All posts by Pallab De

Pallab De is a blogger from India who has a soft spot for anything techie. He loves trying out new software and spends most of his day breaking and fixing his PC. Pallab loves participating in the social web; he has been active in technology forums since he was a teenager and is an active user of both twitter (@indyan) and facebook .

More Than 100 Million Windows 7 Licences Sold in 6 Months

Windows-7-Touch-Pack We all know that Windows 7 has been selling like hot cakes since its release. However, the exact volume was up for debate. Now, Microsoft has revealed that so far more than 100 million Windows 7 licenses have been sold.

“To put that in context, more than 10% of all PCs worldwide are already running Windows 7 today. That’s amazing!”, wrote Brandon LeBlanc, in the Windows 7 Team blog.

Nevertheless, Windows XP is still proving to be immensely sticky. According to Net Applications, 64.5% PCs are still on the decade old operating system, while only about ten percent are on Windows Vista.

Riding on the back of strong Windows 7 sales, Microsoft’s net profit for the previous quarter soared to $4.01 billion.

Android Market Crosses 50,000 Apps

Android Market is really beginning to take off. It received 9,000 new apps in March alone and now, it has crossed the 50,000 apps mark.

This figure comes from AndroLib – a 3rd party Android Market Tracker, since Google doesn’t officially disclose the total app count. Of course, the Apple App Store is still the big daddy of all app stores. Moreover, AndroLib tracks over ten different Android Markets. So, not all fifty thousand apps will be available in a single Android Market.

Android-App-Store

Nevertheless, the accelerating growth of Android further highlights the fact that Google is succeeding in at least throwing some challenge to the Apple iPhone. With dozens of new handsets from various manufacturers in the pipeline, the future looks bright for Android.

Airtel World SIM Offers Cheap International Roaming Facility

If you have to frequently travel overseas, you will love the next bit of info. Airtel has announced a new World SIM for international travellers, which will significantly slash roaming charges.

Airtel-World-SIM

Currently, a one-minute incoming call in the US costs Rs. 100, while a one-minute outgoing call from the US costs Rs. 150. With World SIM, you will have to pay only Rs. 10 and Rs. 41 respectively for the same services.

The benefit of World SIM over international calling cards (like the ones offered by Matrix) is that you are able to retain your original phone number. For the subscribers of Airtel World SIM, the same SIM will work in all the country,said Shireesh Joshi, director — marketing (mobile services), Bharti Airtel.Airtel World SIM will cost Rs. 500. If it takes off, expect similar services from other telecom operators.

Airtel Introduces ‘Live Aarti’ Service For Religious Devotees

Religion sells and Airtel knows it. Bharti Airtel has introduced a new VAS (value added service) called Live Aarti, which offers daily live pujas and aartis directly from the shrines.

Airtel-Live-Aarti

At the moment, Airtel is offering live Pujas and Aartis from Tirupati Balaji, Sidhi Vinayak, Shirdi Sai Baba and Bangla Sahib. More shrines including Golden Temple, Vaishno Devi, Kashi Vishawanath, Har Ki Podi, Nathdwara, Patna Sahib Gurudwara, and Puri Jagannath will be added in the near future.

Announcing the launch of the service, Mr. Shireesh Joshi, Director-Marketing, Mobile Services, Bharti Airtel said, Airtel continues to innovate and bridge barriers through technology. Airtel Live Aarti is yet another initiative in this direction. Devotees across India can now listen to Aartis – LIVE from some of the holiest places of worship in India. This is a great demonstration of how technology can bridge physical distances and bringing experiences emotional and spiritual on the mobile at the click of a button.

The Live Aarti VAS comes with a one-time subscription fee of Rs. 5 and a daily charge of Rs. 2 per shrine. To subscribe you need to just call 55200 (Tirupati Balaji and Sidhi Vinayak), 55205 (Bangla Sahib) or 55222 (Shirdi Sai Baba) from your Airtel mobile phones.

Nokia Launches Four Dirt Cheap Handsets in India – Nokia 1280, 1616, 1800 and 2690

Nokia may be having a tough time elsewhere, but it is still the king of the hill when it comes to India – especially in the low-end mobile segment. Nokia 1100 and Nokia 1110 are iconic phones, which became a slam-dunk hit in India, thanks to their sturdy built and low cost. Now, Nokia has announced that it will be launching four more low cost models for Indian consumers.

Nokia-Budget-Phones-For-India

Nokia 1280 is the cheapest of the lot. In fact, it is the cheapest phone ever launched by Nokia. As you can expect, this phone is pretty thin on features. It utilises a monochrome display and includes a FM Radio as well as a torchlight. Nokia 1280 is expected to cost Rs. 1,200.

If you don’t want to go with a monochrome screen, then Nokia 1616 is your cheapest bet. This handset costs around Rs 1,600 and features a TFT screen with 65K colours.

Nokia 1800 costs around about two hundred bucks more than Nokia 1616, but it features some extra goodies including prepaid tracker, anti-scratch cover and dust-resistant keymat.

Nokia 2690 is the most feature packed phone among the four. It includes a VGA camera, MP3 Player, Bluetooth, EDGE and expandable memory up to 8GB (microSD). This handset is expected to retail for around Rs. 2,700.

Nokia 2690, Nokia 1800 and Nokia 1616 also offer Nokia Life Tools, which is an SMS based VAS (value added service) aimed at rural India.

LG GU285 and GU220 – Cheap And Attractive Entertainment Phones For Indian Consumers

LG-GU285-LG-GU220

LG has launched two new slider phones for Indian consumers – the LG GU220 and the LG GU285. The 3G enabled GU285 is the more feature packed sibling. It sports a 5.6 cm screen along with a 1.3 megapixel camera. A secondary VGA camera is also present to facilitate self-portraits and video telephony. Other features include MP3 Player with equaliser, EDGE connectivity, up to 5 e-mail account support, and instant messaging clients.

The LG GU220 also features a 5.6 cm screen. However, it doesn’t support 3G and provides just a single VGA camera. Other features include FM recording and a talk time of 10 hours.

Sudhin Mathur, Business Group Head, Mobile Communications, LGEIL said, The new phones are an extension of our unique offerings in the Buzz series that promises to give our users benefits of mega multimedia for entertainment on the move. The extensive basket of features, make these phones a preferred choice for consumers who demand for more. As always, we promise to come up with more handsets that cater to varied needs of consumers.

Both the models are available in trendy and attractive designs. The LG GU285 is priced at Rs.6500 while the LG GU220 comes at Rs. 4500.

Did Fusion Garage Sell Only 64 Units of JooJoo?

Whether Fusion Garage is a fraudulent entity or not is something the courts will have to decide. Nevertheless, they have now proved that they are at the very least dumber than dirt.

Apparently, Fusion Garage wanted to gather feedback from their entire customer base. So, they fired off the following mail to their customers:

Dear Sir and Madam,
Thank you for supporting JooJoo.
We hope to get your feedback about the JooJoo Tablet.
Please revert back to us want you think of our product.
Please drop us a line on how your JooJoo is working.

Thank you.

JooJooSupportTeam

The trouble is that not only did their customer relations guy not know how to use a spell checker, but he was also oblivious to the purpose of the Bcc (Blind Carbon Copy) field. You can very well guess what happened next.

Fusion-Garage-JooJoo-Email

JooJoo Support dispatched the email using the CC field and in the process revealed the e-mail id of its entire user base.

As if this guffaw alone wasn’t embarrassing enough, it also revealed that Fusion Garage has managed to sell a grand total of 64 units. Yes, JooJoo has managed to do the seemingly impossible. It is faring even poorer than the rock bottom market expectations.

Update: Fusion Garage has denied that this e-mail represents their entire customer base. Apparently, this mail was intended for only a select group of customers. See the comments section for more information.

Microsoft Shows Off Windows 7’s Touch Abilities With Touch Pack for Windows 7

Windows-7-Touch-Pack In case you are not aware, Windows 7 has inbuilt support for multi-touch. Of course, you will need to have a touch sensitive monitor for this to work. Although adoption of touchscreen monitors has been slow, manufacturers are slowly warming up to the idea. Major manufacturers like Dell, Asus, Fujitsu, HP and Lenovo have already jumped on the bandwagon. In spite of this, awareness about Windows 7’s touch abilities is still fairly low. Perhaps to remedy this, Microsoft has released Touch Pack for Windows 7.

Microsoft Touch Pack for Windows 7 is a collection of utilities and games, which makes use of Windows 7’s multi-touch capabilities. The applications included in the Touch Pack are:

  • Microsoft Blackboard: An intricate game of physics in which you solve a puzzle by creating a fanciful machine on a blackboard.
  • Microsoft Garden Pond: A tranquil game that takes place in serene Japanese water gardens.
  • Microsoft Rebound: A game in which you use your fingertips to control Tesla spheres with an electrical field between them to catapult a metal game ball into your opponent’s goal.
  • Microsoft Surface Globe: A program that you can use to explore the earth as a flat 2-D map or as an immersive 3-D experience.
  • Microsoft Surface Collage: A program that you can use to explore and interact with your photos and arrange them as a desktop background.
  • Microsoft Surface Lagoon: A screen saver and interactive water simulation, complete with a meditative rock arrangement and playful, shy fish.

You can download the Touch Pack for Windows 7 from here.

Make Opera Mini the Default Browser in Android with Opera Bridge

Opera Mini 5 is a great little mobile browser. It may not have pinch and zoom or AJAX support, but it more than makes up for these shortcomings through its breezy page loading and unique feature list. Unfortunately, Opera Mini doesn’t allow you to set it as the default system browser. As a result, all links are opened using the in-built browser, instead of Opera Mini.

Opera-Mini-5-for-Android

Fortunately, there is a quick and hassle free way to fix this issue.

  • Once you have downloaded and installed Opera Mini 5, head over to the Android Market and download OperaBridge.
  • Now, hunt down any web link and click on it. You should get a window saying Complete action using.
  • Select the Use by default for this actionoption.
  • Select OperaBridge.

That’s all folks. Now, all hyperlinks should be opened in Opera Mini by default.

Gray Powell Gets Complimentary Flight To Munich and Free Beer For Loosing His iPhone

Although, Gizmodo’s decision to publicly name and shame Gray Powell was despicable, we are glad that at least something good is coming out of it (and no Gizmodo, you don’t get to take the credit for this).

To cut a long story short, Gray Powell – a software engineer at Apple, misplaced his iPhone in a bar. This was picked up by an unknown person who sold it to Gizmodo. After dissecting the prototype for a month, Gizmodo fired a slew of posts in which they publically named Gray Powell.

Lufthansa Airlines – the largest airline in Europe (in terms of overall passengers carried), has offered Gray Powell free business class transportation to Munich to check out some of the finest German Beer. Quite obviously, Lufthansa Airlines is trying to milk the situation to gain some free publicity. But, we don’t mind. Gray Powell has possibly had a harrowing time over the past couple of days and he definitely needs a break.

It will be interesting to see if Powell accepts the offer. I get a feeling that he won’t. Nevertheless, kudos to Lufthansa for some clever marketing. Here is the open letter shared by Nicola Lange, Lufthansa’s marketing director for the Americas.

Letter-To-Gray-Powell

Microsoft Drops Windows XP Support From Windows Live Essentials

Windows XP was one of the most successful operating systems in Microsoft’s history. However, now it is starting to become a thorn in its side, as millions of Windows XP users around the world are refusing to let go. Nevertheless, Microsoft is making it clear that it is ready to move on.

Windows-Live-Wave-4

After Internet Explorer 9, Microsoft has decided to drop Windows XP support from the next generation of Windows Live Essential applications. Microsoft confirmed this through a comment posted on the WindowsTeamBlog:

We know many customers use Windows XP and are happy with their experience, and of course we will continue to support our current release of Windows Live Essentials on XP and the new versions all of our web-based services (including Hotmail and SkyDrive) will run on XP. As some have noted on this blog, Windows XP is nearly 10 years old and simply doesn’t provide the same level of platform support for graphics, and we recognized early in our work on Wave 4 that we could do much more in our software on a modern graphics platform. As a result our new version of Essentials will require the new graphics platform and controls that are only available on Windows 7 or Windows Vista and therefore will only run on these platforms. So if you are happy with XP, you can keep running the current version of Windows Live and our new services. When you move to Windows 7 and Windows Vista, we will have a new version that will let you do more on a modern platform.

Windows Live Essential bundles various Microsoft utilities for home users including Windows Live Messenger, Windows Live Writer, Windows Live Mail and Windows Live Photo Gallery. Microsoft is currently getting ready to begin the public beta phase of Windows Live Wave 4. However, an early version has already been leaked on torrent websites.

LG Launches 3D LCD TVs in India – Teams Up With Valuable Group To Broadcast Final IPL Matches in 3D

LG Electronics has announced the launch of its 3D LCD TVs in India. Initially it will be installing these televisions in public places like restaurants where large groups of people can enjoy 3D television in its full glory.

Valuable Group, a Mumbai-based media company, will be providing the 3D stream. It has already procured licenses to broadcast the remaining IPL matches in 3D. Ameya Hete, of Valuable Group, said, 3D brings a player’s perspective to the viewer. The ball comes towards him as the wicketkeeper would see it. This unique experience has been now brought to the people.

LH50 3D TV is one of the first commercially available 3D television sets in the world. It features an LED-backlight display, which can be coupled with specially constructed polarized filter glasses for full three-dimensional viewing experience.

The First Video Uploaded On YouTube Turns Five Today

Today YouTube is celebrating its fifth birthday. Exactly five years ago, a 19-second clip called Me at the Zoo’ was uploaded by YouTube co-founder Jawed Karim, after a visit to the San Diego Zoo. Back then, Mr. Karim was employed at PayPal. Here’s the historic video:

This video is also a throwback to YouTube’s humble beginnings. Although YouTube is now big enough to attract movie premiers and live events, for me the biggest draw of YouTube remains its odd amateur videos. It has spawned innumerable viral sensations including the JK wedding entrance dance, the Numa Numa kid, David after dentist and the keyboard cat. And, I am sure we will see more in the years to come. Happy Birthday YouTube!

Facebook Unveils Its Roadmap to World Domination And it Is Good

Facebook-f8 It’s a well known fact that Mark Zuckerberg is an insanely ambitious person. So, it’s not surprising that he wants to see Facebook everywhere on the web. And, when I say everywhere, I really mean it. Today, at the f8 developer conference in San Francisco, Facebook made a slew of announcements that will not only help it stay relevant but also propel Facebook to the next level. Here is a quick look at some of the stuff that really matters.

Open Graph Protocol: Facebook will be shutting down its Facebook Connect product. In its place, Facebook has launched a new protocol and API called Open Graph, which is based on OAuth 2.0. Facebook has already roped in big names like Yelp, Pandora and Microsoft as partners. The chief purpose of Open Graph is to make integrating external content with Facebook as simple as possible.

New Like Button: Facebook wants to know what’s hot and the new Like button will allow it to do just that. These buttons behave in an identical fashion to Like buttons in Facebook. The only difference is that you can an additional option to include a snippet with each Liked item.

Facebook Bar: Not content with just a button, Facebook will also be launching its very own persistent toolbar. This feature is yet to be unveiled, but you can head over to TechCrunch for more information.

Death of Privacy: Facebook has received flak in the past for its lax privacy policies and I suspect that it may be in for more trouble. The new Open Graph protocol will allow Facebook to auto-login users at websites they have never visited before. Not only that, Facebook also plans on automatically sharing basic profile information with these third-party websites. There are several other potentially troublesome clauses in Facebook’s proposed privacy policy amendment. For example, any data that has not been marked as private will now be available to developers, who are welcome to store it indefinitely.

The word Semantic Web has been floating around for quite some time. So far, no one has managed to get it quite right. However, with Open Graph and Social plug-ins, Facebook is in with a real chance to make sense of the web. The new Facebook will not only know what content you like but also know how you discovered that content, who did you share it with and what was your friend’s reaction to the same content.

Flawed MacAfee Update Kills Windows XP Systems Worldwide

Windows XP users, be warned. If you are using McAfee Antivirus, then do not apply DAT update 5958. Apparently, this update causes McAfee to delete svchost.exe, which in turn sets off a chain of events that ends up messing up Windows XP installations. Affected systems will display the following error message and automatically initiate a system restart.

McAfee-XP-ShutDown

If you have already installed DAT update 5958, then it is best to perform a rollback (from Tools–>Rollback DAT). In the meantime, exercise caution if you get any alerts related to the detection of W32/Wecorl.a. In all likelihood, it is a false positive that can brick your system. If case your system has already been affected, you can stop the infinite restart loop by entering shutdown a in the Run command box (Win+R).

Bungled McAfee updates are nothing new. However, this is obviously a big screw up. At the moment, McAfee is undoubtedly working behind the scenes to rush through a fix. However, even that may be too late, as possibly thousands of perplexed users worldwide have already been affected by this glitch.

image courtesey: ChevyGuys.com

Update: The update has now been pulled from McAfee’s servers. Here is the statement McAfee issued to Engadget:

McAfee is aware that a number of customers have incurred a false positive error due to incorrect malware alerts on Wednesday, April 21. The problem occurs with the 5958 virus definition file (DAT) that was released on April 21 at 2.00 PM GMT+1 (6am Pacific Time).

Our initial investigation indicates that the error can result in moderate to significant performance issues on systems running Windows XP Service Pack 3.

The faulty update has been removed from McAfee download servers for corporate users, preventing any further impact on those customers. We are not aware of significant impact on consumer customers and believe we have effectively limited such occurrence.

McAfee teams are working with the highest priority to support impacted customers and plan to provide an update virus definition file shortly. McAfee apologizes for any inconvenience to our customers

According to early speculation, the number of affected system should be in hundreds of thousands. At the moment, the very least McAfee can do is acknowledge the gravity of their mistake. Bricking a system is not equivalent to causing moderate to significant performance issues.