Monthly Archives: February 2011

Bugs in Google Disables 150,000 Gmail Accounts


Google, we have a problem. About 150,000 Gmail account holders woke up to a nightmare this morning, with all their e-mail, attachments and Google Chat logs gone. What happened?

Google explains that “less than 0.08%” of all Gmail users were affected by the bug, which completely reset accounts, even down to the detail offering a welcome message to those users when they first logged on today. They, and especially visitors to the Gmail Help Forum, were not amused.

But there’s good news here. The way Google is explaining it on its Apps Status Dashboard: “Google engineers are working to restore full access. Affected users may be temporarily unable to sign in while we repair their accounts.”

In an earlier message, Google wrote, “For those Gmail users reporting missing messages, our engineers are working to restore them as soon as possible.” So maybe this is not so bad after all. As long as Google restores the messages, all we had was a big scare. Will Google restore all the messages? We’ve contacted a Google spokesperson, and will let you know when we hear back.

Meanwhile, I’m going to back up all of my Gmail forthwith. But wait a minute -– how do you back up Gmail? Here:

 

 

 

 

This is a free application for Mac, PC and Linux called Gmail Backup. I gave it a try and it’s easy to use. After a quick download, you just give it your credentials and it begins downloading all your e-mails, backing them up securely no matter what Google decides to do. After 30 minutes, it had downloaded 2.4% of my e-mails, so this is not going to take forever. It’s probably time well spent.

 

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PayPal Lifts Ban on Fundraising Account for WikiLeaks


PayPal has lifted its ban on the account of Courage to Resist, an organization that has raised a substantial portion of the funds needed for the legal defense of Bradley Manning, the 23-year-old former U.S. army private accused of leaking classified U.S. information to WikiLeaks in 2010.

In a blog post, PayPal declared that the original suspension had nothing to do with the organization’s support of Bradley Manning. Rather, the account had been suspended because it had failed to comply with a stated policy that requires non-profits to link a bank account to their PayPal account.

“Upon review, and as part of our normal business procedures, we have decided to lift the temporary restriction placed on their account because we have sufficient information to meet our statutory ‘Know Your Customer’ obligations. The Courage to Resist PayPal account is now fully operational,” Anuj Nayar, PayPal’s director of communications, wrote.

The explanation was posted in response to a widely circulated blog post on the Bradley Manning Support Network’s website Thursday, which accused the payment service of suspending the account because of its fundraising efforts on Manning’s behalf.

Manning has been held in solitary confinement in Quantico, Virginia, since June 2010, and is not expected to face court martial until October 2011. His legal defense is estimated to cost more than $100,000.

The ban on WikiLeaks’s PayPal account remains in place.

 


Google Launches Cloud Connect Plugin- Sync Microsoft Office Documents with Google Apps Account


Google has made the Cloud Connect plugin available to all Microsoft Office users and the tool lets you take the most important step in transitioning from desktop to cloud – sync MS office files with your Google apps account.

Lately, most of my work related documents are stored in the cloud, though  I use desktop software for creation. And in few instances, Internet serves as a data source (and desktop as storage for offline reading, like RSS feed reader)

what I need is better sync and have resorted to desktop more than cloud. Having said that, my source of data will still be on the cloud, but I will be using more of desktop and syncing software.

Google Cloud plugin provides the much needed sync service (works with MS office products only) that syncs your files with your Google apps account and over a period of time, build more trust in Cloud.

 


Toys ‘R’ Us Regains Ground On Wal-Mart


Citing a recent ReutersreportRetailWire editor-in-chief George Andersonkicked off  last week by bringing an oddity to the attention of our insider retail industry audience:  “Something unusual happened this past holiday season. Walmart gave up share of toy category sales.”

Apparently, a series of missteps, including cutting product selection and failing to add floor space before Christmas, contributed to a less than Walmart-like performance for the selling season. Toys ‘R’ Us took full advantage of the opportunity, in many of its stores offering a selection of 7,000 toys to Wal-Mart’s 1,800. Research by NPD Group pegged toy stores as gaining a half-a-point share during the holiday season while mass merchants lost three percent.

Further, Toys ‘R’ Us brought in a large number of exclusive toys to make sure there would be further differentiation from Wal-Mart and Target.

TRU, which filed for an IPO in May of last year, now has a solid holiday season under its belt. Its U.S. sales were up 5.4 percent in December. After years of learning lessons the hard way as Wal-Mart undermined its business, gaining a bit of market share back from the Bentonville Behemoth at a time when the retailer is looking to raise up to $800 million is good timing indeed.

We asked our RetailWire BrainTrust panel of retailing experts if they thought toy stores as a channel have regained the advantage lost over the past couple of decades to mass merchants.

“Walmart’s poor showing in the toy category and loss of market share can be, in my opinion, directly related to the lagging affects of John Flemming’s ‘Project Impact’ debacle,” wrote Charles P. Walsh, president, OmniQuest Resources. Mr. Walsh spent 15 years working in the Wal-Mart offices, specifically in its Global Procurement Division.

“Walmart plans and executes merchandising strategies a year in advance, and while able to affect assortment changes closer to events, the assortment and shelf space were determined under a different executive leadership direction,” commented Mr. Walsh. “In addition to the reduction in assortment and shelf space, Walmart also made a critical mistake in placing a large portion of their assortments in the indoor garden section which quite possibly rendered it invisible to many shoppers.”

TRU’s concentration on making exclusive deals was seen as a key strategic move by many of our commentators.

“TRU gained share by returning their focus to what they began with—the assortment,” wrote Bill Emerson, president, Emerson Advisors. “They returned to being the ‘toy expert’ as opposed to trying to compete on price with the masters of that game. There’s a lesson here for all retailers struggling to compete with the mass giants—it’s the product, stupid. Give customers a superior alternative in product assortments and you will succeed. Try to compete solely on price and you won’t.”

A number of panelists pointed out an element absent from the Reutersarticle; the influence of online sales on holiday shopping habits.

“As a retailer, toys are a hugely inefficient category,” commented independent consultant Gene Detroyer. “Inventory has to be built and can get out of balance easily; sales are concentrated, price-cuts are common and leftovers are more than prevalent. Given a choice between toys, groceries and consumer electronics, there is no choice. Why turn your store upside down to accommodate toys, especially when the consumer is going online?

“Walmart and Target are likely the winners here. They didn’t risk margin. They didn’t risk shelf space allocation and come January, they didn’t have to deal with toys.”

Certainly, not all BrainTrust panelists took TRU’s recent victory as a harbinger of a sustained trend, nor indication that the big boys are incapable of scrappy innovation.

“If sales were not up at TRU, it would be a death knell in the wake of previous losses and the deployment of hundreds of holiday pop-up stores. (What was the ROI on that?),” quipped Carol Spieckerman, president, newmarketbuilders. “I think Target has done a great job of differentiating its toy offerings through exclusives and going a bit old school/retro with classic and developmental toys while offering at-a-price options to keep traffic flowing. Walmart is not ceding its hard-won toy gains to anyone and a wee uptick from TRU certainly doesn’t prove that Walmart has.”

 


LG Optimus Pad


LG Optimus Pad is the European cousin of the T-Mobile G-Slate tablet. It has a 8.9 inches display, positioning it right between the iPad’s 9.7″ and the Galaxy Tab’s 7″ screens. In terms of raw power, the LG Optimus Pad will utilize NVIDIA’s one and only Tegra 2 chipset, which fares quite decently, at least judging by our personal impressions with the Optimus 2X. What’s more interesting in this device however is its ability to capture 3D content with the two 5MP sensors found on its back. Unfortunately, users won’t be able to watch glasses-free 3D on the LG Optimus Pad’s 8.9-inch screen. 3D video watching will be done by either using glasses on the tablet’s screen, or by streaming the signal via HDMI 1.4 to a compatible 3D TV or monitor (again, for use with glasses). When it comes to software, LG has chosen to stick with stock Android 3.0 Honeycomb.


Bangalore Startup, Arrow Devices Develops Next Gen USB Chip


Arrow Devices is a semiconductor startup based in Bangalore that has developed a chip design for the next generation USB standard (called SuperSpeed USB 3.0) completely out of
Bangalore.arrow_devices

Arrow Devices’s USB 3.0 design transfers data at 5 Gbps , is 10 times faster than the existing USB standard and is capable of transferring a 25GB High Definition movie file in under 2 minutes versus 14 minutes taken by traditional USB implementations.

The company has bagged Nvidia, one of the top-5 semiconductor companies in the world as a customer for this chip design.

Started in 2008, the company plans to license their design to chip manufacturers for fabrication. As far as USB 3.0 is concerned, the next generation USB standard is expected to hit the market in the coming year, though companies like Intel have clearly stated that they will not support USB 3.0 until 2011.


Developer Preview of Google Chrome Web Store Now Available in India


Google has finally opened up the developer preview of the Chrome web store to India (and 14 more countries).

Starting today, when you upload an app via the developer dashboard, you’ll have the option of selecting from the following sixteen countries to list your app: Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, France, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Spain, United Kingdom and the United States. If you are using Chrome Web Store Payments to charge for your app, you will also be able to set the app price for each country although if you’re not based in the United States you will not be able to complete your merchant account sign up just yet (this will be enabled soon).

 


Orkut Is Giving Free Movie Tickets In Return For a Comment


From the Orkut blog

For Orkut users in Mumbai, we are giving away tickets to the latest movie releases on the 19th and 20th of February at PVR Juhu and Mulund.

All you have to do is follow these simple steps:

  1. Be in Mumbai on Feb 19 and Feb 20
  2. Log onto www.orkut.com/boxoffice
  3. Post a comment, a funny story or a movie review
  4. Get an email/scrap from us telling you the day, date and time of the movie and instructions on how you can pick up your free tickets!
  5. Pick up your tickets from the movie cinema at least 30 minutes before the show

 


Obama to Meet With Zuckerberg & Other Tech Execs During San Francisco Trip


U.S. President Barack Obama is paying a visit to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerbuerg and a roster of other technology executives during a trip to the San Francisco Bay Area this week.

On Thursday, February 17, Obama is slated to sit down with Zuckerberg and other tech CEOs at a private dinner during his overnight trip to the West Coast. President Obama will not be making any public appearances in the San Francisco area.

According to White House Press Secretary Jay Carney, “The focus of the discussion is innovation and job creation, and these are representatives of businesses… who know a lot about private sector job growth.

 


Apple iPad vs. Samsung Galaxy Tab


Feature Apple iPad Samsung Galaxy Tab
Operating System iOS 4 Android 2.2
Display 9.7″ 1024×768 (132ppi) LED backlit LCD 7″ 1024×600 (170ppi) transflective TFT
Internal Storage 16GB 32GB 64GB 16GB 32GB
External storage N/A microSD up to 32GB
Camera N/A Rear: 3.0 Megapixel (AF), LED flash
Front: 1.3 Megapixel
Network (3G) 7.2 Mbps UMTS/HSDPA(850, 1900, 2100 MHz)
GSM/EDGE(850, 900, 1800, 1900 MHz)
Data only
7.2 Mbps UMTS/HSDPA(900, 1900, 2100 MHz)
GSM/EDGE (850, 900, 1800, 1900 MHz)
Data and voice
Bluetooth Bluetooth 2.1 with Enhanced Data Rate (EDR) Bluetooth 3.0
Battery 25Wh (~6610mAh) lithium-polymer 4000 mAh (14.8Wh at 3.7V)
Processor 1GHz Apple A4, Samsung Hummingbird core 1GHz Samsung-Intrinsity, Hummingbird Core
RAM 256MiB 512MiB
Graphics PowerVR SGX535 PowerVR SGX540
Weight (3G) 730 grams 380 grams

 


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