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Showing posts from May, 2006

Triple play, Quadruple play or NO play - Confused Telcos in a frenzy

Telcos, analysts and Business management consultants are thinking they found a new mantra to survive in the free and innovation led internet dominated world. Bundled services. They must have realized they do not have anything NEW to offer. So they are repackaging what they have in bundles to live longer. The terms convergence, Triple play and Quadruple play along with IMS are the most hyped words in the recent months, that offer no or little NEW value to the Telco's networks. They are sure however to fill the pockets of analysts, consultants and vendors.

Telcos gripped with fear from VOIP, internet applications and fear of ending up as fat pipes, are looking desperately for advice from people who have no stake in Telco business. The analysts and the Business Management Consultants. They are trying their best to do what they do best. Keep the confusion alive and make it proactively more dreadful than the reality. The result is chaotic strategies and action in hurry... may be just to…

IBM's annual investor briefing in Bangalore

Gravity shifts to Bangalore not just for its Software Programmers, but this time for IBM investors. IBM's annual Investor briefing will be held in Bangalore June 6-7. Got the message?
News Link at Yahoo 

IBM's annual investor briefing is typically held in a bland hotel conference room in New York. But this year look for something radically different. It's kicking off the event 10,000 miles away at Bangalore Palace, a sprawling Colonial-era edifice modeled on Britain's Windsor Castle, in the heart of India's Silicon Valley. Speakers at the June 6-7 extravaganza will include Indian President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam and Diya Mirza, Bollywood's answer to Lindsay Lohan, who will emcee an event attended by 10,000 IBMers.

US Senate to double H1B visas up to 115,000

Exciting news for Illegal mexican immigrants in US and H1B visa aspirants:

US Senate to double H1B VisasThe US Senate has approved a landmark Immigration Reform Bill that would give citizenship to millions of illegal people and double the number of H1B visas.

The move will also greatly benefit thousands of Indian software professionals who work in the US.

The Bill passed on Thursday provides for doubling the H1 B visas from the present 65,000 annually to nearly 1,15,000 and with a 20 per cent increase on an annual basis.

US House panel approves net neutrality bill

Good news for the Net Neutrality camp.
US House panel approves net neutrality bill
"A U.S. House of Representatives committee has approved a bill that would prohibit broadband providers from blocking or impairing their customers’ access to Web content offered by competitors.

The House Judiciary Committee voted 20-13 to approve the bill, called the Internet Freedom and Nondiscrimination Act. Bill sponsor James Sensenbrenner, the Republican chairman of the committee, was joined by a handful of Republicans and most of the committee’s Democrats in supporting the bill.

.. the Internet Freedom bill would require broadband providers to give independent content providers the same speed and quality of service as they have."

Sprint Nextel Sues IBM Over Outsourcing

Another reason why US corporations should turn to Indian IT companies:-))) It may be crazy to say just based recent stories on this topic, but I am not aware of any corporation suing Indian IT company for not delivering on its promise so far. I believe the Indian IT companeis infact are little afraid of lawsuits still (:-)). Blessing in a disguise.
Sprint Nextel Sues IBM
Outsourcing may be one of the hottest trends in technology, but Sprint Nextel Corp. is so unhappy about one outsourcing contract that the company is suing.

Sprint Nextel filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court of Kansas, this week, claiming a deal with IBM failed to live up to expectations. The lawsuit seeks more than $6 million in damages, according to a report in the Kansas City Star.

India reinventing untouchability??

If IIT Mumbai has 100 seats, 50 seats will be reserved for people belong to certain castes. People belong to other castes have only 50 seats for which people from all castes can compete. What does it mean? Untouchability in a new form?

India by providing reservations based on caste, is infact reinventing untouchability in a new form in the new world. One of the Key persons that drafted the Indian constitution understood the issue much better than other politicians of any day. He experienced the social outcast based on his caste first hand. When first introduced Reservations in India, the system was set only for 10 years. But the greedy politicians have been extending the reservations system from then on with only one motive, to win elections. Almost 60 years after introducing Reservations for the first time, by thinking about not only extending reservations but by also increasing the %, Indian Goverment is actively nourishing another new form of untouchability. The people who belong…

H1B Quota for year 2007 : 39,445 applications by 05/15

Link to USCIS Page                                                           http://www.uscis.gov/graphics/services/tempbenefits/cap.htm
For fiscal year 2007, that starts from Oct 2006, USCIS has received 39,445 H1B applications and approved 6,465 cases by 15th May, 2006 update.  That leaves 18755 applications before it reaches the cap for this year. So if anybody is planning to apply for a H1B, better hurry up.

Update: The cap for H1B for fiscal year 2007 was reached on 26th May, 2006 itself. It is suprising since USCIS issued a notification on 25th that they have received around 50000 applications by 25th may, 2006.  And for a long time, they did not update the above link. Even on 3rd of June, it was still showing numbers around 50000. But there is this notification on their home page.

http://www.uscis.gov/graphics/publicaffairs/newsrels/FY07H1BCap_060106PR.pdf

Mobile music is too expensive

Cellular Music Services Overpriced says Strategy Analytics http://www.mobiletechnews.com/info/2006/05/19/093256.html
Kevin Nolan, Director, Advanced Wireless Laboratory, added, "Our research suggests that users are willing to pay a premium of around 35 percent for the convenience of downloading tracks to both their wireless devices and PCs - subject to reliable network performance. In our view, the current 100 to 150 percent premiums charged by the main operators make adoption of these services highly unlikely."

FON: Revolutionary Community WIFI

http://en.fon.com/ : FON is the largest WiFi community in the World
Join FON, share excess bandwidth at home and roam the world for free
FON is a community based WIFI network, where each individual joins FON network shares their WIFI with other FON members. In return, members can use WIFI whereever FON network(members) is/are available. It is now available in most cities all over the world.

Ever afraid of Telcos/ISPs don't respect net neutrality and force to use the network the way they want, not how you like it, check it out. FON is the best alternative and answer to most important questions about internet access and net neutrality. Gives a comfort feeling that it will survive against huge telco lobbying and market forces with funding from likes of Google, Sequoia and Skype.

Apple to embed camera in Monitor itself

Apple filed for a patent of an LCD Monitor that has microscopic image sensors embedded into it that can act as a high resolution camera.
Link on Engadget : " ... Apple for an LCD display embedded with thousands of microscopic image sensors that would allow users to video-conference while looking straight into the "camera." Data accumulated by the individual sensors would be stitched into actual images using special software, which will probably be bundled into future versions of iLife. Since the patent specifies almost as many sensors per screen as there are pixels, some of those sensors could have different focal lengths, with a defacto zoom lens created by switching between them. Apple goes on to suggest portable uses for the technology, such as employing the displays in cellphones and PDAs .."

VOIP will burn PSTN Revenues

A report by UK Firm Informa Telecoms & Media suggests PSTN operators loose $100B of their reveneue to VOIP services between 2005 and 2011.
"After 2010, PSTN will no longer be the main revenue generator in developed countries," report author Malik Saadi said in a statement. "There will be no justification for big operators to reserve a whole network for traditional PSTN voice traffic. This trend will increasingly push operators and network owners to gradually migrate their subscribers from traditional PSTN to VoIP."

Link to news item at Information Week
I bet PSTN phones will become a history very soon. Skype recently introduced free skype out calls to any phone in US and Canada. There will be less use for having a PSTN phone these days. Almost everyone in family carries a cell phone and when they are at home, they have skype, which is much richer than a traditional pstn phone. Remember the PSTN phone still charges $2.99 each for services like Call waiting, Calling…

Skypeout is now free to all phones in US/Canada

Skypeout, the feature of Skype that allows making calls from skype application to mobile and landlines is now free to make calls to any phone in US and Canada.
http://www.skype.com/

Skype is a little program for making free calls within the US and Canada to all phones until the end of the year. Skype to Skype calls anywhere in the world are also free.

Indian Postal Service and Net Neutrality

Indian postal service does not provide Internet service, so has nothing to do with net neutrality as such. But some of the strategies it implemented to discriminate content has some relevance and insights for the struggling telecom/ISPs and the ongoing net neutrality discussions.

Indian Postal Service, one of the largest postal services networks in the world, runs under the brandname 'India Post' by Govt. Of India. It provide heavy subsidies in its services to reach common man in India. (Have a look at subsidies from 10th 5year plan by the Planning Commison of India,  Page3)  Postcard has been the most common and most used mail service by Indian people. Today, one can buy a postcard at 50 paisa (0.50 Rupee, equivalent to about 1 cent in US currency). Indian postal service actually gives a subsidy of 555.39 paisa (around 10cents) to bring it down to such a low price. Indian Government funds this subsidy through budget allocations for the good of common man.

During early 1990s, …

India will overtake Japan to become the third largest mobile market

Yankee Report predicts that in the next two years, India will overtake Japan to become the third largest mobile market in the world after China and the US. It expects mobile users to hit 201 million by 2010.

Link to story at rediff

Why my ISP don't like Net Neutrality?

Because, they can not afford to like Net Neutrality. They oversold their current connection capacity. Market pressure is too much and they are not making enough profit. Not just that, they are thinking internet companies are making lots of money by just using their networks. So they realized that If they honor net neutrality, they will soon will be out of their business. Sounds, untrue, let me explain what I understand. Let us remove the sugar coat and special keywords so that we can understand it better. I hope You can easily relate to what is happening in the real world.

ISP X has 10Mbps connection to an apartment complex. And it has 5 customers who are paying 39.99 per month for a 1Mbps connection. ISP is just making a little profit thought its pipe is filled only 50%, because of the premium price. All customers always get their 1Mbps bandwidth. Always. They can not go beyond 1Mbps as it is restricted to 1Mbps.

Now, there is a new ISP in the area offering a similar service for 14.99.…

Net Neutrality and Tiered Internet

Net Neutrality and Tiered Internet are the most heard, read and talked about keywords these days. What do they really mean? How these affect a common consumer. Here is my attempt to make it simple to understand what do they really mean and affect consumers every where.
Consider the following ficititious service offerings from your ISP which honors Net Neutrality.

Package 1(NN-Entry Level): You get 1Mbps connection to your home. You will be charged $29.99/month. You are free to use the bandwidth the way you want, for example you can browse google, connect on myspace, signup for vonage VOIP service, download podcasts using itunes, etc. Your traffic is not discriminated.

Package 2(NN-Premium): You get 5 Mbps connection to your home. You will be charged $59.99/month. You are free to use the bandwidth the way you want, as explained in package 1. But along with that, your ISP offers you a high quality VOIP service (better than Vonage for example), unlimited Video hosting service, an alternativ…

T-Mobile bans VoIP and IM from super-3G service

News story at ZDNet


T-Mobile bans VoIP from super-3G service



T-Mobile announced a flat rate 3G super service, in UK called web n walk professional service that can give users around 1Mbps to 1.8Mbps. Unlike its current web n walk service where the users are allowed to do whatever they want, VOIP and IM applications are banned on this service. As per Analysts, T-Mobile may start its own VOIP service and at that point it might allow users to use VOIP services.

Some believe that we do not need net neutrality as Law, since telecom companies are anyway not going to ban any specific IP traffic for the users. But if there is no law, this is what happens. Network operators decide what applications to run and what applications to use.  This is exactly why we need net neutrality as a fundamental law,

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WSJ: India's Secret Weapon

Commentary: India's Secret Weapon

By RICHARD WILDER and PRAVIN ANAND
May 8, 2006

The Wall Street Journal reported in its commentary 'India's Secret weapon', that India is evolving into Asia's Innovation center by Innovation and protecting its intellectual property rights and thus differentiating its image as Intellectual Captial rather than mere oursourcing partner.

The commentary reports that Patent applications from Indian nnovation centers have increased dramatically, and there is whole dimensional change in the strategy of every business regarding Intellectual property rights.

It also argues that this new dimension in the strategy of the Indian business, is giving India a definitive edge in the market place, leaving countries like China and Brazil to dust.

Track your flight from Google

You can track your flight right from google search bar.  Just enter the airline name and flight number in the google search bar. And follow the link 'Track status of XXX flight XXX'. My in-laws left yesterday and I could track the status of the flight live through the fboweb.com website. The website fboweb.com also allow you to open the flight position in Google Earth providing a 3D tracking of your flight.

Another good flight tracking tool available at http://www.flytecomm.com/cgi-bin/trackflight

Watch Bangalore Traffic live !

Live traffic feed is now available as streaming video at Sify max website, http://bangalorelive.in/. The webcams are setup at 

Brigade Road
Basaveshwara circle
Hosur Road
Mekhri circle and
Bannerghatta Road   

Its fun watching the stream on Brigade road in the evening and scary to watch traffic on Hosur Road in the morning. 

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Router Map of Internet Backbone in US

Image
The Internet router backbone map and discussion on what it means and how to read the map at: Who owns the Internet? We have a map that shows you.

Clicking on the image take you to a PDF file where you can see all the labels/info for each router in the map.

Clicking on the image take you to a PDF file where you can see all the labels/info for each router in the map.

3rd May : IBM's Deep Blue Beats Garry Kasparov

Link : Mastering the Game, A history of Computer Chess at Computer History Museum
"Machines will be capable, within twenty years, of doing any work that a man can do" - Herbert Simon, Psychologist and AI pioneer, 1965  
As of today, on 3rd May, 2006, after 41 years, machines in particular computers haven't completely replaced men but computers have completely changed the way we do things.  The way we communicate, the way we work, and most important side effect, the way we think through. I am not sure whether a computer has been built which can understand how we think, but we definitely changed the way we think with computers.

Chess is considered to be the best testcase for understanding the complexity of human mind and how fast it works. So evidently the scientists took the challenge to build a machine that can beat the chess player.
In 1770, diplomat and inventor, Wolfgang von Kempelen built a chess-playing machine called The Turk and presented it to the Empress M…

Amazon dumps Google for Microsoft

The Amazon's A9 search website replaced Google with Microsoft to power its A9 search website. The contract with Google expired on sunday.

This is definitely a news for Microsoft, lagging in search engine war and is about to almost disappear on the scene. Google enjoys a formidable lead with 49% while Yahoo is standing at number 2 with 22%. Microsoft is loosing its market share almost everyday and stands currently at 11%.

I wasn't impressed by the Microsoft search engine when I first used long time ago. I never looked back at it again. I guess, the reason for Amazon to adopt Microsoft search engine to power their A9 search may not be purely technical. It doesn't make sense to be technical. 

However, this news story reverses the most famous prediction in the EPIC, that Google and Amazon come together to form GoogleZon to make Microsoft a history. Now it is more interesting than ever to watch how each one play the game and who wins.