Archive for the ‘Computer Articles’ Category

Steve Jobs is No More!

Posted: October 6, 2011 by Shishir Gupta in Apple, Computer Articles
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Yesterday (5-Oct-2011), the world lost one of its great computer entrepreneurs and inventors, Steve Jobs. He was the co-founder, chairman, and chief executive officer of the Apple Inc. Jobs was always know for his very different kind of thinking, which actually helped him innovate and produce products that common people could not even think of. He was a great visionary and was one of the people who actually changed the face of technology. Under him, and mainly because of him Apple had established itself as a brand that had no comparison, when i came to quality of products. The loss of this genius, is not only going to hurt Apple but also to almost all their consumers.

I realy appreciated his thought process and his vision and one of his statements really amaze me of what kind of a persona he had. He often would say, “To innovate and make new products do not ask the customers, they know nothing”. Seeing the kind of thinking process he had and the products that he launched, this statement of his so much holds true. People hardly know about what they want new in technology. It is only when you give it to them then they get to know of something new.

Steve Jobs was suffering from pancreatic cancer for sometime now. He in January this year had also gone under a liver transplant. Though I am not really sure of the real cause of his death, but most probably he lost his prolonged fight against cancer.

Here is an article from the Reuters that covers a small article on the genius.

(Reuters) – Steve Jobs, the transcendent Silicon Valley entrepreneur who reinvented the world’s computing, music and mobile phone industries and changed the daily habits of millions around the globe, died on Wednesday at the age of 56.

His death after a years-long battle with pancreatic cancer sparked an immediate outpouring of tributes as world leaders, business rivals and fans alike lamented the tragedy of his premature passing and celebrated his monumental achievements.

“The world has lost a visionary. And there may be no greater tribute to Steve’s success than the fact that much of the world learned of his passing on a device he invented,” U.S. President Barack Obama said in a statement.

Fans paid homage to Jobs outside Apple stores around the world, from Los Angeles to Sydney. Outside one store in New York City, mourners laid candles, bouquets of flowers, an apple and an iPod Touch in a makeshift memorial. In San Francisco, they held up black-and-white portraits of Jobs on their iPads.

Many websites, including Apple’s own, were transformed into online memorials, a testament to the digital creativity that Jobs inspired.

“For those of us lucky enough to get to work with him, it’s been an insanely great honor,” said Microsoft’s Bill Gates, who once triumphed over Jobs but has seen his legendary status overtaken by the Apple co-founder in recent years.

Jobs was surrounded by his wife and immediate family when he died in Palo Alto, California, Apple said late on Wednesday. Other details were not immediately available.

Jobs stepped down as CEO in August and handed the reins to long-time operations chief Tim Cook. With a passion for minimalist design and a genius for marketing, Jobs laid the groundwork for the company to continue to flourish after his death, most analysts and investors say.

But Apple still faces challenges in the absence of the man who was its chief product designer, marketing guru and salesman nonpareil. Phones running Google’s Android software are gaining share in the smartphone market, and there are questions over what the next big thing is in Apple’s product line.


A college drop-out and the son of adoptive parents, Jobs changed the technology world in the late 1970s, when the Apple II became the first personal computer to gain a wide following. He did it again in 1984 with the Macintosh, which built on the breakthrough technologies developed at Xerox Parc and elsewhere to create the personal computing experience as we know it today.

The rebel streak that’s central to his persona got him tossed out of the company in 1985, but he returned in 1997 and after a few years began the rollout of a troika of products — the iPod, the iPhone and the iPad — that again upended the established order in major industries.

A diagnosis of a rare form of pancreatic cancer in 2004 initially cast only a mild shadow over Jobs and Apple, with the CEO asserting that the disease was treatable. But his health deteriorated rapidly over the past several years, and after two temporary leaves of absence he stepped down as chief executive and became Apple’s chairman in August.

Jobs’ death came just one day after Cook presented a new iPhone at the kind of gala event that became Jobs’ trademark. Perhaps coincidentally, the new device got lukewarm reviews, with many saying that it wasn’t a big enough improvement over the existing version of one of the most successful consumer products in history.

Apple on Wednesday paid homage to its visionary leader by changing its website to a big black-and-white photograph of him with the caption “Steve Jobs: 1955-2011.”

The flags outside the company’s headquarters at 1 Infinite Loop flew at half mast. Employees left flowers on a bench and a mourner played music on bagpipes in an impromptu tribute.

Cook said in a statement that Apple planned to hold a celebration of Jobs’ life for employees “soon”.

“Steve’s brilliance, passion and energy were the source of countless innovations that enrich and improve all of our lives. The world is immeasurably better because of Steve,” Apple said in a statement.

“His greatest love was for his wife, Laurene, and his family. Our hearts go out to them and to all who were touched by his extraordinary gifts.”

The announcement of Jobs’ death came after almost all trading in U.S. stocks had finished for the day. Apple’s stock was last quoted at $377.22, a tad lower than its Nasdaq close of $378.25.

Outside Jobs’ house in Palo Alto, neighbors and friends left flowers and drew messages with markers on the sidewalk. “Thanks for changing the world,” read one.

A low fence surrounded a lawn filled with apple trees.

“He was special for the area, like part of the family,” said Robert Blum, who brought flowers with his eight-year-old son, Daniel.


Jobs, in his trademark uniform of black mock-turtleneck and blue jeans, was deemed the heart and soul of a company that rivals Exxon Mobil as the most valuable in America.

Forbes estimates Jobs’ net worth at $7 billion. It was not immediately known how his estate would be handled.

His health had been a controversial topic for years and a deep concern to Apple fans and investors. Even board members have in past years confided to friends their concern that Jobs, in his quest for privacy, was not being forthcoming enough with directors about the true condition of his health.

Born in San Francisco, the Buddhist and son of adoptive parents started Apple Computer with friend Steve Wozniak in his parent’s garage 1976.

Six years ago, Jobs had talked about how a sense of his mortality was a major driver behind that vision.

“Remembering that I’ll be dead soon is the most important tool I’ve ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life,” Jobs said during a Stanford commencement ceremony in 2005.

“Because almost everything — all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure — these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important.”

“Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart.”

(Additional reporting by Beck Diefenbach)

(Reporting by Poornima Gupta, Edwin Chan, Andrew Longstreth, Sarah McBride, Bill Rigby, Lisa Richwine, Liana Baker, Soyoung Kim, Nadia Damouni and Peter Lauria; Editing by Gary Hill, Tiffany Wu, Ted Kerr and Bernard Orr)”

One of my teachers had updated a message on his FaceBook profile as a tribute to this genius, I really found it appealing and so thought of putting it here:

“People like Steve Jobs are those enigmas that are born but once, in a life time. What an absolutely amazing man!! Created a company – got thrown out of the very company he created – returned to give it an altogether different shape – quit when people asked why – and then became a part of history. What we can take home from the unbelievable feats of this great man – if I may use the word ‘unbelievable’, is the fact that he never thought there was anything called ‘impossible’. May GOD rest his noble soul in eternal peace. He made life so much easier for us – lesser mortals.”

Here is one of his speeches from the Stanford University’s commencement speech in 2005

‎”Remembering that I’ll be dead soon is the most important tool I’ve ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life,” he said. “Because almost everything – all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure – these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important.”
– Steve Jobs (Stanford University’s commencement speech, 2005)

I sincerely hope that his loss will not effect the legacy of Apple that he had created, and in the end all I can wish for his that may god let him Rest In Peace.


Since I have been blogging, the most important question in my mind has been how to make my blog more popular or what should I do to get more number of hits/visits to my blog. It is at that time I attended the session on Search Engine Optimization. This session was basically for the people who own or have their separate websites. But some information that was shared was also applicable and quite helpful for blogs as well. In this post here I will be basically writing about the blog applicable contents discussed in that session.

To start with SEO one must know what exactly it is. I found a very good definition of SEO from Wikipedia, and I thought of putting that here rather than writing it on my own. Search engine optimization (SEO) is the process of improving the visibility of a website or a web page in search engines via the “natural” or un-paid (“organic” or “algorithmic”) search results. Other forms of search engine marketing (SEM) target paid listings. In general, the earlier (or higher on the page), and more frequently a site appears in the search results list, the more visitors it will receive from the search engine. SEO may target different kinds of search, including image search, local search, video search and industry-specific vertical search engines. This gives a website web presence.”

Today I guess the best way to get your blog more popular is by getting it listed on the various search engines. Now to get the blog listed one must know how the listing is done. For blogs basically what can be done is the content should be written is that the keyword or the main idea of the content comes a few times in the content written. This will help increase the rank of the blog post for the search engines. Now a days a lot depends on the terms that are searched. If your blog post is something relevant to those key terms then it is necessary that those terms come in your post a few times so that the search engines will come to know that your blog post has relevant content related to that term. But one thing must be kept into consideration is that one cannot just include the key words in the content without the complete post being much relevant to that topic as this might, provoke the search engines to black list your site or blog. This is all about contents, I am not going to write how the Google rank works or how the search engine works at the moment because they are more helpful in sites rather than in blogs.

One can increase the number of visits by adding images on the blog as well. But one important thing has to be the naming of the images. The image must be named in such a way that they are hit by the search engines when the term is searched. For example, if I put an image of Sachin Tendulkar, it is important that I name the file as SachinTendulkar.jpg or something similar. If I name it as 1.jpg, the search engines will not come to this image when the term Sachin Tendulkar is searched on it. This is a good practice that needs to be followed while blogging (something I never followed or I can say was not aware of till this session).

Now coming to the contents part again, it is very important to write content relevant to the readers you are targeting. I used to follow a show that had become pretty popular, and I used to blog about its update very often. Since sometime my hits started increasing exponentially thanks to these posts and increasing popularity of the show. As my blog had quite a lot of relevant content for that show, my blog started receiving hits/visits for the terms searched related to that show. But this technique will take a lot of time to start getting big number of hits, and also it might not be long lasting. As now this show that I used t update about regularly has ended and my blog posts have reduced to almost 1/3rd or 1/4th since then. This again indicates that probably a post will not always give you regular visits; there can be changes and variations to it as well. Again it depends on what time it is written, if the post is about a recent event then it will definitely give high results initially and then fade out. So with all this, what I exactly want to say is, if you take up a topic then keep on updating on it a lot, so that the search engines will find a lot of relevant data for that on your blog.

Also initially I believed that more the number of hits the blog gets the more popular it becomes amongst the search engines. Well this is partially correct. As initially I used to visit my own blog post several times and try to increase the hits so that it starts to feature more on the search engines. But this does not help at all. The search engines take into account the number of unique visitors that come on to the blog to calculate the rankings, and then in the end it accounts for the number of hits per unique visitor. So with very few unique visitors it does not really help the blog get popular. So all I want to say with this is, that one must try and target the readers of different age group to try and get many unique visitors on the blog to make it more popular.

What all can help your blog get more visits. Does Twitter help? The answer to this would be yes. As Twitter is a micro blogging site it does help to get hits to your blog, not in the correct way but they do get a few hits. I came to know of this some months ago. Unfortunately, a few months back one of my old classmate had met with an accident, and had lost his life in that tragic event. I had tweeted on my site regarding this, by paying condolence to his family and also informing my other classmates about the incident. After a couple of days I saw that there were  quite a few hits on my blog with the search term containing my friends name and the place of the accident, or just my friends name. Initially I was confused to why this has actually happened. Then I realized that since my blog is linked to my Twitter profile, the blog takes my latest tweets from the Twitter account. Due to this since that tweet about the accident was amongst my latest tweets it got a lot of hits to my blog as well. In fact in such a scenario I realized that such a search term directs the person to most visited post of your blog, even if that post is completely irrelevant to the topic the person might have searched for. But this is only possible if you have linked your Twitter account to your blog.

At the end I would like to add is to make your blog popular one needs to be patient, it takes time. Some of my posts have started getting recognition almost after two years of having them posted. This may be because I guess the search engine rate the older posts more. Also all the ways i have mentioned here to increase the number of hits/visits to his blog are based on my personal experience. So all I can say that these are not the only ways you can increase the number of hits with. Probably there are many more ways as well of which I am not aware of, so if anyone has some other ideas on this, their thoughts are welcome here. It would be great if you all can add onto this information here, as these steps are very basic in nature, and I guess quite a lot will be following it as well. So I am  really hoping a few good comments here so that I can also get some help regarding this.

Earn upto Rs. 9,000 pm checking Emails. Join now!

For a long time now I have been wanting to earn from my blog here. Since wordpress does not support Google Ad sense, the biggest opportunity gets missed that way. Because of this I have been searching a lot of ways by which I can try and get some revenue out of the blog as well since it is doing pretty well in the daily visits that it receives. So for this I have been finding terms over Google, but all I get is either results of Ad sense or earn some extra money by working online (from home). If one gives a search command on Google, there are n number of results that are displayed only for these. So I thought of just researching on the second part probably with no intention of applying at it. I have researched a lot from these sites and so I thought that I should write about them here.

To start with these sites ask a person various jobs such as reading emails, doing data entry, even there are jobs for writing contents for publishers. In fact many sites (almost all) tell you that you can earn 10000 – 25000 INR or 250-500$ per month and also show many testimonials of people who have earned money working online (I guess this is a pretty decent amount especially since they say one needs to work only 2-3 hours daily to earn such revenue). All of them say that registering is free, and then later ask you to buy a pack for some amount, and the pack would work as trainer to help you learn how to go about the job (on various sites These packs range from 200-2000 INR some form 10-30$ depending on the different sites that I have seen). I was never interested in this as I always believed it to be unsafe so never got beyond just researching the site.

This is when just recently I came across an email that was sent to me by a trustworthy friend. This site again claimed  that you could earn 9000 INR per month. But when I just went through the site details and researched on it a little bit, I came to know that there is no investment that needs to be done. Then I cross checked the details with my friend and he advised me to join it since whatever one will earn is profit, the person does not need to invest money at any point of time. So I thought of why not giving it a try.

Now coming onto the details part of the site. This site is interesting and pays you some amount for every sponsored email you read. But the amount is too less for each email and I really doubt if anyone can earn 9000 a month. So I would advise one to join this as only thinking it as extra pocket money and not as a part time income. This site says that you can withdraw money and the cheque will be mailed to your address. Now again, I cannot comment on its authenticity since I have never wanted to withdraw the money earned from the site. But yes I do feel it may be authentic and one can give it a try since the site does not ask you any of your account or other confidential details ever.

Again this is something that I was not looking out for initially to earn. But I did find that interesting so thought to write about this. If I get some more information about how to earn money from the blog, I will definitely write about that as well. In fact if you all know any such way to earn money through blog, I mean a wordpress blog then do write it to me or do put in a comment about it over here.

To register to the PaisaPay site click here.

There is another new browser I have recently tried. This comes from the Netscape group and has coupled with Facebook. I have been using Facebook a lot more extensively, for the last couple of days, and that is why I am have started liking this new browser. Here is the original RockMelt site. I am also putting down the article that came on the Yahoo News:

“A new internet browser that requires a Facebook log-in has been unveiled, aimed squarely at social networking users.

Called RockMelt, it has been set up by Marc Andreessen, the founder of Netscape.

Based on Google’s Chromium software, Rockmelt is designed to let users share everything they do with the friends on Facebook and Twitter.

Down the side of each web page visited is a selection of each user’s most-used Facebook Friends and Twitter contacts, reports the Daily Mail.

A statement on the firm’s blog read: ‘With RockMelt, we’ve re-thought the user experience, because a browser can and should be about more than simply navigating Web pages.

‘Today, the browser connects you to your world. Why not build your world right into your browser?’

The browser makes it particularly easy to share links with friends by dragging pictures, URLs or videos onto one of the small photos, known as ‘edges’ that line the browser’s window.

Because you have to sign in before using Rockmelt, all of your favourite sites, blogs and friends are listed when you log in.

The browser alerts you when a new story, video, or post appears on the sites you visit the most, without you having to leave the webpage you are currently on.

However, the fact that a user’s entire web search history, friends and favourite sites are known by RockMelt, will alarm those wary of handing over personal information to tech firms.

The firm claims that this browsing information will not be sold to advertisers.

‘We are not going to run an ad network. We actually don’t know where you go,’ co-founder Tim Howes told website TechCrunch. ‘That information does not leave your browser.’

The way you search on the internet is also different with RockMelt. Instead of a whole page of search results from Google, only the first 10 results come up, displaying the web page of each result before you click on it.”

Facebook is growing on a very fast pace today. Now days most of the people who use internet have a Facebook account. It has definitely become one of the most common networking sites. I have been using quite a few networking sites such as Orkut, Facebook, Twitter and ibibo for some time now. And I always wondered how safe is the information that I put on these sites.

Taking my personal experience into an example, I have been using Orkut a lot and for a long time, nearly 6 years now. And I used to use it a lot. I used it to get in touch with old friends, make new friends over the internet. In short, to make a good and strong friend network. But then sometime around 3 years back, I incidentally happened to add a person to my friends, and he was an imposter and did trouble my friends in my friends list a lot (ways I don’t want to mention here). And then I realized is the information that I am sharing over here safe. From then on I have nearly stopped using my Orkut account and only visit there in a few days to check the updates. I have now started using Facebook, and now very carefully add only those people as friends whom I know very well personally. Now I don’t add people as friends that easily. But still the question remains in my mind that what all information is safe to put on these networking sites.

It is at this time that I came across this article that does explain what all information should not be shared over the networking sites, especially form the Facebook point of view. I found this article very interesting and helpful so I am pasting it here for everyone to read.

“Wonder how much of personal information is fine on Facebook? Well, an expert tells you the dos and don’ts of being a part of the social networking giant.

Dave Whitelegg said that although Facebook is a fun way to keep in touch with friends and family, it can also be dangerous.

“Posting certain photos or information on the site puts you at risk of being fired, a victim of crime, or even worse. There are computer programmes called ‘data mining’ that sweep Facebook to collect dates of birth, phone numbers, addresses etc. That’s gold dust to criminals,” the Sun quoted Whitelegg, an IT security expert, as saying.

Here are the 10 things you should never post on Facebook and why.

  1. Date and place of birth– This places you at massive risk of identity theft. They are the most commonly used security questions on password resetting sites.
  2. Mother’s maiden name-A lot of sites use your mother’s maiden name to authenticate who you are. They also commonly use the school you went to as a security question.
  3. Address– It again puts you at risk from identity fraud, but also from burglars and stalkers.
  4. Holidays-If you post an update on Facebook saying: “Can’t wait till next Wednesday – two weeks in Miami yeh!” you are basically saying: “Come and rob me.”
  5. Short trips from home-Again, this can put you at risk of burglary and stalking.
  6. Inappropriate photos– Don’t post racy, illicit, offensive or incriminating photos. Bosses and prospective employers are increasingly looking at Facebook pages.
  7. Confessionals-These can also get you fired or haunt you for the rest of your life. Posting you are skiving work, who you are sleeping with, or doing something shameful is just dumb.
  8. Phone number-Unless you want to be bombarded with unsolicited phone calls from people trying to sell you something – don’t.
  9. Children’s names-These can be used by identity fraudsters or, more sinisterly, by paedophiles. It is much easier to steal a child’s identity. An adult will eventually discover something is wrong by, for example, their credit rating being affected. Children won’t.
  10. Don’t post a full public profile-It won’t just exist on Facebook, it will go on any internet search such as Google.

Only give the bare bones such as a name. Keep everything else private.”

Though this video feature is not a new one in Gmail, in fact if I remember it correctly it is almost one and a half two years old. But this is the first time I have used the feature. Though it is not the first time I am using a video chat. I have used it a several times on Skype. I used to use it regularly to chat almost for three years a couple of years back (amazingly during the times when we did not have the fast broadband internet, and also during the times when laptops were not very common, to use Skype one had to install a webcam, and yes it was not easy). Though for the past few months or almost a year I have been using Skype in office for client calls. In fact it was my client to insist on having the status meeting on Skype rather than over a phone call. With all this all what I want to say is that I am neither new to video chatting nor is this feature new in Gmail, so why I am suddenly writing about this now.

Well this is because this is the first time I have used this feature on Gmail, and to honest I am very much impressed. I liked the overall performance, especially because it does not add any load on the internet, since it only uses the Gmail (I meant no extra load for video is applied on the internet service). Also, one does not need to create a separate account; download and install separate software, also always log onto the software every time. Since Gmail is one of the most popular mailing applications, it is easier to find friends over here rather than on Skype or any other application.

Now coming onto the technical perspective. I agree that the video quality is not as good as the one of Skype, but it is not bad either. It is good enough for a single person to talk. Also as I have written earlier the performance (I mean the voice quality, the audio quality) is very good, comparable to Skype, or I can say even better. So overall I would rate this feature as a good one, and also recommend others to use this, especially the ones who have not used Skype so far and want to use the video chatting facility.

I now feel why is it that I have not used this feature for such a long time. This is maybe because I have not used the video chat feature for personal use for almost two years now. But I wish I could have used this earlier as well. But as they say “Better late than never”.

In the end again I would recommend others to use this feature of Gmail, as it is really good, or I can say more than good, it is really more comfortable.

Now, it is very much possible to type Indian Rupee Symbol from your computer. This procedure was available immediately after the sign became official, so I am a little late in updating on this. I have shared and uploaded the required font here. The steps to type the symbol are very simple, and are as follows: 

  1. Download the font ‘Rupee Foradian.ttf’ from here and Save on your Desktop.
  2. Go to Control Panel.
  3. Open the Font folder. It is available in the Classic View of Control Panel.
  4. Paste this font into this folder. This will automatically install the required font.
  5. Open Microsoft Word or any other text editor.
  6. Change font to ‘Rupee Fordian’.
  7. Press ` Key (the one above ‘tab’ key).

This now works as the Rupee Symbol, for the selected font.

The key to be pressed to type the Rupee Symbol

This is a new browser that is launched especially for the Indians. I am not sure if it is made by an Indian, but it is very likely that this will be the case. (In fact it is being developed by Hidden Reflex, I just got a comment on this post from their founder, Alok). What I have seen of it so far is that it is possibly made on the Mozilla Firefox. But I must say, it is still very much different and very much unique. I really liked the browser very much, and for Indians it will be special as now we will not have to go to any site to type our content in Hindi language. This browser by default provides a sidebar where one can type the content in Hindi language.

Some of its features are really amazing. First of all, by default, its look, which is simple, easy to install and load, and then its default skin, is black in color. It gives the Blackle look, or I can say it looks to follow the Blackle concept, and I must say it definitely will be very useful, more than that of Blackle. Since Blackle is a site, a search engine while Epic is a browser, it should be able to save a lot of energy hours. Also it seems to be very light weighted, much less than even Google Chrome, which is again very useful.

It is got a toolbar in the left pane, which covers almost all the common shortcuts. It contains icon of the entire common shortcuts used by us ranging from facebook, to twitter, to gmail, to travel sites, to videos, to jobs sites. It has got it all. But one thing that is unique here (apart from the Hindi language typing I already have written about) is that it has a text writer. This is a very effective writer as one can write the content is a normal text format as well as in html format. It provides default tags that are used in HTML. So one just needs to select them from the drop down lists, and make use of them. There is no problem of typing the tags anymore. Also these files can be saved in the text as well as HTML format, which helps to directly save a file in html format. First of all no browser provides such a good application (at least I have not come across any). Also one can type the content in the writer in as many as 17 languages, which includes 11 Indian languages, a functionality that no other text writer provides (again, at least I have not come across any). The Epic Writer provides all the features and functionality that a user would require to create a basic HTML file. This writer opens as a new tab in the browser, increasing the functionality of the browser, though most of the options from that left toolbar open as sidebar which is again very helpful as that means one can do multitasking for example chatting and also working or doing other things at the same time. So this helps in reducing the effort, now one does not need to open two instances of a browser.

In the other icons it has got a India icon, which displays the current Indian news from various sources. It has got a videos icon, which will display all the bookmarked videos in YouTube. Then it has got a To Do, My computer, and Timer icons which will be helpful in managing the personal schedules and other data. Then it has got different icons for various networking sites such as facebook, twitter, orkut, Gmail, and yahoo. Then it has also got an icon for Google maps. Then it has icons for job sites, travel sites, and game sites, which will display various travel sites links, various job sites links, and various game sites links respectively. Then as other browsers it has got icons for bookmarks, history, downloads, add-ons and also for Epic applications. And as I had written earlier all theses features open in a sidebar, thus enabling the user to perform the tasks more efficiently. Though multitasking is not really recommended, but it will definitely help if a person wants to chats oe other two networking sites open at the same time.

Two features i did not mention above were Backup and Collections. Backup is again very useful, as the browser directly connects to the backup software thus enabling a much more efficient way of handling data. Similarly, My Computer icon helps, connect to the system thus making the task of uploading files or saving files a lot more easier and a lot more convenient. The Collections icon displays the data from the system again. All these functionalities use the system. The “Collections” again helps in a more easy maneuverability of the most frequently used data. Also in addition to these it provides an antivirus icon, which will take the data again from the system, thereby providing better protection. Also it provides direct and easy to scan options. This makes a work so easy as one does not need to open his antivirus software again and agian to scan files. These functioanlities are simple but special because not many browsers provide these (again, at least I have not come across any). 

These are the many features that Epic provides, apart from this it is very easy to use. I have been using it for three days now, I can say it has been fun playing with this browser. Especially for that fact that this browser has almost everything a user needs in a normal surfing time.

This browser can be downloaded from this site. It is very easy to download and install the file. I do recommend using this, especially to those who write a lot of HTML content or even to the bloggers.

Also do write to me here if you found this information interesting, and also found the Epic browser easy and good to use. Though I have just written about the facts that I have used in the last few days. Maybe I am wrong at sometime, or maybe technically incorrect. So do write in to me with your suggestions. Also if you have some additional information about Epic, I will add it here on the blog.

Blackle is a website powered by Google Custom Search, which aims to save energy by displaying a black background and using grayish-white font color for search results. It is also a search engine and uses the same database used by Google so there is no difference in the results displayed by the two sites. I just came across this site recently, so I thought of it being a new concept of Google. But no I was completely wrong. This was created by Toby Heap in January 2007 (more than three years back) and is owned by Heap Media, Australia. It is only powered by the Google Custom Search. Also it is available in as many as six languages: English, Portuguese, French, Czech, Italian, and Dutch. As it is not as commonly known as Google I thought of writing something about this. But that is not the real case, it too is pretty famous and is ranked in the top 6000 sites by Alexa. 

The basic concept behind Blackle is that the computer monitors can be made to consume less energy by displaying much darker colors. Blackle is based on a study which tested a variety of CRT and LCD monitors. Although there is dispute over whether there really are any energy saving effects. This concept was first brought to the attention of Heap Media by a blog post, which estimated that Google could save 750 megawatt hours a year by utilizing it for CRT screens. The homepage of Blackle also provides a count of the number of watt hours that have been saved by enabling this concept.

During my final year of engineering, I had to make a project, the final-year project. I planned to make it in JAVA. I was using a database, a text file, an xml file, and an html file. While making the project I faced a lot of problems in which parser to use, the DOM or the SAX. In fact while submitting my first report to my guide (that is after planning out my project), she asked me what exactly is the difference between the parsers, and which one will be more useful to use. I could not actually answer it at that time (I had thought of deciding on this part at the end). So I got down to study the difference between the two, and I found this very good article at that time. It helped me a lot, and in fact I ended up using both these parsers in my project for different reasons. So now I thought that I should put up this article here on my blog. Though this is a very old one, but it still is very helpful, as it clearly gives you the difference between the two pasers.

Why they were both built
SAX (Simple API for XML) and DOM (Document Object Model) were both designed to allow programmers to access their information without having to write a parser in their programming language of choice. By keeping the information in XML 1.0 format, and by using either SAX or DOM APIs your program is free to use whatever parser it wishes. This can happen because parser writers must implement the SAX and DOM APIs using their favorite programming language. SAX and DOM APIs are both available for multiple languages (Java, C++, Perl, Python, etc.).

So both SAX and DOM were created to serve the same purpose, which is giving you access to the information stored in XML documents using any programming language (and a parser for that language). However, both of them take very different approaches to giving you access to your information.

What is DOM?
DOM gives you access to the information stored in your XML document as a hierarchical object model. DOM creates a tree of nodes (based on the structure and information in your XML document) and you can access your information by interacting with this tree of nodes.The textual information in your XML document gets turned into a bunch of tree nodes. 

Regardless of the kind of information in your XML document (whether it is tabular data, or a list of items, or just a document), DOM creates a tree of nodes when you create a Document object given the XML document. Thus DOM forces you to use a tree model (just like a Swing TreeModel) to access the information in your XML document. This works out really well because XML is hierarchical in nature. This is why DOM can put all your information in a tree (even if the information is actually tabular or a simple list).

The image here is overly simplistic, because in DOM, each element node actually contains a list of other nodes as its children. These children nodes might contain text values or they might be other element nodes. At first glance, it might seem unnecessary to access the value of an element node (e.g.: in “<name> John </name>”, John will be the value) by looking through a list of children nodes inside of it. If each element only had one value then this would truly be unnecessary. However, elements may contain text data and other elements; this is why you have to do extra work in DOM just to get the value of an element node. Usually when pure data is contained in your XML document, it might be appropriate to “lump” all your data in one String and have DOM return that String as the value of a given element node. This does not work so well if the data stored in your XML document is a document (like a Word or Framemaker document). In documents, the sequence of elements is very important. For pure data (like a database table) the sequence of elements does not matter. So DOM preserves the sequence of the elements that it reads from XML documents, because it treats everything as it if were a document. Hence the name DOCUMENT object model.

If you plan to use DOM as the Java object model for the information stored in your XML document then you really don’t need to worry about SAX. However, if you find that DOM is not a good object model to use for the information stored in your XML document then you might want to take a look at SAX. It is very natural to use SAX in cases where you have to create your own CUSTOM object models.

What is SAX?
SAX chooses to give you access to the information in your XML document, not as a tree of nodes, but as a sequence of events! This is very useful as the SAX chooses not to create a default Java object model on top of your XML document (like DOM does). This makes SAX faster, and also necessitates the following things:

  • creation of your own custom object model
  • creation of a class that listens to SAX events and properly creates your object model.

These steps are not necessary with DOM, because DOM already creates an object model for you (which represents your information as a tree of nodes).

In the case of DOM, the parser does almost everything, read the XML document in, create a Java object model on top of it and then give you a reference to this object model (a Document object) so that you can manipulate it. SAX is not called the Simple API for XML for nothing, it is really simple. SAX doesn’t expect the parser to do much, all SAX requires is that the parser should read in the XML document, and fire a bunch of events depending on what tags it encounters in the XML document. You are responsible for interpreting these events by writing an XML document handler class, which is responsible for making sense of all the tag events and creating objects in your own object model. So you have to write:

  • your custom object model to “hold” all the information in your XML document into
  • a document handler that listens to SAX events (which are generated by the SAX parser as its reading your XML document) and makes sense of these events to create objects in your custom object model.

SAX can be really fast at runtime if your object model is simple. In this case, it is faster than DOM, because it bypasses the creation of a tree based object model of your information. On the other hand, you do have to write a SAX document handler to interpret all the SAX events (which can be a lot of work).

These events fired by the SAX parser are really very simple. SAX will fire an event for every open tag, and every close tag. It also fires events for #PCDATA and CDATA sections. You document handler (which is a listener for these events) has to interpret these events in some meaningful way and create your custom object model based on them. Your document handler will have to interpret these events and the sequence in which these events are fired is very important. SAX also fires events for processing instructions, DTDs, comments, etc. But the idea is still the same, your handler has to interpret these events (and the sequence of the events) and make sense out of them.

When to use DOM
If your XML documents contain document data (e.g., Framemaker documents stored in XML format), then DOM is a completely natural fit for your solution. If you are creating some sort of document information management system, then you will probably have to deal with a lot of document data. An example of this is the Datachannel RIO product, which can index and organize information that comes from all kinds of document sources (like Word and Excel files). In this case, DOM is well suited to allow programs access to information stored in these documents.

However, if you are dealing mostly with structured data (the equivalent of serialized Java objects in XML) DOM is not the best choice. That is when SAX might be a better fit.

When to use SAX
If the information stored in your XML documents is machine readable (and generated) data then SAX is the right API for giving your programs access to this information. Machine readable and generated data include things like:

  • Java object properties stored in XML format
  • queries that are formulated using some kind of text based query language (SQL, XQL, OQL)
  • result sets that are generated based on queries (this might include data in relational database tables encoded into XML).

So machine generated data is information that you normally have to create data structures and classes for in Java. A simple example is the address book which contains information about persons. This address book XML file is not like a word processor document, rather it is a document that contains pure data, which has been encoded into text using XML.

When your data is of this kind, you have to create your own data structures and classes (object models) anyway in order to manage, manipulate and persist this data. SAX allows you to quickly create a handler class which can create instances of your object models based on the data stored in your XML documents. An example is a SAX document handler that reads an XML document that contains my address book and creates an AddressBook class that can be used to access this information. The first SAX tutorial shows you how to do this. The address book XML document contains person elements, which contain name and email elements. My AddressBook object model contains the following classes:

  • AddressBook class, which is a container for Person objects
  • Person class, which is a container for name and email String objects.

So my “SAX address book document handler” is responsible for turning person elements into Person objects, and then storing them all in an AddressBook object. This document handler turns the name and email elements into String objects.

The SAX document handler you write does element to object mapping. If your information is structured in a way that makes it easy to create this mapping you should use the SAX API. On the other hand, if your data is much better represented as a tree then you should use DOM.


Posted: May 26, 2010 by Shishir Gupta in Computer Articles, Technologies
Tags: ,

I have been using CAPTCHA for sometime now. About a week back when I was trying to implement it in I faced a few problems as I could not display the image. After a lot of troubleshooting I could get it done. Then one of my friends also happened to get the same problem, after that I searched over the net and realised that this is a very common issue that many developers are facing. So I thought of putting up the procedure here on my blog. But before I do this I thought of telling everyone about CAPTCHA. So I found this very informative article over wikipedia and I am putting it up here.


A CAPTCHA or Captcha is a type of challenge-response test used in computing to ensure that the response is not generated by a computer. The process usually involves one computer (a server) asking a user to complete a simple test which the computer is able to generate and grade. Because other computers are unable to solve the CAPTCHA, any user entering a correct solution is presumed to be human. Thus, it is sometimes described as a reverse Turing test, because it is administered by a machine and targeted to a human, in contrast to the standard Turing test that is typically administered by a human and targeted to a machine. A common type of CAPTCHA requires that the user type letters or digits from a distorted image that appears on the screen.

The term “CAPTCHA” (based upon the word capture) was coined in 2000 by Luis von Ahn, Manuel Blum, Nicholas J. Hopper, and John Langford (all of Carnegie Mellon University). It is a contrived acronym for “Completely Automated Public Turing test to tell Computers and Humans Apart.” Carnegie Mellon University attempted to trademark the term, but the trademark application was abandoned on 21 April 2008.

A CAPTCHA is a means of automatically generating new challenges which:

  • Current software is unable to solve accurately.
  • Most humans can solve
  • Does not rely on the type of CAPTCHA being new to the attacker.

Although a checkbox “check here if you are not a bot” might serve to distinguish between humans and computers, it is not a CAPTCHA because it relies on the fact that an attacker has not spent effort to break that specific form. (Such ‘check here’ methods are very easy to defeat.) Instead, CAPTCHAs rely on difficult problems in artificial intelligence. In the short term, this has the benefit of distinguishing humans from computers. In the long term, it creates an incentive to advance the state of Artificial Intelligence, which the originators of the term view as a benefit in its own right.

CAPTCHAs are used to prevent automated software from performing actions which degrade the quality of service of a given system, whether due to abuse or resource expenditure. CAPTCHAs can be deployed to protect systems vulnerable to e-mail spam, such as the webmail services of Gmail, Hotmail, and Yahoo! Mail.

CAPTCHAs found active use in stopping automated posting to blogs, forums and wikis, whether as a result of commercial promotion, or harassment and vandalism. CAPTCHAs also serve an important function in rate limiting, as automated usage of a service might be desirable until such usage is done in excess, and to the detriment of human users. In such a case, a CAPTCHA can enforce automated usage policies as set by the administrator when certain usage metrics exceed a given threshold. The article rating systems used by many news web sites are another example of an online facility vulnerable to manipulation by automated software.

Because CAPTCHAs rely on visual perception, users unable to view a CAPTCHA (for example, due to a disability or because it is difficult to read) will be unable to perform the task protected by a CAPTCHA. Therefore, sites implementing CAPTCHAs may provide an audio version of the CAPTCHA in addition to the visual method. The official CAPTCHA site recommends providing an audio CAPTCHA for accessibility reasons. This combination represents the most accessible CAPTCHA currently known to exist, but it is far from universally adopted, with most websites offering only the visual CAPTCHA, with or without providing the option of generating a new image if one is too difficult to read.

Attempts at more accessible CAPTCHAs
Even an audio and visual CAPTCHA will require manual intervention for some users, such as those who have visual disabilities and also are deaf. There have been various attempts at creating CAPTCHAs that are more accessible. Attempts include the use of JavaScript, mathematical questions (“what is 1+1”), or “common sense” questions (“what color is the sky on a clear day”). However they do not meet both the criteria of being able to be automatically generated and not relying on the type of CAPTCHA being new to the attacker.

There are a few approaches to defeating CAPTCHAs:

  • exploiting bugs in the implementation that allow the attacker to completely bypass the CAPTCHA,
  • improving character recognition software, or
  • using cheap human labor to process the tests.

Insecure implementation
Like any security system, design flaws in a system implementation can prevent the theoretical security from being realized. Many CAPTCHA implementations, especially those which have not been designed and reviewed by experts in the fields of security, are prone to common attacks.

Some CAPTCHA protection systems can be bypassed without using Optical Character Recognition (OCR) simply by re-using the session ID of a known CAPTCHA image. A correctly designed CAPTCHA does not allow multiple solution attempts at one CAPTCHA. This prevents the reuse of a correct CAPTCHA solution or making a second guess after an incorrect OCR attempt. Other CAPTCHA implementations use a hash (such as an MD5 hash) of the solution as a key passed to the client to validate the CAPTCHA. Often the CAPTCHA is of small enough size that this hash could be cracked. Further, the hash could assist an OCR based attempt. A more secure scheme would use an HMAC. Finally, some implementations use only a small fixed pool of CAPTCHA images. Eventually, when enough CAPTCHA image solutions have been collected by an attacker over a period of time, the CAPTCHA can be broken by simply looking up solutions in a table, based on a hash of the challenge image.

Computer character recognition
A number of research projects have attempted (often with success) to beat visual CAPTCHAs by creating programs that contain the following functionality:

  1. Pre-processing: Removal of background clutter and noise.
  2. Segmentation: Splitting the image into regions which each contain a single character.
  3. Classification: Identifying the character in each region.

These steps are easy tasks for computers. The only step where humans still outperform computers is segmentation. If the background clutter consists of shapes similar to letter shapes, and the letters are connected by this clutter, the segmentation becomes nearly impossible with current software. Hence, an effective CAPTCHA should focus on the segmentation.

Several research projects have broken real world CAPTCHAs, including one of Yahoo’s early CAPTCHAs called “EZ-Gimpy” and the CAPTCHA used by popular sites such as PayPal, LiveJournal, phpBB, and other open source solutions. In January 2008 Network Security Research released their program for automated Yahoo! CAPTCHA recognition. Windows Live Hotmail and Gmail, the other two major free email providers, were cracked shortly after.

In February 2008 it was reported that spammers had achieved a success rate of 30% to 35%, using a bot, in responding to CAPTCHAs for Microsoft’s Live Mail service and a success rate of 20% against Google’s Gmail CAPTCHA. A Newcastle University research team has defeated the segmentation part of Microsoft’s CAPTCHA with a 90% success rate, and claim that this could lead to a complete crack with a greater than 60% rate.

Human solvers
CAPTCHA is vulnerable to a relay attack that uses humans to solve the puzzles. One approach involves relaying the puzzles to a group of human operators who can solve CAPTCHAs. In this scheme, a computer fills out a form and when it reaches a CAPTCHA, it gives the CAPTCHA to the human operator to solve.

Spammers pay about $0.80 to $1.20 for each 1,000 solved captchas to companies employing human solvers in India, Bangladesh, and China.

Another approach involves copying the CAPTCHA images and using them as CAPTCHAs for a high-traffic site owned by the attacker. With enough traffic, the attacker can get a solution to the CAPTCHA puzzle in time to relay it back to the target site. In October 2007, a piece of malware appeared in the wild which enticed users to solve CAPTCHAs in order to see progressively further into a series of striptease images. A more recent view is that this is unlikely to work due to unavailability of high-traffic sites and competition by similar sites.

These methods have been used by spammers to set up thousands of accounts on free email services such as Gmail and Yahoo!. Since Gmail and Yahoo! are unlikely to be blacklisted by anti-spam systems, spam sent through these compromised accounts is less likely to be blocked.

The circumvention of CAPTCHAs may violate the anti-circumvention clause of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) in the United States. In 2007, Ticketmaster sued software maker RMG Technologies for its product which circumvented the ticket seller’s CAPTCHAs on the basis that it violated the anti-circumvention clause of the DMCA. In October 2007, an injunction was issued stating that Ticketmaster would likely succeed in making its case. In June 2008, Ticketmaster filed for Default Judgment against RMG. The Court granted Ticketmaster the Default and entered an $18.2M judgment in favor of Ticketmaster.

Some researchers promote image recognition CAPTCHAs as a possible alternative for text-based CAPTCHAs. To date, only RapidShare, Linux Mint and Ubuntu have made use of an image based CAPTCHA. Many amateur users of the phpBB forum software (which has suffered greatly from spam) have implemented an open source image recognition CAPTCHA system in the form of an addon called KittenAuth which in its default form presents a question requiring the user to select a stated type of animal from an array of thumbnail images of assorted animals. The images (and the challenge questions) can be customized, for example to present questions and images which would be easily answered by the forum’s target userbase. Furthermore, for a time, RapidShare free users had to get past a CAPTCHA where you had to only enter letters attached to a cat, while others were attached to dogs. This was later removed because (legitimate) users had trouble entering the correct letters.

Image recognition CAPTCHAs face many potential problems which have not been fully studied. It is difficult for a small site to acquire a large dictionary of images which an attacker does not have access to and without a means of automatically acquiring new labelled images, an image based challenge does not meet the definition of a CAPTCHA. KittenAuth, by default, only had 42 images in its database. Microsoft’s “Asirra,” which it is providing as a free web service, attempts to address this by means of Microsoft Research’s partnership with, which has provided it with more than three million images of cats and dogs, classified by people at thousands of US animal shelters. Researchers claim to have written a program that can break the Microsoft Asirra CAPTCHA.

Human solvers are a potential weakness for strategies such as Asirra. If the database of cat and dog photos can be downloaded, then paying workers $0.01 to classify each photo as either a dog or a cat means that almost the entire database of photos can be deciphered for $30,000. Photos that are subsequently added to the Asirra database are then a relatively small data set that can be classified as they first appear. Causing minor changes to images each time they appear will not prevent a computer from recognizing a repeated image as there are robust image comparator functions (e.g., image hashes, color histograms) that are insensitive to many simple image distortions. Warping an image sufficiently to fool a computer will likely also be troublesome to a human.

Researchers at Google used image orientation and collaborative filtering as a CAPTCHA. Generally speaking, people know what “up” is but computers have a difficult time for a broad range of images. Images were pre-screened to be determined to be difficult to detect up (e.g. no skies, no faces, no text). Images were also collaboratively filtered by showing a “candidate” image along with good images for the person to rotate. If there was a large variance in answers for the candidate image, it was deemed too hard for people as well and discarded. Currently, CAPTCHA creators recommend use of reCAPTCHA as the official implementation. In September 2009, Google acquired reCAPTCHA to aid their book digitization efforts.


I just hope that this information will be very useful for everyone who use CAPTCHA. Also I will be writing about implementing CAPTCHA in very shortly.


Google comes out with another of it’s new gadget, this time a TV, called as Google TV. What I would just say is watch out for Google TV. It is said to be a combination of TV, Internet and Search – endless possibilities. Here is the article of it’s launch from the official blog site. Also I really liked the heading of the article “TV meets web. Web meets TV.”

Announcing Google TV: TV meets web. Web meets TV.
If there’s one entertainment device that people know and love, it’s the television. In fact, 4 billion people across the world watch TV and the average American spends five hours per day in front of one*. Recently, however, an increasing amount of our entertainment experience is coming from our phones and computers. One reason is that these devices have something that the TV lacks: the web. With the web, finding and accessing interesting content is fast and often as easy as a search. But the web still lacks many of the great features and the high-quality viewing experience that the TV offers.

So that got us thinking…what if we helped people experience the best of TV and the best of the web in one seamless experience? Imagine turning on the TV and getting all the channels and shows you normally watch and all of the websites you browse all day — including your favorite video, music and photo sites. We’re excited to announce that we’ve done just that.
Google TV is a new experience for television that combines the TV that you already know with the freedom and power of the Internet. With Google Chrome built in, you can access all of your favorite websites and easily move between television and the web. This opens up your TV from a few hundred channels to millions of channels of entertainment across TV and the web. Your television is also no longer confined to showing just video. With the entire Internet in your living room, your TV becomes more than a TV — it can be a photo slideshow viewer, a gaming console, a music player and much more.

Google TV uses search to give you an easy and fast way to navigate to television channels, websites, apps, shows and movies. For example, already know the channel or program you want to watch? Just type in the name and you’re there. Want to check out that funny YouTube video on your 48” flat screen? It’s just a quick search away. If you know what you want to watch, but you’re not sure where to find it, just type in what you’re looking for and Google TV will help you find it on the web or on one of your many TV channels. If you’d rather browse than search, you can use your standard program guide, your DVR or the Google TV home screen, which provides quick access to all of your favorite entertainment so you’re always within reach of the content you love most.

Because Google TV is built on open platforms like Android and Google Chrome, these features are just a fraction of what Google TV can do. In our announcement today at Google I/O, we challenged web developers to start coming up with the next great web and Android apps designed specifically for the TV experience. Developers can start optimizing their websites for Google TV today. Soon after launch, we’ll release the Google TV SDK and web APIs for TV so that developers can build even richer applications and distribute them through Android Market. We’ve already started building strategic alliances with a number of companies — like and Rovi — at the leading edge of innovation in TV technology. is a next-generation TV application working to provide semantic search, personalized recommendation and social features for Google TV across all sources of premium content available to the user. Rovi is one of the world’s leading guide applications. We’re looking forward to seeing all of the ways developers will use this new platform.

We’re working together with Sony and Logitech to put Google TV inside of televisions, Blu-ray players and companion boxes. These devices will go on sale this fall, and will be available at Best Buy stores nationwide. You can sign up here to get updates on Google TV availability.

This is an incredibly exciting time – for TV watchers, for developers and for the entire TV ecosystem. By giving people the power to experience what they love on TV and on the web on a single screen, Google TV turns the living room into a new platform for innovation. We’re excited about what’s coming. We hope you are too.”

Well reading to this, I feel that this is not going to be any far from are regular TV.

Pakistan has banned Twitter, Wikipedia, and Flickr as well. Earlier I had updated about Facebook and Youtube. Well these are the latest additions to the list. Here is the article:

“PTA has blocked over 1000 Websites and Twitter is the most recent one to join the list. Earlier as we reported Facebook is banned in Pakistan Since 18th May and further more Youtube, Wikipedia, and Flickr are some of the Important Websites which access has been restricted in the country. We will update this post as more details become available to us.

Websites have never been blocked in such a large number before. Govt is just cracking down on any website that it finds promoting the Draw Muhammad Day this way or the other. Even the Websites promoting Facebook Proxies have been blocked too.

I managed to logon on to Twitter through iPhone and first thing I wanted to check was If there is any trending Topic which could have led to this blockage in the country, However there is not any.

Twitter is not yet fully restricted. Some users still can access it on different ISP than PTCL DSL. (Govt owned), the Ban usually takes effect on PTCL users first. It’s only matter of time before Twitter could be blocked on other ISPs too.”

Pakistan block Youtube as well!

Posted: May 20, 2010 by Shishir Gupta in Computer Articles, Technologies
Tags: , ,

Yesterday Pakistan court ordered to block the Facebook site till the 31st of May, and now they have done that with the Youtube as well. Here is the complete article.

“Many Pakistanis are angry at the ‘Draw Muhammad’ competition. Pakistan has blocked the popular video sharing website YouTube because of its “growing sacrilegious content”.

Access to the social network Facebook has also been barred as part of a crackdown on websites seen to be hosting un-Islamic content.

On Wednesday a Pakistani court ordered Facebook to be blocked because of a page inviting people to draw images of the Prophet Muhammad.

Some Wikipedia pages are also now being restricted, latest reports say.

Correspondents say it remains to be seen how successful the new bans will be in Pakistan and whether citizens find a way round them.

Because YouTube is a platform for free expression of all sorts, we take great care when we enforce our policies.

YouTube statement Pakistanis divided over bans

YouTube says it is “looking into the matter and working to ensure that the service is restored as soon as possible”. The site was briefly blocked in Pakistan in 2008 – ostensibly for carrying material deemed offensive to Muslims.

Facebook said on Wednesday that the content did not violate its terms.

There have been protests in several Pakistani cities against the Facebook competition.
‘Derogatory material’

The Pakistan Telecommunications Authority said it had ordered internet service providers to “completely shut down” YouTube and prevent Facebook from being viewed within Pakistan.

It said the move came only after “all possible avenues” within its jurisdiction had been used.

Zoe Kleinman Technology reporter, BBC News

Countries, companies and even individuals can easily block various websites if they choose.

China has a notorious firewall in place to control internet activity and many Western organisations choose to block access to social networks in the office.

In this case, Pakistan will probably have instructed its internet service providers (ISPs) to prevent any pages containing the phrase “” in the address from loading on web browsers.

There are various ways of implementing a block and sometimes it can go awry – Pakistan accidentally pulled YouTube offline around the world in 2008 when it tried to implement an internal ban by “hijacking” the address in order to re-direct links to a different page.
There are also ways to duck underneath a ban – most commonly by accessing the internet via a “proxy” server based abroad. This can fool an ISP into thinking a computer is actually based in another country and therefore not subject to the ban.

“Before shutting down (YouTube), we did try just to block particular URLs or links, and access to 450 links on the internet were stopped,” said PTA spokesman Khurram Ali Mehran.

“But the blasphemous content kept appearing so we ordered a total shut down.”

One of the links blocked is to a BBC News website article about Pakistani soldiers apparently beating Taliban suspects in a video posted on Facebook.

A YouTube spokesperson said: “YouTube offers citizens the world over a vital window on cultures and societies and we believe people should not be denied access to information via video.

“Because YouTube is a platform for free expression of all sorts, we take great care when we enforce our policies. Content that violates our guidelines is removed as soon as we become aware of it.”

The controversy began with the Facebook feature called “Everybody Draw Muhammad Day”. Depictions of the Prophet are forbidden in Islam.

A message on the item’s information page said it was not “trying to slander the average Muslim”.

“We simply want to show the extremists that threaten to harm people because of their Muhammad depictions that we’re not afraid of them.”

The page contains drawings and caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad and characters from other religions, including Hinduism and Christianity.

“Such malicious and insulting attacks hurt the sentiments of Muslims around the world and cannot be accepted under the garb of freedom of expression,” Pakistani foreign ministry spokesman Abdul Basit said about the page.

Facebook said in a statement that it would take action if any content “becomes an attack on anyone, including Muslim people”, but that in this case its policies were not violated.

“Facebook values free speech and enables people to express their feelings about a multitude of topics, even some that others may find distasteful or ignorant,” the statement said.

A hotline has been set up in Pakistan, asking members of the public to phone in if they see offensive material anywhere.

Islamic parties say they are planning nationwide protests in Pakistan.

Five people were killed in the country in 2006 during violent demonstrations following publication of Muhammad cartoons in a Danish newspaper.

BBC website readers have been telling us what they think of the ban. Here is a selection of their comments.

I am a university student and use Facebook and Youtube as a way of interacting and staying in touch with friends. But all students are willing to give up this source of entertainment for the sake of principles.
– Zahara Sohail Khan from Lahore, Pakistan

The strict policies of Facebook regarding racism and harassment are only for individual users. Now a page on Facebook is harassing billions of Muslims world-over and Facebook’s management is not bothered. What hypocrisy.
– Maroof from Lahore, Pakistan

I am a Muslim girl, just a normal student. When my religion is insulted, it is me who is insulted. I can live without Facebook but I definitely cannot live in humiliation. I am with my country on this and if Facebook does not take action on this, then ban or no ban, I would never go back to it anyway.
– Maham Tanveer from Rawalpindi, Pakistan

As a Muslim growing up in America, I am frustrated that neither side takes the time to understand the other. For Muslims, directly insulting the sacred is beyond petty ‘freedom of speech’ privileges we mortals have. In the West, people think arrogantly that they are free to say anything without limits whatsoever, no matter how ridiculous or insulting.
– Qureshi from Florida, USA

I am now living in Karachi, Pakistan, and I never thought I’d have to endure blocks on websites ever again after I moved from Saudi Arabia. Even though I have found a way to access blocked websites, I can’t believe the government would put a ban on them.
– Omar from Saudi Arabia

I did use Youtube and Facebook but I have removed my accounts from both sites and have communicated this to all my family and friends who have been using them.
– Hassan Mehmood from Pakistan

This is ridiculous. I find these to be ill-advised measures. Blocking websites in countries does not prevent the content from existing in the first place. I think the Pakistani government should move to ban pornography (which is still easily available) before they ban Facebook and YouTube which are obviously on the better side of human development.
– Myra from Karachi, Pakistan

This has been outrageous and infuriating. I feel disconnected from the world, from my friends, and from the easiest modes of expression available today.
– Uzma from Lahore, Pakistan

It is not only Facebook and YouTube which have been blocked in Pakistan, but parts of the BBC website too, for example the link given below, many stories about Pakistan and the entire South-East Asia section. In fact, I am forced to use a proxy server just to post this comment. As a Pakistani, I feel very frustrated and angry about this crackdown on the internet and can only hope that this is temporary.
– Schyan Zafar from Pakistan”

Well I must say, Pakistan is taking big steps.

Facebook banned in Pakistan!!!

Posted: May 20, 2010 by Shishir Gupta in Computer Articles, Technologies
Tags: , ,

Facebook has been banned in Pakistan for a few days, saying that it is insulting Islam in a way. I am putting the post here from where I found this news.

“Facebook Banned In Pakistan Till May 31 For The Insult Over ISLAM. Today, Lahore High Court was approached by such a group and requested to ban the social networking site in Pakistan. And astoundingly the court decided to ban the site until 31st May. Sketches of Prophet Muhammad are considered an act of blasphemy by Muslims and this Facebook page has already incurred criticism from several Muslims. The fallout has already begun in Pakistan, where in the port city of Karachi protestors have taken to streets protesting the Facebook announcement.

On the other hand Pakistan Telecommunication Authority has also ordered to all the internet service providers in Pakistan to ban all those links on facebook that own blasphemous links in it. Sources inside PTA informed that they are also considering to block Facebook in Pakistan as it has involved in the propaganda against the Muslims in past as well.

The action by the enemies of Islam in which they called to observe May 20 as the “Day to draw Muhammad’s day” on facebook, has been widely blamed by the Muslims all around the world and to protest against this action the lovers of Holy Prophed (PBUH), decided to boycott Facebook on this day as the link has been promoted on Facebook. In this regards Pakistani social organisation, students and people from all walks of life have organised protest demonstrations against Facebook, in front of Press Club offices in all four provinces of the country.

The Pakistani users of Facebook have also been asked not to use facebook on May 20 and also deactivate their accounts to show their love towards our Holy Prophet (PBUH).”

Well I really do not know if this was correct, but definitely this is a very strong decision taken.