Monday, 29 February 2016

What Software Do Warehouses Use To Keep Track of Inventory

The inventory in your warehouse represents a lot of value, and it is essential to keep track of each and every component. Organizing data has always been a challenge, and new software tools are making it easier than ever to streamline costs and improve productive output.

The Old Ways 

Before computers became common place in the business world, complicated ledgers were kept by hand in log books. Very precise notes of inventory had to be maintained and inventory specialists relied on physical counts of parts. This method was error prone as a human being can only keep track of so much information at a time. While obsolete, upgrading with a personal computer and digital ledgers presents many of the same problems to small businesses.

The Spread Sheet

For small companies or startups, an inventory ledger can be approximated with a well-organized spreadsheet. Spreadsheet software is robust and can perform a number of automated calculations that reduce errors in counts, but as a business grows, this method must be abandoned as well. Spreadsheets do not store history or track process moves. The files must be constantly updated, and there is the risk that important data can be lost. Reports must be generated from scratch, and redundant information between different departments can overwhelm your company’s decision makers.

Dedicated Database

Eventually a large enough company needs to implement a database system to track inventory. With a barcode reader and digital locations, placing parts into a system and tracking their moves through a process is easy. Reports can be generated that help the warehouse staff streamline redundancies. It is even possible to create multiple locations for your components, and the information remains current.
Databases are great tools, but they are still limited in many ways. They require hardware to support the data, and information can only be accessed by those in the warehouse. Reports are much easier to create, but new information must be manually transferred back and forth between business units.

ERP Warehouse Solutions

Most companies now depend on enterprise resource planning software. These are the most advanced and powerful tools that companies have for managing their entire operations. Like the database, the information in your warehouse is easy to organize and keep current, but an ERP system integrates all of the data your company uses into one solution. Each department has easy access to information that impacts its operations.

With current information shared across business units, employees are free to make decisions and respond to changes in the market. It is important for sales staff to know what is available. Customer service reps should be able to see if a delivery has been made on time when responding to a complaint. Accounting departments need to be able to estimate the value of the inventory to balance accounts.

ERP solutions are also readily available to small companies through software service programs. Instead of purchasing and maintaining the computing hardware and software themselves, high speed internet access gives companies the options to contract with a solutions provider. Storing data on a network server operated by an outside company lowers the initial cost and provides quick access to these tools.

The better organized your inventory is, the greater the efficiency you have in your operations. Upgrading with an ERP solution gives your company the opportunity to streamline processes and increase its competitive edge. These tools are more readily available and essential than ever before.

Thursday, 25 February 2016

Jaq's Salt Water Charger Powers Up Phones



MyFC Unveiled its Jaq – Fuel Cell Charger

A portable power bank which tends to use salt as well as water for recharging smartphones has been put up on show at the Mobile World Congress tech show in Barcelona.Swedish start-up MyFC unveiled its cool technology called Jaq at the CES on Jan 6. It is said that the device is small enough to be slipped into the back pocket and is fuel cell charger.

 It utilises saltwater and oxygen in converting chemical energy into electricity. The Jaq cell charger comprises of colourful rubber sleeve together with a credit card-sized `power card’ containing saltwater. It tends to work by causing detached chemical reaction between the saltwater – fuel and oxygen – oxidant wherein hydrogen molecules from the water tends to enter the fuel cell at the anode.

A chemical reaction shreds the hydrogen molecules of their electrons and the positively charged hydrogen ions are then capable of moving through the electrolyte where the negatively charged hydrogen electron delivers the current via the external circuit. Oxygen, in the meantime, enters the fuel cell at the cathode where the oxygen molecules mingle with the hydrogen electrons returning from the electrical circuit and the hydrogen ions that have been delivered through the electrolyte

Each Power Card Used Only Once

The outcome of the reaction tends to produce electricity and water which the device connects and utilises to charge the phone through a Micro-USB cable. It is said that one power card can generate 1,800 mAH amount of electricity which would be adequate in charging an iPhone 6S completely though each power card could be used only once.

The charger comprises of a credit card shaped `power card’ and a hollowed out port which is about the size of a smartphone. The card contained saltwater that tends to fuel electricity producing chemical reaction when one slips the card into the port.

To obtain electricity to the battery of the phone one needs to plug the phone into the port with a standard cable.The Jaq charger does not require plugging in, since it tends to utilise disposable cartridges in generating power. Chris Foxx of BBC had asked Bjorn Westerholm the company’s chief executive if it was better for the environment than using the normal battery based power banks.

World’s Smallest Charger

It is the world’s smallest charger of its type and the device has got its European unveiling offers up speedy phone charging without the need of plugging it in a socket. It is owing to Jaq powering itself with the help of its own PowerCard that is made of water and salt.

When this is stuck in the charger, some chemical magic hydrogen is created and the charge takes place. It tends to charge a phone just the same time a normal power outlet does. Though the chemical reaction and hydrogen may sound a bit dangerous, MyFC undertakes the responsibility that the chemical reaction seems to be completely safe and that it is also environmental friendly.

The MyFC Jaq seems to be compatible with all phones as well as tablets inclusive of iOS and would be made available in white, black and purple. Though the release date is not yet out, MyFC has put the Jaq up for pre-order wherein one can sign up to have PowerCards sent to them on a subscription basis.

Wednesday, 24 February 2016

John McAfee offers to Unlock Killer's iPhone for FBI

John McAfee

John McAfee to Break the Encryption on iPhone of Killer Syed Farook

John McAfee the creator of anti-virus software has stated that he would break the encryption on iPhone which tends to belong to San Bernardino killer Syed Farook. He made the offer in an article to FBI which was published by Business Insider. Apple had declined to abide with the court order asking it to unlock the device in-between opinion on whether the firm should be compelled in doing so.

Mr McAfee stated that he together with his team would undertake the task `with no charge’. The offer came up while Mr McAfee continued his campaign as a US presidential candidate for the Libertarian Party. He had claimed in his article that it would take them around three weeks. Graham Cluley, security expert had informed BBC that he was doubtful about Mr McAfee’s claim.

He stated that the iPhone is notoriously difficult to hack when compared to the other devices. Mr Cluley, for instance, had doubts on Mr McAfee’s idea that he could use `social engineering’ to work out the pass-code on the locked iPhone of Farook. It is a procedure wherein the hackers attempt to find out login identifications by deceiving people in disclosing them.

Back Door – iPhones Susceptible to Hacking

Mr Cluley said that `in a nutshell, dead men tell no tales. Good luck to Mr AcAfee trying to socially engineer a corpse in revealing its pass-code’ He added that the FBI is not interested anyway, they want to set a pattern that there should not be locks, they cannot break’. Mr McAfee, in his article had said that he was keen in unlocking the device since he did not want Apple to be forced in implementing a `back door’, a method wherein security services could access data on encrypted devices.

Tim Cook, chief executive of Apple had earlier commented in a statement that the firm did not want to co-operate. He discussed that introducing a back door would make all the iPhones susceptible to hacking by the criminals. Mr McAfee is of the belief that there would be a possibility of retrieving data from the phone by other means, but did not give much details regarding the same.

Tech Firms Support Apple

Those comprising of the Australian Children’s eSafety Commissioners, who had spoken to tech website ZDNet had stated that Apple would not essentially need to introduce a back door. However, the firm is only being asked to provide access to a single device. Other tech firms have supported Apple’s following a few days of debate on how it ought to respond to the request of FBI.

Sundar Pichai, Google boss had expressed his support for Mr Cook and recently chief executive of Twitter Jack Dorsey had added his approval through a tweet. Facebook had mentioned in a statement that it condemned terrorism and had solidarity with the victims of terror, though would tend to continue its policy of opposing requests of diminishing security.

It stated that they would continue to fight aggressively against the necessities for companies in weakening the security of their systems and these demands would develop chilling pattern as well as obstruct the efforts of the company in securing their products.

The Smartphone That You Can Bend


ReFlex – Bendable Smartphone – Get Direction/Read/Play Games

Recently, researchers from the Human Media Lab at Queen’s University in Canada have revealed a lightweight model atthe Tangible Embedded and Embodied Interaction conference in The Netherlands. It is called ReFlex which is built to bend as well as vibrate providing users with an improved sense of third dimension on their phones while they tend to get directions, read or play games. The phone’s basic hardware comprises of a 720p display which has been developed by LG together with a small phone processor running Android 4.4 `KitKat’.

Users could bend it like a stem or tend to stretch it like a rubber band. Having a bendable phone, users could rapidly thumb through books; feel for highlighted passages or for dog eared pages. Moreover, the flexible phone could also help drivers in keeping their eyes on the road enabling the possibility of `feel’ turn-by-turn directions. With games like Angry Birds, players could also bend their screens stretching out a slingshot with vibrations which could make the phone seem like recoiling rubber band.

However, the most amazing feature of the latest bendy model is that it is basically shatterproof. The secret behind the phone which is quite durable and lightweight is that the screen is plastic and not made of glass.

Android Device Stronger to Bend to 40 Degrees

The trade-off could be a deal-breaker in smartphone industry which has been dominated by glass screens. The phone tends to use off-the-shelf parts meaning a leap to market would not be a big jump. Professor Roel Vertegaal leading the team behind the phone comments that it is technology twelve years in the making. He further added that the phone is mass produceable as it is today.

Vertegaal whose academic research had been sponsored by the Canadian government and Canadian touch tech company, Immersion Corporation will not be building a consumer phone. He states that he will leave it to the Samsung’s and the LG’s of the world. According to his estimates it would take around three to five years in bringing the tech to the market.

The LG OLED display in the phone seems to be the same tech in bendable TVs and for $100, these LG smartphone screens could cost $25 more than a typical glass screen though would make the latest Android device much stronger to bend up to 40 degrees. The phone tends to be more flexible towards the centre with semi-rigid ends, where the 1,280 x 720-pixel display has a bit inferior resolution than an iPhone 6 at 1,334 x 750 pixels.

Flexible OLED Display

ReFlex seems to utilise a Flexible OLED display from LG alike to some of the rollable screens shown recently at CES this year which enables the user to bend it as desired. It is the first flexible phone with the combination of bend input with standard multi-touch abilities which means that one could use touch interaction such as a typical smartphone and also interact with definite apps on bending the phone.

Vertegaal has mentioned that when this smartphone is bent down towards the right, pages tend to flip through the fingers from right to left just like a book. With more extreme bends it would speed up the page flips and users can feel the sensation of the page moving through their fingertips through a detailed vibration of the phone. This would enable eyes-free navigation for the user, thus making it easy to keep track of where they are in a document.

Top PC Monitoring Software 2016

PC monitoring has become a necessity, especially in the organizations where there are a large number of employees with digital privileges. There’s no possible way for you as an employer to keep an eye on each and every individual, and this is exactly what employees take advantage of. They waste their time at work doing mundane activities like watching random videos, chatting with people, checking their social networking profiles, etc. This of course affects the overall performance of the company, which just isn’t acceptable in a competitive market. This is where PC monitoring software can really come in handy as it lets you keep tabs on how employees are using their computer and internet privileges at work. If you’re an employee who’s looking to get rid of the headache related to employees wasting time at work, we’ve got just the software lined up for you. Take a look and pick the one that best suits your needs.


Mobistealth comes with a slew of awesome features that really puts you in control of your employees’ digital activities. It records every single keystroke typed by the employees during work hours, allowing you to know exactly what they are up to on their computer. Furthermore, there is a screenshot feature that takes pictures on regular basis. That’s not all though as Mobistealth also offers Skype logs. It’s no secret that Skype is a go-to platform for workplace chats, so having an eye on it certainly helps. Apart from the aforementioned features, this tool also comes with Facebook, Yahoo and Gmail chat logging, enabling you to see what’s being conversed. It even empowers you to keep tabs on the emails exchanged via Yahoo, Gmail, and Hotmail accounts. All of Mobistealth’s features are pretty important and if you’re on the hunt of a powerful monitoring software, then this one comes highly recommended.

Spyrix Personal Monitor

Spyrix Personal Monitor is another brilliant monitoring software. It is not as feature-rich as Mobistealth, primarily because its developers have put more of an effort on key logging. It can give you information regarding the passwords, created files, started applications, system logon, system log off, and so much more. Other than that, it provides you with the option of monitoring browsing activity, which is also a great help. With the help of this feature, you can see what sites your employees are visiting, and if you see too many random URLs there, then it is a pretty good sign that they have their priorities all wrong.

All in One Keylogger

As the name suggests, this tool also focuses more on key logging. The best part about this software is that it’s not very complicated. It is designed with the convenience of not so tech savvy people in mind. Even if you don’t possess knowledge about monitoring tools, you will still be able to operate All In One Keylogger without a hitch. All features of this software are presented upfront so that the users can see what’s on offer and then avail them without a problem. Some important features in this tool include key logging, web browser logging, multi-language support, website blocking, and so much more. If you are not good with technology but are really interested in deploying an employee monitoring solution in your workplace, then you should give All in One Keylogger a shot.

Monday, 22 February 2016

Tor- 'Mystery' Spike in Hidden Addresses


Tor/The Onion Router – Browse Through Web Anonymously

Exceptional spike in the number of hidden addressed on the Tor network has been identified by security expert and Prof Alan Woodward at the University of Surrey had spotted an increase of over 25,000 onion `dark web’ services. Prof Woodward had commented that he was unsure on how best to explain this sudden boom but one possibility was that it could be a sudden swell in the popularity of Ricochet, which is an app that tends to use Tor in enabling anonymous instant messages between users.

 The Onion Router or Tor enables users to browse through the web anonymously by routing their connections through a sequence of various computers and in the process encrypt the data. Prof Woodward had mentioned on his blog that there had not been a similar increase in .onion sites in the history of Tor network.

He had informed BBC that something unprecedented has been happening though at moment that is all what they are aware of. Dr Steven Murdoch at the University College London had mentioned that it is hard to know for certain what could be the reason for the jump. One of the objectives of Tor is to protect people’s privacy by not revealing how they are using Tor.

Rise in the Use of Ricochet - Chat App

Another interest defined by Prof Woodward was that inspite of the rise of hidden addresses; traffic on the network had not perceived a similar spike. He informed that it could be a coincidence that the spike could be due to a network of computers called a botnet unexpectedly using Tor or the hackers had been launching ransonware attacks.

It could also be the outcome of malware which could be creating unique .onion addresses when it tends to infect a user’s computer, though there seems to be no evidence for it. Prof Woodward also mentioned that he is of the belief that a rise in the use of an anonymous chat app known as Ricochet that has just received a huge positive security audit could be the most probable explanation.

Dr Murdoch had stated that this could be a possibility, adding that the spike could also be the result of someone running an experiment on Tor.

Ricochet Use Tor Network in Connecting Two Users

Ricochet tends to use the Tor network in setting up connections between two users who prefer to chat securely. The app’s website states that the same is accomplished without disclosing the locations or the IP address of the users and instead a username, each of the participants tend to receive a unique address like `richchet:rs7ce36jsj24ogfw’.

Though Ricochet had been available for some time, on 15 February reasonably positive results of an audit by security firm NCC Group had been published. Prof Woodward had mentioned on his blog that every new user of Ricochet would have to create a unique onion address while setting up the service and that could account for the flow in services. But he also admitted that 25,000 new users in just a matter of few days for the app, could recommend remarkable growth.

Saturday, 20 February 2016

Automatic Bug-Repair System Fixes 10 Times As Many Errors as Its Predecessors

The researchers at MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) have devised a new system that is going to look for and detect bugs in a computer program and then run a repair process to fix it up automatically. This new system can browse through computer programming languages that are open-source in nature and learn about their general properties. This learning would then be used by the system to debug or make repairs for computer programs that might be of a different set.

What is it exactly? How does it function?

In simpler terms, this is a machine learning system that has been developed to fix up bugs that come up while developing various sorts of software. The system functions by borrowing the functionalities of various other applications or computer programs. The researchers at the institute are busy in experimenting so that they are able to take this hybrid system to a new level where the application will absorb the best components of all the other computer programs or languages.

This new and automatic debugging program has been named as the CodePhage and it will effectively patch program errors by picking up codes from another program (referred as the donour application) and paste into the program under diagnosis thereby make it bug free. The best part is – CodePhage is being developed in such a way that it will not be necessary for the repair code to be of the same programming language. In fact, the patch can belong to any programming language and the repair work would still be carried out. Not only that, the application would also have a function that will do a re-check and a verification to make sure that the bug has indeed been fixed. The system also makes use of DIODE (Directed Integer Overflow Discovery Engine) for the generation of crash inducing input(s).

The fate of CodePhage

Those who had worked on this wonderful project have claimed that this automatic bug repair system was put to test against seven of the commonly used open source languages that had bugs in it. It was found that this new app had successfully repaired the faulty code in a span of 10 – 2 minutes for each. And, this was a standard result for all such instances.

One of the interesting things about this experiment by the MIT researchers was that it was a standard approach where one could actually learn from a certain set of programs and apply those properties or knowledge for another or a different set of programs. Recognizing the correct code is very important as it will have a huge impact in the software engineering domain. Though this is just the beginning and is the very first application, but the experts believe that it does have the potential of becoming an excellent tool that going ahead.

The crucial aspect of this experiment with machine-learning systems was the analyzing and selection of the ‘feature set’. Thirty prime characteristics were identified and then the program was developed to evaluate these characteristics.

How to Write Emails If You Want People to Actually Respond

mail plugin

Writing at Third Grade Level – For Email Replies

According to the makers of Boomerang mail plug-in, one of the best way in getting a reply to unanswered emails is to write as if you are a nine years old. As per their observation, writing at a third grade reading level is considered to be the right level of complexity for the average message after mining the data of the user for information on what type of writing would normally get replies. It is worth considering taking extra time to think why one would want to write like a nine year old.

 Emails tend to get a bad knock these days and are often considered to be inefficient. Viewing most of the email writing styles from Boomerang, the main thing of making messages seem better,are to keep the focus on ease. In order to get replies, the company recommends the use of shorter, simpler stretches and hence the third grading reading level could be helpful. Writing them this way would normally acquire a response rate of 53% as against the 45% for the messages written at a high school reading level. Simple writing too could reduce the chances of a reply.

Bit Expressive – Best Option of Getting Responses

Messages written at a kindergarten reading level would receive replies only at 46% of the time. However the poorest response rate would be for those writing at a college reading level at 39%. The company also observed that being a bit more expressive is the best option of getting responses. With an opinion and adding some emotional tone either positive or negative could also get a better result instead of being totally neutral. It also depends on how much one should say, to get too rambling would not get you the response one would be waiting to receive.

On the other hand if one is too brief, you could get a low response rate. If the email recipient would need extra information in making a decision or to understand the email’s subject, provide the necessary information as an attachment or a link. The reason for writing an email to a person is with the purpose of receiving a response from them, however too often than not, some of the emails tend to be overlooked or forgotten since they could be too long, too brief, too complex or do not provide adequate information.

Top Six Tips

Boomerang, email-efficiency service examined through data from around 5.3 million emails to check what type of messages would prompt the most replies from recipients. They came up with some useful discoveries. Alex Moore at Boomerang Blog reviews their top six tips established on their data. The following is the full list of the tips from the makers of Boomerang:

  •  Usage of shorter sentences together with simpler words such as a third grade reading level seems to be the best  
  • Including one to three questions in the email 
  • Make sure that you include a subject line and aim for three to four words 
  • Using of slightly positive or slightly negative tone since both could overtake a totally neutral tone 
  • Take a stand, since intolerant messages tend to see higher response rate than objective ones 
  • Write adequate though not too much and attempt to keep the messages between 50 to 125 words

Friday, 19 February 2016

Helmet Could Let Pilots Look Through Aircraft


Helmet with Night Vision Camera/High Definition Digital Display

One of the most advanced combat aircraft in the world, The Eurofighter Typhoon together with BAE Systems, has developed a helmet which could make its pilots more operative. Striker II is said to have an integrated night vision camera together with a high definition digital display which tends to project flight information on to the screen.

According to BAE, the helmet has the potential to virtually see through a Typhoon by connecting up to various systems on the aircraft and the helmet’s tracking system also seems to be important. It makes sure that the pilot’s position of the head together with the aircraft computer system is continuously in sync. The latest weapon of Typhoon is not something that is under the wing, but a system with brains which tends to sit on the pilot’s head.

The Helmet Mounted Symbology System is a sophisticated helmet which supports the system that enables the pilot to see through the body of the aircraft, providing them with an animated advantage with split-second decision making.Mark Bowman, director of flight operations at BAE Systems had stated that if one has a digital display there, it means that we can put in sensor information. It could be situations such as infrared image, an imaging pod, or it could be a radar display.

BAE Systems’ Research Lab – Test - `Shake & Bake’

He further adds that `if one has got a sensor located around the aircraft and if it tends to be beneath, then one can give the impression that the pilot is basically looking through the surface of the aircraft’.It is said that the new helmet has not been utilised for combat operation still, but it had been tested widely at the time of flight trials. Providing pilots with more technology has advantages, however depending on it too much could probably cause problems.

James Ixer, former RAF Wing Commander as well as managing director of the Drone Pilot Academy had stated that if Typhoon pilots tend to have a high tech helmet which was made bespoke to the pilot, what could happen if the helmet goes unserviceable en route to the aircraft for a scramble or as one plugs in and start the engines.There should be vigorous back-up plans in place. Everything built at BAE System’s research lab in Rochester, Kent, has to pass through a rigorous round of tests and one of the tests is known as `Shake and Bake’.

Major Advance – Aviation Capability

A device is put in a chamber which is subjected to extreme temperatures as well as vibrations. Mark Applegate, manufacturing resource manager at BAE Systems had said that they take an item and bolt it down and shake it to ensure that nothing literally would fall out.Besides this, they take it up and down in temperature so that there is some stress that goes through each item that is put through this type of test. The test seems to be of great importance.

Mark Bowman had commented that `this is a major advance with regards to combat capability and is something which gives Typhoon pilots a substantial advantage with regards to air combat. There is no doubt that the Eurofighter Typhoon led the world in terms of this kind of capability and this is something that all who has worked on the system can feel proud of it. It is a main advance in aviation capability.

Government Launches Porn Site Age Checks Consultation


UK Government – Implementing Age Checks on Pornography

The UK government has launched a public consultation over plans in implementing age checks on pornography websites and the proposal follows a Conservative Party platform commitment that all sites comprising of pornographic content should check that users are above the age of 18 years. Those asked to make their contribution to the consultation are internet providers, academics, charities and several others. A security expert had stated that the plans would tussle to challenge porn on free sites.

The government suggests in the consultation document that the checks need to apply to content which would receive, if officially classified, an 18 or R18 rating from the British Board of Film Classification –BBFC. The consultation document has explained that they are keen to hear from parents, child protection experts, schools, the pornography industry, internet service provider as well as online platforms which offer access to pornographic content.

The government aims to launch a new regulatory agenda in order to enforce compliance with any rules that are made law, as part of the plans.The Internet Safety and Security Minister, Baroness Shields had stated that `just as we do offline, we want to ensure children are prevented from accessing pornographic content online which should only be viewed by adults’.

Issue a Matter of Urgency

Chief executive of the NSPCC, Peter Wanless had said that the issue seems to be `a matter of urgency and that the children who had ready access to content rated over 18 could develop a `misrepresented view of sexual relationship’. Earlier to the general election, Sajid Javid, then the Culture Secretary had stated that the appointed regulator would have the power to compel internet service providers in blocking sites which did not perform effective age checks.

He also added that providers who did not support could be fined. Moreover, the consultation document also explained that the regulator of age checks on porn sites can be given powers to impose sanctions inclusive of fines. Those companies that tend to support or provide services to the producers of pornographic online content could be directed to withdraw their services if the sites were identified to be obstinately non-compliant. This could comprise directing payment firm to stop processing transaction for the producers of porn content.

A Challenging Regulatory Goal

Nonetheless, a leading security researcher had commented that this would not cast out much of the pornography, if available freely online. Dr Gilad Rosner, a member of the Cabinet Office Privacy and Consumer Advocacy Group had said that his initial response to this release was that while the UK government could get some traction with payment processor and that it could have some effect, it would not affect the free pornography. Dr Rosner further added that considerable pornographic content seems to be available on free sites and blogs which do not take any payments from the users.

This is particularly challenging regulatory goal and he would bet that we would not see much in the way of tangible results for the next five years. However, one of the most visited free sites for pornography had indicated its plan in co-operating. A spokeswoman for the site had commented that `porn-hub would fully fulfilany strong legislative and appropriate local measures which emerge from this consultation.

As members of the Digital Policy Alliance, they have already been working to carve out a technical solution that works for all and it is necessary that all explicit adult content is covered and non-compliant sites are taken down quickly’.

Handheld ZX Spectrum Vega+ Project Announced on Indiegogo


The Indiegogo Project – Handheld Vega+

The recently re-launched classic games console the ZX Spectrum by the firm, has now announced a portable version of the device. The creator of the original Spectrum, Sir Clive Sinclair tends to own a stake in Retro Computers, which is the firm behind the latest versions of his console. The Indiegogo project for handheld Vega+ has raised around £44,780 of the £100,000 funding goal and if successfully funded, would be provided with 1,000 games with another 14,000 tiles available for download.

 Besides this there is also a microSD card slot to load more games. The Vega+ presently on crowdfunding site Indiegogo has been a follow-up to the ZX Spectrum Vega that had been released over a year ago. While that was a plug-in controller to work with a TV set, the Vega+ is said to be a fully contained handheld device based on the lines of the Sega GameGear or Atari Lynx.

The handheld console is remarkably close to the iconic Spectrum on the feel and look, mainly owing to the concept design by Rick Dickinson who had designed the original computers.Retro Computers had explained on the Indiegogo product page for the project, that the device would feature an LCD screen though it would also be connected to a TV.

A Game Console to be Played Anywhere

Speaking regarding the new Vega+, Sir Clive commented that the present surge of interest in retro products had inspired him to plan the Vega+ as a handy games console that could be played anywhere. It has been developed by Christ Smith, who was a leading authority on the Spectrum. The Vega+ seems to be a new low cost hand held game console.

To give the product its full name, the Sinclair ZX Spectrum Vega+ is based on Sir Clive’s earlier largely successful Spectrum products in the early 1980s and includes all the features of the ZX Vega and much more inclusive of the stereo output for amazing reproduction of gaming sounds as well as music. It is the only game console which tends to exist with 1,000 licensed games which are already included together with an LCD to be used anywhere as well as capability of connecting to a TV for home usage.

The company stated that the development of the product is complete with a total working prototype that is ready to go into production and the units would be shipped early this summer.

Vega+ a Licenced Device

Stuart Miles editor of gadget site Pocket-lint had stated that they believe there is room for retro gaming but at the same time people do not like sitting in front of TV all the time to play games. He informed that by making it portable, it tends to broaden out to the same audience which would have played Gameboy years ago. He further added that though at times nostalgia for classic games was not always satisfied when they are played again and sometime one is reminded how basic these games were.

The Vega+ is said to be a licensed device and the finished model will be the same black like the original Spectrum but pledger could choose limited edition copies in black blue or red. It is a flexible funding model which means that the project goes ahead irrespective of how much money has been pledged. Its final price has not been confirmed though pledgers could get it for £100.

Wednesday, 17 February 2016

Ripples are a New Tool for Exploring Space


Ripples in Fabric of Space – Gravitational Waves

Researchers have announced that they have identified ripples in the fabric of space known as gravitational waves and it is a ground-breaking discovery which had evaded Earth’s intelligent minds as well as sensitive machines for years.

It was 100 years ago, that Albert Einstein had predicted the existence of gravitational waves but he had thought them far too feeble to identify as they rolled across the universe. Radio waves had first been predicted by James Clerk Maxwell, a physicist in 1860s and then discovered by Hertz. Around 150 years thereafter, they strengthen our lives from radio to television to mobile phones and the present world would not be able to function without them.

Gravitation waves though weaker than radio, can have unexpected as well as vital usage in the near future. The identification of gravitational waves is a monumental discovery and is only the first step. One of the international team of scientists who had worked on the break-through, Professor Graham Woan had informed Sky News that it was similar to Galileo looking through the telescope at night for the first time. It was not that our comprehension of the universe had been toppled as it was in the Scientific Revolution, but we have a new tool, a new technology in exploring our cosmos and now we have a gravitational telescope.

Source of Waves – System of Two Black Holes in Orbit

The news had been announced on February 11, by members of the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory – LIGO, which is a 15-nation, 900-scientists, $1 billion experiment which had searched for signs of the phenomenon since 2002. Cornell physics and astrophysics professor, Saul Teukolsky had confirmed in a statement emailed to Tech Insider that, `finally these waves have been detected on Earth with an unbelievably sensitive experiment and surprisingly the source of the waves is a system of two black holes in orbit around each other, that spiral inwards and smash together.

The waves that the researchers had identified were created by two black holes colliding as well as merged, forming a single black hole, 1.3 billion years ago. When the two black holes had emerged, they seemed to release the energy of three suns. Physicist Szabi Marka, who is a LIGO collaborator based at Columbia University had informed Tech Insider prior to the announcement that identifying the waves would revolutionize physics and chart out the last undiscovered territory of Einstein and a collision of two black holes is a catastrophic event which we could only imagine of observing till now.

Right Path in Comprehending How the Universe Works

Marka states that `having gravitational waves as a tool would allow us to study black holes, which tend to hold the key to several future puzzles in science. He further added that they don’t know actually what tends to happen around a black hole and don't know what happens when a black hole meets another black hole. They are not aware what happens when a black hole eats something.

There seems to be several other usages of gravitational waves, now that all are within the realm of possibility. Marka states that the coming era of research that is barrelling towards us will be spectacular. The discovery not only justifies Einstein’s wildest prediction giving astronomers a powerful tool to probe further in the cosmos from deep within stars to the surfaces of black hole but also tends to back up a $1 billion idea informing us that we are on the right path in comprehending how the universe tend to work.

Google self-driving car effort expands hiring, posts manufacturing jobs


Google’s Self-Driving Project–Advertising Jobs on Manufacturing  Expertise

Self-driving project of Alphabet Inc. has been advertising dozens of jobs with special focus on manufacturing expertise on its website. Jobs related to the Google X car project of around thirty six had been listed comprising of engineers working on display, motion control, robotics and sensors together with managers charged with operations, materials and marketing.

Google who had refrained from commenting had denied earlier that it had any interest in the making of cars. Several industry experts were of the belief that the tech giant would be partnering with established carmaker, supplying the software which would invent the fully autonomous vehicle. However, the job listed offers insight on how much hardware has been built by Google in its contribution to the future cars. A key priority of traditional carmaker, technology companies like Apple Inc. Uber Technologies Inc. and auto suppliers,is developing self-driving cars.

A manufacturing process engineer job listing has mentioned that the post is responsible for designing factory assembly stations, automating critical manufacturing process, optimizing production floor layout and approve fixture designs utilised in the assembly of electronic modules for self-driving cars.

Hiring May Continue to Increase

The manufacturing supplier quality engineer would be creating and approving `manufacturing inspection processes, mechanical components, mechanical assemblies, tools gauges and fixtures for raw materials. The mechanical global supply chain manager will be responsible for manufacturing development execution besides other tasks.

In January, the president of Google self-driving car project, John Krafcik, had mentioned that he wanted to form partnerships with established carmakers and suppliers to speed up work in 2016. When Krafcik had been hired in September, his earlier experience at Hyundai and Ford had driven speculation that Google had plans to build its own cars.

Other jobs were also posted by Google beyond the manufacturing which provided hints as to the scope of the developing project. The position of marketing manager posted nine days back needed someone to shape-go-to-market strategy and storytelling in order to win hearts as well as minds of community members, governments and influencers.The company is also on the look-out for a head of real estate and workplace services recommending that the hiring may continue to increase.

Google Achieved Landmark Victory

The hiring rampage tends to reflect Google’s aspiration to join the driverless car manufacturing trend and though the Silicon Valley based tech company had denied rumours of driverless car manufacturing several times in the past, the recent adverts posted by its secretive X division indicates the possible plans of bringing Google branded driverless cars to the market very soon.

Google had achieved a landmark victory on 4th February when US federal authority The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration – NHTSA had agreed to consider the tech firm’s AI system as the legal driver under federal law. The decision had been a main boost to leading tech and automobile manufacturing companies who had been vying to bring driverless cars in the US and international markets in past.

Google is presently testing its autonomous car in US though the company had recently received an appeal from London transport authorities to expand testing to British capital too. Google has yet to remark on its plans for the future for its driverless car division.

Tuesday, 16 February 2016

AT&T Set to Test Speedy 5G


AT&T to Conduct Field Trials for 5G

AT&T has mentioned that it is ready to conduct field trials towards the end of the year for 5G, after a similar announcement had been made by Verizon. 5G, short for the fifth generation of wireless, translates into speed and AT&T states that there are 10-100 times quicker than the present average 4G LTE connections. This means that one may be capable of downloading a TV show in less than 3 seconds.

AT&T would be working together with Ericsson and Intel on 5G solutions beginning in the second quarter and the field trials would be taking place in fixed locations in Austin, Texas. Verizon had announced in September that it would also be starting the 5G field tests in 2016 and has been working with Alcatel-Lucent, Ericsson, Cisco, Nokia, Qualcomm as well as Samsung to get it working.

It could take some time before 5G would be commercially workable, probably by 2020. No formal agreement on what 5G could be is available, though the standards are expected to get through, by 2018. Roger Entner, analyst at Recon Analytics had mentioned that `with all the hype around the next G, there is a danger that 5G becomes another meaningless marketing word. What 5G involves is a radical rebuilding of how the network provider delivers the bits and bytes. And it is going to be faster, though more responsively at a lower cost’.

5G More than Quick Speeds

Matt Grob, chief technology of Qualcomm has agreed that 5G is more than just about quick speeds and has commented that it will have the capability of supporting more reliable communication, low latency communication with extreme security. It would have the potential to scale down to small low cost sensors and things as well as have long battery life.

The fixed 5G tests of AT&T, in the home are perceived by provider as a possible high speed broadband substitute. John Donovan, Chief Strategy Officer and Group President for AT&T Technology and Operations had stated that the driving event there is that they are a big broadband provider and have merger commitment which has been agreed upon and that they have agreed to serve some rural areas with wireless broadband.

Eventually, as an integrated carrier, they have a lot of incentive to add any new technology to their footprint especially if 5G for fixed usage tends to have better economics than fiber in definite settings

Competition among Major 5G Player Likely to Intensify

The additional advanced 5G developed for cell-phone, tablets together with numerous other mobile devices, comes later. Donovan comments that when it is ready, they are ready. T&T had reported that data traffic on its wireless network had grown over 150,000$ from the beginning of the iPhone age in 2007 right through 2015, mainly driven by video.

 In 2016, over 60% of the data traffic on the network of AT&T had been linked to video according to the company. Pushing the next wave of thing is 4K video, virtual reality, self-driving cars, robotics, and smart cities together with the Internet of Things. The competition among several major 5G players is also likely to intensify as it tends to happen.

Donovan has stated that it has been somewhat noisily recently with speed claims and all those things and felt compelled to put the road map out more specifically since increasingly Verizon has been reasonably running uncontested as though they are in a technology leadership position, which frankly is not at all the case. Verizon apparently requests to be different.

Google Will Launch a New VR Headset This Year


Google to Launch a New Virtual Reality Headset

Later in the year, Google would be launching a new virtual reality headset for Android smartphones, according to reports. It is said that the headset would be sturdier as well as sophisticated than the Google Cardboard, the £10 virtual reality headset which had been shipped around five millions units since its launch in 2014.Different from its flat pack predecessor, the new headset of Google is will be having plastic casing and improved sensors together with lenses according to the Financial Times and Google has refrained from commenting on the reports.

Rumours have given further evidence that Google would be taking the growing virtual reality market seriously. Augmented reality firm, Magic Leap which Google has invested greatly, has closed recently, a round of funding which valued it at around $3.7 billion. In January 2016, setting up a virtual reality division, Google CEO Sundar Pichai had informed that beyond early efforts, there would be lot more from them as well as their partners.

If the reports tend to be true, the new headsets of Google would be identical to Samsung’s Gear VR, collaboration between Samsung and Oculus which had gone on sale to consumers late last year.

Replacement to Cardboard – Better Sensors/Lenses/Solid Plastic Casing

Though Google tends to continue focusing on its budget Cardboard headset, there are others in the industry that has developed more high spec-virtual as well as augmented reality technology. The new headset would be a replacement to Cardboard, which Google had launched in 2014, featuring better sensors, lenses together with solid plastic casing.

It is said that Google would be releasing its rival headsets together with new Android VR technology, this year. Similar to the Cardboard and Gear VR, the new headset would be using an existing smartphone inserted in the device, for display as well as most of its processing power. Google Cardboard depends mainly on sensors that are built in modern smartphones to sense the position of the head of the user, while Gear VR tends to be more strongly built, featuring extra motion sensors.

 As the Alphabet unit attempts to bring the technology to a bigger audience, the latest Google headset would be well-suited with a much broader range of Android devices than the Gear VR that would only work with a few of the recent Samsung Galaxy smartphone models.

Enhance Quality of Mobile VR Viewing Experience

Google hopes to enhance the quality of the mobile VR viewing experience, by implanting new software directly in its Android smartphone operating system instead of depending only on traditional app as with Cardboard.

The issue with several present smartphone-based VR viewers is that users tend to feel dizzy or unwell which is due to the virtual images displayed that could lag behind slightly behind the user’s head movement in the real world which is known as latency or unconsciousness. Cardboard has been more successful than expected, with deliveries over 5m units till date, when it had launched the low-cost goggles in 2014.

On improving resolutions as well as latency, the combination of the improved Android software as well as the new headset would enable users to devote longer in VR and also enable developers in creating more sophisticated apps.

Hack' on DoJ and DHS downplayed


Data Breach – DoJ/DHS

The US authorities had approved a data breach disturbing the Department of Justice, DoJ as well as the Department of Homeland Security – DHS, though restrained its severity. As per technology news site, Motherboard, the hacker has stated that they would soon share personal information of around 20,000 DoJ employees comprising of staff at the FBI.

It was informed by the news site that it had verified small parts of the breach, but had also observed that some of the details listed seemed to be improper or probably out-dated. The Department of Justice too restrained the significance of the breach. DoJ spokesman, Peter Carr had informed Guardian that `the department has been looking into the unauthorized access of a system which was operated by one of its components comprising of employee contact information and this unauthorized access is under investigation.

However, there is no indication at this time that there is any breach of sensitive personally identifiable information. The department has taken this very seriously and is continuing to arrange protection as well as defensive measure in safeguarding information. Any activity which is determined to be criminal in nature would be referred to law enforcement for investigation’

Hacked Data Posted on Encrypted Website

Hacked data which had been anonymously posted on encrypted website and reviewed by the Guardian comprise of a DHS personnel directory and the information listed included phone numbers together with email addresses. These were for individuals who have not worked for DHS for years. Besides this, some of the listings also had out-dated titles.

The encrypted DHS directory had appeared online prior to 7 pm EDT on Sunday and the password seemed to be `lol’. A source demanding responsibility had informed Motherboard who had revealed the story of the hack, that they had compromised the employee account of DHS and had then used the information from it to convince an FBI phone operator to provide access to the computer system of DoJ.

 The hackers had promised to release the information from the DoJ on Monday. At 4 pm EDT, an identical list had been posted on the same site with a DoJ staff directory which had also appeared to be out-dated. In order to assess the hack, during a government wide-meeting, an official compared it to stealing a years old AT&T phone book after the telecom had digitized most of its data already.

Disruption Regularly in Government Data Security

However, experienced officials state that it should be less simple in obtaining access token by imitating an official from a different department over the phone to a help desk.Things tend to be disrupted regularly in government data security and the OPM hack, exposed in June, revealed the deeply researched security clearance of 21.5m present and former government employees together with contractors from phone numbers to fingerprints.

 But the DHS breach seems to be far less severe and it is especially embarrassing considering that the department has been selected the point of entry for all corporate data shared with government agencies in the debated information sharing program between government and industry developed last year, by the Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act. The program wherein private companies tend to share user information with the government in exchange for immunity from regulation had not been accepted from its start at the DHS, which is left holding the bag in the incident of a breach.

Alejandro Mayorkas, DHS deputy secretary cited troubling provision from the bill to Senator Al Franken in a letter sent in July, wrote that `the authorization to share cyber threat indicators and defensive measures with any other entity or the Federal Government, notwithstanding any other provision of law, could sweep away important privacy protection’

Monday, 15 February 2016

Mysterious Spike in Wordpress Hacks Silently Delivers Ransomware to Visitors


WordPress Content Management System – Hacked

A large number of websites which tend to run on the WordPress content management system are getting hacked to deliver crypto ransom-ware together with other malicious software to ignorant end users. Researchers from three different security firms, in the last few days have reported that a huge number of legitimate WordPress sites are hacked, silently redirecting visitors to a sequences of malicious site.

The attack sites tend to host code from Nuclear exploit kit which is available for sale in black market all over the Internet. People who tend to visit the WordPress sites and use out-of-date versions of Adobe Flash Player, Adobe Reader Internet Explorer or Microsoft Silverlight would find that their computers are infected with the Teslacrypt ransomware package which encrypts user files, demanding a heavy ransom for the decryption key required to restore them.

According to Malwarebytes Senior Security Researcher, Jerome Segura who had mentioned in his blog post published recently stated that WordPress sites are considered to be injected with enormous recommendations of rogue code which tends to silently perform redirection to domain appearing to be hosting ads. This could be a distraction and fraud since the ad comes with more code which sends the visitor to the Nuclear Exploit Kit.

Google’s Safe Browsing Mechanism

The compromised WordPress sites observed, had been hacked to include encrypted code towards the end of all legitimate JavaScript files according to the latest blog post published by website security firm Sucuri. It is said that the encrypted content seems to vary from site to site.

To avoid detection from researchers visiting the compromised site, the code makes efforts to infect only first time visitors and to further hide the attack, the code then redirects end users through a series of sites prior to delivering the ultimate malicious payload. Google’s Safe Browsing mechanism, Sucuri which browser maker then to use in helping users to avoid malicious websites had mentioned that Google had blacklisted some of the Internet domains that were utilised in the scam.

However, a post published recently by Heimdal Security listed an altered domain with the probability that the attackers seem to frequently refreshing as the old ones tend to get identified. Moreover, Heimdal Security also cautioned about antivirus programs could do little in protecting end users.

Enhanced Mitigation Experience Toolkit - Microsoft

The exploit code for instance had been detected by only two of 66 leading AV packages, towards the latest part of the campaign, while the payload it delivered has also been limited.The most recent reminder of the attacks are that people could be exposed to powerful malware attacks even while visiting legitimate websites which could be trusted.

 The best defense would be to install security updates as soon as they tend to become available for such drive by attacks. Other systems comprise of running Enhanced Mitigation Experience Toolkit of Microsoft on any of the Window based computers using the 64-bit version, if possible, of Google’s Chrome browser. It is not known how the WordPress sites tend to get infected.

 There could be a possibility that administrators may be failing in locking down the login identifications which may enable the site content to be changed. It could also be likely that the attackers may be exploiting unknown vulnerability in the CMS, which is one of the plugins used, or the operating system they tend to run on. When a system is infected, the website malware tends to install various backdoors on the webserver, a feature which could result in several hacked sites being repeatedly re-infected.

Police Train Eagles to Take Down Drones on Sight


Eagles Trained to Bring Unmanned Drones Down in Emergency

The Dutch National Police force has revealed that it would be training eagles in bringing down unmanned drones in emergency cases. The purpose is to disable a drone which may for instance, tend to wander in the airspace of a city centre or an airport or without the danger of falling from the sky and on anyone below.

Development of anti-drone UAV are also taking place though it presently seems to be simpler and cheaper in the use of nature’s greatest hunters instead of one of humanity’s lest dependable robots to do the task. It is reported that the Dutch police will be working with a company known as `Guard From Above’, or a translation of that name for training of the eagles, a firm in The Hague who tend to specialize in training birds of prey for private security, in helping to protect the skies from rogue drones.

With the training, the eagle tends to recognise the drones as prey which they disable with the claws. Thereafter the eagle deposits the drone in a space which is distanced from civilians. A specific example, which was posted to YouTube, the eagle picks out a DJI model and does it quite effectively.

Drones Getting Cheaper & Accessible

So far, the project seems to be under trail with the police assessing if they want a full fleet of drone busting birds of prey. The police have also been working on other systems to take the drone out from the sky including hacking the drone as well as just using a net or the combination of both.

However, the potential of the eagle tends to provide more flexibility once the machine is recovered. Eagles in the wild have portrayed a natural inclination in attacking drones on sight as hawks, rams and chimps and thus it may not be the most awful idea if the safety of the animal can be assured.

Drones are getting cheaper and much more accessible, increasing the apprehension that they could be utilised by criminals or terrorist groups. Taking this into consideration, recently the Japanese police force has announced that they would organise a battalion of anti-drone officers and disable drones.

Animal Instinct of Bird of Prey – Exceptional

The Netherland’s Police had mentioned in a statement that `in future, drones would be used progressively and hence it would increase the number of incidents regarding drones and could also be utilised for criminal purposes. The security firm state that the technique used is not harmful to the birds and is not dangerous than the scraps they get into with prey in the wild.

 Their feet are heavily scaled to precisely protect them from sharp bites, scratches and slashes. Nonetheless, the company has been working with the Dutch Organization for Applied Scientific Research to evaluate whether the propellers of the drone tend to affect the claws of the bird. `Guards from Above’ had mentioned in a press release that they used birds’ natural hunting instincts to intercept drones and this was done safely, accurately and quickly.

The animal instinct of a bird of prey is exceptional and capable of overpowering fast-moving prey. At times the solution to a hypermodern problem is more obvious than one might imagine.

Friday, 12 February 2016

Google Now Blocking Websites That Show Fake Download Buttons


Blocking Deceptive Content/Ads through Google’s Safe Browsing

As reported by online source, Google will be helping more users in avoiding sites which post deceptive ads and content has begun blocking website that tend to do so, to ensure that users do not indulge in fake download button.

This may appear right near the real download button or pup-ups, challenging phone tech support to remove million malware infections which may be deceptively found on the computer. The blocking would take place through Google’s Safe Browsing tech that one would have perhaps seen earlier. It is the big red interstitial which seems to appear when one clicks on a dodgy search result.

Safe Browsing has been for some time though it only prevents the user from visiting sites which were serving up malware or sites which Google had considered unsafe. However, in November, Google had begun blocking sites that utilised `social engineering attacks, in order to get the user to install unwanted software or to reveal sensitive information.

Presently Google has been expanding that to websites which tend to serve up deceptive embedded contents. The new block, specially is against deceptive embedded content which translates to `deceptive ads’.

Google to Display a Big Red Warning

When searching for something, the sites with the shady misleading ads which tend to claim that you need to install a certain type of plugin, product or a toolbar would generate a big red scary unfriendly STOP screen, misleading the user to a deceptive button.

 This is a development to a change which Google has made to search returns back in November when it began blocking sites it envisaged were utilising some type of social engineering attack to make you divulge information which otherwise one would not reveal. As Google had explained on its Online Security Blog, sites that have any kind of ads which deceptively attempt to imitate actual site functionality would now be considered as `social engineering’.

 This would comprise of fake download buttons, cautioning that software that one has is `out of date’ and fake notifications to update like Flash player. Whenever a site tends to use this tricks, Google would be displaying a big red warning prior to the visits of the site by the user. This would discourage shadier sites from utilising underhand attempts to trick users on clicking on ads or make attempts in preventing them from getting tricked.

Essential to Refresh Page Prior to Viewing Social Engineering Ads

For the webmasters, this change would be especially difficult. Hosting of deceptive content on the site is one thing though deceptive third party content served by casual ad server would be a bit difficult to police. Webmaster knowledge base of Google does not seem to provide much help, though to note that `ad networks could be rotating the ads shown on the site’s pages.

 Hence it could be essential to refresh a page a few times prior to viewing any social engineering ads that appear. For the others, this would be a longed-for change. Though the usage pattern seem to be unstable, Google Search tends to drive billion of website clicks each day and several of these websites tend to still depend on Google traffic to stay afloat and this could be the start to an end for fake download buttons.

Tuesday, 9 February 2016

Microsoft Recalls Millions of Fire-Risk Power Cords


Microsoft Announced a Recall Related to Power Cords

Microsoft has voluntarily announced the recall after 56 reports of over two million power cords sold with Surface tablets all over the world were overheated, emitting flames. It had also received five reports from customers who had received electrical shocks. The US Consumer Product Safety Commission has informed users to unplug the cords and get in touch with Microsoft for a free replacement.

The recall is related to power cords which had been sold with the Surface Pro, Surface Pro 2 and Surface Pro 3 tablets prior to March 2015 in Canada and the US and July 2015 beyond those countries. Though Microsoft is yet to go public on the number of Surface Pro power cords it intends to recall over fire concerns, the US Consumer Product Safety Commission has conveyed that it is more than two million, stateside alone.

Microsoft claims that it received reports that cord for the first, second and third generation of the slab-book sold prior to March 15 could be defective, as exposed last month. It has informed that this could be the outcome of them being wound too tightly, twisted or pinched over an extended period of time.

Microsoft to Provide One AC Power Cord Free of Charge

Microsoft has informed that it will be providing one AC power cord free of charge and proof of damage is not essential. People with more than one Surface device would need to submit a claim for each device and it is not essential to send the old cords to them. Microsoft had sold around five million Surface devices since the launch, up to and inclusive of the first calendar quarter of last year, according to estimates from channel analyst Canalys.

Recently Apple is also said to be in the process of recalling for certain types of AC wall plug adapters which were included in some iPhone, iPad and Mac products, owing to danger of the adapters breaking and resulting in electric shock. As per the company, the recall comprise of two pronged wall plugs adapters incorporated with Mac computers and 10-watt adapters included with certain iOS devices between 2003 and 2015.

Consumers to Recycle/Dispose Defective Cords

Generally speaking, the responsibility is on the consumer for the problem which Microsoft has been addressing. If one has been rolling the power cord up in a way so as to make them more portable, one would probably damage the cord.

This could not only be the case of Microsoft cord but the cords in general. When one tends to roll up a cord against its natural shape there could be chances of fatigue wherein the complete length of the cord may tend to twist in a direction away from the length of the cord. According to Albert Cardenas, Product Manager for Consumer Audio at Monoprice, when asked for his advice explained that the stress against the natural coil could tend to twist the cord, ultimately weakening the cord to the point of irregular performance or even failure of the cord.

Microsoft has confirmed that a very small section of Surface Pro customers had reported of overheating problems with regards to their power cables. Consumers will be advised to recycle or dispose their defective cords in order to avoid the probability of future dangers.

Friday, 5 February 2016

Winning Hyperloop design revealed by MIT engineers


Hyperloop – Conceptual Transport System

A team from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology has revealed designs for passenger pods which tend to travel through airless tubes. The Hyperloop is said to be a conceptual transport system wherein passenger of pods could be fired through vacuum tubes at more than 600 mph or 1,000 km/h.

The MIT team first came in a SpaceX competition in designing pods which could be experimented in a prototype tube and would now have the opportunity of building and testing its design in the U.S. Over 115 teams had entered the design competition with the MIT engineers making attempts for the Best Overall Design prize.

At the award ceremony in Texas recently, Mr Musk spoke of the next stage of the competition stating that the basic idea with the competition is that `they were going to try to get the highest possible speed in the 1.5 km track and then you have to stop before the end. There will be foam put towards the end so that one might recover some pieces of the pod. The purpose is to come up with something which could eventually be utilised and if one were to extend the track to hundreds of kilometres, the system would still tend to work

Spur Interest in New Forms of Transportation

What is envisioned to be done with Hyperloop was to spur interest in new forms of transportation’ and Musk is of the belief that it will happen. `It is clear that the public as well as the world would want something new’.

The MIT team beat over 100 other design teams of students from across the world, in order to win the award for the best overall design. The captain of the winning team, Phillippe Kirschen, a master’s student in aeronautics and astronautics commented that `MIT has been involved in so many technological breakthroughs in the past century and it makes sense that we could help advance what might be the future of transportation’, as reported in MIT news.

Chris Merian, chief engineer of the winning MIT team has described the pod as a levitating aluminium capsule and has said that the pod tends to focus on levitating and moving at really high speeds. Those are the two things which are seen as crucial to this being a true Hyperloop pod.As reported by BBC, the pod that tends to function on a custom designed computer system does not have space to accommodate passengers or cargo at the moment

Testing Braking System with Advanced Magnets

But the team has assimilated a fail-safe brake system in order to stop the pod in case its computer system tends to fail to operate. It is said that the MIT team together with 21 other students-led groups had the opportunity to graduate to the next level and experiment their designs on SpaceX’s mile-long test track.

The team is said to now concentrate on testing out its braking system using advanced magnets to plunge their pod at a speed of 100m per second. By mid-May, the final assembly of the design would be preferably ready for testing.

Envisioned concept of a `fifth mode of transportation’ the Hyperloop was announced by Elon Musk, the entrepreneur and tech titan in August 2013. The concept involved high speed transportation of cargo and passengers aboard a `pod’ which would travel within airless tubes.

 Though SpaceX had mentioned that it had no plans of commercialising Hyperloop, it however prefers to quicken the progress. Presently the tech company is said to be developing a mile long track in California that will be utilised in experimenting several pod designs in the forthcoming months.

Thursday, 4 February 2016

Next-Gen Incandescent Bulb is a Light-Recycling Marvel


New Incandescent Light Bulb – More Efficient than LED

A new incandescent light bulb has been invented by a team of researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology due to the breakthrough in nanotechnology which tends to be much more efficient than LEDs. The US researchers state that they have developed the technique which could considerably advance the efficiency of the traditional incandescent light bulb.

The older bulbs have been phased out in several countries since they tend to waste large amount of energy as heat. However the scientists at MIT have discovered means of recycling the waste energy and aiming to get back on the filament where it is re-produced as visible light. They are of the belief that they have developed the skill which could turn the weakness of the traditional incandescent bulb into power.

 The incandescent light bulb is a wonderful world changing invention. Its form is iconic with the light it tends to produce is matchless. The MIT team comprising of professors Marin Soljacic, John Joannopoulos and Gang Chen, have not necessarily re-invented the incandescent bulb nor have they done away with LEDs and CFLs, ushering in new era of incandescent. They have set out in solving an old problem by utilising new technology.

Two Stage Light Recycling Process

Significant to the technology on display with the next gen incandescent, is a two stage light recycling process wherein infrared radiation which is produced by conventional tungsten filaments is taken by photonic crystals based filter wrapped around the filaments. Performing as nano-mirror, the crystals made of Earth-abundant materials tend to reflect the energy back to the filament so that the radiation instead of being wasted as heat is reabsorbed and harvested producing visible light.

The discovery disclosed in the journal Nature Nanotechnology is undoubtedly impressive if a touch puzzling to those of us who do not tend to dedicate time and energy to nanophotonics. It could be simple just to think of these incandescent as self-recycling bulbs which could connect a source of waste and then transform it into a source of energy.

Applying this technology of light-recycling to commercial lighting could be a small part of a intricate puzzle as the MIT tend to investigate other application wherein this innovative thermal emission controlling process could be instantly beneficial.

Vast Challenge Faced – Global Warming/Energy Efficiency

But Soljacic had explained to BBC that he `would not exclude the probability of incandescent bulbs re-emerging in a completely more efficient form and it is not totally out of the question considering that incandescent bulbs are not outlawed. The most popular wattages have to be manufactured in order to meet the efficiency standards established in 2007’.

`Thomas Edison had not been the first one to work on the design of the light bulb, however what he had done was to find out how to mass produce it economically and keep it stable for a longer period of over 10 hours and these are the two critical criteria still.

These are questions to which they are trying to answer’. Soljacic further added that they `have a vast challenge which the world is facing presently, global warming and energy efficiency and this give one more tool in the toolbox to meet this challenge and they are excited about the potential’.

Wednesday, 3 February 2016

Whatsapp Reaches a Billion Monthly Users


WhatsApp – Communication Offering Low Cost Chat

As reported by Facebook, WhatsApp, mobile messaging service is being used by billions of people each month. The app owned by Facebook tends to have overtaken the social network’s own Messenger mobile app that has around 800 million monthly users.

The company has informed that 42 billion messages together with 250 million videos have been sent through WhatsApp on a daily basis. However, one analyst has stated that WhatsApp tends to trail behind local competition in some of the key markets. Jack Kent, mobile analyst at IHS, has commented that there are big markets where WhatsApp is not the leading player.

WeChat in China tends to have over 500 million users while Line is well-known in Japan and Kakao Talk is big in South Korea. However, WhatsApp seems to be certainly most successful, internationally and part of that tends to focus on communication offering low cost chat which is very trustworthy.

While other apps have focused on monetisation, stickers and games,WhatsApp has appealed that it is light on monetisation and has now dropped its annual fee entirely. In 2014, Facebook had bought the mobile messaging app in a deal worth of $19bn.

Secured/Easy Option of Staying Connected

WhatsApp, founded only seven years back has altered the way users seem to message one another and has only one focus which is a secured and easy option for anyone to stay connected with their family and friends all across the globe without the tension of cost etc. that other messaging services tend to burden on their users. Hence whether it is for sharing information during calamity or simply staying connected,

WhatsApp is always available for its users. With their ambitions to grow still further, it would not be surprising to see WhatsApp improve with new features and probably with some enhanced ways of communicating. WhatsApp, not too long ago had planned to drop the $1 yearly subscription fee and since then, WhatsApp had promised not to show ads for their own users’ sake, it leaves one wandering on how the messaging platform intends to make money.

Usage data which the platform tends to generate for Facebook could support the company in improving its targeted advertising that is its fundamental business model according to Mr Kent.

Added Feature – Voice Calling

He has mentioned further that `Facebook had started pushing people to its own standalone Messenger appwhen it had purchased WhatsApp. However, according to him, there was a risk that it could have been attained by a competitor and Facebook could lose millions of highly engaged mobile users to a rival, but WhatsApp still tends to face those challenges from local players who seem to monetise their services well and the same remains to be a competitive space.

In 2015 WhatsApp had up to 700 million monthly users and thereafter WhatsApp has added voice calling wherein users could have another option of getting in touch with their contacts. On addition of the voice calls, it has also decided to develop a web client which reflects the app from the phone and the team tends to continue making improvement with speed and reliability of the app, while ensuring it to be simple and secure.

Samsung Allows Ad-Blocking on New Mobile Web Browser


Android Phone – Install Ad-Blocker Extensions

Latest form of the default web browser on Samsung’s Android phone will now enable users to install ad-blocker extensions that were an update by Apple in September which permits ad-blockers to be installed for the Safari browser as extensions. Samsung phones blockers would have to be added in the same way and would not come as standard. It is said that the new browser would be rolled out for Android Lollipop or advanced users.

Well-known ad-blockers are already available for Samsung phone such as Adblock Fast and Crystal. Besides making web page less messy, mobile ad-blocking is considered to reduce the time of web-page loading as well as mobile data usage wherein the ad-blockers tend to improve the performance of browser by lessening to draw on phone batteries as well as data plans.

`Consumers using ad-blockers would probably use other browsers than the default one’ according to Daniel Knapp, the advertising industry analyst at IHS and `it is nonetheless important for Samsung to jump on the ad-blocking bandwagon. It wants to show customers that it is a premium brand which protects them and Apple’. He also informed BBC that there had been a `seismic change in the ad industry, wherein the marketing budgets had been increasingly moved from traditional forms of advertising, for instance, to sponsorship deals.

Eliminates Scripts in Web-Page Code

He also added that it was the most highly prized by advertisers, young as well as affluent users, who would in the first place, probably use ad-blockers. According to him it is an expression of massive consumer dissatisfaction in the way the ad industry tends to work.

 Ad-blockers tend to work by eliminating scripts in web page code which would then pull content from servers of ad networks. Around 18% of British adults online had been utilising some kind of ad-blocker in November and up 3% from June as per a report from the Internet Advertising Bureau – IAB.

In the meantime, in the annual financial filing of Facebook, the social network had announced advertising earning of $5.64bn for the fourth quarter of 2015 though cautioned that ad-blockers could affect future profits, adversely.It stated that if such technologies tend to continue to thrive especially with regards to mobile platforms, the future financial results could be affected.

Ads Delivered through Third Party Apps

However, Mr Knapp informed that companies like Facebook would be less likely than the other content publishers to get affected by mobile web ad-blockers since ads could be delivered through their third party apps. Thinking of ad-blockers being admitted to iOS 9, they were all completely focused on the in-browser environment and not for third party apps like Facebook.

Samsung had been contacted by Business Insider asking for more information on why the company had released this update. Details are awaited and will be provided on receiving from them. Ad blocking apps had come to the top of App Store charts when the iOS 9 update had been released.

 Though some Wall Street analysts had first feared a worst case scenario, this was Apple against the whole mobile publisher and advertiser ecosystem. Though ad-block apps tend to get lots of downloads, the fraction of users utilising them on regular basis seems to be quite small.