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Archive for December, 2005

A Google ‘Failure’

Posted by hs on December 28, 2005

Here’s a fluke:

1. Goto 

2. Type ‘failure’ (without the quotes) in the search box

3. Press “I’m Feeling Lucky”

4. Voila! (if you did’t get it, here’s the link to the site)

Keywords: Google, Failure, I’m Feeling Lucky, Fluke, Fun


Posted in Fun | 2 Comments »

Largest Prime Number Found

Posted by hs on December 27, 2005

The Great Internet Mersenne Prime Search (GIMPS) project has found the largest prime number for the second time this year. On Dec. 15, the team discovered a Mersenne Prime that is a 9,152,052-digit number. Here’s the press release (may not be online).
Mersenne Primes are a subclass of Prime numbers, and are defined as a prime numbers which are 1 less than a power of 2. 7 is a Mersenne Prime since it is 2^3 -1.

The prime discovered is the 43rd Mersenne Prime discovered so far, but fails short of claiming the $100,000 award from Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) to be awarded for discovering a 10-million digit prime number (part of EFF Cooperative Computing Awards).

Keywords: Prime Number, Mersenne Prime, Mersenne, Largest Prime, EFF, GIMPS, Prize, 10 million digit prime, Cooperative Computing Award 

Posted in Computing, General | 1 Comment »

Winter Solstice

Posted by hs on December 21, 2005

Today is Solstice – Winter Solstice in Northern Hemisphere – the longest night, or the shortest day – whichever way you see it. Sun is over Tropic of Capricorn (and thus in the Southern Hemisphere, its Summer Solstice – longest day/shortest night).

Solstice is not always wonderful, it can be especially hard on some people. Dark periods affect people negatively and they take to various things to get over the blues. The seasonal variation of light causes Seasonal Affective Disorder that is not exactly what the doctor would order for holiday season.
The Winter is officially here!

Keywords: Solstice, Winter Solstice, Longest Night, Shortest Day, Winter start, Seasonal Affective Disorder, SAD, Holiday Season, NMHA, Northern Hemisphere, Southern Hemisphere, Tropic of Capricorn, Sun

Posted in General | Leave a Comment »

AOL-Google Deal Closer

Posted by hs on December 19, 2005

(Updating a previous post)

NYTimes is reporting in AOL’s Choice of Google Leaves Microsoft as the Outsider that Time Warner would formally announce tomorrow Google buying 5% stake in AOL.

There’s an interesting parallel that NYT draws out between circa 1997 Netscape-IE battles and Google-MSN battles of today, with the slight twist: Microsoft is on the other side. Although MS was believed to have almost clinched the deal about 3 months back, this is what seems to have turned the tables: Microsoft’s refusal to take AOL’s Internet-access business, and its decision not to contribute its e-mail, messenger and, most important, its new portal to the venture.

AOL and Microsoft also passed on a chance to create a third big portal to compete against Yahoo & Google.

Google, on the other hand, provides AOL with, what is, arguably the best Internet search technology currently. It would also help AOL in sending traffic to AOL’s free, advertising-supported Web sites and give AOL the ability to offer its existing advertisers search ads for the first time and will allow AOL’s sales force to sell display advertising on Google’s extensive network.
Yahoo might have to look for other ventures for its search service business – MSN might switch away from Yahoo once its own technology matures, and that might be as early as next year.

Update: NYTimes Business report – AOL and Google Formalize Partnership to Include Shared Selling of Ads
Keywords: Google, AOL, Deal, Stake, MSN, Yahoo, Netscape, IE, Search, Advertising

Posted in Economics, Internet, Tech/Biz | Leave a Comment »

Gmail Easter Egg

Posted by hs on December 18, 2005

Here’s an undocumented Gmail feature

Gmail (Google Mail) ignores the period (.) in the addresses. So, all the following addresses are perfectly legal and would deliver to the same mailbox:

  • reach.singhsong
  • reachsinghsong
  • r.e.a.c.h.singhsong

However, the username still remains the one you had signed up with.

Keywords: Gmail, Google Mail, Easter Egg, Period, Dot, Ignore, Mail address, Email

Posted in Internet | Leave a Comment »

Gmail Holiday Bonanza

Posted by hs on December 18, 2005

Gmail has come up with a bunch of cool features recently. Significant ones:

  • RSS Feeds (Tip: If you want to add your own RSS feed, put the feed URI in the Search box, and once Gmail shows you the feed with Title, etc., you can add it)
  • Vacation Autoresponder: with some nifty customizable features (for example: Do not send an autoresponse more than once in 4 days)
  • Contact Groups: Useful for arranging managing the humongous addressbooks.

Read about more features here.
Makes for a real good bunch of holiday goodies 🙂

Keywords: Gmail, Features, Google Mail, RSS Feeds, Vacation Autoresponder, Autoresponse, Out of Office, Contact Groups, Holiday, Goodies, New Features, Virus Scanning, Read, Office document, HTML, PDF

Posted in Internet | Leave a Comment »

The Newest Outsourcing Dimension – OutSexing

Posted by hs on December 18, 2005

Caution: Strong language, reader discretion advised.

HE: Honey, its Friday night. Time for “fun?!!
SHE: (I’m done with headaches, back aches, this ache and that ache…need to find out a work around soon): Yes!! You know our neighbors have come across this concept of outsourcing “fun? to India…and they call it as outsexing. We just have to DIAL 1-800-Out-Sexing for India and ask operator to connect to any couple of our choice. That’s it.
HE: Is it that simple? Wow!! I think we should give it a try. What say hun?
SHE: Go ahead!!

Read the complete conversation here.

Keywords: Risque, Outsourcing, New Frontier, Dimension

Posted in Fun, Risque | Leave a Comment »

Google to buy stake in AOL?

Posted by hs on December 16, 2005

Coming as it does shortly after Steve Case made the case for splitting Time Warner (AOL – A Time-less Saga?), BBC is carrying a news item on purported sale of 5% stake in AOL to Google at approximately $1 billion.

This is especially valuable for Google since its the current search provider for, and gets 2-4% of its annual net revenues. Google might also be interested in leveraging AIM (AOL Instant Messenger). AOL is valuable also because its one of the few independent big portals left. Google can’t afford to lose it to MSN or Yahoo (which already have their own portals – and

On the flip side, Google might have already recouped some of the deal cost as reflected in the share price jump (7% to $435.20).

However, Carl Icahn doesn’t seem to be pleased:

It is my belief that, if the proper partner were allowed to have control of AOL, shareholder value would be much more greatly enhanced than through a half-hearted joint venture that might only serve the purpose of entrenching management.

Keywords: AOL, Google, Stake, 5%, Share price, Carl Icahn,, MSN, Yahoo, Search engine, Portal, Steve Case, BBC, Sale

Posted in Economics, Internet, Tech/Biz | 1 Comment »

Travel Essentials

Posted by hs on December 15, 2005

The gadgets I carry with me always, whereever I travel.

Click on the images to see a larger image. 

1. Apple Airport Express – Portable WiFi router

Very portable, easy to configure, acts as AirTunes base station also (you’ll shortly see below how that helps), and supports WEP, WPA, WPA-PSK. Just connect to the Hotel RJ-45 point and ready to go!

2. Patch Cable – A short Cat5e cable

Can be used to connect Airport Express (in case the hotel doesn’t provide one). Long enough to get the connection done, short enough to be un-messy

3. Nokia Cellphone Charger

Keeps the cellphone going on and on and on …

4. TravelSound 200 Speakers – Music on the move

Don’t be fooled by their size. Very compact, yet can be pretty loud. Run off a 5V DC adapter, or 4 AA batteries. Complete with wide-stereo mode and Volume normalizer

5. Sony Battery Charger – Keeps the juice flowing

Can charge 4 AA cells in 4 hours, automatic cut-off. Compact, easy to carry. 100-240v, 50/60Hz compatible

Keywords: Apple Airport Express, Patch Cable, Nokia, Cell Charger, Sony Battery Charger, Rechargeable batteries, AA, Speaker, TravelSound, Creative, Interner, RJ-45, WEP, WPA, WPA-PSK

Posted in Gadgets | 2 Comments »

AOL – A Time-less Saga?

Posted by hs on December 14, 2005

Steve Case (AOL Founder) has joined Carl Icahn in calling for breakup of the Time Warner Company (which owns, among other things, AOL, Road Runner, CNN, Time Warner Cable & Time Magazine). In his article in Washington Post on Sunday (It’s Time to Take It Apart), Steve says:

“Although I played a key role in bringing AOL and Time Warner together six years ago, it’s now my view that it would be best to “undo” the merger by splitting Time Warner into several independent companies and allowing AOL to set off on its own path”

He goes onto say

“Given that Time Warner failed to capitalize on AOL’s potential during a period when it owned 100 percent of AOL, it seems doubtful that a scenario in which it has a lesser, but still controlling, stake will work better”

The logic for de-merger may look good, especially in this era of focus on ‘core competencies’, and Time Warner may indeed get a good value for its AOL unit from one of major suitors – Microsoft, Yahoo or Google, the question remains about the basic veracity of the arguments put forth by Steve Case.

Notice the argument where Time Warner is blamed for not being able to capitalize on AOL’s value. In 2000, although the union was termed as ‘merger’, it was pretty clear that AOL was taking over Time Warner, and indeed, AOL guys ran the show in the merged entity for the first few months after the merger. And having admitted to playing a key role in the merger, Case should take part of the blame for not having failed to achieve the merger objectives and not having done anything earlier.

To cite Steve’s argument for an independent AOL

Could a stand-alone AOL stage a comeback? Five years ago, most people thought Apple was a tarnished brand destined for declining market share and irrelevance. But some (including its co-founder Steve Jobs) saw the potential there, and a spirit of innovation has returned to the company to produce breakthrough products. Apple is now more valuable — and more relevant — than ever. Liberated to pursue its own future, AOL could have an Apple-like renaissance

Leave aside comparison to Apple, AOL is increasingly losing its relevance in the market. In dial-up market, it is facing stiff competition from companies like NetZero, whereas the DSL business itself is struggling hard against the Cable companies. Thus the ISP part of AOL might really not gain much from a demerger, save for some minor changes that might result from not having to accomodate sibling Cable services from the Time Warner stable.

The most valuable assets for AOL today would be the AIM (AOL Instant Messenger) and the portal. It was mainly the portal that MSN, Yahoo, Google were after. AIM has a large locked-in audience, but they have been rather late to the Internet Phone service game. Yahoo & MSN have provided similar service for a long time now, and newcomers Google & Skype are also making their presence felt.

Rather than taking the company apart, Time Warner should increasingly cross-leverage its media strength. With strengths in various media channels (TV, Internet), it has the wherewithal to compete against the new media companies.

Keywords: Time Warner, AOL, Breakup, Steve Case, Carl Icahn, CNN, Time, Time Warner Cable, Merger, Split, MSN, Yahoo, Google, Bid, NetZero, Cable, DSL, AIM,, Skype

Posted in Biz, Economics, Tech/Biz | 1 Comment »