Cuil: Claiming to be the coolest search engine

The list of search engines is growing and the latest addition is Cuil, pronounced as cool. The first and foremost thing I want to tell about Cuil is that it is founded by a team of ex Google alumni, including Anna Patterson chief architect of the company’s Tera Google search index. So its comparison with Google is inevitable.

Layout is simple and effective

The homepage of Cuil search engine is quite simple. It has a black background, the Cuil's logo, and the search box. The search form return typing suggestions. The search result display of Cuil is quite different and unique compared to other search engines. Instead of displaying the searches in a list, it displays in three columns. It also includes related images along with the searches. Cuil shows the related searches in the box on the top right, and also in a bar right underneath the search box. However unlike Google and others, Cuil neither check your spelling nor suggest you the correct search terms.

Comparison with Google

People have started considering Cuil as the biggest threat to Google. But it is just the starting time for Cuil and it would be foolish to compare it with Google. According to the Cuil VP of communications, Vince Sollitto, "We are trying to give people different results. Cuil is pitched as an alternative to traditional search engines, and users should not expect the results to be the same”.

Google is far ahead of its peers, Yahoo and Microsoft, in terms of paid search business. In 2007, Google’s paid search business made up 40% of all online search dollars. Yahoo and Microsoft have tried and tested a lot of measures and spent billions trying to figure out how to narrow the gap on Google in the lucrative paid search market.

It will not be an easy way for Cuil to make a mark in the search engines market and that too in near future. Only time will tell that how far it goes in this race.

What are the new features in WordPress 2.6

Blogging has provided an efficient and magnificent tool to publicize info about any company on the net. We have got so many blogging platforms and WordPress is one of them. WordPress has released its new version 2.6. WordPress 2.6 has got a no. of features for content creation and improvements. We will just take a look at the major and minor features of the newer version.

Here are the major important features of WordPress's newer version:

Edit-Tracking: The new edit-tracking system will be quite handy for multi-author blogs. It allows you to see the changes made to a post and enable you to see who made what changes to a post and when. It also provides the option to revert back to the older version of a post, in case you make a mistake.

Press This: “Press This” is like a bookmark you can add to your toolbar. It offers a fast and smart popup to do postings to your WordPress blog. Suppose you are viewing a Youtube video and finds it relevant for your blog and want to post it on your blog, then what you have to do is to just click “Press this” button. It will automatically extract the embedded code and post it on your blog. In the same way you can post to your blog from anywhere on the net.

Google Gears Support: The most exciting feature of WordPress version 2.6 is support for Google Gears. Gears is an open source browser extension project provided by Google. You can cache the most important files of the WordPress management console to your local hard drive, by clicking the "Turbo" button in the upper right-hand corner of the WordPress administrative interface. It will allow the authors to keep blogging even if the network connectivity is temporarily lost.

Theme Previews: Theme Preview support permits the admin to preview how their site will look with a new user interface before making it live. As soon as you select a theme, it pops up a window that shows the theme live with all your content. It will be great for just test driving the themes prior to publishing. It will also be helpful for the persons developing a theme and need to test it without allowing anybody to see your ongoing mistakes development.

Following are the smaller features and improvements in 2.6:
  • Word count: It does the counting of number of words in your post.
  • Image captions: Now you can add sweet image captions at your will.
  • Bulk management of plugins.
  • Version 2.6 fixes approximately 194 bugs.
  • You can toggle between the Flash uploader and the classic one.
Apart from these there are a number of small changes and new features. Only time will tell that how much these new features help the bloggers.

Be ready for the new gaming experiences

Holiday season is approaching fast and so is the gaming season. Considering the right time to turn consoles and games into commercial market, the biggest companies in the video game console business, Microsoft Corp., Sony Corp., and Nintendo corp., have come up with new games and services at the same time, targeting mainstream users like never before.

Earlier most video game consoles were aimed at serious players who spent the most money and time on games but now the companies are aiming at players who purchase game machines when their costs are reduced and when better arrays of titles become available.

So what are the offers?

Microsoft has clinched a deal with Netflix Inc., an online rental service, to stream movies over the Internet to Xbox 360 game machines. The announcement came on the eve of the Electronic Entertainment Expo Media and Business Summit, a major video game industry trade show in Los Angeles. The Xbox owners will now be able to watch movies streamed through game consoles to their TVs.

Sony is also expected to demonstrate its own service for downloading movies and television shows from the Internet to PlayStation 3s. According to Sony, this summer, its store for buying and renting movies and other video content on the PlayStation 3 should go online.

The credit of all these current moves, by Sony and Microsoft, goes to the sensational commercial success of rival Nintendo Co. Nintendo turned industry rules by going after casual game players with its Wii gaming system right from the day the console went on sale.

Nintendo stressed on fun intuitive Wii games. Instead of the costly and hyper-realistic graphics favored by hard-core players, it has been using the console's motion-sensing controller. In the U.S., Microsoft and Nintendo are neck-to-neck in selling their latest generation of consoles.

It is slated to release a new video game accessory for its Wii game system, Wii Motion Plus. It will help improve responsiveness and precision in tracking the hand movements of players. The new accessory will attach to the existing motion-sensing controller. The device will enable even slight flicks of the wrist and arm to be rendered on screens.

Isn't it looks exciting for the video game lovers?

Microsoft's another offer: Yahoo's same answer

In yet another negotiation round, Yahoo again said no to the proposal offered by the Microsoft Corp and billionaire investor Carl Icahn. The duo, Microsoft and Carl Icahn, made a proposal on 11 july and gave yahoo only 24 hours to decide, which Yahoo!'s board rejected saying, it is not in line with shareholder interests.

According to Roy Bostock, Yahoo chairman, "Carl Icahn and Microsoft presented us with a 'take it or leave it' proposal under which we would be required to restructure the Company, hand over to Microsoft Yahoo!'s valuable search business and to Carl Icahn the rest of the Company, giving us less than 24 hours to respond. It is ludicrous to think that our Board could accept such a proposal."

Though Yahoo seemed prepared to sell the whole company to Microsoft for $33 a share, but it is not ready to spilt the company. The company feels that its current business and search advertising deal with Google is worth more than the Microsoft's offer. The concerns were also that once sold to Microsoft, the company would be run by Icahn and his directors, who have little knowledge of running an internet company.

If sources are to be believed, the improved terms included $2.3 billion in guaranteed annual revenue from search advertising for five years. There was the option to extend the deal for another five years.

Latest electronics & electrical industry news.

Recycle your mobile phone & help environment

When you buy a new cell phone what you do with your old phone? Just throw in the drawer or pass it your friend or someone else! You are not alone in doing so. Have you ever thought about recycling your mobile phone? Perhaps you are not aware about it! Again you are not alone. 97% people don't recycle their phone.

In a recent worldwide survey, conducted by Nokia in accordance with the global consumer survey, it is found that only 3% of people recycle their mobile phones. The survey was conducted in 13 countries including Finland, Germany, Italy, Russia, Sweden, UK, UAE, US, Nigeria, India, China, Indonesia and Brazil, and 6500 people were interviewed. The survey was conducted to help Nokia find out more about consumers' attitudes and behaviors towards recycling.

Unawareness: The prime concern

Nearly half the people are even not aware of the fact that their mobile could be recycled. Two-third of the interviewers said they did not know how to recycle an unwanted device while 71% were unaware of where to do this. If each of the 3 billion mobile owners brought back just one unused device, even a mobile phone battery charger, 240 000 tonnes of raw materials can be saved and it will help reduce the greenhouse gases to the same effect as taking 4 million cars off the road.

The survey highlighted that on an average, each person own five mobile phones. 4% of these are being thrown into landfill and 44%, are simply being kept at homes never used. Some mobile phones are given another life, one-fourth are passed to friends or family, and 16% are sold in emerging markets.

74% of consumers don't think about recycling their phones, whereas 72%, think recycling makes a difference to the environment. The result was uniformly found in different countries with 88% of people in Indonesia not considering recycling unwanted devices, 84% in India, and 78% of people in Brazil, Sweden, Germany and Finland.

Helping the environment

80% of any Nokia device is recyclable. The precious materials within these devices can be reused to help make new products such as park benches, kitchen utensils, metal musical instruments or dental fillings. According to Markus Terho, the director of environmental affairs at Nokia, “Using the best recycling technology nothing is wasted. Between 65 - 80% of a Nokia device can be recycled. Plastics that can't be recycled are burnt to provide energy for the recycling process, and other materials are ground up into chips and used as construction materials or for building roads. In this way nothing has to go to landfill.”

Nokia has collection points for unwanted mobile devices in 85 countries around the world. People can drop off their old devices at Nokia stores and 5,000 Nokia Care Centers. To find their nearest take-back point, people can visit

The Art of Electronics

Informally it is called “the bible of electronics”. “The art of electronics” is widely recognized as the authoritative text and reference on electronic circuit design. The book has revolutionized the way of teaching electronics. It is co-authored by Paul Horowitz and Winfield Hill. Its first edition was released in 1982 while the revised edition came in 1989. The first edition sold over 125,000 copies worldwide and was translated into eight languages.

An ideal first textbook and an indispensable reference on electronics for engineers, scientists, professional, amateur, and for all those who works with electronic circuits.

With more than 1000 pages, this book covers all the areas of electronic circuit design, both analog and digital, from basic DC voltage, current, and resistance, to active filters and oscillators, to digital electronics, including microprocessors and digital bus interfacing. The book also discusses the often-neglected areas, such as high-speed design techniques, low-power applications, and high-frequency. Though the text is information dense but the intimate tone used makes it easily readable and more accessible.

The USP of this book is its collection of useful example circuits. Along with some examples of good circuits it has some bad ideas too; to disuss what makes the good designs good and the bad ones bad.

Reviews of the book
"This is a delightful book ... an excellent teaching text as well as a lab reference. The circuits actually work, the schematics are readable, and there is even a section on how to draw good schematics. I recently observed a graduate student in physics unfamiliar with op-amps start to build a haywired mess of a circuit. He then took home The Art of Electronics for one night, and the next day the mess was taken apart, to be replaced by a correctly designed working circuit." -- Review of Scientific Instruments

"Full of clever circuits and sharp insights, but with a surprising minimum of mathematics.... This scheme of making maximum use of the insights of simple approximations described in words, and introducing more formal design only after understanding has gained real headway, is the pedagogical core of this original treatment.... The depth is genuine, as is the richness of examples, data and apt tricks." -- Scientific American

Some of the best electronic industry publications.

400 GB of data on a single Blu-ray disc

400 GB of data on a single disc. Seems to be quite amusing for some while some would say that it will take time to achieve it. But Japanese electronics giant Pioneer has made it possible. Pioneer has developed world's first 16-layer blu-ray disc, squeezing 25 GB of data on each layer thus totalling to an amazing figure of 400GB.

The currently commercially available blu-ray discs have the storage capacity of 25 GB. Those having two layers can store 50 GB of data. The problem in developing multiple layers disc have been to obtain a clear and stable signal from each recording layer. The frequently visited problems were crosstalk from adjacent layers and transmission loss. Pioneer managed to overcome these issues and developed a disc structure that reduces crosstalk from adjacent layers. Finally it came with a 16-layer optical disc that can play back high-quality signals from each layer.

The good news is that these high capacity discs are backward-compatible and will play on blu-ray disc players. These discs can be read using the same objective lens in current Blu-ray drives. Video game publishers and movie studios can use these discs to take more content on a single disc.

With the development of this technology, Pioneer is putting a green spin on the development. Discs with such enormous capacities mean fewer resources are consumed to deliver the same data or movies on Blu-ray media. For consumers, the main advantage of this technology is the chances of renting an entire season of a television show or collection of movies on a single disc. No need of disc-swapping.

So what do you think? Isn't it the future of data storage?

New chip cooling technology

According to Moore's law the density of chips in microprocessors keep doubling every two years. With the increasing density and effectiveness of the current chips the amount of heat generated by these chips is also increasing. To cope with the enormous heat, new technologies will be needed in future to cool the integrated chips that produces much more heat than the current microprocessors.

Such a new technology has been developed at Purdue University that uses "microjets" to deposit liquid into tiny channels. This technology is able to remove five times more heat than other experimental high-performance chip-cooling methods.

The conventional computer chips usually generate about 100 watts per square centimeter. The chips are air-cooled with finned metal plates called heat sinks and often a small CPU fan. Most of the liquid-cooling techniques are limited to a cooling capacity of about 200 watts per square centimeter. However the new microjet technology is able to cool chips that generate more than 1,000 watts of heat per square centimeter. With its help new doors in the advancement of chips technology can be opened.

This technology is a combination of two cooling methods, the microjets and microchannels, hence called a hybrid system. The microjets cools uniformly because the liquid is supplied in the form of jets everywhere along the length of each channel. It helps to prevent any part of chips from overheating. The coolant is collected at either ends of the channels and is circulated back through the system.

The channels in this cooling system is narrower than a millimeter, or thousandth of a meter wide. They are formed on top of a chip and covered with a metal plate. This metallic plate has tiny holes through which the coolant is pumped in microjets, and then the liquid flows along channels to cool the chip. When the coolant gets heated by the hot chip inside the channels, it bubbles and becomes a vapor, easing the cooling process.

This new technology uses a hydrofluorocarbon as the cooling liquid. It is a dielectric and will not conduct electricity or cause short circuits. However hydroflurocarbons are not very efficient coolants and their heat conductivity is far lower than water. But they avoid electrical short circuits and are environmentally better than other coolants. They have low global-warming effects and are not harmful to the ozone layer in the earth's atmosphere.

An insight in to Japanese consumer electronics market

Over the past few years, the global consumer electronics industry has witnessed a phenomenal growth. It can be attributed to the increasing effect of state of the art electronic devices in the market. The Asia Pacific region is the market leader in consumer electronics and more of this credit goes to the Japanese companies, which are known worldwide for their innovations and quality. The world famous brands like Sony, Panasonic and Matsushita are owned by the Japanese companies.

The total revenue generated by the consumer electronics market consists the sale of audio, video, and games console products. The video section consists of camcorders, digital cameras, CRT and flat-panel television sets, videocassette and DVD players and recorders, and set-top boxes. The audio section includes MP3 recorders and players, personal stereos, radios, hi-fi systems, cassettes, CDs, and minidisc. Gaming consoles includes all hand-held and plug-in consoles.

In a survey, condusted by the Japan’s Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications (MIC), the consumer electronics market is estimated to grow to 11 trillion yen by 2010. It is more than quadruple the value of 2004. One of the main highlights of this survey is an emphasis on the convergence of communication and entertainment electronics. This trend is already spreading rapidly, the government views this as a major shift in the consumer electronics industry.

The MIC defines the consumer electronics market to include the following areas:

  • Appliance market

      • Digital consumer electronics like TV, washing machine, PC, modems, etc.

  • Service content market

      • Content like entertainment information on movies, drama, etc.

      • Services like distance learning (tele-education), security services, etc.

  • Network platform market

      • Networks, including ADSL, cable Internet, fiber-optic cables, etc.

Future Prospects

The consumer electronics industry is expecting the integration of entertainment and communication electronics in coming years. The companies aim at providing advanced services to help consumers achieve more convenience in their daily activities. It can be achieved by offering networking consumer electronics in the home market.

The home security systems is expected to enter in the consumer electronics market. It can help monitor fires or break-ins and report them to nearby fire stations. Consumers could be able to control appliances in home from their personal digital assistant (PDA) or mobile phones. While departing the home, you can turn on the security system while turning off all consumer electronics. On the way back to home from work, a person would be able to start a bath or begin warming up the house.

World record downloading for firefox 3.0

Within the first day of the release of Mozilla Firefox 3.0 , an unique world record was created. A record breaking 8,002,530 downloads took place for web browser Firefox 3.0. Mozilla officially made history with a new Guinness world record for the largest number of software downloads in a 24-hour period.

According to the Marketing head Paul Kim, "The enthusiasm and creativity of Firefox fans was key to making this happen". He told the BBC News: "The notion of going for a world record, as gooky and nutty as it may have sounded, was a really sticky idea. It was an idea that translated really well across national borders and to all different kinds of people around the world." It was called an extremely impressive accomplishment by Gareth Deaves of Guinness World Records.

Some security firms claimed to found flaws in the software on the very first day of its release. Within few hours of Firefox 3.0 debut, DV Labs/Tipping Point reported a flaw that potentially let an attacker take over a personal computer if a user clicked on a booby-trapped link. Mr Kim told the BBC News: "Firefox users are safe. We have a patch in the works and hope to release it very soon."

It seems happy timing for the Firefox as its market share reached to more than 19%, second best to Microsoft's Internet Explorer. According to the statistics firm Net Applications, a substantial part of the gain came from rival IE and predicted that it would break the 20% share bar very soon. Mr Kim said: "We offer the best browsing experience and this shows people are getting the message and voting with their browser choice."

World of Insecure browsing

If you are surfing the web through a browser that isn't up to date then you fall under the pool of those 40% internet surfers who are more prone to malicious attack. Almost 59% people use the latest version of their internet browsers and they are safer compared to the above mentioned 40%. The numbers are disturbingly high for anyone working in IT security.

These figures are revealed as the result of a comprehensive study conducted by researchers at The Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, Google and IBM Internet Security Services. The researchers performed their analysis using Google's database of user information. The data between January 2007 and June 2008 was gathered for the analysis.

It was found during the research that although software vendors provide patches for security problems, users take days, weeks or months for updating their applications. However it was concluded that it's not solely the fault of users since the vendors haven't exactly made patching easy. Mozilla's Firefox was declared the best due to its auto-update feature, which tells users about the availability of a new patch and offers a one-click way to upgrade. According to the study, most Firefox users are up to date within three days. The updating features and installation wasn't found quick and easy for other browsers, such as Opera and Safari.

Who stays where?
IE7 is the oldest browser taken in the study but only 52.5 percent of the users surfing the web with Internet Explorer were using IE7. In spite of Microsoft's repeated and emphatic pleas to upgrade, 47.5 % IE users were still presumably using IE6. Firefox users were considered the best in upgrading, with 92.2 percent of Firefox users now using version 2 (Firefox 3.0 was not taken into account since the data gathered was between January 2007 and June 2008). 90.1 % of Opera users were using Opera 9 while 70.2 % of all Safari users currently running Safari 3.

Threats and recommendations
Web browsers are considered a weak link in the IT security chain. It becomes easy for hackers to gain control of a personal computer due to the software vulnerabilities. In the cases of hacking, hackers can perform malicious acts such as stealing personal data or turning PCs into spam-spewing drones.

The group suggested that auto-updates are a very good thing, and recommended that the feature be included in all browsers. The study recommended that corporate businesses should adopt URL Filters, or filters designed to prevent company employees from even touching websites carrying malicious content. One interesting recommendation is that the software industry follow the same type of labeling system as used by the food industry. If adopted, web browsers would be dated with a "Best before" label, and would automatically flag the user when the browser "expired."

Chart Source: SFIT