July 27th, 2010

India Unveils A Portable Computing Device Worth Rs 1600

Today in New Delhi, union minister for Human Resource Development, Shri Kapil Sibal unveiled a low cost computing-cum-access device. The expected price of the showcased model is going to be around US$35 (approximately Rs 1,640) per unit, which is expected to gradually dip to about US$20 and eventually to around US10$.


Since the ongoing reduction in cost and enhancing the capabilities require constant research and development, IIT Rajasthan and other technical institutions are setting up research teams to look into a wide range of potential issues in the course of achieving the ultimate goal in terms of price and quality.


The press release issued by the Ministry of HRD also states the primary aim, which is, to reach these low cost devices to students and teachers of all colleges and universities, which will enable them to gain access to high-quality digital content. As stated, the three cardinal principles of the Education Policy viz., access, equity and quality could be served well by providing connectivity to all educational institutions, providinglow cost and affordable access cum computing devices to students and teachers and providing high quality e-content free of cost to all learners in the Country. National Mission on Education through ICT (NMEICT) encompasses all the three elements.


Connectivity to Universities and Colleges has already started. Nearly 8500 Colleges in the country have already been connected, high quality e-content in various subjects is being created and under the National Programme on Technology Enhanced Learning (NPTEL), nearly 500 web based and video courses are available and uploaded on “sakshat”, YouTube and NPTEL portals and another 1100 courses in various disciplines of engineering and science are getting generated in 4 quadrant approach.


The ministry started its efforts, subsequent to lukewarm response from known corporates in this sector, by holding discussions on this concept with a group of professors / experts at IISc, Bangalore, IIT Kanpur, IIT Kharagpur, IIT Madras and IIT Bombay. B.Tech and M.Tech students were guided to produce the motherboard for suchlow cost devices with ample room for upgrade / change in hardware components. One motherboard design was generated under Ministry’s guidance in the B.Tech project of a student at VIT, Vellore. The cost of bill of material worked to 47 $ at that point of time. The motherboard PCB was fabricated at IIT Kanpur. It could be seen that, by customizing the device to the needs of learners across the country, and utilizing the capabilities of CPU suitable for the purpose, it was possible to substantially reduce the prices of such access-cum-computing devices. Then, a wave of collaboration with such interested partners began.


Ever since, various teams have been moving back and forth independently, yet constantly interacting with the HRD Ministry and improving upon design parameters and customization guidance for Indian students. The efforts of some of the teams working with those design philosophies were presented today. The aim is to reach such devices to the students ofcolleges and Universities and to provide these institutions a host of choices of low cost access devices around Rs. 1500/- ($35) or less in near future.

July 19th, 2010

Protect Yourself from Scams like Phishing and Vishing to Steal Web Identity

Scams like Phishing and Vishing are designed to steal your web identity and personal data.


Phishing is carried out via fraudulent emails and Vishing is orchestrated via bogus voice messages and phone calls.


Follow these simple steps to avoid falling prey to these scams:


In case of doubt, do not click on any link provided in the e-mail


Do not give any confidential information such as password, customer id, Credit/Debit Card number or PIN,CVV,DOB to any e-mail request, even if the request is from government authorities like Income Tax department or any Card Association company like VISA or Master Card


Do not open unexpected e-mail attachments or instant message download links


Always check the web address carefully before sharing any sensitive information


For logging in, always type the website address on your web browser


The Padlock icon at the upper or bottom right corner of the webpage must be always ‘On’ during secure transactions


Ensure that you have installed the latest anti-virus/ anti-spyware/ personal firewall/ security patches on your computer or high end mobile phones


Use non-admin user ID for daily work on your computer


Do not access NetBanking or make payments using your Credit/ Debit Card from shared or unprotected computers in public places


Do not call and leave any personal or account details on any telephone system, voice message, e-mail or an SMS


Do not transfer funds to or share your account details with, unknown/ non-validated source, luring you with commission, attractive offers.

July 15th, 2010

Microsoft Extends Windows XP Downgrade to 2020

While the consumer and enthusiast are now happily moving to Windows 7, businesses are still chugging along on Windows XP. This would present a problem for businesses buying and installing new computers in the workplace if not for the Windows XP downgrade program available to OEM Windows 7 Professional and Ultimate SKUs.


Originally, these downgrade rights were to disappear once Microsoft ships the first Service Pack in 2011, but upon the release of the SP1 beta, Microsoft announced that it would extend the XP downgrade period through to January 2020 for the Professional and January 2015 for the Ultimate edition (dates according to Computerworld).


“This will help maintain consistency for downgrade rights throughout the Windows 7 lifecycle,” wrote Microsoft spokesman Brandon LeBlanc, in an entry on the company blog. “As a result, the OEM versions of Windows 7 Professional and Windows 7 Ultimate will continue to include downgrade rights to the similar versions of Windows Vista or Windows XP Professional. Going forward, businesses can continue to purchase new PCs and utilize end user downgrade rights to Windows XP or Windows Vista until they are ready to use Windows 7. Enabling such rights throughout the Windows 7 lifecycle will make it easier for customers as they plan deployments to Windows 7.”


Microsoft made this change to help ease confusion for businesses getting new PCs but aren’t able to make the switch just yet. With the extension of the downgrade rights, Microsoft will still be able to sell a Windows license and businesses can still run Windows XP.

July 15th, 2010

Walmart Kinect Bundle Worth $258 Now Costs $199

Microsoft’s motion sensing peripheral, Kinect, isn’t debuting for another couple of months but that doesn’t mean there aren’t already good deals available to bag the gadget for less money.


Kinect’s heavily rumored price is $149, however, Walmart is currently selling preorders for a limited-time Kinect bundle that costs $199, but is worth $258.


Expiring on July 23, the bundle includes Kinect (of course), a $30 Walmart eGift Card, and a choice of one of the following Kinect launch titles: Kinect Sports, Kinect Dance Central, Kinect Joy Ride, Kinect Adventures, or Kinectimals. The games by themselves usually run to about $60, so if you’re going to get one anyway, it’s a decent deal.


Other bundles we’ve seen from retailers include a $299 bundle from GameStop that bags you an Xbox Arcade and Kinect.

July 15th, 2010

Google Launches Google Fiber For Communities

Google has launched a Website to keep Americans informed about its plans for fiber internet.

You might remember a few months back when communities across the country went nuts competing for Google’s 1GB fiber internet; cities changed their name to Google and mayors swam with sharks.

Though it’s been three months since these stunts were carried out, Google has yet to make a decision on what town will be part of the pilot program for it’s project. Google says it won’t name the winner (or winners!) at the end of the year.

However, the search giant isn’t resting on its laurels until D-day. The company this week launched ‘Google Fiber for Communities,’ a Website designed to keep folks up to date on the project, educate people on the technology and thank them for all their efforts. It also provides tips on how you can help bring fiber Internet to your community.

In total, 1,100 communities and 200,000 individuals responded to Google’s call for a test site for the project. Check out the video below to see some of their submissions and thank you messages from Google employees.