Archive for February, 2008

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HD-DVD confirmed dead

In the light of the recent events it seems like the bitter fight for the domination in the HD market has finally found its winner.

With six majors movie studios on its side, Blu-Ray won in the past weeks the wide support of various retailers such as Wal-Mart, BestBuy or movie distribution companies such as NetFlix.

According to the reports from the Japanese media and the major news agencies, Toshiba is expected any day now to announce its official withdrawal from the long-standing battle.

However, no official announcement has been made so far, but Toshiba issued a statement as the rumors are running rampant.

“The media reported that Toshiba will discontinue its HD-DVD business. Toshiba has not made any announcement concerning this. Although Toshiba is currently assessing its business strategies, no decision has been made at this moment,” said the Japanese company according to Next-Gen.

With or without an official announcement, Blu-Ray is already praised as the winning format.

The reasons behind Blu-Ray’s success are various and, besides a constant support form the movie studios, there are also some factors that have played in favor of Sony’s format.

While both formats, HD-DVD and Blu-Ray, offer a similar quality of the image (though with a slightly advantage for Blu-Ray which can deliver 48 Mbps, compared to 8 Mbps for DVD, 10 Mbps for HDTV broadcast and 36.55Mbps for HD-DVD), Blu-Ray provides full 1080p and has a storage capacity of 50 GB instead of the 30 GB promised by HD DVD.

The Blu-Ray format provides as many as 7.1 channels of native, uncompressed surround sound and it has won the support of the major movie studios by unveiling a better security in order to protect the movies, with technologies like AACS, ICT, BD+ and BD-ROM Mark.

Blu-Ray discs have the same physical size as the DVD, with a diameter of 120 mm, but the main difference resides in the disc structure.

By using a disc structure with a 0.1mm optical transmittance protection layer, the Blu-Ray disc diminishes aberration caused by disc tilt. This also allows for disc better readout and an increased recording density. The Blu-Ray disc’s tracking pitch is reduced to 0.32um, almost half of that of a regular DVD.

However, besides the technical details, another key factor in the success of the Blu-Ray standard was the PS3’s integrated unit.

While for the PS3 itself the Blu-Ray units was rather a disadvantage because of the repeated delays and the expensive initial price tag, thanks to its gaming console, Sony soon surpassed HD-DVD in terms of movies sold both in the US and in Europe.

What can we expect from now on? While for Toshiba and the early adopters of HD DVD, the Blu-Ray victory is definitely bad news, for the majority of consumers it could be a relief and it will speed up the migration to the high-definition entertainment.

As the battle was dragging on for years, no one rushed to fully adopt one format or another, but with a single format on the market, the dilemma has disappeared.

Also, it is very clear that by being the major winner, Sony will try to speed up the adoption of the Blu Ray format amongst consumers and we can expect price cuts for both players and discs.

But winning the battle with HD DVD does not mark the end of Blu Ray’s pains and aches. Sony must find an adequate strategy to cope with the growing competition from online movie services like iTunes, Movies Store or Amazon Unbox, whose success could transform the newly triumphant format in a secondary storage medium, with no impact on the enormous business that is the movie industry.

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Black holes in laboratory

Imagine being able to peek inside a black hole and even perform experiments there. It may not be as far-fetched as it sounds, thanks to a team which claims to have simulated a black hole’s event horizon in the lab.

Ulf Leonhardt at the University of St Andrews, UK, and his colleagues accomplished the feat by firing lasers down an optical fibre, exploiting the fact that different wavelengths of light move at different speeds within an optical fibre. They first shot a relatively slowmoving laser pulse through the fibre, and then sent a faster “probe wave” chasing after it. The first pulse distorts the optical properties of the fibre simply by travelling through it. This distortion forces the speedy probe wave to slow down dramatically when it catches up with the slower pulse and tries to move through it. In fact, the probe wave becomes trapped and can never overtake the pulse’s leading edge, which effectively becomes a black hole event horizon, beyond which light cannot escape.

This “laser black hole” could allow physicists to examine what happens to light on both sides of a event horizon – “a feat that is utterly impossible in astrophysics”, the authors note in their paper. Cosmologists have already worked out exactly how light should change frequency as it approaches an event horizon – from the outside or the inside of a black hole – and sure enough, the team observed exactly these shifts in their experiment. It should also be possible to use the artificial event horizon to help test whether anything can escape from a black hole. In the 1970s, Stephen Hawking predicted that hot black holes could radiate particles, dubbed Hawking radiation, but it’s tough to check this using telescopes, because they’d be swamped by noise. The team calculates that their laser black hole shares this property, and that it will “radiate” photons if it heats up to about 1000 °C. Ray Rivers at Imperial College London is impressed by the work’s potential to test astrophysical phenomena: “They’ve done some clever stuff to give us a chance of seeing Hawking radiation for the first time.” Leonhardt presented the results at the Cosmology Meets Condensed Matter meeting in London last month.

Author: Zeeya Merali

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Google Leet

Google Leet Talk

google leet talk

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What You can do with linux and not with Mac/windows

1. Upgrade to the newest version legally and without paying money
2. Have the latest version of the operating system run faster than the previous version on the same hardware
3. Easily install and run different graphical interfaces if I don’t like the default setup
4. Install twenty programs with one command
5. Have the system automatically update all my installed programs for me.
6. Install the same copy of my OS (Ubuntu) on multiple computers without worrying about license restrictions or activation keys
7. Give away copies of the operating system and other programs that run on it without breaking any laws, governmental or ethical or moral, because it was all intended to be used this way
8. Have full control over my computer hardware and know that there are no secret back doors in my software, put there by malicious software companies or governments
9. Run without using a virus scanner, adware/spyware protection, and not reboot my computer for months, even when I do keep up with all of the latest security updates
10. Run my computer without needing to defragment my hard drive, ever
11. Try out software, decide I don’t like it, uninstall it, and know that it didn’t leave little bits of stuff in a registry that can build up and slow down my machine
12. Make a major mistake that requires a complete reinstallation and be able to do it in less than an hour, because I put all of my data on a separate partition from the operating system and program files
13. Boot into a desktop with flash and effects as cool as Windows Vista on a three year old computer…in less than 40 seconds, including the time it takes me to type my username and password to login
14. Customize anything I want, legally, including my favorite programs. I can even track down the software developers to ask them questions, contribute ideas, and get involved in the actual design/software writing process if I want to
15. Have 4+ word processor windows open working on papers, listen to music, play with flashy desktop effects, have contact with a largely happy community and have firefox, instant messaging, and email clients all open at the same time, without ever having had to beg someone for a code to make my os work, and without the system running so slow it is useless
16. Use the command “dpkg –get-selections > pkg.list” to make a full, detailed list of all software I have installed, backup my /etc and /home directories on a separate partition, and you are able to recover your system any time, easily
17. Run multiple desktops simultaneously, or even allow multiple users to log in and use the computer simultaneously
18. Resize a hard disk partition without having to delete it and without losing the data on it
19. Use the same hardware for more than 5 years before it really needs to be replaced…I have some hardware that is nearly 10 years old, running Linux, and still useful
20. Browse the web while the OS is being installed!
21. Use almost any hardware and have a driver for it included with the operating system…eliminating the need to scour the internet to find the hardware manufacturer’s website to locate one
22. Get the source code for almost anything, including the OS kernel and most of my applications.

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Microsoft offers to acquire Yahoo for $44.6 billion

Microsoft Corp. Friday offered to acquire Yahoo Inc. for approximately 44.6 billion U.S. dollars. In a statement posted on its website, Microsoft said it has made a proposal to Yahoo’s Board of Directors to acquire all the outstanding shares of the search company’s common stock for 31 dollars a share.The offer represents a 62 percent premium above the closing price of Yahoo common stock on Thursday.

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Tips to optimize php code

  1. If a method can be static, declare it static. Speed improvement is by a factor of 4.
  2. echo is faster than print.
  3. Use echo’s multiple parameters instead of string concatenation.
  4. Set the maxvalue for your for-loops before and not in the loop.
  5. Unset your variables to free memory, especially large arrays.
  6. Avoid magic like __get, __set, __autoload
  7. require_once() is expensive
  8. Use full paths in includes and requires, less time spent on resolving the OS paths.
  9. If you need to find out the time when the script started executing, $_SERVER[’REQUEST_TIME’] is preferred to time()
  10. See if you can use strncasecmp, strpbrk and stripos instead of regex
  11. str_replace is faster than preg_replace, but strtr is faster than str_replace by a factor of 4
  12. If the function, such as string replacement function, accepts both arrays and single characters as arguments, and if your argument list is not too long, consider writing a few redundant replacement statements, passing one character at a time, instead of one line of code that accepts arrays as search and replace arguments.
  13. It’s better to use select statements than multi if, else if, statements.
  14. Error suppression with @ is very slow.
  15. Turn on apache’s mod_deflate
  16. Close your database connections when you’re done with them
  17. $row[’id’] is 7 times faster than $row[id]
  18. Error messages are expensive
  19. Do not use functions inside of for loop, such as for ($x=0; $x < count($array); $x) The count() function gets called each time.
  20. Incrementing a local variable in a method is the fastest. Nearly the same as calling a local variable in a function.
  21. Incrementing a global variable is 2 times slow than a local var.
  22. Incrementing an object property (eg. $this->prop++) is 3 times slower than a local variable.
  23. Incrementing an undefined local variable is 9-10 times slower than a pre-initialized one.
  24. Just declaring a global variable without using it in a function also slows things down (by about the same amount as incrementing a local var). PHP probably does a check to see if the global exists.
  25. Method invocation appears to be independent of the number of methods defined in the class because I added 10 more methods to the test class (before and after the test method) with no change in performance.
  26. Methods in derived classes run faster than ones defined in the base class.
  27. A function call with one parameter and an empty function body takes about the same time as doing 7-8 $localvar++ operations. A similar method call is of course about 15 $localvar++ operations.
  28. Surrounding your string by ‘ instead of ” will make things interpret a little faster since php looks for variables inside “…” but not inside ‘…’. Of course you can only do this when you don’t need to have variables in the string.
  29. When echoing strings it’s faster to separate them by comma instead of dot. Note: This only works with echo, which is a function that can take several strings as arguments.
  30. A PHP script will be served at least 2-10 times slower than a static HTML page by Apache. Try to use more static HTML pages and fewer scripts.
  31. Your PHP scripts are recompiled every time unless the scripts are cached. Install a PHP caching product to typically increase performance by 25-100% by removing compile times.
  32. Cache as much as possible. Use memcached – memcached is a high-performance memory object caching system intended to speed up dynamic web applications by alleviating database load. OP code caches are useful so that your script does not have to be compiled on every request
  33. When working with strings and you need to check that the string is either of a certain length you’d understandably would want to use the strlen() function. This function is pretty quick since it’s operation does not perform any calculation but merely return the already known length of a string available in the zval structure (internal C struct used to store variables in PHP). However because strlen() is a function it is still somewhat slow because the function call requires several operations such as lowercase & hashtable lookup followed by the execution of said function. In some instance you can improve the speed of your code by using an isset() trick.
  34. When incrementing or decrementing the value of the variable $i++ happens to be a tad slower then ++$i. This is something PHP specific and does not apply to other languages, so don’t go modifying your C or Java code thinking it’ll suddenly become faster, it won’t. ++$i happens to be faster in PHP because instead of 4 opcodes used for $i++ you only need 3. Post incrementation actually causes in the creation of a temporary var that is then incremented. While pre-incrementation increases the original value directly. This is one of the optimization that opcode optimized like Zend’s PHP optimizer. It is a still a good idea to keep in mind since not all opcode optimizers perform this optimization and there are plenty of ISPs and servers running without an opcode optimizer.
  35. Not everything has to be OOP, often it is too much overhead, each method and object call consumes a lot of memory.
  36. Do not implement every data structure as a class, arrays are useful, too
  37. Don’t split methods too much, think, which code you will really re-use
  38. You can always split the code of a method later, when needed
  39. Make use of the countless predefined functions
  40. If you have very time consuming functions in your code, consider writing them as C extensions
  41. Profile your code. A profiler shows you, which parts of your code consumes how many time. The Xdebug debugger already contains a profiler. Profiling shows you the bottlenecks in overview
  42. mod_gzip which is available as an Apache module compresses your data on the fly and can reduce the data to transfer up to 80%

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35 reasons to choose linux over windows



           Core OS Features:

  1. Linux doesn’t have the virus problems. Evenmicrosofts stevebalmer couldnt clean windows viruses . Still not convinced? . Its not that there aren’t any viruses for Linux but Linux is more secure and less virus prone.

  2. Linux Doesn’t need defragging. The Linux file systems work very efficiently such that it arranges data in a way that it doesn’t require defragging. to know more, read earlier post.

  3. Linux doesn’t crash without any apparent reasons.In Linux the core operating system (kernel) is separate from the GUl (X-Window) from the applications (, etc). So even if the application crashes, the core operating system is not affected. In Windows (Microsoft prefers to call this tight integration) if the Browser crashes, it can take down the entire operating system.

  4. Linux doesn’t require frequent re-installation. In Windows if the OS crashes, there is no easy way to recover this. Many IT support staff don’t know what to do and all they can do is re-install Windows. Which means that users applications and preferences are lost, and again needs to be installed. I haven’t seen anyone using Linux, requiring to re-install unless there is a hard drive failure. Most things in Linux can be fixed without requiring re-installation. The benefit of this is all the users preferences can be preserved even if the OS needs to be re-installed. This can be handled by creating a separate partition for the home directory.

  5. Linux doesn’t require frequent rebooting. Linux runs extremely stable, even if an application crashes, there is no need to reboot the whole system, just restart that application or service.

  6. Linux can read over a 100 different types of file systems.. Windows is limited to its own two file systems. Well most general users may not care about this but its extremely useful is you are working in a mixed environment or you need to extract some data from a hard drive formatted on another computer.

  7. You have the source code and the right to modify or fix things if you are a programmer. Many end users think this is not necessary but they will realize how important this is when their application vendor decides to discontinue support on a older version to promote a newer one.

  8. Linux can install in logical partition or a second (slave hard drive as well)Windows can only be installed in a primary partition.

  9. Linux is scalable right from the PDA/Cellphones to super computers.

  10. Linux is running mission critical applications including powering an aircraft.

  11. Linux has less bugs than commercial software, this is one of the main reasons for its stability.

  12. You can also share the software with your friends and its completely legal to do so. Didn’t your teacher tell you in kindergarten that you should share things with your friends? Linux and Open Source actually encourage that while if you do that in Windows its not only considered illegal but they will call you a pirate!

  13. Linux costs less, cause not only the OS is free but the applications are also free. Plus since Linux doesn’t have a virus problem, you also save on the recurring cost of Anti-Virus software. Note: You may still have to pay for support/training but the over all running cost is low.

  14. Both Linux and Windows has shell environment Windows (know as command prompt). The shell environments in Linux (such as bash) are more powerful and you can write entire programs using the scripting language. This is extremely useful to automate repetitive tasks such as backup.

  15. Linus can run from a CD or can be installed on the hard drive. Windows by default doesn’t have any such option. Using live CDs such as Knoppix, users can try out Linux by booting from the CD, without the need to install the operating system.

  16. Did you know that in Windows, there is built in back-door entry so US government can see you data as and when they like? Yes the US NSA has the key build into every copy of Windows. In Linux there is no such thing possible as the operating system is open source and can easily be detected and disabled.

  17. Linux has built in virtualization(XEN) so you can run multiple copies of Linux or other operating systems simultaneously.

  18. The Linux kernel comes shipped with an enormous load of hardware drivers. On Windows, a lot of hardware doesn’t work until you install the driver, this problem is worse with Vista. On Linux, a huge percentage of today’s common hardware works perfectly out-of-the-box.

  19. While both Linux and Windows have a GUI, Windows has only one default GUI. Linux is all about choice and has a option to use different type of GUIs or Window Managers as they are know as in Linux. Users can choose from something that looks like their favorite Operating System or they can choose something that’s simple and fast.

  20. Most Linux distributions come bundled with whole lot of applications such as Office Suite, Photo Editing, etc. You not only get the OS for free but you also don’t have to pay for the applications. Yes many of these open source applications such as also run on Windows but you need to find, download and install them where as there are available in most Linux distros by default.

  21. Expanding on the previous point, many Linux distributions bundle thousands of applications (6,000-10,000 depending on which one you choose) where as Windows doesn’t bundle basic applications such a decent text editor, oh yeah there is Notepad if you consider that decent. Point is spend the time in finding them, downloading them, installing them and then trying them out on Windows or just get them along with your Linux DVD.

  22. Linux bundles as the office suite which has built in capabilities to write documents/presentations as PDFs and Flash. Windows requires purchasing/downloading additional software.

  23. Mozilla Firefox browser bundled with Linux has excellent features such as blocking of unwanted ads/pop up and supports tab browsing which makes it easy to open another browser windows.

  24. Browsing is not only better but faster too! The networking on Linux is faster and the browser has an option to block all the unwanted ads/pop up, there by saving on bandwidth considerably. .

  25. Linux has games too! there are some really nice games which many of the Linux distributions bundle. You may not have all the games in the world but you definitely have a huge collection of free games.

  26. Gaim/Kopete popular IM clients on Linux are single clients that can connect to all the protocols – Yahoo, MSN, Jabber, ICQ, AOL and more. Gaim is also available for Windows for people who are still using Windows.

  27. Cut and paste is simpler, just select and middle click on the target window and your data gets pasted. Its far quicker and easier than the way Windows does Cut and Paste. Ofcourse the Windows CTRL-C/CTRL-V still works on Linux for people who are still new.

  28. Easy to setup a Media Center like PC. You don’t need to purchase additional software or re-install a different operating system.

  29. Linux already has a usable 3D Desktop – XGL. This makes it easy to switch and view multiple desktops simultaneously.

  30. Multiple cut and pastes. Klipper application (default under KDE) maintains a history of your clipboard and you can use it to paste text/etc which you had cut/copied earlier.

  31. Graphic view of how much space your data is using. In Konqueror File Manager tool bar, there is an option to get file size view which gives you a graphical view of how much space your directories and the files within are consuming. This is an excellent way to know where all your disk space has disappeared and makes cleanup easy.

  32. Server Side features:

  33. Linux has bundled Databases such as MySQL and PostgreSQL which are extremely powerful and used in production environments. Customer doesn’t need to purchase expensive databases.

  34. Linux is been used for super computing cluster, most of top super computers in the World use Linux. Windows just can’t scale to that level.

  35. File system scalability, while NTFS file system can scale upto 16TB, XFS on Linux can scale upto a million TB! yes that bigger than what you would ever need.

  36. Processor scalability: Linux can scale to 1024 processors on a single computer! Windows can’t even claim to come anywhere near that number.

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