Digit Magazine - August 2004 Issue

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Digit Magazine - August 2004 Issue Powered By Docstoc

Maulik Jasubhai Publisher

               Waking Up To A Brand New Day
               NNOVATION IS A peculiar challenger—it keeps            surprised if this time too, competition follows our

               staring at you all the time, but almost always         lead.
               waits for you to make the first move.                      As a magazine, too, Digit has evolved. It
                   Grappling with this challenger has been a          underwent this makeover because our reader is
               delightful and rewarding experience—both for us,       now more technology-aware than ever before.
               and for our readers.                                   Technology is no longer on an esoteric geek plane,
                    When Ernst and Young certified our print run      but something he uses every day, in every
               of 1.2 lakh earlier this year, we were humbled         imaginable (and perhaps, unimaginable) way. It is
               more than proud. That Digit is India’s undisputed      no longer just about inanimate hardware and
               leader in the tech media segment bears no              mute software; it is now about people, and how
               repetition. Therefore, it would have surprised         they use it in real life situations. It is about what
               many when we decided it requires change—a              technology can do for us, in ways we sometimes
               complete makeover that would give it a new skin,       did not even realise it could.
               a new personality.                                         I hope you enjoy your favourite magazine’s
                   Why, many asked? Digit’s readership is by far      new avatar, and continue to be fellow travellers on
               the largest in the tech media segment, and despite     this exciting journey.
               new entrants in the market, has held on to its No
               1 position with the possessiveness of an Australian
               cricket captain holding on to his World Cup.
                   But change and innovation have been deep,
               underlying philosophies at Digit. We were India’s
               first magazine to give a free CD, and later, two. In
               December 2003, we became India’s first       
               publication to give a movie VCD free (Ice Age). In
               August 2003, we bundled a free Linux DVD.              PS: I would like to introduce Sachin Kalbag, Digit’s
                   Our competitors followed by giving DVDs once       new Executive Editor. He has been with us for six
               in a while, or copying our packaging all the while.    months, and brings with him 10 years of media
               Even their CD nomenclature was similar. We were        experience—print, radio and Web. In between
               humbled again.                                         qualifying for the final rounds of BBC
                   Imitation, as the Mahatma said, is the most        Mastermind, reading up on world mythology, and
               sincere form of flattery.                              listening to Django Reinhardt, he teaches
                   From August 2004, we decided to pleasantly         journalism in Mumbai. Apart from that, he says,
               surprise our readers once again. Digit is now          he pretty much does nothing.
               India’s first magazine to give a DVD free with             Meanwhile, our dear Sumod shall continue to
               every issue—4.3 GB of the best software, the best      be the ‘geek on board’, guiding you through the
               games, the best entertainment. And we won’t be         labyrinth of core technologies.

Welcome to the Fourth Wave

   lvin Toffler’s Third Wave is receding. Or is it?

                                                         Photo Mexy Xavier
     Conventional wisdom would say no. Toffler’s
First and Second Waves — the agrarian and indus-
trial economies — are long over, and it is the infor-
mation society that defines this age.
     Stock markets react more sharply to Wipro’s
fortunes than a cement major’s; software exports
touched Rs 80,000 crore last year, three per cent of
India’s GDP; there are more cellphones than land-
lines in several Indian cities; and laptops are no
longer being bought only by jet-setting executives.
     Yet, it is becoming increasingly evident that the
Third Wave is now making way for the Fourth. Not
because technology is no longer relevant, but
because it has stopped fascinating us. We are used
to it, we take it for granted, but most importantly,
we want to know how to use it best.
     Therefore, the Fourth Wave will not be about                            Sachin Kalbag Executive Editor
technology, but how we exploit it.
     Consequently, more than ever before, we are
being subtly pushed into understanding what tech-                                “The fourth wave
nology’s new manifestations are, and master them.
It is these avatars you shall see in Digit from now.                              won’t be about
     They will reflect how we — post-modernist chil-
dren of a society travelling at hyperspeed — take a
                                                                               technology, but how
pause and look at technology. We always knew we
interacted with technology, but could never put a
                                                                                   we exploit it”
finger on how we did it. Digit has made an attempt                           that holds tremendous promise. We finally leave you
to do just that.                                                             with ‘Digital Leisure’, to understand how technology
     You will find stories that thrill, inform, edu-                         has permeated our lives beyond the workplace. This
cate, and entertain. ‘Enter’ launches you quickly                            is where you relax, and spend some quality time
into the magazine, at the pace you are used to                               with technology, having fun all the while.
when playing NFS Underground — furiously fast.                                   You can then hit ‘Esc’, the perfect exit to the
     It progresses to ‘Digital Passion’, with stories                        magazine, and one that leaves a sweet after taste,
that fuel the pursuit of technology knowledge; of                            just like dessert after a hearty meal.
people who hold technology dear to their hearts.                                 When you read the new Digit, you may realise
     The ‘make-technology-work-for-me’ feel is                               that the Fourth Wave was always upon us, only we
reflected in ‘Digital Tools’, with articles that place                       never realised it. It is a thought that may make us
you ahead of your peers at the workplace, or other-                          smile, and if it does, we just may have a great time
wise. It is replete with tools that maximise your pro-                       ahead together.
ductivity, and is aimed at the individual as well as
the SoHo segments.
     Naturally, then, the next stop is ‘Digital
Business’ — tools to maximise returns on invest-
ment and cut costs to give muscle to the bottom-
line of small and medium businesses, a segment                                   
                                                                                                                                                                  Illustrations Mahesh Benkar Imaging Atul Deshmukh
21 Enter                   Digital Passion

                          29 Welcome to Gizmoland
                          Who are some of India’s tech elite, and what                           70 Which Linux is right for you?
                          are they buying?                                                       As open source is slowly making inroads
                                                                                                 into the desktop and SoHo segments, we
                          35 Suren Joshi’s Carisma                                               test the best to find the first among equals
                          Three LCD screens are just some of the
                          gizmos this 21-year-old has in his Lancer
                                                                                               66 How Anti-virus Software Works
                          36 Photo Finish                                                      A visual guide to understanding how anti-
                          Photo printers take the drudgery out of                              virus software detects viruses and cleans
                          digital photographers. Get a 3600 view                               your system

                            40 Goodbye Laptop,                                                 83 I Got the Power
                            Hello Smartphone                                                   How do you buy the right UPS? The solution
                                                                                               is right here
                            Smartphones of the
                            future will play 3D                                                86 Backups that Almost Don’t
                            games, let you watch                                               Cost a Thing
                            TV, replace your                                                   The complete guide to buying the most cost-
                            credit card... Digit                                               effective backup solutions
                            peeks into the
                            future to find                                                      Digital Business
                            out how
                                                                                               107 Cut Your Printing Costs Now!
                          48 [DeXter]’s Laboratory                                             Outsource your printing processes, and see
                          An 18-year-old who guards his house with                             the costs plummet
                          joysticks, and writes programs to close doors
                          and windows!                                                         111 Shoot Your
                           Digital Tools                                                       Shoot your boss and
                                                                                               other colleagues
                          51 A Web of Opportunities                                            using video
                          Delhi-based firm Synapse Communications                              techniques to
                          earned over Rs 40 lakh by bidding for                                train recruits,
                          worldwide projects online. Are you next?                             handle processes,
                                                                                               create archives...
                                      54 Go beyond Google                                      and yes, save
                                      For an affordable cost, get the best                     some money,
                                      research available at your fingertips                    too!

           30 days with Apple iPod ............42           New and Notable ......................80              v/s Linux ............................110
           Geek Dreams: Thrustmaster Enzo                   Old Way Tech Way: Buying                           TQ: Of Mystery Protocols
              Ferrari PC Gaming Wheel ....44                   Cinema tickets......................88             and Celebrity Quizzes..........157
           Wide angle: Google Gets the                      Q & A ........................................89   Mediawise/Adwise....................158
              Geeks Going ............................46    How To Upgrade Your                                TechCritique ............................160
           Net Gain: ................56            Hard Disk..............................92       Inbox........................................166
           Tips & Tricks ..............................57   Face Off: Microsoft                                Tabloid Tech ............................168
                                                                                             August 2004
110 What’s better, Microsoft or
                                                                              54 There’s more to research than
                                                                              Google. We show you how you
                                                                              can research smarter

70 Six Linux distributions tested
for the SoHo segment

                                                                              83 Safe guard your data against
                                                                              power surges and outages
118 How MFDs can save your
business a lot of money

128 Five views on the growing
popularity of WiFi
                                                                              111 The only legal way to shoot
                                                                              your boss...

51 Here’s how you can give your                                                                      Cover Illustration
business a shot in the arm                                                                            Mahesh Benkar
                                                                                                      Ashwin Boricha
                                                                                                        Vijay Padaya

                                                      Contents Magazine
114 No Noise                                 116 Arm Your Mobile
Most people choose not to switch off their   Workforce
mobile phones in critical situations and     Keep your mobile workforce
‘silence zones’. Here’s how you can make     equipped and updated.
sure that your business doesn’t suffer       Here are a few affordable
because of this menace                       ideas to let productivity
  118 The All-rounders                       128 Live Life WireFree
  Multi-Functional Devices are creating a
                                             Many say WiFi may be the
  mini revolution in the office. A copier-
                                             next big thing to happen to
  printer-fax-scanner combo brings relief
                                             India after the mobile boom.
  through huge savings, and clears the
                                             Get expert comments and
  clutter, too
                                             views from five decision
                                             makers on their WiFi
                                             experience in their domains

                                             Digital Leisure
                                             155 A Site To Give
                                             Swapnil and Tausef are just two among the
                                             thousands of NGO beneficiaries in the
                                             country. Here’s the story about how
                                             technology changed their lives for the better
                                                                                                162 Escape

                                                                                                AUGUST 2004 DIGIT         7
                                                                             Note Grey areas show the contents available on the CD. The DVD contains all that is on the CD.

                                                                                    Contents Interactive

         DIGITAL PASSION                     DIGITAL TOOLS                              DIGITAL BUSINESS                            DIGITAL LEISURE
        LARGE GAMES                         MEDKIT ISO                                PRODUCTIVITY TOOLS                          EBOOKS ON CLASSIC LITERATURE
        Thief: Deadly Shadows               Create your own bootable CD with all      SOT Office 2003
        The Temple of Elemental Evil        the essential DOS and Windows             CrossEyes 2.2.4                                                 A Dog’s Tale
        426 MB, Full Version                software                                  ShortKeys Lite 1.7                                              Adventures of
                                                                                      Mozilla Thunderbird 0.7.1                                       Tom Sawyer
        SMALL GAMES                         SYSTEM TOOLS                                                                                              Adventures of
        Pteroglider                         SuSE Personal        Full                                                                                 Huckleberry
        Rainbow Islands: Candyland          Edition9.1                                                                                                Finn
        Starsiege: Tribes                   700 MB                                                                                                    Letters of Mark
        135 MB, Full Version                Experience one of the                                                                                     Twain
                                            best Linux distributions                                                                                  Short Stories
                                            around, and read why it
                                            is the best in this                                                                   BOOKMARKS
                                            month's magazine.                                                           
      Full                                  MULTIMEDIA                                                                  
                                            Audacity 1.2.1                            MemoKeys                          
                                            AVI to VCD Converter 2.28                 Research-Desk Professional 3.1    
                                            Hathor Media Server              CyberCafePro Server 4.1           
                                            RightMark Audio Analyzer 5.3              WriteExpress Easy Letters 2002
                                            XPlay 2.0.8                                                                           MUSIC
        GAME VIDEOS                                          Adobe                    WHITEPAPERS                                 Jack Johnson - Flake
        LOTR: The Battle For                                 PhotoshopCS              The Strategic Value of Moving to Linux      Jana Gana Mana
        Middle Earth                                         Adobe                    The Growing Importance of XML and           JEZA - Watching the cellphone
        90 MB                                                IllustratorCS             Web Services                               Splat - Once in a Lifetime
                                                             Adobe                    Eleven Steps to Successful Data             Wind that Shakes the Barley - Maid
        SOFTWARE                                             InDesignCS                Warehousing                                on the Shore
        Probe Profiler Freeware 5.2.1                        Adobe                    Intelligent Disaster Recovery Option
        VB.NET to C# Converter 1.1                           Acrobat                  ISCSI: The Future of Network Storage        MOVIE TRAILERS
        GLBasic SDK 1.4                                      Professional 6
        MSS Mobile Development                                                        PRODUCTIVITY TOOLS
        Environment (MDE) 4.2               INTERNET                                  CrossEyes 2.2.4
        ASPapp Portal 3.1                   Ad Blocker 4Google2                       ShortKeys Lite 1.7
        RecruitOffice DB Silver             Download Accelerator Plus 7.2             MemoKeys
        CONTRIBUTIONS                       Getleft 1.1.2
        PowerUtils 1.8                      ToolbarCop
        Win Locker
        RemoteAdmin 1.0                     SYSTEM
        Tweakz                              nVidia Detonator 56.72 (XP)                                                           Stepford Wives
        Medico                              nVidia Detonator 56.64 (98)                                                           The Manchurian Candidate
                                            ATi Catalyst 4.7 (XP)                                                                 Little Black Book
                        SMALL GAMES         ATi Catalyst 4.7 (98)                                                                 Taking Lives
                        Pteroglider         Windows XP SP2 RC2
                        Rainbow Islands:                                                                                          EBOOKS ON CLASSIC LITERATURE
                        Candyland                                                                                                 A Dog’s Tale
                        Starsiege: Tribes   MULTIMEDIA                                                                            Adventures of Tom Sawyer
                                            RightMark Audio Analyzer 5.3                                                          Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
                        GAME VIDEOS         AVI to VCD Converter 2.28                                                             Letters of Mark Twain
                        LOTR: The Battle    Hathor Media Server                                                          Short Stories
                        For Middle Earth    RealPlayer 10
                                                                                                                                  MOVIE TRAILERS
        SOFTWARE                                                                                                                  Stepford Wives
        VB.NET to C# Converter 1.1                                                                                                Little Black Book
        GLBasic SDK 1.4
        ASPapp Portal 3.1
        RecruitOffice DB Silver                                                       Research-Desk Professional 3.1
                                                                                      CyberCafePro Server 4.1
        CONTRIBUTIONS                                                                 Mozilla Thunderbird 0.7.1         
        PowerUtils 1.8                                                                WriteExpress Easy Letters 2002    
        Win Locker                                                                                                      
        RemoteAdmin 1.0                     Audacity 1.2.1                            WHITEPAPERS                       
        Tweakz                              AcePlayer 1.10                            The Strategic Value of Moving to Linux
                                            XPlay 2.0.8                               The Growing Importance of XML and           MUSIC
        DEVELOPER2.0 IN PDF                                                           Web Services                                Jack Johnson – Flake
                                            INTERNET                                  Eleven Steps to Successful Data             Jana Gana Mana
                                            Ad Blocker 4Google2                       Warehousing                                 JEZA – Watching the cellphone
                                            Download Accelerator Plus 7.2             Intelligent Disaster Recovery Option        Wind that Shakes the Barley –
                                            FastCache                                 ISCSI: The Future of Network Storage        Maid on the Shore
                                            Getleft 1.1.2
                                            nVidia Detonator 56.72
                                            ATi Catalyst 4.7
                                            ARTICLES IN PDF

14      DIGIT AUGUST 2004
contents ■
               ■   online

                                                                  taste technology at

             WEB SPECIAL                                                   SUBSCRIBE
                                                           Subscribe now...
                   Banking on technology
                   Customers have never had it this
                   good as banks go all out to woo them.   Lookout for the exciting Tech Shack subscription
                   A look at what Indian banks have        offer on page   28
                   on offer.

                                              JULY 2004

               BY DEMAND                                               WEB SPECIAL
   You get to choose what goes on Digit Interactive.
   This month, you have chosen:                                                 The end of Uncertainty
                                                                                Experience is the best teacher, but
                   BigOven 1.3                                                  not in technology, until recently.

                   Size: 7.11 MB                                                Find out how a 250-year-old theo-
                   Mindware                                                     rem is being employed in today's
                                                                                systems to make use of the knowl-
                   Road Trip 2004                                               edge of the past.

                   Size: 37 MB
                   Playware                                                     FORUM
                                                                            Want to brainstorm?
                                                                     Start a discussion? Share an idea?
  Expect these on the August 2004 CDs                                Log on to

        10                                                                                                   JULY 2004
                                                               Tell Us What You Feel About Digit                    Advertisers’ Index
                                                               Every month, Digit walks through the tech-
                                                               nology maze to bring you the most relevant,         Client                                          Page
                                                               most researched stories. If you have an opin-       ACi ................................................53
                                                               ion about anything that was published in            AMD ............................................49
     August 2004 • Volume 4 • Issue 8                          Digit, or otherwise, please write to                Amkette........................................25
                                                                                    Canon ..........................................79
     Jasu Shah                                                                                                     DB Power ....................................87
     Printer, Publisher and Editor                             Product Testing                                     Dell..........................................18, 19
     Maulik Jasubhai
     Head — Publications & Web sites                           Want your product reviewed by Digit?                Epson ..........................................65
     Louis D’Mello                                             Contact our Test Centre at:                         Excel ..............................85, 115, 127
                                                                                  HP ..................120, 121, 122, 123, 125
     Editorial                                                                                                     Kingmax ......................................73
     Executive Editor Sachin Kalbag
     Associate Editor (Technology) Sumod Hajela                                                                    Kingston ......................................75
                                                               Software on CD                                      Level up..38, 109, Inside back cover
     Senior Writer Ahmed Shaikh
     Writers Upendra Singhai, Aparna                           To submit and suggest software for                  LG..............................Cover gatefold
     Krishnakumar, Meera Vankipuram,                           inclusion in the Digit DVD or CD, contact us        Monarch ......................................43
     Suprotip Ghosh                                            at:                          Nokia ..............................Back cover
     Copy Editors Robert Sovereign-Smith,                                                                          Panasonic ............Inside front cover
     Garfield D’Souza, Ram Mohan Rao, Syed
     Nadim Siraj                                               Help!                                               RedHat..........................................77
     Test Centre                                               For any subscription or copy-related issues,        Samsung ................................5, 6, 7
     Deputy Head Deepak Dhingra                                please contact                                      Seagate ........................................27
     Reviewers Sanket Naik, Mustali Kachwala,                  Bangalore: Marshall S (080-37629286)
     Aliasgar Pardawala, Bhaskar Banik                                                                             Sony..............................................10
                                                               Chennai: L R Laxmanan (044-33629283)
     Assistant Coordinator Gautami V Chalke                                                                        Symantec ..............................68, 69
                                                               Delhi: Puja Punj (011-51608658)
     Design                                                    Hyderabad: Norbert Joseph (040-33629281)
                                                                                                                   Viewsonic ......................................8
     Senior Designer Shivasankaran C Pillai                    Kolkata: Jayanta Bhattacharyya (033-33629284)
     Designers Solomon Lewis, Mahesh Benkar,                   Mumbai: Arpita Ganguli (022-27629200)
     Atul Deshmukh, Parag Joshi, Vijay Padaya,                                                                     CONTEST CARNIVAL
                                                               Pune: Sachin Kamble (020-33629280)
     Sivalal S
                                                               You may also e-mail them at                         Client                                       Page
     Photographers Mexy Xavier, Jiten Gandhi                                                                       Abacus ................................132, 133
     Coordinator Rohini Dalvi                        
                                                               Endorsements/Reprints                               Creative ..............................134, 135
     Content Coordinator Saurabh Kumar                                                                             Enjay ..........................................153
     Programming Pradeep D’Souza                               Interested in ordering article reprints, or
                                                               using our logos? Contact:                           LG ........................................136, 137
     Design Kabir Malkani, Viren Jhonsa, Sunil
     Patel, Ashwin Nikam                                                   Logitech ..............................138, 139
                                                                                                                   Microsoft ............................140, 141
     Marketing & Sales                                                                                             Monarch..............................142, 143
     Head — Consumer Brands Prashant Narekuli       Product Index                                                  Neoteric (Iomega) ..............144, 145
     Head — Consumer Sales Saurabh Pandey                                                                          Neoteric (Umax) ................146, 147
     Brand Executive Priya Yogendra                Hardware                        Brother MFC 8820D               Numeric ..............................148, 149
     Marketing and Communication Ashwin                                            Canon iC D680
     Boricha, Vasuki Padakandla, Siddharth
                                                   New and Notable         80                                      Rashi....................................150, 151
                                                                                   Canon iR1210                    Simple Marketing ......................154
     Singh, Mona Talati, Elizabeth Jacob, Ritcha   Amtec laptop cooler             Canon iR1270F
     Verma                                         Apple G5
     Ad-sales Coordination Shilpesh Mutkekar,
                                                                                   Canon iR600
                                                   Atek Tote-Remote                HP LJ 3020
     Ramesh Kumar                                  Biometric USB fLash drive       HP LJ 3030                       To Advertise
     Production and Logistics                      Canon i80 printer               Ricoh Aficio 2015
     Head Operations Shivshankar Hiremath          Canon i9950 photo printer                                       Bangalore
     Managers Harish Suvarna, Shiv Hiremath                                        Samsung SCX 4016                Bibhor Srivastava
                                                   Canon MVx7001 camcorder         Samsung SCX-4216F               E-mail:
     Manager (Operations) Shailesh Iyer            Gainward Hollywood@Home
     Deputy Managers (Production) Mangesh                                          SAmsung SCX-5315F               Phone: 5325670/88, 2899287, 37629285
     Salvi, Prashant Nair                            TV2Go TV tuner                Sharp AR-M160                   Chennai
     Production Executives Sriram Iyer,            Intel Grantsdale and            Toshiba e-Studio 160            Sahayaraj Prabhu
     Ravindra Dighe                                  Alderwood chipsets            Xerox M15i                      E-mail:
     Logistics Sandeep Rane, Anand Shirke          Kodak EasyShare LS743           Xerox PE-16                     Phone: 28235186/89, 33629282
     Audience Development                            digital camera                                                Kolkata
     Head Vijay Adhikari                           Orite RAM-CAM                   Software                        Jayanta Bhattacharyya
     Sr Managers Adarsh Kaul, Nabjeet Ganguli      Plantronics DSP300USB           Linux Distros              70   E-mail: jayanta_bhattacharyya@
     Asst Managers Nicholas Kiro, Puja Punj          Stereo PC Headset             ELX BizDesktop        
     Executives Nupur Nigam, Mohan Raju            Plantronics MX150 mobile                                        Phone: 22345100/5200, 33629284
                                                                                   Lycoris Desktop/LX
     Customer Service                                headset                       Mandrake 10 Official            Mumbai
     Arpita Ganguli, James D’Souza                 Multi-funtional Devices 118     RHEL Professional WS            Saurabh Pandey
     Head Office: Editorial, Marketing             Brother DCP 8020                SuSE 9.1 Pro                    Phone: 56310515/14, 33629278
     & Customer Service                                                            Xandros Standard
                                                   Brother DCP 8025D                                               New Delhi
     Plot No D-222/2, TTC Industrial Area, MIDC,
     Shirvane, Nerul, Navi Mumbai 400 706                                                                          Arvind Prabhakar
     Phone: +91 022-27629191/9200                  The designer who made the difference                            E-mail:
     Fax: +91 022-27629164                                                                                         Phone: 51608658/59, 32358374
     Printed and published by Maulik Jasubhai       Digit’s new look will not be complete without a mention of     Pune
     on behalf of Jasubhai Digital Media Pvt        Hashim P M, whose fine sense of design has driven this         Vinayak Inamdar
     Ltd, 26 Maker Chambers VI, 2nd Floor,          magazine’s new personality. The 35-year-old unassuming         E-mail:
     Nariman Point, Mumbai 400021, India            Master of Design from IIT Bombay’s Industrial Design Cen-      Phone: 24482059, 24494572, 33629280
     Editor: Maulik Jasubhai                        tre spent innumerable days (and nights!) defining Digit’s      Secunderabad
     Printed at Magna Graphics (I) Ltd,             design vision, and then perfecting it. Hashim runs his inde-   Vinayak Inamdar
     101 C & D Government Industrial Estate,        pendent design studio, Design DIfference, out of Cochin.       E-mail:
     Kandivli, Mumbai 400 067                                                                                      Phone: 55221051, 27894167, 3362980
     Cover Illustration Mahesh Benkar
                                                    You can write to him at, or visit
                                                    his Web site
16   DIGIT AUGUST 2004
                                                                                                                                                             illustration Atul Deshmukh
Virtual Reality                                                          A Video iPod
Sony Labs have devised Transticks—removable media                        UK mobile supplier Peripheral Corner has launched
that act as a virtual wire and as a shared memory                        “Swiss Army Knife of gadgets”— a portable video
card. The virtual wire can be used to connect laptops                    player with a hard disk. It has 40 GB, ready for MP3,
to slide projectors, while the cards will allow two                      MPEG 4 video and JPEG pictures, which are down-
computers to share memory on a server.                                   loaded from a PC via USB 2.0.

                                       WEB BATTLES
 Geet Sethi Sportsman

 G   eet Sethi, six-time world
     billiards champion,
 Padma Shri, Arjuna Award
                                       War of the Searches
 winner, national snooker
 champ, and founder of
 sports portal,,
 speaks to Digit on
                                       P   olitics makes for strange
                                           bedfellows. So do e-mail
                                       and search wars.
                                                                         company that makes soft-
                                                                         ware for organising digital
                                                                         photos. In May this year,
                                                                                                               important role in develop-
                                                                                                               ing of the next generation
                                                                                                               Yahoo! Mail.”
 technology, technology, and                Take Yahoo! and Google.      Picasa’s technologies were                Yahoo! spokesperson
 well, more technology.                Until a year ago, both were       integrated into the Blogger           Mary Osako said in an offi-
 What does technology                  best of pals, with Yahoo!         service of Google, in order           cial statement, “The acquisi-
        mean to you?                   even being a long-time            to help simplify the process          tion of Oddpost provides
            Technology                 investor in Google.               of publishing and sharing of          Yahoo! with outstanding
               speeds up                    Back in 2002,                           digital images             technological expertise,
                 communication         Yahoo! took on                               within the context         which will be brought to
                  and eases
                                                             With Google
                                       Google as its                                of Blogger.                bear on products across the
                  work. Gadgets        partner to power taking over                     The latest is          Yahoo! network, such as
                  help simplify        its search. In        Picasa and             that Yahoo! has            Yahoo! Mail.”
                and streamline         February 2004,        Yahoo! acquiring acquired Oddpost                     So why did Yahoo! want
               lots of activities.     the two compa-        Oddpost, the two Inc., a startup that             Oddpost? Oddpost’s applica-
            Is technology only         nies parted ways:                            has “gained the            tion provides regular e-mail,
        for geeks?
                                                             giants are ready
                                       Yahoo! began to                              reputation for             photo sharing, and news
 Technology touches every              test its own          for a face off         making it easier           feed aggregation. The appli-
 part of our life—transport,           search engine.                               and more enticing          cation functions like a desk-
 communication, even in                And recently, Google              to communicate on the                 top application without the
 mundane services like                 launched Gmail, starting          Web,” according to MIT’s              need to continually refresh
 booking tickets online. We            off the e-mail-storage   And             pages, through a combina-
 will be wrong to say                  domino-effect.                    according to                          tion of DHTML, XML, and
 technology is for geeks only.              Then, in July, Google, “Oddpost            JavaScript. The application
 And how do you use it                 acquired Picasa, an online        technology will play an               remains accessible from any
 everyday?                             photo-management                                                        location. Ostensibly, the
 For communication, mainly. I                                                                                  new Yahoo e-mail service
 use my Palm Tungsten T for
 e-mail. I use my Bluetooth-
 enabled mobile phone for
 easier communication, and
 my Sony Vaio notebook. I                                                                                                                            Illustrations Mahesh Benkar

 use the laptop to write
 columns. At home I use
 audio-video systems. Not to
 forget, my laptop!
 What gadgets do you
 usually buy?
 I’m interested in PCs, audio
 systems, and MP3 players. I
 think the Apple iPoD is
 Do you keep up with latest
 tech trends?
 I read lots of foreign
 magazines like Fortune.
 Sometimes keeping up to
 date is difficult especially if
 you play lots of events on
 the professional circuit.

                                                                                                                                 AUGUST 2004 DIGIT                                        21
                                                       would incorporate some of        DoCoMo’s plans for a new
                  Security Watch                       this.                            smartphone.                                                   MFDs
                                                                                                                                                      Why buy
           W32.Beagle.AG@mm                                In addition to this,             i-mode, DoCoMo’s wire-
                                                                                                                                                      many, when
                                                       Yahoo! offers RSS newsfeeds,     less Internet service, is plan-                               one will do! Multi-functional
           Also known as:                              which Google does not.           ning on nothing less than a                                   Device (MFD) sales are on a
           WORM_BAGLE.AH,                                  So what’s next? Yahoo!’s     phone that will act as a                                      rise as users are preferring
           W32/                             Content Acquisition              remote control for your life.                                 a single-point solution for
                                                       Program (CAP), of course.        This “remote control” will                                    their scanning-printing-
                                                       Yahoo!’s CAP plans to map        include cash, credit cards,                                   copying and faxing needs.
           Infection Method: This
           mass-mailing worm uses                      the deep web, or the invisi-     other commercial cards,
           its own SMTP engine and                     ble web, the part of the         driver’s license, business
           opens a backdoor on TCP                     Web currently uncharted          cards, bank documents,
                                                       by crawlers. What Google         cheques, and even your                                                            Low-end
           port 1080. It sends e-mails                                                                                                                                    Scanners
           to addresses found on the                   will do about that remains       house and car keys. Sounds
                                                       to be seen.                      futuristic?                                                                     Entry level
           victim's computer. These                                                                                                                   scanners that served us
           include attachments that                                                         But that’s exactly
                                                                                                                                                      faithfully all these years are
           have .com, .cpl, .exe, .scr,                SMART PHONE                      Natsuno’s vision for right                                    being pushed to oblivion by
                                                                                        now. The phone will feature
           or .zip extensions. The
           'From' address is spoofed.                  A phoney                         a Sony chip, called ‘Felica’,
                                                                                        that lets it pay at checkout
                                                                                                                                                      photocopier combos that
                                                                                                                                                      save money and desk space.
           It also copies itself to
           folders that have ‘shar’ in                 future                           counters, serve as personal
                                                                                        identification, unlock doors,
           their name. It uses fake
           file names (ACDSee 9.exe,                                                    operate household appli-                                  Hello Smart-phone’ in Digi-
           Porno Screensaver.scr, etc)
           to fool the user into                       W     e knew this was            ances, and buy various
                                                             coming. “All the credit kinds of tickets, amongst
                                                       cards, keys, money-all that      other tasks.
                                                                                                                                                  tal Passion to get an idea of
                                                                                                                                                  what the future smart-
                                                                                                                                                  phone can do.
           executing it.
                                                                                            DoCoMo’s first target is
           Damages: It generates a                                                      Japan’s railway stations,                                 PRIVACY MATTERS
                                                                                        which house restaurants,
           flood of e-mails, and thus
           slows down the PC, clogs                                                     department stores and
                                                                                        more. In addition to stores,
                                                                                                                                                  Darling, may
           mail servers and degrades
           network performance. It                                                      the Felica phones can
                                                                                        replace the cards that Japan-
                                                                                                                                                  I read your
           also kills processes
           associated with anti-virus                                                   ese currently use to move
                                                                                        through turnstiles.
                                                                                            Naturally, such ubiqui-
           Removal Instructions:
           Download its removal tool
                                                       stuff in a purse or
                                                                                        tous computing has its
                                                                                        perils: what if a phone is
                                                                                                     used by a hacker
                                                                                                                                                  I n privacy-crazy America, a
                                                                                                                                                    new ruling by a Boston
                                                                                                                                                  federal appeals court
           from http://security
                     wallet-should go       DoCoMo’s               to “download”                                may seem outrageous. It
           center/FxBeagle.exe. Close                  into the phone,”                              money from                                   ruled that e-mails may be
                                                       Takeshi Natsuno        wireless service, another person’s                                  read by anyone, without a
           all applications, disconnect                                       i-mode, is set to phone? Also,
           the system from the                         says. “By having                                                                           search warrant.
           network, disable 'System                    the phone with         come up with a         DoCoMo will                                      The court ruling says
           Restore' and run this tool.                 you, you shouldn’t phone that plays have access to too                                     that if an e-mail has been
           Reboot the computer and                     need anything          remote control         much info about                              stored on a server for even a
           run the tool once more.                     else but your                                 a customer. It is                            millisecond, then, ostensi-
                                                       clothes.” Natsuno, for your life              fear about such                              bly because it’s not entirely
                                                       MD for i-mode                                 issues that may                              yours, the privacy that you
                                                       strategy at NTT DoCoMo, the delay mass deployment.                                         assumed the e-mail should
                                                       biggest cell-phone company           By the way, read our                                  be accorded does not exist.
                                                       in Japan, is talking about       feature ‘Good-bye laptop,                                     There’s also a difference

                 One Silly Question Which browsers do you know and prefer?

I prefer IE be                                                                                                   as it’s                                                                     refer
               cause it’s lik                                                                                                                                                         pe. I p
number. I’d                  ea                                                                           fer IE6 timers. I kno                                                 Netsca
             never want to phone                                                                  e. I pre       t               w only IE and Netsca
Rajat Mishra                  change it.   IE, MS Explorer and MSN Explorer.           ra, Netscap isn’t for firs          But I prefer Intern         pe.           know IE and to it.
             , Bangalore                   I use IE. It’s easy to use.         IE, Ope ndly. Opera                                             et Explorer.   I only se I am used
                                                                                    -frie              Delhi                                                          u
                                           Ashwini Ramakrishnan, Navi Mumb      user        ndna,
                                                                                                  New                     Laxmi Ravikuma
                                                                                                                                           r, Chennai          IE beca umbai
                                                                          ai           Cha                                                                     Priya

22      DIGIT AUGUST 2004

              The Digital World                                                                               A round-up of technology news from across the globe
                                                                               UNITED KINGDOM                                                     JAPAN
                                                                               London-based 33-year-old millionaire pirate                         The Japanese telecom ministry
LOS ANGELES                                                                    Mark Purseglove has been jailed for three and                       announced that bags of schoolkids in
Are cyber cafes responsible for truancy                                        a half years for bootlegging music CDs worth                        Tabe will be tagged with RFID to
and youth violence? The Los Angeles City                                       15 million pounds (Rs 131 crore). He pirated                        monitor the little ones on their way to
Council thinks so. This powerful body                                          CDs of bands such as Oasis, David Bowie,                            and from school. Parents will receive
has now passed an ordinance                                                    Eminem, Michael Jackson and The Beatles. He                         updates about their kids’ whereabouts.
restricting the number of hours during                                         printed covers of illegal music CDs and sold
which minors can visit Internet cafes. It                                      them for 12 to 15 pounds apiece.
has also made it mandatory to install
video cameras for security.
                                                                                                                         France has become the latest
                                                                                                                         government to embrace open
                                                                                                                         source software, when it replaced
                                            VATICAN CITY                                                                 1500 Windows NT servers from
                                                                                                                         Microsoft with Mandrakesoft. The
                                            Two million books, manuscripts and                                           deal was struck by the French
                                            other literary gems at the Vatican Library                                   Ministry of Equipment.
                                            in Rome will now have Radio Frequency
                                            Identification (RFID) tags, making them
                                            easy to easy to identify and manage. At
                                            last count, the library has tagged more
                                            than 50,000 of its 1.2 lakh volumes in its
                                            public reading rooms.                                      SINGAPORE
                                                                                                       Twenty-three-year-old student Kimberly
                                                                                                       Yeo typed 26 words in just 43.24
                                                                                                       seconds to create as new world record
                                                                                                       of the fastest SMS ever, beating the
                                                                                                       previous world record of 67 seconds.

      between read and unread                            But despite all the legal-
      messages: you’ll need to                       ities, the law will not make
      figure out the logic here. If                  much difference to most                                  Three Incredibly Useful Sites
      a message has not been                         people, because most major
      read by the recipient, prose-                  ISPs have explicit policies                               Hunt for your ideal soulmate
      cutors would have access to                    against anyone reading
      the message only through a                     their customers’ e-mails.                   Indian Dating          
      search warrant. But if the                         Still, one wonders if this                                               Launched in 1998, this is the
      message has been read                          ruling is a result of the Big                                                granddaddy of Indian dating sites.
      and remains on the service                     Brother phenomenon. Will                                                     Photo profile creation is free.
      provider’s server system, a                    there come a time when                                                       Search the database with simple
      subpoena, rather than a                        the US government will                                                       search, or use the advanced search
      search warrant, is enough                      actually have access to all                                                  tool for specific results. You can also
      for a prosecutor to open                       e-mails? Only time, and                                                      look for a particular member by
      and read it.                                   more lawsuits, will tell.                                                    using the handle or keyword search.
          At the backdrop of all
      this is the wiretap law,                       3G                                          Indian Friend Finder   
      which requires prosecutors                                                                                                  Part of the international Friend
      to prove their need for a
      wiretap. The law applies to
                                                     No porn                                                                      Finder Network, Indian Friend
                                                                                                                                  Finder has Indian as well as an
                                                     please, it’s a                                                               international database of singles,
                                                                                                                                  pen pals and activity partners. Get
                                                     phone                                                                        access to Indian Friendfinder
                                                                                                                                  Magazine with dating and
                                                                                                                                  relationships tips.

                                                     V   odafone, a major UK
                                                         mobile carrier, has
                                                     implemented an adult-
                                                                                                                                  Formerly called,
                                                                                                                                  Fropper (short for Friend Hopper)
                                                     content blocker on its 3G                                                    encourages users to build
                                                     service. ‘Adult content’                                                     relationships — be it platonic or
      e-mails only                                   refers not just to porn, but                                                 romantic.
      when they are in                               also to gambling sites and                                                   Its USP? An instant messenger.
      transit, not once                              other such. The move has                                                     Users can also start a free private
      they are resident                              made for mixed reactions:                                                    network which is first reviewed by a
      on a server. It all                            child protection groups                                                      panel of experts before allowing it
      seems logical now: you’re                      have lauded it, while some                                                   to go online. It also has a premium
      not tapping a wire if you’re                   users say it is troublesome.                                                 membership section.
      reading a resident message!                    One needs to go to a Web

                                                                                                                                                             AUGUST 2004 DIGIT           23

                                                                                                                            Phonebook >
                                                                                                                            Delete >
                                                                                                                            Every month, the Digit team
                                                                                                                            will come up with a funny
                                                                                                                            caption for a photograph. All
                                                                                                                            you have to do is come up with
                                                                                                                            something funnier, and beat
                                                                                                                            them at their own game!

                                                                                                                              Send your captions to
                                                                                                                              and win an Optical Mouse
                                                                                                                              from Logitech

                                                                                                  Photograph Jiten Gandhi

     site and register using a        found himself blocked not                        In January this year, all            come. The Qosmio will be
     credit card to turn the          just from adult content but                  major UK network operators               Toshiba’s first laptop to
     filter off.                      all his corporate e-mail. One                agreed on a code of practice             fully integrate audio and
         Vodafone said that the       user was prevented from                      designed to restrict access              video features, including a
     implementation                               reaching the Sky                 to adult content with the                bright, near-TV-quality
     of such a system      Vodafone has           mobile site                      aim of protecting children.              display, DVD drive, TV-
     on a network                                 because the news                 They signed up to have
     with such a large started an adult- site “might                               their filters in place by the
     consumer base         content blocker        contain stories                  end of 2004.
     was bound to          on its 3G server.      inappropriate for
     have its teething     It will block porn people under 18”.                    CONVERGENCE
     problems, but                                Yet another said
     there’s no short-
     age of
                           as well as
                           gambling sites
                                                  the system simply
                                                  wasn’t working,
                                                                                   A TV on
     Amongst those who didn’t
                                                  because when he
                                      typed in “porn” in Google,
                                                                                   your lap
     like the content blocker         he was able to surf porn
     were one customer who            sites within seconds.
                                                                                   E   ver wished for a laptop
                                                                                       that you could use as a
                                                                                   TV set? Of course you have,              tuner, and enhanced speak-
                                                                                   but then there’s the hassle              ers. A user could click on
                                                                                   of attaching a TV tuner                  the TV with the laptop’s
                                                                                   card, starting up a special              remote control, or watch a
                                                                                   software, and so on, right?              DVD movie without having
                                                                                       Toshiba has come up                  to go through the process of
                                                                                   with just what you might                 starting the OS.
       Cheap handhelds                        Cool digicams                        want: a laptop it calls                      There’s a caveat,
       Find some cool offers for PDAs from    It’s raining digicams at,   Qosmio, which allows                     however: if you want to
       Tungsten, Sharp and Mitashi. The       at unbelievable discounts.           you to watch TV without                  pause a show, or record a ValuStore also has a Palm   Get Rs 8,000 off on a Rs 14,999      booting the computer up.                 broadcast onto the hard
       Internet Watch for Rs 3,000. Some      5-in-1 SlimCam. Or save a whop-
       handhelds are priced as low as Rs      ping Rs 6001 and grab the DV3
                                                                                   Combine this with what                   disk, you’ll need to boot up
       500. Of course, those are the basic    Camcorder originally priced at       Toshiba says is the best                 the system. But then, imag-
       models. For some more features,        Rs 12,500. It’s nearly 50 per cent   laptop display in the                    ine watching TV and
       you’d have to shell out anywhere       off on most of the goodies,          market, and you’ve got a                 recording a clip onto your
       between Rs 1,200 and Rs 2,000.         including a Spy Pen Digicam.
                                                                                   great product on your                    hard disk, just with a mouse             http://            hands. Analysts say this is              click, and having access to
                                                                                   the beginning of a trend                 the clip ever after.
                  A selection of best offers from popular e-com sites              that will last for years to                   Even though you can

24   DIGIT AUGUST 2004
      already watch TV on any                     "This agreement repre-               ment. The value here is for
      computer with a TV tuner                sents the dawn of the next               corporations. Corporations            Trust busters
      card, with this kind of                 era for instant messaging,               will now have the ability
      convenience, it probably
      won’t be long before
                                              which will unleash the true
                                              potential of real-time
                                                                                       to span the instant messag-
                                                                                       ing landscape."
                                                                                                                                    we decided
                                                                                                                         Recently,Shopping. to buy a
                                                                                                                            pack of VCDs from
      the DRM, RIAA and MPAA                  communication and                             However, for now at          Registration done, we were the
      guys come in.                           collaboration in the work-               least, the three companies
                                              place," said Edmund Fish,                have no plans to integrate
      IM MERGING                              senior vice president at                 instant messaging outside
                                              America Online.                          corporate workplaces. "What
      Even three                                                                       this does not do," Root said,
                                                                                       "is the holy grail of instant
      make a                                                                           messaging, which is to allow
                                                                                       anybody on any network to
      company                                                                          send a message to anybody
                                                                                       on any other network."
                                                                                            The new service being

      M    icrosoft, AOL and
           Yahoo! have announced
      an agreement that will link
                                                                                       would have features that
                                                                                       include recording and
                                                                                       saving of messages sent over
                                                                                                                         proud owners of a 15 per cent
                                                                                                                         discount coupon. A few clicks
                                                                                                                         and pages later, it was time to
      their instant messaging                                                          IM, and a guarantee of            enter the coupon number and
                                                                                                                         wait... Imagine our surprise
      networks. This, however, is                                                      secure communications,
                                                                                                                         when it threw up an “Already
      for business users only. The               The new system will be                which the free IM services        used” error!
      combined network would                  based on Microsoft's Live                do not provide.                    We then scoured the site for a
      get to more than 400                    Communications Server                         Corporate use of             Customer Support link. There
      million customers globally.             2005. It will serve as the hub           instant messaging is wide-        wasn’t one. So we sent a whin-
      The agreement is aimed at               that will connect the                    spread, but it remains to         ing e-mail via its Feedback
      making instant messaging                messaging systems.                       be seen whether companies         Forum. A week passed and a
      as widely used as e-mail is,               Nate Root, a senior                   will be willing to actually       month thereafter. No sign of a
      without the network                     analyst with Forrester                   spend on the new                  reply. We caught sight of their
                                                                                                                         toll-free shopping number and
      compatibility problems                  Research, says: "This is a               service, thereby formalising
                                                                                                                         dialed to give them a ‘blast’.
      associated.                             very significant announce-               instant messaging.                     But no sooner had we
                                                                                                                         dialed than a curt, cold voice
                     Kartik Iyer v/s Sapna Lokahnde                                    DOWNLOAD                          (reminded us of ice) ‘informed’
     GENDER                                                                                                              us that we can just “place”
                     Connecting routine peripherals                                    And now,                          orders not “complain” about
                     —mouse, monitor and keyboard                                                                        one! Not cool at all.
                                                                                       evolution for
                                                                                                                         There are variants of this
                                                                                       technology                        method - in some cases,
     BENDERS                                                                                                             different algorithms in the
                                                                          2 min
                                                                         50 sec.                                         pool combine and discard

                                                                                       D    arwin’s theories of
                                                                                            evolution may soon
                                                                                       dictate how soon a down-
                                                                                                                         properties according to the
                                                                                                                         Darwinian principles of
                                                                                                                         crossover and mutation, in
                                                                                       load completes.                   order to arrive at the opti-
                                                                                           Scientists at the Univer-     mal algorithm.
                                                                                       sity of Karlsruhe in                  The relation to Net
                     Kartik, 19, commerce undergraduate, is confidence                 Germany are developing            downloads is that a lot of
                     personified. He connects the mouse and keyboard in one
                     stroke. But he gets confused over why the monitor cord is         genetic algorithms that           the data transmitted over
                     double-ended. Stalemate. It takes over a minute till he           would help in                               networks is
                     solves the mystery. He inserts it into the right slot. Finally.   speeding up Net       Scientists in         repeated. If all
                     The machine hums to life after he switches on the mains.          downloads.                                  data were to be
                                                                                           A genetic         Germany are           transferred afresh
                                                                                       algorithm is one developing                 each time, it
                                                                                       that has been         genetic               would mean a
                                                                                       “bred” by the         algorithms that       waste of resources.
                                                                                       principles of         would expedite        To solve this prob-
                                                                                       Darwinian evolu-                            lem, data is
                                                                                       tion: for exam-       Internet              cached at certain
                                                                                       ple, from an          downloads             servers, and for a
                                                                                       initial pool of                             certain period of
                                                                          3 min        algorithms, the ones that         time. But where, and for
                                                                                       give the best results are         how long, is not a trivial
                     Sapna Lokhande, 19, a commerce undergraduate, laughs              chosen for the next itera-        problem. It is for this prob-
                     nervously before she begins. Did she expect something             tion, and so on, until            lem that the genetic algo-
                     tough? She does a mental toss-up, and chooses the mouse
                     first. The keyboard is also connected. But Sapna, too, is stuck
                                                                                       one algorithm emerges the         rithms were developed.
                     at the monitor cord. Finally, everything falls into place.        winner. This is the “opti-            The scheme could, at
                                                                                       mal”, or best, algorithm.         some point in the future, be

26    DIGIT AUGUST 2004                                                                                                                AUGUST 2004 DIGIT

                                          used to allow caches to auto-
                                          matically “evolve” their
                                          configuration. “Further
                                          development could involve
                                          different rules suited to
                                          each individual host or
                                          subnet involved in the
                                          internet,” says Pablo Funes
                                          of the University of Karl-
                                          sruhe. “One can even imag-
                                          ine each host evolving its
                                          own optimal rule.”

                                          DVD COPYING

                                          Sharing                         later this year.
                                                                              The new AACS system is
                                                                                                           could well benefit from the
                                                                                                           extremely strict tax laws in                        is not                          logical. If you have a DVD, it
                                                                          should be legal to have a
                                                                                                           Israel. India could also
                                                                                                           benefit because of its
      What is LinkedIn?
      How many people in your
                                          loving                          backup of it on your hard
                                                                          disk, just as it’s legal to
                                                                                                           cheap labour.
                                                                                                               A new report, released in
      phonebook? 50? 350? Maybe,
      even a thousand. How about
                                                                          have a backup of a cassette      July, indicates that the
      increasing that contact list to
      more than a few thousand—
      from across the world. LinkedIn
                                          M     arking a shift in the
                                                way the movie industry
                                          has reacted to the threat of
                                                                          tape. But it’s anyone’s
                                                                          guess what this move will
                                                                          do for DVD piracy, and how
                                                                                                           world semiconductor indus-
                                                                                                           try is expected to record a
                                                                                                           50.9 per cent increase in
      allows you to do just that. It is   online piracy, a group of       far it will be successful in     financial expenses in
      safe too, since new contacts are    media and technology            maintaining legitimate use       comparison with 2003, with
      made only through trusted           companies, including            of copying facilities.           equipment expenses surg-
      connections.                        Microsoft and Disney, have                                       ing by 63.5 per cent. Gindin
      Who founded Linkedin?               agreed to allow consumers       INDUSTRY                         made his remarks in refer-
      Reid Hoffman is the man behind      to make legal backup copies                                      ence to this report.
      LinkedIn. Currently on the board
      of directors of four other
                                          of “next-generation video
                                          discs”, and share the
                                                                          Shalom,                              Gartner has recom-
                                                                                                           mended that the Israeli
      business consultancies and Web
      sites, Hoffman is also an angel
                                          content on portable devices.
                                          Next-generation DVDs will
                                                                          India!                           government resolve this
                                                                                                           problem by changing tax
      investor with interests in
      several sites.                      deliver superior video and                                       laws, and by launching a
      When did LinkedIn begin?
      Interesting story. Sometime in
                                          audio, although technology
                                          and media companies
                                          haven’t yet reached a
                                                                          I ntel and Motorola might
                                                                            leave Israel in favour of
                                                                          India and China as their
                                                                                                           global campaign highlight-
                                                                                                           ing the advantages of the
                                                                                                           prospective scene in Israel.
      2002 LinkedIn’s founder Reid
      Hoffman spent five days looking     consensus on which compet-      new international hubs,              Israel is deeply
      for a Flash designer for his        ing DVD format will prevail.    Gartner’s Israeli representa-    entrenched in the semicon-
      erstwhile company PayPal.               The announcement            tive said in Jerusalem           ductor industry. It also
      None of his contacts could send     comes in the wake of all        last month.                      designs and manufactures
      him the ideal person. Finally, a    the hubbub about piracy,            Baruch                                  machinery used in
      colleague suggested her friend’s    file sharing and copying        Gindin, Gart-                               the manufacture
      friend for the job. Hoffman                                                               Intel and
      knew the time for a networking
                                          of media.                       ner’s Managing        Motorola, who         of semiconduc-
      site had come.                          The group of companies      Director for                                tors. The shares of
                                          also includes IBM,              Israel and West
                                                                                                may leave Israel 140 Israeli compa-
      Why choose LinkedIn?
      In one word—credibility. Very       Intel, Matsushita Electric      Asia, has warned soon, are eyeing           nies are traded on
      few sites have earned the trust     Industrial Co. Ltd. and         Israel’s Knesset      to set up hubs in the US stockex-
      of its users, and LinkedIn is one   Warner Bros.                    Science Commit- India and China             change.
      of them.                                Today’s DVDs are            tee that there is                               This is rated as
      Where is LinkedIn located?          protected by the CSS            a serious risk that the two      the highest from any
      Close to our best online friend,    (content scrambling system),    companies might leave            non-North American coun-
      Google, at Mountain View,           which prevents copying. The     Israel in favour of the          try. So why the proposed
      California. Networks are spread     computer and consumer           “better” and “thriftier”         shift to India?
      worldwide.                          electronics industry have       alternatives offered by              Apart from tax laws and
      How do I use Linkedin?              pushed to allow easier,         India and China, Israel’s        cheap labour, these compa-
      Create a profile on LinkedIn just   more seamless sharing of        Maariv International maga-       nies also have a wider talent
      as you would create a profile for   media between TVs,              zine reported.                   base to choose from. It
      an online email service. A          computers, and portable             This seems to be an issue remains to be seen
      profile allows you to search for    players. The alliance has       of serious concern in Israel     whether the Israeli tax laws
      people connected to your
                                          named its yet-to-be-devel-      right now, because of the        will be changed soon, and
      through your network for job
      listings, mentoring, financial      oped content protection         contributions that the two       whether, therefore, this is
      services and venture capitalists    technology “Advanced            companies currently make         the beginning of a trend—
      from different countries and        Access Content System           to the Israeli economy.          and in the meanwhile, Indi-
      sectors.                            (AACS).” The system will            Although nothing is          ans can look forward
                                          be available for licensing      confirmed as yet, India          to more jobs.

28   DIGIT AUGUST 2004

                          36All About 42 30 Days With 48 [DeXter]’s
                            Photo Printers Apple iPod    Laboratory
                                                                                            Fuelling the pursuit of technology knowledge

                                        Meera Vankipuram                                    working and intelligent. This smart phone
                                                                                            with PDA functionality, is pricey—at around
                                                eepak Pawar’s modest workplace in           Rs 20,000 in the grey market.
                                         D      Mumbai is like any event management
                                                office—replete with executives scam-
                                                                                                “I like to own stuff that no one else in India
                                                                                            has managed to get their hands on,” says the
                                        pering to get the work done to perfection, tele-    35-year-old Pawar. “My motto is, if someone
                                        phones      buzzing    incessantly,    logistics    else has it, I don’t want it.”
                                        coordinators talking with their clients, and vis-       His subsidiary gizmo list: A Compaq iPAQ
                                        itors entering and leaving the premises with        4850 pocket PC, a Nokia 7610 camera phone, a
                                        elegant alacrity.                                   digital guitar, a 30 GB Apple iPod with the
                                            The office also has a peculiarity that most     iTrip FM transmitter, and a Bluetooth and
                                        workplaces don’t. It smells of obsession—           WiFi-enabled IBM ThinkPad T41 notebook.
                                        Pawar’s passion for all things on the bleeding          A cool laptop is also something that Rohit
                                        edge of technology.                                 Gupta has—a Dell Inspiron 8500. In India,
                                            Pawar, managing director of Midas Events,       where buying a laptop is still mostly deter-
                                        craves for gizmos just as Sachin Tendulkar          mined by the company you work for, Gupta
                                        craves for Pepsi—yeh dil maange more. His O2        decided to invest in one of his own. It’s cer-
                                        Xphone, for instance: If technology were            tainly not at the top of the notebook charts,
                          Main Story    fashion, then O2 is its Tyra Banks—sexy, hard-      but at $2,780 (approx Rs 1.3 lakh) it’s certainly
                                                                                                                       one of the most

                          Welcome to                                                                                   desired. With a con-
                                                                                                                       figuration that goes
                                                                                                                       something like this:

                                                                                                                       Pentium 4 2.4 GHz
                                                                                                                       mobile processor, 512
                                                                                                                       MB DDR RAM, 60 GB
                                                                                                                       hard disk, 15.4-inch
                                                                                                                       wide screen with
                                                                                                                       WSXGA resolution, a
                                                                                                                       combo-drive, a 64 MB
                                                              Premium Nokia                 nVidia GeForce4 4200 Go graphics card—who
                                                              handsets, Tungsten            wouldn’t.
                                                                                                Gupta, scion of the multi-crore Gupta
                                                              T3s, Apple iPods,             Group, a mid-level conglomerate that has
                                                              high-end IBM                  interests in finance and trade, says he is going
                                                              notebooks — just              to attack the Nokia 6230 next. And a digital
                                                                                            video camera after that.
                                                              some of the gizmos                Pawar, on the other hand, wants a smart
                                                              that India’s tech             robot next; something that could take calls,
Photograph Jiten Gandhi

                                                              elite is buying.              and perhaps even check email regularly and
                                                                                            report to him. “I had the Sony AIBO (the
                                                              Meet the men                  robotic dog that made news a couple of years
                                                              behind the gadgets            ago), but I gave it away because it was just

                                                                                                                              AUGUST 2004 DIGIT   29
       Main Story                                                                                                         Top Ten
       another expensive toy—not very smart.” When            he would have spent the rest of his life, had it        1. 40 GB Apple iPod
       it comes to technology, humility is not a virtue       not had a closing date. “The people at the                  with the iTrip FM
       that Pawar posseses.                                   stalls were a bit taken aback at my interest                transmitter
           And why should he, when his office and car         and my inquisitiveness. My knowledge comes              2. Bluetooth and
       are enough to send a geek into a tizzy.                as a surprise to them.”                                     WiFi enabled IBM
           His office is WiFi-enabled, and his Mitsubishi         He loves his old stuff, too. He has kept his            ThinkPad T42p
       Pajero SUV is fitted with a Bluetooth-enabled          first ever PDA—a damaged O2 XDA—at his                      notebook
       phone, a Waypoint GPS receiver, the iTrip, a Pio-      office, as an antique piece. But he currently           3. Dell Inspiron
       neer S1 audio and video player with digital sur-       uses a Compaq iPAQ Pocket PC. His favourite                 8600
       round, and an unbreakable solar panel to                                         acquisition is the            4. Nokia 6600
       recharge batteries while on treks.                                               Nokia 7650 the first          5. Nokia 7610
                                                                                        phone with a one                  camera phone
                                                                                        mega pixel camera.            6. Sony Ericsson
                                                                                            Another cool one              P900
                                                                                        is the Yamaha digital         7. PalmOne Treo
                                                                                        guitar—a gadget that              600
                                                                                        outputs both analog           8. PalmOne
                                                                                        and digital signals,              Tungsten T3
                                                                                        and thus can be con-          9. O2 XDA II
                                                                                        nected directly to a          10. Toshiba e805
                                                                                        PC to record and                  Pocket PC
                                                                                        create music.
                                                                                            Not surprisingly,
                                                                                        his event manage-
                                                              I’d love to own all       ment company offers
                                                              the gadgets in the        Web casts of high-pro-
                                                              world, if I could         file events. Pawar also
                                                              afford them               advises Bollywood big-
                                                              Rohit Gupta               gies on which gadget
                                                              Director, Gupta Group     to buy, the next time
                                                                                        they are abroad. His
                                                              gizmos? Well, they come in “mostly through
                                                              friends, from all over the world.”
                                                                  On the other hand, Gupta’s Dell came
 The Dell Inspiron 8500 can be customised to your needs       through an auction site. Like all of Dell’s prod-
                                                              ucts, Gupta could customise his laptop. He set-
           He uses his Waypoint receiver whenever he          tled for a configuration that cost him Rs 1.3
       is abroad—especially Europe (“Amsterdam is             lakh. But he also got a three-year global war-
       my favourite place”) or in the US. When in             ranty from Dell. “I’d love to own all the gadgets      If someone
       Europe, he uses the TOM TOM Navigator soft-            in the world, if I could afford them.”                 else has it, I don’t
       ware to get around, using his GPS reciever and             Girish Mistry, veteran photographer and            want it
       PDA. Pawar is also a regular visitor to CeBIT,         Dean of the Shari Academy, one of the only             Deepak Pawar
       the world’s premier technology fair, held              two professional photography institutes in             MD, Midas Events
       annually in the German city of Hanover, where          India, swears by his Canon EOS 10D. On its

             Have Money, Will Buy
                                                               The Apple    homes wire-free. So has Anil     Infosys managing
         C   elebrities of all kinds—
             from the Indian film
         industry to corporate
                                                            iBook is also
                                                             the hot
                                                                            Kapoor, who uses Philips
                                                                            Pronto, a home automation
                                                                                                             director Nandan
                                                                                                             Nilekani, DJ
         biggies, find gizmo-buying                         favourite of    device.                          Aqueel and
         the ultimate aphrodisiac. Or                       Shammi              Celeb                        singer Lucky Ali .
         so it would seem, considering      Preity Zinta    “Yahoo”         photographer                         If film world
         the gadgets they sport: If                         Kapoor, as      Atul                             biggies are on to         Pramod
         singer Shankar Mahadevan          also for Kolkata-based ad        Kasbekar’s                       the gizmowagon,          Mahajan
         takes his Sony Ericsson           guru Ram Ray.                    gizmos include                   can politicians be
         P900 everywhere, actors               Model-turned-actor Marc      a high-end                       far behind? Former Rajya
         Amitabh Bachchan, Preity          Robinson owns a Nokia 3205,      Hasselblad 503     Tendulkar     Sabha member Vishvjit
         Zinta, Shah Rukh Khan,            while cueist Geet Sethi dotes    CW, a Fujifilm                   Prithvijit Singh, who ran
         Abhishek Bachchan, Vivek          on his Palm                      S2 Pro (35 mm) and a Nokia       Congress’ e-campaign, owns
         Oberoi, and Kamal Hassan          Tungsten T.                      6600.                            an Apple G-4 laptop, while
              are possessive of the            Actors                           Fashion designer Rohit       former IT Minister and BJP
                   Apple Powerbook.        Sunny Deol                       Bal swears by his brand new      spin-doctor Pramod Mahajan
                     So are musicians A                                     Nokia 7600, the eye-shaped                      is devoted to his
                      R Rahman,                   Kapoor                    3G phone.                                          laptop and
                      Sandeep Chowta                                            iPod, the bestselling                           mobile
                      and Lucky Ali.       and Shekhar                      personal digital music player,                       phones.
                                           Suman are quite the gadget       has found fans in Sachin
                 Shankar Mahadevan         freaks and have made their       Tendulkar, Shah Rukh Khan,                      Rohit Bal

30     DIGIT AUGUST 2004
      Main Story
                                                                                       probably the coolest PDA-phone you’d come
                                                                                       across today.
                                                                                           Bhasin carries his T3 everywhere he goes.
                                                                                       Yes, everywhere! The T3, which costs about
                                                                                       $400 (almost Rs 18,400, but available in India
                                                                                       for Rs 30,000), comes packed with a 400 MHz
                                                                                       Intel PXA255 XScale processor, and 64 MB
                                                                                       inbuilt memory.
                                                                                           He even uses his T3 to connect to the
                                                                                       Internet. Says Bhasin: “My T3, phone and com-
                                                                                       puter are all Bluetooth compatible, so I can
                                                                                       also shift files from one gadget to another, dial
                                                                                       numbers and multi-task quite a bit.”
                                                          I click photos on                The T3 is power packed—it has Image
                                                          my Nokia, and show storage (“I click photos on my Nokia, and show
                                                          it to clients on             it to clients on the T3,” says Bhasin), a voice
                                                          the T3                       memo recorder, a universal remote control,
                                                          Aneesh Bhasin                the works. “The T3 is certainly more efficient
                                                          Digital Imaging Professional and convenient than a laptop. It does just
An object of desire: The Palm Tungsten T3                                              about everything,” says the 19-year-old.
                                                                                           The T3’s Omni Remote Pro feature lets you
      own, the EOS 10D is just above the mid-range                                     control any infrared remote controlled device
      professional series cameras, and costs about                                     such as a television, VCR and even the air-condi-
      $1,300 (Rs 60,000). However, it comes with the                                                      tioner. Says Aneesh, “The Omni
      amazing feature of a 90-degree tilt shift lens,                                                     Remote Pro has a longer range
      which means that the camera can swivel on its                                                       than ordinary remote con-
      axis, something that makes “impossible angles                                                       trollers, so I can operate devices
      possible,” Mistry says.                                                                             from anywhere in the house!”
          With a maximum aperture of 2.8, the
      EOS 10D has automatic colour and
      temperature bracketing and an individual
      Kelvin temperature setting, per frame.
      Auto-bracketing enables a user to shoot up to
      three frames (cold, daylight, warm) at
      once. “We can then pick the ambience of
                                                          Ideazon keyboard: For all your graphics needs
      our choice. This feature makes the colour
      meter and the big box of filters redundant,”
      he says.
          His other little digicam gadget is a QP        My EOS 10D makes
      colour correction card—another first in India—     impossible angles
      to simultaneously colour correct an entire         possible
      batch of pictures. While processing the image,     Girish Mistry
      the QP card helps create a digital image as        Professional Photographer
      close as possible to the subject.
          His other favourite is the Ideazon
      keyboard, again something that isn’t
      available in India, yet. It has removable
      sets of shortcut keys—one each for Photoshop,
      3D     Max,    Dreamweaver,       QuarkXPress,
      and other such imaging and desktop pub-
      lishing software.
          Aneesh Bhasin, a digital imaging profes-
      sional from Delhi, says he is inseparable
      from his Tungsten T3, the top-end
      handheld from PalmOne, the same company                                              The peripatetic Bhasin is currently working
      that makes the supersuccessful Treo 600,                                         on a book for professional photographers; and
                                                                                       his T3 features prominently in it. The book,
            Price List                                                                 however, will not be on his obsession, but a
                                                                                       workflow management tool, sponsored by cor-
        Palm Tungsten T3                    Dell Inspiron 8500                         porates such as Adobe, Nik Multimedia, Corel,                                          Ideazon, Lowproe and Sandisk.
        Price Rs 29,900                     Price $2,780 (Rs 1,27,880)                     Pawar, meanwhile, sits in his office,
        O2 Xphone                           Nokia 7610                                 dreaming of his next big gadget. He promises                                            it will be the Motorola MPx100, a smartphone
        Price $550 (Rs 25,300)              Price $650 (Rs 30,000)                     that could just be next Treo 600 on steroids
        Apple iPod                          Canon EOS 10D                              causing more envy among Pawar’s tech-crazy                               friends. But that is just the situation he would
        Price $499 (Rs 23,000) for 15 GB    Price $1,300 (Rs 60,000)                   love to be in.

32    DIGIT AUGUST 2004
         Changing the
         Windows Logo in
         the Start Menu

               very month, Digit will pose a question
               that will set you thinking. Digit
               challenges you to take a crack at the
         problem. Send in your answers with your
         full name, address and contact details to Digit’s Test
         Centre will select the correct answers. In
         case of multiple correct entries, the winner
         will be decided by a draw of lots.
                                                                    In Windows, the name of the OS appears vertically in the Start Menu.
         For starters, we have published the                        Can you change this and put “Digit” there instead? Note that in XP, the
         solution to a specific challenge here.                     change can be seen only if you are using the Classic Start Menu.


         T   he text “Windows XP Professional” or “Windows
             98” or “Windows 2000” is a bitmap image
         embedded in explorer.exe. To edit this file, you will
         need a tool called Resource Hacker. Download it                                                                             Challenge
         resourcehacker/. Do back up the files you will be                                                                            Can you overclock
         changing before you proceed.                                                                                                   your graphics
                                                                                                                                     card safely without
              Start Resource Hacker, and open C:\windows\
                                                                                                                                       causing a crash?
         explorer.exe. For Windows XP, expand the Bitmap
         folder in the left pane, expand the 167 folder and                                                                         The winner will get a
                                                                                                                                      fabulous cordless
         then click 1033. In the right pane, you will see the                                                                       keyboard and mouse
         bitmap image with “Windows XP Professional” on it.
         Right-click 1033 in the left pane, and choose ‘Save        Change the value of the Shell key using the registry editor
         [Bitmap : 167 :1033]’. Enter a directory and filename
         and click OK. For Windows 98 and 2000, go to               still expanded. Right-click on 1033 and choose
         Bitmap > 157 > 1033 to find the bitmap.                    ‘Replace Resource’. Next, click ‘Open file with new
              Next,edit the bit map using an image editor           bitmap’, point to the edited bitmap and click the
         such as Photoshop, but do not change its colour            Replace button. Now, go to File > Save As and                                         Win!
         depth and dimensions. After you have made the              save this file in another location. For example, we           Sponsored by
         changes, save the file as a bitmap image.                  saved this file in the E:\ folder as E:\explorer.exe.
              Now, embed this new image into explorer.exe.               Next, in Windows 98, simply restart your
         Keep Resource Hacker open and ensure that the              computer in MS-DOS mode, and replace
         tree (Bitmap > 167 > 1033 for Windows XP, and              C:\windows\ explorer.exe with E:\explorer.exe.                Price Rs 3,648
         Bitmap > 157 > 1033 for Windows 98 or 2000) is                                        With XP or 2000, you will
                                                                                                                                  Rules and Regulations
                                                                                               need to make a few                 1. Readers are requested to
         Caution!                                                                              changes to the registry. Go        send in their answers by the
                                                                                               to Start > Run, type               15th of the month of
     T  est the edited explorer.exe before you edit the
        registry in Windows XP or 2000. Press [Ctrl] +
     [Shift] + [Esc] to bring up the Task Manager, switch to
                                                                                               ‘regedit’ and hit [Enter] to
                                                                                               open the registry editor.
                                                                                               Navigate to
                                                                                                                                  2. Employees of Jasubhai
                                                                                                                                  Digital Media and their
                                                                                                                                  relatives are not permitted to
     the Processes tab, right-click explorer and click 'End                                     HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE                participate in this contest.
     Process'. Now, go to File > New Task (Run…) and enter                                      \SOFTWARE\Microsoft\              3. Readers are encouraged to
                                                                                                                                  send their replies by e-mail.
     e:\explorer.exe or the location of the edited file. If all's                               Windows NT\Current                Jasubhai Digital Media will not
     well with the file, you see the changes immediately.                                       Version \Winlogon. In             entertain any unsolicited
     You can now edit the registry to make the changes                                          the right pane, change the        communication.
     permanent. If you use Windows 98, and are unable to                                        value of the ‘Shell’ key          4. Jasubhai Digital Media is
                                                                                                                                  not responsible for any
     boot after replacing the file, press [F8] while booting                                    from Explorer.exe to              damage to your system that
     and choose Command prompt. Here, replace the                                               E:\explorer.exe. This done,       may be caused while you are
     edited file with its backup and restart the PC.                YOur Start Menu should      restart your computer to          solving the problem.
                                                                    look like this              view the results.

34       DIGIT AUGUST 2004
                          Teck Shack

                          Suren Joshi’s Carisma
                          Aparna Krishnakumar                                   studying for good ("I am just a 12th standard           LCDs, DVD
                                                                                pass") and left for the United States to do a course
                                                                                                                                        players, 2000

                                             is girlfriends call it the “Disco in modelling. He came back with a diploma
                                             car” from the hit song in the from the Barbizon School of Modelling, a lead-               watt speaker
                                             movie Kal Ho Na Ho. He just ing modelling institution. His latest passion is to            system, neon
                                             calls it a fast, entertaining car. enter the world of fashion modelling full-time.
                                             And his nickname in the big             In the meanwhile, the car receives as much         pedals, NOS—
                                             bad world of modified cars is attention as a first-born would from her parents.            this aspiring
                                             Landspeed.                         He recently installed an RPM Auto gauge that
                              To call Suren Joshi a car                                                     monitors his gear move-
                                                                                                                                        model has a car
                                                                I only laugh when people ask                                            that has his
                          freak would be under-rat-                                                         ments; a voltage meter
                          ing the word—he is more                  me weird questions like                  that allows him to
                                                                  ‘Why do you have so many
                                                                                                                                        neighbours and
                          than that. He is devoted to                                                       check the fluctuations;
                          his car, and at an age when                 clocks in your car?’                  steering wheel, gears       friends drooling
                          his peers would be chasing
                          girls, or even jobs, Joshi spends half his time
                          modifying his car, and the remaining half in his
                          other favourite pastime—sleeping.
                              It helps that he, along with his mother, owns
                          a garments export business with factories in the
                          south Indian city of Tirupur, and Mumbai.
                          Money, therefore, is only the small matter of
                          how much to withdraw from the ATM.
                                He has always been different, this Suren
                          Joshi. Which is why when most people who want
                          to modify their cars with one screen for
                          people to watch movies, he installed three in his
                          90-bhp Mitsubishi Lancer. Not satisfied with it,
                          he also installed a Rs 22,000 DVD player. And
                          just in case people called him a visual person
                          rather than an audio enthusiast, he installed
                          2000-watt speakers with amplifiers, which cost
                          him a further Rs 57,000.
                              Joshi, now 21, has been a technology addict
                          ever since his teenage days when he hacked into
                          the servers of a local daily newspaper in
                          Mumbai, and then promptly called up the editor
                          to inform him about it. The editor did not waste
                          time hiring him and asking him to plug all the
                          loopholes in their information systems.
                              At 17, he was a Microsoft Certified               Inside 21-year-old Landspeed’s “Disco car”
                          Software Engineer, and in addition                                                                                Gadgets
                          to his ethical hacking, Joshi says he                 and hand control set from Momo, another world           Car
                          even helped the Mumbai Police solve                   leader in car racing accessories. He has even           90-bhp Mitsubishi
Photographs Mexy Xavier

                          a kidnapping case by tracking down                    installed neon light fittings to his clutch, brake      Lancer
                          the     kidnapper’s       whereabouts                    and accelerator pedals.                              Audio System
                          through his email messages.                                      He has spruced up the Lancer engine          Pioneer 2000 watt
                              Two years ago, he gave up                                 into a 125 Bhp beast - thanks to a              Speakers with
                                                                                         Performance Filter with spark cables, a        amplifiers- Rs 57,000
                                                                                         sturtbar, a Zulex and HID lights. has          Pioneer DVD player-
                                                                                          transformed his 85-90 horsepower              Rs 22,000
                                                                                          Lancer to a 125 horsepower flying one.        Other Droolware
                                                                                          His analogue dials, however, elicit           3 LCD screens
                                                                                           “weird questions from my friends like        (Rs 46,000), HID
                                                                                                                                        Lights- Rs 20,000,
                                                                                                    ‘Why do you have so many            American make NOS-
                                                                                                           clocks in your car’,” says   Rs 80,000, RPM Auto
                                                                                                               Joshi. “I can only       gauge; voltage meter
                                                                                                                laugh.”                 hand control set from
                                                                                                                      By the way, the   Momo, neon light
                                                                                                                  rest can envy         fittings to his clutch,
                                                                                                                  Suren.                brake and accelerator
                                                                                                                      aparna_krishna-   pedals.
                           In Sight
                                                                                       ogy that facilitate such needs.
                                                 Bhaskar Banik                             Digital photography is taking
                                                                                       off in a big way: every other person
                                                         nkjet printers have now       either has a digicam, or is thinking
                                                   I     become standard equip-
                                                         ment with PCs: any new
                                                                                       of getting one. The idea of instant
                                                                                       photographs has caught everyone’s
                                                 PC comes with one. This has main-     fancy, too. These printers cater to
                                                 ly been due to the sharp decline in   the segment of users that want to
                                                 prices. Owners, too, have evolved     print photos using their home
                                                 from using printers primarily for     printers. Photo printers are opti-
                                                 printing text documents, to using     mised for photo printing, and in
                                                 them for more creative and            fact, text printing on these print-
                                                 image-intensive purposes, such as     ers could even be slower than on a
                                                 printing graphs, charts, pictures     regular ink-based printer.
                                                 and decorative banners. This
                                                 change in usage patterns has been     Underneath the skin
                                                 not just because owners need to       Ink-based photo printers differ
                                                 do more, but also because of          from regular ink-based printers in
                                                 advancements in printer technol-      a few critical ways. First, they

                                               Photo Finish
                                                 Move over the usual                   require a greater variety and num-
                                                                                       ber of colour cartridges. Most
                                                 ink-based printers, photo             photo printers support light cyan
                                                 printers are here to take             and light magenta in addition to
                                                                                       the regular cyan, magenta, yellow
     Imaging Parag Joshi

                                                 digital photography to a              and black, making for a total of six
                                                 new level                             separate cartridges. The addition
                                                                                       of the light shades means that
                                                                                       more subtle variations in colour
                                                                                       can be reproduced accurately.
                                                                                           Second, there is a reduction in
                                                                                       the ink the printer sprays. This
                                                                                       increases precision and provides
                                                                                       more control, which in turn
                                                                                       improves picture quality—less ink
                                                                                       sprayed means there is less liquid
                                                                                       to smear the print. The thinner
                                                                                       layer of ink dries faster, and this in
                                                                                       turn means the ink doesn’t spread
                                                                                       from the point it was applied to.
                                                                                       The increase in printing resolution
                                                                                       means curves can be smoother,
                                                                                       colour gradients can be better
                                                                                       controlled, and greater detail can
                                                                                       be brought out.
                                                                                           Another, different technology
                                                                                       is thermal-dye technology, known
                                                                                       as dye-sublimation printing. This is
                                                                                       different from ink-based technolo-
                                                                                       gy, and is suitable only for photo
                                                                                       printing. A dye-sublimation print-
                                                                                       er has a long transparent sheet
                                                                                       made up of the four colours—cyan,

36                         DIGIT AUGUST 2004
      How a photo printer works

                                                                                                                Graphics Solomon Lewis
                                          Print Head
                                          The most intricate and the
                                          most delicate part of the
                                          photo printer. Shown are
                                          the little microscopic rows
                                          of nozzles that discharge
                                          the ink on to the paper.

 The extra cartridges
 are the Photo Cyan and
 Photo Magenta,
 totalling eight
 cartridges, giving your
 photos their much
 needed colour.

                                                                             Print Head magnified
                                                                             Arranged alternately are the
                                                                             nozzles that spray ink droplets
                                                                             that vary in their size. 5pl for
                                                                             the normal and text prints while
                                                                             precision 2pl droplets for photo

magenta, yellow and black. This transparent               Photo printers are available in all shapes and                                 Photos printed
sheet is actually a film made up of the coloured      sizes, are based on different technologies, and                                    using the
dyes. When a photo is printed, the print head         you have a range of manufacturers to choose
heats up.                                             from. When it comes to buying a photo printer,
    This print head consists of thousands of          it can become pretty confusing to choose one.                                      technology have
heating elements, which heat the dye on the           We present you with a few buying tips:                                             a longer life
film and cause it to vaporise and diffuse into                                                                                           span, and are
the glossy paper. The temperature on the print           Give speed a consideration. If two photo                                        less vulnerable
head is precision controlled for each heating         printers, based on the same technology and
element, and accordingly, the dye is vaporised        offering the same quality prints are compared,
                                                                                                                                         to fading and
on the paper.                                         and one printer offers faster printouts, it makes                                  distortion
    This is what results in the varied hues and       more sense buying that one, even if it costs a
colour tones. This technology has a definite          bit more.
advantage over ink-jet photo printing—the                Check for the various available printing
colours diffuse on to the paper, it does away         options. Can you print borderless prints? Can
with the thin film-like effect that occurs            the printer print 4 x 6 prints as well as A4
with an ink-based printer. Photos printed             prints? Does the paper tray support various
with these printers also have a longer life span      sizes of paper? Also check if the printer
since the colour has permeated into the               supports dual trays, which will reduce the
paper—making the photo less vulnerable to fad-        hassle of changing paper types for documents
ing and distortion.                                   and photos.
                                                        Is portability your concern? Opt for a printer
What do you really need?                              that makes for less hassle and more usability.
Before you buy a photo printer, first consider        You should be able to get a printout without
some important factors:                               messing about too much with the controls.
   Think about your usage pattern. If you need        However, be ready to spend a little more for a
mostly text prints, and printing photos is just a     portable printer.
new fad as far as you are concerned, you will be         Check if the printer supports memory cards
better off with a good quality inkjet printer,        and printing directly off a digital camera. Some
which would be more than sufficient for your          photo printers are infrared-equipped, so you
needs. When you need a quality print, just go to      can directly print off mobile devices such as
your nearest digital photo shop and get one.          camera phones and PDAs. Of course, these
    Plan your budget: look at the costs of            devices do not yet support really high-quality
consumables and try making a rough calcula-           images, but that may change soon.
tion of your expenses.                                   Usability features on a photo printer should
  Decide on the technology you want to use. Do        include one-touch printing. This is not a fea-
you want the absolute best, or can you compro-        ture you absolutely need, but comes in handy
mise a little on the quality as long as you get       in situations where you just want to print with-
a photo printer?                                      out fiddling with the settings.

                                                                                                                                             AUGUST 2004 DIGIT   37
       In Sight
        Quality with consumables                                                                             Paper type
        The quality of your photo printer may be                                                             Make sure that the paper quality you have is
        excellent, but your investment can go right                                                          the best available for your particular applica-
        down the drain if the consumables you use                                                            tion. If you want a regular photo print, you
        are not up to the mark. If you are stingy in                                                         can use two types of paper—glossy or matte.
        choosing the ink cartridge and the paper                                                             Both have their disadvantages. Glossy paper is
        that you want the prints on, you will have to                                                        susceptible to accidental fingerprints after
        be prepared for poorer quality. Here are some                                                        you get a print done; matte paper will not
        tips to make sure you don’t land up in a                                                             offer the finish that glossy paper does. It’s up
        difficult situation:                                                                                 to you to decide. Regular matte paper starts at
                                                                                                             around Rs 12 and goes up to Rs 100, depend-
                                                                                                             ing on brand and company. If you order it in
         Models available                                                                                    bulk, a price reduction is possible. On the
     Vendor   Model        Technology      Price
                                                                                                             other hand, regular glossy paper starts at Rs
                                                                                                             25 and can go up to Rs 150, depending on the
     Hewlett- HP PS 7260 Inkjet            Rs 6,499    4 x 6 prints, borderless printing. Targeted towards   quality and thickness.
     Packard                                           the home segment.
              HP PS 130  Inkjet            Rs 8,999    4 x 6 prints, borderless printing. Support for        Paper quality
                                                       memory cards. Home segment.                           Check for the thickness of the paper and the
              HP PS 7960 Inkjet            Rs 16,999   4 x 6 prints, borderless printing. Support for        whiteness. Whiter backgrounds will result in
                                                       memory cards. Home/SoHo segment.
                                                                                                             a high-contrast image print, which improves
     Canon    I905D        Bubble Jet      Rs 21,995   4 x 6 prints, borderless printing. Support for        the overall quality of the image. Thickness is
                                                       memory cards and PictBridge. SoHo segment.
                                                                                                             important—it can make or mar the image.
              I990         Bubble Jet      Rs 25,995   4 x 6 prints, borderless printing. Support for
                                                       memory cards and PictBridge. SoHo segment.
                                                                                                             Some papers may be too thick for the
                                                                                                             kind of printing you do, while other papers
     Epson    CP-300       Dye-sublimation Rs 16,995   Portable printer, only for photo printing. 4 x 6      may be so thin that the ink permeates
                                                       prints. Targeted towards the home user.               through to the other side. This type of paper
              Photo830     Inkjet          Rs 7,500    4 x 6 prints, borderless printing. Support for        is especially risky for dye-sublimation
                                                       memory cards. Home segment.
                                                                                                             printers, which use heat to print different
              Photo R310   Inkjet          Rs 13,495 4 x 6 prints, borderless printing. Memory cards
                                                     and PictBridge. Home/SoHo segment.
                                                                                                             colour densities on paper. Thick papers, on
              Photo 2100   Inkjet          Rs 54,900 Photo printing only. A3+, A3, borderless printing.      the other hand, can cause the pick-up mecha-
                                                     SoHo/Professional segment.                              nism to jam, especially when you want to
                                                                                                             print cards or calendars.

                                                                1/2 Pg H AD

38      DIGIT AUGUST 2004
     Who needs photo printers?

  P   hoto printers are
      available for home
  as well as for
  businesses. At
  home, they serve
  the purpose of
  having a photo lab
  as and when you
  need it. Borderless
  printing, which was
  not possible except
  in print labs, is now
  possible at home. You
                            HP 7960
  can print in regular
  sizes, and also photo
  print on stickers and other media.
       For businesses, a photo printer may be advantageous
  if you need good quality prints regularly. For example, if
  you need to send out a few exclusive, high-quality invites to
  some clients, you may find it difficult to get it done from
  your regular print shop. Photo printers can be useful for
                                                                    1/2 Pg V AD
  creative designers, architects and engineers; there are
  many applications, such as AutoCAD, which make a photo
  printer a very handy thing to have.

Ink quality
A basic principle: Don’t ever be stingy with your colour car-
tridges. If you demand the best, use the best. Saving a few
rupees by using a fake or refilled cartridge will not give you
the output that you expect. Always use manufacturer-
branded or recommended cartridges and papers.
Technologies such as HP’s PhotoREt colour layering tech-
nology or Epson’s water-proof ink technology are not possi-
ble with refilled cartridges.

What do I buy?
The HP 7960 is an interesting model. This printer gave the
best results for photo printing in tests, and, at Rs 16,999, is
targeted towards the mid to high-end consumer segment. It
comes with frills such as a memory card reader, and direct
connectivity to an HP digital camera, but lack of PictBridge
means non-HP cameras are not supported—PictBridge is a
standard that allows you to directly connect a wide range of
digicams directly to your printer.
    The Canon i905D is comparable to the HP printer. It sup-
ports PictBridge technology, and is priced at Rs 21,995.
Image printouts turned out to be of very good quality.
However, it is not very good at text printing. The Epson
Stylus Photo 900 has decent image quality, but loses on
connectivity options. Also, the prints lack tonal balance,
where the HP excels, and the Canon follows suit with
almost similar quality.
    While all these are good desktop photo printers,
Canon's new portable solutions, the CP-200 and the CP-300,
priced at Rs 11,195 and Rs 16,995 respectively, are viable
options. These printers, based on the dye-sublimation tech-
nology, can provide you with instant photographs any-
where, since they can run on a portable battery. Since
portability is the main criterion here, both printers support
PictBridge technology, giving you printouts directly from
your digital camera. Dye-sublimation-based portable solu-
tions are also available from Sony, Epson, HP and Kodak.
Offering a variation in terms of both features and price,
these manufacturers have models that suit every budget.

                                                                             AUGUST 2004 DIGIT   39

      Goodbye Laptop,
      Hello Smartphone!
      The smartphone of the future will be able to play high-                             Cell as credit card, and more

                                                                                                                                             Model: Ashu Kakkar Photo Mexy Xavier Imaging Parag Joshi
      end 3D games, let you watch TV on the go, replace your                              NTT DoCoMo, Japan’s premier mobile service
                                                                                          provider, debuted their cell phone-as-a-credit-
      credit card, help you locate your lost dog, have pro-level                          card prototype in June, but it will be some time
      video cameras… And yes, you will also be able to talk!                              before cell phones replace the credit card.
                                                                                          That’s where the problem lies. The features are
                                                                                          scattered, and no single device has yet incorpo-
      Ram Mohan Rao                                                                       rated all the features. When that happens—and
                                                                                          it is only a matter of time—your laptop just may
              hen Alexander Graham Bell invented                                          become redundant. Perhaps a few other
       W      the telephone, the first thing he said to
              his assistant who was two storeys away,
                                                                                          devices, too.
                                                                                               Today’s high-end smartphones are equiva-
      was: “Watson, come here, I need you.” In 1876,                                      lent to the 486 PC you used eight years ago. The
      that phone was the epitome of smartness. It                                         new-age smartphone will
      allowed you to do something that no one could                                       have immense process-
      ever do before—talk long distances without                                          ing power, and play-
      breaking your vocal cords.                                   Petfrog                ing high-end 3D
          One hundred and twenty-nine years later, in                                     games by the
           2005, Bell’s invention will look something
              like a gadget that might blow the                P    etfrog, the device
                                                                    featured in the
                                                               picture alongside, is an
                                                                                          end of 2006
                                                                                          will be passé.
               begeesus out of the loyal PC (and a lot                                    This means
                                                               ‘Integrated Fusion
                other gadgets). Your humble cell phone         Device’ of the future as
                                                                                          that     RAM
                will allow you to browse the Web at            envisaged by Frog
               high speeds, send e-mail, click photos,         Design, a US-based
              scan pictures and send them 3,000 miles          design company. Petfrog
           across the globe, instruct your air-condi-          is the first wireless
      tioner to start 10 minutes before you reach              communication and
      home, play high-end 3D games, watch TV,                  computing concept with
      replace your credit card by paying your bills at         integrated hardware,
      the mall, help you locate your lost dog, read a          software, and content
                                                               user-interface. It is a
      book of your choice while you are travelling, lis-       PDA, personal computer,
      ten to your MP3s at high bitrates for crystal            digital media player,
      clear sound... The list—and it is not even a wish        camera, karaoke
      list—could go on and on.                                 machine, and more. All
          Oh, by the way, you will also be able to talk        functionality converges
      using the phone.                                         into one seamless
          By the time you read this, we are already            platform resulting in an
      half-way into getting such a smart device out            ‘all-in-one gadget’.
      into the market. But that is the key phrase—

        Rings a bell?
     The phone of the future will allow you to:
      Browse for movies, music, photos and slide shows right
      from your TV.
      Listen to your MP3 collection on your home stereo.
      Watch feature-length movies from the Internet in the
      comfort of your living room.
      Use catalogs to quickly access related content.
      Synchronise - Connect to your Windows-based PC and
      you can take your content on the go with you.
      Publish - Using the Content Server on your PC,
      publish catalogs to other users.
      Browse - Browse through your content on more than
      one PC or a network.

42    DIGIT AUGUST 2004
                                                                The Indian Connection
capacity will shoot up, and we may see the
emergence of a graphics card that’s beyond our
current imagination of a mobile phone.
                                                           I t will not be long before India hops on to the
                                                             smartphone bandwagon. Officially, that is. Even
                                                           though it’s discouraged by authorities, the grey
    Around the same time, the touch pad will
                                                           market still brings in most of the latest products from
become de rigueur for most phones. A graphics
                                                           across the world. For instance, the Sony Ericsson P900
artist will have powerful image applications on
                                                           and the PalmOne Treo 600—both among the best in
his phone, the compulsive document creator
                                                           the currently available smartphone category—were
will be able to create presentations on the fly
                                                           already available in the grey market before they were
      (you can do that even now, but with certain
                                                           launched officially.
        restrictions), and the field executive will
                                                               Officially, though, look out for the Panasonic X700,
         have all the software needed for such                                                                          Sony Ericsson P900
                                                           which will be launched simultaneously in India and
          things as e-mail and contact informa-
                                                           Europe. LG is not far either: It recently launched the
         tion. Good-bye laptop, hello smart-
                                                           G7100, the “first ever camera phone with a 270-degree spin screen and a
                                                           slide-mounted VGA camera”, according to P Valecha, Product Group Head,
            By this time, voice would be the
                                                           mobile phones, LG Electronics India.
     default way to dial, not just numbers, but
                                                               Harit Nagpal, chief marketing officer, Hutch, says it is a given fact that
also Web sites and e-mail addresses. The phone
                                                           smartphones will make it big in India. “The smartphone category is a niche,
cradle will evolve into a docking station capable
                                                           albeit a growing one, in India. The mobile will become the single access
of communicating via Bluetooth, with all kinds
                                                           device delivering a host of wireless services—whether it is for voice
of devices: keyboards, mice, monitors, and so
                                                           telephony, a stock trading desk, a game console, whatever you want. We
on. The device will have expansion slots or
                                                           are seeing a movement towards a single access device.”
adapters for memory, other I/O devices such as
a touchpad, tablet, etc, an external camera, and
a game console. A pull-out module will have a                                        devices become obsolete if phones become a
keyboard and trackball, and there should be a                                        complete audio-video solution, suitable for
slot for a laser projection keyboard.                                                audiophiles and videophiles? A device that can
    A large hard disk capacity should allow                                          do this will double up as an MP3 player and FM
users to record TV programmes as well as video-                                      radio, iPod-style.
conferences conducted using the phone. With                                              The second display will be a high-resolution
two displays, it will be possible to do more than                                    one, for TV, games, and so on. The camera,
one thing at once—for example, talking while                                         meanwhile, will be capable of up to 6 megapixels
surfing, or talking while jotting down notes.                                        (and more, later) by end-2005. There will be a
                                                                                     slew of models that feature videocams, and these
Quad-band phones                                                                     will have an extra flip for the videocam preview.
Phones by then would have become quad-band, a                                        High-quality stereo speakers will complete
development that would not raise any eye-brows                                       the audio-video subsystem.
whatsoever. A new chip allows phones to choose                                           Scanners will also become part of the
what protocol—WiFi or 3G, for instance—is best                                       phone, to help people instantly scan tele-
 suited for communication in a certain area;                                         phone numbers, names, URLs and e-mail
such chips will become routine, and phones will           You are going to           addresses, in addition to barcodes.
automatically select the network that’s best to           have the                   Future smartphones may also incorporate
talk to another device. Synchronising with PCs            equivalent of a            SIM chips that can be used to scan and pur-
will be seamless, and input will be Bluetooth-            persistent T1 line         chase items from supermarkets, with the correct
enabled and seamless too: phones will feature a           in your pocket.            accounts automatically being debited or credited.
wireless Bluetooth-connected smart pen for                That’s it. It’s going          By then, the phone would have become part
handwriting-recognition, and a cordless headset.          to happen                  of our clothing, and that would make conver-
    The big question when it comes to enter-              Jeff Hawkins               gence take on a whole new meaning!
tainment will be: will personal entertainment             Inventor of Palm Pilot                         

     What and When... Digit peeks into the future
 Late 2004                     business cards, e-mail      indeed, everything          the user of the phone         mouthpiece combo.
   Camera resolution and       addresses and URLs,         that’s speech-based.        and preventing theft will     Remote controlling of
   focus will improve, and     and dial them.              Applications will           be more advanced;             household appliances
   the 3-megapixel camera      If RFID takes off, its      become more advanced;       currently, these systems      will be a feature that
   would make an               modules might be            the move will be            can easily be foiled with     several models offer.
   appearance. Samsung         incorporated into           towards ‘more of a          the right knowledge.          The phone will be closer
   already has a prototype     smartphones, and you        computer’, with hard        GPS connectivity will         to replacing laptops—the
   out.                        will be able to read        disks storing all data.     become a more                 device will dock to
   Phones will double up       barcodes with your          Pull-out modules with       universally available         peripherals wirelessly, a
   as MP3 players and FM       phone—and make              keyboards and               option, with maps being       la laptops, through a
   radios, with hi-power       purchases from              trackballs will become      displayed on the phone        docking station. Laptop
   outlets for headphones.     supermarkets with the       more common.                that aid in driving and       use will have reduced
 Mid 2005                      accounts being debited      Chips that seamlessly       even walking to your          dramatically.
   Videocams will become       and credited seamlessly.    move between wireless       destination.                2007
   part of standard          Late 2005                     and cellular protocols    Late 2006                       Advanced image-editing
   equipment.                  Speech modules will be      will become ubiquitous.     3D displays will become       and other such software
   Phones will be equipped     more comprehensive,        Mid 2006                     common.                       will appear. Virtual, or
   with scanners that can      allowing for speech-        Fingerprinting              Most phones will come         projection keyboards will
   read phone numbers,         based typing, and           technology to identify      with a cordless earpiece-     be standard.

                                                                                                                           AUGUST 2004 DIGIT     43
                                               30 days with...

                                                                     The Apple iPod
                                                                     Sachin Kalbag                                                               Here is an account of my introduction to,
                                                                                                                                                 interaction with, and finally introspection of

                                                                              week after the Apple iPod Mini was                                 the world’s coolest personal music player.
                                                                              launched in New York early this year, a                                                     
                                                                              grand total of 100,000 pieces were
     Graphic Atul Deshmukh Photo Jiten Gandi

                                                                              sold, easily making it one of the fastest
                                                                     selling gadgets of all time. iPod Zombies were
                                                                     just about everywhere. I hoped to the Lord
                                                                     Almighty that I would become
                                                                     a part of this exclusive club.                                                                                            rs in
                                                                                                                                                                                    te folde
                                                                                                                                                                 ow d     o I crea
                                                                                                                                                    ps up. H
                                                                                                                                        new cro m...
                                                                                                                                         iPod? H
                                                                                                          wife’s g
                                                                                                                      ift.                                                                      of 900
                                                                                            day. My er than I                                                                       llection
                                                                   D ay 1            ed to                                                 Da   y 10                y “h  uge” co nally, the
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                                                                   The iPo           y go                       otions—                     Transfe                                              ch-pad
                                                                                hm                      d em                                                  me 23                   the tou d to
                                                                    I said: “O also had mixe version. Only                                  son   gs took ess. I rotated                         nte
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                                                                                                                                   is                       succ                      ut I wa
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                                                                               , bu
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                                                                                                              ed my g
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                                                                       a                                                                        ra ndom.                  Pod
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                                                                                  nd acce                  es                                                 l en
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                                                                         costs $300                 ’t a fford                                                                                             . How
                                                                                         re. Can                                                                                                Failure azon.
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                                                                                      as “Imp
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                                                                                                                                        ,                                                 sites, fa e really cool
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                                                                              fame to ncisco with th sked about it                                        radio st someday…
                                                                                  San F   ra             B  hopal, a en today.                             Som   eday,
                                                                                              rs visit                   re
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                                                                                                                                                                                                                        d to
                                                                                    The o  ffice                                                                                                   y iPod.
                                                                                                                                                            Day 22 ost forgotten m angered by
                                                                                                                                  o th  e iPod.                          lm                       nd
                                                                                                                                                             I had a What if it is e has a hard dis
                                                                                                                      ongs int mn! Wife                                    t.                      d
                                                                                  Day 4                   isting s                  a                         let it ou l falls? The iPo s.
                                                                                              load ex e USB cable. D B cable
                                                                                   Time to                  th                     eU   S                      ac  cidenta kaput if it fall
                                                                                             arch for SB cable. “Th ! I had to                                                go
                                                                                   First se            the U                     Yikes                          and can
                                                                                    did no   t buy                      ore.”                   e                                                                            ook
                                                                                                          st $50 m rt to insert th ad                                                                             white. L
                                                                                               have co                   o                         h                                                  pristine had a
                                                                                     would                   eWire p und one. All I nd                           Day 28 my iPod. Still Almost
                                                                                                or a Fir                   fo                         a                        ed                      e!                       o
                                                                                      search f cable. Finally o that laptop, .                                     I revisit tches. Sacrileg the iPod. It als
                                                                                               ire                        gs t                     rrow                       scra                    are                     d. I
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                                                                                                                                                                                           so              rked. G
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                                                                                          Day 5                            Windo                  ft                         duct—r
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                                                                                          The   transfer stalling the iT box. A networ                                                                                          ers.
                                                                                                              in                        g                                                                            ake fold
                                                                                           easy  . When rk Error dialo stopped in                                           ay   30                ut h  ow to m 4 was
                                                                                                         Netwo                    install                     ber D nally figured o de. Euro 200
                                                                                            I saw a ntinued. The is time. Remem                                           I fi            ing o   utsi             ll inside
                                                                                                                                                                                                                              , iPod
                                                                                             err or? I co dialog box th ried again.                                        It w  as rain de, live footba hips
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                                                                                                                                    er? T                                            n outsi , and finger c te of
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                                                                                                                                                                             music i ch. How’s tha
                                                                                                           . iT                                                                        rea
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44                                             DIGIT AUGUST 2004                                 Day 7                       udio CD                    e
                                                                                                                ed my a ed process. Som
                                                                                                  I  convert           plicat
     Geek Dreams

                                     e don't yet know whether this beauty will become the Enzo
                                     Ferrari of the PC gaming world. What we do know is that it
                                           Thrustmaster Force Feedback GT Force Feedback effects, an 8
                                     has some of the world's bestRacing Wheel
                         way D-pad, 9 action buttons, progressive gas and brake control with
                         two wheel-mounted levers and stable analogue foot pedals, two wheel-
                         mounted gearshift levers, and a central clamping system. Besides, it
                         also has a radio frequency unit to control the gadget, so you can might
                         as well say goodbye to the messy wires.
                            For a mere matter of a yet-to-be-decided price point (knowledgeable
                         sources say $100, or Rs 4,600), you also get the official Ferrari logo on
                         the wheel. Why? Because, my dear sir, this is the exact replica of the
                         original Enzo Ferrari wheel!
                            Smell burning rubber, already?

     Thrustmaster Enzo Ferrari PC Gaming Wheel

44   DIGIT AUGUST 2004
                                             he 1000 MB capacity captures your                   Even in using it as just another Web-mail
      Angle                                  attention, but in truth the huge storage is
                                             only the foundation for GMail. When
                                                                                            service, you will find the GMail bookmarklets
                                                                                   handy. GmailTo will sim-
                                      Rediff offers 1024 MB free, and Yahoo!, Hotmail,      ply pop-up a GMail compose window, . GmailIt
                                      etc. chip in with their few hundred MB sops, it is    goes a step further—it will set the subject line to
                                      not the same—they still have a folder hierarchy       the title of the open Web page and put its URL in
                                      based interface that will not scale. Google           the body. The tiny GTray utility http:
                                      throws away the folders in favour of Labels. You      // will sit in your system tray and
                                      can ‘apply’ several labels to a mail, as opposed to   keep track of new mails in your GMail account,
                                      ‘putting’ the mail into one folder. Once you get      like any e-mail notifier.
                                      used to labels, folders will feel decidedly primi-         If you like GMail enough to switch to it as
          Sumod Hajela                tive. The concept and the technology have been        your primary Web-mail provider, you may want
                                      languishing for decades, but Google is the first      to migrate mail from your existing Web-mail
                                      to implement it on a scale that makes a differ-       accounts to GMail. One neat way to do this is to
                                      ence. Score one for Google.                           chain a tool such as the free Yahoo! POPs
                                          The GMail interface is one huge JavaScript with a mail redirection/
                                      file, weighing in at around 250 KB. Sign-in and       forwarding tool like the free Mail Redirect
                                      wait while this downloads. But once it is on your Mail Redirect will down-
                                      computer, the interface is simply blazing. The        load mails from your Yahoo! account through
                                      JavaScript processes all your clicks right on your    YahooPOPs and transfer them to you GMail
                                      computer, instead of relying on the server to         account. Migrating from Hotmail is even easier
                                      decide what to do next. The only data needed          with the free GetMail for Hotmail http://
                                      from the server is your e-mail contents. Contrast, which does this in just one
                                      this with almost all other Web-mail applications      step!
                                      that force a full page reload on every click.              You can turn your GMail account into a stan-
                                      Yahoo! recently bought Oddpost, the guys who          dard POP3 account and download mail from it
                                      first made this concept work for e-mail way back      using a regular desktop email client with tools

     Google Gets the Geeks Going
     Let alone leading the race for the                             in 2000. This inter-    such as ‘Pop Goes the GMail’ http://
                                                                    esting     approach     7ryj or FreePOPS with the
     1000 MB storage space, Google has                              does have it's acces-   GMail plug-in. Of course, that will completely
     been enterprising in replacing                                 sibility drawbacks      negate the advantage of the new e-mail inter-
                                                                    though, and Mark        face. Depending on your situation, moving your
     folders in the mail box with ‘labels’                          Pilgrim does a great    mail from your local mail client to GMail might
                                                                    job of presenting       be a better idea. Mark Lyons' GMail Loader
                                      them at These kinks, 7rx2 is probably the best tool
                                      too, will eventually be sorted out, and you can       around for this. While it directly supports
                                      safely credit Google with bringing yet another        Mozilla/Thunderbird, Eudora and many Unix
                                      useful technology to front and centre. Welcome        mail clients, Mark shows workarounds for oth-
                                      to the next wave of browser-based application         ers such as Outlook.
                                      interfaces.                                               Filling up a 1000 MB mailbox would usually
                                          Put a fast text-only interface, together with a   take some time, but Aaron Pratt filled his up in
                                      flexible cutting edge organisation model, bring       about a month. He used his GMail account to
                                      to it Google’s history of hackery and top it off      run a public experiment http://snipurl.
                                      with “Invite Only” exclusivity and you have the       com/7rxh to test GMail’s spam filter. If you are
                                      perfect recipe for a Geek popularity contest.         in a hurry to fill up your 1000 MB with some-
                                      Enough has been said about the ridiculous             thing more useful than spam, you could try the
                                      extents to which profiteers took this opportuni-      GMail backup script You
                                      ty. Now that Google invites are worth about as        can use it to save files to GMail and download
                                      much as two free Yahoo! accounts, that side-          them if the need ever arises.
                                      show is finally winding down.                             Put these tools to work and your GMail
                                          Meanwhile, the geeks who did get these            account becomes much more useful than what
                                      accounts early on have been busy making them          you got when you signed up, and they work
                                      more useful. Soon after GMail launched, there         with standard Internet protocols and open-
                                      was an explosion of utilities, many for things        source contributions—in keeping with the hon-
                                      you could already do with existing Web-mail           est hacker ethic.
                                      services and some unique to GMail. Mark Lyons,            But there is a little catch. You can’t legally
     Sumod Hajela, Associate          an independent programmer, says “As an e-mail         use most of these tools. The Gmail Terms of Use
     Editor (Technology) is Digit’s
     Alpha Geek. His pastimes         packrat, I jumped at the opportunity to have all      states in Clause 5: “You also agree that you will
     include creating new software    my e-mail easily searchable. I decided to import      not use any robot, spider, other automated
     during lunch hours, and          my old e-mail from Netscape Communicator 4.7          device, or manual process to monitor or copy
     mastering just about every       (which had messages in it dating back to 1994).       any content from the Service.”
     computer-related technology
     that there is. Write to him at   There was no upload feature included with                 Google is just another big corporation,      GMail, however. So I wrote one.”                      after all.

46   DIGIT AUGUST 2004
     First Hand
                                                                                    Cartoon Network,” he says tongue-in-cheek.
                                                                                        At home, however, he is a different creature.

                                                                                    On a day when there is no college, he spends
                                                                                    around 18 hours a day on his trusted PC. His PC
                                                                                    room is also his den, a place from where he
                                                                                    controls his home’s security system, which he
                                                                                    built on his own.
                                                                                        Guests at the Das household have gotten

                                                                                    used to ringing the bell and Shiv getting an
                                                                                    e-mail notification, or an alarm bell ringing (if
                                                                                    the person at the door is expected beforehand,
                                                                                    then the PC is programmed in such a way that
                                                                                    the guest hears a welcome sound), or a call going
                                                                                    to the Das mobile phone if they are not at home.
                                                                                    Depending on Shiv’s whim, the PC also sends
     You know the cartoon character. Now meet his real                              him an SMS, pages him or sends him a fax.
                                                                                        He calls it a trigger-based security system—
     life doppelganger. He guards his lab... er house                               he is yet to name his small innovation—and by
     with joysticks and writes programs to close windows                            now his parents are so used to it that they don’t
     and doors!                                                                     even talk about it.
                                                                                        All that Shiv uses is a joystick, an IVR soft-
                                                                                    ware and a little bit of programming.
                             Upendra Singhai
                                                                                    How does it work?
                                     hiv Manas’ flat in Mumbai’s upscale            The trigger-based security system is just that,
                                 S   Colaba area could be just about any other
                                     accommodation allotted to senior
                                                                                    but it’s Shiv’s clever programming that makes
                                                                                    it what it is.
                             government officials—his father, Damodar Das,              If Shiv wants to step out of his house, he
                             is chief marketing manager at Andhra Pradesh           enables the system such that whenever a door
                             State Road Transport Corporation. It is                or window opens or shuts, a switch or a trigger
                             larger than most flats in Mumbai, is subdued,          attached to it—a joystick, in this case—gets acti-
                             and has the quiet elegance of any south                vated, and PC reacts as programmed.
                             Mumbai apartment.                                          The triggers are connected to the PC through
                                 Shiv, 18, is a second-year engineering student     the game (MIDI) port on the sound card. He has
     Shiv Manas              at a Navi Mumbai college. He has a lot of friends      also developed a program that detects any move-
                             in college, and spends most of his time with           ment by constantly monitoring the game port
                             them. His online nickname: [DeXter]. Yes, includ-      for ‘On’ and ‘Off’ signals. Says Shiv: “An ‘On’
                             ing the capital X and the brace brackets. “I don’t     signal means the door is closed, and an open
                             want to get into some copyright problems with          door gives an ‘Off’ signal.” When someone enters

                                                                                                                                              Graphics Solomon Lewis
                                    The IVR Touch - Shiv’s Creation
                             1   The user puts a call
                                 through. The phone is
                                 connected to the modem                                                               2
                                 on the computer
                                                                                                                      IVM, a software
                                                                                                                      from NCH Swift
                                                                                                                      Sound, plays the
                                                                                                                      role of an answer-
                                                                                                                      ing machine and
                                                                                                                      handles the call

                                  5                                                                                   Dialling a specific
                                 IVM iterfaces with the                                                               access code makes
                                 VB application as well.                                                              the software enter
                                 Thus, a user can check                                                               the Interactive Voice
          Write in               the status of doors-                                                                 Response mode
                                 which door is open,
      Assembled some-            and which is closed
      thing just as geeky?
      Tell us about it.                                                The user can now execute
      Write to firsthand@                                          4   commands to run an anti-virus
                                                                       scan, or even restart the                                                   computer

52   DIGIT AUGUST 2004
         First Hand
         a protected room, the trigger gets activated and
         the program alerts the user.                                                                                  ‘I want a laser-switch system next’
             The good news: this system is scalable up to
         eight triggers from a single port.                                                                                      Why a trigger-based
             Manas has added a smart touch -- an                                                                                 security system?
         Interactive Voice Response (IVR) program that                                                                           My mom suggested the
         alerts him if there is a ‘security breach’. The 18-                                                                     idea of a burglar
         year-old explains: “When nobody answers a call                                                                          system. As for the trig-
         at home, the program picks up the call and                                                                              gers, I thought using
         behaves like a regular answering machine.                                                                               them would be inter-
         However, when I dial a number assigned to the                                                                           esting. Ifelt it was way
         security system, the program behaves like an                                                                            out of the ordinary.
         IVR system. I have a choice of either remote                                                                            How long did it take
         controlling the computer or the security                                                                                to put this together?
         system. The program then tells me whether                                                                               It took just a day.
         there has been a security breach or not.”                                                                               Are you just another
             The program itself is customisable—you can                                                                          geek?

                                                                      Photograph Mexy Xavier
         write it to sound an alarm, send an e-mail to a                                                                         When I don’t have to
         predefined address, and so on. The activity log                                                                         go to college, I spend
         lets you take a look at everything that’s been                                                                          16 to 18 hours on my
         happening since you left the room.                             Here’s my musketeer!: Shiv with his security system      computer. But I have
             Customising can be done in great detail.                                                                            other hobbies like
         Shiv will be able to:                                                                        collecting coins and sports cards. I play the
            Receive an e-mail (or an SMS) every hour                                                  piano and the tabla. I also dabble in painting
         detailing the scene at home while he is out                                                  occasionally. Besides, I love to spend time with
         gallavanting.                                                                                my friends. Most of the time, though, we talk
            Disable the system via a phone call at a time                                             about technology. And yes, I plan to become a
            when a guest is expected.                                                                 systems administrator.
            Program the system to identify window move-                                               When you are with your friends, do you use
           ment in case it’s quite windy. Perhaps even                                                technology terms as swear words?
                                                                                                      (Laughs) Not really, but whenever I am irritated
          How it’s Trigger-Secure                                                                     by some conversation, I start reciting the value
                                                                                                      of Pi (3.1415926… which goes on and on and
                                                                                                      on). The person usually shuts up.
                                                                                                      What’s next?
                     The door is connected to
                 1   an ‘on/off’ switch                          When a door is                       I want to put together a laser-switch based
                                                             2   opened, the circuit is               security system—the stuff you see in movies.
                                                                 switched ‘off’ and the
                                                                 signal is passed to the
                                                                 joy stick
                                                                                                                    close a door if it has been left ajar due to wind.
                                                                                                                     Get the PC to set off an alarm if an individual
                                                                                                                     uses the PC beyond the allotted time.
         ALARM         PHONE CALL       E-MAIL       MUSIC
                                                                  3                                                  Get a phone call if someone tries to switch off
                                                                 One joy stick can                                   the PC.
                                                                 handle 4 such doors.
                                                                 It receives the signal
                                                                 from the switch and                              Future track
                                                                 passes it on to the                              Shiv says that this system can be upscaled in
                                                                                                                  terms of hardware as well as ideas, although it
                                                                                                                  will be some time before this happens.
                                                                                                                      For instance, it could ask, “Who is this?”
         The Visual Basic applica-                                                                                when someone enters the room. The person
     4   tion receives the signal
         and takes the predefined                                                                                 could then speak into the system, which will have
         action, such as ringing the                                                                              a voice-recognition software that will convert
         alarm, or sending an
         e-mail                                                                                                   speech into text and send an e-mail to you.
                                                                                                                      You could also control electrical appli-
                                                                                                                  ances through the PC, or a phone, or even
                                                                                                                  through e-mail. The possibilities are practi-
                                                                                                                  cally limitless.

                                                                                               mers pose as PayPal, the popu-      ble-sounding domain names.
                                          Phish Scam                                           lar tool for international online   On an average there are around

                                          C  onmen using phony e-mail
                                             messages and fraudulent
                                          Web sites lure victims into
                                                                                               commerce payment. Users are
                                                                                               fooled into revealing their
                                                                                               credit card details when they
                                                                                                                                   3000 phishing attacks across
                                                                                                                                   the world every month, says
                                                                                                                                   the Anti-Phishing Working
                                          giving away critical financial                       try to buy online on Web sites      Group, a body sponsored by
                                          data online. Often, phish scam-                      that look real and have credi-      Microsoft, among others.

54       DIGIT AUGUST 2004

                              54 Go Beyond
                                 Google          70 The Right You 83 UPSyour SoHo
                                                    Linux For        for
                                                                                                    Technology For Personal and SoHo Productivity

                                         Saurabh Kumar                            It relies on the old faithful—       Just about the right raw mate-
                                                                              the World Wide Web—for procur- rial you need to jumpstart your
                                                 s the world goes belliger-   ing new projects and earning earnings—as an individual or as a
                                             A   ent on outsourcing, and
                                                 big companies in India
                                                                              money. In dollars.                   professional outfit. Synapse
                                                                                  At last count, Synapse Communications, for instance,
                                         make money that would make           Communications, the                             has been a software
                                         traditional big ticket manufactur-   company in question,           Use your         development company
                                         ing outfits cringe, a diminutive     had earned nearly             skillset to       for over eight years, but
                                         company in New Delhi is quietly      $85,000 through over-                           as Chief Operating
                                         creating a small revolution. It is   seas projects using a
                                                                                                             work for         Officer Kapil Gupta
                                         earning projects from across the     Web service called global clients says, “Elance provided
                                         world—not by sending project, a Web site        sitting at        us with a focused plat-
                                         and account managers on whirl-       that launched in 1999,          home.           form. We have been
                                         wind US trips, not by advertising    and is today an                                 growing at a rapid pace,
                                         on prominent online sites, and       acknowledged leader in the and Elance Online has provided
                                         not by having a huge staff on it     Services Procurement and Mana- us with good business opportuni-
                             Jumpstart   business development team.           gement market.                       ties.”

                             A Web of Opportunities
                             New Delhi-based firm Synapse                         In English, this means that           Elance was set up by an IIT
                                                                              you, as an individual or a            Bombay graduate Beerud Sheth
                             Communications earned more than                  company, can bid for a project in     in 1999, a year after two Harvard
                             Rs 40 lakh by bidding for                        various     categories—software,      Business     School     scholars—
                                                                              creative writing, photography, 3D     Thomas W Malone and Robert
                             worldwide projects online.                       graphics, image editing, Web site     Laubacher—published an article
                             Are you next?                                    design, banner ads, logo design,      in the Harvard Business Review
                                                                              the works. Think of any topic, and    titled, “The Dawn of the E-Lance
                                                                              Elance Online allows you to place     Economy.”
                                                                              a project or bid for one.                 Among other things, the
                                                                                                                    article spoke about how “the
                                                                                                                    devolution of large, permanent
Illustration Mahesh Benkar

                                                                                                                    corporations into f lexible,
                                                                                                                    temporary networks of individ-
                                                                                                                    uals” was already underway.
                                                                                                                    They also wrote about how the
                                                                                                                    Internet will lower business
                                                                                                                    transaction costs, and how
                                                                                                                    these lower costs will change
                                                                                                                    the “economic equation.” They
                                                                                                                    bravely predicted that this kind
                                                                                                                    of business will define work in
                                                                                                                    the 21st century.
                                                                                                                        Based on this philosophy,
                                                                                                                    Sheth (also a Massachusetts
                                                                                                                    Institute of Technology postgrad-
                                                                                                                    uate) and his Elance team created
                                                                                                                    their first product—the Elance
                                                                                                                    Online Service Marketplace—in
                                                                                                                    1999. Ever since, it has been the
                                                                                                                    link between thousands of busi-
                                                                                                                    ness and service providers from

                                                                                                                                      AUGUST 2004 DIGIT   51
        How it Works

      1                                         3                                         5                                           7
     Browse                                     The seller may                            When work is                                Web site releases
     through the                                choose you or                             completed, the                              payment to you minus
     open projects                              other bidders                             buyer approves the                          the service fees

                           2                                     4                                               6

                                                                                                                                                             Graphics Solomon Lewis
                           Bid to work on a                      If selected, the buyer                         Completed work is
                           project and quote                     pays the Web site the                          handed over to the
                           your expected fees                    fees, and you begin                            buyer

       all over the world.                        Not that Elance Online is the                                requires that payments be
           It is not easy getting a proj-     only site that caters to free-                                   routed through them. “But
       ect, though. For every assign-         lancers from across the world.                                   Elance does not provide any
       ment, there are likely to be           For software programmers and                                     guarantees since they simply act
       several bidders, and the experi-       creative professionals, sites such                               as a common meeting ground
       ence each time may not be a            as       and    renta-                               between the service providers
       pleasant one. Says Gupta,     have been around for                                   and the buyers. About 40 per
       “Getting projects on Elance            ages., for instance,                                    cent of payments on Elance
       Online is a mixed bag. Because         has a tie-up with remit2india                                    result in defaults.”
       the client is on the other side of     .com where you can collect
       the world, and we never meet, it       payments from clients abroad.
       does create issues at times.”          Rentacoder is free, but is                                  Elance is all about open
           The process, although seem-        restricted to small projects that                           opportunities. There is no hard
       ingly easy, is not fixed; it varies    could be executed by individual                             and fast rule to get a project.
       from project to project, and most      programmers. This is one reason                             You need to keep on striving.
                                                        why Synapse does not
                                                        bid                    on                         Kapil Gupta
                                                                                                          COO, Synapse Communications Pvt. Ltd.
                                                                                 Used to jumpstart his business
                                                            On Elance Online,
                                                        the cost of bidding
                                                        could be quite high,                                       On the positive side,
                                                        even if the returns over                               however, the site offers a well-
                                                        a period could be                                      defined selection of the most
                                                        higher. Prices range                                   popular job categories—from
                                                        from $12 (Rs 560) a                                    photography to developing .Net
                                                        month for writing and                                  applications. And since most of
                                                        translation       assign-                              the work is done through the
                                                        ments to $1,195 (Rs                                    Net without any human interac-
                                                        56,000) a year for soft-                               tion, it does not really matter
                                                        ware,        technology,                               how educated you are, or how
                                                        design and engineering                                 big your company is, as long as
       Choose from a variety of projects from           categories. In addition,                               your work is credible and is of
       different fields                                 there is an 8.75 per cent                              the highest quality.
                                                        service charge. Besides,                                   Indians, especially, love this
       times you end up disappointed even if the first wire transfer of                                        site because western project
       as the project may be awarded to funds is free, each incremental                                        managers tend to give big proj-
       someone else. Your experience at transaction would set you back by                                      ects to Indians, because they
       Elance itself counts, and it $10. This pricing mechanism                                                quote rates that are 50-70 per
       usually takes that one break- allows Elance Online to keep the                                          cent lower than their American
       through to get you set. As Guptra site free of any riffraff, although                                   counterparts for the same qual-
       says: “Each project and each there are still some who do not                                            ity of work, if not better. Sounds
       client is different. There is no honour their commitments.                                              familiar?     The    outsourcing
       single way that can describe the           Another problem, as Gupta                                    debate just got a new point
       steps from start to finish.”           points out, is that Elance                                     

52     DIGIT AUGUST 2004
                                              and specific research sites make        site, though, and at $7 (Rs 330) a
     Meera Vankipuram                         more sense.                             page of 225 words, it seems expen-

                                                                                                                           Model: Ahmed Khan Photographs Jiten Gandhi and Mexy Xavier Imaging Parag Joshi
                                                  For instance,, a       sive. But, if you want to download
              un Microsystems’ Net            metasearch site that aggregates         large documents, it would cost
       S      usability guru, Dr Jakob
              Nielsen, calls the Internet a
                                              content from various search sites
                                              and collates them in order of rele-
                                                                                      you $133 (Rs 6,250). This site is
                                                                                      reasonably priced if you want
     procrastination apparatus. We            vance. Researchers across the           large documents that can be
     agree, and perhaps can even add a        world swear by it, and it was rated     accessed via e-mail, by fax, by
     corollary—it also teaches us to          second, only to Google, in a survey     courier, or by postal mail.
     always find the easy way out, more       by, conducted in May
     so when it comes to research.            2004. Let’s focus on research sites,
         The World Wide Web is both an        however, and look at six sites cov-
     information treasure house, and a        ering different professional fields:
     well-laid trap.
         Reliable, credible research          IT Papers
     comes at a premium, and finding
     the right place on the Web can be        Arguably one of the largest online
     tricky. Professional research sites,     libraries for technical white papers,
     hence, assume even more impor-           Web casts, and case studies. Itpa-

     For a cost that is astonishingly low, you can get the best
     research available to you at your fingertips. Here’s how
     tance—they are credible and can be       pers offers free membership, and
     quoted in your internal research         lets you access downloads, detailed
     papers, presentations, forecasts for     descriptions, and personalisation
     market growth, etc.                      features. You can also request for
         Since they are created by inde-      white papers from this directory,
     pendent industry experts, the            and contact vendors directly as
     research is reliable. Academics, too,    well. Information technology
     publish journals that are posted         topics include data management,
     regularly on the Web.                    hardware, Internet, networking
         One research site that is not an     and communications, software,
     academic enterprise is,        security, platforms, OS, etc.
     which has information neatly cat-
     egorised, and each category and its      Academic Research
     topics are lead by experts in a spe-
     cific field—all of whom are care-             Its simple interface deceives
     fully chosen through a strict                   you—don’t let it! The site’s
     screening procedure. Unfortu-                     zero-scroll home page has
     nately, for most of us,                            76 primary topics of
     searching for anything on                            research, and gives
     the Web, starts and ends at                           access to thousands of
     Google.                                               research papers and
         But Google, for its ver-                         documents in cate-
     satility and immense                           gories ranging from Asian
     intelligence, has its                           Studies to Architecture;
     limitations (see box:                            from Astronomy to His-
     Five Reasons Why Google                            tory. This is a paid
     Doesn’t Always Work).
         Perhaps metasearches

54   DIGIT AUGUST 2004
                                                     What’s on offer
   Statistics related to India                                                                          Bitpipe’s ‘Hot Topic’                           Academic                                                 section features
                                               Research Papers                                          exhaustive information—
   Even if information about India is          lets you order                                           including white papers,
   available at different sources, it is       term papers                                              product info, and Web
   difficult to collate credible infor-        custom-written by                                        casts—on a specific topic
   mation. Welcome to,           professionals
   a comprehensive resource on India-
   specific, socio-economic statistics
   “culled from various secondary
   level authentic sources.” The site is
   a research aggregator, providing
   analyses and condensed statistical                                        Poynter’s Resource
   data from several sites.                                                  Centre provides links to
                                                                             archived news stories, is a paid site,                                         tip sheets, and other
   accessible only on to bona fide                                           media-related
   researchers, academicians, aca-
   demic institutions, NGOs, libraries,
   government departments and cor-                                                                                                         Business Intelligence
                                                                                                                                           provides access to
   porates. Topics include demo-                                                                                                           research papers on a
   graphics, crime, foreign trade,                                                                                                         wide variety of business-
   media, telecommunications, edu-                                                                                                         related topics
   cation, geographical data, etc.
       The good news is that there
   are over five lakh pages of statis-                             Engineering and Commerce                          from the best journalists and edi-
   tical data that has been quantita-        More often                                       tors from across the world. It has
   tively analysed, and each can be          than not, free        The National Technical Informa-                   extensive writing on publishing
   downloaded in MS Excel or HTML            research does         tion Service (NTIS), a site main-                 design as well as media on the
   formats. There are weekly updates         not carry             tained by the US Department of                    Internet. For the most part, it is
   to most of the figures provided on        valuable up-          Commerce, is a resource for scien-                free, funded by the US-based
   the site. All the new updates are         to-date               tific, technical, engineering, and                Poynter Institute.
   methodically presented on the             statistics or         business related information. The                     Net Academy, on the other
   home page making it easy for any          specific              site provides information on more                 hand, is one of the first sites set up
   subscriber to understand.                 insights I am         than six lakh information products                to collate research on media man-
       Single user access on India-          seeking               covering over 350 subject areas                   agement, a concept so new that costs Rs 8,000 for               Mohan                 from over 200 federal agencies.                   there is no established common
   researchers and academicians, and         Krishnan,                 The products are available in a               body of knowledge. At the funda-
   Rs 11,000 for other individuals,          Content Specialist    variety of formats—online, multi-                 mental level, Net Academy is a net-
   whereas two-user access for gov-                                media, CD-ROM, paper, and micro-                  work of research communities,
   ernment departments and NGOs                                    fiche. Archival records can be                    each of which “accumulates, dis-
   would set you back by Rs 15,000.                                accessed for a nominal fee. NTIS                  seminates and reviews academic
   Two-user access for individuals                                 offers information on computer                    content and activities according to
   costs Rs 17,500.                                                products, databases, multimedia,                  its own organisational principles
                                                                   IT-based publications and reports                 and quality standards.”
   IT research papers                                              and related information.                              Net Academy was established                                                                                                   by the University of St Gallen in
   Bitpipe Library, an award winning                               Media and related issues                          Switzerland to promote research in
   site, has everything in IT, ranging                    and                    media management, and will take
   from white papers, product litera-                                                       some time to achieve a high degree
   ture, Web casts and case studies.                               For most practising media profes-                 of depth, but it is a beginning that
   Its modus operandi is quite                                     sionals, Poynter is nothing short of              took a long time coming.
   simple—it collects research mate-                               being the Bible. It has some of the
   rial and distributes it to over 3,500                           best resources you could ever ask                 Business Management
   worldwide vendors and maga-                                     for—columnists, white papers,           
   zines such as Information Week,                                 skills upgradation workshops, ana-                Business Intelligence is a compre-
   Network Computing, Forbes, etc.                                 lytical essays, and contributions                 hensive management resource site
                                                                                                                     with extensive research on busi-
    Five Reasons Why Google Doesn’t Always Work                                                                      ness performance management,
                                                                                                                     reporting, analysis, customer rela-
Google is not a meta search engine                    Google throws up linear search results                         tionship management and data
A meta search, simply put, is a search of             Google, for all its intelligence, does not                     management. To access its research
searches from various resources on the Web.           categorise search results, making it a uni-                    papers, you need to register (it’s
There are meta meta searches which search             dimensional search site. Try, and                 free), after which you are sent the
meta search engines as well for greater detail.       see how the results are multi-layered giving it                requested paper via e-mail. With
Google takes only 10 words in its search field        all the depth a research site needs.                           detailed sections on news,
Meta search engines have the ability to search        Google does not have domain expertise                          research, various business articles
entire paragraphs, leading to greater accuracy.       This means that if you are researching Apple (as               from the best magazines, Business
Google searches based on PageRank                     in the computer company) or Cricket (as in the                 Intelligence is a complete business
Google’s searches are based on how many sites         game), it is likely that the results you get will              management site.
have linked to a particular page. This means          include the fruit or the insect. Get the picture?           
that new, yet relevant Web sites will get left out    Research sites, on the other hand, are domain
of the initial search results.                        specific, and can throw up results most specific.                                  AUGUST 2004 DIGIT         55

     Delete the ordeal of
     booking train tickets
     from your memory…

     Robert Sovereign-Smith

          inally! A dot-com (www.
—dot-co-dot-in, in
          this case), that actually helps
     us commoners, those of us with
     credit cards, or bank accounts with

     Create an account to use the site

     Internet banking facilities. The
     Indian Railway Catering and
     Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) Web
     site takes away the drudgery of
     booking Railway tickets. Enter
     details, such as your name, date of
     birth, your home and office
     addresses, e-mail
     address,       and
     choose a user-
     name and pass-                                                ally booking the
     word. Log in                                                  ticket; the Get
     using your user-                                              Fare button will
     name and pass-                                                show you how
     word and start                                                much you will
     the process.                                                  be paying for this
          Click on the                                             trip; Show Avail-
     ‘Plan my Travel’                                              ability will tell
     link under the                                                you        whether
     header        Book                                            seats are still
     Ticket on the nav-                                            available;       and
                         Choose the train you want to travel by
     igation bar. Now                                              finally the Show
     choose the ‘From’ and ‘To’ station Route button will show you all the
                                                                                                              Choose your payment gateway
     codes, if you know them. If you don’t stations the train stops at, and at
     know the station code, click on the what respective time.
     little engine logo on the right of           Once you have checked the avail-                                If you choose to make the pay-
     each field to search for stations. ability, and the fare, you can click on                               ment through the Internet Banking
     Once you find the correct station Book Ticket. Here, you will have to fill           Making the          facility, then simply choose your
     codes, enter them and choose the in the details of each traveller (up to 6           payment             bank in the window that pops up
     date on which you plan to travel, people), and choose either to deliver              If you are paying   when you click on Make Payment.
                                                                                          by credit card,
     then the Class you want to travel by, the ticket to your home, office, or to                             You will be taken to the Web site of
                                                                                          select either of
     and click on Go. Next, you’ll see a list another address. After this, you have       the three           your bank, where you go through
     of trains to choose from, all span- reach the final step of the booking              options—ICICI       the standard online payment proce-
     ning the stations                                          process.           Your   Bank’s gateway,     dure. Once you are done, you can go
     you want. Now                                              booking details are       Citi Bank’s         back to the IRCTC site and click on
     you can check                                              shown, and if every-      gateway, or the     Booked Tickets to see if the tickets
     the radio button                                           thing is fine, click on   American            have been booked.
     next to the train                                          Make Payment. You         Express gateway.        If for some reason you don’t see
     of your choice                                             will see a popup that     You’re taken to a   your tickets there, click on the Failed
                                                                                          secure site
     and click any of                                           will let you choose to                        Payments to see whether your
                                                                                          where you enter
     the        buttons                                         pay by credit card, or    your card           transaction failed due to some
     below. The Book                                            by the various banks      details. Your       reason. In that case, you will have to
     Ticket      button                                         that let you pay via      order will be       go through the above procedure
     takes          you                                         their Net banking         confirmed and       again. Hey, nothing’s perfect!
     straight to actu- Enter the travellers details             services.                 then you’re          
                                                                                          directed back to
60   DIGIT AUGUST 2004
                                    Want a                                1. Enter the data in one sheet,     marks entered are within the
 MS Excel                           Special Character?                    copy and then paste into other      specified range. To set valida-
                                          The characters * or ‘ and       sheets.                             tion rules for this example,
Rows to Column or                         ? have special meaning          2. Press and hold the [CTRL]        select the cells and go to Data
Vice-versa                          in Excel. To locate them in           key and click on the sheet          > Validation. On the Settings
      If you want to inter-         your Excel file, use the Find         names near the status bar.          tab, in the Allow list, choose
      change the data in rows       and Replace dialog under              One you have selected the           ‘decimal’. In the Data list,
to columns and vice-versa,          ‘Edit’. Prefix them with a ‘‘ ’ in    sheets, enter data on the           select ‘between’. In the
select the cells containing the     the ‘Find’ field and search. For      sheet that is visible and it will   Minimum and Maximum
data and press [CTRL] + [C] to      example, if you want to find a        be entered to all sheets.           fields, enter 0 and 100 respec-
copy them to the clipboard.         ?, enter ‘? in the find dialog.       Similarly, you can use the          tively. On the Input message
Now click the first cell where                                            [CTRL] key to select multiple       tab, you can specify what mes-
you want to paste the data          Freeze the Title Row                  sheets and then do many             sage to display at the time of
and go to Edit > Paste Special.           Use the Window > Freeze         other things, like running          entering data in those cells.
In the dialog, enable the                 Panes menu item to lock         the spell checker.                  This message comes similar to
checkmark Transpose and                                                                                       the tool tips and is unobtru-
click OK to paste.                                                                                            sive. On the Error Alert tab,
                                                                                                              you can specify the message to
Separating Last Name                                                                                          display a wrong value is
and First                                                                                                     entered. Finally, click OK.
      If you have a field that
      contains entire names,                                                                                  MS Word
but what you need instead is
two fields containing the first                                                                               Remove the Drawing
name and last name sepa-                                                                                      Canvas
rately, use the Convert Text to                                                                                     In Word 2002 and later,
Column Wizard.                                                                                                      whenever you insert a
    To access this wizard,                                                                                    drawing object, a drawing
select the data and then click                                                                                canvas is placed around it. It
Data > Text to Column. In the                                                                                 was introduced to help you
first screen of the three-step                                                                                arrange the drawings in the
wizard, you will be asked to                                                                                  document. If you prefer
chose if your date type is                                                                                    working without it, you can
‘Delimited’, or ‘fixed width’.                                                                                turn it off. One way is to drag
Check the choice applicable                                                                                   the drawing object out of the
and click Next. In the next                                                                                   canvas, selecting the canvas
screen, if your date type is                                                                                  and then deleting it using the
‘Delimited’ choose the appro-                                                                                 [DEL] key. There is a way to
                                                                Discover                                      turn it off permanently, too.
                                                                                                              Go to Tools > Options and
                                                                 GENERAL TIPS                                 switch to the General tab.
                                           MS Excel 57 • MS Word 57 • MS PowerPoint 58                        Here, clear the checkbox that
                                                  MS Outlook 59 • MS Access 61                                says ‘Automatically create
                                                               READERS’ TIPS 60                               drawing       canvas      when
                                                                                                              inserting AutoShapes’.
                                                              30 MINUTES EXPERT
                                                   Customise your DivX movie CD 63                            Change blank paragraphs
                                                         Arrest that Song! 64                                 at the end of the page
Separating firstname and lastname                                                                                   If a page ends with a
using the text to column wizard                                                                                     table, a drawing object
                                                                                                              (such as a text box or text
priate delimiter or the char-       specific columns and rows, so         Using Validation Rules              frame) or a continuous section
acter that separates the first      that they are visible all the               You can limit the data        break, it will be followed by a
and last names, and then            time. Whenever you use this                 that can be entered in        blank paragraph. This para-
click OK. In the final step,        command, the column on the                                                graph may force your docu-
select the destination box and      left of the selected cell, and the                                        ment to jump onto another
click the destination cell, and     row above the selected cell will                                          page. To keep your document
finally, click Finish.              freeze. For example, if you                                               on one page, format the blank
    If you are feeling adven-       cursor is at cell B2, the first row                                       paragraph:
turous, you could try either        and first column will freeze.. To                                         1. Make the paragraph sym-
for the following two com-          reverse, simply click Window >                                            bols visible by pressing
mands:                              Unfreeze Panes.                                                           [CTRL]+[SHIFT]+[8].
    1. =LEFT(A1,FIND(“,”,A1)-1)                                                                               2. Select the paragraph
assuming the name is in cell        Working on Multiple                                                       symbol you want to change.
A1 and the first name and last      Sheets                                Creating rules for data entry       3. On the Format menu, click
name are separated by a                   If you want to enter cer-                                           Font and then click the Font
comma.                                    tain data on more than          cells. For example, you can         tab.
    2. =MID(A1,FIND(“,”,A1)+        one sheet, opt for one of the         create a rule for entering stu-     4. Type 1 in the Size box, and
2,255) to extract last name.        following ways:                       dents’ marks, so that the           click OK.

                                                                                                                            AUGUST 2004 DIGIT   57
      Tips & Tricks                                                                   Bet you didn’t know
         5. On the Format menu, click             Formatting task pane in          Justify text beautifully in
         Paragraph, and then click the            Word 2002 or later. Click                                                MS PowerPoint
                                                                                   MS Word
         Indents and Spacing tab.                 New Style in the task pane       When you apply Justify                 than TOC in many cases.
         6. In the Spacing area, in the           and in the dialog that           formatting to a paragraph, Word        Use Outline for entering
         Before and After boxes, type             comes up, enter the name         inserts spaces to adjust the           content quicker
         the number 0.                            of the new style. Change         length of the line. Sometimes,                 Tackling both the
         7. In the Line Spacing box,              other options if you want        you may end up having too much                 look and typing the
         select Single.                           to, and click OK. You can        white space in between words. To        content for a presentation
         8. Click OK.                             apply the style from the         achieve alternative and more            at the same time can be a
                                                  Styles dropdown list on the      presentable text justification, go      bit overwhelming. Why not
                                                  Formatting toolbar.              to Tools > Options and click the        try getting your thoughts
                                                                                   Compatibility tab. In the               down first in the Outline
                                                  More text in less space          Recommended options for list,           view and then build from
                                                        You can fit in more        click WordPerfect 6.x for               there? In the left panel of
                                                        text in lesser space in    Windows. Then enable the                the PowerPoint window,
                                                  several ways. Perhaps, the       checkboxDo full justfication like       click the Outline tab. Type
                                                  most obvious one is to           WordPerfect 6x for Windows              your thought and press
                                                                                   under the Options. Click OK to
                                                  reduce the font size.                                                    [ENTER]; that’s a new slide
                                                                                   close the dialog. This spacing
                                                  However, don’t make it too                                               title. You can continue cre-
                                                                                   adds and removes spaces,
                                                  small that it becomes            which normally results in               ating slides and entering
                                                  unreadable. As a rule of         uniform spacing.                        slide titles by typing infor-
                                                  thumb, anything below 9                                                  mation       and    pressing
                                                  point is a no-no. however, you    beginning of your document          [ENTER]. If you want to add con-
                                                  can accomplish tighter text       by pressing [Ctrl] + [Home]. Go     tent to a slide, press [TAB]
                                                  also by reducing the line         to Insert > Reference > Index       (instead of [ENTER]) and
               Removing blank paragraphs at the   spacing to single, making         and Tables. In the dialog box       PowerPoint records the text as
               end of the page                    indents paragraph spacing         that pops up, go to the Table       a bullet point. To add a bullet
                                                  zero. You can get to all these    of Contents tab. Click on the       within a bullet point, press
         Creating Styles                          using the Format > Paragraph      Options button, and make            [TAB] again. You can create
             Using styles for format-             dialog.                           sure all the heading levels         several levels of bullets, but
             ting is recommended                                                    you have used in the docu-          usually one or two levels do
         over changing formatting                 Using a Table of Contents         ment are selected. Click OK to      the trick.
         parameters like fonts, para-                   A table of contents         come back to the Index and
                                                        comes in handy when         Tables. Now choose the              Template for repeated
                                                  navigating within a docu-         number of levels you want to        presentations
     Illustrations: Mahesh Benkar

                                                  ment—especially long docu-        appear in the TOC and click               If you are creating the
                                                  ments. It creates and main-       OK to create the table of con-            same        presentation
                                                  tains internal hyperlinks         tents. You will have to press       layout over and over again,
                                                  based on the formatting           [Ctrl] and click the hyperlinks     you can turn your presenta-
                                                  styles used in the document.      to follow them. To go back to       tion into a template that you
                                                  Make sure you format the          the TOC, click on the ‘Go to        or others can use fast and
                                                  document using the styles—        TOC’ button on the Outlining        flawlessly. A template saves all
                                                  Heading 1, Heading 2, etc.        toolbar.                            the     settings   you    have
                                                  Now, move your cursor to the          If you are using Word           selected—background images,
                                                                                    2002 or later, there is a sim-      colour scheme, font selec-
         graphs space for individual                                                pler way to navigate within a       tions, and so on—and ensures
         chunks of text. This allows you                                            large document. Simply click        that the presentations you
         to format faster and also                                                  View > Document Map and             create based on that template
         brings consistency across the                                              the map of the document,            all have the same elements in
         document. To create a new                                                  similar to Windows explorer,        common. This is great if you
         style, select the text that you                                            will open on the left side of       have a uniform companywide
         have formatted and want to                                                 document window. You can            look that you want all
         use as ‘style’. Go to Format >                                             then click the heading in the       your departments to adhere
         Styles and Formatting. This                                                document map to jump to             to. To turn a presentation into
         will open the Style and                  Creating a table of contents      that section. It’s better to use    a template:

58       DIGIT AUGUST 2004
                                          Bet you didn’t know                                                                 Tips & Tricks
    On the File menu, click           Schedule ‘Response to                locate the button, simply            images, say, in order to e-mail
Save As.                              e-mail’ in MS Outlook                hover your mouse over the            it to someone. All you have to
    In the Save as type list,         As much as you’d like to, you        buttons and read the tool tips.      do is: open the presentation in
click Design Template.                can’t always respond instantly           In the dialog box that           PowerPoint, scroll down to
    Name the file and click           to every e-mail message. If you      appears, choose ‘All pictures        that slide and click View >
Save.                                 did, you’d never get any work        in document’ in the ‘Apply to’       Notes Page. Here you’ll see
    Another extra that can            done. To make sure that you                                               that the slide occupies half of
really help: add instruc-             don’t forget to answer                                                    the page as an image. Right-
tions about special for-              important messages, move                                                  click on this image and choose
mats, font choices, or video          them to your calendar so you                                              ‘Copy’. Now open any graphic
clips in the Notes area               can set aside a specific time to                                          application such as MS Paint
(under each slide), if others         respond, or add them to your                                              or Photoshop, paste the copied
will    be    using      your         task list as a reminder.                                                  image there and save the file.
template.                             To turn an e-mail message into
                                      an item on your calendar or
                                      task list:
                                                                                                                 MS Outlook
Creating a Photo Album
in PowerPoint 2002                        1. Drag the message from                                              Colour code your Calendar
                                      your Inbox onto the Calendar
      You      can       use                                               Compressing pictures in                    Outlook provides ‘labels’
                                      icon or Tasks icon on the
     PowerPoint 2002 and                                                   presentations                              which allow you to
                                      Outlook Bar or onto your
later to create a photo-              Calendar or Tasks folder in the                                           colour-code your appoint-
album presentation. To                Folder List. This will create a      field. Choose the appropriate        ments by choosing from var-
create this, go to Insert >           new appointment item.                resolution, depending on             ious label types and colours.
Picture > New Photo                       2. If you are moving the         what the presentation is             So, with a quick glance you
Album. The Photo Album                item to the calendar, enter the      intended for—if you don’t            get to see the types of appoint-
dialog will open. Now click           date and time you want to            plan to print the slides,            ments at hand.
the File/Disk button to add           reply and specify any                choose Web/Screen option.                Instead of the normal cal-
any picture that’s stored on          additional options you want.         Click OK and the images will         endar, your calendar can
your computer, or click the           (The body of the e-mail              be compressed.                       look like the one in
Scanner/Camera to add pic-            message is automatically added                                            labels.bmp.
tures from a scanner or               to the appointment.)                 Converting slides to                     To colour-code your cal-
camera. Hold down [SHIFT]                 3. Click Save and Close to       images                               endar, right-click an appoint-
to select multiple images.            add the appointment to your                You may want to convert        ment, point to Label, and then
Using this dialog, you can            Calendar or Task list.                     individual slides into         click the label you want. Or,
choose the layout of the                  4. You can drag items
album, convert pictures               between all Outlook folders,
                                      including Inbox, Tasks,               Some useful keyboard shortcuts
into greyscale, adjust the                                                        Keyboard shortcuts help you work faster with any application.
                                      Calendar, Contacts, and Notes.
brightness and contrast or                                                        PowerPoint has shortcuts too. Here are some of them:
                                      For more options, right-click
rotate the image. When you
                                      before you drag.
are done, click ‘Create’ to                                                 To                                   Press
create the presentation. If                                                 Start a presentation                 [F5]
you need to modify any of                                                   Advance to the next slide            [N], Left-click, [Spacebar],
these changes later, just go to         Reducing the size of                                                        , , [Enter], or [Page Down]
Format > Photo Album.                   presentations                       Return to the previous slide         [P], [Backspace], , , or
                                              When you add pictures                                              [Page Up]
                                              to presentations, the size    Go to particular slide               Number followed by [Enter]
                                        increases. To compress pic-         Make the screen blank                [B] or [.]
                                        tures in PowerPoint, open the       Make the screen white                [W] or [,]
                                        presentation and click any          Show or Hide the arrow pointer       [A] or [=]
                                        image. The images toolbar           Erase drawings on a screen           [E]
                                        should be visible now. If it        Change pointer to pen                [Ctrl] + [P]
                                        doesn’t appear, right-click on      Change pointer to arrow              [Ctrl] + [A]
                                        any toolbar and choose              Change pointer to eraser             [Ctrl] + [E]
                                         Pictures. On the picture           Hide pointer and button              [Ctrl] + [H]
Creating a Photo Album presentation      toolbar, click the Compress        To get help on keyboard shortcuts    [Shift] + [?]
                                         Pictures button. If you can’t

                                                                                                                              AUGUST 2004 DIGIT    59
                                   Tips & Tricks

                                                                          Readers’ Tips
                                                                      MS Excel
                                                                                                                           To resolve errors in grammar or spelling, double-
                                                                      Close Workbooks Fast                                 click the Spelling and Grammar Status.
                                                                                Need to leave your desk suddenly but                                                   Smit
                                                                                have 10 worksheets open in Excel? Try
                                                                                this—Click the File menu while keeping     MS Outlook
                                                                                the SHIFT key pressed on your key-
                                                                      board. Excel will now reveal a ‘Close All’ menu      Important Office data files
                                   Colour coding appointments         item, clicking which will close all open                         At the time of making your regular
                                                                      worksheets, while prompting for a save where                     backup, it is essential to know where the
                                                                      applicable.                                                      important data files of MS Office are
                                   when you are scheduling an
                                                                                                     Naveenchandran                    kept. Here are the important ones:
                                   appointment, click a colour in                                                               .pab files are Microsoft Outlook address
                                   the Label list.                                                                              book files.
                                                                      MS Word
                                                                                                                                .pst files are Microsoft Outlook mail,
                                   Rules Rule                                                                                   contacts, tasks and calendar files book files.
                                         Outlook has a powerful       Customising Your “Normal” Template                        .rwz files are the Microsoft Outlook rules wiz
                                         rules system to notify                Does your work require sending large             ard files.
                                   when an important mail, such                number of letters on your letterhead?            Locate the file by using the Windows find tool.
                                   as from your fiancé or your                 What you can do is open the      Click Start > Find > Files or Folders.
                                   boss, comes in. Additionally,               template file from a path like                    In the Named box type *.pab(or whatever you
                                   you can make Outlook auto-         “C:\Documents and Settings\Saurabh Kumar             are searching for from above) in the Look in box,
                                   matically move e-mail into         \Application Data\Microsoft\ Templates”.             ensure it is looking on the drive that Microsoft Office
                                   predefined folders such as         Any changes you make in this document will           is located (generally the C: drive). Click Find Now
                                   ‘Mailing Lists’, ‘Family Mail’     appear in any new documents you make in Word.              This should locate the file you are looking for,
                                   and     more.      This   will     You can use the header/foother fields to add         if present. Ensure that you have completely closed
                                   help de-clutter your inbox         custom letter head graphics, page numbering,         your copy of Microsoft Office. Once this file is
                                   and make your e-mails more         date/time etc. and these will appear every time      located copy the file to an alternate drive or
                                   manageable.                        you open a new document.                             backup media.
                                                                      Shortcuts to Useful Word Features
                                                                      Did you know that the status bar, that area at the
                                                                                                                           MS Access
     Illustration: Mahesh Benkar

                                                                      bottom of Word documents where the page              Automagically normalise tables
                                                                      number appears, also provides shortcuts to a                    One of the most useful but unnoticed fea-
                                                                      number of very useful features? Here are a few                  ture of Access is Analyze. It is divided into
                                                                      you may want to use:                                            three options.
                                                                         To open the Find and Replace dialog box,                          Table Analyzer: This feature attempts
                                                                      double-click any location indicator on the           to analyze your table for repeated data, recommends
                                                                      status bar, such as the page number or section       and splits the tables to generate BCNF normalised
                                                                      number.                                              table structure. The tool is good for a quick survey of
                                                                                                                           the tables or for newbies, as its suggestions are usu-
                                                                         To turn the macro recorder on or off, double-     ally good and based on logic.
                                                                                                                                Performance Analyzer: It analyses and suggests
                                                                         click REC.
                                                                                                                           modification in the structure of the database to opti-
                                                                         To turn the Track Changes feature on or off,
                                                                                                                           mize the performance of database. The wizard will
                                                                         double-click TRK.                                 attempt to locate logical errors such as incorrect
                                       To create a rule, click           To turn extend selection mode on or off, dou      data types and more.
                                   Rules Wizard. You can either          ble-click EXT.                                         Documentor: This one is used to create the
                                   customise on the Tools menu,          To turn overtype mode on or off, double-click     documentation of the database structure, which can
                                   one of the sample rules in            OVR.                                              be useful and a real time saver for quick
                                   Outlook, or build one from            To change the language format of selected         report generation.
                                   the scratch. Most rules               text, double-click Language.                                                                     waaznt
                                   operate on messages as they
                                   arrive or are sent, but you can   (or other folders). In fact, one   message in your Inbox. Open            Rule. The Rules Wizard will
                                   create a rule and select it to    of the easiest ways to create a    the message, and on the                include details about your
                                   run on messages in your Inbox     rule is by using an existing       Actions menu click Create              message, such as sender and

60                                 DIGIT AUGUST 2004
                                     Bet you didn’t know                                                                 Tips & Tricks
subject, already filled in.                                               the Available categories list    Mail Format tab.
All you need to do is choose      Delete Duplicate Rows in                to select the categories you         2. Under Signature, click
which criteria to use and         MS Excel                                would like to find. Click OK.    Signatures, and then click New.
which action it should            To delete duplicate rows, you           Then go to Find Now.                 3. Select the options you
trigger. And enter data in        filter a list for unique rows,                                           want, and then click Next.
steps till ‘Finish’.              delete the original list, and           Search all Info Related              4. Under vCard options,
                                  then replace it with the filtered       to a Contact                     select a vCard from the list or
                                  list. The original list must have
Categorise to Track               column headers.
                                                                                Few people ever ven-       click New vCard from Contact.
Data                                   1. Select all the rows,
                                                                                ture past the first tab
      Categories help you         including the column headers,           in the Outlook Contacts           MS Access
      manage your data            in the list you want to filter.         form. After all, if you are
from various sources, but is           2. On the Data menu, point         storing information for          Archiving Stale Records
a very under-utilised fea-        to Filter, and then click               business contacts, just                If you have a large data-
ture of Outlook. Each             Advanced Filter.                        about everything you need              base, with records you
Outlook item can be                    3. In the Advanced Filter          is contained on the first        do not query regularly,
assigned a category, either       dialog box, click Filter the list,      tab. Occasionally, you click     shifting them to a new table
from the Outlook’s default        in place.                               on the second tab to enter       will improve the efficiency of
set, or a custom one. Assign           4. Select the Unique records       a spouse’s or assistant’s        your table. We will hence
your e-mail, meetings, jour-      only check box, and then click          name. But have you ever          archive records from one table
nals entries, tasks etc. a cat-   OK. The filtered list is displayed      seen what the third tab,         to another. You archive
egory, so that later, you can     and the duplicate rows are              the Activities tab, con-         records (instead of deleting
easily retrieve all data          hidden.                                 tains?                           them) when you want to
related to a particular cate-          5. On the Edit menu, click              The Activities tab          remove unnecessary records
gory, such as of your             Office Clipboard. The Clipboard         shows you all the Outlook        from the original table to
clients’ names.                   task pane is displayed.                 items related to that con-       reduce its size. To archive
                                       6. Make sure the filtered list     tact: every e-mail, meeting,     records in an Access database
                                  is still selected, and then click
                                                                          journal entry, or task. It’s a   (.mdb), build simple queries
                                  Copy. The filtered list is
                                                                          great way to review all          that move the records from
                                  highlighted with bounding
                                  outlines and the selection              your communication with          one table to another. A macro
                                  appears as an item at the top of        someone or prepare for a         can be used to automate the
                                  the Clipboard.                          meeting with them. If            multiple queries used to
                                       7. On the Data menu, point         you’re overwhelmed by the        accomplish this task.
                                  to Filter, and then click Show          sheer volume of informa-             To periodically archive
                                  All. The original list is               tion on this tab, you can        records from one table to
                                  re-displayed.                           filter the information and       another:
                                       8. Press the [DELETE] key.         display only Contacts, E-            1. Use the Copy and Paste
                                  The original list is deleted.           mail, Journal Entries,           commands to make a copy of
                                       9. In the Clipboard, click         Notes, or Upcoming Tasks         the table you want to archive.
Categorising to organised data    on the filtered list item. The          or Appointments.                 Copy only the structure, not
                                  filtered list appears in the                                             the data. For example, copy
                                  same location as the original           Create a virtual                 the structure of the Products
     To categorise an item,       list.                                   business card                    table in the sample database
right-click the item, and              Caution: Because you are                  Use Outlook to extend     to a new table called
then click Categories. This       permanently deleting data, it’s                the ritual of passing     Products_Archive.
will bring up your current        a good idea to copy the original         out business cards. Add a           2. Create an append query
                                  list to another worksheet or
list of categories. Select a                                               virtual     business     card   that contains all the fields in
                                  workbook before using the
category from the Available                                                (vCard) to your e-mail signa-   the original table and
                                  following procedure.
categories list. To create                                                 ture, ensuring that your        appends records to the
new categories, click Master                                               business contact informa-       archive table. Set the criteria
Category List.                    for all the Outlook items             tion is included in each e-mail    to specify the subset of
     To view all the items that   related to a category.                message you send.                  records you want archived.
belong to that category, you          In the Tools menu, click          To include a vCard with your       For example, create an
can customise your view to        Advanced Find, and then click         e-mail signature:                  append        query      called
group items by category. Or       the More Choices tab.                     1. On the Tools menu, click    Products_Append            that
use Advanced Find to search           Click Categories and use          Options, and then click the        appends only discontinued

                                                                                                                         AUGUST 2004 DIGIT   61
     Tips & Tricks
     items to the Products_                                                   persistent connection with       not have permissions to ever
     Archive table by setting the         Bet you didn’t know                  the database by opening a       save the changes.
     Criteria cell for the                                                     recordset. To do this:              To fix this, open the Tools
     Discontinued field to = -1.
                                       Add Stripe Patterns to a                    1. Create an empty form.    menu, select Options, and
         3. After appending the
                                       Table in MS Word                            2. In the code view,        choose the General tab. Then,
                                       One way to modify the built-in
     records to the archive            table formats that come with            declare a recordset variable    clear    the     Track   name
     table, you will need to           Microsoft Word is to apply              in the global declarations      AutoCorrect check box.
     remove them from the orig-        your own stripe patterns. You           section.
     inal table. Create a delete       can select the number of rows               3. In the OnOpen event,     Query based on User Input
     query with the same cri-          or columns to include in a              open a recordset against              Access allows you to
     teria you specified in the        stripe pattern and apply your           any table.                            enter        parametric
     append query. If you create       colour choices to the pattern.              4. In the OnClose event,    queries. Such queries can
     an append query that                  When you modify a table             which will activate when        accept inputs from the user,
     prompts for a parameter,          style, all tables with that style       the MDB is closed, close the    while running to make the
     you should also create a          in the active document will be          recordset and set the vari-     query result conditional,
     delete query that prompts         changed.                                able to nothing.                based on the user input. They
     for the same parameter.               1. To add stripe patterns to            5. Ensure that you          are useful because the query
     Make sure you enter the           a table, select the table.              always open this form           itself does not need to be
     same values each time you             2. Open the Styles and              when opening the MDB.           modified by the query
     are prompted when you             Formatting task pane from the               Maintaining persistent      designer. You can easily add
     run the queries. For              ‘Format’ toolbar.                       connections to linked tables    conditions to the query by
     example, create a delete              3. In the Styles and                could improve performance       using the ‘Criteria’ box of the
                                       Formatting task pane, click
     query called Products_                                                    significantly because it pre-   Query Designer grid. Enter
                                       the arrow on the ‘Table style’,
     Delete using the same cri-                                                vents Microsoft Jet from        some text to describe the
                                       and then click ‘Modify’.
     teria as the Products_                4. In the ‘Apply Formatting         constantly deleting, cre-       input      enclosed     square
     Append query.                     to’ box, select a stripe pattern        ating, and obtaining locking    brackets in the criteria box
         4. Create a macro that        by doing one or both of the             information from the other      query_pmt.bmp. Next time
     first runs the append             following: Add stripes to rows,         database’s locking informa-     you run the query, Access will
     query and then runs the           Click Odd row stripes or Even           tion file.                      ask you for the input of the
     delete query. For example,        Row stripes.                                                            field to complete the query on
     create a macro called                 5. To select a colour for the       Open Database Objects           the fly.
     Products_Archive_Records          stripes, click the arrow next to        Faster
     that uses the OpenQuery           Shading Colour, and then                      If a database has the
     action to run the Products        chose a colour.                               Name AutoCorrect
     _Append query and then                6. By default, the stripe            feature enabled, more
     uses the OpenQuery action         patterns are applied to every            often than not, users will
     to run the Products_Delete        alternate row or column.                 experience a delay when
     query.                                7. To change the number of           they try to open any of the
         5. Run the archive            rows or columns in a stripe              database objects. When
     macro each time you want          pattern, click Format, and               using a secured database
     to archive your records. For      then click Stripes.                      with Name AutoCorrect
                                           8. Change the number of
     example,       run       the                                               enabled, the current user
                                       rows in a stripe or the
     Products_Archive_                                                          must have design permis-
                                       number of rows in a row
     Records macro each time           band box.                                sions on the object to
     you want to archive discon-                                                enable Name AutoCorrect
     tinued products from the                                                   to track, fix, and log the     Defining the order of user inputs
     Products     table    to    the   but because of another user           binding errors when an
     Products_Archive table.           also working on the file, the         object is opened. If a user           You can make your query
                                       .ldb files fail to get erased. This   does not have design permis-      more complex. Example, you
     Lock for .ldb                     is tried 15 times before Access       sion on an object that Name       may set the Between…And…
          Sometimes when a new         fails and gives up. This process      AutoCorrect is trying to          operator by entering some-
          user tries to access a       causes a performance hit.             change, the changes occur         thing like “Between [min age]
     shared database on the server,         To overcome this problem         every time that the user          And [max age]” in the same
     a situation arises causing        you need to create a form on          opens the object. This hap-       criteria box.
     Access to delete the .ldb file,   the client side, which creates a      pens because the user does            If you have parametric

62   DIGIT AUGUST 2004
                                                                                                                  Tips & Tricks

                   Customise your DivX movie CD
                   Insert a CD and get DivX to autorun. Get a synposis of the movie. Browse online
                   film reviews. Play around with lots more by customising your DivX movie CD

                            ipping a DVD movie to                 Click on the first button     have the images of the back
                            DivX has now become                   and you will get a lot of     and front DVD covers create
                            passé. It’s time to elevate           options to configure          buttons for them too. If you
                     yourself to the next level.           that button. Here’s how we did       have a small synopsis text file,
                     Customize your DivX movie CDs         it. We chose to keep the first       create a button for that.
                     so that once you insert a disk in                                             Our menu resembled this
                     your drive, it not only auto-                                                 box below.
                     runs, but also provides you with
                     a menu so that you can do more                                                         Now for the final
                     things related to the movie like                                                       touches. With the
                     reading a synopsis of the movie                                                        buttons      created,
                                        or launching a                                              click on Settings > Sound &
                                        browser to go                                               other option. This will let
                                        directly      to                                            you configure the options
                                        online reviews.                                             for the main window. If you
                                        And no, you do     Each button can be customised to         want to display any images,
                                        not require pro-   perform a specific function              click on the Settings > Image
                                        gramming                                                    properties option and pro-
                                        knowledge for      button as the ‘Play Movie’           vide the path to the image to be
                                        accomplishing      button. Provide the path of the      displayed. Then click on
                                        this—just    30    movie and that’s it. You’re          Settings > Test Settings. This
                                        minutes.           done!                                will give you a status report of
                                            To   create                                         the work that you have done
                                        this menu we              Customising       comes       and whether anything is
                                        will be using a           next. Play around with        wrong. If everything is OK,
The CD interface, with the buttons      freeware tool             the buttons as you like.      click on Settings > Save to cur-
                                        called Compact     If you want to keep a codec          rent directory. Then click on
                     Disc Autorun (CDA) available on       pack handy on the CD, copy           Settings > Create INF and finally
                     the web (           the codec installer in the same      click on Settings > Make
                   jbs024000/software/cda.html)            folder as the executable and         Settings read only.
                   and some other software                 create a button for it. If you
                   that will make the menu                                                             Burn all the files that
                   look better, and display images                                                     you see to a CD. Make
                   such as the DVD front and                                                           sure that all the files,
                   back covers.                                                                 including the movie and the
                                                                                                auto-run files are on the root of
                            First, download the CDA                                             the CD. If there are any folders,
                            compressed        archive,                                          make sure that you specify the
                            and extract the exe-                                                path correctly. Once you have
                   cutable to the folder where                                                  the movie on the CD, try it out
                   you have your movie. When                                                    and let us know if your friends
                   you run the program you                                                      are amazed to see what you
                   should see an interface as                                                   have just created!
                       Whew! That’s a lot of but-                                               Note: Find the software men-
                   tons. But don’t worry, once you         The final interface that appears     tioned here and more similar
                   start, it’ll be a walk in the park.     when you enter the CD in the drive   freeware on our DVD/CD.

                                                                                                                  AUGUST 2004 DIGIT   63
     Tips & Tricks
     input on more than one of
     the fields, then how do you
     decide which input box
     appears before which? In
     that case, you can control it
                                                         Arrest that Song!
     by going to Tool > Query >                                                                     radio stations in your list.
     Parameters. Here, enter
                                                         Record Internet radio                          To listen to a station, click on
     the parameters with the                             shows and your favourite                   Tune In. This launches your
     exact name. Be careful to                           all-time hits—BOOMBox is                   default media player, such as,
     keep it in the order in                                                                        Winamp. The song doesn’t start
     which you wish them to                              here for you                               immediately, as it is buffered first

     appear.                                                      ou finally got a ‘broadband’      to enure smooth playback.
                                                                  Internet connection. Stream-          Once playback begins, you can
           Tip of the Month                                       ing audio beckons (stream-        configure the recorder. Go to
                                                                            ing video needs         Recorder > View Recorder, which
      Easy Access to                                                        the Indian defin-       opens the Recorder window. Click
      Frequently-accessed                                                   ition of broadband      on Advanced to see all the
      Documents                                                             to change)! You are     options. An option is the
      The Work menu is a great                                              sitting at your         Advanced Song Change Detection
      Word feature that few                                                 c o m p u t e r ,       feature      cuts     the      songs
      people know about. You can                                            listening to your       accordingly to different parts. For
      use the Work menu to keep                                             favourite Internet      extremely       advanced       audio
      an easily accessible list of                                          radio channel, and      editing, you’ll need to find
      your favourite Word files.                                            a song you just         different software.
      Here is how you can add                                               love    is     aired.       Once the recording is done,
      the Work menu to the                                                  “Nooo! Damn! How        navigate to the folder with the
      toolbar:                       Click on ‘Tune in’ to launch the       do I record this?”      recorded songs. The software
      1. Go to Tools, click          default media player                   you wonder. We
      Customize, and then click                                             will show you how
      the Commands tab.                                     you can record your favourite
      2. In the Categories box,                             Internet radio shows or just a few
      click Built-in Menus.                                 all-time-favourite songs.
      3. Click ‘Work’ in the                                    You need to have a SHOUTcast
      Commands box and drag it                              compatible player installed,
      to the menu bar or                                    which supports the .PLS file
      displayed toolbar.                                    extension. We will use a player
      4. With the Work menu in                              called BOOMBox Online Radio
      place, you can add any                                Player—a small and intuitive
      open Word document to                                 online radio player. However, its
      your list. Here are the                               best feature is the bundled
      options:                                              streaming audio recorder.
      5. To add the current                                     Configuring this tool is a
      document to the Work                                  snap: Once you start the software,
      menu, on the Work menu,             Warning!          you can choose to either see a list     ASCD (Advanced Song Change
      click Add to Work Menu.                               of radio stations by category, or       Detection) records each track separately
      6. To open a document on       A lot of the           see a complete list that will give      on to your hard drive
      the Work menu, on the Work     content on             you more options to choose from.
      menu, click the document       popular Internet       Click on the Refresh Radio List         saves the recordings as MP3s. So,
      you want to open.              radio stations is      button to get the latest list.          you won’t have to worry about
      7. To remove a document        copyrighted.               You will see a list of radio        converting         uncompressed
      from the Work menu:            Capturing this         stations displayed. Click on one,       formats, such as WAV into MP3.
      8. Press [CTRL]+[ALT]+[-].
                              [      content is illegal!    and you are shown a brief                  You can add radio stations to
      Your cursor will look like a   Make sure you          description, including the URL          your favorites list and one-click
      large, bold underscore.        only capture           and the current song that is            recording. BOOMBox offers other
      9. On the Work menu, click     audio that isn’t       playing. Clicking on the Populate       amazing features, for free. Here’s
      the document you want          copyrighted.           Now Playing button will show you        to never having to do without
      to remove.                                            all the songs playing on all the        your favourite music ever again.

64   DIGIT AUGUST 2004
     Visual Explanation

     5    Common ways viruses
          enter your system
           1 You open unsafe attachments in
                                                       The anti-virus
                                                       software, let’s
                                                                             Buster checks
                                                                             which virus is
                                                                             affecting the
             e-mail messages                           call him Buster,      concerned file in
                                                       constantly            one of three
           2 You keep the preview pane open in
             your e-mail client                        monitors your         methods:
           3 You open a Web page that contains         When Buster
             malicious code
                                                       detects an            The Signature                    1
           4 Someone sends you a virus-                infected file, or
             infected file over a P2P network                                approach
                                                       when it sees          Just like the police trace patterns in crimes
           5 You run an infected file from             suspicious            back to a criminal, software engineers can
             removable media such as a floppy          activity,
             disk or CD                                                      reverse engineer a virus to find the signature
                                                       it uses three         it leaves. This signature is added to the
                                                       approaches to         database, so, when Buster performs a virus
                                                       identify the virus    scan, each file is scanned for matches with
                                                                             any virus’ signature

                                                                Quarantine of the
               ways                                             infected file
                                                                Buster tries to make
                   an                                           the file inaccessible
          anti-virus                                            to programs, without
           software                                             deleting it
            removes                                                           2                          3
            infected           1
                                                                                                       Deleting the
                files         Removal                                                                  infected file
                              of virus code                                                            Buster deletes the
                              Removing the viral                                                       file if the code
                              code from the file, if                                                   cannot be removed,
                              possible. This is the                                                    or the file
                              best case scenario,                                                      quarantined
                              no harm is done to
                              the system

                                                                                                   Text Ram Mohan Rao Graphics Solomon Lewis
70   DIGIT AUGUST 2004
                                                                             3       Approaches to
                                                                                     detect the viruses

                                                                            The Heuristic approach
                                                                            This analyses a program for ‘seemingly’
                                                                            malicious behaviour. Heuristics is effective
                                                                            against undocumented viruses. The Buster of
                           The Sandbox approach                             the future might eliminate the need for
                            A ‘Sandbox’ is an advanced program that         continual monitoring of new viruses
                             emulates an OS. A suspect executable file is
                       2     run within the confines of a sandbox, and
                           then the sandbox is examined to see what
                           changes were made. These changes are used
                           to determine which virus infected the file

Physical removal of                                                                                 If these
infected file                                                                                       five methods fail,
If the file is in use by                                                                            or if a critical
the OS, a user needs                                                                                OS file is
to manually delete it                                                  5    Seeking help            infected, Buster
(if it is a non-critical                                                    Viruses often make      boots via a
file), or manually     4                                                    changes to the          secondary OS to
replace it from a                                                           registry, and Buster    access files being
clean backup                                                                can’t always reverse    used by the
                                                                            these changes. In       infected OS
                                                                            such cases, users are
                                                                            directed to the
                                                                            company’s Web site,
                                                                            for help on what
                                                                            registry keys to
                                                                            change or delete

                                                                                                          AUGUST 2004 DIGIT   71
     Test Centre

                         As Open Source seems poised
                         to make a mark in the individual
                         and small business segment, you
                         should be looking to see which
                         Linux is best for you

70   DIGIT AUGUST 2004
                                                                                                                                                                                   Test Centre
                                                                                               ness. You’ll also find a section on        It is stable,      the OS. The audio and video chat
                                                    Mustali Kachwala                           LIVE CD distributions, which are                              clients are disappointing, as there
                                                                                                                                          costs little,
                                                                                               Linux distributions that can be run                           is an inconsistency in the applica-
                                                                                                                                          and has,

                                                           t wasn’t until too long ago         straight off the CD drive, without                            tions that are bundled along with
                                                           that Linux for your desktop         altering your existing set up.             literally,         the various distributions. However,
                                                           was    inconceivable,     not           Linux is best when it comes to         hundreds of        text messaging remains consistent
                                                           because it wasn’t present           security. It is more or less immune        free               with Gaim and Kopete.
                                                           (there were hundreds of             to virus threats.                          software               Getting used to the Linux envi-
                                                    options available even then),                  It has a bunch of GUI tools to                            ronment will be a bigger challenge
                                                    but because Linux meant geek. Per-         configure various devices such as          options            than the applications. Every now
                                                    ceptions ranged from, “It’s not for        modem, network cards, and dial-                               and then you’ll want to switch
                                                    me” to, “I am not a NASA space sci-        up connection. Similarly, it has                              back to Windows. New adopters in
                                                    entist.” Well, here’s the good news:       simple GUI tools for CD burning,                              offices should opt for a dual
                                                    it’s      not     true     anymore.        CD ripping, and audio file conver-                            boot system, so that they can tackle
                                                    Individuals and small businesses           sion. Common office chores such                               critical situations.
                                                    are moving over to Linux—even if it        as dragging a file to or from the                                 Users will find it difficult to use
                                                    is only a small trickle—and finding        network are really easy. Linux                                software which appears radically
                                                    it as simple as Microsoft Windows.         shows the hidden shares, the                                  different such as GIMP, compared
                                                         Linux also has some other             shares suffixed with a dollar ‘$’                             to Paint. For example, in Paint,
                                                    inherent advantages—it is more             sign at the end. Flash-enabled                                pressing the ‘Print screen’ button

                                                         Flavours Available

                                                     ELX BizDesktop          Lycoris Desktop/LX       Mandrake 10 Official    RHEL Professional WS     SuSE 9.1 Pro            Xandros Standard
                                                     Price Rs 500            Price Rs 1,800           Price 2,350             Price Rs 3,250           Price Rs 4,857          Price Rs 2,250
                                                     Company                 Company                  Company                 Company                  Company                 Company
                                                     ELX Pvt Ltd             G.T. Enterprises         G.T. Enterprises        Red Hat India Pvt ltd    Seascope Infotech       G.T. Enterprises
                                                     Phone 040-23551637      Phone 080-6606093        Phone 080-6606093       Phone 022-22881326       Phone 022-26338484      Phone 080-6606093
                                                     E-mail                  E-mail                   E-mail                  E-mail                   E-mail                  E-mail
                                                     Web site                Web site                 Web site                Web site                 Web site                Web site
Illustrations Mahesh Benkar Imaging Solomon Lewis

                                                    stable       (although        Microsoft    Internet browsers, better than IE,                            on the keyboard followed by [Ctrl] +
                                                    Windows XP is as stable), costs less,      come with the Linux OS, with lots                             [V] gives you a screenshot. But the
                                                    and has, literally, hundreds of free       of plug-ins—mouse gestures, etc.                              commands are different in Linux.
                                                    software options. Most impor-                   Linux will disappoint you when                           Other applications, such as
                                                    tantly, piracy issues are something        it comes to dealing with multi-                               Office suite, aren’t radically dif-
                                                    you’d never have to deal with              media applications. It plays VCDs,                            ferent from Windows.
                                                    again—both as an individuals, or           but doesn’t play DVDs. There are                                   For a typical Windows user, a
                                                    as a small business.                       lots of legal issues, too, that need to                       personal      finance     manager
                                                        It is therefore pertinent to ask:      be tackled. Playing MP3s is simple,                           wouldn’t be common. Even if you
                                                               If you are moving over to       but you can’t play other formats                              get one, it won’t be bundled with
                                                               Linux, or thinking of set-      such as OGG without using a plug-                             the OS. But Linux comes with Gnu-
                                                               ting up your systems based      in. The plug-in you have at your dis-                         cash, a free personal finance man-
                                                               on Open Source, which           posal depends upon the choice of                              ager. You just need to run the
                                                               Linux is right for you?                                                                       application and start using it.
                                                                   Given the options                                                                              Nero in Windows allows a
                                                               available, it is not a simple                                                                 multi-session CD to be burnt with
                                                               task. Also, it will be some                                                                   disc-at-once option, which it
                                                               time until Linux over-                                                                        shouldn’t. This CD doesn’t work in
                                                               comes some issues such                                                                        Linux. Also in Linux, the unclosed
                                                               as hardware compati-                                                                          multi-session CD can’t be read
                                                               bility,    interoperability                                                                   without the help of a CD writer.
                                                               with other OSes, and                                                                               Some people have a craze for
                                                               weaning users away from                                                                       Windows applications, and they
                                                               the Windows GUI.                                                                              want to use the same in Linux too,
                                                                   Digit looked at the var-                                                                  which is actually possible. You just
                                                               ious options available in                                                                     need to install an emulator soft-
                                                               the market, and found out                                                                     ware such Wine, Crossover Office
                                                               which is the most appro-        This GUI tool makes it easy to burn CDs and                   or VMware, and get started. But if
                                                               priate one for your busi-       DVDs in Linux                                                 you use any proprietary application

                                                                                                                                                                                 AUGUST 2004 DIGIT     71
     Test Centre
     using the emulator, then you need         Contrary to                                                    and the second CD. Similarly SuSE
     to obtain a license for the same.                                                                        shows the CDs needed, as well as
         Today’s Linux distributions are
                                               popular                                                        the amount of time each CD will
     well equipped with tools and              belief,                                                        take to install.
     applications to woo both home             everything
     and office users. Contrary to pop-        that comes                                                     Partitioning
     ular belief, everything that comes        with Linux                                                     Partitioning the hard drive is the
     with Linux is not free. Some                                                                             biggest hurdle. For a brand new
     applications, such as Crossover
                                               is not free                                                    hard disk with nothing on it, the
     office are shareware.                                                                                    ‘use free space’ option is your best
                                                                                                              bet. This option has two parts to
     How and what we tested                                                                                   it—auto and manual. The manual
     We looked for ease of use, right                                                                         option is complicated and not rec-
     from the OS installation to auto-                            the install—this reduces the                ommended for new users. Some
     mounting disks and attaching USB                             chances of the installation failing.        OSes such as RHEL, ELX Biz
     devices, and ease of interoperability                        The older Red Hat 9 and the cur-            Desktop, and Lycoris Desktop/LX
     with Windows. Everyone has used                              rent Fedora Core 2 provide this             also provide a way to review the
     Windows, and is familiar with the                            option, but the Enterprise product          partitions after the auto parti-
     ease of use it offers. So, a Linux                           we tested does not.                         tioning is complete.
     distribution must do well against                                Once the package selection is               Mandrake gives you the
     Windows as well.                                             done, Red Hat lists the distribution        added option of resizing your Win-
         Another important thing is the                           CDs needed to complete the                  dows partition. You can reduce the
     application bundle for the most                              install—for example, the ‘Personal          size of the Windows partition, up
     commonly performed tasks. We                                 Desktop’ install requires the first         to the limit of free space available,
     checked to ensure that a good MS                                                                         and then use the free space to
     Office replacement was present as                                                                        create partitions for Linux. This
     well as other business and commu-                                                                        option is especially useful for those
     nication tools.                                                                                          who do not have free unallocated
         In any office, the computer                                                                          space on their hard drive. We had
     rarely sits alone. It is essential that                                                                  a 50 per cent success ratio with it—
     a Linux-based PC behave well on the                                                                      when we resized a Windows parti-
     network in making its resources                                                                          tion it was a success, but when we
     available, and in accessing the                                                                          resized a Xandros Linux partition,
     resources of other PCs on the net-                                                                       it was destroyed!
     work. Similarly, support for
     printers and sharing installed                                                                           Type of installation
     printers is very important. Not all                                                                      Generally, most of the distribu-
     distributions do well on this front,                                                                     tions provide only a default (also
     varying considerably in device sup-                                                                      called express or standard) and a
     port and software simplicity.                     Plugging in a USB device results in a popup            Custom option. Mandrake does
         All tests were conducted on an                notification, in Xandros                               not provide any install option
     Intel Pentium 4 1.7 GHz processor
     (Intel motherboard) with 256 MB
     RD-RAM, an ASUS TNT2 VGA card,                 Running Windows Applications on a Linux Box
     onboard Network, a Seagate Bar-
     racuda 40 GB, 7,200 RPM hard drive,
     and an 8x Lite-on DVD Writer.
         We tested six flavours of Linux:
     ELX BizDesktop, Lycoris Desktop/
                                                T    here are a few Windows emulators,
                                                     which provide an environment in
                                                     which Windows-based programs can
                                                be executed on a Linux platform. All you
                                                                                                     Notes, Microsoft Visio, etc. Its latest
                                                                                                     version, CrossOver Office 2.0.1, is available
     LX, Mandrake 10 Official, RHEL             need to do is load the emulator in Linux. A              VMware takes advantage of the Intel
     Professional WS, SuSE 9.1 Pro and          few such emulators are Wine, Crossover               architecture, which allows virtual machines
     Xandros Standard. We also tested           Office and VMWare.                                   to be created at the hardware level,
     three LIVE CDs: Knoppix LIVE CD,               Wine is an open source implementation            enabling you to use more than one
     MandrakeMove and SuSE.                     that can be downloaded for free from                 operating system on the same PC. It
                                       It runs the Win 32 and               establishes a virtual network connection
     DESKTOP LINUX                              Win 16 API on Linux. Hence, you can                  between the operating systems, allowing
     Starting out                               execute almost all your Win 32, Win 16 or            them to communicate with each other as if
     All installations use a three-pane         DOS applications. It provides X11-based              they were physical computers, connected
     interface for the installation             graphical support, DirectX support, as well          via the LAN. So, you can access the Linux
     process, with the left pane broadly        as a text-based console. Support for sound           virtual machine via Network Neighborhood
     listing the steps involved in the          devices, input devices, printing devices,            in Windows, and vice versa. The biggest
     entire process, and the right pane         scanners and CD writers, are also included.          advantage is that it can have either Linux,
     shows a slide show highlighting the        Even bug detection occurs similar to a               or Windows as the host operating system.
     important features of the product.         Windows PC.                                              Though Wine is free, the bad news is
     The bottom pane shows description              CrossOver Office has a small set of              that the other two aren’t. Wine is installed
     about the current status of the            applications that can be emulated on                 automatically with the ELX install, but not
     installation process.                      Linux. The list of applications supported            in SuSE. Xandros steers clear of wine or
          ELX lets you test the installation    includes Microsoft Office, Lotus                     CrossOver Office.
     media, CD or DVD, before you begin

72   DIGIT AUGUST 2004
                               except       direct     package
                               selection, which is tedious.
                               Lycoris Desktop/LX installed the
                               entire set of packages on the
                               hard drive.
                                    RHEL lets you choose
                               between Personal Desktop,
                               Workstation,       Server    and
                               Custom. The different options
                               have different combinations of
                               packages, and you can further
                               modify this package list.
                                    Though the default boot
                               loader for most was Grub, you
The ELX desktop has icons
                                can also opt for the older LILO
similar to those of Microsoft   boot loader. Mandrake still
Windows                         depends only on LILO. In a dual-
                                boot scenario, you can select
which OS it boots into as default. Xandros was the only one to
recognise another existing Linux installation and add it to the
boot menu.

For all the distributions, the install time is less than half an
hour—the only difference is with the number of CDs you have
to change. For example, SuSE has 5, Mandrake and Red Hat have
4, while Xandros, Lycoris and ELX have just one each.
    One excellent aspect of Lycoris Linux is that you can con-
figure various settings such as networking, printers, VGA, etc.,
while the packages are still installing. The bottom of the screen
shows the install status, and you can spend time configuring the
different components. If you’re done with the configuration
before the installation process ends, you can play Solitaire to pass
                                                                        1/2 page V AD
the time. Thus, installation isn’t a bore, and you save the time
you normally spend, after an install, configuring your devices.
    Most distributions did well when setting up the display, net-
work, printer, keyboard, mouse, etc., but Xandros and Lycoris
caused a few problems on our test machine.

Only Lycoris demands the creation of an additional user account
during installation, for better security. Red Hat and SuSE warn
you not to use root as the daily account. Mandrake goes as far
                             as providing a ‘No Password’ button
                             for the root, allowing a blank pass-
                             word, a highly undesirable feature.
                                 While entering the root pass-
                             word, SuSE offers a choice of ‘DES’,
                             ‘MD5’ and ‘Blowfish’ encryption,
                             and also warns you if you try to use
                             the username as a part of the pass-
                             word. ELX and Red Hat do not pro-
                             vide too many options, but allow
                             you to use MD5 encryption and
                             shadow passwords.
                                 Mandrake offers four security
levels for the firewall, but in a lapse of security, leaves the fire-
wall off by default—bad news for Linux novices. ELX BizDesktop
does better, by setting the default firewall setting to ‘Medium’.
    Xandros gives you total security over data communication
by assigning users permissions to use dial-up connections, both
modem-based and LAN-based.
    The popularity of Windows, is also its downfall—the
majority of viruses circulating the globe affect only the Win-
dows OS family. You could even start a virus collection on your
Linux box, and never worry about your computer crashing. Usu-
ally, Linux does not scan incoming mails for viruses, or block
attachments. This, however, will have no adverse effect on Linux.
You can set up anti-virus software on your Linux machine, to

                                                                                        AUGUST 2004 DIGIT   73
     Test Centre
     safeguard the vulnerable Win-            wizard lets you set the default        Except for      Xandros also includes Opera 7.5.
     dows-based PCs on your network.          system behaviour, set up the                                All have important tools such
     In fact, you can even set up your        default theme, as well as set up the
                                                                                     Mandrake,       as file archiving software, PDF
     Linux box to be a gateway, and           auto-mount option for Windows          these Linux     readers, address managers, organ-
     block unwanted visitors.                 partitions, if any. Another inter-     distributions   izers, and CD or DVD burning soft-
                                              esting feature was ‘Eye-O-Candy’,      include         ware. You can forget about issuing
     Post-install                             this is a slide bar which lets you     applications    commands to burn CDs or DVDs—
     Mandrake and SuSE have some              choose between performance and                         thanks to the easy to use K3b GUI
     extra configuration options, such        effects—we recommend the lowest
                                                                                     to play MP3s    application. ELX didn’t bundle a
     as setting up the Internet proxy         setting for slower processors. Xan-    and movies      fax application such as KFax.
     immediately after installation, and      dros allowed left-handers to set up                         CDs or DVDs burnt on a Linux
     letting you connect to the Internet      the default mouse behaviour for                        machine can easily be read on a
     immediately. Similarly, both allow       themselves. It then let’s you set up                   Windows machine, and vice versa.
     you to configure your modem              a dial-up connection, network,                         You may not be able to read an un-
     during this period. Mandrake             printers and system settings. The                      finished CD or DVD in Linux, but
     allows you to manage the default         system settings of ELX and Xan-                        K3b, the CD burning software, can
     services that start with operating       dros were the same. Red Hat’s First                    import a session, and also help you
     system, an excellent option for          Run wizard helped with config-                         finalise the CD or DVD. CDs burned
     advance users. SuSE offers to help       uring the sound card, installing                       with the ‘track-at-once’ option can
     set up DSL, ISDN and VNC.                other software from additional                         only be read by K3b, and multi-ses-
         Only Mandrake, Red Hat and           CDs (optional), and a patch update                     sion CDs burnt with the ‘disc-at-
     SuSE help you update the latest          via RHN.                                               once’ option can’t be read on
     security patches during install—             Mandrake is a shocker—it starts                    CD-ROM drives.
     patches could have been released         with an absolutely blank desktop,                           SuSE has a taken a different
     after the CD was distributed.            and doesn’t allow right-clicks on                      approach towards helping users
                                              the desktop.                                           manage applications. It doesn’t
     Hardware issues                              Xandros, at the other extreme,                     show the list of packages as the
     The configuration we used to test        supports active user switching, just                   others do. Instead, it provides a
     the distributions was described ear-     as in Windows XP.                                      search box—search for a string such
     lier. Unfortunately, Lycoris and                                                                as ‘ftp’, and all packages related to
     Xandros refused to install on that       Applications                                           it appear. This list shows both the
     system due to poor hardware sup-         Word        Processors,                                ones already installed, as well as
     port. We used an older configura-        Spreadsheets and Pre-                                  those that aren’t. Additionally, a
     tion to test them—a Pentium II 350       sentations are the                                     ‘Check Dependency’ button helps
     MHz on a ZX board with 256 MB SD         three most widely                                      find components needed by the
     RAM, LG 48x CD-ROM and a Sam-            used applications for                                  application. Red Hat follows the
     sung 20 GB hard drive.                   any     SoHo      user.                                same old package manager, which
          Lycoris has other issues with offers                                  lists packages under groups—
     hardware compatibility. If you have      a good set of applica-                                 finding an individual application
     to remove an optical drive time and      tions for this purpose.                                needs experience or hard work.
     again, or if you frequently change       All the distributions                                  Mandrake comes out on the top
     drive channels—from primary slave        we tested had the                                      here—its rpmdrake provides the
     to secondary slave, etc., you will suite                                   benefits of both SuSE and Red Hat.
     have problems accessing your             of applications. The interoper-
     optical drive when running Lycoris.      ability factor with Windows,                           CD ripping
                                              in this case Microsoft Office, is                      There are many open source
     Using Linux                              properly dealt with.                                   software available to rip an
     Only, Red Hat and Mandrake warn              The two most common mes-                           Audio-CD on to your hard drive.
     you if you try and login as ‘root’ in    sengers that appear were                               Most distributions—except Xan-
     GUI mode. This is important,             Kopete and Gaim. Both of these                         dros—provided one. The most
     because one mistaken command             messengers are multi-network as                        common applications are GUI
     can damage the OS.                       they enable a user to login to                         tools such as grip, KAudioCre-
         ELX, Red Hat and Xandros have        more then one type of service,                         ator, etc.
     a ‘First Run’ wizard. In ELX, this       including      both     MSN     and                       SuSE doesn’t install the CD rip-
                                              Yahoo! Messenger.                                      ping tool in the default install, you
                                                  Except for Mandrake, which                         have to manually install it later. ELX
                                              does bundle an MP3 player, all the                                   installs its applica-
                                              others had an application to play                                    tion in the default
                                              movies and MP3s. Mandrake can                                        install, but the sur-
                                              acquire MP3 capability easily, by                                    prise was Red Hat,
                                              downloading a plug-in, but then                                      which doesn’t even
                                              again, it faced problems when con-                                   bundle a GUI-based
                                              figuring the sound card.                                             CD ripping tool.
                                                  All the OSes include a
                                              browser, e-mail client and dial-up                                   Multimedia
                                              connection manager. The differ-                                      You’ll have a tough
     The KDE Control Centre takes care of     ence is the particular applications                                  time playing DVDs in
     tasks such as configuring a device, or   that are bundled. Konqueror or                                       Linux. Multimedia
     adding removing software                 Mozilla are most common, but                                         software such as

74   DIGIT AUGUST 2004
SuSE shows you the network workgroups, as in Windows

mplayer, Kaffeine, etc., exist, but Kaffeine depends on
Xine, which doesn’t support DVDs. Xine-based players
such as Totem, Noatun, Caffeine, etc., lack DVD sup-
port. Red Hat doesn’t bundle applications to play
DVDs, or even VCDs. Not all distributions bundle video
conferencing applications, but there are lightweight
application easily available for download. ELX provides
Gnome Meeting, which is compatible with Microsoft

Switching to Linux will mean abandoning Internet
Explorer (IE). Don’t lose heart though, according to a
CERT report (
TA04-163A.html), users have been requested to switch
to non-IE browsers—at least until Microsoft resolves
some major security holes. Other options include
Opera, Mozilla, Konqueror, etc.
    Opera and Konqueror support flash, but Mozilla
doesn’t. However, Mozilla’s e-mail client is light, and
has good features. It’s no Outlook, but it will handle
your mail in a familiar way. Also, remember that you
won’t be able to transfer your Outlook mails to Evolu-
tion or Mozilla. This can only be achieved using third-
party tools, and involves a complicated process. These
clients still perform well, use much less system
resources, and imitate Outlook well.

All the OSes help you set up a LAN card during the
setup process itself, while providing a GUI configura-
                             tion interface. The only dif-
                             ference is how you access
                             the network shares of other
                             Linux, Apple and Windows
                                 SuSE has the best
                             approach. The file manager
                             itself is capable of browsing
                             a Windows network, and
                             showing members—as in
                             Windows Explorer. In fact,
                             it even shows hidden Win-
                             dows shares. All you need
to do is double-click the share to open it. SuSE, unfor-
tunately, makes you copy a file locally before opening
it. It also only allows a user to share folders that exist
within his or her home directory.
     ELX comes in next with a similar browsing expe-
rience as SuSE, the only catch is that you can’t double-
click on a share and view its contents. You have to
right-click on the folder, and mount it, before you can
view the folder’s content. It also picks up ‘ghost’ shares
that aren’t accessible any more.

                                                             AUGUST 2004 DIGIT   75
     Test Centre                                                     Case Study Mahiti

                                                                 “Linux is more stable and
                                                                 secure than Windows”
                                                                                       MAHITI SPECIALISES IN multi-platform, multi-lingual
                                                                                       Web, intranet, multimedia and kiosk applications.
                                                                                       Sunil Abraham founded Mahiti in 1998 along with
                                                                                       Sreekanth and Allan to provide appropriate and
                                                                                       affordable IT services to the voluntary sector. They
                                                                                       started by providing free e-mail service and Web sites
                                                                                       for around 20 organisations. They built over 50 Web,
                                                                   Sunil Abraham       Intranet, kiosk and multimedia applications for
     This scan button helps you browse through the network and   clients—including, Indian Foundation for the Arts, United
     install remote printers                                     Nations Development Programme, National Law School University of
                                                                 India, and
          Red Hat turned out to be the                                 Currently, Sunil is the team leader at Mahiti. His responsibilities
     worst of the lot—Samba isn’t
                                              SuSE and           include marketing, client liaison, design, documentation, project
     installed by default, so at first        ELX provide        management, production and technical or non-technical training.
     logon you can’t access a remote          local              We spoke to him regarding his company’s shift to Linux:
     share. Even after installing Samba,      network            Why did you shift from Windows to Linux?
     you need to get down to the com-         browsing,          The primary issue was the licensing that is involved in procuring
     mand prompt to enable sharing,           just like          commercial software such as Microsoft Windows.
     enable the samba server and                                 How much did you save by switching to Linux?
     mount remote shares. It would be         Windows
                                                                 It is very difficult to calculate, can’t say. When we used Windows, we had
     better to just switch to Konqueror,                         only few shareware programmes. Now we have several mature
     instead of the default file man-                            applications. The average Linux distribution comes with
     ager, to graphically browse shares.                         2,000 applications.
          ELX offers the least flexibility—
     if you want to share any folder, you                        How much did you spend, training people to use Linux?
     have to copy the entire folder                              We did not spend any money as the training was handled by a
     to /home/public, which, in fact,                            volunteer, Pramod R—a member of the local Linux User Group [LUG]
     is the only folder that is                                  from Bangalore.
     accessible to others.                                       What are the immediate advantages achieved?
          Sharing files has always been                          As a software development company, using Linux we spend less money
     a bane for Linux users. Advanced                            to procure third party licenses and therefore for the same revenue we
     users can edit the /etc/samba/                              make more profit.
     smb.conf file in order to enable                            What were the problems during and after shift over?
     file-sharing.                                               Users were not used to the small differences between Linux and
          Xandros treats each LAN con-                           Windows. For example copying and pasting, copying of files across the
     nection as a dial-up. You can                               network, installing fonts, etc.
     specify this LAN-based dial-up to
                                                                 Are you satisfied with Linux?
     connect at login, and also which
                                                                 Yes, Very.
     users are allowed to use this con-
     nection—great for security.                                 Five common problems that your people faced while using Linux?
          Linux deals with networking                            1. is too slow
     very efficiently. SuSE and ELX pro-                         2. No application to replace software such as 3dsMax and AutoCAD
     vide local network browsing, just                           3. No easy tools to configure scanners, printer and the like
     as in Windows. You can browse                               4. No applications for audio or video editing
     through the network and even see                            5. No wizards for installing fonts, keymaps, locales
     hidden Windows shares, also                                 If Windows offered you a free license, would you switch back?
     called dollar shares. You can copy                          We will shift to Microsoft only for its office suite. Provided it is available
     files by dragging and dropping,                             under GPL. But we will not shift from Linux as the operating system,
     and view the details of the elapsed                         even if Microsoft becomes ‘free as in freedom’ and ‘free as in free beer’.
     and required time, as well as the                           This is because Linux is more stable, more secure and completely
     data transfer progress                                      virus free. We don’t have to keep giving three-finger salutes
     in MB.                                                      throughout the day.
                                                                 How many people in your organisation?
     Printing                                                    We have 15 employees working here.
     Setting up a local
     printer seems to be an                                      How many of them have a technical background?
     easy task these days,                                       Being a software development company most of us are programmers.
     thanks to new GUI                                           How many of them had already used Linux before?
     tools, but connecting                                       Almost none had previous Linux experience.
     to a remote printer is                                      What was the employee reaction to the switch?
     still tough. ELX lets                                       Initially, the reaction was, “This is very difficult”, but they got used to it
     you browse through                                          eventually. The option I gave them was pay for your own software.
     the network and                                             Needless to say, no one took that option.

76   DIGIT AUGUST 2004
     Score Board
            Description                  Mandrake     Lycoris/LX    Xandros    SuSe 9.1 Pro   ELX    RHEL WS
Ease Of Use (Weightage: 60%)                 38.5          35           26          45         39      40
Installation (Scale of 5)                    4             3            3           4          3.5     4
Partitioning (Scale of 5)                    4             3.5          3           4          4       4
Auto mount Windows partition                 N             Y            N           Y          Y       N
Windows key support                          N             N            Y           N          N       N
Update process (Scale of 5)                  3.5           2.5          NA          4          2.5     4
Number of CDs                                3             1            1           5          1       4
Common applications (Weightage: 10%)         9             10           7           10         6       7
Address management                           Y             Y            Y           Y          Y       N
Organiser                                    Y             Y            Y           Y          Y       N
Fax                                          Y             Y            N           Y          N       Y
Messenger                                    Y             Y            Y           Y          Y       Y
MP3 player                                   N             Y            Y           Y          Y       N
Games bundled                                Y             Y            Y           Y          N       Y
Networking (Weightage: 15%)                  10.5          10.5         12          12.5       11      10.5
Configuration (Scale of 5)                   3.5           3.5          4           4          4.5     4
Share folder (Scale of 5)                    4             3.5          4           4          3       3
Access other remote share (Scale of 5)       3             3.5          4           4.5        3.5     3.5
Printing (Weightage: 15%)                    8.5           10.5         12          11         9       11
Configuration (Scale of 5)                   3.5           3.5          4           4          3.5     4
Share printer (Scale of 5)                   2.5           3.5          4           3.5        1       4
Install remote printer (Scale of 5)          2.5           3.5          4           3.5        4.5     3
Final Score                                  66.5          66           57          78.5       65      68.5

    select any remotely shared printer              OSes auto-mount the CD drive              SuSE’s auto
    that you want to use. The printing              when the file manager tries to            update
    configuration of Xandros in the                 access them. Surprisingly, SuSE has
    ‘First Run Wizard’ was excellent; it            changed the default mounting              indicates
    helped set up not only a local                  location of CD drives and f               whether a
    printer but also a network printer              loppies from ‘/mnt’ to ‘/media’. Just     patch is
    without any trouble. This GUI tool              press the eject button—the CD-ROM         critical or
    was     the    best    across    all            auto un-mounts and ejects the             optional
    distributions—it even allows one-               disk. As for floppies, it’s best
    click sharing of the printer on the
    local machine.
        Due to problems with Samba
                                                    to mount when the file manager
                                                    tries to access it, and not after
                                                    inserting the disk.
                                                                                                               1 col AD
    for Red Hat, you may not be able to
    install remote printers or share                USB reaction
    your own printers. The configura-               Xandros has a pop-up notification
    tion tool doesn’t provide a scan or             when it detects a printer
    browse button to add remote                     attached to the USB port. For other
    printers. You need to manually                  distributions, you get immediate
    enter the domain, machine and                   response for a USB keyboard or
    share names.                                    mouse but for a printer, scanner
                                                    or USB drives, you need to
    Recover it yourself                             execute a few commands. ELX was
    Even now, rescuing is done the old              a disappointment—it does not
    way—using the command line. If                  support USB!
    the system has only one Linux OS,
    the rescue mode mounts the Linux                Dial-Up Connection
    partition,   by      default,   at              Xandros has an excellent GUI tool
    /mnt/sysimage. If multiple Linux                to set up the modem and dial-up
    OSes are loaded, it has a tough
    time detecting the right one. RHEL
    takes the safest way out by pre-
    senting a drop down list; ELX
    mounts, but with warnings, while
    others such as SuSE and Xandros
    do not take the trouble of
    mounting a partition.

    Auto mounting CD-ROM
    and floppy drives
    Both Red Hat and Xandros auto-
    mount a CD-ROM drive when a disc
    is inserted—Red Hat provides a
    shortcut on the desktop, while Xan-
    dros opens the file manager with                As soon as you insert a CD-ROM, the File Manager pops
    the CD drive in focus. Other                    up in Xandros

                                                                                                                 AUGUST 2004 DIGIT   77
     Test Centre
                                                                                                   What Can I Use a LIVE CD For?
     connection. You can even restrict       product launch. To keep updated,
                                                                                         Here are a few operations or tasks you might want
     user access to the connection. Red      you have to pay an annual charge
                                                                                         to use a LIVE CD for:
     Hat also has a good GUI tool,           of 40 per cent of the initial price,
                                                                                            Helping you burn a CD or DVD, if your system has
     but the rest only had command-          which works out to Rs 1,300 for
                                                                                            the necessary writer
     based configuration.                    RHEL every year. You get Red Hat
                                                                                            Internet surfing, though you need to configure
                                             updates only if you subscribe, but
                                                                                            the modem or LAN card for the same
     Update to date                          as a subscriber, you can also down-
                                                                                            Creating a document in the popular OpenOffice
     All the distributions provide an        load a newer OS versions for free.
                                                                                            application and printing it
     auto update facility, and make the          SuSE and Red Hat both offer
                                                                                            Maybe just transferring files over a LAN network
     entire process effortless—SuSE gets     e-mail/web-based support and
                                                                                            For a programmer it is like carrying your
     a bonus point for providing the         helplines, that is free for a short
                                                                                            development center along with you in your bag
     update package list with a flag,        while and then costs more. SuSE
                                                                                            Quick scanning and printing work
     indicating whether a patch is crit-     has regional offices in the four
                                                                                            Listening to music or watching movies
     ical or optional. ELX failed to auto-   Indian metros and Bangalore,
     update      despite     continuous      where their support engineers also
     attempts, possibly because of a         provide onsite support but this            working, printing, etc., were sim-
     problem with the server.                costs extra, of course!                    ilar. SuSE did not auto-mount the
                                                 Red Hat too has offices all over       Linux or Windows partitions on
     Summary                                 India, and offers support in the           the hard drive, but Knoppix did.
     Mandrake really irritated us while      Metros, Pune and Bangalore. Red            Knoppix also provides a rich set of
     testing: time and again it requested    Hat onsite support also costs extra.       tools for programmers and devel-
     the original CD to install some-                                                   opers, and has more applications
     thing, it stalled; it even failed to    LIVE CDs                                   packed into the CD than either
     complete       installation    tasks.   What’s a LIVE CD?                          SuSE or Mandrake. Knoppix also
     Though Xandros, Lycoris and ELX         It’s like walking into a bike show-        includes the Wine emulator, so
     provided all the applications a typ-    room and taking that Harley                you can run some of your
     ical desktop user would need, Red       Davidson for a spin. You’re not            favourite Windows programs
     Hat and SuSE offered even more.         risking financial ruin (read: data         from within Linux.
     RHEL would have won the laurels,        loss); if you don’t like it, you just          MandrakeMove requests some
     if only it could handle networking      return the keys and go back to             user details during boot-up. It
     and printing better, but we decided     driving your Ducati 999 (read:             also refuses to acknowledge the
     that SuSE was definitely the best,      whatever OS you currently run).            existence of one-sixth of the
     despite being more expensive.                You don’t have to partition,
                                             install, or risk corrupting the cur-                  Products Tested
     Pricing factor                          rent OS’s boot system, nothing! You
     The Linux distributions tested here     get stuck somewhere, you decide                   Suse 9.1 Pro (
     can be bought by spending               that you don’t like Linux, all you                Knoppix 3.4
     between Rs 500 and Rs 5,000. ELX        have to do is eject the CD and                    (
                                             reboot your PC to get back to your                MandrakeMove 9.2
                                             OS of choice. Also, think of it as                (
                                             walking around with the power of
                                             Linux in your bag. If a PC has a CD-
                                             ROM drive, you can use your                world’s population—when cre-
                                             favourite LIVE CD distribution on it.      ating a dial-up connection, you
                                                  It’s not all rosy though: you still   have to select a country code, but
                                             have to configure all your devices—        India doesn’t figure on that list!
                                             network card, modem, VGA driver,           Hence, you will have to go
                                             etc.—every time the computer               through a lot of trouble config-
                                             boots. Also, the simplest solution to      uring it manually—not recom-
                                             saving data is to use a floppy. You        mended for beginners.
                                             can save to the hard drive, but you         
                                             can’t carry your hard drive around
                                             with you, which defeats the whole
     BizDesktop costs just Rs 500, and is    point of LIVE CDs. Ideally, upload
     not a bad choice at all for those       the data to the Internet.
     interested in getting a feel for
     Linux. Lycoris Desktop/LX costs         Who and how
     Rs 1,800, Xandros costs Rs 2,250,       We tested three LIVE CD installs—                                 04

     RHEL WS costs Rs 3,250 and SuSE         one each from SuSE, Mandrake and                             ST 20
                                                                                                      AUGU                           AUGU
     costs the most at Rs 4,850.             Knoppix. Here too, we tested for                                                            ST 20
         Wait! This doesn’t mean that        application support, networking                                                                  04
     SuSE is the most expensive! It actu-    and printing needs of a SoHo busi-
     ally works out cheaper in the long      ness. The applications are a replica
     run. It costs more initially, but you   of the full system, so they work the
     don’t have to pay any renewal fees,     same way as we have already seen
     and get three years of patches free.    for the regular distributions.                                                              RHEL
     Red Hat, which has a five-year              The SuSE 9.1 Pro LIVE CD was                           Suse 9.1 Pro           Professional WS
     product cycle, but not from the day     a replica of actual SuSE 9.1 Pro, so
     you buy it, but from the date of the    all operations such as net-

78   DIGIT AUGUST 2004
     Plantronics DSP300USB Stereo PC                            Apple G5 system
     Here’s one for the audiophile gadget freak:
     A USB headset! Install some software, con-
                                                                It’s the coolest one!                    Company
                                                                                                         Apple International
     nect your headphones to a vacant USB slot
     and enjoy your music. The drivers don’t                    E   ven Steve Jobs knows this is
                                                                    one hot babe—Apple has
                                                                placed nine fans in the G5 to
                                                                                                         Price Rs 2,38,700 (excluding the monitor)
                                                                                                         Phone 080-25550575
                                                                                                         E-mail indiainfo
     mess up your current sound configuration.                                                           Web site
     The inline remote lets you control both the                keep it cool. Look hard at the
     headphones and mic—the Plantronics USB                     rugged industrial design, and
     DSP does the rest. The headphones distort                  you’ll find a seriously classy
     at high volume, but are                                    aluminium casing. Move, then,
     decent otherwise. This                                     to the 21-inch cinema display,
     set’s ideal for                                            the dual 64-bit IBM PowerPC 970
     laptop users.                                              2 GHZ CPUs, the latest Mac OS X
                                                                10.3 with USB 2.0 and FireWire
     Company Mach                                               800 ports, an FSB of 1 GHz and
     Communications Pvt Ltd                                     an animated (yet smooth) GUI
     Price Rs 4,000
     Phone 011-23724300
                                                                that makes Windows XP look like
     E-mail                                                     a Neanderthal gollywog. Now tell                                         us you are not impressed!
     Web site

     Canon i80
     If you’ve got yourself a camera phone, and
     are a trigger-happy self-styled photographer,
     Canon just made your day- and your year as
     well. The new Canon i80 makes printing
     your pictures as simple as holding your
                                                                Biometric USB Flash Drive
     infrared-enabled phone in front of the
     printer, and using its ‘Send to IR’ function.
     It prints at a resolution of 4,800 x 1,200 dpi,            Secure impression
     and on A4, 4 x 6-inch and 5 x 7-inch paper.                                                         best security around for your
     Add to that features such as PictBridge and
     Bubble Jet Direct—
                                                                F  ingerprint recognition is
                                                                   fascinating. However, you have
                                                                to set it up right. Get it wrong,

     all in a unit no                                                                                    Company RX Technologies
                                                                and fascination turns into               Price Rs 6,500
     thicker than a                                             frustration. The Biometric USB           Phone 011-26295856
     book—and you get                                           flash drive is first detected as a       E-mail
     must-have device.                                          normal flash drive with 119.3 MB
                                                                of storage space. Run the bundled
     Company Canon India Ltd
     Price Rs 17,995                                            software and you’re prompted to
     Phone 011-26806572                                         put your fingerprint on the flash
     E-mail                                                     disc. If you complete this step                                   correctly, everything will run
     Web site
                                                                fine; if you don’t, you might need
                                                                to go as far as formatting the disc
                                                                just to regain control. It’s still the
     Orite RAM-CAM
     The Orite RAM-CAM is a USB 1.1 stick-cum-
     Web cam, and stores 128 MB of data. What                   Antec Laptop Cooler
     can you do with it? Transfer data as with a
     normal USB stick, use it as a Web cam, or                  Not hot at all
     store as much video as the free space                                                               Company Cyber Space Abacus Pvt Ltd
     allows. The video isn’t good enough
     though—the 350 K CMOS sensor records at a                  T  he way laptops are used, and
                                                                   their compact (read: crammed)
                                                                packaging, adds up to heat galore.
                                                                                                         Price Rs 2,400
                                                                                                         Phone 044-24917667
     maximum of 640 x 320 pixels, at around                                                              Web site
     20 to 30 fps. But, hey, it’s a USB stick-cum-              The Antec Laptop cooler is a plate
     camera!                                                    with holes drilled in to dissipate
                                                                the heat that builds up
                              Company Mediatech India           underneath a laptop. It also has
                              Price Rs 4,750
                              Phone 022-26361111
                                                                two fans that rotate at 2,500 rpm,
                              E-mail   and draws only 2 watts of power
                              Web site         from a USB port. It doesn’t use up
                                                                the port though as it has a piggy-
                                                                back male connector. At just 750
                                                                gm, it doesn’t add too much
                                                                weight to your portable PC, and
                                                                keeps you from getting singed

84   DIGIT AUGUST 2004
   Canon MVx700i
                                                                                       Plantronics MX150
It’s a small, small world                                                              The MX150 mobile headset works with only
                                                                                       a few Nokia models, such as the 6100, 6610
T   his tiny camera fits in your
    palm, and has an 800 K pixel
CCD with 18x optical zoom.
                                                                                       and the 7250. The Flexigrip rubber grip
                                                                                       helps keep the earpiece in place. You can
Its 2.5-inch LCD helps you keep                                                        adjust the microphone by 180 degrees and
subjects in the frame. It records                                                      hence, wear the earpiece on either the left
on a MiniDV tape, which holds                                                          or the right ear. A button on the cable lets
up to 60 minutes of video.                                                             you receive incoming calls, and gives you
The MVx700i connects to a TV                                                           the hands-free
via the A/V port, and you can add                                                      freedom that you
in a dash of style to your                                                             should have with
recordings using the ‘Effect’                                                          mobiles.
button.                                                                                Company Mach
                                                                                       Communications Pvt Ltd
Company Canon India Ltd                                                                Price Rs 999
Price Rs 39,995                                                                        Phone 011-23724300
Phone 011-26806572                                                                     E-mail
Web site                                                               Web site

   Gainward Hollywood@Home TV2Go TV Tuner
                                                                                       Kodak EasyShare LS743
                                                                                       This sleek-looking camera has a Schneider
Impresses but drains                                                                   Kreuznach 2.8x optical zoom lens, and
                                                                                       stores up to 16 MB of images and
T   his feature-packed TV-tuner
    card from Gainward connects
via a USB 2.0 interface. It accepts
                                                                                       movies alongwith audio. It
                                                                                       runs on Li-ion battery,
composite as well as S-Video                                                           and comes with a
inputs. Its versatile remote allows                                                    charger. Preset
access to all functions, and the                                                       settings make life
TV2GO software lets you edit                                                           easier, especially for
videos, add effects and burn to a                                                      novices—all you have
CD or DVD. The quality of the                                                          to do is select the
captured content is good, but                                                          proper settings and click away. The
the device is quite a resource                                                         impressive image quality, at a reasonable
monger.                                                                                price, makes it a worthy digital companion.

Company Mediatech India                                                                Company Neoteric Informatique
Price Rs 4,850                                                                         Price Rs 19,500
Phone 022-26361111                                                                     Phone 022-24172600
E-mail                                                        E-mail
Web site                                                              Web site

   Atek Tote-Remote                                                                    Canon i9950
                                                                                       The Canon i9905 photo printer has a
                                                                                       whopping eight different cartridges, and
                                              Hold over presentations                  supports A3 printing. It performs decently
                                              Y  ou won’t ever struggle to make
                                                 PowerPoint presentations again.
                                              The Tote-Remote can start a
                                                                                       too: it prints fast in the draft mode, but is a
                                                                                       tad slow in the normal mode. Photo prints
                                                                                       are crisp, vivid, have a high contrast and
                                              presentation at the touch of a           look realistic. A must have for DTP houses.
                                              button, and lets you control slides
                                              easily. It’s a Radio Frequency (RF)      Company Canon India Ltd
                                                                                       Price Rs 31,995
                                              device, and so has a range of 30 to      Phone 011-26806572
                                              40 feet. It also has an inbuilt laser    E-mail
                                              pointer, making it a very useful         Web site
                                              presentation tool.

                                              Company J.S.Equipment
                                              Price Rs 6,000
                                              Phone 022- 23810713
                                              Web site

Looking for more information on any of the products featured in New & Notable?
 Please write to The DIgit Test Centre will be delighted to
 respond to your queries.

                                                                                                                         AUGUST 2004 DIGIT   85
        New & Notable
         Intel Grantsdale and Alderwood platforms

                                                                                                                                        different purposes simulta-

         New Kids On The Block                                                                                                          neously—one watching a
                                                                                                                                        DVD movie, while the other
                                                                                                                                        voice conferences using

               he new Intel                         Flavours of Southbridge that can be present on your boards
               Alderwood and                         ICH6          ICH6R             ICH6W                 ICH6RW                       CPU
               Grantsdale chipsets                   Standard      Supports          Supports inbuilt WiFi Supports inbuilt SATA        The new CPUs will be offered
         offer the much awaited DDR                                onboard SATA                            RAID and WiFi                in LGA775 (Land Grid Array)
         II and PCI Express standards.                             and RAID                                                             package, which should
         Interesting features such as                                                                                                   replace the current Socket
         Graphics Media Accelerator                8.5 GBps, which is nearly 30                                                         478 gradually. The LGA775
         900, Matrix storage, High                 per cent higher than cur-                                                            has 775 pins as opposed to
         Definition Audio, Wireless                rently available 875/865                                                             478 on the older socket. In
         Connect technology and the                chipset-based motherboards.                                                          fact, the new CPUs don't
         LGA775 (Land Grid array)                      Unfortunately, this extra                                                        have pins, and have flat con-
         CPU socket are supported by               bandwidth is higher than                                                             tact points instead. You have
         the new platforms.                        the bandwidth between the                     DDR II memory: life in the fast        to be careful when installing
             The Trusted Computing                 CPU and the Northbridge.                      lane                                   the processor, you might
         Platform chip promises                    So, the CPU can’t exploit this                                                       damage the pins on the
         uncrackable DRM (Digital                  increased bandwidth—not                       on the new integrated GPU              motherboard.
         Rights Management).                       until Intel’s 925XE chipset,                  core, pitted against a
             Let’s see if these new                featuring support for CPUs                    Geforce4 MX card—the                   Testing
         chipsets can deliver:                     with 1,066 MHz bus speeds.                    cheapest discrete card avail-          Our test bed had a D915GUX
                                                                                                 able. In UT2003, the                   motherboard, Pentium 4 550
         Chipsets                                  Graphics                                      Geforce4 card beat the                 running at 3.4 GHz, 1 GB
         According to Intel the i915               The age-old AGP8X bus will
         is targeted at the masses,                be replaced by PCI Express                    Onboard Graphics
                                                   x16. Of course you’ll need to                  Onboard graphics             Graphic Media Accelerator 900   Extreme graphics 2
                                                   upgrade your graphics card                     Core speed (MHz)             333                             266
                                                   to use the new interface. The                  Rendering pipelines          4                               2
                                                   ‘x16’ means 16-lane memory,                    Pixel fill rate              1.3 gigapixel/sec               533 megapixels/sec
                                                   with each lane capable of                      Pixel shader support         Pixel shader 2.0                None
                                                   250 MBps speeds. This trans-                   Hardware T&L                 None                            None
                                                   lates to speeds of 4 GBps in                   Memory bandwidth available   8.5 GB/sec                      6.4 GB/Sec
                                                   each direction, or a band-
                                                   width of 8 GBps—almost four                   onboard graphics by a                  Micron DDR2 533 MHz and
                                                   times the 2.1 GBps speed of                   slender margin. Other games            two 250 GB Maxtor Maxline
                                                   the current 8X AGP standard.                  showed similar results,                III hard drives. We ran
                                                   Will it ever be used? Today                   proving that though the new            Windows XP with service
                                                   most graphics cards store                     core is better than the older          Pack 1 and all the latest
         The new Intel D925XCV desktop
         board: PCI Express will speed             data in huge local memo-                      Extreme Graphics 2, it’s still         patches.
         things up                                 ries—as much as 256 MB. So,                   not a true 3D solution.                     In the Ziff Davis Content
                                                                                                                                        Creation test, we got 31.8,
         while the i925X Express is                                                              Peripherals                            the best score we ever
         for the performance                                                                     Peripherals that earlier con-          logged, beating the older 865
         seekers. The tables detail                                                              nected to the Southbridge,             platform by nearly 12 per
         the various features of the               The new CPU lacks pins                        will now use the superior              cent. However, in the
         new chipsets.                                                                           PCIe x1 buses.                         Business Winstone test, the
                                                   increasing bandwidth has no                       Each device connected on           new platform was on par the
         Memory                                    effect on the graphics sub-                   this bus will have a dedi-             i865-based motherboards-
         DDR II, running at 533 MHz,               system…yet.                                   cated bandwidth of 500                 clearly indicating that in
         offers a total bandwidth of                   We ran our gaming tests                   MBps. Now, devices such as             daily office applications, the
                                                                                                    Gigabit Ethernet, RAID              boost is negligible.
                          Intel 925X        Intel 915P   Intel 915G   Intel 915GV                   controllers, etc., can over-             Overall, from an Indian
                                                                                                    come the bottleneck of              perspective, these platforms
CPUs supported            Intel Pentium 4        Intel Pentium 4 / Celeron D
                                                        800 / 533 MHz
                                                                                                    the older bus speeds of             are still too new—they need
FSB frequency             800 MHz
Hyper-Threading support                             Supported on all
                                                                                                    133 MBps.                           some time to become main-
Supported memory types    DDR2 533/400                     DDR2 533/400 or DDR 400/333                  The High Definition             stream. Though they outper-
Integrated graphics                 None                  Intel Graphics Media Accelerator 900      Audio offers 192 KHz, 24-           form everything we’ve ever
Discrete graphics slot       Yes—PCI Express X16                              None                  Bit, 8-channel sound, and           seen, the scarcity of DDR II
PCI Express slots                                      Four x1 slots                                compliance with every               memory modules, PCI
PCI slots                                            6 PCI slots max.                               possible current standard.          Express graphics cards,
HDD interface                           1 ATA-100 channel, 4 SATA-150 channels                      What’s interesting is the           power supplies, etc., will
USB                                           Support for 8 USB 2.0 ports
                                                                                                    multi-streaming support;            make sure that the masses
Gigabit Ethernet                                     Supported on all
                                              Intel's High Definition Audio
                                                                                                    two users can use the               have to wait before they can
                                                                                                    same soundcard for two              actually go out and buy it.

86      DIGIT AUGUST 2004
   Smart SoHo

   Bhaskar Banik

            he story goes that a
      T     Bangalore-headquartered
            Uninterruptible Power
   Supply (UPS) solutions company
   hates the Mumbai market
   because power rarely trips out
   there, and as a result there are
   few        individual     buyers.
   Nevertheless, businesses—both
   big and small, and whether in
   Mumbai or elsewhere—have to
   have UPS systems installed.
   They just cannot afford to lose
   any data, or even time, due
   to power issues.
       SoHo users, too, are not
   immune to these problems. And
   whatever power problem there
   may be—a power cut or a power
   surge—home office users would

                                         I got the
   do well to be prepared for any
   eventuality. The commonest
   solution SoHo users employ is a
   spikebuster, used as defence
   against power surges. But power-
   cuts still pose issues.
       A UPS device is normally

   bought as an afterthought, if any
   money is left after buying the
   PCs. But a UPS not only keeps
   work going in case of a power-
   cut, but also protects machines
   as an advanced surge protector,
   and a device that provides clean
   power supply essential for a PC.
   All this comes at just a small
   price, but ensures that your valu-      Choosing the right UPS for your SoHo can be a pain.
   able investment stays safe.
                                           Presenting solutions that will put you at ease
   Calculate your power
   needs                                                        more attuned to your needs.         power. We will
   This is the tricky part. No matter                              Before purchasing a UPS you      assume           this
   which UPS company you                                        need to consider your PC’s power    consumption if the
   approach, it would want                                      consumption.                        configuration has a
   to sell a high-end solution for                                 A    regular    Pentium     4    single hard drive, 256 MB
   your home office or small                                    computer with a generic 17-inch     of RAM and a CD-ROM drive.
   business, while you will be better                           monitor consumes close to           No printers or other external
   off with a solution that is much                             400W or 560VA (Voltamps) of         power consuming equipment
                                                                                                    have been considered. In such a       Illustration Atul Deskmukh

   Types of UPS                                                                                     situation, it would be wise to go
                                                                                                    in for UPS with 600VA rating.
Offline                           UPS, and the real (Alternating    trips, the battery takes over       Also, a UPS falters if the load
The most commonly used UPS,       Current or AC) power is only      and provides power. It also     on it exceeds its rating. So if a
with a pretty simple technol-     used as secondary power           monitors voltage fluctuations   500VA load is applied on to a UPS
ogy. In the case of power fail-   supply. Seems strange? It         constantly, and in situations   that provides 500VA of power,
ure, the UPS switches to a        does, but if the AC power         where low voltage conditions    you will end up getting only five
battery back-up, and can be       trips, the switch time is imme-   exist, the UPS adjusts the      minutes of back up time. Based
used for PCs, given the low       diate, hence leads to minimal     power supply instead of         on this thumb rule, calculate the
cost and high efficiency levels   or zero loss of up-time.          switching on to the battery.    VA rating for each device you
of such systems. This makes it                                      This means that the UPS         want connected to the UPS.
ideal for home PC users.          Line interactive UPS              works at high efficiencies.         Here’s an easy way of calcu-
                                  A type of offline UPS in which    This type of UPS is the         lating the VA rating for each
Online                            the battery remains in charg-     preferred solution for SoHo,    device that you have:
Also called the true UPS, since   ing mode when primary AC          small business and Web              1. List all equipment you
the load always runs on the       power is on. When AC power        server scenarios.               want connected to the UPS—
                                                                                                    monitors, hubs, external hard

                                                                                                                      AUGUST 2004 DIGIT                                87
     Smart SoHo
     drives, in fact anything that
     requires power and needs                                                               Before you sign the cheque…
         2. If any device has a power                                                  Check for the warranty offered.                 PCs if it is low on battery? Does it
     rating given in watts, take that                                               Some UPS manufacturers provide                     continuously monitor and give you
     figure and multiply by 1.4. This                                               model specific warranties.                         a status report of voltage
     gives you the device’s VA rating.                                                 Pay attention to the                            conditions and situations like
         3. Check the amps and volts                                                manufacturer's support agreement.                  brownouts? Questions like these
     ratings of the devices you have                                                Do they have a replacement policy?                 would put to rest the doubts about
     listed. To get a VA rating, multi-                                             Do they have trained support                       the software solution provided
     ply the amps by the volts.                                                     personnel? What happens in case                    with the UPS.
         4. Add the VA ratings of all                                               the UPS goes kaput? Do they have a                    The best possible situation is to
     your devices to get a grand total.                                             policy of providing standby UPS                    test the UPS at your location. Ask
         5. Multiply this total by 1.2 if                                           machines? Ask your vendor these                    the manufacturer to arrange for a
     you want to factor in one more                                                 questions before you buy.                          demo that will simulate your work
     device later.                                                                     What software do you get to                     conditions and check if the claims
         6. Make sure that whatever                                                 monitor the UPS? How effective is                  of the manufacturer match the
     type of UPS you opt for, your VA                                               it? Does it automatically shut down                performance of the UPS.
     total should not exceed the VA
     rating of the UPS. It is always
     recommended to buy a UPS with                                                                                                     with a printer and scanner,
     a higher VA rating than your                                                                                                      considered with a backup time of
     cumulative VA rating.                                                                                                             around 10 minutes, you will need
                                                                                                                                       to opt for a UPS that provides at
     Before you set up…                                                                                                                least 700VA of power and will cost
     SoHo businessmen would typi-                                                                                                      you about Rs 5,000 and will vary
     cally face two scenarios when it                                                                                                  for the different options that we
     comes to UPS implementation—                                                                                                      mentioned above.
     whether to connect one big UPS
     to centrally control all PCs at the                                                                                               And some thoughts for
     same time, or to have individual                                                                                                  the road…
     UPS for every PC. Why only PCs?                                                                                                   SoHo or home users can easily
     Because connecting a printer                                                                                                      opt for solutions mentioned
     (especially if it is a laser printer)                                                                                             above. There are several UPS
     to a battery output socket on the                                                                                                 brands available in the market,
     UPS will cause considerable                                                                                                       and quite a few local brands have
     power drain, which could instead                                             person SoHo outfit would                             earned themselves a good repu-
     be used for another PC.                                                      require at least a 5kVA UPS                          tation. Nevertheless, make sure
         Based on our power calcula-                                              considering eight Pentium 4 PCs                      you go through the product
     tion earlier, a modest eight-                                                with 17-inch monitors.                               brochure and take some time to
                                                                                       This done, check the UPS                        understand the ups and downs
           Multifunctionality                                                     type you consider to be the best                     of the product. What may look
                                                                                  option in your budget. We                            good at first sight, may turn out

      S   ome UPS systems provide features that let you
          connect a mobile charger or have an inbuilt
      flashlight that can come in handy in case of
                                                                                  would recommend spending a
                                                                                  little more and get a good UPS
                                                                                  rather than go for an ‘in-the-
                                                                                                                                       to be bad oversight on your part.
                                                                                                                                           No matter what option you
                                                                                                                                       pick—centralised or decen-
      power-cuts. Other features that you can probably                            budget’ solution. A centralised                      tralised—depending on your
      look for when buying an UPS is if it can let you                            solution would cost you some-                        budget and the priority and
      attach additional batteries, and if they can be hot                         where between Rs 75,000 to Rs 1                      importance that you assign
      swapped at a time of emergency. Also look for                               lakh. This solution could provide                    to your machines, make an
      connectivity options such as serial or USB, power                           you a battery backup time of                         investment that will last you
      monitoring and voltage conditioning options.                                about 20 minutes.                                    through the years.
                                                                                       For a single PC home solution                  

       How UPSes Work?
     Standby                                                     Standby Online Hybrid                                                       Line Interactive
            Surge                                                                                                                            Transfer
            Suppresor                                                           Rectifier                                                    Switch

                                Filter                                                                          Transfer                                                  Inverter
       Battery                                                       Battery                   DC to DC                                      Battery
       Charger     Battery     Invertor                              Charger       Battery     Converter
                                                                                                                                                        Charging Normal     Discharging
                                                                                                                                                                            (Power Fail)

                                                                                                                                         The battery-to-AC power converter (inverter)
     Filtered AC input is the primary power source for the                                                                               stays connected to the UPS output. The transfer
     transfer switch. It switches to the battery/inverter if   If the AC power fails, the standby DC-to-DC converter is switched on.     switch opens the moment the input power fails
     this source fails.                                        Capacitors in the DC combiner ensures a smooth transition.                and the battery takes over.

88   DIGIT AUGUST 2004
                             Smart SoHo
                                                                                                                               thrice during working hours. This
                                                                                                                               will ensure minimal data loss, if
                                                                                                                               any occurs. Since this is a simple
                                                                                                                               setup, with no policy defined,
                                                                                                                               users will have to follow some
                                                                                                                               guidelines—backing up only
                                                                                                                               important office related files, not
                                                                                                                               music and movies. Also, users
                                                                                                                               shouldn’t save files directly from
                                                                                                                               the Internet, as these could be

                                                                                                                               External hard drive
                                                                                                                               External hard drives are another
                                                                                                                               option that can prove useful for
                                                                                                                               SoHos, especially in offices where
                                                                                                                               machines aren’t connected over a
                                                                                                                               LAN. External hard drives are
                                                                                                                               available as both USB and
                                                                                                                               FireWire drives, of which the USB
                                                                                                    here. Contrary to          interface is more popular. The
                                                                                                     popular         belief,   USB 2.0 interface is hot right now,
                                                                                                      getting a backup         because of the faster data transfer
                                                                                                       solution is not         speeds—480 Kbps.
                                                                                                        expensive, and             The advantage of external
                                                                                                         doesn’t require       drives is that they can be carried
                                                                                                          dedicated            to individual machines and hot
     Graphic Atul Deshmukh

                                                                                                           trained profes-     plugged. Another advantage is
                                                                                                            sionals.           that USB-based drives don’t need
                                                                                                                               drivers with Windows XP. Even
                                                                                                                               with older OSes such as Windows
                                                                                        Hard disk drives                       98, the drivers need to be
                                                                                        Most SoHo setups have a LAN, so        installed only once, on each
                                                                                        the simplest and cheapest solu-        machine.
                                                                                        tion is to have hard drive backups.        External hard drives are more
                             Backup solutions need not burn a hole                      A large capacity hard drive can be     expensive than internal drives,
                             in your pocket. Presenting a guide that                    plugged into one computer—
                             gives you the right options                                preferably the highest configura-
                                                                                        tion PC in the office—to run as a
                                                                                        server. We’re looking at five to 10
                                                 Aliasgar Pardawala                     people using this disk as a backup
                                                                                        device, so it would be better if the
                                                         he     most      important     LAN is switch-based, and not hub-
                                                  T      component of your busi-
                                                         ness may be your employ-
                                                                                        based. Over a switch-based LAN,
                                                                                        which runs at 100 Mbps, backing
                                                 ees, but they’re only as valuable as   up data as large as 100 MB would-      Maxtor 250GB external hard drive
                                                 their data. This sounds clichéd,       n’t take more than 15 seconds.
                                                 but think about it: Imagine losing         A Serial-ATA (SATA) hard drive     but are available in large capaci-
                                                 all your company’s data in a freak     is preferred. SATA is a standard       ties, and come bundled with
                                                 accident, or a virus attack.           feature on motherboards today,         backup and restore software—
                                                 Imagine the hundreds or thou-          and offers peak transfer speeds of     which if bought separately costs
                                                 sands of man hours lost. And           about 150 MBps. You also get 250       much more. Some external drives
                                                 then, even more hours will be          GB drives with an unbeatable           also have a hotkey for instant
                                                 wasted trying to recover or repli-     price-per-MB ratio. Maxtor and         backup.
                                                 cate records, presentations, inter-    Western Digital offer 250 GB               The price-per-MB of external
                                                 nal documents, etc. Sounds scary?      drives at a price-per-MB ratio of as   drives is about 20 paise to 33
                                                 It is!                                 low as six paise and eight paise,      paise, depending on the size and
                                                      We rely a little too much on      respectively. So, you’re only          interface. They are handy, but
                                                 computers, or more precisely on        paying 6 paise for every MB of         involve a lot of manual effort to
                                                 storage components. And compo-         data you’re backing up—unbeat-         take backups.
                                                 nents will fail, sometime or the       able. All that needs to be done is
                                                 other. Backup is the name of the       to plug in the drive to a decent       Optical storage
                                                 game, and you’re playing against       system, create separate folders for    CDs and DVDs are the most
                                                 loaded dice, if you aren’t already     each user, and install backup soft-    common choice for backups. CDs
                                                 protected against a data disaster.     ware on each client machine.           are probably the cheapest solu-
                                                      The SoHo segment is espe-             The backup software installed      tion. DVDs store a lot more, but
                                                 cially vulnerable to Internet          should be scheduled to backup          the media and writer are still
                                                 threats and disk failures. Backups     data at particular time interval.      expensive. They are only viable
                                                 just aren’t considered a necessity     Ideally, this should be at least       for designers and video profes-

90                           DIGIT AUGUST 2004
          Backup software

      H    ardware is nothing without the software that empowers
           it. This holds true for backup solutions as well. You need
      software that will automatically back up your data, with the
      least amount of human intervention required. The software
      should also have extra features such as saving a specific
      folder only, compressing the backups, timed intervals for
      backups, etc. Consider some of the following alternatives
        1. Secondcopy2000 ( Rs 1,380
        2. Dantz Retrospect Professional ( Rs 5,940
        3. Securdat Pro 2.1 ( Rs 1,100

     sionals who have large amounts of data for frequent back-
         Though re-writable media are available, CD-Rs are still
     preferred, and this means a new CD for each backup. Also,
     CDs are subject to corruption via scratches and exposure to
     the elements. Your precious data can soon become nothing
     more than a coffee mug coaster. The price-per-MB for CDs is
     the lowest—two or three paise per MB. This media is recom-
     mended for situations where backups are not accessed
     frequently—in fact only where backups are accessed rarely.

     Miscellaneous storage
    Iomega recently launched Rev Drive—a hard drive intelli-
    gently divided into two parts. This drive stores 35 GB in
    uncompressed form, and 90 GB in compressed form. It’s a
                                 good solution to backing up a
                                 hard drive on its last legs. Rev
                                 is available in the ATAPI and
                                 USB 2.0 interface, and is quite
                                 simple to use.
                                     The problem with such
                                 proprietary drives is that users

Iomega Rev Drive
                                 are stuck with one format, as
                                 was the case earlier with ZIP
                                 and JAZ drives. You can’t
                                                                          1/2 P VAD
                                 access your backup on
    anything but a Rev drive, which is an Iomega standard.
        USB sticks are another option that can be used for
    temporary storage of data. They are portable and conven-
    ient, but the problem is they are expensive—a 128 MB USB
    stick cost between Rs 2,500 to Rs 3,000. The price-per-MB
    ratio is pathetically high, thus making it only good for
    transference of data, and not backing up.

     The last word
     Your data will never be totally safe, but you can use one, or
     a combination of two or more of the afore mentioned
     options to minimise the risk of data loss. In business, the
     lower the risk factors, the better you will sleep at night. Look
     towards securing your company records, and as a result your
     business, by using an intelligent hybrid of hard drive and
     optical backup solutions.

     What I would buy

 E  ven backup hard drives are components in the end, and can
    fail. So should you have a backup for your backup drive?
 Yes—if your data is important enough, or if you are paranoid
 enough. We suggest two hard drives configured to Mirroring in
 RAID (Redundant Array of Inexpensive Disks). This ensures that
 one drive is used as backup, and an exact copy is made on the
 second disk. You can also convert an internal hard drive into an
 external hard drive by buying a convertor kit. This kit costs about
 Rs 2,000. We recommend a Western Digital WD2500 250 GB
 hard drive, which costs Rs 17,500.

                                                                                 AUGUST 2004 DIGIT   91
       WAY                Buying cinema tickets
     One fine day, the    Meera Vankipuram                                                           
     boss woke up and
     ordered: Let’s go
     for a movie to
     celebrate the
     magazine’s third
     I was given the
     responsibility of
     buying tickets for
     Lakshya for the
     entire team.
     I had two choices
     before me: to
     book online or to
     make the trip to
     the theatre, and

                                                                                                                                                  Photograph Jiten Gandhi
     stand in queue.
     I decided to
     rough it out both
     ways. Here’s the
                           Buying tickets over the counter                              Buying tickets online

                          From Nerul, in Navi Mumbai where our office is                Visited the Imax Adlabs Web site, and registered
                          located, I took the train to Wadala, a central                for their services.
                          Mumbai suburb and the station closest to the                  Time taken 3 minutes
                          theatre—Imax Adlabs. I then cabbed it to Imax.
                          Time taken 40 minutes for the train journey,
                          25 minutes for the taxi ride

                          It was a weekday, so the crowd didn’t resemble a              Selected the movie, date and time of our choice—
                          Rajnikant opener down south, where I come                     surprisingly, I could also choose the seats.
                          from. If it were a weekend, I would have perhaps              Remember the old days, when a grumpy old man
                          felt at home. More luck—tickets were available.               behind the ticket window would decide where you
                          Imagine travelling 65 minutes to find out that                sat? Slipping him a tenner would get you a better
                          there are no tickets!                                         seat though!.
                          Time taken to check availability 2 minutes                    Time taken 5 minutes

                          Stood in queue to buy 11 tickets (priced at Rs 130            Then, I had to select a mode of payment. I settled
                          each). There were just about 15 people in front of            for a credit card transaction. The site threw up a
                          me, yet each person took an aeon to decide which              transaction ID, along with the order details.
                          seat he or she wanted. So I twiddled my thumbs                Time taken 8 minutes
                          for possibly the longest I have ever done, since my
                          last exams.                                                   (I also spent 5 minutes presenting my Transaction
                                                                                        ID at Imax and collecting my tickets)
                          Time taken in queue 25 minutes

                          Total cost Rs 1,521: Rs 1,430 for the movie tickets,          Total cost Rs 1,430 (This only applies to credit card
                          Rs 21 (return train ticket—second class), Rs 70 (taxi         transactions; booking over the phone costs Rs 10
                          fare—to and from the theatre)                                 extra per ticket for home delivery)

                          My condition: Exhausted! Oh, and I still have to travel       My condition Happy! And, I never had to leave the
                          for a little over an hour to get back to the office.          comfort of my chair at office

                           Total time taken 2 hour 37 minutes                            Total time taken 21 minutes
                           Total cost Rs 1,521                                           Total cost Rs 1,430

       And                                                                             even via SMS. On the other hand, if I had hours to kill,
                          T  ech Way, it’s cheaper! Besides, I figured it’s not cool
                             to travel by train for so long, then cab it even
                          longer, and then stand in queue twiddling thumbs.
                                                                                       and masti-seeking company, I might just decide to
                                                                                       make the trip to Wadala, for an evening of movie
       Is...              Instead just buy the tickets online, over the phone, or      magic—ticket counter mayhem included.

92    DIGIT AUGUST 2004
                                                                                 Dial modem dial
                                                                                       Here’s my system’s configuration: A Pentium
                                                                                       4 1.8 GHz on a Gigabyte motherboard, 128 MB
                                                                                 RAM, a 40 GB hard disk, and a 56 Kbps D-Link
                                                                                 internal modem, running Windows 98 and
                                                                                 Windows XP. I hear a ringing sound on my speaker
                                                                                 as I try to dial-up in Windows 98, but not from my
                                                                                 modem. With Windows XP, I hear the ringing sound
                                                                                 from the modem itself. How do I rectify this prob-
                                                                                 lem? Also, does my Pentium 4 1.8 GHz processor
                                                                                 have only 256 KB of L2 cache memory?
                     Your Questions, Our Answers                                                                             S Riyaz

                          The defaults don’t change                                    You haven’t enabled the modem speaker
                                                                                       volume in Windows 98. Go to Start >
                               I have a Pentium 4 2.60c GHz, an Intel D865       Control Panel > Phone And Modem Options,
                               GBF motherboard, 256 MB DDR RAM, and an           click on your modem, and then on Properties.
                          80 GB hard disk loaded with Windows XP                 Next, click on ‘Advanced’ and then enable the
                          Professional Service Pack 1. I am unable to change     speaker volume settings for the modem and set
                          the default folder settings. For example, when I       it to high.
                          change the way the icons in a folder are arranged—         Also, internal modems, especially the SM56
                          by date, size, etc—or if I change from the             PCI cards, have a tray application that plays
                          ‘Thumbnail’ view to ‘Details’ view, nothing is saved   sounds using DirectX. This is their way of
                          past a reboot. My user account has administrator       telling you about their activity, so it’s best to
                          rights.                                                leave it running.
                                                               Abhijeet Ghosh        Earlier batches of the Pentium 4 processors,
                                                                                 based on the Northwood cores, only had 256 KB
                              To get rid of this, open Windows Explorer          of L2 cache. Processors based on the Northwood
                              and go to Tools > Internet Options > Folder        A core, which came in later, have 512 KB of L2
                          Options. Here, look for “Remember each                 cache.
                          Folder’s View Settings” and uncheck it. This
                          done, all your settings will be in place the next
                          time you reboot your system.                           Service. What Service?
                                                                                      I have Windows XP Professional installed,
                          Of stubborn shutdowns and                                   without Service Pack 1A. I tried installing
                          errors...                                              through Windows Updates, but every time I did,
                                                                                 either through Windows Updates or using the
                               I have an Athlon XP 2000 processor running        Service Pack CDs, it shows “Service Pack 1 Set Up
                               Windows XP. I have three problems:                Cancelled”. Why does it fail?
                                 Windows shuts down from all other user              Secondly, I have a Pentium III 500, 128 MB RAM
Uncheck this option to    accounts except from the one I created.                and a 40 GB hard disk, on a 440ZX motherboard.
get consistent folder            Secondly, whenever I start Norton System        The motherboard doesn’t detect the hard disk in
views                     Works, or run ‘msconfig’, it automatically shuts       the BIOS setup. Only 32 GB of the total disk capac-
                          down after few seconds—this doesn’t happen with        ity is shown. How do I get it to recognise the
                          other accounts.                                        remaining disk space?
                                 Lastly, whenever I log on, I get a message          Also, my PS/2 port is not functional. Can I use
                          “You or a program has requested,           an optical PS/2 mouse with a PS/2-to-serial port
                          which connection do you want to use” with              converter?
                          options to connect to the Internet. This message                                                   Jayant
                          reappears even if I hit Cancel. What do I do?
                                                                        Rahul         If you purchased an original Windows XP
                                                                                      CD, please get in touch with Microsoft’s
                               Your user account seems to be corrupted.          customer support to solve the problem. If you
                               you will have to delete it and create it anew.    have installed a pirated version of Windows XP,
                          Save your data before you do so. You will find         no Service Packs will install.
                          detailed instructions at http://support.                   You have a very old BIOS version—the 440ZX aspx?kbid=811151, which         chipset is over five years old. You’ll need to
E-mail us your            will guide you through the process of saving           upgrade it to use hard disks larger than 32 GB.
computing problems,       your data.                                             Download the latest version from the board
and we may answer             As for your last problem, it’s a case of           manufacturer’s Web site, and follow the
them here! Since we get   spyware infection. Download and install SpyBot         instructions posted there to flash your BIOS.
more mails per day than   ( and AdAware                 Remember, this can render your motherboard
we can handle, it may     (—        unusable, if it’s not done right.
take some time for your   both free spyware-scanning tools. Run them to              And lastly, yes, you can connect your PS/2
query to be answered.
Rest assured, we are
                          remove any installed spyware, and prevent such         mouse to a serial port using a PS/2-to-serial
listening!                problems in the near future.                           converter.

                                                                                                                   AUGUST 2004 DIGIT   93
                                    A fragment of a problem                                 Norton acts up!
                                           I have four partitions on my hard drive. Every        Nothing happens when I click on the Norton
                                         time I attempt to defragment my E: drive, I get         2003 icon. I tried uninstalling it from
                                    an error message that says, “Windows cannot finish      Add/Remove Programs, but I get the following
                                    defragmenting this drive because it has encoun-         message: Error 1606. Could not access network
                                    tered some problem....”. I run Windows 98 SE, and       location “C:\Documents and Settings\All
                                    all the other drives defragment properly. I even        Users\Desktop”. On pressing Cancel, I get another
                                    tried to defragment in Safe Mode, and ran Scandisk,     error message, “Fatal error during installation”.
                                    but couldn’t find any bad sectors. What do I do?        The Auto-protect feature doesn’t work, and I can’t
                                                                           Ganesh Magal     scan for viruses manually.
                                                                                                                           Sandeep Kumar Dixit
                                          You can solve this problem easily. Right-
                                          click on the desktop, and click ‘Properties’.         To solve your problem, you will have to
                                    In the window that opens up, click Web > Folder             uninstall Norton 2003 and reinstall it.
                                    Options > Yes.                                          You’ll need to download ‘Msicuu.exe’ from
                                         Here under View > Hidden Files, check ‘Show
                                    all files’ and click OK. Now, go to Start > Find,       2000pro/util20/1/NT4/EN-US/msicuu.exe. After
                                    and click ‘Files and Folders’. Here, type ‘applog’      the installation is complete, click Start > All
                                    in the ‘Named’ box and opt to search the C:             Programs > Windows Installer Clean up. Here,
                                    drive. Check the ‘Include subfolders’ box, and          select Norton 2003, click ‘Remove’ and then
                                    click ‘Find Now’. Open the applog folder once           ‘OK’ to exit the program. If this doesn’t add
                                    it’s found, and delete all the files within it. After   Norton 2003 to the list, you’ll need to edit a
                                    this, you should be able to defrag your E: drive.       registry setting.
                                                                                                Click Start > Run, type ‘regedit’ and press
                                                                                            [Enter]. Navigate to the following registry key:
                                    Calling queries                                         HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\
                                         I use a dial-up connection to connect to the           Here, you will see the product ID keys. To
                                         Internet. How do I know when someone’s call-       find Norton 2003’s ID, click each ID and look
                                    ing my phone while I’m online? Can I set my             for ‘Norton 2003’ in the right pane. On finding
                                    connection to disconnect automatically when I           the Norton 2003 key, delete it and exit the
                                    receive phone call?                                     registry editor. You can now reinstall Norton.
                                                                             Nataraj Das

                                         There’s nothing you can do in Windows to           A message from Nero
                                         get your PC to prompt you about incoming
                                    calls. However, you might be able to accomplish              I have a Pentium 4 1.7 GHz on an 845 mother-
                                    this if you tweak your modem. You need to have               board, a 40 GB Seagate Barracuda hard drive,
                                    call-waiting enabled—get in touch with your tele-       and an LG 48X/16X/48X CD-RW, with Windows 98
                                    com service provider for this. If you set ATm2 in       and Windows XP as my operating systems.
                                    the Extra Settings box, the modem speakers will         Recently, when I ran Nero in Windows 98,
                                    always be on. You will get a hiss that indicates        my PC hung and gave a message “Scanning
                                    data transfer, and frequent beeps will alert you        SCSI/IDE BUS..... Please wait”. The program starts
                                    when you get calls. Generally, with this feature        out fine in Windows XP, but the system hangs
                                    enabled, a dial-up connection disconnects when          halfway through. Please help.
                                    you receive a call.                                                                            Nataraj Das

                                                                                                 This problem occurs if the IDE-chipset
          A shell to solve                                                                       driver is not installed properly. Improper
                                                                                            DMA support causes Nero to freeze. To work
                 While connecting to the Internet via my network connection, I get a        around this, download and install the latest
                 message that says, “LSA Shell (Export Version) has encountered a           drivers from the motherboard manufacturer’s
      of the     problem and needs to close. We have created an error report that           Web site. If this doesn’t solve the problem,
      Month      you can send to help us improve LSA (Export Version).” Whether I           disable DMA for the recorder and burn a CD. If
                 click on ‘Send’ or ‘Don’t send’, either way I get an error that says,      it persists, remove any USB device attached to
                 “The system process E:\windows\system32\ lsass.exe terminated              the system before burning a CD.
          unexpectedly with status code-1073741819”, and the machine restarts in a
          minute! How do I fix this?
                                                                 Samrat Roy Chaudhuri       Fonts don’t install
               Your computer has the Sasser virus. Download and install the                      I use a Pentium III 866 MHz PC, 128 MB RAM,
               security patch from                    and a 20 GB hard disk loaded with Windows
          bulletin/ms04-011.mspx. Also, update your virus definitions and scan              98 SE. I can’t install new fonts. I don’t get the
          the entire hard drive to locate and clean infected files. To stop a PC            ‘Install new fonts’ option when I go to the
          from shutting down in Windows XP, when you get the 60-second                      Control Panel > Fonts > File menu. I tried to copy
          countdown, go to Start > Run, type ‘shutdown -a’ and press [Enter].               them directly to the Font folder, but that didn’t
          You’ll now stay connected to the Internet and download the patches.               work either. I formatted my hard disk and rein-
                                                                                            stalled Windows, but I still can’t see the ‘Install

94      DIGIT AUGUST 2004
                              new fonts’ option. What should I do?                    can’t even press delete to enter the BIOS setup.
                                                                      Nehal Mehta         My technician says I need to upgrade the Intel
                                                                                      810 motherboard since it doesn’t support the new
                                   Getting the ‘Install new fonts’ option back        processor. Is there any other solution?
                                   into the File menu will be tricky. You need                                             Arvind Verma
                              to boot the machine in MS-DOS mode, and go
                              to the Windows\System folder. Here, find the                  Yes, it is true that the Intel 810 mother-
                              Fontext.dll file, and rename it to Fontext.old.               board does not support the Pentium III 1.2
                              Extract the Fontext.dll file from the Windows           GHz CPU. This processor is a Tualatin core-
                              98 installation CD to the same folder. Now,             based processor (1.475V), with the same pin
                              restart the PC and check whether the problem            count (370-pins). Hence, though this processor
                              is solved. If it isn’t, your desktop.ini file is        fits into your motherboard, it will not function.
                              damaged. Restart the PC in MS-DOS mode                  You have to upgrade your motherboard to a
                              again, and go to the Windows\Fonts folder. If           D812EEA2 chipset-based motherboard.
                              Desktop.ini exists, rename it to Desktop.old,
                              and extract a new copy from the Windows 98
                              CD. You can see the steps involved in extracting        Driving off track
                              compressed files from the installation CD at
                                   I bought a Gainward Ultra/860 LE
                              kb;EN-US;129605#5.                                           Powerpack that has an nVidia GeForce
                                                                                      FX5700LE chipset. I installed this video card
                                                                                      alongwith the necessary drivers, but the display
                                                                                      went blank after the mandatory reboot. On
                                                                                      reverting to my onboard graphics, I got an error
                                                                                      message saying, “The driver for the display
                                                                                      device was unable to complete a drawing opera-
                                                                                      tion. Please check with the device manufacturer
Illustrations Mahesh Benkar

                                                                                      for a driver update.”
                                                                                          I downloaded the latest drivers from nVidia,
                                                                                      but the problem persists. My PC runs Windows XP
                                                                                      Professional, and has an AMD Athlon XP 2000+
                                                                                      CPU and 512 MB DDR RAM on an ASUS A7N266VM
                                                                                      motherboard with the nForce chipset. The
                                                                                      motherboard also supports onboard sound.
                                                                                      Please help.
                              Sibling fight                                                                               Sandeep Pillay

                                   I have a Pentium 4 1.6 GHz CPU on an Intel              A device driver conflict seems to be at play.
                                   D845WN motherboard, 512 MB RAM, a 40 GB                 Here’s what you can do: Boot your system
                              hard disk with three partitions, an nVidia Riva         from the onboard video
                              TNT2 64 display card and a Creative SoundBlaster        card, and then uninstall
                              Live 5.1 audio card, running Windows 98SE.              all the video card driv-
                              Recently, I installed Windows XP Professional with      ers. If possible, use
                              a dual-boot option. Surprisingly, the default instal-   System Restore to get
                              lation options installed it on my C: drive, which       back to a time when the
                              also has Windows 98. Both worked fine for a while,      computer was working
                              allowing me to choose an OS while booting.              fine, and then uninstall
                                  Now, all of a sudden, I can’t boot into Windows     the display drivers.
                              XP. After the XP loading screen appears, the PC             Now, reboot your
                              reboots. Should I reload Windows XP? Can dual           computer and go into the
                              operating systems be installed on the same              BIOS. Go to the Advanced
                              partition?                                              Options, and look for the
                                                                         Rajiv Raje   PCI display menu. Under
                                                                                      VGA BIOS, change the
                                  You have to use the Repair function from            adapter to AGP VGA. Save
                                  the Windows XP CD. You are likely to face           the settings, shut down Roll back your system to a healthy state using System
                              the same problems again though, as both                 the computer, and install Restore
                              Windows 98 and Windows XP share the same                the new video card.
                              Program Files folder. We suggest you install            Reboot and install the display drivers. Your issue
                              both OSes on different partitions.                      should be resolved.
                                                                                          Alternatively, start the machine in Safe
                                                                                      Mode. Right-click on My Computer and select
                              BIOS upsets                                             Properties. Go to Hardware > Device Manager
                                                                                      and expand the Display adapters option.
                                  I upgraded from a Pentium III 700 GHz to            Right-click on each entry under display
                                  Pentium III 1.2 GHz, but when my system             adapters, and select uninstall. It is imperative
                              rebooted, it asked for the BIOS setup. I mistakenly     that you install only the latest drivers for the
                              entered the processor clock as Pentium III 1000.        motherboard, and also ensure that your BIOS
                              Now my system hangs whenever I power it on—I            is up to date.

                                                                                                                                                  AUGUST 2004 DIGIT   95
      How to...                                                                                               Pre-install Checklist
                                                                                                           1. Backup all critical data.
     Upgrade your Hard Disk                                                                                2. You should have a new hard disk, an IDE
                                                                                                              data cable (looks like a long flat ribbon),
                                                                                                              four mounting screws and small Philips

     D      on’t panic if you run out of hard disk
            space. Most computers can support
            two or more storage units, so
     expanding your storage space is easy. In
     this workshop, we will help you make the
                                                            Connect the other end of the primary
                                                        IDE cable to the back of the hard drive (see
                                                        “Cables and Jumpers” in box “Pre-Install
                                                                                                              head (+) screwdriver.
                                                                                                           3. Check that the power to the computer is
                                                                                                              switched off from the switchboard.
                                                                                                              Ground yourself by touching a metal
                                                                                                              plate, or the side of the cabinet. This
     switch painless.                                                                                         takes care of any static electricity issues
         To use a new hard disk, you need to                                                                  during hard drive installation process.
     perform three tasks. First, physically install
     the hard disk and connect the power and                                                               Cables and Jumpers
     data cables. Then, partition the hard disk to                                                         If you do have a primary master hard drive,
     define data storage areas, and finally,                                                               with an optical drive connected as the
     format the partitions to allow the operating                                                          primary slave, don’t change this arrange-
     system to read from, and write to the hard                                                            ment. This reduces the connectivity fuss
     disk. Before you begin the installation                                                               considerably. Since all new drives come pre-
     procedure, confirm that you have met the                                                              configured to be Master drives, you need
     conditions outlined in the box “Pre-Install                                                           not change the jumper settings. Just
     Checklist”.                                        The Disk Management tool lets you create an        connect the drive as the secondary master
                                                        extended partition                                 on the secondary IDE channel.
     Install the hard disk                                                                                      If your secondary channel is in use,
     Open your computer cabinet to allow                Checklist”). This is very easy, and the red        connect the drive as the slave on the
     access to the components of your PC. Insert        stripe running along the edge of the cable         primary channel. For that, follow the
                                                        acts as a visual aid in doing this—the stripe      instructions on the hard drive itself, to
                                                        should be on the edge nearer to the power          change the jumper setting. Commonly used
                                                        socket. There is a notch on the connector,         hard drives such as Samsung and Seagate
                                                        which also makes sure that you can only            don’t need jumpers, if you are connecting
                                                        connect the drive the right way. Make sure         the drive as a slave drive.
                                                        that you check for this notch, and insert the
                                                        cable carefully.                                   Speed Tip
                                                             Now connect the power cable to the            Most new hard disks follow a fast data
                                                        back of the hard drive. Notice the connector       speed standard called ATA-100. To enable
                                                        is ‘D’ shaped-it only plugs in one way, so you     this, use special ATA-100 cables, or your
     Set the jumper on the secondary drive              shouldn’t need to force it. Once the power is      speedy disk will crawl. ATA-100 cables are
                                                        plugged in, you are done!                          easily distinguishable. Since they have 80
     the hard drive into the 3.25-inch bay near                                                            data wires running on the cable, they look
     the front of the case. Check for smooth                                                               much finer in comparison to the 40 wires on
     runners along the bays, which will let you                                                            the slower ATA-66 cables.
     slide the drive in with ease. The hard disk’s
     screw holes should be visible along the slit
     on the side. The power and data sockets                                                             tasks for either Windows 98 or for
     should also be easily accessible.                                                                   Windows XP.
         Drive the screws in their respective                                                                 On booting up, the OS recognises the
     sockets, and make sure the drive can’t                                                              new hard drive. However, it’s unformatted
     move. Fasten screws on both the sides of                                                            and not partitioned, so there’s more to do.
     the hard drive bay.                                                                                      Go to Start > Control Panel > Admin-
         Make sure that you do not drop any                                                              istrative Tools > Computer Manage-ment
     screws inside the cabinet on the mother-                                                            and click on Disk Management for informa-
     board, and if you, pick them up before you         Use the New Partition Wizard to format the       tion about the drives connected to the
     turn on the power.                                 partition                                        computer.
         Connect the hard disk data cable to the                                                              Right-click on the disk marked
     free IDE connector on the motherboard.                 If you are performing a master-slave         ‘Unallocated’, and click on the ‘New parti-
                                                        operation, here is what you need to do:          tion’ option to start the wizard. The first
                                                            The above steps still hold good, but         time, choose ‘Primary partition’ and then
                                                        you have to connect the middle connector         click Next.
                                                        of the Primary IDE channel cable to the               Specify the amount of disk space that
                                                        new hard drive. Attach the power cable,          you want to use out of the maximum size
                                                        and you’re all done.                             shown. Choose NTFS or FAT32 as the file
                                                                                                         system. If you run Windows XP, and do not
                                                        Create partitions and format                     intend to use this PC with any other OS,
                                                        Verify that they are no loose components         choose NTFS for better reliability. Check the
                                                        or tools within the cabinet, replace             ‘Perform a quick format’ option to speed up
                                                        all opened panels, and close the cabinet.        this step.
                                                        Depending on your operating system,                   Restart the computer and boot into
                                                        the steps that follow will vary. We will         Windows XP. Your new hard drive is ready-
     Install the hard drive in the bay of the cabinet   show you how to perform the remaining            to-use.

96   DIGIT AUGUST 2004

 111 Shoot Your 116 Arm Your Mobile 118 MFDsOffice
     Boss!          Workforce           Your
                                                                            How Technology Can Help Your Organisation

Organisations often ignore the printing costs they                          The Company
                                                                            NCCB is a credit evaluation and credit verifica-
incur. But there are always ways to save money. Here’s                      tion services provider. In the 1980s, it was the
one...Outsourcing!                                                          first agency of its kind in India to set up serv-
                                                                            ices for collection and repo with its earliest
                                                                            client Citibank. Their primary task is to help
                       Aparna Krishnakumar                                  in the processing and checking of forms for
                                                                            loan applications and credit card verifications.
                              o you know what really happens in             They also maintain defaulters lists to help var-
                        D     your company? Employee X takes
                              printouts on a regular basis for com-
                                                                            ious financial and multinational banks make
                                                                            wise investments with minimum risks. The
                       pany correspondence. Often paper is wasted—          company also undertakes collections for finan-
                       either because a few pages get caught in the         cial institutions and cellular operators.
                       paper feeder, or when the toner runs out in

Case Study

                                                                                The office has a staff of 180 and the place is
                                                                            well equipped with laptops, projectors,
                       the midst of a large print run, spit-                intercom and Internet facility to provide
                       ting out half-printed monstrosi-                     efficient service to its diverse clientele, rang-
                       ties. Then Employee X calls for                      ing from MNCs, such as HSBC and ABN Amro,
                       help, either from in-house tech-                       to nationalised banks like State Bank of India
                       nical support, or external                              and Bank of Baroda.
                       sources. Apart from the
                       obvious wastage, there is                                The Problem
                       also valuable time lost just                               With liberalisation, the masses are talk-
                       chasing a simple printout.                                 ing more loans, and more banks are pro-
                       Now take the expenditure                                   viding them. With a staff of 180, the com-
                       that Employee X has cost you,                            pany manages the increasing workload.
                       and multiply it by the number of employees           According to Managing Director Tarun Arora,
                       in your company. Can you see the currency            “The volume of forms handled is enormous, so
                       notes burn?                                          we have to invest in a buying a new printer
We had a win-win           So what do you do? Why not let someone           every second month.” The application forms
situation, so          else take that headache away from you? In one        are sent to the company via the dealers. Plus,
considering the        word…outsource! The problem with outsourc-           the company also processes the online forms
cost, service and      ing is that it comes across as expensive, ini-       that all credit card or cellular companies have
efficiency factor,     tially. It is, but only because you need to invest   on their Web sites. So why did printing pose a
we decided to          a larger sum up front. In the long run, howev-       problem?
experiment with        er, it’s proven to be cheaper. Hey, don’t take           Arora clarifies, “The online application
WeP and the            our word for it! Ask Delhi-based Northern            forms have to be with our field executives as
service it offered.    Credit & Collection Business Private Limited         well, so we need printouts. Not only this, but
Harkishan Kohli        (NCCB), who have saved by outsourcing their          the respective companies need copies of the
EDP Head, NCCB India   printing requirements.                               lists of people that we have verified. Often the

                                                                                                             AUGUST 2004 DIGIT   107
      Case Study
      dealers send the list of applicants as faxes, and
      there are days we get 2,000 such forms which                                                                   Vendorspeak
      run into 1,000 pages.” In addition, the compa-
      ny has to generate reports like any service                                                                 “ Thirty per cent of our business comes
      organisation, for its clients as well as for itself.                                                          from outsourced printing. The printers
      All this formed the major tasks for the printers                                                              are allotted after a careful study of the
      in their office.                                                                                              company’s requirement. Currently WeP
          For the past two years, the management                                                                    share of NCCB printing is over 60 per
      observed the increase in printing. They had a                                                                 cent. We have two state-of-the art
      combination of dot matrix and HP laser print-                                                                 manufacturing facilities in Mysore and
      ers. The Electronic Data Processing (EDP) Head,                                                               Hyderabad that have a combined
      Harkishan Kohli observed that the output of                                        Anand Thomas               capacity to manufacture two lakh
      the printers was not only lower, but quite                                         WeP Peripherals
      expensive as they had to change a toner car-                                                                  printers and one lakh UPS per year.
                                                                                         Pvt Ltd
      tridge every second month.                                                                                    This enables us to offer competitive
          They tried working more with dot matrix                                                                   rates to our customers. Our service
      printers, but they are slow, and can’t keep pace                                                              ensures our clients only keep growing.”
      with deadlines. So, NCCB decided to replace
      them with laser printers. However, laser print-
      ers for a small organisation are a huge invest-                                  Outsourcing for              a grey market for computer goods, but now
      ment. For an office set up, the laser printers                                   printing comes               houses some of the best names in software.
                                                                                                                    Arora was on a casual visit to the place, and
                                                                                       across as                    encountered an acquaintance, who told him
             Statistical Figures                                                       expensive, but               about Wipro e-Peripherals (WeP). He was told
       Cost incurred before WeP                                                        only initally. In            that WeP undertakes outsourced printing.
       Cost of toner . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Rs 3,200
       Initial refilling . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Rs 400
                                                                                       the long run, it             Arora knew of outsourcing, but for printing?
                                                                                       can surely save                  His EDP head, Harikishan Kohli, was
       Second refilling . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Rs 400
                                                                                                                    deployed to make more enquiries. Kohli was
       No of prints per month . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .20,000            you quite a lot of           so impressed with the concept, and the bene-
       Total cost per month . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Rs 14,000
       Operating cost of a laser printer
                                                                                       money                        fits, that he convinced the management to
       Including initial cost dep./interest                                                                         give the company an audience. When asked
       and other overheads . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Rs 4,000                                            what factors prompted them to choose WeP.
       Total cost . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Rs 22,000                                  Arora answered, “WeP happened at a time
       Cost incurred after WeP                                                                                      when we needed more printers, and at afford-
       @ 85 paise per printout                                                                                      able costs, so I was willing to try the service.”
       Total cost per month 0.85 x 20,000 . . . . . .Rs 17,000                                                      Adds Kohli, “From the presentation, it was
       Total annual savings . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Rs 60,000                                            obvious that we had a win-win situation, so
                                                                                                                    considering the cost, service and efficiency
                                                                                                                    factor, we decided to experiment with WeP
      that are used are in the range of two to three                                                                and the service it offered.”
      lakhs. For a small businessman, such as Arora,
      the last resort was to ask the companies, which                                                               The Process
      are his clients, to sponsor printers.                                                                         WeP charged according to the consumption of
                                                                                                                    paper on a monthly basis. NCCB and WeP
      A possible solution                                                                                           agreed to an initial monthly commitment of
      The answers to problems often come when you                                                                   10,000 pages charged at 95 paise per page.
      least expect it, and from the strangest of                                                                        Anand Thomas, Business Head and Chief
      sources. Nehru Place in Delhi is one of the                                                                   Technological Officer of WeP Peripherals,
      largest markets in Asia for IT goods. It began as                                                             says, “Initially, NCCB started with a personal

              Business Outsourcing of Printing                                                                                                                           Illustration Mahesh Benkar

        I t is a relatively new concept for Indian
          companies, with great potential.
        Outsourcing has helped service sector
                                                                              Lakshminarayan Rao,
                                                                              Assistant Director OSF
                                                                              Value, Canon, “The key
                                                                                                                                              ranging from impact
                                                                                                                                              printing to high-end
                                                                                                                                              colour printing within
        industries such as banks, financial                                   consideration, when                                             the next two or three
        institutions and insurance companies,                                 selecting the printing                                          years. Mobile printing
        BPOs (Business Processing Outsourcing),                               service for SMEs and                                            is also on the anvil.
        software companies and E-Learning                                     SoHos, is that the vendor                                       This means subscribers
        companies.                                                            must have a wide                                                to WeP printing service
             Some companies have ventured into                                product portfolio that                                          would have the facility
        the sector. In the complete business                                  allows one to choose                                            of printing from any
        outsourcing-printing segment, WeP and                                 according to                                                    smart device-PDAs,
        Canon offer services to various segments                              requirements.”                                                  Pocket PCs, and mobile
        from SMEs to large corporations. This                                     The future of printing looks             phones apart from tradition devices such
        means, once you avail these services,                                 promising. WeP has already set up a          as Desktops, Notebooks and Tablet PCs.
        you pay them on the basis of the paper                                network of public and private print               Other companies are also likely to
        consumption. According to                                             points, which will offer printing services   follow suit. The outlook is bright alright!

108   DIGIT AUGUST 2004
                           laser printer and within months
                           had all types of printers
                           installed in the organisation-
                           personal, workgroup, depart-
                           mental and centralised print-
                           ing.” For WeP, the competitive
                           costing to the clients came from
                           the fact that they had a huge
                           installed capacity and their
   I have saved more       transactional operational costs
   than Rs 12,000          were low.
   after enlisting             So, how did this affect NCCB?
   WeP’s services.         According to EDP head Kohli,
   Tarun Arora             the efficiency improved. He says,
   MD NCCB India Ltd       “We did not have to worry any-
                           more about either the mainte-
   nance, or the service of the printers. Right from chang-
   ing of toners to servicing the printer, everything was
   taken care of by WeP.” He remembers the days before
   WeP, when any of their printers broke down, endless
   phone calls and reminders to the service people seemed
   a routine. But with WeP, all this was taken care of. The
   service was quick, and the turn around time was less
   than two hours. The prompt service helped NCCB add to
   its productive man-hours.

“ The 15-year-old Xpress                                         1/2 Pg V AD
  Couriers had branches all
  over Tamil Nadu. Like any
  other courier company, their
  printing involved addresses
  to be handed to the delivery
  staff. They used to generate
  manual PoDs (Proof of             Vijay Kumar
                                    Xpress Couriers
  Delivery), which were often       Chennai
  inaccurate due to poor
  handwriting. Ten months ago, a chance meeting
  at the Logistics Exhibition of the Managing
  Director Vijay Kumar with Mr Srinivasan of WeP,
  led the former to outsource the printing to WeP.
  The company set up a system whereby PODs could
  be generated via the printer. This was more
  accurate and quicker. Today, Mr Kumar saves an
  average of Rs 25,000 monthly.”

   The Present
   According to Thomas, “NCCB from a stage of owning its
   printers is now completely dependant on the services of
   WeP.” It’s been a little more than year now, since NCCB
   availed the printing services of WeP, and they are not
   complaining. Arora says, “Last year I have saved more
   than Rs 12, 000 after enlisting WeP’s services”. Recently,
   WeP has reduced the per page rate to 85 paise for NCCB,
   while the consumption has gone up to 20,000. Also, after
   the successful implementation in Delhi, the Kolkata and
   Mumbai branches of NCCB are all set to outsource print-
   ing to WeP.
       For Arora, outsource his printing requirements paid
   off. Efficiency increased, there was no tension of main-
   taining printers, but most importantly, it cut costs sig-
   nificantly. Innovation is important, but information
   even more so. In the end, it was information about a serv-
   ice that saved the day for NCCB.

                                                                         AUGUST 2004 DIGIT   109

                Microsoft versus Linux
        The argument can go on and on. Reliability maybe Linux’s forte while usability is Windows’
                           domain. Here are two expert views on the matter

      ‘Microsoft fits perfectly...’                                      ‘We have an assurance...’
      S B Patankar                                                       Sanjay Sharma
      CTO, The Bombay Stock Exchange, Dalal Street                       Head, Information Technology, IDBI Bank

      T                                                                  A
            raditionally, our office has been running                           t IDBI Bank, we have been running Linux since
            Windows. We tested Linux on an experimental                         June 2002. We have more than 1,600 employees
            basis. But, Microsoft fits perfectly with our                       across over 100 offices. We consider technical
      needs. Our office at BSE houses 500 computers, for as              issues and hardware resource requirements from the
      many people. Here, user-friendliness and ease of                   perspective of server-sizing. We also consider on-going
      operation are big issues—Microsoft takes care of both.             maintenance cost such as Annual Technical Support
         We have a tie-up with Microsoft, and it comes                   (ATS), Total Cost of Ownership (TCO), etc. Based on
      with a full suite of products and applications, which              detailed analysis of these parameters, we select the OS
      make operations much easier. As a result of this tie-              for each application.
      up, Microsoft also takes special care of our                           Linux fit the bill. Windows is easier to administer,
      organisation with facilities such as patch                         but it’s unstable and expensive. Linux is stable and
      management. Networking is another major factor.                    scalable. Our overall productivity has definitely gone
      Given the work we do, we cannot afford too many                    up. We achieved substantial savings on hardware, OS
      disruptions. Microsoft has fared well in this regard.              and license cost. We purchased Intel boxes, which
         Although open source operating systems are                      could scale up to our requirements as the volume
      freely available, at low costs, we will continue with              grew, without any hardware upgrades. It was
      Microsoft, its disruption quotient being negligible.               definitely a case of much lower TCO for the bank. For
      Though we can, we won’t switch operating systems,                  system administrators, we did a small review course.
      since productivity and efficiency are more                             We have an assurance from Red Hat (Clover
      important, not just the cost factor. As we are totally             Technologies) for support for our deployment too.
      used to working with Microsoft, changing from one                  You shouldn’t buy a product or OS, based on who
      platform to another will be a laborious migration.                 the vendor is!
                                           As told to Syed Nadim Siraj                                             As told to Suprotip Ghosh

                                                                                                                                               Photographs Mexy Xavier

110   DIGIT AUGUST 2004
Smart Business
                                                                         Web sites are among the more recent popular
                     Yeddanapudi Radhika                                 cost-saving applications. Video has been used
                                                                         for dissemination of information, about the
                             very year, there is a spurt in the          company and its people, to familiarise vendors
                      E      number of corporations that involve
                             themselves in informational non-
                                                                         or sales channels with new products, to train
                                                                         staff or employees in new skills or procedures,
                     broadcast electronic media. Not all of today’s      to report new corporate developments or earn-
                     information and news programs are for               ings to industry analysts or the media, and also
                     broadcast. In fact, many programs are               to brief staff on recent company changes.
                     produced for the corporate non-broadcast
                     settings than in any other genre. You hear the      Video conferencing
                     terms: corporate television, industrial video,      Video conferencing has emerged as the best
                     business television, closed-circuit television,     alternative to actual face-to-face meetings. By
                     private television—they are all synonyms            adding tone, voice and visual cues to the

Your Boss...
... and other        describing the business of informational non-
                     broadcast electronic media.
colleagues using         The question is, why? What do they
video techniques     know that we don’t? How do corporates
                     use video technology?
to train recruits,       Though corporates recognised the
handle               advantages of transmitting images,
processes,           two factors inhibited its use: cost
                     of production and delivery, and
create archives—     technical             complexities.
And yes, save        Production, in the past, did not
                     use the desktop and

                                                                                                                             Photograph Mexy Xavier Imaging Atul Deshmukh
some money,          needed specialised equip-
too!                 ment       and      facilities.
                     Similarly, delivery required special facili-
                     ties—bandwidth, for example—at other loca-
                     tions in order to make broadcast possible. All of
                     this came at a premium cost that made it
                     unattractive to the corporate sector. An addi-
                     tional expense was the necessity of techni-
                     cally skilled personnel, such as video
                     producers, Web masters and IT professionals.
                         Technologies converging towards the PC,
                     reduction of costs, and an exponential
                     increase in user-friendliness has generated
                     immense corporate demand for stand-alone
                     video products, or video in conjunction with
                     print media. Compared to the cost of
                     producing face-to-face meetings, events,
                     training sessions or roadshows, the invest-
                     ment is actually small.
                         With branches spread all over a particular
                     country, or even across continents, corporates
                     find video a cost-effective communication tool
                     to produce training videos, advertisement
                     spots, sales and publicity material and staff
                     orientation products. These can be directed at
                     clients, employees, franchisees and partners.
                     Video conferencing, and streaming video on

                                                                                                         AUGUST 2004 DIGIT                                                  115
      Smart Business
                                mix, it helps employees understand what the
                                individual on the other side of the screen                Honda and Saab-Interactive Video
                                intends to convey.
                                     Brian A Victoria, of the University of
                                Auckland, says, “Studies have shown that
                                                                                      T  hese companies perceived a gap in the
                                                                                         traditional use of video advertising—while it
                                                                                      showed images of the company, it did not permit
                                people remember 20 per cent of what they
                                                                                      the viewer to interact with it. They have since
                                hear, 40 per cent of what they see and hear, but
                                                                                      begun using a format that has been termed as
                                70 per cent of what they see, hear, and do.”
                                                                                      companion interactivity. While the video
                                Video conferencing helps reduce the cost of
                                                                                      advertisement is running, they provide data
                                travel, accommodation and the time taken to
                                                                                      collection information as a response to consumer
      By adding tone, voice     travel. It’s also an ideal way of interviewing
                                                                                      inputs, and even direct consumers to navigate to
      and visual cues to the    candidates living in far-off places.
                                                                                      a particular page or site.
      mix, video helps               Video Web conference can boost a business
      employees grasp the       environment. Corporations now leverage previ-
      idea that the             ous investments in intranets, extranets and the
                                                                                      Instant gratification; possibly instant sales
      individual on the other   Internet to create Web casts, which are
      side of the screen        significantly cheaper than any previous form of
                                                                                      Deviates from advertising mantra of keeping
      intends to relay          video production. These events use video
                                                                                      user glued to a particular site rather than
                                streaming, either on demand an archived or on-
                                                                                      navigating away from it.
                                demand basis-participants no longer have to
                                participate in real-time. These video events
                                enable management to consistently put forth         a cheap way to disseminate information.
                                their vision, or update employees about             According to Jon Klein, former Executive Vice -
                                projects. Communication, being visual, is faster    President of New York-based CBS News,
                                and can be done on a regular basis. This            “Bandwidth costs alone have dropped so much
                                can be extrapolated to include video content in     that it’s often cheaper to post a video online,
                                events, impromptu meetings and also to train        than duplicate and ‘FedEx’ it to viewers.”
                                staff in informal sessions.                             Improvements in the ability of content
                                     Convergence has ushered even more devices      delivery networks to deliver a stream of video
                                into the scenario—mobile phones are one such        without interruption, has resulted in almost
                                example. In Europe, testing is underway to check    broadcast-quality video to the desktop.
                                the viability of promoting TV shopping channel      Streaming video also provides more informa-
                                access on mobile phones. Mobile technologies        tion on who’s watching what on a Web site, and
                                have taken large strides ahead and almost every     enables better targeting by companies.
                                mobile device is equipped with a camera. Hence,     Intracompany event promotion Companies
                                it’s not hard to picture a scenario wherein video   often use video to promote knowledge dissemi-
                                conferences will be held with participants on       nation within their staff. For example, TiE, The
                                the move, around the world.                         Indus Entrepreneurs, needed to promote its
                                                                                    annual retreat in Goa in 2003. The product was
                                Video in India                                      aimed for staff and potential partners, and was
                                Web conferencing The concept of Web confer-         promotional in nature.
                                encing is rapidly being adopted. Indian corpo-          Although created for a one-time event, the
                                rates, including bigwigs such as Johnson &          video forms an important record of company
                                Johnson, Infosys Technologies, MindTree and         events, and can be used repeatedly to acquaint
                                Polaris, are realising the cost-effectiveness and   new recruits to company culture, and provide a
                                benefits of Web conferencing. According to          basis to plan future events.
                                Business Communications Review magazine,            Training This is one of the most popular uses
                                globally, 11 million individuals representing       of video. Companies such as JC Penny, an online
                                13,000 customer organisations, either regularly     shopping and advertising organisation, create
                                or occasionally, used Web conferencing in 2001.     videos on a regular basis for staff on topics that
                                This number is expected to rise to 79 million       range from managing your pension plan to
                                individuals and 94,000 organisations by 2005.       understanding new distribution and procure-
                                Streaming video Streaming video is also             ment procedures. Other companies use video to
                                slowly gaining acceptance around the world, as      provided training on conflict resolution and
                                                                                    sexual harrassment. Video is especially helpful
        What can Video do for me?                                                   to train staff employed in different locations.
                                                                                    It can also subsitute experienced staff to
      Promote the company by including       large events such as trade shows       conduct training sessions.
      a corporate image video (video         and exhibits.                              To better understand the uses of video, let’s
      cassette or CD-ROM) in sales           Record one-off events, such as a       answer a few basic questions:
      materials and presentations.           seminar or presentation, for replay.
      Train employees, and explain the       Produce creative spots that            Why video and not print products?
      standard procedures and                maximise your advertising spends.      Today, most companies have a hybrid video-print
      responsibilities involved with         Encourage team building, by            model in place. Combinations of print and video
      different positions.                   providing visibility for staff by      products are packaged as marketing materials,
      Provide a quick reference to           putting up office or personal photos   and complement each other. Similarly, video—
      product portfolios for customers.      in an attractive format with special   especially Web-based video—often contains refer-
      Ensure continuous attention at         effects and music.                     ences to print publications and Web sites. Even
                                                                                    major newspapers continue with paper circula-

116   DIGIT AUGUST 2004
                                                                                                                                                         Smart Business
tion, but have Web sites that are able to provide
cutting edge news bites and interactive features,         Print vs Video
which measure user needs and satisfaction.                                   Marketing brochure                                                  Streaming profile
Is it the best use of my staff time                   Description            2-page multi-colour                                                 2-minute low-end video
and resources?                                        Creation cost          Rs 2,000                                                            Rs 4,000, which promotes business             Audience/copies        10,000                                                              10,000
information and corporate profiles through the        Postage/distribution   Rs 60,000                                                           Rs 25,000
innovative use of videos, has this to say:                                   Rs 35,000                                                           -
                                                      Printing costs
“Businesses must communicate! The right
medium for one company may not be right for           Response rates         Varied based on                                                     Measured directly as
                                                                             delivery method                                                     actual viewers
another. It all depends on the scope and
objectives      of   a    marketing      plan.”       Total Cost             Rs 97,000                                                           Rs 29,000, which is based in the US,
illustrates, through comparison, the costs and
benefits of media services that are used to                                                                                  cards for analogue camcorders. Note that video
communicate corporate information.                                                                                           comsumes tons of space when converted into
    The table below offers a cost comparison of                                                                              digital data. Also, capture video at the correct
traditional print brochures versus streaming                                                                                 resolution—capturing at a resolution of 640 x
media. Streaming media is often misunderstood                                                                                480, and then resizing it to 352 x 288, amounts
                                                                                                                             to you doing the entire job twice.
                                                                                                                                 Your PC should have enough processing

                                                                             Photographs Mexy Xavier Imaging Solomon Lewis
                                                                                                                             power, memory and hard disk space to deal
                                                                                                                             with video jobs. You may not need a top-of-the-
                                                                                                                             line system, but a current generation system
                                                                                                                             is recommended.
                                                                                                                                 Equally important is the software you will
                                                                                                                             need to edit and compress your video.
                                                                                                                             Depending on the amount of video that you
                                                                                                                             capture, and the way you transfer it to your
                                                                                                                             computer, you can use software such as Ulead
                                                                                                                             VideoStudio 8 or Adobe Premiere. These offer
                                                                                                                             integrated solutions that let you capture
                                                                                                                             video from the source and transfer them to your
                                                                                                                             hard drive. You can edit them, add your effects,
                                                                                                                             put in an audio track, watermark your videos,
                                                                                                                             and compress them to formats such as
                                                                                                                             Quicktime and RealMedia.

                                                                                                                             Technicalities and price tags aside, using video
                                                                                                                             cameras in your office, though a relatively new
                                                                                                                             idea today, can serve a substantial number of
                                                                                                                             purposes for any business house: Orienting
                                                                                                                             recruits in one mere hour; archiving invaluable
                                                                                                                             presentations and meetings; promoting busi-
                                                                                                                             ness in a visually maverick style; reliving
                                                                                                                             moments of fun in office, and much more.
as a service that is either too expensive, or only   Video broadcasts that                                                   Simple and incredible as it sounds, all you need
meant for larger companies. The example              take the form of Web                                                    is a video camera for the office to make this
below illustrates that a streaming video product     casts make for a                                                        magic happen.
can, in many cases, be less expensive and more       formidable option of                                                                          
effective than its print counterpart.                communication when
                                                     you have employees                                                          Suggested reading
So what do I need?                                   scattered all across
First, you need a video camera. With various         the globe                                                        
models to choose from, there is a wide range of                                                                                 The Next Generation of Corporate
prices. Sony offers a series of models for the                                                                                  Communications–Jon Leland
mini-DV format, ranging from Rs 22,760 to                                                                                       Why Corporations are using interactive
Rs 45,520. A Canon mini-DV format camcorder                                                                                     multimedia for sales, marketing and
costs anywhere between Rs 36,420 and Rs                                                                                         training–Traci Hukill–E
2,04,840. For the JVC, Sharp and Panasonic
models of the same mini-DV format, prices                                                                                       Better, Bigger, Faster–Seana Mulcahy.
range from a modest Rs 12,750 to Rs 36,420.                                                                                     Work–Stephen Porter. 2003
While Sony offers its DV Handycam for Rs 41,250                                                                                 Networked Multimedia-Video Applications:
to Rs 45,520, Panasonic’s DV camcorders range                                                                                   Are we crossing the chasm?–Christine
from Rs 35,280 to Rs 39,140.                                                                                                    Perey–Business Communications Review,
    You may need additional hardware—Firewire                                                                                   March 1999
cards for digital cameras, or analogue capture

                                                                                                                                                              AUGUST 2004 DIGIT     117
      Smart Business
                             Etiquette demands the                               your phone dies on you. If you are within the
                                                                                 range of a cell phone jammer, you will neither
                             switching off of mobile phones in                   see any signal information on your handset, nor
                             certain situations, but most people                 the name of your service provider. However, all
                             choose to ignore this. Here’s how                   calls coming to your phone will be diverted to a
                                                                                 voicemail service—if you have activated this
                             you can make sure that your                         facility for your phone.
                             business doesn’t suffer because                         The cell jammer we reviewed—Suresafe SH-
                                                                                 066BM2B-R—only blocks signals of the 900 and
                             of the mobile menace                                1,800 MHz frequencies. It cannot block CDMA or

                                                                                 TDMA and 800 MHz GSM signals. Of course, you
                                                                                 do get cell jammers that block these signals. The
                                                                                 Suresafe SH-066BLCC is only one such example.
                                                                                     Businesses can easily activate cell phone
                                                                                 jammers during important events, and all at
                                                                                 easily affordable prices. Here are few places
                                                                                 where cell phone jammers are essential, and
                                                                                 could be implemented:

                                                                                 Confidential meetings
                                                                                 Cell jammers, such as the SH-066BM2B-R, cost
                                                                                 about Rs 35,000. This may seem expensive, but
                                                                                 that's a small price to pay to prevent nasty deeds
                                                                                 such as corporate espionage.
                                                                                     Corporate espionage has many manifesta-

      NO SE                  Aliasgar Pardawala

                                      ome months ago, in Mumbai, Hindi
                                      theatre actor Vikram Gokhale walked
                                      out of a play that he was performing in.
                             The reason? Despite a request to the audience,
                             from the play’s actors and producers, to switch
                             their cellular phones off, a phone did go off
                                                                                 tions, and the Short Message Service (SMS) is
                                                                                 surely one of the easiest ways to get information
                                                                                 out of a locked board room—information, which
                                                                                 could be a goldmine to your competitors, can
                                                                                 filter out through a cell phone, without anyone
                                                                                 even noticing it. The threat assumes greater
                                                                                 significance because your rivals may know of
                                                                                                              your        decisions
                             during the performance. It raised the hackles of                                 faster than your
                             the actor, who is one of the seniormost actors on                                own employees.
                             Mumbai’s Marathi theatre circuit. He returned                                         Information
                             to perform only after the man whose cell phone                                   can also be leaked
                             went off, apologised to Gokhale back stage.                                      out if someone
                                 Cellular phones, though equipped with                                        dials the competi-
                             enough potential to change the way we live our                                   tor’s number, and
                             lives, can turn into major irritants. And it only   keeps it connected while announcements are
                             takes an untimely call during a business confer-    being made. This is smarter than SMS, and no
                             ence, or inside a library, to remind us of the      one would ever be the wiser.
                             minor havoc it can create.
                                 Enter Stage Right, cell phone jammers—          Hotels
                             devices that emit the same low frequency radio      Hotel owners can use cell phone jammers in
       The Suresafe          signals as cell phones, neutralising each other’s   and around their conference rooms, to
       SH-066BM2B-R cell     signals. This means that your phone is unable to    prevent hosted seminars and conferences
       jammer guarantees a   receive signals from your service provider’s base   from being disturbed. A cell phone jammer
       no-ring zone          station. Usually it takes a few seconds before      will force peeple to exit the conference

118   DIGIT AUGUST 2004
rooms and use                                                          Cinema halls
land-lines to make                                  Cell jammers       Want to spend some quality time with your
the calls.                                          can open the       family or friends? Go watch a movie. But, there’s

                                                                                                                               Illustrations Mahesh Benkar
                                                    gates to           no way you can do that today—there’s always a
Training                                            productivity and   spoilsport who thinks narrating the movie plot
A training session is                               corporate          over a cell phone in real-time to a friend is a fun
an active breeding                                                     thing to do. Even cinema hall owners can’t really
ground for unneces-                                 privacy by         do anything. Patrons blame the management for
sary phone calls, as employees rarely switch off    cutting out        any sort of disturbance,
their cell phones during these sessions. A          unnecessary cell   and chiding people about
session strength of around 20 or 25 employees       phone usage        mobile phones loses
nearly guarantees you a regular cell phone beep.                       them customers. Cell
                      This not only puts off the                       phone jammers can
                      faculty, but also means                          prove to be a gift from the
                      that the session’s produc-                       heavens in such cases.
                      tivity decreases, resulting
                      in a training session being                      Libraries
                      converted into an exercise                       Librarians can’t “shush” the world anymore. In
                      in time wasting.                                 an age where book readers are a minority, librar-
                                                                       ians find it tough to ask members to switch off
                     Medical centres                                   their phones, lest they walk off and cancel their
                    Most hospitals use super-                          membership. Cell jammers eliminate this
sensitive medical instruments to treat their                                              awkward interaction.
patients. Any interference from cell phone                                                    If you do decide to use
signals can wreak havoc to life-support systems.                                          these methods to help your
To prevent people from damaging instruments,                                              business, we suggest you
yet avoid hurting their                                                                   prominently display a notice
feelings,       cellular                                                                  informing your patrons that
jammers can be used.                                                                      you use such devices. This will
But, also confirm that                                                                    prevent uncomfortable situa-
the jammers do not                                                     tions, such as doctors thinking that they’re
interfere with the exist-                                              within reach, while hospitals desperately re-dial
ing signals.                                                           their numbers.

                                            1/2 page H AD

                                                                                                         AUGUST 2004 DIGIT                            119
                    Visual Explanation

                      Arm Your Mobile Workforce
                                                                   N A MANICALLY mobile world, just how do you keep your workforce equipped, apart from
                                                                   the regular laptop, to get the best out of them—both in terms of productivity and quality?
                                                                   Here, we present some affordable ideas that will make productivity curves skyrocket

                                                                                                                              Infrared and Bluetooth
                                                                                                                              More and more mobile devices, including
                        Laptop battery                                                                                        mobile phones, need either an infrared or
                        If your laptop frequently runs out of                                                                 a Bluetooth port for wireless data
                        battery charge before your day long                                                                   communication. If your laptop does not
                        presentation is over, consider investing                                                              have this onboard, you can use a USB to
                        in an additional laptop battery, which                                                                Infrared or Bluetooth connector to add
                        you can swap immediately when needed                                                                  the capability

                        Price: Depends on your laptop                                                                         Price: Rs 1,400 to Rs 1,800

                        USB pen drive
                        You want to copy a presentation to your
                        client’s PC; or, your client needs to send back
                        a 50 MB file. No need to open his PC and
                        connect your bulky hard disk drive there. Just
                        use a tiny USB pen drive to easily transfer
                        files between computers

                        Price: Rs 1,600 upwards
                                                                                                                                       Data cable for a mobile phone
                                                                                                                                       A data cable—easily available on e-commerce or
                                                                                                                                       auction sites—can mean instantaneous connectivity
                    Text Saurabh Kumar, Photograph Mexy Xavier, Model Rufy Baqal

                                                                                                                                       to the Net, especially if you have a laptop. The cable
                                                                                                                                       also doubles up as a phone charger. You need a
                                                                                                                                       CDMA or GPRS ready phone for Net access

                                                                                                                                       Price: Rs 200 upwards

                                                                                   Data lock
                                                                                   The Virtual HDD Key ensures that even if you   Phone backup software
                                                                                   leave your laptop unattended, nobody can       To a sales and marketing
                                                                                   fiddle with the valuable data on it            professional, contacts are
                                                                                                                                  everything. Software such as
                                                                                   Price: Around Rs 2,600
                                                                                                                                  Oxygen Phone Manager will ensure
                                                                                                                                  that critical phone contacts and
                                                                                                                                  data are backed up
                                                                                                                                  Price: Rs 2,250 upwards

                                                                                   PDA or Pocket PC
                                                                                   A PDA is lightweight and allows
                                                                                   you to keep you personal
                                                                                   information arranged, keep
                                                                                   track of appointments, take
                                                                                   notes and more. You can also                         WiFi adapter
                                                                                   access the Internet if you have                      So your client decided to talk
                                                                                   GPRS enabled. This can be used                       over coffee at Barista, but your
                                                                                   as a ready reckoner when with                        Laptop is not WiFi-enabled.
                                                                                   clients                                              Don’t worry, With a USB to
                                                                                                                                        WiFi adapter, you can
                                                                                   Price: Rs 7,000 upwards                              easily add that capability

                                                                                                                                        to your laptop

                                                                                                                                        Price: Around Rs 5,250
      Test Centre

      The All-rounders
      While the world debates about convergence, Multi-Functional Devices are already
      creating a small revolution in the office. A copier-printer-fax-scanner combo spells huge
      savings not only in terms of money but also cuts the clutter

      Sanket Naik, Aliasgar Pardawala and                                                     Scanner
      Deepak Dhingra                                                                          A typical stand alone
                                                                                              scanner between Rs 5,000
               ou are running your business well                                              and Rs 15,000

        Y      only if every resource is fully utilised,
               and every possible inch of real estate is put
      to good use. Part of making your business a suc-
      cess, is getting people and components to multi-
      task. The people we can’t help you with, the
      components we can.
          In any office, paper-related devices are widely
      used. Printers are the most common peripherals;
      copiers, fax machines and scanners are also pop-
      ular. Any office will have at least three of these
      components, and all probably strewn about, wher-
      ever space is available. Today, you don’t need to
      settle for multiple devices; instead, you can get a
      Multi-Functional Device (MFD) that can multi-task.

      Choosing the right MFD
      The MFD market has evolved to provide
      multiple verticals that provide a solution for
      the varied needs. We divided the devices into
      three categories—Personal, Workgroup and
      Heavy-duty devices.
          The Personal MFDs category contains
      devices that are sheet-fed and have limited scan-
      ning abilities. Most are monochrome scanning
      devices, and restricted to 256-colour greyscale
      scanners. Some of these are actually fax
      machines, with laser printer and scanning
      capabilities built around them. They are best
      suited for very low print volumes, as the cost
      per page is high.
          Workgroup MFDs utilise a laser-printing                                               Multi-Functional Device
      engine. The consumable used is a unified toner                                            The prices of MFDs range from Rs 15,000 to
      cartridge. The toner life is usually rated at                                             Rs 15,00,000, depending upon the features
      3,000 pages, and a drum is said to last for                                               they come with
      7,000 pages. This is in a sealed cartridge,                                          in terms of space, and do the same job as their
      so when your toner is used up, you have                                              bigger counterparts. Here, we looked at three such
      to replace the entire cartridge—                                                     MFDs from HP, Samsung and Brother. Both the HP
      including the half-used drum.                                                        and Brother, can print decently, scan, copy and fax,
          Heavy-duty MFD technology is the same as             Fax Machine                 whereas the Samsung is primarily a fax machine
      copier machines, which are quite rugged.                                             that’s been souped-up to work as a printer and
                                                               A typical fax machine for
      Here, the toner is stored in a separate cartridge        your office will cost you   copier. The Samsung 5100P even comes with a
      from the drum; so you only replace what you              about Rs 12,000             handset—typical of standalone fax machines.
      use up. Typically, a drum is rated to last for
      50,000 pages, and the toner lasts for about                                          Features
      5,000 pages. So, a copier-based MFD actually                                         The HP LaserJet 3015 impressed us with its feature
      works out cheaper in the long run.                                                   list. This MFD is just 426 mm in width, and has an
                                                                                           unusual vertical box shape design. All the neces-
      Personal MFDs                                                                        sary buttons are on the top-colour scan, copy, fax
      Devices with a smaller footprint are preferred over                                  and print. The USB and Parallel connectors are at
      the huge machines in small offices. Due to the                                       the back. The milky white Brother MFC-9660 is just
      absence of a flatbed scanner, sheet-fed MFDs score                                   as good looking, but a little larger. It has all the

118   DIGIT AUGUST 2004
                             necessary buttons such as the fax dial pad, menu only MFD in this category with a 600 dpi scan res-
                             setup, scan, copy, etc. on the control panel. Sam- olution, and 24-bit colour depth. The test scans
                             sung, on the other hand, sports a regular fax were decent—it picked up 19 out of 22 shades of
                             machine design, with the handset integrated. This grey, and also did well in the colour deviation test.
                             means that it can be used as a tele-                              Brother scans in monochrome (256
                             phone unlike the HP and Brother              The HP 3015          shades of gray) at 600 dpi, which
                             units.                                    stands out when means you’ll have to invest extra to
                                                                           it comes to         buy an external colour scanner.
                             Fax                                                               Samsung can only scan at a quality
                             The Brother MFC-9660 can store only       scanning, with a acceptable for a fax machine. We did
                             32 speed-dial numbers, whereas              600 dpi scan          not run the scanning tests on the
                             Samsung stores a maximum of 90             resolution, and Brother and Samsung models.
Printer                      speed-dial numbers with 10 speed                a 24-bit              Both HP and Brother scan docu-
A good laser or inkjet       dial hot keys. The HP offers 120 speed                            ments at 100 dpi, by default. In order
printer will cost            dial numbers, but with just seven
                                                                          colour depth         to scan at 600 dpi, you’ll need to use
Rs 15,000 upwards
                             hotkeys. The Brother MFD can store as much as the ‘scan to image’ function and use your PC to
                             500 pages in its memory—the Samsung stores 160, import the image via the TWAIN driver.
                             and the HP only 110 pages. The MFC-9660 lets you         Brother MFC-9660 has three hotkeys for Scan
                             send a fax broadcast to as many as 182 locations, to e-mail, OCR and image. HP has a ‘Scan to’
                             whereas the HP only allows for a group dial func- button on the control panel that can be config-
                             tion to a maximum of 120 entries. The Samsung, ured to Scan to e-mail, OCR, Folder, or other pro-
                             which is primarily a fax machine, only allows a grams, using the software provided. This feature
                             hotkey entry (a two-digit entry), which translates is handy, as you can set the scanner to quickly scan
                             to a total of 99 recipients. So, the HP and Brother to whatever choice you use most often.
                             actually offer better fax features than the Sam-
                             sung!                                                Copy
                                                                                  HP claims to copy at 15 ppm, scanning at 600 dpi,
                             Printing                                             but our tests showed that it copies at about 12
                             Both the HP and Brother have laser-based printers PPM—the first copy took 14 seconds. The Brother
                             devices. Both printed at the claimed speed of 14 to claims similar speeds, but only managed 10 PPM.
                             15 pages per minute (PPM). The Samsung, however, You should keep in mind that these speeds will
                             is primarily a fax machine, and thus prints at a vary, depending on the contents of the documents
                             slow 6 PPM. In our speed tests, the HP took the you want to copy.
                             crown—taking just 11 seconds to print our test doc-
                             ument. It also managed to yield crisp results—the Verdict for Personal MFDs
                             Brother took twice the time to finish the same job. All three MFDs have their areas of strength, and
 A typical heavy-duty office In our mixed document test (text, graphics and       weaknesses. HP has a small footprint, a better
 copier can cost upwards of
 Rs 40,000                   images), the HP managed to print the document in scanner and a faster printer and copier. Brother
                             just 19 seconds. The Brother took 25 seconds for has 32 hotkeys for speed dial and offers a straight
                             the same job.                                        paper path option for printing envelopes, trans-
                                 Brother’s huge 250 sheet capacity, dominates parencies, etc. The Samsung offers a handset to
                             the 150 sheet capacity HP and Samsung. The Sam- make telephone calls without wasting extra
                             sung MFD has a top loading paper tray, while both money and space on a phone instrument. It is
                             the HP and the Brother have the laser printer style, small, but priced too high at Rs 27,000—especially
                             front-loading cassette. The Brother scores again considering the below average feature set and
                             over the others, because of its sliding paper cas- slow printer module.
                             sette and manual-loading slot for envelopes, labels      Brother offers the most features, but lags
                             and transparencies.                                  behind HP because of the monochrome scanner
                                                                                  unit. Brother MFC-9660 is priced at
                             Scanning                                             Rs 31,400, beaten by HP’s price of Rs 22,500. HP
                             Scanning is where the HP 3015 stands out. It’s the seems to be the obvious choice here.

         Multi-Functional Devices - Buy / Do Not Buy                                 Workgroup MFDs
                                                                                     For a low to medium volume of printing and
     Small footprint and                       four security problems and four       copying, MFDs based on laser printer engines are
  cost-effectiveness Instead of                service warranties, whereas one       preferred. These are generally deployed as shared
  having to buy four or five different         engineer can support an MFD           resources in departments.
  machines—and maintain each with                Quality An all-in-one machine may        A total of 10 MFDs fell into this category with-
  different replacement toners, drums          not offer the same high quality in    three each from Brother and HP, two from Sam-
  and other parts—you can purchase a           each of its functions as separate     sung and one each from Xerox and Canon. Almost
  single machine whose printing,               machines                              all the vendors have a base model without fax as
  scanning and copying functions use             Breakdowns If one of the            well as upscaled versions that have the same
  the same cartridge                           functions breaks down, the entire     printer and scanner units with fax added on.
     Network considerations Adding             machine is unusable. To preclude
  one device to the network instead of         such a disaster, several              Design
  four separate devices, with all the          manufacturers offer warranties with   Brother MFDs sport an elegant and sober look
  associated cabling and driver                24-hour express replacement,          that should go well with any office décor. The
  software is easier. Four devices is          on-site exchange or fast repairs      off-white body panels, large four-line backlit
                                                                                     LCD and the subtle use of blue panels make it a

Photograph Mexy Xavier Imaging Solomon Lewis
                                                                                                                        AUGUST 2004 DIGIT    119
      Test Centre
           How We Tested

       W    e ran a multitude of tests that
            stressed each of the three major sub-
       systems of an MFD, i.e. Printing, Scanning
                                                      printer unit during the speed test. We
                                                      looked for jarring edges in text, and how
                                                      well images were reproduced in black and
                                                                                                     300 dpi, and the colour reproduction in
                                                                                                     both light and dark spectrums was noted.
                                                                                                     Image Quality test using a resolution chart:
       and Copying. We did not conduct                white—whether there was any banding            This test determines which device is better
       performance tests on Fax capabilities, and     across the image, etc. We also looked at the   at picking up minute details. A resolution
       only evaluated their features. The test        smallest possible font that the printer unit   chart with lines was scanned at a
       computers used were two ACi Emerald Pro        could print.                                   resolution of 300 dpi; we then used the
       laptops with an Intel Pentium 4 2.66 GHz                                                      magic wand feature in Photoshop to
       processor, 256 MB of RAM, a 40 GB hard         Scanning                                       analyse the scanned blocks. Marks were
       drive and Windows XP with the latest           To test scanning speeds, we used an A4         awarded to MFDs that could differentiate
       updates as our Operating system. We            photograph that was scanned at 600 dpi         the maximum number of lines.
       called for MFDs costing below Rs 1 lakh for    with 24-bit colour. Before any scans, we
       the comparison.                                accounted for the time taken for a scanner     Copying
                                                      unit to warm up, by taking five previews       In order to test copying speeds, we used a
       Printing                                       before scanning anything. We logged the        text document consisting of varying font
       To test the speeds of the printing units, we   time taken to scan the document and            sizes. We placed the test printout on the
       used three different documents--a plain        display the output in Photoshop.               scanner, and noted the copies per minute.
       text document covering 25 per cent of the          Testing the scanning quality involved
       page, a combination-document of text and       an assortment of tests, the two most           Features
       some graphics covering 35 per cent of the      important being:-                              We noted all the features that a device
       page and an image file. We logged the time     Image quality test using IT8 card:             offered in terms of usability in everyday
       taken by the printer units to print them. To   Professionals all over the world use IT8       life. Special features such as poster-
       determine the printer output quality, we       cards to gauge the colour purity of a          printing, duplexing, auto-resize, etc, were
       analysed the test prints taken from the        scanned image. This card was scanned at        also assigned the appropriate importance.

      great-looking machine. HP uses its traditional           Among the                     features-buffer memory-HP and Brother MFDs
      navy blue body with grey panels, colourful but-                                        have 32 MB of it, while Xerox comes second with
      tons and throw in a dash of style with some              workgroup                     16 MB. Samsung opted for just 8 MB of buffer
      flashy lights. The major difference between HP           MFDs, the                     memory, and Canon makes do with a mere 2 MB.
      and Brother is that the former’s models are              elegant Canon                 More the memory, faster is the printing process,
      more compact. Canon uses sky-blue with milky-            models are                           and entire documents can be spooled into
      white panels and ends up looking the best of the         ahead in the                         the printer’s memory.
      lot. Samsung and Xerox have the smallest foot-
      print. Canon iC D680 is a heavyweight at 22 kg,          race for
                                                                                                       Workgroup MFDs
      while HP's LJ3030 and LJ3020 are the lightest at         good looks.
      12 kg. All models in this category have an LCD                                             4
      display. Brother scores with a great four-line                                      UST
      backlit LCD. The rest have a single-line LCD that
      displays limited information.

      Barring a few differences in specifications, all the
      devices are evenly matched in terms of features.
      The printer engines support a maximum of 600
      dpi-more than enough for a typical business sce-
      nario. All have a 250-sheet capacity-except HP's
      LJ3020 and 3030, which have a capacity of 150
      sheets. All HP models and Samsung 4216F support                 This compact device
      additional paper trays-the rest lack this flexibility.           is the most capable
      The output paper trays on HP's 3030 and 3020 are                         all-rounder
                                                                                              Samsung SCX 4216F
      a bit flimsy. Coming to one of the most important

120   DIGIT AUGUST 2004
     Before Buying an MFD                                                                                             Test Centre
   Consider your Usage Pattern: If you print and copy more, choose a copier      auto-fit, etc, which add value. Though these may
   engine-based MFD. If you print more and copy less, opt for a printer          not be used on a day-to-day basis, they definitely
   engine-based MFD. If fax is your main concern, opt for a specialised          come in handy to print posters, banners, etc. As
   Laser fax that doubles as a laser printer and scanner                         for copying speeds, HP’s 3380 convincingly
   Look for handy features, such as paper capacity, buffer memory, duplex        thrashed all the other MFDs in this category to
   printing, toner save, etc.                                                    walk away with top honours.
   Make sure the MFD can print on the kinds of paper products you use,
   such as envelopes and index cards                                             Faxing
   Pay attention to upgradeability and scalability. Upgrade options will         Faxing was limited to Brother’s MFC 8820D,
   extend the life of the device, as your needs grow                             Canon’s IC D680, HP’s LJ3030 and LJ3380, Sam-
   Check the type of warranty offered. Laser MFDs are bulky and                  sung’s SCX-4216F and Xerox’s PE16. Brother-MFC
   heavy—lugging them around is not feasible, so make sure your model is         8820D saves up to 500 fax pages in memory for you
   covered by an on-site warranty                                                to retrieve them later. In comparison, Samsung
   Try the console interface to figure out how to operate the device             and Xerox both accommodate 320 pages and HP's
   Check out the control panel. It should have a good LCD panel to display       3380 stores up to 250 pages. All of them have fax
   status messages and warnings                                                  scheduling to send pre-timed faxes automatically.
                                                                                 Brother, Samsung and Xerox models offer ‘On
    HP’s LJ 3380 dominated the printing perform-                                 hook dialling’ to monitor the connection, handy
ance. Though rated to print at 20 PPM, it managed                                in the absence of a telephone handset.
a fast 18 PPM. It was the only device to break the      HP’s LJ3380
10-second barrier for the first printout, taking just   dominated the            Verdict for Workgroup MFDs
9 seconds. The Samsung’s 4216F came in second.          printing                 All said and done, Samsung's SCX-4216F scored
                                                                                 over its competitors with its decent performance,
Scanning                                                performance              good set of features and an acceptable price.
All the MFDs have scanners with a maximum               tests. It clocked        Though HP's LJ 3380 was by far the best performer,
optical resolution of 600 dpi. This is enough to        18 pages per             it lost the overall crown owing to its high price tag.
enlarge a 4x6 inch photograph, and print it             minute and               If performance is your concern, opt for HP.
without any visible graininess. HP and Brother          broke the
MFDs support 9,600 dpi ‘enhanced’ resolution,
                                                        10-second                Heavy-duty MFDs
whereas Samsung and Xerox top out at 4,800 dpi.                                  Heavy-duty MFDs are good for high volumes of
All except Canon have the ‘Scan to PC’ feature so,      barrier for the          printing and copying. They have low running
you can not use it as a PC scanner.                     first printout           costs, are rugged and offer longer duty cycles.
    All the devices use a flatbed scanner with 24-                                   Three models from Canon, and one each from
bit colour depth. These are better than the sheet-                                        Samsung, Sharp, Ricoh, Toshiba and Xerox
fed variety, since they can be used with a variety of                                    fit into this category. Depending on your
sources, and generally produce better scans. Most
of the MFDs also come with Automatic Document                                             Workgroup MFDs
Feeders to facilitate scanning multiple sheets.
    Nothing beats Brother in terms of scanning
speed. The Brother models were nearly four times                                ST 2
faster than their slowest competitors-Samsung and
Xerox. The Brother MFDs, also yielded superb
colour reproduction and saturation. The devices
from Samsung and Xerox were able to match the
Brother only in terms of spatial resolution.

All these MFDs permit a maximum of 99 copies of
a document. Standard copying features include
Reduce or Enlarge, magnification up to 400 per
cent and standalone copying. Collation is another          The speedy printer
feature that is common to all of them.                       makes it the top
    The models from Samsung and Xerox have                 performer, but at a
                                                                  steep price     HP LJ 3380
additional special features such as clone, poster,

                                                                                                                    AUGUST 2004 DIGIT     121
                      Score Board
                                Category                                                                            Workgroup MFDs
                    Brand                                 Brother       Brother       Brother       Canon         HP              HP              HP              Samsung         Samsung         Xerox
                    Model                                 DCP 8020      DCP 8025D     MFC 8820D     iC D680       LJ 3030         LJ 3020         LJ 3380         SCX 4016        SCX-4216F       PE-16
                                                          25.12         25.12         30.14         14.72         28.15           25.15           31.71           26.59           32.59           31.59
                    Printing                              4             4             4             5             4               4               5               4               5               4
                    Printing technology                   Laser         Laser         Laser         Laser         Laser           Laser           Laser           Laser           Laser           Laser
                    Resolution (dpi x dpi)                600           600           600           600           600             600             600             600             600             600
                    Paper capacity for default tray       250           250           250           250           150             150             250             250             250             250
                    Additional paper tray facility        No            No            No            Yes           Yes             Yes             Yes             No              Yes             No
                    Scanning                              7             7             7             2             7               7               7               8               8               8
                    Max optical resolution                600           600           600           600           600             600             600             600             600             600
                    Bit depth                             24            24            24            8             24              24              24              24              24              24
                    Scan image directly to mail client    Yes           Yes           Yes           Yes           Yes             Yes             Yes             Yes             Yes             Yes
                    ADF                                   Yes           Yes           Yes           No            Yes             Yes             Yes             Yes             Yes             Yes
                    Copying                               1             1             1             1             1               1               1               1               1               1
                    Stand alone copying                   Yes           Yes           Yes           Yes           Yes             Yes             Yes             Yes             Yes             Yes
                    Document management                   2             2             2             1             2               2               2               2               2               2
                    Collating                             Yes           Yes           Yes           No            Yes             Yes             Yes             Yes             Yes             Yes
                    Multiple copying in                   Yes           Yes           Yes           Yes           Yes             Yes             Yes             Yes             Yes             Yes
                    standalone mode
                    Faxing                                0             0             5             0             3               0               4               0               5               5

                    Memory for storing (No of pages)      NA            NA            500           79            110             NA              250             NA              320             320
                    Hook up dialling                      NA            NA            Yes           No            Yes             NA              No              NA              Yes             Yes
                    Broadcasting features                 NA            NA            Yes           No            Yes             NA              Yes             NA              Yes             Yes
                    Misc                                  9.42          9.42          9.44          4.92          9.35            9.35            10.91           7.97            7.97            7.97
                    Weight (Kg)                           18.1          18.1          18.1          22.6          12              12              15.7            13              13              13
                    Input buffer (MB)                     32            32            32            2             32              32              32              8               8               16
                    Memory upgrade possible (Y/N)         Yes           Yes           No            No            No              No              Yes             No              No              No
                    Dimensions (H x W x D) (mm)           461x541x452   461x541x452   469x532x444   352x475x442   378x498x401     378x498x401     495x546x521     436x417x474     436x417x474     436x417x474
                    Cables provided                       No            No            Yes           Yes           Yes             Yes             Yes             Yes             Yes             Yes
                    Interface                             USB           USB           USB           USB           USB             USB             USB             USB, parallel   USB, parallel   USB, parallel
                    Other Features                        2.2           2.2           2.1           0.7           1.2             1.2             2.2             2.7             2.7             3.2
                    Software bundled                      MFL-Pro       MFL-Pro       MFL-Pro       Drivers       HP Toolbox,     HP Toolbox,     HP Toolbox,     SmarThru        SmarThru        ControlCentre
                                                          Suite         Suite         Suite                       ReadIris OCR,   ReadIris OCR,   ReadIris OCR,
                                                                                                                  HP All-In-One   HP All-In-One   HP All-In-One
                                                                                                                  setup assis-    setup assis-    setup assis-
                                                                                                                  tant, drivers   tant, drivers   tant, drivers
                    Build Quality                         0.7           0.7           0.8           0.8           0.8             0.8             0.8             0.8             0.8             0.8
                    Networking capabilities               1             1             1             0             1               1               1               1               1               1
                    Ethernet port provided (Y/N)          No            No            No            No            No              No              No              No              No              No
                    Optional LAN interface                Yes           Yes           Yes           No            Yes             Yes             31.71           Yes             Yes             Yes
                                                          30.72         30.72         30.18         20.47         27.11           27.11           32.15           27.52           27.52           25.16
                    Printing                              12.86         12.86         12.34         12.84         12.86           12.86           14.89           12.94           12.94           12.48
                    Speed test (Scale of 15)              9.96          9.96          9.44          9.94          9.96            9.96            11.99           10.04           10.04           9.58

                    Image Quality                         2.9           2.9           2.9           2.9           2.9             2.9                             2.9             2.9             2.9
                    Scanning                              10.23         10.23         10.21         0             7.65            7.65            8.82            6.58            6.58            6.59
                    Speed Test (Scale of 4)               1.66          1.66          2.3           0             1.67            1.67            2.74            1.22            1.22            1.33
                    Image quality evaluation              6.97          6.97          6.71          0             4.78            4.78            4.88            3.76            3.76            4.06
                    using IT8 card (Scale of 10)
                    Resolution test (Lines Pair           1.6           1.6           1.2           0             1.2             1.2             1.2             1.6             1.6             1.2
                    Per Inch test)—(Scale of 2)
                    Copying (Scale of 10)                 7.63          7.63          7.63          7.63          6.6             6.6             8.44            8               8               6.09
                                                          14.64         11.84         9.58          11.37         15.6            17.63           7.89            17.28           12.34           13.94
                    Price                                 Rs 29,500     Rs 36,500     Rs 45,100     Rs 38,000     Rs 28,500       Rs 24,500       Rs 54,724       Rs 25,000       Rs 35,000       Rs 31,000
                    Overall                               70.48         67.68         69.90         46.56         70.42           69.89           71.75           71.39           72.45           70.69

                                                         requirements, you can choose a machine that                              viable option for DTP processes and marketing
                                                         has either an A4 or an A3 format. Out of the                             departments that need to print or scan large
                                                         eight MFDs, the models from Sharp, Ricoh,                                brochures. We sub-divided this category on the
                                                         Toshiba and Canon sported the A3 format, while                           basis of the paper sizes supported-A4 and
                                                         the rest were standard A4 machines. MFDs of the                          A3. First, we take a look at a more popular
                                                         A3 format form a niche segment, and are a                                A4 category.

122                 DIGIT AUGUST 2004
     Other Functions You Can Expect From Your MFD                                                                     Test Centre
    Scan multiple documents in batch processing mode and, optionally, OCR         clearly indicates that the Samsung and Xerox
    them                                                                          printer units will slow down under heavy loads.
    Save the received fax on the computer and print only the needed faxes.
    Some MFDs may not provide this feature                                        Scanning
    Scan photos and e-mail them                                                   Canon seems to think that large businesses don't
    Auto fax/phone switch: If you have one line for phone calls and faxing,       need a dedicated scanner, so there's no 'Scan to
    some MFDs will switch to the fax function when a fax is incoming              PC' function in their devices. This means you can
    Broadcasting: Sends faxes to several different numbers simultaneously.        print and take copies, but you can't use the
    Dual access: The ability to use the MFD for a second function while           scanner for applications such as OCR, scanning
    another function is being performed                                           images to PC, etc. The Xerox M15i and Samsung
    Fax memory: If your machine is out of paper, or the ink cartridge is low,     SCX-5315F have decent scanner units, with nearly
    faxes will be stored. When the paper tray is refilled or the cartridge        all the features of a standalone scanner. They also
    replaced, the faxes stored in the memory chip will be printed. Some           scan an image or text directly to an e-mail client,
    MFDs can store up to 500 pages                                                or OCR software, and come bundled with basic
    PC faxing: Sends faxes directly from your computer’s modem without            document management software.
    having to print the document and feed it manually into the fax machine             To simplify your scanning needs, an automatic
    Quick scan: Scans a document into memory so you can retrieve your             document feeder is provided on all except Canon's
    document without having to wait for it to be processed                        IR1210. These multi-sheet document feeders come
    TWAIN: Allows importing graphics without leaving an application               in handy when copying many documents, or
                                                                                  when using scheduled fax.
                                                                                       Canon's MFDs lack a 'Scan to PC' feature, so we
A4 format heavy-duty MFDs                             Canon MFDs can              could not analyse the scan quality. However, when
The four MFDs in the A4 format were Canon's                                       we made copies, we couldn't find any noteworthy
iR1270F and iR1210, Xerox's M15i and Samsung's
                                                      print 99 copies             defects in them. The scanner units on the Sam-
SCX-5315F. Both the models from Canon are iden-       at one go. In               sung and Xerox are almost identical, and do a
tical save just one difference: the iR1270F has fax   contrast, the               superb scanning job. But be prepared to be
functionality thrown in. The iR1270F and iR1210       Samsung and                 assailed by a loud screeching noise as they scan!
look better than Samsung and Xerox. Had it not        Xerox units can
been for their differing control panels, Xerox's                          Copying
M15i and Samsung’s SCX-5315F would have
                                                      print a             The Canon units allow you to take a maximum of
looked like twins!                                    remarkable 999      99 copies in one go, whereas the Samsung and
                                                      copies. This        Xerox units allow 999 copies. Quite a few features
Printing                                              apart, there are    such as auto-fit, clone, poster, side-by-side copying,
When it comes to features, there's hardly any dif-    quite a few other etc, are exclusive to Samsung and Xerox. These
ference among these models. All have a native                                      add value to the units. Side-by-side
printing resolution of 600 dpi—more than suffi-
                                                      features such as             copying helps you save paper by taking
cient for most business needs. The paper trays pro-   auto-fit, side-
vided with these MFDs have a capacity of 550          by-side                        A4 Heavy-duty MFDs
sheets. Canon, however, lets you increase the paper   copying, etc,
capacity by adding more trays for a complete 'fill    that are                  004
it, shut it and forget it' operation. Samsung and
                                                      exclusive to          ST 2
Xerox don't offer this feature.                                        AUGU
     The models from Canon are rated to deliver 12    Samsung
pages per minute and they come very close at 11       and Xerox
PPM. The Samsung and Xerox MFDs are both rated
to deliver 15 PPM-Xerox delivered 14 PPM, and Sam-
sung 13 PPM. In most of the printing tests, all the
devices showed no significant difference in the
results. However, in the combination-document
printing test, the Canon MFDs were significantly
faster, taking half the time as compared to the
Samsung and Xerox. It's the same story in the          Great performer, with a
photo-printout test. Though these devices aren't         software bundle that
suited to print photographs, what's interesting is       pushes it past the the     Samsung SCX-5315F
their behaviour while printing large files. This      Xerox M15i for the crown

                                                                                                                    AUGUST 2004 DIGIT    123
                      Score Board
                                   Category                                        A4 size heavy-duty MFDs                                                 A3 size heavy-duty MFDs
                    Brand                                        Canon             Canon             Samsung             Xerox             Canon           Ricoh             Sharp          Toshiba
                    Model                                        iR1210            iR1270F           SCX-5315F           M15i              iR1600          Aficio 2015       AR-M160        e-Studio 160
                    Features Score                               22                28                35                  32                24              34                35             24
                    Printing                                     8                 8                 6                   6                 8               8                 8              6
                    Printing technology                          Laser             Laser             Laser               Laser             Laser           Laser             Laser          Laser
                    Resolution (dpi x dpi)                       600               600               600                 600               600             600               600            600
                    Paper capacity for default tray              500               500               550                 550               500             250               250            550
                    Additional paper tray facility               Yes               Yes               No                  No                Yes             Yes               Yes            No
                    Scanning                                     3                 4                 5                   5                 3               5                 6              3
                    Max 0ptical resolution                       600               600               600                 600               600             600               600            600
                    Scan area                                    A4                A4                A4                  A4                A3              A3                A3             A3
                    Scan image directly to mail client           No                No                Yes                 Yes               No              Yes               Yes            No
                    ADF                                          No                Yes               Yes                 Yes               No              Yes               Optional       Optional
                    Copying                                      1                 1                 1                   1                 1               1                 1              1
                    Stand alone copying                          Yes               Yes               Yes                 Yes               Yes             Yes               Yes            Yes
                    Document management                          2                 4                 4                   4                 4               4                 4              4
                    Collating                                    Yes               Yes               Yes                 Yes               Yes             Yes               Yes            Yes
                    Multiple copying in standalone mode          Yes               Yes               Yes                 Yes               Yes             Yes               Yes            Yes
                    Faxing                                       0                 3                 4                   4                 0               0                 0              0
                    Memory for storing (No of pages)             Na                255               320                 320               NA              3MB               NA             NA
                    On hook dialling                             Na                No                Yes                 Yes               NA              Optional          NA             NA
                    Broadcasting features                        Na                Yes               Yes                 Yes               NA              NA                NA             NA

                    Misc                                         7                 7                 14                  11                7               15                15             9
                    Input buffer (MB)                            2                 2                 4                   4                 16              16                16             32
                    Memory upgrade possible (Y/N)                No                No                No                  No                Yes             NA                Yes            Yes
                    Dimensions (HxWxD) in mm                     326 x 475 x 352   326 x 475 x 352   456x560x429         456x560x429       560x615x631     420x550x568 470x590x577          554x530x600
                    Weight (Kg)                                  24                24                22.85               22.85             37.8            35                31.3           50
                    Interface                                    USB, parallel     USB, parallel     USB, Parallel       USB, Parallel     USB, parallel   USB               USB            USB optional
                    Other features                               2 on 1 image      2 on 1 image      Duplex Copying,     1-2 sided         NA              Scan to specific Autofit, offset 8 to 1, 4 in 1, 2
                                                                 printing          printing          Autofit, Clone, 2   copying, Clone,                   IP address,       stacking,      in 1, sorting,
                                                                                                     page on single      Autofit, N to 1                   Network card Centre/Edge         magazine sort
                                                                                                     sheet               printout                          built in,         erase
                                                                                                                                                           Landscape or
                                                                                                                                                           Portrait printing
                                                                                                                                                           of A4 media
                    Software bundled                             Drivers           Drivers           SmarThru3           ControlCentre     Drivers         SmartDeviceMo Sharp              Net Panel
                                                                                                                         5.0                               nitor, Web        Desk/Button
                                                                                                                                                           SmartDeviceMo Manager, Drivers
                                                                                                                                                           nitor, Web
                                                                                                                                                           V2 Lite
                                                                                                                                                           ScanRouter V2L
                    Build Quality                                1                 1                 1                   1                 1               1                 1              1
                    Networking capabilities                      1                 1                 1                   1                 1               1                 1              1
                    Ethernet port provided (Y/N)                 No                No                No                  No                No              No                No             No
                    Optional LAN interface                       Yes               Yes               Yes                 Yes               Yes             Yes               Yes            Yes
                    Performance Score                            18.44             18.44             22.69               23.17             18.07           22.36             22.63          0
                    Printing                                     10.8              10.8              9.46                9.68              10.57           13.66             7.01           0
                    Speed test (Scale of 15)                     9.8               9.8               8.46                8.68              9.37            12.06             5.41           0
                    Image Quality

                                                                 1                 1                 1                   1                 1.2             1.6               1.6            0
                    Scanning                                     0                 0                 5.75                5.74              0               0                 7.98           0
                    Speed test (Scale of 3)                      0                 0                 0.96                0.98              0               0                 2.37           0
                    Image Quality Evaluation using IT8 card      0                 0                 3.69                3.46              0               0                 4.01           0
                    (Scale of 8)
                    Resolution test (Lines pair per inch test)   0                 0                 1.10                1.30              0               0                1.60              0
                    (Scale of 4)
                    Copying (Scale of 10)                        7.64              7.64              7.08                7.75              7.05            8.7              7.64              7.08
                    Price Score                                  15                9.17              12.69               14.22             8.25            8.62             8.29              0
                    Price                                        Rs 55,000         Rs 90,000         Rs 65,000           Rs 58,000         Rs 1,00,000     Rs 95,700        Rs 99,500         NA
                    Overall Score                                55.44             55.61             69.98               69.39             50.32           64.98            65.92             31.08

       The Samsung                                  copying on both sides of a page, but you need to                                 Samsung and Xerox MFDs can store 200 pages of
       and Xerox units                              use the ADF. The Poster feature scans an image,                                  faxes in their memory.
                                                    and then copies parts of the image onto nine pages
       can store 200                                that you can stick to get a huge poster. The Sam-                                Verdict for A4 heavy-duty MFDs
       pages of faxes in                            sung unit comes with three buttons for Toner Save,                               Samsung and Xerox have a generous software
       their memory.                                Power Save and Paper Save that work!                                             bundle, but Samsung’s SmarThru, is quite useful
       Even if you run                                                                                                               in day-to-day business. SmarThru allows you to
       out of paper, you                            Faxing                                                                           control every function of the MFD through a
                                                    All, except the Canon iR1210, are capable of faxing.                             single interface. The interface has tabs for
       can still receive                            The fax consoles are extensive, allowing one-touch                               printing, scanning, OCRing, send to e-mail client,
       the faxes                                    dialling, auto-dialling, searching, etc. None of the                             etc. Overall, both the Samsung and Xerox MFDs
                                                    units have a telephone handset. Samsung has                                      were on par with each other in performance.
                                                    incorporated an 'On Hook' button that informs you                                What went in favour of Samsung was its superb
                                                    if the machine on the other end is engaged. The                                  software which ultimately saw it clinching the

124   DIGIT AUGUST 2004
      Test Centre
                                                                 Why I use an MFD
      Best Buy Gold award. Xerox's M15i is an equally
      good performer and if you can overlook the soft-
      ware bundled with Samsung SCX-5215, you will
      end up saving a hefty Rs 7,000.
                                                               P   rogress Publishers, Delhi-
                                                                   based publishers of school
                                                               textbooks, have been using laser-
                                                                                                       page is between 75 paise
                                                                                                       and Re 1 per copy, but I
                                                                                                       save a lot of space that
      A3 heavy-duty MFDs                                       based MFDs for over five years.         an extra scanner would
      Four different machines from four different man-         For the last two years, Anant           take. The print quality
      ufacturers were slotted in the A3 form factor.           Gupta, proprietor, Progress             is satisfactory. It has all
      These are more rugged than the A4 machines, and          Publishers, has been using the HP       the basic features that all
      offer heavy-duty capabilities. Since these               LaserJet 3300. It is shared by four     the products in its class have,
      machines are large, you will have to make some           or five users, and prints               such as printing modes—economy,
      space in your office. They look like the old copier      approximately 6,000 pages a             600 dpi, 1,200 dpi, memory, etc.”
      machines-huge and heavy. Toshiba was mon-                month.                                      However MFDs do have their
      strous, and Ricoh and Sharp were not much                    Gupta decided to buy an MFD         set of disadvantages. Says Gupta:
      smaller. Canon's iR1600 managed to save on space.        for his office to get the benefits of   “For originals with Photos and
      Toshiba e-studio 160 also follows a modularity           a photocopier, without actually         Text the result is barely
      approach: the base unit is huge and comes with           paying for one. He feels that the       satisfactory. Multiple trays aren’t
      just the copier. The scanner and printer unit are        scanner in an MFD is not critical       available, and the existing one can
      added on demand and cost over a lakh, which inci-        enough. He says, “The cost per          hold only 250 pages.”
      dentally was the price limit for all tested MFDs.
      Hence, we couldn’t test them.                                                      automatically, thus helping you avoid a mix-up.
                                                                 Caution                 This happens to be more effective than offset-
      Printing                                                  Don’t get carried        stacking.
      All these machines use laser-printing technology          away by pages per            Sharp has six buttons that can be assigned to
      and are rated at different speeds. The Canon MFD          minute (ppm)             launch specific applications. For example, if you
      is rated at 16 PPM, but managed 13 PPM. The               claims. They vary        are OCRing a document, just press the button
      model from Sharp was a disappointment-it's rated          depending on the         that's assigned to the OCR software. The scanned
      at 12 PPM on a USB 1.1 interface, but just about          coverage area of a       image opens in the application directly, thus
      managed a pathetic 5 PPM, leaving no room for             page                     speeding up the process. Sharp's AR-M160 was the
      doubt that its printing engine is much inferior to        Humidity affects         only unit to bundle a colour scanner in this cate-
      that of Canon's. Ricoh's Aficio 2015 was able to          the working of a         gory.
      print at 14 PPM-undeniably speedier than both,            Laser MFD, so
      Sharp and Canon. All these machines are designed          make sure you            Faxing
      to offer a lowest cost-per-page-between 35 and 45         have a cool dry          Faxing units on all these machines are optional,
      paise. We could not test the performance on the           place for it in your     hence you will need to pay extra money to buy
      Toshiba MFD, but from the copying speed it does           office                   them.
      not look like a couch potato either.
                                                                                         Verdict for A3 heavy-duty MFDs
      Scanning                                                                           Nothing beats the Sharp AR-M160! The features it
      Sharp's AR-M160 has a decent scanning unit that's                                  offers and its reasonable price tag, wins it our Best
      the best in this category. The accompanying soft-                                        Buy Gold Award for this category. Its slow
      ware also adds to the practicality of the unit. Akin                                     printing speeds might be a deterrent, and
      to the other MFDS manufactured by Canon, the
      iR1600 lacks the 'Scan to PC' feature. One inter-                                          A3 Heavy-duty MFDs
      esting thing to note is that the Aficio 2015 from
      Ricoh offers only network-scanning and supports
      256 shades of grey-no colour scanning. The same                                  T 20
      applies to Toshiba's e-studio 160: this clearly indi-
      cates their lineage-copier machines. All said and
      done, in terms of scanning performance, Sharp's
      AR-M160 stands tall.

      Sharp's AR-M160 is a notch above Canon's iR1600,
      when it comes to usable features. Features such as
      enlarging or reducing, zooming, auto-exposure,
      etc, are present on both MFDs. However, copy-
      auditing, offset-stacking, etc, are a few features      Loads of useful features
      that Sharp offers, which add value to the bundle.       and plenty of expansion      Sharp AR-M160
      The copy-auditing feature allows administrators         options make the Sharp
      to track usage on a per-user basis-specific people         a good long-term bet    you might want to look for a USB 2.0 expansion
      get accounts and need to enter a password before                                   card. Ricoh's Aficio 2015 was equally impressive,
      making copies. Similarly, offset-stacking stacks dif-                              but lost valuable points in the scanning depart-
      ferent jobs separately so that they don't get mixed.                               ment. If printing and copying forms the bulk of
      Other advance features such as copying 4 pages to                                  your needs, and you can overlook the lack of
      one page, rotation, margin shifting, etc, can be                                   colour scanning, the Aficio 2015 is a good choice.
      enabled by optional accessories. These features are                                That also qualifies it for our Best Buy Silver Award.
      also the hallmark of Ricoh's Aficio 2150 and                                                          
      Toshiba's e-studio 160. Canon offers an optional                                              
      stapling unit to staple multi-page documents                                                      

126   DIGIT AUGUST 2004

                                                        he need to go WiFi was prompted by the
                                                        desire to match international standards
                                                        in hospitality. The Bay-View lobby and
                                                  Geoffrey’s, the pub, are the WiFi hotspots
                                                  within the hotel that use the 802.11b version.
                                                      Our foreign guests, and others who have
                                                  Centrino laptops, are delighted at being able to
                                                  use the WiFi facility. There has been increase in
                                                  the number of official lunches and presenta-
                                                  tions using the Net connection. Since the speed
                                                  is high, and the connection uninterrupted, we
                                                  have several guests from neighbouring hotels
                                                  too. I see a WiFi future, where hotel operations
                                                  such as ordering in restaurants, inventories,
                          Anurag Bajaj            maintenance reporting, and also security mon-
                          General Manager Hotel   itoring, would be a lot easier.

                                                                                                      Illustration Atul Deshmukh
                          Marine Plaza, Mumbai

             Live Life    WIRELESS FIDELITY OR WiFi is being touted as the next big thing to
                          happen to India after the mobile boom. However, a study conducted by
                          IMRB last year found that low awareness coupled with high installation
                          costs prevented it from being widely accepted in the Indian market. We
                          spoke to five decision makers in their respective domains about their
                          WiFi experience.

                                                                                      e are a global leader in supply chain
                                                                                      management, providing customer
                                                                                      focused solutions to a wide range of
                                                                            manufacturing and retail industries.
                                                                            With varied clients, such as Mercedes Benz,
                                                                            Unilever, GE Medical and Levi Strauss, and
                                                                            with multiple offices in five cities, going WiFi
                                                                            was more a need than a fancy. The main
                                                                            visible benefit is the ‘uptime’ of links. Our
                                                                            uptime is close to 98 per cent, and there is
                                                                            less manual monitoring required, which
                                                                            ensures that IT support personnel can
                                                                            concentrate on other areas; switching to WiFi
                                                                            is a long term solution.
                                                  Suresh Subramanian
                                                  Deputy General Manager,
                                                  IT Exel India Limited

128   DIGIT AUGUST 2004
                                                                                     t’s been a year since the Collectorate office,
                                                                                     the Collectorate Camp Office and the
                                                                                     Superintendent of Police (SP) office were
                                                                                  WiFi enabled-with 802.11b. We opted for WiFi
                                                                                  because it does not involve civil work, takes a
                                                                                  short time to become operational, helps me
                                                                                  stay connected to all sites nearby, and most
                                                                                  importantly, has provision for VoIP—which has
                                                                                  reduced my phone bills. Activities, such as
                                                                                  updating reports, online data entry,
                                                                                  conducting online training classes and being
                                                                                  constantly connected to the Hyderabad head
                                                                                  office, are easier than before.

                                                      PS Ramakrishna Rao
                                                      Collector and District
                                                      Magistrate, Guntur, AP

                                wo years ago, the institute faced a
                                problem of an inverse student-computer
                                ratio. The number of students taking
                          admission to management courses was
                          increasing, and the computer centre was
                          barely able to support everyone. To counter
                          this, and also to be one of the first to usher
                          in the new technology, we opted for WiFi.
                          Our students use laptops, and with WiFi,
                          they can access the Net anywhere—this
                          reduces the cost of maintaining a huge
                          computer lab with its peripherals. Also,
                          guests find it useful to be always connected.

Sumedha Sabharwal
Head of Computer Centre
Welingkar Institute of
Management, Mumbai

Wirefree                                              C
                                                            omputers isn’t a subject at this school,
                                                            it’s a tool for education. Our teaching is
                                                            project-based, and WiFi gives a student
                                                      flexibility to work from anywhere—the school,
                                                      hostel or even the library. The whole campus
                                                      is a WiFi hotspot—802.11b, with a speed of 11
                                                      Mbps. For the school, being WiFi is
                                                      particularly valuable within the classroom or
                                                      laboratory, where seating plans and furniture
                                                      distribution change constantly to reflect the
                                                      multiple needs of the curriculum, after all
                                                      ‘Anytime, Anywhere’ learning is the essence

                          Prashant Jain
                          Director, Pathways School
                          New Delhi
                                                           As told to Aparna Krishnakumar and Suprotip Ghosh

                                                                                                                   AUGUST 2004 DIGIT   129

 157      Check
          your TQ       160 Harry Review 164
                                  Potter                    Bluff Your
                                                            Way Through
                                                                               Technology Beyond Work

                    Swapnil Dhamankar and Tausef Syed are just two among the thousands
                    of NGO beneficiaries in the country. Here’s how technology connects them
Touched by Tech

A Site to Give
Garfield D'Souza                      will earn more in the future.          Take your pick. GiveIndia, in a
                                      Much more.                             way, represents the new face of
          f he ever featured on a         Swapnil is deaf                    the Indian NGO—professional,
  I       music television count-
          down show, its producer
                                      He is gung-ho about the future,
                                      though—he has the support of
                                                                             transparent and committed to
                                                                             the cause.
would put Tausef Syed in the          the National Society for Equal             Says Sudha Balachandra,
“bubbling under” segment.             Opportunities for the                  director general, NASEOH,
Tausef is 15, and like most           Handicapped (NASEOH).                  agrees: “Online donations are a
teenagers his age,                                   What connects the       methodical way of getting
likes Aishwarya Rai                              two is a Web site           funds, and GiveIndia is
and Hrithik Roshan.                              called,       transparent in their
He loves mathemat-                               an online channel           functionality.”
ics at school, and he                            that lets people                Adds Apnalaya
wants to be a pilot                              donate to the NGO           head Leena Joshi:
when he grows up.                                and the cause of their      “Most of the visitors
    Tausef works in a                            choice. Various NGOs        to the site are casual
garage.                                          get listed on the site      surfers. But for NGOs
His enthusiasm                                   so that people can          like us, awareness is
belies his financial                             donate to the NGO of        of prime impor-
status—his father,            I’m not sure       their choice.               tance.” Dr A
Latif, is a contract         what I plan to          It is an idea as sim-   Goswami of Child

                                                                                                                                   Photograph Jiten Gandhi Imaging Atul Deshmukh
labourer and just            be in life, but     ple as they come—a          Aid Foundation, an
about earns enough             work I will       supra NGO that lists        NGO based in
to feed his family.              Swapnil         various NGOs after          Vijayawada, Andhra
    Tausef’s energy             Dhamankar        carefully going
and zest for life                                through their creden-
could well be because he is con- tials. Says GiveIndia director
fident his education costs—pen-       Venkat Krishnan: “Our hope was
cils, books, paper—would be           that a channel like this will give
taken care of by Apnalaya, a          small, relatively unknown NGOs
Mumbai-based NGO that                 a chance to reach out to
specialises in child welfare          donors all over India and the
and education.                        world. The emphasis is also
    Swapnil Dhamankar is 19.          on promoting giving in a
He quit school when he was in         transparent, efficient and
the seventh standard, but he          effective manner.”
plans to live life on his own             Every NGO has its
terms. His ambitions are, well,       financial statements
not even ambitions really.            listed, with a break-up
Swapnil wants to become a             of how the donated
good tailor, and spends most of       money would be used.
his time “studying” for his tai-      They are also classified
loring course. He also earns a        according to states and
stipend of Rs 500, and says he        various social causes.

                                                                                                               AUGUST 2004 DIGIT                                              155
        Touched by Tech                               Donorspeak
        Pradesh, echoes the point. "We             What can I donate?
        wanted our name to be identi-              Just about anything, and in any
        fied with a very-well known and            manner. Apnalaya, for instance,
        respected brand.”                          lets you contribute to its Corpus
            The reason for this healthy            fund, General Fund as well as
        respect is simple: All NGOs have           donate educational sponsorship
        to comply with strict norms and            for a child. Other projects range
        regulations to be included on              from programs that train a group
        the Web site. For instance, one            of 25 in tailoring to three-day
        selection criterion is that no             training programmes in
        NGO with a political link is               community development. NASEOH
        allowed to be on the site. The             specifies donations required for a
        rules also state that at least half        tricycle, as well vocational
        the people benefiting from their           training for a year for a disabled
        projects should be economically            individual.
        underpriveleged.                                The mode of payment can be         Online donations help these children at Apnayala get an
            GiveIndia also does an                 through a cheque, a demand              education
        appraisal of the organisation to           draft, as well as online credit
        see whether they meet                      payment. You can also opt for ICICI's online      Indian handicrafts. These funds are then
        Credibility Alliance norms.                banking payment system. GiveIndia also            used to support artisans who crafted them.
        Credibility Alliance is a world-           has a proprietary My Account system,
        wide association of organisa-              wherein you can open a charity account            Can I donate my time?
        tions and networks that aim to             with You can deposit money         Of course you can. If you like to spend your
        improve governance in the vol-             in it via credit card, Net banking or cheque      weekends or other holidays doing
        untary sector.                             payments. You can get the requisite               constructive work, you can register online
            The last step, but probably            donation amount deducted from                     to work in orphanages, old-age homes,
        the most important is when the             My Account.                                       helplines, schools, relief efforts, NGOs, etc.
        GiveIndia team visit the NGO                    If you do not like to donate, you can        The Placement Services link has just about
        and see their activities them-             also shop and help by tying up with               all the information you need to register at
        selves. It is not easy to qualify          Craftsbridge, a company that promotes             the nearest NGO.
        to be featured on
        Apnalaya, for instance, found it
        tough to get in, even if its list of    I am an NRI. I used to donate for                             NGOs (and there are more than
        donors includes celebrities,            charitable causes while I was on vacation                     100) on GiveIndia say that the
        such as, cricketer Sachin               in India. It used to be so hectic. Then I                     concept of online donations was
        Tendulkar.                                                                                            picking up, and they were glad
            Says Joshi, who founded             found I have been a regular                    they took the plunge.
        Apnalaya in 1979, “Qualifying to        donor through this site, and have been                            Online giants, such as,
        be registered with GiveIndia was        impressed by the way they provide                             Google and Rediff have given
        not an easy process. But we felt        a link between the donor and the NGO.                         free ad space to GiveIndia. For
        it was good to get ourselves eval-      Sanjay Khanna                                                 instance, if you type in “India
        uated by an outside agency. The                                                                       charity” on Google, the first
        evaluation process helped us                                                                          sponsored link you get is the
        take a second look at ourselves.”                                On the other hand,                   GiveIndia site, as part of the
            The response has been                                    Apnalaya’s 2001 earnings were            Google AdWords scheme.
        tremendous, says Venkat. For                                 Rs 40 lakh, as listed on the site.           Donors, too, have a good
        instance, organisations such as                              But since its online launch on           word to put in. Says Aarti
        Child Aid Foundation,                                        GiveIndia, Apnalaya has been             Madhusudan, a UK-based Indian,
        Vijayawada, manage to get Rs 2-3                             earning a small amount of its            in an e-mail to GiveIndia: “I am
        lakh through GiveIndia. “That’s                              funds through this channel.              sure you hear this from many
        50 to 60 percent of its annual                               “Online donations are sporadic           people and all the time, and it is
        budget. However, the same                                    in nature,” says Joshi. “Many of         probably superfluous, but I felt
        amount translated to just 25 to                              them are one-off instances.”             like saying that it is remarkable
        30 per cent of the finances for                                  NASEOH’s Balachandra says:           to set up something like
        organisations such as the                                    “There is no uniformity in the           GiveIndia, and I am honoured to
        National Association For                                     nature of donations.”                    be part of it, even if my dona-
        The Blind.”                                                      Adds Armine Damodiwala,              tion is really small. I wish I
                                                                     head, Indian Council for Mental          could do more.”
          Tax Benefits                                               Hygiene (ICMH): “They are nei-               Swapnil and Tausef, just two
                                                                     ther a huge flood nor a trickle.         of the hundreds of beneficiaries,

      S  ection 80G of the Income Tax Act allows 50 per cent
         of your donation to be tax deductible. Impressed?
      There’s more. Certain specified projects allow the benefit
                                                                     They ride on a medium wave.”
                                                                         Most contributions usually
                                                                     come in to sponsor individuals.
                                                                                                              are not really aware of who is
                                                                                                              donating online to fund them—
                                                                                                              be it Google or Aarti. But they
      of Section 35AC of the IT Act that increases the percent-      Apnalaya found that projects             couldn’t care less—they just
      age of deduction to 100 per cent. Section 35(i)(ii) goes       such as community clinics that           want to be a tailor and a
      further and shoots up the donation deductions to 125 per       involve getting doctors to per-          pilot. And with it, give some-
      cent from your business income and 100 pef cent from           form routine checkups do not             thing back to the society that
      your salary income.                                            have many takers. These little           helped them.
                                                                     problems notwithstanding,               

156     DIGIT AUGUST 2004
                        Of mystery protocols and
                        celebrity quizzes...
                           1 China banning Web sites and
                              clamping down on cell phone                    4 Music legend George Michael was forced to
                        messaging is not new. But on July                        shut down his Web site message board
                        6, Chinese media reported that the                  because fans had been using it to log disparaging
                        nation had adopted a revolutionary                  comments about him. The accusations ranged
                        technology. What was it?                            from his failing to promote his recent album, the
                        a. The IPv7 protocol, a proprietary                 poor quality of his recordings, and ...?
                        Chinese protocol                                    a. Him being overweight b. Him copying songs
                        b. A “mystery” protocol called IPv9                 c. His vulgar lyrics d. The site not opening in the
                        c. VSE (Very Strong Encryption) for                 Opera Web Browser
                        all incoming and outgoing e-mails
                        d. The RISA protocol, which would                  5 The first edition of this quiz         people from computer jargon,
                        allow Cabinet members to read                          was held in 1988, and is             keyboards, mice and other
                        private e-mails                                   modeled after college quizzes of          specialized devices.’ A joint
                                                                          yore. It features some of the             venture between the Laboratory
                          2 Privacy has always been                       biggest industry giants, and              for Computer Science (LCS), the
                             sacrosanct on the Internet.                  winners have included Lotus               Artificial Intelligence Laboratory
                        But on July 7, a three-judge US                   founder Mitch Kapor and Google            (AI Lab), and six major
                        Federal Appeals Court panel ruled                 CEO Eric Schmidt. Which is this           corporations, with support from
                        that...                                           super-popular quiz show?                  the Defense Advanced Research
                        a. E-mail service providers can copy              a. Computer Bowl: Reboot 2004             Projects Agency. Name the project.
Got an                  and read messages intended for                    b. SuperBowl Computing                    a. Project Ozone
interesting             their customers.                                  c. Computer Bowl 2004                     b. Project Oxygen
question?               b. ISPs can track their clients’                  d. Computer Superbowl 2004                c. Project AI
Send it in with         Internet usage patterns                                                                     d. Project Helium
the correct             c. Anonymisers on the Internet will                6 In June this year,
answer to               now be illegal                                         MarketScape, a small                 8 Stelor Productions, which
quiz@thinkdigit.        d. Credit card fraud would now be                 US-based company sued an                       owns, is
com                     punishable by death                               imaging software giant for alleged        suing Web search giant Google for
                                                                          infringements on a patent that            infringing name. The company
                                                                          covers extracting network                 claims that it owns the domain
                      3 Which company recently                            information. Which IT giant are we        name since 1997 and was two
                         unveiled a collection of                         talking about?                            months live before Google. Who is
                    designer mice models—two wireless                     a. Adobe                                  their target audience?
                    and one wired—in the most unusual                     b. Macromedia                             a. Kids
                    colours created by famed industrial                   c. Corel                                  b. Women
                    designer Philippe Starck?                             d. Discreet                               c. Sports enthusiasts
                    a. Apple       b. Hewlett-Packard                                                               d. IT firms
                    c. Microsoft d. IBM                                    7 Founded two years ago, this
                                                                              MIT project aims to ‘free

Crossword                                                                                                             A  n average Internet
                                                                                                                          user spent 604
                                                                                                                      minutes online in June               Did you
 Across                                      art words (8)
 6. ------ Presario PCs from HP (6)      2. Microsoft’s new
                                                                                                                      2004, as compared to                 know?
 8. Visual representations stored in         technology reverses                                                      493 minutes in October
     electronic FORM (6)                     heights (abbr) (4)                                                       1999
 9. Cut out to modify data (4)           3. This icon resembles a sun
 10. Base-8 notation (5)                     dial in a web browser
 11. Boot up upsets tarts (5)                toolbar(7)
 13. Make available (7)                  4. Hot standby or Warm                                                     Answers
 16. An object-oriented                      standby? (8)
     Programming in Logic (7)            5. CTRL+SHIFT+z in Corel (4)                                               1: b, 2: a, 3: c, 4: a, 5: a, 6: a, 7: b, 8:a
 17. Direct Read After Write (abbr)(4)   7. Quick and Dirty Operating                                               Quiz
 20. Data entered into a computer(5)         System (abbr) (4)                                                      IGES, 21. Fast
 21.Element of data storage scatters     12. Locate and read data                                                   14. Download, 15. Clip art, 18. Stop, 19.
     life (4)                                from storage (8)
                                                                                                                    Failover, 5. Redo, 7. QDOS, 12. Retrieve,
 22. Waiter to host computer on a        14. Discharge cargo to
     network (6)                             transfer computer data(8)                                              Down 1. WordStar, 2. Spot, 3. History, 4.
 23. Programming language named          15. Prepackaged art work                                                   Server, 23. Pascal
     after French mathematician(6)           (4,3)                                                                  ProTalk, 17. Draw, 20. Input, 21. File, 22.
                                         18. Bit end to an asynchronous           Specification (abbr) (4)          10. Octal, 11. Start, 13. Provide, 16.
 Down                                        transmission! (4)                 21. High-speed computer (4)          Across: 6. Compaq, 8. Images, 9. Edit,
 1. DTP package of the 80s, confused     19. Initial Graphics Exchange                    Compiled by Nitaa Jaggi   Crossword

                                                                                                                                           AUGUST 2004 DIGIT        157
      Wired June, 2004                                               June, 2004

      Pixar Out-Disneys Disney                                                Does Google Show Other
                                  CRICKETER AND COMMENTATOR                   Corporates the Way?
                                  Sunil Gavaskar was once asked
                                  how he felt when Allan Border                                          WE ALL KNOW Google is the best,
                                  crossed his world record for the                                       but can it be a role model for the
                                  most number of runs in Test                                            rest of the world’s corporates?
                                  cricket. He replied: “Hundreds of                                      Melanie Warner from Business 2.0
                                  people have reached the summit                                         provided the answer:
                                  of Mount Everest, but nobody has
                                  ever forgotten Edmund Hilary and                                       The Wisdom of Google
                                  Tensing Norgay.”                                                      Lesson 1: Don’t sell your soul to the
                                      Walt Disney is in a similar                                       highest bidder
                                  situation these days—the                                                  From the start, Brin and Page took
      challenger has arrived, but we never forget Disney. Pixar,                                        the high road with advertising. While
      the company that apprenticed under Disney and created                                             other search engines were secretly
      movies, such as Toy Story and Finding Nemo, now threatens               tucking paid advertiser sites into their listings—a process called
      to upstage Disney’s unchallenged monopoly in the                        “paid inclusion”—Google decided that the only parts of its site it
      computer graphics (CG) animation features space.                        would ever sell to advertisers would be clearly marked
           Freelance writer Austin Bunn’s excellent business and              “Sponsored Links” sections at the top and side of the page. The
      technology sketch of Pixar Animation Studios, in the June               founders also refused to allow banners and pop-up ads. Brin, in
      issue of Wired magazine, chronicles the rise of Pixar, and              particular, was adamant about this. He hated using search sites
      poses the question: Will Pixar now be the master, and                   like AltaVista and Yahoo! and waiting while a colorful, inane ad
      Disney the apprentice?                                                  lumbered across the screen.
           An excerpt from the piece:                                         Lesson 2: Create a culture of risk taking
           By any standards, Pixar Animation Studios has reached              Now that Google dominates Web search, it’s easy to forget how
      infinity and beyond. From 1995’s Toy Story—the world's first all-       strange its approach really was in 1998. The notion that the
      CG feature—to last year’s Finding Nemo, Pixar’s five                    world needed another search engine—there were already at
      hermetically crafted movies have grossed a staggering $2.5              least 10—was absurd. Though the quality of search results was
      billion at the box office, making it the most successful film           declining as the Internet swelled, most people didn't seem to
      studio, picture for picture, of all time. “You have to take your        care. Even technologically savvy people like Kordestani were
      hat off to them,” says Neil Braun, head of CG-animation                 content with their search engines. “I was using Yahoo! and
      company Vanguard and former president of the NBC Television             Netscape,” (Omid) Kordestani (head of sales at Google) admits.
      Network. In the history of film, there’s just one precedent for         “In some ways, you just didn't
      this level of economic triumph, this ability to add to the              know any better.”
      American childhood’s beloved cast of characters: Disney                      Conventional logic held that the ability to do searches was,
      Animation Studios.                                                      at best, a feature of some bigger, fancier product. Google
           Pixar hasn’t just turned into the new Disney. It has               stripped its search engine down to the point where it looked
      out-Disneyed Disney,                                                    naked. No news, no weather, no horoscopes. Just a goofy logo in
      becoming the apprentice                                                 Romper Room colors, and a search bar floating on an empty
      that schooled the                                                       page.
      sorcerer. Pixar’s most                                                        Such a counterintuitive move branded Page and Brin as
      talented animators                                                       serious mavericks, which in turn attracted kindred spirits. It’s
      grew up admiring                                                          partly why Google CEO Eric Schmidt was so keen on taking the
      Disney, worked at the                                                     job. Schmidt tagged himself as something of a risk taker when
      sketching tables in                                                        he quit as Sun’s (SUNW) chief technology officer to join the
      Burbank, and went                                                          ailing networking company Novell. Brin delights in saying that
      on to crib the company’s DNA. Pixar’s story development                 he and Page chose Schmidt because “he was the only candidate
      process as well as its internal lexicon—including sweatbox,             who had been to Burning Man.”
      when the director critiques individual animations, and plus-ing,             The risk-taking culture at Google is fostered by a policy that
      heaping more and more good ideas on a structure that's                  encourages engineers to spend 20 percent of their time working
      already working—come directly from the ‘House That Mickey               on personal projects that may or may not benefit the company.
      Built’. Both companies are technical pioneers: Disney imbued 2-         The point is to get people thinking creatively and
      D cel animation with comedy and heartbreak; Pixar coaxed                independently...
      empathy from digital effects. Now the flipbook animation style               Even the aspects of Google that make it seem more like a
      that made the Magic Kingdom a powerhouse is fading to black:            kindergarten than a company worth billions—the lava lamps, the
      Disney’s Home on the Range, released in April, is the last fully        Segway scooters, the remote-control UFOs Brin and Page bought
      2-D production for the studio, and competitors like                     at Costco a while back for no particular reason—send an
      DreamWorks are retraining illustrators to be 3-D mouse                  important message. They remind people that companies don’t
      jockeys. Pixar's digital animation is the wave of the future.           have to operate the way everyone thinks they’re supposed to.
                                                                              Read the entire story at
      Read the entire story at,17863,634420,00.html?ref=specials

158   DIGIT AUGUST 2004
Newsweek June 21, 2004

For Microsoft, All Roads
Lead to China
                             CHINA IS, WITHOUT any doubt,
                             the only superpower who can
                             seriously think of challenging US
                             hegemony—politically, militarily,
                             technologically, and even
                             economically. Hence, it is only
                             natural that Microsoft, the
                             world’s largest software company,
                             has it second largest set up after
                             its Redmond headquarters, in
                             Mao’s country.
                                 Newsweek analyst Sarah
Schafer wrote about how Bill Gates and his CEO Steve
Ballmer are courting China for the company’s
next big foray.
    Excerpts from the brilliant feature:
    Microsoft’s largest beachhead outside the United States is in
the state most hostile to it: China. Since arriving in Beijing in
1990, the Gates empire has assembled a network of business
operations, from research and development to sales and
marketing to customer support, second only to its Redmond,
Wash., hub. Bill Gates and CEO Steve Ballmer, whose minutes are
managed as priceless commodities, regularly swoop into China
for meetings, trying to find a way to make it in the elusive China     Beauty in the brains
market…                                                              GE is a world leader in medical electronics. Now, we figure, it
    For Microsoft, the problem with doing business in China          creates great ads, too! GE’s new technology lets doctors see
comes down mainly to one thing: piracy. Touts line the street        the human brain clearly, and us the copywriter’s brilliance.
outside a new $80 million Microsoft research center in Beijing,
steering customers through alleys to run-down apartments
where bootleg copies of Microsoft Office and Word are peddled
for about $1, at least $199 less than the global retail price.
Ninety percent of Microsoft products used in China are pirated...
    But in China the government has been sympathetic to the
pirates, openly hostile to the Microsoft monopoly and officially
embraced Linux. Cheap software has been critical to China’s
economic boom, and Beijing saw no upside to forcing citizens
with an average annual income of $1,000 to spend much of it on
    The new Microsoft China strategy attempts to create a
constituency for full-price software, starting with the political
and business elite. This means improving customer support for
                                   big Chinese companies, helping
                                   Beijing develop a domestic
                                    software industry trained on
                                     and tied to Microsoft
                                     products, sharing more
                                      technology and easing up on
                                       buyers of pirated software
                                       (but not on pirates). In
                                        September Microsoft made
       Timothy Chen its new China CEO and the face of its softer
strategy. Chen, a 10-year veteran of Motorola China, says he was
drawn by a mandate from the top-Gates and Ballmer-to revamp
the Microsoft operation. "They all wanted to see an integrated
China strategy, a road map," says Chen. He has dropped "the
threatening-letter approach" and focused on recruiting large
corporations as paying customers: "If we do that, I think then the
legal users will come."
Read the entire story at                     Bloody hell, we are still friends!
                                                                     Sony Playstation 2, easily one of the world’s best gaming
                                                                     consoles, has this to say to their users. Our question: Was
                                                                     there equal blood shed when this ad was created?
                                                                                                                    AUGUST 2004 DIGIT   159

                                    Reality on the Shores of America
                                                                                                beyond reproach. Her ability to get detail out of the
                                                        FOR LONG, ANURAG Mathur’s               most trivial matter betrays her journalistic
                                                        bestselling novel The Inscrutable       instincts.
                                                        Americans has been the bench-               She tracks the lives of three families wanting to
                                                        mark in the confused-desi-in-           make it big in the US, amongst which are people
                                                        America genre in Indian writing.        naturally wanting to make it big with their H1B
                                                        It remained on the Indian best-         visas—their passports to technological heaven.
                                                         seller list for a record seven years   Without being too sentimental about it, Kalita
                                                         with no signs of leaving the Top       writes about the rise and fall of the dotcom genera-
                                                         10 club. S Mitra Kalita’s Suburban     tion, and how the technology layoffs in the US hurt
                                                         Sahibs, although steeped in fact       the Indian economy in their wake.
                                                         and technically not in the same            Most importantly, Kalita records reality—some-
                                                         genre as Mathur’s fast-paced           thing most tend to ignore when they reach
                                    poke at Indians trying to find the ‘real’ America,          America’s shores and view the country with rose-
                                    tries hard to beat the notion of a confused diaspora        tinted glasses. Reality dawns, albeit a bit late.
                                    created by Mathur and later propagated by various               It is this virtue that makes Suburban Sahibs a
                                    movie including ‘American Born Confused Desi’. It           readable book. It is not an unputdownable book—
                                    is a sincere effort, worthy of praise, but you get the      but it is definitely a competent effort that made US
                                    same feeling you get when you miss the dessert              Senator Bill Bradley say: “It is beautiful book to be
                                    after a hearty meal—something, somewhere seems              enjoyed by all.”
                                    to be missing even if you feel full.                                                        Aparna Krishnakumar
                                                                                                Suburban Sahibs
                                        Kalita’s credentials, though, are impeccable—           Publisher Penguin Books Authors S Mitra Kalita
                                    she is a reporter with The Washington Post and the          Phone 011-2649 0361/4401 Fax 011-2649 4403 E-mail
                                    head of the prestigious New York-based South Asian
                                    Journalists Association—and her writing skills are          Web site Price Rs 250

              No Better than a Rugby Game

              FROM THE HARRY Potter books by J K
              Rowling, one would assume that Quidditch
              is a racy, lively game. But Electronic Arts
              hugely disappoints with Harry Potter:
              Quidditch World Cup, which is nothing but
              rugby played in the air.
                   QWC has great graphics, and the tuto-                                                                1. Harry Potter and the
              rials are good, too, compared to the previ-                                                                  Prisoner of Azkaban
              ous Potter games. One major hurdle is                                                                        Rs. 530
              that you must play a tutorial before start-         blocked, and this can get very frustrating.
              ing a match against another house team.             Even the control system disappoints. EA               2. Grand Theft
                                                                                                                           Auto Vice City
                   Despite the beautiful design of the            seems to have assumed that the                           Rs 2,999
              arenas or ‘pitches’, the gameplay gets              gamepad is the standard PC peripheral.
              sluggish and boring. You are forced to              The layout of the keyboard commands is                3. Cricket 2004
                                                                                                                           Rs 999
              play more then half the matches at your             cumbersome.
              own national stadium. The character                     The game is highly recommended for                4. Need For Speed
              porting is meticulous. Special moves are            all Potter maniacs. However, chances are                 Underground
              another cool aspect of the game. While              that the casual gamer will find he’s bet-                Rs 1,299
              holding the Quaffle, you get to perform             ter off playing FIFA 2004.                            5. Lord of the Rings:
              special moves that help you score goals                                                                      Return of the King
                                                                 Harry Potter: Quidditch World Cup                         Rs 1,299
              whopping fast.                                     Publisher Electronic Arts
                   EA screwed up even the innovative             Developer Electronic Arts                              List courtesy: Crossword, Mumbai
              special moves. These moves cannot be               Web site

              Prince Of Persia:                        Swinging Times                                     of the palace, use wits, acrobatics, the
              The Sands of Time (PS2)                                                                     sword, avoid traps, kill enemies, fall and
              Publisher Ubisoft                        JORDAN MECHNER’S PRINCE of Persia,                 rewind, and... fall in love? Well, you do
              Developer Ubisoft Montreal
              Web site        developed by Broderbund Software back in           meet a beautiful princess and an intrigu-
                                                       the hoary days of yore, was a masterpiece.         ing sub-plot unfolds.
                                                       Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time (SOT) is the       A major part of the gameplay lies with
                                                       3D sequel to that classic title, and it            the Dagger of Time. If you fall off a cliff,
                                                       remains faithful to its predecessor in             miss a jump, fall down a ladder, or get
                                                       remarkably creative ways.                          lured into a trap, you activate the Dagger
                                                           The game begins in medieval times,             of Time, which turns back time before
                                                       shortly after the Prince and his father            your eyes. The environments and dia-
                                                       the king have defeated a Maharajah and             logues are all top-notch.
                                                       looted his palace.                                     This is a tough game to beat. If you
                                                           You have to travel through the entirety        liked Prince, you’ll love SOT.

160           DIGIT AUGUST 2004
                                                                                                                                                                                     Illustrations Mahesh Benkar
                                      Pixellated Art                                                        Booby Trap
                                      Artist Claude Bosset has uploaded a 100 cm x                          An anonymous British scambaiter scammed
                                      140 cm painting of a pixel to celebrate the                           Nigerian scamster Prince Joe Ebohby
                                      picture element’s 50th birthday. It is being                          convincing him to join the Holy Church of the
                                      auctioned for 500 Euros. Bollywood is making                          Order of the Red Breast. Prince painted his
                                      a film on Bosset called ‘Hum Aapke Hain Con’.                         nipples red, paying $80 as fees to the church.

                                      PATENT REGIME

                                      Microsoft under your skin
                                      I T biggie Microsoft was
                                        recently awarded a patent.
                                      Hmmm, so what?
                                                                             carry in the near future.
                                                                                 “As a result of carrying
                                                                             multiple portable electronic
                                                                                                            device carries its own LCD
                                                                                                            screen, batteries, keyboards,
                                                                                                            etc. Microsoft says it will
                                      Companies such as                      devices, there is often a      crunch devices such as MP3
                                      Microsoft an IBM keep                  significant amount of          players, PDAs, etc., to make
                                      applying for patents, and              redundancy in terms of         the power source
                                      keep getting them at                   input/output devices           manageable, and the data
                                      regular intervals. What’s so           included,” says the patent     input method uniform and
                                      special about their latest             application. “For example, a   logical. We are waiting for
                                                                             watch, a pager, a PDA and a    this one!                      
                                                                             radio may all include a
      Illustrations Farzaana Cooper

                                                                                 The filing sketches a
                                                                                                            GETTING EVEN                                advertises itself as a
                                                                                                                                                     Itguide to theWhichofis fine.
                                                                             plan to present a single,
                                                                             uniform interface to these
                                                                                                            An adventure                             Chandigarh.
                                                                                                                                                     The Web site however
                                                                             devices. Of course,
                                                                             Microsoft sees these devices
                                                                                                            in spam                                  throws a bevy of all-
                                                                                                                                                     encompassing and vague
                                                                             with really small form                                                  links such as Art &
                                                                                                                                                     Culture, Festivals,
                                      patent is this: the company
                                      has patented a process
                                                                             factors with time—so an
                                                                             earring which doubles as a
                                                                             handsfree device could
                                                                                                            G   ot fired? Get your
                                                                                                                revenge by spamming
                                                                                                            your bosses. Then get taken
                                                                                                                                                     Religious, etc. burying
                                                                                                                                                     the visitor under
                                      that makes use of human                derive power from the          in by the cops for all the               confusion and doubt. The
                                      skin as a pathway to                   earlobe to pick up a call,     trouble you caused. A 17-                worst of it is the choice of
                                      electronic data.                       which your wristwatch (also    year-old clerk in the UK did             colours employed for a
                                          Patent No. 6,754,472 says          powered by your skin) has      just that.                               navigation tab: light text
                                      that the human skin can be             just received.                     After being asked to                 over a light background.
                                      used not only as a power                   Such a Personal Area       leave by UK insurance                    Way to go!
                                      source, but also as a data             Network (PAN) is currently     company Domestic &
                                      path for innumerable                   served by Bluetooth wireless   General for failing to fill in
                                      gadgets that we are likely             connections, but each          a time sheet, he

                                          My desktop

                                          T  hink you got the most
                                             beautiful, most innovative
                                          desktop around? Send it to
                                , and
                                          Digit shall publish the most                                                                             downloaded a mail bomber
                                          eye-catching of them every month.                                                                        and hit his erstwhile
                                                                                                                                                   employers with five million
                                                                                                                                                   e-mails. You read that
                                                          The winning                                                                              right—five million.
                                                          entry will win a                                                                             The spam did the job,
                                                          cool Webcam                                                                              bringing the insurance
                                                          worth Rs 1200.                                                                           company’s Web site down
                                                          This month’s                                                                             and causing a monetary
                                          Sponsored by
                                                          winner is                                                                                loss amounting to £18,000
                                                          Pranav Naik.                                                                             (Rs 15 lakh). “All the e-mails
                                                                                                                                                   were harmless…” he
                                                                               The Windows that looks like a Mac: by Pranav Naik                   pointed. “ I just wanted to
                                                                                                                                                   cause them a bit of

162                             DIGIT AUGUST 2004
                             Delete and Send to Recycle Bin?                                            They changed

An APUS Pen Drive worth
Rs 2500 just by sharing an
                                                                                                      David J.
amusing picture which a
tech angle to it.

Send your picture to                                                                                        ew would achieve                                                                                    immortality for
The prize-winning picture                                                                                   spending five minutes
will be published every                                                                               sitting in front of a
month.                                                                                                computer. That is precisely
                                                                                                      what David J. Bradley,
                                                                                                      retired head of Systems
                                                                                                      Architecture, IBM and one
                                                                                                      of the twelve people
                                                                                                      behind the first IBM PC,
                                                                                                      has achieved.
                             Tux as a Garbage Bin: Bill Gates’ fantasy comes true at Goa’s Karmali         None of us even pause
                             Railway Station. Sent by Rohini Sharma, Goa                              and think of the
                                                                                                      serendipities that gave us
                                                                                                      little things that have
 inconvenience.” The               cash needs are always              reduction across the            changed our worlds. Take
 damage was far in excess to       bigger than naked-eye              company, primarily by           for instance the well
 the bit of trouble he was         observers might think,” he         rethinking how we do            known key combination
 looking to cause as Scotland then stepped down from his              things.” The rethinking has     [Ctrl]+[Alt]+[Del], the
 Yard’s computer                               throne of solid-       already seen the death of a     ‘three-finger-salute’. Any
 crime unit             The $50-plus           gold, removed          few cafeterias and a
 would attest to.
                        billion Microsoft his hat made up             reduction in the discount
     The law                                   of US greenbacks       that employees receive
 questioned him         is not as rich as      and took a dive        when purchasing Microsoft
 and then later         it sounds, says        into the cash-         stock.
 released him on        the software           pool, Uncle                To end with a cheery
 bail. If               giant’s CEO,           Scrooge style.         note, Ballmer said that he
 convicted, he                                     According to       was happy with the PC
                        Steve Ballmer
 faces a sentence                              Ballmer, a             industry and expected
 of up to six                                  hiccup in the          much love in the form of
 months in jail or a               cash flow came about when          money. Amen!
 maximum fine of £5,000.           Microsoft spent, while the
 We await the book deal—           rest of the industry hung to       OPEN AND SHUT CASE
 Tom Clancy’s Spam Force!          dear paisa. This was circa                                         PC user would tell you

                                   economic-slump, which saw
                                   companies shed workers
                                                                      Open Source                     that it is the holy elixir for
                                                                                                      hung sessions and crashed
                                   like yesterday’s fashion;          is Evil                         computers.
 Being                             Microsoft, Ballmer said, was
                                   then busy investing while
                                                                                                          Every day, millions of
                                                                                                      Windows users reach
 Microsoft                         revenue was trying to catch
                                   up to the associated
                                   runaway costs.
                                                                      A   nd still on Microsoft,
                                                                          one for the road. The
                                                                      company's chairman and
                                                                                                      for these keys in
                                                                                                      frustration, trepidation or
                                                                                                      even contempt, only to

 O    K, don’t laugh.
      Microsoft CEO says that
 the $50-plus billion
                                                                      chief software architect,
                                                                      who answers to the name of
                                                                      Bill Gates, doesn’t like Open
                                                                                                      forget all about it a few
                                                                                                      minutes later.
                                                                                                          Bradley joined IBM in
 Microsoft is not as rich as it                                       Source software. At all. And    1975 as an engineer at
 sounds. According to Bill                                            he wants everyone to hate it    Boca Raton, California. He
 Gates’ chosen top man,                                               too. Why? OK, here is the       wrote the famous piece of
 stories of unfathomable                                              history behind the              code in five minutes some
 riches are, just like Mark                                           statement.                      time in 1980-81. His claim
 Twain’s death we would                                                   On a recent visit to        to fame comes from those
 presume, greatly                                                     Malaysia, he made it a point    five minutes. The idea was
 exaggerated.                                                         to scare governments and        to reset the PC without
     In a sermon e-mail to             “This obviously is not a       companies away from this        having to actually turn
 his staff, he intoned the         trend we can continue,” he         fast-approaching threat to      off the power and then
 pitfalls of capitalism,           declared. “This year, we are       his business. Don’t get us      turn it back on.
 “We’re a technology               targeting nearly $1 billion        wrong, the Open Source              David J. Bradley retired
 company with a lot of             (Rs 4,600 crore) in efficiency     movement is far from the        from IBM at the age of 55.
 growth opportunities… Our         improvement and cost               messiah-of-the-masses that

                                                                                                                  AUGUST 2004 DIGIT    163
                                                  A Redesign Riot
                                                  T   he House of Digit often plays host to
                                                      Chaos. It visits during issue-closing night,
                                                  sits at the back, plays bad music, spews
                                                                                                     was looking. So, shush, don’t tell but: Counter
                                                                                                     Strike—Condition Zero is a splendid game
                                                                                                     indeed, table tennis can be tiring when
                                                  corny jokes and come morning is                    played for three hours non-stop, PopCap’s
                                                  ceremoniously thrown out kicking and               Zuma is addictive, Lakshya sucks, and DVDs
       3D Studio                                  screaming. As an irritating but tolerated
                                                  mascot, Chaos is par for the course. This
                                                                                                     have too much space, if you ask us.
                                                                                                         We worked, we played, Chaos danced in
       We give you absolute gems
       from the 3DS Max roster of                 issue it overextended the                                             glee. Someone described the
       jargon to help you get your                visit. Occasion: The Digit                                            scene as “the entropy of the
       friends to drop their jaws when            Redesign.                                                             universe, packed in one
       they meet you next.                             The meetings weren’t                                             office”… There were new
       Space Warp                                 the 20-odd minute fests of                                            section-names to learn, new
       This one takes the literal                 ideas, but mutants weaned                                             layouts to follow and much
       meaning of space warp—it                   on 90 MB PowerPoint files,                                            to everyone’s chagrin, a lot
       warps space within physical                which charted the redesign                                            more software to be tested
       objects in a controlled fashion.           course, mutants that                                                  for the DVD.
       The commonest “warps” are                  feasted on the brain-dump                                                 We did it though.
       ripples in a rectangular surface,
                                                  of a million editors. Give or                                        Now, for the first time in two
       a sphere exploding, etc.
       Jaw-dropper My boss is worse than
                                                  take. Thus fed, these beasts boasted of a          months, the office is quiet as the rat-a-tat of
       a mailer daemon; tells me to finish        minimum five-hour half-life. Writers, editors      keyboards ceases and the dust settles down.
       projects on Monday, even if he gives       and designers emerged with groggy eyes,            Everyone’s tired; weeks of 16-hour days will
       them to me on Tuesday. The next            and a burning desire to see their loved            do that. Even the veteran writers now
       time he annoys me I will space warp
       his face, and nuke his G5 on the side.
                                                  ones, pronto!                                      proudly exhibit callused fingertips like battle
       Con Meter 6/10                                  This is not to say, we didn’t have our fun—   scars. It is 3 in the morning, time to head
                                                  we persevered when we had to and had our           home to estranged families. Hope you enjoy
       Gizmo                                      small doses of entertainment while no one          our labour of love. Happy reading!
       Traditionally, something your
       rich friend possessed, and
       something you always wanted.                                               statement that comes from           FERTILE IMAGINATION
       In 3DSMax, a Gizmo controls the                                            a company known for the
       modification of an object. It
       allows you to visualise the
                                                                                  approach to its products
                                                                                                                      Calling all
       modification. If you bend a Bend
       modifier Gizmo, for instance,
                 the object bends too.
                                                                                  and customers. “Windows
                                                                                  has opened up
                     Jaw-dropper This new                                         opportunities for computers
                       personal trainer of                                        and chips to be built in
                        mine, who I am
                         paying Rs 1,500
                         per workout
                         session, thinks he
                                                some of its disciples would
                                                like us to believe, but Gates
                                                is missing a few points. He
                                                                                       Which is true, but most
                                                                                  of that software is pirated,
                                                                                                                      T  hat irritating ringtone
                                                                                                                         could be ringing in news
                                                                                                                      more dire than a missed
                         has access to my       said: “If you don't want to       which brings us to: the loss        meeting. Carrying a mobile
                        Modifier Gizmo. He      create jobs or intellectual       of tax revenue for                  phone in your trouser or
                       makes me stretch
                    and bend beyond limit!      property, then there is a         governments Bill ascribed           jeans pocket could cut
                Sometimes, I wonder why I       tendency to develop open          to, “when people don’t pay          sperm count by nearly 30
       am paying him to torture me. But         source. It is not something       for software.” As in pirated        per cent. This news came
       give me a few months, and I will         you do as a day job. If you       copies of Windows, Mr               from a Hungarian study
       sack him. Then let’s see who controls
       his Modifier Gizmo.                      want to give it away, you         Gates?                              conducted by the
       Con Meter 6/10                           work on it at night.”                  He also pointed out that       department of obstetrics
                                                Hilarious! The 600-odd            software piracy is on the           and gynaecology at the
       Mental ray                               employees of Red Hat and          decline in Asia. What he            University of Szeged.
       No relation to Satyajit Ray! In          the thousands working for         failed to mention however               “The prolonged use of
       3DS Max, a Mental Ray is a cool          Novell and IBM work at            is the fact that Microsoft is       cell phones may have a
       tool that allows physically cor-
                                                night, probably in their          now selling a ‘Lite’ version
       rect simulations of light reflec-
       tions and refractions producing          parents’ basement. Bill           of Windows XP in Thailand
       life like effects such as concen-        Gates said so. Additionally,      and Malaysia—light on the
       trated light reflection through          none of the top five              wallet—something which
       water surface and realistic glob-        distributors of Linux—Open        wouldn't have been possible
       al reflection effects. Confused?         Source’s flag bearer—are in       if Linux was not gaining
       Wait until you use it on your            it for the money; perish the      popularity in those
       unsuspecting friends.                    thought.                          markets. Competition,
       Jaw-dropper Sorry I got late                  There was more. Our          good.
       for the party. My new Mental
                                                favourites: “[…] when it          Perhaps next time, Bill
       Ray draws out such great
       scenes that sometime I really            comes to a guarantee or           Gates would deem us                 negative effect on sperm
       get lost in them. Oh, the stuff it       having someone who stands         intelligent enough to               production and male
       does. I wonder whether it is me          behind your software,             address real concerns on            fertility,” said Dr Imre Fejes.
       or just my Mental Ray.                   [Open Source] is typically        Open Source and its                 Fejes and his team analysed
       Con Meter 8/10                           not something done in a           progeny, until then, thanks         sperm from 221 men and
                                                capital approach,” a              for the laughs!                     questioned them about

164   DIGIT AUGUST 2004
                                                                                                                                              Escape                                                   their use of mobile phones
                                                                               to correlate between the
                                                                                                                     Technology in Germany
                                                                                                                     interviewed more than 300
                             “DID THE DOG get into my cupboard? Is             two. They found links                 Web page owners to arrive
                             there a vandal on the loose? Help,                between a cell phone, even            at the series of conclusions.
                             police, I've been robbed!”                        in a standby mode, and                To all those who feel that
                                 After a thorough investigation, all           reduced sperm                         homepages are an altar to
                             hope of ever finding the missing twin is          concentration and quality.            the ego, an exercise in
                             abandoned. Years pass—you don't heal.                 Professor Hans Evers, a
                             People come over with treats, to try              past president of the society
                             and console you—it doesn't work. Your             was sceptical, “It appears
                                                                               not to take into account the friends tell you that life just isn't fair               many potential
                             sometimes, and recount their losses of
    one of their twins—but yours was special. Nothing stops the                confounding factors that
    pain and irritation of losing one of a pair. “They were born               could have skewed the
    together; they serviced me for years together. How could                   results,” factors such as
    someone take one and leave the other? How lonely they must                 stress levels, the type of jobs
    be; they, and all like them, are meant to exist, again,                    the men have and whether
    together!”, you tell your sympathisers.                                    they smoked, which could              narcissism, homage to
         Yes, it can be terrible to lose a sock! What can you do               all influence sperm count.            trivial-pursuits of the HTML-
    with one sock? A single sock has no purpose in life. It's                                                        skilled, an ode to… you get
    meaningless. However, throwing it away is just not an option.              SHY GUYS                              the point, the German
                                                                                                                     researches would beg to
    So you get out a camera, take a picture and post it on How does this help? It's the odds of                    Homepage                              disagree. They are a
                                                                                                                     challenge to the timid, they
    probability at work here: Each sock manufacturer makes at
    least 10,000 identical pairs of socks. At least 5,000 people               owners put                            said, a tool to transform
                                                                                                                     their social anxiety into
    living near you probably buy clothes from the same store as
    you. Chances are 100 of these people bought the same pair                  on the couch                          happiness, moreover the
                                                                                                                     majority of homepage
    of socks that you did. And finally, one of those 100 people
    has to be as careless as you, and lose one of his or her socks.                                                  owners present themselves
         So why throw away a perfectly good sock? Just give it to
    someone who could reunite your sock with it's twin. Right?                 O    wners of homepages are
                                                                                    shy, sensitive to
                                                                               criticism and suffer from
                                                                                                                     as naturally as possible to
                                                                                                                     the world at large.
                                                                                                                         A fact that is slightly
         Ok so this is just our wildest guess at trying to figure out
    what the makers of this site were thinking. Tell us if you have            low self-esteem. Oh, and              disturbing if you are a
    any interesting theories, write to us at                                   most of them are likely               35-year-old Satan-                                                       male. Researchers at the              worshipping-vegan with a
                                                                               Chemnitz University of                penchant for leather.

                                 Googleblog                                                    with the PC, and not with the TiVo. The MCE EPG is also
                                                              more flexible. Try and record the West Wing on TiVO,
                                                                                               just the 7 pm episodes shown on channel 44, not the
                                 Oodles of Doodles                                             other boradcasts. You can’t do it. It’s a snap on MCE
                                 My name is Dennis, and I’m the guy who draws the              (Why would you want to? To record a series according
                                 Google doodles. But the doodle tradition started here         to airdates, so you can watch the episodes in order).
                                 before I did. The first doodle was produced by (who           On the other hand, my TiVO never crashed,
      Here’s taking a look       else?) Larry and Sergey, who, when they attended the          locked up, missed a scheduled record, or any other
      at a few riveting          Burning Man festival in summer 1999, put a little stick       annoying issue.
      posts from the world       figure on the home page logo in case the site crashed
      of blogs. This month,      and someone wanted to know why nobody was
                                 answering the phone. By the time I began an internship        The Wireless Weblog
      we selected three          here in the summer of 2000, the company was         
      interesting posts          producing doodles on a regular basis. At the time I was
      from Get      a Stanford undergrad majoring in art and computer             Big Fight Looming Over WLAN Standard
      an insight into the        science, and, although I hadn’t been hired to do              Ratification
                                 anything remotely related to logo design, I eventually
      evolution of Google’s      stumbled into my first doodle gig (Bastille Day, July         Next week’s IEEE 802 plenary will surely feature
      famous doodles—            2000, for which I did a fairly boring flag motif).            fireworks between some of the big names in the next-
      from the creator                                                                         generation wireless LAN world, including Sony, Intel,
      himself. Muse over a                                                                     Texas Instruments, and Motorola. What's at stake is the
      fine comparison            Michael Gartenberg                                            ratification of a 802.11n WLAN standard that will
                                                              enable rates of between 100 and 200 Mbits/s.
      between TiVo and                                                                         Whomever is on the “winning side” of the debate
      Windows Media              TiVo comparison to Windows Media Center                       could eventually see gigantic revenues in the
      Centre. Keep abreast       I've spent a lot of time with both of them (and a few         forthcoming high-rate wireless audio, video, and data
      of what’s on offer at      others) over the last few months as we’re wrapping up         streaming marketplace. The 802.11n task group (TGn)
                                 a major report on standalone DVRs such as MCE and             will meet in Portland, Oregon, next week as part of
      the looming fight                                                                        the IEEE 802 plenary. It will sort through 61 proposals
                                 TiVO. There are other issues that need to be balanced.
      over WLAN standard         First, the PC is more flexible. If I want to store and view   in search of a next-generation wireless LAN
      ratification               my pictures, music and other video content, burn to           (WLAN) standard that will enable rates of between 100
                                 DVD, copy to a portable media player and stream               and 200 Mbits/s, at least double that of current
                                 that content to other devices in my home, I can do that       802.11g/a standards.

                                                                                                                                     AUGUST 2004 DIGIT   165
                 Digit Forum

      Joined 02 Dec 2003
      Posts 776
      Location Mumbai

      Post Subject Digitized!

      Bill Gates has been staring into his crystal
      ball and sees no future for the DVD. In an
      article published in the German mass-          Mail order                                     defraud through SMS. One can send
      circulation daily Bild, Gates reckoned that
      DVD technology would be “obsolete in 10
      years at the latest.” He said the concept of
                                                     E  -mail users across the world should be
                                                        indebted to Google. It wasn’t until
                                                     Google changed the rules of the game
                                                                                                    misleading messages to people by using
                                                                                                    the cell phone numbers of other people.
                                                                                                    The person whose number is used
      carrying around film and music on little       that free e-mail service providers Yahoo,      wouldn’t even know that his number is
      silver discs to stick them into a computer     Hotmail and Rediff woke up and went            being used in sending messages to others.
      was ridiculous. He moaned that DVDs            beyond the 2 MB to 6 MB limits they had.           The biggest bother is that one is
      could get scratched or get lost.                                                              helpless to mobile phone spam, as
           Gates said that the home computer                                                        unsolicited messages cannot be blocked.
      will know who we are from our voice or                                                        Only a ban on advertising through SMS
      our face. It will know what we want to                                                        can stop this nuisance.
      watch, or what the kids shouldn’t be                                                                                    Ashu D’Souza
      allowed to see. Here the crystal ball                                                                                             Mysore
      clouded over due to a blue screen of
      death. Bill’s predictions and his crystal
      balls can be a little inaccurate. He once                                                     Wake up, Google!
      said that there was no future in that little
      networking novelty called the Internet!                                                       L  ooks like Google has competition. I
                                                                                                       recently read about a new search
                                                                                                    engine called Blinkx, developed by Kathy
      ****************************************                                                      Rittweger and Suranga Chandratillake.
                                                          The result was that, literally, all our   Some say it has an edge over Google
      deleted_empathy                                important e-mail had to be deleted in the      because it doesn’t just search the Web
                                                     name of housekeeping. Not any longer.          but also crawls news sites, e-mail attach-
      Joined 04 Jul 2004                             Google’s announcement of 1000 MB               ments, our hard disk, and also blogs.
      Posts 45                                       inboxes left the rest scurrying to increase

                                                                                                                                                  Illustrations Mahesh Benkar
      Posted Wed Mar 17, 2004 10:03 am               the size of their e-mail boxes. Now our desi
                                                     Rediff offers 1 GB (24 MB more than
      Post Subject Warmed-Up Nerd                    Google!); Yahoo gives 100 MB; and Hotmail
                                                     has promised a 250 MB free e-mail box.
      Bill Gates says a lot of things.                    So what would distinguish one from
      He was of the opinion that 640 KB of           the other? Two things: service and spam.
      memory will be more than what one will         Factors such as accessibility, recall and
      ever need.                                     speed would ensure better service. As for
      He also said that Linux is just a ’60s         spam, Bayesian filters seem all set to
      technology wrapped in a new package.           become the standard to battle it, and so
      How come then that ’60s technology and         it is left to be seen who wins the race.
      its various cousins still give those                Until then—just as we did with
      Microsoft guys sleepless nights when they      search—let us thank Google.                        One has to download the Blinkx
      think of the server market?                                         Madhulika Mathur          windows client, which automatically
           Everything evolves. Dumb people keep                                             Agra    finds Web pages and documents related
      getting replaced by saner, efficient ones.                                                    to the content of the active window or
      Quite on the lines of the Theory of                                                           based on a specific query.
      Evolution. I have referred to Charles          SMS alert                                          Also, Blinkx claims to use artificial
      Darwin, though I personally feel he didn’t
      have that great traits of intelligence,
      which many associate him with, but that’s
                                                     U    ntil recently, SMS was a great way to
                                                          communicate. It opened a new win-
                                                     dow of opportunity to shy people who
                                                                                                    intelligence to rate stories—not page
                                                                                                    rankings like Google. My fellow Digit
                                                                                                    readers can download a beta version on
      another story.                                 otherwise would not have gathered the
           Technology is no exception. Most of the   courage to say something.                          Will it beat Google. We don’t know
      current-generation DVD technology, for             However, the fun things about a new,       that yet.
      example, is based on the red part of the       useful technology have lasted only this                       Satyabrat Chakraborty
      light spectrum. The efficiency can be—and      long. Of late, SMS spoofing has become                                            Rourkela
      this is already being done—increased           alarmingly common. So much so that
      moving further down the spectrum and           people have started distrusting messages
      selecting lower wavelengths. Then come the     from their own friends and family              Thank you for the story
      different concepts themselves. Like those
      cool 3D holographic methods, for example.
           So I am not surprised that Bill Gates
                                                     members. SMS spam is another hazard
                                                     people have come to accept.
                                                         The question is: Do we really need to?
                                                                                                    T   he July issue of Digit fed me to the
                                                                                                        gills every bit of information
                                                                                                    about cellular phones—be they the regu-
      had to rack his brain to come up with the      While SMS spam violates the privacy of         lar ones, or camera phones, or even
      idea of DVDs having no future. Which can       cell phone users, spoofing is set to bolster   smart phones.
      be obvious to a 10-year-old school dropout     fraud. Tricksters can now make use of              All I can say is, thank you.
      as well!                                       Web-based software specifically meant to           Having said that I would also like to

166       To post your comments on Digit Forum,
                                               Write to the Editor                                       Digit will publish the best letters received from
                                                                                                         readers on these pages.
                                                                                                         For subscription queries, call the Help Desk at
                                               Snail Mail The Editor, Digit, D-222/2, Om Sagar
                                                                                                         022-27629191/9200 Fax 022-27629224, or e-mail at
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                                               Navi Mumbai 400 706.

add that even though urban and semi-           was 100 per cent entertaining, and 0                       Just do it
urban centres in India (even rural, for        per cent beneficial—make that 50-50
that matter) have caught the mobile
fever, there are still a few who
                                               at least the next time. For a gamer
                                               like me, the layout of the ‘Game                           V   ipul Shah’s column in the July
                                                                                                              2004 issue of Digit (‘Dear minister,
                                                                                                          Lend Me An Ear’) was well timed. As a
stubbornly do not use cell phones. And         Cheats’ section was confusing. The
these primarily include celebrities.           white boxes all over the place with text                   nation though, we are already late.
    They may have their own reasons (or        on a green background made for some                        Our illogical duties and exorbitant
do they want to show-off?) for not             terrible reading.                                          bandwidth prices have done their bit
carrying a cell phone, but I guess the                                           Warren Dias              to stunt the growth of the Internet in
market hasn’t suffered from such anti-                                                           Delhi    particular, and information
cell propaganda since this technology                                                                     technology in general.
propagates something that we all need:                                                                        Shah’s column article stokes a
communication. It’s this very need that        Usability is important too                                 passionate issue for any serious
                                                                                                          Internet user or enthusiast.          Letter
mankind has felt since time
immemorial and the cell fulfills that in
as small a form as it can get!
                                               T   hank you for the special section on
                                                   cell phones in the July issue, particu-
                                               larly smart phones.
                                                                                                          Indians don’t realise this until
                                                                                                          their chat buddies abroad tell
                                                                                                                                                of the
    Thank you, Digit, for reminding us              But I think usability is a key                        you about their 512 Kbps and 1.5
of this fundamental need.                      criterion while purchasing cell phones.                    Mbps Internet connections (512 K has
                              Meera Jain       The ‘eye-shaped’ Nokia 7600, for                           almost become the standard speed for
                                  via e-mail   example, has a radical design, but I am                    any casual broadband connection
                                               not sure how comfortable it would be                       abroad). So much so that broadband
                                                                                                          seems to be a misnomer in India.
                                                                                                              Moreover, ISPs are poorly
                                                                                                          configured. You can very well surf the
Love us? Hate us? Tell us!                                                                                Internet, but try doing something a bit
                                                                                                          more advanced like running a
Dear Reader,                                                                                              SHOUTcast server from your desktop,
T   he September pages of Inbox will be
    dedicated to your opinion of the
new Digit. Did you like the new
                                                                                                          or using a P2P application, and you
                                                                                                          will usually find yourself behind a
                                                                                                          restrictive firewall or a Network
features? Did you like its people-centric                                                                 Address Translator (NAT). Port
approach? What do you feel of the all                                                                     forwarding is a solution, but your
new sections? Did you love the DVD, or                                                                    cablewallah administrator is either too
did you hate it?                                                                                          reluctant to configure that for you, or
     No matter what you feel or opine,                                                                    just does not know how to do it.
tell us. We would love to hear from you.                                                                      Quality of Service is a term they
Write to us at                                                                      have never heard of. Be it cellular
                                               to handle and use everyday, even for
                      Executive Editor         people who can afford the handset.                         operators or ISPs, there’s no bottom
                                                   It seems to me that designers should                   limit to how much their services
                                               not compromise on usability just to                        might degrade. They usually fix it
                                               catch the customer’s eye.                                  sooner or later but ideally, a customer
Asking for a balance                                                           Saket Sharma               should be compensated for any sub-
                                                                                                          standard service meted out to him.
Y   our July issue was quite busy—full of
    articles that were of real value to the
average reader rather than just concen-
                                                                                        Via e-mail
                                                                                                              A common argument is that
                                                                                                          Chandrababu Naidu lost the state
trating on just hardware and software                Goof ups                                             elections in Andhra Pradesh because
reviews.                                                                                                  he ignored basic needs of the people,
     Just when it was time for everyone to
file their tax returns, you came up with        O   n Page 134 of the July 2004
                                                    issue, in the review of College
                                                Pro Science CD, you have men-
                                                                                                          especially the poor and agricultural
                                                                                                          class, at the cost of technological
                                                                                                          advancement. Maybe so. My point is
a review of accounting and taxation
software, which was refreshingly                tioned two prices for the same                            that while a minister need not be
welcome. Even the article on IT jobs was        product—Rs 1,350 and Rs 1,995. So                         saturated with IT-promoting
good, but it needed a lot more inputs           which one is correct?                                     ambitions, each minister in key
about personal experiences from job                                       Sachin Sharma                   positions should have an
seekers, to be able to cover both angles                                                                  understanding of the importance of IT
in entirety. Perhaps space constraints          Dear Sachin,                                              and how we lag in certain aspects
caused you to commit the lesser of the          The exact price of College Science Pro is                 plainly because of archaic policies.
two evils, as improper coverage of the          Rs 1,350. We apologise for the error.                         Other Asian countries are already
employers’ perspective would just be                                                                      ahead of us. We cannot wait any
criminal.                                                                                                 longer. No Sir! We have to start now.
     The ‘Tips & Tricks’ on Easter Eggs         Notice any goof-ups?                                                           Yuvan Sankrityayan
                                                Write to

                                                                                                                                          AUGUST 2004 DIGIT   167
                                                                               SMS match
                                                                               ends in court
                                                                               A   recent competition in
                                                                                   Malaysia, involving text
                                                                               messaging, had a $45,000 car
                                                                                                                  their money back. They’ve
                                                                                                                  even taken their case to a tri-
                                                                                                                  bunal. Naturally, the tribunal
                                                                               as the grand prize. The prize      rejected their claim.
                                                                               was to be awarded by                    Wai and Hong did win
                                                                               comparing slogans submitted        something—a motorcycle
                                                                               to by the 50 most prolific         worth less than a third of
          People And Events Who Grabbed Headlines—For Better Or For Worse      messagers.                         what they'd spent on the mes-
                                                                                    Wong Jee Wai and her          saging. How’s that for a conso-
                                                                               boyfriend, Siew Kam Hong,          lation prize?

      Jobs lambasts                                                            spent more than $5,000 on
                                                                               their entries, and still could-
                                                                               n’t win! Their slogans weren't
                                                                                                                       A couple of cliches fit the
                                                                                                                  bill here: “Quality is more
                                                                                                                  important than quantity,”

      Redmond company                                                          good enough. Now, the couple
                                                                               is complaining, and want
                                                                                                                  maybe, and perhaps “Always
                                                                                                                  read the fine print.”

                                                                               Angel’s mask off?
                                          ing forward to—larger and bet-
                                          ter displays, a vastly improved
                                          operating system, etc. The lat-
                                          est version of Max OS X v10.3 is
                                          codenamed Panther. “People
                                          are trying to copy Panther.”
                                          Jobs said, referring to a
                                                                               F  risky footage of Cameron
                                                                                  Diaz in a steamy S&M video
                                                                               recently hit the Internet, in
                                                                                                                  $3.3 million from her.
                                                                                                                      The video captures Rutter
                                                                                                                  taking photographs of Diaz, a
                                          Redmond, WA, company.                which she poses topless and        model named Natasha, and a
                                               About banners making fun        ‘walks’ a leather-masked man       man in bondage gear during a
                                          of Microsoft, Jobs said, “We're      like a dog.                        ‘spec shoot’ of photos meant to
                                          having fun with that in the               The video—made in 1992        build Diaz’s portfolio, but
                                          lobby.” One banner read,
      Steve Jobs warns copycats           “Redmond, we have a prob-
                                          lem.” One wonders what will

      I n his address at the 2004
        Worldwide Developers
      Conference, last June, Steve
                                          happen when Longhorn
                                          debuts. Perhaps, we’ll then
                                          have banners saying
      Jobs made references to things      “Cupertino, are your cash
      that Apple users will be look-      registers kaput?”

      Gates plays the
      soothsayer again
                                          spam will be solved.”
                                               Seven months later, spam is
                                          worse than ever. Delegates at an
                                          ITU spam conference in early
                                          July aim to control the ‘modern
                                          day epidemic’ of spam, again,        Cameron Diaz fights skeletons from the past
                                          within two years. Looks like it'll
                                          always be ‘two years’, just          when Diaz was a 19-year-old        never published.
                                          because Gates said it would.         model—shows the Charlie’s               Rutter is currently out on
                                               Bill Gates has a penchant       Angels star spraying her breasts   bail, and has filed a $10 mil-
                                          for doing a bad job at playing       with a can of compressed air.      lion countersuit against Diaz
      Not quite Nostradamus?              Nostradamus. “Spam gone in               The footage was shot by        for fraud and breach of
                                          two years,” at a time when           photographer John Rutter, who      contract. Last March, a

      A   t the World Economic
          Forum in Switzerland, Gates
      said, “Two years from now,
                                          serious analysts are predicting
                                          that spam will kill e-mail.
                                          640 K, anyone?
                                                                               has since been involved in a
                                                                               legal battle with Diaz after she
                                                                               accused him of trying to extort
                                                                                                                  judge denied Diaz’s request
                                                                                                                  to dismiss Rutter’s
                                                                                                                  fraud countersuit.


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Description: Digit Magazine - August 2004 Issue