Year 2007 in Review

It was a wonderful year for me. This year we celebrated 60 years of Independence.

Tata was able to build 4th fastest super computer for us. Sensex crossing 20,000 mark and India won 2020 world cup. Our GDP now touches $1 trillion.

Reliance classic from Reliance is the world’s lowest cost mobile phone. It just cost INR 777 ( USD 19). On other hand Apple did launched its iPhone along with Safari for windows, iPod touch and new iMac. Microsoft launched Windows vista along with Office 2007. Asus introduced Linux powered low cost notebook EEE PC.

Finally, Indian IT industry set to cross USD 55 billion by March 2008. IT/BPO created over 1.63 million jobs (5% of Indian GDP). Soon there will over 200 million mobile subscribers and Airtel as # 1 mobile service provider in country. Indian railway sold 1.8 million tickets on line on a single day on March, 1, 2007, a world record.

Both Airtel and BSNL introduced high speed DSL internet for home and digital music sales exceed physical music sales in India in 2007.

The climate change in the form of melting ice and rising sea levels was the biggest science story of the year. I’m not gonna talk about politics here. But overall I see India is progressing very nicely.

I’d like to wish all of you a Happy Prosperous New Year.

Google Knol – Another Wikipedia Like Service

Knol has been described as a rival to Wikipedia. It is an online wiki like publishing platform from Google. It will be used to create user-generated articles on various topics. It was announced on December 13, 2007:

Earlier this week, we started inviting a selected group of people to try a new, free tool that we are calling “knol”, which stands for a unit of knowledge. Our goal is to encourage people who know a particular subject to write an authoritative article about it. The tool is still in development and this is just the first phase of testing. For now, using it is by invitation only. But we wanted to share with everyone the basic premises and goals behind this project.

The key idea behind the knol project is to highlight authors. Books have authors’ names right on the cover, news articles have bylines, scientific articles always have authors — but somehow the web evolved without a strong standard to keep authors names highlighted. We believe that knowing who wrote what will significantly help users make better use of web content. At the heart, a knol is just a web page; we use the word “knol” as the name of the project and as an instance of an article interchangeably. It is well-organized, nicely presented, and has a distinct look and feel, but it is still just a web page. Google will provide easy-to-use tools for writing, editing, and so on, and it will provide free hosting of the content. Writers only need to write; we’ll do the rest.

Google  Knol  - Another Wikipedia Like Service
(Fig 01: Google Knol Sample Mock-up page)

I guess Google will put ads on the content and they will be getting a share of the profits. Also users will be allowed to rate, edit or comment on the articles. The site is in private beta.

=> Read more: Encouraging people to contribute knowledge

Is active SETI dangerous? Does it put Earth in Danger?

The Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence ([email protected] grid computing project) is organized efforts to detect Extraterrestrial life. Now after decades of searching, scientists have found no trace of extraterrestrial intelligence. Now, some of them hope to make contact by broadcasting messages to the stars. Are we prepared for an answer? Is “active” SETI dangerous? Many thinks so…

Zaitsev has already sent several powerful messages to nearby, sun-like stars—a practice called “Active SETI.” But some scientists feel that he’s not only acting out of turn, but also independently speaking for everyone on the entire planet. Moreover, they believe there are possible dangers we may unleash by announcing ourselves to the unknown darkness, and if anyone plans to transmit messages from Earth, they want the rest of the world to be involved. For years the debate over Active SETI versus passive “listening” has mostly been confined to SETI insiders. But late last year the controversy boiled over into public view after the journal Nature published an editorial scolding the SETI community for failing to conduct an open discussion on the remote, but real, risks of unregulated signals to the stars. And in September, two major figures resigned from an elite SETI study group in protest. All this despite the fact that SETI’s ongoing quest has so far been largely fruitless. For Active SETI’s critics, the potential for alerting dangerous or malevolent entities to our presence is enough to justify their concern.

=> Who Speaks for Earth?

No ice over the arctic by summer 2013

The Arctic Ocean, located in the northern hemisphere and mostly in the Arctic north polar region. Arctic summer melting in 2007 set new records. The polar ice pack is thinning, and there is a seasonal hole in ozone layer in many years. Reduction of the area of Arctic sea ice will have an effect on the planet’s albedo, thus possibly affecting global warming within a positive feedback mechanism

The most important areas of pack ice are the polar ice packs formed from seawater in the Earth’s polar regions: the Arctic ice pack of the Arctic Ocean and the Antarctic ice pack of the Southern Ocean. Scientists in the US have presented one of the most dramatic forecasts yet for the disappearance of Arctic sea ice. In the end, it will just melt away quite suddenly. It might not be as early as 2013 but it will be soon, much earlier than 2040.

Change in arctic Sea Ice Extent Image / Photo

From the BBC Story:

Their latest modelling studies indicate northern polar waters could be ice-free in summers within just 5-6 years.

Professor Wieslaw Maslowski told an American Geophysical Union meeting that previous projections had underestimated the processes now driving ice loss.

Summer melting this year reduced the ice cover to 4.13 million sq km, the smallest ever extent in modern times.

Read more: Arctic summers ice-free ‘by 2013’

Download of the day: Windows Vista Service Pack 1 ( SP 1 )

Windows Vista service pack (SP 1) is a collection of updates, security fixes and/or enhancements to a Windows vista operating system. It will be delivered in the form of a single installable package. Microsoft has released Windows Vista SP1 Release Candidate (RC) version.

Windows Vista SP1 is an update to Windows Vista that addresses many issues including feedback from Microsoft customers. In addition to previously released updates, SP1 contains changes focused on addressing specific reliability and performance issues, supporting new types of hardware, and adding support for several emerging standards. SP1 also addresses some management, deployment, and support challenges. It will also fix many bugs and security related issues.

Download of the day: Windows Vista Service Pack 1 ( SP 1 )

Windows Vista Service Pack 1 Download

=> Visit Official site to download Vista SP1

w00t – Word of the Year 2007

wOOt word is often used in Internet chat rooms and forums. It also used by gamers as an expression of happiness, joy, and excitement. Now w00t named as the word of the year for 2007. According to John Morse, the President of Merriam-Webster:

“w00t” was an ideal choice for the Word of the Year because it blends whimsy and new technology.

This year’s winning word first became popular in competitive online gaming forums as part of what is known as l33t (“leet,” or “elite”) speak—an esoteric computer hacker language in which numbers and symbols are put together to look like letters. Although the double “o” in the word is usually represented by double zeroes, the exclamation is also known to be an acronym for “we owned the other team”—again stemming from the gaming community.

Read more: Merriam-Webster’s Word of the Year 2007

How to: Set WordPress Blog on Your Home Page While Leaving Admin Files in Subdirectory

You can easily set wordpress blog hosted in a subdirectory as a homepage. Let us assume that your blog is hosted at domain.com/blog/. To set home page for domain.com, create index.php in root directory and append the following code (note blog is hosted in /blog/ subdirectory):

Now if anyone visit domain.com, they will see blog home page w/o visiting domain.com/blog.

This way you can give out WordPress its own directory while leaving blog in the root directory. You can find more information here.

MTV Roadies

MTV Roadies is a reality television show for MTV India. It is currently in its fifth season. The show was created by Raghu Ram. The maximum prize for winning the show is Rs 500,000. The show is extremely popular among the young Indians. I’m quite addicted to the show.

Season five is the first time the game goes international.It will cover three countries which are India,Thailand and Malaysia. Roadies are given tasks at every destination. They are either Money or Immunity tasks. Roadies earn a particular amount of money on completion of a Money task.

Mtv Roadies Winner

The pas winners –

Season # 1 There was no official winner this season.

Season # 2 Ayushman Khuranna – Chandigarh

Season # 3 Parul Shahi – Delhi

Season # 4 Anthony Yeh – Kolkata

Season # 6 Nauman Sait – Bangalore

=> Check out MTV Roadies web site for more information.

It is genetic – people keep repeating mistakes

Most people tend to learn from their mistakes and avoid making the same blunder twice. But we find lots of people making same mistakes again and again. Now scientist found a new relationship between a specific gene and those of us prone to repeatedly making the same mistakes. From the nature article:

A genetic mutation that helps to determine the extent to which certain people are doomed to repeat history.

Drug addicts, alcoholics and compulsive gamblers are known to be more likely than other people to have this genetic mutation, which leaves them with fewer receptors of a certain type in the brain. These receptors — called D2 receptors – are activated when levels of the neurotransmitter dopamine drop.

=> The gene that makes us once bitten, twice shy