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Sunday, June 28, 2009

UNIQUE IDENTIFICATION PROJECT : UID

1. We all know how the launch of PAN Cards and Voter ID Cards in the initial period say about 7-8 years or may be slimly earlier created discombobulation amongst the aam janta. Photos clicked, Data base created and then all got inter amalgamated and I got somebody else's pan card with a different pic and altogether different address with the age of my grandfather endorsed in BOLD.The thing and the vision seems to have ameliorated today.

2. Now on top of this Sarkaar plans to make a Unique Identity Card.Since the sarkaar never wanted to take a chance this time ,the onus of the culmination of the project has been given to INFOSYS and the over all coordinator is none other then Mr Nandan Nilekani,the co chairman of infosys.

3. The UID (Unique Identity) project is one of the most aspirational projects of the UPA government. The UID programme will provide an identity card to every citizen to establish citizenship and address security concerns.

4. The identity cards purported will be smart cards which will carry information of each and every individual, his/her finger biometrics as well as a photograph. A unique National Identity Number will be assigned to each individual including those below 18 years of age.

5. The government will spend around $6 billion on developing smart cards apart from a gigantic citizen database. Karnataka has reportedly been chosen as the pilot state to carry out the project.

6. The broad idea is to get all the births, deaths, marriages, passport data, bank account data, ration card data into one database. This will help all these offices to just tap into the central database as and when required and update their accounts.

7. In year 2000, Tata Consultancy Service was assigned with the task of studying the feasibility of this project. It came up with the report which said that the government would have to earmark around Rs 10,000 crore in three to four years, to implement it.The project would also require completely new software, capable of handling detailed information on at least one billion data entries.

8. This proposal that took almost a decade to become a project. And now the government is reportedly looking at a three-year term to complete the entire programme. I am slightly positive about this deadline being met as the project is in the hands of INFOSYS.

9. Info from http://infotech.indiatimes.com and http://www.ciol.com

Saturday, June 27, 2009

NOW CHIP IN BATHING SOAP!!!!

1. I was really amazed to read this one in TOI today wherein I came to know that in few remote villages of south India,some panic occured after they found a chip resembling a pen drive in their toilet soaps.

2. This was prominent in a village near Bajpe and as rumours spread that the chip was a bomb or was inserted to make blue films, the villagers made a beeline to the police station. Police investigated and found that the chip was installed for collecting data. A team from Hindustan Lever Limited was conducting studies related to Lifebuoy soap and its usage in the village.


3. “There was nothing harmful in it. A chip was installed in the soaps as a part of the research. The team had visited about 28 houses. A representative from UK, Julian Collins had explained the villagers in detail about the project. The only mistake was that they had not obtained permission from the district administrator to conduct the research,” he added.

4. Though most of the houses had signed a consent letter for the use of the soap, on seeing the chip, they panicked. The company’s documents, however, showed everything was above board.Meanwhile, Sumathi, Project co-ordinator of the company said, “Hindustan Lever Limited was conducting a two-year project to study children’s health in connection with the use of Lifebuoy soap.

5. Thus chip was a data-collection card which entered data about the children’s health in relation to the number of times they used the soap.All documents regarding the research project are clear and the company had obtained permission from the superintendent of police and about 30-40 people were working on the project.

6. Wonder what else is in store when this can be claimed to be the begining of some sort in the name of research and
investigation!!!!

7. Some extract taken from http://www.punemirror.in

Friday, June 26, 2009

Are you secure at your friendly neighbourhood CYBER CAFE ?

1. This one comes after I have read a wonderful article in the DIGIT Carnival issue Jun 09 on Cyber café Security. This article covered how few Cyber Cafe’s with notorious intentions can play with crucial, critical and confidential information of the user who might have accessed his e-mail accounts or would have booked a flight ticket with his credit card or might have done some personal work on the cyber cafe’s PC.In the following paragraphs I would just go over the preventive measures in brief as outlined in that article. Genuine Informative CREAMY INFO THAT IS!!!!!!!!

2. PORTABLE WEB BROWSER : A portable web browser as the name suggests would be able to allow you to take bookmarks and passwords with you while not writing any information on the host computer. This allows to bypass key loggers who would be expecting that all that you type would be logged in one separate file unknown to the user. So this feature of the portable browser would allow you to access your accounts without typing and thus preventing from leaking your crucial info. But at the same time you have to be aware that PENDRIVE would be equal to your most precious thing in life….so don’t ever try and attempt loosing it.Mozzilla,Opera have these free softwares ready for download at the click of a button and Chrome is working still!!!!!

3. Another thing about the key logger software’s available in the market, yes they include OPEN SOURCE TYPE ALSO………so all the more vulnerable the user becoming a quarry. Key logger can be of two types :

a. Hardware Type – By using a small chip in the keyboard which makes by passing impossible.As shown in the figure below,we see a normal CPU rear from back and another PC with the malicious chip placed in between the cable.

b. Software Type – Can be activated with the help of a Trojan or with the help of a simple installation.

4. A software based key logger can either keep a record of what is being typed or would be able to take periodic screen shots while the user is using the PC.All this being sent to a remote server without the knowledge of the bechara user.Hai na kamaaal ke baat!!!!!!!!!!

5. VIRTUAL KEYBOARD : Although the endeavor of the cyber cafe PC user should be to ensure that in no circumstance, credit card details should be typed,but if at all it is marta kya na karta wali baat,then use of virtual keyboard should be exploited. This would be available as Start > Accessories > On Screen Keyboard.Although there are ways and means to even break this,but then there would never be a guarantee of sort…after all U R ON THE WEB BHAISAAAB…..every thing is accessible.

6. I would like to mention one more thing here….VIRTUAL KEYBOARDS/ON SCREEN KEYBOARDS are not a guarantee for ensuring safety. There are key loggers which are even configured to log only details from on screen key boards. There is a solution to this also and that is OBFUSCATION.

7. OBFUSCATION : This basically allows key loggers to log a certain combination of keys,while keying in different combination. There are some programs that are targeted at different obfuscation algorithm and thus by pass typing in the meat thing. Obfuscation is actually the deliberate hiding of the software's behavior, is used by malware authors as well as legitimate software developers. They both use code obfuscation techniques to keep curious souls from understanding how their software works and what it is doing to the computer on which it runs.A complex thing in itself but who needs to know that….aaam khao….not to worry of guthli!!!!!!!!!!!How to use it?Pl BING or Google.

8. Another important thing to be ensured is to protect your USB drive from Viruses.The first thing to do when you plug in your USB Drive into a public computer is to identify and disable malicious processes running. Process Explorer is a good utility for doing this.This is actually like windows task manager but with few more good options to work on. A Screen Shot from my lap top shown below.

9. Securely deleting data : Last but not the least…ensure using a good software that ensures that no trace of activity on the used computer is left behind.I recommend using ERASER and Free Commander ……tried and tested……………


Monday, June 22, 2009

Hi Tech Door Bell : Is it required?

1. IT is venturing into all Gali's and Muhallah's at global level.It is no more confined to certain sectors.Well,I am writting this one because it made me laugh all the way!!!may be I am being foolish but I am still laughing while I am writing this.

2. I recently came across this good tech info site ie http://www.emmexcorpio.blogspot.com/ that introduced me to the subject heading.The picture explains it all...yes!!!this is a door bell...

3. It made me laugh because I directly connected it with the INDIAN RESIDENCES.The doodh wala,the safaiwala,the milk man,all friends and relatives,the surprising visitors,we have all encountered and will keep encountering till eternity in India atleast.So I was wondering what thier reactions would be like if they read all that.

4. But anyway the idea is good and is based on simple database query run fed by the owner of the house or office

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Storage Technology - Graduating Trends


1. Recently I was asked to write a paper on Trends in Storage Technology for an internal office magazine.Although have been aware of the trends in a hazzy manner but it gave me an opportunity to revise the entire lot and infact made myself cognizant of many new things all set to arrive in near future.Relevant extract as would be making the reader wise on subject matter is produced below.

2. Many different forms of storage, based on various natural phenomena, have been invented. So far, no practical universal storage medium exists, and all forms of storage have some drawbacks. Therefore a computer system usually contains several kinds of storage, each with an individual purpose. The two primary storage technologies are magnetic and optical.

3. The primary types of magnetic storage are:

(a) Diskettes (floppy disks)

(b) Hard disks

(c) High-capacity floppy disks

(d) Disk cartridges

(e) Magnetic tape

4. The primary types of optical storage are:

(a) Compact Disk Read-Only Memory (CD-rfruROM)

(b) Digital Video Disk Read-Only Memory (DVD-ROM)

(c) CD-Recordable (CD-R)

(d) CD-Rewritable (CD-RW)

FUTURE TRENDS

5. MEMS : One technology that promises to store more information than disk drives is micro electromechanical systems. MEMS have electrostatic actuators — electrically-driven springs and levers — that can move components like storage media and read/write heads tiny, precise distances. It involves recording bits by heating the tips to melt tiny pits in a plastic storage medium, similar to burning a CD. The presence of a pit represents a 1 and the absence a 0. The device reads bits by sensing changes in temperature. When a tip moves across the surface and falls into a pit, more of the tip is in contact with the surface, which causes it to dissipate heat more quickly.

6. Holographic Storage : Holographic storage devices have the potential to both hold much more data than magnetic technologies and access it much faster. Holograms are made by bouncing a laser beam off an object and having a second laser beam intersect the reflected light. The laser beams interfere with each other, producing a unique pattern of bright and dark areas that can be captured in storage media like light- sensitive plastics or glass composites. The resulting hologram can be illuminated by shining the second laser beam on the media at the same angle as when the hologram was recorded.

7. Blu Ray : Blu-ray Disc (also known as Blu-ray or BD) is an optical disc storage medium designed/created by Sony to supersede the standard DVD format. Its main uses are for storing Playstation 3 games, high-definition video and data storage with 50GB per disc. The disc has the same physical dimensions as standard DVDs and CDs. The name Blu-ray Disc derives from the blue-violet laser used to read the disc. While a standard DVD uses a 650 nanometre red laser, Blu-ray uses a shorter wavelength, a 405 nm blue-violet laser, and allows for almost six times more data storage than on a DVD.

8. Network Storage : Network storage is a generic term used to describe network-based data storage, but there are many technologies within it. Direct Attached Storage (DAS) is a storage device that is directly attached to a host system. The simplest example of DAS is the internal hard drive of a server computer, though storage devices housed in an external box come under this banner as well. DAS is still, by far, the most common method of storing data for computer systems.

9. Molecular Switches : Storing a bit in a single molecule is about as small as you can get. Certain molecules can be used to store data because they can be switched back and forth between two stable states that can represent the 1s and 0s of digital data. One of these is rotaxane, which contains a thin, thread- like section with a ring that moves freely around it. The ends of the thread section are thicker, preventing the ring from slipping off. Researchers have found ways to move the ring from one end of the thread to the other and the ring will stay where it is placed.

10. Nanotechnology, shortened to "Nanotech", is the study of the control of matter on an atomic and molecular scale. Generally nanotechnology deals with structures of the size 100 nanometers or smaller, and involves developing materials or devices within that size. Nanotechnology is very diverse, ranging from novel extensions of conventional device physics, to completely new approaches based upon molecular self-assembly, to developing new materials with dimensions on the nanoscale, even to speculation on whether we can directly control matter on the atomic scale. Breakthrough Nanotechnology Will Bring 100 Terabyte 3.5-inch Digital Data Storage Disks

11. Storage-specific operating system : Just as a computer operating system makes a computer usable, a storage-specific operating system will make storage devices and their associated networks operate in a usable manner. Powerful storage networking switches may provide the platform for the storage-specific operating system.Moving intelligence away from servers and storage systems into interconnected switches in the core of the network could solve interoperabliity problems that are inherent in heterogeneous enterprise environments and administration tools and allow complex infrastructures to be managed as a single, scalable entity.

12. Storage Virtualization: Virtualization improves storage manageability by separating the presentation of storage to the server operating system from the actual physical devices. Virtualization consists of taking several physical storage devices and joining them to appear as one logical unit to manage. This represents a collective pool from which users can request any amount of disk space. The users will thus be able to access storage without knowing where a device is, and how it is configured.

13. H.A.M.R : Heat-assisted magnetic recording ie HAMR is a technology that magnetically records data on high-stability media using laser thermal assistance to first heat the material. HAMR takes advantage of high-stability magnetic compounds such as iron platinum alloy. These materials can store single bits in a much smaller area without being limited by the same super paramagnetic effect that limits the current technology used in hard disk storage. The only catch being that they must be heated to apply the changes in magnetic orientation. HAMR was developed by Fujitsu in 2006 so that it could achieve one terabit per square inch densities.

14. R.A.I.D & M.A.I.D : RAID is an acronym to describe a Redundant Array of Inexpensive Disks, a technology that allowed computer users to achieve high levels of storage reliability from low-cost and less reliable PC-class disk-drive components, via the technique of arranging the devices into arrays for redundancy. On the other hand we have MAID, an acronym to describe Massive Array of Idle Disks ,a system using hundreds to thousands of hard drives for near-line data storage. MAID is designed for Write Once, Read Occasionally (WORO) applications. In a MAID each drive is only spun up on demand as needed to access the data stored on that drive. This is not unlike a very large JBOD but with power management.


Saturday, June 20, 2009

H.A.M.R : Storage Futurity

1. In the last 15 years of my interaction with various modes of storage medias right from the days of floppy drives,tape drives,CDs,DVDs and now Blue Ray's,we have all witnessed as to how the storage is shrinking and shrinking and shrinking...(reminds of the ascent of dharmender paaji saying daru peeing and peeing and peeing...from Sholay)...khair this is not the intented aim here.

2. A new buzz word in the future storage trends has come up in the name of H.A.M.R....briefed below.


3. Heat-assisted magnetic recording ie HAMR is a technology that magnetically records data on high-stability media using laser thermal assistance to first heat the material. HAMR takes advantage of high-stability magnetic compounds such as iron platinum alloy. These materials can store single bits in a much smaller area without being limited by the same superparamagnetic effect that limits the current technology used in hard disk storage. The only catch being that they must be heated to apply the changes in magnetic orientation. HAMR was developed by Fujitsu in 2006 so that it could achieve one terabit per square inch densities.

4. Seagate Technology said it had successfully demonstrated the principles behind HAMR, the name for the technology that could form the basis of Seagate's next-generation hard drives. The successful demonstration doesn't mean that the technology is right around the corner as the roadmap calls for HAMR to be introduced in about five or six years.

5. If the technology lives up to its promises, however, then HAMR could blow away the "superparamagnetic limit" by about a factor of 100, according to Seagate. The company hopes to read and write 50 terabits (6.25 terabytes) of data in a square inch using low-cost manufacturing techniques.

6. Thanks Wiki and Seagate for info.

Friday, June 12, 2009

My DIGIT Webinar

1. Digit,the IT magazine is presently celebrating its 8th Anniversary Carnival and has launched many events including webinars,daily online contests,workshops across the country.

2. I was part of one WEBINAR on Security of PC today.It was a first for me,although this would be a regular feature for most of my IT savvy friends The word makes the meaning of the term understandable ie a Seminar held on web.It included a presentation run by a Digit rep and about 25 invitees logged in to discuss on the several issues related.A screen shot just for info.


3. Overall a new thing and experience.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Google and Bing : Bade miyaaan Chotey Miyaan

1. Most of you must have come across a new search buzz known as BING launched by Microsoft.I have binged a few times but have recurred back to Google most of the times since it is a habit as on date.Although best wishes to BING....since the more these two fight..the better it is for us.

2. An interesting site that compares these two is http://www.bingandgoogle.com


3. This site would give the search results from both the sites on one page.Like wise MELIORATE ie mysite name appears on second and third number in GOOGLE and yet to find a place at BING.....

Sunday, June 07, 2009

PAPER BOOKS CONVERGE TO E-BOOKS : KINDLE DX


1. We have been hearing often in our offices, in the forums, in various visionary speeches from bosses about a paperless office. I heard this word for the first time in late 90's when the company I was working in, the CEO gave a mention about a paperless office. The word induced internal laughs amongst most of the audience of how is it possible?

2. Slowly over a period of time, now 10 years, the thing doesn't look inconceivable. To add to the various options available today in form of e-mails, web sites, mobiles etc.....the latest IN thing is KINDLE DX from Amazon. The gadget is shown in the pic inset.

3. Recently read about the same in the June issue of Digit. It also mentioned about how the biggest library of the world ie British Library is putting in lots of effort in digitizing books available presently on its shelves. It has put up four giant scanners, working for last 2 years with the help of a 21 MP camera clicking all the way while a robotic arm turns them.

4. The configuration of this KINDLE Dx is as follows :

- Slim: Just over 1/3 of an inch, as thin as most magazines

- Carry Your Library: Holds up to 3,500 books, periodicals, and documents

- Beautiful Large Display: 9.7" diagonal e-ink screen reads like real paper; boasts 16 shades of gray for clear text and sharp images

- Auto-Rotating Screen: Display auto-rotates from portrait to landscape as you turn the device so you can view full-width maps, graphs, tables, and Web pages

- Built-In PDF Reader: Native PDF support allows you to carry and read all of your personal and professional documents on the go

- Wireless: 3G wireless lets you download books right from your Kindle DX, anytime, anywhere; no monthly fees, no annual contracts, and no hunting for Wi-Fi hotspots

- Books In Under 60 Seconds: You get free wireless delivery of books in less than 60 seconds; no PC required

- Long Battery Life: Read for days without recharging

- Read-to-Me: With the text-to-speech feature, Kindle DX can read newspapers, magazines, blogs, and books out loud to you, unless the book's rights holder made the feature unavailable.

Saturday, June 06, 2009

Buy a Keyboard : Get a Computer


1. When you buy a computer,you buy a keyboard : LOGIC UNDERSTOOD.

2. When you buy a Keyboard,you get a computer : LOGIC NOT UNDERSTOOD.
3. Let me explain Para 2.Asus has come up with a EEE Keyboard which is actually a PC with a typical QWERTY keyboard,minus NUM PAD.In place of the numpad ,we get a 5 inch,800 x 400 resolution touch screen.


4. Keyboard is equipped with a Intel Atom Processor,16 GB SSD,1 GB Memory,VGA & HDMI OUTS,a few USB Ports and support for WiFi and Blue tooth.


5. Cost : Approx 24K to be launched in June 09 : INDIA

Friday, June 05, 2009

THE 'G' Family : 0G to 4G

1. The ‘G’ (0G,1G,2G,2.5G,2.75G,3G,4G) family that has now become, originally started with mobile telephone service MTS in the US in 1946 (ie 0G) followed by Analog Communication standards in 1980s(ie 1G). One of the largely used 1G based service in earlier 80s was NMT (Nordic Mobile Telephone) that was used in Nordic countries, Switzerland, Netherlands, Eastern Europe and Russia.

2. 2G (or 2-G) is short for second-generation wireless telephone technology and these were commercially launched on the GSM standard in Finland in early 90s. Three elemental benefits of 2G networks were :

(a) Phone conversations were digitally encrypted.

(b) More efficient on the spectrum allowing for far greater mobile phone penetration levels

(c) 2G introduced data services for mobile, starting with SMS text messages.

The main 2G standards are:

  • GSM (TDMA-based)
  • IS-95 aka cdmaOne , (CDMA-based, commonly referred as simply CDMA in the US
  • PDC (TDMA-based), used exclusively in Japan
  • iDEN (TDMA-based), proprietary network used by Nextel in the United States and Telus Mobility in Canada
  • IS-136 aka D-AMPS, (TDMA-based, commonly referred as simply TDMA in the US

3. 2.5G is considered to be a way between 2G & 3G cellular wireless technologies. The term "second and a half generation" is used to describe 2G-systems that have implemented a packet switched domain (Packet switching is a network communications method that groups all transmitted data, irrespective of content, type, or structure into suitably-sized blocks, called packets.) in addition to the circuit switched domain(a circuit switching network is one that establishes a circuit between nodes and terminals before the users may communicate, as if the nodes were physically connected with an electrical circuit.) This got famously known as GPRS and was able to provide data rates from 56 kbit/s up to 114 kbit/s.

4. 2.75G actually meant to refer the EDGE technology ie Enhanced Data rates for GSM Evolution, as the name suggests allows improved data transmission rates as an extension on top of standard GSM. EDGE can carry data speeds up to 236.8 kbit/s. There is also something known as evolved EDGE which is a further extension over EDGE wherein Peak bit-rates of up to 1Mbit/s and typical bit-rates of 400kbit/s are supported.

5. 3G is the third generation of telecommunication hardware standards and general technology for mobile networking, superseding 2.75G. This would be able to provide even higher transmission rates that would range from a minimum speed of 2Mbit/s to a maximum of 14.4Mbit/s for stationary users, and 348 kbit/s in a moving vehicle.

6. 4G is the short term for fourth-generation wireless, the stage of broadband mobile communications that will supplant the third generation (3G). While neither standards bodies nor carriers have concretely defined or agreed upon what exactly 4G will be, it is expected that end-to-end IP and high-quality streaming video will be among 4G's distinguishing features. Fourth generation networks are likely to use a combination of WiMAX and WiFi.

7. I was curious to know about all the G’s and have written in brief of what I have understood very clearly and read from Wiki and other good sources.Thanks Wiki again!

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

GSM vs CDMA & Open Market Handset

1. In recent times, another field that has been buzzing vibrantly apart from IT is the world of mobiles and tele-communications. I have somehow always endeavored to be updated on computers and IT…..but this field is also a very concerning field to dig and poke into.

2. So the first thing of interest to me was to know as to why in India, CDMA has not been such a huge success as in west.Why GSM has been given the lead in handsets. Why is it that a CDMA subscriber has a limited choice of handsets and a GSM subscriber has a variety to choose from? To be with stats, of the 376.12 million mobile subscriber base(ex INDIA only) only 97.77 million use CDMA network.(Pic Inset courtesy : www.mobiletor.com)

3. CDMA services were launched in the year 2002 in India with the sole intention of acquiring a sizeable subscriber base by allowing the customers to affordable devices with minimum features like color screen and FM Radio. In order to attain this aim,the OEMs then introduced handsets that could be used only with their networks. More distinctly I remember RELIANCE doing the brunt of the job. But that was in 2002.Over last seven years, the times have commuted, the customer’s desires have changed, the technology has changed, the psych of the intended customer has changed for better. He has become ready to shelve out some money for more features and why not? With the introduction of handsets like Nokia 5800,LG Cookie and Samsung Pixon, the customer is likely to be enticed!!!!!!!!!!!

4. Those customers who got into the CDMA tag over the years have had no problem with the services proffered, the price of the calls, all is OK except for the problem that they have to persist in with the same handset for so long as there is no choice in the CDMA segment. But not now……OEMs of the handsets have started coming up with new generation handsets which support both GSM and CDMA in one. The most common handset manufacturers that come first to mind include NOKIA,SAMSUNG,LG,VIRGIN,MOTOROLA and now more promising Indianised manufacturers include FLY,GEE PEE,X FONE,LEMON,MAGICON(I am certain u have heard none of them)

5. So the good thing about the CDMA subscribers is the introduction of OMH ie Open Market Handset started by the CDMA development group which is an international body comprising CDMA Operators, manufacturer’s and application providers. This body enables full boasted CDMA devices to be used in any OMH compliant operator network. Thus the Bandhan of constraining to one operator and OEM is no more rifer.