Saturday, 29 May 2010

Now, a Muslim-only 'Facebook'

Pakistanis outraged with Facebook over "blasphemous" caricatures of the Prophet Mohammed have created a spin-off networking site that they dream can connect the world's 1.6 billion Muslims.

A group of six young IT professionals from Lahore, the cultural and entertainment capital of Pakistan, launched for Muslims to interact online and protest against blasphemy.

The private venture came after a Pakistani court ordered a block on Facebook until May 31, following deep offence over an "Everyone Draw Mohammed Day" page considered "blasphemous" and “sacrilegious.”

"Millatfacebook is Pakistan's very own, first social networking site. A site for Muslims by Muslims where sweet people of other religions are also welcome," the website tells people interested in signing up.

Dubbed MFB, after Facebook's moniker FB, its founder says professionals are working around the clock to offer features similar to those pioneered by the wildly popular California-based prototype.

Each member has a "wall" for friends to comment on. The site offers email, photo, video, chat and discussion board facilities.

The Urdu word "Millat" is used by Muslims to refer to their nation. The website claims to have attracted 4,300 members in the last three days -- mostly English-speaking Pakistanis in their 20s.

The number of aficionados may be growing, but the community is a drop in the ocean of the 2.5 million Facebook fans in Pakistan and there have been some scathing early reviews of the start-up.

Neither has Facebook been immediately reachable for comment.

"We want to tell Facebook people 'if they mess with us they have to face the consequences'," said Usman Zaheer, the 24-year-old chief operating officer of the software house that hosts the new site.

"If someone commits blasphemy against our Prophet Mohammed then we will become his competitor and give him immense business loss," he said, dreaming of making "the largest Muslim social networking website.”

Wednesday, 26 May 2010

Standard phone charger coming soon

An energy efficient standard charger for all mobile phones will soon be introduced in the global market, said International Telecommunication Union (ITU), a leading United Nations agency for Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) issues.

ITU officials announced on the first day of World Telecommunication Development Conference (WTDC-10) that standard mobile phone charger is ready to be introduced in the market. The new Universal Charging Solution (UCS) underlines the role of ICT in providing solutions towards mitigating climate change.

Director of ITU's Telecommunication Standardisation Bureau (TSB), Malcolm Johnson, told reporters on the sidelines of the conference that it was a significant step in reducing the environmental impact of mobile charging.

He said UCS would reduce 13.6 million tonnes of CO2 emissions each year and 82,000 tonnes of redundant chargers.

Johnson said the telecom industry led the development of UCS and hence it would be universally accepted by the telecom companies.

The standardisation of technology enables the same charger to be used for all future handsets, regardless of make and model. It will cut the number of chargers produced, shipped and subsequently discarded as new models become available.

The new standard will mean users worldwide will be able to charge their mobiles anywhere from any available charger, while also reducing the energy consumed while charging.

The new UCS standard was based on input from the GSMA, which predicts a 50 per cent reduction in standby energy consumption.

Friday, 21 May 2010

Internet cloud is future: Microsoft

Microsoft chief executive Steve Ballmer said that the technology giant that built a fortune with packaged software is betting the future of computing is in the Internet "cloud."

"Cloud computing represents the next frontier," Ballmer said at an annual gathering of corporate chief executives at Microsoft's campus in Redmond, Washington.

"We've been betting or investing in the cloud for about ten years and in earnest for about six or seven years."

Cloud computing gained momentum during the economic downturn as people and businesses saved money by using applications hosted online instead of buying, installing and maintaining software on their own machines.

"There is incredible opportunity in the cloud," Ballmer said.

Microsoft sees cloud computing as playing roles in its investments in personal computers, smartphones, and Internet-enabled television.