Friday, 31 August 2012

Lenovo has announced a new line of affordable notebook PCs that combine a thin and light construction with Intel's 3rd generation Core i3 and i5 processors. The IdeaPad S Series notebooks are designed to be an affordable alternative to high-end Ultrabooks, while offering more computing power and features than the lowly netbook.
Measuring 21.9 mm (just under an inch) and weighing in at 1.8kg (less than four pounds), these systems are firmly in the thin and light category. The design is reminiscent of the company's current U410 Ultrabook and will be available in several colors including red, silver and “cotton-candy pink”.
The line consists of three new systems, featuring a variety of customization options. The S300 and S400 models will be powered by Intel's 3rd generation Core i3 and i5 processors, while the S405 will feature an AMD A8 quad-core APU. AMD's APU offerings are traditionally less powerful than the Intel equivalent. The A6 processor found in HP's thin and light Sleekbook system was somewhat underwhelming in the power department.
Lenovo has highlighted the systems' updated intelligent touchpads, which are reportedly designed with the Windows 8 in mind, providing improved scrolling and zooming functionality. In addition to the improved scrolling and zoom functionality, users will also get access to the company's Quick Start “instant on” feature. All S Series systems will ship with Windows 7, but will be eligible for the Windows 8 Upgrade Offer.
Storage options go up to a 1TB HDD in the S405, and 500GB for the other two models. Users can also select an optional 32GB solid state drive on the S400 and S405, a measure that will significantly improve speed boot times and the general responsiveness of the system. There's also HDMI output, stereo speakers, and up to 14 inches of full HD goodness.
The S Series systems are pegged to start at around €500 (US$625 at the time of writing), but concrete details on the internals and price tag of each model make it difficult to make an early assessment of how the systems will fare against the competition.
The notebooks are entering a somewhat crowded market space, with systems such as Asus's X501 series offering, which couple capable processors with thin and light designs for compellingly low prices.
However, the combination of affordable price point (as promised by Lenovo) and the inclusion of certain high-end features such as quad-core CPUs and full HD displays, may go some way towards setting the S Series notebooks apart from the competition.
Last time we heard fom ZAGG, the company had partnered with Logitech to distribute a case for the iPad 2 that functioned as a keyboard. This time, ZAGG is branching out on its own and has revealed its latest, much thinner keyboard cases, the ZAGGkeys PRO and ZAGGkeys PRO Plus, one of which provides a color-changing backlight.
Both keyboards attach magnetically to the iPad to hold it in place while also keeping the screen protected from surface damage. The two keyboards also connect via Bluetooth and are designed with specific iOS functions in mind, including keys for Home, media playback, volume, etc.
The most noticeable difference between the two is the PRO Plus keyboard's built-in backlight for typing in low light that can be customized in up to 8 colors, which does unfortunately impact its battery life. ZAGG told us the non-backlit version's integrated battery can last for four to six months on one charge, while the backlit keyboard runs for only a few weeks if left on for a full working day.
ZAGG plans to release both keyboards with available layouts in US English, French, and German through its website and select retailers. The ZAGGKeys PRO will cost US$99 and the PRO Plus will run US$129 when they are released at the end of September.
Wireless charging technology is quickly gaining attention from many mobile device manufacturers, and with good reason. Eliminating the need for a charging cable would offer a huge convenience across the board, and some of the products on the market like LG’s WPD-800 and the Powermat have already drawn quite a bit of attention. Now Intel has stepped up to announce plans for a new technology that will not only allow one mobile device to be charged by another with a built-in charger (such as a laptop), but also won't require the two devices even be touching to do so. Along with Integrated Device Technology, Inc. (IDT), Intel hopes to develop a chipset by early 2013 that will charge a smartphone through a laptop that sits a short distance away.
Intel has been tinkering around with the concept of laptop-to-phone wireless charging since 2008, but teaming up with IDT is a big step towards bringing that technology to consumers. Both companies have stressed the importance of reducing the size and cost of wireless charging as much as possible so it can be easily integrated into consumer products. IDT already has some experience in this department, having developed a single-chip wireless transmitter and receiver in the past.
One thing that separates this planned system from most other wireless charging systems out there is the way the energy is transferred between two points. Most wireless chargers available now transmit power through induction (i.e. physical contact between the device and charger), while the planned chipset will transmit power through resonance inductive coupling. It is so named because it involves transmitting electrical energy between two coils that are tuned to resonate at the same frequency.
Because the receiving coil can pick most of the energy even from distance away, the two devices can sit an inch or so apart without breaking the connection. Intel certainly isn't the first company to produce such technology, but it could be among the earliest to incorporate it into a home consumer device. With more development though, it's becoming more and more conceivable that future versions of the technology could allow for power-sharing between almost any electronic device over a much wider distance.
Intel has stated that it will begin referencing IDT's chipset in product designs as soon as it is completed in early 2013. The company is also working with other manufacturers on integrating the technology with other devices, like printers, cameras, and smartphone cases. So far, the company has not announced any specific consumer-ready gadgets that will use the new wireless charging technology, but has mentioned that the chipset will be aimed towards Ultrabooks, all-in-one PCs, smartphones, and standalone chargers.

Thursday, 30 August 2012

"The camera is reborn." That's how Samsung's President of IT and Mobile Communications Division JK Shin describes the company's new smartphone/camera hybrid announced today at IFA in Berlin. Basically a compact camera with a smartphone-type touchscreen on the back, the Android-powered GALAXY Camera is designed to deliver superior photo-taking capabilities without missing out on the instant sharing and web browsing options afforded by wireless network connectivity. 

Hardware-wise the GALAXY Camera packs a 23 mm, 21x optical zoom lens (F2.8), a 16.3-megapixel CMOS sensor, optical image stabilization, in-built GPS and a 4.8-inch (121.2mm), HD "Super Clear" LCD display.
Very reasonable specs to be sure, but the point of difference is that this camera is powered by a 1.4 GHz quad-core processor and runs on the Android 4.1 (Jelly Bean) platform, giving it wireless connectivity over Wi-Fi, 3G or 4G networks and paving the way for functions like instant photo sharing and "Auto Cloud Backup." A "sharing widget" is also included for one click sharing to multiple social media streams without need of individual apps.
The GALAXY Camera features two connectivity options – a 3G and Wi-Fi version or a 4G and Wi-Fi version – and can also connect wirelessly to its smartphone and tablet brethren in Samsung's GALAXY stable.
Other standout features include voice control of zooming and shooting functions,10 "smart pro" modes for capturing different scenarios like moving water and light trails, on board editing (including video editing) and content management solutions such as face tagging, photo search by time and/or location, and "remote viewfinder" linking to a separate smartphone.
While Samsung is billing the GALAXY Camera as a new product category, we should note that this isn't the first Android-powered camera to cross our desk – the Polaroid SC1630 was announced at CES earlier this year.

Pricing and release information for the GALAXY Camera is yet to be confirmed.Here's a run-down of the key specifications:
  • 16.3 effective magapixel, 1/2.3" BSI CMOS sensor
  • F2.8, 23 mm, 21x Optical Zoom wide angle lens
  • Optical Image Stabilization
  • 4.77", 308 ppi HD Super Clear Touch Display
  • ISO100 - 3200
  • 1.4 GHz Quad Core processor
  • Android 4.1 Jellybean OS
  • 8 GB on board memory plus micro SDHC/SDSC/SDXC memory slot
  • Full HD video 1920 x 1080 at 30 fps
  • Slow motion movie capture (720 x 480 at 120 fps)
  • HDMI video output
  • Wi-Fi a/b/g/n
  • Bluetooth 4.0
  • Battery: 1650 mAh
  • Dimensions: 128.7 x 70.8 x 19.1 mm
  • Weight: 305 g


Archos has announced a product that brings something a little different to the increasingly overcrowded Android tablet space. The GamePad takes the common 7-inch form factor and adds physical controls for a more traditional - and potentially less frustrating - gaming experience.
Archos has a history of releasing a procession of somewhat underwhelming and underpowered tablet devices. However, while the GamePad's dual-core 1.5 GHz processor is unlikely to break any records, the new form factor might just make the company's latest effort worth a look.
The GamePad couples the dual-core CPU with a Mali 400mp quad-core GPU to add a little more power to the device. Putting this into perspective, Google's Nexus tablet, also a 7-inch system, features a quad-core Tegra 3 processor and a 12-core GPU. There's no word yet on the GamePad's RAM, or the resolution of its capacitive, touch-screen display.
When it comes to the device's real hook - its physical controls, the GamePad's offering is strongly reminiscent of the Playstation Vita, Sony's flagship handheld. With two analogue sticks and the classic array of directional and functional buttons, the hardware is likely to make Android gaming feel that little bit more natural.
Archos has also worked to ensure fluid compatibility with the numerous titles available for the OS through the inclusion of automatic game recognition and mapping software. This tech works to ensure that the hardware controls are compatible with games that usually utilize on-screen touch-based input. The company is claiming an initial compatibility with more than a thousand titles.
The device will not, of course, be limited to gaming alone. but will provide access to a full version of Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich), including the Google Play store. Mountain View's app store is likely to keep the content fresh, with the service continuing to grow rapidly. It now contains more than 600,000 applications, falling just short of the 650,000 apps in Apple's App Store.
The GamePad is set to hit shelves towards the end of October, and will retail for less than £130 (US$205 at the time of writing).
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Saturday, 25 August 2012

Network
HSPA+ 21Mbps 850/900/1900/2100
EDGE/GPRS 850/900/1800/1900
Processor
1.4GHz Exynos Quad-Core Processor 
Display
10.1" WXGA (1280x800) LCD
OS
Android™ 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich)
Camera
Main (Rear): 5 Megapixel Auto Focus Camera with LED Flash
Sub (Front): 1.9 Megapixel Camera
Video
Codec: MPEG4, H.263, H.264, VC-1, DivX, WMV7, WMV8, VP8
Format: 3GP(MP4), WMV(ASF), AVI, FLV, MKV, WebM
Playback/ Recording: 1080p Full HD@30fps, 720p HD@30fps
Audio
Codec: MP3, Vorbis, WMA, AAC, ACC+, eAAC+, AMR(NB,WB),
MIDI, WAV, AC-3, Flac
Music Player with SoundAlive
3.5 mm Ear Jack
Enterprise Solutions
Exchange ActiveSync
On-Device Encryption
Cisco VPN (Virtual Private Network)
Uniper Junos Pulse VPN
Sensor
Accelerometer, Digital compass, Light, Gyroscope
Connectivity
Bluetooth technology v 4.0 (Apt-X Codec support)
AllShare Play / AllShare Cast
Kies / Samsung Kies air
USB 2.0 Host
Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n (2.4 & 5 GHz), Wi-Fi Direct
Wi-Fi Channel Bonding
Memory
16GB User memory + 2GB (RAM)
microSD (up to 32GB)
Dimension
Dimension: 262 x 180 x 8.9 mm
Weight: 600g (3G), 597g (WiFi)
Battery
Standard battery, Li-ion 7,000 mAh
Value-added Features
S Pen Experience (6.5 mm S Pen, S Note, S Planner etc.)
Multi Screen
Adobe® Photoshop® Touch
Pop up play
Smart Stay
Samsung TouchWiz
Video Wall
Samsung Apps
Samsung Hub
Readers Hub*/ Music Hub/ Game Hub/ Video Hub*
Samsung S Suggest (App recommendation service)
Samsung ChatON mobile communication service
Google™ Mobile Services
Google Play™, Gmail™, YouTube™, Google Maps™,
Syncing with Google Calendar™, Google Search, Google +
Polaris office
A-GPS (3G version)
S-GPS (WiFi version)
Glonass
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Researchers at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) are combining two of the best-known approaches to automatic speech recognition to build a better and language-independent speech-to-text algorithm that can recognize the language being spoken in under a minute, transcribe languages on the brink of extinction, and make the dream of ever present voice-controlled electronics just a little bit closer.
The exponential yearly improvements in processing power we are seeing give hope that we are quickly moving toward superbly accurate and responsive speech recognition – and yet, things aren't quite that simple. Even though this technology is slowly making its way into our phones, tablets and personal computers, it'll still be some time before keyboards disappear from our digital lives altogether.
Achieving accurate, real-time speech recognition is no easy feat. Even assuming that the sound acquired by a device can be completely stripped of background noise (which isn't always the case), there is hardly a one-to-one correspondence between the waveform detected by a microphone and the phoneme being spoken. Different people speak the same language with different nuances – accents, lisps and other articulation defects. Other factors such as age, gender, health and education also play a big role in altering the sound that reaches the microphone.
In other words, faster processors alone are useless, because we also need a robust plan of action to use all that number-crunching power the right way – with efficient, reliable computer algorithms that can figure out how to see through the incredible variety of sounds that can come out of our mouths and accurately transcribe what we are saying.
The NTNU researchers are now pioneering an approach that, if it can be fully exploited, may lead to a big leap in the performance of speech-to-text applications. They demonstrated that the mechanics of human speech are fundamentally the same across all people and across all languages, and they are now training a computer to analyze the pressure of sound waves captured by the microphone to determine which parts of the speech organs were used to produce a phoneme.
Many of the most successful speech recognition software available today asks users to provide personal information about themselves, including age group and accent, before they even attempt to transcribe human speech for the first time. When creating a new profile, users are also often asked to read some text to first calibrate the software parameters.
This is because speech recognition software often uses data fed by users to continuously improve its accuracy. It often uses probabilistic tools – namely,Bayesian inference – to estimate the probability of a certain sound being spoken given the user's speech patterns that it has learned over time. This means the quality of the transcripts can sensibly improve after the program has collected a critical amount of data on the user. On the flip-side, voice recognition may not be too accurate right after a new user profile has been created.
An alternative to the statistical approach described above is to have humans study sounds, words and sentence structure for a given language and deduce rules which are then implemented into the software. For instance, different phonemes show different resonant frequencies, and the typical ranges for these frequencies can be programmed into the software to help it detect the sound more accurately.
The system developed at NTNU is a blend of the two approaches: it collects data to learn about the user's speech nuances and improve accuracy over time but, crucially, it also incorporates a rule-based approach that is based on phonetics – the study of the sounds of human speech.
Detecting the pressure of sound waves on the microphone could mean achieving higher accuracy than was previously possible. As an example, sounds can be classified as voiced (in which vocal cords vibrate) andvoiceless (in which they do not). The analysis of the pressure of sound waves on the microphone can detect the vibration of the vocal cords directly rather than deducing it from the peak frequencies captured by the microphone.
Because the anatomy of speech is the same across all humans, one of the strengths of the system is that it is completely language-independent. Therefore, unlike previous approaches, it can be easily adapted to a new language without much work at all, opening the door to idioms spoken by minor groups for which a commercial speech-to-text software isn't a viable solution.
The team is now looking to develop a language-independent module that they can use to design competitive speech recognition products. Such software could also do very well transcribing text in more than one language as, the researchers say, it only takes the system 30 to 60 seconds to identify a given spoken language.

Friday, 24 August 2012

The Baladeo Eco133 is the multi-tool for adventurers that don't have time to eat with a proper knife and fork at a three-leaf dining room table. The five-function tool adds little weight or bulk to your load, but it brings everything you need to enjoy a semi-civilized meal. It appears to be well-suited to fast-and-light wilderness travelers of all kinds. 
Baladeo has offered the similar ECO100 fork-and-knife multi-tool for several years. In creating the 133, it trimmed all the fat, creating a tool that's "worth its weight" in even the lightest of packs.
The knife and spork of the ECO133 fold up and lock together for travel. In addition to the three standard table utensils, the tool packs a can opener and bottle opener. Its skeletal stainless steel design keeps weight down to 52 grams (1.8 oz) – less than a quarter of the weight of the seven-function ECO100. The knife's handle is polycarbonate and it comes with a mesh case.
The ECO133 is available in Europe for around €50. It's new to the U.S. market and is available on MoonTrail for US$49.
The Delhi Railway division of Indian Railways is now giving out information about the arrival or departure including platform numbers for all the stations situated in Delhi including – New Delhi, Hazrat Nizamuddin and Delhi. 
How To Know The Platform Number Of A Train?
The website where all these information can be obtained is 122.252.248.147. The website is available in both Hindi and English language. This is the same information that is displayed at the railway stations at the entrance gate.
Now you can always check this website before leaving for the railway station to know the exact arrival, departure and platform number of a particular train. This is also helpful when the platform of the train is changed at the last moment and the passengers are clueless about the changed statue of the train. Now, you can use your mobile and quickly check the correct information without any complications and hassles.
Indian Railways is planning for providing this kind of information for other cities too. For now, it’s a great advantage for the people of Delhi.
Its raining tablets in the Indian market. The most recent news regarding the same is the launch of a new tablet by HCL.
HCL Infosystems has launched a 3G enabled tablet in India which is called the HCL ME Y2. This tablet from HCL is priced at Rs 14,999 for the Indian market.
HCL ME Y2 is a smart and trendy tablet which you can carry anywhere. It is stylish and looks good if you carry it around. The tablet has 2 mega pixel back camera and a 0.3 mega pixel front camera. In terms of Operating System, the tablet runs on Android 4.0.3 OS which is popularly called Ice Cream Sandwich.
The HCL ME Y2 has a resolution of 1024 x 600 pixels. It has a 7 inch screen which is multi-touch and capacitive in nature. The tablet is equipped with a 1 GHz processor and a RAM of 1 GB. HCL ME Y2 has a memory of storage capacity of 8 GB. It has connectivity features such as Bluetooth, Wi-Fi and 3G. It has a battery of 4,000 mAh.
All in all it’s a good tablet to have. The features and pricing is good value for money.
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Most people don't think about it, but in a typical office the filthiest object in the room is the computer keyboard. Go ahead, pry off the keys behind any keyboard you've had for a few months and you're likely to find a mess of dust, food crumbs, sticky coffee stains, and other debris. Cleaning this grimy mess is a tedious task at best, unless of course you're packing the likes of Logitech's new K310 - a washable keyboard designed to be submerged in water so that cleaning it is as easy as doing the dishes.
The main two features that allow the K310 keyboard to be washed so easily are its durable design and drainage holes on the bottom. The keys are all laser printed and UV coated to protect them from fading after repeated cleanings. Likewise, the tilt legs and overall frame are thick enough to withstand a bit of force and can resist most surface scratches. The drainage holes on the bottom allow for water to flush right through the keyboard along with any grime and then dry much more quickly. 
Now this doesn't mean it will stand up to the same treatment as most of the dishes you'd toss in your sink. Unlike Seal Shield's washable keyboardofferings, the K310 isn't dishwasher safe, so it needs to be hand-washed only in warm water no more than 30cm (11 inches) deep and 50°C (120°F). The keyboard also won't stand up to and abrasive cloths or detergents, and the USB cable still needs to remain dry at all times. Still, it sure beats the old keyboard cleaning method of pulling off every single key and scrubbing it down with a Q-tip.
Logitech is currently selling the K310 keyboard for US$39.99 through its website.
When we think of remote control cars, we generally think of scaled-down vehicles that can easily get caught up underfoot. Not so Chinese automaker BYD, which has upsized the remote control car with the release of its Su Rui model in China. The mid-size family saloon that seats five includes Remote Driving Control technology that allows the driver to get out of the car and drive it using the included remote control “key.” 
Although the vehicle boasts acceleration of 0-100 km/h (62 mph) in 8.9 seconds, remotely controlling the vehicle is a slightly more sedate affair. In remote control mode, the Su Rui is limited to a speed of just 2 km/h (1.2 mph) but it can be started and stopped, driven backwards and forwards and turned left and right. The air conditioner can also be started so the interior can be preheated or cooled before entry. 
But why remote control, you ask? BYD says remotely controlling the car is perfect for squeezing into parking spaces that are too tight to allow the doors to open once parked, or for bringing the car closer in windy or rainy weather. Although the shelter you’re huddling in will need to be within 10 m (33 ft) of the car due to the range of the remote control.
BYD offers the Su Rui with either a 1.5-liter four-cylinder engine generating 109 hp and 145 Nm of torque coupled with a five-speed manual transmission, or a 1.5-liter turbo four cylinder producing 154 hp with 240 Nm of torque mated to a choice of a six-speed manual or six-speed Dual Clutch Transmission (DCT), which comes with the remote control tech as standard.
The vehicle also includes a Bosch 9th generation Electronic Stability Program (ESP), tire pressure monitoring system, electric park brake system, front right wheel blind spot visibility system, color reversing video surveillance system, remote control power windows, 13 types of intelligent voice reminder and 5.1 channel, 10 speaker sound system with independent power amplifier and in-car cinema.
BYD, which released its all-electric e6 late last year, has launched the Su Rui in China for a price of 65,900 yuan (approx. US$10,365) for the 1.5-liter base model, ranging up to 99,900 yuan (US$15,710) for the 1.5 turbo.
Silicon Valley-based Design to Matter (D2M) is aiming to provide the legions of Instagram users with an alternative to viewing their shots on a phone, tablet or PC. The company’s Instacube is an Android-powered digital photo frame to which users can wirelessly push their Instagram stream over Wi-Fi. 
The device features a 6.5-inch touchscreen LCD display with a 600 x 600 pixel resolution to match the maximum resolution of Instagram images. Getting the unit to display your snaps is as easy as plugging it in, connecting to a wireless network and signing into your Instagram account using the onscreen keyboard.
Multiple users can push their streams to a single Instacube with switching between these accomplished by pushing one of the three tactile buttons on the top of the device. Another button turns the device on, while a love heart-shaped button lets users “Like” the photo being displayed.
Built around Android, the Instacube’s creators hope to add additional features and applications to the device in the future and say there’s the possibility of opening it up to third party developers at some point.
The unit is truly portable – at least within the range of a Wi-Fi network – with a rechargeable lithium-ion battery providing the power and wireless connectivity over Wi-Fi b/g/n. It falls short of being a cube by one dimension, measuring 7.66 in (19.5 cm) high and wide and 2.5 in (6.4 cm) deep – although D2M says the dimensions may change when the unit goes into production.
The Instagram isn’t a reality yet, but with over US$200,000 of the $250,000 Kickstarter campaign goal pledged with 28 days still to go, it’s manufacture seems a foregone conclusion.
The $99 pledge level for a “Classic” Instacube has already been filled, leaving $149 as the cheapest pledge remaining to secure a unit.

Tuesday, 21 August 2012

May 29, 2009 While it's not the first transforming touchscreen netbookwe've encountered, the Touch Book from Always Innovating is definitely a first: it runs on a power saving 600MHz ARM processor that promises a battery life of up to 15 hours while making it a heat and noise free system, and also features a detachable keyboard that transforms it from a standard looking 8.9-inch netbook to a standalone tablet.
This netbook sports 256MB of RAM, a replaceable 8GB microSD card for storage and two batteries – one for each side – that sum up to five hours of autonomy in tablet mode and up to 15 with the keyboard attached. It has a 1024x600px 8.9" screen that can display 720p videos and render OpenGL 3D graphics. Standard 802.11b/g/n wireless and Bluetooth connectivity are also included in the offering.
Most striking is the Touch Book's flexibility: its six USB 2.0 ports – three of which internal and can be used to add permanent features such as HSDPA or GPS capability – allow for countless configuration options. Weighing just under two pounds, the tablet side is magnetic and can act as an hi-tech fridge magnet, or take advantage of the built-in 3-axis accelerometer to play iPhone games. Multi-touch capabilities were however deemed superfluous and are not included.
When the keyboard is attached the Touch Book runs on a standard Linux-based system, but in tablet mode it runs on a custom-made, touch-based interface. Both hardware and software are open source and can therefore be modified at will. This netbook can also run mobile operating systems such as Android or Windows CE.
Always Innovating will launch the Touch Book in the US in a just few weeks and start shipping it internationally shortly thereafter. Available in gray and red, it will be priced at USD$299 for the tablet alone, and at USD$399 with the keyboard included.
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Thanks to Google, whenever we hear someone mention Ice Cream Sandwich we automatically think of recently released tablets or smartphones. Now there's another mobile computing format to consider with the launch of Ergo Electronics' GoNote, the UK's first touchscreen Android hybrid netbook. Pitched as the perfect modern homework companion and playtime buddy for students about to return to school, the budget-friendly device features a full-size chiclet keyboard and trackpad, and also brings touchscreen functionality to the form factor. If you'd rather opt for a cheap tablet, the company has also launched a new ICS tablet called the GoTab Epic V.
The new GoNote netbook features a 10-inch, 1024 x 600 pixel resolution, LED-backlit display with touchscreen functionality (albeit of the resistive variety) which is reported to be capable of registering two touch points simultaneously for some pinch/zoom action. Text input can be undertaken onscreen via the virtual keyboard using either a stylus (not supplied) or finger, but being a netbook there's a full QWERTY keyboard and touchpad below the display for input comfort. A 0.3 megapixel VGA webcam sits top center for video chat, with a built-in microphone for audio (as well as a 3.5 mm audio-in jack). 
The Android 4.0 (ICS) flavor of Google's mobile operating system gives users access to thousands of educational, productivity and entertainment apps via the Google Play Store and offers up to five homescreens for housing different widgets, shortcuts and apps. The GoNote also comes pre-loaded with the Kingsoft Office for Android suite, which is capable of creating, editing and saving documents in the Microsoft Office file format.
Under the hood beats a 1.2 GHz ARM RK2918 processor supported by 1 GB of DDR3 memory and 8 GB of solid state storage with microSD expansion. GoNote users can also take advantage of 5 GB of free online storage courtesy of Box.com, with files secured using SSAE 16 Type II encryption. There's built-in 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi and an Ethernet port for wireless or wired online connectivity, four USB ports, and a mini-HDMI out that enables the display of content up to 1080p on big screen TVs or monitors.
Providing the juice is a 9000 mAh/3.7V rechargeable Li-Pol battery that's claimed to be good for about six hours of internet browsing or a stand-by time of around a week.
While netbooks in general are not exactly the most expensive of portable computing products in the marketplace, the GoNote is very cheap indeed. It's set for September release at a suggested retail price of £149.99 (US$236) in either black or white.
Also launched today, is the rather good looking and equally-IPS-packing GoTab Epic V. The new tablet sports a 9.7-inch, 1024 x 768 pixel resolution, LED-backlit capacitive multi-touch IPS display in a lightweight but strong aluminum unibody design. It's powered by a 1.2 GHz ARM A10 Boxchip processor with integrated graphics, and is supported by a 1 GB of DDR3 memory and 16 GB of solid state storage with microSD expansion.
There's a 2-megapixel camera at the rear and a VGA webcam to the front, built-in 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, HDMI and USB connectivity and a 7000 mAh Li-Pol battery for 100 hours stand-by or between four and seven hours of internet browsing between charges.
The GoTab Epic V is available from next week and carries a suggested retail price of £179.99 (US$284), but for an extra £20 Ergo will throw in a Bluetooth keyboard case.
Now for the bad news ... folks outside the UK and Ireland won't be able to get their hands on either product at launch. Ergo's Sam Goult told us that wider availability will be coming soon. We'll keep you posted.
Diamonds may be forever, but they aren’t what they were. True, they shine just as brightly and they’re as hard as ever, but scientists from the Carnegie Institution of Washington are giving them some competition. An international team led by Carnegie’s Lin Wang has discovered a new substance that is not quite crystalline and not quite non-crystalline, yet is hard enough to dent diamonds.
The new substance, which has yet to be named, is described by Wendy Mao, a Stanford University professor, as a “hybridization of crystalline and amorphous structures at an atomic level.” It was also something of a surprise to the Carnegie team.
The super-hard material started out as clusters of carbon-60 – the soccer-ball shaped molecules of carbon commonly known as "“buckyballs." These were mixed with m-xylene solvent, which is used in the manufacture of soft drink bottles. The mixture was then placed in a diamond cell anvil at the Argonne National Laboratory's Advanced Photon Source in Argonne, Illinois.
The diamond cell anvil was key to the experiment. This is a super high-pressure chamber made of two flat-faced diamonds. The buckyball/solvent mixture is placed in a cell between the diamonds and pressure is applied. As the diamonds squeeze together, the mixture is subjected to a pressure of, in this case, 600,000 atmospheres. Not surprisingly, the buckyballs were crushed. What was mildly surprising was that properties of the former buckyballs were altered until they became hard enough to dent the diamonds. That is not unprecedented, but what was very surprising was that the new substance retained its structure once the incredible pressure was removed. What was even more surprising was that it turned out to be a substance that no one had seen before.
All solid matter comes in one of two forms. Either it has an ordered, crystalline structure, like quartz or iron or diamonds, or it is non-crystalline or amorphous, like glass or gels. What this new substance has is both. If you apply massive pressure to buckyballs, you should get mashed buckyballs, but the m-xylene reacted with the carbon in some manner so that it retained a long-range, regular molecular structure. In other words, it retained the order of a crystal despite its crystalline structure being destroyed.
According to Wang, there is more here than a laboratory curiosity. “We created a new type of carbon material, one that is comparable to diamond in its inability to be compressed,” Wang said. “Once created under extreme pressures, this material can exist at normal conditions, meaning it could be used for a wide array of practical applications.”
Exactly what these applications are remain unknown, though it could be as a protective coating or find mechanical, electronic, and electrochemical uses.

Wednesday, 15 August 2012

UK-based Range Rover tuner Overfinch has revealed a pair of Range Rovers that it describes as "the first of a new breed of high performance SUV." 
The halo of the two new models is the Overfinch Sport GTS-X, which Overfinch describes as the most powerful, high performance Range Rover Sport in its stable. To reach that claim, Overfinch has remapped the ECU on the supercharged 5.0-liter V-8 and upgraded induction, boosting output to 575 hp - 65 hp over Land Rover's own "most powerful, high performance Range Rover Sport ever created." In order to send that message to the world around, Overfinch adds the grumble of a driver-controlled valve release exhaust system. Overfinch claims that the GTS-X has a top speed of 145 mph (233 km/h), a 5 mph (8 km/h) increase over the Range Rover Sport Supercharged HSE.
The GTS-X gets a few other enhancements, including a roof spoiler, upgraded Brembo brakes and an electronic lowering system. It rides on 22-inch forged alloy wheels.
To the eye, the GTS-X is defined by its copper-and-black color scheme. Outside, the copper body is accented by gloss black vents and two-tone Overfinch lettering on the tailgate and hood. The color scheme continues inside, where the Nappa leather interior is outlined in orange contrast stitching. The instrument panel is black with orange lettering. Carbon tread plates and a GT steering wheel with carbon inserts help complete the package.
Overfinch revealed the GTS-X at the Goodwood Festival of Speed earlier this summer. It will next show the car at London's Salon Privé, which begins on September 5. The model will be joined again by the Range Rover Evoque 2012 GTS - the bright, loud "ultra violet" SUV pictured above. That model has a cowhide-like combination of Lotus White leather interior and piano black veneers and contrasts. It sits on 22-inch diamond-turned black alloy wheels.
The GTS-X has a retail price of £147,500 (approx. US$231,500) and the Evoque 2012 GTS costs £89,995 (approx. $141,000). Buyers of both models can further customize their SUVs using Overfinch's suite of options.
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Tuesday, 14 August 2012

It’s been a strangely long time coming, but the PS3 is finally getting a dedicated YouTube app. While PS3 owners have previously been forced to access their favorite LOLcats YouTube videos via the PS3’s included web browser, the new free app has been designed specifically for viewing on a big screen TV and optimized for use with PS3 controls to provide a more user-friendly experience.
In addition to letting users search for videos with search results provided as you type, PS3 owners can sign into YouTube to access their favorites, playlists and subscribed channels, including HD content. There’s also the ability to control the app using a smartphone. After “a quick pairing process” users can find a video on their phone and send it to play on the TV with a push of a button. The phone can then be used to control playback or to continue browsing for the next video to add to your playlist.
The YouTube app is a free download from the PlayStation Store and is rolling out in North America today, with other countries to follow in the coming months.
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ChargeCard is a USB cable for iPhone with a difference. What makes it interesting is its size and form factor. As the name implies, it is shaped like a credit card so you can carry it in your purse or wallet, meaning it's always on hand when you need it.
The device is 0.1 inches (2.54mm) thick - about three times as thick as an everyday credit card - so it should not fatten up your wallet too much. The 3.25 x 2 inch (8.3 x 5.1 cm) body (including the connector) is constructed from ABS plastic and the fold out USB part is made from flexible thermoplastic elastomer that is designed to bend and prevent it from snapping off while open.
In use, ChargeCard works like a standard phone cable, but the compromise for its portability is that it's much shorter. Obviously it's not designed for charging your phone and using it from across the room, but in most situations it can get the job done.
Noah Dentzel and Adam Miller, the creators of the ChargeCard, designed it so it can work with bulky cases such as an OtterBox (but unfortunately LifeProof case owners will have to remove the phone from the case).
ChargeCard has passed its funding goal on crowd-funding site Kickstarter and the first batch will be available in black, white and teal on brown for US$20. The company expects to deliver the iPhone version to backers in September and a Micro USB version (for Android or BlackBerry) is slated for a November release. The developers are also planning to cater for the new connector expected on the iPhone 5.
Having long been successful with "talkies," Disney has developed technology that could allow the creation of "feelies." While designed more for touchscreens than the silver screen, the REVEL system developed at Disney Research uses reverse electrovibration to bring computerized control over the sense of touch, thereby allowing programmers to change the feel of real-world surfaces and objects without requiring users to wear special gloves or use force-feedback devices. 
One obstacle to attaining immersive augmented reality is that certain senses are difficult to fool into accepting virtual information. Touch, in particular, has many facets, each of which must be tricked into experiencing a virtual reality. If you squeeze a virtual tennis ball in your hand, you must not only feel the mass and compressibility of the ball, but also feel the texture of the ball's surface.
Feeling the first two properties can be achieved by simply providing resistance to the motion of your fingers, perhaps through the exoskeleton of a virtual reality (VR) glove. If you apply force and your fingers discover that a given level of pressure causes only so much motion, the feel of squeezing a ball is reproduced. Textures, however, are felt as a set of high-frequency and small scale touches and are much more difficult to reproduce.
In moving your finger over a sheet of sandpaper, for example, you feel not only the high friction of the surface, but you also feel the changing pattern of the abrasive grains as your finger moves over the surface. The size of the grit on 120 sandpaper is roughly 4 mils (0.1 mm), so the sensation of feeling the roughness involves sensory signals having frequencies from a few tens of Hz to a few hundred Hz. The small physical length scale makes brute force simulation extraordinarily difficult – a glove with an inner surface literally paved with thousands of sub-millimeter MEMS sensors and actuators and their control electronics would be required.
Fortunately, Disney researchers have discovered an approach to fool our sense of touch into believing that an object has a texture far different than what it actually is. It relies on reverse electrovibration, a new technique that creates the illusion of a range of textures as the user's fingers sweep across a surface, without the need for actuators. A weak electrical signal, which can be applied imperceptibly anywhere on the user's body, creates an oscillating electrical field around the user's fingers that is responsible for the tactile feedback. 
The electrovibration effect was first reported in the early 1950s. It's a sensation that people sometimes feel when they slide a finger across a smooth metal surface of an ungrounded electrical appliance, such as an older model of toaster. With the dry, outer layer of skin serving as an insulator, a small alternating current on the metal surface generates an attractive force between the surface and the tissues of the finger. No current actually passes through the skin, but the result is the perception that the surface is rubbery.
The Disney researchers discovered that the same sensation could be created by applying the small alternating current anywhere on the user's body instead of the surface – reverse electrovibration, or REVEL. REVEL could be used to add tactile feedback to games, add the perception of texture to projected images on surfaces of any size and shape, provide customized directions on walls for people with visual disabilities and enhance other applications of augmented reality. By tracking the finger's position with external sensors, REVEL can manipulate the reverse electrovibration to make the user feel bumps, edges or changes in texture corresponding to particular locations on the surface.
The surfaces to which computerized textures are to be applied need to be coated with an insulator-covered electrode, or "REVEL skin." Anodized aluminum objects or capacitive touch-screens can be used without any modification, while a REVEL skin can be manufactured on walls or other surfaces using off-the-shelf materials. One simple method is to coat a surface with a conductive paint and add a coat of conventional household paint as an insulating layer. 
The surfaces must also share a common electrical ground with the REVEL signal generator carried on the person experiencing the induced textures. This can be accomplished by a variety of methods, including holding a grounded cane containing the REVEL oscillator, having a conducting plate and a REVEL oscillator in one's shoe, and placing a REVEL contact next to an object with induced texture and touching one in each hand. For immersive reality, of course, there will be many intimate contacts which can be used to connect the user to a REVEL oscillator. 
One of the early uses of REVEL technology is likely to be a new form of representational artwork, as it is applicable to both paintings and sculpture. Realistic art may include induced textures appropriate for the subject, impressionistic art may include textures having some intended relation to the subject, and revolutionary art may include extremely discordant textures to suit the artist's vision. In addition to enhancing the experience of art, REVEL technology may spark a type of participatory art, in which the viewer is able to change the induced textures, resulting in a more pleasant overall experience which can be shared with others, or public art which remembers new and popular induced textures contributed by passers-by.
Both immersive reality and augmented reality techniques are in their early stages. Yet the building blocks of future technologies are rapidly appearing owing to the efforts of teams of multi-skilled researchers dedicated to this goal. Disney appears keen to be at the forefront of next generation haptics technology with REVEL joining Surround Haptics, a haptic feedback system that uses a low-resolution grid of vibrating actuators to generate high-resolution, continuous, moving tactile strokes across a person's skin.

Sunday, 12 August 2012

Lenovo has now announced imminent availability for its gorgeous and lightweightThinkPad X1 Carbon.
The new premier Ultrabook has 13.03 x 8.9 x 0.74-inch (331 x 226 x 18.85 mm) dimensions, the kind of size normally reserved for 13-inch displays but the ThinkPad X1 Carbon features a bright (300-nit) 14-inch, 1600 x 900 resolution screen. Its attractive and tough carbon fiber chassis helps it achieve a starting weight of just under 3 pounds (1.36 kg), making it just a shade heavier and thicker than Acer's 13.3-inch S5 and Apple's latest 13-inch MacBook Air.
At the center of the top bezel is a 720p HD front-facing camera which benefits from face-tracking technology and dual array microphones. Below the hinge sits a backlit keyboard with large scalloped keys in the chiclet style, a multi-gesture glass surface touchpad and a fingerprint reader. Other system security features include a USB blocker to control access via the USB ports and BIOS Port Lock to remotely lock in and out ports.
The X1 will be available with either Windows 7 Home Premium or Professional and be powered by the latest 3rd generation Intel Core ultra-volt processor options including an i7-3667U running at 2 GHz and a 1.8 GHz i5-3427U, supported by up to 256 GB of solid state storage and 8 GB of DDR3 system memory. There's Intel HD 4000 integrated graphics (although NVIDIA N13P-GLP Optimus Graphics with 2 GB of dedicated video memory also gets a mention on the datasheet) and Dolby-tuned audio in the shape of Home Theater v4.
Physical connectivity comes in the shape of one USB 3.0 and one USB 2.0 port, a 4-in-1 media card reader and a Mini DisplayPort with audio rather than HDMI. For the mobile user, Lenovo offers integrated 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi and the option of contract-free 3G mobile broadband and hotspot technology.
Lenovo's RapidCharge technology promises up to five hours of continued use from the 45 watt-hour battery pack after just 35 minutes of charging, or users could opt to go the extra 20 percent and get up to eight hours of battery life from a full charge.
The ThinkPad X1 Carbon is available from this month for a starting price of US$1,299.
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The term disc-jockey is thought to have first been coined in the mid-1930s to introduce a radio show host who played recorded (rather than live) music. Although 12-inch platters of grooved black goodness remain popular with Club and Party DJs, it's rare to find a radio professional who hasn't abandoned the format in favor of digital music. Mix-masters who have gone digital can also groove on the move thanks to powerful apps for smartphones and tablets like IK Multimedia's DJ Rig, but physical connectivity is still needed when adding device-based audio tracks to the set. Pioneer's Professional Sound and Visual Division has rallied to the cause with what's claimed to be the industry's first Wi-Fi DJ system capable of wireless playback from portable devices ... the XDJ-AERO.
Pioneer has created a dedicated (and free) mobile app to help facilitate a wireless connection between smartphones, tablets and laptops and the XDJ-AERO over Wi-Fi. The DJ system can source MP3/AAC audio tracks from up to four different WLAN-enabled devices at any one time and, usefully, there's no need to worry about venues having decent Wi-Fi as the unit can create its own wireless access point.
The 24.5 x 11.4 x 2.5 inches (622.3 x 289.5 x 63.5 mm), 8.15 pounds (3.69 kg) XDJ-AERO features low-profile jog platters and control buttons, comes with built-in Scratch, Horn, Siren and Laser sounds to add some zing to the party, and each channel also includes the company's Sound Color Filter. Trans, Flanger, Echo and Roll effects can be added to music while it's being played, and two auto mix functions are included for ease of use. Beat Sync matches the beats per minute of tracks loaded into each of the system's two digital players, while Auto Mix mode cross-fades or fades in/out music from a playlist stored on an external device.
The Wi-Fi DJ system (which can also be used as a standalone 2-channel mixer) benefits from a 24-bit analog-to-digital/digital-to-analog converter, total harmonic distortion of just 0.003 percent, 44.1 kHz sampling rate, 20 Hz to 20 kHz frequency response and 19 dB head room. There's a 6.4 mm audio jack and an RCA out for master outputs, two 6.4 mm headphone out ports, two RCA inputs and one 6.4 mm microphone jack.
WAV and AIFF format files are also available for use via physical (USB) connection and the system can grab and use audio tracks stored on a computer, too, using the included proprietary rekordbox music management software for PC or Mac. Conveniently, mix creations can be recorded directly to a USB pen drive in WAV format for safe storage and transport.
The XDJ-AERO will be available shortly for a suggested retail price of US$1,399.

Saturday, 11 August 2012

Twig caught my attention the moment it crossed my screen. This simple iPhone cable can, of course, sync and charge your device, but it also adds a healthy dose of versatility to the equation by doubling as a stand, tripod and headphone cable management system. 
The Twig has two legs that run alongside the USB portion of the cable. These can be shaped and bent for different situations. For example, you can bend the legs one way and the USB side the other to create a tripod for your iPhone, which is handy for Facetime as well as taking photographs and video. Turn Twig sideways and it can serve as a stand to make watching videos on your iPhone much more comfortable.
In "transport mode" you can use the Twig's legs to neatly wrap up your headphones. Given that most of my iPhone data cables just add to my mess of cords, it is nice to see one that actually cleans up the mess.
The Twig's compact size also makes it easy to carry around, but the downside is that it does not have the range of a standard cable. If you want to charge your device from across the room, this might not be the cable for you although there are USB extender cables that can help rectify that situation.
The Twig Kickstarter fundraising campaign has ended and the goal was more than met. In fact, it was blown away by more than three-hundred percent. Backers are expected to receive their Twigs sometime next month.
If you’re like me, and missed the boat on funding the project to receive your Twig, fear not. Twig creator Jason Hilbourne tells us he is launching an online store for preorders this coming Wednesday.

Wednesday, 8 August 2012

It is now possible to control a computer by touching a house plant – touching the plant in different places can even cause the computer to do different things. While using a mouse or touchscreen still might be more intuitive, Disney Research’s experimental Botanicus Interactus system does hint at what could be possible down the road.
The system incorporates a single electrode, placed in the soil of a real or artificial potted plant. Using Swept Frequency Capacitive Sensing (SFCS) technology, it is then able to determine not only if the plant is being touched, but also to estimate where on its “body” that touch is taking place. It can additionally detect the nature of the touch (a stroke, a tap, etc.) or even if a person merely has their finger close to the plant.
SFCS works on the same principle as the capacitive touch sensing used in touchscreens, but instead of detecting electrical signals at a single frequency, it is able to monitor a wide range of frequencies. Botanicus Interactus’ machine-learning algorithms subsequently allow it to associate particular changes in particular frequencies with finger touches to different parts of the plant.
“Computing is rapidly fusing with our dwelling places and, thanks to touchpads and Microsoft Kinect, interaction with computers is increasingly tactile and gestural,” said Ivan Poupyrev, senior research scientist at Disney Research, Pittsburgh. “Still, this interaction is limited to computing devices. We wondered — what if a broad variety of everyday objects around us could interact with us?”
A garden of real and artificial plants utilizing the technology is currently on display at the SIGGRAPH Emerging Technology conference in Los Angeles. More details on Botanicus Interactus are available in the video below, as are examples of how the system could be used.
It became an iconic drug that entered pop cultural folklore, but fluoxetine, marketed as Prozac, has put a smile on the faces of researchers for a purpose other than the treatment of depression. Studies carried out at UCLA have found that fluoxetine is a promising antiviral agent, particularly for enteroviruses that can be a cause of death in several parts of the world.
Using molecular screening, the multidisciplinary team of researchers found that fluoxetine worked as a potent inhibitor of coxsackievirus, one of the enteroviruses that include polio, encephalitis, and echovirus found in the gastro intestinal tract. Human enteroviruses are part of a genus comprising more than 100 distinct RNA viruses, which create a window for opportunistic infections and diseases. There are no antiviral drugs for enterovirus infections.
The researchers noticed fluoxetine and norfluoxetine (a key metabolite of fluoxetine) markedly reduced the production of viral RNA and protein. This discovery gave them hope for treating a difficult type of virus with a tried-and-tested substance, and said their findings warrant additional study of fluoxetine as an antiviral agent for enterovirus infections.
The scientists said the follow-up work will focus on the discovery of unconventional targets for fluoxetine and how they intersect with the known targets of this drug class. They said understanding the mechanisms used by fluoxetine and norfloxetine against coxsackieviruses will add to the understanding of enterovirus replication, and lead to an assessment of their potential clinical use to treat enterovirus infections.
This is not the first time a well-known drug has been found to have different applications from the ones it’s known for. Last year scientists found that MDMA, the major component of ecstasy, has cancer-killing properties.
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