Monday, September 24, 2007

Making your way into the corporate branding?

Are you making your way into the corporate branding? If yes, then after market research, you must have observed the exceptional growth in the industry. Almost each and every market is overpopulated making it very difficult to be noticed uniquely. Plus, the evolution of internet has made this a global phenomenon.

Every businessman is now aware of the fact that how important it actually is to maintain a unique position in the market. And the best way to achieve this is by the implementation of a strong Corporate Branding Strategy. A powerful corporate branding has quite a lot of benefits. Some of which are:
  • It is cost effective.
  • Very effective as compared to the product-based marketing.
  • Depicts what a corporation aims at doing & for what it wants to be know.
  • Portrays aims, objectives, image & vision among many more dimensions.
So, now when you have realized that how important it actually is to have Corporate Branding , you must be thinking of some nice branding agency that can deliver you long term affects. I would recommend Brand Identity guru for the purpose.It is a leading Branding agency and market research firm located in Boston .It has a dynamic platform, which promises to deliver the best and maximum to you. The professionals there are very promising and they can exactly shape the image of your business the way you want.

So just give their page a visit and you will know the importance of corporate branding and they might accelerate your business like anything. Good Luck with your efforts:)

[This is a sponsored post]

Sunday, September 23, 2007

25 Gadgets That Actually Save Money

I admit it: I’m a gadget addict. I like little devices that do neat things. At the same time, I also like to save money. What is a poor modern man to do with these two conflicting interests?

Simple. I buy gadgets that can pay for themselves (and even see a bit of return) over the long haul. This usually means I look for energy-efficient gadgets, but it also means that I try to evaluate things in terms of whether or not they can potentially return money to me. What’s nice is that many of these gadgets that save me money in the long run make a great deal of environmental sense as well.

Here’s a list of twenty five neat items I’ve found that can save a lot of money, along with their cost and the amount of time that it will take before their extra cost is paid for by their utility. Since they’re gizmos, they make for great gift ideas, plus you can use the argument that “this will save money” when suggesting the purchase of one of these items to your significant other. In fact, I actually started this list as justification to my wife for a few items I wanted to buy for myself.

1.Filtered water bottle
Price: $39.95 + $32.95 cartridge refills
Time Until Break Even: 180 days of daily use

If you drink a bottle of water each day (as you should), but you buy bottled water instead of drinking tap water, you can pay for this nifty device in half a year. You can fill it from any tap and the internal filtering device will clean the water for you, eliminating viruses and bacteria. Thus, each day you use this bottle, you pay off a little more.

2.Battery charger
Price: $17.95
Time Until Break Even: How many kids do you have?

My son has a bevy of toys that just gobble batteries. It seems like every day I’m dropping more and more batteries into these devices. Thankfully, a battery recharger can trim the costs down really quick. Just take your Rayovac AAs, toss them in this, plug it in, and they’re good to go again. It’s absolutely perfect for parents that have children with lots of battery-powered toys.

3.Smart "Power strips"
Price: $34.95
Time Until Break Even: 60 days

If you use a desktop computer at home, it won’t take long until this device is a money saver for you. Simply plug in your main unit into the control outlet and all of your other peripherals (monitor, printer, speakers, etc.) into the other outlets. Whenever you power on your computer, the other devices power on; whenever you power off your computer, the others power off. Even better, it actually functions as a switch, so when your main unit powers off, there is no phantom “standby” electricity being drawn to the other peripherals. Not only will you save money on the powered-down peripherals, but you’ll save money from the lack of phantom charge.

Price: $47.99
Time Until Break Even: 6-12 months

A quality blender (like the one above) can save tons of money if you use it regularly. You can switch to grinding your own herbs, spices, coffee beans, and so on. A regular kitchen user can make back the price on herbs alone if they buy fresh herbs and grind them in the blender for long-term storage. Plus it’s invaluable for making drinks at home when you have guests, which ends up being much cheaper than a night out on the town. Get a good one, though, so it will chop and cut what you want.

5. Electricity Usage Monitor
Price: $24.99
Time Until Break Even: 3 years

With this device, you can see how much of a phantom load your powered-down electrical devices are still pulling through the wall outlet. If you discover devices that are pulling a significant load, unplugging them (or using an appropriate device to stop the drain) will save you money over time. This device is also useful for figuring out how much power various home devices are draining and, with some quick calculations, exactly how much it’s costing you.

6. Flash Drive
Price: $17.95
Time Until Break Even: 1 month

I find countless uses for my flash drive, the best of which is for an emergency backup of key files. A flash drive has saved my cookie during hardware crashes and it has also saved a lot of money in terms of burning CDs for software installation packages off the network. In short, it’s invaluable.

7. High End Solar Calculator
Price: $10.99
Time Until Break Even: 2 years

I like to keep one of these in my pocket for doing calculations at the grocery store. Which package is the better deal per unit? It’s always a good idea to figure this out before blindly making a purchase at the store. Plus, with a solar calculator, you don’t ever have to worry about batteries or anything else - just keep using it.

8. Efficient Power Supply
Price: $81.00
Time Until Break Even: 1 year

A high-efficiency power supply not only protects you from electrical faults, it also ensures that your devices drain electricity at the minimum rate, which means your power bills go down. If your home has any sort of questionable power distribution, this device is essential for protecting your electronic equipment, but even if you have normal power, you can save money with this gadget because of the power drain that it reduces.

9. Compact Fluorescent Light Bulbs
Price: $1.79
Time Until Break Even: 4 months

CFLs can easily save $100 a year, plus they look a lot cooler than ordinary bulbs. The simple fact of the matter is that by merely replacing a regular bulb with a CFL, you’ll save about a dollar per bulb every two months or so.

10. Efficient Shower Heads
Price: $15.99
Time Until Break Even: 10 months

High efficiency showerheads save money by reducing the amount of water that needs to flow through your hot water heater. An average American household can save as much as 15,000 gallons of water per year by installing high-efficiency shower heads. Even better: that’s 15,000 gallons of hot water that your heater doesn’t have to heat, cutting down on your energy costs as well.

11. Fuel-Efficient Scooter
Price: $4,200
Time Until Break Even: 4 years

A high-efficiency scooter is perfect for people who have a relatively short work commute that’s just a bit too far to walk every day. Leave that car in the garage and travel on a scooter. Plus, you can scoot around town and quickly run errands on this thing. Of course, a bicycle is even less expensive, but scooters are much faster and won’t leave you sweaty when you arrive.

12. Solar Outdoor Lighting
Price: $12.95
Time Until Break Even: 180 evenings

This is a great choice if you want to light your yard and patio in the evening but don’t want to spend on electricity all the time. Solar powered outdoor lighting will provide adequate lighting for much of the night after recharging themselves during the day. Their design incorporates solar panels, a nice geek factor, and they can provide wonderful low light in the evening, perfect for a nice ambience.

13. Dance Dance Revolution
Price: $200
Time Until Break Even: 8 months ($25/month gym fees)

If you use the gym for a cardio workout, cancel your gym membership and get a home video game system, DDR, and a good quality dance pad. The game itself provides all the motivation you need, plus you have to be in pretty good shape in order to play the game for extended periods. I lost about 20 pounds playing DDR instead of going to the gym once upon a time.

14. Self-Cleaning Electric Shaver
Price: $169.13
Time Until Break Even: 8 months of daily shaving

A top-quality self-cleaning rechargeable electric shaver saves significant money for each shaving over disposable razors and shaving cream. Although there are still upkeep costs (recharging, a rare replacement of the blades, and facial wash), the costs are much less than what you’ll incur with shaving cream and blades. Plus, you get the unbridled joy of owning a new gadget.

15. Espresso / Cappuccino Machine
Price: $200
Time Until Break Even: 80 visits to a coffee shop

Do you stop by Starbucks each day to pick up a fresh cup on your way to work? If you invest in a decent cappuccino / espresso maker, those visits can go right out the door; you can make it at home and it tastes at least as good as the stuff at the shops, especially chain ones like Starbucks where they have the “process” down to an art form. Plus, once you get used to using it, you can experiment a lot with different beans and grindings and make some truly sublime homemade coffees.

16. Programmable Thermostat
Price: $39.99
Time Until Break Even: 6 months

If you have central air conditioning, you need programmable thermostats. They provide very precise temperature control and can be programmed to automatically lower your air conditioning and/or heat use while you’re not home. Just program it and forget about it; it will automatically adjust things for you so that you aren’t wasting electricity and money.

17. Coin Sorter
Price: $95.99
Time Until Break Even: 2 years

Most banks will no longer count change for you, but they will accept pre-rolled coins as deposits. CoinStar, on the other hand, will cash out change for you, but they have a 10% surcharge. Why not just sort and roll them yourself? Keep this device on the dresser, dump in your pocket change each night, change the rolls in and out (the device comes with a bunch of coin rolls), and when you go to the bank, take in a bunch of coin rolls and deposit them. Over time, the device pays for itself over the amount you would lose using CoinStar.

18. Efficient Space Heater
Price: $19.95
Time Until Break Even: One cold winter

Small, efficient space heaters can save a lot of money because they allow you to not have to spend lots of extra energy keeping some rooms heated (such as the bathroom). Instead, just put in a space heater and turn it on when you take a shower. It’s substantially cheaper than keeping that spare room heated. Plus, you can use them when working in the basement or other rooms that you don’t bother to heat, or in the bedroom at night if you lower the house heat during the nighttime hours.

19. Solar Christmas Lights
Price: $59.95
Time Until Break Even: 2 Christmas seasons

Instead of buying strands of electric lights for outdoor Christmas decoration, get a set of solar LED Christmas lights. They eat no electricity as they charge up during the day, come on automatically in the evening, and stay on most of the night. You can just set them up and let them be with no maintenance cost or effort at all. The start-up cost is a bit high, but the cool factor of LED solar Christmas lights, plus the energy savings, quickly makes up for it.

20. Remote Control Power Strips
Sample Model: Lacrosse RS-204
Price: $29.95
Time Until Break Even: 2 years (depending on use)

Quite often, we find ourselves plugging lots of lights and decorations in during the Christmas holidays, and it becomes a hassle to power them all off and on, so we often leave things on more often than we’d like, sometimes even overnight. To solve this problem, install a remote control power strip. This device can be turned on and off by remote control, meaning that you can have all of the cords out of the way and flip the Christmas tree lights on and off with just a button click.

21. High Efficiency Washing Machine
Price: $859
Time Until Break Even: 3 years

If you buy a large-load high efficiency front loading washing machine, you’ll do many fewer laundry loads per month and each load will take less water than before. A machine like this can easily save $10 over a regular machine in water usage in a family home per month; even better, a large load machine will save a lot of time. Given the cost of a normal low-end washer, it should only take three years or so for this machine to pay for itself.

22. A Laptop
Price: $819
Time Until Break Even: 1 year

Now that laptops have reached a usability and reliability standard that approximates desktops, it becomes a serious choice whether or not to replace a desktop with a laptop. If you make the leap, you’ll find that the energy savings are tremendous. I often run it from battery at home and charge it using available outlets in other places, such as the local bookstore, meaning I have very little home energy use from the laptop. It won’t take long for this savings to make up for the differences in cost, plus you’ll have all of the laptop portability advantages.

23. TiVo
Price: $49.99 + $9.95 a month
Time Until Break Even: 6 months

If you have cable and a TiVo, your needs for DVD purchases and rentals will almost disappear simply because of the plethora of programming you’ll be able to watch commercial-free. This will begin to save you money before long, plus it will give you a much greater control over what you watch on television - I skip a lot of programs simply because of the commercials and the inability to pause them to chase my child.

24. A Hybrid Car
Price: $22,175
Time Until Break Even: 5 years

If you compare a hybrid side-by-side with a non-hybrid, the hybrid costs more up front. The savings, though, kicks in over the life of the car with much lower fuel costs. Plus, it has a great “geek factor” and it’s a solid environmental decision.

25. A Residential Windmill
Price: $8,500 (including installation)
Time Until Break Even: 8 years

If you want to be “king geek” in your area, few things will top this. $8,500 will get you a windmill on top of your house, which can, by itself, take care of almost all of your home electrical needs. It looks like a high-tech antenna up there, quietly whirring away, using the wind to provide your juice. For an average household, the device will pay for itself in eight years; after that, it’s all gravy. Plus, you’re helping the environment by almost eliminating your load on the power grid.

Sometimes, you can buy gadgets to save money.

Friday, September 21, 2007

McCanns offer to take lie test

The parents of Madeleine McCann are prepared to take a lie detector test to prove their innocence.

Friends say Kate and Gerry McCann want to show they have nothing to hide over the disappearance of the four-year-old who went missing on a family holiday in Portugal in May.

The couple's decision is the latest stage in a high-profile fightback led by family and friends against police suspicions they may been responsible for Madeleine's death and staged an elaborate cover-up.

Clarence Mitchell, the McCanns' spokesman, said that it was "extremely unlikely" the couple would be asked to take a lie detector test by police. He said: "Kate and Gerry McCann have absolutely nothing to hide and, if a request from the Portuguese authorities was made for them to undergo such a lie detector test, they would have no issue with it, provided the test is suitably overseen by an appropriate expert who can ensure the absolutely reliability of the equipment being used.

"However, it is my understanding that such machines are not used in Portuguese criminal cases, nor is the information from them deemed admissible in court, and there are question marks over their reliability. Therefore we think it is extremely unlikely that such a request for a test would come through."

The McCanns, from Rothley, Leicestershire, were declared "arguidos" or official suspects by detectives two weeks ago after DNA traces in a car hired after her disappearance were used to suggest the vehicle had been used to carry Madeleine's body.

The couple have returned to Britain after a four-month stay in Portugal and have been told that police do not have enough evidence to justify interviewing them again. But they remain suspects and say they are determined to clear their names and continue the search for Madeleine who they believe may be still alive.

Friends have revealed a series of details in recent days which could form part of their defence if they were ever charged with causing Madeleine's death and disposing of her body.

It emerged this week that partial DNA matches found in the Renault Scenic hired by the family almost a month after her disappearance could potentially be explained by contact with Madeleine's clothes which were transported in it when they moved to a rented villa. The car was also used on a daily basis to transport bag-loads of household waste including her younger siblings Sean and Amelie's nappies.

The couple believe its use as a "dumper truck" ferrying rotting meat, chicken carcasses and food scraps to nearby bins during the summer could also explain the excited reaction of specialist sniffer dogs when shown the car last month as part of a review of the case.
[AFP Copyright]

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Mobile phone technology turns 20

The technology behind the mobile phone is celebrating its 20th anniversary.

On 7 September 1987, 15 phone firms signed an agreement to build mobile networks based on the Global System for Mobile (GSM) Communications.

According to the GSM Association there are more than 2.5 billion accounts that use this mobile phone technology.

Adoption of the technology shows no signs of slowing down with many developing nations becoming keen users of mobile handsets.

Future phones

Robert Conway, head of the GSM Association, said the memorandum of understanding signed in 1987 is widely seen as the moment when the global mobile industry got under way.

Although work on the GSM technical specifications began earlier, the agreement signed in 1987 committed those operators to building networks based upon it.

"There's no doubt that at the time of the agreement in 1987 no one had an idea of the explosive capabilities in terms of growth that would happen after the GSM standard was agreed," he said.

Since then, he said, the numbers of people using GSM mobiles has always outstripped the predictions.

Once the preserve of the well off, mobiles were now "the everyday gadget that's essential to people's lives," he said.

In the UK there are now more mobiles than people according to Ofcom statistics which reveal that, at the end of 2006, for every 100 Britons there are 116.6 mobile connections.

Figures from the GSM Association show it took 12 years for the first billion mobile connections to be made but only 30 months for the figure to reach two billion.

"In the developing world they are becoming absolutely indispensable," said Mr Conway.

This was because handsets were now cheap and mobile networks much less expensive to set up than the fixed alternatives.

But getting mobiles in to the hands of billions of people was just the start, said Mr Conway.

"The technology is a gravitational force that brings in to its orbit a huge amount of innovators," he said.

In the future, he suggested, high-speed networks would be ubiquitous adding the intelligence of mobiles to anything and everything.

"The technology will be in the fabric of your clothing, your shoes, in appliances, in your car," he said.

For instance, he said, the ubiquity of mobile technology could revolutionise healthcare and see people wearing monitors that gather and transmit information about vital signs.

Phones too could change radically in the future.

"You'll pull them out of your pocket and they'll look like a map but unfold like a screen," said Mr Conway. "We're now on the verge of another wave and that's going to be stimulated by mobile broadband."

Friday, July 06, 2007

Good vibes power tiny generator

 Good vibes power tiny generatorA tiny generator powered by natural vibrations could soon be helping keep heart pacemakers working.

Created by scientists at the University of Southampton, UK, the generator has been developed to power devices where replacing batteries is very difficult.

The device is expected initially to be used to power wireless sensors on equipment in manufacturing plants.

The generator's creators say their technology is up to 10 times more efficient than similar devices.

Power packed

The tiny device, which is less than one cubic centimetre in size, uses vibrations in the world around it to make magnets on a cantilever at the heart of the device wobble to generate power.

Although the generator produces only microwatts this was more than enough to power sensors attached to machines in manufacturing plants, said Dr Steve Beeby, the Southampton researcher who led the development of the device.

"The big advantage of wireless sensor systems is that by removing wires and batteries, there is the potential for embedding sensors in previously inaccessible locations," he said.

Using the tiny generator also made it possible to use larger numbers of sensors because there was no longer the need to visit them to replace or recharge batteries, Dr Beeby added.

The generator was developed to sit inside air compressors but, said Dr Beeby, it could find a future role in self-powered medical implants such as pacemakers.

In a pacemaker, the beating of the human heart would be strong enough to keep the magnets inside the device wobbling.

It could also be used to power sensors attached to road and rail bridges to monitor the health of such structures.

Work on the project was funded by the EU as part of the 14.3m euros (£9.67m) Vibration Energy Scavenging (Vibes) project that is looking at how to use environmental vibrations to generate power.

Looking for some good webhosting?

IF you want to get professional with your website or blog {unlike me;)},then the first step for you will be to go for a purposeful domain and a nice webhosting company.I hope that most of the gurus will agree that the selection of webhost is one of the most difficult things on the internet.Security,price,bandwidth,space and speed are just few factors that will make you feel like banging your head against the wall.Or in other words,make the selection of webhost a real tough job!

Well,I have got a recommendation for all those folks looking out for some nice webhost,specially if u are looking for some canadian based hosting company.Yup!you got it right!I am talking about Canadian Web Hosting.
Founded in 1998, Canadian web Hosting is a privately held web hosting company with a focus on customer care.Their intelligent and knowledgeable staff provides help 24/7 through toll-free telephone service,e-mail and live online chat.The mission of this canadian company is to provide their customers a reliable and smooth hosting experience and to make them taste the lastest in hosting technologies.

Candian webhosting implements 3 com's TippingPoint Intrusion Prevention System (IPS).Which assures the security of all the data carried by their servers.

They provide wonderful hosting packages both for basic and professional webmasters.You want ASP windows hosting or Cpanel linux hosting,you'll get all there!They provide 30-day money back guarantee plus $25 Google Adwords credit even with basic plan which starts at $3.95/month.They also offer Reseller hosting.The detail price and package menu is available at their website.

Sitebuilder is also offered by canadian webhosting and they claim it to be one of the best available in the market.

I am specially inspired by their support section.I mean that detailed FAQ,tutorials,forums and Live support literally make them available 24/7 for their customers.

Canadian webhosting is basically targetted for Canadian webmasters but I hope that they can give good results to international webmasters as well.So,If you are looking for a webhost,Canadian webhosting is worth looking at!

[This is a Paid-review]

You know security?

Safety and Internet security is one of the most vastly growing concern on the internet.Do u think you know security?If you think,let's put it to test!

An average data over the internet shows that the computers with internet access are attacked per 39 secs!Shocking??Isn't it?

So, what do you think that are you doing enough to protect your personal data? or your computer is an easy target for a hacker?confused?If yes,then move straight towards this Security quiz.It is a 15 question quiz,where safety and internet security related questions will be asked.This is a free quiz and is highly recommended by me to get basic information regarding internet security.And if,after taking the quiz,you want to read some more about internet security,just google internet security and you will find hundreds of articles waiting for you.

I hope that you'll like the quiz and will get a lot better scores than mine;)

[This is a paid-review]

Record fine over TV quiz phone-in

Richard and JudyThe company behind the Richard and Judy premium rate telephone quiz scandal has been fined £150,000.

Premium rate services regulator Icstis imposed the record penalty on Eckoh UK Ltd after an investigation into the Channel 4 show.

It found viewers were urged to call its You Say, We Pay quiz after potential winners had been chosen, showing a "reckless disregard" for TV viewers.

Icstis is referring the case to media regulator Ofcom.

The watchdog has indicated it may wish to investigate the actions of the parties involved under the Ofcom Broadcasting Code.

Icstis also ordered a sanction to provide refunds to all those affected.

But Eckoh complained that it had been made a "scapegoat" and that it would consider appealing.

'Fundamental failings'

Icstis chairman Sir Alistair Graham said the size of the fine reflected the "very serious nature" of the breach of its Code of Practice.

"The hearing panel found clear evidence of fundamental failings in the winner selection process.

"Winners were being chosen before the competition closing deadline, whilst millions of additional viewers were still encouraged to phone in and pay to enter the competition but were denied the opportunity of fair consideration.

"Such reckless disregard for viewers is unacceptable. In this case, viewers were not only 'paying competition entrants' but also consumers who enjoy a high degree of consumer protection already provided by Icstis."

He added: "The public should be able to use these services with absolute confidence."

Icstis said that almost five million viewers entered the competition at a cost of £1 per call.

But 47% of calls were received after the shortlist of winners had already been chosen. Production company Cactus were responsible for choosing potential winners.

We are extremely sorry for anyone who entered the competition and were not dealt with appropriately.
Nik Philpot, Eckoh

A Channel 4 spokesman said it was shocked to learn that management at Eckoh were aware the competition was not being operated properly six months before the problems were made public.

The spokesman said: "We engaged Eckoh in good faith as a reputable and experienced service provider and we are very disappointed by their failure to ensure that all calls to the competition were handled properly."

Channel 4 said it has since introduced a new monitoring regime to audit the performance of service providers on its remaining phone-in competitions.

'Misled the public'

Eckoh spokesperson Harry Chathli said: "Icstis accepts that Eckoh has learnt from this case, but nonetheless has imposed this sanction 'to provide incentive to other service providers who may not yet have taken the steps that Eckoh have to ensure compliance'.

"Because of this we can't help but feel that we've been made a scapegoat and we will be considering an appeal once we have seen the result of the Ofcom investigation."

Eckoh said the regulations governing premium rate services were "fundamentally flawed".

In a statement the company said: "Under the current Icstis Code of Practice, the service provider is exclusively responsible for any breaches of compliance, irrespective of who is actually responsible or how this came about. It is for this reason that only Eckoh has been fined today.

"Information providers, in this case Channel 4 and Cactus, are outside the jurisdiction of Icstis and it is unable to take action against them unless they agree."

"In our view where a television programme has misled the public in promoting calls to a premium rate service it would seem appropriate that either the broadcaster or production company, or both, should also be brought before the regulator."

LED displays and signs for outdoor advertisement

If you want LED displays and signs for outdoor advertisements,I'll recommend you to have a look at Proton LED.
They have really impressed me with there perfect system.They provide digital LED displays for outdoor advertisement.Their displays is as good to display TV like video and animations.Here are the few specifications that made me love them:
  1. Full colog RGB full motion video at 150 frames per second.
  2. Connect wirelessly to upload new video or animation.
  3. Fully configurable via Internet hence,as a bussines man,providing you full freedom to upload the video from any place,anytime by just using an internet equipped windows media cell phone.
  4. Display is equipped with thermostatic devices to prevent any damage from weather.
  5. The display has been succesfully wind tested at 150MPH.
  6. Display provides wide view angles of upto 140 degrees.
Apart from all those wonderful features,the company claims that the display can withstand a jolt from a brick to a shot-gun blast.Their site contain some videos of what LED signs will look like,which are worth looking.The site doesn't mention any cost or estimated budget,but reading all these wonderful features what they are providing,It's worth contacting them.
[This is a paid-review]

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Gadgets 'threaten energy savings'

The growing popularity of hi-tech devices, such as flat-screen TVs and digital radios, threaten to undermine efforts to save energy, a report says.

UK consumers spend £12bn a year on electronics, much of which is less efficient than older technology, a study by the Energy Saving Trust found.

By 2020, the gadgets will account for about 45% of electricity used in UK households, the organisation projected.

It said flat-screen TVs and digital radios were among the worst offenders.
Paula Owen, author of the report called The Ampere Strikes Back, said household appliances currently consumed about a third of an average home's electricity.

But she warned this was likely to increase as a result of people buying more energy-intensive devices.

The simple message to people is switch things off when you have finished using them
Dr Paula Owen,
Report author

"Your old-fashioned, bulky cathode ray tube TV on average consumed about 100 watts of electricity when it was switched on," Dr Owen explained.

"What we are seeing now is a trend for much bigger flat-screened TVs. On average, we are seeing a three-fold increase in the energy needed to power these TVs.

"Pretty much in every other sector [such as fridges and washing machines], we find that as the technology moves on, the products get more and more efficient.

"Consumer electronics does not work like that."

'Radio ga-ga'

The equivalent of 14 power stations will be needed just to power consumer electronic devices by 2020, the report warned.

By that time televisions on standby will consume 1.4% of all domestic electricity, it predicted.

Digital radios were also singled out by the report as being energy intensive.

"Traditional analogue radios consume about two watts when they are switched on," Dr Owen said.

"We've looked at digital radios and the average consumption of these is eight watts."

She added that listening to the radio via digital TVs or set-top boxes had an average consumption of more than 100 watts.

Recent research by the communications watchdog Ofcom said that more than 80% of UK homes now had digital TV.

More people are buying digital TVs or set-top boxes because by the end of 2012 the analogue TV signal will no longer be available in the UK.

But not all new technology was criticised by the report.

"Mobile phones and their chargers are one area where we have seen an improvement," Dr Owen said.

A few years ago, she said, the current being drawn by chargers that were plugged in but not actually attached to a phone was about three to five watts.

"We have done some testing on the newest mobile phones and chargers you can buy today and reassuringly we could see that 'no-load' consumption had fallen below one watt."

But she added that the sheer volume of mobiles being used, about 63 million in the UK, meant that a huge amount of energy was still being wasted if people were not unplugging their chargers when they were not being used.

The report called for governments, manufacturers and retailers to do more to promote energy efficient devices, but also said consumers had a role to play.

"The simple message to people is switch things off when you have finished using them," urged Dr Owen.

Wii outselling PS3 'six to one'

Nintendo's Wii console outsold Sony's PlayStation 3 in Japan last month by six to one, says research.

Nintendo sold 270,974 Wii consoles last month while Sony sold 41,628 PS3s, according to Enterbrain, a Japanese publisher that tracks console sales.

Nintendo has sold about 2.76m Wii consoles in Japan since the launch last December, while Sony has sold 970,270 PS3s since it debuted last November.

About 17,616 Xbox 360 consoles were sold in June.

Last week, Phil Harrison, PlayStation's head of worldwide studios, told US Game Informer magazine that pundits should not judge the success of the console based on the launch software line-up.


He said: "You only have to go back to the games that launched PlayStation 1 and Playstation 2.

"If you took those few dozen titles and analysed them, you would never have imagined that either of those formats would have on to sell over 100m units each."

Globally, Sony has struggled so far to replicate the success it had with the first two PlayStation consoles.

The machine has also suffered from a lack of "killer" exclusive titles which showcase the power of the machine.

PlayStation fans are still awaiting some of the biggest franchises on the machine to emerge, such as Metal Gear Solid, Killzone 2 and Gran Turismo.

Monday, July 02, 2007

Spam King arrested

SAN FRANCISCO: They call him the "Spam King," but Robert Soloway is an unlikely figure accused of flooding computers with emails promoting everything whatever is financially beneficial for him.

Far from being an introverted computer nerd, Soloway dined at fine restaurants, threw hip parties, drove a Mercedes convertible and wore designer clothes.

And US officials are now branding him the king of one of the most vexing phenomenons of this interconnected, computerized world - the tide of unwanted spam swamping email in-boxes. "He was a con man living quite a lavish lifestyle," Assistant US Attorney Kathryn Warma told AFP after Soloway, 27, was arrested in Seattle, Washington, late last month.

Warma convinced a federal judge to keep Soloway in jail without bail while he awaits trial on charges of fraud, identity theft and money laundering. Soloway had made at least a million dollars from his spam empire since relocating to Washington state in 2003, according to IRS agent Sylvia Reyes. But when FBI agents raided his 17th-floor apartment, they found one lone, unimpressive computer.

He promoted his Newport Internet Marketing firm as a way for businesses to swiftly increase sales five-fold with his "broadcast email" service or by buying his software to send messages themselves. He sold spamming kits for 149 dollars each, agents said. Soloway rented servers then used a "Dark Mail" program to send bulk emails and disguise where they came from and who sent them.

The unsolicited email was delivered through "botnets," networks of online computers hijacked by "botherders," hackers that amass armies of "zombie" machines by infecting them with malicious codes without the owners' knowledge. It was a great money-spinner. Police found closets stuffed with designer clothes, including Prada, Gucci, Armani and Versace. Among his belongings confiscated as "proceeds of crime" were scores of sport coats and suit jackets, an Armani wristwatch and two dozen pairs of designer sunglasses. "He threw great parties in his pad, wore cool clothes and drove a hot car," Warma said. "It was a way for him to promote his criminal activity."

Among the complaints that led federal officials to Soloway were those from his customers, who said his services and software didn't give the promised results. "Just because people paid him money doesn't mean it worked," Warma said. Soloway changed "cyber bank" and Internet financial transaction accounts frequently and drained his funds routinely. And despite his expensive lifestyle, agents who executed search warrants at four of Soloway's bank accounts, could find only 5,000 dollars.

In testimony Soloway gave during a lawsuit filed against him by Microsoft in 2005 he said he was his company's sole employee and that he started the business in California when he was 16 years old. "It's the only employment I've had in my life," court documents quote Soloway as saying. "So you could say I've never worked for anybody."

Microsoft won the civil trial and Soloway was ordered to pay the company seven million dollars in damages for spamming abuses. But Soloway bragged in online chat rooms that the world's largest company would never get its court-ordered award.

Rushdie 18 years ago

(The story behind a protest against 'Satanic Verses' that turned horribly wrong)

On February 12, 1989, a large number of protestors gathered in the heart of Islamabad under the banner of Tahafaz-i-Namoos-i-Risalat to condemn the publishing of 'Satanic Verses' written by Salman Rushdie in the United Kingdom

When the protest came to an end, seven people had lost their lives, thirty more had sustained injuries and forty four police personnel were injured in clashes with the protestors.

When the incident took place the Benazir government was just around two months old. The procession was led by Nawabzada Nasrullah Khan, Maulana Abdul Sattar Niazi, Maulana Kausar Niazi and Maulana Fazlur Rehman.

A judicial enquiry commission was formed under Justice Ijaz Nisar who at that time was a Lahore High Court judge to look into the facts of the matter which then published its report in August 1990.

During the enquiry these leaders pleaded that the People's Party government had an ulterior motive of crushing the ulema on their very first appearance in Islamabad so that the greatest hurdle in the way of the secular government was removed or at least weakened.

The district administration justified its action in self-defence, pleading that the armed protestors were highly disorganised with no single leader in command and the protestors looted a petrol pump and collected petrol from there. The administration estimated the size of the crowd between 30,000 to 40,000.

The enquiry commission noted that confusion seems to have been caused by the advertisement placed in the press by Tehrik-e-Tahafaz-i-Risalat and the demonstrators were not informed about the arrangements settled with the administration that they were to halt at a barrier to be placed at a distance from American centre, that only leaders would proceed onwards to hand over the protest note. On the other hand they were intimated by the advertisement that the protest rally was to be staged in front of the American Centre

"It was strange that the infamous book was published in the UK, the US did not have any plan to publish it, still the organisers chose to protest in front of the USIS building in Blue Area instead of going to the British High Commission office," recalled Abdul Hameed Alvi, the then media advisor to USIS while talking to TNS.

Many of the witnesses that came before the commission agreed with the suggestion that America had nothing to do with the publication of 'Satanic Verses', neither was Salman Rushdie a resident of America, nor was the book published from there.

Identifying what went wrong, the the 160 paged commission report found that when the protestors crossed the barrier a scuffle ensued between the police and the protestors. The protestors pelted stones at the police that resorted to firing tear gas but the direction of the wind changed and the tear gas smoke instead struck the police. Meanwhile, the jeep carrying the leaders arrived at the scene where it was hit by a stray tear gas shell. Brick-batting was also going on. As a result those in the jeep were injured.

"It would therefore be incorrect to presume that the jeep of the leaders was made a target. The gas shells fired on the protesters encircling the jeep accidentally hit the occupants. Finding the leaders hurt the protesters became furious. They advanced towards the police in a state of intense anger, pelting stones on them. Seeing them getting violent, the police receded towards the depression by the side of the American Centre. Some of the protesters taking advantage of police drifting away, scaled over the walls of the American Centre, smashed its window-panes, damaged the dish antenna and destroyed the main entrance. Two or three of them climbed up the roof of the American Centre and pulled down the American flag. The demonstrators who were present on the eastern side of the American Centre also joined them and resorted to brick batting."

The report observed that the demonstrators tried to set a vehicle in the American centre on fire. A tent of the security guards and a security post was also burnt. As none of the leader was around, there was nobody to impart any instruction to the crowd.

Getting reinforcement, the police appeared on the scene again to prevent the situation from becoming worse. It resorted to firing that resulted in deaths.

"If the situation called for police firing, there was hardly any justification in aiming at the protestors directly. The police could have directed its shots towards the legs instead of vital parts of their bodies, the firing in that case could have merely incapacitated them rather than cause their instantaneous death," noted Justice Ijaz Nisar

Why the protestors chose to go to American Centre could be explained by the fact that a large number of international media was present in Islamabad to cover an event relating to formation of a future government in Afghanistan. Rushdie was not an American citizen nor the United States published the book but the anti-Rushdie protest turned into an anti-west or an anti-America protest, a fact attested by the then prime minister Benazir Bhutto in a press conference on her return from China soon after the incident.

The judicial enquiry commission in its report in August 1990 recommended the government to pay a minimum of Rs 100,000 as compensation to the legal heirs of each of the dead, Rs 50,000 to those with fire arm injuries and Rs 25,000 each to the persons having other injuries. Of the seven dead only three were from Rawalpindi. Rest of them belonged to the adjoining cities of Jhelum, Attock, Mansehra etc.

The father of one of the persons killed, Zafar Iqbal Sultan Muhammad Mirza, who was then principal of Qandeel Institution for the Blind and Deaf in Rawalpindi, told TNS that his son was not religious. "He had taken intermediate examination from Government College and was taking tests to join army. On the fateful day he along with his friends went to the protest and got killed," Mirza recalled. "The amount of compensation was not enough because the amount spent to seek justice was much more."

Sunday, July 01, 2007

England smoking ban takes effect

Smokers across England have sparked up at work and in the pub for the last time as the ban on smoking in enclosed public places begins.

The new law, which came into effect at 0600 BST, is intended to cut deaths from second-hand smoke.

Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland already have similar bans in place.

Many venues held farewell events for the final night of smoking on Saturday, while local authorities are preparing to enforce the ban.

Doctors estimate second-hand smoke kills more than 600 people a year.

The government also hopes it will help smokers to quit, and discourage children from taking up the habit.


The new Health Secretary, Alan Johnson, welcomed the ban saying that tackling the causes of illnesses saved lives.

"A smoke-free country will improve the health of thousands of people, reduce the temptation to smoke and encourage smokers to quit," he added.
England's chief medical officer Sir Liam Donaldson said the ban was a "momentous move" and would prevent the deaths of both smokers and non-smokers.

"We are removing from the air at a stroke 50 cancer causing chemicals, and that's bound to be good news for the exposure to risk," he said.

From Sunday anyone lighting up illegally could be fined £50 - reduced to £30 if it is paid within 15 days.

The figure rises to £200 if an individual is prosecuted and convicted by a court.

Businesses failing to comply with the ban could be hit with fines of up to £2,500.

The ban has prompted protests by smokers and those concerned about what they see as the "nanny state".

A legal challenge to the ban has been launched at the High Court by Freedom2Choose, which says the change in the law contravenes the European Convention on Human Rights.

Smokers from the group defied the ban The Dog Inn in Ewys Harold, near Hereford.

Landlord Tony Blows said he was prepared to go to court.

Mr Blows said: "I'm doing it for the simple reason that this is my home. My wife and I work 200 hours a week in this pub. It's private property and there's no way they can stop us doing it.

"Pubs have been smoking for goodness knows how long and you just can't do that. It's been brought in on the back of a pack of lies."

Decline in sales

Others are worried that the ban will mean the demise of the traditional pub and other social haunts such as middle-eastern style shisha cafes.

Market researchers Nielsen estimate beer sales in England and Wales could drop by 200 million pints each year because of the ban.

However, a survey by the Campaign for Real Ale suggested England's 6.2 million regular drinkers are likely to go out to pubs and bars more often after the ban.

Its study also found that 840,000 people who currently do not go to the pub said they would do so after smoking was made illegal.

Mark Hastings, communications director of the British Beer and Pub Association, said that although the ban may lead to a small decline in beer sales, pubs would also see an increase in the sale of food.

Anger at Prince free CD giveaway

The music industry has reacted angrily at a decision to give away the new album by US musician Prince with a tabloid newspaper.

Planet Earth will be given free with a future edition of the Mail on Sunday.

The 10-track CD from Prince - whose hits include Purple Rain, Sign O' The Times and Cream - is not due to be released until 24 July.

Paul Quirk, co-chairman of the Entertainment Retailers Association, said the decision "beggars belief".

"The Artist formerly known as Prince should know that with behaviour like this he will soon be the Artist Formerly Available in Record Stores," said Mr Quirk, referring to a period in the 1990s when Prince famously stopped using his name in favour of a symbol.

No one has done this before... this is just setting a new level
Stephen Miron, Mail on Sunday MD

"It is an insult to all those record stores who have supported Prince throughout his career.

"It is yet another example of the damaging covermount culture which is destroying any perception of value around recorded music."

The practice of "covermounts" - where newspapers attempt to lure readers with DVDs and CDs - is used widely in the industry.

The Mail on Sunday's recent CD giveaways include Peter Gabriel, Dolly Parton, Duran Duran, UB40 and Mike Oldfield's Tubular Bells.

Stephen Miron, the newspaper's managing director, said: "No one has done this before. We have always given away CDs and DVDs, but this is just setting a new level."

Out of business

Mr Miron declined to say how much the newspaper had paid to secure the deal.

He added that the newspaper was not out to put music retailers out of business.

"They are living in the old days and haven't developed their businesses sufficiently. We can enhance their business. They are being incredibly insular and need to move their business on," he said.

But HMV chief executive Simon Fox has said it would be "absolutely nuts" to give the album away for free.

The company revealed on Thursday that its profits had more than halved in the face of cut-price competition from supermarkets and online retailers.

The deal has also led to the UK arm of Sony BMG pulling out of the distribution agreement.

"Given the sheer number of copies we are talking about here it seemed the right thing to do for retailers to become exempt from the deal in the UK," said a spokesman for Sony BMG, the world's second-biggest music company.

Prince is due to play 21 concert dates in London later this year.

Saturday, June 30, 2007

WWE’s chairman calls Benoit a ‘monster’

In an exclusive interview on TODAY, WWE chairman Vince McMahon backed off claims by his organization that steroids had nothing to do with the murder-suicide of wrestler Chris Benoit, his wife and 7-year-old son.

“Steroids may or may not have had anything to do with this,” McMahon told TODAY co-host Meredith Vieira. “It’s all speculation until the toxicology reports come back.”

That was a retreat from a statement World Wrestling Entertainment, based in Stamford, Conn., had put out earlier, in which the organization said “steroids were not and could not be related” to the deaths.

Confronted with that statement by Vieira, McMahon said, “We didn’t say that. Our reaction was reacting to the hysteria of the media.”

McMahon explained that he and the WWE were reacting to suggestions that the phenomenon known as “'roid rage” may have led to the killings. Among the potential side effects of steroid use are depression, paranoia and episodes of rage.

The slayings of Benoit’s wife, Nancy, and their child were carried out last weekend. Authorities say that Benoit may have remained in the house with the bodies as long as another day before hanging himself, using the rope and pulleys from a weight machine. His wife had been strangled. Sometime after she was killed, the couple’s son was smothered. Bibles were placed next to the bodies.

‘This man was a monster’
“This is not an act of rage,” McMahon said. “This is an act of deliberation.” He added that investigators also found prescription medications in the house that may have played a role.

“This is a horrific tragedy,” he said. “It happened in pro wrestling. There’s a rush to judgment. There’s almost a hysteria around us.”
McMahon said that Benoit was known to the organization as “a mild-mannered individual,” adding, “there was no way of telling this man was a monster.”

Benoit married Nancy, who also worked for WWE, in 2000. Three years later, she filed for divorce, claiming that her husband “lost his temper and threatened to strike the petitioner and cause extensive damage to the home.”

They reconciled three months later. But there have been reports that the marriage had been under pressure recently, and Nancy had demanded that Benoit spend more time at home helping to care for their son, who was developmentally disabled.

McMahon built the WWE into a thriving force in entertainment, creating characters and building story lines that ran like violent soap operas from one big pay-per-view show to the next. The outcomes of the matches are scripted, but the wrestlers travel as much as 300 days a year, putting on shows in cities across the country on an almost nightly basis.

While the action may be staged, the wrestlers take a pounding in the ring and injuries are frequent. So is the use of pain medications. In an earlier taped interview with NBC News, former wrestler Lex Lugar, who battled addiction to prescription drugs, said that drug use is rampant in the sport.

Benoit, known as the “Canadian Crippler,” had failed to show up for two WWE events. When WWE employees reported receiving puzzling text messages from Benoit early Sunday morning and were unable to contact Benoit in his suburban Atlanta home, WWE officials called law-enforcement authorities, who entered the house on Monday and found the bodies.

Police reported finding anabolic steroids in the home along with prescription drugs. Sports columnists and commentators have attacked McMahon and professional wrestling for failing to control the use of drugs, which have been implicated in a number of deaths. After Benoit's suicide and the slaying of his family, those criticisms intensified.

On Monday, WWE replaced its “Monday Night Raw” television show with a three-hour tribute to Benoit. Shortly afterward, when it became public knowledge that he had killed his wife and child, it pulled a tribute to him from its Web site. The organization also released the statement in which it said steroids were not to blame for the tragedy.

McMahon’s steroid charge
Vieira cited statistics showing that 60 wrestlers have died before the age of 65 since 1985 and said, “It seems like early death is almost an occupational hazard.”

McMahon questioned that number and said that he can speak only to five wrestlers who have died while under contract to the WWE or its predecessor, the WWF.

Among those who have died were Eddie Guerrero, who succumbed in 2005 to heart failure linked to steroid use. Curt “Mr. Perfect” Henning died of a drug overdose in 2003, and Davey Boy Smith, the “British Bulldog,” died in 2002 of heart failure, also linked to steroids.

McMahon referred several times to the WWE’s “wellness program,” which the organization began in February. The WWE claims to test its athletes for steroids and other drugs and says that Benoit was last tested in April. The results were negative, the WWE says.

Two weeks ago, McMahon had staged his own death in a spectacular car explosion and had not been seen since. WWE publicists claimed that the FBI was working on the case. But when Benoit and his family were found, McMahon re-emerged to fight off the attacks on his business.

Born Vincent Kennedy McMahon, the 61-year-old got involved in professional wrestling through his father, Vincent J. McMahon, a wrestling promoter, whom McMahon did not meet until he was 12 years old. The family business was originally called the World Wide Wrestling Federation. McMahon later changed that to the World Wrestling Federation, or WWF, but when the World Wildlife Fund objected in court to McMahon's use of those initials, he changed the name again to World Wrestling Entertainment, or WWE.

Under McMahon, professional wrestling underwent a renaissance during the 1980s that saw the creation of the "Wrestlemania" pay-per-view extravaganzas that began in 1985.

In 1994, McMahon stood trial on charges of providing his wrestlers with steroids. He admitted to taking the drugs himself during the 1980s but denied providing them to his wrestlers or ordering them to take them. He was acquitted of the charges.

Mr. McMahon ‘presumed dead’
In WWE shows, McMahon plays a character called “Mr. McMahon” who is seen as an evil overlord. Donald Trump once joined the antics, participating in a staged feud with McMahon.

But on June 11, after a Monday Night Raw broadcast, cameras followed “Mr. McMahon” out of the arena and into his limousine, which was then shown exploding. The WWE said that Mr. McMahon was “presumed dead,” and claimed that the FBI was investigating.

Monday night’s edition of “Raw” was supposed to include a tribute to “Mr. McMahon,” but when news broke that day that Benoit was dead, Vince McMahon reappeared and a tribute to Benoit aired.

“Everybody in this organization, to my knowledge, is well-adjusted family people,” McMahon said. “They go to work like everybody else. They’re performers. We put smiles on faces. That’s our job description, not to be tainted and smeared by this.”

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

YouTube makes international move

YouTube has announced international versions of its web video service.

The video site, owned by Google, has launched nine versions across Brazil, France, Ireland, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, Poland, Spain and the UK.

Each site is translated into local languages and has country-specific video rankings and comments.

"Video is universal and allows people around the world to communicate and exchange ideas," said Chad Hurley, YouTube co-founder.

We want to create a YouTube experience that is a local experience
Steve Chen, YouTube co-founder

"Our mission is to entertain, inform and empower the world through video."

More localised versions of YouTube will be rolled out this year.

More than half of all viewers on YouTube were now from outside the US, Mr Hurley added.

YouTube has also unveiled content partners around the world, including deals with France 24, Antena 3 in Spain, European football clubs such as AC Milan, Chelsea, Barcelona and Real Madrid, as well as organisations such as Friends of the Earth and Greenpeace.

"We want to create a YouTube experience that is a local experience," said Steve Chen, the service's other co-founder.

"It's not just about translating, it also about creating content unique to certain countries."

Legal threats

YouTube is now stressing its credentials as a platform not just for user-generated content but also for professional broadcaster and advertisers.

The company says it has more than 1,000 global partners, with more than 150 deals signed in Europe since March.

Mr Hurley said: "We respect copyright and we want to create new revenue streams to create opportunities.

"We have been working with rights holders to help them leverage new audiences."

Despite the assurances, YouTube is facing widespread legal action from copyright holders over the use of material that is being uploaded by the site's users without permission.

Mr Hurley said only a small amount of material on YouTube was being shared without approval.

He added: "The majority is original created work. We are also working on tools to help stop this happen."

He declined to say, when asked, how much money Google had set aside to fight or settle pending and future legal battles.

Paedophile ring smashed by police

Police have smashed a global child abuse network which was co-ordinated through a UK-based internet site.

Global agencies, led by UK investigators, examined more than 700 suspects, including 200 in the UK.

The ring was run by Timothy Cox, 28, of Buxhall, Suffolk, who admitted nine offences and has been handed a sentence which could mean he dies in jail.

A judge at Ipswich Crown Court told Cox: "You are obsessed with images of children being sexually abused."

Chatroom infiltration

Cox ran a website called "Kids the Light of Our Lives" which let users exchange abuse images, the court heard.

Judge Peter Thompson told Cox: "These are shocking images which involve very young children - in the worst cases being subjected to sadistic, painful abuse which you, for some distorted reason, appear to take enjoyment from."

Anybody who thinks they can carry out such horrific activities undetected is in for a rude awakening
Jim Gamble

More than 75,000 indecent and explicit images were found on Cox's computer and there was evidence that he had supplied more than 11,000 images to other site users.

Cox pleaded guilty to possessing and distributing indecent images of children at an earlier hearing and was handed an indeterminate sentence.

Cox posed "significant risks", the judge said, and had to be imprisoned for "for public protection".

Under the terms of his sentence, he must satisfy the authorities that he is fit for release and does not pose any threat to the community before he can ever be set free.

Ian Robertson, of the UK-based Child Exploitation and Online Protection centre (CEOP), told BBC News 24 that the ages of the children whose images were exchanged on the site ranged from babies to teenagers.

After he was arrested in September 2006, undercover officers spent 10 days infiltrating the chatroom, assuming his identity to collect evidence about other users.

When Cox was arrested, undercover officers placed a message online saying he had gone for his tea and would be back in half an hour to avoid raising suspicions.

As many as 70 online paedophiles were waiting to download images of abuse.

Investigators from the Australian Federal Police, the US Department of Homeland Security and Toronto Police took part in the online surveillance operation.

In total, 31 children were saved as a result of the investigation, CEOP said.

Cox lived with his parents, sister and 26-year-old girlfriend in a large farmhouse and worked at the family's micro-brewery. The website was operated from his bedroom.

CEOP said Cox hosted the website using the pseudonym "Son of God" - a reference to "G.O.D", the online identity of the owner of another paedophile site shut down by police last year.

The court heard Cox spotted a "gap in the market" after the other site was closed.

Simon Spence, prosecuting, told the court: "For what must have been hours at a time he was online either viewing these images of children, arranging the chat room or communicating with other paedophiles."

'Horrific activities'
Jim Gamble of CEOP said his capture "sends a powerful warning to those using the internet to facilitate the sexual exploitation of children".

He added: "From the apparent 'safety' of his home, Cox spent hours each day planning, promoting and encouraging the abuse and exploitation of children.

"In doing so he provided a service to hundreds of like-minded individuals, enabling those with a sexual interest in children to share indecent images and discuss further plans for abuse.

"Anybody who thinks they can carry out such horrific activities undetected is in for a rude awakening."

Cox had been identified after intelligence connecting the site to the UK was passed to CEOP by Canadian investigators.

Detective Constable Stefan Jochan said: "He doesn't fit any kind of traditional image of paedophile. He had a veneer of respectability."

The investigation uncovered another member of the same ring, Gordon Mackintosh from Hertfordshire, who attempted to keep the website going after Cox was arrested.

Mackintosh, 33, used the names "silentblackheart" and "lust4skoolgurls". More than 5,000 images were found on his computer as well as 392 indecent movie files.

He pleaded guilty to 27 charges of making, possessing and distributing the material and is due to be sentenced on June 29.

Blackberry ban for French elite

French government officials have been ordered not to use handheld Blackberry devices because of fears that the US could spy on them, reports say.

Workers in the French president's and prime minister's office have been told their e-mails risk falling into foreign hands, Le Monde newspaper reports.

France's SGDN security service is worried because Blackberries use US- and UK-based servers, the paper says.

But some officials are flouting the ban and using them in secret, it adds.

"They tried to offer us something else to replace our Blackberries but it doesn't work," one unnamed official told the paper.

More than seven million people around the world now use the Blackberry, which is made by Canadian firm Research In Motion (RIM).

A member of France's governing UMP party in the National Assembly, Jacques Myard, said French politicians needed to be aware that Blackberries were not secure devices.

"It's very good to say 'be careful', because we don't live in an ordinary world in which you can talk on your mobile or private line without any warning, without caution," he told the BBC's World Today programme.

Monday, June 18, 2007

GP02 Skyline GTR Red Pull Back

Always innovating, Tomy introduces a new series of Micro Racers called the Bit CharG Pullback Collection. Each model comes with its own windup, pullback motor and chassis. Just Pull Back and let these 1 1/4 inch cars go!! They scoot along the floor on their spring power, no batteries needed ( do not over wind as spring can become damaged )

What�s really great about each Bit Char G Pull Back Collection is that the body can snap off the pullback chassis and snap onto your battery operated R/C Bit CharG chassis!

Now you can collect, mix and match with the Tomy Bit CharG Pullback Collection.

Pen not included

Armored Core Crest CR-C75U2 Close Combat 1/72nd Scale Model Kit

Armored Core video games are third-person shooters, in which the player pilots a large mecha ( mechanical robot armor ) called an Armored Core, or AC for short. The player builds their AC from parts which can be bought, scavenged or earned by fulfilling mission requirements.

Typically, in each game, the player is a 'Raven', a member of a mercenary organization, and is hired by corporations to do various missions.

The best part of the ARMORED CORE game series is customizing your mech - and KOTOBUKIYA's Fine Scale Model Kits are no exception!

The Crest CR-C75U2 Close Combat robot model kit offers Armored Core players a way to build and refine powerful mecha warriors from the PS2 games in a highly detailed, 1/72nd scale.

You can swap parts with other Armored Core kits as well as use the accessories in various manners. This kit features 347 snap together parts and stands approximately 6 inches tall when assembled. With 24 points of articulation, it as poseable as an action figure!

Japanese packaging and instructions. Exploded View instruction sheet visually aids assembly.

Height: 6 inches
Points of Articulation: 24

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Warnings of 'internet overload'

As the flood of data across the internet continues to increase, there are those that say sometime soon it is going to collapse under its own weight. But that is what they said last year.
Back in the early 90s, those of us that were online were just sending text e-mails of a few bytes each, traffic across the main US data lines was estimated at a few terabytes a month, steadily doubling every year.

But the mid 90s saw the arrival of picture-rich websites, and the invention of the MP3. Suddenly each net user wanted megabytes of pictures and music, and the monthly traffic figure exploded.

For the next few years we saw more steady growth with traffic again roughly doubling every year.

But since 2003, we have seen another change in the way we use the net. The YouTube generation want to stream video, and download gigabytes of data in one go.

"In one day YouTube sends data equivalent to 75 billion e-mails, so it's clearly very different," said Phil Smith, head of technology and corporate marketing at Cisco Systems.

"The network is growing up, is starting to get more capacity than it ever had, but it is a challenge.

"Video is real-time, it needs to not have mistakes or errors. E-mail can be a little slow. You wouldn't notice if it was 11 seconds rather than ten, but you would notice that on a video."

Spending our inheritance

Perhaps unsurprisingly, every year someone says the internet is going to collapse under the weight of the traffic.
Looking at the figures, that seems a reasonable prediction.

"Back in the days of the dotcom boom in the late 90s, billions of dollars were invested around the world in laying cables," said net expert Bill Thompson.

"Then there was the crash of 2000 and since then we've been spending that inheritance, using that capacity, growing services to fill the space that was left over by all those companies that went out of business."

Router reliability

Much more high-speed optic fibre has been laid than we currently need, and scientists are confident that each strand can be pushed to carry almost limitless amounts of data in the form of light.

But long before a backbone wire itself gets overloaded, the strain may begin to show on the devices at either end - the routers.

"If we take a backbone link across the Atlantic, there's billions of bits of data arriving every second and it's all got to go to different destinations," explained Mr Thompson.

The real issue that people are going to face, and are already noticing at home, is that ISPs are starting to cut back on the bandwidth that is available to people in their homes
Bill Thompson, net expert

"The router sits at the end of that very high speed link and decides where each small piece of data has to go. That's not a difficult computational task, but it has to make millions of decisions a second."

The manufacturer of most of the world's routers is Cisco. When I pushed them on the subject of router overload, they were understandably confident.

"Routers have come a long way since they started," said Mr Smith. "The routers we're talking about now can handle 92 terabits per second.

"We have enough capacity to do that and drive a billion phone calls from those same people who are playing a video game at the same time they're having a text chat."


Even if the routers can continue to take what the fibre delivers, there is another problem - the internet is not all fibre.

A lot of the end connections, the ones that go to our individual home computers, are made of decades-old copper.

"The real issue that people are going to face, and are already noticing at home, is that ISPs are starting to cut back on the bandwidth that is available to people in their homes," said Mr Thompson. "They call it bandwidth shaping."

"They do this because they have a limited capacity to deliver to 100 or 200 homes, and if everybody's using the internet at the same time then the whole thing starts to get congested. Before that happens they cut back on the heavy users."


But digital meltdown is not the only threat facing the net. There are other, more sudden, real world hazards which the net has to protect against.

Anything from terror attacks to, would you believe it shark bites, can and have taken out major links and routers.

It only takes an earthquake, as we saw at the end of last year, to take out a significant segment of internet infrastructure
Paul Wood, MessageLabs

"There's a perception that the internet is very resilient," said Paul Wood, senior analyst of security firm MessageLabs. "The way it was designed means that if any particular part of it is disrupted then the traffic will find another route.

"It only takes an earthquake, as we saw at the end of last year, to take out a significant segment of internet infrastructure. Then the traffic finds another route, but it goes over a very slow route, which then becomes saturated and can't handle the bandwidth. Then you lose the traffic and that part of the world goes dark for a while."

For decades the internet has kept pace with our demands on it. And demand continues to grow.

And the service providers will continue to insist that the net will survive, and the doomsayers will continue to insist that it is just about to collapse.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Ethernet Crossover Adapter

You never know when you might need to crossover
There's this little series of numbers that goes something like "1, 2, 3, 6" to which the audience responds "3, 6, 1, 2". Sure, it's not exactly the most exciting call and response game ever devised, but it will help you remember the pattern for making an ethernet crossover cable.

Or you could just carry the Ethernet Crossover Adapter on your keyring and forget about those stupid numbers. Along with our Ethernet Loopback Jack, the crossover adapter could just help you out of a tight network jam. And besides, having this adapter on your keyring quietly shows the world your status as a prepared geek.

Also has these features.

  • Connect this directly to a standard network cable to convert to a crossover cable
  • Carry fewer cables and save space
  • Comes with small chain for connecting to your keyring, backpack, tool bag, etc.
  • Handy for network maintenance and testing
  • Small, very portable, easy to use
  • Compatible with Gigabit and 10/100 ethernet

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Sony Ericsson to unveil 9GB Walkman mobile phone

Sony Ericsson will launch late Thursday in Berlin six new phones, including a high-end Walkman-branded handset with around 9GB of internal Flash memory, according to a company spokeswoman.
The music-centric Walkman will more than double the internal memory of previous models and will feature a newly designed media player and large-touch display for easy navigating. But, unlike Apple’s planned iPhone, the new Walkman will include a keyboard.

“Our new Walkman mobile phone isn’t designed as a response to the iPhone but as a further development of the Walkman,” the Sony Ericsson spokeswoman said.

Sony Ericsson will also unveil the latest in its line of Cybershot camera phones, a 5-megapixel device.

Several new accessories will be introduced in Berlin, including a GPS (global positioning system) unit that can be connected to a mobile phone and new Bluetooth headsets.

What the Japanese-Swedish joint venture will not be announcing in Berlin is a new video game-mobile phone based on Sony’s PlayStation Portable (PSP) handheld device, the spokeswoman said.

The blogosphere was full of rumors of a new PSP mobile phone after Japanese employees of Sony Ericsson last month filed a patent application with the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office for a mobile phone with video game features.

“The patent is registered; we register many patents,” the spokeswoman said. “But we don’t have a PSP mobile phone in the planning. I can’t say that we won’t see such a device in 10 years but there are no plans to build one at the present time.”

The spokeswoman said that the company’s current focus is on music, imaging and the Web, but not on the PSP.

Which isn’t to say that PSP owners won’t be able to make calls soon.

Last month, British Telecommunications (BT) announced its work on a software-based Internet telephony package for the portable device. The system will allow PSP users to make voice and video calls across a Wi-Fi network. Later it will be extended to cover calls and messages to PCs, fixed-line phones and cell phones.

Review: i199 full of playback options

NEW YORK - As more and more tech toys evolve to include music-playing capabilities, gadget lovers face an increasingly common problem: How can you amplify them all without buying five different speaker docks?
Lately, this has been a problem for me, so when I first spotted iLuv's i199 multimedia system — promising to play music from all these sources while also letting you transmit and receive music — I was optimistic, though admittedly skeptical.

The $250 i199 is $50 cheaper and purports to do much more than Bose's excellent-sounding SoundDock for the iPod. And although some other systems offer multiple playback options, users are still hard-pressed to find one that promises the level of interoperability found in the i199.

The i199 does all that it claims — and much of it well enough to make it worth the price of a video iPod.

The iLuv dock comes in black or white and is about the size of a sleek desktop computer. Various controls on top let you toggle between functions, manipulate playback and volume and control features like the clock and alarm. A hinged panel opens to reveal an iPod dock, USB port and a port for iLuv's Bluetooth implementation.

The front of the iLuv is mostly speaker grill, obstructed by a slot-loading CD player and a central, adjustable LCD that glows bright blue.

When I started testing the iLuv, I wasn't sure where to start. With plenty of playback possibilities, I was briefly tempted to connect all my gadgets at once.

But I decided to ease my way in instead.

First, I docked my video iPod and found that it was typically easy to control with the iLuv's small, slightly awkward-feeling remote. The speakers also sounded good, though not incredible.

Soon, I moved on to CDs by popping in an old "No Doubt" disc. The CD slid smoothly into the unit, and, again, playback was steady and simple.

I began turning up the volume and found the sound good and clear until a little more than two-thirds of the way up. At full blast, the music began sounding a little distorted, but definitely loud enough to support a nice-sized party.

Of course, a good party demands a steady flow of solid tunes, and some of these are stored on stereo Bluetooth-enabled devices like cell phones.

As noted, the i199 has a port for Bluetooth devices. The gadget comes with a tiny "BluePin" audio transmitter and receiver, which you plug into the port. The i199 can now wirelessly play music from any stereo Bluetooth-enabled device and can send sounds for listening on similarly enabled headsets.

I did just that, but couldn't get music from my phone to play at first. Only then did I notice a tiny switch that had to be moved from "transmit" to "receive." Other than that, it was easy to set up. However, I found playback often noticeably choppy, especially when moving the phone.

I called a friend as music blared to see what would happen. As with a stereo Bluetooth headset, the music automatically paused once I hit the "call" button on my phone, resuming again after I hung up. The same thing happened when a friend called me.

I was more impressed with listening to music on a pair of Bluetooth headphones. Living with two roommates, all on different schedules, I like being able to rock out without annoying them.

It was fun to wander my two rooms in our apartment while tracks blasted into my ears alone. On a hot night, I took my headphones into my bedroom and chilled out (literally) to Stereo Total with the air conditioning on high and the stereo unit sweltering a room away.

Although being wireless is fun, the i199's USB port is also a good way to gain access to tunes. I plugged in an old USB memory stick I had lying around. The unit's LCD flashed song names and band titles as songs played.

With all the buttons and options on the i199's top, it's easy to forget about the back. There, you'd find an FM antenna wire, a jack for an AM antenna that is included, an input jack for attaching another audio source and an AV jack for watching videos and images stored on your iPod.

Using a cord that was included, I connected the i199 to my TV and played an episode of "Law & Order" stored on my docked iPod. Doing so allowed me to control the video's playback from the i199's remote, so I didn't have to keep the iPod nearby while watching on the (relatively) big screen.

I did notice, though, that hitting the rewind or fast-forward buttons on the remote quickly would cause the video to go out, thus requiring a trip to the iPod to restart the episode.

My last adventure with the i199 involved its alarm function. The unit has two alarms, and I set one to wake me up early for work by playing a tune from my iPod. The next day I was awoken by an Aimee Mann song and realized that although I wasn't thrilled to be up, for once I didn't want to break my alarm clock.

That's probably for the best with this stereo, because if I did I'd be out a kitchen sink's worth of playback functions, too.

The i199, of course, isn't perfect. It would be well-served by better-working and integrated Bluetooth capabilities, as well as slightly better sound quality. But given its current configuration and price tag, it's still a worthy do-it-all system.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Some latest Gadgets:

Some latest Gadgets:

HP Color LaserJet 2600n

This is one of the best sellers in printer PC industry,so I decided to have a review of it for my users.
With a lower price than some ink jet printers, the HP Color LaserJet 2600n ($400 street) is well positioned to take over the ink jet slot on desktops and small networks. It's ideal for SOHO users wanting to move up to a laser, as well as anyone who has a personal printer in his or her office to augment the network printer down the hall.

The 2600n's most direct competition is the similarly priced Konica Minolta magicolor 2400W ($399 list). Compared with the 2400W, the 2600n is a touch smaller and lighter, at 16 by 14.6 by 17.8 inches (HWD) and 40.5 pounds. That makes finding room for it and moving it into position easier. But the actual setup is marginally more work, since you have to remove each of the four toner cartridges, pull out the restraining tape, and reinsert the cartridge--something you don't have to do with the 2400W. One of the extras in the 2600n is a network connection. Fully automated setup makes it as easy to install the 2600n on a network as it is to install the 2400W with its USB connection.

Output quality is more than acceptable, with an excellent rating for text, and ratings for graphics and photos just below the best available for color lasers. (All three ratings are the same for the 2400W.) Text quality is good enough for any purpose, with more than half of our test fonts easily readable at 4 points, and only one highly stylized font requiring 8 points. Graphics earned a rating at the high end of good, making them just good enough to use for potential clients you want to impress. The only problem worth mentioning is a tendency for white lines to show at the edges of objects, such as the slices in a pie chart.

Photos earned a good rating, with some qualifying as near photo quality. In one case, however, we saw obvious posterization (a tendency for sudden changes in gradients that should change gradually). We also saw a slight green shift in some photos and a reddish-brown tint in a monochrome photo. Overall quality is good enough for things like client newsletters, but the 2600n won't replace your ink jet for printing high-quality photos.

Performance is reasonably good for the price. Comparisons are complicated, however, by the fact that the 2600n is the first low-price single-pass color laser, meaning that it prints all four colors at once instead of one at a time. That gives it the same 8-page-per-minute (ppm) rating for both monochrome and color. By comparison, the 2400W has a tremendous advantage for monochrome output, with a 20-ppm rating. But for color, it's at a disadvantage, rated at only 5 ppm.

On our business applications suite (timed with QualityLogic's hardware and software,, the 2400W left the 2600n far behind on the 50-page monochrome text file, at 2 minutes 40 seconds, compared with 6:06. But most of our test pages include color, so the 2600n beat, or effectively tied, the 2400W on 11 of the 13 individual tests. Total time on our print suite for the 2600n was 21:09, compared with 19:52 for the 2400W.

Which printer would be faster on your desk depends entirely on what you print. And given the equal quality ratings, either one could win out, depending on your mix of output. Even so, the included network connector on the 2600n gives it a slight edge, making it new Editors' Choice.
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Monday, June 11, 2007

Wireless power charges gadgets

You could soon be saying goodbye to having several different chargers for all your handheld gadgets like your mobile phone or MP3 player.
A British start-up called SplashPower has come up with technology that can charge all of them at once, without having to plug any of them into the mains.

The system is based around a small flat mat that plugs into the main electricity supply and a special module inside a gadget.

"You pick up your phone, drop it on the pad and it charges. The pad does all the thinking for you," explained David Whitewood, Vice President of Business Development for SplashPower.

The technology developed by SplashPower is based on the principle of magnetic inductive power transfer.

Inductive charging systems are already used in products like rechargeable electric toothbrushes.

"That technology had a lot of limitations," said Mr Whitewood, "and SplashPower have come up with a solution that works for mobile electronic equipment."

'Green pay-off'

"The cost to add SplashPower technology to phones or MP3 players is very low and very affordable"
David Whitewood, SplashPower

The system works by generating a magnetic field which transfers the energy into a gadget with a Splash module. This in turn transforms the energy into the direct current that the battery uses to recharge.

The company says the system is perfectly safe and will not even wipe credit cards if you accidentally put one on the pad.

The Cambridge-based company is talking to the big electronics manufacturers about integrating the technology into their products.

"The cost to add the SplashPower technology to phones or MP3 players is very low and very affordable," said Mr Whitewood.

The company says the technology will only add 25 cents to the cost of a device and the module itself is less than a millimetre thick.

The system could hold added benefits for businesses such as mobile phone manufacturers as it could help them cut costs.

"You don't have to put a charger in every box if you implement splashpower in your products," said Mr Whitewood, "and there's a green pay-off in that.

"Every time you change your mobile phone, you perhaps keep your charger in a drawer or throw it away. With SplashPower, you wouldn't have to do that."

The company hopes to see the first pads on sale by the end of the year, costing between $25 and $50