Life Of Navin

Random Musings, Random Bullshit.


Google Has A Third Founder??

A certain Hubert Chang (Full name: Hung Hsien Chang) has emerged from obscurity with the audacious claim that he helped launch the search giant in 1997 along with acknowledged co-founders and Internet demi-gods Sergey Brin and Larry Page.

Chang posted his story on the video sharing site Vimeo and it was picked up by the Web site Weberence. It spread virally from there, even to sites like YouTube and Metacafe.

In the video, Chang claims that he met Stanford professor and noted author Rajeev Motwani in 1996 while studying for a Ph.D. at New York University. Motwani, later introduced him to Brin and Page, who were students at Stanford.

Chang claims he helped Brin and Page come up with the PageRank algorithm (that today is the basis for Google's search engine and the reason for its massive success).

Chang claimed he did not stay to help found Google because he had a made a commitment to his father to finish getting his Ph.D. He also said his e-mail correspondence from 1997 was not saved because he exceeded the NYU e-mail quota for messages at the time. Hmm... Something doesn't feel quite right!!

In the video, Chang makes no claim for part ownership of the company. So that sort of rules out the "Hey, I'm Google's third daddy... gimme 1/3rd of its stocks" scenario. He said he exchanged e-mails with Brin and Page after earning his Ph.D. in late 2002, but that the communication became less friendly and only came from third parties until it finally stopped altogether.

He closes the video by noting after ten years he's telling his story. "I feel quite confident about the good side of humanity. If you could, please forward this video to your friends. Thank you."

Google has responded on Chang's claims through the following email:

"Though many people were involved with Google in its early days, it has been well documented over the past decade that Larry Page and Sergey Brin founded the company in September 1998."

It was frustrating and not a very pleasant experience, they're simply in a position of status, where it's awkward to fully acknowledge the past - Hubert Chang on Larry and Sergey

One Pixel To Power The Future??

Sony comes out with a 8 Mpix cam, Kodak has a 9 Mpix model, Nikon went past the 10 Mpix barrier..... Are you bored of hearing about companies boasting about their latest models of digital cameras as being the ones with the most megapixels?? Then this blog post is for you!! In this day and age, when companies are struggling to pack more megapixels into their cameras, one company has dared to think different and go backward on the megapixel path (waaaaaaay back!!). Presenting the One pixel Camera...... but don't get me wrong, this camera surely got my head in a tizzy especially after I understood its intricate details.

Rice University's Single Pixel Camera might very well be the camera we use in the future. The research is based on the premise that megapixel cameras are generally wasteful--while the sensors capture a lot of information, most of it is discarded to compress the image and store it on the memory card. Why collect all that information when you're going to discard it anyway? Instead, the researchers start with only the information that's absolutely essential, then work its way up to create a higher-quality image.

Here's what their site says about it
Our new digital image/video camera directly acquires random projections of a scene without first collecting the pixels/voxels. The camera architecture employs a digital micromirror array to optically calculate linear projections of the scene onto pseudorandom binary patterns. Its key hallmark is its ability to obtain an image or video with a single detection element (the "single pixel") while measuring the scene fewer times than the number of pixels/voxels. Since the camera relies on a single photon detector, it can also be adapted to image at wavelengths where conventional CCD and CMOS imagers are blind.

Didn't get it?? Then here's how Richard Baraniuk at Rice explains it (in human terms):
It's like completing a Sudoku puzzle--you can complete the grid once you have a minimum number of squares filled.

Instead of a sensor for every pixel, the camera uses mirrors that reflect light on to the one-pixel sensor one at a time. The process repeats, and an algorithm finally puts the image together.

Smart eh?? But here are some of the drawbacks:

  • The Time factor: The current prototype churns out pics in seconds, not in milliseconds as most modern digital cameras
  • The Quality Factor: You can visit their site (link below) and see for yourself the quality of the pics generated by the cam......there's a great amount of development to be made here!!
But still, this technology is revolutionary, to say the least....and with time, I'm sure that they'll manage to improve on their designs.

Do visit their site for sample pics : Single Pixel Camera Project

Always remember, Never underestimate the Power of One!!

Security Flaw For Chrome Surfaces!!

Earlier this week, Google unleashed the latest contender for the title of 'Best Web Browser', Chrome, in the beta stage ( seems like Google has been in the Beta stage for 2500 years now), and the hacker community has already begun searching the inner workings of the browser for every possible flaw.

Whats more, noted security researcher Aviv Raff has managed to find a flaw in the system which, if exploited, would allow hackers automatically get a 'Chrome' running computer to download a malicious file.

Generally, A Java (.JAR) file is highlighted when needed for download by the browser, such as Firefox. But with the version of the WebKit Google used to develop Chrome does not include such a prompt. What this essentially means is that hackers could use this to launch an Java-based attack without users knowing what file they're downloading. This could be used to install trojans, rootkits, keyloggers, etc.

Browsers such as Safari or Firefox or even IE 8 use a newer version of the WebKit and aren't vulnerable to such a flaw... but then Google would just say this is what a beta version is for!! Hmm.... maybe beta's not so bad after all :)

The 'Google Phone' Is Captured....On Camera Atleast!!

A Google search for the term 'Android' reveals the amount of hype that Google's foray into the mobile segment has created. Other than a single Wikipedia article dealing with 'a robot designed to resemble a human, usually both in appearance and behavior' every other result on page one is about the software platform and operating system for mobile devices based on Linux that Google has co-developed...... and unlike the Google minus Google post, in this matter I'll totally support the search results thrown up by the big G. After all, the Android project takes mobile OSes to a whole new level by making software development hassle-free -A revolution of sorts for the mobile developer community!!

And now, finally after a looooooooong wait, the first pictures of the first commercial android OS based cellphone have emerged!! Presenting (drumroll please) the HTC Dream G1....

The exact specifics have been kept under covers, but industry rumours have come up with the following list
  • Large touchscreen with haptic feedback
  • Full QWERTY keypad
  • 5 inches long and 3 inches wide
  • Keypad that either slides or swivels for easy typing/texting
  • Internet navigation controls below the touchscreen display
Here are the pics of the HTC Dream/Google phone

Us Indians though might have to wait for a much longer time before we get our hands on the Dream....but with HTC digging its feet into the Desi-mobile markets and with brilliant launches like the Touch Diamond having been well received by Indian users, you can never really say!! Lets all just pray for the Indian launch of the G1 at the earliest!! :)


Finally after all these years, here's to the beginning of what was there, what is there and hopefully what will remain!! So here are my thoughts & words -Online!!

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