MSN Messenger 7.5 Reviewed

Microsoft has just started offering beta testing of its newest version of MSN Messenger to a select few from its Connect service .. But as happens with all beta software, this version was also leaked .. So to follow the tradition, I got my hands on one too … And here is the review of the brand new Messenger…

Whats New in Messenger 7.5 :

  • First thing that you will notice after installing it is the redesigned Login interface ..
    New Login Interface
    Enabling the Remember Me will show the user’s Display Picture … The remember password option is seperated from remembering username (Remember Me) … There is a combo box that let the user login as “Appear Offline” though you will have to change your status to Online if you want to start conversation with someone ..

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Images of London Bombers

The Britain Police have release a CCTV images of London suicide bombers ..
London Suicide bombers. Click to enlarge
The images are of Hasib Hussain, Germaine Lindsay (dark cap), Mohammad Sidique Khan (light cap) and Shehzad Tanweer. This picture was taken on Luton on Thursday … It is thought Hussain was responsible for the bus bombing, in which 13 people died, Khan the Edgware Road blast that killed six people; Tanweer for the Aldgate blast, which killed six, and Lindsay for the Russell Square explosion where 26 people were killed. …
      Well … Looking at them, nobody can guess what explosive thoughts were in their mind .. They just look like normal people who we are used to see around us .. And yet what hell was burning in their hearts no one could’ve guessed .. The food for thought is how did they radically changed to such fanatics ..?…
      I wish they never had done this .. I wish they’d given second thoughts .. After all the Merciful Almighty too wont forgive them for killing innocent people .. I don’t see them in heaven .. if they did it for heaven ..

Image source and courtesy

Recommendations for amendments to IT Act 2000

While taking classes for Ecommerce, I read the Information Technology Act 2000 of India. It was a nice first step to recognize and support electronic commerce and ebusiness for Govt. of India .. But with the recent developments in IT field, the Act is missing some points. .. I try to point out those and I believe that these should be heard ..
A disclaimer : I am not a lawyer so I cant argue on legal fine points..

Conception :
The President of India signed and approved the Information Technology Act (IT Act) on 9 June 2000. It’s a fine piece of legilslation which recognize digital signature and ebusiness.. It also supports e governance. But many things have changed since then and it is needed to accommodate those changes in the IT Act.. These are some of my humble findings :..

Expansion scope :
      With the technology and communication boom, the mobile phones have quickly made their presence inevitable in today’s life. While the IT Act ‘s definition of computers can accommodate mobile phones too, but I still think making explicit declaration of mobile phones and handhelds to be covered under this act will be fine. .. So the offences involving mobile phones be also covered under this act… So if any case happens like Paris Hilton’s cellphone hack, it could also be covered with this act. ..

The need for Anti Spam policies :
      With email and sms becoming such popular, unsolicited mails and sms have also grown rapidly .. We should make an anti spam law apropos CanSpam Act which will ensure that these unsolicited mails or sms are dealt with .. There should be a national “Do not email” and “Do not call” registry and the address listed there shouldn’t be sent spam emails or sms …

The need for Privacy policies :
      With camera phones becoming more common, events like Kareena & Shahid kissing video mms will increase too .. Now without getting into voyeurism debate, I would like to point out the digital aspect of the problem. Any information can be distributed or shared over the Internet without the concerned parties being unknown… More people downloaded the clip from Mid Day website than people who read that particular issue of the tabloid… This was a complete breach of privacy and a new Privacy Act should be devised.. It should also cover digital privacy so that the netizens can have the right to control their personal data — who uses them and how ..

Continue reading Recommendations for amendments to IT Act 2000

Will changed rules help Cricket …?

Its all happening .. The ICC Chief Executive Committee approved the recommendations made by ICC’s Cricket Committe to bring new innovations to the quicker form of Cricket .. The One Day International (ODI) will now have different format of fielding restrictions and there is a new feature of player substitution in the approved changes ..

A Brief Summation of changes :

  • 12 Players now:
          The teams will be selected with 12 players instead of 11 players previously. One substitution can be made at any time of the match and any player could be replaced with another. The replaced player will be ruled out of the game and the new player will take his responsibilities .. This will change the whole course of the game .. Now India can bowl with Zaheer Khan and then replace him with Sachin in the batting inning .. along with having and extra player ..
  • Field Restrictions increased:
          The fielding restrictions will now be of 20 overs instead of 15 overs previously .. It will be applied in three slots: The first 10 overs will be mandatory plus two additional slots of five overs each which will be decided by the fielding captain on when to apply them ..
  • The specifications of the Cricket Bat:
          The ICC will create an expert panel group to work with Cricket bat manufacturers to review the existing rules governing manufacturer of cricket bats …

Continue reading Will changed rules help Cricket …?

Free CDs to support Open Source movement from Indian Govt

The Technology Development for Indian Languages started distributing free software tools and fonts in Hindi on June 20th. Earlier in April they started providing Tamil language tools on the cd . This CD contains open source alternatives softwares in localized language like BharateeyaOO.o (Office suite in Indian Languages, based on OpenOffice.org ) , Columba Email Client , FireFox browser, GAIM , Unicode compliant fonts and keyboard drivers et al … This cd is available for public freely upon registration. ..

      This move of the government seems to me inspired by Brazil’s earlier initiative PC Conectado to make the use of computers and Internet cheaper for the masses .. Brazil govt realised that to become such program feasible, it had to be Open Source .. The IT Minister of India, Dayanidhi Maran also declared in his Ten Points Agenda that he will put stress on Language computing as well as Internet connectivity in his policy .. All the points look pretty attractive and if he is really serious about it then we will soon get many new advances ..

      Now back to the CD .. It has most often used softwares like an office package, browser, email client and instant messenger but it lacks an operating system .. If the government is really serious about bringing the computers to common masses, it should also realise that most people cant afford to spend on softwares too .. This is the main point why piracy is so much on rise here .. If the CDAC can provide a localized version of Linux for India then I am sure it will be a huge success …

      Along with this government should introduce Linux as a part of computer courses in schools and colleges .. Most students graduate out of college knowing only Windows and related technologies and if they are taught about Linux right from the start, I am sure they will feel more comfortable with it and Open Source will strengthen more here …

      PS: I learnt that TDIL will also look forward for distributing these cds along with computer magazines .. So I am contacting Raaabo if he can get it with next issue of Digit ..

The Abolition of Entrance Tests — Boon or Bane ..?

Umm.. A Sunday looks good after a hectic week .. I aint getting much time these days as I am doing this lecturership .. Anyways .. Here we go ..

The recent announcement of doing away with Common Entrance tests for admission in Professional Courses by Tamil Nadu has rose many questions .. According to the new system, the admissions in professional courses will be made solely on the basis of performance in Plus Two exams and reservation system ..

Who will benefit ..?
   According to Ms Jayalalitha, it is aimed at benefitting students from rural areas. .. As the students from rural areas are unable to attend coaching classes which are specifically focussed on entrance exams, it will play as a levelling system .. Also as now students will have to concentrate only on their exams only, it will reduce the stress from both the students and their parents …

What can be the problems ..?
   The first thing that comes to mind is what will they do when there are many students with same marks ..? How will they decide the gradings then ..? Another problem is with CBSE students.. as the CBSE and local board have different systems, there must be a system that will correlate the performance of CBSE students with local board students ..
   Earlier students used to take a year drop for preparing for entrance exams but as now there will be no entrance exams, the students will have get only one chance in their board exams as there will be no grade improvement exams ..

So ..? Will it help or make the system worse ..?
   Umm… As most of the problems that arise are related to grading system, it will need immediate improvements .. When the student’s apprehension are removed, most of the people will consider the system favorably .. I myself liked the idea .. Cauz these entrance exams make students so much stressful .. Their concentration is diverted between board exams and entrance exams .. And entrance coaching centers have grown like mushrooms who have made this their business .. When there will be no entrance exams, the students will concentrate on their school syllabus .. This is the main point of the system .. What are we encouraging ..? These coaching centres teaches “tricks” to solve the questions in less time .. Most of the time, they focus only on sections of syllabus that are considered “scoring” .. This results in students who knows 100 formulas but dont know the basics of the subjects .. Getting rid of entrance exams will surely help in students taking more interest in the curriculam studies .. But there should be grading improvement exams too .. When you are putting so much on one exam, there can be chances when some unfortunate thing happen and student not performing well in the exam .. So it will be a lost chance for him .. If there will be grading improvement then they can try again …

I hope more States follow the lead and accept this system .. It will help reduce the stress burden from both students and their parents .. And it will give more credit to school exams too ..