Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Apple iPhone: how to create hype 101 PDF Print E-mail

Ya yah... I've been posting too much news these days...

By Stan Beer
Monday, 27 November 2006
The buzz that is starting to build around one of Apple's most anticipated pieces of vaporware resembles the atmosphere at a rock concert before the big act appears. It is now at the stage where if Apple doesn't unveil an iPhone on or before MacWorld Expo 2007 next January, fans will tear the house down. Microsoft's Zune marketing team must be shaking their heads in wonder.
Apple has spent exactly nothing on promoting or pre-marketing a product that the company has never acknowledged but somehow everyone knows is on the verge being announced. There have been leaks from unnamed sources of course.

There was the tale of an order being placed for 12 million iPhones to be made by Taiwanese iPod manufacturer Foxconn. There were reports of registration of the iPhone name by Apple (which doesn't prove anything really). However, in stark contrast to the controlled drip-fed deliberate leaks that Microsoft is famous for, Apple has maintained an almost perfect veil of secrecy. The effect on the market has been stunning.

By the time the Zune player was finally unveiled, practically everybody knew what it looked like, how it would work and what would be its key features. Microsoft must have spent a fortune on the pre-launch publicity. The release itself was practically an anti-climax, as has been the subsequent reception by the market.

One could argue that Microsoft was nothing in the music player business so the company needed to throw big bucks at getting the Zune name into the market. However, one could also justifiably say that Apple is nothing in the mobile phones business. When one thinks of mobile phones, one thinks of Nokia or Motorola but certainly not Apple.

Yet, such is the power of Apple's image making wizardry that somehow consumers believe that the company will be able to do what no other company has managed to do thus far. They believe that Apple will be able to successfully combine the best features of an iPod music player with a stylish and workable mobile phone.

Somehow Apple has managed to convince the public of this without spending one cent on overt marketing and even admitting that it is going into the cellphone business. That in itself could be the subject of a market post-graduate thesis.

For Apple, the stakes are enormous. Some analysts have postulated that releasing an iPhone may simply cannibalize Apple's existing iPod business. However, if Apple can break into the mobile phones business, it could greatly increase the market reach of iPod.

The way mobile phones are bought through carriers for nothing up front, later to be discarded for a newer model, could well increase the turnover rate of iPods as well as putting them into the hands of cellphone users who would otherwise never have considered an iPod.

A word of caution, however, to those who may be bedazzled by the Apple mystique or blinded by the notion that Apple can do no wrong. Apple and Steve Jobs have got it wrong before - as those who remember the Newton and Lisa well know.

However, the latest incarnation of Jobs and co has not had a misstep in recent years. The world is waiting to see if the iPhone is the latest in a string of triumphs or proof that Apple has just been experiencing a long summer.

Let us test Darwin, teacher says


DNA sequence
DNA by design? Officially the teaching packs are frowned on
Science teaching materials deemed "not appropriate" by the government should be allowed in class, Education Secretary Alan Johnson has been urged.

Chemistry teacher at Liverpool's Blue Coat School, Nick Cowan, says the packs promoting intelligent design are useful in debating Darwinist evolution.

Education officials insist intelligent design is not recognised as science.

It argues that evolution cannot explain everything so the Universe must have had an intelligent creator.

The packs were sent out to 5,000 secondary schools by a group of academics and clerics known as Truth in Science.

The Department for Education and Skills said they were inappropriate and not supportive of the science curriculum.

There's a sense that if you criticise Darwin you must be some kind of religious nut case
Nick Cowan
Former head of chemistry at Blue Coat School, Liverpool

Reacting to Mr Cowan's letter, a DfES spokesman said: "Neither creationism nor intelligent design are taught as a subject in schools, and are not specified in the science curriculum.

"The National Curriculum for science clearly sets down that pupils should be taught that the fossil record is evidence for evolution, and how variation and selection may lead to evolution or extinction."

The call from Mr Cowan - former head of the school's chemistry department - comes as the Guardian reported that the Truth in Science materials were being used in 59 schools.

'Sacred cow'

Mr Cowan says they are "very scholarly" and could be extremely useful in helping children understand the importance of scientific debate

He told the BBC: "Darwin has for many people become a sacred cow.

"There's a sense that if you criticise Darwin you must be some kind of religious nut case.

"We might as well have said Einstein shouldn't have said what he did because it criticised Newton."

He argues that science only moves forward by reviewing and reworking previous theories and that these materials foster an understanding of this.

'Controversy'

He also points out that the Truth in Science materials, which he describes as outstanding, do not mention creationism or even God.

This is quite frankly a distraction that science teachers can well do without
Phil Willis, Commons science and technology committee
He says the GCSE syllabus requires children to appreciate how science works and understand the nature of scientific controversy.

"The government wants children to be exposed to scientific debate at the age of 14 or 15.

"All the Truth in Science stuff does is put forward stuff that says here's a controversy.

"This is exactly the kind of thing that young people should be exposed to," Mr Cowan added.

'Poorly served'

The chairman of the parliamentary science and technology committee, Phil Willis, said using the packs in science classes "elevated creationism" to the same level of debate as Darwinism and that there was no justification for that.

He added: "There's little enough time with the school curriculum to deal with real science like climate change, energy and the weather.

"This is quite frankly a distraction that science teachers can well do without."

Dr Evan Harris, honorary associate of the National Secular Society and Liberal Democrat science spokesman, said it was worrying that some schools were giving "this nonsense" any credence.

Many leading scientists argue that ideas about intelligent design should not be allowed in school because they are simply not scientific.

Back in April, the Royal Society warned against allowing creationism in school saying that pupils must understand that science backs Darwin's theory of evolution.

The society's statement said: "Young people are poorly served by deliberate attempts to withhold, distort or misrepresent scientific knowledge and understanding in order to promote particular religious beliefs."

Recently, the British Humanist Association asked Mr Johnson for greater clarity on the teaching of creationism in schools.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

French MPs dump Windows for Linux

Everything from OS to email

By Christophe Guillemin

Published: Friday 24 November 2006

After the gendarmes and the Ministry of Culture, it's the French MPs' turn to switch to open source. From June 2007, PCs in French députés' offices will be equipped with a Linux operating system and open source productivity software.

The project, backed by MPs Richard Cazenav and Bernard Carayon of the UMP party, will see 1,154 French parliamentary workstations running on an open source OS, with OpenOffice.org, Firefox and an open source email client.

A spokesperson for the parliament's administration said a decision as to the choice of OS and email client hasn't yet been taken. Currently, some of the parliament's servers have been running Linux, with Apache web servers and the Mambo content management system.

The project was the subject of a study by Atos Origin, whose conclusions convinced the French parliament, the Assemblée Nationale. "The study showed that open source software will from now on offer functionality adapted to the needs of MPs, and will allow us to make substantial savings despite the associated migration and training costs," the parliament said.

Open source supporters have welcomed the decision. Benoît Sibaud, president of the Association for the research into and promotion of open source computing, said the decision to migrate to open source will allow the Assemblée Nationale to have greater control over its IT, without depending on any one vendor, and to realise a better use of public money.

This will be the first case of a French public institution switching its PCs onto a Linux operating system. Previous open source initiatives concerned servers, as was the case with the Minstry of Agriculture, or OpenOffice and Firefox, which were brought into use by France's gendarmerie.

Christophe Guillemin writes for ZDNet France

Saturday, November 25, 2006

New Idea

Well, after working on this blog for a while, I've decided to make it free for my friends to add content as well and model it as a customized news site that really matter to us... You can think of it as an aggregator of the news on the internet over custom tastes. It is no more just a personal blog site but a collection of information... hopefully true to its name infinity unbound..
I'd prefer to see technical text pertaining to these but not limited to these topics
Open Source
Hacks
Interesting jokes
Pictures
educational material
.... just about anything

if you think you can contribute, mail me at prasannagautam(at)gmail(dot)com

Friday, November 24, 2006

AN OPEN LETTER TO HOBBYISTS

this is one of those texts that defined Microsoft....

By William Henry Gates III

February 3, 1976

An Open Letter to Hobbyists

To me, the most critical thing in the hobby market right now is the lack of good software courses, books and software itself. Without good software and an owner who understands programming, a hobby computer is wasted. Will quality software be written for the hobby market?

Almost a year ago, Paul Allen and myself, expecting the hobby market to expand, hired Monte Davidoff and developed Altair BASIC. Though the initial work took only two months, the three of us have spent most of the last year documenting, improving and adding features to BASIC. Now we have 4K, 8K, EXTENDED, ROM and DISK BASIC. The value of the computer time we have used exceeds $40,000.

The feedback we have gotten from the hundreds of people who say they are using BASIC has all been positive. Two surprising things are apparent, however, 1) Most of these "users" never bought BASIC (less than 10% of all Altair owners have bought BASIC), and 2) The amount of royalties we have received from sales to hobbyists makes the time spent on Altair BASIC worth less than $2 an hour.

Why is this? As the majority of hobbyists must be aware, most of you steal your software. Hardware must be paid for, but software is something to share. Who cares if the people who worked on it get paid?

Is this fair? One thing you don't do by stealing software is get back at MITS for some problem you may have had. MITS doesn't make money selling software. The royalty paid to us, the manual, the tape and the overhead make it a break-even operation. One thing you do do is prevent good software from being written. Who can afford to do professional work for nothing? What hobbyist can put 3-man years into programming, finding all bugs, documenting his product and distribute for free? The fact is, no one besides us has invested a lot of money in hobby software. We have written 6800 BASIC, and are writing 8080 APL and 6800 APL, but there is very little incentive to make this software available to hobbyists. Most directly, the thing you do is theft.

What about the guys who re-sell Altair BASIC, aren't they making money on hobby software? Yes, but those who have been reported to us may lose in the end. They are the ones who give hobbyists a bad name, and should be kicked out of any club meeting they show up at.

I would appreciate letters from any one who wants to pay up, or has a suggestion or comment. Just write to me at 1180 Alvarado SE, #114, Albuquerque, New Mexico, 87108. Nothing would please me more than being able to hire ten programmers and deluge the hobby market with good software.



Bill Gates

General Partner, Micro-Soft

Visual Development on Linux


Many people are not aware that programming on Linux, if you are fond of your mouse, is very enjoyable. If you are fond of your command line, it is also very enjoyable as well. The _CHOICE_ is up to you. A lot of visual development IDEs are available. I have been noticing, posts on Digg and other places, that people think there is no Linux equivalent of tools like Visual Basic, Delphi, etc. Here, I list some of the tools that you can expect on a linux Desktop. I am using Kubuntu Edgy and all these nice eye-candy tools are available in the Ubuntu Repositories.

Other non-free Visual Tools are also available on Linux, e.g. Delphi, Oracle JDeveloper, etc.

Click on any of the images to enlarge

QT.
QT is one on the best development environments on a KDE platform. QT also works with Gnome. You can develop C++ database driven applications by dragging and dropping.

http://www.trolltech.com/developer/downloads/qt/x11

Gambas

This is a Visual Basic clone. It is very useful to VB programmers who want to migrate to Linux. Nice and simple interface. You can connect to major databases (MySQL, PostgreSQL, etc) from Gambas very easily

http://gambas.sourceforge.net/

Nvu

This is a web page creation tool that is set to eventually carry most of the Macromedia functionality. It is very good WYSIWYG tool. You can connect to your FTP directory of your website and update automatically.

http://www.nvu.com

Eric

A Python IDE that makes programming in that language a simple and enjoyable task. Lots of functionality.

http://www.die-offenbachs.de/detlev/eric.html

Eclipse
Eclipse is an open source community whose projects are focused on building an open development platform comprised of extensible frameworks, tools and runtimes for building, deploying and managing software across the lifecycle. A large and vibrant ecosystem of major technology vendors, innovative start-ups, universities, research institutions and individuals extend, complement and support the Eclipse platform
http://www.eclipse.org/

JDeveloper
While this is not an open source IDE, I find using this one irresistible when I am working on Java. It is a free non-open source tool from Oracle that you can use to visually develop Java applications just like what you do with Visual Basic or Delphi. JDeveloper uses Sun's JDK, so you are rest assured your programs can be developed purely independent of Oracle proprietary technology. Given that Sun's JDK is now GPL.

http://www.oracle.com/tools/jdev_home.html

Planner
This is a visual project management application for the Gnome Desktop. This will cap you programming efforts by giving you a nice framing for managing your software projects. You can construct nice Grantt Charts ith Planner.

http://live.gnome.org/Planner

Thursday, November 23, 2006

this was made in MS-Paint

This guy made this pic using MS Paint
http://www.deviantart.com/view/17908194/

Freedom!!

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Kerala logs Microsoft out of schools

An old news I just read today.. really happy.. we need a govt which can do this...
George Iype in Kochi

September 02, 2006

The Communist Party of India (Marxists)-led government in Kerala headed by
Chief Minister V S Achuthanandan is not just against American cola majors --
Coca-Cola and PepsiCo -- alone.

Nearly three weeks after the Achuthanandan government banned the sale and
manufacture of Coca-Cola and PepsiCo products in Kerala, Microsoft has been
logged out of the state-run schools.

Here on, nearly 1.5 million students in the 2,650 government and
government-aided high schools in the state will no longer use the Windows
platform for computer education. Instead, they have switched over to the
free GNU/Linux software.

"We have decided that we will use only free software for computer education
in Kerala schools. We have implemented the Linux platform in high schools;
it will be implemented in other schools step by step," Kerala Education
Minister M A Baby told rediff.com.

He said an estimated 56,000 teachers in high schools are getting trained on
the Linux platform.

Asked if it is a deliberate decision to log out Microsoft from the state-run
schools, the minister said, the plan is not targetted at any IT company.
"Our policy is to migrate computer education to free software platforms. We
want to make Kerala the FOSS (Free and Open Software Systems) destination in
India. That is all," he added.

But officials said two factors have influenced the Communist government to
go in for the Linux platform by abandoning the Microsoft product.

First, Chief Minister Achuthanandan has been a votary of free software.
While in Opposition till May this year, Achuthanandan had sternly opposed
the then Congress government's decision to join hands with Microsoft to
launch the IT at School programme.

Second, free software guru Richard Stallman is virtually the consultant to
the Kerala government's IT initiatives. Two weeks, back Stallman visited the
state and convinced the government to switch over to free software systems
in the educational institutions to begin with.

Stallman, in fact, gave a presentation as to how free software has been an
exciting education and computing model in a Spanish province.

Officials say political parties in Kerala have been using the Microsoft
versus Linux issue to settle scores. "The Congress government had launched
an IT literacy project with the support of Intel and Microsoft. Now the
Communist government has abandoned it, and wants to migrate everything to
free software platforms," an official at the Kerala IT Mission Secretariat
pointed out.

While in Opposition, Achuthanandan had strongly opposed the project saying
the agreement between the Kerala government and the Microsoft for training
teachers under the IT at School project was fraught with danger.

"Microsoft boss Bill Gates wants to push his operating system using the
services of software developers who had adopted it and this was made clear
by several experts in the field. The government should, therefore, be very
careful when dealing with Microsoft," Achuthanandan had then written to the
government headed by Congress chief minister A K Antony.

Political issues apart, the Linux PC dealers are excited about the
government decision to promote Linux platforms in schools.

"We are getting lots of enquiries and orders for pre-loaded Linux operating
system. The hardware sales have gone up because of this," P K Harikrishnan,
president, Kerala Computer Manufacturers' and Dealers' Association said.

Monday, November 20, 2006

The Hacker Manifesto

A rather inspirational piece of text that never ceases to inspire..
by
+++The Mentor+++
Written January 8, 1986

Another one got caught today, it's all over the papers. "Teenager Arrested in Computer Crime Scandal", "Hacker Arrested after Bank Tampering"...

Damn kids. They're all alike.

But did you, in your three-piece psychology and 1950's technobrain, ever take a look behind the eyes of the hacker? Did you ever wonder what made him tick, what forces shaped him, what may have molded him?

I am a hacker, enter my world...

Mine is a world that begins with school... I'm smarter than most of the other kids, this crap they teach us bores me...

Damn underachiever. They're all alike.

I'm in junior high or high school. I've listened to teachers explain for the fifteenth time how to reduce a fraction. I understand it. "No, Ms. Smith, I didn't show my work. I did it in my head..."

Damn kid. Probably copied it. They're all alike.

I made a discovery today. I found a computer. Wait a second, this is cool. It does what I want it to. If it makes a mistake, it's because I screwed it up. Not because it doesn't like me... Or feels threatened by me.. Or thinks I'm a smart ass.. Or doesn't like teaching and shouldn't be here...

Damn kid. All he does is play games. They're all alike.

And then it happened... a door opened to a world... rushing through the phone line like heroin through an addict's veins, an electronic pulse is sent out, a refuge from the day-to-day incompetencies is sought... a board is found. "This is it... this is where I belong..." I know everyone here... even if I've never met them, never talked to them, may never hear from them again... I know you all...

Damn kid. Tying up the phone line again. They're all alike...

You bet your ass we're all alike... we've been spoon-fed baby food at school when we hungered for steak... the bits of meat that you did let slip through were pre-chewed and tasteless. We've been dominated by sadists, or ignored by the apathetic. The few that had something to teach found us willing pupils, but those few are like drops of water in the desert.

This is our world now... the world of the electron and the switch, the beauty of the baud. We make use of a service already existing without paying for what could be dirt-cheap if it wasn't run by profiteering gluttons, and you call us criminals. We explore... and you call us criminals. We seek after knowledge... and you call us criminals. We exist without skin color, without nationality, without religious bias... and you call us criminals. You build atomic bombs, you wage wars, you murder, cheat, and lie to us and try to make us believe it's for our own good, yet we're the criminals.

Yes, I am a criminal. My crime is that of curiosity. My crime is that of judging people by what they say and think, not what they look like. My crime is that of outsmarting you, something that you will never forgive me for.

I am a hacker, and this is my manifesto. You may stop this individual, but you can't stop us all... after all, we're all alike.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Java GPLed

Not too long ago Sun CEO Scott Mcnealy made a comment that he saw no point in giving away java in GPL and in response to the FSF evangelist openly recommend us not to use Java because they felt it's too easy to get trapped in a proprietary sansar.

I know RMS once said FSF cannot recommend OpenOffice "on ethical grounds". It severely depend on Sun JRE. The solution would be to improve GNU Compiler for Java (GCJ), and the GNU Classpath. OpenOffice folks refused to refactor their code to meet GCJ and classpath. Whatever GCJ and gang claimed was not to the ground. It still lacks several features.

Gosling vowed against the parallel re-invention and development of java classlib.. As known GNU Classpath, folks were refuted against his remark. Its not new though, there were already a plethora of java product based on GPL and Apache License, The significant of those are from ASF, recently plunged into JavaEE market, that happens when JBoss lead engineer frustrated and declare to get start new implementation of J2EE .like a warrior..they declared themselves Geronimo..aka .. Apache Geronimo. Its widely popular as shipped with IBM Websphere Apps Server Community Edition

It was likely to become linux distro scenario, Although the compliance with java and javaee specification was always the core issue and unlike with linux, it has to follow the standard for industry acceptance. The problem with fragmented effort was the re-inveting the same wheel and the possible obstacle that it leads to. The venture towards new implementation was only the issue with the license. Sun was adhering CDDL and folks, especially in apache and gnu, were doubtful on this move, they often compared CDDL as m$ shared source!

After scott mcnealy stepped down from ceo, the new management made decisive move to declare its solaris and java product line completely free. Still clings with CDDL but look like they were hugely inspired by the true success of GNU/Linux, and often they keep promising through their blogs..something that management about to take decision. It took no time to declare java as GPL’ed…and its damn true..it happened just right front of us.. Potentially a master stroke from Sun!

Beyond the limit, as widely speculated all stack JME, JSE, glassfish everything that interconnect with stack about to declare GPL’ed. I won’t be surprise if they declared Solaris GPL’ed. I am
anticipating !So where the future lies of GNU Classpath, Geronimo & more! Well that
is what the exception means in Java…! they were trying to build what GNU folks thought for complete java classlib..is about to throw with exception with Sun class type 

I see everyone in FSF hailed it as a bold move, and a great opportunity both for Sun and for FOSS.