Digit Magazine - November 2005 Issue by docstocfun

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									         Editorial

         The Answer: Innovate
                                                                      governance! There are no procedures
                                                                      followed, no set team of developers, no
                                                                      deadlines, and no onus on developers
                                                                      and      absolutely     limited     set    of
                                                                      documentation, if at all—all of which
                                                                      leads to no standards.
                                                                          Can this be changed? Perhaps! Recent
                                                                      trends have shown that even small open
                                                                      source projects are becoming planned
                                                                      affairs. Out of chaos can emerge order!
                                                                          The third and perhaps the biggest
                                                                      challenge is to break the shackles of
                                                                      familiarity that paid software has
                                                                      imposed upon its users. Skill-sets and
                                                                      careers have been built upon users’
                                                                      existing knowledge, and asking them to
                                                                      forget it all and start over is a little
                                                                      unrealistic. In a way, a little ambitious
                                                                      too. Though its fans have been screaming
          Maulik Jasubhai Publisher                                   for years about how Linux is just as easy to
                                                                      use as Windows, the fact is that it’s


                         L
                               AST MONTH, IN this space, we talked    different, and change is always tough.
                               about software costs being higher          Some free software projects have tried
                               than that of the hardware on which     to clone the usability and interfaces of
                         it runs. The question that arose was, “Why   their paid counterparts to minimise the
                         have freeware and open source operating      cold-turkey feeling users get when
                         systems not found mass acceptance?”          switching. Some even went as far as
                             The first problem is ignorance—people    naming their products similarly
                         just do not know that options exist.         (remember Lindows?), but this is not
                         People acquire tech knowledge mostly         where the answer lies: often, users will
                         from friends and local system assemblers,    love free clones of their favourite
                         many of whom know nothing about              software—only until they stumble upon a
                         software. The billions that the bigger       difference or limitation. What follows
                         paid-software companies spend on             generally involves some uninstalling!
                         advertising gives dividends: most of us          The imagination and creativity of
                         have not heard of anything but Windows,      freeware developers seems to be
                         Nero, Photoshop, MS Office, Norton           restrained by a lack of vision and the lowly
      “Perhaps the       AntiVirus and the like.                      goals they set for themselves. They’re
biggest challenge            The next hurdle the free software
                         movement faces is compatibility. With all
                                                                      always benchmarking their products with
                                                                      the best paid-software available. And they
    is to break the      the hundreds of Linux flavours available,
                         the PC hardware incompatibilities of
                                                                      never seem to go beyond existing
                                                                      standards to create something better.
        shackles of      yore might have been minimised. But we
                         now have a whole new generation of
                                                                          What freeware developers actually
                                                                      need to do is innovate to build bettter
   familiarity that      devices—mobile phones, digital cameras,
                         thumb drives or PDAs—that should
                                                                      software that offers more features, more
                                                                      power, and gets the job done faster. As soon
     paid-software       ideally work seamlessly with our             as they do this, the world will lap it up.
                         freeware enabled PCs.
      has imposed            This isn’t happening.
                             Why? Because the very nature of
  upon its users”        the free software movement defies
                                                                    Tell Us What You Feel About Digit                                       Advertisers’ Index
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    YO U R T EC H N O LO GY N AV I G ATO R                          technology maze to bring you the most                                  Client                                          Page
                                                                    relevant, most researched stories. If you have an
    November 2005 • Volume 5 • Issue 11
                                                                    opinion about anything published in Digit, or                          Asus ................................................77
    Chairman                                                        about technology in general, please write to
                                                                    editor@thinkdigit.com                                                  Brother ..........................................75
    Jasu Shah
    Printer, Publisher and Editor                                                                                                          Canara Bank..................................127
    Maulik Jasubhai                                                 Product Testing
    President and Publishing Director                                                                                                      Canon......................................122,123
    L Subramanyan
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                                                                                                                                           Cricket Today ................................149
    Writers Mithun Kidambi, Preethi Chamikutty                      Software On DVD/CD                                                     Dell ............................................14,15
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                                                                    inclusion in the Digit DVD or CD, contact us at:                       Epson ..............................................57
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    Deputy Head Deepak Dhingra                                                                                                             Hutch ........................................36-37
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    Anup Nair                                                       Help!                                                                  Kunhar ......................................61,63
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                                                                    send an e-mail to help@jasubhai.com                                    Lenovo ............................................91
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6   DIGIT NOVEMBER 2005
    Enter                 Digital Passion                               46 Booster Boards
                                                                        The motherboard is the ‘basis’ of your
                                                                        computer—without it, no other component
                       25 Hybrid Horsepower                             would work. We bring you 20 of the latest
                       With technology playing a big part, cars are
                                                                        in a shootout that is sure to make you want
                       moving on from being fuel guzzlers and
                                                                        to upgrade!
                       environmental hazards. Presenting the new
    16                 breed of clean cars
    He wowed the
    nation with his
    performance in
    Iqbal. Check
    out Shreyas
    Talpade’s
    geek quotient

    22
    MSN and Yahoo!
    IMs becoming
    interoperable—it
    isn’t a rumour!

    24
    Carry your apps
    and data with      28 The Computer Inside You                       40 Double Or Nothing!
    you on a smart                                                      The latest in the world of computer graphics
                       Will computing move from silicon to DNA?
    drive, courtesy
    a new platform     We take a look how today’s primitive DNA         technology is multi-GPUs. So how do two—or
    called U3          ‘computers’ work, and what the theoretical       more—graphics cores work together?
                       possibilities for DNA computing are



                                                                  Contents Magazine
    Digital Tools
    68 Driving Data
    Tested: 15 hard drives, with the best features, largest
    capacities, and at the cutting edge of hard disk
    technology. Go store!




                                                                      65 Order, Order!
                                                                      Face it: you never find a phone number or e-mail
                                                                      address when you need it the most. Call it
                                                                      Murphy’s law or pure bad management. Check
                                                                      out how good personal information management
                                                                      can help

                                                                      103 Agent 001
    76 Old Way Tech Way                                               With the festive season here, Agent 001 gives
    With tutorials all over the Web for almost                        you a lowdown on the best buying options for
    anything, is it no longer necessary to go to a                    camcorders—so you can capture your memories
    coach for guitar lessons?                                         for posterity

8   DIGIT NOVEMBER 2005
Digital Business
                                                                                                                                    117 The First Page
                                                     124 Insecure                                                                   How did an Indian site
                                                     At Work?                                                                       manage to get on top of
                                                     In today’s wired world,                                                        the search results for
                                                     security is of the                                                             generic keywords pertain-
                                                     utmost concern,                                                                ing to their business?
                                                     especially at the work-                                                        Read on to find out. Hint:
                                                     place. It is important                                                         they brought in an SEO
                                                     that this fact be                                                              company
                                                     recognised at all levels
                                                     of the organisation.
                                                     Juniors and employees
                                                     at the executive level
                                                     alike need to under-
                                                     stand how critical data
                                                     security is




                                                                                                  130 Face Off
128 Trend                                                                                         VoIP is here to stay. But is it better than
Is it better to advertise on the Internet before doing it                                         traditional telephony? Would you implement
on TV or in print? We collect some views of people in                                             it on a wide scale across your organisation?
the know                                                                                          Presenting two opposing views



                                                                                   November 2005
 Digital Leisure                                                              150 Tech Critique-I                                                          Escape
                                                                              Tee off with Tiger Woods for the best golf
145 Make A Difference... Online                                               game you’d have ever played… indoors, that is                                155
                                                                                                                                                           Meet Gordon
Philanthropy goes online. No more excuses                                                                                                                  Moore, the guy
for not doing your bit for society                                                                                                                         who formulated
                                                                                                                                                           one of the most
                                                                                                                                                           famous ‘laws’
                                                                                                                                                           in computing




                                                                                                                                                           154
                                                                                                                                                           The gloves are
                                                                             151 Tech Critique-II                                                          off. The fight for
                                                                             We take a sneak peek at the most                                              who will control
                                                                             anticipated sequel of the year to see just how                                the Internet is on
                                                                             serious Sam is

           Three Incredibly Useful Sites ..........18             Tips & Tricks ....................................83     Bluff Your Way Through ................156
REGULARS




           The Digital World ............................18       Q&A ................................................98   Digit Diary......................................156
           Beat That ........................................20   Agent 001 ......................................103      Blogwatch ......................................157
           Gender Benders ..............................22        Tech Quiz ......................................148      Digit Forum....................................166
           Buzzword Of The Month ..................22             Mediawise/Adwise ..........................152           Inbox..............................................166


                                                                                                                                                           NOVEMBER 2005 DIGIT      9
DVD


          DIGITAL PASSION                            DIGITAL TOOLS                             DIGITAL BUSINESS                             DIGITAL LEISURE

      Call of Duty 2 Demo                        Adobe Encore DVD 1.5                      EasyOffice with PDF Filter 9.0
                                                 A creative                                EasyOffice +
                                                 authoring tool for                        PDF Filter is
                                                 professional DVD                          an office
                                                 production, Adobe                         suite
                                                 Encore takes DVD                          compatible
                                                 authoring to a new                        with
                                                 level of creativity                       Microsoft
                                                 with a streamlined                        Word and
                                                 workflow, a                               Excel in
                                                 comprehensive set                         addition to
                                                 of design tools, and smooth integration   Adobe PDF
                                                 with other Adobe software                 files                                        America’s Army 2: Special
                                                                                                                                        Forces
      As part of the British infantry, you are                                                                                          In order to combat the low sign-up rate
      tasked with eliminating the German         MULTIMEDIA                                OpenOffice.org 1.1.3
                                                                                           A multi-platform office productivity suite   in the American army, someone came up
      artillery crews at the docks               n K-Lite Mega Codec Pack 1.3.8
                                                                                           with a word processor, spreadsheet           with the brilliant idea of making a game
                                                 n AVOne Video Converter 2.05
                                                                                           program, presentation manager, and           that depicts the life of a US army soldier
      Nexuiz                                     n The FilmMachine 1.4
                                                 n Matroska 1.1.1                          drawing program
                                                 n Picasa 2.0
                                                 n Audacity 1.2.2
                                                                                                                                        Hidden And Dangerous
                                                 n XnView 1.8
                                                                                                                                        Deluxe
                                                                                                                                        You control four British Special Air
                                                 n Webshots Desktop 2.2
                                                                                                                                        Service (SAS) soldiers. You have to lead
      A 3D deathmatch game made entirely         n dBpowerAmp Music Converter 11.5
                                                                                                                                        them behind enemy lines to complete
      over the Internet. The purpose of the      n Media Player Classic 6.4.8.4 for
                                                                                                                                        numerous missions
      game is to bring deathmatch back to the      Win2k/XP
      basics, with perfect weapon balancing      n VirtualDubMod 1.4.13.1
      and fast-paced action                      n IrfanView 3.97                          602 PC Suite
                                                 n GSpot Codec Information 2.21            An integrated
      Nibiru: Age of Secrets demo                                                          solution for
      A dangerous                                INTERNET                                  creating, editing
      and thrilling                              n Kerio Personal Firewall 4.0             and viewing
      mystery, where                             n AVG Anti-Virus Free Edition 7.289       documents and
      murder,                                    n Eudora 6.2                              spreadsheets,
      deception and                              n Avast! Home Edition 4.6                 compatible with
      the deep, dark                             n ZoneAlarm 6.0.667.000                   Microsoft Word and Excel
      secrets of the                             n Sygate Personal Firewall 5.6
      Nazis take you                             n Kerio Personal Firewall 4.0             AbiWord
      into the heart                             n AntiVir Personal Edition 6.27           A free word
                                                                                                                                        GAMES
      of an                                      n MSN Messenger 7.0                       processing
                                                                                           program similar                              n America’s Army 2: Special Forces
      exhilarating                               n Proxy Workbench 1.2 build 64
                                                                                           to Microsoft                                 n Hidden And Dangerous Deluxe
      adventure                                  n Mozilla Thunderbird 1.0.6
                                                                                                                                        n Wolfenstein: Enemy Territory
                                                 n Spybot - Search & Destroy 1.4           Word, suitable
                                                                                                                                        n Code Red: Alien Arena
                                                 n POPFile 0.21.2                          for a wide variety
                                                                                                                                        n Cube
      BattleCruiser 3000 AD                      n Mozilla Firefox 1.0.7                   of word
                                                                                                                                        n Machines Of Destruction
      A universe simulator—worlds to explore     n Pegasus Mail 4.12a                      processing tasks
                                                                                                                                        n Soldat
      in a large starship that carried several   n ICQ 5.04
                                                                                                                                        n Tux Racer
      smaller, faster fighter craft              n CleverCrypt Lite1.5
                                                                                                                                        n Frozen
                                                 n Opera 8.5                               PRODUCTIVITY TOOLS
                                                                                                                                          Bubble
                                                                                           n SmartLaunch 4.0.465
                                                                                                                                        n LinCity
                                                 SYSTEM                                    n Portable OpenOffice.org 1.1.4
                                                                                                                                        n .kkrieger
                                                 n AutoPatcher XP September 2005           n TRVProtect 7.2
                                                 n Ashampoo PowerUp XP Platinum 2.2        n Visual Importer Enterprise 7.1.7
                                                 n File Backup Watcher 2.7.2R1             n ShareCalendar 2.15.34
                                                 n Yahoo! Desktop Search                   n AbiWord
                                                 n ZipGenius 6.0.2.103                     n EAuthentix Outlook Plug-in 1.2.3
                                                 n SyncBack 3.2.8.40                       n Microsoft Reader 2.1.1
                                                 n Copernic Desktop Search 1.6             n MCEAuction 1.0
                                                 n PowerZip 7.06 build 38                  n SimpleMail 2.0.2
                                                                                                                                        VIDEOS
                                                 n ALZip 5.52                              n DynAdvance Notifier 1.1.85 beta
                                                                                                                                        n North
                                                 n EndTask Pro 3.0.36
                                                                                                                                        Country
      DEVELOPER TOOLS                                                                      MOBILE
                                                                                                                                        n Kiss Kiss,
      n Excelsior JET 4.0                        DIGIT IN PDF                              n MobTime Cell Phone Manager 5.3.2
                                                 By popular demand, archives of the                                                       Bang Bang
      n Amzi Prolog + Logic Server with                                                    n ImageExpo 3.1.16
                                                                                                                                        n The Greatest Game Ever Played
        Eclipse IDE and Java 7.2.5               past 12 months are back!                  n Hot Games Pack 5.2
                                                                                                                                        n Dreamer: Inspired by a True Story
      n Servoy 2.2                                                                         n Championship Spades 6.2
                                                                                                                                        n Running Scared
      n DigitalWeb InstallWizard                                                           n MP3 To Ringtone 1.28
        Professional 4.6                                                                   n WAP Proof 1.2
                                                                                                                                        50 WALLPAPERS
      n XMLSpy Home Edition 2006                                                           n mVoice 3.6
      n IDA - The Interactive Disassembler                                                 n Mobile High Speed 5.3.1
        4.8.0.847                                                                          n SmartRss 2.1.2077
      n HyperNext for Windows 2.0                                                          n Farkle Dice 1.1
      n PHPTriad 2.2                                                                       n PocketOne StopWatch 1.4.1
      n ASP Express DotNet Edition 4.1.2                                                   n BDicty 5.7
      n MSDE Manager 4.11                                                                  n The Insurance Dictionary 1.0
      n HTMLPad 2005 Pro 6.3
      n JDebugTool 3.9




10    DIGIT NOVEMBER 2005
                         Certain systems need Macromedia Flash Player to view the contents of the CD/DVD. Get it from http://snipurl.com/90oh
                                                                                      Contents Interactive




                                                                                                                                                                                CD
    DIGITAL PASSION                            DIGITAL TOOLS                              DIGITAL BUSINESS                            DIGITAL LEISURE

WSSpy 1.0                                  EnhanceMovie 2.0                           MyCafeCup 2.140
Web Services are becoming the              A comprehensive yet easy-to-use video      A software for operating an Internet
standard for communication between         quality improvement tool                   café, cyber-café, game centre, gaming
disjoint applications. As a developer,                                                café or PC rental café shop
you need a tool that allows you to test
and analyse Web services




                                           McFunSoft Audio Editor 2.6.4
                                           An authoring editor that gives you
                                           access to every aspect of audio editing    Hardware
Panoply 1.6.4                                                                         Inspector                                   Serious Sam 2
Panoply is a Java application that                                                    2.0                                         The most awaited game sequel of the
enables the user to plot raster images                                                Track PCs, their                            year, Serious Sam 2 makes killing
of geo-gridded data from netCDF                                                       configuration,                              hordes of monsters more fun than
datasets. Depending on the data, it can                                               installed                                   ever before
draw global longitude-latitude images                                                 hardware, serial
or pole-to-pole latitude-vertical images                                              numbers for IT                              Zap 1.1.0
                                                                                      equipment or                                Save a powerplant from exploding
                                                                                      their parts, and
                                                                                      other critical IT
                                                                                      inventory data

                                           Cheetah CD Burner 3.29                     Activity & Expense Tracker
                                           Burn audio and data CDs, burn or make      Plus 1.7.8.1
                                           ISO files, and view thumbnails of photos   A Time Management tool that helps you
                                                                                      track all your projects and their related
                                                                                      tasks and expenses. Generate invoices
                                                                                      and reports and print or export them to
                                                                                      a word processor or spreadsheet
PowerWebTools 2.0
A new design interface with a collection
of scripts for Webmasters, to help                                                                                                AstroAvenger 1.55
enhance their Web sites                                                                                                           Cool graphics and sound effects, and a
                                                                                                                                  great soundtrack




                                           MULTIMEDIA
                                           n AV MP3 Player-Morpher Basic 2.0.102
                                           n AutoGK (Auto Gordian Knot) 2.20
                                           n WMV to AVI MPEG DVD
                                           n WMV Converter 1.4.6.1003b
                                           n Easy CD-DA Extractor 8.2.3
                                           n Ultra Video Splitter 3.4.4               Agama Web
                                           n Ultra Video Joiner 3.3.8                 Buttons                                     E-BOOKS
                                           n Allok Video Joiner 1.4.4.1003b           2.54                                        n The Security
                                           n MOV Converter 1.4.6.1003b                Create                                        Guide Lite 1.0
                                                                                      professional                                n Johnny Bullet 3.0
                                           INTERNET                                   quality, unique                             n Electronic Story
                                           n Message Server Communication Suite       Web buttons in                                Collection 2004.3
                                             6.0.2.0                                  a matter of                                 n Flatland 1.0
DEVELOPER TOOLS                            n DKMessenger 4.2.8                        minutes                                     n Jane Austen
n Code Stylist IDE 1.0.1                   n Newsman Pro 2.1.0.0
                                                                                                                                    Collection 1.0
n Oceantiger jDeveloper 3.2                n v-Phone 1.03                             PRODUCTIVITY TOOLS
n BigSpeed File Sharing Library 1.0        n CoffeeCup Flash Blogger 4.0              n MyCafeCup 2.140
n Search Engine Builder Pro 2.1            n Mail Them Pro 8.0                        n Hardware Inspector 2.0                    50 WALLPAPERS
n Selteco Flash Designer 5.0.21.1          n JBuddy Messenger Pro 2.0.0921            n Net Monitor for Employees 2.3.1
n AstroGrav 1.2.1                                                                     n Agama Web Buttons 2.54
                                           SYSTEM                                     n ViArt Shop 2.2.9
LINUX                                      n DiskTriage 8.1.0.9                       n Activity & Expense Tracker Plus 1.7.8.1
n Crypto Tools 1.01                        n WinSSHD 4.06a                            n Omega Enterprise Manager 1.5.1
n ksudoku 2.0                              n ClickRepair 1.1.1                        n Excel Compare 2.1
n Krio 1.2.0                               n CDMenuPro Personal Edition 5.0
n Form2PDF 2.0                             n Tunnelier 4.06a                          WHITE PAPERS
n mp3riot 1.3                              n HDDlife Pro 2.5.74                       n   UDDI Technical White Paper
n Mp3Tools 1.5                             n Fresh RAM 3.3.0                          n   WAP 2.0


For any queries regarding the CD or DVD, e-mail help@jasubhai.com with “CD/DVD” as the
subject. If the subject is not mentioned, your e-mail might not reach the right person.                                          DIGIT NOVEMBER 2005                       11
                 Certain systems need Macromedia Flash Player to view the contents of the CD/DVD. Get it from http://snipurl.com/90oh
     Online                                                                                                         Digit Patrons
     By Demand                                                                                                      It really does
                                                                         November 2005

     You get to choose what goes in Digit                                                                           pay to be loyal!
     Interactive. This month, you chose:                                                                            Find out more
     Call Of Duty 2 Demo                                                                                            on www.
     Opera 8.5 Free                                                                                                 thinkdigit.com




                                                                                   Last Month’s Question:
                                                Digit Reader Poll                   Which free browser will you use for the next
                                                                                    six months?
                                                This Month’s Question                                                  Total votes: 9,797

                                                What would you like to                                                    31 %
                                                see more of on our                                        28 %
                                                DVD/CD?                                          23 %
                                                     Games
                                                     Linux Software
                                                     Office Software                     11%

                                                     System Software                                                                5%




                                                                                                                                            Infographic: Vijay Padaya
                                                                                                                         Opera
                                                                                                          Firefox
                                                     Videos/Wallpapers




                                                                                               IE7 Beta
                                                     Developer Tools




                                                                                     IE6
                                                 Log on to www.thinkdigit.com
                                                 to cast your vote
                                                                                   1196        2259       2756           3076        510




                               taste technology at
                                                     www.thinkdigit.com
        There’s something for everyone on the Digit Forum www.thinkdigit.com/forum




12
     Racing Robots                                                            An Underwater Cable System
     The Defense and Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA)                NEC Corporation has signed a contract with Bharat Sanchar Nigam
     is organising a robot car race in the desert outside Las Vegas.          Limited (BSNL) and Sri Lanka Telecom (SLT) to provide a
     The 150-mile desert course will test the skills of the machines          submarine cable system which help provide broadband network to
     along mountain switchbacks, gullies, dry lake beds, tunnels              both countries. The Bharat Lanka Cable System is expected to be
     and manmade obstacles.                                                   completed in the second quarter of 2006.




     Enter
                                             CONSTANT INNOVATION
      Shreyas Talpade
      Actor

      A   well-known face on TV,
          actor Shreyas Talpade
                                             It’s A Google-Mad World
      has hit the big league with
      his performance in Iqbal.

                                             A
      From his comic role in the                    lmost every second        indeed exist, and search                  There’s also another
      popular Marathi play All The                  day we see something      bots are not allowed in!              unpublicised feature that
      Best to Iqbal and onward,                     related to Google in         This, say Google-fans, is          fans have stumbled across:
      Talpade is keen on new                 the news: first it’s             damning evidence that                 www.google.com/webhp?co
          avenues in acting. Here            Photoshop experts fooling        “Google Wallet” is almost             mplete=1&hl=en/. What?
              are his views on               the world into believing         here. What’s Google Wallet?           Basically, Google is testing a
                technology.                  that Google’s “Internet OS”      Think PayPal, think of                feature that will suggest
                                             is already in Beta testing by    online purchases.                           search terms as you
                  What does                  sending fake                                                                     type, and even give
                  technology mean            screenshots around                                                               you the
                  to you?                    the world. Then it’s                                                             approximate search
                I think technology           Google-crazy                                                                     results available for
              makes life much simpler,       bloggers testing                                                                 that particular
          easier and better.                 every URL and sub-                                                               search term. Take a
                                             domain                                                                          look at the site to
      How do you use technology in           combination of                                                                 better understand
      your daily activities?                 google.com, hunting                                                           what we mean.
      In this day and age you cannot         for any new features,                                                               So that’s an online
      be oblivious to technology.            getting excited when                                                           feed reader, a spell
      There are new innovations              one such sub-                                                                    checker, and a
      frequently taking place. My day        domain resolves to a                                                              rumoured “wallet”
      starts with the morning alarm          different error                                                                   solution all
      on my mobile, which I think is         page than is                                                                     happening in a
      one of the finest technological        considered                                                                      short span of time.
      inventions. I also surf the            normal!                                                                        Looks like Google
      Internet, check e-mails and                Yes, it’s a                                                                Labs is working full
      generally read up. I largely           Google world,                                                                 steam to revolutionise
      resort to Wikipedia and Google         and the                                                                       every aspect of our
      for information.                       company’s                                                                         lives on the Net.
                                             popularity is on the up.         Google has not had                                We’re not
      What gadgets do you own?               However, it’s not just all       anything to do with this              complaining now, are we?
      I have a cell phone and a PC. I        rumours. Google really is        lucrative section of the
      am very interested in still            doing a lot to put out           Internet thus far, and it’s           XP STARTER EDITION
                                             some great new features          only obvious that sooner or
      photography, and I have a Sony
      HC 40E camera.                         and tools.
                                                 Recently, Google’s
                                                                              later, they will. Changes to
                                                                              the ‘robot.txt’ file suggest
                                                                                                                    A Cheaper
      How has technology                     ‘robot.txt’ file was updated
                                             to reflect some new
                                                                              that this change is already
                                                                              in the pipeline.
                                                                                                                    Windows…
      influenced your career?
      It's due to technology that my         directories: /gwt and
                                             /purchases. Basically, a
                                                                                  Google also recently
                                                                              launched their Google
                                                                                                                    Does India
      performances have reached a
      wide audience. Had it not been         robots.txt file tells search
                                             engine bots where they can
                                                                              Reader, which is a simple
                                                                              RSS reader. The difference is
                                                                                                                    Care?
      for the medium of cinema, my
      work would not have received           and cannot navigate in a         that instead of residing in
      the same recognition. The post
      production tools help us
                                             directory structure. Since
                                             you do not need to add
                                             directories that do not exist,
                                                                              your system tray, this reader
                                                                              is online. All you need is a
                                                                              Google account to get
                                                                                                                    W     ith hardware prices
                                                                                                                          falling left, right and
                                                                                                                    centre, it was only a matter
      enhance our work before it is
      delivered to viewers.                  the fact that Google added       access, add your favourite            of time before Microsoft
      Technology is an integral part         these directories to their       RSS feeds, and then access            paid heed to all the
      of my career!                          own robots.txt file tells us     your news from any Internet           unsatisfied muttering
                                             that these directories           connection in the world.              happening in this part of

16   DIGIT NOVEMBER 2005
                 Security Watch
                                                     the world. It’s an                                      might actually make a
           The Microsoft COM+                        established fact that India                             complete, Windows-based,                                Wi-Fi Digital
           Vulnerability                             is one of the largest                                   sub-Rs 10,000 PC a reality.                             Camera
                                                     contributors to software                                Another reason for this                                    What could be
           The Problem                               piracy, percentage-wise.                                move could also be the fact                                better than being
           On October 11, Microsoft                  Though it’s debatable                                   that, thus far, sub-Rs 10,000                  able to transfer your pictures
           released nine new security                whether this has actually                               PCs have always included                       directly from your camera to a
           updates; three rated critical.                                                                                                                   PC? It sounds like great news
                                                     hurt Microsoft or just                                  Linux as the OS of ‘choice’!                   for the Papparazzi, because
           All current versions of                   meant less profits over                                     Yes we applaud                             now they don’t have to worry
           Windows are affected by some              the years, Microsoft has                                Microsoft for taking the                       about film and memory cards
           of them. One of the                       finally decided that enough                             initiative but it still                        being snatched by celebs!
           vulnerabilities covered by this           is enough!                                              remains to be seen whether
           alert, MS05-051, is being rated               Microsoft’s Legal Affairs                           the computer savvy
           by Microsoft Support as                   Head, Bradford Smith,                                   populous India will settle                     Digital Camera
           “Extremely Critical”. They                announced early in October                              for a Windows XP that has                      Wi-Fi is the way to
           recommend that all machines               that the Windows XP                                     terribly low resolutions and                   be and if you’re not
           running Windows 2000 SP4                                                                                                                         moving forward,
                                                     Starter Edition would, for                              a limitation of a maximum                      you must be going
           and Windows XP Pro SP1                    the first time, be now                                  three open windows or                          backwards! The
           install the MS05-051 patch                available in English for                                programs—especially when                       same can be said of ordinary
           immediately.                              Indian users. Though                                    the “full, (ahem) free                         non-Wi-Fi digicams. They’re
                This is because of a “local          Microsoft has thus far only                             version” is available, just by                 still very good but with not
           privilege elevation”                                                                                                                             concurrent with the
                                                     provided regional language                              dropping in at the                             flexibility Wi-Fi offers.
           vulnerability that exists in the          Windows XP Starter                                      neighbourhood geek’s
           Microsoft COM+. Microsoft                 Editions to various                                     house with a blank CD!
           COM+ is used to handle                    countries, India will get                                   The gradual increase of                WE WERE EXPECTING THIS
           resource management tasks,                this “special privilege”                                ‘broadband/always-on’
           such as thread allocation and
           security on Windows OSes.
                                                     due to the high penetration
                                                     of English-literate users.
                                                                                                             connections in India has
                                                                                                             also spelt disaster for most
                                                                                                                                                        Apple’s
           The Damages
                                                         The company hopes to
                                                     reduce piracy levels by
                                                                                                             software firms, not just
                                                                                                             Microsoft, as cracked
                                                                                                                                                        ‘Video iPod
           Some of the vulnerabilities
           reported and addressed can
                                                     pricing this product at
                                                     around Rs 1,000, which
                                                                                                             versions are just a
                                                                                                             download away.
                                                                                                                                                        Launch’
           result in system-level                                                                                            Though this
           compromise without direct
           user interaction. Others can
           result in compromise if the
                                                                                                                           move by
                                                                                                                            Microsoft
                                                                                                                            might increase
                                                                                                                                                        T   he iPod may have
                                                                                                                                                            invaded the world, but
                                                                                                                                                        the geeks complained
           user opens a maliciously-                                                                                        the number of               about better players
           constructed HTML e-mail                                                                                          paid software               offering video playback as
           message or Web page.                                                                                            subscribers in               well. As far as portable
                                                                                                                          India, we doubt               music went, iPods ruled, as
           Precautions                                                                                                    it’s going to                 far as portable media
           You can use Windows Update                                                                                     budge stubborn                players went, the iPods
           to download and install the                                                                                    pirates. Now                  stood idly by.
           current patches. You can also                                                                                  what would                        Well, Apple’s not been
           visit www.stanford.edu/                                                                                        really be nice is             known to let anyone beat
           services/securecomputing/aler                                                                                     to see a full              them in terms of coolness
           ts/windows-ms05-oct.html.                                                                                          version of                for long. So, as expected,
           The Microsoft page for the                                                                                         Windows XP                the Video iPod was put in
           most crucial of the issues is at                                                                                   that doesn’t              the pipeline, and was
           www.microsoft.com/technet/                                                                                         cost the same             recently launched.
           security/bulletin/MS05-                                                                                          as two or three                 The new iPod avatar
           051.mspx.                                                  Illustrations Harsho Mohan Chattoraj             month’s salary!                  comes in 30 and 60 GB


                 One Silly Question “Where is the Internet stored?”




“In the brain                                                                                                                d
              of every com                                                                                            hold an
ate person!”              puter-liter-                                                                         y house           “It isn’t stored any
                                                                                                      al, ever                                       where—it                         et café
                                                                                                                                                                                             !”
                                         “In cyberspace!”                                    y termin                    dabad   comes alive throug                             Intern
                Saumil Gopa                                                         “On ever ice.”                 , Ahme                            h servers.”       “In an                ay , Na
                                                                                                                                                                                                    gpur
                                                                                            ff             Kaushik                                                                      Upady
                           ni, Mumbai
                                                                                     every o       Nishant                                  Priya Patel, Mumb
                                                                                                                                                             ai                   Ashok
                                                            Ami Shah, Mumbai




                                                                                                                                                                      DIGIT NOVEMBER 2005                  17
     Pulse
           The Digital World                                                                                   A Round-up Of Technology News From Across The Globe
      CANADA                                                   UNITED KINGDOM                                                                     CHINA
       A man has been sentenced in what is                     The UK is now Europe's largest market for                                          For Chinese looking for unfiltered,
       believed to be the first case of cartoon child          audio books, and the market in Europe will                                         uncensored news, it’s about to get
       porn in Canada to come before the courts.               soar 20 per cent this year and next, industry                                      worse than it was before.
       Gordon Chin downloaded thousands of                     watchers say. Digital audio books promise                                          Communist leaders have imposed
       pages of sexually explicit cartoons called              growth rates that continue to outstrip sales                                       a set of strict new regulations on
       anime. Although it's illegal in Canada, child-          increases in most paper book genres.                                               Internet news content. China's
       porn anime is not illegal in the US, and is                                                                                                cabinet will “standardise the
       easily available for sale in Japan.                                                                                                        management of news and
                                                                                                                                                  information” in the country.




                                                                                                                                                  NEW ZEALAND
                                                                                                                                                  Police arrested a group of “stupid”
                                     NIGERIA                                                                                                      young men after they posted
                                    The country famous for so many                                                                                uncensored footage of their
                                    phishing scams is making anti-                                                                                dangerous driving antics on the
                                    corruption efforts a key focus in its                                                                         Internet. Investigators filed
                                    government. Under the proposed                                                                                complaints from as far away as
                                    law, anyone found guilty of                                                                                   Britain after the young men
                                    spamming can be sentenced to at                                                                               uploaded the film to the Web.
                                    least three years in jail, have to pay
                                                                                                                   SOUTH AFRICA
                                    a fine of $3,500, or both.
                                                                                                                  Videsh Sanchar Nigam Limited
                                                                                                                  (VSNL) is geared up for the rollout
                                                                                                                  of its telephony services in South
                                                                                                                  Africa and expects it to go on
                                                                                                                  stream by the first quarter of 2006.


     versions, which are even                           The new iPod is
     slimmer and sleeker than                       expected to be priced at                                     Three Incredibly Useful Sites
     the older 20 GB versions.                      $299 (Rs 13,455) and $399
     The biggest change is in                       (Rs 17,955) for the 30 and 60                               News And Views
     terms of colour: the new                       GB models respectively,
     device is a sleek metallic                     though how much they                                                              Automart India
     black colour, which will                       will cost here in India, even                www.automartindia.com Buyers, sellers, dealers and other
     make it stand out in the                       in the grey market, is                                                           service providers for new or used cars
     crowd of older white iPods.                    yet unknown.                                                                     will find Automartindia.com to be a
         The recent slew of                             All we can say is that                                                       useful site. Registration is free. You can
     smaller and more portable                      the Digit Test Centre is                                                         fill a standard pre-application form for
     devices was leading us to                      pretty excited, and they’re                                                      obtaining used car finance and receive
     believe that Apple wanted                      already fighting over who                                                        responses from multiple finance
     to focus on the smaller and                    gets to test it when it comes                                                    companies. Also featured are tips on
     cheaper micro, personal                        in for review. The iPod’s                                                        buying, evaluation and insurance.
     audio devices segment,                         back and prettier than ever!
     rather than tackle the                                                                                                          Valley Of The Geeks
     increasing needs of the                        LIFE’S GETTING BETTER                        www.valleyofthegeeks.com This site claims to be 'hi-tech humour
     portable media player
     segment. The launch of the
     new avatar with a 2.5-inch
                                                    Google +                                                                         served fresh occasionally'. It features
                                                                                                                                     news, reviews, and opinions.

     LCD screen has laid those
     fears to rest.
                                                    OpenOffice                                                                       Subscribing to their newsletter might
                                                                                                                                     win you a free copy of The Valley of the

         The company also is
     expected to feature music
                                                    Vs MS                                                                            Geeks! Both the Web site and the book
                                                                                                                                     have been recognised for their satirical

     videos and TV serials for
     download via their now-
                                                    Office?                                                                          coverage of Silicon Valley. Give it a
                                                                                                                                     look—it's sure to induce a few laughs!

     famous iTunes Web site and                                                                                                       The Hoot
                                                                                                 www.thehoot.org                      The Hoot is a portal that focuses on
     service—perhaps a
     renaming of the service
     might be in order if they
                                                    I n early October 2005, Sun
                                                      Microsystems and Google
                                                    informed the world of
                                                                                                                                      everything from media ethics and
                                                                                                                                      development in the subcontinent to
     start full-blown movie                         their plans to offer an                                                           information, censorship, and the
     downloads sometime later.                      online version of Sun’s                                                           responsibility of the media. The site has
     Apple has already tied up                      OpenOffice.org,                                                                   specially-segregated information
     with Disney and ABC to                         presumably as a Google                                                            relevant to professionals, teachers,
     provide some TV episodes                       service, to anyone with an                                                        students, readers and viewers of
     for download at $1.99                          Internet connection.                                                              mass media.
     (about Rs 85) an episode.                          This online version of

18   DIGIT NOVEMBER 2005
     Pulse




                                                                                                                            Digit Caption
                                                                                                                            “Slick Calling!”

                                                                                                                            Last Month’s Winner!
                                                                                                                            Anand Gupta,
                                                                                                                            Raigad, Maharashtra

                                                                                                                            “INPUT INSIDE, OUTPUT
                                                                                                                            OUTSIDE ! ”




                                                                                                                             E-mail your caption with the
                                                                                                                             subject “Beat That”, and your
                                                                                                                             postal address, to
                                                                                                                             beatthat@thinkdigit.com
                                                                                                                             and win
                                                                                                                             Essential ASP.NET
                                                                                                                             by Ted Pattison
                                                                                                          ething funnier,    Published by
                                                                                      to. Come up with som
                                                               ry a caption for a pho accepted by the 15th of this month.    Pearson Education,
          Photograph Sandip Patil   Every month, Digit will car                e! Entries
                                                          m at their own gam                                                 Delhi
                                    and beat the Digit tea



     OpenOffice.org will attempt    users, lower barriers                       fell the highest, with only                    Though we have no
     to break Microsoft’s           and expand                                  Sun seeing a marginal rise.                 option but to wait and
     stranglehold on the            participation worldwide.”                       The bourses apart,                      watch, as of yet, one
     business software segment.         Though it’s not certain                 nothing else seemed to                      thing’s certain: life as an
     Sun’s CEO Scott McNealy        that the change in the                      indicate the beginnings of                  end-user of technology
     said, “Working with Google     stock markets directly                      a ground-breaking story.                    products and services is
     will make our technologies     afterwards was caused by                    This was perhaps due to                     only going to get better!
     available more broadly,        this announcement, it’s                     the lack of details given by
     increase                        interesting to note that                   Sun and Google—there’s no                   YET ANOTHER FORMAT
     options for                         Microsoft shares fell by               fixed date for the launch of
                                           a little while Google’s              this service, neither is
                                                                                there any clarity on
                                                                                                                            The Memory
                                                                                whether this will be yet
                                                                                another Google service.
                                                                                                                            Mess
                                                                                What we do know, however,
                                                                                is that the agreement gives
                                                                                Google the rights to further
                                                                                develop Sun’s products.
                                                                                                                            Y  ou guessed it—another
                                                                                                                               proprietary memory
                                                                                                                            card format! As if we didn’t
                                                                                    If anything, this is the                have enough, Sony, in
                                                                                condition in the agreement                  collaboration with SanDisk,
                                                                                that could worry Microsoft.                 have launched the Memory
                                                                                After all, as we’ve seen with               Stick Micro, a compact flash
                                                                                services such as Gmail, its                 memory card that’s just 1.5
                                                                                world-renowned search                       x 1.25 x 0.12 cm (l x b x d) in
                                                                                technology and its Desktop                  dimensions.
                                                                                Search application, Google                      The card has a
                                                                                builds great services and                   whopping 32 GB theoretical
                                                                                applications that are really                data capacity—with the
                                                                                easy for almost anyone to                   operative word being
                                                                                use. A Google-developed                     “theoretical”, though even a
                                                                                version of OpenOffice.org                   quarter of that would meet
                                                                                might just threaten MS                      with no complaints! The
                                                                                Office enough to bring                      cards can support data
                                                                                down prices a little, or                    transfers of a little over 150
                                                                                actually make a dent in MS                  Mbps—not bad at all.
                                                                                Office’s business holdings.                     The Memory Stick Micro

20   DIGIT NOVEMBER 2005
      Pulse
                                                                                         a conflict of interests!            BROTHERS IN ‘ARMS’!
                    Pravin Menon vs Ruby Tiwari                                              In a game where the
     GENDER                                                                              customer is king, Sony sure
                                                                                         has been walking the
                                                                                                                             MSN, Yahoo!,
                    Display Filename Extensions                                          tightrope with its mobile
                                                                                         storage solutions.
                                                                                                                             Bhai-Bhai?
                                                                                         Remember the Memory


     BENDERS
                                                                                         Stick Duo, Memory Stick
                                                                                         Pro, and Memory Stick Duo
                                                                                         Pro (or was it Pro Duo)?
                                                                                                                             Y  es, it’s not just a
                                                                                                                                rumour. Microsoft (MSN
                                                                                                                             Messenger) and Yahoo! (Y!
                                                                                         Nothing vexes us customers          Messenger) announced in
                                                                                         more than having to shell           mid-October 2005 that
                                                                                         out more money than usual           their respective IM services
                                                                                         for a memory card that              would be interoperable by
                                                                          6 min          works only on our own               mid-2006. This means you
                                                                          34 sec
                                                                                         devices—we can’t connect it         will now be able to add
                    Pravin wondered, “I hope it’s not very difficult.” On hearing        to a friends’ device, we can’t      your Yahoo! Messenger
                    about the task, he visibly relaxed. He clicked 'My Computer’
                    and opened the C: drive, and accessed Tools > Folder                 connect a friend’s card to          buddies into your MSN
                    Options > View from the menu bar. He then started to hunt            our device, we can’t use            Messenger list and vice-
                    under the various menus without luck. After five minutes,            common card readers, and            versa, and also chat, send
                    we gave him a big hint—‘Folder Options’! Pravin saw the              generally get bugged when           select emoticons and see
                    light: he unchecked “Hide extensions for known file types.”
                    Well, we have a winner!                                              we see our friends buy an           their online/offline status.
                                                                                         SD or Micro Flash card with         This is expected to take
                                                                                         more capacity for Rs 2,000          their joint, directly-
                                                                                         less! Welcome to                    connected, IM community
                                                                                         proprietary hell!                   to over 27 crore!
                                                                                             Murmurs have been                   However, before you
                                                                                         heard that Sony is not              start popping open the
                                                                                         looking to keep this new            champagne (or cola) bottles
                                                                                         format proprietary, but the         in celebration, you should
                                                                                         fact is, no-one else is going to    know that all this has been
                                                                          6 min          give Sony the chance gloat,         promised earlier, by
                                                                          42 sec         “Ha! Even our biggest               Yahoo!, MSN and even AOL,
                                                                                         competitors use our                 and not much has
                    Ruby was as apprehensive as Pravin. And when she started to
                    search, she looked all over except at the right place. After three   technology”! Even if a              happened since. However,
                    minutes or so, Ruby had an idea—she right-clicked files and          competitor does tie up with         keeping in mind that this
                    chose ‘Rename’, renaming two files she identified as MS Word         Sony, they’re not likely to             is an official press
                    files with the .doc extension. However, Ruby’s joy was short-        pay licensing fees and
                    lived, as we pointed out that it wasn’t the right method to
                    arrive at the answer. We decided to help her a bit and gave her      migrate their entire
                    the same hint. That done, Ruby nailed the solution in almost no      product line to
                    time, taking just a few seconds more than Pravin had.                Sony’s format now
                                                                                         are they?
      cards use the MagicGate                 storage formats.                               The bottomline
      protection technology,                      Besides, SanDisk’s own                 is that Sony’s
      which, as you’ve guessed,               MicroSD (originally called                 proprietary
      is another proprietary                  TransFlash) Flash cards have               formats seem
      Sony technology.                        been adopted by the SD                     doomed, and it’s
          The fact is Sony has been           Association and the SD                     going to take a lot
      pushing its own storage                 memory card standards                      more than a
      formats for a little too long           group. The MicroSD                         “theoretical”
      now, and it could land them             measures just 1.5 x 1.1 x 0.1              capacity of 32 GB to
      in serious trouble—                     cm—smaller than the                        bring its competitors
      customers are more likely to            Memory Stick Micro—and                     to their knees,
      choose a product that offers            SanDisk have promised to                   begging for a piece of
      compatibility with easily               launch a 2 GB MicroSD chip                 the Sony proprietary
      available, and cheaper,                 as early as 2006! Talk about               pie!


                                  nVidia C51
                                           a
                                  Usually,In buzzword is something thatlike nVidiathe
                                     common man’s domain. Something
                                                                          exists in

                                  does not. fact, it hasn’t quite entered the geek
                                                                                    C51
                                                                                                    device in action: it has four DIMM slots for DDR
                                                                                                    memory, a PCI bus interface, a SATA interface and an
                                                                                                    onboard battery that will last for 16 hours before losing
                                  domain as yet.                                                    all the data on the card. That’s a huge amount of time
                                      Well, the C51? It’s a chipset that promises to beat           before you need to rush in for a recharge. Still don’t get
                                  the pants off every other one. The specifications                 it? Just plug one of these heavyweights into your
                                  released by the company created quite a buzz before it            machine and feel the buzz. You’ll figure out why it’s
                                  was released. So what does the C51 do? OK, here’s the             a buzzword!


22    DIGIT NOVEMBER 2005
     Pulse
                                       statement made by both              The new Bose CineMate      higher than overseas, as
                                       Microsoft and Yahoo!,           digital home theatre           India is a high-import
                                       we’re inclined to give them     speaker system is designed     duty country.
                                       the benefit of the doubt        to enhance the sound of
                                       and wait and watch.             televisions—users will now     NOTEBOOKS AND DESKTOPS
                                           Whether or not you          be able to add the home
                                       will be able to join Yahoo!-
                                       style chat rooms and
                                                                       theatre sound to their TV
                                                                       and DVD players. The
                                                                                                      NEC Joins
      U3                               conferences from within
                                       MSN Messenger is still not
                                                                       CineMate speaker system
                                                                       delivers the performance
                                                                                                      The Indian IT
      What is U3?
      U3 is a new hardware and         known, but we have a
                                       feeling most IM users will
                                                                       benefits of a five-speaker
                                                                       system: two angled ported-
                                                                                                      Gravy Train
      software platform that
      enables personal workspace       be quite satisfied to get       enclosure speaker arrays
      portability by allowing USB
      Flash drives to carry, store,
      and use one’s own
                                       simple text IM and
                                       online/offline statuses
                                       across the competing IM
                                                                       work in tandem with
                                                                       TrueSpace surround digital
                                                                       processing circuitry and
                                                                                                      N    EC, Japan’s largest PC
                                                                                                           manufacturer, has
                                                                                                      made its entry into the
      applications and data on any     clients for now.                the hideaway Acoustimass       Indian PC market. This is in
      PC.                                  Tell us about your          module to produce a broad,     a bid to break into the top
      Who developed it?                thoughts on the subject—write   spacious home theatre          five PC brands in the
      U3 is the result of a            in to editor@thinkdigit.com.    experience without the         country by 2008. NEC Versa
      collaboration between                                            need for rear or centre        notebooks, and PowerMate
      SanDisk and M-Systems            SOUND DECISIONS                 channel speakers.              desktops will be distributed
      Flash Disk Pioneers Ltd.                                             The Bose Lifestyle         in the country by Enkay
      Where is it used?                Bose                            system expansion was
                                                                       facilitated with the 2005
                                                                                                      technologies. In addition to
                                                                                                      these, NEC has also
      U3 is used to develop what
      are being called ‘U3 smart
      drives’ and applications
                                       Announces                       introduction of Bose link, a
                                                                       seamless, wired connection
                                                                                                      launched a plasma TV.
                                                                                                          Though the computer
      compatible with them. These
      drives are targeted at just
                                       New                             method. However, the Bose
                                                                       link AL8 homewide
                                                                                                      major has entered the
                                                                                                      market much later than its
      about anybody who wants to
      carry data and applications
                                       Products                        wireless audio link enables
                                                                       customers to enjoy the
                                                                                                      global competitors such as
                                                                                                      Dell and HP, NEC believes
      wherever they go.
                                                                       Lifestyle system in areas      that the Indian computer
      When will U3 Smart Drives
      be available?
      Very soon. Leading
                                       B   ose Corp. announced
                                           the launch of new
                                       products in the home
                                                                       outside the main room sans
                                                                       any room-to-room wires.
                                                                           The uMusic intelligent
                                                                                                      market is large enough,
                                                                                                      and that it is growing at
                                                                                                      a rate that will support
      manufacturers have               theatre segment—the             playback system digitally      large volumes.
      announced new products           Personal Music Centre II,       stores an entire music             The price range for the
      based on the U3 platform.
      Software developers have         Boselink AL8, Lifestyle         collection and serves as       Versa notebooks would be
      also shown interest, and         RoomMate and CineMate           your personal DJ—it            between Rs 45,000 and Rs
      users will soon be able to       that eliminate the extra        evaluates the user’s           1,40,00. The desktops,
      procure U3 smart software.       equipment and complexity        listening preferences and      priced between Rs 33,000
                                       usually associated with         prioritises the music          and Rs 70,000, would
      Why is it needed?
                                       other speakers. Noteworthy      collection automatically,      include a revolutionary
      The platform promises to
      be extremely useful for          among these were the            without any charts, menus      water cooling system. The
      people who travel                incorporated technologies—      or manual intervention in      water-cooling technology
      frequently and often use         ‘Adapt IQ’—an audio             terms of creating and          built into the PC enables
      shared PCs.                      calibration system,             managing playlists. The        the system to operate in an
                                       ‘uMusic’—an intelligent         uMusic system stores and       extremely silent mode of
      How does it work?                playback system, and the        organises the content of       less than 30 decibels.
      There are two filetypes
      associated with the U3
                                       ‘Bose link’—one that can        hundreds of CDs                    Mr Wu Teng Guo,
      platform. *.u3i is an XML-       expand the aural                    Bose prices their          Managing Director, Sales,
      based text file that defines     experience to 14 rooms.         products in India slightly     NEC, Asia Pacific, stated
      the application's version,                                                                      that NEC’s India entry
      download path and working                                                                       would be purely through
      parameters, and *.u3p is a                                                                      the reseller channel.
      Zip file containing everything                                                                  The company also ruled
      needed to run an                                                                                out the setting up of
      application. A 4 MB read-                                                                       any assembling or
      only system partition of the
      drive pretends to be a CD-
                                                                                                      manufacturing units
      ROM drive, while the data                                                                       in India in the
      partition shows up as a                                                                         foreseeable future.
      regular Flash drive. Windows                                                                        Quizzed about NEC’s
      is led to believe that the                                                                      alignment with either the
      system partition is a CD, so                                                                    Blu-Ray or HD-DVD camp,
      U3 takes advantage of the                                                                       Guo said that they would
      AutoPlay feature to                                                                             let the consumer decide.
      automatically run the
                                                                                                       Compiled by Preethi Chamikutty,
      LaunchPad and unlock the
      data partition.                                                                                 Mithun Kidambi, Ram Mohan Rao
                                                                                                                     and Renuka Rane

24   DIGIT NOVEMBER 2005
                                                                      Digital Passion l Lead Feature

                                                           Digital

 28 The Computer 40 Double Or 46 Booster Boards
    Inside You      Nothing!
                                                          Passion
                                                           Fuelling the pursuit of technology knowledge



Lead Feature




Hybrid Horsepower
Electric cars have moved on, and hybrids are attractive today. We also have fuel cell powered
cars. Either way, it looks like technology will ensure a greener future for us
                                                           hybrid cars—those that run on conventional
Aditya Kuber                                               fuel as well as alternative forms of fuel—has
                                                           meant that there are cheaper options that may
        ith rising fuel costs, there’s enough cause        soon become a reality.
W       for concern that cars may soon become a
        mode of transport only for the rich. Far-
                                                               In first-world countries, there are cars that use
                                                           hybrid technology successfully and commercially.
fetched as it may sound, the reason for rising             For the moment, though, this is restricted to
fuel costs is the exponentially falling availabil-         passenger cars, and is not available for bigger vehi-
ity of crude oil.                                          cles. But what exactly is a hybrid car and how does
    Contrary to other reasons that may have                it work? Moreover, what are the alternative
been cited (oil mafia and what not), this is a real        sources of fuel? We answer these and many more
threat, and may soon skyrocket prices of even              questions related to alternative motoring.
the most mundane everyday supplies. How?
Well, an economy depends upon oil and fuel for             Hybrids
transporting goods and a rise in this commodity            If a device uses two or more sources of power to
has a direct effect on everything else.                    run, it’s called a hybrid. For example, we can
    However, technological advances in the last            even say that a moped is a hybrid, as it includes
few decades have given hope that this threat               two types of energy input—a motorised engine
may just yet be avoided. The emergence of                  and a foot pedal.




                                                                                                                   Illustration Pradip Ingale




                                                                                           NOVEMBER 2005 DIGIT                                  25
         Digital Passion l Lead Feature
              Hybrid cars are those that run on both a                                      This also happens to be the biggest difference
         rechargeable battery and fuel. There are also                                  between a hybrid car and fully electric car, as the
         some hybrids that use petrol and another form                                  latter needs to be recharged often, whereas the
         of fuel: biodiesel, created from the Jatropha                                  battery in a hybrid car recharges when the petrol
         plant that grows only in certain areas of the                                  engine is being used, or when the electric motor
         world—including India.                                                         acts as a generator.
              There are two types of hybrid cars—parallel                                 Batteries: The batteries in a hybrid car are the
         and serial. The parallel hybrid has a petrol                                   energy storage device for the electric motor.
         engine that runs off a fuel tank, and also has an                              Unlike the petrol engine, which only draws fuel
         electric engine that is powered by a set of batter-                            from the tank, the electric motor can draw energy
         ies. The advantage is that the electric engine can                             from the batteries as well as put energy back.
         turn the transmission and take care of initial                                 Actually, it’s a set of nickel metal hydride batter-
         acceleration, without having the petrol engine                                 ies that the electric engine draws its power from.
         do any work.                                                                     Design: While the car is perfectly set under
              The other kind of hybrid—the series                                       the hood, what’s covering it is equally impor-
         hybrid—uses a petrol engine to power a gener-                                  tant. A frame built for maximum aerodynam-
         ator. This generator can either charge the                                     ics and minimum requisite weight will ensure
         batteries or power the electric motor that                                     the best fuel efficiency and a massive reduc-
         drives the transmission. Thus, in a series                                     tion in emissions.
         hybrid, the petrol engine never directly turns
         the transmission.                                                              Computer Control
                                                                                        For the entire ride, a hybrid car’s inbuilt com-
         Hybrid Components                                                              puter calculates when to let the petrol engine
         A hybrid car contains the following parts:                                     do the work, and the kind of boost it needs
           Petrol engine: A hybrid car’s petrol engine is                               from the electric motor. The onboard computer
         similar to regular ones, but these engines are                                 is also actively involved in calculating and
         smaller and uses advanced technologies to                                      deciding when to reclaim excess energy while
         reduce emissions and increase efficiency.                                      driving using the electric motor.
           Electric motor: The electric motor powering                                      The computer also monitors the amount of
         a hybrid car is very sophisticated. Advanced                                   charge in the batteries, ensuring they are always
         electronics allow it to act as a motor cum                                     between 30 and 80 per cent charged. This allows
         generator. Thus, the motor can draw energy                                     the batteries to last almost 3,000 to 3,500 km—
         from the batteries to accelerate the car, and                                  not bad at all!
         also act as a generator and return energy to the                                   In the Toyota Prius, a hybrid car, when you
         batteries when it slows down.                                                  accelerate, you really control a device that tells

         Concept Hybrids

     L  ike with any new car that’s built from
        the ground up, a new hybrid has to be
     constructed at the drawing board first.
                                                   focused on efficient mobility. This was
                                                   achieved through good aerodynamics on
                                                   a compact footprint, light-weight body
                                                                                                                           Toyota Volta


     Here’s some information from the Net          material, and an electric powertrain.
     about some concept cars.                      Volvo opted to give the 3CC a high
                                                   strength steel space frame and composite
     Volvo 3CC                                     sandwich floor panels for safety and
     Designers, engineers and business people      reduced weight. In fact, the outer body is
     at the Volvo Monitoring and Concept           a bonded one piece carbon fibre shell.
     Center think-tank in California came up           With a potential driving range of over
     with the 3CC when confronted with the         300 km under certain driving conditions,     hybrid, named in his honour.
     task of creating a ‘future-proof concept’     the torque-to-weight ratio is roughly            The Giugiaro-designed carbon-fibre
     that would enhance sustainable mobility.      comparable to the V70 T5 but available       body seats three people abreast and
     The idea was to make a car that was not       over 0—3,500 rpm.                            features “drive-by-wire” controls,
     only fuel-efficient, versatile, comfortable       This performance is achieved using a     allowing you to position the steering
     and safe, but also exciting to drive and      drivetrain that has been specifically        wheel and pedals in front of any one
     look at.                                      designed for the 3CC, although it, too, is   of them. And the Volta’s 408-hp
         In the 3CC, Volvo aimed to                a prototype. The electric power comes        Hybrid Synergy Drive (a 3.3-litre V6
     attractively present a concept that           from lithium-ion cells that are identical    with an electric motor for each axle)
                                                   to those used in modern laptop               not only delivers 700 km on a 52 litre
                                                   computers that are packaged in the thin      tank, but also facilitates 0-80 kmph
                                                   sandwich floor.                              acceleration in about four seconds.
                                                                                                    Operating electronics enable the
                                                   Toyota Volta                                 power transmitted by the electric motors
                                                   Way back in 1800, Count Alessandro Volta     to the wheels to be modulated, thereby
                                                   arranged zinc and copper discs in a          rendering superfluous the gear/clutch
                                                   column and invented the battery. Circa       unit. Housed under the lightweight,
     Volvo 3CC                                     2004, Toyota electrified automotive          carbon-fibre chassis are the batteries,
                                                   history with the first high-performance      weighing 70 kg.


26       DIGIT NOVEMBER 2005
                                                                                                Digital Passion l Lead Feature
 the inbuilt computer how fast you want to go.
 The computer makes decisions about when to                   Why Are Hybrid Cars A Good Idea?
 use the petrol engine, when to go electric, or                Hybrid cars are good for the environment. They can reduce smog by
 when to use a combination of both.                        90 per cent and use far less petrol than conventional cars.
                                                               Hybrid cars are economical. They can offer mileages of up to 25 km
 Mass Acceptance...                                        per litre for city driving—while a typical SUV might travel 8-10 km per
 So why doesn’t everybody—at least in the US—              litre, or use three times as much petrol for the same distance!
 just go out and buy a hybrid car? Several celebri-            Hybrids are better than all-electric cars because hybrid car batteries
 ties including Cameron Diaz and Leonardo                  recharge as you drive so there is no need to plug in repeatedly.
 Dicaprio are big fans of their hybrid cars, but               Though until a few years ago most electric cars could not match the
 the cars still have not made a big impact on the          speeds of fuel-driven cars, today, certain electric and hybrid cars can
 average consumer: misconceptions exist.                   attain speeds of more than 350 kmph—and let’s face it, we really don’t
     For example, people believe that the cars             need to go any faster than that!
 have to be plugged in to get recharged. There’s
 also the common perception that all alternative
 fuel cars run slow—this, however,                                                             oil? Since hybrids use both fuel and
 isn’t true anymore.                                                                           electric motors to power themselves,
     Electric cars used to be a little                                                         what happens when the fuel runs out?
 funny-looking, at one point of                                                                At best, a mass adoption of hybrid cars
 time, and, unfortunately, this                                                                will merely delay the inevitable. This is
 stereotypical image has passed on                                                             where research for alternative power
 to hybrids as well. And finally,                                                              sources is headed.
 there’s also the question of
 whether hybrids are indeed the                                                                Fuel Cells
 way forward.                                                                                 Don’t be fooled by the word “fuel”
                                                                                              here, because fuel cell powered cars
 The Current Buzz                                                                             generally use a combination of
 Many question the very sanity of                                                             hydrogen and oxygen. Basically, in
 focusing on hybrid cars for the                                                              such cars, hydrogen is combined
 future: we all know that our crude                                                           with oxygen to produce energy, and
 oil supplies will not last for long.                                                         only one by-product is formed—
 The point raised by these dissenters                                                         hydrogen oxide, better known as
 is quite simply, why waste time on                                                           water! There are, therefore, no harm-
 a technology that still pretty much                                                          ful gases released into the atmos-
 depends on derivatives of crude                                                              phere to damage the ozone layer;
                                                                                              there’s enough fuel to go around,
                                                                                    and if you get thirsty, you can always pop open
                                                                                    your car and have a drink of pure water! It’s
                                                                                    only a matter of time before we see fuel cell
Ford Escape                                                                         cars becoming commercial, as fully functional
Ford has also unveiled a petrol-electric hybrid                                     prototypes already exist.
Escape sport-utility and it’s being offered to
consumers in the US since last year.                                                The Honda 2006 FCX Fuel Cell
    Ford claims that the Escape Hybrid’s 2.3-litre                                  A prototype of this car was recently unveiled
four-cylinder engine, 300-volt battery, and 65-                                     by Honda. The car has a 107 horsepower
kilowatt electric motor provide acceleration                                        engine that is powered by hydrogen. The car
                                                                                    can store a little over 150 litres of highly
                                                                                    compressed hydrogen, has a top speed of 150
                                                                                    kmph, and mileage of 190 km on a full tank.
                                                                                    The car is as stylish as any other in the sedan
                                                                                    class, and as we mentioned earlier, does not
                                                                                    pollute at all.

                                                                                    Looking Forward
                                                                                    In the near future, it’s obvious that alternative
   Ford Escape                                                                      technologies and fuels will be needed, and the
                                                                                    first place these changes will occur will be with
                                                                                    our gas guzzling transport vehicles. Thanks to
comparable to the regular Escape’s optional 201-hp V-                               research being done on electric, hybrid and fuel
6 engine while delivering 56 to 65 km/litre in the city.                            cell powered cars, we at least have a vision of
    Ford claims that its hybrid-electric system is                                  what destiny holds in store.
more sophisticated than those of its competitors, as                                    The only thing standing in the way of proto-
it has a larger storage battery and the capability of                               types hitting the production lines is mass
driving on electric power alone.                                                    acceptance. It’s time we started to think for the
    The price premium over a regular Escape, Ford                                   future, think about saving the environment, as
says, will be roughly equivalent to the savings in                                  well as think about how much money we will
fuel that the Escape Hybrid will provide. It costs                                  save in the long run. Now that you know better,
approximately Rs 13,00,000.                                                         the choice is all yours!
                                                                                                              aditya_kuber@thinkdigit.com

                                                                                                                    NOVEMBER 2005 DIGIT     27
     Digital Passion l Tomorrow




     The Computer
     Inside You
      Is DNA Computing A Fad Or The Future?




                                              3D Modelling Vikram Kathare
28   DIGIT NOVEMBER 2005                      Imaging Pradip Ingale
                                                                                            Digital Passion l Tomorrow
                                                                            idea. Adleman is a theoretical computer scientist
Ram Mohan Rao                                          Is there             and professor of computer science and molecular
                                                       something            biology at the University of Southern California.
                                                       fundamental
S
      ilicon has been singularly successful as a
      computing material. So much so that there’s      about silicon that   The Travelling Salesman Problem
      even an area nicknamed after the element—        makes it             Adleman solved a broad version of the Travelling
which, as some have half-jokingly pointed out,                              Salesman Problem (the TSP) using DNA. The TSP
should be called “iron oxide valley” instead of
                                                       impossible to live   is quite simple to understand, really (but difficult
“silicon valley” because of the disk industry. Every   without in the       to solve in most cases). Think of a salesman who
desktop computer in the world has silicon in it;       computing            needs to do a tour of some cities—say five, includ-
and we can’t imagine computing except in the           world? Nothing,      ing the origin city. He needs to visit each city once,
context of silicon.                                    really               and return to his origin city. He shouldn’t visit
     Is there something fundamental about silicon                           any city twice or more—just once.
that makes it impossible to live without in the                                 The problem is to find the shortest route by
computing world? Nothing, really. Silicon and its                           which he can complete his tour, so he can save on
properties just happen to be extremely suitable                             the airfare. For example, say he starts from
for computers to be built upon. But it’s not that                           Mumbai; he needs to visit Delhi, Kolkata, Chen-
other materials—such as DNA, for example—                                   nai and Bangalore, with Kolkata being his last leg,
cannot be explored.                                                         and return to Mumbai. What is the shortest route?
     DNA? When one first hears about “DNA                                   You can see there are several possibilities. He
Computing,” the natural reaction is bewilder-                               could do M-D-B-C-K, or he could do M-C-D-B-K, or he
ment. It needn’t be: one just needs to know what                            could do…
“computing” really means. “Computing” does not                                  Since we know some Indian geography, it’s
mean browsing the Web or playing an MP3 song.                               easy to see that our first option is the best. When
Computing means the manipulation of numbers                                 the problem is limited to a few cities, it can be
or other symbols, while having a                                                       solved by hand; when it involves, say, 20
means of feeding inputs to, and                                                        cities, a computer would take a while
extracting outputs from, the system                                                    to do it. When there are, say, 200 cities,
that is doing the manipulation.                                                        a supercomputer is needed, doing it the
     We decided a long time ago that                                                   ‘brute force’ way—looking up each
the best things to manipulate were                                                     route. And when it involves 2,00,000
ones and zeroes (binary), and that                                                     cities, the fastest supercomputer on
the ideal devices to do that were to                                                   earth probably can’t do it in a hundred
be silicon-based. That’s about the                                                     years!
hardware. What about the soft-                                                             So did Adleman do it? Did he use
ware—the stuff that does the manip-                                                    his DNA—rather, the DNA in his test
ulation? John von Neumann—the                                                          tube—to solve what supercomputers
pioneer of the stored-program                                                          can’t? Actually, no. He solved some-
concept—decided that the software,                                                     thing like our example above, which we
too, should be put into the silicon,                                                   can do by hand. It was groundbreaking
and there you have it.                                                                 because he illustrated what could be
     Now substitute A, C, G and T for                                                  done using DNA. That’s needed
the ones and zeroes, substitute                                                        because, as you’ve probably noticed
enzymes for the software, and you                                                      from the figures above, the complexity
have a DNA computing system. To                                                        of the problem explodes as the number
expand this a little bit: A, C, G and T are the                             of cities goes up. That’s because of the massively
nucleotides (or bases) in DNA molecules, one of                             parallel nature of the problem—meaning that the
the fundamental building blocks of life. The                                computer (or computing device) cannot work out
enzymes we’re talking about are chemicals that                              a neat, systematic way of exploring routes. It has
do things to DNA in much the same way they do                               to look at many, many paths at the same time, one
in your body. And since software needs to ‘operate                          of which will turn out to be the answer. (There
on’ hardware, we need to have a basic set of oper-                          happen to be algorithms that simplify the process
ations. That, too, is provided by DNA: the mole-                            heavily, but that, again, depends on human inge-
cules can split, copy themselves, recombine, and                            nuity—change the problem and it’ll take people
so on, which gives us an adequate set of opera-                             years to discover a cooler way to solve it.)
tions—just as adding, XORing, and so on give us an                              That’s where DNA computing comes in. The
adequate set of operations for ones and zeroes.                             hardware—the DNA molecules themselves—is
     Note that we haven’t mentioned a “DNA                                  used to encode the operation, and in one droplet
computer” so far. There’s a good reason for that:                           of DNA solution are more than a trillion mole-
DNA computers don’t exist. DNA computing does.                              cules. They all work in parallel, doing the same
How? Well, we think of computers as things that                             kind of thing, and then some molecules morph
produce results ‘on their own,’ given a set of                              into the answer.
inputs. Like when you type in “thinkdigit.com”
into a browser, you don’t need much further                                 The Key Insight
inspection of the system before your browser                                Like we said, Adleman kickstarted the field of
takes you there. On the other hand, when we talk                            DNA computing by using DNA to solve a broad
about “DNA computing,” we’re talking about solv-                            version of the TSP. What he did was pour a solu-
ing problems using DNA—with or without human                                tion with some DNA into a test tube, then add
intervention—and this was Leonard Adleman’s                                 some enzymes to it, then add more enzymes, and

                                                                                                             DIGIT NOVEMBER 2005     29
     Digital Passion l Tomorrow
     finally filter out the molecules in the test tube.                                        Our first step would, naturally, be to encode
     Those DNA molecules that emerged gave him the                                         the cities and the routes. Let’s use four bases to
     answer to the seven-city version of the TSP.                                          encode a city, so Mumbai could be, say, AGTC,
         If that sounds way out, it’s only because we                                      Delhi could be GATT, and so on. Our first task is
     don’t understand how advanced biotechnology                                           to produce a test tube full of these molecules.
     is today. It’s relatively easy to understand the                                      That’s easy to do with today’s techniques—all
     ‘hardware’ part of it—that DNA molecules, with A,                                     that’s needed is a DNA synthesiser. (OK, we’re skip-
     C, G and T, play around and recombine and split                                       ping a lot of details, but those aren’t important.)
     and so on. What seems difficult to understand is                                          Now how would we produce molecules that
     how they play around the way we want them to.                                         encode the routes between cities? We use a prop-
     It turns out that using the appropriate biochem-                                      erty of DNA for this—the fact that a strand of DNA
     ical techniques, one can ‘tell’ the DNA molecules                                     entwines (‘hybridises’) with its complementary
     what to do, and one can also ‘read out’ the results                                   sequence. So, suppose we took the last two bases
     of what went on in the test tube.                                                     of Mumbai (TC), and the first two bases of Delhi
         It is beyond our scope here to explain how                                        (GA). We get TCGA. Now we take the complement
     exactly these biochemical agents work; what                                           of this, which is AGCT. This can represent the path
     we can do is explain what manipulations are                                           between Mumbai and Delhi. How? Because AGCT
     done. And what better example than Adle-                                              would hybridise with TGCA, linking the two
     man’s experiment?                                                                     strands together.
         To understand how a mathematical problem                                              So if we had lots of copies of Mumbai (AGTC)
                                                                                           and Delhi (GATT), and lots of copies of the route
          How The Mixture Can Produce Random Routes                                        between them (AGCT), we’d get several molecules
                                                                                           that strung together Mumbai and Delhi. The
        City Encodings                                               Routes                molecules that string together Mumbai and Delhi
                                                                                           would represent the route between them.
                                                                                               The same holds for more than two cities—you
                                 A G C T                                                   could have routes consisting of any number of
          A G T C                                           A G T C G A T T
            Mumbai
                                                                                           cities. After a sufficient period of time, if you’d
                                                                A G C T                    taken enough DNA in the test tube, you’d have
          G A T T              Route Encoding
                                                                                           all the paths possible—including paths that
             Delhi                                          Complementary Bonding          make no sense for our purposes, such as
                                                                                           Mumbai—Bangalore—Delhi. These answers are
     We can obtain the route encodings from the city encodings. These two mixed together   nonsensical because we’re assuming there’s only
     result in complementary bonding—producing molecules that represent routes             one answer to the problem.
                                                                                               We need to weed out the paths that make no
     can be solved by a bubbling solution in a scien-                                      sense, so our next step is to make the test tube full
     tist’s test tube requires us to understand a few                                      of paths that start at the correct city (Mumbai)
     things. First, the structure of the molecules in the                                  and end at the correct city (Kolkata). Like we said,
     solution. Second, what goes on inside the test tube                                   there are several operations possible with
     and how. And third, how the scientist gets his                                        DNA. Let’s use copying. There’s an enzyme called
     answers from the test tube.                                                           polymerase involved. And a reaction called
         Now let’s get our hands dirty and see how                                         the Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR). Well,
     Adleman’s experiment worked.                                                          what happens?
                                                                                               PCR can be used to copy sections of DNA
     Adleman’s Experiment                                                                  you’re interested in. The polymerase actually does
     (Or Something Like It)                                                                the copying, and PCR means many iterations of
     DNA molecules consist, like we said, of the four                                      the copying process. You can dictate to the poly-
     nucleotides A, T, G and C. These can be considered                                    merase what segment of DNA you want to start at
     its building blocks. The familiar double-helix you                                    and where you want it to end. So if we said we
     see in all the pictures comes about this way: A                                       wanted it to start at Mumbai and end at Kolkata,
     (Adenine) bonds with T (Thiamine), and C (Cyto-                                       those sections of DNA would be copied over and
              sine) bonds with G (Guanine), to produce                                     over via PCR. And after a while, you end up with
                  what is called a complementary                                           a mix of DNA molecules that encodes several
                    strand. So if you have a strand like                                   routes, some of them still nonsensical, but all of
                     ACCTCA, the complement would                                          them starting at Mumbai and ending at Kolkata.
                     be TGGAGT. Those two strands                                              Now we find those paths that are exactly five
                     entwine in double-helix fashion.                                      cities long. Since each city is encoded by four
                          We’ll restrict the problem a                                     bases, we know the final path should be exactly 20
                       little so there’s only one correct                                  base pairs long—4 base pairs, multiplied by 5
                        answer. (Let’s take it easy on                                     cities. The technique used to find the lenght of
                          Adleman, shall we?) So let’s                                     base pairs is called gel electrophoresis (GE). Using
                           say there are no flights                                        GE, the DNA gets segregated into different
                            between some cities, such                                      lengths, and you can filter out the DNA molecules
                             that the only answer is M-D-                                  that have the length you want. So into the next
                              B-C-K. So what we hope to                                    test tube goes all the DNA that is 20 base pairs
                               achieve with this DNA                                       long. And what does this encode? To reiterate, this
                                computation is DNA                                         new test tube contains all paths that start at
                                 strands that encode this                                  Mumbai and end at Kolkata, and which have a
                                  particular route.                                        total of five cities encoded.

30   DIGIT NOVEMBER 2005
                                                                               Digital Passion l Tomorrow
          We now need to select those itineraries that
     have all the cities in them. (Remember we have                  A Finite Automaton
     DNA molecules that are five cities long, but in
     which cities may be repeated or missing). Now to
     pick out the molecules that contain a specific city,                                   a
     we use a process called affinity purification. We
     do this using, of all things, magnetic beads: the                  State 0                       State 1        b
     complement of the sequence you’re interested in
     is attached to a magnetic bead. This complement
     hybridises with the sequence you’re after. (Again,          a
     we’re using the hybridising property of DNA.) Then                                   b
     you simply retrieve the bead, and you’re left with
     DNA that does contain the sequence you’re after.
          It should be patent that you need to do affin-     A simple two-state, two-symbol finite automaton (FA). The
     ity purification five times. For example, Mumbai        FA is a ‘machine’ that has a state. When it’s in state 0 and
     must be in the pool of candidates; so you attach        the input is b, the machine goes to state 1. When it’s in
     the complement of Mumbai to the magnetic                state 1 and the input is b, it remains in state 1, and so on
     beads, it hybridises with all the molecules that
     have Mumbai in them, and you pull out all the                At the same time, advances in biotechnology
     beads. The ones that get left behind are the            are about as staggering as those happening in the
     sequences that don’t have Mumbai in them. Then,         silicon world. We’re just not aware of them! We’ve
     in the next test tube, you affinity-purify for Delhi,   mentioned techniques, involving enzymes and
     and so on. In the last test tube, you’ll be left with   magnetic beads, in our sample ‘problem’: these
     itineraries that visit each city exactly once, and      would have been impossible to do in, say, 1970.
     which start at Mumbai and end at                                           There’s a lot of the word ‘self’
     Kolkata!                                                               associated with DNA. DNA mole-
          Here, we ‘know’ the answer: it                                    cules self-replicate; in so doing, they
     should be Mumbai-Delhi-Bangalore-                                      self-refer, with proteins as the inter-
     Chennai-Kolkata. So we need to find if                                 mediary; and it turns out that
     our ‘solution’ test tube has the correct                               DNA’s biggest promise lies in its
     path. The technique used is PCR again,                                 ability to self-assemble. Much
     combined with the technique for meas-                                  research in recent years has focused
     uring the length of a DNA sequence,                                    on this property of the DNA mole-
     called gel electrophoresis, which we’ve                                cule—rather, of the structures that
     used before. You amplify (using PCR) the                               can be built at the nanoscale from
     section between Mumbai and, say,                                       the DNA molecule itself.
     Bangalore. If these molecules are 12 base                                  So what is self-assembly? And
     pairs long (as they should be if all went                              what is the relation between self-
     well), you know Bangalore is the third                                 assembly and computation? These
     city in the itinerary! Similarly, you PCR-                             are important questions, because
     amplify for all the four remaining cities                              we’re asking if DNA computing is
     and find their positions in the itinerary.                             just a fad or if it is the future. It
     We’re done!                                                            turns out that DNA, in its self-assem-
          Of course, in our example, we                                     bling nature, could be a universal
     haven’t really solved a problem, but we’ve shown        computer. In other words, it might be used some-
     (like Adleman did) that DNA and the procedures          day to build any kind of computer at all!
     mentioned above can be used to solve a mathe-                Now that’s a possible happy ending. But if
     matical problem. Unfortunately, even what Adle-         you’d like the gory details, read on…
     man did has not convinced everyone. Calculations
     have been done to show that if the problem were         “A Trillion Computers In
     to be increased to a 100 or so cities, the amount of    A Drop Of Water”
     DNA required would be utterly impossible; here,         Such headlines make for exciting news. This one
     it’s a restriction in terms of volume, rather than      was in November 2001, when several Web sites
     a restriction in terms of time as with a traditional    reported that a group of scientists led by Prof
     computer.                                               Ehud Shapiro at the Weizmann Institute of
                                                             Science in Israel had created a program-
     So Is DNA Computing Any Good?                           mable FA (finite automaton; see
     Yes. It’s only that we haven’t gotten there yet. One    figure) in a test tube. It was a two-
     must realise that DNA computing is, at the current      state, two symbol FA, which is
     state of the art, best applicable to problems that      not very complex as FAs go,
     are massively parallel in nature. This includes         but it is an achievement. The
     problems of the sort we described above. Then,          news went: “This nanocom-
     there’s encryption, where pretty much the same          puter is so small that a tril-
     thing applies: to crack a code, one needs to try a      lion       such    computers
     whole lot of possibilities at the same time. There      compute in parallel, in a
     also happen to be several computer science issues       drop the size of a tenth of a
     that can be explored better by a DNA-based              millilitre. Collectively, the
     computing system, by virtue of its “stochastic”         computers perform a billion
     (based on probability and statistics) nature.           operations per second…

30                                                                                                DIGIT NOVEMBER 2005       31
     Digital Passion l Tomorrow
         “This study may lead to future computers
     that can operate within the human body, inter-                A Set Of 13 Wang Tiles—Do They Tile The Plane?
     acting with its biochemical environment to
     yield far-reaching biological and pharmaceuti-
     cal applications.”
         Not to downplay the stupendous achieve-
     ment, we should emphasise that such “comput-
     ers” are not very different from the one we
     discussed—Adleman’s DNA computer solving the
     TSP. The future implications for DNA computing
     that such news items predict are typically vague
     and broad. They say nothing about what DNA
     computing will be like, and whether you’ll see a        Wang tiles are equal-sized squares with a colour on each edge. To tile the plane using
     DNA desktop anytime. But that’s what we really          a set of Wang tiles, the colours on the edge must match. This is a set of 13 Wang tiles
     want to know—enough of the test tubes!                  that can tile the plane aperiodically—meaning the tiling pattern doesn’t repeat

     Self-Assembly                                                                         think of a Turing machine as something that can
     According to a Web definition, self-assembly is                                       do everything a general-purpose computer can do.
     “the fundamental principle that generates struc-                                          A tiling is an arrangement of a few basic
     tural organisation on all scales—from molecules                                       shapes, called tiles, that fit perfectly together and
     to galaxies. It is defined as a reversible process in                                 stretch any area you can imagine. Think of bath-
     which pre-existing parts or disordered compo-                                         room tiles—they’re all square, and they fit
     nents of a pre-existing system form structures of                                     perfectly together for any extent you can imagine.
     patterns.” According to another definition, self-                                     Bathroom tiles, however, aren’t very interesting,
     assembly is “a branch of nanotechnology in which                                      because they’re all square! Think of, say, a rectan-
     objects, devices, and systems form structures with-                                   gle and two different kinds of triangles. If you had
     out external prodding.”                                                               an infinite supply of these, would you be able to
         Adleman’s work was just the beginning. His                                        tile any area? Of course, that depends on the
     1994 paper basically explained how                                                                 shape of the triangles; if you can, that
     one-dimensional self-assembly of                                                                   set (of the rectangle and the triangles)
     DNA—remember how the molecules                                                                     is said to “tile the plane,” if not, then
     arranged themselves physically                                                                     the set does not tile the plane. And if
     according to the inputs?—could work                                                                the tiling pattern can repeat, it’s
     like a FA. That was the foundation for                                                             called a periodic tiling.
     connecting computation and self-                                                                        Given a set of tiles, it was
     assembly of DNA.                                                                                   expected by scientists that one
         His work inspired Erik Winfree, in                                                             should be able to say whether they
     1996, to propose that two-dimensional                                                              can periodically tile the plane. When
     self-assembly of DNA can perform                                                                   Wang investigated the problem—
     universal computation, with a set of                                                               called the “tiling problem”—in the
     ‘molecular Wang tiles’ as the                                                                      1960s, he discovered it was unsolv-
     ‘program’. Winfree’s proposal used                                                                 able. That is, given the set of poly-
     Hao Wang’s idea that computation                                                                   gons, it could be proved that there
     had something to do with tiling. If                                                                was no way of telling whether the set
     Winfree’s proposal was right, DNA                                                                  would tile the plane or not.
     would be a material that could, well,                                                                   The tiling problem thus
     be used in a DNA computer.                                                                         ‘reduced’ to the Halting Problem of
         We need to get our hands dirty                                                                 Turing Machines. That’s the
     again. What is a “universal computa-                                                               computer-science way of saying that
     tion”? What are molecular Wang tiles? How did                                         if you could solve the tiling problem, you could
     Wang relate computation to tiling? What is tiling,                                    achieve the impossible. However, it also means
     anyway? There are straight answers to all these.                                      that a machine (or whatever) that could go about
                                                                                           trying to tile the plane is theoretically as power-
     Winfree And Wang                                                                      ful as a regular computer. For example, your
     A universal computation means any computation                                         computer, given a set of tiles that does tile the
     at all—just as the phrase implies. The full form is                                   plane, will be able to find that it tiles the plane.
     “Turing-universal,” which refers to Turing                                            In other words, dealing with tiles was proved to be
     machines. A Turing machine is the underlying                                          the equivalent of computing in general!
     conceptual ‘machine’ behind all computers today—                                          Now, there is a close relationship between the
                        whatever a Turing machine is                                       way the plane is tiled and the way crystals grow.
                           capable of, any computing                                       (Crystals start forming when a seed is put into a
                             machine is capable of.                                        gel, for example: the gel starts crystallising from
                               To put it simply,                                           the seed outwards. The seed can even be a sepck of
                                                                                           dust.) Winfree asked if crystal growth had the
                                                                                           potential to compute as powerfully as tiling did.
                                                                                           To answer that question, one needed the ability to
                                                                                           design molecular Wang tiles. (Wang tiles are square
                                                                                           tiles coloured on the edge, which pose the ques-
                                                                                           tion whether the plane can be tiled using them.)

32   DIGIT NOVEMBER 2005
                       Digital Passion l Tomorrow
Winfree’s Conclusions
It turned out that Wang tiles on the molecular scale
could indeed be constructed. Nadrian Seeman, a pioneer
of DNA nanotechnology, envisioned the use of DNA as an
architectural element. DNA, it turns out, can morph into
structures other than the double helix. Seeman and his
students built a variety of nanostructures—a wire-frame
cube, a truncated octahedron, and more—all with DNA;
and most especially, a four-armed ‘brick’ known as a
double-crossover (DX) DNA molecule. This DX molecule
was the molecular Wang tile Winfree was looking for.
The DX molecule’s four arms could be given sequences
of DNA bases (A, G, C or T) corresponding to the colour
labels on the four sides of the Wang tile it represented.
     In a 1998 paper, Simulations of Computing by Self-Assem-
bly, Winfree argued it was plausible to perform Turing-
universal computation by crystallisation, or crystal
growth. He summarised at the end of the paper: “Our
results lend credence to proposals for computation by
self-assembly of DNA: we have found that 2D self-assem-
bly can theoretically support computation with arbi-
trarily low error rates.”
     “With arbitrarily low error rates” is science-speak for
“perfectly, depending on your implementation.” So, DNA
can indeed self-assemble in 2D, and this self-assembly
means DNA is complete computing material!
     If things are a little fuzzy at this point, a little
summary should make it clear:
   DNA can be nano-engineered into DX
   molecules, or molecular Wang tiles
   Molecular Wang tiles self-assemble into
   2D crystal lattices
   Crystal lattice growth is similar to tiling the plane
   Tiling the plane means universal computing
   Hence (if Winfree’s conclusions are correct) DNA can
   be used for universal computing!

DNA Nets
More on the self-assembly and nanotechnology front:
Duke University scientists used, in 2003, self-assembling
DNA molecules to build molecular meshes that could
expand and contract, according to “Switchable net
woven from DNA,” published by Nature. Such a molecu-
lar mesh “might even be the basis of a computer that has
as its components lumps of metals or semiconductors
just a few nanometres wide. The switchable DNA net
could turn electrical communication between these
devices on and off by altering the distance between
them.” On and off—ones and zeroes! And once we build
something that can manipulate ones and zeroes, we
can, in theory, build a computer around it.

Today, Tomorrow, And The Day After
There are many visions for DNA computing out there.
If you view it in the short term, you could say it’s
limited to massively parallel problems; that it is “an
interesting idea, but…” If you’re looking a few years
ahead, you’ll factor in that biotechnology is, strictly
speaking, only a few years old, and that DNA manipu-
lation techniques will take us well beyond where we are
today. And if you look even further—at the work of
Winfree, Seeman and others—you might see that
nanotechnology is where it’s at and that along with
quantum computing, DNA computing is the future.
    You won’t see a desktop DNA computer soon, but
whether you’ll see one in your lifetime is an open ques-
tion. If Moore’s Law holds good for all of technology, you
probably will.
                                   ram_mohan@thinkdigit.com

                                                                DIGIT NOVEMBER 2005   35
     Digital Passion l First Hand




                                                                     Vanilla Is
     Some of us are content with our PCs
     the way they are, most want better
     hardware, some have the best
     hardware around; what now? Take a
     metal cutter and rip holes in your
     cabinet, that’s what…
                                                                       fascinated by the thought of customising his PC
     Mithun Kidambi and Robert Sovereign-Smith                         cabinet. “An article that appeared in Digit back in
                                                                       2002 is what enthused me to give modding some
              hat is the first thing that grabs your atten-            serious thought,” says Nimish.
     W        tion when you look at a computer? The
              monitor that looks and behaves very
                                                                           The thought stuck and Nimish was soon hunt-
                                                                       ing around for the tools that would make his cabi-
     much like its idiot sibling, or the bulky, staid-look-            net stand out. He points out that computer cases
     ing cabinet that is ugly and unaesthetic?                         are the most neglected component of a new buy.
          Most would be attracted to the monitor. If it’s              “This trend is prevalent especially amongst the
     a flat screen LCD, you might have to wipe some                    first timers. The general concept is to buy the
     drool off the computer desk. Yes, even older                      cheapest, decent looking cabinet and save money
     people find it difficult to control that aspect of                for the rest of the hardware,” he adds.
     instant infatuation. But the solid cabinet that
     houses all the essential parts of the machine will                Mod Star
     be treated as a non-existent piece of hardware—                   So what is the first thing that a wannabe Mod Star
     its bulk notwithstanding.                                         needs to keep in mind? Nimish has a few tips:
          A few companies do try to jazz up the cabinet                “First, you need to make sure that the cabinet
     by adding a few extra LEDs (Light Emitting Diodes)                should be spacious and well built. A spacious cabi-
     in the front and on the sides, or a few extra fans                net means there will be ample air flow and a
     on the side to give it a supposed “space age” feel.               sturdy one will lend itself to be cut and drilled.”
     But that’s just about as far as it goes. None of the                   Whoa, did someone talk about cutting and
     cabinets available in the market will actually grab               drilling? Who would take a whirring blade close
     your attention. At best, you’d have a choice of a                 to their precious motherboard? Well it’s not as
     black over the normal white ones.                                 difficult and macabre as it sounds. As Nimish puts
          But there are a bunch of people out there who                it, all you need is some creativity, freakish exper-
     want to customise every single aspect of their                    imental streak (things do go a little awry some-
     machine. Though small, this tribe is near fanati-                 times) and a small bit of moolah to stock up all the
     cal in their approach and goes to great lengths to                standard equipment you’d need.
     modify (or mod) their PCs.                                             Tools like a soldering iron, cutting blades and
          For the uninitiated, to mod a PC means                       sandpaper can be bought from any hardware shop.
     customising the cabinet or case. This could be as                 Cutting tools like a circular rotating blade are
     simple as adding a few extra LEDs along the sides                 slightly more expensive. Most modders like Nimish
     of your PC case to more complex things like                       swear by Dremel. This North American manufac-
     cutting a window into the side, adding fans, UV                   turer churns out some of the best cutting tools.
     tubes, and in extreme cases, water cooling your                        Other necessary equipment for any mod such
     PC and redoing your mouse and keyboard.                           as PCBs (Printed Circuit Boards), LEDs and can be
          Working with tools such as glass and metal                   bought from any electrical store. The most
     cutters, acrylic paints, LEDs and soldering tools,                common LEDs are the red ones but if you want
     these guys take great pleasure in ripping apart                   your case to be cool then you can get either blue
     the cabinet and adding their extra two bits,                      or white ones. These however come at a premium.
     anything to have their own signature style.                       In case your case design requires an LED tube then
          One such mod warrior is Nimish Thacker. This                 you’ve got to be ready to shell out a lot more.
     24-year-old engineering graduate has always been
                                                                             Equipment List
                                                                        Equipment                    Cost (Rs)
                                                                        Soldering iron with solder   250
                                                                        Dremel                       1600
                                                                        Blades                       20
                                                                        Diamond blade                50
                                                                        Sanding paper                20
                                                                        LEDs                         3-5 for white
                                                                                                     and blue LEDs
                                                                        LED lighting tube            800
                                                                        UV lighting tube             1000
                                                                        General Purpose PCB          8
                                                                        Can of acrylic paint         250 (depending
                                                                                                     on the colour)
                                                                        Acrylic sheet for window     30 for each
     Part of the fun while modding is using tools like this cutter

38   DIGIT NOVEMBER 2005
                                                                                                                        Digital Passion l First Hand




Boring
                                                                                     Interesting Links
                                                                                Here are a few links that Nimish         www.xoxide.com
                                                                                suggests for fellow Digit readers        www.x-trememodz.com
                                                                                interested in case modding:              www.case-mod.com
                                                                                How to mod a case                        Cool Case Mods
                                                                                http://snipurl.com/iqyz                  Hypercube: http://snipurl.com/iqz0
                                                                                PC and Mod Tools                         Black Mesa Half Life 2:
                              Putting the tools to work, Nimish went ahead      www.crazypc.com                          http://members.home.nl/gis/
                          and modified his new PC case.                         www.pcsforeveryone.com                   Doom3 Mars City
                              Adding a transparent window by cutting out        www.pctoys.com                           http://snipurl.com/iqz1
                          the sides of your case is perhaps one of the most
                          common methods used by first time modders.
                          “My case mod consists of a custom LED lighting                                  disrupts the airflow in the cabinet. This results
                          with switching panel that switches between white                                in overheating and we all know what happens
                          and blue lighting. It also has two exhaust fans at                              when our machines decide to toast! The art,
                          the back and the top and two intake fans over the                               according to Nimish, is to place your fans at
                          heatsink,” claims Nimish.                                                       strategic points, “I have an exhaust placed at
                              He found the experience very enriching, and                                 the top of my cabinet. This has improved the
                          doing bits of designing and modding after a                                     heat dissipation from my system and it now
                          hectic work day and in between gym sessions                                     runs at a range of 34-36 degree Celsius.”
                          didn’t deter him. “This is what I like. The picture                                   With all the designing and sweating, Nimish
                          of a modded case with a window at the side is                                      is now the proud owner and creator of his own
                          what got me going. I started making a design and                                    customised PC cabinet. The most logical devel-
                          also surfed the Net for a little bit of research,”                                    opment from this would be to start off a case
                          says Nimesh. To top up the experience of doing                                        modding business. So does Nimish have any
                          something different, Nimish recorded every                                             such ideas?
                          modding session on a forum, he also managed                                               Well not as yet. “As of this case mod I
                          to take pictures using his mobile phone and                                           think I’m done. My next mod will include a
                          post them on the forum.                                                             white cabinet and UV lighting options along
                              One common problem faced by modders                                                      with cable wraps.
                          is that tinkering around with the case                                                               Another project that I’m
                                                                                                                              mulling over is a custom Linux
                                                                                                                                box for routing and data
                                                                                                                                 centre purposes. This is
                                                                                                                                  where I could make some
                                                                                                                                  money. However, for imple-
                                                                                                                                  menting this, I would need
                                                                                                                                  substantial funds. Part of
                                                                                                                                  the plan is mount a 7-inch
                                                                                                                                 touch-screen for the moni-
                                                                                                                                 tor and interface it with the
                                                                                                                                 parallel port. The system will
                                                                                                                               be administered remotely. So
                                                                                                                               as of now, I’m currently work-
                                                                                                                               ing on the newer designs and
                                                                                                                               also on ways to generate
                                                                                                                               funds for the Linux project,”
Photograph Jiten Gandhi




                                                                                                                                says Nimish.
                                                                                                                                     With       ever-increasing
                                                                                                                                  awareness about computers
                                                                                                                                   and with people ready to
                                                                                                                                    explore their creativity
                                                                                                                                     beyond the normal
                                                                                                                                     canvas, case modding
                                                                                                                                      might move away from
                                                                                                                                      being just a hobby for a
                                                                                                                                       few geeks to a proper
                                                                                                                                       art from.
                                                                                                                                           Moreover, as a cabi-
                                                                                                                                       net occupies the prime
                                                                                                                                       place on your desk, it
                                                                                                                                       makes sense to have
                                                                                                                                       your signature on it. A
                                                                                                                                       PC is after all a
                                                                                                                                       ‘Personal’ Computer.
                                                                                                                                 mithun_kidambi@thinkdigit.com
                                                                                                                                     robert_smith@thinkdigit.com

                                                                                                                                          NOVEMBER 2005 DIGIT      39
     Digital Passion l In Sight




     Double Or
       Nothing!                              Much before the CPU got there, multi-core
                                               Graphical Processing Units (GPUs) have
                                                 invaded our PCs. These graphics
                                                   monsters are pushing the bar
                                                     higher for every manufacturer
                                                       and every component inside a
                                                        PC. Everything else is just
                                                          trying to catch up. We look
                                                            at what makes the latest
                                                             multi-GPU cards tick




                                                                    Robert Sovereign-Smith



                                                                    T
                                                                           here was a time when graph-
                                                                           ics was a simple deal—get a
                                                                           card, push it into a free PCI
                                                                     (Peripheral Component Intercon-
                                                                     nect) slot, and merrily start
                                                                    installing games such as Half-Life!
                                                                    Then they complicated things by
                                                                   introducing the AGP (Accelerated
                                                                   Graphics Port) slot on motherboards.
                                                                  This meant we had to upgrade our
                                                                  motherboards. Before we knew it,
                                                                 there were differences between 1x, 2x,
                                                                 4x and 8x AGP motherboards; and since
                                                                the newer 4x and 8x AGP cards were not
                                                               backward-compatible with the older 1x
                                                             and 2x AGP cards, the few who insisted on
                                                            the best upgraded again and again!
                                                              Next, they upgraded the old PCI slots
                                                         with higher bandwidth capacities, and the
                                                       new PCI-express (PCIe) port was born; we all
                                                       upgraded again! Someone at nVidia reinvented
                                                       the SLI technology, and SLI graphics was born;
                                                       some of us upgraded, yet again.
                                                          Sounds like a history lesson? Well, all this
                                                       happened in less than five years! So as far as the


40                                Illustration Pradip Ingale
                                                                                                         Digital Passion l In Sight
graphics market goes, you can be sure you have
to spend in excess of Rs 50,000 every few months
if you want to have current-generation hardware.
     The latest line of graphics cards are multi-
GPU cards. These cards have two GPUs on a single
card, and essentially offer double the speed of a
single GPU card—theoretically. These cards are a
boon to those of us with motherboards less than
six months old, and only one PCIe slot. Why?
Because right now, if you want the best graphics
hardware available, it has to be either nVidia-
based SLI cards, ATi’s CrossFire cards, or a multi-
GPU card. There’s also the possibility of having
two multi-GPU cards in SLI or CrossFire mode,             Split-frame rendering, as
but let’s not complicate things!                          seen in FarCry. The
                                                          horizontal green line
SLI                                                       distinguishes between
nVidia’s SLI (Scalable Link Interface) technology         the rendering done by       How It Works
needs a motherboard with two PCIe slots. This             each card                   SLI works in two major ways. The first is Alter-
technology seems relatively simple: put in two                                        nating Frame Rendering. Here, each card is given
nVidia SLI cards (the cards should be identical;                                      an alternate frame to render by the graphics
thus you should have two 7800 GTs or two 6800                                         driver. After the slave card renders its frames, it
GTXs, etc.) on to the motherboard. Connect                                            passes them to the master card, which then adds
them (like master and slave) via a small daugh-                                       them alternatively to its own output.
ter card that fits on the top of the cards. Then                                           Most games benefit from this form of render-
just connect your monitor to the master, and                                          ing, as it is easier for the driver to send alternate
you’re set to go.                                                                     frames to different cards. Because each frame is
    Unfortunately, it’s not all that simple! The                                      rendered on a different card, there is less geom-
nVidia SLI solution uses technology that was                                          etry data that needs to be passed on to each card
actually created by its erstwhile rival, 3dfx. Back                                   by the driver. That is, since each card is render-
then, SLI stood for Scan Line Interlace. This old                                     ing one frame of a whole scene, each card calcu-
technology was used by two graphics cards work-                                       lates geometry individually, thereby doubling
ing in tandem to render alternate lines of a                                          the geometry output. Most benchmarking soft-
display—one card rendered lines 1, 3, 5, etc.,                                        ware, such as 3DMark, show higher geometry
while the other rendered lines 2, 4, 6, etc.                                          scores because of this.
    Since nVidia announced its acquisition of                                              The second way SLI works is via Split Frame
3dfx in 2000, the graphics race was down to only                                      Rendering. This type of rendering divides each
nVidia and ATi. 3dfx’s SLI technology resurfaced                                      frame into work data, and evenly distributes this
in 2004 as nVidia’s Scalable Link Interface. The                                      ‘work’ between the two graphics cards. This is
major difference was that instead of rendering                                        the technique used to render games such as
lines, the new SLI interface would split the                                          FarCry in SLI mode. Let’s take an example of a
‘work’ into two, giving each graphics card an                                         single frame to better explain how split frame
equal amount.                                                                         rendering works.
    This meant that both cards take the same                                               A common scene in FarCry is a jungle scene,
time to finish rendering their allotted work,                                         where, close up, you have lots of plants and
and this increases performance. Although                                              foliage, and there’s the beach visible on the hori-
nVidia had improved the technology earlier,                                           zon. As usual, there’s the sky above, and there’s
they still had to wait for PCIe to enter the end-                                     beautiful rendering of the water in the distance.
user segment—traditional PCI was way too slow                                              Here, the lighter element of the scene is the
for modern GPUs, and AGP didn’t allow for dual                                        sky, which needs little or no geometry drawing,
graphics cards.                                                                       and is mainly a simple background. The water
                                                                                      (FarCry’s speciality), the trees and bushes, however,
                                                                                      take a lot of detailing, and thus more geometry
                                                                                      and pixel shading. What happens with split frame
                                                                                      rendering is that the frame is split into equal
                                                                                      processing parts by the driver and then passed on
                                                                                      to the cards. Thus, one card gets much more of
                                                                                      the frame to render than the other—say, all of the
                                                                                      sky and only a part of the trees. The other card
                                                                                      gets much less of the frame—the (glorious look-
                                                                                      ing) water and some of the foliage.
                                                                                           The driver calculates the approximate time
                                                                                      it will take to render the scene, splits the data in
                                                                                      two equal workloads, and then distributes it to
                                                                                      the cards. This is always an approximate calcu-
                                                                                      lation, because no matter how good the driver
                                                                                      is, it cannot predict the exact outcomes of the
nVidia’s SLi technology allows two cards to be connect-                               rendering times. The aim, however, is to get both
ed in parallel                                                                        cards to finish rending their parts in the same

                                                                                                                      DIGIT NOVEMBER 2005     41
     Digital Passion l In Sight
     time. The slave card’s rendered data is sent to the




                                                                                                                                                               Infographic Sivalal S
     master, which adds its own data and outputs the                                                              Alternate
                                                                                                                  Rendered
     complete frame. As expected, this mode earns                             Rendered                              Tiles
     lower scores in 3DMark for geometry.                                       Tiles
         The only drawback of nVidia’s SLI technology
     is that both cards have to be identical models to                      Standard                                    ATi CrossFire
     work. This means that if you have an older card,                       ATi Card                                        Card
     you cannot just buy a 7800 GTX and connect
     them both in SLI mode. Instead, you have to buy                                                                                      Final Output
     two 7800s and junk the existing card!                                                                                                   Display
         Let’s take a look at ATi’s multi-GPU offering.

     CrossFire
     After a long wait, ATi finally came up with a                            Digital Visual
     reply to nVidia’s SLi technology. Christened                             Interface (DVI)
     CrossFire, ATi’s multi-GPU solution won a lot of                         to Dual-Monitor
                                                                              System (DMS)
     accolades from end users because of the flexi-
     bility of being able to add a brand new, current-
     generation ATi CrossFire card to a system with an
     older PCIe card, and have them work in tandem.                        A visual description of how ATi’s CrossFire uses supertiling across the two cards
         Remember, in the graphics card business, six
     months makes your card a relic, and the latest                                                      Basically, what happens in supertiling is that
     cards always cost in excess of Rs 30,000. Consid-                                              each frame is broken up into 32 x 32 pixel squares.
     ering this, a user who just spent Rs 30,000+ less                                              Each graphics card renders every alternate square,
     than six months ago on an ATi card did not have                                                one by one, until the frame is completely rendered.
     to junk his or her card and get two new PCIe                                                   This sharing of the rendering of square ‘tiles’ that
     multi-GPU cards like their nVidia counterparts.                                                make up a screen is what gave the technique its
         Like SLI, the CrossFire technology also                                                    name. This method is good for equally fast graph-
     has different ways in which the two cards                                                      ics cards, but an older generation card such as the
     work together.                                                                                 X800 could slow down a newer and faster Cross-
         Supertiling: Here’s where the major differ-                                                Fire card. So, the bottomline is that both cards will
     ence between SLi and CrossFire lies. The super-                                                run at the speed of the slower card.
     tiling rendering method is supported only in                                                        Scissoring: Here the frame is divided exactly
     Direct3D rendering (Direct3D is Microsoft’s                                                    in half, and one card renders the top half while
     proprietary Application Programming Interface                                                  the other renders the bottom half. Unfortu-
     (API), which is used to program many current                                                   nately, this isn’t as efficient, theoretically, as
     generation games).                                                                             SLI’s Split Frame Rendering. This is because a
                                                                                                    frame generally contains some parts with more
                                                                                                    geometry and shading, and others with much
                                                                                                    less. You might therefore end up with the card
                                                                                                    running as master finishing up its render
                                                                                                    process and then doing nothing while waiting
                                                                                                    for the other card to finish its computing!
                                                                                                         Alternate Frame Rendering: This is exactly the
                                                                                                    same as described for nVidia’s SLI technology. The
                                                                                                    only thing to remember is that since alternate
                                                                                                    frames are rendered, the total graphics sub-system
                                                                                                    speed will depend solely on the slower card.
                                                                                                         CrossFire cards are connected via an external
                                                                                                    dongle. This connector itself introduces some
                                                                                                    drawbacks into the system. For starters, the
                                                                                                    maximum resolution for 60 Hz monitor display
                                                                                                    is 1600 x 1200 pixels. This is ridiculous consider-
                                                                                                    ing that hardcore gamers (the people who would
                                                                                                    spend the money to buy these cards) generally
                                                                                                    use high-end monitors capable of displaying
     ATi’s CrossFire solution is their answer to nVidia’s SLi technology                            2048 x 1536 at 70 Hz or better.




42   DIGIT NOVEMBER 2005
     Digital Passion l In Sight
         One advantage that makes up for the lower
     resolutions in the latest ATi models is the                      Extreme Hardware
     enhanced anti-aliasing output that CrossFire
     offers. Basically, the two cards render frames with
     different anti-aliasing levels, and then the
     compositing chip puts them together using a new
                                                                  F   or gaming freaks, there’s also the option of nVidia’s Quadro and ATi’s FireGL
                                                                      range of workstation cards, which, in all honesty, we have ignored through
                                                                  all our articles thus far. Why? For starters, they are way too expensive!
     technique called Adaptive AA (Anti-Aliasing).                     These cards, (Quadro, FireGL, and even Creative’s Oxygen line) are used
         Adaptive AA is ATi’s new method of improving             for really high-end video rendering, in systems that costs lakhs of rupees.
     graphic quality. Basically, it uses previous meth-           They support ridiculous levels of full screen anti-aliasing (32x) and offer
     ods of multiple AA sampling, but intelligently.              multiple screen outputs. nVidia’s cards can also be run in SLI mode, thus
         What this means is that so far, chips were               doubling their already superlative performance.
     taking multiple samples of almost everything                      Overall, these are not mass consumer gaming cards—not that the
     with a texture, and then sampling it multiple                Rs 30,000+ nVidia and ATi cards can be bought by everyone anyway,
     times to get the best quality textures. This                 but they’re cheaper than workstation solutions.
     sampling is done by shifting the centre of a pixel                For gaming addicts with money to burn, there are many more
     around and then rendering it. When done multi-               performance solutions out there:
     ple times, the outputs are blended together to               the Gigabyte GA-8N SLi Quad Royal
     give you a higher resolution texture.                        motherboard, for example. This
         This, however, is not very efficient, as not all         board offers four, yes, four, PCIe
     textures in the display need to be high resolu-              graphics card slots, though you
     tion to output great graphics. This is where Adap-           should know that nVidia’s drivers
     tive AA comes in. It intelligently decides which             do not currently support four GPUs.
     textures will improve the visual output and                       You could also overkill the idea
     which won’t. The textures that need multiple                 of GPUs and plug in four 7800 GTs,
     rendering passes (to make the output look                    which makes a total of eight GPUs
     better) are given priority, thus increasing the              running on your system. It’s kind
     visual detail.                                               of pointless, since all four PCIe      The Quad Royal is the perfect example of
                                                                  graphics ports running together        extreme hardware—four cards in SLi mode!
     Single Card Multi-GPU                                        only offer 8x PCIe speeds per
     Both nVidia and ATi offer dual GPUs on a single              port. Thus your 7800 GTs would be running considerably under power, but
     card. These multi-GPU cards offer better perform-            with a glass cabinet, a little in-cabinet lighting and one monstrous power
     ance, albeit only theoretically. Our various                 supply, you could be the talk of the gamer clan across the world!
     graphics card tests have shown us that dual-PCIe
     cards perform better than a single dual-GPU
     card—two 6800 GTXs in SLi mode outperformed                                                 There’s a limitation in the motherboard’s
     a 6800 Ultra dual-GPU card.                                                             PCIe chipset architecture that reads two PCIe
                                                                                             x16 slots as two PCIe x8 slots—due to the fact
                                                                                             that the chipsets only support about 20 PCIe
                                                                                             pipelines. Thus, even two graphics cards
                                                                                             installed on two PCIe x16 slots, running in Cross-
                                                                                             Fire or SLI mode, are used at x8 PCIe speeds each.
                                                                                                 When compared to a single dual-GPU card,
                                                                                             which should be detected as a full fledged x16
                                                                                             PCIe card, it’s obvious that the single dual-GPU
                                                                                             card should outperform the dual-card setup. In
                                                                                             the real world, this just isn’t true, and dual-card
                                                                                             setups are faster—as of now! This is still so
                                                                                             because motherboard chipset makers are still
                                                                                             trying to catch up with the graphics card market
                                                                                             in terms of speed and technology.
                                                                                                 Currently, nVidia’s flagship GPU is the 7800
                                                                                             GTX, while ATi launched the X1800 very
                                                                                             recently. Both these chips will be used to create
                                                                                             multi-GPU cards, which offer the ultimate in
     Card makers have started putting two GPUs on cards to get                               graphics technologies. We haven’t had a chance
     the best performance possible. It gets better when you use                              to compare them in a direct shootout yet here at
     two of these dual-GPU cards in SLI or CrossFire mode                                    Digit, but we will, soon.




44   DIGIT NOVEMBER 2005
                                                                                       dual-core CPUs! So as far as current technologies
                                                                                       go, it would be an understatement to say that GPU
                                                                                       technology is way ahead of the CPU market!

                                                                                       Conclusion
                                                                                       Unfortunately, neither Intel nor AMD can match
                                                                                       dual-GPU speeds, and essentially, the graphics
                                                                                       sub-system is bottlenecked by the system archi-
                                                                                       tecture. This happens because it is the system CPU
                                                                                       that send the requests for graphics processing to
                                                                                       the GPUs, and thus far, even the best CPUs cannot
                                                                                       do this fast enough. Perhaps dual-core CPUs will
                                                                                       minimise the loss of speed we have faced.
                                                                                           Of course, by the time dual-core CPUs
                                                                                       become the norm, the champions of graphics
Here’s a better picture of dual-GPUs on a single card, with the cooling fans removed   (nVidia and ATi) will have fought each other into
                                                                                       a new era of GPUs all over again—if history is
    Basically, dual-GPU cards work exactly the                                         anything to go by. Overall, it’s a great fight that’s
same way as two cards in SLI or CrossFire mode,                                        going on between these giants and it’s us, the
except that the card’s memory is shared, and                                           end-users, who will benefit. So far, a multi-GPU
transfer between the chips is much faster, due to                                      system—whether two cards or one—is the way to
the fact that they’re on the same PCB.                                                 go. If you’re the type who needs the best visual
                                                                                       feel possible, you need to get yourself one!
Dual-Core GPUs?                                                                            It looks like parallel processing for graphics is
One would think that, logically, the advent of                                         here to stay, whether in the form of two cards
dual-core CPUs should now prompt graphics                                              running in parallel, or two chips on a single card
card manufacturers to shift towards dual-core                                          parallel-processing textures and frames. We’re
GPUs as well. This doesn’t seem to be the                                              not naïve enough to make this a long-term predic-
case, though.                                                                          tion, simply because the graphics market is one
   nVidia, for one, has made it clear on several                                       of the most competitive, and technologies come
occasions that they currently have no interest in                                      and go almost on a monthly basis.
dual-core GPUs, simply because they are not                                                So we’ll leave you with a blanket statement:
needed. According to tests and benchmarks, two                                         “If there’s a change in this trend, we’ll be the
nVidia cards in SLI mode perform more floating                                         first to let you know.”
point operations than the best Intel and AMD                                                                     robert_smith@thinkdigit.com




                                                       1/2 pg H AD




                                                                                                                       DIGIT NOVEMBER 2005     45
Digital Passion l Test Centre




Booster
    Boards
The most important
piece of hardware in a
system, motherboards
dictate the performance
of your entire PC. This
test takes a look at the
best boards available
in India!




                                Imaging Pratip Ingale
Imaging Pradip Ingale
Photograph Sandeep Patil
                                                                   Digital Passion l Test Centre
                                                       cables and accessories) and packed boxes so attrac-
Jayesh Limaye                                          tive we wished we could have a separate photo
                                                       shoot for these! As always, we gauged the mother-



A
          few months ago, we carried a comparison      boards based on features, performance and price,
          test of entry-level motherboards, which      and zeroed in on the best of the best.
          were meant for the budget-conscious              The boards were naturally divided into two
          consumer. This time round, we have a         categories—mobos for AMD and those for Intel. We
line-up of the choicest and best motherboards avail-   talk about these in entirely different sections, as
able in the Indian market—if you’re ready to break     is appropriate.
your budget shackles in order to get the best.
    In this comparison test of high-end mother-        MOTHERBOARDS (AMD)
boards, we’re talking about top-of-the-line moth-      In this comparison test, there were eight moth-
erboards. Targeted primarily at PC enthusiasts,        erboards that supported AMD processors. Two of
gamers, graphic designers and those who need to        them were from ASUS, two were from Gigabyte,
work with high-end applications such as video          two were from MSI, and there was one each from
editing, these motherboards promise you perform-       DFI and ECS.
ance to the core. Integrated with technologies such         There happen to be four vendors who manu-
as infrared, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, overclocking            facture chipsets for AMD Athlon64 processors—
features, dual-core processor support and more,        ATi, nVidia, Via, SiS and ULi.
these motherboards carry a premium price tag.               The various chipsets available for AMD moth-
    The prices seem more justified because of the      erboards are ATi’s Radeon Xpress 200, nVidia’s
inclusion of high-end features such as SATA II, SLI,   nForce4 Ultra and nForce4 SLI, SiS’ SiS756, Via’s
high-end audio, and advanced overclocking              K8T890, and ULi’s M1573.
features in these motherboards. The inclusion of            Technically speaking, the ATi Radeon Xpress
SATA II will support better storage capacities and     200 has the highest number of PCI-Express lanes—
performance. SLI dramatically improves graphics        22—but two of these are utilised to connect the
perormance, which gamers will love. High-end           Northbridge with the Southbridge. nVidia and Via
audio means you can now really use your computer       have 20 each, while SiS has only 16. This means all
in your home theatre setup. Overclocking, again, is    chipsets except SiS can support an x16 PCI-Express
a gamer’s delight—PC enthusiasts, too, will be able    graphics card in addition to x4 slots.
to play around with systems based on these boards           While SiS756 supports an x16 PCIe graphics
and attain maxed-out performance.                      card, it has to rely on the Southbridge for addi-
    To reiterate, systems in regular offices would     tional PCIe slots. A thing worth noting is that of
not find a use for motherboards of this kind; the      all the chipsets, only the nForce4 is a single-chip
market here would be gamers and other enthusi-         implementation, that is, there is no separate
asts. Built to cater to processors from market lead-   Northbridge and Southbridge.
ers Intel and AMD, these motherboards are a real            Since the memory controllers for the
joy to work upon.                                      Athlon64 class of processors reside on the CPU,
    We received a total of 20 motherboards—from        the Northbridge does not have much to do, and
ASUS, DFI, ECS, Foxconn, Gigabyte and MSI. Almost      the focus is more on the Southbridge, which has
all these boards came with goodies (read lots of       the storage, networking and audio controllers.




                                                                                      NOVEMBER 2005 DIGIT    47
       Digital Tools l Test Centre
           The boards we’ve reviewed are based on the
       most feature-rich of all the chipsets—the nForce4
       Ultra and nForce4 SLI, since the other chipsets,                                                               NOVEMBER 2005
       even with the good performance and features
       they may be offering, are priced lower, and
       hence are confined to the budget or
       mid-range segment. The only extra feature the
       nForce4 SLI has over the nForce4 Ultra is support
       for two PCIe x16 graphics card in SLI mode.

       Features
       Like we said, all the motherboards we received
       were based on either nForce4 Ultra or nForce4
       SLI. Hence, every board supported the AMD
       Athlon64 X2, which was what we used to test the
       motherboards with.
           There is no variation in the type and speed of
       memory in this segment: the supported memory                                      Gigabyte 8Σ Series GA-K8 NXP-SLI
       was DDR 400 MHz. All the motherboards
       supported SATA II, since the nForce4 chipset                                      boards. Computers on a LAN can connect to each
       supports this standard. Similarly, most of the                                    other via one LAN port, while the other LAN
       motherboards supported the SATA hot-plug                                          ports are all connected to the Internet. A team of
       function, which enables you to remove or plug in                                  gamers on a LAN can thus play online with
       a SATA drive without powering off the computer!                                   gamers around the world!
           The motherboards from DFI and Gigabyte, as                                        A Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g card was bundled with the
       well as the ASUS A8N-SLI, all had eight SATA ports,                               Gigabyte 8Σ Series GA-K8NXP-SLI to facilitate
       so that up to eight SATA drives can be added to                                   wireless connectivity with access points at
       the system. To complement the number of SATA                                      hotspots. A U-Plus DPS (Dual Power System) card
       ports, the Gigabyte GA-K8NXP-SLI and the ASUS                                     was also bundled with this board. This card aids
       A8N-SLI came bundled with eight SATA cables.                                      in stability of the system in the face of power
           The MSI K8N SLI Platinum sports an on-board                                   fluctuations. It also has LEDs that indicate the
       Creative SoundBlaster Live! 24-bit audio solution,                                power and load status.
       which is the best in this class. The DFI LanParty UT                                  The DFI LanParty motherboard had UV reac-
       NF4 SLI-D features the ‘Karajan’ module, which is                                 tive slots and round cables. The cables and slots
       a detachable audio module that isolates audio                                     emit a lovely glow when UV light falls on them.
       signals so as to produce the best quality audio.                                  This might not be visible if ordinary cabinets are
       Some cabinets, however, might not be able to                                      used, but will be very visible if a modded cabinet
       accommodate the board with this module.                                           with transparent panels is used. Of course,
           Dual LAN—a feature likely to appeal to                                        you’re going to need to buy yourself a UV cold-
       gamers—was available on most of the mother-                                       cathode light for the glow to happen.

         How We Tested

     O   ur benchmarks and tests were chosen after careful
         consideration so as to stress the boards to the maximum. As
     many as five test-bench setups had to be used because of the
                                                                          3DMark05: This is an industry-standard Direct3D synthetic
                                                                          benchmark from FutureMark, and it measures the graphics
                                                                          performance and capabilities of the system. This test gives you an
     various types of processor sockets available on the motherboards     indication about the graphics performance you can expect from the
     we tested.                                                           system.
         Intel motherboard setups featured the Pentium IV 3.6 GHz         PC Mark 2004: This is another industry-standard benchmark from
     processor, while AMD motherboard setups featured the Athlon 64       FutureMark; it measures the CPU, memory, graphics and hard disk
     X2 dual-core processor. Other than that, the test setups consisted   performance of the system—and hence is a good system-wide
     of Corsair 1 GB DDR 400 MHz RAM or Micron 1 GB DDR2 533 MHz          benchmark.
     RAM, according to the RAM supported by the motherboard; a 120        SiSoft Sandra 2005: This consists of benchmark modules that
     GB 7200 rpm SATA Maxtor hard drive; and an XFX NVIDIA GeForce        measure CPU, filesystem and memory performance.
     7800 GT PCI-Express display card. The systems were powered by        Ziff-Davis Business Winstone 2004: This benchmark suite runs
     Antec NEOPOWER 480 Watts power supply.                               various applications such as MS Office 2002’s Word, Excel,
         Windows XP Pro with SP1 was freshly loaded along with DirectX    PowerPoint and Outlook, and other programs such as WinZip, to
     9.0c, and the drivers from the driver CDs provided with the          measure the real-world performance of the system.
     motherboards were loaded.                                            Dr. DivX 1.06: This is a video encoding application used to encode
         Our tests and benchmarks consisted of the following:             DivX video files. A 100 MB DVD file was encoded to DivX, and we
     FarCry: This is a Direct3D game that accurately measures the         noted the time taken to encode.
     Direct3D gaming subsystem. This game was chosen because it uses          We ran all the above benchmarks and logged all the scores.
     a fairly modern graphics engine, especially for rendering water,     After applying the proper weightage to each of the logged scores,
     and represents how most games will play on your system in            the aggregate performance score was calculated. Similarly, the
     the future.                                                          various features of the motherboards, along with their prices, were
     Doom 3: This OpenGL game is used to test the strength of the         noted to calculate the features and price scores. These, along with
     OpenGL graphics subsystem. We chose this game because it’s very      the performance scores, were taken into consideration to decide
     heavy on resources.                                                  the winners.


48     DIGIT NOVEMBER 2005
       The ECS motherboard came with an acces-                                                  NOVEMBER 2005
   sory called Top-Hat flash. If for some reason the
   BIOS gets corrupted, all you need to do is place
   the Top-Hat flash tool on top of the BIOS chip,
   and you’ll be able to boot and re-flash the BIOS
   and restore it. Similarly, Gigabyte, MSI and ASUS
   have a backup redundant BIOS facility on the
   motherboard so in case the BIOS gets corrupt,
   you may still be able to boot and restore the BIOS.
       DFI has a unique feature known as CMOS
   Reloaded, in which you can set, name and save
   up to four different BIOS settings from within
   the CMOS setup. Then there is the Genie BIOS,
   which allows you to overclock to the max. Over-
   clocking was standard on all the motherboards,
   where CPU core speed and memory voltage,
   along with HyperTransport Technology speed
   and DRAM speed, could be tweaked.                                                   Asus Proactive A8N-SLI


   Performance                                                                         points, which reflects the fact that these moth-
                                                                                       erboards will give overall better performance in
   Gaming                                                                              daily use. The Gigabyte K8 Triton’s woes contin-
   The ECS KN1 Extreme, along with the DFI                                             ued: it failed to even complete this test after
   LanParty, were the best when it came to                                             repeated attempts!
   gaming performance. The other boards,                                                   SiSoft Sandra 2005 saw the DFI and ECS
   though, were not far behind, and lagged by a                                        motherboards score high in the memory
   maximum of five fps. The above two are the                                          benchmark, with the other boards not even
   motherboards you might consider grabbing if                                         coming close. However, in the CPU and file
   you’re a big-time gamer. The Gigabyte K8 Triton                                     system benchmarks, almost all the boards
   GA-K8N      Pro-SLI   posted    disappointing                                       scored equally.
   scores here.
                                                                                       Real-World Benchmarks
   Synthetic benchmarks                                                                The ASUS A8N-SLI was the fastest in the video
   In 3DMark05, there was no clear winner as                                           file encoding test at 110 seconds, followed by the
   such, because all the motherboards scored                                           ECS and the Gigabyte 8Σ Series at 111 seconds—
   almost the same. This test is a general indica-                                     practically no difference. These three boards are
   tor of what kind of a gaming experience you’ll                                      therefore better at utilising the power of the X2
   get using a PC based on this motherboard.                                           to the maximum, so you can expect better
   In this test, the Gigabyte K8 Triton again lagged                                   performance in multimedia applications such
   way behind the others, especially in                                                as video editing programs.
   CPU marks.                                                                               The DFI LanParty UT NF4 SLI-D board
       In the PCMark 2004 test, the ASUS Proactive                                     performed better than the others in ZDBench
   A8N-SLI and the Gigabyte 8Σ Series GA-K8NXP-                                        Business Winstone 2004, scoring 31.1. Very
   SLI scored the highest—and almost the same—                                         close on its heels was the Gigabyte 8Σ Series

    What Should You Look For In A High-End Motherboard?
Dual-core processor support: The               found on most motherboards. Some may            Dual Gigabit: Dual Gigabit ports allow you
motherboard must support dual-core             come with as many as 10.                        to be on two networks at the same time,
processors of the highest speed available      SATA II support: The SATA standard, in          so you can be connected to the Internet
at the time of purchase, even if you plan      which the data transfer rate goes up to         using one of the ports while the other port
to use a single-core processor. This is to     150 MBps, is slowly being replaced by           can be used to connect other computers
ensure your computer will be future-           SATA II, which boasts if 300 MBps.              on a home network or LAN.
proof—you will probably move on to a           Motherboards that support SATA II also          Wi-Fi: Wi-Fi offers you the convenience of
dual-core processor at some point.             support the older SATA standard in case         wireless networking and Internet access.
High-speed memory support: The                 you have a SATA drive.                          Bluetooth: Bluetooth is useful in
motherboard must support                       SLI: Even if you have or plan to buy a          situations such as when you wish to
dual-channel memory of as high a speed         single PCI-Express graphics card, for           listen to music via your Bluetooth
as possible. Currently, motherboards           future-proofing the graphics                    headset or when you want to transfer
support DDR memory of speeds as high           capabilities, a motherboard that                files between your PC and your Bluetooth
400 MHz and DDR2 memory of speeds              supports SLI should be preferred. It            mobile phone or PDA.
up to 888 MHz, such as the Gigabyte            provides the option to add another PCI-         Overclocking features: A good
i-DNA GA-8I955X Royal.                         Express card to improve graphics                premium-quality motherboard should
Number of SATA ports: A higher number          performance in the future, in case a            come with advanced overclocking
of SATA ports is preferred, especially since   single card is not enough.                      features. This is a feature much sought
a SATA port supports one SATA device—          FireWire: A FireWire port is used to connect    after by hardcore gamers, who would like
unlike an IDE port, which can support two      FireWire devices such as DV cams, usually to    to squeeze out all that the system is
devices. Generally, four SATA ports are        capture high-resolution digital video.          capable of.


                                                                                                                       NOVEMBER 2005 DIGIT   49
                                                  NOVEMBER 2005                                                                                            NOVEMBER 2005
          Scoreboard                                                               High-End AMD Motherboards
     BRAND                                    ASUS                        ASUS                     DFI                         ECS                        Gigabyte
     Model                                    Proactive A8N-SLI           A8N-E                    LanParty UT NF4 SLI-D       KN1 Extreme                8Σ Series GA-K8NXP-SLI
     Chipset                                  NVIDIA nForce4 SLI          NVIDIA nForce4 Ultra     NVIDIA nForce4 SLI          NVIDIA nForce4 Ultra       NVIDIA nForce4 SLI
     Features                                 36.36                       29.90                    34.22                       29.50                      37.69
     Maximum CPU supported                    AMD X2                      AMD X2                   AMD X2                      AMD X2                     AMD X2
     Memory Type/Speed                        DDR/400/4                   DDR/400/4                DDR/400/4                   DDR/400/4                  DDR/400/4
     Supported(MHz)/Max memory
     SLI                                      4                           6                        4                           6                          4
     PCI Slots                                3+2 PCIe                    3+1 PCIeX4+2 PCIeX1      2+2 PCIe                    3+2 PCIe                   2+2 PCIe
     Onboard FireWire/Firewire b              1/a                         6                        1/a                         Pin header 2/a             Pin header 3/b
     BlueTooth/WiFi                           6/6                         6/6                      6/6                         6/6                        6/4
     USB 1.1 (Nos)/USB 2.0 (Nos)              4                           4                        6                           4                          4
     Ethernet Type (10/100/Gigabit)           Dual Gigabit                Gigabit                  Dual Gigabit                Gigabit + 10/100           Dual Gigabit
     RAID type                                0,1,0+1,5,JBOD              0,1,0+1,JBOD             0,1,0+1                     0,1,0+1                    0,1,0+1,5
     SATA Type/Number/Hot PnP                 II/8/4                      II/4/4                   II/8/4                      II/6/6                     II/8/4
     Miscellaneous                            Coaxial and SPDIF out       Coaxial and SPDIF out    Power and reset switch      Coaxial and SPDIF out      Dual BIOS, SPDIF
                                                                                                   on the motherboard                                     IN/Out

     Component layout (SO5)
     Capacitors near the CPU socket           4                           3.5                      4                           3.25                       3.25
     Placement of IDE and SATA connectors     3.5                         3.75                     3                           2.75                       3
     Graphics slot with locks                 5                           5                        0                           5                          5
     Interference of AGP card with PCI slot   5                           5                        5                           3                          5
     Package contents
     Manual/CDs                               4/4                         4/4                      4/4                         4/4                        4/4
     Necessary cables                         8 SATA, 3 SATA power,       4 SATA, 2 SATA power,    4 SATA, SATA power,         6 SATA, SATA power,        8 SATA, 3 SATA power,
                                              IDE, floppy                 IDE, floppy              IDE, floppy                 IDE, floppy                IDE, floppy
     Other Miscellaneous Features             D-bracket for 2 USB,        D-bracket for communi-   SLI bridge, Karajan audio   D-bracket with commu-      2 D-brackets for 2 USB,
                                              D-bracket for 1 FireWire,   cation port, D-bracket   module                      nication port, D-bracket   D-bracket for 2 FireWire,
                                              SLI bridge with reten-      for 2 USB and Game                                   for 2 USB and FireWire,    SLI bridge with retention
                                              tion bracket, SATA          Port, D-bracket for 2                                Top Hat BIOS recovery      bracket, WiFi 802.1 b/g
                                              extension cable             USB                                                  tool, cross over cable     card, DPS dual power
                                                                                                                                                          system
     Performance                              37.02                       36.87                    36.96                       37.78                      37.45
     Far Cry 1024x868/1600x1200 (fps)         150.24/104.26               151.12/105.2             155.41/106.24               157.78/105.29              152.46/105.13
     Doom 3 1024x868/1600x1200 (fps)          115.5/91.7                  120.9/92.7               127.7/93.5                  126/93.8                   119.2/91.9
     3D Mark 2005 Marks/CPU Marks             7107/5784                   7125/5867                7110/6388                   7118/6792                  7101/6745
     PC Mark 2004
     CPU Index/Memory Index                   6710/4715                   6689/4759                6461/3061                   6486/4818                  6694/4789
     Graphics Index/Disk Index                8238/4439                   8272/4391                8200/4354                   8244/4452                  8249/4439
     Total Score                              6715                        6698                     6242                        6601                       6707
     SiSoft Sandra 2005 Professional
     ALU to RAM/FPU to RAM (MB/s)             4726/4737                   4770/4800                5801/5757                   5772/5725                  4729/4730
     CPU Dryhstone/Whetstone                  20424/7577                  20426/7581               20330/7610                  20367/7629                 20415/7553
     Multimedia—CPU Integer/FPU SSE           45970/49707                 46121/49763              45999/49441                 45660/49571                45923/49735
     Drive Index (MB/sec)/Average             49/8                        48/8                     48/9                        50/8                       50/8
     access time (sec)
     Sequential/Random Read (MB/sec)          56/35                       54/35                    55/35                       55/36                      56/37
     Sequential/Random Write (MB/sec)         55/40                       55/42                    55/41                       55/42                      55/42
     ZDBench Business Winstone 2004           30.7                        30.3                     31.1                        30                         30.9
     Video Encoding (sec)                     110                         115                      116                         111                        111
     Price Index                              5.26                        8.50                     3.60                        7.17                       4.66
     Price (Rs)                               10,900                      6,750                    15,950                      8,000                      12,300
     Total Score (Out of 100)                 78.65                       75.27                    74.78                       74.45                      79.80




                                                                                                     Over the edge
                                                  Good performance            Good price to        performance for                 Good price to              Great performance,
                                                  and features                performance ratio    gamers                          performance ratio          and package contents
                                                  None                        No SLI slot            Very expensive                No SLI slot                Expensive



50        DIGIT NOVEMBER 2005
                                                                                                                  Digital Passion l Test Centre

                                                                                                      GA-K8NXP-SLI with 30.9. This indicates that
                                                                                                      these two boards can rip through daily-use
                                                                                                      applications such as word processors, spread-
                                                                                                      sheets, presentations, file compression and
Gigabyte                         MSI                                MSI                               anti-virus programs.
K8 Triton GA-K8N Pro-SLI         K8N SLI Platinum                   K8N SLI-F
NVIDIA nForce4 SLI               NVIDIA nForce4 SLI                 NVIDIA nForce4 SLI
34.99                            33.55                              33.93
                                                                                                      The Conclusion (AMD Motherboards)
AMD X2                           AMD X2                             AMD X2
                                                                                                      The ECS KN1 Extreme was the best performer,
DDR/400/4                        DDR/400/4                          DDR/400/2                         with high scores in all the benchmarks, and
                                                                                                      was followed closely by the Gigabyte 8Σ Series
4                                4                                  4                                 GA-K8NXP-SLI.
2+1 PCIe                         3                                  3+1 PCIe                              With accessories such as the Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g
Pin header 3/b                   1/a                                1/a                               card and the U-Plus DPS power system card, and
6/6                              6/6                                6/6                               lots of cables and almost all high-end features to
4                                4                                  4                                 boot, the Gigabyte 8Σ Series GA-K8NXP-SLI was
Dual Gigabit                     Gigabit                            Gigabit                           the clear winner in the features department.
0,1,0+1,5                        0,1,0+1,JBOD                       0,1,0+1,JBOD                      The ASUS Proactive A8N-SLI, which also had
II/8/4                           II/4/4                             II/4/4
                                                                                                      good features and accessories, came in second.
SPDIF IN/Out                     Creative Sound Blaster Live! 24-   Coaxial and SPDIF out
                                 bit on-board, Coaxial and SPDIF
                                                                                                          The DFI LanParty UT NF4 was the highest-
                                 out                                                                  priced motherboard at Rs 15,950 which is a bit
                                                                                                      over the top, because it does not offer enough
3.25                             3.5                                3.75                              premium features or performance to justify the
3                                3                                  3                                 price tag. The nForce4 Ultra-based ASUS A8N-E
5                                0                                  5                                 was the lowest-priced—at Rs 6,750—and is actu-
5                                5                                  5                                 ally a good value-for-money board.
                                                                                                          After careful consideration (and calcula-
4/4                              4/4                             4/4                                  tions!), the Gigabyte 8Σ Series GA-K8NXP-SLI
SATA, SATA power, IDE, floppy    2 SATA, SATA power, IDE, floppy 2 SATA, SATA power, IDE, floppy      turned out the clear winner of the Digit Best Buy
                                                                                                      Gold award. The Digit Best Buy Silver was
D-bracket for 2 USB and          D-bracket for 2 USB, SLI bridge    D-bracket for 2 USB, SLI bridge
                                                                                                      awarded to the ASUS Proactive A8N-SLI: it had
FireWire, D-bracket for 2 USB,   with retention bracket             with retention bracket
SLI bridge with retention
                                                                                                      good overall feature and performance scores,
bracket                                                                                               and a moderate price tag.

                                                                                                      MOTHERBOARDS (INTEL)
23.60                            37.12                              36.73                             Twelve motherboards that supported Intel
75.13/66.42                      150.87/105.59                      150.24/104.95                     processors were reviewed in this comparison
45.6/43.2                        121.1/92.6                         121/92.7                          test. Three were from ASUS, there was one each
5716/2626                        7148/6129                          7129/5923                         from ECS and Foxconn, two were from Gigabyte,
                                                                                                      and MSI sent in five boards.
Failed/Failed                    6685/4758                          6834/4760                             We saw a variety of chipsets in this cate-
Failed/Failed                    8247/4434                          8245/4431
                                                                                                      gory. Some had Intel chipsets such as Intel
Failed                           6683                               6668
                                                                                                      915G, 915P, 925 XE, 945G and 955X, whereas
3574/1679                        4779/4776                          4765/4766                         nVidia’s offerings were the nForce4 Ultra
20355/7642                       20598/7608                         20400/7573                        and nForce4 SLI.
45861/48630                      45974/49429                        45099/49380                           Over the years, Intel has reigned as the
47/8                             49/8                               48/10                             undisputed leader in chipsets for Intel proces-
                                                                                                      sors, providing the best performance and
53/34                            55/38                              55/36                             features, and it has continued to raise the bar
53/39                            55/42                              55/41                             with each new chipset beating its predecessor.
24.9                             30.4                               30.4                              Some chipset manufacturers—Apollo, for exam-
118                              113                                115                               ple—have tried to beat Intel chipsets in terms of
5.77                             4.78                               6.04                              performance, but none actually did. Until now!
9,950                            12,000                             9,500
                                                                                                          nVidia’s nForce4 SLI Intel Edition chipsets
64.35                            75.45                              76.70
                                                                                                      offer better performance and features than any
                                                                                                      of the Intel chipsets out there, and as our bench-
                                                                                                      marks will show, have finally dethroned the
                                                                                                      king and have assumed top position amongst
                                                                                                      chipsets for Intel processors.
                                                                                                          Though we did receive motherboards based
                                                                                                      on the Intel 915 and 925 chipsets, these chipsets
                                                                                                      are fast aging, and so do not stand anywhere
                                                                                                      near the newer ones—Intel’s 955X, which
                                                                                                      supports dual-core processors, and the Intel 945.
                                                                                                          The above chipsets, along with the nForce4
                                     Creative Soudblaster                                             SLI, support an FSB of 1066 MHz. This FSB is
    None                             Live! On-board                     Good performance              available only with the Extreme Edition type of
    Slow performance                 Expensive                          Ordinary package contents     processors, and will truly harness the high band-
                                                                                                      width of DDR2 memory.

                                                                                                                                    NOVEMBER 2005 DIGIT    51
        Digital Passion l Test Centre
             Intel 955X utilises a new standard in its
         memory controller known as MPT or Memory
         Pipeline Technology, which uses each memory                                                                   NOVEMBER 2005
         channel optimally—resulting in a bandwidth
         higher than that of the 945.
             Both chipset makers have come up with their
         own versions of RAID implementations in the
         Southbridge. Intel has what it calls Matrix RAID,
         which can combine RAID 0 and 1 arrays using
         only two drives. nVidia has nVraid, which, amaz-
         ingly, is capable of spanning arrays across both
         ATA and SATA drives. This means, for example,
         that you can have partitions that span two
         drives, one of them SATA and the other ATA.
             nVidia’s hardware-accelerated Gigabit
         Ethernet controller and firewall are unchal-
         lenged by Intel ICH7R, because the latter lacks
         a network controller.
             Support for high-definition sampling rates (24-
         bit at 196 Kbps) audio is the bone of contention for                             MSI P4N Diamond
         Intel on the audio front, which nVidia’s AC’97
         solution is incapable of providing. But neither of                               chipsets. Even if you have only a regular
         these support hardware-accelerated 3D audio.                                     (single-core) processor, a board that supports
                                                                                          dual-core should be preferred, keeping
         Features                                                                         upgradeability in mind.
         Dual-core processor support was available in                                         One thing to note here is that nForce4 SLI-
         the boards that sported the Intel 945G and                                       based motherboards still do not enjoy full
         955X and the nVidia nForce4 SLI Intel Edition                                    compatibility with dual-core processors from

        Jargon Buster
     The BIOS: The Basic Input-Output System        known as a dual-channel memory               Multiplier: This is a number for a CPU
     is a program located on the CMOS chip on       configuration.                               that determines how fast the CPU
     the motherboard. The BIOS controls the         FSB: The Front Side Bus speed is the         operates. The CPU speed equals the FSB
     primary functions of the hardware and          speed at which the different components      multiplied by the multiplier.
     facilitates low-level communication            of the computer speak to the CPU. The        Northbridge: A chip on the motherboard
     between the OS and the hardware. The           CPU’s FSB is the most important, and         that controls the FSB and memory. This is
     BIOS can be upgraded to provide                changing it can dramatically affect the      the largest chip on the motherboard and
     additional functionality.                      overall performance of the computer.         is normally covered by a heat sink, and
     Bluetooth: A wireless radio standard,          IDE: Integrated Drive Electronics is a       sometimes actively cooled by a fan.
     primarily developed for lower power            standard interface for hard drives,          PCI: Peripheral Component Interconnect
     consumption. It has a short range of           optical drives and other physical storage    is a standard used on all current-
     10 cm, 10 m, 100 m or 400 m, depending         devices. It is also known as ATA, which      generation motherboards and expansion
     on the power class. It has certain             stands for Advanced Technology               cards used to connect the two devices.
     advantages over prevailing radio               Attachment, and Parallel ATA. Various        The data transfer rate of PCI bus can be
     standards: Bluetooth-enabled devices can       types are ATA33, ATA66, ATA100 and           up to 133 MBps.
     communicate with each other even if they       ATA133, based on transfer speeds. It uses    PCI-Express (PCIe): Peripheral
     are of different types—for example, MP3        a 40-pin connector cable that may            Component Interconnect Express is a new
     players, mobile phones, laptops,               consist of 40 or 80 conductors.              PCI standard that can transfer data at
     headsets, printers, and more.                  JBOD: Just a Bunch Of Disks is a disk        speeds equivalent to AGP 16x, which is
     DDR RAM: Double Data Rate SD RAM is a          configuration which, in the true sense, is   roughly 4.3 GB/s.
     type of memory that handles data at            not RAID at all. When two or more hard       RAID: Redundant Array of Independent
     twice the speed of the older SD RAM. DDR       drives are in JBOD configuration, the        Disks is a software or hardware
     SD RAM typically operates at 266 MHz,          entire space of all the disks can be         configuration that employs two or more
     333 MHz or 400 MHz effective speeds,           combined into a single volume, or can be     drives in combination for fault tolerance
     while the actual speeds are 133, 166 and       split into separate logical volumes. This    and performance. RAID 0, 1 and 0+1 are
     200 MHz respectively.                          does not provide fault tolerance, but        the commonly used types.
     DDR2 RAM: Double Data Rate 2 RAM is a          there are certain advantages, such as no     RAID 0: This involves only striping, and
     memory type based on chips designed to         wastage of drive space and easier            there is no data redundancy. It has the
     run at speeds higher than that of DDR          disaster recovery.                           best performance but no fault tolerance.
     RAM, such as 533MHz and 667 MHz.               Matrix RAID: A technology developed by       (Striping is a technique in which the
     Few motherboards support DDR2 RAM              Intel, it achieves what RAID 0 and 1         drive’s storage space is partitioned into
     right now.                                     achieve, using only two hard drives. It      units ranging from 512 bytes to several
     Dual-Channel: When two RAM modules             does so by creating two separate volumes     megabytes.) The stripes are interleaved
     are plugged into two slots marked for two      in an array of two hard disks. It enables    and addressed in order.
     different memory channels, then,               you to separate a two-disk array into two    RAID 1: This type of RAID
     theoretically, the data flows at twice the     volumes, as if there were two separate       implementation is also known as disk
     normal rate through the RAM. This is           sets of hard disks.                          mirroring, which involves at least two


52      DIGIT NOVEMBER 2005
                                                                           Digital Passion l Test Centre
Intel. An example of this is that the Pentium D
820, which is a dual-core processor, runs as a
single-core on these boards.                      NOVEMBER 2005
    Though all the boards supported DDR2,
except for the MSI 915G Neo3-FIR, which
supported DDR 400MHz, the speeds varied.
Some boards supported DDR2 at 533 MHz, while
others supported 667 MHz. The ASUS P5AD2-E
Premium supported an odd 711 MHz, while the
Gigabyte i-DNA GA-8I955X Royal supported an
equally odd 888 MHz.
    Higher memory speeds are advantageous
when you are into multimedia applications and
gaming, where that little extra bandwidth can
make a lot of difference.
    The motherboards based on Intel 945G and
955X as well as those based on nVidia’s nForce4
SLI supported the faster and emerging SATA II                 Asus Proactive P5ND2-SLI Delux
standard, while being backward compatible
with SATA I drives. The ASUS P5AD2-E Premium,                 Diamond goes even further by bundling a
P5ND2-E Deluxe and Foxconn 955X7AA sported                    Bluetooth and IEEE 802.11g combo PCI card
eight SATA ports, which allow you to add up to                which, if purchased separately, retails at Rs
eight SATA devices—which is great from the                    2,900. If you have a Bluetooth-enabled phone,
upgradeability point of view.                                 it is very convenient to transfer files from the
    The ASUS Proactive P5AD2-E Premium                        phone to the PC. The Gigabyte i-DNA GA-
Wireless Edition board had IEEE 802.11g-                      8I955X Royal also shipped with a Bluetooth
compliant Wi-Fi on-board, which allows data                   USB dongle—you just plug in the dongle to a
transmission of up to 54 Mbps. The MSI P4N                    USB port, install the drivers, and your PC is
                                                              Bluetooth-enabled.
                                                                   An external SATA port was present on the
                                                              ASUS P5ND2-SLI Deluxe, known as SATA-On-The-
                                                              Go, which has hot-plug support. Up to 16 devices
  drives to duplicate data. Striping is not                   can be connected with port multiplier functions.
  involved here. This offers the best ratio of                     SPDIF-Out was a feature common on all the
  performance to fault tolerance.                             boards, with some even providing SPDIF-In and
  RAID 0+1: This combines the best features                   coaxial Out. The Intel 945G-based boards also
  of RAID 0 and 1. In this type of RAID, two                  had integrated Intel graphics, though if you’re
  pairs of striped drives are mirrored together               purchasing this board, you’re expected to
  to provide fault tolerance. Thus, it requires               purchase a separate PCIe graphics card to fully
  four hard drives to implement.                              utilise the power of the system.
  SATA: Also abbreviated as S-ATA, is short                        The Gigabyte i-DNA GA-8I955X Royal came
  for Serial ATA, which is an interface for                   with a U-Plus DPS (Dual Power System), which is a
  physical storage devices such as hard                       revolutionary circuit built to withstand varying
  drives. It is a serial link and consists of a               AC power levels for system protection and stability.
  single cable with a minimum of four wires                        Several boards featured excellent audio solu-
  creating a point-to-point connection                        tions, one of which was the Intel HDA (high-defi-
  between devices. The transfer rates for                     nition audio), which produces high-fidelity
  SATA begin at 150 MBps, and for SATA II it is               audio output. The MSI P4N Diamond had a hard-
  300 MBps.                                                   ware Creative SoundBlaster Live! 24-bit chip as
  SLI: Short for Scalable Link Interface, which               the audio solution. (Most onboard sound solu-
  is a graphics standard in which the                         tions involve the CPU; this 24-bit chip takes the
  motherboard has two PCIe graphics slots so                  load off the CPU.) This is no doubt one of the best
  that two cards can be plugged in                            on-board audio solutions.
  simultaneously and connected via a bridge.                       The Gigabyte i-DNA GA-8I955X Royal sported
  This setup offers a huge performance leap in                dual BIOS, where there’s a backup BIOS on the
  graphics applications such as gaming.                       motherboard. If the main BIOS gets corrupted,
  Southbridge: This is a chip on the                          the backup BIOS takes over and the main BIOS
  motherboard that controls all the onboard                   can be flashed to restore it. The MSI mother-
  devices including the IDE bus and the PCI                   boards also featured similar functionality. ECS
  bus. This is the second-largest chip on the                 featured Top-Hat Flash. (Refer the AMD section
  motherboard, and is sometimes covered by                    for more on Top-Hat Flash.)
  a heat sink.                                                     In addition to this, all the boards had
  Wi-Fi: An abbreviation for Wireless Fidelity,               overclocking of some sort. MSI featured the
  Wi-Fi is a wireless radio standard that was                 ‘Cell menu’ in the BIOS, while ASUS has
  developed for communication between                         ‘AI overclocking’ and ‘non-delay overclocking’.
  mobile devices such as laptops, PDAs, and                   In all these cases, there were options to tweak
  LANs, but is now even being used in                         the FSB, memory frequency, timings and
  desktop computers.                                          CPU core and memory voltages in order to over-
                                                              clock the system.

                                                                                               NOVEMBER 2005 DIGIT   53
                                                                                                       NOVEMBER 2005
          Scoreboard                                                                    High-end Intel Motherboards
     BRAND                                    ASUS                           ASUS                      ASUS                    ECS                      Foxconn
     Model                                    Proactive P5AD2-E              P5LD2-VM-UAYZ             Proactive P5ND2-SLI     PF21 Extreme             955X7AA
                                              Premium (W.E.)                                           Deluxe
     Chipset                                  Intel 925XE                    Intel 945G                NVIDIA nForce4 SLI      Intel 925 XE             Intel 955X
     Features                                 29.34                          21.11                     35.60                   25.34                    28.62
     Maximum CPU supported                    P-4                            P-4 Dual Core             P-4 Dual Core           P-4                      P-4 Dual Core
     Memory Type/Speed                        DDR II/711/4                   DDR II/667/4              DDR II/667/4            DDR II/533/4             DDR II/667/4
     Supported(MHz)Max memory
     SLI                                      6                              6                         4                       6                        6
     PCI Slots                                3+2 PCIe                       2+1 PCIe                  3+2 PCI                 3 + 3 PCIe               3 + 3 PCIe
     Onboard FireWire/Firewire b              Pin header 2/b                 6                         1/a                     1/a                      1/b
     BlueTooth/WiFi                           6/4                            6/6                       6/6                     6/6                      6/6
     USB 1.1 (Nos)/USB 2.0 (Nos)              4                              4                         4                       4                        4
     Ethernet Type (10/100/Gigabit)           Dual Gigabit                   Gigabit                   Dual Gigabit            Gigabit + 10/100         Dual Gigabit
     RAID type                                0,1,0+1,5,10,Matrix,JBOD       6                         0,1,0+1,JBOD            0,1,0+1                  0,1,0+1,5,Matrix
     SATA Type/Number/Hot PnP                 I/8/6                          I/4/6                     II/8/4                  I/6/6                    II/8/6
     Miscellaneous                            Coaxial and SPDIF out,         Intel GMA 900             External SATA port,     SPDIF IN/Out             Coaxial out
                                              WiFi antenna port                                        SPDIF out

     Component layout (SO5)
     Capacitors near the CPU socket           4.5                            4                         4.5                     3.5                      4
     Placement of IDE and SATA connectors     4                              4                         3.75                    4                        3.5
     Graphics slot with locks                 5                              5                         5                       5                        5
     Interference of AGP card with PCI slot   3                              3                         5                       3                        3
     Package contents
     Manual/CDs                               4/4                            4/4                      4/4                      4/4                       4/4
     Necessary cables                         10 SATA, 3 SATA power,         2 SATA, SATA power, IDE, 4 SATA, 2 SATA power,    6 SATA, SATA power, IDE, 2 SATA, 2 SATA power,
                                              IDE, floppy                    floppy                   IDE, floppy              floppy                    IDE, floppy
     Other Miscellaneous Features             D-bracket for communica-       None                     D-bracket for 2 USB      D-bracket for 2 USB and D-bracket for 2 USB
                                              tion port, D-bracket for 2                              and Game Port, D-        FireWire, D-bracket for
                                              USB, D-bracket for 2                                    bracket for FIreWire,    printer port, Top Hat
                                              FireWire and LAN,                                       SLI bridge with reten-   BIOS recovery tool, cross
                                              External SATA                                           tion bracket             over cable
                                              connector,WiFi antenna
     Performance                              37.09                          36.95                     37.36                   36.91                    36.98
     Far Cry 1024x868/1600x1200 (fps)         121.52/104.73                  120.62/104.95             121.82/103.56           123.2/104.12             123.79/106.68
     Doom 3 1024x868/1600x1200 (fps)          100.7/85.2                     99.8/85                   99.1/86.5               104.1/85.6               102.8/86.6
     3D Mark 2005 Marks/CPU Marks             6959/4829                      6932/4898                 6957/4860               6943/5149                6967/5338
     PC Mark 2004
     CPU Index/Memory Index                   5245/5455                      5393/5214                 5283/5538               5518/5469                5486/5477
     Graphics Index/Disk Index                8162/4333                      8171/4342                 8187/4672               8209/4427                8193/4406
     Total Score                              5415                           5405                      5410                    5485                     5464
     SiSoft Sandra 2005 Professional
     ALU to RAM/FPU to RAM (MB/s)             4804/4799                      4717/4718                 4820/4809               4773/4774                4837/4838
     CPU Dryhstone/Whetstone                  10526/4302                     10489/4279                10451/4307              10452/4273               10469/4287
     Multimedia—CPU Integer/FPU SSE           25576/32722                    25472/33989               25446/31750             25409/33793              25448/33902
     Drive Index (MB/sec)/Average access      50/8                           49/8                      50/8                    46/8                     44/8
     time (sec)
     Sequential/Random Read (MB/sec)          56/39                          56/39                     56/40                   53/37                    51/35
     Sequential/Random Write (MB/sec)         56/43                          55/42                     56/41                   52/37                    52/38
     ZDBench Business Winstone 2004           25.6                           25.6                      26.6                    24.4                     24.6
     Video Encoding (sec)                     119                            121                       120                     118                      119
     Price Index                              3.83                           8.50                      3.83                    6.99                     6.49
     Price (Rs)                               16,000                         7,200                     16,000                  8,750                    9,425
     Total Score (Out of 100)                 70.25                          66.55                     76.78                   69.24                    72.09




                                                                                 Good price to                                  Good price to
                                                  Good performance,
                                                                                 performance ratio      Good performance        performance ratio             Good performance
                                                  WiFi capable
                                                                                 Low on features and    and SLI capable         Does not support dual         Ordinary package
                                                  Very Expensive, does not
                                                                                 package contents       Very Expensive          core processors               contents
                                                  support dual-core CPUs



54       DIGIT NOVEMBER 2005
                                                                                                                              NOVEMBER 2005              NOVEMBER 2005


Gigabyte                   Gigabyte                MSI                      MSI                      MSI                      MSI                        MSI
i-DNA GA-8I945G Pro        i-DNA GA-8I955X         915G Neo3-FIR            915P Neo2 Platinum       925XE Neo Platinum       P4N Diamond                P4N SLI
                           Royal
Intel 945G                 Intel 955X              Intel 915G               Intel 915P               Intel 925 XE             NVIDIA nForce4 SLI         NVIDIA nForce4 SLI
29.00                      33.73                   23.00                    23.92                    26.53                    36.92                      34.00
P-4 Dual Core              P-4 Dual Core           P-4                      P-4                      P-4                      P-4 Dual Core              P-4 Dual Core
DDR II/667/4               DDR II/888/4            DDR/400/4                DDR II/533/4             DDR II/533/4             DDR II/667/4               DDR II/667/4

6                          6                       6                        6                        6                        4                          4
3                          3+2 PCIe                3+1 PCIe                 3+2 PCIe                 3+2 PCIe                 2+2 PCIe                   2+2 PCIe
1/b                        1/b                     Pin header 2/a           Pin header 2/a           1/a                      1/a                        1/a
6/6                        4/6                     6/6                      6/6                      6/6                      4/4                        6/6
4                          4                       4                        4                        4                        4                          4
Gigabit                    Dual Gigabit            Gigabit                  Gigabit                  Gigabit + 10/100         Dual Gigabit               Dual Gigabit
0,1,0+1,5                  0,1,0+1,5,Matrix        0,1,0+1,Matrix           0,1,0+1,Matrix           0,1,Matrix               0,1,0+1,5,JBOD             0,1,0+1,5,JBOD
II/4/4                     II/6/4                  I/4/6                    I/4/6                    I/4/4                    II/4/4                     II/4/Y
SPDIF out, Intel GMA 900   Dual BIOS, SPDIF        SPDIF out, Intel GMA     Coaxial and SPDIF out    Coaxial and SPDIF out    Creative Sound Blaster     Coaxial and SPDIF out
                           IN/Out, optical out     900                                                                        Live! 24-bit on-board,
                                                                                                                              Coaxial and SPDIF out

4                          4                       4.5                      3                        4                        4                          4
3.5                        3.5                     3.75                     3.5                      4                        4                          4
5                          5                       0                        5                        5                        5                          5
3                          3                       5                        5                        5                        5                          5

4/4                        4/4                     4/4                      4/4                      4/4                      4/4                        4/4
2 SATA, SATA power, IDE,   4 SATA, 3 SATA power,   2 SATA, SATA power,      2 SATA, 2 SATA power,    2 SATA, SATA power,      2 SATA, SATA power,        2 SATA, SATA
floppy                     IDE, floppy             IDE, floppy              IDE, floppy              IDE, floppy              IDE, floppy                power,IDE, floppy
D-bracket for 2 USB and    Bluetooth USB dongle,   2 D-brackets for 2 USB   2 D-brackets for 2 USB   2 D-brackets for 2 USB   WiFi-Bluetooth combo       SLI bridge with reten-
2 FireWire                 U-Plus D.P.S. dual      and 2 FireWire           and 2 FireWire           and 2 FireWire           card, SLI bridge, exter-   tion bracket, D-brack-
                           power system                                                                                       nal SATA port, D-brack-    et for 2 FireWire
                                                                                                                              et for 2 USB


36.14                      37.32                   34.98                    35.83                    36.73                    37.71                      37.97
119.14/103.95              134.79/104.87           118.46/103.61            123.68/104.22            129.05/104.6             125.46/107.25              125.87/107.47
94.1/83.3                  103.2/87.5              97.1/83.7                100.9/84                 102.2/86.7               104.1/88.3                 105.3/89.5
6864/4576                  6971/5357               6754/3920                6934/4206                6965/5229                7021/5284                  7037/5310

5492/4823                  5510/5498               5380/3587                4652/5393                5492/5473                5552/5542                  5579/5550
8177/4411                  8208/4432               8040/4394                8208/4393                8213/4378                8215/4768                  8218/4788
5354                       5491                    5220                     5077                     5516                     5482                       5500

4364/4366                  4845/4847               4252/4258                4850/4855                4769/4771                4827/4811                  4835/4825
10510/4313                 10488/4297              10487/4291               9392/4344                10482/4311               10483/4308                 10525/4316
25586/34087                24461/33923             25466/33925              25661/29580              25447/33833              25445/33931                25559/34043
45/8                       45/8                    42/8                     41/8                     41/8                     49/8                       49/8

52/35                      52/36                   45/35                    45/33                    45/34                    56/39                      56/39
54/41                      54/40                   46/36                    45/36                    45/36                    55/42                      55/41
24.6                       25.2                    23.6                     25.2                     24.8                     25.9                       26.3
118                        119                     119                      118                      120                      120                        118
6.33                       3.41                    7.65                     5.10                     4.71                     3.50                       4.74
9,675                      17,950                  8,000                    12,000                   13,000                   17,500                     12,900
71.47                      74.45                   65.62                    64.85                    67.97                    78.13                      76.72




Good performance,                                      Good price to            None                     None                     Good performance
onboard graphics               Good performance,       performance ratio        Does not support         Does not support         and package                Great performance
Ordinary package               Bluetooth capable       Does not support         dual-core                dual-core                contents                   and SLI capable
contents                       Very Expensive          dual-core CPUs           processors               processors               Very Expensive             None



                                                                                                                                              NOVEMBER 2005 DIGIT                 55
          Digital Passion l Test Centre
          Performance
          Gaming                                                                                           NOVEMBER 2005
          In FarCry, while the Gigabyte i-DNA GA-8I955X
          Royal topped the table with 134.79 fps at 1024 x
          768, the MSI P4N SLI topped with 107.47 fps at the
          higher resolution of 1600 x 1200. Not far behind
          was the MSI P4N Diamond, which scored 107.25
          fps at 1600 x 1200. In the Doom 3 benchmark, the
          MSI P4N SLI was the top scorer with the P4N
          Diamond following closely at both resolutions.
          Hence these are better motherboards for gamers.

          Synthetic Benchmarks
          In 3DMark05, the MSI P4N SLI was again the top
          scorer, with 7037 marks—so, along with gaming,
          this board is good for multimedia applications
          such as Maya and 3D Studio Max.                                                                            MSI P4N-SLI.
              PCMark 2004 is a system-wide test. The top
          scorer here was yet again the MSI P4N SLI,                                                                 byte GA-8I955X was the highest-priced mother-
          again closely followed by the MSI P4N                                                                      board at Rs 17,950, and the MSI P4N Diamond is
          Diamond. In almost all the sub-tests here, the                                                             at Rs 17,500. The ASUS P5LD2-VM was the least
          P4N SLI fared well, and so can be considered a                                                             expensive at Rs 7,200, but this board was also the
          board around which a system with good over-                                                                one with the lowest feature points.
          all performance can be built.                                                                                  We took features, performance and price
              In SiSoft Sandra 2005, the memory                                                                      into account, as always, and the Digit Best Buy
          bandwidth scores were almost the same for most                                                             Gold winner was the MSI P4N Diamond.
          of the boards, and so there was no clear winner.                                                               Deciding the Silver winner was a problem
          In the CPU benchmarks, the ASUS P5AD2-E                                                                    because two boards scored almost the same in
          Premium, Gigabyte i-DNA GA-8I945G Pro and MSI                                                              the final tally. So a tie it was to be, and the Digit
          P4N SLI were the better performers, and there                                                              Best Buy Silver goes jointly to the ASUS Proac-
          wasn’t much difference between these three.                                                                tive P5ND2-SLI Deluxe and the MSI P4N SLI.

          Real-World benchmarks                                                                                      The Overall Conclusion
          In video encoding, again, there wasn’t much                                                                A motherboard is as important a component
          difference between the boards. The encoding time                                                           of a computer as the CPU, and is a major
          ranged from 118 to 121 seconds, which is not suffi-                                                        contributing factor to the general perform-
          cient to make a decision about which board is                                                              ance and features you can access on a PC. After
          better. Hence, for video encoding applications,                                                            all, it is the mother-board.
          any of these boards would be as good as the other.                                                             We tested twenty high-end, cutting-edge
              In the ZDBench Business Winstone 2004 test,                                                            motherboards on which you can really enjoy
          the ASUS P5ND2-SLI Deluxe scored 26.6, followed                                                            gaming as well as entertainment, and on
          very closely by the MSI P4N SLI with 26.3. Since                                                           which you get rich high- definition audio.
          this is a real-world test—it reflects real-world                                                           These boards are all made to perfectly compl
          performance—the high-scoring motherboards                                                                  ment high-end processors such as dual-cores,
          are the ones which will perform better in office                                                           and high-end peripherals such as PCIe grap ics
          and similar applications.                                                                                  cards, low-latency RAM and high-speed SATA
                                                                                                                     II hard drives–delivering the best performance
          The Conclusion (Intel Motherboards)                                                                        any enthusiast could hope for.
          When we’re talking about features, the MSI                                                                     Some motherboards such as the DFI
          P4N Diamond was the best, with nice bundled                                                                LanParty are specifically targeted at, as the
          accessories such as the Bluetooth and Wi-Fi                                                                name suggests, avid gamers. If you’re wonder-
          combo card and the on-board Creative Sound-                                                                ing, a LAN party is when a group of gamers
          Blaster Live! 24-bit sound chip. Also good on the                                                          come together–usually over the weekend–
          features front was the ASUS Proactive P5ND2-                                                               with their gaming rigs which they hook
          SLI Deluxe, which bundled some good acces-                                                                 up to a LAN, and play as long as they possibly
          sories and an external SATA port.                                                                          can. Because it is a party, (junk) food and drink
              Performance-wise, the ASUS P5ND2-SLI Deluxe,                                                           is always involved, along with lots of multi-
          Gigabyte GA-8I955X, MSI P4N Diamond and MSI                                                                player games.
          P4N SLI were almost neck-and-neck. But the Giga-                                                               Several of the boards we’ve tested featured
                                                                                                                     nVidia’s SLI interface, which is sure to become
          Contact Sheet                                    Motherboards                                              the norm of the future. Similarly, ATi’s Cross-
                                                                                                                     Fire (which is similar to nVidia’s SLI, but which
     Brand      Company                           Telephone E-mail                          Web site
                Rashi Peripherals Pvt Ltd                        asus@rptechindia.com       http://in.asus.com
                                                                                                                     is more flexible and which supports only ATi’s
     ASUS                                         022-28221013
     DFI        Cyber Space Abacus Pvt Ltd        044-52154188   info@theitdepot.com        www.dfi.com              PCIe graphics cards) is expected to arrive soon,
     ECS        Cyberstar Infocom Ltd             080-30961193   elite@cyberstarindia.com   www.ecs.com.tw           and time will tell whether SLI and CrossFire
     Foxconn    Mediatech India                   022-26361111   digit@mediatechindia.com   www.foxconnchannel.com   will happily coexist–or whether there will be
     Gigabyte   Gigabyte Technology (India) Ltd   022-26526696   sales@gigabyte.in          www.gigabyte.in          an all-out battle.
     MSI        Micro-Star International          011-51758808   info@msi-india.com         www.msi-india.com
                                                                                                                                              jayesh_limaye@thinkdigit.com

56        DIGIT NOVEMBER 2005
                                         Brought to you by




                                             THIS MONTH’S CHALLENGE
       How would you change the
       colour of the Windows
       Command Prompt—both
                                            Change the AutoComplete
       the text and background
       colour—as well as the key
       assigned for AutoComplete,
                                            key and colour of the
       from [Tab] to [Ctrl] + [F]
       (without using
       third-party utilities)?
                                            Windows XP
       Write in with the subject
       ‘Take a crack’, and your             command prompt
       postal address, to
       takeacrack@thinkdigit.com
       with your solution


     LAST MONTH’S CHALLENGE                 Hide the Themes, Screensaver, Appearance and Settings as well as
                                            prevent changing the Desktop wallpaper


 Win!
                                             You can hide the themes, screensaver,                     To remove the screensaver tab, go to
                                             appearance and settings in the ‘Display               HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\
                                             Properties’ window, by two methods—using              Windows\Current Version\Policies\System.
                                             the Group Policy Editor or via the Registry.          Create a DWORD called “NoDispScrSavPage”
                                                 The first method is by using the Group            and set the DWORD value to “1”.
                                             Policy Editor. To start it, go to Start > Run, type       To remove the Appearance and Theme
                                             in “gpedit.msc” and press OK.                         tabs, go to HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software
                                                 Go to the User Configuration tab and then         \Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion
                                             to ‘Administrative Templates’. Then go to             \Policies\System. There, create a DWORD
                                             ‘Control Panel’, and there, select ‘Display’.         called “NoDispAppearencePage” and set the
                                                                                                   DWORD value to “1”.
                                                                                                       To remove the Settings tab, go to
     Take a Crack                                                                                  HKEY_CURENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\
     and Win                                                                                       Windows\Current Version\Policies\System.
     Professional DCOM                                                                             Now create a DWORD called
     Application
                                                                                                   “NoDispSettingsPage” and set the DWORD
     By Jonathan Pinnock
     Published by Shroff Pulishers &
                                                                                                   value to “1”.
     Distributors Pvt Ltd


      LAST MONTH’S WINNER
             KP Peter
         Mech (AR) 3, NIAT,                  Use GPEdit.msc to disable the
         Naval Base, Kochi                   Appearance and Themes Tab
              Kerala                              Double-click ‘Hide Appearance and Themes
                                             tab’, then click the ‘Enable’ radio button.
     Rules and Regulations                   Click ‘Apply’, then ‘OK’. Your ‘Appearance
         Readers are requested to send       and Themes’ tab will disappear from the
     in their answers by the 15th of         display properties.
     the month of publication.
                                                  In the same way, you can select ‘Hide
         Employees of Jasubhai               Screen Saver tab’, and ‘Hide Settings tab’ to
     Digital Media and their relatives       hide the screensaver and the settings from the
     are not permitted to participate        display properties. Similarly, you can also
     in this contest.
                                             prevent changing of the wallpaper.
        Readers are encouraged to                 The second method is by using only the
                                                                                                   Display properties with only the Desktop tab
     send their replies by e-mail.           Registry Editor. To prevent changing of the
     Jasubhai Digital Media will not         wallpaper, navigate to HKEY_CURRENT_USER                  If the System key we’ve mentioned isn’t
     entertain any unsolicited
     communication.                          \Software\Microsoft\Windows\Current                   there, you’ll need to create it under ‘Policies’
                                             Version\Policies\ ActiveDesktop (if the key           by right-clicking on ‘Policies’, then selecting
         Jasubhai Digital Media is           isn’t there already, create it.)                      New > Key. Rename it to “System”. Similarly,
     not responsible for any damage               Once there, create a DWORD called                NoDispScrSavPage, NoDispAppearencePage
     to your system that may be
     caused while you are trying to          “NoChangingWallpaper”. Set the DWORD                  and NoDispSettingsPage can be created by
     solve the problem.                      value to “1” . (“1” is for disabling it, and “0”      clicking New > DWORD Value after right-
                                             is for enabling it.)                                  clicking ‘System’.

58     DIGIT NOVEMBER 2005
     Digital Passion | Geek Dreams

     Go click-happy with
     the new Kodak         C   an you click a photograph and e-mail it to
                               your friends from your camera? Have you
                           ever been able to upload the picture of a
                                                                                   With the Kodak EasyShare One, you can
                                                                               also print large still images with amazing
                                                                               clarity—20 x 30 inches. You can also organise
     EasyShare One—
     a Wi-Fi enabled       beautiful sunset you just shot to your home         your photos by album or by date and
     digital camera.       computer while you continue to enjoy the            accordingly view them. Moreover, there’s no
     It’s a dream come     sundown at the beach?                               need to transfer the pictures to the computer
     true for any              Yes, we’re talking Wi-Fi, and all you need is   for editing, because you can edit a photo and
     shutterbug worth      the Kodak EasyShare One—a sleek Wi-Fi-              add a caption to it on the camera itself! Now
     his salt!             enabled digital camera that gives a whole new       that’s what we call “living wirefree”!
                           meaning to the term ‘click and send.’
                               Mind you, it’s not just another digital
                           camera with some neat features. The Kodak
                           EasyShare One has a Schneider-Kreuznach
                           lens, 256 MB of internal memory, a three-inch
                           high-resolution LCD touchscreen with stylus, 4-
                           megapixel resolution with 3x optical zoom,
                           VGA quality video and sound. Phew, just try
                           saying that sentence in one breath!




     Kodak EasyShare-One




                                                                                                           Imaging Sivalal S

60   DIGIT NOVEMBER 2005
                Digital Passion l 30 Days With...
     Digital Passion l 30 days with...



                    SONY PlayStation Por
                   Aditya Kuber         table
                   T   he moment I saw th
                       But hey, it’s worth
                                             e shiny new Sony PS
                                           the time I got to sp
                                                                  P in office, I just ha
                                                               end with this baby!
                                                                                        d to use it. That’s ho
                                                                                                              w I got talked into
                                                                                                                                  writing this.
                 Day 1: Love At First
                                           Sight
                 As I held the PSP, a str                                               Day 18: It Comes At
                                          ange feeling crept over                                                A Cost
                 had only read about it                            me. So far, I       As the time to return
                                           and seen pictures, but                                              the PSP approached, I
                 using the PSP in office                           actually            contemplated buying                              actually
                                          and getting awestruck                                                one so I would never ha
                colleagues made me fee                             glances from        that empty feeling ag                             ve to endure
                                          l great. Hey, I was in                                              ain. Once more, it was
                own. First thing I did                           a world of my        wife did not approve                             something the
                                         was transfer songs (al                                              much of. In fact, when
                8 on the 32MB card) an                          beit only about       that it cost Rs 19,000-p                         I found out
                                          d check the playback.                                                lus, I started having sec
                                                                 Rocking!             myself. Was it so good                             ond thoughts
                Day 3: All Else Is Se                                                                         ? Was I so smitten? Hm
                                        cond Fiddle                                                                                      m…
               The weekend was finall                                                 Day 24: A Hard Decis
                                         y here and I could now                                                  ion
               time with the PSP. A fac                           spend more         I realised that I wanted
                                         t my wife did not appr                                                  the PSP, but not at the
               But, to be totally hone                            ove of much.       price. Why? Because the                              current
                                       st, she too was smitten                                                  re were more investme
               black looks and the ma                           by the sleek         to use it the way inten                            nts involved
                                        ssive screen. Heh!                                                   ded. For instance, as a
                   All along, I admired the                                         Media Player. I would                              Portable
                                              quality and layout of                                          have to buy more memo
              screen. It was magnifi                                 the            and this would be a su                              ry card(s)
                                      cent. Every time I played                                              bstantial investment.
              watched videos), I had                             a game (or         had no FM Tuner. I am                             Moreover, it
                                       to wonder where I had                                                  a music aficionado bu
              such good quality…                                ever seen           a gamer. Of course, som                            t not much of
                                                                                                              e peripheral features tha
                                                                                   offers are important.                                  t the PSP
                Day 4: It Gets Bette                                                                       However, for now, I de
                                        r And Better                               that money in a phon                            cided to invest
                Guests at home and I                                                                       e that offered all these
                                         could not help but show                   one day, I would save                             options. Maybe
               Soon enough, it was the                             off the PSP.                            and buy the PSP.
                                           talking point of the da
               an interesting event ha                             y. And then    Day 30: Love’s Labo
                                          ppened. Children (aged                                         ur Lost
               smitten by the PSP an                               4) were soon Despite
                                        d much to my amazem                                my decision to not bu
              handle the volume con                             ent, could even parti                              y the PSP, the farewell
                                        trols when I played som                        cularly painful and I                                was
              games for them. Their                              e sample                                      felt as if a part of me
                                        next request, though,                    missing that day. Not                                  went
              I could not fulfil: “The                         was something cer                         to get all misty eyed, I
                                        cartoon channel” didn’t                     tainly have liked to ow                        would
              PSP! That was it for the                            show on the memo                          n it… but for the lack
                                         m. Still, a brownie po                        ry (may be 4 GB would                          of internal
             for being so user-frien                           int to the PSP                                     work, too) and the res
                                      dly.                                       pricing. I think Rs 12,00                                 trictive
                                                                                                          0 (which is what it cos
                                                                                would have been ideal.                              ts in Japan)
             Day 10: Strutting M                                                                         Anyway, all good thing
                                       y Stuff                                  sometime as did my life                             s must end
             By now, I was so used                                                                        with the PSP.
                                      to having the PSP arou                    For now!
            stopped playing game                               nd, that I had
                                      s on the PC and was ho                              aditya_kuber@thinkdi
            Racer on the UMD (Univ                             oked to Ridge                                  git.com
                                        ersal Media Disc). I ha
            top spot and after ten                              d to move to
                                      days, I was closer than
           The controls on the PS                              ever.
                                     P are feather touch an
           intuitively. It does need                         d respond
                                       some getting used to.
          ride to work, the music                             On my bus
                                       on the PSP had taken
          world. I completely en                              over my
                                    joyed the stares it ind
          “WOW” was the most-                              uced.
                                    heard exclamation.




                                                                                                                          Imaging Sivala
62   DIGIT NOVEMBER 2005                                                                                                                l S Photograph
                                                                                                                                                       Sandeep Patil
                                                                                                                     Digital Tools l Jumpstart

                                                                                                   Digital


                           68 Driving Data 92 New &PSP
                                              Sony
                                                    Notable:
                                                             103                   Shoot To
                                                                                   Capture!
                                                                                                   Tools
                                                                                                   Technology For Personal And SoHo Productivity



                          Enhance



                          Order, Order!                                                            best bet for all uses. If you have to work more
                                                                                                   out of office than on the field, Outlook is the
                          It’s time to put   Aditya Kuber                                          most robust software of them all. It has enough
                          the house in                                                             scope to let you store as many contacts as you


                                             I
                                                 nformation overload is a part of life today and   may know and then use them in the most effec-
                          order—and for          it’s important to know how to deal with it. The   tive manner possible.
                          once, know             more the people we know online and offline,           Outlook lets you use your contacts for more
                                             the tougher it becomes to maintain their contact      than just reference. In fact, you can run the
                          where that         and correspondence information. A Personal            entire Outlook package from just the
                          elusive phone      Information Manager (PIM) is a must-have in           ‘Contacts’ section!
                          number or e-mail   today’s hyper-connected world: it’s something             What are the essential pieces of information
                                             that lets you store all contact and schedule infor-   of a contact? Name, address, phone number, date
                          address is         mation, and in some cases even correspondence         of birth, work place, office contact details,
                                             records, in one place. Gone are the days of carry-    anniversary date, duplicate contacts and then
                                             ing bulky Filofaxes or multiple phone books—the       some notes. This, we would think, is the bare
                                             e-age of information management is in.                minimum. But how do you keep it up to date?
                                                                                                   More importantly, how does one use all this infor-
                                                                      The Outlook Way              mation? Sooner or later, there’s enough that will
                                                                         Of all the PIMs avail-    make the labyrinth of data unnavigable.
                                                                           able—whether                Outlook takes care of all this and more
                                                                             free or paid—         thanks to the easy-to-navigate user interface that
                                                                                Outlook is the     sorts all kinds of entries by name (or date). You
Photograph Jiten Gandhi




                                                                                                                                 NOVEMBER 2005 DIGIT    65
     Digital Tools l Enhance




                                                                                        Essential PIM: Would you like to import all Outlook info?




     Outlook: The real Personal Information Manager

     can also navigate to all entries beginning with a
     particular letter at just the click of a button!
          Coming to the actual uses of a contact entry
     in Outlook, the question that needs to be asked
     is what all would you like to do. Sending e-mail,
     creating a reminder or scheduling a meeting is
     all just a click away.
          Outlook allows users not merely to do every-
     day tasks, but also get interactive with e-mail.
     Take the example of voting on a subject: people
     need not be present physically, and can just click                                 Nicely laid out parts of the Essential PIM
     ‘Yes’ or ‘No’—and a consensus can be had over e-
     mail. What’s better is that this also ensures                                         If you are using a PDA phone (or even a
     confidentiality and speed of response. The                                         smartphone), it is always recommended that
     respondents could also add their notes or                                          you regularly back up all your phone data via
     reasons for their vote.                                                            Bluetooth, IR or a data cable. Almost all phones
          Synchronising your contacts too, is easier, as                                (and corresponding sync software) are capable
     is taking a backup when migrating computers                                        of detecting changes to even a single field
     or just clearing up disk space. It’s time to change                                in data that is already present as backup.
     your Outlook, eh?                                                                  This ensures that you don’t have to worry
                                                                                        about updated or changed contacts not being
     Mobile PIM                                                                         backed up.
     If you happen to be an on-the-go professional
     who collects more phone numbers and visiting                                       Outlook And Mobile?
     cards than you can remember, there are ways for                                    Now here’s the interesting part. The data you
     you to organise your innumerable contacts.                                         already have in your Outlook, and data you’ve
         With the changing times, we’re used to                                         backed up from your phone, can work together
     noting down new phone numbers directly on                                          and make your information management even
     our phones or PDAs. Often, we forget to                                            more robust. How?
     include other vital information such as the                                             There are problems in synchronising your
     company name, or why we have that number                                           handheld directly with Outlook, but there is a
     in the first place! It’s good practice to include                                  way around this. Better still, this could be a one-
     such info, because no amount of automation                                         time operation from Outlook by exporting your
     or technology can help you with information                                        contacts as a CSV (Comma Separated Values) file.
     that it does not know!                                                             In the case of Nokia PC Suite, you can then
                                                                                        export this file and have all your contacts sync
     Know Outlook Better                                                                with your handheld.
                                                                                             For devices by other manufacturers, the
     You can use MS Word as the default text editor in Outlook.                         same may not hold true, and you may have to
     You can include a rich text signature that features characters in bold, italics,   manually import (copy) contacts before synchro-
     and different font sizes in Outlook.                                               nising. But hey, it’s just once, and then, they’re
     Your Task List can also be shown on the Schedule Sheet and e-mailed as an          all in one place!
     assignment.
     You can view and print out your Schedule Sheet in more ways than one to            Third-Party PIMs
     ensure you have an optimised view of your activities.                              Freeware rules the world. Well, almost. So it’s
     Colour coding on the calendar allows you to identify the task (Personal,           not surprising that there are freeware to
     Business, Birthday) at a glance. You can even share this with your team or         counter the PIM problem as well. Another
     assistant and mark whether you will be out of office or not.                       reason for using freeware is that it’s legal, and
                                                                                        you won’t be using pirated versions of Outlook.

66   DIGIT NOVEMBER 2005
                                       Digital Tools l Enhance




Colour coding of various tasks makes it more navigable




Adding a new task to Essential PIM is as simple as using Outlook

     Take, for example, the ‘Essential PIM’. It
works well enough, and in fact, acts and looks
just like Outlook. It has all the essentials
Outlook has and upon installation, even offers
to import all contacts and information (such as
tasks and schedules) from Outlook. The points it
scores over Outlook are the colour interface and
the fact that it’s free.
     The one thing missing here is the ability to
send e-mail. But the point of using this is to
avoid spending on the MS Office suite only for
Outlook. Essential PIM, and Opera or the Mozilla
suite for your e-mailing needs, is a great combo.
And you still have all your information and
schedules in one place.
     Essential PIM is also a good option to just
back up your Outlook contacts from time to
time. We all know how prone Microsoft prod-
ucts are to crashes, and it’s a good idea to have
your backup in an interface that looks and
behaves like Outlook does.
     Despite these pitfalls, we will maintain that
Outlook is the best because it’s just what a PIM
should be and do. The interoperability between
its various functions, the robust mail client, and
the way it works with other products from the
MS Office suite is marvellous.
                       aditya_kuber@thinkdigit.com

                                                                   NOVEMBER 2005 DIGIT   67
Imaging Pradip Ingale
Photograph Jiten Gandhi
                                                                           Digital Tools l Test Centre

Money can replace anything in your computer—except your beloved hard disk,
which holds all your data! The venerable HDD has undergone changes over the past
couple of years. Here’s a shootout to help you choose your primary storage solution

                                          Other than speeds, storage       which is a welcome feature since
Anup Nair and Deepak Dhingra          capacities, too, have been on the    some motherboards do not sup-
                                      rise, as you know only too well.     port the faster version. (See box



T
        he Pentium I machines         Desktop machines now feature         How We Tested.)
        that hit the Indian           hard disks with capacities of
        market in the early ’90s      250 GB and even 500 GB. You          Features
        were equipped with hard       might criticise the need for such    Before we settle down to com-
disks of capacities less than 1 GB,   humongous capacities, but some       paring the drives on the basis of
and ran Windows 3.1. Now, a little    people do need this much space,      features, let’s do away with the
over a decade later, it’s difficult   even on a desktop machine—           odd ones in the lot—the Sam-
for us to find a gig of free space    people like gamers, professionals    sung SP0411N and SV0411N.
even on our 80 GB hard disks!         in animation and graphic             These are IDE drives with a 2 MB
    Those who’ve been associated      imaging, and so on.                  buffer; and moreover, the
with computers for the past               A PC game of today can con-      SV0411N, at 5400 rpm, was way
decade would recollect the 32 GB      sume two to five GB of disk space:   below par. It’s not really fair to
limit—an indication of how early      for example, Unreal Tournament       compare this disk with the
motherboard        manufacturers      2004 takes up four GB. If you’re     others, but we did it anyway—
underestimated the development        using a 40 GB disk, you could        if the cost per GB turns out good,
of storage media.                     complete a game, then delete the     such disks can serve as large
    We have indeed come a long        installation to install and play     data dumps.
way. The most recent develop-         another one. But we don’t like to        The contest for the top spot
ment in the hard disk area is         do that—we like to keep every-       was very close indeed! The
SATA II, a major improvement          thing we’ve got! Similarly, most     Hitachi drive could have been
over the conventional parallel        of us dump movies and music          the absolute winner only if it
interface (IDE, short for Inte-       onto our drives, and find it psy-    had better shock resistance (it
grated Drive Electronics), and        chologically hard to delete a few    coul withstand 55G). The Sea-
somewhat of an improvement            to create some room.                 gate Barracuda (63G) and the
over its predecessor, SATA I.             So increased capacities and      Samsung SATA (63G as well)
Speeds have shot up from 150          speeds it will be, and SATA is the   drives, too, were behind the
MBps (in SATA I) to 300 GBps in       way to go.                           frontrunner, WD (65G)— only in
SATA II. Technologies such as             The test centre compared fif-    terms of shock resistance, how-
Native Command Queuing have           teen hard disks from five well-      ever. The Hot-Plug feature
made an entry into the SATA           known manufacturers. Several of      encourages one to carry disks in
specification, though these           these were SATA II, except for       and out of the machine, so high
require compatible mother-            Samsung’s two Parallel ATA           shock      resistance    becomes
boards for optimal perform-           drives. SATA II drives are back-     important—it is a measure of
ance.                                 ward-compatible with SATA I,         the portability of the hard disk.




                                                                                          DIGIT NOVEMBER 2005   69
         Digital Tools l Test Centre
              The Hitachi drives came with         sure rotational vibrations are coun-




                                                                                                                                                        Imaging Sivalal S Photograph Sandeep Patil
         a bootable floppy containing the          tered, so that the head reads data                                              NOVEMBER 2005
         ‘Hitachi Feature Tool’, using             with minimal errors.
         which we could change the drive               Based on support for both
         settings—from 1.5 Gbps to 3.0             types of power connectors, addi-
         Gbps—and even monitor the                 tional features, and shock resist-
         drive temperature.                        ance, WD edged out the Hitachi
              Most switched-mode power             drives to dictate terms in the Fea-
         supplies (SMPSes) have provision          tures section of the comparison.
         for the Molex power connector,
         which is the five-pin power con-          Performance
         nector used for CD-ROMs and IDE           The WD Raptor delivered out-
         hard disks. Provision for a separate      standing scores in the synthetic
         SATA power connector is usually           tests, followed by other members
         absent in SMPSes, so including            of the WD family, and the lone          Hitachi Deskstar HDS722525DLA380
         Molex power support along with a          Seagate. The Hitachi drives
         SATA power connector on the               recorded the highest burst                                   readings such as random and
         drive is a good thing. It would be        speeds in the HD-Tach bench-                                 sequential read/write, which is
         ideal if manufacturers such as Sea-       mark. However, there’s not much                              common with the other bench-
         gate, Samsung and Maxtor had              one can deduce from this, since                              mark      tool—SiSoft     Sandra.
         provided this.                            the operating speed of the drive                             Maxtor’s DiamondMax 10 trailed
              WD’s RAID Edition (Caviar            is much less than the burst                                  WD’s Raptor by a small margin in
         RE2) had a few features unique to         speed. At the same time, this                                average read and write speeds.
         the maker, namely RAID-TLER and           could have boosted Hitachi’s per-                            Note that the maximum and
         RAFF. (See box Jargon Buster.)            formance in the real-world tests.                            minimum read/write speeds is
              With the increase in capacity,                                                                    just an outcome of the graph that
         the data density on the platter           Synthetic Tests                                              HD-Tach plots while bench-
         increases, and the accuracy of the                                                                     marking; the highest peak is the
         head becomes important, espe-             HD-Tach                                                      maximum speed and the lowest
         cially in drives such as WD’s Raptor      HD-Tach reports the burst speed                              dip is the minimum speed.
         (it’s a 10,000 rpm disk). RAFF makes      of a drive in addition to other                              Taking the average of these

          How We Tested

     T  o ensure that all the disks got equal treatment, we maintained a
        common test bed that would meet the requirements of all the
     disks. We installed Windows XP on our hard disk—a Seagate
                                                                               write operations are in MB per second, while Access Time is
                                                                               in milli seconds.
                                                                                    The real-world test included the file transfer and Photoshop
     Barracuda 120 GB SATA. The test hard disk served, in each case, as        image load tests. We created a 700 MB assorted folder containing
     a secondary drive. The test bed was powered by an AMD FX53                files of various sizes and types, whereas a 700 MB video clip served
     processor on an Asus A8N SLI Deluxe motherboard, with 1 GB of             as the sequential file. The inter-drive transfer results were obtained
     Corsair DDR RAM and an ATi Radeon X850 XT 256 MB Platinum                 by recording the time taken for transferring 700 MB of assorted
     Edition.                                                                  and sequential data between the test hard disk and our primary
                                                                               hard disk (the one that had the OS on it).
     Features                                                                        A RAM drive is a virtual hard disk partition created using
     Among the nine listed features, points were only given to the type of     software. A pre-defined (712 MB) amount of RAM was allocated for
     power connector, additional features, and shock resistance, as the        this purpose. The intra-drive test was weighted over the other
     rest of the features contributed to the Performance and Cost Per GB       transfer tests as it tests the effectiveness of the drive’s buffer.
     factors. Most of the additional features—such as NCQ and Hot-Plug—              For the Photoshop image load test, we created image files of
     were common to all the drives, and some (such as RAFF, TLER and           varying sizes by increasing the resolution of a multi-layered image
     TCQ) were specific to the manufacturer; only the Parallel ATA drives      (in the PNG format). We created two FAT32 partitions on each test
     differed in additional features, so the considerable difference in        hard disk. The path to Photoshop’s scratch disk, which acts as a
     scores reflected only in the case of the Samsung’s parallel ATA drives.   virtual RAM space on a hard disk’s partition, was changed to the
     The variation in this segment was negligible among the other drives.      test sample’s first partition, and the images were stored in the
          Disks that supported both types of power connectors—Molex            second partition of the same test sample. The time taken to open
     and SATA—were awarded more points in the Features category.               the images was recorded as the observation.

     Performance                                                               Price Index And Warranty
     Our performance tests were classified into the synthetic tests and        We compared the drives based on cost per GB, obtained by the ratio
     the real-world tests. The synthetic tests included the HD-Tach and        of price to formatted capacity. Drives that had a higher capacity at a
     SiSoft Sandra benchmarking tools.                                         lower price scored higher on the Price Index. Warranties were either
         HD-Tach runs on a raw partition. We did not award points to the       three or five years, and points were awarded accordingly.
     minimum and maximum read/write speeds, since the data from
     those readings was considered inconsistent. Points were therefore         Picking The Winners
     allotted to average read and write speeds, CPU usage, burst speeds        The scores from Features, Performance, Price Index and Warranty
     and random access time.                                                   were scaled out of 100 with relevant weightages given to each. The
         We used SiSoft Sandra’s File System benchmark to estimate             product that scored the highest was awarded the Digit Best Buy
     the Drive Index, Sequential Read, Sequential Write, Random                Gold, and the one that trailed the Gold winner was adjudged the
     Read, Random Write and Access Time. The score for read and                Digit Best Buy Silver.


70       DIGIT NOVEMBER 2005
                                                                                                       Digital Tools l Test Centre
doesn’t make sense. It’s the real      Real-World Tests
average read and average write         The real-world tests are classified          NOVEMBER 2005
speed that should be looked at,        into two broad areas—file transfer
rather than the maximum and            time and Photoshop image load
minimum values.                        time, as explained in How We Tested.
                                       Real world tests are designed to
SiSoft Sandra                          provide information that you can
When we converted the bench-           easily identify with so as to judge
mark scores obtained from SiSoft       the performance of a drive. A 700
Sandra to evaluation points, the       MB data transfer between two
lone Seagate—the Barracuda             disks was timed in seconds, and
7200.8—was right on top. This 400      the results are presented in the
GB, 1.5 Gbps drive with an 8 MB        table of results.
buffer delivered scores that edged          The file transfer test is classified
out the top performers of WD,          into three sections—inter-drive,            Western Digital Caviar SE WD2500KS-22MJBO
Hitachi and Maxtor.                    RAM drive, and intra-drive. The
   The results we obtained             disk’s speed is tested to its limits as                             Time to check out the real
using SiSoft Sandra’s File             it tries to match the speed of the                             transfer rates of the drives! Inter-
System benchmark gave us infor-        RAM. The speed at which the data                               drive file transfer was carried out
mation about the Sequential            transfer occurs wholly depends on                              between a test-bed SATA disk and
Read, Sequential Write, Random         the drive’s read/write speed,                                  the test samples. The intra-drive
Read, Random Write, Access             spindle speed and access time.                                 file transfer tests the effectiveness
Time and overall Drive Index.               Technically, the 10,000 rpm                               of the buffer of each of the test
While HD-Tach rated Raptor very        Raptor had to perform well in this                             samples, as the buffer synchro-
high for its access time, SiSoft       test, and it did. The Seagate man-                             nises the data transfer between
Sandra’s result for the same           aged to narrowly edge out the                                  drives or between two partitions
parameter was misleading. We           Raptor in one of the four recorded                             on the same drive.
repeated the test but ended up         timings. In the rest of the transfer                                The inter-drive test results may
with the same results.                 tests, both drives were neck-to-neck.                          confuse you—case in point: the

     Jargon Buster
 NCQ (Native Command Queuing): By              select the next command, based on what           RAFF (Rotary Acceleration Feed
 command queuing, the hard disk accepts        data is closest rotationally to the head’s       Forward): This technology is designed
 multiple commands from the host               current position.                                for Western Digital hard drives—the
 controller and rearranges them into a             NCQ is native to SATA drives.                Raptor and the Caviar RE2. The rpm of
 completion order. The major portion of        However, some early SATA drives may not          Raptor drives is very high (10,000 rpm),
 the drive’s command service time is seek      include this feature.                            so rotational vibrations are unavoidable.
 and rotational delay for the drive head.      SATA (Serial Advanced Technology                 By implementing RAFF, rotational
      NCQ is an advancement over LCQ           Attachment): Most of us know about the           vibrations can be cancelled to provide
 (Legacy Command Queuing). To                  IDE cable, which is used to connect hard         better and more accurate performance.
 understand the importance of NCQ we           disks and optical devices such as a CD-          S.M.A.R.T. (Self Monitoring And
 need to know how LCQ functions.               ROM to the motherboard. SATA is no               Reporting Technology): Most hard disks
      Not all data on a hard disk is stored    different from the perspective of this           now have SMART inbuilt. This is a
 sequentially. Random data, or data that is    primary purpose. It is essentially a             protocol used to report the device status
 part of a folder, may not be placed           serially-communicating interface that not        to the host machine. A SMART-enabled
 contiguously on the disk surface.             only works faster than the conventional          hard drive constantly monitors itself for
      Imagine we have scattered data A, B,     parallel interface, it is also longer in         any kind of discrepancy, and reports any
 C, D and E on sectors 1, 5, 2, 4 and 3        length (up to 1.5 metres) and smaller in         problem so you can take corrective
 respectively of the disk. Whenever this       width. SATA was introduced with a speed          action. The primary corrective action is
 block of data is called by the processor,     of 150 MBps. Further research led to the         taking a backup of your data and then
 the disk will queue the data as A, B, C, D    development of SATA II, with a transfer          trying various disk utilities tools to check
 and E. So, the hard disk head will first      rate of 300 MBps.                                your disk.
 approach sector 1 to take data A, then it     TLER (Time Limited Error Recovery):              Hot-Swap and Hot-Plug: ‘Hot-Swap’
 will move to sector 5 to take data B,         Most desktop hard drives are designed            and ‘Hot-Plug’ are sometimes used
 skipping data C, which is on the              considering regular operation,                   interchangeably. Hot-Swap means you
 immediate sector. It only takes a few         assuming there is no RAID card. All              can remove a drive and replace it with
 milliseconds for an extra rotation to read    desktop drives include read/write error          another without interrupting the
 data C, but consider a hard disk full of      correction, but they do not issue error          system; an example where this would
 such fragmented data. Thus hundreds           messages or respond to commands by               be used is in a mirrored storage system
 (and probably thousands) of rotations are     the RAID adaptor. If error correction            on a server.
 wasted, and this is how LCQ works.            takes time, the RAID controller drops                Hot-Plug lets you plug in a new
       The drive can use rotational            the RAID volume as a non-responsive              device while the system is running. Care
 optimisations to select the next command      drive. This problem is most common in            should be taken while removing a
 to complete, so that the major                ATA drives. TLER was essentially                 device this way. A Hot-Plugged device
 components of the service time—seek and       enabled in Western Digital Caviar RE2,           should be detached only after using
 rotational delay—are minimised. NCQ           as this drive was designed considering           some kind of un-mounting option
 does this by enabling the hard disk to        RAID operation.                                  available on the host OS.


                                                                                                                        NOVEMBER 2005 DIGIT    71
       Digital Tools l Test Centre

                                                                   NOVEMBER 2005
       Scoreboard                                                                                       Hard Disk Drives
 BRAND                                    Hitachi                  Hitachi                Hitachi                  Maxtor                 Maxtor                Samsung
 Model (Series)                           Deskstar                 Deskstar               Deskstar                 DiamondMax 10          Maxline III           SpinPoint P
 Model Number                             HDS728080PLA380          HDT722525DLA380        HDS725050KLA360          6B300S0                                      HD080HJ
 Features                                 16.75                    16.75                  16.75                    9.82                   9.82                  10.10
 Capacity (GB)                            80                       250                    500                      300                    300                   80
 Formatted Capacity (GB)                  76.69                    232.88                 465.76                   279.48                 279.48                74.53
 Spindle Speed (RPM)                      7200                     7200                   7200                     7200                   7200                  7200
 Interface Type (ATA133/SATA)             SATA - II                SATA - II              SATA - II                SATA - I               SATA - I              SATA - II
 Interface Speed                          3.0 Gbit/s               3.0 Gbits/s            3.0 Gbits/s              1.5 Gbits/s            1.5 Gbits/s           3.0 Gbits/s
 Data Buffer Size (MB)                    8                        8                      8                        16                     16                    8
 Power Connector                          Molex + SATA             Molex + SATA           Molex + SATA             SATA                   SATA                  SATA
 Additional Features                      Backward compatible      Backward compatible    Backward compatible      NCQ, shock protec-     NCQ, hot-plug and     NCQ, SMART compli-
                                          to SATA 1.5Gbits/s,      to SATA 1.5Gbits/s,    to SATA 1.5Gbits/s,      tion system(Maxtor),   asynchronous signal   ant, Hot-plug & hot-
                                          S.M.A.R.T., NCQ, ECC &   S.M.A.R.T., NCQ, ECC   S.M.A.R.T., NCQ, ECC &   hot plug support       recovery              swap capable
                                          CRC protection           & CRC protection       CRC protection
 Operating Shock Resistance (in G)        55                       55                     55                       60                     60                    63
 Performance                              33.35                    36.86                  38.22                    36.39                  35.41                 31.90
 Synthetic tests
 HD Tach
 Write Speeds
 Min/Max (in MB/s)                      10.7/65.3                  18.8 / 47              12.3/95                  16.1/40.9              11.1/53               18.3/32.8
 Average (in MB/s)                      28                         30.4                   29.3                     32.4                   30.7                  25.7
 Read Speeds
 Min/Max (in MB/s)                      33.2/63.9                  29.6 / 72.6            32/67.2                  36.2/126.1             36.9/70.8             27.6/65.7
 Average (in MB/s)                      50.3                       56.3                   52                       56.9                   36.9                  49.7
 Random Access Time (in msec.) *        13.3                       12.9                   12.9                     16.9                   17                    13.2
 Read Burst Speed (MBps)                225                        224.9                  225.2                    138.5                  139.1                 180.8
 CPU Utilisation (%) *                  7                          5                      7                        4                      5                     7
 SiSoft Sandra 2005 Pro
 Drive Index (MB/s)                     50                         56                     56                       55                     51                    52
 Sequential Read/Write (MBps)           58/58                      64/63                  62/62                    63/62                  62/63                 59/60
 Random Read/Write (MBps)               41/30                      46/36                  46/50                    40/48                  32/48                 41/44
 Access Time (ms) *                     7                          6                      6                        9                      15                    8
 Real world tests
 Inter Drive Test (Two drives) *
 Assorted Data (700MB)                  31/33                      29/33                  28/33                    30/31                  33/32                 30/30
 Write/Read (in secs)
 Sequential Data (700MB)                18/19                      19/19                  19/20                    19/20                  21/22                 20/21
 Write/Read (in secs)
 Inter Drive Test (Using Ram Drive)*
 Assorted Data (700MB)                  22/14                      18/13                  15/13                    13/13                  13/14                 16/14
 Write/Read (in secs)
 Sequential Data (700MB)                13/14                      12/12                  13/12                    11/11                  11/12                 13/13
 Write/Read (in secs)
 Intra Drive Test (With in same Drive)*
 700MB Assorted/Sequential (in secs) 43/37                         34/31                  29/25                    35/26                  32/23                 50/34
 Photoshop Image Load Time *
 200 MB (secs)                          4                          4                      4                        5                      4                     5
 550 MB (secs)                          51                         45                     42                       45                     43                    56
 800 MB (secs)                          78                         70                     65                       71                     69                    100
 1 GB (secs)                            116                        102                    99                       106                    99                    140
 1.4 GB (secs)                          167                        151                    122                      154                    141                   213
 Warranty (No. Of Years)                5                          5                      5                        3                      5                     3
 Price Index                            10.66                      15.11                  11.33                    17.00                  16.00                 10.99
 Cost/GB (Rs) *                         45.64                      32.21                  42.94                    28.62                  30.41                 44.28
 Price (Rs)                             3500                       7,500                  20,000                   8000                   8500                  3300
 Overall Score (Out of 100)             70.77                      78.72                  76.31                    69.21                  71.22                 58.99
 * Lower scores indicate better performance




                                              Molex and SATA         Good                   Excellent                Great value for         Good value for        None
                                              connectors             performance,           performance,             money, good             money                 High CPU use
                                              High CPU use           None                   High CPU use             performance             None
                                                                                                                     None



72      DIGIT NOVEMBER 2005
                                                                                             NOVEMBER 2005                             NOVEMBER 2005


Samsung              Samsung          Samsung           Samsung           Seagate            Western Digital      Western Digital      Western Digital
                                                                                                                                             Western Digital
SpinPointP           SpinPoint P      SpinPoint P       SpinPoint V       Baracuda           Caviar SE            Caviar SE            Caviar RE2
                                                                                                                                             Raptor
HD160JJ              SP0411C          SP0411N           SV0411N           ST3400832AS        WD2500KS-22MJB0 WD4000KD-00NAB0 WD4000YR-01PLB0 WD740GD-00FLA1
10.10                7.30             7.30              7.30              10.10              16.99                16.99                16.99               16.29
160                  40               40                40                400                250                  400                  400                 74.3
149.05               37.31            37.31             37.31             372.61             232.88               372.61               372.61              69.24
7200                 7200             7200              5400              7200.8             7200                 7200                 7200                10000
SATA - II            SATA - I         ATA 133           ATA 133           SATA - I           SATA - II            SATA - I             SATA - I            SATA - I
3.0 Gbits/s          1.5 Gbits/s      133MB/s           133MB/s           1.5 Gbits/s        3.0 Gbit/s           1.5 Gbits/s          1.5 Gbits/s         1.5 Gbits/s
8                    2                2                 2                 8                  16                   16                   16                  8
SATA                 SATA             Molex             Molex             SATA               Molex + SATA         Molex + SATA         Molex + SATA        Molex + SATA
NCQ, SMART com-      NoiseGuard,      S.M.A.R.T. com-   S.M.A.R.T. com-   Support NCQ, hot   Shock guard, Hot     Shock guard, Hot     Supports NCQ, Hot   Supports TCQ, Hot
pliant, Hot-plug &   ImpacGuard       plaint, fluid     plaint, fluid     plug support       Plug support, TCQ,   Plug support, TCQ,   plug support,       Plug, RAFF™
hot-swap capable                      dynamic bearing   dynamic bearing                                                                RAFF™, RAID-TLER

63                   63               63                63                63                 65                   65                   65                  65
31.73                25.39            25.53             22.87             34.23              36.74                37.11                37.98               34.29




15.8/31.2            17.6/26.3        16.6/28.6         12.8/20.7         10.3/53.9          18.5/27.1            18.6/32.8            17.8/39.2           27.5/40.4
25.5                 22.3             21.5              17.1              20.4               23.3                 26.9                 28.3                34.1

27.2/63.3            20/55.6          21.2/54.5         17.2/42           32.9/75.2          37/65.7              40.5/68.3            38.1/69.6           40.9/74.2
49.2                 35.1             44.1              32.8              60                 54.3                 58                   57.8                65.5
13.3                 13.9             13.9              15.6              15                 12.9                 12.8                 12.9                7.5
181.6                67.2             64.9              50.3              135.4              172.6                138.5                150                 118.8
7                    5                5                 2                 7                  7                    8                    7                   5

50                   42               44                34                58                 53                   55                   54                  55
57/57                53/52            51/51             40/40             67/66              59/59                62/62                62/62               69/69
40/42                23/37            33/36             26/27             46/45              43/45                43/45                43/45               31/52
8                    25               11                14                7                  6                    7                    7                   18


29/31                30/31            30/30             32/34             30/32              30/33                28/31                28/31               28/33

18/23                20/22            19/22             19/23             21/23              17/21                19/21                18/18               19/21


15/15                28/15            30/23             38/21             13/13              15/13                14/13                13/13               18/13

13/13                19/14            20/14             29/18             10/11              13/13                11/12                11/11               10/11


39/32                62/50            67/51             77/65             38/33              32/26                31/25                30/24               60/27

7                    9                10                11                6                  4                    4                    4                   4
56                   69               74                89                49                 41                   44                   42                  52
92                   113              120               144               81                 60                   60                   60                  125
140                  175              176               204               117                97                   100                  101                 141
208                  253              268               290               168                144                  146                  144                 197
3                    3                3                 3                 5                  5                    5                    5                   5
15.11                6.72             6.98              7.26              7.72               15.11                13.95                13.43               4.11
32.20                72.37            69.69             67.01             63.07              32.21                34.89                36.23               118.43
4800                 2700             2600              2500              23,500             7500                 13,000               13,500              8200
62.94                45.41            45.81             43.43             62.04              78.84                78.04                78.39               64.68




                                                                                                                                         Good                Decent per-
 Good value for        None             None              Low CPU use       Decent             Good                 Good
                                                                                                                                         performance       formance
 money                 High cost/GB     High cost/GB      Poor              performance        performance,         performance,
                                                                                                                                         High CPU use        Very high
 High CPU use                                             performance       High CPU use     value for money      value for money
                                                                                                                                                             cost/GB
                                                                                               None                 High CPU use



                                                                                                                                                NOVEMBER 2005 DIGIT        73
          Digital Tools l Test Centre
          scores of the Samsung ATA 133                      actual price is not an ideal crite-
          drives. We need to remind you that                 rion if you demand performance
                                                                                                                                                        NOVEMBER 2005
          the transfer speeds also depend on                 at a fair price.
          the test bed hard drive, which hap-                     Back to the paperwork: all the
          pens to be faster than the two Sam-                drives have a remarkable warranty
          sung ATA 133 drives. Hence the                     period—either three or five years—
          read speed was more than the                       so the main aspect of discussion is
          write speed for these two drives.                  the price index. Let’s start with the
          We would recommend you rely on                     Samsung hard drives, which we
          the intra-drive speed to measure                   introduce again and again as the
          the performance of these drives.                   reference. The SP0411 and
          Exceptional performers in the                      SV0411N belong to the category
          inter-drive test were the Hitachi                  that most people buy. The price
          Deskstar 250 GB and the WD                         that one pays per GB for this cate-
          Caviar RE2.                                        gory of hard disk is the highest—              Western Digital Caviar RE2 WD4000YR-O1PLBO
              As expected, Samsung’s par-                    you can get double the capacity (80
          allel ATA drives were beaten by a                  GB) and much better performance                                          cation load time test in the Per-
          big margin in the intra-drive                      for just an additional 1,000 rupees!                                     formance segment, while addi-
          transfer test. The Samsung                              Maxtor’s DiamondMax10, with                                         tional features and shock
          SP0411C, a SATA drive with a 2 MB                  a capacity of 300 GB and priced at                                       resistance were the determinants
          cache, performed no better than                    Rs 8,000, proved to be the most                                          in the Features segment. Hitachi’s
          the Samsung ATA drives! The WD                     cost-effective of all the drives, at                                     Deskstar 500GB recorded the
          Caviar RE2, Hitachi Deskstar 500                   Rs 28.62 per GB. On the other                                            highest performance scores
          GB and Maxtor’s Maxline III                        hand, WD’s 74 GB Raptor priced at                                        amongst all the drives but it lost
          topped the charts with superior                    Rs 8,200 is the most expensive, at a                                     out on price index.
          times in the intra-drive test.                     whopping Rs 118.42 per GB.                                                   We have two Best Buy Gold
              The Photoshop image load test                       Generally, we see that the cost                                     winners, the Hitachi Deskstar 250
          is one of the most important tests,                per GB of higher capacity drives is                                      GB (HDT722525DLA380) and the
          especially for those using software                much less than that of lower                                             WD 250 GB (WD2500KS). It was dif-
          such as Maya, 3D Studio and Pho-                   capacity ones, but the Seagate Bar-                                      ficult to judge the better of the two
          toshop. Photoshop’s scratch disk,                  racuda (400GB) ripped through the                                        as warranty, price and capacity
          or the virtual RAM space for the                   price paradigm. It was not only                                          were identical. While the Hitachi
          application, was created on the                    costlier than its counterparts, the                                      leads in the performance segment,
          test sample. Images of varying                     WD4000KD and WD4000YR, but                                               the WD2500KS leads in features.
          sizes (200 MB, 550 MB, 800 MB, 1                   was also more expensive than the                                             The WD Caviar RE2 was close
          GB and 1.4 GB) were also stored on                 Hitachi Deskstar 500 GB by a                                             to Gold with better performance
          the test sample, so as to maintain                 margin of Rs 3,500.                                                      and features than the two Gold
          the outcome of the test purely on                       Considering the warranty,                                           winners, but had to settle for Best
          the basis of the performance of the                price index and performance, the                                         Buy Silver due to its slightly higher
          test sample. We used Photoshop to                  Hitachi Deskstar 80 GB, Maxtor                                           cost per GB.
          open these image files from the                    MaxLine III 300 GB, Western Dig-
          test hard disk and timed the                       ital WD2500KS 250 GB and                                                 What Next?
          process for each image.                            Hitachi Deskstar 250 GB are the                                          Along with increased capacities,
              The contest for the top slot was               ones that make for value for                                             there has been a remarkable
          fierce, between the WD Caviar SE                   money, in their respective cate-                                         decrease in the dimensions of
          (WD2500KS) and the Hitachi                         gories. However, if you are                                              hard disks. The storage density
          Deskstar 500 GB, with the latter                   hunting for a 160 GB drive, the                                          of the platters has increased as
          recording better timings. Other                    Samsung HD160JJ is your best bet.                                        well. There had to be a limit to
          drives that performed well were                                                                                             the prevailing technology, and
          the Maxtor MaxLine III and Hitachi                 The Consensus                                                            researchers had to think of new
          Deskstar 250 GB. If you’re looking                 Based on our results from the                                            ways to develop a high-volume
          for a performer at an affordable                   Performance comparison and                                               storage medium.
          budget, then the WD2500KS is                       the overall analysis, we award                                                Thus, the need for higher
          your best bet!                                     the Best Buy Gold to the test                                            capacity and ace performance is
                                                             sample that secured the highest                                          changing the way data is written
          Value For Money                                    overall scores.                                                          onto a medium. Currently, data is
          Rs 2,500 and Rs 4,000 are attractive                   The overall score is obtained                                        written onto the disk surface by
          figures, but have you thought                      by giving appropriate weightages                                         Longitudinal Recording (LR), which
          about how much you’re spending                     to individual test segment scores.                                       is reaching its limits (refer Towards
          per GB of storage? It’s a fair notion              A higher weightage was given to                                          Terabytes, Digit, October 2005). Disk
          if you’re a moderate user, but the                 the intra-drive test and the appli-                                      manufacturers are now moving on
                                                                                                                                      to Perpendicular Recording, which
           Contact Sheet                                     Hard Disk Drives                                                         promises much higher densities.
     Brand             Company                              Phone       E-mail                            Web site                         We are anxious to get our
     Hitachi           Cyberstar Infocomm Ltd.             080-51266808   hitachi@cyberstarindia.com      www.hitachigst.com          hands on this technology, and
     Maxtor            Maxtor Corporation                  011-51609661   maxtorinfo@denave.com           www.maxtor.com              we’re sure you will be looking for-
     Samsung           Samsung India Electronics Pvt Ltd   011-51511234   jyotiraman.khosla@samsung.com   www.samsung.com/in          ward to it as well!
     Seagate           Esys Distribution Ltd               011-51811694   naresh@esysmail.com             www.seagate-asia.com                     anup_nair@thinkdigit.com
     Western Digital   Western Digital Corporation         0-9321029204   amarjit.singh@wdc.com           www.wdc.com
                                                                                                                                              deepak_dhingra@thinkdigit.com

74        DIGIT NOVEMBER 2005
                                                                                                                                 97
      OLD
      WAY
      TECH Learning How To Play Guitar
       WAY
     We found              Robert Sovereign-Smith (robert_smith@thinkdigit.com)
     ourselves flooded
     with musical
     instruments here
     at Digit. Why?
     Because our
     annual Diwali
     party is around
     the corner. We
     ended up with a
     keyboard, a drum
     set and four
     guitars. Everyone
     was keen on
     learning how to
     play guitar—or
     just waste a few
     work hours!
     A few sincere
     employees looked
     up Web sites to
     learn guitar. And a
     story was born…        Learn from someone                                             Learn from the computer


                           First of all, get your hands on a guitar, beg, borrow         Honestly, there’s no difference here. You still


             1             or steal is our motto—no compromises with a
                           passion like music. Good thing that we had guitars
                           coming out of our ears this month.

                           The next step is to find someone who knows
                                                                                         need a guitar!



                                                                                         The true tech way is to hit Google and search for
                           something about guitars. Easier said than done! You           sites or software that will teach you for free. A few e-
                           could choose to sign up for classes, but this involves        books wouldn’t hurt either. Just make sure they’re


            2              money. We’ll stick to asking one of your friends or
                           colleagues for help in their free time. After all, it’s
                           generally when you see someone playing an
                           instrument that you get the urge to learn!
                                                                                         not pirated e-books in the PDF format, or you could
                                                                                         land yourself in trouble! Luckily, we found that
                                                                                         several sites offer free basic guitar lessons.


                           The few people who had the determination to learn             We decided the first step to learning guitar was to
                           at work just kept bugging the maestros to show                get to know the chords—a collection of musical
                           them a few tricks. The snag here is that when                 notes form chords when played together. For this


            3              you’re free to learn, the other is generally too busy
                           to teach!

                           Time taken: It’s hard to get exact time limits here,
                           but let’s just say it’s a lot more than a few hours
                                                                                         we needed a visual depiction of the actual chord
                                                                                         being played, and an easy way to find all possible
                                                                                         chords. We stumbled across www.chordfind.com,
                                                                                         which tells you how to play every chord in the book.

                           of waiting.                                                   Time taken: 15 minutes of Googling

                           Learning from real people has the advantage of                With the advantage of learning at your own pace,
                           being able to ask questions, and since we’re all              the tech way seems a lot better, until you come to a


           4
                           individuals, our questions may differ. We found               standstill when you just cannot understand
                           that getting a question answered was much easier              something! For instance, our beginners could see
                           when face to face with a real teacher. Also, people           which strings needed to be pressed, but couldn't
                           seemed to learn faster this way.                              figure out which finger was used to press which
                                                                                         string. This help is available at http://snipurl.com
                                                                                         /it6i/. Thank God for Google!

                            Total Time Taken: A few hours of practise;                     Total Time Taken: A few hours of searching online;
                            many more chasing the teachers                                 many more to understand notations on sites
                            Cost: Nothing (not counting the cost of treating               Cost: Nothing (not considering the cost of
                            your friends to coax them to teach you)                        bandwidth)

                                                                                         be better off enrolling for classes than using some of the
       And
       The                 T  he Winner, hands down was the Old Way. Even though
                              you may have to chase a few friends to get them to give
                           you some of their time, it beats spending hours on Google
                                                                                         paid software that claims to teach you. Of the people in the
                                                                                         office that wanted to learn, we found that the ones learning
      Winner               learning less about guitar and more about how to search.      from real people learned a lot faster than the ones trying to
       Is...               Even if you are willing to spend money on this hobby, you’d   learn on their own—case closed!


76      DIGIT NOVEMBER 2005
     Digital Tools l Net Gain



     Medindia.net
     Definitely not just another site on medicine

     Preethi Chamikutty



     S
           ites offering information on
           Ayurveda, diet, nutrition,
           medicine etc. are scattered all
     over the Web space. However, you
     probably haven’t come across too
     many sites where all such informa-
     tion is in the same place.
         Medindia.net is one such repos-
     itory of medicine-related informa-
     tion, all under one roof, and it’s
     authoritative—it’s       been     put
     together by the Medical Computer
     Society of India (MCSI).
         The information on Medindia.
     net will be useful for the novice and
     the medical fraternity alike.

                                                                     The health calculators on the site could save you a visit to your doctor

                                                                     Resort Links, Journals and more. It         homepage where they can upload
                                                                     would probably fill a few pages if we       personal information. This can act
                                                                     were to try and list out all the topics     as a good base for visitors search-
                                                                     available. You will not be disap-           ing for a specialist or someone with
                                                                     pointed—you can find answers to             a particular skill set.
                                                                     most of your queries on various                 While the information for
                                                                     topics here.                                patients, doctors, etc. have been
                                                                          News on Medindia.net talks             classified under different heads,
                                                                     about recent developments in medi-          Medindia.net also acts as an inter-
                                                                     cine across the world. This is useful       face to link medical colleges across
                                                                     for medical professionals who               the country.
                                                                     wouldn’t want to spend on subscrib-             Apart from information, there is
                                                                     ing to medical journals! Medical            humour, health tips, nutrition utili-
                                                                     students will also find it useful.          ties, information on how to spend
                                                                     Apart from news, medical journals           your free time in summer, health
                                                                     and health reports are the other            calculators, organ donation infor-
     Medindia.net is a great reference site for information          value additions.                            mation, blood donation information
     on everything on medicine                                            Medindia.net also provides links       and more!
                                                                     to various hospitals across India as            Medindia.net sports links such
     Look And Feel                                                   well as abroad. The site has a facil-       as a forum, matrimonial, healthcare
     Space management of the pages on                                ity for doctors to create their own         jobs and other interesting links. You
     the site is not up to the mark.                                                                             can read up about medical confer-
     However, after you get used to it                                                                           ences, and landmark cases in medi-
     there shouldn’t be too much trou-                                                                           cine; students can get information
     ble finding what you’re looking for.                                                                        about medical colleges and courses,
     All topics are placed under simple                                                                          buy medical books and so on.
     headers; however, there seem to be
     too many headers!                                                                                           Overall...
         The pages on the site have been                                                                         An extremely useful site with lots of
     divided into four columns, compris-                                                                         information, Medindia.net could
     ing an index list, information, ads,                                                                        have improved upon its layout and
     and related links. The pages have a                                                                         navigation. People interested in the
     series of toolbars at the top, which                                                                        subject of medicine and related
     eat up about a fourth of the page!                                                                          issues would do well to bookmark
                                                                                                                 this site—only after visiting it a
     Content                                                                                                     number of times will you start
     To put it in a few words—very good!                                                                         getting the hang of what lies where,
     It looks like the MCSI has thought                                                                          and of the sheer amount of infor-
     about everything: Alternative Medi-        Alternate medicine such as Ayurveda is discussed in              mation available!
     cine, Legal Cell, Medical Glossary,        detail here                                                           preethi_chamikutty@thinkdigit.com

78   DIGIT NOVEMBER 2005
                                           E-mail Clients
                                     E-mail clients are a mainstay of our virtual life.
                                  Read on to solve any nagging issues you face with them

                                                    should be listed. Select it and click ‘Start    To remove the ‘Outcmd.dat’ file, simply
     Ram Mohan Rao                                  Thunderbird’. You’ll now be running             search for the file and delete it. When
                                                    Thunderbird with the new profile i.e., all      Outlook next opens, it recreates the file (a
     Problem: Outlook blocks certain                settings are reset to their defaults.           non-corrupted one). Delete any instances
     attachments—they just cannot be opened!                                                        of Outcmd.dat you find on your PC, and
     Solution: Open the Registry Editor.            Problem: Clicking hyperlinks in Outlook         that usually, the file is in the ‘Application
     Navigate to                                    Express does nothing at all.                    Data\Microsoft\Outlook’ folder.
     HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft           Solution: This could happen if one or
     \Office\x\Outlook\Security                     more registered file associations are           Problem: Outlook sends out attachments
     Here, x should be “9.0” for Outlook 2000,      configured incorrectly. To repair this, go to   called ‘winmail.dat’ that cannot be read by
     “10.0” for Outlook 2002, and “11.0” for        the Control Panel > Folder Options. Click       other mail clients.
     Outlook 2003.                                  the ‘File Types’ tab. Select ‘URL:HyperText     Solution: You’ll need to turn off ‘Rich Text’
          Next, go to Edit > New, and click         Transfer Protocol’ in the list of file types.   sending for messages in Outlook. Go to
     ‘String Value’. Type in “Level1Remove”                                                         Tools > Options and click the ‘Mail Format’
     (without the quotes) for the new value.                                                        tab. In the ‘Send in this Message Format’
     Press [Enter]. Right-click the new string                                                      list, select ‘Plain Text’ and click ‘OK’.
     value name, and click ‘Modify’. Type in the                                                          This will set your default sending
     extension of the file type you would like to                                                   method to plaintext, which means you’ll
     open in Outlook, for instance, “.exe”                                                          lose your special formatting—fonts,
     (without the quotes).                                                                          colours, and so on. But the ‘winmail.dat’
          To specify multiple file types, use the                                                   problem will be solved and all receivers
     format “.exe;.com” (without the quotes;                                                        irrespective of the mail client they’re
     note the semicolon). Click ‘OK’, quit the                                                      using, will be able to read your mail.
     ‘Registry Editor’, and then restart your PC.                                                         There still remains a question: what if
     From now on, Outlook will no longer block      You can set up user profiles in Thunderbird     you want to view the winmail.dat—the
     the attachments you specified.                                                                 mail the sender intended you to read, with
                                                    Click the ‘Advanced’ button (in Windows         all its formatting? A couple of programs
     Problem: There’s a problem copying the         XP), or the ‘Edit’ button (in other Windows     can decode the file and allow you to view
     Windows 98 installation files to the hard      versions). In the list of ‘Actions’, select     it. One of them is WMDecode for Windows,
     drive to repair files damaged in an            ‘Open’, and click ‘Edit’.                       available at www.biblet.freeserve.co.uk.
     aborted installation.                              The ‘Application used to perform
     Solution: The Windows 98 installation          action’ box should contain, including the       Problem: You receive mail in your mail
     files are stored on the installation disk in   quotation marks:                                client, but you cannot send mail.
     the CAB file format. The best recovery         “C:\Program Files\Internet                      Solution: This is a very common problem,
     method in such a situation is to boot the      Explorer\iexplore.exe” -nohome                  compounded by the fact that many ISPs
     system from a floppy, run FDISK to             (This is assuming IE is your default            frequently change their outgoing mail
     repartition the drive, format the drive and    browser.) If it contains a short name           settings. There are three things you can do.
     then run the Windows 98 Setup.                 version of that path, or an incorrect path,         First, check that your settings are
                                                    change it to the above, again assuming          correct—the outgoing mail server address,
     Problem: Some features of Thunderbird          that you want IE to open your hyperlinks.       and see whether authentication is needed
     don’t work, or there are problems starting     Now click ‘OK’ twice. Repeat these steps        for the outgoing mail. You might think you
     Thunderbird after installing an extension.     for the file type ‘URL:HyperText Transfer       have the settings right, but since ISPs can
     Solution: Create a new profile. In order to    Protocol with Privacy’. Finally, click ‘OK’.    change the settings, you might have to call
     start the ‘Profile Manager’, first close                                                       customer service and verify again.
     Thunderbird completely by selecting File >     Problem: Outlook doesn’t open at all, or            Second, experiment a little. The
     Exit. Next, select Start > Run from the        takes a very long time to open.                 customer service person may not know
     Start Menu. Type in “thunderbird.exe           Solution: This is a common error with           the settings, for instance, he or she may
     –profilemanager” and press ‘OK’.               Outlook 2000 and 2002. Sometimes, it            not know that outgoing mail server
         You should now see the ‘Profile            may take more than 30 seconds to open.          authentication is needed. Ensure that the
     Manager’ window. Click the ‘Create             This is often due to a corrupt ‘Outcmd.dat’     e-mail address you typed is the one your
     Profile...’ button to start the ‘Create        file—it stores custom changes you may           ISP assigned to you, and see if it works.
     Profile Wizard’. Click ‘Next’ and enter a      have made to your toolbar buttons. You              And third, if you’re positive that your
     name for the profile. Click ‘Finish’, and      can rename or delete the file; but if the       settings are right, then try to receive your
     Thunderbird will create the new profile.       problem gets resolved when you do this,         mail first, and send immediately after
     You will be taken back to the ‘Profile         you will, of course, need to make your          that. This often works!
     Manager’, and the newly created profile        custom toolbar button changes again.                            ram_mohan@thinkdigit.com

80   DIGIT NOVEMBER 2005
                                                                                                             HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\AllFile
 Windows XP                                                                                                  systemObjects\shellex\Conte
                                                                                                             xtMenuHandlers\Copy To
Hide Users On The                                                                                            HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\AllFile
Welcome Screen                                                                                               systemObjects\shellex\Conte
      When you add an                                                                                        xtMenuHandlers\Move To
      account for certain                                                                                    For ‘Copy To’, set the value to
users in Windows XP, their                                                                                   “{C2FBB630-2971-11d1-A18C-
user names appear on the                                                                                     00C04FD75D13}”, and for
Welcome Screen. Sometimes                                                                                    ‘Move To’, set the value to
a user needs to be added to a                                                                                “{C2FBB631-2971-11d1-A18C-
computer because they need                                                                                   00C04FD75D13}”. Henceforth,
access via a network to                                                                                      when you right-click on a file
resources on the machine,                                                                                    or folder, above the ‘Send To’
but he or she will not be                                                                                    option, you’ll see the two new
physically logging in to                                                                                     options—“Copy To Folder” and
the computer.                                                                                                “Move To Folder”.
    In such cases, you can                                                                                       Using this, you can copy
remove his or her name from                         SECRETS THAT KEEP YOU AHEAD IN THE RACE
                                                                                                             or move files or directories to
the Welcome Screen, while                                                                                    other folders.
keeping the user account.
    To do this, open the                                                                                     Add The Administrator To
Registry Editor, go to                 GENERAL TIPS                      30 MINUTES EXPERT                   The Welcome Screen
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFT                Windows XP                  83    Create Your Own ‘Best Of’                  Open the Registry Editor
WARE\Microsoft\Windows                                                   Playing Moments                85          and go to
NT\CurrentVersion\Winlogon                                               DVD Movies On Your Pocket PC   88   HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\
\SpecialAccounts\UserList\                                                                                   SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windo
Right-click in the empty space                                                                               ws NT\CurrentVersion
in the right pane and create a            Go to HKEY_CURRENT_           In the Registry Editor, delete       \Winlogon\SpecialAccounts\
new DWORD Value. Name this            USER\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\          the following key: HKEY_             UserList\. Here, create a new
new value ‘Username’ and              Windows\CurrentVersion            LOCAL_MACHINE\                       DWORD value. Name the new
enter ‘0’ as the data value.          \Policies\ Explorer. Right-       SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windo             value ‘Administrator’. Double-
    If you want to enable this        click in the right pane and       ws\CurrentVersion                    click this new value and enter
user again on the Welcome             create a new DWORD value.         \Explorer\Desktop\                   ‘1’ as Value Data. The new
Screen, either double-click           Name this value                   NameSpace\
the ‘Username’ value and              ‘StartMenuLogoff’. Give it a      {645FF040-5081-101B-
change the Value Data to ‘1’,         value of ‘1’ and restart your     9F08-00AA002F954E}
or delete the value.                  computer. ‘Logoff’ will no             Restart your
                                      longer be visible in the          computer. The
Remove ‘Logoff’ From The              Start Menu.                       Recycle Bin will no
Start Menu                                                              longer be on your
      You might want to               Bypass The Recycle Bin            desktop.
      remove the ‘Logoff’             When Deleting Files                    Alternatively,      An ‘Administrator’ icon in the Welcome Screen
button from the Start Menu if               Right-click on the          instead of deleting
you never use it. This involves             Recycle Bin and choose      the aforementioned key, you           user will be created on
a registry tweak. Go to the           ‘Properties’. In the ‘Global’     can change the value for              restart.
Start Menu, click ‘Run’, and          tab, check the box that           {645FF040-5081-101B-9F08-
type in “regedit”. This will          says “Do not move files to        00AA002F954E} to ‘1’ at               Get Rid Of Unwanted
take you to the Registry              the Recycle Bin....” That’s       HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Softw               Items In “Open With...”
Editor. (In all the tips that         it. No more taking out            are\Microsoft\Windows\Curr                   Ever wondered what
follow, we won’t again                the garbage!                      entVersion\Explorer\HideDes                  help Internet Explorer
mention how to start the                                                ktopIcons\NewStartPanel.              could be when you want to
Registry Editor.)                     Get Rid Of The Recycle Bin             So after this, where does        watch a video file? But when
                                                   XP offers you a      all your deleted stuff go? To         you right-click any file, you’re
                                                   very clean           the Recycle Bin, of course!           likely to see an option called
                                             desktop. Clearing it       You’ve just done away with            ‘Open With’, which lists
                                             up is fairly simple;       the icon from your desktop.           several available programs on
                                             however, there’s one       To delete something from the          your computer to open the
                                             item that sticks out       Recycle Bin, delete it from           file with. To clear up this list
                                             like a sore thumb on       C:\Recycled or C:\Recycler            of unwanted items, or to
                                             your otherwise clean       (the name depends on the              remove useless associations
                                             desktop—the Recycle        file system).                         like the one mentioned
                                             Bin. You cannot get                                              above, start the Registry
                                             rid of it by just          The ‘Copy To...’ And ‘Move Editor and navigate to
                                             deleting it or through     To...’ Context Options                HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Softw
                                             any menu options.                 To add the ‘Copy to...’        are\Microsoft\Windows\Curr
                                             Deleting it from your             and ‘Move to...’ context       entVersion\Explorer\FileExts
                                              desktop needs a           menu options, create the              Under this, find the
Remove ‘Logoff’ from the Start Menu           Registry tweak.           following Registry keys:              extension you wish to edit

                                                                                                                         DIGIT NOVEMBER 2005     83
     Digital Tools l Tips & Tricks
     and click on the ‘+’ sign to                                                                                 default theme shows up
     locate the key that says
                                                                                                     STEP 4       when your computer’s
     “OpenWithList”. In the right                                                                                 startup screen is displayed.
     pane, you’ll see a list with the                                                                             Start the Registry Editor and
     programs in the list, like                                                                                   navigate to HKEY_USERS\
     ‘explorer.exe’ or                                                                                            .DEFAULT\Software\Microsoft
     ‘notepad.exe’. Simply select                                                                                 \Windows\CurrentVersion\T
     the option you want to                                                                                       hemeManager, and locate the
     discard and delete it.                                                                                       key ‘ColorName’. Change its
          If you inadvertently                                                                                    value from ‘NormalColor’ to
     remove an entry that you                                                                                     ‘Metallic’. Exit the Registry
     would need, you needn’t fret;                                                                                Editor and restart your
     when you right-click a file                                                                                  computer. Your new colour
     there will be an option in the                                                                               scheme will come into effect!
     “Open With” extension that                                                                                   Of course, to go back to the
     will let you choose any                                                                                      old colour scheme, just
     program on your computer to                                                                                  change ‘Metallic’ back to
     open the file. Once used, the        Right-click on ‘Turn off thumbnail pictures’                            ‘NormalColor’.
     option will reappear in the
     list of associated programs.                                                                    STEP 5       Enable ClearType In The
                                                                                                                  Welcome Screen
     Turn off Thumbs.db                                                                                                 Microsoft ClearType
           Thumbs.db are files                                                                                          technology greatly
           which are created in a                                                                                 increases clarity of text on
     folder with movies or                                                                                        laptop LCD screens. By default,
     pictures in them so you can                                                                                  this feature does not start
     view a piece of their content                                                                                until after you log on. But with
     without actually opening                                                                                     this tweak, you’ll be able to
     them. In a nutshell, it is an                                                                                make it start just as Windows
     option that allows you to                                                                                    loads, so it will be enabled on
     have a thumbnail view of                                                                                     the Welcome screen.
     your files. This file makes                                                                                      Start the Registry Editor
     sure you don't have to reload                                                                                and go to HKEY_USERS\
     a thumbnail every time you                                                                                   .DEFAULT\Control
     browse a particular folder.                                                                                  Panel\Desktop. Locate the key
         If you edit a lot of stuff on    After the right-click, select         image and movie folders.          ‘FontSmoothingType’ and
     your machine, it could               ‘Enable’ from the radio buttons           Getting rid of this file is   change its value to ‘2’.
     become a tad annoying to see         in the menu                           easy. Go to Start > Run, and
     them pop up in all your                                                    type in “gpedit.msc”. Click       Get Rid Of The ‘Go’ Button
                                                                                ‘OK’, and the Group Policy              When you add the
                                                                  STEP 1        Editor will open. Go to User            address bar to the
                                                                                Configuration >                   taskbar, or even the one in
                                                                                Administrative Template >         Internet Explorer, you can
                                                                                Windows Components >              turn off the ‘Address’ button
                                                                                Windows Explorer. A rather        by right-clicking on the bar
                                                                                long list will show up in the     and de-selecting ‘Show Title’.
                                                                                menu on the right. Double-            However, to get rid of the
     To turn off Thumbs.db, start with ‘gpedit.msc’—the Group Policy Editor     click ‘Turn off caching of        ‘Go’ button, you have to do
                                                                                thumbnail pictures’. Enabling     the following: Start Internet
                                                                  STEP 2        this will do your job—no          Explorer, click Tools >
                                                                                more Thumbs.db in                 Internet Options, and select
                                                                                your folders!                     the ‘Advanced’ tab. Scroll
                                                                                    The above solution works      down the list of options until
                                                                                for XP Pro users. Users with      you find the ‘Show Go Button
                                                                                XP Home Edition will need to      in Address Bar’ checkbox. De-
                                                                                select Control Panel > Folder     select it and you’re done.
     Select ‘Windows Components’                                                Options > View > Do Not
                                                                                Cache Thumbnails.                 Turn Off System Restore
                                                                  STEP 3            A point to note is that             XP includes the System
                                                                                disabling thumbnail caching             Restore utility, which
                                                                                will slow down opening            can help you roll your
                                                                                folders in thumbnail view.        computer back to a pre-
                                                                                                                  defined point in time,
                                                                                Select The Theme And              removing all changes made to
                                                                                Colour Scheme For The             the system since that point.
                                                                                Welcome Screen                        This can be an extremely
                                                                                     With this tweak, you’ll      useful feature for rescuing
                                                                                     be able to modify which      your PC from viruses or
     Select ‘Windows Explorer’                                                  colour selection of the           problems with faulty

84   DIGIT NOVEMBER 2005
                                                                                              Digital Tools l Tips & Tricks


                 Create Your Own ‘Best Of’ Playing Moments
                  Revisit your craziest or most unbelievable gameplay antics!
                                          About and Close GameCam. Of the               and video frame size can be changed
Anup Nair                                 above-mentioned options, only Profile         to your liking.
                                          Manager and Preferences help us set               CVR (Cached Video Recording)

T   here has often been a need to
    capture a gaming moment as you
play it. It is also important that the
                                          the GameCam.
                                             In the Profile Manager, a game’s
                                          executable file can be added as a
                                                                                        allows you to record a particular
                                                                                        victorious moment or classy gameplay
                                                                                        while recording is On. It is a timed
procedure doesn’t involve installation    profile by clicking on the ‘New               recording, by which you can view that
of new hardware. The reasons could be     Profile’ button.                              unbelievable gameplay as a separate
manifold, including showing off your                                                    recording, saving you the trouble of
gaming skills, or showcasing a demo                                                     searching through a big game video.
like we do on our DVD/CD.                                                                   Right-click the system tray icon for
     GameCam is one such software—                                                      GameCam and choose ‘Preferences’ to
it’s shareware—that enables real-time                                                   modify the path to which the record-
recording of a game (for DirectX 7, 8,                                                  ings are to be stored.
9 and OpenGL games) with incredible                                                         To change the directories for
ease. The videos are stored in MPEG-4                                                   ‘Videos’ and ‘Screenshots’, click their
format (.avi). Audio is available only                                                  respective buttons.
when you purchase the software—it’s                                                         Videos and screenshots for games
$24.95 (Rs 1,100). Capturing                                                            will be stored in separate folders
screenshots as JPEGs is also possible.                                                  making them easier to find.
     Recommended system
requirements are Windows XP, a                                                                  Playing And Recording
DirectX-compliant video accelerator       The Profile Manager, with the various audio             To start playing and recording,
card with 32 MB or more of onboard        and video capture options                               return to the system tray icon
memory, 32 MB of RAM in addition to                                                     of GameCam and use the left-click to
the game’s requirements, and a 1GHz            A profile can be renamed as you          view the game profile list. Choose the
(or above) CPU.                           like, leaving the ‘target path’ intact.       game you want to play from this list.
                                          Repeat this step to add more profiles             GameCam will load the game and
        Download And Installation         (games). A slider is provided just            also provide a preview window at the
         GameCam v1.2 is available at     beside the profile list to adjust the         bottom right of the screen. The
         www.gamershell.com/news/         quality of video capture.                     preview window helps you keep track
13956.html.                                    ‘Hot Keys’ settings can be viewed by     of recording and other settings such as
    Run the setup file and follow the     clicking on its button which is placed        audio On/Off and the fps. Use the
simple installation procedure until       just next to the video quality slider.        hotkeys to start and stop recording, to
you’re prompted to install the            [R] is the default hotkey for video           enable CVR and to capture screenshots
Windows Media Player codec. This          recording. It is recommended to               without affecting the gameplay.
step is not crucial, as your PC may       change this since some games will                 If you can’t recollect the hotkeys,
already have a few of them installed      need the key when playing.                    just hit [F1] key to view them.
and you may want to skip this                  Click on the ‘Advanced’ button to
installation. But it’s recommended        open ‘Advanced Profile Settings’ that
that you continue to install the codec.   displays GameCam’s basic settings. If
    As Windows Media Component            the version is not registered, some of
installation begins, remember to          the options are disabled. For instance,
choose ‘Upgrade newer components          video format is restricted to AVI
only’. In later steps, you will be        although the registered version can
prompted to choose the required           also record in WMV format. Video
components for installation.              Quality, Base fps (frames per second)

        Setting Up A Profile And
        Changing Preferences                                                            A preview window appears at the bottom of
        Access GameCam through the                                                      the screen. [F1] shows the hotkeys
Start Menu, right-click the icon that
now appears in                                                                              To capture game video or a
system tray to                                                                          screenshot using GameCam, you must
view a pop-up                                                                           run the game through GameCam only.
menu with the                                                                               There you go... you’re are all set to
following                                                                               display your victorious moments
options: Profile                                                                        of how you fragged your friend in a
Manager,           Access settings from                                                 multiplayer match-up. Show your
Preferences,       the GameCam icon in    Review the default settings and change them   competitors your mettle!
Launch, Register, the system tray         if need be                                                  anup_nair@thinkdigit.com


                                                                                                               DIGIT NOVEMBER 2005   85
     Digital Tools l Tips & Tricks
     software, but it also eats up a                                         accessed by Windows just like      removing the one on the disk
     large amount of disk space.               Bet You Didn’t Know           physical memory, but is many       that has the OS.
          As the default setting,          Cleaning Out The                  times slower because of the            To do this, right-click
     System Restore reserves a             Prefetch Folder                   much slower speed of hard          ‘My Computer’ and select
     huge 12 per cent of each drive        XP uses a system called           drive data transfer as             ‘Properties’, then the
     for itself. You can reduce this       ‘prefetching’ to organise         compared to RAM.                   ‘Advanced’ tab. In the
     amount by cutting back on             and preload some of the                XP actually uses the page     ‘Performance’ section, click
     the number of restore points          data necessary for com-           files continuously, regardless     ‘Settings’, then select the
     the utility sets for itself. You      monly-used applications           of the amount of free              ‘Advanced’ tab. In the ‘Virtual
     can also turn off the feature         and files.                        memory on your system, so          Memory’ section, click
     if you wish to.                            A folder called ‘Prefetch’   optimising these files can         ‘Change.’ From here, you can
          To adjust the System             is used to store the informa-     have a positive effect on your     choose individual drives and
     Restore settings, right-click         tion XP needs to carry out        computer’s performance             customise the size of the page
     ‘My Computer’ and select              this operation. After several          To optimise the page          files you wish to create.
     ‘Properties’. Choose the              months, the ‘Prefetch’            file(s), the following are a few
     ‘System Restore’ tab.                 folder may become over-           options you can consider:          Set Priorities For
          To disable System Restore,       loaded with references to                                            Individual Programs
     simply check the ‘Turn off            files longer in use.                   The NTFS File System                 If you regularly
     system restore on all drives’              It’s a good idea to man-            The NTFS file system,              multitask while working
     box. Otherwise, highlight a           ually empty the older files       introduced with first version      with some applications
     drive and click ‘Settings.’           out of the ‘Prefetch’ folder      of Windows NT, is a                requiring more memory than
          Using the slider, you can        every few months or so. To        completely different file          others to work effectively (for
     set how much space on the             do this, go to ‘C:\Windows\       system from FAT. It provides       example, using Photoshop
     drive System Restore will use         Prefetch’ and delete all the      for greatly increased security,    along with Word or other less
     for its restore points.               .PF files that are older than     file–by–file compression,          demanding programs), you
          Decreasing this number           a week or two.                    quotas, and even encryption.       may consider setting custom
     will limit some of your                                                 It is the default file system      priorities for applications
     flexibility in restoring your       out in the address bar, or          for new installations of           that use more memory.
     system should it be necessary,      ‘run’ it from the Start Menu.       Windows XP, and if you're              Priority is how the OS
     but reducing the amount             Once there, delete the              doing an upgrade from a            determines how to share
     down to about five per cent         screensavers you want to            previous version of Windows,       processor time among
     should still be safe enough         discard. (If you have lots of       you'll be asked                    applications. Most
     for anyone with an 80 GB            files in this folder, you can       if you want to convert             applications default to
     hard drive.                         locate screensavers by looking      your existing file systems         normal priority, so by setting
          Click ‘OK’ when you’re         for .scr files.)                    to NTFS.                           your high-demand
     done. Remember to choose 5              Note that deleting these                                           applications to a higher
     per cent if you’re unsure.          files from the System32                  Page File Placement           priority, you can increase its
                                         folder does not help—they                 Since page files require     performance when
     Delete Unwanted                     will reappear!                      disk access to write and           multitasking.
     Screensavers                                                            retrieve information, putting          To do this, load the
           Windows XP comes              Altering The Page File              them on the same drive as          program you wish to change
           bundled with a number               Page files are one or         the operating system can           the priority for, and press
     of annoying and/or useless                more areas of your hard       compromise the performance         [Ctrl] + [Alt] + [Del] to bring
     screensavers. There’s no            disks that XP reserves for          of both.                           up the Task Manager. Select
     menu that helps delete them.        virtual memory. Put simply,             Since most systems             the ‘Applications’ tab and
         To delete these, go to          these reserved areas are used       contain only a single hard         highlight your program.
     C:\Windows\System32\dllcac          to contain data that may spill      drive, this is not usually         Right-click the program and
     he. This is a hidden folder, so     over from main memory.              something that can be              select ‘Go to process.’
     you’ll need to type the name            Virtual memory is               changed. But if your system            Now right-click on the
                                                                             has more than one hard disk,       highlighted process, and
                                                                             consider placing the page file     choose ‘Set priority’. The
                                                                             on the non-OS disk and             higher you set the priority
                                                                                                                         above normal, the
                                                                                                                         more CPU time the
                                                                                                                         program will steal
                                                                                                                         from other
                                                                                                                         applications when
                                                                                                                         you’re multitasking.




                                                                                                                       Setting priorities for indi-
                                                                                                                       vidual programs helps
                                                                                                                       you make optimal use of
     Just delete the screensavers you don’t want                                                                       your hardware resources

86   DIGIT NOVEMBER 2005
                                                                                                    Digital Tools l Tips & Tricks
The Page File Size                  removing them, as Windows           planning on using the                  Windows XP, like
       By default, page files are   will not place critical files in    performance monitor app.          Windows 2000 before it,
       created with a starting      this directory.                         To disable the                allows you to ‘mount’ drives
size and a maximum size.                The other way to remove         performance counter, go to        as folders in a pre-existing
These values allow Windows          unnecessary startup files is        Start > Run, type in “cmd”,       logical drive. So if your
to resize the paging file as        via the handy ‘msconfig’            and type in “diskperf -N”. This   computer has a 20 GB disk
the system’s need grows. It is      utility. To use it, go to Start >   does away with the                formatted as a single
more efficient to set an            Run and type in “msconfig”.         unnecessary monitoring that       partition and volume (drive
identical starting and max          The ‘Startup’ tab in msconfig       eats up valuable resources. To    C:), you could purchase a
value so resources are not          provides access to several          turn it back on, all you need     second drive, partition and
wasted by resizing a file.          other applications that start       to do is go back to the           format it through the Disk
     To do this, choose             up at bootup and run in the         command prompt and type           Manager, and then instead of
‘Custom Size’ for each page         background. By examining            in “diskperf -Y”.                 giving it its own drive letter,
file, and set the initial and       their filenames and                                                   add it to your C: drive as a
maximum sizes as identical.         directories, you should be          Check And Set DMA Mode            directory.
     As for what size to set        able to get a feel of what is             XP occasionally sets IDE         Any files added to that
them at, the best bet is to         necessary and what is not.                hard drives and CD          directory would, of course, be
leave them at or slightly               Another method for              drives to the PIO transfer        stored on the new disk.
below the default                   removing programs from              mode by default, which is              This can come in handy—
‘Maximum’ setting the               startup is through the              slower than the standard          certain applications such as
system assigned, with a             programs themselves; many           DMA (Direct Memory Access)        databases are extremely
ceiling of 1 GB. This will be       applications, such as MSN           mode used by modern               large, but may not support
the amount of space                 Messenger, offer the option of      drives. To make sure your         storing data on a logically
reserved for the file,              not starting at bootup.             machine has not been              separate drive.
regardless of its current size.                                         slowed down, it makes sense            As far as Windows is
If you’re creating multiple         Disable The Disk                    to check your drive settings.     concerned, a drive mounted
page files, split the amount        Performance Counter                     To check your drives,         as a directory is just a
between them.                              XP contains an inbuilt       right-click ‘My Computer’         directory. This can also cut
                                           performance monitor          and select ‘Properties’, then     down on storage confusion
Clean Up Unwanted                   that examines various areas         ‘Hardware’ and then ‘Device       and it’s easy to do, though it
Startup Programs                    of your system. This                Manager’. Expand ‘IDE             can only be done with NTFS-
      Several programs run          information can be called up        ATA/ATAPI controllers’.           formatted partitions.
      automatically when you        using the performance               Highlight ‘Primary IDE                 Also, obviously, the boot
turn on your system, and the        monitor application, found in       channel’ and click                partition cannot be used this
number of such programs             Control Panel >                     ‘Properties’.                     way, although other
grows as you keep using             Administrative Tools. Most of           Go to the ‘Advanced           partitions can be added to
your computer.                      us have little interest in this     Settings’ tab, and ensure the     the boot partition.
     This leads to a gradual        sort of performance statistics      transfer mode is set to ‘DMA           If you have installed
reduction in startup speed.         monitoring, that being more         if available’. Repeat these       software on a partition you
Also, having programs that          the territory of system             steps for the secondary           plan to mount as a directory,
you only use selectively—or         administrators.                     IDE channel.                      it is best to uninstall and
not at all—load automatically            XP, however, is still                                            reinstall it, since the move
is a waste of resources.            monitoring away, and some           Mount A Hard Disk As A            may stop the software from
     To top it all, spyware,        of its observation tools use a      Folder In The C: Drive            working correctly. Windows
viruses and Trojans install         considerable amount of                    This tip works for any      will warn you about this.
themselves into the                 resources. Disk monitoring is             partition of any NTFS            To mount a partition
automatic start locations to        an example of this, and it’s a      formatted drive except the        as a directory, go to
ensure they run at startup.         good idea to turn the disk          partition with the Windows        Control Panel >
     To prevent the slowing         monitors off if you are not         system files on it.               Administrative
down of your machine, you                                                                                 Tools > Computer
must take a look at the                                                                                   Management > Storage >
software that loads every                                                                                 Disk Management. Then
time you start your PC, and                                                                               right-click on the partition
disable what you don’t need                                                                               you wish to mount as a
or can’t identify.                                                                                        directory in the lower
     The process is simple. Go                                                                            pane of the graphical
to Start Menu > Programs >                                                                                partition window.
Startup. This is the directory                                                                            Select ‘Change drive
XP uses to launch application                                                                             letter and paths…’ Remove
shortcuts on bootup. If you                                                                               the current option (if any),
remove the shortcuts from                                                                                 then click ‘Add’. Choose
this directory, the apps will                                                                             ‘Mount in the following
not load on startup.                                                                                      empty NTFS folder’, browse
     This directory can also be                                                                           to the desired volume, and
a repository for spyware and                                                                              add a directory for your
viruses, so if there are files                                                                            drive. Click ‘OK’.
here that are not shortcuts                                                                                    If you wish to return
and you don’t recognise                                                                                   things to the way they
them, you should consider           XP continuously monitors your hard disk performance!                  were, simply repeat the

                                                                                                                     DIGIT NOVEMBER 2005    87
     Digital Tools l Tips & Tricks



                           Watch DVD Movies On Your Pocket PC
                           A Windows Mobile-powered PDA phone lets you watch movies
                                                                                                    Click on the drop-down to choose
      Deepak Dhingra                                                                            the size of the memory card you
                                                                                                have—options available are 128 MB,

      W      ith the increasing popularity of
             Windows Mobile devices and the
      emergence of brands such as O2,
                                                                                                256 MB, 512 MB and 1 GB or larger.
                                                                                                    Next, use the slider under the
                                                                                                drop-down to select the target output
      Krome, and Imate, users are now                                                           file size. This would depend on the
      opting for high-end handhelds and PDA                                                     free memory you have on your
      phones running the Windows                                                                memory card. The file size (and
      platform. Apart from the ease of use,                                                     therefore the quality) of the output
      this platform enjoys great third-party                                                    video will be scaled accordingly. Click
      application support, and there is a          The main Pocket DVD Wizard window            “Next step” to continue.
      whole range of software available in
      various categories.                                   Select the Video                               The Conversion
          There must have been times when                  After clicking “Select                       The next window lets you
      you wanted to do more on your Pocket                 a video file”, you can choose                specify the destination folder
      PC... watch a movie, for example. Now        the video file you want to convert           where the output will be saved and the
      you can!                                     and, even get a preview in the               name of the converted file. You can
          Though there are many software           ensuing window.                              change these settings here or continue
      that let you convert DVDs and other              From the drop-down list above the        with the default.
      video clips for Pocket PC, here we’ll tell   preview, you can select the device you          Next, “Start the backup” to begin
      you about Pocket DVD Wizard—which            intend to view the converted video on.       the conversion process.
      is probably the easiest way to watch
      videos on your mobile device. This
      software also lets you convert videos
      for other popular mobile platforms
      such as Palm OS and the Sony
      Playstation Portable (PSP).

              Get The Software
                Download and install the trial
                version from www.pocket -dvd-
      wizard.com/download.html.
          The free trial version lets you          Select the format for your device/platform   Start the conversion
      convert five minutes of a video track to
      be played on your handheld. The full         Pocket PC is selected by default, but
      version can be purchased for $28.95          you can choose from other options                       Finishing Up
      (Rs 1,300).                                  such as Palm OS, PSP, Archos, and                   The conversion process will
          It is also recommended that you          more. Click “Next step” to continue.                start, and you’ll get a message
      install Microsoft Windows Media                                                           when the file is ready. All you need to
      Encoder. This results in higher-quality               Preparing To Convert                do now is copy the converted file to
      output and faster video processing                   The next window that pops up
      speeds. The above component can be                   lets you set the type of Pocket
      downloaded from                              PC device you have and the
      http://snipurl.com/digit301 or               approximate size for the output file.
      http://snipurl.com/6823.                     Select either ‘Standard Pocket PC’ or
                                                   ‘VGA Pocket PC’ depending on the
              Getting Started                      type of device you have.
              After the installation is done,
              you are presented with the
      main screen. There are two large
      square buttons displayed. Click on the
      one on the left if you want to convert                                                    It’s all done!
      DVD video or the right one if you
      want to convert any other video file                                                      your Windows Mobile device using
      format such as AVI, MPEG, or WMV.                                                         Activesync or Bluetooth, and you’re
      The two buttons are neatly labelled,                                                      set. The file can be played using
      so there’s no chance of confusion! We                                                     Windows Media Player, which is
      chose to convert an MPEG file already                                                     already on your device. Enjoy!
      stored on the PC.                            Select the target output size                            deepak_dhingra@thinkdigit.com


88   DIGIT NOVEMBER 2005
                                                                                                          Digital Tools l Tips & Tricks

procedure, removing the                 Note, however, that XP          Settings\Username\Send to’.           regarding your surfing habits
directory location and             will ask you again for the first         Any shortcuts to folders          and are impossible to delete
choosing a drive letter            new folder it encounters.            or applications placed in this        using normal deletion
instead. The data on the           Follow the same procedure to         folder will appear in the             methods. Even deleting your
drive will be unharmed.            answer ‘No’ automatically for        ‘Send to’ option when you             cookies and the history file
                                   all the folders.                     right-click an icon.                  retains these index.dat files.
Running Older                                                                                                      To delete them, you’ll
Software On XP                     Create A Link To                     Block Incoming Attacks                need to first reboot your
       XP can be set to mimic      Shut Down Your PC                    Without A Firewall                    computer. Go to the
       various OS                        To create a useful link               Limit your exposure to         advanced booting options by
environments for a                       desktop link to shut                  attacks from the cyber         pressing [F8] or [F5]. You’d
program. If you have a             down or restart your PC,             world by blocking incoming            now need to choose ‘Safe
program that simply refuses        right-click on an empty area         connections. Go to Start >            mode with command
to work on XP, give this a try:    of your desktop, and select          Settings > Control Panel >            prompt’; log in as
after installing the               New > Shortcut to open the           Network Connections. Right            Administrator and then
application, right-click on the    ‘New Shortcut’ wizard.               click on ‘Local Area Network’         delete these files.
exe file or on the shortcut to         When prompted for the            and go to ‘Properties’.                    You delete them by going
it, and select ‘Properties.’       location of the shortcut, enter           In the scroll box, click on      to the root and typing in “del
Choose the ‘Compatibility’         “shutdown -s -t 01” to shut          ‘Internet Protocol (IP/TCP)’          index.dat /s”. This will delete
tab. The first section in this     down the system, or                  and then click ‘Properties’;          all the ‘index.dat’ files on
window, ‘Compatibility             “shutdown -r -t 01” to restart       in the new window, click              your computer.
mode’, covers mimicking            the system. Name the                 ‘Advanced’.
various OS environments to         shortcut and give it an                   Then in the other new            Convert FAT32 Partitions
try and make your                  appropriate icon from the            window go to the ‘Options’            To NTFS
application more                   ‘%SystemRoot%\system32\SH            tab, click on ‘TCP/IP                       To change from a FAT
comfortable.                       ELL32.dll’ location.                 Filtering’ and hit                          32 to NTFS file system
     You can also set the                                               ‘Properties’. Uncheck                 for more stability, security
program to run in 256              Add Items To ‘Send To’               ‘Enable TCP/IP filtering              and less fragmentation, open
colours and/or 640 x 480                 First enable the viewing       (all adapters)’.                      the command prompt and
resolution, which many older             of hidden files and                 Next, in the above ‘TCP          type in “convert C: /FS:NTFS”,
software titles require.           folders. XP, like previous           Ports’, check the radio               with C being the drive you
                                   versions of Windows, has a           button that reads ‘Permit             wish to convert. Make sure
‘No To All’ When                   handy ‘Send to’ option in the        Only’, and then add in the            there’s a space between the
Copying Files                      menu that appears when you           ports you want people to be           “C:” and the foward slash.
       Have you noticed that       right-click an icon in               able to access.                       Once you press [Enter], it will
       XP gives you the ‘Yes to    Windows Explorer.                         This way, you close the          ask you for a confirmation;
all’ option in its file copy           By default, this contains        ports you don’t need. An              press [Y]. Then press [Y] and
dialog box, which is useful if     only a few options, none of          alternative to this tweak             [Enter] once more to reboot.
you would like to overwrite        which are particularly               could be running a firewall           This works for all versions of
files in a directory with          useful except for creating           or enabling Windows’                  Windows XP.
newer files of the same            shortcuts.                           inbuilt firewall.
name from another location,                                                                                   Decrease System Loading
but fails to offer a ‘No to all’                                                                              Time By Changing Your
option for doing the                                                                                          Network Settings
opposite? Annoying, if you                                                                                          When you start up your
think about it.                                                                                                     computer while you are
     What if you have a                                                                                       connected to a LAN, and
lengthy file copy operation                                                                                   your computer is set to
partially finished, and wish                                                                                  DHCP, it has to search for
to restart it? If you use the                                                                                 the DHCP server and then
default options, you                                                                                          request an IP address and all
essentially have to recopy                                                                                    other configurations.
every file, since saying ‘No’                                                                                      This process takes some
to every duplicate file will       The ‘Send to’ folder can be viewed only if you choose to view hidden       time and slows down the
take just as long.                 folders and files                                                          time it takes to boot the
     Fortunately, there’s a way                                                                               computer up. Following the
to tell XP not to copy all              However, you can easily              A point to note is that in       directions below will help
duplicated files, with a single    add your own destinations to         order for other computers to          your set a static IP address.
command.                           the ‘Send to’ menu. Very             connect to you, like using                 Even if your ISP asks you
     To do this, when the          useful if you have a folder          Windows Messenger to send a           to use DHCP this tweak may
file copy dialog box               you use for backing up files,        file, you’ll have to make sure        still work for you. Go to
appears asking you whether         for example, and you want            the required port is not              Start > Run, type in “cmd”
you wish to overwrite              to periodically move                 blocked on your system.               and click OK.
the first file, hold down          different files or folders to                                                   At the DOS prompt, type
[Shift] and click ‘No’. This       a location.                          Completely Remove                     in “ipconfig”. This will show
will automatically answer               To add items to the ‘Send       Index.dat                             you the current IP addresses
‘No’ for all the files             to’ command, navigate to                   Index.dat files store all       that your NIC and PPPoE
that follow!                       ‘C:\Documents and                          the information                 adapters have. Take note of

                                                                                                                         DIGIT NOVEMBER 2005    89
     Digital Tools l Tips & Tricks
     your Ethernet Card Adapter,
     not the PPP adapter.
                                                                                                       STEP 4            Bet You Didn’t Know
         Next, right-click on My
                                                                                                                     Fun Toys For XP
     Network Places and select
                                                                                                                     PowerToys are additional
     ‘Propertie’s from the drop-
                                                                                                                     programs that developers
     down menu. This will open up
                                                                                                                     work on after the product
     the Network Connections
                                                                                                                     has been released to manu-
     window. Here, locate your
                                                                                                                     facturing, but before the
     Local Area Network
                                                                                                                     next project has begun.
     connection and right click it,
                                                                                                                     These toys add fun and
     select ‘Properties’ from the
                                                                                                                     functionality to the Windows
     drop down menu. In the next
                                                                                                                     XP experience.
     window, select Internet
     Protocol (TCP/IP) and click on
     ‘Properties’ at the bottom. In                                                                                 the list on the right. Right-
     the next window, and click on                                                                                  click on it and select ‘Modify’.
     ‘Use the following IP Address’.                                                                                    Change the value to
         This is where that DOS            Right-click on it and select ‘Properties’                                something lower. Note that a
     window comes in handy.                                                                                         setting of ‘0’ is virtually
     Copy the same exact IP                                                                                         instantaneous, and you might
     address from your Ethernet                                                                        STEP 5       find it difficult to use the
     card (in the DOS window)                                                                                       Start Menu! So experiment
     and place it where it says                                                                                     with other settings and sette
     ‘IP Address’.                                                                                                  on a value you’re comfortable
         The same goes for the                                                                                      with. Once you’re done,
     Subnet Mask and Default                                                                                        reboot your computer.
     Gateway. If your Default
     Gateway is blank, then just                                                                                    Contiguous File
     leave it blank. In the DOS                                                                                     Allocation Size
     window, type in “exit”,                                                                                             This setting optimises
     then hit [Enter] and reboot                                                                                         the contiguous file
     your system.                                                                                                   allocation size for the file
                                                                                                                    system, and can be especially
     Doing Away With Remote                                                                                         useful for disk-intensive
     Registry Editing                                                                                               applications such as image
           Windows XP lets remote                                                                                   manipulation, video editing
                                           In the ‘Startup type’ option box, select ‘Disable’
           registry editing by                                                                                      and 3D graphics rendering.
                                                                                                                        Open up the Registry
                                                                     STEP 1       running a service for it. Below   Editor and go to
                                                                                  we give you a step-by-step        HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\
                                                                                  method to disable this            System\CurrentControlSet\
                                                                                  security hole:                    Control\FileSystem. Create a
                                                                                                                    DWORD value called
                                                                                  1. Go to your Control Panel       ‘ConfigFileAllocSize’ and set
                                                                                  and click on ‘Performance         the value to 200 in
                                                                                  and Maintainence’.                hexadecimal.
                                                                                  2. Select Administrative
                                                                                  Tools > Services                  Faster Startup
     Go to the Control Panel and click on ‘Performance and Maintainence’          3. On the right panel, find              And at last, a tweak
                                                                                  the service called “Remote              that’ll help your PC
                                                                     STEP 2       Registry”.                        start up faster. Go to Start >
                                                                                  4. Right-click on it and select   Run, and type in “msconfig”.
                                                                                  Properties.                       In the Startup tab, click
                                                                                  5. In the ‘Startup Type’ option   ‘Disable All’, and in the
                                                                                  box, select ‘Disable’.            ‘Services’ tab, check the
                                                                                  6. Reboot your computer.          ‘Hide All Microsoft Service’
                                                                                                                    box and then click ‘Disable
     Select Administrative Tools > Services                                       Speed Up Menu Display             All’. Restart, and XP will
                                                                                        When using the Start        restart with only the
                                                                     STEP 3             Menu, you’ll notice a       system services and
                                                                                  delay between different tiers     applications running.
                                                                                  of the menu hierarchy.                This tweak will disable
                                                                                      You can make the              all non-system startup
                                                                                  different tiers appear            services and applications so
                                                                                  instantly: start the registry     if you have anything you
                                                                                  editor. Navigate to               want to run in the
                                                                                  HKEY_CURRENT_USER\                background, such as anti-
                                                                                  Control Panel\Desktop, and        virus software, do not
     On the right panel, find the service called ‘Remote Registry’                select ‘MenuShowDelay’ from       disable that item.

90   DIGIT NOVEMBER 2005
     Kingston’s Data Traveller II Plus Migo Edition
     Working Was Never Easier                                       that works on Windows, allowing users to set up a public

     H    ere’s an easier way to carry your work—the Kingston
          Data Traveller II plus migo edition. The concept of
     this USB 2.0 Flash Drive is to store your PC’s settings and
                                                                    and a password protected privacy zone within the Flash
                                                                    drive. The privacy zone is invisible to Windows, and it
                                                                    can only be accessed by entering a password. It therefore
     then give you the freedom to work on                           provides powerful data security for home and office use.
     different computers in different                                  On the 512 MB version we tested, transfer of 100 MB of
     locations, using your own machine’s                              assorted files and a single file was timed at
     Microsoft Outlook contents, Internet                                   15 seconds and 6 seconds respectively. Results of
     Explorer settings, favourites and                                           the SiSoft Sandra test were also positive, with
     history, plus your files and folders.                                            sequential read and write speeds of 26
         The ‘Main Computer’ is the primary computer on                                    Mbps and 19 Mbps respectively.
     which you would normally save most of your files and                                     All in all, the DataTraveller II
     a ‘Guest Computer’ is any other desktop or laptop that                               plus is a fast USB Flash drive that
     you would temporarily access. The whole idea is to                                  offers data-securing capabilities and
     personalise the Guest Computer to look and feel like your                          the option to synchronise your data
     Main Computer. All this is possible thanks to the                               with any Windows-based machine
     implementation of ‘migo’.                                      anywhere in the world.
         Migo helps you synchronise the Main Computer into
                                                                    Company A A Infoways
     the Flash drive, and then allows the customising of a
                                                                    Price Rs 2500 (for 512 MB)
     Guest Computer to look like your desktop. Migo also
                                                                    Phone 011-26442261
     saves your Internet Explorer settings, Microsoft Outlook
                                                                    E-mail pramod@aainfoways.com
     contents, Desktop settings, and of any other file.
                                                                    Web site www.kingston.com/asia
         Kingston also provides software known as the
     SecureTraveller, which is a configuration utility program      Rating
                                                                                                         1           2       3       4       5




     Sony PlayStation2

     Gamers Rejoice!                                                backgrounds are incredibly dynamic, simulated fog looks

     U   nlike in most parts of
         the world, console
     gaming is still in its
                                                                      like the real thing, transparency effects are invoked
                                                                            regularly, human faces are life-like, and Batman’s
                                                                                                           cape casts an unearthly
     infancy in India. It has                                                                                 shadow.
     been limited to Nintendo                                                                                       The PS2’s
     clones such as the Little                                                                                   massive game
     Master, which were popular in the                                                                             library includes
     early ’90s.                                                                                                    such best-selling
         With Sony and Microsoft having                                                                            titles as Tony
     launched their respective consoles last year, it                                                           Hawk Pro Skater,
     was time for a change! Since the launch of the                                           Grand Theft Auto, Final Fantasy,
     PlayStation in the US and Japan back in 2000, Sony has sold    Burnout and Metal Gear Solid. Titles such as the genre-
     an astounding 90 million units.                                defining Gran Turismo 4 (700 different cars ranging from
         The PlayStation2 is an incredibly slim-and-slick black     Ford Model T to Nissan Skyline, over 50 racetracks, and real-
     box. There’s an Ethernet port for games, which supports        life physics) and the Katamari Damacy have catapulted the
     online multiplayer gaming. It has two memory card slots to     PS2 to the top of a gamer’s wish-list.
     save game states and configurations. But Sony’s decision to         Sadly, Sony doesn’t include a memory card, a second
     stick with Magic Gate (its proprietary data encryption         controller or a game with the package. While the PS2 is
     technology) is irritating, as it prevents you from using any   available in the US for as low as $130 (Rs 5,850), it’s selling in
     standard memory card format with the console.                  India for almost double that price. And with the next
         The PS2 can even play PS1 games, and doubles up as a       generation of consoles—the Xbox 360 and the PS3—only
     CD/DVD player. And the Dolby Digital surround sound            months away, this price is not justified.
     support will foil an enemy soldier’s attempt to take you by
     surprise from behind!                                          Company Milestone Interactive Software Ltd
         At the heart of the PS2 lies the powerful Emotion          Price Rs 12,990
     Engine, a 128-bit CPU with integrated graphics processing      Phone 022-2820 3319
     capabilities. Sony designed this souped-up rig keeping in      E-mail sales@milestoneinteractive.com
     mind its primary function of simulating 3D environments.       Web site www.sony.com
     We played a few games on it and were totally floored—menu      Rating
                                                                                                         1       2       3       4       5

92   DIGIT NOVEMBER 2005
                                                                                              Digital Tools l New and Notable
MSI Sky Talk                                                       Wipro LittleGenius Ultra Slim WLGCPuSL
A Wire-Free Existence
    Bluetooth, a feature earlier available only in high-end
                                                                   T   he LittleGenius WLGCPuSL is part of Wipro’s Ultra Slim
                                                                       range of notebook PCs—it weighs 1.35 kg and is 27 mm
                                                                   thick. Based on the Centrino Mobile
mobile phones and PDAs, has now made its way to mid-range
                                                                   technology, it is powered by an
models as well. More users want Bluetooth-enabled phones to
                                                                   Intel Pentium M 1600 MHz
transfer data and images, synchronise contacts and install
                                                                   processor with 256 MB of DDR
applications on their devices wirelessly.
                                                                   RAM. It has a 12.1-inch monitor
                 MSI Sky Talk is an all-in-one solution for such
                                                                   with a resolution of 1024 x 768.
                   users. Its Bluetooth headset and USB dongle
                                                                   There’s an external combo drive,
                      let you use your Bluetooth phone the way
                                                                   which, quite unusually, is a top
                        it should be used—sans wires. The
                                                                   loading drive.
                        headset has a main button and volume
                                                                       Connectivity options for the
                           controls. There are three options to
                                                                   WLGCPuSL include three USB 2.0
                               charge the internal rechargeable
                                                                   ports and a high-
                                battery—the power adaptor, the
                                                                   speed FireWire port.
                                USB cable, and the car adaptor.
                                                                   There’s a slot for
                                   A blinking LED on the front
                                                                   PCMCIA Type II cards.
                           indicates various status modes—
                                                                   There’s no Bluetooth or
                    ‘standby’, ‘pairing’, ‘charging’, ‘battery
                                                                   infrared, but there is Wi-Fi b+g and a 10/100 LAN with a
              low’, and so on. Once paired, you can accept and
                                                                   standard 56 Kbps modem. Its memory card reader
reject calls, redial the last dialled number, and even voice-
                                                                   supports SD, MS and MMC cards.
dial (if your phone supports it)—all from the headset itself.
                                                                       In the ZD-Bench Business Winstone 2004 test, it scored
    We paired the headset with a few phones and found the
                                                                   16.4—an ordinary score for a laptop. In the battery life test, it
device rather decent in terms of voice clarity, range, and
                                                                   lasted an hour and 34 minutes. Although bundled with
battery life. The USB dongle confirms to Bluetooth v1.1. You
                                                                   Windows XP Professional SP2, eTrust Anti-Virus, Nero
just need to plug it into a PC or notebook, install the drivers,
                                                                   Burning ROM and Unistal Data Recovery software, the
and voilà—you’re ready to live the wire-free life!
                                                                   Rs 84,990 price tag will make buyers think twice.
Company Micro-Star International                                   Company Wipro Limited
Price Rs 4,500                                                     Price Rs 84,990
Phone 011-51758808                                                 Phone 1600 3453312
E-mail info@msi-india.com                                          E-mail littlegenius@wipro.com
Web site www.msi-india.com                                         Web site www.wipro.co.in
Rating                                                             Rating
                                   1    2      3       4      5                                                1   2      3      4      5

Philips PET710 Portable DVD Player
Calling All Movie Buffs!                                                                                   This DVD player can be

T   he Philips PET710 is a portable DVD player with a
    seven-inch wide TFT LCD display. The brushed
aluminium finish looks rather neat. Moreover, it
                                                                                                        powered using the bundled
                                                                                                        power adaptor or a
                                                                                                        rechargeable Li-ion battery.
weighs just 0.8 kg.                                                                                    When we tested it, the
    The player supports VCD, SVCD, Audio CD, MP3                                                      battery lasted three and a
CD, Photo CD and DVD (single and dual layer)                                                          half hours, which surpassed
formats burned on almost any media. Sadly, it                                                        the battery life claimed by
doesn’t support DivX. When you insert a data                                                        the manufacturer by a good
disk, a Windows Explorer-like interface opens,                                                     one hour. More than enough
and you can browse the disk for media files to                                                    for any movie out there!
play. Moreover, it supports Dolby Digital                                                             The PET710 comes with a car
audio in addition to Virtual                                                                     adaptor in case you wish to
Surround sound.                                                                                 recharge and view it while
    A full-function                                                                            travelling. It comes with a leather
remote control is also                                                                        pouch along with all the necessary
provided; however,                                                                           cables. Retailing at Rs 19,990, it is
the buttons are a bit                                                                       only for serious movie buffs who
too stiff and hard on                                                                     find themselves crippled when
the fingers.                                                                        deprived of entertainment even when
    The LCD image quality is crisp                                             on the go.
and bright. One thing we noticed is that it
is fairly viewable even when used outdoors. The
speakers, though, sounded tinny and produced all treble            Company Philips Electronics India Limited
and no bass!                                                       Price Rs 19,990
    The unit functions as a regular DVD player when                Phone 022-56912000
connected to a TV with the TV-out and audio-out using              E-mail gautam.dalal@philips.com
the supplied cables. There is even a digital coaxial audio-        Web site www.india.philips.com
out, and dual headphone jacks so you can connect two               Rating
headphones simultaneously.                                                                                     1   2      3      4      5


                                                                                                                       NOVEMBER 2005 DIGIT   93
      Digital Tools l New and Notable
       Sony PlayStation Portable
      Gaming On The Go!                                                  data such as user preferences, saved games and more. The
                                                                         4.3-inch widescreen LCD can display 16.77 million colours,
      The moment you hold this marvel in your hands, you’re              and is easily the best feature of the device.
      struck by the large screen and glossy black exterior.                  The playing experience is amazing and the PSP feels
      Measuring 17 x 7.4 x 2.3 cm and weighing just 280 gm, the          perfectly balanced when held in both hands in the playing
      PSP is a tad bulky and not really convenient for carrying          position. It also uses the proprietary 1.8GB Universal Media
      around in your trouser pocket! The screen apart, the front         Disk (UMD) on which more games and now, even movies are
      panel sports directional buttons, with an analogue stick on        available. These mini disks are enclosed in a plastic casing
      the left and four control buttons on the right.                    inserted in the UMD drive at the top rear. We tried a few
          The tiny stereo speakers are placed at the bottom edges                             sample games including the Ridge
      of the screen, but we’d advise you to use the                                                Racer—its great graphics and
      bundled earphones for better audio.                                                            immersive soundtrack kept us at it
      Below the speakers, you’ll find                                                                 for hours.
      smaller buttons for ‘Home’,                                                                          The PSP is powered by a user
      volume, screen brightness,                                                                        replaceable 1800 mAh Li-ion
      ‘Sound’, ‘Select’ and ‘Start’.                                                                    battery that can be charged
          The left and right trigger                                                                    using the bundled AC adaptor.
      buttons are placed on either side                                                                 You can expect about three
      at the top. Made of clear plastic,                                                               hours of continuous gameplay,
      they look part of the design,                                                                   depending upon the screen
      and it takes a while to realise                                                               brightness and audio levels.
      they’re buttons!                                                                    Overall, the PSP is a great device for portable
          A power-cum-hold switch is placed                              gaming, but does not excel as a multimedia player. The high
      on the right whereas the Wi-Fi switch is                           cost of the device and UMD disks may deter many buyers,
      located on the left of the device. Yes, it has 802.11b wireless    except for the hardcore gamers.
      integrated, which lets you play multiplayer games with
      another PSP! You can find the mini-USB connector and an            Company Milestone Interactive Software Ltd
      eject button for the UMD slot on the top as well.                  Price Rs 19,990 (Games on UMD – Rs 2999)
          Apart from playing games, you can use the PSP to watch         Phone 022-2820 3319
      videos (MPEG-4 format), view images and listen to MP3s. It         E-mail sales@milestoneinteractive.com
      has an MS Duo Pro card slot. A 32 MB card is included with         Web site www.sony.com
      the package but is hardly enough to store anything                 Rating
      substantial. The memory card is also used to store game
                                                                                                                 1        2      3   4   5


     MSI RX1300 Pro 256 MB                                              ACi Securezza
     F  inally, ATi has brought out a graphics card supporting
        the Shader Model 3.0. The RX1300 Pro is based on the
     budget-oriented X1300, part of the new 1XK series.
                                                                        In The Name Of Security
                                                                        The Securezza from ACi is a business laptop targeted at the
     Manufactured using the 90 nm fabrication process, it has an        security-conscious. Inside lies an Intel Pentium M 2.0 GHz, 512
     entirely new architecture. ATi has implemented Ultra-              MB of 333 MHz DDR RAM, and a 60 GB hard drive.
     Threading technology, which distributes the workload                  The 14-inch widescreen display supports 1280 x 768. On the
     efficiently among numerous shaders.                                connectivity front, there’s high-speed Wi-Fi IEEE 802.11 b+g, a
         It is CrossFire (a multi-GPU system) ready, just in case                             Gigabit LAN port, and integrated
     your hunger for graphics happens to grow. It also has the                                Bluetooth. A PCMCIA Type-II slot is
                                  AVIVO display platform, which                                present along with a slot for an SD
                                  improves video playback quality.                             memory card. It also has a fingerprint
                                       In Doom 3, it scored just over                           swipe sensor and a swivel camera!
                                    half of what a GeForce 6600                                      Thanks to the GeForce 6400 Go, the
                                    scores. In FarCry, it came close                               gaming scores were high. It also
                                   to the GeForce 6600. But in                                             scored well in ZD-Bench
                                   3DMark05, the RX1300 finally                                                  Business Winstone 2004.
                                    outgunned the GeForce 6600,                                                  The battery, however,
                                    scoring 2,598.                                                             lasted only 98 minutes.
                                     ATi has had weak OpenGL                                                The notebook comes loaded
                          support, but it has promised to address                                with the Infineon Security Platform
        this issue in the Catalyst 5.11 drivers, due for release this                    Solution software, a comprehensive toolset
        November. Until then, it is best to wait and watch if this      that provides additional security to this TCG (Trusted
     hot new card will really be the GeForce 6600 killer.               Computing Group) compliant laptop.

     Company Micro-Star International                                   Company Allied Computer International (Asia) Pvt. Ltd.
     Price Rs 8,000                                                     Price Rs 84,999
     Phone 011-51758808                                                 Phone 022-56407000
     E-mail info@msi-india.com                                          E-mail sales@aci-asia.com
     Web site www.msi-india.com                                         Web site www.aci-asia.com
     Rating                             1    2      3       4      5    Rating                                  1         2      3   4   5



94    DIGIT NOVEMBER 2005
                                                                                       Digital Tools l New and Notable
AMD’s Athlon 64 X2 4800+ and Intel’s Pentium D 820

Duel Of The Dual-Cores!                                            In the gaming tests which included Doom 3 and FarCry,

W      e’ve been talking about dual-core processors for
       some time now, giving truckloads of gyan about
how two cores are better than one and how this will
                                                               the X2, along with the GeForce GT, scored fluid frame
                                                               rates while in 3DMark05, the X2 scored 6,792 CPU marks.
                                                               This means that the X2 will be definitely get you closer
usher in a new era in desktop computing. We managed to         to gaming nirvana!
grab hold of two of these—one each from AMD and Intel—             In the CineBench 2003 test, where we evaluate multi-
and we put them to the test to see if all the hype is really   threaded 3D rendering, the result was no different with
worth anything.                                                the X2. This proved that the X2 has raw strength to
    We would like to make it clear at the outset that          efficiently handle 3D applications such as AutoCAD,
although this is not a head-to-head comparison, the            Maya and so on.
Athlon 64 X2 is the best that AMD has to offer. And the            In the number crunching benchmarks from
Pentium D 820 is the lowest dual-core processor from           ScienceMark, SiSoft Sandra and Everest, the X2 proved its
Intel, and is aimed at the budget-conscious consumer.          mettle by racing ahead of every processor we had tested
    The tests we conducted are an                              so far, proving its supremacy in computational power.
indication of the kind of                                      Finally, in the Multimedia Content Creation benchmark,
performance that can be                                        the X2 scored a huge 38.8, the highest so far, which
expected from these                                            shows that it is well suited to handling multimedia
processors. First of                                           applications like 3D Studio Max and Adobe Premiere to
all, though, we                                                name a couple.
will shed                                                           On the Intel front, the Pentium D 820 was no wimp,
a little                                                           and it scored frame rates good enough for most
light on                                                                                        gaming, but not much
what lies                                                                                        performance gain was
inside each                                                                                       seen as compared to its
of the CPUs.                                                                                       single-core counterpart.
    The Athlon                                                                                      Similarly in 3DMark,
64 X2 4800+ is a                                                                                     the 820 scored 5,385,
939-pin processor                                                                                     which again, was not
and is fabricated                                                                                      as impressive as
using the 90 nm                                                                                         we’d hoped.
technology. It is clocked                                                                                    In CineBench
at 2.4 GHz and has 1024                                                                                   2003, the 820
KB of L2 cache. It fits on any                                                                             once again
existing Socket 939                                                                                         performed
motherboard, though a BIOS                                                                                    slightly better
update might sometimes                                                                                         than a
be necessary.                                                                                                   normal
    The X2 4800+ is essentially two K8 cores of Athlon
64 4000+ processors on a single chip and hence, a model
number increment of just 800 might seem a bit                                                                HyperThreaded
too conservative.                                                                                processor. In the number
    It has all the popular instruction sets such as MMX,                             crunching benchmarks, though, it was
3DNow!, SSE, SSE2 and SSE3 (it has all SSE3 instructions                  ahead of the single-core Pentium IV by a
except those pertaining to HyperThreading, an Intel-           comfortable margin. In the Multimedia Content Creation
specific feature). The SSE3 has been incorporated into the     test, it scored 27.9, which is just a little better than the P IV.
Athlon 64 line since the revision E3 or the Venice core.           The Athlon 64 X2 4800+ is the highest offering
    Intel’s Pentium D 820 is an LGA 775 processor and is       from AMD, and is in direct competition with the Intel
also an 90 nm part. It runs at 2.8 GHz and has a L2 cache      Pentium Extreme Edition 840. On the other hand, the
of 1 MB. It fits on almost any LGA 775 motherboard, but        Pentium D 820 is in a strange three-way-fight against
this particular model has some issues with the nForce4         the lower priced Athlon 64 X2 4200+ as well as the
chipset. The Pentium D 820, based on the Smithfield            single core Athlon 64 4000+, and it is a little unfair
core, is in fact two Prescott cores on a single chip.          to compare it with the monster that the Athlon 64 X2
    These are the same as two Pentium IV Extreme               4800+ is.
Edition CPUs stuck together. The only difference is that           Currently, only the price is in the favour of the Intel
these cores are not HyperThreaded, which means that            Pentium D 820: its AMD counterpart is much more
each core runs a single thread.                                expensive. If AMD doesn’t lower the prices of its low-end
    Unlike the 820, the Pentium Extreme Edition 840 has        dual-core processors, budget-conscious enthusiasts will
two HyperThreaded cores which translate to four threads        be forced to buy the mediocre but affordable Intel
running at the same time. It is needless to add that both      Pentium D 820.
processors have 64-bit architecture and native support for
64-bit operating systems as well as applications.
    To run the benchmarks, the Athlon 64 X2 was
mounted on a motherboard with NVIDIA nForce4 Ultra             AMD Athlon 64x2 4800               Intel Pentium D820
chipset with 1 GB DDR RAM whereas the Pentium D 820            Company AMD Far East Ltd (India)   Company Intel Technology India Pvt Ltd
was mounted on a Intel 955X based motherboard with             Phone 080-51372400                 Phone 080-25075000
1 GB DDR2 RAM. All other components were the same.             Web site www.amd.com               Web site www.intel.com



                                                                                                                 NOVEMBER 2005 DIGIT       95
     Digital Tools l A-List
     Motherboards                         Graphics cards (High End)          PDA Phones                         Linux
     Gigabyte 8 Sigma Series              XFX GeForce 7800 GTX               O2 XDA II Mini                     Xandros Desktop OS 3
     GA-K8NXP-SLI                         256 MB                               Small, thin and pocketable         Simple to use
       Top class performance, SLI           Extreme performance, great         One-handed operation not           Paid
       Expensive                            price, exotic features             possible                           Contact G.T. Enterprise
                                            None                                                                  Phone 080-2669 5890/91/92/
       Contact Gigabyte Technology                                             Contact Creative e-biz                    93/94
       Phone 022-26526696                   Contact Rashi Peripherals
                                                                               Phone 022-23828100                 E-mail gtcdrom@vsnl.com
       E-mail sales@gigabyte.in             Phone 022-28221013
                                                                               E-mail creative@goldkist.net       Price Rs 3,914
       Price Rs 12,300                      E-mail navinderc@
                                                                               Price Rs 32,000
                                            rptechindia.com
                                            Price Rs 35,000
                                                                             Cell Phones
                                                                             Sony Ericsson W800i
                                                                               Feature rich and fast phone
                                                                               Can do with better colour
                                                                               combination
                                                                               Contact Sony-Ericsson India
     MSI P4N Diamond                                                           Phone 124-2560808
      Good performance, SLI,                                                   E-mail dhiraj.soni@
      Creative Soundblaster Live!                                                     sonyericsson.com
      24-bit on-board                                                          Price Rs 24,999
      Very expensive
       Contact Micro-Star International   Hard drive based MP3 Player                                           SuSe 9.3 Linux Professional
       Phone 011-51758808                 Samsung YH-J70                                                          Up-to-date software bundling
       E-mail info@msi-india.com            Good audio quality, video                                             None
       Price Rs 17,500                      playback
                                            Average bundled earphones                                             Contact G.T. Enterprise
                                            Contact Samsung India                                                 Phone 080-2669 5890/91/
                                                    Electronics Ltd.                                                     92/93/94
                                            Phone 011-51511234                                                    E-mail gtcdrom@vsnl.com
                                            E-mail subrotah.b@samsung.com                                         Price Rs 4,398
                                            Price Rs 22,900


                                                                            The best products tested so far in different
            The A-List                                                      hardware and software categories

     Graphics Cards (Low End)             Flash based MP3 Player             CRT Monitors (17-inch)             LCD Monitors (15-inch)
     Gainward GeForce 6200 256 MB Samsung YP-T8                              Acer AC715                         Acer AL1512
       Good performance, Shader     Feature packed, video play-                High resolution of 1600 x          Very competitively priced,
       Model 3.0 support, good      back                                       1200 @ 75 Hz, good repro-          good contrast ratio
       value for money              Average bundled earphones                   duction of finer details          No vertical swivel
       None                                                                    None                               Contact Acer India Pvt. Ltd
                                            Contact Samsung India
       Contact Mediatech India                      Electronics Ltd.           Contact Acer India Pvt.Ltd.        Phone 080- 5219520-23
       Phone 022-26361111                   Phone 011-51511234                 Phone 080-5219520                  E-mail rajesh_aiyar@acer.co.in
       E-mail digit@mediatechindia.com      E-mail subrotah.b@                 E-mail rajesh_aiyar@acer.co.in     Price Rs Rs 9,500
       Price Rs 3,950                              samsung.com                 Price Rs 6,995
                                            Price Rs 14,900                                                     LCD Monitors (17-inch)
     Graphics Cards (Mid Range)                                              CRT Monitors (19-inch)             Acer AL714sm
     XFX GeForce 6600GT 256 MB                                               Samsung SyncMaster 997DF              Light, good greyscale
       Great performance,                                                      Good colour reproduction,          reproduction
       good features                                                           compact                            None
       High price                                                              None                               Contact Acer India Pvt Ltd
                                                                               Contact Samsung India              Phone : 080-5219520 / 23
       Contact Rashi Peripherals                                                       Electronics Ltd.
       Phone 022-28221013                                                                                         E-mail rajesh_aiyar@acer.co.in
                                                                               Phone 011-51511234                 Price Rs 14,999
       E-mail navinderc@                                                                                                                           Price Rs 20,9
                                                                               E-mail marketing@
              rptechindia.com                                                         samsungindia.com
       Price Rs 15,000                                                         Price Rs 13,999
                                          YES YMP-910
                                            Excellent audio perform-
                                            ance, extra features
                                            Average quality earphones
                                            Contact Thakral Computers
                                            Phone 022-24914090
                                            E-mail prashantgoel88@
                                                   gmail.com
                                            Price Rs 7,640


96   DIGIT NOVEMBER 2005
                                                                                                                            Digital Tools l A-List
           Hard Disk Drives                      Home Inkjet Printers               Colour Laser Printer                Office Inkjet MFDs
           Hitachi Deskstar                      Pixma iP1000                       Epson AcuLaser C1100                Lexmark X7170
           HDS722525DLA380 250 GB                  Economical; decent photo           Duplex printing, network            Full featured MFD, fast
              Good performance, Feature            printing.                          ready, excellent performance        printing and copying speeds.
              Tool utility                         No output tray; no PictBridge      High Cost per page                  decent quality photo prints
              None                                                                                                        No memory card reader; B&W
                                                   Contact Canon India Ltd            Contact Epson India Ltd             LCD screen
             Contact Cyberstar Infocomm Ltd.       Phone 0124-5160000                 Phone 080-3051 5000
             Phone 080-51266808                                                       E-mail aculaser@eid.epson.co.in      Contact Lexmark India Ltd
                                                   E-mail www.canon.co.in
             E-mail hitachi@cyberstarindia.com                                        Price Rs 36,500                      Phone 022-26057755
             Price Rs 7,500                        Price Rs 3,195
                                                                                                                           Website www.lexmark.com
                                                                                                                           Price Rs 14,999
           Western Digital Caviar SE
           WD2500KS 250 GB
             Good performance at decent
             cost per GB
             None
             Contact Western Digital
                     Corporation
             Phone 09321029204
             E-mail amarjit.singh@wdc.com
             Price Rs 7,500
                                                 Office/ Photo Inkjet               Mono Laser MFDs
                                                                                    Canon MF 3110                       5.1 Speakers
                                                 Printers                                                               Artis X10 Mini
                                                 Canon Pixma iP 3000                  High speed, low price
                                                                                      No fax                              Compact, sturdy, clear
                                                   Fast, excellent photo and
                                                                                                                          sound
                                                   text printing                      Contact Canon India Ltd.            Slightly weak bass
                                                   No LCD                             Phone 0124-5160000
                                                                                      Web site www.canon.co.in             Contact Kunhar
                                                   Contact Canon India Ltd.                                                Peripherals Pvt Ltd
                                                   Phone 0124-5160000                 Price Rs 19,995
                                                                                                                           Phone 022-56345758
                                                   Web site www.canon.co.in                                                E-mail salesbom@kunhar.com
                                                   Price Rs 7,495                                                          Price Rs 13,400




           Digital cameras                       Mono Laser Printers                 Brother MFC-8440                   Lifestyle Ultra Portable
           (Mid Range)                           Canon LBP 2900                        Good print and scan              Laptop
           Sony Cyber-Shot DSC-W5                  Great Performance, price            quality, Sheetfed and            Sony VAIO VGN-S46GP/S
             Reproduces some great                 Lacks Duplex printing and           CIS scanner                        Good looks, Great performance,
             photographs, good features          network capabilities.                 Low scan speed                     excellent LCD display
             to close the list                                                                                            None
             Relatively expensive in its           Contact Canon India Ltd.            Contact Brother International
                                                   Phone 0124-5160000                  Phone 022-25797470                 Contact Sony India Pvt Ltd
             class
                                                   Web site www.canon.co.in            Web site www.brother.co.in         Phone 011-55006600
             Contact Sony India Pvt. Ltd.          Price Rs 9,995                      Price Rs 35,000                    E-mail mktginfo@ap.sony.com
             Phone 011-55006600                                                                                           Price Rs 99,990
             E-mail mktginfo@ap.sony.com
             Price Rs 18,990                                                                                            Lifestyle Workhorse Laptop
                                                                                                                        Acer Ferrari 4002
           Digital cameras                                                                                                Great looks and flaunt value,
           (High End)                                                                                                     great performance
           Sony CyberShot DSC-P200                                                                                        None
             Compact, 7 Megapixel                                                                                         Contact Acer India (Pvt)Ltd
             performance oriented                                                                                         Phone 080-25219520
             camera                                                                                                       E-mail ailenquiries@acer.co.in
s 20,990
             None                                                                                                         Price Rs 99,999

             Contact Sony India Pvt. Ltd                                             Photo Inkjet MFDs
             Phone : 011-55006600                Brother HL 6050D                    HP PSC 2608
                                                   Excellent performance,             Inexpensive, excellent and
                                                   duplex printing, economical        fast text and photo printing
                                                   printing                           None
                                                   Not Network Ready
                                                                                       Contact Hewlett Packard
                                                   Contact Brother International.      India Ltd
                                                   Phone 022-25797470                  Phone 0124-2566111
                                                   Web site www.brother.co.in          Website www.hp.com
             E-mail mktginfo@ap.sony.com           Price Rs 35,100                     Price Rs 14,999


                                                                                                                                    NOVEMBER 2005 DIGIT    97
                                                               size of the onboard VGA in the BIOS. Enter the
                                                               BIOS, and go to ‘Integrated Peripherals’. Here
                                                               you’ll be able to modify the amount of memory
                                                               shared by your onboard VGA. Again, this
                                                               depends on the motherboard and BIOS version,
                                                               so it may or may not be present in your case.
                                                                   If you’re using a separate AGP card, there is
                                                               no way of increasing the share memory, since
                                                               AGP cards have dedicated onboard memory.
                                                               You may be able to increase the AGP aperture
                                                               size using the CMOS setup (by going to
                                                               ‘Integrated Peripherals’.) In either of these
                           Your Questions, Our Answers         cases, since you have only 128 MB of system
                                                               RAM, avoid setting the shared memory or AGP
                                                               aperture size to more than 32 MB, as this will
     Dual Boot Woes                                            degrade your system performance.
         My PC runs two OSes – Windows ME on the C
         drive and XP SP2 on the D drive. I’d like to
     change the time for which you can select the default
                                                               Noisy PC
     OS or the other one. With my OS combination, I’m                I have a Pentium IV 3.0 GHz with HT, an 80 GB
     not able to find boot.ini. Is there a software to              ATA Seagate hard drive, and 512 MB of DDR2
     change the setting?                                       RAM on an Intel 915GAV motherboard. Whenever I
                                   Patel Kinjesh, via e-mail   open a game, my processor’s fan speed increases,
                                                               and is very noisy. What should I do? Also, my retailer
         To access boot.ini, you need to boot into             told me that I can’t install Windows 98 on my
         Windows XP. Go to Start > Run, type in                system. Is that true?
     “%systemdrive%/boot.ini” without the quotes,                                             Ankit Mathur, via e-mail
     and press [Enter]. The boot.ini file will open in
     Notepad. You can now edit it; but be                                  The new generation of Intel proces-
     aware that messing up with system files                               sors heat up too quickly - especially on
     such as boot.ini without knowing exactly                        load – and need a high-rpm fan. However,
     what you’re doing might cause the                               since a higher-rpm fan makes more noise,
     computer to not boot at all.                                    Intel introduced a smart fan that throttles
                                                                     the fan rpm as per the need. When you’re
                                                                     gaming, the processor is under high load,
     Memory Problems                                                 so the fan spins at its maximum rpm and
           I have an Intel Pentium IV 1.70 GHz with                  could be noisy. One way of controlling the
           256 MB of RAM and Windows XP                              noise is proper ventilation of the cabinet
     Professional SP2. I have the following prob-                    near the processor area so the temperature
     lems in my system:                                              is maintained, and so the fan won’t throt-
     (a) When I add an additional 128 MB of RAM,                     tle to higher speeds.
     it becomes 128 + 256 = 384, but the system                           The Intel 915GAV chipset does not
     keeps restarting.                                               support Windows 9x/ME, and you will not
     (b) I have only 8 MB share of VGA. How can I                    be able to install these OSes on mother-
     increase it?                                                    boards based on this chipset.
                                     Vibhav V H, via e-mail

          As far as your first problem is concerned,
                                                               I want it Back!
          the newer RAM module you installed does                    I have a 40 GB Seagate hard disk. I installed
     not match with the older RAM module, so the                     Red Hat Linux on one partition that Linux
     system keeps on rebooting. You’ll have to get the         created during the installation. After a few days, I
     newer RAM module replaced by a module that is             decided to remove Linux. When I started fdisk, it
     compatible with the older module.                         said my hard disk had only 30 GB, with the 10 GB
         Since you have not mentioned whether you              Linux partition not showing up. I later installed
     are using onboard graphics or a separate AGP              Windows 98 SE (on the 30 GB partition). Then I used
     card, we’ll provide you with solutions for both           Seagate Disk Manager (DM), but DM shows the error
     alternatives. If you are using onboard graphics,          “BIOS.ovl file couldn’t open”. How do I reclaim the
     you may be able to increase the shared memory             full 40 GB capacity of my hard disk?
                                                                                               Vikram Dan, via e-mail

                                                                    You should be able to reclaim the full 40 GB
                                                                    using Seagate’s Disk Manager. If you do not
                                                               have the latest version of the Disc Wizard Starter
                                                               Edition (DWSE), download it from the Seagate
                                                               Web site. Run the downloaded file to create the
                                                               DWSE disks – you’ll need two floppies for this.
                                                               When the bootable DWSE disk is created, you
                                                               will be able to boot with the floppy, and the Disk
     Set VGA shared memory size in the BIOS                    Manager will start. From here, you will be able to

98   DIGIT NOVEMBER 2005
use the Disk Manager as you have done before.              [HKEY_CURRENT_USER\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\
   The “BIOS.ovl file couldn’t be opened” error            Windows\CurrentVersion\Policies\System]
that you encounter is due to the file ‘BIOS.ovl’           “DisableRegistryTools”=dword:00000001
not being properly copied onto the DWSE floppy,                Save this file and change its extension from
which could be due to bad sectors on the floppy.           .TXT to .REG. Now double-click on this file and
                                                           when prompted about whether you wish to add
                                                           the information to the registry, click ‘Yes’.
Fix My Boots!                                              Restart Windows, and the Registry Editor should
     I have two OSes installed on my PC - Windows          be enabled.
     XP and 98SE. A few days ago, my PC started
showing the error “UNMOUNTABLE_BOOT_VOLUME”
while booting into XP. What is this?
                                                           Capturing Issues
                               Parikshit Rao, via e-mail        I have a P IV 3.2 GHz, an Intel 915-based board,
                                                                256 MB of RAM and a 60 GB hard disk. I have
     The error “Unmountable Boot Volume”                   installed Windows XP SP1. I have a Frontech TV
     occurs while booting into XP when the                 tuner card based on the Philips HLL7130 chip.
boot.ini file is corrupt. You will require a               Recently, after installing DirectX 9.0b, I have begun
Windows XP installation CD to correct this error.          experiencing problems with my TV tuner card - my
Boot using the XP installation CD, and when you            screen looks black and I am unable to capture
see the “Welcome to Setup” screen, press [R] to            anything. Should I uninstall DirectX 9.0b?
repair XP. You will get a DOS prompt. Here, type                                                 Ankur Patil, Malad
in “chkdsk /f” without the quotes and press
[Enter]. This will start the Check Disk utility,               It is not necessary to uninstall DirectX 9.0b.
which will check the system drive and automati-                DirectX 9.0b causes several TV- Tuner
cally repair any errors it encounters.                           capture card/driver combinations using
    Next, type in “fixboot” and press                            video formats other than NTSC (NTSC-J,
[Enter]. This will write a new boot sector to                    PAL, SECAM) to not initialise correctly on
the system partition. Now type in “exit”                         Windows 2000, XP, and Windows Server
and press [Enter]. The system will now                           2003. The symptoms include loss of
reboot into Windows.                                             capture functionality and potential inabil-
                                                                 ity to set/retain device capture settings.
                                                                 There are two solutions for this problem,
Moving too Fast                                                  the first of which is to install DirectX 9.0c.
     I have Windows 2000 and Windows XP                          You will also need to download and install
     installed on my computer. All programs                      the latest drivers for your TV tuner card
are running well on both systems but the                         from the manufacturer’s website. If you do
problem is that when I play an MP3, MPEG,                        not wish to upgrade DirectX, Microsoft has
DAT or any other sound file, it plays fast, as                   addressed this issue via a hotfix, which
though it’s fast-forwarding. I’ve formatted                      you’ll have to download and install:
the disk and again installed the OS, but the                     http://download.microsoft.com/down-
problem persists.                                                load/f/c/9/fc9b3b60-d7d4-42c6-ac64-
                                    Kanchan Subba, Nepal   f28ea70fabb9/DirectX9b-KB825116-x86-ENU.exe

     It seems you’ve installed the audio or sound
     card drivers before installing the Intel
                                                           Terrorised
chipset software. Whenever you install Windows,                 Two files – ‘folder.htt’ and ‘desktop.ini’ - are
you must install the Intel chipset drivers before               appearing in each and every folder of my
installing any other drivers. You will now need to         computer. This is making it run very slow. I think it’s
uninstall the sound card drivers and then install          a virus. If I delete all the files, they reappear after a
the chipset drivers. After a reboot, install the           few days. My OS is Windows 98SE, running on a
audio drivers, and sound files will play normally.         Pentium III 650 MHz with 192 MB of SDRAM.
                                                                                          Rohan Mondal, via e-mail
Enable registry Editor                                          Your machine is infected by VBS.Terrosist,
    Whenever I try to run the Registry Editor, a                which infects HTML files. It targets files that
    message appears saying the registry editor has         have the .htt, .htm, .html, .asp, .php and .jspin
been disabled by the administrator.                        extensions. In addition to other things, It also
                               Mudresh Tripathi, Jhansi    modifies the %WinDir%\Web\Webview.css,
                                                           %WinDir%\Web\Desktop.ini,
     Open Notepad and type in the following in             %WinDir%\System32\Desktop.ini                   and
     the text file.                                        %WinDir%\Desktop.ini files, so the file
                                                           ‘Folder.htt’, which is a copy of the virus, is
                                                           executed when the folder is viewed in Explorer. It
                                                           replicates itself in each folder that you view later.
                                                           The system slows down noticeably.
                                                               To get rid of the virus, simply scan your
                                                           computer thoroughly using an anti-virus such
                                                           as McAfee or Norton, with the latest updated
Registry editor has been disabled                          virus definitions.

                                                                                              DIGIT NOVEMBER 2005      99
       Microsoft SyncToy 1.0
       No more Copy, Paste and Delete… with the new Microsoft SyncToy 1.0, ‘sync’ is the way to go!
                                                                                                   and we don’t want that to happen!
       Anup Nair                                                                                       When the same files exist on both
                                                                                                   the folders, and if the contents of a file


       S
            yncToy is a tool from Microsoft’s                                                      in the right folder are new, then ‘Sub-
            power toys section. Want to get a                                                      scribe’ will make the necessary update
            head start with this great tool?                                                       to the file in the left folder. This is a
       Read on to know more…                                                                       handy action when dealing with text-
           SyncToy is one of these much need-                                                      based files. No deletions take place.
       ed utilities that help you get rid of mul-                                                      The ‘Contribute’ action is almost the
       tiple copies of files in your hard drive                                                    same as ‘Echo’ apart from the fact that
       even if you have renamed them. More-                                                        it doesn’t delete files. This is again a very
       over, SyncToy can do this task in various                                                   useful action for those who use digital
       ways. As a user, you should know how                                                        cameras. Like ‘Echo’, ‘Contribute’ also
       to choose the correct action, or else you     Choose appropriate action for your folders    acts on file contents from the left fold-
       would end up losing data. Here, we dis-                                                     er to right folder.
       cuss how you can perform the various          thereby result into two identical folders.        The fifth and the last action, ‘Com-
       actions that SyncToy offers.                  This action is very useful when folders       bine’ makes sure that all files exist on
                                                     on two different computers on a net-          both the folders. Any file that doesn’t
       Installing SyncToy                            work need to be synchronised in order         exist in the right folder will be copied
       SyncToy is dependent on the .NET              to maintain identical data with the           to the left and vice versa. By the time
       framework and hence installation will         recent updates. If a file was deleted         ‘Run’ is completed, every file that exist-
       not proceed without latter’s presence.        from, say, the left folder of one PC, say     ed in either folder will exist in both fold-
       Download .NET (dotnetfx.exe) from             computer A, then SyncToy deletes it           ers. ‘Combine’ does not rename or
       Microsoft’s download centre by visiting       from the right folder of the other PC, say    delete files to either folder.
       http://snipurl.com/14ot                       computer B as well; the deleted file will
           Once you have installed .NET frame-       be available in the Recycle Bin of com-       Modus Operandi
       work it is time to get SyncToy. You can       puter B.                                      Now that you know about the actions
       download it from Microsoft or with                Assuming that the left folder is a        that SyncToy can perform, let’s see how
       other download sites such as softpe-          master and the right is a slave, then the     you can use them. First of all, you need
       dia.com. Visit http://snipurl.com/iijk        ‘Echo’ action will make copies of files       to create a folder pair. Click ‘Create New
           After you download the software,          that are new, changed, renamed or             Folder Pair’, this will prompt you to
       run the setup file to install SyncToy. The    deleted from left to right and not the        navigate and choose a left folder. Now,
       installation wizard will guide you            other way round. This tool will come in       click ‘Next’ to select a right folder in the
       through the simple installation proce-        handy for those who use a digital cam-        same manner. Follow the wizard by
       dure. Now that the tool is installed, let’s   era and want only the newly clicked pic-      clicking ‘Next’ and then select an
       take a look at its working.                   tures to be copied from the memory            action for the folder pair; proceed to
                                                     card into a picture folder on the PC. If      give a name to the folder pair. Now click
       Rationale Of SyncToy Actions                  images in the picture folder on the PC        ‘Finish’ to see a screen that separates
       There are five distinct actions in            are renamed then ‘Echo’ will rename           the two folders into columns as ‘Left
       SyncToy, although they appear to be           them back to their original form, which       Folder’ and ‘Right Folder’ with details
       rather similar, they offer different          is undesirable.                               of chosen action and default options.
       outcomes.                                         To prevent this, click on the ‘Preview’   The options can be changed by clicking
            The five actions are ‘Synchronize’,      button before clicking on ‘Run’ and un-       the ‘Change options…’ link and you can
       ‘Echo’, ‘Subscribe’, ‘Contribute’ and         tick all the rename operations. Same can      also change the selected action by click-
       ‘Combine’. The ‘Folder pair’ is the data      be done using the ‘Synchronize’ action,       ing the ‘Change action…’ link.
       containing folders that act as target(s)      however, any new file in the Picture fold-        We would advice you to look at a pre-
       for any of the aforementioned actions.        er will be copied to the memory card—         view before you proceed with the actu-
       The folders are seg-                                                                        al action. To do so, click the ‘Preview’
       regated into left                                                                           button located at the bottom right cor-
       and right and are                                                                           ner of the screen. You can avoid any
       temporarily                                                                                 unwanted operation on your files.
       named likewise.                                                                                 After you preview the action and its
            The ‘Synchro-                                                                          outcome, you can proceed by clicking
       nize’ action makes                                                                          ‘Run’. This process may take some time
       two folders mirror                                                                          depending on the number of files Sync-
       each other. This                                                                            Toy has to deal with. You can also per-
       action will update                                                                          form any action on all the folder pairs
       the latest changes                                                                          by choosing ‘All Folder Pairs’ from the
       to each folder and                                                                          column at the left side of the screen.
       its sub folders and A preview of any action is necessary so as to avoid mistakes                              anup_nair@thinkdigit.com



100   DIGIT NOVEMBER 2005
                                                                                             Obtain a new copy of the Hhctrl.ocx file for the ver-
           Help for Help?                                                                   sion of Internet Explorer that you have, to the Win-
               . Whenever I try to open a help file for example,                            dows\System directory.
               ‘cfbooks.chm’ from the ‘C:\Program Files\Macromedia\                    If Internet Explorer 5 is installed, extract a new copy of
           Macromedia 8\Help’ folder, I get the following message:                 Hhctrl.ocx from your Windows 98 CD-ROM. To extract the
           “Cannot open the file: mk: @MSITStore: C:\Program                       file, go to Start > Run. Type in “sfc” and press [Enter]. This
                  Files\Macromedia\Macromedia 8\Help\cfbooks.chm”.                 launches the System File Checker utility. Select ‘Extract one
                  This message is being displayed for all help files with the      file from installation disk’, enter “hhctrl.ocx” in the dialog
          tion    .CHM extension.                                                  box and click ‘Start’. In the next dialog box, enter the path to
      Questhe
       of nth                                           Goutam Ghosh, Orissa       the Windows 98 installation files in the ‘Restore from’ dialog
       Mo                                                                          box and the path to the System directory of Windows in the
                        This problem occurs in Windows 98. It happens              ‘Save file in’ dialog box, and click ‘OK’. You will then see the
                        when the ‘Hhctrl.ocx’ file version is wrong. To            dialog “The file has been successfully extracted.” Click OK to
           resolve this problem, you will have to extract and register a           complete the process and restart the computer if prompted.
           new copy of the ‘Hhctrl.ocx’ file. Follow the steps below:                  If a different version of Internet Explorer is installed,
                                                                                   extract a new copy of Hhctrl.ocx from the Hhupd.cab file
                      Identifying the version of Hhctrl.ocx                        from the Internet Explorer installation files, or install the
                     Go to Start > Settings, and click ‘Folder Options’.           latest update for Windows HTML Help.
                     Click on the ‘View’ tab, then check ‘Show all files’.
           Now clear the ‘Hide file extensions for known file types’                        To register the Hhctrl.ocx file, do the following:
           checkbox and click OK. Look for ‘hhctrl.ocx’ - in the ‘Look in’                 Quit all running programs. Go to Start > Run. Type
           list, click ‘My Computer’. In the list of items that are found,                 in “regsvr c:\windows\system\hhctrl.ocx” (assum-
           right-click on the Hhctrl.ocx file in the C:\Windows\System             ing that the file is in c:\windows\system), and click OK. The
           folder, and click ‘Properties’. Click on the ‘Version’ tab and          following message should appear:
           note the number that is displayed next to ‘File version’. The           “DllRegisterServer       in   c:\windows\system\hhctrl.ocx
           version of Hhctrl.ocx included with Internet Explorer 5.0 or            succeeded.”
           Internet Explorer 5.01 is file version 4.73.8412.                       Click ‘OK’ and restart your computer.


                                                                                                             The Fedora Core 4 ISO images
          BSOD                                                                                               provided on the Digit DVD are meant
               My PC automatically reboots while                                                        to be burnt on CDs, as these are CD
               running some applications. Windows                                                       images. There is no way to convert these
          shuts down and flashes a blue screen saying                                                   images to create a Fedora Core 4 DVD.
          that it encountered a serious error and needs                                                 Even if you extract the contents using soft-
          to shut down to avoid further damage. The                                                     ware, the DVD that you might create will
          error message says “PFN-LIST-CORRUPT”.                                                        not be bootable and will not be able to
                                    Jitesh Babel, via e-mail                                            install Fedora.
                                                                                                            Encoding to DVD video format means
               This error indicates that there is a                                                     encoding to the MPEG-2 format, and this
               memory corruption in a driver, or that                                                   takes a lot of time. This encoding time
          the Page Frame Number (PFN) is corrupt.                                                       depends to a large extent on the power of
          Such an error is usually seen on systems                                                      the CPU, so even if you use any other soft-
          under heavy stress. In such a case there is                                                   ware, the time it will take to encode will
          nothing that can be done to stop the error.                                                   remain more or less the same.
          The error also occurs if a RAM module is
          bad - in such cases, changing the RAM module(s)                                        Infected
          will solve the problem.                                                                     Of late, my computer has slowed down a lot. I
                                                                                                      found ‘my_picture.scr’, ‘pic.scr’ and
                                                                                                 ‘see_this!.pif’ in the root of my C drive. I suspect my
          Media Issues                                                                           computer is infected by a virus.
               I have a Sony DRU-710A DVD-Writer. I have a                                                                  Mahesh Bangare , Via e-mail
               DVD which has Fedora Core 4 (in four ISO
          images) on it. Please suggest a method as to how I              Get Help Now!                Your      system      is     infected     by
          can write all these four images onto a single DVD. I                                         WORM_MYTOB.AC, a worm that sends a
          am aware that there are many software available             E-mail us your computing   copy of itself as an attachment to e-mails, which
                                                                      problems along with your
          for extracting ISO image contents, but I do                 contact details and
                                                                                                 it sends using its own SMTP engine.
          not know how put the contents of each ISO on a              complete system                 The worm can be removed quite easily. Bring
          single DVD.                                                 configuration to           up the Windows Task Manager and navigate to
              My second problem is that I have huge collection        sos@jasubhai.com ,         the ‘Processes’ tab. Find ‘rnathchk.exe’, click on
          of videos in VCD (DAT) format which I wish to               and we will answer them    it and click ‘End Process’. This will remove the
          convert to DVD format. I have a bundled edition of          here! Since we get more    worm from memory. Now delete the files you
          Nero 6. When I try to make a DVD of these videos in         mails per day than we      mentioned from the C drive. Also delete the file
          Nero Vision Express, it shows me an estimated               can handle, it may take    ‘rnathchk.exe’ from the Windows System32
          encoding time of approximately 26 hours. Please tell        some time for your         directory. Install a good anti-virus such as Trend
                                                                      query to be answered.
          me if there is DVD burning software available that          Rest assured, we are
                                                                                                 Micro AntiVirus or Norton AntiVirus with the
          can decrease the encoding time.                             listening!                 latest updates and run a thorough system scan
                                          Kuljit Singh , Via e-mail                              to completely remove the worm.

102       DIGIT NOVEMBER 2005
                                                                                                    Digital Tools l Agent 001
                                                       Agent 001

Shoot To Capture!
For once, Agent 001 needed advice on how to go about buying camcorders. Well, now he
knows—and so will you
      or a long time now, I have been getting The consumer

F
                                                                              on sensors: those with a single CCD, and those
      mails requesting information and buying camcorder world                 that have three. In a three-CCD camera, there’s
      advice on camcorders a.k.a. handycams.                                  one sensor for each of the primary colours.
Camcorders are certainly not my cup of
                                                        offers several        Advantages? Well, three-CCD cameras have bet-
tea. Although I have used them occasionally, recording                        ter colour reproduction, and are a must-have for
they’ve never appealed to me. But with the fes- formats, which                professional work. Strictly speaking, single-CCD
tive season almost here, I knew there would be often breeds                   models are good enough for typical home or
an increase in interest in buying camcorders. confusion when                  vacation use. But the good news is, three-CCD
And I wasn’t going to let my lack of knowledge                                technology is now available in models that cost
stand in the way!
                                                        a consumer is         less than Rs 50K, which is a boon for amateurs.
    To get going, I tracked down my Steven making a buying                        Professionals should pay some attention to
Spielberg wannabe friend, Vinod, who’d just decision                          the resolution a recorder supports; for high-reso-
retuned from northeastern India after shooting a                              lution video, opt for a camcorder that supports
documentary. The camcorder thing was long                                     the HDV format.
overdue, so I headed over to his place.                                           Can camcorders shoot stills? Well, accord-
    A long chat and some chai later, I felt empow-                            ing to our expert, they can, but take this with
ered thanks to the gyan Vinod shared with me.                                 a pinch of salt. Most camcorders have fast
According to him, before you choose a cam-                                    enough sensors to deliver jerk-free video; how-
corder, there are some questions you need to                                  ever, the sensors are noisy and have low reso-
answer and some stuff you need to know. You                                   lution since the display unit is generally a TV,
should be aware of things like the recording for-                             which does not require higher resolution.
mat, types of sensors, multipurpose capability,                               Such sensors are bad at still images and don’t
etc. Don’t be intimidated—I’m here to help!                                   deliver. In fact, they are pathetic when com-
    The consumer camcorder world offers several                               pared to even an entry-level digital camera
recording formats, which often breeds confusion                               that retails for Rs 9K to 10K. Expert advice: you
when a consumer is making a buying decision.                                  can use the still images for Web-related activi-
    Mini DV format is the format of choice for                                ties, but not for printing.
most consumer camcorders. Any camcorder sup-                                      Finally, what about transferring those home
porting this format requires a small cassette                                 videos to a PC? You’ll need a FireWire port or a
called the MiniDV for recording. Being widely                                 USB port, depending on what your camcorder
used, the MiniDV format is well supported by                                  supports. A FireWire capture card is suggested.
most video-editing software, and specialised DV                                   Decent enough video-editing software is
cassette players, too, are available. Moreover,                                            usually bundled with camcorders,
even semi-professional camcorders use this                                                     but if you are a professional, it’s
format to record high-quality HDV content.                                                      better to get one of the better
According to Vinod, this is the format you                                                      software such as Adobe
should opt for.                                                                                Premiere, or Pinnacle’s Liquid
    On the other hand, entry-level cam-                                                     Edition Pro for Windows and Final
corders use the Digital8 format for record-                                          Cut Pro for Mac.
ing high-quality video and they do this
on Hi8 cassettes. The problem here is
the cassette is bigger in size and hence,                                              Camcorders For Home Videos
the recorder itself tends to be a touch
                                                                              Optics               10X or greater optical zoom controlled via
bulky. The good news is that they                                                                  slider; preferably with electronic image
are on their way out, so as far as                                                                 stabilisation
possible, avoid such recorders.                                               Sensor               1/6-inch CCD
MiniMV is the new format used by                                              Recording format     MiniDV
                                                                              Ports and connectors FireWire (IEEE 1394); S-Video; microphone
ultra-compact camcorders since they                                                                terminal and A/V
require a smaller cassette.                                                   Exposure controls    Automatic; exposure shift
    But again, these formats cannot                                           Focus controls       Automatic
be directly played on a consumer                                              Viewfinder and LCD   B&W or colour viewfinder and/or 2.5-inch
                                                                                                   colour LCD
DVD player. This led to the introduction                                      Minimum illumination 7-lux or lower
of Mini DVD-R and DVD-RAMs to be used                                         rating
directly for recording content in MPEG2 format.                               Extra Features       Remote control, video-editing software,
    Vinod’s advice—avoid these, since there are                                                    pouch, extra battery pack
                                                                              Price                Rs 25,000 to Rs 35,000
compatibility issues, and also, if one chunk of
data gets corrupted, the whole DVD ends up as
                                                                               Want more of Agent 001? Turn over to read his
a nice coaster.                                  Illustration Pradip Ingale
                                                                               answers to your buying questions
    There are two types of camcorders based

                                                                                                                     DIGIT NOVEMBER 2005        103
      Digital Tools l Agent 001                                   Ask Agent 001
      IR Or USB, That’s The Question                                                          to go in for an external solution? Also, will I be able to
           I recently bought a Sony-Ericsson K508i cell                                       record TV programs if I opt for an external solution? My
           phone. I want to transfer images from my PC to          A laptop is a              budget is Rs 2.5K to 3K.
      the phone. How do I do this? What should I opt for: an       good tool for                                                          Salil Natekar
      infrared dongle or a data cable? Is there a way of           light workloads,
      increasing the memory capacity of my phone?                                                     I don’t think integrating the TV-tuner card
                                          Dhiman Chakrabarti
                                                                   not if you want to                 into your present laptop would be possi-
                                                                   do graphic                 ble. But you should check with HP-Compaq for
               The K508i offers an infrared transceiver            designing and              more details on this. As far as an external TV-
               and a USB port for PC connectivity. The             3D gaming                  tuner card for your laptop is concerned, you have
      choice between IR and USB depends on what you                                           two options: an external USB device that hooks
      want to transfer and how often. IR is slower as                                         up via a USB port, or a PCMCIA bus TV-Tuner card.
      compared to USB. If you plan to move stuff                                                  An external USB TV-Tuner card will allow you
      between the phone and PC often, IR could be a                                           to capture TV programs, but good solutions will
      pain, and I’d suggest you go in for a USB cable.                                        set you back by at least Rs 6K to 7K.
          If you’re looking for a clutter-free way of trans-                                      Pinnacle and Avermedia have external USB
      ferring files and don’t mind the slow transfer                                          solutions for around Rs 7K. Aver also has a
      speeds, you can opt for an infrared dongle. You                                         PCMCIA-based solution called the AverTV cardbus.
      need the DCU-11 data cable for your phone, which                                        I don’t see these fitting your budget. If you don’t
      retails for around Rs 600.                                                              mind the brand, Techcom has an external USB TV-
          As for the USB dongle, just grab any make, but                                      Tuner that retails for Rs 3K. It performed just
      make sure it’s compatible with your PC’s OS—for                                         about average in our tests. I’d suggest you check
      example, some dongles don’t come with drivers                                           the quality of reception and recording. If you’re
      for Windows XP.                                                                         satisfied, you could consider it your only option.
          An IR dongle sells for Rs 400 to 500. And no—
      you can’t increase the memory of your phone; it
      doesn’t support a memory expansion port.                                                A Laptop As A Desktop Replacement
                                                                                                   I am interested in buying a laptop—preferably a
                                                                                                   Centrino with a 1.8 GHz processor and a 12-inch
      Is Windows 98 Really Dead?                                                              screen. My primary use for this laptop would be as a
             I’m assembling a PC for my friend. He wanted to                                  desktop replacement, and I will use it for at least eight
             go in for an Intel solution, and we decided on the                               hours a day. What model would you suggest?
      following components: a Pentium IV 3.0 GHz, 256 MB                                                                                        George
      of RAM, an 80 GB hard drive and a combo drive.
           We decided to settle for a 915G chipset-based                                               Today’s laptops can easily parallel desktop
      motherboard, but the dealer insisted on us going in for                                          PCs when it comes to computing power
      an 845 chipset-based board, saying Windows 98 does-                                     and features. However, comfort over an extended
      n’t install on the 915 chipset board.                                                   period of use does not rule in the laptops’ favour.
           I was not convinced, and asked for an 865-based                                         In a laptop, the display is attached to the base
      motherboard. Which of the three would you recom-                                        unit, so you’re forced to look down. With extend-
      mend? We will be using this PC for animation, gaming                                    eded working hours, there’s a high chance of
      and video too. Do we need a graphics card as well?                                      discomfort.
      Also, please suggest a good 17-inch monitor.                                                 A laptop is a good tool for light workloads, not
                                            Sumant S Puranik                                  if you want to do such things as graphic design, 3D
                                                                                              gaming, and so on. If your usage includes heavy
               Your dealer was right. You can’t install                                       workloads, it’s better to opt for a desktop.
               Windows 98 on the new 915 chipset-based                                             One more thing: 12-inch screen laptops are
      motherboards. Microsoft has officially discontin-                                       generally ultra-compact and more suited for
      ued support for Windows 98 and hence, many                                              frequent travellers. If you’re insistent on a laptop,
      hardware vendors have stopped offering drivers                                          get one that has at least a 15-inch screen, and
      for Windows 98—and without the proper drivers,                                          which offers a variety of connectivity options. I’d
      you won’t be able to run Windows 98.                                                    recommend a Lenovo Thinkpad any day.
           I don’t think you should go in for the 845-
      based chipset motherboard—it’s got one leg in the
      grave. I’d suggest the 915 board and Windows XP;                                        Just A Great Mobile Phone
      it’s much better than Windows 98.                                                            I I'm on the lookout for a mobile phone with a
           If you plan to do some gaming, the onboard                                              camera and an MP3 player, expandable memory,
      graphics controller on the 915 motherboard will                  Ask Away               and a large phone book. My budget is about Rs 25K.
      do fairly well—you can play most of the new                  Want a tech product, but                                              N Sarvesh Rao
      games, but don’t expect too much. As for the                 don’t know how to go
      monitor, go in for a Samsung 17-inch; the DF-793S            about buying it? E-mail            I’d strongly recommend the Sony-Ericsson
      should do well for your purpose.                             agent001@thinkdigit.com            W800i. It has a 2 mp camera with an
                                                                   with your complete         inbuilt flash, and very decent MP3 playing capa-
                                                                   contact details and get    bilities. A 512 MB Memory Stick Duo is also
      TV-Tuner: Internal Or External?                              your queries answered.     bundled. The phone book capabilities are good.
           I have an HP-Compaq V2136AP laptop with a               Please mention your PC’s   The W800i only comes in a white-and-orange
                                                                   detailed configuration
           Pentium M 1.6 GHz processor, 256 MB of RAM, and         to ensure consideration
                                                                                              colour combination. If you can’t live with that, I
      a 60 GB hard disk. I want to buy a TV-Tuner card. Is it      for this section           suggest the SE K750i. Most features are same,
      possible to fit an internal TV–Tuner card, or do I need                                 except that the K750i has only a 64 MB card.

104   DIGIT NOVEMBER 2005
      How Call Centres Work
      Here is a visual depiction of how a call centre works. If a
      customer initiates a call it is an Inbound Call Centre; if
      a Customer Service Executive (CSE) initiates the
      call, it is an Outbound Call Centre. The way
      to connect, though, remains unchanged...




                                    2  The call
                                       reaches the
                                  PSTN (Public
                                  Switched
                                  Telephony
                                  Network)                               Depending on the
                                                           PSTN
                                                                     3   routing opted for by
                                                                    the company, the call is
                                                                    sent via satellite (satellite
                                                                    telephony) or via the
                                                                    Internet (VoIP)




                                                                         THE INTERNET



           Customers
       1   place a call
      to the toll free
      number




114   DIGIT NOVEMBER 2005
                                           Digital Tools l Visual Explanation




                                          All CSEs are
                                      6   connected to an
                                     external database,
                                     which stores customer
                                     information, and is
                                     connected via the Net,
                                     securely, of course




                              This is where it gets a
       4   The call      5    little complicated:
           reaches
      the Indian PSTN        The call is received by an
                        IVR (Interactive Voice
                        Response) System, and an
                        Automated Call Distributor
      PSTN              (ACD) is used to send the
                        call to a Customer
                        Service Executive (CSE)
                        in the right
                        department—based
                        on the options selected                      THE ACD AND
                        from the IVR.                                IVR SERVERS




CSE
                                                                  Imaging Vikram Kathare
                                                              Text Robert Sovereign-Smith
                                                                Digital Business l Case Study

                                                    Digital

124 Insecure 128 You Saw It 130 VoIP At Work
    At Work?     Online First!
                                                    Business
                                                    How Technology Can Help Your Organisation




                               Case Study


                               The First Page
                                As a business, it   Ram Mohan Rao
                                may be time to
                                                             hat would you do if you were an online
                                consider search
                                engine
                                                    W        payment gateway looking for more sign-
                                                             ups? Advertising offline would be fum-
                                                    bling in the dark, because your potential clients
                                optimisation for    are all online and Net-savvy. Advertising online in
                                your site—if you    the form of banner ads is an option, but since your
                                haven’t already.    potential clients are actively looking for solutions
                                                    on search engines, your best bet would be to hope
                                Here’s how an       that you show up when they search.
                                online payment          Actually, simply hoping will not do it. CCAv-
                                                    enue, an Indian online payment gateway, did not
                                gateway,            just sit hoping. They got their site professionally
                                CCAvenue,           optimised, and the results are patent. When you
                                benefited from it   type in “credit card processing india” (without the
                                                    quotes) into google.com or google.co.in, CCAv-
                                                    enue comes up first. And even something like “set
                                                    up a merchant account” brings CCAvenue up
                                                    third on google.com and second on google.co.in,
                                                              and “credit card payment setup” brings
                                                                 it up sixth on google.com and first on
                                                                    google.co.in (in all this, we’re not
                                                                     talking about sponsored links).
                                                                       CCAvenue doesn’t rank so high
                                                                          for these keyword searches on
                                                                            the other search biggies—
                                                                              the ranks on MSN are just
                                                                                around the 10 mark,
                                                                                  With Yahoo!, the ranks
                                                                                    are somewhat lower.




                                                                                       3Dodelling Vikram Kathare
                                                                                       Illustration Pradip Ingale
      Digital Business l Case Study
          It’s remarkable that an Indian company tops                                          but if you know your way around, you can
      the search with such generic keyword searches.                                           beat any Fortune 500 company in the visibili-
      And it’s all courtesy the search engine optimisa-                                        ty game.”
      tion (SEO) that eBrandz, an SEO company based                                                Small companies beating global giants in
      in Mumbai, did for CCAvenue.                                                             marketing and advertising? That would sound
                                                                                               like a happy pipe dream for most CEOs of small
      Advertising, SEO, And More                                                               or medium-sized companies. But it’s not all
      We’ve mentioned SEO briefly in The Future Of                                             that far-fetched, because there’s a fundamental
      Search (Digit, August 2005). By a popular Web                                            difference in the way visibility on the Internet
      definition, SEO is “the term used to describe                                            works.
      the marketing technique of preparing a Web                                                   In a traditional marketing campaign, a
      site to enhance its chances of being ranked in                                           large organisation typically unleashes a multi-
      the top results of a search engine once a rele-             We were clear that           media campaign across a city or area, hoping
      vant search is undertaken. A number of factors              it would be a waste          their target audience will notice. But 50 per
      are important when optimising a Web site,                   of money to rely             cent of advertising money is wasted: the mes-
      including the content and structure of the Web              on traditional               sage does not reach the intended audience. Pio-
      site’s copy and page layout, the HTML meta-tags             methods of                   neering Philadelphia retailer John Wanamaker,
      and the submission process.”                                communication to             considered the father of the department store
          We turn to the relationship between adver-              bring in new                 and of modern advertising, is credited with
      tising and SEO. Advertising works differently               customers                    this infamous comment about advertising:
      in the online world. Offline, advertisements                Vivek Nayak                  “Half of the money I spend is wasted; the
      are there for everyone to see; but who sees                 CIO, CCAvenue.com            trouble is, I don’t know which half.”
      them, and do they act upon what they see?                                                    Exactly. The problem is, not even the best
      Online, if you consider your page listing on a                                           brains in the business—including expensive
      search engine as an ad, who sees the ad is not                                           media consultants—have a clue about which 50
      an issue—you know that the people who see it                                             per cent is wasted.
      are actively looking for you. The issue is                                                   Now consider the value of a medium that
      whether they see it at all.                                                              tells the marketer exactly who is viewing the
          The issue thus becomes one of visibility, and                                        message and what effect each message has. Yes,
      ad campaigns become online visibility cam-                                               the Internet has the power to let you intrude
      paigns. There are several approaches a company                                           on a potential buyer’s attention. But more than
      can use. One amongst these is organic SEO cam-                                           that, it has the power of presenting your
      paigns—organic search results are the natural                                            product to him in a shopping cart, taking his
      results that occur in search engines, the left-                                          money and closing the sale in an instant.
      hand results.                                                                                So naturally, the marketer who brings his
          Getting back to the point: how come “credit                                          message best to the customer will be the
      card payment setup” brings up an Indian con-                                             winner. Budgets are important, but the right
      tender—CCAvenue—first in Google, when there                                              techniques, much more so.
      are so many global players out there?                                                        In this context, all a small company needs
                                                                                               to do is bring in visibility experts in the online
      Small Companies Can Beat                                                                 space and give them a brief. These visibility
      Global Giants                                                                            experts—the so-called SEO companies—spe-
      “You have the potential to get lots of recogni-                                          cialise in search engine marketing (SEM) / SEO
      tion for a reasonable price,” says Vishwas                                               campaigns. If the campaign is successful, a
      Patel, CEO of Avenues (the parent company of                                             company’s Web site comes up tops for the key-
      CCAvenue), about search services such as                                                 words associated with their business. The audi-
      Google’s. “You might not have a big budget,                                              ence is extremely targeted—they’re actively
                                                                                               searching for your product or service! And by
                                                                                               having a presence on the first page of search
                                                                                               engine results, an organisation can differen-
                                                                                               tiate itself from the competition.
                                                                                                   Because of cost limitations, therefore, what
                                                                                               a small Indian company would be looking for is
                                                                                               a good Indian SEO company. But after the
                                                                                               Dotcom bust, there were very few left. Ideally,
                                                                                               that shouldn’t be the case, because doing good
                                                                                               SEO boils down to superior human intelligence—
                                                                                               raw smarts. And hey, who scores better in that
                                                                                               department than India?
                                                                                                   eBrandz.com is an example of an Indian
                                                                                               SEO company that rivals the best in the world.

                                                                                               The Client: CCAvenue
                                                                                               At a basic level, Avenues (the parent company
                                                                                               of CCAvenue, as mentioned) is a payment
                                                                                               gateway services provider that enables
                                                                                               Web sites to collect funds through credit cards
                                                                                               or directly through customers’ Internet
      On Google.co.in, CCAvenue is at the top of the results for “credit card payment setup”   banking accounts.

118   DIGIT NOVEMBER 2005
      Digital Business l Case Study
         Avenues has an 85 per cent share of the                               would rank well on google.co.uk, the .in site
      Indian market. It is the largest integrated e-                           would rank well on google.co.in, and so on.
      commerce solutions provider in South Asia.                                   To improve the client’s rankings (in
      Headquartered in Mumbai, it has subsidiary                               organic SEO), eBrandz researched and under-
      companies incorporated in Singapore, Hong                                stood how search engines work, and used that
      Kong and Delaware in the US. The Avenues                                 knowledge to improve the client’s site, making
      support and development centre is based at                               sure search engine crawlers were able to prop-
      Santa Cruz in Mumbai.                                                    erly read and understand the client’s site.
         A partial customer list includes the Indian                           Such research is ongoing, because search
      Ministry of Information and Technology, the                              engine algorithms change over time; you can’t
      Press Trust of India, The Indian Express, Busi-                          have it all figured out once and for all.
      ness Standard, Greenpeace, The Leela Hotels                                  However, even after an all-out effort,
      and Palaces, and BharatMatrimony.com.              SEO is effective.     organic SEO campaigns can fail, for a variety of
                                                         Period! The reason    reasons. Results cannot be guaranteed, but the
      Relying On The Medium                              not everyone is       first step is keyword research. For the CCAvenue
      CCAvenue’s target audience is, naturally, e-       doing it is because   campaign, eBrandz identified keywords such as
      commerce stores. It’s physically impossible for    there isn’t too       “payment gateway india”, “credit card pro-
      them to have a sales team that can cover the       much awareness        cessing”, “merchant account india”, and so on.
      length and breadth of the country and market       about it                  CCAvenue’s initial Web site did have good
      their services to individuals or mid-sized com-    Milind Mody           content. It explained CCAvenue’s strengths vis-
      panies. Nor did they think it advisable to         CEO,                  à-vis that of their competitors, and the fea-
      advertise on popular portals.                      eBrandz.com           tures and benefits of using their service. That
          Vivek Nayak, CIO at Avenues, explains:                               should have been good enough, right? Actu-
      “Right from the outset, the management at                                ally, no. CCAvenue’s Web copy did not have
      Avenues was clear that in a specialised domain                           any of the keywords that eBrandz researched.
      such as payment gateways, it would be a waste                            eBrandz convened with the CCAvenue content
      of money to rely on traditional methods of                               management team and began the process of
      communication to bring in new customers.                                 including many of those keywords in the Web
          “Since the Internet merchant base space                              site copy. eBrandz also completely rewrote all
      was very small, we felt the best way to bring in                         their <title></title> and other meta-tags to
      customers was to use the various opportuni-                              incorporate the keyword research and accu-
      ties available within the medium itself. With                            rately describe CCAvenue’s services to visitors
      this in mind, the Avenues management                                     as well as search engine spiders.
      started looking for a partner who would assist                               It also turned out that CCAvenue hadn’t
      them in their endeavour. There weren’t too                               been maintaining server log files. Analysis of
      many credible players in this emerging space,                            server log files can reveal crucial information
      and eBrandz seemed a serious player.”                                    like the number of unique visitors per day, the
          Nayak continues about eBrandz, “They                                 main traffic sources, the traffic from major
      were deadly serious about the domain. They                               search engines, major keywords from each
      were proactive in their approach and con-                                search engine, the major keywords that gen-
      stantly pushed the CCAvenue content man-                                 erate signups (for each search engine), traffic
      agement team to fine-tune content. Their                                 from the top 50 cities around the world, how
      research process was the most comprehensive                              often major search engine robots visit the site,
      one we found. All in all, it came down to                                and even things like the number of times the
      how passionate they were about the business.”                            site was bookmarked.
      And thus, CCAvenue chose eBrandz as their                                    eBrandz started maintaining CCAvenue’s
      site optimiser.                                                          server log files, and started keeping track of
                                                                               their visitors, signups, and the other statistics
      How They Did It                                                          mentioned above. Apart from this, eBrandz
      So what exactly goes on when an SEO company                              also analysed which areas of the Web site visi-
      optimises a client’s Web site? First off, the                            tors were clicking and which areas they were
      complexity of the optimisation process                                   avoiding. eBrandz put a signup button in and
      increases with the complexity of the Web site                            around where visitor clicks were high!
      itself. If it’s a simple site with static HTML
      pages, the process is relatively simple. If the                          When Do The Results Show Up?
      site has programming or is database-driven,                              Currently, for a new site, it takes about two
      the SEO company has to understand the                                    months for search engines such as MSN to
      process flow and see if these processes, pro-                            show results. Yahoo! shows results in about
      gramming and database architecture are                                   three to six months. Google takes much longer
      search engine-friendly. If not, the client needs                         to rank new Web sites—approximately six to
      to make changes to the logic.                                            eight months. The time taken for results to
          Second, in the case of a multinational Web                           show up also depends on the indexing cycles
      site that has a presence in several countries –                          of the search engines.
      say the USA, the UK, Canada and Australia, in                                For the CCAvenue site, eBrandz got results
      addition to India—a company such as eBrandz                              in about two to three months for India-related
      would have to set up an architecture in such a                           keywords such as “payment gateway india”
      way that the international Web site ranks on                             and “merchant account india”. eBrandz
      google.com, with the local site ranking well on                          did not stop at that–they also got results for
      the local engine: for example, the .co.uk site                           international keywords such as “payment

120   DIGIT NOVEMBER 2005
      Digital Business l Case Study
      gateway”, “merchant account” and “credit                                            Vishwas Patel, in fact, goes so far as to say,
      card processing”.                                                                “We get about five signups every day, and the
         eBrandz is still optimising the site: the pay-                                sole credit goes to the SEO work that has
      ment gateway industry is very competitive, and                                   gone into the site.” That’s testimony enough
      the SEO company needs to keep competing to                                       that SEO works!
      be one up on their client’s competitors.
                                                                                       Looking At The Future
      Rich Dividends                                                                   The online advertising market was pegged at
      After eBrandz (consistently, month after month)                                  $4 billion at the end of 2004. This figure is
      top-ranked CCAvenue on all the major search                                      expected to jump to close to $30 billion by the
      engines, in a span of two years, CCAvenue man-                                   end of 2006. With such figures, we might well
      aged to sign up more than 4,000 Indian e-mer-                                    ask: can any site at all be optimised to reach
      chants—and grabbed 85 per cent of the Indian               We get about five     the top 10 or 20? If everyone decides to use
      payment gateway services market share.                     signups every day,    SEO, who will be on the first page?
          They did not spend any money on other                  and the sole credit       First off, the advantage of using SEO lies
      forms of advertising nor did they open any                 goes to the SEO       with small organisations. They are usually
      offices elsewhere in the country. They didn’t              work that has gone    quicker on their feet—they can take quick deci-
      suddenly go the conventional way and put                   into the site         sions if they understand that by making certain
      their feet on the street to do proactive mar-              Vishwas Patel         changes, SEO can actually help in bring more
      keting either. They relied only on SEM for visi-           CEO,                  business. Large corporate sites and Fortune 500
      bility, and it has paid off.                               Avenues               companies are rather unlikely to change their
          Nayak says, “Without any traditional mar-                                    Web sites to gain the SEO advantage. They have
      keting channels in place or extra visibility                                     a long decision-making process, and by the time
      efforts, Avenues has grown to become the #1                                      they decide on anything, chances are search
      player in South Asia. This has largely been pos-                                 algorithms will have changed.
      sible due to the efforts and commitment put in                                       Now, Milind Mody, CEO at eBrandz, explains
      by the eBrandz team.”                                                            that if all companies in a domain—say payment
                                                                                       gateways—decided to hire SEO companies, the
                                                                                       job of ranking in the top 10 would become
                                                                                       much more difficult. Only experienced (and
                                                                                       knowledgeable!) SEO companies will be able to
                                                                                       get their clients on the first page of the results.
                                                                                       Like we mentioned earlier, it’s a question of raw
                                                                                       knowledge superiority. We’re headed towards a
                                                                                       global game that will reward luck less and less
                                                                                       and brains more and more.
                                                                                           One related question we haven’t asked yet:
                                                                                       if SEO is so effective, why doesn’t everybody
                                                                                       do it? Mody avers, “SEO is effective. Period! The
                                                                                       reason not everyone is doing it is because
                                                                                       there isn’t too much awareness about it.
                                                                                           “This is a very new industry. And it has not
                                                                                       even reached half its potential. Many good SEO
                                                                                       companies are working for themselves and not
                                                                                       accepting any clients: they know how to get
                                                                                       traffic online, so they create their own sites
                                                                                       and promote them—then sell the business to
                                                                                       offline merchants. “SEO companies are the
                                                                                       kings of the online world.” That makes sense.
                                                                                       If you’re talking about business in a world
                                                                                       where anyone with a glorified typewriter can
                                                                                       get on cyberspace, but where attention spans
                                                                                       are limited to a minute or a page, it’s all about
                                                                                       visibility. And if you can get someone else—or
      For “credit card payment setup”, CCAvenue does feature on the first              yourself—seen, you’re king!
      page on MSN, but not right at the top                                                                     ram_mohan@thinkdigit.com




                                              Cannon

122   DIGIT NOVEMBER 2005
Digital Business l Smart Business




                           Insecure
                              At Work?
                                             Simple security      Robert Sovereign-Smith
                                             measures—
                                                                           s competition grows, businesses need to
                                             including
                                             properly setting
                                                                   A       become smarter and warier. Often, we
                                                                           hear of employees being poached by the
                                                                  competition, of security lapses and data theft.
                                             up shared            Since computers took over managing our daily
                                             folders and          business chores, paranoia has reigned the masses;
                                             choosing good        well at least the smarter ones…
                                                                      Does this all sound alien? Are you wondering
                                             passwords—can        what on Earth we’re on to? We certainly hope not,
                                             reduce common        because it would mean that you haven’t even
                                                                  been worried about confidential data that’s
                                             workplace            stored on your company computers. Whether its
                                             problems such        employee PCs or the company’s file or Web server,
                                             as intrusions        there’s always some data the security of which
                                                                  keeps the bosses awake at night!
                                             and stolen data          Most regular employees will probably be
                                                                  frowning really hard right now trying to compre-
                                                                  hend, while most senior management people are
                                                                  nodding their heads off in approval! Sadly, that’s
                                                                  the case in most companies across our country,
                                                                  with only a few corporates and even fewer
                                                                  medium-sized companies having a data security
                                                                  or protection system and process in place.
                                                                      It’s almost always the middle to senior man-
                                                                  agement that’s entrusted the task of securing
                                                                  their own data, and no training is given to the
                                                                  legions below. Why? It’s either because we’re too
                                                                  lazy, too paranoid, or just too ignorant of the risks.
                                                                      Consider this: according to various studies
                                                                  conducted by research agencies such as the US
                                                                  Department of Commerce, as much as nine per
                                                                  cent of all data lost is stolen! So whether it’s a
                                                                  teenage hacker, who could also be on a com-
                                                                  petitor’s payroll, or your own employees and col-
                                                                  leagues, chances are your data will be/has been/is
                                                                  being stolen, right from under your nose.

                                                                  Who Wants My Files?
                                                                  You’ll be surprised at the importance of almost
                                                                  every company-related document you have, espe-
                                                                  cially if you are at the middle management level!
                                                                      Let’s take, for example, your team’s payroll file.
                                                                  Here’s a file that only contains a list of names and
                                                                  their salaries. How could anyone but the accounts
                                                                  guys have any interest in that? Right? Wrong! Your
                                                                  team members may or may not discuss each
                                                                  other’s salaries, especially if there is disparity in



                                    3D Modelling Vikram Kathare
                                    Imaging Pradip Ingale
                                                                                              Digital Business l Smart Business
    amounts due to differing performances over the                                      shared by multiple users (a typical BPO setup),
    year. The last thing you want to do is have a team      Whatever is                 make sure to create separate logins for each user
    divided by jealousy just because you forgot to add      done on your                that uses a particular machine, and allocate each
    the “$” symbol when sharing the folder that con-        computer by                 machine to only a fixed number of users. In this
    tained the aforementioned file! Even if you don’t       others will                 case (BPOs), chances are this has already been
    think it’s that big a deal, your bosses might not       be attributed               done at your office, or you use a system that
    agree.                                                                              makes each user log in to identify themselves. Just
        This however, is a very simple example! Per-        to you                      make sure to stress on the importance of each
    haps none of us are stupid enough to do some-                                       user keeping his or her password to themselves,
    thing like that. However, do you know there are                                     and not share it with friends.
    tons of other ways you might unknowingly com-
    promise the security and stability of your com-                                     E-mail Security
    pany? All it takes is a PC in the hands of a naïve                                  Though e-mail is generally considered the least
    employee to ruin things, and we hope that put-                                      secure of all daily tasks, there’s still a basic level
    ting this article in his or her hands might solve                                   of security you should adhere to. You need to
    some of those problems.                                                             make sure that your e-mail client is secured with
                                                                                        your anti-virus, because the last thing you want to
    The Beginner Level                                                                  do is be the cause of a big, bad virus entering the
    The first step is to secure your computer. More                                     office network.
    often than not, your PC is just your PC! There’s no                                     Viruses apart, there’s still the need to keep e-
    one else who is supposed to use it, and probably,                                   mails private. Whether it’s accolades or criticism
    in larger companies, a systems admin (SysAdmin)                                     you receive from your bosses, personal mails from
    sitting somewhere far away watching characters                                      your significant other, jokes from your friends, or
    (data and IPs) stream across his screen. To him (or                                 confidential information passed on by your bosses
    her), you’re just a number associated with the net-                                 and colleagues, you don’t want just anyone
    work IP or MAC address you were allotted. Any-                                      accessing these mails. Make sure to use an e-mail
    thing that happens on that system is attributed to                                  client that offers password protection for both the
    you, and, in the event of a disaster, all the                                       e-mail client as well as the stored e-mails.
    protesting in the universe will not convince the                                        Microsoft Outlook is perhaps the most pop-
    SysAdmin that it just wasn’t you trying to access                                   ular e-mail client, and it has both features. Just
    all those confidential files from your machine!                                     make sure you password-protect both the ‘out-
         It’s as simple as walking away from your seat                                  look.pst’ as well as the ‘archive.pst’ files. You can
    without locking your computer! If someone                                           do this easily by right-clicking on your ‘Personal
    really wanted to get you into trouble (or keep                                      Folders’ folder and selecting ‘Properties’. Go to
    themselves out of trouble) all they would have                                      General > Advanced > Change Password. Now
    to do is look for a free PC. When the coast is clear,                               enter a new password and click ‘OK’.
    and a malicious user is sure of not being noticed,
    he (or she) would use your computer for nefar-                                      Password Strengths
    ious purposes—trying to access restricted secu-                                     More often than not, we use passwords that are
    rity areas (files or folders), do some damage to a                                  not really secure or creative. Most people use pass-
    network or file server, steal data, or even some-                                   words that are specific key combinations, such as
    thing as silly as surf for pornography.                                             “asdf” or “abc123”. Such passwords are not hard
         In the end, whatever is done on your computer                                  to guess, and any password cracker out there will
    by others will be attributed to you. If we haven’t                                  do so in a jiffy. What you need to do is make sure
    made ourselves clear, lock your computers when                                      that passwords are a mixture of numbers and let-
    leaving your desk. Put boot passwords to prevent                                    ters, have no obvious sequence, and are not public
    unauthorised startup, and if you use Windows XP,                                    knowledge. For example, if your name is Ram Rao,
    make sure the default Administrator password                                        with the username set to “Ram”, the first pass-
    isn’t left blank!                                                                   word people will try is “Rao”; the very next thing
         If your office has shifts, and computers are                                   will be “r40”, “ra0”, “r4o”, and other combina-

    Proper Policies

B    igger businesses will have heard of the
     ISO 17799 security standard. Getting
ISO 17799 certification can mean the
                                                in an organization. The objectives outlined
                                                provide general guidance on the commonly
                                                accepted goals of information security
                                                                                                   Information systems acquisition,
                                                                                                   development and maintenance;
                                                                                                   Information security incident
difference between being thought of as a        management. ISO/IEC 17799:2005 contains            management;
small-time player and a ‘proper’ corporate      best practices of control objectives and           Business continuity management;
entity. For those of you who haven’t heard      controls in the following areas of                 Compliance.
of it, here’s a brief description, as taken     information security management:                    You can find a lot more information at
from ISO’s (International Organisation of          Security policy;                             www.17799.com, which is a community
Standardization, a.k.a. International              Organization of information security;        forum for the standard, and
Standardization Organisation) Web site             Asset management;                            www.iso17799software.com. The entire
www.iso.org:                                       Human resources security;                    standard description is not available for
     “ISO/IEC 17799:2005 establishes               Physical and environmental security;         free download, and you will have to pay
guidelines and general principles for              Communications and operations                approximately $155 (Rs 6,800) to get it. If
initiating, implementing, maintaining, and         management;                                  interested, you can buy and download it
improving information security management          Access control;                              from http://snipurl.com/iso17799/.


                                                                                                                         DIGIT NOVEMBER 2005     125
      Digital Business l Smart Business
      tions of the same (FYI, 4=A if you’re substituting                                    your shares just by browsing through the net-
      numbers for letters).                                                                 work. Windows users, too, have several small soft-
          Sometimes people are complacent and set                                           ware, available for free download, that can scan
      their passwords to their mother’s, spouse’s or                                        a LAN to find computers and their shared
      pet’s name. These should be easy for anyone who                                       folders—simple shares or dollar shares.
      knows you well enough to guess, and are thus a                                             So it could be someone looking for some new
      bad idea. Using your date of birth is also a big no-                                  music that accidentally stumbles across your
      no. An example of a good password would be                                            shared folder that contains your team’s appraisal
      “R4o!s!nD4h0u53” (Rao is in da house) using num-                                      sheet, or data meant only for your boss to see! In
      bers, letters and an exclamation mark! You could                                      such cases, perhaps the internal e-mail system
      even set a cryptic enough hint to this password,                                      would be much more prudent to use.
      such as “All Hail me…I have arrived”.                                                      Of course the risks are increased by orders of
          We should reiterate that a lot of intrusions                                      magnitude when you have a wireless LAN, since
      and security lapses happen only because of                                            you not only have to worry about the users in
      weak passwords.                                                                       your office, you also have to worry about guests
                                                                                            and people outside. A good site plan when setting
      Networks                                                                              up a Wi-Fi network is a must, and good security
      This is perhaps the biggest boon and bane of the                                      should be used—like 128-bit encryption at access
      IT world! If we all had standalone computers, we                                      points. Make sure you have access lists set by MAC
      would have no security problems. At the same                                          addresses, and that you supply users with fixed IP
      time, we wouldn’t have PCs in the first place then                                    addresses, rather than using the Dynamic Host
      anyway! Networks have brought us everything we                                        Controller Protocol (DHCP), where IP addresses
      now take for granted: the Internet, ATMs, LANs,                                       are assigned upon connection.
      Wi-Fi, hackers, viruses, spam… you get the picture.                                        Read up on Wi-Fi networking and make sure
          Your office LAN is where most of the attacks                                      to follow all security measures properly, or else
      come from. Whether it’s from your colleagues or                                       you could get intruders in your LAN. The
                                                                                            damage could be as simple as increased band-
                                                                                            width due to unauthorised client PCs accessing
                                                                                            the Internet, or as severe as data being corrupted
                                                                                            and going missing, or even company secrets and
                                                                                            policies being stolen. Digit’s book Fast Track to Wi-
                                                                                            Fi, provided with the May 2005 issue, should tell
                                                                                            you more about Wi-Fi security.

                                                                                            Finalising Security
                                                                                            For companies that base their marketing on the
                                                                                            level of security their data has, a good thing to do
                                                                                            is ISO certification. For information security and
                                                                                            management, you should look to get your com-
                                                                                            pany ISO-17799 certified. (See box Proper Policies).
                                                                                                 Since getting this certification will most cer-
                                                                                            tainly be expensive, smaller companies might not
      Beware of e-mail attachments—especially those with EXE, ZIP, SCR and PIF extensions   want to opt for such drastic measures. That’s
                                                                                            where scouring the Net for information on secu-
      from an unknown hacker across the world who                                           rity policies and reading up on case studies of
      has got into one system and is trying to explore                                      companies with proper security training tech-
      the network. A virus on one colleague’s PC could                                      niques will help you.
      infect an entire office if you don’t take basic secu-                                      Remember, your company’s security is only as
      rity seriously. Things like anti-virus software are                                   strong as the weakest link, which most often is at
      now a given, and no office is without one, but                                        the executive level. So make sure you train your
      what about anti-spam software? And what about                                         employees well. We’ve just given you a refresher in
      anti-adware or anti-spyware software?                                                 the basics, mainly due to the fact that every busi-
          Most offices are vulnerable via e-mail, and                                       ness has its own individual security requirements.
      that oh-so-cute PowerPoint presentation you                                                Online businesses, for example, need a way to
      received in a mail might just contain a new                                           secure their Web server and databases. Offline
      Trojan that your anti-virus knows nothing about.                                      businesses will have a security requirement for
      So think twice (or two hundred times) before you                                      their accounts and offline databases. Who has
      blindly forward it to your entire office—or per-                                      access to what information, and who uses which
      haps you should consider not opening these                                            computer, is something your company security
      things at work in the first place.                                                    policy needs to decide. BPOs need to limit the
          Sharing is another hassle. Some of us learn of                                    amount and type of data that different levels of
      dollar shares, and think, “ahh, perfect!” We then                                     employees access; the list is endless.
      promptly share important stuff with a dollar at                                            Once you figure out what data needs to be
      the end of the name and then tell our bosses                                          kept secure, you can start looking for security
      where to find them. Unfortunately, dollar shares                                      loopholes and then decide upon a strategy to plug
      are far from secure. Just because you haven’t told                                    them all up. Meanwhile, you can start at the
      anyone the name of the shared folder doesn’t                                          lowest level by teaching your employees about the
      mean people will not find your shares. For                                            necessity of personal data security.
      example, anyone on a Linux computer can find                                                                  robert_smith@thinkdigit.com

126   DIGIT NOVEMBER 2005
                                                Trend


                                                                           T
                                                                                 he trend of using the Internet as the ‘first
                                                                                 point of interaction’ with a consumer is
                                                                                 increasingly catching on. Fortunately, the
                                                                           better quality PCs and increased connection
                                                                           speeds allow for streaming on a relatively larger
                                                                           number of PCs. Using cross media combinations
                                                                           such as TV-cum-print or print-cum-outdoor to
                                                                           launch new campaigns is an age-old
                                                                           phenomenon but the TV-cum-Internet combo is
                                                                           as an effective medium.
                                                                               Streaming content is a powerful way to
                                                                           target the audience. Many movie production
                                                                           houses worldwide use it to promote their
                                                Nawal Ahuja                offerings. Using the same technology, we are in
                                                Co-founder and Director,   the process of launching a service on our
                                                Exchange4Media.com         website where TV channels can air promos of
                                                                           their latest shows and introduce their wares to
                                                                           the ad fraternity.
                                                                               The Internet is primarily a youngster’s
                                                                           medium. It’s interactive—a feature no other
                                                                           medium offers. A well-executed ad on the Net
                                                                           can help the brand provided it’s seamlessly




                                                                                 You Saw It
                                                       Product commercials in the form of ‘webisodes’ are launched online prior to being shown
                                                       on the television. Is the uptake for online advertisements better than that of other media?



                                                                                                                                P
                                                                                                                                     laying commercials first on the Internet
                                                                                                                                     before airing them on the TV is a
                                                                                                                                     concept that’s still in its initial stage in
                                                                                                                                India. Nevertheless, this trend is catching on
                                                                                                                                rather quickly as there are Web sites that
                                                                                                                                offer this option.
                                                                                                                                    Some major advertisers who use the
                                                                                                                                Internet extensively are dotcoms such as
                                                                                                                                Shaadi.com and Naukri.com. Financial
                                                                                                                                brands such as ICICI and Citibank also use
                                                                                                                                the Internet to advertise as they target
                                                                                                                                individuals with high net worth.
                                                                                                                                    As for youth brands such as MTV and
                                                                                                                                Pepsi, most of their target group comprises
                                                                                                    Vishal Chinchankar          the ‘Upper Sec A1’ or youth from urban
                                                                                                    Business Director,          centres, hence, online advertising is a
                                                                                                    mOne Worldwide              preferred option.
                                                                                                    (Media Buying Agency)           Currently, online advertising is popular
                                                                                                                                among media planners and clients and they
                                                                                                                                are exploring innovative ways of interacting
                                                                                                                                with consumers.
                                                                                                                                    The Internet is the only medium that
                                                                                                                                provides for engaging and interactive
                                                                                                                                content; take for instance, the recently aired
      Imaging Vikram Kathare and Prachi Patil




                                                                                                                                Pepsi Web commercial. Moreover, the
                                                                                                                                industry has seen a consistent growth year
                                                                                                                                after year in online advertising as advertisers
                                                                                                                                realised its tremendous potential. I see more
                                                                                                                                innovative trends emerging in the sphere of
                                                                                                                                Internet advertising.



128                                             DIGIT NOVEMBER 2005
                         S
                              treaming and Flash-based content and promos are used extensively
                              by many companies. The move of ‘first contact’ with the consumer,
                              from traditional media such as TV and print to the Internet has
                         begun in right earnest.
                             The recent Pepsi webisode on Yahoo! is a classic example. We
                         introduced the idea to Pepsi and they were eager to implement it. The
                         webisode had a trickle-down effect and the TV promos were widely
                         watched. In fact, on the Web, the television version of the commercial
                         was viewed by more than 1,40,000 users.
                             In online advertising, the consumer becomes a part of the
                         experience; it also supplements and supports campaigns carried out in
                         other media. This medium has a great reach and is target-specific. The
                         primary audience for advertisers on the Internet is the youth. Hence,
                         online interactive advertisements can leverage the incredible potential
Pearl Uppal              the Internet offers.
Director, Sales,             Yahoo! has a number of Rich Media products on the cards for
Yahoo! India             advertisers that will enhance the viewer experience online. The Pepsi
                         campaign is just the beginning.
                             A low PC and broadband penetration is not an issue as most metros
                         have a decent broadband access courtesy the ubiquitous cyber cafes.
                         Nevertheless, an improvement in the existing scenario will surely
                         increase reach.




Online First!
     T
                                                         he age of Internet marketing is here and every company that
                                                         wants to connect with its target audience will have to use this
                                                         medium. We, at Coca-Cola India, have recognised the power of
                                                   Web promotions, and have made it an integral element in all our
                                                   marketing communication.
                                                        We have also used this platform for film-related promotions—Kuch
                                                   Na Kaho, for instance. Our site carried movie-specific content, games
                                                   and downloads. We received an overwhelming response with more
                                                   than seven million people visiting the site.
                                                        Online advertising or ‘digital marketing’, as we like to call it, is a
                                                   platform to connect with your audience. Undoubtedly, it’s a widely
                                                   used medium. The target audience of most of our brands is in the age
                                                   group wherein the Internet and mobile phone usage is the highest. So,
                                                   it’s imperative that whatever we do in the regular media needs to be
                         Vikas Gupta               extended to the digital platform. While Hungama manages the site,
                         VP, Marketing,            the creative content is an output of the consumer or brand team.
                         Coca-Cola India




                         U
                                 sing the Internet as a medium to conduct promotional activities is
                                 definitely a trend. Advertisers want to connect with their
                                 audiences and interaction is the key to retain a brand following
                         and even to build a new consumer base.
                             It’s important to create a buzz around the product and to take the
                         consumer into account during every campaign. The digital medium is a
                         requisite for such an integrated promotional campaign. The Pepsi
                         webisode featuring Shahrukh Khan, a youth icon, was a great hit.
                             There was a trickle-down effect and the webisode got a large number
                         of hits. The interactive content developed by marketers and advertisers
                         today help to keep consumers in tune with the brand. The Internet gives
                         consumers a choice and brands that are in tune with consumer views
                         will naturally adopt this medium.
                             Most youth brands today target what we call the ‘Upper Sec A1’ or the
                         urban youth. This section has extensive access to computers and
Rajat Ohri
                         broadband Internet connections.
Senior Vice President,
J Walter Thompson                                                             As told to Mithun Kidambi
(Advertising Agency)                                                   (mithun_kidambi@thinkdigit.com)

                                                                                                            NOVEMBER 2005 DIGIT   129
                                                        VoIP At Work
        VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) technology enables transmission of voice and data over
                the Internet. Is it advisable for workplaces to implement VoIP extensively?

      VoIP is a great way to increase    The usage of IP telephony is still
      productivity without major hassles limited in this country

      I                                                                 F
         BM Global Services offers end-to-end solutions ranging               ounded in 1984, Intellicon Pvt Ltd delivers solu-
         from hardware to software, services and consulting.                  tions to diverse industries and on a wide spectrum
         Since it’s inception in India in 1992, IBM has expanded its          of technologies including telecommunications, bar-
      operations to include regional headquarters in Bangalore          coding, data capture and specialised software services.
      and offices in 14 cities. IBM Global Services has extensively     At present, Intellicon does not use VoIP technology.
      deployed VoIP technology in all its offices across India.             “Firstly, the usage of IP telephony is still limited in
          “There are three ways to place a VoIP call—using ATA          this country. You simply cannot integrate your PSTN
      (Analogue Telephone Adaptor), IP phones and PC-to-PC              Lines (traditional telephone lines or PRI/BRI ISDN lines)
      communication. The practical upshot of using VoIP                 and Internet connection in the same system (whether
      technology is that the freely available (and free to use)         EPABX system or integrated voice/data switch).
      software allows callers to entirely bypass phone companies            “In other words, you need to have two parallel voice
      and associated costs for making a telephone call.                 switching systems—one for inter or intra-office traffic




                                      “By using IP phones to               “IP phones cost much more
                                      make long-distance calls,               than the regular phones.
                                      we spend just a fraction of          Even if the cost of the VOIP
                                      the amount that we would              card or gateway is not too
                                      normally spend when                  much, the overall costs are
                                      using the traditional                  high because you need IP
                                      telecom network”                           phones at each point”
      Praveen Cherian                                                                                         Chetan Turakhia
      Country Manager, Networking                                                                             Head, Telecommunications
      Services, IBM Global Services                                                                           Division, Intellicon Pvt Ltd



          With VoIP, we can call wherever there’s a broadband           and one to communicate with the external world. This
      connection. Business travellers can carry IP phones for ready     in turn would increase the cost and hence it is not a
      access and instant connectivity. For us, VoIP is a great way to   practical option unless you have huge amount of inter-
      increase productivity without major hassles. The biggest          nal traffic.
      benefit is the savings in communication cost. By using IP             “Secondly, IP phones cost much more than regular
      phones to make long-distance calls, we spend just a fraction      phones. Even if the cost of the VOIP card or gateway is
      of the amount that we would normally spend when using             not too much, the overall costs are high because you
      the traditional telecom network.                                  need IP phones at each point.
          VoIP allows optimum utilisation of network resources.             In a professional setup, it is important to have a
      Even with a LAN connection, VoIP can be deployed on all PCs       smooth uninterrupted flow of communication (without
      in an office, either by implementing it over a LAN, or            breaks and jitters or any other type of delay). Hence,
      creating a separate Virtual LAN. The former provides more         while voice traffic occupies very less bandwidth, with
      bandwidth, and the latter keeps voice and data networks           VoIP technology, when the Internet connection is erratic
      separate. PC-to-PC communication is the easiest way to use        or, say, dedicated bandwidth is not available, the quality
      VoIP. To make long-distance calls, all you need is software, a    of calls gets affected.
      microphone, speakers, a sound card and an Internet                    Of course, one cannot deny that there are some
      connection. And the cost? Just the monthly ISP fee.               advantages associated with VoIP. For instance, the major
          Like any emerging technology, VoIP needs to overcome          advantage is cost. Once you set up the LAN/WAN infra-
      certain challenges. As it uses an Internet connection, it is      structure, the usage cost is almost nothing as far as
      susceptible to the problems associated with broadband             intra-office communication is concerned. In certain
      services—such as transmission errors that affect call quality.    industries the internal traffic is very high. In such cases,
      Nevertheless, as developers keep refining VoIP, it will           VoIP makes a lot of sense. For example, Banks, Railways,
      eventually replace the current phone system. We feel VoIP         Airlines have their own Wide Area Network. So, essen-
      will continue to be implemented by enterprises and over           tially, VoIP usage is an industry-specific thing.
      time, it will benefit consumers.”
                                                                                                                As told to Renuka Rane
                                                                                                           renuka_rane@thinkdigit.com

130   DIGIT NOVEMBER 2005
                                                                                      Digital Leisure l Touched by Tech

                                                                               Digital

150 Fore!                  152 A Better Way 154 Moore’s Law
                               To Search?
                                                                              Leisure
                                                                               Technology Beyond Work



Touched By Tech


Make A Difference... Online
NGOs and NPOs need to reach out to the public. The public, likewise, wants to find organisations
that support their causes. Here’s a portal that facilitates this exchange

                                       propelled by the experience          service providers, and so on can
Renuka Rane                            Somani gained when he set up         get themselves listed for free on
                                       www.findStone.com in 1999—a          the Karmayog site.


T
       he Web site’s name—             commercial B2B (business-to-             This data helps the site to not
       Karmayog.com—could lead         business) site that deals with the   only disseminate information,
       you to think it’s a site on     building stone industry.             but also mobilise resources, gener-
spirituality. But look at it, and         Karmayog.com is modelled on       ate funds and co-ordinate events
you’ll see that while the site isn’t   FindStone.com, and is funded by      that help society. Essentially,
concerned with divinity per se,        the Somani trust. Non-govern-
the people behind it are definitely    mental organisations (NGOs),
good Samaritans. The page demys-       non-profit organisations
tifies the term: “Karmayog = self-     (NPOs), volunteers,
less service with love gives bliss.”

The Ideology
Vinay Somani launched www.kar-
mayog.com in 2004 as a free plat-
form for the Indian non-profit
sector. One of the trustees of
the R O Somani Charitable
Trust, Somani hails from a
philanthropic family.
Karmayog.com       was




Imaging Prachi Patil
      Digital Leisure l Touched By Tech
      it’s a free portal for both the              I realised then that it were the                                                  events and publications. There is
      donors and the needy.                    NGOs who finally rehabilitated                                                        also a list of companies in India
           Somani sums up the purpose          the victims—of rape or other-                                                         involved in Corporate Social
      of the site: “There are many NGOs        wise—and they were the ones who                                                       Responsibility (CSR).
      doing excellent work in India. We        actually did the follow-ups. I                                                            Highlights of Karmayog.com
      wanted to support them in what-          wanted to do something more                                                           include ‘Hot Topics’, wherein
      ever capacity, be it online or           constructive than just report facts                                                   urgent social issues are floated
      offline, in volunteering, distrib-       as they stood. I chose to work with                                                   online and users can add their
      uting materials or providing             Karmayog.com since other simi-                                                        views, suggest solutions or offer
      strategic advice. NGOs are largely       lar Web sites seemed inadequate.”        Visitors to                                  assistance. Other links include
      understaffed. We hoped that                  Other team players include           Karmayog.com                                 ‘Issues/Causes’, ‘Actions for Citi-
      visitors to Karmayog.com, who            management student Burzin                who may be                                   zens’ including ‘Contact your
      may be experts in their own              Mistry, who handles the Web site         experts in                                   ALM (Advanced Locality Manage-
      field, could provide their valu-         development. A post-graduate in          their own                                    ment), and so on. Under ‘Services’
      able time and efforts to support         social work, John Matthew is the         field, could                                 are listed emergency numbers,
      a noble cause.”                          researcher. Jayant Upadhyay              provide their                                help lines, 152 support groups
           Volunteers, mentors, corpo-         manages accounts and adminis-            valuable                                     and an all-India hospital list.
      rates, and service providers can         tration, along with Falguni              time and                                         A recent addition is the ‘NGO
      list the availability of their time,     Chauhan, the accounts executive.         efforts to                                   Council’, a representative body of
      talent, materials, services and                                                   support a                                    the NGO sector in Mumbai. An
      money, and indicate their interest       On The Technical Front                   noble cause”                                 open committee, it comprises a
      in specific humanitarian projects.       The Web site itself is constantly        Vinay Somani                                 mix of 69 organisations. The
           The Karmayog team co-ordi-          undergoing change. While it              Founder,                                     Karmayog team has extensively
      nates events and seminars that           doesn’t have a forum, there’s a          Karmayog.com                                 mapped and sorted the NGO sector
      includes contacting NGOs, citi-          full-fledged Yahoo! Group with                                                        in Mumbai by location, area of
      zens, the BMC, the Mantralaya,           more than 3,000 active members.                                                       work, capacity, activities and so on.
      and corporates—and all forthcom-             As Mistry says, “When first                                                           Singh adds, “As a Web site, you
      ing events are listed on the site.       launched, Karmayog.com was a                                                          need to have the latest informa-
                                               purely HTML site, a database                                                          tion. This involved personally
      The Team                                 model. We developed it over time                                                      visiting hundreds of NGOs and
      Apart     from     Somani,      the      into a fully-functional portal. For                                                   calling others to check if their
      Karmayog team has five other             now, we have outsourced the                                                           services, addresses and phone
      members. There’s Vibha Singh,            programming work. We also send                                                        numbers were still valid. To post
      the content developer, a journal-        out a free daily newsletter. We use                                                   data about non-NGOs, we took up
      ist with eight years of experience       Google’s AdSense for revenue                                                          whatever existing lists there were,
      in mainstream media and in the           generation, and have also imple-                                                      of say, blood banks, media firms
      social sector. What prompted             mented SEO (Search Engine Opti-                                                       and hospitals. Then, we called up
      Singh to join Karmayog?                  misation). We get more than a                                                         every institution to verify the
          She replies, “The media does-        thousand page views daily.”                                                           details and uploaded those on to
      n’t have scope for follow-ups. For                                                                                             the site.”
      instance, if I reported a rape, the      An Information Database
      story would be printed, but that         Visitors to Karmayog.com can                                                          A Web Presence For NGOs
      would be the end of it. How the          find    volunteers,   advisors,                                                       NGOs in India can get a free, per-
      victim was rehabilitated, and            employees, materials, services,                                                       manent, self-manageable online
      other such relevant issues would         sponsors, Indian and foreign                                                          presence at the site: the NGO is
      go unnoticed.                            donors, and get support for                                                           given a URL such as—
                                                                                                                                     www.karmayog.com/ngoname.
                                                                                                           Photograph Jiten Gandhi




                                                                                                                                     The NGO can update its details
                                                                                                                                     daily, put up requests for volun-
                                                                                                                                     teers, and announce job open-
                                                                                                                                     ings amongst other details.
                                                                                                                                          Somani explains, “Being on the
                                                                                                                                     Web increases an NGO’s reach. The
                                                                                                                                     details of the listed NGO have been
                                                                                                                                     presented in such a way that it
                                                                                                                                     gives users a quick profile of the
                                                                                                                                     organisation. As of now, Karmayog
                                                                                                                                     has up-to-date listings of more
                                                                                                                                     than 2,000 NGOs in Mumbai
                                                                                                                                     alone—and more than 3,000 NGOs
                                                                                                                                     from the rest of India.”
                                                                                                                                          Karmayog also lists volun-
                                                                                                                                     teers and donors. There are more
                                                                                                                                     than 350 registered volunteers,
                                                                                                                                     and the number is rising. Those
                                                                                                                                     who would like to get volunteer
                                                                                                                                     IDs from Karmayog need to
      The Karmayog team (standing from left to right): Burzin Mehta, Vinay Somani, Jayant Upadhyay, John                             fill an online form mentioning
      Matthew and (seated from left to right) Falguni Chauhan and Vibha Singh                                                        their name, work and home

146   DIGIT NOVEMBER 2005
                                                                                 Digital Leisure l Touched by Tech
location, areas of interest,            to useful Web sites, libraries of
languages known and prior               articles, Acts, laws, Government
volunteering experience.                schemes, and an e-group.
                                            And under ‘Mumbai’ alone
Networking Citizens                     are listed 24 schools for the hear-
The Mumbai floods swung the             ing challenged (with ratings), 18
Karmayog team into action like          other NPOs (with ratings), 95 ENT
never before. From getting donors       Hospitals, surgeons, doctors and
who sponsored lakhs of rupees           clinics (with the respective
worth of medicines, to others           consulting fees), 50 hearing aid
who could bodily help victims, to       clinics and suppliers (with
allocating funds, Karmayog              ratings), and profiles of hearing-
became an information interface.        challenged individuals and train-
All the team members were avail-        ing institutes.
able for contact 24/7.                      As you can imagine, such a
    Somani refers to a PIL (public      compilation is of immense help.
interest litigation) filed by a citi-   For instance, parents of a hearing-
zen in the court over the bad           impaired child searching for a
condition of roads in Mumbai.           suitable school would be easily
The court retaliated by asking for      able to locate an NGO that meets
solid evidence on the same. Ever        their criteria through the listings
since, Karmayog has been                on Karmayog.com.
bombarded with mails from
several infuriated citizens—with        Channelising Resources
actual pictures of potholed             “NGOs are doing fantastic work,
Mumbai city roads in a state of         and even a little support can multi-
utter neglect!                          ply their effectiveness. But NGOs
    Somani also cites another           need to find people who can help
example: the stray dog menace. On       and people also need to know how
the one hand, Karmayog received         to support them. Due to lack of
passionate letters from animal          information and co-ordination
lovers, and on the other, those who     between NGOs, there is often dupli-
had been bitten by canines poured       cation of work, inadequate and
out their woes on the site!             fragmented knowledge.
    “Being an online medium,                “It is here that, as a readily
Karmayog can enable cross-fertili-      accessible      online     resource,
sation of ideas—there is a sharing      Karmayog.com acts as a facilitator
of views—and thus people can find       between NGOs and people,” says
a balanced approach to their prob-      Somani. Karmayog also independ-
lems and live harmoniously. By          ently evaluates and recommends
and large, the judiciary gives          NGOs. Since January 2005, it
inflexible solutions to problems,       started the ‘Non-profit-of-the-
the government cannot help every-       month’ idea, wherein it carefully
one, and its policies are lopsided;     profiles and recommends one
in such a scenario, citizens will       deserving NGO every month, in
have to help themselves.                most cases, a low-budget one.
    NGOs do not want to preach              Here, in addition to the general
to the converted—those who are          details about the NGO on the site,
already helping with charitable         the Karmayog team personally
causes—it is essential to leverage      visits the NGO and notes the
those who are sympathetic to the        administration, upkeep and facili-
cause but have hitherto been            ties, and then gives the rating. This,
unable to help,” says Somani.           in turn, helps donors directly help
                                        NGOs—as donors need to be
Networking With NGOs                    assured that their contribution
In terms of information,                will reach the actual beneficiaries.
resources      and      activities,
Karmayog.com has all a donor or         You Can Reach Out!
volunteer would ever require.           You may feel strongly about civic
    To get a better idea, consider      issues and you may also have the
this: under the ‘Issues/Causes’         empathy to do good, but not
link, there are 40-odd other links      always have the means to reach
dealing with issues as diverse as       out. With Karmayog.com, you
AIDS and drug abuse. Under one          need not be a mute spectator
of the links titled ‘Disabilities—      any longer: you can play an
Hearing’, there’s information on        active role to make our world,
the hearing and speech-chal-            clichéd as it may seem, a better
lenged sector. There’s a list of        place to live in.
hearing aid makers in India, links                 renuka_rane@thinkdigit.com

                                                                                                   DIGIT NOVEMBER 2005   147
                                 Harold’s Legacy
                                    1 The body of the                          5 Which of these Internet                  a) FIFA 06—Road to the FIFA
                                      new Nokia 8800                             majors is part of the Open               World Cup
                                 phone is made up of                        Content Alliance?                             b) NBA 06
                                 which metal?                               a) MSN                                        c) Need for Speed—Most Wanted
                                                                            b) AOL                                        d) Batman Begins
                                 a) Titanium                                c) Yahoo!
                                 b) Aluminum                                d) Google
                                 c) Steel                                                                                   10 An 8:1 compression ratio will
                                                                                                                                reduce a 1 MB image file to
                                 d) Nickel
                                                                               6 In September 2005, which                 approximately:
                                                                                  company did Oracle buy for              a) 1 Kb
                                   2 What is the code name for              $5.85 billion?                                b) 15 Kb
                                      Microsoft’s office suite to be        a) SAP                                        c) 128 Kb
                                released in 2006?                           b) Siebel                                     d) None of the above
                                a) Vista Office                             c) PeopleSoft
                                b) Office 12                                d) iFlex
                                c) Office 360
                                d) Ice Off                                     7 Which of the companies
                                                                                 given below is not a mobile
                                                                                                                           T   he Bluetooth technology
                                                                                                                               is named after the
                                                                                                                           Danish king Harold
                                   3 Who has Google tied up with            phone handset maker?                           Bluetooth, who
                                     to conduct research and set            a) Innostream                                  reigned during the
                                up a campus?                                b) Mistubishi                                                         Did You
                                                                                                                           900s. He was
                                                                                                                                                   Know?
                                a) NASA                                     c) Bird                                        responsible for
                                b) FBI                                      d) Thomson                                     consolidating
                                c) FCC                                                                                     Denmark and Norway
                                d) ICANN                                       8 Frank Nuovo is the Chief                  into a single kingdom.
                                                                                 Designer of which technology
                                  4 Which device of the following           giant?
      Got an                          won the Emmy award for                a) Apple                                      Answers
      interesting               Outstanding Achievement in                  b) Motorola                                    10. 128 Kb           5. Yahoo
      question?                 Technology and Advanced                     c) Nokia                                       9. Batman Begins     4. Sony Playstation
      Send it in with           New Media?                                  d) Sony                                        8. Nokia             3. NASA
      the answer to             a) iPod                                                                                    7. Thomson           2. Office 12
      tq@thinkdigit.com         b) Sony PlayStation                            9 Which of the following is
                                                                                                                           6. Siebel            1. Steel
      Mark ‘TQ’ in the          c) Blogs                                        not a game released by EA
      subject area.             d) Satellite Radio                          Sports for Xbox 360?

       Crossword                                                                                                         Send your answers to the crossword
                                                                                                                         with complete contact details to
        Across                                                                                                           TQ@thinkdigit.com on or
        1. Virus—‘john roaster’ anagram (6,5)                                                                            before November 15.
        8. Making an _________ inserting an item (5)
        9. Pagers (7)
                                                                                                                         One lucky participant will
        10. Information Awareness Office (abbr) (3)                                                                      win: Writing Effective Use
        11. A programme interrupt (4)                                                                                    Cases                                        Win!
        12. _________wall-security policy (4)                                                                            by Alistair Cockburn
        14. Communication command or response                                                                            Published by Pearson Education
             requesting data to be retransmitted (6)                                                                     (Singapore) Pvt Ltd
        16. Circle or dot separating items in a                                                                          (Indian branch in Delhi)
        list (6)
        18. Strong desire for Net use (4)                                                                                October 2005 Solution
        19. Asynchronous Data Link Control
        (abbr) (4)
        20. Self Extracting Archive (abbr) (3)
        22. Programs that allow files to be read
             only and not changed (7)
        23. Short for Integrated Database API (5)
        24. Locates an organisation or other entity
             on the Internet (6,4)

        Down
        2. _________and proportion (5)
        3. Cursor control device in computer
        games (8)
        4. _________ or close files (4)                         13. ‘F1’ key (8)
        5. _________ Interest Groups (7)                        15. Gopher search facility similar to ‘Veronica’ (7)
        6. Curved line connecting a series of points (6,5)      17. Distributed Denial-of-Service (abbr) (4)
        7. Relative vertical and horizontal sizes in computer   20. Structured Systems Analysis and Design Methodology
        graphics (6,5)                                               (abbr) (5)
        9. Java_________ (4)                                    21. Laser _________ (4)                                  The winner for the October 2005 crossword is
                                                                                                                         Lt Col P V Sivaram, Vadodara, Gujarat.
      Crossword by Nitta Jaggi

148   DIGIT NOVEMBER 2005
        TechCritique        Fore!
                            It’s time to tee off with Tiger Woods PGA Tour 06 in what is arguably the best
                            game of golf you will ever play—indoors, that is!


                            F
                                  irst things first: I’m no good at golf. And
                                  playing this game for a period of about three
                                  weeks has further confirmed the belief that I
                            perhaps never will be. Even against the computer.
                            Why? Because Tiger Woods PGA Tour 06 is just too
                            realistic! If I wanted the wind to swerve away every
                            drive, or bow to the whims and fancies of every
                            putting green, I would go to a real golf course and
                            not waste time trying to cheat the computer,
                            would I? Oh well, call me geeky if you will, but I
                            would, and I did!
                                 Anyway, the fact that the game is too realistic
                            is perhaps its greatest USP. In fact, I would go so
                            far as to say that this game could even be enjoyed
                            thoroughly by those who actually play the real
                            thing. The physics is simply marvellous, and
                                                                                          Create your player keeping the minutest detail in mind
                            things like the angle at which your club hits the
                            ball in the downswing also affect the final out-
                            come of your shot.                                                There are many ways you can tee off and start
                                 Creating a player is one of the most enjoyable          playing. You could choose an existing player—any-
                            experiences of this game. Unfortunately, you can’t           one, from Arjun Atwal to Tiger Woods—and just
          Games             upload your own photo to make it more realistic.             get on the tour and compete with the best. Or, you
                            What you can do, however, is choose his hair                 could put your name on the scoreboard and risk
                            length, colour, cut style, clothes, shoes, glasses,          losing some pride! Trust me, playing in this game,
                            cap, wrist band, height, weight, face characteris-           you will!
                            tics, eyebrow length, size of the mole under your                 If you really want to get a hang of the game
                            left eye and the weight around the midsection.               and learn the ropes, you can start as a novice and
                            I’m not kidding!                                             work your way up the local league (including
                                 There is $100,000 allotted to a pro-level player        friendly matches against office managers!) and
                            (if that’s your choice of level) or $10,000 to a             earn your Tour Card.
                            novice to buy all the equipment and compete in                    Playing the game is easy, and you can choose
                            the first year. Any earnings you make along the              from one of four available modes of hitting the
                            way are added, and this is used to determine                 ball—TrueSwing (Horizontal or Vertical), 2-Click
                            your standing in the money list of the PGA Tour              and 3-Click. The TrueSwing modes are the best:
                            (or the Hacks Tour).                                         they give you realistic control over how hard and
                                                                                                              accurately you hit the ball with-
                                                                                                              out having to keep track of rotat-
                                                                                                              ing dials and power bars.
                                                                                                                  Player animation and the
                                                                                                              details on the golf courses
                                                                                                              (eight of them) are fantastic.
                                                                                                              One hitch here is that the player
                                                                                                              face (as seen on the scorecard)
                                                                                                              and the actual face (the one
                                                                                                              that is playing) don’t match—
                                                                                                              a bug perhaps.
                            Your ‘office’ to plan and review your    That’s one of my better putts... and I       On the whole, though, if you
                            performance over the year                can keep watching it forever           like greens and have a strong
                                                                                                              heart, this is Rs 1,299 well spent.
                                                                                                                  A word of advice: Keep all
                                                                                                              warm beverages out of reach
                                                                                                              when playing, especially when
                                                                                                              teeing off !
                                                                                                                       aditya_kuber@thinkdigit.com
                                                                                                             Publisher: EA Sports
                                                                                                             Minimum System Configuration: Pentium
                                                                                                             III or Athlon 1 GHz, 256 MB RAM, 32 MB
                                                                                                             OpenGL Graphics Card, DirectX 9.0c
                                                                                                             compatibility
                            Tee time! Open green spaces... they’re   The year-long schedule of events.       Price: Rs 1,299
                            a delight to watch even on screen!       Choose the ones you want to play        Available in India through: Gayatri Impex


150   DIGIT NOVEMBER 2005
Seriously, Now!
Perhaps the most awaited sequel of this year, Serious Sam 2 is finally here. We
reviewed the demo, which is provided with this magazine’s CD


T
       o begin with, the demo seemed really small in I still played it anyway, exiting after every hang,
       terms of file size! Just about 250 MB for a              and then restarting and continuing from where I
       proper FPS game demo is sort of odd these                had left off. Yes, the game was fun enough for me
days. I crossed my fingers and installed anyway.                to bear with such nonsense—the other Digit team
    The test bed was an AMD Athlon 64 3200+ (939                members in my bay had to put up with sudden
pin), 1 GB DDR 400 MHz Transcend RAM, MSI                       screams of anguish (and expletives), but I couldn’t
RS480 MII motherboard, 80 GB SATA Seagate                       care less—after all, this was Serious Sam 2!
Barracuda hard drive, and a 256 MB 6600 GT PCIe
graphics card. The intro cut scene was funny, as                So how is the game?
usual, and then the killing began!                              With advanced features such as High Dynamic
    Before I tell you more, you should know that                Range (HDR) rendering, the Serious engine is great
Serious Sam has always been anything but serious!               for this game. CroTeam, the Croatian developers of
Don’t expect realism and don’t think that it’s                  the game and the engine, have done a decent job
anything like Half-Life 2, DOOM 3 or F.E.A.R. This              with everything. Even the AI is not completely
game is, and always has been, a funny FPS with                  stupid, though nowhere near intelligent. Serious
stupid-looking monsters, weird weapons and great                Sam has always been about hordes of easy-to-kill
3D backgrounds!                                                 enemies attacking at once, not about a few smart
    The settings interface is clean and easy to                 enemies that are hard to kill!
navigate. The game automatically sets the ideal                      Overall, the enemy bosses seem too easy to
graphics settings for your configuration—of                     kill… the monsters have weird flat textures, which
course, I changed it all to the highest settings,               is only funny for a while, after which it starts to
not really giving a damn if it framed, so long as it look shabby! There’s already a Serious Sam 2 Demo
was beautiful!                                                  #2 out, which fixes the bugs of the first demo and
    I entered the game and these weird-looking                  adds a level to shut up the dissenting fans—in our
things shot green blobs at Sam. Of course, Sam                  humble opinion, you’re better off downloading
promptly picked up weapons and ammo and began                   the second demo. We’ll provide it on our
the carnage. Soon after, he picked up a parrot, (yes,           December DVD.




                                                                                                                                                            TechCritique
a parrot that carries a bomb). Eager to use this cool                If you just cannot wait, like me, install this
weapon, Sam went looking for more monsters! The                 demo and give it a try. If you’re a Serious Sam fan
search didn’t last long—as soon as he approached                like I am, it will be worth it—well, barely worth
some enemies, stupidly standing around doing                    it. If you’re not a fan, wait till we provide the
absolutely nothing, the game froze.                             second demo, because this one just does not
    The sound looped, the video stayed still: the               do justice!
game had just hung! I pressed [Esc], hoping I                                                robert_smith@thinkdigit.com
wouldn’t have to do a cold reboot. It worked! The
game menu popped up after 10
                                                                                                                           List Courtesy Crossword Mumbai




seconds, and I clicked ‘Resume
Game’, hoping the bug would just
go away—but it didn’t. I quit the
game and immediately went
online, searching for some
feedback from others. I found that
many people were facing the same
problem. Then I saw a patch for
the demo. Oh well!
    Anyway, long story short, even                                                   1. FIFA 2006
the patch didn’t work, and the           Like in the first part, you’re still           Rs 1,299
game kept hanging intermittently. always attacked by hordes of baddies                  Gayatri Impex
                                                                                   2. Cricket 2005
                                                                                      Rs 999
                                                                                     Gayatri Impex
                                                                                   3. Brian Lara International
                                                                                      Cricket 2005
                                                                                      Rs 1,299
                                                                                     MicroWare
                                                                                   4. Moto GP 3
                                                                                      Rs 699
                                                                                     E-xpress Interactive Software
                                                                                   5. Counter-Strike: Condition Zero                                          Games
                                                                                      Rs 499
The scenery is great but the enemy bosses look a little stupid—but then again,       E-xpress Interactive Software
this is Serious Sam. At least the audio is great, and will keep you entertained!

                                                                                                                                     DIGIT NOVEMBER 2005                   151
        MediaWise
      Forbes.com, October 5, 2005                                                         Variety.com, October 9, 2005

      A Better Way To Search?                                                             Old Media Reaches For
      DAVID A ANDELMAN, executive editor, Forbes.com, speaks                              Tech Tonic
      about the changes Yahoo! is incorporating into its search
      engine after they realised that they “are not the                                   “EVERYBODY IS NOW in competition with everyone else,” Says
      verb today”                                                                         Elizabeth Guider, executive editor of Variety in Los Angeles.
                                                                                          Over the past 15 years, Guider has written extensively on
      I tried Yahoo!’s latest attempt to take on Google in search                         entertainment and media subjects, and her questions are
      over the weekend, and I was underwhelmed.                                           based on some firm grounds
           Yahoo! and Google, the top two search engines, are just
      6.7 percentage points apart, though it’s true that the latest                       Is it just me or has the pace of technological change picked up
      ComScore MediaMetrix numbers show that Google increased                             dramatically? The progeny of Hal the computer in Stanley
      its market share in the past year by 1.2% to 37.3%, while                                                                          Kubrick’s “2001”
      Yahoo! shed 1%, coming in at 29.7%. Not too shabby,                                                                                have become
      considering the two Big Kahunas of search together bring in                                                                        smarter, faster
      two-thirds of all search traffic in the average month.                                                                             and more versatile
           Still, Yahoo! wants more. “We are not the verb today,”                                                                        than most of us
      says Bradley Horowitz, director of media search for Yahoo!                                                                         probably were
      “We’re not synonymous with search.” The company is doing                                                                           prepared for.
                                       everything that the fertile                                                                           And am I
                                       imaginations of their software                                                                    wrong to think
                                       engineers can muster in order                                                                     that every “old
                                       to persuade people to search                                                                      media” company is
                                       with them first.                                                                                  rethinking its
                                           Before we get to Yahoo!’s                                                                     business model as
                                       “social search,” let’s step                                                                       a result?
                                       back and look at search in                                                                            Not a day goes
                                       general. The goal is to find                       by but some media company doesn’t pitch out its rule book or
                                       a particular Web site or                           take a page out of a rival’s playbook. The upshot: Everyone is
                                       factoid that answers a                             trying to eat everyone else’s lunch. I guess that’s what they
                                       question or need. This                             mean by convergence. As one media analyst put it last week:
      information is sitting somewhere on the billions of Web                             “Everybody is now in competition with everyone else.”
      pages that exist in cyberspace, and the goal of search engine                            Five years after the tech bubble burst, puncturing
      providers is to find the desired Web pages with the fewest                          momentum in the process, media companies are charging full
      clicks of the mouse.                                                                steam ahead.
           The goal of any search engine is to become the                                      Old-school media mogul Rupert Murdoch is enthusing like a
      destination of choice for these searchers, who will see the                         12-year-old about Internet companies he’s instructed News
      advertisements that make the search company rich every                              Corp. to gobble up. He told Wall Streeters two weeks ago that
      time a page is loaded. Yahoo!, like other Web portals,                              he expects his company’s revenues from broadband to
      dropped the ball by not recognizing there was very big                              skyrocket fivefold in the next five years.
      money to be made from this simple concept.                                               He’s hardly alone.
           Google “crawled up on our backs,” says Horowitz. Yahoo!                             Once-uptight telco types are loosening their ties and
      helped give Google its legs by incorporating the search                             ordering up original video material; Hollywood studio chieftains
      engine into its portal. “About two and a half years ago, we                         are waffling on about narrowing or collapsing windows so as to
      realized we made a mistake” by not recognizing the value of                         better squeeze out ancillary revenues; exhibitors are digitizing
      the search market sooner. So Yahoo! “bought up all of the                           at the rate of 300 moviehouses a month.
      remaining relevant companies” in the search market in                                    Just last week things really heated up.
      order to catch up.                                                                       Google said it would provide free wireless high-speed
           Moreover, with the growing conventional wisdom that                            Internet access in San Francisco, allowing users to bypass cable
      search has turned into a commodity—albeit an essential one                          or phone hookups they traditionally pay for in favor of wi-fi
      for any portal—Yahoo! also sought a better, and more                                links. EBay and Microsoft are planning similar forays.
      expensive, way of distinguishing itself from Google, not to                              Yahoo’s Santa Monica-based media unit started hiring
      mention from Microsoft’s MSN and InterActive’s AskJeeves                            former TV producers to help inch the company into the content
      (which will soon be dropping “Jeeves”), which are in third                          creation biz.
      and fourth place, respectively.                                                          And this is just in the U.S.
           What Yahoo! has in mind is, at first blush, quite                                   Parts of Asia and western Europe are ahead of the game in
      appealing: A search “community” that can create personal                            several key areas.
      Web pages and link them directly with other searcher’s                                   The South Koreans can do all kinds of high-speed Internet
      pages. They call it MyWeb 2.0.                                                      acrobatics while traveling on their bullet trains. The country is
           First, the idea behind MyWeb (now in beta version) is to                       building a so-called “ubiquitous” city outside Seoul where even
      create your own personal Web universe with the center                               the doorjams will be digitized. Europeans enjoy all kinds of
      being your own page, which includes all of the Web pages                            audio and visual data on their mobiles, and they have hardly
      and links you’ve downloaded and stored there—basically, a                           penetrated Stateside. Consolidation in various industries is
      snazzier set of bookmarks. In turn, these pages are                                 picking up, usually a prelude to expanding high-tech services.
      searchable whenever you like.
                            For the complete column, visit http://snipurl.com/digitoct1                        For the complete column, visit http://snipurl.com/digitoct2


152   DIGIT NOVEMBER 2005
                                                                                   AdWise
washingtonpost.com, October 9, 2005

Security Suites Are Rife
With Problems
ROB PEGORARO ASKS the basic question of why we’re paying
extra for securing Windows when security should be built
into the operating system

If security software is so necessary in Windows—as it is—why
are we supposed to pay extra for it?
     For years, that’s been a paradox Windows users have been
able to mull over as they sat through installations of other
companies’ security software on their computers.
     Symantec’s and McAfee’s security software programs have
long benefited from Microsoft’s oversights. Both firms supply
the antivirus programs offered in trial form on most new PCs--
and which help advertise their full-fledged security suites.
     But the 2006 editions of these suites—McAfee Internet
Security Suite 2006, $50 as a download or $70 as a box for Win
98 or newer; Symantec’s Norton Internet Security 2006, $70
for Win 2000 and XP—look unworthy of that success.
                                      For one thing, they face
                                 competition from Microsoft,
                                 which last year added
                                 effective firewall protection to
                                 Windows XP with its Service
                                 Pack 2 update and has since                             Flit Like A Butterfly
                                 released a surprisingly good                         BT makes its point, portraying “how swiftly you can
                                 (though still in beta test) anti-                    move” if the information flow in your organisation
                                 spyware tool.                                        is smooth
                                      For another, the complexity
                                 of the Symantec and McAfee
                                 suites seems to cause them to
                                 fail in ugly and destructive ways,
according to readers who have written in to complain about
these problems week after month after year. Most important,
the latest McAfee and Symantec suites just don’t work all
that well.
     Both excel only in their antivirus utilities—which you can
buy separately from these all-purpose bundles. Each program
correctly blocked viruses received via e-mail in two different e-
mail applications and via AOL’s AIM instant-messenger
software. Each also automatically fetched updates to its virus
database every day.
     Symantec’s Norton AntiVirus, however, was quicker about
its business, cleanly killing viruses with just brief notifications
afterwards. Symantec’s installer, unlike McAfee’s, also scanned
the computer for viruses before setting up the program, a
sensible precaution.
     McAfee VirusScan, meanwhile, asked what it should do
every time it found a virus—as if the choice should ever not be
“delete”. Downloading antivirus updates manually required
setting Internet Explorer as the default browser, turning off
pop-up blocking and accepting the installation of an ActiveX
program from McAfee’s site—everything you shouldn’t be in the
habit of doing if you want to stay safe online.
     Things get worse in the other McAfee and Symantec suites.
     Their firewalls, intended to stop worms from crawling onto
your computers, offer no more protection against intrusions
than the one in Win XP Service Pack 2. Their advantage comes
if a program has already moved in, when they can stop it from
                                                                                     Missed!
communicating with its creators. But these firewalls first need
                                                                                   The player missed it, but the photographer didn’t. That’s
to learn which ones are safe so as not to nag you about the
                                                                                   the beauty of using this camera! Nothing gets past the
harmless activity of legitimate software.
                                                                                   Rebel XT... no matter how fast it happens. Well done!
                      For the complete column, visi http://snipurl.com/digitoct3


                                                                                                                            DIGIT NOVEMBER 2005   153
      A Nanotech Golf Ball                                                         In da Bginnin…
      NDMX, a golf ball designed by NanoDynamics, is slated to be                  The Bible has been translated into SMS-speak in Australia so as
      released in late 2005. NDMX can fly much straighter than                     to make its message more accessible. It begins, “In da Bginnin
      normal golf balls, since its internal weight can shift                       God cre8d da heavens & da earth.” Only the spelling of the Bible
      dynamically. This allows the ball to follow its natural angle of             has been changed for the project, not the language. All 31,173
      flight, like the golfer intended.                                            verses can be downloaded for free.




                                                                                                                                                              First
      Escape
      AMERICA VS THE WORLD

      Who Should Control The Net?
      I
         f you thought there                                                                 And no prizes for
         would be no regulation                                                             guessing who was in
         issues with the                                                                     the opposite camp,
                                                                                                                              The Acrobat Plug-in
                                                                                                                              For MS Office Products
      Internet given its very                                                                either: the EU, with
      nature, you are mistaken.
      Of late, a storm is brewing
      and if you didn’t know,
                                                                                            China and Russia.
                                                                                               Iran figures in
                                                                                          the list of those who
                                                                                                                              I f you have both MS Word
                                                                                                                                and Adobe Acrobat on
                                                                                                                              your system, you may think
      here’s the situation as of                                                          spoke up: it said it                that you can easily create a
      now: the Internet is                                                                was concerned the US                PDF file from a Word
      currently the responsibility                                                       could cut it off from                document. Far from it!
      of ICANN, under the US                                                            the Net any time it                        It never seems to work.
      Department of Commerce.                                                            chose. Oh!                           Different versions of Word,
          ICANN has more or less                                                              So well, who                    and different versions of
      been in charge of the DNS                                                            should control the                 Acrobat, and different
      since 1997, when the US                                                               Net, then? A summit               combinations of these, bring
      Department of Commerce                                                               this month in Tunis,               up different errors—and that
      handed over limited                                                                 Africa, will see the                nice PDF document remains
      control, in the hope that                                                         argument rage on                      as elusive as ever!
      ICANN would move towards                  control the DNS. Countries          even further.                                  The worst part is, on
      internationalisation. While               were split into those who                                                     some systems, Acrobat
      this isn’t the entire picture,            were for US control and             IT’S ABOUT IMMERSION                      actually makes a toolbar of
      in general, it is the US                  those that were against.                                                      its own in Word, which
      that’s in charge.
          Delegates at a meeting
                                                    No prizes for guessing
                                                who was for the US: little
                                                                                    Game Ads                                  refuses to go away.
                                                                                                                              However, there could be a
      in Geneva on October 10
      tried—but failed—to reach
                                                brother Great Britain, of
                                                course, and some others
                                                                                    Are Spot On                               registry hack for this.
                                                                                                                                   On some systems, you
      an agreement on who                       such as Australia and                                                         may get the error “The


                                                                                    A
      should control the DNS.                   Argentina. The Aussie                     re you more likely to               Macro cannot be found or
          As might be expected,                 delegates spoke of a                      reach out for a Pepsi               has been disabled because
      the meeting turned into a                 “hierarchical and bureau-                 if a Pepsi banner                   of your Macro security
      squabble over whether                     cratic approach” if the UN          flashed in front of you                   settings,” when you click
      America had the right to                  stepped in.                         while you were playing a                  the convenient PDF button.
                                                                                                                                   And unfortunately, when
                                                                                                                              you try going to the Tools >
         My Desktop                                                                                                           Macro menu, you get
                                                                                                                              trapped inside another
         T  hink you have the most beautiful, most
            innovative desktop around? E-mail with
         subject ‘My Desktop’ and your postal
                                                                                                                              labyrinth of options, none of
                                                                                                                              which help you accomplish
         address to mydesktop@thinkdigit.com, and                                                                             what you want. Then you
         Digit will publish the most eye-catching of                                                                          refer to the Word Help on
         them each month.                                                                                                     “Adobe” or “Acrobat”, and
                                                                                                                              nothing comes up.
                                                                                                                                   On other systems,
          This month’s                                                                                                        something seems to
          winner receives                                                                                                     happen, then Distiller sort
                                                                                                                              of gives up and you end up
          Programming                                                                                                         with an error message of a
          with Visual                                                                                                         different kind.
          Basic 6.0                                                                                                                It remains to be seen
                                                             The winner of this month is Sai Vardhan                          after how many versions of
                                                             E-mail: vishnuvardhan35@yahoo.com                                Word (and/or Acrobat) will
                                                                                                                              we get real interoperability.


154   DIGIT NOVEMBER 2005
                                                                                                               People Who
                                                                                                                Changed
                                                       “Burning the Midnight Coil”                             Computing
                                                                           This month’s winner is
                                                                           Dr Ranjan Sengupta
                                                                           c/o Mr Balai Sarkar
                                                                                                            Moore’s Law
                                                                           Pioneer Park                     Gordon E Moore, born in
                                                                           Barasat, Kolkata 700124          1946, in San Francisco,
                                                                           West Bengal, India
                                                                                                            made the observation in
                                                                            He wins
                                                                                                            1965 that integrated
                                                                            Professional                    circuits would double in
                                                                            SQL Server                                      complexity
                                                                            2000DTS                                         every 18
                                                                            by Mark Chaffin,                                months.
                                                                            Brian Knight and                                    The press
                                                                            Robinson                                        called this
                                                                            Published by                                    “Moore’s
                                                                            Shroff Publishers &                             Law,” and
                                                                            Distributors Pvt Ltd
                                                                                                            Gordon E Moore the name
                                                                                                                             has stuck
                                                                                                            since then. Moore forecast
  WIN!                                                                                                      that this trend would
  Send in your entry and you could win an exciting gift just by sharing an amusing picture with a tech
                                                                                                            continue through 1975.
  angle to it. The picture should be shot by you, and should not have been published anywhere earlier.
  E-mail your picture with the subject ‘DigiPick’ and your postal address on or before 15th of this month   Through Intel’s technology,
  to digipick@thinkdigit.com. One prize-winning picture will be published each month.                       Moore’s Law has been
                                                                                                            maintained for much
                                                                                                            longer, and still holds true.
game? Or, when speeding              audience,” said Henry Piney,          it for free. The project             After completing a B.S.
along a highway in a racing          MD, Europe, Nielsen                   would be funded through          in chemistry from UC
game, would you notice an            Interactive Entertainment.            online advertising, a Google     Berkeley in 1950 and a
ad on the side of a truck                The study was released            spokesman said.                  Ph.D. in chemistry and
whizzing past you? The               by Double Fusion, a provider               Coming back to              physics from Caltech in
answers are ‘Yes’ and ‘Yes’,         of in-game ad services, and           Newsom’s statement: “This        1954, Moore started
according to a recent study.         Nielsen Interactive                   is inevitable—Wi-Fi. It is       working at Shockley
    This is not exactly a            Entertainment. It looked at           long overdue,” he said. “It is   Semiconductor Laboratory.
revelation: the impact an ad         ads within the                        to me a fundamental right            He left in 1957 to
has depends heavily on the           downloadable version of               to have access universally to    launch Fairchild
level of involvement of the          London Taxi, a PC game.               information.”                    Semiconductor. Soon, with
viewer. And where is the                                                        It’s surprising we          Moore leading the
involvement and immersion            REEKING OF WEALTH                     haven’t seen much negative       production engineering,
greater than in games?                                                     commentary about the             Fairchild was shipping its
    But it’s interesting to
know to what extent ads are
                                     Wi-Fi Is A                            statement: do San
                                                                           Franciscans—or Americans—
                                                                                                            first transistors.
                                                                                                                Fairchild was a
effective in games. The study
found that there’s a
                                     Right!                                actually believe something
                                                                           like Wi-Fi can be elevated to
                                                                                                            successful company, but
                                                                                                            Moore left because of
whopping 60 per cent                                                       the level of a ‘right’?          management changes in its


                                     I
increase in awareness for a             t could happen only in                  There is a redeeming        parent company. In 1968,
new product as a direct                 America, the richest and           aspect, though. Newsom           he co-founded Intel,
result of in-game campaigns.            most powerful nation               also said that Wi-Fi was an      initially serving as
And interestingly, animated          ever to have existed. The             alternative network that         executive VP, to become the
3-D ads bring about twice            mayor of San Francisco,               could kick in to provide         president and CEO in 1975.
the brand recall that static         Gavin Newsom, has                     emergency information in             He led the company to
billboards do. We didn’t             declared that Wi-Fi is a              the event of a natural           produce the world’s first
know people were as                  “fundamental right”.                  disaster. Now there’s some       single-chip microprocessor,
measurable as this!                  Something like guns. Or               method to the madness!           and went on to become the
    As the world gets                maybe even food.                                                       world’s largest chipmaker.
increasingly virtual,                    The statement was made            THE GOOD, THE BAD, ...           In 1997, Moore was named
advertising in games will,           in the context of the city’s                                           Chairman Emeritus.
naturally become more
important. “The study
                                     plans for its Wi-Fi
                                     development. San Francisco
                                                                           The Blooker                          Amongst other
                                                                                                            honours, Moore received,
(proves) in-game advertising
is a medium that brand
                                     wants an affordable Wi-Fi
                                     network covering all the
                                                                           Prize                            in 1990, the National
                                                                                                            Medal of Technology from
managers across categories           43 hills and the entire 49                                             President Bush. An avid


                                                                           A
should be exploring,                 square miles of the city.                  n online self-              fisherman, Moore enjoys
particularly if they want to             Did we mention that                    publishing house            visiting fishing-related
reach the highly valuable            Google is one of the                       called Lulu has             Web sites.
18 to 34-year-old male               bidders? They plan to offer           announced the Blooker

                                                                                                                     DIGIT NOVEMBER 2005    155
      Escape
                                            Festivities And Celebrations
                                            I t’s been yet another eventful month,
                                              and we all have had our share of fun.
                                            This time, the editor, Deepak was on a
                                                                                                     workspaces a revamp—we cleared all
                                                                                                     sorts of clutter. The Digit Test Centre in
                                                                                                     particular looked incredibly spacious—
                                            weeklong official tour. And we just                      with all empty product cartons out of
                                            stopped short of painting the office red!                the way and the hi-tech gizmos in their
       Motherboards                             The things we did included playing
                                            the guitar and humming songs—trust
                                                                                                     rightful places, courtesy TC co-ordinator
                                                                                                     Gautami badgering reviewers to break
       Motherboards in our
                                            Raaabo and Vijay to perpetually have a                   away from their tech reverie and remove
       computers are reminiscent of
                                            guitar stashed away in their cubicles!                   the sordid stuff for once!
       Star Trek, the TV show from the
       ‘70s and ‘80s. Back then, they           Just the other day, in fact, we also                     Having the Dandiya Nite right on our
       looked complex enough for            tucked into rich chocolate cake—no, it                   premises gave us another chance for
       space technology and                 wasn’t a birthday; it was Ishan’s—our dear               revelry. And now, the most awaited
       performed complex operations.        CD and DVD dude’s—farewell. It’s rightly                 annual Diwali party is in the offing!
             The point we are making is     said that parting is such sweet sorrow!                  Auditions are in full swing for the same
       the motherboard is the main              Most of us, Ram, Renuka, Raaabo,                     and rest assured that Digit members have
       man (!) as far as your PC is         Vijay and Preethi in particular, were a                  a few tricks up their sleeves!
       concerned. Honestly, everything      happy lot; the reason being we got our                       As you can see, our relatively
       that’s involved in running the       machines upgraded—from swanky CPUs                       unconventional work ethos is
       computer smoothly or                 and monitors to higher disk space. We                    accompanied by a rare camaraderie and
       enhancing its performance is         wanted more and finally we got more!                           a fervent passion. Here’s wishing
       either part of the motherboard           Then there was                                                   you all a very happy,
       or plugs into it via a slot or a     Dussehra. The                                                               prosperous and safe
       port. It’s like the “mothership”     occasion prompted us                                                          Diwali from all of us
       that has all other vital             to give our                                                                   @ Digit!
       components on it including the
       processor, memory slots, and
       many expansion slots for
       add-ons such as Graphics Card,      Prize—the first literary             The FAQ continues:                   to “Classroom Blogging: A
       Sound Card and so on.               award for “blooks,” which,       “Scores of blooks have                   Teacher’s Guide to the
             A motherboard contains        unsurprisingly, are books        already been published,                  Blogosphere” to “How To
       thousands of chips and              based on blogs or Web            both by traditional                      Cook A Peacock: Medieval
       capacitors that ensure each and     sites. Hey, we didn’t even       publishers and self-                     Recipes by Taillevent.”
       every component is getting          know such books existed.         publishers. Indeed,                          Then there’s
       optimum electric supply from        Lulu is “the world’s fastest-    traditional publishing                   “Cyberchild,” described as,
       the main power supply for its       growing provider of print-       houses, ever in search of                “In a war-torn country in
       functioning. This physical          on-demand books,                 the next big-name author,                Eastern Europe, the life of a
       construction of chips and
                                           including an increasing          have begun to mine blogs                 young girl is radically
       integrated circuits on a base is
                                           number of blooks,”               and sites for new talent.”               changed when she
       called the “chipset”.
             Chipsets have various         according to the site.               Lulu’s site—www.                     encounters a lab animal
       designs; and different systems          An FAQ on the Blooker        lulublookerprize.com—has                 freed from a medical
       prefer different designs.           Prize site says, “A blook is a   attracted a variety of                   experiment gone awry”.
       Motherboards have come a            book with content that was       writers. Titles range from               EBay has to figure and it
       long way over the last twenty       developed in a significant       “The Authoritative                       does: there’s “Confessions
       years. The first motherboards       way from material                Encyclopedia of Scientific               of an eBay seller.”
       held very few actual                originally presented on a                          Wrestling”                 If these are anything to
       components. The first IBM PC        blog, Web-comic or                                                           go by, it’s a sad state of
       motherboard had only a              other Web site. This                                                           affairs for Internet
       processor and card slots.           material includes                                                               writing. Not to say
             Here’s some more dope to      the Web site’s                                                                  there aren’t any good
       get you through a conversation      characters,                                                                     titles: there’s
       as an expert: A typical mother-     themes, ideas or                                                                “Metamorphosis of
       board today would have a PCI        outline that end up                                                            Prime Intellect,”
       (Peripheral Component Inter-        getting published                                                              definitely worth the
       connect) slot, AGP (Accelerator     as a printed book.”                                                            time and effort.
       Graphics Port) slot, North              The awards—in                                                                   While the concept
       Bridge, Processor Socket, South
                                           cash—will be in three                                                           has caught on in the
       Bridge, BIOS (Basic Input/
                                           categories: Fiction,                                                           blogosphere, how many
       Output System), USB (Universal
       Serial Bus), FireWire and IDE       Non-fiction and                                                               takers there are will be
       (Integrated Drive Electronics).     Comics. Surprisingly,                                                         known only as the
             Knowing names of mother-      there’s no Poetry                                                              deadline approaches.
       boards or Graphic Cards by rote     category. Each                                                                  Some rules for
       is like the MCSE of Geekiness       category winner                                                                  eligibility are also
       and it would be handy to know       gets $1,000                                                                       given. Visit the site
       “MSI K8N NEO4 Platinum”,            (Rs 44,990 approx.).                                                              for more. For now,
       “ASUS A8V Deluxe” or “ASUS          Moreover, the                                                                     we’ll tell you that the
       A8N-E”. If you can roll these off   overall winner gets                                                               deadline (yes, it’s for
       your tongue, you’re good to go!     an additional                                                                    real!) is January 30 of
                                           thousand USD!                       Illustration Harsho Mohan Chattoraj       next year.

156   DIGIT NOVEMBER 2005
                                                                                                                                              E sc ape
      whatweretheythinking.com                                                     REMEMBER THE MISSION                    So maybe he was joking
                                                                                                                      about the maths. Schmidt
       Stuffonmycat.com                                                            Another 300                        estimated that out of the
                                                                                                                      five million terabytes of
                                                                                   Years For
        W  e know the Internet is a place that offers a large audience
           anonymity, and the option of going absolutely crazy. Roll all
     these into one and what you have is www.stuffonmycat.com. What’s              Google
                                                                                                                      information in the world,
                                                                                                                      only 170 have been indexed
                                                                                                                      so far.
     that, you ask? How dare you? Have you not visited it yet? Loser!                                                      It’s an interesting
         The disclaimer and terms of service on the top say: “Do you like to                                          exercise if one gets down to


                                                                                   R
     put stuff on your cat? Stuff + Cats = Awesome. So do we, show us some                emember Google’s            it: research on how much
     love and head over to our submissions page to find out how to send us                mission? The one            data is being produced
                                         a picture. If your submission meets              about making the            every day, on how much
                                         our ‘rigorous’ standards in the fields    world’s information                data libraries contain, and
                                         of quality and awesomeness we will        accessible? It goes,               so on. It could be fun, but
                                         put it up for all to see.”                “Google’s mission is to            probably not worth it.
                                              Rush now and don’t forget to         organise the world’s                    How did Schmidt have
                                         include a small donation through          information and make it            the figure right there in
                                         PayPal. What for we don’t know yet.       universally accessible             his head? Well, he is the
                                              The layout of this site is not the   and useful.”                       CEO of Google, but then
                                         problem. It’s pretty blog-like and            CEO Eric Schmidt was           again, something tells us
                                         offers decent navigation. It’s the        speaking at the US                 he was speaking off the top
                                         content and number of regular             Association of National            of his hat.
                                         viewers that the site has which has       Advertisers’ annual                     There’s another
                                         left us baffled. For once, we also        conference in Phoenix,             thought, though—pure
                                         have to ask “What Were They ALL           when a member of the               fantasy, of course: what if
www.stuffonmycat.com                     Thinking?” Sharing information            audience asked how long it         Schmidt had actually done
                                         about pets is all right, but getting      will be before Google              his math? What if
     your pets to pose with atrocious stuff and photographing tem to cir-          fulfilled its mission.             everything were to be
     culate on the Internet is totally uncalled for.                                   “We did a math exercise        indexed one day? It’s an
         The links “Food on my cat” has felines heaped with assorted               and the answer was 300             exciting thought initially,
     goods from pizza slices, beer bottles, bananas, corn cobs to noodles.         years,” CNet quoted                but then, nah... we’ll all be
     And the ‘Tech on my cat’ link has it all—from floppy disks, CDs, key-         Schmidt as saying. There           dead by then.
     boards to other gizmos dumped on the furry animals. The less said             was a clause, however: “The                Compiled by Aditya Kuber,
     the better. Somebody needs to call PETA.                                      answer is it’s going to be a        Ishan Prakash, Ram Mohan Rao
                                                                                   very long time.”                                   and Renuka Rane



                                      Teachers                                                  An earthquake of 7.7 magnitude hit Pakistan early on
                                      http://teachersol.blogspot.com/2005/10/south-asia-        Saturday and the death toll could be as high as 20,000
                                      earthquake-another-deadly.html                            if not more. The Associated Press reports “President
                                                                                                Gen. Pervez Musharraf called Saturday’s magnitude-7.7
                                      South Asia Earthquake: Another Deadly Disaster            earthquake the country’s worst on record and
                                      I just woke up on a Sunday morning excited to have a      appealed for urgent help, particularly cargo helicopters
         Life is                      hearty lunch at the Waterfront near Georgetown. I was     to reach remote areas cut off by landslides.”
                                      so sure it’s going to be an enjoyable weekend since
         unpredictable—this           tomorrow is a holiday, Columbus Day. I wasn’t planning
                                                                                                Aljazeera is reporting up to 30,000. “There are cities,
         fact is reinforced by        to blog today, I wanted to relax and spend some quality   there are towns which have been completely
         the poignancy filled         time with my family.                                      destroyed. Muzaffarabad is devastated,” minister Tariq
         comments of bloggers              I started with my usual routine of checking my e-    Farooq told Aljazeera on Sunday, referring to the
         on the devastating           mail, and the Yahoo news caught me and got me             capital of Pakistan’s sector of disputed Kashmir.
         South Asia                   engrossed clicking on the related news, photos, videos
                                      of the South Asia Earthquake which happened 50            The Grape’s Vine
         earthquake
                                      minutes ago.                                              http://thegrapesvine.blogspot.com/2005/10/pakistan-
                                           My heart was crushed even more when I read this      quake-complicates-war-efforts.html
                                      part in one of the articles:
                                           BALAKOT, Pakistan - Villagers desperate to find      Pakistan Quake Complicates War Efforts
                                      survivors dug with bare hands Sunday through the          The devastating earthquake that struck the Kashmir
                                      debris of a collapsed school where children had been      section of Pakistan has added major complications to
                                      heard crying beneath the rubble after a massive           the US lead War on Terror.
                                      earthquake killed more than 20,000. (READ FULL            With estimates of a death toll possibly topping 30,000,
                                      STORY: Survivors Sought in South Asia Earthquake)         the Pakistani military will naturally be redirected to
                                                                                                provide much needed assistance in the ravaged region.
                                      InsideOut and About                                       Currently, the Pakistani military is being used to secure
                                      http://blog.insideoutmag.com/outabout/2005/10/pakis       the border with Afghanistan and has been
                                      tan_earthq.html                                           instrumental in the search of al Qaeda cells on their
                                                                                                side of the border. (Washington Post: Up to 30,000
                                      Pakistan/India Earthquake Coverage
                                      We’re sure you’ve heard about the terrible earthquake     Feared Dead in Asian Quake).
                                      in Pakistan by now and are as sad as we are.


                                                                                                                                   DIGIT NOVEMBER 2005      157
                  Digit Forum
        Feedback: October 2005 Magazine
      ~Phenom~
      Warmed-Up Nerd
      Location: CYBERYARD
      Looks real cooooooool. Waiting for the issue...
      ****************************************
      Kato
      Warmed-Up Nerd
      Location: Chennai
      Looking forward to the tips and tricks section
      for windows movie maker (at least can make
                                                         Temptations                                           No Name, No Reply?
      out wat it does) and flash mx 2004.And             First of all let me congratulate, the entire          Firstly, I have a complaint that whenever I
      wanna see wats in the digital entertainment        Digit team for doing a great job. I never             mention the fact that I am a regular
      fast track.Will get it from stand by 2nd coz i     thought a magazine could get this                     reader of Digit, you reply to
      got exam tommorow.I like the contents              tempting, that I won’t do without buying              my query or letter, but whenever I forget
      alltogather though                                 every issue. The DVDs and CDs are just                to mention this, there is no answer
                                                         amazing and they are getting better every             from you.
      ****************************************           month.                                                    What I am writing for, though, is
      rajivnedungadi
      Warmed-Up Nerd                                          Well I have a few suggestions, hope              while reading the Inbox section in the
      MY digit patron code is not working again          they are worth looking forward to. I work             October 2005 issue I saw a letter from
      this month and I will have to call the             as a freelancer for web/print graphics and            HRS. From the letter, I felt that he is a
      customer service for the third consecutive         architectural modelling. What I am                    professional and not a student.
      month to get that checked.                         suggesting is why don’t you guys divide                   In his suggestions, he did mention
           THe Digit in PDF is the same as previous      the entire magazine and provide good                  some nice things, but I think that he
      month, noc change....The August and                articles on various different areas of                should also have added the fact that you
      September Issues are not there at all.             computers. Including Networking, Web                  should carry information about some
                                                         development and programming.                          books on topics related to computers.
      ****************************************                You can also provide demo versions of            Since many of your readers (I think) are
      tuxfan
      Brainiac                                           some software like ZBRUSH 2. There are a              students, it will be beneficial to us.
      Location: Mumbai                                   few people who still does not have access                 At the moment, we lack proper
      Quite a good issue. Lots in there to read.         to a reliable broadband service,                      guidance about books and it would help
      Change in editors is showing its impact now. I     downloading such heavy files will be a                us if you gave some information about it.
      was in 2 minds whether to renew my                 headache. It would be beneficial to all               Moreover, it will also help all readers and
      subscription or not. I will send in the cheque     those who are working in animation as                 not just students.
      on Monday . 2 attempts to renew with credit        well as students who are planning or                                                    Nitin Kumar
      card has failed                                    have just started in this field. Animation                                             Danapur Cantt
           But we need to have at least the DVD          is still on the developing stage in India,
      inlay cover with the subscriber issue. If not      and I believe it really needs a boost!                Dear Nitin,
      the case, at least send in that piece of paper!!        It’s really tough to get a good                  I would like to assure you that to us, all
      That surely won't create logistics problems!       magazine these days, and I am glad Digit              readers—regular or not—are just as important
                                                         is always there. Once again, keep up the              and we try our best to reply to all queries.
      ****************************************           good job, always looking forward to get               Please accept our apologies if we have not
      Digitall Charisma
      Analogue Novice                                    something great from Digit every month.               replied to any of your queries.
      Location: I'm Everywhere                                                        Dhanish Gajjar                As for the information on books, we will try
      No doubt the issue was astounding! But all ye                                          Ahmedabad         to incorporate this into the magazine, but the
      digit guys dissappointed me in one article -                                                             way we include anything in the magazine is
      the Windows Vista review. Just trying to           Dear Dhanish,                                         different. For any product (including books), we
      spend time in one of friend's place I came         Thanks for your kind words and we also like your      test it thoroughly before we write about it to
      upon the review of Vista by PCQuest. And u         suggestions. We will try and include the              ensure that the quality of the stuff included for
      have to admit they devoted 3-4 pages on it.        software you mention if possible and also             our readers is the best. In the case of books, it is
      Surely you guys can do something better            include more articles of specialisation.              tougher since there are just so many and we
      than that. C'mon.........                                                                   —Editor      cannot read them all. But, we will try and
                                                                                                               include some shortly.
      ****************************************           Thousand Year Wish                                                                               —Editor
      Retro
      Analogue Novice                                    I am a regular reader of Digit and wait
      Location: ::The Jedi World::                       for my copy every month. I tried many                 I Pay Rs 200
      This month was awsome, certainly better            other magazines but the only magazine                 I am from Nepal and for Digit readers
      than the past 4-6 months issues. I don't find      which provides full IT-related                        here, it costs Rs 200 every month. I don’t
      any considerable difference in the paper           information is Digit. It provides the best            know why people in India are
      quality though.                                    information about newly launched                      complaining for having to pay Rs 125.
           I've always wondered, why is it that          products and software at a very low                   Digit offers 1 DVD and 1 CD and Fast
      subscribers always get the book around 6th         cost. the CD and DVD provided with                    Track and is worth it.
      of a month while newstands get it before the       Digit is full of excellent software. I hope               I have also bought other computer
      1st. Seriously, you should give some               Digit provide their services to next                  magazines but they do not provide the
      importance to Subs too.                            thousands years.                                      latest software. I am buying Digit for past
                                                                                      Khushi Sharma            four years and it has helped me a lot.
      ****************************************                                                       Delhi     I would like to suggest the inclusion of a
      rentacoder
      Analogue Novice                                    Dear Khushi,                                          “Tip of the Week” box, which will help us
           October was really great. only gripe I        Wow! A thousand years! That’s the longest nyone       know more.
      have is that your sinpurl links NEVER work.        has ever wished for us! We will certainly try to          Also, if you add the “Most beautiful
      so be kind and PLEASE provide original links.      keep it up and improve with time.                     desktop” in your CD, it would be great.
                                                                                                    — Editor   Also, please add a full version of one

166       To post your comments on Digit Forum,
              visit www.thinkdigit.com/forum
                                                    Write to the Editor                                   Digit will publish the best letters on these pages.
                                                                                                          Letters may be edited for clarity. You must include
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                                                                                                                                       Inbox
small and classic game every month just             theme software and downloaded a pack!
like you included Mario.                                As advice to those who wish to have a             Internet Inaccessibile
                                                    chance of winning the competition: Try and find a     I am reader of Digit for a few years and I
                                            SMJ                                                           cannot stop myself from writing about it!
                                     Via E-mail     way to mix and match freely available themes
                                                    and skins, or create your own (preferably).           I use Internet ‘Plan A’ at my office and
                                                    Modify even desktop software’s themes to come         residence and it’s a very effective option.
Dear SMJ,
                                                    up with something that looks completely unique!       But, today, I got a letter from Mahanagar
(Please give your full name next time)
                                                                                              —Editor     Telephone Nigam Ltd (MTNL). The gist of
If you inspect the CD/DVD closely, you will
                                                                                                          the letter is as follows:
notice that there are full versions of some
smaller and older games every month. In case
                                                    Satisfied Digit Patron                                1. They stopped giving
                                                    Thanks for sending me the fresh CDs of                new plans.
you have any particular request, you could also
                                                    Skoar! Fall 2003 after the initial CDs of             2. Charges are doubled             Letter
log on to the Digit Forums
                                                    the said magazine were not working. I                 on all plans.
(http://thinkdigit.com/forum) and register your
                                                    mean, it is these little things that set                  This means that I              of the
requests there. As for the “Tip of the Week”, it                                                                                             Month
                                                    Digit and its team apart from others in               now have to pay Rs
would be “Tip of the Month” and these
                                                    this materialised world! I hope it should             1,000 instead of Rs 500. So
elements are present across the magazine
                                                    keep you motivated as things like these               what option we have?
although not marked so. Let me also thank
                                                    are expected from a customer-friendly                      Dump MTNL and go to cable
you for your support despite the higher cost
                                                    organisation like yours. I once again                 which could have viruses? Do firewall
in Nepal.
                                                    thank you for redressing my grievances                and what not to secure ourselves? I
                                          —Editor
                                                    at the earliest...                                    believe MTNL and BSNL both have
                                                                                                Pawan     similar plans and why they are
What About My Desktop?                                                                       Via E-mail   changing all of a sudden is the question.
I am a bit confused. what exactly do you            Dear Pawan,                                           The Govt. keeps on promoting Internet
want in your monthly contest “My                    A satisfied and happy customer is the biggest         and in fact, all ISPs have unlimited
Desktop”? Does this mean that one                   reward for us at the end of the day. The fact         plans since MTNL introduced their
should create their own theme (I mean               that you are happy makes us happy and we will         Internet plans. I wonder if ISPs like
the entire coding)? Or is this only                 continue to maintain these standards of               Roltanet and VSNL would have any
putting some unique wallpaper and a set             customer satisfaction in the future too.              future left if dial-up is expensive…
of matching icons? Please tell me so that                                                    —Editor           An article on this would be
I can also take part in it. Also, how do I                                                                appreciated. It’s said that one should
send this to you? By capturing a                    Registry Concerns                                     never trust the government and this is
screenshot or by any other method?                  I am a Digit subscriber for the last one              why! People using these plans would have
                               Salil Natekar        year. Each Digit issue improves my                    to look for alternates, which are perhaps
                                       Mumbai       knowledge. The Q&A and Tips ‘n Tricks                 neither so reliable nor cost effective.
                                                    are both useful and help me in solving                     MTNL wants to sell its broadband
                                                    problems while working. Even the Fast                 but can a user who wants to stay online
                                                    Track book is good and helps me                       for long afford Rs 1 per MB? 250 MB
                                                    improve my knowledge.                                 limits can get used in just a few days…
                                                        If u publish information about                    the download of Open office takes up 60
                                                    Registry under a Fast Track title, it                 MB and in 1 year, I had downloaded 3-4
                                                    would be very nice.                                   versions of it.
                                                                                  Vikas Bondarde               I had heard enough about cable net
                                                                                       VIIT, Baramati     that it is not safe as it can be hacked so
                                                                                                          as a business user, I would never like to
                                                    Dear Vikas                                            opt for such a connection. Also, speed
                                                    Thanks for your compliments. From time to             often tends to be slower in lower plans.
                                                    time, we do deal with registry related topics              I would urge you to forward such
                                                    but on the whole, we do not get into the details      article to concerned ministries so they
Dear Salil,                                         since not too many people are aware of the            come to know about the same. As a net
We understand how hard it can be to actually        pitfalls of one wrong entry into the registry file.   user, I would like Unlimited Plans which
create a desktop theme, and thus we do not          If, however, you have any particular query, you       do not have per MB rates. They do not
have that as one of our requirements. At the        could direct it to us at sos@jasubhai.com and         make sense. 1 MB data is transferred in
same time, just anybody can get software such       we will surely clear your doubts.                     few minutes as various online
as WindowsBlinds, install a theme pack and                                                                applications check various things
then claim that their desktop should win. To         Corrigendum                                          (Messengers, for example).
prevent people from easily winning the prize,        In our September 2005 issue’s ‘Letter of the              Communication from MTNL (letter
we would like to clearly state that preference       month’ we had inadvertantly stated that              by post) does not even mention an e-
is given to how much work we see being put in        Mr. Subhendu Joardar is a senior citizen             mail address where one can address
to a desktop. This means that although the           who earlier worked in the R&D department             these queries.
                                                     of a multinational. This is not correct, we
winner may have a slightly uglier desktop than       hereby clarify. Any inconvience caused to                                             Viren Gandhi
most others, he has put in a lot of work to get      him is deeply regretted.                                                                      Via e-mail
it to look that way, and not just installed a

                                                                                                                                      DIGIT NOVEMBER 2005       167
                                                                                Chip Deep Inside...
                                                                                C
                                                                                       omputer chips that store     using a panel on the wrist,
                                                                                       music could soon be put      would control the device.
                                                                                       into a woman’s breast            But it’s not just a song and
                                                                                implants. One breast could          a swing. The application can be
                                                                                hold an MP3 player and the          used for a number of useful
                                                                                other, the entire music             purposes as well. With an
                                                                                collection. BT Futurology,          implant in such a strategic
                                                                                which has developed the idea,       spot, scientists claim that the
                                                                                says it could be available          sensors around the body linked
                                                                                within 15 years.                    through the electrical impulses
           People And Events That Grabbed Headlines—For Better Or For Worse         An analyst at BT                in the chips may also be able to
                                                                                Laboratories said that flexible     warn wearers about heart
                                                                                plastic electronics would sit       murmurs, blood pressure

         Show Off Drug                                                          inside the breast. A signal
                                                                                would be relayed to
                                                                                headphones, while Bluetooth,
                                                                                                                    increases, diabetes and
                                                                                                                    even breast cancer.
                                                                                                                        Music to your ‘ears’?


         Dealers Snapped
                         Caught In The Chat
         A
                gang has been charged           But the police just had to
                with drug trafficking in    switch on the gangs’ camera


                         I
                Brazil after they took      phone to put them behind               n Belgium,
         pictures of themselves with        bars. As luck would have it,           all you need
         kilos of cocaine on their          the gang had clicked pictures          to do to
         mobile phones. Police in Sao       of them packing kilos of            prove adultery
         Paulo, Brazil, arrested the        cocaine and with a large            on the part of
         men acting on a tip off. On        amount of marijuana.                your partner is
         searching them, the Police             A police spokesperson           to show a copy
         found marijuana and cocaine        said: “We’re glad they are such     of dirty e-mails
         on them but not in enough          show offs! They helped us by        sent by him or
         quantities to charge them          registering their criminal          her, or their
         with drug dealing.                 actions… that was great.”           chat logs. Top
                                                                                judges in
                                                                                Belgium have
                                                                                ruled that erotic talk with a       an erotic chat as evidence in

         PayPal No Gay Pal                                                      virtual partner in chatrooms on
                                                                                the Web can constitute proof of
                                                                                “grossly insulting behaviour”
                                                                                                                    an adultery trial. Although
                                                                                                                    the printouts were inadequate
                                                                                                                    to prove anything, the judges


         P
               aypal, the pay via the net   communication form the              and can be used as evidence in      found they could constitute
               company, is back to          organisation could convince         a divorce case.                     grounds for divorce because
               moral policing and this      Paypal that an adult-oriented           A local legal paper cited the   the behaviour was found to be
         time it has got itself a non-      business could possibly do          example of a ruling by the          clearly “unworthy.”
         mainstream partner. The            things that didn’t involve sex      Brussels Appeals Court, which           And we thought Belgium
         company has shut down the          and intended to help people.        recently accepted printouts of      was liberal and all…
         relief fund of ‘Cruising For            Cruising for Sex has now
         Sex’, a free gay cruising          sued Paypal and is seeking
         organisation.
              The site had been set up
         to solicit donations from the
                                            permanent restoration of the
                                            account and a declaratory
                                            judgment to force the point
                                                                                ’Tis Better To Give…
                                                                                A
         user base for “CoS” employees      that they are doing things in              pensioner in Germany         was targeted remains a
         who lived in New Orleans.          line with Paypal’s ToS.                    received a bumper            mystery; but whether he was a
         After four days, they got the           They are also seeking                 bonanza of goods             victim of a shopaholic, a
         boot for “violating PayPal’s       damages for breach of               including four boats, 12            prankster or an incompetent
         Acceptable Use Policy              contract and emotional              bicycles and a mobile home          fraudster is the least of his
         regarding Mature Audiences”.       distress. The outcome of this       after an impostor posing as the     worries just now. Lukas is
              Paypal then restored the      little battle should be             senior citizen spent 400,000        fielding dozens of complaints—
         account for a brief period         interesting since this is the       (Rs 2 crore) on a series of eBay    and even threats—after
         only to shut it back down. It      first lawsuit that targets          auctions in a wild night of         refusing to pay for the
         remains closed even now. No        Paypal for their behaviour.         shopping. Why Horst Lukas           fraudulently-ordered goods.




168
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