Wednesday, 1 July 2015

Data Roaming Charges to End in EU within Two Years

Roaming Charges Abolish – June 2017

For a long period the Commission had been working to decrease roaming charges with the European Union and has reached a preliminary deal recently to abolish mobile roaming charges across the 28 country bloc by June 2017 and telecom operators need to treat all internet traffic equally. Prices for roaming calls, SMS and data have fallen by 80% from 2007 and the data roaming presently is up to 91% cheaper when compared to 2007.

The draft agreement indicates an important step in the EU’s plan to service the digital market of the continent in order to enhance the grown and to meet up with Asia and United States.Latvia, holding the rotating EU presidency, has commented in a statement after 12 hours of talks with EU lawmakers, that `under the agreement, roaming surcharges in the European Union will be abolished as of June 15, 2017’.The deal would need the approval of the European Parliament and EU member states, some of whom have been pushing for the abolition of roaming charges in December in 2018. While some countries having a good number of tourists, like Spain and Greece have profited from higher prices, Eastern European countries are apprehensive that operators could hike domestic prices if roaming charges are eliminated prematurely.

Net Neutrality – Equal Internet Tariff 

Consumer’s rights group who say member states are defending the interest of their national operators have been annoyed with the delay. Roaming charges would be dropped in April 2016 in a temporary move, with maximum surcharges of 0.05 euros per minute of a call or megabyte of data and 0.02 euros per text message which would make the maximum charges for roaming around 75% cheaper than the prevailing tariff covers, according to the Commission.

The European Commission has set limits on roaming prices from 2007 stating that the retail rates for cross-border calls, texts as well as data have decreased by more than 80% and for data by 91%. With regards to net neutrality, the European Unions has decided to plan telecom operators to treat all the internet traffic in an equal manner and blocking would only be permitted for certain reasons like counter cyber-attacks or child pornography.

Start-ups to Benefit

Some of the companies like Deutsche Telekom, Telecom Italia and Orange had promoted to obtain more margins in tapping into a potentially profitable source of revenue. However, Internet activists state that this would be creating a two speed internet which would only benefit companies.

The rules could prove to be advantageous to start-ups which showcase their business or sell on the internet, would need to be able to compete on equal footing with bigger players and the latter would not be in a position to pay for privileged access to the end users. The Commission had stated that `the access to a start-up’s website will not be unfairly slowed down to make way for bigger companies. No service will be stuck because it does not pay an additional fee to Internet service providers and there won’t be gatekeepers to decide what you can and cannot access’.

Net Neutrality to Support Internet TV

The ban will be led by a fourteen month provisional period wherein companies could add surcharges though at reduced rates. The deal which was recently approved set out rules stating that telecom operators need to treat most of the internet tariff in an equal manner but the net neutrality rules will enable firms to support some services like the internet TV.

The agreement is the outcome of yearsof agitating on cutting down roaming charges and to define the approach of EU nation in regulating internet traffic especially with regards to the US adoption of net neutrality rules. ISPs would be able to support services in need of high quality internet connections namely internet TV as long as they do not impose on the overall quality of internet traffic.

Agreement to be Presented July – December this Year

The agreement is said to be presented between July and December this year for formal adoption to the European Union member states.The fourth largest grouping of MEPs in the European Parliament – The Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe (ALDE) had earlier disapproved regulators in trying to suppress the plans in putting an end data roaming. However it was welcomed when the announcement was made. Guy Verhofstadt, President of the ALDE stated that `the great roaming rip-off’ was to be brought to an end’.

The group had accused the delay in the successful negotiation of the deal on member state that has been blamed for seeking to protect their national operators earlier. However, another member of the group, Marietie Schaake MEP reintroduced the attack on the net neutrality deal commenting that `the compromise reached now is a water-down version of the strong ambitions of the European Parliament’.

Global campaign manager at World Wide Web Foundation, Renata Avila added her comments that `despite claiming to protect net neutrality, the deal agreed by the Commission, Parliament and Council has decided to allow specialised services, but has then failed to define what is meant by this, leaving the door open for a two-tier internet, specialised services should be tightly defined and seen as the exception, not the rule’.

These Retro Computer Animations Were Way Ahead of Their Time

Computer Animation Commonplace in Recent Times

Computer animation is a commonplace in recent times and it is impossible to watch a TV program without viewing some examples. However recalling those days in the 70s, the scene was quite different and in 1971, it was a cutting edge technology where a lot has altered since then. The animation revolutions would not have started but for one company - `Disney’. When the cartoons were introduced initially, to the world way back in 1908, they seemed to be the real thing.

In those early days, cartoons seemed to be short, had no colour and no sound. Walt Disney in 1928 had introduced `Steamboat Wille’ to the world and this was not only the birth of Mickey Mouse but also the first motion picture containing synchronized sound. Towards 1932, the first coloured motion picture was presented which was another work of Disney - `Flowers and Trees’. The rules of animations was once again broken by Disney in 1937 and towards to end of that year, it released `Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs’, which were the first feature length animated movie and till present times, seems to be one of the best ever viewed. It was only in 1995 that,Disney in collaboration with Pixar had released the first fully computer animated movie `Toy Story’.

Animation Progress Prior to Computers

With passage of time, animation continued to progress which was prior to the entry of computers. Computer animation did not show up till the 1980s and at that time was not as popular as it is in present times. In the late 80s and all through the 90s, computer animation was specifically utilised in making special effects in commercials as well as movies. Computer generated images is nowuniversal at the box office and though this technology came about in 1990, and has become more realistic since then, computer generated graphics existed from the early 1960s.

The first documented animations was a Swedish demo of a planned highway which was a simple route animation by present day standards but a strong demo during that time. It was produced in 1960 and aired on Swedish TV during the late 1961. Ivan Sutherland of MIT provided a demonstration in 1963 of a light pen which aided computer rendered drawing wherein the device interacted with the screen as a computer peripheral similar to a mouse and a stylus. The technique was uneven and did not have a full digital drawing but helped in rendering circles, line together with other shapes.

Bell Laboratories - 3D Version of Communication Satellite in Contact with Ground 

At the same time, Bell Laboratories also worked on CGI and in its 1963 demonstration, displayed a 3D version of how a communication satellite could stay in contact with the ground. This was not only a demo of 3D modelling but a full-on 3D animation as well and was no less impressive than CGI that were used in movies like Star Wars more than a decade later.

Another piece of art -`Hummingbird’ created in 1967 by Charles Csuri and James Shaffer did not put the hummingbird in flight though it concentrated on an authentic light drawing of the hummingbird prior to twisting, distorting and fragmenting it for the experimental part. A Computer Animated Hand tends to reveal the prospective of CGI graphics, created by Edwin Catmull and Fred Parke, in 1972, when they were student at the University of Utah; their project demonstrated a fully rendered human hand. However, it was sad that Catmull had left computers and nothing was heard from him again.

Computers Capable of Amazing Things – Purpose of Entertainment 

Parke presented a 3D rendering of faces by 1974, as his thesis, portraying a deep progress in the field of `grimaces from the uncanny valley’. Moreover he also rendered 3D faces that were better than the ill-famed CGI during the 2001’s `The Mummy Returns’ that had changed The Rock into a CGI monster. Where Catmull had continued his efforts in the entertainment field, Parke tend to remain within academia and presently serving as the head of Associate Head of the Department of Visualization at Texas A&M’s architecture school. However by developing one forthe first realistic 3D versions of human face, his contribution to the field was considered immeasurable.

Eventually the work on the computer animated hand ended in Futureworld, a 1976 consequence to Westworld, which used one of the first examples of digital imaging. The rendering scenes that were shot on the film appeared as though one would be seeing them from the pixelated viewpoint of Yul Brinner’s defective cowboy robot, but Futureworld presented a complete rendering of a hand on screen being the first official 3D animation in a motion picture. All these experiences of the 1960 as well as the 70s took place at a time when the personal computers and home video game systems seem to be a dream of the future. Computers were capable of amazing things which gave rise to the ways that movies are now made for the purpose of entertainment.

Monday, 29 June 2015

Apple Obtains Touch ID-Related Patents From Biometric Security Firm Privaris

Apple Procures TouchID Patents from Privaris 

As reported by David Goldman to CNN, Apple has been trying to procure the property assets of Privaris, a Charlottesville, Virginia based biometric security firm. It is probably more likely that Privaris has gone out of business and Apple has obtained the company’s patent portfolio together with other property though the possibility of an acquisition cannot be ruled out entirely.

Privaris mainly makes tiny fingerprint readers which are attached to key chain. Several of the patents of Privaris portfolio are made up of fingerprint and touchscreen technology for the purpose of transaction, control machine and to back up personal data. It was reported that Privaris had recently transferred 26 of its 31 patents to the iPhone maker, inclusive of the 4 patents in December 2012 together with a dozen more in October 2014. The patents are mainly connected to fingerprint and touchscreen technology which could lead to Touch ID enhancement on the future devices.

Updated Touch ID with Reduced Errors

KGI Securities’, well known analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, in February last, had informed investors that the next iPhone would be having updated Touch ID with reduced errors. For instance, one of the patents of Privaris shields the ability of using a touchscreen and fingerprint reader simultaneously while another invention enables the user to open a door with the iPhone on scanning the fingerprint and holding the phone up to a reader just the way one would pay for items with Apple Pay.

Although the transfer of patents have created achievement rumours, the website of Privaris has not been updated since 2010 and none of the company’s senior officials or employees seem to have updated their LinkedIn profiles with status at Apple.It has been reported that Privaris had raised $29 million in funding, had developed a line-up of PlusID personal biometric devices in order to access computers, websites, networks, software, VPNs, online apps and secured printers. Its products serve as a device to unlock office door and can add to security for an RSA SecureID token before logging into a computer.

Products & Services – Access Control System

Besides this, the company had also provided other products as well as services connected to access control systems, biometric computer security, fingerprint authentication, biometric security software together with access cards, technologies of which fall within the margin of Touch ID. Mikhail Avandy, founder of SmartUp, a company which offers legal advice to startups had commented that they have found Apple’s next acquisition while Goldman reports that Avady who had first discovered that Privaris’ patents had been transferred to Apple had observed that none of Privaris founders had changed their LinkeIn profiles to Apple, presuming that the deal could not have been completed.

Privaris also had some patents which could make the iPhone’s TouchID sensor quite useful. However, it is not clear about Apple’s purpose with the technology. Apple purchases licenses and patents a lot of intellectual property which it never utilises. No comments have been made by Apple and Privaris in this regard. The company has also sold in August 2012, 4 smart card patents to 1PerfecId and has held only one patent of its original 31.

Free vs. Premium Website Builders - What’s the Difference?

site builders

At first glance, online website builders seem like the perfect option for those of us looking to create a new site on a budget. After all, many of them offer completely free plans, meaning we can get our websites up and running without investing so much as a penny.

Since most of those plans seem to offer everything we need to get started, you may be wondering why anybody would even bother to splash out on those premium, paid-for plans that your site builder of choice offers alongside its free package.

Whether you’re wondering whether or not to invest in a paid plan, or aren’t sure how it could ever benefit to your site, here’s our look at the major differences between free and premium website builders.

Domain names 

As any web expert with their salt will tell you, your domain name plays a crucial role in the success of your website. Something short, simple and reflective of who you are and what you do will stick in the minds of your audience, help you establish a professional image online and can even do much to help with your Search Engine Optimisation efforts.

To get a domain like this (such as for a site you create with a website building platform, you’re going to have to break out the wallet and pay for a premium plan, most of which come with a top-level domain name included.

Decide to stick with the free plan, and the only way visitors will have of checking out your site is by going to a sub-domain of your site builder, such as or Either way, it’s hardly as memorable, or as professional as the paid alternative.


Speaking of presenting a professional image, few things are likely to create the wrong impression of your business than having somebody else’s branding plastered all over it, and that’s what you’ll get with a freebie.
In order to make their money back from free plans, a lot of website builders put their own advertising on your site. If you want to remove this, you guessed it, it’s time to upgrade.

Storage and bandwidth allocations 

If there’s anything more important to your website than your domain name, it’s the amount of storage and bandwidth you’re allocated when you sign up to a plan. Though small, seldomly-visited sites may be just fine with a very minimal amount of other, let’s face it, your goals with your new site are to be neither small nor seldomly visited.

If you’re going to grow, add new content, and make sure your users can access it without waiting a long time for it to load, you’ll need a decent amount of storage space to host your files, and plenty of bandwidth to serve them up.

As you may have already worked out, you get much more resources with a paid plan than you do with a free one. A good web builder comparison site like Best Website Builders Now looks at the kind of resources you can expect to receive when you sign up with one of the major platforms.


Though some platforms do offer a minimal eCommerce support with their free plans, these are few and far between, and often limited to the ability to sell just a single product.

If you’re planning to launch a full online store, that’s the sort of thing that’s only really achievable with a premium plan.


Since most site creators are designed for those with no technical skills, it’s very rare that you should run into any problems, but if things aren’t quite going the way you planned, it may be time to turn to support. In the majority of cases, free users can access a knowledgebase and potentially email support, whilst telephone, live chat and other means of support are often only available to those on paid plans.

Saturday, 27 June 2015

Google's Nest Labs Unveil HD Security Camera

Google’s Home Sensing Unit – Security Camera/Smoke Alarm 

Nest Labs, which is Google’s Home sensing division has revealed its latest set of a new version of home security camera enhancing technology connected to smart homes. The so called Nest Cam has been designed on technology obtained when Dropcam had been purchased by Nest last year for US4550 million. Dropcam founded in 2009, permitted users to install cameras in their home for the purpose of live viewing and recording combined with the option for night vision.

 The camera had the potential of shooting video at full 1080p high definition an improvement from the Dropcam’s 720p. It provides an 8X digital zoom, motion sensors, as well as leverages 8 infrared LEDs in order to capture flawless footages especially at night. Besides this it also had the capabilities of differentiating between the various kinds of movement in the videos together with alerts to the users should some untoward incidents takes place at home in their absence. The videos which is captured is said to be uploaded directly to the Nest Aware cloud storage wherein live feed could be run on a smartphone or a computer thus enabling Nest Cam with the capabilities of accurate alerts to the users in case of movement in the house.

Modernize Home Gear – Intelligent/Connected Devices 

It is said to be available in seven countries, inclusive of US, Canada and several parts of Europe, namely Germany and the U.K. Google’s Nest unit is putting in resources in its product line-up in convincing consumers that they need to modernize their home gear with intelligent, connected devices while competing with rivals like Apple and Samsung. If users intent to review recorded videos, they would have to buy a subscription and customers can pay subscription fee of £8 and £24 per month in order to keep the video for 10 and 30 days respectively.

Nest Product – the Protect smoke alarm and carbon monoxide detector, another product unveiled, detects fire quicker than the first generation product according to Nest and comes at a price of $99 and will be shipped next month. It appears to be thinner and has various features which automatically ensure its working while it avoids false warnings. Nest is said to be partnering with home insurance companies which includes American Family Insurance and Liberty Mutual Insurance with its Protect product.

Mobile/Desktop App – Control Nest Devices 

Qualified consumers could get their device for free or at reduced cost to receive discounts on insurance premiums through reward program. Tony Fadell, co-founder of Nest Labs has his focus in getting the product paid off when he was at Apple, where he had worked during the rise of the company in 2001. He had been a long time deputy to co-founder Steve Jobs as well as central to the development of the iPod and iPhone.

At the time of the event in San Francisco, the company also unveiled a new mobile and desktop app which will help users in controlling all their Nest devices and with the inclusion of the Nest Cam, the company has now three products inclusive of the Nest Protect and Nest thermostat. These products are a part of internet connected devices collecting sensitive data which come under Google’s umbrella. According to Nest’s senior product manager and head of its developer program, Greg Hu commented during an interview following the announcement, that Google will not gain any data unless authorised by the users. That authorisation, which was announced earlier, enables a variety of third party services and Google services to inter-relate with Nest devices.