Thursday, 2 July 2015

Where Are The Invisible Apps?

About a year ago, an article was published which gave a description of a new mobile app that was termed as the Invisible App at that time. This article was written by Matthew Panzarino who made a prediction that there will an increase in the number of apps that would be living in the background and be working on sensors as well as data and literally we will be able to do carry out things without even asking us.

Now, this was considered as an awesome vision at that time. The recent trends are clearly moving towards the invisible app. With the mobile phones coming with more number of sensors and components are becoming smaller in size making them faster as well as accurate. They are now having less battery usage. Today some of the latest smartphones comes with nearly 10 sensors allowing the user to detect things easily.

Today our computer has the ability to access data from worldwide but it can also understand what the user is feeling or doing at certain point of time. They can understand and detect whatever is happening around the user. Here comes the Apple Watch which indicates that the vision of Matthew was likely to come true in the coming future.

This device made use of all the sensor-intelligence expected from invisible apps but is conveniently displayed by the users on the wrist. But it has been more than 8 years and no one has heard anything about an app which can detect that the user is hungry and order out the food immediately.

Why there is a delay? 

With phones getting smarter each day with increasing number of sensors, we still cannot understand why there are no apps being built who can anticipate our requirements. The very first limitation that will be encountered by the makers of the invisible app will be the privacy factor since the app will require sensitive and personal data that needed to be treated carefully. With increasing security concerns, many users are not comfortable sharing their data with the apps.

This will become a roadblock for the makers to build any app giving required experiences. Sensors as if now have been claimed to be consuming less power but with the invisible app coming into existence, it is easy to anticipate that it will require more power to function. If the sensors are used in the background of the app, there could be considerably lower impact of the batter life. It is not easy for every developer to collection and analyse the raw data and make it into something useful and be part of the intelligence. Huge numbers of data points are required for carrying out this function.

Despite all this, we can still believe that these apps are about to come into existence. In order to get the first piece built, developers will have to cross over hurdles like infrastructure, privacy as well as technical issues. All these are moving us towards making ourselves more efficient as well as productive.

How a Holographic Halo 'Briefing' Bridged the Present and Future at E3

Halo got their first clue when they realized that this is not at all about any video game briefing like other companies. Things were pretty much clear when a man having a white coat having a mysterious white device similar to that of a binoculars (which has been sealed) over the face.

This man suddenly shined a light directed towards the retinas of the audience which looks very specific as well as mysterious since it is about the vision. The second clue came when the people were directed into the room having a model similar to that of sci-fi attack craft and they were given a pair of Hololens augmented-reality glasses made by Microsoft over the faces of the people.

The white coated man asked the people from if they are able to seen the configuration screen. All of them were able to see the screen which was floating on top of a bolt-gun grey wall, which initially was looking to be blank yet suspiciously framed space. They got the direction to walk towards the screen. They were instructed to take a left turn and then walk forward.

All of them knew that they are being directed towards the luminous and sprite-like structure which has been floating in the mid air. This all seemed like we were live inside a video game apart from the fact that all this was really happening. Looking not only real but indicated that there is no need to rely on the headset. All this looked like equipment which is a glorified GPS navigator.

Once all of them reached a window slammed open on the right side of all these people. It was not a real window but looks real, it integrated real scenery in itself and was revealing a 3D spacecraft hanger which is living. The window has light as well as depth. All the people were able to peep outside the window and see around the space in the similar manner as we do in a real window. Even though Hololens was doing the job as expected, it turned out to be nearly convincing. When it comes to the world of E3, this can be easily considered as something which is quite astonishing.

All of these people had to gather around the metal hexagonal table, and they saw a UNSC Infinity rose up from the surface. This looked to be physical as well as realistic 3D scale model standing in the middle of the room. Hololens might not become the future of the video games but certainly it will become the future of something as atleast. This conference is all about promoting new products and services. Once all the people finished going through the realistic experience of Halo, they were asked to enter another room and asked to play Halo. It turned out to be completely new experiences of playing Halo. It was just like playing Halo but without anything floating into air.

3D Printing Could Resurrect Custom Car Making

The world was introduced to Blade on Thursday, and this is a 3D-printed supercar which has been designed by the leading automobile company as the proof of designing concept based on 3D. It aims at establishing the new technology among the micro automakers as well as to reshape the automobile industry.

The company is hoping that the micro automakers get the same evolution as it has been seen in the world of microbreweries across the United States of America. The aim is to establish democracy in the auto industry and start the new goal for the dematerialized vehicles.

The 3D-printing technologies can easily turn out the auto manufacturing very affordable for the players to enter the industry and build vehicles according to their taste and drive the era forwards. Through this technology the micro automakers will be able to deliver cars ranging upto 10000 every year. It has designed the 3D printed blade for attracting the attention of the prospective players of the auto sector.

The cutting edge product "the Blade"

It is a bi-fuel vehicle which will be able to run on CNG as well as gasoline. It will be able to hit 60mph in less than 2 seconds since it comes with a 700-horsepower engine as well as 1,400-lb ultra light build. It has been based on the node technology of the company.

This is the technology will be allow the small auto players to develop cars on higher scale. The other benefit of the technology is the reduction in the environment impact from the auto making process. This technology will allow cars to be built out of literally any material and the emission will be about one third of the total emission released during the manufacturing of the electric vehicle.

They  kept on thinking about working and manufacturing cars in affordable range and in lower volume. It is about bringing out a world which allows small yet profitable custom car makers globally.

The Auto Industry democratized

Despite the wait it might take to get the new node technology to be understood by the auto makers, we can always see a bright future for the 3D printing especially in the auto industry. Already vehicles are being made by means of fabricated manufacturing. Companies have already started exploring the application of this technology and already show some of the good uses of this printing technology.

Now what needs to be check is the cost of components to that of the quality as well as the price of the printing. It might become cheaper in some materials and others might cost more. There are no special tools required for 3D printing.

Despite the amount of effort is being put in this cost cutting manufacturing technology, it is quite clear that the vehicles will be available to the customers who are on the top of the line and it might be a long wait for the customers (average) to get their hands on it.

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.