Sunday, December 30, 2012
Saturday, December 29, 2012
There have been a lot of leaks regarding the upcoming BlackBerry 10 devices, be it pictures or their specs. And now new pictures have been leaked of some BB10 phones, which include the BlackBerry X10, an N-series BB10 phone, and the BlackBerry Z10. According to GSMArena, the images were originally posted in the technology section - /g/ - of the image board, 4chan.
Of the two phones, the Z10 is the only one that is completely touchscreen. The other two phones have full QWERTY keyboards. The BlackBerry X10 has a striking resemblance to HTC’s full QWERTY phone – the HTC ChaCha. The reveal of these phones significantly increases the number of BB10 devices that may be announced during RIM’s BB10 event at the end of January.
The phone on the left bears a striking resemblance to the HTC ChaCha
Earlier this month, a picture of the full QWERTY N-series was leaked. This handset is expected to be announced alongside the BlackBerry Z10, a touchscreen handset that runs on Research in Motion's new OS.
While there have been countless leaks in the past with respect to the BlackBerry Z10, there have been no images of the QWERTY handset which might be launched under the X10 moniker.
From the leaked images, we can see that this handset features a lot of the design traits of the older Bold series of handsets and looks pretty much similar to the BlackBerry Bold 9900, except for the fact that it features straight rows and not the curved layout of the older generations of BlackBerry devices. Another big difference is the lack of the navigation and menu buttons. Overall, Research in Motion appears to be sticking to a design and form factor its loyalists are used to and love.
Earlier, an official image of the BlackBerry Z10 made an appearance. In the leaked press shot, we can see what was previously known as the BlackBerry 10 L-Series handset now being marketed as ‘The New BlackBerry Z10.’ The picture shows the handset in both colours it is expected to be launched in – black and white. This image also shows the app switching pane and a contact profile page. This feature is nothing new and Research in Motion had revealed details on these features in the past.
A later report revealed some of the specifications of the BlackBerry Z10, and as it turns out, the specs are very similar to that of the developer alpha devices used by developers to make apps for BlackBerry 10.
It was previously reported that Research In Motion is set to showcase its upcoming operating system—BlackBerry 10—in all its glory. The company has started sending out invitations for the launch events of the operating system, which will be held on January 30, 2013. The launch events will be held in cities around the world, including New York, Toronto, London, Paris, Johannesburg and Dubai.
Posted by gkJr. at 12:47 PM
Thursday, December 27, 2012
According to Chinese gadget news site Tech.163, Apple may be in the process of developing its own smart watch that connects to your Apple devices via Bluetooth. Based on the report, Intel will be working with Apple to create the smart watch, with a 1.5-inch PMOLED display made by RiTDisplays with ITO-coated glass.
Apple has long had a small hold in the watch market thanks to its iPod nano, which is easily attached to a wrist band turning it into a full functioning watch.
Recently, however, smart watches have grown increasingly popular. Sony, for instance, has a new offering called the Smart Watch, and we can’t forget how Pebble blew up Kickstarter with it’s e-paper Smart Watch that connects to iOS and Android devices.
Users are looking for more and more connectivity, and as it stands now, an iPod nano with no Bluetooth connection to a user’s phone or tablet is becoming less attractive.
Throughout the past year, there have been many questions over when and if Apple will join the Smart Watch race. Today marks one of the first semi-substantiated leaks.
However, I’m approaching this with a hefty helping of salt. Even if Apple is making a watch, it will be quite a while before we see any real evidence of it. Plus, there’s no proven market for smart watches yet, even with the success of Pebble and MetaWatch.
According to the source, Apple will launch this smart watch later next year.
Whether or not that’s true, this will likely excite multitudes of geeks who clearly see value in such a device, as proven by Pebble and others.
It won’t be revolutionary, per se — many have already entered the smart watch space — but Apple has a knack for making niche devices mainstream. Just take a look at tablets. Before the iPad, the main question on everyone’s mind was whether or not tablet’s would be used in everyday life.
If this rumor proves true, Apple is probably doing the same thing it did with tablets to the idea of the watch. Low-power Bluetooth 4.0 makes wearable connected tech more practical, and with Apple’s design touch and software ecosystem, a smart watch could appeal to more than just gadget geeks.
Posted by gkJr. at 6:09 PM
Wednesday, December 26, 2012
This is becoming somewhat of a holiday tradition for Google: the company just announced that it is extending it free domestic calls from Gmail in the U.S. and Canada for yet another year. Just like at the end of 2011 and 2010, Google today said that Gmail users will once again get one more year of free voice calls from the Gmail chat widget.
It’s interesting that Google continues to extend this service year after year. The company introducedvoice calls from Gmail in August 2010 after introducing Gmail’s the voice and video chat featurein 2008. When it first launched this calling feature, it said that it would make it free for the first year. Since then, of course, it has always extended this offer, despite the company’s recent trend toward closing some of its less popular or money-losing services.
Google Voice, which forms the basis of the Gmail calling service and also offers free domestic calls, didn’t see too many updates in 2012, by the way. Besides some Google+ contacts integration and the launch ofan updated Android app, it’s actually been extremely quiet around Google Voice this year.
Here is the full (and very brief) announcement from Google:
Posted by gkJr. at 11:58 PM
Friday, December 21, 2012
Posted by gkJr. at 11:31 PM
Perhaps the most significant holdout from Apple's Newsstand feature in iOS, The Wall Street Journal, has now added support and in-app subscriptions.
Version 5.0 of The Wall Street Journal application is now available and will appear in the Newsstand folder on iOS devices. The application itself has the same look and feel, but now supports Newsstand-only features like automatic background updating to provide users with the latest content.
News Corp's Journal was one of the most prominent national newspapers that had not added support for Newsstand. The main issue was said to be the 30 percent cut that Apple takes from all in-app subscriptions sold on the App Store.
The official full list of features in the newly updated application are:
- Newsstand & Alerts
- WSJ is now in Newsstand! Get new issues automatically delivered to your device overnight. To use Newsstand, tap 'Allow' when prompted.
- Note: WSJ App icon will now appear in the Newsstand Folder.
- Breaking News Alerts from WSJ. To get alerts, tap 'Allow' when prompted.
- In-App Subscriptions
- Purchase a monthly subscription to WSJ through your iTunes account. With a digital subscription you get access to iPad, iPhone, WSJ.com and more.
The launch of the Journal on Newsstand comes less than a week after News Corp shuttered its tablet-only digital newspaper, The Daily. That publication was launched with much fanfare on the iPad and was developed in collaboration with Apple, but never gathered enough subscribers to sustain operations.
Posted by gkJr. at 11:28 PM
Posted by gkJr. at 11:17 PM
Posted by gkJr. at 10:02 AM
Thursday, December 20, 2012
Sometimes you need to message a non-friend, and today Facebook starts testing if it can make a little money and cut spam by asking you to pay to ensure the recipient sees it. Facebook’s also changing everyone’s privacy settings into dynamic filters that let “relevant” messages through. These moves address Facebook’s old settings that caused important messages to sometimes end up unseen.
Previously, Facebook’s messaging privacy settings were cut and dry. You set your inbox to allow messages from everyone, friends of friends, or friends only. Any sender that didn’t qualify had their messages dumped in the “Other Inbox”, a little known sub-tab of the Inbox that most people rarely checked if ever. I had a friend who actually got a Facebook Message from a long-lost brother from the other side of the world but didn’t see it for six months because he wasn’t a friend of a friend.
Facebook’s trying to rectify this situation, and also make room for the new revenue stream it’s testing by replacing these hard settings with softer filters.
If you were set to accept messages from friends of friends or everyone, you’ll now have the “Basic Filtering” which means you’ll mostly see messages from friends and people you may know in you main Inbox. If you had restricted your Inbox to friends only, you’ll be switched onto the Strict Filtering which means you’ll mostly see messages from friends.
You’ll notice the word “mostly” in there. That’s gives Facebook the freedom to deliver messages to your main Inbox even if they’re from outside your preferred categories of senders if it thinks they’re highly relevant. For example, if you have the Strict Filtering setting and are in a group message thread with three friends and one non-friend, Facebook might allow that non-friend to reach your main Inbox because there’s a high likelihood you want to see their message.
The new filters help out with the new version of Facebook Messenger For Android that allows signups from people without Facebook accounts. If a non-Facebook user that has your phone number in their address book tries to message you, Facebook might let that through.
These filters also permit Facebook’s new paid messaging system that it begins testing today with a very small percentage of users in the United States. The idea is that by letting people pay $1 or some other small fee, Facebook knows a message is important to the sender. The price also theoretically deters spam because conversion rates on spam messages are so low that having to pay to deliver them makes it very tough to earn money. Facebook is also capping the number of paid messages you can receive per week at one for now to reduce the potential for abuse.
Facebook explains that “Several commentators and researchers have noted that imposing a financial cost on the sender may be the most effective way to discourage unwanted messages and facilitate delivery of messages that are relevant and useful.”
Some users will surely be annoyed by both changes. Most people don’t want Facebook meddling with their privacy settings without express consent. Others will likely be angry that anyone with some money to spare can pester them with Messages. In the end, these settings might actually help people with strict privacy settings see important messages, and reduce spam for people with relaxed settings, but we’ll have to wait and see what their impact is, and whether users are able to see their value through the fear.
Posted by gkJr. at 8:49 PM
So, Whatsapp is going to charge users for messages from 2013, but will spare those who send this message (see image below) to 10 people. Only this time, I know that it is fake!
Quite a number of users woke up this morning to a message that read, “UR1994 KB1212 RJ1708 Send this message to 10 people. As soon as all of them have read your message, you will get an SMS from Whatsapp, with an activation code. Once you enter the activation code, you will no longer have to pay to use Whatsapp, which is going to charge for messages from new year 2013."
The fake message doing rounds
If this reminds you of a recent instance, wherein similar messages did rounds of the popular chat service, then you’re not alone. Only last month, users came forth with complaints of being bombarded with messages - some telling them the service would soon be a paid one, and that if users wished to continue using it for free, they should forward this message to 18 contacts on their list. There were others that came in with a string of emoticons, asking the recipient to forward it to 11 of his contacts to activate a new version of Whatsapp.
Twitter is abuzz too, with quite a few users discussing the latest message.
Previously, the messages found their way to many, many inboxes, resulting in complete chaos.
One of the messages read -
“Hello everyone, it seems that all the warnings were real, the use of WhatsApp cost money from summer 2012. If you send this string to 18 different on your list, your icon will be blue and will be free for you. If you do not believe me see tomorrow at 6 pm ending WhatsApp and have to pay to open it, this is by law This message is to inform all of our users, our servers have recently been very congested, so we are asking your help to solve this problem. We require our active users forwarded this message to each of the people in your contact list to confirm our active users using WhatsApp, if you do not send this message to all your contacts WhatsApp, then your account will remain inactive with the consequence of losing all their contactsMessage from Jim Balsamic (CEO of WhatsApp) we have had an over usage of user names on whatsapp Messenger. We are requesting all users to forward this message to their entire contact list. If you do not forward this message, we will take it as your account is invalid and it will be deleted within the next 48 hours. Please DO NOT ignore this message or WhatsApp will no longer recognise your activation.
If you wish to re-activate your account after it has been deleted, a charge of 25.00 will be added to your monthly bill. We are also aware of the issue involving the pictures updates not showing. We are working diligently at fixing this problem and it will be up and running as soon as possible. Thank you for your cooperation from the Whatsapp team” WhatsApp is going to cost us money soon. The only way that it will stay free is if you are a frequent user i.e. you have at least 10 people you are chatting with. To become a frequent user send this message to 10 people who receive it (2 ticks) and your WhatsApp logo should turn Red to indicate a frequent user. Am sorry had no option! And check now the status of every individual contact is showing : Status : error."
At the time, irate users took to popular social networking sites expressing their irritation over being bombarded with these messages by their contacts, while those who have been spared the hoax messages are expressing relief. Another good reason to rubbish these messages as hoax is a blog post (which although came out way earlier, deals with the same message) on WhatsApp that clarifies all doubts.
Posted by gkJr. at 11:11 AM
Wednesday, December 19, 2012
Google is partnering with the Israel Antiquities Authority to launch the Leon Levy Dead Sea Scrolls Digital Library, an online collection of 5,000 images of scroll fragments. Among the texts is the Book of Deuteronomy, which includes the Ten Commandments, and part of Chapter 1 of the Book of Genesis, which is seen in the picture above and measures in at about 10 cm.
Google said the initiative will shed "light on the time when Jesus lived and preached, and on the history of Judaism."
"Millions of users and scholars can discover and decipher details invisible to the naked eye, at 1215 dpi resolution," Google said in an official blog post. "The site displays infrared and color images that are equal in quality to the Scrolls themselves. There’s a database containing information for about 900 of the manuscripts, as well as interactive content pages. We’re thrilled to have been able to help this project through hosting on Google Storage and App Engine, and use of Maps, YouTube and Google image technology."
The news comes just more than a year after Google put online five manuscripts of the Dead Sea Scrolls,which are ancient documents which include the oldest known biblical manuscripts. These documents were written more than 2,000 years ago on pieces of parchment and papyrus and were preserved in dark caves until recently.
Google's partnership with the Israel Antiquities Authority is a part of a greater effort to bring cultural and historical materials online. The company's most recent initiatives include the Yad Vashem Holocaust photo collection, Google Art Project, World Wonders and the Google Cultural Institute.
Posted by gkJr. at 12:25 PM
Tuesday, December 18, 2012
Apple (AAPL) has just released iOS 6.0.2 to fix a number of bugs on the operating system including one bug that reportedly affected Wi-Fi performance on both the iPhone and the iPad. Some users on Apple’s support forums have in the past complained about an issue where their Wi-Fi connectivity symbol turns grey and prevents them from connecting to their home networks. Engadget’s German site writes that these Wi-Fi issues were supposed to be fixed with the release of iOS 6.0.1 but notes that users have still reported problems connecting to known Wi-Fi hotspots even after installing the patch.
Posted by gkJr. at 8:46 PM
Like a lot of people right now, you might be thinking about buying a new PC for the New Year. But according to Consumer Reports, you’re probably better off sticking with an old Windows 7 machine for the time being because Windows 8 has some serious flaws that crimp usability and create frustrating experiences. In fact, the publication has created a handy list of reasons to avoid Windows 8 for a while and most of them are pretty compelling.
Among other things, Consumer Reports writes that Windows 7 is still a very good PC operating system, that Windows 8 really only works if you buy a computer with a touchscreen, that the lack of a native Start button is annoying to many users, and that “Windows 8 models still are not performing as well as expected” and are delivering “less-than-optimal performance.” Windows 8 has taken criticism from a wide variety of sources, including an MIT professor and a very drunk person, for being needlessly confusing.
Posted by gkJr. at 5:53 PM
There are quite a few among us who have at least once been through the hell of having a cracked, or worse, a shattered smartphone display. How about an unbreakable phone, then?
As per a listing on the US Patent and Trademark Office, Amazon Chief Jeff Bezos now officially holds a smartphone airbag system patent, the mechanism behind which is a built-in accelerometer adept at detecting whether the phone is falling too fast. Once it detects that, it will quickly deploy an airbag. In a brief outline of the patent in question, the USPTO site adds, “A system and method for protecting devices from impact damage is provided. Prior to impact between a surface and a device, a determination of a risk of damage to the device is made. If the risk of damage to the device exceeds a threshold, a protection system is activated to reduce or substantially eliminate damage to the device.”
For crack-free gadgetry (Image credit: Getty Images)
In an elaborate description of the patent, it has been explained that it is essentially a damage avoidance system that is activated once the risk of damage is detected, before impact with the surface. In this sense, a damage avoidance system comprises one or more protection elements working together to reduce or prevent damage to the 'portable device' on hitting the surface.
Using a mobile phone, one of the most commonly used gadgets as an example, the patent description explains that a damage avoidance system on a mobile phone would come with a safety monitoring system and a protection system. For instance, if a user accidentally drops his mobile phone, then the safety monitoring system, using several detection elements, will detect that the device is no longer in contact with the user. It then measures a distance from an approaching surface and decides the velocity toward the surface. The explanation elaborates,"Based on the collected information, the safety monitoring system determines whether the risk of damage to the cellular phone, that will be caused by the impending impact, exceeds an acceptable threshold. If the safety monitoring system determines that the risk of damage exceeds the acceptable threshold, the protection system is activated."
In this case, a protection system deploys an airbag before the device hits the surface. This way, the airbag meets the surface at impact. The airbag will absorb the impact and protect the device to reduce or eliminate damage.
The listing on the USPTO page bears the names of Gregory Hart and Jeffrey Bezos as the inventors. The patent application had been filed on February 11, 2010.
Interestingly, the listing makes note of the fact that at least as per one report, 1 out of 3 cellular phones are damaged or lost in the first year of buying them. "Damage may occur when a cellular phone experiences an uncontrolled impact with a hard surface or even become submerged in a liquid. With the number of cellular phones in use exceeding several billion and repairs typically exceeding $25, the costs of damage and loss of cellular phones amounts to billions of dollars per year," it points out.
Posted by gkJr. at 5:48 PM
Not one to stay behind, Facebook is planning to introduce yet another feature to its kitty – the ‘self destructing’ chat message. The Snapchat-like app, which will destroy messages after having been received, is said to be in the testing stage, reports AllthingsD.
Snapchat became a much used app and became prominent because of its ability to destroy messages within 10 seconds of being sent. A user can send messages that destroy themselves from not only their phones, but the receiver’s phone as well. Snapchat even destroys matter from its own servers. The company even added video capabilities to the app. Clearly, this app became very popular with the youth who used it to exchange messages and photographs.
Facebook too will be looking at implementing similar functions in its chat app, including the capability of deciding the amount of time the message or image remains visible. This move is a part of Facebook’s blitzkrieg addition of features to its apps including standalone ones like Messenger and Camera.
Destroy your messages after the user receives it on Facebook!
There were rumours raging that Facebook was planning to acquire messaging service WhatsApp. However, it appears that the reports were merely speculative and multiple sources confirmed that they were unfounded. It was revealed that Facebook was actually implementingchanges to its Android app instead.
Facebook has opened up its messenger service to people who aren't registered with the social network, and users can now use Facebook Messenger to chat using only their name and mobile number. Facebook updated its Android app earlier in December to embrace a wider audience base by removing the necessity of being a Facebook member to use the messenger service. It is supposed to help in enticing more non-members to use Facebook services while giving existing users a bonus by letting them chat with friends who are not on the social networking website.
Covering bases of all that’s in vogue with users these days, Facebook had acquired photo editing and sharing app Instagram in September. The deal was valued at $1 billion when the companies agreed to it in April. But Facebook's stock price has lost half of its value since its IPO. With Facebook trading at $18.06 on Aug. 31 when the deal closed, it is worth about $715.3 million – $300 million of it in cash and the rest in stock.
Facebook plans on releasing the Snapchat competitor app within a few weeks, aiming at releasing it before the end of the year. How Facebook will tighten the ropes around the kind of data and photos that are shared through its service, owing to its stringent Terms and Privacy Policies, remains to be seen.
Posted by gkJr. at 5:24 PM