Feb 10, 2004
Opportunity peeks over crater rim

NASA's Opportunity rover peeked over the rim of the crater in which it landed and was able to see the clamshell holder and parachute it discarded just before hitting the flat, gray surface of Mars, scientists said.

A colour photograph from Opportunity, released at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, showed the two objects distinctly, on a largely featureless surface.

"There is the hardware that we've littered the surface with," Michael Malin, a member of the mission science team said yesterday.

The rover was shielded by a clamshell-like device during its entry into the atmosphere of Mars. The photograph, when combined with pictures taken from orbit, helped confirm exactly where Opportunity landed on Mars on January 24.

NASA planned for its orbiting satellite to begin looking for another martian spacecraft, Britain's ill-fated Beagle 2 lander, on Thursday.

The lander, due to land on Mars on Christmas Day, has not been heard from since it separated from the European Space Agency's mother ship, Mars Express, in mid-December, despite several efforts to contact it.

NASA described the gray photograph shown yesterday as an "approximate true-colour image." Mars' iron-rich dust gives the planet its overall reddish color, but Opportunity landed in a relatively dust-free area. (AP)


Posted at 12:04 pm by Periasamy
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Nov 8, 2003
Microsoft is planning to build one of the largest BPO clusters in INDIA

Microsoft is planning to build one of the largest BPO clusters in the country involving around 9,000 professionals. 
The company, which commenced its pilot BPO project, called Microsoft Global Product Support Centre (GPSC) in May this year at Bangalore, in now embarking on full-fledged BPO operations .

The operations here have the mandate to support around 54 million users across Microsoft's product line , which includes Win Office, Win Server systems and .NET.

According to highly-placed industry sources, Microsoft's project would be a hybrid model involving both captive and outsourcing activities.

Under its captive operations, known as Microsoft GPSC, the company will employ around 3,000 professionals over the next 18 months.

Its partners such as Infosys, Wipro, Satyam and Msource are also expected to add another 6,000 professionals during the same period.

When contacted, Microsoft India MD Rajiv Kaul said, "It is premature now to talk about the expansion of GPSC. We will review this once the pilot is over. If the pilot is successful, the potential could be large."

In line with its expansion, Microsoft GPSC has acquired office space of 1 lakh sq ft at the Embassy Golf Links near KGA in Bangalore. As per estimates, the current office space can accommodate around 1,000 professionals.

Headed by Ed Benack, GPSC currently employs 150 professionals in addition to around 250 engineers working with its partner companies.

The Bangalore centre is part of the $400-million investment that Microsoft chief Bill Gates announced during his last visit to India in November 2002.


Posted at 06:17 am by Periasamy
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Sep 12, 2003
INSECTS found in Water, Parle plant shut

Insects found in water, Parle plant shut

Friday, 12 September , 2003, 15:32
Mumbai: Officials in Maharashtra on Friday ordered a plant belonging to one of the country's biggest bottled water manufacturers to be closed after insects were found in some of its bottles.

Food and Drug Administration (FDA) authorities ordered the closure of Parle Product's plant in Mumbai after receiving complaints that some of the company's five litre bottles contained "dead insects".

"We went to the company's plant and found that it was extremely unhygienic and improperly maintained," FDA Commissioner Uttam Khobargade told AFP.

"We have ordered the closure of the plant until the management improves standards as we indeed found insects in the water. The insects are clearly visible in the bottles."

Parle sells bottled water under the "Bisleri" label, which is one of the country's top selling brands of bottled drinking water.

Last month a report alleging there were high levels of pesticides in soft drinks made by Coca Cola and Pepsi in India caused huge controversy across the country.

The private Centre for Science and Environment stunned the 500 million dollar-a-year cola industry with its August 5 report that 12 Coke and Pepsi brands sold in the country contained a "deadly cocktail of pesticide residues".

But two weeks later, the government said cola beverages sold by Coca Cola and Pepsi met local standards. Cola sales sank immediately after the report


Posted at 05:49 pm by Periasamy
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Security experts warn of Blaster virus attack - WINDOWS

Security experts warn of Blaster virus attack

REUTERS
[ FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 12, 2003 11:08:41 AM ]

SEATTLE/SAN FRANCISCO: Microsoft Corp.'s warning of a newly discovered security flaw in Windows prompted experts on Thursday to urge computer users to update their software to avoid a repeat of a devastating attack similar to the recent Blaster worm. 

"We have to assume the worst," said Jeff Jones, senior director of trustworthy computing security at the world's largest software maker. 

Jones urged computer users to activate firewall features and automatic update services in the latest versions of Windows, and also to keep any anti-virus software up to date. 

The latest vulnerability, similar to one that Microsoft warned about in July that was exploited by the Blaster worm a few weeks later, could allow an attacker to gain control over a computer, delete data and install malicious programs. 

Blaster, also dubbed MSBlast and LovSan, appeared in early August, a few weeks after Microsoft issued its security warning on July 16, and infected 500,000 or more personal computers, according to estimates. 

The next threat will likely have a larger impact on consumers than businesses, who have been more diligent about patching their systems, said John Pescatore, an analyst at market research firm Gartner.

 "My gut instinct is that we'll see another attack," said David Perry, global director of education at anti-virus software maker Trend Micro Inc.

 100 percent odds

"The odds are 100 percent. It might not be public. It could be exploited by professionals to break into Web sites and never make the news," said Bruce Schneier, chief technology officer of network monitoring firm Counterpane Internet Security. "Many vulnerabilities are discovered in the underground first."

However, given the media attention on the security hole, chances are good an Internet worm will appear, he said. "It is not going to take a very smart kid to take the existing worm and modify it."

There is a concern that any new program exploiting the latest Windows hole will be worse than Blaster, which spread fairly slowly and did no real damage, said Nicholas Weaver, a researcher at the International Computer Science Institute at University of California, Berkeley.

The recent spate of Blaster variants and e-mail worms like Sobig, which take advantage of holes in Microsoft software, indicates that Microsoft's much vaunted 21-month-old Trustworthy Computing initiative is not working, said Fred Cohen, principal security strategies analyst at the Burton Group consultancy.

"They're not building more secure code, and people will continue to exploit it until they do," said Cohen, who coined the term computer "virus" 20 years ago.

Part of the problem is Microsoft researchers are accustomed to testing software to make sure features work, not to try to break it or find holes, said Chris Wysopal, research direct of consultancy AtStake.

"There is a cultural shift that has to happen with software testers," he said. "I don't think that shift has really happened anywhere yet."

The only way to force Microsoft, and other software makers, to write software with fewer holes is to hold them legally liable for problems that result from faulty applications, the experts agreed.

"You have to give the incentives to fix the problem," said Schneier. "These attacks are all due to programming errors that are exploited by an attacker."


Posted at 12:44 pm by Periasamy
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