Computers Linux Technology

Blue Screen of Death (BSOD) at Windows 98 Demo by Bill Gates

William H Gates III – He shares a birthday with me, (and I hope I’ll someday share his company too – and make Windows fully FOSS! πŸ˜› ) The man is known for being a geek and has his share of blunders, very public gaffes.
Here’s once such gem. It’s not Gates’ fault actually! At least, not directly so. But the product he was presenting on international Television (CNN), got a deadly Blue Screen of Death (BSOD) and that too, LIVE, before millions of eyeballs competing for attention.

No points for guessing the product: Windows 98! Yeah, this happened some eleven years ago. Stumbled upon this video in YouTube and I had the laugh of my life! πŸ˜‰ Check it out:

This happened at COMDEX, Las Vegas on April 20, 1998. The guy operating the PC in this video is Chris Capossella, (now Corporate VP in the information working business unit).

And, that would be Reason #234 to switch over to GNU/Linux – a very stable O/S that makes Blue Screens a thing of the past! πŸ˜›

Living breathing proof of the above statement: My PC, which runs sturdily on Kubuntu 8.10 with Vista like display and blazing speed in just 768 MB RAM, and that too with blown-up on board-graphics! πŸ˜›


If that wasn’t enough check out this blue screen from theΒ  Windows Vista launch! This one’s a spoof though, but it’s nice, even beats the shits out of Bill’s gaffe! πŸ˜‰

Computers Interview Linux Technology

An Interview with Richard Stallman

Richard Mathew Stallman is the rightful father of the Free Software movement and an international celebrity by his own right. The man behind the GNU Project and the Free Software Foundation, it was he who propounded the General Public License (GPL), also dubbed ‘copyleft’ – a license that quite literally sets software free. Stallman is fully dedicated to his cause of liberating the world from the shackles of proprietary software. Anoop and I caught up with him at the International Free Software Convention held at the Mascot Hotel, Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala on December 11. The otherwise-irascible Mr Stallman gracefully opened his mind, even revealing tidbits of his famed sense of humor in between. πŸ™‚

Richard Stallman

How did you get yourself acquainted with computers?

Richard M. Stallman: When I was nine years old, I got access to computer manuals at a summer camp. I tried learning them by myself. The manuals were similar to general-life puzzles and I found them fascinating. It was only later, at around 1969 when I first saw and used a real computer. Then on, there was no looking back

Could you differentiate between Free Software and Open Source? We’ve heard a lot of versions, but it’s always delightful to listen from the horse’s mouth!

RMS: (Smiles) This is the question I answer the most! Both movements are based on entirely different philosophies. In the free software movement, we try to share and collaborate. The free software movement is a social faction. Non-free, paid software literally binds hapless users with chains. We help people break free. Open source is just a technically superior model which gives technically enhanced results by freeing the source code. Its values are narrowly practical, though. Still, both Free Software and Open source converge at the technical level.

How has the Free Software Foundation evolved, since its inception?

RMS: It all started with a small coterie of programmers along with me, devoted to the creation of the GNU operating system, in 1984. With time, we moved on. Now, the organization has shifted its perspective to one synonymous with a social movement rather than a technical lobby.

It’s commonly seen that most Free Software tends to imitate existing software. What’s your take on this?

RMS: Are you suggesting that free software is plagiaristic? Not really. But it’s true that Free software does imitate, quite often. The prime reason behind this is that the main goal is freedom. Originality and innovation are secondary.

It’s a fact that Non-free software dollars actually drive a major chunk of today’s economy. Consider a hypothetical scenario where the entire world was to embrace Free Software one fine morning. What would happen to software companies in such a case? Wouldn’t this result in pinks slips delivered en-masse?

RMS: There are thousands of jobs people can have instead of writing non-free software. In fact, in a macro-perspective, only a minor fraction of the coders work for the development of non-free software. Most paid programmers work towards building custom software based on specific user demand. That leaves only a minor section of programmers writing non-free software: a job they can easily avoid. When a society decides to break free from proprietary software, not a single job gets pruned in the process. Flawed economic policies are the root cause behind the increasing unemployment rate. Needless to say, embracing Free Software clearly involves negligible revenue loss and gargantuan benefits.

Has Free Software caught up with Non-free software?

RMS: To a great extent, yes. But, there’s still ground for progress.

Having taken the Free Software movement to a social perspective, you must be having strong political views. Where do you stand, politically?

RMS: I stand for freedom and democracy. I believe in the role of a welfare state which takes care of all its citizens and promotes general well-being.

How do you fund yourself?

RMS: My speeches constitute my prime revenue source. People pay for my food and travel if I’m going over to some place. They also pay me a small fee. Now I’ve started a new model of revenue generation. I auction Linux collectibles for a living. Yesterday, I made some money for myself, selling a few cute Tux penguins.

What is the future of Richard Stallman?

RMS: The Stallman of the future will be a liberator of the cyberspace.

Richard Stallman

It’s a previlege to eat with you, Richard! πŸ˜›

Thank you for your time, Sir!

RMS: Happy Hacking!

Computers Internet Technology

Google’s april fool hoaxes for 2009

April First came and went with its set of jokes and hoaxes. Thankfully, I didn’t succumb to any, but for a few from our very own Google! Yeah right, Google too released its set of April Fool Hoaxes very promptly, this year! If you didn’t know, Google has a history of April Fool hoaxes in the past including very inventive stuff like Google Gulp (A fictitious energy drink) to Google TiSP (a toilet-linked broadband service!)

So, the very inventive jokes by Google this time are:

  1. CADIE or “Cognitive Autoheuristic Distributed-Intelligence Entity” was the first in the long list of gags. Users of Google books and GMail found this queer announcement on March 31st. That day, the Google homepage said this:

    “For several years now a small research group has been working on some challenging problems in the areas of neural networking, natural language and autonomous problem-solving. Last fall this group achieved a significant breakthrough: a powerful new technique for solving reinforcement learning problems, resulting in the first functional global-scale neuro-evolutionary learning cluster.”

    LOL, ain’t it? Here’s the link to CADIE. And guess what, CADIE even has an official blog, on which page, Google shows an error. Here’s an image which shows how the blog looked like.

  2. Almost all other hoaxes, including this one on YouTube, were based on CADIE. YouTube had a very hilarious ‘new viewing experience’ page, which actually inverted videos!! Take a look at this to see a featured video by the user ‘CADIE’.
  3. GMail gets a new ‘autopilot’ option‘ with which, one could ‘adjust tone, typo propensity, and preferred punctuation from the Autopilot tab under Settings.’ It even has a ‘relationship ender’ which sends messages like ‘Terminate relationship’ as response to relationship related messages – says the FAQ page
  4. GBall powered by CADIE comes next in the line. Exclusively for users from Australia, is said to be a ball for the Australia Football league in prototype. Whoa! And its technically engineered too!!
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  5. EvenΒ  Google analytics wasn’t spared. Here’s an analytics report of CADIE’s activities!!
  6. There was even a 3D edition of Google chrome – running with the power of CADIE. Here’s how it looks!
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  7. Then came Google’s brain search, reminiscent of the old MentalPlex hoax. Same logic, but works only with mobile phones. You have to hold your mobile phone to your brain so as to ‘search the brain’. And you’re not supposed to search others without permission!! Try it… it’s damn funny! This is a sample result!!
  8. Then there was Picasa with auto red eye… LMAO!!
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Computers Technology

An expert’s take on Satyam, Infy and the like…

A friend of mine – a budding entrepreneur, recently mailed me his frank assessment ofΒ  today’s IT sector. He’s been working with the who’s who in the industry for over a year now. He’s read the diverse comments on my Infosys and thought he’d have his opinion here. This is what he has to say:

1) None of the IT companies are out there to do social service. They do it to make money and have every right to do so. They may ask the employees to work 12-14 hours a day, if situation demands – and they have every right to do that. Why else should they hire a production engineering student and put him in front of a computer “coding”? Makes sense?

2) Ramalinga Raju should definitely be punished for what he did. However, why is it that people pick on only private companies? How many of them realize that there is “corruption” on a larger scale in our government? Why is it that no one else is held responsible. Mr. Ramalinga raju could have very well hidden facts the way he did all this while. And when he did apologise and accept his mistake – the Sensex crashed and people started blaming him! How many politicians have done more heinous acts? Why is it that none of them have the balls to come out in public?

3) Indian IT industry survives on outsourcing. We have so many “thriving” companies only because the cost of living here is lower and hence we can provide services at a cheaper rate. And when the main clients in US are affected by the global meltdown, how can you expect the companies to spend the same way it used to?

Having heard that from the horse’s mouth, I feel the guy has a point. What do you have to say? Shout it out! πŸ™‚