Sep 30, 2010 Technology
If it’s a day ending in “y,” some company has probably announced that it’s producing a tablet computer. The latest tablet computing entry was the PlayBook from Research in Motion. The device is aimed squarely at business users, which makes sense since so many businesses insist on tethering their employees to BlackBerrys. What doesn’t make sense is thinking someone would be excited about an even bigger BlackBerry.
Sep 30, 2010 Technology
The Commonwealth Games 2010 or the CWG 2010 as they are more popularly known now are always in the headlines . Sometimes for good reasons and sometimes for not so good reasons . India has got this opportunity to host a major sporting event . Many would consider this as an honor for the nation to play hosts to an event of such a large magnitude and involving so many nations .But the execution and the run up to this major event has been ridden with a lot of major horrors . So as Indian public , should we consider this an honor or a horror ? That is a very intriguing and complicated question to answer , let us try and look at this whole thing in depth and analyze this .
So how did the games come to Delhi ? The two principal bids for the 2010 Commonwealth Games were from Delhi, India and Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. A ballot of members was held in November 2003 at the Commonwealth Games Federation General Assembly in Montego Bay, Jamaica. Delhi bid won by a margin of 46 votes to 22, confirming Indias first successful bid for the Games.The bid was Canadas attempt to hold the games for the fifth time. Indias bid motto was New Frontiers and Friendships.
India shifted the balance in its favour in the second round of voting with a promise that it would provide US$100,000 to each participating country, along with air tickets, boarding, lodging and transport. The successful 2003 Afro-Asian Games held in Hyderabad was also seen as having showed India has the resources, infrastructure and technical know-how to stage a big sporting event.
The official total budget estimated for hosting the Games is Indian rupee 11,494 crore (US$2.5 billion) and this amount excludes non-sports-related infrastructure development in the city like airports, roads and other structures. Business Today magazine estimates that the games cost Indian rupee 300 billion (US$6.51 billion). This makes the 2010 Commonwealth Games the most expensive Commonwealth Games ever.
So , that is the background to the event , now on to why it is on the news always and mostly for the wrong reasons . The games initially came to the limelight when there was public sparring between Mr.Hooper who is part of the CWG international governing group and Mr.Suresh Kalmadi over the readiness of various deliverables for the games . There was a public spat on media cameras and the image of Brand India started taking a hit there . Unfortunately the media also went overboard and played up the whole thing .
As the time to start the games draws closer , the number of hurdles that are coming up to a smooth start is increasing everyday . It all began with the stadia not being ready on time . Then the infrastructure to host all the teams and their support staff for the games was not ready on time . The Organizing Committee started playing the blame game and saying that the DDA and the Delhi government werent helpful enough.
Finally we got to hear that the CWG Athletes village was ready and a contingent of media representatives was taken around on a very publicized tour and they all beamed impressive pictures of the village and hailed it as better than any athletes facility they had seen anywhere else . The Games authorities also went on record praising the village . But then all hell broke loose , segments of european and other foreign media started publishing photos of really filthy staying quarters for the athletes and kicked up a furore . Then the Indian media joined the party started lambasting the facilities that they sang praises of just a few days ago .
Various countries started having reservations about coming down to such filthy conditions and started going out in public and making frivolous statements about why they will not come to India and stake their health to filth and their life to terror attacks . They all spoke about India like it was a war zone . There was an ill-timed attack on tourists at the Jama Masjid in New Delhi to add fuel to fire . There were australian sportsmen going on TV and giving emotional speeches about life being costlier than a medal . By this time , the media also invented a new season for Delhi The Dengue Season . Even the Australian PM went on record expressing concern for the sportpersons travelling to India. There was even a snake of unknown nationality in the South African sector of the village .
After all the hullabaloo , finally the government stepped in and speeded up the efforts to clean up and set things right .After this , most of the countries that had reservations about coming seem to have relented and willing to come over . I believe that the games are headed for a start now and that they will be smooth . But as an Indian , is this an honor or a horror ?
An honor when I heard that we were hosting the games , a horror when I knew that we were actually paying the member nations to come and participate her . That when we have millions of people below the poverty line to take care of , these people make less than 20 Rupees a day . It was an honor when I came to know that Mahesh Bhupathi and Leander Paes are getting together to represent the nation again . A horror when i saw the hoardings and bamboo boards that were put up to obscure visions of poverty from the teams that are partcipating . An honor when I heard that Sania Mirza and Saina Nehlwal will be representing India on home turf in their respective sports . A horror when I heard that six whole years were wasted doing next to nothing and around thirty five thousand crores have been spent over this . An absolute horror when I see the extent of damage that India as a brand has taken over this whole rigmarole .
I would like to see the games begin , played in the right spirit and closed in the same spirit of sportsmanship . I wish that the media , both Indian and international started focusing on the sport and not the other things , I wish that the organizers pulled their socks up and cleaned up their act . I wish that the international athletes stopped making a big fuss and got on with the games . I wish that my country India , that is so dear to me and all of us , stopped getting hit over the follies and failures of a few incompetent people who are too short sighted to see beyond their own personal gains . Phew ! That is a LOT of wishes .
In summary , let the games begin !
Sep 30, 2010 Technology
Twitter has surpassed MySpace in traffic, and taken a place in the top three busiest social networking sites. Twitter’s 96 million unique visitors last month (up 75% from last year!) topped MySpace’s 95 million (down 17%).
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Sep 30, 2010 Technology
Good design, like any art or fashion, has roots. What’s hot in web logos right now, and what’s been done to death? Check out this detailed rundown of the biggest trends.
Sep 30, 2010 Technology
Some folks at the Hacker publication 2600 decided to compile a list of words that are restricted by Google Instant.Except in extreme and special cases, Google is known for anything but censorship, but as weve said before, there are some terms the web giants new instant search feature wont work with.We understand Googles intentions; the team over there is trying to make sure that no one sees pornographic or violent results they might fight disturbing unless they really mean to search for them. When asked about this feature a few weeks ago, Googles Johanna Wright said the restrictions are in place to protect children.But Google has opened itself up to a potential PR problem, because some of these omissions will be at best bewildering and at worst offensive to particularly sensitive (or progressive) users who dont understand how Google Instant actually works.For example, bisexual and lesbian are among the restricted words. Type them in to Google and the instant search will immediately stop delivering new results. You have to hit enter to confirm, yes, you really do want to know about something in some way related to bisexuals or lesbians.Why Did Google Block These Words?You can still search for these terms. The issue is that when you type them, Google Instant stops reporting results on the fly, and you must hit enter to see results.That happens because Google Instant doesnt just use what youve typed to display results. It reads data collected over the years about previous users searches to predict what youre going to type. Its the same algorithm that handles auto-complete, or the Google Suggest pop-ups in the old, not-so-instant Google search. Google searches only display for the exact text that youve typed after youve hit enter.When results fail to appear after youve typed lesbian or butt, its not because the results are being censored. Google is struggling to prevent the text of offensive searches users have made in the past (there have been other controversies on this subject before) from jumping up in front of you when youre looking for something innocuous.Since countless users may have followed the word lesbian with porn, generating results inappropriate for children, Googles algorithm has decided not to immediately throw 20 links to lesbian porn sites in your face when you type lesbian, even if thats the most common search based on the algorithmic data.When we contacted Google for comment, we received this statement from a spokesperson:There are a number of reasons you may not be seeing search queries for a particular topic. Among other things, we apply a narrow set of removal policies for pornography, violence, and hate speech. Its important to note that removing queries from Autocomplete is a hard problem, and not as simple as blacklisting particular terms and phrases.In search, we get more than one billion searches each day. Because of this, we take an algorithmic approach to removals, and just like our search algorithms, these are imperfect. We will continue to work to improve our approach to removals in Autocomplete, and are listening carefully to feedback from our users.Our algorithms look not only at specific words, but compound queries based on those words, and across all languages. So, for example, if theres a bad word in Russian, we may remove a compound word including the transliteration of the Russian word into English. We also look at the search results themselves for given queries. So, for example, if the results for a particular query seem pornographic, our algorithms may remove that query from Autocomplete, even if the query itself wouldnt otherwise violate our policies. This system is neither perfect nor instantaneous, and we will continue to work to make it better.Googles highly effective SafeSearch algorithm still applies to instant search results. SafeSearch can filter out potentially offensive search results quite effectively after a user has hit enter the first page of results for lesbian with moderate safe search enabled is completely innocuous and it works for searches in progress too.Googles current implementation is far from perfect the company rep admitted that. If nothing else, wed like to see Google manually re-enter safe suggestions for some common terms that have been restricted because theyre sometimes connected with sexual, violent or hateful results.The rep told us that Google is working on improving the system, but wouldnt give us any specifics about future changes. In the meantime, check out the complete list at 2600 if youre curious.[Via Nerve]More About: blacklist, censorship, controversy, Google, Google Instant, Google Instant Search, instant, Instant Search, search terms, semantic search, sex, termsFor more Social Media coverage:Follow Mashable Social Media on TwitterBecome a Fan on FacebookSubscribe to the Social Media channelDownload our free apps for iPhone and iPad
Sep 30, 2010 Technology
With over a billion users online today, there are estimates of over 2 million ‘black holes’ or outages experienced a day. And with rapid growing demands, some experts predict existing internet infrastructure may not be sustainable even for another decade. But new research and methods such as Hyperbolic Mapping may provide …