Sunday, March 30, 2008

AMD rolls out Phenom chips

AMD on Wednesday unveiled new microprocessors for the desktop PC market, in a move that could sharpen its competitive edge against rival Intel.

Among the chips in AMD's Phenom family of processors is one that has three cores, compared with the two or four most generally available. AMD said that its Phenom X3 has as much as a 30 percent performance improvement in some instances over a dual-core chip operating at the same frequency.

AMD first disclosed plans to make the Phenom X3 in 2007, saying then that it was able to build a three-core chip because the cores are on the same piece of silicon, rather than two or four cores on different pieces of silicon joined together.

The company had a difficult 2007 as its full-year loss swelled to $3.38bn (£1.68bn) from a net loss of $166m in 2006. Partly to blame was a design problem with its Barcelona server chip, which AMD said was key to regaining its competitive edge against Intel.

The processors announced on Wednesday are aimed principally at the mainstream PC market, but also include a high-end Phenom Black Edition chip that video gamers can easily speed up themselves, a process known as overclocking, an analyst said.

"AMD is increasingly focused on the mainstream PC market and I think they will be quite competitive there," said analyst Rob Enderle of the Enderle Group.

AMD has improved its execution so far in 2008, said Patrick Moorhead, a marketing vice president at AMD, pointing to new graphics chips from ATI, a chipmaker it bought, and a new chipset that he said was receiving strong reviews.

"I think we're on a little bit of a roll here," Moorhead said. "2008 is a much better year for us."

He said the new processors from AMD are particularly well suited to applications like editing and watching high-definition video, multimedia and gaming.

PCs using the processors will be available later this week or next week, Moorhead said, and will be available online by late Wednesday.

Semel gives up Yahoo CEO title to Jerry Yang

Terry Semel ended his six-year run as Yahoo's CEO on Monday, and the company's co-founder Jerry Yang will take over from him, the company said.

Semel has been the focus of intense criticism in the past two years due to Yahoo's inability to capitalize as much as expected on the fast-growing market for search engine advertising. By contrast, Google has enjoyed eye-popping revenue growth and enviable profits almost exclusively from the search advertising market.

By moving Yang into Semel's position, Yahoo gets a CEO of the caliber of Steve Jobs and Bill Gates who can match Google's triumvirate of engineers, said Allen Weiner, a Gartner analyst, referring to Google's CEO Eric Schmidt and co-founders and presidents Larry Page and Sergey Brin.

"I always felt that the best CEO for Yahoo already worked there: Jerry Yang," Weiner said. "He is far and away the best choice they could have made."

Last week, at Yahoo's annual shareholder meeting, Semel fielded stinging criticism from shareholders in attendance, leading to tense exchanges at times.

Semel resigned from his position as CEO and chairman and will become the role of non-executive chairman and serve as advisor to the management team.

Semel became chairman and CEO in May 2001.

Previously, Semel spent 24 years at Warner Bros., where he was chairman and co-CEO. Prior to his Warner Bros. stint, he led Walt Disney's Theatrical Distribution division and CBS' Theatrical Distribution division.

Semel was brought in primarily to create a bridge between the Hollywood entertainment industry and Yahoo, which never happened as originally envisioned, Weiner said. "That strategy didn't work," he said.

Because Yang is an engineer who fully understands the Internet market and Yahoo's business, Weiner predicts the company troops will rally behind him. "This is a seminal event in the history of Yahoo," Weiner said.

The board of directors appointed Yang, who cofounded the company 12 years ago, as CEO, and Susan Decker, former executive vice president and head of Advertiser and Publisher Group, as the company's president.

This change is something that the market obviously wanted, according to industry analyst Greg Sterling from Sterling Market Intelligence. When he joined Yahoo, Semel helped bring the company back from the brink, but recently he seemed to have lost the magic touch he had earlier.

"If Yahoo had another lackluster quarter, the chorus of calls for Semel's resignation would have gotten louder. This might be seen as a preemptive move by Semel," Sterling said. The question that remains is whether this executive change will have the desired effects, he said.

In a webcast, Semel said he had told the board that he wanted to step back from his executive role "sooner rather than later" and that he and the board agreed this would be a good time for him to step down as CEO.

"I've long been talking to the board about the importance of ensuring a smooth succession to Yahoo's senior leadership," Semel said.

Semel expressed full confidence that Yang and Decker are the right people to carry Yahoo "through its multiyear transformation" while acknowledging that the past year has been a difficult one for Yahoo and that no one in Yahoo's management has been satisfied with the company's performance.

Decker and Yang both said during the webcast that they are confident Yahoo will meet its current revenue forecasts, issued in April, and attain long-term success.

The company's new search advertising platform, Panama, is yielding financial results above expectations and as such offsetting a slowdown in display advertising, they said.

"I believe Yahoo has all the assets it takes to win, and we're well positioned to do that," Yang said.

A major structural reorganization of the company launched in December under Semel's watch has had the expected results so far, Decker said. It's now easier to make major business decisions, she said, citing as examples the recent closure of Yahoo's underperforming U.S. online auction business and the streamlining of the photo business under the Flickr service and the forthcoming closure of Yahoo Photos.

Another reorganization result is the creation of a business unit for the team in charge of Yahoo's home page, which she said has given that team more independence and yielded a better product.

Likewise, the video efforts are being unified and given common objectives, leading to a better user experience and more effective advertising efforts, she said.

Decker, who was the company's CFO for seven years, said she and Yang are confident that Yahoo will be able to address the deceleration in the display advertising business with its acquisition of Right Media, announced in April.

While Yahoo has traditionally been strong in sales of premium display and graphical ads, Right Media will boost its ability to sell non-premium ad inventory via a real-time marketplace that brings together advertisers and publishers, she said.

Article Courtesy : Juan Carlos Perez, IDG News Service, Jun 19, 2007

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Microsoft helps nab piracy ring


Microsoft is telling the tale of a major software piracy investigation that weaved through 22 countries, hoping would-be pirates will think twice if they know how far the company will go to protect its computer code worth billions in revenue each quarter.

Near-perfect knockoffs of 21 different Microsoft programs began surfacing around the world just over a decade ago. Soon, PCs in more than a dozen countries were running illegal copies of Windows and Office, turning unwitting consumers into criminals and, Microsoft says, exposing them to increased risk of malicious viruses and spyware.
The case began to turn in 2001 when U.S. Customs officers seized a shipping container in Los Angeles filled with $100 million in fake software, including 31,000 copies of the Windows operating system.

From there, Microsoft pushed the investigation through 22 countries. Local law enforcement officials seized software, equipment and records, and made arrests. A court in Taiwan handed down the last of the major sentences in December. Microsoft estimates the retail value of the software the operation generated at $900 million.

"That is a tremendous accomplishment," said James Spertus, a former federal prosecutor in Los Angeles who later led anti-piracy efforts for the Motion Picture Association of America. "There are only going to be a few cases like this a decade."

Now Microsoft is eager to talk about the experience because taking down that operation — responsible for about 90 percent of the fake software the company found between 1999 and 2004, more than 470,000 disks — didn't actually stop piracy. It just left room for more counterfeiters to rise. Microsoft hopes would-be pirates will think twice if they know how far it will go to protect the computer code worth billions in revenue each quarter.

The pirates mimicked complex holograms stamped directly onto disks and packaging materials embedded with the kind of tiny safety threads used in making money. In some cases, it took experts with microscopes to notice that disks printed with codes used by legitimate software factories lacked certain minuscule, unique smudges.

"The copies were so good, we went to tremendous forensic and scientific lengths to establish that the counterfeits were, in fact, counterfeits," said David Finn, an associate general counsel at Microsoft.

Without a solid lead on the source, Microsoft continued to gather string. Members of its 80-person worldwide anti-piracy team made test buys to see if retailers were selling fake disks, knowingly or unwittingly, and worked leads back up the black-market supply chain.

The seizure of the container in Los Angeles led to Taiwan, where the Ministry of Justice raided Chungtek Hightech, recovering an estimated $100 million more in software and equipment. Months later, Taipei city police and the criminal investigations branch of the national police hit Cinway Technology, a related manufacturer in the same industrial complex, seizing another $126 million in phony software. Records found there led to a packing, storage and shipping center in China's Guangdong province, and back to distributor Maximus Technology in Taiwan.

Finally, in 2007, the owner and operator of Chungtek and Cinway, Chen Bi-ching, was sentenced in Taiwan to four years in prison, while her two co-defendants received jail terms of three years and one year. And the distribution outfit's owner, Huang Jer-sheng, was sentenced to four years in prison. In China, the Public Security Bureau raided the packing and shipping company, Zhang Sheng Electronics, and Li Jian, the manager, was sentenced to three years in 2004.

Matching the Taiwanese counterfeits to copies found around the world, Microsoft gave law enforcement agencies ammunition for raids and criminal cases in the U.S., the U.K., Italy, Canada, Germany, Singapore, Australia, Paraguay and Poland. Dozens of big distributors, middlemen and retailers were convicted, including 35 people in the U.S.

One was Lisa Chen, who according to a Customs press release arrived at the scene of the 2001 shipping container bust with additional counterfeit software in her vehicle. Chen was prosecuted by the Los Angeles district attorney's office as a major U.S. distributor of the Taiwan fakes and received a nine-year prison term in November 2002. She
has since been released, according to her lawyer at the time.

Microsoft would not say how much it spent on the investigation or how many counterfeit copies of Windows, Office and other programs were found in use on consumer or business PCs.

Spertus, the former federal prosecutor, said the burden is often on the company holding the brand to travel the world collecting evidence, doing undercover work and coordinating with law enforcement agencies.

Few companies are willing to devote serious resources to anti-piracy enforcement, especially because the return is hard to prove. People who buy counterfeit software aren't likely to have paid retail prices anyway, Spertus said. But a big bust adds significant weight to lobbying efforts for stricter international intellectual property laws.

After the Taiwan raids, the number of high-end Microsoft counterfeits dropped — but only for a while. A Chinese operation that stepped in to meet the worldwide demand for cut-rate software cranked out an estimated $2 billion in copies before it was brought down in July after a six-year investigation by the FBI and China's Public Security Bureau.

Today, sophisticated copies of Windows Vista and other programs continue to appear. "I don't for a minute think that the final chapters have been written," Finn said

Sunday, March 23, 2008

BSNL repays Rs 3,000-cr Govt loan

Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd (BSNL) has paid Rs 3,000 crore to the Government as repayment of notional loan of Rs 7,500 crore.

This notional Government loan was transferred to BSNL as a part of capital structure without any additional cash inflow from the Government at the time of corporatisation of erstwhile Department of Telecom Services.

BSNL has already paid a sum of Rs 2,000 crore and Rs 2,500 crore as repayment of loan in the year 2005-06 and 2006-07, respectively. BSNL has also paid an interim dividend of Rs 300 crore in the current financial year to the Government.

“BSNL is one of the largest contributors to Government exchequer in 2006-07 by contributing more than Rs 12,800 crore in the form of dividend, licence fee, corporate tax, service tax, repayment of loan and so on. In the current financial year 2007-08, BSNL is estimated to contribute more than Rs 13,000 crore to the Government exchequer.

“In the last five years, BSNL has contributed more than Rs 50,000 crore in the form of various levies, duties, taxes despite carrying out various social obligations such as provision of telephones to rural, tribal and remotely located inaccessible areas,” said a press release.

The company is proposing to make investment of more than Rs 10,000 crore for expansion of telecom network in the current financial year.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Holey Moly

There is a girl walking up the stairs in a church one day. As the priest is walking by, he looks up and notices that this girl is not wearing any panties.

The Priest calls the girl and gives her $20 and says, "Little girl, take this money and buy yourself some panties. It's not proper to walk around without any panties on."

The girl goes home and gives the money to her mother and asks her mother to buy panties for her. When the mother asks where the girl got the money, the girl explained what happened.

Upon hearing how the girl got the money, the mother rushes to her room, whips off her panties, and puts on one of her shortest dresses and runs out to the church.

As soon as the mother sees the priest coming, she begins to walk up the stairs. The priest then notices the lady and calls her down.

The woman not wanting to show that she is expecting anything, walks back to the priest very calmly.

The priest hands the lady $1 and says... "Lady, take this money and for God's sake, go buy yourself a razor!"

Smart City accorded SEZ status

KOCHI: The Smart City project received a shot in the arm on Thursday with the Board of Approval for Special Economic Zone (SEZ) of the Union government awarding SEZ status to it.

A meeting of the Board in New Delhi, chaired by Union Commerce Secretary G.K. Pillai, accorded SEZ status to 136 acres of the 236 acres earmarked for the project. The promoters will have to make a fresh application for SEZ status for the remaining 100 acres.

The Board took the decision partially because the entire 236 acres could not be treated as a single entity since the 100 acres acquired from the Kerala State Electricity Board is separated from the rest of the land by a water body. The decision also allays fears regarding waiver of registration fee (Rs.2 crore) and stamp duty (Rs.10 crore) for the project. The State government might no longer have any problem in waiving these fees paving the way for the registration of the lease agreement. The registration had been in limbo over the indecision regarding waiver of duties.

“Now there are no legal hurdles in waiving off registration and stamp duties,” S. Sarma, Fisheries and Registration Minister, who is also the Chairman of Smart City Kochi, told The Hindu.

Apprehensions that the promoters of the project would have to pay a hefty penalty for registration since the mandatory four-month period within which the agreement was supposed to be registered had expired on March 15 had also been laid to rest.

Big boost

This is a vital decision and would give the project a big boost, Ajay Kumar, State Information Secretary, who was in Delhi to attend the meeting, told The Hindu over the telephone. Three complaints regarding acquisition of land for the project came up before the meeting. The Board, however, was satisfied with the explanation that all stipulated procedures were followed in the acquisition process, Mr. Kumar said.

The last meeting of the Board set aside the application for SEZ status to the project for want of clarification from the State government over a complaint of forceful land acquisition.

This time, the officials made sure that no such scenario was repeated.

Once the minutes of the meeting are drafted, the Development Commissioner of Kochi SEZ would inspect the land which had been granted SEZ status and submit a report to the Union government. On receipt of the report, the Centre would issue necessary notification proclaiming the SEZ status. The promoters could go ahead with the initial constructions, like setting up an office, as soon as the notification is issued.

"Network of opportunities" – reads a signboard put up on the way leading to the site of the Smart City project.

That pretty much sums up the excitement surrounding the project.

Gold Falls After Fed Rate Cut

Gold futures plunged Tuesday, retreating from $1,000 territory despite an aggressive U.S. interest rate cut that boosted other commodities.

Other futures rose broadly, with crude oil, copper and agriculture futures all trading higher.

The Federal Reserve slashed a key interest rate by three-fourths of a percentage point in a bid to free up locked credit markets and kick-start the U.S. economy. The move lowered the federal funds rate to 2.25 percent, the lowest level since in more than three years. Still, many investors had predicted a full point cut.

Gold for April delivery rose $1.70 to settle at $1,004.30 on the New York Mercantile Exchange but pulled back nearly $25 after the Fed’s decision. The metal fetched $978.20 an ounce in aftermarket trading, down $24.40.

Gold investors are “taking some money off the table,” George Gero, vice president of RBC Capital Markets Global Futures in New York, said in a note. “But with the energy rally and weaker dollar, we have to assume setbacks in gold are still buying opportunities at the moment.”

Though some analysts warn gold is due for a correction, others say it could still move higher first due to economic worries, record high crude prices and a tumbling dollar. Gold is traditionally viewed as safe-haven investment during times of economic uncertainty and rising inflation.

The dollar strengthened slightly after the Fed’s move, further prompting investors to sell gold. The euro traded at $1.5640 in Tuesday afternoon trading, down from a record-high reached earlier in the day of $1.5831.

The greenback’s decline versus the 15-nation euro has been a major driver of gold, which gained 31 percent last year and 18 percent so far this year. A falling dollar encourages buying of gold because the metal is known for holding its value. A weaker greenback also makes dollar-denominated commodities like gold cheaper for overseas buyers.

Other precious metals traded mixed Tuesday. Silver for May delivery fell 34 cents to settle at $19.96 an ounce on the Nymex, while May copper added 6.15 cents to settle at $3.7465 a pound.

In energy markets, oil prices rose as investors bought futures after the Fed’s rate cut.

Light, sweet crude for April delivery rose $3.74 to settle at $109.42 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. On Monday, oil prices fell by $4.53 a barrel on fears the buyout of failing investment bank Bear Stearns Cos. signaled a widening of economic woes.

Other energy futures also rose. April heating oil futures rose 6.95 cents to settle at $3.1379 a gallon while April gasoline futures rose 15.58 cents to settle at $2.66 a gallon.

In agriculture markets, wheat and corn futures rebounded a day after falling the maximum-allowed limit on the Chicago Board of Trade.

Wheat for May delivery rose 32.5 cents to settle at $11.64 a bushel on the CBOT, while May corn climbed 8 cents to settle at $5.4725 a bushel. Soybeans, meanwhile rose 4.25 cents to settle at $13.07 a bushel.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Obama’s Song

Since he appears to be the Messiahnic [hope there is such a word] candidate of 2008, Barack Hussein Obama deserves his own song. Hope this stolen one suffices

I am Barack Obama,
a man of mystery.
I want to be your President;
you can rely on me.
I promise to raise taxes,
but only on the rich.
Don’t worry that I’ll change my mind;
it’s not a bait and switch! (wink)
I’ll make the war in Iraq be over.
The terrorists will win.
That’s nothing for you to fret about;
I know Osama is our friend.
I’m going to fix our economy,
even though it isn’t broke.
Relax, the Government can do it all.
Capitalism is a joke.
I’m a clean well spoken black man,
with nothing much to say.
Ain’t it grand that the liberal press
don’t get in my way?
I’ll be a fabulous leader.
I’m handsome and quite tall.
While I have no talent for decisions,
the UN can make them all.
So blindly buy my speeches,
fall under my spell.
Let me run the Country,
and I’ll lead us straight to Hell!

With due apologies to OB ....... hope he takes it in the right sense and he should at least make a diversion to paradise.....

With best wishes....

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Sri Lanka arrests five journalists

Authorities in Sri Lanka have detained five mostly ethnic minority Tamil journalists, a media activist group said yesterday, days after Colombo came in for intense criticism over its rights record. Five journalists, all linked to a liberal news site,, were taken in for questioning over the weekend while some have been detained under tough emergency laws, the Free Media Movement (FMM) said.

"We hope that due process will be followed regarding the arrested writers and journalists, " the FMM said, expressing its concern over the latest government crackdown against journalists.

FMM official Sunanda Deshapriya said his group's spokesman, Tamil journalist S. Sivakumar, had also been detained for 12 hours and later freed by the police Terrorist Investigation Division.

International media rights activists have described Sri Lanka as one of the most dangerous places in the world for journalists due to a worsening climate of violence and unofficial censorship.

Killings and attacks against journalists remained unsolved leading to fears that media freedom is being deliberately and violently suppressed through threats, abductions and attacks, a team of media activists said last year. Since August 2005, 11 media workers have been killed in Sri Lanka.

Ten of them were killed in government-controlled areas and no one has been brought to justice in connection with the deaths. Sri Lanka is pressing for a military victory over Tamil Tiger rebels and a series of tit-for-tat clashes have left heavy casualties on both

On Thursday the New York-based pressure group Human Rights Watch accused the island's government of being "one of the world's worst perpetrators of enforced disappearances, " and called for tough United Nations monitoring. The same day a team of top legal luminaries also announced they were pulling out of the war-torn nation because Colombo had failed to seriously investigate a string of high-profile rights cases, including the massacre of 17 local employees of a French charity.

Saturday, March 08, 2008

Bits And Pieces

Kevin Landers has a retrospective of his photo work since 1990 at Elizabeth Dee Gallery in Chelsea, in conjunction with a his solo show at the Atlanta Contemporary Art Center (to which my wife and I have lent one of his best pictures, Man with a Shopping Cart).

What is it about the random delights of Kevin Landers that I have always found so appealing? He is an archeologist of the living Lower East Side of Manhattan, a neighborhood that continues to defy, albeit less and less successfully, cookie-cutter gentrification. To Kevin, the bodega is a museum: The arrangements of foodstuffs passing through for sale amuse him profoundly. He sees poetry in a broom sweeping sludge or a crushed dirty coffee cup, reading "I Love New York." Reminiscent of Cartier-Bresson in the Paris of the ‘30s, Landers’ camera emits rays of love, while his hand gathers junk to be transformed into toys of art.

In the past, Kevin has manufactured boom boxes from cardboard and racks of potato chips from Styrofoam. His photography is in a continuum with this conceptual fabrication. I am particularly drawn to the fragile dignity of his old men, emerging from the street like so many crabs on the shoreline. His fruits and vegetables also look like rare jewels.

His erotic snaps, meant to titillate like the prostitutes in Brassai, seem less necessary to me, for Landers’ purpose is one of conservation and memory, a traveler in small places that are always ignored by the high and mighty. He is a tickler, not a masturbator.

I am always surprised when others love Landers’ pieces as much as I do, at a time when artists are taking the weight of the world on their shoulders and often turning it into heavy bricks of doom. The critic Bridget Goodbody strongly endorsed Kevin’s show at a panel we did the other night, a pleasant surprise.

For, in rummaging through what is familiar in old low Manhattan, Kevin Landers unveils the light of the world.

Kevin Landers, "Photographs 1990-2007," Apr. 6-May 7, 2007, at Elizabeth Dee Gallery, 545 W. 20th Street, New York, N.Y. 10011

CHARLIE FINCH is co-author of Most Art Sucks: Five Years of Coagula (Smart Art Press).

Saturday, March 01, 2008

What is Insanitary Media Behavior

Insanity or even madness is the behaviour whereby an individual person overrides social norms and becomes not only a danger to himself but to others as well.

Now that doesn't have to be implied - it is understood

But then isn't Greek tragedies and Shakespearean plays are often referred to madness in this sense. If you have to go the dictionary and define it - it is defined as a deranged state of the mind or a lack of understanding.

More info give here at

Psychologically speaking, it is a legal term defining behaviour influenced by mental instability. Ha !

Today, the most commonly encountered term in the narrow legal context is known as the insanity defense, and in the medical profession it is referred to as schizophrenic. More info given at :

Basically, this is the only journalistic endeavor that I can come up with - in tune with today's world - so any support would go a long way