A joint investigation by FBI and IRS, recently resulted in the arrest of 37 year old Paul Shin Devine who is a global supply manager for Apple. Devine allegedly received around $1 Million in kickbaks and bribes from various Apple suppliers for providing them with confidential information. This information helped these suppliers negotiate favorable contacts with Apple Inc while supplying various components of iPhone and iPod.
As the story goes, Devine used many bank accounts opened in his and his wife’s name to receive kickbacks from these suppliers which are scattered through several Asian countries including China, South Korea, Taiwan and Singapore. Paul Devine even received some payments in cash whenever he traveled to any of these countries. Apple has regarded this behavior as intolerant ans has filed a separate lawsuit against Paul Devine and his partners. Here is what the Apple spokesperson had to say about the incident:
Apple is committed to the highest ethical standards in the way we do business. We have zero tolerance for dishonest behavior inside or outside the company.
With all the hoopla about the whole world moving to the cloud soon, how does one make sure which cloud hosts are working fine and which have crashed? CloudFail is the answer to that question. It is a free web service that constantly monitor popular hosts and post status updates if there is any down time, maintenance or other issues.
The list of hosts include Amazon Web Services, DropBox, OpenDNS, Google Apps, RackSpace, VPS and many more. Several status updates are posted daily about services going through any activity that may affect users or performance. You can also click on any of the service and see current historical status updates. Each status update also gets a permanent URL so you can share it with your friends.
If you are the service provider or think that the information is not accurate, there is an option to post comments on each update. It is a great tool to keep track of whats going on with your service provider and take appropriate actions to accommodate for any down time and performance issues.
Vinay Deolalikar is the principal research scientist over at HP Labs and has recently claimed to have solved one of the most complex problems of Computer Science. The problem is actually so complex that Clay Mathematics Institute had announced a $1 Million prize award for whoever solves the problem. Whether Vinay would get the money or not will be decided once the institute can verify Vinay’s solution.
The problem that Vinay has tried to solve is called the P vs NP problem and deals with the existence of questions that can be answered quickly but require an impossibly long amount of time to be solved by any direct procedure. The complete details of the problem can be found here. As a result of his research, Vinay claims he has found proof that P is not equal to NP, meaning that an NP (nondeterministic polynomial time) problem can only be solved by brute force. The complete paper offered by Vinay can be accessed here.
Many scientists from around the world have expressed appreciation for Vinay’s effort but no body has started celebrating just yet. They all explained that Vinay’s proof and logic would have to be tested extensively before it can be claimed accurate.
Vinay has a Masters Degree in Electrical Engineering from IIT and a Ph.D in Electrical Engineering and Mathematics from University of Southern California. Vinay routinely gives lectures on Algebraic Geometry and Number Theory at Stanford University.
With the titanic amount of information on the web, it gets harder and harder to organize content so it is easily available without complex searching. Well, if you are a web developer or programmer, you don’t need to worry about that as QuicklyCode is a great resource to find all you need.
It is a community of programmers and developers to share cheat sheets, code snippets, widgets, tutorials, info graphics and even apps. Everything is categorized and can be browsed through using the tag cloud or searched using a keyword. The categories include programming languages like Fortran, C++, Python, design tools like GIMP, Photoshop, Illustrator and even simple platforms like WordPress, Facebook and Firefox.
You can download the information, rate it to provide feedback as well as read and post comments. Each cheat sheet includes information like author’s name, date of upload and a link to author’s website. If you think you have worked some info that can help other people, feel free to upload it to QuicklyCode. The collection is not huge right now but the more people start using it, the more beneficial it would get. Think about how much time it can save you if you can borrow code for something specific instead of spending hours writing and debugging it.
Web designers and developers have a constant need to find out image sizes and even though there are a number of browser extensions that let you measure pixels on a web page, however, they all require multiple steps. On the other hand, ImageResolution is a Chrome extension that lets you find the size of an image by simply placing your mouse over it.
As soon as you hover your mouse on any image, whether its a thumbnail or a full-size image, the extension immediately displays its size on the top right corner of the browser. No buttons to click and no lines to draw. Just a dead simple functionality with a no-hassle interface.
You can also change the font size and background color of the display by changing the options. It is a must-have extensions for anybody who constantly work with images. The upcoming version of the extension will also add a feature to allow users to quickly view the weight (KB) of any image by just placing your mouse over it.
Download ImageResolution for Chrome here.
I love TweetDeck and I wish they had a web-based version with as many features as the desktop one, but unfortunately they don’t. However, after months of looking for a feature-rich web-based Twitter client, I came across Multwiple.
Multwiple has every thing a Twitter user could ever need. Let’s start with multiple accounts support where you can add as many Twitter accounts as you want and that too without any hassle. Unlike some other clients, Mutwiple doesn’t require you to switch from one account to another as each account get its own tab.
When it comes to user interface, Multwiple is very similar to TweetDeck, having a separate column for every thing. By default, it displays 3 main columns but you can constantly view the list of available columns on the left hand side and add any of them to your view with a single click. Similarly, you can also click the little x on any column to remove it from your view. Moreover, Multwiple has some columns that many other clients including TweetDeck doesn’t offer such as ReTweeted By Me, ReTweeted To me and Your Followers.
As soon as you launch Multwiple, you immediately see your stats including number of friends, number of followers, number of tweets and number of favorites. But the best part is yet to come: when you click on a shared link tweeted by one of your friends, in addition to opening that web page in a separate browser window, Multwiple adds a small box on the top so you can constantly see the original tweet that led you to the web page. Each tweet displays short icons that allow you to quickly ReTweet, ReTweet with comments, reply, send a DM or simply mark the tweet as a favorite. Among other things, you can drag columns to reposition them, search Twitter right from the dashboard and even see Twitter trends with a single click.
Over all, what I love about Mulwiple is the feature-rich interface without the complexity or clutter that the other apps have.
I can’t even remember how many times a website has refused to accept me as human because I could not read the screwed up words in their fancy Captcha. This is probably one of the main things that aggravates users and forces websites to lose tons of traffic. Even if you think you made out the words right, the website doesn’t accept them and there is nothing you can do about it.
Well, if you are a web publisher, NuCaptcha is a nice alternative. It is a Captcha as well but no twisting, tilting, overlapping, dashing, flying of words to by pass bots. Rather, NuCaptcha has a small video in the background and a couple of words flying in the front. As a test to prove that you are human, you are required to enter only the letters that appear in red which seems to be an easy task since the text is straight and clear.
NuCaptcha can be used with PHP, .NET, Java and comes in many themes such as sports, environment and abstract. The API for your website can be downloaded here. If you need to use NuCaptcha with your WordPress blog, there is already a plugin for that. Even though its not a game-changing technology, NuCaptcha can help tremendously in improving user experience and traffic while still making sure that your website is safe from bots.
They say “Content is King” and truly so. DemandMedia is one of the largest content producers that provide supplemental income to thousands of freelance writers every month. The company that owns popular reference site “eHow” today filed for an IPO.
The California based content creator is represented by GoldmanSachs and Morgan Staneley in this effort to raise appropriate capital. There is no information yet on how much they expect to raise, but the filing discloses that DemandMeda had revenues of $198 Million in the first 6 months of 2010 mainly generated through advertising sales and domain registrations. The complete text of the filing can be viewed here.
Besides eHow, other properties owned by DemandMedia includes Cracked.com, LiveStrong.com, Trails.com, GolfLink and AnswerBag. Over the last few years, the importance of structured content, such as that offered by DemandMedia properties, has increased exponentially with the increase in number of web users. In addition to accumulating content regarding a specific topic at a single platform, these properties also portray as more authentic to users compared to thousands of put-together web pages by individuals.
The response to DemandMedia’s IPO would be a good indication of the Silicon Valley’s economic health in general and a good example for many tech companies that are ready to go public. It is also interesting to note here that another content company AssociatedContent was recently acquired by Yahoo! for a little over $100 Million. Similar companies, same time frame, different exit strategies, let see which one proves to be better.
Twitter has just created an official @TwitterShoutOut account that seems to be a way to write endorsements or testimonials for your Twitter friends in 140 characters or less. The official description of the account reads “Contribute your shoutouts to peeps.”
There is no word from Twitter yet about this, but consensus is that it will let friends, or friends of friends vouch for you in the Twitterverse. This could be a very relevant feature in assessing credibility of a user and get succinct reviews about them from people who actually know them. Traditionally, a lot of people gauged somebody’s credibility by the number of followers they have, but with launch of so many services that allow you to buy followers, that has gone down the drain.
All this, however, is still a theory since there hasn’t been an official word from Twitter yet. The account was created in the last few hours and has not made nay public tweets yet. Do you think such a feature would work well with Twitter users? What are some other features Twitter should launch to improve the online social scene?
What makes Gmail so powerful is the simplicity and usability of features, no matter how small they are. Recently added to the list is the drag-and-drop feature to save attachments from your Gmail to your desktop. Instead of clicking on Download, each time you want to save an attachment, just drag and drop it to its destination folder.
Gmail already allows users to drag-and-drop files in to their Gmail to add as attachments, a feature that saves a lot of time when you have to attach multiple files to an email. While the feature is not a game changing one, it definitely is a re-assurance that Gmail is working hard to give more power and efficiency to the users.
On the other hand, Hotmail has been trying to hard to win over some hearts by rolling out a set of new features and new looks to its 350 Million users world wide. There are definitely some features that make Hotmail slightly better now bur are they good enough to make Hotmail stand up against Gmail, what do you think?
When Apple bought Lala late last year, the consensus was that Apple will launch a web version of iTunes that will allow users to stream music from the cloud and access it from any internet-enabled device. However, it seems like everybody thought of that but Apple. According to many music labels, Apple still hasn’t secured rights to do that and Apple has been debriefing that if a cloud-based version of iTunes is indeed launched it would be very “modest in scope”.
On the other hand, rumors are floating around that Apple has a team working on video streaming services for quite a while now and plans to offer streaming of TV shows and movies from Lala. While nothing is certain yet, the fact that Apple is building a $1 Billion data center in North Carolina supports the fact that Apple is gearing up its infrastructure to offer some serious streaming services.
However, it is also important to note that Apple cannot let go of such a huge market in which Google is almost ready to enter. It is strongly believed that Google will launch its music streaming service pretty soon and without the stringent requirement of a native app like iTunes, Google’s music service can do very well specially with the given growth of Android users.
So, even though there is a lot of speculation around iTunes or Apple’s video streaming service, like every other Apple product, there is nothing conclusive yet and probably won’t be till the actual day of launch.
While Twitter may not have as many users as Facebook, the growth it is experiencing is nothing short of phenomenal. As GigaTweet reports, 20 Billion tweets have been sent since Twitter launched in 2006. This is amazing given the fact that only 5 months ago this number was 10 Billion. With an increasing global outreach, Twitter is still experiencing an astounding growth rate. The number of tweets per day has also reached to 50 Million and it is constantly growing.
GigaTweet is an unofficial web service that keep tracks of Twitter activity and forecast future milestones based on historical data. For example, GigaTweet predicts that it will take Twitter just 11 days to hit the 21 Billion mark and 126 more days to hit 30 Billion.
However, despite the tremendous growth Twitter has been struggling to properly monetize the massive traffic. They have introduced a number of strategies recently to help them make money which include sponsored tweets, sponsored trends and the @EarlyBird account that provides shopping deals.
If you are still not a believer in the miracles of Twitter, check out our post on some extra ordinary and amazing things that have been done using Twitter.
With more than 100 millions users and billions of tweets every month, Twitter is an excellent platform to share information. In fact, millions of users use Twitter just to share photos and videos with their friends but after a few hours these get buried deep down.
TwtImage is a new web service that lets you search images shared on Twitter. Just head over to TwtImage.com and enter the keyword you want to look for. The first set of results display 25 images but you can click on “load more” to display many more. Alternatively, you can use the cloud tag of popular keywords to see what people have been searching for. Clicking on any thumbnail takes you to the original source of the image.
Currently, TwtImage indexes Twitter images from several sites including TwitPic, TweetPhoto, img.ly and yfrog.com. The tool can be very useful if you are looking for images on Twitter but don’t want to burn yourself carrying out complex queries on Twitter.com. With an easy-to-use interface and dead simple functionality, TwtImage is one of the more useful tools when it comes to images on Twitter.
Blackberry’s plan to launch a tablet computer to rival the iPad has been speculated for quite some time now, but the speculations got affirmed when earlier this week Blackberry bought the domain BlackPad.com Many think that this will be the name for BlackBerry’s iPad rival.
Bloomberg cites some specific details of the device and claim that the launch is set for this fall. According to the report, the device would sport a 9.7 inch display and will offer WiFi and Bluetooth as connectivity options. No 3G connectivity has been plan for the device so the customers don’t have to way for an extra data plan. The device will also be able to tether with the Blackberry smartphones using the Bluetooth and use its data connectivity.
There are no further details or images out yet but it will be exciting to see if Blackberry can any unique features to steal iPad’s market share. There is specially some discussion around the type of keyboard BlackBerry would offer on its tablets. The brand doesn’t have a good track record with touch screen keypad on its phones, but on the other hand, a physical keyboard would probably kill the whole charm of a tablet. The device will also have front and back facing cameras to accommodate video conferencing features and will be priced around $499, the same as Apple’s iPad.
Based on conversation with some insiders, BusinessWeek reports that Facebook will probably not do an initial public offering in 2011, something that has been speculated pretty often. The company would instead focus on growth for the next year or two and acquire more users before it eventually goes public. While no one really knows, it is totally in the hands of 26 year old Mark Zuckerberg who controls the board.
However, should Facebook really wait till 2012 for cashing in on the massive success it has already received? Right now the company is valued at around $25 Billion, but that may change very quickly if the rumors about a competing social network from Google have any truth to them. Whatever Google launches will definitely not shut down Facebook but if it is a successful enough product like AdWords or Gmail, it will have a significant affect on Facebook’s value.
Secondly, with one privacy Fiasco after another, Facebook can get a massive class action lawsuit anytime and if a large financial penalty comes there way, it would directly affect Zuckerberg and the handful of investors. Plus, once Facebook goes public, the added scrutiny would insert pressure for greater transparency which can be a really good thing in terms of public image.
Last, but not the least, a lot of people who aren’t happy with Facebook are just waiting for a suitable alternative to switch, they are waiting for the next Facebook to launch so they can go to a more evolved social network. It doesn’t necessarily has to come from a giant like Google, Apple or Aol; it can be from anybody and as long as it addresses the privacy concerns that Facebook so often chooses to ignore, people will switch.
Any of these factors can hurt Facebook’s valuation significantly and may not prove waiting through 2012 to be the best of ideas.