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Thursday, May 22, 2008

Design revamp for '$100 laptop'

The wraps have been taken off the new version of the XO laptop designed for schoolchildren in developing countries.

The revamped machine created by the One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) project looks like an e-book and has had its price slashed to $75 per device.

OLPC founder Nicholas Negroponte gave a glimpse of the "book like" device at an unveiling event at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

The first XO2 machines should be ready to deliver to children in 2010.

Mr Negroponte said he hoped the design would also be used by other manufacturers.

Dual use

"This laptop comes from a different point of view," he said.

The new version loses the green rubbery keyboard, sporting instead a single square display hinged at its centre.

This allows the device to be split into two touch screens that can either mimic a laptop with keyboard or the pages of a book.

"Over the last couple of years we've learned the book experience is key," he said.

The idea is for several children to use the device at once, combining the functions of a laptop, electronic book and electronic board.

"It is a totally new concept for learning devices," said Prof Negroponte.

The new machine will also be more energy efficient, half the size of the first generation device and lighter to carry.

It will continue to sport the XO logo in a multitude of colours so that children can personalise them.

"The XO2 will be a bit of a Trojan horse," said Prof Negroponte. Initially it will be promoted as an e-book reader with the capacity to store more than 500 e-books.

"Currently developing nations such as China and Brazil are spending $19 per student per year on books," he said.

Dual boot

The launch of the XO2 is being seen as an effort by OLPC to revitalise adoption of its machines. Initially, Prof Negroponte set a target of selling 100 million machines by 2008.

So far OLPC has only sold about 600,000 machines. Prof Negroponte said he expected a further 400,000 orders in the next "60 to 90 days".

Many countries have been reluctant to buy the machines because they did not run Microsoft's Windows operating system.

In mid-May OLPC announced a deal with Microsoft to make Windows available on the XO machine.

Previously the machines used a version of open source Linux operating system.

"There is no question that demand goes up when you offer dual boot," said Professor Negroponte.

The laptops which originally had a target price of $100 now cost $188 each.

The OLPC project believes the price tag for the new devices will be achieved thanks to falling prices for flat panel screens, the most costly of all laptop components.

At the MIT event, Prof Negroponte announced the resumption of the Get-One-Give-One programme to allow people in wealthy nations to buy two XO laptops and donate one to a child in a developing country.

The programme will be open to people in North America and Europe and start in August or September.

Prof Negroponte said the previous programme enabled OLPC to distribute 30,000 additional laptops to children in Rwanda, Mongolia and Haiti.

(taken from :


Live Search Cashback: Microsoft gives you cash to ditch Google

For years, Microsoft has been trying to beat Google in the search engine business. The software company has tried various strategies -- redesigning its search engine, pouring boatloads into search engineering, offering to buy Yahoo, and now, according to reports, it's discussing a deal to purchase only Yahoo's search engine. Nothing's worked; Google now conducts two out of every three Web searches, and its share is growing, while Microsoft's is declining.

But today Microsoft is launching a new search initiative that's sure to prompt you to think twice about sending your search Google's way. That's because Microsoft is finally deploying the one asset it has in spades, a thing no sane-thinking person can turn down: Microsoft will give you money to use its search engine.

No, I'm not kidding. This is the real deal. Microsoft's new slogan is, "The Search That Pays You Back!" And even if it sounds a tad desperate, it is also kind of brilliant. I've already saved money with it, and you can too.

Microsoft's new search engine, called Live Search Cashback, is similar to Google's Product Search engine. You use it primarily to search for the best price on something you're looking to buy.

When you type your query -- "toaster," "iPod," "Wii Fit" or whatever else -- into Google's version, you get back a list of online stores that carry the thing, organized by price.

Microsoft's new search engine does one better: It tells you which stores carry the product and each store's price, plus any additional charges (shipping, taxes). And on top of that, the search engine offers a discount of 2 or 3 or 5 percent, depending on the store you choose. If you decide to buy the item from one of the listed stores, Microsoft will deposit the discount into your account.

Think of it like a credit-card rewards program, one that pits online retailers against each other in a fight to give you the biggest reward. If it takes off, it could be a boon for customers, not to mention MS, which takes a cut of the transaction.

I've tested this thing out for a less than an hour, but already, I've found discounts here that I wouldn't have found through Google.

Take, for instance, a search for the 16GB iPod Touch. When I do that search at Google, I'm presented with this list of online stores that sell the Touch. The lowest price is at a shop called Blue Bay Electronics -- $325.95.

Trouble is, Google doesn't tell me either the shipping price or taxes at Blue Bay. I've got to click the link to see that info -- and when I do, I find that actually, Google's search was wrong. Blue Bay's 16GB iPod Touch goes for $334, not $325.95, plus it wants $2.49 more for shipping. Bottom line: $336.49.

Microsoft's Live Search Cashback makes the same search far easier. Here's Microsoft's results page for the 16GB iPod Touch. The lowest price here is at B&H Photo, $339.

But Live Search Cashback also tells me that B&H Photo will charge me nothing extra for shipping and taxes. There's one more thing: Microsoft will give me a reward of 2.5 percent, or $8.47, if I buy the Touch from B&H. Live Search Cashback combines all these figures into a single "Bottomline Price": $330.52 for the iPod touch. I save $6 over Google.

Will you save money on every product? It's hard to know. For a given search, Live Search Cashback lists far fewer online stores than does Google Product Search, so it's possible Google may have lower prices on some products.

But because Microsoft lists extra charges and gives you a discount, Live Search Cashback is certainly worth checking out first every time you're looking for something to buy online. If people take to it, the engine could become quite lucrative for Microsoft.

I'll confess, when I first heard that Microsoft wanted to give people money in return for searching at its site, the idea sounded too gimmicky by half.

Instead of beating Google on the quality of its product, Microsoft seemed to want to out-market Google -- I couldn't help recalling that dot-com era portal iWon, which made using a search engine something like gambling.

But Live Search Cashback isn't a gimmick at all. By giving me more information, and by passing money from retailers to me, Microsoft is fighting Google on very Googly terrain: usability, and the quality of search results.

It's a smart strategy, and, at least for you and me, it's very rewarding.

(taken from :


Bunaken National Park - Visit Indonesia

A flat island about 15 km from Manado, with a friendly people. The coral reefs off Bunaken island shouldn't be missed while you are in Manado. These magnificent virgin reefs are still relatively unspoiled. The drop-off walls at Liang cove is not only rare in the world, with caves, gullies and caverns, harboring an immense wealth of marine life. Spectacular formation of reefs begin with flat at about 5 m depth. These plunge downward to form underwater vertical crevices with often reach depth on several hundred meters. On these beautiful reefs, a wonderful collection of marine life thrives.

The Bunaken reef is a chain of over 40 five star dive spots. The Marine Park is spectacular with the greatest concentration of tropical fish, coral species and world famous wall diving.
Clear, warm waters (sea temperatures usually range between 27-30 degrees C), light currents and calm seas allow easy access to the underwater attraction awaiting visitors to the five-islands of the Bunaken-Manado Tua National Marine Park which sits directly offshore of Manado. Bunaken is the standout favorite, with the highest density of schooling fish and the greatest probability to see larger species such as turtles, sharks, and napoleon wrasse. There are enough sites here to keep any diver happy for over a week without going elsewhere.

The Dive Sites :
Most diving takes place near Bunaken and Manado Tua, because of their many excellent sites. The following is representative of the diving in the area.

  • Lekuan Walls (I, II, III)
This long wall on Bunaken is divided into three sites: Lekuan I, II and III. Together they represent the park's best. Steep walls are marked with deep crevices, sea fans and giant sponges. The shallows are filled with fishes. The wall, often protected from stronger currents, is frequented by bumphead parrotfish, turtles, and Napoleon wrasses.
  • Mandolin
Mandolin has a knockout reef crest and a wall that attracts thousands of fishes like schooling fusiliers, surgeonfish, unicornfish, and bannerfish. They are acclimated to divers and are easily approachable.
  • Bunaken Timor
There are strong currents and lots of fishes on this long wall. The shallow reef isn't as spectacular as some but there are turtles, sharks, eagle rays, and other big fishes in the blue. Overhangs and small caves mark the wall.
  • Tanjung Kopi
Tanjung Kopi is a nice wall with a small school of barracuda and lots of sweetlips. Visibility in the shallows is not terrific but the numbers of fishes make up for it. Nudibranches and fire gobies are easy to spot here.
  • Siladen Island
Siladen has a beautiful wall of soft corals that bloom when the current is running. The shallows are nice with lots of fishes and schooling snappers.
  • Muka Gereja
Muka Gereja is a pretty site with thousands of fishes in the shallows and deeper canyons that lead to the wall.
  • Barracuda Point
Barracuda Point, on northwest Montehage, is one of the furthest sites. A school of giant barracuda are regulars along with jacks and tuna.
  • Manado Wreck
This 60m (200ft) long German merchant ship sank near Molas Beach in 1942. It sits upright with the bow at 23m (78ft). The ship is split near amidships back to the stern, exposing the wheelhouse and cargo holds. Dives finish up on a nearby shallow reef. Expect 10-15m (30-50ft) visibility.

Getting There
Bunaken Island is easily reached from Manado by motorized outrigger boat start from Manado harbor, Molas, Kalasey and Tasik Ria beaches. The public boats from Manado to Bunaken are leaving daily around 2 p.m (depending on tide), except Sundays, from Pasar Jengki near Manado harbor. Back from Bunaken to Manado usually early in the morning, around 7-8 a.m

Where to Stay
On the island you have the choice amongst a number of homestays, with rates starting at Rp. 40 000 per day and person including full board. Some of the dive operations on Bunaken are offering more up-market accommodation, and even running water.

Moving Around
You can explore the land on foot. And you can use a boat to move from one dive sites to another sites.

Dining Guide
There are several of restaurants and cafes throughout Manado and the islands. Try their specialties: seafood, bubur manado and food made of coconuts!

Souvenir Tips
Sea-related products, such as items made of seashells, corals, etc

Other Things to See or Do
  • Diving, swimming, and snorkeling.
  • Walking around on the beach.
  • Sampling the tempting seafood cuisine.
  • Ornithologists and amateur bird-watchers might find visiting Tangkoko Dua Sudara Nature Reserve entertaining.
Travel Tips
  • Entrance tags and tickets can be purchased through marine tourism operators based in Manado and in the Bunaken National Park, or can be purchased from one of three ticket counters in Bunaken and Liang villages on Bunaken Island and on Siladen Island;
  • You should be aware that during the absolute peak season months July and August it usually gets VERY busy. Many of the better resorts and dive operators will not be able to accept walk-ins during that time since they are fully booked. Better make a reservation before;
  • Try to hire equipment from larger firms as these tend to be more reliable, but remember the responsibility of checking the equipment is ultimately yours.
(taken away from :


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A Land Rover That Drives Itself

In an airplane hanger on MIT’s campus in Cambridge last week, a team of engineering students and researchers put the finishing touches on Talos, a Land Rover that drives itself. Talos is MIT’s entry in the Defense Advanced Research Project Agency’s (DARPA) robotic car race, which will take place on November 3, in Victorville, CA.

Known as the Urban Challenge, the race will test the ability of robotic cars from 35 different teams to obey traffic laws and drive safely in a city-like environment without human assistance. The vehicles will need to find their way to a preprogrammed destination while paying attention to lane markers, other cars, and unexpected obstacles, such as potholes in the road. (See video.)

The Urban Challenge is a follow-up to DARPA’s Grand Challenge race, held in 2004 and 2005, in which cars navigated an empty desert road. The new, more complex racing environment reflects the rapid progress being made in robotic cars: while none of the teams finished the first Grand Challenge race, 5 out of 23 cars finished the second one. Stanford University’s team, which won the latter race, will enter the Urban Challenge with Junior, an upgraded version of its winning car. (See “Stanford’s New Driverless Car.”)

In order to “see” its environment, MIT’s Talos is equipped with numerous laser range finders, radar units, Global Positioning Systems, and video cameras, explains Emilio Frazzoli, a professor of aeronautics and astronautics and one of the team leaders. The researchers developed novel software–which runs on 10 quad-core computers in the Land Rover’s trunk–to make sense of the incoming data and to calculate the car’s next move. The 40 processors produce so much heat that the team added an air-conditioning unit to the roof of the car. (See slide show.)

Many of the robotic cars at the Urban Challenge will be outfitted with similar collections of off-the-shelf sensors, so it’s nuances in each car’s software that will likely distinguish winners from losers. MIT’s software consists of algorithms that work with the sensors to build a picture of the environment, and algorithms that determine what the car should do with that picture, explains Frazzoli. Every second, the algorithms use data from the sensors to generate more than a thousand possible paths that the car could take. Talos then drives along the path with the highest probability of producing the most direct and safest route for a given situation.

For the MIT team, which started developing Talos about a year ago, the challenge is to make sure that the car is reliable in as many different locations as possible. “We’re testing almost every day,” says Frazzoli. When the car arrives in Victorville, the team will continue to test for about a month before the preliminary trials begin. “It’s not too hard to build a robotic car,” Frazzoli says. “But it is hard to build one that’s robust and safe in many different environments.”

(taken away from :


Yahoo Messenger For Mobile And Desktop

Use Yahoo! Messenger to call and talk over the Internet just like you're on the phone. All you need is a headset, or a microphone and speakers. It's that easy - just click the Call button. If no one's there, leave a voicemail!

You can also get much better sound quality than regular phone lines. Try it out - you and your friends will really hear a difference.

Find, add, share friends... It's easier than ever to add and invite friends to Messenger. You can even send your contact information to a friend's Address Book.

for download YM Latest Version click here

For via mobile you can use YM Tiny. The mobile must support java.
Screen shot YM Tiny

for download YM Tiny Latest Version click here


Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Majapahit Travel Fair 2008

Majapahit Travel Fair (MTF) has successfully become the most excellent platform for networking and establishing business contacts in the province. It is annually held with the main objective of providing business opportunities for the travel and tourism industry to market East Java's tourist attractions, hotels, natural surroundings and culture to both domestic and international tour operators. The major activities of this event include a "Table-Top Business Meeting" between the buyers and sellers (Travex), a half-day Workshop, tourism photo exhibition and the actual Exhibition itself where the sellers display their products and services. MTF this year coincides with the Indonesian Government promotion "Visit Indonesia Year 2008" expecting the target of 7 million foreign visitors to Indonesia. MTF is not only the an international tourism business forum but also becomes a significant promotion event as the government invites international visitors to enjoy a hundred attractive events all year round to celebrate 100 years of National Awakening. This will give all delegates a chance to not only discover the exciting tourism destinations, but also truly experience the atmosphere and hospitality, East Java has to offer. MTF 2008 will be held on May 21 -25 2008, at the Exhibition Hall, Gramedia Expo Surabaya, and the Ballroom of Sheraton Hotel Surabaya with the theme "Experiencing Festive Celebrations of The Year".

This will be our 9th Annual MTF and promise to be the most interactive than ever. MTF always achieves a great success. Last year's participants amounted to 82 buyers (domestic and overseas) and 59 sellers participating in the Table-Top Business Meeting. The buyers were mainly from Malaysia, China, Singapore, Siingapore and Hongkong.

The Travel Exchange is a closed business meeting with a Table-Top format between Buyers and Sellers of the travel and tourism industry. This one-day program is based on the appointment schedule arranged by the MTF Organizing Committee. The buyers taking part in this meeting are international and national tour operators who are currently marketing East Java or Indonesia and those who would like to obtain more information on our region to start promoting our market. The sellers are mostly delegates from East Java's tourism related industries with some delegates also attending from other destinations in Indonesia.

The Exhibitors are travel operators and tourism destination representatives from East Java and other destinations in Indonesia. It is open for the public from May 21 - 25, 2008. The Expo venue will be located at the Gramedia Expo, the newest exhibition hall in the city.

At the Workshop, reputable tourism professionals from Indonesia will share their experience and expertise with an interactive audience. The Sellers, Exhibitors, Managers of Tourist Attractions, Government Tourist Officials, dance companies, conservators university students and the public will attend this workshop. The workshop will feature qualified speakers on current issues in tourism in the global era.