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Monday, November 5, 2007

News: A journey to the net's silver side

Pensioner using SagaZone, Getty
SagaZone is only accessible by those aged fifty or over

The BBC's technology correspondent, Rory Cellan-Jones, goes undercover to find out what life is like for silver surfers in the newly launched SagaZone.

Is social networking just for the young?

That's a question I asked earlier this year after signing up to Facebook, MySpace and Bebo and struggling to find friends of my own vintage.

The answer was a resounding no - within days of voicing my concerns I had hundreds of new friends and was spending far too much time socialising online.

Now though, Saga, the firm which markets travel and insurance to the over-50s, has decided that there is a gap in the market for older social networkers.

The travel and insurance company believes there is a sizeable audience out there which wants to socialise online but is intimidated by the poking, loud music and startlingly indiscreet pictures which are part and parcel of the likes of Facebook and MySpace.

The theory is they will be more comfortable in somewhere like SagaZone, a site which will refuse you membership if you are under 50.

So I took a journey into the SagaZone to find out whether it really stood a chance of winning an audience. First, a confession. To get access, I was forced to make a slight adjustment to my date of birth to make it appear I was fifty - though not by as much as I would have liked.

Once onboard, and having posted a profile with a fetching picture of an eccentric man with a woolly hat, I set off to explore.

Facebook logo reflected in eye, Getty
Many folk have found places like Facebook and Bebo are not for them
It is a very restrained and low-tech approach to networking. Facebook seemed pretty plain to anyone who had started with the multi-coloured swapshop world of MySpace and Bebo, but SagaZone is like stepping into the library.

No opportunity to post exciting photos or share favourite music or video clips, not even the online scrabble which occupies far too much of my time on Facebook.

It is over at the forums that most of the activity is going on, and here it is pretty lively. Discussions on everything from gardening to relationships, from technology to prostate cancer are attracting plenty of interest.

So I started my own thread, asking why people would choose a network that is defined by age, rather than one anyone can join.

"The people on here are intelligent, well read, and interesting, and they know something about life," said "Jen". "At 65, who could ask for anything more?"

Plenty others had joined other networking sites and found them unsatisfying. "I'm far too fat and hard-up to want to talk fashion or designer labels and what's more, I know what an apostrophe is and WHERE not to put one," wrote "orkneymermaid".

Old folk playing video game, BBC
Video games are not just for the young
One man who'd been persuaded to join Facebook and Bebo by younger family members said "I felt like a nosy perverted eavesdropper¿¿and constantly ducking flying sheep and getting bled by the attacks of vampires gets tedious."

Anyone who has suffered Facebook's more juvenile features will feel sympathy.

Back at my inbox I find several users have contacted me, including two ladies who wish to compliment me on my hat. It's a friendly enough place but I remain to be convinced that it will win a mass audience. It lacks the constant drip-feed of news from your friends that has made Facebook so compelling.

As the social networking industry enjoys explosive growth, with infant businesses suddenly worth 15 billion dollars, all sorts of new services are being launched.

Many, like Saga, are betting that the industry will become more segmented, with different services aimed at different groups, from young mothers, to students, to former soldiers.

But I'm not convinced that I will become a Saga surfer, even when I eventually qualify to become a member.

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News: Google pushes into mobile phones

There are three billion mobile handsets in the world
Google has unveiled software it hopes will power a variety of future mobile phones and boost the web on the move.

The software could lead to cheaper phones as it is designed to speed up the process of making mobile services.

The firm is working with four mobile manufacturers - Samsung, HTC, Motorola and LG - but a Google branded phone was not announced.

The first phones using the so-called Google "software stack" will be available in the second half of 2008.

"This is going to bring the internet into cell phones in a very cool way," Andy Rubin, Google's director of mobile platforms, told the Associated Press news agency.

Mr Rubin's firm, called Android, was bought by Google in 2005 and the software it developed forms the basis of the new stack.

We want to create a whole new mobile experience for users
Eric Schmidt, Google

Google has formed the Open Handset Alliance (OHA), made up of 34 companies, including chip manufacturers and handset makers.

The move will be seen as a major competitor to Microsoft, Research in Motion, Palm and Symbian, who make the leading software systems for mobiles.

Google's Android software will be provided to handset makers free of charge and could lead to a price war for operating system licenses and potentially cheaper handsets.

In the United States mobile networks such as Sprint Nextel and T-Mobile will carry the Google-powered phones.

'Unleash potential'

China Mobile, Telefonica in Spain and Telecom Italia are among the carriers that have signed on to provide services outside the US.

This doesn't seem to be a beta release of a technology. If I were a competitor, I would be sitting up and paying attention
Analyst Adam Leach, Ovum

"This partnership will help unleash the potential of mobile technology for billions of users around the world," Eric Schmidt, Google's chief executive and chairman, said in a statement.

Rene Obermann, chief executive of Deutsche Telekom, said Android would offer a "better than internet experience for mobile users".

"This is a shot that is going to be heard around the world, but it's just the first shot in what is going to be a very protracted battle in the next frontier of the mobile web," said analyst Michael Gartenberg, at Jupiter Research.

In a call to reporters, Mr Schmidt said: "We want to create a whole new mobile experience for users.

"Mobile users want the same applications on the phone as they use on the internet."

Peter Chou, chief executive of HTC, said the agreement to join the OHA did not mean the firm would stop the use of other operating systems on its platforms.

"We do have commitments with some carriers and will continue with those lines," he said.

There have been many reports of a so-called Google phone in recent months.

"Today's announcement is more ambitious than any single Google Phone that the press has been speculating about over the past few weeks," said Mr Schmidt.

"Our vision is that the powerful platform we're unveiling will power thousands of different phone models."

But Mr Schmidt would not rule out the release of a Google Phone in the future.

Adam Leach, principal analyst with Ovum, said: "It's an important announcement. That number of companies already committing to the service is very impressive."

Mr Leach said the danger was that the move would create "yet another" competing service and not a "truly open platform".

"We've seen collaboration of this sort before in the mobile industry and there's quite a number of platforms already out there professing to remove fragmentation, speed-up time to market and enable third-party innovation.

"The proposition from that point of view is not new."

He added: "This doesn't seem to be a beta release of a technology. If I were a competitor, I would be sitting up and paying attention."

Google's system will be based on computer code that can be openly distributed among programmers, allowing them to build new applications.

A development tool kit for working on the new platform will be released next week.

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Who Can Do This

can u survive 18 secs ...Hey there..lets play this game, flicked it frm another community..found it exiting..jst try and mention the record.. Clik the link below....u will find the instructions at the bottom of the page that opens.

enjoy the game....

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This is Really Awesome

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Nameless Recycle Bin In Vista

Everyone knows what the recycle bin icon is, isn’t it ? Then what’s the point in naming it Recycle Bin. Well if you want to remove the name "Recycle Bin", download this small file and run the registry tweaks.

Download From Here: Nameless Recycle Bin

  • Double click the Merge RecycleBin_NoName.reg and refresh your Desktop to remove the name.
  • Double click the Merge RecycleBin_Default.reg and refresh your Desktop to restore the name.

  • Hope you will like this little but useful trick.

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    Diagnose And Repair An Unbootable XP Or Vista PC

    What to do when your Windows XP or Windows Vista system refuses to boot.

    How do I prepare an emergency boot disc so I'm ready in case Windows becomes unbootable?

    Alas, the days when Windows came with a program for creating a useful emergency boot floppy are long gone. And those old boot floppies wouldn't help with XP or Vista--even if you PC had a floppy drive.

    Boot from one of the discs that came with your PC, and examine the menus (don't select anything that might wipe your drive). You're looking for emergency utilities.

    You're in real luck if you have a full Windows XP CD or Vista DVD. These come with great tools for diagnosing and repairing an unbootable PC. In fact, if you don't have a real Windows disc, find one you can borrow in an emergency. Don't install Windows from a borrowed disc, but if it has the same version of Windows as your PC, use its repair tools.

    Boot from an XP CD, and press R at the 'Welcome to Setup' screen to see the Recovery Console, a DOS-like command-line environment with a number of useful utilities.

    If you boot from a Vista DVD, click Repair your computer to open the System Recover program. There you'll find options to automatically fix boot problems, restore your hard drive from an image backup, diagnose memory, or perform a system restore.

    If you're ready for a Windows alternative, try Puppy Linux, which you can download as a ready-to-burn .iso file from the Puppy Linux Web site. Boot from the CD, and you'll have a nongeek's version of Linux running on your PC. Puppy Linux is the best tool I've found for one extremely important job: copying important files off an unbootable hard drive. Unlike UBCD4Win, Puppy recognizes USB drives, making it extremely easy to put these files where you can readily access them.

    The XP CD's Boot Tool Kit

    Enter these commands in Windows XP's Recovery Console to perform CPR on your disks and files.

    Command Action
    Attrib Changes the attributes of a file or directory.
    Batch Executes the commands specified in the text file.
    Bootcfg Boot file (boot.ini) configuration and recovery.
    ChDir (Cd) Displays the name of the current directory or changes the current directory.
    Chkdsk Checks a disk and displays a status report.
    Cls Clears the screen.
    Copy Copies a single file to another location.
    Delete (Del) Deletes one or more files.
    Dir Displays a list of files and subdirectories in a directory.
    Disable Disables a system service or a device driver.
    Diskpart Manages partitions on your hard drives.
    Enable Starts or enables a system service or a device driver.
    Exit Exits the Recovery Console and restarts your computer.
    Expand Extracts a file from a compressed file.
    Extract Extracts files from compressed .cab archives.
    Fixboot Writes a new partition boot sector onto the specified partition.
    Fixmbr Repairs the master boot record of the specified disk.
    Format Formats a disk.
    Help Displays a list of commands you can use in the Recovery Console.
    Listsvc Lists the services and drivers available on the computer.
    Logon Logs on to a Windows installation.
    Map Displays the drive letter mappings.
    Mkdir (Md) Creates a directory.
    More Displays a text file.
    Net Use Connects a network share to a drive letter.
    Rename (Ren) Renames a single file.
    Rmdir (Rd) Deletes a directory.
    Set Displays and sets environment variables.
    Systemroot Sets the current directory to the systemroot directory of the system you are currently logged on to.
    Type Displays a text file.

    I hope these will help you :)

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    Disabling Notification Area Balloon Tips In Windows Vista

    Do the balloon tips keep annoying you? Then don’t worry, here’s how you can disable notification area balloon tips in Windows Vista:

    1. First Go to Start > Run and type Regedit.exe

    2. Navigate to the following subkey:


    3. Create a new REG_DWORD (32 bit) value, and then name it EnableBalloonTips

    4. Double-click EnableBalloonTips, and then give it a value of 0

    5. Close Regedit.exe

    6. Log off Windows, and then log back on.

    If you dont want to do the above method you can download the below file and just run it.
    Download From Here - Disableballoontips.reg

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