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Digit Magazine - August 2003 Issue

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Digit Magazine - August 2003 Issue Powered By Docstoc
					I   editorial




          A Time for Alternatives

          W
                     e are at an interesting time in consumer software again, after a long
                     hiatus. The next version of Windows promises much, but is two
                     years away. The two year old Windows XP is left holding the fort.

          In the meanwhile, Linux is rapidly evolving a friendly face. For the first time,
          it seems to really be a viable option for computer-literate users. It is not quite
          there yet, but two years is a long time in computer years.

          Internet Explorer 6 is the end of the line for the world's most popular browser.
          The next level of the IE experience, will only be available integrated into the
          upcoming Windows, two years from now. Web technology is among the most
          rapidly evolving, so using IE going forward means being tied to obsolete tech-
          nology.
                                                                                                   Sumod Hajela
                                                                                                   Assistant Editor
          In the meanwhile, Netscape is no more, but its offspring do it proud. Mozilla
          Firebird is already far and beyond a better browser product than Internet
          Explorer—Web standards compliant, privacy aware, and with a great pop-up
          killer integrated.
                                                                                                 “For the first
                                                                                                 time, it (Linux)
          The next MS Office is expected by year end, but the pretty new icons in the lat-
          est beta test versions don't really present an interesting upgrade story. Sure, the
                                                                                                 seems to really be
          new XML capabilities will find takers in special applications, but that doesn't        a viable option... It
          help you write a better letter. If it sticks to schedule, MS Office will make anoth-
          er attempt at tempting us in a couple of years.                                        is not quite there
                                                                                                 yet, but two years
          In the meanwhile, solutions such as OpenOffice.org come nowhere near MS
          Office in feature count or polish, but they get the job done for free.                 is a long time in
          Open source applications have been following an erratic path to usability and
                                                                                                 computer years       ”
          effectiveness. In recent times, a lot has changed. And with all of the major
          Microsoft products holding off for two years, this may be the right time to dip
          your toes in strange waters, and feel the currents of change.

          Even our President would approve.




          sumod_hajela@jasubhai.com
      index ■
AUGUST 2003               ■   magazine

              PULSE
              Duck that spam ............................26                IM busy, 9 to 5 ...........................84
              Vipul Shah writes about the difficulty                       Indeed, Instant Messengers can be of
              in putting a complete stop to spam                           great help during business hours

              FEATURES                                                     Console to Win!.........................88
              Line of Sound.................................31             Find out why gaming consoles are the
              Get to know how you can get sound to                         preferred choice, when playing games
              fall in line!
                                                                           Faster, Safer Windows XP ......91
              Break on through to the other                                Get Windows XP to work faster than
              side ...................................................38   ever before, in a matter of minutes
              A look at the inroads that Linux has
              made into offices                                            Linux On Linux Off ....................92
                                                                           Install and un-install Linux, sans those
              TEST DRIVE                                                   nail-biting moments!
              Spacious, Speed Demons ..........48
                                                                           Wire(less) is More.....................96          ▲
              Hard disks that swiftly cast a huge spell
              on you!                                                      Follow a few easy steps, and set up
                                                                                                                              ▲   92
                                                                           your wireless LAN in no time.                       Installing Linux is as simple
              The Linux Shootout .....................62                                                                       as...puttiing on a mask!
              Take a shot at Linux, armed with all the                     5 Things about Windows that
              information you needed                                       You'll Never Miss Again ..........99
                                                                           Need we say anything more?... Ah!Yes,
              A-List.................................................70    they are done in Linux !
              Carry this list along when you go hard-                                                                         ▲
              ware shopping!                                               Imagine Imaging .....................111
                                                                           ...with three imaging softwares!
                                                                                                                              ▲
                                                                                                                                  31 Dance, and let others attain
                                                                                                                                     Nirvana simultaneously,
                                                                                                                                        with targeted sound.
              INSIGHT                                                      We provide you all the tips
              Googology...................................80               and tricks to do just that
              Here’s how Google does its job, and
              how you can get it to search better!




              ▲
              ▲   48 Speed drive with space aplenty!                                                       ▲
                                                                                                           ▲      88 Console yourself as the PC falls
                      4                                                                                                                             AUGUST 2003
                                                                                                                                                8
                                                                                                                                                The best Linux
                                                                                                                                                distributions on
                                                                                                                                                a DVD!
       84 Chat
       Yahoo!
       and do busi-
       ness simulta-
       neously!




           64
           Learn how to
           install, and
           uninstall
           Linux the easy
           way                                                                                                                                        62
                                                                                                                                                      Savour the Linux
                                                                                                                                                      flavour that you like
                                                                                                                                                      best!




       80                                                                                                                                                       91
       Get Google to
                                                                                                                                                                Rev up the
       search the way you                                                                                                                                       speed for
       want to...                                                                                                                                               Windows XP in
                                                                                                                                                                10 minutes!
                                                                                                                         79 shop-
                                                                                                                         Go memory
                                                                                                                         ping for your PC
REGULARS




           NEWS FEED . . . . . 14
           LETTERS . . . . . . . .24
                                                                                                                Reviewed this month
                                          HARDWARE                                            SP0802N                               ■ Seagate Barracuda ST3160023AS
           DROOLMAAL . . . .36
                                          Bazaar . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 72   ■   Samsung SpinPoint V Series
           BAZAAR . . . . . . . .72       ■ Altec Lansing XA3021 speakers                     SV0411N                               SOFTWARE
           UNDERCOVER . . .79             ■ Antec Sonata cabinet                          ■   Samsung SpinPoint V Series            Bazaar . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 71
                                          ■ BenQ M100 mouse                                   SV0602H                               ■ SpeedUpMyPC 1.16
           QUICKSTART . . . .91           ■ Dell Latitude D600                            ■   Samsung SpinPoint V Series
           Q & A . . . . . . . . . .106   ■ Gainward GeForce FX 5800                          SV0802N                               Linux distributions
                                            Ultra Graphics Accelerator                    ■   Samsung SpinPoint V Series            (office desktops). . . . . . . . . . . 66
           TIPS & TRICKS . . .111
                                          ■ HCL Beanstalk 4458                                SV1203N                               ■ Mandrake Linux 9.1 Standard
           OFF THE SHELF . .123           ■ Intel Pentium 4 3.2 GHz                       ■   Seagate Barracuda ST3160021A             review
           DIGIT DIARY . . . . .125         (800 MHz FSB)                                 ■   Seagate Barracuda ST340015A           ■ Red Hat Linux 9.0
                                          ■ Nikon 4300 digital camera                                                               ■ SuSE Linux Office Desktop
           BACKBYTE . . . . . .126        ■ Samsung 1710 laser printer                    Hard drives (SATA) . . . . . . . . . 48
                                          ■ Samsung T500 mobile phone                     ■ Maxtor DiamondMax Plus9                 Linux distributions (Windows
                                                                                            6Y120M0                                 replacements) . . . . . . . . . . . . 63
        To subscribe to Digit, fill
                                          Hard drives (ATA) . . . . . . . . . . 48        ■ Maxtor DiamondMax Plus9                 ■ ELX Linux Power Desktop 2.0
       out the subscription form          ■ Maxtor Maxline PlusII 7Y250P0                   6Y160M0                                 ■ Lindows 3.0
           available online at            ■ Samsung PL40 Series SP0411N                   ■ Maxtor DiamondMax Plus9                 ■ Lycoris Desktop/LX review
       www.thinkdigit.com/subscribe       ■ Samsung SpinPoint P Series                      6Y200M0                                 ■ Xandros 1.0



                    5                                                                                                                                             AUGUST 2003
index ■
              ■   digit interactive




HIGHLIGHTS
                        ON THE CD     KNOW YOUR CD
Alcohol 120%
Type: Trial     Size: 3.41 MB         MINDWARE \ RESOLVE
Mindware\Software\System              This section helps you stay                                players, and FAQs on
                                      one step ahead of the oth-                                 hard disks. The Whitepa-
Cool Edit Pro 2.1
Type: Trial       Size: 16.17 MB      ers by carrying a hand                                     pers that are included,
Mindware\Software\Multimedia          picked collection of vari-                                 aim at bringing you an
                                      ous useful ‘Tips & Tricks’,                                insight on various stor-
CursorXP                              frequently asked questions                                 age technologies, such as
Type: Free      Size: 2.3 MB
                                      (FAQs), some whitepapers,                                  RAID, and Storage Area
Mindware\Software\Home
                                      and assorted e-books. This                                 Networks. Also, do catch
Forte Free Agent 1.93                 month, we bring you Tips & Tricks on get-   up with some classic literature, in the E-
Type: Trial        Size: 2.29 MB      ting the best out of your favourite media   Books section.
Mindware\Software\Internet

Goldwave 4.26
Type: Trial     Size: 0.83 MB         MUST TRY SOFTWARE
Mindware\Software\Multimedia
                                      Rise Of Nations
IncrediMail Xe                        Wheel and deal across time with histo-
Type: Free      Size: 5.55 MB         ry’s eminent cultures with Rise of
Mindware\Software\Internet
                                      Nations. Create new cities, improve city
mySQL 3.23.57                         infrastructures, and expand national
Type: Free      Size: 12.67 MB
Mindware\Software\Dev Tools

Partition Resizer
Type: Free        Size: 0.09 MB
Mindware\Software\System

PHP for Windows 4.3.2                                                             Type: Trial       Size: 41 MB
with installer and manual                                                         Mindware\Software\Multimedia
Type: Free          Size: 5.96 MB
Mindware\Software\Dev Tools
                                                                                  Microsoft Money 2003
phpMyAdmin 2.5.1                                                                  Deluxe
Type: Free      Size: 1.6 MB                                                      Microsoft Money 2003 Deluxe is a com-
Mindware\Software\Dev Tools           borders. Conquer foes through military      plete personal finance solution that helps
                                      might using everything—from sling-          you manage your day-to-day finances,
Sonic Foundry ACID XPress 3.0g
Type: Free        Size: 30 MB         shots to cannons to stealth bombers to      track and manage investments, prepare
Mindware\Software\Multimedia          nuclear weapons. Corner the market on       for taxes, and build
                                      key commodities, and consolidate power      a plan for your
Trillian .74                          under your rule.                            future! Balance your
Type: Free      Size: 2.41 MB         Type: Trial       Size: 194 MB              checkbook,       pay
Mindware\Software\Internet
                                      Playware\Arena\Games                        bills, bank online,
TweakXP                                                                           create a budget,
Type: Trial     Size: 2.77 MB         Sonic Foundry Vegas 4                       reduce your debt,
Mindware\Software\System              Vegas is a digital audio and video pro-     and organise your
                                      duction suite, allowing non destructive     finances all in one place while receiving
WinDVD Platinum 5
Type: Trial     Size: 13.3 MB         composing, titling, audio/video record-     personalised financial guidance. Syn-
Mindware\Software\Multimedia          ing, editing, mixing, surround sound        chronise with MSN Money, to access your
                                      production, unlimited tracks, and           Money data on the Web, while you’re
                                      DirectX filters and more. Easy yet power-   away from home. You could also use
                                      ful controls allow for complex high qual-   Money for Pocket PC, and your Money
                                      ity keyframe track motion, complex          data travels with you.
                                      composites, track envelopes, and loads      Type: Trial       Size: 0.5 MB
                                      of useful features.                         Mindware\Software\Office


          6                                                                                                  AUGUST 2003
index ■
            ■   digit interactive


                     Knoppix 3.2 Mandrake 9.1 Red Hat 9 Peanut 9.5


                     4 LINUX distributions
 Flavours of Linux                                                             Software
 If you have been pondering over which
 Linux distribution to try out, the Digit
 Special Linux DVD comes to your rescue.
                                                              Office
                                                              GnuCash 1.8.4, QCAD 1.5.4,
 This DVD comes with not just one or two,                     Tiki CMS/Groupware, Evolution 1.2
 but four superb Linux distributions in their                 …and other handpicked applications
 latest incarnations. So, go ahead and savour                 for your office
 whatever suits your taste buds the best!
                                                              Internet
 Knoppix 3.2                                                  Mozilla Firebird 0.6, GAIM .64,
                                                              Opera 7.11, Ethereal 0.9.13
 With Knoppix you can try out Linux without risking           …apart from other Internet utilities
 your hard disk—create a live boot CD from the ISO
 file and start working within a full-fledged Linux
 desktop.                                                     Games
                                                               America’s Army: Operations,
 Mandrake 9.1                                                  Unreal Tournament 2003,
                                                               Sin, Quake 3 Arena
 Mandrake is one of the most                                   …and many more interesting games
 user friendly and easy-to-con-
 figure Linux distributions
 around that comes with                                       Multimedia
 eye candy galore.                                             XPde 0.3.5, GLAME 1.0.1,
 Worth Rs. 1,900                                               DivX 5.0.5 codec pack,
                                                               Mplayer 0.90
 Red Hat 9                                                     …plus lots of other stuff to keep you busy

 One of the most well
 known distributions,                                         Dev Tools
 the stable Red Hat 9                                         J2SE 1.4.2, PHP 5.0.0 Beta 1,
 comes with an interface                                      mySQL 4.0.12, Apache 2.0.46,
 that draws the best from                                     phpMyAdmin 2.5.1
 the KDE and GNOME                                            …and many more of the latest development tools
 desktops.
 Worth Rs. 2,100
                                                              System
 Peanut 9.5                                                   VNC 3.3.7, gCombust 0.1.54,
                                                              GnoRPM 0.96, Acrobat Reader
 Peanut packs in a colourful Linux desktop and a              5.0.7, AWStats 5.5.1
 fine collection of applications, all packed into a           …and other tools to make better
 tiny footprint.                                              use of your PC


                    Note: If your DVD does not autorun, click on Index.html to enter the interface.


        8                                                                                                   AUGUST 2003
thinkdigit_Aug 03.qxd 4/19/2004 4:38 PM Page 10




                       contents I
                                        I online




                                                                                                    taste technology at www.thinkdi



                               WEB SPECIAL                                                         SUBSCRIBE
                                         Taking the weight off                             Want to subscribe to Digit?
                                                                                           Or is it time to renew your subscription?
                                         your lap                                          You can now subscribe online!
                                         Wireless technology is seeing a
                                         new era, thanks to the latest mobile
                                         processors. We take a peek into
                                         what makes them tick.




                                                                              August ‘03




MB) for
are
                               BY DEMAND                                                              WEB SPECIAL
                          You get to choose what goes on Digit Interactive.
                          This month, you have chosen:
                                                                                           One world,
                                                                                           One language
                                         AIDA32                                            ¿Usted habla español?
                                         Size: 2.75 MB                                     Well, neither do we, but
                                         Mindware                                          you no longer need to
                                                                                           speak, read or write a
                                         The Hulk                                          language to be able to
                                         Size: 166 MB                                      communicate using it…
                                         Playware
index ■
                 ■   colophon

VOLUME 3, ISSUE 8
Chairman Jasu Shah                                         Write Back                                               ADVERTISERS’ INDEX
Printer, Publisher and Editor                              Got feedback on Digit or
Maulik Jasubhai
Head - Publications & Web sites                            www.thinkdigit.com? Have something to say         CLIENT                                  PAGE
Louis D’Mello                                              about an article we published?
                                                                                                             Amit Enterprises . . . . . . . . . . . .35
Editorial                                                  We’d love to hear from you. Send us your
Assistant Editor Sumod Hajela                                                                                Amkette . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .11
Senior Writer Ahmed Shaikh
                                                           rants and raves at
Writers Srinivasan Ramakrishnan,                           readersletters@jasubhai.com                       Asus . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .41
Kaizad Vajifdar, Upendra Singhai,
Niketu Shah, Mouly Arun-Prabhu,                                                                              Digiquest . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .95
Aayush Iyer
                                                                                                             Elnova . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .110
Copy Editors Mitali Parekh, Robert       Product Testing
Sovereign-Smith, Garfield D’Souza                                                                            Fraser . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .34
                                         Want your product reviewed by Digit?
Design
Art Director Marshall Mascarenhas
                                         Contact our Test Centre at                                          Intex . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .13
Designers Shivasankaran C. Pillai,       testcentre@jasubhai.com                                             Iomega . . . . . . . . . . . . .51, 55, 59
Ashwin Boricha, Sachin Dalvi,
Mahesh Benkar, Atul Deshmukh,                                                                                LG . . . . . . . . . . . . .27, 28, 29, 30
Solomon Lewis, Parag Joshi
Photographers Mexy Xavier,                              Software on CD                                       Logitech . . . . . .Inside Back Cover
Jiten Gandhi
Test Centre                                             To submit software for inclusion in the Digit        Man's World . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .46
Head Hakimuddin K. Badshah                              Interactive CDs, contact us at                       Micro Digital . . . . . . . . . . . . . .83
Asst. Co-ordinator Deepak Dhingra
Reviewers Badri Narayan, Sanket Naik,
                                                        cdcontent@jasubhai.com
                                                                                                             Microsoft . . . . .Inside Front Cover
Praveen Kurup, Mustali Kachwala,
Bhaskar Banik, Siju Thomas                                                                                   Nikon . . . . . . . . . . . . .Back Cover
Co-ordinator Ashu Mehrotra
Asst. Co-ordinator Gautami V. Chalke     Help!                                                               Philips . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .9
Multimedia                               Complain about your missing copy?                                   Priya . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .15
Jo-Ann Rodricks, Rupali Patil,
Devendra Chipte, Saurabh Kumar
                                         Cover CD not working properly?
                                                                                                             Samsung . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .7
                                         Renew your subscription
Media Studio
                                         Report a change in mailing address                                  Seascope . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .94
Afzal Mazgaonkar, Prasanth Uyyul
Production                               Order a back issue                                                  Verbatim . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .17
GM Shivshankar Hiremath                  Need assistance on any of these?
Managers Shiv Hiremath, Harish
Suvarna                                  Contact Customer Service at
Manager Operations Shailesh Iyer         Tel: 022-27629200/9211 Extn: 1013/1016
Executives Mangesh Salvi, Sriram Iyer
                                         Fax: 022-27629274
Pre-press                                help@jasubhai.com
Prashant Nair, Shailesh Salvi,                                                                                     Promise
Ravindra Dighe
                                                                                                              to our readers
Circulation & Logistics
Adarsh Kaul, Nicholas Kiro                               Endorsements/Reprints                                While every effort is made to
Customer Service                                          The Best Performance and Best Value Awards          ensure that the information and
Reema Sadarangani                                         are the undisputed stamp of excellence for          prices provided are correct, there
Marketing & Sales
                                         technology products in India. If you are a winner and are            may be some variation due to
Brand Manager Shubhendu Nath
Deputy Head - Sales Vijay Adhikari       interested in ordering article reprints or using our logos,          differences in local taxes across
Marketing Manager Bhavesh Thakor                                                                              states. Please keep this in mind
Manager - Consumer Mktg
                                         contact
Nabjeet Ganguli                          vinith_shetty@jasubhai.com                                           before buying any product.


Head Office: Editorial, Marketing &
Customer Service                          To Advertise
Plot No D-222/2, TTC Industrial Area,
MIDC, Shirvane, Nerul,
                                                                          CONTACT OUR BRANCH OFFICES
Navi Mumbai 400 706                       BANGALORE                           E-mail: jayanta_bhattacharya         jasubhai.com
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Fax: +91 022-27629164
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Printed and published by Maulik
Jasubhai on behalf of Jasubhai Digital    E-mail: raghu_pillai@jasubhai.com   Rupesh Sreedharan                   Phone: 4482059, 4494572
Media Pvt Ltd, 26 Maker Chambers VI,      CHENNAI                             Phone: 22874758/59                  E-mail: vinayak_inamdar
2nd Floor, Nariman Point,
                                          Sahayaraj Prabhu                    E-mail: rupesh_sreedharan           @jasubhai.com
Mumbai 400 021, India.
Editor: Maulik Jasubhai                   Phone: 8235186/89                   @jasubhai.com                       SECUNDERABAD
Printed at Tata Infomedia Limited,        E-mail: s_prabhu@jasubhai.com       NEW DELHI                           Phone: 55221051, 27894167
Prabhadevi, Mumbai 400 025
                                          KOLKATA                             Arvind Prabhakar                    E-mail: vinayak_inamdar@
Cover Photograph Umesh Aher
Cover Design Ashwin Boricha               Jayanta Bhattacharya                Phone: 51608658/59                  jasubhai.com
Cover Model Jyoti Verma                   Phone: 2345100/5200                 E-mail: arvind_prabhakar@



              12                                                                                                                           AUGUST 2003
pulse ■
              ■   news




hypethesis
  Ultra Wideband (UWB)
                                       Intel sees chip                                                            SuSE in space
  ■ What is it?
  It is a wireless technology
                                       industry plateau                                                           L   inux developer SuSE secured
                                                                                                                      a 2.4 million euro deal with


                                      C
  that transmits data using an                hip giant Intel says           in     microprocessors       and     the German Aerospace Center
  extremely short duration                    industry growth will           chipsets were essentially flat for   (DLR). SuSE Linux will provide
  burst of radio frequency (RF)               slow down but remain           the quarter as average prices        the software infrastructure for
  energy. Unlike other wireless       in double-digits.                      and volumes remained stable          the Colum-
  standards UWB does not use               Chief Executive Craig Bar-        from the previous quarter.           bus module
  a carrier wave to transmit          rett said, “I do believe that               Intel is now to spend more      that will be
  data. It is faster than Blue-       growth rates will perhaps              on R&D in 2003 than it origi-        launched to
  tooth and consumes less             declind b bit. Maybe                            nally planned. The          the Interna-
  power. It is being extensive-       they will come down                             move       to   65-nm       tional Space
  ly used for military applica-       a few percentage                                processes from 90-nm        Station in October 2004. The
  tions.                              points, but they will                           is now expected to be       Columbus control centre pro-
                                      probably remain double-digit”.         around $4.2 billion compared         vided by DLR will include mon-
  ■ Why UWB?                               Intel saw its net income          to $4.0 billion. However, over-      itoring and control of Colum-
  It can be used to set up Per-       more than double in the sec-           all the company is remaining         bus’ on-board systems, the co-
  sonal Area Networks (PANs).         ond quarter of 2003. The com-          cautious over the global econ-       ordination of the European pay-
  UWB pulses can be used in           pany announced profits of              omy and says third quarter           load operation and the provi-
  multi-user network applica-         $896 million compared to               revenues will be between $6.9        sion of the communication net-
  tions, as the UWB pulses            $446 million in 2002. Much of          billion and $7.5 billion. The        work for operations and data
  have a short time duration.         the increased profit compared          company is pointing to the           distribution. SuSE provides the
  It has a very high bandwidth        to the 2002 figures were due to        new generation of Pentium            software infrastructure for the
  of 100 Mbps. Also UWB               last year’s write downs of areas       processors, Centrino systems         module’s data needs. Columbus
  chipsets would be cheaper           such as online services, totaling      and the emerging 65-nm               will continue to send data back
  than other wireless chipsets.       $218 million. Intel says rev-          processes to drive revenues for-     to earth for the next 15 years.
                                      enues for its key product areas        ward in the future.                  To handle all this data there are
  ■ How do I use it?                                                                                              46 IBM Dual-Xeon servers, two
  Currently there aren’t many                                                                                     Sun Solaris systems, almost 25
  UWB-based products in the
  market. But many compa-
                                       Mobile throwing competition                                                Terabytes of EMC CLARiiON
                                                                                                                  CX600 storage, ADIC StorNext
  nies have started releasing
  UWB chipsets. UWB-based
  entertainment devices will
                                      P     eople have heard of and
                                            participated in all sorts of
                                       competitions. But this one
                                                                             mobile phones, and sponsors
                                                                             the competition. The fourth
                                                                             such competition will be
                                                                                                                  HSM, Legato Networker Backup
                                                                                                                  as well as an ADIC Scalar10k
                                                                                                                  tape library with more than 70
  allows seamless transfer of          combines       the                                      held on 23rd       Terabytes of storage for backup
  media files between them at          traditional                                             of August,         and archiving. All this will be
  very high speeds.                    test        of                                          2003      in       running on SuSE’s Linux Enter-
                                       strength                                                Savonlinna,        prise Server 8.

snapshot                               with a taste
                                       of technol-
                                                                                               Finland. In
                                                                                               case     you
                                       ogy. Eastern                                            want      to
 16 million                            Europeans conduct                                    show off your
 camera phones will                    annual competi-                                        skills    you
                                                               ILLUSTRATIONS: Mahesh Benkar
 be sold worldwide                     tions for throwing                                     can register
 in  2002  , growing                   mobile phones, yes you read
                                       it right. The current record is
                                                                             yourself at the site www.fen-
                                                                             nolingua.fi/mobile.htm. Prizes
        147
 strongly to                           66 metres, with a Nokia               are awarded based on style,
 million 2007in                        5110. A company called Fen-           aesthetics and the length of

Source: Strategy Analytics
                                       nolingua,      provides      the      the throw.                                                               ➜
 ■   White House mail services were struck by a distributed denial of service attack (DDOS) ■ Slackware—a volunteer distribution of Linux, turns 10



            14                                                                                                                        AUGUST2003
     pulse ■
                     ■   news

     Decline in file sharing after RIAA                                                                                            redalert
     threatens to sue individuals                                                                                                  Virus through Spam
                                                                                                                                   A new tool to spread spam

     T    he music industry, which
          has been perpetually frus-
     trated by the continued popu-
                                              tion claimed would be
                                              $1,50,000 per song
                                              traded. At that rate
                                                                                                    cent. Other popular net-
                                                                                                       works have also experi-
                                                                                                        enced similar declines,
                                                                                                                                   is slowly emerging. Junk e-
                                                                                                                                   mailers are sending viruses
                                                                                                                                   which spread spam anony-
     larity of peer-to-peer file shar-        many users would                                          with Morpheus and          mously. The research done
     ing utilities, finally seems to          soon be picking up a                                      iMesh losing 15 per        by Message Labs, an e-mail
     have hit upon a tactic that              tab of a few million                                     cent and 16 per cent        security firm says that mass
     works. At the end of June the            dollars. In just a week                                respectively. Another pos-    distributions of junk e-mail
     RIAA declared that it would              after the announcement, traf-                    sible explanation is Apple’s        are increasingly coming
     track individual users of these          fic on these networks has                        iTunes music store. The service     from the Internet addresses
     file sharing tools and sue each          dipped noticeably. Nielsen-                      has already sold over 5 million     of computers that have in
     of them individually for shar-           NetRatings reports that usage                    songs in the two months that        the past sent out viruses as
     ing their files. The compensa-           on Kazaa went down by 15 per                     it has been operational.            e-mail attachments. This
                                                                                                                                   could very well become the
     Hacking contest                                                                                                               largest source of viruses.
                                                                                                                                   Also, finding the source of

     W     hen www.defacers-chal-
           lenge.com announced
     a contest for hackers on
                                             pling of countless Web sites
                                             were unfounded, as the event
                                             was drawing to a close there
                                                                                               it would only encourage
                                                                                               more elaborate events in the
                                                                                               future. But, only 500 to 600
                                                                                                                                   such a virus would be diffi-
                                                                                                                                   cult. Such an infection
                                                                                                                                   blends the evils of a com-
     the sixth of July, everyone             was no sign of damage among                       smaller Web sites recorded          puter virus—spam and spy-
     in the online business                  the Web’s most popular sites                      defacements, which is less          ware. Also, it would be very
     was worried. According to               such as Amazon.com and                            than the 3,000 or so sites that     easy to create variants of
     the Web site, the first hacker          Yahoo.com.                                        are defaced on a heavy hack-        such infections. The only
     to deface 6,000 sites; or the               This contest caused vari-                     ing day.                            practical solution to this is to
     highest number of sites;                ous reactions across the                              Others were of the opin-        ensure that e-mail and
     would win a prize of 500 MB             industry. Security officials                      ion that it was good thing, as      attachments are checked
     of Web space.                           said that this contest received                   it made people more aware           before downloading.
         Concerns about the crip-            so much press attention, that                     about their security.
                                                                                                                                   W32.HLLW.Indor.E@
                                                                                                                                   mm
     statattack                                                                                Sony hand-                          W32.HLLW.Indor.E@mm is a
                                                                                                                                   mass-mailing worm that is
                                                                                               held engine                         now a high threat level. It
                                                                                                                                   spreads across computers



                                                                                               S
                                                                                                     ony recently released its     using Microsoft Outlook. It
                                                                                                     Handheld          processor   sends a zipped copy of itself
                                                                                                     dubbed ‘The Handheld          to all the contacts in the
                                                                                               Engine’. The Sony CLI PEG-          Microsoft Outlook Address
                                                                                               UX50 will be the first hand-        Book—with files such as
                                                                                               held to use the chip.               SaveNow.zip and Report.zip.
                                                                                                    The hand-                      When the virus runs, it dis-
                                                                                               held engine                         plays a fake message that
                                                                                               is optimised                        states “Error in file #1: bad
              Source: TowerGroup                                                               for handheld                        Zip file offset (Error local
                                                                                               devices, with                       header signature not found):
                                                                                               special emphasis                    disk #1 offset: 68669733.
                                                                                               placed on battery                   The virus may also spread
                                                                                               life and speed. It combines a       through network drives,
                                                                               INFOGRAPHICS:




                                                                                               Sony manufactured ARM926-           floppy disks, the KaZaA file-
                                                                                               based processor, a Digital          sharing network, and mIRC.
                                                                                               Singnal Processor and a             Visit http://securityresponse.
                                                                                               CXD2230GA graphics accelera-        symantec.com/avcenter/down
                                                                               Sachin Dalvi




                                                                                               tor. This is the first time an in   load/pages/US-N95.html for
                                                                                               house processor is being used in
                                                                                               the Sony Handheld.
                                                                                                                                   a removal.
                                                                                                                                                                      ➜
          Source: OneStat.com


■ Sony   recalled 18,000 laptops because of the risk of users receiving slight electrical shocks due to faulty modems ■ America’s Army has been released for MacOS



                   16                                                                                                                                  AUGUST2003
pulse ■
              ■   news

Apple loses                           The 64-bit monster                                                                heroes
flavour with                          ...playing spoilsport?                                                    Indian gamers
Adobe                                                                                                           The gaming scene in India is



A    dobe has announced a
     new version of its video
                                      T   he G5 processor powering
                                          the latest Power Mac,
                                      developed jointly by IBM and
                                                                           Dell score would have been
                                                                           much higher if the system was
                                                                           running a Windows operating
                                                                                                                beginning to heat up. Rumors of
                                                                                                                console lsystems such as the PS2
                                                                                                                and Xbox are filling the scene.
effects package After Effects 6,      Apple, runs at frequencies up        system with an Intel optimised       Along with this, new games are
and video editing software            to 2 GHz. Benchmarks                       compiler rather than the       now available quite easily and
Premiere Pro. In a significant        provided by Apple                          used GCC compiler used.        legally. This is a great job done
development, the company              indicate that the sys-                         All of this is pure        by members of the Indian gam-
said that Premiere will no            tem, powered by dual                       speculation, for exam-         ing scene. Also, some credit goes
longer be developed                   G5 processors, is con-                     ple, the performance of        to the gaming industry for test-
for Apple systems.                    siderably faster than                      Quake III Arena on the         ing out the waters of the Indian
The new ver-                          the fastest Pentium 4                      system is reported to be       market, despite the piracy.
sion of Pre-                          based system or even a                     much higher. However,
miere has been                        dual Xeon processor                        other computers around         C-DAC
redesigned and                        configuration.                             the world easily match         C-DAC’s (Centre for Develop-
developed from                            But these bench-                       and outperform the             ment of Advanced Computing)
the ground up for                     marks are being questioned           score of the G5. But, then           Param Padma Cluster is listed as
Windows XP. Adobe’s core              around the world. The rival          again, the G5 uses a 64 MB           one of the worlds top 500
audience of creative profes-          machine that was used here           ATI Radeon 9600, in contrast         supercomputers. It is sitting at
sionals are often Mac users.          was a Dell Dimension 8300,           to the 9800 Pro card with 128        171 on the list. The top 500
But recently it is showing            running a Linux operating sys-       MB memory used by the Dell           list, compiled by top500.org
increasing signs of supporting        tem. There is belief that the        Dimension 8300.                      lists out 500 of the world’s most
only Windows, with Apple                                                                                        powerful supercomputers based
developing a lot of tools
which overlap with their
                                      Increased cell phone usage                                                on raw computing power.

products. Adobe’s strongest
competitor in the video edit-
                                      due to free incoming calls                                                        zeroes
ing market is Apple’s own
video editing tool Final Cut
Pro.
                                      U     nder the Telecom Regula-
                                            tory Authority of India’s
                                      (TRAI) new Interconnect
                                                                           mobile phones on GSM net-
                                                                           works from a standard fixed
                                                                           line. STD calls between
                                                                                                                Camera phone
                                                                                                                mischief
                                                                                                                People are using camera
    Adobe and Apple are not           Usage Charge (IUC), or access        mobiles are also cheaper than
                                                                                                                phones to take unsolicited
at loggerheads though; they           charge regime, all incoming          between fixed lines. So, for         images. They are taking
continue to have good rela-           calls in India have been made        many users calling mobile to         photographs of books and
tions. After Effects continues        free. This came                          mobile is now the best           magazine pages that they
to enjoy good sales on the            into effect on the                          option. This sudden           need. In South Korea, where
Mac, and Photoshop remains            first of May, and                               explosion of users,       more than 3 million phones
the de-facto for photo editing,       since then talk                                    coupled with the       have cameras built-in, the
with Apple even using it as a         times on cell                                         longer     talk     problem is escalating.
performance indicator at the          phones        have                                       times seems      Samsung has banned camera
launch of the G5.                     shown a 20 per                                           to     have      phones in its offices to prevent
                                                                                                                industrial espionage.
                                      cent jump. The                                           placed too
snapshot                              introduction of
                                      WLL services has
                                                                                               much stress
                                                                                               on the net-
                                                                                                                Winamp3
                                                                                                                Development
 P2P utility                          also given a big boost to the
                                      total number of mobile users
                                                                           works, with some users having
                                                                           to try a couple of times, before
                                                                                                                stopped by AOL
 Morpheus had                         in the country, not only those       they can make a call or suc-
                                                                                                                AOL has stopped developing
                                                                                                                Winamp3, and will revert to its
 231,000 unique                       adopting WLL, but also new           cessfully send an SMS. Orange        older version for now. The
 users for the week                   users on the standard cellular       Vice President Harit Nagpal          slow and buggy media player
                                                                                                                had shown promise in some
     July 6
 ending           ;
                                      (GSM) networks. Increased
                                      competition has pushed down
                                                                           said, “Earlier, we used to han-
                                                                           dle traffic of about eight lakh      areas, such as the homegrown
 iMesh      had                       prices and increased the total       SMS messages a day. Now the
                                                                                                                language Wasabi. However,
 214,000       during                 number of users on the net-          traffic has shot up five times
                                                                                                                the upcoming Winamp5
                                                                                                                (version 2 plus 3) will continue
 the same period.                     works. The new pricing struc-        with about four million SMS          its development and should be
                                      ture also makes it more expen-       messages sent across our net-        out late 2003.
Source: Nielsen/NetRatings,           sive in some cases to call           work alone.”
InternetNews.com

     ■ PC   maker, Dell Computer, to change name to Dell ■ Hackers target a known Cisco router flaw, however no substantial damage is done



            18                                                                                                                     AUGUST2003
AOL lays off Netscape developers                                                                                Commodore
                                                                                                                makes a
I n a move to reorganise its
  Open Source Mozilla brows-
er team, America Online
                                      offs mark the latest set-
                                      back for Netscape. More
                                      than 90 per cent of Web
                                                                                        loose Mozilla.org
                                                                                        group transforms
                                                                                        itself into a non-
                                                                                                                comeback
(AOL), laid off 50 employees
involved in the Netscape
Communications develop-
                                      surfers currently use
                                      Internet Explorer, accord-
                                      ing to site visitor statistics
                                                                                        profit foundation.
                                                                                        Some of the new
                                                                                        recruits are expect-
                                                                                                                T   ulip Computers, owners of
                                                                                                                    the Commodore brand,
                                                                                                                plan to re-launch due to an
ment subsidiary. Continuing           published by Google.                              ed to come from         upsurge of interest in the obso-
support of current versions of            “Netscape remains a                           Netscape’s ranks.       lete Commodore 64 (C64)
Netscape and the Netscape             key part of our multi-brand          However, a broad group of            computer and its 1980s-era
Web portal is planned by the          strategy. “We’ll continue to         independent volunteers and           games. Tulip estimates that
Company.                              support the browser and the          staffers at other companies are      there are still 6 million Com-
    In an increasingly tough          portal,” AOL spokesman               expected to continue working         modore users, who can choose
battle with Microsoft for             Andrew Weinstein said.               on the open-source browser           from a range of 6,000 games
browser market share, the lay-            The layoffs come as the          effort.                              which were developed for the
                                                                                                                system.

Nanotubes in screens                                                                                                Hardware enthusiasts have
                                                                                                                written emulators for Windows

M       otorola is working on a new display tech-
        nology, using carbon nanotubes (CNT).
Called the ‘nano emissive display’, the technol-
                                                         the only hurdle to its implementation. This is
                                                         important because the substrate with which
                                                         they must bond are heat sensitive. Research on
                                                                                                                PCs, Macintoshes, and now
                                                                                                                PocketPC-based PDAs to enable
                                                                                                                original Commodore games to
ogy enables the manufacturers to produce large           carbon nanotubes has been going on for 10              run on those systems.
flat-panel displays at a lower cost. Motorola            years, and on this new process for about four
claims that the display quality will be better           years. The technology can be easily adapted to
than that of plasma and LCD                                         be used by plants that manufacture
screens. If everything goes well, we                                plasma screens. Carbon nano tubes
could be seeing 50 to 80-inch CNT                                   can be used to produce a variety of
screens, costing the same as a 32-                                  other devices such as transistors,
inch Cathode Ray screen.                                            memory chips, batteries and sensors.
     It could also be used for produc-                              The company is holding talks with                Tulip is working with Iron-
ing much larger displays such as bill-                              European and Asian manufacturers            stone Partners, which will han-
boards. Carbon nanotubes can con-                                   to bring the product to the market.         dle all sales of Commodore 64-
duct electricity, withstand high temperatures,           Motorola had set up a factory in mid 90s in Tem-       related products worldwide and
and are strong and light. These nanotubes, fire          ple to manufacture flat panel displays using           take over the main C64 Web
electrons at materials that emit light to produce        microchip technology but the plant was closed          portal. Tulip said that unautho-
colour displays. And scientists at Motorola Labs         in 2000 owing to certain technological prob-           rised use of the Commodore
in Temple, Arizona have found a new way to               lems. This time Motorola has promised there            name by other organisations
grow nanotubes at low temperatures, which was            won’t be a repeat act.                                 will soon be stopped.



                                     Spot the hot spots sans the power
                                     E   ver been caught in a situa-
                                         tion when the battery of
                                     your laptop is running low
                                                                                                                 lights and only one button.
                                                                                                                     The button, of course,
                                                                                                                 starts the search for the
                                     and you have to find a WiFi                                                 wireless LAN signal and if
                                     access point? Or when you are                                               one is found, the lights will
                                     carrying your laptop in a bag?                                              show its strength.
                                     Every time you have to take                                                     Kensington claims that
                                     out your laptop, wait for it to                                             its device is able to find
                                     boot and check whether there              Kensington Technology             802.11b and 802.11g signals,
                                     is Wi-Fi coverage at that par-        Group (www.kensington.com), a         if the hot-spot is up to 200
                                     ticular point. In all these           manufacturer of a broad               feet away. It also filters out
                                     cases, there has been the need        assortment of devices, has            other wireless signals such as
                                     for a device that could check         come up with a product                Bluetooth. It is priced at
                                     availability of Wi-Fi coverage        called ‘WiFi Finder’. The 2.95        about $25, and comes with a
                                     quickly and easily.                   x 0.39 x 2.17-inch, three             1-year warranty.

 ■A   US company launches Mexican sales of microchips that can be implanted under a person’s skin, and used to confirm health history, and identity


           19                                                                                                                        AUGUST2003
pulse ■
               ■   news

Ring out the                           Critical flaw found in                                                     quoteworthy
pests?                                 Windows                                                                       “For folks who want
                                                                                                                     the ultimate experi-
A   new service allows cell
    phone users to download
a sound that repels trouble-
                                      M       icrosoft announced three
                                              new security breaches in
                                       its software, including one
                                                                                                                     ence, they’ll want the
                                                                                                                     latest ATI card, and
some mosquitoes by South               ‘critical’ Windows flaw that                                                  the fastest processor
Korea’s top mobile phone               allows a hacker to run any                                                    available from AMD
operator. According to SK Tele-        unauthorised code on victims’                                                 or Intel.”
com, the sound is capable of           PCs. The flaw known as a
clearing the insects within a          buffer overrun vulnerability           dows, including Windows XP,            Marketing Director for Valve,
range of one                           allows an attacker to use an           2000, 98, 98 SE, Me, and NT            Doug Lombardi, talking
                                                                                                                     about Half-Life 2’s release
                                       unchecked buffer to run their          4.0 Server. The flaw is less
                                       own executable code. The flaw          effective in Windows Server
                                       located in the HTML converter          2003, because it ships with a          “Google’s a very nice
                                       in Windows, is used by hack-           setting known as Enhanced              system, but compared
                                       ers to spread the code either by       Security        Configuration          to my vision, it’s
                                       sending an HTML e-mail or by           designed to minimise the risk
                meter.     The         creating a special Web page            of unauthorised code being
                                                                                                                     pathetic.”
                prime reason           that triggers a the code.              launched. Microsoft has post-          Microsoft Executive, Jim
                for such a                  The vulnerability exists in       ed a patch for the vulnerabili-        Allchin, talking about their
                service is that        most recent versions of Win-           ty on its Web site.                    new search program called
mosquitoes are a common irri-                                                                                        MSNBot that trawls the Net,
                                                                                                                     and builds an index of HTML
tant during the hot, humid
summers in Korea.                      Hijacked PCs spread                                                           links, and documents
    Subscribers of the service
will be able to download the
                                       porn                                                                          “Like almost every-
sound, which will cost 3,000
won ($2.54), from the firm’s
wireless Internet service from
                                      T    wo thousand Windows-
                                           based PCs with high-speed
                                       Internet connections in San
                                                                              links. It allows the victim
                                                                              computer to fetch porn Web
                                                                              ads from an undisclosed serv-
                                                                                                                     one, I receive a lot of
                                                                                                                     spam every day,
                                                                                                                     much of it offering to
21st July. The sound plays             Francisco have been hijacked           er and pass the ads on to other        help me get out of
constantly, consuming pre-             by a stealth program and are           computers, either through an           debt or get rich
cious mobile battery charge. It        being used to send ads for             e-mail spam or a Web browser.          quick”
is faintly audible to the              pornography, say computer                  The Trojan is also said to be
                                                                                                                     Microsoft Chairman, Bill
human ear.                             security experts. The Trojan,          responsible for a PayPal scam          Gates, pointing out that
    Repelling the bugs will use        dubbed ‘Migmaf’ or ‘migrant            discovered last week. Designed         spam is draining business
up to 30 per cent more of the          Mafia’, turns the victim com-          to collect credit card informa-        productivity and that
phone’s battery power, said            puter into a proxy server that         tion from people who filled in         Microsoft alone cannot fix
SK, which controls more than           serves as a sort of middleman          a form they received via e-mail        the problem
half of Asia’s third-largest           between people clicking on             claiming to be from Web pay-
mobile market.                         porn e-mail spam or Web site           ment provider PayPal.



snapshot                              tomorrow’stechnology
                                        SoundVu… audio/visual integration at its finest
 Spam filters
 on Microsoft’s                         S  oundVu is a technology
                                           under development by
                                        NXT. The technology aims at
                                                                             ter standard phone receiver
                                                                             systems. The sound quality
                                                                             provided by such a panel is
                                                                                                                      Such technology would
                                                                                                                  also be very useful in high end
                                                                                                                  multimedia phones. The
 MSN and                                producing audio and visual           much higher than a regular           SoundVu technology meets
 Hotmail e-mail                         output from a single surface.        receiver. But the best advan-        the needs of 3G handsets. NEC
                                        By doing this, NXT aims to           tage of this would be a dra-         is one of the first electronic
 services now block                     provide a speaker with virtu-        matic change in the shape and        giants to have shown interest
 2.4 billion                            ally no footprint.                   design of the phone. This is         in this system. It has devel-
                                             Due to its technology and       mainly due to the integration        oped a laptop with a screen
 messages a day                         size, SoundVu panels can bet-        of the audio and video units.        that works as a speaker.
Source: MSN

    ■ Mozilla   1.4 has been released for Windows, Linux and Mac OS   ■A   new bill pending in US Congress could make P2P file swapping a felony



              20                                                                                                                       AUGUST2003
  pulse ■
               ■    letters                                                                  Buying trouble
                                                                                               Dear Sumod,
                                                                                               With reference
                                                                                                                   to the
           fa                PC                                                               July 2003 edito
The death o
                                                                                                               rial, I feel
                                                                                              that India is
                                                                                                               the only
                                                                                              country in th
Dear Digit,                     blown up                                                                        e world
               ns! You have                                                                  where the custo
Congratulatio                 we use soft-                                                                     mer for a
                 esting that                                                                 computer perip
our PC by sugg           . In no time,
                                        it
                                                                                             to go through or
                                                                                                               heral has
ware su  ch as SoftFSB          0 MHz 4                                                                        deals that
                 r Celeron 90                                                               have no para
 multiplied ou          e just ask you
                                       to
                                                                                            importer, distribu
                                                                                                               llels. The
 times! Now, could w            cheque of                                                                       tor, and the
                  send us a a                                                               reseller mafia he
 be kind, and              pairs that yo
                                         u                                                                     re, is unheard
  Rs 10,0 00 for the re                                                                     of in the other
                                                                                                              parts of the wo
                  thrust upon   us?                                                        There are ‘n’ nu                     rld.
  have literally                           ILLUSTRATIONS: Mahesh Benkar                    you can buy PC
                                                                                                             mber of online
                                                                                                                                stores abroad, fro
                 u,                                                                                         components. ‘If                       m where
  Thanking yo                                                                              able’ is their mot                  they’re made, th
              antanu                                                                                          to.                               ey’re avail-
  Anant and Sh                                                                                 However, try bu
          ail                                                                                                    ying any compo
  Via e-m                                                                                 are almost sure                          nent in India, an
                                                                                                             to be taken for                         d you
                                                                                          repair problems                        a ride. Replacem
                                                                                                            are better left un                     ent and
       Dear Anant and Shantanu,                                                                Thank you for ac               said.
       You have our sympathies for your loss. Over-clocking your PC is always                                     knowledging ou
                                                                                         ing our woes.                             r plight and high
                                                                                                                                                     light-
       a hazardous task, as we point out in every article that shows you how to         Sartaj Sharma
       go about doing it. Where a 10 per cent increase is considered significant,       Via e-mail
       pushing your system to 4 times it’s rated speed is certain to melt every
       chip. We publish your letter here as a cautionary note to all our read-           Dear Sumod,
       ers—the speed gain by over-clocking brings with it a corresponding risk           Apropos the ed
       of burn out. Please be careful.                                                                    itorial dated July
                                                                                        not yet compl                           2003, the smok
                                                                                                           etely off. Kudo                         e screen is
                                                                                        ground realities                      s for acknowled
                                                                                                          , and the deplor                          ging the
                                                                                        today—an act lo                      able state the cu
                                                                                                           ng overdue.                           stomer is in
                                                                                       Prices for a SATA
                                                                                                            hard disk are no
                                                                                       because the distr                      t available with
                                                                                                                                                  the reseller
      Crack who                                                                        these drives. CR
                                                                                                            ibutor feels that
                                                                                                                                 there is no mark
               ?                                                                      overnight since
                                                                                                         T monitors are
                                                                                                                           withdrawn from
                                                                                                                                                        et for
      Dear Sir,                                                                                           the TFTs do no                         the market
       Please do                                                                      are around! Inde                      t sell if their ch
                   include so                                                                            ed, call centres kn                   eap cousins
     Magic, etc.                ftware such                                           or anything for                          ow nothing abou
                  , in your fo                 as 3D Stud                                               that matter.                                 t prices,
                                  rthcoming                io Max, Pa                 Big bullies, impo
     increase th                               Digit intera             rtition                            rting motherb
                  e number                                  ctive CDs.                which way the                          oards and proc
    games. The                of games,                                  Also,                            wind is blowin                        essors, see
                   bitter truth           and reduce                                                                         g before answeri
                                 is that the           the useless                   queries about an                                              ng your
    is due to th                              popularity             funzone                               875 chipset! La
                 e crackdigit                             of your mag                wake up at 10 am                        mington road ‘gu
    popular wil                 site. The m                             azine                            , have lunch, an                          rus’ still
                 l your mag                 ore cracks                               components ha                          d then tell you th
                              azine be. A              available, th                                   ve yet to come,                            at the PC
   cannot fin                              s the crackd               e more         means that the                         which, in their
                d cracks to                             igit site is d                                ‘rate for the day’                         parlance,
   entrust som                 some of th                             own, I         worked out. Do                       for all the parts
                 eone with                  e games. I                                                n’t be surprised                       is still being
  Thanks,                     the task of                suggest th                                                      if CPUs prices fal
                                           developing                 at you        cent between th                                           l by 20 per
                                                        cracks.                                        e time of purch
  Sartaj Sharma                                                                     3.43 Virar fast at                    ase, and the arr
                                                                                                        Dahisar. The bu                       ival of the
 Via e-mail                                                                         Street seems to                        siness carried ou
                                                                                                     be far safer.                              t at Dalal
                                                                                    Ravi Mahadevan
                                                                                    Via e-mail
                  Dear Sartaj,
                  Over the last couple of issues, we have been dis-
                                                                                         Dear Raja and Ravi,
                  cussing the ills of piracy in this space. Just to make
                                                                                         Your experiences resonate loud and clear with all of us who have
                  it absolutely clear, we are not in any way associat-
                                                                                         had the opportunity to buy PC components in the ‘grey’ market.
                  ed with any crackdigit site, and are most certainly
                                                                                         The stories are always the same, the excuses are quite pre-
                  not getting into the business of “developing cracks”
                                                                                         dictable. The problem is compounded by the fact that it is the
                  for software.
                                                                                         rare reseller who has both knowledge, and the right attitude.




                                                                                                               Your vote counts
    Q. Do you think publishing bad after-sales experiences                          This month’s question:
    that our readers endure will help improve vendor’s                              Question: Your reason for not trying Linux yet?
    service levels?                                                                 Don’t know why I should try
                                                                                    To hard to install/use
                                  Yes                 No                            My favourite application missing
                                                                                    Linux rules my desk!
                               75.4%               24.6%
                                                                                    Log on to www.thinkdigit.com and vote

             24                                                                                                                               AUGUST 2003
    Language babble
    Hi!
    I am a regular news stand buyer of Digit.                                                                I am appalled to see how partial you guys have
    I noticed that you were conducting a massive                                                            been while advertising for your latest 10-CD
    subscription campaign that entailed offering                                                           pack offer. The June issue carried the advertise-
    a 10-CD pack to the subsrciber. You made use                                                         ment in all languages—except in Telugu.
    of almost all the languages, except Kannada—                                                        I thought that you would carry the advertisement
    the language of the state where India’s IT capi-                                                   in Telugu in thefollowing month, but that did not
    tal is situated. Was this done deliberately?                                                      happen. Don’t be under the impression that no one
    It seems to me that a state that contributes so                                                  with Telugu as their mother tongue reads Digit. In fact,
    much to the IT sector does not mean much to                                                     in my opinion, more than 1000 Digit subscribers are
    you. Is this the message that you wish to spread ?                                             from Andhra Pradesh. I hope you will not repeat such a
    Please do clarify your stand in this matter.                                                  mistake in the near future.
    Thank you,                                                                          Yours,
    Ganesh.                                                                             Y.Niranjan Prasad
    Via e-mail                                                                          Via e-mail
                          Dear Niranjan
                                           and Ganesh,
                         It is indeed
                                       unbelievabl
                        in our subscr              e that we m
                                        iption campa            issed out on
                                                                              Telegu, and
                       and from yo
                                       ur response
                                                     ign. We chos
                                                                  e the langua              Kannada                   Short Bytes
                       no intention                , you seem                  ges quite at
                                      to cause offe             to have got                 random,                   Pleasantries
                       munities, or                 nce to the Te           the message
                                      those that sp              legu and Kann             . We had                   Hi Digit,
                      languages w                    eak any of th              ada speaking
                                     e didn’t use,                 e couple of                  com-                  I could hardly believe my eyes when I
                                                   out of the 40               dozen othe
                                                                  odd recogn                r Indian                  read that the August issue would be
                                                                              ised.
                                                                                                                      carrying a DVD. It was music to my
                                                                                                                      ears!. And, I alreadyhave a premoni-
                                                                                                                      tion that it’s gonna be packed with a
                                                                                                                      lot of surplus surprises.
                                                                                                                          I recently got the 10-CD pack that
                                                                                                                      was promised with my subscription.
             le
Trailer troub
                                                                                                                      It had all the utilies needed for my
                                                                                                   ade
                                                                                   rsary issue m                      system. Indeed, the CDs have proven
                                                                    y. The annive
Dear Sum    od,                                 co nd anniversar                   es into  Digit has                 themselves to be useful.
                                u on Digit’s se                    ntent that go
                 ngratulate yo                   ed that the co
First, let me co              ha ve also notic
                                                                                                                          Good job guys! Cheers!
                g reading. I                                                          ishing gamin
                                                                                                       g
for interestin                                                         stopped publ
                                                                                                                      S.Raghavendra
                bstantially.                        th  s, you have                              widely
improved su                          or three mon                        it’s not availa
                                                                                         ble as                       Via e-mail
                      the past two                      y Skoar, since
      However, for             ct ever y gamer to bu
                se don’t expe                                                                  lers that              Hi,
 articles. Plea                                                                  d movie trai
                                                               each game, an                         sin-             Read the SOS of Arvind Singh in the
 as D  igit.                    player is ne  eded to play                  ld you recommend a
        Second  ly, a different                 is very   irritating. Cou              ailers’ format. I              July 2003 issue. The same problem
                                 are CD. This                          change the tr
                  on the playw                       t, then please
                                                                                                                      has been affecting my friend for the
  are included                   ese trailers? If no                    oblem   s.                                    past one year. I have been removing
                 ayer for all th                      facing such pr
  gle media pl                       e, and others                                                                    it using IBM’s DFT (Drive fitness Test)
                   ve it will help m
   strongly belie            axpowersin@...
                                           .com                                                                       which I downloaded from the Net.
                            m
                                                                                                                          Arvind could use the ‘Corrupted
                              Dear maxpowersin,                                                                       Sector Repair’ option, available in the
                              We cannot continue carrying gaming articles every month, simply                         DFT to eliminate the problem.
                              because only a small number of our readers, such as yourself, are avid                  However, the repair may sometimes
                              gamers. However, we will certainly carry the occasional gaming article                  make the present installation unusable
                              to satisfy your needs. As for the multiple format movies, that is how the               (missing explorer.exe, or registry dam-
                              movies are made by the original creators. We do not limit our choices                   ages). He should backup data from
                              by format, and try to include all the software—players, as well as                      Windows to another drive before for-
                              codecs, required to view them. You should find this software on the                     matting the drive. Here’s wishing the
                              Playware CD, under the Players folder.                                                  Digit Team a happy Anniversary.
                                                                                                                      Love,
                                                                                                                      Deepu
                                                                                                                      Via e-mail


                                               Send your letters marked ‘Readers Letters’ to the Digit office:
                                   D-222/2, MIDC, TTC Industrial Estate, Om Sagar Building, Nerul, Navi Mumbai 400 706,
                                                      Phone: 022-7629191/9200 Fax: 022-7629224
                                                            E-mail: readersletters@jasubhai.com


                 25                                                                                                                            AUGUST 2003
pulse ■
         ■   opinion




                       Duck that Spam
                       I
                           n the last 12 weeks, every tech or non-tech        for you, and you can create multiple POP3
                           publication contained at least one news            accounts or aliases for as little as Rs 300 to Rs
                           item or article about spam, saying how bad         1,300 a year. If you don’t want to create mul-
                       it is, how the George Bush government will             tiple POP3 accounts, create just one main
                       stop it by passing laws against it, and so on.         account. It can be called ab@yourdomain.com.
                            Let’s face it! Spam is not going away no          Don’t give this address to anyone. Now create
                       matter how many laws you pass against it.              few aliases; How many depends solely on how
VIPUL SHAH             Stopping spam is far more difficult than carpet        many different categories you can sort your
                       bombing a few countries. It costs almost noth-         incoming mail into—for example, create a
                       ing to send a million e-mails, and is enor-            yourfirstname@yourdomain.com for all your per-
                       mously profitable—even if only 10 people               sonal contacts. Ask your friends to never sub-
                       respond, and buy a University Diploma, a               mit this e-mail address to any Web sites which




“
                       weight loss product, or accept money from the          may offer them goodies in exchange for a
                       wife of an ex-president of some African coun-          friend’s e-mail address.
      Stopping         try. Until people on the Internet become more               Then create an alias—bank@yourdo-
                       alert and savvy, spam is going to be major busi-       main.com or abcbank@yourdomain.com—and
spam is far more       ness, and also a major nuisance.                       use it for banking. Create a separate alias for
                            Most spam e-mails originate from China            every e-mail newsletter you subscribe to and
difficult than car-    and some Eastern bloc countries. So, even if           so on. In my case, I write for various publi-
pet bombing            spam is outlawed in one country, your mail-            cations, so I have different aliases such as
                       box will still overflow with spam originating          digit@vipulshah.com or toi@vipulshah.com for
a few countries...     from other countries. The rate at which spam           Times of India.
                       is increasing, one or two sender countries                  You can even create a spam@yourdo-




                ”
                       dropping out won’t change the scene much.              main.com, just for those Web sites which
                            Now, since we can’t stop spam, we can at          insist on your registering with them before
                       least try to duck it. There are few ways to do         you can use their services. Then you won’t
                       this. One very popular, but not very effective         have to bother checking this e-mail, as it
                       way, is to use anti-spam software such as Mail-        will be full of mailers and offers. Once done,
                       washer. This software is free, and very good at        create different folders in your e-mail soft-
                       detecting spam in your mailbox. It deletes             ware and use message rules to route all your
                       spam before you download any e-mails and               incoming mails to the respective folders,
                       bounces all spam back to the sender in order           depending on the address in the To/Cc field
                       to appear as an invalid address, and hope that         of incoming mails.
                       the spammers will remove your address from                  Now, you are not at the mercy of spam-
                       their list. If your e-mail ID is not critical, you     mers. If one of the above aliases receives any
                       can just create new e-mail accounts every few          spam, you can just disable it by adding it to
                       months, abandon the old accounts and                   the ‘nobody’ list, and all mails to this alias will
                       inform every one of the change.                        start bouncing. Also, if you receive spam at
                            I have started a strategy where if I can’t        bank@yourdomain.com you know your bank is
                       completely stop spam, I can at least reduce it         leaking, selling or renting your e-mail address
                       to manageable level. The older your e-mail             to spammers. You may add this address to the
                       address, the more important it is to you, and          ‘Nobody’ list, and inform the bank that you
                       the more spam it attracts. So if you are some-         don’t wish to receive communication by e-
                       one who needs e-mail for your work, then you           mail anymore, or even consider taking your
                       should allocate some money every year for e-           business elsewhere.
                       mail—just as you do for mobile phones, faxes                This strategy keeps your options open and
                       or ISP charges. You should sign up for a               lets you minimise spam, which you can’t do
                       domain name, which now costs as low as $7              with free e-mail addresses. We also know that
                       to $13 a year and buy e-mail hosting—20 MB             dot com portals can crash, and thus, so can
                       or more—as it’s not expensive. Usually the             your free e-mail address. But your own domain
                       hosting company will create a master account           name protects you from such uncertainties.

                       Vipul Shah is a chartered accountant, and writes and consults on Internet, e-commerce, banking and finance
                       technologies. He can be reached at digit@vipulshah.com


       26                                                                                                          AUGUST 2003
features ■
                ■   technology next
                                                                                          PHOTOGRAPH:   Mexy Xavier,   IMAGING:   Atul Deshmukh




                                                            Line
                                                                         of Sound
Sound, like light can now be directed, so that only those within its path can hear it.



F
     or many decades now, the way we         plex mathematics. But it’s real, and works   direct a beam of sound the way you focus
     listen to music hasn’t really           fine enough to knock the socks of any        light using a flashlight. Perhaps just a lit-
     changed. If you claim to be an          other conventional loudspeaker.              tle, by holding an open-mouthed funnel-
audiophile, or a connoisseur of fine             Researchers have worked for many         shaped pipe close to your mouth and
music, then you probably have your own       years to focus sound into a coherent and     shouting. However, this still doesn’t
personal acoustical preferences in instru-   highly directional beam. It’s never quite    direct the sound as required.
ments that reproduce music. However, it’s    worked beyond the laboratory; at least,           The audible portions of sound tend to
interesting to know that the basic tech-     not until recently, when former MIT          spread out in all directions from the point
nology powering the speaker has              Media Labs researcher, Joseph Pompei,        of origin. They do not travel as narrow
remained just about the same.                managed to crack the problem by study-       beams—which is why you don’t need to
    At the moment, two companies that        ing current techniques and re-engineer-      be right in front of a radio to hear music.
have been at the forefront of research in    ing them. Now, Holosonic Research Labs       In fact, the beam angle of audible sound
acoustics have decided to change that.       and the American Technology Corpora-         is very wide, just about 360 degrees. This
The secret weapon in their arsenal is an     tion have come up with audio solutions       effectively means the sound that you hear
often touted, but never quite realised       that make use of audio spotlighting tech-    will be propagated through air equally, in
technology that creates focused beams of     nology to create fine audio solutions for    all directions.
sound, similar to the light beams coming     a wide variety of applications.                   In order to focus sound into a nar-
out of a flashlight. The technology that                                                  row beam, you need to maintain a low
powers this is known as audio spotlight-     Lighting up sound                            beam angle that is dictated by wave-
ing. It uses a combination of non-linear     Audio spotlighting makes for an interest-    length. The smaller the wavelength, the
acoustics and some very fancy and com-       ing theory, but you just can’t focus, or     less the beam angle, and hence, the more


         31                                                                                                                       AUGUST 2003
features ■
                 ■   technology next

focused the sound. Unfortunately, most
of the human-audible sound is a mixture          Using ultrasound to generate audible sound
of signals with varying wavelengths—
between 2 cms to 17 metres (the human
hearing ranges from a frequency of 20
Hz to 20,000 Hz). Hence, except for very
low wavelengths, just about the entire
audible spectrum tends to spread out at
360 degrees.
     To create a narrow sound beam, the
aperture size of the source also matters—
a large loudspeaker will focus sound over
a smaller area. If the source loudspeaker
can be made several times bigger than
the wavelength of the sound transmitted,
then a finely focused beam can be creat-
ed. The problem here is that this is not a
very practical solution. To ensure that the
shortest audible wavelengths are focused
into a beam, a loudspeaker about 10
metres across is required, and to guaran-
tee that all the audible wavelengths          nal paper, which established that water      researchers from Ricoh and other Japan-
are focused, even bigger loudspeakers         distorts ultrasound signals in a non-lin-    ese companies got together to come up
are needed.                                   ear, but predictable, mathematical way.      with the idea of using pure ultrasound
                                              The researchers finally went on to use       signals as a carrier wave, and superim-
Ultrasound to the rescue                      this and create directional sonar, but       posing audible speech and music signals
Bigger loudspeakers and source apertures      there was a bigger use of Berktay’s equa-    on it to create a hybrid wave. This is sim-
seemed like an insurmountable obstacle,       tion outside of sound propagation under      ilar to the idea of amplitude modulation
until scientists started work on ultra-       water. Research in the early 1970s           (AM), a technique used to broadcast com-
sound. Pioneering research in the usage       focused on sound propagation in air. This    mercial radio stations signals over a wide
and propagation of ultrasound can be          is when researchers started firing the       area. The speech and music signals are
traced back to the 1960s, when Orhan          inaudible ultrasound pulses into the air     mixed with the pure ultrasound carrier
Berktay and other acousticians were           and discovered that air spontaneously        wave, and the resultant hybrid wave is
studying underwater sound propagation.        converted the inaudible ultrasound into      then broadcast. As this wave moves
Researchers discovered that if short puls-    audible sound tones, hence proving that      through the air, it creates complex dis-
es of ultrasound were fired into water, the   as with water, sound propagation in air is   tortions that give rise to two new fre-
pulses were spontaneously converted           just as non-linear, but can be calculated    quency sets, one slightly higher and one
into low frequency sound. Ultrasound is       mathematically.       Joseph     Pompei’s    slightly lower than the hybrid wave. Berk-
sound that has very small wavelength—         acoustic device, the Audio Spotlight         tay’s equation holds strong here, and
in the millimetre range. You can’t hear       works just like that—it comprises a          these two sidebands interfere with the
ultrasound since it lies beyond the           speaker that fires ultrasound pulses,        hybrid wave and produce two signal com-
threshold of human hearing. Orhan             which act in a manner similar to that of     ponents, as the equation says. One is
Berktay studied this and wrote his semi-      a long, narrow column extending from         identical to the original sound wave, and
                                              the front of the disc. The ultrasound col-   the other is a badly distorted component.
                                              umn acts as an airborne speaker, and as      This is where the problem lies—the vol-
 Mysterious Sounds
                                              the beam moves through the air, gradual      ume of the original sound wave is pro-
 Apart from discreet communication sys-       distortion takes place in a predictable      portional to that of the ultrasounds, while
 tems and acoustic assault rifles that the    way. This gives rise to audible compo-       the volume of the signal’s distorted com-
 US Army is interested in, there is one       nents that can be accurately predicted       ponent is exponential. So, a slight
 really wild application—Ventriloquist sys-   and precisely controlled.                    increase in the volume drowns out the
 tems. By using tiny sound focusing               However, the problem with firing off     original sound wave as the distorted sig-
 devices to beam out voices and having        ultrasound pulses, and having them inter-    nal becomes predominant. It was at this
 them scatter against rocks and natural       fere to produce audible tones is that the    point that all research on ultrasound as a
 obstacles to the path, they can give the     audible components created are nowhere       carrier wave for an audio spotlight got
 impression of the presence of people in      similar to the complex signals in speech     bogged down in the 1980s.
 uninhabited places.                          and music. Human speech, as well as
     Tricks of this sort are known as Psy-    music, contains multiple varying fre-        Berktay’s equation works
 Ops—a short form for Psychological           quency signals, which interfere to pro-      Then, Joseph Pompei realised that the
 Operations that are used to fight a war      duce sound and distortion. To generate       focus should have been on the signal’s
 of wits against enemy troops.                such sound out of pure ultrasound tones      distorted component. Now since the sig-
                                              is not easy. This is when teams of           nal component’s behavior is mathemati-


          32                                                                                                            AUGUST 2003
              cally predictable, the technique to create        ting the targeted audio beam very close
              the audio beam is simple; modulate the            to this point.
                                                                                                               U2 and us…
              amplitude to get the hybrid wave, then                Since you can control and focus the        U2 front man Bono, is reportedly inter-
              calculate what the Becktay’s Equation             ultrasound beam just like a flashlight, you    ested in systems such as the Audio Spot-
              does to this signal, and do the exact oppo-       can direct it such that you would hear the     light—and U2 is now working with the
              site. In other words, distort it, before          sound only if you were in the path of the      Holosonic Labs to create Audio Spot-
              Mother Nature does it. Finally, pass this         beam. This is called directed sound. You       lights for rock concerts, where they are
              wave through air, and what you get is the         could also bounce the beam off a reflect-      looking at giving users the kind of wild
              original sound wave component whose               ing surface, so that people in the path of     sound shows that are currently possible
              volume, this time, is exponentially relat-        the audio reflection can hear the sound.       with light.
              ed to the volume of the ultrasound beam,          This is known as projected audio. In
              and a distorted component, whose vol-             short, unlike ordinary speakers, you will
              ume now varies directly as the ultrasound         hear the sound only if you disrupt the        invention of the coil loudspeaker. Sound
              wave. Once you crank up the volume of             sound beam, whether you stand in its          as we know it, is a very three-dimen-
              the ultrasound, you can get as high as 80         path or in the path of a reflection from      sional sensation. But if you strip out the
              decibels with just 5 per cent distortion—         an acoustic mirroring surface. If you step    perception of depth and direction, for
              not the best in the world yet, but a far cry      away from the path of the sound, you will     example whilst watching a movie on TV,
              from the 50 per cent or so that the Japan-        hear nothing. In either case, the sound’s     we tend to associate the sound source as
              ese teams faced. The best speakers in the         source is not the physical device you see,    being very fixed, and hence unreal. This
              world can currently get distortion down           but the invisible ultrasound beam that        is where three-dimensional sound beam-
              to below 1 per cent and research is get-          generates it.                                 ing comes in. The technology that the
                                                                                                              Holosonic Research Labs and the Amer-
               This is where you are going to                                   The sound ray is              ican Technology Corporation are lining
                                                                                coming                        up may seem to be a novelty of sorts, but
               experience audio spotlighting                                    The targeted or directed      a wide range of applications are being
                                                                                audio technology is           targeted at it.
                                              Personalised messaging:
                                                                                going to tap a huge com-           The first lab rats are going to be those
                                              Using targeted sound,
                                                                                mercial market in enter-      attending exhibitions and trade shows.
                                              you could message people
                                                                                tainment       and     in     With targeted announcements at crowded
                                              in high activity areas
                                                                                consumer electronics,         shows, audio spotlighting technology may
                                              such as construction sites,
                                                                                and the technology            possibly be the best way for exhibitors to
                                              and factory floors.
                                                                                developers are scram-         draw people to their stalls and demon-
                                                                                bling to tap into that        strate their product to potential customers.
                                             Acoustic assault rifles:
                                                                                market. Joseph Pompei’s       Supermarkets and retail stores may not be
                                             You could employ sound to
                                                                                Holosonic Research Labs       very far behind either—stand in this aisle
                                             fire focussed, high-energy
                                                                                developed the Audio           that features detergents and hear the sales
                                             acoustic bullets that could
                                                                                Spotlight that is made of     pitch for a new washing detergent, stand
                                             be used as non-lethal
                                                                                a sound processor, an         in the other and find out about the latest
                                             weapons to deter crowds
                                                                                amplifier and the trans-      meat bargains. Retail displays and kiosks
                                                                                ducer. Aim the transduc-      are possibly going to be the first to get
                                              Realistic movies:                 er anywhere, and direct       wired up. Soon after this, spotlighting
                                              With targeted sound,              and project a three-          technology can also be built into vending
                                              movies could become               degree wide sound beam        machines, which might entice you to stop
                                              more realistic, with the          that is audible even at       by for a refreshing cold drink as you pass
                                              sound moving, along with          100 metres. The Ameri-        by. There is an even bigger market for per-
                                              its source on the screen.         can Technology Corpora-       sonalised sound systems in entertainment
                                                                                tion    developed     the     and consumer electronics. You could be
                                             Discreet announcements:            HyperSonic Sound-based        wired up for spotlighting in the future with
                                             In museums and exhibitions,        Directed Audio Sound          your home theatre audio system, and
                                             using audio spotlighting           System. Both use ultra-       could experience sound as it was original-
                                             techniques to discreetly           sound based solutions to      ly heard, possessing direction and move-
                                             inform people, without             beam sound into a             ment, and this will be tuned to your
                                             raising ambient sound levels       focused beam.                 favourite couch-potato position. If you just
                                                                                    With something as         have to watch that show that everybody
                                              Consumer electronics:             radical as this coming        detests, then you could use a personalised
Parag Joshi




                                              You could use focussed            into mainstream sound         spotlight that turns off the audio for every-
                                              sound in televisions, and         reproduction, analysts        body, except you, since you will be sitting
                                              home theatre systems, to          claim that this is possi-     right in the middle of it. Movie theatres
INFOGRAPH:




                                              give realistic sound effects.     bly the most dramatic         could also jump onto the bandwagon,
                                                                                change in the way we          with live moving voices coming in from
                                                                                perceive sound since the      all over the screen, movies would be truer


                        33                                                                                                                   AUGUST 2003
features ■
                 ■   technology next

                                                                                                    Beaming alternatively
                                                                                                    There are other alternative approaches to
                                                                                                    creating targeted audio, other than the
                                                                                                    ultrasound modulation technique. One is
                                                                                                    the parabolic dish approach that essen-
                                                                                                    tially uses antennae to focus and direct
                                                                                                    sound. Here, a relatively omni-directional
                                                                                                    loudspeaker is placed at the focal point of
                                                                                                    a parabolic dish pointing towards it.
                                                                                                    When the loudspeaker generates the
                                                                                                    sound signal, it acts as a point source,
                                                                                                    emitting waves that reflect off the
Take a ride in the MAXXcab and headbang to metal, while your parents listen to oldies               parabolic dish which is pointed towards a
                                                                                                    particular direction. This is very much in
to life and enormously entertaining.              at, such as private messaging using this sys-     use, but the problem here is that the
     Holosonic Labs is working on another         tem without headphones, special effects at        size of the parabolic dish required to
interesting application at the Boston Muse-       presentations as well as special sound            accommodate the longer wavelengths of
um of Science that allows the intended lis-       theme parks that could put up animated            lower frequencies is too large.
teners to understand and hear explana-            sound displays similar to today’s light
tions, without raising the ambient sound          shows. Holosonic has installed their Audio
levels. The idea is that museum exhibits          Spotlight system at Tokyo’s Sega Joyopolis       them, as well as the radio chatter, users
can be discreetly wired up with tiny speak-       theme park. One of the most interesting          generally keep one ear off the radio
er domes that can unobtrusively, provide          applications though, is the one fitted           headset. With this system, all the infor-
explanations. There are also other inter-         in the DaimlerChrysler MAXXcab proto-            mation can be piped into the operator’s
esting applications that they are looking         type truck. Holosonic put in four individ-       ears, without them having to wear bulky
                                                                          ual Audio Spot-          headsets.
                                                                          lights into the truck         There are even bigger applications as
                                                                          to let all the passen-   far as the military goes. One of them is a
                                                                          gers enjoy their         very loud hailing device to catch the
                                                                          own choice of            attention of ships further away, though it
                                                                          music. This has          does not use ultrasound as the underly-
                                                                          been        successful   ing technology. Still more interesting is
                                                                          enough for them to       the idea of non-lethal acoustic assault
                                                                          start looking at         rifles that fire sound pulses. Pump up the
                                                                          marketing         this   normal sound being transmitted to about
                                                                          commercially.            150 decibels or greater, and you could fire
                                                                               American Tech-      out pulses that could disorient human
                                                                          nology Corporation       targets, even causing them severe physical
                                                                          has also been look-      pain. The weapon could also be fine-
                                                                          ing at emerging          tuned to bring on further discomfort.
                                                                          consumer and non-        American Technology Corp is looking at
                                                                          consumer markets,        Jeep mounted units that could be

                     1/4 AD                                               targeting consumer
                                                                          electronics
                                                                          home
                                                                                            and
                                                                                      entertain-
                                                                                                   deployed as a mob deterrent.

                                                                                                   Sounding right
                                                                          ment as well as a        There are even more interesting applica-
                                                                          decidedly       niche    tions in the pipeline—car-based safety
                                                                          usage in the mili-       audio systems, discreet speaker phones
                                                                          tary. The US Navy        and many more such interesting applica-
                                                                          has installed sound      tions. Over the next few years, the way
                                                                          beaming technolo-        we experience sound may change
                                                                          gy on the deck of an     dramatically. We will reproduce sound
                                                                          Aegis-class      Navy    just the way we experience it in the real
                                                                          destroyer, and is        world. Is it time to trash your boom box?
                                                                          looking at this as a     Well, not yet, but pretty soon, the next
                                                                          substitute to the        big bang in sound is going to come
                                                                          radio       operator’s   straight out of the air, riding on inaudible
                                                                          headphones.         To   ultrasound.
                                                                          keep track of what’s                          SRINIVASAN RAMAKRISHNAN
                                                                          going on around                   (srinivasan_ramakrishnan@thinkdigit.com)


                                                                                                                                    AUGUST 2003
features ■
                 ■   droolmaal



                                            Siemens SX1 Smartphone




                                                                                  ▲
                                                                                  ▲
                                                      Get Siemens Smart
                                         In this first smart phone by Siemens, the
                                         buttons are placed around the screen for a
                                        sleek look. It has a 64 K colour display, and
                                        weighs 110 grams. It has a video player, FM
                                                        radio player, and a camcorder.




                                             Aeons
                ▲
                ▲




                                             An ensemble of elements that embody another vista
                                             of time…




                                                      Casio WQV3 Wrist
                                                                                  ▲
                                                                                  ▲




                                                      Camera Watch
                                                      Smile at my wrist please
                                                      The Casio WQV3 is a wrist camera
▲   Sony CLIÉ PEG-NZ90                                that allows you to take pictures in
▲                                                     a digital format, which can then be
    Will you CLIÉ?
                                                      sent to your PC. It uses a 25,344-
    The Sony CLIÉ PEG-NZ90 uses a 2-                  pixel colour CMOS sensor to capture
    megapixel digital camera, featuring a             images, which are displayed on a 16-
    built-in flash, and auto-focus                    grayscale monochrome LCD panel.
    capabilities. Along with this,                    The watch has memory capacity that
    it also features a Wi-Fi (802.11b)                allows you to store up to 80 images.
    communications slot and integrated                Infrared data communication is used to
    Bluetooth connectivity options.                   export the images.


           36                                                                                  AUGUST 2003
             ▲
             ▲
                  Fossil PDA
                  Watch my PDA
                  Fossil has incorporated the popular Palm OS
                  into its watch to provide a product with
                  unique functionality and style. Inputs are
                  made using the touch screen and a 2 MB
                  memory is provided to easily store files.




                                                    ▲
                                                    ▲
                       Handspring Treo 600
                             Treo’s a company
                               The Treo 600 is a fully
                                      functional PDA
                         which comes shaped in a




)DA=@
                                   phone for easier
                          portability. It features a
                      fully functional QWERTY
                           keyboard layout and
                        runs PALM OS 5.2.1 It
                           will support 32 MB
                                           RAM
                         and has a 160*160
                                pixel screen.
      ▲
      ▲




         CASIO DBCW150D-7
        Wave-Ceptor Wrist Watch
       The exact time
        The Waveceptor watch from Casio provides you
        with the most accurate time standard. It is
       synchronized with the Atomic Clock that
       regulates accuracy using calibrated radio signals.
      Along with this, it has the regular databank
      functions that keep you organised.




 37                                                             AUGUST 2003
features ■
                ■   firsthand




                        Break on
          through to the other side!




                                                                                                              ILLUSTRATION:   Mahesh Benkar




      Why hasn’t Linux invaded our lives? We take a look at the Linux penetration in Indian offices,
       and the different projects and programmes that look to introduce Open Source Solutions



L
      inux! Say the word amidst a crowd          But will this always be the scenario?       would set you back by as much as Rs 6,500.
      of computer novices, and you will      Linux has been around for some time             And when you look at licensed application
      witness a vanishing act. Linux has     now. Hence the excuse that it is a rela-        software, few go further than another flag-
developed an image of being extremely        tively new entrant, and will take time to       ship Microsoft offering: Office could cost
complicated, and for most general users,     develop, now holds no weight.                   you as much as Rs 15,000. What this effec-
a major headache. This is the primary rea-                                                   tively means is that in a year, you could
son why Linux is not even considered an      OS on Steroids?                                 easily spend up to Rs 5,000 on your PC.
operating system for the home user,          The major task of almost every PC is office     And if you work in a corporate environ-
despite its crucial advantage—cost-effec-    productivity and games. On an average,          ment, multiply that figure by the number
tiveness. The same is the case for corpo-    the life expectancy of a PC in India is about   of employees in your firm.
rations and employees. Why lose out on       4 years. Now, consider upgrading your               Linux cost savings are also helping
productivity for no apparent reason?         Windows every 2 to 3 years. This alone          create a cheaper computing environment


         38                                                                                                                   AUGUST 2003
around the world. A few noteworthy                                                                                    ity cannot be ques-
projects are making progress. One of                                                                                  tioned. Uptime is usu-




                                                                      “
them is the Simputer. It aims at providing                                   Business takes                           ally measured in terms
access to computing at the grass root lev-                                   a conservative                           of weeks and months
els in India, and its ultimate goal is to                                                                             for a Unix-based OS.
enable illiterate people to use the device.
                                                                         approach. Trying to                               The common per-
Thus it aims at being inexpensive and                                    implement something                          ception of users is that
Indianised. The Simputer trust has been                                  that will take time                          Linux does not have
developed to ensure that such a noble
project does not fade away due to lack of
interest or funding.
    The problem with Linux lies in the
                                                 Frederick Noronha
                                                 A freelance writer
                                                 and an active
                                                                         and effort to under-
                                                                         stand defeats the
                                                                         principle of savings
                                                                                                   “                  technical support. But
                                                                                                                      this is not true. The rea-
                                                                                                                      son behind this is that
                                                                                                                      people do not search
availability of application software.            member of the
                                                 Linux community
                                                                         in free software.                            for support in the right
Unlike Windows-based application soft-                                                                                places. Similar to its dis-
ware, Linux-based software isn’t freely                                                                               tribution model, sup-
available, even in software stores. The                                                                               port for Linux is also
major reason for this, in turn, is the lack     On its own, it is a stable solution and a        based primarily on the Internet. For tech-
of popularity of Linux. Then again, if it       great choice for many computing needs.           nical support, the open source communi-
were popular and available in stores, the       This could be a very important reason for        ty is the best solution.
cost factor of buying Linux application         people to switch to Linux. When you run               But According to Trevor Warren, “The
software would come into play.                  applications on a Windows environ-               system of support is the same for Win-
    Trevor Warren, consultant for Red           ment, invariably you encounter a system          dows or Red Hat. Support and updates are
Hat, encompasses the problem of Distri-         crash or a lock-up at some point or the          available off the Web.” Adding to this,
bution very simply, “Whatever your              other. A very important fact that most           you can also expect support from the
required application, there is a good           experienced Windows users overlook is            large online Linux community.
chance you get it off the Net. Popular dis-     the underlying anxiety while working on               To save on costs, State Institutions
tributions provide a large number of            the system. This anxiety is due to the           are ideally suited to switch to Linux. The
applications off the box. The specific          worry that a system crash or lock-up can         West Bengal Pollution Control (WBPC)
application that you may need is just a         potentially disrupt an entire days work.         board has undertaken a project to devel-
download away.”                                 But this is not so in the case of Linux.         op an information system for their entire
    Linux is a lot more than a cheap buy.       Since it is a derivative of Unix, its stabil-    network, titled the ‘Environment Man-




  IIT: Affordable solutions for everyone!
 The IITs have always been at the forefront      regarding the performance, stability and        only make applications if a market exists
 of research into new horizons. With the         security of a system. The basic set up is a     for them. He believes that projects such
 Affordable Solutions Lab (ASL) at the           server with connected diskless nodes            as the ASL can help break this cycle. By
 Kanwal Rekhi School of Information Tech-        (also called ‘thin clients’), which receive     providing a solution and backing it with
 nology (KReSIT), practical deployment of        information via a browser environment.          the ASL name, an end user will feel reas-
 Linux is now possible. The ASL is walking       This reduces the thin client system             sured about trying out the system.
 the thin line of making computational           requirements, and ultimately the cost of            When asked about computing in gen-
 facilities cheaper without having to com-       the entire network. A typical thin client       eral in India, he feels that a mutual par-
 promise on performance.                         costs only about Rs 15,000, as opposed          ticipation is required. According to him,
     ASL can be called a simulation envi-        to Rs 20,000 for normal entry level desk-       for Computer penetration to increase at a
 ronment in the simplest of terms. Corpo-        top PCs.                                        faster pace, his plan must be adopted.
 rations interested in switching to low cost         Dr. Deepak B. Phatak is a professor             Dr. Phatak says, “Governments,
 systems can bring their needs to the lab.       who is closely involved with the opera-         schools, colleges must increase their
 Based on these needs, a test bed is set         tions of the lab. He is extremely opti-         investment in IT by a factor of 4. At the
 up, and the corporations can see their          mistic about the results. According to          same time, the industry should give solu-
 system function exactly as it will, when        him, the acceptance of a cheaper solu-          tions at a quarter of the current cost.
 implemented. Also, the hesitation to            tion will be possible only if the end user      20 Million desktop PCs must be sold in
 make the switch is removed with the             is convinced that the solution is a safe        order to make India an IT powerhouse.
 presence of such an institution as an IIT       and workable one. According to him the          A 16X growth factor is required to attain
 offering support.                               lack of interest for an Open Source OS is       this. This is only possible when the cost
     Though the lab is in its initial stages,    due to lack of applications. The only way       of a desktop drops to Rs 15,000. Only
 a lot of progress has already been made.        that users can try out the OS is if applica-    then will people will believe it. The ulti-
 During the set up, a set of tests are           tions do exist. But this results in a vicious   mate aim is to make a PC cost less than
 performed which make assessments                cycle as major software developers will         a TV”.



         39                                                                                                                     AUGUST 2003
features ■
                  ■   firsthand

agement Information System’. It is one           Linux based solutions to educational           contrast to this all the versions of Win-
of the first forays into building a system       institutions.                                  dows have a similar interface. But, there
on open source software. The WBPC                                                               is more to this than meets the eye.
board uses Linux servers to run their            Linux: All Talk and no substance?              According to Trevor, the problem lies in
state-wide operation. But the move to            So far so good, but then, why is Windows       clearing the image of Linux. “Defining a
the desktop has not been ignored. The            the desktop of choice? A simple analysis       proper Business Model for an Open
WBPC has 110 computers in operation.             of our computer market will provide the        Source development is a major hurdle.
As of now 12 computers are running on            answer. When a PC is purchased, it is like-    Linux is equally user friendly and appli-
Linux. Once the simputer project is              ly to come with Windows preloaded. Sys-        cation support is available. But the costs
implemented, the operation and pro-              tem Assemblers do this simply because          required to push this notion around the
cessing will be done by the servers, and         they do not wish to be confused, or con-       world are enormous.”
most client tasks will be restricted to          fuse customers with multiple choices.
browsers—thus providing an impetus               Linux is not considered, simply because        The Transition Process…
towards cheaper operating systems. Such          of user fear. This is one of the main prob-    It is not possible to simply switch from
a project explains just why a large body         lems of Linux. Since its inception, a lot      one OS to another. The transition period
should make the switch.                          has been done to make Linux user-friend-       is one of the most important stages of the
     Such a change is even more obvious          ly. But the problem here is that the end       entire process. The final decision as to
for cash strapped educational institu-
tions. Such programmes are under devel-




                                                                       “
opment in places across India. As of now,
three sizeable projects are underway in
                                                                             It’s a chicken and egg story. A
Chennai, Goa and Kerala. Demo@Schools                                        mature product such as Tally is
is a project that has now come under the                                 available for Windows. There is no rea-
hood of the Free Software Foundation. It
aims at popularising free software to the
masses. The project is trying to convince
educational institutions to replace their
                                                                                                    “
                                                                         son to switch over because it is doing
                                                                         quite well. The other available pack-
                                                                         ages do not have the functionality that
proprietary software formats and provide
                                                  Deepak Phatak          Tally can boast of.
free software replacements. In a similar
                                                  KReSIT, IIT Bombay
manner, Goa and Kerala are seriously
considering the adoption of GNU or
                                                 user is not aware of this fact. Also, the      switch or not to switch is dependant on
                                                 usability of Linux still does not match a      the success of the transition. During the
 Why focus on India?
                                                 Windows OS. With such an aura, would           transition period, one must critically test
 Well we all know that Linux is a sizeable       anybody use Linux?                             out the areas in which the system will be
 power in the OS market. But, does                   If some heroic soul does make the          used most.
 Linux have a bearing in India? Yes! India       decision to use Linux, he has to choose            The first thing that must be done is a
 is definitely an important global               between many Linux distributions—Red-          thorough analysis of the system. The two
 resource in terms of computing. The             Hat, Mandrake, Caldera, etc. It is difficult   major roles of Linux as an OS are at the
 amount of technical brainpower cou-             to make an informed choice of which dis-       server level and at the desktop level.
 pled with the sizeable English speaking         tribution is best for what scenario. This      Linux has already been accepted as a
 populace has made the Indian employ-            again makes an organisation think twice        good solution for a server. This is also due
 ee a much sought after worker. Thus it          about making a switch. Though all the          to the interoperability between a Linux
 makes sense that the Open Source                flavours of Linux are quite interoperable,     server and Windows workstations.
 movement should catch up to India.              many are concerned about support and               But the real challenge is getting
 The movement also gives programmers             compatibility with other systems.              Linux to the desktop. While it may not
 a chance to demonstrate their own skills            Another problem that comes up is           be very difficult to convince a system
 independently rather than be forced to          application selection. An organisation         administrator to switch to Linux, try
 follow an organisation.                         may probably have a set of applications,       convincing an accountant, using Tally
     In India, most software currently           used by employees to perform various           on his Windows-based machine. The
 being used is pirated. Software sales           tasks. When the switch to Linux is made,       ultimate goal here is to provide the same
 have suffered due to this. The gaming           applications that do the job just as well as   operating environment at a lesser cost.
 industry has almost given up on India,          their Windows counterparts need to be          A non-technical user should easily
 due to piracy. Here, Linux has an advan-        procured and deployed. After all of this,      understand the applications and the
 tage. It is either free or available for such   you still have to learn the differences in     desktop interface used.
 low prices that the question of piracy          operation commands with Linux, and                 Nowadays, this can be done easily
 doesn't arise. The Indian users’ need for       will have a long way to go before you          thanks to the availability of different
 cheaper introductory PCs can also be            become a power user.                           kinds of software for the Linux system.
 realised by offering a Linux OS pre-                Since Linux is open source, there are      But the biggest problem is changing the
 loaded.                                         many companies that develop the differ-        mental outlook of the employee. “The
                                                 ent variants of Linux available today. In      most important task for both the system


          40                                                        39                                                       AUGUST 2003
 The Open Source Institution
 Linux is being touted as the key to proper e-governance. The
 obvious cost benefits in terms of OS licenses and the savings in
 the hardware usage lifecycle are enormous. Slowly, institutions
 and state run offices are realising that the open source world is
 ideal for them. In fact, most of these offices are yet to be comput-
 erised, thus the so-called transition period does not apply here.
     Educational institutions are also trying to push Free Open
 Source software into their labs. This is an extremely important
 move, and will ensure that people are not restricted to proprietary
 or open source solutions. This will also allow people to accept and
 implement more affordable computing solutions for cash
 strapped educational institutions.



administrator or the home user is mapping his uses of the sys-
tem. There are advantages and disadvantages to both. If you need
Office productivity software and Internet access, Linux can pro-
vide a cheaper solution without skimping on the features. But if
you are a gamer, Windows becomes the preferred choice”, says
Trevor Warren.
    To master Linux, you need to have sound knowledge of the
Command Line. But for a regular employee, is this needed? Nowa-
days, most Linux distributions have a decent GUI environment.
Thus, if you can provide basic training to a user to operate in the
Linux environment, he or she will be able to achieve the same pro-
ductivity as on a Windows machine, at a much lesser cost.                       1/2 p page V AD
An employee perspective…
While corporate planning and a complete analysis of using Linux
is pleasing to the ear, an employee or home user has a radically
different approach to computing. The PC is just a tool after all,
and getting the job done as quickly and efficiently as possible is
all that matters. Employees still have to maintain their deadlines,
and the ‘if it isn’t broken, don’t try to fix it’ attitude still prevails.
     The situation is even worse for the home user. Unless you
have a resident geek in your family, you will never consider run-
ning a different OS. To become the ideal choice for the home user,
Linux needs to have simple installations, ease of use, availability
of common applications and good support for games. Home users
don’t want to use the command line. Does Linux fulfil all of these
demands? Not quite. Linux does not have a difficult installation,
but it could be made a lot simpler. The ease of use is not quite up
to Windows standards, and Linux game support is still in its infan-
cy. Then why would a person switch to Linux? In such a case, low
costs do not matter. What is the point in having a free OS that
does not allow you to run Quake III Arena with ease? This also
results in piracy.
     Making a decision to move to an Open Source system or
remaining with a proprietary solution is no laughing matter. It
takes a great deal of time and research. But the move definitely
pays off if you do your analysis well. Large corporations such as
LIC and IDBI have definitely shown an interest in moving towards
a more affordable computing system. This has resulted in confer-
ences and talks between experts, corporations, academia and gov-
ernments. But a proper and concrete platform for people to dis-
cuss the future of Linux in India is still missing. Only when this
platform is built will the final piece in the puzzle fit in.
                                    AAYUSH IYER (aayush_iyer@thinkdigit.com )
            SRINIVASAN RAMAKRISHNAN(srinivasan_ramakrishnan@thinkdigit.com)



          41                                                                                      AUGUST 2003
test drive ■
                   ■   start up



How we Test
 It looks good and the technology is glitzy, but does it do the job?
                                                                                                          In Test this Month
                                                                                                          On the mat this month are




T
         he Digital Media                                                        The Awards               the biggest and fastest hard
         Test & Research                                                          Digit awards out-       drives and Linux distribu-
         Centre (DMTRC)                                                           standing products       tions fighting for the top
         conducts a series                                                        by selecting a Best     slot. In the software compar-
of elaborate tests to eval-                                                       Performance     and     ison test, seven Linux distri-
uate the merit of each                                                            Best Value winner in    butions were tested, based
hardware and software                                                             each     comparison     on their home desktop abili-
product. To ensure that                                                           test. The winner of     ties that would let them act
our readers have all the                                                          the Best Perfor-        as complete replacements to
information they need to                                                          mance Award will be     Windows and let users
make an informed buy-                                                             the product that        migrate with ease. To give
ing decision, engineers at                                                        scored the highest in   you the complete picture on
DMTRC evaluate and                                                                the performance seg-    these Linux distributions,
review the latest hard-                                                           ment of our tests.      they were also evaluated on
ware, software and technology services in accor-     This award represents the best performing prod-      their ability to function as
dance with the most up-to-date evaluation            uct in our tests and doesn’t factor in any other     full-fledged office desktops
processes and methodologies used around              parameter such as value for money, features, sup-    that would let users perform
the world.                                           port, etc. The winner of the Best Value Award        standard office related com-
                                                     will be the product that scores the highest in       puting work on them. If
Comparison Tests                                     our value for money parameter which is derived       you’ve been looking at
We use a dual rating system, the first of which is                   taking into account the ratio of     switching to Linux, this is
                    applied to the Comparison                        a product’s performance and fea-     where you can
                    Tests in which we compare                        tures to its price. The product      start.
                    the performance of products                      winning this award offers good
                    within a particular category.                    performance at a great price.
                       Each product is evaluat-
                    ed under different parame-       In Bazaar
                    ters such as performance,        The second part of the rating system is used to
                    value for money, features,       evaluate individual hardware and software prod-          The hardware compari-
                    warranty and support, etc.       ucts in the Bazaar section. The evaluation covers    son test this month featured
                       Weightages are then           parameters such as performance, ease of use,         13 SATA, Ultra-ATA and IDE
                    applied to the various test      value for money and the build quality and fea-       hard disks. The hard disks
                    parameters according to          tures of the product in question and then arrives    were evaluated on several
                    their     importance      for    at an overall rating.                                parameters using standard
                    that particular category of          Here each of these parameters is given a         benchmarking tools and
                    products.                        weightage of 25 per cent and is rated on a scale     were also subjected to real
                       These weightages are          of 5, which is represented by arrows ( ).            world tests, which simulat-
                    then used to arrive at an            The greater the number of arrows, the better     ed daily usage patterns on
                    overall grade for each indi-     the product. This simple five-point rating system    each disk to get realistic
                    vidual product. An overall       is designed to give you an easy-to-interpret         performance values. Cost
                    grade of A+, therefore, indi-    assessment of a product. For example, a product      was also factored in to give
                    cates that the product is        that receives an overall score of five arrows sig-   you the final results. There
                    close to perfection.             nifies an outstanding buy!                           you have it—find out which
                                                                                                          is the perfect storage solu-
                                                                                                          tion for your needs.
                  The 5-point Rating System used in Bazaar
                                                                                                              Bazaar this month
               Excellent: A brilliant combination of price, performance and features—far                  brings to you the inside
               beyond expectations                                                                        information on a wide
               Good: A good buy, better than most products in its category                                range of hardware—from
               Average: Reasonably competent but nothing spectacular about the product                    the Intel Pentium 4 3.2
               Mediocre: Does not live up to expectations, needs improvement in many areas                GHz processor to the Dell
               Poor: has serious drawbacks and needs improvement before it can be                         Latitude laptop and HCL
                                                                                                          Beanstalk 4458 PC.
               used for its target application


          47                                                                                                               AUGUST 2003
test drive ■
           ■   Hard Disk
                With the Gigahertz wars underway, the need for faster and
                hard drives was expected. We test the best hard drives ava
                the Indian market, to see which of them compliment your
                configuration, as well as your pocket
                                                              drives be underestimated. An




                E
                              very year, most computer        133 drive can load applications,
                              users spend money on one        fer data at high speeds. The du
                              particular component that is    tage of higher capacities, and
                              most fragile, and at the        hard drives is that you get optim
                              highest risk. It puts compa-    for storage space. The per-rupee
                              nies, and home-users alike,     every MB of the data that you st
                on pins and needles when it starts acting     hard drive, has come down d
                up, which just goes to show how impor-        Ironically, you can get a highe
                tant it is. It’s the hard drive—a versatile   hard drive for the same amoun
                digital storage medium.                       spent on your existing hard dr
                     Today, if you conduct a survey, you      calculate the capacity of the h
                will notice that the minimum capacity of      and make a note of the amount
                the hard drive that your vendor is likely     spent on it, you can come up w
                to put in your system is 40 GB, unless you    to MB ratio that will help you bu
                specify a different capacity. Does any one    hard drive that is within your b
                require such a mammoth digital storage             This article will provide you
                space? Well, when you think about it, we      insight needed to arrive at a pr
                don’t even require the latest, and fastest    sion when a new hard drive be
                Pentium 4 processors. It may not be the       need of the hour. We tested
                need of the hour, but it is always advis-     brands of hard drives, with capa
                able to make your PC as future proof as       range from the current entry-lev
                possible, considering that the default        to the humongous ones. The
                installation of Windows XP needs about        that we have tested are the no
                1.2 GB—only for the operating system—         drives, and the newer Serial ATA
                then there are applications that increase     also provide you with buying tip
                in size with every new version. The latest    an informed buying decision w
                games require at least 1 GB of space, the     enable you to choose a drive tha
                vast MP3 collection that you are going to     your needs for a long time to co
                collect over time, and last but not least
                movies—all these space mongering col-         Test process
                lectibles are sure to fill up a 250 GB hard   The IDE and Serial ATA (SATA) d
                disk in no time. Although, as of now, a       tested on a test PC that comprise
                250 GB hard drive seems too large to be       tium 4 3.2 GHz, on an Intel i875
                even considered, it will soon become a        terwood) motherboard, with 5
                standard accepted level. Remember, what       Dual Channel 400 MHz DDR SD
                people said about the 40 GB hard drives       video card used was a GeForce 4
                when they were launched, while 4 GB           with 128 MB of DDR memory.
                was still the norm?                           SATA, 120 GB hard disk was in
                     So why are we doing a HDD test? A        the port 0 SATA channel. All the
                gamer would like his hard drive to per-       drives were connected to the po
                form well enough to load 3D games             channel, while the IDE drives
PHOTOGRAPH:




                faster. A multimedia professional needs to    nected to the Primary IDE chann
                see the load time of his heavy graphic        ter drives. The necessary dri
                software dwindling, while a normal user       benchmarking utilities were loa
Jiten Gandhi,




                just wants to get movies, documents, and      the drive after installing Window
                songs copied, and ripped faster than ever     latest drivers for the main boar
                before. With hyper-threading already on       IDE channel were installed. The
                desktop PCs, multi-tasking has acquired a     are the benchmarks used to ev
IMAGING:




                new dimension, and the hard drive sub-        performance of the hard disk
                system needs to complement, and keep
                pace with latest components. Since SCSI       HDTach 2.6
Solomon Lewis




                is not only complicated, but also costly      In this test, sequential read a
                for desktop systems, one has to settle for    read burst speed, average access
                IDE, or the latest Serial ATA drives.         CPU utilisation are noted down
                     However, in no way should these          the first in the battery of tests
                                                                                          AUG
test drive ■
                    ■   Hard Disk

                                               centage since the disk is continuously        and recorded the time taken for
 Glossary                                      accessed during this test.                    Adobe Photoshop to open a 200 MB TIFF
 Tracks and sectors: A hard disk consists                                                    image file.
 of platters on which data is stored. These    SiSoft Sandra 2003 Pro (File
 platters consist of tens of thousands of      System benchmark)                             Test analysis
 tracks that are tightly integrated in con-  This is a synthetic benchmark, and gives       In all we tested 13 hard drives from three
 centric circles. These tracks contain loads us vital information about the drive, such     major manufacturers—Seagate, Samsung,
 of vital information, and thus are broken   as transfer rate, sequential and random           and Maxtor. Of these 13 drives, Maxtor
 down into sectors. Hence, a sector is the   read as well as write                                  seems to be gunning for the future,
 smallest addressable unit that can hold     speed, along with                                          and sent us three SATA drives,
 512 bytes of information.                   average access time.                                           and one ultra ATA drive.
 S.M.A.R.T: The Self-Monitoring Analysis     The benchmarking                                                   On the other hand,
 and Reporting Tool system uses internal     suite reads and writes                                                  Seagate seems to be
 hard disk monitoring technology to          the data to the disk con-                                               playing safe, and
 analyse your hard disk, and prevent hard    tinuously, and in the end,                                             sent one SATA, and
 disk failure, or data loss.                 gives individual as well as                                           two IDE drives. Sam-
 Bad sector: A sector that cannot be used    overall scores. These scores of                               sung’s bandwagon com-
 due to a physical flaw on the disk is       the tested hard drive are com-                              prised of six IDE drives, with
 called a bad sector.                        pared to that of other hard Seagate Barracuda               not a single SATA drive. The
 Clusters: A cluster is a logical unit of    drives on a reference score ST340015A                       drive capacity ranged from a
 storage on a hard disk, or a floppy drive.  sheet.                                         minimum of 40 GB to a mammoth 250
 The size of a cluster varies from 512                                                      GB. Let’s see how the drives fared on both
 bytes, to 256 kilobytes depending on the    Real world tests (File transfer tests):        the performance, and the features front.
 size of the partition, and the file system. This is a new category that we have intro-
 FAT: The FAT (File Allocation Table) tells  duced to test hard drives. This test mimics    Features, specifications, and bun-
 the Disk Operating System which por-        a user’s daily usage pattern. A user gener-    dled accessories
 tions of the disk belong to each file. The  ally moves, or copies data from one place      On the features front, not a single drive
 FAT links together all the clusters belong- to another. It may just take a few seconds     matches the specifications of the Maxtor
 ing to each file, no matter where they      for a single file, but when moving huge        Maxline Plus II—it simply blows the com-
 are on the disk.                            amounts of data, it could take anything        petitors away. The Maxtor Maxline Plus
 Partition: By default, whenever a hard      from a few minutes, to an hour. This can       II comes with a mammoth 250 GB of
 disk is formatted, it will have one parti-  really get frustrating, and hence it becomes   storage space, and an impressive 8 MB
 tion. Hence, a partition is a formatted     important to test the hard drive in a real     buffer, which makes for an unbeatable
 section of a hard disk. Large hard disks    world environment. The tests consisted of      performance combination. All these fea-
 can be formatted into multiple parti-       transferring an assorted file set of 1 GB,     tures are further enhanced by the provi-
 tions, and each partition acts as an indi-  and a single file of 1 GB from one parti-      sion of the Ultra ATA 133 interface. In
 vidual, or a separate hard drive.           tion of the hard drive to another.             fact, all the tested Maxtor drives came
 Boot disk: A special floppy boot disk            These test results are very important     with a 7,200 rpm spindle, and an 8 MB
 allows your PC to boot, even if it cannot   as they directly reflect the true perform-     buffer. Not only is a larger buffer good for
 boot from the hard disk. This disk is also  ance capability of the hard drive’s read       performance, it also comes in handy dur-
 known as a System Rescue Disk.              and write speeds in a real world environ-      ing disk intensive tasks.
                                             ment. Poor scores in this test indicate             The Seagate ST3160021A, sported the
                                             lower read and write speed capabilities of     second best feature list amongst the ATA
conducted on the hard drives. HDTach         the hard drive.                                drives, followed by the twins from Sam-
2.6 is used to test the hard drives without  Adobe Photoshop load time (Applica-            sung. The Samsung SP0411N, and
installing any other software on it. The     tion load time): In this test, we made a       SP0802N drives came in third, with a good
logic behind this is that the software tests          fresh installation of Adobe Photo-    amount of storage space, an ATA 133 inter-
the raw unformatted hard drive and                                    shop on the hard      face, and a 7,200 rpm spindle speed, mak-
provides us with results, without                                             drive, and    ing them an ideal choice for desktop data
making any modifications                                                      noted down    storage, at an irresistible price. The other
to the hard drive. A                                                          the     time  ATA hard drives, especially those from
graph displays the                                                           taken      for Samsung, were not feature rich but yet
results, as the data is                                                  Photoshop 7 to     made an excellent bang for the buck with
read and written in                                                  start. This test gives a decent performance, and price factors
real time. After the                                             the performance of the     taken into consideration.
test is done, the suite cal-                                 hard disk when put under            In the SATA category, nothing came
culates the total CPU                                     load by heavy graphics software   close to the 200 GB Maxtor DiamondMax
power consumed by the Maxtor DiamondMax              such as Photoshop.                     Plus. It comes with an 8 MB buffer that
drive during the test. In PlusII 6Y160M0                                                    compliments the 7,200 rpm spindle speed
real world conditions, the drive is not      Adobe Photoshop file load time: This is        really well. All the SATA drives from Max-
likely to excede this CPU utilisation per-   a very stressful test in which we loaded,      tor come with both, the SATA and Molex


          50                                                                                                             AUGUST 2003
                           Disk shopping
 ✔ Speed or space? If you need to store MP3s and DivX films,
 or back up heavy image files, buy the largest hard disk you can afford.
 On the other hand, if you use applications such as image editing, or
 audio processing software extensively, look for the fastest hard disk
 you can afford—at least a 7,200-rpm drive.
 ✔ Do a bit of market research. Ask your friends, dealers, or search the
 Internet for information about the manufacturer, their reputation, and
 their after sales service.
 ✔ Check the warranty type covered, apart from the time frame
 offered. Some manufacturers provide a hard disk replacement only in
 the first year, after which they only offer to repair it. This is rather
 unreliable, and can lead to further problems.
 ✔ Confirm the time it takes to replace a faulty hard disk. This is impor-
 tant, especially, if your business relies heavily on data storage. Gener-
 ally, manufacturers running service centres are able to provide quick
 replacements. Those who don’t could take weeks to replace a faulty
 hard disk.
 ✔ Check for accessories such as IDE cables, disk management
 software, and operating manuals.
                                                                             1/2 V AD
type of power supply connector, so that you don’t get stuck if you
don’t have the SATA power connector cable. Feature wise, the 160
GB drives from both, Seagate, and Maxtor, were at par, employing
the same amount of buffer, and spindle speed, the only exception
being the power connector—Seagate only provided a SATA connec-
tor.

Performance analysis
Before we delve deep into the performance of these hard drives, we
would like to clarify certain points. The first point is the difference
in the two interfacing standards—the older IDE interface, also called
PATA (Parallel ATA), and the newer SATA (Serial ATA). Though SATA
is a new standard that was supposed to offer better performance
than an IDE drive, this does not quite hold true. However, the lim-
itations seem to be in the first generation of SATA drives. As newer
versions of the same technology are released, the performance will
                     increase. As of now, SATA only offers advantages
                                such as smaller, and thinner cables
                                         that lessen the cluster of cables
                                        inside the PC cabinet, thus
                                        improving its thermal dynam-
                                        ics. Also, the cables are simpler
                                   to install, and moreover, since there
                              is no jumper selection, or a master slave
                         concept, installation is a cakewalk. One
                          more thing that we would like to point out
Maxtor DiamondMax         is that the older 5,400 rpm drives are now
PlusII 6Y20M0             slowly vanishing. Hence, opt for a 7,200
                          rpm drive, since they offer a better per-
formance, and are priced sensibly.

HD-TACH
HD-Tach is an excellent benchmark to figure out the performance
of a drive. This benchsmark offers the average read write speed,
along with the burst speed, and the CPU utilisation of the drive.
The burst speed is the speed at which data can be accessed from
the drive’s on-board read-ahead memory. The higher the score, the
better the performance of the drive. At the same time, it is also


          51                                                                     AUGUST 2003
test drive ■
                    ■   Hard Disk

 On the road to recovery
 Need to recover your data from a crashed                                                          (the one that crashed) as the recovery
 hard disk? Well, don’t be disappointed.                                                           source, and the second hard disk as the
 Here’s how you go about doing it. (In this                                                        restore destination.
 example, we have taken Ontrack Easy                                                               ■ The software then analyses the data
 Recovery, and Lost & Found.)                                                                      that it has to recover from the crashed
 ■ As soon as you realise your hard disk has                                                       hard disk. In order to recover the data,
 crashed, shut down your PC, so as to pre-                                                         the software tries to read the two copies of
 vent any further damage. Then restart it, go                                                      the FAT tables, and then reads the raw
 to the BIOS, and check if the hard disk is                                                        data on the hard drive, trying to match it
 being detected. If your hard disk is not                                                          to the FAT Tables. The data that matches
 detected, you won’t be able to recover data                                                       the FAT table is the data that is visible to
 through any software. You will have to send                                                       you, even after the crash. The data that
 it to the data recovery centre.                  Recover lost files using Ontrack Easy Recovery   does not match the FAT table is generally
 ■ Next, connect another hard disk to                                                              the data that you are trying to recover.
 your PC to store the recovered data. How-        machine in the MS-DOS mode. Go into the          Once it comes across raw data on the
 ever, ensure that the free disk space is         BIOS, and change the boot sequence from          disk that corresponds to a file, but finds
 more than the size of the data you need          there so as to make the PC boot from the         that there is no similar entry in the FAT
 to restore; else the task won’t be success-      floppy disk.                                     table, it marks the data as a recoverable
 ful. Alternatively, you can plug in a zip        ■ After you’ve booted in DOS mode, insert        file, and adds it to the existing list of files it
 drive, but make sure that the recovery           the recovery software floppy diskette. Here      has from the FAT table. All the files that
 software you’re using supports such              we’ve taken the example of Ontrack’s Easy        exist on the hard drive, whether in the FAT
 media. Note that you cannot recover data         Recovery software, which is considered to        table, or detected by the software, are
 onto another partition that is present on        be one of the most widely used, and effec-       shown as recoverable files. Once this is
 the crashed hard disk. Hence, plugging in        tive recovery software. You can also use         done, you can choose the data to be
 an additional storage media on which the         other software such as Stellar Phoenix Data      recovered, which will be copied to the
 data can be stored becomes mandatory.            Recovery Software, Final Data, etc.              destination drive. The whole process might
 ■ Next, make sure you have a bootable flop-      ■ After inserting the recovery software, you     take hours to complete, depending purely
 py disk. Insert the floppy disk, and boot your   get an option to select the primary hard disk    on how much data has to be recovered.



important to note down the CPU utilisa-       such a high CPU utilisation, it is quite evi-        SV0411N fared badly by utilising 2.5 per
tion of the drive, since a high CPU utili-    dent that the performance of this drive will         cent of CPU time. This was followed by
sation, would slow down the entire sys-       be hampered in the real world environ-               Maxtor MaxLine Plus II, and Samsung’s
tem.                                          ment that often involves multi-tasking. For          SP0802N that utilised 1 per cent of the
     In the HD-Tach benchmark, nearly all     example, if you are working on a docu-               CPU time during the test. Seagate’s
drives performed on par with each other,      ment, and copying some files in the back-            ST340015A and Samsung’s SV1203N,
with the read burst speed hitting the the-    ground simultaneously, the higher CPU                took the top honours, utilising just 0.6
oretical limit of 80 MBps, indicating that    utilisation will result in more CPU time             per cent of the CPU time.
all the drives have good on-board con-        being diverted to the copying of files rather
trollers. The only drive that could not         than the document that you’re working              SiSoft Sandra tests
make it to the 80                                    on.                                           The SiSoft Sandra tests came up with
MBps mark was                                                The Seagate 160 GB
the      Samsung                                              ST3160023AS drive took
SV0602H, which                                                     second last place by
registered a speed                                                      utilising 2.1 per
of 78 MBps—not a                                                        cent of CPU time.
bad score, but compar-                                                 Both these drives
atively slower than the                                                had an unusually
rest. An important point to                                            high CPU utilisa-
note was that all the drives were                            tion, as compared to the
able to hit the 80 MBps mark, but                             other drives in the compar-
at the cost of higher CPU utilisa- Seagate Barracuda          ison test. The 200 GB Max-
tion.                                 ST3160023AS             tor DiamondMax Plus9
     In the SATA category, the Max-                           drive took the crown with
tor DiamondMax Plus9 160 GB drive             the least amount of CPU utilisation, by tip-
sported the highest CPU utilisation of        ping the pointer at just 0.4 per cent. Its
around 4.1 per cent. This was the only        lower capacity sibling—the 120 GB Dia-
drive in the entire comparison test that      mondMax Plus 9, followed it.
exceeded 3 per cent CPU utilisation. With          Among the IDE drives, the Samsung’s


          54                                                                                                                         AUGUST 2003
 Organising files and folders
 The number of files and folders stored on the hard drive increases as
 you keep installing programs. If the files are not properly organised,
 the performance of the hard drive degrades, and you will end up
 wasting valuable time, searching for files. The best way to keep a
 check on this is to partition the hard drive, and allocate the partition
 size, according to the number of applications that are going to be
 installed on the system, and the amount of data that will be stored. As
 far as storing files and folder goes, here are a few simple tips to follow:
 ■ Always store your doc-
 uments, and other work-
 ing data, on the second-
 ary partition.
 ■ Name the folder based
 on the data to be stored
 in it. For example, store all
 account files in a folder
 named accounts.
 ■ The file name should
 be such that it carries
 enough information
 regarding its content,
                                  Defragment your hard disk frequently
                                  for faster access to data
                                                                               1/2 V AD
 the date it was created,
 etc. For example, Maxtor hard drive_august2003.doc
 ■ Keep separate folders for different kind of files such as images, doc-
 uments, and so on.
 ■ Try not to install games, applications, and other system utilities on
 this partition, as it will clutter the disk with other kind of data, and
 hence affect disk access.
      Over a period of time, as data gets stored and deleted, it
 becomes imperative to defrag the data. This entails re-arranging the
 data at one place for faster access. Windows itself provides you with
 this utility, so you need not bother installing a third party program.
 To access this program, go to Start > Program > Accessories > System
 Tools > Disk Defragment. The time required to complete the defrag-
 ment task will depend upon the hard drive capacity. The other use-
 ful built-in option is Scandisk, which can also be found in the Sys-
 tem tools. It checks the hard drive for errors such as lost clusters,
 bad sectors, and so on. Defrag once a month to keep the hard drive
 free from any errors.



some surprising results. The Maxtor MaxLine Plus II 250 GB hard
drive, with an ATA-133 interface, gave the highest results, scoring
a drive index of 39,680 KBps. This drive has an 8 MB memory
buffer, which translates to better scores when you take into con-
sideration the sequential read and write speed. The MaxLine Plus
II gave excellent results in the sequential read and write speed test,
with scores of 58 and 56 MBps. These scores were even better than
that of any of the SATA drives. Similarly, the Barracuda ST3160021A
drive from Seagate also gave some astonishing results by beating all
the SATA drives in this particular test, and returned a drive index
of 37,727 KBps, which was second best to the Maxtor 250 GB drive.
Excellent drive electronics, and the 7,200 rpm spindle enabled this
drive to give such an impressive performance. The only drive that
could not make a good impact was the SV0602H drive from Sam-
sung, being a 5,400 rpm hard drive.
     Sadly, none of the SATA drives could live up to the expecta-
tions. The results were monotonous, with the scores deviating a
little from each other. The drive index of all the SATA drives


          55                                                                         AUGUST 2003
test drive ■
                     ■   Hard Disk

hovered about the 36,000 KBps mark,                Maxtor’s 200 GB drive, but, nevertheless,            load the 200 MB test file—walked away
with the read and write speeds being more          put up a respectable score.                          with the crown. This can be attributed to
or less within the 52 - 54 MBps range. This             In the ATA category, nothing could              the 8 MB buffer memory, and a good read
clearly indicates that SATA needs to make          beat the Maxtor Maxline Plus II 250 GB               speed burst of 9 MBps. We recommend it
a significant technology advance in order          drive in the real world tests. This drive lost       to anyone who wants a good drive for
to beat the prevailing ATA standard. As of         out to its SATA sibling only because of its          video editing. The Samsung SV1203N ATA
now, the ATA 133 standard still rocks.             slightly higher CPU utilisation, taking              drive was second in line, taking just 5 sec-
                                                   some extra seconds to complete the copy-             onds, and 28 seconds to open Photoshop
File transfer tests                                ing of the file. This is a good point to show        and the test file. Other drives such as the
This test was introduced in our hard drive         how even a slight difference in the CPU              Seagate Barracuda ST3160021A, and
comparison tests to see how they fared in a        utilisation matters in the real world. The           the Samsung SP0802N, took around the
real world environment. Any user with              other drives, such as the ones from Sam-             same time.
access to a PC uses it to transfer data in         sung, and especially the SP0802N, dis-                   All these drives have excellent
some way or the other. The hard drive plays        played      good        real    world                onboard drive controller electronics
an important role in this, since it is the data    performance with neck-to-                                    resulting in high performance.
storage component. The faster the rate of          neck scores with the Max-                                              The test results seem to be
data transfer, the better the hard drive.          tor MaxLine Plus II.                                                   very much alike, with
     The test file comprised of two sets of        One good point to                                                      hardly any variation in
files. An assorted set of files, comprising of     note is that the                                                      them. However, even a
mp3 files, software installation setups, doc-      CPU utilisa-                                                       second’s difference could be
uments, and zip files, all of which amount-        tion of both                                                   of utmost importance.
ed to 1 GB, were put in a single folder.           the drives                                                            Unfortunately, none of the
These were then transferred from the main          was on par.                                                     SATA drives gave results that jus-
hard drive to the test hard drive, and then        The Seagate Bar-                                                tify them as the successors of the
from one partition to the other on the test        racuda ST340015A                                              PATA technology. Coming in first,
hard drive. A 1 GB movie file was also             was the biggest Samsung SpinPoint V                       was the Maxtor 120 GB DiamondMax
taken for the tests. The assorted set of files,    disappointment Series SV1203N                         plus 9 drive, sporting a score that was
and the movie file simulated the random,           in the entire test.                                   neck-to-neck with the winner in this par-
and sequential read and write speeds for           It was the only drive that came up with              ticular test. All other drives took longer
the hard drive. The time taken to transfer         worst results.                                       times to load the same image file.
the files was noted down as the result.
     The results for these tests were quite        Photoshop test                                       To sum it up...
similar all over. In the SATA category, the        In this test, we note down the time                  The test concluded with some great
Maxtor DiamondMax Plus 9 200 GB drive              required to load Photoshop after its instal-         insights, toppling some of the myths
showed the best results in this test by            lation, and the time taken to open a 200             about the ATA 133 standards capability,
completing the entire file transfer in just        MB file. The drive with the higher buffer            and was an eye opener regarding facts
57, and 52 seconds for random and                  memory, and good read burst speed will               about the SATA technology. Although
sequential read and write respectively.            definitely score better than other drives. A         many motherboard, and chipset manu-
This hard drive is really good for people          lot depends on the read ahead memory,                facturers deny official support to the ATA
who need to transfer a lot of data, onto or        and the drive controller, present on the             133 standard under the pretext of insta-
off the hard drive. The Seagate’s                  drive itself. The Maxtor MaxLine Plus II             bility, the fact remains clear that even
ST3160023AS took the second spot, by               250 GB—which took just 4 seconds to load             today, it has the capability to beat newer
taking a slightly longer time than the             Photoshop, and needed just 29 seconds to             technologies such as SATA, which is in its

                                                             Decision Maker
                 Entry Level Hard Disk            Good balance of performance and price                 Super Fast and scalable Hard Disk
 You Need        A steady going HDD that can      A HDD with good performance, with large               A super fast drive with excellent
                 store all your Movies, MP3’s     storage capacity, taking less time to copy files on   performance, low latency, takes less
                 and other data with decent       and off the HDD. A Drive that is future proof and     time to copy data on and off the HDD
                 performance and a large          won’t become obsolete in the wake of SATA             and also supports future satandards.
                 enough capacity                  becoming a standard.
 Look For        A 7,200 RPM drive with atleast A 7,200 RPM drive with 120 GB to 160 GB of              HDD with atleast 8 MB of buffer, spindle
                 40 to 80 GB of capacity with   space and providing 8 MB of buffer and having           speed over 7,200 rpm, having extremely
                 price per MB in the region of  excellent read write speeds.                            low CPU utilisation and having good over
                 5 to 7 paisa                                                                           all performance with loads of real estate
                                                                                                        to store you data.
 Our Pick        The Samsung SV0802N,             The Maxtor DiamondMax plus 9 120, 160 GB              The Maxtor Maxline Plus II, Maxtor
                 SV0602H, SP0411N                 and Samsung’s SV1203N                                 DiamondMax Plus 9 200 GB
 Price           Rs 4,500 to Rs 6,200             Rs 7,500 to Rs 12,000                                 Rs 15,000 and above



            58                                                                                                                       AUGUST 2003
                                       nascent stages of develop-
                                       ment, and still needs to be
                                       nurtured to be accepted as the
                                       successor to the prevailing
                                        PATA technology.
                                             We would definitely rec-
                                        ommend a PATA hard disk for
                                        your existing motherboard,
                                        since it offers seamless com-
                                        patibility, and performance,
                                        which is either better, or on
Maxtor Maxline PlusII 7Y250P0            par with the new technology.
                                 Also, a SATA upgrade requires some
 additional investments in a new motherboard that has native sup-
 port for the new technology.
     But, in case you are one of those lucky souls who happen to be
 on the verge of an upgrade, investing in an SATA hard disk, and a
 SATA motherboard makes a good future proof solution, since apart
 from the near equivalent performance of the SATA drives, it also
 offers better thermal dynamics for the cabinet, and is simple to
 install and maintain.
     The products that shone in the comparison test were none
 other than the trio from Maxtor, and one particular drive from
 Samsung. In the SATA category, no other drive could beat the per-
 formance of the 200 GB Maxtor DiamondMax Plus 9. This drive
                                                                              1/2 VAD
 has the best features, with specifications that can put the
 ones from Seagate to shame. Not
 only do the features look
 great on paper
 but also deliver
 in the real world
 environment,
 which is clearly
 reflected in the tests.
 We recommend this hard
 disk for any user who wants the
 best of both worlds: a large
 storage capacity, and excellent Maxtor DiamondMax
 performance.                       Plus9 6Y200M0
     Similarly, this drive also
 wins hands down, when it come to value for money. It provides
 200 GB of space at just Rs 15,000. The other drive that you
 can consider is the lower capacity Maxtor DiamondMax Plus 9
 120 GB that came in second in the performance rig. We suggest
 this drive, if you are on the lookout for a decent capacity
 SATA hard disk that performs well, is feature rich, and is light on
 the pocket.
     In the PATA category, the 250 GB Maxtor MaxLine Plus II
 wins hands down. Be it features, or performance—no other drive
 can match it. This was also the best performing drive in the entire
 spectrum of PATA and SATA hard disks taken together. At Rs
 21,000, the drive offers a humongous 250 GB of space. We rec-
 ommend this drive for professional audio and video editors, and
 gamers, who are always on the hunt for bigger capacity drives
 that are fast and provide top notch performance. The Samsung
 SP1203N 120 GB drive provides excellent value for money, con-
 sidering the fact that it costs Rs 7,200, which gives it an excel-
 lent price per MB of 5.86 paise. At such a price, this hard disk is
 a must buy piece of hardware.
                                   SANKET NAIK (sanket_naik@thinkdigit.com)
                               BHASKAR BANIK (bhaskar_banik@thinkdigit.com



            59                                                                          AUGUST 2003
test drive ■
           ■   Hard Disk




DS Table


      60                   AUGUST 2003
test drive ■
           ■   Hard Disk




      61                   AUGUST 2003
CATEGORY                                                                     SERIAL ATA DRIVES                                                 ATA DRIVES

Brand                                  Maxtor                   Maxtor                   Maxtor            Seagate             Maxtor          Samsung
Model                                  DiamondMax Plus9 DiamondMax Plus9 Diamond                           Barracuda           Maxline         PL40 Series
                                                                                         Max Plus9                             PlusII
Model number.                          6Y120M0                  6Y160M0                  6Y200M0           ST3160023AS         7Y250P0         SP0411N
Features (15%)
Drive specifications
Capacity (GB)                          120                      160                      200               160
Spindle speed (RPM)                    7200                     7200                     7200              7200                250             40
Interface type                         Serial ATA               Serial ATA               Serial ATA        SATA                7200            7200
(ATA 100/133/Serial ATA)                                                                                                       ATA 133         ATA 133
Data buffer size (MB)                  8                        8                        8                 8                   8               2
No. of platters                        NA                       NA                       NA                2                   3               1
Rated access time (ms)                 9.4                      9.4                      9.4               8.5                 9               11
Power connector                        Molex and SATA           Molex and SATA           Molex and SATA    SATA                Molex           Molex
Price per MB (paisa)                   6.92                     7.02                     7.32              8.06                8.20            10.99
Performance (65%)
Synthetic tests
HD Tach
  Read burst speed (MBps)              80                       80                       80                80                  80              80
  CPU utilisation (%) *                0.5                      4.1                      0.4               1.2                 1               0.9
SiSoft Sandra 2003
Pro Drive benchmark
  Sequential read (MBps)               48                       53                       53                52                  58              52
  Random read (MBps)                   8                        8                        8                 8                   9               7
  Sequential write (MBps)              46                       52                       53                55                  56              51
  Random write (MBps)                  16                       14                       19                11                  20              9
  Access time (ms) *                   7                        6                        6                 6                   6               8
  Drive index (KBps)                   32944                    36282                    36428             36027               39680           34592
Real world tests
Assorted file transfer (sec)           92                       87                       57                89                  80              83
Single file transfer (sec)             71                       148                      52                84                  61              71
Application load time
  Startup time (sec) *                 6                        7                        6                 6                   4               5
  Photoshop 7 image load time 28                                33                       29                39                  29              31
  (200 MB file) (sec) *
Warranty & support
  Replacement warranty (Y/N)           **                       **                       **                Replacement         **              **
  No. of years                         3                        3                        3                 1                   3               3
Overall score
  Features (15%)                       13.8                     13.8                     13.8              12.60               13.80           11.80
  Performance (65%)                    40.46                    36.32                    45.42             37.50               45.94           40.48
  Value for money (20%)***             16.57                    15.08                    17.08             13.13               15.38           10.05
Overall grade
Vendor name                            Cyberstar                Cyberstar                Cyberstar         Seagate             Cyberstar       Samsung Electronics
                                                                                                           Distrubution                        India Information &
                                                                                                           Singapore Pvt Ltd                   Telecommunication Ltd
Phone                                  011-26438216             011-26438216             011-26438216      1600 33 11 04       011-26438216    011-51511234
E-mail                                 yogi@maxtor.com          yogi@maxtor.com          yogi@maxtor.com   response.india@     yogi@maxtor.com hddsupport@
                                                                                                           seagate.com                         samsungindia.com
Price (In Rs)                          8500                     11500                    15000             13200               21000           4500
Disclaimers: All prices are subject to variation, * Lower scores indicate better performance
** if possible repairs or else replacement *** Calculated on the basis of price per MB




                      60                                                                                                                                 AUGUST 2003
                                                                      ATA DRIVES

Samsung               Samsung               Samsung               Samsung                 Seagate             Seagate           Samsung
SpinPoint V Series    SpinPoint V Series    SpinPoint P Series    SpinPoint V             Barracuda           Barracuda         SpinPoint V Series
                                                                  Series
SV0411N               SV0802N               SP0802N               SV1203N                 ST340015A           ST3160021A        SV0602H




40                    80                    80                    120                     40                  160               60
5400                  5400                  7200                  5400                    5400                7200              5400
ATA 133               ATA 133               ATA 133               ATA 133                 ATA 100             ATA 100           ATA 100
2                     2                     2                     2                       2                   2                 2
1                     1                     1                     1                       1                   2                 1
11                    8.9                   8.9                   8.9                     12.5                8.5               8.9
Molex                 Molex                 Molex                 Molex                   Molex               Molex             Molex
10.25                 6.84                  7.57                  5.86                    10.80               6.55              7.49




80                    80                    80                    80                      80                  80                78
2.5                   0.9                   1                     0.6                     0.6                 1                 0.4



42                    44                    55                    49                      43                  56                38
6                     6                     8                     6                       6                   8                 6
42                    44                    55                    49                      43                  56                24
8                     8                     10                    8                       6                   10                6
9                     9                     7                     9                       9                   6                 9
28444                 29553                 36860                 32571                   28914               37727             23975


101                   104                   85                    84                      767                 131               135
85                    81                    63                    75                      1160                122               129


6                     6                     5                     5                       6                   5                 6
32                    34                    30                    28                      37                  29                34



**                    **                    **                    **                      Replacement         Replacement       **
3                     3                     3                     3                       1                   1                 3


9.80                  9.80                  11.80                 9.80                    6.60                8.60              7.80
36.38                 36.15                 41.96                 40.44                   28.09               38.26             32.46
9.51                  14.20                 15.00                 18.11                   6.78                15.12             11.36


Samsung Electronics   Samsung Electronics   Samsung Electronics   Samsung Electronics     Seagate Distrubution Seagate          Samsung Electronics
India Information &   India Information &   India Information &   India information &     Singapore Pvt Ltd   Distrubution      India Information &
Telecommunication Ltd Telecommunication Ltd Telecommunication Ltd Telecommunication Ltd                       Singapore Pvt Ltd Telecommunication Ltd
011-51511234          011-51511234          011-51511234          011-51511234            1600 33 11 04       1600 33 11 04     011-51511234
hddsupport@           hddsupport@           hddsupport@           hddsupport@             response.india@     response.india@   hddsupport@
samsungindia.com      samsungindia.com      samsungindia.com      samsungindia.com        seagate.com         seagate.com       samsungindia.com
4200                  5600                  6200                  7200                    4425                10725             4600




                 61                                                                                                                     AUGUST 2003
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           ■   software

                          Everyone’s heard of Linux, most fear it, but the
                          few daring individuals that use it, now swear by
                          it. Is there a Linux distribution that can compare
                          with Windows’ functionality, leave alone replace
                          it as the OS of choice? Let’s find out…




                          “H
                                               ello everybody… I’m doing a (free) operating
                                               system (just a hobby, won’t be big and profes-
                                               sional…).” Linus Torvalds’ first Linux
                                               announcement on August 25, 1991.
                               Those simple words describe Linux’s humble beginning.
                          Linux comes in various distributions (distros to the geekdom)
                          that promise to be stable, and as user friendly as Windows. Well,
                          are these just empty assurances, or can their claims be justified?
                          The purpose of this comparison test was to evaluate the very best
                          of these Linux distros. We also answer crucial questions that
                          every office and home user wants answered—is Linux really ready
                          for the desktop? Can I install Linux on my PC, and get the same
                          productivity, and features that Windows offers? Can I transpar-
                          ently work with my existing data under Linux? This test answers
                          them all, and comes up with some astonishing results to boot.
                               The available flavours were divided into two categories: Win-
                          dows replacements, and Office Desktops.
                               The Windows replacement distributions are meant for a new-
                          bie scouting the market for an OS other than Windows. We chose
                          Xandros, Lycoris, Lindows 3.0 and ELX Linux, for this category.
                               The second category includes distributions that do not attempt
                          to give the same look-n-feel as the standard Windows desktop.
                          Instead, they provide a very intuitive interface that can be used
                          with little effort. They also bundle a whole lot of applications that
                          make life easier for the office user. Red Hat Linux 9.0, Mandrake 9.1,
                          and SuSE Linux Office Desktop were the distributions considered.

                          How we tested
                          The test process for the categories was almost identical. Howev-
                          er, the weightage awarded to each component of the test process
                          differed for the two categories. For Windows replacements,
                          importance was given to their resemblance to Windows so that
                          a novice user can make the right choice.




                                                    The
                          Linux
     Shootout
      62                                                                             AUGUST 2003
Ease of installation                            desktop user, the area of major concern       details of each configuration can be found
The installation utility was evaluated for      is the compatibility level between Linux,     in the hardware compatibility table.
ease-of-use. Special points were given to       and Windows.
those flavours that took into account                                                         The Windows killers
existing Windows partitions, and sug-           Office productivity tools
gested mount points automatically. The          Office applications such as word proces-      ELX Linux Power Desktop 2.0:
ability of the partitioning utility to han-     sors, spreadsheets, presentation tools,       This one is for everyone
dle NTFS, and FAT32 partitions, was con-        etc., were evaluated, and their compati-
sidered as a distinct advantage.

Suitability to Desktop
                                                bility with standard Windows office
                                                applications was also determined.
                                                     For those who insist on using MS
                                                                                              T    he ELX installation was fairly simple.
                                                                                                   A neat listing of the steps involved on
                                                                                              the left hand pane went hand in hand
These tests gauged the ease with which a        Office tools in Linux, Windows emulators      with an information box in the corner.
novice can configure, and get around his        are a viable option. They create an artifi-   Three install options—Default, Laptop,
Linux desktop—for example, easily under-        cial Windows environment within Linux,        and Custom System—are offered. The
standable desktop icons (My Computer,           thereby enabling a user to install, and run   Default install loads a majority of the
My Presentations, My Documents, etc.),          his favourite Windows application.            applications, the Laptop loads only the
which promote a familiar Windows envi-                                                        bare necessities and the Custom install,
ronment. We also noted the ease with            Hardware compatibility                        as the name suggests, is just that. The par-
which a user could alter the desktop set-       To check the compatibility of the available   titioning utility is similar to that of Red
tings. Simple tasks such as setting the back-   distros with common hardware, we              Hat—the user has to assign the root par-
ground image, changing screensavers,            installed each flavour on 5 different test    tition. However, the assign-
changing the default desktop resolution,        PCs that represented a pool of popularly      ment process is
etc., were taken into consideration.                              available     computer      simpli-
     Adherence to the File Hierarchy Stan-                            components. The
dard (FHS) was also given special atten-
tion—for interoperability of applications
between various Linux distributions.
     The number of file systems sup-
ported by a Linux box, is a good indi-
cation of its suitability in a
heterogeneous environment where
it needs to co-exist with other
operating systems. However, for
the typical home, and office




                ILLUSTRATINS:   Mahesh Benkar




          63                                                                                                              AUGUST 2003
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                                                ly easy. During installation, you are             on a standard Windows computer includ-
                                                prompted to specify a workgroup name.             ing a Dial-up Account icon.
                                                Later, just click on the Network Neigh-                As can be seen from the comparison
                                                bourhood icon to get a listing of all the         chart, ELX turned out to be a very sur-
                                                machines on the network, and their net-           prising distro in many respects. Apart from
                                                work shares.                                      using a very easy desktop, they have also
                                                      All applications are neatly categorised     developed some very simple but ingenious
                                                into six groups—Office, Internet, Multi-          tools. The samba file sharing front end is
                                                media, Graphics, Development tools, and           a classic example. While the majority of
                                                Games. All these groups have icons (called        distros used the Konqueror browser to
                                                Launchpads) on the task bar. Clicking on          access Windows shares, the separate tool
fied; instead of assigning partitions for       any one of these icons brings up a dialog         provided by ELX is comfortable to use.
individual directories, you can check the       box containing separate icons for the indi-       Moreover, this distro is free for personal
box labelled ‘I want to use this as the         vidual applications within that group.            and educational use. The commercial
main partition (/)’. Moreover, you can          Point the mouse to any of these icons to          licensing is also very reasonable.
either use the remaining free space, or         get a brief description of its features. A but-
specify the the partition size in MB.           ton, to update all the applications in a par-     Lycoris Desktop/LX review:
    The install process is time consuming       ticular group, is also provided. The              The problematic Windows
due to the installation of a whole lot of       Launchpad also acts as a front end to the         look-alike
applications. Interestingly, this is the only   apt-get package manager. Select ‘Update
distro that comes with ‘Asia/Calcutta’ as
the default time zone.
    After installation, the user is asked for
                                                all’ from the Launchpad, to update all the
                                                packages, and their dependencies via ftp
                                                sites. For the root user (administrator), a
                                                                                                  L    ycoris has one of the most simple, and
                                                                                                       fastest installations of all the distros
                                                                                                  tested. However,
basic configuration information, using          couple of extra launchpads are provided.          even a small prob-
KPersonaliser during the first login. ELX       The system configuration Launchpad has            lem with hardware
Power Desktop 2.0 has a very friendly desk-     a handy set of tools to make system con-          compatibility, such
top with simple Windows style icons, such       figuration an easy affair.                        as an undetected
as My Computer, My Network, etc.                      Apart from some of these customised         mouse, could bring
    Strangely, the minimum hard drive           utilities, the rest of the tools are general-     down the installa-
space mentioned was 1 GB, but the default       ly KDE-based utilities. For example,              tion utility.
install took up 3 GB of space.                  adding, or removing users can be done                   In terms of look
    ELX works well with KDE, but does           using the KDE User Manager (Kuser). Sim-          and feel, Lycoris
not work properly with Gnome. The panel         ilarly, printer configuration uses the stan-      was the closest to the Windows desktop. It
crashed during the first Gnome session,         dard KDE Printer Manager. But what is             even has a default wallpaper that has a
and we had to use the shortcut keys to          commendable here is that a very simple            striking resemblance to the one that comes
start the X server; a novice user could not     way of accessing all the relevant tools is        with Windows XP. A guided tour starts up
have done that. Also, the My Computer           provided. Clicking on the My Computer             during first boot, which walks you through
icon did not function under Gnome.              icon on the desktop will bring up a win-          all the features of the Lycoris desktop. This
    Accessing Windows shares is extreme-        dow that has almost all the tools found           is very helpful to the first-time Linux user
                                                                                                  migrating from Windows to Linux.
                                                                                                        Lycoris had the worst hardware sup-
                                                                                                  port amongst all the distros. It did not
                                                                                                  configure on many of the test beds. Even
CATEGORY                                             Windows killers                              on those that were configured, everything
                                                                                                  did not go smoothly. For example, on the
 Distribution name                Xandros       Lycoris         Lindows 3.0      ELX Linux
                                                                                                  HCL Beanstalk 4455 with Geforce2 MX
 Ease of use                      22.5          18              15               22.5
 File system                      2                             2                2
                                                                                                  400, the desktop was configured, by
                                                2
 Laptop support                   2.5           0               0                0                default, at an uncomfortable resolution of
 Similarity to Windows            15            15              11.25            15               1,600 x 1,200. All the desktop icons were
 Suitability to office use        10            10              10               10               tiny and hardly legible. All attempts to
 Printing subsystem               4             4               4                4                bring the desktop to a lower resolution
 System administration            2             2               2                2                yielded strange results. On restarting the
 Internet readiness               1.2           1.2             1                1.8              X server after changing the resolution, the
 Graphical configuration          4             4               2.75             3.5              desktop area went outside the monitor’s
 Features                         0.8           0               -0.4             0.8
                                                                                                  viewable area. Although you could scroll
   Special features               4             3               2                4
                                                                                                  up, or down on the desktop, this is defi-
   Glaring deficiencies           2             3               3                2
 Resource utilisation             1.8                           2.4              1.8
                                                                                                  nitely not desirable.
                                                2.4
 Desktop hardware support         5.71          1.43            6.67             6.19                   Overall, Lycoris was impressive with its
 Economy                          2             2               2                4                near-perfect Windows desktop look and
 Overall score                    67.8          60.6            52               67.4             feel, but lost out on hardware support.


          64                                                                                                                    AUGUST 2003
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                      ■   software

CATEGORY                                                       Hardware compatibility

 Distribution name                                  Xandros      Lycoris   Lindows 3.0     ELX
 Graphics card
  nVidia GeForce MX 440 with AGP8x                  ✔           ✖          ✔              ✔
  nVidia GeForce2 MX 400                            ✖           ✔          ✔              ✖
  nVidia GeForce2 MX 200                            ✖           ✖          ✔              ✔
  NVIDIA Riva TNT2                                  ✔           ✖          ✔              ✔
  SiS 6326                                          ✔           ✖          ✔              ✔
 Ethernet card
  Broadcom NetXtreme                                ✖           ✖          ✖              ✔
  Gigabit ethernet card
  Intel Pro 100 VE                                  ✖           ✖          ✔              ✖
  Dlink DFE-538TX 10/100                            ✔           ✖          ✔              ✔
  Intel EtherExpress PRO 100                        ✔           ✖          ✔              ✔
 Sound card
  Onboard CMI 8378                                  ✔           ✖          ✖              ✔
  Onboard 5.1 support                               ✖           ✖          ✖              ✖
  Onboad Realtek AC’97                              ✔           ✖          ✖              ✔
  Aureal2                                           ✔           ✖          ✔              ✖
  Yamaha DS-XG                                      ✔           ✖          ✔              ✔
 Optical drives
  Samsung SW-240B CD-RW                             ✔           ✔          ✔              ✖
  Samsung SD-616Q DVD-ROM                           ✔           ✔          ✔              ✖
  Samsung SD-612 DVD-ROM                            ✖           ✖          ✔              ✔
  Samsung SM-348B Combo Drive                       ✖           ✖          ✔              ✔
 Modem
  Best data 56 Kbps data fax modem                  ✖           ✖          ✖              ✖
 Overall score                                      0.57         0.14      0.67            0.62

                                                        al device, using the wizard, you can do so
Xandros 1.0:                                            later using the Control Centre.
The best of the lot                                          Sharing files on a Windows network
                                                        is also very easy. In the Control Centre

T    he Xandros installation
     procedure is very simple. It
gives two modes of install: Express install,
                                                        just go to Networking > Windows Networking,
                                                        enter the name of your workgroup, and
                                                        you’re done. You can now access the
and Custom Install. Express install does                other computers on the network using
not allow partitioning of the hard drive,               the File Manager by going to Home > Win-
but preserves existing Windows parti-                   dows Network. Search for other computers
tions. Custom install, on the other hand,               on the network, by going to Find > Com-
lets the user partition the hard drive.                 puters in the main menu.
     After logging in for the first time, a First            The Xandros desktop is basically a
Run Wizard allows the user to configure the             variant of the K Desktop Environment
network, printers, etc., in a very intuitive            (KDE). Many of the tools that are avail-
fashion. For example, to configure a print-             able via the Launch menu are standard
er using the First Run Wizard, just select the          KDE tools. For example, the Process Man-
type of printer (local or remote) and give              ager runs the kpm tool, and the Run Level
the relevant information in the steps that              Editor is nothing but the ksysv applica-
follow. If you do not configure a peripher-             tion with the -caption option.
                                                             Clicking on the Windows key on the
                                                        keyboard brings up the Launch menu—
                                                        just as it brings up the Start menu under
                                                        Windows. Such small improvements
                                                        make the user much more comfortable
                                                        with the GUI environment.
                                                             Xandros is considerably faster than
                                                        the other distributions and provides a
                                                        very intuitive and easy to use GUI. It even
                                                        supports active user switching, just as in
                                                        Windows XP. The users can switch even if
                                                        their applications are running on their


                                                                                                      AUGUST 2003
           65
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respective desktops.
     The Launch menu is very user-friend-        Gaming in Linux
ly, and very similar to the Windows Start         Unfortunately, the term ‘Linux Gaming’           The two most popular arcade games that
menu. All the applications are neatly clas-       has come to symbolise the ultimate               are included with Red Hat are Chromium,
sified and arranged under specific cate-          oxymoron. Linux has always been                  and Tux Racer. Chromium is a souped up
gories. Also, The quick start guide gives a       considered the preserve of geeks, and            version of Space Invaders, and involves
comprehensive list of all the topics that         geeks don’t play games—they program              blasting anything you come across to
might be of interest to the novice user.          like there’s no tomorrow.                        smithereens while flying your spaceship
     However, The per-seat license can get            There has always been somewhat of            around, advancing to the next level, and
a bit heavy on the pocket. Moreover, while        a vicious circle revolving around Linux.         repeating the procedure ad nauseum, ad
the Crossover office is a useful tool for         Game developers have consciously steered         infinitum. Tux Racer is slightly different in
individuals keen on using MS Office tools         away from porting Windows games to               its approach. You basically control the
on Linux, it would have been cheaper if           this platform since they don’t perceive          Linux Penguin, and help it skate across
Xandros had bundled a cheaper emulator.           a market here.                                   an ice floor, looking for fish to eat, while
                                                      However, few companies have tried to         avoiding obstacles. However, the game
Lindows 3.0:                                      break this barrier. id Software released Linux   runs very slowly, even on a high-end
Linux with Windows licensing                      versions for all of its recent games—The         system with a top-end graphics card,
                                                  Quake franchise, and Return To Castle Wolfen-    primarily because the drivers haven’t

L   indows 3.0 has a very simple installa-
    tion procedure and is also one of the
fastest installations; it barely took 5 min-
                                                  stein. Another major development is the
                                                  release of Unreal Tournament 2003, by Epic
                                                  Games. Apart from these, there are games
                                                                                                   been installed properly. You can also try
                                                                                                   out the free multiplayer 3D games, found
                                                                                                   at www.sourceforge.net or www.rpmfind.net.
utes to install all the packages. This sounds     that come shipped with the Linux distros.        Good hunting!



                                                libraries that are needed for the applica-         the basic power and uniqueness of Linux.
                                                tions to install properly.                              In terms of Windows look-n-feel,
                                                     The concept of downloading applica-           usability and user friendliness, Xandros
                                                tions from a central repository might not          was slightly better than ELX Power Desk-
                                                be feasible for a home user as the time            top 2.0. However, Xandros has complex
                                                required is mind boggling. For example,            licensing issues, and has to be bought,
                                                the average download time for StarOffice           even for home use—it has a per seat or
                                                6.0 listed at the Lindows site is seven and        per user licensing policy. ELX, however,
really impressive till you actually boot for    a half hours on a 56 Kbps modem, about             is free to download for home and educa-
the first time and realise that hardly any      an hour for a DSL modem, and 20 min-               tional use. Thus, from the economic
applications have been installed. This is       utes for a T1 connection.                          point of view ELX beats Xandros.
primarily because of the Click-n-Run inter-          But before corporations with T1 lines              In spite of all these features there are
face for installing and updating applica-       think that it is feasible, we caution you          a few troublesome areas that have to be
tions. The disk partitioning utility of Lin-    about some licensing policies. The license         addressed, such as hardware compatibili-
dows is very easy to use and takes a differ-    for the Click-and-Run Warehouse is sepa-           ty. Another area that looks worrying is the
ent approach to all the other Linux distri-     rate from that for the operating system            pricing and the licensing policies. In par-
butions. It does not display the partitions     and needs to be renewed every year. More-          ticular installing applications on Xandros
using the standard Linux convention of          over, a full membership of the warehouse           and Lindows can be bypassed by using the
hda1, hda2, etc. Instead it uses a very sim-    (whatever that means), comes at an extra           freely available tools from the Debian
ple listing of all the primary, extended and    price. This feature can be easily bypassed         Linux distribution, which effectively
logical partitions. This ensures that you are   by using the ‘apt-get’ installer that comes        means that they don’t have to pay for the
able to get around with partitioning even       along with Debian Linux as Lindows is              support provided by the respective ven-
if you are not aware of Linux partition         based on the Debian distribution.                  dors. This is also true for ELX. Apart from
naming conventions.                                                                                these annoyances all the Windows looka-
     Lindows provides all the fancies that      What it all boils down to                          like distributions gave good overall results.
are required to attract a Windows user.         Before starting this comparison there was a
However, what really gets on your nerves        lot of apprehension about the very concept         Desktop Linux comparison
is the limited number of applications that      of comparing Linux distros that are touted
come along with the installation CD.            as Windows replacements. “Isn’t that a             Red Hat Linux 9.0:
Even basic office utilities such as spread-     cheap marketing gimmick?”, we were                 Old wine in a new bottle
sheet viewers and presentation tools are        asked; and we didn’t have an answer, then.
not included in the basic installation. The
Click-n-Run Express install CD promises
to reduce the download time of all the
                                                But now, after completing the comparison,
                                                we have an answer—no it is not a market-
                                                ing gimmick. The vendors responsible for
                                                                                                   R   ed Hat is probably the most recog-
                                                                                                       nised of all the Linux distributions. It
                                                                                                   has been installed in almost every think-
applications from the Click-n-Run ware-         developing these distributions have gone           able form, from servers to clusters. But
house located at the Lindows Web site.          to great extents to make their offerings as        how suitable is it for the desktop? Of late,
This express CD installs many of the            user-friendly as possible, while retaining         Red Hat is attempting to become more


          66                                                                                                                      AUGUST 2003
 Desktop environments
  KDE                                                which is a solid competitor to other exist-
  KDE is a network transparent contempo-             ing Unix Web browsers.
  rary desktop environment for Unix work-            GNOME
  stations. KDE seeks to fill the need for an        GNOME is a powerful graphics-driven desk-
  easy-to-use desktop for Unix workstations,         top environment that enables users to easi-
  similar to the desktop environments                ly use and configure their PCs. It’s main
  found under Macintosh, or Windows.                 objective is to provide a user-friendly suite
  KDE has the following features:                    of applications, and an easy-to-use desktop.
  n A beautiful contemporary desktop                 It includes a start up panel, a desktop,
  n An integrated help system, allowing              standard desktop tools and applications,
  for convenient access to help pages of             and a set of conventions that make it easy
  the KDE desktop, and related applications          for applications to be consistent with
  n Standardised menu and toolbars,                  each other.
  keybindings, colour schemes, etc.                  Window Managers
  n Internationalisation: KDE is available           One of the main distinguishing features of
  in more than 40 languages                          X is that it separates the window manager
  n Centralised dialog driven desktop                from the windowing system. X allows you
  configuration                                      to run any window manager that controls
  KDE applications                                   the title bar, and other decorations.
  KDE has an office application suite, based         You can run a window manager that
  on KDE’s ‘Kparts’ technology consisting of         looks and acts like the NeXT interface, the
  a spreadsheet, a presentation application,         Motif interface, or the Open Look inter-
  an organiser, a news client, and more. It          face. Common window managers are
  also includes a Web browser—Konqueror,             mentioned in the box below:

  Name                                   Description
  fvwm                                   Looks like mwm; main window manager on Linux
  fvwm95                                 Looks like Windows 95. Comes with Slackware Linux
  WindowMaker                            Uses NeXT interface.
  AfterStep                              Follow on to Bowman; uses NeXT interface.
  Enlightenment                          A color-intensive window manager.

user-friendly for desktop users.                       to play around with the desktop. Thus, this
     The set up is quite simple. The tricky            Blue Curve initiative has removed a lot of
part is the disk partitioning utility that is          the fun that was possible in the earlier ver-
not easy for a new user. Though                                        sions of Red Hat. But it is a
it provides a graphical represen-                                      boon to the new user who
tation of all the partitions on             The older Linux            does not care much about
the hard drive, it does not shield        lpd-based printing           switching desktops and
you from assigning a root parti-         subsystem has now             window managers.
tion or selecting a swap parti-          been replaced by                  Configuring        your
tion. Otherwise the install can          the CUPS subsystem            graphical hardware and
be easily navigated by a user            that has a very simple        adjusting display settings
with a basic idea of Linux.              Web-based configura-          is also much easier now
     Starting off with Red Hat           tion utility, and sup-        using the new ‘redhat-con-
8.0, Red Hat has embarked on             ports many standard           fig-xfree86’ tool, which
an ambitious project, called the         lpd commands.                 has replaced Xconfigurator
Blue Curve desktop initiative,                                         as the standard tool for
that provides a highly integrated desktop              graphical configuration. But, there is a
environment. This inititive has drawn a lot            downside to using this new utility, it runs
of flak from the open source community,                in graphical mode and the only way left
since it also restricts the ability of the user        to bring the X server to life in case of
                                                       faulty hardware detection is by tweaking
   Site to Visit                                       the X server’s configuration file.
   Visit these Web sites to get an insight                 Red Hat does a good job of compiling
   into open source, and free software.                applications from source code, and there
   http://www.opensource.org                           are no issues as far as support for rpm
   http://www.fsf.org                                  packages go. But the package manage-
                                                       ment system leaves a lot to be desired,


           67                                                                                          AUGUST 2003
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                   ■   software

                                                                                             Windows emulators
                                                                                             The purpose of Windows emulators is to
CATEGORY                                            Office desktops                          provide an environment in which Win-
                                                                                             dows-based programs can be executed on
 Distribution name                    SuSE Office Desktop Red Hat 9.0 Mandrake 9.1           a Linux platform. All you need to do is load
 Ease of use                          22.5                18          21                     the emulator in Linux, which allows you to
 File system                          2                   2           2                      run your Windows application. Here, we
 Similarity to Windows                0                   0           0                      look at the four commonly used emulators;
 Suitability to office use            20                  20          20                     Wine, CodeWeavers CrossOver Office,
 Printing subsystem                   4                   4           4
                                                                                             NeTraverse Win4Lin 4.0, and VMware.
 System administration                2                   2           2
 Internet readiness                   1.2                 1           1.2
 Graphical configuration              20                              20
                                                                                             Wine
                                                          18.75
 Features                             4                   3           3                      Wine is an open source implementation
   Special features                   3                   2           2                      that can be downloaded for free from
   Glaring deficiencies               0.4                 0.4         0.4                    www.winehq.com. It runs the Win 32 and
 Resource utilisation                 2.4                 1.2         1.8                    Win 16 API on Linux. Hence, you can exe-
 Desktop hardware compatibility       9.05                9.05        8.57                   cute almost any of your Win 32, Win 16 or
 Windows emulation tools              4                   3           0                      DOS applications. It provides X11-based
 Economy                              3                   5           3                      graphical support, DirectX support as well
 Overall score                        90.55               84.39       83.97
                                                                                             as text based console. Support for sound
                                                                                             devices, input devices, printing devices,
                                                                                             scanners and CD writers, are also included.
CATEGORY                                           Hardware compatibility                    Even bug detection occurs similar to that
                                                                                             on a Windows PC.
Distribution name                      SuSE Linux        Red Hat 9.0 Mandrake 9.1
                                       Office Desktop                Standard Edition
                                                                                             Code Weavers CrossOver Office
Graphics card
                                                                                             CrossOver Office has a small set of appli-
 nVidia GeForce MX 440 with AGP8x      ✔                 ✔             ✔
                                                                                             cations that can be emulated on Linux.
 nVidia GeForce2 MX 400                ✔                 ✔             ✔
                                                                                             The list of applications supported includes
 nVidia GeForce2 MX 200                ✔                 ✔             ✔
                                                                                             Microsoft Office, Lotus Notes, Microsoft
 nVidia Riva TNT2                      ✔                 ✔             ✔
                                                                                             Visio, etc. Its latest version, CrossOver
 SiS 6326                              ✔                 ✔             ✔
                                                                                             Office 2.0.1, is available at http://www.
Ethernet card
                                                                                             codeweavers.com/products/office/
 Broadcom NetXtreme                    ✔                 ✔             ✔
 Gigabit ethernet card
                                                                                             NeTraverse Win4Lin 4.0
 Intel Pro 100 VE                      ✔                 ✔             ✔
                                                                                             Developed by NeTraverse, Win4Lin 4.0
 Dlink DFE-538TX 10/100                ✔                 ✔             ✔
                                                                                             supports more Linux distributions than
 Intel EtherExpress PRO 100            ✔                 ✔             ✔
                                                                                             any other. All you need to do is down-
Sound card
                                                                                             load, and install it. It supports applications
 Onboard CMI 8378                      ✔                 ✔             ✔
                                                                                             from Microsoft Office, Macromedia appli-
 Onboard 5.1 support                   ✔                 ✔             ✔
                                                                                             cations, and Adobe. It also supports the
 Onboard Realtek AC’97                 ✔                 ✔             ✔
                                                                                             wheel mouse, larger memory allocation,
 Aureal2                               ✔                 ✔             ✖
                                                                                             and a larger swap partition for Windows.
 Yamaha DS-XG                          ✔                 ✔             ✔
Optical drives
                                                                                             VMware
 Samsung SW-240B CD-RW                 ✔                 ✔             ✔
                                                                                             VMware takes advantage of the Intel archi-
 Samsung SD-616Q DVD-ROM               ✔                 ✔             ✔
                                                                                             tecture, which allows virtual machines to
 Samsung SD-612 DVD-ROM                ✔                 ✔             ✔
                                                                                             be created at the hardware level, enabling
 Samsung SM-348B Combo Drive           ✔                 ✔             ✔
                                                                                             you to use more than one operating sys-
Modem
                                                                                             tem on the same PC. It establishes a virtual
 Best data 56 Kbps data fax modem      ✖                 ✖             ✖
                                                                                             network connection between the operat-
Overall score                          0.90              0.90          0.86
                                                                                             ing systems, allowing them to communi-
                                                                                             cate with each other as if they were physi-
more so in the area of checking and auto-         Red Hat has OpenOffice.org, which          cal computers, connected via the LAN. So,
matically installing dependencies before      provides compatibility with existing           you can access the Linux virtual machine
installing packages. These functionalities    Microsoft Office files. It is a very mature    through Network Neighbourhood in Win-
are currently provided only by the            Linux distribution but does not adapt well     dows and vice versa. The biggest advan-
Debian-based apt-get, the ports-system        in the office environment; rather the office   tage being that it can have either Linux, or
on BSD-style operating systems, and the       user has to adapt to Red Hat, and that will    Windows as the host operating system.
portage system on Gentoo Linux.               take a lot of time.


          68                                                                                                               AUGUST 2003
SuSE Linux Office Desktop:                      utility is slightly different from other dis-
The chameleon                                   tros. It is much more graphical and gives
does it again                                   a multi-coloured view of the different par-
                                                titions on your drive.

S   uSE are tying to break up
    their Linux distros into two
distinct categories; one targeted at
                                                     Mandrake 9.1 Standard comes with
                                                both Koffice 1.2.1 and OpenOffice 1.0.2.
                                                but StarOffice 6.0
                        the general user and    comes only in the
                        the other targeted      PowerPack edition.
                        at the office user.     It comes with a
                        This is much better     whole lot of applica-
                        than trying to satis-   tions neatly grouped
                        fy the needs of all     under various easy-
                        the users in a single   to-understand cate-
                        distribution.           gories such as Office,
                            The     installer   Networking, etc.
                        interface is very            The Mandrake Control Centre is an
simple for those who have had some pre-         excellent tool that lets you control all the
vious experience with SuSE, but for a new-      hardware and software on your comput-
bie it can get confusing—SuSE does not          er. The Software Sources Manager uses
follow the step-by-step installation            the CDs to manage the update process by
process that is commonly used by all the        default. It also lets you add extra sites for
other distros. Instead it uses a Web page       downloading the security updates. It lets
format—all the detected settings are dis-       you choose from a list of mirror sites.
played on a single screen. To change any        After configuring the proxy setting the
of the settings, you have to click on the       updates work perfectly, but the list of
specific item. The problem with this kind       sites is restricted. The updates take about
of installation is that you might miss out      10 minutes to download on a T1 line.
some important settings that should have             The Windows partitions are mounted
been changed. Otherwise the install is          by default, but the user has to have prior
perfect—the default option provided in          knowledge of the mount points to access
the installation, mounted all the existing      the partitions. The samba server man-
Windows partitions by itself.                   agement using the Mandrake Control
     The hardware support was quite amaz-       Centre leaves much to be desired. It
ing; it didn’t have problems installing on      searches for servers on the network and
any of the testbeds. Also, apart from the       lists all the available computers, but does
bundled StarOffice 6.0, it comes with           not group them by workgroups. More-
Crossover, which lets you run many Win-         over it has problems accessing Windows
dows-based applications on Linux.               XP shares. Finally, you end up using the
     Compatibility with rpm packages was        command line samba utilities to get your
not a problem. But the most annoying part       work done faster.
was the absence of the ‘make’ utility need-          Overall Mandrake 9.1 is a good prod-
ed for compiling from source. While the         uct but a little more effort is required to
novice user might not consider this a           make it more user-friendly. While the
shortcoming, users are not novices forev-       operating system comes with a whole lot
er. Just as normal Windows users turn into      of goodies, it does not offer anything spe-
power users after a few months of usage,        cial for the typical office desktop user.
Linux users generally demand much more
from their distributions after a few            What it all means
months. This could be something as sim-         In the Office desktop category SuSE Office
ple as compiling the open source alterna-       Desktop outperformed all the others sim-
tive to MSN messenger (amsn).                   ply because it has been specifically devel-
                                                oped for this particular segment. While the
Mandrake Linux 9.1                              other distros (Redhat and Mandrake) are
Standard review:                                one-size-fits-all packages, SuSE has smartly
A magician without a wand                       moved away from this mentality and start-
                                                ed addressing the needs of different target

I nstalling Mandrake is quite simple. The
  installer is very user-friendly, and even
a newbie won’t have a problem when
                                                audiences. However, as far as pricing goes,
                                                Red Hat is the best option as it is freely
                                                downloadable, even for commercial use.
selecting options. The disk partitioning            PRAVEEN KURUP (praveen_kurup@thinkdigit.com)



          69                                                                                       AUGUST 2003
test drive ■
                      ■   a-list


                                 A-List Reviews
                     A listing of the best products in different hardware and software categories



E
     very Digit reader must surely be aware of the various com-            grade these products based on their performance, features and
     parison tests we do at our Digital Test and Research Cen-             their merit as per the money you pay for them. The ‘A’ listed
     tre. The comparison includes various products from all                products are those which are truly the best among the best—
categories. They range from motherboards to keyboards, and                 products that you can safely bet on. Read on to find out more
other cool gadgets such as digital cameras and MP3 players. We             about the product you have been hunting for all this time.


CPU +                                  imum resolution, two USB ports,                     pitch, Shadow-       Email: brijesh@canon.co.in
Motherboard                            external power supply with con-                       mask CRT type,     Price: Rs 21,747
                                       nections for alternate display                         115 MHz video
Pentium 4 3.2 GHz 800                  source, sound connectors, Mac-                          bandwidth,       Scanners
MHz FSB                                compatible display connection                           flat picture
+ Ultra Fast                           Contact: Rashi Peripherals                              tube, MPR II,    HP Scanjet 4570C
- Very costly                          Phone: 022-28260258                                    TCO 99 emis-      + Excellent scanning
                                       E-mail: ho@rptechindia.com          sion standards compliant             performance
                                       Price: Rs 1,49,000                  Contact: Benq India Pvt Ltd          - Heavier and bulkier
                                                                           Phone: 022-25705231
                                       Sharp LL-T153G                      E-mail: salesenquiryin@benq.com
                                       + Outstanding Perfor-               Price: Rs 12,999
                                       mance
                                       - No built-in speakers, minimal     Printer
Specifications: 533 MHz FSB, 512       feature set
KB L2 cache, HyperThreading            Specifications: Max resolution      Laser
enabled                                supported 1,024 x 768 @ 75Hz,       Samsung ML-1710
Contact: Nebula Technologies           15-inch LCD, pixel size 0.29        + High-quality prints, low
Phone: 022-6730567                     Contact: Sharp India Ltd            cost                                 Specifications: 1,200 x 1,200
E-mail: pratik@nebulatech.com          Phone: 011-26431313                 - Memory can’t be upgraded.          optical resolution, USB interface,
Price: Rs 41,500                       E-mail: lcd@sharp-oa.com                                                 48-bit colour depth
                                       Price: Rs 22,500                                                         Contact: Hewlett Packard
MSI 845PE Max2                                                                                                  India Ltd
+ Chock-full of features               Samsung                                                                  Phone: 011-28260000
- No serial ATA support                Syncmaster 171S                                                          Email: ashwini-k_aggarwal@
Specifications: Intel 845PE chipset,   + Good Performance, Wall                                                 hp.com
HyperThreading enabled,                mountable                                                                Price: Rs 17,999
onboard 5.1 channel sound,             - No built-in speakers
FireWire, Gigabit Ethernet, RAID       Specifications: Max resolution                                           Primary Stor-
controller, USB 2.0, six PCI slots,    supported 1,280 x 1024 @ 76Hz,      Specifications: USB interface, 600
AGP 4X                                 17-inch LCD display, pixel size     dpi, 512 KB buffer memory, 250
                                                                                                                age
Contact: Priya Ltd                     .264, rotating angle 160 degree     sheet paper tray and 17 PPM          Maxtor 250 GB
Phone: 022-2663611                     /120 degree (H/V)                   Contact: Samsung Electronics         MaxLine Plus II
E-mail: salesbom@priyagroup.com        Contact: Samsung Electronics        India information and                + Tons of space
Price: Rs 7,200                        India information &                 Telecommunication Ltd                - Heats up
                                       telecommunication ltd               Phone: 011-51511234                  Specifications: 7200 rpm, 8 MB
Display                                Phone: 011-51511234                 E-mail: farrukh@                     cache, ATA 133 interface
                                       E-mail: marketing@                  samsungindia.com                     Contact: Cyberstar
LCD                                    samsungindia.com                    Price: Rs 16,000                     Phone: 011-6438216
SONY SDM-N80                           Price: Rs 42,000                                                         E-mail: yogi@maxtor.com
18.1-inch LCD Monitor                                                      Inkjet                               Price: Rs 21,000
+ Stylish looks combined with          CRT                                 Canon S530D
great performance                      BenQ V991 - 19-inch                 + Feature-rich                       Maxtor 200 GB
- External power supply takes up       + High resolutions, great per-      - High costs                         DiamondMax Plus 9
extra space.                           formance                            Specifications: USB interface,       + SATA enabled
Specifications: 18.1 inch a-Si         - No extra accessories              2,400 x 1,200 dpi (colour)           - Gets hot
(Amorphous-Silicon) TFT Active         Specifications: 19-inch CRT         Contact: Canon India Ltd             Specifications: 7,200 rpm, 8 MB
matrix panel, 1,600 x 1,200 max-       (18-inch viewable size), 0.25 dot   Phone: 011-26806572                  cache, Serial ATA interface


            70                                                                                                                    AUGUST 2003
Contact: Cyberstar                  Email: connect@microsoft.com                   - Too many features for      MP3 VBR, Audible(6), AIFF, WAV;
Phone: 011-6438216                  Price: Rs 3,380                                 the                         Audio support for Windows:
E-mail: yogi@maxtor.com                                                              average user               MP3 (32 to 320 Kbps), MP3
Price: Rs 15,000                    Graphics Cards                                    Specifications:           VBR, WAV; size: 4.1 x 2.4 x 0.73
                                                                                        Symbian 7.0 OS,         inches; weight 176 gm
Secondary Storage                   Gainward FX 5800                                     expandable memo-       Contact: Telecompac Infosys
                                    + Future-proof                                        ry, excellent PDA     Phone: 011-26688171
MSI CD-RW CR52-A2                        - Gets very hot                                       functionality,   E-mail: bally@del3.vsnl.net.in
+ Can read and write                            Specifications: 128 MB                            triband,      Price: Rs 32,000 for 30 GB,
90 minute CDs                                           DDR II memo-                            GPRS, WAP        Rs 26,000 for 15 GB, Rs 21,000
- Small problems with CDs                                     ry, 0.13    Contact: Sony Ericsson Mobile         for 10 GB
written at 52X                                                  micron,   Communications International
Specifications: 52X write, 24X                                 maxi-      Phone: 011-26180808                   Laptops
rewrite, 52X read speeds, IDE                                 mum res-    E-mail: sudhin.mathur@
interface, 2 MB buffer, Exact-                              olution       sonyericsson.com                      Acer TravelMate C100
Rec and AWSS technology,            2,048 x 1,536 at                      Price: Rs 39,995                      Convertible Tablet PC
BURN-proof, supports up to 790      85 Hz, AGP 8X, 128 MHz, RAM-                                                + Easy to carry and work with
MB disc capacity, horizontal and    DAC speed 500 MHz                     Digital Cameras                       - Slightly sluggish performance
vertical mounting                   Contact: Mediatech India Pvt Ltd                                            Specifications: 800 MHz ultra low
                                    Phone: 022-56396696                   Olympus C-5050ZOOM                    voltage mobile Intel Pentium III
                                    Email: sales@mediatechindia.com       + Allows external memory in vari-     processor, 256 MB RAM, 10.4-
                                    Price: Rs 37,975                      ous formats                           inch TFT LCD display, 30 GB
                                                                          - Relatively low memory               hard drive, USB (x2), Ethernet
                                    Sound Cards                           Specifications: 5 megapixels, max-    RJ-45, modem RJ-11, IEEE 1394
                                                                                                                (FireWire), infra-red, optional
Contact: Cyberstar Infocom Ltd      Creative SoundBlaster                                                       802.11b wireless LAN, five
Phone: 080-2276986                  Audigy 2 Platinum                                                           launch keys, four-way scroll key,
E-Mail: narend@cyberstarin.net      + 6.1 channel outputs                                                       built-in microphone and speak-
Price: Rs 4,100                     - Not even remotely affordable                                              ers, SmartCard slot, Type II
                                    Specifications: DVD-Audio (24-bit                                           PCMCIA slot
Input Devices                       with 192 KHz in stereo and 96                                               Contact: Acer India Pvt Ltd
                                    KHz in 5.1), 106 dB signal to noise   imum resolution 2,560 x 1,920,        Phone: 080-5219520/23
Microsoft Multimedia                ratio, 6.1 surround sound capabili-   optical viewfinder, Auto focus,       E-mail: ailenquiries@acer.co.in
Keyboard                            ty, EAX Advanced HD support,          CCD sensor, 1.8 inch TFT colour       Price: Rs 1,59,990
+ Great feel                        WMA 9 support, FireWire port          LCD display, 3X optical zoom,
- Comes at a high price             Contact: Creative Technology Ltd      support for RAW, JPEG, TIFF pic-      PDAs
                                    Phone: 9820357713                     ture formats
                                    Email: rajshekhar_bhatt@ctl.cre-      Contact: Komal International          Sony CLIE PEG-TG50
                                    ative.com                             Phone: 022-22631366                   + Great combination of features
                                    Price: Rs 15,500                      E-mail: indiaolympus@vsnl.com         and performance
                                                                          Price: Rs 49,995                      - Rapid battery consumption
                                    Speakers                                                                    Specifications: 200 MHz proces-
                                                                          MP3 Players                           sor, 16 MB ROM/RAM, Palm OS
Specifications: 16 hotkeys,         Creative Megaworks                                                          5, Bluetooth and IR capable, high
PS/2 interface, wrist support       THX 5.1 550                           Apple iPod 30GB                       resolution 320 x 320 TFT display
Contact: Microsoft Corporation      + Mindblowing sound                   + More space than you’ll              with backlights, integrated
Pvt Ltd                             - No digital inputs                   ever need                                                    keyboard
Phone: 011-26292640                 Specifications: 5.1 speakers, 150     - Costs way too much
Email: connect@microsoft.com        W RMS subwoofer, Five 70 W            Specifications: 30 GB storage
Price: Rs 1,600                     RMS satellites, Frequency range       capacity, up to 25-minute skip
                                    25 Hz to 20 KHz, 99dB SNR             protection, 2-inch (diagonal)                                 with back-
Microsoft Wireless                  Contact: Creative Technology Ltd      greyscale LCD with LED back-                              light, USB
Intellimouse Explorer               Phone: 9820357713                     light, dock connector, remote                             interface, Li-
+ High precision and sensitivity    E-mail: rajshekhar_bhatt@ctl.cre-     connector, stereo minijack,                               Ion recharge-
- Batteries make it heavy           ative.com                                                 Audio support                          able
Specifications: Optical mouse,      Price: Rs 25,500                                          for Mac: AAC      battery, built-in voice recorder
USB interface, two extra buttons,                                                            (16 to 320         and MP3 player
2 AAA batteries, infra-red,         Mobile Phones                                            Kbps), MP3 (32     Contact: Solar Systems
cordless                                                                                     to 320 Kbps),      Phone: 022-56916834
Contact: Microsoft Corporation      Sony Ericsson P800                                                          E-mail: solarsystems@vsnl.net
Phone: 011-26292640                 + Easy navigation                                                           Price: Rs 27,000


           71                                                                                                                     AUGUST 2003
test drive ■
                    ■   reviews




          We test the latest and the best hardware and software products available in the market

Intel Pentium 4 3.2 GHz                                                Dell Latitude D600
The Last of the Northwood                                              Wireless anybody?

T   he Pentium 4 3.2 GHz runs
    on a 200 MHz quad-
pumped FSB, giving it a total
                                    score of 14,693 and FPU SSE2
                                    saw a huge 23,321. All these
                                    scores prove that the 3.2 GHz
                                                                       W       ith the D600, Dell has
                                                                               gone in for a complete
                                                                       re-design of its Latitude series
                                                                                                          very uncomfortable if you
                                                                                                          have it on your lap.
                                                                                                              The keyboard is comfort-
bandwidth of 800 MHz. It sup-       has an appetite for numbers.       of laptops. The D600 meas-         able, and you can use the
ports Hyper-Threading Tech-             In the memory band-            ures 1.2 x 12.4 x 10.1 inches,     touchpad with a pair of
nology (HTT), which gives it a      width test, the dual channel       weighs only 2.12 Kg, and is        mouse buttons below it, or
significant performance boost,      displayed its advantage, scor-     filled to the brim with fea-       the pointing stick with a dif-
and has a really easy-to-install            ing in the range of        tures, such as the Strike Zone     ferent pair of buttons.
cooling fan. We tested                       4,000 and above. The      Technology that protects the           It has a diagnostic utility
this processor on an                          new Intel silicon        hard disk from shock.              that can be used to recover
Intel D875PBZ moth-                            square was able to           Its Centrino-based                         your system after
erboard with support                            complete the video     motherboard has the                             a crash. The diag-
for 800 MHz FSB, 512                             encoding process      slower 802.11b (11                              nostic utility cor-
MB of DDR 333 MHz                                 in just 70 sec-      MBps) wireless LAN                              rectly diagnosed
Kingmax RAM in dual                               onds. However,       connectivity.      Those                       the problems that
channel mode, with an                  in the PovRay 3.5 test, the     concerned about the                            occurred after a
MSI Geforce4 Ti 4800 SE             CPU seemed to be lost, taking      compatibility                                  system crash.
graphics accelerator.               29 seconds to complete the         issues of Cen-                                      The      laptop
     In the Quake III Arena test,   rendering. Overall, the new        trino      with                            comes with a three
the 3.2 GHz was able to pump        CPU set new records at times,      existing 802.11g network                year onsite warranty.
387 fps at normal mode, 377         and just failed to break exist-    equipment can opt for the          Overall, it is a sleek, high per-
fps at high quality mode and        ing records at others.             Dell TrueMobile Wireless LAN       formance mobile device that
292 fps at a resolution of 1,024        At a price tag of Rs 38,000,   Solutions that gives an addi-      is perfect for executives on
x 768 and 32-bit colour depth.      you could choose to ignore the     tional 802.11 b/g or 802.11        the move.
These figures may seem a bit        200 MHz increase and wait for      a/b/g mini-PCI card. It has        SPECIFICATIONS
low, but the bottleneck was         something better—especially        dual band capabilities which       Intel Pentium M 1.40 GHz,
the DDR 333 MHz RAM and             with the expected 64-bit Intel     enable it to hop on to both        Windows XP Professional SP1,
the Ti 4800 SE graphics card.       vs AMD war that is round the       2.4 GHz as well as 5 GHz fre-      512 MB DDR RAM (up to 2 GB
     On the 3DMark 2003             corner. But, for those of you      quencies.                          supported), Removable 20, 30,
benchmark, the 3.2 GHz              who need the fastest CPU cur-           The standard POVRay           40, 60 GB hard drive,
returned 700 CPU marks—the          rently available, this is one of   benchmark, which takes             Combination DVD and CD-RW
highest we have ever come           the best around—providing          about 45 minutes on a Pen-         drive (8X24X10X24X), ATI
across. In the Sisoft Sandra        you can afford it.                 tium 4, 2 GHz, took just 58        Mobility Radeon 9000 graphics
2003 Pro’s CPU arithmetic                                              minutes and 47 seconds on          chipset, Intel PRO Wireless
                                    SPECIFICATIONS
tests, it gave 9,649 Dhrystones                                        the D600, proving its process-     2100 WLAN (802.11b) mini-PCI
and 6,059 Whetstones, and           Pentium 4 3.2 GHz, 512 KB L2       ing power.                         card, Integrated 56 K V.92
yielded similar results with        cache, Northwood core, 800              The operating tempera-        modem and 10/100/1000
CPU multimedia tests. The           MHz FSB support                    ture shot up to 57 degrees         MBps Ethernet LAN
Integer benchmarks saw a                                               after about 5 hours of use—
                                     Intel Pentium 4            A-                                         Dell Latitude D600          A
Price: Rs 38,000                     3.2 GHz                           Price: Rs 1,53,366
Contact: Nebula Technologies         Performance                       Contact: Dell Computers Asia        Performance
Phone: 022-26848612                  Build quality                     Phone: 1600-33-8044 (toll free)     Build Quality
Fax: 022-26848618                    Value for money                   Fax: 080-5586107                    Value for money
E-mail: pratik@                      Features                          E-mail: marketing_response@         Features
nebulatechnologies.com                                                 dell.com
                                                                                                           OVERALL
Web site: www.intel.com              OVERALL                           Web site: www.dell.com                                                 ➜

           72                                                                                                                AUGUST 2003
test drive ■
                  ■   reviews

HCL Beanstalk 4455                                                     Gainward GeForce FX 5800 Ultra
Black beauty with a punch                                              Force 10 from nVidia

T   he Beanstalk 4455 is the
    latest offering from HCL
Infosystems, targeted at the
                                   and a complete suite of
                                   multi-lingual software.
                                       The PC also comes with
                                                                       W       hen we received the big
                                                                               FX Power Pack from
                                                                       Gainward, we wondered how
                                                                                                           Quake III Arena at a 1280 x
                                                                                                           1024 x 32 resolution. The
                                                                                                           scene in Serious Sam SE was
home segment. The cabinet is       an external TV-tuner card and       large the card was to warrant       the same. Although the demo
matte black with a silver          a handy remote. The 80 GB           the humongous packaging.            started with a few jerks, there
front, and the monitor is half     hard disk ensures that you          On opening the box, the mon-        was no stopping Sam in his
silver, half black.                don’t run out of space for          strous graphic card with huge       killing spree. Everything was
                                                                       heat sinks on its front and         rendered instantaneously and
                                                                       back was a sight to see. The        without any kind of artifact-
                                                                       device is really thick and will     ing    or     jaggedness.     In
                                                                       occupy the neighbouring PCI         VulpineGL Mark, the 3D
                                                                       slot with the elevated heat sink    world was rendered with
                                                                       fins that ventilate hot air from    ease—the whole benchmark
                                                                       above the core. It has a Molex      finished in half the time that
                                                                       power connector (like the one       the SiS Xabre600 took—with
                                                                       that goes to the hard disk) to      a score of 59.9 fps at 1280 x
                                                                       quench its thirst for power.        1024 x 32.
                                                                            The fan speed varies                This card still isn’t the
                                                                       according to the                    fastest card overall, because
                                                                       load placed on the                                    the 9800 Pro
                                                                       card. It’s quiet, and                                 from ATi is
    The PC comes with an           your favourite movies. How-         runs at low speeds                                    already out,
original Intel D845PEBT2           ever, the GeForce2 MX 2400          when        working                                  and has an
motherboard—the          best      graphics card does not do jus-      with non graphic-                                    improved and
board in the 845 series, with      tice to the configuration. It is    intensive applica-                                  faster core. The
features such as 5.1 channel       the only component that             tions, but whines                                   9700 Pro still
sound, serial ATA controller,      seems out of place, and keeps       like a jet turbine                  manages to take the lead in
optical SPDIF output, etc. It      this Beanstalk from qualify-        the moment a user enters the        many benchmarks and is
has a pre-installed internal       ing as a high-end PC.               world of 3D.                        available at a lower price.
modem, Ethernet, both a                 The PC also has good                This card has some fea-        Only games such as DOOM 3,
DVD-ROM and a CD-RW                Linux        compatibility—we       tures that no other card has.       when released, will tell us
drive for CD-to-CD copying.        installed RedHat 9.0, and           The Ultra runs at a clock speed     which card is better for the
This last move seems bad, as       found        that     everything    of 500 MHz, with its memory         games of the future. On the
a combination drive would          worked smoothly.                    clocked at 1 GHz. It supports       price front, this card is unaf-
have reduced the price con-             At close to Rs 70,000 it is    the latest industry standards,      fordable to the majority, but
siderably.                         a little steep, but the excellent   such as DirectX9 and OpenGL         the privileged few who can
    To complement the              build, original Intel feature-      1.4, vertex and Pixel shader        afford it will get a 5.1 channel
onboard 5.1 sound system,          rich motherboard, flat-screen       2.0, which means the user will      sound card, a FireWire card, a
the PC comes bundled with          monitor, Altec Lansing speak-       get to see more realistic water,    Duke Nukem: Manhattan Pro-
5.1 channel Altec Lansing          ers and bundled software            grass and walls in games.           ject CD and InterVideo
speakers—the wooden sub-           make this computer worthy           There are some issues over the      WinCinema DVD playback
woofer gives out heart stop-       of any home.                        pixel per clock—nVidia claims       software.
ping bass, and the satellites                                          it’s 8 pixels per clock, but in
                                   SPECIFICATIONS                                                          SPECIFICATIONS
produce good quality sound.                                            some cases such as Z rendering
The Beanstalk 4455 also            Intel Pentium 4 2.66 GHz, 256       + colour, it reduces to 4 pixels.   125 million transistors, 0.13
comes with a small USB rum-        MB DDR SDRAM (333 MHz),             All said and done, the specifi-     micron fabrication process,
ble effect gaming wheel that       80 GB 7,200 rpm hard drive,         cations look pretty good on         DirectX 9 and OpenGL 1.4
lets you feel the bumps on         16X DVD-ROM, 40X12X40X              paper, making it decently           compliant, 500 MHz core clock,
the road when playing those        CD-RW, 56K internal modem, 1        future proof.                       1 GHz memory clock, 128 MB
F1 simulation games. The           year onsite maintenance                  The card is indeed a per-      DDR II memory
bundled software includes                                              formance warehouse, giving a
MS Encarta (Indian edition)
                                   HCL Beanstalk 4455           B+     high score of 286.7 fps in            Gainward GeForce          A-
                                                                                                             FX 5800 Ultra
Price: Rs. 69,990
                                    Performance                        Price: Rs 37,975                     Performance
Contact: HCL Infosystems Ltd
                                    Build Quality                      Contact: Mediatech India             Build quality
Phone: 0120-2520977                                                    Phone: 022-5639 6696
                                    Value for money                                                         Value for money
Fax: 0120-2533877                                                      Fax: 022-2201 4083
                                    Features                                                                Features
E-mail: raman@hclinsys.com                                             E-mail: sales@mediatechindia.com
                                    OVERALL                                                                 OVERALL
Web site: www.hclinfosystems.com                                       Web site: www.gainward.com


         74                                                                                                                 AUGUST 2003
Samsung SGH-T500 Mobile Phone                                        Samsung ML-1710 Laser Printer
One for the ladies                                                   The best things come in small packages

T   he first thing that you
    notice about the SGH-
T500 is the external display
                                  version, timer, stopwatch,
                                  WAP 1.2.1 and three games.
                                  Though the phone supports
                                                                     T   he ML-1710 is the latest
                                                                         addition to Samsung’s
                                                                     extensive line of laser
surrounded by bright gem-         picture messaging, it does not     printers. The ML-1710
shaped tiny LEDs. This            support MMS or other con-          comes in a milky white
phone has an excellent build      nectivity options such as          body, decorated in slate
quality and feels quite sturdy.   InfraRed and Bluetooth.            grey. Despite its small
It is extremely lightweight            More features that mark       size of 13.7 x 14 x 7.6
and is available in Ruby Red,               this as a lady’s         inches, the printer fea-
Sapphire Blue, Pearl White                  phone are calorie        tures a removable paper
and Topaz Gold.                             and fitness calcula-     tray capable of holding
    The 32 zirconium                        tors, biorhythm and      around 250 sheets. The
stones lining the external                  a pink scheduler for     upper body serves as the out-      printer also
display double-up as serv-                   menstrual cycles.       put tray but can hold only         supports a manual paper feed
ice indicators and flash                      Even the internal      about 40 sheets, after which       mechanism, located on the
in the selected colour                          LCD       display    the papers start flying            front side.
namely, violet, blue, sky                      doubles as a van-     around—a very small flap is             The ML-1710 is the
blue, green, or orange.                       ity mirror when        provided to hold the print-        fastest and the smallest laser
The keys are flat and                        turned off!             outs in place.                     printer available in India. It
lack depth, but large                           The T500 nor-            As far as specifications       was able to print 15 pages in
enough to be used                          mally offers a good       are concerned, the ML-1710         one minute—only 2 pages
comfortably,       and                    degree of voice clarity,   boasts an 8 MB memory              short of the claimed 17 ppm
sport a blue back                        but faces a few prob-       buffer, which is quite effec-      printing speed. The quality
light. Two soft keys                    lems in areas of low net-    tive as can be seen from its       of the output was also great,
at the top of the key-                work coverage. Also,           performance—the downside           considering the speed of
pad access the menu                since the keys lack depth,        is that the memory can’t be        printing. It printed the test
and the phonebook; the can-       the two small rubber pegs at       upgraded. The printer comes        image and combination doc-
cel key is placed in between.     the bottom of the keypad get       with a USB 1.1 interface.          ument in just 17 seconds and
The four-way scroll key fea-      in the way when using the          Samsung has done a good            22 seconds respectively—by
tures an Internet shortcut        two corner keys.                   job of providing drivers for a     far the fastest we have seen.
key in the centre. You can             Looking at the hefty          host of operating systems,              Priced at Rs 16,000, the
store 500 contacts apart from     price tag of almost Rs 30,000,     including all Windows ver-         printer is ideally suited for a
those stored on the SIM card,     it may make better sense to        sions and support for many         typical small office or as a
and can assign different ring     go in for high-end handsets,       Linux distributions. The           home printing solution, and
tones and service light           such as the Nokia 7650 or the      drivers also have features         is a good buy for those on
colours to your contacts.         Nokia 7250, which have dig-        such as watermarking and           the lookout for a small, fast,
    The phone has a voice         ital cameras and cost less—        high altitude correction.          good quality laser printer.
memo feature, which allows        especially if you don’t care           The bundled accessories             It may not be suitable for
you to save three records of 35   for stereotypes.                   include a 15A power cord           a large organisation due to
seconds each. Not really a                                           and an extensive manual,           the lack of networking capa-
phone for SMS junkies, the        SPECIFICATIONS                     but no USB data cable,             bilities, the smaller paper
T500 does not support con-        80 gms, dual display (external     which is quite strange for a       capacity and poor paper
catenated messages, and           monochrome 96 x 64 pixels,         USB printer.                       handling.
though it does have predictive    internal 65,000 colours 128 x          The printer also comes
                                                                                                        SPECIFICATIONS
text input, you cannot add        128 pixels), GSM 900/1800,         with a Toner Save button that
new words to the dictionary.      Li-Ion 720 mAh battery, up to      claims to save around 40 per       66 MHz processor, 8 MB mem-
Other key features include        200 hours standby time, up to      cent in ink consumption. The       ory, 15 ppm, media type sup-
polyphonic ring tones, a          3 hours talk time, three           front panel consists of just       ported: A4 and smaller, special
scheduler, alarm, calculator,     games: Bowling, HamsterBox,        one multi-functional button        media such as transparencies,
To-Do list, world time, con-      HoneyBall                          and two indicating LED’s. The      envelopes and postcards.

                                   Samsung SGH-T500           B+                                          Samsung ML-1710           B+
Price: Rs 29,099                   Mobile Phone                      Price: Rs 16,000
                                                                                                          Laser Printer
Contact: Samsung India Informa-                                      Contact: Samsung Electronics
tion and Telecommunication         Performance                       India Information &                 Performance
Phone: 011 - 5151 1234             Build Quality                     Telecommunication Ltd               Build Quality
Fax: 011 - 5160 8821               Value for money                   Phone: 011-51511234                 Value for money
E-mail: chandrasekar@              Features                          Fax: 011-51608820                   Features
samsungindia.com                   OVERALL                           E-mail: farrukh@samsungindia.com
                                                                                                         OVERALL
Web site: www.samsungindia.com                                       Web site: www.samsungindia.com


          75                                                                                                             AUGUST 2003
test drive ■
                   ■     reviews

Nikon COOLPIX 4300                                                   Antec Sonata Piano Black
Pricey affair                                                        Super Mini Tower
T   he COOLPIX 4300 is a
    4.0 Mega pixel digital
                                   with a red tinge that was vis-
                                   ible in PhotoShop, making
                                                                     A gamers box with style
camera with 3X optical
zoom.       Other      features
brought to you, courtesy
                                   the images look rather grainy.
                                   The camera also needs manu-
                                   al settings to get better depth
                                                                     A    ntec, well known for
                                                                          their high quality power
                                                                     supplies and cabinets, have
                                                                                                         fan speed accordingly. So if
                                                                                                         the temperature is lower, you
                                                                                                         get a quieter environment.
Nikon, include 12 scene            of field. With everything set     been in the Indian market for       There is also a provision to
modes that help those new          on Auto, you will not be able     while. The Sonata Piano             place another 120 mm fan
to digital cameras to get the      to get the desired depth in       Black Super Mini Tower cabi-        behind the front panel, which
best images easily. The cam-       your photographs; which is a      net comes from Antec’s              would act as an air intake fan.
era is compact and the but-        very important aspect of          LifeStyle series.                        The cabinet has three
tons are easily accessible.                 indoor photography.           The cabinet looks stun-        5.25 inch bays and six 3.5
Like others in its                                  The compact      ning with its polished jet          inch bays. The 3.5 inch bays
class, it has a                                  design        and   black exterior finish. It has a     are displaced by 90 degrees
video-out jack                                   lightness of this   lockable front panel door.          (they face the side panelling)
so that you can                                 camera makes it      When opened, it reveals                           and are detach-
preview       the                                  convenient for    the power button,                                 able; this allows
images on a TV                                       you to carry    optical       drive                               easy installation
screen, and is                                        it        on   bays and the                                      of hard disk
bundled with                                          outdoor        floppy drive bay.                                 drives—you can
rechargeable Li-                                      shoots.        It has two USB,                                   take the bay out,
Ion batteries for                                       However,     one FireWire and                                  place the hard
a cost effective                    if you are planning to take      two audio ports                                   disk on rubber
solution for extended              the camera with you on a          in front, neatly                                  grommets pro-
use. The USB connection            long vacation, the 16 MB          hidden behind a                                   vided on the
makes for easy transfer of         Compact flash memory              small gleaming                                    bay, screw it in
pictures to the PC, and a          might not be enough to            silver roll over                                  and place the
dedicated transfer hotkey is       store all your memories—at        flap. The ‘Antec’                                 whole bay back.
provided to make the task          the highest setting in Fine       logos drilled on                                  The      cabinet
even simpler.                      mode, an image occupies           both the side panels                              comes        with
     However, when used in         between 1.8 MB and 2.3 MB.        double as ventilators. On               seven large power con-
manual mode, adjusting set-        Using a lower setting of          the rear of the cabinet, there is   nectors and two small power
tings such as white balance        1,280 pixels will bring the       a power switch and a switch         connectors.
and resolution is a little com-    image size down to around         to select the voltage.                   The Antec Sonata is
plex. This is irritating if you    550 KB, which can also be              The side panels have           priced at Rs 9,000, making it
need to change the settings        printed later.                    thumb screws that you can           the most expensive cabinet
frequently, while shooting              The camera is a good buy,    open with your hands, and           targeted at the home seg-
outdoors. The COOLPIX              if one plans to use it more       are also lockable to prevent        ment. Considering its fea-
4300 also captures small           outdoors than indoors, and is     unauthorised access. The inte-      tures, quality of construction,
movie clips, but the absence       sufficient for the needs of the   rior is a bit cramped, but bet-     380 Watt power supply, and 3
of a microphone does not let       novice photographer.              ter than other cabinets in the      year replacement warranty, it
you record sound clips.                                              market. The quality of the          is a great buy for gamers—if
     When tested for image                                           materials used for construct-       you can afford it.
                                   SPECIFICATIONS
quality at the highest resolu-                                       ing the cabinet is excellent,
                                                                                                         SPECIFICATIONS
tion supported by the cam-         Weight 283 gms, 16 MB Com-        and it comes bundled with
era, we got mixed results. In      pact Flash memory, 4.0 Mega       cables and connectors. A strik-     Mini Tower, Athlon or Pentium
the Auto mode, the outdoor         pixel resolution, 3X optical      ing feature is the large 120        4 compliant power supply, 380
images were impressive, with       zoomNikkor lens, f2.8 to f13.4    mm temperature controlled           Watt power rating, front
brilliant colour reproduction      aperture range, 8 to 1/1000       fan on the back panel. The          mounted USB, FireWire and
and details. However, when         second shutter speed range, 1.5   sensor detects the interior         audio ports, Voltage (110/220)
shooting indoors, images           inch LCD, 4 cm macro mode         temperature and varies the          selector, 120 mm fan
were captured in detail but
                                                                     Price: Rs 9,000                     Antec Sonata Piano     B+
                                    Nikon COOLPIX 4300        B+                                         Black Super Mini Tower
Price: Rs 44,000                                                     Contact: Cyber Space Abacus
Contact: Aver Software             Performance                       Pvt Ltd                             Performance
Technologies Ltd.                  Build Quality                     Phone: 044-24917667                 Build Quality
Phone: 022-2673 2955/ 6/ 7/ 8      Value for money                   Fax: 044-52154188                   Value for money
Fax: 022-2673 3116                 Features                          E-mail: shunmugavel@                Features
E-mail: aver@averphoto.com                                           theitdepot.com
Web site: www.nikon.com            OVERALL                           Web site: www.antec-inc.com         OVERALL
                                                                                                                                           ➜

          76                                                                                                              AUGUST 2003
test drive ■
                    ■   reviews

Altec Lansing XA3021                                                   utilised RAM, after which the     bandwidth test to gauge your
                                                                       program will automatically        speed. However, we did not
2.1 for the price of 4.1                                               start freeing up memory. You      see any sort of boost in surf-

T   he XA3021 speaker set is
    designed to stick out in a
crowd. The subwoofer looks
                                    channel inputs; typical of TVs.
                                    PC users should be aware that
                                    the sound card output needs
                                                                       also have an option of ‘Deep
                                                                       RAM Recovery’, which frees
                                                                       up more memory. It can be
                                                                                                         ing or downloading.
                                                                                                             SpeedUpMyPC            can
                                                                                                         recover the PC from crashes.
like a 500 pound bomb, a            to go into the ‘Aux’ Input for     used when your system is          It does this by trying to
scuba diving apparatus, or an       the system to work.                extremely sluggish, and saves     terminate tasks that are
ultra-futuristic cappuccino              The bass is pretty power-     you from restarting.              possibly responsible for the
machine, depending on               ful—too powerful at high vol-           SpeedUpMyPC is also          crash, frees up the CPU and
which angle you look at it          umes—and the treble repro-         capable of monitoring CPU         RAM, and restarts the Win-
from. The satellites are            duction is truly excellent. It’s   resources, and assigning          dows shell.
designed to look like large stu-    only at the highest levels that    them to the most important            Overall, SpeedUpMyPC
                                    the treble begins to crack, but    tasks. It depicts usage on a      1.16 does offer a good set of
                                    the bass gives way long before     graph and allows the user to      features and will boost system
                                    that. In fact, it only sounds      assign resources to any pro-      performance for those who
                                    good at low to medium vol-         gram currently running.           use older versions of Win-
                                       umes. Plastic just can’t        Most importantly, it can also     dows, such as Windows 9x.
                                       replace wood as a substitute    prioritise system processes,      SPECIFICATIONS
                                       for a subwoofer’s case.         once a certain amount of          Windows 95, 98, 2000 or XP,
                                            Overall, the speakers      CPU usage is set.                 10 MB free hard disk space,
                                        perform consistently with           This program is capable of   32 MB RAM, Pentium 400 MHz
dio microphones, with the           what you’d expect from a           optimising the browser and        or higher
ability to swivel vertically.       high-quality set. The real body    Internet settings and can also
                                                                                                         SpeedUpMyPC 1.16           B+
     The wired remote control       blow comes if you glance at        automatically perform a
has three presets to control the    the price tag. Rs 6,750 is way                                        Performance
bass level—TV, Gaming and           above its deserved asking                                             Ease of Use
                                                                       Price: $29.99 (approx Rs 1,399)
Max Bass. The traditional vol-      price. You can get great-sound-                                       Value for money
                                                                       Contact: Liutilties
ume control is replaced by a        ing 4.1 speaker sets for less      E-mail: contact@litutilties.com    Features
rotary dial that can change         than that. The XA3021 looks        Web site: www.liutilities.com      OVERALL
volume levels really quickly.       like a bomb, and costs just
However, if you’re looking to       about as much.
turn down the volume a wee
                                    SPECIFICATIONS
                                                                       BenQ M100 Optical Mouse
bit, it’ll actually increase sig-                                      Glow mouse
nificantly before going down.       20 W RMS total power, 35 Hz to
     The speaker connections
are different from what you’d
expect—instead of inputs for
                                    18 KHz frequency response, 76
                                    dB SNR, 5.25-inch long-throw
                                    woofer, two 3-inch full-range
                                                                       B    enQ’s new M100 optical
                                                                            two-button scroll mouse,
                                                                       is an entry-level optical input
                                                                                                             Although it costs as
                                                                                                         much as an entry level
                                                                                                         mouse, it matches the quali-
the front and subwoofer chan-       satellites, corded remote          device.       The                 ty of a Microsoft mouse. It
nels, it has Left and Right                                            mouse is an ele-                   combines top performance
                                    Altec Lansing XA3021        B      gant electric blue,                     and great value in a
Price: Rs 6,750                     Performance                        with silver coating                       very attractive pack-
Contact: Trifin Technologies        Build Quality                      on the buttons.                            age, and is worth
Phone: 011-26236061                 Value for money
Fax: 011-26436447
                                                                            The M100 is built for                 every penny you
                                    Features
E-mail: trifin@vsnl.com                                                both left-handed and right-               spend, and that’s the
                                    OVERALL
Website: www.alteclansing.com                                          handed users, and has a USB       bottom line!
                                                                       to PS/2 adapter. It displayed
                                                                                                         SPECIFICATIONS
                                                                       good precision in the games
SpeedUpMyPC 1.16                                                       we played, namely, Unreal         Optical sensor, PS/2 interface
                                                                       Tournament 2003 and Quake         (USB version with USB to
Memory monger
                                                                       III Arena. The mouse sensitiv-    PS/2 option also available),

M     ost of us would appreci-
      ate a utility which
allows us to free precious
                                                                       ity is above par, and per-
                                                                       formed well even when the
                                                                       mouse sensitivity settings
                                                                                                         two buttons, scroll wheel with
                                                                                                         glowing LED

memory and assign more                                                 were lowered.                     BenQ M100 Optical           A
CPU power to programs.                                                                                   Mouse
SpeedUpMyPC is a program                                               Price: Rs 699                     Performance
from Li Utilities that serves                                          Contact: BenQ India Pvt Ltd       Build Quality
                                                                       Phone: 022-25705230               Value for money
this purpose—it help you free
                                                                       Fax: 022-25705235                 Features
up RAM when needed. You                                                E-mail: kamleshsalunke@benq.com
                                                                                                         OVERALL
get an option to set a limit of                                        Web site: www.benq.co.in


           78                                                                                                               AUGUST 2003
test drive ■
                     ■   under cover




                              RAMbling Memory
                                     Agent 001 goes shopping in the volatile RAM market



T
       he monsoon brings joy to all, and        chip had suffered a fatal blow. After a few      When I asked for prices, I was told that
       I’m no exception—I love walking          feeble attempts at digital CPR, involving        normal Hynix 256 MB DDR RAM was
       in the rain and pretending to            a hair dryer and trying out different RAM        available for as low as Rs 1,700, the 333
not have a care in the world. Unfortu-          slots, I declared my chip to be indis-           MHz variety costs Rs 2,200, and the
nately, it’s a bad time of the year for our     putably dead.                                    fastest 400 MHz version costs just Rs
little white computing boxes. Sure the              After a quick eulogy and                           2,800. Cursing my luck for buying
climate makes them run cooler, but the          dump-in-the-dustbin funer-                              a dinosaur, I moved on in
humidity can sometimes stop them                al, I headed out to buy                                  my search for the elusive cheap
cold—condensation can blow up com-              myself a new RAM                                         RAM chip.
ponents at times.                               chip. Being the end of                                       The next dealer had a new
     This weekend I was out on a stroll,        the month, I was on                                     swanky, modern looking shop. He
enjoying myself while the rain gods             the lookout for the                                      also sold only DDR RAM, but
showered the earth. Happily soaked, I           cheapest solution                                          offered a choice of brands, such
returned home and poured myself a cup           available. My first                                          as Kingston, Cosair, Sam-
of hot coffee, sat down and switched on         stop was the                                                     sung, etc. Kingston is
my PC. To my dismay, all I saw was a            nukkad-wallah                                                        supposed to be really
blank screen and heard the dreaded              computer shop.                                                           good, and also
death toll of my RAM. Immediately I             When I asked                                                               more expensive.
switched off, opened the cabinet and            for a 256 MB                                                                Kingston RAM
realised that my decision to keep my PC         SD RAM chip,                                                                 costs Rs 1,950,
near a window, so that I could enjoy the        he handed me                                                                  Rs 2,350 and
real and cyber world simultaneously, was        a Hynix module                                                                Rs 3,500 for
a big mistake. Moisture is a PC compo-          and told me the                                                              266 MHz, 333
nent’s biggest enemy, and alas my RAM           damage would be Rs 2,500.                                                      MHz      and
                                                After a brief pause to catch my                                                 400    MHz
                                                breath, I asked why SD RAM                                                     respectively.
                                                was so expensive. He informed                                                Onwards       I
          ■ Never    buy second hand RAM        me that SD RAM was soon to be                                              went, looking
             modules. Since they don’t carry    extinct, and is now sold as                                               for a solution to
            any warranty, you might end         antiques. Dealers are not                                                 my problems. I
           up wasting your money.               stocking SD RAM, as the faster                                            was about to call
      ■ If you are buying a new PC, opt         and now cheaper DDR RAM is                                                it a day, and was
  for a DDR RAM-based motherboard,              taking over. I couldn’t believe     ILLUSTRATION: Mahesh Benkar           resigned to buy-
  as DDR is much faster, and cheaper            my ears, as I had bought my                                               ing a new DDR
  as well.                                      now deceased SD RAM for Rs 1,200 only            RAM supporting motherboard, when I
  ■ Before buying a DDR 333 or a DDR            a few months ago.                                came across a very troubled looking ven-
  400 memory module, make sure it is                So, I decided to venture further away        dor, who told me that he would get the
  compatible with your motherboard.             from home, and went RAM shopping in              RAM for me for Rs 1,800, but with only
  This can be verified from the mother-         Lamington Road. The first dealer I came          6 months warranty. Immediately suspi-
  board manufacturers Web site.                 across, was selling the same Hynix mod-          cious, I asked why that was so, and was
  ■ Insist on genuine RAM chips. General-       ule for Rs 2,300, but was quick to suggest       told that he had a few pieces lying
  ly what we get in Indian market, are          that I buy DDR RAM instead. “Aare                around which he had bought a few
  modules that are manufactured locally         bhayyia, when you can get double the             months ago for really cheap and was
  by soldering memory chips onto a              performance at a cheaper price, toh              now just looking to get rid of them as no
  cheap quality PCB.                            sochna kya”, he said. When I told him            one was buying SD RAM anymore.
  ■ Manufacturers such as Kingston, Cor-        my motherboard didn’t support DDR                    I wasn’t too worried about the 6
  sair, Crucial, etc., offer a lifetime war-    RAM, pat came the reply, “Toh mother-            months warranty, as I knew I would
  ranty (five years actually, a computer’s      board upgrade karo”.                             probably upgrade to a DDR-based moth-
  lifetime not yours). Pay a little extra and       My next stop was also fruitless, as          erboard way before then. So, after double
  opt for this warranty, to give you peace      the vendor told me he had stopped sell-          checking the RAM, I headed off home,
  of mind.                                      ing SD RAM a month ago—all he had                happy that I had got what I wanted,
                                                was the different flavours of DDR RAM.           and cheap!


          79                                                                                                                 AUGUST 2003
insight ■
               ■   netreturns




                          Peek under the hood of the most popular search engine there is,
                                        and learn how to use it effectively



F
      inding a needle in a haystack may         used, which makes a detailed compari-             Web site in question is out of service. The
      sometimes be easier than finding          son of all the elements of the tested Web         ‘Similar Pages’ link allows you to view
      relevant search results on the Web.       page. After this, the results are delivered       page listings that are similar or related to
But with Google, you can refine your            to your system.                                   the query, and the ‘More results from…’
searches dramatically. It’s the definitive          Google’s advanced technology is all           allows you to see search results from
search engine that can be used to scour         well and good, but the main question is           other Web sites.
the Internet for virtually anything—from        “How do I search better?” All you have to              The most basic aspect of query con-
a simple search for MP3s to issues such as      do is follow some simple search tactics to        struction is clear thinking. You must be
Digital Rights Management, Google is            get better results.                               specific in your thinking of what you
sure to bring up results of relevance.                                                            want to search for before typing in the
Though most people are satisfied with           Understanding Your Google                         keywords. A specific query will generate
typing in whatever they want and click-         When you perform a query, it appears in           more accurate results than a query with
ing search, power users need more. To get       the Google page at the top. Below this,           commonly found keywords. For example,
accurate results, you have to use certain       you will see some categories, which indi-         if you’re searching for the lyrics of a song,
tricks to properly link all sections of your    cate that your query is listed in the Google      try typing in a line from the song along
query.                                          directory. Then the results are displayed         with its name.
     To search better, you have to know         in the order of relevance. If your search              Google eliminates all common words
what to query for and more importantly,         uses very general terms, you may get hun-         such as ‘The’, ‘And’ or ‘Of’. This is done
how the technology works.                       dreds of thousands of results. Thus, the          because such words generate a lot of
     Every Web site uses certain keywords       best search is one that gives you fewer, but      results. But if you are searching for ‘Rise Of
to describe itself. These keywords are          more accurate results.                            Nations’, the ‘Of’ is necessary. To specifi-
included in the code of the Web site and            If you use Google regularly, you may          cally include it, you have to search for
are called Meta tags. Most search engines       have noticed the ‘I’m Feeling Lucky’ but-         ‘Rise +Of Nations’ or include the query in
compare these keywords to the query you         ton, located right next to Search. Click-         quotes—search for “Rise of Nations”.
enter, in order to check the relevance of       ing on this button will take you directly              Another way to improve your search
the page. This process of checking a page       to the most relevant Web site—the first           results dramatically is to use the Advanced
is known as Web crawling. The problem           link that would appear if you had clicked         Search feature. This allows you to construct
with Web crawling is that Web sites can         on Search. If the query is related to an          your query with a variety of conditions.
make improper use of Meta tags. Com-            organisation, you will also see a stock           You can also provide exclusions to your
monly generated search requests such as         quote of the company.
money, news and jobs are added as key-          Three more links are includ-
words to almost every Web site.                 ed with every result—
     Google uses many search algorithms,        ‘Cached’, ‘Similar Pages’ and
and a large network of low cost PCs, to         ‘More results from…’. The
filter its results. The main algorithm used     ‘Cached’ link allows you to
is PageRank, which votes for the rele-          view a snapshot of a Web
vance of a site. Each site that provides a      site, taken when Google
link to the tested site is counted as a vote.   indexed the site. The snap-
Also, the vote of an important site is          shot may not provide the
given higher priority. After this, a sepa-      current version of the page,
rate algorithm known as Hypertext is            but is extremely useful if the     Refine your search result using the Advanced Search Options


          80                                                                                                                      AUGUST 2003
query. The search query can then be filtered
using various criteria such as language, file       Attention Web Masters
format, date and query occurrences.                 Searching is one thing and promotion is         a significant boost in ranking can be seen.
     Search operators, which are prefixed to        another. If you want to improve your site           Also try to add all the keywords that
a query, are another great way of defining          rankings in Google, just follow these sim-      define your site to the top or the Web
your results. Google has 10 major opera-            ple steps.                                      address of your site. Google gives high pri-
tors that can be used to retrieve pages from             If you wish to pay for promotion, use      ority to keywords in the title or heading of a
its cache, look for the query in URLs,              Google Adwords. This is a unique advertis-      page. Apart from this, spread the keywords
search for links to the query, etc. Some use-       ing system targetted at relevant customers.     along the entire page and site, as Google
ful search operators are ‘related’, ‘allintitle’    Check it out at www google.com/ads/.            evaluates the content in the middle and at
and ‘indexof’. For example, if you are                   If you just want ranking improvements,     the bottom of your page.
searching for the E3 games Web site, try            you should follow the system Google uses to         Become a part of a Webring. Find a
entering the query as ‘allinurl: E3 games’.         rank pages. Submit your site to the Open        group of sites with related content. Pro-
This will give you results of all sites with        Directory Project, in order to get Google to    vide cross links between the pages. This
‘E3’ and ‘games’ in the URL.                        list your site. Google provides more rele-      will result in link popularity and provide
     If the search is OS specific, try using        vance to Directory based search results. Thus   better results.
Google topic specific searches. The
topics include Macintosh, Windows, BSD
Unix and Linux. Another feature                    tors, such as name of image and image cap-       groups related to your query are shown.
is an exclusive .edu (education) and .mil          tion. Images are then selected and               For a precise search of Usenet archives,
(military) site search. You could also             processed, multiple instances are removed        use Advanced Search. Apart from stan-
narrow your search to a specific school            and finally the results are displayed as         dard filtering, the Advanced group search
using the university search, which pro-            thumbnails. To refine image searches, try        allows you to specify a group name,
vides a listing of many universities.              to restrict the resolution of the images. For    author and subject.
You can check out all these advanced               example, to find 1,024 x 768 resolution               You will always find information on
search features by clicking on the                 images of natural beauty, search for ‘nature     the Internet, but the problem is verifying
Advanced Search button or visiting                 1024*768’ rather than just ‘nature’.             this information. The Open Directory Pro-
www.google.com/advanced_search.                         The ‘Advanced Image Search’ option,         ject (ODP), started by Netscape, aims to
                                                   allows you to refine search results by           solve this. It is a large catalogue of Web
More than vanilla                                  searching for fixed file sizes, file format or   sites categorised by people around the
Google is not about plain Web Searches; it         colour values. You can also use the ‘Safe        world. These voluntary editors review
also has a comprehensive image, news               Search’ option to prevent explicit content       sites, and decide whether they should be
and directory search.                              from being displayed. To maximise your           included in the directory. The directories
    The image search is extremely effective,       relevance, construct your query with key-        are classified broadly into sections such as
with algorithms that analyse various fac-          words that may be included in the image          arts, business, computers, etc. Within
                                                   or its caption.                                  these directories, are more specialised divi-
                                                        A facet of the Internet that has been       sions that can be used to make search
                                                   largely forgotten is Usenet. It is a system      results precise. Due to the level of preci-
                                                   that transfers information inside specific       sion involved in Directories, an advanced
                                                   groups, and can provide solutions and            search option is not necessary.
                                                   firsthand information from like-minded                Google uses its search technology to
                                                   individuals around the world. It is con-         track information from about 4,500 news
                                                   sidered to be the largest de-centralised         sources, to form Google News. The news
                                                   source of information on the Internet.           is then placed in order of relevance,
                                                   Google Group search can be used to track         allowing you to look at news from vari-
                                                   relevant information across Usenets. To          ous sources and study different news per-
                                                   do this, click on the Groups link.               spectives. In a test search, Google
Before: Using a plain image search can result           When you search for Usenets, you            retreived a news item that was posted
in thousands of useless images                     must know the subject, the group or the          only 35 minutes earlier!
                                                   author. When a search request is made,
                                                   the results are displayed in a format sim-
                                                   ilar to to standard Web searches, but only




After: The advanced image search will yield        Use Google Group search to get exactly what      Google News is taken from over 4,500 sources
better and relevant results                        you need, and nothing more!                      and brought fresh to your desktop


          81                                                                                                                         AUGUST 2003
insight ■
               ■   netreturns

                                                puter’s idle time. This is a great cause
 Advanced Ap(e)Ing?                             to help, especially if you have a broad-
                                                                                                 The Invisible Web…
 Want to do more with the Google API?           band connection.                                 If you think of the Internet as a mam-
 Check out the tutorial provided by IBM                                                          moth library, then you’ll be shocked
 related to Google’s API at http://www-         Touch Typingoogle: If you are a touch            to know that more than 90 per cent
 106.ibm.com/developerworks/edu/ws-             typist, you must hate reaching out for           of the Internet is not accessible using
 dw-wsgoog-i.html. It describes building        your mouse. Like-minded developers in            search engines. This portion of the
 Web Service Applications with Google.          Google have developed keyboard short-            Net is known as the invisible Web. This
 It has four examples that demonstrate          cuts so that you can search Google with-         information could potentially enhance
 the capabilities of the Google API and         out ever touching your mouse!                    the search process and make your
 service.                                                                                        searches more relevant. One ambitious
                                                Quoting Google: If you want to view              approach to search the invisible Web is
                                                instant feedback on every search result,         Turbo10.
Adding Google to your PC                        try out Google Webquotes. It provides                Turbo10 promises a search engine
Installing the Google toolbar is the sim-       quotes regarding search results.                 that can scan the invisible Net and
plest way to search the Net, as it docks                                                         produce better results. True to its
with your IE browser. After this is done,       The Next Step                                    word, the search did provide some
you can search Google effortlessly using        Since Google has launched its API for free,      different results. You can try it out at
the search field in the toolbar.                programmers are taking advantage of this         www.turbo10.com
                                                to present search results in many differ-
And still some more                             ent ways. Here are a few examples:
Answers (http://answers.google.com), is yet                                                     Centuryshare Calculator: Centu-
another ace in Google’s deck of cards. You      Egobot: If you never wish to worry about        ryshare Calculator is a great tool for
can ask any question you like and have it       constructing queries, use Egobot! It allows     research. It provides the relevance of the
answered by experts, albeit for a fee. But,     you to search for information using a ques-     entered key phrase along a timeline.
some of the previously asked questions          tion-answer format. It uses a specifically      When ‘Beatles’ was entered as the search
can be browsed freely.                          composed algorithm, with the Google API,        string, the chart shows popularity from
    Google labs is an interesting section       to create a simple yet accurate answer. If      1961 to 1970. This was the period when
which reveals what may be the final solu-       anything, it will lighten your mood.            the Beatles worked, and created music.
tion to the complete search experience.         http://blog.outer-court.com/egobrowser/egob-    http://blog.outer-court.com/centuryshare/
Some of the more popular projects are           ot.php
mentioned here; to see the entire list of                                                       Memomarker: The Web address of a
revolutionary new search ideas, visit                                                           site may change, but its description gen-
http://labs.google.com/.                                                                        erally remains the same. Memomarker
                                                                                                uses page descriptions to search the Web
Google Compute: Google supports a                                                               and provide you with accurate results.
distributed computing project called
Folding@home—a project dedicated
to understanding the structure of
proteins, thus providing better treatment
for diseases. It installs along with
the Google toolbar, and uses your com-          Egobot, Google with intelligence?


 Different Beats…
 Tired of Google? Or want a new set of
 tools? Check out these popular alternatives
 to Google search.                                                                              The Centuryshare calculator adds the
 Teoma: www.teoma.com uses the commu-                                                           perspective of time to searches
 nities of the Internet to provide you with a                                                   http://blog.outer-court.com/memomarker/
 relevant search. It also provides tips and
 tricks to refine your search.                                                                  Googlism: Need a few more laughs?
 AllTheWeb: In terms of database and                                                            Check out Googlism.com. Search for any-
 search coverage, www.alltheweb.com is                                                          thing under the sun and you’re likely to
 clearly better than Google. Bizarre search                                                     find a quote about it.
 queries such as ‘Russian Education’            Interactive Results in kartoo.com               www.googlism.com
 brought up more than twice the links that
 Google provides.                               Meta search engine that draws an interac-       Google by e-mail: An innovation in
 Kartoo: If you have a really fast connec-      tive map of all the results it receives. This   every sense of the word, use this service to
 tion, you may like www.kartoo.com. It is a     makes for really interesting viewing!           search for results via e-mail! Simply send
                                                                                                a blank e-mail to google@ capeclear.com,


          82                                                                                                                   AUGUST 2003
                                                (GAWSH): GAWSH presents the Google
 Have fun with Google                           results differently. All results are sorted
 Google has a great sense of humour.            by Web site, with all the relevant links
 Check out the links below and see just         displayed as a tree. This tree expands to
 how good they are at making you smile.         view all links local to that site.
    Want to know more about Google              http://www.staggernation.com/gawsh/
 Technology? Check out PigeonRank
 (www.google.com/technology/pigeon-             Google API Relation Browsing Out-                                  Using Google by e-mail, you can have your
 rank.html) and MentalPlex (www.google.         liner (GARBO): GARBO is similar                                    search results delivered to you by e-mail
 com/mentalplex/MPfaq.html). These are          to GAWSH. But the tree structure is
 two revolutionary algorithms used by           defined on the basis of related pages of                           used. A complex graph is generated
 Google to sort sites in order of rele-         linking pages. This allows you to club                             which shows all sites related to the
 vance. And make sure you tell us what          together sites of similar or redundant                             URL input. www.touchgraph.com/TGGoogle-
 you think of it!                               information.                                                       Browser.html
    Also, Google has a long list of logos       http://www.staggernation.com/garbo/                                    Use these tricks to refine your search
 that commemorate special occasions.                                                                               results, and remember that Google is con-
 Check them out at www.google.com/holi-         Google API Proximity Search                                        stantly upgrading its search systems and
 daylogos.html                                  (GAPS): Completing the staggerna-                                  adding new functions and services. Check
    And finally, make sure you see Google       tion.com trio is GAPS. It is a unique way                          out Google Labs for services under testing.
 Zeitgeist. It has various statistics of        to search terms that are situated next to                          Also, many more third party tools for
 Google users and their searches.               each other. For example, you can define                            searching are available. So make sure you
 www.google.com/ press/zeitgeist.html           how close the terms must be and in what                            keep learning new tricks to keep your
     If you’re feeling really adventurous,      order must they be placed. You may also                            searches accurate. You could also refer to
 check out www.elgoog.com. See results          specify secondary terms.                                           books and Web sites that provide an
 in a Google mirror... Literally!               h t t p : / / w w w. s t a g g e r n a t i o n . c o m / c g i -   insight into searching Google—such as the
                                                bin/gaps.cgi                                                       book ‘Google Hacks 100 Industrial Strength
                                                                                                                   Tips and Tricks’ that has been reviewed in
with the subject as your query, and you         Touch Graph Google Browser: The                                    the Off the Shelf section this month.
will receive the search results as a reply.     Touch Graph Google Browser is a prime                                       AAYUSH IYER (aayush_iyer@thinkdigit.com)
Google API Web Search by Host                   example of how the Google API can be                                   SAURABH KUMAR(saurabh_kuma@thinkdigit.com)




                                                           1/2 H AD




                                              AUGUST 03 AUGUST 03 AUGUST 03 AUGUST 03 AUGUST 03




         83                                                                                                                                          AUGUST 2003
insight ■
               ■   netreturns
                                                                                               PHOTOGRAPH:   Mexy Xavier,   IMAGING:   Solomon Lewis




                                                                                         IM busy,
                                                                                         9 to 5
            Instant Messengers are not just for idle chatter, they can also benefit your business!



3
      :30 am. Your eyes meet the piercing      clones either. A lot of the traffic is actual   the more of your friends and contacts that
      gaze of the boss. You need to come       communication between real people—be            are online, the more useful the communi-
      up with that one liner ASAP, or          it sharing of ideas, conducting business,       cation tool becomes. Unfortunately, there
waltz your job away. An entire day’s           or simply staying in touch with mom and         are several competing standards for com-
brainstorming with your freelancing            dad back home. It’s all happening online,       munication. Currently, each IM user can
friend has yielded nothing... And then,        and in real time.                               only communicate with users of the same
ping! He screams a bright idea to your              The first tool—I Seek You (ICQ)—was        IM. This effectively reduces the number of
desktop. Eureka! It’s a clincher! The boss’s   developed by three Israelis, in late 1996.      people, and consequently, the value of
gaze gets friendlier, and you, in turn, gra-   Its core functionality is instant messaging     your network. For a casual user, the choice
tuitously doff your hat to your friend...      (IM), that refers to short text messages,       of network depends largely upon how
sitting back in the US, and of course,         delivered ‘instantly’ to a user online. Sim-    many of your friends and contacts are on
Yahoo! Messenger.                              ply download the software, install it, reg-     a particular network. Some users, are
    Instant Messengers have been around        ister, add your friends to your contact list,   happy running multiple IM clients to have
for quite a while. A few years ago, some-      and exchange instant messages with              maximum connectivity.
one came up with this brilliant idea that      them, whenever any of them come                      Users see the benefits of IM every day,
has made it easy for all surfers to commu-     online.                                         and large companies have been looking
nicate directly with each other. Today, a           Metcalfe’s law states that the value of    to gain a foothold over the IM market for
huge chunk of online traffic is peer-to-       a network grows as the square of the num-       some time now. There are four big play-
peer, i.e. directly from one person’s com-     ber of users. Imagine if only you and three     ers in the IM space today—ICQ,
puter, to another person’s computer. And       other people in the world had phones.           Microsoft’s MSN Messenger, Yahoo! Mes-
we are not just talking about the Napster      This would make your phone practically          senger, and AOL’s Instant Messenger
                                               useless. But as the network grows, so does      (AIM). MSN grew in popularity because
 Find it on the Mindware CD                    its value. But because all your friends have    of its simplicity and its tight integration
 ICQ Pro 2003a                                 phones, you can communicate with the            with its ubiquitous Hotmail service. Sim-
 Yahoo! Messenger 5.6                          person you want to, when you want to.           ilarly, Yahoo! and AIM have capitalised
 MSN Messenger 5.0                             Today IM is a rage, its users having grown      on their strong user base, to enhance
 Trillian 0.74                                 to several millions worldwide—faster than       their popularity. Groups of friends, or
                                               fax, e-mail, cell phones, or the Web. So,       office departments, generally like to use


          84                                                                                                                           AUGUST 2003
                                                      Accessibility to your clients is also         you answer queries, and convince them
         Trillian                                 greatly increased. How, you ask? It is truly      of your product. Though this has not yet
 If you have friends on more than one of          impractical to have every client on your          been quantified, IM within the organisa-
 the IM networks, and currently shuffle           ICQ, or MSN contact list. So, what you            tion can improve productivity.
 between clients to chat with them,               can do is use one of ICQ’s free services              There are some problems with IM in
 consider a unified messaging client.             that run off your Web site. The most basic        the office environment though. By far, the
 Trillian is an all-in-one messenger, which       of these is the Online Status indicator           largest concern is security. Consumer IM
 supports ICQ, MSN, AIM and Yahoo!, with          that tells your visitors whether you are          applications send plain text messages, and
 a sleek skinable interface. You will need to     online, or offline. If you add your ICQ           are very vulnerable to eavesdropping. If
 register with those networks before you          number, they can put you on their con-            IM is to become a viable communication
 can use any of them with Trillian.               tact list, and you can begin conversing to        medium in the corporate world, this issue
                                                  solve the client’s problem, or answer             must be addressed. When messages go out
                                                  a query. Yahoo! Messenger users can               of the local network and onto the Inter-
one IM that the entire group uses to              also add their online status to their             net, they open up security holes in the
remain connected. Interoperability, or            Web pages.                                        firewall—opening it to attack. These con-
better still, a common standard, would                Every Web site has a page with con-           cerns can be addressed by deploying a
greatly increase the value of the entire IM       tact details so that the creator,                            company-wide standard, secure
community, making the whole greater               or company, can be contacted.                                IM. Yahoo offers a secure IM,
than the sum of its parts, so to speak.           This page can contain your                 IDC expects       called Yahoo! Messenger Enter-
    One of the key benefits of online com-        online status along with a link,       there will be         prise Edition. It has all the fea-
munication is presence. The fact that you         to take the visitor to your Uni-       506 million IM        tures of the standard Yahoo!
can see the status of your contacts online        fied Messaging Center on ICQ's         users by 2006,        Messenger, and boasts of addi-
lets you know whether they are con-               servers (http://www.icq.com/ICQ#),     of which, near-       tional ones that are targeted at
tactable, and if they are, the effort required    from where the visitor will find       ly half will be       the managed business network
to contact them is minimal. This ease of          several ways to contact you            business users        such as 128-bit encrypted mes-
use, combined with the impersonality of           immediately—you can be con-                                  saging, integrated logging and
text messaging, tends to remove inhibi-           tacted directly on ICQ, the visi-                            archiving of messages, local
tions and formalities, and allows for a           tor can add you to their contact list, or         administrative control, authentication
more open and free exchange. Whilst               you can even be contacted on your                 against the company’s corporate directory,
presence is cool for your friends, it’s a valu-   mobile phone via SMS. Providing such a            and screen names using the employee’s
able asset for any business. Within the           service will be a big boost to your busi-         existing e-mail address.
organization, a lot of time is saved because      ness. Just imagine someone visiting your               Another problem is that IMs lend
employees don’t have to walk across to            Web site and not buying something                 themselves nicely to purposes other than
another department to ask a question, or          because he is sceptical, or needs some            official business. Chatting with friends
dial an extension to find the concerned           more information about the product. The           outside the organisation about yester-
person not at her desk.                           ability to communicate with clients lets          day’s cricket match would be a waste of


 Status Indicators - ICQ & Yahoo
 Adding a status indicator to your Web site       q='your_icq_number'&img=21" bor-                 code given below.
 involves adding some HTML code into the          der=0></a><BR>                                       <a
 Web pages where you want your status             ICQ# ‘your_icq_number'                           href="http://edit.yahoo.com/config/send_web
 displayed.                                                                                        mesg?.target='your_yahoo_id'&.src=pg">
      ICQ’s basic status indicator does not                                                            <img border=0
 link back to anything, so you can do two                                                          src="http://opi.yahoo.com/online?u='your_ya
 things to get surfers to reach you when             Visit http://www.icq.com/features             hoo_id'&m=g&t=2"></a><br>
 you’re online. The first is to write your        /web/ indicator.html for more styles of              Contact me on
 ICQ number beside the status indicator,          indicators. If users can’t see your online       'your_yahoo_id'@yahoo.com
 so that they can add you to their contact        status go to Main > Security & Privacy Per-
 list. The other way is to make the status        missions > General, and click the Web
 indicator link back to your Unified Mes-         Aware checkbox.
 saging Center on ICQ's Web site. The                 Yahoo makes better use of the status             What about MSN? Microsoft does not
 sample code below does both of these.            indicator by linking to a page that lets your    provide any way of putting your status on
 Don't forget to replace ‘your_icq_number’        visitor send you a message and even get a        your Web site. You could try a free service
 in all three places.                             reply though a Web-based Java version of         that offers to do so at
     <a                                           Yahoo! Messenger. However, it’s in the           www.onlinestatus.org. They have a few
 href="http://www.icq.com/'your_icq_num-          early stages, and should get better sooner       servers running, but the code on your Web
 ber'">                                           than later. You should also add your Yahoo!      page can only link to any one of them.
     <img                                         e-mail ID, just in case. Again, replace          When that server goes down, so does the
 src="http://web.icq.com/whitepages/online?ic     your_yahoo_id in all three places in the         status indicator.



          85                                                                                                                       AUGUST 2003
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               ■   netreturns

company resources. Banning their use              ed and compressed, then sent over the
completely is a shortsighted solution,            Internet as data packets—just like regu-
which ignores their potential contribu-           lar Internet traffic would be—and are
                                                                                                  Audio Setup
tion to the company. Organisations must           decoded back to audio at the other end.         Using IMs, you can now initiate a voice
develop their own policies for IM usage           It takes a lot of data to transfer very lit-    conversation with your pal. The Audio
within the company. Besides, whilst               tle audio. This means that the demands          Setup feature, present in most IMs,
implementing business grade IMs, a cor-           placed on the network are relatively            checks the audio peripherals, and analy-
porate policy must be in place to deter-          high, often leading to poor quality of          ses the quality of sound received, and
mine the nature of their use. Monitoring          service. This network limitation usually        transmitted.
usage is the proverbial hot-potato—with           exists at the so-called last mile, i.e, the     Yahoo!
CIOs wanting to know exactly what their           connection between the home or office           The first time you attempt to make a call
employees are up to, and privacy advo-            and the ISP. Connections between the            in Yahoo! Messenger, it will automatically
cates crying foul. Some companies                 phone provider’s servers the world over,        launch the Audio Setup Wizard. To do
already archive e-mails to monitor leak-          are generally speedy enough not to be           this, go to Tools > Call… Follow the
age of sensitive data. One can only               an issue.                                       instructions on screen, to complete the
assume that, as IMs becomes more per-                                                             setup. The wizard even sets up echo
vasive, a similar system will be imple-                                                           reduction, and tests your connection’s
mented for it too.                                                                                quality. After the wizard completes, it
     Besides, for text messaging, today’s                                                         takes you to the phone interface, from
IM clients provide the basis for much                                                             where you can make long distance calls
richer forms of communication. Voice,                                                             via Net2Phone's service. To have a voice
and even video, can be carried over the                                                           chat with others on your contact list, dou-
same networks that carry text. Consumer                                                           ble-click their name, and click the Voice
IMs integrate all the facilities you need,                                                        icon, which is just below the menu bar.
into the clients. Once your audio is prop-                                                        MSN
erly set up, starting a voice conversation                                                        MSN Messenger also launches its own
with anyone on your contact list is just a                                                        Audio Tuning Wizard when you first try to
couple of clicks away. The same can be                                                            have a voice conversation with any of
said about video, assuming that both par-         Yahoo! Messenger Enterprise Edition has         your contacts. To initiate it, right-click on
ties have Web cams.                               ‘professional’ written all over it              a contact, and from the menu, select
     Long distance calls, even to regular                                                         ‘Start an Audio Conversation’. Follow the
phones, are now being made through                    Here’s an idea to solve the last mile       steps to complete the tuning.
the Internet because of the cost advan-           link problem, and eliminate the PC in
tage it enjoys. Calls through the Net,            the bargain. Users can call the phone
made using the services of Indian                 provider’s server directly using his           apps as ‘collaboration in context’, which
providers such as Phonewala.com, costs            standard phone. This keeps the voice           reduces decision-making time, and
about Rs 5 per minute. International              as voice, until it reaches the server.         increases efficiency. For example, when
providers are even cheaper. These calls           The voice is then encoded and decoded          you’re reading an e-mail in Outlook, you
work on a technology called Voice over            at the servers, and transferred between        will be able to see if the sender is online,
IP (VoIP). Simply put, the voice is encod-        them over the Internet at high speeds,         and initiate an IM conversation. The IM
                                                  providing much better voice clarity,           conversation may resolve the issue, or
                                                  and less delay.                                turn out to be more efficient than the
 Unified messaging centre
                                                      We have already seen the integration       usual process of mailing a reply, and then
  ICQ offers several types of web panels,         of MSN messenger into Windows XP in            waiting for a response. Another place
 each with its own unique functionality.          the form of Windows Messenger. The             where the integration will be evident is
 Choose one that offers all the functionali-      next logical evolution is the integration      the new SharePoint Portal Server. Using
 ty that you need without blocking up too         of communication tools within our appli-       SharePoint, companies can make their
 much of your Web page. Check them                cations, allowing for better collaboration.    own portals for their organization, or
 out, and get the code to insert them into        Microsoft will soon release its own enter-     each departmental team may have their
 your page at http://www.icq.com/panels/.         prise-grade IM server that will be brand-      own portal.
                                                  ed as part of the office suite. Office Real-        One thing is certain about the future.
                                                  Time Communications Server 2003 (RTC)          More and more communication will hap-
                                                  will be part of Microsoft’s Office system      pen over the Internet. Time and time
                                                  of programs, servers and services. RTC is      again, it has proven to be endlessly exten-
                                                  a server, which allows organization users      sible, adapting to future requirements,
                                                  to communicate in real time over man-          and taking on new roles with increasing
                                                  aged networks, securely. RTC will also be      bandwidths. Text, voice, video and data
                                                  extensible, allowing developers to inte-       all help us do business faster and bring us
  ICQ Web-Pager Panel lets your site’s visitors   grate real time communication into their       closer together—all thanks to the wonder
  send messages straight to your ICQ.             own applications. Microsoft touts the          that is the World Wide Web.
                                                  benefits of integration with other office         KAIZAD VAJIFDAR (kaizad_vajifdar@thinkdigit.com)



          86                                                                                                                        AUGUST 2003
insight ■
               ■   technology
                                                                                                               ILLUSTRATION:   Mahesh Benkar




                                           CONSOLE TO

M
 Here’s why the gaming console
 proves itself to be the ultimate
        consolation for the ever-
        growing demands of the
                  diehard gamer.

           eet Jack and Jill—two hardcore
           gamers in town. Between them,
           Jack lives in the gaming world
                                          WIN! a couple of years ago, outperforms a PC
                                               that has a six-month product cycle. The
                                               fact remains that gaming consoles are
                                                                                                Another factor is that multimedia
                                                                                            components have different processing
                                                                                            requirements as compared to normal
and plays his PS2. As for Jill, the poor       better designed to handle the require-       applications, such as office suites. In gen-
thing is still deciding the best upgrade for   ments of a gamer. It is actually a case of   eral-purpose software, different instruc-
her PC—a thing that is never on Jack’s         generalisation against specialisation.       tions are applied over localised data. In
mind. Her father is on the verge of filing         The problem lies at the foundation of    the case of a multimedia application, the
a lawsuit against a company that releas-       the design; the PC is designed for gener-    reverse holds true. A set of instructions is
es a new product every six months.             al purpose computing from the ground         repeatedly applied over large amounts of
    Agreed, the gaming console-versus-         up. On the top there is some make up in      data—for example, the instructions for
PC argument is getting pretty old but          the form of a GPU (sorry nVidia) and         decoding an MP3 will be repeated over
that’s not the bone of contention here.        some buzzwords such as MMX, 3DNow,           an entire file.
Instead, by comparing the architectures        etc. Also, the PC platform is a perfect
of consoles and PCs, we can understand         place for studying chaos theory. There are   What do they actually do?
the difference between them. It will also      hundreds of manufacturers for the same       Good question. Let’s look at the steps
help in understanding the requirements         number of components that make a PC.         that are followed inside these boxes
of not just games, but all 3D applications.    This throws up numerous restrictions—        before they create those stunning visuals.
                                               the video card manufacturer has to keep      In any 3D application, the first step is the
Design of the consoles                         in mind the design of the motherboard,       creation of objects in a virtual 3D world.
In the gaming arena, there is a sense of       drivers may develop incompatibility with     This step is called the geometry stage,
superiority when a gaming console is           a specific component, etc. But a gaming      where the objects and their positions are
compared to a PC. It is difficult to believe   console is developed for the sole purpose    calculated. The output of this stage is
that a gaming console that was designed        of playing games, and nothing else.          what is called a ‘display list’. This is a


          88                                                                                                                   AUGUST 2003
series of commands and argu-
ments that will be used in the                                     The PS 2 Architecture
next stage. The CPU, or the
main processor, undertakes the
task of creating the display list.
In this stage, the CPU has to
bring the required data closer to
it, by moving it from the main
memory to the cache memory.
     The second stage is the con-
version of the 3D scene to a 2D
bitmap image. This is what
video cards or GPUs are
designed to do. Generally, this
stage is referred to as rendering.
Executing the display list creates
the 2D bitmap image. The dis-
play list will contain tasks such
as drawing lines and polygons,
and giving textures and light-
ing. During this stage the GPU should be       When the controller gives an input, the        ations performed by the Emotion Engine
able to easily access the required data.       IOP sends it to the Emotion Engine, so         depend upon the application. For exam-
     The final stage is the one that           that an update is made to the state of the     ple, in the case of a FPS game it has to
involves the least computation. Data is        game. The IOP is also responsible for          execute the AI program for the enemy. In
fetched from the frame buffer in a digital     running earlier PlayStation games. The         general, it deals with the behaviour of the
format, and converted into analog sig-         sound processor is capable of producing        game, such as AI and physics. But the
nals. These analog signals are sent to the     CD quality audio to support the visuals.       ultimate output of the Emotion Engine is
monitor, which displays what you call          It supports formats such as AC3 and            the display list.
‘stunning visuals’.                            DTS—something that would be expected               The CPU teams up with the FPU and
     The consoles currently dominating         from a device of its class.                    VU0, while the VU1 teams up with the
the market are the Sony PS2, Microsoft              Coming to the serious stuff, the Emo-     Graphics Synthesizer (GS), through the
XBox and Nintendo GameCube. Here, we           tion Engine has a 300 MHz MIPS III CPU         GIF. The programmer decides the task
shall take a look at the first two. Read on    as the core. Actually, the Emotion Engine      assigned to these teams. They can be
to find out how they work.                     comprises of many components, the              made to work in parallel and send the
                                               important ones being a MIPS III CPU            display list to the GIF together. Alterna-
PLAYSTATION 2: The almighty                    core, a FPU (Floating Point Unit), two         tively, the CPU group can be made to do
The gaming console market is dominated         vector units—VU0 and VU1, and a                some processing and send the result to
by the PS2 to such an extent, that it has      Graphics Interface Unit (GIF). These com-      the VU1, which will use the input and do
become the gamer’s mantra. Sony recent-        ponents are well connected. This is where      some further processing and finally send
ly unveiled their upgraded PS2, the PSX        PS2 scores over the rest of the pack. It has   the display list to the GIF. This parallel or
with additional features, aiming at mak-       two advantages, namely bandwidth and           serial option gives a lot of flexibility to
ing it a complete entertainment                             strategically placed cache        the programmer.
box. As with other gaming con-                              memory. The components of             The CPU has 16 KB of SPRAM
soles, the designers of the PS2          To put an end      the Emotion Engine are con-       (Scratch Pad RAM); this SPRAM can be
had the luxury of building a sys-      to finagling of      nected to each other via a        used by the VU0 also. This piece of mem-
tem exclusively for gaming. The      the PS2 in India,      128-bit bus. This is some-        ory allows the CPU and VU0 to collabo-
heart of the PS2 is the now          Sony has               thing unheard of in a PC. The     rate together. A 128-bit bus connects
famous       'Emotion      Engine',  announced that it      reason why the bus width          them to each other. Most of the time, the
which was jointly developed by       would soon be          cannot be increased easily in     FPU and the VU0 act as co-processors to
Sony and Toshiba.                    launching the          a PC is that it has to maintain   the MIPS CPU, but can be programmed to
     For all its boasts, the archi-  console in our         compatibility with existing       work separately. The VU0 performs oper-
tecture of the PS2 is pretty sim-    country.               applications. Increasing the      ations such as floating-point divide,
ple. Little do people realise that                          speed will not affect legacy      square root and inverse square root. The
it is a perfect example of KISS                             applications, but changing        bulk of the processing that goes into 3D
(Keep it Simple, Stupid). The main com-        the bus width will.                            games involves doing a lot of these oper-
ponents of the PS2, in order of impor-              The next difference is the cache          ations.
tance are, the Emotion Engine, Graphics        memory. The sole purpose of the cache              The VU1 acts more like a geometry
Synthesizer, Sound Processor and I/O           memory is to keep important data close         processor for the GS. Since this involves
Processor. Let’s look at the simplest one      at hand while processing. Hence, what          more floating point calculations, it packs
first. The I/O processor (IOP) handles all     matters more is the location of the cache      extra processing power and memory to
the requests from the outside world.           memory, not just its size. The actual oper-    do the same. Unlike the CPU team, where


          89                                                                                                                 AUGUST 2003
insight ■
               ■   technology

the CPU can control the other two com-        has a Geforce 2MX (NV11) class GPU,           ily optimise the games for it. This is due
ponents, the VU1 and GS are equals, and       and the XBox has an NV2A core. The            to the fact that the system is not going to
communicate through the GIF. As men-          NV2A is something that lies between the       change, unlike a PC. While programming
tioned above, the VU1 keeps generating        GeForce 3 (NV20) and the GeForce 4            for the PC, no sane developer will devel-
the display list and the GS turns them        (NV25). It takes care of all the graphics     op a game that will run only on a top-of-
into bitmap images. The GS has a 150          processing; it provides hardware trans-       the-line system. Any game that is
MHz core with 16 pixel pipelines. Using       form and lighting (T&L), something            released, now will be programmed to run
these pipelines, it can churn out 75 mil-     which the PS2 sorely lacks. In fact, the      on any card, ranging from a lower end
lion polygons and 2.4 billion pixels per      GS of the PS2 is much inferior to the         graphics card, such as the GeForce 2 class,
second. Compared to current GPUs, such        NV2A, which has two Vertex Shaders—a          to the latest cards such as the Radeon
as the GeForce FX, this may seem mea-         huge benefit because a Vertex Shader is       9800. This prevents the developer from
gre, but considering that the PS2 was         used heavily by current generation            optimising the game for a specific sys-
released in 2000, this is impressive.         games. The strength of the GS lies in its     tem. Also, unlike the PS2, the XBox is
    No doubt, the PS2 is a powerful           parallel computation power and not in         closely related to the PC, which makes it
machine, but it may not be better than        the functions that it provides. Like the      a friendly turf for PC game developers.
the latest PC, thanks to companies such       GS, the NV2A takes care of all the graph-
as Intel and nVidia. However, it is still a   ics processing. So the CPU is left with AI,   The end and future…XBox 2, PS 3
good buy.                                     physics and managing the connection           Microsoft and Sony are busy gearing up
                                              between individual elements, such as the      their warriors for the future. Not much is
XBox: The black beauty                        hard disk. For performing these functions     known about the XBox 2. After specula-
Keeping up with its tradition of entering     a Coppermine is overpowered as all the        tions that Microsoft has opted for ATi,
every relevant market, Microsoft                                                                    there is a new round of rumours
entered the gaming arena with its                                                                   that Microsoft may design the
famous XBox in 2001. The console                                                                    processors on its own—it has
is made of PC components such as                                                                    apparently licensed some SGI
a Pentium III 733Mhz (Copper-                                                                       patents. This would enable the
mine), nForce chipset-based moth-                                                                   company to strategically price the
erboard, 64 MB DDR RAM, 8 GB                                                                        XBox 2. Also, the CPU for the XBox
hard disk, a DVD drive, and runs                                                                    2 is rumoured to have the ability to
on a stripped down version of                                                                       decode and execute instructions in
Windows 2000. But that is where                                                                     Microsoft Intermediate Language
the similarity between a PC and                                                                     (MSIL)—an integral part of .Net,
the XBox ends. There is a tighter                                                                   while being compatible with Xbox
integration between these compo-                                                                    at the same time.
nents that enables it to outper-                                                                         Now, coming to Sony, the
form a PC. Strictly speaking, the                                                                   word that comes to everyone’s
components are not exactly the                                                                      mind when the subject of PS3 is
same as PC components. Let’s take Take a peek under the hood of XBox                                brought up is the ‘Cell’. Dubbed as
a look at each of the components                                                                    a supercomputer on a chip, the
in detail.                                  games are rendered at a resolution of 640       Cell is the microprocessor that will power
     The Coppermine processor comes         x 480 x 32, which is sufficient for NTSC        PS3 when it comes out, some time in
with a 128 KB L2 cache memory.              television. XBox also supports HDTV out-        2005. Sony, Toshiba and IBM are devel-
Although this makes it look like a          put, for which a Conexant video encoder         oping it jointly. It will be fabricated using
Celeron, it’s definitely not one. This is   chip increases the basic resolution.            the 0.10-micron silicon-on-insulator
because the Coppermine core here has an         The southbridge is the Media & Com-         (SOI) process technology. The PS3 will
8-way set associative cache rather than     munications Processor (MCP), which              also make use of Grid computing. Grid
the 4-way cache found in the Celeron.       provides the audio solution. An interest-       computing is a variation of distributed
This makes it a Pentium III with half of    ing point is that a HyperTransport bus,         computing, and presumably involves
its cache disabled. But the lingering ques- which is used by AMD, connects the              networked game machines sharing soft-
tion is, in the days of gigahertz wars, how MCP and IGP. Audio is another area              ware, processing power and data.
does a 733 MHz processor compete? The       where the XBox is much better than the               On the whole, gaming consoles are
answer to that is simple—even this much     PS2. The MCP provides a Dolby Digital           the better option in the long run. After
processing power is not required, at least  5.1 audio output, compared to the stereo        all, they are designed for gaming right
for now.                                    output of the PS2. This is a very impor-        from scratch. This has helped the indus-
     The graphics solution provided by      tant feature, as many games support this        try understand the basic requirements of
nVidia is similar to its nForce chipset     surround sound format. The MCP also             3D and multimedia applications. With-
with minor variations. Like the nForce,     offers a 10/100 Ethernet controller,            out a doubt, this will affect the designs of
the XBox has the Integrated Graphics        which allows multiple Xbox consoles to          PCs in the future and make them gamer
Processor (IGP) as the northbridge. The     be interconnected.                              friendly.
IGP acts as both the northbridge and the        Another reason the XBox produces                                      MOULY ARUN PRABHU
GPU. The difference is that the nForce      stunning visuals is that developers heav-                     (mouly_arunprabhu@thinkdigit.com)


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insight ■
               ■   quick start




Faster, Safer Windows XP
W
           indows XP is known for its        you, without killing your resources.
           beautiful new interface, cou-         The most effective way to disable serv-
           pled with the stability of Win-   ices is by running the Windows Manage-
dows 2000. The only problem is, there are    ment Interface. Access it through either
some chinks you may want to iron out.        Control Panel > Administrative Tools > Ser-
XP comes with a whole bunch of in-built      vices or go to Start > Run, type services.msc
applications that are really useful if you   and press [Enter]. A window pops up that
want to run a server or some database        displays all the services, their descriptions
applications. The problem is that these      and status—whether currently running or
applications all seem to start simultane-    not. From here you can start, stop, pause,
ously, whether you need them or not, and     resume, or restart a service.
use up precious system resources. The fol-       In the table below, we have provided
lowing is a guide to making XP work for      the configuration settings for three types
                                                 of PCs—Safe, Internet Gateway and
                                                 Gaming. Those who want the maxi-
                                                 mum out of their system for games,
                                                 should set the services according to        Disable services by right-clicking on them from
                                                 the Gaming Configuration. And PCs           the services.msc box
                                                 used as Servers or Internet Gateways
                                                 should use the list specified in the        ‘startup type’. Select whichever of the three
                                                 Internet Gateways configuration. The        options (automatic, manual and disabled)
                                                 Safe configuration, is for those para-      is applicable.
                                                 noid about security.                             Disabling most remote services will
                                                      To disable services from here, just    not only increase your PC speed, but also
                                                 right-click a service and choose proper-    improve your security. For example, make
Services.msc lets you to tweak Windows XP        ties. Now, go to the list box named         sure to disable the Remote Registry Ser-
                                                                                             vice, which basically allows your registry
 The following is a list of those services available in Windows XP:                          to be edited from a remote location—apart
                                                                                             from the security risks, you’re probably
 Display Name                                 Safe            Internet       Gaming
                                                                                             never going to want to edit your registry
                                                              Gateway
                                                                                             over the Internet anyway.
 Application Layer Gateway Service            Manual          Automatic      Disabled
                                                                                                  If you feel that you don’t know
 Automatic Updates                            Manual          Automatic      Disabled
                                                                                             whether you require this service or not
 Computer Browser                             Disabled        Automatic      Disabled
                                                                                             just set it to ‘manual’ run. This way, Win-
 Error Reporting Service                      Disabled        Disabled       Disabled
                                                                                             dows will not load it at startup, only when
 Help and Support                             Disabled        Disabled       Disabled
                                                                                             it is required. Finally, be careful about
 Indexing Service                             Disabled        Disabled       Disabled
                                                                                             selecting from the services listed above,
 Logical Disk Manager                         Manual          Manual         Disabled
                                                                                             and remember to restart your PC after
 Network Location Awareness (NLA)             Manual          Automatic      Disabled
                                                                                             making the changes. You can now enjoy
 Performance Logs and Alerts                  Disabled        Disabled       Disabled
                                                                                             a faster and less resource hungry XP.
 Portable Media Serial Number                 Disabled        Disabled       Disabled
                                                                                                       NIKETU SHAH (niketu_shah@thinkdigit.com)
 Remote Access Auto Connection Manager        Manual          Automatic      Disabled
 Remote Access Connection Manager             Manual          Automatic      Disabled
 Remote Desktop Help Session Manager          Disabled        Disabled       Disabled         Note
 Remote Procedure Call (RPC) Locator          Manual          Manual         Manual
                                                                                              There may be services which may or may
 Remote Registry Service                      Disabled        Disabled       Disabled         not be installed on your PC depending
 Routing and Remote Access                    Disabled        Disabled       Disabled         on whether it’s Windows XP Home, or
 Server                                       Disabled        Automatic      Disabled         Windows XP Professional. Also, if it came
 Smart Card                                   Disabled        Disabled       Disabled         pre-installed by your vendor, he may not
 System Restore Service                       Disabled        Disabled       Disabled         have installed any or many of them. For
                                                                                              more information visit
 Task Scheduler                               Disabled        Disabled       Disabled
                                                                                              www.blackviper.com
 WMI Performance Adapter                      Disabled        Disabled       Disabled


          91                           Watch my PDA                                                                            AUGUST 2003
                                                                                                 ILLUSTRATION:   Solomon Lewis



insight ■
              ■   workshop




Linux On
   Linux Off
                                                                                             Far from being a numbing
                                                                                             procedure, installing Linux is
                                                                                             easy, user friendly, and
                                                                                             completely reversible. Safe
                                                                                             installation guaranteed!




T
      here are some things that money         to the current state, don’t worry. This is a   clubbed together. Then, select the parti-
      can’t buy and there are some            perfectly reversible process. If you are a     tion where you want to install Linux. It is
      things that money need not buy.         Linux geek, this is where you get off; this    recommended that you allocate at least 4
With the open source movement gaining         article is meant for Linux newbies.            GB of hard disk space albeit the bare min-
momentum, you are no longer forced to             Here’s what you need before you can        imum is 450 MB. You can resize an exist-
buy the basic software such as an operat-     start off. First and foremost, you’ll need     ing partition to create a room for
ing system for your computer. The flag-       the Linux distribution. In this workshop,      installing Linux or you can allot an entire
ship product of the open source move-         we shall use Red Hat Linux 9. The distri-      existing partition.
ment—Linux—has gained a lot of recog-         bution can be found in the accompany-           STEP If you want to resize an existing
nition in recent times.                       ing DVD. You will find the images of the          1 free partition, use the partition
    This workshop will be your friendly       three CDs that are required for the basic      resizer tool. It can be found in the Mind-
guide to a beautiful place called Linux. If   installation. Burn the CDs and your Linux      ware CD. It is recommended that you
you are not happy with the change, or for     distribution is ready. Make any number of      copy the program to a boot floppy, boot
any reason you want to revert your system     copies and distribute them. You will not       into the system using it and run the pro-
                                              be breaking any laws.                          gram. It has a very friendly interface. First,
Find them on the Mindware CD                                                                 select the resize/move option. Then select
Ranish Partition Manager Beta                 Preparation for Installation                   the partition to be resized; the program
2.43                                          Defragment your hard disk and check for        will indicate resizable partitions, using the
Partition Resizer 1.3.4                       any errors using scan disk. Make sure you      * symbol. After selecting, you can resize
                                              do this as this ensures that free space is     the partition; the program will indicate


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the size of the resized partition and not
the free space. So, make sure that you have
                                                                                                 Before you install Linux...
resized correctly. Confirm the operation                                                         ✔ Know your system configuration.
and reboot the system after it is complet-                                                       Right-click My Computer and select Proper-
ed. Run scandisk on the resized partition.                                                       ties to get information about your system.
 STEP To remove an existing Windows                                                              ✔ Check whether all your hardware com-
  2 partition and install Linux in it,                                                           ponents (especially the video card), are
make sure that no data is present in the                                                         listed at http://hardware.redhat.com/hcl/.
partition. Copy its contents to another                                                          ✔ Find out its horizontal and vertical scan
partition.                                                                                       frequency. You can find it in the manual
                                                                                                 that accompanied the monitor.
Installation                                   Change the default option for the mouse           ✔ Make a note of the port your mouse is
You have to start the installation by boot-    model, if it’s wrongly listed                     connected to—serial, PS2 or USB. If it is
ing from the CD-ROM drive. To do so,                                                             a serial port, find out whether it is COM1
make sure that the first boot option is set     STEP Installation type: Here, you can            or COM2.
as CD-ROM. You can check this in the              5 choose any one of the four                   ✔ Windows XP users may need the setup
BIOS setup. Insert the first CD and restart    options—personal desktop, workstation,            CD if they are going to revert back after
the computer. You will be presented with       server and custom installation. Select Per-       the installation.
a text-based menu. From here, follow           sonal desktop. You can always change it           ✔ If your system is networked, then
these steps.                                   later, after the installation.                    you should know the details of the same.
 STEP Press enter to start the graphical                                                         Contact your system administrator for
   1 installation mode. Next, you will                                                           the details.
be prompted to test the media. The instal-                                                       ✔ Backup all your important data
lation program will test your media for                                                          ✔ Defragment the hard disk
any flaws in it. Although you can skip this
step, it is recommended that you check all
the CDs at least once.                                                                          Otherwise, select the partition on which
                                                                                                you want to install and click delete. If you
                                                                                                are finding it difficult to relate the entries
                                               Choose the type of installation in the screen    in the Disk Druid menu to the correspon-
                                               shown above                                      ding Windows partition, then refer to the
                                                                                                box Disk Druid—take it easy.
                                                                                                 STEP Select the free partition, and click
                                                                                                  3 New. Now the add partition win-
                                                                                                dow will appear. In the mount point field,
                                                                                                select ‘/’. Select the file system type as
                                                                                                ext3. In the size field, select ‘Fill to maxi-
                                                                                                mum allowable size’. If you get a warning,


A Welcome Screen appears after selecting the
graphical installation mode

STEP Now, you will be presented with
   2 the Welcome Screen. Click next to         Manually partition the hard drives using Disk
enter the language selection step. No          Druid
regional languages are supported; the
default would be the language that you         Partitioning
are reading. However, you can install          This is the mother of all steps. If you com-
other languages, if needed.                    plete this step successfully, the rest is a
 STEP Keyboard configuration: Select           breeze.                                          Click on the New button in the Disk Druid
   3 ‘U.S English’ keyboard.                    STEP You can choose between ‘Auto-              menu, to create a new partition
 STEP Mouse configuration: The instal-            1 matically partition’, and ‘Manual-
   4 lation program will probe your            ly partition with Disk Druid’. The latter is     click continue. If you happen to make a
mouse and give a default option. If you        recommended as it gives you control over         mistake in this step, click the Reset but-
are sure of the model of your mouse and        the partitioning.                                ton and start partitioning again.
find that it is wrongly listed then change      STEP In the manual partition method,
it. If your mouse is connected to the seri-       2 you will be presented a screen sim-         Now the easier part of installation
al port then make sure that the correct        ilar to the one shown. The actual screen         After partitioning, the boot loader config-
COM port is selected under device              will depend on your hard disk. If you have       uration and other configurations have to
menu.                                          resized your partition, skip to the next step.   be done. Here’s how you do it.


          93                                                                                                                    AUGUST 2003
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               ■   workshop

                                                                                                Partitions demystified
                                                                                                Partitions can be troublesome. Thankful-
                                                                                                ly, hard disk partitions are much easier to
                                                                                                create. To understand partitioning, you
                                                                                                have to view the hard disk as a shelf for
                                                                                                keeping books. Each rack is a partition
                                                                                                and each hard disk has a partition table
                                                                                                that keeps a record of the partitions. A
                                                                                                partition table is designed to hold infor-
                                                                                                mation regarding four partitions only. To
Choose your Boot Loader, and ensure that all   Ensure that the probed video card is correct,    over come this limitation, extended par-
the operating systems are present              else change it                                   titions were developed. They can contain
                                                                                                many sub-partitions within them, which
                                                                                                are called logical partitions. Primary par-
                                                                                                titions are the partitions, that can’t be
                                                                                                sub-divided. Older operating systems
                                                                                                such as Windows 9x, have to be installed
                                                                                                in a primary partition. Thus, the total
                                                                                                number of extended and primary parti-
                                                                                                tions should be four.




Enter the Network details in the Network       Choose the monitor that best matches the one
Configuration screen                           attached to the PC

STEP Boot loader configuration: Make           STEP If you want to customise the pack-
  1     sure you have an entry named             7 ages to be installed, select cus-           diskette. This is recommended, because
DOS in the Label column, if Windows is         tomise, else accept current packages and        if your boot loader fails or the MBR
installed in your system.                      click next.                                     gets corrupted, you can boot from
 STEP Network       configuration: The          STEP Click next to begin installation.         the diskette.
  2 details to be entered depend on               8 During installation, you will be            STEP The next step is the video card
your network. If you have any, contact         prompted to insert the other two CDs.              2 detection. You will be presented
your network administrator.                    The actual time taken for installation will     with a list of video cards, with a default
 STEP Firewall configuration: Select           depend on the system.                           selection. Change it if the default option is
  3 medium.                                        In the previous steps, you could click      not correct. Your card may be unrecognised
 STEP Language: English (U.S)                  the back button, and make changes with-         if it is very old or one of the latest mod-
  4                                            out any difference. But if you click next       els—especially the onboard display cards. If
STEP Time Zone: Asia/Calcutta.                 after these steps, new partitions will be       it is unrecognised, then obtain the drivers
  5                                            created. This is the first change made to       from the Internet. For now, skip X server
STEP Enter the root password. All Linux        your system.                                    configuration. Then, you can boot into
  6 operating systems will have a                                                              command prompt and install the drivers
super user with username root. This user       Post Installation                               and X server.
will have full control over the system.         STEP After the installation is over, you        STEP Monitor Configuration: If your
Enter the password and click next.               1     will be prompted to create a boot          3 monitor is not in the list, select




          94                                                                                                                  AUGUST 2003
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              ■   workshop

                                                                                                STEP Restart the system and select DOS
 Disk Druid—take it easy                                                                           2 from the boot loader options.
 After you have selected the Windows par-        if your system has more than one hard          Now, you will be presented with a menu
 tition for installing Linux, you have to        disks and it runs on Windows 9x. This is       that has two options—Windows XP and
 identify the respective partition in the        because Windows 9x lists all the primary       Widows recovery console. Select the latter.
 Disk Druid menu. If your hard disk is con-      partitions before listing the logical parti-     STEP If you have more than one ver-
 nected as a Primary Master, it will be          tions. You can check the number of hard           3 sion of Windows installed, you
 shown as hda, and a primary slave will be       disks and primary partitions your system       will be presented a menu of these. Then,
 shown as hdb. Similarly, hdc and hdd will       has using fdisk. After starting fdisk, you     select the Windows version where XP is
 be shown for secondary master and slave         will be presented with a menu having           installed, and clear the mbr by giving the
 respectively. Further, the first primary par-   options to display the partition informa-      fixmbr command at the prompt.
 tition of the hard disk will be shown as        tion and to change the current disk,             STEP To remove the Linux partitions,
 hda1 and the next primary or extended           among others. Note that the option to             4 boot into Windows, right-click
 partition will be shown as hda2 and so          change the current disk will be shown          My Computer and click on Manage. In
 on. The Windows partition—the C drive,          only if you have more than one hard disk.      the left side pane, select Disk manage-
 usually would be the first entry in this        Select the choice to display the partition     ment. On the right side, the systems view
 menu. Subsequent drives can be mapped           information for the current disk. It will      of the disk will be shown. Here, the Linux
 to the next entry. For example, the D           show all the partitions along with their       partition will be shown as an unrecog-
 drive would be second entry, followed by        details such as type, size, usage, etc.        nised partition that you need to delete.
 the E drive and so on. But you have to          Then, change your current disk and dis-         STEP The system will now show an
 ignore the entry for extended partition, as     play each partition’s information.Using           5 unused partition. Select the parti-
 it is only a combination of the logical par-    this information, you can now relate the       tion and right-click it. From the menu,
 titions under it.                               Windows partitions to the ones men-            select create logical partition and then
      Please note this will not be applicable    tioned in the Disk Druid menu.                 choose the file system and size. Now the
                                                                                                system is back to normal.
                                                                                                    That leaves your system in its original
unprobed monitor and enter your moni-            ‘Quick format without surface test’            state.
tor’s horizontal and vertical sync.              option. Then, restart the system.                                       MOULY ARUN PRABHU
 STEP Select your screen colour depth,               There is no support for fdisk in                         (mouly_arunprabhu@jasubhai.com)
  4 resolution and login type in the             Windows         XP.
next screen.                                     Hence, to clear
     A screen will appear, confirming the        MBR, you have to
completion of installation. Remove the           boot into the sys-
CD from the drive and click next. The            tem           using
system will now be rebooted. The boot            the Recovery Con-
loader will start, and give you two              sole. The recovery
options—DOS and Linux. Select Linux              console is a com-
to enter the world of Linux.                     mand line-based
                                                 d i a g n o s t i c
Un-installing                                    tool. It has many
If at all you need to revert back to the         features such as
previous state that your system was in,          enabling and dis-
follow these steps. First, if you are using      abling     services,
Windows 98:                                      format drives, etc.
 STEP Go to the command prompt and               You must be an
   1 clear the MBR by entering fdisk             administrator to
/mbr in the command prompt.                      use the Recovery
 STEP Then, to delete the Linux parti-           Console. Follow
   2 tions, use Ranish partition man-            these steps to
ager (found on the Mindware CD). Run             restore your Win-
the Ranish partition manager, select the         dows XP system.
Linux etx3 partition and delete it.               STEP You       can
 STEP Now a free partition will be shown           1 install it
   3 in the menu. Select this free parti-        from the Windows
tion and start the partition wizard by           XP setup CD by
pressing the Enter key.                          typing {X}:\i386\
 STEP Select the file system as FAT 32           winnt32.exe /cmd-
  4 and leave the size field as it is.           cons in the Run
Next, select the ‘Save changes now’              dialog box, where
option. In the next menu, select the For-        {X} is your CD
mat now option, and after that, select the       drive letter.


         95
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                                                                                          any way, such as drilling holes. Not only
                                                                                          is it convenient to set up, it’s also very
                                                                                          simple to move to a different location.
                                                                                               If you’re looking to connect five or
                                                                                          ten PCs on the same floor, and are will-
                                                                                          ing to go through the hassles of net-
                                                                                          working them, then wired LAN is the
                                                                                          cheaper option. But, if you want to have
                                                                                          the latest technology, with a system
                                                                                          that most 15-year olds could set up,
                                                                                          and also have an aesthetically pleasant
                                                                                          look to your office, then wireless is
                                                                                          the way to go.

                                                                                          Set up and configuration
                                                                                          Setting up a Wireless LAN (WLAN) is
                                                                                          really easy. However, depending on your
                                                                                          network type, the requirements change.
                                                                                          There are two ways to go about this,
                                                                                          either you have a purely wireless LAN,
                                                                                          where every computer is freely portable,
                                                                                          or you share a LAN with wired computers,
                                                                                          in a hybrid of wired and wireless LAN.
Wires are a tangly web that can get on anyone’s nerves.                                       To configure a purely wireless net-
                                                                                          work, you need to install the cards and
Wireless Networking solves the problem, but like a BMW,
                                                                                          configure them to run in Ad-Hoc mode,
costs more for the comfort it offers                                                      which can be done from the network




(Wire)Less EI More
                                                                                          connection wizard in Windows XP or




C
        omputers can be used to talk to      adapters. In order to get seamless con-
        each other by connecting them        nectivity within the hybrid LAN, an
        wirelessly, using the latest Wi-Fi   interface between the wired and wireless
access points and adapters. Connecting       LAN is required. This is where the Access
machines situated on different floors,       Point comes in.
or in rooms several metres apart, will           In order to achieve this real world
require long cables and a few hundred        scenario in out test centre, we connected
holes drilled all over the place. With       two desktop PCs, one called ‘master’, the
wireless connectivity no drilling of         other called ‘client’, and a laptop. The
holes or investment in cables is             access point and PCI and PCMCIA inter-
required—just plug the hardware into the     face adapters will take care of the Wi-Fi.
PC and connect.                              The master PC had a built-in LAN card,
    We decided to experiment with wire-      and a modem provided Internet access.
less connectivity, and that too with the     We used Internet connection sharing          the utility bundled
cheapest ingredients—D-Link’s DW-            software (WinGate or WinProxy5), to          with the Adapter card.
900AP+ access point, a DWL-650+ PCM-         enable the client to access the Internet     Now, install a proxy server
CIA card for the laptop and a DWL-520+       via the master.                              on the computer with the
PCI-based card for our desktop PC. These         In all, we needed an access point and    Internet connection (master)
components are also capable of securing      wireless adapters. If we consider the cur-   and set the others to access the Net
home users sufficiently.                     rent price of the D-Link Access Point, and   through it. That’s it; your network is up
    We considered a typical office envi-     PCI and PCMCIA-based adapters, then          and running.
ronment, where a wired LAN exists but a      the total solution cost us approximately         However, a word of caution; when
few people want to have the freedom and      Rs 18,400. This amount appears pretty        buying wireless hardware, make sure they
portability that wireless offers. Thus, a    high as compared to a wired LAN, but is      are compatible—802.11b (Wi-Fi) will not
hybrid LAN is formed, with some com-         a boon for small businesses which oper-      work with 802.11a/g hardware. Also,
puters connecting with normal ethernet       ate from rented offices—especially if they   wireless equipment from different ven-
cards, and a few connecting with wireless    are not allowed to alter the interior in     dors may or may not work together. Buy


         96                                                                                                            AUGUST 2003
 Jargon buster
 Access Point: It is a piece of hardware
 which connects wireless adapters to a
 wired LAN. For home and SoHo (Small
 office Home office) networks it is
 connected to the LAN card on a PC,
 using a cross over cable.
 Wireless Adapter: It is the wireless
 replacement for the network interface
 (LAN) card—available in the PCI and
 PCMCIA interface.                            The Setup Wizard makes the configuration of
 DHCP: Dynamic Host Configuration             your LAN settings a snap
 Protocol allows the adapters to
 automatically pick up IP addresses from      STEP Click on the Wireless tab. There
 the list defined in the DHCP                    3 are default values assigned to
 configuration on the Access Point.           various fields. Change the SSID (Service
 SSID: Service Set Identifier is a 32-        Set Identification) to something else, such
 character unique identifier attached to      as ‘home’ or ‘wireless’ and assign a net-
 the header of packet transmitted over        work key. Set it to run in infrastructure
 wireless LAN. SSID differentiates one        mode and set the WEP (Wireless Equiva-
 WLAN from another, so that all access        lent Protocol) to 64-bit from the drop
 points and devices attempting to             down menu. The rea-
 connect to a specific WLAN must use          son for not using 128
 the same SSID. It is also referred to as a   or     256-bit     WEP
 Network name.                                encryption is that
                                              higher settings will
                                              lower      the      data
all your wireless hardware from a single      throughput because of
vendor to avoid such problems.                greater security checks.
     Setting up a hybrid LAN is a tad more    Under the LAN tab,
complicated. Follow the steps below to        there
connect and configure an Access Point to

                                                            exists a
                                               default IP and subnet
                                              mask—do not change
                                              this. Click on the
                 set up your hybrid LAN:      DHCP      tab.    Here,
STEP Connect the Access Point to              enable the DHCP serv-
  1 the existing LAN with a normal            er and assign a starting
RJ45 cable, which costs around Rs 50          IP (192.168. 0.2) and
for a 5 meter cable.                          ending                IP
 STEP Power up the Access Point and           (192.168.0.254)
   2 access the built-in Web server           address for the client      PHOTOGRAPH: Mexy Xavier,
                                                                          IMAGING: Solomon Lewis
by entering its IP address (for example,      adapter to automati-
http:// 192.168.0.1) in the browser of        cally pick up IPs.
the master system. This will open a           Enable DHCP only if you want the client
configuration page, from where the the        PC to get its IP automatically, otherwise
rest of the Access Point configuration        disable the DHCP server and manually
can be done.                                  assign the IPs for the client PCs.

 Can you afford the latest? The cost of setting up 5 PCs on a LAN (in Rs)

 Component               100 MBps LAN           11 MBps Wireless hybrid LAN
 LAN card                     2,500                           22,500
 Access Point                  Nil                            10,000
 Cable                         500                              Nil
 Entry-Level switch           4,000                             Nil
                                                                                                Configure the clients using the Wireless
 Total                        7,000                           32,500
                                                                                                Adapter Configuration utility


            97                                                                                                                   AUGUST 2003
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  Wi-Fi hacker alert
 Security is a critical issue with wireless
 transmission. As the signal in a WLAN is
 freely transmitted in space, anybody in
 the vicinity has access to it. This can
 include a hacker sitting in a car parked
 just outside your home or office. SSID are
 used to identify the wireless adapters
 installed in a wireless environment, by
 access points. The SSID is broadcasted
 freely many times by an access point. A
 hacker with reasonable experience and
 the help of an 802.11 analysis tool, can
 sniff the network to get the SSID, and       Set the encryption level as per your network   Fine tune the quality of your LAN connection
 hence, free access to the home or office                                                    using the Configuration utility
 network. Wireless networks can enable        slot and restart the system. Wait for the
 WEP (Wired Equivalent Privacy), a form of    driver to initialise the adapter.              cupboards, and cabinets filled with
 encryption, available in 64, 128 and 256-     STEP Once the hardware is initialised,        clothes can cause a drop in throughput.
 bit that will keep amateur hackers away.        2 double-click on the adapter card          Though a wireless connection is the
 However, an experienced hacker can gain      configuration icon in the system tray.         best choice for a multi-storeyed house,
 access by monitoring the data                This will launch the configuration             there will be many obstacles, such as
 transmission and decoding the WEP-           utility. Here the user doesn’t have to do      walls, flooring, metal tables and even
 encrypted information. WPA (Wireless         anything, as most of the settings, includ-     microwave ovens, which might lower the
 Protected Access) a more secure              ing SSID and encryption key, are auto-         data throughput. To avoid this, move the
 encryption standard, is in under             matically picked up by the adapter card        access point around to find the best place
 development and will be available soon.      from the Access Point.                         where the clients get the maximum
                                               STEP Check the signal strength avail-         signal strength. The same process will
                                                 3 able at the place the wireless            have to be repeated for the client
   Now, all you have to do is configure       desktop or laptop is placed double             placement. Once you find the best place
the clients.                                  clicking utility resting in the taskbar.       for them, you’re all set to do as you
 STEP Install the adapter drivers and              While setting up a wireless network,      please in your networked haven.
  1 then shut down the PC and plug            it is important to remember to place the                                   ALIASGAR PARDAWALA
the adapter card into the PCI/PCMCIA          access point carefully, as metal tables,                         (aliasgar_pardawala@thinkdigit.com)




                           1/2 page H.AD




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5                         Things about
                          Windows...
Mahesh Benkar
ILLUSTRATION:




                 ...that You’ll Never Miss Again
                                    Common Windows tasks that you can now do in Linux



O
         nly a few computer enthusiasts,        that installs your favourite Windows pro-
         and hobbyists look upon Linux as       gram, under Linux. This program has an
         an alternative operating system.       ever-growing list of supported software.
However, this scenario has been chang-              We installed CrossOver office on Suse
ing drastically. Now, ordinary users use        Dektop Linux, by executing a shell script.
Linux for typical desktop use such as word      This shell executable is located in the
processing, making presentations, and lis-      /opt/cxoffice folder. As soon as you
tening to music. This is possible due to
the availability of free as well as commer-
cial office applications for Linux that offer
good compatibility with existing MS
Office files. But, there are times when
something as simple as sharing a file with                                                       Configure the proxy settings, if you are behind
your friends across a LAN, or a printer                                                          a firewall
configuration, can get confusing due to
the lack of any coherent information            Run the crossover.sh script at the prompt to     favourite Windows programs such as
source. This workshop helps you get             start the installation                           Microsoft Office 2000, IE 5 or 5.5, Photo-
around those small, irritating hiccups that                                                      shop 7, Visio 2000, etc.
stand in the way of using Linux to its          execute the command: /opt/cxoffice/bin               As soon as you click on Microsoft
fullest potential.                              /crossover.sh, the emulator starts installing.   Office 2000, in the CrossOver Office
                                                The script starts uncompressing the              install window, a new window pops up
                Use Windows Programs            files, and installing them. During this          where you need to specify the source
                in Linux with                   process, it asks you to configure the            location of the set up files, for example,
                CrossOver Office                proxy settings—since this utility has the        /mnt/cdrom, to install the application
Ever thought how nice it would be if you        capability to download files from the            via a CD.
could install Microsoft Office in Linux?        Internet, if necessary.                              The installation starts just like it
Well, here’s your dream come true.                   Once the installation of CrossOver          would have on a Windows PC, asking
CrossOver Office is a Windows emulator          Office is complete, install all your             you the serial key, license agreement,


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                                                 dows’, within the /mnt folder, using mkdir                                         Bonus             1
                                                 /mnt/windows.
                                                     But, to find the physical address of
                                                                                                      Configure services
                                                 your Windows partition, you will have to             ntsysv is a simple graphical utility to acti-
                                                 use a utility such as Hardware Browser.              vate and deactivate services. It gives you
                                                     Now, you have a local folder                     complete control as to which services
                                                 /mnt/windows, as well as a physical                  should, or should not be running. First,
                                                 address of your windows partition                    type ntsysv at the terminal window, and
                                                 /dev/hdb1. Now, at the command                       press [Enter].
                                                 prompt, type mount -t vfat /dev/hdb1                    You will see a list of services available
                                                 /mnt/windows.                                        that you can either enable, or disable.
                                                      You need root permission to issue the           The services that are already enabled
                                                 command. So, log in as root, or change to            are the ones, which start when your
                                                 root, using the su command. The mount
Just select Microsoft Office 2000 and click on   command will load the Windows parti-
the ‘Add’ button to install it                   tion once. Hence, you will have to execute
                                                 the mount command again, whenever
acceptance to typical installation, etc.         you restart your PC. To avoid this, change
Now, you just need to restart the
CrossOver emulator. Once the installa-
tion is completed, you can work with
your most desired Microsoft Office appli-
cations, such as Word and Excel. These
can be accessed by going to Main menu >
Windows Application Menu.
    To remove an application, go to Main                                                               ntysysv lists all the services available on
menu > CrossOver Office > CrossOver Office                                                            your Linux PC
Setup. Select the installed software, and
click on the Remove button to start the                                                               PC boots up. Select, or unselect all
application’s un-installation program.                                                                the services needed, and press OK.
                                                                                                      Restart the PC for the changes to come
         Access Windows Files                    The fstab file lists all the available partitions    into effect.
         automatically                           and their mount points                                   By default, the configuration is affect-
         Most users start with a dual boot                                                            ed only to the current runlevel. If you
system when they install Linux. Hence,           the File System Table i.e. /etc/fstab. Open          wish to make similar changes to more
transferring or accessing files created while    this file with any text editor such as vi,           then one runlevel, use the command:
working in Windows is the first problem          gedit, etc. This file is formatted in 6              ntsysv --level 35.
faced. For example, you wish to open a           columns seperated by spaces. You need to                 The configuration will affect all the
Microsoft Word file from your Windows            append the following line                            runlevel number(s) specified after the --
partition. Solve this by loading the Win-            /dev/hdb1         /mnt/windows      vfat         level option. In the example shown, the
dows partition, using the mount com-             auto,umask=0 0 0                                     runlevel 3 and 5 will be affected.
mand. To use the mount command, there                From now on, whenever you want to
are two essential requirements: First, you       access the files of your Windows folder, go
should have a local folder where you can         to /mnt/windows.                                    service by executing the following com-
map the Windows partition. And second,                                                               mand at the prompt: /etc/rc.d/inet.d/xinetd
the physical address of the Windows par-                  Share files and printers                   restart.
tition. As far as local folder is concerned,              using Samba                                     Configure the SWAT service to run
you can create a new folder, called ‘win-                With Microsoft’s SMB (Server                automatically every time the PC starts, by
                                                 Message Block), it became easy to access
                                                 Windows shares on a Linux PC, but
                                                 the configuration was a headache.
                                                 Now, SWAT (Samba Web Administration
                                                 Tool) reduces this headache, by provid-
                                                 ing a Web-based utility, to manage the
                                                 Samba server.

                                                 Start the service
                                                 First of all, you need to start the SWAT
                                                 service. To do so, first modify the line ‘dis-
                                                 able = yes’ to ‘disable = no’ within the file
Partitions are listed as /dev/hdxx               /etc/xinet.d/swat, then restart the xinetd          You can adjust the Global settings in SWAT           ➜
          100                                                                                                                          AUGUST 2003
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executing the following command:                   box besides the Create Share button, and                                     Bonus             2
chkconfig -level 35 swat on.                       then, press the Create Share button. Type        Set your display
      Check if the application has started         the folder name you wish to share along          properties easily
properly by typing:                                with security settings such as ‘quest=yes’,
chkconfig -list | grep swat.                       or ‘guest=no’, and Commit Changes. You           On earlier Linux versions, the only way to
      The result should be ‘swat: on’. Once        have successfully created a shared folder        get your GUI working, was to use Xconfig-
it’s verified that the service is running, let’s   in Linux that can be accessed even from          urator—a console-based utility that acted
see how it eases the configuration task.           Windows PCs.                                     as a rudimentary front-end to the X serv-
                                                        Once the shares are created, check          er’s configuration file. But now, a new tool,
Run the Utility                                    whether the users are configured proper-         called redhat-config-xfree86, has been
To start with the Samba configuration, go          ly to access the shared folders. To manage       included that makes changing display
to the browser, and type http://local-                                                              properties very similar to that in Microsoft
host:901/ in the location bar.                                                                      Windows. To start the tool, go to the Main
    Next, specify the user name as root                                                             menu > System Settings > Display. Alterna-
and enter the password to start off with                                                            tively, you could execute the command:
the configuration. If you enter the wrong                                                           redhat-config-xfree86.
user name or password, it will not give
you a second try. If you manage to mess
this up, restart the xinetd service, as
mentioned above. Use this configuration
utility on a remote machine cautiously,
since the username and password is sent
as simple text (without encryption)
across the network.

Configure                                          Users have to be given access rights to the
When you view the /etc/samba/smb.conf              shared folders
file, you will notice that it is organised                                                          Adjust colour and resolution easily
into sections. Although we won’t be                the users for Samba, go to the Password
directly modifying the files, the GUI tool         section. This section is split vertically into       In the window that pops up, you can
(SWAT) will modify it. The first section           two halves. The top half helps in manag-         change the resolution, as well as colour
consists of global settings. It defines the        ing Samba users on the local machine,            depth. Press OK, and that’s it.
server’s overall attributes, including the         while the bottom half helps in changing              You can also change the hardware
two most important settings: workgroup             the password on the remote Windows PC.           drivers for your monitor, or graphics card,
name, and NetBIOS name.                            The username and password on the local           using this utility. When the utility opens,
     The next section deals with shared            and remote machine should be the same.           go to the Advanced tab. Here, you can
folders. By default, one share is created          Before adding a Samba user in the Server         configure both, the monitor and the
called ‘homes’. This is a private share, and       Password Management, check if the users          graphics card. Click the configure button,
is visible to the users, who use a valid           are present on the local machine. If not,        to get a list of supported drivers. Choose
username and password. By this share,              then add users in the local machine first.       one from the list, or use the Probe button
users can access their own home folder             Samba has a limitation that only allows
over the network. To see the details of the        users with a valid local account to access
homes share, select home from the drop             the shares.
down box, and press Choose Share. To                   Sharing printers is very similar to
save any changes you make, press the               sharing folders. It works for major Linux
Commit Changes button. To add a new                print services such as LPD (Line Print
share, type the share’s name in the text




                                                                                                    Configure the monitor via the Advanced tab

                                                                                                    to detect the hardware. Once you have
                                                                                                    chosen the proper hardware, press OK.
                                                                                                        Once you change any display set-
                                                                                                    tings, you need to restart your X server
                                                                                                    for the changes to take effect. This can be
                                                                                                    done by simply logging out, and starting
                                                   Sharing printers is very similar to sharing      a new session again.
SWAT lets you share folders with ease              folders, using SWAT


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                                                  point your Web browser to http://local-                                       Bonus            3
                                                  host:631/. The :631 tells your browser to        Uncompress packages
                                                  connect to port 631, instead of the stan-
                                                  dard Web port 80.                                Here’s how to install a .tar file.
                                                                                                   Execute the following command:
                                                                                                   tar -xvf <package>.tar
                                                                                                        This creates a folder by the name
                                                                                                   <package> and extracts the files in it.
                                                                                                   Next, change the current working direc-
                                                                                                   tory to the <package> directory (using cd
                                                                                                   <package>), and compile the file again.
The status section in SWAT lets you check the                                                      To compile first you need to execute the
status of the Samba server                                                                         ./configure command.
                                                                                                        Now, create a binary file that can be
Daemon), and CUPS (Common UNIX                                                                     executed, with the help of the make com-
Printing System).                                                                                  mand, and then install the compiled pro-
     Finally, check the Samba server’s sta-                                                        gram, using the make install command.
tus in the Status section. It provides a but-     Clicking on ‘Do Administrative Tasks’, brings         The normal process to install <pack-
ton to start, stop or restart the server.         up the Admin screen                              age>.tar.gz, and <package>.tar differs
                                                                                                   only by a step. The <package>.tar.gz file
        Install and manage                            There will be a variety of options in        is first converted to <package>.tar file,
        printers using CUPS                       your browser. Click on the first one—Do          and then the normal process of installing
          CUPS provides a portable printing       Administration Tasks—and you will be
layer for UNIX-based operating systems.           prompted to log in. Log in as root, using
Most of the newer distributions bundle            your root password, and the Admin screen
CUPS along. You can also download it at           will come up.
http://public.planetmirror.com/pub/cups/1.1.4/.       Although the ‘Class and Jobs’ section
Once you’ve downloaded CUPS, remove               appears ahead of Printer, we will add the
your old printing software. Then, install         printer first. Press the Add Printer button,
CUPS by typing: rpm -ivh cups-1.1.4-linux-        and you will be asked for printer name,
2.2.14-intel.rpm.                                 host name and the printer’s description.
     Note that your filename may differ               Next, specify the device, device
slightly. By default, CUPS installs with a        Uniform Resource Identifier (URI), make
Web-based, and console-based interface.           and model for the printer, one after the
It should start automatically when
installed via RPM. To verify whether the                                                            Type in the device URI in the Admin screen
cupsd daemon is running, execute the fol-
lowing, with the privileges of the root
user: /etc/rc.d/init.d/cups status                                                                 the tar files is followed. Converting the
     If you receive ‘cups: Scheduler is run-                                                       .tar.gz file to .gz can be achieved, using
ning’ as the output message, you are ready                                                         the command: gunzip <package>.tar.gz.
to explore the Web interface.                                                                          An alternative method is to combine
     If not, start the scheduler, by typing                                                        both commands (gunzip <package>.tar.gz
/etc/rc.d/init.d/cups start, with root privi-                                                      and tar -xvf <package>.tar) to a single
leges.                                                                                             command line:
     Once the CUPS scheduler is running,                                                           tar -zxvf <package>.tar.gz
                                                                                                     You can even execute the same com-
                                                  The printer setup process lets you choose the    mand, using pipes, as follows:
                                                  model number                                     gunzip <package>.tar.gz | tar -xvf

                                                  other. The file option lets you print           details, your printer set up is complete.
                                                  directly to a file on the hard drive. The       Now, you can manage printers, classes, as
                                                  http option lets you print directly to the      well as print jobs.
                                                  CUPS port. The ipp option lets you print            The Classes option allows you to
                                                  to a queue with the Internet Printing Pro-      place a series of printers into a pool, or
                                                  tocol. The smb option lets you print to         class. If you print to a class, instead of a
                                                  shared printers, connected to a Windows         specific printer, the first available printer
                                                  PC—if you use Windows as a print serv-          in the class will receive the job. This is
                                                  er. If the printer is locally connected,        useful if you do a lot of high-production
The default CUPS screen provides you with         specify the port to which the printer is        printing, and have a series of printers at
online help                                       connected. Once you furnish all these           a central location.


          104                                                                                                                     AUGUST 2003
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                                                CD-covers, multisession support, and                                         Bonus            4
                                                bootable CD support.
                                                     Since the gcombust package is avail-       Convert your MP3s to OGG
                                                able in the gz format, follow the steps          MP3 is the most common music format
                                                shown previously to install it. When you         in use today. But, it is involved in legal
                                                execute the software for the first time, it      issues. Converting to and from MP3
                                                will show you an error that says ‘Config-        involves payment of royalty for encod-
                                                uration file not found’. Press OK, and then      ing or decoding. On the other hand,
                                                set the configuration in the Preferences         ogg is a format that’s free to use—a
                                                window that opens up. You have to set            open source project which provides the
                                                these settings only once; hence forth you        same quality of sound at half the file
                                                can directly get to the task of CD Burn-         size, thus reducing the disk space
The CUPS Web interface lets you manage          ing. To burn a CD, go to the Data Files tab,     required to store your music. One of the
print jobs                                      and press the Add Directory button to add        easiest ways to convert MP3 to OGG is
                                                files, or folders.                               by using scripts.
     Further, the Jobs option allows you to          Once all your files and folders are             The mp32ogg script is in Perl, avail-
manage the print jobs in the queue. There       added, go to the Burn tab. Uncheck the           able at http://freshmeat.net/projects/
is no button to add a print job; you can                                                         mp32ogg, and the pre-requisite is that
only manage the jobs using the Hold job,                                                         you need to have the mpg123, and the
and Cancel job operations, which are pro-                                                        oggenc packages installed on your PC.
vided as buttons.                                                                                You will also need a couple of Perl mod-
     Just like managing jobs, you have                                                           ules that go by the names MP3::Info, and
operations to manage your printers and                                                           String::ShellQuote as well. Once, you
classes. The Printers managing section                                                           have these, execute the Perl script named
lets you print a test page, start the print-                                                     mp32ogg by typing mp32ogg *.mp3.
er, and perform other administrative                                                                 This will convert all the mp3s, with-
tasks. It also shows the print job, and                                                          in the current directory, to the ogg for-
printer status.                                                                                  mat, and create a new file with an ogg
                                                                                                 extension, for each mp3 file. Existing
        Burn CDs on Linux                       gcombust gives you continuous output during      mp3 files are not affected, so relax
        With CD-Writer prices falling           the burn process                                 while the conversion takes place.
        rapidly, users are now switching
to CD-Writers, instead of CD-ROMs. A            ‘Dummy test run’ checkbox, check the
CD-Writer’s performance depends on the          Burnproof checkbox, and then the Multi         help. In the command line, each burn
CD-Writing software being used. Tradi-          Session checkbox (if you wish to create a      process is two fold—first, create an
tionally, Linux only supported command          multi-session CD). Finally, press the          iso image, then burn the iso image
line tools, to burn CDs, but now easy to        Combust! button.                               on the CD. To make an iso image, execute
use, graphical tools, such as gcombust,              If you cannot locate your drive, use      the following command:
are available.                                  the ‘Detect SCSI drive’ button, and            mkisofs /home/user > /tmp/user.iso
     gcombust is a graphical user interface     verify the drive, using the ‘Check SCSI             Make an iso image from a CD using
for traditional tools such as mkisofs,          settings’ button.                              dd if=/dev/cdrom of=/tmp/img.iso
mkhybrid, cdda2wav, cdrecord, and                    Most graphical utilities, such as gcom-        Burn this iso image on a blank CD by
cdlabelgen. Some of the features of             bust, use a command line utility to            executing the following command:
gcombust are burn CD on the fly, iso            accomplish their task. So, knowing how         cd-record -v speed=12 dev=0,0,0 -data img.iso
image creation, Audio CD creation, Print        command line utilities operate is a great           If you wish to write to a re-writable
                                                                                               CD, after erasing its content, type:
                                                                                               cdrecord -v speed=12 dev=0,0,0 blank=fast
                                                                                               -data img.iso
                                                                                                    Check the files in the iso, by directly
                                                                                               mounting the iso file. For example, create
                                                                                               a folder, say /mnt/iso. Then, mount the
                                                                                               iso file by typing:
                                                                                               mount -o loop,ro -t iso9660 ./img.iso /mnt/iso
                                                                                                    You can then browse through the
                                                                                               image content, as you would with your
                                                                                               CD-ROM drive. If there are any problems
                                                                                               with the image, delete it, and create a
                                                                                               new one.
                                                                                                   PRAVEEN KURUP (praveen_kurup@thinkdigit.com)
Click on the Add Directory button in the Data   Uncheck the Dummy test run checkbox in the                                  MUSTALI KACHWALA
Files tab, to add files and folders             Burn tab                                                       (mustali_kachwala@thinkdigit.com)


          105                                                                                                                    AUGUST 2003
insight ■
              ■   troubleshooting




   A file that needs to be locked away, an intriguing mark on the CPU, a motherboard that refuses to
                         recognise hard disks... Here’s the denouement to it all!


   Windows 98 to XP                           program even before Explorer starts. This     motherboard model at the manufactur-
I was unable to install Windows XP Profes-    feature is used by software such as           er’s Web site, and follow the steps given at
sional in the MS-DOS mode. I had to install   Norton AntiVirus, McAfee, etc., to exe-       the site, to flash the BIOS. However, they
Windows 98 SE first, and then upgrade it to   cute the program automatically.               may not be an update available for your
Windows XP Professional. Is there a way to        To eliminate the error, you will need     motherboard, it being too old.
install Windows XP Professional without       to change the settings in the anti-virus          Get an add-on IDE controller. Pur-
having to follow this procedure?              program so that no virus scan is ini-         chase an IDE controller card, install
Mahendra                                      tialised at startup. Restart your comput-     the drivers, and connect it to the high
                                              er and the error should not occur again.      capacity hard drive. Though being an
   You can install Windows XP by exe-         If it persists, then another application      expensive solution, it will surely solve
cuting the winnt.exe within the i386          may be causing the error. You will have       your problem.
folder on the Windows XP CD. The setup        to find the program that starts at startup,       Use utilities provided by your drive
then asks for the path of the source files,   and disable it.                               manufacturer:
and starts the installation. Another alter-                                                     If you use a Maxtor hard drive, down-
native is to install it directly using a      Upgrade to higher capacity drive              load the utility at http://www.maxtor.com/en/sup-
Windows XP bootable CD. To change                 I wish to upgrade my PC’s BIOS to         port/ downloads/big_drive_enabler.htm
the boot sequence, re-start your PC and       allow it to recognise large hard disks. I         Seagate’s utility is available at http://www.
press [Del] (or [F2], or [F12], depending     have a Pentium-II 266 MHz, 128 MB RAM,        seagate.com/support/kb/disc/capacity/index.html
upon your motherboard) to enter the           4.3 GB hard disk, SG200A video card,
CMOS setup. Change the first boot             440LX motherboard, and the Award mod-
option to CD-ROM and keep the hard            ular BIOS Version 4.1. I wish to have both
disk as the second boot option. Now           Linux and Windows on this PC. My prob-
boot your PC using the Windows XP CD.         lem is that although I am keen on using a
The setup should start automatically.         large hard disk, say 40 to 60 GB, my
                                              motherboard manual says it will not
Keep less work at startup                     recognise hard disks beyond 8.4 GB. What
    I get a USERINIT.exe error, whenever I    I can do to solve this?
switch on my computer. The PC runs            V.A. Kowshik
Windows XP Home edition.
Deepak Dugar                                     This is    a problem faced by many.
                                              There are    three methods to solve this
    This error occurs when Windows ini-       problem:
tialises the users environment. There            Update     your motherboard’s BIOS.        Maxtor’s Big Drive Enabler provides support for
exists a way by which you can start a         Download     the update available for your    larger hard drives


          106                                                                                                                    AUGUST 2003
Video memory size
    I have a P4 1.5 GHz, 256 MB SDRAM,            Relay not allowed                                              services depending upon
40 GB 7,200 rpm hard drive and a 64 MB               The outgoing mail server for Dishnet                               your need.
SDR nVidia GeForce2 MX 400 graphics               DSL and NOW no longer works. Their                                        If   you    are
card.                                             help desk says that they have removed                                   unable to send e-
    While fiddling about with my BIOS             the facility to send e-mails from a                                    mails     through
recently, I came across an option wherein         domain account such as mine.                                           your Dishnet or
the AGP aperture size is set to 64. I would       What do I do now?                                                   NOW e-mail id, then
like to know whether this is applicable           Paradise                                                         first check the pass-
only for integrated graphics chipsets. If                                                                        word. If you are using the
not, what does it mean for my system                   It appears that you                                      correct password, then you
configuration. Will increasing it to 128          have an e-mail id on a                                   will need to contact the ISP
increase my graphics performance?                 domain other than that                                   help desk.
Sai Krishnan                                      provided by Dishnet, or                                      Another solution is to get
                                                  NOW. Many Internet                                       SMTP services for your domain
                                                                            ILLUSTRATIONS: Farzana Cooper
    The AGP aperture is the portion of            Service Providers such                                   from the Web hosting company
the PCI addressable memory range that             as VSNL and Sancharnet, provide                  that is hosting your Web site. You may
is dedicated as graphics memory address           SMTP solutions.                                  also host your own SMTP server on a
space. It determines the amount of sys-              Under this service, e-mails from pri-         system that is connected to the
tem RAM that can be allocated to the              vate domains are relayed through their           Internet 24 hours a day. IIS under
graphics card for storing texture details.        SMTP server. Purchase one of those               Windows NT is one such alternative.
It is recommended that the aperture size
be half of your system RAM. Typically,
set the aperture to 64 MB or 128 MB. As         gpedit not available                              PIII 500 MHz system with only an 8 MB
the memory on the graphics card                      I tried to bring up the group policy         AGP card. I want to know what affects the
increases, the system requirement               editor by typing the command gpedit.msc           graphics capability of a system—a proces-
decreases. Hence there is no need to set        in the Run dialog box in Windows XP. But,         sor faster by 200 MHz, or a graphics card
the aperture size to half the system            the PC gave up an error message saying,           with 16 MB of extra RAM? Is there any
RAM. The aperture size is in no way             “Windows cannot find ‘gpedit.msc’ Make            way I can improve the performance with-
related to performance. Increasing it to        sure you typed the name correctly and try         out buying new hardware?
the largest setting would not result in         again”. I tried several times, but to no          Piyush Mishra
performance gains.                              avail. So, I tried to locate that file by using
                                                the search utility. I found that there is no          Your friend’s PC is a PIII, which has
Can’t boot                                      file named gpedit.msc. Kindly help me!            an optimised instruction set that han-
    I have a Pentium 4 processor, 128 MB        Benenet                                           dles the graphics better than your PII.
DDR RAM and a 40 GB hard disk. When                                                               The processing speed also cannot be neg-
I boot up Windows XP, I get an error say-          You probably have Windows XP                   lected; after all, everything depends on
ing, “Unmountable boot volume”                  Home installed on your PC, under which            the CPU’s processing power. Hence, a
displayed on a blue screen. The error           the gpedit.msc command is not avail-              surplus of 200 MHz processing power
directs me to remove recently installed         able. Hence, you will need to upgrade             will definitely make a difference.
hardware or software first. Since I also        your operating system to Windows XP                  Sorry, there is no way you can improve
have Windows 98 SE in another partition         Professional.                                     you system performance without upgrad-
that works fine, how can I get rid of the                                                         ing the hardware.
error message?                                  Graphics card or a processor
Arvind Kumar                                        I have a PII 300 MHz system with 128          Crack game
                                                MB RAM and a 32 MB Sis 300/305 AGP                    I was using the trial version of the
    This problem occurs when you have           card. I have noticed that games such as           7Tools Partition Manager 2003. Ever since
a corrupted boot.ini file. Boot up              FIFA 2003, which run very slow on my PC,          the trial period expired, I get an error
using the Window XP CD. Press [R]               run smoothly on my friend’s computer—a            message about the expiry that waits for a
when you get the Setup screen, to get to                                                          minute at the boot up screen, every time
a DOS-like mode. Here, type chkdsk /p                                                             I start the PC.
and press [Enter]. After it is done, type                                                              I also receive a message saying that a
fixboot, press [Enter], then [y] and then                                                         CD is needed when I try to play Age of
again press [Enter]. After this, type exit to                                                     Empires. This error occurred after installing
reboot to Windows. This should solve                                                              an update for the game, downloaded from
your problem.                                                                                     the Microsoft Web site.
    If it doesn’t, boot into the CD again.                                                        Vinodh
Type chkdsk /r to switch to the recovery
mode. When it is finished type exit to                                                               Upgrade to the full version of the
reboot to Windows. This should defi-            The group policy editor comes with Windows        Boot Manager. If you don’t want to buy
nitely help you out.                            XP Professional                                   the program, un-install it and the mes-


          107                                                                                                                    AUGUST 2003
insight ■
              ■   troubleshooting

sage should go away.                            found.” How do I get rid of this message?      since I upgraded from Windows 98 to
   The reason why Age of Empires doesn’t        Manoj                                          Windows XP Professional. If I try to enter
work anymore is that you originally                                                            the BIOS setup, none of the configuration
installed the game from a pirated CD, or           This is a known problem with Real           options are highlighted, and I cannot
copied a cracked version from a friend.         Jukebox. You get this error when the           change any of the settings. Help!
The crack modifies the game’s .exe file to      pngu3263.dll file is missing or corrupt.       Kabeer J Barooah
bypass the CD check. When you installed         The solution is either you re-install Real
the update, the cracked file got overwrit-      Jukebox or disable it at startup. To un-           BIOS settings need to be highlighted
ten by the update and it started checking       install it, go to Control Panel > Add/Remove   so that they can be changed. The reason
for the original CD again.                      Program.                                       they are not highlighted is that someone
   The solution? None; one of the lessons                                                                may have set up an adminis-
to be learnt of playing pirated games!                                                                   trative password without your
                                                                                                         knowledge like maybe your PC
Not enough memory                                                                                        dealer. You will have to reset
    I have a Celeron 1.2 GHz, Intel 810                                                                  the BIOS, either by removing
motherboard, 128 MB RAM and a 40 GB                                                                                      the battery or
hard disk drive. I am a multimedia stu-                                                                                  changing the
dent, and the software I use brings down                                                                                 jumper on the
my system resources. Whenever I connect                                                                                  motherboard so
to the Internet, I frequently get an error,                                                                              that the CMOS
indicating that there is not enough mem-                                                                                 is reset. Refer to
ory. Sometimes, it even causes my PC to                                                                                  the      mother-
hang. However, my friend’s PC that has                                                                                   board manual
the same configuration with 64 MB RAM           You can disable Real                                                     for the proper
faces no such problems. Why is this so?         Jukebox at startup                                                       jumper        set-
Parivesh Jain                                   via regedit, or                                                          tings. Be very
                                                msconfig                                                                 careful when
    We assume that you are using                                                                                         changing the
Windows 98, since this and the previous              To disable the program from starting      jumper settings, it being an intricate
versions are the main operating systems         automatically you have two options. One        process. You could always get a profes-
that faced such problems. This happens          is using the msconfig utility. Go to Start >   sional to do the needful.
because browsers such as Netscape need a        Run and type msconfig. Press [Enter]. Go
lot of resources, and operating systems         to the Startup tab, uncheck all the entries    Mark of the CPU
restrict each application to a 64 KB limit.     related to Real Jukebox, press OK and              I have a PC with a Pentium 4 1.8 MHz
These applications do not release unused        restart the PC.                                processor. It is shown as Intel Pentium (R)
resources, and simultaneously demand                The other option is to directly modify     4. Its L2 cache is 256 KB. This perplexes
more resources thus resulting in crashes.       the registry. Go to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\        me since I read somewhere that P4 has a
    To over come this problem, you need         Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVer-         512 KB L2 cache. Also, why is that brack-
to install patches, or fixes available at the   sion\Run, and delete all the keys pertain-     eted ‘R’ between Pentium and 4? Have I
browser’s Web site or upgrade the brows-        ing to Real Jukebox. Playing around with       been taken for a ride? Please comment!
er to a newer, more stable version.             the registry can cause Windows to crash,       Prasad
                                                so it’s a good idea to back up the registry
Real Jukebox                                    before you use regedit.                           Don’t worry, your hardware vendor
   Every time I start my PC, I get a mes-                                                      has not duped you. In its initial stages,
sage saying, “Error starting program, A         Can’t change BIOS setting                      the Pentium 4 was built with only
required .dll file, PNGU3263.dll, was not          My PC restarts automatically ever           256 KB cache. Later on, it was revised to
                                                                                               include a 512 KB L2 cache. This can be
                                                                                               confirmed by taking a look at the CPU
  Behind the firewall                                                        also have to      packaging box. If it says that the CPU is
      eDonkey2000, installed on                                              get the port      a Pentium 4 1.8 A, then must be a
  my Windows 98 PC, does not                                                 4662 opened       512 KB cache processor whereas if it just
  connect to any of the available                                            on         the    says Pentium 4 1.8, then it is a 256 KB
  servers. Do I have to change some                                          Internet serv-    cache processor. As for the R, it stands for
  settings for it to work?                                                   er. Check the     ‘REGISTERED TRADE MARK’. See?
  Mandar Sawant                                                              status of the     Nothing to worry about.
                                                                             port 4662 at
      Check if your computer is                                              the following     Walk with the world
  behind a firewall. If you happen                                           Web       site:       I have a PC with a Celeron 1.1 GHz
  to be behind one, then you need to            http://www.preinheimer.com/cgi-bin/con-        processor, 128 MB RAM, a 40 GB hard disk,
  change the proxy settings. You will           nectiontest/connectiontest.cgi                 and an Asus motherboard. I have a sepa-
                                                                                               rate 6 GB partition for Linux. First, I


          108                                                                                                                AUGUST 2003
                                                                 FAQs
  IRQ Locking                                         un-select ‘Use automatic settings’.
       I am unable to install the SBLive              Under Resource Type, select IRQ and
  CT4830 sound card in Windows 2000,                  hit Change Setting. Now select the
  but the same hardware works fine in                 IRQ you wish to bind the sound card
  Windows 98. I think the problem lies in             with.
  the IRQ sharing. I wish to know how I                   The hard disk is unable to provide
  should lock the IRQ for my sound card.              data to the CD-Writer at the speed
       Another problem is that whenever I             that it is required to. This may occur
  burn a CD, it gets burned at a maximum              due to many reasons—the hard disk
  speed of 8X, even if the CD supports 24X.           maybe slow, or other applications Password protect your documents, using Secure
  If I try to burn the CD at a speed exceed-          might also be accessing the hard disk Files 2.8
  ing 8X, it gives an error message saying,           at the same time, or the data might be
  “Buffer under run”. Why is that so?                 fragmented, or CPU utilisation by other      marked for protection just vanish from
  Tamal                                               programs maybe very high. To reduce          their locations. They are visible only
                                                      such errors, use such tools as scandisk      when the application is running. It also
      To manage IRQ settings for the                  and defrag. Try not to run other appli-      has an icon, which when pressed, clears
  sound card, right-click on My                       cations while your CD is burning.            the recent file list.
  Computer and go to Manage > Device                      It is also possible that you maybe
  Manager. In the right pane of the win-              using an early version of a CD-Writer        DLL file missing
  dow, double-click on Sound, Video and               that does not support buffer under run           My Windows 98 SE PC has an Intel
  Game controllers. Now right-click on                protection. Hence, it maybe time to buy      815 motherboard and a PIII 933 proces-
  the appropriate sound card driver, and              one of the latest models that support it.    sor. After updating the audio driver for
  select Properties > Resources. Here you can                                                      my motherboard, I found that it is throw-
  change the IRQ settings for the device.             Locking files in a Safe                      ing the following error message at start-
  To manually set the IRQ settings, first                  I wish to know how to password pro-     up – “Error starting program; a required
                                                           tect my important files and folders so  .dll file - DEC2MIME.DLL not found.”
                                                           that no one can peek into them?         Due to this missing .dll file, the startup
                                                           Brajesh Manohar                         programs such as MusicMatch, Norton
                                                                                                   AntiVirus, Task Scheduler, Intel active
                                                               There are many utilities such as    monitor do not appear on the system
                                                           Secure Files 2.8, FileVault 2.7,        tray and task bar. The programs work
                                                           bProtected 2003, noDelete 1.51, etc.    fine when activated, using the desktop
                                                           to achieve this. Secure Files is one of icons.
                                                           the best. With this utility the files   S.S.Samanta
                                                           remain protected even if the appli-
                                                           cation is not running. Add the files        The      missing       .dll      file—
                                                           to be protected, add the password       DEC2MIME.DLL—is            actually      a
                                                           and close the application. That’s it!   Symantec decomposer file, which
                                                           The files are protected. They can       belongs to one of the recently installed
                                                           only be retrieved after you start the   Symantec products. What you can do is
                                                           application and provide your pass-      reinstall that Symantec product. It
   Resolve resource sharing conflicts by changing the      word. As soon as you stop the appli-    should solve your problem and your
   IRQ settings                                            cation from running, all the files      system tray icons will reappear.




installed Mandrake 8.2 without any prob-         is indeed Redhat 9.1. The Red Hat site           don’t give a separate /home partition`.
lem whatsoever. When I tried to install Red      lists Red Hat 9.0 as its latest stable distro.   Allocating separate space for /home does
Hat Version 7, I got a message indicating        Running Red Hat 9.0 on your system will          not really make much of a difference on
that the disk space is not enough. 256 MB        be quite torturous as the minimum sys-           a home PC as the number of users will be
for Swap, 4.5 GB for Root (/), and 1.2 GB        tem requirement is 128 MB RAM. The               very less.
for home. When I tried to install Red Hat        Red Hat 7 installation should work fine
9.1, the system hangs after 7 per cent of        (even a Red Hat 8 needs 4 to 5 GB of hard                          Send your computing
the installation. At my workplace, the same      disk space for a typical install). The low                         problems to sos@jasub-
version installed itself smoothly without any    disk space warning could be because you                            hai.com or write to
glitches. Will you kindly help me?               allocated separate space to /home but                              Digit, D-222/2, TTC
G.Harish                                         not to the other directories such as              Industrial Area, MIDC, MIDC, Nerul,
                                                                                                   Navi Mumbai-400 706, and we may
                                                 /boot, /usr, /etc, and /var. Try allocating
                                                                                                   answer it here!
   Do make sure that your distribution           just the swap space and the / partition—


          109                                                                                                                    AUGUST 2003
insight ■
        ■   tips and tricks




                                                                      Imagine
                                                               Imaging...                                               57
                                                               We tell you how to make your
                                                               imaginations a reality. Master these tips
                                                               and tricks on the three major graphics
                                                               software. Create jazzy effects, and play
                                                               with images in a much faster and
                                                               efficient way.




                                                                                           contents
                                                                                            58   Paint Shop Pro 8
                                                                                            61   Adobe Illustrator
                              GRAHIC DESIGN:   Atul Deshmukh
                                                                                            63   Adobe Photoshop




      111                                                                                                 AUGUST 2003
     insight ■
                        ■   tips and tricks

                        PAINT SHOP PRO 8                                     colour. Create a circle, using
                                                                             the Preset Shape Tool with
         This image editing software from JASC                               the following specifications:
                                                                             Type: Circle; Style: Stroked
      Software now has a more polished look than
                                                                             & Filled; Line Width: 22;
     ever before, and has lots of features which are                         with Antialias checked.
       unique to it. Find out how you can achieve                                 Add a new layer—Layer
            special effects in few easy steps.                               2. Using the Webding font,         You can create your buttons
                                                                             hold in the Shift key,             and icons easily in few steps.
                                              sented. If your text is        and type @ for the hammer
                                                  not visible, it is         and spanner symbol that            again, and fill it with a Sun-
                                                      because both,          we will be using in this           burst Gradient fill. Adjust
                                                        the fill and out-    example. Type in a font size       the settings so that the
                                                         line colours,       of 100, and select ‘Create         white part of the sunburst is
                                                           are      white.   as Selection’.                     in the top left corner of the
                                                            Click     any         Back in your image, the       preview square.
                                                             colour    on    selection will appear as a             Go to Image > 3 D Effects >
                                                             the palette     dotted line around the text.       Outer Bevel, and select the
                                                             to    choose    Do not release the selection,      following settings: bevel,
                                                            the outline      and your type will instantly       smoothness: 13; depth: 5;
                                                           colour and        disappear. If the entire font      ambience: 0; shininess: 0;
                                                          right-click to     is on your screen you’re ok,       light white; angle: 315;
                                                       fill     in    the    if part of it is off the screen,   intensity: 38; elevation: 47.
                                                    colour. If the let-      you will need to try again.            Invert your selection.
                                                     ters overlap each       Place the cursor in the mid-       Using the Flood Fill tool set
     ILLUSTRATIONS:   Farzana Cooper                  other, increase        dle of the window, and click       to solid, fill the interior
                                        the kerning—the space                to go back into the text           areas of your figure with the
        Curved text                     between the letters. Nor-            editor. Click ok, and see if       solid colour, selected as the
58   To create curved text, first
     you need a curve on which
                                        mally, auto-kerning works
                                        well. Click OK, and the
                                                                             the entire phone symbol is
                                                                             on the window. Go to Selec-
                                                                                                                background colour. Invert
                                                                                                                the selection again, and add
     to place the text. With the        curved text is seen.                 tions > Modify > Expand on the     a drop shadow with the fol-
     Preset Shape Tool, draw a              To make the circle invis-        Menu Bar, and expand the           lowing settings; Opacity:
     circle on a new canvas.            ible, locate the layer that          selection to 4.                    100; Blur: 13; Horizontal: 0;
     Switch to the Text tool. The       contains your text and                    Using the Flood Fill          Vertical: 0.
     cursor changes to the              vector object. Click on the          tool, fill your selection with
     Curved Text cursor when            ‘+’ to expand the layer,             the solid colour you used for          Glowing text
     you move it over the image.        right-click on the ellipse,          a background colour. Using         Create a new file with a
     Click, and enter the desired       and      click         properties.   the Move tool, position the        black background, set to 16
     text in the dialog box pre-        Uncheck the Visible check-           hammer and spanner sym-            million colours. For the
                                        box; click OK, and the circle        bol in the centre of the cir-      foreground colour, select
                                        will disappear.                      cle. If all has gone well, the     light purple—RGB (128,128,
                                                                             phone symbol should be             255). Enter some text. Uns-
                                           Custom moulded                    large enough to fill the           elect the text by going to
                                        button                               inside of the circle, barely       Selections > Select none. Go to
                                        Open a new image with a              touching the edges. Unse-
                                        white background and                 lect any selections, and
                                        immediately add a new                merge all of the layers.
                                        layer (layer 1). Select any               Once the layers are
     Use Paint Shop Pro to curve        background colour, and               merged, use the Magic
     your text as desired               white as the foreground              Wand to select the figure          Glowing Text




                 112                                                                                                                 JULY 2003
                       Keyboard shortcuts for PSP 8
 Menu Command                          Shortcut                 Description
 File > Import >                       [Shift] + [C]            Start a capture
 Screen Capture > Start                                                                                       Neon Text
 Edit > Paste >                        [Ctrl] + [L]             Paste the clipboard contents into the
                                                                                                                  This method can also be
 Paste As New Layer                                             current document as a new layer
                                                                                                              applied to shapes such as
 Edit > Paste >                        [Ctrl] + [E]             Paste the clipboard data into the
                                                                                                              hearts, found in the Webd-
 Paste As New Selection                                         current image as a new selection
                                                                                                              ings font, for example.
 Edit > Paste >                        [Ctrl] + [G]             Paste vector data in clipboard, into the
 Paste As New Vector Selection                                  current image, as a new vector selection          Neon text
 Edit > Paste >                        [Ctrl] + [Shift] + [E]   Paste the clipboard contents into the         Create a new file with a
 Paste As Transparent Selection                                 current image, using the background           black background, set to 16
                                                                colour as transparent                         million colours. With white
 Image > Crop to Selection             [Shift] + [R]            Crop Tool: Used to eliminate, or crop         as your foreground colour,
                                                                areas of an image.                            enter some text. Unselect
 Image > Flip                          [Ctrl] + [I]             Flip image                                    the text by going to Selections
                                       [Ctrl] + [R]                                                           > Select None. Go to Adjust >
 Image > Rotate > Free Rotate...                                Apply rotation to image
                                                                                                              Blur > Blur More. Now go to
 Adjust > Brightness and Contrast >    [Shift] + [B]            Adjust brightness and contrast
                                                                                                              Effects > Artistic Effects > Solar-
 Brightness / Contrast...                                                                                     ize. Set the Threshold to
 Adjust > Brightness and               [Shift] + [G]            Apply gamma correction to the image           128, and click OK.
 Contrast > Gamma Correction...                                                                                    Now, click the Adjust >
 Adjust > Hue and Saturation >         [Shift] + [H]            Adjust the hue, saturation and/               Color Balance > Red/Green/
 Hue/Saturation/Lightness...                                    or lightness                                  Blue, and enter these per-
 Selections > Float                    [Ctrl] + [F]             Convert the current regular selection         centage values; Red: 100,
                                                                into a floating selection                     Green: 0, Blue: 100, for a
 Selections > Invert                   [Ctrl] + [Shift] + [I]   Invert the current selection area             light purple colour. This is
                                                                                                              the final image.
                                                                                                                                                    59
Effects > Edge Effects > Dilate,         Golden text                       white as your foreground               Water text
and repeat this thrice. This          Create a new image with              colour, and give the text a        Create a new image with
will expand the text. Now             white as your background             hot wax coating by selecting       a white background, set to
go to Adjust > Blur > Blur More.      colour, set to 16 million            Effects > Artistic Effects > Hot   16 million colours. Enter
Do this thrice to create the          colours. Enter some text             Wax Coating.                       some black text, preferably
glowing effect around the             using in light grey—RGB                   Now, go to Adjust > Color     with a thick font such as
text.                                 (192,192,192). Keep the text         Balance > Red/Green/Blue, and      Arial Black. Keep the text
     Now, select dark pur-            selected throughout the              enter these percentage val-        selected. Now, select the
ple— RGB(0,0,64) as your              entire tutorial. Now go to           ues: Red: 100; Green: 50;          Paint brush tool, and set it
foreground colour. Enter the          Selections > Modify > Feather.       Blue: 0. Do this twice to get      to Size: 50; Opacity: 100;
same text again, and move             Enter 3 in the ‘Number of            a realistic gold colour.           Texture: Marble.
it so it superimposes the             pixels’ field, to expand the              Finally, add a drop shad-         With white as your fore-
blurred text. This is the             selected area. Now, select           ow for a 3D effect. Go to          ground colour, click and
final image.                                                               Effects > 3 D Effects > Drop
     This effect looks best                                                Shadow with the following
with a lighter colour on the                                               options; Color: black; Opac-
outside, and a darker colour                                               ity: 100; Blur: 10; Vertical
on the inside.                                                             Offset: 4; Horizontal Offset:
                                      Golden Text                          4. This is the final image.        Water Text




           113                                                                                                                 AUGUST 2003
     insight ■
                    ■     tips and tricks

     drag the paint brush over         er the selection by 2 or 3            Now go to Effects > Geo-       thumb in the control box.
     the text once. Unselect the       pixels. This will give you a     metric Effects > Perspective-ver-   Press Add again, to add a
     text by going to Selections >     smoother edge. Use the Air       tical. Set the Distortion to        gap. You can keep adding
     Select None. Now go to Effects    Brush tool with black as         100 and Color to the back-          dashes and gaps.
     > Edge Effects > Dilate. This     your foreground colour.          ground colour you are                   To save your styled line,
     will increase the lighter         Select a brush size of 10, and   using. After that, unselect,        press the ‘Save As New’ but-
     areas of your text.               opacity 50. Go around the        and you’r e done.                   ton. Once you save your
          Go to Adjust > Blur > Blur   image close to the edges to                                          new line style, it’s available
     more. Create a watery effect,     create a dark border. Use           Creating styled lines            with any drawing tool. You
     by going to Effects > Artistic    opacity of 20 to create a        To create a styled line, press      can create styled lines for all
     Effects > Hot wax coating. This   lighter border, further in       the arrow or preview win-           sorts of purposes, including
     will create a liquid effect. To   from the darker one. You         dow for Styled Lines on the         navigation buttons for a
     add some colour, go to            can also use dark brown to       Tool Options palette, then          Web site, or separator bars
     Adjust > Colors > Red/Green/      give more realistic burnt        press the Custom button at          for a Web site, or newsletter.
     Blue, and use Red: 0;             edge effect.                     the bottom on the Line
     Green: 20; Blue: 100.                                              Style selection list.                  The Seamless Tiling
          Note that all colours are       Flying text                       Here, you can manipu-           effect
     possible.                         Start with any colour back-      late several line properties.           Turn any selection into
                                       ground. Choose a font, and       To set one of the caps, press       a seamless pattern for appli-
        Burnt edges                    some text. Press [Ctrl] + [C]    the arrow button near the           cations such as painting,
     Open an image, and select a                                        caps preview window, to get         adding text, or creating
     white background, set to 16                                        the selection box. Choose
     million colours. Use the                                           the cap you want by click-
     Magic Wand tool, and click                                         ing it. You can then set the
     on the white area around                                           cap size relative to the line
     the image. Invert the selec-                                       width, by pressing the cap’s
     tion by going to Selections >     Flying text effect               Size button and then setting
     Invert. This will allow you to                                     the Height and Width for
60   work only on the image,
     and not the white border.
                                       to copy the text to clip-
                                       board. Now, unselect your
                                                                        the cap. You add dashes and
                                                                        gaps in the Style pane of
     Use the Paint Brush tool          text. Flatten the image by       the Styled Line dialog box.
     with white as your fore-          clicking Layers > Merge >        The first time you press Add,
     ground, and create an edge        Merge All (Flatten). Then, go    you add a dash, which you
     as if has been burnt.             to Image > Rotate > Rotate       can size by setting a value
          Click Selections > Select    Clockwise 90. Next, go to        with the Length control, or
     None, and select the white        Effects > Distortion Effects >   by dragging the pointed
     areas again, using the Magic      Wind. Set the strength at
     Wand tool. Invert the selec-      100, from the Right.
     tion, and if you wish, feath-          Then, go to Image >
                                       Rotate > Rotate Anticlockwise                                        The Seamless Tiling Effect in
                                       90, to bring the image back                                          PSP 8
                                       to its original position. Now
                                       paste the text you had                                               backgrounds, with the
                                       copied to the Clip Board.                                            Seamless Tiling Effect under
                                       Flatten the image once                                               the Effects > Image Effects
                                       again. Now, click the Selec-                                         menu. This feature gives
                                       tion tool from the tool bar,                                         you the option to create
                                       and drag it across your wind                                         tiles using three methods.
                                       effect to cover the effect in    With Paint Shop Pro 8, you can      Try this effect. You are sure
     Burnt Edges Effect                the selection rectangle.         create your own Styled Lines.       to like it.




               114                                                                          AUGUST 2003                      AUGUST 2003
            ADOBE ILLUSTRATOR                                      print clean, and crisp. Vec-      (added to Photoshop’s Paths
                                                                   tor shapes can be easily          palette), or shapes (as a new
 If you want a top of the line graphics program                    modified; just a little tug on    shape layer).
      that deals with both raster and vector                       a handle turns a line into a           Photoshop lets you con-
                                                                   curve. Vectors can be easily      trol the conversion from
  graphics, Adobe Illustrator 10 is the software                   rasterized into pixels; it        precious vectors to bland
for you. Use these small time saving tips to get                   takes specialised programs        pixels. If you choose pixels,
        the best out of this powerful tool.                        to convert pixels into vec-       a     transformation      box
                                                                   tors. If vectors could be         appears around the import-
                                                                   transferred between differ-       ed art work. Use the bound-
                                   at the palette’s bottom,        ent programs, it would be a       ing box handles to scale,
                                      and say yes, when            very handy feature. Here is       rotate, or skew the art work
                                          asked if you want        how we can do it between          any which way you want. As
                                             to delete the         Photoshop and Illustrator.        long as you don’t double-
                                                selected styles.   From Photoshop to                 click, or press [Enter],
                                                Follow      the    Illustrator                       you’ve still got resolution-
                                                same     proce-    Between Illustrator 9 and         independent vectors.
                                               dure for brush-     Photoshop 6, you can drag              Finally, if you want to
                                               es,    swatches     and drop paths, directly          drag and drop from Illustra-
                                               and     symbols     from      Photoshop       into    tor into Photoshop, you can
                                              (symbols are in      Illustrator. Previously, you      control the created object
                                              AI 10 only). You     could only export, or copy,       type as follows. With no
                                            will now only          and paste. Just select the        key pressed, drag to create
                                       have items used in the      Photoshop path, and drag          a pixel layer. Hold [Ctrl] to
                                document in the palette.           it to an open Illustrator         create a path. If a shape
   Create custom styles         Next, delete the objects           document.                         layer is currently active, the
To create custom styles, set    using the styles from the              Export paths from Pho-        path will be added to that
up objects with the strokes     page. New styles are stored        toshop, by going to File >        shape layer. Hold [Shift]
and fills you want to save as
styles. Drag each of them to
                                in the styles palette. Save
                                the file, give it a descriptive
                                                                   Export > Paths to Illustrator.
                                                                   You can choose a specific
                                                                                                     and place the new object
                                                                                                     in the centre of the Photo-
                                                                                                                                       61
the styles palette. Do not      name, and close it. Remem-         path from the Paths palette,      shop file.
delete them from the page       ber, the file must be closed       a path from a shape layer, or
yet. On the Styles palette,     to load the styles.                crop marks that define the           Make your own gift
click the options triangle,         To use the styles, go to       Photoshop file size. Note         tags
                                Window > Style Libraries > Other   that the path exported to         You can create your own tags
                                Library, and navigate to           Illustrator, will have no fill,   that are business card sized
                                where you saved the file.          or stroke. Select all, or         to put on gift boxes. By
                                Highlight it and click Open        switch to the outline mode        default, the 0 on the ruler is
                                to open it. The styles will be     to see your vectors.              set to the left side horizon-
                                in the styles palette, ready       From Illustrator to               tally, and the bottom verti-
                                for use.                           Photoshop                         cally. Change it by clicking
                                                                   You can also get vectors          on the crosshairs on the
Create your custom styles and      Transferring vectors            from Illustrator into Photo-      rulers’ top, and dragging it to
use them later to ease your     between Illustrator and            shop. If you select the Illus-    the top left corner.
work and attain consistency     Photoshop                          trator objects, and then               Unfortunately, you can’t
                                Vectors are important as           copy and paste, a dialog box      change the page margins in
and choose ‘Select all          they are resolution inde-          appears that lets you control     Illustrator. They’re set to the
unused’.                        pendent—so they can be             whether you want the path         unprintable area of your
    The unused styles are       scaled up or down with no          converted into pixels (on         printer. You can move them
selected. Click the trash can   loss of detail—and they            their own layer), paths           around on the page, but you




          115                                                                                                       AUGUST 2003
     insight ■
                   ■   tips and tricks

                                      Transform Again, or the key-          Turn guides into vector            Scratch disk
                                      board shortcut [Ctrl] + [D],       lines                              For best performance, pro-
                                      three more times.                  Go to View > Guides > Lock         vide Illustrator with ample
                                           Select everything ([Ctrl] +   Guides, to unlock locked           swap space on the hard disk
                                      [A]). Then, choose Object >        guides. Then, go to View >         where it can temporarily
                                      Transform > Move again. This       Guides > Release Guides, and       store information such as
                                      time, enter 3.5 for the hori-      the guides will turn into          the image information,
                                      zontal position, and 0 for the     vector lines.                      undo information, etc. This
                                      vertical position. Press copy,                                        will ensure its smooth func-
                                      and all the graphics will be          Changing tool pointer           tioning, especially if you
                                      positioned as desired.             You can change the point-          work with large, complex
                                           Print this, and you are       er’s appearance, from the          graphics. Change the loca-
                                      ready with your Gift Tags.         tool pointer to a cross hair,      tion of the scratch disk, by
                                                                         for more precise control.          clicking on Edit > Preferences >
                                          Changing the default           More artwork is visible,           Plug-ins & Scratch Disk.
     Create your own gift tags and    Illustrator file                   when using a cross hair
     put them on gift boxes!          If you want a brush, symbol,       pointer. This is convenient           Easter egg
                                      swatch, or style to be avail-      for detailed drawing, and          By default, in the lower left
     can’t change their size.         able whenever you create a         editing. To change a draw-         hand corner of the drawing
     Hence, you’ll need to pull       new document in Illustra-          ing tool pointer to a cross        area, Illustrator displays the
     out horizontal guides to         tor, you can edit the Illus-       hair, press [Caps Lock],           current tool being used.
     0.75, 4.25, and 7.75 inches.     trator Start up documents in       before you begin drawing           Click on it to view other
     Click on the ruler, and drag     the Illustrator plug-ins fold-     with the tool. To make this        items such as, the Date and
     with your mouse, to pull         er. For example, if you            change permanent, open             Time, the amount of Free
     out guides. You’ll also need     installed Illustrator 10, the      Edit > Preferences > General,      Memory, and the Number of
     to drag vertical guides out to   start file for CMYK will be        and check ‘Use Precise Cur-        Undo’s. If you hold down
     0.5, 2.5, 4.5, 6.5, 8.5, and     called ‘Adobe Illustrator          sor’, and click OK.                [Alt] while clicking on the
     10.5 inches.                     Startup_CMYK.ai’ and will                                             drop-down, you can choose
62       Place the image you
     want to use. Select File >
                                      be located in ‘C:\Program
                                      Files\Adobe\Illustrator      10
                                                                            Draw straight
                                                                         When you draw, or move
                                                                                                            such items as number of
                                                                                                            shopping days left till
     Place, and navigate to the       \Plug-ins’. Just open the file     objects, hold down the Shift       Christmas, a pair of eyes
     directory with your image        in Illustrator, add the            key, so as to move them            that follow your cursor, the
     and double-click on the file     content you want available,        within a range of 45 degrees.      number of mouse clicks,
     name. Select the image,          save, and close the docu-          This angle can be changed          and the moon phase,
     once you have it placed          ment. The next time you            from Edit > Preferences > Gener-   among other things!
     properly. Once it’s selected,    create a new document              al. Enter the new Constrain
     the bounding box, and            in Illustrator it will be there.   Angle, and click OK.                  Custom brushes
     small rectangles appear               Remember that unless                                             To use an object as a brush,
     around it. Then, choose          you do a cleanup on every
     Object > Transform > Move.       final document you save, by
         Put in 0 for the horizon-    deleting unused brushes,
     tal position, and -2 for the     symbols, swatches, and
     vertical position. Negative      styles, everything you add
     numbers      move     objects    increases file sizes. Hence,
     down; positive numbers           delete items you will never
     move objects up. Press the       use from the start up file.
     copy button—this places a        Once again, this is not for
     copy of the object you select-   the casual user. It’s akin         you can personalise a lot of       Alt Click and keep yourself
     ed, at the chosen position.      to changing the Windows            things, through this Preferences   updated with some interesting
     Choose Object > Transform >      registry.                          Dialog.                            information.




               116                                                                                                          AUGUST 2003
select the object, and click                                                             PHOTOSHOP
on the new brush icon
in the brushes palette. In the                                     Use everyone’s favourite image editing tool in a
new brush dialog box, select                                             smarter way with these smart tips.
the kind of brush to create,
and click OK. Set the                                                                                            If you want to
properties for the brush                                                                                          make the same
from the Brush Options dia-                                                                                        change to more
log box, and click OK to cre-    Use Path Type tool to curve                                                        than one Type
ate the brush.                   your text the way you like.                                                         layer at the same
                                                                                                                        time, just link
   Artwork and preview           it is very hard to try and                                                               all of the
You can view some items in       keep that cut straight. Press                                                            layers you
Preview mode, and other          [Alt], and then begin cut-                                                               want from
items in Artwork simultane-      ting, because if you begin                                                              the    Layers
ously. Place the objects on      cutting, and press [Alt] later,                                                        palette, then
separate layers. Double-click    the cut will be crooked. If                                                            hold [Shift],
the layers you wish to see in    you have several layers with-                                                        and make your
Artwork mode, and disable        out any item selected, and                                                          changes to one
Preview from the layer           you begin cutting it with the        Manipulating layers             of the linked layers. All of the
Options dialog box.              Knife Tool, the cut will          Selecting layers                   linked layers will show the
                                 apply to all layers. If you       Press [Ctrl] and click on a        same change.
   Text on path                  want to cut only one item,        layer in the Layers palette to         To delete your active
You can apply text around        make sure that it is the only     automatically select every-        layer, and the layers linked to
any object in Illustrator.       thing selected.                   thing. This is the best way to     it, hold [Ctrl], and click on
First, create the object                                           select small, complex objects      the trash icon in your Layers
around which you want the           Moving objects                 on a layer. To show only one       palette. You can quickly lock
text to appear. Select the       Here’s how to move one            layer, and hide all the others,    all of your linked layers, by
Path Type tool. To do so,
hold down the mouse but-
                                 item from one layer to the
                                 next. Select the item you
                                                                   press [Alt], and click on the
                                                                   eye icon to the left of the
                                                                                                      choosing ‘Lock All Linked
                                                                                                      Layers’ from the layer palette
                                                                                                                                          63
ton on the Type tool, until      want to move. The layer           layer, in the layers palette.      drop down menu. You can
the options below it appear.     with the selected item has a      Deleting layers                    easily align your linked lay-
Create an insertion point        little square in it. Hover over   To delete a layer set, but not     ers by selecting the Move
near the object’s edge, and      the little square and you’ll      the layers within the set, go      Tool and looking at the
type the text.                   see a hand with a pointing        to the Layer palette drop-         Options bar. There’s a selec-
    Enter the new height or      finger. Press the Alt key,        down menu, and choose              tion of buttons that will
width value in the transform     and drag that item to a           Delete Layer Set. Click on Set     align your layers to the left,
palette; hold down [Ctrl],       new layer.                        Only, when the dialog box          right, horizontally, vertically,
and hit Enter, or Return. The         Find the complementa-        appears, and click OK.             to the centre, and even
other value will be entered      ry color for a selected item      Linked layers                      adjust the spacing.
automatically. More trans-       by holding down [Ctrl], and                                          Using masks
form tricks here.                clicking inside the bar,                                             If you want your Layer mask
                                 when working in the colour                                           to have clean sharp edges,
   Use that Knife nicely         bar area (the area at the bot-                                       add a Vector mask. To do this,
Using the Knife tool, can        tom with all the colors).                                            hold down [Alt], while click-
have an uncertain outcome        This gives you the colour                                            ing on the ‘Add a Mask’ but-
if you don’t know the short-     immediately. It will not                                             ton, at the bottom of the
cuts to making it work.          change the actual art piece,                                         Layers palette. Mask a layer, or
If you select the Knife Tool,    unless you actively select        Delete only the set, not the       set of layers with Layer Masks
and begin cutting a shape,       the item.                         layers that are contained in it.   already attached, by adding




          117                                                                                                         AUGUST 2003
     insight ■
                    ■   tips and tricks

     them to a layer set, and           ing which platform you want         old of 4, then play around          tones in CMYK mode, by
     adding a mask to that set. To      to see. Don’t keep saving your      with the amount until you           applying the filter to the
     quickly and easily copy your       images as JPEG, because Pho-        are satisfied with the result.      image’s cyan channel.
     Layer Mask, just click on the      toshop compresses the file          Crooked scans are common,
     Layer you want the mask            each time. Save it as a loss-less   and annoying. Fix them eas-            Text effects
     copied to, then click directly     format until you’re done with       ily by selecting the Measure        To numerically enter the
     on the Layer Mask you want         the editing.                        tool, and dragging it along         exact size for a type box, hold
     copied, and drag it to the Lay-        After working on a Photo-       the top edge of your image.         the Alt key, and click on your
     ers Mask icon.                     shop document for a while,          Now, go to Image > Rotate           document using the Text
     More Layer settings                you may have some unseen            Canvas > Arbitrary. Press OK,       tool. A ‘Paragraph Text Size’
     If you want to move more           data lying on the outside of        and Photoshop straightens           dialog box will pop up. To
     than one layer in your doc-        the image. To get rid of this,      the image automatically.            quickly render your text layer,
     ument, just link the Layers        and hence, shrink your file                                             just right-click on the layer’s
     together. Do that, by click-       size, press [Ctrl]+[A] to select,                                       name in the layers palette,
     ing on the little empty box        and then, go to Image > Crop.                                           and select Rasterize Layer. To
     next to the eye icon in the        To shrink the size of your                                              get your fancy quotation
     Layers Palette.                    Photoshop files further, go to                                          marks back (the real ones, not
         Change your background         Preferences > File Handling, and                                        the block foot, or inch mark),
     into a fully functional layer,     uncheck the box that says                                               look under Preferences, and
     by double-clicking on it in        ‘Always Maximize Compati-                                               choose General Preferences.
     the Layers Palette.                bility for Photoshop PSD                                                Here, you can choose to tog-
         If you want to save your       Files’.                                                                 gle the quotes with the ‘Use
     personal style as a Layer              To undo the save, just          Clone one image into another        Smart Quotes’ selection.
     Style, you can add a Layer         press [Ctrl] + [Alt] + [Z] a cou-
     Style to its own layer by          ple of times, until you see                                                Other useful tips
     going to Layer > Layer Styles >    your layers coming back. To            Playing with colours             Gradient banding: To elimi-
     Create Layers. It will appear on   close all of your currently         Text colour changes when            nate gradient banding when
     its own Layer beneath the          open images, press [Ctrl] +         highlighted. To view the orig-      printing, go to Filter > Noise >
64   original layer.
         Change the opacity of the
                                        [Shift] + [F4].                     inal text colour, and yet keep
                                                                            it selected, press [Ctrl]+[H], to
                                                                                                                Add Noise. When the dialog
                                                                                                                opens, enter 2 in the Amount
     layer you’re working on, by           Manipulating images              hide the selection.                 field, select the Gaussian
     pressing a number on your          Use the Clone Stamp tool, to            To get a finger painting        option in the Distribution
     keyboard. For example, typ-        clone from one open image           effect, hold [Alt] while using      section, and check the Mono-
     ing 4 will set it to 40 per        to another quite easily. Just       the Smudge tool. When               chromatic box. Now, just
     cent, typing 5 sets it to 50       hold down [Alt], and click on       using a spot colour gradient        click OK.
     per cent, etc. If you want it      the image you want to clone,        that fades to white, make           View at 100 per cent: No
     to be 52 per cent, just type in    then go to the original image,      white a zero percent tint of        matter what your current
     5, and 2 quickly.                  and start painting.                 the spot colour. This ensures       zoom level is, to view your
                                            To quickly change the           that the entire gradient is         image at 100 per cent, just
        File handling                   size of your preview thumb-         maintained in the separation.       double-click on the Zoom
     You can double-click any-          nail in your palettes, just         CMYK colours                        Tool icon.
     where on your open work-           right-click in an open area of      If you’re working in CMYK           Kerning and Tracking
     space, to bring up the Open        the palette, and a menu will        mode, the colour picker is          Adjust: To set the Tracking
     dialog box.                        appear with your selections.        still in RGB. To get around         tighter, highlight the type,
         When using the ‘Save for           Gain lost detail of a           this, press [Ctrl] + [Y], while     and press [Alt] + [Left arrow].
     Web’ dialog box, you can see       shrunken image, by going            the colour picker is open.          To loosen, use [Alt] + [Right
     how your image will look on        under Filter > Sharpen >            This is the Shortcut for Proof      arrow]. Adjust kerning, by
     different platforms by using       Unsharp Mask. In the dialog         Colours found under the             clicking the cursor between
     the arrow in the preview’s         box that appears, try using a       View menu. Get the best             the two layers, and using the
     upper right corner, and select-    Radius of 1.0 and a Thresh-         effect when sharpening flesh        same shortcuts.




               118                                                                                                              AUGUST 2003
arcade ■
              ■   reviews




             Rise of Nations
             All rise! Here comes the emperor!
R   ise of Nations, the latest contender in
    the race of RTS (Real Time Strategy)
games, is much more logical, mature, and
                                                                                                        The game has a remarkable artificial
                                                                                                   intelligence level. For example, if left idle,
                                                                                                   citizens automatically try to find work for
satisfying, as compared to previous titles.                                                        themselves, be it raising crop, or repairing
     It features eight ages, based on the                                                          buildings. They automatically return to
human race’s development checkpoints.                                                              their previous work after doing the job you
Advance from one age to the next, based                                                            called on them for.
on research done in certain fields. Choose                                                              Static objects such as buildings, and
from a cartful of civilisations. Each nation                                                       moving units that allow for inter unit
has been painstakingly given a unique                                                              interaction, are rendered in intricate 2D
                                                  GETTING CIVILISED: Develop a state-of-the-
appearance in terms of uniforms, build-                                                            graphics to allow for greater details.
                                                  art city, complete with modern buildings
ings, units etc.                                                                                   Hence, this provides a high level of
                                                  and famous ‘wonders’
     The game supports up to eight nations                                                         detail and realism, for which a high end
on the map. A scenario editor is included to     enough to build up a strong army, or plan         graphics card is a must.
make your own maps. Take over nations            a surprise attack on the opponent. You can             Indeed, it is a well-planned RTS game
through War, Diplomacy, Espionage, etc.          team up with a nation to combine and              and offers numerous ways to take the game
Guard your borders till you advance              attack a third nation.                            forward. All in all, this game is worth a try.

Genre: Strategy ■ Developer: Big Huge Games ■ Publisher: Microsoft Game Studios ■ System Requirements: Windows: XP/2000/ME/98,
128 MB RAM, 500 MHz CPU, 800 MB disk space, 16 MB 3D card ■ Online/multiplayer requirements: 56.6 Kbps or better for Internet play
Rating:       ✩
          ★★★★✩


           Muscle Car 2: American Spirit
           Racing for the absolute beginner
M     uscle Car 2: American Spirit is a racing
      game that’s based on 1970s muscle
cars, which were immensely popular in
                                                                                                   handle cops who don’t like the idea of
                                                                                                   street racing at all. Then there is the career
                                                                                                   mode where you can earn money by win-
the US for their brute power and looks.                                                            ning races. With this money you can buy
The game has a weird interface that made                                                           better cars, upgrades, etc.
browsing the menu a tough task. We were                                                                 All the car models looked much the
surprised to find that there was no option                                                         same, differing only in textures. It also has
to change the controller settings. The                                                             poor game physics and artificial intelli-
game has four modes of play: Time Trial,                                                           gence. The opponents were bumping into
                                                  RACING LESSONS: Poor graphics make the
Rally, Bandit and Career. You can select a                                                         each other for no apparent reason. The
                                                  car and the race circuits look dull
car and the character accompanied to race                                                          overall graphics quality was also disap-
in any of the four modes.                                                                          pointing. The tracks looked uninteresting
    In the Time Trial mode, you have to          pete against opponents in race circuits, and      as the scenes seemed to be repeating and
race against the clock and cross various         place first, second or third to clear a track.    we also found the tracks to be too long.
check points in a certain amount of time.        In the Bandit mode you race against one           This is not a game for die hard racers, but
In the Rally mode, the racer has to com-         opponent on street circuits—be ready to           its low price tag makes it worth a try.

Genre: Arcade Racing ■ Developer: 3 Romans LLC ■ Publisher: Global Star Software ■ Contact: Sujata Infotech ■ System requirements: 500 MHz CPU,
64 MB RAM, 4X CD-ROM, 150 MB disk space, 8 MB 3D graphics card ■ Price: Rs 199 ■ Phone: 022-22846574/22885096
Fax: 022-22840234 ■ E-mail: sales@sujata.net ■ Web site: www.globalstarsoftware.com
Rating:     ✩
          ★★✩✩✩


           123                                                                                                                     AUGUST 2003
arcade ■
             ■   reviews


            Harnessing 3ds max 5
            A journey through 3ds max

I  nspired by Matrix Reloaded, and
   eager to try animation?
Of all the 3D graphics soft-
                                                                      exhaustively; the
                                                                      chapter on 3D
                                                                      modelling is the
                                                                                                an exercise, provided at the end of
                                                                                                each chapter, help you to fully understand
                                                                                                the content.
ware, 3ds max has tradi-                                              largest. There is             The accompanying CD complements
tionally been the beginners’                                          even a chapter on         the book by including videos that explain
choice. The beauty of                                                 advanced model-           the software’s key features. Files for
Harnessing 3ds max 5 lies in                                          ling towards the          doing the exercises given in the book, are
its emphasis on basics. It                                            end.      Concepts        also included.
begins with a chapter cover-                                          such as modifier               Although the book has done full jus-
ing the nitty-gritty of 3D, fol-                                      stack—one of the          tice of guiding a beginner to the interme-
lowed by an introduction to                                           core features of 3ds      diate level, it could have done better by
3ds max. Its interface and                                            max—have been             touching on some advanced topics such
usage is explained thereafter.                                        explained in detail.      as network rendering. Also, no introduc-
     Rendering and special                                                The book then         tion has been given to plug-ins such as
effects, in 3ds max, can be                                           picks up pace, and        character studio, combustion and reactor.
easily learnt. However, the                                           explains concepts         It also does not come across as a book
same cannot be said about                                       regarding materials, cam-       meant for advanced users. But have no
modelling       fundamentals,                           eras and rendering. The explana-        second thoughts. If you want to dive into
which require a detailed under-                 tions provided are well aided by illustra-      3ds max, then this is the book for you,
standing. The book covers this                  tions and screenshots. A summary and            provided you have deep pockets!

Publisher: Autodesk Press ■ Author: Aaron Ross and Michele Bousquet ■ Distributor: Computer Bookshop (India) Pvt Ltd ■ Phone: 022-22317922   ■

Fax:022-22623551 ■ E-mail:orders@cb-india.com ■ Web site: www.cb-india.com ■ Price: Rs 1,150
Rating: ★★★★ ✩




            Google Hacks 100 Industrial-Strength
            Tips and Tricks
            Search what you want…
G     oogle is the undisputed king of
      search engines, and is your best bet
to finding what you need on the Inter-
                                                the hacks easier to understand.
                                                    After the basic search
                                                tricks, the book
                                                                                                      using Google services. A final topic
                                                                                                               of interest is the Webmasters
                                                                                                               view to Google. It explains
net. The only problem is, if you don’t          also explains how                                              how to improve your Web-
search smart, you might get too many            to use special                                                 sites score in the famous
search results for general queries—a            Google searches                                               Google Pagerank system.
search for ‘news’ in Google throws up           and services. It                                                   For a more advanced
237 million results. This book aims to          explains        the                                           user, the book provides pro-
help you conquer the art of searching.          Google Groups and                                             gram examples using the
     The book describes different ways to       Directory searches.                                           Google API. This is very
exploit the Google search system. These         It also talks about                                          useful if you want to use
are referred to as ‘hacks’, they are            upcoming search                                              the Google search in a specif-
described well and yield precise and min-       techniques, found                                            ic way. Many examples are
imal search results. The book first             in Google Labs.                                             provided which sort the
describes basic search mechanics and            After this, the book                                        results in different ways.
then explains in detail how to use spe-         explains how to use                                               The language used in the
cial keywords to refine your results. How-      the Google API. It                                          book is simple to understand
ever, not all parts of the book are             also lists out various                                    and the hacks work very well.
described visually, and placing screen-         useful third party                               This book is a good buy at its price,
shots in some places would have made            applications      made                           especially if you are an avid researcher.

Publisher: O’Reilly & Associates ■ Author: Tara Calishain and Rael Dornfest ■ Distributor: Shroff Publisher and Distributors Pvt Ltd
Phone: 022-27683337 ■ Fax: 022-23243339 ■ E-mail: spdinfo@shroffpublishers.com ■ Web site: www.shroffpublishers.com ■ Price: Rs 300
Rating: ★★★★ ✩



         124                                                                                                                   AUGUST 2003
arcade ■
              ■   digit diary



                                    Tux Invasion
D
          igit suffered from penguin fever this month. And no,                   Distribution was better—thankfully the Linux
          not from burning the midnight oil while working hard                    shootout in test drive put an end to that problem.
          to collect 4.3 GB of the latest and best Linux ‘distros’                     Next, everyone wanted to load Linux, as it was
for you, but more from interest in learning what the hype was                      the cool thing to do. Prashant, the CRN Brand
all about. With all the geekdom running around the office,                          Manager installed SuSE, Sumod installed Xandros
talking Linux all day and shouting praises of ‘Open Source                            (safely, with VMware on Windows XP) and
ki jai’, it was inevitable.                                                              many other swear-by-Windows non-techies
     All throughout the month, people were buzzing                                        installed various flavours of Linux.
around asking questions about Linux. The *nix guru’s                                            All the hype, heated discussions and
were the most sought after people, with followers                                           sermons apart, this month was a lot of
hanging on to their every word when they gave                                                fun with the penguin stampeding
their impromptu ‘I-knew-Linux-was-the-best-all-                                               through the office. Let’s hope things
along’ sermons.                                                                              stay that way, as we do our bit to sup-
     Even the writers team was bustling, with Aayush                                         port the free OS movement. Viva la
and Mouly arguing incessantly about whose Linux                                              Open Source!




Digit's Hidden Hulks
L
      ast month Nabjeet Ganguly (Consumer Marketing Manag-            hasn’t come forth with tickets yet, wild rumours are abounding
      er), and the marketing team pulled off quite a coup by tying    about how Nabjeet and his team are going to ‘black’ the tick-
      up with Paramount Pictures—the folks who make some real         ets—but you didn’t hear this from us!
cool movies. Now if you have been following Digit (as you should
have…) then you would have read about The Hulk contest last
month in Digit (and seen the trailer on Playware). You can win
free tickets to a screening of the soon-to-be released movie, and
                                                                       The hunt is on…
there’s more-free holiday packages to exotic locations such as


                                                                       T
Kerala and Goa to be won!                                                     hree months after the first talent hunt, the newbies are
                                                                              no longer that, and have settled in. When asked how
                                                                              they were doing, the results varied from, “Fabulous!
                                                                       Man” and “The high speed Internet rocks!”, to “Can’t talk
                                                                       now, got a game review to do” and “The only problem is that
                                                                       my parents miss me, and I feel guilty, because I don’t!” They
                                                                       seemed to be fitting in just fine, between game… err…
                                                                       reviews and surfing the Internet for (Ahem!) research.
                                                                            What we needed was some new faces around, especially
                                                                       because we needed some new people to rag. So up came Tal-
     Nabjeet is one of those guys who quietly pulls off some real-     ent Hunt 2. This time the sales and marketing department
ly cool deals like these. In his words, the “deal went through         wanted to hire… The procedure was planned and finally the
smoothly, since the movie is the sort that would appeal to all         test began. It was scheduled to run for 24 hours starting at 12
Digit readers”, and now movie goers in ten of India’s top Digit        midnight on the twentieth.
readership cities are going to see Digit logos and banners along-           Once again, the response was phenomenal, and the ded-
side the posters for The Hulk.                                         icated server we had set up to run the tests was bogged down
     In fact, the trailers for the movie on the July Playware CD       by 11 am. Rakesh Tiwari our systems administrator had to
contain footage that has not been seen on any other Hulk trail-        rush to set up another server just to be able to handle the traf-
ers. But wait up, things are going to get all the more peachy. This    fic. Throughout the day there were people logging on to take
month, Digit and Paramount Pictures are joining hands yet again        the 175-question test. At 1 am the next morning Rakesh and
for two much anticipated movies-2Fast 2Furious and Tomb                Anurag Gour (Head Client Marketing) told us that 2,500 indi-
Raider - The Cradle of Life. The Playware CDs again contain must-      viduals had logged on to try their luck for the first round of
see high-action trailers from both the movies. And yes, there are      tests. Here’s wishing all those who took part the very best of
contests galore. Digit readers now get to win 1,500 tickets for        luck. With the second round of tests (for the 200 short-listed
each movie—and vacation packages!                                      candidates) around the corner, we’re sure to get the cream of
     Now with the marketing team doing this, it was natural for        an already impressive crop. Watch this space for updates.
just about everybody in Digit to demand a ticket. Since Nabjeet


          125                                                                                                             AUGUST 2003
arcade ■
             ■   backbyte




                                                                                                                  Aur Ek Kal (Oracle)
                                                                                                                  Kabh se boot kiye baithaa hoon,
Much ado about                                                                                                    PC apne pyaar ka.
‘Nothing’                                                       ruth!                                             Kaise type karoon mein lekin,
                                                         t the t
                                                Ain't tha                                                         Password izhaar ka.

                                                                                                                  Dil ki chaaron drives pe meine,
                                                                                                                  Jaana tujhko search kiya.
                                                                                                                  Yahoo, Yahoo, Google, Google,
                                                                                                                  Kitna paisa kharch kiya.
                                   Nothing 4 Sale
                                      I am legitimately trying to sell nothing.
                                      It is hard to describe nothing but I can tell you that it is nothing like
                                                                                                                  Tere chehre pe gussey ka,
                                   anything you have ever seen. There is no photo available because               Screensaver jab aata hai.
                                   I do not know how to take a picture of nothing.
                                      Some sellers have tried to trick buyers into buying nothing. This is        Mere chehre ka display tabh,
                                   not my goal. I am really trying to sell nothing. My friends tell me that
                                   people will buy anything on eBay. Now I want to see if I it is possible
                                                                                                                  Greyscale ho jata hai.
                                   to sell nothing. I also want to find out how much nothing is worth to
                                   someone? I want to find out the price of nothing.
                                      If you want to be the first person to buy nothing from me, bid on
                                                                                                                  Jinke links abh toot chuke hain, (Ex-
                                   this item. Bid as high or as low as you want to (there is no reserve           Boyfriends)
                                   price). I may or may not try to sell nothing again; it depends on
                                   how well this auction goes. But if you want to be the first one to buy         Shortcuts woh wipe karo.
                                   nothing from me, then go ahead and bid on this item.
                                                                                                                  Apne dil ki Init.ora mein,
                                      Note: If you bid on this item, you are bidding on nothing.
                                   If you end up with the winning bid, you will get nothing. I will ship          Mera address type karo.
                                   nothing to you. There are no shipping costs associated with this item
                                   because it costs nothing to ship nothing.
                                      Thanks                                                                      Aakar dekho toh mujhko,
                                                                                                                  Mein SQL prompt pe rehta hoon.
                                                                                                                  Tere login ki chaah main kitne,
                                                                                                                  Scott/Tiger sehtaa hoon.
                                                          Now here's a believer
                                                          in Extraterrestrial
                                                          life forms, if we ever                                  Chaahat hai tere pyaar ki site,
                                                          saw one                                                 Raat-din mein hack karoon.
                                                                                                                  Patthar-dil daddy ka tere,
                                                                                                                  Software bhi crack karoon.

                                                                                                                  Buddha agar jo maan gaya toh,
                                                                                                                  Hum connect ho jaayenge.
                                                                                                                  STG key server ki,
                                                                                                                  Phere phir saat lagaayenge.

                                                                                                                  Ginti ke bas bache hain baaki,
                                                                                                                  Mere jeewan ke yeh pal,
                                 Leo                                                                              Tu jo aakar pyaar se chhoo le,
                                 July 23 - August 22                                                              Mil jayega Aur Ek Kal.
                                 This month you are sure to try something new.
                                 Being the Explorer that you are, get up, close all                               Jai Oracle, Jai Oracle
                                 Windows, don your (Red) Hat and do a
                                 Mandrake style disappearing act.
                                                                                                                                   Contributed by SP Singh



Your chance to
bite back!
Highlight the lighter side of computing. Mail your contributions to: Backbyte Digit,
Plot D-222/2, TTC Industrial Area, MIDC, Shirvane, Nerul, Navi Mumbai 400 706 or
e-mail us at backbyte@jasubhai.com

         126                                                                                                                                     AUGUST 2003

				
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Description: Digit Magazine - August 2003 Issue