Monday, July 19, 2010

Atif Aslam & Ali Pervaiz - Performing Together

Review of Udaan, Lamha and Tere Bin Laden

Katrina Kaif scared of parties?!

Priyanka Chopra's birthday celebrations

Priyanka Chopra's parents say it all!

10 Fun Microsoft Facts You Might Not Know

Despite ever-increasing Mac sales, Microsoft’s still has an undisputed dominance over the computer industry.
With such a vast presence, much has already been written about Microsoft: Its history, its products, even its former CEO Bill Gates. For those itching to know even more, we’ve dug up 10 snippets of info that you might not have heard before.
What experimental musician created the WindowsWindows start-up sound? How do they celebrate anniversaries? Does Microsoft have a “pest” problem? Have a read of our Microsoft-themed facts, stats and trivia and let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

1. “Micro-soft’s” First Ever Mention

The first ever mention of “Microsoft” was in a letter from Bill Gates to co-founder Paul Allen in 1975. Gates initially wrote the company name as Micro-soft, which made sense considering it’s a portmanteau of “microcomputer” and “software.”
Losing the hyphen, “Microsoft” was officially registered as a company in November, 1976 in New Mexico where Gates and Allen were working with their first major customer, MITS. Microsoft didn’t move to its current campus in Redmond, Washington until 1986.
The Microsoft logo has changed several times over the years, the current “Pac-Man” logo was introduced in 1987, but previous to that was the “blibbet” logo that’s pictured above. The “blibbet” refers to the stylized “o” and was apparently once the name of a burger served in the Microsoft company cafeteria.

2. Brian Eno Composed “The Microsoft Sound”

Pioneering musician Brian Eno was the musical brains behind Window 95’s start up tune, dubbed “The Microsoft Sound.”
The influential musician, who has worked with the likes of David Bowie and U2, told the San Francisco Chronicle that making such a short piece of music was “funny” and “amazing.” Eno likened the process to “making a tiny little jewel.”
Other musical trivia from the launch of Windows 95 is, of course, the use of The Rolling Stones “Start Me Up” in the ad campaign, while a related Eno fact is that he also composed the music for the computer game Spore.

3. Microsoft’s Fave Food Is Pizza

Although not quite at Google’s level of snack-tastic, free-for-all wonder, Microsoft does offer free drinks. Over 23 million gratis beverages are downed on the corporate campus each year.
Apparently the top two drinks of choice for Microsoft staffers are milk and OJ. There’s also free candy on the Microsoft campus shuttle.
As far as food goes, Microsoft has around 35 cafeterias (one of which is pictured above) serving around 37,000 people each day. Pizza tops the list of most popular meal.

4. Microsoft Uses Codenames

Ever since the company’s first operating system, Microsoft has worked on its projects under codenames, of which Wikipedia has a long list. Apparently Gates was ready to launch Windows under the name “Interface Manager” before he was persuaded to change it by an employee.
Past codenames include “Longhorn,” “Lone Star,” and “Vienna.” While you might be tempted to add “Mojave,” to that list, it’s actually part of a Microsoft ad campaign. The “Mojave Experiment” was a marketing exercise that battled Vista’s poor PR by presenting the software to new users as a fresh product.

5. The Average “Softie”

The average Microsoft employee, or “Softie” as they call themselves, is a 38-year-old male with the average salary for a developer coming in at $106,000.
Microsoft currently employs 88,180 people who work across 32,404,796 square feet of Microsoft’s premises, over 50,000 of which are U.S.-based. The male to female ratio is very high among Microsoft’s American employees with a staggering 76% male workforce.

6. Microsoft Celebrates Anniversaries With M&Ms

All companies have their little in-house traditions, and Microsoft is no exception. It seems it’s customary for Softies to celebrate their yearly employment anniversaries with candy, and more specifically, M&Ms.
Each anniversary, a Microsoft employee is expected to provide one pound of M&Ms for every year they’ve worked. That means if Bill Gates observed the tradition, he should have turned up with 33 pounds of M&Ms on June 27, 2008.

7. Microsoft’s Stock Has Split Nine Times

Microsoft has split its stock nines times since it went public back in March 1986. Put very, very simply, a company will generally split its stock when its share price becomes too high.
Since Microsoft has had six 2-for-1 splits and three 3-for-1 splits, one original Microsoft share would now be equal to 288 shares today. Interestingly the price of Microsoft’s stock at its initial public offering was $21 a share, at the time of writing a share is now around the $23 mark. One original MSFT share would now be worth over $6,000.

8. Microsoft Has a Huge Art Collection

No, we’re not talking about Clip Art. Microsoft is one of the largest corporate collectors of artworks with over 5,000 contemporary pieces including painting, sculpture, works on paper, photographs, ceramics, studio glass, and multimedia works. Microsoft gathers arts from local artists, up-and-coming artists and big names such asCindy Sherman, Chuck Close and Takashi Murakami.
A large proportion of the works are on display at more than 150 of Microsoft’s many campuses, as the company subscribes to the belief that art in the workplace reduces stress, increases productivity and encourages discussions and expression of opinions.

9. Microsoft Asks Strange Interview Questions

Microsoft has a reputation in the industry for asking off-beat, off-the-wall questions during its job interview. The most oft-quoted question is: “Why is a manhole cover round?” Whether this particular example is genuine, or an urban legend, it’s certainly true that Microsoft employs a very unusual, and forward-thinking interview process. It’s even rumored that companies like Google have since emulated the style.
Rather than plain “Where do you see yourself in five years” type questions, Microsoft is more likely to ask you to solve a logic puzzle or think through a problem like “Design a coffee maker that will be used by astronauts.” Obviously, Microsoft isn’t planning to go into the coffee-in-space industry anytime soon, but the process serves to find candidates that can think creatively.

10. Microsoft Holds Over 10,000 Patents

Microsoft holds over 10,000 patents and files around 3,000 every year, ranking as one of the top five patent owners in the U.S.
Although a large majority of the patents relate to obscure elements of software, the 5,000th and 10,000th were consumer-friendly, easily-understandable ideas. The 5,000th was for tech in Xbox 360 games that lets people “watch” a video game remotely, while the 10,000th was for the Microsoft Surface, linking real-life objects with data and images.
Microsoft also rewards its staff members for securing a new patent. Besides a $1,500 bonus, they get a wooden plaque and a decorative black “cube” that features their name, as well as the title and date of the patent.

BONUS: The Microsoft Campus is Full of Bunnies!

Our very own Jolie O’Dell found a great factoid about the Microsoft Corporate Campus, she gleaned while on a recent visit.
“So, back in the mists of time, some people dumped a bunch of rapidly reproducing pet bunnies — leftovers from kids’ Easter gifts — on a grassy knoll near the MSFT campus,” Jolie said. “The bunnies started doing what bunnies do best, that is, making more bunnies.
At one point, there were so many that MSFT staff had to start catching them and having them spayed and neutered! Nowadays, you’ll still see lots of rabbits hopping around, though. Way cuter than Google’s goats.”
It seems the bunny proliferation has been a long term issue. According to a 1998 Seattle Times article, the “Redmond rabbit problem” does not just affect Microsoft, but Nintendo, Eddie Bauer and other companies in the area.
The problem back then spawned the Redmond Rabbit Coalition group (many members of which are now involved in the current day Evergreen Rabbit Rescue) who campaign for a humane solution to the ongoing pest problem.
Rabbit image courtesy of iStockphotoLindaYolanda

As Facebook Users Die, Ghosts Reach Out

Brandon Thibodeaux for The New York Times
Facebook suggested that Courtney Purvin get in touch with a friend who had died in April.

Readers' Comments
Courtney Purvin got a shock when she visited Facebook last month. The site was suggesting that she get back in touch with an old family friend who played piano at her wedding four years ago.

The friend had died in April.
“It kind of freaked me out a bit,” she said. “It was like he was coming back from the dead.”
Facebook, the world’s biggest social network, knows a lot about its roughly 500 million members. Its software is quick to offer helpful nudges about things like imminent birthdays and friends you have not contacted in a while. But the company has had trouble automating the task of figuring out when one of its users has died.
That can lead to some disturbing or just plain weird moments for Facebook users as the site keeps on shuffling a dead friend through its social algorithms.
Facebook says it has been grappling with how to handle the ghosts in its machine but acknowledges that it has not found a good solution.
“It’s a very sensitive topic,” said Meredith Chin, a company spokeswoman, “and, of course, seeing deceased friends pop up can be painful.” Given the site’s size, “and people passing away every day, we’re never going to be perfect at catching it,” she added.
James E. Katz, a professor of communications at Rutgers University, said the company was experiencing “a coming-of-age problem.”
“So many of Facebook’s early users were young, and death was rare and unduly tragic,” Mr. Katz said.
Now, people over 65 are adopting Facebook at a faster pace than any other age group, with 6.5 million signing up in May alone, three times as many as in May 2009, according to the research firm comScore. People over 65, of course, also have the country’s highest mortality rate, so the problem is only going to get worse.
Tamu Townsend, a 37-year-old technical writer in Montreal, said she regularly received prompts to connect with acquaintances and friends who had died.
“Sometimes it’s quite comforting when their faces show up,” Ms. Townsend said. “But at some point it doesn’t become comforting to see that. The service is telling you to reconnect with someone you can’t. If it’s someone that has passed away recently enough, it smarts.”
Ms. Purvin, a 36-year-old teacher living in Plano, Tex., said that after she got over the initial jolt of seeing her friend’s face, she was happy for the reminder.
“It made me start talking about him and thinking about him, so that was good,” she said. “But it was definitely a little creepy.”
Facebook’s approach to the deaths of its users has evolved over time. Early on it would immediately erase the profile of anyone it learned had died.
Ms. Chin says Facebook now recognizes the importance of finding an appropriate way to preserve those pages as a place where the mourning process can be shared online.
Following the Virginia Tech shootings in 2007, members begged the company to allow them to commemorate the victims. Now member profiles can be “memorialized,” or converted into tribute pages that are stripped of some personal information and no longer appear in search results. Grieving friends can still post messages on those pages.
Of course, the company still needs to determine whether a user is, in fact, dead. But with a ratio of roughly 350,000 members to every Facebook employee, the company must find ways to let its members and its computers do much of that work.
For a site the size of Facebook, automation is “key to social media success,” said Josh Bernoff, an analyst at Forrester Research and co-author of “Groundswell: Winning in a World Transformed by Social Technologies.”
“The way to make this work in cases where machines can’t make decisions is to tap into the members,” he said, pointing to Facebook’s buttons that allow users to flag material they find inappropriate. “One way to automate the ‘Is he dead’ problem is to have a place where people can report it.”
That’s just what Facebook does. To memorialize a profile, a family member or friend mustfill out a form on the site and provide proof of the death, like a link to an obituary or news article, which a staff member at Facebook will then review.
But this option is not well publicized, so many profiles of dead members never are converted to tribute pages. Those people continue to appear on other members’ pages as friend suggestions, or in features like the “reconnect” box, which has been spooking the living since it was introduced last October.
Ms. Chin said Facebook was considering using software that would scan for repeated postings of phrases like “Rest in peace” or “I miss you” on a person’s page and then dispatch a human to investigate that account.
“We are testing ways to implement software to address this,” she said. “But we can’t get it wrong. We have to do it correctly.”
The scanning approach could invite pranks — as the notification form already has. A friend of Simon Thulbourn, a software engineer living in Germany, found an obituary that mentioned someone with a similar name and submitted it to Facebook last October as evidence that Mr. Thulbourn was dead. He was soon locked out of his own page.
“When I first ‘died,’ I went looking around Facebook’s help pages, but alas, they don’t seem to have a ‘I’m not really dead, could I have my account back please?’ section, so I opted for filling in every form on their Web site,” Mr. Thulbourn said by e-mail.
When that didn’t work, Mr. Thulbourn created a Web page and posted about it on Twitteruntil news of the mix-up began to spread on technology blogs and the company took notice. He received an apology from Facebook and got his account back.
The memorializing process has other quirks. Memorial profiles cannot add new friends, so if parents joined the site after a child died, they would not have permission to see all the messages and photos shared by the child’s friends.
These are issues that Facebook no doubt wishes it could avoid entirely. But death, of course, is unavoidable, and so Facebook must find a way to integrate it into the social experience online.
“They don’t want to be the bearer of bad tidings, but yet they are the keeper of those living memories,” Mr. Katz, the Rutgers professor, said. “That’s a real downer for a company that wants to be known for social connections and good news.

Coca-Cola accused of using porn to target children on Facebook

Coca-Cola has been forced to pull an internet campaign after parents accused the company of using hardcore pornographic references to target children on Facebook.

Coca-Cola was accused of using hardcore pornographic references to target children on Facebook
Coca-Cola was accused of using hardcore pornographic references to target children on Facebook
A Facebook promotion for Dr Pepper, part of the Coca-Cola drinks range, posted a reference to a notorious pornographic film on the “wall” of an underage girl.
As part of the promotion, users allowed the company to hijack their Facebook status box, posting apparently embarrassing messages under their names.
More than 160,000 people signed up for the hoax statuses, which included: “Lost my special blankie. How will I go sleepies?” and “What’s wrong with peeing in the shower?”
But the marketing drive backfired when a parent complained that her 14-year-old daughter’s hijacked status claimed that she had watched a hardcore pornographic film which is notorious for the obscene practices it depicts.
The status referred to the film by name, and the mother said she was particularly distressed after finding that her daughter had subsequently searched for it on the internet.
Mrs Rickman wrote on the parents’ networking site Mumsnet: “I am absolutely fizzing with rage and disgust, and want a full apology and explanation.”
She said Coca-Cola had “offensively” offered to compensate her with a night in a hotel and West End theatre tickets, adding: “Fat lot of use to me, we live in Glasgow”.
Other Mumsnet users reacted furiously to news of the “disgusting” promotion, and praised Mrs Rickman for bringing it to light.
Coca-Cola has since apologised and announced an investigation into its promotion procedures. Executives said they had approved the offending message without realising its true meaning.
A spokesman said: "It has been brought to our attention that the Dr Pepper promotion on Facebook posted an offensive status update. We apologise for any offence caused.
"As soon as we became aware of this, we took immediate action and removed the status update from the application. We have also taken the decision to end the promotion. We will take all steps necessary to ensure this does not happen again".

Khosa Removed as IT and Telecom Minister

After multiple controversies, Sardar Muhammad Latif Khosa has been removed as Minister In-charge for IT and Telecom Ministry with immediate effect.
Mr. Khosa remained Minister In-charge for MoIT for four months.
Mr. Khosa will continue working as Adviser on IT but powers of the Minister are withdrawn. Prime Minister will be the Minister Incharge of the MOIT from now onwards.
Mr. Khosa had sacked 6 directors of ICT R&D fund for rejecting his brother-in-law as chief of fund. Just today, it is learned that sacked directors moved LHC against Mr. Khosa, alleging their termination as illegal and against the law.
Following notification was issued for withdrawal of Mr. Khosa’s minister-ship
No. 3-1/2008-Min-I
Islamabad, the 19th July, 2010
The undersigned is directed to state that Cabinet Division’s Office Memorandum of even number dated 27th March 2010, designating Sardar Muhammad Latif Khan Khosa, Adviser to the Prime Minister on Information Technology, as Minister-in-Charge for Ministry of Information and Technology, is hereby withdrawn with immediate effect.
2. Consequent upon the above decision the Prime Minister, himself, will henceforth look after the Ministry of Information Technology as per first proviso to rule 3(4) of the Rules of Business, 1973.
Deputy Secretary to the
Government of Pakistan
Information Technology and Telecommunication Division,
Copy forwarded to;
  1. Secretary General to the President
  2. Principal Secretary to the Prime Minister
  3. Secretaries, National Assembly/Senate, Secretariats
  4. All Ministries/Divisions
  5. PS to Adviser to the Prime Minister (Sardar Muhammad Latif Khan Khosa)

Exclusive: Pictures of 9.3 MB PTCL EVO Device

We recently uncovered that PTCL is planning to launch 9.3 MB wireless broadband with its brand EVO, very soon.
Here we got hold of pictures of said Rev-B devices that support up to 9.3 Mbps speeds. It looks pretty similar in size and packing box to already offered devices that support 3.1 Mbps.
Sources in company who have self tested this device said it gave them whooping 2.5 Mb on download and 1Mb on upload.
Launch date is still untold – no words on pricing plans as well. but sure we will keep you posted as soon as we get any clue.
We had to blur the pictures to secure our source.
PTCL EVO 9 3 MBPS Device 1 Exclusive: Pictures of 9.3 MB PTCL EVO Device
PTCL EVO 9 3 MBPS Device 2 Exclusive: Pictures of 9.3 MB PTCL EVO Device
PTCL EVO 9 3 MBPS Device 3 Exclusive: Pictures of 9.3 MB PTCL EVO Device
PTCL EVO 9 3 MBPS Device 4 Exclusive: Pictures of 9.3 MB PTCL EVO Device
PTCL EVO 9 3 MBPS Device 5 Exclusive: Pictures of 9.3 MB PTCL EVO Device
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Flying Car to become a Reality soon

Flying Car to become a Reality soon WASHINGTON: The Flying Cars will soon become a reality! Efforts are on to develop a car with the wings, which is scheduled to be launched next year. The Flying Car is being developed by Terrafugia, a company based in Woburn, Mass.

According to experts, it won't be easy to drive the car with wings, as it would still require a runway for landing and take-off. The car is designed to fly below 10,000 feet. It can fly under bad weather conditions.

The base price of the Flying Car is set at $194,000 and may cost more when it will be ready. The car will also feature a radio, transponder and plane parachute. Terrafugia has already received 70 orders for the Flying Car.

The Flying Car has a maximum takeoff weight of 1,430 pounds, including fuel and passengers. Gas mileage on the road is about 30 mpg. Hopefully, it will be imported to India too after its dream lunch. So, James Bond's 'Flying Car' will soon fly in the air.

Present situation of AIDS in the world

Present situation of AIDS in the world BEIJING: The 18th International AIDS Conference will take place in Vienna, Austria, on July 18-23. About 25,000 delegates from around the world will discuss the current situation of AIDS as well as preventive measures to fight the pandemic.

Following is some basic knowledge on AIDS and the current situation of this disease in the world:

AIDS, or acquired immune deficiency syndrome, is a disease of the human immune system caused by the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). This condition progressively reduces the effectiveness of the immune system and leaves individuals susceptible to opportunistic infections and tumors.

HIV is transmitted through direct contact of a mucous membrane or the bloodstream with a bodily fluid containing HIV, such as blood, semen, vaginal fluid, preseminal fluid and breast milk.

This transmission can involve sex, blood transfusion, contaminated hypodermic needles, exchange between mother and baby during pregnancy, childbirth, breastfeeding or other exposure to one of the above bodily fluids. The average delitescence of HIV virus in the human body is 12 to 13 years.

Ever since it was first recognized in 1981 by American researchers, AIDS has become a worldwide pandemic attracting the attention of the whole world as a major public health hazard and a controversial social issue.

In June 2001, the UN General Assembly Special Session on HIV/AIDS issued a Declaration of Commitment on HIV and AIDS, pledging a coordinated action plan for all countries to fight the disease with the goal of starting to reverse the spread of HIV/AIDS by 2015.

Statistics from the Joint United Nations Program on HIV/AIDS show that around the world, an estimated 33.4 million people now live with HIV. A further breakdown shows that 22.4 million of these people live in Sub-Saharan Africa, 4.7 million in Asia, 2.3 million in North America and Central and Western Europe, 2 million in Latin America and 1.5 million in Eastern Europe.

Moreover, an estimated 2.7 million HIV/AIDS infectors are added each year around the world, with 2 million new infectors from Sub-Saharan Africa. About 2 million people die of the disease every year, with 1.7 million from Sub-Saharan Africa.

Drug abuse has become one of the major factors fostering the spread of AIDS. Currently around the world about 3 million people consume drug by injection and in some countries, up to 40 percent injecting drug users carry HIV virus.

At present the total fund needed for preventing and treating AIDS across the world each year has increased to over $16 billion.

The number of AIDS patients receiving treatment around the world now has reached 4.7 million, 10 times as many as the 2005 figure. But as many as 11 million patients have not received due treatment.

While AIDS has so far remained incurable, it is nevertheless totally preventable. A healthy lifestyle, especially keeping away from drugs, is the most effective way to prevent this deadly disease.

“AIDS is no longer a sexy topic. White America has moved on and Black America is in denial. We’re so paralyzed by the stigma and shame that we ignore it. That’s disheartening to me,” Lewis-Thornton told the Defender.

HIV/AIDS is the number one killer of African-American women between ages 25 and 44. African Americans are three times more likely to have HIV/AIDS than any other racial group; and African-American women accounted for an estimated 69 percent of new infections for women, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Oil falls below $76 as poor U.S. data fans econ fears

Oil falls below $76 as poor U.S. data fans econ fears PERTH: Oil prices fell below $76 a barrel on Monday, extending the previous session's decline, on concern about the U.S. economic outlook after data showed consumer sentiment fell to a near one-year low.

News that the IMF and European Union has suspended a review of Hungary's funding programme at the weekend has also ignited fresh eurozone jitters, as the country will not have access to remaining funds in its $25.1 billion loan package set up in 2008 until the review is concluded.

However, analysts said marginal slide in oil prices shows that crude was receiving ample support at above $74 a barrel, thanks to bullish inventory reports that showed large drawdowns in U.S. crude stocks over the past three weeks.

U.S. crude for August delivery CLc1 fell 22 cents to $75.75 a barrel by 0126 GMT. The contract settled down 61 cents at $76.01 a barrel on Friday, closing the week 8 cents lower than the previous week.

London Brent crude LCOc1 retreated 5 cents to $75.23.

"The price decline looked mild considering the 2.5 percent slide in the Dow. The consumer sentiment report would have put the oil longs on the back foot," said Mark Pervan, chief of commodities research at Australia & New Zealand Bank.

"The stickier oil price move may be reflecting bullish inventory reports over the past three weeks showing larger than expected declines in U.S. crude supplies and a pickup in underlying demand."

Weak energy costs pushed U.S. consumer prices down for a third straight month in June while consumer sentiment dropped to a near one-year low in July, highlighting the sluggishness of the economic recovery.

In the eurozone, analysts at Informa Global Markets said uncertainty over Hungary's funding programme has prompted a steep rise in the country's funding costs ahead of Friday's banks stress test results.

Asian stocks are set to drop on Monday, as poor data and disappointing results stoked fears over the state of the global economy, with Japan's markets closed for a holiday.

In a sign of reversing risk appetite, the U.S. dollar index .DXY rose 0.17 percent against a basket of currencies, as the market volatility index .VIX rose 4.4 percent on Friday.

Dismal consumer sentiment data and anaemic revenues from GE and two big banks slammed U.S. stocks on Friday, driving down major indexes more than 2 percent. The slide in the S&P 500 was a decisive break of an 8 percent rise over the last two weeks as investors lost hope that strong earnings could overcome doubts about the economic outlook.

After poor economic data and an unexpected downturn in sentiment on quarterly earnings, Wall Street will face a tough time battling back from the latest sell-off this week, analysts said.

70 dead in India train crash

70 dead in India train crash KOLKATA: The death toll in India’s West Bengal train accident has gone up from 60 to 70 while over 90 passengers are said to have sustained injuries.

“A total of 70 persons, including three railway employees, have lost their lives in the accident when three rear coaches including one luggage van and two unreserved general second class coaches of the Vananchal Express were affected,” an Eastern Railway said in a statement.

The accident took place at around 2 am on Monday, Jul 19 when the Sealdah-bound passenger train, Uttarbanga Express rammed into another passenger train Vananchal Express.

Earlier the death toll was put up at 49 while the number of injured was estimated to be between 130 to 150.