Amtalee: The hardest Android Puzzle

Have you ever come across a puzzle that looked so easy, you thought ” This is a piece of cake!” and then, it was only time before the puzzle started grinning back at you?

Amtalee is one such puzzle available on smartphones. It is available exclusively to Android users and is true awesomeness in the world of Android puzzles.

To start with, Amtalee has an amazingly easy first level that gets you a basic idea of what to do in the mind-baffling session that follows. In just six levels, the gameplay gets sixty times dirtier.  You can get a basic idea of this from these screen captures.


The gameplay, particularly the rules, are simple. You have a block and a hole as seen and your job is to put it in the hole. You can roll the block any way you want but cannot slide it. The block has to rest on the maze completely at all times and any number of moves is allowed. That adds some ease and addiction to the game.

The graphics is smooth; the music is extremely soothing for such a brainteaser game and helps you concentrate in the game.

I have been playing Amtalee in all of my free time and have wasted a considerable amount of time on it. I recommend it to all my enemies and to all who revel in their intellectual superiority. After all, why should I suffer alone?

Get download and further info here.

RIM Acquires Majority of DataViz Assets including Documents To Go

DataViz, which recorded its big break by making the acclaimed app Documents To Go for Palm WebOS has changed its course and its recent acquisition by RIM has redefined its existence. Documents To Go was one of Apple’s best-selling apps for the iOS in 2009 and is available for the competing platforms like Google Android too.

In a statement on this acquisition  to Digital Daily, RIM announced,

RIM has acquired some of the assets of DataViz and hired the majority of its employees to focus on supporting the BlackBerry platform.

Digital Daily has written further saying,

Terms of the deal were not disclosed but the transaction was not material to RIM in the context of RIM’s financial results.

John Paczkowski at AllThingsDigital speculates that the setback of the development of Documents To Go on WebOS can be mirrored onto the iPhone and Android platforms as well. There is a very good chance that RIM may make the app a Blackberry exclusive.

The deal is  estimated at $50 million. Now this is a price worth paying as Documents To Go can completely revamp the functional aspects of Blackberry. However, even more than the app itself, RIM has acquired an excellent development team in the form of a huge number of DataViz employees.


Ksplice Joins Fedora, now free on Fedora and Ubuntu

We have covered Ksplice earlier, when it debuted around a year back during this time. Ksplice is a breakthrough technology in Linux as it eliminates the need to reboot a Linux system. Most of the time, reboots are necessary as in case of kernel updates. However, Ksplice  eliminates the need for any reboot as it can apply all kernel patches in live.

Ksplice blog announces this by saying,

In response to many requests, Ksplice is proud to announce we’re now providing Uptrack free of charge for Fedora!

Fedora will join Ubuntu Desktop among our free platforms, and will give Fedora users reboot less updates as long as Fedora maintains each major kernel release.

However, of note: Fedora is the only Linux distribution that migrates to a new Linux kernel version family (e.g. 2.6.33 to 2.6.34) during the lifetime of the product. This kernel version family migration is such a major version change that Ksplice recommends a reboot for this version change. These migrations occur roughly twice per year and only in Fedora; all of the other important Fedora kernel updates can be applied bootlessly, as can the kernel updates for the rest of our supported Linux distributions.

Fedora has recently decided to provide Ksplice update to its users for free. This feature is already available on Ubuntu for free whereas Red Hat, Centos, Debian, Ubuntu Server and CloudLinux provide this feature on a nominal fee. Free or not, this is one service every Linux user should have and Fedora users are very excited to have this feature.


XBMC 10.0 Dharma, Beta 1 now comes with a new Add-on System

The XBMC project is progressing extremely slowly and it can be seen in the development time of the first beta of XBMC 10.0 that took nine months to arrive. However, the first beta of the new version Dharma sports a new support for add-ons. This brings the PLAF to XBMC and improves it further.


The XBMC about page describes it as,

XBMC is an award-winning free and open source (GPL) software media player and entertainment hub for digital media. XBMC is available for Linux, OSX, Windows, and the original Xbox. Created in 2003 by a group of like minded programmers, XBMC is a non-profit project run and developed by volunteers located around the world. More than 50 software developers have contributed to XBMC, and 100-plus translators have worked to expand its reach, making it available in more than 30 languages.

With the new feature of add-ons; scriptwriters, skin developers and designers can create custom UI on the XBMC media manager. The new add-on system also features an automatic update feature and XBMC has already received an overwhelming response from developers.

Other significant changes in the latest version includes better 64 bit support, better WebM support and support for hardware acceleration of video playback. The version in question is a beta 1 and users are strictly advised to back up their profile before proceeding with the installation.

The lack of a good media manager in Linux makes XBMC the undoubted unanimous champion. It has been almost a year since the last stable release and hopefully, we will see the final version by this year-end.


After Blackberry, now GMail and Skype will face problems in India

After  Blackberry went into probation for two months, now the Indian government has turned its attention to Google and Skype. Indian security agencies are taking the secure channels of telecom firms and services too seriously and their incompetence to handle insurgency is having a direct impact on the security of general Internet users.

Skype has an excellent VOIP security and Google’s Gmail service has a strong encryption. Both of these cannot be intercepted successfully and thus, they are the next targets of the Indian government scrutiny. Apart from this, VPNs used by company networks will also face the heat in this matter.

A senior government official told the PTI,

The notices to these entities will be issued beginning Tuesday and all of them will be asked to comply with the directive or else they will have to close down their networks.

While Blackberry agreed to setup a server in India to continue providing not all ongoing services, Google and Skype have yet responded officially. Given the population of users in India, both Gmail and Skype will not want to upset a huge customer’s base.


Burning Man simplifies GSM, Develops Open Source Cellular Network

This is the biggest breakthrough in cellular network technology. Burning Man will showcase a GSM network that is open-source, uses solar power and is low cost. Coming to the underlying technology, it introduces VOIP with existing handsets without the need to buy any new devices.

Glenn Edens, one of the founders of the service describes it as,

We make  GSM look like a wireless access point. We make it that simple.

The VOIP used is Asterix and the backend is OpenBTS. This allows them to interfere signals and modify them with ease. The developers are working hard for promotional work are giving away 50,000 cellphones to people who want to try this out. The free cellphones will be given to attendees at Burning Man.

A test network will be present at the conference to test the system in implementation. The test network thus created will be valid only inside of the Burning Man compound and will not be available outside because it needs to get a proper license before going global.

The system does not depend on one type of connectivity only and is flexible beyond imagination. For example, it can take the Internet route to transmit voice. This system looks promising for remote ares who still do not have cellular services.


Oxford Discards Printed Dictionary, moves to Online Publications only

The Oxford English Dictionary is held in high esteem by everyone. It has established a name for itself over time. However, the presence of innumerable online alternatives has killed the business based around printed dictionaries.

Seeing this trend, the Oxford University Press has decided not to publish a hard copy of the next version of the Oxford English Dictionary (OED). Instead, they are stressing more on the online publication system.

Therefore, the Oxford English Dictionary will now be available only as e-books. The current OED available online receives two million page views per month and is a subscription based service.

Nigel Portwood, the chief executive of OUP, told the Sunday Times,

The print dictionary market is just disappearing; it is falling away by tens of per cent a year.

That is a considerable drop and by that rate, it will take the OED 4 years to drop to a poor 65%. Considering that the next full edition is a decade away and by that time, the figure would have reached around 35% at 10% per year.

Compared to the millions of dollars the OED invests in research of new words and managing lexicographers, its profits from the sale of OED is minimal. The dropping sale figure looks disappointing and moving to an e-book format is the best decision the OUP can take at this time.

Most of the printed media is also trying to maintain a parallel system of digital publications on the Internet. Most newspapers do it nowadays. This system proves beneficial to all and makes the business failsafe.


Digg’s Redesign Fires back, with Reddit Bullets

Has it ever happened to you that as a webmaster, you change the design on your site and your readers hate it so much, they make life hell for you. Kevin Rose is in a similar situation right now because his Digg redesign is firing back on him. It has been quite some time now and Digg is still flooding with Reddit news on the front page.

The new submission system on Digg encourages users to submit their own content and this is saturating Digg just as it was earlier. Digg is notorious for being full of spammers and the submission system on site is in favor of big players like Engadget and CNN.

Funnily enough, the Reddit posts are submitted by the same auto-submission feature introduced in the new version of Digg. Now, as pointed out by many, it is not unusual for a site to get some initial resistance but this is massive revolt from users who are up-voting Reddit posts madly.

Digg is in trouble and it needs to respond fast to retain its dedicated users. People already hate the new but the defacing is what is more worrisome.

(Image source)

Google Acquires SocialDeck, a Mobile Gaming Company

Google is out to set an acquisition record this month and wants to make use of every single day left in the month.

Google has just announced that it has acquired a mobile gaming startup SocialDeck. This acquisition looks like a part of a larger acquisition spree, which has just started. Clearly, Google is taking its Google Me very seriously and the  Slide and Jambool acquisitions are further proof of this.

The acquisition can serve two purposes. Firstly, it can be a breakthrough for Google’s mobile Android devices and secondly, it can be an excellent service for cross platform dominance.

The biggest advantage in using SocialDeck is that it has cross-platform mobile support and this can extend Google’s social expertise over various platforms. The particulars of the deal are not yet known.

Google is taking an unexplored path with this move and this feels so much like the old Google we knew of. Finally, Google is not imitating Bing but even more importantly, it is making a name for itself in a field where there are very few other players who can match its manpower and expertise. If done right, Google will inevitably succeed.


Is Cisco Acquiring Skype?

A first look at  this post on Gigaom and I thought to myself, this cannot be possible. However, after seeing the name of the buyer, I had to change my mind. Skype was already (not) sold to eBay once and this time again, a new probable buyer is Cisco.

Skype, as we all know is the undoubted and undefeated champion in VOIP technologies. Many companies like Rebtel have tried their hand at defeating Skype but have failed miserably. It is definitely a goose with golden eggs in the form of its strong IPO.

However, Cisco was not the only company looking to buy Skype. The acquisition is valued at $5 billion and Google has recently backed out from the list of prospective buyers because of antitrust concerns.

Cisco already deals in state of the art networking technologies. While many have speculated that it wants to enter the word of services with this acquisition, in my opinion, the hierarchical security measures used by Skype VOIP may be of special interest to it. After all, the last thing Cisco would want to do is compete directly with some of its big competitors.

The proceedings of the deal are being kept secret and the news might be a rumor as well. Nevertheless, i guess everyone likes to speculate a bit.