted hills covered with tea gardens. The distant view of the reservoir follows you for another 15 kms and it’s an excellent location for photography.

The dude who poses here is Varayadu or Nilgiri Tahr, stocky goats with short, coarse fur and a bristly mane. Nilgiri Tahr is an endangered mountain ungulate listed in schedule I of the Indian Wildlife (Protection) Act 1972. Eravikulam National Park which has the highest density and largest surviving population of this species is situated hardly 14 kms from Munnar town. Know more about this endangered species.

Does this picture suggest land’s end? It virtually is. This is Top Station, which is 41 kms uphill from Munnar. Located at the border of Kerala and Tamilnadu, this spot offers an ‘awebreathtakingsome’ panoramic view. Strolling down this pathway with steep abyss on both sides is adventurous, rather risky, but the view you get there is one of a kind.

At every other corner you will find women with baskets full of locally grown fruits and vegetables. Don’t forget to bargain and buy tender carrots, passion fruits and wild tomatoes, all farm fresh and delicious.

Anamudi is the highest peak in the Western Ghats situated at a height of 2,695 metres (8,842 feet) above mean sea level. It is located in the southern part of Eravikulam National Park, fifty kilometers from Munnar. It is also the ideal place for wildlife travelers and nature lovers. It literally means “Elephant forehead”.

13 kms away from Munnar, Mattupetty is famous for its highly specialised dairy farm, the Indo-Swiss project. More than 100 varieties of high yielding cattle are reared here. The Mattupetty Lake and Dam, just a short distance from the farm, is a gorgeous picnic spot. The sprawling Kundala tea plantations, Kundala Lake and the echo point are other attractions in the vicinity. A boat cruise on the lake is the best way to enjoy the leisure.

Bristling with wildlife and crystal clear streams, the enticing charm of Munnar is simply irresistible. The area has many attractions within a short distance of the town of Munnar, including the Sandalwood Forest of Marayoor and the Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary.

Source: Yahoo

Twitter Rolls out Automatic URL Shortening

Twitter rolled out an automatic link shortening feature on Tuesday that enables users to paste long URLs (Uniform Resource Locators) directly into messages sent through its microblogging website, without worrying that the message will exceed the service's 140-character limit.

Users can paste a link of any length into the message composition box on the site, according to a company blog post.

"After you've composed your Tweet and you hit the "Tweet" button, we'll shorten the link so that it only takes up 19 characters," it said.

"You no longer have to worry about fitting a long link into the 140 character limit," Twitter said on its support page.

bitlyUsers currently rely on third-party link-shortening services, which will continue to be supported on Twitter.

The service is being rolled out by Twitter to a small percentage of users to start with. After 13 characters of a URL are entered, a message appears to let the user know that the link will be shortened. Even after the message character limit is reached, users can continue to add text to the URL, Twitter said.

Once the message is posted, it will be assigned a link ID, but the link will appear as a shortened version of the original URL, so that people who see the message will know the site they are going to.

twitterTwitter's link service is only used on links posted on Twitter and is not available as a general shortening service. The company emphasized the security aspects of its new service. URLs converted by Twitter's link service are checked against a list of potentially dangerous sites, and when there's a match, users will be warned before they continue, it said.

Twitter also added language support for Brazilian Portuguese to its site on Tuesday. The site already supports nine languages, including French, German, Spanish, Korean, Russian, and English. Twitter is ranked 13 among the top web sites in Brazil, according to web traffic monitoring service Alexa. It trails Google, Orkut, and Facebook in that country. The rank is calculated using a combination of average daily visitors and page views over the past month.

Source: PCworld

Dr. Abdul Kalam's Letter to Every Indian

Dr. Abdul Kalam's Letter to Every Indian 
Why is the media here so negative?Why are we in India so embarrassed to recognize our own strengths, our achievements?
We are such a great nation. We have so many amazing success stories but we refuse to acknowledge them. Why?
We are the first in milk production.
We are number one in Remote sensing satellites.
We are the second largest producer of wheat.
We are the second largest producer of rice.
Look at Dr. Sudarshan , he has transferred the tribal village into a self-sustaining, self-driving unit.. There are millions of such achievements but our media is only obsessed in the bad news and failures and disasters.
I was in Tel Aviv once and I was reading the Israeli newspaper. It was the day after a lot of attacks and bombardments and deaths had taken place. The Hamas had struck. But the front page of the newspaper had the picture of a Jewish gentleman who in five years had transformed his desert into an orchid and a granary. It was this inspiring picture that everyone woke up to. The gory details of killings, bombardments, deaths, were inside in the newspaper, buried among other news.
In India we only read about death, sickness, terrorism, crime.. Why are we so NEGATIVE? Another question: Why are we, as a nation so obsessed with foreign things? We want foreign T.Vs, we want foreign shirts. We want foreign technology.
Why this obsession with everything imported. Do we not realize that self-respect comes with self-reliance? I was in Hyderabad giving this lecture, when a 14 year old girl asked me for my autograph. I asked her what her goal in life is.. She replied: I want to live in a developed India . For her, you and I will have to build this developed India . You must proclaim. India is not an under-developed nation; it is a highly developed nation.
..YOU say that our government is inefficient.
YOU say that our laws are too old.
YOU say that the municipality does not pick up the garbage.
YOU say that the phones don't work, the railways are a joke. The airline is the worst in the world, mails never reach their destination.
YOU say that our country has been fed to the dogs and is the absolute pits.
YOU say, say and say.. What do YOU do about it?
Take a person on his way to Singapore . Give him a name - 'YOURS'. Give him a face - 'YOURS'. YOU walk out of the airport and you are at your International best. In Singapore you don't throw cigarette butts on the roads or eat in the stores. YOU are as proud of their Underground links as they are.. You pay $5 (approx. Rs.. 60) to drive through Orchard Road (equivalent of Mahim Causeway or Pedder Road) between 5 PM and 8 PM. YOU come back to the parking lot to punch your parking ticket if you have over stayed in a restaurant or a shopping mall irrespective of your status identity In Singapore you don't say anything, DO YOU? YOU wouldn't dare to eat in public during Ramadan, in Dubai .. YOU would not dare to go out without your head covered in Jeddah.
YOU would not dare to buy an employee of the telephone exchange in London at 10 pounds (Rs..650) a month to, 'see to it that my STD and ISD calls are billed to someone else.'YOU would not dare to speed beyond 55 mph (88 km/h) in Washington and then tell the traffic cop, 'Jaanta hai main kaun hoon (Do you know who I am?). I am so and so's son. Take your two bucks and get lost.' YOU wouldn't chuck an empty coconut shell anywhere other than the garbage pail on the beaches in Australia and New Zealand ..
Why don't YOU spit Paan on the streets of Tokyo ? Why don't YOU use examination jockeys or buy fake certificates in Boston ??? We are still talking of the same YOU. YOU who can respect and conform to a foreign system in other countries but cannot in your own. You who will throw papers and cigarettes on the road the moment you touch Indian ground. If you can be an involved and appreciative citizen in an alien country, why cannot you be the same here in India ?

In America every dog owner has to clean up after his pet has done the job. Same in Japan ..
Will the Indian citizen do that here?' He's right. We go to the polls to choose a government and after that forfeit all responsibility.
We sit back wanting to be pampered and expect the government to do everything for us whilst our contribution is totally negative. We expect the government to clean up but we are not going to stop chucking garbage all over the place nor are we going to stop to pick a up a stray piece of paper and throw it in the bin. We expect the railways to provide clean bathrooms but we are not going to learn the proper use of bathrooms.
We want Indian Airlines and Air India to provide the best of food and toiletries but we are not going to stop pilfering at the least opportunity.
This applies even to the staff who is known not to pass on the service to the public.
When it comes to burning social issues like those related to women, dowry, girl child! and others, we make loud drawing room protestations and continue to do the reverse at home. Our excuse? 'It's the whole system which has to change, how will it matter if I alone forego my sons' rights to a dowry.' So who's going to change the system?
What does a system consist of? Very conveniently for us it consists of our neighbours, other households, other cities, other communities and the government. But definitely not me and YOU. When it comes to us actually making a positive contribution to the system we lock ourselves along with our families into a safe cocoon and look into the distance at countries far away and wait for a Mr.Clean to come along & work miracles for us with a majestic sweep of his hand or we leave the country and run away.
Like lazy cowards hounded by our fears we run to America to bask in their glory and praise their system. When New York becomes insecure we run to England . When England experiences unemployment, we take the next flight out to the Gulf. When the Gulf is war struck, we demand to be rescued and brought home by the Indian government. Everybody is out to abuse and rape the country. Nobody thinks of feeding the system. Our conscience is mortgaged to money.
Dear Indians, The article is highly thought inductive, calls for a great deal of introspection and pricks one's conscience too.. I am echoing J. F. Kennedy's words to his fellow Americans to relate to Indians..
Lets do what India needs from us.
Forward this mail to each Indian for a change instead of sending Jokes or junk mails.
Thank you,
Dr.. Abdul Kalam
I humbly request you to forward this to every Indian
Click on the below EMAIL icon to forward this post to your friends. Thank you Jagansindia, Inc

Beer and Facebook don't mix, says U.S. SEC

New York: It was a takeover attempt that fizzed out.
Two advertising executives who used Facebook and Twitter to find investors for their proposed $300 million takeover bid for Pabst Brewing Co have been ordered not to do anything like it again by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.
The regulator said Brian William Flatow and Michael Migliozzi failed to register with securities regulators and make necessary disclosures before directing investors to their website,
According to the SEC, the men launched their website in November 2009, promising to give people hoping to invest in the maker of Pabst Blue Ribbon and Old Milwaukee beer both certificates of ownership and "beer of a value equal to the amount invested."
By February 2010, the men claimed to have raised more than $200 million through more than 5 million pledges recorded on a "countdown timer" on their website, the SEC said.
The activity continued until the website was taken down in April 2010, the SEC said. In the end, Flatow and Migliozzi collected no money, and without admitting wrongdoing agreed to a cease-and-desist order not to undertake similar activity.
"Investors are entitled to know certain basic information about a company before being asked to invest," Scott Friestad, an associate SEC enforcement director, said in a statement.
"Just because would-be investors are being solicited online doesn't make them less deserving of the protections under our securities laws."
Flatow, 41, lives in Connecticut and was president of the advertising agency The Ad Store, the SEC said. Migliozzi, 45, lives in California and owned Forza Migliozzi, also an advertising agency, it added.
Steven Berkowitz, a lawyer for the men, did not immediately return a call seeking comment. A spokesman for Woodridge, Illinois-based Pabst also did not immediately return a call.
Founded in 1844, Pabst had been the largest privately-held U.S. brewer prior to being bought last June by Metropoulos & Co, a Greenwich, Connecticut investment firm, for an undisclosed price.
Source: Reuters

Apple's Jobs shows off 'spaceship' headquarters plan

Apple Inc plans to build a circular "spaceship" building in hometown Cupertino that will hold 12,000 employees -- and be the best office building in the world, Chief Executive Steve Jobs said.
The ailing chief of Apple, formally on leave from the company, made his second public appearance in two days late on Tuesday to show off plans to the Cupertino city council.
"It's a little like a spaceship landed," said Jobs, showing off a four-story, circular building with a massive interior courtyard on a 150-acre piece of landscaped land.
"There is not a straight piece of glass in the building," he said. "We know how to make the biggest pieces of glass in the world for architectural use."
Apple has grown "like a weed" Jobs said, and needs a place to put roughly 12,000 people. The massive new structure would be in addition to the main campus at 1 Infinite Loop.
"That's rather odd, 12,000 people in a building, in one building. But we've seen these office parks with lots of buildings, and they get pretty boring pretty fast, so we'd like to do something better than that," he said.
"I do think we have a shot at building the best office building in the world," he added, showing off sketches.
He quickly shot down questions from city council members, avoiding a request to give free Wi-Fi to the city and arguing that the increase in workers at the site would not be significant enough to require any traffic mitigation efforts.
Landscaping will include trees, native plants and apricot orchards, a throwback to the agricultural heritage of Silicon Valley when Jobs was growing up.
Apple bought most of the land from Hewlett Packard Co, where Jobs got one of his first summer jobs after calling up his idol and HP founder Bill Hewlett, to ask for spare parts. Hewlett and Packard bought the main parcel, he said.
Source: Reuters

Facebook gives regulators info on facial recognition

ople who appear in certain photos posed on Facebook.
Facebook, which announced in December that it planned to introduce the service in the United States, said on Tuesday that the feature was in fact now available in "most countries" and acknowledged that it should have been "more clear with people during the roll-out process when this became available to them."
The lack of notification about the wider roll-out of the new technology and the fact that Facebook has automatically enabled the technology in users' settings have raised concerns among some privacy advocates, who say it should be up to users to switch it on.
While facial recognition technology is used in other photo products such as Apple Inc's iPhoto and Google Inc's Picasa, Facebook's use of the technology across its social network of more than 500 million users could raise novel privacy issues, according to Marc Rotenberg, president of the privacy-advocacy group Electronic Privacy Information Center.
The Facebook product scans users' newly uploaded photos, comparing the faces in the photos against previously labeled photos to see if it can match any of the people. If a match is found, Facebook alerts the person uploading the photos and invites them to "tag," or identify, the person in the photo.
Facebook said the product helps speed up the process of identifying and labeling people in photos, a popular practice among Facebook users that the company said currently occurs more than 100 million times a day.
Facebook has stressed that the automated photo-tagging suggestions are only made when new photos are added to Facebook, that only friends are suggested and that users can disable the feature in their privacy settings.
Source: Reuters

Facebook facial recognition technology sparks renewed concerns

Facebook has quietly expanded the availability of technology to automatically identify people in photos, renewing concerns about the privacy practices of the world's top social networking service.
The feature, which Facebook automatically enabled for Facebook users, has been expanded from the United States to "most countries", Facebook said on its official blog on Tuesday.
Its "Tag Suggestions" feature uses facial recognition technology to speed up the process of labelling friends and acquaintances that appear in photos posted on Facebook.
The company's rollout of the technology has raised eyebrows in some circles. Internet security consultant firm Sophos published a post on its company blog on Tuesday saying that many Facebook users are reporting that the site has enabled the facial recognition option in the last few days without giving users any notice.
"Yet again, it feels like Facebook is eroding the online privacy of its users by stealth," wrote Graham Cluley, a senior technology consultant at Sophos.
Facebook, which announced in December that it planned to introduce the service in the United States, acknowledged on Tuesday that the feature was in fact now more widely available.
When asked about the Sophos blog post, Facebook said in an emailed statement that "we should have been more clear with people during the roll-out process when this became available to them."
The statement noted that the photo-tagging suggestions are only made when new photos are added to Facebook, that only friends are suggested and that users can disable the feature in their privacy settings.
The company did not respond to requests for further comment.
While other photo software and online services such as Google Inc's Picasa and Apple Inc's iPhoto use facial recognition technology, the use of the technology on an Internet social network like Facebook, which counts more than 500 million users, could raise thorny privacy issues.
Marc Rotenberg, President of the non-profit privacy advocacy group Electronic Privacy Information Center, noted that Apple's iPhoto software gave users control over facial recognition technology by letting them elect whether or not to use the technology with their personal photo collections.
Facebook's technology, by contrast, operates independently, analyzing faces across a broad swathe of newly uploaded photos.
Rotenberg said such a system raised questions about which personally identifiable information, such as email addresses, would become associated with the photos in Facebook's database. And he criticized Facebook's decision to automatically enable the facial-recognition technology for Facebook users.
"I'm not sure that's the setting that people would want to choose. A better option would be to let people opt-in," he said.
Last year the Electronic Privacy Information Center filed a complaint about Facebook's privacy practices with the U.S. Federal Trade Commission, which Rotenberg said was still pending. He noted that he planned to take a close look at Facebook's new announcement involving facial recognition technology.
Source: Reuters

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Engineering students develop 110 km/liter diesel bike

Bangalore: Have you ever imaged of a two-wheeler that runs on a diesel engine? Four engineering students from Bangalore have developed a diesel bike that gives a mileage of 110km/liter - a challenging task accomplished by the innovative brains.

A magnificent idea that can be of a great help to the common man who struggles with the never-ending fuel price hikes, the young brains from the at the M S Ramaiah Institute of Technology took the challenge of developing a two wheeler diesel engine with automatic gear and automatic clutch and have successfully carried out the project.

Guided by their project guide Dr. S V Prakash, four mechanical engineering students namely Naveen V V, Tony Paul, Nadeem Anwar and Sanjay Bhushan decided develop a diesel-run two-wheeler as our final year project. Fitting a Bullet engine to Kinetic Blaze, they had to do a lot of alterations. While spending four months on the project with various workshops in Bangalore and Coimbatore, they reduced 325cc engine to 200cc, flywheel weight reduced to 7kg and power reduced to 3.5 hp from 6.5 hp apart from many other alteration works.

"We have spent almost 72 thousand on the production of this prototype and with mass production, the cost would be around 55 to 60 thousand," said Nadeem Anwar, a member of the team.

The highlight of the innovative work is that it gives a mileage of 110km/liter and it reduces travel expense to a great degree as diesel engine runs at 40 paise per km and petrol engine runs at 1.70 per km. The vehicle offers a smooth ride with automatic gear and clutches and is less polluting compared with other diesel-engine vehicles. In addition, the life of a diesel engine is generally about twice as long as that of a petrol engine.

Dr. S V Prakash, the project guide who has been a great help to the young students to materialize their dream project, said India's largest engineering and construction conglomerate 'Kirloskar Group' has shown interest in the technology and has offered to further assistance to the project. 
Source: Binu Paul, SiliconIndia

Friday, June 3, 2011

Chinese teen sells kidney to buy iPad 2

A teenager in China's Anhui province has sold his right kidney to buy an iPad 2. His mother, who knew nothing of his plans, now hopes to hunt down the criminals who disabled him, a media report said.

Seventeen-year-old Xiao Zheng had been dreaming of a new iPad 2 for a while, but the price was beyond his means.

Zheng found an agent ready to buy his kidney and travelled to Hunan province in central China to undergo surgery in a local hospital. With the 22,000 yen ($3,900) he was paid, Zheng bought a new iPad 2 and iPhone and then returned home, according to a report on the Dongfang TV channel Thursday.

'Xiao Zheng returned home with a computer and a new Apple phone. We do not have the money for such expensive gadgets. At first, he did not want to tell me where he got that much money from. Later he confessed he had sold his right kidney to buy these things,' his mother told the channel.

After she learned the truth, Zheng's mother travelled with her son back to the hospital, only to discover that the operating theater had been rented out for commercial use to a businessman from Fujian province. Several attempts to reach the agents failed, as their phones were switched off.

Zheng's health is deteriorating day by day, and his mother said she hopes she will be able to find the criminals who disabled her son.

Source: IANS/RIA Novosti