Chinmoy Kanjilal is a FOSS enthusiast and evangelist. He is passionate about Android. Security exploits turn him on and he loves to tinker with computer networks. He rants occasionally at Techarraz.com. You can connect with him on Twitter @ckandroid.
Ubuntu lovers are eagerly waiting for the next release of 10.10 Maverick Meerkat and to make things even better, Shipit, which provides free delivery of CDs for Ubuntu releases, is open for pre-orders.
Shipit has loyally provided free Ubuntu CDs for a long time to all parts of the world. This includes both server and desktop edition CDs. The service however, is for people with low Internet speed who do not have the privilege of downloading the builds. Once again, Shipit is taking orders and you can make them at this page.
However, you are requested not to abuse the system. The amount of orders received on Shipit and the total cost of shipping is considerable. So, choose wisely whether you really need to order a CD. Alternatively, you can keep an eye on this page for download of the latest official release. The currently available version is a RC release.
The response for this ordering has been overwhelming and Shipit is already out of stock. Shipit also has a paid service that allows us to order paid shipping for CDs. This helps Shipit cover free shipping costs.
Shipit has been a strategic unit of the Ubuntu development process as no product is complete until it reaches the end-user. Shipit has crossed all limits to reach people and this has developed a strong ecosystem around Ubuntu. Even now, if I go out and ask my friends to name a Linux distro, Ubuntu is the first name they come up with.
Google has gone too far to speed up the web as we see it today. While some consider this unnecessary effort, others like me would definitely love to have a faster web. After all, it is human to want more.
This time around last year, Google proposed a new HTTP alternative that could speed-up things considerably. The redesigned application layer could reduce pageloads by 50% and details on this can be found at this whitepaper. A few months later, they attempted a new DNS protocol extension. More on it can be read here.
This time, Google has claimed a 39% reduced size with its newly devices image format WebP. However, Google is already planning an update for WebKit that allows users to view this format. Pixelmator is also seeing WebP as prospective and has added support for it.
The compression codes are open-sourced and available at the WebP page. In reality, it is a fork of the VP8 video compression codec. Commercially, this new image format will make for excellent bandwidth savings and a faster mobile browsing.
You can read more about WebP at its homepage here. The page also provides a compression tool to save images in this format. You can also compare WebP and JPEG images at this WebP gallery.
Firefox has amazed us with its awesome add-ons on more than one instance. To add to the awesome list of add-ons, we now have a new add-on called Mobile barcoder that does pretty much what it sounds like.
With this add-on, we can convert any webpage into a link that we can access on our phone. The form of the generated link however, is a 2D barcode that needs to be scanned with any 2D barcode scanning phone app.
The Mobile barcoder add-on can generate a 2D barcode as well as a data matrix, both with equal ease. Once a barcode reader reads this generated code, it can be translated into any market apps or any webpage with a link. The content of QR code can also be a text and this app has been tried and tested to hold fifty to sixty works in a single data matrix.
The concept of generating Q R Code is awesome in itself. Moreover, the QR code thus generated can have multiple forms like 2D barcode with links, QR code ets. This gives us a considerable some choice over the amount of data we can push into your phones.
You can install the add-on from this page. I could not test the Mobile barcoder add-on as I already have the Firefox beta build installed on my computer and it is incompatible with this. Feel free to share your experiences with me.
Canonical is geared up for the release of its next Ubuntu release, the Maverick Meerkat 10.10. With this new Ubuntu, we will see the final development release of the 10.10 Maverick Meerkat. The final release date for the Maverick is 10th of October, which is 10 days from now. As always, other Ubuntu forks too are eagerly waiting for the final release to finalize their own versions.
As Techradar puts it,
Ubuntu is one of the most polished Linux distributions available, fusing the work of a global community of contributors who provide a diverse range of skills to make Ubuntu what it is.
This page can give an insight on how Ubuntu is developed and what goes on behind the scene. The release schedule of 6 months is a stiff constraint and Ubuntu has worked well to maintain it beyond all doubt. The Ubuntu Developer Summit plays a key role in this process where Ubuntu developers interact with the community members directly.
With the final stable release only a few days away, we can safely try out the release candidate as it marks a final development release. So, most of the features should be complete. Download Ubuntu 10.10 Maverick Meerkat RC on this page.
TechCrunch has released an exclusive report on Google’s acquisition of Plannr. The acquisition has seen no official statement from Google yet and so, the prices have not been confirmed as well.
In my opinion, Google is particularly interested in the integrated email; SMS and phone call service offered by Plannr and will somehow use these technologies to enhance Gmail or the Voice service. Plannr also has an amazing feature of geolocation and group management that can take mail and SMS experience to a new level.
However, the startup has a considerable resemblance with Google Calendar and is suitable for the mobile web as well. Plannr was founded by Ben Eidelson and Jason Prado, who are both ex-Microsoft employees. TechCrunch could not get any official response from Google on the acquisition or the price.
AOL is one of the oldest companies in the web industry but its services have failed to evolve with time. Therefore, it took to acquiring services to compensate for the losses. In past AOL has acquired Weblogs Inc., the company behind the popular gadget review website Engadget. AOL has seen serious drops in traffic and this acquisition allowed it to compensate for the losses it was making with the existing business. Taking a further step, AOL is probably out to buy TechCrunch, the acclaimed tech blog focused on startups and industry news.
The announcement has not been made yet but the news is already out in the wild and can be seen here on Techmeme. Tim Armstrong, the AOL CEO is about to make an appearance at the TechCrunch Disrupt conference and will probably make the announcement too. However, we hope it is not a rumor like the last AOL-Mashable acquisition.
While Engadget is regarded as the top gadget blog, TechCrunch is the top tech blog and this acquisition will give AOL a stronghold over two of the most popular niche in the world of blogging. There is no final word on the deal and there is a very good chance that it falls apart. TechCrunch disrupt will decide soon.
Fedora 14 is nearing its next release and claims significant improvement over the already awesome Fedora 13. Fedora 13 is a remarkable fork of Red Hat and it keeps getting better with each release.
In the latest release, Fedora has strongly held its earlier ideology of a distro that people can tinker and play with. The changes include updated programming languages, better development tools and debugging support.
Fedora 14 will be the first Fedora to see the KDE 4.5 from KDE 4.x series. The KDE desktop in Fedora 14 is more polished than ever and the panels are my personal favorite. However, the ease of access on Gnome is unmatched. The KDE 4.5 in Fedora has some comparable claims and is worth a try. The new Fedora also has a new library to support better JPEG handling with an increase of 25% in performance. The inclusion of Linux kernel version 2.6.35 claims better support for laptops and finally, there is some exclusively good news for developers.
Fedora 14 will sport many new development tools like Ruby on Rails 3.0, Netbeans 6.9, JavaFX 1.3 and more. Put simply, the new release of Fedora will be a favorite with both developers and users alike.
The first beta release is scheduled to release today and can be downloaded here. The final version is scheduled for 2nd November 2010.
Internet censorship is an issue everywhere in the world currently. Recently, the Indian government allowed Blackberry for a temporary business. However, the condition is not ideal in US as well. While President Obama condemns China and Iran for a closed and censored Internet policy, he too is following their footsteps in internet censorship.
The matter here is two-fold. Firstly, the MPAA (the one that got its website hacked) has raised a bill and is passing it soon to make it a law. This will allow ISPs to block user domains that use too much of file sharing and copyright infringement. However, the exact details of the bill are unknown and a bill of this nature seems to be too abstract.
Secondly, we have the government itself, which wants to track users sending encrypted content and read them. This would include encrypted traffic from Blackberry, Facebook and Skype. President Obama is willing to present the bill next year.
This can have serious privacy implications and James X. Dempsey, vice president of the Center for Democracy and Technology has remarked,
They are really asking for the authority to redesign services that take advantage of the unique, and now pervasive, architecture of the Internet. They want to turn back the clock and make Internet services function the way that the telephone system used to function.
This can help Law enforcement gather better amounts of data from P2P networks. However, this law will affect the privacy and innovation factors adversely.
Apple has been famous for its product lineup. The Mac, iPod, iPad, iPhone has given Apple fanboys the iOwn drive. However, sometimes, Apple goes too far in upsetting people by making claims like “Safari is the faster web browser ever” and the “iPhone 4 has no signal issues” even when people point these out and show them. Put simply Apple just does not care because it knows the temptation it can churn up with its products.
Rants apart, here is some more badassery from Apple. Apple owns a successful range of products as the iPod and now, it wants to claim the word “pod”. Sector Labs, a startup has been restrained from using the word pod in their product “Video pod” and Apple has taken the matter to the court. Apple has presented an 873-page document detailing on its claim of the word pod.
Ana Christian, Sector Labs’ lawyer told the Wired magazine,
What I’m hoping to do with this case is to really reach a lot broader an audience and make it so entrepreneurs and small businesses can use the English language as they see fit in branding their products.
However, Sector Labs is not the first firm Apple is taking on with regard to the use of “pod”. With time, Apple is getting better at annoying small businesses. However, claiming dictionary words goes way out of line. Going by this trend, up next is “pad”, “phone” and everything i.
IBM has claimed yet another breakthrough in computing and data storage with the ability to record the behavior of atoms on a scale of nanoseconds. This will let them study changes in the behavior of atoms to data storage accurately. The press release claiming this say,
SAN JOSE, Calif., September 24, 2010 TodayIBM (NYSE: IBM) researchers published a breakthrough technique in the peer-reviewed journal Science that measures how long a single atom can hold information, and giving scientists the ability to record, study and “visualize” extremely fast phenomena inside these atoms.
Just a few days ago, IBM claimed a speed improvement by replacing copper wires. This development follows the last one in less than a month and combined, these two can take computing to a new level.
The video of the first speed measurement capture is available on YouTube.