Leaked: First Office 14 screenshots

February 7, 2009

It didn’t take long this time, either. Earlier this week, testers received alpha builds of Office 14, the codename for the successor to Office 2007. A reader wrote in to tell us that a tester from Russian site wzor.net has now leaked the screenshots of the applications included in the productivity suite.

While he didn’t screenshot every application individually, we do now know that the list includes: Access 14, Excel 14, Groove 14, InfoPath Designer 14, InfoPath Filler 14, InterConnect 14, OneNote 14, Outlook 14, PowerPoint 14, Project 14, Publisher 14, SharePoint Designer 14, Visio 14, and Word 14. Without further ado, here they are:

I’ve been told that the beta of Office 14 will start in May, and the final version is slated for the end of the year. The alpha is reportedly running with good stability, all things considered. Redmond is expected to provide official release details for Office 14 next quarter.


Windows 7: To be launched in 6 versions with a beta release in Hindi

February 5, 2009

The speculations are rife that Microsoft latest upcoming operating system windows 7 would be launched in 6 different versions.

The company in order to avoid clash of versions would heavily promote only two versions i.e primary version for consumers which will be called Windows 7 Home Premium, and the one for businesses which will be called Windows 7 Professional.

Versions to be launched:

Windows 7 Home Premium:: main promoted version for home users.

Windows 7 Professional:: main promoted version for business and professionals.

Home Basic :: It would mainly be used as OEM VERSION.

Starter edition:The Starter edition is intended for sale in developing countries

There would also be a Top-end Enterprise version for big corporate customers and a similar Ultimate version for consumers. Those versions will include security features and a few other tools not available in the two main versions.
Does game of plenty work?

* Microsoft first encounter with multi-tiered versions of their product started with windows xp which was launched in versions like home, professional, media centre edition etc…this practice of launching plenty of versions in the market seemed to have paid during xp time but was not so successful during the time of vista launch.
* This multi-tiered approach results into a increase in use of pirated operating systems in emerging markets and the reason being that people believe that the core or simple version may not be enough for their work and higher version being unaffordable they go for piracy route.
* It make cumbersome for people to decide which version to go for their use.

Why does Microsoft play this game:

* The main reason for launching multiple versions with different functionality is to remove price barriers and make it more accessible to buyers.
* This again helps in fueling the volume growth or the sales growth for the company.
* The company is able to leverage the brand Rep of its flagship operating system to sell different versions of it which again does not put too much load on advertising budget.

Microsoft has also said in a statement that changes to the way it communicates about Windows 7 should `make these choices as simple and clear as possible for customers and partners.”
Microsoft launches windows 7 beta in Hindi:

* Microsoft has announced that it has launched windows 7 in Hindi.

* The new initiatives is again followed by launch of Language Interface Packs (LIPs) in 12 Indian languages for MS Office and Windows.

* The company has also announced a total of 45 additional virtual keyboards for these languages.

According to the company,”This would facilitate company to overcome the language barrier to computing,and has showcased a variety of custom made products directed specifically at the vernacular language market – a market that has been largely left untapped till now.”

If you want to download windows 7 beta in Hindi just go here and click Hindi in the dropdown box.

End note:

This could be followed by full fledge launches of future releases from the company in Hindi and other vernacular languages and in turn suggests that Microsoft is waking up to seriously notice the requirements of emerging markets which could provide it the next big opportunity looking at capping of I.T budgets in its prime markets.

This could further imply good news for PC and Internet penetration in India as it would finally see a robust growth due to breaking of language barriers.

Google: Every site on the Web is harmful

February 1, 2009

Did you try to get from Point A to Point B on the Web via everyone’s favorite search engine this morning? How’d that work out for you?

For about 30 minutes this morning, starting shortly before 9 a.m., all search results in Google were marked as harmful. Each result included the line, “This site may harm your computer.”

What’s worse, when you tried to click on a link, you were blocked from actually going to the site.

The only way to continue to the site was to manually copy the URL from the text and paste it into the browser.

That basically rendered Google unusable. I think this was a good morning for Yahoo and Windows Live Search.

It appears to be fixed now. It was obviously some kind of glitch, but it was a nasty one.

Update: Matt Cutts, who heads up Google’s webspam team, says via Twitter the problem was indeed on Google’s end, and that a blog post about it is forthcoming. I suspect it will appear in Google’s main blog.

Update 2.0: Google has posted an explanation on its blog.

What happened? Very simply, human error. Google flags search results with the message “This site may harm your computer” if the site is known to install malicious software in the background or otherwise surreptitiously. We do this to protect our users against visiting sites that could harm their computers. We work with a non-profit called StopBadware.org to get our list of URLs. StopBadware carefully researches each consumer complaint to decide fairly whether that URL belongs on the list. Since each case needs to be individually researched, this list is maintained by humans, not algorithms.

We periodically receive updates to that list and received one such update to release on the site this morning. Unfortunately (and here’s the human error), the URL of ‘/’ was mistakenly checked in as a value to the file and ‘/’ expands to all URLs. Fortunately, our on-call site reliability team found the problem quickly and reverted the file. Since we push these updates in a staggered and rolling fashion, the errors began appearing between 6:27 a.m. and 6:40 a.m. and began disappearing between 7:10 and 7:25 a.m., so the duration of the problem for any particular user was approximately 40 minutes.

AMD Phenom II X4 Set New 3DMark05 World Record

February 1, 2009

Amd phenom X4 logoAMD team has successfully overclocked AMD Phenom II to 6.5GHz from its original 3.0GHz, and subsequently set the new world record of 45,474 for 3DMark05 benchmarking. This new world record was set in recent Consumer Electronics Show on January 10, 2009. On top of the new world record, this extreme text also broke a few incredible “first-ever” records :-

* First Quad Core x86 processor to break 6.5GHz processing speed
* Running below extreme temperature at -230 Celcious!

This incredible overclocked speed at 6.5GHz can only be achieved by using liquid helium, which is even colder than the conventional liquid nitrogen for extreme overclocking. Liquid helium is known to be colder than the vacuum of space in the universe.
amd phenom II X4

Usually, a processor will exhibit a “cold bug”, a situation where the processor stops working, under certain extreme temperature. Even the latest Intel Core
i7 won’t perform below -100 degree Celcious. AMD Phenom II didn’t even break the barrier but set a new world record as well!

When technology turns into a nightmare

September 30, 2008

I always thought technology was our slave, since it is meant to make life easier. But is that really so? Most modern-day technologies continue to be a vast grey area most of us struggle to understand and adapt. Let me explain this with a nightmare I had last night.

Yesterday was one of those days when I had to travel a lot within Delhi. I got back home late in the evening and checked my e-mail before going off to sleep. Since I was very tired, I placed my laptop on the bedside table and forgot all about switching off the modem and the wireless router.

And all night, I dreamt of the Indian Mujahideen. A team of these terrorists (in my dream, of course) were out in a car, looking for wireless networks they could hack into. And in my dream (I will repeat that phrase, so that you don’t think otherwise), they stopped right outside my doorstep, to send some terror e-mail messages.

For those who may not be familiar with the Indian Mujahideen–this is (supposedly) a terrorist outfit that claimed responsibility for the blasts last week in two cities of India–Bangalore and Ahmedabad.

Let me take you back to my dream…well, those terrorists kept trying to break into my IP address. But thankfully, it was (and is) secure (when one is covering IT for a news site like this one, this is the least you could expect). In the meantime, I was busy building my case (well yes, in my dream)–and going through what I must tell the police if they trace the terror e-mail back to me; how will I prove my innocence blah, blah. I even had the urge to get up and switch off the modem and foil their evil plans, but didn’t. Perhaps, I was too sleepy and tired (even in my dream).

I woke up only to realize how this nightmare is a modern-day reality. People often don’t bother securing their wireless Internet networks. Some of us are also very careless when it comes to passwords and other security details. Many of us are completely unaware of ways to mitigate risks of fraud, even though we may be getting smarter at dealing with menaces like spam and phishing. What’s worse, fraudsters possess all kinds of software that can break into even the most secure Web sites and networks.

Innocent users of technology have no idea what they may be getting into–whether it is the security risks or the health risks that come with gadgets like mobile phones, laptops and Wi-Fi networks. Last night’s nightmare also revealed another threat–technology’s impact on our minds.

While our generation is drawing tremendous benefits from technology, it is still rather alien to us. We don’t understand it. These crazy nightmares remind us that we live the danger of becoming a slave of technology (and not visa-versa). That is, if it hasn’t enslaved us already.

Five reasons to start a SOA technology company now

September 28, 2008

I know, the economy is rough these days. Myself, I’m unwilling to look at my mutual funds until we’re through this. However, when times are tough, markets normalize, and while the stock holders and venture capitalists out there are crying in their beers, now could be a great time to start something new for those innovative and resourceful few.

Here are five reasons why you should start a SOA technology company now:

1. The competition is down. Many SOA technology companies have be acquired by the big guys, and the ones remaining seem to be lacking focus and innovation — and perhaps funding — these days. Now is a time to start something new and out innovate both the behemoths and the old maids. There are plenty of good ideas left, trust me.
2. You can do more with less. The days of needing $10 million minimum to make any sort of impact in the market are long past. Today, virtual companies, cloud computing, and the other cost-effective tools make it possible to start and run a company at a fraction of the burn of just a few years ago. There are many examples of these types of companies in the Web 2.0 space, but not many in the SOA space.
3. There are many core SOA problems that are left to be solved. Not to get into any specifics here, but as SOA moves from the experimentation to the production stages, clearly there are a number of solutions that have yet to be developed to address many of the needs of the SOA practitioners out there. Not sure why they were missed, but they indeed were missed. We can call these “second-generation SOA solutions.”
4. The merging of the Web and SOA has just begun. The whole WOA space is emerging quickly, and you can really just call it what it is, extending SOA beyond the firewall, or the Global SOA. While we’ve been writing and speaking at lot about this, there are many opportunities to capitalized on emerging solutions.
5. We know more than we did 5 years ago. Years ago when the SOA startups began to emerge, they leveraged an early understanding of the concepts of SOA. Today, we have a much improved understanding as to what works, what does not, and what was just meaningless hype. Knowledge, context, and innovation is a huge strategic advantage. Especially if you’re not hindered by a product that seemed like a good idea years ago, but not so much these days.

Tech innovation for rent, anyone?

September 27, 2008

Business ideas are a dime a dozen, but great killer-app ideas are always hard to come by.

I’ve often wondered how those guys sitting in research and development labs are able to churn new ideas on a daily basis, whether it involves drawing up a new mobile phone design or building the next business app.

After a while, won’t the ideas run dry, especially if it’s the same jaded R&D team that’s responsible for creating new products and technologies day-in day-out?

It must help then if tech companies that rely on innovation and creativity as a key business strategy, have the funds to maintain huge and diverse R&D teams–as the saying goes, two heads are better than one.

Technology researchers and scientists at a symposium three years ago voiced their concerns that the U.S. was slipping behind the rest of the world in the realm of technological innovation, because less funds were being set aside for long-term research work. Leonard Kleinrock, a university professor had said bluntly: “I think we are in trouble. Years ago, people took a long-range view to research. There was high-risk research with the potential for big payoffs. That’s no longer the case.”

It does seem that money is the best catalyst for innovation. This week, Google said it’ll fork out up to US$10 million for fresh new ideas that it thinks would have beneficial impact on people’s lives.

Dubbed Project 10^100, the initiative will seek feedback from the public and a panel of judges to select up to five winning ideas, which will be unveiled in February. “These ideas can be big or small, technology-driven or brilliantly simple–but they need to have impact,” Google said in a media statement.

This new post-Internet era has spawned an environment that has never been seen before, one that the search giant describes where “so many people have so much information, so many tools at their disposal [and] so many ways of making good ideas come to life”.

Google’s right, of course.

In fact, the Web-connected world today is actually an R&D lab…so why aren’t more businesses tapping on this?

If you think about it, it’s almost like outsourcing or leasing tech innovation. Tech companies can create a virtual R&D facility where there’s just one research head but no full-time engineers. Instead, an outsourced R&D service provider will churn business ideas for the tech company, and only business ideas that are selected, developed and commercialized will be paid for–just like outsourced IT services.

Yes, there will be some key concerns in this R&D model that similar to those businesses once had about outsourcing–specifically, worries over technology ownership and security. This is especially pertinent in R&D work because tech companies will want to safeguard their intellectual property, and outsourcing their research could put this at risk.

But, there should be ways to work around it–for example, through stringent service level agreements and tighter IP control–just like how IT services providers eventually helped enterprises work through their concerns about outsourcing. And to further allay any initial doubts, tech companies can start by outsourcing small R&D projects and using these as a platform to iron out any teething problems or concerns.

The world’s a fully-functional research facility, one that has the potential to offer ideas with strong business viability–and Asia could very well be a good place to start looking