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Saturday, March 29, 2008

Tata Buys Jaguar & Land Rover For $2.3 Billion

Tata Buys Jaguar & Land Rover

India's Tata Motors Ltd announced a $2.3 billion deal on Wednesday to buy Jaguar and Land Rover from Ford Motor Co, a transaction that gives the Indian automaker a line-up ranging from the world's cheapest car to some of its more expensive.

For Tata, which plans to launch the ultra-cheap $2,500 Nano or "People's Car," the addition of the profitable Land Rover brand provides an edge against Indian rival Mahindra & Mahindra Ltd, which had also pursued a deal with Ford.

The sale price is roughly 40 percent of what Ford paid for the two brands. Ford acquired Jaguar for $2.5 billion in 1989, but failed to turn the British nameplate into a higher-volume brand. Ford paid $2.75 billion for Land Rover in 2000.

Read Also:
Ford Sells Jaguar, Land Rover to Tata (AP)
Tata to buy Ford's Jaguar, Land Rover for $2.3 bln (Reuters)

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Sunday, March 23, 2008

Internet Explorer 8 Beta 1: Promising New Features

Internet Explorer 8 Beta

Internet Explorer 8 (IE8) Beta 1 for developers, released by Microsoft on March 6th, offers some fascinating new capabilities. For example, it introduces two new features called Activities and WebSlices that extend the capabilities of the browser by interacting with other Web sites and services.

There are also a variety of other changes, including some much-needed additions, such as a feature that will restore crashed browser sessions and tabs like Firefox does. You also have the option to import your favorites from existing installed browsers when you first install IE8.

IE8 now includes a Developer Tools feature, which includes tools for HTML, CSS, scripting and debugging. Microsoft claims that the browser includes better scripting performance, and support for HTML5. And in the final version, although not this one, Microsoft claims that IE8 will have full CSS 2.1 support.

A particularly nice new feature, and one that I hope makes it into the final version of IE8, is the small Emulate IE7 button near the top of the screen. If there are any compatibility issues between IE8 and a Web site -- with a new browser, you never know -- just click the button, and it will fool the site into thinking you're running IE7.

WebSlices is among the most important features of IE8. WebSlices are something like RSS feeds on steroids. As with an RSS feed, you subscribe to changing content that you find on a Web page. But WebSlices are graphically richer and interactive. In addition, they will alert you when content in a specific portion of a Web page changes -- for example, a stock price, or the current high price on an auction.

Activities feature gives extra power to the Internet Explorer right-click menu. Hover your mouse over an item or highlight it, right-click and a list of actions appears. These include viewing the highlighted term in a map, translating it, blogging it, defining it and so on.

IE8 introduces some smaller features that may not be earthshaking, but that can be useful like making it Easier-to-identify domains. For example, some URLs are so long and complex that it can be tough to immediately decipher which domain you're currently visiting. In IE8's Address bar, only the domain (for example, fahad.com) is black; everything else is gray. That way, you can see immediately where you are.

Read Also:
Internet Explorer 8 Beta (Microsoft Windows Products)
First look: Internet Explorer 8 beta (Computerworld)

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Saturday, March 22, 2008

Emirates Airlines First to Offer In-Flight Cellphone Calls

Emirates Airlines

Emirates Airlines has become the first commercial airline to allow passengers to make mobile phone calls during flights. Emirates said the first permitted mobile phone call was made on a flight between Dubai and Casablanca on Thursday March 20th. The aircraft, an Airbus A340, is fitted with a system which stops mobiles from interfering with a plane's electronics.

Emirates plans to extend the system to more aircraft and later this year add BlackBerry and other data services.

According to the airline, the mobile service will only be activated when the aircraft is at cruising altitude and the cabin crew will be able to monitor and control the use of the system. Passengers will be able to receive and send text messages, but the crew will be able to prevent voice calls at certain times, such as during night flights. Passengers will also be requested to keep their phones on "silent" mode, said the airline.

Emirates said it decided to introduce the use of mobile phones in its fleet after experiencing high demand for the phones already installed in aircraft seats. The airline had to obtain approval from international air safety organizations before adopting the system, which was developed by the AeroMobile company.

"We have gone to considerable lengths to ensure that all safety and regulatory issues have been fully addressed", said AeroMobile Chief Executive Bjorn-Taale Sandberg.

Read Also:
Mobile calls on Emirates flights (BBC News)

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Washup: Washing Machine & Toilet Integrated



I smiled when I first saw the above picture. I've always thought there should be a better way to benefit from used water coming out from washer machines.

"Washup" is a conceptual design by Sevin Coskun from Turkey integrating washing machine with toilet flush. It suggests a sustainable water consumption by storing the wasted water in toilette-flush tank and reuse it with flushing. Moreover, "Washup" brings a solution for the problem of location of washing machines in small bathrooms, overlapping washing machine usage space with toilette usage space.

"Washup" is fixed on wall upwards toilet, so that loading of clothes would be easier for the user without bending or crouching. A special interface including three semi-sphere control units & two flushing buttons is designed for a practical usage of the product. "Washup" is a green product offering solutions for the problems of standard washing machines.

Read Also:
WASHUP (Core 77)

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Friday, March 21, 2008

Windows Vista SP1 : Out & Causing Problems



"I'm losing my mind. I want the new SP. I followed instructions on checking updates...its not "there" and my updates are fully up to date. If I go to my "control panel", it doesn't appear that I've got SP1 running.....why can't I get this update? Help!", said COG93rd in his comment to Windows Vista Blog.

Just 3 days ago, Microsoft released the highly anticipated fixing package for Windows Vista (Windows Vista SP1). First of all, if you own Windows Vista and you have tried to get SP1 through Windows Update, then good luck with that! It didn't work for me and for many others all over the world. I would suggest you do it manually by getting it from Microsoft Download Center. It's about (434.5 MB) in size.

Here are some problems Adrian Kingsley-Hughes was able to extract from users' reactions and comments after trying to install SP1":
  • Users unable to download SP1.
  • Users finding the download really slow or unreliable.
  • Random crashes and lock-ups.
  • Total system wipeouts (not a common complaint).
  • Driver problems after install (and not just drivers known to have issues with SP1, but odd stuff such as nVIDIA drivers vanishing).
  • Post-install performance issues such as spiking CPU and sluggish response times.
Hey ... Do you know that Microsoft is going to Release Windows XP SP3 Next Week?

Read Also:
Windows Vista Service Pack 1 Five Language Standalone (Microsoft Download Center)
Windows Vista SP1 Released to Windows Update (Windows Vista Blog)
Vista SP1 collateral damage not as bad as I had expected (ZD Net)
Vista SP1 downloaders bite back (The Register)
FAQ: How to get Vista SP1 (Computerworld)
Windows XP Service Pack 3 Overview (Whitepaper) (Microsoft Download Center)

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FireFox Beta 4: Faster Browser & More Secure



On March 10, Mozilla released its latest beta version of the widely anticipated Firefox 3. Firefox 3.0 is dramatically faster than its predecessor and rivals -- the result of hundreds of performance improvements designed to make the open-source browser the best at running complex Web 2.0 applications, Mozilla Corp.'s chief developer said last week.

"We've been working on performance for a long time," said Mike Schroepfer, Mozilla's vice president of engineering. "Each beta of Firefox 3.0 got better. Beta 1 was better than Firefox 2.0, Beta 2 was better than Beta 1, and so on. Some of the big architectural changes [we've made] had begun paying off. Now we're at the point where we can turn the knob to get it to perform well."

Users say it's twice as fast as Safari, three times faster than IE. I have downloaded (Firefox 3 Beta 4) myself today and I tested it and I found it surprisingly even faster than (Firefox 3 Beta 2) let alone the latest version of (Firefox 2.0). Still alot of the Add-ons are not working on Beta 4 but this fact did not stop me from switching to Beta 4 ...

Firefox 3.0 Beta 4 can be downloaded for Windows, Mac OS X and Linux in 36 languages from Mozilla's site. Firefox 3.0 is expected to be released June 2008.

Read Also:
Download Firefox 3.0 Beta 4 (Mozilla)
Mozilla speeds up Firefox (Computerworld)

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