Saturday, March 31, 2007

Call that Humiliation?

Yep! Some may call that humiliation!

"The true mark of a civilised country is that it doesn't rush into charging people whom it has arbitrarily arrested in places it's just invaded. The inmates of Guantánamo, for example, have been enjoying all the privacy they want for almost five years, and the first inmate has only just been charged. What a contrast to the disgraceful Iranian rush to parade their captives before the cameras!

What's more, it is clear that the Iranians are not giving their British prisoners any decent physical exercise. The US military make sure that their Iraqi captives enjoy PT. This takes the form of exciting "stress positions", which the captives are expected to hold for hours on end so as to improve their stomach and calf muscles. A common exercise is where they are made to stand on the balls of their feet and then squat so that their thighs are parallel to the ground. This creates intense pain and, finally, muscle failure. It's all good healthy fun and has the bonus that the captives will confess to anything to get out of it."
Read this "humorous" article written by Terry Jones from the following link:
Call that humiliation?,,2047128,00.html


Here is an excerpt from a message I wrote to a friend regarding the movie Namesake:

We've just returned from seeing a late night movie, "Namesake", an excellent story of an immigrant family, their timidity, boldness, laughter, tears, love and despair along with the natural cycle of birth and death, overall, the universal humanity that "Namesake" portrays is quite remarkable. I recommend you to see this movie. It is being played at Eau Claire Market. The link for the movie is the following:

It is based on Jhumpa Lahiri's second book with the same title, I'd read it a few years ago, forgotten most of the detail until it all came back from this nicely directed movie. If you have time also read Jhumpa Lahiri's very first book, Interpreter of Maladies, a short story book that won Pulitzer Prize.

Iraq's 'Arab Idol' captivates nation

People of Iraq get a glimpse of hope amid showering bombs and blistering hatred. An Iraqi girl won an Arab version of "American Idol". Here is a reaction from an Iraqi:

"Her triumph will show the world that Iraqis will still sing despite their wounds," Israa Tariq, a homemaker from Baghdad's al-Ghadeer neighborhood, said before Friday's final episode.

Link to the story:
Iraq's 'Arab Idol' captivates nation

Friday, March 30, 2007

Viet Nam: Internet activist priest imprisoned

A 60 year old Catholic priest and four of his associates who dared to speak against the Vietnamese government are sentenced to jail today. Here is a response from Amnesty International:

"The politically-motivated charges against Father Ly and his associates are a blatant attempt to silence them and to scare off other critics of the government."

"This sentence means Father Ly will be a prisoner of conscience for the fourth time in two decades. It is indicative of a broader crackdown on dissent by the Vietnamese authorities that has been intensifying since the country held the APEC meeting last November."

"Father Ly and his associates are the first people who have been brought to trial during the crackdown -- we fear others will follow."

"The Vietnamese authorities must immediately release Father Ly, Nguyen Phong, and the three others and stop harassing and arresting those who speak out against the government."

Make yourself aware of what is really going on around the world behind glimmering facades.

Click below to read background information on this issue.
Viet Nam: Internet activist priest imprisoned - news.amnesty - Amnesty International

Free Online Photo Editors

Here are five links for folks with passion in photography or for anyone who would like to have a few choices brushing up those newly taken photos.


In software no good deed goes unpunished

For tech enthusiasts the following article published in Code Craft states the obvious moral of the story in its very last line:
"If the culture is broken, the fastest way to make enemies is to do more than everyone around you." Not much different from other fields.

Read the full article from the following link:
In software no good deed goes unpunished

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Look on those monuments to megalomania, and despair

Projection of power is behind world's most architectural marvels. Awe inspiring gigantic palaces, tallest of the tallest buildings, sinewed curvatures of domes, diamond and gold glittering arches made from mathematical precision from antiquity or forthcoming technological singularity. "Men build great palaces to show they are strong, or defy the world, or prove their worth to themselves. Or to hide."

Ben Macintyre analyzes Burma's ruthless dictator's recent "opening" of their "Seat of Kings", a city built for the Burmese juntas, "In the foetid depths of the Burmese jungle, on the road to Mandalay, slave labourers toil to build a glinting new metropolis for their military overlords. This is Naypyitaw, “Seat of Kings”, the new capital city decreed by Burma’s brutal junta, and the latest (and oddest) example of autocracy as architecture."

The writer accurately observes that "the moment of greatest architectural extravagance seems often to presage the waning of power. Sir Edwin Lutyens completed his redesign of New Delhi in 1931, a magnificent modern imperial capital intended to last for ever. The bells carved into the pillars of the Viceroy’s Palace were silent as an indication that they would never ring to signal the end of empire. The British left just 16 years later."

Not only the dictators or "Kings" are prone to show their megalomaniac prowess just before their on coming total collapse, "In the same way, it has been shown that large corporations often disintegrate most rapidly after building large and impressive new headquarters: a company that spends its cash and time on self-aggrandising buildings may already have lost the edge."

Mr. Ben Macintyre's article is thought provoking, though a few critiques may point out that he intentionally side stepped more timely examples of American adventures in our war ravaged globe. "Hitler, Stalin, Mao, Mussolini and Saddam", these are all dead dictators, whose influence on our world and its populace have long been the things of the past though the memories of their atrocities still resonate among forgotten victims. What about more recent examples of Mr. Bush, the "benevolent" junta's not-so-talked about building of military infrastructure in various corners of our globe?

Burmese military dictators are brutal, oppressions of their millions of civilians should be raised in every venues possible, however, the context of "architectural marvels" with megalomaniac fascists and dictators should not be seen in one-eyed prism of distortion or unfair exclusivity.


Mahbubul Karim (Sohel)

Read Mr. Ben Macintyre's Full Article from the following link:
Look on those monuments to megalomania, and despair-Comment-Columnists-Ben Macintyre-TimesOnline

Cricket's showpiece just a sham

I do not agree with Chris Rattue's plea "for the abandonment of a sporting world tournament." The writer depicts a strong argument on cricket's past and present problem with "match-fixing" along with other world sports' similar fraudulent episodes throughout the past few decades. One possible solution is to keep the players accountable on their roles in deceptions. Chris Rattue asks: "Why have the cricketers themselves, whose co-operation lies at the heart of these fraudulent operations, not faced the weight of the law? Why on earth didn't a rat like Hansie Cronje end up behind bars?"

Complete abandonment of a sporting world tournament is not realistic, even could be detrimental to the whole cause of world unity, however sacerdotal creed or pompous that may sound, but implementing "laws" to the guilty parties, like the immoral players and the other "match-fixers" could certainly alleviate various "unholy" maladies from the beauty of a world sport like cricket.


Read the full article from the following link:
Chris Rattue: Cricket's showpiece just a sham

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

The Best Exercise You're Not Doing

"And there lies an important point: Despite the plethora of gym equipment available, some of the greatest exercises remain the ones you can do with just your body weight—for instance, the single-arm pullup and the handstand pushup. Or the lower-body version, the best movement to build leg strength and improve athletic performance: the full-range, rock-bottom, single-leg squat."

Article Link:

You Are Also What You Drink

What worries me most? Perhaps disease and death. Maladies of various forms that may put a resounding full-stop on this fledgling existence. Read the following excerpt from New York Times: "What worries you most? Decaying teeth, thinning bones, heart disease, stroke, diabetes, dementia, cancer, obesity? Whatever tops your list, you may be surprised to know that all of these health problems are linked to the beverages you drink — or don’t drink."

A good article to read. Full link:

You Are Also What You Drink - New York Times

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

When I remember, he lives

A touching article of a writer's pain remembering his departed father. Click here to read the full article. Here is a memorable paragraph: "I seem incapable of being inspired by anything but his loss, living with it, remembering it, trying not to forget and as the years roll by one after the other probably forgetting and not even realizing that I have forgotten so many little things here and there."

The writer completes with a poignant observation: "But the important thing I tell myself over and over is that I remember, and when I remember, he lives."


Sunday, March 11, 2007

Oligarchs and Festooned Hyperbole

Oligarchs and Festooned Hyperbole

By Mahbubul Karim (Sohel)

March 11, 2007

In past 12 months the world's third richest man Mr. Carlos Slim Helu of Mexico made about $2.2 million per hour. What an astonishing figure! What a success story from the land of Mexico whose reputation, fairly and unfairly, to be the "illegal immigrants" of America in the north, or perhaps low wage workers in the farm picking apples, oranges, or doing ever tedious dish washing in countless American restaurants.

Mr. Carlos Slim Helu is indeed a success story. Himself from a Lebanese immigrant family, he is a self-made man who has exceptional business acumen. In merely less than two decades, Mr. Slim Helu created this giant empire of his with steadfast management and effective direction of his mega corporation. His current worth is the whopping $49 billion, of this "miracle" number he has made about $19 billion in past 12 months alone. Now the Mexicans whose average earning is about $2.00 a day use Mr. Slim Helu's variety of services:

Mexicans buy cigarettes from Slim's tobacco company, apply for mortgages at his bank and purchase policies at his insurance firm. Shoppers patronize his department stores, eat at his restaurants and browse for CDs at his music outlets.

Travelers fly his discount airline. Industrialists buy his auto parts, electronics, steel and ceramic tile. The government hires his infrastructure firm to build highways, water treatment plants and oil platforms.

One may ask with variable whisper: What is the secret of Mr. Slim Helu's "fairy tale" like success? Is it only his business acumen and right stewardship the reason behind his immense wealth accumulation? Or could it be his and many other oligarch like him who had used and are using unfair means, like stifling fair competition, using Mexico's incompetent government's unwillingness "to inject anything like real competition in the country's main industries. Even today, there are just two rival television companies in Mexico, five radio stations and just two brewing concerns, even if they churn out countless brands. And there are only two food processors in the whole country. "Mexico is just suffused with obstacles to competition," George Grayson, a Mexico expert at the College of William & Mary told the Los Angeles Times. "It is still full of public and private monopolies and bottlenecks."

Mexico, a country whose economy is ruled by its "100 families" dynasty, who live in secluded palaces, away from poverty stricken slums. Mr. Slim Helu represents the head of these dispassionate oligarchs. "They drive the latest luxury imports, protect themselves from the ever-present danger of kidnappings with bodyguards, and regularly jet in and out of the United States on extravagant shopping expeditions."

They have stranglehold on the media since these oligarch dynasty controls "94% of the nation's television stations and virtually all of the industry's advertising revenue, making Mexico the most closed TV market in Latin America outside Cuba."

Mr. Slim Helu's story is not quite different from other oligarchs of our world. From faraway Bangladesh where politicians and industrialists reaped away unimaginable amount of money through unchecked corruptions, to ever pristine corporate hooliganism in North America (remember Enron? Military-Industrial complex?) and Europe, their omnipresent presence under supposedly benevolent governments' radar could certainly raise and stretch eyebrows from well meaning men and women, law abiding, taxpaying, but quite not comprehending what is really going on behind festooned hyperbole.


Big Business in Body Parts

If you are faint hearted or stories of blood and bones give you chill or migraine, you should not read the story at Los Angeles Times published a few days ago. Link is here in case you feel brave to trudge along cadaver, body snatcher and news of making millions of dollar in profit from human bones and flesh by the Biotechnology companies. Link:,0,3271134.story?coll=la-opinion-center

Read the following extract:
Modern medicine has come to rely on a steady supply of products generated from the tissues of the dead. Organs are allocated to recipients by a medical bureaucracy, so there is no legal commercial market in them. But heart valves, tendons, ligaments and the like are all transplantable, and they all fetch a price. Osteotech Inc., another New Jersey company, grinds human bone into a putty used to patch small breaks. Skeletal grafts help cancer patients replace arm and leg bone lost because of illness. And it's not all borne of medical necessity. Ask your plastic surgeon for a pair of plumper lips, and you may get a shot of human-derived Alloderm.
The disturbing part is how the altruistic donors do not have any clue how their own tissues are getting used in profit making not for the "miracles", and perhaps that also does not make them a "hero" either -->

Donors, assured that they're providing the "gift of life," likely assume that the system is as altruistic as they are. Tissue procurement organizations have a story they sell to donors, and it's one of medical miracles, not booming businesses. As the Ohio Department of Health explains on its donor recruitment website: "Through … tissue donation everyday citizens, just like you, have a chance to make a difference. To be a life saver. To be a hero."

Well, that's half the story, and here's the rest: Within the biotech world, miracles and business are one and the same. There is nothing inherently wrong with biotech companies reselling donated tissues. Think of it this way: The Salvation Army — hardly a bastion of greed — sells donated secondhand clothes. Resale is often the best way to get donations to people who need them.

Then again, if you decide to skip the donation bin and sell your outdated suit on your own terms, no politician will stop you. The same should be true for tissue. But federal law has one set of rules for tissue donors and another for businesses.
The interesting part is "Low estimates put the present value of a single cadaver at $100,000. But in the current system, only someone else could get that money. The legal resale value of your body, to you, is precisely $0."

There are "objections" in making "your body" roll into real market capitalism where "you" will have the say and even share the profit of selling your "cadaver" tissue. "Ethicists and policymakers worry that letting donors (or more precisely their heirs) profit from the market would encourage predatory behavior. But we've seen that behavior — from tissue procurement organizations looking to make a buck within the shadows of a gray market. Recent body-snatching scandals demonstrate the dangers of keeping this trade underground. In a transparent and regulated tissue market, plundering bodies would be harder — not easier — to do."

Delicacy indeed! Even in death and cold corpses, market capitalism (fundamentalism?) keeps rolling on beyond grave, churning metallic coins out of bloody tissues and bones!

Read the full article from the following link:,0,3271134.story?coll=la-opinion-center

Mahbubul Karim (Sohel)

10 Things You Didn't Know About You is a cool site. Mostly forgotten topics from high school in the distant past that one does not think about much in day to day living, and also more advanced knowledge in Human Biology, Animal World, Forces of Nature, Technology, Environment, Science of Fiction, History and Other News are neatly presented as separate topics in this well designed website.

I found the following information on human biology quite interesting. Read it with audio feature from the following link:

"10 Things You Didn't Know About You"

10. Your Stomach Secretes Corrosive Acid
There's one dangerous liquid no airport security can confiscate from you: It's in your gut. Your stomach cells secrete hydrochloric acid, a corrosive compound used to treat metals in the industrial world. It can pickle steel, but mucous lining the stomach wall keeps this poisonous liquid safely in the digestive system, breaking down lunch.

Body Position Affects Your Memory
Can't remember your anniversary, hubby? Try getting down on one knee. Memories are highly embodied in our senses. A scent or sound may evoke a distant episode from one's childhood. The connections can be obvious (a bicycle bell makes you remember your old paper route) or inscrutable. A recent study helps decipher some of this embodiment. An article in the January 2007 issue of Cognition reports that episodes from your past are remembered faster and better while in a body position similar to the pose struck during the event.

Bones Break (Down) to Balance Minerals
In addition to supporting the bag of organs and muscles that is our body, bones help regulate our calcium levels. Bones contain both phosphorus and calcium, the latter of which is needed by muscles and nerves. If the element is in short supply, certain hormones will cause bones to break down—upping calcium levels in the body—until the appropriate extracellular concentration is reached.

7. Much of a Meal is Food For Thought
Though it makes up only 2 percent of our total body weight, the brain demands 20 percent of the body's oxygen and calories. To keep our noggin well-stocked with resources, three major cerebral arteries are constantly pumping in oxygen. A blockage or break in one of them starves brain cells of the energy they require to function, impairing the functions controlled by that region. This is a stroke.

Thousands of Eggs Unused by Ovaries
When a woman reaches her late 40s or early 50s, the monthly menstrual cycle that controls her hormone levels and readies ova for insemination ceases. Her ovaries have been producing less and less estrogen, inciting physical and emotional changes across her body. Her underdeveloped egg follicles begin to fail to release ova as regularly as before. The average adolescent girl has 34,000 underdeveloped egg follicles, although only 350 or so mature during her life (at the rate of about one per month). The unused egg follicles then deteriorate. With no potential pregnancy on the horizon, the brain can stop managing the release of ova.

Puberty Reshapes Brain Structure, Makes for Missed Curfews
We know that hormone-fueled changes in the body are necessary to encourage growth and ready the body for reproduction. But why is adolescence so emotionally unpleasant? Hormones like testosterone actually influence the development of neurons in the brain, and the changes made to brain structure have many behavioral consequences. Expect emotional awkwardness, apathy and poor decision-making skills as regions in the frontal cortex mature.

Cell Hairs Move Mucus
Most cells in our bodies sport hair-like organelles called cilia that help out with a variety of functions, from digestion to hearing. In the nose, cilia help to drain mucus from the naval cavity down to the throat. Cold weather slows down the draining process, causing a mucus backup that can leave you with snotty sleeves. Swollen nasal membranes or condensation can also cause a stuffed schnozzle.

Big Brains Cause Cramped Mouths
Evolution isn't perfect. If it were, we might have wings instead of wisdom teeth. Sometimes useless features stick around in a species simply because they're not doing much harm. But wisdom teeth weren't always a cash crop for oral surgeons. Long ago, they served as a useful third set of meat-mashing molars. But as our brains grew our jawbone structure changed, leaving us with expensively overcrowded mouths.

The World Laughs with You
Just as watching someone yawn can induce the behavior in yourself, recent evidence suggests that laughter is a social cue for mimicry. Hearing a laugh actually stimulates the brain region associated with facial movements. Mimicry plays an important role in social interaction. Cues like sneezing, laughing, crying and yawning may be ways of creating strong social bonds within a group.

Your Skin Has Four Colors
All skin, without coloring, would appear creamy white. Near-surface blood vessels add a blush of red. A yellow pigment also tints the canvas. Lastly, sepia-toned melanin, created in response to ultraviolet rays, appears black in large amounts. These four hues mix in different proportions to create the skin colors of all the peoples of Earth.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Scientists say nerves use sound, not electricity

Researchers at the Copenhagen University state that all the current biology and medical textbooks relay wrong information on the very basic communication channel that our body has. "The common view that nerves transmit impulses through electricity is wrong and they really transmit sound."

Read the following extract:

According to the traditional explanation of molecular biology, an electrical pulse is sent from one end of the nerve to the other with the help of electrically charged salts that pass through ion channels and a membrane that sheathes the nerves. That membrane is made of lipids and proteins.
Scientists argue that cannot be possible since "The physical laws of thermodynamics tell us that electrical impulses must produce heat as they travel along the nerve, but experiments find that no such heat is produced."

They argue that "sound propagation is a much more likely explanation. Although sound waves usually weaken as they spread out, a medium with the right physical properties could create a special kind of sound pulse or "soliton" that can propagate without spreading or losing strength."

They also say "because the nerve membrane is made of a material similar to olive oil that can change from liquid to solid through temperature variations, they can freeze and propagate the solitons."

From another site the following stanza gives more detailed information, "The freezing point of water can be lowered by the addition of salt. Likewise, molecules that dissolve in membranes can lower the freezing point of membranes. The scientists found that the nerve membrane has a freezing point, which is precisely suited to the propagation of these concentrated sound pulses. Their theoretical calculations lead them to the same conclusion: Nerve pulses are sound pulses."

Along with explaining how sound pulses, not the electrical pulses, that really propagate from one end of nerve to other, the same scientists also theorize how sound pulse play an essential role in the realm of anesthesia. Read the following:

How can one anesthetize a nerve so that feel ceases and it is possible to operate on a patient without pain? It has been known for more than 100 years that substances like ether, laughing gas, chloroform, procaine and the noble gas xenon can serve as anesthetics. The molecules of these substances have very different sizes and chemical properties, but experience shows that their doses are strictly determined by their solubility in olive oil. Current expertise is so advanced that it is possible to calculate precisely how much of a given material is required for the patient. In spite of this, no one knows precisely how anesthetics work. How are the nerves "turned off"? Starting from their theory that nerve signals are sound pulses, Thomas Heimburg and Andrew D. Jackson turned their attention to anesthesia. The chemical properties of anesthetics are all so different, but their effects are all the same - curious!

But the curious turned out to be simple. If a nerve is to be able to transport sound pulses and send signals along the nerve, its membrane must have the property that its melting point is sufficiently close to body temperature and responds appropriately to changes in pressure. The effect of anesthetics is simply to change the melting point – and when the melting point has been changed, sound pulses cannot propagate. The nerve is put on stand-by, and neither nerve pulses nor sensations are transmitted. The patient is anesthetized and feels nothing.

Friday, March 09, 2007

"The Warlord" in Latin America

Home made cowboy hats, elegant prawn salads and that special prime Brazilian steak! Sound grand and yummy! Neatly tucked away from all the angry protests in the streets, Mr. Bush and his jovial associates dance with the rhythm of samba, cuddle the amazon miniaturized forest, while the ever hopeful Brazilian President Lula "hopes the visit will boost both Brazil's international profile and its chances of a seat on the UN security council. He described the new "strategic alliance" between Brazil and the US as a "historic moment" and the first step towards creating a "global biofuel market"."

"Yet anger was the popular reaction. Hours before Mr Bush touched down in Sao Paulo protests broke out across Brazil. In Rio de Janeiro the US consulate was spattered with red paint. In Porto Alegre protesters burned George Bush dolls. The centre of Sao Paulo erupted in violence."

Read the full article from The Guardian link:,,2030716,00.html

Crisis in Darfur Expands

A few video stories from Darfur. Stories of forgotten men, women and children. Click below to see them:

Also, the following link will provide you a few background information on this growing crisis. It will also show you how insensitive the world of ours is. These writings are from 2004. Three long years have passed, but the situation still remains horribly the same for the helpless people in the African desert.

Mahbubul Karim (Sohel)

U.S. Objects to Proposed Canadian Coal Mine

Another "unexpected" but welcome development from the current U.S. State Department. Perhaps there are cool heads working, who can foresee the disaster this proposed coal mine by a Canadian company could impose degrading environment in the surrounding area. "The North Fork of the Flathead, which the federal government says would quickly be contaminated with heavy metals and other mining pollutants, forms the western boundary of Glacier Park. It then flows south into Flathead Lake, often described as the largest pristine lake in the nation and a major recreation site."

U.S. government says, "We believe that significant adverse environmental effects may occur in the United States should the Cline Mining Company project move forward as proposed".

Read the full news from the following link:

A Few Positive Steps in Bangladesh

A Few Positive Steps in Bangladesh

By Mahbubul Karim (Sohel)

March 9, 2007

Powerful men and women used to be beyond the law in Bangladesh. They could do anything they want. They could get away from any kind of misdeeds or blatant crimes. Their pervasive political connections, accumulated wealth from unfair means and limitless power provided guarantee of their complete indemnity from justice.

Something really "odd" is occurring in Bangladesh. All these "untouchables", mega-demigods, whose once murky shadow on the street would have scared the life out of any powerless citizens of Bangladesh, are getting apprehended, arrested, putting into locked up place where they really belong.

The intermingling of corrupt politics of godfather, godmother like politicians with immoral greed among unashamed industrialists had robbed millions of impoverished Bangladeshis from their potential livelihoods. The senseless talk of creating a "Future Bangladesh" by the very same corrupted thugs in broad daylight in their heydays of uninterrupted butcheries has apparently started to unravel into its true ferocious reality. A "Future Bangladesh" for only the selected few in the highest echelon of the pompous “high-class” society who would wield their newly purchased vanity lifting Hummer or glossy BMW driving alongside the vein-strained rickshaw pullers or hapless street beggars were in full-motion action.

Could these recent crackdowns on these thieves, their master-mind strategists really bring the positive change the country yearning for so many years? Or would it become like all the previous decorated stage-drama for the general populace to consume? Perhaps it all depends what really happens when these criminals face fair trials. Yes, fair trial is the corner stone. Even the most despised criminals deserve fair trial. Bangladeshis are all too accustomed to witness all these previous mockeries of justice in myriads of shameful cases in the past. Killing of prominent journalists, finance minister, beating up and eventual death of fearless poet and writers never met fair justice. A “Future Bangladesh” cannot be built on unanswered tears of victims and their literally strangulated families.

Saturday, March 03, 2007

Pan's Labyrinth - a Good Movie to See

This evening I've seen Pan's Labyrinth, a Spanish language film with English subtitle. From the very moment of its beginning, Pan's Labyrinth takes the viewer into its fantastical maze of dark reality and enchanting magical world, moving in and out of them with effortless ease while depicting a violent world of Franco's fascist Spain in 1944. The writer-director Del-Toro has woven this beautifully crafted movie, frame by frame, minute by minute, where the senseless war, its brutality, the very real victims, their pains and agonies, are so stunningly detail and artistically presented that for many viewer Pan's Labyrinth will surely remain to be an affecting force.

This is indeed one of the best movies I've seen in many years!

Read Roger Ebert's equally exquisite review of this movie from the following link:


Bringing TV to the Web

Only a few months from now look out for Joost. These guys already made billions before through their Kazaa in 2001 and Skype in 2003, now they will make more with their new venture. Inspiring!


Thursday, Mar. 01, 2007

Bringing TV to the Web

Joost Founders Janus Friss (left) and Niklas Zennstrom pick up a television set inset with images of themselves.

By Jeremy Caplan

Once you've sold a company for $2.6 billion, life on the beach can be tempting, particularly if you're Scandinavian. But for dotcom veterans Janus Friis, 30, and Niklas Zennstrom, 40, whose sale of Skype to eBay rocketed them toward Gatesian wealth, the lure of a Great Leap Backward has proved stronger than sun and sand. Having launched Kazaa, one of the first music-file-sharing networks, in 2001 and Skype, the first big Internet-powered phone service, in 2003, the duo began work a year ago on a secret venture dubbed the Venice Project, whose goal was to bring yet another disruptive technology to your computer. "We took a 'lean-back' approach," says ceo Fredrik de Wahl. "On the Web today, you have to know what you're looking for, lean forward and click. But we wanted people to be able to just lean back and watch."

In other words, just like network television circa 1964. That's a revolution? A potentially huge one. For years, Microsoft and others have tried, and failed, to bring the Net to TV screens with duds like WebTV. But the Venice Project, renamed Joost (as in juiced), is doing the opposite: moving TV to the Internet. And unlike Apple TV, Slingbox and other hardware offerings, Joost requires nothing more than software. For now, it's by invitation only, but by this summer it will be open to the public. You'll download the free Joost software, then use it to watch channels ranging from Lime, a lifestyle station, to National Geographic. And potentially thousands more, from anywhere, in real time — and without the stuttervision that dogs streaming video today.

It's the creation of a team of 60 top engineers — veterans of Apple, Flickr and Firefox — and has already wowed bloggers who have had an early look. "Joost could make YouTube, Google Video and Apple TV look like 1988," gushes tech-blog UtahSaint.

Read the full article from the following link:,8599,1595049,00.html