Friday, February 23, 2007

Gmail goes public – no need invitations

In a posting on Google Blog on February 14, 2007, Google Associate Product Manager, David Murray said Gmail sign-ups are now open worldwide and gone public! No more waiting for someone to invite you—just create an account directly at This is indeed making it very convenient.

What better way to share the love with the people you care about than with Gmail chat with <3. And Gmail is available in over 40 interface languages (though <3 needs no translation).

But seriously folks, good relationships are built on good communication. There's no reason you should struggle to reach the ones you love or do business with, and Gmail helps you communicate fast and easily.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Piggy Lunar New Year

According to the Chinese zodiac, the Year of the Pig starts Sunday 18th. A Hong Kong feng shui master, Raymond Lo, says the Year of the Pig will not be very peaceful. Pig years can be turbulent because they are dominated by fire and water, Lo said. These elements tend to whip up trouble since fire and water are conflicting elements, he said.

Lillian Too, a Malaysian feng shui master is in agreement. "There will be natural disasters as bad as last year. There could be epidemics and I'm worried about the bird flu," she said.

However, the gloomy predictions won't stop ethnic Chinese - 20% of the world's population - from having a fun time in their biggest celebration of the year, the Lunar New Year. It's a time to have family dinners, wear new clothes and give the children red envelopes stuffed with gift money.

Famous people born under this zodiac sign of the Pig include former US President Ronald Reagan, Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton, California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and singer Sir Elton John.

The Year of the Pig is celebrated with special sensitivity in Southeat Asian nations such as Malaysia and Indonesia with large Muslim populations that consider pigs and pork products to be unclean and offensive.

Ethnic Chinese make up 5% of Indonesia's population of 220 million. Under the dictatorship of Gen. Suharto, which ended in 1998, the Chinese were prevented from celebrating the Lunar New Year. However, that has changed now and Jakarta's Chinatown is decked out with banners and bustling with shoppers.

Yusri Mohammad, president of the Muslim Youth Movement of Malaysia, said in a report, he had no problem with the Chinese celebrating the pig year in Malaysia. He said the Year of the Pig is "just a symbolic concept."

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Apple Ordered To Pay Bloggers’ Legal Fees

This is an interesting case for bloggers. In a recent landmark case both establishing the status of blogs as news sites and protecting bloggers from being forced to disclose sources, Apple Inc. was ordered by a California court to reimburse defendants for their legal fees.

Apple attempted to subpoena Nfox, an email service provider, for the private email records of the defendants in order to trace who leaked information about their trade secrets.

The court decided the bloggers’ private records, and also their sources, were protected under more than one US federal law. Apple will have to do it another way if it wants to find out who leaked their trade secrets.

That lesson cost the Apple almost $700,000 in legal fee reimbursement.

The saga started in 2004 when two blogging websites, AppleInsider and PowerPage, wrote about the technical details of an in-development product codenamed “Asteroid.” Apple sought the identity of the sources who leaked the information by filing a suit against the bloggers, and subpoenaed their email records from email service provider Apple claimed that the write ups violated California’s trade secret laws.

The court ruled against Apple and ordered the company to pay the legal fees of the defendants, a development considered “a large moral victory for bloggers.”

This case brought out several salient points related to the status of the blogosphere: Are bloggers journalists? Are blogs considered news sites? Does a private firm have the right to wave the protection of journalists’ sources guaranteed by law?

Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) who headed the defense said the bloggers were journalists for purposes of opinion and maintained, based on the expert opinion of Prof Thomas Goldstein, former Dean of the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism and of the University of California at Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism, that AppleInsider and PowerPage qualified as legitimate online news sites.

This is because the publishers, editors and authors connected with AppleInsider and PowerPage are engaged in trade journalism, bringing news to hundreds of thousands of visitors per month.

Furthermore, the court prevented Apple from accessing the email records of the defendants under the federal Stored Communications Act which forbids disclosure to private parties.

Although Apple claimed it had a right to protect its trade secrets, EFF “opposes Apple’s discovery method because the confidentiality of the media’s sources and unpublished information are critical means for all journalists to acquire information and communicate it to the public. Because today’s online journalists frequently depend on confidential sources to gather material, their ability to promise confidentiality is essential to maintaining the strength of independent media. Furthermore, the protections required by the First Amendment are necessary regardless of whether the journalist uses a third party for communications.”