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EDITORIAL

EDITORIAL

7 7
7 7

Release, damn it!

EDITORIAL EDITORIAL 7 7 Release, damn it! I’d rather go with a current technology that serves
EDITORIAL EDITORIAL 7 7 Release, damn it! I’d rather go with a current technology that serves
EDITORIAL EDITORIAL 7 7 Release, damn it! I’d rather go with a current technology that serves

I’d rather go with a current technology that serves my present needs other than languish, waiting for the next big thing

needs other than languish, waiting for the next big thing P atience has never been one
needs other than languish, waiting for the next big thing P atience has never been one

P atience has never been one of my virtues. Since I was a kid, during those pre- Christmas days there’s nothing I wouldn’t do to figure out what was under the Christmas tree. The knowledge of an impending event used to drive me crazy with

anticipation. These days, while I don’t go around pulling out my hair waiting for the next product release, I have noticed something rather disconcerting—over the past few years, several companies have been conveniently extending deadlines on their product releases. Be it Sony’s interminable promises of their PS3 (last I heard, they promised it hitting stores in November this year), or Microsoft Vista (along with the rest of their long-winded Vista- variants to follow), to even game releases (I’ll bet all you gamers can’t say S.T.A.L.K.E.R. without shaking your head in frustration, then wistfully recalling that fascinating preview video released at E3 last year). Sure, it’s in a company’s own interest to release bug-free and defect-free products while catching the crest of the next big buying wave. But after their initial teaser releases, sneak previews and specification “leaks” die down, their viral marketing strategies start to lose luster, leaving behind a whole lot of frustrated consumers. Besides the frustration, these delays translate into significant financial repercussions within the industry. In the case of Windows Vista, Microsoft was originally supposed to release the OS back in 2005. This got pushed to October 2006. They are now pegging the release date to January 2007. Clearly, it’s not a delay of a few months here. It is clear that several corporate and domestic buying decisions have been postponed as a result of these delays. And the cascade effect continues—system integrators typically require six to eight weeks to integrate specification changes into their product lineup. This tends to weigh in at the higher end of the delays with something as significant as a new OS. Besides ironing out bugs, developing and stabilizing drivers for locally available hardware, their technical support teams would also need to familiarize themselves with the new system to be able to respond effectively. Things are no different on the hardware front. Take your pick—Blue-ray, HD-DVD, WiMAX—we’ve all heard them being trumpeted for at least a couple of years, while products based upon these epoch-making technologies are still nowhere in sight. It is clear that companies invariably choose to delay a launch in favor of waiting to integrate an additional “big feature” into their products. But the effects of such delays are felt everywhere—the support companies who depend upon larger organizations for their product rollouts, the enterprises who wait to migrate their systems to efficiency-boosting technologies. As we continue to go about integrating newer technologies into our lives (both intentionally and unknowingly over the course of our days), it is high time that companies honor the need to deliver these technologies on time. Consumers are not as patient as companies assume they are. More so, in this day and age where technology stalwarts are doing a brilliant job at creating compelling products, the next best choice for the consumer is actually a pretty good choice. Being the impatient person I am, I’d rather go with a current technology and product that serves my present needs other than languish, waiting for the next big thing. But maybe that’s just me.

waiting for the next big thing. But maybe that’s just me. | Marco Angelo D’Souza marco.dsouza@chip-india.com

| Marco Angelo D’Souza marco.dsouza@chip-india.com

MAY 2006

| INTELLIGENT COMPUTING CHIP

Contents MAY 2006
Contents
MAY 2006
Contents MAY 2006 32 2 2 32 Biolab on a Chip NEWSWIRE Embracing the PC The

32

Contents MAY 2006 32 2 2 32 Biolab on a Chip NEWSWIRE Embracing the PC The

22

32

Biolab on a Chip

NEWSWIRE

Embracing the PC

The Intel-powered Community PC introduced to meet rural needs

is equipped to withstand the

challenges faced by villages in India.

Biolab on a Chip

Biochips are being used to detect various diseases at the very onset, warning us of of endemics and biological poisons.

COVER STORYonset, warning us of of endemics and biological poisons. 34 Get Web-enabled Learn the diverse ways

34 Get Web-enabled

Learn the diverse ways of putting up and running a web site using either free or paid web hosting services.

HARDWARE

HARDWARE

40

Top Gear

Our Test Center boys get close to an array of products and give you a low- down on their multi-faceted features.

52

Portadata

A

comprehensive test run of flash

memory based and hard drive based

external storage solutions.

64

Eco Imaging

Scanning, copying, faxing, printing at an affordable cost with MFDs.

copying, faxing, printing at an affordable cost with MFDs. 64 Eco Imaging 52 Portadata 72 Nvidia
copying, faxing, printing at an affordable cost with MFDs. 64 Eco Imaging 52 Portadata 72 Nvidia

64 Eco Imaging

52 Portadata

72

Nvidia Fights Back!

Nvidia builds competition for rival ATI with their new range of GPUs.

76

When Intel made Apple

Apple’s new Intel-based notebook sports a spiffy look and feel so quintessential of the brand, and clubs a bagful of features.

78

Fuel Cells on the Move

clubs a bagful of features. 78 Fuel Cells on the Move With their dynamic energy storing

With their dynamic energy storing capacities, fuel cells are going to take the world of mobile power by storm. They facilitate a more environment- friendly form of energy storage.

APPLICATIONS

84 Software Center

Read our reviews on a range of tools for home and office use, displaying marked advancements in features and performance.

34
34

90

Narrowed Viewing

Now you have the freedom to watch what you want. Get access to esoteric content with the help of a new breed of broadcasting technology christened narrowcasting.

92

Waking up to WiMAX

WiMAX heralds the era of cost- effective, convenient Internet access in the nation’s web horizon. Find out about the action in India.

94

Search Power

An in-depth analysis of the significant and cogent functionality of search engines.

HANDS ON

HANDS ON

104

Recreating Music

An exemplary workshop discerning the unique ways in which audio cassettes can be recycled to audio CDs and MP3s.

108

For Skin that Glows

Photoshop lends that magical touch to your age-old portraits, working wonders for your skin and attributing that total image makeover.

INTELLIGENT COMPUTING CHIP | MAY 2006

94 Search Power 72 Nvidia Fights Back! 84 Software Center 112 XP in your pocket
94 Search Power 72 Nvidia Fights Back! 84 Software Center 112 XP in your pocket

94 Search Power

72 Nvidia Fights Back!

94 Search Power 72 Nvidia Fights Back! 84 Software Center 112 XP in your pocket 130

84 Software Center

112

XP in your pocket

130

Call of Cthulhu

Learn the simple but meticulous procedures applied to booting

Come explore the deeply intriguing dark corners of the earth in the

Windows XP from a USB flash drive.

scariest game churned out by game

It

is fun!

developers this year.

UNWIND 132 The Lord of the Rings: The Battle for Middle-Earth II

UNWIND

132

The Lord of the Rings: The Battle for Middle-Earth II

124

PC vs Console

Get ready to step into a Middle-Earth

The subject that stimulates intense debate in the gaming world today

not witnessed before. The sequel has all the elements necessary in an

is

whether PC gaming is superior to

RTS game with the power to get you

console gaming or vice versa. Find

 

addicted. new build

out more…

 
 

134

Commandos Strike Force

128

Star Wars: Empire At War

While the previous versions stuck to

A

game that gives you the power

squad-based tactical missions, the

to plan your galactic conquest and command an entire war in the Star

 

latest entry in the Commandos series puts on the garb of a first-person

Wars universe.

shooter game. Improvement in this version is indicated in the less time taken to complete the missions.

Olympus U 720 SW …46
Olympus U 720 SW
…46

MAY 2006 | INTELLIGENT COMPUTING CHIP

Regulars

Town Square Letters Technology Landscape Dr. CHIP Tips and Tricks Game Reviews Last Word

16

18

82

100

115

128

148

| Products Tested

Hardware

40

Asus A8R32-MVP Deluxe, Asus PW191, Cowon iAudio U2, Gainward Sound Xplosion, Gigabyte Triton Chassis, Leadek WinFast A7800GS, Logitech X-530, Olympus U 720 SW, Plustek OpticBook 3600, Sony DRU-820A, Xerox Phazer 3117

External Storage

52

Apacer HandySteno HT-203, Buffalo RUF2-S512-BS, Corsair Flash Voyager, Kingston DataTraveler II Plus Migo, PQI Cool Drive U339, PQI Cool Drive U339 Pro, Transcend JetFlash 120, Zion UltraDiskPro, Buffalo Drive Station HD-HB160U2-EU, ExBoot EXB-0131, Maxtor OneTouch III FireWire 400/USB 2.0, Maxtor OneTouch III Turbo, Seagate Pushbutton Backup 200GB, Seagate Pushbutton Backup 400GB, Western Digital Media Center, Western Digital Essential, Buffalo MiniStation USB 2.0, ExBoot EXB-0121, LaCie Mobile Hard Drive, Seagate Portable Hard Drive, Transcend StoreJet 2.5, Western Digital Passport, LaCie Carte Orange, Seagate Pocket Hard Drive, S-Media Hi-Tech Microdrive, UMAX Pollux 300

MFDs

64

Brother DCP-115C, Brother MFC-410CN, Brother MFC-620CN, Brother MFC-3240C, Brother MFC-5840CN, Canon Pixma MP150, Canon Pixma MP450, Canon Pixma MP500, Epson Stylus CX4700, Epson Stylus CX3700, Lexmark X3350, Lexmark X4270

Pixma MP150, Canon Pixma MP450, Canon Pixma MP500, Epson Stylus CX4700, Epson Stylus CX3700, Lexmark X3350,
Mobile: AVANT GO REMOTE DESKTOP FOR MOBILES 2.1 Internet: AOL EXPLORER FIREFOX 2.0 YAHOO MESSENGER

Mobile:

AVANT GO REMOTE DESKTOP FOR MOBILES 2.1

Internet:

AOL EXPLORER FIREFOX 2.0 YAHOO MESSENGER 7.5

Multimedia:

QUARKXPRESS 7 PLATO VIDEO TO IPOD CONVERTER MAGIX AUDIO CLEANING LAB 10

Security:

ASHAMPOO MAGICAL SECURITY ANTIVIR PERSONAL EDITION

Utilities:

FREE ACCOUNTING SOFTWARE (BUSY UL 3.0) WINZIP 10

Developer:

VISUAL BASIC EXPRESS 2005 ACEHTML PRO 6.05

Disk Contents

MAY 2006 | VOLUME 3 | ISSUE 6

PRO 6.05 Disk Contents MAY 2006 | VOLUME 3 | ISSUE 6 Game Demos: TOM RAIDER:

Game Demos:

TOM RAIDER: LEGEND BLAZING ANGELS: SQUADRONS OF WWII GALATIC CIVILIZATIONS II

Videos:

BLAZING ANGELS: SQUADRONS OF WWII ROGUE TROOPER POSEIDON

Linux:

FEDORA CORE 5

OF WWII ROGUE TROOPER POSEIDON Linux: FEDORA CORE 5 Game Addons: LOTR: BATTLE FOR MIDDLE EARTH

Game Addons:

LOTR: BATTLE FOR MIDDLE EARTH 2 1.02 PATCH

Movie Trailers:

THE FAST AND THE FURIOUS: TOKYO DRIFT AN AMERICAN HAUNTING

Game Trailers:

FIFA WORLD CUP 2006 THE ELDER SCROLLS IV OBLIVION, MORTAL KOMBAT:

ARMAGEDDON

Game Demos:

ICE AGE 2: THE MELTDOWN IRON WARRIORS: T-72 TANK COMMAND VIRTUAL POOL 3

Quick Quote

MAY 2006 | VOLUME 3 | ISSUE 6

Quick Quote MAY 2006 | VOLUME 3 | ISSUE 6 CHIP is a great resource for
Quick Quote MAY 2006 | VOLUME 3 | ISSUE 6 CHIP is a great resource for

CHIP is a great resource for first-time products, providing fair reviews of their capabilities

products, providing fair reviews of their capabilities Moninder Jain, Director South Asia, Logitech

Moninder Jain, Director South Asia, Logitech

capabilities Moninder Jain, Director South Asia, Logitech www.chip-india.com GENERAL MANAGER - PUBLISHING Krishna
capabilities Moninder Jain, Director South Asia, Logitech www.chip-india.com GENERAL MANAGER - PUBLISHING Krishna
capabilities Moninder Jain, Director South Asia, Logitech www.chip-india.com GENERAL MANAGER - PUBLISHING Krishna

www.chip-india.com

GENERAL MANAGER - PUBLISHING

Krishna Tewari

EDITOR

Marco Angelo D’Souza

ASSOCIATE FEATURES EDITOR

Carol D’Costa

SENIOR COPY EDITOR

Sharmistha Dey

WRITERS

Ashutosh Desai, Pradosh Mitra

TEST CENTER

Soham Raninga Anand Tuliani, Gaurav Seth

MULTIMEDIA COORDINATOR

Anup Pillai

DESIGN

Vishwanath Vanjire, Pramod Jadhav, Jagdish Limbachiya, Dinesh Desai, Rushikesh Masurkar, Manoj Tandel, Umesh Dahiwalkar, Ravi Parmar

PHOTO EDITOR

Shirish Karale

MULTIMEDIA & WEB

Hemant Charya

SPECIAL PROJECTS

EDITOR-PROJECTS

Brian Pereira

WRITERS

Arunabh Arora, Rahul Athalye, Olivia Yardi

HEAD MARKETING

Ganesh Lakshmanan

EDITORIAL OFFICE

Intelligent Computing Chip, TBW Publishing & Media Pvt. Ltd. `A’ Wing, Ruby House, 2nd Floor, J.K. Sawant Marg, Dadar(W). Mumbai - 400 028. INDIA Phone: (91 22) 24232323, Fax: (91 22) 2430 2707 E-mail: comment@chip-india.com

BUSINESS OFFICES

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12th Floor, ‘C’ Wing, Mittal Tower No.6, M.G.Road, Bangalore – 560 001. Phone: (080)559 7282,83,84 Fax: (080)559 7285

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Phone: (044) 28295050-54 Fax: (044) 28295060

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CIRCULATION

National Circulation Manager Kumar Mohanani (kumar.mohanani@infomediaindia.com)

CHIP INTERNATIONAL

Editorial Consultant International Wolfgang Su, Poccistrabe 11,80336 Munchen

CHIP is also published in the following countries China Czech Republic Germany Greece Hungary Indonesia Italy Malaysia Netherlands Poland Romania Russia Singapore Thailand Turkey Ukraine

TBW Publishing & Media Pvt. Ltd. does not take the responsibility for returning unsolicited material sent without due postal stamps for return postage. No part of this magazine can be reproduced without the prior written permission of the publisher. TBW Publishing & Media Pvt. Ltd. reserves the right to use the information published herein in any manner whatsoever.

Copyright 2004 INTELLIGENT COMPUTING CHIP

For all international subscription enquiries, contact the subscription department, Intelligent Computing CHIP (subscription@chip-india.com).

Intelligent Computing CHIP is printed by A. S. Vadiwala and published by K. V. Rao on behalf of TBW Publishing and Media Pvt. Ltd. and printed at Infomedia India Ltd, Plot No.3, Sector 7, Off Sion-Panvel Road, Nerul, Navi Mumbai

400 706 and published at TBW Publishing and Media Pvt. Ltd., `A’ Wing, Ruby House, 2nd Floor, J.K. Sawant Marg, Dadar(W). Mumbai - 400 028. INDIA

is an internationally protected trademark owned by Vogel Burda Communication GmbH

Cover Design: Pramod Jadhav, Dinesh Desai

owned by Vogel Burda Communication GmbH Cover Design: Pramod Jadhav, Dinesh Desai INTELLIGENT COMPUTING CHIP |

INTELLIGENT COMPUTING CHIP | MAY 2006

16161616 16
16161616
16

TOWN SQUARE

TOWN SQUARE

16161616 16 TOWN SQUARE TOWN SQUARE THIS MONTH ON chip-india.com Town Square G reetings! The month

THIS MONTH ON chip-india.com

Town Square

G reetings! The month of April was really hectic as there was a lot of activity online. On last check, the number of registered

users had grown to 22,200. The rate at which new members are registering at our site again confirms the fact that if you need any technical help or want to share your technical knowledge with others, then chip-india.com is your best bet. The various sections in our forums have been buzzing with activity. We found some interesting topics posted by some of our members. The most interesting one was posted by “dweller” who informs us how to make a web cam work via infrared. Just visit http://homepage.ntlworld. com/geoff.johnson2/IR/ and you will get a step- by-step procedure. In the site the owner, Geoff Johnson, has provided screenshots so that you don’t have any difficulty understanding the entire process. The next useful tip we found was posted by “hellrider” in the Internet section. He basically explains how to free up 20 percent of your bandwidth that Microsoft preserves. The steps are as follows:

Click on Start and then navigate to Run.that Microsoft preserves. The steps are as follows: Type gpedit.msc. Under the Local Computer Policy, double

Type gpedit.msc.are as follows: Click on Start and then navigate to Run. Under the Local Computer Policy,

Under the Local Computer Policy, double click on Administrative Templates. on Administrative Templates.

Double click on Network and then on QoS Packet Scheduler. Packet Scheduler.

Here, you will need to right click on Limit Reservable bandwidth. Reservable bandwidth.

Click on Properties and then on Enabled.you will need to right click on Limit Reservable bandwidth. Also, set the bandwidth limit (percentage)

Also, set the bandwidth limit (percentage) to zero. However, there are two things that you need to keep in mind before you zero. However, there are two things that you need to keep in mind before you can try this trick. The first is you will need to have a login account with administrative privileges. The second is that this

trick is only for Windows XP Pro. If you have the Home edition, then you cannot try this out. In the Games section, “qdalz” invited all the forum members to visit the site that he had made for a LAN gaming cafe called Technopoint. The

URL for the site is www.technopoint.in. When we visited the site, we found that it gives complete information regarding the games that are played in the cafe as well as specifications of the machines that are used to play these games. It even features

a full-fledged forum that allows you to share your

expertise in gaming. It also has individual sections for FPS, RTS, sports and racing games. Another post that caught our eye was by “lionelxp” in the Hardware section. It includes a complete price listing of all the PC components that are available today in the market. No matter what you are searching for, you will find the price for it in this post. If you are planning to buy a new PC, you must definitely check out this post as it gives you a fair idea of what components can be

bought within your budget. We would like to bring to your notice an incident

that occurred in the past month because it deserves

a special mention. Most of the members went on

strike demanding that unless some new features were added to the web site or a completely new web site was launched, they would continue the agitation. As a result, no new topics were posted in any of the section. Newly registered members were affected since they could not find answers to their queries in Know-How. So we plunged into action

immediately and as promised, we enabled avatars for the first time in our forums. Now the forums indeed look impressive with each member trying to get an avatar which is better than that of the other member. We have also planned a host of other features for the web site. In due course of time, they will be implemented and you will not need to go on a strike again. Do keep writing in and tell us what you want to see in the magazine, what software or games you want included on the cover discs, etc. We will make

a note of your suggestions and if appropriate, will surely incorporate them. See you guys next month.

| Anup Pillai

INTELLIGENT COMPUTING CHIP | MAY 2006

18181818 18
18181818
18

LETTERS

LETTERS

18181818 18 LETTERS LETTERS Umesh Dahiwalkar Letters Dear CHIP, I am a practising doctor from Baroda,

Umesh Dahiwalkar

18181818 18 LETTERS LETTERS Umesh Dahiwalkar Letters Dear CHIP, I am a practising doctor from Baroda,

Letters

Dear CHIP, I am a practising doctor from Baroda, Gujarat and was just about to buy a laptop when I came across your March issue. I read the article on the laptop comparison thoroughly. I was just wondering why some of the big brands were omitted from the comparison. I was mainly concerned about Toshiba and HP/Compaq. As you will agree, choosing a laptop is really difficult and I need a quick answer so that I may arrive at a decision on my dream laptop as soon as possible. Sincere regards and thanks once again for the lovely article demystifying the whole big issue for me.

Vivek

Hello Vivek, Yes, in this day and age, selecting a laptop can truly be a Herculean task given the sheer variety of products within a given price range. We’re glad you liked our comparison besides putting the various products through their paces, we aimed at providing a relevant view of specifications and performance levels of today’s laptop technologies. Given the fact that there are so many varieties of laptop brands in the markets (many of which were non-existent even a year ago!), procuring products for such a comparison has always been a challenge. However, over the course of this comparison, the majority of the brands were pro-active in making their products available to us to meet with our deadlines. Some brands such as HP/Compaq and Toshiba were unable to have their laptops sent across for reasons ranging all the way from a refresh in product lines to not

being able to dispatch the devices in time. Since our deadlines are sacrosanct, we had no choice but to omit them this time around. As we do regular tests of products in our standalone test section, expect to see their reviews in our forthcoming issues. Team CHIP

Dear CHIP, Another great issue! In your March issue, the gaming section was super as were the articles on power supply and dressing up Windows XP. I have one request which I have been trying to get across to you for a long time. Please conduct an anti-virus and firewall shootout. You review so many security- related programs and there are so many newer ones

being released that it is hard to choose which is the best for a given application. It would be great if you could present them in a single product comparison.

I also request you to review stuff that the

‘common Indian PC user’ can afford. No doubt, the Test Center reviews the best hardware available but please do also feature shootouts of things like generic input devices (which are significantly

cheaper than the top-of-the-line Microsoft and Logitech products), cabinets, power supplies, etc. To conclude—for the past two years, I have always noticed that the “Red Hot” software on the tools CD is an image, video, audio or text editor. Please include something new and unique in your forthcoming CDs.

I know that you guys put in a lot of hard work

into each issue and may not be able to look into all the suggestions but I believe that there is room for

improvement even for a magazine like CHIP! Amit Patnaik

Hello Amit, The topic of anti-virus and security software is an interesting one. These applications are sciences unto themselves—given the breadth of programming expertise that needs to go into a software application like an anti-virus program. So evaluating them justly requires plenty of resources by way of live virus samples, not to mention the hundreds of test beds required to test infection methods, etc. Even with infection types, these have proliferated from file-level and e-mail infections to new- generation threats through chat, spyware, adware to even mobile viruses. And there are hundreds

INTELLIGENT COMPUTING CHIP | MAY 2006

MAY 2006 | INTELLIGENT COMPUTING CHIP LETTERS 19
MAY 2006 | INTELLIGENT COMPUTING CHIP LETTERS 19

MAY 2006 | INTELLIGENT COMPUTING CHIP

MAY 2006 | INTELLIGENT COMPUTING CHIP LETTERS 19
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LETTERS

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MAY 2006 | INTELLIGENT COMPUTING CHIP LETTERS 19
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LETTERS

LETTERS

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20 20 20 LETTERS LETTERS LETTERS Letters Now you can SMS us! Since we like knowing

Letters

Now you can

SMS us!

Since we like knowing what’s on your mind and what you think about our magazine, we now bring you another way to get in touch with us. Have something to say about a test review? Liked a feature story? Was the workshop useful? SMS us your feedback! Here’s how:

For comments on a story, create the following message:

ICCO <Your comments here> Example: ICCO The cover story was very useful

You can write as much as you want in your comment!

of newer infection types cropping up every day. Since we are not fully equipped with the systems required to do complete justice to an anti-virus comparison, we prefer not to conduct one solely on the basis of an application’s features. However, we do have plans to collaborate with standards- based test centers that have dedicated resources for virus threat analysis and countering processes. But this may take more than a few months. While we do have a fair amount of product tests focusing on the more affordable hardware and software products, we do try to achieve a good balance of ‘high-end’ products with the more affordable variants. You will see this in the increased number of product tests around computer cabinets and input devices over the last few months. Finally, regarding the types of applications featured in the Red Hot section of our Tools CD, we’ve created a dedicated mail ID to receive feedback on our cover disk contents. So, do write to us at chip.cd@chip-india.com with suggestions on such applications and we’ll try to incorporate as many of these in our future issues. Team CHIP

To rate a story, product review, etc look out for the story tag at the base of each article and use it as follows:

ICCP <Story tag> <Rating> Example: ICCP PWS 5

The “Story tag” is mentioned at the base of every story in the magazine and the “Rating” is on a scale of 1 to 5.

Finally, send your messages to 7007. Cheers! 7007 ICCO That was a fun cover story
Finally, send your messages
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ICCO That was a fun cover story

Dear CHIP, We, the staff and officials of the Department of Science & Technology (Govt. of West Bengal), run an Office Library named “Aniwksha” at Bikash Bhawan in Kolkata. Ever since we have started subscribing to your magazine, it has found favor with many of our Aniwksha members. The way you cover technology topics and the manner in which it is put forth is really fantastic. We have solved plenty of our daily problems after reading sections like your Tips and Tricks. Through your various hardware and software product tests, we have gained practical information on the performance and price of various products and it is easy to see them presented in a nice tabular form. Also, the cover stories are of great interest to all of us. We preserve all of your magazines. We have just finished reading the March 2006 issue. And we want to tell you that we receive your magazines very late, usually in the last week of the month. In fact, we have still not received a copy of the November 2005 issue and the same was informed to your office over mail last month. It will be of great help if you would be kind enough to

send us a copy of the November issue at the earliest. Expecting an early reply.

Amiya Kumar Kalidaha

Dear Amiya, Thanks for the kind words about our magazine and apologies for the respective issue not reaching you on time. This information has been passed on to our subscription department and they will be taking the necessary action. Team CHIP

Dear CHIP, Thanks to you. We have received the November- 05 issue of CHIP magazine. Thank you for your prompt action and also for following up with our request.

Amiya Kumar Kalidaha

Dear CHIP, I have been a regular follower of your magazine for almost two years now. We have just started a pocket PC enthusiasts’ site at www.indippc.com with an active forum of around 150 (and growing) members. Now that Windows’ mobile platform is getting popular in India with all the O2s and Imates coming in (we really liked your review of the Atom by the way), we thought it was about time we had our own community site. I think we are the one and only Pocket PC enthusiast site for India. We would like if you could tell your readers about this initiative. We would also appreciate if Pocket PC/Palm enthusiasts from the CHIP team could visit our forums and share a tip or two with our readers. Hoping to get a positive response from you. A little support will indeed go a long way.

Vinit Gupta

Dear Vinit, With data becoming more portable, having access to one’s documents while on the move is getting increasingly important. This is a good initiative you’ve started and will certainly be a practical resource to handheld users here in India. We wish you all the best in this endeavor.

Team CHIP

INTELLIGENT COMPUTING CHIP | MAY 2006

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22 NEWSWIRE | Joydeep Bose Director, Emerging Markets and Platform Group, Intel Embracing the PC Intel’s

| Joydeep Bose Director, Emerging Markets and Platform Group, Intel

Embracing the PC

Intel’s Community PC has been built in a way that it can face the challenges of rural India

T he Indian rural sector is on the throes of witnessing a revolution in coming face to face to technology. Several information

communication technology programs sponsored by the Government of India have got the rural race jumping on the tech bandwagon. But although India is being touted as the next tech super power, it only has a miniscule 4 percent of PC population. In such a scenario, Intel’s “Discover the PC” project makes sense because the country has not been able to bridge the digital divide completely. This project is Intel’s

initiative to make the benefits of computer usage more broadly available to all developing nations. Part of this “Discover the PC” project is a unique PC platform designed to meet the needs of the rural populace in India. In an interview with CHIP, Joydeep Bose, Director, Emerging Markets and Platform Group, talks more on the Community PC.

Q: How will the Community PC meet the practical needs of the rural populace? How will it help in educating the PC-illiterate race?

JB: The Community PC is an innovation undertaken by Intel after intensive ethnographic studies in rural India. Intel realized that the villages needed computing to improve their efficiency of business, improve productivity and manage their growth and address social needs like education and health. It also recognized that villages in India need the computing power to meet social, educational and health needs as well smoothen the process of administrative functionalities. As rural India is transcending from an agricultural economy to a trading economy, the dynamics also change—there is a growing need for efficient and productive tools. Also, as quick delivery of knowledge is possible through computing-based devices, it becomes even more important to have access to the specialized technology that can address such educational and practical needs. Our research revealed that providing community services through ICT can help the rural folks have access to such technology and thereby,

raise the their living standards. Given this premise, the platform to provide ICT and community services must be able to withstand the challenges of rural India, which are harsh climatic conditions, power blackouts, ability to control assets and reducing the ownership cost. The result of this research is the “Community PC”. This PC has been constructed in a way that when denuded to tough weather conditions such as extreme temperatures, high dust levels, problems of fluctuating power supply and lack of IT support in remote areas, it can still function properly. One of the usage models of the Community PC is to use it as a device to help users understand and learn the educational content in addition to computer and software skills.

Q) The Intel-powered community PC is part

of the Discover the PC initiative. What other

projects are part of this initiative?

JB: The community PC is one among many offerings from Intel as a part of the Discover the PC campaign. There are other products like the Affordable PC, Education PC and others, which will be launched soon as a part of this campaign.

Q) Will the ruggedized PC help in computing

better?

JB: The ruggedized PC will ensure that the PC runs for a longer time without failure in harsh conditions, thus proving the overall utility and longevity of the productive PC. The redesigned motherboard has been optimized for power consumption and will hence, result in better utilization of the available power for computing.

Q) How will the Community PC platform

work? Tell us about its architecture.

JB: The Community PC has been developed exclusively to fit into rural India. This PC caters to the needs of the villages and is also equipped to adapt to the varying climatic and topographic conditions prevalent. The unique features of the Community PC are:

INTELLIGENT COMPUTING CHIP | MAY 2006

• It runs on a car battery in cases of fluctuating power supply.

• It consumes less power.

• It’s thermally redesigned chassis can withstand extreme temperatures.

• It is fitted with a dust filter to combat problems related to high dust levels.

• It is enabled with value added software like Power and System Management.

• The CPC has a unique feature called Asset Management that can be used to provision and de-provision the PC based on business logic. One key application of this feature is “Pay per use”.

Q: What is Jagruti or Awakening initiative all about? Do you think such an initiative will help bridge the digital divide and how?

JB: Jagruti is the name of the campaign for the community initiative by Intel. It is a Community Awakening initiative to bring together various players in the ICT space—the government, OS vendors, independent software vendors, NGOs, kiosk service providers and Intel. Everyone has a part to play in order to bridge the digital divide and thereby, the initiative to channel the efforts of the ecosystem

around this objective. It has four key pillars:

a. The rugged hardware platform and peripherals from Intel and its OEMs.

b. A low cost wireless connectivity solution from Intel, OEMs and Telcos/ISPs.

c. A community alliance of 30+ software vendors for rural applications through Intel’s ISV network.

d. A financing model to provide access to

capital to rural entrepreneurs. Jagruti is the umbrella program for a single window rural computing solution.

Q) Where is this Community PC

available? What will its cost be like?

JB: The Community PC can be bought from our OEMs. Depending on the configuration, we expect our OEMs to quote in the range of Rs 23,000 Rs to 25,000 for this product, which would include everything along with the 8-10 hour power backup solution.

Q) How is the Community PC different

from MIT’s $100 PC?

JB: We don’t want to comment on other

MAY 2006 | INTELLIGENT COMPUTING CHIP

people’s/companies’ projects. I guess, all these programs aim at providing technology to aid human life and in that respect they are similar. Intel’s Jagruti is not a not-for-profit initiative. Additionally, the Intel Community PC is not a watered down PC. Rural India does not want cheap second-generation products. They are looking for products, which will be operational in their environment and where the applications would add value to their lives. Intel has been successful in developing this value proposition.

Q) You have mentioned about these

community kiosks and plans of community platforms to be set up on them. How are these platforms going to be put up? What necessary steps are being taken in this respect?

JB: There are several ways in which these kiosks and platforms would be set up in rural India. Some of them would be:

a. With the help of the “Common Service Centers” initiative of the Government of India.

b. PC for government offices in rural India through e-governance.

c. PC kiosks for railway stations/rural telecom Internet cafes across the country.

d. PC kiosks in post offices across rural

India. The key to every deployment is applications and connectivity, business viability and access to capital, all of which are covered under the Jagruti initiative.

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products, expanded choices and increased purchasing power will improve the quality of life. Rural entrepreneurship will result in economic enrichment. Increased penetration of trade and finance will benefit farmers and the other poorer segment. All of the above are expected to generate both direct and indirect employment opportunities.

Q) How is Jagruti different from

Microsoft’s Saksham project?

JB: Jagruti and Saksham are complementary programs. Microsoft and Intel are integral pieces to bridging the digital divide and are working together in these initiatives.

Q) What are the other initiatives that

Intel is taking in this sphere and in

collaboration with who?

JB: Intel is involved in several initiatives both in the computing as well as in the connectivity sphere. It is working actively with the Government of India—with various organizations like the Ministry of Panchayati Raj, state e-governance organizations, NGOs, ISVs, OSVs, banks and other public sector organizations. In the industry, we have key partnerships with Microsoft, Yahoo, RedHat, Oracle, TCS, IL&FS, NIIT, among many others.

Q) Are there any plans to introduce low-

cost laptops for educational needs?

JB: We are working on several platform concepts including education centric laptop for the emerging market. We shall divulge the details as we have them. | Sharmistha Dey

Q) How far do you think these kiosks will

help in generating self-sufficiency among

the rural folks?

JB: Rural empowerment will be generated by new services and information that improve productivity and raise incomes for illiterate people. It has a multiplier effect in sustaining “involved” welfare building of social and economic communities and finally, integrating the village population to India’s mainstream economy.

Q) How will the ruggedized

community PC platform generate

employment opportunities?

JB: Access to information—to new

SMS us!

Story code: NWI (See Readers’ Letters for details)

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NEWSWIRE

Interpreting emotions

I t’s fairly easy to understand the meaning of a facial expression and then analyze

it. But for those afflicted by autism, the experience is entirely different. It is not only

difficult but they are also completely unable to ascertain the feelings expressed through facial expressions. However, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) researchers have come up with a novel computer-vision system, which can do the mind reading for those who are not able to do so. At the Body Sensor Networks 2006 international workshop, two researchers from MIT’s Media Lab wore tiny cameras mounted on wire rods extending from their chest to demonstrate how this system works. The facial expressions and the head movements captured by the cameras are fed into a desktop computer, capable of analyzing the data from the video feed and give an estimate of the individual’s mental state in the form of a color-coded graph. Besides the graph, the system is also equipped to provide a visual, audio or tactile feedback to the wearer. Interestingly, all these functions take place simultaneously and the applicant does not lose any time to infer what an expression indicates during a conversation. This system finds out that missing link, which makes it hard for a person suffering from Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) to determine another’s emotion or thought. Additionally, the graph helps in drawing comparisons on the behavior of a normal person from that of one who’s suffering from autism and quantify them to identify the problem better. Presently, researchers are working on evolving the system into a wearable PC, enabling the user to get a response even if he or she is on the move. Research is also being carried out on Asperger Syndrome, an ailment similar to autism but milder.

Asperger Syndrome, an ailment similar to autism but milder. Snakebots come to rescue R eal snakes

Snakebots come to rescue

R eal snakes are dangerous as one snake bite might end your life but the snakes

we talk about here are life-savers. These robot snakes team up with fire workers to trace human existence under debris. These snake robots are the invention of 37-year-old Howie Choset, professor at Carnegie Mellon University. He and his team have spent years in developing such robots which can slither through collapsed buildings in search of victims trapped due to natural disasters, fire or other emergencies. Choset recently claimed that these robots are also capable of climbing up and around pipes. It is this particular feature that distinguishes his robot snake from the several others. Rescue workers who have worked with such a snake robot claimed it to be

a highly effective tool as it can move into

areas that are apparently impenetrable. At the pace of taking out one stone at a time to rescue a person, the time consumed for such an operation is around 90 minutes. Keeping these factors in mind, Choset designed a snake robot that can move into the rubble and get the victim out in the shortest span of time without causing him any harm. The lightweight aluminum or plastic bodied robots have the length of an arm, embedded with camera and electronic sensors and can be controlled by a joystick. The “Breadstick” and “Pepperoni” as they are called will be able to sense their way up through the shards just as good as their human operators.

Laptop, PC thieves gypped

T oday, mobility among the workforce has increased the risks of PC or laptop

theft or misplacement by employees, thus leaving the personal or customer’s data stored completely unprotected. So in case you have lost your laptop or PC, don’t worry. California-based Everdream provides you with the solution of tracking them down, keeping the data securely locked within. Everdream’s Theft Recovery Managed Service (as the application is called) is capable of retaining control over lost or

his computer first. In case of theft or

misplacement, the device already installed in the computer automatically connects

it to the web-based management console

named Everdream Control Center (ECC). Immediately after the connection is established, the ECC transfers a software package that encrypts or deletes the data from the hard disk. Consequently,

a collection of network information

regarding the PC or laptop is gathered at

ECC to locate and recover the machine. Though recently launched, this product

stolen PCs and laptops by encrypting or deleting the data contained therein. To enjoy the
stolen PCs and laptops by encrypting or
deleting the data contained therein.
To enjoy the benefits, a user
needs to install the
application in
has been appreciated by a number of
corporate firms dealing with
sensitive information.
Dinesh Desai

INTELLIGENT COMPUTING CHIP | MAY 2006

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Deciphering calligraphy

A nalyzing handwriting or writing style have been considered an art so far. But

with the advent of a calligraphy-deducing application developed by Virginia-based Gannon Technologies Group, the practice will acquire a more scientific approach. Gannon Technologies unveiled their technology at the annual meeting of American Association for the Advancement of Science, where they were armed with a dozen computers and a database of 500 handwriting samples, all of which were reproductions of a single paragraph titled “London Letter”. The company claims that their application can differentiate varied forms of handwriting while simultaneously matching different samples of the handwriting of the same person.

different samples of the handwriting of the same person. The hidden “F” A team of scientists

The hidden “F”

A team of scientists engaged in military research recently came to the

conclusion that when it comes to reading web pages, most readers read in an “F” shaped pattern. Taking into consideration

the eye movements of 232 readers, it was found that a reader generally reads in a horizontal movement first. This is followed by their eyes moving downwards

a bit and then, ensues

reading across in a second horizontal movement covering a shorter area than what it was previously. Finally, the user scans the content on the left side of the page in a

vertical movement. Sometimes it could be

a systematic scan while at other times, it

could move faster just throwing a glimpse at the text. If a page contains some images or a box at the top right, it is noticed that a viewer

usually concentrates over there leading to some distortion in the “F” shape. All these movements when tracked through a heat map—with red colors defining the mostly viewed area, yellow indicating the lesser and

the mostly viewed area, yellow indicating the lesser and blue signifying the least viewed area—gave the

blue signifying the least viewed area—gave the shape of the letter “F”. The study reiterates the guidelines for web designing and writing web content—since the user doesn’t read text thoroughly, the first two paragraphs must contain the most important information comprising subheads, bullet points followed by information in the realms of the text.

Xtra in Xbox

Here, the key functional area is statistical analysis. From size to curvature gradation of each and every character, the instrument measures more than 200 different parameters of a letter or a digit. Currently, the group is also attributing a substantial amount in research and development to prove that the technology attains the same accuracy level as that of DNA analysis. It is felt that this technology of evaluation will assign a scientific precision to the forensic investigators’ or document examiners’ efforts. Presently, this discerning is solely dependent on manual skills to judge and draw a conclusion on whether a writing style presumed to be somebody’s is truly his. But the prosecutors can challenge these conclusions as they are aware about the fuzz factor and the lack of proper technology to substantiate such arguments. However, with the new technology in hand, the handwriting experts should calibrate their scale of opinions ranging from “certainty”, “highly probable”, “merely probable” and “no conclusion” to something more specific and figurative.

N ow Xbox gamers can customize their gaming experience by availing

the interesting option of replacing game characters with that of the ones in the downloaded movies. Xbox Live has teamed up with Paramount Pictures to offer their members some new movie titles which includes Mission: Impossible III and Nacho Libre. The titles will come with HD formatted movie

trailers, exclusive theme pack and graphics. Stars such as Jack Black of Paramount

pictures have been roped in to play online games with the regular gamers. This tie-up is Microsoft’s second attempt to bring movie entertainment to Xbox gamers. The first tie-up with Epic records in March 2006 provided Xbox gamers the chance to download high- definition free music videos from Xbox Live Marketplace. Xbox Live users are also allowed to download exclusive content like interviews and contests to play games with their favorite artists. Such alliances may lead to a bigger development yet to take place in the movie industry—permitting download of full-length movies in consoles. Hollywood is seemingly not very comfortable with download of movies but with the increasing focus on the digital realm, this advancement is bound to be inevitable and Hollywood better agree if they wish to retain their popularity in the digital world.

better agree if they wish to retain their popularity in the digital world. INTELLIGENT COMPUTING CHIP

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Zone XXX alert to track kids

A new way to deal with paedophiles

has been found. A California-based

technology firm has teamed up with Joe Dawson, whose 11-year-old daughter Jessica was kidnapped and killed last year, to introduce the first cell phone that uses GPS to alert parents when a child is walking near

a sexual predator’s home. The application, christened “Child Predator Zone Alert by

SMS” is also known as CAT Trax. It claims to provide the parents a GEOFENCE zone built around every listed child predator within

a certain zip code. It will notify parents

through mobile or pager text messages when their child enters any such zone. To determine if a child is within a “Safe Zone” or to track the direction and speed

of a CAT Trax, parents can call the toll free number of CAT Communication or log on to their web site www.cattrax.us. CAT Trax

is currently only available on Sprint IDEN

mobile service. Registration to this service involves paying only a monthly subscription. One needs to have a GPS and a Java handset. Currently Sprint IDEN service is available on selected Motorola handsets. The service will also enable parents to restrict incoming and outgoing calls as per pre-selected numbers. This way, parents wouldn’t need to get anxious about the numbers their kids are dialing or receiving calls from. Depending on the maturity of a child, parents may add numbers a kid dials on the phone or receives calls from. They can also provide their kids with the liberty to communicate further by releasing certain features of the phone blocked by them earlier. CAT Communication claims that their service will also help parents fight problems like children getting lost or falling prey to child predators.

XXX

getting lost or falling prey to child predators. XXX Robot in labor U sing patients as

Robot in labor

U sing patients as guinea pigs for medical studies claim around 98,000

lives annually in the United States. To end such preventable medical errors, Dr Paul Preston, an anesthesiologist at Kaiser Permanente’s (a hospital chain) along with with Miami based Gaumard Scientific Co have developed Noelle, a life-like high-tech mannequin. This robot is being used in the recently introduced four-year pregnancy care training program. Noelle has already become a star in Paul’s training program and is being employed in 30 of Kaiser’s hospitals. Such training programs have also been introduced at 22 hospitals in Idaho of which five are already using Noelle. The price of this model ranges from $3,200 to $22,000 depending on the ability to best approximate a live birth. Noelle can be programmed for a variety of complications and cervix dilation. At times, she can labor for hours and unexpectedly give birth to a

breach baby in a matter of minutes. Taking guard against all sorts of possible complications that may arise during childbirth, David Isaza, an engineer with Gaumard, sat in the labor room and sent wireless signals to Noelle from his laptop. With a key stroke, he inflicted complications in Noelle overriding any pre-programmed instructions. Noelle is helping to teach doctors and nurses how to take proper care of women in labour.

and nurses how to take proper care of women in labour. Reversal of roles I n

Reversal of roles

I n this tech-age, teachers turn table with students in a bid to sharing knowledge of technology. Megan Kennedy, an eighth grade student of Hill City School of Kansas, recently exemplified it. She participated in a program called GenYes (Generation of Youth and Educators Succeeding), where kids teach teachers how to use technology. Kennedy’s project engaged her in working with a local kindergarten school teacher along with two of her classmates to integrate an Apple iMovie into a lesson about clocks. Together the team created a 3-minute movie showing a 5-year-old at various time periods in a day with the Jackson Five song “ABC” playing in the background. As part of the project, Kennedy showed one of the teachers how to upload the video from the camera clips and add titles at the bottom of the slides. Kennedy plans to carry forward her project to next year by creating a web site for the teacher and linking the movie to it. Projects like these are becoming a trend these days. In areas like California, Texas, Arizona, New York and other parts of the

US, a kid’s knowledge of technology is being increasingly recognized. Scott Parker, a teacher at Hill City School, believes that these projects create a win-win situation for both students and teachers. Students learn career skills like collaboration and meeting deadlines and teachers get on-the-job training in technology for classroom lectures. Along with acknowledging a student’s technical know-how, projects like GenYes have another objective. According to advocators like Jamal Hicks, a teacher of social studies and technology at Jonas Salk Middle School in Sacramento, California, 98 percent of students at Jonas Salk don’t have access to PCs at home. For the first time this year, the seventh-graders participated in a technology literacy project named TechYes, where students are rewarded for their proficiency in computers and are even attributed credits for teaching other students various tech skills. Hicks says projects like these bring a student in the US at par with his international counterparts who are more acquainted with technology.

SMS us!

Poll: Does your computer play DVDs? (See Readers’ Letters for details)

INTELLIGENT COMPUTING CHIP | MAY 2006

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Chuck bulbs for OLEDs

T he time is near when we will discard

XXX

bulbs and fluorescent tubes and settle

for the windows of our home to lighten the room after sunset. This is possible with the help of OLEDs (Organic Light Emitting Devices) that stay transparent even when

turned off, implying that if they are installed as skylights or windows, they will allow natural light to flow in during the day and create a mimic of the same light at night. After spending 13 years in studying OLEDs, researchers Stephen Forrest and Mark Thompson from the Princeton University and University of Southern California, invented an efficient single color display for the first time. They used

a three-layer (one each for red, green and

blue) light source to emit white light. This display is now ready to enter the next-gen cell phones. For any OLED device with multiple layers, each layer is a semi-conducting material of organic compound, where the electrons of the organic molecules jump at a higher energy level for a short span. As the electrons come back to their lower energy level, they release the surplus energy in the form of light. Forrest and Thompson added dopant (chemical impurities) to these organic compounds to emit colored light from these materials. This is how OLED emanating red, green and blue light were combined to generate white light. OLEDs can be installed at multiple places like walls, curtains, cabinets and tables to receive more light compared to that

received from a bulb or tubelight. A regular bulb emits 15 lumens per watt-hour of energy whereas an OLED will discharge 25 lumens per watt-hour and it will also last longer. While a bulb lasts 1,000 hours and

a fluorescent tube 10,000 hours, an OLED

will 20,000 hours. This way even the cost of energy consumption is reduced.

This way even the cost of energy consumption is reduced. Nano car gets an engine F

Nano car gets an engine

F rom what we knew, the nano car that has been much in the news basically

used to be an engine-less car made out of

organic molecules. These cars used gold

plates as its tracks which ensured the wheels did not get stuck to the surface. Instead, the wheels were dragged by an electromagnetic field controlled by

a remote. But now the three-by-four

nanometer car has finally got an engine. The car has been developed by Jim Tour and his colleagues at Rice University, Houston. The developers say that the car is

so small that around 20,000 of them could get parked on the tip of a human hair. The nano-car’s molecular motor contains a pair of bonded carbon molecules rotating in one particular direction when illuminated by a specific wavelength of light. While checking the movement of the inherent hydrogen atoms, Tour’s team made use of nuclear magnetic resonance— the technique applied to monitor the

movement of atoms and molecules (similar to MRI) and found that the engine is capable of propelling the car. Tour expects the car to travel at a speed of 2 nanometers per minute with the newly inserted engine. The gold track comprises the chief source in making the car move completely on its own with its molecules consuming the entire energy absorbed from the light. As of now, there are no plans to replace the gold track with anything non-metallic as the microscope generally used to monitor the movement of the car needs a metal base to deliver an accurate reading.

the car needs a metal base to deliver an accurate reading. Just C’ALL! N ow you

Just C’ALL!

N ow you need not carry your credit cards, discount cards, cell phone,

music player, apartment and car keys separately. All you need to carry is C’ALL, the all-in-one device, handling everything you found difficult to manage.

Measuring 54x85x6 mm, its biometric system works on fingerprints and so your privacy is taken care of. Being a multipurpose device, C’ALL is not restricted to any specific type of service. For example,

if you have two credit

cards—one using Visa’s network and the other exercising Mastercard’s network—you need to specify one from the list of networks that you would like to opt for and again select the bank,

whose credit card you would wish to employ. While using C’ALL as

a phone, you first need

to select the service provider and then dial the number or receive a call. C’ALL also serves the purpose of a videophone. It can even switch functionality, exchanging the role of a mobile phone to that of a computer by just getting plugged to a keyboard enabled to run any operating system—whether it be Mac or Windows. C’ALL functions as a library, video- and music shop. You can read, listen to and watch all that you want. Go to a public online library or buy all that you want in any shop of the world. It is also a gaming device having the support of network gaming. With C’ALL, you’ll never get lost. This is because the GPS functionality of C’ALL updates aerial photos from the Internet and is therefore capable of keeping a track of your movements.

the Internet and is therefore capable of keeping a track of your movements. INTELLIGENT COMPUTING CHIP

INTELLIGENT COMPUTING CHIP | MAY 2006

Biolab on a Chip Biochips can identify various diseases before they spread, warn of the
Biolab on a Chip Biochips can identify various diseases before they spread, warn of the

Biolab on a Chip

Biochips can identify various diseases before they spread, warn of the possibility of epidemics and biological poisons and even detect spoilt food

W ith the fear of diseases proliferating as quickly as they are these days, in the near

future you might have to pass through a health exam while crossing the borders of a country. A blood test can quickly provide vital information, for instance, whether you are carrying a particular virus or not. Recent advances in science have enabled testing of blood samples on a chip card. The blood will be absorbed into the chip through capillaries on the card. Chemical reactions can be carried out inside the chip’s miniature test sites. All this will be done on a card which has a biolab on it. The size of the card is the same as that of a credit card. The biochip, which combines biology and modern semiconductor technology, is just one of the many developments promised by medical diagnosis technology. It is a chip that can quickly recognize an illness or perform genetic testing. One important advantage of this chip, among other things, is that it will be useful in fighting deadly outbreaks. So far, epidemics such as bird flu have been difficult to control because identifying the virus is a slow and complicated process. Biochips can be programmed to accurately identify a particular virus. Virus identification is performed through electric signals from a series of sensors on

the silicon chip, while the programming is biochemical in nature. “Each molecule in nature has a corresponding match for purposes of identification. These molecules can be identified with by a biochip”, says Dr Rainer Hintsche from the Fraunhofer Institute of Silicon Technology (ISIT). Viruses and even bacteria can be isolated from blood samples if a biochip has been equipped with the correct antibodies. The chip can function as a genetics laboratory if it has capture elements for DNA molecules. Outside the medical field, biochips are finding important roles. They can be designed to analyze food, detect poison or trace the presence of biological weapons. Hintsche, together with two other inventors from Infineon and Siemens,

German Future Award recipients— Dr Walter Gumbrecht (Siemens), Dr Rainer Hintsche (Fraunhofer ISIT), and Dr
German Future Award recipients—
Dr Walter Gumbrecht (Siemens), Dr
Rainer Hintsche (Fraunhofer ISIT), and Dr
Roland Thewes (Infineon) with biochip
plans. Infineon has since left the project
while Siemens and Fraunhofer have
advanced biochip development

received the German Future Award for developing universal biochip applications. “The technology that we are using at ISIT is truly one-of-a-kind”, says Hintsche with conviction. “Here, for the first time industrial technology is being used to combine a chip—just a common everyday chip—with the world of chemical and biochemical analysis.” Biochip research has been on since the year 1983. Since 1991, various micro- systems have been developed at the Fraunhofer ISIT. The main focus at the Fraunhofer Institute has been the planning of sensors for mobile construction. In a sterile room with an area of about 2.500 m², ISIT produces chips at a capacity of 200,000 wafers a year. In another separate room under yellow lighting, where silicon sheets are processed, other materials such as gold, copper, sulfur, acid and biochemical substances are used in producing these chips. To gain connections to the biological realm, these silicon chips are equipped with ultra-fine gold electrodes, tipped with firmly embedded capture molecules. To create these electrodes, developers relied on existing technologies such as using gold contacts from conventional chips for electrodes. Between the gold and the biomolecules is a layer of what is called the “coupling chemical” by its discoverers.

INTELLIGENT COMPUTING CHIP | MAY 2006

DNA TEST ON A CARD Siemens simplifies genetic analysis with Quicklab, a minilab—the size of
DNA TEST ON A CARD
Siemens simplifies genetic analysis with
Quicklab, a minilab—the size of a credit
card. Biochemical reactions can be identified
in the many channels and cells of the card.
However, the reader still needs to be shrunk
to PDA size before it can be marketed

Virus check

At ISIT, the chip has been developed in

a way that antibodies can be installed

onto it as capture molecules through the “sulfur bridge” process on gold electrodes. “Since we began, we have succeeded with every type of biomolecule without any exception”, says Dr Ralf Dudde at ISIT. However, the real problem lies elsewhere. Virus stockpiles in contries like the United States are always tightly shut, without the chance of anyone accessing them. But the Robert-Koch Institute in Berlin helps in creating antibodies. The portion of the chip where the capture molecules are located resembles an array of tiny cells. Under the microscope, you can see a fine screen of gold electrodes in each element of the array. In order to detect multiple components in parallel, a biochip has to be equipped with many cells.

Smaller biochips have 10-20 cells and can identify several other viruses. Just like in an inkjet printer, a single sample-head equips

a chip with capture molecules. For genetic

tests, larger chips are used with as many as 1,000 cells in their arrays.

The factor that allows the construction of compact and cheap biochips is the detection system based on electricity. We no longer need light sources, lenses and lters as we did for conventional optical identification where a biomolecule is tagged with fluorescent coloring. Now, biological identification can take place on a chip electrically. This reduces the cost of the test to 1/10 of the usual. As a mass-production product, biochips can be produced cheaply using industrial semiconductor production methods.

MAY 2006 | INTELLIGENT COMPUTING CHIP

Siemens Medical Solutions is one of the companies that plans to mature biochip techniques for the market as a molecular diagnostic system called “Quicklab.” “Siemens is certain of the potential of the biochip market”, says Prof Erich Reinhardt of Siemens, as he presses for and promises the realization of the project in the near

future. With the “Lab on the chip”, Siemens

is aiming at a monster market. Every

year, molecular diagnosis represents as much as a 1 million Euro market. Based on the principle of “Blood in, info out”, the analysis of samples at TKP, clinics and practising doctors will be able to get faster,

more accurate results with biochips. For example, a large lab facility could take one or two weeks to deliver the results of

a SARS test. An electronic biochip could

deliver the same result in 1 hour! Dr Joern Mosner, Quicklab project manager at Siemens, estimates that by 2009, new biochips will begin to receive medical certifications. Furthermore, clinical applications starting from prototypes will make their way to mass market products. A few years down the line, it will be possible to get an instant blood test done the moment you arrive in a new country. At the moment they rely on a single-

Links

www.isit.fhg.de: Fraunhofer Institute for Silicon Technology

www.deutscher-zukunftspreis. de/newsite/ 2004/kurzbeschreibung_ 01.shtml: A simple explanation of the biochip project

www.medical.siemens.com: Siemens Biotechnica

NEWSWIRE

33
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MASS APPLICATIONS There is no molecule a biochip can’t identify. Biochemical programming using the right
MASS APPLICATIONS
There is no molecule a biochip can’t
identify. Biochemical programming using
the right antibodies for capture, makes
the “Lab on a chip” universally applicable
in several fields. It can recognize diseases,
toxins and genes. This makes the minilab
attractive for military as well as for
medical use

use detector about the size of a credit card–where the chip, capillaries and cells are located–and a reader which records data. A single highly integrated chip will take over all the analysis that the card would handle, and organic diodes would instantly show the results.

Biochip implementations

For further development, researchers have taken to many branching paths. They are also creating portable devices for use in diagnostics on field. With a weight of 2 kgs, the first generation of these products are small enough to be used for testing anything from milk in transport tanks to antibiotic wastes. Air samples can also be checked for E coli bacteria or decaying meat can be instantly detected in supermarket shelves using food sensors. “Toxins are also important”, says Hintsche”. However, large chips are not required; small biochips are enough to detect certain toxins. Firefighters, military and civil defense are field-testing devices that can detect anthrax or sarin gas. Biochips are also suited to detect biological weapon threats. In a major exercise, defense technology producer, Diehl, has tested gear developed at ISIT along with doctors and emergency paramedics and expects to make use of its application in the upcoming World Cup. For too long, researchers elsewhere, in Asia and the US, have also been searching for the best combination between biology and silicon chips. And sooner or later, it will be found.

| Manfred Flohr

34

34 Dinesh Desai Get Web-- Get on the Web and advertise U nlike the real world,

Dinesh Desai

Get Web--

Get on the Web and advertise

U nlike the real world, the Web offers an infinite number of possibilities for reaching out. You could be a home user interested

in telling your family, friends or the world at large

about your hobbies and experiences; you could even be an entrepreneur with a flair for cooking or freelance designing wanting to get your name and skill sets out to potential customers. No matter what the situation, having a web presence puts you in a different league altogether—right up there with the professionals! But where do you start? How do you go about deciding where to host your web site? Can you sell your wares directly off your web site? How do you monitor how popular it is? All these questions are potential stumbling blocks on the path to web presence. We all know that broadband penetration in India is on the upswing—in cities, the number

MAY 2006

INTELLIGENT COMPUTING CHIP | MAY 2006

INTELLIGENT COMPUTING CHIP

|

-enabled!

yourself or your hobbies!

of 256 kbps+ Internet access connections stands at about 7.5 lacs at present and this is expected to increase to 90 lacs by the end of this year, according to Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI). Even basic Internet access is reaching smaller cities and towns due to the spurt of deployments by service providers, using wired and wireless technologies. All this implies that more people have the means to access online information. There’s another interesting trend—people are gradually growing accustomed to surfing the web from devices other than their desktop computers. With the plummeting prices of laptops and Internet- capable mobile phones, it’s not unusual to see folks checking their mail or surfing the Web while in transit. Apart from disseminating information, a growing number of web sites today have services embedded online. Whether it is online purchase of

MAY 2006 | INTELLIGENT COMPUTING CHIP

MAYMAY 20062006 ||

INTELLIGENTINTELLIGENT COMPUTINGCOMPUTING CHIPCHIP

TECH VACATIONS | COVERSTORY

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products, downloadable ringtones or live RSS feeds from personal blogs, Internet usage has become far more utilitarian other than just being gimmicky. With talk of newer wireless infrastructure (in both cellular technologies and wireless Internet technologies like WiMAX), this trend is not about to abate. While in the past it was preferable to have a web presence, in this day and age it is mandatory, particularly if you want your business and popularity to grow. So jump on the web bandwagon—it’s easier than ever these days!

SMS us!

Story code: CRS (See Readers’ Letters for details)

36
36

COVERSTORY | TECH VACATIONS

Q: What are the benefits of having a web site?

A: A web site not only allows anyone and everyone access to online space, it is also capable of incorporating a lot of things within that space such as text, images, photographs, audio and video files. So if you are a person who likes to put down everyday details in the form of notes or you are one who owns a small business, a web site is one space where, if you put up your stuff, you are bound to be viewed/read globally. There’s huge scope for business— consider the fact that there are over 20 million online shoppers. Also, the proposition of doing business online is indeed luring when you get a prescient account of the profits that can be incurred by online businessmen. To top it all, the online audience is growing by the day and therefore, the scope for business growth

is immense.

Even if you are not a businessman, you have the opportunity to exhibit your skills and/or collections to the largest set of

viewers. If you wish, you can have all those viewers comment or place feedback on the work that you have displayed online. Not only that, your online presence can attract people who share the same views as that of yours and all you folks can discuss on

a topic which you feel important and

relevant. This way you create and become part of an online community. More importantly, a web site gives you a unique identity. Your web site gives you a status that is singularly your own. Sharing your profile, product or any other

information with anyone becomes easy as people can access all of it at the click of

a mouse.

Q: I’m interested in creating a web site of my own. But I want to do it just for fun. Will I have to shell out any money for it?

A: To whet your appetite of having fun on

a web site, you can avail the opportunity

offered by several companies in the form of free online space. There are a number of companies that offer free online space for your personal web site such as www.yahoo. com, www.wanadoo.co.uk, www.freewebs. com, to name a few. Even Google has come

up with their free web site offer (www. google.com). You as the web site owner need to keep in mind a couple of things such as how much space you are going to get to upload your web site, whether you are getting enough space to upload photographs, audio/video files apart from text and photographs, enough space for e-mail separately. Check whether you have the liberty to design your web site or if there are any limits for data transfer during a day or week or even a month. Although free, these web sites come with different kinds of hidden costs attached. Firstly, you will not be able to name your web site as desired by you. These companies will have their names attached along with the name that you have decided to opt for. For example, you will never be able to name your web site as myname.com”; rather your web site would be “companyname/myname.com” (the company name here stands for the name of the company offering you online space). Secondly, your page will be nearly filled with advertisements, banner ads at the top or at the bottom, box ads at the sides, pop-up ads, sliding ads and all possible form of ads which the space offering company deems fit to rake in some moolah out of the space that they have offered you for free. Thirdly, a web site with someone else’s name along with yours is not a professional approach to establishing your online identity. It is as if you have borrowed someone else’s room and that person makes sure he announces it to every visitor who comes to visit you.

Q: I want the web site I create to be named after my grand daughter. How do I do that?

A: The web site that you create should have a domain name. This is very important for any web site as it is the name by which your site will be known. When you plan to create a web site, you need to contact a web hosting company who will ask you for a name for your web site. This is the juncture when you can assign a name. This name can range from anything to everything, even your granddaughter’s name will work fine.

INTELLIGENT COMPUTING CHIP | MAY 2006

The only thing that you need to understand is “availability”. If the name you have suggested has not been used by anyone else before, then you can surely have it. For example, if you want your web site to be named “www.greenapple.com” while a web site with that name already exists, then you have to think of some

different name. Remember your web site name should be short, simple and easy to remember. Once you find the name you want to use is available, the next step is to register the name with that web hosting company so that no one else can use it. After registration, you can call your web site with

| Training institutes

NIIT

Useful links for course information

http://www.niit.com/index.asp (click on link “Individuals” | select India from the country list and click on “Go” | click on “Locate a center”

Email

careercourses@niit.com

Arena Multimedia

Useful Links

http://www.arena-multimedia.com/coursesshort.htm#

 

http://www.arena-multimedia.com/courses/shorttermcourses.htm

Email

arena@aptech.ac.in

Phone

022-28272300

| Service providers

 

Web development

Goradia Infotech

companies

E-mail

info@goradiainfotech.com

Brandmantra.net

Web site

http://brandmantra.net (click on “Why Us” | Scroll down to the bottom of the page and click on “Get a Free Website Consultation”)

Email

info@brandmantra.net

Web hosting service providers

VSNL

E-mail

customerservice@vsnl.co.in

 

Tel no.

Delhi

011-55501234

Mumbai

022-56578765

Kolkata

033-23554045

Chennai

044-25360093 / 044-25366740

Bangalore

080-56629000

Sify

E-mail

Customer Support: customercare@sify.com

Product Information:

david_appasamy@sifycorp.com

sunil_gupta@sifycorp.com

biju_zachariah@sifycorp.com

MAY 2006 | INTELLIGENT COMPUTING CHIP

TECH VACATIONS | COVERSTORY

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37

the name you have chosen. Now all you need to do is design your site and put it up.

Q: I have heard there are sites that offer web hosting services. What kind of services are these?

A: To put up your web site, you need to contact a web hosting company. These companies have their own web sites that enlist all the services they offer. You can visit their site as a customer, check their list of services and then register your domain name straightaway to avail their services in uploading your web site. Web hosting companies charge a certain amount for their services. Therefore before you go ahead and decide on a web hosting company, you need to check the entire list of services that you can avail from them. Even before registering your domain name, check on the space first. You need to keep in mind that your web site might have photographs, which implies you will require more space. Usually, a 100-page web site can be accommodated within 50 MB space. Also, check the bandwidth your web hosting service provider is offering. Bandwidth is consumed every time a user visits your web site. You need to check that the amount of bandwidth your web site is using is less than the bandwidth allotted to you. If not, then you either did not get adequate bandwidth or the file size of each and every page needs to be reduced. Among other services, you need to check the level of security you are offered to retain the privacy of your data; the support that you get from your web hosting company (whether it is 24x7 or not), server type (for example, Windows or Linux) provided by your web hosting service provider, etc.

38
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COVERSTORY | GET WEB-ENABLED

Q: I don’t know how to design a web site. Will the web hosting service provider design it for me?

A: Web site design indicates how a web site page will look on the screen when

it gets downloaded. This is again a very

important aspect of a site. If you are hosting your site with some free service provider like Yahoo or Google, you will be

allowed to use their design templates to design your site. You need not have to be

a designer to work with those templates,

they are highly self-explanatory but they have certain limitations. You might not be allowed to modify the template as per your requirement; if you wish to use the site for conducting business online, these site templates will hardly serve any purpose. Web hosting service providers generally don’t provide any support for designing web sites. At this juncture, you might need to get in touch with web developers. These people are experts in understanding your requirements and designing a web site that exactly meets your needs. Web developers charge you a certain amount (ranging from Rs 300-400) for developing the site. Another advantage of working with web development companies is that they take care of domain name registration and also provide web hosting services. So sift through the points you had checked to decide on a web hosting company and then opt for a web development company. However, if you still feel your web site must have the personal touch, you can try your hand in designing your site. Refer to the table for a listing of good training institutes in the previous page.

Q: Does this mean the hosting service guys will also maintain my web site?

A: No, web hosting service guys generally do not maintain a web site. But if you don’t want to maintain it yourself, you can take

the support of web developers who are masters in providing maintenance support. Their support services range from adding or deleting content, replacing sections, adding or deleting product information and photographs in case you are an online businessman. At times, these web development companies even go ahead to process an order bought online from your web site. Their maintenance support starts from the time an order is placed to when the product is ready to be shipped. They take care of everything from documentation of an order, tracking an order, checking whether the payment is complete or not to making the overall business process hassle free. For the above tasks, there is a minimum charge of Rs 200– 250.

Q: Is it safe to have personal information on my web site? Will hackers be able to deface my site?

A: The Internet is full of prowling monsters waiting to hack into your personal information. Therefore, you need to take that extra care so that your personal details don’t get pilfered. It is always advisable to refrain from putting up any private information on free web sites as they do not guarantee security for your data. A good web hosting service provider offers a near-perfect secure environment to store personal information or data although there might not be an assurance for 100 percent security. In fact, before choosing a web hosting service you should check this parameter very closely. More so, if you are planning to do online business where you need to deal with your customer’s credit card information. You need to check whether the web hosting service providers are using SSL (Secured Socket Layer), which is almost mandatory for business sites. If you are a bit more concerned then get in touch with your service provider to find out what level

of security they implement. The level of security is usually defined with the help of bits of information. The greater this number, the higher the security. Currently, 128-bit security is considered standard. If you don’t want to get into the nuances of security, then you need to consult a web developing company. They provide you with security services. All you need to check is whether you are getting a rewall for protection or if any third party anti-virus application takes care of security.

Q: How do I conduct business online?

A: So you have your web site up and running and now want to use it as a medium for selling your products. For this you will need to consider some way in which you can accept credit cards on your site. Credit card payment option allows you to take advantage of impulsive buyers (including international customers), who want to purchase your product immediately after reading its features. This is because credit card payment automatically takes care of the currency differences. There are two ways in which you can accept credit cards on your web site:

By using your own e-cashier (merchant account): To do this, you will need to fi nd a bank that will allow account): To do this, you will need to find a bank that will allow you to open a merchant account. You can check with your local banks for more information on this.

Through a third party merchant: There are numerous companies that are willing to accept credit card payments on your behalf There are numerous companies that are willing to accept credit card payments on your behalf in exchange for various fees and percentages. This is explained later.

INTELLIGENT COMPUTING CHIP | MAY 2006

The next question that might crop up is which method you should opt for. We recommend that you go for the third party merchant as it is very convenient to use. If you are unsure about the response that your product is going to get, then it is advisable to go for this merchant. Also, the initial cost of setting up your own merchant account is very high as compared to that of a third party merchant. The chances of being gypped are also minimal while using a third party merchant. You will have to choose the third party merchant according to the product that you will be selling on your web site. If you are a software developer and want to sell your software, then you can tie up with Digibuy (www.digibuy.com). They charge a service fee of 13.9 percent per transaction. Alternatively, you can choose Clickbank, who charge you a one-time setup fee of US$ 49.95 and a transaction fee of US$ 1 plus 7.5 percent of the sale price. For selling physical products (products that are delivered to the customer’s doorstep), use CCNow (www.ccnow.com). There’s no setup fee but they charge you 9 percent per transaction. You could also choose the popular PayPal (www.paypal. com) as your merchant. They charge you $0.25 for transactions of $15 and below while for transactions above $15, you will be charged 1.9 percent plus $0.25 per transaction. If you want to keep things simple, just register yourself at www.ebay.in and then provide your username on your site. Persons who are interested in buying your products will do so by logging onto eBay. eBay itself uses PaisaPay as its merchant. The buyer pays eBay (and not the seller) through a credit card. The seller is credited for the payment once the bank confirms the transaction. eBay then verifies all confirmed PaisaPay transactions and then sends either a cheque or a demand draft to each seller on a regular basis.

Q: Are there any forums where I can discuss more about web site development?

A: There are a number of web sites from where you get information about choosing good web hosting companies

MAY 2006 | INTELLIGENT COMPUTING CHIP

GET WEB-ENABLED | COVERSTORY

39
39

| Additional functionality

Learn here how you can add features to your web site.

www.tickermyfeed.com and simply follow the procedure mentioned there. If you search the Net, you will nd a wide array of options for adding RSS feeds to your web site.

Adding a counter: How many people

Adding a guest book to your web

site: Guest books allow visitors to your web site to provide their names and e-mail addresses and leave comments about your site. Many sites offer free guest books that display entries of your viewers and allow you, the page designer, to delete old or inappropriate entries. The steps are as follows:

First, check if your web hosting service allows you to add a guest book. allows you to add a guest book.

have visited your web site? You can

display the number of visitors by adding

a graphical counter to your page. It is

a little box at the bottom of your web

page that has numbers on it. Every time someone visits your web site, the number will increase thus telling you as well as

Check out the various sites that offer free guest books. free guest books.

everyone else who visits your site as to how many people have been to your site before. Some of the prominent counters and their features are mentioned here.

TextCounter: This hit counter comes in Perl version, a C++ version and a graphical version. This This hit counter comes in Perl version, a C++ version and a graphical version. This is a very simple

Carefully read their terms and conditions and then follow the step- by-step process in order to determine how your guest conditions and then follow the step- by-step process in order to determine how your guest book looks, and what questions need to be included.

Write down the code that will be given to you. Now all you need to

Write down the code that will be given to you. Now all you need to do is to insert this code to the appropriate section on your web page and then advertise it to visitors by mentioning about it.

Adding RSS feeds: RSS is an acronym

 

counter that just lists the number of visits your page has had.

Analog: If you want to try something different then we recommend Analog. This counter gives you If you want to try something different then we recommend Analog. This counter gives you all the regular data like how many people have visited your web site. It also breaks it down into countries and gives you the option of displaying the results in 35 different languages.

NBCiCounter: This one not only places This one not only places

for Really Simple Syndication or Real- time Simple Syndication. RSS is an easy way of getting fresh content for your web pages. RSS feeds are streaming content that you can add to your web site for free. RSS feeds are freely available over the Internet. Some of the major players in the RSS world are Yahoo, CNN, Reuters, to name a few. The simplest method by which you can add RSS feeds to your web site is using software called RSS Content Builder which will get RSS feeds in both PHP as well as Javascript format for your web pages. Alternately, you could visit

a

counter on your page to keep track

of visitors, it also provides you with

a

log that keeps track of page views

by date, day and time. Now you can also find out what sites people surfed

before arriving at yours and what browser they are using. The really cool thing about this is that you can receive an hourly breakdown of page views—know what day and what time visitors arrive at your site.

as well as discuss issues about web development, some of them are www. webmasterforumsonline.com; www. daniweb.com (Click on “Web development” then click on “Web Design”); www. knowledgestorm.com (Type “Web development” or “Web design” to search for forums); www.netaspace.com/hm/ home.aspx and the like. With most of these

sites you need to register first and then put

up your queries. Even in yahoo groups, you

will gest links like Webmonkey, HTML-

Haven, php_king where you can discuss

your concerns about web site development

as well as get information about different

scripting languages that are oft used for development of web sites. | Pradosh Mitra & Anup Pillai

40

Jagdish Limbachiya

40 Jagdish Limbachiya Top Gear W e had an array of products this month. The Asus

Top Gear

W e had an array of products this month. The Asus PW191 is the first 19-inch widescreen LCD

monitor we reviewed and it is arguably the best looking LCD in the market. It was indeed nothing short of a celebrity in the Test Center. The iAudio U2 player is an excellent choice for music lovers wanting to equip themselves with a good sounding MP3 player that does not hurt the wallet.

The Triton case from Gigabyte gives you an absolute bang for the buck; it’s a worthy investment if you are serious about the thermals inside your computer case. Shutterbugs going on a summer vacation should consider the Olympus 720 SW;

it adds an important dimension to the ultra-compact digital camera segment—it is shockproof and water-resistant. Gamers now have a strong option for a surround sound speaker setup—the Logitech X-530 delivers good quality sound at high volume levels and the aggressive pricing makes it a very attractive offer. The same cannot be said about the Leadtek 7800GS AGP graphics card, it commands a heavy premium for being the most advanced AGP graphics card in the market. Hardcore PC enthusiasts should start saving for the Asus A8R32-MVP Deluxe motherboard; it offers unrivaled features including support for the latest eSATA based external storage solutions.

| The Ratings Explained

The products in the individual and comparison tests share exactly the same test procedures. Each product in Top Gear is rated on a scale of 5 for different key parameters:

parameter—themoreimportantaparameter, the higher is the weightage allotted to it. In addition, there is a Value for Money rating, which is calculated from the performance and the features of the product, in relation to the price. High performance and lots of features at a low price translates into a better Value for Money rating. This rating is calculated using current prices. Note: The prices mentioned here do not include taxes. Hence, they will vary according to the taxes applicable in the city or state where you buy the product from.

Performance, Build Quality, Features, Ergonomics and Warranty. These vary according to the characteristics of the hardware. For instance, ergonomics (ease of use) is not important in a graphics card and therefore, it will not be evaluated for this. A product’s Overall Rating is calculated by assigning weightages to each evaluation

INTELLIGENT COMPUTING CHIP | MAY 2006

Looks can kill!

T his widescreen LCD monitor is a head turner. To start with, the black piano

finish frame coupled with a brushed silver stand lends superb styling. The design is uniform and very simple, similar to the plasma screens. Getting down to the specifications and features, the PW191 has a 19-inch WXGA LCD screen with a maximum supported resolution of 1440x900 and a 16:10 screen ratio. The brightness is rated at 330cd/m2 and the contrast ratio is an impressive 600:1. With a pixel pitch of 0.285mm, the PW191 sports 8 ms response time. The viewing angle is pretty standard at 150°(H) / 130°(V) and it provides both D-Sub as well as DVI connections. The LCD comes with built-in speakers; the speakers are rated at 2 W RMS each. The swivel design allows 5 to 25 degrees forward and backward adjustment of the LCD panel while offering 120 degree adjustment laterally. The PW191 also offers 90 degree pivotal adjustment for vertical viewing, enabling you to change the orientation from landscape to portrait through the software provided along with the product. The portrait mode is suitable for working with long charts and documents. The OSD is integrated into the frame. Being touch sensitive, the back-lit OSD controls come to life when icons at the bottom right corner are tapped.

Performance: The PW191 is an impressive product with excellent brightness and contrast matched by pristine image quality. The overall color reproduction is good but the color accuracy is slight off the mark for professional use. The colors are

a bit too vibrant, which helps in gaming

and watching movies but does not aid graphic designers. Working with multiple documents is a charm, the wide aspect

ratio and large screen size makes it very convenient. The text is sharp and with a native resolution of 1440x900, the LCD

is perfect for office applications. Coming

to gaming, the 8 ms response time is acceptable and we did not experience ghosting while enjoying a thrilling racing experience with Track Mania Sunrise or NFS: Most Wanted. The 19-inch widescreen display makes a huge difference when watching movies. The vibrant colors and sharp contrast ensures a near cinematic experience. The swivel design offers a lot of flexibility but it takes some effort to get the position right and it’s not as easy as it could be. It would have been a better idea to provide a lock which can be released for adjusting the position. Secondly, the display quality is great provided you use the DVI option. Using the analogue D-Sub input, we experienced banding and inconsistency in

TESTED | HARDWARE

41 41414141
41
41414141

LCD Monitor

ASUS PW191
ASUS PW191

Specifications: 19 WXGA screen, Maximum Resolution 1440x900, Viewing Angle 150°(H) / 130°(V), Pixel Pitch:

0.285mm, Display Colors: 16.2 million, Brightness: 330 cd/m2, Contrast Ratio- 600:1, Response Time: 8 ms

Price

Rs 29,000

 

Contact

Richard Chen

 

Phone

022-40058894

 

E-mail

media_india@asus.com.tw

 

Website

www.asus.com.tw

 

Warranty

3 years

RATINGS
RATINGS

Build quality

Build quality
Build quality
Build quality
Build quality
Build quality

Ergonomics

Ergonomics
Ergonomics
Ergonomics
Ergonomics
Ergonomics

Performance

Performance
Performance
Performance
Performance
Performance

Features

Features
Features
Features
Features
Features

Overall Rating

Overall Rating
Overall Rating
Overall Rating
Overall Rating
Overall Rating
Value for money
Value for money

display. The viewing angles are also a little tight for a 19-inch widescreen monitor. The color accuracy deviates noticeably when moving sideways. The touch sensitive OSD controls were inconsistent in reponse. However, Asus assured us that the problem was with the sample piece in particular and not with the product in general. The built- in speakers are average in sound quality; don’t expect them to replace your desktop speakers. For: Excellent brightness and contrast, killer looks; impressive swivel and pivot adjustments; superb build quality. Against: Slightly restrictive view angles; inconsistent performance when using D-Sub input; colors too vivid for designers.

The touch sensitive controls are located at the bottom right of the LCD
The touch sensitive controls are located at
the bottom right of the LCD

MAY 2006

| INTELLIGENT COMPUTING CHIP

SMS us

<HWS> to 7007 (See Readers’ Letters for details)

42
42

HARDWARE | TESTED

Motherboard

Asus A8R32-MVP Deluxe
Asus A8R32-MVP Deluxe

Specifications: Socket 939, ATI CrossFire Xpress 3-200 North Bridge, ULi M1575 South Bridge, 2 x full 16x PCI-E slots, 7.1-channel Realtek ALC 882 HD audio, Silicon Image SATA controller, SATA On-the-Go, 4xSata II Ports, 8xUSB ports, 2 xIEEE 1394a connectors, 2xATA 133 connectors, 1xFDD connector

Price

Rs 12,000

 

Contact

Jeffery Huang

 

Phone

022-40058894

 

E-mail

media_india@asus.com.tw

 

Website

www.asus.com.tw

 

Warranty

3 years

RATINGS
RATINGS

Build quality

Build quality
Build quality
Build quality
Build quality
Build quality

Ergonomics

Ergonomics
Ergonomics
Ergonomics
Ergonomics
Ergonomics

Performance

Performance
Performance
Performance
Performance
Performance

Features

Features
Features
Features
Features
Features

Overall Rating

Overall Rating
Overall Rating
Overall Rating
Overall Rating
Overall Rating
Value for money
Value for money

CrossFire at its best

T he Asus A8R32-MVP Deluxe is based on ATI’s latest CrossFire Xpress 3200

chipset codenamed RD580 or “Skeletor”. Like Nvidia’s NForce 4 SLI-16x, the new chipset features two dedicated 16x PCI-Express lanes for unprecedented CrossFire performance. The RD580 follows the 110 nm fabrication process and is just about 39 mm 2 in size, making it the smallest Northbridge in the market. The ULi M1575 Southbridge supports 2xIDE connectors and 4xSATA II connectors with support for RAID 0, 1, 0+1, 5 and JBOD configurations. In addition to this, the board also packs in an internal SATA II port and an external SATA port on the back panel controlled by the Silicon Image 3132 SATA controller. There’s nothing missing from the board—it is replete with 8-channel high-definition audio, dual gigabit LAN, 2xIEEE 1394a connectors, 8xUSB ports and 3 PCI slots. The back panel of the board sports PS/2 and parallel ports, coaxial and optical S/PDIF outputs, 4xUSB ports and six universal audio jacks. Layout: The board follows a fan-less design with both the Northbridge and the Southbridge featuring passive aluminum heat sinks. The overall layout of the motherboard is excellent. The area

the cable for using the SATA-on-the-go feature.

TEST RIG Processor: AMD Athlon 64 X2 4400+

Memory:

HyperX ULK2 Hard drive: Western Digital Raptor 740GD

Graphics card: ATI Radeon X1900XT

2 x 512 MB PC3200 Kingston

SCORES 3DMark 2003: 17434 marks 3DMark 2005: 10520 marks

PCMark 2005: 3621 marks

SiSoft Sandra 2005 Pro CPU Arithmetic Whetstones: 19820 Dhrystones: 9171

Memory bandwidth: 4,685 MB/s

Everest Ultimate 2006 Read Sequential: 66 MB/s Random: 60 MB/s

Write Sequential: 68.5 MB/s Random: 64.5 MB/s

around the CPU socket is clutter-free without any intrusive capacitors, allowing easy mounting of large heat sinks. The SATA II ports controlled by the Southbridge are intelligently placed close to the edge of the board below the Southbridge so that massive graphics cards like the X1900XT don’t get in the way of SATA cables. Also, the PCI-E slots are well spaced so that there’s enough breathing space even with huge cards in dual-GPU setup. Performance: To make sure the motherboard performs at its best, we stressed it with top-end components installed. Just as we had expected,

it did not leave us disappointed and

belted out thunderous performance. The test scores reveal that the A8R32 is

a beast of a performer. At present, it is

the most powerful enthusiast CrossFire motherboard in the market. So, take this motherboard home and get set for next-generation gaming of the ultimate kind. For: 2xdedicated 16x PCI-Express lanes; excellent layout; 7.1-channel high definition Azalia audio; optical and coaxial S/PDIF-out; excellent feature-set. Against: The bundle doesn’t include

INTELLIGENT COMPUTING CHIP | MAY 2006

Personal surround sound

I f you think surround sound can only be delivered by a multi-channel speaker

S/PDIF inputs are located on the left and the six-channel output jacks are located on the right. After installing Music 2 Go like any other USB device, it requires a bit of fine-tuning in order to adjust the sound mode and equalizer to get the desired sound quality. After finding an IR receiver on the

soundcard, you’ll be even more surprised to nd a credit card-sized IR remote control as part of the package. It has all the controls that are present in the remote control of

a DVD player. However, using it requires

InterVideo WinDVD 5 installed on the PC.

A licensed copy of WinDVD 5 also forms a

part of the mega package. Performance: The Sound Xplosion is targeted mainly towards gamers and movie buffs, who require an immersive sound experience to get more thrill out of games and movies. Of course, this one

The headset sports discrete drivers for multi-channel sound
The headset sports discrete drivers for
multi-channel sound

system, here’s something that will make your jaws drop. The Gainward Sound Xplosion is a multi-channel headset which sports discrete drivers for each channel