Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Intel fires many employees for faking bills

Allowances Include LTA Crackdown After Probe

Bangalore: Faking bills to claim your allowances like conveyance, drivers’ salaries and LTA? That may be commonplace in India Inc, but one company is now taking that malpractice with uncompromising seriousness.
Intel Technologies India has sent out scores of employees — some say it could be as high as 250 — over the past few months following an audit and investigation of allowance claims made by employees in recent years.
Sources say that under its business practice excellence (BPX) initiative, Intel set up an independent team to investigate claims, which then proceeded to take immediate action against the employees found guilty.
“It was like they are working with us one day, and are suddenly not there from the day after,” said one employee.
When contacted by The Times of India, Intel sent a written reply stating that “corrective actions have been taken”.
“This audit is confidential, so details will not be available. We don’t comment on the specifics of investigations. We can say that we conduct all investigations thoroughly, professionally and in compliance with the law,” the Intel spokesperson said.
According to Intel, “the matter relates to code of conduct violation. Intel does expect very high standards of employee conduct and business ethics. Intel does not dis
cuss personnel matters. Suffice to say corrective actions have been taken.”
According to another source at Intel, “The checks have been happening. I am also aware that some people have been fired after they were found guilty.” The Intel Development Centre in Bangalore has about 2,700 professionals.
It is not clear why Intel chose to suddenly crack
down on the malpractice. One story doing the rounds is that when Intel asked for governmental concessions for its proposed chip-testing and assembly plant in India, the government officials brought to Intel’s notice the employee malpractices that led to tax losses to the government. “This may have persuaded Intel to take a serious view of the matter,” a source said.Sources also said it has not been all that bad for those who had been asked to leave.

Monday, September 12, 2005

Bangalore is a national calamity: Azim Premji

The Financial Express
Posted online: Wednesday, August 31, 2005 at 0423 hours IST
Updated: Wednesday, August 31, 2005 at 1132 hours IST

New Delhi, August 31: Bangalore is a “national calamity” in terms of infrastructure, said Wipro chairman Azim Premji on Tuesday. “When a client is in India, Bangalore, Delhi and Mumbai are the three key cities he visits. It gives a very bad impression to the client. I urge the media to please write about it,” he told reporters here.

Wipro BPO chairman T Kurien told FE, “From bad roads and irregular power to mismanaged transport, the infrastructure of Bangalore is crumbling. Ten years ago, if it took twenty minutes to reach a place, now it takes at least an hour. It is putting huge pressure on costs.”

As a result, Wipro is exploring tier II cities like Coimbatore, Goa, Madurai, Vizag, Mohali and Guwahati. “We are exploring Mohali as an attractive option. North India is surely on our radar with places like Noida and Gurgaon. We would also be opening a BPO centre in Guwahati in the near future,” added Mr Kurien.

Mr Premji’s remark comes a day after Nasscom, President Kiran Karnik issued a statement in favour of IT companies who have boycotted to participate in 2005. Mr Karnik said:”Concerns of IT companies are justified. Some of them are very vocal. But, it’s good. Both the government and industry should partner to remove this problem.”

Assembled Car - Tata's New Business Model

Bharti was able to tap outside expertise to remake its business. The $18 billion Tata Group relies on outside knowhow as well -- but in this case, it's the traditional skills of India's working class. Tata, a conglomerate, has long made sturdy trucks.

But four years ago, Chairman Ratan Tata plunged into the passenger-car business despite much skepticism. The result was India's first indigenously designed, developed, and produced car -- the $6,600 Indica. Tata used all of India's low-cost engineering skills to develop the car, at 60% of the usual cost of launching a new model.

Now he has put his team to work on his dream project: a car that will sell for only $2,200. "I wanted to change the rules of the game," Tata says. "I wanted to change the way business is done."

The "people's car" will use a combination of steel and composite plastic for its body, put together with industrial adhesive along with nuts and bolts. But what's the business changer? Tata will attempt to do away with the traditional model of manufacturing solely in a factory and distributing exclusively through established dealers.

The plan is to make the basic components of the car in Tata plants -- and then to send the car off the company's assembly line much like a bicycle, in a knocked-down kit form. These will be shipped across the country to Tata-trained franchisees. Some of them will be Tata Motors car dealers. But other franchisees may be any of India's thousands of roadside garages.

The mechanics will keep the kits in their garages and assemble them on demand for customers -- then service them as needed.

"It will give an opportunity to young, capable people to create an enterprise," says Tata. But the move will also save an estimated 20% of an auto's production, experts say. "Tata's plan makes the car a commodity," says Kumar Bhattacharyya, director of Warwick Manufacturing Group at the University of Warwick in Britain.

If Ratan Tata's plan works, he will have stripped away a layer of distribution and manufacturing costs. Other Indian companies are tackling different kinds of distribution costs -- and blowing away traditional assumptions in the process. In the case of ITC, managers are aggressively seeking ways to eliminate the exploitative middlemen who buy, transport, and market Indian farmers' produce.

Kolkata-based ITC is best known as a hotelier and as India's largest producer of cigarettes. But it also sells fertilizer to farmers and buys their grain to make processed foods.

For years, ITC conducted its business with farmers through a maze of intermediaries, from brokers to traders. So ITC's head of international business, S. Sivakumar, thought of using e-commerce as a way to break the unhealthy hold of traders over the supply chain.

In the initial experiment -- begun four years ago in the central Indian state of Madhya Pradesh -- Sivakumar set up computer kiosks in 20 villages and hired a well-known local farmer to run each kiosk. He and other farmers would access the company's intranet -- dubbed e-chaupal, for electronic "town square" -- twice a day to check ITC's own offer price for produce, as well as prices in the closest village market, in the state capital, in New Delhi, and on the Chicago commodities exchange.

The site relayed daily weather conditions and educated users about new farming techniques worldwide. In the evening, the local children took free lessons on the computer. In return, the farmers would usually give ITC first dibs on their crops, thus eliminating the middlemen.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Are J2EE and .NET integration tools required?

Not all apps run on J2EE and there are many .NET applications out there, so there's also a need to integrate these two types of applications.

The Gartner Group says Java/.NET interop will gain an ever bigger spotlight over the next 2-3 years, as up to 30% of all new enterprise apps will be Java/.NET “hybrids.

To fulfill this integration need have emerged many products that claim to provide easy integration between .NET and J2EE.

In a recent interview, Ted Dinsmore, president of a consultancy that delivers integrated technology and business solutions said that "[Concerning J2EE integration] I'm not very excited about those products at all. If the developer on J2EE created a Web service, the developer on .NET is able to consume it. So why do I need third-party software to go between the two?"

However are these tools really required or can you just stick to creating standard web services and achieve integration just as easily?

>> Top 3 Java-to.NET Interoperatability Issues

JBuilder 2006 Launched !

Borland Launches JBuilder 2006 With Team Features
Next version due in 2006 will use Eclipse framework

As Microsoft preps its first team edition of Visual Studio for .NET developers, ISV partner Borland has shipped a new team edition of JBuilder for Java developers.

JBuilder 2006 is an enhanced Java IDE from the Cupertino, Calif., company that offers new features optimized for teams of developers to collaborate in real time and across geographical boundaries, as well as new support for integrated application lifecycle management.

For instance, JBuilder 2006 offers new peer-to-peer developer collaboration features and integrated application lifecycle support for requirements management, source code management and unit testing, Borland said.

One Borland product manager said customers are increasingly demanding tools that allow distributed development across time zones and version 2006 enables the notion of virtual peer programming.

"As teams become more distributed and roles are dispersed, it highlights the importance to optimize the development process," said Rob Cheng, director of product marketing. "This is a way for developers to design, edit and debug apps remotely in real time, automatically find other JBuilder clients and allows users to invite them into a sessions and share projects, and allow other JBuilder users not only to view them but takes turns and jointly co-edit code."

This is the last standalone version of the Java IDE, which was first launched in 1997.

The next version of JBuilder, code-named "Peloton" and due in the first half of 2006, is the first that will use the Eclipse open source platform as the underlying integration framework.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Two ways to replace your browser

You may want your users to stop using IE, but removing Microsoft's browser cripples your operating system. We show you two ways round this

Microsoft's Internet Explorer (IE) has long been a favourite target of hackers, and the frequent discovery of vulnerabilities over the years has only offered more incentive. In fact, Microsoft is currently researching a new, unpatched flaw that could put users at risk of a cyberattack. In addition, the popularity of the Firefox browser has offered computer users a browser alternative — one that millions of users have opted to try, though its market share may be declining. While not immune to its own security issues, the default installation of Firefox is rather secure, and it doesn't support ActiveX controls, a common culprit of security issues.

So if you've had enough of dealing with IE's security flaws, how do you disable or remove Internet Explorer? If you're running Windows 2000 or XP, there's good news and bad news.

The bad news is that you can't remove IE without crippling your operating system. However, the good news is that you can disable IE for your users and move to a different browser.

Several simple, popular methods exist to disable IE. The easiest way to remove users' ability to browse with IE is to add a bogus proxy server to IE's Internet Settings.

Follow these steps:

  1. In IE, go to Tools | Internet Options.
  2. On the Connections tab, click the LAN Settings button.
  3. In the resulting dialog box, select the following check box in the Proxy Server section: Use a Proxy Server For Your LAN (These Settings Will Not Apply To Dial-up Or VPN Connections).
  4. Enter in the Address text box.
  5. Enter 80 in the Port text box, and click OK.

Please note that adding a bogus proxy server...

For more, click here...

Yahoo hosting 'thousands' of phishing sites

Spamhaus has accused Yahoo of failing in the fight against online fraud, and Microsoft has admitted there is room for improvement. Yahoo is playing host to thousands of phishing sites and doesn't have sufficiently well-trained staff to address the problem of online fraud, according to a leading anti-spam and security organisation on Tuesday. Richard Cox, chief information officer of Spamhaus, told an audience of politicians, security experts and law enforcement officials that Yahoo has just under 5,000 domains hosted and registered with the words 'bank', 'eBay' and 'PayPal' within the domain names. Most of those are used as phishing sites, Cox told the London "eConfidence — Spam and Scams" conference. Cox said that ISPs are failing to train their staff to recognise this as a security issue. "ISPs are treating abuse issues as customer service issues," Cox claimed. In response, Yahoo said it would follow up Cox's claims. "We take security very seriously and will be investigating this issue fully," Nick Hazell, alliance director for Yahoo Europe, told ZDNet UK. It is understood that most of these domains were registered in the US; it may be hard for Yahoo to take action until the domains are used in a phishing attack. Meanwhile Ed Gibson, Microsoft UK's newly appointed chief security advisor, praised Spamhaus for its work. "Hats off to Spamhaus," Gibson told the audience. "We don't do a good job of responding to abuse. Spamhaus is excellent at highlighting areas of deficiency."

Chinese mobile firm allies with Skype

Skype is trying to expand its share of the burgeoning Chinese market with the launch of a new joint venture

Skype has signed a deal with Chinese wireless operator TOM Online to create a joint Internet telephony venture. The venture will be jointly held by the pair, with ownership split 51 percent to 49 percent in the Chinese company's favour. It will work to develop, create and distribute a Chinese-language version of Skype's VoIP software. TOM Online has already been offering a simplified version of Skype software since late last year, which is now used by 3.4 million of the wireless provider's 70 million customers.

China will be top priority for Skype due to its booming use of broadband — despite low penetration rates, China's massive population means it is set to overtake the US for broadband users by 2008, according to analysts.

Skype to encourage software plug-ins Skype inks mobile deal
Intel looks for quality through Skype Microsoft makes VoIP acquisition
Intel announces Skype alliance Skype launches IM developer tools

IBM reports claim Linux savings

Linux is cheaper to install and run than Windows, says two reports sponsored by IBM

Two IBM-sponsored reports published this week have found that Linux is cheaper to deploy and operate than Windows. One report found Linux was 40 percent cheaper overall than Windows, and 56 percent cheaper than Unix based Solaris. These findings appear to contradict Microsoft's "Get the Facts" campaign, which found Windows to be less expensive than Linux. One report, called TCO For Application Servers: Comparing Linux With Windows And Solaris, calculated the total cost of ownership (TCO) of an application server, including the cost of acquiring, implementing, and running it.

The report compared Linux and Windows x86 servers and Solaris SPARC servers over three years, and found that while Linux cost $40,149, Windows cost $67,559, and Solaris cost $86,478 (£22,450, £37,776 and £48,355 respectively).

Factors taken into consideration when calculating the figures included not only "raw cost", but also administrator skill set transferability, hardware architecture portability and vendor diversity, according to the report.

The research also found other benefits of deploying Linux apart from total cost of ownership reduction. These include "its flexible licensing model, wide range of supported hardware platforms, the choice of support providers, and fast administrator skill set transfer from other Unix platforms."

The second report sponsored by IBM — Beyond TCO — The Unanticipated Second Stage Benefits Of Linux — claims there are "second stage" benefits to deploying Unix. These include attraction and retention of IT staff.

"Linux is enormously popular among IT staff members, many of whom are at the beginning of their careers, as well as with IT educators in universities and technical institutions worldwide. This has resulted in Linux playing a significant role in the recruitment and retention of IT staff and managers," the report claims.

IBM has given strong backing to Linux in recent years. It committed $1bn investment in the operating system back in 2001, and supports the operating system on its xSeries servers.

The TCO of Linux and Windows is a long-running and often controversial battle. Many analyst groups have published reports into the issue, some of which have cast doubt on the claim that Linux costs less to run.

Back in April, the Yankee Group published a study which found that Windows offered equal or better TCO to Linux. However many people disputed the report's findings.

Microsoft recently met with the Open Source Development Lab to discuss the possibility of working together on TCO research — an opportunity the OSDL appears to have declined.

Seven open source business strategies for competitive advantage

Open source presents a large potential competitive advantage for hardware and software vendors, and vendors of complementary or substitute services. Linux has contributed greatly to the adoption and success of OSS. Companies such as IBM, HP, Red Hat, Oracle, and recently, Novell, have invested in, and legitimized the use of Linux for enterprise applications -- including datacenter operations.
Linux-related services deliver more than $1 billion in annual revenue to both IBM and HP. Oracle strongly promotes and likewise derives revenue from the Linux platform, with the so-called "unbreakable Linux" guarantee. In an attempt to catch the Linux wave, companies such as Computer Associates and Peoplesoft are porting their applications to Linux on ambitious timeframes.

In this article, we examine seven open source strategies that can give your company a competitive advantage. (Editor's note: Each of the following links will take you directly to a particular section of the story.)

The Optimization Strategy
The Dual License Strategy
The Consulting Strategy
The Subscription Strategy
The Patronage Strategy
The Hosted Strategy
The Embedded Strategy

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Surprise! Microsoft's WinFS beta arrives

The surprise beta release of Microsoft's WinFS file system on Monday has attracted intense scrutiny. WinFS was one of the three pillars of Microsoft's next-generation version of Windows announced two years ago, then code-named Longhorn and now morphed and downsized into Vista. All three pillars -- WinFS, the Avalon GUI, and the Indigo Web-services protocol stack -- have been detached from any specific forthcoming release of Windows and will be offered as separate technologies. Microsoft developers were happy to discover that the WinFS beta really does install on Windows XP and includes an array of supporting development tools.

Running on top of, rather than replacing, the Windows NTFS (NT File System), WinFS enables developers to exploit XML interfaces to data previously locked up in desktop applications. This promises users a much more effective means of searching and organizing information. Essentially, it augments the traditional hierarchical file system with an object/relational/XML database of items classified by type.

Michael Herman, president and CTO of collaboration solution provider Parallelspace said that among the most potentially useful tools is Microsoft Rave, an application built over WinFS and WinFS Synchronization. Developers can invite others to synchronize with their folders. Synchronization occurs automatically as data changes.

The beta release of WinFS is a small milestone in a grand experiment on the part of Microsoft: detaching desktop data from its rigid hierarchy and enabling users to create new, more intuitive information relationships. Now that the code has arrived, developers can start prototyping applications for themselves and get a feel for what the new era will bring.


  • Microsoft bolsters video content security in Vista
  • Microsoft releases Windows file system beta
  • Sun's JSF implementation released under the CDDL

    Roger Kitain has announced in "Open JavaServer Faces" that Sun's implementation of JSF has been released under the OSI-approved CDDL.

    Meanwhile, Ed Burns has posted that the proposed final drafts of JSF 1.2 and JSP 2.1 specifications have been published - most changes are related to minor defects, but a few features were added and clarified as well.