c m y k c m y k

Bengaluru ● Monday ● 21 June 2010
Sony CEO gets
an $8.8 million
pay packet
despite
company losses.
12
Technomics
MySpace
co-president
Jason Hirshhorn
leaves the
company.
Apple quietly adds
anti-malaware
software to its
Snow Leopard
update.
DC
ASHLEE VANCE
NEWYORK
June 20: There’s
Amazon.com’s Kindle,
Sony’s Reader, Barnes and
Noble’s Nook, Apple’s iPad
and a bevy of iPad and Kin-
dle clones. Still, Ray
Kurzweil, the famed inven-
tor, thinks people deserve
yet another option when it
comes to reading books and
magazines with an electron-
ic device.
And so, Mr. Kurzweil
presents Blio, a software
package that can run on
everything from PCs to
hand-held devices. It dis-
plays colorful images and
varying fonts with format-
ting similar to what people
find in physical texts. The
Blio free software should
become more widely avail-
able to consumers over the
next two months, Mr.
Kurzweil said, as large PC
makers and retailers like
Wal-Mart begin to offer it on
their own devices. “Wal-
Mart is very excited,” Mr.
Kurzweil said. (Melissa
O’Brien, a Wal-Mart
spokeswoman, said, “We
speak to manufacturers and
suppliers all the time regard-
ing new products, so as a
general rule we simply do
not comment on speculation
about what may be coming
to Wal-Mart or Wal-Mart
products until plans are
absolute.”) Mr. Kurzweil
argued that the existing e-
readers and tablets had limi-
tations in the text formats
they support and the way
they handle the original
images and layouts in print-
ed texts. Blio preserves the
original formatting, making
it particularly attractive to
publishers of things like
cookbooks, how-to guides,
schoolbooks, travel guides
and children’s books. “The
publishers will not give
things with complex formats
to these e-reader makers,”
Mr. Kurzweil said. “They
destroy the format.”He said,
“The iPad launched with
just 30,000 books, which are
all in the ePub format. Apple
showed one jerry-rigged
Winnie-the-Pooh book on
TV, which they had to craft
by hand.” Mr. Kurzweil has
a long history of dealing
with this type of technology.
He created the first scanning
systems for blind people that
could read aloud everyday
texts and went on to pioneer
text-to-speech and voice
recognition software tech-
nology. He has also made a
name for himself as a pre-
dictor of technology trends.
In some of his books, Mr.
Kurzweil lays out a series of
graphs that show how things
like chip speeds, Internet
bandwidth and memory
price-performance grow at
exponential rates. He has
even used these observations
as the basis of a life philoso-
phy that promises great
technological advances in
the years to come, which I
described at length in a
recent article on the Singu-
larity. Over the years, Mr.
Kurzweil has made millions
of dollars selling his tech-
nology and companies. But
he thinks Blio and its associ-
ated bookstore could end up
as the real blockbuster even
though it appears somewhat
late to market, especially
considering the success of
the Kindle.“This shows
every potential to be the
biggest business we have
run,” Mr. Kurzweil said.
When not making e-reader
software and predicting
man’s future, Mr. Kurzweil
spends some time building
automated financial trading
systems for hedge funds
through a company called
FatKat. Only so much about
FatKat can be revealed pub-
licly, Mr. Kurzweil said,
because the Securities and
Exchange Commission
frowns on boasting about
gains in the hedge fund
arena. “I can say that we
have an arrangement with a
multibillion-dollar firm that
gets all of its money from
one multibillionaire,” Mr.
Kurzweil said. “They’re
eager for us to manage $100
million or $200 million, and
we are almost there.” —NYT
S
ports fans have spent
the week furtively
watching the World
Cup during the workday
and staying up late to watch
the NBA playoffs. They
have also been logging on
to Twitter. Despite the seri-
ous technical problems that
Twitter had during the
week, which caused long
periods of downtime, three
World Cup goals broke the
all-time record for the num-
ber of Twitter posts written
per second, Twitter report-
ed. And those records were
quickly shattered Thursday
night, after the Lakers won
the final game of the NBA
playoffs. People typically
write about 65 million
Twitter posts a day, accord-
ing to the company, and
about 750 messages per
second. But in the 30 sec-
onds after Japan scored
against Cameroon on Mon-
day, soccer fans wrote a
record 2,940 posts per sec-
ond. Basketball fans quick-
ly broke that record with
3,085 posts per second after
the Lakers’ victory. In the
last few months, the growth
in visitors to Twitter’s site
has slowed, prompting peo-
ple to wonder whether the
Twitter trend was plateau-
ing. In fact, people were
still using Twitter in
increasing numbers, but
doing it more from mobile
devices and other Twitter
apps than from Twitter’s
own site. — NYT
AIMEE LEE BALL
NEWYORK
June 20: How many times
in life must we engage in
self-description? Let us
count the ways: There’s the
anxiety of college applica-
tions. The ignominy of
Match.com dating. The
embroidery of a C.V. sent to
prospective employers. And,
of course, there is Facebook.
The profile page of every
Facebook acolyte has an
enticing little Info tab, pre-
senting the opportunity to
demonstrate wit or wisdom,
bravado or timidity, personal
agenda or professional bona
fides.
A few categories are sug-
gested by default — Likes
and Dislikes, Favorite Quo-
tations — but there’s a big
yawning hole in the section
labeled Bio. There’s no pull-
down menu: the format is
fill in the blank, every man
for himself.
“It’s unnerving to sum
yourself up and convey your
personality,” said Gretchen
Rubin, a former lawyer in
New York and author of
“The Happiness Project,”
who opted for tongue-in-
cheek: Red-haired, left-
handed, legally blind, mas-
sive consumer of Diet Coke.
“I decided that if you don’t
go deep, you might as well
go very surface,” she said. “I
wrote what I thought stuck
out about me, although it
doesn’t say that I’m a con-
stant hair-twister.”
The Facebook bio is part
explanation, part self-explo-
ration for Adam Rifkin, a
Silicon Valley entrepreneur.
“A lot of people who do my
kind of work are quite cyni-
cal, and I wanted to get
across that I am open and
sincere,” he said. “But if you
don’t overthink it, you can
have fun.”
So his earnest observations
include this: I do not play
dirty when engaged in com-
petition. But he chose as a
photo caption: Any resem-
blance to a panda is purely
coincidental. Arguably the
most tantalizing bits of self-
description are the spaces
provided for political and
religious views. Plain vanil-
la Democrats and Republi-
cans defer to the irreverent
(pinko liberal commie bas-
tard) or proselytizing (envi-
ronmental jingoist) or in-
your-face (left of you).
Although he was the White
House photographer for
President Gerald R. Ford,
David Hume Kennerly of
Santa Monica, Calif.,
declared an affiliation with
The Arched Eyebrow Party.
“It reflects my skeptical
view of the world, although I
don’t want to be regarded as
a political person,” he said.
“It wouldn’t have mattered
to me if President Ford was
a Republican or Democrat,
and what’s more important,
it didn’t matter to him. We
were in the Oval Office one
day, and he said, ‘I’ve never
asked if you were a Republi-
can.’ Then he said, ‘Don’t
answer that.’ ” Religion is
widely interpreted as a blank
canvas of self-expression:
Some are poetic (yoga,
oceans, cathedrals), some
cryptic (overhead, wide),
some creative (Nikki’s yoga
class is a religious experi-
ence), some guilty (have
turned into a C & E
Catholic; shame on me),
some prosaic (private), some
sweet (atheist except for kit-
tens), some trying hard to
delineate or differentiate
themselves (atheist but O.K.
with religious holidays).
Every mainstream religion
seems to have offshoots and
subsidiaries unrecognized
by any priest, pastor, rabbi
or imam: Judaism is repre-
sented by Amish Jew, Jewish
pagan, pantheistic with a
Jewish twist on the rocks,
and Jew-ish (which must be
different from Jewish, per-
haps more along the lines of
Jew-esque).
Friends make the best mir-
rors, according to Ashley
Pierce, who recently earned
a master’s degree in fine
arts from East Carolina Uni-
versity. So she related two
idiosyncrasies that others
often mention about her:
The inside of my car is
always really clean and I
make illustrated lists for
everything. “Drawings, like
dreams, are a reflection of
your subconscious,” she
said. “Just now I drew a little
raspberry. I have no idea
why.” I’m an open book
hints at a philosophical man-
ifesto for Stuart Tracte, chief
marketing officer for Project
Migration, a New York non-
profit that focuses on single
mothers in Africa. “In any
relationship, it’s when
you’re dealing with other
people’s shortcomings that
you hit stumbling blocks,”
Mr. Tracte explained. “Why
not admit that those things
exist? My deepest darkest
secrets are what makes me
who I am.”
Self-definition can cross
easily into self-satisfaction,
heading right toward self-
adulation, and what is
revealed unwittingly may be
truest. On one end of the
spectrum are the people who
can’t get over the fact that
they went to Harvard; their
profiles stop just short of
saying “we happy few.”
On the other end is the
charming self-deprecation
of Jim Donovan, a financial
adviser and president of the
New Jersey Junior Lacrosse
League, who channels Mel
Brooks: I am the white sock
in the tuxedo store. “I guess
that’s just a father admitting:
I know nothing,” he said.
Defining yourself is often
about aspiration, observed
Mitchell Davis, vice presi-
dent of the James Beard
Foundation in New York.
“I spend a lot of time in
Italy, where presentation of
la bella figura is so impor-
tant in the culture,” he said.
“But there’s what you think
you are and what other peo-
ple think. Somewhere in the
middle is who you are.” He
chose a succinct I eat well
but too much as his bio.
Ultimately, Facebook self-
portraiture can tack frivo-
lous, profound, introspec-
tive, even nostalgic. You can
take Brian out of New York
... identifies Brian Zisk, a
consultant for music and
technology projects who
was unexpectedly trans-
planted to San Francisco.
“I carry a lot of New York
with me, and that’s a way to
express the core of who I
am,” he said. “Online there’s
a whole different set of clues
for evaluating people you
come across. If you meet
someone in person, you can
see if he’s a slob or if he
woke up this morning and
spent seven hours on him-
self. But people online are
remarkably similar to what
they are in real life. If you’re
a jerk online, you’re proba-
bly a jerk in real life, too.”
—NYT
bITs
Sports fans
break records
on Twitter
M
otorola Inc. will
pump the bulk of
its remaining cash
into its handset and set-top
box business when it spins
off the unit in the first quar-
ter of 2011, according to a
Wall Street Journal story.
The story, which cited
unnamed sources, also said
that the company would
buy back most of its debt,
which stands at about $3.9
billion. It said the company
would give the mobile
phone unit $3 billion to $4
billion of its cash. It will
also leave the cellphone
company, to be called
Motorola Mobility, without
pension liabilities and most
other debts. This would
leave the rest of Motorola
with the remainder of its
cash, its pension obliga-
tions and all its other liabil-
ities, the Wall Street Jour-
nal said. The business
would be called Motorola
solutions.
—Reuters
Motorola to
shower cash
on phone biz
Self-description on Facebook
reveals more than you want
ANNE EISENBERG
NEWYORK
June 20: Forget about des-
perate housewives. To wit-
ness true frustration, watch
desperate PC users trying to
type, send e-mail or work on
a spreadsheet, only to be
delayed by those pesky
hourglass icons for seconds
or even minutes until their
computers finally respond.
Now Soluto, a company
based in Tel Aviv, aims to
help these PC owners with
an unusual program intend-
ed to minimize irritating
slowdowns. The software
runs in the background on
PCs, collecting data on
delays in program responses
and sending the information
to company servers for
analysis, said Tomer Dvir, a
co-founder and the chief
executive.
As its first service, the
company is offering a free
program intended to solve a
classic computer problem: a
slow boot or start-up time.
(The program is at the com-
pany’s Web site, www.solu-
to.com.)
Roee Adler, the chief prod-
uct officer, said the program
analyzed the boot-up
process, recording how long
it took and suggesting ways
to trim the time. “Often you
can cut your boot in half, or
even more,” he said.
I tried the Soluto program,
and by following its recom-
mendations, cut my boot
time to 1.44 minutes from
2.40 minutes. I removed
some applications from the
boot sequence, letting them
run after the boot was over. I
“paused” other applications
that I don’t use on a daily
basis — for instance, an
application that automatical-
ly updates Google products.
Instead, I’ll wait until the
company lets me know
when there is an update.
(Soluto divides the possible
changes in the boot into “no
brainers,” “potentially
removable apps” and
“required, cannot be
removed.”)
The company is also work-
ing on solutions to other
slowdowns, like interrup-
tions while working on
Excel or typing in Word
when another application
suddenly commands Win-
dows resources, causing a
timeout. Finding the source
of delays is often tricky, Mr.
Adler said, because Win-
dows runs on many different
computer models; each has
its own complement of
downloads and devices, all
jockeying for attention.
Novelties
Many other services,
including, for example, PC
Pitstop, are already on the
market to optimize boot-ups
and other processes. The PC
Pitstop scan is free, said
Dave Methvin, the chief
technology officer, “and will
tell you what it thinks needs
to be done.”
Typically, delays on PCs
occur because applications
like vendor updates are bat-
tling for resources. “When
you have 10 of those run-
ning in the background,”
said Mr. Adler at Soluto,
“they add up.” —NYT
New solutions to fight PC delays
Ray Kurzweil vows to set right the wrongs of E-reader
Slate makeover
for healthcare
Kapil Khandelwal is Director, EquNev Capital, a
niche investment banking and advisory services
firm and a leading healthcare and information
communication technology (ICT) expert. He can
be contacted at Kapil@KapilKhandelwal.com
A dose
of IT
A dose
of IT
American inventor and futurist Raymond Kurzweil
KAPIL KHANDELWAL
A
s per rough esti-
mates, 250 mil-
lion health work-
ers will be considered
mobile workers globally
by 2015. Coming to
India, there are currently
there over 4.5 million
health workers including
doctors who can be con-
sidered mobile workers.
This is a huge opportu-
nity that can provide
patient information and
enable collaboration
with other health work-
ers on the go! Last year,
Motion Computing
introduced a rugged
tablet PC for health
workers. However, its
price and affordability
would have been an
issue with an average
doctor in India.
With the launch of
Apple's Ipad and the
expected launch of HP's
Slate and Dell's Streak,
doctors may find more
affordable solution with
more comfortable slate
form factor that will
translate over to pen-
based computing. I
believe that the slates
will gain tremendous
traction in Indian health-
care industry, once doc-
tors realise that they can
be much more produc-
tive by navigating
directly on the screen,
they will be inclined to
switch to touch/pen-
based computing.
Let us compare the
three solutions: Apple
iPad runs the same oper-
ating system (OS) found
on its Apple iPhone and
iPod touch, while the HP
Slate was demonstrated
to work on the Microsoft
Window 7 OS and the
Dell Streak works on the
Google's Android OS,
similar to the ones used
on the mobile phones.
So it won't be a fair
comparison to put the
Apple iPad up against
the HP Slate or Dell
Streak. Then again, it's
probably too premature
for me to make these
types of statements. So
let’s us look at what the
doctors, nurses and
health workers are cur-
rently using and may
possibly find easy to
migrate their computing
habits. The penetration
of Apple iPhone and/or
Mac PC or for that mat-
ter a Google Android
smart phones amongst
doctors is relatively low
as compared to the prob-
ability of them currently
working on Microsoft
Windows OS based
laptop or desktop PC
loaded with their per-
sonal and medical com-
puting software and
telemedicine.
There are only a few
sites in Bangalore and
India that are using
Apple iPhone OS as a
platform for telemedi-
cine. Narayana
Netralaya, in Bangalore
has a pilot running with
doctors on tele-ophthal-
mology using Apple
iPhone. I have yet to see
one Android OS-based
health solution in India.
Hence the chances of
higher adoption and
comfort with Windows-
based HP Slate like
products which is priced
below INR 25,000
would be a great success
with doctors, nurses and
mobile health workers.
Now let me outline some
negatives that I have
faced and expect. Being
a HP tablet PC user for
the last 4 years for my
personal and mobility
computing needs, my
troubles began when I
have upgraded my HP
tablet with the Microsoft
Windows 7 OS earlier
this year. Despite HP's
prompt trouble shooting
after sales and support,
the Microsoft Windows
7 OS had to be reloaded
5 times in the last 6
months of this calendar
year.
Loss of time, produc-
tivity and a lot of
anguish for me! While
HP services folks point
out that this is not an
issue with their HP slate
(hardware) but with the
Microsoft Windows 7
OS (software), ultimate-
ly, they need to function
together. On the other
hand my Mac PC at
home that I have
acquired over a year ago
has been functioning
flawless with the Mac
OS. Some other industry
developments have
occurred while my HP
tablet konks again on
Microsoft Windows 7
OS. HP has acquired
Palm, one of the mobile
phone players for USD
1.2 billion.
Palm has a new Web
OS that HP is rumoured
to release with its HP
Slate later this year. If
that is true, then the
whole familiarity breeds
comfort and contempt
for HP and Microsoft
Windows theory for the
doctors, nurses and
mobile health workers
goes out.I had my go on
the Slates in healthcare.
The jury then is still
open!

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