5 innovations that will change your and my lives

April 30, 2007

The invention of wheel changed human life forever. So did the invention of electricity and so many others after that! Things that we only read about until a few years back have moved from the pages of science magazines to become an integral part of our daily lives.Big Blue has unveiled a list of five such innovations that have the potential to change the way people work, live and play over the next five years. The list is based on market and societal trends expected to transform our lives, as well as emerging technologies from the company’s labs around the world.

Staying healthy, remotely!
Millions of people with chronic health problems such as diabetes, heart, kidney or circulatory problems will be able to have their conditions automatically monitored as they go about their daily lives. Device makers and health care professionals will take a proactive approach to ongoing, remote monitoring of patients, delivered through sensors in the home, worn on the person or in devices and packaging. These advances will also allow patients to better monitor their own health and help clinicians provide the on-going preventive care regardless of a person’s location. Hardware and software advances in the field of remote-control healthcare will be a major source of consumer and enterprise innovation by 2012.

Mobiles reading your mind
Advanced “presence” technology will give mobile phones and PDAs the ability to automatically learn about their users’ whereabouts and preferences as they commute, work and travel. “Presence” technology — used in instant messaging — already makes it possible to locate and identify a user as soon as the user connects to the network. In five years, most of the mobile devices will have the ability to continually learn about and adapt to the users’ preferences and needs. Your phone will know when you are on your workstation or in a meeting and divert automatically to voicemail. Your favorite pizza joint will know when you’re on your way home after a late night and ping you with a special-price, take-home meal just for you.  

Real-time speech translation
The movement towards globalization needs to take into account basic human elements, such as differences in language. Real-time translation technologies and services will be embedded into mobile phones, handheld devices and cars. These services will pervade every part of business and society, eliminating the language barrier in the global economy and social interaction.
Internet goes three-dimensional
The popular online immersive destinations, such as Second Life and the World of Warcraft, will evolve into the 3D internet, much like the early work by the likes of Darpa, AOL and Prodigy evolved into the World Wide Web. In this immersive online world, users will walk the aisles of supermarkets, bookstores and DVD shops, where they will encounter experts they did rarely find in their local store. The 3D Internet will enable new kinds of education, remote medicine and consumer experiences, transforming how you interact with your friends, family, doctors, teachers and more.

Going Nano, turning Green
Governments and companies are increasingly looking to improve environmental stewardship and working to secure reliable and cost-effective resources like water, energy etc. Information technology, materials science, and physics will help meet environmental needs.

Nanotechnology — the ability to manipulate individual atoms and molecules to form tiny new structures — has already had a major impact on microprocessors, making electronic products like PCs and mobile phones smaller, better and cheaper. In coming years, nanotechnology will likely be used for water filtration. This could advance ecology and conservation, helping to address the growing worldwide shortage of potable water supplies. Other areas where IT, physics, and material science will have a big impact are advanced water modeling and improving solar power systems.

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Hacking microsoft zune – Productivity +

April 27, 2007

Zune

Until it went on sale last November, Microsoft’s Zune was heralded as the first true iPod-killer. But with its overly aggressive copyright protection and the odd, self-imposed limits to its most innovative features (like built-in Wi-Fi), it has so far failed to make even a dent in the iPod’s shiny white-and-chrome armor. It’s likely the Zune will improve with version 2.0 and beyond, but until then, here are three easy Zune tune-ups to ease the pain of waiting for a better model.

UPGRADE THE HARD DRIVE

The Zune’s 30-gigabyte drive could be a little roomier.

  1. Buy an 80-gigabyte Toshiba drive ($160; welovemacs.com) or harvest an iPod’s.
  2. Open the Zune (see ipodmods.com for directions). Remove the battery, the hard-drive casing and the new drive’s label plate, and install the new drive.
  3. If you still don’t love your Zune, at least hold on to the battery—as with the hard drive, you can use it as a spare for the latest video iPods.

USE IT FOR STORAGEUnlike almost all other players, the Zune can’t be used as a USB drive out of the box.

  1. Install .NET Framework 2.0 from microsoft.com.
  2. Download the ZuneHDPatch at cppworld.com/Zune/ZuneHDPatch.exe, and run it on your PC with your Zune unplugged and the Zune software closed.
  3. Plug your Zune into your PC, and it should appear as an external hard drive.
  4. To copy files, make sure the Zune software is running and set to “syncing.”

KEEP SHARED SONGSYou can beam songs to other Zunes, but they are deleted after three plays.

  1. To avoid this, do the storage trick [previous], then change the song files’ extension to .jpg. Place the files, along with a real image file, into a new folder in your Zune’s “received pictures” folder (only noncopyrighted songs!).
  2. Send the “pictures” folder to a friend’s Zune.
  3. On that Zune, sync the folder with a PC. Change the extensions back, and move the songs to your Zune.

MORE TRICKS:

Watch YouTube
Use the Internet Explorer add-on ZuneMyTube (tinyurl.com/y2oomb) to download videos automatically.

Free Up Your Music
Go to Options > Rip > Format > MP3 to set your Zune software to encode files in MP3 format instead of Microsoft’s WMA so you can still play your songs if you pawn your Zune for an iPod.


george bush joke

April 27, 2007

The Smarts

Bush and Powell are slaving in the hot sun digging a hole while Rice is sitting under a tree drinking iced tea.

Bush says to Powell, “hey, how come we’re out here sweating and she’s over there relaxing”?

Powell shrugs and says “I dunno George why don’t you go ask her.” Bush climbs out of the hole he’s been digging and wanders over to Rice and says “Me and Colin want to know why we’re working our butts off and you’re relaxing under this tree”.

“Well George”, Rice says, “it’s like this.”

“You ever heard of a thing called Smarts”? “Smarts”, George says, “what’s that”? Rice says, “Here I’ll show you how it works”.

“Now I’ll hold my hand up in front of this tree and you punch it as hard as you can, okay?” Bush sensing a great opportunity eagerly agrees. He gathers all of his strength and punches with all of his might but Rice moves her hand just in time for George to bust his on the tree.

“Now you understand how Smarts works George” Rice asks.

“Gheeez”, Bush replies, “that’s pretty neat”. Swelling with confidence Bush goes back to his hole and tells Powell, “hey, this is neat, the reason we’re working is because of a thing called Smarts”.

“Smarts” Powell says. “What’s that.”

“Bush replies, “Now I’ll hold my hand up in front of my face and you…”


Six best ipod hacks – pimp your lil pod

April 26, 2007

Hacking your iPod – whether it’s modding the case, installing custom software, or tearing it up and doubling the memory – can transform the ubiquitous music and media player into something unique.

Note: You should be aware that trying any of these tricks carries the risk of ruining your device.

1.Penguin power

iPod Linux is the essential hack, table stakes for many of the other hacks you might want to try. It fully supports iPods in generations 1-3, and has been successfully installed on all others with a display. You should grab ‘Podzilla’, which will add a graphical interface to iPod Linux. There are multiple versions of Podzilla available from which to choose. Once installed, iPod Linux and Podzilla will let you boot your iPod to a barebones Linux mode. Furthermore, it will serve as the foundation for many other hacks.

2.Wikipedia on the go

Everyone loves Wikipedia. It’s free, user-built encyclopaedia with entries on more topics than Britannica. It’s a great information resource, but what if you’re away from your desk? Now, you can get it on your iPod and carry Wikipedia with you everywhere you go. Unfortunately, it’s not yet available for all models of iPods; nano and video users are left out for now, and since there’s no display on the iPod shuffle, there’s no point in installing Wikipedia. First, you will need to install iPod Linux.

3.Double your memory

Not content with the 4GB of memory on your iPod nano? Why not double it. First, you’ll need to buy a broken nano from eBay. Crack it open and remove the memory. Then open up your working nano, solder the memory chip from the broken nano to the empty pad in the working one, seal it back up, and perform a factory reset. You’ll now have a working nano with 7.2GB of space.

4.Mobile movies on the go

Transfer movies on DVDs to your iPod easily and free using a free software (HandBrake) available for both Mac and Windows. Be warned though: unless you use an analogue capture method, it’s illegal to rip DVDs you own onto your iPod.

For Mac (and Linux) users, get a free copy of HandBrake. Handbrake is already available as a Universal binary – good news for those who have a new MacBook, Mac mini, or imac – and can rip video from DVD directly to MPEG-4 video, the format you’ll need to watch it on your iPod. Windows users need to make a few extra steps. Get a DVD ripping program such as DVDFab Decrypter or DVD Decrypter. Convert your video to AVI using a decoding tool. Finally, convert the AVI file into MPEG-4 video that can play on your iPod using Videora iPod Converter.

5.iPod to TV

Want to watch content from your iPod on your TV? You can easily do so by purchasing a £15 iPod AV cable from Apple or use a standard mini-jack to three-plug RCA cable. These cables cost between £7-10 from outlets such as Maplins (www.maplins.co.uk). Set your iPod to output to TV, plug in the cable via the mini-jack, and plug the RCA connections into a TV using a non-standard setup. Apple outputs the iPod’s video to the red cable – rather than the traditional yellow. So you’ll want to plug the red cable into the video (yellow) plug on your TV, the yellow cable into the white plug, and the white cable into the red plug. This is an easy hack that anyone with an iPod can try.

6.Pac attack

Thanks to iPodMAME, you can play Pac-Man on your iPod. This hack will install a version of MAME, the arcade game emulator program, on your iPod. As with the Wikipedia hack, iPodMAME requires that you first install iPod Linux. The program comes with romsets (the set of files including all the game data) including one for Pac-Man. PodMAME should work with any iPod with a colour screen.


15 ways store trick you into spending

April 26, 2007

Ever notice how you can go to a store to pick up just one thing and then, by the time you get to the check stand, you have five or six things in your cart and a bigger bill than you had anticipated?

This happens over and over because department stores use an array of techniques (grocery stores use many of the same tactics) to get you to pick up these items. By itself, each technique isn’t very strong — it’s the use of them in combination that is powerful.

Here’s a list of 15 of the best tricks. After the list, watch for 10 ways to combat these techniques so you can get in and out of stores with your finances intact.

1. Shopping carts. Most department-store customers enter the store intending to buy only an item or two, but the shopping carts are right there by the entrance and, oh, wouldn’t it be convenient to have it so I can lean on it a bit while walking around and to put my stuff in it?

The cart has a huge bin compared with the size of most items for sale in the store, making it psychologically easy to toss in an item you don’t need — after all, there’s room for plenty more, right?

2. Desirable departments are far away from the entrance. Most of the items I go to a department store to buy, such as light bulbs and laundry detergent, are located many, many aisles from the entrance. This means I spend my time walking by a lot of consumer goods on my way to find the item I want.

Because these consumer goods are effectively marketed to me, there’s a good likelihood that I’ll spy something that I don’t necessarily need and toss it in the cart.

3. The toy section is far, far, far away from the entrance. Naturally, if I take my son to the store, he wants to visit the toy section. He gets excited and starts shouting “Ball! Ball!” to me when we go in because he remembers the enormous plastic balls in the toy section.

I tell him that if he’s good, we’ll go look at the balls, and at the end of the trip, we usually make our way over there. What do we see? Lots of children in that area, which means that there are parents that follow their children.

4. Impulse-oriented items are near the checkouts. Stores stock the latest DVD releases and “froth” magazines there, along with overpriced beverages and candy.

Why? Because people leaving the store are thirsty, and they’re going to be standing in line for a bit, which is the perfect place to hook them with some entertainment options.

5. The most expensive versions of a product are the ones at eye level. Take a look sometime at the arrangement of different choices for a particular product, such as laundry detergent. Almost every time, the most expensive options per unit are placed at eye level, so you see them first when you enter an aisle. The bulk options and better deals are usually on the bottom shelves.

6. Items that aren’t on sale are sometimes placed as though they are on sale, without using the word “sale.” I noticed this over and over with diapers; the department store would display a rack of them with a huge sign above them displaying the price, but it would be the same price I paid for them a week ago. Unsurprisingly, the diapers displayed like that were always the most expensive kind.

7. Commodity items, such as socks, are surrounded by noncommodity items, such as shirts and jeans. If I’m looking to buy some socks, I have to traverse through a number of racks full of different types of clothing in the clothing section just to reach them.

Why? If my mind is already open to the idea of buying clothes, I would be more likely to look at other clothing items.

8. Slickly packaged items alternate with less slickly packaged items. Look carefully at an aisle of, say, potato chips. The ones with the bright and slick packaging are generally more expensive, which isn’t surprising.

But notice that there usually isn’t a section of just inexpensive chips — in most stores, they’re sandwiched between more-expensive items. If there is a section of just inexpensive items, they’re down by your feet (think about the inexpensive bagged cereals at your local supermarket).

9. Stop, stop, stop. You add items to your cart only if you stop, right? So stores are designed to maximize the number of stops you have to make: aisles in which only two carts can fit, colorful and attractive layouts, escalators and, my favorite of all, sample vendors. Even if it’s not conscious to you, every time you stop moving in a store, you increase your chances of putting something into your cart.

10. Staple items are placed in the middle of aisles, nonessential and overpriced items near the end. Why? If you enter an aisle to get a “staple” item (i.e., a high-traffic item), you have to go by the other items twice — once on the way in and once on the way out. That gives these items two chances to make their pitch at you.

11. Prices are chosen to make comparison math difficult. Instead of selling the 100-ounce detergent for $6 and the 200-ounce detergent for $11 (making it easier to figure out the better deal), they sell the 100-ounce for $5.99 and the 200-ounce for $10.89.

Hey, look, they’re basically the same, right, because five is half of 10? Uh, no.

Continued: 10 ways to fight back

12. Stuff in bins isn’t always a bargain. Higher-end stores will sometimes put items in “bins” to emulate the bargains found at cheaper stores, but the prices are still quite high. They just use the visual cue of a “bargain store” to make you think it is a bargain.

13. High-markup items are made to look prestigious. If you see something in a glass case that has lots of space around it, your gut reaction is to believe that it is valuable and prestigious to own, and for many people it can be as attractive as a light to a moth. The truth is that these items typically have tremendous markup — you’re literally just buying an idea, not a product.

14. The most profitable department is usually the first one you run into. Ever noticed that at Younkers, JC Penney, Kohl’s and such stores, the cosmetic department is front and center? That’s because it’s very profitable, and by putting it in a place where people walk by time and time again, customers are more prone to making a purchase on an item with a very big markup.

15. Restrooms and customer services are usually right by the exit or as far from the exit as possible. Why? If you need to use either one in the middle of a shopping journey, you have to walk by a lot of merchandise to reach the needed service, thus increasing your chances for an impulse buy.

Want to see more? Look at this presentation on the art of department-store layouts to get an idea of how much thought goes into making sure you buy more, particularly those items that are marked up a lot. I didn’t even get into some of the more complex techniques, such as sensory marketing, that are more subtle and harder to avoid.

How can I fight back?

Is there any wonder why people end up buying more than they need or buying sizes that are poor deals? With an array of techniques at their disposal, retailers can make a mint.Had enough? Here are 10 things you can do to fight back against these techniques:

1. Don’t use a shopping cart unless you need it. A cart, most of the time, is just a place to put stuff you don’t need. If you’re carrying a product, you’re a lot more likely to consider whether it’s a worthwhile purchase.

2. Make a shopping list and stick to it. A list makes you focus on the items you intended to buy. Without it, you are much more prone to wandering and stumbling into “great buys” that you don’t really need.

3. Look at nothing but the prices and sizes. That’s all the information you really need — everything else is marketing. Find the one that has the best price for its size, get that one, and move on.

4. Start at the back and work toward the front. If this is an option at all for you based on the store layout, do it. When you go in, head directly for the most distant item, then progress back toward the checkout aisles. If you do it the other way, you’re prone to walk more slowly and tiredly toward the front after your shopping is done, leaving you open to lots of impulse buys on the way.

5. Always look at the bottom shelf first. If you’ve found the section you want, start looking at the bottom shelf first. This is usually where the better per-unit deals are.

6. Don’t stop unless you’re actively selecting an item. Displays are designed to beg you to stop for a moment and just look, which is often enough to get you to pick out the item. Even if something looks interesting, keep walking. You can study it as you go past and make up your mind later about the item.

7. Never go by an item twice unless absolutely necessary. If you go down an aisle, start at one end and continue all the way out the other. Walking by an item once lets it sink into your short-term memory, giving just a hint of familiarity when you walk by it again, sometimes just enough to persuade you to buy it.

8. Carry a pocket calculator — or know how to use the one on your cell phone. Do the math yourself to find out what the best buy is because stores try to choose numbers that make drawing false conclusions quite easy.

9. If you don’t know for sure that it is a good deal, don’t buy because you think it is a good deal. Stores use all kinds of visual cues to make you think something is a bargain when it’s not (like the bin trick mentioned above). Don’t buy anything because it’s a “deal” unless you’re sure that it really is an excellent bargain — just walk away.

10. At the checkout, rethink everything you put in your cart — and don’t hesitate to hand an item to the cashier and say you’ve changed your mind. Many people seem to have a guilt, or obligation, to buy an item that they’ve put into their cart. Don’t. You’re the customer — you have the right to choose whether to buy. If you find something you don’t want to buy, tell the cashier and don’t buy it.

Source  : The simple dollar/MSN


5 top servers that can handle the Digg or Slashdot effect

April 24, 2007

With the power of the herculean social networking sites ( maybe not so networking ) , it takes real farking strong servers to keep yourself from drowning in a ‘flood’ of visitors. here are the 5 servers that CAN manage to survive getting Dugg or Slashdotted:

#1 – WordPress.com

The platform that hosts famous WordPress blogging platform. With the help of Automattic inc, if you are on wordpress.com , enjoy a happy digging without trauma 🙂

#2 – Blogger.com

Ol little google. With say some thousand terabytes of server power just decaying around, i dont think google has any problem lending a few GB’s to couple of hundred blogs at a time.

#3 – SurviveDigg.com

With the sole intention of helping survive the digg effect, this hosting service is a boon if you are having a boon ( maybe curse) to get onto digg frontpage too often.

#4 – Hostgator hosting ( dedicated )

Though i have no experience with their services, most of my friends say its great to keep your site free from the digg effect.

#5 – Manashosting.com

Dont know why and how, but even the mid level plans at manashosting are cool enough to handle digg!

Besides these real hosts, there can be many others like

#6 – Google pages

# 7 – Myspace

#8 – Xanga …….


Brief history of Apple inc

April 12, 2007

Steven Wozniak and Steven Jobs had been friends in high school. They had both been interested in electronics, and both had been perceived as outsiders. They kept in touch after graduation, and both ended up dropping out of school and getting jobs working for companies in Silicon Valley. (Woz for Hewlett-Packard, Jobs for Atari)

Wozniak had been dabbling in computer-design for some time when, in 1976, he designed what would become the Apple I. Jobs, who had an eye for the future, insisted that he and Wozniak try to sell the machine, and on April 1, 1976, Apple Computer was born.

Hobbyists did not take the Apple I very seriously, and Apple did not begin to take off until 1977, when the Apple II debuted at a local computer trade show. The first personal computer to come in a plastic case and include color graphics, the Apple II was an impressive machine. Orders for Apple machines were multiplied by several times after its introduction. And with the introduction in early ’78 of the Apple Disk II, the most inexpensive, easy to use floppy drive ever (at the time), Apple sales further increased.

With the increase in sales, however, came an increase in company size, and by 1980, when the Apple III was released, Apple had several thousand employees, and was beginning to sell computers abroad. Apple had taken on a number of more experienced mid-level managers and, more importantly, several new investors, who opted to take seats on the board of directors. Older, more conservative men, the new directors made sure that Apple became a “real company,” much to the dismay of many of its original employees.

In 1981, things got a bit more difficult. A saturated market made it more difficult to sell computers, and in February. Apple was forced to lay off 40 employees. Wozniak was injured in a plane crash. He took a leave of absence and returned only briefly. Jobs became chairman of Apple computer in March.