12/22/2007

Report: Google’s Android Full of Bugs

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Android has problems. That’s the word from developers, according to an article in Wednesday’s Wall Street Journal. The article indicates that the early version of the software development kit is full of more bugs than one would expect.

“Functionality is not there, is poorly documented, or just doesn’t work,” the Journal quoted Seattle software engineer Adam MacBeth as saying. “It’s clearly not ready for prime time.” The Journal article added that “a sizeable number” of developers say Google has been “unresponsive.”

But the Journal also quoted another software engineer, Rick Genter, who told the newspaper that Android is no buggier than any other software tool at this stage. And, earlier this week, Gizmodo quoted an unnamed programmer as saying an Android prototype device was “light and fast” and “a lot more put together than Windows Mobile 5.”

IBM unveils ’smart’ e-mail search engine

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

IBM has created a free semantic e-mail search engine aimed at users of the company’s Lotus Notes software and Microsoft Outlook.

The engine, called IOPES (IBM OmniFind Personal E-mail Search), allows users to search their mail based on concepts, such as dates and phone numbers, according to IBM. It also allows searchers to define their own concepts.

Once the software is installed, it indexes and analyzes the user’s e-mail store. Searches are conducted through a browser interface that delivers results through a stripped-down, Google-like interface.

Users can enter simple keyword-based queries or ones using basic natural language constructions. For example, to find e-mails from a friend named Mark Smith, you could simply enter “from Mark Smith.”

But to find only the e-mails Smith sent in a certain month, a query might be constructed as “Mark from January 2007.” You could find his phone number by typing “Smith’s phone number.”

The results don’t show a list of e-mail headers or display the messages in full. Instead, the software extracts the passage it believes contains the right answer, and highlights what it deems to be the specific information requested, such as a phone number.

Users can also search for attachments with search results providing direct links to the documents in question.

E-mail is a good target for developing a semantic search engine because users frequently repeat certain phrasings and words and repeatedly exchange the same type of information. “There is a fairly large number of things that are so e-mail specific,” said Shivakumar Vaithyanathan, the project’s technical lead.

Researchers in a number of IBM labs worked on the project for the past year and a half, according to Vaithyanathan. The product has been quietly available on the company’s alphaWorks site for a couple of months, but only now is IBM attempting to drive widespread adoption, according to a spokeswoman.

China unveils first locally developed regional jet

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

China unveiled its first domestically developed regional aircraft on Friday, moving a step closer to its goal of becoming an aviation giant and challenging the dominance of Boeing (BA.N: Quote, Profile, Research) and Airbus.

The white 90-seat ARJ21-700 jet with three curved blue stripes on the fuselage, named “Xiang Feng” or “Flying Phoenix”, was displayed to a crowd of government dignitaries and industry officials at the assembly plant in Shanghai where it will be produced.

FBI aims for world’s largest biometrics database

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

The FBI is embarking on a $1 billion project to build the world’s largest computer database of biometrics to give the government more ways to identify people at home and abroad, the Washington Post reported on Friday.

The FBI has already started compiling digital images of faces, fingerprints and palm patterns in its systems, the paper said.

In January, the agency — which focuses on violations of federal law, espionage by foreigners and terrorist activities — expects to award a 10-year contract to expand the amount and kinds of biometric information it receives, it said.

At an employer’s request, the FBI will also retain the fingerprints of employees who have undergone criminal background checks, the paper said.

If successful, the system, called Next Generation Identification, will collect the biometric information in one place for identification and forensic purposes, the Post said.

Gadgets affected by analog shutdown

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Carriers will start shutting down the countrys oldest cellular network, for analog devices, in February. How to know if you will be affected:

- Cell phones. If your phone is less than five years old, or has features like texting, Internet access or a built-in camera, its not analog. An unknown number of analog handsets are still in use. Carriers say its less than 1 percent of all U.S. cell phones. But with 250 million cell phones in use, that could still mean a million phones.

In particular, check phones that are kept around as 911-only phones. Such phones, which dont have a phone number and arent initialized with a carrier, were given out by some donation programs that collected old phones.

The main carriers with analog service are AT&T Inc., Verizon Wireless and Alltel. Carriers have been telling analog customers about the shutdown and offering them new digital service plans and phones. Sprint Nextel and T-Mobile USA have no analog networks.

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