Archive for the ‘science & technology’ Category

Should couple go for Pregnancy & HIV test before marriage

September 30, 2009

Pregnancy before marriages considered a cataclysmal social ill so the US government has stepped in, determined to curtail this sad phenomenon. The number of births out of wedlock is decreasing gradually – thanks to government and community efforts – but there is still quite a number of teenagers who are getting pregnant without benefit of marriage not only in North America but also in other parts of the world.

The portrayal of pregnancy out of marriage has been dramatic, and when we hear of young women heavy with child with no spouse to help raise the future child, our hearts go out to them. It’s like children nurturing children. It isn’t fair to have a girl barely out of her teens to be saddled with a child that she has to look after for the next 18 years. At least we hope she has the necessary resources and support systems to see her through this stage of her life.

A pregnant teen who is not married also makes one think of the kind of future she will have – how her dreams and career aspirations will have to be delegated to the back burner for a few years until the child starts attending school.

Pregnancy Before Marriage – Government’s Contributions

The American nation is fortunate in that there are provisions in place to help reduce the incidence of pregnancies out of marriage. One such measure is the welfare law of 1996. Some of its provisions include:

  • A federal budget of $50 million annually to teach kids abstinence education,
  • Measures to ensure that paternity is established and child support payments are made,
  • Federal measures requiring all 52 states to initiate action in reducing out-of-wedlock pregnancies, with a special emphasis on teen pregnancies.

The 1996 welfare law carries other provisions targeted to reduce pregnancy out of marriage. Governmental measures have met with controversy but the general view is that if we know how to achieve these goals relating to births out of wedlock, then we are doing the best we can to improve the quality of life of children.

A society relies on individual communities to make sure children are allowed to develop mentally and emotionally so that they grow up to be productive citizens. In turn, communities rely on individual families to make sure that children are properly fed, nurtured, schooled and coached about life. Part of that education and coaching must include the avoidance of getting pregnant when not yet married.

In October 2001, an article by Isabel V. Sawhill which was published on the website of the Brookings Institution, Social Policy Section, addressed this issue. The Brookings Institution is a prestigious think tank and is dedicated to addressing the country’s social concerns. Ms Sawhill said, “Almost everyone is in favor of reducing teen pregnancy…teen pregnancy and birthrates have declined during the 1990s, which in turn has contributed to the leveling off of the proportion of all children born to unwed mothers. When Congress reauthorizes the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reform Act in 2002, it should build on this success by providing additional funds for teen pregnancy prevention efforts while maintaining the emphasis on work and child support enforcement.”

That’s quite a tall order coming from a private citizen. Lest we forget, governments have other problems to tackle as well. Reducing pregnancy out of marriage must be an individual responsibility and each family must do its part to protect offspring.

Pregnancy Before Marriage – Teens Explain Why

We’ve heard the same refrain over and over again. It’s not so much a question of wanting a child that teens become pregnant out of marriage. We suspect it has a lot to do with their need for affection which they don’t get at home. By seeking comfort and support elsewhere, there’s always the risk of perceiving affection the wrong way. They think that by engaging in sexual relations with their boyfriends, they’ve got that part of their emotional life under lock and key.

Not quite. Many wake up the morning after to find their intended beloved gone.

Okay, so maybe it’s not a craving for love and affection. Maybe it’s the desire to keep up with things fashionable and “cool.” Take a recent news report on Fox that featured a pregnant 14 year old British girl who said that the latest thing in fashion these days is not the Paris Hilton handbag, but getting “banged up.” This came from a pregnant teenager who says that four of her friends are also expecting. Kizzy Neal – that’s her name – told Fox News that her teenaged friends think babies are very cute little things, but then they are not aware that seen from a larger perspective, they realize, somewhat late, that they’re giving up their entire lives to care for a baby.

It was also reported that in all of Europe, England and Wales have the highest teen pregnancy rates, with the largest growth among girls under 16.

Then you have the lack of control versus too much control. We’re talking about parental control. Maybe teens are feeling a bit suffocated by the well-meaning encroachment into their private lives by their folks at home. They can’t even surf the Net anymore with all the blockers set up by their parents.

“I felt I was wearing a dog collar around my neck all the time. With mom and dad, it was always don’t do this, don’t do that. I didn’t think they had a right to prevent me from being happy and hanging out with my boyfriend. One day it got so bad – the fighting – that I ran away and asked my boyfriend to have sex with me. Just to spite my folks, you know.”

Pregnancy Before Marriage – What Happens to Pregnant Teens?

What happens to teens who are suddenly pregnant?

The profile actually looks rather dismal. Teenagers who get pregnant have a lower chance of completing their secondary education (only 1/3 of them graduate from high school). Between 1% and 2% of teenage mothers finish university by age 30. They are also most likely to go on welfare. About 80% of them are on welfare.

Children born to unwed teenagers have lower birth weights and tend to perform poorly academically. They are also at greater risk of abuse and neglect.

And no wonder the government is concerned and is taking measures to put an end to this sociological problem. Reports show that sons of teenagers have a 13% higher chance of ending up in prison, while daughters of teenagers have a 22% likelihood of becoming pregnant themselves when they reach their teens.

Pregnancy Before Marriage – Breaking Past the Emotional Barrier

Teenagers who suddenly learn they are pregnant are gripped with fear and are confused. Matters become worse when the boyfriend they thought was a real gentleman declares he doesn’t want to have to do anything with her or the child. Oh sure, many of them take responsibility for their actions, but there are guys out there who would rather walk out.

When teenagers are faced with this situation, their first reflex action is to run away, so that their parents need not know about their predicament. This may not be such a wise decision.

A teenager who got pregnant at 15 felt it was the time she needed to talk to her mother the most. Before her pregnancy, she avoided her mother like the plague. Not sure of how her mother would react to the news, she felt anyway that her mother needed to know, so she mustered the courage to finally tell her. To her surprise, her mother just hugged her and said, “we’ll go through this together.”

Google invites users to join Wave

September 30, 2009

Google Wave, which combines email, instant messaging and wiki-style editing will go on public trial today.

What is a wave?

A wave is equal parts conversation and document. People can communicate and work together with richly formatted text, photos, videos, maps, and more.

A wave is shared. Any participant can reply anywhere in the message, edit the content and add participants at any point in the process. Then playback lets anyone rewind the wave to see who said what and when.

A wave is live. With live transmission as you type, participants on a wave can have faster conversations, see edits and interact with extensions in real-time.

The search giant hopes the tool, described as “how e-mail would look if it were invented today”, will transform how people communicate online.

It will be open to 100,000 invitees from 1600BST, each of whom can nominate five further people to “join the Wave”.

The tool is also open source, meaning third party developers can use the code to build new applications.

The developer behind Wave described it as “a communication and collaboration tool”.

“It struck us that e-mail is still the main communication tool on the web, which seemed remarkable given that it is 20-year-old technology,” said Lars Rasmussen, who, alongside his brother Jens, was the brains behind Google Maps.

In designing Wave, the brothers took as a starting point the idea of “a conversation sitting in a cloud”.

“We found we could build a flexible tool with a surprising amount of functionality,” Mr Rasmussen told BBC News.

Such functions include real-time typing.

This means people can see a comment being written character by character and can formulate their answer to a question before a fellow ‘Waver’ has even finished asking it.

Mr Rasmussen acknowledges that this feature could be annoying, but thinks it is also a great time-saver.

For those unsure whether they want all their Wave friends to see exactly what they are writing, when they are writing it, the developers are working on a draft mode which will allow the real-time aspect to be switched off .

Unlike traditional instant messenger (IM) conversations continue even once everyone has logged out. This means that those invited to a Wave conversation but not currently online, can read the message strand in full at a later date.

Sharing photos

More radical is the inclusion of wiki-style editing tools.

All messages can be edited at any point by members of the conversation and a Playback facility allows everyone to see exactly who has edited what and at what time.

Google, a famously collaborative firm, now writes all its design documents in Wave.

Wave also makes it very easy to share photos, which can simply be dragged from the desktop onto the Wave platform.

“If you are planning a trip. you can talk about it and plan it in Wave and then share all the photos at the end,” said product manager Stephanie Hannon.

Google Wave runs in most browsers, with the notable exception of Microsoft’s Internet Explorer (IE). Users of IE will have to download a plug-in, known as Chrome Frame to use the application.

Microsoft does not recommend installing this plug-in, claiming it compromises security.

As IE is still the dominant browser, its incompatibility with Wave could affect take-up of the platform.

Google insists the failure of Wave in IE is not an excuse to promote its own browser, Chrome. It said the developers worked “very hard” at trying to make it work in IE.

Much of the code for Wave is written in HTML 5, the next-generation of web language.

In a nod to social-networking site Facebook, there are already a host of applications for Wave, including Sudoku and Chess.

“We are now trying to persuade someone to build a crossword puzzle,” said Mr Rasmussen.

He acknowledges that the success of the platform will depend on how many people are willing to join.

“Without other people adopting Wave it will never take off,” he said.

“I have been accused of being pathologically optimistic about it but I can’t see why people wouldn’t want it,” he said.

His enthusiasm seems to be being borne out to a certain degree. Since Wave was announced at a Google developers’ conference in May, one million people have registered interested.

Wave will have a full consumer launch early next year.

Swine flu

July 3, 2009

The swine influenza a (H1N1) virus that has septic humans in the U.S. and Mexico. A virus that has not previously been identified in North America. This virus is resistant to the antiviral medications amantadine (Symmetrel) and rimantadine (Flumadine), but is sensitive to oseltamivir (Tamiflu) and zanamivir (Relenza). Investigations of these cases suggest that on-going human-to-human swine influenza. A (H1N1) virus is occurring.

Swine flu is a respiratory illness of pigs caused by infection with swine influenza A virus (SIV) that can occasionally affect humans

What are the symptoms of swine flu?

Although uncomplicated influenza-like illness (fever, cough or sore throat) has been reported in many cases, mild respiratory illness (nasal congestion, rhinorrhea) without fever and occasional severe disease also has been reported. Other symptoms reported with swine influenza A virus infection include vomiting, diarrhea, myalgia, headache, chills, fatigue, and dyspnea. Conjunctivitis is rare, but has been reported. Severe disease (pneumonia, respiratory failure) and fatal outcomes have been reported with swine influenza A virus infection. The potential for exacerbation of underlying chronic medical conditions or invasive bacterial infection with swine influenza A virus infection should be considered.

What are the CDC recommendations for infectious swine flu?

For interviews of healthy individuals (i.e. without a current respiratory illness), including close contacts of cases of confirmed swine influenza virus infection, no personal protective equipment or antiviral chemoprophylaxis is needed. See section on antiviral chemoprophylaxis for further guidance. For interviews of an ill, suspected or confirmed swine influenza A virus case, the following is recommended:

  • Keep a distance of at least 6 feet from the ill person; or
  • Personal protective equipment: fit-tested N95 respirator [if unavailable, wear a medical (surgical mask)].

For collecting respiratory specimens from an ill confirmed or suspected swine influenza A virus case, the following is recommended:

  • Personal protective equipment: fit-tested disposable N95 respirator [if unavailable, wear a medical (surgical mask)], disposable gloves, gown, and goggles.
  • When completed, place all PPE in a biohazard bag for appropriate disposal.
  • Wash hands thoroughly with soap and water or alcohol-based hand gel.

Infection Control

Recommended Infection Control for a non-hospitalized patient (ER, clinic or home visit):

  1. Separation from others in single room if available until asymptomatic. If the ill person needs to move to another part of the house, they should wear a mask. The ill person should be encouraged to wash hand frequently and follow respiratory hygiene practices. Cups and other utensils used by the ill person should be thoroughly washed with soap and water before use by other persons.

Antiviral Treatment

Suspected Cases: Empiric antiviral treatment is recommended for any ill person suspected to have swine influenza A (H1N1) virus infection. Antiviral treatment with either zanamivir alone or with a combination of oseltamivir and either amantadine or rimantadine should be initiated as soon as possible after the onset of symptoms. Recommended duration of treatment is five days. Recommendations for use of antiviral may change as data on antiviral susceptibilities become available. Antiviral doses and schedules recommended for treatment of swine influenza A (H1N1) virus infection are the same as those recommended for seasonal influenza:

Confirmed Cases

For antiviral treatment of a confirmed case of swine influenza A (H1N1) virus infection, either oseltamivir (Tamiflu) or zanamivir (Relenza) may be administered. Recommended duration of treatment is five days. These same antivirals should be considered for treatment of cases that test positive for influenza A but test negative for seasonal influenza viruses H3 and H1 by PCR.

Pregnant Women

Oseltamivir, zanamivir, amantadine, and rimantadine are all “Pregnancy Category C” medications, indicating that no clinical studies have been conducted to assess the safety of these medications for pregnant women. Only two cases of amantadine use for severe influenza illness during the third trimester have been reported. However, both amantadine and rimantadine have been demonstrated in animal studies to be teratogenic and embryotoxic when administered at substantially high doses. Because of the unknown effects of influenza antiviral drugs on pregnant women and their fetuses, these four drugs should be used during pregnancy only if the potential benefit justifies the potential risk to the embryo or fetus; the manufacturers’ package inserts should be consulted. However, no adverse effects have been reported among women who received oseltamivir or zanamivir during pregnancy or among infants born to such women.

Antiviral Chemoprophylaxis

For antiviral chemoprophylaxis of swine influenza A (H1N1) virus infection, either oseltamivir or zanamivir are recommended. Duration of antiviral chemoprophylaxis is 7 days after the last known exposure to an ill confirmed case of swine influenza A (H1N1) virus infection. Antiviral dosing and schedules recommended for chemoprophylaxis of swine influenza A (H1N1) virus infection are the same as those recommended for seasonal influenza:

Antiviral chemoprophylaxis (pre-exposure or post-exposure) with either oseltamivir or zanamivir is recommended for the following individuals:

  1. Household close contacts who are at high-risk for complications of influenza (persons with certain chronic medical conditions, elderly) of a confirmed or suspected case.
  2. School children who are at high-risk for complications of influenza (persons with certain chronic medical conditions) who had close contact (face-to-face) with a confirmed or suspected case.
  3. Travelers to Mexico who are at high-risk for complications of influenza (persons with certain chronic medical conditions, elderly).
  4. Border workers (Mexico) who are at high-risk for complications of influenza (persons with certain chronic medical conditions, elderly).
  5. Health care workers or public health workers who had unprotected close contact with an ill confirmed case of swine influenza A (H1N1) virus infection during the case’s infectious period.

Antiviral chemoprophylaxis (pre-exposure or post-exposure) with either oseltamivir or zanamivir can be considered for the following:

  • Any health care worker who is at high-risk for complications of influenza (persons with certain chronic medical conditions, elderly) who is working in an area with confirmed swine influenza A (H1N1) cases, and who is caring for patients with any acute febrile respiratory illness.
  • Non-high risk persons who are travelers to Mexico, first responders, or border workers who are working in areas with confirmed cases of swine influenza A (H1N1) virus infection.

Bandra Worli Sea Link

July 1, 2009

After 10 years of expectations , delays and, of course, hardcore planning and labour, the spectacular Bandra-Worli Sea Link is set to open at midnight on Tuesday. Come Wednesday morning and a new day will dawn for Mumbai’s rush-hour motorists, with the Rs 750-crore link offering a new route between the city and the western suburbs. Till now, the Mahim Causeway was the only route
A fireworks, lights and laser show, coupled with music, was held on Monday night at the main cable-stayed bridge at the Bandra end. It was enjoyed by thousands from the Bandra promenade and Mahim beach, but was not clearly visible to those at Worli sea face and Dadar due to slight drizzles, haze and cloudiness. There was no space left at the sea-faces as thousands gathered to view the show, but those at Worli were disappointed, said Anandini Mulgaonkar and Shubha Sehgal of Worli and Bandra, respectively.

From 12.01 am onwards on Wednesday , officials are expecting joy riders to take the link before office-goers arrive in larger numbers as morning peak hour nears. With no toll from July 1 to July 5, a large amount of traffic is expected. The traffic police will face a daunting task at Worli and Bandra.
Maharashtra State Road Development Corporation (MSRDC) engineers said the toll-free move is at the behest of politicians seeking political mileage.
An automatic system will identify vehicles going over the 50 kmph limit. MSRDC engineers said cameras on the link can take swift 360-degree turns and capture images of vehicles within 1.5 km. Two cameras fitted under the cable-stayed portions of the link will keep watch on the movements of boats and ships.
While work on beautifying the promenade at Bandra has begun, plans for the highest fountain in the country are on the backburner, but floating fountains may be ready in about six months.
Hindustan Construction Company chairman and managing director Ajit Gulabchand, addressing the media on the eve of the inauguration, said the bridge would be the next landmark of Mumbai after the Gateway of India. “The project has shown us the extent to which accuracy and perfection can be achieved in massive and challenging technical designs,” he said, adding that the world has seen the might and ability of the planners, engineers and developers of India.
PUBLIC INAUGURATION
UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi and Union agriculture minister Sharad Pawar will throw open the Bandra-Worli Sea Link at a public function to be held on Tuesday at 3.30 pm at the Mhada ground near Rang Sharda. Gandhi is expected to inaugurate the toll booth, drive to the cable-stayed bridge and visit the exhibition centre first.
Traffic curbs at Bandra
All vehicles will be prohibited on the road to the sea link at the Bandra end as well as K C Marg (Reclamation) on Tuesday from 3 to 8 pm. Traffic police will allow only vehicles engaged in essential and emergency services and the vehicles of invitees to the sea link’s opening. People traveling to Chapel Road, Mehboob Circle, Bandstand, Chimbai and Carter Road will have to use S V Road or Hill road. Parking restrictions will be implemented on sea link road, K C Marg, A K Vaidya Marg and adjoining roads. TNN

HEAVY-DUTY BEAUTY
Length of bridge (4.7km): 63 times the Qutub Minar
Weight of bridge (6.7L tonnes): 50,000 African elephants
424 cables for main roadway: can support 900 tons each
Length of steel wire used (37,680km): Nearly the earth’s circumference
Concrete used: 2.3 lakh cubic metres
Height of main towers (126m): 43-storey buidling
Pile caps: Bridge rests on 135 pile caps, the largest being 55 m in length and 55 m in breadth (half a football field)
Peak-hour sweat: 4,000 workers and 150 engineers

A NORTH-SOUTH LINK
Mahim Causeway is currently the only route that connects the western suburbs and island city. The Bandra-Worli Sea Link will be the second major route
An MSRDC survey revealed that motorists from the distant suburbs of Borivli, Dahisar, Kandivli and Malad would be more likely to use the sea link. Motorists from Andheri, Parel, Santa Cruz, Juhu and Bandra would be less likely
During peak hours, around 7,000 to 8,000 cars are expected to use the sea link per hour
Since the first five days are toll-free , a large number of people are expected to use the link initially just for the novelty

dsc-1523MATTER OF MINUTES
Currently, it takes 35 to 38 minutes to go the 7.7-km distance between Mahim flyover and Love Grove Junction, Worli
Transport experts estimate that travelling the link plus its approach and exit roads, which also measure about 7.7 km, will take at least 25 minutes
The builders claim that travelling the 4.7-km main link will take just 6 minutes

PAYING THE TOLL
FREE: From July 1 to July 5
BASIC FEE: Car or SUV | Rs 50 | Mini bus or mini truck | Rs 75 | Bus or truck Rs 100
PASSES: Daily travel: (2-way ) | 1.5 times basic toll
Daily travel: (multiple entries) | 2.5 times basic toll

Monthly pass: (all vehicles) | 50 times basic toll
PAYMENT MODES
Manual payment: 30 seconds
Swipe card (for monthly passes): 20 seconds On-board-unit electronic payment: 10 to 12 seconds
BIG BROTHER
12 cameras will be monitored by MSRDC, traffic police and city police Link will be under the jurisdiction of Bandra and Worli police stations Two policemen on bikes will patrol Shoulders along bridge will allow traffic police to pull over errant drivers

LENGTH TO TAKE AWAY BREATH
4.7 km Bandra-Worli Sea Link (4 lanes) 4 km Bandra-Worli link (4 lanes; to open later as part of link up to Nariman Point)
Breaking up the link
449-metre toll plaza section at Bandra end with promenades 800-metre pre-cast approach at Bandra end 600-metre cable-stayed bridge at Bandra with two 126-metre tall towers 200-metre pre-cast bridge between Bandra-Worli cable-stayed bridges Two 175-metre cable-stayed bridges at Worli with two 56-metre towers 1,400-metre approach at Worli end 811-metre link at Worli end Another 90 metres or so may make up approaches at either end
LINKS TO THE CITY
Flyover at Love Grove junction, Worli Clover-leaf interchange at Mahim Approach road from Mahim interchange to toll plaza
RISING BOTTOMLINE
Main Link cost: Rs 750 crore Total cost: Rs 1,634 crore Initial cost for main link: Rs 434 crore Costs rose because fishermen complained their livelihood was being disturbed. Re-aligned link was built 150 metres farther from the coastline Harder rock was drilled into Extra cable-stayed bridge put at Worli end at a higher level to allow fishing boats to pass Interest payments rose
STRETCHED DEADLINES
Initial deadline: December 2004 (later revised to December 2007 & December 2008) Bridge completed: April 21, 2009 All allied work completed: May 31, 2009 Delays caused by fisherfolk protests and payment disputes

Windows 7 Will Ship Without Internet Explorer

June 13, 2009

Microsoft is anticipating great success with its new Windows 7 operating system, but is being wary of any antitrust violations that may occur. The company has already been fined over $2 billion USD by the European Commission for previous infractions, including a record setting $1.4 billion USD fine in February of last year.

Those infractions centered on Microsoft’s inclusion of Windows Media Player in Windows XP. After several costly appeals, the firm relented and shipped “N” versions of Windows XP and Windows Vista in order to comply with the European Commission’s directives.
Earlier this year, the European Commission moved to require Microsoft to package third-party browser software with Windows.  Those rules would also require Microsoft to provide support to make third-party browsers work with Windows components, such as Windows Explorer. Microsoft is currently in litigation to appeal the introduction of those rules.

In order to avoid any potential problems, Microsoft will ship special European versions of all its Windows 7 editions. Both 32-bit and 64-bit versions of Windows 7 will be available, but will be appended with an “E” at the end of the product name. For example, “Windows 7 Home Premium E” will most likely be the most common edition in Europe.  The “E” versions of Windows 7 will ship on October 22, the same time as Windows 7 ships to the rest of the world. Global language support is extensive, and in Europe alone Windows 7 will be available in 23 European languages.

“We’re committed to making Windows 7 available in Europe at the same time that it launches in the rest of the world, but we also must comply with European competition law as we launch the product,” wrote Dave Heiner, Vice President and Deputy General Counsel for Microsoft.

The “E” versions will be sold alongside new Windows 7 “N” versions in Europe, with the only difference being that “N” versions do not include Windows Media Player. “Microsoft will not offer for distribution in the European territory the Windows 7 product versions that contain IE, which are intended for distribution in the rest of the world,” Microsoft said in a memo distributed to its OEM partners. “This will apply to both OEM and Retail versions of Windows 7 products.”

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windows_7_preview

China’s computers at hacking risk

June 11, 2009

Every PC in China could be at risk of being taken over by poisonous hackers because of flaws in compulsory government software. The potential mistakes were brought to light by Chinese computer experts who said the flaw could lead to a “large-scale disaste. The Chinese government has mandated that all computers in the country must have the screening software installed. It is intended to filter out dysphemistic material from the net. The Chinese government said that the Green Dam Youth Escort software, as it is known, was intended to push forward the “healthy development of the internet” and effectively manage harmful material for the public and prevent it from being spread.

We found a series of software flaws, explained Isaac Mao, a blogger and social entrepreneur in China, as well as a research fellow at Harvard University’s Berkman Center for Internet and Society. For example, he said, tests had shown that communications between the software and the servers at the company that developed the program were unencrypted.

Mr. Mao told that this could allow hackers to steal people’s private information or place malicious script on computers in the network to “affect large scale disaster. For example, a hacker could use malicious code to take control of PCs using the software. A botnet is the name given to a network of hijacked computers that can then be used to pump out spam or launch concerted attacks on commercial or government websites. No one from Jinhui Computer System Engineering, the company that developed Green Dam, was available for comment.

The software has also caused a backlash amongst privacy experts, academics and some Chinese citizens. It has also raised the scorn of the photosphere inside the country who feel the system is no match for tech-savvy teenagers. One blogger posted a screenshot of the software putatively blocking an attempt to visit a porn site using Microsoft’s Internet Explorer. But, he said, there was no problem accessing the site using the Fire fox web browser. Others have reported that the system only runs on Microsoft Windows, allowing Mac and Linux users to bypass the software. It is thought that at least 3m computer users have already downloaded the software, opening them up to potential security problems.

Another formal study by the Open Network Initiative into the risks posed by the software is expected soon. However, many people in China who have been forced to use the software are already reporting other problems. For example, the system reportedly blocks legitimate as well as banned content. For example, it designed to identify the proportion of skin colors in a picture to determine whether it is pornography. But comments on a bulletin board run by the software company that designed the system, suggest the system does not work perfectly. “I went on the internet to check out some animal photos. A lovely little naked pig was sent onto the black list. Pitiful little pig!,” read one comment. The forum was taken down after it was seemingly flooded with complaints. A message on the site said says it is being “upgraded”. Mr. Mao told that they believed there was a new guideline from the country’s central propaganda department “to comb all media and online forums to block critics and discussion over the issue.”

Firewall flaw

The government may be keen to shut down discussion to quell rumors that the system could be used to monitor its citizens. “Once you’ve got government-mandated software installed on each machine, the software has the keys to the kingdom – anything can be logged or affected,” said Professor Jonathan Zittrain, also of Harvard’s Berkman Center. “While the justification may be pitched as protecting children and mostly concerning pornography, once the architecture is set up it can be used for broader purposes, such as the filtering of political ideas.” In particular, the system could be used to report citizens’ web habits.

. A twitter user in China claims that the software transmits reports to Jinhui – the maker of the software – when the user tries to access blacklisted websites.

However, Zhang Chenmin, general manager of the developer of Green Dam, told the China Daily newspaper last year: “Our software is simply not capable of spying on internet users, it is only a filter.” Although many countries around the world routinely block and filter net content, China’s regime is regarded as particularly severe.

There is no transparency about what they are blocking,” said Mr. Maclay. Free speech campaigners are concerned that the list could be tweaked to suits the government’s aims. Recently, there has been a web black out across China in advance of the 20th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square massacre. Website such as Twitter and the photo-sharing site Flicker were blocked in an attempt by the government to prevent online discussion on the subject. However, some users were able to bypass the filters to distribute pictures and commentary including links to photos of plain-clothes policemen blocking the lenses of foreign journalists with their umbrellas. The country is able to take action like this because it already has a sophisticated censorship regime, including the so-called Great Firewall of China. However, it is known to have some flaws. A 2007 study by US researchers showed that the system was much more porous than previously thought. It found that the technology often failed to block content banned by the Chinese government, allowing web users to browse unencumbered at least some of the time. Filtering and blocking was “particularly erratic”, they said, when large numbers of people were online in China.

Despite the failures, the researchers said, the idea of the firewall was more effective than the technology at discouraging talk about banned subjects. This kind of social pressure was also key to another tactic used by the Chinese government to make sure its citizens only use sanitized portions of the web. In 2007, the government introduced virtual policemen that pop-up onscreen when web surfers visit many of China’s popular website to remind them to stay away from illegitimate content.

In addition, the government expects internet service providers in China to actively monitor and censor published content, such as blogs. Experiments have suggested that this approach is hit-and-miss, with some organizations more proactive than others. However, these systems, combined with the new software, will allow the Chinese government to sanities the web for most of the 300m of China’s population of 1.3bn have access to the net.

The revolution of Mobile Banking

June 6, 2009

Mobile banking (also known as M-banking and SMS banking etc.) is a term used for performing balance checks, account tranactions, payments etc.. Mobile banking today is most often performed through an SMS or the Mobile internet but can also use special programmers called `clients`. Mobile banking refers to provision and an ailment of banking-and financial services with the help of mobile telecommunication devices may include facilities to conduct bank and stock market transaction, to administer accounts and to access customized information. The coming of internet has revolutionized the way the financial service industry conducts business empowering organizations with new business models and new ways to offer 24*7 accessibility to their customers. The ability to offer financial transactions online has also created new players in the financial industry.

Over the last few years, the mobile and wireless market is one of fastest growing market in the world and it is still growing at a rapid pace. 35% of online banking households will be using mobile banking by 2010, up from less than 1% today. Today 70% of bank center call volume is projected to come from mobile phones. Mobile banking will eventually allow users to make payments at the physical point of sale. “Mobile contacts less payments” will make 10% of the contacts less market by 2010. With mobile technology, banks can offer a wide range of services to their customers such as funds transfer while traveling, receiving online updates of stock price of even performing stock trading while being stuck in traffic.

Wide spectrum of mobile/branchless banking models is evolving. Mobile banking is being used to attract low-income population in often rural locations; the business model will depend on banking agents, i.e., retail or postal outlets, process financial transactions on behalf or banks. The banking agent is an important of the mobile banking business model since customer care, service quality, and cash management will depend on them.

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Mobile banking can offer services such as the following:. account Information ,mini –statements and checking of account history ,Alerts on account activity or passing set threshold ,monitoring of term deposit ,access to loan statements , insurance policy management ,pension plan management ,status on checker, stop on payment.

To start with the M-Banking the involves registration of customer and getting user ID and password. Then downloading of application in the mobile by SMS to Banks site. For clients in remote locations (Financial Inclusion ) ,it will be important to help them deposit and withdraw funds at banking agents , I, e. , retail postal outlets that turns cash in to electronic funds and vice versa . The feasibility of such banking agents depends on local regulation which enables outlets to take deposits or not. Specific sequence of SMS messages will enable the system verify if the client has sufficient in his or her wallet and authorize a deposit or withdrawal transaction at the agent. When depositing money , the merchant receives cash and system credits the client’s bank account or mobile wallet .In the same way the client can also withdraw money at the merchant: through exchanging SMS to provide authorization ,the merchant hands the client cash and debits the client’s account .

Bing vs. Google

June 3, 2009

Microsoft’s hot on the heels to hype Bing at par with Google. With arrival of the much awaited Google killer nearing, things are opening up at their own pace. What’s seems clear is that the new engine might not overwhelm Google’s supremacy in search market, but its a far more competitive product than Live Search. Formerly, code named Kumo, Bing is a new brand from Microsoft backed by a massive ad campaign. Bing is conspicuously imitating Google in all its frame upto the blue text that it used to display the search result. However, instead of plain white background Bing greets you with photographs. Clearly, Bing appears to amalgamate Web’s most efficient planning and decision tools, say Yelp for restaurants, Amazon for shopping and Expedia for travel.
The assessments of Kimonos Bing suggest that it’s a far more sophisticated and refined search engine than Live Search. There are no freaky issues or missing links to complain about. To be more precise, except for some instances Bing was at par with Google for most casual results. Above all, the remarkable thing about Bing is that it has been able to narrow the gap between Google and Live Search. Well, that doesn’t qualify Bing to topple the reining search-giant. There’s a range of features dropping down the table of content on the top left column. Bing offers Goggle-like search types including video, news, images and maps. Going down further you can access the search history, which would be enhanced further in some interesting ways. We can hope to see an Silver light-enhanced version of search history equipped with more utilities and making it more social. More so, sniffing at competitors Microsoft’s search results arrive in a more logical, user friendly format instead of listing them out in order of popularity.

Undoubtedly, Bing is Microsoft’s tocsin for Google. Microsoft has incorporated the Power set technology to varying degree and generated algorithmic improvements on the back end that are still to be exposed. From the interface upgrades and changes. Most of the people are used to the Googol’s UI, Bing is a visual treat with more presentable, organized and transparent interface.

Google Vs Bing:

Search for the game Fallout 3 on Google and Bing. Where Google gives some good results, Bing came up with the menu of related searches including Walkthrough, News, and more.If you hover over the search results, it gives a pop up of the text on a search result. It saves a lot of time you are not sure about a result that you are seeking. With the content of search results, Bing is not always superior than Google except for some. In most of the searches Google results were more relevant and useful. Although not too superior than Google, Bing is a much sophisticated and advanced as a search engine. If you look for the product reviews, Goggle’s search results are better in most cases. However, Bing also collates users and experts reviews on many products, which provides a great overview.For the shoppers both the search engines are equally good results. Both the services have strong shopping tabs that organize results well. Google provides the seller ratings, not present in Bing.For news Bing fairs better on most occasions, but Google features the Google results to sort out news by date. The only difference is some extra clicks. For the video results in Google you get a vertical list of videos whereas in Bing you get a big grid that is easier to scan and a list of related videos on the left. Although the search results are same Bing scores over Google for its beautiful presentation.Bing is strong in its domain, providing the best search for Microsoft owned airfare prediction service Farecast. Further, the search engine also includes some medical data within itself.

Microsoft’s hot on the heels to hype Bing at par with Google. With arrival of the much awaited Google killer nearing, things are opening up at their own pace. What’s seems clear is that the new engine might not overwhelm Google’s supremacy in search market, but its a far more competitive product than Live Search. Formerly, code named KumoBing is a new brand from Microsoft backed by a massive ad campaign. Bing is conspicuously imitating Google in all its frame upto the blue text that it used to display the search result. However, instead of plain white background Bing greets you with photographs. Clearly, Bing appears to amalgamate Web’s most efficient planning and decision tools, say Yelp for restaurants, Amazon for shopping and Expedia for travel.

The assessments of Kumo,now Bing suggests that it’s a far more sophisticated and refined search engine than Live Search. There are no freaky issues or missing links to complain about. To be more precise, except for some instances Bing was at par with Goolge for most casual results. Above all, the remarkable thing about Bing is that it has been able to narrow the gap between Goolge and Live Search. Well, that doesn’t qualify Bing to topple the reining search-giant.

There’s a range of features dropping down the table of content on the top left column. Bing offers Google-like search types including video, news, images and maps.  Going down further you can access the search history, which would be enhanced further in some interesting ways. We can hope to see an Silverlight-enhanced version of search history equipped with more utilities and making it more social. More so, sniffing at competitors Microsoft’s search results arrive in a more logical, user friendly format instead of listing them out in order of popularity.

Undoubtedly, Bing is Micosoft’s tocsin for Google. Microsoft has incorporated the Powerset technology to varying degree and generated algorithmic improvements on the back end that are still to be exposed. From the interface upgrades and changes. Most of the people are used to the Google’s UI, Bing is a visual treat with more presentable, organized and transparent interface.

Microsoft launches new search Bing.com

June 3, 2009

After several months in the planning, Microsoft has finally taken the covers off its new web search engine, Bing. Set to go live in under a week, Bing is not just a re branding of Microsoft’s previous search site Live Search but is a major update introducing new features and a new interface, touted as a “decision engine”.
Having been in internal testing for a while under the codename of Kumo, Bing was unveiled today – as expected – at the All Things Digital D7 conference by Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer. Bing is expected to start rolling out in the coming days with worldwide availability expected by June 3.
According to Microsoft, Bing will initially have four main search verticals: shopping around for products (with reviews and price comparisons to help you make your decision), travel planning (using technology from their acquisition of Farecast), researching health conditions (possibly linked to Microsoft Health Vault), and local business search (with integrated reviews and maps).
You may be wondering where such a strange name came from. Yusuf Mehdi, the Senior Vice President of the Online Audience Business Group who demoed Bing on stage at D7 today, reveals “We needed a brand that was as fresh and new […] A name that was memorable, short, easy to spell, and that would function well as a URL around the world […] the name needed to clearly communicate that this is something new, to invite you to come back, to re-introduce you to our new and improved service and encourage you to give it a try.”
Along with the re-launch, the Virtual Earth mapping platform will now be known as Bing Maps for Enterprise, the advanced travel search features made available from Microsoft’s acquisition of Farecast will be fully integrated as Bing Travel, and the Live Search cash back program will also be branded to Bing Cash back.
Will Bing be able to save Microsoft’s ever-dwindling search share? The product will have to seriously impress consumers and become an excellent brand if it is going to reach anywhere near Google’s search market and many believe that Bing could be aimed more at finally removing Yahoo! search from the competition. An advertising campaign for Bing, costing Microsoft up to $100 million, is expected soon as they try – yet again – to make larger inroads into the world of internet search.

PROS AND CONS OF CYBER CRIME

May 21, 2009

Cyber crime is a criminal activity committed through the internet .This is a broad term that describes everything from electronic cracking to denial of service attack that cause electronic commerce sites to loose money as well as precious data. Cyber crime s can be divided into three major categories:

v Cyber-crimes against person.

v Cyber-crimes against property.

v Cyber-crimes against Government.

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Criteria of cyber crime

Assault by Threat: Threatening a person with fear there lives or family through the use of computer net work such as email, videos, or phone

Cyber Contraband. Transferring illegal item through the internet (Such as encryption technology) that are banned in some location.

Cyber Laundering: It is a electronic transfer of illegally obtained money with the intention of hiding its source and possible and destination.

Cyber Stalking: It is express or implied physical threat that create fear through the use of computer technology such as email, phones, text massage, web camp, website etc.

Cyber Theft: It means using a computer to steal .This includes activities related to breaking and entering DNS cache poisoning, embezzlement and unlawful appropriation, espionage, identity theft fraud, malicious hacking, plagiarism and piracy .Examples include advertising or soliciting prostitution through the internet.It is against the law to access prostitution through the internet because the process of accessing the Internet crosses state and sometimes national borders. Drug sales, both illegal and prescribed, through the internet are illegal except as a customer through a state licensed pharmacy. Computer based fraud is different from theft because the victim voluntarily gives the money or property to the criminals.

Online Gambling: Gambling through the internet is a violation of law because the gambling service provider requires electronic payment through the use of credit card, Debit card, or other electronic fund transfer which is illegal.

Cyber Trespass: Here, someone accesses computer network recourse without their authorization or permission of the owner but does not alert disturb, misuse, or damage the data or system. This is hacking for the purpose of entering into electronic network without permission. Example- Using a wireless internet connection at a hotel in which you are staying and accessing the hotel privet files with out disturbing them .this is called snooping.

Cyber Vandalism: Damaging or destroying data rather than stealing misusing them is called cyber vandalism .This can be included a situation where network service are disturbed or stopped.Delibarately putting malicious code (viruses,Torjans) into a computer network to monitor ,follow, disturbed stop ,perform any other without the permission of the owner of the network.

Phishing Technique: Phishing technique was described in details in 1987,and first recorded use of the term “Phishing” was made in 1996 .the term is variant of fishing probably influenced by phreaking,and alludes to baits used to catch financial information & password.In the field of computer security Phishing is the criminal fraudulent process of attempting to acquire sensitive information such as username, password, and credit card details by masquerading as a trustworthy entity in an electronic communication. Phishing is typically carried out by e-mail or instant massaging ,and it often direct user to enter data at a fake website whose URL and look is all most identical to the legitimate one. Phishing is an example of engineering techniques used to fool user and exploit the poor utility of current web security technologies.

Link manipulation:Most method of Phishing use some form of technical deception designed to make a link in an e-mail belonging to the spoofed organization Misspelled URLs or the use of sub domain are common trick used by phisher.

Filter evasion:Phishers have used anti-Phishing filters to detect text commonly used in phising emails.

Website Forgery: Once a victim visits the Phishing website deception is not over. Some Phishing scam use java scripts commands in order to alter the address bar. This is done either by placing a picture of a legitimate URL over the address bar, or by closing the original address bar and opening a new one with the legitimate URL.

Phone Phishing:Not all Phishing attacks require a fake website. Massage that claimed to be from a bank old user to dial a phone number regarding problem with their bank account.Once the phone number was dialed, prompts told user to enter their account number and PIN.

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A Dirty Business:Child pornography is multi billion dollar dirty business and among faster growing criminal segment on the internet .According to the National center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC), USA approximately one fifth of all internet pornography is child pornography .According to research conducted by at MIT, 89%of porn is created in the USA .Revenue$2.84 billion was generated from USA porn site in 2007. $89per second is spent on porn, 72%of porn viewers are men and 260 Site and above go online daily.