Technology

Samsung Galaxy S5 To Be Launched Today

By Aglaia Staff

Samsung Electronics will unveil its highly-anticipated Galaxy S5 at the event scheduled at the Mobile World Congress on Monday in Barcelona.

The Galaxy S5 is variously rumoured to have a fingerprint scanner on the home button; a 5.24-inch, full high-definition display; a water and dust-proof case, possibly metallic, and a 16 megapixel camera

Samsung has already sent out invitations for “Samsung unPacked 5″ event on February 24 at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain.

The world’s biggest smartphone maker is bracing for its weakest mobile annual profit growth in seven years amid fierce competition from Apple Inc and Chinese vendors, and as growth for high-end smartphones eases due to near saturation in many markets.

The launch at the annual industry gathering is set to reflect a new emphasis on costs, marking a departure from the glitzy marketing Samsung has deployed in the past, including the use of actors and a full live orchestra to launch the S4 at New York’s Radio City Music Hall last year.

Meanwhile, Samsung has launched Sunday a new smart watch, the Gear 2, after a first version won over few critics, adding new features and ditching Google`s Android in favour of its own operating system.

Besides an array of features including sports tracking software and a heart rate monitor, the Gear 2 marks an important and widely rumoured step towards independence from Android.

The watch, available in two models — the Gear 2 and the Gear 2 Neo, which has no camera — will be powered by the Tizen operating system developed by Samsung with various partners to break free of the Android dominance.

 

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Samsung’s Galaxy Glass And Google

By Aglaia Staff

Samsung is making Galaxy Glass — which sounds a lot like Google Glass.

According to the Korean Times, Galaxy Glass will connect to a smartphone and allow its wearer to make calls and listen to music. Not to be outdone, Google just revealed new gear for its Glass product: new frames, prescription glasses and sunglasses for the Internet-connected eyewear.

If you’re thinking about buying a Tesla, you’ll appreciate a coming surge in the number of charging stations throughout the U.S. and Canada. Elon Musk shared his tech upgrades for the supercharger network via Twitter. Tesla’s Superchargers, which can provide up to 170 miles of range with just a 30-minute charge, now cover trips between Los Angeles and New York, Musk said.

Finally, Microsoft has bought the rights to the game “The Gears of War” – and they’re creating a new game as we speak. The reason for the purchase is simple: money, according to an official press release. “Over twenty-two million units have been sold across all ‘Gears of War’ titles worldwide, grossing over $1B dollars.”

This franchise, and these fans, are part of the soul of Xbox, Microsoft said. New “Gears of War”? That’s soul food for gamers.

 

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Single Line Connection: India’s First Monorail In The New Year

By Aglaia Staff

For the past few months, a pink, blue and green structure resembling a metallic caterpillar has been zipping overhead of narrow roads, decaying slums and mangroves in Wadala and Chembur. Cars have been halting to take a picture, people in high-rises staring at it from their balconies, and children in slums underneath egging it on it with cries and outstretched arms.

The monorail, a mass transit system few countries have, is coming to India for the first time, though two years late.

Five years after construction started, Mumbai‘s development authority MMRDA is set to open the first phase to the public in January. Of the 19.5-km corridor from Chembur to Jacob Circle in Byculla, the first phase will run 8.8 kilometres until Wadala. The completed route will be the world’s second longest, after the one in Japan’s Osaka.

A few others steps remain. Documentation is involved in the handover from the project team to operations and maintenance. The project also needs final safety clearance from a former commissioner of railways; a senior official says it won’t get that until the opening rules are published. “The draft rules are published but the final rules have to be notified. The file is with the chief minister’s office,” the official says. The commercial rules are currently in the public domain for suggestions and objections, but their publication is not mandatory for final safety clearance.

Pluses and minuses

The monorail, which runs on a single rail (guideway beam) that grips the wheels laterally from either side, is preferred when densely populated areas are to be connected with not much free space available. The beam is just about a metre wide, the size of a divider or a small footpath, and rests on single pillars about 6.5 metres high.

Besides, monorail systems can negotiate steep gradients and a turning radius as low as 50 metres, making them suitable for crowded areas such as Chembur, Antop Hill and Parel. The rubber tyres on concrete beams make very little noise. It is also possible to have an open station inside a residential building with the train running through the building.

Many believe the monorail, however, is more useful as a feeder service to Metro and suburban railway stations rather than as a mass transit system. This is because its carrying capacity is low. Each air-conditioned rake will be able to carry 568 passengers — 852 if the MMRDA decides to increase the cars from four per rake to six — while a Metro rake can carry three times as many though it requires a wider right of way.

 

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Firefox OS Geeksphone Plans Revolution

By Aglaia Staff

Geeksphone, the first Firefox OS phone maker, announced on Wednesday a new high-end smartphone called the Revolution.

The Spanish company didn’t disclose details such as price, features, ship date, and appearance. But judging by the wording on the Geeksphone Revolution Web page, “a creation with a powerful heart,” we can expect a faster processor than what’s in the company’s first models, the low-end Keon and midrange Peak.

“We are…confident that we will surprise everyone by its very high performance,” Geeksphone co-founder Javier Aguera said in a statement. “And it’s very competitively priced.”

The phone will run not just Firefox OS, but Android, too, and customers can order it with either. Geeksphone offered Android Phones before it began its Firefox OS foray.

“The intention was to launch on Android, but given the experience Geeksphone gained in Open Web [phones] they have decided to give the users the option to choose between either system,” the company told CNET.

 Based on a forum post from Geeksphone, it looks like the Revolution might use an Intel processor.

“This is what we are working on, but now with 4.8″ screen,” the post said, offering a link to a video showing some pros. The phones use 3.5-inch screens in the video, and the Intel-based model outperforms the Qualcomm model in boot time and some other computing tasks.

Technically, it’s not Firefox OS on the Revolution, but instead the Boot2Gecko software that Mozilla uses for the project’s name. It’s the same bits and bytes, but a different label: “Firefox OS is a brand currently not available for independent manufacturers not associated with carriers. Geeksphone will work with Mozilla once this option is made available,” the company said.

The company bet big on Firefox OS, Mozilla’s open-source, browser-based operating system. Mozilla hopes Firefox OS, along with an Android version of Firefox, will extend the clout it has with personal computers into the mobile market, too. Currently, Apple and Google dominate mobile operating systems, and Mozilla doesn’t like those companies’ controlling ways.

A third carrier joined the Firefox OS push Thursday: Telenor, which is based in Norway but also does business in Asia and eastern Europe. It already was committed, but now it’s actually begun selling Firefox phones.

“I am pleased to see that our customers in Serbia, Hungary, and Montenegro will be able to enjoy mobile phones on Firefox OS, providing them with high-quality Internet experience before Christmas,” said Rolv-Erik Spilling, head of Telenor Digital, in a statement. “Through this launch, we are one step closer to connecting the next billion customers to the Web.”

Geeksphone is a small manufacturer; the more prominent sales push for Firefox OS is coming from carriers — Telefonica and Deutsche Telekom to start with — that have a strong retail presence. So far they’ve brought Firefox OS to markets such as Brazil and Poland; in more affluent markets where iOS and Android have a stronger presence it’s a harder sell.

The company is in the process of designing an upgraded Peak model called the Peak+  that isn’t shipping yet. Customers who ordered the Peak+ will be able to switch to the Revolution at no cost, Geeksphone said.

 

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Google Can End China’s Web Censorship

By Aglaia Staff

This week, Eric Schmidt, Google’s executive chairman, was quoted as saying during a speech in Washington: “We can end government censorship in a decade. The solution to government surveillance is to encrypt everything.”

 

Earlier this week, the media successfully unblocked the Reuters Chinese website, which had been blocked on 15 November. We also unblocked the China Digital Times website, which has been blocked in China for years and earlier this month created mirrors for the FreeWeibo  project. These mirrors now receive thousands of unique visits a day from China. But we are just a small team of activists with limited resources. If anyone has the power to implement this technology widely, it’s Google. Here’s what they could do to effectively end online censorship in China, not in 10 years, but in just 10 days:

 

1. Google needs to first switch its China search engine (google.com.hk) to https by default. It has already done this in the US, but not in China. This would essentially mean that Chinese netizens using Google would be taken to https://www.google.com.hk, the encrypted version of the search engine. The great firewall of China cannot selectively block search results on thousands of sensitive terms if the encrypted version is used.

2. While we provide a pretty comprehensive list of websites that are blocked in China, Google holds the best list of blocked websites, everywhere in the world. If the website that a user tries to visit is blocked, Google should redirect the user to a mirrored version of the same website hosted by Google.

 

 

That’s it. Two simple steps and Google could end online censorship by the end of this month in China. Quite possibly they could end online censorship just about everywhere in the world before the new year. Forget about not doing evil – this would be something that we could all celebrate.

 

Critics of our approach will say that the “do it, they might not block you” argument is tenuous. But that is not what we are saying. What we are saying is: “Google! Do it! If they don’t block you, freedom wins. If they do block you, there will be much more opposition to censorship inside China and the system will be forced to change, thus freedom wins too!”

 

Is there a better example of a win-win outcome?

 

We are gambling that Google is big enough and important enough that the Chinese authorities would not dare block it completely. They tried it once before and backed down after a day. They have sometimes made Google services like Gmail excruciatingly difficult to use. But given how essential Google is to so many individuals and businesses, blocking the company entirely would have immediate and disastrous economic consequences.

 

Our two-step approach is not technically complicated. In the past, we have repeatedly asked Google to make its search engine https by default, but it took Edward Snowden and a bunch of files to make Google do this for the US market.

 

Every time you click on a Google search result that takes you to a blocked website, Google can detect that the site is blocked. They also have an index of the entire content of the internet. It would be easy for Google to make a change to its search engine, so that when you click on a blocked link, you are redirected to an unblocked version of the page, hosted on an unblockable proxy. Google is already halfway there. Google caches most internet pages and provides them to users. The cache is hosted on a separate domain, which is blocked in China but Google can simply host the cache on a subpath to bypass the block.

 

It did not take us long to mirror both the Reuters and the China Digital Times websites. The Chinese authorities have not moved to block the three mirrors we have created. The window of opportunity is open for Google to make its move. Google could do what we did in the blink of an eye. We estimate it would take a small team at Google about 10 days of work – but this is Google we are talking about. They could likely do this over late-night tofu pizza.

 

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Xbox One Makes Hot Debut

By Aglaia Staff

Gamers in more than a dozen countries started snapping up the new-generation Xbox One consoles on Friday as Microsoft battled Sony to be at the heart of Internet age home entertainment.

 

Xbox fans queued at consumer electronics shops to be among the first to get their hands on Microsoft’s beefed up system that extends beyond gaming to online films, music, social networking and more.

A man in New Zealand, 24-year-old Dan Livingstone, become the first person in the world to officially own an Xbox One. He said he was immediately retreating for five days to play with it.

International time zones meant New Zealand was the first country to launch the console.

Australia was next in the global roll out. The distinctive Sydney Tower turned green and another 3D projection beamed onto the water beneath the Sydney Harbour Bridge to mark the midnight launch.

In California, people were also eager to get one of their own.

“It’s a big upgrade; a big change,” said 23-year-old Jonathan Guerrero, who staked out a spot at the front of the line at a Best Buy electronics shop in Northern California 13 hours before the consoles went on sale a minute into Friday.

“You are jumping from okay to super great.”

Hassan Ali said he queued to get an Xbox One because he has an ideal television for the rich graphics pumped out by the console. He described his set as a 3-D, high-definition, smart television with a 65-inch screen.

“It’s kind of amazing that you can look at the game and it looks like real life,” said 34-year-old Ali.

Sony last week unleashed its new champion in the long-running console war, getting a slight jump on Microsoft heading into the prime holiday shopping season.

The Xbox One, successor to the Xbox 360, the top-selling console in North America, debuted at a price of US$500 while Sony’s PS4 is priced at US$400.

Sony said it sold more than a million PS4 consoles in the 24 hours after its release on November 15.

 

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The 2013 CES

By Sunil Kumar

One of the biggest fairs in the consumer electronics industry; the CES kicks off on Tuesday in Las Vegas. This is the forum where big guns such as Samsung, Sony, Intel, and more show off their latest and greatest technologies. In the past, electronics such as the CD player, camcorder, and VCR made their stateside debuts at CES. More recently, HDTV, tablets, and the Microsoft Xbox have been unveiled at the conference.

A few announcements this year: ultra-high definition televisions with large screens, evolution in smartphone glass technology, a new version of the Optimus and the Galaxy S4. Intel is going to introduce a new processor; the Bay Trail-T to take on Nvidia‘s Tegra and Qualcomm‘s S4. With CEA estimates that factory-installed automotive technology will generate $8.7 billion dollars in 2013, so it’s no wonder seven major car companies will be on the show floor.

The launch of a corresponding ecosystem means that companies from over 150 countries will be on display.

 

 

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Individualism And Perseverance Key Success Indicators

300px NegishiCouplingMechanism Individualism And Perseverance Key Success Indicators

Visit aglaia.co.in English: Negishi Coupling Mechanism (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

By Sunil Kumar

Striving for recognition is intrinsic in any human endeavor. Nobel Prize Winners exemplify achievements in diverse fields such as sciences, humanities and the arts. In an exclusive chat with Aglaia.co.in; Ei-ichi Negishi; the 2010 Nobel Prize winner in chemistry outlined individualism, perseverance, optimism and dreaming big as some criteria for success.

Born in Hsingking, Manchukuo; now in China; Mr. Ei-ichi Negishi was educated at the University of Tokyo and Pennsylvania. Best known for the Negishi coupling; Ei-ichi Negishi’s lecture was an informative description of his many decades of work on organic synthesis. He summed up his presentation briefly mentioning d-block transition elements as core drivers in continual global economic growth.

India and its leaders suffer from chronic anxiety,” noted Negishi. According to him; dedication, focus and aiming to be the best in any field could be key takeaways for the nation’s youth. He praised the country’s intellectual prowess; but repeatedly emphasized on mentoring, tenacity, serendipity and a need to discover something new as the hallmarks of an ardent researcher.

The Techfest; India’s largest science fest at the IIT, Bombay saw a footfall of around 92,000 this year. With around 50 exhibits from 20 different countries; the event also showcased innovative products such as MIT Media Lab’s Netra, Advertron; India’s newest advertising and marketing robot and the SOINN based HIRO robot from Hasegawa Labs, Tokyo that adapts to situations based on Artifical Intelligence.

 

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Microsoft Acquires id8

By Sunil Kumar

Microsoft Corp bought start-up id8 Group R2 Studios Inc as it looks to expand further in technology focused on the home and entertainment, a person familiar with the situation said on Wednesday.

id8 Group R2 Studios was started in 2011 by Silicon Valley entrepreneur and investor Blake Krikorian. It recently launched a Google Android application to allow users to control home heating and lighting systems from smartphones.

Krikorian’s Sling Media – which was sold to EchoStar Communications in 2007 – made the ” Slingbox” for watching TV on computers.

Krikorian will join Microsoft with a small team, according to the Wall Street Journal, which reported the acquisition earlier on Wednesday. Microsoft also purchased some patents owned by the start-up related to controlling electronic devices, the newspaper added.

31137v2 max 250x250 Microsoft Acquires id8

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Krikorian and a Microsoft spokesman declined to comment. Krikorian resigned from Amazon.com Inc‘s board in late December after about a year and a half as a director at the company, the Internet‘s largest retailer.

 

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Internet Industry Irked By Government Interference

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Visit aglaia.co.in James L. Connaughton, Chairman, Council on Environment Quality, The White House, addressed Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) members at a meeting in New Delhi, August 22, 2006. (Image For James L. Connaughton (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

By Sunil Kumar

 

India‘s supportive vote for International Telecom Union’s proposals to a UN-backed body to regulate internet has irked the stakeholders in local internet industry, which has warned government to refrain from voting in ITU on issues other than telecom.

 

Earlier this month, ITU, a body under United Nations for the first time introduced proposals seeking to define spam, and cyber fraud in a way that would have brought the some aspects of regulating the ‘international network‘ under its ambit. While India is yet to sign off on the proposals, the state’s public posturing indicated a supportive stand.

 

“ITU should only focus on telecom sector and not get into information and communication technology as they have tried to do through the Dubai convention last week,” said Subho Ray President of Internet and Mobile Association of India. IAMAI has Indian arms of multinational internet firms such as Ebay, Google, Facebook and Yahoo! as members.

 

The proposals have also created an international stand-off with US, UK and other large European economies rejecting the need for such UN-backed regulation of the internet, while Russia, China and United Arab Emirates found it useful to have such control. Some analysts have even called it the new cold war.

 

The Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Cellular Operators Association of India have also asked the government not to support ITU proposals, as it fears it would put curbs on internet usage.

 

“It is now well recognised that law enforcement agencies can misinterpret language even when it is not intended – Mumbai arrest of the two girls being a case in point,” FICCI and COAI said in a joint submission. The proposals, they said, would create new binding legal obligations on member states that may be in conflict with national sovereignty.

 

“Defining spam requires making content-based determinations; a treaty-based obligation could lead to India having to cooperate with other countries on controlling political or commercial speech,” the associations cautioned.

 

Industry is also not enthused about ITU’s proposals to bring regional internet exchanges under its ambit as it would give the UN body a role in overseeing commercial agreements for Internet traffic exchanges, according to Rajan S Mathews, director general at COAI, which counts AirtelBSE 2.78 %, Vodafone, and Reliance CommunicationsBSE 1.30 %.

 

The Internet Service Providers Association of India (ISPAI) says any UN body on internet governance, even if formed, should completely keep itself out of content-related matters.

 

“I think a UN body should be formed only if it involves multiple stakeholders including private sector, and not only governments as has been the case with UN bodies,” said Rajesh Chharia, ISPAI president.

 

 

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