Check out Proview’s “IPAD”

Proview International Holdings Ltd. is suing Apple for a trademark violation. It has alleged that Apple had used a fake company to buy the rights to the iPad name for just $55,000 in 2009.

There is a massive drive in China to confiscate Apple iPads after the rulings from local courts were announced. Apple has apparently infringed the trademark on the name “iPad” that is currently used by a product from Proview called the “Internet Personal Access Device”. After Proview won cases in various Chinese courts this year, it has resulted in the iPad being removed from the shelves in several Chinese cities. Proview has even threatened to take the fight to Apples’s backyard with the U.S. legal system.

A representative from Proview has been quoted saying,

“I think in the future we will sue Apple in the U.S. We are looking to choose between three different U.S. law firms.”

This is a change in circumstances as Apple had sued Proview in 2010 and tried to force it to handover the rights to the iPad name for mainland China. This was filed in the Hong Kong high court that ruled in Apple’s favor.

This device has a slight resemblance to the iMac, but that’s just about where the similarities end.

To prove their point, Proview actually held a press conference  on Friday to showcase their sales brochure. Proview said that it had spent $30 million on the computer, producing between 10,000-20,000 of them from 1998 until 2009. However, sources say that the company is in debt and requires a generous settlement to keep away its creditors.

The rumor floating about is that Proview is going looking for a pay off of as much as $2 billion from Apple, though some sources from the company have denied the claim.

From Rag-Time to Woot, Oxford English Dictionary Celebrates 100 Years

Word lovers rejoice! The Concise Oxford English Dictionary celebrates a century with the announcement of its 12th Edition today. Angus Stevenson, in a post titled “A century of defining our language“, announced the history making edition on the Oxford Dictionaries blog today.

According to the blog the Concise Oxford English Dictionary (COED for short) is a “different kind of dictionary,  one that sought primarily to cover the language of its own time.” The editor of the first edition, Henry and Hank Fowler, were quoted as saying, “we admit colloquial, facetious, slang, and vulgar expressions with freedom, merely attaching a cautionary label”.  Perhaps this is why the COED has survived even into the digital age. I must admit, I found reading through the blog very interesting. It is amazing when you consider how much the English language has changed in a relatively short amount of time.

The COED continues today to move with the times. You can now find words like cyberbullying, domestic goddess, and even woot! New meanings to old words have been added as well. For instance, the word friend now has the added meaning of  “a contact on a social networking website”.

The COED has devoted a page entirely to the centenary edition which can be found here. There is a lot of information about the history of the COED. You can watch a short video (embedded below) which provides a “quick history” of the COED.

You can even send a “photographic journey of words through the century” e-card. Pictured below you will see one of the e-cards from the year I was born. I had to laugh when I saw that year’s phrase was neighborhood watch! They must have known I was coming.

Ecard

I am glad to see that the Concise Oxford Dictionary is doing what it can to stay relevant in this technology driven world.  In a world where we are inundated by words, I think sometimes we underestimate the affect words can have. They can inspire, inform, and motivate. I believe that words, carefully chosen, can have a lasting positive impact on their reader, otherwise, I wouldn’t bother to write. I leave you with this quote from Mark Twain, “The difference between the right word and the almost right word is the difference between lightning and the lightning bug.”

 

Google Gets Vocal About Web Censorship – Launches Government Request Tool

Google’s motto these days seem to be, “Don’t tell me what I can’t do”. Whether Google is good or evil is a different question, but it definitely wants to see the end of arbitrary cyber censorship.

Yesterday, it revealed that some of its products are blocked in as many as 25 of the 100 countries they offer products in. However, Google didn’t disclose all the countries that are currently censoring Google products. Most observers took this half-hearted disclosure as signs of Google’s reluctance to take on governments around the world. As if just to prove these experts wrong, Google has just launched Government Request Tool.

Google-Government-Request-Tool

The Government Request Tool (or GRT in short) displays the number of content removal requests and data requests Google received from various countries between July 1, 2009 and December 31, 2009. The included dataset is quite detailed. For example, Google received 3580 data requests and 123 removal requests from the US Government. Out of this, 80.5% of removal requests were fully or partially complied with. Removal requests included 25 web search items and 70 YouTube videos.

The dataset is not 100% comprehensive or accurate. However, it is good enough to serve its purpose, which is to pressure governments into being more responsible about censorship. Google encourages positive censorship, which includes banning stuff like child pornography. However, it hopes to reduce political censorship by being aggressively transparent.

Facebook Unceremoniously Dumps Facebook Lite

Facebook has decided to shut down its stripped-down version dubbed Facebook Lite. The company didn’t offer any explanation behind its decision, but simply thanked all testers in a brief status update. If you try opening Facebook Lite (lite.facebook.com), you will just be redirected to the main site.

Facebook-Lite-Closed

Facebook Lite stripped away all the fancy packaging while retaining the essence of Facebook. It began as an experiment to attract users from countries like India, where average internet speed is still sluggish. However, many users preferred the uncluttered experience provided by Facebook Lite over the full-fledged interface populated with thousands of third party applications. Nevertheless, the demise of Lite means that it possibly never took off in the way Facebook envisioned it to.

Google Introduces Spelling Auto-correction in 31 Languages

Google-Search If spelling is not your strongest suit, then cheer up, as Google is here you lend you a helping hand. Google has beefed up its already impressive spelling tool, which is capable of automatically spotting spelling mistakes and suggesting correct alternatives.

As a result of this update, Google is now capable of offering spelling suggestions even for names by taking into consideration the context. For example if you search for “matthew devin oracle” Google will automatically realize that you are looking for Oracle’s Matthieu Devin. This feature is currently supported only for English spellings in the U.S. However, Google will be rolling out the change to other parts of the world in the near feature.

Google is also rolling out auto-correct for certain terms in 31 languages. For common misspellings, Google will directly offer results for the spell-corrected term instead of displaying the “Did you mean..” prompt. For example, if you search for “aiprt”, Google will automatically pull up results for “airport”.

Another aspect of Google Search that has been improved upon is Google Suggest. Google Suggest will now take into consideration your location and offer appropriate suggestions. So, if you live in New York, you will be getting different suggestions than folks living in Seattle.

Opera Mini for iPhone Becomes The Most Downloaded Free App With 1 Million Downloads on Day 1

Opera Mini for iPhone was approved yesterday and it is already making quite a splash. It managed to amass one million downloads (1,023,380 to be exact) on its first day in the Apple app store and is currently ranked in the top 10 free apps category in 86 countries.

In fact, Opera Mini is the most downloaded free app in 69 countries (out of 90) including United States. Of course, the fact that its arrival in the app store was covered by almost all major tech news outlets, definitely helped.

Opera-Mini-Most-Downloaded-iPhone-App

Opera Software is visibly ecstatic with the download figures. Lars Boilesen, CEO of Opera Software, said, Today iPhone users have a choice, and, as the numbers show, they are eager to explore new and faster ways to surf the Web on the iPhone – especially during heavy Web traffic”.

While Opera Mini has garnered almost universal acclaim for its speed, it has been criticized for its unusual page layout and UI (user interface) inconsistencies. Mr. Boilesen has stated that, “We are appreciative of all the feedback we are getting, as it helps us to continually improve our product and better meet the needs of our users.”

Google Docs Gets More Collaborative and Real-time

Google Docs is still a no go, as far as most enterprises are concerned. However, Google is obviously desperate to claw away at Microsoft Office’s dominance. They have just announced a plethora of new features, which should make Docs a worthy alternative to Microsoft offerings such as SharePoint.

The document editor as well as the spreadsheet editor has been refreshed to provide significant performance improvements. The document editor now offers real-time experience, which means that you can view character-by-character changes as collaborators make edits. Also new to the document editor is sidebar chat, which was previously available in the spreadsheet editor.

New features in the spreadsheet editor include the formula bar for cell editing, auto-complete, drag and drop columns, and simpler navigation between sheets.

Google has also launched a collaborative drawing editor. Don’t be misled by its name, Google isn’t trying to compete with MS Paint. Rather, the drawing editor is intended for drawing flow charts, designs, diagrams and other fun or business graphics.

Google-Drawing-Tool

The drawing editor should become available later today, while the preview versions of documents and spreadsheets would be rolled out to all users within the next few days.

Opera Software Now Has 100 Million Users – Only 50% Are On Desktop

Opera-100-Million It seems that Opera loves to stay in the news. Now that they have taken a break from releasing new products at a breakneck pace, they are keeping themselves busy by drafting self-congratulatory press releases. The latest one celebrates the fact that Opera Software reached the milestone of having 100 million users in March.

Of course, this is not a surprising piece of news, since Opera Mini had amassed 50 million users in January 2010 itself. The desktop version was reported as having 45 million users back in December 2009.

As always, there are two ways of looking at these stats. The fact that Opera Mini has rocketed to 50 million users bodes well for Opera Software. However, its desktop browser continues to disappoint. Opera may have added 40 million active users since it went free, but its market share still pales in comparison to Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox. In fact, according to most analytic firms, Opera for desktop is still struggling to touch the 3% mark.

Opera 10.5 was undoubtedly an impressive release, but Chrome’s recent beta builds have once again highlighted the glaring omissions in Opera. In spite of being around for more than a decade, Opera still doesn’t have an intelligent form filler and the lack of an API means that others can’t build one either. Google has been incredibly smart about Chrome. Since they outset they have targeted key features and now their vision is paying rich dividends. Until Opera Software wakes up, it will continue to struggle to go mainstream.

Microsoft Finally Fixes Internet Explorer Zero-Day Flaw – Patches 9 Other Vulnerabilities Along With It

As expected, Microsoft has released an out-of-band update to fix critical vulnerabilities present in all versions of Internet Explorer. This cumulative update includes as many as ten patches, including one for the critical Iepeers.dll vulnerability discussed earlier.

The afore mentioned vulnerability is currently being widely exploited by hackers to infect systems through drive-by downloads. In other words if you system is unpatched, simply visiting a compromised website is sufficient to get infected.

Microsoft-Internet-Explorer

This is the second time this year that Microsoft has been forced to issue an out-of-band update. Earlier in January, it had issued an unscheduled update to fix a vulnerability, which was exploited in Operation Aurora. Microsoft Security Response group manager Jerry Bryant said, “Releasing the update early provides Internet Explorer 6 and 7 customers protection against the active attacks and provides users of all versions of Internet Explorer protection against nine other vulnerabilities”.

As mentioned earlier, this update applies to all versions of Internet Explorer. Most of the patches issues are critical or important. This patch does not however, fix the vulnerability that was exploited in the recent Pwn2Own competition to compromise a fully patched Windows 7 system.

Users who have disabled automatic update can download the appropriate files from here.

iProf – India’s Own Tablet Targeted At Students

iProf-Educational-Tablet Tablet computing is the hottest thing right now and it seems that everyone wants to cash in. iProf is the latest entrant, which promises to revolutionize the way students prepare for entrance tests.

The iProf is hoping to cash in on the lucrative education market in India by bundling high quality study material along with its custom Learning Management System. Initially, the iProf would be catering to IIT aspirants through its tie up with Brilliant Tutorials. However, in the near future it will expand its portfolio to service MBA PMT, CPT, and CA students among others.

The iProf can be picked up from any of the iStudy Zones around the country for Rs 14,900. The price is fairly reasonable, considering the value of the bundled study material. However, it still may be too high for the Indian market, especially since it is aimed at young students.

iProf-Tablet

iProf Specifications

  • 7-inch touchscreen
  • Android OS
  • Wi-Fi enabled
  • Bundled Learning Management System and study material from Brilliant Tutorials