Untitled

					     Editorial


Secure Our Borders!




W
     WHILE YOU ENJOY this issue—filled with the latest
     in portable media players, and the other goodies
     that come with Digit each month, I would like you to
     spare a moment to consider the security of our
     country’s borders.
         The US has just erected a ‘virtual’ fence along a
     portion of its border with Mexico. The project cost
     $20 million to complete, and consists of sensor
     towers and advanced mobile communications. The
     plan is to extend this ‘virtual’ fence to other parts of
     the border as well.
         This is the future of defence technology. Why          Sujay Nair Editorial Director
     doesn’t India embark on a similar project to secure
     its eastern and western borders?
         Because of its long and porous border, our              “The benefits of securing our borders
     country faces the problems of illegal immigration              through technology would far
     from the east and militant infiltration from the
     west. High-tech surveillance would certainly help                  outweigh the costs...”
     solving these problems. Unmanned aerial vehicles
     and computer-controlled radar systems would go a           the US are already welcoming that country’s
     long way in boosting security.                             increased spend on security, going to the extent of
         The question that might be asked is whether this       predicting that a refurbished, high-tech Homeland
     technology can justify its costs. To answer that, India    Security could be the best thing to happen to Silicon
     is already paying a heavy price for not being able to      Valley in years.
     keep illegal immigration and infiltration in check.            Will India be able to get its tech security act
     The benefits of securing our borders through tech-         together? Being a global IT powerhouse, it is only a
     nology would far outweigh the costs involved in            matter of time—according to my opinion—before pol-
     such a project.                                            icymakers chart out a tech roadmap to prepare our
         A team from India should visit the US installation     country against hostile alien attacks.
     and get a few tips from the American department of
     Homeland Security to understand how the high-tech
     system operates. Our government can then float a
     global tender to invite bids from major players—like
     Boeing in the US’ case—to set up this virtual fence.
         The reason I brought this up is because tech-
     nology fundamentally changes almost every facet of
     a particular situation. Using technology lets you
     think outside the box, and then ask crucial ques-
     tions on a particular issue that might never have
     been asked in the first place.
         Remember, India is a prime target for terrorism,
     and to fight this global war on terror, it needs to beef
     up its technology arsenal first. Several strategists in                                    editor@thinkdigit.com
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                                                                                                                                                               Cisco . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .29
    March 2008 • Volume 8 • Issue 3
                                                                           Product Testing                                                                     Corsair . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .45
    Managing Director                                                      Want your product reviewed by Digit?                                                Cricket Today . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .22
    Dr Pramath Raj Sinha                                                   Contact our Test Centre at                                                          Dell . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .18-19
                                                                           sanket.naik@thinkdigit.com                                                          Enjay . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .93
    Printer and Publisher
    Kanak Ghosh                                                                                                                                                Epson . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .39
                                                                           Software On DVD/CD                                                                  Esys . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .47
    Editorial                                                                                                                                                  Gigabyte . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .41
                                                                           To submit and suggest software for
    Editor Sujay Nair
    Assistant Editor Robert Sovereign-Smith                                inclusion in the Digit DVD or CD, contact                                           HP . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .5
    Senior Writer Nimish Chandiramani                                      us at cdcontent@thinkdigit.com                                                      Logitech . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Back Cover
    Writers Samir Makwana, Bhaskar Sarma                                                                                                                       Microsoft . . . . . . . . .Inside Front Cover
    Copy Desk                                                              Help!                                                                               Monster . . . . . . . . . . .Inside Back Cover
    Associate Editor Devarajan Mahadevan                                   For subscription or copy-related issues,                                            NanoPoint . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .75
    Copy Editor Nash David                                                 send an e-mail to help@thinkdigit.com                                               Ricoh . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .97
                                                                           You may also contact the following                                                  Samsung . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .11
    Test Centre                                                            executives for local queries:
    Assistant Manager Sanket Naik                                                                                                                              Timex . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .61
                                                                           Bangalore: Devaraju N (09341809286)
    Reviewers Michael Browne, Rossi Fernandes                                                                                                                  Top Gun . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .95
                                                                           Chennai: L R Laxmanan (09380229283)
    Product Co-ordinator Yogendra Bagle                                                                                                                        Viewsonic . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .15
                                                                           Delhi: Samir Mehta (09313195354)
                                                                           Hyderabad: Norbert Joseph (09396229281)                                             XFX . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .49
    Design
    Creative Head Kabir Malkani                                            Kolkata: Jayanta Bhattacharyya (033-22317344)
    Art Director Rohit A Chandwaskar                                       Mumbai & Pune: Mahesh Malusare (022-40789614)                                                                       FORM IV
    Chief Designer Shivasankaran C Pillai                                                                                                                      STATEMENT ABOUT OWNERSHIP AND OTHER PARTICULARS ABOUT
                                                                                                                                                                NEWSPAPER DIGIT TO BE PUBLISHED IN THE FIRST ISSUE EVERY
    Senior Designers Vijay Padaya, Sivalal S                               Endorsements/Reprints                                                                         YEAR AFTER THE LAST DAY OF FEBRUARY
    Illustrators Chaitanya Surpur,                                         Interested in ordering article reprints,
    Shrikrishna Patkar                                                                                                                                        Place of Publication             Mumbai
                                                                           or using our logos?                                                                Periodicity of its Publication
    Photographers Jiten Gandhi, Sandeep Patil                                                                                                                                                  MONTHLY
                                                                           Contact ramesh.kumar@thinkdigit.com                                                Printer’s Name                   KANAK GHOSH
    Multimedia                                                                                                                                                Nationality                      INDIAN
    Content Head Nimish Chandiramani                                                                                                                          1[(a) Whether a citizen          YES
                                                                           Disclaimer: For every Digit contest, there will be only                                  of India?
    Sales & Marketing                                                      one winner, unless specified otherwise. In the event of                            (b) If foreigner, the country    NOT APPLICABLE
    Vice President Bibhor Srivastava                                       a dispute, the Editor’s decision shall be final.                                         of origin]
    Assistant Brand Manager Arpita Ganguli                                                                                                                    Address                          KPT HOUSE, 41/13, SECTOR 30.
    Marketing Communication Thomas Varghese
    Senior Executive-Sales Support Ramesh Kumar
                                                          Products Reviewed This Month                                                                                                         VASHI,
                                                                                                                                                                                               NAVI MUMBAI 400 703
                                                         MP3s . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 88   Mitashi MWI-4GA          Bazaar . . . . . . . . . . . . . 42   Publisher’s Name                 KANAK GHOSH
    Production and Logistics                             Aigo MP-F585                          Mitashi MWI-4GA                                                Nationality                      INDIAN
    GM - Operations Shivshankar Hiremath                 Aigo U Watch MP3                      Philips GoGear 4GB       Hardware                              1[(a) Whether a citizen          YES
                                                         Apacer Steno AU351                    Philips GoGear 4GB       AMD DTX form factor                         of India?
    Production Manager Mangesh Salvi
                                                         Apacer Steno AU581                    Samsung T10              ASUS EeePC
    Logistics M P Singh, Vilas Mhatre, Mohd. Ansari,                                                                                                          (b) If foreigner, the            NOT APPLICABLE
                                                         Apple 0iPod Touch                     Samsung YP-S5            ASUS EN8800GT 1GB
    Shashi Shekhar Singh                                                                                                Canon PIXMA MP610
                                                                                                                                                                    country of origin]
                                                         Apple iPod Classic 160 GB             Samsung YP-S5
                                                                                                                        Canon PowerShot SX100 IS              Address                          KPT HOUSE, 41/13, SECTOR 30.
                                                         Apple iPod Classic 80 GB              SanDisk Clip
    Circulation & Subscription — Sales                   Apple iPod Nano 3G                    SanDisk Sansa e280       eSys Sub 10K Fighter PC                                                VASHI, NAVI MUMBAI 400 703
    GM Circulation Milind Prabhughate                    Apple iPod Nano 3G                    SanDisk Sansa Express    Intel Core 2 Duo E8500                 Editor’s Name                   SUJAY NAIR
    Co-ordinator Rahul Mankar                            Apple iPod Touch                      SanDisk Sansa Shaker     LG KU990 Viewty                        Nationality                     INDIAN
    Subscriptions Mahesh Malusare                        Cowon A3 30 GB                        Sony NWD-B103F           LG KU990 Viewty                        1[(a) Whether a citizen         YES
    Customer Service Prerana Panchal                     Cowon A3 60 GB                        Sony NWD-B105F           Odyssey Internet                       of India?
                                                         Cowon D2                              Sony NWD-B105F           Multimedia Keyboard-                   (b) If foreigner, the country NOT APPLICABLE
    Head Office: Editorial, Marketing                    Cowon iAudio 7                        Sony NWZ-S615F           Mouse                                  of origin]
                                                         Cowon iAudio 7                        Supercomp Semp3-S7A      Palit N73PV
    and Customer Service                                                                                                                                       Address                       KPT HOUSE, 41/13, SECTOR 30.
                                                         Creative Zen                          Transcend T.sonic 610    Samsung NV8
    Nine Dot Nine Interactive Pvt. Ltd                                                                                  Samsung NV8
                                                                                                                                                                                             VASHI, NAVI MUMBAI 400 703
                                                         Creative Zen                          Transcend T.sonic 840
    C/o KPT House, Plot 41/13, Sector 30                                                                                Samsung SCX-4500                       Names and Addresses of        NINE DOT NINE INTERACTIVE PVT LTD.,
                                                         Creative Zen Stone                    YES YMP 18
    Near Sanpada Railway Station, Vashi,                                                                                Steelseries Ikari Optical              individuals who own the       KPT House, 41/13, Sector 30. Vashi,
                                                         Creative Zen Stone Plus               YES YMP 30
    Navi Mumbai 400703                                   Creative Zen Stone Plus               YES YMP 30               Mouse and Steelseries 5L               newspaper and partners or Navi Mumbai 400 703
    Phone: 40789666                                      Creative Zen Vision W                 YES YMP 35               Steelseries Ikari Optical              shareholders holding more NINE DOT NINE MEDIAWORX PRIVATE
                                                                                                                                                                                             LIMITED, K-40, Connaught Circus, New
    Fax: 022-40789540, 022-40789640                      iRiver E10                            YES YMP 35               Mouse and Steelseries 5L               than one per cent of the      Delhi 110 001
                                                         iRiver S7                             YES YMP 45               Transcend T.photo 710                  total capital
    Cover Design Rohit Chandwaskar                       iRiver X20                            YES YMP 45               Western Digital RE2-GP
    Photographer Jiten Gandhi                                                                                                                                 I, Kanak Ghosh, hereby declare that the particulars given above are
                                                         iRiver X20 2 GB                       Zebronics Beta           WD1000FYPS
                                                                                                                                                              true to the best of my knowledge and belief.
                                                         iRiver X20 4 GB                       Zebronics Gamma          Zenith Admirale
                                                                                                                                                                         sd/-
                                                         Mitashi MPL 1004
                                                                                                                                                              Signature of Publisher                       Date: 19th February 2008

    Printed and Published by Kanak Ghosh,
    for Nine Dot Nine Interactive Pvt. Ltd.
                                                         To Advertise
    C/o KPT House, Plot 41/13, Sector 30
    Near Sanpada Railway Station, Vashi                  South                                                   Phone: (022) 40373636/                                   International Representative
    Navi Mumbai 400703                                   Sanjay Bhan                                             40373626/24494572/24467130/1                             Taiwan
                                                         E-mail: sanjay.bhan@9dot9.in                            Fax: 24482059/24481123                                   Mr. Marc Sonam, Image Media
                                                         Mobile: +91 9341829285,                                                                                          2F-2, No. 35, Sec. 2,
    Editor: Sujay Nair                                   Phone: (080) 25546370-73                                East
    C/o KPT House, Plot 41/13, Sector 30, Near Sanpada                                                                                                                    Fushing South Road, Taipei 106,
                                                         Fax: 41518330                                           Jayanta Bhattacharyya                                    Taiwan, R.O.C.
    Railway Station, Vashi Navi Mumbai 400703            Phone: (044) 28235186/88                                E-mail: jayanta.bhattacharyya@9dot9.in                   Tel: (886) -2-87734199
                                                         Fax: 28230731                                           Phone: +91 9331829284                                    Fax: (886) -2-87734200
    Printed at Magna Graphics (I) Ltd,                   Phone: (040) 27894167/ 55221051                         (033) 22317344/46                                        marc@imagemediatw.com
    101 C & D Government Industrial Estate Kandivli,     Fax: 27720205
    Mumbai 400 067                                                                                               North
                                                         West                                                    Umang Kumar
                                                         Arvind Ambo                                             E-mail: umang.kumar@9dot9.in
                                                         E-mail: arvind.ambo@9dot9.in                            Phone: +91 9999000785,
                                                         Mobile: +91 9819904050                                  (011) 41608655/56/57/58
4   DIGIT MARCH 2008
          Enter                DIGITAL PASSION                                                                                                                       Digital Business
                               Tomorrow
                                                                                     32                          23                                                  Lead Feature
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                                 28                An Unprotected Vista PC
                                                   In the age of viruses and threats all over the
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     Sony Ericsson's
     latest beauty—
     the XPERIA X1
     prepares to take
                                                   Vista PC for a month without any security
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                                                                                                                                                                                                                         73
     on the iPhone

     20
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     now read your
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                                                                                           Contents Magazine                                                                                                                                                                             March 2008
     DIGITAL TOOLS                                                                   Bazaar                                                                          Digital Leisure                                                                                                                                          Escape
                                                                                     Buy It All!

       37
                          Enhance
                          Know Your Camera
                          We all have been guilty of doing injustice to our
                                                                                     The EeePC, sleek mobile phones, motherboards, A PC at
                                                                                     9,000 bucks! Through this section, keep at pace with the
                                                                                     latest information from the market. Its truly a bonanza
                                                                                                                                                  42                   88
                          camera, by setting it to “Auto”—clicking—and               at the Bazaar area
                           complaining about the results not being too                                                                                              Test Centre
                             good! Learn how to improve your                                                                                                        Pump Up the
                              photography skills here
                                                                                      70                                                                            Volume
                                                                                                                                                                    With scores of portable media
                                                                                                                                                                    players in the market, we test an
                                                                                                                                                                    exhaustive list and presented
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          111
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          We know the
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          significance of
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          labels, macros
                                                                                     A-List                                                                         you with the winners                                                                                                                                  and sub-routine
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          libraries in
                                                                                     Only The Best                                                                  A perfect guide if you’re looking
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          programming.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  107
                                                                                     Get all the relevant                                                           to buy one
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Game On                                             Get to know the
                                                                                     information needed—your
                                                                                     guide to getting the best                                                                              Tabloid Tech
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Gears Of                                            man behind them
                                                                                     deal in MP3 players,                                                                                   Crazy Celebs And Technology                                               War
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          113
    Agent 001
    Computing For
                                   66                                                drives, PCs and
                                                                                     accessories                                                                    122                     January witnessed the untimely death of actor Heath Ledger.
                                                                                                                                                                                            However, technology will allow him to be resurrected in The
                                                                                                                                                                                            Imaginarium by the magic of computer graphics imagery
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      One of the leading titles for the X360,
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      GOW is simply awesome! Get into the
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      world of Marcus Fenix and his team
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      against the locust horde
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Now, even
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          hackers recruit
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          professionally

    Everyone                                                                         Q&A
    Read this informative article to learn about                                     Solutions For Your Problems
                                                                                                                                                    62                 Opinion Poll......................................13   30 Days with ....................................28         Whatever Happened To ..................110
                                                                                                                                                         REGULARS



    an effective yet affordable PC—meant                                             Your CD Writer keeps ejecting that CD you popped in—                              The Digital World .............................14      Droolmal..........................................30        Bluff Your Way Through ..................112
    for those with a tight budget                                                    System Restore no longer works—Irritated by that nasty                            Beat That ........................................16   Take A Crack at ...............................36           Digit Diary ......................................113
                                                                                     Automatic Update? Read on to find solutions                                       Stat Attack ......................................17   Q&A ................................................62      Blogwatch ......................................113
                                                                                                                                                                       Buzzword Of The Month ..................17             Agent ..............................................96      Tech Quiz ........................................114


6   DIGIT MARCH 2008                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       MARCH 2008 DIGIT       7
    Contents Interactive
    Gaming                                    Tools                                                                                      Entertainment
    FREE                                       MULTIMEDIA                    AV DVD Player                formats (AVI, MPG, MPEG,
    Quadratis                                  AM-Notebook 5.0               Morpher 3.0.9                MOV, QT, M1V, etc.) with
    A simple and                                                                                          easy-to-use features like
    straight-forward                                                                                      bookmarking, editing,
    Tetris remake                                                                                         deleting and navigating
    that features
    something the others don’t—bombs                                                                      AVI2ISO 2.08.06a
    Vdrift (Ubuntu)                                                          AV DVD Player Morpher is                                                                    MOVIE
                                               AM-Notebook is a multi-       a good call for home
                                                                                                                                                                         OF THE
                                                                                                                                                                         MONTH
                                               featured tabbed note-         movies entertainment.
                                               taking program that           With this one-stop video                                      MOVIES
                                               provides an easy way to       tool, you can play and                                        20,000 Leagues Under
                                               save notes and formula-       morph audio-video                                             The Sea
                                               supported spreadsheets        streams in real-time, add                                     The first great special effects
                                               in a light weight tray icon   effects to movies, convert   AVI2ISO is a all-in-one          spectacular of early cinema. Based
    VDrift is a driving simulation game        tool. Notes can be stored     video files to AVI and       tool that converts AVI /         on the Jules Verne novel, the story
    made with drift-racing in mind,            at different locations and    WMV, edit subtitles,         MKV / RMBV / VWV /               concerns a team of scientists
    powered by the Vamos physics engine        also be shared in a           capture images, record       FLV with just a single           investigating a series of naval
                                               network. Other nice           DVD audio, burn or erase     click to an ISO format. It       disturbances who find the culprit—
    Zirconia 2: Battle                         features are the              VCDs, and help design        uses only freeware tools         Nautilus, a submarine piloted by
    Zirconia 2: Battle is a 2D shooter in      integrated alarm clock        DVD / CD Covers. It          and can handle various           Captain Nemo, a hate-driven
    which you battle                           and the address book          supports most video          freeware encoders                renegade seaman.
    a computer
    opponent                                                                                                                               TRAILERS
    indirectly. The                                                                                                                        Tiberium Trailer
    screen will be
    split: with you on
    the left side and your opponent on
    the right. When the match begins,
    enemies which do nothing (except
    move) will spawn. Players must
    defeat these enemies and collect
    coins that they drop, of three
    different colors                                                                                                                       For 11 years, an alien tower has stood
                                                                                                                                           dormant, looming like an unholy
    DEMOS                                                                                                                                  mountain over a wasteland— once the
    Company of Heroes:                                                                                                                     Mediterranean Sea. The tower thought
    Opposing Fronts                                                                                                                        to be a relic of the Third Tiberium
    This standalone                                                                                                                        War—a devastat-ing war fought for
    game features                                                                                                                          control over Tiberium crystal.
    two unique
    armies with                                                                                                                            Turok Trailer
    full-length                                                                                                                            Turok is an epic, story-driven FPS
    campaigns.                                                                                                                             set on a dark, mysterious planet in
    Take command                                                                                                                           the near future. Players take on the
    of the tenacious British 2nd Army in                                                                                                   role of Joseph Turok, a former Black
    the vicious battle for Caen, France,                                                                                                   Ops commando, now part of an elite
    or lead the German Panzer Elite as                                                                                                     Special Forces squad on a mission to
    they struggle to repel the largest                                                                                                     take down a war criminal on a
    airborne invasion in history                                                                                                           genetically-altered planet.




    Productivity
    PERSONAL                                  yourself. Don’t strain yourself in         that lets you control                         Google Web Toolkit (GWT) for
    Celestia 1.5.0                            maintaining your items and trying to       multiple Windows                              Windows 1.4.61
    Celestia is a real-                       keep track of their location, start using  systems using the                             Google Web Toolkit (GWT) is a Java
    time space                                Data Crow today                            keyboard / attached                           software development framework that
    simulation that                                                                      to one computer. It is                        makes writing AJAX applications like
    lets you                                  eHour 0.7.2                                designed for folks                            Google Maps and Gmail easy for
    experience our                            eHour is an open source Web-based time who have two (or                                  developers who don’t speak browser
    universe in three dimensions. Unlike      tracking tool for consultancy companies more) computers set                              quirks as a second language. Writing
    most planetarium software, it doesn’t     and other project-based businesses. The up at home and find themselves regularly         dynamic Web applications today is a
    confine you to the surface of the Earth   primary objective is to keep time          sliding from one system to the other          tedious and error-prone process. You
                                              tracking as simple and user friendly as                                                  spend 90 per cent of your time working
    ClipX 1.0.3.8                             possible, while still being very effective I Natural Word 0.9.8                          around subtle incompatabilities between
    ClipX is a tiny                           at measuring and reporting the amount I NolaPro 4.0.2851                                 Web browsers and platforms, and
    clipboard history                         of time your team spends on a project      I GFI FAXmaker for Exchange/SMTP              JavaScript’s lack of modularity makes
    manager                                                                                 Client 14.1.                               sharing, testing, and reusing AJAX
                                              GreenPrint                                                                               components difficult and fragile
    Data Crow 3.1                             GreenPrint’s patent-pending software    PERSONAL
                                              eliminates unwanted pages saving paper, Ccount 1.2                                       Joomla 1.5
                                              ink, money, and millions of trees       Ccount is a PHP click counter which can          Joomla! is one of the most powerful
                                                                                      also be used as a download counter. With         Open Source
                                              Input Director 1.0.8                    its help, you can count clicks on any link       Content
                                              Input Director is a Windows application on your Web site. A great tool if you want       Management
                                                                                      to know how many times a link has been           Systems on the
    Data Crow allows you to create a huge                                             clicked, a file downloaded (“download            planet. It is used
    database containing all your collected                                            counter”) and similar. You can also hide         all over the world for everything from
    items. You can use the excellent online                                           your affiliate links with PHP click              simple Web sites to complex corporate
    services to retrieve the information                                              counter. As long as it’s a link—Ccount can       applications. Joomla! is easy to install,
    instead of typing all the information                                             count clicks on it                               simple to manage, and reliable



8   DIGIT MARCH 2008               For any queries regarding the CD or DVD, e-mail help@thinkdigit.com with “CD/DVD” as the subject.
                                   If the subject is not mentioned, your mail might not reach the right person.
                                                                                                                                                Contents Interactive

Productivity                              Gaming
PERSONAL                                   FREE                                            station construction and additional            in a GameHouse Jigsaw collection.
                                           OpenTTD For Windows                             airports. Perhaps the most significant
                                                                                           feature compared to the original game
                                                                                           is its multiplayer capability. It offers
                                                                                           LAN and Internet play via public, world-
                                                                                           wide servers for up to ten players

                                                                                           I Hedgewars 0.9.2
UltraMon 3.0.2                                                                             I Mad Truckers                                 Each of the fifty colorul images in
UltraMon is a utility for multi-monitor                                                    I Onslaught                                    this collection contains a unique
systems, designed to increase                                                                                                             image of an exotic butterfly. Analyze
productivity and unlock the full                                                           DEMOS                                          the Anna Blue and wonder at the
potential of multiple monitors. With                                                       Jigsaw Butterflies                             West Coast Lady, each butterfly is
additional window buttons, you can         OpenTTD duplicates the original game            The butterfly is one of nature’s most          accurately named for those who
quickly move windows or stretch a          feature-wise, but also has numerous             glorious examples of beauty and                are curious
window across the desktop                  additions, including canals, revised rail       transformation, and is now available

I AM-DeadLink 3.2 Beta 1
I doPDF 5.3.249
I GSN SMS Notifier 0.0.1.7
I IsoPuzzle 1.7
I Personal Task Manager
                                                                                                                                          Infotainment
DEVELOPERS
Adobe AIR Beta 3
Adobe AIR is a cross-operating




                                                                                                                                           PODCAST
system runtime that allows Web                                                                                                             Introduction To Joomla
application developers to use their                                                                                                        Hosting your own fully functional
existing Web development skills                                                                                                            and easy to maintain Web site is
(HTML, Javascript, Adobe Flash,                                                                                                            simple with Joomla! In this episode
Adobe Flex, AJAX) to build and deploy                                                                                                      Nick, from ITIdiots.com
rich Internet applications to the                                                                                                          demonstrates the latest version of
desktop                                                                                                                                    Joomla, and shows you how to
                                                                                                                                           quickly set up great looking Web site
I Apache HTTP Server for Windows                                                                                                           in around 30 minutes
I Arachnophilia 5.3 Build 2177
I Rapid Environment Editor 1.8




Tools
MULTIMEDIA                               1by1 1.63
                                          I                                            Belvedere’s friendly interface to create       and queue files, and the second lets
Scribus                                  ClrMamePro 3.109c
                                          I                                            advanced rules to move, copy, delete,          you control who can do things like
Scribus is an open-source program that I ComicRack 0.9.75                              rename, or open files based on their name,     remove files from the queue, pause
brings award-winning professional page I Desktop Picture Frame 1.0.1                   extension, size, creation date, and more       playback, and so on
layout to Linux / Unix, MacOS X, OS/2  I Fennec 1.2 Beta 1
and Windows desktops with a combina- I Inkscape for Windows 0.46                       I Process Lasso 3.42                           I Blogger Backup 1.0.9.22
tion of “press-ready” output and new   I K-Lite Codec Tweak Tool 2.2.4                 I SharpE 0.8 TD4                               I Flickrdown 2.43
approaches to page layout              I MP3Gain 1.2.5                                 I SUMo 1.5.0.36                                I Fresh Download 7.94
                                       I Nokia Nseries PC Suite 2.0                    I Task Manager Free 4.9.1                      I gDocsBar 0.5.4
                                       I Spider 2.2                                    I Winpatrol 14.0.2007.0                        I SpeedBit Video Accelerator 2.2.1.8
                                       I Subtitle Workshop 4.0                         I XP-AntiSpy 3.96-7                            I twhirl 0.6
                                       I Video Memory Stress Test 0.11b                I XFilesDialog 3.50.183 Beta
                                       I DipTrace 1.50                                 I Xplorer² 1.7.0.10                            LINUX
                                       I DrmRemoval 3.2.0                                                                             xVideoServiceThief for
                                       I Power Mixer 2.4                               INTERNET                                       Linux 1.4
                                                                                       WWWinamp 4.2
                                          SYSTEM                                       WWWinamp is a simple Web server-like
Serif PagePlus SE                         Belvedere Automated File                     application that allows remote control
                                          Manager
                                          Keep your desktop or any other folder on
                                          your hard drive organised and under con-




                                                                                       of Winamp via any Web browser. It
                                                                                       manages a database of files and/or
                                                                                       URLs that can be queued into a running         xVideoServiceThief (a.k.a xVST) is
                                                                                       Winamp. It supports most standard              a tool for downloading your
PagePlus is the award-winning desktop                                                  Web browsers, and includes a special           favorite video clips from a lot of
publishing software that enables you to                                                mode (that conserves bandwidth and             video Web sites.
create stunning documents for your                                                     screen space) for Windows CE devices.               It also provides you the ability to
home, school, business or club—no                                                      It supports two optional levels of pass-       convert each video in most popular for-
experience required! You need to be     trol with Belvedere, an automated              word protection. The first level lets you      mats: AVI, MPEG1, MPEG2, WMV, MP4,
online to register your free software   Windows file management tool. Use              control who can search the database            3GP and MP3



                                                                                                                                                            DIGIT MARCH 2008       9
      Online

                           By Demand
                           You get to choose what goes
                           on Digit Interactive. This
                           month, you chose:
                           Windows XP Service
                           Pack 3 Release Candidate
                           Size: 436 MB

                           LightZone (Linux)                                                      Digit Reader Poll
                           Size: 26 MB
                                                                     This Month’s Question                                         Vote at www.thinkdigit.com
                                                                     What Web applications do you use most besides mail and chat?
                           Subscribe                                  File Storage
                                                                      Multimedia streaming streaming (Video and audio)
                           No more snail-mail! No need to visit       Massively Multiplayer Online Games
                           post offices! All you have to do is log    Blogging, wikis, discussion forums
                           on to www.thinkdigit.com/subscribe
                           and use your Credit Card to make
                                                                     Last Month’s Question
                           sure you never miss another issue of
                                                                     Your thoughts about Fast Track:
                           your favourite magazine!




                                                                                                                                                               Total: 4,122
                                                                                                       A little colour and better paper
                                                                                                       would go a long way 45%

                                                                                                                           Replace it with a
                                                                             It’s perfect,                                  comprehensive
                                                                                  leave it               Make it a Colour,    multimedia
   Web Special              Here’s everything you need to                   the way it is!               Interactive PDF tutorial on the
                                                                                  20.5%
   Connecting The           know about BitTorrent                                                          on the DVD
                                                                                                              14%
                                                                                                                              DVD 17%

   Masses                   (Log on to www.thinkdigit.com)
                                                                                                                                               Just end
                                                                                                                                               it, I hate it
                                                                                                                                               3.5%




                                                 taste technology at
                                                                               www.thinkdigit.com
  FEATURED REVIEW FROM THE DIGIT FORUM (www.thinkdigit.com/forum)
  This month we feature a member review from the forum.



Huawei C2900i CDMA cell phone reviewed
29-01-2008,
12:33 PM           One of the latest offerings among handsets of Tata                  browsing heavy pages—full of images for a long
utsav
                   Indicom is the Huawei C2900i. Its a very feature-rich,              time. But its very rare. The speed is much faster
HOD:- Hackers      low-end phone, which packs in many features of mid-                 than GPRS as well as EDGE on some service
Department         range phones too. Like high speed Internet on the                   providers. Tata indicom charges Rs 99 per month
Join Date: Sep
2006               phone, or PC connectivity for surfing on the PC.                    for Internet on your phone.
Location: inside
your processor
Posts: 1,041       Internet Connectivity                                               Signal Quality
                   This phone has an inbuilt modem that is capable of                  Signal quality and call quality are good, compared to
                   speeds of upto 153.6 Kbps upload or download under                  similar priced handsets. I had full signal strength all
                   a CDMA 1x network.                                                  the time, even though the tower is 4 km away from
                      It’s Rs 100 costlier than the C2900 which is the                 my house
                   same phone without an Internet modem. So for Rs
                   100 more, the C2900i is worth it. This phone uses                   Phone Display
                   the Opera Mini browser for surfing the Internet and                 The display is 128x128, 64k colour CSTN display
                   you can surf any site on it. The sad part is you can-               which is great, despite the low resolution and there is
                   not download anything on this phone, but while                      no problem reading even the smallest text size as the
                   surfing on the PC there is no such limitation. It                   brightness of the screen is superb.
                   does not support JavaScript and audio / video play-
                   back. Browsing speeds and page rendering is simply                  For more visit:
                   awesome, but the Opera Mini browser has some                        http://www.thinkdigit.com/forum/showthread.
                   bugs that cause the phone to restart if you are                     php?t=79253
                                                                                                                                                               Security Watch
      Indian Overclocker Beats World                                           Alliance Will Promote PC As A Gaming Platform                                                                  have not been significantly          is all poised to be the
      Mumbai-based Harshal Tank hit the world’s highest 8800                   The newly formed PC Gaming Alliance, aims to create a                      Adobe Reader might                  affected by all the hue and          market leader with a                                Toshiba
      GT 512 MB 3DMark 06 score in Taiwan this February. He                    common platform for hardware and software creators,                        be infected                         cry among the Blu-Ray and            global installation base of                           For being a sport,
      runs an Intel Core 2 Extreme 9650 processor with a dry                   developers, publishers and others committed to PC                          The Problem                         HD-DVD camps. The average            30.2 million units. On the                            and finally
      ice-cooling solution, on the soon-to-be-launched Gigabyte                gaming. This alliance comprises both software and                                                                                                                                                         surrendering to
      GA-X48T-DQ6 motherboard.
                                                                                                                                                          According to iDefense Labs, in      Indian consumer, till now            other hand, the Xbox 360                              the more
                                                                               hardware giants such as Intel, Microsoft, AMD and Dell, among others.
                                                                                                                                                          January banner ads have             has been happy with the              has struggled in Japan and                            powerful forces
                                                                                                                                                          actively been delivering            normal DVD format. With              Europe, where the Sony                    that drove Blu-ray to
                                                                                                                                                          malicious files, and Adobe’s        significant certainty, now           brand formerly dominated,                 supremacy. They’re even

       Enter                                                                                                                                              Reader and Acrobat services
                                                                                                                                                          might have been the prime
                                                                                                                                                          target of malicious code.
                                                                                                                                                                                              emerging in the DVD
                                                                                                                                                                                              arena, Indians can now
                                                                                                                                                                                              decide purely by the deals
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   and is on course to
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   increase its user base to
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   25.7 million units by the
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             collaborating with arch-rival
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             Sony to manufacture NAND
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             Flash memory! Talk about an
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             amicable truce...
                                                                                                                                                               Symantec’s security            they get!                            end of 2008.
                                                IT’S OVER!                                                                                                experts have commented that                                                  In the light of all
                                                                                                                                                          the banners might’ve                COME...PLAY                          conditions, the PS3, which
                                                Toshiba Gives Up On HD-DVD                                                                                redirected the users to
                                                                                                                                                          potentially harmful Web sites       PS3 To Lead
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   lagged due to its price and
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   lack of blockbuster games
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             Toshiba
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             For promising the
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             world with the
                                                                                                                                                          by these files. On opening                                               for most of last year, would
                    Nick Desai
                 CEO, Juice Wireless
                                                                                                                                                          these files, the Zonebac trojan     In 2008                              double its installation base
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             HD-DVD format,
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             selling the players
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             really cheap,

                                                T
                                                      he greatest war for      however, was the gaming                 significant of them was            gets installed on to the system.                                         to 20.3 million users and
                                                      the next-generation      industry. Microsoft, the                Time Warner, which                 This trojan, then disables the                                           by 2011 will be the                       getting over 750,000 people
        Nick Desai, CEO, Juice Wireless                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      to buy them, outselling Blu-
                                                      video format has         makers of the Xbox 360 has              switched totally from HD-

                                                                                                                                                                                              T
        recently visited India to launch                                                                                                                  system’s antivirus software               he gaming industry             industry leader.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             ray units for a while, and
        JuiceCaster. Primarily targeted at      finally come to an end—        been a strong supporter of              DVD to Blu-Ray, leaving            and downloads additional                  had witnessed                      In India, however, the                then calling it quits! We can
        mobile users, users can upload,         Toshiba’s pulled the plug      the HD-DVD standard. In                 Sony with a virtual                malware. So banner ads can be             phenomenal growth              Xbox 360 leads in terms of                hear the early adopters’
        download and share rich media           on its war with Sony’s Blu-    contrast, Sony—the makers               monopoly in the DVD                dangerous, since the hacker         last year, with major                market share. However,                    screaming even from here!
        content using JuiceCaster.              Ray. According to latest       of the PlayStation 3—have               format arena. So where             might’ve corrupted them with        players such as Nintendo,            with Blu-Ray getting the
        What makes JuiceCaster                  reports, Toshiba has                                                   does Toshiba go from here?         malicious code by exploiting        Sony and Microsoft posting           upper hand in terms of
        different from other online             formally announced                                                         And what about Sony?           Adobe’s Flash technology.           massive sales figures.               being the preferred DVD                  WHAT YOU MISSED
        photo/video service providers?          that it would not be                                                         The latest news says                                             According to research firm           format, Sony has a lot to
        JuiceCaster aims to provide
        seamless and synchronous                continuing its HD-
                                                DVD business. This
                                                                                                                               that Sony is in talks
                                                                                                                                 with Toshiba to sell
                                                                                                                                                          The Solution
                                                                                                                                                          Adobe has issued patches by
                                                                                                                                                                                              iSuppli, the PS3 will pose
                                                                                                                                                                                              the strongest growth
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   gain. What happens to
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   Xbox 360 users who use
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            MS, Yahoo,
        connectivity over any platform.
        It is available as JuiceCaster
        Player and is embeddable on
                                                race was definitely
                                                fiercer than the
                                                                                                                                  its PS3 chip
                                                                                                                                   manufacturing
                                                                                                                                                          addressing the vulnerabilities      figures among all video
                                                                                                                                                                                              game consoles. The
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   HD-DVD drives with their                 And Them
                                                                                                                                                          as critical. Update to version                                           gaming consoles is still to
        social networking avenues such
        as MySpace, Facebook, Hi5 and           earlier video battle                                                               plant for an           8.1.2 to prevent any malicious      projected worldwide sales            be seen. The users hit the
                                                over Betamax and                                                                  amount to                                                   figures this year are 10             most, are those who

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            T
        many others in addition to Web                                                                                                                    code from adversely affecting                                                                                           he world is going
        sites and blogs. JuiceCaster            VHS. This time, it was                                                            supposedly in           them. The update is available       million units for PS3, 12.2          bought external HD-DVD                         abuzz with talks
        Mobile application (native) and         companies that were                                                             excess of $ 858           at http://tinyurl.com/28z9qs.       million units for the Wii,           drives for their Xbox 360s.                    between the two east-
        JuiceCaster WAP are available
        for phones with WAP 2.0                 deciding what the                                                              million. Both              Avoid clicking banner ads and       and 7.5 million units for            How Microsoft                            coast companies—Yahoo
        browsers. Also, we’ve launched          consumer gets and                                                             Toshiba and Sony            do not open any PDF                 the Xbox 360.                        compensates them, is a                   from Sunnyvale, California
        JuiceCaster D for desktop, which        not the other way                                                            Corporation, have            documents if you’re not sure            With strong sales, lower         matter of concern and will               and Microsoft from
        completes the seamless circle of        round! With                                                                 reportedly partnered          about its authenticity.             prices and broader appeal            be closely watched in the                Redmond, Washington.
        sharing rich media content.
                                                companies such as                                                           with Sony Computer                                                among audiences, the Wii             forthcoming days.                        Surprisingly, Google was
        How is JuiceCaster going to be          Sony and Toshiba                                                            Electronic
        accessible to the common                pitted against each                                                          Entertainment Inc.
        Indian man?                                                                                                                                         Which type of Web application do you use the most besides mail and chat??
        With camera phone prices                other, it was stiff                                                           (SCEI) for the                                                                                                                                            Opinion Poll
        gradually dropping, India               competition all the                                                            production of high-          (You, too, can participate in this poll—at www.thinkdigit.com)
        already has a large number of           way through. For                                                               performance
        mobile phone subscribers. It is                                                                                                                      A File Storage                                                            B Multimedia streaming streaming (Video and audio)
                                                Sony, it was a                                                                  semiconductors. The
        indeed a potential market for                                                                                                                        C Massively Multiplayer Online Games                                      D Blogging, wikis, discussion forums
        us. We’re in talks with various         matter of prestige to                                                           whole DVD fiasco
        cellular operators in India for         win this battle, as it                                                           doesn’t seem to
        making the JuiceCaster Player           had already lost with                                                           have ended on a           Option D. I get a chance to express my          Option D. The objective behind the cre-           Option B is what I’d like to choose. At
        for mobiles and its services            Betamax to JVC in the                                                         bitter note after all...    views and the whole world could be my           ation of Internet was information shar-           work, I listen to streaming music to relax.
        available by the Q3 of 2008.                                             Illustration Harsho Mohan Chattoraj                                      stage; they also give me a                      ing, wasn’t it? With a medi-                      In my free time, I watch lot of
        Individuals carrying camera             VHS days.                                                                  Most technological             chance to be introduced to a                    um like this, we know and                         instructional and tutorial-
        phones with active Internet data            On one side was the        understandably supported                developments and gadgets           rare and endangered species—
                                                                                                                                                          the practical intellectual.                     read different paradigms and                      based videos online.
        connectivity can capture                Blu-Ray consortium led by      the Blu-Ray format. As a                enter Indian shores after
        images/videos to upload, and                                                                                                                      Bijoy Yohanan                                   perspectives.                                     Amit Shah
                                                Sony, with Apple, Dell, HP,    result, the soaring sales of            they have been tried and                                                           Nidheesh P.K.                                     Mumbai
        share them straight away with                                                                                                                     Bangalore
        others without the need of a PC.        Sharp, Philips, Panasonic,     gaming applications have                tested in Europe and the                                                           Mumbai
                                                Hitachi and eight other        yielded a significant rise in           Americas. For example, the
        What comprises your target              companies on Blu-Ray’s         the sales of Blu-Ray discs.             iPhone has not yet been
        audience in India?
        Initially, in India, JuiceCaster will   board of directors. On the     With half the battle won in             launched in India—the              I’ll go for option D because knowledge           I choose D. Visiting forums and wikis            I choose option B since I spend lot of time
        be targeting the young, peppy,          other hand, the HD-DVD         the gaming industry, the                average Indian consumer            sharing and public views on various sub-         help me troubleshooting at my work.              watching online videos and listening to
        tech-crazy and those up-to-date         front was led by Toshiba,      remaining half of the                   normally complains about           jects are obtained. I enjoy                      Also, through interaction                        music. Of course it is better
        with IT. Specifically, people           followed by Sanyo, NEC and     battle was decided by                   this fact. However, this           online debates by veterans as                    with other people at these                       than reading irrelevant discus-
        between the age group of 18 to                                                                                                                    well as freshers on any topic.                   places, I can broaden my
                                                Memory Tech. This time,        Hollywood. Till recently,               time round we should be                                                                                                              sions at some websites. I listen
        35 years would be our target                                                                                                                                                                       knowledge.
        audience. As per our research,          however, the battle was        Universal and Paramount                 thankful for the late entry        Sharlet Macwan                                                                                    to the latest music on stream-
        we’ll also target people from           prolonged, and there was a     Studios were the only                   of the high-definition DVD         Mumbai                                           Dhaval Pancholi                                  ing sites or radio stations.
        other age groups, since they too                                                                                                                                                                   Baroda                                           Parin Sutaria
                                                host of factors that decided   Hollywood studios to back               battle into India—actually
        are avid users involved in the                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Baroda
        social networking phenomenon.           the outcome. The most          HD-DVDs—the majority had                it hasn’t got here yet!
                                                significant decisive factor,   backed Blu-Ray. The most                Overall, Indian consumers                                                   (You, too, can participate in this poll—at www.thinkdigit.com)

I LG to roll out Android phone in early 2009 I Microsoft helps nab $900 M piracy ring through large-scale investigation in 22 countries I                I Nintendo and Microsoft unveil indie games services to tap into individual game developers I Google to store patients’ health records I
12     DIGIT MARCH 2008                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    DIGIT MARCH 2008   13
         Enter
             The Digital World                                                              A Round-up Of Technology News From Across The Globe

                             GERMANY                                                   DENMARK
                            Nokia's announcement to close down                         Going anti-piracy, courts
                            its unprofitable cell phone plant in                       order Danish ISP Tele2 to
                            Bochum sparks dispute with the                             block customers’ access to
                            government. Over 4,000 people                              the popular P2P file-sharing          RUSSIA
                            protest outside plant premises                             site The Pirate Bay                   As per the computer security firm
                                                                                                                             Sophos' survey, 8.3 per cent of the
                                                                                                                             world's spam or one spam in
                                                                                                                             every 12 junk mails makes Russia
                                                                                                                             a “spam superpower” after the
                                                                                                                             current leader, the US




                                                                            ROMANIA
                                                                            Nokia opens factory as part of their low-
                                                                            cost locations program for production of
                                                                            mobile phones and parts, for Europe,        CHINA
                                                                            Africa and Middle East. About 1,200         The first Cloud Computing Centre for
                                                                            people will be employed on an average       software companies of the country was
                                                                            salary of $318 (Rs 12,402) per month        announced recently by IBM, along with
                       SPAIN                                                (before taxes) by the end of the year       Wuxi Tai Lake Industry Investment &
                       Cops arrest more than 76 people                                                                  Development Co. Ltd
                       nationwide, for Internet fraud. Some
                       suspects were involved in auction
                       fraud—they scarpered after
                       collecting the cash for plasma TVs
                       without delivering the goods




         also active in the media,             both Softbank and Yahoo,          only going to improve with                western countries with
         this time around playing              are common investors in           the competition. They’ve                  figures being one in every
         spoiler by claiming that              Alibaba. Being a dominant         got to!                                   191.5 emails in the US and
         Microsoft would use the               player in China, this deal is                                               one in every 158.4 e-mails
         deal to gain too much of              being closely watched by          YOU’RE HIT!                               in Canada. In New Zealand,
         control over the Internet.            Chinese authorities—                                                        Web security levels were
              We have also heard               concerned over foreign            The Great                                 pretty good—one out of 768
         reports about AOL talking             control of Chinese                                                          mails was virus infested,
         to Yahoo! for a likely deal.          businesses, especially with       Indian Virus                              while for Australia, the
         We believe that’s not                 Microsoft, considering its                                                  figure was one for every
         coincidence, considering              monopolistic policies and                                                   298.7 mails. The study goes
         the fact that Google owns a           practices.

                                                                                 I
                                                                                    ndia and technology                    on to reveal that the global
         5 per cent stake in AOL.                  The deal between the             seem to be in the news                 spam ratio is 73 per cent.
         Rupert Murdoch’s News                 two companies has not yet            quite often these days. A              This translates to one in
         Corp. also joined in the              been signed, and it already       few weeks back, it was low                every 1.36 emails. This only
         league, by recently holding           has effects on China and          browsing speeds due to the                further reiterates the need
         talks with Yahoo!                     Japan. But what are the           cut in the Middle Eastern                 for us to be updated with
              The Chinese portal               possible impacts in India?        optical fibre (FALCON)                    the latest anti-virus, anti-
         Alibaba, however, is an               As far as Indian surfers are      belonging to FLAG Telecom,                spam, anti-spyware and
         important factor in the               concerned, Google ranks           under the flagship of the                 other proactive tools to
         whole deal. For those of              the highest, followed by          Reliance ADA group. To add                ensure safety. In taking
         you’ll who haven’t heard of           Yahoo! at a distant second        to these woes, a recent                   such measures, not only
         it, Alibaba is a Hangzhou-            place, and then MSN.              study on virus activity by a              are we safer as individuals,
         based e-commerce / e-                 Unlike other countries            web security services                     but rather reduce the risk
         auction company, and a                where the competition is          company indicates that                    to others, especially our
         significant player in China’s         stiff, in India, Google really    India has the highest                     friends and close
         search engine and online              holds a significant lead          incidence of virus attacks.               associates.
         marketing industry after              over the other search                 As per the study
         Baidu. Yahoo! is a major              engines. Could this               conducted by MessageLabs,                 SOMETHING INSIDE
         stakeholder in Alibaba.               translate into a reduction        “Virus activity increased
         Softbank, a Japanese                  in PPC rates for online           across a number of                        Micro-buzz
         telecommunications                    advertising? SEO                  countries in January,
         company, which bought out             professionals would surely        including India, which
         Vodafone Japan, also owns a           be watching this closely.         takes the number one spot

                                                                                                                           A
                                                                                                                                 fter the series of
         3.9 per cent stake in Yahoo           So, for India, things don’t       with 1 in 30.5 emails”. As                      anti-trust battles
         US and 40 per cent of Yahoo           seem to be as significant         compared to India, the Web                      between Microsoft
         Japan. In addition to this,           anyway. Surely services are       attack was far less in                    and the EU, it now seems

I Game consoles can model black holes, drug molecules I Software gets smart cars talking I MySpace opens to software developers I
  14     DIGIT MARCH 2008
          Enter                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Enter
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         2007, Microsoft is all set to       has already hinted that
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         slate a 2009 launch of a            Windows 7 would be
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         successor. Named Windows            “touchier”, similar to
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         7, it will be more human-           Apple’s iPhone. On the
                                                                                                                                                                                     X-force’s graph on Vulnerablities
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         friendly with increased             other hand, Microsoft plans
                                                                                                                                        Digit Caption                                                                                                    input options, as per Bill          to do away with DirectX 11.
                                                                                                                                        Look! Web access!                                                                         47%     of men         Gates, Chairman Microsoft.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         According to him, touch,
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             Apparently, with the
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             hardware requirements of
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 would give up sex
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                for six months, for      speech and written text             DirectX 10, and the
                                                                                                                                        Last Month’s Winner!
                                                                                                                                        Abhishek Tiwari, New Delhi                                                               a 50-inch plasma        would be the significant            customer resentment as a
                                                                                                                                        “What was the shortcut to                                                                TV, compared to         development in the latest           result of it, the software
                                                                                                                                        Connaught Place?”                                                                       just over a third of     version of Windows. Gates           giant seems to have become
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      women              claims that technical               proactive. We wonder
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         advancements in the areas           whether our cell phones
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         of touch and speech would           are becoming PCs or the
                                                                                                                                                                                                                   Roughly                               be incorporated into                other way round.
                                                                                                                                                                               2.1% of people have had a                                                 Windows 7. In a recent                  On the other hand, has
                                                                                                                                                                               virus in their handset,          68,000 servers                           speech to Stanford                  Microsoft just added up
                                                                                                                                         E-mail your caption with the          11.6% know someone who on the Internet                                    University, Gates said, “It’s       features from their work
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         a big step forward in terms         on the Surface PC, the
                                                                                                                                         subject “Beat That”, and your         has had a virus and 86.3%         are returning                           of ink. It’s a big step             much hyped touch-enabled
                                                                                                                                         postal address, to
                                                                                                                                         beatthat@thinkdigit.com               of people have never heard          malicious                             forward in terms of touch”.         computer. With focus on
                                                                                                                                         and win                               of anyone with a mobile          Domain Name                                   So what does that              touch, that is what it
                                                                                                                                                                               phone virus—McAfee Survey                                                 mean? In two years, Vista is        seems to be. Yet another
                                                                                                                                        Fix Your Own PC
                                                                                                                                        by Corey Sandler
                                                                                                                                                                                                                System results                           no more? Was this all a             bit of Microsoft hype...
                                                                                                                                                                               Nearly 40% of all phone           according to                            tactic to get people to move        only the future will reveal
                                                                                                                                                                               calls, fail to meet set industry                                          out of XP and then force            the facts.
                                                                                                                     ing funnier,
                                                                                                                                                                                                                 Georgia Tech                            them to switch to another
                                                                                                Come up with someth                     Published by                           standards, even in developed
                                             Each month Digit will carry
                                                                         a caption for a photo.
                                                                                       e! Entries accepted by the 20
                                                                                                                    th of this month.
                                                                                                                                                                               markets like the US and            and Google                             product? It started with            ALL IN THE HEAD
               Photograph Ram Hari Koirala                         m at their own gam
                                             and beat the Digit tea                                                                                                                                                 survey                               gamers who were literally
                                                                                                                                                                               Western Europe                                                            forced to upgrade to Vista          Gamers To
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         because of the DirectX 10
           to be the turn of Intel, the      business, venturing into                      has a presence in                            your bank, asking you for            move, to do away with slow                  the Web space is now a          compatibility issues                Get Brain-
           world’s largest chip              this area is as risky as a kid                Bangalore as well—focuses                    your password, or any                pace of processing, bank                    prime target for exploits.      springing up.
           manufacturer. Some days           attempting to eat the                         on processors with low                       other sensitive                      transactions that are                       This justifies social                In fact, Microsoft is          controlled
           ago, the European                 juiciest burger in front of                   power consumption.                           information. According to            paperless or online should                  networking sites giving         directly working with
           Commission raided the             the class bully.                              Although very secretive                      the IBM X-Force 2007 Trend           be verified with a hard                     cautious alerts to be aware     manufacturers, and in all           Headsets
           Munich offices of Intel. To       Microprocessor start-ups                      about their plans, there                     Statistics Report, of the top        copy as well.                               of phishing activity.           probability computers
           add to Intel’s woes, the          are a rare, if even extant,                   are speculations that                        20 companies targeted by                 According F-Secure                                                      would come fitted with
           Commission also raided            commodity these days. The                     Montalvo will make public                    phishing in 2007, the                Security Labs, the SVP                      OPEN THE WINDOWS                touch screens and be able

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             W
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      ith exponential
           the retailers that sold           available opportunities in                    announcements this year.                     report says, 19 are in the           National Police Academy in                                                  to accept inputs in the                      progress, even the
           Intel’s products.                 the form of server business                   Among its workforce, are                     banking industry. With               Hyderabad, had a Bank of                    Windows 7                       form of touch. Microsoft                     means for
               These raids come in the       are pounced upon with all                     former employees of                          widespread risk of online            America phishing site                                                                                           entertainment are going
           wake of charges that Intel        might by the niche group                      Transmeta, NexGen, AMD                       transactions, we are all at          operating on one of their                   Gets Touchy                                                         high-tech. The latest
           has slashed prices below          of companies such as Sun                      and others. This name is                     risk to the latest pestilence.       servers. After all, when it                                                                                     development for the
           costs, and also offered huge      and IBM. In the last decade,                  surely going to be under                     The X-Force collected and            comes to money, there is                                                                                        gaming industry is from
           rebates in an effort to drive     a company by the name of                      the lens in the days to                      analysed 410,000 new                 no pride or tech-savvy

                                                                                                                                                                                                                         W
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    ith Vista having                                         the US / Australian firm
           AMD out of the market.            Transmeta Corporation—                        come, and most definitely                    malware instances in 2007,           talks—it’s the money that                              borne tough                                              Emotiv. Scientists have
           The Commission is already         which once had Linus                          by Intel!                                    which is approximately 30            matters. With the rise of                              comments from                                            developed a neuro-headset
           investigating charges on          Torvalds on its payrolls—                                                                  per cent more than those             social networking sites                     critics to the extent of                                            that interprets the
           German retailer Media             had attempted to eat into                     ITALIAN JOB?                                 analysed in 2006. So, what           such as MySpace and                         being regarded as the                                               interaction of neurons in
           Markt, surrounding its sale       the microprocessor pie, but                                                                is the average user                  Facebook, even this area of                 biggest disappointment of                                           the brain, which enables
           of computers. Media Markt         seems to have fallen                          Thieves                                      supposed to do in the
           sells Intel-powered PCs, but      miserably.                                                                                 midst of significant forgery
           none that run on AMD                  Montalvo Perry, a                         Ahoy!                                        and phishing online? As it
                                                                                                                                                                                                           XPERIA X1
           processors. In response to        former CEO of Transmeta                                                                    is said through the days—
           these raids, Intel’s              Corporation, went on to                                                                    old is gold. What started                                         Claimed as yet another iPhone killer by Tech evangelists        The X1 also has loads of other features like quad-
           spokesman Chuck Mulloy            found Montalvo Systems, to                                                                                                                                   and bloggers, the Sony Ericsson XPERIA X1 has on            band GSM as well was UMTS/HSDPA/HSUPA network

                                                                                           T
                                                                                                 hese days, most                        off as a revolutionary
           said “there has been a raid       venture into the prime                              account transactions                                                                                     incredibly high-resolution (800 × 480), 3-inch VGA          support, WiFi, aGPS, microSD (400 MB on phone
           on our offices in Munich.         zone of ultra low-power                             happen online. In                                                                                        touch screen display. With a unique arc-slider design,      memory by default) and of course, Windows Mobile 6.
           As is our normal practice,        microprocessors. Montalvo                     these e-banking days,                                                                                          the X1 features a new desktop GUI called ‘Experia           X1 aims for the Web convergence market since it runs
           we are cooperating with           Systems is once again in                      phishing refers to e-mails                                                                                     panels’, a nine-panel interface that’s eye candy on the     the Microsoft Windows Mobile OS for blending
           authorities.”                     the news for claiming to                      that appear to be sent from                                                                                    high-resolution display. These panels are finger-friendly   multimedia with Web communication. All the hype
               In the days of Core 2         have developed a multi-                       a legitimate source in an                                                                                      marvels that permit access to applications running on       around the X1 leaves Sony Ericsson fans in
           Duo and Phenom, and the           core, energy-efficient CPU                    effort to obtain sensitive                                                                                     the phone via the home screen. Navigation is possible       anticipation, and it is expected to hit markets over
           combined market                   for notebooks and “ultra                      information from a user.                                                                                       either by touch, arc-sliding QWERTY Keypad, 4-way           the second half of 2008. There’s no way can you
           dominance by Intel and            portables”. The Santa                         For example, the email                                                                                         joypad and an “optical joystick”.                           expect it to be cheap. Nevertheless, keep drooling!
           AMD in the microprocessor         Clara-based start-up—which                    appears to be sent to you by

I College Coders Working With IBM’s Project Zero I Nokia says it will incorporate Google search engine in cell phones I Net firms reject monitoring role                 I Doctors use Wii games for rehab therapy I Netscape officially dead; AOL says use Flock or Firefox I Google lunar challenge gets underway
  16      DIGIT MARCH 2008                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  DIGIT MARCH 2008   17
       Enter
                                            gamers to interact with the     Biswas, is called the Three-    cannot transmit. Just as
                                            virtual world using their       dimensional Photonic            electronic bandgaps
                                            thoughts and emotions.          Crystal Add-drop Filter, and    prevent electrons within a
                                                Tan Le, President of        enables enhanced trans-         certain energy range from
                                            Emotiv says, “It picks up       mission over multiple           passing through a
                                            electrical activity from the    wavelength channels             semiconductor, photonic
                                            brain and sends wireless        (wavelengths of light)          crystals create photonic
                                            signals to a computer. It       travelling along optical        bandgaps that confine
        K-NFB READER                        allows the user to              fibres. This is a significant   light of certain wave-
        What's the K-NFB Reader?            manipulate a game or            milestone in the                lengths. The idea of using
        knfbReader is a mobile phone        virtual environment             development of all-optical      photonic crystals for add-
        software for the blind,
                                            naturally and intuitively.”     transport networks to           drop filters is not new.
        developed by Ray Kurzweil (the
        father of text-to-speech) in
                                            Although the concept of         eliminate electrical            Since the mid 1990s, many
        association with National           reading neural activity is      components from optical         groups worldwide have
        Federation for the Blind.           not new, Emotiv claims that     transmission links,             been working to develop
                                            the Epoc headset is the first   resulting in virtually          the technology with two-
        How does knfbReader work?           consumer device that can        flawless data reception for     dimensional photonic
        It’s a text-to-speech software      be used for gaming.             end users of the Internet       crystals.
        that takes its input from the           Emotiv is also in talks     and other fibre-based               “It works,” Biswas said,
        mobile phone’s camera and           with IBM for developing the     telecommunication               “but there is loss of some
        then uses optical character         technology for use in           systems.                        intensity to the end user
        recognition technology and          “strategic enterprise               Biswas explains, “There     because 2D photonic
        text-to-speech capability to
                                            business markets and            are up to 160 wavelength        crystals don’t confine the
        read out text. It displays each
                                            virtual worlds”. According      channels travelling             light completely. For
        sentence and highlights each
        word while it’s being read out      to Paul Ledak, Vice             through an optical fibre at     example, in a phone
        at a user-adjustable speed.         President, IBM Digital          the same time. That means       conversation, voices would
        Thousands of pages can be           Convergence, brain              a lot of dialogue is going      dim out. But with 3D
        saved in text format using          computer interfaces such as     on simultaneously”.             photonic crystal add-drop
        memory sticks. Braille support      the Epoc headset are an         Biswas, who is also an Iowa     filters, the communication
        is available on request.            important component of          State University adjunct        would be clear.”
                                            the future 3D Internet and      associate professor of              Although Biswas and
        Which phone models can              the future of virtual           physics and astronomy and       his team have shown that
        sport knfbReader?                   communication.                  electrical and computer         3D photonic crystals would
        Currently, knfbReader is paired         Future 3D Internet!         engineering, explained          make highly efficient add-
        with and designed for the Nokia
                                            Sounds interesting! India       that as information is          drop filters, there are still
        N82, Symbian Series 60, (3rd
        Edition) platform with
                                            has a perfect blend of the      transported over these          problems to address.
        50 MB of flash storage.             crème de la crème in the        multiple channels, it’s         Getting the size of the
                                            high rises of metros and        necessary to periodically       photonic crystals down to
        Who's going to benefit from it?     new-to-gaming kind from         drop-off individual             1.5 microns to work at the
        This technology will benefit the    mid-sized and small cities.     wavelength channels at          wavelengths used for
        visually impaired and those         While the Internet evolves      different points on the         Internet communications
        suffering from dyslexia—            towards 3D and games            fibre. At the same time, it’s   is a big challenge. The
        generally those who need            increasingly tech-heavy, the    essential to be able to add     Ames Lab group now has
        assistance for reading text. It     pricing and distribution of     data streams into the           some of these photonic
        will make them more                 these gadgets in the Indian     empty wavelength                crystals working in that
        independent and boost their
                                            market is what we look          channels. “When the data        range, but to make these
        performance at professional
        and personal fronts.
                                            forward to.                     being transported in            controlled structures with
                                                                            multiple frequency              one input, another output
        Why will it make a difference?      LIGHT SPEED                     channels over an optical        and a defect, required
        This mobile reader program is                                       fibre comes to a receiving      significant amount of
        expected to eliminate the need
        to carry multiple devices and
                                            Optical                         station, you want to be         work. A future direction is
                                                                            able to pick off just one of    to simplify the design of
        ulitmately make the mobile
        phone a unified solution. The
                                            Networks To                     those frequencies and send      the add-drop filter by
                                                                            it to an individual end         reducing the layers in the
        mobile reader can also function
        with GPS programs and access
                                            Blaze Faster                    user,” said Biswas. “That’s     photonic crystal—perhaps
                                                                            where these 3-D photonic        having all the action
        PDF files. Besides, accessibility
                                                                            crystals come into play.”       happen in one layer.
        to other mobile functions can

                                            R
                                                  esearchers at the U.S.        To further prove their          This comes as a ray of
        be improved by using software
        such as MobileSpeak and Talks,            Department of             finding, the researchers        hope to the average Indian
        developed specially for the               Energy’s Ames             used a three-dimensional,       surfer, and more so the
        visually impaired.                  Laboratory have come up         microwave-scale photonic        host of IT and ITES services
                                            with an ideal way to sort       crystal constructed from        companies based in India,
        When will the knfbReader be         and distribute data transfer    layered alumina rods,           where ISPs claiming to be
        available for purchase?             over optical fibres across      containing a full               broadband providers are
        knfbReader was released on          the globe. The new              bandgap—a wavelength            not able to provide enough
        February 15, 2008. Get it at        technology, developed by a      range in which                  throughput to keep the
        http://www.knfbreader.com/          team led by physicist Rana      electromagnetic waves           customer content!

     I Microsoft SkyDrive no longer just a Beta I Microsoft warns on Vista update—third party drivers may not function normally

20     DIGIT MARCH 2008
                                                                                              Digital Tools l Jumpstart

                                                                          Digital


 28 30 days with... 30 Droolmaal                       32 Context Aware
                                                          Computing
                                                                          Passion
                                                                          Fuelling The Pursuit Of Technology Knowledge



Insight


Behind The
Picture
Ever wondered what makes graphics
cards tick, and tick so well?

Michael Browne



F
      rom the movies we watch to medical sciences
      and imaging, educational simulations to
      defence applications, and even manufactur-
ing processes (Computer Assisted Manufacturing)
the impact that 3D rendering has had on the world
is phenomenal. 3D accelerators (or graphics cards)
have acted as catalysts for the growth of 3D model-
ling, rendering, and animation.
    The year 1981 and the first PC video card from
IBM seems ancient history. We’ve gone from single
colour video cards to cards that can work with
millions of colours. The real graphics war for desk-
top PCs didn’t start till 1997 when 3dfx delivered
Voodoo to the world with (then) powerful features
like Mip-Mapping, Z-buffering and AntiAliasing.
Rivals NVIDIA came up with their TNT and TNT2
cards following the Voodoo 2, and these were the
first AGP-based cards. Though it may seem that
things have stagnated from those initial gigantic
steps, nothing could be further from the truth.
Enter NVIDIAs GeForce 256 graphics card (August
31, 1999). It essentially had 4 pixel pipelines that
could each handle a single, half precision (16 bit)
pixel operation in a clock. Core and memory
speeds were 120/166 MHz and with a peak output
of 480 million pixels per second and 15 million
triangles per second, the GeForce 256 was hard to
beat. November 8, 2006, seven scant years later and
the GeForce family’s eighth generation of graphics
cards were unveiled. Their latest 8800GT, which is
a very value oriented card, churns out 16.8 billion
triangles per second, a difference comparable to
the difference between the sun and the moon.
Regardless of the difference in specifications,
there are certain characteristics common to all
graphics cards which we’re going to look at. We’re
also going to see how all this comes together. Let’s
look at the individual parts of a graphics card, and
what they contribute to the whole.

                                                                                  Shrikrishna Patkar, Jiten Ghandhi
     Digital Passion l Insight


                                                                  2
                                                                                                                      Heatsinks
                              6                    4                                                                  conceal
           Heatsinks                                                                                                  the RAM
          conceal the                                                                                                 chips
           RAM chips
                                 7                                                      3
                                                                   1
                                 5


                                 S-Video connector                  BIOS chip                        GPU core
                          GPU Facts                                              GeForce 8800GTX runs at 575 MHz, in spite of this
                          At the heart of technology in a graphics card is       the 8800GTX is more than twice as fast as the
                          the GPU or Graphics Processing Unit. Think of the      7900GTX in terms of its processing performance.
                          GPU as a processor dedicated solely to graphics.           2. Pixel and Vertex Shaders: A Vertex Shader
                          Just as a CPU slots into a motherboard, a GPU is       basically takes a 3D image made up of vertices and
                          affixed on the PCB (Printed Circuit Board) of the      lines and draws a 2D image out of it, which is
                          graphics card. However, unlike a CPU, a GPU can        displayed in the form of pixels on the screen. A
                          never be removed from its PCB. Today’s GPUs have       Pixel Shader is a refinement of the Vertex Shader
                          the ability to number crunch enormous amounts          and allows the addition of textures to the 2D
                          of data and are much more powerful, even than          image on a per pixel basis. With the advent of
                          the fastest quad core. NVIDIA’s 8800GTX GPU, for       DX10 both major vendors NVIDIA and ATI have
                          example, has 128 stream processors inbuilt and         done away with the concept of Pixel and Vertex
                          each is capable of handling one thread of data.        Shaders completely choosing to design their archi-
                          The constant need for speed has led manufactur-        tectures on a Unified Shader model. These Shader
                          ers to up transistor counts while technology           units are also called Stream Processors. The more the
                          advances have ensured that the die size of today’s     Shader units aboard a GPU the faster it will
                          GPU core has shrunk. ATI technologies has              perform, since it can complete more operations
                          already made the shift to 55 nm while NVIDIA has       (on pixel and vertex data) in a clock cycle.
                          gone to a 65 nm process, previously both vendors           So there are two ways to increase performance
                          were using 90 nm and 80 nm fabrication                 of a graphics core—increase the clock speed, or
                          processes. More transistors are being crammed on       increase the count of Shader units. Current limi-
                          a smaller GPU die, and the 8800GTX broke all           tations of silicon yield mean that increasing clock
                          barriers by having 681 million transistors on its 90   speeds may not always be possible or even feasible.
                          nm die—the previous high was 276 million tran-         Increasing the Shader unit count is easier to
                          sistors, which was found on ATI’s X1950XTX. The        achieve and the results are startling. Another
                          brand new 8800GT has crossed the 700 million           reason for unifying Shaders would be the move
                          transistor barrier, and at this rate we could see a    towards making GPUs less graphics specific and
                          billion transistors on a GPU die within a year.        more towards general purpose computing engines.
                              So what increased with this increase in tran-
                          sistor count? For one, the number of Shader units      How Does The Core Work?
                          rose steadily, from 4 pixel pipelines (PPs) on the     Any GPU is tasked with creating an image from a
                          GeForce FX series, to 16 PPs on the GeForce 6800,      description of a scene, much like an artist. This
                          to 24 PPs on the GeForce 7800GTX, and finally 128      scene contains a variety of data one of which is
                          SPs (Stream Processors) on the 8800GTX. Similarly,     geometric primitives (vertices and lines) which are
                          the colour precision has gone from 16 bits on the      to be viewed in the scene. Also present is the data
                          GeForce 4 to full 32-bit precision on the 8800GTX,     which contains lighting information for the scene,
                          and double precision (64-bit) is on the way.           as well as information about the luminance qual-
                          Increases in performance and precision have gone       ities of the objects in the scene, (objects means the
     There are two        hand in hand with increases in programmability         geometric primitive data), i.e. the way that each
     ways to increase     with DX 8.1 giving way to DX 9, and then DX 9.0c       object reflects light. Finally, information of the
     performance of       (Shader Model 3), and finally DX 10.                   viewers’ perspective and orientation is also impor-
                              The characteristic properties of a GPU mainly      tant. This process of image-synthesis has always
     a graphics core—     depend on two variables:                               been viewed as a pipeline process consisting of a
     increase the             1. The core speed: this is the rated frequency     number of stages to avoid confusion,
     clock speed, or      (in MHz, GHz etc) of the processing unit. A general
     increase the         thumb rule is the faster the core, the faster the      Stage 1: Input
     count of Shader      GPU. But performance doesn’t only depend on the        The GPU is designed to work simple vertices and
                          frequency. For example, the core on a GeForce          for this purpose every complex shape in a 3D scene
     units                7900GTX runs at 650 MHz, while the core on a           is first broken down into triangles—the basic

24   DIGIT MARCH 2008
     Digital Passion l Insight                                                                                                                                                                                                                           Digital Passion l Insight
     building blocks of any 3D model irrespective of         Stage 6: Texturing                                     The importance                                             * memory bus width)/8 = (1,800 *                      Outputs
     how complex. All shapes like rectangles, cubes          While pixels are already coloured by this stage                                                                   384)/8 = 86,400 megabytes per second                  Connectivity might seem a tiny part of a graphics
     and even curved surfaces are broken down into           sometimes additional textures may need to be           of VRAM has                                                or 84.6 GB/s (Gigabytes per second)                   card, but without standards you wouldn’t see any




                                                                                                                                                      Radeon HD2900XT
     triangles. Here’s where the software comes in.          added for added realism. This is a cosmetic            sharply inclined,                                               Just to compare this figure to the fastest       of that brilliance actually working. The following
     Developers will use either of the computer graph-       process similar to the make up used by ramp            mainly because                                             system memory based on PC8500 DDR2 RAM                three connects are common to nearly every graph-




                                                                                                                                                      740 / 1650 MHz
     ics library software (OpenGL or Direct3D) to feed       models, in which the image is further draped in        whole visual                                               (1066 MHz) we have Bandwidth                     =    ics card:




                                                                                                                                                      700 million
     each triangle into the graphics pipeline, but one       additional textures to add an additional layer of                                                                 (1066*64)/8 = 8528 MB/s or 8.5 GB/s                   HD-515: Commonly known as a D-Sub, or VGA
                                                                                                                    resolution that




                                                                                                                                                      512 bits
     vertex at a time. The GPU can assemble vertices         detail and believability. These textures are stored                                                                    As you can see current generation cards offer    connector. It is an analog connect and has 15 pins




                                                                                                                                                      R600
                                                                                                                                                      2007
                                                                                                                    is taking place—




                                                                                                                                                      320
     into triangles as and when needed.                      in the GPUs memory, where each pixel calcula-                                                                     ten times the bandwidth that the fastest              and was designed for CRT displays. It has its




                                                                                                                                                      512
          These days due to the infinite Shader program-     tion can access them. This is where memory band-       users want as                                              memory offers and with DDR4 this bandwidth            issues—electrical noise (being an analog signal),
     ming possibilities available, developers are able to    width and the quantity of memory plays a vital         realistic an                                               is set to cross 100 GB/s. This enormous amount        image distortion, and sampling errors (due to
     give advanced light-based properties to objects.        role which is why we see graphics cards with more      experience as                                              of bandwidth is used to feed the data hungry          downscaling).
     For example, the way water in a pond interacts          memory generally performing better.                                                                               GPU with enough raw data to keep it busy,             DVI: A digital standard developed for LCD and
     with light, the surface sub-scattering of light by                                                             possible                                                   which is no easy task considering that the GPU        Plasma panels. It uses the computers native reso-




                                                                                                                                                      Radeon X1950XTX
     translucent materials of varying densities, like        Stage 7: Hidden Surfaces                                                                                          has an internal bandwidth of over 180 GB/s, and       lution without any compression of any sort and




                                                                                                                                                      650 / 2000 MHz
     skin and hair, and more.                                In all 3D scenes, some objects are clearer while                                                                  the latencies are minimal. Very simply, VRAM is       avoids the demerits of the D-Sub connect.
                                                             some are obscured by others. Its not as simple as                                                                 a buffer for the GPU. Data that is fed to the GPU     S-Video: This interface was designed keeping in




                                                                                                                                                      384 million
     Stage 2: Transformations                                writing each pixel to memory. In that case the                                                                    is fed via VRAM which holds such data till time       mind other devices which may need to interface




                                                                                                                                                      256 bits
                                                                                                                                                      R580+
     GPUs have their own localised coordinate system         most recently written triangle would get written                                                                  the pipelines of the GPU need feeding again.          with a display card such as DVD players, large




                                                                                                                                                      2006


                                                                                                                                                      48/8

                                                                                                                                                      512
     and they can use this to specify the position of        first, in which case (for example) a chair placed                                                                 While VRAM holds vertex data, perspective data        screens, game consoles, video recorders, etc.
     each object in a 3D scene. For utilising their own      behind a table would be displayed while the table                                                                 and lighting information, it can never actually
     coordinate system the GPU has to convert all the        itself would be hidden behind. This stage involves                                                                hold texture data which is held by the PCs main       Interface
     objects to a common tracking system. At this            sorting of triangles from a back to front view. This                                                              memory. The GPU accesses these textures from          Let’s face it—graphics cards wouldn’t be the speed
     point the GPU cannot perform complex modifi-            is where a GPUs depth buffer comes in. The depth                                                                  system memory directly through DMA (Direct            demons that they are today unless they could
     cations to the objects for fear of warping the trian-   buffer stores the distance of each pixel from the                                                                 Memory Access) and there is no CPU interfer-          interface with PCs using high bandwidth ports. A




                                                                                                                                                      GeForce 8800GTX
     gles, simple operations like scaling and rotation       viewer and before writing a pixel to the screen the                                                               ence. The resultant output of the GPU is also         GPU works in tandem with the CPU, Northbridge




                                                                                                                                                      575/1800 MHz
     can be done. By representing each vertex in a           GPU does a check to see whether the pixel occu-                                                                   buffered in part of the VRAM which is utilised        (or Memory Controller Hub), and system memory,




                                                                                                                                                      681 million
     homogenous coordinate the GPU can perform a             pying that position is the closest to the user and                                                                as a ‘frame buffer’.                                  and its only means of communication happens to




                                                                                                                                                      384 bits
     single operation on triangles en masse. At this stage   if it is, it is sent to the monitor.                                                                                                                                    be that little slot it’s plugged into. The specifica-
                                                                                                                                                                               RAMDAC




                                                                                                                                                      2006
     of the pipeline, the output is a stream of billions                                                                                                                                                                             tions of the same little slot have changed a lot too




                                                                                                                                                      G80




                                                                                                                                                      768
                                                                                                                                                      128
     of triangles on the basis of the GPUs common            Memory                                                                                                            The RAMDAC or Random Access Memory Digi-              over the past few years—so much so that the latest
     coordinate system in which the orientation is the       VRAM is present on the PCB of the graphics card                                                                   tal to Analog Converter is a component of a           specification is not backwards compatible. From




                                                                                                                                        Quick Facts
     viewers’ perspective.                                   and is as important to it as system RAM is to the                                                                 video card that is responsible for converting         IBMs 16-bit ISA interface with a speed of 8 MHz to
                                                             CPU. Very basically VRAM feeds the GPU with raw                                                                   digital images into analog signals that can be        the current PCI Express we’ve come a long way.
     Stage 3: Lighting                                       data and passes on the results after the GPU has                                                                  displayed by an analog monitor like a CRT. The        Currently graphics cards utilise the PCI Express




                                                                                                                                                      GeForce 7900GTX
     By now, each triangle is placed in a global coor-       worked on the data. VRAM is also sometimes                                                                        RAMDAC may be a separate card on the graph-           interface (also called PCIe or PCI-E). PCIe 1.1 has a
     dinate system and the GPU can now calculate             called ‘frame buffer’. In the past three years or so                                                              ics cards PCB (for example like on the 8800GTX)       maximum bandwidth of 8 GBps, consisting of 32




                                                                                                                                                      650/1600 MHz
     each triangle’s colour on the basis of the lights in    the importance of VRAM has sharply inclined,                                                                      or could be integrated on the GPU die. The            parallel lanes each capable of a maximum




                                                                                                                                                      278 million
     the scene. The lighting could be as simple as a         mainly because whole visual revolution that is                                                                    RAMDACs ability to support greater refresh            throughput of 250 MBps. PCI 2.0, which has just




                                                                                                                                                      256 bits
     single source (a light bulb in a room), or as           taking place where users want as realistic an expe-                                                               rates depends on its internal data transfer rate,     debuted in the latest ATI Radeon 3xxx series and




                                                                                                                                                      2006


                                                                                                                                                      24/8
                                                                                                                                                      G71




                                                                                                                                                      512
     complex as a street lit up by a row of streetlights.    rience as possible while playing 3D games. In fact                                                                (which depends on its speed, in MHz), and the         NVIDIA 8xxx series, offers 16 GBps.
     In the latter case, the GPU is tasked with              games are the numero uno reason for advance-                                                                      precision of colour bits used. However the
     summing up the effects of each light source and         ments in graphics cards’ performance over the                                                                     concept of flicker applies only to CRTs and with      The Shape Of Things To Come
     computing their overall effect on colours and           years. From 32 MB of VRAM on the GeForce 256                                                                      the advent of the DVI (Digital Video Interface)       DX 10 wasn’t the big affair it was said to be and




                                                                                                                                                      GeForce FX 5900
     luminosity of the triangles in the scene. Today’s       DDR, to 768 MB of VRAM on the 8800GTX, the                                                                        on most LCD monitors and graphics cards the           we’re not going to say “see we told you so!” Both




                                                                                                                                                      425/1100 MHz
     GPUs are also complex enough to colour surfaces         quantity of memory has increased more than 20                                                                     RAMDACs days are numbered. All LCD and                manufacturers NVIDIA and ATI have realised the
     of the basis of their physical surface properties—      fold. This goes in tandem with the improvements                                                                   Plasma screens work entirely in the digital           follies of developing a graphics card for a standard




                                                                                                                                                      135 million
     matte, gloss, etc. Advanced lighting techniques         to the core of the GPU.                                                                                           domain and do not require a RAMDAC. In case           that has yet to be properly implemented, and the




                                                                                                                                                      256 bits
                                                                                                                                                      NV 35
                                                                                                                                                      2004
     like specular highlighting, and diffusion and               Not only has the quantity of video memory                                                                     they have an analog input, the signal is simply       fact that hardly anyone uses Windows Vista as a




                                                                                                                                                      256
                                                                                                                                                      8/4
     occluded lighting are also possible.                    gone up, but the type of memory has changed too.                                                                  converted to digital again after the RAMDAC           gaming platform doesn’t help. NVIDIA has just
                                                             Current graphics cards use DDR3 memory, and                                                                       has fed out an analog signal from the original        released the first card of their new 9xxx series—
     Stage 4: Getting Perspective                            although DDR4 memory is waiting in the wings,                                                                     digital signal. This double conversion is lossy to    yes, the GeForce 9600GT has finally arrived. Based
     The next stage of the pipeline projects the (now)       it hasn’t seen much adoption yet.                                                                                 say the least.                                        on a 65nm manufacturing process it’s a mid-range
     coloured triangles on to a virtual plane, as viewed         The bus width of memory has also gone up,                                                                                                                           offering meant to take over the reins from the




                                                                                                                                                      120/300 MHz
                                                                                                                                                      GeForce 256
     from the users perspective. These coloured trian-       from the 64 bits of yore to 256-bit and even 384-bit                                                              Video BIOS                                            capable 8600GT. Rumours abound of the presence




                                                                                                                                                      23 million
     gles and their respective coordinates are finally       bus width (GeForce 8800GTX). All this speed is                                                                    Like a motherboard’s BIOS the VGA BIOS is a           of a mighty 9800GTX, but the company them-




                                                                                                                                                      128 bits
     ready to be turned into pixels.                         required too, as today’s games demand more than                                                                   chip that contains the firmware (hardwired low-       selves are tight lipped about specifications. One




                                                                                                                                                      NV 10
                                                                                                                                                      1999


                                                                                                                                                      4/0
                                                             50 times the resources than the games released                                                                    level instructions) that controls the graphics        thing we know is these cards support DX 10 which




                                                                                                                                                      32
     Stage 5: Rasterization                                  eight years ago. The ultimate goal of manufac-                                                                    card’s operation and allows the computer’s            is nothing new. ATI has already released a host of




                                                                                                                                                       Amount Of Memory (MB)
     Rasterization is quite simply the process of            turers is to up the memory bandwidth figure of                                                                    other components and software to interface            products namely the 3xxx series comprising of
     converting a vertex representation to a pixel           the graphics card. This is done to eliminate bottle-                                                              with the card. It contains essential information      the high-end Radeon 3870 and the slightly lower



                                                                                                                                                       Core Transistor Count

                                                                                                                                                       Core/Memory speed
     representation. Here, an image that is described        necks which occur in the memory, as 90 percent                                                                    about the graphics card such its core and             Radeon 3850, with the mid-range Radeon 3650.




                                                                                                                                                       Memory Bus Width
                                                                                                                                                       No Of Shader Units
     as a vector graphics format is converted into a         of the time the core has to wait for much slower                                          Year Of Launch          memory clock speeds, memory timings, volt-            But the specifications of these newcomer’s is
     raster image consisting of dots or pixels. In this      memory to supply it with fresh data. Here’s how                                                                   ages, and even thermal thresholds (for warnings       hardly revolutionary as the 8800GTX was a couple
     stage, each pixel can be treated separately, and        you calculate the memory bandwidth of your                                                                        and shutdowns). Most graphics cards these days        of years ago. It seems we’ve reached another
                                                                                                                                                       GPU Name

     the GPU handles all the pixels in parallel—one          video card (works for system memory too):                                                                         come with re-flasheable BIOS’ which may               plateau, and the real meat may arrive after DX 10
     of the reasons that manufacturers upped the                 An 8800GTX has memory clocked at 1,800                                                                        improve performance for affect stability              matures as a platform and application support
     Shader unit count on GPUs to speed up this              MHz, and this memory is 384 bits wide, the                                                                        favourably. If the BIOS is flashed incorrectly, the   picks up. Till then we’re sitting pretty, literally.
     parallel processing.                                    formula for total bandwidth = (clock speed                                                                        card can be permanently damaged.                                           michael.browne@thinkdigit.com.com

26   DIGIT MARCH 2008                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    DIGIT MARCH 2008     27
     Digital Passion l 30 days with...


                    An Unprotected Vist
                   Nimish Chandiraman
                                       a                                                        PC
                                           i
                   After reading a millio
                                          n white papers on ho
                   net the Windows-hati                           w Vista implements
                                          ng world would have                         security and, coming
                  well, my version of rea                         me believe (on paper,                        to the conclusion tha
                                          lity, if nothing else. Ou                      at least), I decided to                       t it isn’t the virus-ma
                  defaults—firstly, becau                          t went the anti-virus;                         see if that holds good                      g-
                                          se that’s what you get                          I left the settings for                           in the real world—
                  thing-at-a-time policy.                          when Vista is installed                        Windows Defender an
                                                                                          , and secondly, becau                              d Firewall at their
                                                                                                                   se I have a strict only-
                                                                                                                                            one-stupidly-brave-
                  Day 5:
                  My daily activities pr                                                Day 18:
                                            ogress as usual, with
                  significant change: I                              one               That’s odd. My PC’s sti
                                           spend a lot of time mo                                                 ll bafflingly untainted
                  my running tasks an                                 nitoring         giving up this easily,                                 . I’m not
                                           d services, and I open                                                though. I have procu
                 least twice a day—th                                Defender at drive                                                    red a Flash
                                          e last time I ever open                            which I’m told is infect
                 see what it was, just                             ed it was to                                           ed with an Autorun vir
                                          af ter I installed Vista                     That ought to do som                                          us.
                 on UAC (User Accoun                               . I’ve turned                                e damage.
                                          t Control) again, just                           Unlike XP, Vista doesn
                 what’s going on in th                             so I know                                          ’t blindly execute autor
                                          e system.                                   so when I attach the                                        un.inf—
                                                                                                              drive, I still get a dia
                     All systems stable for                                           asks me whether I wa                              log box that
                                               now, but I’m biting                                             nt to open the drive or
                more, and I suspect                                    my nails       “explore.exe”. Sharp                                  run
                                        some stress-related ha                                               knife that I am, I choo
                needs to pass. Soon.                             ir-loss. This       drive and delete the au                             se to open the
                                                                                                                 torun file. It’s amazing
                                                                                     feature as simple as th                                   how a
                Day 12:                                                                                         is can thwart a virus
                                                                                                                                          .
               It’s passed. Working                                                 Day 30:
                                       like this has been un
               far—my start-up list                            eventful so          Still clean. Of course,
                                      hasn’t changed, perfo                                                 I haven’t actively hunt
               remains the same an                              rmance             malware to subject my                                ed for
                                      d UAC hasn’t flagged                                                      PC to—nobody should—
              suspicious. The nail-b                             anything          no doubt that I could                                    and I have
                                       iting has stopped, an                                                 infect this thing if I rea
              stays on with new res                             d my hair          that wasn’t why I did                                  lly tried. But
                                       olve. I’m almost starti                                               it—I wanted to see if
              this might actually wo                             ng to believe abou                                                    I could go
                                         rk! I’ve even turned off                        t my daily business wi
              again—when it’s not                                   UAC                                             thout an anti-virus, an
                                      protecting me, it’s ju                      turns out that I can.                                         d it
                                                              st annoying.                                The two times that I cou
                                                                                  faced infection are pe                                 ld have
             Day 15:                                                                                      rfectly realistic scenario
                                                                                  happen to anyone. I kn                                s—it could
             This is starting to ge                                                                          ow there are viruses ou
                                    t boring. Here I am su                       the probability of a ra                                  t there, but
             Internet, an open invit                           rfing the                                    ndom infection like the
                                       ation to any Dark Fo                      sometimes faced with                                    ones I
             might want to destroy                             rce that                                   XP seems to have gone
                                       my PC, and nothing.                       considerably. Until fur                                down
            love me anymore? Is                                 Don’t they                                ther notice, my PC is
                                   Vista really that secur                       anti-virus-free.                                     going to be
            just not living dangero                           e? Or am I              Then again, with my
                                      usly enough?                                                             luck, I’ll get infected tom
                                                                                                                                             orrow...
            Day 16:                                                                                              nimish.chandiraman
                                                                                                                                     i@ thinkdigit.com
           Aha! My sister’s PC (W
                                    indows XP) seems to ha
           infected with some sor                              ve been
                                   t of worm. And my sh
           are writable, too! Now                            ared folders
                                    let’s see what this thi
           Any minute now...                                 ng’s made of.




32
                                                                                                                                                 The good stuff                  l      Stuff to lust after   l   Stuff for the well-moneyed
     Drool
         Maal                                                                                                                                                                                                     General Dynamics
                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Itronix Duo-Touch II
      Apple Macbook Air                                                                                                                                                                                           The Duo Touch II is a Core 2 Duo powered tablet PC
      It’s a laptop that’s thinner than any you’ve ever                                                                                                                                                           that’s been beefed up to take a battering. It’s been
      seen! Get this—1.93 cm at its thickest, and 0.4 cm                                                                                                                                                          made to deliver a perfect computing experience
      at its thinnest point. Weight? 1.36 kg. It’s not like                                                                                                                                                          for the people working in hostile environments.
      they removed all the excess fat by removing vital                                                                                                                                                              Connectivity options are plenty with everything
      components either. It still has a Core 2 Duo, an                                                                                                                                                               from Bluetooth to WiFi to GPRS and EDGE. It
      80 GB hard drive, a 13.3-inch screen and 2 GB RAM                                                                                                                                                              comes with Windows XP Tablet Edition
      along with all the extras that you find on every                                                                                                                                                               installed, or you can opt for Windows Vista.
      other laptop. Prices start from £1,199 (Rs 93,000)                                                                                                                                                             There’s a standard 40 or 80 GB drive you can
      and go well over £2,000 (Rs 1,55,000)                                                                                                                                                                          choose from or even a 16 or 32 GB solid state
                                                                                                                                                                                                                     drive. You can use your fingers on the 8.4-inch
                                                                                                                                                                                                                     touchscreen to control the Duo Touch II or use
                                                                                                                                                                                                                     a stylus. What’s even better is that it weighs
                                                                                                                                                                                                                     under 2 Kg, so you don’t have to be a body
                                                                                                                                                                                                                     builder to carry it around




                                                              Garmin
                                                              Nuvifone
                                                              The Nuvifone’s got the whole
                                                              iPhone design going, with a large                                               Bower and
                                                              3.5-inch touchscreen, MP3 /                                                     Wilkins 800D
                                                              MPEG-4 / AAC playback and
                                                              camera, and yes, GPS. Garmin                                                    This sound setup which looks like they put a
                                                              even has an online service that                                                 bowling ball on top of a speaker, is one of the
                                                              works with the phone that’ll                                                    most exotic speakers from the big names
                                                              notify you of traffic problems,                                                 Bower and Wilkins themselves. The 800D
                                                              weather and local events—                                                       weighs around 125 kg, and has been made
                                                              perfect when you’re lost in bad                                                 using silver and gold components to pre-
                                                              weather and need to rush to the                                                 serve quality. Diamond tweeters are used for
                                                              closest fast food joint. It’s                                                   the high frequency range. For such exotica,
                                                              expected to be out in the third                                                 you pay £13,000 (Rs 10,00,000)
                                                              quarter of this year




                                                                                                                                              Belkin
                                                                                                  Vision Research                             TuneStudio
                                                                                                  Phantom v12                                 The TuneStudio has a 4-channel
                                                                                                  6315. No, it’s nothing to do with the       mixer that can be used to play, mix
                                                                                                  resolution—it’s the frame rate that the     and record tracks to and from iPods.
                                                                                                  Phantom records at—with a resolution of     All recording is all done at 16-bit and
                                                                                                  1280 x 800! Drop the resolution, and        44 kHz, and there’s normalisation
                                                                                                  they say it can go even faster—a            built into the mixer to keep volumes
                                                                                                  ridiculous million frames per second! It    within acceptable limits. One of the
                                                                                                  comes with 8 GB of high-speed DRAM,         major plus points of TuneStudio has
                                                                                                  and there are 16 and 32 GB versions too.    to be its appealing looks and funky
                                                                                                  Price on request, which really means that   design—with loads of knobs, LEDs
                                                                                                  twenty people in the world can afford it    and dials all over the place


32   DIGIT MARCH 2008
     Digital Passion l Tomorrow                                                                                                                                                                       Digital Passion l Tomorrow
                                                                                                                                                                          Context-aware computing is the realist’s answer to ubiqui-
                                                                                                                                                                       tous computing—it doesn’t approach the dream, but is far
                                                                                                                                                                       better than current reality...



     My Mobile,                                                                                                                                                        Starting Small
                                                                                                                                                                       Think Hitchhikers’ Guide to The Galaxy—not the book, but
                                                                                                                                                                       the book in the book (wrap your heads around that one)—the




                        My Guide
                                                                                                                                                                       single source for all the information you need as you travel
                                                                                                                                                                       the galaxy—from how to deal with an irate Vogon to the
                                                                                                                                                                       recipe for a Pan Galactic Gargle Blaster. We’ve got something
                                                                                                                                                                       like it already in development—it’s called the Wikipedia.
                                                                                                                                                                           Now consider that right next to many places of interest on
                                                                                                                                                                       Google Earth, you’ll see a little Wikipedia icon, which shows you
                                                                                                                                                                       the Wikipedia entry on that place when you click on it. Not so




                                                                                                                                   Shrikrishna Patkar, Jiten Ghandhi
                                                                                                                                                                       on Google Maps, and WikiMapia would fit the bill if it weren’t
                                                                                                                                                                       full of landmarks created by people saying “Look, I live here!”
                                                                                                                                                                           Finally, consider that GPS-enabled cell phones are readily
                                                                                                                                                                       available in the market, and are getting cheaper with every
                                                                                                                                                                       new model. Throw in the high-speed mobile connectivity we
                                                                                                                                                                       yearn so much for—you see where this is going, don’t you? The
                                                                                                                                                                       GPS in your phone will tell Google Earth (or Google Maps) what
                                                                                                                                                                       position to centre on, and you can then read the Wikipedia
                                                                                                                                                                       entries on important places in your area (not as helpful if
                                                                                                                                                                       you’re not out sightseeing, but anything that gets rid of annoy-
                                                                                                                                                                       ing guides prattling on can only be good). Bring the Wikipedia
                                                                                                                                                                       overlay into Google Maps, and this will happen now—on the
                                                                                                                                                                       iPhone and the N95, for instance, in countries where
                                                                                                                                                                       respectable mobile Internet speeds are not too much to ask for.
                                                                                                                                                                           It’s started.

                                                                                                                                                                       Being Polite
                                                                                                                                                                       Remember when the cell phone first entered our lives? How
                                                                                                                                                                       we’d cringe every time a phone blared out an ugly ring or a
                                                                                                                                                                       cheap imitation of a song? Cellular etiquette is as important,
                                                                                                                                                                       and as shamelessly ignored as it was back then, but there is
                                                                                                                                                                       hope in sight. Researchers at Intel are working on software
                                                                                                                                                                       for your cell phone that’ll make it more aware of your
                                                                                                                                                                       surroundings, and even decide whether to interrupt with a
                                                                                                                                                                       phone call or take a voicemail message instead.
                                                                                                                                                                           The software will analyse your speech—not the words them-
                                                                                                                                                                       selves, but the tone, pitch, volume, and the time for which you
                                                                                                                                                                       go on—and the speech of the people around you, and deter-
                                                                            Context?                                                                                   mine what sort of situation you’re in. For example, a conversa-
     Think your PDAs    Nimish Chandiramani                                 In geek speak, context awareness is the ability of a                                       tion between you and your friend will have a casual tone, and
     and cell phones                                                        system (a nice, generic term for a piece of hard-                                          since you’re friends who don’t mind interrupting each other,


                        Y
                               ou’re bored. Quite understandable—it         ware that runs software) to be able to recognise                                           the conversation will have a lot of overlapping speech. If you’ve
     are essentials?           happens to everyone. Worse still, you’re     its environment—location, temperature, alti-                                               told the software that it’s all right to interrupt casual conver-
     They’re about to          in a city that you don’t call home. What     tude, that sort of thing—and act accordingly. A                                            sations, you’ll feel that familiar buzzing when you get a call. If,
                        do you do? If you’ve got GPRS, you could whip       GPS device is one of the simplest context-aware                                            on the other hand, you’re in a meeting, the phone will detect
     become             out your mobile phone and consult the               computer—it’s aware of your position, and                                                  the formal, subdued tones, and tell the caller to leave a voice-
     indispensible      almighty Google—“leisure activities [your           based on that, is able to tell you what time the                                           mail message instead. At the very least, it could automatically
                        current location]”, you’d type, and browse          sun will rise or set where you are.                                                        switch to Vibrate. The software will also be able to detect your
                        through the results. It would do well to be             Context-aware Computing is just another                                                mood based on how you speak, and act accordingly—not inter-
                        sitting down, because these things take time—       piece in a much larger (and more Utopian)                                                  rupt you when you’re ticked, for instance.
                        picking a worthy site among all that rubbish        jigsaw puzzle called Ubiquitous Computing.                                                     At this stage, social interactions are still being analysed to
                        can be tedious. Still, the information exists,      The term was coined back in 1988 by Mark                                                   help the software
                        which is what matters in the end.                   Weiser, who was the chief scientist at Xerox’s                                             make          decisions
                            But what if your phone would do that for        PARC (Palo Alto Research Centre). The idea is                                              better—it isn’t particu-
                        you, without your intervention? What if it          that all technology around us—down to the                                                  larly accurate with
                        detected that you’re not in your home city and      humble light-bulb—will connect to, and inter-                                              mood detection (and
                        would eventually feel the need to see the sights?   act with each other, and adapt to suit your                                                we doubt it’ll go
                        What if it told you that you’d just crossed the     needs. Biometric chips in your clothes will tell                                           beyond a point), and
                        city’s best pub, and almost missed out on the       your air conditioner that you’re too cold, and                                             hasn’t been tested on a
                        experience? Call it Context Aware Computing         the AC will turn up the temperature to make                                                cell phone. Indeed,
                        or Ubiquitous Computing or whatever name            you feel better, for example. You could cook up                                            even the most power-
                        that catches your fancy, the fact remains that      a million scenarios like this, and they’ll all be                                          ful phone today can’t
                        with some connectivity and a lot of informa-        plausible in a world with ubiquitous comput-                                               stand up to the punish- Intel used this unobtrusive sensor to collect
                        tion, such scenarios won’t remain the product       ing, and therein lies the catch—it’ll likely be                                            ment of getting all data about the wearer’s social interactions
                        of an over-active imagination.                      many years before this could happen.                                                       that data from a in their trials

38   DIGIT MARCH 2008

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               DIGIT MARCH 2008   39
     Digital Passion l Tomorrow
     conversation in real time—all they’re capable of
     is detecting when a person is speaking, and the               Beyond The Cell Phone
     length of that speech.
         It’s also unlikely that the software will
     know when to interrupt you and when not to—
     some initial setting up will be required,
                                                               W     hile the cell phone is the prime candidate for any experiment
                                                                     with context awareness, it isn’t alone. At CeBIT 2007, we saw NEC’s
                                                               Dew concept camera that you can wear around your neck while it
     though it’ll be a small price to pay for a system         monitors your mood using the tone of your voice. If it detects
     that’ll make up for your lack of cellular                 happiness, it takes a picture, saving your happy moment forever (or till
     etiquette, even though it’ll take years to come.          its memory runs out).
         And then, there’s the matter that started us              Closer to the shelves, we see the Sony CyberShot T200, which has a
     along these lines in the first place...                   “Smile detection mode”, which, well, detects smiles. Switch the camera to
                                                               that mode, place it wherever you want, and it’ll take a photo every time a
     I’m Bored!                                                smiling face is in its frame.
     How’d you like a cell phone that told you what
     you could do with all that idle time? Or if you’re       We anticipate             Sensors And Sensibility
     walking around in a new city without a clue?             Magitti-like soft-        The iPhone, the Sony Ericsson W910i, the
     PARC is working on a program called Magitti,                                       Nokia 5500 Sport and a host of soon-to-be-
     that uses what it knows about you to recommend           ware that will            released phones sport accelerometers that
     activities that you can enjoy in your vicinity.          integrate with            enable various features depending on the
         What you’ll see on your screen when you fire         your Orkut,               device’s movement. The iPhone and iPod
     up Magitti is simple enough—a list of things to do       Facebook or               Touch use it to rotate movies when you tilt the
     in the area. When you first use it, this list won’t      other profile, and        phone, the Sony Ericsson phones use shakes to
     be prioritised according to your likes, but as the                                 shuffle tracks, and the 5500 uses it to meas-
     software learns more about you, it’ll be able to         prioritise activi-        ure the distance you’ve travelled and in a
     tell which recommendations are more likely to            ties that your            game where you tilt the phone to get a ball
     pique your interest—much like recommendation             friends are               out of a maze
     systems on sites like Amazon. For example, if            recommending                  The iPhone also has an ambient light
     you’re a museum buff, historical landmarks will                                    sensor that adjust the screen’s brightness
     find themselves at the top of your list. It’ll also be                             based on the brightness of its environment,
     able to tailor its recommendations based on the                                    and an infrared sensor that can tell when
     time of the day—you can’t go museum-ing late at                                    you’re pressing the phone to your face. But
     night, so local pubs might be brought to the top                                   why must we know this?
                                                                                            Nathan Eagle and Sandy Pentland of MIT’s
                                                                                        Media Laboratory lament that while new
                                                                                        mobile phones are loaded with more sensors,
                                                                                        they’re rarely used for anything beyond trivial
                                                                                        gimmicks. Collecting the data from these
                                                                                        sensors could yield a whole lot of information
                                                                                        about the user, and will enable software like
                                                                                        Magitti work even more like magic. The data
                                                                                        from an accelerometer in your phone, for exam-
                                                                                        ple, can be used to tell whether you lead an
                                                                                        active or sedentary lifestyle. It can also be used
                                                                                        to tell whether you’re walking, running, cycling
     Magitti’s user interface on a Windows Mobile-based                                 or riding in a vehicle. Combined with GPS and
     phone                                                                              Intel’s “polite phone” software, your phone can
                                                                                        collect data about where you go, what social
     of the recommendation list. Magitti will use GPS                                   situations you’re in, who you talk to for how
     to infer what choices you make, and find out                                       long, and so on. Eagle and Petland have even
     more about your destination using an online                                        developed an algorithm that can predict your
     database (which may eventually turn out to be                                      future actions based on the data your phone
     the Wikipedia, for all we know).                                                   collects about you!
         In addition to learning from your choices,                                         Give all that data (and the predictions) to
     Magitti will also analyse the data on your cell                                    software like Magitti, and you’ve got yourself a
     phone—text messages, for instance—and like                                         device that knows you so incredibly well that
     Google AdSense, make recommendations. If a                                         the mind boggles.
     friend messages you to meet for an inexpensive
     Chinese dinner, for example, Magitti will                                          Brakes
     prioritise such places when you ask for recom-                                     Every great fantasy is thwarted by reality. In
     mendations. Extrapolating a bit, we anticipate                                     this case, it’s the hardware—nearly all these
     Magitti-like software that will integrate with                                     concepts demand a lot more processing power
     your Orkut, Facebook or other profile, and                                         than current phones can deliver, and even if
     prioritise activities that your friends are                                        we see such a powerhouse within the next
     recommending. The software will go through                                         year, processing all this data in real-time is
     trials in Japan in the next few months, and                                        bound to be murder on battery technology
     we’ll be watching eagerly.                                                         that’s already showing wrinkles.
         Magitti may be able to learn from your                                             For now, we must content ourselves with
     choices, but what if it could know you by sens-                                    GPS and (ugh) Wikimapia.
     ing your behaviour?                                                                                  nimish.chandiramani@thinkdigit.com

40   DIGIT MARCH 2008
                                        THIS MONTH’S CHALLENGE


      How would you modify your
      Experience Ratings in
      Windows Vista to reflect a
                                        Fake Your
      higher performance?

      Send in your solution with
                                        Vista Experience
      the subject “Take a Crack”,
      and your postal address, to
                                        Rating
      takeacrack@thinkdigit.com




     LAST MONTH’S CHALLENGE             Rearrange The Elements Of Your Desktop Settings
                                        Solution To Last Month’s Challenge                LVS_NOSORTHEADER | WS_CHILD |


Win!
                                        The method of making the cosmetic                 WS_VISIBLE | WS_BORDER | WS_GROUP |
                                        modifications to the Desktop Settings is by       WS_TABSTOP, 131, 3, 119, 212
                                        editing the Shell32.dll file, present in             CONTROL “&Browse...”, 30049,
                                        the SYSTEM32 directory (usually                   BUTTON, BS_PUSHBUTTON | WS_CHILD |
                                        C:\Windows\System32). This file can be            WS_VISIBLE | WS_GROUP | WS_TABSTOP,
                                        edited by Resource Hacker. Make sure that         35, 122, 50, 14
                                        you backup the Shell32.dll file, because if          CONTROL “&Position:”, 30055,
                                        something should go wrong, you may not            STATIC, SS_LEFT | WS_CHILD |
                                        be able to boot into Windows and will have        WS_VISIBLE | WS_GROUP, 37, 148, 50,
                                        to repair or reinstall it. Also make sure you     8
                                        exit any unwanted applications before                CONTROL “”, 30051, COMBOBOX,
                                        you continue.                                     CBS_DROPDOWNLIST | WS_CHILD |
                                                                                          WS_VISIBLE | WS_VSCROLL |
      Take a Crack                                                    Step 1:             WS_TABSTOP, 37, 158, 50, 38
      and win                                                         Download               CONTROL “&Color:”, 30057, STATIC,
      Developing Software                                             Resource Hacker     SS_LEFT | WS_CHILD | WS_VISIBLE |
      for Symbian OS                                                  from                WS_GROUP, 37, 177, 50, 8
      by Steve Babin                                                  http://www.soft32      CONTROL “”, 30054, BUTTON,
      Published by                                                    .com/download/63-   BS_OWNERDRAW | WS_CHILD | WS_VISIBLE
                                                                      59509/              | WS_TABSTOP, 37, 187, 50, 13
                                                                      ResHack.zip. Just      CONTROL “”, 30053,
                                                                      extract it and      “BackgroundPreview2”, 0x50020000, 4,
      LAST MONTH’S WINNER                                             open the            12, 125, 107
                                         The original layout of the
                                                                      ResHacker.exe          CONTROL “Customize &Desktop...”,
           Ankita Shalin                 Desktop Properties window    file.               30050, BUTTON, BS_PUSHBUTTON |
              Patna                                                                       WS_CHILD | WS_VISIBLE | WS_GROUP |
                                        Step 2: Go to File > Open >                       WS_TABSTOP, 18, 200, 90, 14
                                        C:\Windows\System32\shell32.dll                   }
                                                                                              Alternatively, you can just use the mouse
                                        Step 3: Go to Dialog > 29952 > 1033               to drag, place and resize the elements in the
      Rules and Regulations
           Readers are requested to                                                       preview window to make the changes.
      send in their answers by the      Step 4: In the right hand pane replace the
        th
      15 of the month of                text with the following.                          Step 5: Now click on Compile Script
      publication.

          Employees of Jasubhai         29952 DIALOG 0, 0, 252, 218                       Step 6: Save and
      Digital Media and their           STYLE DS_MODALFRAME | DS_NOIDLEMSG |              replace the file.
      relatives are not permitted to    WS_POPUP | WS_CAPTION                             You may be
      participate in this contest.      CAPTION “Desktop”                                 prompted to
         Readers are encouraged to      LANGUAGE LANG_ENGLISH,                            insert the
      send their replies by e-mail.     SUBLANG_ENGLISH_US                                Windows XP CD;
      Jasubhai Digital Media will not   FONT 8, “MS Shell Dlg”                            ignore it. Close
      entertain any unsolicited         {                                                 the Resource
      communication.
                                           CONTROL “Bac&kground:”, 30056,                 Hacker.
          Jasubhai Digital Media is     STATIC, SS_LEFT | WS_CHILD |
      not responsible for any           WS_VISIBLE | WS_GROUP, 35, 1, 50, 8               Step 7: Restart
      damage to your system that           CONTROL “List Of backgrounds”,                 Windows. Open the The Display Properties
      may be caused while you are                                                                               window after modifications
      trying to solve the problem.      30048, “SysListView32”, LVS_REPORT |              Desktop Properties
                                        LVS_SINGLESEL | LVS_SHOWSELALWAYS |               and you will see that the changes that you
                                        LVS_NOCOLUMNHEADER |                              had made have taken effect.

36    DIGIT MARCH 2008
                                                                                                            Digital Tools l Enhance
                                                                                         Digital


                   53 Tips & Ticks   66 Agent 001             68 Know More
                                                                 About
                                                                                         Tools
                                                                                         Technology For Personal And SoHo Productivity



                                     Enhance


                                     Know Your Camera
                                     There’s more to photography than setting your camera to “auto”—
                                     photography is an art—in fact it is the brush used by the artist—you

                                                                                         drool over that awesome snap you captured
                                     Rossi Fernandes                                     while on that trek or that memorable trip,
                                                                                         it’s worth every effort! You’ll be surprised by


                                     P      hotography is much more than setting that
                                            brand new camera of yours to “Auto” and
                                            going about clicking photos of anything or
                                     everything you lay your eyes on. Anyone can do
                                     that! Photography is an art—more so the camera
                                                                                         some of the results you get from doing this
                                                                                         and how better you can get.
                                                                                             Before you actually get out there and buy
                                                                                         one, let’s brush up on what kind of camera you
                                                                                         should go for if you don’t own one yet. You can
                                     is the brush when put in the right hands—yours.     always refer to our Digital Camera test in the
                                     You don’t have to own a high-end camera to get      October 2007 issue.
                                     those jaw-dropping snaps. Digital cameras are           The simplest cameras are the point-and-
                                     tools that need to be explored thoroughly before    shoot cameras, which make up for the largest
                                     you can capture those Vogue shots.                  chunk of cameras sold. SLRs are generally best
                                         While fiddling with the camera, as most         for enthusiasts and professionals. When you’re
                                     newbies do, get familiar with all the menus.        selecting a point-and-shoot (P&S) camera, try
                                     Start off by using different settings, and taking   and have as many manual controls and settings.
                                     random shots after varying each setting.            That way, you have lots of settings to play
Ashwini Baviskar




                                     Rome wasn’t built in a day, and you will not        around with, rather than the camera doing
                                     become the greatest photographer over-night.        it for you. After all, you and your friends are
                                     But remember, when those friends of yours           going to cherish the photos, not the camera!
     Digital Tools l Enhance
     manual focus, manual settings for aperture                                           unrelated settings. Therefore, take some time
     size and shutter speed are some features you                                         out to go through the menus and set a suitable
     should definitely look out for.                                                      white balance before taking a shot... err... in the
                                                                                          dark! D-SLR users on the other hand have the
     Introduction                                                                         freedom to change the white balance of a photo
     There’s a fair share of terminologies you need                                       after it has been shot—thanks to RAW—data
     to get familiar with, in order to get involved                                       which you can read about later in this story.
     in digital cameras and photography. You will
     get a fair dose of it here. The aperture is the                                      Focus Modes
     gap through which light enters the camera,                                           Cameras today come with focus modes meant
     and plays a major role on how much light is                                          to improve on the autofocus features seen in all
     allowed. The aperture size is decided by the f                                       P&S cameras. Some cameras come with multi-
     number. The smaller the f number, the greater                                        spot focussing features, which focus on multi-
     is the aperture size and vice-versa. Generally, a                                    ple spots or jump spots in a scene. This way,
     small aperture yields crisp images. The shut-                                        the user loses control over what’s constantly
     ter speed, also, goes hand-in-hand with the                                          in focus. You should, therefore, ensure the use
     aperture size to allow an optimum amount of                                          of the centre focus or the spot focus, which
     light to enter the camera. The faster the shut-                                      focuses on a small spot at the centre of the
     ter speed, the lesser the light that enters the                                      scene. This ensures that whatever you’re point-
     camera and crisper are the resultant images.                                         ing the camera at, comes out perfectly in focus.
     Some cameras even allow you to set a fixed                                           If you want to focus on something that’s not
     aperture size or shutter speed while the camera                                      at the centre, then point the camera at the
     adapts the other settings.                                                           subject and half press the trigger button then
                                                                                          point the camera anywhere you wish. When
                                                                                          ready, complete the click to take the shot. If
                                                                                          your P&S camera has a manual focus, then you
                                                                                          get increased flexibility and your shoots yield
                                                                                          amazingly professional results.

                                                                                          ISO Rating
                                                                                          The ISO ratings in a camera are related to the
                                                                                          sensitivity of the sensor. They’re considered simi-
                                                                                          lar to the film speed on film cameras. Changing
                                                                                          the ISO ratings is useful for low light situations
                                                                                          or to get the best quality images. Dropping the
      A higher ISO Rating adds a considerable amount of graininess to the photo
                                                                                          ISO number to the least possible value, say,
                                                                                          ISO 100 or ISO 80 will get the best quality out
                                                                                          of a sensor. however, this requires a well lit up
     Exposure Metering Modes                                                              scene and is best for studio light setups or broad
     Your digital camera senses light intensity in a                                      daylight. On the other hand, for darker places,
     scene and chooses the appropriate settings for                                       increasing the ISO number will help but images
     it. In most cameras, there are multiple modes by                                     will turn out grainy. For best results in such
     which the camera can detect the surrounding                                          cases, a good balance between the ISO ratings,
     light. This light measuring can be done through                                      aperture size and shutter speed is required.
     a single tiny spot in the centre or the entire
     screen. Sometimes, if only the centre of a scene is                                  Flash Settings
     a bright colour—say someone’s white shirt, then                                      Cameras have some control over the intensity of
     the camera might be fooled into thinking that                                        the flash used. The Fill in flash mode is a moder-
     the entire scene is well lit-up—the image, as a                                      ately powerful flash that is used to add some
     result might turn out pretty dark. In such cases,                                    lighting in darker areas. This is useful when
     switching the exposure mode to screen mode                                           your subjects have a shadow cast on their face
     can help, so that the entire view is evaluated for                                   and the filling light can illuminate such areas.
     the surrounding lighting conditions and a more                                       The other option for the flash that you might
     realistic and natural photo is captured.                                             find is the Slow Sync mode. This mode is espe-
                                                                                          cially useful in poorly lit up areas, where the
     White Balance                                                                        flash is required. The Slow Sync feature allows
     Each lighting source—a bulb, tubelight or the                                        some detail to be added to the shot where a
     sun, for example—has a colour temperature.                                           normal flash would result in sharp shadows and
     White Balance is a neglected option in the                                           everything beyond the target to be completely
     camera (yeah... the term sounds familiar!) and
     most people unknowingly continue using Auto                      What is RAW and why the fuss?
     White Balance. AWB chooses a white balance,
     which it thinks suites the scene. The camera gets
     it wrong a lot of times and photos then end up
     with an odd colour tint. You can get awesome
                                                                 A   RAW image is an untreated or uncompressed file that is usually found on
                                                                     D-SLR’s and many choose to call it the D-SLR’s equivalent of a negative
                                                                 film. Changes, if required, can be done through software that can handle
     results by simply selecting the appropriate white           RAW images like Photoshop for example. The unfortunate part is that P&S
     balance for the type of lighting you are in.                cameras don’t support RAW files. In general, these are much larger than
     Selecting from among the pre-defined profiles               JPEGs. RAW is of utmost most significance for the professionals.
     given with your camera, changes a lot of other

38   DIGIT mARCh 2008
     Digital Tools l Enhance
     darkened out. The drawback in this is that you
     need to use a tripod or hold the camera really
     still while using this feature. Now you know
     why pros move around with those tripods!

     SCEnARIOS
     Outdoor Photography
     Outdoor locations are probably one of the
     easiest options to capture great snaps. There’s
     plenty of light and with cloudy skies, it gets
     even better. If there’s ample sunlight, then you
     need to crank up all the settings. The same goes          Wrong white balance settings can give very odd colours
     with indoor shoots with decent lighting. Drop
     the aperture to the minimum—F8 or as high an                                         Action Shots
     f-number as your camera can go. Turn the ISO                                         Action photography could be shots taken during
     level to as low as possible and the shutter speed                                    a cricket or football match or maybe photos of
     to the bare minimum. While you’re doing all                                          vehicles zooming by. In such cases, it’s neces-
     this, keep an eye on the EV-rating number on                                         sary to keep the shutter open briefly but not
     the screen. Think of it as a reference value                                         too short because we want to capture the tiny
     for getting the perfect exposure. Preferably, it                                     bit of motion blur. If you’re trying to shoot a car
     should be 0, but if you see your images getting                                      passing by, then try and follow the car very accu-
     underexposed, you’ll find the number drop-                                           rately by moving your hand sideways. Be sure to
     ping below 0. In such cases, you’ll need to                                          focus the car properly so the car itself appears
     compensate by either increasing the aperture                                         sharp but the surroundings come out with some
     size or turning down the shutter speed down a                                        amount of motion blur as a result of your hand
     little, say 1/125th from 1/1000th.                                                   movement. Lower aperture sizes help too.
          There are a few other things you need to
     keep in mind—avoid shooting directly towards                                         Low Light And night Shots
     the sun. An obvious problem is that the expo-                                        Low light photography is tricky, and it’s a must
     sure level will go completely off scale. By all                                      to own a tripod. No amount of change to aper-
     means, you’ll mostly end up with a very bright                                       ture size and ISO levels is going to prevent you
     afternoon sun and everything else underex-                                           from having to use long shutter speeds. Shots
     posed. That would mean day and night all in                                          of city skylines can be taken by mounting the
     the same photograph!                                                                 camera on a tripod, or by using a table or stool
                                                                                          as a stable base. As mentioned earlier, to get
     Indoor Photography                                                                   decent shots in the dark without the use of
     Shooting indoors can get a little trickier. During                                   tripods, you must get a powerful flash that can
     the day, there is a fair amount of ambient light                                     illuminate larger areas.
     and it’s a good idea to take photos near windows.
     Do refrain from using the flash at all costs—it                                      Macro Shooting
     ruins photo—you lose natural colours, and the                                        macro shots involve close-ups. Firstly, set your
     photos get unnecessarily increased contrast with                                     camera to the macro mode and then get as close
     sharp shadows. There’s also the issue of back-                                       as possible to your subject. Nevertheless, don’t
     grounds going dark with only the closer objects                                      get too close or your camera would lose focus
     getting illuminated. If possible, purchase a                                         of the subject. While taking macro shots, you
     powerful flash that can be attached to your                                          can get that authentic look with some depth of
     camera. This is very rare in P&S cameras.                                            field blurring. This has to be done by increasing
         The other issue is that without a flash, you                                     your aperture size e.g., f 2.8 or so. Using manual
     will have to set the camera to use largest aperture                                  focus if available, you can focus onto one specific
     size, the highest ISO number and a manageable                                        region of the object and have the rest blurred.
     shutter speed. A longer shutter speed will sadly                                     Zoom is generally a bad idea.
     result in very blurry photos which we all dread
     the most. If you’re shooting static objects and not                                  Portrait Photos
     people, then a tripod is a good investment.                                          A larger aperture size blends better with
                                                                                          portrait photos by giving great soft focus shots.
          Camera Care                                                                     In portrait shots, we generally want the subject
                                                                                          to appear fairly sharp and the background to be

      D   igital Cameras may be less mechanical and complicated, but they
          still ought to be handled with the same care. It’s a good idea to buy a
      compact pouch or case for the camera. Also, get a carry bag for your camera
                                                                                          blurred out. Set your aperture to as low as your
                                                                                          camera can go. Your subject should be posi-
                                                                                          tioned a little away from the background. Too
      where you can dump all your batteries, cables and charger when you go out           close and the background could get blurred.
      on vacations. A UV filter is a good way to prevent your lens from getting               There are many more things that can be done
      scratched and dirty. If you do get any dust on it, use a cloth as a last resort—    with digital cameras—such as hDR Photography
      try blowing some air on it instead. To avoid any accidental physical damage,        and Panoramic images—you can find them in
      make use of the supplied hand-strap or neck-strap and wear it at all times.         our Tips & Tricks in the October 2007 issue
      The screen on a digital camera is similar to your mobile phone, and requires        of Digit. Once familiar with the settings, you
      some cleaning from time to time. Use a micro-fibre cloth to clean it. Avoid         should be able to set your camera as per the
      using any chemical-based solution for cleaning.                                     ambience and lighting available to you.
                                                                                                              rossi.fernandes@thinkdigit.com

40   DIGIT mARCh 2008
                            Bazaar                                                            We test the latest hardware
                                                                                              and software products
                                                                                              available in the market

     ASUS EeePC                                                                                                                              LG KU990 Viewty
     Tiny But Functional                                                                                                                     LG Touch?

     A   fter some delays the
         EeePC was officially
     launched here in India.
                                     tions neatly sorted into cate-
                                     gories. This makes the EeePC
                                     extremely easy to use, even
                                                                      use. The build quality of the
                                                                      keyboard and the screen
                                                                      hinge is a lot better than
                                                                                                            ASUS might promote the
                                                                                                        EeePC as a children’s PC,
                                                                                                        something like the OLPC, but
                                                                                                                                             E   very company has a touch
                                                                                                                                                 screen operated phone
                                                                                                                                             and the KU990 is a 3-inch, 3G
                                                                                                                                                                               scroll through items or
                                                                                                                                                                               change sound volumes.
                                                                                                                                                                               However, this is inconvenient
                                                                                                                                                                                                                      There is a 5 MP camera
                                                                                                                                                                                                                 with a flash, and a standard
                                                                                                                                                                                                                 VGA camera for video calls.
         The EeePC is a laptop       for people who have never        we expected. The inbuilt          we’re thinking ultra-                touch screen phone from LG.       to use, and scrolling through     The 100 MB internal memory
     with a 7-inch screen that’s     used a computer before.          WiFi (802.11b/g) and              portable! Since regular lap-         The metal plate and the           menus using it is especially      is paltry, but can be sup-
     powered by a mobile Intel           The keyboard layout is       10/100Mbps LAN port take          tops with 80 GB drives and           glossy front with chrome bor-     difficult. Scrolling using the    ported by the Micro SD card
     Celeron 900 MHz processor,      compact and the keys and         care of connectivity.             standard screens are avail-          ders give the phone a stylish-    touch-screen is a little cum-     slot. The earpiece is perfect,
     512 MB of memory,               touchpad are smaller than            So what’s not to like?        able for around Rs 22,000,           yet-sturdy look.                  bersome as well—those with        but the microphone quality
     Xandros—a Linux distribu-       conventional laptops. Those      There’s no optical drive, so      and ultra compact laptops                 You will soon realise that   shaky hands might acci-           is strictly average—expect
     tion—as the OS. The interface   used to normal laptops and       installing applications is        cost over Rs 75,000, the ASUS        the main menu interface           dently launch an application      some minor crackling. The
     has been customised with        desktops will find the ASUS      going to be a bit of a            EeePC might fill a void here.        looks and feels a lot like the    off and on. There’s a full key-   speakerphone is fine, but
     the most essential applica-     EeePC slightly painful to        problem. You can’t upgrade        At Rs 18,000, it’s a steal for       HTC / iPod Touch and              board on the touch-screen,        gives out a high shrieking
                                                                      the inbuilt memory either.        something that weighs                iPhone. You can use either a      and it works well with either     sound at times. The ear-          Specifications
                                                                      As for hard drives, we got the    under a kg—as long as you            finger or stylus to slide         your fingers or the stylus—       phones that are bundled          3-inch screen (240x400), 5 MP
                                                                      4 GB version, but 2, 8 and 16     don’t plan on playing games          through menus. There’s no         our only complaint is the         with the phone... err... just    Camera, 100 MB memory,
                                                                      GB versions are available as      or watching HD movies on it.         place to store the stylus on      awkwardly-placed spacebar.        get the job done.                MicroSD slot, Dimensions: 103.5
                                                                      well. Windows versions of                                              the phone though.                                                        Great looks, a fun UI       x 54.4 x 14.8 mm, GPRS, EDGE,
                                                                      the EeePC will be launched        Specifications                            There aren’t too many         RATINGS                          and ease of use make this a      3G HSDPA, Bluetooth.
                                                                      soon. The laptop is silent, but   Intel Celeron-M 900MHz, 512MB        buttons on the phone, prima-       Features                         good phone. The touch-
                                                                      heats up after a while.           DDR2, 4GB flash drive, 7-inch        rily because of its touch          Performance                      screen could have been           Contact: LGEIL Pvt. Ltd
                                                                                                        screen (800x480), 10/100Mbps         screen functionality. There is     Build quality
                                                                                                                                                                                                                 better, and the jog dial is      Phone: 91-120-2560900
                                                                       RATINGS                          Ethernet, 802.11b/g WLAN,            a jog dial on the back of the                                       just bad. At a price of          E-mail: viveksingh@lgindia.com
                                                                                                                                                                                Value for Money
                                                                       Features                                                              phone around the camera                                             Rs 21,900, it’s a good style     Web site: www.lgindia.com
                                                                                                        Contact: ASUS Technology Pvt. Ltd.   lens which can be used to          Overall                          statement.                       Price: Rs 21,900
                                                                       Performance
                                                                       Build Quality                    Phone: 022-67668800
                                                                                                        E-mail: media_india@asus.com
                                                                       Value for Money
                                                                       Overall
                                                                                                        Web site: http://in.asus.com/
                                                                                                        Price: Rs 18,000
                                                                                                                                             Samsung NV8
                                                                                                                                             NV10’s Little Brother Is Here
     eSys Sub 10K Fighter PC                                                                                                                 T   he Samsung NV8 is the
                                                                                                                                                 younger sibling of the
                                                                                                                                                                               better indoors than
                                                                                                                                                                               outdoors. You can get
     One PC Per Child Anyone?                                                                                                                NV10 that we tested in            macro shots from up to 4
                                                                                                                                             October 2007. This is an 8        cm away with good results.

     T   he eSys Sub 10K Fighter
         PC is a minimal desktop
     PC that is aimed at people
                                     video encoding
                                     performance also takes a
                                     big hit—almost double the
                                                                                                                                             MP camera with 3x optical
                                                                                                                                             zoom, and looks and feels
                                                                                                                                             exactly like the NV10.
                                                                                                                                                                               The video quality is good,
                                                                                                                                                                               and the same macro
                                                                                                                                                                               feature works for videos
     with the most basic of          time of what an entry                                                                                       The interface on the          as well. Video resolutions
     needs. The configuration        level dual core processor                                                                               camera is simple to use,          are 640x480 and 320x240,
     of the PC isn’t hot—no          would take.                                                                                             and is controlled by the          and are saved as AVIs
     dual-core processors or            The cabinet is fairly                                                                                touch sensitive buttons on        using MPEG4 codecs. The
     even an entry level             small, but sturdy. Still, it’s                                                                          either side of the screen.        audio bitrate is 64 kbps,
     graphics card on it. The        quite obvious that quality                                                                              They’re easy to use, but          though the quality is
     processor is a 939-pin AMD      wasn’t the highest priority                                                                             take a little getting used        nothing special.
     Sempron 3000+ on a VIA          when this PC was built. If                                                                              to. The camera has a rough           Face detection and
     K8M800-based                    looks aren’t important to                                                                               matte finish with a 2.5-          image stabilisation are
     motherboard that has            you, you will be fine with                                                                              inch screen.                      present as features, but
     everything integrated.          the cabinet, but the             for that price” analogy,          Specifications                           Image quality is also         image stabilization only          for videos, a small area of      2448px), 2.5” screen, ISO
         The performance is as       monitor will still               but the bottom line is            AMD Sempron 3000+, 512MB             very similar to the NV10.         kick in when you turn the         the capture is cropped.          Rating: 100—3200, Shutter
     low as we expected—             embarrass you.                   that it could use a little        DDR400 RAM, Onboard VIA              The clarity and crispness is      mode knob to ASR                      This camera is pretty        speed range: 1/1500th sec—
     3DMark 2005 churned out            One could use the             design love.                      S3G Unichrome Pro IGP, 120GB         there, and higher ISO             (Advanced Shake                   much the NV10 with a             15secs, Dimensions: 96.5 x 60
     a score of 1618—pathetic.       “what do you expect                  The low price tag of Rs       Seagate Baracuda HDD, 15”            levels give out a little grain    Reduction). If you use ASR        lower MP rating. This            x 18.6mm, Weight: 151.7gm.
     Even a basic PCI-E graphics                                      9,990 makes everything an         CRT monitor.                         in the image. The colours                                           average performing camera
     card would have helped—          RATINGS                         acceptable compromise,                                                 aren’t very vibrant, and           RATINGS                          is priced at Rs 13,990, and
     and the motherboard only         Feature                         especially for those who          Contact: Esys Information            have a washed look to              Feature                          to be frank, there are better    Contact: Samsung India Electronics
     has an AGP slot for              Performance                     do nothing but chat,              Technologies Ltd                     them—especially in                 Performance                      cameras available in the         Pvt. Ltd.
     expansion. HD (1080p)            Value for Money                 e-mail and surf all day,          Phone: +91-9313890776                outdoor lighting.                  Build Quality                    same price range.                Phone: 011-41511234
     videos were unwatchable,         Build Quality
                                                                      or for schools and                E-mail: ankurjain@esysmail.com           Indoor shooting is a           Value for Money                                                   E-mail: jitender.c@samsung.com
     and the lack of a dual-core                                      educational institutions.         Web site: www.esys.in                different story altogether,                                         Specifications                   Web site: www.samsung.com/in
                                      Overall                                                                                                                                   Overall
     processor means that                                                                               Price: Rs 9,990                      and the NV8 seems to be                                             8.1 Megapixel (3264 x            Price: Rs 13,990

42   DIGIT MARCH 2008                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            MARCH 2008 DIGIT      43
     Digital Tools l Bazaar

     Steelseries Ikari Optical Mouse and Steelseries 5L
     Steal-series It’s Not!

     S  teelseries, like Razer, are
        known as dedicated
     professional gaming
                                      entire palm on the mouse.
                                      The finish of the mouse is
                                      similar to the MX518—a
     hardware manufacturers.          glossy plastic centre and an
     One of their latest              anti-bacterial matte finish
     contributions is the Ikari       on either side. It’s lighter
     Optical Mouse and the 5L         than the MX518, but more
     mousepad.                        reactive in-game.
         The mouse uses an                Other than the 3
     optical sensor that has a        standard buttons, there is a
     resolution of 400 to             button on top that switches
     1600dpi. The mouse tracks        the dpi. We did have some
     well, and is a little better     problems with the               works well with any mouse.         rating of 4/5.
     than the Logitech MX518. It      buttons—the left click kept     The only issues with it are            The Steelseries Akari
     has four huge feet that          getting stuck. The dpi          that it does get dirty pretty      Optical is an expensive
     allow it to slide around         toggles between two             fast, and the edges around         mouse as well—Rs 4,249.
     easily on any surface.           settings that need to be set    it are a little sharp. It’s also   The tracking is excellent,
         The wide shape of the        using the drivers. There’s      a hard pad so it’s not             but the benefits of using
     mouse suites those of you        not much of a choice            something you can roll up          such a mouse might not
     with larger hands, and           though—400/800, 400/1600        and carry with you. At Rs          justify the price you pay
     you’ll be able to rest your      and 800/1600 dpi are the        2,849, only those who              for it.
                                      only profiles you can           consider themselves
                                      choose from. Switching          professional gamers, or            Specifications
                                      between DPIs takes a            those with money to blow           Sensor resolution: 1600dpi,
                                        second or two, so it’s not    will buy it. For plain             Polling rate: 1000Hz, 5 buttons,
                                          something you can do        performance, we give it a          2m braided cord
                                            during a game.
                                                 We used the           RATINGS
                                              Steelseries 5L along     Features                          Contact: SteelSeries ApS / Vstreet
                                               with the Akari          Performance                       Netserve Pvt. Ltd.
                                               Optical and it          Value for Monery                  Phone: +91-79-40020127
                                               performed very          Build quality                     E-mail: sales@v-street.net
                                               well. The surface is                                      Web site: www.v-street.net
                                                                       Overall
                                              very smooth and it                                         Price: Rs 4,249


     Odyssey Internet Multimedia Keyboard-Mouse
     Nothing Special

     T  he Odyssey Internet
        Multimedia Keyboard
     Mouse is a wired optical
     mouse and a multimedia
     keyboard combo.
         The keyboard has a
     standard layout, and the
     keys don’t offer good
     feedback. It has
     multimedia keys to control
     your browser and other
     multimedia applications,
     though funnily, the volume       high-end gaming mice, or        that has a good feel, but          Unfortunately, that’s all it
     controls are placed near         even USB ones. The mouse        not enough feedback when           has going for it. Bottom
     the directional arrow keys.      is sturdy though, and has a     scrolling.                         line? An acceptable
     The keyboard comes with a        glowing blue scroll wheel           The shape of the mouse         keyboard but a terrible
     detachable palm rest, but                                        is actually pretty                 mouse.
     attaching the palm rest           RATINGS                        comfortable to use, and
     takes some doing, while           Features                       bumping the refresh rate
     removing it is just               Performance                    to 200 cycles a second             Contact: Compuage Infocom Ltd.
     downright painful.                Build quality                  improves the performance           Phone: +91-9212100193
         The mouse is a PS2            Value for Money
                                                                      a tad.                             E-mail: info@compuageindia.com
     mouse, so tracking is                                                At Rs 400, this keyboard-      Web site: www.compuageindia.com
                                       Overall
     nowhere as smooth as                                             mouse combo is dirt cheap.         Price: Rs 400

44   DIGIT MARCH 2008
     Digital Tools l Bazaar

     Zenith Admirale
     The Value Laptop For Office

     Z   enith has launched three
         affordable laptops for
     entry-level consumers and
                                      clear sound, though not
                                      particularly loud. The dim
                                      TFT subtracts from the
     students: Admirale, Director     movie experience
     and Presidio. The cost cutting   obviously. TV-out and D-Sub
     is evident from the start—this   ports will let you show
     Santa Rosa laptop has a low-     your presentations on
     powered Intel T2310              bigger screens.
     processor running at 1460            It’s obvious that the
     MHz. The 2 GB of RAM is a        laptop is aimed at the office
     pleasant surprise in an entry-   segment, and it does well in
     level laptop. The lustrous       this regard. The batteries
     grey body looks good and is      lasted for 2 hours 43           you can easily upgrade to a
     rugged; even the hinges seem     minutes in our battery          more powerful version of       Specifications
     strong and the single latch      drain test, which is pretty     Vista. An integrated Web       Intel T2310 Dual Core processor-
     on the lid allows you to open    good. It should last a lot      cam would have been a          1460 MHz, 533 MHz FSB; 2 GB
     it with one hand.                longer if office applications   worthwhile and inexpensive     667 MHz DDR2 RAM @533 MHz;
         The 14.1-inch display is     are all that you will use.      value-add, and could have      120 GB hard drive; DVD Writer;
     one of the dimmest TFTs we           Windows Vista Starter       found use for office           14.1-inch WXGA monitor,
     have seen. Forget outdoors,      Edition is the OS loaded,       applications such as video     Resolution: 1280x800;
     you may have difficulty          and it runs well thanks to      conferencing.                  Connectivity: Gigabit LAN, 56
     viewing it indoors if the        the 2 GB of RAM. If needed,         At just Rs 27,990, this    Kbps Modem, WiFi 802.11g; SD
     room is brightly lit.                                            laptop strikes the right       memory slot; Bundled OS:
         The keypad is spacious        RATINGS                        balance between price,         Windows Vista Starter Edition
     and comfortable, and the         Features                        performance and
     keys offer good feedback.        Performance                     portability, and we            Contact: Zenith Computers Ltd
     The touchpad is good too,        Build quality                   recommend it for office        Phone: 022-28377300
     and we have no complaints.       Value for Money
                                                                      work. If you look hard         E-mail: info@zenith-india.com
     Movie playback is good,                                          enough, though, you could      Web site: www.zenith-india.com
                                      Overall
     and the speakers produce                                         find better bargains.          Price: Rs 27,990



     Transcend T.photo 710
     The Photo Frame Just Went Digital

     T   ranscend’s T.photo 710
         is a 1 GB photo frame
     that looks like any other
                                      on to it like you would
                                      with any other drive. It’s
                                      not just photos that you
     photo frame, but there’s         can use the T.photo 710
     more to it.                      for—it can also be your
         The T.photo 710 is a         music player. It has inbuilt
     fairly stylish looking frame,    speakers for that, as well as
     with a design that’s not too     a headphone jack, should
     modern or too classic. The       you want to
     7-inch TFT display is sur-       connect headphones or
     rounded by a transparent         your speakers to it.
     border with an accented              The interface is
     outline. It must be said         colourful, and using the        cially when you’re using       have a remote controlled
     that the frame itself is         frame is simple as today’s      manual controls on the         photo frame that’s also your
     quite large. You can hang it     PMPs. The remote control        remote to browse through       music player and your
     on a wall or place it on a       works fine up to a distance     large JPEG images taken on     alarm clock.
     table or shelf.                  of 10-12ft. The transition      your camera for example.
         There is 1 GB of             from one image to the           The quality of the screen      Specifications
     onboard memory, and you          other isn’t as reactive as      also is pretty good with       7-inch TFT screen, 1GB internal
     can also use SD, MMC,            you’d want it to be espe-       wide viewing angles.           memory, D/SDHC/MMC/MS/CF
     Memory Stick,                                                        There’s one issue with     Cards/USB Flash drives
     CompactFlash or even USB          RATINGS                        the photo frame though—        supported
     Flash drives, so there’s no      Features                        there’s a thick power cable
     real limit to how much           Performance                     that ruins its elegance—a      Contact: Supertron Electronics Ltd.
     media you can use on it.         Build quality                   battery powered, thinner       Phone: 23881397/23881924
     You can also connect your        Value for Money
                                                                      frame and a larger screen.     E-mail: info@supertronindia.com
     PC to the photo frame and                                        At Rs 6,000, the price seems   Web site: www.supertronindia.com
                                      Overall
     directly dump your media                                         just right, considering you    Price: Rs 6,000

46   DIGIT MARCH 2008
     Digital Tools l Bazaar

      ASUS EN8800GT 1GB
      An 8800GT With The Ultimate Top-up Plan!

      T   he ASUS 8800GT is like
          any other 8800GT, except
      this one has been filled to
                                     with temperatures hovering
                                     around the 50º C mark.
                                         Even with FSAA turned
      the brim with a whopping 1     up to 4x and Antistrophic
      GB of memory. This isn’t       filtering to 8x, we were able
      the only 1GB card to come      to very respectable frame
      to our labs—the Palit          rates in Company of Heroes,
      8500GT was another one,        F.E.A.R. and Doom 3, but the                                                            The ASUS 8800GT 1GB                                                          there are no clear benefits
      but didn’t quite outperform    frame rate was only                                                                 comes with no bundled                                                            from using the much large
      the other 8500GT-based         fractionally more than the                                                          games, and at a price of Rs                                                      frame buffer. If you have set
      cards. Could it be a similar   standard 512 MB 8800GTs.                                                            18,900. It’s evident that                                                        a higher budget for a card,
      fate for this card?                                                                                                                                                                                 then this 8800GT 1GB could
           First things first—the                                                                                                                                                                         be worth it—if you can get it
      1GB card doesn’t come with                                                             Comparison Chart                                                                                             for around Rs 15,000 in the
      the standard NVIDIA cooler:      140                                                                                                                                                                market. Anything over that,
      it’s been replaced by a                                                                                                                                                                             and you’re better off saving
                                       120
      much more robust and                                                                                                                                                                                for a 512 MB 8800GTS.
                                                                  120




      chunky cooler and an




                                                                                                                                                                      105.4
                                       100                                                    103.6
                                             102
                                                       103




                                                                                                         101.9
                                                                                                                 100.8
      equally good fan. There’s no                                                                                                                                                                        Specifications




                                                                                                                                                                                                   91.1
                                                                                                                                                   89
                                                                                                                                                           86.4
      cooling for the memory,           80                                                                                                                                                                GeForce 8800GT, 1GB DDR3,
                                                                                        85




                                                                                                                          82.6
                                                                                                                                    79.6
                                                                                                                                            78.3




                                                                                                                                                                              77.1
                                                                                                                                                                                         76.3
                                                                        74
                                                                                73




      though. Overall, it’s very        60
                                                                                                                                                                                                          PCI-E 1 and 2 supported,
      quiet and runs just fine                                                                                                                                                                            DirectX 10 complaint, Shader
                                        40                                                                                                                                                                Model 4.0 supported
       RATINGS
                                        20
       Performance
       Features                         0                                                                                                                                                                 Contact: ASUS Technology Pvt. Ltd.
                                                                                                                                       C.O.H.
                                                                                                                                 (1920x1200)
                                                                                 F.E.A.R.
                                                                             (1600x1200)




                                                                                                                                                                                            Prey
                                                                                                                                                                                     (1920x1200)
                                                       F.E.A.R.
                                                   (1280x960)




                                                                                                            C.O.H.
                                                                                                      (1600x1200)




                                                                                                                                                               Prey
                                                                                                                                                        (1600x1200)
                                                                                                                                                                                                          Phone: 022-67668800
       Bundle
                                                                                                                                                                                                          E-mail: Media_india@asus.com
       Value for Money
                                                                                                                                                                                                          Web site: http://in.asus.com/
       Overall                                       ASUS 8800GT 1GB                             Palit 8800GT 512                                  XFX 8800GTX
                                                                                                                                                                                                          Price: Rs 18,900


      AMD DTX form factor                                                                                                the memory card reader
                                                                                                                         and optical disc drives.
      The Environment’s New Green Buddy                                                                                  Things do tend to get hot
                                                                                                                         because of the cramped

      N    ot everyone wants to
           play games, and the
      performance you can get
                                         To keep it quiet, the CPU
                                     fan has been surrounded by
                                     a thick foam packing. The
                                                                                                                         layout, though.
                                                                                                                             In encoding tests and
                                                                                                                         general synthetic tests on
      out of today’s PC is a lot     size of the motherboard                                                             SiSoft Sandra, results were
      more than required for         itself is a tad smaller than                                                        average. The advantage of
      basic office applications      the standard Micro-ATX.                                                             using a dual-core processor
      and movie playback, for        Even the hard drive is                                                              was obvious as well—it ate
      example. AMD believes it’s     mounted vertically next to                                                          through the 1080p HD
      time for cheap and                                                                                                      clips that we threw at
      quiet low-power PCs to                                                                                                  it. This setup isn’t cut
      make their mark and                                                                                                     out as a gaming PC at
      they’ve been pushing                                                                                                    all—Doom 3 struggling
      hard for it.                                                                                                            at just 20fps at 800 x
           The DTX system                                                                                                     600 and medium
      uses a dual-core                                                                                                        settings. The
      Athlon X2 BE-2350.                                                                                                      performance in Far
      The machine that we                                                                                                     Cry was a little better at                                                  manufacturers. There’s also
      tested came with 1 GB                                                                                                   40fps at minimum                                                            a growing demand and
      of RAM and an                                                                                                           settings, but gaming                                                        trend in compact form
      onboard graphics                                                                                                        really isn’t going to be                                                    factors as people start
      solution. The entire PC                                                                                                 its forte.                                                                  moving their PCs into their
      was housed in a                                                                                                              As power efficient,                                                    living rooms. If AMD is to
      compact case with all                                                                                                   quiet and cheap                                                             market this product as an
      the bells and whistles.                                                                                                 machine, it has                                                             entry level PC or an HTPC, it
      No PS2 ports on this                                                                                                    everything going for it                                                     has everything necessary to
      machine, so you will                                                                                                    especially when there’s                                                     be a possible hit if they
      have to use a USB                                                                                                       support from a large                                                        keep the price around the
      keyboard and mouse.                                                                                                     number of hardware                                                          Rs 10,000 mark.

48   DIGIT MARCH 2008
     Digital Tools l Bazaar                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Digital Tools l Bazaar

     Samsung SCX-4500                                                                                                                         Canon PIXMA MP610
     The Black beauty                                                                                                                         All-in-One With A Class
     S  amsung’s SCX-4500 is a
        multi-function device
     (MFD) that doesn’t look like
                                        built-in OCR, colour correc-
                                        tion, etc.
                                            Performance-wise, the                                                                             T   he MP610 is the latest in
                                                                                                                                                  the PIXMA range of inkjet
                                                                                                                                                                                command wheel. The card
                                                                                                                                                                                reader is located just besides
     one. The paper cassette has a      SCX-4500 delivered 14 pages                                                                           multifunction devices from        the output tray and it accepts
     miniscule 100-sheet capacity;      in a minute. Our taxing                                                                               Canon. Successor to the           almost all types of memory
     this eliminates the of SCX-        combi-document was printed                                                                            feature rich PIXMA MP600,         cards except for xD card; bad
     4500 as a shared office            in 16 seconds—not the fastest,     largely                                                            the new device boasts of          luck if you own Fuji or
     resource. The detachable           but not slow at all. Print         depends                                                            significant upgrades to the       Olympus cameras.
     output tray can hardly hold        quality is typical Samsung—        on the                                                             scanner unit.                         The MP610 takes five
     any pages. There are very few      dark, sharp and crisp. Text is     source—                                                                 Like previous MFDs from      cartridges and they clip on to
     buttons on the top, and all of     immaculately reproduced,           coloured pages                                                     Canon, the MP610 has dual         the head assembly. These
     them are touch operated. The       ditto with reversed text. The      are copied perfectly,                                              paper feeding mechanisms—a        cartridges are illuminated
     LED display offers limited         printer unit reproduced all        but black-and-white                          suitable as a         top-loading tray at the back      Red when clipped properly         taxed with best quality. Our        At Rs 17,995, the MP610
     information, and general           hues in the grey scale spec-       pages aren’t reproduced             personal MFD or for a          and the bottom cassette.          into place. It features USB 2.0   photograph was printed in 70    is reasonably priced for the
     errors such as paper empty,        trum—quite good from a             that well—especially news-      very small workgroup.              Both these trays can hold a       and the port is located at the    seconds—relatively fast. On     features and performance
     paper jams are indicated via       laser printer. The copier unit     paper clippings etc. The                                           maximum of 150 sheets. The        back of the machine.              the quality front, the MP610    on offer.
     red glowing icons.                 also performs admirably—the        scanner unit does a decent      Specifications                     paper-feed selector switch on         The MP610 raced though        is very similar to other
         Installing the toner car-      speed is fast, but quality isn’t   job at acceptable speeds.       Mono laser, 600 dpi print, 16      the top can be used for           the speed test and delivered      PIXMA printers—sharp text       Specifications
     tridge is simple—a catch           among the best we’ve seen.         Edge-to-edge sharpness is       ppm, flatbed scanner, 600 x        selecting either tray.            the first print within 10         and negligible feathering.      Thermal Inkjet, 300 paper
     below the scanner deck             The quality of the copy            excellent, and details are      2400 dpi scan, copy without             On the front, above the      seconds. For the combi-           Photographs were stunningly     capacity, 2400 x 9600 dpi print,
     opens the cartridge bay and                                           well-preserved.                 PC, USB 2.0 and Samsung            scanner unit, a fold up tilting   document, it took around 34       reproduced—colour rendition     14 PPM, five separate ink tanks,
     the slim cartridge fits in with     RATINGS                               At Rs 10,999, the           SmarThru driver                    panel has a 65mm TFT              seconds on normal printing        was spot on.                    4800 x 9600 dpi scan, copy
     hardly any effort—good for          Features                          Samsung SCX-4500 is sweetly                                        display and the button            quality and 50 seconds when           The scanner is fast—        without PC, SD/MMC,MS, CF
     non-technical consumers.            Performance                       priced. This stylish printer    Contact: Samsung India Pvt Ltd     console. The TFT display is                                         preview times really amazed     support and auto-duplexer.
     Samsung’s ScanThru applica-                                           strikes the right chords—you    Phone: 011-41511234                crisp and can easily rival any     RATINGS                          us, and scanning is equally
                                         Build quality
     tion takes care of setting the      Value for Money                   get a beautiful-looking MFD     E-mail: anupam.k@samsung.com       high-end cell phone screen.        Features                         fast too. The quality at 300
     printer on the PC side. It also                                       that delivers where it mat-     Web site: www.samsung.com/in       The control buttons are            Performance                      dpi was good, though details    Contact: Canon India Pvt Ltd
                                         Overall
     has additional features for                                           ters. The SCX-4500 is more      Price: Rs 10,999                   logical, and the command           Ease of Use                      have an over-sharpened feel     Phone: 1800-345-33-66
                                                                                                                                              wheel is easy to use.              Value for Money
                                                                                                                                                                                                                  to them. Copying is fast        E-mail: info@canon.co.in
                                                                                                                                              Browsing the menu is                                                thanks to the brilliant         Web site: www.canon.co.in
                                                                                                                                                                                 Overall
     Canon PowerShot SX100 IS                                                                                                                 intuitive, thanks to the                                            printer and scanner unit.       Price: Rs 17,995

     Easy Snapper!
                                                                                                                                              Western Digital RE2-GP WD1000FYPS
     T   he Canon PowerShot
         SX100 IS is the first ultra-
     zoom camera boasting 10x
                                        manual focus, colour swap-
                                        ping, panorama mode and
                                        so on. The 10x optical zoom
                                                                           performs admirably even in
                                                                           low ISO settings—we got
                                                                           excellent photographs even
                                                                                                           abroad, ask them to get you
                                                                                                           this camera.                       Going Green Is Costly!
     optical zoom in its compact        combined with an excellent         at 80 ISO. Higher sensitivity   Specifications
     body. Touted as the perfect
     camera in the hands of any
                                        image stabilisation works
                                        wonders taking distance
                                                                           ISO setting such as ISO 800
                                                                           and 1600 are completely use-
                                                                                                           8 MP, 10X optical zoom, Image
                                                                                                           stabilization, 2.5-inch display,
                                                                                                                                              E   verything seems to be
                                                                                                                                                  about saving the
                                                                                                                                              environment these days,
                                                                                                                                                                                where the RE2-GP actually
                                                                                                                                                                                catches up to the Caviar
                                                                                                                                                                                SE16 is in the SiSoft tests
     family member, we found it         shots. The flash on this           less—grainy images.             Manual focus, Scene modes,         and Western Digital’s latest      with data rates sequential
     to be true—the SX100 IS is         camera is simply superb—in             Working with manual         Video capture, SD memory card      drive with the GP badge is        and random file transfers
     simple to use, and delivers        fact, the best flash we have       focus and macro was fun,        (512 MB included)                  all about green computing.        differentiated by just 1 to
     superb photographs with            seen on any point-and-shoot        and it delivered some really                                       GP stands for Green Power,        2MBps. HD-Tach also               degrees
     minimum tweaking.                  camera. The SX100 IS uses          good shots. The best part       Contact: Canon India Pvt Ltd       and WD claims these drive         recorded similar data             C cooler
         The SX100 is relatively        AA size batteries—on an            about SX100 IS is the ease      Phone: 1800-345-33-66              are more energy-efficient.        transfer rates. In real-world     than the
     bulky and can only be car-         alkaline pair, we got around       with which anyone can take      E-mail: info@canon.co.in           The one we have for review        tests where files were            others after some
     ried around in a pouch—too         120 photographs; using Ni-         good photographs. Video         Web site: www.canon.co.in          is a 1 Terabyte monster. The      copied to and from the            intensive
     large for any pocket. Similar      MH, batteries we got 400           capture is excellent. A 20-     Price: Rs 19,000                   drive has been developed to       drive, the RE2-GP fell            benchmarks—which is
     to other A-series cameras          shots—terrific. The down-          second video requires 30                                           give as much performance          behind other drives.              a lot. It is also very quiet,       necessary, it’s something
     from Canon, the SX100 has a        side to the use of AA bat-         MB of space.                                                       as possible while keeping             The temperatures tell         and the sound of the drive      you would want to buy—but
     plastic body, however it is        teries is the flash recycle            Priced at Rs 19,000, the                                       power down, by making             the entire story, though.         itself is drowned out by        it’s still is too costly to
     well put together and exudes       time—painfully long, and           PowerShot SX100 IS is cer-                                         optimum use of the cache          Just by feeling the drives        any fast fans that may be       consider for home use.
     a built-to-last feel. Instead of   becomes noticeable when            tainly expensive in                                                and spin speeds of the            we were using, it was clear       running—such as the
     a five way rocker, the SX100       batteries are low.                 India. At less than                                                drive. WD claims that the         the RE2 GP drive was              graphics card fan.              Specifications
     IS has a rotating click wheel          Colour rendition is accu-      $300 (Rs 12,000)                                                   power consumption for the         considerably cooler. At               The RE2 series isn’t        Capacity: 1 TB, 16 MB Buffer,
     for browsing the menu—             rate and natural. The camera       abroad, the                                                        drive is 3-4 Watts less than      around 40 degrees C, the          aimed at the desktop            SATA-II Interface, Perpendicular
     quite intuitive to use.                                               camera is a steal                                                  the others.                       WD RE2 GP ran some 7              market. The price for the       recording
         The SX100 IS an 8               RATINGS                           for the features                                                       Considering this is a                                           drive is Rs 17,000, which is
     Megapixel camera with 10x          Features                           and performance                                                    RAID Edition drive, the            RATINGS                          a whole lot more than a
     optical zoom, face detection       Performance                        it offers. If you                                                  performance isn’t near the         Features                         standard 1 TB drive. The        Contact: Western Digital
     and image stabilisation. The       Ease of Use                        have any friends                                                   best by any standards. Even        Performance                      performance is above            Phone: 9321029204
     camera has other features                                             coming from                                                        the desktop Caviar SE16            Value for Money                  average, but if low             E-mail: amarjeet.singh@wdc.com
                                        Value for Money
     typical to the A series of                                                                                                               drives beat it in many             Overall                          temperatures, reliability       Web site: www.wdc.com
                                        Overall
     cameras—scene modes,                                                                                                                     places. The only place                                              and low noise emissions are     Price: Rs 17,000

50   DIGIT MARCH 2008                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              MARCH 2008 DIGIT   51
     Digital Tools l Bazaar

     Palit N73PV
     Aged nForce Powered Entry Level Board

     T   he Palit N73PV is a
         micro-ATX format
     LGA775 motherboard for
                                    upgrading that you might
                                    want to do. There are only 2
                                    DIMM slots, which means
     Intel processors. It’s based   you can’t plug in more than
     on the nForce 610i chipset     2 GB of RAM.
     and uses the GeForce 7100          The layout of the board
     as the graphics solution. It   is compact, and there are
     has native support or 1333     no major flaws with it. A
     MHz processors, so the         graphics card with a large
     Core 2 Duo E6x50               cooler could render the        is no supplied software                                                         regular use with an
     processors will run            adjoining PCI slot useless     other than the necessary                                                        extremely tight budget.
     without the need to flash      leaving only 1 slot for        drivers for the board.
     the BIOS.                      expansion—a TV tuner card          For users who are                                                           Specifications
         The focus is on being an   for example. Luckily, the      looking for performance in                                                      NVIDIA MCP73PV, Upto 1333
     entertainment board—it         SATA ports have no such        a gaming machine, there                                                         MHz FSB, Socket 775, 4 SATA
     features a DVI-D port and a    issues. The bundle is          are cheap P35 based                                                             ports, Realtek ALC883 7.1
     7.1 channel Realtek HD         extremely basic, and there     motherboards available                                                          Channel Audio, Realtek Gigabit
     audio onboard sound card.                                     starting from around Rs                                                         network controller
         The onboard graphics        RATINGS                       4,500 which would make a
     solution isn’t great, with      Features                      better buy than the Palit
     Doom 3 giving frame rates in    Performance                   N73PV. The price for this                                                       Contact: Tirupati Enterprises
     the 20s on medium settings      Bundle
                                                                   motherboard is a mere Rs                                                        Phone: 09339207519
     and low resolutions. There                                    2,950 which makes it ideal                                                      E-mail: abhishek@tirupati.net
                                     Value for Money
     is a PCI-E 16x slot and two                                   for anyone building a HTPC,                                                     Web site: www.palit.biz
     standard PCI slots for any      Overall                       or maybe just a PC for                                                          Price: Rs 2,950


     Intel Core 2 Duo E8500                                                                                                  Comparison Chart

     Leader Of The Wolf Pack                                        350

                                                                    300


     I t’s all afterburners on at   additional cores on the
                                                                                                                              286.6




                                                                                                                                                    282.7
                                                                                                                                       264




                                                                                                                                                              262
                                                                     250
       Intel with their             quad core cannot be
                                                                                                                                             220




                                                                                                                                                                    219


                                                                                                                                                                          221
     aggressive assault by          matched with a dual core



                                                                                                                                                                                  215
                                                                    200




                                                                                                                                                                                                        194
     releasing the Wolfdale line    processor just yet even with




                                                                                                                                                                                                192
                                                                                                                                                                                          175




                                                                                                                                                                                                                 170
                                                                                                      171.17




                                                                     150
                                                                                                                 160




     of processors. It’s an         such a fast core. This means
                                                                           152.01
                                                                                       142




                                                                                                                       133




     unexpected release, and        even the low-end quad core
                                                                                                118




                                                                    100
     there hasn’t been enough       Q6600 shoots ahead in the
     action from the AMD            rendering and video              50

     Phenoms that released at       encoding tests. For gaming,       0
                                                                                                                                                             Doom 3
                                                                                                                                                            800x600
                                                                                                                 Far Cry
                                                                                                               800x600




                                                                                                                                                                                                           CoH
                                                                                                                                                                                                      1024x768
                                                                                      Far Cry
                                                                                    640x480




                                                                                                                                       Doom 3
                                                                                                                                      640x480




                                                                                                                                                                                    CoH
                                                                                                                                                                                800x600



     the end of last year. Things   the quad core is no match
     have definitely not gone as    for the E8500 because
     planned. The E8500 is the      games hardly exploit the
                                                                                      Intel C2D E8500                            Intel E6850                              Intel Q6600
     spearhead processor of this    four cores. The
     new attack early in the        temperature, despite higher
     year. One of the biggest       ambient temperatures, was      E8xxx processors—they’re
     changes in these processors    just around 50 degrees C       faster, cooler and much
     is the move to 45nm            after some heavy               better bang for the
     fabrication process, which     benchmark bombardment.         buck. The games that
     means cooler processors.           The performance            make proper use
     The other changes in the       increase throughout all the    of quad cores
     E8500 are the 6 MB L2          benchmarks from the            processors are
     cache (up from 4 MB) and       E6850 is more or less 10-15    still
     the core speed—a dizzying      per cent, while the            awaited,
     3.16 GHz.                      processors are all priced in   and
         All the synthetic          the market at pretty much      until
     benchmarks showed the          exactly the same as the        they
     expected boost in scores.      earlier Core 2 Duos. The       arrive,
     The real-world rendering       new processors then            the E8500 is
     benchmark—Cinebench—           become better value for        an excellent
     also gave a fairly large       money. Anyone planning         choice for gaming
     increment in performance       on upgrading to an E6850       rigs. Prices for the
     in rendering but the           should switch tracks and go    E8500 should be around
     benefit of the two             for the E8500 or the other     Rs 13,000.

52   DIGIT MARCH 2008
                                                                                                                                 Digital Tools l Tips & Tricks




                                                                                                                           Now use search engines of your choice

                                                                                                                           Search Options, which is located at
                                                                                                                           the right of the search box. A drop down
                                                                                                                           menu will appear, with options for
                                                                                                                           adding other search engines. Click on
                                          SECRETS THAT KEEP YOU AHEAD IN THE RACE
                                                                                                                           the Find More Providers. Select
  TIPS                                                        30 MINUTES EXPERT
                                                                                                                           from a list of search engines comprising
  IE 7 And Add-ons . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 53       Wings3D . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 56
  Soundforge . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 55     Windows Batch Files . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 58           Google, Ask, Lycos, Wikipedia and
  Windows Vista . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 57                                                                   Amazon. Click on any of these to install
                                                                                                                           them. Although the list is long, in case
                                                                                                                           you don’t find your favourite search
                                                                                                                           engine, enter the URL in the text field to
IE 7 AND ADD-ONS                                                        Bookmarks                                          install it to your browser.
                                                                    The bookmark toolbar is very                               If you have disabled the Google
                                                              useful for obvious reasons, but there is                     toolbar, you can search for any item
       he latest version of Internet                          no such toolbar enabled by default in IE                     without typing it in the search box. Just

T      Explorer has significantly evolved
       from its earlier iterations with
enhanced features, improved security
                                                              7. To enable it, hit the [Alt] key and go
                                                              to View > Toolbars > Links. Drag
                                                              and drop the icons from the address bar
                                                                                                                           type your search string in the address
                                                                                                                           bar itself. If it consists of more than one
                                                                                                                           word, the Google search page will be
and crispier looks.                                           or even a link from a Web page. The new                      displayed automatically with all the
     In terms of extending the features                       links are visible once you click on the                      results. Depending on the string, if an
of the basic browser, IE 7 can be coupled                     arrow at the extreme right of the                            exact match is found the browser
with add-ons, which though not as                             toolbar. Deleting the bookmarks is as                        redirects you to the first result,
numerous as Firefox, still does a pretty                      easy as right clicking and then clicking                     otherwise accessible by the “I am feeling
good job.                                                     on the Delete button.                                        lucky” button.

      Favourites                                                        Search                                                  Manage Add-ons
     IE 7 has newer features and more                              Similar to Firefox, Microsoft has                            Apart from third party add-ons,
options when it comes to organising                           thankfully ditched its Windows Live                          which you can install for productivity,
your favourites. The Favorite items                           Search functionality by allowing users                       IE comes with add-ons such as Java and
represented by a bright yellow five-                          to use other search engines. To use this                     Adobe Reader. Whenever you notice a
pointed star.                                                 function, click on the arrow labelled                        reduction in browsing speeds, check the
                                                                                                                           memory consumed by IE in the Task
     Shortcuts                                                                                                             Manager. In case it’s extremely high,
                                                                                                                           disable all the add-ons installed from
          shortcuts make
 Keyboardown long list, andyour job easier, especially when you use heavy software. IE
  has its                   recalling them will do you good.                                                               Tools > Internet Options >
                                                                                                                           Programs > Manage add-ons.
 Go back to the last page                                            [Alt] + [Left Arrow]                                  However, you need Windows XP Service
 Go forward to the next page                                         [Alt] + [Right Arrow]                                 Pack 2 installed for this. Look through
 Focus the Address Bar                                               [Alt] + [D]                                           the list and disable all add-ons such as
 Add site to favorites                                               [Ctrl] + [D]                                          Browser Helper Objects and Browser
 Open the right click context menu for selected item                 [Shift] + [F10]                                       Extensions. You can enable these later, if
 Open links in a background tab                                      [Ctrl] + [Click/Middle-click]                         you want to. Also, be a little more wary
 Close current tab                                                   [Ctrl] + [W]/Middle-click on the tab                  while installing add-ons that are ActiveX
 Switch to the last tab                                              [Ctrl] + [9]                                          objects. These have the nasty reputation
 Close other tabs                                                    [Ctrl] + [Alt] + [F4]                                 of triggering security holes.
 Open quick tabs                                                     [Ctrl] + [Q]
 Go to the search box                                                [Ctrl] + [E]                                               Editing The Registry
 Open search query in new Tab                                        [Alt] + [Enter]                                             There are certain hacks in the
 Bring down the search provider menu                                 [Ctrl] + [Down Arrow]                                 registries that can make IE 7 look more
 Open Favorites Center to your favourites                            [Ctrl] + [I]                                          like IE6 in terms of the positioning of
 Open a new tab                                                      [Ctrl] + [T]/Double click on the tab bar              the menu bar. Proceed with care: the
 Zoom the page                                                       Ctrl + [+],[-] / [Ctrl] + scroll whell                usual statutory warnings when it comes
 Display classic menu items                                          [Alt]                                                 to registry editing apply here.
                                                                                                                               Go to Start > Run and type

                                                                                                                                                      DIGIT MARCH 2008   53
     Digital Tools l Tips & Tricks                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Digital Tools l Tips & Tricks
                                                      [Ctrl] + [X] that lets you undo the                                                           significantly improve your Internet          offered, they also offer a 30 day free         and detailing them would exceed the
                                                      closed tab. This is a free extension and                                                      browsing experience.                         trial—get it on this month’s DVD.              available space. Take, for instance, the
                                                      can be downloaded from http://tinyurl.                                                            In the Registry editor, go to            Whenever you open a file in                    Envelope option (Effects >
                                                      com/3yzhlv                                                                                    HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE/Software/Mi               Soundforge, the track is displayed in a        Envelope). Envelope is a tool used to
                                                                                                                                                    crosoft/Windows/Current                      series of waves and troughs, resembling        make the soft parts sound louder and
                                                      Inline Search: This add-on mimics the                                                         Version/Explorer/RemoteCompute               seismograms. From the graph, you               lower the volume of the louder parts.
     Old look in the new browser                      find as you type functionality of Firefox.                                                    r/NameSpace/{D6277990-4C6A-                  could figure out regions with either a         You can adjust the volume depending
                                                                                                                                                    11CF-8D87-00AA0060F5BF} and                  high pitch or, say, low bass.                  on some preset parameters. It is used
     regedit. Navigate to                                                                                                                           delete the key named Printers. That                                                         when you need to give different types
     HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Micr                                                                                                                ought to do the trick.                             Effects                                  of “fade” effects. You have custom
     osoft\Internet Explorer\Toolbar                                                                                                                   For opening up to 16 simultaneous               You enjoy a particular soundtrack,       effects provided, however by using the
     \WebBrowser and click on it to view                                                                                                            connections with the remote server,          but don’t want to hear the applause at         graph you can create your own effects.
     the contents on the pane. Right click on         Now mimic Firefox’s [Ctrl] + [F]                                                              and hence pushing your speeds up             the start and end of the track? Just open      The waveform changes when the
     the WebBrowser item and use Select                                                                                                             considerably, you need to modify (or         the track from the Open menu and hit           envelope effect is applied as you can see
     > New > DWORD. Name the DWORD                    Press [Ctrl] + [F], and a toolbar will                                                        create, if they don’t exist) two values in   the play button. Once you encounter            from the screenshots here.
     ITBar7Position and hit [Enter].                  appear at the bottom of the browser                                                           the registry. Go to HKEY_CURRENT_            the regions in the soundtrack where the
     Double click on the new value and                window. All the instances of your search                                                      USER\Software\Microsoft\Windo                clapping and whooping takes place, use               Hush
     assign a value of 00000001. Make it a            string are highlighted in the window.                                                         ws\CurrentVersion\Internet                   the cursor to select them and hit the                Many audio tracks, which would
     hexadecimal value. Close the editor, and         There are still some important shortcuts                                                      Settings and check these two                 delete button. On the other hand, if you       otherwise sound awesome, remain
     restart IE 7 to see this view when you           to remember: Esc closes the search pane,                                                      DWORD values:                                want to retain only a particular part of       unheard and unappreciated because of
     enable the menu bar.                             [F3] or [Enter] takes you to the next                                                         MaxConnectionPer1_0Server and                the file, and cut the rest out, go to Edit     an unfortunate problem during
                                                      occurrence while [Shift] + [F3] or              The different colour codes in WOT             MaxConnectionsPerServer. Change              > Trim/Crop.                                   recording. Now with noise reduction
          Printing                                    [Shift] + [Enter] will take you                                                               their values to 0000010 and                                                                 tools available, you don’t need to bury
          When you need to print a Web                back. This add-on is free. Get it from          http://www.mywot.com/en/ download/ie,         00000010 respectively. After doing the                                                      your recordings of that baby talk
     page and you have to adjust the settings         www.ieforge.com/InlineSearch/HomePage           check the top right corner of your            customary restart you will notice                                                           because of honking in the background.
     for headers, footers and margins, click                                                          browser window. Monitor the colour of         increase in browsing speeds.                                                                Use the noise reduction tool from
     on File > Page Setup. Click on                   GooglePreviewIE: This add on is a               the ring as you keep browsing. In case                                                                                                    Tools > Noise Reduction to get rid
     Page Setup with the [Alt] key                    boon for product and image searches.            you come across a Website that you                 Normalizing The Size Of A New                                                          of all external noise. There are options
     pressed. In the pop up, type in your             Also present in Firefox, this toolbar           suspect is harmful you can also submit             Window                                                                                 such as Noise bias, Attack speed
     measurements for the page setup,                 shows image previews of Web pages               the link for potential inclusion into the     IE 7 has this annoying behaviour where                                                      and Windowing overlap. All these
     which are in inches. For changing them           when you run a Google search. This is           list of malicious sites.                      clicking on a link in sites causes                                                          options reduce the external noise. The
     to millimetres, go to Control Panel              not an official Google offering like                                                          another window to open in the middle                                                        best way to edit, for newbies, at least, is
     > Region and Language Options.                   Google Toolbar. Get it from                          IE’s Compatibility Issues                of the screen. Most people maximise                                                         by trial and error—tweak around the
     You can also change the size settings to         http://ackroyd.de/googlepreview/                       IE 7 has started to adopt Web          this window by clicking on the
     A3, A4 and A5 and also choose between                                                            standards for rendering HTML elements,        Maximize button. However, the next
                                                                                    WOT for IE:       in contrast to the previous versions that     time you open a link the same
      Window title                                                           &w     With              had a plethora of standard-related issues.    behaviour is repeated.
      URL                                                                    &u     incidences like   However, due to an almost 90 per cent             There is a simple tweak to get rid of
      Date in short format (as specified by Regional and Language Options)   &d     online fraud      share of the browser market, most Web         this behaviour. Whenever you open a
      Date in long format (as specified by Regional and Language Options)    &D     and phishing      developers had to hack their source code      new link in a new window stretch the         Options in the edit menu
      Time (as specified by Regional and Language Options)                   &t     on the rise, it   in “illegal” ways so that their rendering     window so that it covers 100 per cent of
      Time in 24-hour format                                                 &T     is very           would not be broken. Many sites you will      the desktop. Restart IE again and click          The Effects menu has additional
      Current page number                                                    &p     important to      visit on the WWW have still not updated       on the links. You should see the new         options to manipulate files. All these
      Total number of pages                                                  &P     know the          their code, and will be rendered horribly,    window open full size.                       effects, when used sensibly and
      Right-aligned text (following &b)                                      &b     reputation of a   with fonts and links askew. A registry                                                     combined together, can mean the
      Centred text (between &b&b)                                            &b&b   site              hack can allow you to display such sites                                                   difference between a professionally            This tool provides options for removing
      A single ampersand (&)                                                 &&     beforehand.
                                                                                    WOT (Web of
                                                                                                      in IE7 with IE6’s default behavior.
                                                                                                           Go to Start > Run, type regedit
                                                                                                                                                    SOUNDFORGE                                   edited track and an amateur recording.
                                                                                                                                                                                                 Each option has several sub options,
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                external noise

                                                                                                      and press [Enter]. Go to                           oundforge, a proprietary audio                                                         sliders and preview the effect each
     Portrait and Landscape options. In the
     Header and Footer section, there are
     some operators such as &w, &b and &p. A
                                                                                                      HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Mi
                                                                                                      crosoft\Windows\CurrentVersion
                                                                                                      \Internet Settings\5.0\User
                                                                                                                                                    S    editing package by Sony, is used by
                                                                                                                                                         professionals as well as amateurs to
                                                                                                                                                    insert audio effects to sound tracks,
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                time. When you are satisfied with the
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                output, hit the OK button.

     complete list of the variable is given                                                           Agent. Right-click on the white space         repair damaged tracks, master and mix                                                             Mix And Match
     above. These variables can be also                                                               and select New > String Value.                them and perform encoding tasks.                                                                 What’s the difference between DJs
     combined in the header and footer                                                                Name the string Version. Right-click              Costing between US$299.95 to                                                            and us? They mix music, we don’t.
     fields. Finally, use File > Print                                                                on the new value and select Modify.           US$319.95 (approximately Rs. 12000 to                                                       Mixing audio tracks may sound a bit
     Preview to view the changes.                                                                     Insert MSIE 6.0, close the registry           Rs. 12800), depending on the packaging       This was the waveform before the envelope
                                                                                                      editor and restart IE. All sites will now                                                  was applied
          Add-ons For IE                              View image previews of search results with      be rendered properly.
           In our past articles we have talked        GooglePreviewIE                                                                                                                                                           …and after.
     about add-ons for IE 7. Here, we are going                                                            Speed Up IE                                                                                                          Notice the
     to touch on a few nifty ones:                    Trust) is such an extension that                      Like Firefox, IE is very slow to load                                                                               difference in
                                                      constantly checks any Website you               pages. There are various reasons for                                                                                      the wave-
     IE7 Open Last Closed Tab: This is a              open, against a community submitted             this: the number of simultaneous                                                                                          form
     common problem for users of IE 7 who             list and displays its appropriate ratings.      connections that IE makes with the
     savour the Tabbed windows. Clicking              This is based on a colour code, with            server is limited and it also keeps
     on the X and all your open tabs close.           green being highly reputed and red              searching for network shares and
     This add-on will come in handy for               being potentially dangerous. After              printers. There are some registry
     such accidents. It creates a shortcut            installing this add-on from                     tweaks to get around this problem and         Soundforge graphically displays music                                                       Mixing two or more tracks in Soundforge

54   DIGIT MARCH 2008                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       DIGIT MARCH 2008   55
     Digital Tools l Tips & Tricks                                                                                                                                                                                                             Digital Tools l Tips & Tricks
                                                                                                                                                 intimidating, but it’s as easy as a copy-    result burned on a CD. This can be         you can perform other tasks such as

                         Wings3D                                                                                                                 paste operation. Open all the tracks that
                                                                                                                                                 you want to mix in the main window. Hit
                                                                                                                                                 the File > New button for opening a
                                                                                                                                                 new workspace where the final mixed
                                                                                                                                                                                              prevented by monitoring and limiting
                                                                                                                                                                                              the amplitude of the audio signal. From
                                                                                                                                                                                              Effects > Wave Hammer, click on
                                                                                                                                                                                              the Volume Maximizer tab. There are
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         reversing the left and right channels and
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         inter-mixing them.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               Batch Work
                         Take Free Flight into the 3D world with Wings3D
                                                                                                                                                 track will appear. For further               a host of presets to choose from, while          In some cases, you might need to
                                                 without any renderers. It has a basic           choice. Now to set a view, click on View        convenience, go to the Windows menu          the sliders would enable you to            apply the same effects to multiple
      Rossi Fernandes                            default OpenGL-based renderer along             > View Along and select the axis you            and choose either the Align Horizontally     manually adjust settings such as           tracks. Such tasks call for the use of the
                                                 with it. To render a scene, click on File       want to set the camera to.                      or Align Vertically option that will align   selecting the maximum and minimum          Batch Converter. Go to Tools > Batch
          he entire CG scenario has evolved      > Render > OpenGL. To change the                                                                all the windows. After you have decided      sound levels in decibels. After you are    Converter and select the files that
      T   since the late 90s and world class
      results can be achieved from pretty
                                                 quality settings click on the block sign
                                                 next to OpenGL.
                                                                                                 Unwrapping The Model
                                                                                                 One of the steps involved in creating a
                                                                                                                                                 on the particular sections of the tracks
                                                                                                                                                 that will go into your mixed track, use
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         need you to apply the effects. Select the
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         effects to be applied, the format in
      much anyone’s computer. Open source            You can also install custom renderers       model is the unwrapping of the model            the cursor to select them and paste them                                                which the files are to be saved and
      and free 3D modelling tools such as        such as Povray. For that you first down-        where the object is spread open, by cre-        in the empty workspace. Finally, use the                                                finally hit the Run Job in the Status
      Blender have closed the gap with com-      load and install Povray (www.povray.org).       ating cuts on key edges. The unwrapped          Mix option to combine the tracks, and                                                   window to start the conversion.
      mercial software. Today, we look at        Install it into the default location. Then                                                      you’re done!
      Wings3D, which is a 3D modelling soft-     in Wings3D, click on File > Render
      ware similar to Blender, but easier to     > Povray to use this renderer.                                                                       Replicate
      use. You can download it from                                                                                                                     For some specific purposes, the
      http://www.wings3d.com or get it from      Object Management                                                                               Replicator function is another nifty tool.
      our DVD in this month’s issue. There                                  Wings3D, like                                                        If you need to extract a specific portion
      are Windows, Linux and Mac versions                                   any other 3D                                                         of audio, say about 10 seconds from a 5
      of Wings3D.                                                           modelling                                                            minute clip the Replicator is precisely      The waveform before using the volume
                                                                            software has a                                                       the tool you need. Or say you need to        control function
      Handling The Viewport Easily               Objects can be hidden or   resource man-                                                        replace certain sections of the audio with
      The biggest issue when you’re so com-      locked and also put into   ager, which                                                          repetitive sounds. Copy the audio that
      fortable with commercial software          wireframe mode using the gives a single-                                                        you need to replicate, and go to Edit >
      such as 3ds Max or Maya is that a tran-    object manager—Geometry window view             The unwrapped model can be used to create       Paste Special > Replicate. Select                                                       Different formats available for saving
      sition to completely different software,   Graph                      of all the           a texture in an image editing software          either Copy Partials, if you want to
      be it free or paid, becomes very                                      objects in a                                                         fill the selected region completely with                                                Conclusion
      annoying. One of the most significant      scene with decent control. The                  model is used to create a texture for it.       effects. Whole Copies option means that                                                 Soundforge is among the best sound
      changes is that you need to get used to    Geometry Graph in Wings3D does                  There are many ways to unwrap a                 only an integral number of replications                                                 editing software out there. Even though
      be the way you handle the viewport         just that. Click on Window >                    model, and it depends on the way the            will occur.                                                                             it is incredibly complex, it can be used
      and manoeuvre the camera. By default,      Geometry Graph. You will see a small            model structure has been made.                                                                                                          from the absolute amateur to the
      Wings3D sets the mouse controls to         window all the objects listed. There are            First, select the faces you want to                                                                                                 polished professional. You need to
      invert which makes working on              three tiny icons to the right of each           unwrap by selecting the face mode and                                                                                                   practice a lot in order to master sound
      Wings3D even more confusing than           object. The eye icon is used to hide or         clicking on multiple adjoining faces.                                                                                                   editing. However, with tools such as
      some others.                               unhide the object. The lock icon locks          Right click and then select UV                                                               Volume control effectively adjusting the   Soundforge and slight added effort, you
          Click on Edit > Preferences            or unlocks the object being interacted          Mapping > Direct. In the window                                                              sound levels                               no longer have to run to an audio
      and go to the Camera tab. Click the        with, while the last icon toggles the           that opens, once again select the faces         Selecting the section to be replicated                                                  parlour for your home-made videos
      dropdown for the Camera mode and           wireframe view for the object.                  and right-click, choose Continue >                                                           done, click OK and you have the perfect    and audio.
      select 3ds Max if you are comfortable                                                      Unfolding. Throughout these steps,                                                           track—nice and tidy within the limits
      using it. Click OK. Now you can use        Customising Views                               you can choose different kinds of map-                                                       you’ve specified.
      3ds Max’s keyboard and mouse config-       Another obstacle with Wings3D is the            ping to unwrap the model. Your selec-
                                                                                                                                                                                                   Mono Sound
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         WINDOWS VISTA
      uration to handle the scene. You can       lack of side views from different axes.         tion will now be unwrapped.                                                                                                                     ere is another round of Vista tips,
      also choose from any other software
      in the list.
                                                 Instead of those views, you just have one
                                                 big perspective view window. Wings3D
                                                 allows you to create as many windows as
                                                                                                     To export the unwrapped model,
                                                                                                 right click in the UV Mapping window
                                                                                                 and click on Create Texture. Click on
                                                                                                                                                 The final effect
                                                                                                                                                                                                    While stereophonic sound is all
                                                                                                                                                                                              well and good, sometimes you might
                                                                                                                                                                                              need to know how your fantabulous
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         H       served piping hot. As usual,
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 backup your registry before trying
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         any of the registry hacks.
      Using Third-party Renderers                you need. You can resize a window by            Window > Outliner, to enable the                                                             track sounds in the Mono mode. This is
      Contrary to popular belief, Wings3D is     clicking and dragging the right bottom          Outliner window. In the outliner, look               Burning                                 needed in certain applications,                  Defrag Faster
      not a plain modelling software,            tip of the window. Each one of these win-       for the map with the outline, right click             Sometimes you need a reference         especially broadcasting where there are         We have talked about the
                                                 dows can be set to an axis. First, create a     on it and click on Make External.               CD for a quick sampling of how your          plenty of TVs and radios running on        importance of defragmenting your hard
                                                 new window by clicking on Window >              When prompted, enter a name for the             final effect sounds. A third-party CD        mono speakers. The stereo sounds can be    drive earlier, but the fact remains that
                                                 New Geometry Window. Drag and drop              image you want to export. Click Save.           burning tool such as Nero can be quite       changed to mono by using the Process       defragmentation takes up too much
                                                 the window to the location of your                  Once you’re done with creating a            inconvenient for a quick burn. Go to         > Channel Converter option. Apart          time. However, a free tool bundle is
                                                                                                 texture in a different application, you         Tools > Burn Track-at-Once                   from converting from stereo to mono,
                                                                                                 need to import the image by clicking on         Audio CD and select the options like
                                                                                                 File > Import Image. Choose the                 burning speed. The Track-at-Once is
                                                                                                 image and click Open. You can see all           similar to a multi-session disc, where
                                                                                                 imported images here. You can even drag         more tracks can be added later.
                                                                                                 and drop images into the UV Window.
                                                                                                     Finally, it may be a bit difficult and           Limit Yourself
                                                                                                 needs a different approach to get used                When you are mastering or editing
                                                                                                 to, but there’s no denying that in the          a digital soundtrack, you need to take
                                                                                                 end, you can get the same results model-        care of distortions. It might not sound
                                                                                                 ling in Wings3D that you expect from a          very bad when you are wielding the
      Customised renderers can be used with       Additional views can be added and positioned   suite costing several thousands!                scissors, but it will sound chalk-
      Wings3D                                     within the Wings3D window                                     rossi.fernandes@thinkdigit.com   scratching-the-blackboard bad if you
                                                                                                                                                 don’t pay attention and get the final        Channel converter presets                  Options for defragmenting

56   DIGIT MARCH 2008                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                DIGIT MARCH 2008   57
     Digital Tools l Tips & Tricks                                                                                                                                                                                                                 Digital Tools l Tips & Tricks
                                                                                                                                                      going to change that sad story.             click on Start > Properties >               short on system memory and want to
                                                                                                                                                      Download Power Defragmenter from            Start Menu and click on the                 use a flash drive. However, no software is

                         Windows Batch Files                                                                                                          http://tinyurl.com/z74l3. It is a user
                                                                                                                                                      interface for a powerful disk utility
                                                                                                                                                      named called Contig, which lets you
                                                                                                                                                                                                  Customize button. A window pops up
                                                                                                                                                                                                  where you will be able to select the way
                                                                                                                                                                                                  searches can be made in your Vista Start
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              that intelligent, and in some cases this
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              feature is not enabled automatically. A
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              registry hack can, however change the
                         Automate some mundane tasks in Windows using batch files                                                                     defragment single files instead of          box. The Search Communications              way Vista deploys this feature. Proceed
                                                                                                                                                      blocks and sectors. Run the Power           option searches the files in Windows        at your own risk.
                                                    to start browsing and perhaps launch             You can even do the reverse, and use the         Defragmenter GUI and you will arrive        Mail and Contacts. Search                       Go to Start > My Computer >
      Rossi Fernandes                               your RSS reader. Designers may start work        net start command to restart the same            at the screen shown.                        Favourites and History searches             Right click on device >
                                                    by launching another set of programs.            services using another Batch file. To find           The Defragment File(s)                  the IE favourites and history. Search       Properties > ReadyBoost. Select
          atch scripts were an easy way to make     Whatever your job, you’re bound to have a        the exact names of the services, go to           option lets you defragment up to four       Files has further options: you can          Stop retesting the device when
      B   tiny software necessary for drivers
      back in the days of DOS. DOS batch files
                                                    few rituals like these, and instead of going
                                                    through the motions every day, you can
                                                                                                     Start   >   Control   Panel   >
                                                                                                     Administrative Tools > Services;
                                                                                                                                                      files, while Defragment Folder(s)
                                                                                                                                                      lets you defragment up to four folders.
                                                                                                                                                                                                  either choose to search the whole
                                                                                                                                                                                                  computer, or only files that you have
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I plug it in. Remove the device and
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              open the registry editor—Start > type
      can still be run in the same way in the       let a Batch file do all the work for you.        double-click a service and note down the         You can also choose to defragment your      created yourself. The final option is       regedit in the search box. Navigate to
      Windows operating system through the              Start Notepad and create entries (as         name given under Service Name.                   entire hard drive. The process is very      Search Programs. Depending on               HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE/SOFTWARE/
      command prompt. A few of the com-             shown below) for all the applications you                                                         fast—the 82-minute defragment time          your preferences, searches will be done     Microsoft/Windows-NT/
      mands present in the DOS days don’t exist     want to run one after the other.                 Killing Tasks                                    for 25 GB in Vista Ultimate is cut down     faster, or might even take more time        CurrentVersion/EMDgmt and change
      anymore, but most are still intact. Batch                                                      Tasks can be shut in the same way services       to just six minutes!                        than usual.                                 these registry values: Device Status
      files have the extension .BAT, and any text   CD      “C:\Program      Files\                  are stopped. The Taskkill command can                                                                                                    to 2, ReadSpeedKBs to 1000 and
      editor can be used to create them.            wings3d_0.99.00b”                                forcibly shut applications from the com-               Resize Partitions                          Trim The Control Panel                 WriteSpeedKBs to 1000. Restart the
                                                    Start Wings3D.exe                                mand line. This can be used in a batch file            You can resize partitions in Vista          The number of control panel           machine, and ReadyBoost should be
      Automate Your Net Connection                  CD      “C:\Program      Files\                  to shutdown multiple applications                without losing any data; start by backing   items that we have to access regularly is   enabled every time.
      A lot of us use the dial-up method to con-    Adobe\Adobe Photoshop CS3”                       together. This is especially useful in case      up important data: it pays to be careful.   miniscule. There is no sense in
      nect to our ISPs—yes even the broadband       Start Photoshop.exe                              you’re usually goofing off and the boss          Right-click on Computer and select          displaying all the icons as this slows           Get Widgets From The Net
      users amongst us usually have to use              CD is used to switch control to the          walks in! In the batch file, create entries      Manage. Go to Disk Management               down the loading time before you get              Widgets and Google Gadgets can
      PPPoE (dial-up broadband). The problem        directory of the application and the             in this format: Taskkill               /im       under Storage and right-click on the        to access the panel. The unused icons       liven up a Web site. If you are a fan of
      occurs often enough to be irritating—         Start command runs the application               Processname.exe /f.                              partition you want to shrink. Click on      can be hidden by using the Group            any particular widget and you want to
      connections drop, for whatever reason,        itself. Once again, save the file with a .bat                                                     Shrink Volume in the menu and voila:        Policy Editor.                              use it in Vista, you can now install these
      and downloads fail, transfers are             extension, and all you have to do is             Quick Shutdown Or Reboot                         you have shrunk the disk.                                                               widgets in your Sidebar. For that, first
      restarted...you know what we mean. To         double-click this file when you want to          There are commands that can be used to                                                                                                   download the Amnesty Generator from
      automate the redialling process, make         start working.                                   shutdown the computer and these can be                                                                                                   http://www.amnestywidgets.com/Generato
      sure you have the account set up by                                                            customised as well. The command is                                                                                                       rWin.html (or get it off our October 2007
      going to Start > Control Panel >              Start And Stop Services On Demand                shutdown -s -t 0. Create a shortcut                                                                                                      CD). After you have installed the
      Network           Connections. Open           Not all of us are blessed with fast com-                                                                                                                                                  program, get the source code of your
      Notepad, and type in the following:           puters, and even if you are, you might not                                                                                                                                                favourite widgets and paste the HTML
      RASDIAL <Connection Name>                     like too many services running in the                                                                                                                                                     code in the space indicated by Step2.
      <username> <password>                         background. Normally, you could go to                                                                                                                                                         You might also want to tweak with
          You have to be careful to ensure that     Start > Run and type net stop                                                                                                                                                             the HTML code a little to optimise the
      you type the connection name exactly as       <Service> to stop services individually,                                                                                                                                                  size parameters. Besides, you can also
      it shows in Network Connections. Now          but if you want, say, 10 services stopped                                                         Shrinking disk space in Vista                                                           input the size in the boxes provided.
      just hit [Ctrl] + [S], and save the file      when you’re about to begin gaming, this                                                                                                                                                   Select an image for your widget and
      as <filename>.bat—here filename is            would be painful.                                                                                                                                                                         click on Generate. The Widget will be
      whatever you want to call it. Now you can                                                                                                             Tweak Search Options                                                              placed in your sidebar, and you will be
      add a scheduled task to set the connec-                                                                                                               Windows Vista’s search is                                                         able to check the daily weather, play
      tion to dial automatically. Go to Start                                                                                                         completely revamped, and looks                                                          games, get the latest stock quotes etc. In
      > Control Panel > Scheduled                                                                                                                     different when compared to XP. It also                                                  case you want to further fiddle with the
      Tasks > Add Scheduled Task. Click                                                                                                               has more search options—different from                                                  gadget click on Start and type
      Next and then click Browse and select                                                                                                           the vanilla ones provided in XP. Right-
      the BAT file you just created.                                                                 Creating shortcuts for the shutdown command                                                  Tweaking the Control Panel
           Next, set the schedule for the appli-                                                     is a quick way to shutdown and restart your PC
      cation, so, say, you want to run the BAT                                                                                                                                                        Go to Start and type gpedit.msc
      file every day, after every half hour, just                                                    with this command and you can shut-                                                          in the search bar. Go to User
      choose Daily and click Next. Fill in                                                           down your PC without having to go to                                                         Configuration >
      other details such as starting time,                                                           Start > Shut Down. This will force the                                                       Administrative Templates >
      entering your user account information,                                                        PC to shutdown immediately without any                                                       Control Panel > Hide
      and completing the schedule creation. To      Use the list of services to get exact names of   confirmation dialog boxes. To set a time                                                     Specified Control Panel Items
      make this a repetitive schedule, right-       services running on your Windows                 before the shutdown commands replace                                                         / Show Specified Control
      click on the task, select Properties,                                                          the value 0 with anything else. You can                                                      Panel Items. After enabling it, click
      click on the Scheduled tab and then on            With a Batch file, all you would need        use this same command along with                                                             on Show and type the name of the icon
      the Advanced button. Check the                to do is create one that contains all the        schedules to automatically shut down the                                                     you want to hide or show. That has to
      Repeat Task checkbox, and enter a             net stop commands in the following               computer. At any time if you want to                                                         be done exactly as written, with proper
      value for the interval. You can be sure       format:                                          abort the shutdown, use the command                                                          attention to case.
      that your PC will, more or less, stay         NET STOP <Service 1>                             shutdown -a.
      connected as long as it’s on.                 NET STOP <Service 2>                                 Similarly,     the    command         for                                                     Make ReadyBoost Default
                                                    ...and so on                                     rebooting the computer without any                                                                ReadyBoost is a disk caching
      Start Your Favourite Programs                      This way, you can add all the services      alerts or confirmation windows is                                                            technology that kicks in when you
      As soon as you walk into office, you may      you want stopped, and just double-               shutdown -r -t 0.                                                                            attach USB flash drives. This optimises
      launch Outlook to get your mail, open IE      clicking the Batch file will stop them all.                    rossi.fernandes@thinkdigit.com                                                 your system performance and is should       Use Amnesty Generator to get your favourite
                                                                                                                                                      Various options in search                   be automatically switched on if you’re      widgets off the Internet

58   DIGIT MARCH 2008                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   DIGIT MARCH 2008    59
     Digital Tools l Tips & Tricks
     %userprofile%\Appdata\Local\                 scenes when you are either logging in or
     Microsoft\Windows Sidebar\                   shutting down. Click on Start and enter
     gadgets in the search box. This will         gpedit.msc in the search box. Navigate
     take you to the folder where the widgets     to Computer Configuration >
     are stored.                                  Administrative Templates >
                                                  System and locate the Verbose vs.
          Registry Hacks                          Normal status messages. Right-click
           Here are some useful hacks for         and enable it.
     Windows Vista. As usual, back up your
     registry before you try them.                      Enable NAS Devices In Vista
        To change the name of the registered            Vista is still not compatible with
        user or company, browse to                many regularly used peripherals, and           Easily transfer photos and manage
        HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\              network storage boxes are one of them.         camera memory
        Microsoft\Windows NT\                     This trick will let you use NAS boxes
        CurrentVersion and look for               without downloading any new drivers. In        select File > Options > Import >
        RegisteredOwner and                       the Start search field, type secpol.msc.       Always erase from camera after
        RegisteredOrganization. Double            In the Local Security Policy editor, expand    importing. This will clean out your
        click on them and change the values       the Local Policies and select the              camera memory, essentially completing a
        If you have a sufficiently powerful       Security option. Locate the item titled        cut-paste operation.
        machine and love the animations in        Network Security: LAN Manager
        Vista, you might want to slow them        Authentication Level and select                      Set Core Priority
        down a bit. Navigate to                   Properties by right-clicking on the                  In machines with multiple cores,
        HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\               setting. The settings should be changed to     most tasks are divided amongst the cores
        Microsoft\Windows\DWM. Once               Send LM & NTML—use NTLMv2                      so that the computer can run multiple
        there, create a new key by right          session security if negotiated.                operations at the same time. There is a
        clicking on the space below existing      The incompatible NAS box will work now.        performance lag to this system, as
        keys and choose New > DWORD (32                                                          running on multiple cores can cause
        bit) Value. Call it                             Get Detailed Statistics                  processes to slow down a bit due to data
        AnimationShiftKey and enter the                 The Windows Experience Score             transfer issues between the cores. This is
        value as 1. After rebooting the           indicates how well your system is running,     particularly true for programs that make
        machine, whenever you want to slow        but it is at a superficial level. Advanced     heavy demands on the CPU. In effect the
        down the animations, press the            users need to use Microsoft’s Management       whole computer slows down to a crawl as
        [Shift] key before it starts.             Console to find out the state of the OS. To    this affects other programs too. However
        Encrypting and decrypting files in        access this tool, right-click on Computer      in Vista you can set a process to run on a
        Vista is a multi-click process which      and select Manage > Reliability                single core. Go to the Task Manager and
        takes a fair bit of navigating. With a    and Performance > Reliability                  select the process which is hogging all
        registry hack, this task can be done      Monitor. The detailed graphs show
        with a simple right-click. Navigate to    stability indices that determine how stable
        HKEY_CURRENT_USER/Software/               your system is at any point. Red circles
        Microsoft/Windows/CurrentVe               show stages where failure has occurred,
        rsion/Explorer/Advanced and               with a detailed description on which
        create a new 32-bit DWORD. Call it        process had gone belly up. As a
        EncryptionValue and use the               troubleshooting tool, this is pretty neat.
        value as 1 there. After the system is
        restarted, you can get encrypting
        with just a right-click.                                                                 Restrict processes to specific cores
        Speeding up Flip3D: Eye candy is well
        and good, but not all of us have top-                                                    system resources. Right-click on it and
        of-the-line graphic cards to render all                                                  select Set Affinity. You can now
        the slick effects. This hack will limit                                                  restrict the process to one of the cores and
        the number of windows that are                                                           improve the overall speed.
        rendered in 3D, which will hopefully
        let you have your cake and eat it too.                                                         Get Multiple Clocks
        Navigate to                                                                                   Vista can display more than one
        HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\                                                              clock—a total of three clocks actually. To
        Microsoft\Windows\DWM and                                                                enable this feature from the Control
        create a new DWORD value called           The Reliability Monitor provides detailed      Panel, click on Date and Time and go
        Max3DWindows. The value should be         system diagnostics
        set to a number between 4 and 9:
        higher the number the more muscle
        your graphics card needs to pack. Try           Quickly Transfer Photos
        it out with different number values             Transferring photos from a digital
        by opening multiple windows and           camera involves quite a bit of mouse           Get multiple clocks in the System Tray
        checking out the difference.              clicks. Even if the photos are copied to the
                                                  computer, they remain on the camera’s          to the Additional Clocks tab. You can
          Enabling Detailed Status                memory card. The Windows Photo Gallery         set different time zones along with a
          Messages                                can do this transfer-then-erase function in    display name for each. After you click OK
     Vista has a verbose mode which informs       one go. After the camera is detected and       these clocks will be visible when the
     the user of what is going on behind the      before you start to transfer your photos,      cursor is placed over the default clock.

60   DIGIT MARCH 2008
                                                               have been able to do that with success. But the
                                                               problem is that I find that my drive keeps going back                                I Can’t Do That, Dave                                                  receive this message, type the name of your
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 tion
                                                               to PIO mode again.                                                                        My computer was working fine, but one fine day, it                operating system, and then hit [Enter].           Questhe
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                f th
                                                                                                      Shruti Saxena                                      started displaying a message that said something like             3. Enter OS Load options                            o n
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               Mo
                                                                                                                                                    “Windows could not start because the following file is miss-           After receiving this message, type
                                                                    To set your device to DMA, go to Start >                                        ing or corrupt: /system32/hal.dll” and Windows does not                /fastdetect, and then hit [Enter].
                                                                    Run > devmgmt.msc to open the Device                                            start. Please help.                                                    Eject the CD and type exit.
                                                               Manager. Expand “IDE ATA/ATAPI controllers”.                                                                                                Sathish Rajan       Now to repair (or replace) hal.dll. You must once
                                                               Double-click on Primary IDE, go to Advanced                                                                                                                 again, boot through the Windows XP CD and enter the
                                                               Settings tab and set the Transfer Mode to DMA if                                          This problem can be attributed to a missing or                    Recovery Console. Press the number corresponding to
                                                               Available. Do the same for Secondary IDE as                                               corrupt Hal.dll file and / or Boot.ini. Here is how you           the location of the Windows installation to be repaired.
                                                               well. Restart Windows, and if you still see the                                      go about with the repair process. Boot from the                        Type the following command at the command prompt:
                                                               mode as PIO, you should uninstall the Primary                                        Windows XP CD and press [R] to start the Recovery                          expand X:\i386\hal.dl_ C:\windows\
                                                               IDE and Secondary IDE channels and restart                                           Console when you see the “Welcome to Setup” screen.                    system32\hal.dll
                                                               Windows to redetect them. This should solve                                          Press the number corresponding to the correct location                     (Replace X by the drive letter of your CD/DVD drive
                                                               your problem.                                                                        of Windows you want to repair (this is typically 1). Type              and you can specify the actual drive letter of your
                                                                   In your case, the drive keeps switching back                                     bootcfg /list to view the current entries in the                       Windows installation instead of C: as in the case above).
                                                               to the PIO mode, and the reason for this is often                                    Boot.ini file. If you get a message that this file does not                Select Yes if you are prompted to overwrite the
                                                               attempting to read scratched media. Another                                          exist, you should type bootcfg /rebuild, to repair it.                 existing hal.dll. Type exit and restart your computer
                                                               reason could be that your IDE cable may be                                           This will automatically scan your hard drive for installa-             normally. In very rare cases, the above procedure may
           Your Questions, Our Answers                         faulty or too long. Use only IDE cable with 80                                       tions of Windows XP, 2000, 2003 and NT and display the                 not help you. In such cases, you may need to make a
                                                               conductors as are commonly available today, as                                       results. Now follow these instructions:                                temporary installation of Windows in another partition
           All your computing niggles and nags                 against the 40-conductor cables available earlier.                                   1. Total Identified Windows Installs: 1                                of the drive. Now (assuming that your original
                    are dealt with here!                       There may also be certain power management                                           (1) C:\Windows                                                         Windows installation is in the C drive and your tempo-
                                                               issues that may cause this problem when the                                          Add installation to boot list? (Yes/No/All)                            rary Windows in D), copy hal.dll from
                                                               computer wakes from the Standby mode, but                                            Type Y and hit [Enter]                                                 D:\WINDOWS\ServicePackFiles\i386 to
     Coffee-cup Holder?                                        this can be solved by installing the latest chipset                                  2. Enter Load Identifier                                               C:\WINDOWS\ServicePackFiles\i386 and
          My Samsung CD writer keeps ejecting when I           driver for your motherboard.                                                         This is the name of the operating system. When you                     C:\WINDOWS\System32. Overwrite, if prompted.
          put a CD in it, and only after 5 or 6 attempts, it
     manages to read a CD. What could be the problem?          ME No Work
     Do I need to reinstall Windows?                                I have recently reinstalled Windows ME and the                                reminders forever. Assuming that you are                                            pop-ups demanding that I sign up for a monthly
                                                 Srinivas N.        problem is that System Restore no longer                                      running Windows XP Professional, click on                                           subscription. Please help.
                                                               works. I sometimes get a blank window or the                                       Start > Run, type gpedit.msc and hit                                                                                      Amit Lakhani
          Your CD writer keeps on ejecting the media           following error:                                                                   [Enter]. This will launch the Group Policy
          because it finds it difficult to read it. The        An error has occurred in the script on                                             Editor. Select Local Computer Policy >                                                    You can attempt to remove moviepass.tv in
     most common reason for this to happen is due to           this page                                                                          Computer              Configuration           >                                           one of the following ways:
     the laser head power deterioration over a period          Line: 14                                                                           Administrative Templates > Windows                                                  1. Use System Restore to roll back to the state
     of time, or due to the lens getting dirty. You can        Char: 9                                                                            Components > Windows Update. Double-click                                              before you downloaded this adware. Go to
     try to clean it by using a lens cleaning CD, which        Error: Object doesn’t support this                                                 on Re-prompt for restart with scheduled                                                Start > Programs > Accessories >
     you can get at any stationary store. Another              property or method                                                                 installations. Change the value to 1440.                                               System Tools > System Restore, select
     possible reason could be that your power connec-          Code: 0                                                                            Close the Group Policy Editor. Click on Start >                                        Restore my computer to an earlier
     tor or data cable is bad, so you should try replac-       URL: res://rstrui.exe/start.htm                                                    Run, type gpupdate /force and press                                                    time and click on Next. Select a checkpoint
     ing these with new ones. If all fails, then it is         Do you want to continue running script                                             [Enter]. This will stop the repeated reminders                                         date before the moviepass.tv software was
     time to get a new optical drive.                          on this page?                                                                      for this and all future Windows updates.                                               downloaded and click Next to continue with
                                                                                                 Priyank Bhanushali                                                                                                                      the restore. Download, install and scan using a
     Find What You Need                                                                                                                           Twice Isn’t Nice                                                                       good spyware such as Spybot to remove any
          My friend has just bought a new hard drive and            It seems that your computer did not create                                         Help! My Outlook Express sends two copies of                                      residual occurrences of this adware.
          installed Windows XP. But she does not know               a restore point during the first boot of                                           any mail I try to send.                                                        2. If the above method does not help, or if you
     what drivers are required. Please tell me how to find     Windows ME. You should therefore create one                                                                            Sarika Choudhary                                   don’t use System Restore, you can do a manual
     the drivers without opening her cabinet.                  manually to get rid of this issue. Run the follow-                                                                                                                        uninstall. Start your computer in Safe Mode.
                                          Vineeth Pooppada     ing command at the command prompt:                                                      This problem occurs if you have config-                                           Open the Control Panel, and go to Add or
                                                               C:\Windows\System\Restore\rstrui.exe                                                    ured Outlook Express Read options to                                              Remove Programs. Uninstall any program
          The best and the easiest way to approach             /makefirstrestorepoint                                                             Read all messages in plain text, but are still                                         with names starting with or similar to the
          your problem is to call up the place from            Now restart the computer and System Restore                                        sending messages in HTML format. Outlook                                               following: AltBill, AltPayments, AltPayV2,
     where the computer was bought and ask them                should work fine.                                           Get Help Now!          Express creates a dummy attachment with the                                            DownloadManager, FileGrabber, FSupport,
     the system configuration. Note down the names                                                                                                formatted (HTML) copy of the message, so that                                          ITBills,   License    Manager,      MediaPipe,
     of the individual components—motherboard,                 Stop That Nag!                                          E-mail us your computing   you can easily view it if needed and it does so                                        MoviePass,        MovieLand,       MPNotifier,
                                                                                                                       problems along with your
     graphics card, network card, etc. and search for               I want to know how I can stop Automatic            contact details and
                                                                                                                                                  for incoming messages as well.                                                         MyAccessMedia, MyWaySA, Notify, Notifier,
     their drivers online. You can also download,                   Update from nagging me repeatedly to restart       complete system                To solve this problem, configure Outlook                                           Notification Utility, OptimumOnline, and
     install and run Everest (any edition) from                the computer after installing an update.                configuration to           Express to send messages using plain text—go                                           P2PNetworks.
     www.lavalys.com. In the Summary module, you                                                       Mahesh Joshi    s o s@j as ubh ai.co m ,   to Tools > Options and navigate to the Send                                              Now open Windows Explorer, and go to the
     will be able to see all the components of the                                                                     and we might answer        tab. Deselect Reply to messages using the                                           Program Files folder. Delete any subfolders with
     computer without having to open it. Once again,                There are two ways to get around this issue.       them here! Since we get    format in which they were sent. Set                                                 names related to the items you just uninstalled.
     you must note down the names of the compo-                     We will first tell you how you can do this for     many more mails per day    Mail Sending Format to Plain Text.                                                  Go to Start > Run, type msconfig and hit
     nents and search for their drivers online.                just the current update. Click on Start > Run,          than we can handle, it                                                                                         [Enter]. Go to the Startup tab. Disable any
                                                               type net stop wuauserv and hit [Enter].                 may take some time for     Spyware Attack!                                                                     items with command names related to the items
     Indirect Memory                                                                                                   your query to be
                                                               This will stop the Windows Update service until         answered. Rest assured,
                                                                                                                                                      I had installed a 3-day trial of moviepass.tv, but                              you just uninstalled by clearing the associated
          I had read about setting the DMA mode for an         the next time you restart your computer. The            we are listening!              now that the trial has expired, I am unable to                                  check box. Click on OK and restart the computer
          optical drive in your older Q&A section, and         second method describes the way to stop these                                      remove it and am continuously bombarded with                                        when prompted to do so.

62   DIGIT MARCH 2008                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  DIGIT MARCH 2008    63
                                              Create Your First Track In FL
                                              Studio                                                                                                                                    sounds, which can be added to
                                                                                                                                          fine tweaks to the track in real time.        the browser. Go to Options >
     Become a DJ with your own virtual turntable and mixer                                                                                It also works fine with the recording         File Settings and click on
                                                                                                                                          feature that we will talk of next.            the folder icon to the left of the
                                                   If you have a long playlist, then          Right-click on any of the channel                                                         empty field and choose the
     Rossi Fernandes                           navigating through it using the                buttons and select Piano Roll. Here,        Live Recording                                folder where you have the
                                               scrollbars is a pain—use middle click          you can plot beats, and the bottom          When you’re comfortable with the              custom sounds. When done,


     F
          L Studio (formerly Fruity Loops)     instead. Hold down the middle click            section of the window can be used to        software and you’ve created a basic           close the window and you will
          is an audio creation tool that       button and move the mouse to navi-             change the volume of the beats—so           tune, you can also record small clips         find the newly added folder in
          works by creating sequence of        gate through the playlist window.              every individual beat has its own           in real time. We’ll try using the             the browser. Like other tracks,
     sounds. It’s been around for years                                                       intensity. To further customise beats,      scratching feature in FL Studio as an         left click and drag your clips to
     now, and generally gives the impres-      Creating Loops Using Step Sequencer            click on the Graph Editor icon on the       example. Before we start the record-          the step sequencer. Keep in mind
     sion that music creation is easy.         A step sequence is to be created,              right top of the Step Sequencer             ing itself, we first load the scratcher,      that large MP3s will hog up the
     Sure, anyone can randomly go about        because in the end, your entire track          window. Use the scrollbar to switch to      and click the Record button next to           system resources and signifi-
     clicking to add beats and get a           will be made up of many such steps.            a different property.                       the playback buttons. If you click the        cantly slow down FL Studio.
     respectable sound, there are a few        There are a few things that can be                                                         321 icon on the same toolbar, you                 FL Studio also has a very
     features and steps that need to be        done in the Step Sequencer. The                Using Scratching And The Mixer              will be given a countdown before              versatile inbuilt audio editing
     understood first.                                                                        An interesting feature to use in FL         recording starts. Click the Playback          plugin called Edison that can be
                                                                                              Studio is the Fruity Scratcher, which       button to start the recording itself.         enabled by clicking on the Open
     Creating A Suitable Base Project                                                         allows you to create the same sounds        All your loops and tunes will play as         New Audio Editor icon on the
     By default, an empty file is created                                                     that you hear from DJs scratching           usual—if you want the recording to            top toolbar. This is useful to
     when you start, but you can create a                                                     discs. To add a scratcher to Fruity         loop, then click the Loop record /            create your own samples.
     new project based on a few bundled                                                                                                   Enable Overdub icon in the main
     templates. Some of these templates                                                                                                   toolbar.                                      Tweaking FL Studio               Completed tracks can be exported as MP3s and
     are set for certain genres of music or                                                                                                                                             Fruity Loops might seem opti-    other formats without any problems
     types of tasks such as surround sound     The loop step sequencer is one of the most                                                                                               mised when you’re working on             driver itself, you can then set a
     panning and recording. Go to File >       basic, but vital, starting points for a song                                                                                             a few channels, but it becomes a         buffer length to it. A shorter buffer
     New from template and select a
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 length will reduce latency, but will
     template that best suits your plan.       length of a step can be increased in
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 hit performance. If your sound is
                                               a similar manner to the tempo of
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 already stuttering, you should try
     Set The Tempo                             the track. On the top left of the Step
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 increasing the buffer length.
     The tempo for the track is the speed      Sequencer window, click on the
     at which your track plays. Most           empty text box and drag it up to
     newcomers will leave the tempo—           increase the number of beats per                                                                                                                                                      Exporting The Final Result
     which is denoted in beats per             bar. You can now put in more steps                                                                                                                                                    Encode.tif—Completed tracks can be
     minute—at the default value. It           per beat. Here again, you can drag                                                                                                                                                    exported as MP3s and other formats
     should be set to suit the style of the    and drop new effects from the                                                                                                                                                         without any dramas
     track you’re composing.                   browser. The view can be filtered to                                                                                                                                                      When you feel your track is
         The tempo value can be changed        show just drum beats or recorded                                                                                                                                                      ready, and it’s time to export—go to
     by clicking on the BPM value next to      sounds—use the drop-down menu at                                                                                                                                                      File > Save As or File >
     the playback buttons. Click and drag      the bottom left of the Step                                                                Downloaded or custom made audio samples       Fruity Loops can be unforgivable if loaded   Export > MP3 File. Select the
     the mouse cursor upwards or down-         Sequencer window to do this. To                                                            can be added to the Fruity Loops library      with too many tracks—so tweaking is          format, and if you choose MP3, you
     wards, to change the value. You can       make any changes to the properties                                                                                                       necessary                                    can choose from quality settings
     also enable a metronome to get the        of a channel, click on the channel             Your very own personal turntable for disc   Adding Audio Samples To the library                                                        such as bit rate and depth of the
     idea of the tempo by clicking the         name and a new window should                   scratching in Fruity Loops                  FL Studio has loads of audio presets              completely different beast when you      song. The approximate resulting file
     Metronome icon from the toolbar at        open which lets you do that.                                                               and sounds that will keep you busy                go large-scale. It then becomes neces-   size is also displayed, so you are free
     the top.                                                                                 Loops, click on the View Mixer icon         for a very long time. When things do              sary to make a few adjustments to        to make any changes. Click Start to
                                               Using the Piano Roll                           on the right of the upper toolbar.          turn a little dull, you can also choose           the audio settings to optimise the       start the encoding process.
     Adding Items To The Playlist              The Piano Roll feature allows you to           Click the drop-down there and go to         to use downloaded or self-created                 program a bit. Go to Options >               That’s it, then! It is pretty obvious
     The playlist is one of the most impor-    give each note a characteristic sound—         Select > Fruity Scratcher. Load                                                                                    Audio Settings.     that there’s a lot of that can be done
     tant windows and is centric to FL         you can set the velocity at which the          a music file using the folder icon on                                                                              If you haven’t      with FL Studio, but it’s only a matter
     Studio. It contains the entire track,     notes are hit and make very minute             the left. When that’s done, click Play                                                                             made use of ASIO    of messing around in the software to
     and is where all the loops and            and accurate notes on the sheet.               and you can click and drag the                                                                                     yet, enable it by   know the best ones.
     patterns come together to create a                                                       mouse over the disc on top or the                                                                                  selecting it from
     proper song. Most people end up                                                          status bar below. There are controls                                                                               the dropdown        Shortcuts For FL Studio
     creating a random loop and adding                                                        on this window for the speed and                                                                                   menu for Output.    Some helpful keyboard shortcuts
     sounds and effects to it, but audio                                                      sensitivity of the turntable.                                                                                      ASIO4ALL is a       that’ll make working with FL Studio
     tracks can be added to the playlist as                                                       The Fruity Loop Mixer is a feature                                                                             driver, which       much easier:
     well. This is useful in places where                                                     that allows you to plug in multiple                                                                                gives very good     Toggle Step Sequencer — [F6]
     you want to add vocals to your track.                                                    processors and generators in a loop.                                                                               latency on most     Toggle Mixer — [F9]
     Like image or video editing software,                                                    The Fruity Loops Scratcher is one                                                                                  sound cards—it is   Send to Piano roll — Alt] + [P]
     multiple tracks and effects can be                                                       such add-on. Similarly, you can add                                                                                installed along     Toggle Piano Roll — [F7]
     arranged in layers. The lower section                                                    many other plugins in a chain. The                                                                                 with FL Studio.     Toggle recording countdown —
     of the playlist window is where these                                                    volume for each plugin can be                                                                                      Changing the        [Ctrl] + [P]
     recorded sounds can be added. The                                                        controlled individually as well.                                                                                   sampling rate       Next pattern — [+]
     browser tab on the left contains all                                                     Instruments and items can be                                                                                       using the drop-     Previous pattern — [-]
     the sounds and tools that can be used                                                    excluded from being affected by the                                                                                down menu can       Solo step—[Ctrl] + [1] to [0]
     to create tracks—simply drag and drop     The Piano Roll feature allows accurate         added plugins, if required. The Fruity                                                                             also help. If you
     sounds from there on to the playlist.     notes and beat plotting                        Loops Mixer is a great way to make          Edison is an audio editor built into Fruity Loops                      choose the sound                  rossi.fernandes@thinkdigit.com

64   DIGIT MARCH 2008                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         DIGIT MARCH 2008      65
     Digital Tools l Agent 001
                                                           Agent 001                                                                                                                               Ask Agent 001                                   Digital Tools l Agent 001

                                                                                                                                          Dream Come True                                                                      The ASUS EN8600GT costs around Rs 7,000, and
                                                                                                                                               I have put together my dream gaming rig after                                   is terrific for the price.


     Computing For Everyone                                                                                                                    quite a lot of research:
                                                                                                                                          ASUS P5E3 Deluxe, Intel Q6700, Corsair
                                                                                                                                          TWIN3X2048-1333C9 G, ASUS GeForce EN8800GT
                                                                                                                                          512MB, Samsung SpinPoint T166 HD321KJ, Lite-On
                                                                                                                                          DH-20A3S DVD writer, CoolerMaster eXtreme Power
                                                                                                                                                                                                                               Sight And Sound
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I need a PCI Express graphics card, and my
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    budget is Rs 10,000. I am also planning to buy
     I’m looking for the cheapest (respectable) PC configuration I can get my hands on                                                    600W PSU, Antec TX1088AMG cabinet, Logitech G5                                       a good set of headphones for Rs 1,000. What can I
                                                                                                                                          Laser mouse, Microsoft Natural Ergonomic Key-                                        get for that budget?
                                                                                                                                          board 4000. But all this performance comes down

     T
            his is for the reader who e-mailed me                             Here’s my Ultimate Value PC:                                                                                                                                                                  Anonymous
            recently—he was finally building his first                        Component      Model No                         Price       to the screen I’m using. Please suggest the one with
            PC after a number of years of reading Digit.                      CPU +          Intel E2140 (1.6 GHz) + Intel    Rs 5,350    the best performance in the 20 to 22-inch size cat-                                          For Rs 12,000, you can swing a sweet deal—
     He had a very modest budget, and wanted some-                            Motherboard    D945G                                        egory. My budget is Rs 15,000 to 16,000. Also, com-                                          an 8800GT-based card which will satisfy
     thing that would work—allow him to use MS                                RAM            1 GB Transcend Value DDR2 667    Rs 850      ment on the above configuration and suggest any                                      all your gaming needs. A whole lot cheaper is the
     Office, and run Windows XP. I decided to build                           HDD            Seagate ST380815AS 80GB SATA     Rs 1,500    improvements.                                                                        8600GT (Rs 7,000) chipset but this is also around
     a good PC from scratch, for those on a very tight                        Monitor        LG E500 15” CRT                  Rs 3,000                                   Reuben “Re. J” James                                  250 per cent slower. Creative’s EP630 are in-ear
     budget. At the same time, I want some sort of                            Keyboard +     Logitech multimedia combo with   Rs 550                                                                                           plugs available for Rs 900 and deliver out-
                                                                              Mouse          optical mouse
     future-proofing—after all, we all know how most                                                                                              Firstly, your system is very good, and a                                     standing sound for the price. Among the larger
                                                                              Cabinet        Zebronics Krish                  Rs 950
     users expand their applications for the PC after                         Power Supply Adcom 450 watts                    Rs 700
                                                                                                                                                  true gaming rig—congrats! Secondly, I                                        circum-aural sets, the Sennheiser HD201 is avail-
     a few months of use.                                                     Optical Drive  Liteon LH20-A1H 20x DVD Writer   Rs 1,350    suggest a 22-inch monitor for that budget. Look                                      able for around Rs 1,400.
         I took a trip to Lamington Road last week to                         Speakers       Creative Inspire 245 2.0         Rs 750      at Dell’s E228WFP or BenQ’s FP222W—two of the
     check what I could come up with. I was surprised                                         Grand Total                     Rs 15,000   better panels I’ve come across. If you must go 20-
     to find single-core processors totally out of stock                                                                                  inch then the Dell SP2008WFP is a very good buy.                                     Finally!
     with most vendors. Dual-cores have well and truly                                                                                                                                                                               I have saved a little bit, and finally want to go
     gone mainstream, with the best deals being                               right? A multimedia keyboard and optical                                                                                                               for the long-pending dream—my own desktop
     combo packs. I was faced with two options—the                            mouse from Logitech was available for Rs 550—               Reviving An Ancient Rig                                                              PC. My budget is about Rs 40,000 (keeping away Rs
     Intel E2140 processor and Intel D945G mother-                            sweet! Next, I went cabinet shopping. I saw a few                I want to buy a new motherboard which supports                                  5,000 for Windows Vista). This includes everything,
     board is available for Rs 5,350, while AMD’s 4000+                       cabinets from the likes of iBall, Zebronics, VIP                 an old 478-pin Intel Pentium 4 processor, and 512                               literally (what I mean is, the motherboard, processor,
     CPU is available on a Jetway GeForce 6100 for                            and Intex, but didn’t like any of the designs.              MB DDR RAM at 333 MHz. I also want a 256 MB graphics                                 graphics card, DVD writer, cabinet, monitor, mouse,
     Rs 100 more. Both processors have comparable                             After browsing a couple of catalogues at a few              card and an SMPS (for gaming) in same budget even if                                 keyboard, SMPS, UPS, speakers). My main purpose
     performance, but the AMD 4000+ is a little snap-                         vendors, I came across a value series cabinet               the performance increment is mediocre. Help!                                         would be movies and games. Although I know the
     pier than the E2140, which is a severely cut down                        from Zebronics called Krish—a neat-looking box                                                          Sumit Lal                                budget does not suffice for the aforementioned,
     Allendale core (Core 2 family). I went for Intel,                        decked in black with cooling features like a PCIe                                                                                                please suggest whatever you can. I want to play Far
     mainly because the E2140 (1.6 GHz stock) is a                            vent and CAG duct. Best of all expansion, is good                   An upgrade would still leave you well                                        Cry, Prince of Persia—The Two Thrones, etc. But, if
     very cool product, and overclocks very, very well,                       with three external 5.25-inch bays; at Rs 950, this                 behind the hardware curve, and enjoying                                      somehow Crysis runs on it, I’ll be thrilled!
     and runs very cool at stock. The 945G comes                              was a must-buy.                                             most year-old games would be well beyond your                                             After taking into consideration the Zero1
     with onboard graphics—a boon for a value PC                                  For the power supply, I couldn’t find any-              setup. DDR memory is still available, but the price                                  Awards I have zeroed on the following:
     that doesn’t require a graphics card. There is an                        thing decent below Rs 1,000 till I came across a            would be around double the price of DDR2                                             1) Hard Drive—Western Digital Caviar SE16
     x16 PCIe slot for future upgrades, however, as                           450-watt Adcom power supply for Rs 700. I’ve had            memory, simply because nobody is manufacturing                                          WD3200AAKS 320 GB
     well as two PCI slots. For as little as Rs 700, I                        good experiences with Adcom power supplies in               DDR anymore. Assuming your motherboard even                                          2) Graphics Card—ASUS EN8600GT
     could get myself 1 GB of generic DDR2 667 MHz                            the past—one of my old download rigs used                   has an AGP slot you’re out of luck, unless you                                            Please, don’t tell me to expand my budget
     RAM; Transcend’s 667 MHz value RAM comes for                             Adcom power for over three years.                           manage to find an older GeForce FX5200/5500 or                                       much. The reason is simple, I can’t. Also, I can wait
     Rs 850. I was thinking 512 MB for price reasons—                             My DVD writer (yes, budget PCs get to burn              a 6200 graphics card. What I suggest is a complete                                   for another month or two if necessary. So, if there
     Transcend (667 MHz) was priced at Rs 500, but I                          DVDs too) was a Liteon LH20-A1H, a 20X burner—              upgrade after some saving up. Invest in a DDR2-                                      is a probable price slash looming ahead…
     decided not to be too skimpy and went with the                           very reliable, very cheap, and just Rs 1,350. My            based rig and a Core 2 Duo processor and you’ll be                                                                    Koustav Bhattacharya
     1 GB. For a hard drive, I decided to go with                             last remaining component was a set of speakers;             well set for another two years or so. You’ll also have
     80 GB, since basic browsing and                                                       I decided on a non-woofer setup,               a plethora of powerful and affordable PCIe                                                   Rs 40,000 is a good budget, although
     office work will rarely                                                                since speakers can always be                  graphics cards to choose from.                                                               keeping in mind you also want to buy
     require significant space.                                                             upgraded if better music perform-                                                                                                  Vista you’ll have just 35,000. Why not keep your
     Seagate’s ST380815AS 80                                                                ance is needed later. Creative’s                                                                                                   hardware budget at Rs 40,000?
     GB, 7200 rpm SATA drive is                                                            Inspire 245 is a gorgeous looker, and          Beyond Onboard                                                                           The ASUS EN8600GT is a very good card, and
     priced at Rs 1,500 and                                                                at Rs 750, a good deal.                             Hi, I have an AMD Athlon 64 X2 4000+                                            you can’t go wrong there. For the hard drive, I rec-
     comes with a three                                                                       Finally, after six hours and three               Processor with an MSI K9N6GM (NVIDIA                                            ommend the new Seagate 250 GB 7200.10 series,
     year warranty, with                                                                   shops, I’ve got a PC that will happily         GeForce 6100) motherboard, 2 GB of DDR2 800 Mhz                                      which is a single-platter drive and costs Rs 2,800
     doorstep        replace-                                                              run all essential applications, and            RAM and Windows Vista Home Premium. I am not                                         now. It’s a superb buy and is blazingly fast, too.
     ment—hassle free.                                                                     will even allow moderate multi-                satisfied with the graphics performance. I can’t run
         With my core                                                                      media usage—all for just Rs 15,000!            games like NFS Pro Street or Call Of Duty 4. Can              Ask Away!               Agent 001’s Recommendation                        Price
     components chosen,                                                                       A genuine copy of Windows XP                you please recommend a good NVIDIA GeForce                                            Processor         Core 2 Duo E6550                Rs 6,400
                                                                                                                                                                                                    Want a tech product, but
     I was at a loss                                                                      Home OEM costs Rs 3,900. I recom-               graphics card? My budget is Rs 4,000 to 5,000.                                        Motherboard       Galaxy 650i LT                  Rs 4,800
                                                                                                                                                                                                    don’t know how to go
     deciding between a                                                                  mend an original copy for the tech sup-                                                 Sumith Mohan                                   RAM               2 x 1 GB Transcend DDR2 667     Rs 2,200
                                                                                                                                                                                                    about buying it? E-mail
     CRT and an LCD. Cheap                                                              port you can avail of if things go wrong.                                                                   agent001@thinkdigit.com     Graphics Card     ASUS EN8600GT                   Rs 7,000
     LCDs aren’t very clear, and a                                                     Instead of shelling out for more software,                I suggest you save up a bit more and               with your complete          HDD               Seagate 7200.10 250 GB—single   Rs 2,800
     value CRT is a much better option. I                                             you can find free essential software like                  invest in an 8600GT-based card—its per-            contact details, and he                       platter disk
     chose a 15-inch LG 500E, which after                                           Avast! Antivirus on our CDs every month.              formance far surpasses the 8400GS and 8500GT              might answer them here!     Monitor           Dell E198WFP 19” LCD            Rs 11,000
     bargaining a bit came for Rs 3,000. It’s a                                                          agent001@thinkdigit.com          chipsets which are priced around your budget.             Please note that            Keyboard + mouse Logitech                         Rs 500
     nice screen, and better than a lot of the                                                                                            The 8600GT is a real mid-range offering, unlike           Agent001 only answers       Cabinet           Zebronics / VIP                 Rs 2,000
                                                                                                                                                                                                    purchase-related            SMPS              VIP 500W                        Rs 2,000
     cheaper CRTs around—just because you’re on            Chaitanya Surpur    Want more of Agent 001? Turn over to read his              the 8400GS and 8500GT which are meant more                questions in this space.                      Total                           Rs 38,700
     a budget doesn’t mean your eyes should suffer,                            answers to your buying questions                           for powerful HTPCs rather than gaming setups.

66   DIGIT MARCH 2008                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 DIGIT MARCH 2008        67
     Digital Tools ll Know More About
     Digital Tools Know More About




     Memory Matters
     So how does Flash Memory really work?
                                                                                           legacy SLc devices. Such devices are already in 
                                                                                           the  market,  and  though  they  cost  more  than 
     Bhaskar Sarma                                                                         SLc ones, research is on to cut costs and make 
                                                                                           them more available. 


     m
              ost of you know that the most compact                                             Unfortunately, the laws of physics set a limit 
              memory  type  is  called  Flash  memory.                                     on the amount of miniaturisation possible—too 
              currently, Flash memory is most popu-                                        much, and leakage of electrons causes data loss. 
     larly available as USB drives, cell phone or cam-                                     multi-level  cells  are  created  by  stacking  two 
     era  memory,  portable  media  players  (PmPs),                                       “dies”  of  the  same  size,  hence  doubling  the 
     handheld consoles, and even laptops—basically                                         capacity.  This  is  the  type  of  memory  used  in 
     anything that’s built to be portable. There’s even                                    iPods. however, though mLcs double the capac-
     talk of Flash replacing the bulky and power-hun-                                      ity, they also reduce access speeds. 
     gry hard drives that have been around for ages. 
     Flash too, is not very young, and was invented by                                     NAND vs NOR
     Dr Fujio masuoka in 1964, while he was working                                         NaND  and  NOr  flash  drives  have  considerable 
     for Toshiba.                                                                           differences.  Those  with  NOr  gates  provide  high 
                                                                                            speed and random access to data. This means that 
     Gates And Stacks                                                                       data  can  be  read  and  written  to  any  location  in 
     at  the  most  basic,  microscopic  level,  flash                                      the memory without having to access the memory 
     memory is composed of an array of floating gate transistors             blocks  sequentially.  The  minimum  information  that  can  be 
     called  cells.  These  cells  are  of  two  types:  NaND  (Not  aND)    retrieved from a NOr flash is 1 byte. This makes NOr suitable 
     and NOr (Not Or). The cells are also classified in two ways             for use in BIOS chips and for storing mobile phone firmware, 
     depending  on  how  they  store  data—binary  0s  and  1s:  SLc         where high-speeds and minute data transfers take place. 
     (single level cells), which are older, can store only one bit at             NaND, on the other hand stores and retrieves data sequen-
     a time, while mLc (multi level cells) store more than one bit           tially, one block at a time. It also has a fixed lower limit below 
     per  cell  by  varying  the  electrical  charge.  Obviously,  mLc       which it cannot transfer data. This data is usually what resides 
     devices will be able to store more data per unit area than the          in an individual block, also known as pages. NaND flash mem-
                                                                             ory is used for data storage and can be found in external hard 
                                                                             drives,  pen  drives,  memory  cards  and  the  like.  NaND  drives 
                                                                             typically have higher capacities, and are cheaper.

                                                                             Formats
                                                                             For  use  as  a  data  storage  medium,  NaND  flash  comes  in 
                                                                             several formats. The oldest is Smartmedia, with other newer 
                                                                             standards  like  multimediacard  and  compactFlash. 
                                                                             multimediacard (mmc) has a new avatar in the form of the 
                                                                             Secure  Digital  format,  which  itself  has  several  component 
                                                                             formats  such  as  SDhc  (Secure  Digital  high  capacity). 
                                                                             microSDhc, microSD and miniSDhc. most of these cards are 
                                                                             used  in  consumer  electronic  devices  such  as  cameras  and 
                                                                             mobile  phones.  Besides,  there  are  several  proprietary  stan-
      A flash cell is made up of two transistors separated by a thin         dards like memory Stick (Sony) and xD Picture card (Olympus, 
                                                                             Fujifilm) that are used in products made by specific manu-
      oxide layer. These transistors, either NAND or NOR, are called
                                                                             facturers. a newer standard, UFS (Universal Flash Storage) is 
      floating gates and control gates. A floating gate is connected to      being  developed  by  a  consortium  for  release  in  2009,  and 
      the array by a link called the wordline, which passes through          will be backward-compatible with present formats. 
      the control gate, as shown in the figure. When the link is con-
      nected, the value of the cell is 1, which is the default state. To     New Hope
      change the value to 0, a process called tunnelling is used. The        manufacturers  are  aggressively  working  to  increase  data 
      process is simple—apply enough charge to reverse the direction         densities  and  reduce  costs.  a  3D  flash  technology  is  being 
      of flow of electrons. Data is erased when a voltage of about 12        developed  that  inserts  silicon  columns  between  layers, 
      to 15V is applied to the blocks. When the charge of a block is         instead  of  trying  to  stack  multiple  layers.  although  not 
      over 50 per cent of this value the bit state is 1; less than 50 per    immediately  available  on  the  shelves,  you  can  hope  to  see 
      cent means the bit state is 0.                                         such flash cards and devices in a year or two.
                                                                                                                      bhaskar.sarma@thinkdigit.com

68   DIGIT march 2008
      Digital Tools l A-List                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Digital Tools l A-List
     External Portable Hard                 Internal DVD-Writers                 MP3 Player above Rs                 Graphics Cards (High-End)           Desktop PCs                          Intel P35-based                    Home Inkjet MFDs                        PCI TV-Tuners
     Drives                                 Samsung SH-S203                      10,000                              Galaxy GF8800Ultra                  Sahara 20CK16                        Motherboards                       Canon PIXMA MP160                       Leadtek Winfast PVR2000
     WD Passport Portable (Black)             Performance, inexpensive           Cowon D2                              Sheer performance                                                      ASUS P5K Premium                     Good performance                        Excellent video quality and
      Excellent performance, good             None in particular                   Very good performance               Heats up                           Great performer                                                          No memory card reader                   software
      value                                                                        Slightly bulky                      Contact Technology and Gadgets                                                                                                                      Expensive
                                                                                                                                                          Slightly bulky                       Excellent enthusiast solution       Contact Canon India Pvt Ltd
      None in particular                      Contact Samsung India                                                    Phone +91-22-23823331
                                                                                   Contact Lipap Systems P. Ltd                                                                                Expensive                           Phone 1800-345-3366                     Contact Topnotch Infotronix (India)
                                                      Electronics Pvt Ltd          Phone +91-9819917440                Web site technologyandgadgets      Contact Sahara Computers &
       Contact Champion Computers             Phone +91-11-41511234                                                            .com                               Electronics Ltd              Contact ASUS Technology Pvt Ltd     E-mail info@canon.co.in                         Pvt Ltd
                                                                                   E-mail iaudio@lipap.com
               Pvt Ltd                        E-mail c.serrao@samsung.com                                              Price Rs 35,000                    Phone +91-120-4397777                Phone +91-22–67668800               Price Rs 5,995                          Phone +91-44-42042565
                                                                                   Price Rs 11,000
       Phone +91-11-26214751                  Price Rs 1,200                                                                                              E-mail info@saharacomputers.co.in    E-mail media_india@asus.com                                                 E-mail naqui@zebronics.net
       Web site www.championindia.com                                                                                                                     Price Rs 40,000                      Price Rs 15,870                                                             Price Rs 5,500
       Price Rs 6,500                                                                                                                                                                                                            Mono Laser MFDs
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 Brother MFC-7420
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   Great cost per page, fax
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   No Ethernet Port
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   Contact Brother International India
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           Pvt Ltd
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   Phone 1800-222-422
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   E-mail customercare@brother.in
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   Price Rs 18,000

     Internal SATA Hard Drives              Internal SATA Hard Drives            Digital Cameras                     Graphics Cards                      AMD AM2 Motherboards                 Intel Integrated Graphics                                                  Mono Laser Printers
     WD Caviar SE16 WD3200AAKS              WD Caviar SE16 WD5000AAKS            (High-End)                          (Mid-range)                         Gigabyte GA-MA69G-S3H                Motherboards                                                               HP LaserJet 1020
                                             Fast transfer speeds                Canon PowerShot A570 IS             ASUS EN8600GT                                                            Gigabyte GA-G33-DS3R                                                        Good combination of speed,
      Value for money,
                                             None in particular                    Good overall performance            Well priced, fast                  Well built, feature rich                                                                                        print quality, and warranty
      performance                                                                                                      None in particular
      None in particular                                                           Lacking in macro                                                       None in particular                   Very good layout                                                           A bit slow in comparison to
                                               Contact Champion Computers          performance                         Contact Asus Technology Pvt Ltd
                                                       Pvt Ltd                                                         Phone +91-22-67668800              Contact Gigabyte Tech India Ltd
                                                                                                                                                                                               Expensive                                                                  others
       Contact Champion Computers                                                  Contact Canon India Pvt Ltd
               Pvt Ltd                         Phone +91-11-26214751                                                   Web site http://in.asus.com        Phone +91-22-30616666                                                                                            Contact Hewlett-Packard India
                                                                                   Phone 1800-345-3366                                                                                         Contact Gigabyte Tech India Ltd
       Phone +91-11-26214751                   Web site www.championindia.com                                          Price Rs 8,800                     E-mail sales@gigabyte.in                                                                                                 Sales Pvt Ltd
                                                                                   E-mail info@canon.co.in                                                                                     Phone +91-22-30616666
       Web site www.championindia.com          Price Rs 7,500                                                                                             Price Rs 6,900                                                                                                   Phone +91-124-2566111
                                                                                   Price Rs 13,995                                                                                             E-mail sales@gigabyte.in
       Price Rs 4,500                                                                                                                                                                          Price Rs 9,500                                                              E-mail kakuni.mahto@hp.com
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           Price Rs 6,999


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

     Wi-Fi Access Points                    MP3 Players up to Rs 5,000          Processors                           LCD Monitors (19-inch)              Multimedia Cell Phone                Business Device                     Office Inkjet MFDs                     Mice
     Linksys WAP54G                         Apacer Steno A4351                  Intel QX6850 Core 2 Extreme          AOC 197S                            above 20,000                         Nokia Communicator E90              HP Photosmart C4188 All-in-            Logitech MX Revolution
       Great performance                      Good performence                    Extreme performance                  Good looks and performance        Nokia N95 8 GB                        Extremely powerful                 One                                      Has a flywheel
       None in particular                     Tacky build, Screen quality         Expensive                            Gloss finish catches smudges        Great all round performance          Heavy, bulky                        Good print quality                     Expensive
                                                                                  Contact Intel Tech India Pvt Ltd     Contact AOC India
                                                                                                                                                           Slightly bulky                                                           No fax
       Contact Ingram Micro India Pvt Ltd     Contact Apacer Technology                                                                                                                         Contact Nokia India                                                        Contact Logitech Electronic
                                                                                  Phone +91-9833823474                 Phone 1800-425-4318
       Phone +91-9323112279                   Phone +91-80-25702208                                                                                        Contact Nokia India                  Web site: www.nokia.com             Contact HP India Sales Pvt.                    India Pvt Ltd
                                                                                  E-mail saranya.rustagi@intel.com     E-mail info@in.aocmonitor.com
       E-mail sunil.z@ingrammicro.co.in       E-mail suraj_raina@apacer.com                                                                                Web site www.nokia.com               Price Rs 40,499                             Ltd.                           Phone +91-22-26571160
                                                                                  Price Rs 52,000                      Price Rs 12,000
       Price Rs 3,816                         Price Rs 1,720                                                                                               Price Rs 28,000                                                          Phone +91-124-2566111                  E-mail response@logitech.com
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    E-mail kakuni.mahto@hp.com             Price Rs 8,000
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Price Rs 7,999
     5.1 Speaker Sets                       MP3 Players up to Rs 10,000 Projectors                                                                                                                                                                                       Performance Laptops
     Artis S6600R/FM                                                            Acer PD726W                                                                                                                                       PC Webcams                             HP DV6226tx
                                          Samsung T10
       Good performance, radio                                                    Great overall performance                                                                                                                       Logitech QuickCam IM                    Funky Looker, features
                                            Good music quality, nice
       None in particular                                                         Lacks remote sensor at rear                                                                                                                       Strong performer                      Needs better graphics
                                            screen
       Contact Kunhar Peripherals Pvt Ltd   Tacky exterior                                                                                                                                                                          Manual focus                           Contact Hewlett-Packard India
                                                                                  Contact Acer India Pvt Ltd
       Phone +91-22-66345758                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               Phone +91-124-2838700
                                              Contact Samsung India Ltd           Phone +91-9880544226                                                                                                                              Contact Compuage Infocom Ltd
       E-mail mail@kunhar.com                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              E-mail tapoti-t.tipnis@hp.com
                                              Phone +91-11-41511234               E-mail alankar_s@acer.co.in                                                                                                                       Phone +91-22-65297356
       Price Rs 8,500                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Price Rs 56,990
                                              E-mail jitendra.c@samsung.com       Price Rs 1,35,000                                                                                                                                 E-mail india_getcreative
                                              Price Rs 6,600                                                                                                                                                                                @ctl.creative.com
                                                                                                                     LCD Monitors (17-inch)                                                                                         Price Rs 1,995
                                                                                                                     AOC 177V
                                                                                                                       Good performance
                                                                                                                       None in particular                                                     Value Executive Phone
                                                                                                                                                         Below Rs 12,500
                                                                                                                       Contact AOC India                 Sony-Ericsson W910i                  Nokia E51
                                                                                                                       Phone 1800-425-4318                 Great sound                          Loads of features
                                                                                                                       E-mail info@in.aocmonitor.com       Flat and clumsy keypad               None
                                                                                                                       Price Rs 9,800                      Contact Sony Ericsson Mobile         Contact Nokia India
                                                                                                                                                                   Comm. India Pvt Ltd          Web site www.nokia.com
                                                                                                                                                           Web site www.sonyericsson.com        Price Rs 13,000
                                                                                                                                                           Price Rs 19,000

70   DIGIT MARCH 2008                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   DIGIT MARCH 2008         73

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 71
     Digital Tools l 3 Incredibly Useful Sites


     Shortcuts To Geekdom
     Samir Makwana
     Enhance your keyboard wizardry, and know what’s really going on behind the scenes in Windows
     www.keyxl.com                                                     www.processlibrary.com

                                                                       W
                                                                                hen an OS takes ages to load, hangs, and eventually dies, it’s

      U
            sing a GUI without a mouse might seem insane at first,
            but you see these people around you every now and                   time to take a peek into system processes. Many simultaneous
            then, the types who seem unaware that there’s a                     processes run silently on your computer. It’s generally not
      mouse by the side of the keyboard. Keyboard shortcuts save       possible for you to know what a process (say, “lsass.exe”) does—the
      time—precious seconds of your day, to be precise—but more        Task Manager doesn’t
      importantly, it’s one more fun skill to show off, and it saves   state anything about it!
      you from moving your hand between the two devices.               ProcessLibrary.com is
                                                                       recommended for when
                                                                       you find yourself in such
                                                                       a situation.
                                                                           ProcessLibrary is a
                                                                       comprehensive online
                                                                       database and reference
                                                                       source about system
                                                                       processes along with spy- Process library is, well, a library of processes
                                                                       ware and Trojan threats,
                                                                       and it’s all explained in simple English. You can get to know about the
                                                                       nature and purpose of the processes that should run on the system,
                                                                       and which ones are unwanted or suspicious and should be terminated.
                                                                           The Library tab shows a list of processes, information about each of
                                                                       which is available on the site. When you narrow it down to a particular
                                                                       process, say svhost.exe or AlrtIntl.dll, you’ll have an explanation about the
                                                                       process and its path detail, as well as the level of threat it carries—you can
                                                                       check the Security Risk (Spyware, Virus, or Trojan) associated with the
       You can find 3D objects for free download, and much more!       process .exe or .dll. On the same page, you’ll see a box on Removal &
                                                                       Security, which offers you the options to perform a free scan. Also, using
           KeyXL has the largest database (believe it till we dis-     that software, you can “boost”—as in fix—the process you’re looking up.
      cover otherwise!) of keyboard shortcuts—you’ll find short-
      cuts for Windows, Linux, Mac, and popular Web
      applications. Even the latest software—like Photoshop
      CS3—figure, and there’s a short description with each            www.docstoc.com
      shortcut. As a matter of fact, you can learn complicated
      software more quickly once you know, memorise, and
      practise the keyboard shortcuts. The ever-useful search
      field is there on the main page, and you can search for
      shortcuts for various software.
           Shortcut lists for different programs are constantly
      being added, and you can submit your own list(s), too.




     I
        f you need to make, say, a budget plan or a consulting
        agreement, the first step would be to visit docstoc.com
        to find the right starting document. The site is an online
     document sharing community where you can post, view,
     download, comment upon, and rate thousands of docu- Docstoc is your one-stop doc shop
     ments, searchable category-wise (registration is required
     to comment or rate). The tabs you’ll see are Legal, Business,             There are also educational documents like research papers,
     Financial, Technology, Educational, and Creative.                     term papers, and other study material for students as well as
         The document collection here can be classified into three teachers. Creative and user-created material like Learn Japanese
     broad categories—Business / Legal, Educational, and other (in English), various user guides, tips & tricks, tutorials, scripts, e-
     user-generated material. Business / legal templates and docu- books, articles, etc. also figure in the document database.
     ments can be reused after modification.                                   Take a look around; it’s a great collection! You’ll find documents
         As an example of the broad variety of documents available, if ranging from Asset Purchase and Sale Agreement to Configure DNS
     you’re looking for a specific legal document, the Legal tab brings up in Linux to How to control your brain at will. They’re categorised,
     several sub-categories: Contracts, Employment, Family, Forms, but there’s a virtually unlimited range of documents available. We
     Incorporations, IP, Real Estate Agreement, Wills & Trusts, and more. really can’t go into more detail—this site is a must-visit!


72   DIGIT MARCH 2008
                                                                      Digital
                                                                     Business
                                                                      How Technology Can Help Your Organisation
76 Handle with Care            80 Get Self-published
Smart Business




                                                                                Indirectly, you’ll even be able to better your
It’s already         Nimish Chandiramani                                    products (or services, as the case may be). For
                                                                            example, if your customers are having trouble
widely accepted
                     C
                           onsider this: you’ve called up, say, your        with a certain feature in your product, you can
that Customer              mobile service provider to resolve an            use this information to amend the product’s
Relationship               issue you’re having with your connec-            manual, or even change the product itself.
                     tion. Once it’s been addressed, the customer               Before you decide to opt for a CRM solution,
Management           service executive informs you of a special offer       however, you should ask yourself whether you
(CRM) can boost      on tariffs—you think, “Ah! This fits perfectly         really need it. If you handle a lot of repeat busi-
                     with my usage”, and accept the offer. You dis-         ness, then you’ll benefit tremendously from a
your business        connect, satisfied and impressed. No coinci-           CRM solution—especially if your sales force isn’t
significantly, not   dence, this—if you’ve ever been satisfied with         the size of a battalion. Even a small travel
to mention make      customer service, it’s because your service            agency, for example, may have a few thousand
                     provider is using a Customer Relationship              loyal customers without having more than ten
your customers       Management (CRM) solution that gives them              employees. With a CRM solution, the agency
happy—what if        all the information they need to know what             can track feedback on customers’ trips, their
                     will make you happy.                                   suggestions, their travel patterns, and based on
you could                                                                   all that information, keep them informed of
implement it for     What And Why                                           special packages that they’re most likely to pur-
your company at      CRM solutions let you do just that—manage your         chase. By targeting the right customers for a
                     relationships with customers—making sure that          package, salespeople won’t waste their time lis-
little or no cost?   service requests are responded to in a timely          tening to the dreaded “Not interested”. In fact,
                     manner, for instance. For you as a businessper-        they’ll be able to handle even more customers
                     son, it means that all your customer information       with the same effort!
                     is consolidated in one database, making it easier          If, on the other hand, you’re always trying
                     for you to identify opportunities for further sales.   to snag new customers, and your existing cus-
                     Like the example above, a CRM solution will let        tomer database is for reference only, a contact
                     you track all your customers’ history, so when         management solution will work, and won’t be
                     you start a new sales campaign, you’ll know            as much of a headache to manage as a full-
                     which customers are likely to buy your product.        blown CRM system.
                     You’ll get your income, and your customer will             CRM solutions are typically big invest-
                     walk away satisfied, which will eventually trans-      ments, but the cost of “commercial” open
                     late into even more income. Everybody wins.            source software is significantly lower than a

                                                                                                              DIGIT MARCH 2008    73
     Digital Business l Smart Business                                                                                                             Digital Business l Smart Business
     proprietary solution. Commercial Open Source                                                                                                 Second, enforce a policy to check for dupli-
     means that the software and source code is                                                                                               cates before creating any new customer
     available free of cost, but you pay for addition-                                                                                        accounts. This is crucial for new salespeople
     al features, customisation and support. If                                                                                               on your team, for whom customer names
     you’re comfortable with that, you can down-                                                                                              won’t be familiar at all. Duplicate records
     load the software, deploy it on a server and get                                                                                         might have annoying consequences—a sup-
     cracking right away...                                                                                                                   port request on one record may go ignored
                                                                                                                                              because everyone was referring to the dupli-
     Give Me Some Sugar                                                                                                                       cate, for example.
     Most commercial open source CRM solutions                                                                                                    Third, decide on a convention for company
     offer you a free online demo, so you can see                                                                                             names and acronyms—whether you’re going to
     which one works best for you. After foraging a                                                                                           use IBM or I.B.M., for example. The same
     little, we’re very impressed with SugarCRM—                                                                                              applies for places—whether you’re going to use
     it’s undoubtedly popular (the site claims over                                                                                           Delhi or New Delhi, for example. This will
     500 downloads a day), and is definitely one                                                                                              prove handy when you’re searching for cus-
     worth considering. It’s available as a free                                                                                              tomer records. Also, decide how you’re going
     Community Edition, or you can choose to pur-                                                                                             to use uppercase letters—whether data will all
     chase one of their paid solutions. Sugar On-                                                                                             be in capitals or title case (the first letter capi-
     Demand is an option you could consider if                                                                                                tal). You’ll notice the former in a lot of bulk
     you don’t want to host the software yourself—                                                                                            e-mails that you get; it involves less effort—no
     it’s hosted on SugarCRM’s own servers, and                                                                                               worrying about the [Shift] key ever—but
     available to you from wherever you have                                                                                                  isn’t visually appealing at all.
     access to the Internet. At $40 (Rs 1,600) per                                                                                                To make it easier for you to track your sales
     month per user (for Sugar Professional; $75                                                                                              team’s progress, decide on when the system is
     (Rs 3,000) for Sugar Enterprise), it might be                                                                                            to be updated—would a salesperson create a
     worth it if you’d end up spending more on the                                                                                            new entry as soon as the customer is acquired,
     IT infrastructure.                                      Flash-based tutorials on Sugar’s Web site ease your learning process             or wait till the end of the day to key in all the
          Sugar’s interface can look a little scary—it                                                                                        day’s customers?
     aims at large enterprises as well—but once you                                          The tabs at the top are self-explanatory—            Finally, spellcheck—typos in your e-mails
     start exploring it, you’ll see that it’s logically                                  click on them to manage contacts, customer           look very unprofessional. When speaking to a
     laid out, and you’re always only a couple of                                        accounts, marketing campaigns and so on. They        customer, make sure the spelling of their name




                                                                                                                                                                                                     Size 10.5cm(width) x 28cm(height)
     clicks away from the information you need.                                          also let you manage sales leads—people who are       is verified—misspelling a name is a very effective
     When you log in to the system, you see a list of                                    your first contacts before a deal is finalised—      way of having your e-mail deleted in a second.
     things that demand your attention—calls you                                         and potential sales opportunities, so if one             If you’ve already got yourself a messy data-
     have to make, issues to resolve, meetings for the                                   salesperson is unavailable, another can follow       base, there’s no better way to fix it than to start
     day and so on. There’s also a Jotpad to type                                        up with the lead and close the sale. This            getting in touch with customers again—you’ll
     notes to yourself. Your individual home page is                                     ensures that your income isn’t affected if           be able to get updated data, and re-connect
     fully customisable, and you can drag the “dash-                                     unforeseen circumstances put a salesperson           with your customers, so to speak.
     lets” around to suit your needs. You can also                                       out of commission.
     add more dashlets, including a Space Invaders                                           The row of links under the tabs shows you        Other Options
     clone for those slow days.                                                          areas that you’ve visited recently, so you can get   If you’re not a large company, it doesn’t make
                                                                                         back to, say, a customer account from the            sense to even consider a proprietary CRM solu-
                                                                                         Opportunities screen in a flash, without having      tion—licenses can go as high as $995 (Rs 39,800)
                                                                                         to search or navigate a list all over again.         per year for just five users—it’s the commercial
                                                                                             Sugar also has an online library to help         open source solutions we’ll stick to.
                                                                                         you get started with the software—just click         DaffodilCRM (http://crm.daffodilsw.com/) is anoth-
                                                                                         on the Training link at the top right. You can       er promising solution—not quite as polished as
                                                                                         also view a number of Flash-based demos on           Sugar, but quite usable. Their online demo is
                                                                                         their Web site— http://www.sugarcrm.com —            down as of this writing; you might have to
                                                                                         which will walk you through using and                download and deploy it to check it out. A big
                                                                                         administering Sugar.                                 plus is that the company’s based in India, so
                                                                                             And now, to ensure that you don’t end up         you’ll have better access to support. The sup-
                                                                                         with a dirty database...                             port plans, however, are a tad unreasonably
                                                                                                                                              priced for our tastes.
                                                                                         Keeping It Sane                                          CentricCRM        (now     ConcourseSuite—
                                                                                         What good is a tool for creating a customer          http://www.concursive.com/) has also been well-
                                                                                         database if the data itself is garbled, duplicat-    received online, and unlike other open source
                                                                                         ed many times over, or just plain inconsistent       solutions that are AMP (Apache-MySQL-PHP)-
                                                                                         throughout? Bad quality data can be the bane         based, this is based on the J2EE platform.
                                                                                         of a good CRM system, but it’s fairly easy to        Setting it up on your own serv-
                                                                                         avoid if you address the problem before it           er can be tricky—you’ll have to
                                                                                         even begins. You’ll need to set down rules for       compile the source code your-
                                                                                         using your CRM system, and ensure that               self—so the on-demand option
                                                                                         everyone knows them.                                 is much better.
                                                                                             First of all, access rights—you’ll need to           Bottom line: no matter
                                                                                         decide who gets to create, edit or delete cus-       which solution you choose,
                                                                                         tomer records. With a proper access hierarchy,       you’ll see significant benefits to
                                                                                         you’ll ensure that data is manipulated only by       your business before you know it.
     Sugar’s home page gives you a quick run-down of what’s expected of you today        people who know what they’re doing.                                nimish.chandiramani@thinkdigit.com

74   DIGIT MARCH 2008
     Digital Business l Lead Feature                                                                                                                                                                                           Digital Business l Lead Feature
                                                                                                                                 talked about is their impact on individuals,
                                                                                                                                 and the feeling of freedom they grant us. For
                                                                                                                                 every LinkedIn that could get you a job, there’s




                                               andle
                                                                                                                                 an Orkut that could result in your losing it.

                                                                                                                                 Responsible Behaviour
                                                                                                                                 With that freedom—to paraphrase the Indian            We’d guess you don’t want your boss to see this
                                                                                                                                 Constitution—comes responsibility. And for a
                                                                                                                                 change, this responsibility is not towards socie-




                                                      Care
                                                                                                                                 ty or the country—it’s towards you. In the lais-      First impressions            slaving over your profile and leaving it to be
                                                                                                                                 sez faire world of social networking, it’s almost                                  seen by three friends. But there is a downside


                              With                                                                                               too easy to go astray. With the absence of any
                                                                                                                                 accountability or the need to face people per-
                                                                                                                                 sonally, users are tempted to spice up their pro-
                                                                                                                                 files and adopt a completely different persona.
                                                                                                                                 Peer pressure also adds a lot to this multiple
                                                                                                                                                                                       are incredibly
                                                                                                                                                                                       hard to dispel,
                                                                                                                                                                                       and “sensitive”
                                                                                                                                                                                       keywords always
                                                                                                                                                                                                                    to all the attention-mongering: you can be
                                                                                                                                                                                                                    searched for just as easily by people from
                                                                                                                                                                                                                    whom you’d prefer to not know that side of
                                                                                                                                                                                                                    your personality. Search engines accomplish
                                                                                                                                                                                                                    this in seconds with a few carefully chosen
                                                                                                                                                                                       raise warning
                                                                                                                                 personality syndrome: after all, we all want to                                    keywords. General search engines like Google,
                                                                                                                                 look great and have more friends or messages
                                                                                                                                                                                       flags in minds of            as well as people search engines like Spock—
                         Your paper resume isn’t the only thing potential employers are looking at.                              from the opposite sex. And if those people are        prospective                  which specifically crawl most social sites—
                         Your life, your friends, your hobbies—if it’s on the Web, they can see it                               good looking, you are guaranteed to be the talk       employers and                throw up profile photos, interests, books you
                                                                                                                                 of the campus and the heart of the party. In          partners                     read, movies you saw and a hundred other
                                                                              to enquire whether he or she would be there        fact, there are sites where you can hire models                                    details. Oh, and another thing: Google caches
                         Bhaskar Sarma                                        at the office party this Friday?                   to be in your friend profile: they will also mes-                                  Web results for years. If you had led a wild life
                                                                                  As places to hang out, have fun and meet       sage or scrap you with sentences that don’t look                                   which was reflected in your older MySpace


                         W
                                    hat do most of us do when we fire up      people from all over the world these Web sites     like they have been spewed by a chat bot.                                          profile and posted a few NSFW (Not Safe For
                                    our browsers first thing in the           are the online equivalent of the office water-     Choices are yours—the sky is the limit. You                                        Work) photos, be assured that someone will
                                    morning? Chances are, apart from          cooler. Most of them offer features like writing   might even become an Internet celebrity based                                      still be able to access it even after you became
                         checking e-mail, we log in to social networking      short messages to friends, uploading pictures      on a YouTube video: a case in point is                                             respectable and deleted them.
                         sites to check up on friends and acquaintances.      and videos and projecting a unique identity by     Lonelygirl15, a “teenager” who posted a series                                         Since it is always better to show than talk,
                         This trend is more noticeable with the current       customising profiles. Still other sites focus      of videos where she talks about her lonely life,                                   we fired up Spock. Here you can search for per-
                         generation of professionals, many of whom            exclusively on sharing photos and videos, and      and which were followed by millions of people                                      sons by name and/or e-mail ID, while more
                         believe that e-mail is so last century. If you are   thereby aim at creating a community. In fact,      as avidly as they would follow a blockbuster TV                                    advanced search options let you narrow down
                         in the age group of 15-30, when was the              we’ve covered these sites exhaustively in our      show. That she was later revealed to be an                                         the search by age, sex, location, tags and picture.
                         last time you had e-mailed a colleague                 Fast Track To The Social Web. What we haven’t    actress and those videos were professionally                                       We entered a few sufficiently generic names—
                                                                                                                                 shot is another matter.                                                            we won’t mention the—and entered the tag
                                                                                                                                     The point is that people can draw erro-                                        “sex”. A second later, the whole page was full of
                                                                                                                                 neous conclusions based on your online pres-                                       profiles where the “sex” word was either in a TV
                                                                                                                                 ence—they say that on the Internet, a dog could                                    show or in the name of a movie or a book they
                                                                                                                                 be a man, and nobody would know. The reverse                                       recently saw or read. Later in the page, we hit
                                                                                                                                 is also unfortunately true. The Web is a biased                                    paydirt: people who’ve put “likes sex” (along
                                                                                                                                 judge, jury and executioner all rolled into one.                                   with books, movies and what not) on their pro-
                                                                                                                                 For example, not so long ago the gruesome pic-                                     files. Oops! While we won’t be judgemental, and
                                                                                                                                 tures of Nicole Castouras, a young girl killed                                     wish them the best of luck, we can bet that when
                                                                                                                                 in a high speed crash were leaked by officers of                                   any of them walks into a room with a Web 2.0-
                                                                                                                                 the California Highway Patrol. Those pictures                                      savvy interviever, their applications will be
                                                                                                                                 eventually appeared in more than 1600 Web                                          looked at with at least one raised eyebrow.
                                                                                                                                 sites and made life hell for the Castouras
                                                                                                                                 family, who had to repeatedly endure the sick                                      Employees In Sights
                                                                                                                                 photographs of their daughter’s decapitated                                        That’s actually sad, because many of them
                                                                                                                                 body posted on these sites and also mailed to                                      might have made those profiles just for fun.
                                                                                                                                 them, some accompanied by comments which                                           But first impressions are incredibly hard to
                                                                                                                                 insinuated that she got what she deserved.                                         dispel and such keywords always raise warning
                                                                                                                                                                                                                    flags in minds of prospective employers and
                                                                                                                                 Many A Slip                                                                        partners. Videos and photographs can also get
                                                                                                                                 It doesn’t take gruesome accident pictures to                                      out of hand pretty fast and become viral. While
                                                                                                                                 ruin your reputation and peace of mind. Your                                       job oriented Web sites allow candidates to post
                                                                                                                                 Orkut profile is just as effective. Think about it:                                video resumes of themselves, putting irrele-
                                                                                                                                 while you are in the race to impress your peers                                    vant material there would risk your present
                                                                                                                                 by snagging the most number of female friends                                      and future job prospects, especially if it
                                                                                                                                 and updating fake photos which show you off                                        showed off your tap dancing skills with a half
                                                                                                                                 as über-cool, there are some other people out                                      naked partner, and if it ever got popular on
                                                                                                                                 there that would possibly take a dim view of                                       YouTube. As a candidate, we always research
                                                                                                                                 this whole scenario. One group is your family;                                     prospective employers, looking not only at
                                                                                                                                 another group is potential and present                                             financial reports but also how good the work
                                                                                                                                 employers. For the purpose of this article, let’s                                  environment is. It stands to reason that
                                                                                                                                 focus on the latter.                                                               employers would also check not only our aca-
                                                                                                                                     By default, profiles, photos, videos and                                       demic background, but also our social back-
                                                                                                                                 such other badges of identity in most networks                                     ground as reflected in such sites. As Ulhas
                                                                                                                                 is public. They have to be—there is no point in                                    Aher, HR Head of Datacraft—a unified com-

76   DIGIT MARCH 2008                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 DIGIT MARCH 2008    77
     Digital Business l Lead Feature
     munication solution provider says—“I have used                                              project an image of the organisation that is dif-
     sites like Orkut and LinkedIn for recruitment
                                                                   With companies                ferent from the image projected by press
     purposes. The candidates express their likes                  starting their                releases or PR agencies, quite often there are
     and dislikes which is a representation of their               official blogs,               misunderstandings where individual bloggers
     character. These sites are also great for serving             this medium has               might inadvertently or maliciously show the
     up sources of unbiased reference”.                            gained some                   company in poor light. Not many have an offi-
         These checks continue even after the can-                                               cial blogging policy or official bloggers, which
     didate is hired. A search on Orkut would easily
                                                                   acceptance in the             leads to incidents like the furore raised when
     bring up several communities dedicated to cor-                workplace                     a Google employee commented negatively
     porations, large or small. These communities                                                about Sicko (Michael Moore’s documentary on
     are informally monitored by interested man-                                                 healthcare) on the Google Health Advertising
     agers to get a feel of what employees think                                                 Blog       (http://google-health-ads.blogspot.com/
     about their workplace. Preferring to remain                                                 2007/06/does-negative-press-make-you-sicko.html) ,
     anonymous, an HR executive in an MNC based                                                  thus imparting an official slant to her personal
     in Hyderabad confirmed this trend, “Our                                                     opinion. There have been other cases where
     department keeps an eye on these communi-                                                   people have been fined, demoted or fired for
     ties and if they see something objectionable,                                               leaking company secrets on such blogs.
     often contacts the immediate superior of the
                                                                                                 Netiquette 2.0
                                                                                                 As we have e-mail etiquette and social eti-
                                                                                                 quette, there is a crying need to develop a set
                                                                                                 of conventions where social networking is con-
                                                                                                 cerned. The rule of thumb while you use Web
                                                                                                 2.0 is: ask yourself if what you have intended to
                                                                                                 be seen by friends can also be shown to your
                                                                                                 boss. If the answer is no, don’t post it—your
                                                                                                 boss might see it anyway. Social sites like Face-
                                                                                                 book have privacy controls where you can
                                                                                                 make your profile viewable only to a select
                                                                                                 group of people: use them, and even then
                                                                                                 refrain from keeping a half-naked picture as
                                                                                                 your profile photo. Don’t use the e-mail ID
                                                                                                 which appears in your official communica-
                                                                                                 tions. When blogging, don’t talk about con-
                                                                                                 troversial topics related to work and keep your
                                                                                                 blog profile temperate. You also need to be
                                                                                                 careful of what friends are saying about you.
                                                                                                 As in school, you are known by the company
     If the “worst boss ever” read this, they’d end the posters’ misery rather quick, we’d say   you keep on the Internet too. Be careful in
                                                                                                 posing for photos in say, a beer party or a strip
     concerned employee. Depending on the com-                                                   club and request your friends to remove such
     ment, appropriate action might be taken. We                                                 photos from their profiles. You might come
     also unofficially check the profiles of new                                                 across as a party pooper, but that’s better than
     hires: even my profile was checked out by my                                                generating negative impression on an inter-
     boss before I was hired.” While cases of firing                                             viewer’s mind and losing that dream job. Even
     a person based on his comments about the                                                    if you aren’t affected now by the exuberant
     boss’s paunch or the company cafeteria are not                                              description of how you streaked across the
     heard of, there is every possibility that such                                              campus in your second semester, these things
     disclosures would be viewed dimly and harm                                                  might haunt you when you are applying for top
     inter office relationships.                                                                 management positions. It didn’t affect George
                                                                                                 Crump, allegedly the world’s first streaker
     To Blog, Or Not To Blog?                                                                    from becoming a Congressmen and an Ambas-
     Blogs are another potential landmine in the                                                 sador to Chile because, you see, way back in
     context of work life balance. They started off as                                           1804, there was no Internet.
     personal journals where people talk about any-                                                   Then, there is always the danger that
     thing they want to—in some cases, that might                                                someone (a business rival or resentful ex)
     also be about work: problems with colleagues                                                might create a fake profile on social sites and
     and superiors, new things that are happening                                                fill it with provocative details that make you
     at the office, criticism of policies and so on.                                             seem like a nymphomaniac or a Casanova (as
     While this is all very well on pen and paper in                                             the case may be). In fact, cases like this related
     a private place, they are a strict no-no in public                                          to Orkut have been reported in the Indian
     places like blogs. Just ask Matthew Brown, who                                              media ad nauseum. In such cases the affected
     was given the pink slip by Starbucks for criti-                                             parties might have to take legal measures to
     cising his boss on his personal blog!                                                       salvage their reputation; the best course to
         With companies starting their official                                                  adopt is always discretion, caution and con-
     blogs, this medium has attained a modicum of                                                stant vigilance.
     official acceptance. Official blogging, though,                                                  You never know who’s watching you in
     is another no man’s land without historical                                                 cyberspace.
     precedence. While corporate blogs aim to                                                                         bhaskar.sarma@thinkdigit.com

78   DIGIT MARCH 2008
                                                                                                                                          Digital Business l Smart SoHo




              ss l Smart So
                           Ho
                                                                                                                                                                                                         Write
          ublished
Digital Busine



Get Self-p                   al—here are publishin
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  S                    re                               ng                                                                 PagePlus’ toolbars explained
        end—brochu just goes on and on. Savi                   more useful
                                                                              to
                                                                                    g for a begin
                                                                                                  ner in layo       .
        ca rds—the list            r by in  order to stay is too intimidatin ible and ef fective solution                  The Right Layout
                  at SoHos swea to tell you just how               PagePlu  s is a flex       software, an
                                                                                                            d before
  money is wh d we’re here                                                     installed the                  s card,         Once you launch PagePlus, select the option to
  competitive,
                  an                                           After you’ve gning, say, your busines ised.                    Create my own design. In the Choose a Design
                                                 the day, you begin desi                                  organ

                                                                                                                                                                                                           Test
                  e.
  to get it don blishing is the need of                                                              g is
                                                                                        re ever ythin d images—               window, select Small Publications > Wide
       Desktop pu                             eir require- you need to make su
                   Hos are ou   tsourcing th                r                   the rele vant text an a specif ic             Business Card. Wide Business Cards are Land-
   and many So                             though thei          Gat her all             mpany logo
                                                                                                     —in
                          cause even          ire the pro- including your co r project folder. Now yo
                                                                                                                      u       scape-oriented, while Tall Business Cards are
   ments    . Why? Be           ay not requ                                              u                                    Portrait-oriented.
   desktop pu     blishing m        cy, the softw
                                                   are that folder. Use this as yo             gePlus.
                    ch of an agen                    results                    launching Pa                your very         Before you start work on the card, in order to be
    fessional tou ve professional looking uark can start by sk is to help you design . To do                                  certain that you view all the available tools, click
    is used to ac
                    hie                     o legs ! Q               The fi rst ta                  ness card
                             ar m and tw                                              -looking busi                   in      on View > Toolbars and check all the toolbars.
     will co  st them an 32,000! Adobe InDesign own professional llow some simple steps
     Express 7—    about Rs            ere’s no w   ay most this, you need to fo
                      Rs 28,000! Th                   ally for                                                             The Business Card
     CS3—almost ify such expenses, especi e free PagePlus.                                                                    The blue rectangle that you can see in the
     SoHos can     just              ds. That’s w  her
                       blishing nee                    all you                                                                middle of the page is to guide you while
      occasional pu e software comes in, and suits                                                                            aligning the text and images. Similar to a grid
                     urc
      and open so ok around to find one            that
                                                                                                                              in the background, it helps you decide the
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                                                                                                                              appropriate position of the various elements in              For almost 7 years, you have
       you. We fo    und PagePlu scribus.net) to be the
       ware.com) an
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                      d Scribus (ww g software—you can                                                                        the card.                                               contributed to our success as a reader
                                    hin                                                                                       Start by inserting your company logo. To do
       best free de  sktop publis CD.
                       this month’s                                                                                           this, go to Insert > Picture > From file (or
        find both in                                                                                                          you can simply press [Ctrl] + [G]).                      It’s time to take it to the next level...
                 re You Leap            fore you
        Look Befowork needs planning. Betify your
                                                                                                                              To insert text for your business card, click on
                                                                                                                              the Artistic Text Tool (the alphabet “A”) on the
        All creative ware, you need to iden                                                                                   Tools toolbar. Alternatively, you can insert text
                          ft                              re you
        search for so Whet her it’s a brochu ting                                                                             from any file by clicking on Insert > Text
        requirem      ents.               self-design ed visi
        need to mak
                         e, a flier, or a ing else, sit down                                                                  File (or simply pressing [Ctrl] + [T]). You                   We’re looking for Writers,
                            you do    anyt h                     t                                                            can further adjust the font size, height, width,
         card, before                            y and plan ou                                                                                                                             Copy Editors and Test Centre
                                  paper and tr                                                                                line spacing and positioning through the
         wit h    a pencil and hieve. This holds true
                             t to ac
         what you wan sktop publishing you
                                                                                                                              Change toolbar.
                                                                                                                              Each text or image component forms a box that
                                                                                                                                                                                         Reviewers, based in Navi Mumbai
          for an   y sort of de             execute!
                            an, arrange,                                                                                      you can easily move around the page, either by
          may have—pl ental picture of                                                                                        dragging with the mouse or using the cursor keys.
                 Frame a m                   ut of
                            propriate layo                                                                                    After inserting all relevant image and text, our
           the most ap es—this aids in                                                                                        next step is to insert a separator, which is a line               Send your resume to
                             ag
           text and im                     task at
                             tion of the                                                                                      towards the bottom of that card, separating the
            faster execu ting for the best
                              n                                                                                               address of the company. To insert a line, click                  editor@thinkdigit.com
            hand. Go hu ur requirement—                                                                                       on the Straight Line Tool. You will find this tool
                             it yo                                                                                                                                                   Remember to specify the post applied for in the subject line
             images to su                      lty-free
                               to find roya e of the                                                                          just below the artistic text tool. After selecting
             use Google                from on                                                                                this tool, click on one end of the intended posi-
                                y one
              images, or bu at of fer them. TIFF or                                                                           tion and drag the mouse to the other end
              man   y services th            tion of 200 D
                                                            PI
                              with a resolu erred, because                                                                    forming a straight line. You can adjust the posi-
               PNG images                    ef
                                generally pr                  on                                                              tion of the line by using the up and down
               or higher are es may seem alluring                                                                             cursor keys.
                            imag                              ce
               although
                                 r screen, re sults differ on                                                                 In the same way, insert the address of your
                your compute d.                                                                                               organisation and proceed to view your card by
                they ar e printe
                                                                                                                              doing a Print Preview.
     Digital Business l Smart SoHo




     Create professional business cards at leisure with
     PagePlus

     Booklets, Brochures, Fliers And
     Pamphlets
     The brochure we are going to design has four
     printed sides, created out of a single A4-sized
     paper. When printed on both sides and folded
     into half, it yields four pages.
        Similar to the procedure that we followed for
        the business card, after launching PagePlus,      You get a preview of the other pages on the right
        start by clicking on Create My Own Design. In
        the Choose a Design window, select Folded         You can easily                labels. Customised address labels have great
        Publications > Books/Booklets. Select Side        design letter-                appeal. For example, your logo on the address
        Fold Booklet and hit the Finish button.                                         labels or the envelopes of your letters creates
        Click on the Pages tab of the Studio toolbar      heads in a similar            the impression of professionalism when com-
        located on the right, to see a snapshot of all    manner to creat-              pared to a handwritten address, or one that is
        the four sides. Only one sheet of paper can be    ing a business                simply typed out.
        used to form the four page booklet.               card
        To the right of the screen, you can see four                                       After launching PagePlus, select Use Down-
        sheets of paper laid out as portrait. However,                                     loaded Designs.
        do not confuse these to be four individual                                         In the Choose a Design window, go to Busi-
        sheets of papers. These are the four halves of                                     ness Stationery > Envelopes > DL.
        the two sides of a single A4 sheet.                                                With an envelope in the main work area, click
        Insert your title with appropriate fonts and                                       on the Design tab of the Studio toolbar. Here,
        size for emphasis. For your logo, follow the                                       you can see a form containing fields such as
        same procedure that we followed while                                              Company, Address, Phone and other contact
        preparing the business card—Insert > Pic-                                          details. Fill in all the essential details here.
        ture > From File. Alternatively, you can                                           These data fields are appropriately displayed
        click on the Import Picture button on the                                          on the face of the envelope.
        Tools toolbar. Drag the image to its appro-                                        You can also change the background images,
        priate size by viewing its dimensions on the                                       if they do not appeal to you. You can delete
        Change toolbar. You can also directly type in                                      the earlier picture by selecting it and hitting
        the dimensions in the Change toolbar to                                            the delete button. You can also replace it
        adjust the image appropriately.                                                    with a newer image.
        Double-click on Page 2 of 4. This opens a                                          Similarly, for the address labels, click on
        fresh page in the work area. You can still see                                     Create my own design > Small Publica-
        a preview of Page 1 in the studio area on the                                      tions > Avery Labels. Select among the
        right of the screen. Continue adding your text                                     options given and hit the Finish button.
        and images on this page. Generally, in most                                        Working on this is similar to the documents
        brochures, this is where the density of infor-                                     we have worked on so far—Insert Text then
        mation increases. Hence, to make it really                                         Insert Image!
        easier, to insert significant amount of text,
        click on Insert > Text file or simply press                                     Wrapping Up
        [Ctrl] + [T], if you are more comfortable                                       We’ve dealt with the most common office pub-
        with keyboard shortcuts for faster results.                                     lishing needs in this article, which should make
        Continue working on Page 3 and Page 4 in                                        other publications easier for you. For example,
        the same way. Once you are done with your                                       a letterhead is a single A4 sheet of paper. You
        work, we recommend that you periodically                                        can easily design one by keeping the layout sim-
        save using good old [Ctrl] + [S].                                               ilar to the business card, with the logo on top of
                                                                                        the page followed with a separator. You can
     Associated Office Stationery                                                       place blanks to provide Date and Ref on either
     We have created a business card and now a                                          side of the page. Finally, a separator and the
     booklet that you can use either as a flier, a bul-                                 address at the bottom of the page, and you are
     letin or even a brochure for your product. You’ll                                  done with a professional letterhead.
     likely have a lot of mailing requirements, and                                         Time to start publishing!
     as a result also require envelopes and address                                                             nash.david@thinkdigit.com

82   DIGIT MARCH 2008
                                                                                Digital Leisure l Touched By Tech

                                                                          Digital

88MP3 Player Test 107 Game on 122 Tabloid Tech
                                                                         Leisure
                                                                          Technology Beyond Work



            Lead Feature




                                                                                                                                 Chaitanya Surpur
            The
           ULTIMATE
            Gaming Guide
            Gaming is a far better pastime
            than watching movies, and can be
            just as cinematic and riveting. But
            you’ve got to start somewhere,
            right? Here you go...


            Agent 001                                upgrading your PC isn’t
                                                     the headache it used to
               oes the word gaming remind            be. Three—a lot of con-




      D
               you of happy hours spent in           soles vie for your atten-
               front of a Nintendo Game Boy,         tion—the Xbox, Xbox 360
                or does it have you fondly           (X360), PlayStation 2 (PS2),
                reminiscing with memories of         PlayStation 3 (PS3) and Wii,
                late night Quake 3 frag              and even handheld consoles
                 sessions? Does a pleasant           like the PlayStation Portable
                 game of Spider Solitaire relax      (PSP). In fact, getting into
                  you? Maybe you like to             gaming can be daunting for
            remember yourself poised with a          the sheer variety of choice.
            twitchy finger curled around the         Not all of us can afford a
            trigger of your carbine with an          super- PC, an X360 and a PS3 with
            enemy’s skull in your sights?            a 50-inch plasma screen—               console, and vice versa. Again,
            Gaming brings different levels of        resources are limited, and a deci-     remember that you will probably
            satisfaction in different ways to        sion has to be made. If anything,      migrate to different genres as
            different people and though we           the fact that your cash is going to    you get more and more involved
            Indians are well and truly on the        be spent on leisure rather than        with gaming. You may, for exam-
            gaming bandwagon, our journey            work, education or productivity        ple, start with racing games and
            into the realm of interactive            will ensure that your budget is        get hooked on FPSes after playing
            entertainment has just begun.            even skimpier. And for good rea-       a couple of them, or RPGs may
                For me, gaming began with            son too—while spending on a gam-       start to interest you. In my opin-
            classics like Art of Fighting, Contra,   ing setup, it’s all too easy to lose   ion, both PC and console make
            Mario, and Spartan. The move to          your sense of financial decorum.       equally good gaming boxes, and
            PC gaming came around with                   Unlike music—where one             which one suits you largely
            classics like Doom, Quake and            piece of equipment plays all           depends on the genre of game.
            Diablo on an old Pentium 2               kinds of music equally well—               Speaking of which...
            machine, and it’s been a move            there’s another variable. The
            from whence there’s no return.           platform you choose—PC or con-         The Genres Explained
                But that was in the late             sole—is going to affect your gam-      Shooters
            nineties—today’s gaming market           ing experience with different          This is the most popular genre.
            has evolved tenfold. For one, there      genres of games. What plays well       Such games have, (in general),
            are more options available. Two—         on a PC may not play well on a         much easier learning curves, and

                                                                                                              DIGIT MARCH 2008   83
     Digital Leisure l Lead Feature

     offer instant gratification which is                                                          Warhammer,             the    being able to shoot fireballs from     The best visual treatment,
     why many newbies dabbling in                                                                 Civilization series and the    your hands. Games like Mortal          graphics, effects and realism are
     games for the first time start here.                                                         Warlords series are leg-       Combat, Art of Fighting, and even      often found in this genre. Not to
     Shooters can be of a number of                                                              endary           turn-based     classics like Contra and Spartan       mention the most realistic, vis-
     types depending on the type of                                                              games. RTS games tend to        fall into this genre.                  ceral action. PC gaming’s worst
     action and tactics employed, or                                                            be a little faster paced,            There are a whole lot of other     proponent will agree when that
     even the camera angle.                                                                     since you actually build,        genres like sports games (foot-        consoles suck at FPSes. They
                                                                                               expand and defend in real         ball, basketball, tennis, etc.),       require accuracy and precision
     FPS (First Person Shooter):                                                               time.      Examples        are    music based games (want to be a        while wielding weapons that
     The     most      popular      type.                                                     Warcraft 3, Company Of             rock star? Play Guitar Hero), puz-     only a good mouse can provide.
     Characterised by combat from                                                             Heroes, Age of Empires and         zle solving games, and other fun           RTSes and RPGs also play
     the perspective of the player—as if                                                      Warhammer 40,000.                  games like pinball which don’t         best on a PC—this is mainly due
     you are holding the weapon. The                                                                                             really fit into any specific genre.    to the fact that both these gen-
     best graphics and the most action                                                        RPG (Role Playing Games)               So now, let’s take a look at       res have a lot of environment
     are generally found in this genre.                                                       Traditionally, an RPG will         your two major options:                interaction, or even group con-
     Some shining examples are Crysis,                                                        have you playing the game as                                              trol of characters or units. Most     LAN, gaming mice are worth a cur-
     Far Cry, Prey, Doom 3 and F.E.A.R.                                                       an adventurer of sorts. There      PC Gaming: A Window                    RTS and RPG games also have a lot     sory look (at least). My advice is to
                                                                                              are usually classes of charac-     Seat To The Action                     of sticky key shortcuts (such as      skip the keyboard unless you real-
     TPS (Third Person Shooter):                                                             ters like wizards, barbarians,      How can I not sound biased when        [Ctrl] + [Alt] + [E]) or              ly plan to take your gaming seri-
     These shooters usually take a                                                           bards, rogues and so on, but        I say that I’ve always been a fan of   some other combination, which         ously—a regular multimedia key-
     “behind the shoulder” view to                                                           the classes and the skills that     the computer? Its unmatched flex-      you simply cannot execute on a        board will suffice. Note that the
     deliver a slightly more cinematic                                                        each class has depends on          ibility is the key—learn on it, send   console. Most of these games have     mouse is more important for near-
     (if less realistic) view to the action.                                                   the story’s setting. Typically,   e-mails, work, listen to music, surf   been designed for the PC, and con-    ly all genres of games than the
     They usually have slightly deeper                                                        an RPG tries to create a           the Internet, watch movies—the         sole versions remain poor ports.      keyboard, so choose one carefully.
     storylines and a little less violence                                                  believable world out of fantasy      PC has something for everyone.         Some of the best RTS games like            Visually speaking, the PC also
     than FPSes, but this is no hard                                                     settings, and you are an individ-       It’s shockingly adept at each of       Company Of Heroes, Warcraft 3, Age    delivers the best visual experi-
     rule. Grand Theft Auto 3 (GTA 3),                                                   ual in that world, living, travel-      these tasks, and far from the jack     Of Empires and Warhammer 40000        ence. Of course you need a mod-
     GTA San Andreas, Manhunt and the                                                    ling, eating, sleeping, adventur-       of all trades that it may sometimes    all have strong roots in the PC, on   estly powerful rig, but with the
     Max Payne games are examples.              All RPGs will have some sort of points   ing, fighting and so on. All RPGs       appear to be. While consoles can-      which they play the best.             right components, the graphics
                                                                                         will have some sort of points sys-      not even dream of approaching              Of course, the PCs forte has      on a PC will blow consoles out of
     Tactical Shooter:                            system, where you get to level up,     tem, where you get to level up,         the functionality that the PC          been customisability. A variety of    the water—though the X360 and
     These are based on either FPS or            thereby increasing your character’s     thereby increasing your charac-         offers, they do have one very note-    keyboards and mice are available      PS3 have bridged the gap, there’s
     TPS camera angles, but offer the           skills—for example, a warrior may be     ter’s skills—for example, a war-        worthy advantage where gaming          specifically      for     gaming—     still a decent way to go before con-
     additional element of stealth. A                                                    rior may be able to perform new
     tactical shooter could also be a          able to perform new moves, or a wizard    moves, or a wizard may be able to
     squad-based action game where                  may be able to cast new spells       cast new spells. Neverwinter
     you work with a team to, say,                                                       Nights, The Witcher, Knights of the
     take down a group of terrorists.                                                    Old Republic, Mass Effect, and
     The best examples of stealth-                                                       Hellgate London are some of the
     based tactical shooters are the                                                     better known RPGs around.
     Splinter Cell series, and the Metal
     Gear Solid series. For squad based                                                  Vehicle Simulation
     tactical shooters, G.R.A.W, the                                                     This is another wide genre, as it
     Delta Force series and the Rainbow                                                  could involve a multitude of vehi-
     Six series are the best examples.                                                   cles from cars, aeroplanes and
                                                                                         motorbikes, to fighter aircraft,
     Shoot ‘em Ups:                                                                      battle tanks, and even spaceships.
     Games like the Serious Sam series                                                   Such games can be very serious,
     simply have one objective—fun.                                                      simply fun, or somewhere in
     Just shoot anything that moves.                                                     between. The most common of             is concerned—they were designed        Logitech’s      G15,   Microsoft’s    soles get to where current-genera-
                                                                                         the vehicle simulators are car rac-     specifically from the ground up        Reclusa and Razer’s Tarantula are     tion PC graphics are.
     RTS (Real Time Strategy)                                                            ing games—cars are something            for that purpose. The X360 and         gaming keyboards designed to                                                  The
     Although the RTS genre is as                                                        everyone can relate to. Games like      PS3 also have limited Web surfing      make the overall gaming experi-       Hardware Requirements                   graphics
     diverse as Shooters, most RTS                                                       Microsoft’s Flight Simulator accu-      and movie-watching potential,          ence more fun. Such keyboards         When talking PC, the ugly issue of
     games have one thing in com-                                                        rately depict flying an aeroplane,      which simply means that their          have a number of additional fea-      the “hardware upgrade curve”            card is the
     mon—use resources to build up an                                                    while the Colin McRae series have       manufacturers are trying to bring      tures like extra configurable but-    usually surfaces. Computers aren’t      primary
     economy and gradually build                                                         you racing in rallies with realism.     them closer to their competitor…       tons, macro keys (keys that can       exactly easy on your wallet once
     structures of different sorts which                                                 Games like the NFS (Need For Speed)                                            store multiple keystrokes and use-    you try to get them game-ready,         component
     give you certain benefits like addi-                                                series are fun, with hardly any         Games People Play                      ful for executing combos in           and the process of converting a PC      for gaming,
     tional units or technology                                                          deep simulative nature.                 Computers reign supreme for            arcade fighting games) and back-      into a gaming rig can be expen-         and
     research options. Then build up                                                                                             games of the FPS, RTS and RPG          lit keys (for gaming sans illumina-   sive! Once you start building a PC
     an army, and attack. RTS games                                                      Arcade Fighters                         genres. They also match consoles       tion). Mice like Razer’s Lachesis,    for gaming, there’s virtually no        upgrading
     can be very slow or lighting fast.                                                  These games usually have you as         for TPSs and many adventure            Copperhead and Logitech’s G5          end to the expenses you can face,       it will yield
     Some strategy games are turn-                                                       a combatant in a series of fights       games, sometimes even overshad-        and G9 will leaving opponents         and you will also need to save up
     based as opposed to real-time,                                                      against a single opponent or a          owing them. With one or two            quaking (no pun!) in their boots.     for at least one upgrade per year!      the biggest
     where you make a move and wait                                                      multitude of other combatants.          shining exceptions, the moment              Whether you’re playing your          For the biggest gains keep          perform-
     for the enemy to move (somewhat                                                     You will have an array of special       you say First Person Shooter, I’ll     first FPS or starting up a Quake 3    this order in mind:                     ance gain
     like    chess).    For    example,                                                  moves and powers to aid you, like       happily point you towards a PC.        frag-fest with your friends on a          1. Graphics Card: This is the

84   DIGIT MARCH 2008                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 DIGIT MARCH 2008   85
     Digital Leisure l Lead Feature                                                                                                                                                                                                 Digital Leisure l Lead Feature

             primary component for gaming, and                                                                                              something more powerful.                                                                     button system. But really, it’s
             upgrading it will yield the biggest per-                                                                                       So when you go with a con-                                                                   titles that sell consoles; the only
             formance hike                                                                                                                  sole, you needn’t think                                                                      point of difference that matters
          2. Processor: Your CPU feeds your GPU with                                                                                        about future-proofing.                                                                       to the user is applications—in
             data. The faster the CPU, the faster the                                                                                                                                                                                    this case, games.
             GPU will work                                                                                                                  The Hidden Costs                                                                                 So what games feel better on
          3. Memory: if have less than 1 GB, then                                                                                           So then, a console seems to                                                                  the controllers of a console? Well
             upgrading your memory to 2 GB can                                                                                              have all the answers. Why                                                                    the most convenient candidates
             give you a boost of around 40 per cent!                                                                                        not buy an X360 for                                                                          are arcade fighters and hack-em-
          If you are not very discerning about how                                                                                          Rs 20,000, instead of a PC                                                                   up games that require a lot of
     good your game looks, then a mid-range,                                                                                                which costs Rs 50,000, and                                                                   frantic key presses (called button
     Rs 8,000 graphics card will get you through eas-                                                                                       which you have to upgrade                                                                    mashing) to execute combo
     ily. Discerning gamers who want to play the lat-                                                                                       repeatedly? There’s a pit-                                                                   moves, or use special powers.
     est games in all their visual splendour will need                                                                                      fall to consoles too. Most                                                                   Accessories like racing wheels
     to keep a budget of around Rs 15,000 for a good                                                                                        consoles have anti-piracy                                                                    are also available for consoles as
     card. I recommend NVIDIA’s 8800GT-based card                                                                                           measures built in and so do the game titles, but          The most      they are for PCs, and racing games on a console
     (Rs 13,000) to the discerning gamer, and                                                                                               unlike PCs where you can have cracks and registry                       have the added advantage of being played on a larg-
     NVIDIA’s 8600GT core (Rs 7,500) to the more                                                                                            editors, you must have the original game DVD in
                                                                                                                                                                                                      convenient    er screen as opposed to your PC’s monitor.
     budget-minded. For the extreme gamer who                                                                                               your drive before you can start playing on a console.     titles for        The next thing you need to look at is the present
     wants to run games at very high resolutions                                                                                            If you’re like a bowling ball at an arcade with game      consoles      and upcoming crop of game titles for each console.
     with all the visual settings kept at maximum, a                                                                                        titles you’re going to chalk up quite a bill, especial-                 This is very important, because unlike a PC which can
     single graphics card may not suffice. But for the                                                                                      ly considering new titles for the latest consoles         are arcade    be used for many things other than gaming, you
     simple reason that PCs get outdated so fast, I                                                                                         (X360, PS3) can cost as much as Rs 3,000. While this      fighters      don’t want to be stuck with a console that hasn’t got
     don’t recommend investing in an SLI or                                                                                                 doesn’t mean that you should buy a PC just so that                      adequate title support. Garnering developer support
     Crossfire (multiple graphics cards) setup.                               handheld device—is a console in the strict sense of           you can play pirated games, PC titles are generally
                                                                                                                                                                                                      and           is important—more game developers developing for
          The second component you need to inspect is your                    the word. Over the past two years, we’ve seen a lot of        more varied than console titles, and tend to cost         hack-em-up    your console equals better games. Development stu-
     CPU. The faster the clock speeds, the more frames per                    developments in the world of consoles. One serious            less, and you also get special editions where you can     games that    dios have been taken over (a so called forceful con-
     second you will get in any game. Intel’s latest 45 nm                    advantage over the PC remains that consoles are               buy an entire series in a single box for much less                      version) and we’re even seeing developers who are
     Penryn processors (codenamed Wolfdale) are just out.                     designed keeping games and game developers in                 than the individual titles.                               require a     working on titles for both consoles. Franchisees
     The Wolfdale E8400 which runs at a speedy 3.0 GHz,                       mind, and it takes a console a couple of years to                 Most people who buy an X360 use their TVs to          lot of        change hands too—we’ve seen Devil May Cry 4 being
     is priced at just under the Rs 10,000 mark, and is an                    mature and to get proper development support.                 play games, and then complain “man, the graphics                        announced for the X360 as well as the PS3, previous-
     excellent solution for gamers. In fact, this processor is                After all, what good is a shiny new, powerful console         suck!” And why not? Consoles like the X360 and PS3
                                                                                                                                                                                                      frantic key   ly this franchisee was a Sony exclusive.
     a killer deal for any kind of fast PC, and I heartily rec-               with no games to play? The PS2, for example, was              have been designed with a resolution of 720p              presses           The PS3 doesn’t have many noteworthy titles to
     ommend it. If you must have something cheaper,                           released in the year 2000, and still enjoys a much            (1280x720 pixels) in mind—a regular television can-                     speak of—in fact, God Of War 2 (the sequel to the best-
     Intel’s older 65 nm Core 2 Duo based E6750 (2.66 GHz)                    larger fan following than the PS3. In fact, it was a          not even hope to meet that specification, and you                       selling God of War) was announced for the PS2 and
     is available for Rs 7,900. Quad-core proces-                                                title that was released much later         the image you see is blurry, lacks colour, resolution                   not the PS3, which clearly proves the point I was
     sors are also available, but the two addi-                                                  that actually sold the PS2—God of          and even detail. An additional cost which you                           making about the longevity of a console as com-
     tional cores don’t do much for gaming,                                                      War. Even the X360 experienced a           should incur is to buy yourself an LCD / Plasma                         pared to a PC. That aside, the PS3 is a very strong
     since most games are heavily single-              Keep in mind that these recom-            tremendous boost in sales with             screen to go along with the console—this is really                      contender for your attention, especially considering
     threaded. The cheapest quad-core is Intel’s                                                 the release of Gears of War—a third        where a console will earn its stripes and the expe-                     that most of its big titles are scheduled for 2008
     Core 2 Quad 6600, a 65 nm, 2.4 GHz chip              mendations are generic, and            person shooter that was launched           rience will be enjoyable and immersive.                                 launches. However, the PS3 makes a costly proposi-
     (Rs 11,000). As for memory, opt for a mini-          certain genres of games will           a year after the console. Whereas              For a viewing distance of around 10-12 feet, a 32-                  tion and costs 60 per cent more than an Xbox 360.
     mum of 2 GB of DDR2 system memory—its                run easily on even lower-end           you would have undoubtedly have            inch LCD should do the trick. Brands to look out for                        Microsoft has another distinct advantage when it
     dirt cheap these days at Rs 900 per GB—                                                     had to upgrade your PC a number            are Sony, Samsung, and LG. If you have a larger liv-                    comes to the X360—they have very strong roots in PC
     and you’re set to go as far as your PC’s per-        hardware. Racing games and             of times from 2001 to 2007 to play         ing room then go for a bigger screen, since chances                     gaming, where their Windows rules supreme as a
     formance goes. Look for good brands like             adventure games are not as             games, and spent more than a               are you’ll be sitting further away, and remember                        gaming platform. It’s a simple matter, therefore, to
     Transcend, Kingston, and Corsair.                                                           lakh on components, if you had a           that such a screen, in addition to your console,                        approach developers to develop games for their con-
          But wait…the devil is in the details,         harsh on system requirements             console like the PS2, chances are          makes for a killer movie-theatre like experience.                       sole platform as well, or even release X360 versions of
     right? A good monitor is essential to get                                                   you’d still be enjoying the experi-            In fact both Microsoft and Sony have gone                           PC classics. We’re seeing games like Universe at War:
     the best out of premium components,                                                         ence. In fact, the best titles for any     through pains to ensure that their consoles are                         Earth Assault, Rainbow Six: Vegas, and Fallout 3 all head-
     and these days the name of the game is                                                      console tend to release at least two       more than just gaming stations. The X360 is a full                      ing for the X360 as well. The reverse is also true, and
     widescreen LCD. A 22-inch widescreen LCD will                            or three years after the console is launched, that            fledged HD-DVD player, while the PS3 comes with a                       many Xbox / X360 titles make their way into PC—
     sport a native resolution of 1680 x 1050 pixels, and                     being the period of time it takes developers to churn         Blu-Ray DVD drive. This kind of future proofing                         Gears Of War, Halo, and Jade Empire are a few examples.
     should cost around Rs 15,000. 24-inch TN panels are                      out a good game.                                              ensures that your console is ready for the next gen-
     in the realm of 19,000 bucks and I feel this is superb                       The X360 is in no way a mature platform. Sure, it         eration of content, although on a minus point such                      In Retrospect
     value for money. Brands to look out for are Dell,                        has some great titles, like Gears Of War, The Elder Scrolls   drives do increase prices.                                              Regardless of how much you spend, the hardware you
     ViewSonic, AOC, Acer, BenQ, Samsung and LG.                              4: Oblivion and Mass Effect, but the best is yet to come.                                                                             use, the platform you choose, or even the genres of
          Keep in mind that these recommendations are                         In fact, I remember when the Xbox came out,                   What To Consider                                                        your taste—the main aim of games is to have fun. They
     generic, and certain genres of games will run easily                     Microsoft only had a single big title for it—Halo.            Consoles use controllers to interface with them.                        involve us, pull us into a world where anything is possi-
     on even lower-end hardware. Games like racing                            Consoles also cannot be modified to improve per-              Some of them are wireless, which give you the lib-                      ble, and you’re at the centre of it. You get to control
     games and adventure games (in general) are not as                        formance and parts can’t be swapped out like a PC, so         erty to sit far away from your screen without hav-                      events around you...playing God can be fun! Games in
     harsh on system requirements as other genres,                            a developer has to think of the hardware of the con-          ing a clutter of cables. Both the X360 and the PS3                      moderation will benefit your thinking, and can even
     although there is no hard and fast rule.                                 sole and its limitations when he writes code. With a          have such controllers, while other consoles like the                    have effects like lowering stress levels, or even improv-
                                                                              PC, on the other hand, most developers know that              Nintendo Wii (pronounced “we”) has a special                            ing hand-eye coordination. You’re never too young or
     Consoles: Single Minded Purpose                                          they can design something a little heavier than what          remote control unit that makes use of built in                          too busy to start, and it’s never too late to get into it.
     Consoles are broadly of different types and the term                     current generation hardware can run comfortably,              accelerometers and gyroscopes as well as infrared                       As for me, I’m gearing up for our next Quake 3 session
     console is used to signify that the gaming station is a                  and manufacturers like NVIDIA, ATI, Intel and AMD             tracking to make use of user gestures and actions to                    which begins in another 15 minutes…
     device other than a PC. Even the Sony PSP—a tiny                         will just go back to their drawing boards and design          control actions in a game, as well as the traditional                                                     agent001@thinkdigit.com

86   DIGIT MARCH 2008                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       DIGIT MARCH 2008     87
                                                                                                                                               all the honking around you, or     that the fact that no cell phone
                                                                                                            Michael Browne                     the din made by fellow trav-       can approach the kind of mul-
                                                                                                                                               ellers aboard your daily 9.30 am   timedia functionality (camera


                                                                                                            S
                                                                                                                 ilence speaks a thousand      local train?                       aside) that a PMP will give you.
                                                                                                                 words. Poetic but true,           For many of us, the Portable   PMPs in general have bigger,
                                                                                                                 though the sheer amount       Multimedia Player (PMP) is a       better screens and better
                                                                                                            of noise pollution these days      blessing sans disguise. The        music playback quality—that
                                                                                                            means you may well need some       next time you’re travelling,       alone is enough to ensure a
                                                                                                            silence to hear anything, or be    just ask anybody with earplugs     steady demand from more dis-
                                                                                                            heard yourself. If you’re a        stuck in his ears what it means    cerning users.
                                                                                                            metropolitan who spends a          to him. Music soothes, relaxes,        A PMP is as personal a
                                                                                                            couple of hours commuting to       and is akin to the daily morn-     device as a cell phone or head-
                                                                                                            work, you’ll probably lament       ing cup of fresh tea. To further   phones, and no two people will
                                                                  Whether road warrior or daily com-        the lack of time spent with        testify the popularity of PMPs,    have the same requirements.
                                                                  muter, your journey just isn’t com-       loved ones. To make things         just visit any electronics         While someone may want to
                                                                  plete without a good dose of music—to     worse, the couple of hours of      store—chances are you’ll see       watch videos in bed, another
                                                                                                            mandatory travel are marred by     many such devices—they sell        may need something with
                                                                  soothe your soul, bust stress and relax   all kinds of pollution. Short of   like hot cakes these days. Not     exemplary music quality to use
                                                                  your nerves. We’ve got 46 faithful        scrapping hydrocarbon-spew-        only are they immensely func-      as a portable source. Someone
                                                                                                            ing automobiles totally, there’s   tional, but whip out an iPod       else may need a basic player to
                                                                  companions, just waiting to take that     nothing that can be done about     and a couple of people around      tune in to music en route to
                                                                  dusty, noisy ride with you...             air pollution, but what about      you will surely perk up. Add to    their workplace. PMP vendors
                        Imaging Rohit A Chandwaskar
88   DIGIT MARCH 2008   Photograph Jiten Gandhi & Sandeep Patil                                                                                                                                                      DIGIT MARCH 2007   89
       Digital Leisure l PMP Test                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Digital Leisure l PMP Test
       have realised this, and through-                           is a nice little item—cool and               although it isn’t feature rich,          itive interface. The Aigo MP-         tones are well-rounded with                                     performance that these minnows
       out this test you’ll see devices                           funky-looking with all the set-              it’s good for kids, owing to its         F585 is a well-built and compact      decent detailing. The YMP 35                                    put forth. A good product with
       specifically designed for a partic-                        tings of a good MP3 player,                  tough body. Apacer’s Steno               player with a smudge-attracting       scores halfway between the bet-                                 serious value for money is always
       ular use and performing other                              including an equaliser. It loses             AU581 sports a grey metallic             chrome finished rear. The only        ter YMP 30 and the inferior YMP                                 a good thing, since one purchase
       tasks as well—sort of like a jack of                       out on FM support, and of                    finish that is dominated by a            irritation here are the small         18. The two Zebronics players—                                  will encourage several more
       all trades and master of one.                              course, video playback isn’t pos-            crisp     blue    OLED      screen.      and tacky buttons.                    the Beta and the Gamma sound                                    from people who come in touch
                                                                  sible. It’s also let down by an un-          Zebronics had the smallest play-                                               good—comfortably high vol-                                      with the owner and his or her
       FLASH-BASED PMPS                                           intuitive and painful menu sys-              ers in test—both the Beta and            Performance                           umes, good bass, and with a full                                positive experience. The fact that
       BELOW RS 5,000                                             tem, and the fact that you’ll have           the Gamma are compact and                Sony’s duo offered good per-          mid-range.                                                      we’ve seen a few of these players
       Sure, PMPs scale with price, and                           a cord dangling from your wrist              solidly built, and sport OLED            formance—while the overall                                                                            in the hands of various com-
       you get exactly what you pay for,                          doesn’t help any. Transcend’s                screens. Zebronics’ Gamma has            bass seemed a little muddy on                                                                         muters aboard buses / trains sim-
                                                MARCH 2008
       but not everybody wants a high-                            T.Sonic 840 comes in a piano                 a very nice feature where music          the Bose earplugs, things sound-                                                                      ply means that market penetra-
       end PMP with excellent perform-                            white facia with a solid steel back          fades in if the player is paused         ed just right with the Audio                                                                          tion is quite good.
       ance and features to boot. That                            that is (thankfully) not chrome              and then un-paused, so your              Technica circum-aural cans.                                                                               If you look at our graphs,
       doesn’t mean that a value-based                            plated, but matte—no smudges!                ears don’t get blasted. Sony’s           One complaint was the volume                                                                          you’ll see a strange phenome-
       player has to be a compromise.                             It’s a full-fledged multimedia               Duo—the NWD-B103F and NWD-               levels on both these players—not                                                                      non—the cheaper PMPs in this cat-
       Au contraire, sub-Rs 5,000 players                         player with music, photo and                 B105F—are designed to look like          as high as we’d like—far from                                                                         egory offer superb performance
       have a host of features that were                          video capabilities, and has a pret-          large flash drives, and there’s          ringing, our ears barely even got                                SanDisk Sansa Express                for the money, while the costlier
       previously available only on                                ty good screen to boot. The but-            no hassle of a USB cable—you             warmed up…                                                       A Li’l monsta in disguise            players don’t offer a proportional
       much costlier models. Part of the                            tons seem a little tacky, but not          can just plug the player into a              The Transcend T.Sonic 840                                                                         bang for the buck. This clearly
       diminishing cost is due to the                                as bad as some of the other play-         USB port. Needless to say, both          suffers from sluggish perform-                                                                        means that hikes in price in these
       sharply declining prices of flash                             ers. iRiver’s S7 is another cool          are built really well despite            ance. Navigating menus will           Conclusion                                                      sub-Rs 5,000 products come with
       memory—prices have dropped to                                  looking player—its front sur-            their plastic bodies. The pearl-         cause music to skip—not a good        We were quite honestly, (and                                    a minimal hike in value—some-
       quarter of their values a year ago.                             face looks like a magic cube            white finish is bright, without          thing at all; keep your hands off     pleasantly), surprised to see the                               thing we were alarmed to see.
       Equally to blame is the increas-                                 with indented intersecting             being overly f lashy. Another            it while tuning in to your
       ing popularity of PMPs—nothing                                   grooves built into it. The S7 is       pen-drive-like      player,     the      favourite tunes. Both the T.Sonic         Apple iPod Touch 8 GB: Thy Palm Over Flo-eth!
       mysterious, just the simple laws                                 meant to be worn around                SanDisk Sansa Express attracted          840 and the T.Sonic 610 offer
       of economics at work. So, you can
       get a very good sounding PMP,
       with features like FM radio, text        Performance at
                                                                     your neck—and it’s certainly
                                                Apacer Steno AU351 attractive enough. YES had four
                                                                     players in this comparison—and
                                                                                                               and held our attention. It’s built
                                                                                                               like a little brick, and sports an
                                                                                                               aesthetic pearl grey finish. The
                                                                                                                                                        good music quality, but the for-
                                                                                                                                                        mer is a better player as far as
                                                                                                                                                        vocals go—a strong mid-range is
                                                                                                                                                                                                W     hen Apple announced a PMP based on
                                                                                                                                                                                                      their iPhone concept, many of us were
                                                                                                                                                                                                excited—for the first time we’d have
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     music where liquidity of response is the
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     name of the game. With class-leading
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     vocals and mids, the Touch has a revealing
                                                extreme value
       document support, and basic                                   all their players in this category        front is dominated by a legible          never bad. The T.Sonic 840 is a         freedom from menus, complicated                      top end that’s clear and precise without
       add-on features like an alarm,                             have been in our labs last year.             OLED screen. Both the SanDisk            decent video player mainly due          sequences of button presses to achieve a             being overly bright.
       stopwatch, and even PIM features                           Creative’s Zen Stone and Zen                 Sansa      Express     and      the      to its clear screen, but with the       simple task, and the ability to navigate a               It’s a photo viewer well above par, and
       like contact management.                                   Stone Plus are very compact look-            Transcend T.Sonic 840 have very          issue of processing juice rearing       device at our                                                         you’ll love the way browsing
                                                                  ing players shaped like pebbles—             well laid-out menus—the former           its ugly head again, movies             leisure. After all,                                                  through photos is as simple as
       Features                                                   the difference being the screen              is very simple and uncomplicat-          weren’t the experience we               exploration is a                                                   flipping through an album. As if
       Of all the players we received, the                        on the Plus.                                 ed—a boon when dealing with a            hoped they’d be. With its lighter       leisurely activity, isn’t                                          to prove its “touch” status,
       concept of a watch that’s an MP3                                 The Sansa Shaker was anoth-            small screen—while the T.Sonic           interface and the OLED screen,          it? Now that we’ve                                                 there’s a single button on the
       player as well was somewhat                                er novelty—it looks like a salt              840 scores on usability due to           the cheaper T.Sonic 610 doesn’t         used the iPod Touch,                                               facia whose sole aim is to return
       exciting. The Aigo U Watch MP3                             cellar (hence the name), and                 its much larger screen and intu-         have the issues that plague its         we must say it’s an                                            to the main menu, regardless of
                                                                                                                                                        pricier sibling.                        experience that’s been                                          where you are. It’s a very good
         How We Tested                                                                                                                                      The cute Aigo U Watch MP3           conceptualised                                                   video player too, and will satisfy
                                                                                                                                                        may be fun as a wristwatch, but         exceptionally well and                                            even movie junkies with its large,
     We divided our PMPs into two categories:       Tracks                    What We Looked At                                                         it wasn’t as much fun to listen to.     executed with the same                                            crisp and clear screen.
     1. Flash-based                                 Eagles—Hotel              The lead guitar in the beginning, drum bass, male vocals. There are a     With boomy bass and a very              panache and finesse that                                                The integrated WiFi ensures
     2. Hard Drive-based                            California                couple of places where minor nuances like the the artists hand moving     restricted top end, we were disap-      Apple has been known for.                                           that you’re connected even
     We further divided the flash category into                               along the guitar body can be heard, something we looked out for           pointed—novelty is no substitute        Once you play around with                                            while...err...disconnected, even
     price based segments:                          The Corrs—Brid og ni      Very good track for female vocals. Voice timbre, accurate tonal balance   for performance. Its costlier sib-      the Touch, feeling it and                                            as the Safari Web browser
     1. Flash-based players up to Rs 5,000          Mhaille                   and vocal texture is of utmost importance. Accompanying instruments       ling has overly bright female           exploring its world, chances                                          makes a snap of surfing the
     2. Flash-based players from Rs 5,001 to                                  are mostly higher frequencies, soundstaging is also important             vocals, with a little extra colour-     are you’re already doomed to                                          Internet. Initial firmware
                                                    Charlotte Church—Bridge   Strong female vocals. Charlotte Church has a lot of depth to her voice,
     Rs 10,000                                      over Troubled Water       and can take low and high octaves equally well
                                                                                                                                                        ing in the top end of the vocal         shell out the 17,000-odd                                               issues had us bothered
     3. Flash-based players above Rs 10,000         Pink Floyd—Speak to Me    Sensitivity to low volume sounds, soundstaging, and accurate              spectrum. Male voices sound spot        Rupees that it takes to own                                             about the sluggishness of
          For a look at the features we graded,     / Breathe                 reproduction of electronically produced sounds                            on and the mids are strong, even        one. And people will want to                                             the browser, but that’s
     turn over to our tables. For performance,      Dire Straits—Sultans of   Guitar work is exemplary here. We look for clarity, and detailing         over-emphasised. Both the Sony          possess such a device with the                                            history with the version 1.1
     we tested the audio and video                  Swing                     around the 500 Hz mark (guitar frequency)                                 players impressed us with their         same fervour that wannabe                                                 firmware. With the ability
     performance of each player. Audio              Guns N’ Roses—            Fast drum attack, good array of instruments, lots of guitar fill-in       sound quality, good highs, and          rich-boys chase Lamborghinis                                               to flash your device
     performance has been given greater             November Rain (Live)                                                                                nice instrument detail—unfortu-         and Playboy Playmates with. And                                             online, and the use of
     weightage, simply because this is more of      Eric Clapton—Layla        Male Vocals, and a lot of intricate guitar work make this one of the      nately, they don’t go up to even        all this even before you listen to                                          the entire storage space
     a priority for most people.                                              best blues songs to check for music quality                               normal listening volumes, let           what it can do to your senses!                                               as a Flash drive, the
                                                    Chand Sifarish (Fanaa)    Good vocals, and a super hit song, drum and tabla accompaniments
          On the video front, we judged each                                  make for a melodious number with a lot of nuances to pick up
                                                                                                                                                        alone loud volumes. SanDisk’s                The Touch incorporates                                                Touch also boldly goes
     player’s display quality in general for        Beedi (Omkara)            Female vocals, and a fast number, gives us a good idea of how the         Sansa Express is an impressive          excellent sound, with the kind of                                    where no previous iPod (save
     multimedia content.                                                      player will perform on most indipop albums                                music offering.                         tonal neutrality that most run-of-                        the very recent 3G Nano and 5.5G
          Alongside is a list of the audio tracks                                                                                                           The YES YMP 30 is the best          the-mill PMPs can only dream of. With a              Classic) has gone before.
     used and what we looked at in each track.       circum-aural Audio Technica ATH A900,             scale of 1 to 10, taking an average of its       music player from amongst the           bass response approaching perfection, a                  Its one of those rare must have lifestyle
          Good music requires equally good           and Bose’s Intra Ear earplugs for our             performance on each headphone. After             YES players—the YMP 18 has              deep hit-in-the-gut feeling that can only            products, like a Nokia N95 8GB, or even a
     gear, and the bundled earplugs aren’t any       testing purposes. These headphones                that, we tested each PMP with their              some issues with female vocals—         come with expensive speakers, the Touch              BMW M3—one of those flashy yet functional
     good if one is to make a comparison. We         allowed us to listen to the finer nuances         bundled earplugs and rated their earplugs        they sound harsh and the vol-           sounds equally at ease with Heavy Metal as           devices that doesn’t really deserve your hard
     used a pair of supra-aural Grado SR60s, a       of each track. Each song was rated on a           against the trio of reference cans.              ume needs to be turned down to          it does with Jazz or Blues, or even Rock             earned cash, but demands it…
                                                                                                                                                        prevent an earbleed; guitar

90     DIGIT MARCH 2008                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            DIGIT MARCH 2008      91
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         Transcend’s T.Sonic 840 is an                        little plus point that much with a fibre body instead of                                                                                                                              Performance
     impressive offering—all the                              cheaper        players—like       the metal. Its sibling, the YP-S5 is                  Samsung YP-S5: The Power Of A Touch                                                           Our first major fight for top spot
     features and decent perform-                             Transcend T.Sonic 840 in the pre- very similar to the S3 from last                                                                        It features Bluetooth, a rare but useful    sees the excellent Samsung YP-
     ance at an honest to goodness
     price of Rs 3,750, but one look at
     the Apacer Steno AU351 will
                                                              vious category support.

                                                              Features
                                                                                                        year, with a sideways sliding
                                                                                                        body that opens to reveal the
                                                                                                        inbuilt speaker and disable the
                                                                                                                                                  S   amsung’s been known to
                                                                                                                                                      make excellent PMPs—
                                                                                                                                                  our only issue has been their
                                                                                                                                                                                                  feature in case you want to transfer music
                                                                                                                                                                                                   from it to your cell phone or even PC, but
                                                                                                                                                                                                    the S5 itself requires to be synced with a
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    S5 and the T10 slug it out with
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    the Apple iPod Nano 3G, the
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    SanDisk Sansa E280 and the
     shock you—85 per cent of the M A R C H 2 0 0 8           SanDisk’s Sansa E280 has experi- headphone jack. Both these play-                   atrocious pricing, thanks to                      PC to transfer music. While on the topic,       Cowon iAudio 7, with the iRiver
     840’s performance at just 46 per                         enced a sharp decline in pricing— ers feature illuminated touch                     which hardly anyone is seen                        sound quality is very good, and the S5         X20 neck and neck with every-
     cent of the price. That’s                                it’s an 8 GB PMP, priced lower controls—great flaunt value, but                     toting a Samsung player.                           approaches the quality of costlier players     one. Both Samsungs aren’t flaw-
     value         for       money!                           than its 4 GB sibling was last perfectly usable. One irritation                     Someone in Samsung’s top                            easily. Its got a very clean and crisp        less, however—closer tests reveal
     Supercomp’s Semp3-S7A                                    year! The E280 is built like a tank; was the volume level on the                    brass must have heard our not                       sound to the vocals, and both male and        what seemed like a slight roll-off
     was another such player—                                 it’s also very traditional-looking, headphone out getting reset to                  so silent plea, and here goes—                       female vocals seem to come alive. While      for lower frequency sounds in
     very decent music quality at                             and has a nice solid metal back 50 per cent each time you switch                    the YP-S5 has more features                           it doesn’t go as low as the Cowon D2 or     the first couple of octaves. The
     a price of just Rs 1,500, and it                         finished in matte. The scroll from the loudspeaker to the                           than the YP-K3 we tested last                          the iPod Nano and Touch, the bass          highs sound excellent, however,
     even manages a tiny screen—                              wheel dishes out some feedback, headphones. Very unassuming                         year, and costs just a fraction of                     definitely can’t be termed as deficient    and female vocals are delivered
     excellent value for someone                               but it’s a scroll-type wheel and and un-glamorous the Philips                      its predecessors’ price of                              in any way. It also provides sufficient   outstandingly. If we were to
     looking at something entry-                                not touch-sensitive like the GoGear might be, but it’s a well-                    Rs 18,000, at just Rs 6,600. An                         volume to drive most headphones           choose the two best-sounding
     level. Digit’s Best Buy is an award                        iPod’s. Speaking of which, the built, satin black player that’s                   amazing deal, this, considering               properly, and we didn’t notice any issues on        PMPs from this excellent lot, the
     few like to share, but we’ve                                new Nano 3G (third genera- replete with features. The only                       the S5 is a potent all-round PMP. It has      our two reference models.                           laurels would rest with the iPod
     seen enough to award it jointly                             tion) is gorgeous! It’s nearly let down is the screen—not as                     an amazing LCD screen—that at first                If you’re looking at something                 Nano and the iRiver X20. From
     to the Supercomp Semp3-S7A                                   half the length of the previous bright or as clear as we’d hoped.               glance appears to be an OLED screen—          extremely usable at a great price, but you          the lower to the upper bass
     and the Apacer Steno AU351.                                   Nano, and a little wider with Not unreadable, but for a video                  and soft touch controls that are backlit in   want something that stands out and feels            ranges, low frequencies are
         Other noteworthy products                                 a slightly larger and brighter PMP, we expected better.                        very pleasing colours such as cool blue       far more expensive than its price, the S5 is        defined and tight, yet the
     in this category are the duo                                   screen. The smudge-happy                YES’ YMP 45 is a neat PMP,            and light yellow. We can guarantee looks      a tailormade fit. It represents the best            thump is very apparent—some-
     from Sony and the Sansa                                         yet utterly sexy chromed made attractive by a strip of red                   from just about anyone if you just whip       value amongst the sub-Rs 10,000 PMPs                thing that is as important for
     Express. Surprise picks, yet                                    rear makes a comeback, and plastic that runs around the                      out this player, because chances are          and is one of those rare products that              bass-heads as it is for audio-
     equally good products, were the                                  the new Nano is compact screen and adds a touch of piz-                     people will figure it for being at least      actually offers more satisfaction for the           philes. The mid-range is well-
     duo from the Zebronics stable—                                  enough to sit in the tightest zazz to a rather ordinary black                thrice as expensive.                          compensation it demands.                            defined, smooth and full bod-
     superb price for the sound qual- Samsung T10                 pockets without fuss. It’s got body. Mitashi’s MWI-4GA has a                                                                                                                      ied, and guitar detailing will
     ity—Rs 1,650 for the Gamma, Slim is good...                video playback now, and Apple chrome-finished posterior, but
     and Rs 1,750 for the Beta. YES’                            claims to have upped the bat- it seems to be plastic and not                     that’s been moulded to look
     YMP 30 was another excellent                             tery life as well. Their click-wheel metal. Although the player is                 like ripples in water after a
     performer as far as music goes,                          is as good as we remember, and attractive, build quality is                        splash. Note that the Zen has
     and we have no qualms about                              with the controls designed into mediocre and the tackiness of                      a large-ish screen, and is tar-
     recommending this to someone                             it, there are no protrusions of the buttons is unacceptable.                       geted at video aficionados.
     who’s a little more discerning                           any sort on any part of the body.         Creative’s Zen is a plain looker         Cowon’s iAudio 7 is another
     with sound quality.                                           Samsung’s T10 is even slim- with a black glossy front and                     neat looker—very compact and
         Aigo’s MP3 watch catches                             mer than the Nano, and lighter, matte-finished plastic rear                        very well built. The screen
     your fancy, but doesn’t offer                                                                                                               isn’t as good as some of the
     either the performance or the                                                                                                               other players, particularly
     usability to please. If you’re look-     Cowon D2: A Different Beast                                                                        the Samsung models, the
     ing for a watch, chances are you’ll                                                                                                         iPod Nano, the Sansa E280
     look elsewhere. Do the same in
     case you want a good PMP.                 When we think wild, performance
                                                uncontrolled, we think Touch. When
                                          we think features, power, usability we
                                                                                                                                                 and the iRiver X20.
                                                                                                                                                     The Sansa E280 has all the
                                                                                                                                                 features you need—music,
                                                                                                                        MARCH 2008
     FLASH-BASED PMPS                     think D2. The Cowon D2 was last year’s                                                                 photo and video support, FM
     Between Rs 5,001 And                 winner, and the reason for making it two                                                               radio, text support and even
     Rs 10,000                            in a row is as complicated as it is simple.                                                            expandability (should 8 GB not
     Anyone spending more than            Why improve on perfection, or as close to                                                              suffice). The iPod Nano has most
     Rs 5,000 on a PMP had better         it as is possible in this imperfect world?                                       and performance       of these features (excluding FM
     know what he’s buying, and                The Cowon D2 is a very unassuming                                  per cubic inch than any        radio and expandability), and        Apple iPod Nano 3G 4 GB
     that’s what we’re here to ensure.    player—as small as a Nano, but twice as                       other device we can think of.            the addition of nifty add-ons        Pocket audiophile
     In general, these players have       thick—and with very unappealing lines that              The D2 is all about functionality and          like a stopwatch, alarm, calen-
     more storage space, a better list    make you go “Yuck!” at first. By then, you          features, and you will find lots of settings       dar and contacts make the Nano
     of features and even better audio    quickly realise that first impressions aren’t       to play with while playing music and even          a superbly converged device.
     and video performance. And not       necessarily the last, and it’s more a device        movies. In fact, we were surprised at the          Unlike older Nanos, this one can
     for nothing, because they vie for    that you can live with daily rather than            equaliser options, where cut-offs can be           also be used as a pen drive. Both
     attention amidst sub-Rs 10,000       admire from a distance, much like the               set for each frequency range—for example,          Samsung PMPs also have
     multimedia cell phones, which        neighbourhood belle when compared to a              you can set the first equaliser from 40 Hz         Bluetooth support, which can
     have their own added benefits.       supermodel.                                         to 80 Hz or to 110 Hz. Our only possible           be used to transfer music to (but
     Features such as FM radio and             You want features? How does FLAC               issue with the D2 is it’s a little thick for its   not from) other devices—that’s
     better screens are taken for         support, inbuilt FM radio, expandable               small dimensions, and may not gain                 taking anti-piracy nuttiness to
     granted. What you need to look       memory, a touchscreen, text reading and             popularity as an in-pocket jogging                 the limit, in our opinion.
     at is the quality of audio and       notepad support sound to you? This device is        companion as the iPod Nano 3G. We’re                   Sony’s     NWZ-615F       also
     video, as most of these PMPs will    an amazing music player as well, and                sorry not to find anything else to nitpick,        impressed with its feature list,
     support movie playback—unless        although the screen is on the small side, it        but it’s the way of a class A device to            the only thing missing is
     they’re specifically targeted at     offers a fantastic movie experience as well.        deliver all the goods with nary a hint of          expandability (and Bluetooth,
     music only user groups. Also look    It’s very powerful, and offers more features        bad in sight.                                      which was exclusive to the
     at photo viewing options—a neat                                                                                                             Samsung PMPs).

92   DIGIT MARCH 2008                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 DIGIT MARCH 2008   93
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     knock your socks off. A glorious                             Conclusion                              device in the entire category—
     top-end awaits you at the upper                              Our graphs reveal two products          the Samsung YP-S5, it’ll just                  Cowon A3: One PMP To Own Them All
     echelons of the audible sonic                                standing a little taller than the       about be the best Rs 6,600 you’ve
     spectrum. The Cowon iAudio 7
     loses out by a hair’s breadth, but
     bass on the iAudio 7 is astound-
                                                                  rest—amazingly, the Apple iPod
                                                                       Nano 3G and the iRiver X20
                                                                        score exactly the same,
                                                                                                          ever spent.
                                                                                                              Cowon’s iAudio 7 and
                                                                                                          SanDisk’s Sansa E280 also have a
                                                                                                                                                      A    shiny off-white pearl finish, a contoured
                                                                                                                                                           body with sleek steel buttons down the
                                                                                                                                                      front side of the facia in a neat row, and with
                                                                                                                                                                                                             The A3 is a very good music player, and
                                                                                                                                                                                                        does everything right if it’s all you listen to.
                                                                                                                                                                                                        The iPod Touch and the Nano highlight the
     ing—a deep hit-in-the-gut feel-                                    even after having slightly        nice mix of quality, storage space          dark grey trimming on the outer bezel,            sonic limitations of the A3, unfortunately.
     ing that was especially notice-                                     different features and a bit     and features—highly recom-                  sporting powerful hardware under the hood,        Another little niggle is the volume level of
     able with the circum-aural                                          of a performance gap.            mended as well.                             a brilliant view to the action, and                                        the A3, which isn’t
     Audio Technica reference cans.                                       While its sheer audio               If you’re looking for a video           a look that’s in a class                                                    satisfactorily loud.
     Once again, we must caution                                          quality, compact build,         PMP with good audio quality,                of its own. You’d be                                                        But once you fire up a
     you—such detailing is only possi-                                     looks and extensive fea-       look at the Creative Zen—it                 forgiven for thinking                                                       video on this baby,
     ble on good headphones. The                                            ture list are enough to       offers the best of both worlds:             we’re writing an                                                            prepare to be blown
     default earbuds that ship with                                          make the Nano stand          good music quality and a                    advertisement for the                                                       away—the A3 is all
     even some of the best players are                                       out in any company,          superb screen. The YES YMP 45               latest Aston Martin or                                                     rampaging
     atrociously short of any kind of                                        the more suave iRiver        and Mitashi MWI-4GA could                   something. It is the                                                       performance, a video
     aural experience, and if you’re                                          matches it very close-      also interest you, but audio                proverbial Bentley                                                         player on steroids that
     serious about sound, you’ll                                              ly. The Nano is espe-       quality takes something of                  amongst PMPs                                                               delivers quite a wallop
     chuck them out.                                                           cially recommended         a nosedive.                                 though, and the                                                            for the money you
         The YES YMP 45, Philips                                               for those looking for                                                  moment we laid eyes                                                       pay. It’s got an AV-out
     GoGear and Mitashi MWI-4GA                                                 something compact         FLASH-BASED PMPS                            on it, we knew we                                         cable as well, which means you can
     just aren’t in the same league as                                           yet     powerful—it      Above Rs 10,000                             beheld something special.                         take the action-onscreen. We tried a 720p
     the above mentioned PMPs, and                                               offers the smallest      By now, all memories of tonal                    To power itself, the A3 uses a DaVinci       movie on the A3 on our 32-inch LCD screen
     the Sony NWZ-S615F and                                                     footprint and the         colouring, recessed mid-ranges              dual-core processor. If your wondering            and the experience was as good as any HD
     Creative Zen 4 GB fall slap-bang                                   best performance (albeit by       and boomy bass have gone (but               where that came from or why Cowon                 DVD player. All the regular features—Cowon’s
                                        iriverX20
     in the middle of the best and                                the smallest of margins). But if        not forgotten), the pockets are a           decided on overkill, let us tell you that this    full-fledged equaliser, FM radio, photo
                                        Feature rich ‘n flashy
     the rest.                                                    you take a look at the third            little deeper, the audience more            device is the first of its kind to actually       viewing, and voice recording—are also
         If you’re looking for primari-                           dimension—the price—things              discerning and expectations                 support 720p HD content natively without          present, should you need them.
     ly a video player, then you                                  begin to change. The Samsung            skyrocket. If you’re part of the            any transcoding. Imagine dragging huge                 Quite simply put, if you need the best
     should look at another category.                             YP-S5 offers the biggest bang for       small but growing group of con-             .VOB files to a PMP and enjoying skip-free        video PMP around, this is your safest bet. It’s
     The YES YMP 45, Creative Zen,                                the buck—it’s a marvellously            sumers who are willing to shell             video. Or imagine playing a 50 MB audio file      also your cheapest bet, as both 30 GB and
     and the Mitashi MWI-4GA have                                 well built device, the touch con-       out in excess of four figures on            in all its FLAC splendour without a hiccup.       60 GB versions are cheaper than Creative’s
     the largest screens—and size                                 trols are as precise as clockwork,      a PMP, you’ll probably grin at              The A3 does it all. About the only trick          sole challenger, the Vision W. Do remember
     matters when you’re talking                                  and it comes very close to both         the above statement. Such PMPs              Cowon missed is the gimmicky and “in”             that its bulky, and also heavy, so its not
     anything visual. The Creative                                the Nano and the X20 in terms of        have an uphill task ahead of                touchscreen, but we’re told they have             something you’ll slip into your denims, its
     Zen will win the race for the                                performance. We find no serious         them—they should excel a cou-               another A3-like PMP called the Q5W lined          intended as a micro home theatre, so please
     best video PMP, because it’s got a                           reason to nitpick—it’s even got         ple of things, while still retain-          up, which addresses “touchaholics”.               keep it there.
     better screen, and has excellent                             speakers! Our Best Buy award            ing excellence for all other
     music quality to begin with.                                 belongs to the second-cheapest          areas of functionality.
                                                                                                                                                    Features                                 8 GB guise, as does the iRiver
           Apple iPod Nano 3G 8 GB: Tiny Dancer                                                                                                     Right off the block, Apple’s iPod        X20 (4 and 8 GB). Creative’s Zen
                                                                                                                                                    Touch duo (8 and 16 GB models)           was another familiar face, and
                                                      was the best sounding PMP,                           Yanni DVDs—we daresay the                impresses with just a glance. The        the 8 GB version finds itself

       I f you thought the older model was
         compact due to its slimness, wait till
       you lay eyes on the new one. It’s shrunk
                                                      period. Second place is not a
                                                      bad place to be, especially
                                                      when both are flying the same
                                                                                                           maestro himself would be pleased.
                                                                                                                The other little utilities like a
                                                                                                           calendar, alarm, contacts and
                                                                                                                                                    rear, chrome plated and buffed to
                                                                                                                                                    a mirror-like sheen will only
                                                                                                                                                    make the black front—devoid of
                                                                                                                                                                                             amongst the upper echelons of
                                                                                                                                                                                             the Flash-based players. The only
                                                                                                                                                                                             real newcomer is the Cowon D2,
       to nearly half the length of the previous      colours. The Nano                                  stopwatch are all present as are           any buttons save one large and           a device which won our Best Buy
       Nano while getting a couple of                 approaches the same                                 three engaging little games, with         dimpled menu button—stand out.           award last year. The Cowon has a
       millimetres wider, and also getting a          kind of deep, pounding                               more stuff downloadable from the         A large and crisp touchscreen            nice crisp touchscreen; though
       better, bigger screen in the bargain. The      yet lively bass that the                             iTunes store (which isn’t available      (identical to the iPhone’s) greets       the screen icons don’t look too
       conscious attempt at space-saving is           Touch has, there’s no                                 in India, unfortunately).               you. Menu navigation is a snap,          clear, this is a 16 million-colour
       unabashedly evident, and the 3G is more        hint of flab or colouring                                    The Nano positions itself in a   and the much-vaunted Touch-flo           LCD and it makes its presence
       “nano” than ever.                              of any sort, and in tracks                              league just below the iPod            isn’t just hype—it really works!         felt later. It also supports text
            It’s a very well built device, although   like Hotel California, the                               Touch in price, but serves a         You’re never lost too deep in the        and PDF, besides the usual fea-
       the smudge- and scratch-prone rear will        drum score in the beginning                               very different audience. We         Touch’s menu subsystem, a press          tures like voice recording and
       have you using a case whenever you             will cause you to close your                               don’t see anyone (for              of the aforementioned button             FM radio.
       take it around. The 3G Nano supports           eyes and sigh with                                          example) working out with         and you back on the main menu.
       video playback, and with this move,            satisfaction. It gets better                                the Touch in their pocket. In     Icons are bright, well laid-out and      Performance
       Apple has just raised the bar for the          with the mid-range, as guitar                               fact, a user who could afford     everything seems designed with           Up front, the Apples were clearly
       compact PMPs—no other model in this            harmonics have that very live                             to would buy both PMPs—so           usability in mind. Browsing is fun       distinct from the oranges and
       class has comparable features. Why no          feel, there’s no over-emphasis                 different are they from each other.            with finger swipes, particularly         everything else, and with the
       FM? Simple…why listen to radio stations        on tones like some players—if there’s a      What they share in common is brilliance          when resizing and zooming in on          exception of the stalwart Cowon
       when you can listen to your favourite          sound in the recording, you’ll hear it the   of design, usability and performance. If         photos with your fingers                 D2, Mr Jobs’ offerings would hog
       numbers with four (and eight) gigabytes        way it was produced—accurate to a fault.     you’re looking for something that’s              onscreen. The inbuilt gyroscope          the limelight. Cowon’s D2 is real-
       of storage space?                              With a fully revealed top-end, the Nano      compact and powerful while retaining             means the Touch reorients its            ly a superb performer and soni-
            Audio quality is class-leading and the    will satisfy lovers of high frequency        stellar performance—and that too under           screen for your viewing conven-          cally very nearly nirvana. A full
       Nano is within a hair’s breadth of the         instruments like saxophones and violins.     Rs 10,000—you’d be daft to even consider         ience when it’s tilted.                  extension throughout the audi-
       quality of the iPod Touch, which for us        We got the chance to audition a couple of    anything else.                                       The Apple iPod Nano 3G               ble spectrum—an excellent low-
                                                                                                                                                    makes another appearance in an           ends and fully revealed mid-

94   DIGIT MARCH 2008                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      DIGIT MARCH 2008   95
      Digital Leisure l PMP Test                                                                                                                                 Digital Leisure l PMP Test
      range coupled with a very trans-                         time spent auditioning both 8            its price. After all the hype sur-    the D2 offers unbeatable features and perform-
      parent and tonally accurate                              and 16 GB versions convinced us          rounding the iPhone, this is one      ance for its price.
      upper range means the D2 is at                           of their sonic excellence: there         player that will satisfy your             The iRiver X20s offer similar features and pric-
      home with almost any kind of                                  was a little more detail            sense of flair, and you’re virtu-     ing to the iPod Nano, but don’t sound as good, and
      music. It does have a whop-         MARCH 2008                   high up the frequency            ally a show-off for just taking it    although the difference isn’t very significant, it is
      ping output of 74 mW,                                             ladder that the Nano            out of your pocket! As with any       noticeable. The Creative Zen 8 GB finds itself up
      but surprisingly doesn’t                                           missed out on. Also            sensational product, pricing is       against the wall with the other brutes in this cate-
      seem to drive either the                                           noticeable to the care-        always a deterrent and Apple          gory. Completely outgunned, this PMP cannot real-
      Bose or the Audio                                                   ful listener was a tad        never meant for every aspiring        ly be recommended to anyone, though it’s a good
      Technica cans as well as                                             more texturing to            PMP owner to buy an iPod              device in its own right.
      the iPods do.                                                        fine guitar-work on          Touch—if music quality means
          The iPod Nano is hard-                                            Eric Clapton’s Layla—       the most to you, and very good        HDD-BASED PMPS
      ly superior to the D2—it                                              certain         chords      video playback capabilities are       Unlike Flash players—which are mainly geared
      offers slightly higher vol-                                            sound a little richer      as important as the large screen      towards music with a few exceptions taking a stab
      umes, (which doesn’t mean                                              and somehow more           and touch-flo, just close your        at a more video-oriented device—HDD-based PMPs
      a lot unless you’re a decibel                                           full bodied. There’s      eyes and stop searching. If you       have colossal amounts of storage at their disposal,
      junkie), what is perceptible                                             also a barely per-       decide you can do without the         and are geared more towards video-watching than
      is a marginally better exten-                                            ceptible (but per-       extra screen size and the flash       anything else. Chances are HDD-based PMPs will
      sion in the lower bass. The                                               ceptible nonethe-       factor, look at the iPod Nano or      have larger screens, and of course have a larger
      Nano also seems to do a little                                             less) increase in      the Cowon D2. The former is an        footprint—something that won’t be very unobtru-
      more justice at detailing the                                               depth and detail      excellent music PMP and its           sive in your pocket. Such players are also useful
      higher frequency ranges, but                                                to      Charlotte     compactness makes it an ideal         for people who have a gigantic music collection
      this is a close comparison, and                                             Church’s incred-      workout companion. The D2 is a        and like to carry all their music with them. Quite
      noticeable only if you’re look-                                              ible       vocal     very different beast—it has a lot     honestly, very few people would carry more than
      ing for it. As far as video play-                                            chords in Bridge     of features, and a brilliant          16 GB of music with them, but if you happen to
      back goes, both the Nano and                                                Over     Troubled     screen, and the added advan-          have a 20-odd gigabyte MP3 collection that you
      the D2 have good screens, but                                           Water. Both the           tage of it being touch-sensitive.     want at your fingertips, along with a dozen or so
      the D2 sneaks ahead with                                          Nano and Touch offer            It’s also something of a novelty      movies, then Flash players aren’t going to cut it.
      greater picture clarity, a slightly Apple iPod Classic 80 GB     similar bass signatures,         with the ability to scribble in a     Hard drive-based PMPs also have the advantage of
                                           80 Gigs of nirvana
      larger viewing area and signifi-                                 and a nearly similar             notepad—a perfect conglomer-          cost per GB—which is ridiculously low compared
      cantly better colour.                                    mid-range—all          the   micro-      ate of performance, features          to Flash-based players—comparatively still an
          The iRiver X20 4 and 8 GB                            improvements seem to have                and price. And yes, the D2’s          expensive storage medium.
      kept very close to the D2 and                            gone into frequencies higher             4 GB of storage is also expand-
      the Nano as far as sound quality                         than 4 KHz.                              able thanks to an SD card slot.       Features
      goes. The real revelation proved                             The iPod Touch makes a good              We’re conferring our Best         One look at the beautiful Cowon A3 duo had us all
      to be the none other than the                            video PMP too, with its large and        Buy award on the Cowon D2 for         as excited—while music is definitely cool, what
      exquisitely      designed      iPod                      crisp 3.5-inch screen, but the D2        its superb music quality and          could be cooler than a personal cinematic experi-
      Touch, which simply blew us                              pulls one over here, and makes           overall brilliant features and        ence? The screen has got to be as close to the real
      away with the sheer music qual-                          for a better micro-theatre.              functionality. At Rs 11,000, it’s     thing as possible—with a 24-bit LCD that measures
      ity. If you want absolutely the                                                                   quite a bit cheaper than the          four inches diagonally and can display a whop-
      best sound, this has to be it. The                       Conclusion                               iPod Touch—although the Touch         ping 16.7 million colours, the A3 is geared
      Touch seemed slightly brighter                           The iPod Touch is an excellent           is more of a lifestyle device than    towards being a proper video player. Its even got a
      than the Nano, but some more                             PMP, and offers good value for           the D2 can ever be. Nonetheless,      dual-core processor, so it can play .vob files (DVD
                                                                                                                                              movies) without resampling or downsizing!
         Headphones: Do They Make A Difference?                                                                                               What’s more, even 720p is supported—once again
                                                                                                                                              a drag-and-drop away. It goes without saying that
                                                    signatures, or in common terms, are
                                      will
     Mostisdefinitely! “But how, andevenIa
         notice it?” you might ask. Well, good
     sound quite like good food, or
                                                    endowed by their manufacturers with
                                                    different acoustic properties. Remember
                                                                                                      If you’re listening at home and you
                                                                                                 don’t mind something bigger, (like
                                                                                                 circum-aural headphones), look at the
                                                                                                                                              the A3 plays all other major video formats.
                                                                                                                                              Absolutely amazing, considering we’ve seen some
                                                                                                                                              notebooks stutter with 720p content. On the
     nice car—it’s habit-forming, and going back    that a headphone is a miniature speaker,     Sennheiser HD201 and HD202—at                audio front (like its cousin, the Flash-based D2), it
     to something archaic after something neo       with two little drivers, and will respond    Rs 1,400 and 1,800 respectively. Stick to    supports FLAC files, so diehard audiophiles who
     isn’t an easy thing to do. A simple            favourably to changes in the music source,   known brands and you should be all           constantly complain about the pitfalls of lossy for-
     example—if you listen to any of the award-     amplification, and basically anything        right. Costlier headphones don’t make        mats can finally hold their peace. The icing on the
     winning PMPs in this test on their bundled     which cleans up the sound signal being fed   much sense, because they need a much         cake has to be the superb build quality and
     earplugs, you’d go “Wow!” Listen to them       to it. Most high-end headphones can’t        better source than a PMP is ever going       upmarket look—with pearl white as a base and a
     on our reference headphones (the Bose          even be used with PMPs, simply because       to be. For those who are interested,         dark grey bezel, the A3 is a stunner.
     Intra Ear, Grado SR60, and the Audio           such sources don’t provide enough juice to   higher-end models from the likes of               The other large-screen PMP was the Creative
     Technica ATH A900), you’d go “Damn! I          properly drive the headphones’ drivers.      Sennheiser, AKG Acoustics and Grado          Zen Vision W, with an even bigger screen (4.3 inch-
     didn’t even know this track had that little    Most earplug-type headphones make do         Labs are also slowly becoming available      es). Despite the fact that the Creative doesn’t seem
     sound in it” and “Wow! Listen to that          without amplification—they’re intended       in India. These headphones range in          to have the specifications on paper that the A3
     guitar…awesome!” You have just come a          for portable use. If you’re serious about    prices from Rs 2,000 to Rs 35,000, and       does, it manages to impress with a very simple
     little closer to becoming discerning—a trait   sound, ditch the stock earplugs as soon as   with such a wide price range, there’s        menu layout, exceptionally good build quality, and
     of audiophiles—those evil men and women        you can, and buy a decent set of             literally something for everyone.            a screen that despite displaying only 262,000
     who spend more than a third of their           earplugs—we recommend Creative’s                  If you’re spending anything over        colours doesn’t look the worse for it.
     disposable income on audio equipment.          EP630—which, at Rs 900, is superb value      Rs 8,000 for a PMP intended for long              Apple has upped the storage on their 5.5G
          Headphones make a resounding              for money. If you want something better,     music sessions, take our advice and invest   iPod Classic to a massive 80 GB, and an even more
     difference, and even two very good             the Bose Intra-ear is available for          in a good set of headphones. Shell out big   colossal 160 GB. The fact that the Classic manages
     headphones will sound quite different due      Rs 5,000—and will give you more clarity in   and cry once, but forever have world class   to fit in nearly six times the data of the Zen
     to the fact that they have different sound     the highs than the EP630.                    audio at your disposal.                      Vision W at nearly half the footprint itself says a

96    DIGIT MARCH 2008                                                                                                                                                                                DIGIT MARCH 2008   97
        Digital Leisure l PMP Test
                                                                                                 MARCH 2008                                                                                                                                                                                                         MARCH 2008
       Scoreboard                                                                                                 Flash Based PMPs Up to Rs 5,000                                                                                      Flash Based PMPs Up to Rs 5,000
 BRAND                                              Supercomp               Zebronics                  Apacer             Zebronics               SanDisk                Apacer                  Transcend              Creative              SanDisk                 YES                    YES                        SanDisk               Mitashi               Aigo
 MODEL                                              Semp3-S7A                Gamma                  Steno AU351             Beta                Sansa Shaker          Steno AU581                T.sonic 610           Zen Stone                Clip                 YMP 35                 YMP 18                   Sansa Express           MPL 1004            U Watch MP3




 Price (Rupees)                             Rs 1,500                Rs 1,650                 Rs 1,720             Rs 1,750                Rs 2,090             Rs 2,240                 Rs 2,500               Rs 2,599               Rs 2,990              Rs 3,150                Rs 3,250                    Rs 3,399             Rs 3,490               Rs 3,500
 Comments                                   + Compact, light        + Very compact,          + Built well, good   + Very compact,         + Funky concept,     + Great build quality,   + Good set of          + Solidly built,       + Compact, funky,     + Neat looking,         + Very light, neat          + Good performer,    + Large screen, well   + Novel concept,
                                              weight                  solidly built            performance          built well              solidly built        good performance         accessories            compact                belt clip inbuilt     compact                 looking                     built well           laid out menus         compact
                                            – Build quality,        – Tiny screen, display   – Poor screen        – Tiny screen, screen   – Low performance,   – Small screen, non      – Tiny screen, tacky   – No screen, buttons   – Volume button       – Less storage space,   – Requires batteries,       – Tiny screen        – Low performance,     – Low performer, un-
                                              slightly tacky keys     quality                  quality              quality                 slightly bulky       intuitive menu           buttons                little hard            tacky                 hard buttons            build quality                                    tacky buttons          intuitive controls
 Grand Totals (Out of 100)                  43.87                   42.98                    47.15                42.98                   27.23                47.53                    50.91                  49.28                  51.77                 48.01                   39.94                       53.13                43.31                  33.77
 Features (Out of 35)                       10.85                   9.45                     12.53                9.45                    4.20                 12.53                    18.20                  15.44                  14.77                 17.01                   10.85                       14.77                16.38                  5.67
 Performance (Out of 65)                    33.02                   33.53                    34.62                33.53                   23.03                35.00                    32.71                  33.84                  37.00                 31.00                   29.09                       38.36                26.93                  28.10
 Features
 Capacity                                   1 GB                    2 GB                     2 GB                 2 GB                    1 GB                 2 GB                     2 GB                   1 GB                   1 GB                  512 MB                  1 GB                        2 GB                 1 GB                   512 MB
 Display Type                               OLED                    OLED                     LCM                  OLED                    NA                   OLED                     OLED                   NA                     OLED                  OLED                    LED                         OLED                 LCD                    NA
 Display Number of Colours                  1                       1                        1                    1                       NA                   1                        single                 NA                     1                     65K                     Single (multiple backlit)   1                    262K                   NA
 Display Size                               1.1 inches              0.9 inch                 0.9 inch             1 inch                  NA                   1.3 inches               1 inch                 NA                     1 inch                1.5 inches              1.2 inches                  1.1 inches           2.2 inches             NA
 Type of Battery                            Li-ion                  Li-ion                   Li-ion               Li-ion                  AAA                  Li-ion                   Li-ion                 Li-ion                 Li-ion                Li-ion                  AAA                         Li-ion               Li-ion                 Li-ion
 Weight of Device                           26 gm                   26 gm                    28 gm                30 gm                   32 gm                30 gm                    28 gm                  18.5 gm                25.8 gm               40 gm                   25 gm                       31.1 gm              45 gm                  38 gm
 Firmware Upgradeable (Y/N)                 Y                       N                        Y                    N                       N                    Y                        Y                      Y                      Y                     Y                       Y                           Y                    Y                      N
 Memory Upgradeable (Y/N) / Type of         N / NA                  N / NA                   N / NA               N / NA                  N / NA               N / NA                   N / NA                 N / NA                 N / NA                N / NA                  N / NA                      N / NA               Y / SD                 N / NA
 Memory
 FM Tuner (Y/N)                             Y                       Y                        Y                    Y                       NA                   Y                        Y                      Y                      Y                     Y                       Y                           Y                    Y                      N
 Voice Recording (Y/N)                      Y                       Y                        Y                    Y                       NA                   Y                        Y                      Y                      Y                     Y                       Y                           Y                    Y                      Y
 Audio Formats supported                    MP3, WMA, WAV           MP3, WMA, WAV            MP3, WMA, WAV        MP3, WMA, WAV           MP3, WMA, WAV        MP3, WMA, WAV            MP3, WMA, WAV          MP3, WMA, WAV,         MP3, WMA, WAV         MP3, WMA, WAV           MP3, WMA, WAV               MP3, WMA, WAV        MP3, WMA               MP3
                                                                                                                                                                                                               audible


 Photo Viewing / Video Playback (Y/N)       N/N                     N/N                      N/N                  N/N                     N/N                  N/N                      N/N                    N/N                    N/N                   N/Y                     N/N                         N/N                  Y/Y                    N/N
 Video Formats supported                    NA                      NA                       NA                   NA                      NA                   NA                       NA                     NA                     NA                    SMV                     NA                          NA                   MPEG-4                 NA




 Screen Brightness adjust (Y/N)             Y                       Y                        Y                    Y                       NA                   Y                        Y                      N                      Y                     N                       N                           Y                    Y                      N
 Screen Orientation Sensor (Y/N)            N                       N                        N                    N                       NA                   N                        N                      N                      N                     N                       N                           N                    N                      N
 Built-in Speakers (Y/N)                    N                       N                        N                    N                       Y                    N                        N                      N                      N                     N                       N                           N                    Y                      N
 No of Preset Modes / Customisable          5/N                     5/N                      6/N                  5/N                     NA / N               6/N                      6/Y                    4/Y                    4/Y                   5/Y                     4/N                         4/Y                  6/N                    4/N
 Equaliser
 Point A to B Track Repeat (Y/N)            Y                       N                        Y                    N                       N                    Y                        Y                      Y                      Y                     Y                       Y                           Y                    Y                      N
 Custom Playlist saving (Y/N)               N                       N                        N                    N                       N                    N                        Y                      Y                      N                     Y                       N                           N                    N                      N
 Folder Creation (Y/N)                      Y                       Y                        Y                    Y                       N                    Y                        N                      N                      Y                     N                       N                           Y                    N                      N
 Use as Portable Drive (Y/N)                Y                       Y                        Y                    Y                       Y                    Y                        Y                      Y                      Y                     Y                       Y                           Y                    Y                      Y
 Addon Features
 Built-in Calendar / Contacts / Stopwatch   N/N/N/N                 N/N/N/N                  N/N/N/N              N/N/N/N                 N/N/N/N              N/N/N/N                  N/N/N/N                N/N/N/N                N/N/N/N               N/N/N/N                 N/N/N/N                     N/N/N/N              N/N/N/N                N/N/N/N
 / Alarm
 Bundled Accessories                        N                       N                        N                    N                       N                    N                        Carry pouch + wrist    N                      N                     Carry Pouch             Carry Pouch                 N                    N                      N
                                                                                                                                                                                        strap + Neck strap

 Additional Features (If any)               N                       N                        N                    N                       N                    N                        N                      N                      NA                    Dual 3.5 mm jacks       FM radio recording,         N                    NA                     N
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Dual 3.5 mm jacks

 Performance
 General Display Performance (So 10)        1.5                     1.75                     1.5                  1.75                    NA                   1.5                      2.25                   NA                     2.5                   4                       2                           2                    6                      NA
 Video Performance (Movies) (So 10)         NA                      NA                       NA                   NA                      NA                   NA                       NA                     NA                     NA                    NA                      NA                          NA                   4                      NA
 Music Performance (Out of 10)
 Eagles—Hotel California                    7.25                    6.75                     7.25                 6.75                    4.75                 7.25                     7                      7.25                   8                     6.5                     6                           8                    5                      6
 The Corrs—Brid og ni Mhaille               6.75                    6.75                     7                    6.75                    4.75                 7                        6.5                    7                      7.5                   5.75                    4.75                        7.75                 4.5                    6.25
 Charlotte Church—Bridge over               7                       7                        7                    7                       5                    7                        6.5                    7                      7.25                  6                       5.5                         7.75                 4                      6
 Troubled Water
 Pink Floyd—Speak to Me / Breathe           6.5                     6.5                      7                    6.5                     4.5                  7                        6.25                   7.25                   7.5                   6.25                    5.75                        8                    5                      6

 Dire Straits—Sultans of Swing              6.5                     6.75                     7                    6.75                    4.75                                          6.5                    6.75                   7.25                  6                       6.25                        7.5                  3.5                    6
 Guns N’ Roses—November Rain (Live)         6.25                    7                        7                    7                       4.5                  7.25                     6.5                    7                      7.5                   6                       6                           7.5                  4.75                   5.75
 Eric Clapton—Layla                         6.5                     6.5                      7                    6.5                     4.25                 7                        6.25                   7.25                   7.5                   5.5                     6.25                        8                    5                      5.5
 Chand Sifarish (Fanaa)                     7                       7                        7.25                 7                       4.5                  7.5                      6.75                   7.5                    7.25                  6.25                    6.25                        7.75                 5                      6.5
 Beedi (Omkara)                             7                       7                        7.25                 7                       4                    7.25                     6.5                    6.75                   7.25                  6.25                    6.25                        7.5                  5                      6.25
 Bundled Headphone Quality (Out of 10)      4.75                    5                        5                    5                       5                    5.25                     5.25                   5                      5.5                   4.25                    4                           6                    2.5                    NA
 Battery Life (Actual Tested)               6.5 h                   8.3 h                    7.7 h                8.1 h                   6.7 h                6.5 h                    11.2 h                 7.6 h                  9.1 h                 10.2 h                  23 h                        14.2 h               8.2 h                  4.6 h


98      DIGIT MARCH 2008                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          DIGIT MARCH 2008          99
         Digital Leisure l PMP Test

        Scoreboard                                                                    Flash Based PMPs Up to Rs 5,000                                                                                                                            Flash Based PMPs from Rs 5,001 to Rs 10,000
  BRAND                                              Transcend              Sony                  Aigo                  YES                    iRiver                  Creative                YES                     Sony                  YES                      Samsung                Mitashi                 Philips               Cowon                  Sony
  MODEL                                             T.sonic 840           NWD-B103F              MP-F585               YMP 35                    S7                 Zen Stone Plus            YMP 30                 NWD-B105F              YMP 45                     YP-S5                MWI-4GA                GoGear 4GB             iAudio 7              NWZ-S615F




  Price (Rupees)                             Rs 3,750              Rs 3,990               Rs 4,000             Rs 4,150              Rs 4,399                Rs 4,399                Rs 4,950                Rs 4,990               Rs 6,490                 Rs 8,900              Rs 6,790                 Rs 6,999             Rs 7,750                Rs 7,990
  Comments                                   + Good performance,   + Compact, well built, + Well built, good   + Looks cool,         + Neat looks, built     + Compact, clear        + Good music quality,   + Compact, well built, + Large screen, stylus   + Built well, great   + Large, clear screen,   + Well built, good   + Powerful sound,       + Good screen, good
                                               built well            good controls          features             compact                well                   screen, built well      built well              good controls          provided                 music performance     loudspeaker              menu system          great music quality     features
                                             – Tacky buttons,      – Tiny screen          – None in particular – Hard buttons, un-   – Overpriced, few       – Overpriced, hard      – Plain looks, no       – Tiny screen          – Lacks music quality,   – Bulky, prone to     – Poor music quality,    – Mediocre screen,   – Looks too simple      – None in particular
                                               slightly heavy                                                    intuitive menu         features               buttons                 video support                                  build quality            fingerprints          unintuitive menu         lacks volume         and unassuming
  Grand Totals (Out of 100)                  55.51                 47.65                  46.81                48.01                 40.14                   50.32                   45.23                   47.65                  44.38                    64.20                 46.74                    56.86                63.13                   57.04
  Features (Out of 35)                       19.60                 15.05                  11.90                17.01                 7.70                    15.44                   13.51                   15.05                  13.23                    22.09                 19.53                    17.01                19.60                   17.15
  Performance (Out of 65)                    35.91                 32.60                  34.91                31.00                 32.44                   34.88                   31.72                   32.60                  31.15                    42.11                 27.21                    39.85                43.53                   39.89
  Features
  Capacity                                   2 GB                  1 GB                  1 GB                 1 GB                   1 GB                    2 GB                    2 GB                    2 GB                  2 GB                      2 GB                  4 GB                     4 GB                 4 GB                    2 GB
  Display Type                               LCD                   LCD                   LCD                  OLED                   NA                      OLED                    OLED                    LCD                   LCD                       LCD                   LCD                      LCD                  LCD                     LCD
  Display Number of Colours                  65K                   65K                   65K                  65K                    NA                      1 (blue)                dual-colour             65K                   262K                      262K                  262K                     65K                  262K                    262K
  Display Size                               1.8 inch              1 inch                1.8 inches           1.5 inches             NA                      1 inch                  1.3 inches              1 inch                2.4 inches                1.8 inches            2.4 inches               2.2 inches           1.3 inches              1.8 inch
  Type of Battery                            Li-ion                Li-ion                Li-ion               Li-ion                 Li-ion                  Li-ion                  Li-ion                  Li-ion                Li-ion                    Li-ion                Li-ion                   Li-ion               Li-ion                  Li-ion
  Weight of Device (gms)                     70 gm                 30 gm                 50 gm                40 gm                  17.5 gm                 21 gm                   35 gm                   30 gm                 60 gm                     78.7 gm                                        45 gm                60 gm                   50 gm
  Firmware Upgradeable (Y/N)                 Y                     Y                     N                    Y                      Y                       Y                       Y                       Y                     Y                         Y                     Y                        Y                    Y                       Y
  Memory Upgradeable (Y/N) / Type of         N / NA                N / NA                N / NA               N / NA                 N / NA                  N / NA                  N / NA                  N / NA                SD                        N / NA                Y / SD                   N / NA               N / NA
  Memory
  FM Tuner (Y/N)                             Y                     Y                     Y                    Y                      Y                       Y                       Y                       Y                     Y                         Y                     Y                        Y                    Y                   Y
  Voice Recording (Y/N)                      Y                                           Y                    Y                      N                       Y                       Y                       Y                     Y                         Y                     Y                        Y                    Y                   Y
  Audio Formats supported                    MP3, WMA, WAV         MP3, WMA              MP3, WMA             MP3, WMA, WAV          MPEG 1/2/2.5 Layer 3,   MP3, WMA, WAV,          MP3, WMA, WAV           MP3, WMA              MP3, WMA, WAV             MP3 AAC WMA           MP3, WMA                 MP3, WMA             MP3, OGG, WMA, ASF, MP3, AAC, WMA
                                                                                                                                     WMA, ASF, OGG, MP3      audible                                                                                                                                                             FLAC, WAV


  Photo Viewing / Video Playback (Y/N)       Y/Y                   N/N                   Y/Y                  N/Y                    N/N                     N/N                     N/N                     N/N                   Y/Y                       Y/Y                   Y/Y                      Y/Y                  Y/Y                     Y/Y
  Video Formats supported                    MTV                   NA                    AVI                  SMV                    NA                      NA                      NA                      NA                    AVI                       MPEG-4                MPEG-4                   MPEG-4, WMV          MPEG-4                  H.264, MPEG-4,
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         AAC-LC


  Screen Brightness adjust (Y/N)             Y                     Y                     Y                    N                      NA                      N                       N                       Y                     Y                         Y                     Y                        Y                    Y                       Y
  Screen Orientation Sensor (Y/N)            N                     Y                     N                    N                      NA                      N                       N                       Y                     N                         N                     N                        N                    N                       Y
  Built-in Speakers (Y/N)                    N                     N                     N                    N                      N                       N                       N                       N                     Y                         Y                     Y                        N                    N                       N
  No of Preset Modes / Customisable          5/Y                   5/N                   5/N                  5/Y                    NA / N                  4/Y                     4/N                     5/N                   5/Y                       6/Y                   6/Y                      7/Y                  5/Y                     5/N
  Equaliser
  Point A to B Track Repeat (Y/N)            Y                     Y                     N                    Y                      N                       Y                       Y                       Y                     Y                         Y                     Y                        N                    Y                       Y
  Custom Playlist saving (Y/N)               Y                     Y                     N                    Y                      N                       Y                       N                       Y                     N                         Y                     N                        N                    Y                       Y
  Folder Creation (Y/N)                      N                     N                     N                    N                      Y                       N                       N                       N                     Y                         Y                     Y                        Y                    N                       N
  Use as Portable Drive (Y/N)                Y                     Y                     Y                    Y                      Y                       Y                       Y                       Y                     Y                         Y                     Y                        Y                    Y                       Y
  Addon Features
  Built-in Calendar / Contacts / Stopwatch   N/N/N/N               N/N/N/N               N/N/N/N              N/N/N/N                N/N/N/N                 N/N/N/N                 N/N/N/N                 N/N/N/N               N/N/N/N                   N/N/N/N               N/N/N/N                  N/N/N/N              N/N/N/N                 N/N/N/N
  / Alarm
  Bundled Accessories                        N                     N                     N                    Carry-pouch            N                       N                       Carry-pouch             N                     Carry-pouch and           N                     N                        N                    N                       N
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   strap, stylus

  Additional Features (If any)               N                     N                     N                    Dual 3.5 mm jacks      N                       N                       N                       N                     Touchscreen               Bluetooth             N                        N                    N                       N


  Performance
  General Display Performance (So 10)        6.25                  2                     3.5                  4                      NA                      2                       2.25                    2                     6                         6.25                  6.5                      5.5                  2.5                     6
  Video Performance (Movies) (So 10)         5                     NA                    4                    NA                     NA                      NA                      NA                      NA                    4.25                      6.25                  4.5                      5                    3.5                     6.5
  Music Performance (Out of 10)
  Eagles—Hotel California                    6.75                  7                     6.5                  6.5                    6.75                    7.25                    6.25                    7                     5.25                      7.25                  5                        7                    8.5                     7.5
  The Corrs—Brid og ni Mhaille               5.75                  6.5                   6.75                 5.75                   6.75                    7                       6.25                    6.5                   5.25                      7                     4.75                     7                    8.25                    7
  Charlotte Church—Bridge over               6                     6.5                   6.25                 6                      6.5                     7                       6.25                    6.5                   5.5                       7.5                   3.75                     7                    8.5                     7.25
  Troubled Water
  Pink Floyd—Speak to Me / Breathe           6                     7                     7                    6.25                   6.5                     7.25                    6                       7                     5.75                      7.25                  5                        7                    8.5                     7

  Dire Straits—Sultans of Swing              6                     6.25                  6.25                 6                      6                       6.75                    6.25                    6.25                  5                         7.25                  3.5                      6.75                 8.25                    6.25
  Guns N’ Roses—November Rain (Live)         6.25                  6.25                  6.25                 6                      7                       7                       6.25                    6.25                  5                         7.5                   4.5                      7                    8.5                     6.5
  Eric Clapton—Layla                         6.25                  6.25                  6                    5.5                    7                       7.25                    6.75                    6.25                  5.25                      7.75                  5                        7                    8.25                    7
  Chand Sifarish (Fanaa)                     6.5                   6.5                   7                    6.25                   6.75                    7.5                     6.5                     6.5                   6                         7.5                   5                        7.5                  8.5                     7
  Beedi (Omkara)                             6.5                   6.25                  6.5                  6.25                   6.5                     6.75                    6.5                     6.25                  6                         7.25                  4.75                     7.5                  8                       6.75
  Bundled Headphone Quality (Out of 10)      5                     5.5                   4.5                  4.25                   6                       5                       5                       5.5                   3.5                       6                     2.5                      6                    6.75                    5.5
  Battery Life (Actual Tested)               9.5 h                 8h                    6.3 h                10.2 h                 7.5 h                   7.6 h                   13.2 h                  8.1 h                 11.3 h                    19.4 h                6.7 h                    11 h                 29.8 h                  20.2 h


100      DIGIT MARCH 2008                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       DIGIT MARCH 2008            101
      Digital Leisure l PMP Test

                                                                            MARCH 2008                MARCH 2008                                                                                                            MARCH 2008                                                                                     MARCH 2008
            Scoreboard                                                                                              Flash Based PMPs from Rs 5,001 to Rs 10,000                                                                                         Flash Based PMPs above Rs 10,000
      BRAND                                              SanDisk                  Apple                  Samsung                  iRiver               iRiver                Creative                   iRiver                   Cowon                   Apple                  iRiver                 Creative                Apple                  Apple
      MODEL                                             Sansa e280             iPod Nano 3G                T10                   X20 2 GB               E10                    Zen                     X20 4 GB                    D2                 iPod Nano 3G               X20                     Zen                 iPod Touch             iPod Touch




      Price (Rupees)                             Rs 8,490               Rs 8,800                Rs 6,600                Rs 8,999             Rs 9,499               Rs 9,999                  Rs 10,999                 Rs 11,000              Rs 11,400               Rs 12,999              Rs 13,999             Rs 17,700            Rs 22,000
      Comments                                   + Decent screen,       + Great music quality   + Good music quality,   + Good performer,    + Built well, neat     + Good screen, decent     + Feature rich, feature   + Very good perform-   + Great music quality   + Feature rich, good   + Good screen, decent + Amazing performer, + Amazing performer,
                                                   feature-rich           and screen              nice screen             feature rich         navigation             music quality             rich                      ance and features      and screen              performer              music quality         great interface      great interface
                                                 – Scroll wheel feels   – No FM radio,          – plasticy exterior,    – Slightly costly,   – Low quality screen   – None in particular      – Slightly costly,        – Slightly bulky,      – Lacks FM radio,       – Slightly costly,     – Slightly costly     – Pricey             – Pricey
                                                   tacky                  smudge prone back       slightly long           controls tacky       spoils video                                     controls tacky            weird looks            smudge prone back       controls tacky
      Grand Totals (Out of 100)                  68.15                  69.48                   62.68                   69.08                57.05                  63.46                     69.21                     73.90                  69.48                   69.21                  63.46                  73.20                 73.20
      Features (Out of 35)                       23.45                  22.93                   21.04                   23.45                20.41                  21.81                     23.45                     26.95                  22.93                   23.45                  21.81                  24.96                 24.96
      Performance (Out of 65)                    44.70                  46.56                   41.65                   45.63                36.64                  41.66                     45.76                     46.95                  46.56                   45.76                  41.66                  48.25                 48.25
      Features
      Capacity                                   8 GB                   4 GB                    2 GB                    2 GB                 6 GB                   4 GB                      4 GB                      4 GB                   8 GB                    8 GB                   8 GB                   8 GB                  16 GB
      Display Type                               LCD                    LCD                     LCD                     LCD                  LCD                    LCD                       LCD                       LCD                    LCD                     LCD                    LCD                    LCD                   LCD
      Display Number of Colours                  65K                    262K                    262K                    262K                 65K                    16.7M                     262K                      16M                    262K                    262K                   16.7M                  262K                  262K
      Display Size                               1.8 inches             2 inches                2 inches                2.2 inches           1.5 inches             2.5 inches                2.2 inches                2.5 inches             2 inches                2.2 inches             2.5 inches             3.5 inches            3.5 inches
      Type of Battery                            Li-ion                 Li-ion                  Li-ion                  Li-Ion               Li-ion                 Li-ion                    Li-Ion                    Li-ion                 Li-ion                  Li-Ion                 Li-ion                 Li-ion                Li-ion
      Weight of Device (gms)                     76.54 gm               49 gm                   43 gm                   15 gm                76 gm                  65 gm                     15 gms                    91 gm                  49 gm                   15 gms                 65 gm                  120 gm                120 gm
      Firmware Upgradeable (Y/N)                 Y                      Y                       Y                       Y                    Y                      Y                         Y                         Y                      Y                       Y                      Y                      Y                     Y
      Memory Upgradeable (Y/N) / Type of         Y / Micro SD           N / NA                  N / NA                  Y / Micro SD         N / NA                 N / NA                    Y / Micro SD              Y / SD                 N / NA                  Y / Micro SD           N / NA                 N / NA                N / NA
      Memory
      FM Tuner (Y/N)                             Y                      N                   Y                           Y                  Y                        Y                         Y                         Y                    N                         Y                      Y                      N                     N
      Voice Recording (Y/N)                      Y                      N                   Y                           Y                  Y                        Y                         Y                         Y                    N                         Y                      Y                      N                     N
      Audio Formats supported                    MP3, WMA, WAV          MP3, AAC, AIFF, WAV MP3 AAC WMA                 MP3, WMA, OGG, ASF MPEG 1/2/2.5 Layer 3,    MP3, WMA, AAC5 (.m4a),    MP3, WMA, OGG, ASF        MP3, WMA, FLAC, OGG, MP3, AAC, AIFF, WAV       MP3, WMA, OGG, ASF     MP3, WMA, AAC5         MP3, AAC, AIFF, WAV   MP3, AAC, AIFF, WAV
                                                                                                                                           WMA, ASF, OGG            WAV (ADPCM), Audible 2,                             WAV                                                                   (.m4a), WAV (ADPCM),
                                                                                                                                                                    3, 4                                                                                                                      Audible 2,3,4

      Photo Viewing / Video Playback (Y/N)       Y/Y                   Y/Y                      Y/Y                     Y/Y                  Y/Y                    Y/Y                       Y/Y                       Y/Y                    Y/Y                     Y/Y                    Y/Y                    Y/Y                   Y/Y
      Video Formats supported                    AVI, MPEG-1/2/4, DAT, H.264, MOV, MP4,         MPEG-4                  MPEG-1/2/4           AVI, SWF               MJPEG, WMV9, MPEG-4-      MPEG-1/2/3                AVI, MPEG              H.264, MOV, MP4,        MPEG-1/2/3             MJPEG, WMV9, MPEG-     H.264, MOV, MP4,      H.264, MOV, MP4,
                                                 ASF, MOV              MPEG-4                                                                                       SP4, DivX4 4/5 and                                                         MPEG-4                                         4-SP4, DivX4 4/5 and   MPEG-4                MPEG-4
                                                                                                                                                                    XviD4                                                                                                                     XviD4

      Screen Brightness adjust (Y/N)             Y                      Y                       Y                       Y                    Y                      Y                         Y                         Y                      Y                       Y                      Y                      Y                     Y
      Screen Orientation Sensor (Y/N)            N                      N                       N                       N                    N                      N                         N                         N                      N                       N                      N                      Y                     Y
      Built-in Speakers (Y/N)                    N                      N                       N                       Y                    N                      N                         Y                         Y                      N                       Y                      N                      N                     N
      No of Preset Modes / Customisable          7/Y                    22 / N                  6/Y                     5/Y                  3/Y                    8/Y                       5/Y                       5/Y                    22 / N                  5/Y                    8/Y                    22 / N                22 / N
      Equaliser
      Point A to B Track Repeat (Y/N)            Y                      Y                       Y                       Y                    Y                      Y                         Y                         Y                      Y                       Y                      Y                      Y                     Y
      Custom Playlist saving (Y/N)               Y                      Y                       Y                                            Y                      Y                                                   Y                      Y                                              Y                      Y                     Y
      Folder Creation (Y/N)                      Y                      N                       Y                       Y                    N                      Y                         Y                         Y                      N                       Y                      Y                      N                     N
      Use as Portable Drive (Y/N)                Y                      Y                       Y                       Y                    Y                      Y                         Y                         Y                      Y                       Y                      Y                      Y                     Y
      Addon Features
      Built-in Calendar / Contacts / Stopwatch   N/N/N/N                Y/Y/Y/Y                 N/N/N/N                 N/N/N/N              N/N/N/Y                Y/N/Y/N                   N/N/N/N                   N/N/N/Y                Y/Y/Y/Y                 N/N/N/N                Y/N/Y/N                Y/Y/Y/Y               Y/Y/Y/Y
      / Alarm
      Bundled Accessories                        Pocket strap           N                       N                       N                    N                      N                         N                         Stylus, Carry-case     N                       N                      N                      N                     N


      Additional Features (If any)               NA                     N                       Bluetooth               N                    N                      N                         N                         Touchscreen            N                       N                      N                      Touchscreen           Touchscreen


      Performance
      General Display Performance (So 10)        6                      6.5                     6                       6.5                  2.5                    7                         6.75                      6.5                    6.5                     6.75                   7                      8                     8
      Video Performance (Movies) (So 10)         6                      6                       6.25                    6.5                  3                      7.5                       6.5                       7.5                    6                       6.5                    7.5                    7.75                  7.75
      Music Performance (Out of 10)
      Eagles—Hotel California                    8                      8.75                    7.5                     8.25                 6.75                   7.25                      8.25                      8.5                    8.75                    8.25                   7.25                   8.75                  8.75
      The Corrs—Brid og ni Mhaille               8                      8.5                     7                       7.75                 7                      7                         7.75                      8.5                    8.5                     7.75                   7                      8.5                   8.5
      Charlotte Church—Bridge over               7.75                   8.75                    7.5                     8                    7                      7                         8                         8                      8.75                    8                      7                      8.75                  8.75
      Troubled Water
      Pink Floyd—Speak to Me / Breathe           8                      8.5                     7.25                    8.25                 7                      7.25                      8.25                      8.25                   8.5                     8.25                   7.25                   8.5                   8.5

      Dire Straits—Sultans of Swing              7.5                    8.25                    6.75                    8.25                 7.25                   6.75                      8.25                      7.5                    8.25                    8.25                   6.75                   8.25                  8.25
      Guns N’ Roses—November Rain (Live)         7.75                   8.5                     7.25                    8.25                 7                      7                         8.25                      8.25                   8.5                     8.25                   7                      8.5                   8.5
      Eric Clapton—Layla                         8                      8.75                    7                       8.25                 6.5                    7.25                      8.25                      8.5                    8.75                    8.25                   7.25                   8.75                  8.75
      Chand Sifarish (Fanaa)                     8.25                   8.5                     7.5                     8.5                  7                      7.5                       8.5                       8.5                    8.5                     8.5                    7.5                    8.5                   8.5
      Beedi (Omkara)                             8                      8                       7.25                    8                    7                      6.75                      8                         8                      8                       8                      6.75                   8                     8
      Bundled Headphone Quality (Out of 10)      6.75                   5                       6.5                     5.5                  6                      5.5                       5.5                       6.5                    5                       5.5                    5.5                    5                     5
      Battery Life (Actual Tested)               14.1 h                 19.2 h                  17.6 h                  14.3 h               13.24 h                14.5 h                    14.3 h                    36.5 h                 19.4 h                  14.3 h                 14.5 h                 16.5 h                16 h

102   DIGIT MARCH 2008                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           DIGIT MARCH 2008   103
      Digital Leisure l PMP Test                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     Digital Leisure l PMP Test
          Scoreboard                                MARCH 2008                         HDD Based PMPs                                                       MARCH 2008
                                                                                                                                                                                   Decision Maker
      BRAND                                             Apple                     Apple                      Cowon                     Cowon                    Creative
      MODEL                                       iPod Classic 80 GB       iPod Classic 160 GB              A3 30 GB                  A3 60 GB                Zen Vision W    Great sound, something really compact, and feature-rich: Don’t look anywhere beyond                             I want a great PMP for music but have a huge collection of MP3s that I wish to cart
                                                                                                                                                                              the new iPod Nano 3G. In its 4 GB avatar, the Nano is priced at Rs 8,500 and the 8 GB ver-                      around: Apple’s 80 GB and 160 GB iPod Classic will satisfy. Which one you buy is purely
                                                                                                                                                                              sion costs Rs 11,500—perfect performance and features for its price. It’s a true audiophile’s                   dependent on your storage needs, but they’re both equally amazing music players, with
                                                                                                                                                                              delight, and will satisfy your cravings for pure sound like nothing else in its price bracket.                  strong video playback performance as well. Battery life is also very good for an HDD-
                                                                                                                                                                              A video oriented PMP for watching high quality videos: The Cowon A3 has got to be                               based PMP. The icing on the cake is the shocking price—the lowest cost per GB from such
                                                                                                                                                                              your target. Priced very conservatively at Rs 20,000 for the 30 GB version, the Cowon                           exemplary PMPs makes your decision a no-brainer.
                                                                                                                                                                              has the best processing hardware under its hood and can even be hooked up to your tel-
                                                                                                                                                                              evision—it’s a fully functional DVD player! Music quality is very good, but not up to the                                                            PMPs up to Rs 5,000
                                                                                                                                                                              iPod Nano, iPod Touch, or Cowon D2.
                                                                                                                                                                              Something really cheap—sound quality isn’t that important: How does Rs 1,500 sound                                                                                                                                              133
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Sony NWD-B105F 2GB
                                                                                                                                                                              to you? Supercomp’s SEMP3-S7A will certainly do the trick. It’s got a small screen,                                                                                                             86
                                                                                                                                                                              besides very good music quality for the price. You’ll be surprised at how much PMP you                                                                                                                                          132
                                                                                                                                                                              get for your money.                                                                                                        YES YMP 30 2GB
      Price (Rupees)                          Rs 14,600                Rs 20,500                 Rs 23,000                 Rs 26,000                 Rs 29,999                                                                                                                                                                                                            81
      Comments                                + Great performance                                                                                                             A feature rich PMP, and one that is well priced. Music quality is important:
                                                                       + Great performance,      + Amazing screen, great   + Amazing screen, great   + Large, crisp screen,                                                                                                                                                                                                                        117
                                                                                                                                                                              Performance with Value? Look no further than the Cowon D2. At Rs 11,000, it represents                          Creative Zen Stone Plus 2GB
                                                and storage              huge storage              features                  features                  good music quality                                                                                                                                                                                                          91
                                                                                                                                                                              sterling value, with a 16.7 million colour touchscreen that’s shockingly adept at video,
                                              – Lacks FM Radio,        – Lacks FM Radio,         – Bulky, lower volumes    – Bulky, lower volumes    – Costly, bulky, non     and stunning audio performance.                                                                                                                                                                                      117
                                                slightly heavy                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Iriver S7 1GB
                                                                         slightly heavy                                                                intuitive controls     I have a budget of Rs 7,000. I want the best device for the price: Samsung’s YP-S5 is the                                                                                         72
      Grand Totals (Out of 100)               68.57                    68.57                     65.53                     65.53                     70.54                    answer. An excellent screen, amazing audio quality, video playback, funky backlit touch                                                                                                                        107
      Features (Out of 35)                    22.93                    22.93                     22.61                     22.61                     22.30                    controls, FM radio support, Bluetooth, photo viewing and a customisable equaliser. And                                     YES YMP 35 1GB
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              86
      Performance (Out of 65)                 45.65                    45.65                     42.92                     42.92                     48.25                    it only costs Rs 6,600, too.
                                                                                                                                                                              I’m rich, money isn’t a concern…show me the best: Other than the private jet and the                                                                                                                        107
      Features                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         Aigo MP-F585 1GB
                                                                                                                                                                              yacht you no doubt own, look at the Apple iPod Touch 16 GB. Or better still, wait a bit for                                                                                                     84
      Capacity                                80 GB                    160 GB                    30 GB                     60 GB                     30 GB
                                                                                                                                                                              the 32 GB version. The amazing touchscreen will be a feature you’ll find eminently prac-                                                                                                                    106
      Display Type                            LCD                      LCD                       LCD                       LCD                       LCD                                                                                                                                            Sony NWD-B103F 1GB
                                                                                                                                                                              tical after a while, adding to your sex appeal, while the music quality will blow those                                                                                                          86
      Display Number of Colours               262K                     262K                      16.7M                     16.7M                     262K                     1,000 rupee socks off!                                                                                                                                                                                    100
      Display Size                            2.5 inches               2.5 inches                4 inches                  4 inches                  4.3 inches                                                                                                                                Transcend T.sonic 840 2GB
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        100
      Type of Battery                         Li-ion                   Li-ion                    Li-ion                    Li-ion                    Li-ion                                                       PMPs Rs 5,001 to 10,000
      Weight of Device                        149 gm                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           93
                                                                       162 gm                    280 gm                    280 gm                    276 gm                                                                                                                       105           Aigo U Watch MP3 512MB
                                                                                                                                                                                         Creative Zen 4GB                                                                                                                                                 61
      Firmware Upgradeable (Y/N)              Y                        Y                         Y                         Y                         Y                                                                                                                 91
      Memory Upgradeable (Y/N) / Type of      N / NA                   N / NA                    N / NA                    N / NA                    N / NA                                                                                                                                        Mitashi MPL 1004 1GB
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               93
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             100
      Memory                                                                                                                                                                      Apple iPod Nano 3G 4GB                                                                                                                                                                 78
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             100
      FM Tuner (Y/N)                          N                        N                         Y                         Y                         Y                                                                                                                                                                                                                             91
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             100              SanDisk Sansa Express 2GB
      Voice Recording (Y/N)                   N                        N                         Y                         Y                         Y                                          iRiver E10                                                                                                                                                                          96
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              82
      Audio Formats supported                 MP3, AAC, AIFF, WAV      MP3, AAC, AIFF, WAV       MP3, WMA, ASF, FLAC,      MP3, WMA, ASF, FLAC,      MP3, WMA, WAV                                                                                                                                                                                                             87
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             100                         YES YMP 18 1GB
                                                                                                 OGG, M4A,                 OGG, M4A,                                                       iRiver X20 2GB                                                                                                                                                       72
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             100
                                                                                                 MATROSKA(MKA), APE,       MATROSKA(MKA), APE,                                                                                                                                                                                                                                84
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             69                                        YES YMP35 512MB
                                                                                                 WAV                       WAV                                                           Samsung T10 2GB                                                                                                                                                                       86
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       90
      Photo Viewing / Video Playback (Y/N)    Y/Y                      Y/Y                       Y/Y                       Y/Y                       Y/Y                                                                                                                                                                                                                 80
      Video Formats supported                 H.264, MOV, MP4,         H.264, MOV, MP4,          AVI, WMV, ASF, MP4,       AVI, WMV, ASF, MP4,       AVI, WMV9, MPEG-1/2,                                                                                          89                                   SanDisk Clip 1 GB
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   93
                                                                                                                                                                                  SanDisk Sansa e280 8GB
                                              MPEG-4                   MPEG-4                    MATROSKA (MKV), OGM,      MATROSKA (MKV), OGM,      MPEG-4-SP, MJPEG, DivX                                                                                                  98
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               69
                                                                                                 MPG/MPEG, VOB, DAT        MPG/MPEG, VOB, DAT        4.x/ 5.x, XviD-SP                                                                                            84                              Creative Zen Stone 1GB
                                                                                                                                                                                      Sony NWZ-S615F 2GB                                                                                                                                                                       89
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              82
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               67
      Screen Brightness adjust (Y/N)          Y                        Y                         Y                         Y                         Y                                                                                                        82                               Transcend T.sonic 610 2GB
                                                                                                                                                                                       Cowon iAudio 7 4GB                                                                                                                                                                          92
      Screen Orientation Sensor (Y/N)         N                        N                         N                         N                         N                                                                                                                 91
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          60
      Built-in Speakers (Y/N)                 N                        N                         Y                         Y                         Y                                                                                                  74                                       Apacer Steno AU581 2GB
                                                                                                                                                                                       Philips GoGear 4GB                                                                                                                                                                     86
      No of Preset Modes / Customisable       22 / N                   22 / N                    6/Y                       6/Y                       8/Y                                                                                                      82
      Equaliser                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      56
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       71                                      SanDisk Sansa Shaker 1GB
                                                                                                                                                                                     Mitashi MWI-4GA 4GB                                                                                                                                        49
      Point A to B Track Repeat (Y/N)         Y                        Y                         Y                         Y                         Y                                                                                            67
      Custom Playlist saving (Y/N)            Y                        Y                         Y                         Y                         Y                                                                                                                                                Zebronics Beta 2GB
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                47
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            94
      Folder Creation (Y/N)                   N                        N                         Y                         Y                         Y                                 Samsung YP-S5 2GB                                                                                                                                                                 77
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       92
      Use as Portable Drive (Y/N)             Y                        Y                         Y                         Y                         Y                                                                                                                                                                                        46
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  68
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 Apacer Steno AU351 2GB
      Addon Features                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          85
                                                                                                                                                                                         YES YMP 45 2GB
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                64
      Built-in Calendar / Contacts /          Y/Y/Y/Y                  Y/Y/Y/Y                   N/N/N/N                   N/N/N/N                   N/N/N/N                                                                                                                                                                                44
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   Zebronics Gamma 2GB
      Stopwatch / Alarm                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              77
                                                                                                                                                                                                             0       20         40            60        80                        100   120
      Bundled Accessories                     N                        N                         Carry case, handstrap, AV Carry case, handstrap, AV Carry Case, AV Out                                                                                                                                                                    40
                                                                                                                                                                                                                 Value Index                Price Index                                       Supercomp Semp3-S7A 1GB
                                                                                                 Out cables, a/c charger   Out cables, a/c charger   cables                                                                                                                                                                                                              79
      Additional Features (If any)            N                        N                         N                         N                         N
                                                                                                                                                                                                                   PMPs 10001 and above
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            0      20      40              60      80                    100             120             140
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        200                                                     Value Index                  Price Index
                                                                                                                                                                                    Apple iPod Touch 16GB
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    99
      Performance                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       161
                                                                                                                                                                                     Apple iPod Touch 8GB                                                                                                                            HDD-based PMPs
      General Display Performance (So 10)     6.5                      6.5                       9                         9                         8.5                                                                            99
      Video Performance (Movies) (So 10)      7                        7                         9                         9                         8.5                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             100
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            127                                               Creative Zen Vision W 30GB
      Music Performance (Out of 10)                                                                                                                                                      Creative Zen 8GB                                                                                                                                                                                                            100
                                                                                                                                                                                                                               86
      Eagles—Hotel California                 8.25                     8.25                      7                         7                         8.5                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 87
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          118                                                            Cowon A3 60GB
      The Corrs—Brid og ni Mhaille            8.25                     8.25                      7                         7                         8.25                                  iRiver X20 8GB                                                                                                                                                                                                     93
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                94
      Charlotte Church—Bridge over            8.25                     8.25                      6.75                      6.75                      8.25                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      77
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     104                                                                 Cowon A3 30GB
      Troubled Water                                                                                                                                                              Apple iPod Nano 3G 8GB                                                                                                                                                                                                       93
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                94
      Pink Floyd—Speak to Me / Breathe        8                        8                         6.5                       6.5                       8.25                                                                                                                                                                                                                               68
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    100                                                         Apple iPod Classic 160GB
                                                                                                                                                                                           Cowon D2 4GB                                                                                                                                                                                                             97
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    100
      Dire Straits—Sultans of Swing           8.25                     8.25                      6.75                      6.75                      8
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    52
      Guns N’ Roses—November Rain (Live)      8                        8                         7                         7                         8                                                                              100                                                          Apple iPod Classic 80GB
                                                                                                                                                                                           iRiver X20 4GB                                                                                                                                                                                                           97
      Eric Clapton—Layla                      8                        8                         6.75                      6.75                      8.25                                                                       94
      Chand Sifarish (Fanaa)                  8.25                     8.25                      7.25                      7.25                      8.25
                                                                                                                                                                                                            0         50             100                150                  200        250                                 0         20                  40                    60                  80                   100
      Beedi (Omkara)                          7.75                     7.75                      6.75                      6.75                      8
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Value Index                     Price Index
      Bundled Headphone Quality (Out of 10)   5.5                      5.5                       6.25                      6.25                      6.25                                                        Value Index                Price Index
      Battery Life (Actual Tested)            17.5 h                   17.5 h                    12.8 h                    12.6 h                    11.7 h

104   DIGIT MARCH 2008                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   DIGIT MARCH 2008      105
       Digital Leisure l PMP Test
        lot for Apple’s design. The                                                 big a splash with their diminu-    performance—there’s no com-
        screens on the 5.5G iPod                                                    tive 2.5-inch screens, but make    parison even between it and the
        Classics somehow seem slightly                                              no mistake, they are potent        cheaper D2, which is noticeably
        bigger than their predecessors,                                             video oriented PMPs as well—       superior in the music quality
        and definitely brighter. The                                                it’s just that their aural roots   department.
        Classic utilises the same kind of
        chromed rear that the Nano
        and Touch do. A neat feature in
        the Classic and the Nano is the
        scroll. Previously, you would
        need to scroll through tracks
        alphabetically, so getting to a
        track that starts with, say, R
        would be a pain. Now, once you
        do a couple of fast scrolls, an
        alphabet is displayed and the
        scroll list now becomes alpha-
        betical—scroll through the
        alphabets to get to the one you
        want, and find your track from
        there. A neat feature, and one
        that people who use the colos-
        sal storage options provided
        will fully utilise.

        Performance
        The Creative Zen Vision W is a
        superb music player—a fact
        which became apparent just a
        few minutes into our MP3 tests.
        It’s even better than the iPod                                              Creative Zen Vision W              Conclusion
        Classic, which is a superb PMP                                              Pocket Theatre                     The best video performance
        for music in its own right. Once                                                                               would have to go to the Cowon
        again, when you’re talking                                                  are a little more evident.         A3—a brilliant screen, very good
        about brilliant PMPs, a few                                                 Musically, the Vision W scores     music performance, and a very
        points of difference is hardly a                                            slightly more due to its very      decent all rounder to boot. The
        big thing, but the fact is that                                             strong mids and vocals, both of    Creative Zen Vision W occupies
        the Zen Vision W is one heck of                                             which are the most important       the pinnacle of the audio tests,
        a PMP—it scored well because of                                             component of any genre of          an outstanding product, consid-
        its superb screen, which made                                               music and usually the high-        ering that the other Creative
        movie watching and navigation                                               light of any track. The iPod       products didn’t make such a
        a fun-filled affair. The Cowon A3                                           Classic rules the high frequen-    splash. But the Zen Vision W is
        is another excellent video play-                                            cies where the detailing is very   costly, and at Rs 29,999, it’s
        er; in fact, the slightly smaller                                           close to the iPod Touch. The       nearly double the price of the
        screen is, if anything, even                                                Touch and the Nano are an          Apple iPod Classic, which has 98
        crisper than the Vision W. We                                               extra inch better than the iPod    per cent of its musical capabili-
        tried watching a 720p movie on                                              Classic for music, and both are    ties, 40 per cent of its video
        the A3, and were blown away by                                              also better at mid-range fre-      capabilities, nearly the same
        the extent of immersion that                                                quencies than the Cowon D2         features, and half the price (Rs
        such a small screen can bring.                                              and the Vision W.                  15,500). Then there’s the small
            In comparison, the two iPod                                                 The Cowon A3 takes a back-     matter of nearly thrice the stor-
        Classics don’t seem to make as                                              stage when it comes to sonic       age space. For its brilliant all
                                                                                                                       round capabilities, we’re award-
       Contact Sheet                                   MP3 Players                                                     ing our Best Buy to Apple’s iPod
                                                                                                                       Classic 80 GB. It’s also a bril-
  Brand       Company                                Phone                     E-mail
              BridgeOne Technologies Pvt Ltd                                   contactin@bridgeonecorp.com
                                                                                                                       liant music player for the
  Aigo                                               0484-4049450
  Apacer      Apacer Technology Inc.                 080-25702208              suraj_raina@apacer.com                  price—go with this if you want a
  Apple       Apple India                            080-25744646              indiasales@mac.com                      great looking, excellent sound-
  Cowon       Lipap Systems Pvt Ltd.                 9819917440                iaudio@lipap.com                        ing, feature rich, and large
  Creative    India Digital lifestyle Distributors   011-46096400              contactus@idldpl.com                    capacity PMP.
  iRiver      SALORA INTERNATIONAL                   011-29207100 / 01         taku.rajeev@salora.com                      If you’re looking for a colos-
  Mitashi     Mitashi Edutainment Pvt. Ltd.          NA                        vishal@mitashi.com
  Philips     Philips Electronics India Limited      9833033804                a.k.mathew@philips.com
                                                                                                                       sal amount of storage, you may
  Samsung     Samsung India Electronics Pvt. Ltd.,   011-41511234              jitender.c@samsung.com                  consider its older brother the—
  SanDisk     Rashi Peripherals Pvt Ltd              022-67090909              sandisk@rptechindia.com                 the iPod Classic 160 GB. For
  Sony        Sony India Pvt. Ltd                    1800-11-11-88             sonyindia.care@ap.sony.com              video, go with the 30 GB ver-
  Supercomp   Supertron Electronics Ltd.             022-23881397 / 23881924   info@supertronindia.com                 sion of the Cowon A3—it’s avail-
  Transcend   Mediaman Infotech Pvt Ltd              022-23818100 / 3200       sales@mediamangroup.com
                                                                                                                       able at three fourths the price
  Yes         India Digital Lifestyle Distributors   011-46096400              contactus@idldpl.com
  Zebronics   Top Notch Infotronix India             044-26616201              enquiry@zebronics.info
                                                                                                                       of the Vision W.
                                                                                                                              michael.browne@thinkdigit.com

106    DIGIT MARCH 2008
                                                                         Digital Leisure l Game On


                                                       SOCI AL
                                                       Revolution?
                                                       “energies”—Creativity, Authority, Prosperity, Spir-
                                                       ituality, Knowledge and Productivity. You could
                                                       build an Authority-heavy totalitarian regime, a
                                                       stainless steel IT powerhouse, or your own little
                                                       artists’ village depending on the buildings you
                                                       choose. On paper, this is a brilliant concept, but it
                                                       falls apart in the game.
                                                            For some unfathomable reason, building
                                                       energies only affect other buildings! So if you
                                                       decide to be Big Brother and take joy in oppress-
                                                       ing your Sims, you’re in for a nasty revelation—as
                                                       long as they’ve got a home, a job and a little recre-
                                                       ation, they’re sickeningly happy. Which brings
                                                       me to the second thing I don’t like about this
                                                       game—it’s (ugh) easy. Unlike the previous games
                                                       where you’re always caught in a battle to keep
                                                       your Sims happy without running your city into
                                                       debt, it’ll take some serious effort to muck up in
                                                       Societies. In some cases, even if you build struc-
                                                       tures based on their energy rather than their
Nimish Chandiramani                                    function, you’ll survive.
                                                            What I could get used to, however, is how visu-


I
    f you’ve got half a strategising bone in your      ally wonderful this game is. You can choose from
    body, you’ve loved the SimCity (SC) series all     various architectural styles—cartoon-like, Cyber-
    these years. Each game is practically timeless—    punk, glass-windowed towers—the variety is
I could even pick up SimCity 3000 (released more       ridiculous. Building animations are sometimes
than ten years ago) even today, and not have a         very cool, and attention to detail throughout the
complaint beyond the slightly dated graphics. I        game is impeccable.
couldn’t help but expect the universe from SimC-            Maybe I’ve been a bit unfair—in the first few
ity Societies now, could I?                            hours (even days) that you play the game, SC: Soci-
     Instead of continuing with the original           eties is wonderful—even if it’s only because you’ll
manage-a-large-city theme, SC Societies takes a leaf   need all that time to explore what you can do.
out of the book that Caesar III wrote so well. You     Checking out all the buildings and their effects is
don’t assign residential, commercial or industrial     mesmeric, and gets addictive. It’s only later—when
“zones” anymore—you now have the freedom to            you’ve started to invest time in serious city-build-
choose which structures to build where. Even the       ing—that you realise that the gameplay isn’t
focus of the game’s changed—instead of strategi-       exactly the cat’s meow. It’s a game that you need
cally managing a city, the scale of the game           to experience, but that can wait till it becomes a
narrows to managing societies and their values.        500-Rupee EA Classic.
As someone who’s played the previous SC games                             nimish.chandiramani@thinkdigit.com
for days on end, I can tell you that this departure
from the original can be a little disorienting—if
                                                        Rating: 6/10
you’re a fan, you’ll have to keep an open mind
while playing this.                                     Developer: Tilted Mill Entertainment
     So here’s how the game works: you’ll be            Publisher: Electronic Arts
managing small urban settlements (on the scale          Distributor: Excel Interactive
of your locality, if that helps) and building struc-    Contact: customercare@excelinteractive.co.in
tures that contribute to, or consume various
                                                                                                    Digital Leisure l Game On

Universe at War:
Earth Assault
 For thousands of years, mankind has stared
   at the stars with awe and wonder. After
        today, we’ll wish we were blind


O
        h God no!–Not another alien invasion…please. These
        were initial thoughts. Thanfully, UAW: EA does things a
        little differently. at the beginning, I’d go “jeez, couldn’t
they make this game better looking?” but then you find that
the graphics aren’t as archaic as they seem, with some nice
transparency effects and more. The cut scenes definitely need
some make up work—they’re bland, along the same lines as
the cut scenes in Warcraft 3, a six year old game! UAW: EA has a
couple of tricks up its sleeve, which become apparent once you
spend some time with the game. For one—it plays a slightly dif-
ferent storyline (no spoilers!) but you will be entertained. The
second trick won’t be apparent till you play through a good bit
of the game—Unlike most rTS’ which have different units with
similar properties, you’ll find a completely different menu
system for each faction—unique research trees and even more
unique units—types of weapons, even modes of travel and each
unit gets a unique ability...yay!
The Story: The Novus play the crusaders, come to rescue
the sentinents (humans) from a hostile alien invasion force
(the hierarchy). The humans fade into the background, as
the fighting between these two factions awakes a third and
ultimately more dangerous force lying dormant somewhere
inside the planet—the masari. With such an intergalactic sto-
ryline, it’s nice to see mankind take a backseat for once.                                                          GaminG PC
    The Novus is a faction of cybernetic beings that are basi-                                             XFX GeForce 8800 Ultra,
cally hit and run experts characterised by fast movement                                                   Intel Core 2 Duo E6600,
                                                                                Rating: 8.5/10
speeds, fast attacks, and low health. They befriend you in the                                                 4 GB DDR2 RAM,
                                                                            Developer: Petroglyph
beginning of the single player campaign, where you play as                                                Windows Vista Ultimate x64
                                                                               Publisher: Sega
earth forces, and soon you’ll be controlling the Novus. The
Novus basically thrives on mobility and they have an energy            to your resources. They also have the option of going light or
network through which collector drones travel (at speeds of            dark with the energy produced, which alters the abilities of
light) and forage for resources. You can even instantly trans-         some buildings and units.
port armies from power node to power node.                                 all three factions have hero units, and in the cam-
    The faction hierarchy are the bad guys, and all their powers       paign, if your hero dies—its game over. Thankfully, most
centre around walkers. They have the habitat walker—a lum-             heroes are capable of taking care of themselves, unless
bering colossus, armed with a number of powerful weapons               swarmed by enemies en masse. In the campaign, you’ll
in addition to the ability to spawn troops from pods. he has           eventually play as all three civilisations, one at a time,
a number of nodes that can be upgraded to create units, or             through three distinct campaigns.
wield deadlier weapons. While the Novus survive with hit-and-              a very good game, definitely a must try for rTS fans,
run tactics, the hierarchy follows a brute force approach.             with a decent plot and entertaining units. The big let down
    The masari are the last race in the game and they don’t            for me was the inability to zoom out of battles, and the
have the guerrilla tactics of the Novus, nor the numbers of            camera control could have been much better—a blemish
the hierarchy. Instead, they have fewer, costlier and more             on an otherwise spotless canvas. a refreshing change from
powerful units. The masari also have a twist in their resource         most rTS’—this, and one which should keep you engaged
gathering and don’t salvage like the other two races. Instead,         with a robust online multiplayer component as well.
they build batteries that charge up slowly, and gradually add                                          michael.browne@thinkdigit.com




                                                                                                                     DIGIT march 2008   109
                                                                                                      Digital Leisure l Game On


 Gears Of War:
    A Cog full of Testosterone!

G
      ears Of War for the X360       smart, but they are fast, and
      was one of the console         fearless, as well as a little on
      selling titles, personally I   the juicy side…yum-yum.
loved it! Typically, console             GOW is all about combat,
ports suck. Moreover, following      team tactics, and proper use of
the footsteps of greatness is        strategic points like cover,
never easy so you’ll forgive my      machine gun nests, even
trepidation while reviewing the      elevated positions. There ain’t
PC version. It’s been two days,      no live heroes in this
and 18 hours… and I have one         game…The locust horde takes
word for you—awesome! The            many forms from the grunts,
controls on the X360 were nice       who are man-like, a little
(a rarity for third person           taller, to the boomers—slightly
shooters on any console) and         larger rocket wielding grunts,
the mouse totally rocks. Now         to much larger enemies like
headshots are only limited by        spawners . Combat is never
weapon recoil and a twitchy          boring, and you can actually
arm. The gameplay is as fre-         melee an enemy with a spiked
netic as the X360 version, and       grenade…watch ‘em run and
with five new levels GOW has         go pop…voila, lovely red
something for you even if            paintjob.
you’ve played it on the console.         One of the things I really
    Marcus Fenix, ex-con and         liked was that GOW never at
ex-COG (Coalition Of Govern-         any point feels like a console
ments) special forces, and his       port, and having played the
team are up against the locust       X360 version, I never once felt
horde—a race that have               this was second best. The
mysteriously emerged from            graphics are better, and
the very bowels of the earth         appear naturally sharper and
through worm holes.                  with more detail, due to the
    Your mission is to plant a       higher resolution a PC is
very large explosive device at       capable of. Note that this is no
the core of the hordes hives,        Crysis, and this is the only area
deep, deep underground. Fire         where GOW lets down a bit…it
fights are unavoidable and           just hasn’t got enough eye-
why the heck would you want          candy for us PC freaks. With
to? Fenix is the classic grunt—      nice visuals, an extensive mul-
all muscle and abuse, and he’s       tiplayer component where you
as likely to make worm kebab         can partake in battles online
with his assault rifle as he is      and rank yourself, and a deep
likely to make grub salami           storyline that we’re told will be
with his chainsaw. In fact, this     concluded later (shhhh!) GOW
weapon (the under-barrel             is one adrenaline load you
mounted chainsaw) makes for          shouldn’t miss. Indulgence is
some of the goriest and              the best form of worship…so                  GAMING PC
squishiest moments in the            get this and play it now…                                                   Rating: 9/10
                                                                          XFX GeForce 8800 Ultra,                 Developer:
whole game, where you get to                                              Intel Core 2 Duo E6600,
melee the locusts if they get                      michael.browne@                                         Microsoft Game Studios
                                                                              4 GB DDR2 RAM,                Publisher: Epic Games
too close. The enemy ain’t                            thinkdigit.com     Windows Vista Ultimate x64




                                                                                                                     MARCH 2008 DIGIT   107
       Name Game                                                                 Flying, Japanese Style
       A hacker going by the name of Chujwamwdupe recently                       The Japanese believe in thoroughness. They believe that when                                                                                                                                            People Who
       published a security exploit which busted a recent security
       patch in Office 2003. The guy had approached Microsoft
                                                                                 you start learning something, you need to immerse yourself in
                                                                                 lessons thoroughly. If you’re learning to fly, they won’t spare you
                                                                                                                                                                                                                           There’s a bug on my code!                                      Changed
       with the exploit and requested them to credit it to him.                  even during the coffee break—cafes in the flying schools have                                                                                                                                           Computing
       Dumb request, and not just because the name is Polish for                 installed flight simulators for students to practise their moves.
                                                                                 Serious people, these chaps.                                                                                                                                     Last month’s winner:
       a vulgar act...
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Benoy Somanathan                      Maurice Vincent




                                                                                                                                                             First
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Chennai                                   Wilkes

        Escape                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Participate and
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  win next month:
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     You’ve read about fast and
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     efficient processors for
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     computers, mobiles,
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Adobe                              UMPCs and other
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Flash CS3 Professional             embedded devices. Besides
        BOXES OF WAR
                                                                                                                              Whatever                                                                                                            by Reinhardt Dowd                  the silicon chip, how can
        Are You Game?                                                                                                         Happened To…                                                                                                        Published by
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     one make a CPU work as
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     fast? This question struck
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     Maurice Wilkes, a British
                                                                                                                              Gizmondo
        M
                 ove over, singers and           testing the weapons, AI and       on the scenery. These                                                                                                                                                                             computer scientist and he
                 stand up                        gameplay of the game on           games also fostered
                 comedians—soldiers              soldiers to get a reality         camaraderie and espirit-de-

                                                                                                                             T
                                                                                                                                   he Gizmondo,
        in war zones have found a                check. Seems the men in           corps—after all, if you’re                      manufactured by Tiger
        new way to kill their                    fatigues gave a whole-            kicking some butt in co-op
        boredom right in their                   hearted thumbs-up, what           mode, that makes you
                                                                                                                                   Telematics, was a
                                                                                                                             handheld gaming console
                                                                                                                                                                         WIN!
        tents. It comes with a shiny             with the game finding a           comrades in arms. Latest                                                              Send in your entry and you could win an exciting gift by sharing an amusing picture
                                                                                                                             with GPRS and GPS                           with a tech angle to it. The picture should have been shot by you, and should not
        green X, and plays games                 place among the tools             reports indicated that the                capability. Launched in                     have been published anywhere earlier.
        where you blast the hell out             of war.                           top brass was seriously                   2005, it didn’t manage to                   E-mail your picture with “DigiPick” in the subject line, mentioning your postal
        of aliens and Nazis. It’s                    One of the reasons why        mulling over discontinuing                make a mark and sold                        address, on or before the 20th of this month to digipick@thinkdigit.com. One
        called the Xbox 360, and the             games have found such a           regular pep talks by squad                poorly. By February 2006,                   prize-winning picture will be published each month.
        war zone in question is Iraq.            great following among             officers in favour of this                the company discontinued
            Soldiers on a tour of                soldiers on the front is          approach.                                 production and was forced
        Iraq pack their kit bags                 that war has a habit of               This is probably why                  into bankruptcy.                          outlawed for civilians.               and yet others say, “For the            content. The case, as of
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     Maurice
        with more than weapons                   keeping people on                 even psychologists, who                       The console included a                Games would become                    community, by the                       writing is still undecided.
        and rations, apparently.                 tenterhooks—one moment            otherwise roll out charts                 GPS module for in-car                     standard issue, and video             community.”                                 In the second case where    came up with the concept
        Most of them carry video                 you’re getting sniped and         and presentations                         navigation which could also               game developers would                     However, whenever this              oceans were concerned,          of ‘Micro-programming’
        game consoles along with a               bombed and shelled, and           detailing the harmful                     be used to track player                   become part of the                    strategy is followed, there             Google cannot blame users’      for processors in 1951.
        few favourite games like                 another moment you are            effects of violent video                  movement in real-time for                 military industrial                   are always pitfalls. Though             misplaced sense of              Later the concept of micro-
        Halo and Call of Duty. In                holed in a bunker or              games on society, agree                   multiplayer games. It also                complex. They would lobby             it may sound good in                    geography. Some days back,      programming was widely
        fact, Halo has a long history            trench waiting for the            that games were just what                 had a VGA camera mounted                  Congress to continue                  theory, in practice there are           the body of water called the    adopted by the industry
        with Iraq. Way back in                   other side to make a move.        they would have ordered.                  on the rear of the device. It             pumping money into wars,              plenty of controversies—the             Persian Gulf was referred to    for CPU development. One
        2006, the beta release of                Such long waits on a              By the way, here is another               could send e-mails and even               and would be buddy-buddy              almost regular                          as the Arabian Gulf in          thing was sure, that his
        Halo 3 was first released by             constant alert create high        of our insights: at the rate              SMS / MMS messages.                       with the likes of Lockheed            controversies about                     Google Earth. Indignant         concept was too advanced
        Microsoft and Bungie                     levels of stress, and             which mass media is                           Known for being                       Martin and Boeing.                    Wikipedia articles are an               Iranians promptly took          for his time.
        Studios (the game                        nothing beats stress than         painting video games as                   extravagant and unnaturally                                                     ample indicator. And now                Google to task, pointing out        Besides, he’s also
        developers) to be played by              spiking a Covenant minion.        the Ultimate Villain and                  lavish, the UK-based arm,                                                       Google Earth has also                   that a similar goof-up by       known for suggesting
                                                                                                                                                                       MAP THAT
        troops stationed in Iraq.                You get to breathe easy,          the source of all mental                  Gizmondo Europe (GE) filed                                                      caught the Wikipedia bug.               National Geographic was         labels, macros and sub-
        Smart wits at that time
        opined that Bungie was
                                                 and not take out the
                                                 aggression on the POWs or
                                                                                   distress, it might be that
                                                                                   violent games would be
                                                                                                                             for bankruptcy on January
                                                                                                                             23, 2006 with an estimated
                                                                                                                                                                       Trouble                               Turns out that one town in
                                                                                                                                                                                                             Israel named Kiryat Yam
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     corrected later. Google has
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     not officially responded to
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     routine libraries, the
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     fundamentals used in

        My Desktop
                                                                                                                             loss of $210 million. Soon
                                                                                                                             after, retail locations in
                                                                                                                                                                       Spots                                 was described as built on
                                                                                                                                                                                                             the ruins of a Palestinian
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     the accusation, but we would
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     like to think that they will
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     high-level programming
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     languages as we know
                                                                                                                             both the US and the UK shut                                                     village after the 1948 Arab-            revert back to status quo. We   them today.
         Arun Bala, Kalavakkam, Chennai


                                                                                                                                                                       T
         How he did it:                                                                                                      shop, and finally the                            he Big G has tripped           Israeli War. The locals were            assume that the best course         He has also worked on
         XGL Desktop Customization - Mac Dock look                                                                           Gizmondo Web site was also                       up. Again. After               not amused, because the                 of action for Google would be   the early stages of time-
         alike - 6 desktops can be dragged using a simple
                                                                                                                             shut down. In addition, their                    making enemies with            official version is that                to show the whole Middle        sharing systems (now
         mouse action like a XGL cube - Options include
                                                                                                                             game development arm also                 the residents of an Israeli           Holocaust survivors built               East as an amorphous whole,     known as Multi-user
         support forzooming & menu options etc - There's                                                                                                               town, it is taking to                 the town ground up in a                 and leave the contending        operating systems) and
         also a bottom dock for reflection which uses                                                                        went out of business.
         action scripts to process the images - This also                                                                        Recently, the Chairman                renaming oceans. Confused?            barren desert. They took                parties to fight it out         distributed computing. A
         includes a menu which can be panned along                                                                           of Gizmondo, Carl Freer,                      Google Earth has user             Google to court, demanding              regarding nomenclature.         graduate from Cambridge
         horizontally
                                                                                                                             stated in an interview in                 generated content where               the removal of the                      Knowing Google, they            University, he developed
                                                                                                                             November 2007 that he was                 users can describe what the           offending citation, which               wouldn’t have too much          keen interest in computing
         Participate in this contest
                                                                                                                             interested in the production              place is about, with short            had a link to a pro-Palestine           problems in churning out a      methods after his
         and win next month
                                                                                                                             of the Gizmondo again, and                snippets about local history          site. Google pointed out the            foolproof method, complete      experimental research of
         Professional                                                                                                                                                  and culture. Sort of like a           terms of its end user                   with DNA profiling and iris     radio wave propagation in
         Adobe Flex2                                                                                                         plans a potential launch in
                                                                                                                             the Q3 of 2008. With all the              map-based Wikipedia. This             agreement, which was                    scans. This would kill two      the ionosphere.
         by Rich Tretola, Simon Barber,
         Renaun Erickson                                                                                                     past associated with it and               is a classic Google strategy—         probably not read by 99.98              birds with one stone—nobody         His brilliance was
                                                            Send us your desktop with a description of how you                                                         get the users to do all the           per cent of the residents,              will accuse Google of being     utilised to its best during
         Published by                                                                                                        the way Gizmondo has been
                                                            made it to mydesktop@thinkdigit.com with the subject                                                       work for them. Some call it           and washed its hands off                biased, and the process         World War II, when he
                                                                                                                             handled, all we can say is—
                                                            “My Desktop”, and tell us your postal address, too.                                                        wisdom of the crowds,                 the matter saying that they             remains all open source and     worked on the Radar
                                                                                                                             Carl, your Gizmo…no…do!
                                                                                                                                                                       others call it crowdsourcing          are not responsible for such            community driven.               system.
I Vivid blames Google and Yahoo! for kids finding porn I Woman sues Best Buy for $54 million over lost laptop                                                        I Shareholders sue Yahoo! for not selling to Microsoft I Hackers use Google to find flaws in sites I Sarkozy “get lost” video an Internet hit
110    DIGIT MARCH 2008                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         DIGIT MARCH 2008   111
       Escape                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  E sc ape
                                                                                                                                                         no site is 100 per cent safe,
                                                 Wild Wild Web                                                                                           and if you want to keep
                                                                                                                                                         photos completely private,
                                                                                                                                                         keep them on your PC. Or
                                                                                                                                                                                            Bang!
                                                 In The Nudesights                categories—location,            Catty Exercises                        better yet, print them out         F  ebruary’s a short month, and in
                                                                                                                                                                                               general, we don’t approve of it. Where
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     We have plans for this one...
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  MuwahahaHAHAHAHA.....

        Social Networking
                                                           you get
                                                 What dothe localwhen
                                                    you combine Google
                                                 Maps with
                                                                                  permission to serve alcohol
                                                                                  and distance from landmarks
                                                                                  like airports.
                                                                                                                  Yyogatoandathinkand you love
                                                                                                                  by
                                                                                                                     ou have cat,
                                                                                                                     her bits. You also swear
                                                                                                                                   everyone
                                                                                                                                                         and keep the photo album
                                                                                                                                                         in a locked box. Hacker
                                                                                                                                                         proof, the old way.
                                                                                                                                                                                            did the Gregorians get off stealing our
                                                                                                                                                                                            precious extra days from us? Things get
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     And now for the bad news. First,
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  (naturally) Sanket wasn’t available for
                                                                                                                                                                                            extra-crazy around here anyway, but this              work this month, so the Test Centre’s
        Poke: This is a Facebook                 knowledge of where the best          By simply pointing out to   should do some asanas once in                                             February will go down in history...                   job became that much tougher. The
        trademark. A poke can mean               peep shows are held? You get     the location, users can rate    a while. You pamper your cat                                                  You’d probably expect the cribbing to             result: Raaabo’s already sparse scalp even
        anything—a way to announce                                                                                                                       BUSINESS SENSE
                                                 Nudar—advertised as a radar      and review them. This means     so much—it has become                                                     start right here, but some good things                gets sparser.
        your presence to friends,
        reminding your partner how
                                                 for nudity.
                                                      At http://nudar.nudar.com
                                                                                  that if you are in any city
                                                                                  and want to get a bit of
                                                                                                                  overweight and lazy! If you are
                                                                                                                  worried that the cat could have
                                                                                                                                                         Outsourcing                        happened, too: Sanket bit the bullet and
                                                                                                                                                                                            got himself hitched earlier in the month.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     Nimish was on leave too, spending
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  time with his visiting mother. The result:
        much you miss their TLC, or just
        another way of saying Hi!
                                                 (it’s not safe for work, so
                                                 look before clicking), Google
                                                                                  action—no more embarrasing
                                                                                  questions.
                                                                                                                  arthritis or bad liver, go over to
                                                                                                                  www.yogakitty.com and look
                                                                                                                                                         Malice                             Surely you’ll join us in wishing the couple
                                                                                                                                                                                            many years of giddy happiness.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Raaabo’s sparser scalp starts to sweat...
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     And again, we must bring up the fact
        Wall: This is Facebook’s
        alternative to Orkut’s scrapbook
                                                 Maps is used to locate strip         For people who have GPS     at the videos which shows you                                                 We’ve also got us a new addition—                 that February is an unacceptably short
                                                 clubs, nude resorts, nude        units, you don’t have to look   how to do yoga with your cats.

                                                                                                                                                         O
        with the option to send only                                                                                                                             utsourcing,                Nash David has joined us as our new Copy              month, and we’ve got the Powers That Be
        text. This is however, not the           beaches, topless bars and all    at the Web site. Custom         Yes, you heard right! And no,                  globalisation and          Editor. Rumour has it that after watching             breathing down our necks. Well, Raaabo’s
        primary means of                         other similar establishments.    made maps with emphasis         we are not delusional.                         catering to local needs    us for the first two weeks, he had his head           neck, to be precise.
        communication. The default wall          Currently available in US and    on skin spots are on sale by        We haven’t watched all the         are not only buzzwords             buried in his hands and was murmuring                    Last we checked, Raaabo was roaming
        is supplanted by applications            Canada, this Web site aims       the Web site. Buy the           videos here (the connection            among the legalised                to himself “Dear God, what                                 the streets in a daze, asking people if
        like FunWall, which is more              to map out similar places        package for $29.95 (Rs 1,196)   was really slow) but the titles        businesses. The villains of        have I done?”                                                  he could borrow a gun...
        flexible in terms of usage.              around the world.                and waltz across cities and     are sufficiently exotic—“Clearing      cyberspace—hackers,
        Scrap: This is Orkut’s primary                These places can be         alleys fearlessly, homing in    past karma”, “Electromagnetic          spammers, phishers and
        method of communicating with             searched based on different      with unerring accuracy.         Frequency”, etc.                       their ilk—have discovered         creating sites without any            would hit the Delete button           English is booming, and like
        people. Members in Orkut,                                                                                                                        that going local pays big         typos or grammatical                  without thinking—but if               any good business, the
        have an area called scrapbook                                             files, expecting to see         that this security hole had            time. This theory seems           mistakes: too often, a fake           that offer was for one in             hacking networks are
        where all the messages, which           PUBLICLY PRIVATE
                                                                                  something else, they were       remained unpatched in                  perfectly reasonable when         site can be differentiated            Mumbai, maybe you would               spreading their wings.
        they have received are seen.
        You can send videos,                    Hole In                           greeted with images of
                                                                                  babies, weddings, fat ladies
                                                                                                                  MySpace for the last three
                                                                                                                  months. Many people who
                                                                                                                                                         the tone of the help wanted
                                                                                                                                                         postings in underground
                                                                                                                                                                                           from the real goods by lousy
                                                                                                                                                                                           language. Another benefit
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 be a wee bit more interested.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 Besides, knowing local
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           Will this strategy work
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       for India? Will hackers, in
        animations and pictures along
        with plain text in scraps.              Space                             pushing prams, people
                                                                                  toasting at parties or guys
                                                                                                                  continued to download
                                                                                                                  them regarded this as
                                                                                                                                                         channels—which are the
                                                                                                                                                         cyber equivalent of seedy
                                                                                                                                                                                           of going this route is that
                                                                                                                                                                                           they can sound more
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 conditions would make
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 their attacks more
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       the future send mails
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       offering Pongal gift packs in
        Hot list: A list of your special                                          wearing skirts and tops. The    cocking a snook at the site,           bars where criminals hang         genuine when they refer to            sophisticated—it is better to         Tamil, or Diwali gift
        friends in Orkut—this is for your

                                                M
                                                          ySpace is like a big    comments in the forums          and also to scare other                out—is inspected.                 something that makes more             spam P2P networks in                  certificates in Hindi? Expect
        eyes only. A similar feature is the
        crush list. However, if both the
                                                          sieve where there       revealed quite a few gems.      people into thinking twice                 According to the              sense in local context.               Japan, gaming sites in China          to know in, like, 7 years!
        persons have added each other                     are no secrets, even    One unlucky pirate              before uploading personal              postings, programmers with        Because face it, if you get a         or banks in Brazil. The               (Disclaimer: that figure is our
        in their crush lists, they will get a   if you have used the              bemoaned that instead of        photos. In fact, with the              Mandarin, Russian and             long unsolicited mail                 market for malicious                  guess, but don’t sue us if you get
        message that there is a match.          “private” setting. It thus        wasting bandwidth to            rash of hacker attacks                 Portuguese skills are in hot      offering you houses for sale          software products in                  cleaned out by such a rogue a
        Teaser: This is a private               wasn’t a big surprise when        download 17 GB of baby          reported all over photo-               demand. The focus is on           on the US East, coast you             languages other than                  few months from now).
        message in Orkut, which only            about 500,000 photos in           photos, he would have done      sharing sites—where
        the recipient will see. Teasers         private areas were accessed       better to download the real     private or restricted photos                                       Robert Scoble                                              to the mainstream media, and public perception that
        are categorized into different          by hackers exploiting a           thing. Yet another stricken     have been accessed by                                              http://tinyurl.com/ysq3ls                                  these sites are operating illegally. The lawyers of the
        moods and can be customised             security hole in the              soul pined for image (he        outsiders—we have come to                                          http://scobleizer.com/2008/02/04/what-you-all-are-         MPAA, RIAA and IFPI maintain they’re illegal so that’s
        too, apart from the score that          platform architecture. These      meant porn)                              this conclusion:                                          missing-about-google/                                      often enough to cost an admin—if his identity is
        is provided.                            photos totalled about 17 GB       detection                                                                                          What you all are missing about Google                      compromised—lots and lots of worry, and probably
        Tweet: In Twitter, your update is       in size, and were one of the      software. The                                                                                      The bloggers are going nuts, once again, over the email    money too, regardless of his status under the law….
        called Tweet. It’s a short              most hotly downloaded             third                                                                                              that a Google lawyer sent to Microsoft regarding
        message, with a maximum of                                                                                                                         Google’s cold
                                                items on The Pirate Bay. At       commenter had                                                                                      Microsoft’s proposed purchase of Yahoo.                    Guy Kawasaki
        140 words.                              one point, about 6,700            a you-gotta-lie-                                                         shoulder towards               Here’s what’s really going on:                        http://tinyurl.com/2tc5bw
        Nudge: This is a reminder               downloads were underway           in-the-bed-you-                                                          Microsoft’s proposal           1. Google doesn’t mind this deal going through at     http://blog.guykawasaki.com/2008/02/into-thin-air-
        system in Twitter. If you are not       at full speed, which tapered      made attitude:                                                           to buyout Yahoo!, a       all. Google knows they will be able to outrun a            h.html
        updating your Twitter, you might        off sharply as the comments       his comment                                                              MacBook Air user’s        “Microhoo.” Why do they know that? Because they’ve         Into Thin Air: How I Spent $5,000 on Air and Made
        receive a nudge from your
                                                of the first downloaders          was simplicity                                                           experiences and           been able to outrun them both separately. As I said on     Fifty-Year Old Women Swoon
        friends. Needless to say, there is
        no restriction on when you can
                                                started trickling in.             personified—“If                                                          Torrent sites being       Channel 5 news on Friday night: put two turkeys            …Day 7: Having read all the specs and reviews
        nudge someone.                              Most of the people who        people want to see                                                       shut by media hype        together and you don’t get an eagle....                    about the Air, decide that this “no-compromise”
        Usage: Within half an hour of           downloaded the private            porn, they should                                                        are part of this                                                                     machine has way too many compromises. For
        opening my account, I got three         photos were thinking of only      download porn”.                                                          month’s blog watch        Enigmax                                                    example, no Ethernet, no CD/DVD drive, tiny hard
        pokes and seven wall messages.          one thing: porn. They                 Even after                                                                                     http://tinyurl.com/2ybmof                                  disk/solid-state drive (I have forty gigabytes of
        Meanwhile, in Orkut my scraps           assumed that because it was       people were                                                                                        http://torrentfreak.com/how-a-bittorrent-tracker-          pictures alone), incompatible with my 30-inch
        are touching 15,000 while               MySpace, and because it was       warned that the                                                                                    owner-hides-from-the-anti-pirates-080206/                  Apple monitor, and a ridiculous new power supply.
        teasers and crush list matches          private, those half a million     photos were not                                                                                    How a BitTorrent Tracker Owner Hides from the              Therefore, order a totally souped-up MacBook
        from my girlfriends are filling my      photos would be of girls in       as expected,                                                                                       MPAA/RIAA                                                  Pro 15-inch.
        inbox. I have, however, yet to see      various states of undress.        many                                                                                               In most countries around the world, the legality of            Day 8: Entourage database corrupted for the
        the benefits of Twitter—the             Sure beats having to pay          continued to                                                                                       running a tracker is still uncertain, in that definitive   umpteenth time. Old MacBook Pro hard disk now too
        Tweets are too short, and I have        sites dollars for the daily       download                                                                                           court decisions have not been made. Even in the US, the    small to rebuild (my email database file is 9 gigabytes).
        no friends to nudge. They don’t         dose, right? Well not so fast,    them. In this                                                                                      last two big trackers to be shut down—LokiTorrent and      Need to do something soon. Delete to make space and
        seem to like Twitter!                   buster. As the first              context, it must                                                                                   EliteTorrents—weren’t shut down by a court, but thanks     rebuild Entourage for hopefully the last time.
                                                downloaders opened up the         be mentioned

  I New Jersey is first state that requires a background check for dating sites I Shakira is 9th fastest falling in search queries globally            I YouTube blocked in Pakistan because of anti-Islam videos I Man jailed for 3 years for fake Facebook profile of Moroccan prince
112    DIGIT MARCH 2008                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                DIGIT MARCH 2008     113
                                 Time to think!
                                                                                  (d) He invented the                                   gourmet activities.
                                   1 What does the SLOOP                              [Ctrl]+[Alt]+[Delete]                         (d) Microsoft’s next venture into
                                        project refer to?talk
                                  about?                                              combination                                       the home business is the
                                 (a) Sloop? There is no such term                                                                       kitchen computer.
                                 (b) Steady Learning Over Obvious                   5 I am a former student of
                                 Problems                                               Harvard Business School,                      8 What is the electric pencil?
                                 (c) Scientific Lessons                           had a small bicycle business, then                      (a) Similar to the stylus, just
                                 On One Principle                                 introduced push button phones in                  that you write with a pencil
                                 (d) Sharing Learning                             India. Today I head a major                       (b) Handwriting recognition
                                 Objects in an Open                               telecom company in India. Who                         software
                                 Perspective                                      am I?                                             (c) First word processor
                                                                                  (a) Ratan Tata                                    (d) Stationary company
                                                                                  (b) Anil Ambani
                                  2 What does spitting in the                     (c) Kumarmangalam Birla                             9 Galvin Manufacturing
                                    technology arena refer to?                    (d) Sunil Mittal                                        Corporation went on to sell
                              (a) Sending VoIP spam                                                                                 car radios. How do we know it
                              (b) Breaking down a firewall                          6 What does LG stand for?                       today?
                              (c) Bookmarking an article on                            (a) Luci Gudisheeni                          (a) Dunlop (b) Goodyear
                                  Digg.com                                        (b) Lucky Getty                                   (c) Michelin (d) Motorola
                              (d) Editing a Wikipedia entry                       (c) Lucky Goldstar
                                                                                                                                                                Did ?   You

                                  3 What is UMPC?
                                                                                  (d) Left Gear
                                                                                                                                    T  he voice in the
                                                                                                                                       famous AOL ad saying K
                                                                                                                                    “Hello! You’ve got mail”, is
                                                                                                                                                                  now
                                    (a) Ultra Miniscule Personal                    7 The kitchen computer is a
                              Computer                                                  term hardly heard of these                  that of Elwood Edwards, an
                              (b) Ultra Micro Personal Computer                   days. What is it?                                 American voice-over actor who
                              (c) Ultra Mobile Personal Computer                  (a) You must be kidding. Why                      has also dubbed for Simpsons,
      Got an                  (d) Ubiquitous Mode Per Channel                         would someone need a kitchen                  also advertising for the movie
      interesting                                                                     computer                                      You’ve Got Mail.
      question?           4 What is David Bradley                                 (b) A PC placed in the kitchen is
                                                                                                                                   Answers
      Send it in with         famous for?                                             called a kitchen computer                                                       5. d
      the answer to     (a) For starting Bradley Computers                        (c) There was in fact a kitchen                                 9. d                4. d
      TQ@thinkdigit.com (b) He started in the 70s sitcom                              computer released by                                        8. c                3. c
      Mark “TQ” in the      Brady Bunch                                               Honeywell years ago to assist                               7. c                2. a
      subject area.     (c) He invented the transistor                                women with recipes and other                                6. c                1. d



                                                                                                                                   January’s Winner
       Crossword                                                                                                                   Dushyanth R
                                                                                                                                   Mysore, Karnataka                    Win!
        ACROSS                                                       14. Character that represents an action in computer
        7. An integer’s property of being odd or even (6)            programming (8)
        8. Characterized by slanting characters (6)                  15. Ad serving program run by Google (7)                      Send in your entries to
        9. Readable and writable external storage medium (4)         18.System for detecting the position and movement of a
        10. Chatterbot predecessor (5)                               remote object by radio waves reflected from its surface (5)
                                                                                                                                   TQ@thinkdigit.com on
        11. American dance form is also a windows application        19. Sound emitted by the computer to indicate that            or by 20th of this
        development system that uses predefined templates (5)        something requires the user’s attention (4)                   month. One lucky
        13. Storage device that holds incoming messages from the     21. Challenge-Handshake Authentication                        participant
        Net (7)                                                      Protocol(abbr) (4)
        16. Multiple----- - collection of information arranged for
                                                                                                                                   will win
        processing by a program (7)                                                                                                3ds Max 9 Bible
        17. To go into partial deactivation to save power in                                                                       By Kelly Murdock
        hardware technology (5)                                                                                                    Published by
        20. 8th letter of the Greek alphabet (5)
        21. To have a real-time conversation online (4)
        22. To correct problems in hardware or software (6)                                                                                 February’s Solution
        23. Representing data in continuously variable physical
        quantities (5)

        DOWN
        1. Collection of information that is organised
        for it to be accessible and upgraded (8)
        2. Collection of information stored on a computer (4)
        3. Common units of computer storage from
        desktop computer to mainframe (5)
        4. ‘D’ in DVD (7)
        5. Side by side interface—used for connecting the printer
        on a PC (8)
        6. ---- Up—temporary connections between
        machines over a telephone line using modems (4)
        12. A pointer to a program or information file in
        Windows (8)

      Crossword by Nitta Jaggi

114   DIGIT MARCH 2008
                                                                                                                                                                     Write to the Editor                                                                  Digit will publish the best letters on these pages. Letters may be edited for clarity.
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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       Inbox
                                                                                                              stay in touch and keep my passion alive.                                                                                                                                  No, No, NO! Oh Fine...
                                                           Unhappy Feet                                       I would suggest that you keep up the                   Give Me My Space                                            I Want More                                            I’m writing to you after a
                                                           I think Digit feels that we’re all                 good work and add more tutorials and                   I have had a lot of trouble over the past                   I am a regular reader of Digit since                   long time. I used to buy a
                                                           penguins—experts at Linux. Although                articles about computer education,                     few issues of Digit. My problem is that                     August 2003, and I haven’t missed a                    lot of IT magazines, but
                                                           Linux is my passion, and I enjoy using             instead of just product-specific articles. I           your text and pictures are being placed                     single issue since. This magazine is                   now I only buy Digit.             Letter
                                                           the Open SuSE 10.3 that you gave me, I             hope you will forgive my earlier blunder               too close to the bound edges of the                         simply mind blowing. I keep reading                    However, you guys have            of the
                                                           am disappointed with the Linux content             of buying other magazines, and accept                  magazine.                                                   all my magazines throughout the                        to make certain
                                                           on the DVDs. Yes, it’s true that your              me as a member of the Digit family.                        Please provide more of a gap at the                     month, and this helps me keep                          improvements. The disc           Month
                                                           DVDs have the best content, the Linux                       Vasanth Kumar Jagan Mohan                     bound edges, because, since I have only                     updating my tech knowledge.                            packaging is getting
                                                           content is all provided as tarballs. Not all                            MD, SA Musicals                   one hand, I find it difficult to read the                   Although I am very happy with Digit, I                 worse. This month’s DVD
                                                           of us can compile from source. I know                                                                     magazine. I hope you will consider my                       still have some suggestions:                           and CD refuse to sit in place
                                                           the basic commands, such as                        We’re actually glad you bought those “other”           request and implement this soon.                                 1) Please increase the size of the                because of the poor jewel case. I have
                                                           “./configure”, “make”, and “make                   magazines. It’s good that you got a first hand                                                 Raghu GS            Tips & Tricks section.                                 also been getting DVDs with a few
                                                           install”, but many software require                look at them and chose us for being better.                                                    Bengaluru                2) Please add more about Vista,                   corrupted files on a more regular
       February 2008                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    basis, and the Entertainment DVD of
                                                           special libraries to work. I wish you guys         Unlike jealous spouses, or significant others,                                                                     Linux and the latest hardware.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        your anniversary issue did not run at
                                                           would look at the requirements and                 we’re always forgiving and welcome you back            Wow, it’s heartening to see that your disability                 3) Don’t give us those old movies                 all. I expect better from India’s No. 1
      Rich Man’s Mag?                                      provide those libraries as well. At least          with open arms.                                        has not stopped your passion for technology, or             in the entertainment section.                          magazine! Also, you said you’d provide
      I am a Subscriber of Digit—my                        provide the software manuals, or give us                                                  Team Digit      for Digit. We have forwarded this mail to our                    4) Provide the latest games, movies               the missing Google Fast Track on the
      technology navigator. I am from a lower              RPM packages.                                                                                             designers and they promise to look into the                 and wallpapers in every issue.                         following DVD, but the DVD-Guy
      middle class family, and like everyone                    Also, you give us Avast! Home Edition         BOO!                                                   matter, and stop trying to pack in too much                      5) A Fast Track to DirectX 10.                    forgot—please add it when you can.
      else I have some wishes to fulfil in my              and it’s update every month, but I feel            My brother has been a “die hard” fan                   content into the bound edges.                                    6) Give us more information on                       As for the Fast Track, you need to
      life—one of them is to own a computer.               that it’s not the best free anti-virus. I          since 2000—when Digit was called Chip,                                                       Team Digit            Web sites and freeware.                                take it to the next level, and add topics
          The reason I’m writing this letter is            think Avira and AVG are much better,               and I was in class two. Now I’m in class                                                                                I hope you will consider my                       such as Adobe Flash, Programming,
      to tell you that you’re a “rich person’s”            and you don’t even give us the virus               10, and we’re both fans. This time we                  Slow Track?                                                 suggestions.                                           Dreamweaver, etc.
      magazine. You have no products for                   definitions for them. Please provide us            actually got your magazine five days                   I have been a long-time reader of your                                                           Imran                Of course, only criticism and no
      customers like myself. I would love it if            with updates for the same every month.             earlier than usual, thanks for that. I was             magazine, through all its name changes,                                                         Kashmir            praise is not fair, so I should tell you
      you reviewed CRTs or 17-inch LCDs, a                      Still, thanks for providing us with           terribly disappointed by your mobile                   :). I find Digit extremely interesting and                                                                         that your disk interface is the best of
      budget 160 GB hard disk, low priced                  such a variety of software. I would also           phone reviews. I wish you would have                   useful, but this is the first time I am                     Hmm, so let us get this straight. Basically,           all the magazines. The other
      speakers (Rs 500 to 1,000), etc.                     like to thank you for switching me over to         compared them the way you normally                     writing to you. Perhaps this is because I                   you want more Tips & Tricks, more Vista,               magazine’s discs do not run on my old
          I know you cannot test everything                open source. Although I do have a pirated          do, because all the phones seemed to get               have two small requests.                                    More Linux, more... well... Digit!                     computer, but your disc runs
      that exists in the Indian markets, but               copy of Windows as dual-boot, I’m trying           ratings of 3 or 4. How are we supposed to                    1) Please add the latest version of                       Although we all wish we could double               perfectly—it’s good that you went for
      once in a while why not test budget                  to do everything possible on Linux. I hope         tell which ones to buy? I would have                   OpenOffice.org as soon as possible.                         the size of the content on a regular basis,
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        usability and not fancy, irritating and
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        heavy interfaces. When I return to my
      phones and the like, to tell us what to              Microsoft will forgive me because I am a           preferred a comparison test.                                 2) Please include the previous                        we’re all quite afraid that our families will
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        village, where I have 128 MB RAM
      buy. Aren’t the Nokia 1112, 5070, 6070,              student and I’m poor, but I promise to                  Still, I have to admit that you have              month’s Fast Track book in PDF version                      disown us, our employees will drop of                  machines, I don’t even bother carrying
      6030, etc., considered to be good phones?            either switch over to Linux completely, or         helped me learn technology, and I am                   on the discs.                                               exhaustion, or worse, quit!                            anything but Digit’s discs with me.
      I know you have limited pages, but                   buy Windows with my first salary.                  considered a “tech consultant” in class. I                   I would be especially grateful for the                    Jokes apart, we can understand your                Please start adding movie trailers
      perhaps you can test them for us and tell                                         Aswin Babu K          also liked the article Settling Differences,           second request, because I am tired of my                    point of view, and will try and provide you            again, I loved those.
      us which budget products we can buy.                                            Alapuzha, Kerala        about which is more secure, Linux or                   friends “borrowing” the Fast Track books,                   with the overdose of information that you                 Also, one of my friends is following
          I’d like to be able to buy a budget                                                                 Windows!                                               and then never getting it back.                             seek. Of course, we have to keep our costs             your advice in the Tech Careers section,
      computer, and do not need a quad-core                We hope Microsoft will forgive you too! We will                                 Akash Agrahari                  Adding the PDF to the subsequent                      and our health in mind, so all we can                  and is doing well. I thank you on his
      gaming rig. So what about readers like               also try and provide you with executables and                                          Lucknow            month’s DVD will prevent me from                            promise to do is try our best.                         behalf. Please continue to be our
      myself?                                              RPMs instead of tarballs, which we give so that                                                           having to chase it around my city all                                                           Team Digit         technology navigators! I would write
          I don’t know if you will read this               any users of any Linux distro can compile from     We’re glad that you’ve followed in your                month while it’s out on its “walk”.                                                                                more, but both you and I do not have
      letter or not, but I still would like to             source. We’re very glad that you’re choosing       brother’s footsteps, and we hope you’ll                      I can’t wait till your December or                    I Want My Big Mac?                                     such luxuries with time...
      thank you for a great magazine.                      open source over piracy, and hope that more        continue to do so. The reason why we did               June issues to get my hands on the PDF                      I am a fan, and read your magazine                                                          Inderdeep S
                                   Antu Kanta              people will continue to do so. Keep writing in,    individual reviews for the mobile phones was           versions.                                                   faithfully. I loved the article Settling
                          Durgapur, West Bengal            and let us know whether you finally make the       to bring out finer aspects of all the mobiles.                                               Sandeep M             Differences, but I feel you should have                Wow Inderdeep, you’ve really taken the time
                                                           switch or when you buy Windows.                    Unlike graphics cards, hard drives, CPUs and                                                                       included Mac from the security angle.                  to send a feedback letter. We’ll look into the
      I rarely answer letters in this space, but I was                                           Team Digit   the like, it’s a lot harder for us to tell you what    Well Sandeep, we’re sorry to tell you that not              Since the Mac is quite a mystery to us                 DVD jewel case matter, though sometimes a
      moved by your letter. We want you to go out                                                             to like or hate about a phone. We’d rather give        only are you doing yourself a great injustice,              PC users, a little information in that                 handful might be damaged during packaging
      and buy a computer, and we thought the best          Confessions Of A Serial Reader                     each one its due and let you, and all our              but us as well. You should consider forcing the             regards would have been useful. Please                 and transport. We request you and all our
      way to inform you of what to buy would be to         When I first got your magazine, I                  readers, decide on what best suits their needs.        subscription form on to your friends, and                   also add more articles about Linux.                    readers to write to help@thinkdigit.com to
      base my column on this very topic. The team          committed the blunder of trying to                 Of course, we also thought about people like           insisting that they subscribe to Digit.                                             Manish Sharma                  get free replacements for damaged DVDs.
      also promises to try as hard as they can to get,     compare it to the others. After a few              you who wanted to compare the phones and                    Not only will this safeguard your copy of                                                                         Yes, apparently the “DVD-guy” fell
      test and include products for all budgets.           months of buying them, all I realised              wanted detailed scores and feature lists, and          Digit and Fast Track, it will also be good for all          The article focussed on Linux and Windows              asleep again, and forgot the Fast Track to
           All I can do is promise that I will keep my     was that none of them could beat Digit. I          provided you with the tables at the end of the         your friends and us as well.                                mainly because pretty much every desktop               Google PDF again. Seriously though, he was
      eyes open on shopping trips, and see if I can        was born into a middleclass family, and            article. We’re not going to kid ourselves and               As for the Fast Tracks in PDF format, we’ll            in the world runs either a Unix-based OS or            on leave and the rest of us are to blame for
      spot deals in the budget categories. Keep            no one but me has an IT background. I              imagine that we can please you all, but you            see what we can do. Though you have to admit                Windows. Apple’s OS is based on BSD, which             that. We’ll include it as soon as possible.
      writing in and send us more suggestions, we          used to work for a hardware vendor, so I           can rest assured that we’ll keep your                  that adding the Fast Tracks in PDF to our                   is another Unix-based OS. But yes, we will                 Thanks for appreciating everything else,
      love to help whenever we can.                        picked up a lot on the job. Now, I’m in            suggestions in mind for the next test.                 special issues does make them worth the wait.               try and include more Mac-centric content.              and please keep writing in and giving us your
                                               Agent 001   the music business, but I still use Digit to                                                 Team Digit                                           Team Digit                                             Team Digit          valuable suggestions.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             Team Digit

120   DIGIT MARCH 2008                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    DIGIT MARCH 2008         121
                                                                                Crashed Career
                                                                                 N
                                                                                        o matter how much we           Hong Kong entertainment
                                                                                        try not to be prophets of      industry in “compromising”
                                                                                        doom and leave a bad           situations. Since this is Tabloid
                                                                                 taste in your mouths, in the          Tech lets be blunt: they were all
                                                                                 interests of truth we have to spill   photographed having sex with
                                                                                 the bad news. Folks, when you         Chen. In his defense, he says the
                                                                                 have a broken computer take           photographs were not taken
                                                                                 care to save the data that is on      without permission, but we’re
                                                                                 your hard drive. If the hard drive    guessing that he did not intend
                                                                                 is broken, have the computer          them for public distribution.
        People And Events That Grabbed The Headlines—For Better Or For Worse     guy make a house call. But on no           However, thanks to his
                                                                                 account let the hard drive out of     indiscreetness and carelessness
                                                                                 sight. Or else….oh well, read on.     all these photos are now stored in

       Good Will Gaming                                                              Edison Chen, who had acted
                                                                                 in The Infernal Affairs, the racy
                                                                                 Hong Kong cop drama later
                                                                                 remade as the Oscar winning The
                                                                                                                       multiple servers, downloaded by
                                                                                                                       thousands of people and
                                                                                                                       virtually impossible to stamp out.
                                                                                                                       The actor made the mandatory
                  e have featured a         fascinated by the clans and          Departed had problems with his

       W
                                                                                                                       apology to all his co-stars and has
                  clutch of celebs in       myths and guilds that are the        customised MacBook and had to         resolved to quit the Hong Kong
                  these pages who are       heart of modern day games,           drop it off at a computer repair      movie scene, introspect on the
       technophiles at heart. The           especially MMORPG and, for a         shop. Nothing out of the              mess he created and go
       latest to join the list is Robin     newbie and a guy on the wrong        ordinary. What was out of the         underground for some time. As
       Williams, the funny man and          side of 50, picks up stuff pretty    ordinary was the data stored in       for the actresses who found
       sensitive actor.                     well. In fact, his analysis on       the hard drive—his “personal”         themselves unwittingly exposed
            Robin Williams discovered       how mods make a good game            pr0n collection! The number of        for no fault of theirs, they are all
       the Internet after giving up         greater, as well as how              pictures was 1300, and all were       keeping a low profile and hoping
       addictions like drugs and            modding evolved, is as good as       pictures of various stars in the      the storm will blow over.
       partying. Once he was hooked         that coming from a hardcore
       and logged on, there was no          gamer. Way to go, Robin.
       prying the man away from the             Apart from online gaming
       computer. Things had come to         and chatting, William’s other
       such a pass that he would not        online     activities   include
       stay in a hotel without a Net        trawling the auction sites for
       connection. Besides being            kicks and checking on game
       active on chat rooms—where           sites. Curiously, like most of
       he was once accused of               the rest of the world he does
       impersonating an 8 year old          not check himself out, even
       girl—he is an avid gamer.            though there are fan sites
            His favourite genre is first    devoted exclusively to him.
       person shooters, and gets his            We think he is adopting a
       kicks playing online against         wise course, as the Internet is
       other players. Half-life and         a free-for-all field, and
       Warcraft 3 are what he               anybody can speak their
       nominates as his favourites,         mind. No sense getting upset
       though he is game for other          about stuff that you can’t
       titles    too.   Williams      is    control, right?




       Heath Ledger Movie To Be Salvaged
                       D
                                                                                       irector Terry Gilliam is trying to proceed with the production
                                                                                       of The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus, which actor Heath Ledger
                                                                                       was part of, before his death on January 22 this year due to
                                                                                drug overdose. The movie is reportedly an American fantasy-
                                                                                adventure film. Prior to suspending the production of the movie,
                                                                                Christopher Stoner and Tom Waits were co-starring with Ledger in a
                                                                                story about the leader of a travelling theatre troupe, who through a
                                                                                deal with the Devil, takes audience members through a magical
                                                                                mirror to explore their imaginations.
                                                                                     Ledger’s untimely death in January led Gilliam to suspend the
                                                                                production. To his benefit, Ledger’s role is based in the magical world,
                                                                                and so he plans to turn Ledger’s character “Tony” into other
                                                                                characters to be played by Johnny Depp, Jude Law and Collin Farrell.
                                                                                Gilliam plans to use computer graphics imagery for this.
                                                                                     Unfortunately, the production of Michelle Williams’ starrer
                                                                                Mammoth had to be put on hold following her grief. Surprising as it
                                                                                may sound, technology advancement has led to the dead continuing
                                                                                to work, while those still alive, take a break to mourn!


122   DIGIT MARCH 2008

				
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