Month: June 2011

Google’s Introduction spell…

Starting this week, as Google has officially announced that users will be noticing a lot of design changes across the board of Google products.  Though it did not mention that Google will also be unveiling some new products, which being Google+ for public offering.

Google+ has been released for limited public with invitations being the only method as of now, by which you can get on the bus.

Techcrunch reported today, that Google has silently released another product – Google Takeout, which gives you the ability to download your data from Buzz, Contacts and Circles, Picasa Web Albums, Profile, and Stream.

The application creates an archive of your data from these apps, and lets you download it on your machine. I tried exporting Buzz data, coz it’s a small set, just to see how it works and the format, in which data gets downloaded. The archive is made up of HTML files, with one HTML page for one buzz. It includes the comments which someone might have made on that post of yours.

This comes as a nice addition to Google suite of products and offerings.

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Another password leak!

And this time it was not a group of hackers who did this. All it took, was a Google search by Australian security consultant Daniel Grzelak.

Daniel was searching for open userIds-password databases, which have been indexed by Google. He just entered the search term “filetype: sql hotmail gmail password” and after few hours and few tweaks, he stumbled upon sosasta database, with email IDs and password in plain text. He believes that it was the entire list of users on sosasta, which numbers to about 300,000.

I cannot see any press release by sosasta so far about this.

Speech recognition on Google homepage

Just noticed that Google homepage is now equipped with speech recognition, so that you can speak your search string to it. This coming to web is a great thing!

You just need to click on the microphone and then speak your search string! Viola!

Google, always FTW!

Edit: This is currently only working or better say available on Chrome! I just tried on Firefix 5, and am seeing the normal homepage there.

Basic Comparison of iPad2 and Xoom

I still cannot figure out the actual reasons which makes one hate Apple, as if Apple did something to people who hate it! Sometimes, I think that, do they hate if because it usually gets a lot of popularity from media? In that case, the popularity is not something Apple pays for. It’s products are not cheap which after all that media hype, fails to impress actual users. I will write my take on this issue in multiple posts.

I remember once, one of my friends posting an article where the article was talking about “Apple screwing its customers” The article was for some insane reason, bashing Apple for changing the screws on iPhone. Now, what is that? I don’t think companies are supposed to use the same screws. How does that affect end user? Don’t say that the users will not be able to open up their phones.

One of the reasons, I hear is that “Apple products are priced way too much”. This statement is usually accompanied with some analogies. I definitely agree on this in case of Macs, they are indeed price steeply. Nevertheless, the other products are not priced as such. A case in point is iPad2.

Let’s compare the price of tablets from Apple and Motorola.

Wi-Fi Versions 

  • iPad2 comes in 16, 32, 64 gigs / Xoom comes only in 32 gigs as of now
  • iPad2 32 gigs is priced as $599 / Xoom is priced at $599
  • iPad2 display is 9.7 inches / Xoom display is 10.1 inches
  • iPad2 display is 1024-by-768-pixel resolution at 132 pixels per inch (ppi) / Xoom display is 1280x 800 pixels; 150 pixels / inch), HD 720p
  • iPad2 has 1 GHz dual-core A5 processor / Xoom has 1 GHz dual-core processor
  • iPad2 has dual camera, though MP information is not there on specs / Xoom has dual camera, back camera is 5 MP and front 2 MP
  • iPad2 camera has HD video recording capability / Xoom has no such information on its specs
  • iPad2 is 601 grams / Xoom is 708 grams
  • iPad2 has 25 W-hr battery / Xoom has 24 W-hr battery
  • iPad2 has 10 hours of surfing over Wi-Fi or video playback / Xoom has 10 hours of surfing over Wi-Fi or video playback. Though Xoom has 3.3 days of mp3 playback
  • iPad supports  HE-AAC (V1 and V2), AAC (8 to 320 Kbps), Protected AAC (from iTunes Store), MP3 (8 to 320 Kbps), MP3 VBR, Audible (formats 2, 3, and 4, Audible Enhanced Audio, AAX, and AAX+), Apple Lossless, AIFF, and WAV playback formats / Xoom supports AAC, H.263, H.264, MP3, MPEG-4, ACC+ Enhanced, OGG, MIDI, AMR NB, AAC+

3G Versions

  • Technical specs are same for iPad2 and Xoom
  • Weight increases proportionally for both of them
  • iPad2 with Verizon 3G is priced at $729 / Xoom with Verizon 3G is priced at $799
  • iPad2 is also available from At&T on 3G

Do you still think that Apple always demands way too much price for its products?

Public Service Message in Movie

I watched Super 8 at AMC in GSP, Paramus today, which is a good movie. I am not going to talk about the movie here, but about a public service message which was embedded beautifully in the movie.

In one of the scenes towards the end, Joe, one the boys from lead cast, is driving someone else’s car, who is stoned and so can’t drive. As they were reaching home, they see that military has started an attack in the town on nothing in particular, but the guns are firing, tanks are throwing shells. Joe parks the car at his home, and all his friends get out to run away to some place safe. They try to wake up the guy, who was stoned, but he is not waking up. At this point, one of the boy says “Drugs are so bad

I was impressed by the beauty with which the message was embedded in the plot. It was subtle. The sequence had attention of everyone, as it was towards the climax of the movie.

Appreciate the movie for that!

The Ordeal

I had to return the rental back at the airport today, as otherwise I would have ad to pay 100 bucks more for dropping it at an alternate location. This was supposed to be a normal task, and I estimated that I should be back to the hotel in around 3 – 3.5 hours.

Nevertheless, I was to learn an important lesson, another hard way.

First, I decided to depend heavily on GPS and forgot to take a look at directions from Google maps, before leaving. Stupid GPS took me to some really confusing route and I took a wrong turn, and that was it, I spent half an hour to cover a distance of 2 miles. Thanks to the traffic.

What happened afterwards was, the exit for JFK was flooded due to rain, which caused some crashes, which caused mile long bumper to bumper. I ended up spending close to 2 hours for a stretch of 5 miles. I could not have avoided that, and this was not due to that GPS thing.

Second, never rent a car from airport location unless you’re a tourist at some tourist location. If you are on work, take a cab to your hotel and then rent a car from some nearby location. It will always be cheap and will be easier for you.

Public Transportation sucks outside cities and that’s a truth. While coming back, I had to take the shortline and the bus stop was almost 2 miles from my hotel. Even though the hotel was on the highway, and right on way to that bus stop, the driver did not stop the bus there! Turned out, a walk of 2 miles, and no, it was not on a footpath. I don’t avoid walking, but I do avoid walking on curb alongside highway!

Bad, really bad day. Too much frustration and irritation.

A (really) quick trip

It was Friday, 1:30 PM. I was devouring Sub of the day in the office cafeteria (which was Chicken Tikka Sub) at lunch with friends, when I got the call about my visa status.

2 hours later, the manager who had called, came to my cubicle and told me that I need to travel on Saturday for a short business trip to attend to some meetings at client location. This IS my shortest notice travel plan so far.

The next day was almost a nightmare for me in terms of work which needed to be done. I kept running here and there the entire day till 07:00 PM, when I actually started packing. It was at 8:31, that I finally relaxed after loading my luggage in the cab! Phew!

I was travelling on Air France this time, with a hop at Charles De Gaulle, Paris. Checking in at T3, IGI was easy and so was passing the immigration and security. As you all know, the new terminal is really great and of global standards. I noticed that there’s no longer free wi-fi at the airport. The service provider has changed from Airtel to Aircel and only 30 minutes demo is free. That was sufficient for me to tweet, psot FB updates, check Gmail and official mails. The rate for hourly surfing was just INR 60 per hour, which is not really costly.

Nevertheless, there had to be a let down and thanks to the food court near B gates, I found my let down. There were around 8 vendors, and even though they were having a range of offerings, from which you could have chose from, almost all of them were serving just one or two items out of the big lists. Every vendor was supposedly selling 500 ml and 1 l bottle of water, but none of them had the 1 l bottle! Anyways that’s that.

Air France flights are good when it comes to comfortable seating and leg space – things which matter on long haul flights. The food was let down though. Nonetheless, the leg space made for it (at least for me).

Best part of the flight was supposed to be the time spent at transit airport in Paris – Charles De Gaulle airport. It looked to me that the entire area of the airport is quite huge, as I noticed it took us considerable time from landing to reaching the skybridge dock. CDG airport from the inside is quite awesome starting from the interiors to the shops to even the carpets! I could not take any picture but will definitely take some on my way back home. The stores lined up all around the terminals are the best upscale brands, which you so much want to shop in – Ralph Lauren, Yves Saint Laurent, Coco, and a lot more similar companies. The perfume shops, seemed to to be selling the best brands only!

On reaching JFK, it was like coming to second home! Yeah, it feels like that at times. What made the tiring journey worthwhile was an opportunity to drive 🙂

I am tired but don’t want to sleep and screw my body block. Trying to keep awake by watching tv and wishing that the clock shows me 10 PM ASAP, so that I can hit the bed.

That’s all from my end guys. Keep tuned and maybe I’ll try to give a daily update of the stuff here.

Au Revoir