Sep 27, 2005

iPod nano - Small and beautiful!

Apple has did it again. iPod Nano - their brand new version of this ultra-cool and hip MP3 player is breath-taking! And they don't call it 'Nano' for no reason. Take a look and you will know what I mean.

At an amazingly impossible dimension of 9 x 4 x 0.69 cm and weighing just 42g, the iPod nano comes in 2 GB and 4 GB models. That comes to around 500/1000 songs, with a battery recharge that will last about 14 hours of music playback, as Apple claims.

The most interesting fact about the iPod nano is that it is meant to replace the iPod Mini. Go to the Apple site and you won't find a single trace of the Mini anywhere, it has simply vanished into thin air. Or rather, has been eaten up by the Nano. It gets even more interesting when you consider the fact that the Mini is one of the most successful music players around. Apple has really taken a bold step to replace the Mini with the Nano. How it will fare with the market is something that remains to be seen.

At the heart of the matter, the Nano is more expensive than the Mini when you consider the price per Gigabyte of storage. A 6 GB Mini would have cost you about $250 whereas the 4 GB Nano costs about the same. It is possibly because of the change in technology. The Mini used a hard-drive for storage, whereas the Nano uses flash memory. That would probably also explain the razor like thickness (or rather, thinness) that it has managed to achieve.

However, the Nano does look a bit flimsy in the photographs ( I haven't seen a real one yet!) and it is hard to tell how easy would the ClickWheel to use. I hope that Apple's obsession for attaining nano dimensions for the prodcut hasn't forced it to make a ClickWheel too big for the user's thumb.

Apple has indeed taken a bold move in taking the Mini off its shelves and putting the Nano in its place and the fact that the Mini accounts for more than half of all iPods sold. Wit the Nano, Apple has stuck to its tradition of pushing technology and customer imagination to the limits. We just hope thinking differently hasn't been a just too different this time! All the best, Apple!

Sep 23, 2005

The new face of the Virus : Digital Evolution - Has it begun?

Sit back and look at your mobile phone for just a second. Ah, you say, just another phone. Okay, maybe a scheduler too. A mega-pixel camera. An MP3 player. E-mail client. Web browser. Geez, it is almost like my PC, only smaller and also mobile. In fact, it is so much like your PC that it comes with a built-in Anti-virus program, to keep all your digital information intact from invasion and corruption.

That's no news, I know it already, you say. Surprise, suprise, there's more! Cardtrap.A, a Trojan horse that infects Symbian operated mobile phones is the first reported mailcious software that can "jump over" from the mobile phone to the PC. The Trojan first writes itself onto the memory card of the phone that it has infected by posing as a pirated mobile phone game. When the user connects the card to the PC and clicks on an innocent looking file, lo and behold! the virus infects the PC and tries to spread further through the network. On some systems, the Trojan propagates using the Auto-run feature in some systems.

This Trojan is not a particularly bright one, it doesn't do any damage unless some unwitting user clicks on the file. But the implications are significant. What if a new Trojan acted more like a worm on a PC, actively searching for victim computers on the network, rather than waiting for user interaction? It would, then, be able to infect both PCs and any connected phones as well, and would spread like wildfire.

We have heard of pig viruses capable of infecting humans and more recently, the bird flu virus crossing over to humans and so on. The virus mutates and infects the new species and causes a similar disease there. What we are witnessing could be a possible digital equivalent of the same evolution process. It is indeed a fact that this Trojan was designed specifically to infect PCs and phones simultaneously. If it had been given the ability to infect other digital devices like PDAs and other phones through Bluetooth or infrared or other means, just imagine the havoc it could have played, had it been more destructive.

Technology - for good and bad - is advancing so rapidly that what seems like science fiction today could very well be reality tomorrow. With our civilisation becoming more and more dependent on digital information devices and networks for day-to-day functioning, it would be indeed foolish to think that a day will not come when a smart polymorphic virus will just decide that it needs to infect the world. And we can't even treat a cold yet!

Sep 17, 2005

Google launches soft drinks!

Okay, what has the famous Internet search company that has been breaking new ground in Web technology have to do with soft drinks, you might ask. Well, nothing actually. If you were fooled by the title of this blog, then don't worry, you are not alone. This is just one of the harmless pranks that Google plays on the casual surfer.

Google Gulp comes in four distinct flavours, and each one is suited to a different person. The Google Gulp product line explains the flavour in words, but you really have to taste it to know what they mean. At the moment, the product is in "Limited Release" mode. So you will have to get an invitation from somebody who already has the product. (Ring a bell? Think Gmail.)

If you had your share of Google Gulp and need more, here is a few more interesting stuff that only Google can give you.

Google MentalPlex - The only search engine which can read your mind!

Google PigeonRank - Google Algorithm finally revealed (Ah, now I can get my site rank up!)

Google Copernicus Center - Get a job that can really take you somewhere - the moon, no less!

It is nice to know that a company that can provide us with such great stuff as Google Search and Gmail has a funny side to it. As they say, they are only human after all. Thank God they are!Go Google! We love you guys.