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Former President APJ Abdul Kalam cuts language barriers

Tushar Agarwal March 31, 2011

New language translation tool unveiled at the 20th International WWW conference. 

Former President APJ Abdul Kalam today launched the Machine translation (MT) systems, also called content multiplier tools, developed with funding from TDIL (Technology Development for Indian Languages) programme at the 20th International World Wide Web conference in Hyderabad.

Based on the Computational Paninian grammar (CPG), which works very well for free word-order languages, Indian languages in particular, the tools are available in three modules Sampark (Indian to Indian), AnglaMT (English to Bengali, Malayalam, Punjabi and Urdu) and Anvadaksh (English to Hindi, Bengali, Marathi, Oriya, Urdu and Tamil).

 ”India has more than 122 languages of which 22 are official. More than a billion people all over the world speak either Hindi, Bengali, Telugu, Marathi, Tamil or Urdu. With the availability of e-content and development of language technology, it is now possible to overcome the language barrier,&” Rajeev Sangal, director of IIIT-Hyderabad (one of the 17 institutions that participated in the development of the tools), told mediapersons.

 Sangal said three consortia comprising 17 academic and research institutions were involved in building 26 different pairs of languages. Right now, 12 pairs are available and the plan is to release more pairs every three-four months, he added.

“An amount of Rs 13 crore went into the whole exercise and about 200 students were directly involved in the development of these tools. An additional 200 students worked on the project as a thesis and their algorithms were embedded into the systems directly,&” Sangal said.

The MT quality, Sangal said, was better in case of translation between Indian languages because they were similar in many ways, both in grammar and vocabulary. Translation between English and Indian languages is harder and hence the output quality is likely to be inferior.

“We are now asking users to try using the tool as an experiment. Our only focus now is on improving quality” he said.

Stating that the MT technology is currently freely accessible, Sangal said the MT initiative would be monetised when special needs for further research arises. 

“Company-based efforts can also be initiated. We are already working with translation houses and publishers,&” he said, adding students at the IIT-Hyderabad were working on a text-to-speech system, and at some point these two technologies (text-to-speech and MT systems) will be combined together.

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Smartphone Shipment Growth May Slow This Year, IDC Says

Tushar Agarwal March 31, 2011

Global sales of smartphones will probably increase at a slower pace this year, with Google Inc. (GOOG)’s Android likely to become the world’s best-selling smartphone system, according to International Data Corp.

Shipments of handsets that allow users to surf the Internet and download movies and music may gain 49 percent this year to more than 450 million units, the Framingham, Massachusetts-based researcher said in a report today. The rate lags the 74 percent growth last year when consumers made purchases they’d delayed during the recession.

Android, which is available on handsets from dozens of vendors including Samsung Electronics Corp. and HTC Corp. (2498), has built its market share in less than three years to challenge Nokia Oyj (NOK1V)’s Symbian as the market leader. Nokia, the biggest maker of mobile phones, said last month it will move to Microsoft Corp. (MSFT)’s Windows Phone 7 as its primary operating system in a transition that is expected to last through 2012.

“For vendors who made Android the cornerstone of their smartphone strategies, 2010 was the coming-out party,” IDC analyst Ramon Llamas said in the report. “This year will see a coronation party as these same vendors broaden and deepen their portfolios to reach more customers, particularly first-time smartphone users.”

Microsoft’s Windows Phone 7 could be the second-largest operating platform behind Android by 2015 as it benefits from Nokia production capacity, IDC said today.

Android may have 39.5 percent of the smartphone market this year, passing Symbian’s share of 20.9 percent, IDC predicted. Symbian could fall to 0.2 percent in 2015, the researcher said. Windows Phone 7 and older Microsoft systems will run on 5.5 percent of units shipped this year, it said.

Android grew more than ninefold in 2010, according to Gartner Inc. research on unit sales to end users. The Google system had 22.7 percent of the smartphone market for the full year, compared with 37.6 percent for Symbian, Gartner said Feb. 2.

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Moonlight 4 Preview Now Available

Tushar Agarwal February 18, 2011

Novell has announced that Moonlight 4 is now available. This version of Moonlight comes with full support for all prior version of Silverlight and preview support for Silverlight 4, including support of Microsoft-licensed codecs for Silverlight 3 and 4, today’s announcement marks the first time that Moonlight has shipped a release consistent with many popular sites built for the latest release of Silverlight. This release gives Firefox* and Google Chrome* users on Linux access to the latest Silverlight content and enables developers to take advantage of the newest features of Silverlight on all platforms.

For more information refer to this post  on novell.

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Groupon Expands Into India, Israel, South Africa

Tushar Agarwal January 12, 2011

Groupon Inc. said Tuesday it has expanded to India, Israel and South Africa by acquiring fellow online-coupon discount sites in those countries.

Closely held Groupon has been rapidly expanding by persuading local businesses to spend money online to attract customers. Its model has caught on in part because merchants don’t pay for marketing until they get a customer in the door.

It entered the new markets by acquiring deal sites SoSasta, Grouper and Twangoo. It didn’t give terms of the deals. The expansion comes as investors of all stripes have sought access to emerging markets, which are seen as being poised for quicker growth than the developed world.

Tuesday’s announcement follows the company saying Monday it completed a $950 million round of funding from backers including Mail.ru Group and venture-capital firm Andreessen Horowitz. The funding came shortly after it reportedly walked away from an acquisition offer from Google Inc. worth as much as $6 billion.

Read more: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703791904576075471994766438.html#ixzz1An2l8UYl

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Yahoo plans to shudown couple of services !!!

Tushar Agarwal December 21, 2010

As yahoo plans to shut down couple of services, people have started migrating their data from yahoo. In a news statement, Yahoo mentioned that it will be turning off the following services:

1. Delicious – the famous social bookmarking website
2. HotJobs.com – a job portal
3. Geocities
4. Broadcast.com
5. Musicmatch Jukebox

I hope Yahoo does well in the other sections. Yahoo has also sold it’s search arm to Microsoft and soon it will be completely taken over by Microsoft’s search arm – Bing.com

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jQuery – Huge size of calendar widget

Tushar Agarwal December 14, 2010

Most of you must be aware of jQuery – a Javascript framework. jQuery has an plugin for the UIs – jQueryUI. When you see the Demos on jQueryUI.com the calendar looks so elelgant and right sized. But when you download the size of the calendar is huge which doesn’t look very good. To fix the size of the calendar widget change this:

.ui-widget { font-family: Lucida Grande, Lucida Sans, Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 1.1 em; }

to this:

.ui-widget { font-family: Lucida Grande, Lucida Sans, Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 0.8em; }

Cheers !!!


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SQL Server – Getting Today’s Date only

Tushar Agarwal December 11, 2010

It is quite common that you want to extract todays’ date component only in sql. The most obvious approach to do is use GETDATE(). This returns today’s date and time.

To just get the date component use this

select CONVERT(datetime, (convert(varchar, getdate(), 101)))

Hope this was a helpful tip for you.

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Windows Phone 7 now available in US

Tushar Agarwal December 11, 2010

Windows Phone 7 is now available at AT&T and T-Mobile retailers across the United States. The launch was on Nov 8, 2010. The app market already has more than 2000 apps and games. Lets see if Windows Phone 7 can wave a band of magic for Microsoft. The details are available here.

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Consuming webservices/website running on development machine from Android Emulator

Tushar Agarwal December 11, 2010

It is quite common to develop a webservice/website and test it on the same machine. The same can be tested and viewed through localhost. But in the android emulator localhost doesn’t work. To access the development machine, use 10.0.2.2

Hope this tip saves you time

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Creating WCF RESTful services

Tushar Agarwal December 11, 2010

Windows Communication Foundation (WCF) a part of the dot NET framework which allows you to easily create webservices.

Couple of years back, SOAP based services gained lot of popularity and soon became the de facto standard in the industry. But things have started changing. With the advancement of Web 2.0, mobile apps, SEO and various other things, RESTful services have gained lot of popularity.

To easy the learning and development effort, I have compiled a list of resources available on the net.

Starter Kit from Microsoft

http://www.asp.net/downloads/starter-kits/wcf-rest

http://aspnet.codeplex.com/releases/view/24644

http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-gb/netframework/cc950529.aspx

Tutorials

http://www.robbagby.com/rest/rest-in-wcf-blog-series-index/

Well stay tuned, I’ll keep on updating this page for more resources.

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