Friday, December 29, 2006

Microsoft giving free lappies to Bloggers

Microsoft AMD and Acer are giving free laptop to the blogger for the review of their new operating system....

I dont know what the heck is wrong with the people crying about their promotion of their products... I seen lots of blogs speaking against this campaign. Wht the heck is wrong if they give away their products. Same bloggers would have been writing the appraisal for Googol or Appl, had they done the same thing....

Come on ppl grow up..... Its up to the ppl who are receiving the laptops if they get influnced by the gift sent out by the big companies... If they do they arent ethical blogger but who gives a shit...

Gimme a free laptop too.. I like tht acer ferrari Amd x64 Dual Core with Vista Ultimate

I wish they could give me one

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Trip to SATNA

collage.jpg (JPEG Image, 800x640 pixels)

Pics taken on the way to the Satna for attending the marriage of Ashish....

Check out the following link for the pics

Here are the videos



technorati tags:

Blogged with Flock

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Love Letter (Funny)

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Microsoft opens up to Open Source

Ray Noorda died last month. A legend in the software business, Noorda came on board with Novell in 1983 and turned the company into a powerhouse in corporate networks. His arch-nemesis, of course, was Microsoft which he tried to crush with his own Office suite. But as we know, Bill Gates prevailed.

Yet in the tech world, enemies can easily become allies. That was the case last week, when Microsoft agreed to partner with Novell on its Linux software.

read more at :

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Google released Writley/SpereadSheet as Google Docs.

[Quote= Copied from Wall Street journal]

Just as Microsoft Corp. is about to roll out the latest version of its cash-cow Office applications, Google Inc. is beefing up efforts that could win away some of the customers Microsoft is targeting.

Google's latest move, expected to be announced today, is a plan to bundle its existing word-processing and spreadsheet offerings -- online applications that people can use through their Web browsers -- under the name Google Docs & Spreadsheets and more tightly weave them together. The services, which are available free, offer more-limited functions than Microsoft's word processor and spreadsheet programs, which people use the old-fashioned way on their personal computers.


Google Chief Executive Eric Schmidt told reporters last week that Microsoft's hold on customers who aren't "professional users" of its core Office product "may be vulnerable." The Web search giant is targeting average consumer users and organizations such as universities as it continues to expand email, calendar, spreadsheet and word-processing services that overlap with Microsoft offerings.

Google's push comes as Microsoft puts the finishing touches on Office 2007, the latest version of its ubiquitous set of business programs, due by the end of the year. The programs, taken together, are Microsoft's largest generator of revenue and profit after its Windows operating system. They are also deeply entrenched in the world's large and small businesses around the world.

Free equivalents of Office have existed for years and failed to crack Microsoft's market share, But over the past two years, a growing number of Internet companies, including Google, have started to make concerted efforts to pick away at the business, which accounted for $11.8 billion in revenue for Microsoft in the year ended June 30.

Working in favor of these Internet interlopers is a continuing shift by businesses and consumers to software used over the Internet. For decades most computing tasks were handled with software that was installed on computers. Microsoft defined that era with its Windows operating system and its Office suite of applications.

In recent years, though, as high-speed broadband Internet connections have spread to homes and offices, an increasing number of computer users have begun experimenting with software applications hosted over the Web. With just a Web browser, they can use software over the Internet that's free or available by subscription.

Kyle McNabb, an analyst at Forrester Research Inc., says that Google's moves are less about grabbing market share today than about changing behavior and getting consumers accustomed to free online software that they now buy from Microsoft. "Google is helping set the expectations that you don't have to go buy these things," he says. "This is going to have an impact over five to 10 years."

Microsoft Vice President Antoine Leblond says that Microsoft doesn't have plans to roll out an online version of Office. Instead, he says, the company is building online services designed to work with Office, a strategy that would tap the benefits of online programs without cannibalizing Office. "The future of software is going to be the combination of client applications [like Office] and [online] services," Mr. Leblond says. "It's not going to be one or the other -- the black or white approach."

Mr. Schmidt said last week that Google was "not in the business of building Office," which he said was well suited for "professional users." But the comments by Mr. Schmidt, who has long played down any competition with Microsoft, make much clearer Google's likely core target market: users at home, in educational settings, and at small- and medium-size businesses. It could also include professional users who rely on Google for personal applications. Mr. Schmidt said Google's calendar application is better than Microsoft's for family members sharing their schedules, primarily because it is free and allows such sharing to take place easily online.

Google has rolled out a range of free online services. Some of them carry advertisements, and it hopes others will entice people to use its ad-supported services more. In contrast, Microsoft licenses Office to businesses and sells it to consumers for about $400.

Microsoft plays down the potential threat to Office from Google, arguing that online software can't have the same full features that computer users demand. It can also be slow, and many businesses are loath to entrust core business functions and data to outside companies.

Microsoft's Mr. Leblond says that Google will also find it increasingly difficult to add new features to its programs, in part because the programs rely on browser software for many of their functions. So for instance, printing is much more limited than printing from an Office program, he says. "The technology they are using has some inherent limits," he says. "They are going to hit up against these limits."

But Google says it isn't trying to match all the features of traditional productivity software. "We believe that 90% of users don't necessarily need 90% of the functions that are in there," says Jonathan Rochelle, a product manager for Google Docs & Spreadsheets.

With the Google products, a user can save any documents on Google's servers, accessing them from anywhere that can connect to the Internet. Other key differences with Microsoft: Besides being free, Google services make it easier for users to share files and work on them simultaneously, Google executives say. One important similarity: The Google services can generally save and open files in Microsoft-compatible formats.

"We're building a different way of dealing with complex, powerful information that is online all the time, on every device, and fully shared," explained Mr. Schmidt.

Google is now trying to drive a shift toward this sort of consumer usage. The Mountain View, Calif., company earlier this year bought Writely, a Web-based word-processing service, and rolled out its own spreadsheet product. In August it began offering Google Apps for Your Domain, a package that allows organizations to tap email, calendar, instant-messaging and Web-page creation services that run on Google's computers. Google executives had said that word-processing and spreadsheets were "good candidates" to be added to that offering, which is geared toward organizations and small businesses.

Google's Gmail email service had 9.7 million U.S. visitors in September, and its Calendar service had 896,000, according to comScore Networks Inc. The research firm didn't have usage statistics for Google's word-processing or spreadsheet services.

Rick Sherlund, an analyst at Goldman Sachs, thinks that Microsoft will need to respond more directly to Google's moves. He predicts -- despite Microsoft's denials -- that the company will offer a lower-end version of Office over the next year that's aimed at consumers and small businesses.

"I think that they are leaving the door wide open for Google to deliver a broader solution on their online platform," Mr. Sherlund says. Microsoft needs "to be serious about trying to shut that door on Google."


reference :

Orkut in trouble over "I hate India" community

Google’s online community web site Orkut has run into trouble for “spreading hatred against the country”.

The Aurangabad bench of the Bombay high court, comprising Justice AP Deshpande and Justice RM Borde, issued notice to Google last week following a public interest litigation initiated by 22-year-old advocate Yugant R Marlapalle.

In his petition, Marlapalle, who is also an Orkut member, took exception to a community called ‘We hate India’, owned by someone who identifies himself as Miroslav Stankovic. The community features a picture of the Tricolour being burnt.

“My prayer is to direct Google to remove communities that spread hatred against India, the national flag, and all deities in the country,” Marlapalle told DNA. “My objection is to the offending communities, not Orkut.”

He has cited the provisions of section 75 of the Information Technology Act, which empowers authorities to file charges for offences or contravention committed outside India by any person irrespective of nationality.

A Google India spokeswoman told DNA that US courts have jurisdiction over Orkut. Besides, the web site has terms of service that mandate users to abide by rules prohibiting impersonation as well as vulgar and offensive comments or images. She was unable to say, however, if Google had received the court notice.

Orkut has been misused in India before. Last month, the Kolkata police caught spurned lovers who posted fake obscene profiles of girls they dated on the community site.

Only recently, Google was forced to hand over data of specific users to Brazilian authorities, following allegations that Orkut was being used for illegal activities, including child pornography.

Google has earlier raised eyebrows in India with its highly detailed maps of sensitive locations, available freely online.
Cyber law experts say the case only highlights the fact that India lacks laws to deal with hate speech.

In this case, one would have to invoke section 65 of the IT Act, terming Google a network service provider and making it liable for all third party issues.

“We don’t have a national policy against hate speech,” cyber law expert Pavan Duggal said. “It would be interesting to know how the case develops over jurisdictions that cross national boundaries.” Union IT Secretary Jaswinder Singh said the government would respond after studying the web site and getting the court notice.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Google acquired YouTube

[Courtsey: Wall Street Journal]

With its $1.65 billion agreement to acquire YouTube Inc., Google Inc. may be able to broaden its online-advertising business and boost its video offerings to meet the rapidly changing viewing habits of consumers.

The all-stock purchase announced yesterday of closely held YouTube, a 19-month-old, San Bruno, Calif., startup with 67 employees, highlights users' growing consumption of video online and the booming sales of Web advertising. The hefty price tag also reflects the interest of other media and technology companies in acquiring YouTube as a way to jump-start their online-video efforts.  

The deal -- the largest in Google's eight-year history -- marries Google's massive collection of computers, data lines and systems for serving up online ads from hundreds of thousands of advertisers with YouTube's leading position in playing videos for users on the Web. It could transform Google, of Mountain View, Calif., into a bigger power broker for the distribution of video online, following the mixed track record of its own online-video efforts. YouTube has said that consumers view videos through its service, ranging from homemade videos to movie clips, more than 100 million times daily.

"This is going to allow us to continue to develop features for our community and our partners, allow us to sharpen our focus," said YouTube Chief Executive Chad Hurley in an interview. "We'll be able to leverage the technology and resources of Google to supercharge our efforts in those areas."

[Fast Forward]

The acquisition could also boost Google's ambitions to significantly broaden its ad-brokering activities beyond simple text ads on Web pages to larger amounts of video advertising online. The Web-search company places ads, often targeted by specific keywords such as "Chicago hotel," on its own and partner sites using an automated online system and has said it intends to also broker ads in radio, print media and television.

"We believe the combination of Google and YouTube will create this very new and interesting global media platform for users, content providers and advertisers all around the world," said Google CEO Eric Schmidt during a conference call announcing the deal.


Yahoo Inc., News Corp. and Microsoft Corp. were among the other companies that expressed interest in acquiring YouTube, say people familiar with the matter. YouTube had earlier passed on a lower offer from Google and held acquisition discussions with Yahoo, which tendered an offer in recent weeks, say people familiar with the matter. Yahoo's offer, valid for 24-hours, expired amid its concerns about copyright- and revenue-related issues though talks continued after the expiration, one of the people says.

A Microsoft spokeswoman said the company "evaluated acquiring this type of technology several months ago" but decided to build its own service, a test version of which opened recently.

Meanwhile, Google significantly increased its offer and deal talks between the two gathered intensity late Tuesday, when Google's Mr. Drummond and YouTube Chief Financial Officer Gideon Yu drafted a term sheet, a person familiar with the matter says. In parallel, the two companies worked to complete content and ad-revenue-sharing partnerships with the major music companies and CBS Corp. that were announced yesterday morning.

News Corp. sniffed around YouTube as recently as last week, but never made a firm offer because the start-up said it was not for sale, say people familiar with the matter. On Friday, when the news of the Google negotiations surfaced, News Corp. sent a letter to YouTube asking for an opportunity to participate in the sale process, according to the familiar people. YouTube didn't respond, these people said. Behind the scenes, Google's deal to purchase YouTube is threatening to create a rift between Google and News Corp., which jointly made headlines in August with an ad-brokering deal under which Google guaranteed revenue of $900 million over three and a half years to News Corp. for its MySpace social-networking service and other sites.

read full story at

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Foul play: Your Google Video will play on any player but Windows Media Player

Google Video as you know lets you download the video to your system.

So the file downloaded(*.gvb) is not the video file but the URl locator to the actual media file which Google Player (VLC) use to download the actual *.gvi ( actually avi ) file.

This file you can play on any system any media player provided that they have required codec. But google wont let the Windows Media Player play this file (healthy competition huh)

So they changed the fourcc code of the avi sorry gvi to some junk so that WMP wont play it but as other player have their own parser for reading the header of the media file they just ignore that code and not worry about it......................................

Google knows it of course so they became evil and dint let Windows users with WMP see their vids. Is it fair to say Google is no evil any more

Read the original story at

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Top Business schools

Michigan has retaken the top spot this year. But the winner's circle also includes two newcomers.

Reference :

Download the complete ranking from WSJ.


[Quoted from Wall Street Journal]

The lead in The Wall Street Journal/Harris Interactive ranking of America's top National business schools seesawed again this year, with the University of Michigan reclaiming the No. 1 spot from Dartmouth College.

Michigan and Dartmouth are clearly the schools to beat, with Dartmouth having achieved a first-place finish in three of the Journal's six annual rankings and Michigan now having scored two wins. (The University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School is the only school that has succeeded in besting Dartmouth and Michigan.)

Our other two rankings produced some surprises, as two less prominent newcomers placed first in the Regional and International categories. Arizona's Thunderbird moves up from No. 4 last year in the ranking of regional U.S. schools, while ESADE in Barcelona, Spain, leads a group of European, North American and Central American schools in the International ranking.

Michigan owes its first-place showing in part to its emphasis on practical experience in its M.B.A. program. Recruiters say they prize Michigan graduates because they can connect theory with practice. As for Thunderbird and ESADE, they share an international focus and even happen to be partners through a dual-degree program of study at both schools.

A commitment to ethics and corporate social responsibility also distinguishes all three of the top-ranked schools -- from Michigan's student projects in developing countries to ESADE's "Christian humanism" tradition of management education to the oath of ethical conduct signed by Thunderbird graduates.

Looking Beyond Academics

The three rankings measure how appealing business schools are to the corporate recruiters who hire their M.B.A. graduates. What differentiates each ranking is the type of recruiters the schools attract. But the ratings of all 85 schools across the three rankings are based on how recruiters evaluated them on the same 21 attributes, as well as the recruiter's intention to return and hire a school's graduates over the next two years. In addition, the rankings include a "mass appeal" factor, which is the number of recruiters that the National and Regional schools attract. For the International ranking, the mass-appeal measure was changed this year so that schools can qualify for it only if they attract recruiters who place a large number of their graduates in jobs outside the U.S.

Harris Interactive conducted the online survey of 4,125 recruiters (up from 3,267 respondents in 2005) from Dec. 13, 2005, to March 16, 2006 -- with respondents rating only schools where they said they had recent recruiting experience. To qualify for any of the three rankings, a school had to receive at least 20 recruiter ratings.

The rankings aren't necessarily a reflection of the schools with the most celebrated academic reputations. Although the 21 attributes include the curriculum and faculty, academic quality isn't the primary concern of most survey respondents. Instead, they care most about the M.B.A. students' interpersonal and communication skills, teamwork orientation, personal ethics and integrity, analytical and problem-solving abilities, and work ethic.

That helps explain why some of the most renowned schools, such as Harvard and Stanford, don't rank as highly in the survey as their academic stature might suggest. While recognizing the brainpower of their students and faculty, recruiters complain that they often find graduates of some of the most prestigious institutions more arrogant and less collegial than the M.B.A.s they meet at other schools. Some of the large, elite schools also don't seem to enjoy as many close, personal relationships with recruiters as smaller M.B.A. programs do, and their career-service offices tend to receive lower scores for customer service.

Overall, the survey respondents appeared happier with the schools this year, giving generally higher ratings on the 21 attributes and indicating that they plan to continue recruiting at the same schools. More than half of the recruiters said they believe the quality of M.B.A. graduates is the same or better today compared with past years.



Read the full story at :

Wednesday, September 20, 2006



It seems so dreadful to stay a bachelor, to become an old man struggling to keep one's

dignity while begging for an invitation whenever one wants to spend an evening in

company, to lie ill gazing for weeks into an empty room from the corner where one's bed

is, always having to say good night at the front door, never to run up a stairway beside

one's wife, to have only side doors in one's room leading into other people's living rooms,

having to carry one's supper home in one's hand, having to admire other people's children

and not even being allowed to go on saying: "I have none myself," modeling oneself in

appearance and behavior on one or two bachelors remembered from one's youth.

That's how it will be, except that in reality, both today and later, one will stand there with

a palpable body and a real head, a real forehead, that is, for smiting on with one's hand. 


Franz Kafka

Friday, September 15, 2006

Live Search engine can do math for you

So has a math engine working behind the scene. Give it a BODMAS equation and you have the answer.

Give it a try...

type 25 * 5 + 45 / 78 - x + 9.2 = 56.7769231 on ur favorite search engine...*+5+%2B+4... and find out the answer

where as google gives you no result.


So LIVE is more intelligent and smarter than google. Isn't it? ;)

Thursday, September 14, 2006

No more youtube Just msn SoapBox

Microsoft launched a new service called SoapBox to compete with video uploading service like youtube and Google Video.

So be ready with your cameras to shoot the video and upload it to the SoapBox

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Wearing hemets 'more dangerous'

Cyclists who wear protective helmets are more likely to be knocked down by passing vehicles, new research from Bath University suggests.

The study found drivers tend to pass closer when overtaking cyclists wearing helmets than those who are bare-headed.

Dr Ian Walker was struck by a bus and a lorry during the experiment. He was wearing a helmet both times. Ian Walker on his bike

But the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents said tests have shown helmets protect against injuries.

To carry out the research, Dr Walker used a bike fitted with a computer and an ultrasonic distance sensor to find drivers were twice as likely to get close to the bicycle, at an average of 8.5cm, when he wore a helmet.

The experiment, which recorded 2,500 overtaking motorists in Salisbury and Bristol, was funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council.

Dr Walker, a traffic psychologist from the University's Department of Psychology, said: "This study shows that when drivers overtake a cyclist, the margin for error they leave is affected by the cyclist's appearance.

Ian Walker

This study suggests wearing a helmet might make a collision more likely

Dr Ian Walker

"By leaving the cyclist less room, drivers reduce the safety margin that cyclists need to deal with obstacles in the road, such as drain covers and potholes, as well as the margin for error in their own judgements.

"We know helmets are useful in low-speed falls, and so definitely good for children, but whether they offer any real protection to somebody struck by a car is very controversial.

"Either way, this study suggests wearing a helmet might make a collision more likely in the first place," he added.

Dr Walker thinks the reason drivers give less room to cyclists wearing helmets is because they see them as "Lycra-clad street warriors" and believe they are more predictable than those without.

He suggests different types of road users need to understand each other.

"Most adult cyclists know what it is like to drive a car, but relatively few motorists ride bicycles in traffic, and so don't know the issues cyclists face.

"There should definitely be more information on the needs of other road users when people learn to drive and practical experience would be even better."

Wig wearing

To test another theory, Dr Walker donned a long wig to see whether there was any difference in passing distance when drivers thought they were overtaking what appeared to be a female cyclist.

While wearing the wig, drivers gave him an average of 14cm more space when passing.

In future research, Dr Walker hopes to discover whether this was because female riders are seen as less predictable than male riders or because women are not seen riding bicycles as often as men on the UK's roads.

However, a spokesman for the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents insisted: "We wouldn't recommend that people stop wearing helmets because of this research. Helmets have been shown to reduce the likelihood of head and brain injuries in a crash.

"[The research] highlights a gain in vulnerability of cyclists on our roads and drivers of all types need to take more care when around them."

Pirate in jail

The owner of one the US's largest Internet software piracy Web sites was sentenced yesterday to more than seven years in prison.

Story (Reference) :

Nathan Peterson, 27, of Los Angeles, sold products copyrighted by companies such as Microsoft Corp. and Adobe Systems Inc. at a huge discount on his site,, prosecutors said. The site began operating in 2003 and was shut down by the FBI in February 2005.

In addition to Friday's 87-month sentence, U.S. District Court Judge T.S. Ellis III ordered Peterson to pay restitution of more than $5.4 million and to forfeit the proceeds of his scheme, which included homes, cars and a boat.

Peterson pleaded guilty in December in Alexandria to two counts of copyright infringement.

Justice Department and industry officials called the case one of the largest involving Internet software piracy ever prosecuted.

Last month, Ellis sentenced a Florida man to six years in prison for selling illegal copies of computer programs on another site,

Monday, August 21, 2006

Microsoft IDC celebrated its 8th Anniversary on 19th August 2006

On Saturday,19th August we all at MS IDC were Rocking over the beats of Euphoria. We celebrated 8th anniversary of Microsoft India Development Center. Organized @ International convention center, Hitex, Hyderabad it was a spacial occasion for all of us to celebrate as the IDC has been expanded to the the 1K brilliant engineers.


Party Pics will be posted in the coming days...

Friday, August 18, 2006

Where will you host your project ? SourceForge or Google Or Microsoft

Seems like everyone wants to host the open source projects.

SourceForge is no doubt one of the biggest and oldest host of open source softwares. Google and Microsoft are also following the trend with the launch of CodePlex from Microsoft and Google Code.

Just a thought if they could ever compete Source Forge. All the best to both of the projects. Developers are ultimately gonna accrue something from the competition.



[Published and written Using Windows Live Writer]

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Planet is no more undefined. We've 12 of them now

Image: 12 planets

There never was a formal definition of Word "Planet" in the astorology books so IAU decided to fill the void and came up with the proposal that increases the tally of planets in our Solar System to a dozen..

This is what International Astronomical Union defined what is a plant :


(1) A planet is a celestial body that (a) has sufficient mass for its self-gravity to overcome rigid body forces so that it assumes a hydrostatic equilibrium (nearly round) shape1, and (b) is in orbit around a star, and is neither a star nor a satellite of a planet.2

(2) We distinguish between the eight classical planets discovered before 1900, which move in nearly circular orbits close to the ecliptic plane, and other planetary objects in orbit around the Sun. All of these other objects are smaller than Mercury. We recognize that Ceres is a planet by the above scientific definition. For historical reasons, one may choose to distinguish Ceres from the classical planets by referring to it as a "dwarf planet."3

(3) We recognize Pluto to be a planet by the above scientific definition, as are one or more recently discovered large Trans-Neptunian Objects. In contrast to the classical planets, these objects typically have highly inclined orbits with large eccentricities and orbital periods in excess of 200 years. We designate this category of planetary objects, of which Pluto is the prototype, as a new class that we call "plutons".

(4) All non-planet objects orbiting the Sun shall be referred to collectively as "Small Solar System Bodies".4

1 This generally applies to objects with mass above 5 x 1020 kg and diameter greater than 800 km. An IAU process will be established to evaluate planet candidates near this boundary.

2 For two or more objects comprising a multiple object system, the primary object is designated a planet if it independently satisfies the conditions above. A secondary object satisfying these conditions is also designated a planet if the system barycentre resides outside the primary. Secondary objects not satisfying these criteria are "satellites". Under this definition, Pluto's companion Charon is a planet, making Pluto-Charon a double planet.

3 If Pallas, Vesta, and/or Hygeia are found to be in hydrostatic equilibrium, they are also planets, and may be referred to as "dwarf planets".

4 This class currently includes most of the Solar System asteroids, near-Earth objects (NEOs), Mars-, Jupiter- and Neptune-Trojan asteroids, most Centaurs, most Trans-Neptunian Objects (TNOs), and comets. In the new nomenclature the concept "minor planet" is not used.


As a result of this definition we have 12 planets now which includes :

  • The asteroid Ceres, which is round, would be recast as a dwarf planet in the new scheme.
  • Pluto would remain a planet, and its moon Charon would be reclassified as a planet. Both would be called "plutons," however, to distinguish them from the eight "classical" planets.
  • A far-out Pluto-sized object known as 2003 UB313, currently nicknamed Xena, would also be called a pluton.


Wednesday, August 09, 2006

I love this company

I Love this company. See the enthu of the guy..

You know who he is ??

Microsoft Re-Designs the Ipod Packaging

Funny video LOL

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Krrish caught the attention of western blogs

One of the most viewed blog talks about a blollywood movie Krrish in their blog. This is a huge success to the bollyowood.

I still didn't get a chance to see the movie, but I still dont think that it should be anyway comparable to the hollywood's productions.
the link

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Orkut is down

Orkut is down tonight............

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Duet Release

Finally we released something..........

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Old memories

Originally uploaded by Neeraj Rawat.
This is the place where we use to go some weekend.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Reservation Issue

On the burning issue of reservation someone came up with the following idea.

I think we should have job reservations in all the fields. I completely support the PM and all the politicians for promoting this.

Let's start the reservation with our cricket team.

We should have 10 percent reservation for Muslims. 30 percent for OBC, SC/ST like that. Cricket rules should be modified accordingly.
The boundary circle should be reduced for an SC/ST player.
The four hit by an OBC player should be considered as a six and a six hit by a OBC player should be counted as 8 runs.
An OBC player scoring 60 runs should be declared as a century.
We should influence ICC and make rules so that the pace bowlers like Shoaib Akhtar should not bowl fast balls to our OBC player.
Bowlers should bowl maximum speed of 80 kilometer per hour to an OBC player.
Any delivery above this speed should be made illegal.

Also we should have reservation in Olympics.
In the 100 meters race, an OBC player should be given a gold medal if he runs 80 meters. There can be reservation in Government jobs also.
Let's recruit SC/ST and OBC pilots for aircrafts which are carrying the ministers and politicians (that can really help the country.. )
Ensure that only SC/ST and OBC doctors do the operations for the ministers and other politicians. (Another way of saving the country..)

Let's be creative and think of ways and means to guide INDIA forward...
Let's show the world that INDIA is a GREAT country.
Let's be proud of being an INDIAN.. May the good breed of politicians like ARJUN SINGH long live... So, what do you think, huh???

Protest against the reservation should be continued. These bloody politicians are trying to break the unity of India as a nation. They are the persons who make people of India fight with each other and play their election game on top of this.

Friday, May 19, 2006

Evil vs. Good cont.

Something from the blog post of Brian Krebs from Washington Post

In the following snippet from an online conversation Reshef had with a sponsor known as "ATM," the spam operator reluctantly acknowledges that scrubbing his lists of Blue Security users' addresses is the most expedient solution.

ATM: We want to understand, who is attacking us? You? Competitors? Or both? What do you want, to stop your attack? My tech people till now was able to stop your attacks, but I and you want to solve this problem peacefully.

Blue Security: We don't want to harm to your business, we only want you to stop sending spam to our users.

ATM: Who are your users? List of emails, to pass to my affiliates to stop spamming? But first, answer my question - botnet of 15k IP addresses is it yours?

BS: This is not botnet, this is 15,000 of our users from about 500,000. We have program (free/open source) which can automatically clean your email list.

ATM agrees to use the e-mail list-scrubbing program, and asks Reshef for a copy of his customer list. Reshef requests ATM's e-mail address, but the spam sponsor suggests other means of communication, ending the conversation with this priceless quote:

"I'm sick with the spam in my mail boxes, so I don't use email any more."

But one pharmacy spam sponsor who calls himself "Pharma Master" didn't exactly appreciate Blue Security's tactics, and launched a volley of distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks against the company's Web site that eventually cascaded across the Web, knocking dozens of sites and thousands of blogs offline for hours.

Pharma Master: i am discussing daily with 10,000 of people and the biggest companys in the world. i know one thing which i already told you, u started with my and my people and my staff, you shall get hurt first to feel who we are. and when i'll make sure you got the point of who we are then we can talk but i dont feel like you guys really in mood of something. Bleusecurity.con is down now that's not bad how bout to keep all your system down for few months? How bout each time you play games i'll hit your company?

Here the spammer is saying he's willing to cover the costs of his sponsors being knocked offline after they send spam to Blue Security's members: "How bout each time you trying to screw someone i'll pay to sponosrs the money they loosing if they do?

Reshef didn't have much more to say to Pharma Master, and later decided he had lost the fight against the spammers. As of today, Blue Security will no longer be offering its services. Reshef said the company made the decision not to continue with the service out of fear of even more crippling attacks against his company that could further affect other sites. He said the spammers threatened to increase the volume of their attacks, and to write computer viruses that seek to attack security weaknesses in his company's software, thereby targeting the company's individual users themselves.

I can't say I'm surprised. It was only a matter of time before some spammer decided it was worth paying a few thousand dollars to rent out a botnet of 20,000 hacked home computers and take this company offline. The fact that a spammer can hold millions of Web sites hostage just because he is upset that someone is meddling in his business is disturbing.

Still, this saga is yet another reminder that while the Internet is an incredibly versatile, resilient and adaptive network, the underlying framework that the commercial Web rests upon was never designed with mutual trust and security in mind. As such, it will take a lot more than clever gimmickry to give businesses and consumers the upper hand over Internet hucksters, spammers and criminals.

Courtsey :

Evil vs. Good : Evil won the war this time

A company that was protecting its customer from spammers by spamming them and making a denial of service attack has been thrown in the towel following a massive attack by a Russian spam organization.

Here is the story from Washinton post .

Eran Reshef had an idea in the battle against spam e-mail that seemed to be working: he fought spam with spam. Today, he'll give up the fight.

Reshef's Silicon Valley company, Blue Security Inc., simply asked the spammers to stop sending junk e-mail to his clients. But because those sort of requests tend to be ignored, Blue Security took them to a new level: it bombarded the spammers with requests from all 522,000 of its customers at the same time.

That led to a flood of Internet traffic so heavy that it disrupted the spammers' ability to send e-mails to other victims -- a crippling effect that caused a handful of known spammers to comply with the requests.

Then, earlier this month, a Russia-based spammer counterattacked, Reshef said. Using tens of thousands of hijacked computers, the spammer flooded Blue Security with so much Internet traffic that it blocked legitimate visitors from going to, as well as to other Web sites. The spammer also sent another message: Cease operations or Blue Security customers will soon find themselves targeted with virus-filled attacks.

Today, Reshef will wave a virtual white flag and surrender. The company will shut down this morning and its Web site will display a message informing its customers about the closure.

"It's clear to us that [quitting] would be the only thing to prevent a full-scale cyber-war that we just don't have the authority to start," Reshef said. "Our users never signed up for this kind of thing."

Security experts say the move marks a disheartening development in the ongoing battle by computer users, online businesses and law enforcement against those who clutter e-mail inboxes with a continuous glut of ads for drugs, porn and get-rich-quick schemes. According to Symantec Corp., maker of the popular Norton antivirus software products, more than 50 percent of all e-mail sent in the latter half of 2005 was spam.

Alan Paller, director of research for the Bethesda-based SANS Institute, a computer security training group, said extortion attacks have exploded in the past few years. With Blue Security, Paller said, the attackers' extortionist demands were that the company merely stop interfering in a multimillion-dollar spam operation.

"We're hearing from federal law enforcement that they are getting more than one new case of online extortion each day," Paller said.

The spammer's counterattack generated so much Internet traffic that it also affected other sites, including Six Apart Ltd., a San Francisco-based company that runs millions of Web sites through its TypePad and LiveJournal blogging services. The attack also shut down operations for roughly 12 hours at Tucows Inc., a Toronto-based Internet services company that helped manage Blue Security's site.

Tucows chief executive Elliot Noss called the attack "by far the largest the company had ever seen," and said that only a handful of companies have the infrastructure in place to withstand such an assault, much less a more powerful one.

"This attack really was like trying to take out a mosquito with an atomic bomb," Noss said.

The FBI is investigating the attacks, according to Six Apart, but agency officials would not confirm a federal investigation yesterday.

Todd Underwood, chief of operations and security for Renesys Corp., a company that monitors Internet connectivity, called the attack against Blue Security "unsurprising but sad."

The innovative approach in the fight against spam caught the attention of investors in 2004, when Blue Security received more than $4 million in venture capital, but critics questioned whether the company could win such a massive battle.

"When the company's founders first approached the broader anti-spam community and asked them what they thought of the idea, everyone said this was a terrible idea and that they would eventually cause a lot of collateral damage," Underwood said. "But it's also extremely unfortunate, because it shows how much the spammers are winning this battle."

Courtsey :

Symantec sues Microsoft

Surfing round the net I found this information.

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Symantec Corp. sued software rival Microsoft Corp. on Thursday, accusing it of misappropriating trade secrets to develop its own competing features and products, including the next version of Windows.

The lawsuit filed in federal court in Seattle charges the world's biggest software maker with misappropriating intellectual property and breach of contract related to a licensing deal with Veritas, which Symantec acquired last year.

It also seeks an injunction that would block the further development, sale or distribution of Vista -- the already- delayed next version of Windows -- and other products until all Symantec intellectual property is removed.

"Microsoft's pervasive and continuing disregard of Symantec's intellectual property and contract rights has irreparably harmed Symantec and constitutes trade secret misappropriation," the complaint said.

Microsoft said in statement it worked hard to try to resolve the dispute and that it acted within its rights in the contract.

"We are confident that our actions are wholly consistent with the legal agreements between Veritas and Microsoft and that these claims will be shown to be without merit," Microsoft said.

The dispute pits two of the biggest consumer software makers against each other and centers on a Symantec product called Volume Manager, which allows operating systems to store and manipulate large amounts of data.

The complaint accuses Microsoft of improperly incorporating the technology into its own operating system products and seeks compensation as well as the removal of the intellectual property from the company's offerings.

Copyright 2006 Reuters

Link :

Friday, May 12, 2006

Word 2007 includes blogging support.

It’s a great feature that I’m trying to test from within Word 2007. Now I don’t need to go to the blogging portal or use some other blogging tool. I can just write/edit in the word and click publish. Wow Cool product.

Kudos to Word team they have done a nice job. It has a cool look some big icons I’m not familiar with(but they looks good).

If I could publish this post successfully I’m not gonna use any other tool for blogging and I’m sure you won’t either.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006 Still sending the clear text password to the server

I was just testing if still sends the passwords in clear text. I found that out once in my college days while sniffing the college network. I thought that they might have patched it so today while playing around with gmail's I thought to give a try And see what I found. This is the code from the home page of

Blogger sucks it didn't lemme format my data according to me. Anyway

It must be very clear if you ever read HTML. It just calls the login.cgi and provides the User name and Password in clear text (using POST method).

Look at the Request object your browser is sending

POST /cgi-bin/login.cgi HTTP/1.0
Accept: image/gif, image/x-xbitmap, image/jpeg, image/pjpeg, application/, application/, application/msword, */*
Accept-Language: en-us
Content-Type: application/x-www-form-urlencoded
UA-CPU: x86
Pragma: no-cache
User-Agent: Mozilla/4.0 (compatible; MSIE 6.0; Windows NT 5.2; SV1; .NET CLR 1.1.4322; InfoPath.1; .NET CLR 2.0.50727)
Content-Length: 60
Proxy-Connection: Keep-Alive
Cookie: Some Cookie string


So now anyone who can read your data have your password. It's not that hard to sniff the data. If you are using LAN (using hubs) anyone can read your data. Beaware if you are in a cyber cafe, your neighbour might be reading your emails or may be sending emails to your GF/BF.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Some Microsoft ADs

Hope you enjoy these Microsoft Advertisments

This is the banned ad of Microsoft Office

One more ad of XBox 360

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Google afraid of Microsoft Internet Explorer 7 Beta (IE7B)

Google is afraid of Microsoft in the long run for search engine champion trophy. As published in a article in the NYTimes Google started lobbying in the Washitongton against MSFT for removing MSN as default search engine provider in the IE7.
I dont why they forgot to remove Google as default seach engine in Mozilla Firefox. So funny..........................
With a $10 billion advertising market at stake, Google, the fast-rising Internet star, is raising objections to the way that it says Microsoft, the incumbent powerhouse of computing, is wielding control over Internet searching in its new Web browser.
Google, which only recently began beefing up its lobbying efforts in Washington, says it expressed concerns about competition in the Web search business in recent talks with the Justice Department and the European Commission, both of which have brought previous antitrust actions against Microsoft.
"The market favors open choice for search, and companies should compete for users based on the quality of their search services," said Marissa Mayer, the vice president for search products at Google. "We don't think it's right for Microsoft to just set the default to MSN. We believe users should choose."
Microsoft replies that Google is misreading its intentions and actions. It says the default settings in the browser, Internet Explorer 7, are easy to change. And it says the product was designed with consumers and many partners in mind — even though it might not be to the liking of Google, the leading search engine.
Companies often talk with antitrust officials, and the talks do not imply that an investigation is imminent. But they do indicate that Google is pursuing every option in its escalating rivalry with Microsoft, which has already led to some public battles.
Last December, Google outbid Microsoft to remain the primary search service on America Online, paying $1 billion and taking a 5 percent stake in AOL. Last year, Microsoft sued Google to stop a star computer scientist and manager at Microsoft, Kai-Fu Lee, from working on search technology at Google. The suit was settled, and Mr. Lee runs Google's operations in China.

Microsoft has lost some ground in the browser market in the last year, mainly to Firefox, which is a Google ally. But Microsoft still holds more than 80 percent of the market. And Internet Explorer 7 is expected to be extremely popular because it is an improvement over Microsoft's previous browser, and because Microsoft will promote downloads of it and include it in Windows Vista.
That gives Microsoft the potential to use the browser to steer substantial traffic, and business, to MSN and away from rivals. MSN handled 11 percent of searches in the United States in March, down slightly from a year earlier, according to Nielsen/Net Ratings, a market research firm. That put it well behind Google, which had a 49 percent share, and Yahoo, with 22 percent.

Read :

Amazon finds better than search choose Microsoft's search engine over Google.The Amazon division's chief, David Tennenhouse, said Google search was removed from the site at the weekend after the contract expired. But Microsoft still has a long way to go to challenge market leader Google and smaller rival Yahoo.
Read more at :
Google is more than afraid with Microsoft push on search business. It's apparent from their recent struggle over default search engine provider in IE7Beta. I'll blog it in the other post.

[SNIP URL=] Inc. said yesterday that it has dropped Google Inc. as the provider of search engine results on its Web site in favor of one powered by Microsoft, a move that signals a small rebellion against Google but a large gain for Microsoft.
Last week, Amazon quietly removed the "powered by Google" wording near its search box when the company's contract with the search giant ended, according to Amazon. On Sunday, Amazon visitors were directed to its own search site, called, to scour the Web.
Although they are not labeled as such, A9's search results are now provided by Windows Live Search, Microsoft's new search engine, which is still in its testing phase.
"Our engineers have done some testing and evaluation, and overall we concluded this was an interesting option to discover information," said David Tennenhouse, chief executive of A9, a subsidiary of that provides search and mapping results.
Asked whether Microsoft's search engine is better than Google's, Tennenhouse said, "It will be up to users to try that out."
Microsoft recently announced plans to spend more than $2.4 billion to invest in the company's online efforts, where it has been slow to recognize the fast-paced growth of consumer-driven Web sites.
Microsoft said the win is part of a larger effort for the software giant to become more aggressive in providing search results on other companies' Web sites. Many sites note that their search capabilities are powered by Google or Yahoo. Few give that credit to Microsoft.
"It's very important for us to reach out to different partners in the search space," said Justin Osmer, senior product manager of Windows Live Search, adding that Microsoft cannot just offer search results on its own Web sites.
"It's going to be an area where we're going to continue to focus and continue to expand," he said.

Google earning money from your typos

You never knew that just a typo can get some money to Google. Read the news at
Google Inc., which runs the largest ad network on the Internet, is making millions of dollars a year by filling otherwise unused Web sites with ads. In many instances, these ad-filled pages appear when users mistype an Internet address, such as ""

This new form of advertising is turning into a booming business that some say is cluttering the Internet and could be violating trademark rules. It also has sparked a speculative frenzy of investment in domain names, pushing the value of some beyond the $1 million mark.

Microsoft release a tool called strider which can be used to see the culprit behind the scene. Most of the time it's "No evil" Google.
Read at : Google's single largest Adsense revenue source is mistyped domain names.

You can watch the Adword abuse video at


Thursday, April 27, 2006

Google sketch up

I dont know where google is heading towards but one thing for sure they are soon gonna be the indutry leader in fastest software development at least smallest s/w development life cycle.
They are releasing product almost on a daily basis and nobody knows for sure (ofcourse except google themselves) who they are competing with. Yesterday they added a new 3D designing tool in the list of the s/w from their labs. Dont know if they bought it or developed it but it certainly is a PR+ tool.
[Update] Google bought it not developed it just as I thought it earlier after seeing the logo of the 3D warehouse.

Announcement From GOOGLE :

The new 3D Warehouse is an online location where you can find and share 3D models.

SketchUp Hand Icon From within SketchUp, you can search among thousands of models stored in the 3D Warehouse.
SketchUp Hand Icon You can download the 3D models you like best to use in SketchUp or view in Google Earth.
SketchUp Hand Icon You can also upload your favorite 3D models into the 3D Warehouse to share them with your fellow designers.
SketchUp Hand Icon The models in the 3D Warehouse include everything you need for your own 3D world, including buildings, houses, bridges, statues, sculptures, couches, cars, people, pets, and much more.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Kashmir fact

What is the authorities answer to this video. I dont want to ask the question about it.
This is you have to comment about.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006


Dhoomricated : This word means "Filled with Smoke"
Origin - Hindi word Dhoomra(Smoke)

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Riya.Com is up for its beta customers is open for its beta customers. I was also the one lucky guy to get it for testing. Right now I'm trying it lets see how it performs. May be they guys did it better after getting rejected from Google.

This is not just another photo uploading service but an intelligent application that recognize your face. After uploading and with a little practise it recognize me in three pics and I think thats fairly good. keep up the good work guys.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

On10 More hype than Origami

Robert scoble talks about 10. A sister of Channel 9.
This is meant for geeks to show their videos. 10 is built from the ground up using ASP.NET 2.0, SQL Server 2005 with a simple, easy to use design. Jeff sandquist talks about it in his blog.

Discuss 10 at Channel 9

Saturday, March 11, 2006

Is this the Microsoft pay guidelines

I myself am not aware about the salary about my colleague or boss. But somebody outsider does. What do you think. Dont ask me if they are real.
MS Compensation

Link to original image

Read the story at my previous post or
here(Seattle Intelligence)

Controversy over MS IDC and outsourcing

Now they are complaining against offshoring their job. Read the story from SEATTLE POST-INTELLIGENCER

A Seattle-based labor union is seeking to use newly obtained internal Microsoft Corp. documents to fuel the debate over outsourcing and draw attention to its assertion that the company is shifting fundamental work offshore.

Microsoft rejects the claim and says a certain amount of overseas contracting is natural given the company's worldwide presence.

The Washington Alliance of Technology Workers says it obtained the previously confidential Microsoft contracts, spreadsheets and phone lists this month from a source inside the firm. The documents describe a series of agreements between Microsoft and outsourcing firms in such countries as India.

One conclusion the union draws from the papers: More than 1,100 people work for Microsoft in India under contracts with outsourcing firms, in addition to the 970 direct employees the company acknowledges. That brings Microsoft's total presence in India to more than 2,000 people -- significantly larger than previously known.

"They clearly have not been forthcoming about the extent of their offshore outsourcing," said Marcus Courtney, president of the union known as WashTech.

Microsoft said it doesn't disclose the size of its contract work force in India or anywhere else, because the figures can fluctuate significantly. But the company disputed the union's broader assertions about the role of its overseas contracts.

"These accusations don't reflect an understanding of the global nature of our business," said Microsoft spokeswoman Stacy Drake. "As a global company with operations in more than 80 countries, we absolutely work with partner companies around the world."

She noted that top Microsoft executives have said repeatedly that they plan to keep the majority of the company's core software development work in the United States.

During the fiscal year ended June 30, about 4 percent of Microsoft's research-and-development budget went to contract work by outside firms, Drake said. About 1 percent of the R&D budget went to work by contractors outside the United States.

Examples of work for which the company has recently contracted with Indian outsourcing firms include the development of a promotional computer program that advertises the company's software. In another case, Microsoft contracted with a company to replicate problems reported by customers and provide the information to Microsoft employees, who analyze and fix the problems.

Microsoft uses contract workers for "projects -- not products. There's a big difference there," said S. "Soma" Somasegar, the Microsoft corporate vice president who oversees the company's 6-year-old India Development Center in Hyderabad, India.

"Anything that is core to what we are doing, core to our mission, we are going to do it in Microsoft," Somasegar said in a recent interview.

WashTech's Courtney, however, pointed out that the documents leaked to the union include long lists of outsourcing contracts that refer in two instances to Longhorn, the code name for the next version of Windows. One contract with Infosys Technologies is described as "Longhorn Migration Guide," and one with Wipro Ltd. describes testing for Longhorn and other products.

Courtney called it "a red flag" suggesting that fundamental work on the next operating system is being outsourced overseas.

But one analyst said the descriptions don't seem to refer to fundamental development work. "Based on the names of these contracts, I don't see that you can reach that conclusion," said Michael Cherry, an analyst at Directions on Microsoft, a Kirkland-based research firm.

Microsoft's Drake said the company uses employees, not contract workers, for "all intellectual property work," including the design and creation of Windows and other products that the company sells. "All development work on Longhorn is done by Microsoft employees, the vast majority in Redmond," she said.

It's the second time in recent months that WashTech has obtained documents outlining Microsoft's outsourcing practices. Last month, the union publicized two Microsoft outsourcing contracts, including job descriptions, seeking to show that high-end jobs are prone to outsourcing.

As part of its broader campaign against outsourcing, WashTech also is running an ad in The New York Times today urging Congress to protect technology jobs. The ad doesn't mention Microsoft.

The latest documents received by WashTech also include a recent agreement between Microsoft and a Russian outsourcing company, Luxoft. Courtney said the deal shows that Microsoft is developing "a global supply chain of labor." Drake described the company's relationship with Luxoft as new and said the firm isn't yet doing any work for Microsoft.

Courtney said the union received the latest documents in early July, from the same source as before, but waited to provide them to reporters until this week to coincide with the recent release of Microsoft's hiring projections and the company's annual meeting with financial analysts, to take place today on its Redmond campus.

Microsoft last week said it plans to hire 6,000 to 7,000 employees worldwide during the next year, including 3,000 in the Puget Sound region, but a significant number of those people will fill jobs vacated by others, rather than new positions, making the net gain in employment smaller. During the past year, for example, Microsoft hired about 3,000 people in the region, but less than half of those filled new positions, and the company's local employment expanded by about 1,400 people.

That is much smaller than the company's growth during the economic boom of the late 1990s.

"Microsoft has significantly reduced its hiring," Courtney said.

Rising Frustration with Microsoft’s Compensation and Review System

Wash Tech a seattle labor union got hold over some Microsoft confidential documents and now trying to unionizing microsoft. Read the story from Washtech

Defections by high-level engineers have stung Microsoft in recent months, prompting questions about a rush of creative minds for the door. One explanation is the Redmond software giant has grown too big and cumbersome to keep its top engineers happy and productive.
But the star engineers who are jumping to younger technology companies, such as Google and Yahoo, aren’t the only employees who are disgruntled with day-to-day operations.
Internal Microsoft documents obtained by WashTech News show that Microsoft salaries have been stagnant or nudged only slightly higher over the past two years. Comments from current and former employees about the company’s compensation and performance review system suggest a growing level of frustration among rank-and-file workers.

The documents outline 20 salary grade levels with a low, medium and high range of pay for 2004 and 2006. A software design engineer in Test, for example, might start at level “58,” earning about $67,000. An employee at the Product Manager level could earn a $74,000 base at level “59;” and a Program Manager might start at level “62,” earning a mid-range annual salary of $99,000.
Some employees have access to pay levels, but others do not. And although most are aware of the different pay levels, some have only a vague understanding of how the system works as a whole. At Microsoft there is an unspoken code that co-workers not share compensation information with each other.
What is causing considerably more ire than pay levels, however, is a performance review ranking system that uses a bell-curve model to decide who gets high scores and who takes the low ones.
Microsoft Corp. has over 60,000 employees, and like almost all large corporations, it uses a performance review process to rate them. The idea behind any corporate performance review system is to provide an accurate and fair assessment of employee contributions, but some employees say Microsoft’s system promotes politics over fair reviews.
According to employees, who said they would be fired if they spoke on the record, the annual review amounts to little more than a closed-door popularity contest in which managers “fight” for higher scores for their team, or defer to higher-level decision makers who mandate how many workers drop to the bottom of the review scale.
One employee in the company’s Mobile and Embedded Devices group said when it comes to her review score, “my performance is about 10 percent of the whole equation.”
Another employee denounced a compensation system that is “capricious in its tolerance of managers who corrupt the system for their personal gain,” and blamed consecutive low-rankings on a “well-entrenched culture of favoritism.”
She said that even though she had received division awards for good work, two consecutive low review scores blocked her from moving to another, less-politically driven team, and the low reviews exclude her from getting any raises. Now her only option, she said, is to leave the company.
Microsoft spokesman Lou Gellos said the company conducts an annual poll of its employees, and that it was aware of the “different feelings” about the performance review system.
“The theme of this is something that is not new. We’re aware of what employees feel about this issue and others,” Gellos said in answer to a question about the level of frustration among employees.
Gellos said senior vice president Lisa Brummel, who was promoted to Human Resources Director in April last year, has been conducting an open door “listening tour” over the past month to solicit feedback from employees, and that compensation is high on her list. Gellos stressed that Brummel’s listening tour wasn’t an exercise, and that there would be action once sufficient information is collected.
Behind closed doors
In many groups, an employee’s review score may have less to do with their performance than their popularity, or their manager’s ability to negotiate to give out more high review scores. Another variable is when a marketing manager who does not have the technical background to fairly assess technical work is expected to review individual contributors in their team.
Review scores range from 2.5 to 5.0, but the process by which scores are arrived at occurs behind closed doors, employees said.
A writer who has worked at Microsoft for over six years, first as a contractor and now as a full-time employee, said her team numbers “have to be distributed in some way along a pseudo-bell curve: a certain percent get 4.5, a different percent get 4.0.” She said a 3.0 score officially meets expectations, but, “we all know that 3.0 is a red flag that you're on your way out the door - after all, Microsoft wants only people who exceed expectations.”
Unfair or not, she noted, “At least the company actually has enough money to give out raises, and bonuses, and stock.”
One former employee who worked at the company for over a decade said that if someone received a low review score and was overheard by a manager discussing it with a colleague, they risked a serious reprimand or being fired.
“No one would even talk about his level,” said the former employee, who said any open discussion about pay or review scores was taboo.
Microsoft’s bell-curve grading system has been in use, in one form or another, for years. A “stack ranking” system, which identified employees as “number one” and “dead last,” was changed in recent years to a “bucket system” in which employees are placed in a categories. The change occurred after lawsuits were brought against Microsoft alleging racial and gender bias in the closed-door meetings that determined the fate of an employee.
But the system hasn’t changed much, said the employee who worked at Microsoft over 10 years. “That’s why people are so irritated; there’s no way to predict your bonus, or ranking,” he said.
“Now the big problem is that those bucket meetings are behind closed doors. And where you get ranked depends almost entirely on who your lead is, how hard they fight, and what you’re working on,” he said. “Somehow that passes legal muster.”
Another employee who has been a test developer for several years said the reviews have always been a political process.
“The more peoples’ consciousness that you can get into, managers or peers, the better your rewards,” he said.
“In other words, your performance is meaningless unless everybody knows what you've been doing and see that it has a value or benefit to them or the team.”
A blog run by an anonymous Microsoft employee argues that the company is alienating employees with the review system and needs to overhaul it or risk further damaging morale. A post on the “Mini-Microsoft” blog sums up what appears to be a growing sentiment at the company once famously known for its overachieving workforce: “Microsofties have had enough.”
Comparing Microsoft’s review system with Boeing’s
If Microsoft is one side of the economic engine in the Northwest, Boeing is the other.
Each company employs highly educated, skilled workers. But Boeing’s engineers enjoy far more transparency about pay levels and their review system due to collective bargaining agreements between Boeing and the Society of Professional Engineering Employees in Aerospace union (SPEEA). SPEEA represents about 22,000 engineers, the majority of whom work in the Northwest.
Software sales are more predictable compared to sales of 737 jets, so Microsoft employees don’t face cycles of layoffs like at Boeing, but there are similarities in the review systems. Boeing engineers are assigned "Retention" numbers, from “R1” to “R3.” The 20 percent of the group who are categorized R3 know they are the first to go in a layoff, and explanations for R designations are available to all workers.
SPEEA makes salary grade level information available to all members. Retention ratings, layoff information, and salary adjustments are also readily available. At Microsoft, annual bonuses and review scores are determined behind closed doors. The difference between the two groups is the collective bargaining power of the Boeing engineers.
According to the Mini-Microsoft blog, Microsoft employees “own their own career.” For employees who work hard and manage to land on the high side of the review scale, the statement rings true. But for others, the bureaucracy in Redmond is wearing thin:
“I love working at Microsoft but cannot stay in an environment where I am treated shabbily and afforded no opportunity to defend myself against such treatment.”

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Origami - what is the hype all about

Here is the Origami launched by Microsoft I talked about earlier in my posts.

Microsoft launched a new category of mobile computers Thursday, following several weeks of teasers on its Origami Project website. "Ultra Mobile PC" (UMPC) mini-tablets feature 7-inch touch-screen displays, built-in hard drives, WiFi, and Bluetooth wireless, and run Microsoft's Windows XP Tablet Edition operating system.

The first generation UMPCs are expected to weigh around two pounds and offer two and a half hours of operation per battery charge, and will include 30-60 GB hard drives, according to Microsoft. They are expected to be based on Intel Pentium M, Intel Celeron M, and VIA C7-M processors.
Intel showcased several UMPC prototypes based on its chips earlier this week at the Intel Developer Forum in San Francisco, and Via is showcasing a new high-integration chipset and several UMPC prototypes using its chips, at CeBIT starting today.

Bill Mitchell, corporate vice president of Microsoft's Windows Mobile Platforms Division, said he expects some UMPCs "to include additional built-in features such as GPS, a webcam, fingerprint reader, digital TV tuners, and CompactFlash and SD card readers." Additionally, "some UMPCs will be able to connect via wide-area networking."

Because they run a full Windows XP OS, UMPCs will be useful for a wide range of entertainment and computing applications. An on-screen QWERTY keyboard can be used for data entry and navigation, along with stylus-based handwriting input. The devices will also support external Bluetooth and USB keyboards as input devices.

Mitchell said he expects the devices to be popular for "mobile communications, entertainment, gaming, and new scenarios such as location-based services."

According to Mitchell, UMPCs will initially run Windows XP Tablet PC Edition 2005, along with a new software package called Microsoft Touch Pack for Windows XP. The Touch Pack "optimizes the touch screen user interface for UMPCs to simplify navigation and ease-of-use while on the go," Mitchell said.

The Touch Pack also includes a customizable Program Launcher that "organizes software programs into categories, and uses large buttons and icons to make it easy to find and open your favorite applications," according to Mitchell. Other Touch Pack features include a thumb-based on-screen keyboard, a "Brilliant Black" Windows Media Player skin, and Sudoku, a "highly entertaining touch and ink enabled game," Mitchell said.

Windows Vista will eventually replace Windows XP Tablet PC Edition as the UMPC operating system, Mitchell added.

"We anticipate pricing in the $599-999 price-range," Mitchell said. "Part of our objective in creating the original reference design for the UMPC category was to engineer a platform that's both very compact and, through careful component choice, possible to sell for $500 MSRP."

UMPCs are expected to begin shipping during 2006. Founder and Samsung plan to introduce Intel-based UMPCs in Q2, with Asus following shortly thereafter. PaceBlade and TabletKiosk also plan to introduce Via-based UMPCs in Q2, according to Mitchell.

Interestingly, several companies have already introduced or announced Windows XP-based handheld mini-tablet PCs over the past several years, including OQO and DualCor Technologies.

OQO, which has made "ultra personal computers" (UPCs) for several years, recently began shipping a UPC running Windows XP Tablet PC Edition that offers handwriting input. The 4.9 x 3.4 x 0.9-inch OQO model 01+ is based on a 1 GHz Transmeta x86 processor and is equipped with 512 MB of DRAM and a 30 GB built-in hard drive. The device boasts a 5-inch 800x480 pixel touchscreen LCD along with a slide-out QWERTY thumb keyboard, and it provides both 802.11b and Bluetooth wireless, as well as connections for USB 2.0, Firewire, and Ethernet (available via a docking cable).

For its part, start-up DualCor recently unveiled a 6.5 x 3.3 x 1.2-inch handheld that combines the functions of a Tablet PC with those of a Pocket PC Phone. Like OQO's devices, DualCor's cPC has a 5-inch 800x480 pixel touch-screen. Unlike the OQO handhelds, the unusual cPC runs two OSes -- on two processors, no less. Windows XP Tablet Edition runs on a 1.5GHz Via C7-M processor, equipped with 1GB of DDR 2 DRAM memory and a 40GB hard drive, while Windows Mobile 5.0 Pocket PC Phone Edition runs on an unspecified XScale processor equipped with 128MB of DRAM and 1GB of Flash. The device also provides two USB 2.0 type A ports, one USB 2.0 type B port, and a CompactFlash Type II slot.

OQO's UPC currently goes for a whopping $2099, roughly double the expected pricing for the initial UMPCs. Additionally, both OQO's and DualCor's devices have smaller screens -- 5 inches, vs. 7 inches for the current generation UMPCs. DualCore, which offers the advantage of including Pocket PC Phone capabilities, has disclosed neither availability nor pricing of its device.

Nokia takes a lower-end tack with its 770 Internet Tablet, which runs a Linux-based software platform and sells for around $360. The device, which features a 4.3-inch 800 x 480 pixel touch-screen LCD, is substantially smaller than the current-generation UMPC prototypes. The 770 boasts built-in WiFi, Bluetooth, and an RS-MMC (reduced-size-MMC) memory card slot, and its bundled software suite is mostly oriented toward Web browsing and media playing. It includes a version of Opera's mobile browser, along with an email client, multimedia player, image viewer, sketching, note-taking, and games. VoIP capabilities will be added in an upcoming software update.

Compared to the first generation UMPC prototypes, the 770 offers smaller size, lighter weight, and, most likely, longer battery life. But these advantages come at a cost: constrained processor and memory resources -- a 200 MHz TI OMAP processor, 64 MB of SDRAM, and 128MB of flash (expandable via RS-MMC) -- and a limited set of available application software, in comparison with all that Windows XP Tablet Edition has to offer. On the other hand, by the time second generation UMPCs reach market sometime next year, the Nokia Internet Tablet can be expected to have evolved, both in terms of computing resources and available applications.

We reckon consumers, who already have desktop and laptop PCs running Windows XP or Vista, will be reticent to shell out $750 or more for a fairly large, rather heavy, high-powered device that requires handwriting or soft-keyboard taps as input -- and that might easily get dropped or lost.

Frankly, we think Nokia has the right idea but the wrong software. In our opinion, a Windows Mobile version of the 770 Internet Tablet -- but with more DRAM and flash, and an honest-to-goodness SDIO slot -- priced under $400, would be a real winner.

Not that we don't think the Windows XP-based UMPC concept has merit. It's just that from a Moore's Law perspective, the necessary economies of scale are probably several years off.

LinkBack :,1995,1935744,00.asp

Apple: Finding the Root of the Problem
Hack-My-Mac Challenge Leaves System Shipshape
Plug pulled on Mac hacking challenge

The second potentially major Mac security incident in as many weeks has thankfully been debunked. Earlier this week I wrote a blog entry about a Mac Mini owner in Sweden who configured his machine as a server and challenged hackers to gain access to it. The Mini was -- as hackers like to say -- "owned" only 30 minutes after the challenge started. By "owned," I mean rooted. An outside attacker, through a remote Internet connection, was able to get "root" access -- the highest and most powerful level of administrative access on a Unix-based computer (which Macs running OS X happen to be).

Root access gives the bearer free reign on a machine, no questions asked. Files can be altered or deleted. Accounts assigned to other users can be changed or deleted altogether. The potential for misuse of the privilege has caused Apple to ship its machines with root access disabled by default. Root can be re-enabled only through a series of technical contortions understood by advanced users.

Even so, the Swedish attacker said he succeeded with an "unpublished" exploit -- a method that hasn't been publicly documented. If your Mac is connected to the Internet all day, as mine is, you can see the fright such news might generate. It's like knowing a criminal gang has a master key to your home and thousands of others, and that the only defense you really have so far is that they haven't found you yet.

BIASED STUDY. That is, if it were true. It turns out the original reports weren't forthcoming with all the facts. The person who "rooted" the Mac already had a user name and password, as if he were a regular day-to-day user. In fact, having an account on this Mac was a prerequisite to taking part in the challenge. From there, the person used some method -- most likely having to do with weaknesses in the Unix underpinnings of the Mac operating system -- to gain escalated access.

These kinds of "privilege escalation" vulnerabilities have cropped up on the Mac over the years and date back decades to FreeBSD, the variant of Unix on which Mac OS X is based. But remember, you can't take advantage of this type of vulnerability unless you already have access to the machine -- which implies having been given permission for that access in the first place.

The pseudo break-in and misleading reports didn't sit well with Dave Schroeder, a network systems engineer and Mac enthusiast at the University of Wisconsin in Madison. He's been outspoken on the issue of Mac security, portraying recent reports as overblown. So he set up his own challenge, inviting the world to hack a Web page -- the very page he used to tell the world about the challenge -- running on a Mac Mini he set up as a Web server.

His challenge mirrored the one in Sweden, with one critical difference: No one would have an account on the machine. They'd be locked out and therefore would have to break in. His aim was to demonstrate the flaws in the Swedish test, and provide a more realistic test of Mac security. The tech news site Slashdot picked up news of the challenge and quickly spread the word.

A NEW CHALLENGE. Attacks on the machine surged. It recorded more than 4,000 login attempts, and Web traffic to it spiked to 30 megabits per second. Half a million people visited the Web site ( That little Mac Mini was one busy server, but it remained online.

Most of the network traffic conveyed attempts to break in: Web exploits seeking a wedge into the machine via the public page; dictionary attacks, which make repeated guesses at passwords at high speed; and a scanning tool known as Nessus, software that scans for known vulnerabilities. The machine even came under what's known as a denial of service attack, in which an attacker hammers a machine with thousands of requests for information in an attempt to overwhelm the server and thus create an exploitable weakness.

For 38 hours, nothing worked. The Mac Mini held its ground against the worst that the multitudes could throw against it. The contest ended earlier than originally planned and even appears to have gotten Schroeder in trouble with his employer, since it wasn't sanctioned by the university. I'm hearing he may face some kind disciplinary action. The University of Wisconsin apparently isn't interested in such a real-world ad-hoc test, no matter how successful and harmless it proved to be. Schroeder wasn't available for comment.

This illustrates changing perceptions about Mac security. The Mac is increasingly on the radar screen of people who have long ignored it and who, for whatever reason, want to find the chinks in as-yet virtually impregnable armor. And while it may indeed be a more secure system than anything put out by Microsoft (MSFT) and its many hardware partners including Dell (DELL), Hewlett-Packard (HPQ), Gateway (GTW) and others, the level of attention can only increase. Hackers love nothing more than a difficult challenge -- which Windows ceased to be a long time ago.

SOWING FEAR And as Apple Computer (AAPL) gains attention for its innovation, superior software and so far relatively airtight security, people in the media -- including myself -- will be watching with interest and not a small amount of anxiety for the moment when the first really nasty and widespread Mac security vulnerability shows up. Until that happens, even little hiccups are going to trigger an avalanche of negative publicity.

Uninformed media sources will do what they do best -- sow fear, uncertainty, and doubt. And the first time a really big Mac security incident occurs it will cause some people who are considering a Mac over a cheaper Windows-based system to change their minds.

Vulnerabilities in Windows are so common they don't really make the news anymore. But a large-scale, widespread incident on the Mac could badly wound Apple's reputation.

LOCK DOWN. It's for this reason that I think the time has come for Apple to consider doing what many other companies like IBM (IBM) and Oracle (ORCL) have: create a position of chief security officer. This person would be a well-known computer security expert, ideally from outside Apple, who would wave the flag for all things related to Mac security, debunking myths, correcting the record, and providing a public face when issues crop up.

And when something does go wrong -- and I think eventually something will -- he or she would be Apple's ombuds officer evaluating what failed, where, when and how, and then take responsibility for seeing that it's fixed, reporting on the matter to CEO Steve Jobs, Apple's board of directors, and (where appropriate) its shareholders and customers.

I talked briefly with Apple's Bud Tribble, vice-president of software technology. He called my idea a "good suggestion" but said the company would be reticent to assign security issues to any single individual, and that the responsibility of a CSO instead tends to rest with everyone. "For pretty much all the senior people at Apple, security is one of the top jobs on their list," he says. "When we think about security and how we design software, the basic approach is to make it as secure as possible, because most people really aren't security experts. We try to make sure things are pretty well locked down out of the box."

CONFIDENCE BUILDER. While the Mac's Unix underpinnings suffer from the occasional vulnerability, they still present a security advantage, Tribble says. "Unix is sort of a kid that grew up in a tough neighborhood," he says. That neighborhood was a networked environment where people were constantly trying to figure out tricks to log into the system. So over the decades, lots of holes have been plugged. You can't say that about Windows.

And I admit, creating a CSO position may be viewed by some as an admission of weakness. Still, I say it would be a good way for Apple to inoculate itself against the perception -- warranted or not -- that Mac security may be eroding, and get ahead of the curve for any troubles that may be inevitable. That may not be the case, but in matters related to product marketing, it's the public perception, not the reality that really matters.

And once you've lost a user's confidence, it's hard to get it back. Just ask Microsoft.


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