SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY

Windows Vista is finally here
Naveen S Garewal
M
icrosoft's new operating system, Windows Vista has finally been launched globally across 70 countries. This has been accompanied by the IT giant's much awaited 2007 Office System. Though in India the operating system was formally launched in Mumbai on Tuesday, it is already available at the 1500 Microsoft resellers in the country.

Prof Yash Pal

Prof Yash Pal

THIS UNIVERSE
PROF YASH PAL
Why does the earth revolve on its axis and how?
Celestial bodies are formed through accretion of dust and gas in large wandering clouds. Clouds interact with other clouds. In this movement affected by the gravitational interaction with many other bodies it is natural that they would also acquire rotational motion.

 

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Windows Vista is finally here
Naveen S Garewal

Microsoft's new operating system, Windows Vista has finally been launched globally across 70 countries. This has been accompanied by the IT giant's much awaited 2007 Office System. Though in India the operating system was formally launched in Mumbai on Tuesday, it is already available at the 1500 Microsoft resellers in the country.

Codenamed Longhorn, Vista will be available in four consumer editions and has a host of new interactive features that include a redesigned user interface and visual style, named Windows Aero, an acronym for Authentic, Energetic, Reflective, and Open. Windows Vista will phase out the Windows XP operating system, which has been the operating system of choice for more than five years.

According to Microsoft, the operating system has made remarkable changes in terms of search, security, connectivity and ease of usage. Some of the most significant features included in Windows Vista include an updated graphical user interface and visual style, improved searching features, new multimedia creation tools such as Windows DVD Maker, and completely redesigned networking, audio, print, and display sub-systems.

Vista also aims to increase the level of communication between machines on a home network using peer-to-peer technology, making it easier to share files and digital media between computers and devices. For developers, Vista introduces version 3.0 of the .NET Framework, which aims to make it significantly easier for developers to write high-quality applications than with the traditional Windows API.

The genuine Windows Vista Loaded PCs in India will retail at a starting price of Rs 22,000 while Microsoft 2007 Office consumer edition starts at Rs 6,000. The four editions of Windows Vista that will retails across the globe are Ultimate, Windows Vista Home Premium, Windows Vista Home Basic and Windows Vista Starter. The Microsoft 2007 Office is available in two editions of Office Home and Student 2007 and Office Basic 2007.

Microsoft expects to reach 18 million customers in the next 30 days of the launch. Company sources in Mumbai said that it had already sold nearly nine lakh licenced editions to corporates. Vista is also available for download from Microsoft's website.

Microsoft's primary stated objective in developing Windows Vista has been company CEO Bill Gates' concern for security. One of the most common criticism of Windows XP and other version of Windows has been its susceptibility to hacking and vulnerability to malware, viruses and buffer overflows. Vista incorporates a number of Digital Rights Management technologies aimed at restricting the copying of protected digital media, and the usability of new features such as User Account Control.

To run Vista a computer will need to have a 800 MHZ processor and 512 MB RAM, besides 15 GB free hard disk space and a CD /DVD Rom.

Pros: Good for graphic intensive applications.

Very high on security.

Multiple applications.

Integrated resources for multimedia applications.

User friendly.

Built in speech recognition

Cons: Requires high end hardware equipment.

Memory hungry.

High initial procurement cost.

Overkill for simple data entry operations.

Glitches are likely to surface from time to time.

Current hardware may not support Vista.

New features / Changes in Vista

  • Windows Aero: a new hardware-based graphical user interface to make Vista aesthetically pleasing

  • Windows Shell: Different from Windows XP, it offers a new range of organisation, navigation, and search capabilities.

  • Windows Explorer: Its task pane has been removed, integrating the relevant task options into the toolbar.

  • Instant Search: Search as you type is significantly faster.

  • User Account Control is perhaps the most significant and visible of these changes. User Account Control is a security technology that makes it possible for users to use their computer with fewer privileges by default.

  • BitLocker Drive Encryption, a data protection feature included in the Enterprise and Ultimate editions of Vista that provides encryption for the entire operating system volume.

  • Windows Sidebar: A transparent panel anchored to the side of the screen where a user can place Desktop Gadgets, which are small applets designed for a specialised purpose (such as displaying the weather or sports scores).

  • Integrated Explorer 7: It has new user interface, tabbed browsing, RSS, a search box, improved printing, Page Zoom, Quick Tabs.

  • Windows Media Player 11, a major revamp of Microsoft's programme for playing and organising music and video. Has ability to share music libraries over a network with other Vista machines, Xbox 360 integration, and support for other Media Center Extenders.

  • Backup and Restore Center: Allows scheduled periodic backups of files. It also features CompletePC Backup (available only to Ultimate, Business, and Enterprise versions).

  • Windows Mail: A replacement for Outlook Express that includes a completely replaced mail store that improves stability, and enables real-time search. Windows Calendar is a new calendar and task application.

  • Windows Photo Gallery: WPG can import from digital cameras, tag and rate individual items, adjust colors and exposure, create and display slideshows (with pan and fade effects), and burn slideshows to DVD.

  • Windows DVD Maker, a companion program to Windows Movie Maker, which provides the ability to create video DVDs based on a user's content.

  • Windows Meeting Space is the replacement for NetMeeting.

  • Windows Media Center, which was previously exclusively bundled as a separate version of Windows XP, known as Windows XP Media Center Edition, will be incorporated into the Home Premium and Ultimate editions of Windows Vista.

  • Windows Mobility Center is a new control panel that centralises the most relevant information related to mobile computing.

  • Parental controls: Allows administrators to control which websites, programs, and games each standard user can use and install.

  • Windows SideShow: Enables the auxiliary displays on newer laptops or on supported Windows Mobile devices.

  • Speech recognition is fully integrated into Vista.


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THIS UNIVERSE
PROF YASH PAL

Why does the earth revolve on its axis and how?

Celestial bodies are formed through accretion of dust and gas in large wandering clouds. Clouds interact with other clouds. In this movement affected by the gravitational interaction with many other bodies it is natural that they would also acquire rotational motion.

This might be slow motion in a large cloud, but when the cloud contracts to form a star and its accompanying planets, conservation of angular momentum requires that these smaller bodies begin to rotate faster.

You must have seen movies or TV programs where a spinning skater pulls in her arms and starts going around like a top. You can yourself do an experiment.

Sit on a revolving chair with good bearings. Hold your arms out and take a heavy book in each hand. Then ask some one to spin you.

If you pull in your arms while spinning you will start going around much faster. This is also due to conservation of angular momentum.

Therefore the reason that the earth and other celestial bodies like the sun, the moon and the planets we know are all spinning can all be ascribed to the manner of their birth.

Theoretically you could have a probability of a body ending up with a zero spin, but the probability of that is very small.

Your next question is "what keeps them moving". Once they are moving they keep moving unless some other forces act on them.

This does occur. There is evidence that some billions of years ago the earth was spinning faster, so much so that a day was equal to only 18 hours.

At that time the moon was much closer to the earth, having been formed in a collision of a large body with the earth. The tidal force between the moon and the earth was much higher.

This caused a loss of energy and momentum. Another consequence of this was that the moon started moving away from the earth. It is still moving away at a rate of a few centimetres every year.


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