Microsoft’s Plan For A Faster Web (And Apps)


In late 2009, Google came out with its SPDY protocol that the search giant intended to replace the basic Web protocol HTTP, with the intention of speeding up the Internet. Now Microsoft wants to build on that protocol in the sanctioned forum of Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) meetings on HTTP 2.0 this week. Called "HTTP Speed+Mobility," Microsoft's take on a faster underpinning for the Web wants to bring the speedups to apps and mobile devices as well as to good old Web browsers running on desktop.

Writing in a joint post on the Interoperability @ Microsoft Blog, Group Program Managers Sandeep Singhal (Windows Core Networking) and Jean Paoli (Interoperability Strategy) state that the new version of HTTP "can positively impact user experience, operational and environmental costs, and even the battery life of the devices you carry around." The idea behind HTTP Speed+Mobility is to combine SPDY with WebSocket, a W3C technology that allows a two-way channel between Web server and client, whether that's a browser or app.

HTTP 2.0 is now an official goal of the IETF, with its HTTPbis working group's approval of a new charter. According to the charter, the existing version, HTTP 1.1, "has several editorial issues. Additionally, after years of implementation and extension, several ambiguities have become evident, impairing interoperability and the ability to easily implement and use HTTP." One goal is for the protocol to be fully backward compatible.

But the first two goals of the working group will be welcomed by anyone who uses the Web:

  • Significantly improved perceived performance for common use cases (e.g., browsers, mobile), and
  • More efficient use of network resources; in particular, reducing the need to use multiple TCP connections

Of course, Microsoft has a vested interest in making apps' Web interactions faster, since Windows 8 puts a heavy emphasis on the Web-connected Metro-style apps, not to mention its budding Window Phone app ecosystem.

And speaking of phones, Singhal and Paoli make this compelling statement about how the new protocol can improve the mobile Web experience: "People want their mobile devices to have better battery life. HTTP 2.0 can help decrease the power consumption of network access. Mobile devices also give people a choice of networks with different costs and bandwidth limits. Embedded sensors and clients face similar issues. HTTP 2.0 can make this better." A big part of this will be accomplished by avoided downloading unneeded or already present data to the device.

The Microsofties praise Google's work on SPDY, "SPDY has done a great job raising awareness of web performance and taking a “clean slate” approach to improving HTTP to make the Web faster." At the same time, Singhal and Paoli hint at the possibility of conflict with competing interests like Google, anticipating "vigorous, open discussion."

Labour Campaign Campaign Chief Tom Watson: ‘Hold Your Nose And Vote Livingstone’


Labour campaign chief Tom Watson today appealed for party supporters to “hold your nose” and vote for Ken Livingstone in the mayoral election.

Mr Watson, the deputy chairman of the party, admitted that Labour voters tell him they would vote Labour if there was a general election tomorrow, but say they are considering voting Tory because they either “like Boris Johnson” or “don’t like Ken”.

With seven days to go until the election, Mr Watson’s comments will be seen as a blow to Mr Livingstone. Polls have shown that around one in 10 Labour supporters are considering voting for the Conservative Mayor.

However, there have been recent suggestions in the polls that Labour voters are trickling back to Mr Livingstone.

Speaking to Nick Ferrari on LBC radio today, Mr Watson said: “There is a section of people out there who say that if there was a general election tomorrow, they would vote Labour. But in the mayoral election, they say they’d currently vote for Boris because they either like him – he’s a nice, charismatic guy — or they don’t like Ken.

“Our task in the next week is to convince those people that if you vote for Boris, then you’re also giving a vote of confidence to David Cameron and the economy, and if you vote for Ken, then you’re sending a message to David Cameron.

“I’m being totally candid with you. I’m saying to you, those Labour voters who are thinking of going to vote for Boris Johnson, hold your nose, vote for Ken, because that’s the way that you will help Labour.

“But he’s also going to save Londoners £1,000 on their public transport … I believe him when he says [the fares cut figures] are going to work.”

Mr Watson’s extraordinary remarks came as Mr Livingstone announced that his former rival Oona King will serve as his Young People’s Champion if he wins the election. Mr Livingstone defeated Ms King in 2010 for the Labour party nomination.

Ms King, 44, the former Bethnal Green and Bow MP, said: “The key issue for me is that Boris doesn’t take seriously the day-to-day warfare going on in some of our postcodes.”

Lamborghini SUV Urus Concept


Lamborghini has unveiled a new concept which appears to confirm it intends to follow rival Maserati into the SUV market.

The luxury sports car manufacturer revealed its Urus SUV concept for the first time at Auto China in Beijing this week, promising that its long history of supercars could make the beefy model the ‘ultimate super athlete’ in its segment.

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The new model appears to vindicate the decision of Maserati to launch its SUV, the Kubang, suggesting that supercar makers are set to continue branching out into SUVs, which are perennially popular in luxury-loving markets such as China.

Interestingly, Lamborghini has chosen the concept’s environmental credentials as a key differentiator, promising that it will offer lower CO2 levels than its competitors thanks to lightweight materials.

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It’s believed that the model, designed so that families can also enjoy the Lamborghini experience, could hit showrooms in 2015.

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The move to SUVs from luxury automakers has become increasingly apparent in recent months, with Bentley also showing its luxury EXP 9 F concept in Beijing and revealing that it would boast a 6.0-liter engine, were it to hit production.

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It’s a boom that is undoubtedly being fueled, at least in part, by the insatiable demand from Chinese consumers for SUVs, with luxury automaker Mercedes-Benz already calling 2012 the ‘Year of the SUV’ in China.

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The country is now one of its biggest consumers of SUVs, with sales of the larger models as a proportion of all models rising from 10 percent to 30 percent between 2007 and 2011, according to reports.

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SUVs are now the fastest-growing segment in the Chinese auto market as a whole, reports China Daily, and that means that names such as Maserati and Lamborghini are unlikely to be the last to go large in the country.

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Concern Over Chronic Queues At Heathrow Airport


MPs are to question the immigration minister, Damian Green, about chronic queues at Heathrow airport amid concern that the issue is doing "huge damage" to Britain's reputation.

Keith Vaz, chairman of the home affairs select committee, announced the move after reports of lengthy delays to get past passport control again on Friday night.

There are fears that the problems are tarnishing the UK's image, particularly with the London Olympics only three months away.

Alastair Campbell, the former Downing Street communications chief who was caught up in the Friday night queues, tweeted: "If this is what Heathrow T5 border queue is like on an average Thursday, Olympic athletes should think about coming soon."

Vaz told London's Evening Standard newspaper that the issue was of "great concern" and needed to be addressed irrespective of the Olympics.

"Huge damage is done to our country's reputation," he said.

"The government has a choice either to increase the number of staff at the airports or to restart the suspension of the checks.

"This needs to be done irrespective of the Olympics. This is not an Olympics issue.

"It is about ensuring that Heathrow is a world-class airport every day of the year."

A Border Force spokesman said: "We will not compromise border security but we always aim to keep disruption to a minimum by using our staff flexibly to meet demand."

JK Akiongoza Watanzania Sherehe Za Muungano Zilizofanyika Tarehe 26 Aprili Jijini Dar Es Salaam


Rais wa Jamhuri ya Muungano wa Tanzania, Rais Dkt.Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete akiwapungia wananchi wakati alipokuwa akiingia katika uwanja wa Uhuru jijini Dar es salaam kuongoza maadhimisho ya mika 48 ya Muungano wa Tanganyika na Zanzibar yaliyofanyika asubuhi ya tarehe 26 Aprili.

Amiri jeshi Mkuu Rais Dkt.Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete akikagua vikosi vya ulinzi na usalama wakati wa maadhimisho ya sikukuu ya miaka 48 ya Muungano wa Tanganyika na Zanzibar katika uwanja wa Uhuru jijini Dar es Salaam yaliyofanyika asubuhi ya tarehe 26 Aprili.

Rais Dkt.Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete akisalimiana na Mama Maria Nyerere katika uwanja wa Uhuru jijini Dar es salaam.

Rais Dkt.Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete akisalimiana na Mwenyekiti wa CUF Profesa Ibrahim Lipumba wakati alipowasili katika uwanja wa Uhuru kuongoza sherehe za Muungano zilizofanyika tarehe 26 Aprili jijini Dar es salaam.

Baadhi ya Viongozi wa Kiserikali wakiwa ni miongoni mwa waliohudhuria sherehe hizo katika Uwanja wa Uhuru, wakisimama wakati wa kumkaribisha Rais wa Jamhuri ya Muungano wa Tanzania.

Rais Jakaya Kikwete, akisalimiana na Makamu wake Dkt. Mohammed Gharib Bilal, wakati akiwasili kwenye Uwanja wa Uhuru jijini Dar es Salaam Aprili 26, 2012 katika sherehe za maadhimisho ya miaka 48 ya Uhuru wa Tanganyika na Zanzibar.

Vikosi vya Ulinzi na Usalama vikipita na kutoa heshima mbele ya jukwaa kuu kwa mwendo wa pole na haraka, wakati wa maadhimisho ya sherehe hizo.

Watoto wa shule mbalimbali za msingi wanaounda kikundi cha halaiki, wakionyesha manjonjo ya michezo na maumbo mbalimbali wakati wa sherehe hizo.

Kikundi cha Sanaa cha JKT Oljoro, kikionyesha umahiri wake wa kuimba na kucheza 'Kiduku' wakati wa sherehe hizo. picha zote na Freddy Maro, Muhidin Sufiani.

Classic: Aston Martin DB


Aston Martin hit the jackpot with the DB4, 5 and 6 series. When the DB4 was launched in 1958, it was ahead of its time and showed that the UK could match the Italian's exotics. The styling of the DB4, 5 and 6 was by Touring of Milan. At first, the Superleggera (super lightweight) bodies were built in Italy and shipped to Aston Martin's works. Eventually the bodies were constructed in the UK.

The outer skin was in aluminium with small steel tubes supporting it to a strong steel chassis. The all-alloy 220bhp, 3.7-litre twin-cam engines and four-speed ZF gearboxes gave the DB4a top speed of 224kph with a 0-100kph time of 8.9 seconds.

Interior refinement was high. Aston Martin's racing experience gave the company a huge technical advantage. In 1959 came the DB4GT. The headlamps were now under perspex covers, while power rose to 272bhp and a five-speed ZF became standard. With their twin-spark plug heads and three triple Weber carburettors, top speed rose to 246kph, with 0-100kph in just 6.1 seconds. Only 75 DB4GTs were built, with Zagato producing 19 more, and 70 DB4 convertibles were built out of a total DB4 production run of 1,010 cars. Needless to say the GT and the Zagato GT command extremely high prices.

The DB5 arrived in 1963. It became a movie star icon thanks to James Bond films. In 2010, one of the James Bond cars (there were four) sold at an RM Auction for over Dh15 million. The standard DB5 adopted the covered-in headlamps from the DB4GT. Engine size rose from 3.7 to 4.0-litres, and there was a new ZF five-speed ‘box and three 2in SU carburettors. Almost 1,000 DB5s were made. Options included a Vantage engine (triple Webers and more power). Only 123 convertibles and just 13 estate versions were built.

In 1965 things got fat. The DB6 saw an extra 4in (102mm) added to the wheelbase and a higher roof line to improve rear accommodation. A kicked-up tail improved high-speed stability and was useful for identification. Touring's lightweight aluminium had given way to heavier steel pressings, although the most powerful versions (up from 282bhp to 325bhp) could still max out at 240kph with 0-100kph in six seconds dead.

In 1969 the final version, the DB6MkII, arrived with wider wheels and with fuel injection as an option. There were also cockpit adjustable rear dampers, power steering and air con, and Aston also produced a convertible — the DB6 Volante was manufactured until 1971, with production running to around 2,000 examples.

HRH Prince Charles's DB6 Volante was lent to Prince William and Kate Middleton as their wedding getaway car.

World’s Largest Atlas On Sale For $100,000


The world’s tallest Atlas, the 6 ft-tall Earth Platinum from Australian publisher Millennium House has gone on sale for a mere $100,000 per copy.

The publisher said that the last book even close in size to his 128-page volume was the Klencke Atlas, produced in 1660 as a gift for Charles II of England.

“But that was about one foot smaller than this,” Millennium House founder Gordon Cheers, proudly told AFP. “This is the first time a book this size has ever been seen.”

“It’s all about creating a legacy,” the Sydney-based publisher said. “Today, everything is digital and it’s gone in a second. This will still be around in 500 years.”

The book took around a month to produce and Cheers is limiting the print run of his monster Atlas to 31. He has already sold two volumes to museums in the United Arab Emirates and is confident he will sell the whole lot.

Cheers worked for British publishing giants Penguin and then Random House, but neither firm was interested in his project, so he left to found his own company.

The book contains maps of whole continents, as well as sharp images of famous sites collaged together from 1,000 individual pictures.

As far as he knows, no one else is producing books on this scale. “I think we’re the only ones crazy enough,” quipped Cheers.

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Cutty Sark Reopened By Queen Five Years After Fire And £50m Restoration


The Cutty Sark has been formally reopened by the Queen in Greenwich, five years after the 19th century tea clipper was gutted by a blaze in the early stages of a £50million restoration.

The Queen was joined by the Duke of Edinburgh, who has a longstanding connection to the ship after co-founding the Cutty Sark Society in 1951 to help safeguard its future.

Richard Doughty, director of the Cutty Sark Trust, described the 143-year-old vessel as 'spectacular'.

'We have a ship fit for the Queen and we're very proud Her Majesty and the Duke of Edinburgh have come to open the site,' he said.

A vacuum cleaner being left on caused a fire in 2007 that destroyed fixtures and fittings on the three-masted vessel.

It has now been completely refurbished and lifted 11ft (3.4m) above its dry berth in Greenwich, with a museum being built underneath.

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Final adjustments are made to the ropes on the deck of the newly-refurbished Cutty Sark.

As part of their visit to Greenwich, which is being made a royal borough to mark the Queen's Diamond Jubilee, the royals also visited the nearby National Maritime Museum.

They opened a new exhibition curated by historian David Starkey that explores the relationship between the monarch, the City of London and its people through the prism of the River Thames.

Celebrating the Queen's 60-year reign and 75th anniversary of the museum opening the exhibition features paintings, manuscripts and other artefacts including an autographed Handel score for Music for the Royal Fireworks.

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The Canary Wharf business district visible past the bow of the Cutty Sark.

Other highlights include stern carvings from the Royal Yacht Victoria and Albert III and a collection of artwork by Venetian artist Canaletto.

After touring Greenwich the Queen and Prince Philip visited nearby Southwark, where the Queen officially named the 94ft row boat Gloriana, which is set to take centre stage at this summer's Thames Diamond Jubilee Pageant.

Queen Elizabeth II Visits Greenwich

World’s Biggest Audi Showroom


The world’s largest Audi showroom is scheduled to open in Dubai this November.

Located between the second and third interchange on Dubai’s Sheikh Zayed Road, it is the first multi-floor all inclusive car showroom in Dubai which has an extensive array of lifts to move display vehicles to the second and third floor.

The state-of-the-art multimedia technology, including a power wall dedicated to virtual vehicle customization is set up in this one- of- a- kind showroom.

Audi customers will be privileged with valet parking service, an escalator and a panoramic lift.

Upon completion, the huge showroom will cover 94,000 square feet on three levels and offer display space for up to 57 cars.