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    Humans are found everywhere on Earth. Yet how did we get here? Where did we come from? And why do we all look so different? IBM and National Geographic are mounting the Genographic Project, an ambitious attempt to help answer these fundamental questions. The five-year study will use one of the largest collections of DNA samples ever assembled to map how the Earth was populated.

    The Genographic Project is the brainchild of Dr. Spencer Wells, a pioneer in using DNA samples to map human migratory patterns. Working with Dr. Wells will be researchers from IBM's Computational Biology Center—one of the world's foremost life sciences research facilities—and a global team of prominent research scientists from 10 research centers around the world. Together, they will seek answers to long-standing questions regarding man’s epic migration patterns.

    You can contribute your DNA anonymously to the study by purchasing a public participation kit*. By participating in the project, you will learn interesting information about your family’s deep ancestry over the ages.


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    Compaq Presario V2655TS (Rs 39,510)

    We have run you through almost all of this laptop's specifications in the previous two laptop descriptions, nevertheless we will elaborate on the important points again. We suggest you 'must' look at the comprehensive specification at the last page for ease of comparison.

    The V2655TS is the least pricey among the three and also has the least powerful processor (Pentium M 725A) with the clock speed of 1.6 GHz. The memory is adequate with 512MB of 333 MHz DDR memory doing the duty.

    The place this one loses out is its 40GB P-ATA hard drive. A computer is one of the most versatile entertainment devices, and if you wish to use it for that purpose, then 40 gigs is way too less storage for all the videos and music you'd like to put on your laptop. But if you strictly want to use your laptop for business alone, then 40 GB should do just fine.

    Screen size is similar to the Dell, but with a bit lower resolution at 1280 x 768 pixels. The rest is pretty much standard, 56k Modem, 10/100 LAN, 802.11 b/g wireless LAN, a Combo Drive and a 6 six cell battery which will last you anything between 2 to 3 hours.

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    Dell Inspiron 1300 n-Series (Rs 40,660)

    Since Dell allows you to customize laptops online, we have upped the Dell 1300’s configuration to what fits best in Rs. 40,000. The upgrades include changing the hard drive from 40GB to 60GB and a 6 cell battery instead of a 4 cell. The 6 cell battery increases the weight of the laptop by 100 grams making it touch 2.9 Kgs.

    When it comes to laptop screens, larger isn't necessarily better. Almost this entire range features a resolution of 1280x800 pixels (except the Compaq V2655TS, it has a 14" screen size with a resolution of 1280 x 768), be it a 14", or a 15". With a bigger screen size, the overall dimension of a laptop increases, which makes it more difficult to lug around. So, the one we like the best here is Dell's 14.1" screen.

    Manufacturers realize how rampant piracy is in India. Hence they bundle their laptops with DOS or Linux operating system to reduce the costs knowing that nine out of ten times the user would install a pirated copy of Windows XP. Dell is the only manufacturer which offers Windows XP home bundled with the laptop, whereas Compaq chooses FreeDOS and the Acer comes with Linux.

    With regards to the card slot, Dell offers the latest ExpressCard slot whereas the other two offer a regular PCMCIA card slot. ExpressCard slots provide much greater bandwidth (USB 2.0: 480 Mb/s, PCI Express: 2.5Gb/s) and will provide solutions for TV tuners, FireWire400 and 800 ports, Gigabit Ethernet and e-SATA. ExpressCard slots also allow you to use wireless internet cards for accessing internet anywhere on the go. Reliance and Airtel have recently launched ExpressCards.

    This laptop comes with a CD Writer/DVD-ROM Combo drive and has a neat nylon case bundled with it. As with the other two laptops, the Dell doesn't come with any additional features like integrated Bluetooth or a built-in card reader. Again, internet connectivity options are standard with a 56k Modem, 10/100 LAN and 802.11 b/g wireless LAN.


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    While conceptualizing this feature, our aim was to feature the top three laptops under Rs. 35,000, but after a bit of research, it became clear that such a price point wouldn’t give the optimal mix of performance and value. So, we raised the range to Rs. 40,000, and went on a hunt for the best laptops in that range, which would satisfy everybody from a typical office worker, to a multimedia-freak on a budget.

    Among the three laptops featured in this roundup, we have two laptops with Pentium M processors and one with the AMD Turion Processor. The Pentium M series, though two generations behind the new Core 2 Duo series, is still a decent bargain in the value segment. It’s an efficient architecture, and though it isn’t 64bit capable as the AMD Turion, or the Core 2 Duo, considering that most users will be using the standard 32 bit version of Windows XP on these laptops, it’s not much of an issue.

    The prices mentioned here are the lowest street prices with taxes and shipping included (but no octroi) to give you a clear idea of the pricing. The laptops in the running are:

    Acer Aspire 5004NWLMi (Rs 40,560)

    Among the three, the fastest processor belongs to the Acer Aspire. It features a 1.8 GHz AMD Turion 64 ML-34 processor. To give you an idea, its very close in performance to the Pentium M 760, which is a 2 GHz processor with a FSB of 533 MHz whereas the second fastest processor is on the Dell Inspiron 1300, which is clocked at 1.7 GHz with an FSB of 400 Mhz.

    The 5004 has a 15.4" screen with a resolution of 1280 x 800 pixels, which makes it the largest for laptops in this category, but also keep in mind that it makes this laptop larger to carry as compared to its 14" counterparts.

    If you are using Windows XP as your operating system, we recommend nothing short of 512MB of RAM. This is the only place where Acer, which leads in most of the other specifications falls short, with only 256MB of RAM. We'd recommend you upgrade the RAM if you wish to do anything beyond office documents.

    It's the only laptop among the three which features an 8x dual layer dvd writer. With respect to battery life it again leads the pack with an 8 cell battery. It carries a 60GB P-ATA (parallel ATA) hard drive which is the same as Dell's.

    Internet connectivity is pretty much standard with a 56k Modem, 10/100 LAN and 802.11 b/g wireless LAN. Additonal features include integrated Bluetooth and 5-in-1 card reader and it comes bundled with a nylon case.

    All this puts this laptop way ahead of the competition; with 256MB more RAM, this will be an excellent performer bound to impress.

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    Oracle and Adobe rallied nearly 3% each Monday ahead of their earnings reports.

    Both technology bellwethers will report results after the market close on Tuesday.

    Oracle is expected to report a 23% jump in quarterly sales to $4.33 billion, according to Thomson Financial. Earnings are expects to climb by four cents a share to 23 cents.

    Analysts believe Adobe will report sales of $655.6 million, flat with the year-ago quarter, and earnings are expected to decline 10% to 29 cents a share. Growth will return in the current quarter with the release of Creative Suite 3 next week.

    The broader market posted strong gains Monday on another round of mergers and optimism ahead of Wednesday's Federal Reserve decision on interest rates, even though inflation reports last week suggested that the Fed will have a difficult time cutting interest rates to stem the sub-prime mortgage meltdown.

    Oracle shares shot higher in after-hours trading Tuesday after the company's quarterly results solidly beat Wall Street estimates.

    Oracle grew sales 27% in the quarter to $4.41 billion, beating $4.33 billion forecasts, and pro forma earnings of 25 cents a share were two cents ahead of estimates. New license sales — an important indicator of future growth — were also stronger than expected, up 17% for databases and middleware and up 57% for applications.

    "Not only are we growing faster than BEA, we're now larger than they are in the middleware business," boasted CEO Larry Ellison in a statement, and President Charles Phillips added that the company is closing in on SAP in the applications business.

    Oracle shares gained 4% in late trading.

    Adobe , meanwhile, saw its shares gain 2% on its numbers.

    Adobe's sales of $649.4 million were below $655.6 million estimates, while pro forma earnings of 30 cents a share were a penny better than expected, but traders are looking past the current quarter to new releases such as Creative Suite 3.

    "As Adobe prepares for the biggest product launch in our history, we are excited about our opportunities and bullish about our prospects for another year of strong performance," CEO Bruce Chizen said in a statement.

    Adobe's current quarter sales out look of $700-$740 million compared favorably to $717 million estimates.

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    So, 10 gigabit Ethernet too slow for you? How about 160 gigabits?

    That's the latest breakthrough from IBM researchers, who have come up with an optical networking chip measuring 3mm by 5mm but has 16 times the throughput of today's networking chips.

    Now before you think this will mean more MP3s and dirty videos, think again. First, IBM doesn't expect it to see the market until 2010, and when it does, it will be for massively parallel supercomputers like its own Blue Gene, the fastest supercomputer in the world.

    The problem, as IBM saw it, was that networking had reached the limit of sending electrons over wires. By switching to optical networking, data flows as light pulses, which is faster, cooler and uses considerably less power. The chips are five to 10 times more power efficient than what's out today, Marc Taubenblatt, senior manager at IBM Research told internetnews.com.

    "We've been aiming at improving high-speed computers. To make ever more powerful computers, we need to connect processing nodes with extreme bandwidth between the nodes. As processors become more capable, they want more bandwidth to feed them and need to be connected with increasing amount of bandwidth, and electrical just isn't able to do the job any more," he said.

    To keep up with Moore's Law for microprocessor's, network chips have to grow 10 to 20 times denser than they are now. As it is, Blue Gene was designed to balance the power of its processors and the speed of the network chips. The new optical network processors will allow IBM to take the leash off its processors and run at greater speed, according to Taubenblatt.

    The optical network chips have 16 channels each for transmission and receiption, as opposed to a single channel for transmission and reception. This allows for 160 Gbits per second of both input and output at the same time.

    Because the chip is so tiny and runs cool, it can be placed right next to the CPU on the motherboard, thus minimizing the length that data has to travel when it comes over the wire to be processed.

    The optical chip is a joint effort between IBM and DARPA, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency. (Just last week DARPA also made news with the announcement it had teamed up with Raytheon on development of the MONARCH chip).

    Once it moves beyond the back plane of Blue Gene, IBM foresees a time when it could have great application in the home, where home servers are becoming more popular and more data is flying around on wired and wireless networks.

    Unfortunately, it will be a while. While the technology exists today and IBM was able to put it together in the lab, the manufacturing capability doesn't exist, said Taubenblatt. It will take a while to be able to make the chip and then for networking manufacturers to begin making their own chips. IBM doesn't expect to use it in its own products until 2010.

    Fred Zeiber, principal with Pathfinder Research, told internetnews.com that networking has already reached its limits in some ways due to the single input/output channel, and that this is no small breakthrough.

    "The engineering to put this all together into something practical and small is amazing. Being able to use one chip to do 16 in and 16 out is something that's been extremely difficult to do," said Zeiber. "You get crosstalk and other problems. That's a hell of a lot of stuff going in and out of the chip at one time."


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    AMD, Intel duel goes slash

    Intel might be the current CPU champ, but AMD's not throwing in the towel. Both companies are expected to announce significant price cuts next month on their existing processors, ahead of quad-core introductions.

    Intel is tipped to trim between 20 and 40 percent from the prices of several Core 2 Duo chips, including the Q6600 quad-core model.

    For its part, AMD is expected to take up to 30 percent off the Athlon 64+ series and lesser processors.

    AMD plans a midyear introduction of the first products in its quad-core Opteron family, code-named 'Barcelona.' The company claims it will deliver an estimated 40 percent performance advantage over "the competition" as well as improved power management through varying the clock speed of individual cores, and reducing voltage levels to the cores while the memory controller runs at full speed.

    But by the end of this year, Intel plans to introduce its 'Penryn' family, which takes the Core 2 and Xeon CPUs to the 45mn process and speeds in excess of 3GHz.

    Six models will be introduced in dual and quad core versions to cover the spectrum from notebooks to servers.

    Like AMD, Intel says the new chips will have improved power management. Penryn chips will be able to switch off unused cores.

    Meanwhile, Intel is working on its 'Nehalem' family, designed from the outset for 45nm implementation with the potential for up to eight cores on one chip. In addition, the cores need not be symmetrical - instead, the company will be able produced mixed versions to suit particular applications.

    A graphics controller will be included in the same package as the CPU, making it an extremely attractive part for mobile and small form-factor applications.

    Nehalem will begin shipping in 2008, followed by the 'Westmere' 32nm family in 2009.

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    Cisco Systems issued a warning on Wednesday that some of its IP phones could be compromised, allowing unauthorized individuals to bypass security restrictions.

    In the warning, Cisco detailed flaws for two sets of products. One warning identified two versions of the Cisco Unified IP Conference Station, a speaker phone specially designed for conference rooms. The products are the 7935 version 3.2(15) and 7936 version 3.3(12).

    Cisco said because of a design error in the HTTP interface, which allows the device to be managed remotely, an administrator's credentials are saved or cached when the device is accessed remotely. So if an unauthorized person tried to access the device at a later time, it would permit access without further authentication.

    If an administrator never accesses the device via the HTTP interface, the device is not vulnerable to the authentication bypass attack. Cisco said it's possible to reset the device by powering it down and turning it back on again.

    Cisco also identified flaws in several versions of its Unified IP phones, including the 7906G, 7911G, 7941G, 7961G, 7970G and 7971G. These IP phones contain a default user account and password that is used for debugging purposes. Cisco said that because of an implementation error, the default user account cannot be disabled, removed or have its password changed. This means that it's possible for an unauthorized person to remotely access a vulnerable IP phone and take complete control of the device, causing it to become unstable and crash.

    Cisco suggests on its Web site that network administrators apply access control lists on routers, switches and firewalls that filter traffic to vulnerable conference stations and IP phones so that traffic is only allowed from stations that need to remotely administer the devices. Cisco also said it will make free software available to address the flaws, but did not say when it would be available. Updates will be posted on its Web site.

    While attacks on voice over Internet Protocol systems are rare, security flaws could become a growing concern for network administrators, especially as the number of companies using VoIP technology increases.

    VoIP allows companies to use their data networks to carry voice traffic as well as company data, such as e-mail. Not only do companies save money by consolidating networks, but the IP network also allows for a slew of new features to be added to the company's communications. Cisco's IP telephony business has been growing strong over the past few years as more and more companies upgrade their telephone networks to IP.

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    Japanese automaker Toyota had showcased their hybrid car Prius at the International Engineering Trade Fair in New Delhi.

    The company has now said that they are considering the possibility of launching Prius in the Indian market.

    However, the car would have to be imported to the Indian market which would practically double the cost of selling the car in the Indian market.

    A Toyoshima, managing director, Toyota Kirloskar has said in a statement that the company is studying the Indian market to introduce the hybrid vehicle. He added: “But at current levels of duty, it could cost anywhere between Rs 20-25 lakh.”

    The car sells for around Rs. 10 lakh in the US market where it is pretty popular due to its environment friendly status.

    The company is also considering asking the Indian government to relax duties on such hybrid cars to promote them in the Indian market.

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    SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- Capitalizing on the popularity of social networks and online worlds, Sony will launch its own virtual universe and another 3-D game built almost entirely by players. "Home" is a real-time, networked world for the PlayStation 3 in which players create human-looking characters called avatars. They can buy clothing, furniture and videos to play on a virtual flat-screen television in their virtual apartments.

    The concept is strikingly similar to Linden Lab's "Second Life," a Web-based phenomenon with nearly 4.5 million residents. But Sony's world will feature heavy doses of video games for avatars to play, as well as virtual arcades, music, movies and other Sony-approved media downloads.

    Sony will launch a beta version in April and officially debut in the fall as a free download on the PlayStation online store.

    Sony's second virtual world for PlayStation users is called "LittleBigPlanet" and allows players to build obstacle courses, puzzles and other games for avatars that resemble beanbags _ characters Sony dubs "sack boys."

    The game, which requires a combination of cooperation and competition, will debut early next year. A sample version will be available in the fall.

    Sony Computer Entertainment America has not released pricing for "LittleBigPlanet." Executives would not discuss how much virtual T- shirts, sofas, televisions or media downloads would cost in "Home."

    The games are part of a companywide push that Tokyo-based Sony calls "Game 3.0." Executives who introduced the games Wednesday at the Game Developer Conference in San Fransisco called it an evolution in the video game industry, which began in the 1970s with disconnected consoles and "static" games.

    "We're putting power back into the hands of users _ the players themselves," said Phil Harrison, president of worldwide studios for Sony Computer Entertainment

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    Seoul: Samsung Electronics, the world’s top memory chipmaker, announced Monday, that it has developed the industry’s first eight-gigabyte flash memory card for mobile handsets.

    The “moviNAND” can store and process data twice as fast as existing four-gigbyte memory cards, the South Korean firm said in a statement.

    Samsung will begin mass-production in this year’s second quarter, the company said.

    The new card can store the equivalent of 2,000 songs or map data large enough to run a global positioning system, but it is up to 20 per cent smaller than its industry peers, Samsung said.

    Samsung said the new memory card would help make mobile handsets smaller because it is a built-in type that requires no external card slot.

    Samsung expects the market for moviNAND to be up to four billion dollars by 2010, the release said.

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    Here, This is the Best Way to Install Windows Vista, Just Takes 2 Minutes of your time!Enjoy Windows Vista...

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    Broadband calling

    In recent years, new ideas have spawned
    to make communication easier;
    Internet telephony is one of these. A huge
    number of people today keep in touch
    by making PC-to-PC or PC-to-phone calls.
    To take communication to the next level,
    technologists have designed mobile phones
    that can use broadband to make calls. Of
    course, you need a broadband connection to
    exploit the benefits of making calls through
    the Internet; also, this service has to be
    supported by your service provider and the
    phone manufacturer.
    Motorola, in collaboration with British
    Telecom, provides this service on its RAZR
    V3B and V560 models, in UK. To avail this
    service, the user needs to install a wireless
    home hub from British Telecom. However,
    calling is restrained to indoors only. This is
    of course a glitch in the service, something
    which Nokia plans to do away with, although
    they have revealed no details about a tie-up
    with any service provider. Recently Nokia
    launched two handsets—the 6136 and the
    N80 that are capable of broadband calling.


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    The days of silicon chips are numbered.
    And soon they might be replaced by
    carbon nanotubes. After a long stretch
    of challenges, IBM researchers have
    fi nally achieved a milestone by creating
    an integrated circuit out a single carbon
    nanotube. Integrated chips (IC) are used
    to process and store information in a wide
    range of electronic devices from PCs to cell
    Initially, the problem was to create
    transistors used in ICs. Once that hurdle
    was crossed, Big Blue researchers faced the
    challenge of fi guring out a reliable way to
    assemble the transistors to form an IC.
    IBM researchers developed an 18-micron
    (less than the thickness of a plastic bag) long
    carbon nanotube with a 10-transistor ring
    oscillator, a device typically used for testing
    new manufacturing technologies. The
    success of the research also proved to be
    economical as only one nanotube was used
    instead of multiple tubes.
    The introduction of carbon nanotubes
    will have two advantages. Firstly, the data
    transfer rate will increase as electrical
    current moves more freely and faster
    through carbon nanotubes than silicon.
    Secondly, it is indeed very small—one
    carbon nanotube is 50,000 times thinner
    than a strand of hair, which translates to
    more data storage in less space and makes
    it more energy effi cient and speedier.
    It will take time for these chips to
    appear as IBM intends to spend more time
    on research.


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