Friday, May 11, 2007

Moved to Another Location

WHERE : zLeas (

Thanks to all of you who were visiting this blog from across the world. It has been a great experience to have you all over here at Techno Whizz. I also have another blog, where I will be moving to, which I update very regularly. It is very difficult for me to maintain two active blogs. Apart from that, technology fits in very well with the concept of zLeas .Hence this decision to move.

HOW: Ok, I know you will might not be interested in reading all the stuff I write over there. Just like you technology is my passion. I have a Label "Technology" where you can find all the posts of the kind that you find here.

I am very sorry for the inconvenience caused because of this. However, I am sure in the long run its mutually beneficial. So see you at zLeas.


Monday, January 15, 2007

iPhone and New world Order

Apple oh! My Apple, known for some of the groundbreaking incidents of the twentieth century has come up with its second offering at the dawn of the 21st century. I am talking about iPhone which was recently announced. A search on YouTube gives you an idea of the buzz this yet to released has created.

I would not discuss the features of iPhone here as is the case. What I will talk of is some of the technologies that Apple is using and why they will create a new order. A beautiful series on iPhone is available at RDM (Roughly Drafted Magazine). Go through it for an indepth analysis of various aspects of iPhone. (I would say slightly biased towards iPhone).

Coming to some of the features that I mentioned earlier, let us have look at each of them and why they will effect the way we do things today.

The touch screen display is the most disruptive of the features. Not that touch screen displays don't exist, but the way one interacts with iPhone using fingers will go a long way in spawning more innovative devices based on this technology. I just am waiting to land my hands. Though I still cannot imagine how easy or difficult it will be to use the key board for smsing, I am still game for this.

The next is the its support for wi-fi and bluetooth. Though many have cannibalized it for its lack of support to 3G, in my opinion that does not matter as at least in the foreseeable future 3G does not come anywhere near wi-fi. But what excites me is that I can happily network my phone, laptop, desktop, and possibly the wii. It's crazy but I can see more and more portables with wi-fi support.

Apple has redefined the user interface for handhelds with iPhone, just as what Mac and iPod have done to the PC and music industry. I am sure it's time for all the mobile phone guys to pull up their socks. Folks better acknowledge the fact that Apple did a great job and see what you can do. Don't get into the denial mode and get relegated.

Known for the aesthetics, elegant and simple design Apple has done a phenomenal job with iPhone. I am sure they seriously believe in the tag line "Think Different", unlike many companies where a tag line is just their because all companies have one. Now how is this changing the world order you might ask. If Apple comes up with one more disruptive product in the future and not rest on its laurels from iPod and potential laurels from iPhone, I am sure they will be a go a long way as a company that understands the customers what they need.

Lot of other features like the motion sensors, video voice mail, a great web browsing facility all sound obvious in retrospect. Only see how many of the existing folks provide you with these facilities in spite of being so obvious.

Finally, I have great respect for Jobs, for the maverick showman he is, he's got the users in mind(from the days he hacked the AT&T's telephones). I am sure he's got some more tricks up his sleeve for iPhone which in itself will create a new order all over again.


Thursday, January 11, 2007

Model it on Your Desktop

My first post after a long time here, and first post for 2007. Hope this year sees more and more technological innovations like last year.
Coming back to the topic on hand, No, I am not talking of your computer desktop, I am referring to the good old desk top. How many times did you abandon a great idea because you could not do the model at your convenience and your pace? How many times did you abandon that pet project of yours because of the the prohibitive costs? If you fall into any of this or more on similar lines, what I am writing here should alleviate your spirits.

A few folks at Cornell have addressed just this problem. They have come up with a desktop fabricator which will set you back by about 2500$. Yes, you heard it right. No more heart breaks over the price. Coming to the capabilities it sounds pretty good to me. It can build 3-D models of from plastic like materials. One can use it for building 3-D prototypes.

"Malone and Lipson the people behind Fab@Home hope that this will grow into a community of enthusiasts who share designs for 3D objects and even modify the machines for themselves. This will prompt the emergence of widespread personal fabrication, Lipson hopes.", says a report on New Scientist. I got hold of this article from DocintheMachine. Check out a video on how this Fab@Home constructs a silicone bulb.

What fascinates me is if the machine is half as good as what they say, it might churn a revolution in the way things are manufactured. I might as well setup a small scale unit in my house making a few hundred models for the markets around me or I might even scale it up for making a few thousand models. I am excited to have a look at it and see it's capabilities. It's the time for back to home workshops aka the pre-industrial era.

"History repeats it self", How true.


Tuesday, December 05, 2006

The Emotion Machine

I could not resist posting this here. Marvin Minsky a professor at MIT and a legend in his own rights has published after over 20 years. In his new book called "The Emotion Machine", he argues that emotions are a different way of thinking and hence are not different from rational thought.

This doesn't surprise me, it gives words to what I have been struggling to give a form. Many a times I felt emotions have a place, not every thing is based on logic as we think, but could never find an explanation for this feeling. Marvin's idea leads me on to a whole different gamut of thoughts.

Coming back to the news about the book, you can read his interview of his at "". I present a few excerpts from that over here.

"Q So here you are, a pioneer of artificial intelligence, writing a book about emotions. What's going on?

A Somehow, most theories of how the mind works have gotten confused by trying to divide the mind in a simple way.

My view is that the reason we're so good at things is not that we have the best way but because we have so many ways, so when any one of them fails, you can switch to another way of thinking. So instead of thinking of the mind as basically a rational process which is distorted by emotion, or colored and made more exciting by emotion -- that's the conventional view -- emotions themselves are different ways to think. Being angry is a very useful way to solve problems, for instance, by intimidating an opponent or getting rid of people who bother you.

The theme of the book is really resourcefulness and why are people so much better at controlling the world than animals are? The argument is: because they have far more different ways to think than any competitor."

"Q What, then, is the most important thing for us to understand about our own thinking?

A Your mind can work on several levels at once so, when you think about any particular subject, you also can think about the way you've been thinking -- and then use that experience to change yourself. Similarly, when you admire some teacher or leader, you can try to imitate their ways to think -- instead of just learning the things that they say."

It's a paradigm shift for all of us. Grab it and address beautiful problems for humankind.


Friday, December 01, 2006

Pharmacogenomics: Biochip

The world's first pharmacogenetic microarray for personalized prescriptions

The new technology combines chemistry, physics and biology to develop electronic devices able to reach diagnostic conclusions. Roche has combined its polymerase chain reaction (PCR) technology for putting genetic information on a chip.

When two people take the same dose of a drug, their bodies may metabolize it so differently that the amount of it that can act on its target varies tremendously. Some people may have an especially efficient form of an enzyme that breaks down a drug; others may have a less functional version. People with genetic variations that give them less efficient versions of the enzymes, known as poor metabolizers, could have high levels of a drug in their body for a longer period, increasing the potential for side effects.

dont mix with grapefruit

The AmpliChip CYP450 Test provides comprehensive coverage of gene variations - including deletions and duplications - for the CYP2D6 and CYP2C19 genes, which play a major role in the metabolism of an estimated 25% of all prescription drugs. It is intended to be an aid for physicians in individualizing treatment selection and dosing for drugs metabolized through these genes.

It is intended to be an aid for physicians in individualizing treatment selection and dosing for drugs metabolized through these genes.



Sunday, November 19, 2006

Weekly RonudUp

Sorry all folks out there, it is really getting tough to be regular. Any way, for this weeks roundup, we have lot of hands on stuff. Not any theory, or theories in the making. We are going to see some pretty real stuff. Its people like these who give make use of all the technology that comes up. From discussion on various electricity standards around the world, to glitch art and paper art we have some amazing things made by some amazing people.

Electricity around the world: We all at least those of you who have traveled in more than one country have faced this issue. Your laptop charger or your mobile charger does not fit into the point there. And even if it fits, you may be witness to some great fireworks if there is some difference in the specifications. Now we have a site which brings out all the world standards at a glance. Next time you travel you know what to carry or at least what to expect. This website by Conrad H. McGregor also contains more information on the driving sense in different countries, the international paper sizes, international bar codes and so on. Its really a must for all those travellers out there.

Paper Art: Su Blackwell has an amazing work of art. See for yourself this beautiful piece made from book cuts. For more of his masterpieces go to his site at

Glitch Art: Looks like art is the flavor of the day. How many of us have seen glitches on screens, be it be TV, your calculator, that new camera or the inseparable monitor. Ant Scott turns this glitches into art. A good collection of glitches and he goes on to explain the story behind each. Impressive I would say.

History: Continuing in the same vein, let us see two sites which offer an insight into the past. One titled Historical Photos, contains a very nice collection of aero engines, dog breeds, steam engines and many more from the past. One more site that caught my attention was The Cathode Ray Tube Site. This site has on display the history of various tubes. It has nicely divided the tubes into CRTs, Camera tubes,X-ray tubes and so on. Thus providing us with an easy navigation. An informative site and a must for all tube enthusiasts.


Saturday, November 18, 2006

Rapid detection of Viruses: Silver Nanorods

Silver bullet: UGA researchers use laser, nanotechnology to rapidly detect viruses

Athens: Waiting a day or more to get lab results back from the doctor's office soon could become a thing of a past. Using nanotechnology, a team of University of Georgia researchers has developed a diagnostic test that can detect viruses as diverse as influenza, HIV and RSV in 60 seconds or less.

In addition to saving time, the technique – which is detailed in the November issue of the journal Nano Letters – could save lives by rapidly detecting a naturally occurring disease outbreak or bioterrorism attack.

"You could actually apply it to a person walking off a plane and know if they're infected."

Technology behind it:

The technique, called surface enhanced Raman spectroscopy (SERS), works by measuring the change in frequency of a near-infrared laser as it scatters off viral DNA or RNA. This change in frequency, named the Raman shift for the scientist who discovered it in 1928, is as distinct as a fingerprint. It is interesting to note that the findings of Indian Pioneer of Science, Sir Raman is coming handy in latest nanotechnology applications.

This phenomenon is well known, but Tripp explained that previous attempts to use Raman spectroscopy to diagnose viruses failed because the signal produced is inherently weak.

But UGA physics professor Yiping Zhao and UGA chemistry professor Richard Dluhy experimented with several different metals and methods and found a way to significantly amplify the signal. Using a method they've patented, they place rows of silver nanorods 10,000 times finer than the width of a human hair on the glass slides that hold the sample. And, like someone positioning a TV antenna to get the best reception, they tried several angles until they found that the signal is best amplified when the nanorods are arranged at an 86-degree angle.

Tripp said the technique is so powerful that it has the potential to detect a single virus particle and can also discern virus subtypes and those with mutations such as gene insertions and deletions.

The researchers have shown that the technique works with viruses isolated from infected cells grown in a lab, and the next step is to study its use in biological samples such as blood, feces or nasal swabs. Tripp said preliminary results are so promising that the researchers are currently working to create an online encyclopedia of Raman shift values. With that information, a technician could readily reference a Raman shift for a particular virus to identify an unknown virus.

Next year, they plan on moving their enterprise to the Georgia BioBusiness Center, an UGA incubator for startup bio-science companies.

Limitations of Existing Techniques

Presently, viruses are first diagnosed with methods that detect the antibodies a person produces in response to an infection. Tripp explained that these tests are prone to false positives because a person can still have antibodies in their system from a related infection decades ago. The tests are also prone to false negatives because some people don't produce high levels of antibodies.

Because of these limitations, antibody based tests often must be confirmed with a test known as polymerase chain reaction (PCR), which detects the virus itself by copying it many times. The test can take anywhere from several days to two weeks. Tripp said the latter is clearly too long, especially in light of emerging threats such as H5N1 avian influenza.


Dialogues from Shawshank redemption

This one is from Leo (he posted it on his personal blog). It has got nothing to do with technology. But then the reason technology exists is because of  us humans. This movie amazes me every time I think of it. And am sure all those who haven't watched it must see it.

For now please sail through the famous dialogues.

The most famous dialogues of the Best Movie ever Made : SHAWSHANK REDEMPTION

Can anyone forget Tim Robbins & Morgan Freeman in Shawshank?? least I cant..coz this one movie taught me a through these dialogues carefully..each line has a story to tell teach you..!!

RED: Andy? I guess we're getting' to be friends, ain't we?

ANDY: I suppose we are.

RED: I ask a question? Why'd you do it?

ANDY: I'm innocent, remember? Just like everybody else here.

ANDY: What are you in for, Red?

RED: Murder. Same as you.

ANDY: Innocent?

RED: The only guilty man in Shawshank.

RED: Heywood, enough. Ain't nothing wrong with Brooksie. He's just institutionalized, that's all.

HEYWOOD: Institutionalized, my ass.

RED: Man's been here fifty years. This place is all he knows. In here, he's an important man, an educated man. A librarian. Out there, he's nothing but a used-up old con with arthritis in both hands. Couldn't even get a library card if he applied. You see what I'm saying?

FLOYD: Red, I do believe you're talking out of your ass.

RED: Believe what you want. These walls are funny. First you hate 'em, then you get used to 'em. After long enough, you get so you depend on 'em. That's "institutionalized."

JIGGER: Shit. I could never get that way.

ERNIE: Say that when you been inside as long as Brooks has.

RED: Goddamn right. They send you here for life, and that's just what they take. Part that counts, anyway.

RED: I have no idea to this day what them two Italian ladies were singin' about. Truth is, I don't want to know. Some things are best left unsaid. I like to think they were singin' about something so beautiful it can't be expressed in words, and makes your heart ache because of it. I tell you, those voices soared. Higher and farther than anybody in a gray place dares to dream. It was like some beautiful bird flapped into our drab little cage and made these walls dissolve away... and for the briefest of moments -- every last man at Shawshank felt free.

ANDY: Here's where it makes most sense. We need it so we don't forget.

RED: Forget?

ANDY: That there are things in this world not carved out of gray stone. That there's a small place inside of us they can never lock away, and that place is called hope.

RED: Hope is a dangerous thing. Drive a man insane.

ANDY: You're right. It's down there, and I'm in here. I guess it comes down to a simple choice, really. Get busy living or get busy dying.

RED: Andy loved geology. I imagine it appealed to his meticulous nature. An ice age here, a million years of mountain-building there, plates of bedrock grinding against each other over a span of millennia... Geology is the study of pressure and time. That's all it takes, really. Pressure and time.

RED: I like to think the last thing that went through his head... other than that bullet... was to wonder how the hell Andy Dufresne ever got the best of him.

ANDY: Dear Red. If you're reading this, you've gotten out. And if you've come this far, maybe you're willing to come a little further. You remember the name of the town, don't you? I could use a good man to help me get my project on wheels. I'll keep an eye out for you and the chessboard ready. Remember, Red. Hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things, and no good thing ever dies. I will be hoping that this letter finds you, and finds you well. Your friend. Andy.

RED: I find I am so excited I can barely sit still or hold a thought in my head. I think it is the excitement only a free man can feel, a free man at the start of a long journey whose conclusion is uncertain... I hope I can make it across the border. I hope to see my friend and shake his hand. I hope the Pacific is as blue as it has been in my dreams. I hope.


Thursday, November 16, 2006


BioPen Senses BioThreats

Bioluminescent fiber-optic bio-reporter biosensor to environmental toxicant
Bioluminescent fiber-optic bio-reporter biosensor to environmental toxicant

A novel pen-like device, capable of rapidly detecting biowarfare agents on the battlefield, is being developed by a team of Israeli scientists at Ben Gurion University in the Negev. The BioPen or "Lab-in-a-Pen", as it has also been dubbed, could be used additionally as a point-of-care test tool for examining patients and to assist in the accurate, rapid, and on-the-spot diagnosis of a variety of diseases.

Image of BioPen concept CAD (computer aided design)
Image of BioPen concept CAD (computer aided design)

The BioPen has been designed to help soldiers on the battlefield determine whether they have been exposed to dangerous biological agents in under 20 minutes. The novel diagnostic device – equipped with a small LCD screen – is user-friendly, does not require the user to have any preliminary training, and is self-sufficient. In addition, it can be used to check whether water is drinkable, to detect environmental toxins, and to diagnose various common infections such as Hepatitis B and C, and even several types of cancer, more accurately and efficiently than tests currently in use. This amazing feat is achieved by a special method devised by the Ben Gurion University team for antigen detection, which is an adaptation of the widely employed Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay (ELISA).


Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Wiztec in Your Language

Thanks to so many enterprising souls on the net, now those of you in various parts of the world (at least 9 languages and those countries that speak these languages) will be able to get it in your language. I won't write much here, except credit all the people who played a role in current status of wiztec.

Let me start with Hackosphere, this guy Ramani has really helped me with my blog (without knowing that). If I could include some features in my blog without any effort worth mentioning the credit goes to him.

Now comes cOOL HOOp, Leo as I know him is with me at Nirmalabs, a biotechnologist, he is one of the contributors to this blog. Check out his blog, he has some cool stuff. Check out wiztec for more of Leo.

There are other people(the links point to there blogs), Ashish Sinha from iDea Labs, Annie from BlogU, then we have Amit Agarwal from Digital Inspirations. Many other blogs and sites have helped me with the posts here, and I have credited most of the sites/persons in the posts.

To end with, we assure you that we will try to be more regular with the posts, updating you on whats happening. If you want to here, or there is a topic that you want us at wiztec to post, do write to us. We will be too happy to take your feedback.