Chip Magazine - May 2006 Issue

					             cover_May    4/28/2006   5:46:09 PM

                                                         Tested: Nvidia’s fastest 3D cards Decide: PC or Console

         at the heart of technology                           
          May 2006        Volume 3       Issue 6    Rs 100                                                      Subscriber’s Copy

                                                                                      Want to add punch to your home business?
                                                                                      Or tell the world about your life?
                                                                                      Then create a website!        34








      First look:
                                                                                                             r & M ide
            Apple’s Intel-based Mac
                                                                                                       Print ing Gu
        Now SMS us!                                                                                         p

                    Vinyl to Digital
                                                             12 MFDs reviewed                                           64

                                                             Be it printing, scanning, faxing or copying, we test it all
         Learn to convert old tapes
             to digital-quality CDs
                                                             26 external drives                                        52
                                                             Need to take files with you? Find your data partner here
             94   Inside search engines
                      Answers in 0.0012
                   seconds? Here’s how
                                                             Digital makeover                                       108

                                                             Expert tips on facial touchups using Photoshop
      Also available in Bangladesh
      Nepal, Bhutan, Sri Lanka, U A E                        Olympus Stylus 720 SW: Compact and tough
                                                                                                                      EDITORIAL       7

                                        Release, damn it!
                                                atience has never been one of my virtues. Since I was a kid, during those pre-
                                                Christmas days there’s nothing I wouldn’t do to figure out what was under the
                                                Christmas tree. The knowledge of an impending event used to drive me crazy with
                                            These days, while I don’t go around pulling out my hair waiting for the next product
                                        release, I have noticed something rather disconcerting—over the past few years, several
                                        companies have been conveniently extending deadlines on their product releases. Be it
                                        Sony’s interminable promises of their PS3 (last I heard, they promised it hitting stores in
                                        November this year), or Microsoft Vista (along with the rest of their long-winded Vista-
                                        variants to follow), to even game releases (I’ll bet all you gamers can’t say S.T.A.L.K.E.R.
                                        without shaking your head in frustration, then wistfully recalling that fascinating preview
                                        video released at E3 last year). Sure, it’s in a company’s own interest to release bug-free
                                        and defect-free products while catching the crest of the next big buying wave. But after
                                        their initial teaser releases, sneak previews and specification “leaks” die down, their viral
                                        marketing strategies start to lose luster, leaving behind a whole lot of frustrated consumers.
                                            Besides the frustration, these delays translate into significant financial repercussions within
                                        the industry. In the case of Windows Vista, Microsoft was originally supposed to release the
                                        OS back in 2005. This got pushed to October 2006. They are now pegging the release date to
               I’d rather go with
                                        January 2007. Clearly, it’s not a delay of a few months here. It is clear that several corporate
             a current technology       and domestic buying decisions have been postponed as a result of these delays. And the
             that serves my present     cascade effect continues—system integrators typically require six to eight weeks to integrate
                                        specification changes into their product lineup. This tends to weigh in at the higher end of the
             needs other than
                                        delays with something as significant as a new OS. Besides ironing out bugs, developing and
             languish, waiting for      stabilizing drivers for locally available hardware, their technical support teams would also need
             the next big thing         to familiarize themselves with the new system to be able to respond effectively.
                                            Things are no different on the hardware front. Take your pick—Blue-ray, HD-DVD,
                                        WiMAX—we’ve all heard them being trumpeted for at least a couple of years, while products
                                        based upon these epoch-making technologies are still nowhere in sight. It is clear that
                                        companies invariably choose to delay a launch in favor of waiting to integrate an additional
                                        “big feature” into their products. But the effects of such delays are felt everywhere—the
                                        support companies who depend upon larger organizations for their product rollouts, the
                                        enterprises who wait to migrate their systems to efficiency-boosting technologies.
                                            As we continue to go about integrating newer technologies into our lives (both
                                        intentionally and unknowingly over the course of our days), it is high time that companies
                                        honor the need to deliver these technologies on time. Consumers are not as patient as
                                        companies assume they are. More so, in this day and age where technology stalwarts
                                        are doing a brilliant job at creating compelling products, the next best choice for the
                                        consumer is actually a pretty good choice.
                                            Being the impatient person I am, I’d rather go with a current technology and product
                                        that serves my present needs other than languish, waiting for the next big thing. But
                                        maybe that’s just me.

                                        | Marco Angelo D’Souza

MAY 2006

                                                                                                       64   Eco Imaging

                                                                                                  52   Portadata
 32 Biolab on a   Chip

    NEWSWIRE                                 72 Nvidia Fights Back!                         90 Narrowed Viewing
 22 Embracing the PC                             Nvidia builds competition for rival            Now you have the freedom to
    The Intel-powered Community PC               ATI with their new range of GPUs.              watch what you want. Get
    introduced to meet rural needs                                                              access to esoteric content with
    is equipped to withstand the             76 When Intel made Apple                           the help of a new breed of
    challenges faced by villages in India.       Apple’s new Intel-based notebook               broadcasting technology christened
                                                 sports a spiffy look and feel so               narrowcasting.
32 Biolab on a Chip                              quintessential of the brand, and
    Biochips are being used to detect            clubs a bagful of features.                92 Waking up to WiMAX
    various diseases at the very onset,                                                         WiMAX heralds the era of cost-
    warning us of of endemics and            78 Fuel Cells on the Move                          effective, convenient Internet access
    biological poisons.                          With their dynamic energy storing              in the nation’s web horizon. Find out
                                                 capacities, fuel cells are going to take       about the action in India.
                                                 the world of mobile power by storm.
    COVER STORY                                  They facilitate a more environment-        94 Search Power
 34 Get Web-enabled                              friendly form of energy storage.               An in-depth analysis of the
    Learn the diverse ways of putting up                                                        significant and cogent functionality
    and running a web site using either         APPLICATIONS                                    of search engines.
    free or paid web hosting services.       84 Software Center
                                                 Read our reviews on a range of tools            HANDS ON
    HARDWARE                                     for home and office use, displaying
                                                                                            104 Recreating Music
                                                 marked advancements in features
                                                                                                An exemplary workshop discerning
40 Top Gear                                      and performance.
                                                                                                the unique ways in which audio
    Our Test Center boys get close to an
                                                                                                cassettes can be recycled to audio
    array of products and give you a low-
                                                                                                CDs and MP3s.
    down on their multi-faceted features.

52 Portadata                                                                                108 For Skin that Glows
    A comprehensive test run of flash                                                            Photoshop lends that magical
    memory based and hard drive based                                                           touch to your age-old portraits,
    external storage solutions.                                                                 working wonders for your skin
                                                                                                and attributing that total image
64 Eco Imaging                                                                                  makeover.
    Scanning, copying, faxing, printing at
    an affordable cost with MFDs.                 34
                                                                                                       INTELLIGENT COMPUTING CHIP | MAY 2006
                                              94 Search Power

 72   Nvidia Fights Back!
                                                                                         84   Software Center

112 XP in your pocket                            130 Call of Cthulhu                           | Products Tested
       Learn the simple but meticulous                Come explore the deeply intriguing       Hardware                                             40
                                                                                               Asus A8R32-MVP Deluxe, Asus PW191, Cowon iAudio U2,
       procedures applied to booting                  dark corners of the earth in the
                                                                                               Gainward Sound Xplosion, Gigabyte Triton Chassis, Leadek
       Windows XP from a USB flash drive.              scariest game churned out by game        WinFast A7800GS, Logitech X-530, Olympus U 720 SW, Plustek
       It is fun!                                     developers this year.                    OpticBook 3600, Sony DRU-820A, Xerox Phazer 3117

                                                                                               External Storage                                     52
       UNWIND                                    132 The Lord of the Rings: The                Apacer HandySteno HT-203, Buffalo RUF2-S512-BS,
                                                      Battle for Middle-Earth II               Corsair Flash Voyager, Kingston DataTraveler II Plus Migo,
                                                                                               PQI Cool Drive U339, PQI Cool Drive U339 Pro, Transcend
124 PC vs Console                                     Get ready to step into a Middle-Earth    JetFlash 120, Zion UltraDiskPro, Buffalo Drive Station
       The subject that stimulates intense            not witnessed before. The sequel         HD-HB160U2-EU, ExBoot EXB-0131, Maxtor OneTouch III
                                                                                               FireWire 400/USB 2.0, Maxtor OneTouch III Turbo, Seagate
       debate in the gaming world today               has all the elements necessary in an     Pushbutton Backup 200GB, Seagate Pushbutton Backup
       is whether PC gaming is superior to            RTS game with the power to get you       400GB, Western Digital Media Center, Western Digital
       console gaming or vice versa. Find             addicted. new build                      Essential, Buffalo MiniStation USB 2.0, ExBoot EXB-0121,
                                                                                               LaCie Mobile Hard Drive, Seagate Portable Hard Drive,
       out more…                                                                               Transcend StoreJet 2.5, Western Digital Passport, LaCie
                                                 134 Commandos Strike Force                    Carte Orange, Seagate Pocket Hard Drive, S-Media Hi-Tech
128 Star Wars: Empire At War                          While the previous versions stuck to
                                                                                               Microdrive, UMAX Pollux 300

       A game that gives you the power                squad-based tactical missions, the       MFDs                                                 64
       to plan your galactic conquest and             latest entry in the Commandos series     Brother DCP-115C, Brother MFC-410CN, Brother MFC-620CN,
                                                                                               Brother MFC-3240C, Brother MFC-5840CN, Canon Pixma
       command an entire war in the Star              puts on the garb of a first-person        MP150, Canon Pixma MP450, Canon Pixma MP500, Epson Stylus
       Wars universe.                                 shooter game. Improvement in this        CX4700, Epson Stylus CX3700, Lexmark X3350, Lexmark X4270
                                                      version is indicated in the less time
                                                      taken to complete the missions.

                                                     Town Square                    16
                                                     Letters                        18
                                                     Technology Landscape           82
                                                     Dr. CHIP                     100
                    Olympus U 720 SW                 Tips and Tricks               115
                                        …46          Game Reviews                 128
                                                     Last Word                    148

                                          Disk Contents
                                           MAY 2006 | VOLUME 3 | ISSUE 6

Mobile:                                                                          Game Addons:
 AVANT GO                                                                         LOTR: BATTLE FOR MIDDLE
 REMOTE DESKTOP FOR MOBILES 2.1             Game Demos:                           EARTH 2 1.02 PATCH
                                             TOM RAIDER: LEGEND
Internet:                                    BLAZING ANGELS: SQUADRONS OF WWII   Movie Trailers:
 YAHOO MESSENGER 7.5                                                              AN AMERICAN HAUNTING
Multimedia:                                  BLAZING ANGELS: SQUADRONS OF WWII   Game Trailers:
 QUARKXPRESS 7                               ROGUE TROOPER                        FIFA WORLD CUP 2006 THE ELDER SCROLLS
 MAGIX AUDIO CLEANING LAB 10                                                      ARMAGEDDON
Security:                                    FEDORA CORE 5
                                                                                 Game Demos:
 ASHAMPOO MAGICAL SECURITY                                                        ICE AGE 2: THE MELTDOWN
 ANTIVIR PERSONAL EDITION                                                         IRON WARRIORS: T-72 TANK COMMAND
                                                                                  VIRTUAL POOL 3

 Quick Quote

                                MAY 2006 | VOLUME 3 | ISSUE 6
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                                                                                     Phone: (044) 28295050-54 Fax: (044) 28295060
                                Marco Angelo D’Souza
   CHIP is a great              ASSOCIATE FEATURES EDITOR
                                Carol D’Costa
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                                                                                     Phone: (040)55622211 Fax: (040) 23393488

   resource for first-time      SENIOR COPY EDITOR
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   products, providing          WRITERS
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   fair reviews of their        TEST CENTER
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                                                                                     Copyright 2004 INTELLIGENT COMPUTING CHIP
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                                                                                                      INTELLIGENT COMPUTING CHIP | MAY 2006

                   THIS MONTH ON

                    Town Square
                              reetings! The month of April was really         URL for the site is When we
                              hectic as there was a lot of activity online.   visited the site, we found that it gives complete
                              On last check, the number of registered         information regarding the games that are played in
                    users had grown to 22,200. The rate at which new          the cafe as well as specifications of the machines
                    members are registering at our site again confirms         that are used to play these games. It even features
                    the fact that if you need any technical help or want      a full-fledged forum that allows you to share your
                    to share your technical knowledge with others,            expertise in gaming. It also has individual sections
                    then is your best bet.                     for FPS, RTS, sports and racing games.
                        The various sections in our forums have been              Another post that caught our eye was by
                    buzzing with activity. We found some interesting          “lionelxp” in the Hardware section. It includes a
                    topics posted by some of our members. The                 complete price listing of all the PC components
                    most interesting one was posted by “dweller”              that are available today in the market. No matter
                    who informs us how to make a web cam work                 what you are searching for, you will find the price
                    via infrared. Just visit http://homepage.ntlworld.        for it in this post. If you are planning to buy a new
                    com/geoff.johnson2/IR/ and you will get a step-           PC, you must definitely check out this post as it
                    by-step procedure. In the site the owner, Geoff           gives you a fair idea of what components can be
                    Johnson, has provided screenshots so that you             bought within your budget.
                    don’t have any difficulty understanding the entire             We would like to bring to your notice an incident
                    process. The next useful tip we found was posted          that occurred in the past month because it deserves
                    by “hellrider” in the Internet section. He basically      a special mention. Most of the members went on
                    explains how to free up 20 percent of your                strike demanding that unless some new features
                    bandwidth that Microsoft preserves. The steps are         were added to the web site or a completely new
                    as follows:                                               web site was launched, they would continue the
                         Click on Start and then navigate to Run.             agitation. As a result, no new topics were posted in
                         Type gpedit.msc.                                     any of the section. Newly registered members were
                         Under the Local Computer Policy, double click        affected since they could not find answers to their
                         on Administrative Templates.                         queries in Know-How. So we plunged into action
                         Double click on Network and then on QoS              immediately and as promised, we enabled avatars
                         Packet Scheduler.                                    for the first time in our forums. Now the forums
                         Here, you will need to right click on Limit          indeed look impressive with each member trying to
                         Reservable bandwidth.                                get an avatar which is better than that of the other
                         Click on Properties and then on Enabled.             member.
                         Also, set the bandwidth limit (percentage) to            We have also planned a host of other features
                         zero.                                                for the web site. In due course of time, they will be
                    However, there are two things that you need to            implemented and you will not need to go on a
                    keep in mind before you can try this trick. The           strike again.
                    first is you will need to have a login account with            Do keep writing in and tell us what you want to
                    administrative privileges. The second is that this        see in the magazine, what software or games you
                    trick is only for Windows XP Pro. If you have the         want included on the cover discs, etc. We will make
                    Home edition, then you cannot try this out.               a note of your suggestions and if appropriate, will
                        In the Games section, “qdalz” invited all the         surely incorporate them.
                    forum members to visit the site that he had made              See you guys next month. ■
                    for a LAN gaming cafe called Technopoint. The                                                         | Anup Pillai

                                                                                                    INTELLIGENT COMPUTING CHIP | MAY 2006
18     LETTERS

                        Dear CHIP,                                                  being able to dispatch the devices in time. Since our
                        I am a practising doctor from Baroda, Gujarat and           deadlines are sacrosanct, we had no choice but to
                        was just about to buy a laptop when I came across           omit them this time around. As we do regular tests
                        your March issue. I read the article on the laptop          of products in our standalone test section, expect
                        comparison thoroughly. I was just wondering why             to see their reviews in our forthcoming issues.
                        some of the big brands were omitted from the                                                             Team CHIP
                        comparison. I was mainly concerned about Toshiba
                        and HP/Compaq.                                              Dear CHIP,
                           As you will agree, choosing a laptop is really           Another great issue! In your March issue, the
                        difficult and I need a quick answer so that I may            gaming section was super as were the articles on
                        arrive at a decision on my dream laptop as soon             power supply and dressing up Windows XP. I have
                        as possible.                                                one request which I have been trying to get across
                           Sincere regards and thanks once again for the            to you for a long time. Please conduct an anti-virus
                        lovely article demystifying the whole big issue             and firewall shootout. You review so many security-
                        for me.                                                     related programs and there are so many newer ones
                                                                          Vivek     being released that it is hard to choose which is the
                                                                                    best for a given application. It would
                        Hello Vivek,                                                be great if you could present them in a single
                            Yes, in this day and age, selecting a laptop can        product comparison.
                        truly be a Herculean task given the sheer variety of            I also request you to review stuff that the
                        products within a given price range. We’re glad you         ‘common Indian PC user’ can afford. No doubt, the
                        liked our comparison besides putting the various            Test Center reviews the best hardware available
                        products through their paces, we aimed at providing         but please do also feature shootouts of things
                        a relevant view of specifications and performance           like generic input devices (which are significantly
                            levels of today’s laptop technologies. Given the        cheaper than the top-of-the-line Microsoft and
                                    fact that there are so many varieties of        Logitech products), cabinets, power supplies, etc.
                                         laptop brands in the markets (many             To conclude—for the past two years, I have
                                          of which were non-existent even a         always noticed that the “Red Hot” software on the
                                           year ago!), procuring products for       tools CD is an image, video, audio or text editor.
                                           such a comparison has always been a      Please include something new and unique in your
                                            challenge. However, over the course     forthcoming CDs.
                                            of this comparison, the majority            I know that you guys put in a lot of hard work
                                            of the brands were pro-active in        into each issue and may not be able to look into all
                                           making their products available to       the suggestions but I believe that there is room for
                                       us to meet with our deadlines. Some          improvement even for a magazine like CHIP!
                                      brands such as HP/Compaq and Toshiba                                                    Amit Patnaik
                                             were unable to have their laptops
                                                  sent across for reasons ranging   Hello Amit,
                                                    all the way from a refresh      The topic of anti-virus and security software is an
                                                      in product lines to not       interesting one. These applications are sciences unto
                                                                                    themselves—given the breadth of programming
                                                                                    expertise that needs to go into a software application
                                                                                    like an anti-virus program. So evaluating them
                                                                                    justly requires plenty of resources by way of live
                                                                                    virus samples, not to mention the hundreds of
                                                                                    test beds required to test infection methods, etc.
                                                                                    Even with infection types, these have proliferated
                                                                                    from file-level and e-mail infections to new-
                                                                                    generation threats through chat, spyware, adware
     Umesh Dahiwalkar
                                                                                     to even mobile viruses. And there are hundreds

                                                                                                         INTELLIGENT COMPUTING CHIP | MAY 2006
                                        LETTERS   19

       20             LETTERS

                                                      of newer infection types cropping up every day.         send us a copy of the November issue at the earliest.
                                                          Since we are not fully equipped with the systems       Expecting an early reply.
                                                      required to do complete justice to an anti-virus                                     Amiya Kumar Kalidaha
                                                      comparison, we prefer not to conduct one solely
                                                      on the basis of an application’s features. However,     Dear Amiya,
Now you can                                           we do have plans to collaborate with standards-         Thanks for the kind words about our magazine

SMS us!
                                                      based test centers that have dedicated resources        and apologies for the respective issue not
                                                      for virus threat analysis and countering processes.     reaching you on time. This information has
                                                      But this may take more than a few months.               been passed on to our subscription department
Since we like knowing what’s
                                                          While we do have a fair amount of product           and they will be taking the necessary action.
on your mind and what you
think about our magazine, we                          tests focusing on the more affordable hardware                                                     Team CHIP
now bring you another way                             and software products, we do try to achieve a
to get in touch with us. Have                         good balance of ‘high-end’ products with the            Dear CHIP,
something to say about a test                         more affordable variants. You will see this in             Thanks to you. We have received the November-
review? Liked a feature story?
Was the workshop useful?                              the increased number of product tests around            05 issue of CHIP magazine. Thank you for your
SMS us your feedback!                                 computer cabinets and input devices over the            prompt action and also for following up with our
Here’s how:                                           last few months. Finally, regarding the types of        request.
                                                      applications featured in the Red Hot section of                                      Amiya Kumar Kalidaha
For comments on a story,
                                                      our Tools CD, we’ve created a dedicated mail ID
create the following message:
ICCO <Your comments here>                             to receive feedback on our cover disk contents. So,     Dear CHIP,
Example: ICCO The cover                               do write to us at with           I have been a regular follower of your magazine
story was very useful                                 suggestions on such applications and we’ll try to       for almost two years now. We have just started a
                                                      incorporate as many of these in our future issues.      pocket PC enthusiasts’ site at
You can write as much as you
want in your comment!                                                                             Team CHIP   with an active forum of around 150 (and growing)
                                                                                                              members. Now that Windows’ mobile platform
To rate a story, product                              Dear CHIP,                                              is getting popular in India with all the O2s and
review, etc look out for the                          We, the staff and officials of the Department of         Imates coming in (we really liked your review of
story tag at the base of each
article and use it as follows:                        Science & Technology (Govt. of West Bengal), run        the Atom by the way), we thought it was about
ICCP <Story tag> <Rating>                             an Office Library named “Aniwksha” at Bikash             time we had our own community site. I think we
Example: ICCP PWS 5                                   Bhawan in Kolkata. Ever since we have started           are the one and only Pocket PC enthusiast site for
                                                      subscribing to your magazine, it has found favor        India. We would like if you could tell your readers
The “Story tag” is mentioned
                                                      with many of our Aniwksha members. The way you          about this initiative. We would also appreciate if
at the base of every story
in the magazine and the                               cover technology topics and the manner in which         Pocket PC/Palm enthusiasts from the CHIP team
“Rating” is on a scale of 1                           it is put forth is really fantastic. We have solved     could visit our forums and share a tip or two with
to 5.                                                 plenty of our daily problems after reading sections     our readers.
                                                      like your Tips and Tricks. Through your various             Hoping to get a positive response from you. A
Finally, send your messages
to 7007.                                              hardware and software product tests, we have            little support will indeed go a long way.
                                                      gained practical information on the performance                                                   Vinit Gupta
Cheers!                                               and price of various products and it is easy to see
                                                      them presented in a nice tabular form. Also, the        Dear Vinit,
                                                      cover stories are of great interest to all of us. We    With data becoming more portable, having
                                                      preserve all of your magazines.                         access to one’s documents while on the move is
                                                          We have just finished reading the March 2006         getting increasingly important. This is a good
                                                      issue. And we want to tell you that we receive your     initiative you’ve started and will certainly be a
                   70 07
                                      ve r stor
                                                  y   magazines very late, usually in the last week of the    practical resource to handheld users here in India.
                     as   a fu n co
             T hat w
      ICCO                                            month. In fact, we have still not received a copy       We wish you all the best in this endeavor.
                                                      of the November 2005 issue and the same was                                                          Team CHIP
                                                      informed to your office over mail last month. It will
                                                      be of great help if you would be kind enough to

                                                                                                                                   INTELLIGENT COMPUTING CHIP | MAY 2006

                                        Embracing the PC
                                        Intel’s Community PC has been built in a way that it can face
                                        the challenges of rural India

                                                     he Indian rural sector is on the throes of       raise the their living standards. Given this premise,
                                                     witnessing a revolution in coming face to        the platform to provide ICT and community
     | Joydeep Bose                                  face to technology. Several information          services must be able to withstand the challenges
     Director, Emerging Markets and Platform
     Group, Intel                            communication technology programs sponsored              of rural India, which are harsh climatic conditions,
                                             by the Government of India have got the rural            power blackouts, ability to control assets and
                                             race jumping on the tech bandwagon.                      reducing the ownership cost. The result of this
                                                 But although India is being touted as the            research is the “Community PC”. This PC has been
                                             next tech super power, it only has a miniscule           constructed in a way that when denuded to tough
                                             4 percent of PC population. In such a scenario,          weather conditions such as extreme temperatures,
                                             Intel’s “Discover the PC” project makes sense            high dust levels, problems of fluctuating power
                                             because the country has not been able to bridge          supply and lack of IT support in remote areas, it
                                             the digital divide completely. This project is Intel’s   can still function properly.
                                             initiative to make the benefits of computer usage             One of the usage models of the Community
                                             more broadly available to all developing nations.        PC is to use it as a device to help users
                                             Part of this “Discover the PC” project is a unique       understand and learn the educational content in
                                             PC platform designed to meet the needs of the            addition to computer and software skills.
                                             rural populace in India. In an interview with CHIP,
                                             Joydeep Bose, Director, Emerging Markets and             Q) The Intel-powered community PC is part
                                             Platform Group, talks more on the Community PC.          of the Discover the PC initiative. What other
                                                                                                      projects are part of this initiative?
                                        Q: How will the Community PC meet the                         JB: The community PC is one among many
                                        practical needs of the rural populace? How will               offerings from Intel as a part of the Discover the
                                        it help in educating the PC-illiterate race?                  PC campaign. There are other products like the
                                        JB: The Community PC is an innovation                         Affordable PC, Education PC and others, which
                                        undertaken by Intel after intensive ethnographic              will be launched soon as a part of this campaign.
                                        studies in rural India. Intel realized that the villages
                                        needed computing to improve their efficiency of                Q) Will the ruggedized PC help in computing
                                        business, improve productivity and manage their               better?
                                        growth and address social needs like education                JB: The ruggedized PC will ensure that the PC
                                        and health. It also recognized that villages in               runs for a longer time without failure in harsh
                                        India need the computing power to meet social,                conditions, thus proving the overall utility and
                                        educational and health needs as well smoothen                 longevity of the productive PC. The redesigned
                                        the process of administrative functionalities. As             motherboard has been optimized for power
                                        rural India is transcending from an agricultural              consumption and will hence, result in better
                                        economy to a trading economy, the dynamics                    utilization of the available power for computing.
                                        also change—there is a growing need for efficient
                                        and productive tools. Also, as quick delivery of              Q) How will the Community PC platform
                                        knowledge is possible through computing-based                 work? Tell us about its architecture.
                                        devices, it becomes even more important to have               JB: The Community PC has been developed
                                        access to the specialized technology that can                 exclusively to fit into rural India. This PC caters
                                        address such educational and practical needs.                 to the needs of the villages and is also equipped
                                            Our research revealed that providing                      to adapt to the varying climatic and topographic
                                        community services through ICT can help the rural             conditions prevalent. The unique features of the
                                        folks have access to such technology and thereby,             Community PC are:

                                                                                                                         INTELLIGENT COMPUTING CHIP | MAY 2006
                                                                                                                                 NEWSWIRE         23

•   It runs on a car battery in cases of          people’s/companies’ projects. I guess,          products, expanded choices and increased
    fluctuating power supply.                      all these programs aim at providing             purchasing power will improve the quality
•   It consumes less power.                       technology to aid human life and in that        of life. Rural entrepreneurship will result
•   It’s thermally redesigned chassis can         respect they are similar. Intel’s Jagruti is    in economic enrichment. Increased
    withstand extreme temperatures.               not a not-for-profit initiative. Additionally,   penetration of trade and finance will benefit
•   It is fitted with a dust filter to combat       the Intel Community PC is not a watered         farmers and the other poorer segment.
    problems related to high dust levels.         down PC. Rural India does not want              All of the above are expected to generate
•   It is enabled with value added software       cheap second-generation products. They          both direct and indirect employment
    like Power and System Management.             are looking for products, which will be         opportunities.
•   The CPC has a unique feature called           operational in their environment and
    Asset Management that can be used to          where the applications would add value          Q) How is Jagruti different from
    provision and de-provision the PC based       to their lives. Intel has been successful in    Microsoft’s Saksham project?
    on business logic. One key application of     developing this value proposition.              JB: Jagruti and Saksham are complementary
    this feature is “Pay per use”.                                                                programs. Microsoft and Intel are integral
                                                  Q) You have mentioned about these               pieces to bridging the digital divide and are
Q: What is Jagruti or Awakening                   community kiosks and plans of                   working together in these initiatives.
initiative all about? Do you think such           community platforms to be set up on
an initiative will help bridge the digital        them. How are these platforms going             Q) What are the other initiatives that
divide and how?                                   to be put up? What necessary steps are          Intel is taking in this sphere and in
JB: Jagruti is the name of the campaign           being taken in this respect?                    collaboration with who?
for the community initiative by Intel. It         JB: There are several ways in which these       JB: Intel is involved in several initiatives
is a Community Awakening initiative to            kiosks and platforms would be set up in         both in the computing as well as in the
bring together various players in the ICT         rural India. Some of them would be:             connectivity sphere. It is working actively
space—the government, OS vendors,                 a. With the help of the “Common Service         with the Government of India—with various
independent software vendors, NGOs,                   Centers” initiative of the Government       organizations like the Ministry of Panchayati
kiosk service providers and Intel. Everyone           of India.                                   Raj, state e-governance organizations, NGOs,
has a part to play in order to bridge the         b. PC for government offices in rural India      ISVs, OSVs, banks and other public sector
digital divide and thereby, the initiative            through e-governance.                       organizations. In the industry, we have key
to channel the efforts of the ecosystem           c. PC kiosks for railway stations/rural         partnerships with Microsoft, Yahoo, RedHat,
around this objective. It has four key pillars:       telecom Internet cafes across the           Oracle, TCS, IL&FS, NIIT, among many others.
a. The rugged hardware platform and                   country.
     peripherals from Intel and its OEMs.         d. PC kiosks in post offices across rural        Q) Are there any plans to introduce low-
b. A low cost wireless connectivity solution          India.                                      cost laptops for educational needs?
     from Intel, OEMs and Telcos/ISPs.               The key to every deployment is               JB: We are working on several platform
c. A community alliance of 30+ software           applications and connectivity, business         concepts including education centric
     vendors for rural applications through       viability and access to capital, all of which   laptop for the emerging market. We shall
     Intel’s ISV network.                         are covered under the Jagruti initiative.       divulge the details as we have them.
d. A financing model to provide access to                                                                                     | Sharmistha Dey
     capital to rural entrepreneurs.              Q) How far do you think these kiosks will
Jagruti is the umbrella program for a single      help in generating self-sufficiency among
window rural computing solution.                  the rural folks?
                                                  JB: Rural empowerment will be generated
Q) Where is this Community PC                     by new services and information that
available? What will its cost be like?            improve productivity and raise incomes for
JB: The Community PC can be bought from           illiterate people. It has a multiplier effect
our OEMs. Depending on the configuration,          in sustaining “involved” welfare building
we expect our OEMs to quote in the range          of social and economic communities and
of Rs 23,000 Rs to 25,000 for this product,       finally, integrating the village population to
which would include everything along with         India’s mainstream economy.
the 8-10 hour power backup solution.
                                                  Q) How will the ruggedized
Q) How is the Community PC different              community PC platform generate
from MIT’s $100 PC?                               employment opportunities?
JB: We don’t want to comment on other             JB: Access to information—to new


                                                                                       SMS us!    Story code: NWI (See Readers’ Letters for details)

Interpreting emotions                              Snakebots come to rescue
I  t’s fairly easy to understand the meaning
   of a facial expression and then analyze
it. But for those afflicted by autism, the
                                                   R    eal snakes are dangerous as one snake
                                                        bite might end your life but the snakes
                                                   we talk about here are life-savers. These
                                                                                                  a highly effective tool as it can move into
                                                                                                  areas that are apparently impenetrable.
                                                                                                     At the pace of taking out one stone
experience is entirely different. It is not only   robot snakes team up with fire workers          at a time to rescue a person, the time
difficult but they are also completely unable       to trace human existence under debris.         consumed for such an operation is around
to ascertain the feelings expressed through        These snake robots are the invention of        90 minutes. Keeping these factors in
facial expressions.                                37-year-old Howie Choset, professor at         mind, Choset designed a snake robot that
     However, the Massachusetts Institute of       Carnegie Mellon University. He and his         can move into the rubble and get the
Technology (MIT) researchers have come up          team have spent years in developing such       victim out in the shortest span of time
with a novel computer-vision system, which         robots which can slither through collapsed     without causing him any harm.
can do the mind reading for those who              buildings in search of victims trapped            The lightweight aluminum or plastic
are not able to do so. At the Body Sensor          due to natural disasters, fire or other         bodied robots have the length of an
Networks 2006 international workshop, two          emergencies. Choset recently claimed that      arm, embedded with camera and
researchers from MIT’s Media Lab wore tiny         these robots are also capable of climbing      electronic sensors and can be controlled
cameras mounted on wire rods extending             up and around pipes. It is this particular     by a joystick.
from their chest to demonstrate how this           feature that distinguishes his robot snake        The “Breadstick” and “Pepperoni” as
system works. The facial expressions and           from the several others.                       they are called will be able to sense their
the head movements captured by the                    Rescue workers who have worked              way up through the shards just as good as
cameras are fed into a desktop computer,           with such a snake robot claimed it to be       their human operators.
capable of analyzing the data from the
video feed and give an estimate of the
individual’s mental state in the form of a
                                                   Laptop, PC thieves gypped
color-coded graph. Besides the graph, the
system is also equipped to provide a visual,
audio or tactile feedback to the wearer.
                                                   T    oday, mobility among the workforce
                                                        has increased the risks of PC or laptop
                                                   theft or misplacement by employees, thus
                                                                                                  his computer first. In case of theft or
                                                                                                  misplacement, the device already installed
                                                                                                  in the computer automatically connects
Interestingly, all these functions take place      leaving the personal or customer’s data        it to the web-based management console
simultaneously and the applicant does not          stored completely unprotected.                 named Everdream Control Center (ECC).
lose any time to infer what an expression              So in case you have lost your laptop       Immediately after the connection is
indicates during a conversation.                   or PC, don’t worry. California-based           established, the ECC transfers a software
     This system finds out that missing link,       Everdream provides you with the solution       package that encrypts or deletes the
which makes it hard for a person suffering         of tracking them down, keeping the data        data from the hard disk. Consequently,
from Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) to             securely locked within.                        a collection of network information
determine another’s emotion or thought.               Everdream’s Theft Recovery Managed          regarding the PC or laptop is gathered at
Additionally, the graph helps in drawing           Service (as the application is called) is      ECC to locate and recover the machine.
comparisons on the behavior of a normal            capable of retaining control over lost or          Though recently launched, this product
person from that of one who’s suffering            stolen PCs and laptops by encrypting or        has been appreciated by a number of
from autism and quantify them to identify          deleting the data contained therein.                     corporate firms dealing with
the problem better.                                   To enjoy the benefits, a user                               sensitive information.
     Presently, researchers are working on         needs to install the
evolving the system into a wearable PC,            application in
enabling the user to get a response even if
he or she is on the move. Research is also
being carried out on Asperger Syndrome, an
ailment similar to autism but milder.

                                                      Dinesh Desai

                                                                                                              INTELLIGENT COMPUTING CHIP | MAY 2006

Deciphering calligraphy The hidden “F”
A    nalyzing handwriting or writing style
     have been considered an art so far. But
with the advent of a calligraphy-deducing
                                                   A     team of scientists engaged in military
                                                         research recently came to the
                                                   conclusion that when it comes to reading
                                                                                                   usually concentrates over there leading to
                                                                                                   some distortion in the “F” shape. All these
                                                                                                   movements when tracked through a heat
application developed by Virginia-based            web pages, most readers read in an “F”          map—with red colors defining the mostly
Gannon Technologies Group, the practice will       shaped pattern. Taking into consideration       viewed area, yellow indicating the lesser and
acquire a more scientific approach.                 the eye movements of 232
    Gannon Technologies unveiled their             readers, it was found that a
technology at the annual meeting of                reader generally reads in a
American Association for the Advancement           horizontal movement first.
of Science, where they were armed with a           This is followed by their
dozen computers and a database of 500              eyes moving downwards
handwriting samples, all of which were             a bit and then, ensues
reproductions of a single paragraph titled         reading across in a second
“London Letter”. The company claims that           horizontal movement
their application can differentiate varied         covering a shorter area than what it was        blue signifying the least viewed area—gave
forms of handwriting while simultaneously          previously. Finally, the user scans the         the shape of the letter “F”.
matching different samples of the                  content on the left side of the page in a           The study reiterates the guidelines
handwriting of the same person.                    vertical movement. Sometimes it could be        for web designing and writing web
                                                   a systematic scan while at other times, it      content—since the user doesn’t read text
                                                   could move faster just throwing a glimpse       thoroughly, the first two paragraphs must
                                                   at the text.                                    contain the most important information
                                                       If a page contains some images or a box     comprising subheads, bullet points followed
                                                   at the top right, it is noticed that a viewer   by information in the realms of the text.

                                                   Xtra in Xbox
    Here, the key functional area is statistical
analysis. From size to curvature gradation
of each and every character, the instrument
                                                   N     ow Xbox gamers can customize
                                                         their gaming experience by availing
                                                   the interesting option of replacing game
                                                                                                   pictures have been roped in to play online
                                                                                                   games with the regular gamers.
                                                                                                      This tie-up is Microsoft’s second
measures more than 200 different                   characters with that of the ones in the         attempt to bring movie entertainment
parameters of a letter or a digit. Currently,      downloaded movies.                              to Xbox gamers. The first tie-up with Epic
the group is also attributing a substantial            Xbox Live has teamed up with                records in March 2006 provided Xbox
amount in research and development to              Paramount Pictures to offer their members       gamers the chance to download high-
prove that the technology attains the same         some new movie titles which includes            definition free music videos from Xbox
accuracy level as that of DNA analysis.            Mission: Impossible III and Nacho Libre. The    Live Marketplace.
    It is felt that this technology of             titles will come with HD formatted movie           Xbox Live users are also allowed
evaluation will assign a scientific precision       trailers, exclusive theme pack and graphics.    to download exclusive content like
to the forensic investigators’ or document         Stars such as Jack Black of Paramount           interviews and contests to play games
examiners’ efforts. Presently, this discerning                                                         with their favorite artists.
is solely dependent on manual skills to judge                                                             Such alliances may lead to a bigger
and draw a conclusion on whether a writing                                                             development yet to take place in the
style presumed to be somebody’s is truly                                                               movie industry—permitting download
his. But the prosecutors can challenge these                                                           of full-length movies in consoles.
conclusions as they are aware about the fuzz                                                              Hollywood is seemingly not very
factor and the lack of proper technology to                                                            comfortable with download of movies
substantiate such arguments. However,                                                                        but with the increasing focus
with the new technology in hand, the                                                                             on the digital realm, this
handwriting experts should calibrate                                                                              advancement is bound to be
their scale of opinions ranging from                                                                                inevitable and Hollywood
“certainty”, “highly probable”, “merely                                                                              better agree if they wish to
probable” and “no conclusion” to                                                                                     retain their popularity in
something more specific and figurative.                                                                                the digital world.

                                                                                                                INTELLIGENT COMPUTING CHIP | MAY 2006

XXX alert to track kids Robot in labor
A   XXX way to deal with paedophiles
      has been found. A California-based
technology firm has teamed up with Joe
                                                   U     sing patients as guinea pigs for
                                                         medical studies claim around 98,000
                                                   lives annually in the United States. To end
                                                                                                   breach baby in a matter of minutes.
                                                                                                       Taking guard against all sorts of
                                                                                                   possible complications that may arise
Dawson, whose 11-year-old daughter                 such preventable medical errors, Dr Paul        during childbirth, David Isaza, an engineer
Jessica was kidnapped and killed last year, to     Preston, an anesthesiologist at Kaiser          with Gaumard, sat in the labor room and
introduce the first cell phone that uses GPS        Permanente’s (a hospital chain) along with      sent wireless signals to Noelle from his
to alert parents when a child is walking near      with Miami based Gaumard Scientific Co           laptop. With a key stroke, he inflicted
a sexual predator’s home. The application,         have developed Noelle, a life-like high-tech    complications in Noelle overriding any
christened “Child Predator Zone Alert by           mannequin. This robot is being used in the      pre-programmed instructions.
SMS” is also known as CAT Trax. It claims to       recently introduced four-year pregnancy             Noelle is helping to teach doctors and
provide the parents a GEOFENCE zone built          care training program.                          nurses how to take proper care of women
around every listed child predator within             Noelle has already become a star in Paul’s   in labour.
a certain zip code. It will notify parents         training program and is being employed
through mobile or pager text messages              in 30 of Kaiser’s hospitals. Such training
when their child enters any such zone.             programs have also been introduced at 22
   To determine if a child is within a “Safe       hospitals in Idaho of which five are already
Zone” or to track the direction and speed          using Noelle.
of a CAT Trax, parents can call the toll free        The price of this model ranges from $3,200
number of CAT Communication or log on              to $22,000 depending on the ability to best
to their web site CAT Trax         approximate a live birth. Noelle can be
is currently only available on Sprint IDEN         programmed for a variety of complications
mobile service. Registration to this service       and cervix dilation. At times, she can labor
involves paying only a monthly subscription.       for hours and unexpectedly give birth to a
One needs to have a GPS and a Java
handset. Currently Sprint IDEN service is
available on selected Motorola handsets.
                                                   Reversal of roles
    The service will also enable parents to
restrict incoming and outgoing calls as per
pre-selected numbers. This way, parents
                                                   I n this tech-age, teachers turn table with
                                                     students in a bid to sharing knowledge
                                                   of technology. Megan Kennedy, an eighth
                                                                                                   US, a kid’s knowledge of technology is
                                                                                                   being increasingly recognized. Scott Parker,
                                                                                                   a teacher at Hill City School, believes that
wouldn’t need to get anxious about the             grade student of Hill City School of Kansas,    these projects create a win-win situation for
numbers their kids are dialing or receiving        recently exemplified it. She participated        both students and teachers. Students learn
calls from.                                        in a program called GenYes (Generation          career skills like collaboration and meeting
    Depending on the maturity of a child,          of Youth and Educators Succeeding),             deadlines and teachers get on-the-job
parents may add numbers a kid dials on             where kids teach teachers how to use            training in technology for classroom lectures.
the phone or receives calls from. They can         technology. Kennedy’s project engaged               Along with acknowledging a student’s
also provide their kids with the liberty to        her in working with a local kindergarten        technical know-how, projects like GenYes
communicate further by releasing                   school teacher along with two of her            have another objective. According to
certain features of the phone blocked by           classmates to integrate an Apple iMovie         advocators like Jamal Hicks, a teacher of
them earlier.                                      into a lesson about clocks. Together the        social studies and technology at Jonas Salk
    CAT Communication claims that their            team created a 3-minute movie showing a         Middle School in Sacramento, California,
service will also help parents fight problems       5-year-old at various time periods in a day     98 percent of students at Jonas Salk
like children getting lost or falling prey to      with the Jackson Five song “ABC” playing        don’t have access to PCs at home. For the
child predators.                                   in the background. As part of the project,      first time this year, the seventh-graders
                                                   Kennedy showed one of the teachers how          participated in a technology literacy
                                                   to upload the video from the camera clips       project named TechYes, where students are
                                                   and add titles at the bottom of the slides.     rewarded for their proficiency in computers
                                                   Kennedy plans to carry forward her project      and are even attributed credits for teaching
                                                   to next year by creating a web site for the     other students various tech skills. Hicks
                                                   teacher and linking the movie to it.            says projects like these bring a student
                                                       Projects like these are becoming a trend    in the US at par with his international
                                                   these days. In areas like California, Texas,    counterparts who are more acquainted
                                                   Arizona, New York and other parts of the        with technology.

                                                                                                                INTELLIGENT COMPUTING CHIP | MAY 2006

SMS us!      Poll: Does your computer play DVDs? (See Readers’ Letters for details)

Chuck bulbs for OLEDs Nano car gets an engine
     he time is near when we will discard
     bulbs and fluorescent tubes and settle
for the windows of our home to lighten
                                                  F   rom what we knew, the nano car that
                                                      has been much in the news basically
                                                  used to be an engine-less car made out of
                                                                                                movement of atoms and molecules (similar
                                                                                                to MRI) and found that the engine is
                                                                                                capable of propelling the car.
the room after sunset. This is possible with      organic molecules. These cars used gold           Tour expects the car to travel at a
the help of OLEDs (Organic Light Emitting         plates as its tracks which ensured the        speed of 2 nanometers per minute with
Devices) that stay transparent even when          wheels did not get stuck to the surface.      the newly inserted engine. The gold track
turned off, implying that if they are installed   Instead, the wheels were dragged by           comprises the chief source in making the
as skylights or windows, they will allow          an electromagnetic field controlled by         car move completely on its own with its
natural light to flow in during the day and        a remote. But now the three-by-four           molecules consuming the entire energy
create a mimic of the same light at night.        nanometer car has finally got an engine.       absorbed from the light. As of now, there
    After spending 13 years in studying           The car has been developed by Jim Tour        are no plans to replace the gold track with
OLEDs, researchers Stephen Forrest and            and his colleagues at Rice University,        anything non-metallic as the microscope
Mark Thompson from the Princeton                  Houston. The developers say that the car is   generally used to monitor the movement
University and University of Southern             so small that around 20,000 of them could     of the car needs a metal base to deliver an
California, invented an efficient single           get parked on the tip of a human hair.        accurate reading.
color display for the first time. They used            The nano-car’s molecular motor
a three-layer (one each for red, green and        contains a pair of bonded carbon molecules
blue) light source to emit white light. This      rotating in one particular direction when
display is now ready to enter the next-gen        illuminated by a specific wavelength of
cell phones.                                      light. While checking the movement of
    For any OLED device with multiple             the inherent hydrogen atoms, Tour’s team
layers, each layer is a semi-conducting           made use of nuclear magnetic resonance—
material of organic compound, where the           the technique applied to monitor the
electrons of the organic molecules jump
at a higher energy level for a short span.
As the electrons come back to their lower
                                                  Just C’ALL!
energy level, they release the surplus energy
in the form of light. Forrest and Thompson
added dopant (chemical impurities) to these
                                                  N     ow you need not carry your credit
                                                        cards, discount cards, cell phone,
                                                  music player, apartment and car keys
                                                                                                to select the service provider and then dial
                                                                                                the number or receive a call.
                                                                                                   C’ALL also serves the purpose of
organic compounds to emit colored light           separately. All you need to carry is C’ALL,   a videophone. It can even switch
from these materials. This is how OLED            the all-in-one device, handling everything    functionality, exchanging the role of a
emanating red, green and blue light were          you found difficult to manage.                 mobile phone to that of a computer by
combined to generate white light.                    Measuring 54x85x6 mm, its biometric        just getting plugged to a keyboard enabled
    OLEDs can be installed at multiple places     system works on fingerprints and so            to run any operating system—whether it
like walls, curtains, cabinets and tables         your privacy is taken care of. Being a        be Mac or Windows.
to receive more light compared to that            multipurpose device, C’ALL is                                     C’ALL functions as a
received from a bulb or tubelight. A regular      not restricted to                                               library, video- and music
bulb emits 15 lumens per watt-hour of             any specific type of                                             shop. You can read, listen
energy whereas an OLED will discharge 25          service. For example,                                           to and watch all that you
lumens per watt-hour and it will also last        if you have two credit                                         want. Go to a public online
longer. While a bulb lasts 1,000 hours and        cards—one using Visa’s                                         library or buy all that you
a fluorescent tube 10,000 hours, an OLED           network and the other                                          want in any shop of the
will 20,000 hours. This way even the cost of      exercising Mastercard’s                                        world. It is also a gaming
energy consumption is reduced.                    network—you need to                                            device having the support of
                                                  specify one from the list                                     network gaming.
                                                  of networks that you                                             With C’ALL, you’ll never
                                                  would like to opt for and                                     get lost. This is because the
                                                  again select the bank,                                        GPS functionality of C’ALL
                                                  whose credit card you                                         updates aerial photos from
                                                  would wish to employ.                                        the Internet and is therefore
                                                    While using C’ALL as                                       capable of keeping a track of
                                                  a phone, you first need                                       your movements.

                                                                                                            INTELLIGENT COMPUTING CHIP | MAY 2006
Biolab on a Chip
Biochips can identify various diseases before they spread, warn of the possibility of
epidemics and biological poisons and even detect spoilt food

             ith the fear of diseases             the silicon chip, while the programming         received the German Future Award for
             proliferating as quickly as they     is biochemical in nature. “Each molecule        developing universal biochip applications.
             are these days, in the near          in nature has a corresponding match for         “The technology that we are using at
future you might have to pass through a           purposes of identification. These molecules      ISIT is truly one-of-a-kind”, says Hintsche
health exam while crossing the borders of         can be identified with by a biochip”, says       with conviction. “Here, for the first time
a country. A blood test can quickly provide       Dr Rainer Hintsche from the Fraunhofer          industrial technology is being used to
vital information, for instance, whether          Institute of Silicon Technology (ISIT).         combine a chip—just a common everyday
you are carrying a particular virus or not.           Viruses and even bacteria can be isolated   chip—with the world of chemical and
Recent advances in science have enabled           from blood samples if a biochip has been        biochemical analysis.”
testing of blood samples on a chip card.          equipped with the correct antibodies. The           Biochip research has been on since
The blood will be absorbed into the chip          chip can function as a genetics laboratory if   the year 1983. Since 1991, various micro-
through capillaries on the card. Chemical         it has capture elements for DNA molecules.      systems have been developed at the
reactions can be carried out inside the               Outside the medical field, biochips          Fraunhofer ISIT. The main focus at the
chip’s miniature test sites. All this will be     are finding important roles. They can be         Fraunhofer Institute has been the planning
done on a card which has a biolab on it.          designed to analyze food, detect poison or      of sensors for mobile construction.
The size of the card is the same as that of a     trace the presence of biological weapons.           In a sterile room with an area of about
credit card.                                          Hintsche, together with two other           2.500 m², ISIT produces chips at a capacity of
    The biochip, which combines biology and       inventors from Infineon and Siemens,             200,000 wafers a year. In another separate
modern semiconductor technology, is just                                                          room under yellow lighting, where silicon
one of the many developments promised by                                                          sheets are processed, other materials such
medical diagnosis technology. It is a chip that                                                   as gold, copper, sulfur, acid and biochemical
can quickly recognize an illness or perform                                                       substances are used in producing these chips.
genetic testing. One important advantage of                                                           To gain connections to the biological
this chip, among other things, is that it will                                                    realm, these silicon chips are equipped
be useful in fighting deadly outbreaks. So far,                                                    with ultra-fine gold electrodes, tipped with
epidemics such as bird flu have been difficult                                                      firmly embedded capture molecules. To
to control because identifying the virus is a      German Future Award recipients—                create these electrodes, developers relied
                                                   Dr Walter Gumbrecht (Siemens), Dr
slow and complicated process.                      Rainer Hintsche (Fraunhofer ISIT), and Dr      on existing technologies such as using
    Biochips can be programmed to                  Roland Thewes (Infineon) with biochip          gold contacts from conventional chips
accurately identify a particular virus.            plans. Infineon has since left the project     for electrodes. Between the gold and the
Virus identification is performed through           while Siemens and Fraunhofer have              biomolecules is a layer of what is called the
                                                   advanced biochip development
electric signals from a series of sensors on                                                      “coupling chemical” by its discoverers.

                                                                                                               INTELLIGENT COMPUTING CHIP | MAY 2006
                                                                                                                                NEWSWIRE       33

                                                                                                     MASS APPLICATIONS
                                                                                                     There is no molecule a biochip can’t
                                                  DNA TEST ON A CARD                                 identify. Biochemical programming using
                                                  Siemens simplifies genetic analysis with           the right antibodies for capture, makes
                                                  Quicklab, a minilab—the size of a credit           the “Lab on a chip” universally applicable
                                                  card. Biochemical reactions can be identified      in several fields. It can recognize diseases,
                                                  in the many channels and cells of the card.        toxins and genes. This makes the minilab
                                                  However, the reader still needs to be shrunk       attractive for military as well as for
                                                  to PDA size before it can be marketed              medical use

Virus check                                            Siemens Medical Solutions is one of the      use detector about the size of a credit
At ISIT, the chip has been developed in            companies that plans to mature biochip           card–where the chip, capillaries and cells are
a way that antibodies can be installed             techniques for the market as a molecular         located–and a reader which records data. A
onto it as capture molecules through the           diagnostic system called “Quicklab.”             single highly integrated chip will take over
“sulfur bridge” process on gold electrodes.        “Siemens is certain of the potential of the      all the analysis that the card would handle,
“Since we began, we have succeeded with            biochip market”, says Prof Erich Reinhardt       and organic diodes would instantly show
every type of biomolecule without any              of Siemens, as he presses for and promises       the results.
exception”, says Dr Ralf Dudde at ISIT.            the realization of the project in the near
However, the real problem lies elsewhere.          future. With the “Lab on the chip”, Siemens      Biochip implementations
Virus stockpiles in contries like the United       is aiming at a monster market. Every             For further development, researchers have
States are always tightly shut, without            year, molecular diagnosis represents as          taken to many branching paths. They are
the chance of anyone accessing them. But           much as a 1 million Euro market. Based           also creating portable devices for use in
the Robert-Koch Institute in Berlin helps in       on the principle of “Blood in, info out”,        diagnostics on field. With a weight of 2
creating antibodies.                               the analysis of samples at TKP, clinics and      kgs, the first generation of these products
    The portion of the chip where the              practising doctors will be able to get faster,   are small enough to be used for testing
capture molecules are located resembles            more accurate results with biochips. For         anything from milk in transport tanks to
an array of tiny cells. Under the microscope,      example, a large lab facility could take         antibiotic wastes. Air samples can also
you can see a fine screen of gold electrodes        one or two weeks to deliver the results of       be checked for E coli bacteria or decaying
in each element of the array. In order to          a SARS test. An electronic biochip could         meat can be instantly detected
detect multiple components in parallel, a          deliver the same result in 1 hour!               in supermarket shelves using food
biochip has to be equipped with many cells.            Dr Joern Mosner, Quicklab project            sensors.
Smaller biochips have 10-20 cells and can          manager at Siemens, estimates that by                “Toxins are also important”, says
identify several other viruses. Just like in an    2009, new biochips will begin to receive         Hintsche”. However, large chips are not
inkjet printer, a single sample-head equips        medical certifications. Furthermore, clinical     required; small biochips are enough to
a chip with capture molecules. For genetic         applications starting from prototypes will       detect certain toxins. Firefighters, military
tests, larger chips are used with as many as       make their way to mass market products. A        and civil defense are field-testing devices
1,000 cells in their arrays.                       few years down the line, it will be possible     that can detect anthrax or sarin gas.
    The factor that allows the construction        to get an instant blood test done the            Biochips are also suited to detect biological
of compact and cheap biochips is the               moment you arrive in a new country.              weapon threats.
detection system based on electricity. We              At the moment they rely on a single-             In a major exercise, defense technology
no longer need light sources, lenses and                                                            producer, Diehl, has tested gear developed
filters as we did for conventional optical                                                           at ISIT along with doctors and emergency
identification where a biomolecule is
                                                     Links                                          paramedics and expects to make use of its
tagged with fluorescent coloring. Now,       Fraunhofer Institute for      application in the upcoming World Cup.
                                                     Silicon Technology
biological identification can take place                                                                 For too long, researchers elsewhere, in
on a chip electrically. This reduces the             de/newsite/ 2004/kurzbeschreibung_             Asia and the US, have also been searching
cost of the test to 1/10 of the usual. As a          01.shtml: A simple explanation of the          for the best combination between biology
mass-production product, biochips can                biochip project                                and silicon chips. And sooner or later, it will
be produced cheaply using industrial        Siemens               be found. ■
semiconductor production methods.                                                                                                 | Manfred Flohr


                                         Get Web--
                                         Get on the Web and advertise

                                       nlike the real world, the Web offers an
                                       infinite number of possibilities for reaching
                                       out. You could be a home user interested
                             in telling your family, friends or the world at large
                             about your hobbies and experiences; you could
                             even be an entrepreneur with a flair for cooking or
                             freelance designing wanting to get your name and
                             skill sets out to potential customers. No matter
                             what the situation, having a web presence puts you
                             in a different league altogether—right up there with
                             the professionals!

                                 But where do you start? How do you go about
                             deciding where to host your web site? Can you
                             sell your wares directly off your web site? How do
                             you monitor how popular it is? All these questions
                             are potential stumbling blocks on the path to web
                             presence. We all know that broadband penetration
                             in India is on the upswing—in cities, the number

              Dinesh Desai

                                                 INTELLIGENT COMPUTING CHIP | MAY 2006
                                                                                                              TECH VACATIONS        | COVERSTORY           35

- enabled!
 yourself or your hobbies!

                    of 256 kbps+ Internet access connections stands             products, downloadable ringtones or live RSS feeds
                    at about 7.5 lacs at present and this is expected to        from personal blogs, Internet usage has become far
                    increase to 90 lacs by the end of this year, according to   more utilitarian other than just being gimmicky. With
                    Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI). Even        talk of newer wireless infrastructure (in both cellular
                    basic Internet access is reaching smaller cities and        technologies and wireless Internet technologies like
                    towns due to the spurt of deployments by service            WiMAX), this trend is not about to abate.
                    providers, using wired and wireless technologies.              While in the past it was preferable to have a
                    All this implies that more people have the means to         web presence, in this day and age it is mandatory,
                    access online information.                                  particularly if you want your business and popularity
                        There’s another interesting trend—people are            to grow. So jump on the web bandwagon—it’s easier
                    gradually growing accustomed to surfing the web              than ever these days!
                    from devices other than their desktop computers.
                    With the plummeting prices of laptops and Internet-
                    capable mobile phones, it’s not unusual to see folks
                    checking their mail or surfing the Web while in
                    transit. Apart from disseminating information, a
                    growing number of web sites today have services
                    embedded online. Whether it is online purchase of


                                                                                                SMS us!      Story code: CRS (See Readers’ Letters for details)

                                     Q: What are the benefits of having a           up with their free web site offer (www.
                                        web site?                         
                                     A: A web site not only allows anyone and           You as the web site owner need to keep
                                     everyone access to online space, it is also    in mind a couple of things such as how
                                     capable of incorporating a lot of things       much space you are going to get to upload
                                     within that space such as text, images,        your web site, whether you are getting
                                     photographs, audio and video files. So if you   enough space to upload photographs,
                                     are a person who likes to put down everyday    audio/video files apart from text and
                                     details in the form of notes or you are one    photographs, enough space for e-mail
                                     who owns a small business, a web site is one   separately. Check whether you have the
                                     space where, if you put up your stuff, you     liberty to design your web site or if there
                                     are bound to be viewed/read globally.          are any limits for data transfer during a day
                                         There’s huge scope for business—           or week or even a month.
                                     consider the fact that there are over              Although free, these web sites come
                                     20 million online shoppers. Also, the          with different kinds of hidden costs
                                     proposition of doing business online is        attached. Firstly, you will not be able to
                                     indeed luring when you get a prescient         name your web site as desired by you.
                                     account of the profits that can be incurred     These companies will have their names
                                     by online businessmen. To top it all, the      attached along with the name that you
                                     online audience is growing by the day and      have decided to opt for. For example, you
                                     therefore, the scope for business growth       will never be able to name your web site as
                                     is immense.                                    “”; rather your web site would
                                         Even if you are not a businessman, you     be “companyname/” (the
                                     have the opportunity to exhibit your skills    company name here stands for the name
                                     and/or collections to the largest set of       of the company offering you online space).
                                     viewers. If you wish, you can have all those       Secondly, your page will be nearly filled
                                     viewers comment or place feedback on the       with advertisements, banner ads at the
                                     work that you have displayed online. Not       top or at the bottom, box ads at the sides,
                                     only that, your online presence can attract    pop-up ads, sliding ads and all possible form
                                     people who share the same views as that        of ads which the space offering company
                                     of yours and all you folks can discuss on      deems fit to rake in some moolah out of the
                                     a topic which you feel important and           space that they have offered you for free.
                                     relevant. This way you create and become           Thirdly, a web site with someone else’s
                                     part of an online community.                   name along with yours is not a professional
                                         More importantly, a web site gives         approach to establishing your online
                                     you a unique identity. Your web site gives     identity. It is as if you have borrowed
                                     you a status that is singularly your own.      someone else’s room and that person
                                     Sharing your profile, product or any other      makes sure he announces it to every visitor
                                     information with anyone becomes easy as        who comes to visit you.
                                     people can access all of it at the click of
                                     a mouse.                                       Q: I want the web site I create to be
                                                                                       named after my grand daughter.
                                     Q: I’m interested in creating a web               How do I do that?
                                        site of my own. But I want to do            A: The web site that you create should
                                        it just for fun. Will I have to shell       have a domain name. This is very
                                        out any money for it?                       important for any web site as it is the name
                                     A: To whet your appetite of having fun on      by which your site will be known. When
                                     a web site, you can avail the opportunity      you plan to create a web site, you need
                                     offered by several companies in the form       to contact a web hosting company who
                                     of free online space. There are a number of    will ask you for a name for your web site.
                                     companies that offer free online space for     This is the juncture when you can assign a
                                     your personal web site such as      name. This name can range from anything
                                     com,, www.freewebs.          to everything, even your granddaughter’s
                                     com, to name a few. Even Google has come       name will work fine.

                                                                                                INTELLIGENT COMPUTING CHIP | MAY 2006
                                                                                                        TECH VACATIONS     | COVERSTORY         37

    The only thing that you need to                  different name. Remember your web site           the name you have chosen. Now all you
understand is “availability”. If the name            name should be short, simple and easy            need to do is design your site and put it up.
you have suggested has not been used by              to remember.
anyone else before, then you can surely                  Once you find the name you want to            Q: I have heard there are sites that
have it. For example, if you want your web           use is available, the next step is to register      offer web hosting services. What
site to be named “”                the name with that web hosting company              kind of services are these?
while a web site with that name already              so that no one else can use it. After            A: To put up your web site, you need to
exists, then you have to think of some               registration, you can call your web site with    contact a web hosting company. These
                                                                                                      companies have their own web sites that
| Training institutes                                                                                 enlist all the services they offer. You can
NIIT                                                                                                  visit their site as a customer, check their
                                                                                                      list of services and then register your
Useful links for (click on link “Individuals” | select India
course information        from the country list and click on “Go” | click on “Locate a center”        domain name straightaway to avail their
                                                                                                      services in uploading your web site. Web
                                                                                                      hosting companies charge a certain
Arena Multimedia
                                                                                                      amount for their services. Therefore before
Useful Links                               you go ahead and decide on a web hosting
                                company, you need to check the entire list
Email                                                                     of services that you can avail from them.
                                                                                                          Even before registering your domain
Phone                     022-28272300
                                                                                                      name, check on the space first. You need
                                                                                                      to keep in mind that your web site might
 | Service providers                                                                                  have photographs, which implies you will
Web development          Goradia Infotech                                                             require more space. Usually, a 100-page
companies                E-mail                                     web site can be accommodated within
                                                                                                      50 MB space.
                         Web site (click on “Why Us” | Scroll down
                                                                                                          Also, check the bandwidth your web
                                         to the bottom of the page and click on “Get a Free Website
                                                                                                      hosting service provider is offering.
                                                                                                      Bandwidth is consumed every time a user
                                                                                                      visits your web site. You need to check
Web hosting service VSNL
                                                                                                      that the amount of bandwidth your web
providers           E-mail     
                                                                                                      site is using is less than the bandwidth
                         Tel no.         Delhi             011-55501234
                                                                                                      allotted to you. If not, then you either did
                                         Mumbai            022-56578765                               not get adequate bandwidth or the file
                                         Kolkata           033-23554045                               size of each and every page needs to be
                                         Chennai           044-25360093 / 044-25366740                reduced.
                                         Bangalore         080-56629000                                   Among other services, you need to
                         Sify                                                                         check the level of security you are offered
                         E-mail          Customer Support:                      to retain the privacy of your data; the
                                         Product Information:
                                                                                                      support that you get from your web
                                                                                                      hosting company (whether it is 24x7 or
                                                                                                      not), server type (for example, Windows
                                                                                                      or Linux) provided by your web hosting
                                                                                                      service provider, etc.


Q: I don’t know how to design a web               the support of web developers who are           of security they implement. The level of
   site. Will the web hosting service             masters in providing maintenance support.       security is usually defined with the help
   provider design it for me?                     Their support services range from adding        of bits of information. The greater this
A: Web site design indicates how a web            or deleting content, replacing sections,        number, the higher the security. Currently,
site page will look on the screen when            adding or deleting product information          128-bit security is considered standard.
it gets downloaded. This is again a very          and photographs in case you are an                 If you don’t want to get into the
important aspect of a site. If you are            online businessman. At times, these web         nuances of security, then you need to
hosting your site with some free service          development companies even go ahead to          consult a web developing company. They
provider like Yahoo or Google, you will be        process an order bought online from your        provide you with security services. All you
allowed to use their design templates to          web site. Their maintenance support starts      need to check is whether you are getting a
design your site. You need not have to be         from the time an order is placed to when        firewall for protection or if any third party
a designer to work with those templates,          the product is ready to be shipped. They        anti-virus application takes care of security.
they are highly self-explanatory but they         take care of everything from documentation
have certain limitations. You might not be        of an order, tracking an order, checking        Q: How do I conduct business
allowed to modify the template as per your        whether the payment is complete or not             online?
requirement; if you wish to use the site          to making the overall business process          A: So you have your web site up and
for conducting business online, these site        hassle free. For the above tasks, there is a    running and now want to use it as a
templates will hardly serve any purpose.          minimum charge of Rs 200– 250.                  medium for selling your products. For this
    Web hosting service providers generally                                                       you will need to consider some way in
don’t provide any support for designing           Q: Is it safe to have personal                  which you can accept credit cards on your
web sites. At this juncture, you might need          information on my web site? Will             site. Credit card payment option allows
to get in touch with web developers. These           hackers be able to deface my site?           you to take advantage of impulsive buyers
people are experts in understanding your          A: The Internet is full of prowling monsters    (including international customers), who
requirements and designing a web site that        waiting to hack into your personal              want to purchase your product immediately
exactly meets your needs. Web developers          information. Therefore, you need to take        after reading its features. This is because
charge you a certain amount (ranging from         that extra care so that your personal details   credit card payment automatically takes
Rs 300-400) for developing the site.              don’t get pilfered. It is always advisable      care of the currency differences.
    Another advantage of working with             to refrain from putting up any private              There are two ways in which you can
web development companies is that they            information on free web sites as they do not    accept credit cards on your web site:
take care of domain name registration             guarantee security for your data.                    By using your own e-cashier (merchant
and also provide web hosting services. So             A good web hosting service provider              account): To do this, you will need
sift through the points you had checked           offers a near-perfect secure environment             to find a bank that will allow you to
to decide on a web hosting company and            to store personal information or data                open a merchant account. You can
then opt for a web development company.           although there might not be an assurance             check with your local banks for more
However, if you still feel your web site must     for 100 percent security. In fact, before            information on this.
have the personal touch, you can try your         choosing a web hosting service you                  Through a third party merchant: There
hand in designing your site. Refer to the         should check this parameter very closely.            are numerous companies that are willing
table for a listing of good training institutes   More so, if you are planning to do online            to accept credit card payments on your
in the previous page.                             business where you need to deal with your            behalf in exchange for various fees and
                                                  customer’s credit card information. You              percentages. This is explained later.
Q: Does this mean the hosting                     need to check whether the web hosting
   service guys will also maintain                service providers are using SSL (Secured
   my web site?                                   Socket Layer), which is almost mandatory
A: No, web hosting service guys generally         for business sites. If you are a bit more
do not maintain a web site. But if you don’t      concerned then get in touch with your
want to maintain it yourself, you can take        service provider to find out what level

                                                                                                               INTELLIGENT COMPUTING CHIP | MAY 2006
                                                                                                    GET WEB-ENABLED      | COVERSTORY        39

The next question that might crop up is
which method you should opt for. We
                                                   | Additional functionality
recommend that you go for the third party          Learn here how you can add features to     and simply
merchant as it is very convenient to use. If       your web site.                                      follow the procedure mentioned
you are unsure about the response that your        Adding a guest book to your web                     there. If you search the Net, you will
product is going to get, then it is advisable      site: Guest books allow visitors to your            find a wide array of options for adding
to go for this merchant. Also, the initial cost    web site to provide their names and e-mail          RSS feeds to your web site.
of setting up your own merchant account            addresses and leave comments about your         Adding a counter: How many people
is very high as compared to that of a third        site. Many sites offer free guest books         have visited your web site? You can
party merchant. The chances of being               that display entries of your viewers and        display the number of visitors by adding
gypped are also minimal while using a third        allow you, the page designer, to delete old     a graphical counter to your page. It is
party merchant.                                    or inappropriate entries. The steps are as      a little box at the bottom of your web
    You will have to choose the third party        follows:                                        page that has numbers on it. Every time
merchant according to the product that                  First, check if your web hosting service   someone visits your web site, the number
you will be selling on your web site. If you           allows you to add a guest book.             will increase thus telling you as well as
are a software developer and want to sell               Check out the various sites that offer     everyone else who visits your site as to
your software, then you can tie up with                free guest books.                           how many people have been to your site
Digibuy ( They charge a               Carefully read their terms and              before. Some of the prominent counters
service fee of 13.9 percent per transaction.           conditions and then follow the step-        and their features are mentioned here.
Alternatively, you can choose Clickbank,               by-step process in order to determine            TextCounter: This hit counter comes
who charge you a one-time setup fee of                 how your guest book looks, and what             in Perl version, a C++ version and a
US$ 49.95 and a transaction fee of US$                 questions need to be included.                  graphical version. This is a very simple
1 plus 7.5 percent of the sale price. For              Write down the code that will be given          counter that just lists the number of
selling physical products (products that               to you.                                         visits your page has had.
are delivered to the customer’s doorstep),             Now all you need to do is to insert this         Analog: If you want to try something
use CCNow ( There’s                 code to the appropriate section on your             different then we recommend Analog.
no setup fee but they charge you 9                 web page and then advertise it to visitors          This counter gives you all the regular
percent per transaction. You could also            by mentioning about it.                             data like how many people have
choose the popular PayPal (www.paypal.              Adding RSS feeds: RSS is an acronym                visited your web site. It also breaks it
com) as your merchant. They charge you                 for Really Simple Syndication or Real-          down into countries and gives you the
$0.25 for transactions of $15 and below                time Simple Syndication. RSS is an easy         option of displaying the results in 35
while for transactions above $15, you will             way of getting fresh content for your           different languages.
be charged 1.9 percent plus $0.25 per                  web pages. RSS feeds are streaming             NBCiCounter: This one not only places
transaction.                                           content that you can add to your                a counter on your page to keep track
    If you want to keep things simple, just            web site for free. RSS feeds are freely         of visitors, it also provides you with
register yourself at and                   available over the Internet. Some of            a log that keeps track of page views
then provide your username on your site.               the major players in the RSS world are          by date, day and time. Now you can
Persons who are interested in buying your              Yahoo, CNN, Reuters, to name a few.             also find out what sites people surfed
products will do so by logging onto eBay.              The simplest method by which you can            before arriving at yours and what
eBay itself uses PaisaPay as its merchant.             add RSS feeds to your web site is using         browser they are using. The really
The buyer pays eBay (and not the seller)               software called RSS Content Builder             cool thing about this is that you can
through a credit card. The seller is credited          which will get RSS feeds in both PHP            receive an hourly breakdown of page
for the payment once the bank confirms                  as well as Javascript format for your           views—know what day and what time
the transaction. eBay then verifies all                 web pages. Alternately, you could visit         visitors arrive at your site.
confirmed PaisaPay transactions and then
sends either a cheque or a demand draft to        as well as discuss issues about web              sites you need to register first and then put
each seller on a regular basis.                   development, some of them are www.               up your queries. Even in yahoo groups, you
                                        ; www.                  will gest links like Webmonkey, HTML-
Q: Are there any forums where I          (Click on “Web development”          Haven, php_king where you can discuss
   can discuss more about web site                then click on “Web Design”); www.                your concerns about web site development
   development?                          (Type “Web                    as well as get information about different
A: There are a number of web sites                development” or “Web design” to search           scripting languages that are oft used for
from where you get information about              for forums);               development of web sites.
choosing good web hosting companies               home.aspx and the like. With most of these                        | Pradosh Mitra & Anup Pillai

     Jagdish Limbachiya

                          Top Gear
                                       e had an array of products this    it adds an important dimension to the
                                       month. The Asus PW191 is the       ultra-compact digital camera segment—it
                                       first 19-inch widescreen LCD        is shockproof and water-resistant. Gamers
                          monitor we reviewed and it is arguably          now have a strong option for a surround
                          the best looking LCD in the market. It was      sound speaker setup—the Logitech X-530
                          indeed nothing short of a celebrity in the      delivers good quality sound at high volume
                          Test Center. The iAudio U2 player is an         levels and the aggressive pricing makes it a
                          excellent choice for music lovers wanting       very attractive offer. The same cannot be
                          to equip themselves with a good sounding        said about the Leadtek 7800GS AGP graphics
                          MP3 player that does not hurt the wallet.       card, it commands a heavy premium for
                             The Triton case from Gigabyte gives          being the most advanced AGP graphics
                          you an absolute bang for the buck; it’s a       card in the market. Hardcore PC enthusiasts
                          worthy investment if you are serious about      should start saving for the Asus A8R32-MVP
                          the thermals inside your computer case.         Deluxe motherboard; it offers unrivaled
                          Shutterbugs going on a summer vacation          features including support for the latest
                          should consider the Olympus 720 SW;             eSATA based external storage solutions.

                           | The Ratings Explained
                           The products in the individual and             parameter—the more important a parameter,
                           comparison tests share exactly the same        the higher is the weightage allotted to it.
                           test procedures.                                   In addition, there is a Value for Money
                               Each product in Top Gear is rated on       rating, which is calculated from the
                           a scale of 5 for different key parameters:     performance and the features of the product,
                           Performance, Build Quality, Features,          in relation to the price. High performance
                           Ergonomics and Warranty. These vary            and lots of features at a low price translates
                           according to the characteristics of the        into a better Value for Money rating. This
                           hardware. For instance, ergonomics (ease       rating is calculated using current prices.
                           of use) is not important in a graphics         Note: The prices mentioned here do
                           card and therefore, it will not be evaluated   not include taxes. Hence, they will vary
                           for this.                                      according to the taxes applicable in
                               A product’s Overall Rating is calculated   the city or state where you buy the
                           by assigning weightages to each evaluation     product from.

                                                                                       INTELLIGENT COMPUTING CHIP | MAY 2006
                                                                                                                     TESTED       | HARDWARE                 41

                                                                                                   LCD Monitor
                                                                                                   ASUS PW191
                                                                                                   Specifications: 19 WXGA screen, Maximum Resolution
                                                                                                   1440x900, Viewing Angle 150°(H) / 130°(V), Pixel Pitch:
                                                                                                   0.285mm, Display Colors: 16.2 million, Brightness: 330
                                                                                                   cd/m2, Contrast Ratio- 600:1, Response Time: 8 ms

                                                                                                   Price              Rs 29,000
                                                                                                   Contact            Richard Chen
                                                                                                   Phone              022-40058894
                                                                                                   Warranty           3 years
                                                                                                   Build quality
                                                                                                   Overall Rating
                                                                                                   Value for money

Looks can kill!
T   his widescreen LCD monitor is a head
    turner. To start with, the black piano
finish frame coupled with a brushed silver
                                                 Performance: The PW191 is an impressive
                                                 product with excellent brightness and
                                                 contrast matched by pristine image quality.
                                                                                                 display. The viewing angles are also a little
                                                                                                 tight for a 19-inch widescreen monitor. The
                                                                                                 color accuracy deviates noticeably when
stand lends superb styling. The design is        The overall color reproduction is good          moving sideways. The touch sensitive OSD
uniform and very simple, similar to the          but the color accuracy is slight off the        controls were inconsistent in reponse.
plasma screens. Getting down to the              mark for professional use. The colors are       However, Asus assured us that the problem
specifications and features, the PW191 has a      a bit too vibrant, which helps in gaming        was with the sample piece in particular and
19-inch WXGA LCD screen with a maximum           and watching movies but does not aid            not with the product in general. The built-
supported resolution of 1440x900 and a           graphic designers. Working with multiple        in speakers are average in sound quality;
16:10 screen ratio. The brightness is rated      documents is a charm, the wide aspect           don’t expect them to replace your desktop
at 330cd/m2 and the contrast ratio is an         ratio and large screen size makes it very       speakers.
impressive 600:1. With a pixel pitch of          convenient. The text is sharp and with a        For: Excellent brightness and contrast,
0.285mm, the PW191 sports 8 ms response          native resolution of 1440x900, the LCD          killer looks; impressive swivel and pivot
time. The viewing angle is pretty standard at    is perfect for office applications. Coming       adjustments; superb build quality.
150°(H) / 130°(V) and it provides both D-Sub     to gaming, the 8 ms response time is            Against: Slightly restrictive view angles;
as well as DVI connections. The LCD comes        acceptable and we did not experience            inconsistent performance when using
with built-in speakers; the speakers are rated   ghosting while enjoying a thrilling racing      D-Sub input; colors too vivid for designers.
at 2 W RMS each. The swivel design allows        experience with Track Mania Sunrise or
5 to 25 degrees forward and backward             NFS: Most Wanted. The 19-inch widescreen
adjustment of the LCD panel while offering       display makes a huge difference when
120 degree adjustment laterally. The PW191       watching movies. The vibrant colors and
also offers 90 degree pivotal adjustment         sharp contrast ensures a near cinematic
for vertical viewing, enabling you to change     experience. The swivel design offers a lot
the orientation from landscape to portrait       of flexibility but it takes some effort to get
through the software provided along with         the position right and it’s not as easy as it
the product. The portrait mode is suitable       could be. It would have been a better idea
for working with long charts and documents.      to provide a lock which can be released for
The OSD is integrated into the frame. Being      adjusting the position. Secondly, the display
touch sensitive, the back-lit OSD controls       quality is great provided you use the DVI
come to life when icons at the bottom right      option. Using the analogue D-Sub input, we       The touch sensitive controls are located at
                                                                                                  the bottom right of the LCD
corner are tapped.                               experienced banding and inconsistency in


                                                                                     SMS us      <HWS> to 7007 (See Readers’ Letters for details)
42    HARDWARE           | TESTED

 Asus A8R32-MVP Deluxe
 Specifications: Socket 939, ATI CrossFire Xpress 3-200
 North Bridge, ULi M1575 South Bridge, 2 x full 16x PCI-E
 slots, 7.1-channel Realtek ALC 882 HD audio, Silicon
 Image SATA controller, SATA On-the-Go, 4xSata II Ports,
 8xUSB ports, 2 xIEEE 1394a connectors, 2xATA 133
 connectors, 1xFDD connector

 Price              Rs 12,000
 Contact            Jeffery Huang
 Phone              022-40058894
 Warranty           3 years
 Build quality
 Overall Rating
 Value for money

CrossFire at its best
T    he Asus A8R32-MVP Deluxe is based
     on ATI’s latest CrossFire Xpress 3200
chipset codenamed RD580 or “Skeletor”.
                                                            around the CPU socket is clutter-free
                                                            without any intrusive capacitors,
                                                            allowing easy mounting of large
                                                                                                         the cable for using the SATA-on-the-go

Like Nvidia’s NForce 4 SLI-16x, the new                     heat sinks.                                  TEST RIG
chipset features two dedicated 16x                             The SATA II ports controlled by the       Processor: AMD Athlon 64 X2 4400+
PCI-Express lanes for unprecedented                         Southbridge are intelligently placed         Memory: 2 x 512 MB PC3200 Kingston
CrossFire performance. The RD580                            close to the edge of the board below the                 HyperX ULK2
follows the 110 nm fabrication process                      Southbridge so that massive graphics         Hard drive: Western Digital Raptor 740GD
and is just about 39 mm2 in size, making                    cards like the X1900XT don’t get in the      Graphics card: ATI Radeon X1900XT
it the smallest Northbridge in the market.                  way of SATA cables. Also, the PCI-E slots
    The ULi M1575 Southbridge supports                      are well spaced so that there’s enough       SCORES
2xIDE connectors and 4xSATA II                              breathing space even with huge cards in      3DMark 2003: 17434 marks
connectors with support for RAID 0,                         dual-GPU setup.                              3DMark 2005: 10520 marks
1, 0+1, 5 and JBOD configurations. In                        Performance: To make sure the
addition to this, the board also packs                      motherboard performs at its best, we         PCMark 2005: 3621 marks
in an internal SATA II port and an                          stressed it with top-end components
external SATA port on the back panel                        installed. Just as we had expected,          SiSoft Sandra 2005 Pro
controlled by the Silicon Image 3132 SATA                   it did not leave us disappointed and         CPU Arithmetic
controller. There’s nothing missing from                    belted out thunderous performance.              Whetstones: 19820
the board—it is replete with 8-channel                      The test scores reveal that the A8R32 is        Dhrystones: 9171
high-definition audio, dual gigabit LAN,                     a beast of a performer. At present, it is
2xIEEE 1394a connectors, 8xUSB ports                        the most powerful enthusiast CrossFire       Memory bandwidth: 4,685 MB/s
and 3 PCI slots. The back panel of the                      motherboard in the market.
board sports PS/2 and parallel ports,                           So, take this motherboard home and       Everest Ultimate 2006
coaxial and optical S/PDIF outputs, 4xUSB                   get set for next-generation gaming of the    Read
ports and six universal audio jacks.                        ultimate kind.                               Sequential: 66 MB/s
Layout: The board follows a fan-less                        For: 2xdedicated 16x PCI-Express lanes;      Random: 60 MB/s
design with both the Northbridge and                        excellent layout; 7.1-channel high
the Southbridge featuring passive                           definition Azalia audio; optical and          Write
aluminum heat sinks. The overall layout                     coaxial S/PDIF-out; excellent feature-set.   Sequential: 68.5 MB/s
of the motherboard is excellent. The area                   Against: The bundle doesn’t include          Random: 64.5 MB/s

                                                                                                                    INTELLIGENT COMPUTING CHIP | MAY 2006
                                                                                                               TESTED     | HARDWARE             43

                                                                                             Gainward Sound Xplosion
                                                                                             Specifications: 6-channel headset, self-adjusting
                                                                                             headband, 6-channel USB sound card, audio
                                                                                             extension cable, IR remote control.

                                                                                             Price             Rs 2,450
                                                                                             Contact           Mediatech India
                                                                                             Phone             022-26361111
                                                                                             Warranty          1 year
                                                                                             Build quality
                                                                                             Overall Rating
                                                                                             Value for money

Personal surround sound
I f you think surround sound can only be
  delivered by a multi-channel speaker
system, here’s something that will make
                                             S/PDIF inputs are located on the left and
                                             the six-channel output jacks are located
                                             on the right. After installing Music 2 Go
                                                                                            is a headset and you cannot expect it to
                                                                                            deliver the quality of surround sound that
                                                                                            multi-channel speakers emit. However, the
your jaws drop. The Gainward Sound           like any other USB device, it requires a bit   in-depth sound is quite perceptible since
Xplosion is a multi-channel headset which    of fine-tuning in order to adjust the sound     it features support for six discrete sound
sports discrete drivers for each channel     mode and equalizer to get the desired          channels. Overall, the sound quality is good
—front, rear and center subwoofer.           sound quality.                                 except for the mids and the lows being
To fit heads of all sizes, it features a          After finding an IR receiver on the         below average.
self-adjusting cushioned headband.           soundcard, you’ll be even more surprised to        We suggest that instead of buying an
Upon wearing it, the headset fits             find a credit card-sized IR remote control as   expensive headset costing you more than
comfortably without the need to              part of the package. It has all the controls   a thousand bucks, shell out some more
adjust the length of the headband. The       that are present in the remote control of      money and get a multi-channel headset
cushioned ear pads over the earphones        a DVD player. However, using it requires       as well as an external multi-channel
add more to the comfort. These pads have     InterVideo WinDVD 5 installed on the PC.       soundcard. Considering the features for the
been included so that your ears don’t hurt   A licensed copy of WinDVD 5 also forms a       price, the package is definitely a big bang
after a long music session or a movie.       part of the mega package.                      for the buck. You won’t regret putting in
For audio input, the headset features a      Performance: The Sound Xplosion is             your money for this one.
generous six-feet audio cable emerging       targeted mainly towards gamers and             For: Good clarity; six-channel USB sound
from the left headphone.                     movie buffs, who require an immersive          card; S/PDIF I/O.
    A suitable soundcard or a motherboard    sound experience to get more thrill out        Against: Average bass; surround sound not
having onboard multi-channel audio           of games and movies. Of course, this one       as immersive.
output is required to enjoy the thrill of
surround sound. But in case you have
neither, don’t worry! The Gainward Sound
Xplosion is an all-round package which
also includes an external six-channel USB
soundcard—the Gainward Music 2 Go. It
resembles a puck and has volume control
buttons on top surrounding the backlit
Music 2 Go logo. Audio inputs and outputs    The headset sports discrete drivers for        Audio extension cable and IR remote
are located at the sides. Stereo, mic and    multi-channel sound                            control are an added bonus

44    HARDWARE            | TESTED

 MP3 Player
 Cowon iAUDIO U2 256MB
 Specifications: Flash Player, 256 MB memory,
 FM, Microphone, records FM, Line-in recording,
 Rechargeable Li-Polymer battery, 20 hours rated
 battery life, 95 dB signal-to-noise ratio, Weight: 34 gms
 (Li-Polymer battery included)

 Price              Rs 4,800
 Contact            Lipap Systems Pvt Ltd
 Phone              022-28743457
 E-mail   ,
 Warranty           1 year
 Build quality
 Overall Rating
 Value for money

Pocket this performer
W       e all are quite familiar with
        players from Apple, Creative and
iRiver. Let us introduce to you Cowon, an
                                                             drag and drop the songs.
                                                                 The U2 is easy to navigate; we didn’t
                                                             even need to use the manual. It is capable
                                                                                                              Li-polymer battery life with a rated battery
                                                                                                              life of 20 hours. With extensive usage, it
                                                                                                              lasted us 16 hours, a good 4 hours short of
internationally acclaimed contender in                       of making on-the-fly playlists i.e. it can even   the rated battery life.
the potable audio market. We have with                       create playlists when not connected to           FM - With a player like this, you wouldn’t
the IAUDIO U2, a very popular player from                    the computer, an extremely indispensable         want to use the FM, but if you do, the FM
Cowon. But does it live up to the hype it                    feature. The U2 is capable of voice and line-    quality won’t disappoint you.
has created? Let’s check it out.                             in recording; it also has FM included.               We were informed that the 1 GB variant
Design: The U2 is the smallest MP3 player                    Performance                                      has a street price of just Rs 6,500, an
we have reviewed so far; it weighs just 34                   Audio Quality - The sound quality is             absolute killer deal! We recommend you to
gms with the Li-Polymer battery included.                    phenomenal. We compared it to one of the         go for the 1 GB model instead of the 256
The display is backlit and has a blue                        best sounding MP3 players—the iRiver IFP-        MB one.
background light. But even though                            799T. Keeping all the settings at default,       For: Doesn’t require drivers for Windows
the display is small, it packs in a lot of                   we loaded both the players with the same         XP (just drag and drop songs); excellent
information.                                                 audio track. We found the U2 way better.         sound quality; small and extremely light;
Features: As soon as you plug the U2 into                    The highs were distinct and detailed and         can playback ogg files.
the PC’s USB port, it’s recognized as a                      the bass was tight and punchy.                   Against: Average microphone recording
removable storage device. You just need to                   Battery Life - It employs a rechargeable         ability.

Size comparison: The U2 vs an AA-sized
                                                             USB cable, USB plug, lanyard, line-in cable, case, earphone covers and earphones

                                                                                                                          INTELLIGENT COMPUTING CHIP | MAY 2006
                                                                                                                                                TESTED         | HARDWARE               45

                                                                                                                              AGP based graphics solution
                                                                                                                              Leadtek WinFast A7800 GS TDH
                                                                                                                              Price             Rs 21,000
                                                                                                                              Contact           Zebronics
                                                                                                                              Phone             022-26616202
                                                                                                                              Warranty          3 years
                                                                                                                              Overall Rating
                                                                                                                              Value for money

Gaming graphics
G     amers on the AGP platform have
      something to cheer about—the 7800GS
AGP is here! The Leadtek Winfast A7800GS
                                                  details. Looking at the bigger picture,
                                                  the performance is a tad disappointing
                                                  when compared to the 7800GT, which
                                                                                                                                                3DMark 2003
                                                                                                                                         Nvidia GeForce 7800GT
                                                                                                                                         Nvidia GeForce 7600GT
TDH is the most powerful AGP based                consistently stays ahead of the 7800GS. We                              12731          Nvidia Geforce 6800GS
                                                                                                                          12007          Leadtek GeForce 7800GS
graphics solution that money can buy. Using       tried over clocking the card; we were able                              9495           ATI Radeon X1600XT
the 7800GS chipset, the card comes with 256       to push the clocks to 425 MHz/1.35 GHz,                                 0              5000         10000              15000        20000

MB of 256-bit memory. Being the first AGP          the performance gain was between 3-7
card based on the 7800 series chipsets, the       percent depending on the benchmark.                                                           3DMark 2005
                                                                                                                          7277           Nvidia GeForce 7800GT
GPU uses 16 pixel shader units and 6 vertex       For: Fastest AGP card with ShaderModel 3.0                              5926           Nvidia GeForce 7600GT
shader units as compared to 20 pixel shader       support; good software package.                                         5657           Nvidia Geforce 6800GS
                                                                                                                          5561           Leadtek GeForce 7800GS
and 7 vertex shader units in the 7800GT. The      Against: Slower than the 7800GT and                                     5235           ATI Radeon X1600XT
Geforce 7800GS from Nvidia uses the 110nm         7600GT; overpriced.                                                     0        1000 2000 3000 4000 5000 6000 7000 8000
G70 core that is clocked at 375 MHz and the
256 MB GDDR3 memory is clocked at 1.2                          Doom 3 - High-1024X768@4XAA                                     FEAR - MAX-1280x960@4xAA 16xAF
                                                      81       Nvidia GeForce 7800GT                                      32             Nvidia GeForce 7800GT
GHz. The package is pretty impressive with
                                                      71       Nvidia GeForce 7600GT                                      29             Nvidia GeForce 7600GT
two full game titles—Prince of Persia Warrior         64       Nvidia Geforce 6800GS                                      25             ATI Radeon X1600XT
                                                      67       Leadtek GeForce 7800GS                                     24             Leadtek GeForce 7800GS
Within and Splinter Cell Chaos Theory. The            43       ATI Radeon X1600XT                                         18             Nvidia Geforce 6800GS
box contains driver and utilities disc, DVI-VGA   0             20              40        60             80         100   0          5     10        15        20        25      30     35
converter and TV output cable.
Performance: The 7800GS is your best                       Doom 3 - High-1280X1024@4XAA                                   HalfLife-2 Lost Coast-1024X768@4XAA 8XAF
                                                      55       Nvidia GeForce 7800GT                                          70         Nvidia GeForce 7800GT
bet if you want an AGP card that can                  50       Nvidia GeForce 7600GT                                          40         Nvidia GeForce 7600GT
run all the current games at maximum                  43       Nvidia Geforce 6800GS                                          40         Nvidia Geforce 6800GS
                                                      48       Leadtek GeForce 7800GS                                         37         Leadtek GeForce 7800GS
                                                      30       ATI Radeon X1600XT                                             33         ATI Radeon X1600XT
                                                  0            10         20         30        40         50        60
                                                                                                                          0        10     20    30        40    50         60    70     80

                                                           Doom 3 - High-1600x1200@4xAA                                   HalfLife-2 Lost Coast-1600X1200@4XAA 8X AF
                                                      39       Nvidia GeForce 7800GT
                                                      36       Nvidia GeForce 7600GT                                          36         Nvidia GeForce 7800GT
                                                      31       Nvidia Geforce 6800GS                                          25         Leadtek GeForce 7800GS
                                                                                                                              23         Nvidia Geforce 6800GS
 The card uses standard cooling, similar to           33       Leadtek GeForce 7800GS
                                                                                                                              20         Nvidia GeForce 7600GT
 the GeForce 6800GS. It is powered through            20       ATI Radeon X1600XT
                                                                                                                              17         ATI Radeon X1600XT
 a molex connector                                0        5         10        15    20    25       30         35   40    0         5     10    15        20        25     30    35     40

46    HARDWARE            | TESTED

 Digital Camera
 Olympus Stylus 720 SW
 Specifications: 7.1 MP CCD, 3x optical zoom, 5x digital
 zoom, 115,000 pixels 2.5-inch TFT LCD, 28 preset
 shooting modes, 19.1 MB internal memory, Rechargeable
 Lithium-ion LI-42B battery, Weight 149 gms, Dimensions
 91x58.7x19.8 mm, storage using XD-picture card

 Price               Rs 22,995
 Contact             Olympus India
 Phone               022-22854495
 Warranty            1 year
 Build quality
 Overall Rating
 Value for money

Zoom in
T    he Stylus 720 SW is a unique offering
     from Olympus. Taking a leaf out of
the tough notebooks, this one is a tough
                                                           simply increases the ISO levels and
                                                           employs fast shutter speed to minimize
                                                           the blur. Another unique feature is the
                                                                                                           The 2.5-inch LCD screen is bright and
                                                                                                           very efficient. The controls on the cam
                                                                                                           are straight forward but the menus and
camera that is capable of withstanding                     Bright Capture technology, which helps          navigation can improve a bit. Build quality
the occasional drops, spills and splashes.                 you take better pictures in low-light           is truly exceptional with an all metal body
The 7.1 MP ultra compact digital camera                    conditions. It automatically lightens           and a shiny steel finish. The results of the
is a shock proof and waterproof device,                    the preview in the LCD monitor by               image quality tests were impressive. The
promising to withstand a 5-foot drop                       condensing light information from groups        camera can capture good details though
and also allowing image capture under                      of neighboring CCD pixels into each pixel       the colors were a little on the softer side
water up to 10 feet. The 720 SW makes                      of the LCD. This allows you to see an           when compared to that of the Canon IXUS
use of light but durable shock-absorbing                   onscreen image that will more closely           750 and IXUS 50. It captures movies at
materials throughout the interior and                      resemble the final print. The display is 4.5     640x480 but it can only do that at 15 fps.
incorporates the same sealant technology                   times brighter than those of other digital      In all, it is a good ultra compact camera
used in Olympus underwater housings.                       cameras, making it easier to compose            that is stylish and rugged.
Offering 3x optical plus 5x digital zoom,                  shots in dark or subdued light.                 For: 28 preset modes; waterproof and
the camera has an impressive 2.5-inch                      Performance: The Stylus 720 SW is a zippy       shock proof; 2.5-inch LCD; excellent build
LCD screen which dominates the back                        performer with fast focusing. The image         quality.
side. Aimed at the point-and-shoot user,                   digital stabilization feature works well        Against: Images are a little soft; menu
the 720 SW offers 28 preset modes that                     with good lighting conditions but is no         interface can improve; 640x480 movie
should satisfy most of the users. There are                match for the optical image stabilization.      capture at only 15 fps.
some very unique and specific shooting
modes that are specifically meant for
capturing images under water. You have
a choice of four modes when clicking
underwater which also includes a macro
mode for close-ups under water! There is
a special digital image stabilization mode
that is meant to avoid blurry images due
to handshake. Being “digital” in nature,
there obviously isn’t any optical image                    The Stylus 720 SW comes with Lithium-ion        The menu interface is simple but not as
stabilization mechanism. The camera                        battery and takes XD-picture card for storage   user-friendly as that of the Canon cameras

                                                                                                                       INTELLIGENT COMPUTING CHIP | MAY 2006
                                                                                                              TESTED     | HARDWARE               47

                                                                                            DVD Writer
                                                                                            Sony DRU-820A
                                                                                            Specifications: Writing speeds -16x DVD+/-R, 8x DVD+RW,
                                                                                            6x DVD-RW, 8x DVD +/-R DL, 5x DVD-RAM, 48X CD-R,
                                                                                            32x CD-RW

                                                                                            Price             Rs 3,250
                                                                                            Contact           Rashi Peripherals Pvt Ltd
                                                                                            Phone             022-55090909
                                                                                            Warranty          1 year
                                                                                            Overall Rating
                                                                                            Value for money

Burn it all
S    ony’s latest entrant, the DRU-820A,
     has the added functionality of DVD-
RAM recording. Let’s have a look at what
                                               are well written and pretty illustrative.
                                               The Sony DRU-820A incorporates BenQ’s
                                               exclusive Dual Cooling System (DCS) which
                                                                                           reads CD-RW at 40x whereas most of
                                                                                           the competitors can do it at 48x. CD-R
                                                                                           and CD-RW burning is very fast and has
else it has to offer.                          features an Anti-Dust Cooling System and    excellent media compatibility.
Design: One thing we really like about         Air Flow Cooling System to reduce the       DVD: It has excellent DVD read speeds.
Sony DVD burners is their faceplate            risk of over-heating during high-speed      DVD-R media support is good but the
design. The white bezel has a silver upper     reading and writing. The popular BenQ       writing quality is average. DVD+R writing
section giving it a smart look to the          1640 and 1650/55 drives are equipped        quality is good.
otherwise bland design.                        with the same.                                 Overall, it’s an above average DVD
    With the 820A, Sony has gone just          Performance: Once again, we will            writer and the future firmwares should
a little different. They have used grey        compare the Sony DRU-820A to the            improve DVD-R write quality.
text instead of blue on the silver upper       BenQ 1640, one of the best drives we        Pros: Can read/write DVD-RAM; very
section, giving a good contrast if installed   have tested.                                good reading speeds.
in black chassis. An additional black bezel    CD: The 820A has excellent CD read          Cons: Average quality DVD-R burn;
is bundled along.                              speeds, almost similar to that of the       does not support disc quality (PI/PO)
Features: Sony adds DVD-RAM                    BenQ 1640, the only gripe being that it     checking.
recording functionality making it a true                                                      Media type           Read Speed X (Average)
multi-recording device. (DVD-RAM is                                                                                  Sony      BenQ 1640
a disc specification other than DVD-R                                                                               DRU-820A
and DVD+R. It’s not compatible with                                                        Pressed CD                35.96                36.87
most DVD recorders and most of the                                                         CD-R                      36.61                37.39
standalone DVD players cannot read                                                         pressed DVD               11.81                12.08
DVD-RAM discs. DVD-RAM is more                                                             DVD-R                     11.97                12.08
suitable to data back-ups and use in                                                       DVD+R                     11.22                12.09
camcorders than DVD+/-RWs).                                                                Dual layer                 9.04                 9.07
                                               DCS-dual cooling system
    The bundled CD is for Windows,                                                         pressed DVD+R
the package includes Nero 6.6 and the                              Media type     Media Rated Speed           Speed                   Time
product manual. Three manuals (quick           BenQ 1640            DVD+R                16x                  11.47x                  5:47
installation guide, bezel changing guide                            DVD-R                16x                  11.96x                  5:47
and Software installation guide) are           Sony DRU-820A        DVD+R                16x                  11.85x                  6:19
shipped along with the drive. The manuals                           DVD-R                16x                  11.96x                  6:08

48    HARDWARE            | TESTED

 Computer Case
 GIGABYTE Triton chassis
 Specifications: Mid-tower (200x400x480mm WxHxD),
 Net weight - 7.5 kgs, 2x120 mm fans (front and rear), full
 aluminum case and front bezel, thumb screws, 5x5.25-
 inch external drive bays, 2x3.5-inch drive bays (external),
 3x3.5-inch drive bays (internal for hard disks), Front USB
 (2 No), Audio (mic and headphones) and Firewire ports

 Price              Rs 2,990
 Contact            Gigabyte Technologies India Ltd
 Phone              022-30616666
 Warranty           1 year
 Build quality
 Overall Rating
 Value for money

Case delight
G     igabyte has just forayed into the
      case market in India and the lineup
is very impressive. Let’s get up, close and
                                                               align and fit one strip with threadless
                                                               screws on either side of the hardrive
                                                               and insert it in the hard drive cage. One
                                                                                                                 every detail and has also included a soft
                                                                                                                 case cleaning cloth. The manual is precise
                                                                                                                 and well illustrated.
personal with Gigabyte’s Triton.                               minor gripe is that after the hard drive          Case ventilation and cable management
Design                                                         is in place, there is still little room for it    The Triton has two 120 mm fans, one for
Exterior - This case exudes sheer class in                     to vibrate when in operation (since the           rear exhaust and one for front intake. We
the looks department. The body has a good                      hard drive has moving parts). We would            consider it an ideal arrangement since
paint job with a matt finish. The highlight                     have liked the hard drive to be held in           120 mm fans move more air than 80 mm
here is the front bezel. Made of aluminum                      place by using rubber washers like the            fans besides making lesser noise. It has
with a brushed texture, it gives the case a                    way Antec does thus leaving no room               a honeycombed grill on the side panel
very rich and sophisticated look. Normally,                    for movement. The hard drive cage can             and also has a “Prescott” side duct which
the front bezels are made of plastic.                          accommodate three hard drives. The                assists in tunneling out the heat directly
Even the faceplates for the 5.25-inch and                      case is water cooling ready with holes            from the processor. It has two plastic
3.5-inch drive bays are made of the same                       at the rear for easy passage of pipes.            buckles to assist in cable management.
brushed aluminum material.                                     For proper grip and stability, it has very        For: Innovative toolless design; very
Interior - The internal structure is made                      good quality rubberized feet that are also        good build quality; brushed aluminum
of aluminum.                                                   good looking, hence adding on to the              front bezel.
Features and installation                                      aesthetics. Gigabyte has paid attention to        Against: None.
The Triton has no sharp edges and it is
pretty much safe working inside the case.
Gigabyte highlights that it follows a tool
less design and indeed so. It uses thumb
screws to fasten the side panel to the
case. For the optical and the floppy drives,
it uses a slide and lock mechanism. You
just need to slide the drives inside the
bay, align it and lock it with the plastic
                                                                1                       2                                                3
clip-lock mechanism. You can mount up
to 5 optical drives and 2 floppy drives.                        1. 120 mm rear fan, tooless PCI card installation mechanism and pre-cut holes for water cooling
                                                               setup 2. Side panel duct 3. Tooless optical, floppy and hard drive Installation and 120 mm front
The mechanism for hard drive installation
                                                               fan blowing directly over the hard drive cage
is the most innovative. You just need to

                                                                                                                               INTELLIGENT COMPUTING CHIP | MAY 2006
                                                                                                                  TESTED      | HARDWARE                49

                                                                                               Logitech X-530
                                                                                               Specifications: Total RMS power: 70 watts RMS, Satellites:
                                                                                               45 watts RMS (2 x 7.4 watts front, 15.5 watts center,
                                                                                               2x7.4 watts rear), Subwoofer: 25 watts RMS, Frequency
                                                                                               response: 40 Hz – 20 KHz, Signal-to-noise ratio: 96 dB

                                                                                               Price              Rs 6,995
                                                                                               Contact            Logitech Electronic India Pvt Ltd
                                                                                               Phone              022-26571160
                                                                                               Warranty           1 year
                                                                                               Build quality
                                                                                               Overall Rating
                                                                                               Value for money

Sound abound
T   he Logitech X-530 is an entry-level
    5.1 speaker system that attempts
to provide the best surround sound PC
                                              stands offer a good degree of flexibility
                                              and can also be wall mounted if desired.
                                              The only real negative point so far is the
                                                                                              effects. The X-530 is pretty loud and with
                                                                                              the volume knob cranked at 70 percent,
                                                                                              there was no distortion or crackling. The
audio for its worth. It also introduces       absence of a dedicated control unit. The        sub does get a little boomy at high volume
a technology that lends depth to the          placement of controls on the right satellite    levels but it can be tweaked using the bass
sound, something that is often found          makes it very inconvenient to reach out         control at the back. Overall, an excellent
lacking in the value 5.1 speaker systems.     for the satellite for every small volume        choice for gaming and watching movies—
The improvement comes from Logitech’s         adjustment you need to make. A dedicated        the X-530 hits the sweet spot!
patented FDD2 technology that avoids          volume control unit with separate controls      For: Excellent surround sound and
the uneven sound response created by          for front and rear satellites along with a      positional audio; fairly loud; good bass
conventional dual-driver designs. The         headphone jack would make the X-530             response; well priced.
Frequency Directed Dual Driver (FDD2)         more impressive.                                Against: Average for music, lacks a
satellites basically make equal use of both   Performance: We started the performance         control unit.
the drivers to produce mid as well as high    tests with music playback quality. The
frequencies. The 5.1 speaker system is        overall sound stage is very impressive with
rated at a total of 70 watts RMS. The left,   good depth. The bass is surprisingly deep
right and rear satellites are rated at 7.4    for such a small subwoofer. The mids are
watts RMS while the center is rated at 15.5   fairly well pronounced, thanks to the dual
watts RMS. The subwoofer takes the rest of    2-inch drivers. On the downside, the high
the oomph with 25 watts RMS.                  frequencies are a little weak and
The overall rated frequency response is 40    the lower mids get muffled when the
Hz - 20 KHz and the satellites come fitted     volume is pumped up. These are the
with dual 2-inch drivers while the sub is     generic areas where most of the value 5.1
powered by a 5.25-inch ported driver. The     speaker systems fail to perform and hence
right satellite holds volume control and a    it’s not surprising. Being a 5.1 speaker
headphone jack for private listening. The     system, the emphasis is more on gaming
bass volume controls are at the back of       and movies rather than music and the
the subwoofer. The speaker system looks       X-530 does a good job at it. Positional audio
simple and very professional and the          in Doom 3 was near perfect while DVD            Dual driver satellite with volume control
                                                                                              (right) and the connections at the back of
overall construction is pretty good for an    movies were enjoyable, courtesy a uniform
                                                                                              the subwoofer, along with bass control
entry-level system. The rotating satellite    sound stage and excellent surround

50    HARDWARE            | TESTED

 Laser Printer
                                                               Suits the office
 Xerox Phaser 3117                                             T    he Xerox Phaser 3117 is a monochrome
                                                                    laser printer that has entered the market
                                                               at an affordable price. It comes with very
                                                                                                                of grey appear grainy. This was noticed even
                                                                                                                more when a vector image was printed.
                                                                                                                Do not expect it to reproduce details very
                                                               basic features and is easy to use. Since it is   well. Print quality of an A4 image was
                                                               a laser printer, you need not worry about        average and showed that the printing tonal
                                                               buying new cartridges frequently. A Phaser       gradation was not its strong point.
                                                               3117 comes with a “starter toner cartridge”      Performance: It printed 15 pages of
                                                               that can print a thousand pages of text. The     this image in a little over a minute. Files
                                                               printer is a bit smaller (in depth) than some    containing a lot of graphics and text-
 Specifications: Dimensions: 354x297.4x210 mm,
                                                               of Xerox’s costlier laser printers. The paper    in-color were used to test the quality of
 Weight: 5.5 kgs, monochrome laser printer,
 600x600 dpi print resolution, 8 MB RAM, USB 1.1               tray can hold up to 150 sheets of A4 paper       print. It was just about able to reproduce
 interface, Windows 98/Me/2000/XP, Linux                       and needs to be open when the printer            reflections and gradations in images and
                                                               is in use. If the tray could hold paper and      text present in the file. If you are looking
 Price              Rs 4,500
 Contact            Xerox India Limited                        stay closed, it would save some desktop          for basic text printing for your office or
 Phone              011-39012000                               space. Installation was quite hassle free and    your project, then this printer will suit your
 E-mail                   printer configuration was easy too. Very          needs.
                                                               basic options are provided for tweaking the      For: The printer has an affordable price
 Warranty           1 year
                    RATINGS                                    printing settings—print resolution, toner        tag; ideal for small offices that heavily
 Build quality
                                                               quality and darken text. Files containing        rely on text printouts like balance sheets,
 Ergonomics                                                    basic black text of varying fonts and sizes      forms, etc.
 Performance                                                   were printed continuously. The printer has       Against: Quality of grey tones even at
 Features                                                      a short warm up and was able to churn out        the best possible settings is below average.
 Overall Rating                                                20 pages in just one and a half minute. The      Paper tray cannot be closed after paper
 Value for money                                               output is good with black text while shades      is loaded.

                                                               Scan in a flash
 Plustek OpticBook 3600                                        T   he Plustek OpticBook 3600 is a
                                                                   scanner with a difference—apart
                                                               from its regular job of scanning text and
                                                                                                                offer useful functions like scanning
                                                                                                                to e-mail or printer, OCR and scanning
                                                                                                                using custom or regular settings. The
                                                               photos, this one is specifically designed         functions of the buttons are served by the
                                                               to scan books. What sets it apart from           bundled applications which make these
                                                               other scanners is its innovative design and      tasks a breeze. The software package
                                                               speedy operation.                                includes ABBYY FineReader 5.0, Presto!
                                                                  As compared to the slim and sleek             PageManager 6.0, Ulead PhotoExplorer
                                                               scanners, this 10 cm thick machine eats          8.0 and Ulead PhotoImact XL SE.
 Specifications: Dimensions: 453 (w) x 105 (h) x 285 (d) mm,
                                                               up a big chunk of desk space. However,               Coming to performance, the OpticBook
 Weight: 3.96 kg, Optical resolution: 1200 dpi,
 Interface: High speed USB 2.0,                                keeping in mind the prime function of            3600 works at jet speed! It takes just
 Lamp type: Cold cathode                                       scanning books, it features an excellent         around 3 seconds to preview a page and 8
 Price              Rs 13,650
                                                               design. The lid opens horizontally and           seconds to scan an entire page at 300 dpi.
 Contact            Mahendra Lalwani                           adjusts automatically to accommodate             The overall quality of scanning is good but
 Phone              011-2696 4070                              even                                             the reproduction of sharpness could have
                                                               thick books.                                     been better.
 Warranty           1 year
                                                                  The scanner features a comprehensive              This scanner is aimed at small offices,
                    RATINGS                                    and an intuitive control pad. You can            libraries or individuals with a regular need
 Build quality                                                 choose to scan a book or a sheet of              of scanning books or simply requiring
 Ergonomics                                                    paper and the functions of buttons               scans in a flash!
 Performance                                                   change accordingly. In case of a book,           For: Super-fast; good bundled
 Features                                                      you can scan an entire book page-by-             software; easy to use; ideal for scanning
 Overall Rating                                                page using the book pilot, scan text             books.
 Value for money                                               or choose between color or grey scale            Against: Bulky; it weighs a bit low on
                                                               modes. For a sheet of paper, the buttons         sharpness of the scanned images.

                                                                                                                             INTELLIGENT COMPUTING CHIP | MAY 2006
                                        TESTED   | HARDWARE   51

Looking to buy an external storage solution? Our
comprehensive test includes a wide variety—get
flash based, hard drive based et al here

                                                                     Vishwanath Vanjire

                                                   INTELLIGENT COMPUTING CHIP | MAY 2006
                                                                               EXTERNAL STORAGE COMPARISON             | HARDWARE            53

          istory has a nice way of putting things in perspective.    a far lower price-per-MB compared to Flash. What emerges is
          Imagine this—the first hard disk drive was a monstrosity    an interesting mix of choices that pretty much addresses every
          consisting of 50 platters, each two feet in diameter. It   type of need for portable data consumers. Capacities range from
required four able-bodied men to lift it into the back of a truck    256 MB to over 500 GB and sizes range from the diminutive,
for transportation. And all of this provided a grand total of 5 MB   wearable devices weighing in at under 30 grams to pocket-sized
of storage space—just enough for a single MP3 song! Oh, and it       funky-colored metallic gizmos to ones that are about the size
cost US $ 50,000.                                                    and weight of a brick.
    Over the next few pages, you’ll see portable storage gizmos          Chances are that we’ve all used some sort of portable
where you don’t need to bring along your buddies to transport        data device (like a floppy disk or a recordable CD) in the past.
them and where sizes have shrunk down to 1.8-inches, weighing        Compared to these, today’s external storage devices feature other
in at about 40 grams. On the capacity front, the largest external    interesting enhancements that greatly extend their usability. For
hard disk you’ll see here is a cool 1 terabyte (1,000 GB)—space      example, many of these offer software that facilitates easy data
enough for about 2 lakh MP3 songs or 13,300 albums. And              backups along with on-the-fly encryption for added security. And
prices range from Rs 1,500 to Rs 45,000—wide enough to               since they are all USB-based, the process of plugging in, backup
accommodate all kinds of buyers. Indeed, storage has come a          up and removing is literally child’s play. Last but certainly not the
long way!                                                            least, these devices are way faster than any CD or floppy you’ve
    With practically every aspect of our lives—our                   ever used. Most of them are able to transfer data almost as fast
communication, our entertainment, our work—crossing over into        as your hard disk drive can deliver it. For example, while it takes
the digital realm, each of us creates plenty of data these days.     about 5 minutes to burn a CD on today’s quickest drives, even
With our lives and jobs demanding increased levels of portability    the slowest of these external storage devices can copy a CD-full
and adaptability, having the ability to take your data with you      of data in under 2 minutes. The fastest and that too, in under 25
is an important personal and professional edge. To answer this       seconds! While CD-Rs clearly serve a different application but if
need, the markets are replete with a multitude of products—          you’ve been using one to transport your data between computers
each offering a wide range of storages capacities, form factors      or holding your daily work files, it’s high time you got yourself
and technologies. When it comes to external storage, the two         one of these little portable storage devices.
broad technologies used are Flash and hard disk. The first clearly        Whether it’s pure data space or whether you plan to wear
has the advantage of being completely in solid-state (which          your important files on a storage device as an accessory, you’ll
means no moving parts) and is therefore, sturdier and more           find them in here. And you certainly won’t get a slip disk carrying
resilient as compared to hard disks. However, hard disks offer       it with you!


                                                                               SMS us!      Story code: HCE (See Readers’ Letters for details)

Test Process                                      10% Warranty &
                                                                               25% Features     have smooth edges and preferably scratch
Categories: The products have been divided                                                      resistant. Some hard disk based devices
into two main categories on the basis of the    20% Build                                       sported a rubber exterior, giving the user
medium of storage. The storage medium                                                           additional grip. Attention paid to such
is either flash or hard disk based. Since                                                        details was converted into points, adding
disk-based storage devices are available                                                        to the overall total. Ergonomics has been
in varying form factors, which is simply                                                        assigned 25 percent share of the pie chart.
because of the hard disk’s platter size.
These devices use either 3.5-inch, 2.5-inch                                                     Performance: Finally, it boils down to
or 1-inch drives to store data.                                                                 performance. All the devices were tested
    This distinction on the basis of size        20% Ergonomics             25% Performance     on the same test bed to avoid any kind
has been made mainly on the grounds of           Weightage distribution for evaluation          of disparity in scores. Performance was
functionality.                                   parameters                                     evaluated with ‘synthetic tests’ and ‘real
    For example, the 2.5-inch and microdrive                                                    world’ tests. The synthetic test results were
(1-inch) products are for those who need        this operating system was also checked and      computed with the help of Everest Ultimate
high-capacity ‘pocketable’ solutions. This      accordingly given merit.                        2006. Real world results were obtained by
classification helps us in pitting like-sized       Devices were also assessed on the            creating a RAM drive on the system and
devices against each other and aids you in      basis of their package contents. Items like     making the external device read-write to it.
making a smart buying decision.                 quick setup guides, cables and additional       System memory (RAM) was used to create
                                                backup/security-based utilities were also       the RAM drive and data was read and written
Features: As you can see, a quarter of the      given points as they are always good to own     to it. The test bed’s hard drive was not used
pie chart has been allotted to an external      along with the device.                          here so as to prevent it from becoming
storage drive’s features. Each drive was                                                        a bottleneck. The real world tests were
marked on the sort of interface it offered      Build Quality: An external storage device       given more weightage as they are a better
for data transfer. A device, for example,       should have a solid exterior that will offer    representative of a product’s performance.
that supports ‘Hi-Speed USB 2.0’ will score     enough protection against sudden falls or           The read/write tests were carried out
more than a USB 1.1/2.0. In the same way,       disturbances. Materials used to protect flash    with a single large file as well as a collection
drives that support FireWire 800 are given      drive or hard disk-based storage devices        of files. Their times were noted and helped
more merit than ones that support FireWire      were also considered in the comparison          in deciding the best performer. Performance
400. These are crucial as these standards       – metal scoring over plastic. An external       was allotted 25 percent of the pie chart.
boil down to data transfer rates, which in      storage drive must come with good quality
turn reflects on performance. Similarly, a       connectors and stands (if present). Any         Warranty and Value for Money: Warranty
hard disk-based device with large buffer will   device that made a half-hearted impression      is an essential part of any hardware test
score over its counterparts.                    on this front lost out on vital points.         process. It has been given a weightage of
    Practical features like the nature of       Attention paid to the flash drive design was     10 percent in the test process. Brands that
power source used and the presence of a         also rewarded accordingly. Build quality        offered more warranty (in years) scored over
write protect switch on the device have also    occupies 20 percent of the “weightage”          other products. Based on the scores, a best
been considered. The power can be sourced       pie chart.                                      performer in the 2.5-inch and microdrive
via the USB-port, integrated into the device                                                    category was chosen. The “Best Value”
or available with an external power adapter.    Ergonomics: In addition to making a rugged      winners were derived from the flash and
An important feature that a plug-n-play         storage device that can withstand physical      3.5-inch categories. Storage capacity and
device should have is legacy support in the     shock, it must also be pleasing to the eye      price were the most important features that
form of Windows 98 drivers. Support for         and comfortable to carry. The devices must      were considered for the Best Value award.

                                                                                                  | Test Rig

                                                                                                 Processor: AMD Athlon 64 X2 4400+
                                                                                                 Motherboard: Asus A8N-SLI Deluxe
                                                                                                 RAM: 1GB Kingston DDR 400@2-2-2-5
                                                                                                 HDD: WD Raptor 740GD
                                                                                                 Operating system: Windows XP SP2
 Easy backup with a touch of a button            Practical design in flash drives was part of
                                                                                                 with DirectX 9.0c
 earned more points                              the evaluation process

                                                                                                               INTELLIGENT COMPUTING CHIP | MAY 2006
                                                                                                                          EXTERNAL STORAGE COMPARISON                         | HARDWARE                          55

                  Flash drive                                                                  Flash drive                                                      3.5-inch drive
  Buffalo RUF2-S512-BS                             PE
                                                                              Zion UltraDiskPro                           ES
                                                                                                                               T VA L           Maxtor OneTouch III Turbo                        PE





                                                                                                                               05 | 2006

                                               E        04 |
                                                                                                                                                                                             E        04 |


                                                             2006                                                                          R                                                               2006
                                                   ST               R                                                     ST                                                                     ST                R
                                                        -CENTE                                                                 -CENTE                                                                 -CENTE

 Specifications: Dimensions (WxHxD) mm:18.2x75.4x9,                           Specifications: Dimensions (WxHxD) mm: 22.8x70x2.5,               Specifications: Dimensions (WxHxD) mm
 Capacity: 512 MB, Interface: USB 2.0 Hi-speed                                Capacity: 1 GB, Interface: USB 2.0 Hi-speed                       279x152x216, Weight: 3.72 kg, 7200 rpm, 16 MB
                                                                                                                                                buffer, FireWire 800, Interface: USB 2.0 Hi-speed

 Price             Rs 1,500                                                   Price             Rs 1,650                                        Price             Rs 46,798
 Contact           Buffalo Inc                                                Contact           Abacus Peripherals Pvt Ltd                      Contact           Maxtor Corporation
 Phone             011-41528532                                               Phone             022-56923941                                    Phone             011-51609661
 E-mail                                          E-mail                     E-mail  
 Warranty          2 years                                                    Warranty          2 years                                         Warranty          1 year

                   RATINGS                                                                      RATINGS                                                           RATINGS
 Features                                                                     Features                                                          Features
 Perfomance                                                                   Perfomance                                                        Perfomance
 Ergonomics                                                                   Ergonomics                                                        Ergonomics
 Build Quality                                                                Build Quality                                                     Build Quality
 Overall Rating                                                               Overall Rating                                                    Overall Rating
 Value for money                                                              Value for money                                                   Value for money

The Buffalo RUF2-S512-BS is a half a gig                                     Measuring as small as your thumb, the Zion                        The winner in the 3.5-inch drive stands 15
dynamite stick packed with raw power!                                        UltraDisc Pro is a funky-looking pen drive                        cms tall and weighs 3.72 kg—the heaviest
Currently, it is the fastest USB flash drive                                  with a metallic grey body and an orange                           of them all. It houses two parallel ATA drives
in the market. The flash memory chip is                                       border. The drive follows a unique and a                          that can be configured as RAID-0 or 1 drives.
packed in a cleverly-designed silver and                                     clever design. The side portion of the body                       It supports the USB interface as well as
black shell. When you remove the cap                                         and the cover of the drive feature a ridge so                     FireWire—perfect for media professionals
covering the USB connector, it clips at                                      that you can slide in a clip or a loop being                      working on Mac or Windows. The exterior
the tip of the body so that you don’t lose                                   part of the bundle. The package also includes                     shell looks solid with the thick rubber
or misplace it. Alternatively, the tip also                                  a carry strap and a driver CD for Windows 98.                     moulding at the sides. A single button on the
serves as a loop to attach a carry strap.                                    To ease users not having a front USB port,                        front panel is provided for quick backups.
However, you will need to buy a carry strap                                  Zion has also taken the effort of including a                        Software provided with the drive
as the package includes only the flash                                        USB extension cable as a part of the package.                     allows you to create secure partitions for
drive. It doesn’t even include a driver CD for                               To write-protect the drive in order to prevent                    important data. The Turbo scored over the
Windows 98 or a USB extension cable. This                                    adding or modifying data, it also sports a                        Western Digital Media Center by a narrow
means it’ll be a pain for people not having                                  write-protect lock.                                               margin to win the Best Performance award.
a front USB port on your PC case.                                                The read and write speeds of the drive                        The 320 GB drive took 10 seconds to format
    Looks wise, the drive isn’t all that great                               is quite decent for a value flash drive. For                       but the 1000 GB Turbo took just 2 more!
but it’s a power performer with tremendous                                   an average user, a capacity one and a half                        Though the Media Center had a faster
read and write speeds. It just takes less than                               times as that of a CD-ROM and read and                            access time (understandably), it couldn’t
30 seconds to fill up the entire drive! If you                                write speeds of 10 MB/s will be more than                         compete with the Turbo’s read/write
plan to buy a flash drive, grab this one. It’s a                              sufficient.                                                        throughput. It was able to transfer multiple
great bang for the buck too!                                                     If you want good value for money                              files at almost 20 MB/s compared to the
For: The fastest flash drive available in the                                 without sacrificing much performance,                              MC’s 16.5 MB/s.
market; good price; two-year warranty.                                       there’s nothing better than this flash drive!                      For: 1000 GB of storage.
Against: Average build quality; no bundled                                   For: Write-protect lock; excellent pricing;                       Against: The side panels can be easily pulled
USB cable; drivers for Windows 98 not                                        two-year warranty.                                                quite a way back because they are made of
included.                                                                    Against: None                                                     plastic instead of metal.


                 2.5-inch drive                                                       2.5-inch drive                                                                1-inch drive
 Western Digital Essential                      ES
                                                     T VA L           Western Digital Passport                         PE
                                                                                                                                                  LaCie Carte Orange                               PE







                                                     05 | 2006
                                            E                                                                      E        05 |
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                                                                                                                                 2006                                                                        2006
                                                ST               R                                                     ST               R                                                          ST               R
                                                     -CENTE                                                                 -CENTE                                                                      -CENTE

 Specifications: Capacity - 80 GB, Dimensions (WxHxD)                 Specifications: Capacity - 120 GB, Dimensions                               Specifications: Capacity - 8 GB, Dimensions (WxHxD)
 mm: 154.3x44.20x218.75, Weight - 258 gms,                            (WxHxD) mm: 89.1x21.1x144.3, Weight- 258 gms,                               mm: 55x85x6, Weight-60 gms, Hi-speed USB 2.0,
 Hi-Speed USB 2.0, 5400 rpm, Buffer Size- 2 MB                        Hi-speed USB 2.0, 5400 rpm, Buffer Size- 2 MB                               3600 rpm, Buffer Size- 2 MB

 Price             Rs 4,500                                           Price             Rs 9,950                                                  Price              Rs 9,600
 Contact           Amarjit Singh                                      Contact           Amarjit Singh                                             Contact            Neoteric Infomatique Pvt Ltd
 Phone             9321029204                                         Phone             9321029204                                                Phone              022-39828600
 E-mail                                E-mail                                       E-mail   
 Warranty          1 year                                             Warranty          1 year                                                    Warranty           1 year
                   RATINGS                                                              RATINGS                                                                      RATINGS
 Features                                                             Features                                                                    Features
 Perfomance                                                           Perfomance                                                                  Perfomance
 Ergonomics                                                           Ergonomics                                                                  Ergonomics
 Build Quality                                                        Build Quality                                                               Build Quality
 Overall Rating                                                       Overall Rating                                                              Overall Rating
 Value for money                                                      Value for money                                                             Value for money

In sync with its name, the 80 GB Western                             While being the coolest looking 2.5-inch                                    With digital data extensively used and
Digital Essential gives you all the essentials.                      external storage device, the Passport also                                  carried around, portable hard drives have
The drive looks elegant—the special design                           gives maximum storage combined with                                         transformed from bland geeky boxes to
of the drive allows good air flow to keep it                          superb performance. While most 2.5-inch                                     trendy fashion accessories. The LaCie is a
cool while preventing dust from directly                             drives provide 40 GB of storage, the Passport                               fraction smaller than a credit card and is
entering the drive. A single back-lit button on                      provides three times more while keeping the                                 just 6 mms thick, which is remarkable for
the front is provided to power up the device                         weight, dimensions and form factor intact.                                  an 8 GB drive. It weighs 60 gms—extremely
and the blinking backlit indicates activity. The                     The rubberized body lends a sporty feel to it                               light for a portable hard drive. The main
back panel is uncluttered with just a single                         indicating portability and ruggedness.                                      hard drive is housed in a metal enclosure
hi-speed USB 2.0 connector along with the                              The 5400 rpm drive gave exceptional                                       which is further enclosed in a plastic body.
power input. The 7200 rpm drive with 2 MB                            read/write speeds in both synthetic and                                       An extender USB cable is bundled along
buffer gives commendable performance for                             real-world tests. The overall performance                                   with the package, very useful when you have
an entry-level product. Overall, the average                         level of the drive is almost at par with that                               USB ports only at the back of your PC. It’s a
linear read/write speeds of the drive are very                       of the 3.5-inch drives.                                                     true plug-and-play device and is compatible
close to 30 MB/s. It also boasts of the best                           The passport is the only portable solution                                across multiple platforms (Mac OS 9.x/10.
average read access times of all eight drives.                       that provides a storage space above 100 GB.                                 x and from Windows SE to XP). Just plug
   If you are looking for an affordable and                          But before you buy it, make sure you have hi-                               the device into a USB port and it’s instantly
reliable 80 GB 3.5-inch external storage                             speed USB 2.0 connectivity to take advantage                                recognized as a removable storage device.
solution, this one is for you. In terms of the                       of the performance. In case you have an older                               You can immediately start moving data to
overall package, the Western Digital Essential                       desktop or a notebook with USB 1.1 port, the                                and from the drive. The LaCie is not just a
gives you the bare minimum—all you get is                            drive will not power itself through the USB,                                good looker but a very good performer too.
a driver CD, USB cable, power adapter and                            you require an external adapter which is not                                It’s the fastest drive in its category. For Rs
quick setup guide. Don’t expect any backup                           a part of the package. There’s no software                                  9600, it’s expensive but then uniqueness
utility or security software with this one.                          application bundled along with the drive.                                   comes at a price, doesn’t it?
For: Good performance; excellent read                                For: 120 GB of storage space; excellent                                     For: Best performance in category; small
access times; sturdy construction.                                   speeds; cool looks.                                                         form factor and lightweight.
Against: No software package.                                        Against: No software package.                                               Against: Expensive.

                                                                                                                                                                  INTELLIGENT COMPUTING CHIP | MAY 2006
                                                                                  EXTERNAL STORAGE COMPARISON          | HARDWARE        57

 | Buying guide
 External storage is a common need              USB slot and a physical write protection     port, these drives do not require any
 for almost all of us, be it students,          switch also add to the overall value.        additional power, which makes them
 professionals, travelers or geeks. The                                                      very convenient to carry and use. The 40
 nature of requirements changes from            Hard drive based external storage:           GB version sells for about five thousand
 person to person since the areas of            These drives offer more storage space        rupees, giving an impressive price per
 application differ accordingly. Thus, you      as compared to the flash drives but the       MB ratio for a portable external storage
 have an option of buying a tiny flash drive     size and weight goes up as well. The hard    solution. Being portable, the build quality,
 that stores 128 MB of data or go for a 4       drive based external storage devices
 KG brick that can store a staggering 1,000     can be broadly classified into three
 GB of data. This buying guide will make        categories-3.5-inch, 2.5-inch and 1-inch
 the process of choosing the right external     based solutions.
 storage solution a no-brainer.                 3.5-inch external hard drives: These
                                                are the heaviest of the lot; they offer
 Flash memory based external storage:           maximum storage and are suited for
 Arguably the most sought after and             back-up and secondary storage. For basic
 commonly used medium of external               storage requirements, look for at least
 storage, the thumb drives or the pen                                                        ergonomics and finish are critical. Drives
 drives are extremely popular for a quick                                                    offering some degree of shock protection
 and inexpensive solution. Apart from the                                                    along with good overall build quality
 price, the choice of pen drive primarily                                                    clearly enjoy an advantage over the rest
 depends on three factors-size, speed and                                                    of the pack. Hence, do not hesitate to
 security. If size is the only consideration,                                                cough-up that additional 20 percent, it
 a 512 MB or 1 GB flash drive offers best                                                     will go a long way in keeping the data
 bang for the buck, the 2GB and 4GB                                                          intact!

                                                80 GB capacity solution with 7200 RPM
                                                and 2 MB buffer speeds. In case you
                                                need more storage, you have the option
                                                of products offering 200 GB and above
                                                of storage space and coming with 8 MB
                                                buffer memory. The Monstrous 400
                                                GB and 1000 GB storage solutions are
                                                tailor made for power users looking for
 variants are rather expensive. If you          maximum storage and performance. They        1-inch external hard drives: Being the
 need speed as well, make sure you buy          are ideal for audio/video editing purposes   youngest of the category, these drives have
 a “high-speed USB 2.0” flash drive, it’s        and small-office back-up solutions. Many      recently emerged as an intermediate option
 significantly faster than the regular USB       of these products come with security         between the 2.5-inch external hard drives
 2.0 drives, ensuring zippy transfers of        software and back-up utilities which         and the Flash drives. Being as portable as
 data. With critical data and documents         make the back-up process easy. Though        the flash drives, the 1-inch external hard
 at stake, security of data along with          looks aren’t as important, the build         drives offer a maximum of 10 GB of storage
 automatic back-up feature makes the            quality does matter. Hence once the          space. If the 4 GB flash drives cannot suffice
 flash drive a lot smarter. Build quality,       basics of storage capacity and speed are     your storage needs, the 1-inch external
 looks and ergonomics are equally               in place, check for the software bundle      drive is your best bet. Being mechanical in
 important for flash drives. With frequent       and build quality.                           nature, these drives are not as rugged as
 use of flash drives, the build quality          2.5-inch external hard drives:               the flash drives and hence, don’t expect
 is critical. Looks and ergonomics also         Attempting to give the best of both          them to bear the same treatment as the
 matter, students prefer the jazzy pen          worlds, 2.5-inch based solutions are         flash drives and still provide oodles of space.
 drives with funky colors and shapes while      portable, trendy and offer fairly good       In terms of performance, these drives aren’t
 the professionals stick to grey tones and      storage space and speed. Ranging from        the chart toppers; they at best match the
 look for sleeker drives. Minute details in     40 to 120 GB, these drives run at 5400       flash drives for read/write speeds but are
 the form of rubberized grip for holding        RPM and generally offer 2 MB of buffer.      miles behind the 2.5-inch and 2.5-inch hard
 the thumb drive while inserting in the         Drawing power straight from the USB          drive based solutions.


 | Personal Take
                                                                                                1                                        2
                                                  Category                                      Flash Drives
              Soham Raninga
                                                                                                Kingston DataTraveler II Plus Migo      PQI Cool Drive U339 Pro
                                                  Contact                                       A A Infoways Pvt Ltd                    Varun Khandelwal
                                                  Phone                                         011-26442261                            022-28743457
 The Western Digital Passport is my               E-mail                                         
 passport to external storage. With               Price*                                        Rs 2,000                                Rs 1,850
 120 GB of storage, I don’t have to
                                                  Features (Out of 25)                            9.79                                   16.85
 worry about my movies, music,                    Performance (Out of 25)                        16.63                                   12.12
 games and all the stash I need to                Ergonomics (Out of 20)                         18.67                                   18.67
 carry with me everywhere I go.                   Build Quality (Out of 20)                      10.00                                    7.67
 It also lets me carry my complete                Warranty & Support (Out of 10)                 10.00                                    6.67
 music and movie collection, letting              Overall (Out of 100)                          Total: 65.08                            Total: 61.97
 me share them with friends and                   Value for money
 enjoying them on any desktop or
                                                   Capacity (MB)                                512                                     256
 notebook by simply plugging it to the
                                                   Dimensions (WxHxD) mm                        20.8 x 67.7 x 9                         25 x 75 x 10
 USB port.                                         Interface                                    USB 2.0 Hi-Speed                        USB 2.0 Hi-Speed
     Backup software and data                      Form factor                                  Flash                                   Flash
 encryption doesn’t matter to me but               Write protection lock                        ✕                                       ✓
 the performance does and that’s                   Activity indicator LED                       ✓                                       ✓
 where the passport does the trick!                Software features
                                                     Back-up software                           ✓                                       ✓
 The speedy drive looks great and
                                                     Data encryption                            ✕                                       ✓
 the rubberized body ensures the
                                                     Secure partitions (private zone)           ✓                                       ✕
 drive does not skid or slip easily.                 Easy-sync backup                           ✓                                       ✓
 And even if it does, the excellent               Performance
 construction and design promises                  Synthetic (Everest Ultimate 2.6)
 to take the bumps and drops in its                  Sequential speed
 stride. When compared to the rest                     Read (MB/s)                              25.70                                   15.10
 of the devices across all categories,                 Write (MB/s)                             14.90                                   24.00
                                                     Random speed
 none of them can manage to give 100
                                                       Read (MB/s)                              40.10                                   20.70
 GB of truly portable storage. The
                                                       Write (MB/s)                             5.60                                    8.33
 3.5-inch drives might offer higher                    Average read access time (ms)            1.22                                    0.44
 storage and performance but I do                  Real world
 have some reservations in calling                   Single file test
 them portable. Carrying a 1.5 kg                      Read (MB/s)                              21.80                                   11.30
 brick along with a power adapter is                   Write (MB/s)                             16.06                                   13.25
                                                     Multiple files test
 certainly not my idea of portability.
                                                       Read (MB/s)                              34.00                                   13.60
     Comparing the Passport with
                                                       Write (MB/s)                             5.40                                    2.63
 the flash drives isn’t fair and the              Ergonomics
 microdrives do offer fairly good                  Smoothened edges                             Good                                    Good
 storage but are slow and expensive                Anti-slip grip                               ✓                                       ✕
 when compared to the 2.5-inch                     Wearable                                     ✓                                       ✓
 drives. So with the Passport, you                 Cool factor                                  Trendy                                  Trendy
 get space, speed, portability and                Build quality
                                                   Quality of shell                             Excellent                               Good
 style. Did someone say expensive?
                                                   Metal used in construction                   ✕                                       ✓
 The passport gives 12 GB of storage                                                            ✓                                       ✕
                                                   Scratch resistance
 per thousand rupees, the best ratio               Choice of colors                             ✕                                       ✓
 amongst all the portable storage                  Attached USB cap                             ✕                                       ✕
 devices in the comparison. Go figure!            Warranty & Support
                                                   Period of warranty (years)                   1                                       2
                                                 * Prices are indicative and are subject to change, taxes extra
                                                                                                                                 INTELLIGENT COMPUTING CHIP | MAY 2006
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3                                        4                       5                     6                          7                               8

Buffalo RUF2-S512-BS                     Corsair Flash Voyager   PQI Cool Drive U339   Apacer HandySteno HT-203   Zion UltraDiskPro               Transcend JetFlash 120
Buffalo Inc                              Tirupati Enterprises    Varun Khandelwal      Computer Kitchen Pvt Ltd   Abacus Peripherals Pvt Ltd      Mediaman Infotech Pvt Ltd
011-41528532                             025-3950947             022-28743457          080-41127502               022-56923941                    022-23828100            
Rs 1,500                                 Rs 4,000                Rs 1,200              Rs 3,328                   Rs 1,650                        Rs 6,750

     8.16                                 9.27                   13.59                  7.61                       11.42                           9.27
    17.68                                 8.75                    6.73                 12.69                       10.89                           6.84
    16.67                                20.00                   18.67                 20.00                       15.33                          18.67
     8.67                                 6.67                    7.67                  9.33                        7.67                           7.67
     6.67                                10.00                    6.67                  3.33                        6.67                           6.67
Total: 57.84                             Total: 54.69            Total: 53.32          Total: 52.97               Total: 51.98                    Total: 49.12

512                                      2000                    512                   512                        1000                            4000
18.2 x 75.4 x 9                          75 x 24 x 12            65 x 25 x 12          65 x 25 x 12               22.8 x 70 x 2.5                 25 x 75 x 11
USB 2.0 Hi-Speed                         USB 2.0 Hi-Speed        USB 2.0               USB 2.0 Hi-Speed           USB 2.0 Hi-Speed                USB 2.0 Hi-Speed
Flash                                    Flash                   Flash                 Flash                      Flash                           Flash
✕                                        ✕                       ✓                     ✕                          ✓                               ✕
✓                                        ✓                       ✓                     ✓                          ✓                               ✓

✕                                        ✕                       ✓                     ✕                          ✕                               ✕
✓                                        ✕                       ✕                     ✕                          ✕                               ✕
✕                                        ✓                       ✕                     ✕                          ✓                               ✕
✕                                        ✕                       ✓                     ✕                          ✕                               ✕

28.00                                    18.60                   10.80                 21.80                      14.00                           9.49
23.50                                    9.75                    6.86                  16.00                      13.40                           5.71

40.40                                    11.30                   9.42                  20.00                      20.10                           10.10
6.01                                     4.72                    3.93                  5.22                       10.80                           5.55
0.54                                     29.43                   29.65                 0.38                       0.62                            0.88

24.20                                    14.80                   6.90                  17.60                      10.20                           5.50
17.67                                    8.48                    6.05                  13.25                      10.81                           4.81

34.00                                    5.50                    3.50                  14.20                      14.10                           4.30
3.02                                     2.78                    2.12                  3.45                       1.83                            1.00

Good                                     Good                    Good                  Good                       Average                         Good
✕                                        ✓                       ✕                     ✕                          ✕                               ✕
✓                                        ✓                       ✓                     ✓                          ✓                               ✓
Average                                  Awesome                 Trendy                Awesome                    Trendy                          Trendy

Good                                     Average                 Good                  Excellent                  Average                         Good
✕                                        ✕                       ✓                     ✕                          ✕                               ✕
✕                                        ✓                       ✕                     ✕                          ✓                               ✓
✕                                        ✕                       ✓                     ✕                          ✕                               ✓
✓                                        ✕                       ✕                     ✓                          ✕                               ✕

2                                        10                      2                     1                          2                               2

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Category                                                    3.5 inch
Name                                                        Maxtor OneTouch III Turbo                           Maxtor OneTouch III FireWire 400/USB 2.0
Contact                                                     Maxtor Corporation                                  Maxtor Corporation
Phone                                                       011-51609661                                        011-51609661
Price*                                                      Rs 46,798                                           Rs 24,960
 Features (Out of 25)                                        18.48                                               15.79
 Performance (Out of 25)                                     22.57                                               20.94
 Ergonomics (Out of 20)                                      16.50                                               17.50
 Build Quality (Out of 20)                                    9.14                                               12.00
 Warranty & Support (Out of 10)                               3.33                                                3.33
 Overall (Out of 100)                                       Total: 70.02                                        Total: 69.56
 Value for money
 Capacity (GB)                                              1000                                                500
 Dimensions (WxHxD) mm                                      279 x 152 x 216                                     65 x 136 x 217
 Weight (kgs)                                               3.72                                                1.45
 Interface (USB/Firewire)                                   2.0 Hi-Speed / 800                                  2.0 Hi-Speed / 400
 Form factor                                                3.5-inch                                            3.5-inch
 RPM                                                        7200                                                7200
 Buffer size (MB)                                           16                                                  16
 Software features
   Back-up software                                         ✓                                                   ✕
   Data encryption                                          ✕                                                   ✕
   Secure partitions (private zone)                         ✓                                                   ✓
   Easy-sync / One-touch backup                             ✓                                                   ✓
 Synthetic (Everest Ultimate 2.6)
   Sequential speed
     Read (MB/s)                                            33.30                                               33.30
     Write (MB/s)                                           32.50                                               32.70
   Random speed
     Read (MB/s)                                            33.10                                               33.10
     Write (MB/s)                                           32.50                                               32.70
     Average read access time (ms)                          16.38                                               16.94
 Real world
   Single file test
     Read (MB/s)                                            33.18                                               33.93
     Write (MB/s)                                           33.18                                               30.89
   Multiple files test
     Read (MB/s)                                            23.23                                               18.93
     Write (MB/s)                                           19.47                                               13.54
 Smoothened edges                                           Good                                                Good
 Ease of setup                                              Good                                                Good
 Anti-slip grip                                             ✓                                                   ✓
 Cool factor                                                Passable                                            Average
Build quality
 Quality of shell                                           Good                                                Good
 Metal used in construction                                 ✕                                                   ✕
 Scratch resistance                                         ✕                                                   ✓
 Shock absorption                                           Good                                                Good
Warranty & Support
 Period of warranty (years)                                 1                                                   1
* Prices are indicative and are subject to change, taxes extra
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Western Digital Media Center   Seagate Pushbutton Backup 400GB   Seagate Pushbutton Backup 200GB   ExBoot EXB-0131            Western Digital Essential    Buffalo Drive Station HD-HB160U2-EU
Amarjit Singh                  Seagate Technology                Seagate Technology                Computer Kitchen Pvt Ltd   Amarjit Singh                Buffalo Inc
9321029204                     011-41811694                      011-41811694                      080-41127502               9321029204                   011-41528532
Rs 13,000                      Rs 15,000                         Rs 9,120                          Rs 9,199                   Rs 4,500                     Rs 6,900

    16.13                      15.37                             14.86                             11.66                       8.02                          9.70
    21.19                      20.40                             20.12                             20.18                      20.74                         18.58
    17.50                      14.00                             14.00                             12.50                      17.50                         10.00
     8.29                       9.14                              9.14                             12.57                       8.29                         11.71
     3.33                       3.33                              3.33                              3.33                       3.33                          6.67
Total: 66.44                   Total: 62.24                      Total: 61.46                      Total: 60.25               Total: 57.88                 Total: 56.66

320                            400                               200                               80                         80                           250
150.1 x 57.4 x 241.3           165.1 x 57.1 x 180.97             165.1 x 57.15 x 180.97            35 x 225 x 125             154.43 x 44.20 x 218.75      53 x 173 x 164
1.4                            1.3                               1.2                               1.2                        1.2                          1.6
2.0 Hi-Speed / 400             2.0 Hi-Speed / 400                2.0 Hi-Speed / 400                2.0 Hi-Speed / NA          2.0 Hi-Speed / NA            2.0 Hi-Speed / NA
3.5-inch                       3.5-inch                          3.5-inch                          3.5-inch                   3.5-inch                     3.5-inch
7200                           7200                              7200                              7200                       7200                         7200
8                              8                                 8                                 2                          2                            2

✓                              ✓                                 ✓                                 ✓                          ✕                            ✓
✕                              ✕                                 ✕                                 ✕                          ✕                            ✕
✕                              ✕                                 ✕                                 ✓                          ✕                            ✕
✓                              ✓                                 ✓                                 ✓                          ✕                            ✕

29.30                          27.70                             27.70                             31.20                      28.40                        30.10
31.20                          33.30                             31.60                             30.00                      29.20                        25.00

29.20                          27.60                             27.60                             29.30                      27.60                        29.90
30.90                          33.00                             31.80                             30.40                      28.50                        25.00
14.00                          15.75                             15.27                             13.71                      13.62                        19.96

28.71                          28.00                             26.50                             29.47                      29.28                        29.86
33.43                          34.46                             35.27                             30.27                      30.27                        25.02

18.35                          18.28                             18.21                             13.66                      17.49                        13.36
16.58                          14.89                             11.28                             13.74                      13.74                        13.74

Good                           Good                              Good                              Good                       Good                         Average
Good                           Good                              Good                              Good                       Good                         Good
✓                              ✕                                 ✕                                 ✕                          ✓                            ✕
Average                        Trendy                            Trendy                            Average                    Average                      Average

Good                           Good                              Good                              Excellent                  Good                         Excellent
✕                              ✕                                 ✕                                 ✓                          ✕                            ✓
✕                              ✕                                 ✕                                 ✕                          ✕                            ✕
Average                        Good                              Good                              Good                       Average                      Good

1                              1                                 1                                 1                          1                            2

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 Category                             2.5 inch
                                      Western Digital Passport                  Buffalo MiniStation USB 2.0 Transcend StoreJet 2.5      Seagate Portable Hard Drive ExBoot EXB-0121           LaCie Mobile Hard Drive
Contact                               Amarjit Singh                             Buffalo Inc                 Mediaman Infotech Pvt Ltd   Seagate Technology         Computer Kitchen Pvt Ltd   Neoteric Infomatique Pvt Ltd
Phone                                 9321029204                                011-41528532                022-23828100                011-41811694               080-41127502               022-39828600
Price*                                Rs 9,950                                  Rs 5,800                    Rs 6,000                    Rs 6,060                   Rs 8,700                   Rs 5,250
 Features (Out of 25)                      7.19                                      8.43                       8.30                         6.85                     11.90                        8.99
 Performance (Out of 25)                  21.27                                     20.10                      17.80                        17.92                     18.11                       19.99
 Ergonomics (Out of 20)                   19.00                                     14.00                      12.50                        14.00                     10.00                       10.00
 Build Quality (Out of 20)                13.14                                      8.86                      12.29                        13.71                     10.86                        9.14
 Warranty & Support (Out of 10)            3.33                                      6.67                       6.67                         3.33                      3.33                        3.33
 Overall (Out of 100)                 Total: 63.94                              Total: 58.06                Total: 57.55                Total: 55.82               Total: 54.20               Total: 51.46
 Value for money
 Capacity (GB)                        120                                       40                          40                          40                         40                         40
 Dimensions (WxHxD) mm                89.1 x 21.1 x 144.3                       127 x 21 x 83               129 x 13 x 79.9             93.8 x 25 x 127            80 x 16 x 136              76 x 17 x 129
 Weight (gms)                         258                                       208                         130                         292                        180                        180
 Interface                            USB 2.0 Hi-Speed                          USB 2.0 Hi-Speed            USB 2.0 Hi-Speed            USB 2.0 Hi-Speed           USB 2.0 Hi-Speed           USB 2.0 Hi-Speed
 Form factor                          2.5-inch                                  2.5-inch                    2.5-inch                    2.5-inch                   2.5-inch                   2.5-inch
 RPM                                  5400                                      5400                        5400                        5400                       4200                       5400
 Buffer size (MB)                     2                                         2                           2                           2                          2                          2
 Software features
   Back-up software                   ✕                                         ✓                           ✕                           ✕                          ✓                          ✓
   Data encryption                    ✕                                         ✓                           ✕                           ✕                          ✕                          ✕
   Secure partitions (private zone)   ✕                                         ✕                           ✓                           ✕                          ✓                          ✕
   Easy-sync / One-touch backup       ✕                                         ✕                           ✕                           ✕                          ✓                          ✕
 Synthetic (Everest Ultimate 2.6)
   Sequential speed
     Read (MB/s)                      30.1                                      27.9                        23.7                        27.6                       23.7                       26.4
     Write (MB/s)                     32.1                                      32.1                        23.8                        32.8                       27.1                       31.1
   Random speed
     Read (MB/s)                      27.8                                      23.9                        23.4                        24.4                       23.1                       25.4
     Write (MB/s)                     28.7                                      25.4                        20.8                        25.8                       22.1                       24.6
     Average read access time (ms)    18.32                                     19.76                       20.11                       17.07                      19.56                      20
   Real world
   Single file test
     Read (MB/s)                      29.86                                     30                          26.5                        27.48                      26.35                      30
     Write (MB/s)                     32                                        30.27                       22.74                       29.28                      25.74                      30.27
   Multiple files test
     Read (MB/s)                      18.93                                     19.71                       16.99                       11.1                       19.01                      19.71
     Write (MB/s)                     14.35                                     16.25                       10.16                       9.25                       10.16                      16.25
 Smoothened edges                     Good                                      Good                        Good                        Good                       Good                       Average
 Ease of setup                        Good                                      Good                        Good                        Good                       Average                    Good
 Anti-slip grip                       ✓                                         ✕                           ✕                           ✕                          ✕                          ✕
 Cool factor                          Trendy                                    Trendy                      Average                     Trendy                     Average                    Average
Build quality
 Quality of shell                     Excellent                                 Good                        Good                        Excellent                  Excellent                  Good
 Metal used in construction           ✕                                         ✕                           ✓                           ✓                          ✓                          ✕
 Scratch resistance                   ✓                                         ✕                           ✕                           ✕                          ✕                          ✕
 Shock absorption                     Good                                      Excellent                   Average                     Excellent                  Average                    Good
Warranty & Support
 Period of warranty (years)           1                                         2                           2                           1                          1                          1
* Prices are indicative and are subject to change, taxes extra
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                                      1                            2                                                  3                            4
Category                              1 inch
                                      Seagate Pocket Hard Drive    LaCie Carte Orange                                 S-Media Hi-Tech Microdrive   UMAX Pollux 300
Contact                               Seagate Technology           Neoteric Infomatique Pvt Ltd                       Computer Kitchen Pvt Ltd     Neoteric Infomatique Pvt Ltd
Phone                                 011-41811694                 022-39828600                                       080-41127502                 022-39828600
Price                                 Rs 4,800                     Rs 9,600                                           Rs 9,500                     Rs 3,200
 Features (Out of 25)                   8.16                         7.71                                               6.92                        5.32
 Performance (Out of 25)                7.65                         8.23                                               4.34                        4.82
 Ergonomics (Out of 20)                19.00                        10.00                                              12.50                       10.00
 Build Quality (Out of 20)              8.29                        11.14                                               8.00                        9.43
 Warranty & Support (Out of 10)         3.33                         3.33                                               3.33                        3.33
 Overall (Out of 100)                 Total: 46.43                 Total: 40.42                                       Total: 35.10                 Total: 32.90
 Value for money
 Capacity (GB)                        5                            8                                                  4                            2.2
 Dimensions (WxHxD) mm                76.9 x 76.9 x 18             55 x 85 x 6                                        50 x 70 x 10                 49 x 57 x 9
 Weight (gms)                         62                           60                                                 54                           40
 Interface                            USB 2.0 Hi-Speed             USB 2.0 Hi-Speed                                   USB 2.0                      USB 2.0 Hi-Speed
 Form factor                          1-inch                       1-inch                                             1-inch                       1-inch
 RPM                                  3600                         3600                                               4200                         4200
 Buffer size (MB)                     2                            2                                                  0.25                         2
 Activity indicator LED               ✓                            ✓                                                  ✓                            ✕
 Software features
   Back-up software                   ✓                            ✓                                                  ✕                            ✕
   Data encryption                    ✕                            ✕                                                  ✕                            ✕
   Secure partitions (private zone)   ✓                            ✕                                                  ✕                            ✕
 Synthetic (Everest Ultimate 2.6)
   Sequential speed
     Read (MB/s)                      6.44                         7.3                                                5.04                         4.72
     Write (MB/s)                     8.19                         8.64                                               4.32                         2.41
   Random speed
     Read (MB/s)                      5.81                         6.35                                               4.15                         2.62
     Write (MB/s)                     5.43                         5.29                                               2.63                         2.26
     Average access time (ms)         24.47                        33.02                                              107.85                       107.74
   Real world
   Single file test
     Read (MB/s)                      4.19                         5.2                                                3.9                          3.99
     Write (MB/s)                     7.57                         7.91                                               1.88                         2.3
   Multiple files test
     Read (MB/s)                      4.22                         4.8                                                2.3                          2.33
     Write (MB/s)                     1.27                         5                                                  0.87                         1.07
 Smoothened edges                     Good                         Average                                            Good                         Average
 Anti-slip grip                       ✓                            ✕                                                  ✕                            ✕
 Wearable                             ✓                            ✓                                                  ✓                            ✓
 Cool factor                          Trendy                       Average                                            Average                      Average
Build quality
 Quality of shell                     Good                         Good                                               Average                      Average
 Scratch resistance                   ✕                            ✕                                                  ✕                            ✕
 Shock absorption                     Good                         Average                                            Average                      Average
 Retractable USB connector            ✓                            ✓                                                  ✓                            ✕
Warranty & Support
 Period of warranty (years)           1                            1                                                  1                            1

Eco Imaging
     Saving desktop space and precious rupees,
     multifunctional devices pack plenty of features and
     capability into a compact little device. We bring them
     together here...

                  ow about setting up a printer,          high-end standalone devices in terms of
                  a scanner, a copier and a fax           specifications but also output quality and
                  machine on your desktop? It’s           speed. Most of the models we received
        quick and as easy as the snap of a finger.         featured a 1200 dpi printer and a 600 dpi
        All you’ve got to do is invest in an all-in-one   scanner. Some had integrated memory
        or a multifunctional device (MFD) which           card readers and support for direct printing
        integrates all the functions in one compact       (PictBridge) from digital cameras. A few
        device, and set it up on your desk. Imagine       high-end models also sported color LCD
        setting up individual devices—not only will       display for previewing pictures on memory
        there be a mess on your desktop but also a        cards before printing them.
        jungle of cables hanging behind the table.            The integrated scanner in a printer
            In addition to saving space, MFDs are a       extends the functionality of an MFD to that
        good bang for the buck. If you were to buy        of a copier. You just need to press a button
        a printer, scanner, copier and fax machine        to use the copier – no need to switch on
        individually, you’d end up paying much            the PC.
        more than the price of an MFD. On the other           We tested a dozen MFDs in this
        hand, you can buy an MFD for a price as low       roundup. Whether you’re looking for an
        as Rs 4,500—a price you would have paid for       MFD for photo-quality prints or an all-in-
        an inkjet printer around two years ago!           one solution for a SOHO environment, or
            Today MFDs not only compete with              total value for money, you’ll find all here.

                                                                                          Pramod Jadhav
                                                                                                  MFD COMPARISON        | HARDWARE           65

Test Process                                    10% Warranty &
                                                                            30% Features     Build quality: We looked for things such
We evaluated the MFDs on the ground                                                          as the quality of the body, print head
of features, performance, build quality,      10% Build                                      assembly, sturdiness of the scanner lid,
ergonomics and warranty and support.                                                         quality of the buttons and the sturdiness
Let us take a closer look at what went into                                                  of the sheet feeder. Higher scores were
each of the sections.                                                                        awarded for better build quality.

Features: Under this section we took                                                         Ergonomics: Devices with intuitive control
note of the functions supported by the                                                       panel design and useful shortcuts such
MFD—presence of a memory card reader,                                                        as scan, copy, fax, paper size and type,
the capacity of the sheet feeder and the       10% Ergonomics            40% Performance     number of copies and reduce/enlarge
package contents. Extra points were            Weightage distribution for evaluation         scored well. The readability of display and
awarded for support for fax, color LCD         parameters                                    the size of buttons were also an important
display and presence of stationery and                                                       consideration. Foldable sheet feeder and
third party applications.                     driver and noted the time taken to print the   output tray were also given weightage as it
   We also evaluated the individual           image. We then rated the output based on       protects dust from creeping into the MFD’s
subsystems of the MFDs such as the            the readability of fine text, reproduction      mechanism in addition to saving desktop
specifications of the printer and the          of image details, skin tones, color            space when the device is not in use. More
scanner. The printer and scanner were         reproduction and overall image contrast.       points were given to machines that didn’t
evaluated primarily on the basis of their         In addition to this, we also printed a     have any sharp edges anywhere.
native resolution. In addition to this, we    combi document consisting of text and
also logged other features such as the        image on an A4-sized glossy photo paper        Warranty and support: Here marks were
scanning bit depth, support for PictBridge    at the highest settings and awarded points     awarded to the products on the basis
direct printing, the number of cartridges     on the basis of reproduction of color and      of the warranty provided in number of
and the modem speed of the facsimile, and     grayscale gradients, absence of color          years. The number of service centers and
awarded points accordingly.                   bleeding in checkerboard, quality of text on   the number of cities in which the service
                                              plain and color backgrounds and quality of     centers are present were also taken into
Performance: To assess the overall            the thumbnail image.                           consideration.
performance of the MFD, we evaluated the      Scanner test: To evaluate the scanner              We concluded the test with the
output quality of the printer, scanner and    we scanned an 8x10 photo and took note         calculation of the “Value for Money” index
the copier.                                   of the time taken to scan at 300 dpi. We       which was derived by stacking the features
Printer test: To evaluate the printer’s       compared the scanned image to the target       and the performance against the price.
performance, we printed the target image      image and assessed the reproduction of         The product with the best VFM index was
on a 4x6 glossy photo paper at the best       colors, sharpness and contrast. The closer     awarded the “Best value” award.
quality settings supported by the printer     the scanned image to the real-world target,
                                              the higher the points awarded in this test.
                                              Copier test: To evaluate the copier, we
                                              placed the copy target on the scanner bed
                                              and rolled out a color copy on a sheet of
                                              glossy photo paper at normal settings. We
                                              then awarded points to the output based
                                              on the quality of grayscale tones, color
                                              reproduction, quality of text and overall
                                              image contrast and sharpness.

 Target image used to evaluate the photo-      Presence of a color LCD display and short-      The combi document featuring complex
 printing performance                          cut buttons were awarded extra points           gradients and text on color background

                                                                                 SMS us!     Story code: HCM (See Readers’ Letters for details)
                                                   PE               M

                                                                             Solid performance


 Canon Pixma MP500


                                               E        05 |


                                                        -CENTE                    he Canon Pixma MP500 is big on               the Brother MFC-3240C which is capable
                                                                                  everything—size, speed, features             of printing eight. It’s the fastest in the
                                                                             performance—you name it and it excels in          economy mode, spitting out 12 pages per
                                                                             each of the above. It is easily the smartest      minute. At approximately 8 minutes, it’s
                                                                             looking MFD. However, the glossy scanner          reasonably fast at printing a A4-sized combi
                                                                             lid spoils the show, it’s easily susceptible to   document. Its younger sibling, the MP450,
                                                                             scratches. Brilliant looks are complimented       was the fastest at 4 minutes. But the
                                                                             by excellent utility. The paper feed trays        MP500 performs much better compared to
 Specifications: Printer, Scanner & Copier. Print
 Resolution (Native, Enhanced): 1200 /9600, Scan                             are foldable preventing exposure from             the MP450, it is also better than MFDs from
 Resolution (Main, Enhanced): 1200/19200.                                    dust when not in use. Even the card               Brother and Epson which took between
                                                                             reader has a protective flap cover. Another        11 to 18 minutes to do the same. The
 Price             Rs 16,995
                                                                             striking feature is the color LCD screen.         print quality is exceptional with excellent
 Contact           Canon India Pvt Ltd                                       You can preview images from the card              image details and color reproduction. The
 Phone             0124-5160000
                                                                             reader before printing them. If you have a        level of noise was negligible giving very
 Warranty          2 years                                                   phone with an IrDA port which supports            sharp results. The quality of the scanned
                   RATINGS                                                   IrMC version 1.1, you can print small JPEG        image was at best above average. The
 Build quality                                                               files wirelessly from the phone. It has a          performance of the copier was also good.
 Ergonomics                                                                  PictBridge port for directly printing images      For: Blazing fast printing; excellent print
 Performance                                                                 from your digicam with a memory card              quality; silent operation and color LCD
 Features                                                                    bypassing the need for a computer.                display screen.
 Overall Rating                                                                The MP500 is blazing fast in performance.       Against: USB cable not provided; glossy lid
 Value for money                                                             It can print seven A4 sized text pages in a       susceptible to scratches; no fax capability;
                                                                             minute at normal quality, only second to          average scan quality.

                                                         T VA L


 Brother DCP-115C                                       05 | 2006
                                                                             Get your money’s worth

                                                   ST               R
                                                        -CENTE                   he Brother DCP-115C is a good,                the popular formats including CF, Memory
                                                                                 affordable and simple-to-use multi-           Stick, XD and MMC.
                                                                             functional device. But it misses out on fax          The DCP-115 is reasonably fast in printing
                                                                             capabilities. It has a feature-rich control       text documents at draft quality but has
                                                                             panel with buttons for almost all the             ordinary speeds while doing it at normal
                                                                             functions including the ability to reduce         quality. It can only print three pages in a
                                                                             and enlarge the images while photo                minute as compared to eight of the Brother
                                                                             copying. It allows you to scan to OCR using       MFC-3240C known to be the fastest. The
 Specifications: Printer, Scanner & Copier. Print                            ScanSoft’s Paperport 9, bundled along             DCP-115 might not be at par with the
 Resolution (Native, Enhanced): 1200 /6000, Scan
 Resolution (Main, Enhanced): 600/19200.
                                                                             with the printer. The scan-to-file function        MFC-3240C but it is much faster than other
                                                                             allows you to save the file directly to PDF        high-end models of Brother while printing
 Price             Rs 4,490
                                                                             format, a very nifty feature indeed. It has       the Combi and 4x6 photo at the highest
 Contact           Godrej & Boyce Mfg Co Ltd                                 four individual print cartridges, one each        settings. The DCP-115C is an above average
 Phone             022-55961609                                              for Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Black. The          performer in delivering quality prints.
                                                                             print cartridges are not fitted directly to        Our tests revealed the image quality to
 Warranty          1 year
                                                                             the print head as in other printers, instead      be good but accurate skin tones were not
                                                                             they are fitted directly to the body of the        represented. The 115’s scanning ability is
 Build quality
                                                                             printer. This is done to reduce the weight on     above average and at par with the other
                                                                             the print head reducing the vibration and         scanners (the only scanner that delivered
                                                                             the noise produced while printing. In spite       excellent results is the Canon Pixma
 Overall Rating                                                              of using this design for noise reduction,         MP450). The performance of the copier was
 Value for money                                                             the DCP-115C is clearly audible though            good. However, the reproduction of the
                                                                             not unbearable. Although low on price, it’s       greyscale was a little offset.
                                                                             definitely not low on features. It also sports     For: Excellent value for money.
                                                                             a memory card reader capable of reading all       Against: No USB cable provided.

                                                                                                                                           INTELLIGENT COMPUTING CHIP | MAY 2006
                                                                                                       MFD COMPARISON      | HARDWARE        67

1) PictBridge: It is a standardized             color model called RGB, which stands for          re-feed the paper into the tray.
technology that lets you print images           Red-Green-Blue. One of the most difficult          Printing on both sides of a sheet of paper is
from the memory card in a digital camera        aspects of desktop publishing in color            known as double-sided or duplex printing.
directly to a printer regardless of brand.      is color matching—properly converting             Printers capable of double-sided printing
This method completely bypasses the need        the RGB colors into CMYK colors so that           usually have an internal tray that catches
for a computer. To find out if a camera or       what gets printed looks the same as what          the paper after the first side is printed, flips
printer is PictBridge compatible, look for      appears on the monitor.                           it and runs it through the print cycle again.
the PictBridge logo on the packaging.
                                                3) ADF (Automatic Document Feeder): It is         5) Scan bit depth: Bit depth is also referred
2) CMYK: Short for Cyan-Magenta-Yellow-         the ability to automatically feed multiple        to as color depth. It is the number of
Black and pronounced as separate letters.       documents, which have been placed in the          colors that the scanner is capable of
CMYK is a color model in which all colors       input tray, one at a time. This is particularly   reproducing. Each pixel requires 24 bits to
are described as a mixture of these four        useful for OCR (Optical Character                 create standard true color and virtually all
process colors. CMYK is the standard            Recognition) scanning or for creating an          scanners on the market support this. Many
color model used in printing for full-color     image database.                                   of them offer 30 or 36 input bit depths.
documents. Because such printing uses                                                             They still only output in 24-bit color but
inks of these four basic colors, it is often    4) Duplex Printing: Most home printers            perform internal processing to select
called four-color printing. In contrast,        can print only on one side of the paper. To       the best possible choice out of the colors
display devices generally use a different       print on the other side, one has to manually      available in the increased palette.

 | Buying guide
 With several models of MFDs available          mid-range MFD which is quicker and can            Recommended Models: Brother MFC-
 from different manufacturers, it is a tough    deliver better output quality. Here the           5840CN, Brother MFC-620CN
 choice to decide which MFD will be right       output quality is more important as quite
 for you. In order to make your buying          often creation of projects and reports            Professionals: Imaging professionals
 decision easy, we have devised a buying        require printing and scanning pictures.           and photographers shouldn’t settle
 guide which tells you which MFD would          Recommended Models: Epson Stylus                  for anything below a high-end photo-
 be suited to your needs depending on the       CX3700, Canon Pixma MP150                         quality MFD. But be prepared for a
 application area.                                                                                heavy one-time investment. A 1200
                                                SOHO user: If you have a small office or           dpi printer and scanner should be the
 Home user: If you’re a home user,              run a small business from home, then you          minimum consideration. In order to print
 your requirements would be basic               should think about an all-in-one device           photographs from digital cameras and
 scanning, printing and copying. Rather         which integrates a facsimile in order to          memory cards, make sure your MFD is
 than investing in a fancy machine, it is       help you communicate with your clients            equipped with a card reader and a color
 recommended to invest in an entry-level        and other people. Also, since the volume          LCD screen so that you can preview the
 MFD costing not more than Rs 4,500. A          of printing will be considerably high, a          photographs before printing. Since such
 1200 dpi printer, a 600 dpi scanner and        quick printer is what you should look out         devices guarantee photo-quality printing
 a copier in one simple device that can fit      for. Presence of an automatic document            and high scanning quality, they rightly
 in a small shelf will suffice your needs.       feeder (ADF) is highly recommended as             justify the high price.
 If you own a digital camera, support for       it will save you a lot of time since you          Recommended Models: Canon Pixma
 PictBridge direct printing would be an         won’t have to manually feed pages while           MP450, Canon Pixma MP500
 added bonus.                                   scanning or faxing documents.
 Recommended Models: Brother DCP-115C,
 Epson Stylus CX1500

 Students: Creating projects, printing
 notes and reports, scanning and copying
 contents from books is usually what
 school and college students essentially
 require. Rather than investing in a budget
 MFD, it is recommended that you stretch         Thanks to the ADF, you won’t have to             Using the built-in card reader you can
                                                 feed sheets manually to scan and fax             directly print images off memory cards
 your budget a little further and invest in a

                                                                                                                               PE                M

                             | MFD COMPARISON




                                                                                                                           E        05 |

                                                                                                                               ST                 R

 | Personal Take
                                                 Name                                                            Canon Pixma MP500
                                                  Contact                                                        Canon India Pvt Ltd
                Anand Tuliani                     Phone                                                          0124-5160000
                                                  Price*                                                          Rs 16,995
 After testing a dozen MFDs, I vouch
 for my favorite of the lot—the                   Features (out of 30)                                               22.06
 Canon Pixma MP450. Right from its                Performance (out of 40)                                            36.52
 sleek look to its performance—it                 Build quality (out of 10)                                          10.00
 simply rocks! Owning this MFD is                 Ergonomics (out of 10)                                              8.96
 like having a photo-lab at home.                 Warranty & Support (out of 10)                                      8.47
 Reproducing        accurate      color           Overall (out of 100)                                           Total: 86.02
 contrast and fine details flawlessly             Value for money
 was a breeze. And that too without
                                                  Dimensions (WxHxD) cms                                         44.9 x 20.6 x 42.7
 wasting much time. It also topped in
                                                  Weight (Kg)                                                    9.6
 the scanner performance test. Using              Functions (Print, scan, copy, fax)                             ✓ | ✓ | ✓| ✕
 the PictBridge capability and card               Interface                                                      USB 2.0 Hi-speed
 reader, you can also print pictures              Memory reader (SD/MMC, Memory Stick, XD, CF)                   ✓| ✓| ✓| ✓
 directly from digital cameras and                Sheet Feeder Capacity                                          150
 memory cards after previewing                    Print resolution (Black, native color, enhanced)               1200 / 1200 / 9600
 them on its crisp 5 cm color LCD                 Duplex printing                                                ✕
 display. If you’re looking for a high-           Direct printing                                                ✓
                                                  Scan resolution (Main, enhanced)                               1200 / 19200
 end MFD with an excellent price tag,
                                                  Scan bit depth (Input)                                         48
 don’t miss this one!
                                                  ADF capability                                                 ✕
                                                  Fax speed                                                      NA
                                                  Printer tests
                                                   Print speed: Text (Draft, Normal) (ppm)                       12 / 7
                                                   Print speed: (Combi, Photo) (min:sec)                         7:57 / 3:48
                                                   Print quality
                  Gaurav Seth                         A4 photo (out of 10)                                       10.00
                                                      Combi document (out of 10)                                 10.00
                                                  Scanner tests
 I am a value for money kind of a
                                                   Scan speed (Photo, magazine) (sec)                            15 / 10
 person. But I don’t compromise
                                                   Scan quality (8x10 Photograph) (out of 10)                    7.80
 on quality even if I have to spend a
                                                  Copier quality                                                 10.00
 little extra. The Canon Pixma MP150              Silent operation                                               Excellent
 fits my bill perfectly. Since I am a            Build quality
 home user, the speed of printing                 Printhead assembly                                             Excellent
 doesn’t really matter to me (unless              Sturdiness of scanner lid                                      Excellent
 it is pathetically slow); image                  Button quality                                                 Excellent
 quality is what I dig for. The MP-               Sturdiness of sheet feeder                                     Excellent
 150 strikes a double bonanza. The               Ergonomics
                                                  Arrangement of control panel buttons                           Excellent
 quality of printing is very good and
                                                  Size of buttons                                                Excellent
 at the same time it is blazing fast,
                                                  Readability of display                                         Good
 nearly matching our best performer,
                                                  Number of functions in the control panel                       9
 the Canon Pixma MP-500. All this                 Absence of sharp edges                                         ✓
 at a price of Rs 6,500 is simply                Warranty & Support
 unbeatable. Also, Canon’s 2-year                 Number of authorised service centres                           130
 warranty is an added bonus.                      Number of cities with service centres                          100
                                                  Period of warranty (years)                                     2
                                                * Prices are indicative and are subject to change, taxes extra
                                                                                                                                                INTELLIGENT COMPUTING CHIP | MAY 2006
                                                                                               MFD COMPARISON       | HARDWARE   69

2                                       3                          4                             5
Canon Pixma MP450                            Canon Pixma MP150     Brother MFC-5840CN                Epson Stylus CX4700
Canon India Pvt Ltd                          Canon India Pvt Ltd   Godrej & Boyce Mfg Co Ltd         Epson India Pvt Ltd
0124-5160000                                 0124-5160000          022-55961609                      080-30515000                             
 Rs 10,995                                    Rs 6,495             Rs 14,590                         Rs 8,999

    22.06                                     18.28                    28.29                          19.47
    36.29                                     35.32                    25.55                          24.95
     9.60                                      8.80                     7.40                           8.80
     9.09                                      8.38                     6.30                           9.48
     8.47                                      8.47                     4.87                           8.00
Total: 85.51                                 Total: 79.25          Total: 72.41                      Total: 70.70

44.4 x 18.5 x 41.7                           44.3 x 18.1 x 38.1    46 x 34 x 48.5                    43 x 18.1 x 35.4
6.23                                         5.4                   9.88                              6.8
✓| ✓| ✓| ✕                                   ✓| ✓| ✓| ✕            ✓| ✓| ✓| ✓                        ✓| ✓|✓| ✕
USB 2.0 Hi-speed                             USB 2.0 Hi-speed      USB 2.0                           USB 2.0 Hi-speed
✓| ✓| ✓| ✓                                   ✕| ✕| ✕| ✕            ✓| ✓| ✓| ✓                        ✓| ✓| ✓| ✓
150                                          150                   350                               100
1200 / 1200 / 4800                           1200 / 1200 / 4800    1200 / 1200 / 6000                1200 / 1200 / 5760
✕                                            ✕                     ✓                                 ✕
✓                                            ✓                     ✓                                 ✓
1200 / 19200                                 1200 / 19200          1200 / 19200                      1200 / 9600
48                                           48                    48                                48
✕                                            ✕                     ✓                                 ✕
NA                                           NA                    33.6                              NA

8/6                                          10 / 7                8/3                               12 / 3
4:04 / 2:21                                  4:22 / 1:52           18:05 / 8:11                      7:00 / 3:28

8.80                                         8.40                  7.40                              6.20
9.43                                         8.29                  7.86                              8.29

17 / 9                                       16 / 10               35 / 29                           30 / 19
9.60                                         8.20                  6.20                              5.60
9.60                                         9.60                  8.40                              6.80
Average                                      Good                  Good                              Average

Excellent                                    Good                  Average                           Good
Excellent                                    Good                  Good                              Good
Excellent                                    Excellent             Good                              Excellent
Good                                         Good                  Good                              Good

Excellent                                    Excellent             Good                              Excellent
Excellent                                    Excellent             Good                              Good
Good                                         Good                  Good                              Good
9                                            7                     9                                 7
✓                                            ✓                     ✓                                 ✓

130                                          130                   75                                180
100                                          100                   70                                130
2                                            2                     1                                 1

                                                                                                                                              T VA L

70    HARDWARE         | MFD COMPARISON                                                                                                  ES


                                                                                                                                              05 | 2006

                                                                                                                                         ST               R

                                                                 6                           7                              8
 Name                                                            Brother MFC-620CN           Epson Stylus CX3700                Brother DCP-115C
  Contact                                                        Godrej & Boyce Mfg Co Ltd   Epson India Pvt Ltd                Godrej & Boyce Mfg Co Ltd
  Phone                                                          022-55961609                080-30515000                       022-55961609
  Price*                                                         Rs 13,900                   Rs 5,999                           Rs 4,490
  Features (out of 30)                                               22.38                       14.43                           19.62
  Performance (out of 40)                                            23.87                       25.38                           22.79
  Build quality (out of 10)                                           7.40                        8.80                            7.40
  Ergonomics (out of 10)                                              6.49                        7.92                            6.30
  Warranty & Support (out of 10)                                      4.87                        8.00                            4.87
  Overall (out of 100)                                           Total: 65.00                Total: 64.52                       Total: 60.97
  Value for money
  Dimensions (WxHxD) cms                                         43.9 x 16.5 x 45.4          43 x 17 x 34.5                     37.3 x 13.5 x 34.5
  Weight (Kg)                                                    7.2                         5.8                                6
  Functions (Print, scan, copy, fax)                             ✓| ✓| ✓| ✓                  ✓| ✓| ✓| ✕                         ✓| ✓| ✓| ✕
  Interface                                                      USB 2.0                     USB 2.0                            USB 2.0
  Memory reader (SD/MMC, Memory Stick, XD, CF)                   ✓| ✓|✓| ✓                   ✕| ✕| ✕| ✕                         ✓| ✓| ✓| ✓
  Sheet Feeder Capacity                                          100                         100                                100
  Print resolution (Black, native color, enhanced)               1200 / 1200 / 6000          1200 / 1200 / 5760                 1200 / 1200 / 6000
  Duplex printing                                                ✕                           ✕                                  ✕
  Direct printing                                                ✓                           ✕                                  ✓
  Scan resolution (Main, enhanced)                               600 / 19200                 600 / 9600                         600 / 19200
  Scan bit depth (Input)                                         36                          48                                 36
  ADF capability                                                 ✓                           ✕                                  ✕
  Fax speed                                                      14.4                        NA                                 NA
  Printer tests
   Print speed: Text (Draft, Normal) (ppm)                       8/3                         11 / 3                             9/3
   Print speed: (Combi, Photo) (min:sec)                         17:39 / 8:29                11:07 / 6:14                       9:33 / 3:12
   Print quality
      A4 photo (out of 10)                                       8.40                        6.20                               6.20
      Combi document (out of 10)                                 6.57                        8.29                               6.29
  Scanner tests
   Scan speed (Photo, magazine) (sec)                            38 / 26                     30 / 17                            44 / 57
   Scan quality (8x10 Photograph) (out of 10)                    6.80                        6.20                               6.80
  Copier quality                                                 6.20                        6.80                               6.80
  Silent operation                                               Good                        Good                               Average
 Build quality
  Printhead assembly                                             Good                        Excellent                          Good
  Sturdiness of scanner lid                                      Average                     Good                               Average
  Button quality                                                 Good                        Excellent                          Good
  Sturdiness of sheet feeder                                     Good                        Good                               Good
  Arrangement of control panel buttons                           Good                        Excellent                          Good
  Size of buttons                                                Good                        Good                               Good
  Readability of display                                         Good                        Poor                               Good
  Number of functions in the control panel                       9                           5                                  9
  Absence of sharp edges                                         ✓                           ✓                                  ✓
 Warranty & Support
  Number of authorised service centres                           75                          180                                75
  Number of cities with service centres                          70                          130                                70
  Period of warranty (years)                                     1                           1                                  1
* Prices are indicative and are subject to change, taxes extra
                                                                                                                      INTELLIGENT COMPUTING CHIP | MAY 2006
                                                                                                     MFD COMPARISON         | HARDWARE        71

9                                       10                          11                                      12
Brother MFC-3240C                       Brother MFC-410CN           Lexmark X4270                           Lexmark X3350
Godrej & Boyce Mfg Co Ltd               Godrej & Boyce Mfg Co Ltd   Lexmark International (India) Pvt Ltd   Lexmark International (India) Pvt Ltd
022-55961609                            022-55961609                022-26057755                            022-26057755                               
Rs 6,990                                Rs 10,490                   Rs 6,499                                Rs 3,999

20.32                                    19.98                      19.47                                    17.12
23.64                                    22.33                      22.81                                    19.37
 6.80                                     6.20                       5.20                                     5.20
 5.06                                     5.91                       4.74                                     5.78
 4.87                                     4.87                       2.87                                     2.87
Total: 60.69                            Total: 59.28                Total: 55.09                            Total: 50.34

30.7 x 27.94 x 52.6                     37.3 x 13.5 x 45.3          46.6 x 18.6 x 29.8                      44.1 x 17.2 x 31.9
6.5                                     5.5                         3.87                                    4.5
✓| ✓| ✓| ✓                              ✓| ✓| ✓| ✓                  ✓| ✓| ✓| ✓                              ✓| ✓| ✓| ✕
USB 2.0                                 USB 2.0                     USB 2.0                                 USB 2.0
✓| ✓| ✓| ✓                              ✓| ✓| ✓| ✓                  ✕|✕| ✕| ✕                               ✕| ✕| ✕| ✕
100                                     100                         100                                     100
1200 / 1200 / 6000                      1200 / 1200 / 6000          1200 / 1200 / 4800                      1200 / 1200 / 4800
✕                                       ✕                           ✕                                       ✕
✓                                       ✓                           ✕                                       ✓
600 / 2400                              600 / 19200                 600 / 9600                              600 / 19200
36                                      36                          48                                      48
✕                                       ✕                           ✓                                       ✕
33.6                                    14.4                        33.6                                    NA

9/8                                     8/3                         8/5                                     10 / 7
15:33 / 4:50                            14:00 / 8:28                5:04 / 3:02                             4:28 / 2:32

6.20                                    5.60                        3.00                                    3.00
4.57                                    9.14                        4.29                                    4.86

33 / 18                                 44 / 27                     25 / 10                                 36 / 22
6.80                                    6.80                        7.00                                    3.80
6.80                                    5.20                        3.80                                    4.20
Average                                 Average                     Excellent                               Good

Good                                    Average                     Average                                 Average
Good                                    Average                     Average                                 Average
Good                                    Good                        Good                                    Good
Average                                 Good                        Average                                 Average

Good                                    Good                        Good                                    Excellent
Good                                    Good                        Good                                    Excellent
Poor                                    Average                     Average                                 Average
9                                       9                           8                                       7
✓                                       ✓                           ✕                                       ✕

75                                      75                          22                                      22
70                                      70                          22                                      22
1                                       1                           1                                       1


                                                                                                                               Pramod Jadhav

Nvidia fights back!
With the G71 and G73 in its arsenal, Nvidia plunges into the GPU arena with a bang!

          vidia recently launched their new
          range of GPUs that will compete
          with ATI’s products which swept
our graphics comparison tests conducted
in the Feb 2006 issue. Now with Nvidia
back in the game with the latest launch,
it’s time for the knock-out round. With
the Radeon X1900XT GPU, ATI changed
the design and implementation of the                                    GeForce 7900GTX                                 GeForce 7900GT
processor by improving the efficiency of the
R580 core. As a result, the R580 boasts of 48   terms of the Pixel and Vertex shader units   the memory. The 7900GT also is a 256
pixelshader processors (the highest ever).      when compared to the 7800GTX. The            MB card as opposed to the 7900GTX
The 90nm fabrication process allowed            transistor count has also gone down from     which boasts of 512 MB of GDDR3 256-bit
ATI to squeeze in the extra performance         304 million transistors in the 7800GTX to    memory. The core is clocked at 450 MHz
and keep the die size as well as the heat in    278 million in the 7900GTX. By shrinking     and the memory chips operate at a
control. The latest from Nvidia- the G71        the die size and reducing the transistor     modest 1320 MHz.
and G73 also using the 90nm fabrication         count, Nvidia claims to have drastically
process but they take a different approach      reduced the power consumption of the         GeForce 7600GT, the mid-range contender
to take advantage of the same. This article     card, thus cutting down on the heat as       While the GeForce 6600GT is still a worthy
is aimed to execute the all important job of    well. As a result, Nvidia was able to bump   contender for the mid-range segment,
finding out whether the latest GPUs from         the clock speeds much higher while           the 7600GT based on the G73 core is a
Nvidia can match their counter parts or         consuming less power. The 7900GTX            smarter solution from Nvidia. Based on
even overtake them in the quest of gaining      comes with 512 MB of GDDR3 256-bit           90 nm fabrication, the G73 boasts of 12
supremacy. For starters, let’s look at the      memory, similar to its rival the Radeon      pixelshader units and 5 vertex shader
new GPUs and their technical specifications,     X1900XT. By default, the G71 is clocked at   units. By default, the card comes with 256
comparing them to the older series as well      650 MHz and the 512 MB memory has a          MB GDDR3 128-bit memory. The 7600GT
as the competition.                             reference clock speed of 1600 MHz.           takes maximum advantage of the 90 nm
                                                                                             process by reducing the size of the chip
Investigating the GeForce 7900GTX               How different is the 7900GT?                 and in the process boosting the core clocks
Based on the G71 core, the GeForce              The 7900GT is based on the same G71          to 560 MHz. The reference clock speed for
7900GTX is the most powerful offering           core and has the exact specifications         memory is also bumped up to 1400 MHz.
from Nvidia aimed at the Radeon X1900XT         when it comes to the shader units. Being     The 7600GT is not a sucker for power as
from ATI.                                       the exact chip, the only changes are in      well; it does not require additional power
   Yes, the 7900GTX is not different in         the clock speeds for the core as well as     to juice it up.

                                                                                                         INTELLIGENT COMPUTING CHIP | MAY 2006
                                                                                                                                              HARDWARE            | FEATURE        73

                                                                        3DMark 2003                                                    HalfLife-2 Lost Coast
                                                    20871         Nvidia GeForce 7900GTX                                             1600x1200@4xAA 8x AF
                                                    17782         ATI Radeon X1900XT
                                                                                                                         60 ATI Radeon X1900XT
                                                    17329         Nvidia GeForce 7800GTX OC
                                                    16727         ATI Radeon X1800XT                                     53     Nvidia GeForce 7900GTX
                                                    15515         Nvidia GeForce 7800GT                                  48     ATI Radeon X1800XT
                                                    15502         Nvidia GeForce 7900GT                                  39     Nvidia GeForce 7800GTX OC
                                                    13419         Nvidia GeForce 7600GT                                  36     Nvidia GeForce 7800GT
                                                    12731         Nvidia GeForce 6800GS
                                                                                                                         34     Nvidia GeForce 7900GT
                                                    12007         Leadtek GeForce 7800GS
                                                    9495          ATI Radeon X1600XT                                     25     Leadtek GeForce 7800GS
                               GeForce 7600GT                                                                            23     Nvidia GeForce 6800GS
                                                0          5000         10000         15000        20000     25000
GeForce 7600GS coming soon!                                                                                              20     Nvidia GeForce 7600GT
                                                    Index               3DMark 2006                                      17     ATI Radeon X1600XT
The GeForce 7600GS is aimed at the value
                                                    5837           Nvidia GeForce 7900GTX                               0       10            20        30        40        50      60
conscious buyer looking for an inexpensive
                                                    4746           ATI Radeon X1900XT
solution for gaming. Based on the same
                                                    4395           Nvidia GeForce 7900GT                                                    Doom 3
core as the 7600GT, the 7600GS has the
                                                    3205           Nvidia GeForce 7600GT                                 FPS         High-1024x768@4xAA
same 12-pipe architecture with 5 vertex
                                                    2853           Leadtek GeForce 7800GS                                124    Nvidia GeForce 7900GTX
shader units. The clocks are toned down         0         1000        2000         3000     4000     5000        6000
                                                                                                                         111    ATI Radeon X1900XT
to 400 MHz for the core and a measly 800
                                                                                                                         107    Nvidia GeForce 7800GTX OC
MHz for the 256 MB RAM. The card is yet to                              3DMark 2005
                                                    Index                                                                97     ATI Radeon X1800XT
be seen in the market but one can expect            10856         ATI Radeon X1900XT                                     94     Nvidia GeForce 7900GT
the stocks soon!                                    10161         Nvidia GeForce 7900GTX
                                                                                                                         81     Nvidia GeForce 7800GT
                                                    8384          Nvidia GeForce 7800GTX OC
                                                                                                                         71     Nvidia GeForce 7600GT
                                                    7937          ATI Radeon X1800XT
Pricing and availability                                                                                                 67     Leadtek GeForce 7800GS
                                                    7524          Nvidia GeForce 7900GT
We got our hands on the 7900GTX and                 7277          Nvidia GeForce 7800GT                                  64     Nvidia GeForce 6800GS
the 7600GT from Leadtek while the                   5926          Nvidia GeForce 7600GT                                  43     ATI Radeon X1600XT
7900GT being almost sold out made a late            5657          Nvidia GeForce 6800GS
                                                                                                                        0           30             60        90         120        150
                                                    5561          Leadtek GeForce 7800GS
entry in our test labs, thanks to ASUS for
                                                    5235          ATI Radeon X1600XT
sending the N7900GT which is a slightly         0         2000        4000        6000      8000    10000 12000                             Doom 3
overclocked version. The 7900GTX and                                                                                                 High-1280x1024@4xAA
the 7600GT from leadtek are based on the                                          F.E.A.R
                                                    FPS                                                                  96 Nvidia GeForce 7900GTX
exact reference design with default clock
                                                    65      ATI Radeon X1900XT                                           87     ATI Radeon X1900XT
speeds. The 7900GTX will set you back by            61      Nvidia GeForce 7900GTX                                       74     Nvidia GeForce 7900GT
about 26K while the street price for the            57      ATI Radeon X1800XT                                           73     ATI Radeon X1800XT
highly sought after 7900GT is close to              45      Nvidia GeForce 7900GT
                                                                                                                         70     Nvidia GeForce 7800GTX OC
22K. With a price tag of 13K, the GeForce           37      Nvidia GeForce 7800GTX OC
                                                                                                                         55     Nvidia GeForce 7800GT
                                                    32      Nvidia GeForce 7800GT
7600GT is the most affordable of the trio.                                                                               50     Nvidia GeForce 7600GT
                                                    29      Nvidia GeForce 7600GT
The cards are currently offered only on PCI-        25      ATI Radeon X1600XT                                           48     Leadtek GeForce 7800GS
E platform except for the 7600GS, which             24      Leadtek GeForce 7800GS                                       43     Nvidia GeForce 6800GS
might also offer AGP variants.                      18      Nvidia GeForce 6800GS                                        30     ATI Radeon X1600XT
                                                0     10         20      30         40      50     60       70     80   0           20             40        60         80         100
Let the scores do the talking…
We put the trio from Nvidia to the test                           HalfLife-2 Lost Coast                                                     Doom 3
by taking them through a string of latest                        1024x768@4xAA 8xAF                                      FPS         High-1600x1200@4xAA
synthetic as well as real world benchmarks          86      ATI Radeon X1900XT                                           76 Nvidia GeForce 7900GTX
by comparing them to rest of the GPUs in            82      Nvidia GeForce 7900GTX                                       70     ATI Radeon X1900XT
the market.                                         81      ATI Radeon X1800XT                                           57     Nvidia GeForce 7800GTX OC
                                                    73      Nvidia GeForce 7800GTX OC                                    56     Nvidia GeForce 7900GT
Test Rig                                            70      Nvidia GeForce 7800GT                                        52     ATI Radeon X1800XT
Processor: AMD Athlon 64 X2 4400+                   59      Nvidia GeForce 7900GT                                        39     Nvidia GeForce 7800GT
Motherboard: Asus A8N-SLI Deluxe                    40      Nvidia GeForce 7600GT                                        36     Nvidia GeForce 7600GT
RAM: 1GB Kingston DDR 400@2-2-2-5                   40      Nvidia GeForce 6800GS                                        33     Leadtek GeForce 7800GS
HDD: WD Raptor 740GD                                37      Leadtek GeForce 7800GS                                       31     Nvidia GeForce 6800GS
                                                    33      ATI Radeon X1600XT                                           20     ATI Radeon X1600XT
Operating system: Windows XP SP2 with
                                                0           20               40           60         80          100    0      10        20    30       40    50       60     70    80
-DirectX 9.0c
                                                     Nvidia GeForce 7900GTX, Nvidia GeForce 7900GT, Nvidia GeForce 7600GT

                                                                                                           SMS us! Story code: HFG (See Readers’ Letters for details)
74     HARDWARE            | FEATURE

The Contenders                                                                                                              to 595/1600 MHz (core/memory). The core
    Leadtek GeForce 7900GTX 512 MB@                          The small                                                      can still be pushed a bit higher but we
                                                             size of the
    stock speeds                                                                                                            decided to stop at 595 MHz. The 7600GT
                                                             90nm G73
    Asus GeForce 7900GT                                      core keeps the                                                 at stock rules over the GeForce 6800GS,
    256 MB-overclocked version                               temperature                                                    GeForce 7800GS (AGP) and the ATI Radeon
    Leadtek GeForce 7600GT 256 MB@                           under control,                                                 1600XT. Once overclocked, the GeForce
                                                             allowing higher
    stock speeds                                             clock speeds                                                   7600GT screams at the top sitting very
The 7900GT is a sell-out, we barely got                                                                                     close to the GeForce 7900GT and almost
our hands on the Asus 7900GT. Being an                       issues to decide on the winner. Till then,                     matching the GeForce 7800GT. The 90
overclocked version, we first compared the                    the scores are leveled. The GeForce                            nm fabrication has done a lot of good
performance Asus 7900GT by setting the                       7900GT and the 7600GT are clearly the                          to the G71 and G73 cores from Nvidia
clocks to default specs of GeForce 7900GT                    superstars of the show. At default clocks,                     and as a result, the GeForce 7600GT and
and later, overclocked it beyond the factory                 the 7900GT stays above the 7800GT but                          the GeForce 7900GT offers fantastic
clock speeds.                                                once overclocked, the 7900GT rockets to                        performance and value for their respective
                                                             the number two spot coming second only                         segments. The icing on the cake comes in
Stellar performers                                           to the 7900GTX. The overclocked version                        the form of reduced power consumption.
Starting from the top, there is very little                  of the 7900GT certainly helped with the                        A 7600GT SLI setup will not require any
to choose between the GeForce 7900GTX                        added cooling and better memory chips                          additional power and will come close to
and the Radeon X1900XT. Both the cards                       used. If you are looking to buy a high-end                     matching the performance of a 7900GT/
sit right at the top and thus, Nvidia with                   card, the 7900GT is highly recommended.                        X1900XT. All eyes on the ATI camp, we
the 7900GTX is at level with ATI. We will                    Next is my favorite, the GeForce 7600GT.                       await the release of X1800GT which
bring you the clash of the overclocked                       With stock cooling and reference design,                       should thicken the plot! ■
1900XTX and 7900GTX in the coming                            we were able to push the Leadtek 7600GT                                                    | Soham Raninga

Overclocking the G71 and G73
    Index      3DMark 2003                                        FPS                       F.E.A.R                                                Doom 3
    18666 Nvidia GeForce 7900GT (569/1650)                        57        Nvidia GeForce 7900GT (569/1650)                    FPS         High-1024x768@4xAA
    15515     Nvidia GeForce 7800GT                                                                                             116       Nvidia GeForce 7900GT (569/1650)
                                                                  45        Nvidia GeForce 7900GT
    15502     Nvidia GeForce 7900GT                                                                                             94        Nvidia GeForce 7900GT
                                                                  32        Nvidia GeForce 7800GT
                                                                                                                                81        Nvidia GeForce 7800GT
    14075     Nvidia GeForce 7600GT (595/1600)                    32        Nvidia GeForce 7600GT (595/1600)
                                                                                                                                79        Nvidia GeForce 7600GT (595/1600)
    13419     Nvidia GeForce 7600GT                               29        Nvidia GeForce 7600GT                               71        Nvidia GeForce 7600GT
    12731     Nvidia GeForce 6800GS                               24        Leadtek GeForce 7800GS                              67        Leadtek GeForce 7800GS
    12007 Leadtek GeForce 7800GS                                  18        Nvidia GeForce 6800GS                               64        Nvidia GeForce 6800GS
0            5000        10000           15000       20000    0             10        20      30       40        50    60   0         20            40        60        80        100    120

                    3DMark 2006                                                   HalfLife-2 Lost Coast                                           Doom 3
    Index                                                                        1024x768@4xAA 8xAF                                        High-1280x1024@4xAA
                                                                  FPS                                                           FPS
    5303      Nvidia GeForce 7900GT (569/1650)                    73        Nvidia GeForce 7900GT (569/1650)                    92        Nvidia GeForce 7900GT (569/1650)
    4395      Nvidia GeForce 7900GT                               70        Nvidia GeForce 7800GT                               74        Nvidia GeForce 7900GT
                                                                  59        Nvidia GeForce 7900GT                               55        Nvidia GeForce 7800GT
    3505      Nvidia GeForce 7600GT (595/1600)
                                                                  44        Nvidia GeForce 7600GT (595/1600)                    55        Nvidia GeForce 7600GT (595/1600)
    3205      Nvidia GeForce 7600GT                               40        Nvidia GeForce 7600GT                               50        Nvidia GeForce 7600GT
                                                                  40        Nvidia GeForce 6800GS                               48        Leadtek GeForce 7800GS
    2853      Leadtek GeForce 7800GS
                                                                  37        Leadtek GeForce 7800GS                              43        Nvidia GeForce 6800GS
0      1000       2000     3000      4000     5000    6000   0         10        20    30     40      50    60    70   80   0             20             40        60         80         100

    Index           3DMark 2005                                                HalfLife-2 Lost Coast                                              Doom 3
    9346      Nvidia GeForce 7900GT (569/1650)
                                                                             1600x1200@4xAA 8x AF                                          High-1600x1200@4xAA
                                                                  FPS                                                           FPS
    7524      Nvidia GeForce 7900GT                               40        Nvidia GeForce 7900GT (569/1650)                    70        Nvidia GeForce 7900GT (569/1650)
                                                                  36        Nvidia GeForce 7800GT                               56        Nvidia GeForce 7900GT
    7277      Nvidia GeForce 7800GT
                                                                  34        Nvidia GeForce 7900GT                               40        Nvidia GeForce 7600GT (595/1600)
    6439      Nvidia GeForce 7600GT (595/1600)
                                                                  25        Leadtek GeForce 7800GS                              39        Nvidia GeForce 7800GT
    5926      Nvidia GeForce 7600GT
                                                                  24        Nvidia GeForce 7600GT (595/1600)                    36        Nvidia GeForce 7600GT
    5657      Nvidia GeForce 6800GS                               23        Nvidia GeForce 6800GS                               33        Leadtek GeForce 7800GS
    5561      Leadtek GeForce 7800GS                              20        Nvidia GeForce 7600GT                               31        Nvidia GeForce 6800GS
0          2000     4000          6000      8000     10000   0          5        10    15     20      25    30    35   40   0        10        20    30       40    50       60     70   80

                                                                                                                                                INTELLIGENT COMPUTING CHIP | MAY 2006
 WALLPAPERS                                                                                                    sms Wall code to 7007

  Wall i14232           Wall i14230               Wall i13871            Wall i13849           Wall i14229     Wall i13854       Wall i13917

  Wall i13853           Wall i13872               Wall i14228            Wall i14227           Wall i13869     Wall i13858       Wall i14231

ANIMATION                             sms Anim code to 7007                                 RINGTONES
         To download a Animation, sms ANIM CODE to 7007
 eg.To download Animation with code i1850 sms ANIM i1850 to 7007                         A Aa Aashiqui                               i4302
                                                                                         24x7 I Think Of You                         i4303
                                                                                         Dil Tumhare Bina                            i4304
                                                                                         Dilchaspi                                   i4305
 ANIM i1850           ANIM i1863             ANIM i1855            ANIM i1861
                                                                                         Jab Kabhi                                   i4306
THEME                                 sms THEME code to 7007                             A Aa Aashiqui Remix                         i4307
           To download a THEME, sms THEME CODE to 7007
    eg.To download Theme with code i2037 SMS THEME i2037 to 7007                         24x7 I Think Of You Remix                   i4308
                                                                                         Dil Tumhare Bina Remix                      i4309
                                                                                         Dilchaspi Remix                             i4310
                                                                                         Jab Kabhi Remix                             i4311
                                                                                         Jab Kabhi Remix1                            i4312
 Theme i2037          Theme i1986            Theme i1968           Theme i1965

               How To Download                                                         GPRS/WAP Connection required for Wallpaper,
                              go to Message Section
                                  Write Message
                                                                                        Animation, Theme and Polytone download.
                                     Select                                             Operator Monotone Polytone Wallpaper Theme Animation
                                               For Monotone
    For Wallpaper For Animation    For Theme on Nokia/Samsung For Polytone            Hutch         7       10        10       50    10
                                                                                      Idea          10      15        15       30    15
    Wall i14232    Anim i1850     Theme i037          RT i4302     Poly i4302
                                                                                      BSNL          7       10        10       50    20
                                                 For Monotone
                                               on Other Handsets                      MTNL (Mum)    7        9         9       40    20
                                                   ORT i4302                          Airtel        7       NA        NA       NA    NA
                          Send the required messsage to

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When Apple met Intel
We bring you a first look at Apple’s new Intel-based notebook. Sporting the familiar
Mac-esque look and feel, there are a host of enhancements under its skin

Processing x 2
With the new Intel Core Duo processor
under its hood, Apple has injected a big dose
of power into its line of new notebooks and
desktop computer. The first Intel processor
to be built using the new 65-nanometer
technology and featuring two cores running
at up to 2.16 GHz, this is serious power for the
serious multi-tasker. Within each processor
is 2 MB of L2 cache that is shared between
the two cores. Add to it, there’s a brand new
667 MHz Front Side Bus (FSB) that drives the
rest of the system, raising the performance
bar even higher. Bring on those video, audio
and imaging applications!

See all
The Mac’s now got an eye. Characteristic of
Mac design, an almost-invisible webcam is
built right into the bezel of the screen frame,
letting you use applications like iChat for
four-way videoconferencing or iMovie HD
for creating videos, or Photo Booth for quick
and easy digital photographs. Particularly
with iChat AV, there’s this really cool 3-
dimensional view created from your friend’s
video feeds—a super way of implementing
multi-user videoconferences.

                                                                 INTELLIGENT COMPUTING CHIP | MAY 2006
                                                                                                               FEATURE     | HARDWARE          77

                                                component within the Mac OS X operating
                                                system called Rosetta, Apple promises that
                                                there will be no issues in using the familiar
                                                Mac applications on their new Intel-based
                                                systems. At present, only some of their
                                                current applications like iLife ’06, Safari
                                                and Mail work out-of-the box on these new
                                                machines. Their other Intel-compatible
                                                applications are available for purchase in
                                                stores or you can “crossgrade” to them from
                                                your existing versions.
From gaming to imaging                                                                          And all the rest
Especially strong on the graphics front, this                                                   This notebook is still an inch thick, there’s
 notebook features an ATi Radeon Mobility                                                       the same attention to detail—the power
  X1600 PCI Express-based 3D subsystem.                                                         cord is retractable and the keyboard is
    Yep, all that translates into some pretty                                                   backlit. There’s also a sudden motion sensor
     impressive gaming and graphics                                                             that protects your data by parking the hard
        performance—a nice complement                                                           disk heads in the event of a sudden change
          to the already powerful processor.                                                    in notebook orientation (aka falling out of
                                                                                                your hands).
              It works
                There’s a brand new logo that
                 tells the world which Mac
                   software will work on        Front Row seats
                     both the older PowerPC-    With so much of compute power and screen
                       based computers and      space at your disposal, how better to enjoy
                         the new Intel based    it than to sit back and relax? The Macbook
                           systems. Using a     Pro now comes with a nifty little 6-button
                                                remote control that lets you take wireless
                                                charge of a range of applications from your
                                                slideshows to iTunes music playlist to your
                                                DVD movies.

                                                                                                For all the details on how well it performs,
                                                                                          check out our full-blown test review next month.


                                                                                   SMS us!      Story code: HFM (See Readers’ Letters for details)

                                                                                        Battery replacement: Slim micro fuel cells for mobile
                                                                                    devices produce their energy from hydrogen and oxygen

Fuel Cells on the Move
This long-awaited energy storage technology is on the verge of becoming a reality.
We take a look at what’s going on in the world of mobile power

          otebooks and mobile phones only     accessories, which is happening now, fuel         continuously without a recharge).
          offer a limited amount of mobile    cells will also bring life to all sorts of new        Fuel cells generate energy from a
          freedom—after several hours of      applications such as wireless networked           supply of hydrogen produced from other
operation. Even the most efficient battery     sensors and electronic sensors embedded           substances. The engineers at IZM use two
needs to be recharged. Fuel cells, however,   in the human body.                                different methods to do this.
promise greater flexibility while also                                                               In the first method, inorganic
facilitating a more environment-friendly      High-powered batteries                            substances such as zinc or potassium
form of energy storage.                       Research on several variants of fuel cells        hydroxide—like those found inside regular
    It has been a while since developers      is going on in Japan and Germany. The             alkaline batteries—react with hydrogen
have successfully produced energy from        Fraunhofer Institute for Reliability and          in an enclosed cell. The entire system
hydrogen and oxygen for supplying mobile      Microintegration (IZM) in Berlin has              measures 4 cubic cm and produces as
appliances. In fact, the principles behind    clearly demonstrated one of the biggest           much as 2.1 watt-hours, which is more
creating this energy have been known as       advantages of fuel cells—their higher             than twice a comparable AAA alkaline
long ago as the 19th century. But now, a      energy density.                                   battery. This efficiency is possible because
breakthrough has occurred—fuel cells are          “Fuel cells have at least five to 10 times     of the ease of producing hydrogen without
now on the verge of being commercially        higher capacity than that of traditional          complicated chemical processes as found
viable. Several Japanese manufacturers        batteries and accumulators”, says Dr              in standard batteries.
have simultaneously announced that they       Robert Hahn, coordinator of micro fuel cell           “A mobile phone has variable energy
will be bringing fuel cell-powered mobile     development at IZM. As a result, devices          consumption rates, depending on
phones, MP3 players and notebooks to the      can function for a far longer period              whether it’s being used for phone calls
market within the next two years.             without the need for recharging. This             or photography. In the system we’ve
    According to analysts, fuel cell          could perhaps be the first step toward             developed, hydrogen production varies
technology will experience a boom starting    facilitating day-long laptop computing            to meet the demand of the moment”,
in 2010. Apart from being used for portable   (powering the device for 8 hours                  explained Dr Hahn.

                                                                                                             INTELLIGENT COMPUTING CHIP | MAY 2006
                                                                                                                         FEATURE     | HARDWARE          79

                                        Hours of talk time                                           Hours of music
                                        Toshiba proves that fuel cells are                           As much as 3.5 ml of
                                        not against attractive design.                               methanol is required
                                        Tiny holes in the casing allow                               to play 35 hours of
                                        the fuel cell to breathe oxygen                              music—10 ml for
                                        from the air while its by-                                   60 hours. Toshiba
                                        product, water vapour, leaves                                has introduced two
                                        the cell the same way. This fuel                             prototype MP3
                                        cell relies on a reservoir filled                            players—one with a
                                        with methanol                                                hard disk and the other
                                                                                                     using flash memory.
                                                                                                     Smaller versions of
                                                                                                     these products will
                                                                                                     become available in

                                                                                                     Day-long notebook
                                                                                                     Most notebooks powered by Li-ion batteries are
                                                                                                     drained within four hours of operation. With a
                                                                                                     methanol fuel cell that has a tank shaped like
                                                                                                     a docking station, Fujitsu’s product promises
                                                                                                     continuous operation for up to 10 hours

    In the second method, methanol and                  Freiburg have developed a cell that can be       looks like a charger, with measurements
ethanol replaces the hydrogen. These cells              integrated into microchips. A hydrogen           of 150x56x19 mm and a weight of 190
are capable of a higher operational life by             “tank” is placed in a thin layer on the          gms. The fuel cell is equipped with small
achieving a higher energy density.                      surface of the chip. Hydrogen enters the         methanol-filled reservoirs measuring 1.8
    Fuel cells can measure as little as a               cell through a process of diffusion. This        mm and 1.2 mm.
quarter of a centimeter across. In non-stop             development, which can produce hundreds              The second largest mobile operator in
operation with stable hydrogen, they                    of milli-watts can also be used on self-         Japan, KDDI, has been working with Hitachi
can provide energy density as high as                   recharging sensors.                              and Toshiba to bring its own advances to
80 to 160 MW. Therefore if three single                                                                  mobile phones. The first prototype has been
cells are hooked up in series, they can                 Portability issue                                introduced though the mass-market version
produce a voltage of 1.5 v. This is enough              Mobile accessory prototypes based on this        will be available in the year 2007.
to replace the button battery type. With                technology indicate that developers are              The Toshiba fuel cell measures a mere
foil technology, these cells can easily be              focused on producing a fuel cell where size      22x56x4.5 mm and weighs 8.5 gms—small
integrated into the surface of electronic               and portability are the prime factors. The       enough to be integrated into an MP3 player.
devices.                                                Japanese had yet to demonstrate a mock-up        In Japan, Toshiba has introduced two MP3
    While IZM uses silicon wafers only as a             or a prototype or deploy such cells in any       players with fuel cells—one based on hard
substrate material in manufacturing,                              mobile device.                         disk technology and the other implemented
researchers at the University of                                       The first adopter for fuel cells   using flash memory.
                                                                   is NTT DoCoMo—the biggest                 Toshiba’s flash-based MP3 player
                                                                   mobile operator in Japan. They
Hours of video                                                    have introduced a UMTS mobile
The new 3G-capable cell                                         phone from Fujitsu, which allows for
phones (like the UMTS-based
                                                                a much longer operational duration
one shown here) tend to be
power-hungry. With this fuel                                    than before.
cell power source shaped like                                        In mobile applications, while
a shell, this mobile phone is                                     playing video games on phones
capable of doubling video
                                                                 running on the traditional Lithium
playback duration to 4
hours. Fujitsu developed                                        Ion batteries, the device can
this mobile phone                                               only last for up to 2 hours. The
for NTT DoCoMo.                                                 aforementioned Fujitsu device
As seen, it works
                                                                is capable of at least twice that
great, but needs
enhancements on                                                 operational time—a huge step
its aesthetics                                                  indeed. However, this comes at
                                                                an aesthetic cost as the fuel cell


                                                                                            SMS us!       Story code: HFC (See Readers’ Letters for details)
80   HARDWARE        | FEATURE

                                                                                                       with Toshiba, Nokia’s fuel cells would use
 | FUEL CELLS USING FORMIC ACID                                                                        methanol as the hydrogen source.
                    Electrons                                                                              Motorola has chosen a different
                                                                                                       substance to generate hydrogen from,
                                                                                                       namely formic acid (HCOOH). To gain access
                                                                                                       to this technology, Motorola invested in
                 HCOOH                                                            O2                   Tekion, a Canadian company. While most
                                                                                                       developers were focusing on Methanol as a
                                                                    O2                                 fuel source, Tekion chose to use a substance
                                                                                                       called Formira, which consists of purified
                                 H2                                                                    and modified formic acid.
                                                                   H 2O                                    The hydrogen that is necessary for
                                                   H+                                                  generating energy is produced thorugh a
                                                                                                       chemical reaction (see illustration). “Strong
                    CO 2                                                      H 2O
                                                                                                       electric currents and simple chemical
                                                                                                       processes from Formira fuel cells enable
                                                  Polymer                                              the construction of a product that is more
                                  Anode          Membrane       Cathode                                simple compared to methanol systems.
  This fuel cell uses formic acid (HCOOH) as its power source. On the side of the anode, the for-      This makes it truly appropriate for mobile
  mic acid is broken up into carbon dioxide (CO2) and hydrogen (H2) through chemical reactions.        devices”, says Neil Huff, president of
  The rest of the process is identical to how all fuel cells work. Positive hydrogen ions penetrate    Tekion, speaking about the advantages
  the polymer membrane to reach the cathode. The negatively charged electrons create an elec-          of his system over existing fuel cell
  trical current by flowing through an electrical circuit. At the cathode, the H+ ions react with O2   technologies. The proof is evident in the
  from the air to form water vapour which is environment friendly.
                                                                                                       smaller size of the product.
                                                                                                           Tekion’s innovative developments
measures 35x110x 20 mm with a weight                                                                   continue. Right now, researchers have
of 78.5 gms when fully fueled. With                     Useful web links                               developed a hybrid system called the
3.5 ml methanol, it is capable of playing               1.           “Formira Power Pack.” In it, both the fuel
music continuously for 35 hours. The hard                  group4/index.html:                          cell and the Li-ion battery are united
disk-equipped player measures 65x125x27                    Information from IZM regarding fuel         within a single casing. The battery supplies
mm and uses a larger fuel cell than the                                                                energy to the device whereas the fuel
flash player (60x75x10 mm, offering 300                     field5/index.html:
                                                                                                       cell produces the energy to recharge the
MW) with a larger tank of 10 ml. With a                    Fuel cells at ISE.                          battery—a cyclic system of sorts. According
full tank, the device weighs 270 gms and is             3. Fujitsu’s    to Huff, this technology combines the
capable of playing music continuously for a                research website.                           benefit of both power sources. With it, he
commendable 60 hours. Toshiba promises                  4.       promises that users wouldn’t need to carry
                                                           live/start/1.html: Portal Information
smaller versions of these products for the                                                             their own external chargers.
                                                           portal regarding fuel cells.
mass market by next year.                                                                                  This hybrid technology will reach the
                                                        5. Cells using
    As a technology demonstration, Toshiba                 alternative fuels.                          market next year. The first product will
equipped a Portege M300 sub-notebook                                                                   be a satellite phone that is currently in
     with a methanol fuel cell. Its power                                                              development. It appears that 2007 is the
       source resembled a thick docking              Li-ion batteries. Therefore, present-day          target year for the industry when fuel cell
        station with an energy density               technology has aptly demonstrated the             based products will hit store shelves. But
          five times greater than that of             capability of fuel cells but portability          there are several questions that need to be
                                                     still remains an issue that needs to be           addressed: Will all the technological hurdles
                                                     worked out.                                       be overcome by then? Are they going to
                                                                                                       be small enough to integrate into today’s
                                                     Innovative developments                           trendy ultra-tiny mobile products? How
                                                     While awaiting further developments,              much will it cost?
                                                     Nokia has frozen its fuel cell research and           While all this remains to be seen, it is
                                                     experiments. Prior to this, the Finland-          indeed exciting to visualize a time when cell
                          Fuel cell and Li-ion
                                                     based company had been experimenting              phones, PDAs and laptops have the juice to
                      technology in a single
                         casing. The fuel cell       with a headset that might extend                  last us all through our working days. ■
                      recharges the battery          operation time to more than 10 hours. As                                         | Manfred Flohr

                                                                                                                    INTELLIGENT COMPUTING CHIP | MAY 2006
                                                                                                  PERSONAL TECHNOLOGY          | HARDWARE       81

Dual-headed demons
        he world of personal computing is intrigued    since I will need to shut down all my Mac
        by two recent developments—Apple’s Boot        applications and reboot into Windows. This is one
        Camp software and dual-core processors.        of the many glitches of using Boot camp.
It’s only a matter of time before applications             The solution is to run both the Mac OS X and
leverage both technology breakthroughs. And this       Windows XP simultaneously. This is achieved
could also be the start of something big—heard of      through a technique called Virtualization. The
server partitioning and virtualization? Imagine that   software Parallels Workstation for Mac OS X from
happening on the desktop platform.                     the company Parallels makes this happen. You can
    In June 2005, Apple took the radical decision      download the free beta from
to power all forthcoming Apple PCs with Intel              Parallels Workstation is a desktop
processors. When I first heard about it, I fantasized   virtualization solution that lets you divide a single
about running Windows and all my favorite              PC into multiple “virtual machines”. Each VM
                                                                                                               | Brian Pereira
applications on the brilliantly designed Macintosh     can then run its own OS and applications. The   
computers. Then there was a contest with $14,000       wonderful thing about this software is that it will
prize money. Someone with the handle “narf”            allow you to run other OSes alongside the Mac OS.
took up the challenge, tweaked his Intel Mac and       This includes older versions of Windows, Linux,
got it to boot both in Windows XP and Mac OS X.        OS/2, MS-DOS, Solaris or FreeBSD. The company
In technical terms, Narf’s solution is referred to     says the final version will let you run several OSes
                                                                                                                     While your Mac
as XOM.efi or just XOM. If you’d like to learn more     at once. Of course, this would work only with
about this bootloader or read the FAQ, head to         processors that support Virtualization technology.          PC is rendering a                                      And Intel’s Core Duo processors (used in the Intel          movie, you could
    Though Apple neither endorsed nor supported        Macs) do support virtualization.
the contest, it got Steve Jobs and other top honchos       This technique isn’t new. It borrows from old           catch up on a LAN
at Apple thinking how Apple could benefit from          server virtualization technology pioneered by               game in Windows
having Windows XP running on a Mac.                    VMware. With virtualization, you have two or more
    Our professional dependence on Windows             operating systems running simultaneously on a
                                                                                                                   even as a peer-to-
applications and compatibility concerns keep us        server. The requirement is that the server must have        peer application is
from experiencing the splendor of “Macdom”.            multiple processors and support SMP (symmetric
But what if a Mac could run Windows and all our        multi-processing). Plenty of memory and hard disk
                                                                                                                   running on Linux
favorite software as efficiently as on an Intel PC?     space is required. These resources are partitioned
Apple’s Boot Camp software solution (similar to        and a single box is divided into multiple virtual
XOM) is a means to achieve this.                       machines. Each OS and its applications run on its
    We know that PC hard disks can be partitioned      own virtual machine environment or “window”.
for different OSes that enables you to boot up             What use would this be on a desktop? Well, if
natively in Windows 2000 or Windows XP, or Linux.      your computer is on a peer-to-peer network with
But nobody achieved this feat successfully on a        heterogeneous computer platforms, several things
Macintosh before (though there were attempts).         could be going on at the same time. While your
This is because of vast differences in the hardware    Mac is rendering a movie, you could catch up on
architecture and Windows and Macintosh                 a LAN game in Windows even as a peer-to-peer
operating systems have different ways of booting.      application is running on Linux—and all this takes
    To date there are two native solutions: XOM        place on the same system!
and Boot Camp. With a native solution, the                 Multi-tasking in Windows was once a challenge
system boots up in one operating system; the OS        but is now taken for granted. Someday, multi-
has all the system resources at its disposal. But      tasking across operating systems will be common
what if I’m working on a multimedia application        which is why I look forward to dual- or tri-boot
on the Mac and suddenly need to reference some         systems and dual core PCs.
contacts in my Windows contact management                 The writer has been covering personal technology
software? The switch can be time consuming                                        issues for the past 12 years

82   HARDWARE        | FEATURE

Musical Bliss
A guide to buying the right kind of MP3 player
                  Entry-level                                             Mid-range                                               High-end

                                                                                                                                                                     Jagdish Limbachiya
 Models: COWON iAUDIO U2 256 MB, Creative Muvo          Models: Cowon iAUDIO U2 1 GB, iRiver iFP795 512 MB,    Models: Creative Vision: M 30 GB, iPod Video 30 GB,
         TX 256 MB, Transcend T-Sonic 610 512 MB                iPod Nano 1 GB, Creative Muvo TX 512 MB                iRiver H10, Creative Zen MicroPhoto

 Budget: Below Rs 5,000                                 Budget: Between Rs 5,000 - 10,000                      Budget: Above Rs 10,000

W        hen your budget is Rs 5,000 or less,
         the line between entry-level and
mid-range players thins. The players in this
                                                      T   his is the most interesting category
                                                          offering a very good value for money
                                                      with a fair balance of good performance
                                                                                                              A     t Rs 10,000 and above, you should
                                                                                                                    definitely be looking at hard drive-based
                                                                                                              players with a storage capacity of 20 GB and
category are basically the same kind. The             and added features. The most important                  above. The current breed of MP3 players is
only difference between the two is that               feature is of course the sound quality.                 also capable of playing videos. Players like
the mid-level players have more storage               Next comes the user interface. It should                the Creative Vision: M need device drivers
capacity. For example, the 1 GB iAUDIO U2             be intuitive. Third and a very important                to be installed on the computer and are not
costs around Rs 6,500 while the 256 MB,               feature is the ability to make on-the-fly                instantly recognized as a removable storage
which falls in the entry-level category costs         playlists i.e. you should be able to choose             device when connected to the USB port.
about Rs 4,500. We strongly recommend                 songs from different locations and make                 Also, you need their propriety software to
putting in a little more money and going for          a playlist without being connected to                   transfer music since it categorizes the music
the 1 GB model.                                       the computer. The fourth feature could                  according to the artist, album and genre.
    At this price point, you only have the            be a pro as well as a con depending on                  For a device with 30 GB of storage, this kind
option of buying flash memory based                    your requirements. It is very convenient if             of sorting definitely helps in sifting through
players. Since the entry- and mid-level               directly recognized as a removable storage              your music collection. But then, you would
players have the same feature set, we will            device as soon as you plug it into the                  also like to use the device as a portable hard
walk you through them in the mid-level                computer’s USB port. No device drivers                  drive to carry data from one PC to another.
category.                                             are required, just drag and drop the songs!             It is not necessary for you to carry the device
    You might be curious about how                       The drawback is that the player won’t                drivers with you always. The Creative Vision:
different these players are as compared to            automatically sort out the songs according              M has come with a unique solution—it lets
the unbranded MP3 players available for as            to the artist, genre and album. With the                you partition a portion of the 30 GB hard
little as Rs 2000 bucks with a capacity of            players that are able to sort, specific device           drive to be specifically used for data storage.
512 MB. One of the most distinguishable               drivers should be installed in the computer                  Our choice here is the Creative Vision:
factor is the audio quality and the                   before transferring any song to the player.             M—it has very good sound quality and a
signal-to-noise (S/N) ratio where the latter          The concluding aspect is the battery type               brilliant color screen. It can play video files
category of players falls short. Anything             and more importantly, the battery life. A               from a variety of formats including divx,
above 85 dB S/N is good. Our choice in the            20-hour per charge battery life is a must.              xvid, etc. It can also play and record FM and
entry-level category is definitely the 256             Our choice again is the 1 GB iAUDIO U2                  best of all, it has A/V out i.e. you can directly
MB iAUDIO U2. It offers the best audio                MP3 player. Top notch performance and 1                 play video from the player onto your
quality and has a plethora of features                GB capacity at a price tag of just Rs 6,500 is          television.
including FM, line-in and voice recording.            just unbeatable!                                                                           | Gaurav Seth

 SMS us!       Story code: HTL (See Readers’ Letters for details)

                                                                                                    Pramod Jadhav

                Software Center
                       his month, we bring you a selection        optimizing your hard disk.
                       of tools for the home and office               We also review one of the most
                       desktop spanning media file                 powerful and comprehensive image
                management, system optimization, audio            management applications we’ve
                authoring etc. Also, we review the latest         seen—with cataloging, editing, printing
                QuarkXPress 7 Public Beta 2. We came              and publishing options. It offers all
                away impressed by the enhancements in its         image-related tasks jobs in one package.
                capabilities and workflow functionality. The       Searching for a home theater quality media
                competition in the page layout arena just         player? Zoom Player Professional plays

                got tighter. Sony ACID Pro is a professional-     back all of your audio and video files while
                quality multi-track audio editing tool with       offering much configurability for squeezing
                audio hardware integration capabilities.          out the last ounce of clarity in your
                When it comes to sluggish hard disks, our         computer-based home theater system.
                software of choice for system optimization           For virus scanning, we’ve reviewed Avira
                is Diskeeper 10 Professional Edition. Based       AntiVir PersonalEdition Classic—a free file
                upon efficient and intelligent algorithms          scanner application. You’ll find all of these
                for file re-ordering, this application             applications on our cover disks—so go
                delivers tangible results when it’s through       ahead and dig in.

                  | The Ratings Explained
                 The parameters used for evaluating               by stacking the features and the utility of the
                 software are assigned a graphical rating         application against its price.
                 out of a scale of 5. These parameters include    In the case of freeware and shareware
                 performance, features and ease of use. The       tools that are available for download from
                 overall rating shown in the reviews is based     the Internet, we replace the price with the
                 on all these factors.                            download size (and therefore the time taken
                 In addition, there is a value for money rating   to download the application) for arriving at
                 for each application. This rating is obtained    the value for money rating.

                                                                               INTELLIGENT COMPUTING CHIP | MAY 2006
                                                                                                                   TESTED     | APPLICATIONS          85

                                                                                                     Audio Production
                                                                                                     Sony ACID Pro 5.0c
                                                                                                     System requirements: 800 MHz processor, 256 MB
                                                                                                     RAM, 200 MB free hard disk space, Windows-
                                                                                                     compatible sound card, CD-Writer (for burning
                                                                                                     tracks), Windows 2000/XP

                                                                                                     Price             $ 225 (Approx. Rs 10,125)
                                                                                                     Contact           Sony
                                                                                                     Ease of use
                                                                                                     Overall Rating
                                                                                                     Value for money

                                                                                                   Find it on CHIP               CD

Spinnin’ up tunes
C     reating music was once the prerogative
      of the select few who were specifically
trained in music. However, today’s music
                                                  first as there are toolbars, buttons and
                                                  sliders present everywhere. However, after
                                                  stepping through the online help file, we
                                                                                                   right, there are the volume sliders that let
                                                                                                   you control the master volume for your
                                                                                                   track’s left and right channels.
authoring applications provide a rich             find that its layout and various areas are            Perhaps the most impressive feature of
variety of music creation capabilities            adequately explained. The main interface         this program is its ability to “stretch” audio
where, with a little training, it is relatively   areas include the toolbar, the track list, the   clips and have them match the tempo of
simple for even a casual music enthusiast         timeline and the window docking area.            your song. This sole functionality enables
to jump right in and compose. Sony                    The toolbar includes all the functions       you to drag and drop any type of audio file
ACID Pro 5.0 is one such application that         pertaining to the track at hand. This            into your song and not bother having to re-
specializes in creating music by looping          includes the file loading buttons, the            format it to the rhythm and tempo of your
sampled sounds and modifying their                selection tools, the Groove tool and a link      song. Another cool feature is the “Groove
characteristics using a large number of           to the web from where additional media           Mapping” tool that lets you apply “rhythm
parameters. The good news is that it’s not        can be downloaded. The track list on the         ambience” to your track. With this, you can
as difficult as it sounds—this software            left indicates the various tracks being used     enable your composition to sound like one
enables you to create music using intuitive       within the project along with specifications      of over 50 groove styles including Funk,
tools that help you find your groove along         such as volume, name, status, etc.               Rock, Jazz swing, Hip Hip, Conga, Reggae,
the way. It can be used to develop music          Double-clicking on a track will open a visual    etc. This lends instant creativity to your
for web sites, disks, music videos or Flash       representation of the wave file where you         projects thereby giving in plenty of scope to
animations. And you don’t even need to be         can further define the track type (looped,        play around with different music options.
a musician as there are over 1,000 sound          one-shot etc), adjust its pitch or stretch           For the more advanced users, there
loops to choose from.                             it to fill specific segments within your           is support for VST plugins, Media
    Installing it was a snap (though it does      composition. You can audition any changes        management, ReWire device support, Disk-
require Microsoft .NET to be installed            to your audio samples from within this           at-once CD burning, etc. Offering a simple
on the computer). It is clearly a taxing          window itself. This allows minute control        interface with access to several tools, Sony
application indicated by the relatively           to every sound in your project.                  ACID Pro 5.0 is a fun yet functional music
long startup time (over 10 seconds on                 Immediately beneath this window is           creation application.
our Pentium 4 with 256 MB of RAM) as it           an indication of the tempo of your song          For: Intuitive interface; automatically
initializes internal music databases for its      (beats per minute) and the key it is playing     matches sound clips to the tempo of your
various components. As with any audio             in. There is a file browser window at the         track; groove mapping creates interesting
editing software, the application’s interface     base from where you can load work files           variations of songs
has the propensity to appear daunting at          or sounds into the program. Finally, on the      Against: Expensive.


                                                                                     SMS us!       Story code: SWS (See Readers’ Letters for details)
86   APPLICATIONS           | TESTED

 Page Layout
 QuarkXpress 7 Beta 2
 System requirements: At least 128 MB RAM, at least
 250 MB available hard disk space Mac OS X v10.4
 (Tiger) or later, Windows XP

 Price            To be announced
 Contact          Quark
 Ease of use
 Overall Rating

Find it on CHIP              CD

Page layout, refreshed
W       ith QuarkXPress 7, Quark has
        started out with a clean slate and
created it ground up. In doing so, they have
                                                      significant feature—transparency can
                                                      be controlled in every area that has color
                                                      control including the Edit Menu, the Color
                                                                                                      mouse), the ability to apply filter effects to
                                                                                                      alpha channels, etc. There is the new Open
                                                                                                      Type feature that enables the use of creative
incorporated a host of open standards into            Palette, Measurement Palette, etc.              font structures such as ligatures, character
the core—chief among them being XML                      Today, when the print workflow is so          alternates and Glyphs. You can preview
support. Also, new Document Object Model              largely digital, the ability to collaborate     layouts on a variety of output devices; the
in QuarkXPress 7.0 is the QXML system that            between various support teams is critical.      program can also be configured to use the
will impart read-write capability to virtually        Adobe already realized this in creating CS2     color settings of previous QuarkXPress
every aspect of the Quark file including               and it looks like Quark has too. There is a     versions ensuring backward compatibility.
formatting, hyphenation, style sheets and             new Composition Zone feature that lets          During file creation, designers can see
justification.                                         designers define a specific segment within        their projects using multiple views across
    The main interface of this version of             a page layout for other designers to access     several panes in a single window or across
QuarkXPress 7 features some interesting               and work on simultaneously—a boon for           separate windows—ideal for multi-monitor
enhancements—the most obvious being the               projects where different artists work on        setups. While QuarkXPress 6 allowed
new Measurements Palette. The equivalent              different aspects within the same page—for      users to create multiple layouts of a single
of InDesign’s Color Palette, this toolbar is          example, layout, illustrations, images, etc.    project, this version allows you to export
replete with features. Instead of crowding            These sections can then be easily re-used       individual layouts and even append them
the workspace with palettes, it displays              across different projects. Next, there is the   to existing projects.
context-sensitive information depending               Job Jacket feature that allows designers to         While this is still a beta release, it is a
upon the function used during page                    define limits so that they never stray away      good indication of things to come when the
design. This would, for example, change               from the original objective of the project,     final version of QuarkXPress 7 is announced
depending upon whether you are working                from the typography, color and style sheet      later this month. Does it outshine InDesign?
on text where there are tabs that allow               point of view. This can be of considerable      It would only be fair to say so when the final
access to character attributes, runaround,            use while rolling out to press, wherein         versions are compared. But for InDesign, the
space/alignment, frame settings, etc. These           tight control can be maintained over the        competition has certainly grown strong.
tabs vary depending on the function used.             production process in accordance with the       For: Better user interface with new
This certainly frees up screen space leaving          norms laid down by designers.                   Measurements Palette, improved workflow,
more room for the layout work at hand.                   There are several other enhancements         better support for open standards, several
For managing palettes, QuarkXPress 7                  such as the ability to numerically define        new features to whet the creative designer.
now groups them together, making it very              curves while working with images (as            Against: This beta release is occasionally
similar to what is seen in InDesign. Another          opposed to dragging curves with the             unstable.

                                                                                                                   INTELLIGENT COMPUTING CHIP | MAY 2006
                                                                                                                TESTED     | APPLICATIONS        87

Streamlined access                                                                                System Utility

D     iskeeper 10 Professional is a program
      that consolidates and compacts the
data on your hard disk, streamlining the
                                                 paging file as well. It does so using the
                                                 Boot-time defragmentation feature which
                                                 allows the file to be accessed and modified
                                                                                                  Diskeeper 10 Professional Edition

reading and writing process.                     during system startup. This single feature
    The main interface of the program is         results in a significant increase in hard disk
well laid out using three sections. The upper    response. Besides the paging file, Diskeeper
pane contains a listing of the volumes in        can even optimize other Windows core
your system. The lower pane displays a           component files like the Master File Table
visual status of the defragmentation job,        (MFT), that significantly enhances the
the logs, history, etc. The pane on the left     speed with which files are located on the         System requirements: Microsoft Windows 98,
                                                                                                  Microsoft Windows Me, Microsoft Windows XP
is a Quick Launch bar that groups common         hard disk.                                       Home, Microsoft Windows XP Tablet PC, Microsoft
tasks together, making it easier to learn,           The program contains a host of other         Windows XP Media Center, Microsoft Windows XP
navigate, use and configure the software.         features like performance and volume             Professional, Microsoft Windows XP Professional
                                                                                                  x64, Microsoft Windows NT 4.0 Workstation (SP6),
For example, this section has steps that         health analysis, Smart Scheduling, Event
                                                                                                  Microsoft Windows 2000 Professional
guide the user to configure and launch a          logging and a nifty “Set It and Forget It”
defragmentation job on one or more hard          operation mode. Through it all, the user         Price             US $49.95
                                                                                                  Contact           Diskeeper Corporation
disks using a wizard-like approach. This         can configure the amount of system load
makes it simple for the first-time users. The     taken by the program so that Windows
more advanced users can access all of these      can be used normally, even during a                                RATINGS
                                                                                                  Ease of use
tasks by right clicking on the volume in the     defragmentation run.
upper pane of the interface.                     For: A holistic set of features for hard
    Besides basic file and folder                 disk file system optimization; ability to
                                                                                                  Overall Rating
defragmentation, this program offers             defragment core Windows files.
                                                                                                  Value for money
the ability to defragment the Windows            Against: Relatively expensive.
                                                                                                 Find it on CHIP                CD

Snappy and feature-packed                                                                         Web Browser
                                                                                                  Opera 8.53
O     pera has long-since been accepted
      as a formidable player in its field. A
long-standing advocate of open standards,
                                                     With the interface being completely
                                                 configurable, you can modify every
                                                 element of the web display or the interface.
Opera’s underlying architecture is based         There are other thoughtful touches such
on standards-based web technologies. This        as “Quick preferences”, which provides
ensures compatibility with all web sites         one-key access to commonly accessed
that are created using open standards. Since     options like toggling web features (Flash,
Opera went free in September 2005, the           Java, etc), enabling proxy servers, pop-up
software has become much more enticing.          blocking, etc.                                   System requirements: Windows 95, Windows 98,
    Most appealing with this browser is its          There are, however, some instances           Windows NT, Windows 2000, Windows XP,
minimalist approach—everything from              where sites render incorrectly in the            Mac OS X, Linux

the install size (just 3.7 MB) to install time   browser. But this is, more often than not,       Price             Free
(under 7 seconds) spells efficiency. There        non-standard programming practices in            Contact           Opera Software
are a plethora of options for configuring         creating web sites, other than being a fault     website 

the browser in accordance with individual        of the browser. To maximize compatibility                          RATINGS
tastes. Its support for tabbed web pages,        with web sites, the program also has an          Ease of use
mouse gestures, integrated compatibility         option to identify itself as IE or Firefox—a     Features
with search engines, integrated e-mail           neat trick for countering sites that are         Performance
client (called M2) with spam filtering,           specifically programmed to run optimally          Overall Rating
RSS reader, popup blocker, password              on select browsers.
                                                                                                 Find it on CHIP                CD
manager and form filler make for quick and        For: Quick page rendering; efficient size;
convenient surfing. Perhaps one of Opera’s        standards-based engine; integrated mail
most interesting features is its Small           client; RSS reader; pop-up blocking, tabbed
Screen Rendering capability, allowing the        browsing; free.
browser to correctly display web sites on a      Against: Some web sites do not render
screen of virtually any size.                    correctly.

88    APPLICATIONS            | TESTED

 Photo Manager
 StudioLine PhotoClassic 3
                                                     Swiss-Army imaging
                                                     W       ithin its 46 MB download, StudioLine
                                                             PhotoClassic offers a toolshed of
                                                     capabilities for performing functions like
                                                                                                        rotating, red-eye reduction, format and
                                                                                                        conversion, white balancing, along with the
                                                                                                        more advanced features like histograms
                                                     printing, e-mailing, editing or archiving          and color curves. Using an interface that
                                                     images and more.                                   displays all relevant functions on one screen
                                                        The main interface consists of a large          along with simultaneous “before and after”
                                                     workspace area where the images are                displays, the program makes it easy to
                                                     displayed. Surrounding it are panes that           extract the best out of your digital camera,
 System requirements: Windows XP/XP SP2/2000/
                                                     display a variety of information and tasks         scanner or web images.
 ME/98, Pentium-compatible processor, (800 MHz or
 higher), 256 MB RAM, 150 MB free hard disk space,   pertaining to the job at hand. For importing          When the images begin to pile up,
 24-bit color graphics card at 1204x768 resolution   and managing images, the application               PhotoClassic 3 can either backup your
 Price             €59 (Approx Rs 3,245)
                                                     can load the image into its file store or           images to a writeable CD/DVD, offload
 Contact           H&M System Software               simply catalog images in a target folder.          them (where the source images are deleted
 Phone             49 6074 9130                      Once images are imported, they can be              from the hard disk after copying) or
                                                     categorized and tagged at a very granular          simply burn selected images to a disk for
                                                     level, using descriptions (image tags), star       distribution to friends. Additional functions
                                                     ratings, classifications, etc. This enables         include the ability to generate a web
 Ease of use
                                                     them to be easily recalled and located with        gallery where the application creates a web
                                                     the Picture Search functionality, where you        ready for upload.
 Overall Rating
                                                     can locate files using these attributes.            For: A one-stop shop to photo
 Value for money                                        On the image editing front, the program         management; editing and distributing; FTP
                                                     features a comprehensive array of functions        uploading of web galleries.
                                                     including color correction, cropping,              Against: Interface tends to be cluttered.

                                                     Free show!
 Media Player
 Zoom Player Professional                            Z    oom player is a media playback
                                                          application that handles virtually every
                                                     type of DVD, audio and video file out there.
                                                                                                        It boasts powerful DVD front-end control
                                                                                                        offering a host of playback and video
                                                                                                        control functionality seen in much bigger
                                                     Best of all, it sports a surprisingly small        applications. Besides the usual video
                                                     install size with spiffy response.                 controls, its most impressive feature is its
                                                         During installation, Zoom Player informs       ability to use external video decoders and
                                                     you of possible problems that could be             filters—even combinations—to provide
                                                     encountered while playing back certain file         the most finely-tuned video experience
                                                     types. More importantly, it tells you where        available on a computer. Besides being a
                                                     to download the codecs required to enable          straightforward media playback application,
 System requirements: Windows 98, Me, 2000, XP,
 2003 Server
                                                     you to play these files.                            it can be extended by advanced users and
                                                         The interface itself is simple with the most   tweaked to perfection. It supports hardware
 Price             $27.95 (Approx Rs 1,260)
                                                     often-used controls being easily accessible. It    color, brightness and gamma management,
 Contact           Inmatrix
 website                   can be started up in file mode or DVD mode,         reducing the load on the CPU during
                   RATINGS                           depending upon the video being played. In its      playback. This is especially useful if you plan
 Ease of use                                         audio avatar, it offers MP3, OGG, AC3 along        to run other applications in the background
 Features                                            with a host of other common audio formats.         while running movies. It can play back
 Performance                                         It has playlist capabilities with powerful         ripped DVD files from the hard disk, create
 Overall Rating                                      tools that enable search for media within          and recall bookmarks within DVD movies,
 Value for money                                     the playlist. There is also an internal 10-band    restrict viewing using parental controls, etc.
                                                     graphics equalizer offering present and            For: Effortless DVD and movie file playback;
Find it on CHIP               CD
                                                     custom settings. Each of these windows can         provides minute control to advanced video
                                                     be toggled on and off, enabling a slim-profile      and audio parameters; can use external
                                                     and unobtrusive interface.                         video decoders.
                                                         However, this program’s real power             Against: Most of the advanced features are
                                                     resides in its video play back capabilities.       available in the registered version.

                                                                                                                     INTELLIGENT COMPUTING CHIP | MAY 2006
                                                                                                                   TESTED       | APPLICATIONS             89

                                                                                                     System Security
Virus-free for free
                                                                                                     Avira Anti-Virus
T    here’s clearly no escaping the fact
     that today’s desktop computers need
protection from threats. If you’re looking for
                                                 on your computer. The Guard tab indicates
                                                 instances of infections found, along with
                                                 the files in which they have been detected.
a free, usable alternative to commercially       For automating your virus scanning, it
available anti-virus programs, you might         supports scheduling where pre-defined
want to give this program a go. In its           scan runs can be programmed to run
Classic version, it is a pure file-based virus    automatically. The last tab displays a listing
scanner without the functionality of POP3        of application-generated reports related to
scanning, Adware or Spyware detection.           scan runs, updates, quarantines, etc. Also,         System requirements: At least 196 MB RAM, IE 5.0 or
                                                                                                     higher, Windows XP, 2000, NT 4 (SP 6), Me, 98 SE, 98
This added functionality is only available in    as any anti-virus application should, this
the Premium version of the software, which       program also features online updates to its         Price              Free (for personal use)
                                                                                                     Contact            Avira GmbH
costs €20 per year, per license.                 virus definition files from its servers.
    The main interface is tabbed-based,              The red umbrella motif in the software’s
which provides access to the anti-virus          interface screen is indicative of the features
                                                                                                     Ease of use
configuration while displaying its running        in the version—red implies that this is a free
status. The scanner section displays the         trial version, while a silver umbrella indicated
storage devices attached to your computer        an enhanced feature set, which is available         Overall Rating
including the hard disk, local drives,           only in the paid version of the software.
removable drives, the Windows system             For: Quick and effective file-based virus           Find it on CHIP                    CD
directory, etc. Scans can be launched on         scanning; simple interface without loading
these devices by simply right clicking and       the systems significantly; free.
selecting the appropriate option. It is even     Against: No support for Adware/Spyware
possible to manually scan individual files        or POP3 mail scanning in the free version.

Video in a flash                                                                                     Flash Authoring

I f you’re looking for an easy way to create
  Flash-based movies from regular video
clips, this is a nifty little application to
                                                 within your Flash video. This screen allows
                                                 you to select positioning and attributes of
                                                 the watermark.
                                                                                                     Flash Video Studio 1.5

serve that need. Sporting a lucid step-by-           This is followed by the Settings screen
step interface, you are guided through the       allowing you to configure the video
entire process of converting your video          quality and resolution, the audio quality,
clips to Flash movies.                           sampling rate, number of channels and
    The main interface contains tabs that        finally the frame rates and aspect ratio.
signify each step in creating a Flash movie.     The last screen lets you publish your Flash
                                                                                                     System requirements: 400 MHz processor or better,
You start out by selecting the target video      video. Here, the software creates the
                                                                                                     128 MB RAM, 10 MB free hard disk space, Windows
file ranging from WMV, ASF, MPEG, MOV,            SWF file, which can also be compressed.              98, Me, 2000, XP
QT or AVI files that are compatible with the      For easier incorporation to a web site, it
                                                                                                     Price              $49.95 (Approx Rs 2,250)
application. You can also view information       can generate an HTML file that links to
about the video and audio attributes of the      the Flash movie. Both of these can be
currently loaded file here. Clicking on the       uploaded to an FTP server directly within
                                                                                                     Ease of use
next tab takes you to the Effects section,       the software itself. For easier navigation          Features
where you can incorporate one of 19              while playing back the Flash file, it embeds         Performance
different video effects such as grayscale,       playback and volume controls within the             Overall Rating
sepia, motion blur, posterize, etc. This         video clip itself. The Bandwidth Profiler            Value for money
screen displays your original video stream       simulates the load of your Flash video file
alongside a screen that displays the results     on different types of Internet connections         Find it on CHIP                    CD
of the effect, making it easy to review.         during playback.
Here, you can also adjust image brightness       For: Simple; easy-to-use interface; video
and contrast. On the following screen, you       effects capability.
can incorporate a graphical or text-based        Against: Overly intrusive overly in the
watermark (like a company logo or name)          free version.

               90   APPLICATIONS   | FEATURE

               Narrowed viewing
               Want more than the regular dope on happenings around the world? Here’s a new
               kind of broadcasting—narrowcasting, catering to your unique individual preferences

                                                 ired of flickering through channel after           licensed programming. DaveTV’s programs can be
                                                 channel and not finding a program suiting          downloaded and played on TV with the help of a set-
                                                 your taste? If this is what you often             top box that is available for $200. Akimbo, a company
                                          experience, here’s something that will arouse your       based in San Mateo, California offers 1,600 programs
                                          interest. “Narrowcasting” or niche programming           for a service charge of $10 per month. But more than
                                          makes broadcasting of specialized content                60 percent of these programs have an additional
                                          over broadband Internet to your cell phone and           cost ranging from 50 cents to a few dollars.
                                          television. It is a new concept in the video landscape   Verismo Networks that focuses on media network
                                          with shows catering to a race of esoteric viewers to     applications is driving the convergence of broadband
                                          please either their tastes or whims. Narrowcasting       and media to whet the consumer’s growing appetite
                                          can be more specifically defined as need-based             for personal entertainment. The solutions developed
                                          programming. For instance, watching your mother          by Verismo promise to open the floodgate of video
                                          display her culinary skills for you while you are        footages created and uploaded by film makers who
                                          in the US is no longer a distant dream. Ditto for        want to address a particular audience. For example,
                                          your parents interested in knowing how you are           tiger lovers can share all information on tigers by
                                          managing in the country, you have just relocated to      uploading related videos so that those interested in
                                          all alone recently.                                      tigers can search for the respective video clips and
                                              Narrowcasting is similar to video-on-demand          view them. The additional benefit of narrowcasting
                                          and video blogging. While video-on-demand                is the ability to transfer these clips to the mobile, thus
                                          gives us the freedom to download and play any            enabling you to watch while on the move.
                                          video on television, video blogging allows the blog          With broadband Internet becoming a trusted
                                          community to share video clips on the Internet.          conduit for broadcast-quality video, narrowcasting
                                          Narrowcasting enables a user to download video           content is simply a cakewalk. Also, narrowcasting
                                          footages applying to his specified needs or interests     content over broadband does not incur heavy
                                          and watch them on his TV or cell phone.                  infrastructure costs; hence it is an economical way
                                                                                                   of delivering specialized audio/visual data in a quick
                                          Global players                                           span of time to a community of viewers. MD of
                                          A number of companies have already deployed the          Verismo Networks Satish Mugulavalli states that,
                                          technology and are providing broadcast services          “Narrowcasting will reduce the cost of distribution
                                          to viewers. Atlanta based DaveTV has already             to a great extent. It will also help in establishing
                                          committed 100 channels of 100,000 hours of               a community of sorts. Narrowcasting will enable
Dinesh Desai

                                                                                                                         INTELLIGENT COMPUTING CHIP | MAY 2006
                                                                                                             FEATURE     | APPLICATIONS           91

people to come together and share the             decide on the number of location points         installed in your home. As your mobile
content of their choice. This will create a       it wants its content to be telecast upon.       phone number is already registered with
revenue generation opportunity for small          These location points may range from            the service provider, in this case Verismo,
businessmen or individuals willing to share       one to 10 per license. Once this decision is    an SMS from your number will be treated
and distribute specific content.”                  taken, the organization simply needs to buy     as an authenticate request and will be
                                                  the number of Client Boxes required and         served accordingly. Verismo is all set with
What you need                                     set up the same at those location points        their products and are now only looking for
Watching videos via narrowcasting will be         where it will be viewed. So for internal        partners who will take the responsibility of
as simple as watching TV programs with            communication within an organization such       manufacturing the hardware. Versimo also
a set-top box installed. With a set-top box       as watching the CEO speak across the branch     plans to keep a flexible cost structure for
attached to your television, as you receive       offices of a particular company, the Client      the content that may range from 50 cents
all the channel information and only need         Boxes will have to be set up at those offices.   to $10. They will allow the content owner or
the TV remote to surf the channels; likewise                                                      creator to decide on the cost depending on
for narrowcasting, you need a similar box         How it works                                    the type of content. Pricing is variable—it
called the Client Box. This is attached to        Both the Server Box and the Client Box          could be either a flat rate applicable to all
your TV set, which then receives and stores       are provided with an IP address. All a          types of content or it could depend on the
the content information. The Client Box           broadcaster needs to do is attach a video       nature of the content. For example, content
comes with an in-built Linux-based OS for         camera with the Server Box and upload           videos on fashion and cooking could be
playing content of any type ranging from          the content on the website of the company       either uniformly or separately priced.
WMV, MPEG2, MPEG4 and DivX. All you               offering this service. So what you need
need to do is search and play the program         to do is run a search with the help of the      Indian scenario
of your choice. Now if you wish to telecast       navigation button of your TV remote, select     Taking cognizance of the potential for
content, then along with the Client Box you       the video content that you intend to watch      Internet video in India, companies like
need another piece of hardware called the         and download it on the Client Box, and then     Verismo have deployed the technology
Server Box. This box is like a miniature server   view it on your TV.                             here. While conventional broadcasting
as found with an ISP. The main function               To search and play content on your TV,      serves to an audience interested in regular
of this box is to take the video feed from a      you just require your TV remote. If you need    feeds of news bytes, sport, movies, the
recording device, for instance, a camcorder,      to search any title you simply need to use      special interest program zone has remained
store the feed and upload it on the server.       the onscreen keyboard of the application.       untapped. As a result, people have been left
All these functions are performed with the        Select the letters of your search tags with     pining for world cinema, advertisement,
help of a Media Server-based application          the help of the onscreen keyboard and the       medical content and home video content.
that comes along with the Server Box.             five buttons of the TV remote and you have       Narrowcasting has the propensity to
    In a corporate setup, the organization        your list of searched items. To simplify the    meet the needs of a wide spectrum and
collaborates with Internet service providers      operation, two different types of search        might even result in overriding traditional
reposed with the responsibility of the Server     functions are offered. First, the incremental   programming. As Mugulavalli concludes,
Box. The Internet service providers set up the    search narrows down the search result with      “With broadband Internet spreading in India
Server Box and the content management             every letter typed. This procedure is similar   by leaps and bounds, this is indeed the right
application on their server and then telecast     to narrowing down to the number in your         time to introduce narrowcasting.” ■
the content. It is up to the organization to      mobile phonebook. The second search type                                       | Pradosh Mitra
                                                  is based on personal information, which you
                                                  provide while you sign up for the service.
                                                      Downloading on the mobile is still easier
                                                  as you can actually type the search tag using
                                                  the mobile keyboard. To access video on
                                                  your mobile, you just need to ensure that
                                                  your mobile’s GPRS service is activated.
                                                  This will help you browse the site, search
                                                  content title and download it. The handset
                                                  must support software to playback the
                                                  downloaded video. However, if your phone
                                                  is not GSM enabled, you need not worry.
                                                  You can still use your phone to send an
 You need to use the on screen keyboard to        SMS to Verismo Networks and schedule
 type the title of your search item.
                                                  a download of the video at the Client Box


                                                                                     SMS us!      Story code: AFN (See Readers’ Letters for details)

                           Waking up to WiMAX
                            True anytime, anywhere connectivity is possible with WiMAX.
                            It’s your cost-effective convenient Internet access of the future

                                     he Internet scene in India has seen some       access system in case of failure of their wired
                                     changes in the past few years. Wi-Fi exposed   infrastructure. With the help of WiMAX, cellular
                                     us to the freedom of being connected           operators will be able to backhaul their wireless
                            wirelessly. The concept of always-on Internet was       Internet services from a cell tower to a central
                            born with the advent of Wi-Fi. It radically changed     office; it can also be used as a backhaul to hook up
                            the way Internet is accessed at home, in the office,     to the Internet at Wi-Fi hotspots.”
                            in public locations and on the move. But where Wi-          Existing wired or wireless technologies
                            Fi is stuck with its limits (speed and range), WiMAX    experience inherent limitations. As Punja echoes,
                            is likely to pull it off. WiMax (802.16X) promises      “Unlike wired solutions, WiMAX requires no
                            much more in terms of outdoor broadband                 blocking traffic to dig miles of trenches for
                            wireless service delivery.                              telecommunication cables, no ruining blocks of
                                 In fact, WiMAX is all set to revolutionize         roads to provide Internet services, no waiting on
                            the entire broadband wireless access industry.          massive infrastructure build-out projects and no
                            WiMAX that stands for World Interoperability for        overhanging cables that can snap anytime. It offers
                            Microwave Access is a cost-effective broadband          a fast, affordable and convenient solution to India’s
                            wireless technology that enjoys substantial support     widespread Internet access needs.”
                            from the computer and telecom industry. WiMAX               WiMAX is relatively easy to install. Deployment
                            systems can cover a geographical area of up to 50       costs will be lower, especially in rural areas that lack
                            kms and can deliver bandwidth of up to 72 Mbps.         proper infrastructure and where the population
                            The advantage of WiMAX is its ability to deliver VoIP   is more scattered. Using WiMAX technology, the
                            and video services. For the fixed wireless broadband     service provider will be able to plan a 95 percent
                            industry, WiMAX industry standards are being            predictability coverage increasing the installation
                            developed as an alternative to DSL and cable.           success rates and decreasing deployment costs.
                                 According to Ranajoy Punja, vice president,        The OFDM (Orthogonal Frequency Division
                            marketing, Cisco Systems, “Businesses in the urban      Multiplexing) technology integrated in WiMAX
                            areas can use WiMAX to backup the Internet              makes it possible to provide a Non-Line-of-Site
How Wimax works

     Pramod Jadhav
                                                                                                          INTELLIGENT COMPUTING CHIP | MAY 2006
                                                                                                                 FEATURE     | APPLICATIONS          93

(NLOS) coverage of up to 15 kms around the                                                                Given India’s geographic spread, WiMAX
base station and coverage of up to 50 kms in
                                                        WiMAX has the                                 is poised to make a tangible difference in
Line-of-Site (LOS) conditions.                        potential to provide                            connecting India. Considered as a promising
    The WiMAX (802.16X) standard has                  cost-effective wireless                         next-generation wireless technology that
been developed and supported by over 300                                                              can support high data rates along with a
members of the WiMAX Forum. This wide                 broadband coverage                              long transmission reach, WiMAX can bridge
acceptance of the technology will guarantee           across India                                    the digital divide in India and empower
interoperability, reliability and further                                                             citizens in far flung areas as well.
developments of the technology. Not only                                                                  WiMAX networks will be able to support
that, it will also reduce the cost of equipment.   WiMAX Forum Certified solutions are a               fixed, nomadic, portable and mobile
“Internationally, the CPE (Customer Premise        perfect fit for the communication needs of          wireless broadband connectivity on the
Equipment) such as modem costs vary                the Indian subcontinent.”, points out Gupta.       same network. The first PCMCIA cards
from $300 to $1,000. Wider adoption of the            Aperto Networks is the founding board           that will provide Internet access on the
technology and interoperability of the base        member of the WiMAX Forum as well as               move are expected to hit the markets by
units with various CPEs will also drive down       the founder of and lead contributor to             the end of 2006. Two versions of WiMAX
costs.”, says Manish Gupta, vice president,        IEEE 802.16 and the ETSI-BRAN standards.           will eventually become operational. First,
marketing & alliances, Aperto Networks.            Aperto’s PacketMAX is incidentally the first        the products based on the 802.16-2004
    The forum intends to restrict the cost of      WiMAX certified product to be launched              standard have already been deployed
CPEs to below $100. Furthermore, WiMAX             globally. Currently, over 200 Internet service     globally. The 802.16-2004 standard is
will use a single radio covering all licensed      providers in 65 countries across the world         equivalent to the Wi-Fi Alliance for IEEE
and unlicensed frequency bands allocated by        are using it. In India, three out of five service   802.11 and is optimized for fixed and
the International Telecommunication Union          providers have already installed Aperto            nomadic access in Line-of-Sight (LOS) and
(ITU). Not only will this enhance the flexibility   solutions and more than 10 service providers       Non-Line-of-Sight (NLOS) environments.
of the technology but also reduce costs of         have commercially deployed this solution.              Subsequently, products based on the
the base stations and CPEs.                           The company has recently established a          802.16e standard, designed to support
    But what about ISP tariffs for WiMAX-          WiMAX development center in Bangalore              portability and mobility will be launched
based connectivity? “The broadband tariff          to accelerate the development and                  commercially. This version is based on
structures are a prerogative of service            deployment of Aperto’s WiMAX Forum                 the 802.16e amendment and provides
providers like VSNL but world over, WiMAX          Certified and WiMAX-class products.                 support for handoffs and roaming. The
based broadband access works out to be             “Aperto is tapping the Indian market which         802.16e WiMAX standard is expected to
cheaper than DSL and E1 based broadband            has the potential to be one of the largest         be operational in the 2.3 GHz and 2.5 GHz
network services.”, affirms Gupta.                  WiMAX markets in the world.”, says Reza            frequency bands.
    VSNL has recently completed                    Ahy, chairman and CEO, Aperto Networks.                These versions of WiMAX are expected
deployment of Aperto Networks’                        India is a hot market for WiMAX-                to co-exist and address the requirements
PacketWAVE multi-service broadband                 based broadband connectivity. It has 40            of a variety of target market segments,
wireless systems in over 65 cities across          million Internet users out of which only           bearing in mind factors such as availability
India. This is part of an initial deployment       an estimated 0.8 million have broadband            of the spectrum, regulatory constraints and
phase with the goal of expanding the               Internet access. If one considers the              the timeline for deployment. ■
network to cover over 200 cities within a          teledensity, then in rural India it is still                                        | Amish Mody
period of 12 months. Though currently VSNL         hovering at a mere 2 out of 100 and 35
is servicing corporate houses such as Tata         out of 100 people in urban India. Only 10
Motors, Hyundai Auto and Amadeus using             million of 49 million copper lines in India are
the 3.3 GHz frequency band, it eventually          capable of transmitting data at high speeds.
intends to provide services to home users as       The cost of building a vast fiber optic cable
well. “We expect to start providing WiMAX-         network across the country will be mind-
based broadband Internet services in cities        boggling. In such a scenario, WiMAX fits the
like Kanpur and Jaipur within the next three       scheme of things as it has the potential to
to six months.”, says Gupta.                       provide cost-effective and reliable coverage
    Aperto’s PacketWAVE family of base             across India. WiMAX will be able to meet
stations and subscriber units are a part of a      the connectivity needs of rural India and
wide network enabling high-speed wireless          can provide reliable and cost-effective
voice and data services for a wide variety         connectivity to government offices, police
of users throughout the country. “WiMAX            stations, schools, hospitals, banking
technology and Aperto’s carrier grade              institutions and even ATM networks.


                                                                                         SMS us!      Story code: AFW (See Readers’ Letters for details)

                                                                                                                                    Pramod Jadhav

                                                         Search power
Search engines are sine qua non today—they have made the web much more
accessible and user-friendly
“I know I’m searching for something               History of search engines                       was developed in 1993 at the university of
Something so undefined                            The grandfather of all search engines           Nevada System Computing Services Group.
That it can only be seen
                                                  called Archie can be traced way back to         It was a lot similar to Archie but worked on
By the eyes of the blind
In the middle of the night.”                      1990 created by Alan Emtage, a student at       Gopher files. Gopher is a service akin to FTP
                – Billy Joel (American Pianist,   McGill University in Montreal. That was a       but comprises plain text documents.
                      Singer and Song Writer)     time when the primary modus operandi                Matthew Gray’s World Wide Web

       his Billy Joel song effectively captures   of sharing files across the network was          Wanderer, the mother of search engines,
       the quintessence of the Internet           File Transfer Protocol (FTP). In this method,   was the first to employ the “robot” concept.
       and search engines, though the             anyone who has to share a file would run         A robot is essentially a software program
phenomenon called the Internet was                a service called FTP server. A user requiring   designed to access all web pages using
unheard of at that time. The Internet, from       this file would connect to the PC using          the links found in the web pages already
being a prerogative of a selected few, has        another program called FTP client. The          accessed. Though it was first designed to
seeped into everyone’s lives around the           availability of files for sharing would be       count the number of web servers, later it
globe. It would not be an exaggeration to         divulged by posting on discussion forums        started capturing URLs as it went along
say that every piece of information one           or mailing lists in what could be termed as     creating the first web database called
would ever need is placed somewhere in the        the Internet, equivalent to word of mouth.      Wandex. Mathew Gray’s wanderer fueled
form of bits and bytes on a complex maze          Later, anonymous FTP sites came into being      the development of many more robot-based
of web pages that comprises the Internet.         allowing users to post or retrieve the files.    search engines, many of which power
There is no exact figure on the total number           Archie changed all this by combining a      today’s search engines.
of web pages out there but a rough estimate       script-based gatherer, which would scour
would run into tens and hundreds of billion.      the FTP sites creating indexes of the files on   Types of search engines
Retrieving the required information from so       its run. The regular expression matcher of it   All the search engines prevalent today can
many pages would be a Herculean task but          allowed the users to access its database.       be categorized into two types:
thanks to search engines, the process has             If Archie is called the grandfather of      Crawler-based search engines: A crawler-
been simplified. Let us take a look at where       search engines then Veronica can rightly be     based search engine employs software
the search engines originated from.               called the grandmother. This search engine      known as “spiders”. These spiders crawl

                                                                                                              INTELLIGENT COMPUTING CHIP | MAY 2006
                                                                                                                                      FEATURE     | APPLICATIONS          95

through the web collecting links                                                                                                    and modifications happening
found in web pages as the source
                                        | Functioning of a Crawler                                                                  frequently. This throws additional
for continuing further searches.                              Get new URL from
                                                                                                                                    pressure on the search engines
All the pages referenced by the                                the crawl queue                                                      from the freshness and relevance
links are stored in a database of                                                                                                   standpoint. If freshness is an
indices that relate to the textual                                                                                                  indication of accuracy, age
                                                             Issue nonblocking
contents of the pages. This index                               “connect” to                                                        indicates the superannuation of
is then used for displaying the                                  remote site                                                        the local page downloaded from
pages that match the queries                                                                                                        the site. A good search engine

entered by a user.                                                                                                                  always strives to achieve high

                                                                                                     Have we
                                                               Poll the socket
Directory-based search engines:                                                                  waited too long?                   freshness and low age in its search
Unlike crawler-based search                               Ready for       writing?                                                  results. There are two re-visiting
engines, directory-based ones are                                                                                                   policies used: a Uniform Policy,
                                                               Issue the http
completely human driven. Here, a                                GET request                                                         which requires all pages to be
directory containing the links of the                                                                  No                           visited uniformly irrespective of
pages is maintained by the creator                                                                                                  the rate of change of a page and
                                                                                     Not Ready

of a web site, where links to web                              Poll the socket                   Have we waited                     a Proportional Policy, where the
                                                                                                   too long?
pages can either be provided by                                                                                                     frequency of the updates to the
the webmasters or by the people                           Ready for       reading?                                                  page determines the rate at which
reviewing that particular site.                              Read available data                                                    the pages need to be visited.
    Owing to their speed and                                                                                                        Politeness policy: When spiders
autonomous nature, crawler-based                                                                                                    rove the web, they do affect

search engines are the more                                           Done?                                                         the overall performance of the
popular of the two. So let us                                                                                                       web albeit imperceptibly. For
take a closer look at what makes                                         Yes                                                        example, network resources come
them tick.                                                    Process and store                                                     under pressure as spiders hog a
                                                                  the object
    A crawler based search engine                                                                                                   considerable amount of bandwidth
is essentially composed of three                                                                                                    due to the very nature of their
components—a) The Spider or                                                                                                         functioning. Also, they often work
Crawler, b) Indexer, and c) Ranking Software.            pages) 3) A politeness policy (i.e. how to                       in parallel, further increasing the load on a
                                                         avoid overloading the web sites) and 4) A                        server. They could even load servers if they
Spider                                                   parallelization policy (i.e. how to coordinate                   access them too frequently. Finally, botched
This is the component that relentlessly                  distributed web crawlers).                                       spiders that cannot process a web page
crawls through the web, accessing and                    Selection policy: The mercurial growth                           correctly could even crash a servers or a
downloading pages. Spiders work on the                   of the web has necessitated the need to                          router. A partial solution to overcome this
principle that all pages are linked through              identify a good selection policy for the                         problem is the Robots Exclusion Protocol,
hyperlinks. They usually start off with a                URLs to be navigated. A study done by                            allowing web site administrators to specify
list of URLs (Universal Resource Locators,               Lawrence and Giles found that of all the                         which pages need to be visited and what
commonly known as web addresses) and                     pages available on the web, only 16 percent                      information is to be accessed. On the top
then proliferate by accessing hyperlinks                 are actually downloaded and indexed.
found within the progressive web pages.                  With such a meager percentage of the
Since it is not feasible to access every                 coverage by search engines, it becomes
single web page out there, spiders are                   necessary to display only the most relevant
programmed to be capable of filtering and                 pages to users by prioritizing them. The
deciding where to stop and what routes to                significance of a page can be determined by
take while traversing the web. This speeds               its intrinsic quality, number of inbound links,
up the search. The frequency with which                  number of visits to a particular page and
a spider visits a web page also depends                  most importantly, the ones with the most
on how often that page is updated. This                  relevant information.
behavior is decided by a set of policies                 Re-visit policy: Given the depth and
programmed into the spider called crawling               expanse of the web, the time required
policies. This includes 1) A selection policy            to navigate even a scant number of web
(i.e. which pages to download) 2) A re-visit             pages could run into months. The web is
policy (i.e. when to check for changes to the            dynamic with lots of additions, deletions


                                                                                                            SMS us!       Story code: AFS (See Readers’ Letters for details)

of a URL, a file called robots.txt is specified   occurrences called “hits”. The hits record     its ranking, the particular site can be
which invokes this Robots Exclusion Protocol.   the word, position in document, an             blacklisted and not considered in the
Another method is by incorporating this         approximation of font size, capitalization,    future. The golden rule is that a page gets
authorization information in the META           etc. It also parses out all the links in       listed only if it has original quality content.
tags of a web page. This tag informs the        every web page and stores important
spider that the current page should neither     information about them in an anchor file.       Future of search engines
be indexed nor be followed. Currently,          This file contains enough information to        Though the current breed of search engines
very few spiders/robots support this and        determine where each link points from and      are adequately efficient at retrieving
it is completely up to the spiders to decide    to, and the text referred to by the link.      results, they are still incompetent at
whether or not to obey them.                                                                   interpreting the actual intent of the
Parallelization policy: A parallel crawler      Page ranking                                   user. For example, if the user has typed
is one that spawns multiple processes, so       The success of a search engine is measured     “windows” and is hoping to get a listing of
as to cover more ground while searching         by the relevance of its search results. This   prices and styles for windows to be fitted
the web. Though the goal is to increase         final job of displaying the search results      at his house, the results would probably
the download rate, it has to take care          in your web browser is handled by the          be a listing of results related to “Microsoft
of minimizing the overhead caused by            page-ranking component of a search             Windows” while the actual information
this parallelization and also to prevent        engine. People who dabble in search engine     on home window styles would be buried
multiple processes from downloading             optimization make it their task to figure       somewhere within. This means the user
the same page. To contain this redundant        out ways to program web pages so as to         would have to painfully sieve through a
downloading, there are policies for             enable them to show up within the first 10      plethora of results to find the relevant
assigning new URLs during the crawling          results of a search query. Hence, unraveling   answer to their query. Life would be much
process as discovered by multiple methods.      the secrets of the algorithms employed by      easier if the search engines could decipher
Dynamic assignment: Here, a central server      the search engines can help enthusiasts        the actual intent of the query rather than
takes the responsibility of assigning the       create pages with the high rankings.           taking everything at its face value. This
URLs to each crawling process dynamically.          Although the inner details of the          is exactly the area where all the search
This allows for the load to be balanced         algorithms employed by the search engines      engine powerhouses are directing their
uniformly on the available crawlers.            are not publicly available, the manner         efforts—personalization.
Static assignment: In this policy, there is a   in which the results are displayed gives           To have the ability to interpret what
fixed rule stated from the beginning of the      some insight into the criteria used for        the query means, search engines need
crawl, which defines how to assign new           ranking pages. These tell-tale signs could     to track the surfing habits of the user.
URLs to the crawlers. For the assignment        be the title of the web page, headings,        This culminates in the user parting with
function to be effective, it has to satisfy     links of titles within a page, frequency and   some of his privacy to obtain the correct
three properties: i) Each crawling process      prominence of a word on a page, popularity     results. Therefore, as stated in our previous
should receive approximately the same           of a link, freshness of information on that    example, if a search engine were smart
number of hosts ii) if the number of            page, etc.                                     enough to notice that the user sieved
crawling processes increases, the load per          Some users employ devious means            through the many incorrect search results
process should reduce iii) the assignment       to wrongfully create pages to appear at        and select the one on architectural
must be able to add or remove crawling          the higher ranks in a search query even        windows—which is what the user was
processes dynamically with minimal impact       though the page might not contain              looking for—it would save this information
on the overall functioning of the system.       relevant information. This is known            linked to that particular user. Therefore, the
                                                as “spamdexing”. People who practise           next time the user types a similar query,
Indexer                                         spamdexing are called search engine            it could throw up more relevant results
This component is responsible for the           spammers. There is a subtle difference         compared to what it did before. On a
indexing function of the search process.        between search engine optimization and         deeper level, a search engine could “profile”
Every page that has been encountered            spamdexing. Spamdexing is more of a            a user with questions relating to preferred
and thought by the spider to be worthy          crooked art aimed at misleading search         living habits, etc and use this to add further
of downloading has to be indexed in a           engines while SEO is the art of adding         relevance and accuracy to its search results.
manner where the user receives relevant         quality-rich results to a search query, in     The possibilities of enhancement of search
results quickly. The indexer performs           such a way that the page gets listed by        engines are limitless and over a period of
a number of functions: it reads the             way of its own merit. There is a downside      time, future search engines could make
repository containing the web pages             though to spamdexing which makes the           today’s generation of web search systems
downloaded by the spider, decompresses          spammers wary—if the search engine             look archaic and clunky. ■
the documents and parses them. Each             concludes that a particular page has                                        | Rajesh Kokkonda
document is converted into a set of word        resorted to deceitful means to enhance                                  Software Engineer, CA

                                                                                                            INTELLIGENT COMPUTING CHIP | MAY 2006
                                                                                                            COLUMN     | APPLICATIONS        97

Gaming Legalities
A look at the common legal issues in the gaming industry
The gaming industry has grown by leaps                                                           considered, some of which have been
and bounds over the past few years and so                                                        mentioned below. Not all will be relevant
have legal concerns. Some of them, rather                                                        to every situation but they may serve as a
mundane, constitute the usual suspects as                                                        useful guide.
listed below:                                                                                        Is this genuinely going to be a
                                                                                                     consultancy or an employment
Choosing a legal entity                                                                              relationship?
The “developers” or “owners” should know                                                             Have the work-specifications been
what legal entities they need to take into                                                           defined?
                                                        | Rodney D Ryder
account. Should it be a partnership firm or                            How much time must the consultant
a private limited company? Private limited                                                           devote to the services offered?
companies have many advantages but they         they were not violating the defendant’s              Should there be a specified amount of
need to comply with the regulations in the      copyright. The plaintiff argued that there           minimal work level to be provided by
Indian Companies Act, 1956.                     was no infringement because there were               the consultant?
Stakes and shares: There’s the question of      no similarities in source code between the           How must the consultant render his
allocation of stakes and shares to each of      games, no substantial graphical similarities         services? Should he do it personally
the group members if the team as a whole        existed and the games were even dissimilar           or through sub-contracting/providing
succeeds on a venture. In any partnership,      in their feel and content. Therefore, any            of a substitute or should he do it with
one has to be clearly in agreement on           similarity is the result of the application of       the help of a nominated subscriber/
one’s “share”.                                  non-copyrightable ideas. The judge agreed            substitute?
Intellectual property: Developers should        to the reasons substantiated.
know who is responsible for ownership of            The defendant had argued that the            Mechanism for performance review
the assets in the game. Intellectual property   judge should not compare Police Trainer          Some questions need to be answered such as:
considerations form the core element in a       2 to Sharpshooter alone. Rather, the                Should there be an indemnity from
legal proceeding.                               judge should compare Police Trainer 2               the consultant in relation to tax and
    First, it is essential to ensure that       to what the defendant called a series of            national insurance?
the team or a young company has an              games represented by Police Trainer and             Will the expenses be reimbursed?
intellectual property policy in place.          Sharpshooter together. The judge rejected           What level of control is to be exercised
One must ensure appropriate standards           this argument on finding that two games              over the consultant’s work?
regarding the use of proprietary software.      alone did not compose a long enough                 What sort of protection measures are
While using third party software, one needs     running series.                                     required for safeguarding of confidential
to ensure that it is licensed.                      Upon review of the allegedly similar            information?
    Let us here look at a case study that       portions of the game consisting of                  Will restrictive covenants be necessary?
illustrates an important point. The case        a “Balloon’s Challenge”, a “Memory                  Which law should govern the contract?
involved a dispute between Team Play Inc et     Challenge”, a “Whack the Criminal” segment
al and Boyer [2005 US Dist. LEXIS 21753].       and a “Select Rank Exam”, the judge found        Steer clear of controversial subjects
The Plaintiffs comprised the publishers and     that there was no evidence of copying.           In the United States, for example, the
distributors while the defendant was the                                                         debate rages on censorship issues. Although
developer of a video game. The defendant        Intellectual property and consultants            there is no formal agency to regulate
claimed that in 1995, one of the plaintiffs     A formal consultancy agreement is essential      computer or video game content, in India, it
engaged him to develop a game called            to the smooth running of the relationship        would be advisable to steer clear of material
Sharpshooter. The plaintiffs later created      between the game owner and the                   or content that could be classified as
another shooting game called the Police         consultant. The agreement should be tailor-      obscene or promoting communal tension. ■
Trainer 2. The defendant argued that the        made to the particular consultant—recycling             Rodney D Ryder heads Technology Law
new game infringed on his copyright in          an agreement prepared earlier for someone                       Practice at full service law firm,
Sharpshooter. The Plaintiffs sued in order      else is not to be recommended.                                                      Khaitan & Co
to obtain a declaratory judgment that               There are several aspects to be                         


Media Identification
 Almost everyone has a music collection of his or her own. They            can get really painful unless you love your keyboard to bits. If
 might be stored on hard disks as MP3, WMA, WAV files or                   you do not like the idea of sweating over a piece of software
 they could be shelves filled with audio CDs of all your favorite          that requires you to type out each album and title then try using
 albums. If you store your music in one or both formats it must            “CD Trustee” instead. In addition to the software, you need to
 be quite a pain cataloging each one. Software is available that           have an Internet connection. Pop an audio CD in—CD Trustee
 allows you to neatly categorize all your songs according to               will recognize it and categorize it for you. You can then save
 genre, album, artist and title. Typing out each title in an album         this “catalog” as a database file with the “.mdb” extension.

 1                                                                                                3
                                                      send their audio CD information. The
                                                      same goes for Gracenote too but their
                                                      database is larger. Gracenote also
                                                      uses a new version of CDDB—version
                                                      2. This is where the similarity ends
                                                      between freedb and Gracenote.
                                                      The new version adds to the older
                                                      feature set in terms of intelligent
                                                      management as well as increased
                                                      number of fields of description.

                                                      MusicID is what CDDB initially
                                                      started out as in the late Nineties.
                                                      Now it has evolved to do much more
     1. Smart Identifier                              than just recognize your audio CD.              2. Smart Playlists
     Freedb and Gracenote use more or                 With over a million users knowing               Gracenote’s Playlist and Gracenote
     less the same technique to recognize             and unknowingly using this service,             Playlist Plus, as the ir names suggest,
     audio CDs. Both use the CDDB-based               MusicID can also assess current audio           provide users with a smarter way of
     protocol to query servers that hold              file tags and offer to edit them if              listening to digital music. Playlists are
     data on audio CDs. Each audio CD                 needed.                                         generated on the fly as you listen to
     has a unique identification code,                                                                 music on your computer or portable
     which is read by the software that                                                               player. On the computer the service
     offers CDDB support. Winamp (uses                                                                might be integrated into your media
     Gracenote services) and dBpowerAMP                                                               player while the on the portable player
     (uses freedb services) are two such                                                              it is embedded (part of the firmware).
     examples.                                                                                        It can create playlists depending on
         The code is read and sent to                                                                 the sort of music you are currently
     Gracenote or freedb servers and                                                                  listening to. Playlist templates based
     tallied with existing records. If the                                                            on genres are also created by the
     CD’s identification code is found then                                                            people who provide the software or
     its information is pulled from the                                                               portable player. Playlist Plus also pays
     database and displayed in the media                                                              attention to your listening habits
     player. Details like artist, album, title,                                                       and file ratings to generate playlists
     track length, etc are displayed. The                                                             accordingly. The playlist updates its
     freedb database is made entirely                                                                 database as and when more audio
     with the help of registered users who                                                            is added to your collection. Playlist
                                                                                                      INFOGRAPHIC     | APPLICATIONS          99

          A media player today is more than just hardware or software. They are smart
          apps or devices that use special techniques to identify, organize or manage
          your music files—online or offline

This means you can even open it with Microsoft Access. One               to online music recognition. Gracenote has more clout and also
audio CD has been cataloged without a single key stroke.                 developed its media cataloging technology to a great extent to
This automation is the courtesy of the existence of a music              add to the user’s convenience. For example, Winamp and iTunes
recognition technology called CDDB owned by Gracenote. As of             uses Gracenote’s CDDB service to recognize audio CDs played
now Gracenote owns this technique of recognizing an audio CD             on your computer. Understanding how this service works is
and listing information related to that particular album. Freedb         very simple but knowing about what more it can do for us as
is another outfit—one that runs on the GPL license that caters           consumers is extremely interesting.

    and Playlist Plus are usually used in      5
                                                                                                   file tags or “ID”. Mobile MusicID is
    conjunction with MusicID.
                                                                                                   offered on mobile phones by mobile
                                                                                                   application developers to certain
    3. Smart Seller                                                                                service providers. If you like the song
    This service is called Gracenote Link
                                                                                                   being played in a restaurant all you
    and it goes about displaying content
                                                                                                   need to do is start the application and
    generated by the guys who provide
                                                                                                   record the tune. A portion of the clip
    the software you use on the desktop.
                                                                                                   is matched with over 8 million records
    Link piggy backs on MusicID to know
                                                                                                   stored on Gracenote’s media servers
    what you are currently listening to
                                                                                                   in a matter of seconds!
    and provides information on content
    that might be of interest to you – say
                                                                                                   6. Smart Voice Control
    for example, information on where
                                                                                                   Gracenote’s        award       winning
    you can download the ringtone for
                                                                                                   innovation, MediaVOCS takes things
    the song you are listening to. It can be
                                                   make use of Gracenote’s Discover                a little further by allowing users to
    intrusive at times but who isn’t trying
                                                   then it will inform me of the release.          literally command their systems to
    to make a buck out of everything?
                                                   It can even suggest new artists based           play the music they want to hear. Just
                                                   on the genre you usually listen to.             say, “Soft Rock” or “The King” and a
    4. Smart Recommendations                       This technique involves a complex               playlist will be generated to play soft
    I am not someone who watches MTV all
                                                   procedure of categorizing music                 rock or Elvis Presley tunes. ■
    of the time to know when my favorite
                                                   across over a thousand genres,
    artist releases a track from their new
                                                   analyzing digital music on the basis                                   | Ashutosh Desai
    album. But if I use applications that
                                                   of waveforms as well as community
                                                   sales. This almost sounds like the
                                                   smart seller above. That is because it
4                                                                                              6
                                                   also makes use of Link to do some its
                                                   dirty work.
                                                   This service is offered in computer
                                                   software, streaming music services
                                                   as well as mobile phones.

                                                   5. Smart Matcher
                                                   Gracenote uses Philips audio
                                                   recognition technology to analyze a
                                                   song’s wave form if their identification
                                                   cannot be done with the help of

    Dinesh Desai   Pramod Jadhav

                                                                                   SMS us!    Story code: AIM (See Readers’ Letters for details)

                      Dr. CHIP                                              You might have unknowingly
                                                                     accepted the installation of software
                                                                     (search bars, smiley bars, etc.) on your
                                                                     computer. These toolbars add themselves
                                                                     to the web browser (especially Internet
                                                                     Explorer) and Outlook Express. Right click
                                                                     on the toolbar, in the ‘New Message’
                                                                     window and uncheck the additional
                                                                     toolbars that are cluttering the interface.
                                                                     Regarding the additional space that
                                                                     appears near the buttons in the ‘New
                                                                     Message’ window, select ‘Customize’

                                                                     Remove additional lines from the toolbar
                                                                     in OE by selecting each ‘Separator’ one at
                                                                     a time
       Dinesh Desai
                                                                     after right clicking on the toolbar. In
                      Remove Toolbars In OE                          the list of the buttons under “Current
                      Q> I am experiencing a strange problem in      toolbar buttons”, select “Separator” (one
                      Outlook Express. Every time I open a ‘New      at a time) and click on ‘Remove’. This will
                      Message’ window, I see extra toolbars that     remove all those additional lines that
                      have smileys. They are also separated by       appear near or between the buttons.
  Hands on

                      too much space also. I do not need these       Rearrange the buttons according to your
                      additional toolbars. How do I get the ‘New     preferences with the “Move Up”/“Move
                      Message’ window to look normal again?          Down” buttons. Click on Close and check
                                                            -Gauri   your new interface now. Uninstall the
                                                                     toolbar/search bar software from Add/
                                                                     Remove programs in Control Panel so
                       | How to Read the Code
                                                                     they never appear again in the ‘New
                       All code lines and commands are
                                                                     Message’ window.
                       written in the following manner:
                                                                     Remove PowerPoint Templates
                       where the • symbol denotes a space.
                                                                     Q> My brother recently downloaded some
                       Hence, the above code line should be
                                                                     PowerPoint design templates from the
                       typed as
                                                                     Microsoft website. The problem is I do
                                                                     not know the name of the file that was
                                                                     downloaded. How do I know if they have

                                                                                 INTELLIGENT COMPUTING CHIP | MAY 2006
                                                                                                                         DR. CHIP   | HANDS ON         101

been installed? I would like to know if             “Print Spooler” from the list of services          exe” and click Open. Now click on Apply
they can be removed. How do I go about              and double click on it. If it has already          and then Ok. Restart the computer and try
doing this?                                         stopped, then click on ‘Start’. If it is already   the registration process again.
                                           -Jeev    running, then stop and start it once again.
        Usually, PowerPoint templates are           Also, make sure the service is configured to        Address Book Error
stored in, “C:\Documents and Settings\              startup “Automatically”. Click on Apply and        Q> I use Outlook Express as my default
<username>\Application Data\Microsoft\              Ok. If your firewall is active, it might alert      e-mail client on my Windows 98 computer.
Templates” or “c:\Windows\Application               you of the spooler service trying to gain          I have started experiencing some trouble
Data\Microsoft\Templates\Presentation               access to the network (it uses “svchost.           sending e-mails. Every time I try accessing
Designs”. If the “Application Data” folder          exe”). Allow it to access the network since        my Address Book from Outlook Express,
is not visible, then click on Tools | Folder        it is required to send a print to the network      I get an error message that says, “The
Options (in Windows Explorer). Click on             printer. Now if you try to send a print, it will   Address Book failed to load. Outlook
the ‘View’ tab and select “Show hidden              definitely work.                                    Express is incorrectly configured, please
files and folders”. Then click on Apply and                                                             re-install.” I have tons of addresses in my
Ok. Try arranging the files in the templates         Unable to Register Photoshop CS2                   Address Book. It has taken me a year to
folder according to the date modified                Q> I just bought a copy of Adobe’s                 build my contacts. Is there any way I can
to identify the new ones. If you have               Photoshop CS2. I tried activating the              salvage them?
the link from where the templates were              product but there is no text in the                                                         -Niravi
downloaded then you can find out the                 registration window – nothing in the                       This error might be due to a
file name from there and run a search for            menus or buttons! How do I register this           damaged “Wab32.dll” file. You will need
the same on your hard drive. PowerPoint             product? I have spent money on this!               to extract the file and replace it with its
template files use the “.POT” extension. If                                               -Keshav       damaged counterpart. You will need the
the template has been installed on your                                                                Windows 98 CD for the file extraction. To
system, then you should also find it in Add/                                                            begin the process, click on Start | Run, type
Remove Programs in the Control Panel. It                                                               “sfc” and then click OK. Click on “Extract
should show up in the list as “Microsoft                                                               one file from installation disk”.
Office PowerPoint Template Pack”.                                                                           Type the file name you want to restore.
                                                                                                           Here it is, “wab32.dll”. This will go in the
Unable to print over network                                                                               “Specify the system file you would like
Q> In my office, I work on a Windows XP                                                                     to restore box” field.
Professional machine. Software like Office                                                                      In the “Restore from” box, type
2000 and McAfee’s anti-virus solution are                                                                  “X:\win98”. Replace “X” with your
installed on it. Drivers for the network                                                                   optical drive’s letter. In the “Save file in
printer (an HP laser printer) are also installed.                                                          box”, make sure the destination is “C:\
I have been able to print to the HP laser                                                                  program files\common files\system”.
printer but for the past few days, I’m                                                                     Insert the Windows 98 CD-ROM and
receiving an error stating that the, “Printer       Add Photoshop CS2 specifically to make             begin the file extraction. Restart the
                                                    the system allow the registration process
properties cannot be displayed.” What do I                                                             computer after this is completed.
do? Will I have to reinstall the printer drivers?
                                          - Jacob            Check to see if your anti-virus
        You did not mention if you have a           is active during the registration. If it is
firewall also working along with the anti-           McAfee’s VirusScan 8.0i, then you will
virus. It could be the print spool service          need to disable the “Buffer Overflow”
that needs to be running might be off or            function in the application. In addition to
the firewall might have blocked it from              this, right click on My Computer and select
accessing the network. This could have              Properties. Then click on the ‘Advanced’
occurred accidentally or unknowingly – if           tab and under ‘Performance’ click on
the firewall has been configured to display           the ‘Settings’ button. Click on the ‘Data
alerts when any file or service attempts             Execution Prevention’ tab. Select the ‘Turn
network access. You should try starting             on DEP for all programs and services except
the print spooler service manually first.            those I select.’ radio button and click
Click on Start | Settings | Control Panel           on ‘Add’. Navigate to “C:\Program Files\
| Administrative Tools | Services. Locate           Adobe\Adobe Photoshop CS2\Photoshop.


                                                                                         SMS us!       Story code: HDC (See Readers’ Letters for details)
102   HANDS ON     | DR. CHIP

                                                  CHIP-INDIA KNOW HOW | (
                                                   Game Resolution Problem                           game). Change the resolution to 800x600.
                                                   I am facing a problem with my computer.           This should work. The problem is that
                                                   When I double click any game the screen           you might have accidentally changed the
                                                   becomes blank for one or two seconds              resolution to a value that is not supported by
                                                   and it again returns to the Desktop.              your video card – 1280x720. It can cause the
                                                   Please help me out as I am unable to play         game to hang. You can change the resolution
                                                   games on my computer.                             to a slightly higher value – depending on the
                                                                                      - chinna90     graphics card you own. (It might not even
                                                      I had the same problem with Red Alert 2.       have been you who changed the resolution.
 Use the System Configuration Utility
 in Windows XP to replace damaged or               This was what I did to rectify it and it should   In my case, my brother had changed the
 missing files                                     work for you too. First, reinstall the game       resolution!)
                                                   and then go to the Display Options (of the                                 - schizophrenia3.14
No Spell Check in OE
Q> The Outlook Express on my computer            following path as “Value Data”,                         Locate the “Machine Debug Manager”
refuses to run a spell check on the mails            C:\Program Files\Common Files\                  service from the list and double click on
I try to send to my friends. Even though         Microsoft Shared\                                   it. Under the ‘General’ tab, make sure the
the spell check option is enabled it does            Click on Ok and close the Registry Editor.      “Startup type” is set to “Automatic”. Click
nothing. What can I do to make this e-mail       Restart the computer and check to see if            on the ‘Apply’ button and then click on
client of mine to work properly again?           this solves the problem. If the problem             ‘Start’ to begin the MDM service. Click on
                                       -Ravish   persists, try copying the file “csapi3t1.dll”        Ok to close the MDM service dialog box.
           This might be happening because       from the Windows XP CD or replace it from           Close the Services window and restart the
of the corruption of certain files related        another PC. To replace the file from the             Office installation.
to the spell check feature in Outlook            Windows CD, use the System Configuration
Express. This could also occur if you do         Utility. Click on Start | Run, type “msconfig”       IE Problem
not have Microsoft Word installed on your        and click on Ok. In the General tab, click on       Q> Whenever I open a web page in the
computer. You can get your spell check           the ‘Expand File’ and enter the file name            Internet Explorer, the pictures do not
option back by carrying out the following        you want to restore.                                load. Instead, I get a script error. I do not
steps. Open the Registry Editor – click on           Select the “i386” folder in your XP CD          understand what it means. Why is this
Start | Run, type “regedit” and click on         and enter the path where you want the file           happening?
Ok. Navigate to the following key in the         to saved.                                                                                     -Gopal
Registry Editor,                                     This file resides in the following folder                You will need to edit the Registry
    HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\                 by default,                                         Error to workaround this problem. Click on
Microsoft\Shared Tools                               C:\Program Files\Common Files\                  Start | Run, type “regedit” and click on Ok.
    After selecting “Shared Tools”, double       Microsoft Shared\Proof                              When the Registry Editor window opens,
click on “SharedFilesDir” in the right hand                                                          navigate to the following key,
side panel of the Registry Editor. Enter the     MDM Service Error                                      HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\
                                                 Q> I just got a new office suite for my              Microsoft\Internet Explorer\
                                                 Windows XP Professional machine.                    Main\FeatureControl\FEATURE_
                                                 While installing Office 2003 I got an error          LOCALMACHINE_LOCKDOWN
                                                 informing me that an “MDM service
                                                 could not be stopped”. It also mentioned
                                                 a number – 1921. I restarted and tried it
                                                 again but it did not work. What can I do to
                                                 get this installation to work?
                                                         MDM stands for Machine Debug
                                                 Manager. You can set the service to start or
                                                 stop from the Windows Services window.
                                                 Click on Start | Run, type “services.msc”
                                                 and click on Ok. Alternatively, click on Start       Change the default security settings in the
                                                 | Settings | Control Panel | Administrative          Internet Explorer from the Registry Editor
                                                 Tools | Services.

                                                                                                                  INTELLIGENT COMPUTING CHIP | MAY 2006
                                                                                                                    DR. CHIP   | HANDS ON      103

   Select the subkey “FEATURE_                      system memory as video memory). Also,
                                                                                                      Need a hand with your PC travails?
LOCALMACHINE_LOCKDOWN” and on                       check to see if the ‘DirectDraw Acceleration’
                                                                                                      Log on to
the right hand side panel locate “iexplore.         is enabled in Windows’ DirectX settings.
                                                                                                      knowhow and post your query. Voila!
exe” and double click it. Change the default        Click on Start | Run, type “dxdiag” and
                                                                                                      You’re on your way to a glitch-free
value of “1” to “0”. Close the Registry Editor      click on Ok. Click on the ‘Display’ tab in the
and restart the computer. Your web pages            DirectX Diagnostics dialog box and enable
should load without any problem within              “DirectDraw Acceleration”. Click on “Save All
the Internet Explorer.                              Information” and then on Exit. Restart the
                                                                                                      Info | For Accurate Diagnosis…
                                                    computer and try playing the movie now.
Screen Resolution Error                                                                               1. Mention system specifications.
Q> I got a new computer loaded with                 Unable to Login                                   2. Mention new hardware or software
Windows XP Home Edition. It also has                Q> I am a Windows 2000 Professional                  installed recently.
WinDVD installed, which I use to watch              user. I am unable to login to my system           3. Note the error message, including the
movies on my computer. But the problem is           ever since I installed a security update             action or event that triggers the error.
that I keep getting an error saying, “Please        for my operating system. The security                For instance, the error message comes
lower your screen resolution or color depth         update was related to some buffer overrun            up only during startup or shutdown, or
and try again.” What do I do?                       vulnerability. When Windows tries to bring           when starting a particular application
                                           -Karan   up the login screen I get an error saying it         and so on.
        If there are no other applications          unable to load the logon user interface. It       4. Mention any changes you’ve made
running at the same time either in the form         mentions a file named Msgina.dll as the file           just before you started getting the
of open windows or in the system tray               that was unable to load. The message asks            error. For instance, have you deleted
(bottom right of the screen) that might             me to restore the DLL. How do I do that?             some files recently or uninstalled
be eating into the system resources then                                                   -Ketan        some application?
you will need to hike up the ‘hardware                      The ‘msgina.dll’ file is required
acceleration’. Right click on the Desktop and       during the login process because it is           system snapshot created for the day you
select Properties. Click on the ‘Settings’ tab      required for user authentication in the          choose. Download the security update
and click on the ‘Advanced’ button. Click on        GUI mode. You have not mentioned the             again and save it to your hard drive. It is
the ‘Troubleshoot’ tab and move the slider          name of the security update you installed.       assumed over here that you tried to install
under ‘Hardware Acceleration’ towards ‘Full’.       That might have not been installed               a security update named “MS_Update.
Restart your computer and try playing the           correctly. Right now you can try to restart      exe”. Replace this name with the name of
movie once again. If you still get the same         the computer and press the [F8] key after        the security update. Enter the following
error, then reduce the screen resolution            the initial boot screen (memory test).           command to install the update manually
and also set the ‘Color Quality’ (in Settings       When the Advanced Startup Options                into a folder called “MyTemp” in the
tab of the Graphics Properties dialog box)          appear, choose the “Last Known Good              “C:” drive. Press [Enter] after giving the
to “Medium (16-bit)” and click on Ok. This          Configuration”. You should reach the              command,
should reduce the strain on the video card          desktop since it will load a snapshot of            X:\MS_Update.exe /T:C:\MyTemp
(especially if it’s integrated – it will use        the system when it had booted without               (“X” is the drive in which you save
                                                    any problem. For Windows XP users                the security update prior to installing it
                                                    if “Last Known…” does not work then              manually.) ■
                                                    try booting into the Safe Mode. Run
                                                    System Restore from Start | Programs |
                                                    Accessories | System Tools and select a
                                                    date when the system is booted without
                                                    any complication. XP will restart with the

 Increase system or DirectX acceleration
 in Windows if you experience problems
 playing DVDs on your PC


Recreating music
A detailed workshop that tells you how to convert your audio cassettes to audio
CDs and MP3s

        here was a time when I had more            Begin the workshop with your favorite   you’ll need a cable having a 3.5 mm stereo
        than 200 audio cassettes gathering     audio cassette. This is what you need       pin at one end and 2 RCA connectors
        dust in one corner of my room.         to do:                                      at the other.
Needless to say, I was rebuked for this by      STEP 1. To capture the playback of the         To connect the player to the computer,
my parents and anyone who visited my           audio cassette, the player needs to be      connect one end of the cable to the output
room. At times, I felt like getting rid of     connected to the PC. Depending on the       of the player and the other end to the line
the old tapes and dumping them in my           type of player, you’ll require a suitable   input jack of the sound card. The line input
garage. But sifting through the collection     stereo cable. If you are using a portable   jack is usually marked blue or labelled
made me realize I couldn’t part with the       player like a Walkman which has a           as “Line-in”. However, bear in mind that
classic albums of the 60s and the 70s. After   3.5 mm earphone jack for output, you’ll     in case the panel of your motherboard
pondering for weeks, I finally arrived at       need a cable having 3.5 mm stereo pins      doesn’t feature six audio jacks, remember
a solution—converting my entire audio          at both ends. And if you plan to use your   to change the output mode to stereo if it is
cassette collection to audio CDs. Now,         home audio system having RCA output,        set to the multi-channel mode.
I can enjoy the golden numbers of the
yesteryears by just sliding my favorite disc
into the CD player. I can even carry them on
my MP3 player on my way to work.
    If you too are looking out for a way to
convert your audio cassettes to audio CDs
or MP3s, this workshop explains the entire
process in detail. In addition to dumping
a cassette to an audio CD, the workshop
also shows you how to get rid of tape hiss
and add brilliance to tapes that sound dull.
We used the Magix Audio Cleaning Lab 10
in this workshop. The demo version of this      Stereo cable with 3.5 mm connectors at      Stereo cable with a 3.5 mm pin at one end
                                                both ends                                   and 2 RCA connectors at the other end
software is present on the CHIP Tools CD.

                                                                                                       INTELLIGENT COMPUTING CHIP | MAY 2006
                                                                                                              WORKSHOP       | HANDS ON        105

 STEP 2. Set the recording source on your                                                            Check the “Recording” check box and
PC to “Line-in” or else, you may end up                                                              select the option “Line-in” from the list
recording from the microphone or some                                                                of volume controls.
other source.                                                                                        On clicking the “OK” button, you will
    Double-click on the volume icon in the                                                           be presented with the “Recording
    system tray to bring up the “Volume                                                              Control” dialog box. Check the “Select”
    Control” dialog box.                                                                             checkbox below the line in volume
    Click the options menu and select                                                                slider and close the dialog box.
    “Properties”.                                Set the recording source to line-in

STEP 3. Launch Magix Audio Cleaning            proceed to recording, it’s important to               Play the audio cassette. You’ll notice
Lab 10 and click on the “Record Audio”         set the recording level to an optimum                 the left and right level meters
button on the main screen, which brings        level so that the recorded content                    respond to the playback.
up the “Record” dialog box. Before you         doesn’t distort or sound too soft.                    Click on the “Level control” button
                                                                                                     in the “Recording Control” dialog
                                                                                                     box and move the “line-in” volume
                                                                                                     slider up or down to adjust the
                                                                                                     recording level. Set it at such a
                                                                                                     position that the audio level never
                                                                                                     reaches the peak of the level meter.
                                                                                                     If set correctly, the recording level
                                                                                                     indicator will display the message
                                                                                                     “Level is optimal”.
                                                                                                     Next, move on to the “File path” in
                                                                                                     the same dialog box and specify a
                                                                                                     folder to save your work. As sound
                                                                                                     files hog drive space, make sure the
                                                                                                     destination folder is on a drive with
                                                                                                     ample free space.
                                                                                                     Finally, set the “Automatic CD
                                                                                                     Track recognition” to “Tape”
                                                                                                     from the drop down list. This
                                                                                                     feature automatically places
                                                                                                     markers wherever long pauses are
                                                                                                     encountered in a wave file in order to
 This is how the “Record” dialog box should look like after setting various parameters,
 before you move on to recording                                                                     split tracks while saving or creating
                                                                                                     an audio CD. Hold on! Don’t close the
                                                                                                     dialog box.
 STEP 4. Now get set for a marathon
recording session. Completely rewind
the audio cassette and push the play
button. After around 10 seconds, just
when the cassette is about to play, click
on the “Record” button. Audio Cleaning
Lab will now start recording the playback
in real-time—you’ll notice the waveform
being created in the background as the
                                                 After setting the recoding parameters,
recording takes place.                           hit the record button to start recording
    Now go out and get some fresh air! It’ll
take around 30 to 45 minutes for an entire     the last song is over and close the dialog
side to finish.                                 box. Before you proceed any further, click
    Head back to your seat when the side is    on the “Save” button on the toolbar to
about to end. Hit the “Stop” button when       save your work.


                                                                                       SMS us!   Story code: WRM (See Readers’ Letters for details)
106    HANDS ON      | WORKSHOP

                                                                                                   Now close the Denoiser window and let
                                                                                                us move on to Mastering.

                                                                                                Enhancing audio quality
                                                                                                Audio cassettes, especially the very old
                                                                                                ones sound dull due to the primitive
                                                                                                recording technique used at that time.
                                                                                                Sound is also affected due to the wear
                                                                                                and tear resulting from constant use.
                                                                                                Mastering can do wonders to sound—you
                                                                                                can revitalize the dull audio quality just by
                                                                                                tweaking some of the sound frequencies
                                                                                                with the help of an equalizer.
                                                                                                    Click on the “Edit” button
                                                                                                    corresponding to “Equalizer” present in
                                                                                                    the Mastering section to bring up the
                                                                                                    FX rack.
                                                                                                    Using the equalizer, you can tweak the
                                                                                                    low, mid-range and high frequencies as
 Use the Denoiser control panel to eliminate background noise and tape hiss                         per your requirement while playing the
 STEP 5. Since audio cleaning and mastering          positioned approximately at the                The overall clarity can be tweaked
requires very attentive hearing, it is               centre of the gap.                             using the “Brilliance Enhancer”. I
strongly recommended to use a good                   Click on the “Pick” button in the              suggest you don’t move the sliders
headset. The purpose of cleaning and                 Denoiser window to pick the sample             of the equalizer or the brilliance
mastering is to eliminate background noise           of the hiss. You can hear it by clicking       enhancer to the extremes as it
and hissing present in an audio cassette             on the “Play” button next to it.               will lead to loss in audio quality.
as it isn’t a digital medium. In addition to         Also, set the processing quality to            Acceptable results can be achieved
this, it even enhances the quality of sound          “High” from the drop down list.                using low to average values.
bringing it close to CD quality.                     The software analyzes the recording            After you’re done with tinkering
                                                     and automatically de-hisses the                equalizer settings, close the FX rack.
Getting rid of background hiss                       entire file based on the sample of the          The Equalizer button under Mastering
      Select the “Cleaning” tab from Audio           hiss picked.                                   will now get highlighted.
      Cleaning Lab’s title bar. Cleaning and
      mastering controls will show up below
      the waveform.
      Click on the “Edit” button
      corresponding to denoiser to bring up
      the denoiser rack.
      The rack looks like a complex machine,
      but it is very easy to use. Click and drag
      it a little down so that the playback
      controls in the main interface are
      visible. Power it up by clicking on the
      “power” button.
      To remove the background hiss,
      pick a sample of the hiss present in
      the recording. The best section to
      pick up from this sample is the silence
      between tracks. Drag the scroll bar
      below the waveform to the right
      until you notice a small break
      indicating silence. Click on the
                                                   Use the Brilliance Enhancer and the 10-band equalizer to enhance the sound quality
      timeline so that the cursor is

                                                                                                            INTELLIGENT COMPUTING CHIP | MAY 2006
                                                                                                WORKSHOP   | HANDS ON   107

 The Denoiser and Equalizer buttons get          Using the Bypass FX button, you can
 highlighted indicating they are active          preview the mastered recording

 Incase of 60-minute tapes, you can burn the entire contents to a CD on the fly.

Preview the final outcome                          Click on the “Tracklist” button in the
Remember to preview the final outcome. If           dialog box to make sure the tracks have
you’re not satisfied, you can always go back        been split.
and change the settings.                           Insert a blank disc into the optical drive
   Clicking on the play button will play           and click on the “Burn” CD/DVD button
   back the recording with the settings            to burn the compilation.
   you applied. Click on the BypassFX              Alternatively, you can even convert
   button to the left of the playback              your precious audio cassette to WAV,
   controls to hear how it sounded                 MP3, WMA or OGG format using the
   originally. The difference will be              “Export Audio” feature.
   remarkable.                                 Note that as the capacity of a CD is limited
Now, move on to splitting the track.           to 80 minutes, it won’t be possible to
                                               burn a 90-minute audio cassette to a
Burn baby burn!                                single CD. In such a case, first convert the
Ready to burn your audio cassette to an        cassette to MP3 and then compile the
audio CD? Select the “Export” tab from         desired tracks into an audio CD using a CD
Audio Cleaning Lab’s title bar and click       burning application such as Nero Burning
on the “Audio CD” button at the base of        ROM.
the screen.                                                                  | Anand Tuliani

 Vishwanath Vanjire

For Skin that Glows
Learn how professionals use Photoshop to touch up photographs of portraits
to create that million-dollar-skin look

       he possibilities offered by the digital realm are truly        such as skin blemishes, dark circles or scars—obviously, most
       limitless. In the case of imaging, the advent of the digital   of these flaws are beyond your control. But take heart—we’re
       camera has effected a sea change in the way we take, store     in the digital realm, remember? Join us as we show you how to
and share our photographs. Coming from a time when we were            use technology to wipe away those flaws and bring out a glow
wary of the number of film rolls being used, digital technology has    in your subjects that even the best of skin creams cannot!
proved to be a boon for trigger-happy shutterbugs everywhere.
    While digital photographs have certainly introduced huge          The makeover
amounts of convenience for the photographer, the advantage            Since our photos of people are typically shot in places where
of image enhancement is often overlooked. Unlike film-based            the lighting or background is not conducive to obtaining studio-
photography, images taken by a digital camera are infinitely           quality results, we often obtain results that expose flaws in our
modifiable. This singular advantage is used to the fullest             subjects—skin might appear darker or duller, blemishes may
extent by professional users, where they crop, enhance and            show up, teeth might be stained… the list goes on. What follows
edit their images to product stunning results. With a little          are tips on how to touch up these various areas of your portraits
basic knowledge of some of the features of today’s image              to unveil hidden beauty and obliterate minor flaws.
editing applications, you’ll be surprised with what you can do           First, we need to whiten our subject’s teeth. However, it
with your digital photos.                                             shouldn’t be so white as to appear unnatural in the final result!
    Take portrait photography. People—family and friends—             The same can be done for the eyes—whitening them can
are perhaps the most popular subjects for majority of digital         erase traces of weariness. Next, blemishes on the skin need
camera users. And it is natural for people to see a well-shot         to be removed so impart a smooth texture in your subject’s
photo of themselves. Alas, we’re not all Ashok Salians and            complexion. Finally, using special tools, you can impart an
don’t have the propensity or patience to invest in expensive          ethereal “glow” to your subject’s skin—something you only
equipment to consistently take that ideal portrait photograph.        find in advertisements! Sounds good? Then let the makeover
Look closely and you’re bound to uncover flaws in your subject         begin.

                                                                                                              INTELLIGENT COMPUTING CHIP | MAY 2006
                                                                                                                 WORKSHOP       | HANDS ON         109

                                                                                    Waving the wand
                                                                                     STEP 1. Start with a high-resolution portrait that has
                                                                                    enough of detail in it—preferably one of a full facial
                                                                                    composition as shown in the image. The higher the size
                                                                                    of the image, the evident will be the effects of your
                                                                                        Open this image in Photoshop. Before we begin
                                                                                    with the editing, we need to normalize the image
                                                                                    for color and brightness to get rid of any cloudiness
                                                                                    and low contrast. This is done by using the Auto Color
                                                                                    function in Photoshop. Hit Ctrl+Shift+B to do this. You
                                                                                    will immediately notice the difference. With your image
                                                  is as high-                       balanced for color and contrast, you’re now ready to get
                     01 | Selec t a portrait that        ly- cropped
                          resolutio  n as possible. Close                           into the core of the workshop.
                          facial shots are  ideal

          STEP 2. Begin with whitening the subject’s teeth. To do this, you
         can use a tool called the Dodge tool in Photoshop. This tool enables                                                                b
         you to gently brighten precise areas of your image by “painting”
         over them. From the Tool palette on the left of the Photoshop
         interface, click on the Dodge tool (or hit the “O” key to invoke it).
         Change the Range to “Midtones” and the Exposure to “30%” from
         the status bar (located beneath the Menu). Now use the box
         bracket (‘[‘ and ‘]’) keys to change the size of the brush (the circular
         screen cursor). Zoom into your subject’s teeth for more accurate
         control. With a comfortable brush size, left-click your mouse on the          a
         stained areas of the teeth—you’ll gradually see the effects as you
         do so. For best results, use even strokes moving vertically from the
         top of each tooth to the bottom. Stop when you are satisfied with
         your teeth whitening job. Take care not to whiten too much or they
         will appear to glow unnaturally!
             Repeat the same procedure if you need to whiten the whites
         of your subject’s eyes, in case they are reddish. You might need
         to zoom into the subject to focus on the white areas. Here too,
         exercise caution against whitening them too much.

                                                                                                       a. Use the Dodge tool to selectively
                                                                                                          brighten sections of your image.
                                                                                                d         With the ability to target the
                                                                                                          shadows, midtones or highlights, you
                                              c                                                           can accurately focus on the teeth

                                                                                                       b. Modify the parameters of the Dodge
                                                                                                         tool as shown in the screenshot. Your
                                                                                                         values might change, depending on
                                                                                                         the effect you need

                                                                                                       d. The power of the Dodge tool lies in
                                                                                                          its ability to naturally brighten. The
                                                                                                          difference is clear!


                                                                                        SMS us!     Story code: WTP (See Readers’ Letters for details)

                                                    rtait and                       03 | Af ter:
                                       into your po                                              Using the Healing
                                                                                                                   Brush tool, you
                  03 |   Before: Zoom find skin blemishes                                can be a digital co
                                     d to                                                                    smetic surgeon!
                         you’re boun

          STEP 3. Next up, we remove skin blemishes. Be it pimples,
         scars or random marks on your subject’s skin, we use an                     TIP: Automating with Action scr
         ingenious tool in Photoshop 7.0 called the “Healing brush”. As                                             ipts
                                                                                    Once you get acquainted
                                                                                                            wit       h these tools and their
         its name implies, it enables you to “heal” selective portions               set tings, you could exp
                                                                                                                eriment with creating
         of your image and it does so by using the color and texture                                                                         an
                                                                                     Action Script that runs
                                                                                                              all of these functions wit
         of surrounding areas as a reference.                                                                                               ha
                                                                                    single click! Here’s how
                                                                                                             you do it: Firs t load an ima
             To use this tool, first select a comfortable brush size as                                                                     ge.
                                                                                    Access the Actions toolbar
                                                                                                                    (W indow | Actions) and
         described earlier. Then press Alt and left-click on a nearby               click on the “Create new
                                                                                                             action” but ton. Now exe
         area around the blemish. This defines the area that will be                                                                      cute
                                                                                   steps 4 and 5. Click on the
                                                                                                               “Stop” but ton when you
         used as a starting point for the Healing tool. Now release the                                                                    ’re
                                                                                   through. That’s it— you
                                                                                                             will have created an Act
         “Alt” key and click on the blemish and voilá—it’s gone! Repeat                                                                   ion
                                                                                   script that automatically
                                                                                                               runs through these steps.
         this procedure until your subject is free from blemishes!                 Henceforth, all you need
                                                                                                             to do is load a new por trai
         Practise using this tool until you get the hang of it. For best                                                                    t,
                                                                                  manually whiten teeth and
                                                                                                                 remove blemishes, then
         results, it is recommended to use small even brush strokes.              run this action script— you
                                                                                                               ’ll save time in generating
                                                                                  your mas terpieces of mak

                                                                            STEP 4. Now comes the magic—it’s time to impart an
                                                                           ethereal smoothness and glow to your subject’s skin. We
                                                                           will be using two Photoshop filters for this—the Gaussian
                                                                           Blur and the Unsharp mask filters. Let’s see how they
                                                                               The Gaussian Blur imparts a controlled hazy effect to
                                                                           your image. This will form the basis of the glow effect.
                                                                           Access this tool by clicking on Filter | Blur | Gaussian Blur.
                                                                           Enter a value of 10 and click on “OK”. You’ll immediately see
                                                                           the effect on your photo.
                                                                               Next, we need to reduce this effect to prevent the
                                                                           subject’s details from dissolving away. Do this by clicking

         04 | Use the Gaussian Blur function to
              evenly blur your target

                                                                                                                      INTELLIGENT COMPUTING CHIP | MAY 2006
                                                                                                                  WORKSHOP   | HANDS ON      111

    on Edit | Fade Gaussian Blur. In the box that appears, move
    the opacity slider to a value of 50 percent and keep the
    mode as “Normal”. By now, you should already see the
    glow effect in your image.
        However, you’ll find that these steps have removed some
    of the image details. To restore these, we use the Unsharp
    Mask Filter. Click on Filter | Sharpen | Unsharp Mask. In the
    box, you’ll find three parameters—Amount, Radius and
    Threshold. Depending upon your particular image, these
    vales would vary. Experiment with the following values:
    set Amount between 80 and 120, Radius between 2 and
    5, Threshold between 2 and 10. For this particular image, I
    used values of 95, 5.0 and 8 respectively.

                                                                                 04 | To counte
                                                                                                r the blur effect, use the
                                                                                      Unsharp Mask to sharpe
                                                                                                                n your image

       05 |                                                                    05 |
              Before: Notice the girl’s skin and teeth                                After: Is the difference obvious?

     STEP 5. Now all that’s left is to restore the contrast in the image    Image | Adjustments | Hue/Saturation. You should see noticeably
    and enrich the colors a tad bit. To counter the blur effects, you’ll    better results by increasing the “Saturation” slider to about 10.
    need to slightly increase the brightness and contrast in your photo.    You’re done—you can now save your work.
    Do this by selecting Image | Adjustments | Brightness/Contrast.            Using these methods, we have touched up our image in much
    Here, slide the Brightness and Contrast values to not more than 10      the same way as most professional photographers do for their
    each. Experiment with this value until you see a natural balance        pictures. In each of these steps, experiment with different values
    in your particular image. Finally, you might want to increase the       and settings until you find the ones that work best. ■
    saturation in your image to enrich its colors. Do this by clicking on                                                    | Marco D’Souza


 XP in your pocket
Booting Windows XP from a USB flash drive is simple. We tell you how...

             indows XP cannot be booted             For our test environment, we used the         “Tools| Folder Options| View” of Windows
             from a USB flash drive—at least      Memorex 1 GB Traveldrive. Booting XP on          Explorer. Next, select “Show hidden files
             that’s what Microsoft says.         an Athlon 1.4 GHz machine via 1.1 USB            and folders” option as well. You should be
We at CHIP beg to differ; here we                port took no more then 1 minute and we           able to see the files now. Copy them to the
generously share a few tips and tricks to        assume booting from a 2.0 USB port should        formatted USB flash drive.
establish that it can be done. The only          be even quicker.
condition is that motherboard and BIOS                                                            STEP 2. Booting from the USB flash drive
must allow booting by a USB flash drive.           STEP 1. Formatting the USB flash drive          Before installing Windows or any other
This feature is usually found in newer           Firstly, try to format the USB flash drive        program into the USB flash drive, you
motherboards but for older models, a BIOS        using the FAT 16 file system as most BIOS         should run an initial boot-up test to verify
update should solve the problem.                 generally accept this particular format          if the flash drive works. For that, you need
    With these tips and tricks, you will be      as a bootable medium. Surprisingly, the          to restart your PC and select USB flash
able to come up with a standard bootable         onboard Windows formatting tool did not          drive as the “First Boot Device” in the BIOS.
version of Windows that includes hotfixes,        work for us. So, we opted to use the “USB        The BIOS will either show the name of the
service packs and important utilities such       Disk Storage Format Tool” from HP instead.       plugged-in USB flash drive or something
as recovery tools all loaded into your USB       After starting up the program, choose the        generic such as “USB-HDD” (AMI).
flash drive (aka USB pen drive, USB thumb         USB flash drive to be formatted and select            For this test, deactivate “Quick Boot”
drive and USB stick). According to Microsoft’s   “FAT” located under “File System”.               and “Show Full Screen Logo” options
EULA (End User License Agreement), you are       Enter a name of less than 11 characters          in order to monitor any BIOS reported
allowed to copy Windows XP to external           for “Volume Label” and click on “Start” to       activities. Also, the “USB Legacy Support”
media such as USB flash drive as long as it is    begin formatting.                                and “USB 2.0 Controller” options should
used for your own PC.                                After the process is completed, open         be activated if available. Save and exit
                                                 Windows Explorer and navigate to the root        from the BIOS to restart the PC. If the BIOS
Getting started                                  directory on which Windows is located            starts up without any problems, it should
For a “portable XP”, you can do with a USB       - usually, “C:\”. Copy the “boot.ini”, “ntdlr”   run till it reports a “HAL not found” error.
flash drive with a minimum capacity of            and “NTDETECT.COM” files from the                 Do not panic as this file is yet to be copied
256 MB. However, with the need to include        directory to the USB flash drive.                 to the USB flash drive.
extra utilities, hotfixes and service packs,          If you can’t locate the above mentioned          If you encounter any problems, look
we would recommend using at least a 512          files, try deactivating the “Hide protected       for a particular option in the BIOS that
MB flash drive.                                   operating system files” option found under        extends the response time of the USB

                                                                                                              INTELLIGENT COMPUTING CHIP | MAY 2006
                                                                                                              WORKSHOP      | HANDS ON         113

 1 Formatting the flash drive: The USB           3 Removing IE: As a safety measure,             4 Choices: Select plug-ins for desired
    Disk Storage Format Tool helps you              remove the browser but keep the                 recovery tools on the list by clicking on
    create a bootable USB flash drive               “Internet Explorer Core” option checked         the “Enable” button

drive, for example, the “USB Mass Storage       before NLite. Before running NLite, create a    customized for “Bart’s PE” (available from
Reset Delay” option found in the AMI-BIOS.      folder named “XP” on your desktop. Insert winpe).
Choose the highest value and gradually          your Windows setup CD into the DVD/CD-             Besides Firefox, you might want to
decrease the value until the problem pops       ROM drive and copy the whole CD into the        include other software such as Ad-Aware,
up again. This way, you will know the           new folder. Any changes made from now           Nero Burning ROM and Avert Stinger
optimum time supported by your USB flash         are done to the newly copied files in the        anti-virus scanner. Any other software
drive to respond to the BIOS boot command.      XP folder. Do not meddle with the existing      you deem necessary can be included but
If you still encounter problems, check your     installed copy of Windows on your hard          do take into account the space limitation
BIOS motherboard manual or visit the BIOS       drive. Run NLite and select the “XP” folder     of your flash drive. As NLite only creates
related web sites (such as www.rojakpot.        as the root directory. Click on “Next”          a copy of Windows that contains setup
com). Note that on slower USB flash drives,      after the program completes reading             files and not the installed version, we will
this latency can go up to about 30 seconds.     the folder until you reach “Task Selection”.    not be able to copy the entire “XP” folder
    After this, restart the PC and access       Activate options for integrating SP and         into the USB drive. To create a bootable
Windows using normal boot-up by                 hotfixes as well as “Erase components”,          Windows XP, we need to make use of the
selecting your hard disk as “First Boot         “Patches” and “Tweaks”.                         “Bart’s PE” tool found at
Device” from the BIOS.                              With the help of the NLite wizard,             After installing “Bart’s PE”, run “PE
                                                you should aim to create an optimal             Builder” and insert “XP” as “Source”.
                                                streamlined copy of Windows. To                 When referring to this article, just use
Copying Windows to the
                                                minimize total file size and shed excess         the default directory name provided
USB flash drive                                 baggage, remove any entries highlighted by      (C:\PEBuilder319\BartPE, depending on
The next process is divided into four           NLite as safe for deletion. Visit www.msfn.     your version of PE Builder) located under
stages. Firstly, you need to free Windows       org (MSFN Forums - Member Contributed           the “Output” section for convenience.
of any excess baggage. Secondly, prepare        Projects - nLite) to get more information on    Next, click on “PlugIns”. If you follow our
third-party utilities, then create a self-      the latest configuration manuals and other       recommendations, choose to activate the
starting copy of Windows and finaly, copy        useful tips on this program.
all of these to the USB flash drive.                 Also, If you prefer to use an alternative
                                                browser such as Firefox, you may discard
STEP 3.   Standardizing Windows                 the Internet Explorer option but do include
To produce an optimal copy of Windows           the “Internet Explorer Core” option so that
XP complete with service packs, hotfixes         useful features such as Windows Update
and drivers, you can use a freeware called      can still function.
“NLite”. Note that NLite requires access to
Microsoft .NET’s library, which needs to be     STEP 4.   Preparing utility tools
installed on your system. This and Service      The next step involves preparation of
Pack 2 are available on the Microsoft web       installation files for each utility tool to
site. The Service Pack and hotfixes need         be included into the USB flash drive. If
not be installed as NLite will only integrate   you want to include Firefox, do not use
the necessary setup files.                       the full setup file from Mozilla’s web site.
    Remember to install the .NET-Framework      Instead, use the “Mozilla Firefox Plug-In”


                                                                                    SMS us!     Story code: WBX (See Readers’ Letters for details)

plug-ins for Nero, Ad-Aware and Avert            vil/stinger. Copy the “stinger.exe” file into    the dll file into the subfolder i386 located
Stinger. If any of your desired tools are not    its specific folder.                             under the “XP” folder. This way,
displayed, visit                                                           Bart’s PE would assume that you have
#plugins to download the necessary plug-         STEP 6. Preparing Utility Tools                 installed SP2.
ins and extract the file into the plug-in         Bart’s PE automatically configures English
folder of Bart’s PE. Every plugin contains a     as the standard keyboard layout. In order       STEP 8. Copying files to USB Flash Drive
readme file that describes its installation.      for other languages to be set as the            With the help of a batch file, you will now
                                                 default keyboard layout, you need to            be able to copy Windows to a USB flash
STEP 5.   Integrating safety tools               edit an INF file in the “keyboard”               drive. Point Windows Explorer to the folder
 For each tool that was marked for inclusion,    plug-in folder.                                 “C:\PEBuilder319\plugin\peinst” and run
there would be a specific folder respectively         Open the “keyboard.inf” file in that         the file called “peinst”.
found under Bart’s PE installation directory.    folder and search (using notepad or any             In the opened DOS screen, select button
All the necessary files should be copied here.    text editor) for the section “[Default.         [1] and change the source-path to “C:\
This way, the selected tools will be installed   AddReg]”. Discard the semicolon (;) in          PEBuilder319\bartpe”. Next select
with Windows.                                    front of your desired layout language, for      button [2] and enter the letter in which
    Let’s start with the Firefox browser. All    example, 0x1, “Keyboard Layout\ Preload”,       the USB flash drive is located as your
we need to do is extract the downloaded          “1”, “00000407” for German language.            target path.
plug-in into the “C:\PEBuilder319\plugin”        To double check, see if the first line at the        Moving on, choose button [5] to install
folder. You don’t have to make any changes       last section shows “German (Standard)”.         Bart’s PE and start through button [1].
as the plug-in is already optimized for          If so, you have successfully changed the        Bart’s PE will now transfer all relevant
integration to Bart’s PE. Next, install the      standard keyboard layout. Next, save the        data into your USB flash drive. When the
“Ad-Aware” freeware version included             file into the original folder.                   “Installation completed” message shows,
in your CHIP CD. Copy the “defs.ref” and                                                         your USB version of Windows is ready for
“add-aware.exe” files from the installed          STEP 7.   Making Windows bootable               use. To test it, boot your PC with the USB
Ad-aware folder into the “C:\PEBuilder319\       Up to this point, all preparations are ready.   flash drive. The USB version of Windows
plugin\adawarese” folder.                        Ensure that the USB flash drive is plugged       will look slightly different when compared
    Next, proceed to install Nero Burning        in and delete any file copied for the first       to the standard Windows XP.
ROM. Copy all the files from the Nero             test. Next, run PE Builder and
directory to the “nero burning rom” plug-in      make sure that “XP” is selected as              Working with USB Windows
folder. In that folder, you will notice a        “Source”. Deactivate the “Create ISO-            STEP 9. Getting rid of viruses with stinger
file called “penero.inf”. Open it with a          image” and “Burn to CD/DVD” option.             Start the tool by clicking on “Go | Programs
Windows text editor (e.g. Notepad). For          Click on “Build” so that Windows is created     | McAfee Stinger” and click on “Scan Now”
Nero Burning ROM version 6, discard the          as a self-starter.                              to start the cleaning process. You may
semicolon (;) in front of [Software.AddReg]      TIP: If you have not installed SP2, you might   choose which drive to scan and Stinger
and for the three lines below. Edit in your      encounter an error report after clicking        would scour each folder and file to discard
username, company name and Nero serial           on “Build”. To overcome this problem,           high priority viruses such as bagle, Sober,
number before saving, and closing the file.       download the newest version of the              and Mydoom.
    Lastly, insert the Stinger anti-virus tool   “ntdll.dll” file from for
available free from          free. Extract the ZIP file and install           STEP 10.   Using hidden functions
                                                                                                 Besides the integrated tools, USB-Windows
                                                                                                 also offers other useful features such as
                                                                                                 the favorable command line prompt. As
                                                                                                 long as you are not an adamant mouse
                                                                                                 user, you might find this a very welcome
                                                                                                 feature. If you have still not set the non-
                                                                                                 English layout for your keyboard standards
                                                                                                 as explained earlier (and if you absolutely
                                                                                                 need to), you can still accomplish this by
                                                                                                 clicking on “Go | System | Keyboard-Layout”
                                                                                                 and take your pick.
                                                                                                     With Windows installed on a pocket
                                                                                                 drive, you can use it on any computer
 5 Insert setup information: Open the “penero.inf” file to insert your name and NERO
                                                                                                 anywhere provided it supports USB booting.
      serial number as shown above
                                                                                                                                | Manfred Flohr

                                                                                                              INTELLIGENT COMPUTING CHIP | MAY 2006
                                                                                                                    TIPS & TRICKS   | HANDS ON        115

                                                             Tips&Tricks                                      MAY 2006

                                                             WINDOWS                                                                                  116
                                                             1    Windows XP                Changing drive letters
                                                             2    Windows XP                Summary of a Word document
                                                             3    Windows XP                Restore the Show Desktop icon to Quick Launch bar
                                                             4    Windows XP                Schedule tasks
                                                             5    Windows XP                Clear the Prefetch folder
Umesh Dahiwalkar
                                                             6    Windows XP                Removing old restore points
                                                             7    Windows XP                Remap keyboard keys
    Tip of the month | Applications
    Analyze your hard disk space                             APPLICATIONS                                                                           119
    I have dumped lots of files in different folders and
                                                             8    Microsoft Excel           Using “Match” and “Lookup” functions
    sub folders on my hard drive over a period of time.
                                                             9    Word                      Listing shortcut keys
    Now I don’t remember where I have stored what and
    I am seriously short of space. Can you suggest any       10   Word                      Disable default setting while visiting hyperlinks
    software that can help me identify the old unused        11   Word                      More than default file names
    files?                                                    12   PowerPoint 2003           Getting rid of text at the end of slide shows
                                                             13   PowerPoint                Embedding sound files in presentation
            The software JdiskReport enables you to
    understand how much space the directories and            14   Adobe Photoshop           Opening images in a jiffy
    files consume on your disk drives. It helps you find       15   Adobe Photoshop CS2       Using the filter gallery
    large, old and obsolete files and folders. It analyzes    16   Adobe Photoshop           Undo a series of last steps
    file trees and collects statistics that are presented
                                                             17   Illustrator 10            Creating graphs with own design
    as overview charts and tables. You need to have
    Java Run time Environment previously installed in        18   Illustrator 10            Creating perspective shadow
    order to install this application.
       Some of the features of this software are “Size
                                                             INTERNET & COMMUNICATION                                                               122
    Views”, which quickly show how much space the
                                                             19   Internet Explorer 6.0     Force your own style
    files and folders consume on your disk drives. The
    “Top 100 Lists” shows the list of 100 largest files,      20   Internet Explorer         Use Safe Search
    the least recently modified files and the most             21   Outlook 2003              Blocking return receipt requests
    recently modified files. “Size Distribution Views”
    help you learn more about the different file sizes
    on your disk drives. If you are in the “Show file size”
                                                             HARDWARE                                                                               123
    mode, you can see how much space is consumed by          22   MP3 Player                Alternative to MP3s
    large, medium sized and small files.
                                                             23   Digital Camera            Information of snaps shot by a digital camera


                                                                                          SMS us!     Story code: HTT (See Readers’ Letters for details)
116    HANDS ON    | TIPS & TRICKS

1 | Windows XP
      Changing drive letters
On adding an additional hard disk to
my system, the drive letters of the new
partition succeed the drive letter of the
optical drive. How do I change the drive
letter of the new partition so that it
precedes the drive letter of the optical
                                                     1a Drive letter 1: Remember to disable the
                                                         optical drive
         On adding a new drive to the system
after Windows XP is installed, the drive
letters of the new partition succeed that
of the optical drive. If you’re used to having
the optical drive’s letter last in the list under
‘My Computer’, you need to interchange the
drive letters. Here’s how you do it:
    Disable the optical drive before you             1b Change the drive letter of the new drive        2 The summary shows complete statistics
     proceed to interchange the drive letters.                                                             of the document
     If the optical drive is active, you won’t be        Right click on the drive letter you wish to   Just follow these steps:
     able to interchange the drive letters of            change and select the option “Change             Right click on the Word document and
     the new hard disk and the optical drive.            Drive Letter and Paths”.                          select “Properties”.
    Right click on ‘My Computer’ and select              Click on the “Change” button in the next         In the properties dialog box, select the
     ‘Properties’.                                       dialog box and choose the new drive               “Summary” tab.
    Under the ‘System properties’ dialog                 letter from the drop down list. Since you        Click on the “Advanced” button in the
     box, click on the ‘Hardware’ tab. Bring             disabled the optical drive, you will now          “Summary” tab and there you go! All
     up the ‘Device Manager’.                            get the option to assign the drive letter         the statistics are right there!
    Expand the heading ‘DVD/CD-ROM’ drives.              previously assigned to it.
    Right click on the listed optical drives and         Click on “OK” and exit the “Computer           3 | Windows XP
     disable them.                                       Management” application.                          Restore the Show Desktop icon to
    Exit the ‘Device manager’. Now,                  Now, enable the optical drives you had                Quick Launch bar
     interchange the drive letters.                  disabled. Head back to the “Device                Recently, I accidentally deleted the desktop
    Right click on “My Computer” and select          Manager” and enable optical drives. Job           icon just on the right of the “Start” button.
     “Manage” from the context menu to               done! Go to “My Computer” and check the           Whenever I have many windows open, I
     bring up “Computer Management”.                 drive listing.                                    click on the desktop icon to immediately
    Select “Disk management” under the                                                                 reach the desktop instead of minimizing
     heading “Storage”. All the existing              2 | Windows XP                                   each and every window. Now I am no longer
     partitions will get listed in the right pane.       Summary of a Word document                    able to do that. How do I get back the “show
                                                     Which is a quick way to view the details          desktop” icon?
                                                     of a Word document such as number of
                                                     pages, word count and line count without                To get back the “show desktop” icon
                                                     having to open it?                                do the following:
                                                                                                          Make sure “Quick Launch” is enabled
                                                            The most common way of                        Right click on the taskbar and then click
                                                     viewing the details of a Word document                on “Properties”, and a box will pop up.
                                                     is by opening the document and then                  Under the taskbar tab, check the option
                                                     going to “Tools | Word count”, which gives            that says “Show Quick Launch” and
                                                     the detailed statistics like the number of            then click on “Apply”.
                                                     pages, word count, number of paragraphs,             After you are done with this, click on
                                                     lines and so on. But did you know that                “Start” and then click on “Run”. A small
                                                     there’s a simpler way out? You can view               box will pop up on the right hand
                                                     the statistics without even opening the               corner. If any text is present, delete it
                                                     document and it just requires four clicks!            and type the command “regsvr32 /n /i:

                                                                                                                   INTELLIGENT COMPUTING CHIP | MAY 2006
118    HANDS ON    | TIPS & TRICKS

                                                                                                          Press “Ctrl-A” to highlight all the files.
                                                                                                          Delete them to empty the folder.

                                                                                                        6 | Windows XP
                                                                                                           Removing old restore points
                                                                                                       How do I delete old restore points and
                                                                                                       create some free space?
 3 Type this command in the run box                  4 Simply select the task you want to
                                                                                                               The “System Restore” feature in
                                                        schedule or use the browse option to
      U shell32” in the open box without the            locate a particular application                Windows XP works perfectly fine for
      quotes. Wait for a couple of seconds                                                             most of us. But the over cautious nature of
      and you will see a small window, which        on the system. You can select the application      the feature does result in a lot of storage
      says “DllInstall in shell32 succeeded”.       of your choice that you would like to              space being occupied by the system restore
      Now, you will be able to see the “Show        schedule; in case the application is not listed,   files. If you would only like to have the latest
      desktop” icon again.                          you can click on “Browse” and manually             restore point and not all the restore points
                                                    select the executable application that you         that have been created, you can delete all
 4 | Windows XP                                     would like to schedule.                            the previous restore points and free some
      Schedule tasks                                    Once selected, the next step is to             space. Follow the instructions to learn how
How can I automate the launch of an                     schedule it by instructing Windows             to clean up the old redundant restore points.
application as and when I want?                         about when exactly you want the task to            Open “My Computer” and right click
                                                        be scheduled - whether daily, monthly,              on the drive whose restore points you
        Task scheduler is a very powerful               weekly or every time you log on. Once               want to clear.
utility but it is not often used to its full            done, click on “Next”. The next screen             Select “Properties” and under the
potential. Many of the applications that                asks for exact timing of the task to                “General” tab, click on “Disk Cleanup”.
you install make use of task scheduling to              be executed and the exact day when                 Click on “More Options” tab and select
automate periodic tasks. But you can also               you want to start with the scheduling               the last option “Cleanup” under the
schedule your own custom task, automating               process. Select the time and day of your            “System Restore” section.
the launch of a particular application at a             choice and click on “Next”.                        You will be asked if you want to delete
desired time and date! This is how you can              The next step asks you to enter your                all but the most recent restore points,
assign custom tasks using the task scheduler.           name and a password as a checkpoint                 click on “Yes” to delete all leaving the
     Go to “Start | Control Panel”.                     for the task to run. Enter the user name            most recent of system restore points.
     Open “Scheduled Tasks”. This will give             and password to confirm the task
      you a list of tasks already scheduled.            schedule and select “Next”.
     To add a new task schedule, click on “Add          The last step will simply confirm the
      Scheduled Task”.                                  scheduled task, click on “Finish” to end
     After launching the “Scheduled Task                the task scheduling procedure.
      Wizard”, click on “Next” to continue.
The next screen will provide you with                5 | Windows XP
a list of all the applications that are installed       Clear the Prefetch folder
                                                    Tell me a way to clear or clean the Prefetch

                                                           Windows XP’s new feature called
                                                    “Prefetch” keeps a shortcut to recently
                                                    used programs. But it can get filled up with         6 Clean the old system restore points
                                                    old and obsolete programs and in turn can              to free some space. Do not delete the
                                                    actually slow down the proceedings. Here               recent ones!
                                                    is a way in which you can clear/clean the
                                                    “Prefetch” folder so that it’s updated with         7 | Windows XP
                                                    only the latest and most used programs.                Remap keyboard keys
                                                    To clean the “Prefetch” folder, go to:             I have Track Mania Nations, a free car
                                                        Go to “Start | Run”.                           racing game. The game doesn’t have the
                                                        Type the word “Prefetch” in the space          option to change controls and uses the
                                                        and click on “OK”.                             conventional up, down, left and right

                                                                                                                    INTELLIGENT COMPUTING CHIP | MAY 2006
                                                                                                             TIPS & TRICKS   | HANDS ON     119

arrow keys for controlling the car. I use
a different set of keys for acceleration,               You can search by the invoice number
brake, left and right. Of late, I have started   in your inventory list. It involves the use of
playing the game on LAN with my friends.         Excel’s “Match” and “Lookup” functions.
My performance is hampered since I               The “Match” function is used to look for a
cannot use the keys, I am normally used to       particular value from a selected cell range.
when playing car-racing games. Can you           The result is the row in which this value is
suggest a way to deal with this problem?         located. The “Lookup” function can be of
                                                 two types—vector or array. The vector type       8b Excel’s Lookup function
       Well, since you don’t have the option     of “Lookup” returns a value from a single
of changing the controls inside the game,        row or column range. This is what will be        will return a result that is less or equal
the only way left is to remap the keyboard.      used along with “Match” to give you the          to the “Lookup_value”. In this case,
But remember it will edit your registry          results you are looking for.                     “Lookup_array” (invoice column) must be
settings, so make sure you back up your             Let’s consider a small inventory that         sorted in an ascending order. It will have to
registry before you make changes to it. Here        consists of four columns—“S. No.”,            be sorted out in an ascending order (select
we use a free keyboard mapping software             “Invoice No”, “Batch Quantity” and            the column and click on Edit | Sort).
included in the “Windows” resource kit. This        “Send To”. The objective is to search the     If “0” is entered, then it looks for the exact
software has been included in the Tools CD.         inventory by the invoice number to get        value from the “Lookup_array”. In this
    First, install the application by double        to know, who placed the order and the         instance, the “Lookup_array” can be unsorted.
    clicking on the set up file.                     quantity requested.                           If “-1” is entered, then it will search for a
   After installation, go to “My Computer >         Using the “Match” function will only point    value that is the smallest and greater than
   C: drive (or the drive where your operating      to the row in which you will find all the      or equal to the “Lookup_value”.
   system is installed) > Program files >            relevant information—here the value will           You will be looking for a specific invoice
   Windows Resource Kits> Tools. Double             correspond to the “S No” column. This              number, hence the “Match type”
   click on the yellow remap key icon. Once         column was deliberately created since              is going to be “0”. Here is what the
   the application opens you see two sets           it makes it easier to look for the desired         formula will look like in cell H13,
   of keys. The top is the base keyboard and        information instead of counting the rows.          =MATCH(H12,C4:C26,0)
   the bottom is the remapped keyboard.             If we are going to enter the “Match”               Now, enter an invoice number in cell
   Just drag the required keys from the base        function in cell “H13”, then the invoice           number “H12” and press Enter. Cell
   keyboard to the remapped keyboard.               number you are looking for should be               number “H13”, which is labeled “S No”
   The changed key will reflect in red in the        entered in another cell—say, “H12”.                will display the row that contains the
   remapped keyboard.                            The “Match” syntax is,                                invoice number. Half your worries are
        Then, click on the “Save and Exit”       =MATCH(lookup _value,lookup _                         solved here. An incorrect value will just
button on the top left hand corner. It will           array,match_type)                                display “#NA”.
show a prompt asking you to confirm the           “Lookup_value” is the value you are trying to    Now that you have found out where your
changes.                                         locate in the inventory list, which is “H12”.    invoice number is, let us fetch the “Batch
    Click on “OK” and reboot the system.         “Lookup_array” is the range of cells that        Quantity” and “Send To” values as well.
                                                 “Match” needs to look through. Here, it is       This way you don’t need to scroll through
APPLICATIONS                                     the “Invoice No” column. Only, select the        the list. Using the “Lookup” function in this
 8 | Microsoft Excel                             column that contains the invoice numbers
    Using “Match” and “Lookup”                   (in this example, it is “C24:C26”.
    functions                                    “Match_type” can be any of three
I own a hardware store and maintain              values—1, 0 or -1. Using “1” in the syntax
an exhaustive inventory. The list runs
into over a thousand parts in a single
month itself! Microsoft’s Excel helps
me to catalog the items in my store. But
I need to keep referring to the file for
information on batch orders. I run a search
for a particular order with the help of the
invoice number. I search either by scrolling
or using the ‘Find’ function in the Edit
menu. Is there a more ‘intelligent’ way of
                                                 8a Excel’s Match functtion
locating orders in my Excel file?


scenario will ease this problem too. Here is        The “Match” function you created will         can remember more files names. Can this
the “Lookup” vector syntax,                         tell you where it is located (S No) while     be done?
LOOKUP(lookup _value,lookup _                       the “Lookup” functions will display the
     vector,result_vector)                          quantity ordered and to who, you need               Yes, this can be done. You can make
The vector function is used because we              to send it to.                                Word remember a maximum of nine
need to pull values from single columns                                                           recently used files as supposed to the
only and not from an array.                      9 | Word                                         normal four files that Word remembers by
“Lookup_value” is the value that the                 Listing shortcut keys                        default. The steps are as follows:
function searches for.                          I use the shortcut keys available in Word            Click on “Tools” and then “Options”.
“Lookup_vector” represents the range of         2003 quite often. But sometimes I forget             Click on the “General” tab from the
cells (a single row or column) that contains    them and as a result have to use the mouse            multi-tabbed dialog box.
the “result_vector”. It is the range of cells   for performing a certain task. Is there a             Enter 9 next to “Recently used file list”.
from where the result will be obtained.         way to make Word list these shortcut keys            Click on “OK” to close the dialog box.
The size of this range has to be equal to the   making it easier for me to use them, in
“Lookup vector”.                                case I forget these keys?                          12 | PowerPoint 2003
    To know who has placed the order (for                                                             Getting rid of text at the end of slide
     the invoice number we just searched                You can have Word 2003 show you               shows
     for), we will first create a “Lookup”       all the shortcut keys for any given toolbar       How can I prevent the“End of slide show
     function for the “Send To” column.         button by following these simple steps:           - click to exit” text from appearing at the
     The “Lookup” function will be,                  Click on “Tools” and then click on           end of my PowerPoint slide shows?
     =LOOKUP(H13,B4:B26,E4:E26)                      “Customize”.
    “H13” is the cell where the result of            When the multi-tabbed window dialog                 Whenever you view a slide show
     the “Match” function resides and “B4:           appears, choose “Options”.                   made in Microsoft PowerPoint 2003 by
     B26” is the “S No” column. Since we             Now, select “Show shortcut keys in           selecting “Slide Show”, “View Show” or by
     are trying to get information from the          Screentips”.                                 pressing F5, at the end of the show a black
     “Send To” column, the “result vector”           Click on “Close”.                            screen appears with the text, “End of slide
     is “E4:E26”. The formula will “lookup’                                                       show - click to exit”. From here, if you did
     the row (the value is obtained from the     10 | Word
     result of the “Match” function) and pull       Disable default setting while visiting
     information from the “Send To” column.         hyperlinks
    The same function is created once again,    Every time I need to visit hyperlinks present
     this time to pull values from the “Batch   in a Word document, I cannot directly click
     Quantity” column in order to get the       on the link. I need to hold down the CTRL
     amount ordered. The “result_vector”        key while clicking the link. I find this process
     column range will be “Batch Qtty”.         cumbersome. Is there a way to directly visit
     Hence the formula will look like this,     these links without holding the CTRL key?
    Whenever you need to look for an                     Whenever you want to visit a
     order, just enter the invoice number.      hyperlink in a Word document, you need to         12 Prevent the “End of slide show-click to
                                                hold down CTRL key while clicking on the              exit” from appearing
                                                link. If you find this process tedious, then
                                                you can disable this setting as follows:          not mean to end the slide show, you can
                                                    Click on “Tools” and then on “Options”.       press the cursor top key to get back to the
                                                    In the multi-tabbed dialog box, click on      previous slide. And if you want to end the
                                                     the “Edit” tab.                              slide, just press the space bar. However,
                                                    De-select “Use Ctrl+click to follow           if you do not need this functionality and
                                                     hyperlink”.                                  want this black screen to disappear at the
                                                    Click on “OK” to close the dialog box.        end of slide shows, perform this tweak:
                                                                                                      Click on “Tools’ and then “Options”.
                                                 11 | Word                                            Click on the “View” tab from the multi-
                                                    More than default file names                       tabbed dialog box.
                                                By default, Word 2003 remembers the                   De-select the “End with black slide”.
                                                file names of the last four files used.                 Then click on “OK” to close the dialog box.
                                                I want to increase this list so that Word

                                                                                                               INTELLIGENT COMPUTING CHIP | MAY 2006
                                                                                                             TIPS & TRICKS     | HANDS ON        121

 13 | PowerPoint                               14 | Adobe Photoshop                                  First, add a new effect layer by clicking on
    Embedding sound files in                      Opening images in a jiffy                           the “New effect layer” button appearing
    presentation                              Give me a quick tip on how to open an                   below the list of effect layers next to the
Whenever I transfer PowerPoint                image as quickly as possible!                           “Delete effect layer” button.
presentations containing sound files from                                                             Click on the effect layer added
my home computer to that in my office, I              Going to “File | open” and dragging              and make it visible by checking its
find that the presentation lacks the sound     images to Photoshop’s workspace are the                 checkbox. The icon of an eye appears
effects. How can I fix this problem?           known methods of opening files. If you                   when an effect layer is visible.
                                              really want to save time, try this tip the             On selecting a new filter, it will get applied
       When sound files in a Microsoft         next time you want to open a file.                       over the previous filter allowing you to
PowerPoint 2003 presentation don’t get           Simply double click anywhere on the                  view the combined effect of two filters.
copied when you transfer the presentation         workspace.                                         To preview individual filters, hide all the
from one computer to another, it is              Browse for the file you wish to load. It              effect layers apart from the one you
because PowerPoint normally only links            requires lesser mouse movement and                  wish to preview. Unchecking an effect
large sound files to a presentation instead        hence saves quite a bit of time.                    layer will hide it.
of embedding them. By default, if you                                                             After you’re satisfied with the effects, click on
add a sound file greater than 100 KB,           15 | Adobe Photoshop CS2                           the “OK” button to apply the selected filters.
PowerPoint only establishes a link between        Using the filter gallery
the presentation and the large sound file.     Is there a tool in Photoshop through which           16 | Adobe Photoshop
If you wish to copy the presentation with     I can quickly preview and apply more than               Undo a series of last steps
sound, you must also copy the original        one filter at a time?                                Using the undo feature in Photoshop, I can
sound files along with the PPT presentation                                                        only undo the last step. How do I undo a
file. However, if you find this process                 If you use filters too frequently and        series of tasks last performed?
cumbersome, you can force Microsoft           wish to quickly preview and apply more than
PowerPoint to embed larger sound files in      one filter at a time, try the “Filter Gallery”. It          By default, you can only undo the
your presentation. While this increases the   is magical! However, to take advantage of           last step in Photoshop. Pressing “ctrl+z”
presentation’s size and load time, it may     it, you need to upgrade to Adobe Photoshop          repeatedly won’t undo a series of tasks last
make it easier to distribute presentations    CS2 as the previous versions don’t have             performed. But pressing “ctrl+z” repeatedly
to others. The process is as follows:         this feature integrated. The “Filter Gallery”       with the “alt” key pressed will even undo the
    Click on “Tools” and then “Options”.      appears under the “Filter” menu. If you go          tasks previously performed. Just keeping a
    On getting the dialog options, click on   to the “Filter Gallery” instead of applying         single key pressed makes quite a difference!
     the “General” tab.                       filters, you will preview multiple filters
    Next, go to “Link sounds with file size    before applying them. The filters are listed          17 | Illustrator 10
     greater than” and enter an arbitrarily   under various categories such as artistic,              Creating graphs with own design
     high number such as 50000 KB. This       brush stroke, distort, sketch, stylize and          How can I apply design on the bars of
     way, a sound file would have to be        texture as found under the “Filter” menu. To        a graph?
     greater than 50 MB for it not to be      preview a filter, you just need to expand any
     embedded.                                category and click on the filter you wish to               To apply design on the bars of a
    Click on “OK” to save your changes.       preview. The parameters of the filters can be        graph, you need to create a design to make
    Resave the presentation with now          adjusted using the sliders to the right.
     embedded sound.                          To preview multiple filters:

                                              15 Preview and apply multiple filters using
13 Embed sound files in your PowerPoint
    presentation                                  filter gallery in Photoshop CS2

MAY 2006 | INTELLIGENT COMPUTING CHIP                                                                          INTELLIGENT COMPUTING CHIP | APRIL 2006
122    HANDS ON     | TIPS & TRICKS

                                                    Click on “OK” on the “Graph Design”             to the right if you want the shadow to
                                                     window.                                        be on the right. This will shorten the
                                                 Now to apply the design on a graph, follow         height of the object and at the same
                                                 the steps:                                         time, distort the shape by adding a
                                                    Create a graph with the data.                   perspective to it.
                                                    Click on “Object” on the menu bar.              Press “Ctrl” + “[”. This will arrange
                                                    Click on “Graph > Column”. You will be          the position of the objects. The
                                                     able to see all the designs that can be        black replica will be placed behind
17a The graph design window showing                  applied on the bars.                           your object.
      the preview of the design, ready to get
      applied on a graph                            Click on “My design”.                           Click on “View” and tick the option,
                                                    Click on “OK”.                                  “Snap to Point”. This will help in
                                                 And you’re done!                                   checking whether the anchor points
                                                                                                    (the points which help a vector graphic
                                                  18 | Illustrator 10                               to take a shape) at the original and the
                                                     Creating perspective shadow                    replicated objects are converging or not.
                                                 How will I create a shadow with perspective?       Deselect the black replica and click on
                                                                                                    the anchor point.
                                                        Before going ahead with applying            Drag the black replica. While dragging,
                                                 shadow, you need to create a design of an          you will find the cursor has changed
17b The Graph column window from where           object. Once that is done, create a copy           from an arrow to a black arrowhead. The
      you need to select the design to apply     of that object and apply black color on it.        moment the points converge, the black
                                                 After this step, select the black replica and      arrowhead changes to a white one.
it compatible for a graph and then apply it.     the follow the steps to create the shadow.
It is up to you to decide what kind of design        Click on “Free Transform Tool” or press     INTERNET AND COMMUNICATION
you want to apply.                                   “E”. The “Free Transform Tool” works         19 | Internet Explorer 6.0
     Once that is done, select the design and        only on control points (the six points          Force your own style
follow the steps to make it compatible for           you see on the rectangular structure        Please tell me how I can use my own choice
a graph.                                             when you select an object.)                 of styles etc on web sites
     Click on “Object” on the menu bar.              Press the mouse button once the cursor
     Click on “Graph > Design”. This will open       is on the top middle control point, press          Various web sites have their own
      the “Graph Design” window.                     the “Ctrl” button and drag the mouse        styles, fonts, colors and other elements.
     Click on the “New Design” button. This                                                      While most of us are okay with the idea of
      will show the design in the preview                                                        viewing the web site as intended by the
      space.                                                                                     creator, some of us might not be always be
     Click on the “Rename” button. This will                                                     happy with the fancy red and yellow fonts
      open the “Rename” window where you                                                         and jazzy colors. So here’s how you can
      can type the name of the design, for                                                       have things your way to an extent:
      example, My design.                                                                            Go to “Tools” menu in the Internet
     Click on “OK” on the “Rename” window.                                                           Explorer.
                                                                                                     Click on “Internet Options” and
                                                 18a The cursor changes to a black arrowhead         under the “Generals” tab, click on
                                                     when you drag the anchor point                  “Accessibility” option at the bottom
                                                                                                     right corner of the window. This will
                                                                                                     give you options to override the font
                                                                                                     size, styles and colors with your own
                                                                                                     choice of colors and styles; you can also
                                                                                                     add or edit your own style sheet under
                                                                                                     the option “User Style Sheet”.

                                                                                                 20 | Internet Explorer
                                                                                                     Use Safe Search
                                                                                                 How do I filter explicit language in Google?
                                                 18b The same black arrowhead changes to
                                                     white when two points converge
                                                                                                       While Google by default keeps the

                                                                                                              INTELLIGENT COMPUTING CHIP | MAY 2006
                                                                                                        TIPS & TRICKS   | HANDS ON        123

                                                   Click on “E-Mail Options”.                 I have recently purchased a digital camera.
                                                   When the “E-Mail Options” dialog box       I have started exploring the various
                                                   appears, click on the “Tracking Options”   features of the camera using options like
                                                   button.                                    exposure, ISO, etc. Many a times I shoot
                                                   Click on the radio button, “Never send     the same object experimenting with
                                                   a response”.                               different settings to figure out which is
                                                   Click on “OK” on the three dialog boxes    the best setting. The problem comes when
                                                   to close them.                             I download the pictures on my computer.
                                                                                              It becomes difficult to distinguish snaps
19 You can view the webpages with your          HARDWARE                                      with minor differences in settings. Can you
    own choice of colors and fonts by using      22 | MP3 Player                              suggest a convenient way by which I can
    your own style                                 Alternative to MP3s                        identify which snaps were taken applying
explicit images out, the language is not        I prefer audio CDs to MP3s because I don’t    what settings?
filtered by default. You can set Google to       want to compromise one bit on audio
filter the text for explicit language and        quality. Every time I went out on a trip, I          A digital camera records an image
ensure that your kids do not end up with        always carried my discman with me. Now,       using the EXIF file format (Exchangeable
explicit search results.                        I am looking for a more compact solution.     Image File). Most digital cameras support
    Open the Google search homepage and         Are there any players and formats other       this format. For example, if you have set
     click on the option “Preference” under     than MP3 players and MP3s outputting          the camera to record the image in the
     the “Advanced search” option on the        better sound quality while being small and    JPEG format, it actually records an EXIF
     right side of the page.                    light as MP3 players?                         file (which uses the JPEG compression to
    Go to the “SafeSearch Filtering” option.                                                  compress the photo data within the file).
    Change the filtering from “Moderate”                  MP3 is an acronym for MPEG-1         Image data such as ISO, shutter speed, etc
     to “Strict filtering” to block explicit     or MPEG-2 audio layer 3. It is a coding       is stored directly in the file. The data can
     language.                                  scheme for the compression of an audio        be read by any application supporting
    In case you are looking to unlock all the   signal. It uses perceptual audio coding and   “JPEG” like Windows picture and fax
     filtering, select the last option “Do not   psychoacoustic compression to remove          viewer, Irfan view, etc.
     filter my search results”                   all superfluous information, i.e. it filters
    Click on the option “Save Preferences”      out all the information from a song which
     at the bottom right corner and your        can’t be discerned by the human ear. One
     new preferences are applied.               alternative to MP3s is FLAC; it stands for
                                                Free Lossless Audio Codec. FLAC is similar
 21 | Outlook 2003                              to MP3 but lossless, meaning the audio is
    Blocking return receipt requests            compressed in FLAC without any loss in
How can I prevent Outlook 2003 from             audio quality. It is supported by most of
asking me to respond to return receipt          the operating systems including Windows
requests?                                       XP. The compression software is free and
                                                available for download at http://flac.
       Some Outlook 2003 users like to turn We have also included
on Read Receipts for their e-mail. This way,    the Windows XP version in the Tools CD of
any time their e-mail is read by another        the May issue. To playback files encoded
Outlook 2003 user on the same network,          in FLAC, you need a player that is capable
they will be notified that their e-mail          of doing that. Here is the list of devices
reached its destination. While some find this    capable of playing files encoded in FLAC.
feature useful, others may not like the idea         COWON’s iAUDIO A2, iAUDIO U3,            23 Information of snaps shot by a digital
of getting deluged with these requests. To            iAUDIO M3, and iAUDIO X5.                   camera
increase privacy, you can choose to ignore           iPods via the Rockbox firmware
these requests altogether. So people will not         replacement.                               Just right click on the image file and go
know at what time (or day) you read your             iRiver’s iHP-120/iHP-140/H320/H340           to “Properties”.
e-mail. The procedure is as follows:                  via the Rockbox firmware replacement.       In the new window that opens up, click
    Click on “Tools” and then click on                                                            on the “Summary” tab. Under that,
    “Options”.                                   23 | Digital Camera                              you will find all the information and
    Select the “Preferences” tab from the          Information of snaps shot by a                 the settings pertinent to which snap
    multi-tabbed dialog box.                       digital camera                                 was taken. ■


         PC vs Console
         With the line between PC and console gaming thinning, let’s
         take a look at where they stand today and in the near future

                                                        or a long time now, PC and console gaming have catered
                                                        to a different set of audiences. Sure, there is also another
                                                        category that likes playing on both the platforms.
                                                    As a kid, I started off with the consoles. My first console
                                                 was the Atari. Computers were very expensive then. My next
                                                 console was the NES (Nintendo Entertainment System), an
                                                 8-bit console that revolutionized the console gaming industry.
                                                 I was hooked to Contra and still remember how I used to boast
                                                 about finishing the game thrice. After that I had a computer,
                                                 a P3 system, wherein I didn’t game much on and eventually
                                                 bought the PS2 in 2001. Then about four years back, I entered
                                                 the PC gaming world.
                                                    I started off by playing Counter-Strike and Need for Speed
                                                 Porche and never looked back, though I still prefer playing
                                                 multiplayer sporting games like football, basketball and arcade
                                                 games like Tekken and Mortal Kombat with my friends on the
                                                 PS2. Till now, there was a clear distinction between gaming on
                                                 the PC and on the console offering higher image quality while
                                                    Fast forward to present—it’s that time of the decade when
                                                 the next-generation consoles have just been launched or are
                                                 about to be launched and the big players are caught in a frenzy
                                                 to deliver a blockbuster hit. The highlight here is that this
                                                 generation is equipped to walk the PC shoulder to shoulder.
                                                 With HDTV already in use, the humble idiot
                                                 box is dangerously close to providing
                                                 resolutions, which were only possible on
                                                 the PC monitor. With both the platforms
                                                 almost merging or rather overlapping
                                                 territories, it would be interesting to
                                                 see where we go from here.

               Pramod Jadhav

                                                                                     INTELLIGENT COMPUTING CHIP | MAY 2006
                                                                                                                                        FEATURE        | UNWIND    125

                 Now, let’s have a one on one comparison taking various features under consideration
                 PS2: 1                                                   Hardware price                                                       PC: 0

                       PS2 console Retail Pack: Rs 13,000 (Official Price)              We will build a gaming rig keeping the price as low as
                          The package includes: 1) Console, 2) Controller              possible without compromising on gaming performance. It’s
                               Additional costs: Memory Card (8MB): Rs 550             not for the casual gamer but more for someone with a good
                              Additional Dual Shock Controller: up to Rs 1,000         gaming appetite and not so heavy pockets.
                    You also need a television for it . Though most of us would        Mid-Level Gaming PC Configuration: AMD 3000+,
                  argue that we already have a television, we need to add the          Asus A8N-E, 1GB DDR 400 RAM, Big Byte 6600GTPCIex,
                              costs to make a fully functional gaming system.          Antec SLK 1650 with 350 watts PSU, DVD-ROM, Creative 2.1
                 Total Cost: 14,550 + Rs 13,000 (21-inch CRT TV) = Rs 27,550.          Inspire speakers, Microsoft K/B and optical Mouse
                                                                PS2 wins here.         Total Cost : Rs 40,000

                 PS2: 0                                                     Game prices                                                        PC: 1
                 Minimum: Rs 199, Maximum: Rs 1,499 PC is the clear winner             Minimum: Rs 999, Maximum: Rs 2,999
                 PS2: 0                                                      Eye candy                                                         PC: 1
                                                                                       With the above mentioned configuration, one can easily
                 Almost 99 percent of the PS2 games are built to be displayed
                                                                                       game at a resolution of 1024x768 with AA and AF turned on.
                    at a resolution of 480i, the resolution of a normal CRT TV.
                                                                                       The PC easily wins here.
                 PS2: 1                                                      Reliability                                                       PC: 0
                       The PS2 assures you a 100 percent reliable hassle free          PC game developers have to keep in mind various different
                    gaming experience. The moment you pop in a PS2 game in             computer configurations when developing games for
                   the console, it will perform flawlessly at an assured 60 fps.        the PC. A gaming PC needs to be well in sync to spit out
                   No lag, no system hang-ups, no nonsense! This is primarily          smooth frames without lagging. In spite of having a good
                  due to the fact that a game developer for a PS2 game knows           configuration, problems may creep up. Lag is the most
                          exactly, what hardware he’s designing the game for.          dreaded word in computer gaming, a lower resolution is
                                                           The PS2 wins here.          tolerable but LAG, no way!
                 PS2: 1                                                       Shelf life                                                       PC: 0
                         The PS2 was launched in the year 2000. The PS3 will be         No doubt, PCs are capable of housing rendering farms
                 arriving at the end of 2006. So, the PS2 has effectively reigned      though its sheer strength to deliver has led to its downfall.
                    for almost six years. The point here is that the PS2 has been      New generation of graphic cards are launched every
                       capable of playing games hassle free over a period of six       nine months and with that changes the game’s system
                          years without any further investment to the hardware.        requirements.
                 PS2: 1                                                      Ease of use                                                       PC: 0
                          Pop in the disc, turn on your television and grab that       Gaming on the PC is a little more complex. You need a little bit
                   controller! It’s so simple that even a seven-year old kid can       of expertise for tweaking the image settings, playing around
                           comfortably do it. The PS2 is the clear winner here.        with the AA and the AF to give you the best picture quality.
                 PS2: 0                                                 Suited game genres                                                     PC: 1

                         Both the PS2 and the PC are capable of playing games
                                                                                       RPG (Role playing game), FPS (First Person
                  of the all the above mentioned genres. We are looking at the
                                                                                       Shooter), RTS (Real Time Strategy): In all these
                              respective platforms more suited and preferred to
                                                                                       games, the computer mouse is very essential for easy
                                                             each game genre.
                                                                                       movement in the game. With the PS2 game pad, one has to
                       Arcade Games: It’s much more enjoyable and thrilling
                                                                                       use the combination of the analog stick and buttons to move
                     to play arcade type fighting games like Tekken and Mortal
                                                                                       around which can get annoying at times.
                                  Kombat using the gamepad on a large screen.
                                                                                           It’s pretty close here but we will have to give it away
                         Sporting Games: Games like football and wrestling
                                                                                       to the PC since sporting and arcade games are still quite
                        are much more enjoyable on a larger screen when two
                                                                                       playable and enjoyable on the PC.
                                       opponents are sharing the same screen.
                 PS2: 0                                                 LAN/online gaming                                                      PC: 1

                            Online gaming for consoles has come a long way.            The PC is the most flexible online gaming platform.
                                  The PS2 has a huge online gaming network .           PC gaming on LAN can also be a very good experience;
                            It’s not possible to play with other PS2s on a LAN         Counter-Strike is one of the flagship games to propel gaming
                           network, you need to have an Internet connection.           on LAN. The PC is again the clear winner here.
                 PS2: 44
                  PS2:                                                         Verdict                                                         PC: 44
                                        It has been an evenly fought battle. In the end, it all depends on what suits you best.


                                                                                                     SMS us!        Story code: PCG (See Readers’ Letters for details)

    The new generation of consoles has                                                                                   Progressive      Wide-
                                               Name                                       Resolution         HDTV
almost arrived with Xbox 360 already out                                                                                    Scan          Screen
and the PS3 and the Nintendo Revolution        1080p (High Definition TV i.e. HDTV)        1920x1080            yes           yes            yes
in the making. So what do we have in
                                               1080i (High Definition TV i.e. HDTV)        1920x1080            yes            no            yes
store with these power packed consoles?
One of the most important aspects is that      720p (High Definition TV i.e. HDTV)           1280x720           yes            yes           yes
since these are more powerful machines,        480p                                         852x480            no             yes           yes
they can deliver better graphics at higher
                                               480i (Regular TV)                            480 lines          no             no             no
resolutions. So can you just plug them into
your regular television and start gaming
right away? Yes and No. Your regular CRT       looks much better in terms of sharpness           1/30th of a sec giving it a complete look.
television can give a maximum resolution       and clarity than a regular television set.           Progressive scan works in the same
of up to 480 lines. These new-age consoles                                                       manner as the computer monitor. Here, the
can churn graphics as high as 1080p. So        Progressive scan                                  entire image is drawn from left to right.
before we dive into the numbers, let’s have    So then what’s the difference between             One full frame of video is drawn every
a look at the various standards used.          1080p and 1080i? The suffix “i” stands             1/60th of a sec. Hence, a progressively
    Resolution is the most important aspect    for interlaced and the “p” stands for             scanned image has lesser jagged lines and
that decides on how sharp the image            progressive scan.                                 motion artefacts.
you are viewing would be. The regular             The older television sets use the                 So it’s clear that if you want to utilize
television which most of us have in our        interlace method to draw images on the            the true potential of your next-gen console,
living room can provide us maximum 480         screen. The electron gun at the back of the       you need to have a HDTV i.e. a high-
lines of details whereas an HDTV can give      TV first fires the odd lines on the onscreen        definition television. Consider that as an
out as much as 1080 lines of detail. And       image and then during the second pass, it         investment too when you plan to go for a
especially on big screen televisions, HDTV     fires the even lines. All this happens within      next-gen console.

                                              Next-generation consoles
                                               Microsoft Xbox 360
                                               This is Microsoft’s battle tank for the next-     Storage options: The Xbox 360 contains
                                               gen console war and sure, it’s a tough rider.     a Laptop style removable hard drive. It also
                                               The Xbox 360 is capable of churning out           has two Memory Slots.
                                               mind-blowing graphics at a resolution of up
                                               to 1080i and all of this in small form factor.    Optical drive: The Xbox 360 has
                                               Though the current releases are touched           DVD-ROM (it can also play almost all CD
                                               up versions of the previous titles, expect        and DVD formats), the game discs come
                                               another year for the game developers to           on dual layered DVDs (8.5 GB) and it’s
                                               unleash the true potential of the Xbox 360.       backward compatible with Xbox games.

                                               Eye candy support: The Xbox 360 is                Availability: The Xbox 360 is available
                                               designed for the HDTV era. All games have         internationally (since December 2005) but
                                               been designed at least to a 720p resolution       it’s not yet available in India.
                                               which is capable of scaling up to 1080i.
                                               Though it doesn’t extend support for              Price: The Xbox 360 is priced in two main
                                               1080p yet. Resolution: 480i, 480p, 720p           categories:
                                               and 1080i.
                                                                                                        a) The basic package consists of one
                                               Controller: The controller for the Xbox                     wired controller minus the hard drive
                                               360 is 2.4 GHz wireless—supporting up to                    for $299.
                                               four wireless controllers.                               b) The $399 package includes a wireless
                                                                                                           controller, a communication headset
                                               Networking: There’s Ethernet (RJ45)                         for Xbox live, component A/V cable,
                                               and its 802.11 A/B/G Wi-Fi ready but the                    Ethernet wireless cable and a 20 GB
                                               adapter is not included.                                    hard drive.

                                                                                                                 INTELLIGENT COMPUTING CHIP | MAY 2006
                                                                                                                 FEATURE     | UNWIND     127

                                                 Sony PS3                                       controllers are supported.
                                                 The PS3 will be the successor to the most
                                                 popular console of the millennium i.e. the     Networking: Ethernet (RJ45) 802.11 B/G
                                                 PS2. And with what Sony’s promises to          Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 2.0.
                                                 offer, I wouldn’t be surprised if the PS3
                                                 continues to reign.                            Storage options: The PS3 has a laptop
                                                     Sony states that the graphic chip is       style removable hard drive. It has an
                                                 more powerful than two GeForce 6800            external memory slot for the following
                                                 ultra cards put together. We are eagerly       memory types: CF Slot (Type I, II), SD Slot
                                                 awaiting the release of the the PS3, what      (Regular, Compact), Memory Stick and
                                                 Sony’s Ken Kutaragi calls a “supercomputer     Memory Stick Duo.
                                                 for computer entertainment.”
                                                                                                Optical drive: The optical Drive of the
                                                 Eye Candy support: Sony pledges                PS3 comprises Blu-Ray ROM (Can also
                                                   support for 1080p that the Xbox              play almost all CD and DVD formats). The
                                                     360 doesn’t offer. Besides, the PS3        games will come on single and dual layered
                                                      offers dual HDMI (High Definition          Blu-ray discs with storage capacities of
                                                      Multimedia Interface) ports giving        25 GB and 50 GB respectively. The PS3 is
                                                      out the highest quality digital output.   backward compatible with the PS2 games.
                                                      Resolution: 480i, 480p, 720p, 1080i
                                                     and 1080p.                                 Availability: The PS3 will be launched in
                                                                                                November 2006.
                                                 Controller: The PS3 sports a Bluetooth
                                                 wireless controller and upto four              Price: Estimated price of the PS3 is $499.

Nintendo Revolution                              the PS3 and the Xbox 360 embracing the         Storage options: 512 MB of internal flash
So how does the Revolution stand up in the       high definition standard.                       memory storage. Memory can be expanded
technologically loaded world of the PS3s                                                        using removable standard SD cards, which
and the Xbox 360s?                               Controller: Motion sensed wireless             can be inserted into the console through
   Nintendo president Satoru Iwata says,         controller, single hand use supporting up to   one of two SD memory card slots.
“Today’s consoles already offer fairly           four controllers.
realistic expressions, so simply beefing up                                                      Optical drive: The front-loading disc slot
the graphics will not let most of us see a       Networking: No Ethernet jack is                accepts three types of media:
difference. So a new machine needs to            provided. The Revolution connects to the          Revolution games - stored on
do much more. An unprecedented game              Internet using 802.11b and 802.11g Wi-Fi       proprietary 12 cm discs.
play experience, something that no other         wireless.                                         Game Cube games - proprietary 8 cm
machine has delivered before.” And this is                                                      MiniDVD discs.
exactly what the Revolution is set to offer to                                                     Standard DVD media - the functionality
gamers around the world. Nintendo breaks                                                          to playback standard DVD movies
more than 20 years of video game history by                                                            is unlocked with a separate
abandoning the traditional controller held                                                             attachment.
with two hands and introducing an all-new
freehand-style unit held with one hand.                                                               Availability: By the end of
A sensor on the top tracks the orientation                                                            November 2006.
and position of the controller and you can
manipulate things on the screen by moving                                                            Price: Nintendo has not yet revealed
the controller.                                                                                      the price but it claims it will be much
   Let’s take a look at the specifications.                                                          lower than that of the PS3 and the
                                                                                                    Xbox 360.
Eye Candy support: Though not                                                                           It is being rumored that the price
confirmed, it’s rumored that the revolution                                                          point will revolve between $150 to
will not have any high definition output.                                                            $200. ■
This may be a serious drawback with both                                                                                         | Gaurav Seth

128    UNWIND     | FEATURE

                               Welcome to the battlefield in space where you decide
                               the fate of an entire galaxy

      Pramod Jadhav

        ach one of you who played the demo     well as the Rebellion. Don’t bother to read     and then shuffle these units out of the
        of this game must have been restless   the entire thing as the tutorials provide       core systems in your territory to reinforce
        to get your hands on the retail        you the same information.                       the front. Having land and space garrisons
version. I too experienced the same feeling.       The two basic modes of this game            is vital to avoid getting hit badly. Keeping
So when the game was sent to me for            are the story driven Campaign mode and          large forces handy and ready to move
review, I was ecstatic and I hoped it would    Galactic Conquest mode. If you need to          is also important in order to attack the
be as cool as the demo. In Star Wars: Empire   get a gist of how the game play is then you     enemy, and to mop up if you are attacked.
at War would-be Jedi and Sith conquer          can select the Training mode. The Galactic      Also during ground combat, you can call in
some of the well known planets from the        Conquest mode is essentially a series of        air strikes so that you can destroy enemy
Star Wars universe including Hoth, Endor,      linked battles. The player can choose from      structures quickly and easily. Taking down
Yavin, and Coruscant.                          several battle locations, each revolving        a space station is a visual treat as it starts
   The game installs fairly quickly without    around a particular event made famous           to fall apart and then produces a series of
any trouble. Just follow the auto-run          from Episodes IV, V and VI. The basic           huge explosions. If you are playing as the
prompts and soon you will be planning          starting conditions can be customized so        Empire, then you can even gain access to
your own galactic conquest. At this            that you can adjust the beginning tech          the infamous Death Star. But it can only
stage, I would like to inform you guys         level, maximum tech level and the starting      be used to destroy planets and by the
about the game manual as well as the           credits. You also have a Skirmish mode,         time you do gain access to it, most of the
sturdy fold-out chart that is included in      which is essentially a single battle fought     galaxy will be under Imperial command so
the package. You might wonder what is          either on land or in space. You can play as     the capability to destroy planets would be
so noteworthy about the game manual            either the Rebellion or the Empire. These       redundant. If playing as the Rebels then
that it needs a special mention in the         two sides are distinct from each other          you will need to use different tactics as
review. Well, the game manual consists         with respect to their abilities as well as      initially your resources will be limited. You
of 65 pages and each page is filled with        the technologies used in space and ground       will have a wide array of missions, which
detailed text. Everything that you as a        combat. The Empire researches technology        include freeing the enslaved Wookies and
player would need has been included in         which is a costly and time consuming            guiding Princess Leia to safety as she
this manual such as menu explanations,         process but the Rebels, using R2-D2, steal it   makes her escape with the stolen plans
interface tips, etc. The chart lists out all   from the Empire.                                for Death Star.
the officers, vehicles, spacecrafts and             As you conquer more and more planets,           The graphics for this game are superb.
facilities available for both the Empire as    you will be able to produce different units     Everything about the space battles looks

                                                                                                            INTELLIGENT COMPUTING CHIP | MAY 2006
                                                                                                                                      FEATURE      | UNWIND      129

very nice, especially when viewed with                  look very sharp and pleasant. AT-ATs, AT-STs             your enemy takes over the control of this
the nifty little cinematic camera option.               and Storm Troopers have been replicated                  location then you will have to wrest the
The cinematic view is a sort of ultra                   with utmost precision.                                   initiative back so that you can call in more
zoomed overhead view which gives you                        The controls for this game are quite                 troops. This at times can get frustrating.
a much larger as well as clearer view of                simple and you will be familiar with them                But despite this shortcoming, Star Wars:
the battlefield. You could have never                    after you are through with the Training                  Empire at War is fun to play. You will
imagined that wholesale destruction in                  mode. The sound effects are up to the                    never be bored of engaging yourself in
vacuum could look so beautiful. All ship                mark that you would expect from a Star                   intergalactic warfare. If you are a strategy
models, space terrain features (nebulas,                Wars game. The background score for this                 games fan then you must get this game as
asteroid and debris fields, planets, etc)                game has been copied from the movies and                 soon as possible. Trust me, this game will
and weapons’ effects are presented very                 it complements the game well.                            not disappoint you. ■
crisply, and are pleasing to the eye. Space                 Once you start playing the game, you                                                   | Anup Pillai
battles come to life with brilliant laser fire,          will realize how aggressive the enemy AI
torpedo detonations and the characteristic              actually is. However, the game lags behind
shapes of deadly Star Destroyers. The                   in the manner in which the reinforcement
                                                                                                                   RATINGS               8.5 / 10
various planets model weather and                       position has been conceived by the                         For: Improved graphics; very aggressive
                                                                                                                   enemy AI; fun to play.
terrain effects, which impact upon unit                 developers. Your reinforcement units fly
performance, for instance, wind, dust,                  in via a drop ship and can be dropped                      Against: The reinforcements can be
                                                                                                                   dropped only at specific locations.
sand, snow, smoke, and indigenous life                  only at specific reinforcement locations. If
     Price: Rs 1,499   Publisher : LucasArts      Distributor: Gayatri Impex Pvt. Ltd.   Phone: 022-23881443       E-mail:   System: Windows
  XP/ 2000, Pentium IV 1.0 GHz or equivalent, 256 MB RAM, 2.5 GB of free hard disk space, video card with 32 MB or more memory


                                                                                                    SMS us!        Story code: SWE (See Readers’ Letters for details)

                           Brace yourself for hair-raising action in this scary game

                                                           fter being in the development stages for
                                                           almost five years, Publisher Bethesda
                                                           Softworks along with Ubisoft has finally
                                                  released its first person action-adventure game Call
                                                  of Cthulhu: Dark Corners of the Earth. You might
                                                  not have heard about this game as the publishers
                                                  hardly made any noise. But despite the long delay in
                                                  releasing this game as well as poor marketing, I must
                                                  say your wait for the scariest game this year is over
                                                  with its release.
                                                      The game lets you step into the shoes of Jack
                                                  Walters, a reputed investigator. Before you start
                                                  playing the game, a cut scene shows your character
                                                  scribbling something into his diary and then
                                                  committing suicide at the Arkham Asylum in the
                                                  year 1922. The next thing you know, the game
                                                  rewinds to the year 1915. You as Jack Walters are
                                                  called upon to investigate the mysterious incidents
                                                  that take place inside a house. As soon as Jack
                                                  begins the investigation, he realizes that the people
                                                  living in the house have known him from a long
                                                  time even though he doesn’t recognize them. As he
                                                  investigates further and reaches the underground
                                                  floor, he suddenly encounters some alien creatures
                                                  and then loses his consciousness. Fast forward again
                                                  to 1922. A second cut scene shows Jack writing his
                                                  diary wherein he mentions that he has no memory
                                                  of what had happened in the house that night. He
                                                  makes another scary revelation that even though
                                                  his friends and the doctor claim that he was in the
                                                  asylum for about six years, to him those six years
                                                  felt like only five months. His next case leads him to
                                                  a small town called Innsmouth, where he needs to
                                                  investigate the sudden disappearance of a young lad
                                                  called Brian Burnham.
                                                      As soon as he arrives at Innsmouth, he realizes
                                                  that there is something wrong with the town as
                                                  well as with the people living there. Apart from the
                                                  intimidating look they throw, they refuse to divulge

                                                                        INTELLIGENT COMPUTING CHIP | MAY 2006
                              Pramod Jadhav
                                                                                                                                     FEATURE     | UNWIND        131

any details when you enquire about the mysterious                 see how much damage has been done to you or
disappearance of the Burnham lad. However,                        how much ammo is left with you, directly on the
during the course of his investigation, Jack does                 screen. You have to open the inventory to see all
come in contact with some friendly people in the                  the statistics. However, you will come to know of
town who provide him with clues as well as other                  your deteriorating health condition as soon as the
details enabling him to trace the whereabouts of                  color of your vision changes. If you have incurred
Brian. Thanks to Jack’s third eye, he can view scenes             heavy damage, the color of your vision changes to
through the eyes of others when deemed fit by the                  grey which means that you will die soon. If you have
game designers. But most of the time he is seen                   suffered small or mediocre damage then blood will
working on how to get into buildings without being                be splattered all over the screen. This indicates that
caught.                                                           you need to heal yourself by using the bandages
    The first time a scary scene hits you in the                   and sutures available in your inventory. Another
game is when the Innsmouth town residents try                     distinctive feature of this game is Jack’s loss of
to assassinate Jack while he is sleeping in the hotel             sanity, particularly when he is too tensed or scared.
room. While his enemies are heavily armed, Jack                   So to bring himself back to his senses, Jack needs
has no arms and has to rely solely on his intelligence            to inject himself with doses of morphine but
as well his presence of mind to make his escape                   frequent usage of the same could do him more
for good. One wrong move and the residents will                   harm than good.
chop off his head or blow it to pieces with their                     The controls of this game are very easy to master
shotgun. The constant threats to his life and his lack            and are almost similar to most of the FPS games
of offensive ordnance means he is running scared                  that you have played. Sound effects are excellent—
almost all the time. It is only during the later half             you can hear Jack breathing heavily if he has been
                                                                                                                                      The inventory which
of the game that Jack gets fire arms to finish off his              running around for a while; you can also listen to                  tells you the status of
enemies.                                                          him groaning in pain when he is injured badly.                      your health
    As the game progresses, Jack finds himself in                      However, the game lacks in its graphics. Even
more difficult and scarier situations. The game                    though the entire game, right from the start to
is filled with surprises, puzzles and traps. Careful               the end has the dark and eerie feel associated
reading of the clues that are picked up during the                with night time, it looks outdated compared to
investigation stages is of utmost importance. If                  other games today. This is because the game was
you fail to decipher even a small clue, then you                  confined to the development stage for too long.
will find yourself stuck at a particular stage for                 Another drawback is the lack of a quicksave option.
ages not knowing what to do next, or it might also                This could really annoy you especially when you
                                                                                                                                      You will have to be sharp
lead to your cover being blown and being killed                   are very close to finishing a particular level and                   to shoot down these
instantly by the residents of Innsmouth. Sometimes                are killed by the enemy. As a result, you will have                 creatures
you will have to use items in your inventory to                   to either play the game from the starting point or
solve a puzzle. Also, pay attention to the in-game                from the “Elder” sign.
conversations that take place either between                          The game is a blessing in disguise for all those
the enemies or between you and the friendly                       guys who own an entry-level graphics card. Even
characters. One level that needs particular mention               if you play this game at the highest possible
is “Devil’s Reef” which is full of traps of different             settings, it will run smoothly without any lag. It
nature and varying difficulties; one wrong step will               is a game that will keep you on the edge of your
lead you to instant death. The game auto saves only               seat. It gives you about 20 hours of addictive game
when a new level begins or ends. In order to save                 play and certainly merits a place in every gaming
while the game is in progress, you will need to find               enthusiast’s collection. ■
the “Elder” sign.                                                                                             | Anup Pillai
    The initial build-up of tension sets the scene
for the rest of the experience; a gripping fear
interspersed with weird sounds, whistling winds
                                                                     RATINGS               9 / 10
                                                                     For: Great story; good sound effects; some
play on your nerves and a sense of isolation—all                     stages are very scary.
these add up to make this game really scary. A
                                                                     Against: The graphics are outdated.
significant omission in this game is HUD. You can

    Publisher : Bethesda Softworks      Distributor: e-xpress Interactive Software Pvt Ltd     Phone: 022-28870017   System: Windows XP/ 2000, Pentium IV 1.0 GHz or
  equivalent, 512 MB RAM, 8x or faster DVD drive, 3.5 GB of free hard disk space, video card with 64 MB or more memory


                                                                                                   SMS us!        Story code: COT (See Readers’ Letters for details)
132    UNWIND    | FEATURE

                                                   A compelling sequel that promises a Middle Earth
        Pramod Jadhav
                                                   not seen before

                  ost of you by now must be        and their journey through Middle Earth      disappear. You can also take your battle
                  quite familiar with all the      as they destroyed the evil forces of        across the Internet with the Multiplayer
                  places as well as the battles    Isengard and Mordor and helped Frodo        option. Apart from the skirmishes, you
      fought in Middle Earth in order to gain      destroy the ring. In this game, the Elves   can also play out a whole game of War of
      control of the ring either by reading the    and Dwarves forge an alliance in order to   the Ring online.
      book or watching the trilogy directed by     defeat the army that has been prepared         The new features in this game are
      Peter Jackson, or by playing the games.      by Sauron. The single player campaigns      plenty. The biggest change is certainly
      While LOTR: Battle for Middle Earth stuck    are divided into two parts, the good and    the buildings. You can build wherever
      very closely to the films, the plot for its   the evil. Each part has eight missions      you wish to instead of being limited
      sequel LOTR: Battle for Middle Earth II      in it. You will find yourself waging war     to very specific locations. There is also
      is borrowed from both the films as well       against your enemies in locations like      an elaborate system of wall building
      as the rich literary mythos. This was        Rivendell, Celduin, Erebor and The Shire.   and defensive structures upgrades. A
      possible since EA Games have obtained        If you have played the earlier game,        significant change has been made to
      a unified license. Hence, the developers      then you will finish these missions in       the resource gathering system. You will
      could use more characters, locations in      about sixteen hours (estimated roughly,     need to spread your encampment far
      this game and make it more appealing         an hour per mission). Next, you can try     and wide for gathering resources. The
      visually. As the developers rightly          your hand at War of the Ring which is a     effectiveness of a resource gatherer is
      proclaim, this is the Middle Earth that      remake of the original mission system.      dependant on the large area of unused
      you have not seen.                           In this, you can select your own conflicts   land around it, so placing a farm too
          The installation files for this game      forming a Risk style map of the regions     close to another farm does you no good.
      are distributed over six discs. Inserting    of the Middle Earth. Create your own        Battle for Middle Earth II features a
      one disc after the other into your optical   heroes and armies and march them off        huge variety of sides like the Men of the
      drive could be a frustrating experience.     to war. You can always build more troops    West, the Elves, the Dwarves, Isengard,
      But once you start playing the game,         on the battlefield but only the ones from    Mordor and the Goblins. Each side
      all your frustrations will soon vanish       your strategy map will retain experience    brings new play styles to the game and
      and you will be deeply immersed in the       or even survive the battle, win or lose.    offers you some advantages as well as
      playing sequence. The earlier version        Likewise, any buildings or bases you        disadvantages. You will find that the
      mainly concentrated on the Fellowship        have built during a battle will similarly   Dwarves are very slow while the Goblins

                                                                                                        INTELLIGENT COMPUTING CHIP | MAY 2006
                                                                                                                                       FEATURE     | UNWIND         133

can be easily crushed with the help of                creative side, adding on the heroes                     blend of art and in-game graphics. During
cavalry units. The role of the heroes has             that you created in the game. But the                   these cut-scenes, Elrond (Actor Hugo
been expanded in this game. Each race                 customization options are very limited.                 Weaving) provides the narration. A lot of
now gets access to a number of heroes                     The sound is equally impressive as                  work has gone into upgrading the graphics
not seen in the trilogy. The Dwarves                  Orcs roar with rage and the Men of                      for this game as compared to the previous
get access not only to Gimli but also                 Gondor shout rallying calls. Many of the                one and it has really paid off. However, in
his father Gloin and even King Dain                   actors from the movie have reprised                     order to enjoy these superb graphics, you
himself. The Goblins can summon the                   their roles for their gaming counterparts.              will need a high-end graphics card along
giant spider Shelob, the Goblin Kong and              The excellent film score has also made                   with a minimum of 1 GB of RAM. Don’t be
Drogoth and the Dragon Lord. Both your                the migration and dramatically sets the                 despondent if you have a low-end
heroes and your units gain experience                 backdrop. As I mentioned before, Battle                 system for the game will run albeit at
from their respective battles and                     for Middle Earth II is a visually impressive            very low specs.
become more powerful which is great.                  experience. The game has a cinematic                        To sum it up, Battle for Middle Earth
Unfortunately, you won’t get to carry                 feel to combat that makes it stand apart                II has all the right ingredients which
your units over to the next one and even              from any other RTS game. Bodies go                      are essential in a RTS game. Three new
when you do, it’s only a certain few. This            flying as trolls swing massive stone clubs               factions—a new building mode, new
makes the unit advancement much less                  and goblins fall under the trampling                    heroes, improvements to the game
satisfying than it could be. You can also             hooves of cavalry charge. Before and after              engine, a completely new “War of the
take to the sea in the new naval vessels.             each mission, there is a short cut-scene                Ring” campaign—you name it and
But when compared to the sheer number                 describing the happenings in the war,                   the game has it. Note that the game
of battles that you will be fighting on                the goal and the location of the mission                is addictive and you won’t feel like
land, the naval battles seem far too less.            and the strategic value associated with                 getting up from your seat until you have
A new addition is the “Create-a-Hero”                 it. The most noticeable feature of these                completed all the missions. ■
option. This allows you to explore your               cut-scenes are that they are a very good                                                 | Anup Pillai

                                                                                                         RATINGS              9 / 10
                                                                                                         For: Excellent graphics; good story based
                                                                                                         campaigns; six new sides included.
                                                                                                         Against: Hogs 6 GB of your hard disk space!

     Price: Rs 1,299   Publisher : EA Games     Distributor: Gayatri Impex Pvt. Ltd.  Phone: 022-23881443       E-mail:     System: Windows
   XP/ 2000, Pentium IV 1.6 GHz or equivalent, 512 MB RAM, 8x or faster DVD drive, 6 GB of free hard disk space, video card with 128 MB or more memory


                                                                                                     SMS us!        Story code: LBM (See Readers’ Letters for details)
       The latest entry in the Commandos series is an
                            FPS game with a difference

                                                   he previous games in the Commandos series have all been
                                                   squad-based tactical games. However, the latest entry in
                                                   the same series titled Commandos Strike Force makes a
                                            transition to the first-person shooter territory. The Green Beret,
                                            the Sniper and the Spy form the core members of the Strike
                                            Force. While the previous versions required a lot of time as
                                            well as patience to complete the missions, Strike Force lets you
                                            accomplish your missions easily and smoothly.
                                               Once the installation is over, the tutorial sessions make you
                                            familiar with the new aspects of game play. In most of the
                                            missions, you will have two commandos at your disposal. The
                                            new feature in this game is the ability to switch between two
                                            commandos while the game is in progress. You are the one
                                            who has to decide which commando needs to be used at that
                                            particular instant. So you will have to be aware of the strengths
                                            as well as the weaknesses of each of them.
                                               Even though it is an FPS game, the use of stealth through
                                            most of the game is of utmost importance. And it is this feature
                                            that sets it apart from the other FPS games. The Spy by far is the
                                            pivotal character in the game. He is a German national who has
                                            joined the Allied forces to fight the Nazis. He can kill them and
                                            steal their uniforms. With these stolen uniforms, he can disguise
                                            himself as a Nazi. In this game, the developers have added a new
                                            spin to it. The Nazis have ranks within them—soldiers, sub-
                                            officers, officers, generals and Gestapo. When you don an enemy
                                            soldier’s uniform, you’re able to walk amongst your enemies
                                            without being immediately detected. However, if you stay too
                                            long near an enemy soldier, while in a soldier’s uniform, he’ll start
                                            to become suspicious of you. A little question mark meter will
                                            appear above his head and will start to count down. During this
                                            countdown, you have two options. You either kill him and hope
                                            that no one sees you take him out or run away and he’ll forget
                                            about you. Now for example, if you put on an officer’s uniform,
                                            soldiers and sub-officers will not become suspicious of you at all.
                                            Other officers of a higher rank like a Gestapo will recognize you
                                            after a period of time. The objective here obviously is to get a
                                            uniform belonging to officers of higher rank each time you can, in
                                            order to gain more freedom when moving around.
                                               You have a mini radar in the lower left hand corner of your
                                            screen. On this display are your objectives and arrows which are
Pramod Jadhav
                                            indicators for your enemies. The arrows will show which way a

                                                                                INTELLIGENT COMPUTING CHIP | MAY 2006
                                                                                                                                        REVIEW    | UNWIND        135

     solider faces and also his level of alertness. Green signifies that
     he should be on patrolling duties and unaware of your presence,
     yellow means he has become suspicious and red implies he is
     on the hunt for you. When you walk up to a closed door, there
     are two options. One is simply to open the door and the other
     is to look through a keyhole view mode. With more missions,
     you unlock some cool stuff. A particular mission needs special
     mention here—it is the stage where you will be defending a
     snowy French town from a German counter attack from the
     other side of the river. You have Green Beret and Sniper at
     your disposal. Once the attack starts, all hell breaks loose—
     increasingly difficult challenges, dramatic music, an avalanche
     of enemies from multiple directions, mortar fire, tanks—so
     constant movement is required by the player to contain the
     multiple tasks that the game throws up.
         Unfortunately, this is the only level where the game gets
     really exciting and you feel like you are in the midst of a huge
     war. Once this level is over, you again have to rely on stealth
     to finish off the Nazis. Also, the AI in the game is weak. If two
     soldiers stand very close to each other and you quietly finish one
     of them, the other hardly notices that his companion is dead.
     Even if a commotion is caused while assassinating a Nazi, just
     run away and hide in some safe place. The persistence level of
     the Nazis is so low that they will give up the chase to trace the
     intruder in less than a minute. Earlier, the dead bodies had to be
     picked and hid in a safe place so as not to be spotted by enemies
     else they raise an alarm. But here, the dead bodies just disappear
     with time. So when killing an enemy soldier, pray that his dead
     body is not spotted or you could be in trouble. Also, the ability to
     switch between the commandos while the game is in progress
     could act like a double-edged sword. The problem is when you
     switch from one commando to the other, the previous one
     remains static. He does not move a muscle and is virtually
     a statue.
         The sound effects are noteworthy. The background music is
     good and fits in with the game’s theme. Voice acting is decent
     though graphics aren’t as great. Undoubtedly, graphics has
     improved when compared to the previous versions but when
     compared with the other WWII games like Call of Duty 2 or
     Brothers in Arms: Earned in Blood, the game falls short way
     of expectations. The interposing cut scenes are also not very
     appealing, visually.
         But despite the above shortcomings, it is a decent attempt by
     the developers and is definitely worth a try. ■
                                                             | Anup Pillai

       RATINGS                 7.5 / 10
       For: A completely new genre; ability to switch
       between commandos.
       Against: Weak AI; the missions are much easier
       to play.

         Price: Rs 1,299    Publisher: Eidos    Developer: Pyro Studios      Distributor: Milestone Interactive     Phone: 022-28203319     System: Windows XP/ 2000,
       Pentium IV 1.8 GHz or equivalent, 512 MB RAM, 8x or faster DVD drive, 3.5 GB of free hard disk space, video card with 64 MB or more memory


                                                                                                    SMS us!        Story code: CSF (See Readers’ Letters for details)
138   Classifieds

                                              Classifieds   143

144   Classifieds


                  The Last Word
                             oing to government offices is something I           In front of her was a computer monitor, covered and
                             habitually avoid, unless there’s some urgency.     unused. On her table were a couple of registers and
                             But as fate would have it, I had to visit the      forms. And all around were bundles of jaundiced
                  local ration card office, the regional passport office,         forms with dog-eared edges. I looked around. More
                  and a post office—all within a span of two months.             piles of forms, some stacks carelessly thrown on top
                  I share with you my experiences and suggest a few             of steel cupboards.
                  ways in which technology can be used to make life                 I wondered what was in those forms and ledgers.
                  simpler for both the “applicant” and the officer at the        Why did they need to keep them at all now that they
                  window.                                                       had computers?
                      My passport expired in February and I had to                  The day on which I had to visit the passport office
                  renew it. And while going about it, I discovered that a       finally came. I reached there at 8:45 am and was again
                  lot had changed since my last visit in 1996.                  greeted by a long queue. An hour-long wait in the
                      They’ve taken computerization a step further              queue and we were finally allowed into the compound
                  by making online registration compulsory. First I             at 9:45 am. A few minutes later, we moved into the
                  had to visit the regional passport office web site at          building. The guards at the doorway scrutinized our
         and register to get an            applications and online registration forms.
                  appointment. Then I had to take a print out with my               Once inside the hall, I quickly made an assessment
                  registration details and attach this to my application        of how many windows they had (29), and what
                  form (downloaded from the same site).                         functions these served. There was one window for
                      Before the big day arrived, I had to get all my           submitting the applications, another for making the
                  documents (and past life) in order. I needed to furnish       payment, another for special cases and so on. I looked
                  my ration card as proof of residence. So I visited the        around and found that there were lots of people but
                  ration shop to update my residential address.                 few seats. The procedures and rules were prominently
                      I arrived at what I thought was an early hour, but        displayed (as on the web site).
                  there were 50 people ahead of me in the queue. After              The window finally opened and I calculated it took
                  a grueling long hour or so, I finally got to the window        15 - 20 minutes to accept one application. By the time
                  to pick up the application form. Then it was another          my turn came, I had stood an hour-and-a-half in the
                  long queue to submit the application form (after a            queue already.
                   little waltzing between window No. 3 and window                  After submitting my application at window No.1,
                       No. 5). And by the time my application was               I moved to window No. 2 to make the payment. That
                          actually accepted, it was late afternoon and I        meant another hour in the queue.
                             was famished and exhausted.                            Despite all this computerization and online
                                    Wouldn’t it have been simpler to just key   procedures, why does one have to endure such agony?
                               in all these details in an online form and       I had to skip a whole day of work to visit the passport
                               submit it? They could do the verification         office. I was finally done only by 2:30 pm.
                                later, just as the police verification is done       It would have been simpler if I could have
                                for the passport. And if my details were        submitted my application online and then visited the
                                then embedded in a chip on a smart card,        office with my original documents for verification. If
                                I would never have to stand for hours in        the verification could be done at the first stage, there
                                serpentine queues.                              would be no need to fill and submit forms in triplicate.
                                     A few weeks later I visited the post       Documents could be scanned and stored in a central
                                 office to collect a relative’s MIS (monthly     database, made accessible to the crime branch, police
                                  income scheme) payment. There was a           and other concerned departments. That would reduce
                                   long queue again with 10 people ahead        the amount of paper moving between departments
                                   of me.                                       and speed up the whole procedure.
                                        I spent time taking in the                  Exactly 30 days later, the postman arrived with my
                                    surroundings. The lady clerk at the MIS     passport. I was grateful for the promptness.
                                    window was obviously inexperienced.                                                  | | Brian Pereira

                                Dinesh Desai                                                            INTELLIGENT COMPUTING CHIP | MAY 2006

        Get on the Web | 26 External drives tested | Digital makeover                                 .
                                                                        RNI Registration No. MAHENG/2003/12687

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Description: Chip Magazine - May 2006 Issue