July 2006 -

NEWS AT ITS BEST!

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All one can hear in today’s news is Israel pounding Lebanon with bombs, fire in Bahrain. What wouldn’t the online news and cable news channel give to get real image videos of such occurrences? Yes there are hundreds of real time videos being uploaded by sites such as Youtube, Grouper, and Guba. One such channel, which has preceded the other TV channels in making use of such user-friendly site, is CNN news. In what is called as Citizen journalism, which is being practiced through various blog sites and real time, video uploads are providing the news channels stiff competition, it is only by sensible tie ups that news channels can provide the news that people require. CNN exchange is coming up with news that would provide such news and video clips uploaded by the users friendly sites like that of Youtube. So gear up for watching some of the most real occurrences in CNN exchange. And stay tune to this web log for more such tips.

The new era of theft.

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Welcome to the new era of crime, where the robbers or thieves do not require machine guns or knives to get their way through the bank vault. What they require is a possession of a pin code-encoding machine called the MSR206. According to the website, Wired.com, John Dillinger the nickname of the modern day thief has achieved popularity through his new techniques of robbery. He had obtained the 450 or odd pin numbers from an online mate and had proceeded to rob the bank (like Citibank, Bank of America etc). John Dillinger was arrested by accident and is confined to jail on account of hacking, possession of illegal identities or licences but not on count of cashing from the ATM, though he seems to have confessed to many of his crimes. By the way he is not alone in this world of sophisticated robbery, there are many such John Dillinger who are out in the open and pose a threat to the society as a whole. Crime Branch what steps have you taken?

Internet Explorer 7

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According to an article in news.com, Microsoft is all geared up to welcome the new Internet browser version 7.0. It will be available through the ‘Automatic Update’ kit of Windows. Till now only ‘security features’ were available through Automatic update. But officials at Microsoft feel that with the enhanced security features Internet Explorer, is a must to be installed browser for all. There was criticism hurled at Internet Explorer 6 (see my earlier articles), as it was vulnerable to many security flaws. This is one of the major updates available in Microsoft after a span of nearly five years. IE 7 will be available to all the windows users, yet the users would have the choice of installing the browser. There is also an automatic block available in case the user does not wish to update. But officials at Microsoft strongly suggest that Microsoft’s IE 7 is one of the strongest as far as the security side is concerned along with many other positive features and so it is imperative that the browser be installed as soon as it available. So guys watch out for that update notification from Windows.

Checking out fraudulent clicks through Google

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I had previously written on the online advertisement strategy by Google ‘Adword’. Well guys rumours were that few companies were unhappy about the entire set up, as Google even charged for the ‘invalid clicks’. One such company that went ahead and sued Google was Lane’s Gift. Well to bail itself out of such a situation, Google has come up with a method by which these fraudulent clicks are identified from the total number of clicks. The website news.com also goes onto say that Google does not charge for these fraudulent clicks as well as some inadvertent double clicks. This method helps advertisers to filter out the unwanted and invalid clicks and also helps them to pay only for the valid clicks from their advertisements. This method goes back to the beginning of the year till date when such fraudulent clicks can be identified. This comes in the wake of a new court ruling, wherein Yahoo was asked to choke up$5 million to Checkmate strategic group. Well I guess Google has a lot of forethought and is all too careful about legal litigations.

U.S. Economy takes a beating.

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No sooner had the news about the Israel, raids into Lebanon had seeped in that shares of defensive products was on the rise, e.g., health care products. According to Reuters, as far as technology side was concerned the U.S economy took a beating when giants like that of Dell Computers had taken a drop of about 10% and that of Hewlett Packard by about 5%. The drop in Dell computers came about when they had announced a not so bright profit and lower earning. This came as a big blow and had pulled down the stocks on the whole. Thus raising the concern of the technology company as a whole.

In general the stocks had decreased on the whole, example is the Dow Jones Industrial average, which reduced by 0.55%. The Standard and Poor Index had come down to .71%. Thus the economy on the whole is not showing a very rosy picture. One has to wait and see the outcome of the Lebanon crisis and of course the overall earnings of the technology sector.

Great Gift for Skype Users!

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For those of you, who are thinking that Skype is great but immobile, here is a piece of good news. Skype has announced its new Wi-Fi phones. Skype has partnered with Netgear to sell the Wi-Fi phones at the Electronics Consumer Trade Show in Las Vegas. These new phones come pre loaded with Skype software. The special feature of the phone is that it does not need PC connection. Any calls made through these special phones get automatically credited to Skype user account, and can be assessed anywhere around the world with the use of Wi-Fi networks. These types of phones have gained more popularity because of increasing public placed and even houses being Wi-Fi networked. According to a recent report the Wi-Fi market has more than increased to 116 percent from the year 2004. Steps are being undertaken to make these phones user friendly and cost effective, by bringing the price as low as $100 or Euros. Welcome to the world of Wi-Fi

An Indian Arrives

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No prizes for guessing it right! Yes I am talking about the Mittal-Arcelor story. I know guys you must be thinking that you have seen and heard a lot about the story. Here is what is different; I would be just giving you the summary of the ‘entire take over’ saga, yet you would have the advantage of many sources. Let me start with the background, I need not emphasis on Lakshmi Mittal’s background, I know all of you would have done your homework of our ‘Marwari’ who made it big. But the turning point in L. Mittal’s life was that he chose to oversee the international aspect of his family business. Guess he started big. Arcelor was and still is one of the biggest steel producers.

As soon as Mittal’s bid for Arcelor began, it was met with resentment and cold shoulders. The major resentment from Arcelor was that an ‘outsider’ had entered the European Union. But our Mr. Mittal did not care about these and went ahead with the bidding; he even raised his offer to a whooping $32,billion dollars. But in-between the deal Arcelor had declared its partnership with SeverStal. The deal had become even more complicated as Mordashov of SeverStal and Joseph Kinsch, Chairman of Arcelor seem to share a good rapport. But there was a small hitch in the deal; the smaller shareholders of Arcelor seem to take a beating from this deal. Arcelor saw this weak link and immediately began to rally for the support of the smaller shareholders; soon the minority shareholders acceded to Mittal’s calling and began to ask for a right to vote in the SeverStal and Arcelor deal. Well you know the rest, the deal failed. This helped Mittal to revive his bid again, well now he had strong supporters in the form of Krecke, Minister (economy and foreign trade) of Luxembourg, Romain Zaleski (who owns about 7.8% in Arcelor shares) and of course the minority shareholders. Well if all goes well then “more than fifty percent of the shareholders will have to give in their shares to Mittal Steel” (‘A White Empire’-Outlook Magazine 10 July 2006).

So what does ‘our man’ gain from all of this. 10% of the world’s share of steel (By the way he is not too happy about that, he wants to consolidate more and stabilise his stand!). Mittal will take over as Chairman of Arcelor-Mittal, one’s Kinsch steps down as the Chairman, and a new president would be named by Kinsch. Of the eighteen non-executive members, six would be from Mittal Steel, Three members from the Arcelor board and of course the three employee representative. The Mittal family would own about 45% of the Arcelor-Mittal. The big news is that the estimated revenue from the partnership would be $72 billion dollar per year and production of about 120 million tonnes of steel.

About the future, well if sources are to be believed, Mittal would not be stopped at just owning 10% of the total steel production, looks like he wants to own the major chunk in the world and is directing his attention towards China and India, the largest steel consumers. Also as Mittal’s country cousins (well at least on the broad perspective of belonging to the same country!) it is time we showed that we could be good businessmen and women too. As the heading goes an Indian has arrived in the global front (of course along with others) and has paved the way for more of us. Mittal’s success goes to show that not only the IT sector but we Indians possess skills in other sectors too and do not lack in talent and integrity and of course work ethics which would assure us a major global platform. Also Mr. Mittal’s success story goes to show that we possess all the talent and skill to make it big, all we need is a gentle push in the form of encouragement from our Government and we could show the world that ‘sky is not the limit’. Good Luck Mr. Mittal and good luck to all of you who believe in hard work and are raring to go global!

Security flaws

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Hackers might detest this guy, Anti virus makers might love him. Whatever it is, he takes his job seriously. HD Moore, a researcher in Internet security and creator of Metasploit Framework has dubbed this month of July as the month of Browser bugs. Moore has already disclosed that there are about three flaws in the Microsoft, Internet Explorer. And one each in Mozilla’s Firefox and Apple Computer’s Safari. Looks like Microsoft are not taking Moore’s prediction seriously, as it had not acted on any of the warnings given by Moore. They have not taken any safety precautions to guard their IE, not in their present versions.

Some of the vulnerable sites are shown in his blog. Guess people should start taking these expert predictions into consideration and launch their own security measures to plug the holes. Let us see if this month Moore is able to come across any more loopholes.

INTEL’S INVESTMENT

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According to the Wall Street Journal, Intel has decided to invest $600 million in Clearwire, a company into WiMAX services. It is part of the total $900 million investment that Intel is planning to invest. Motorola inc has also invested in Clearwire for about $300 million. It also plans to buy the company’ hardware business. Clearwire has withdrawn its initial stock option plans, which would have secured $400 million for Clearwire. That reason for withdrawal is clearly not known. But now with the inflow of money Clearwire might be in a better situation. Clearwire offers wireless technology called WiMAX at a higher frequency level and is expected to cover around one to ten miles as compared to ten feet of Wi-Fi. Wi MAX can be used for both stationery accesses as well as for mobile purposes. Clearwire offers WiMAX to about twenty-six metropolitan economies like the United States, Ireland, Belgium etc. WiMAX, which would be further improved upon to suite the modern needs, is looked as the future of broadband access. With greater advantage than Wi-Fi, WiMAX is set to pave the road for the future.

Intel has another motive for investing in the WiMAX product, this investment would accelerate the increase in demand for laptops and other portables, thereby increase the demand for microprocessors and of course Intel’s chips. Intel is trying to wrap up its earlier diversification strategy it adopted by diversifying its business other than chips. But with more companies like AMD offering stiff competition to Intel, it has decided to stabilise its Chip’s market and even increase the market for the same.

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