Friday, July 31, 2009

Reviewing Windows 7

Been working with the Windows 7 right from the beta stage to
the RC1 now.Just felt like reviewing it. It is by far their best operating system.Finally microsoft has managed to bring out something thats good.

After the bloatware/malware that was vista, Windows 7 has a real light footprint.Its way faster than vista without losing out on the looks. The Aero interface is carried forward from vista and its way better. It still has the annoying user access control that pops up a msg when ever you want to do something other than watch movies or browse.

The toolbar is neat and it clubs the buttons and hides the labels by default. Instead of carrying forward the sidebar for widgets as in vista the microsoft guys have allowed free placement of widgets which are very handy. One of the things i liked about windows 7 is the Resource monitor tool that is in the performance tab of the task manager. This gives an application wise usage of network, disk, CPU,etc. This comes in very handy when wanting to close those CPU/Memory hogging applications.

Yes the total install size of Windows 7 Ultimate edition is about 8GB but the memory foot print is quite low.It only uses around 500MB logical memory with a basic regular usage of browsing and watching movies as compared to 1200MB used by vista. In the Virtual machine it runs smoothly even with a 256MB RAM and a 1.2 GHz processor and 20GB Hard Disk. It even runs with a 128MB RAM but is slow and comparable to a vista on a 512MB RAM or an XP at 128MB RAM. Since the RAM used is less the OS is no doubt faster.

The start-ups and the shut-downs are very quick.20-25 seconds for a start-up or a shut-down. This is way quicker than the long wait for start-up or shut-down in most operating systems.Under the hood Windows 7 has a virtual machine that runs Windows XP programs without a glitch. Better than the compatibility mode in vista. So its completely backward compatible.

It runs DirectX 11. This is quite impressive. But the wait is on for D3D 11 which promises to be way better than D3D10. D3D10 executed D3D9 and lower based applications in a compatibility mode and this was quite buggy. D3D 11 to be shipped with the retail version of Windows 7 promises to address these issues.

But Microsoft where is the Ground breaking new File system that you promised to launch with your earlier operating system(longhorn/vista). We were expecting to see it atleast with windows 7. Yes we are still struck with NTFS and FAT32 on windows 7. The WinFS is not there atleast in the RC 1. WinFS promised search based on content of a file rather than the file name.

Windows 7 does impress. It does not have any ground breaking new technologies but it is much more user friendly and much more faster than Vista. Many will migrate to windows 7 directly from XP.

Next Posts: Screen Grabs from windows 7

Monday, January 12, 2009


Hello folks,
Been a while since my last post.Was busy with the regular activities of life and i couldnt find time to make a post. But here i am with a new one.

This time it is about an awesome piece of technology.
I lost my mobile a HTC touch and was sad about it so to get over it i got myself a TYTN II.

This is truly a marvelous piece of technology engineered to perfection.
The design itself is amazing as the phone slides out and props up which makes it possible to place the mobile on surfaces and still be able to view the screen sitting on a chair. The qwerty keypad that slides out is also very good. There are 2 soft keys on the keypad for the options that appear on the screen. These are a little hard to access as they are placed right below where the screen rests. It is also impossible in the opened up mode for single hand operations. Single hand operations are best done when the phone is closed with the touch screen. The phone is very robust and is built to withstand harsh usage. One problem is that it is a little bulky and heavy. But to support all the features and functionality it requires to be so.

On the technology side it has a Qualcom 400 mhz processor with 128mb RAM and a 256mb ROM. Am still using it with the 1gb memory card that i got with the phone. The touch screen is quite responsive and the sound quality is neat. It does have some issues with video playback at high resolutions. The connectivity is also really good with a quad band reciever that works with almost any network possible(GSM,WCDMA,UMTS).It supports HSDPA and EDGE technologies and this gives us real fast internet connectivity. The GPS receiver is pretty good but works even better with an external antenna. The one down side is the battery life. I could use it for at-most 2 days after turning off GPRS and other power hungry technology from time to time. The GPS is a battery killer as it drains the battery quickly.

The phone runs on Windows Mobile 6.1 which is pretty good. It is not really finger friendly and requires the use of stylus at times. The built in applications are standard on any windows mobile with a few plug-ins and applications thrown in from HTC. The HTC Home plug-in now sports a 5 tab interface. Tab 1 for the clock, 2 for quick dial contacts, 3 for the local weather, 4 for shortcut to applications and 5th tab for selecting the profile. The applications run without a hitch. It allows a great deal of multi-tasking as i have tried to run over 10 different processes simultaneously and they all work without a hitch. But if the audio player is running you might notice a few pauses in the audio that is playing but that is only when too many apps are running.

All in all the phone is quite robust, it has great features and is a true pocket PC.
The price tag attached is a little high at Rs.27k thats about $600 but all pocket pcs are priced at this range. With so many plus points this is worth the price.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Ions to thrust.....

Hey guys...
Its been a week and here i am with a new post.

This time its rockets. Yes those giant devices that put man on the moon.
Well rockets dont always have to be that huge.Any entity that pushes a stream of fluids and propels itself using Newton's third law of motion is called a rocket. Rockets carry their own fuel and an oxidizer to burn the fuel. They differ from jet engines in this respect that jet engines rely on surrounding air hence they are air breathing.

Rocket engines usually consist of a combustion area, a nozzle and a diffuser.
As the fuel burns hot expanding gases eject through the nozzle giving thrust to the rockets

Rockets usually use combustion or some other chemical reaction that provides huge volumes of gases. This class of rockets are called chemical rockets. It is possible to use other mechanisms to power rockets.

One such method is "Ion propulsion system" or "Ion thrusters".

In this method charged ions are accelerated using coulumbic force or lorentz force and ejected through a nozzle. This propels the craft. In this method the amount of impulse obtained per unit volume of propellant used or the specific impulse is extremely high. This means that the rocket is at maximum efficiency.

Specific impulse is not to be confused with the total thrust or maximum thrust. Thrust is the effective force acting on the engine. Ion thrusters have very low thrusts. Thrust is directly proportional to the power spent in accelerating the ions. Since we need extremely high power to provide high thrusts the use of these engines for propulsion is not viable inside the atmosphere. But in the vacuum of space ion thrusters are very useful. Ion thrusters are used in satellites to correct orbits, compensate spins.etc.

There is usually a mechanism for providing plasma. This is achieved by using electrons to ionize gases and form plasma or microwave hearing of propellant to form plasma. Once the plasma is formed it is accelerated using Electrostatic forces(by using a cathode-anode pair to provide the accelerating potential and making the electrodes as grids to only eject high speed ions) or Magnetic forces(by using electromagnets to provide the required accelerating potential) or even a combination of both. This accelerated plasma is let out through the nozzle and thus provides thrust. Near the nozzle there is also a spray of electrons to ensure that the engine doesn't accumulate a charge. Since these thrusters work for years, such build up of charges might harm the internal electronics or even impair the propulsion system.

One specific variant of ion thrusters is called the Hall Effect Thruster uses magnetic field to trap electrons. These electrons further ionize the propellant gas. These use heavy gases like xenon.etc. One such engine used solar radiation to power the engine and ejected around 59kgs of xenon. It achieved a total change in velocity of 2400m/s in around a year. It doesn't provide instant acceleration but can be used to achieve high velocities from relatively small mass of propellant.

Conventional chemical rockets are still the preferred mode of escaping earth. But once out there, these ion thrusters provide high efficiency for small propellant payload.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008


Whats got me really interested these days ? Mobile OS.

Yes thats the piece of software that runs your mobile.
The famous OS for mobiles includes the symbian OS that power the Nokia, some SE(Sony Erikkson), and a few other brands, the Windows Mobile OS that powers the HTC,Asus, DOPODs, HP, Motorola Q8 .etc, the Palm OS that runs the palm treo and some asus phones. Then you have the proprietary OS that comes installed on many phones doesnt conform to any particular family but is made just to suit the device.

But what's really got me excited is the Android OS. Although it is still in development and will hit the markets a little later, the OS from Google has created a lot of excitement in the mobile industry as it will be an open source OS based on the Linux kernel.

The OS architecture is similar to other Linux architectures with a kernel directly running on the hardware, the drivers and the system software running on top of this and applications running in user space. Here all the functionality of a mobile is considered as an application. The phone for example runs as an application on the user space instead of running directly atop the hardware as in the conventional mobiles.

Although Android is not the first Linux based OS for the mobile it has generated interest because of the fact that it is an effort by global search engine major Google and mobile manufacturers like HTC have agreed to bring out phones using the Android OS. The earlier Linux ports usually voided the warranty and suffered from the problem of lack of drivers and lack of developers. And porting Linux to mobiles was left to the top level experts. With the advent of Android, Linux based mobiles are believed to be commonplace. Google provides a SDK for creating software for android. The SDK is eclipse based and uses JAVA programming language.

The Android SDK is freely available for download here.

An obscure phone called Neo ran OpenMoko, a linux port for mobile. This port had drivers specifically written and the OS kernel itself specifically compiled for the mobile. But Google plans to bring out the OS as a more abstract entity that is supported by a wide variety of mobiles.

People have already ported android to run on a host of mobiles. Just search for Android on youtube and you see a plethora of videos of Android

Long Live Open Source....

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Blog - What,How,why and when of it

Ok so you are a blogger but do you know what blogs are.

Blog is an acronym of Web-log.

On the history of blogging, this is what wikipedia has to say

"The first web page in an online-diary format is thought to be Claudio Pinhanez's "Open Diary", which was published at the MIT Media Lab website from 14 November 1994 until 1996. Other early online diarists include Justin Hall, who began eleven years of personal online diary-writing in 1994, Carolyn Burke, who started publishing "Carolyn's Diary". on 3 January 1995, and Bryon Sutherland, who announced his diary The Semi-Existence of Bryon in a USENET newsgroup on On 19 April 1995"

A copy of the open diary can be found here

This concept of online diary became famous as Blogs. Soon people started to write about everything that they can think of. They just wrote, wrote and wrote more. The craze of blogging had begun.

Blogs are not specific to a topic,an age group or anything. It just conveys the ideas of people having enough time to sit and type.

But guys we do need to know how blogs work.
Blogs these days are are so easy that you create, edit and automatically post your blog without any effort.This ease of blogging is possible thanks to many, many programmers who have created scripts that help us perform these activities.Without going into the technicalities of it there are dynamic pages that take the data from you then put it into a database. When a person opens your blog there are scripts that fetch different entries from these databases and displays them. Apart from thses there are scripts that manage the comments, scripts to create and edit the text allowing insertion of images and videos, scripts to create and modify the template of your blog and many more scripts.

The scripts are in any one of the server-side language like PHP,JSP,ASP or in CGI scripts. The templates and the presentation aspects are made possible through javascript and CSS based scripts.

Famous blog engines include Wordpress, b2evolution, Blogger. etc

Blogging have come to allow us to share our ideas but it is expected that we follow a code of conduct to ensure that we don't hurt the sentiments of others. This has led to threats and many other troubles for many bloggers. In politically intolerant countries any blog against the idea of the state might result in fines, deportation or even jail time. Insensitive blogs might attract threats. Hence a code for blogging was proposed by Tim O'reilly
The code of conduct of blogging :
  1. Take responsibility not just for your own words, but for the comments you allow on your blog.
  2. Label your tolerance level for abusive comments.
  3. Consider eliminating anonymous comments.
  4. Ignore the trolls.
  5. Take the conversation offline, and talk directly, or find an intermediary who can do so.
  6. If you know someone who is behaving badly, tell them so.
  7. Don't say anything online that you wouldn't say in person.
The discussion on this code of conduct can be found here

And so folks lets blog responsibly.