Mozilla Drops Features From Firefox 4 To Meet Release Deadline

In order to meet the October/November release deadline for Firefox 4, Mozilla has decided to axe some of the new features. The first casualty is the Account Manager feature.


In Mozilla’s Dan Mills’ words, The Account Manager makes it incredibly easy for users to create new accounts with optional randomly generated passwords, and log into and out of them with just a click”. We had previewed an early prototype back in March and had found it to be capable of dramatically simplifying how users connect to websites.

Mozilla is aiming for a feature freeze by September 10. If Firefox 4 continues to fall behind schedule, then more features might be stripped. The prime candidates for removal are silent updates on Windows, Inspector and Web Console. However, even without some of these features, Firefox 4 will have enough to excite fans. The new version will introduce a brand new skin, tab candy, revamped add-ons manager and more.

Voice Translation Now Available in Chrome 7

Pack the bags … I’m heading up to Quebec for summer vacation. Now that there’s a web browser that can translate my English to French, I’m ready to ask for directions, locate the nearest restroom or order food at a restaurant. All it takes is my netbook, the developer’s version of Google Chrome web browser and a trip to this website.


Click on the little microphone icon. When it turns red, you can start talking to it. Click the microphone once again and it interprets your speech, then it speaks the same sentence in French. Amazing!

I found out about this today at the ChromeSource blog. Last week, I remember asking people what was new in Chrome 7, because I didn’t see much difference. Now I know that in addition to the support for Chrome Web Apps, Google coders have added the ability to talk to the web browser. Although that’s not really new, since   Opera’s had voice abilities for quite some time now, it’s new to me, and I’m excited about the possible new uses for something like this. Maybe in a few months, I’ll be able to talk to Gmail and have it type the email for me?

If you have your own tips on using Chrome, or it’s problems, be sure to comment below or email me.

Panasonic Brings Dimensions to India: Get Ready For 3D Bollywood Movies

PanasonicWith (most of) Hollywood adopting 3D with open arms, can Bollywood be far behind? Panasonic is obviously confident that 3D will help take the Indian entertainment industry to the next level. The Japanese multi-national held a live demonstration at the Yash Raj Films Studios, which was attended by several members of the Indian film fraternity.

Panasonic’s ‘camera to couch’ range of solutions cover everything from creating and editing 3D content to viewing them at home. Speaking on the event, Daizo Ito, President, Panasonic India, said, “Panasonic has been the harbinger of new technology for several decades now. With Indian creativity getting applauded across the world, it becomes imperative for our company to make available the latest movie-making and broadcast technology in India”.

Noted filmmaker Karan Johar was equally enthusiastic about the launch and said to Times of India, “I am so excited that the 3D technology is now available to filmmakers like myself. It will literally add a new dimension to our story telling and creative expression. We all acknowledge the influence of this medium and with 3D captivating the audience so much more, there is going to be a new revolution in movie making. I’m sure the next 3D blockbuster movie just like Avatar is going to come from India”.

Panasonic will also be organising competitions across India to encourage students of leading film and television institutes to create original 3D content.

Adios ATI, It Will Be All AMD from Here On

AMD has announced that it will retire the ATI brand later this year. Four years ago, AMD shocked everyone by acquiring ATI for $5.4 billion. The merger almost cost AMD dearly. The massive expense was financed through $2 million in loans and 56 million shares of AMD stock. Most pundits believed that AMD had made a blunder by coughing up so much for ATI, when it was suffering major losses in the chipset business. However, the merger also brought tangible benefits to the chipset giant. ATI’s strong performance in the recent past has helped AMD boost its brand name, and now AMD is preparing to ship Fusion APUs (CPU+GPU on a single die).


Nevertheless, AMD obviously believes that it stands to gain significantly by retiring the ATI brand name. Come 2011, all products from the Sunnyvale based semiconductor company will bear only AMD branding. According to AMD, an internal survey revealed the following key points:

  1. AMD brand preference triples when the person surveyed is aware of the ATI-AMD merger.
  2. The AMD brand is viewed as stronger than ATI when compared to graphics competitors (presumably NVIDIA).
  3. The Radeon and Fire Pro brands themselves (without ATI being attached to them) are very high as is.

The last point suggests that ATI products are well recognized even without the ATI branding. However, even more crucial is the revelation that most of the consumers consider AMD to be a more significant competitor to Nvidia than ATI. The GPU market has long been dominated by ATI and Nvidia.

Much like 3dfx Voodoo, ATI will always be remembered by geeks and hardware aficionados around the world. Hardcore ATI fans might be disappointed with AMD’s announcement, but at least ATI is going out with respect.

Google Chrome Gets Speech Recognition and Labs

It’s no secret that Google sees the browser as a central part of future computing devices. The Chrome OS is just one of the many manifestations of this particular vision of the future. In Chrome OS, the browser (Google Chrome) is used to do everything from listening to music to editing documents and creating spreadsheets.

While Chrome OS based devices are still a few months away, Google is working hard to get its browser ready for various form factors. Just yesterday, we reported that future versions of Chrome will future GPU Acceleration that will enable it to do heavy duty computing (like scaling videos) with ease. Now DownloadSquad has discovered that speech recognition has been enabled in the latest Chromium builds. Of course, Chrome isn’t the first browser to get voice recognition. Opera received voice navigation support as far back as 2005 with Opera 8. However, this feature works only on Opera for Windows, and since its initial release there has been very little further improvement.

Google has also uncorked a few other handy features in Chrome, including support for device orientation and Google Labs. The former is an essential feature for netbooks, tablets and other accelerometer enabled devices. The latter on the other hand will enable curious users to get a taste of the latest features being cooked up by Google. To access it simply type about:labs in the omnibar (address bar). For now, Windows users can enjoy tabs on the left, while Mac users can play around with Google’s implementation of Tab Expose.


Image via GoogleSystem

6 New Windows 7 Themes: Gaming, Music, Arts and More

Earlier this week Microsoft added six more impressive themes to the official Windows 7 Personalization Gallery, which has been growing ever since its launch. Five of these themes feature specially crafted wallpapers by graphic artists. They are:

  • Girls Rock! She’s in the band. Rock out with musician desktop backgrounds (wallpaper) in this Windows 7 theme.


  • 26Creative Live what you dream, just for fun.” So reads the message artist Chang, Fan-Hsuan pairs with cheerful florals and patchwork characters in this Windows 7 theme.


  • An Hsin Pu Tzu The land of the dreamy dreams. In this romantic Windows 7 theme created by artist Lin, Yu-Fu, cartoon characters relax in surroundings inspired by love and nature.
  • Bakehouse It’s always warm and toasty in Bakehouse, a Windows 7 theme made up of cartoonish breads and pastry characters created by Wang, Hsueh-Shih.
  • Imagination Let your imagination float away, with this gently surreal Windows 7 theme from artist Yeh, Hsin-Hung.

The other new addition to the gallery is the official theme for the recently released Gears of War 3 game.

Watch Full Length Hollywood and Bollywood Movies on YouTube

The online video giant YouTube has expanded its “Movies” section, which was launched last year for US residents. Google already has agreements with Crackle, CBS, MGM and Lionsgate to provide full length content to US viewers. It has now tied up with Blinkbox, which is providing about 165 feature films for UK viewers.


As one might expect, most of the films being offered are obscure and dated. Nevertheless, there are quite a few classics including Jackie Chan and Hitchcock movies, as well as some decent horror movies. Bollywood fans will also be pleased to find legendary movies like Pukar, Bawarchi and Padosan.

YouTube is the undisputed leader in the online video segment and enjoys a massive number of visits per day. However, most of these visitors tend to surf for a few minutes and then move on. Engagement is one of the factors that Google has been trying to improve upon. This is obviously a step in that direction as full length movie and television show streams are the logical next step for YouTube.

Facebook Overtakes Orkut as the Leading Social Network in India

Facebook Orkut has long been the dominant social network in India. Exactly what made millions of Indians throng to the mostly forgotten social network from Google is still a baffling mystery to me. Nevertheless, Facebook – the most popular social network in US and all over the world, has now surpassed Orkut even in India.

Traffic analytics firm comScore is claiming that Facebook became the top social networking website in India in July with 20.9 million visitors. This represents a 179 percent year-on-year growth. Comparatively, during the same period Orkut managed to grow by only 16 percent. The social networking audience in India grew by an impressive 43 percent during the past year.

In related news, Orkut has unveiled a new grouping functionality that can be used to communicate with groups of contacts (coworkers, relatives, friends etc.). The groups are visible only to the user and essentially acts as filters.

Researcher Who Exposed Vulnerabilities in India’s Electronic Voting Machine Arrested

Recently, a group of researchers, Hari Prasad, Rop Gonggrijp and J. Alex Halderman, demonstrated serious security vulnerabilities in the electronic voting machines (EVMs) being used by India. The EVMs, which were introduced by the Election Commission in 2004, were found to suffer from serious weaknesses that can be used by anyone with physical access to manipulate the outcome of the election. In spite of working demonstrations by the researchers, the Election Commission still maintains that the EVMs are secure and tamper proof.

Unfortunately, being ignorant and blind isn’t the Indian government’s biggest crime. Halderman revealed in a blog post that his colleague, Hari Prasad has been arrested by the police. The authorities appear to be interested in uncovering the source who supplied the voting machine to the researchers. Halderman maintains that the voting machine was supplied by an anonymous source who had rightful access to it. The EVM in question was earlier reported as stolen by the Collector’s office at Mumbai.

On inquiring with the officials there, it was learnt that Waimuru brought the machine himself and the channel had nothing to do with it. It was also learnt that Waimuru had gone to Nashik earlier this year. He met a local leader and a social activist there who gave him the machine. Moreover, it came to light that a government official believed to be working in the Old Customs House had given the said machine to the local leader,an official informed DNA. Hari Prasad has been remanded to the police custody till August 26.

While the Indian police is quite possibly well within its rights to try and track down the source of the leak, there is a real possibility that the government is simply trying to silence its critics. The researchers exposed the Election Commission and broadcasted their ignorance, incompetence and stupidity to the world. I can’t help by notice that the government is being more proactive in closing the source of leak than rectifying the serious problems plaguing the EVMs.

Swedish Authorities Issue Arrest Warrant Against WikiLeaks Founder on Rape and Molestation Charges

WikiLeaksJulian Assange, the enigmatic founder of WikiLeaks has always been a controversial personality. He has been hailed by many as a savior of free speech, criticized by Cryptome for money laundering, and now accused by the Swedish Police of rape and molestation.

WikiLeaks is a controversial secretive organization that takes pride in exposing confidential documents of public interest. The award winning organization came under the mainstream spotlight after leaking the Baghdad Airstrike video (showing civilian casualties) and the Afghan war chest.

According to the Swedish daily Expressen, he met with these women last week, when he was in Sweden to apply for a publishing certificate that will enable the website to advantage of Swedish laws providing protection to whistle-blowers.

WikiLeaks tried to downplay the charges as “dirty tricks”. In a statement issued over the micro blogging website, Julian Assange said, “The charges are without basis and their issue at this moment is deeply disturbing”.

Update: The Swedish authorities have withdrawn the rape charges and dropped the arrest warrant.