Thursday, 30 June 2011

Al-Qaeda Hacked!

The online communication platform of the global militant, Sunni Islamist group, Al-Qaeda was brought down by a group of ‘seasoned’ computer hackers. The militant group has since been unable to manage their flow of videos, and other communications.
Caught off guard..!
Caught off guard..!

According to a report in, Evan Kohlmann, from Flashpoint Global Partners, the firm monitoring Al-Qaeda’s communications, stated that, “Al-Qaeda's online communications have been temporarily crippled and it does not have a single trusted distribution channel available on the Internet.” It was further learned that, the nature of the hack wasn’t like the usual modes, which were observed. Instead, the hack was almost an ‘unusual cocktail of relatively sophisticated techniques’, in Kohlmann’s words. Although, any kind of detail about the hacker(s) is still out of the reach of the investigators, it is for sure that the militant group will take long to get their systems up and running again. 

This attack comes a year after Al-Qaeda’s online system suffered a hack attack of a similar nature. At that time, it was found that the U.K. government had replaced the bomb-making recipe on the site, with that of a cup cake. And, even then, it took a while for the militant group to put their site back on track.

Google+ Invites- Opened up, Then Closed Due To Heavy Demand

Too desperate to try the new social networking venture by Google – the Google+ service? Well, we don’t really have a good news for you since even we couldn’t get Google+ invites due to insane traffic and demand at Google+ server. Further, Google closed up its invite service due to high demand for invites.
Google+ Invites
Yesterday, the Google+ existing users were given a chance to send invites to their friends or contacts to test the new social networking site by Google. However, we could see the invites working properly just for a small duration after which Google disabled its invite service. You shouldn’t trust any websites claiming to send you invites on exchange of Re-tweets or Facebook shares since the invites service is no longer active. The fortunate ones who got a sneak preview of Google+ are quite happy with the new service which can be considered to be a threat to social networking giant- Facebook.
“We’ve shut down invite mechanism for the night. Insane demand,” Google’s head of social Vic Gundotra announced on the service. “We need to do this carefully, and in a controlled way.”
For Google, a company who has previously failed with its social networking projects like Orkut and Buzz, the high incoming demand is a proof that consumers haven’t thrown it away when it comes to social services.

What's a zettabyte? By 2015, the internet will know, says Cisco

Courtesy of Cisco, a skyscraper infographic about the dawning of the age of the zettabyte.
The what? Each zettabyte is 1,000 exabytes. No? One exabyte = 1,000 petabytes. One petabyte = 1,000 terabytes. One terabyte (you may be starting to feel the ocean floor now) is 1,000 gigabytes. See, you can find your way to the shore now.
Cisco sees the movement towards the exabyte as an inevitable endpoint of the growth in video traffic online. Its analysis suggests that we'll have shifted into the zettabyte age by 2015: by then, it reckons,
the majority of global Internet traffic (61 percent) will be in some form of video—Internet video-to-PC, Internet video-to-TV, mobile video, et al.The "dawn of the Zettabyte era" will be an unprecedented online milestone that will occur in our lifetime.
Part of the problem of course is that it's almost impossible to wrap your head around the physical or temporal ramifications of these numbers. For example, from the Cisco blogpost: "A zettabyte is roughly 1000 exabytes. To place that amount of volume in more practical terms, an exabyte alone has the capacity to hold over 36,000 years worth of HD quality video…or stream the entire Netflix catalog more than 3,000 times. A zettabyte is equivalent to about 250 billion DVDs."
Oh, that's much easier - got it now.
This image shows how Cisco expects traffic to change over the next four years. Note how the US is the biggest user, but China is accelerating too. (You can play with the graphics yourself on the Cisco website.)
Cisco forecast for data traffic growthCisco forecast for data traffic growth, 2010-2015, by region/country
Of course - to put some perspective on it - at that point some of us may still be struggling with 2 megabit/s connections. The zettabyte era might pass us by. But here is what it looks like, from Cisco's point of view.
Zettabyte inforgraphic by CiscoZettabyte comprehension: the infographic by Cisco

Web Traffic to Increase Four-Fold by 2015

Cisco, the networking solutions company has projected that web traffic of the entire world is going to go up by four times by the year 2015. Three billion users are expected to be using the internet by then. The total amount of bandwidth used in the year will be an approximate 1 zettabyte.
Average connection speeds to touch 28 Mbps
Average connection speeds to touch 28 Mbps

The countries that will see the most growth will be countries in Africa and the Middle East. The traffic in this region is expected to be double at least during this period. Latin America is also said to see the next biggest growth. It is expected that there will be more than two connections per person. Broadband speeds are also said to increase, which will in turn, increase the amount of traffic. The average broadband connection speed will rise from 7 Mbps in 2010 to roughly 28 Mbps in 2015. The growth can also be attributed to the increased popularity of devices connected to the web. While desktops and notebooks won’t be as popular as tablets, for example, it’s the growth of product categories such as e-book readers, televisions and photo frames that will contribute to the amount of traffic

Nvidia Launches World’s Fastest Notebook GPU – GTX 580M

If you live on the bleeding edge of technology, then you might want to take another look at Alienware’s new M18x which is the first notebook infused with Nvidia’s latest GTX 580M graphics card. Oh wait, make that two GTX 580M’s in SLI, how’s that for high end? While we wont be seeing this in India anytime soon (come on Dell, prove me wrong), the good news is that the M17x will also be refreshed with a single GTX 580M along with Nvidia's Optimus technology which claims 5 hours of battery life.

Update: We've got word from Nvidia that Dell's M17x will be getting this refresh somewhere around mid-July, so I'd say hold off your purchace till then. Sadly, the M18x won't be arriving any time soon.
Bring it on!
Bring it on!

The GTX 580M officially claims the title of world’s fastest notebook GPU which is capable of running even the most demanding DX11 games. Crysis 2 with the DX11 patch should be a real treat on this monster. Along with this, Nvidia launched the GTX 570M which should make it to the smaller M15x very soon. The following are the features offered by the latest Fermi GPU:

•    Support for NVIDIA 3D Vision technology.
•    Support for NVIDIA 3DTV Play software, for connecting 3D Vision-based notebooks to 3D TVs.
•    NVIDIA SLI technology, which links two GTX GPUs for up to double your gaming performance.
•    NVIDIA Optimus technology, which enables extra-long battery life by automatically switching on and off the GPU so that it runs only when needed.
•    NVIDIA PhysX engine support.
•    NVIDIA CUDA architecture support, for GPU computing applications.
•    NVIDIA Verde notebook drivers, for frequent performance improvements and stability.

What's unfortunate is that the M18x won't be getting the Optimus treatment, which means battery life is going to suffer badly. Even if Nvidia manages to underclock the cards to a great extent, there's still two of them so I would estimate a backup time of not more than 2 hours even with a 9-cell battery.

LG Announces the 'Genesis' - a Dual Screen Android Phone

LG has officially announced the ‘Genesis’ smartphone on its US website and we bring you the latest details.
Start of something new
Start of something new

The Genesis is powered by Qualcomm’s 1 GHz Snapdragon processor and will run on Android 2.2 aka Froyo. The USP of the Genesis is the fact that it has two displays. The external screen measures in at 3.5-inches while the internal screen is 3.2-inches. Both screens have touch capability and have a resolution of 480 x 800. It also has a QWERTY kepad with a D-pad for those who prefer proper keys over a screen.

Other features include a 5 mega pixel autofocus camera with flash, 430MB of internal memory (expandable to 32GB), a SDcard slot, Bluetooth 2.1 DLNA media sharing capability and the ability to turn to generate a Wi-Fi Hotspot. The battery is 1500mAh and according to LG, it will deliver a talktime of 2 hours 30 minutes and a standby time of 17 days and 12 hours.

The thing that is worrying us is that having two screens is definitely going to put a lot of stress on the battery and having a 1500mAH is not going to help it in anyway.

LG Unveils Its New Range of Monitors in Mumbai

Popular innovative technology manufacturer, LG, today at an event in Mumbai, unveiled their latest line-up of monitors – which includes the introduction of 3D Cinema Monitor, World’s slimmest LED Monitors and an IPS Monitor. Their latest line-up, LG claims, will further their mantra of innovation. 

The 3D Cinema Monitor, according to LG delivers flicker-free 3D viewing experience, which in turn would make for comfortable viewing. The 3D experience would also eliminate the feeling of dizziness and nausea that most would associate 3D viewing with, LG added. The user need not be restricted to a single viewing position, since LG claims that any viewing angle adopted by the user would make the viewing as clear, as it was.
3D experience..
3D experience..

Here’s a look at the specifications of the 3D Monitor:
  • Size – 23-inches
  • Aspect Ratio – 16:9
  • D-Sub, DVI-D and HDMI enabled
  • Resolution – 1920 x 1080
  • Built-in Power
  • Plug and Play enabled

The IPS Monitor imbibes the IPS technology which according to LG improves the viewing experience. The IPS Monitor comes with an improved response time, which LG claims would negate the presence of shadowy images. The monitor offers a viewing expanse of, as much as 180 degrees. LG, with its IPS range of monitors has furthered its ‘Green’ image, as it claims that the monitor gets miserly with power consumption, thereby bringing down electricity costs by a considerable margin. The monitor also comes packed with a 6 axis color control which protects the richness of color. 

Next in line is LG’s E 90 range of monitors that has been introduced to the market as the world’s slimmest range of LED monitors. The monitors are truly slim at 7.2mm, and as per LG’s claims these monitors deliver great picture quality. LG has in this range also introduced its super+ Resolution Function, which, according to LG livens up dull images.
Super slim..
Super slim..

LG’s E 60 range of monitors come with a 5ms response time. Additionally, it includes LED backlighting. The other features packed in the E 60 range of monitors is the ease of OSD usage. And, LG extends its eco-friendly ways here, too. This range of monitors, too is conscious about power consumption, with LG claiming as much as 45 per cent drop in energy usage, when compared to other LED monitors.
Going green..
Going green..

The E 81 range of monitors can be included in the slim range. This range of monitors, too include the Super Resolution technology which reduces image blur, thereby delivering images of a great quality, LG added.

The monitors have been made available at all retail outlets, and are priced in the INR 6,500 – INR 16,000 bracket.

Unknown Dual-Screen, QWERTY Keypad LG Smartphone Leaked

Here’s a different looking smartphone from LG. There’s no source for the name of this device yet, but it definitely looks a lot different from most smartphones that you see. This handset has two screens, one being the main capacitive touchscreen and another smaller touchscreen conveniently placed between the QWERTY keypad that slides out.
The mysterious LG Smartphone that Flips?!?
The mysterious LG Smartphone that Flips?!?

From what can be seen through the pictures provided by Pocket-Lint, this smartphone certainly runs on Android (FroYo possibly), but there’s not much about the specifications of the handset. However, this might be heading to T-Mobile and the sources spotted this mysterious device at a Kineto Wireless event in London. They inquired about some details but only got a name, Flip II.
The even more mysterious screen in the middle of the QWERTY keyboard
The even more mysterious screen in the middle of the QWERTY keyboard

Coming back to the device, the main touchscreen is capacitive, but the resolution is not known although it’s being said that it might have a WVGA screen. The QWERTY keypad slides out and there’s another touchscreen in the middle of it. As you can see, it has eight shortcuts that include two customizable ones.
Runs Android for sure
Runs Android for sure

Quite obviously, there’s no information on anything pertaining to the smartphone. No launch details or pricing, but we’ll keep our eyes peeled open for this one

LG Optimus Black P970 Launched in India for Rs. 19,900

It was less than 72 hours ago that we reported LG's Optimus Black being up for pre-orders at a really affordable price. Now, LG has officially launched the smartphone and it looks like the MRP stays the same at Rs. 19,900, which definitely makes it worth a consideration for those with a 20k budget for a smartphone with speedy specs.
Great specs at a superb price
Great specs at a superb price

The Optimus Black P970 runs on Android 2.2 aka FroYo (which can be upgraded to Gingerbread), and is powered by a 1 GHz Cortex A8 processor. LG has also loaded the device with Optimus UI 2.0 and their Gesture UI 2.0. The smartphone has LG’s new display technology called the NOVA display which is encased in Gorilla Glass. Here’s a detailed list of specs that the Optimus Black boasts of:

  • 4-inch IPS LCD capacitive touchscreen at 800 x 480 pixels resolution
  • 3G, Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n, DLNA, Wi-Fi Direct, Wi-Fi hotspot
  • GPS with A-GPS support
  • Bluetooth 2.1 with A2DP, EDR
  • 5 megapixel camera with autofocus and LED flash
  • 2 megapixel front-facing camera
  • 2GB internal storage with 512MB RAM
  • Memory expandable to 32 GB via microSD slot
  • Stereo FM Radio with RDS
  • 3.5 mm audio jack

The Optimus Black’s camera also has features like geo-tagging with face and smile detection, as well. It can also record 720p videos at 30 fps. The Optimus Black supports a pretty wide range of media formats with MP3, WAV and WMA for audio and XviD, DivX, H.264, H.263 and MP4 for video. The smartphone has SNS integration and comes pre-loaded with the regular bunch of Google’s apps like YouTube, Picasa Google Talk, and more. 

With these specifications and features, we kind of wonder whether it will rank better than theOptimus 2X, which has a few differences like a Dual-core set up and more memory. The Optimus Black is available for Rs. 19,900 at all mobile phone retail stores, but we suggest you wait for our full-fledged review on this smartphone so stay tuned

Games of July 2011

July is probably the most mellow month for games this year but there're still a bunch of quirky stuff worth checking out.
Games of July 2011
July is probably the most mellow month for games this year. Now this really isn’t a bad thing since your wallet will probably need a bit of rest till the deluge of games begins this September. 

Catherine (Xbox360 PS3)
You wanted weird, you got it
You wanted weird, you got it

I’ve seen some weird games come out of Japan but this one takes the cake. Dubbed as an erotic, horror, action-adventure from the makers of the Persona series, Catherine is the story of a bloke called Vincent who meets a girl called Catherine. From then on his life kind of goes down the pooper as he’s haunted by nightmares of giant fork wielding she monsters who want nothing more than to skewer his body. If that wasn’t bad enough, he’s near naked in these visions protected only by his pillow and if he dies in these dreams, he dies in reality. And you thought you had it rough.    

Call of Juarez: The Cartel (Xbox360 PS3 PC)
can you guys keep it down, on a call here
Can you guys keep it down, on a call here

The Call of Juarez series may not be the most well known games out there but this Western themed shooter is high on action, style and entertainment. For the third iteration dubbed 'The Cartel', this series has moved into modern times and tasks players with defending America’s borders from the neighboring Mexican drug trade. As one of three law enforcement agencies, players must do whatever it takes to keep this menace out of Uncle Sam’s backyard. And unlike previous CoJ games, the campaign in The Cartel will support three player co-operative play. 

Ms. Splosion man (Xbox360)
Ready to splode
Ready to splode

Like its predecessor, Ms. Splosion Man is an action platformer with a heavy emphasis on puzzle solving. Splosion Man’s weakness for cakes finally gets him captured so it’s up to the missus to traverse the shady underground research facility transforming fat little scientists into juicy chunks of meat. Developer Twisted Pixel have promised a plethora of new gameplay elements across fifty single player levels. In addition to this and a separate co-operative campaign, the game will also feature a unique mode where players will be able to control both Mr. and Ms. Splosion Man using one controller. 

Note: Ms. Splosion man will only be available as a downloadable title via Xbox Live.   

El Shaddai: Ascension of the Metatron (Xbox360 PS3)
Tripped out visuals
Tripped out visuals

Ever since UTV picked up Ignition Studios, both companies have had it rough since most of the stuff that came out of Ignition was either subpar or complete poop. Hopefully El Shaddai: Ascension of the Metatron can change things up a bit for both. A visually unique action game, El Shaddai will fuse fast paced combat as seen in games like Devil May Cry with some of the more conventional platforming made famous by the Prince of Persia games.