Arris Agrees to Buy Motorola Home Business Division for $2.3B

Dec 20



The deal includes cash and stock

Rumors started surfacing early this month that Google was looking to shed the Motorola Home business division after its purchase of Motorola Mobility. Google’s goal was to help focus its Motorola Mobility holdings on smartphones and tablets. Motorola announced this week that it has now entered into an agreement to sell off the Home business to a company called Arris.

Arris is paying Google $2.35 billion in cash and stock and the transaction has been approved by the Board of Directors for both companies. The acquisition is on a cash-free, debt-free basis.


The agreement will see Google receiving $2.05 billion in cash and approximately $300 million in newly issued Arris stock shares. The deal is subject to certain adjustments provided for in the agreement and will result in Google owning 15.7% interest in Arris after the deal closes.

Arris says that the purchase of Motorola Home will give it a global presence with over 500 customers in 70 countries. The company also plans to offer a wide array of products and solutions encompassing the full spectrum of broadband content and service providers.

Sources: Motorola Mobility, Arris [PDF]

Sonya Kraus Angelu DeLeon

Read More

Steve Jobs turning over in his grave? Look-alike touts rival Android

Dec 20

Fake_steve_jobs

Steve Jobs likeness continues to pop up in the most unlikely places. He’s been immortalized as a bronze statue in an office park in Hungary, his image was painstakingly recreated in what might be the world’s most detailed action figure, and now a Taiwanese commercial making its way around the Internet depicts the recently deceased Apple visionary as a shill for an Android-based tablet called Action Pad.

Oh, the irony!

The man playing Jobs in the commercial is Taiwanese comedian and impersonator Ah-Ken, according to a report in Reuters. The commercial never explicitly uses Jobs name, but Ah-Ken is dressed in Jobs trademark black turtleneck and blue jeans, his hair is a silvery grey, and he’s wearing glasses. He’s standing on a stage meant to mimic those that Jobs paced across during major Apple announcements and speaking excitedly to an applauding audience. One thing he has that Jobs never had: a halo and wings.

At the end of his talk he says, “Thank God I can play another pad.”

Jobs of course hated Android with his whole being. His biographer Walter Isaacson writes that he never saw Jobs as angry as when he was talking about a lawsuit Apple had filed against Android.

After telling Isaacson that he considered Google’s Android to be a wholesale ripoff of the iPhone, he said:

“I will spend my last dying breath if I need to, and I will spend every penny of Apple’s $40 billion in the bank, to right this wrong. I’m going to destroy Android, because it’s a stolen product. I’m willing to go thermonuclear war on this. They are scared to death, because they know they are guilty.”

Maybe things change in the afterlife?

Action Electronics, the company that makes the Action Pad along with other electronic gadgets, sees no problem with the advertisement. “Steve Jobs always promoted things that were good for people, Apple products, so his image can also promote other things that are good,” a spokeswoman told Reuters. “It’s just an impersonator, not Jobs,” she said.

The reaction on YouTube has been mixed with commenters vacillating between disgust and amusement, but the video itself is rapidly racking up views.

ALSO:

Steve Jobs statue unveiled in Budapest office park

Demand for iPhones in China could skyrocket, analyst says

Steve Jobs action figure is advertised; will Apple respond?

– Deborah Netburn

Image: Screen grab from a Taiwanese commercial for Action Pad that depicts Steve Jobs as a shill for the Android-based tablet. Credit: YouTube

Angelu DeLeon Alexis Bledel

Read More

DotNetNuke acquires software firm iFinity to beef up its Web content management platform

Dec 20

DotNetNuke (DNN), the Silicon Valley company behind a popular Web content management platform for Microsoft .NET, this morning announced that it has bought iFinity, a website and software development company headquartered in Queensland, Australia.

The acquisition of iFinity, a supplier of modules and consulting services for the DotNetNuke website platform, will enable DNN to beef its flagship solution up with a complete URL management solution, helping customers improve search engine optimization.

iFinity founder Bruce Chapman will join the DNN development team, effective immediately.

He writes:

The immediate plans for all the Url-related software are to integrate the codebase into DotNetNuke 7.1, a process which has been kicked off immediately. The underlying Url Master technology will become the standard way of powering all Url related functions in DotNetNuke, for all editions, for all versions from 7.1 onwards.

The majority of the Url management features will go straight into the commercial editions of DotNetNuke, but the underlying capability and improved Urls will be in the open-source community platform.

Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed, but all of the available iFinity software products IP will be transferred to DotNetNuke.

DotNetNuke says there have been over 7 million downloads of its open-source project, and that its global community is 1 million members strong.

Founded in 2006 and funded by Sierra Ventures, August Capital and Pelion Venture Partners, DotNetNuke is headquartered in San Mateo, California, with offices in Vancouver and Amsterdam.

Image credit: Thinkstock

other facts Rebecca Gibney

Read More

Samsung ATIV S listing obstacle was swept away, and got the network license

Dec 19

Recently, the Windows Phone 8 has become the new darling of the mobile operating system, the topic heat has even cought up with Android and iOS mobile operating system. The major mobile phone manufacturers have hurried to launch their own phones equipped with Windows Phone 8.

Samsung is no exception. According to the latest news, Samsung first Windows Phone 8 mobile phone ATIV S has obtained the network license, which means Samsung ATIV S last obstacle to release in the domestic market has been swept away.

Samsung ATIV S is equipped with 4.8-inch 720P Super AMOLED display which is the largest size among the WP8 phones, 1.9 million front camera and 8.0 million rear camera, the built-in storage space has 16GB and 32GB versions, and it supports microSD card expansion, NFC , Bluetooth 3.0 and some other functions. It is expected to be listed at the end of this year or January next year.

It is reported that the date when Samsung ATIV S gained the certification is December 13 this year, and the network license is WCDMA version. This phone also supports WCDMA, GSM (GPRS) signal systems.

Related Posts:

Hetty Baynes British Marines

Read More

Researcher: Pesky Microbe May Have Caused the Biggest Extinction in History

Dec 19



Methane-producing bacteria may have leverage nickel from volcanism to flood the atmosphere with methane

It was called “The Great Dying”.

I. A Time of Death and Desolation

If that title sounds dire it is because it was indeed a grim time for life on Earth.  Occurring about 252 and one-third million years ago, the mass extinction came at a time when life on Earth had become fairly advanced.  Terrestrial life consisted of a rich mix of large amphibians (think huge cousins of today’s salamanders) and scaly reptilian dinosaur predecessors.  The seas teemed with life.

Then some sort of cataclysm swept the globe.  Ninety-six out of every one-hundred marine species (96%) went exinct, while seventy out of every one-hundred terrestrial vertebrate species (70%) also bit the metaphorical dust.  The exinction to this day remains the most severe mass extinction in Earth’s history and what is believed to be the only mass extinction to feature a major extinction of insects — traditionally among the Earth’s most hardy species.

So what caused this severe event?


In line with all the hype and fervor surrounding global warming, some past researchers have suggested climate change may have played a role.  Criticism of this hypothesis has traditionally been that it’s improper to assume the markers of climate change — atmospheric and ocean carbon levels — as causing ecological changes, when ecological changes can also cause climate change.

Massachusetts Institute of Technology Professor Daniel Rothman has become the latest researcher to throw his hat in the paleontological ring, offering up an interesting alternate hypothesis of how such a catastrophic climate change incident may have been triggered, leading to the Earth losing so much biodiversity.

The Great Dying marked the edge of the Permian.  Its end ushered in a new era — the Triassic — which would become the first of three major historical eras when the land-masses were ruled by large reptiles (dinosaurs).

To look for clues as to what caused The Great Dying, Professor Rothman dug back into sediments from the end of the Permian era.  Examing deposits in China, he found something intriguing.

Carbon levels in the sediment indeed appeared to rise quickly.  But the interesting part is that they rose so quickly that he feels that the sedimentary analysis rules out change by slower-acting forms of carbon release, such as volcanoes.

He also observed that oceanic nickel levels spiked 251 million years ago, as volcanoes in Siberia dumped tons of molten nickely into the sea.

II. What Caused Carbon Levels to Spike? 

Nickel is a ubiquitous catalyst in certain kinds of biochemical reactions.  Microorganisms, such as the ocean-based methane-producing bacterium methanosarcina, often use the metal to speed up reactions that produce carbon waste byproducts.

Thus Professor Rothman suggests that methanosarcina likely exploited the rising nickel levels to transform carbon dioxide and hydrogen into methane.  

In fact, Professor Rothman believes that methanosarcina fortuitously acquired the its triple metal-catalyzed methane-producing metabolic pathways about 251 million years ago, just as the nickel levels spiked.


The loss of atmospheric carbon dioxide would likely have twin adverse impacts — first as plants require carbon dioxide to produce sugars, there likely would be mass loss of foliage globally; second as methane is a more potent warming gas than carbon dioxide, temperatures likely would have spiked globally.

The researcher’s hypothesis was set forth on Dec. 4 at the annual meeting of the American Geophysical Union.  The meeting was held in San Francisco, Calif. at the Moscone Convention Center.

If he is correct it suggests that methanosarcina could be the most diabolical murderer in history, by far eclipsing mankind’s worst impact in terms of speciation.

Not all experts are convinced.  Anthony Cohen, a researcher at the Open University in the United Kingdom, comments, ‘”[For the hypothesis to be correct] there are a lot of assumptions you have to make.”

Sources: Live Science, AGU Meeting Schedule

Sophia Bush Danniella Westbrook

Read More

Redesigned Technology blog moves to new address

Dec 19

Tech blog

The L.A. Times Technology blog has been redesigned, and with our new duds we’re rolling out a new URL. So if you’ve been a loyal follower of our work, please update your bookmarks.

Our hope is that you’ll find the new look to be cleaner and easier for reading, viewing photos and watching videos. Please let us know what you think about the new look by leaving us a comment on the Technology blog’s Facebook page or by shooting a tweet to @LATimesTech.

Thanks for reading, watching and clicking.

– Nathan Olivarez-Giles

Nathan Olivarez-Giles on Google+

Facebook.com/nateog

Twitter.com/nateog

Image: A screen shot of the Technology blog’s new look. Credit: Los Angeles Times

Jerri Manthey read more

Read More

Popular Photography’s Camera Of The Year Is…

Dec 17

Canon EOS 5D Mark III

Canon EOS 5D Mark III Satoshi

It’s that time of year again–the time of year to take incredibly detailed macro shots of pointsettias. And what better camera to do it with than the Canon EOS 5D Mark III, the winner of Popular Photography’s hotly contested “Camera of the Year” contest? The follow-up to one of the most important cameras in the history of photography, the Mark III bests its predecessor in every way, topping strong competitors on its way to the prize. Read more here.

this link Glenn Close

Read More

Thank You, Apple Maps. Now Go Away Forever

Dec 17

iPhone owners: let’s raise our glasses to Apple Maps, which has, indirectly, given us a better iPhone. And then let’s get rid of it.

The New Google Maps for iPhone

The New Google Maps for iPhone Google

The terrifying few months of what will be forever known as Apple Mapgate (no it won’t) are over. Google just released Google Maps for the iPhone, so we can all stick Apple Maps in our “Utilities” folder on our homescreens where it can sit comfortably next to other useless apps like Compass and Stocks. But here’s the weird thing: Google didn’t just package up the old Google Maps for iOS app and re-release it. They spent the past few months actually making a better app, with features the iOS version of Google Maps never had before.

In other words, thank you, Apple Maps, for giving iOS users a better phone.

It’s easy to forget that Google Maps for iOS was never particularly great; it was pretty, but increasingly limited, especially compared to Maps on Android. It never had turn-by-turn navigation, which Android has had since October of 2009 (!), it never had bike directions or offline caching, and it used clumsy bitmaps instead of vectors. That last one is why Google Maps for Android (and, to be fair, Apple Maps) loads faster and never looks blurry while zooming or panning.

The underlying data in Google Maps for iPhone was always great, of course; Google spends lots of time and money and effort getting the best data for its maps. But during all the panic over Apple Maps, we lionized the old Google Maps, and we shouldn’t have, really.

That’s why it’s interesting that the new Google Maps is such a marked improvement. It actually looks modern now–no stupid folded-over corner, a skeumorphic relic from 2008. Instead it looks like Google circa 2012, which is very nice indeed. Clean white bars, clear symbols, a hidden sidebar with more options. It has turn-by-turn navigation now, and vector graphics, and listings from Zagat (which Google acquired a few months back). It works even with older iPhones, which Apple Maps does not.

Google responded to Apple Maps as if Apple Maps was a threat, as if any app named “Google Maps” wouldn’t get about a billion downloads as soon as it was released. Google decided to compete with Apple. And that’s great for us, because Google finally (mostly) stopped handicapping the iOS version of it’s map app. It still doesn’t have everything the Android version has, but the weird thing about this whole mess is that iPhone users have come out on the other side with something they should have been demanding all along: a modern, full-featured maps app.

Melanie Alexander Rachel Ward

Read More

Steve Jobs turning over in his grave? Look-alike touts rival Android

Dec 17

Fake_steve_jobs

Steve Jobs likeness continues to pop up in the most unlikely places. He’s been immortalized as a bronze statue in an office park in Hungary, his image was painstakingly recreated in what might be the world’s most detailed action figure, and now a Taiwanese commercial making its way around the Internet depicts the recently deceased Apple visionary as a shill for an Android-based tablet called Action Pad.

Oh, the irony!

The man playing Jobs in the commercial is Taiwanese comedian and impersonator Ah-Ken, according to a report in Reuters. The commercial never explicitly uses Jobs name, but Ah-Ken is dressed in Jobs trademark black turtleneck and blue jeans, his hair is a silvery grey, and he’s wearing glasses. He’s standing on a stage meant to mimic those that Jobs paced across during major Apple announcements and speaking excitedly to an applauding audience. One thing he has that Jobs never had: a halo and wings.

At the end of his talk he says, “Thank God I can play another pad.”

Jobs of course hated Android with his whole being. His biographer Walter Isaacson writes that he never saw Jobs as angry as when he was talking about a lawsuit Apple had filed against Android.

After telling Isaacson that he considered Google’s Android to be a wholesale ripoff of the iPhone, he said:

“I will spend my last dying breath if I need to, and I will spend every penny of Apple’s $40 billion in the bank, to right this wrong. I’m going to destroy Android, because it’s a stolen product. I’m willing to go thermonuclear war on this. They are scared to death, because they know they are guilty.”

Maybe things change in the afterlife?

Action Electronics, the company that makes the Action Pad along with other electronic gadgets, sees no problem with the advertisement. “Steve Jobs always promoted things that were good for people, Apple products, so his image can also promote other things that are good,” a spokeswoman told Reuters. “It’s just an impersonator, not Jobs,” she said.

The reaction on YouTube has been mixed with commenters vacillating between disgust and amusement, but the video itself is rapidly racking up views.

ALSO:

Steve Jobs statue unveiled in Budapest office park

Demand for iPhones in China could skyrocket, analyst says

Steve Jobs action figure is advertised; will Apple respond?

– Deborah Netburn

Image: Screen grab from a Taiwanese commercial for Action Pad that depicts Steve Jobs as a shill for the Android-based tablet. Credit: YouTube

Melanie Griffith Arline Hunter

Read More

New species of slow loris found in jungles of Borneo

Dec 16

  • The slow loris is the only venomous primate – and could even kill a human
  • But because of its cute appearance it is targeted by the animal trade

By Charles Walford

|

A new species of slow loris has been discovered in Borneo.

Conservationists hope the finding will add impetus to efforts to protect the double-tongued animals.

Two previously known subspecies have also been accorded full species status.

But experts are warning that dividing the animals into four distinct species means the risk of extinction is greater than previously believed for the animals but could help efforts to protect the unusual primate.

Discovery: A new species of slow loris - the Nycticebus kayan - has been found in Borneo and the Philippines

Discovery: A new species of slow loris – the Nycticebus kayan – has been found in Borneo and the Philippines

The loris is the only venomous primate, producing a flesh-rotting poison that can be fatal to humans.

But they are also very cute – and in fact are known as ‘jungle gremlins’ – which makes them a target for the animal trade.

Captured animals often have their canine and incisor teeth pulled out before being sold on as pets, in a bid to protect their potential owner.

Harming the animals this way, though, can quickly lead to their death, as the toothless primates are unable to feed properly.

‘Four separate species are harder to protect than one, since each species needs to maintain its population numbers and have sufficient forest habitat,’ said lead author Rachel Munds, MU doctoral student in anthropology in the College of Arts and Science.

‘Unfortunately, in addition to habitat loss to deforestation, there is a booming black market demand for the animals. They are sold as pets, used as props for tourist photos or dismembered for use in traditional Asian medicines.’

According to Munds, slow lorises are not domesticated and are protected under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species. She contends that keeping the animals as pets is cruel and that domesticating them is not feasible.

Got it licked: The slow loris has a serrated sublingua - under-tongue - of a slow loris sticks out beneath the primary tongue

Got it licked: The slow loris has a serrated sublingua – under-tongue – of a slow loris sticks out beneath the primary tongue

A team of researchers, led by Munds and Professor Anna Nekaris of Oxford Brookes University, observed the animals living in the forests of Borneo and the Philippines and found that the original single species contained animals with significantly different body sizes, fur thickness, habitats and facial markings.

Museum specimens, photographs and live animals helped primatologists parse out four species from the original one.

But the new species of slow loris, named Nycticebus kayan, has gone unrecognised until now, in part due to its nocturnal lifestyle.

Animals that are active at night rely less on visual clues, and can therefore appear more similar to one another.

So the scientists had to look hard to discover the differences between the new species, and focused primarly on facial markings.

And the researchers found there to be four species of slow loris in the Philippines and Borneo, each with their own, subtly different but distinct head markings.

Conservatrion: Rachel Munds (left), doctoral student in anthropology at Missouri University, and Anna Nekaris, primatology professor at Oxford Brookes University, pose with a tarsier, another species of nocturnal primate

Conservatrion: Rachel Munds (left), doctoral student in anthropology at Missouri University, and Anna Nekaris, primatology professor at Oxford Brookes University, pose with a tarsier, another species of nocturnal primate

Previously there was thought to be just one species, called N. menagensis.

Two of these new species, N. bancanus and N. borneanus, were previously considered subspecies of N. menagensis. N. kayan, is new to science.

‘In Borneo in particular, from where three of the new species hail, this will mean that three new lorises will be added as threatened to some degree on the IUCN Red List of threatened species,’ said Prof Nekaris.

She warned of the threats to the animals that comes from their trade, driven by demand for lorises as pets

‘YouTube videos of lorises being tickled, holding umbrellas or eating with forks have become wildly popular,’ said Anna Nekaris, study co-author, primatology professor at Oxford Brookes University and MU graduate. ‘CNN recently promoted loris videos as “feel good” entertainment. In truth, the lorises gripping forks or umbrellas were simply desperate to hold something.

‘The arboreal animals are adapted to spending their lives in trees constantly clutching branches. Pet keepers rarely provide enough climbing structures for them.’

The animals also are used in Asian traditional medicines. The methods used to extract the medicines can be exceedingly violent, according to Nekaris, who also is director of the slow loris advocacy organisation, Little Fireface Project.

Cruel trade: Slow lorises for sale in Möng La, Shan, Myanmar

Cruel trade: Slow lorises for sale in Möng La, Shan, Myanmar

Sick: The teeth of a juvenile slow loris being removed by an animal trafficker

Sick: The teeth of a juvenile slow loris being removed by an animal trafficker

Carey Lowell other facts

Read More

Microsoft Stores taking $25 deposit on Nokia Lumia 900

Dec 16

Nokia Lumia 900

AT&T, Microsoft and Nokia haven’t said when the Lumia 900 will hit stores or how much it will cost, but if the flagship Windows Phone is a device you just have to have, you can now pre-order it.

Microsoft’s retail stores are currently taking a $25 deposit for those looking to reserve themselves a Lumia 900 on launch day, whenever that is. The deposit offer was first reported by The Verge and confirmed to The Times on Friday through Microsoft Store employees.

Rumor has it that the Lumia 900 could launch in March at a price of about $99 on a 2-year contract, which would undercut top-of-the-line rivals such as Apple’s iPhone 4S and the Android Ice-Cream-Sandwich-equipped Galaxy Nexus, built by Samsung.

In the U.S., the Lumia 900 will be exclusive to AT&T and feature a 4.3-inch display, a polycarbonate body in cyan or black, a 1.4-gigahertz Qualcomm single-core processor, 512 megabytes of RAM, 16 gigabytes of built-in storage, an 8-megapixel/720p video rear camera and a 1.3-megapixel front-facing camera.

I spent a bit of time with the Lumia 900 at CES in Las Vegas last month, and the phone did look quite impressive and something I thought could sell at $150 or $200 on a 2-year contract. Check out my hands-on look at the Lumia 900 below.

RELATED:

Nokia’s Lumia 900 Windows Phone may launch at $99

Lumia 710, Nokia’s first U.S. Windows Phone — review

CES 2012: Lumia 900, Nokia’s first 4G LTE Windows Phone, debuts [Photos and Video]

– Nathan Olivarez-Giles

Nathan Olivarez-Giles on Google+

Facebook.com/nateog

Twitter.com/nateog

Photo: A Nokia Lumia 800 smartphone sits on display inside a Nokia retail store in Helsinki, Finland. Credit: Ville Mannikko / Bloomberg

Betty White George Lucas

Read More

Test Could Reveal Which Side of the Looking Glass We’re On

Dec 16

OK, so let’s assume that nothing is real in the sense that we understand reality. We and everyone and everything we know are part of a computer simulation created by an advanced post-human intelligence. Scientists have considered the theory and come up with arguments for and against it. Before now, though, no one has suggested a test could be run to find out one way or another. Do we want to know?

For those who spend enough time playing World of Warcraft, the line between what is “real” and what isn’t probably blurs from time to time. However, a far deeper and more philosophical question has been raised: whether life, the universe and everything is actually just a computer simulation.

The conical (red) surface shows the relationship between energy and momentum in special relativity, a fundamental theory concerning space and time developed by Albert Einstein, and is the expected result if our universe is not a simulation. The flat (blue) surface illustrates the relationship between energy and momentum that would be expected if the universe is a simulation with an underlying cubic lattice.
(Martin Savage)

The center of this theory is that any civilization that evolves to a “post-human” stage would in turn be capable of running a simulation on the scale of the universe. Given the size of the universe — with its billions of worlds around billions of suns — and its billions of years of existence, this could have happened.

If so, are we in it?

This concept, which has been the basis of such movies at The Matrix and The Thirteenth Floor, hasn’t exactly been easy to prove or disprove.

However, researchers at the University of Washington, led by Martin Savage, Ph.D., have concluded that there could be a test to determine if the world is just a simulation.

Sim Universe?

The basis of the test that Savage has theorized is itself rather complicated. It suggests that if we are in a simulation, then that simulation would have to have been constructed with the same finite resources that we could use to create such a simulation. In other words, we could see the shortcomings a programmer made.

For example, this could include the behavior of ultra high energy cosmic rays to determine if there is a set of preferred direction. This in itself wouldn’t actually prove that the universe is a simulation, but it would be the sort of thing that would be in a simulation.

To understand this further requires a bit of understanding the mechanics of the universe.

“We believe we live in a quantum universe,” said James Canton, Ph.D., of the Institute for Global Futures. “We are only now taking the baby steps to prove it.”

As for looking for those patterns that Savage would seek out, they would be there in the mechanics.

“There are some constants in the universe,” Canton told TechNewsWorld. “All matter, everything you can see, is the smallest part of the cosmos. The largest part, which we can’t see, is the dark matter. But these are still constants.”

High-Tech Creationism?

While this concept of a simulated universe is often compared to the dystopian film series The Matrix, a more apt comparison might be another film that came out at the same time. Now largely forgotten, The Thirteen Floor speculated that simulated worlds could be created, and those within it didn’t even know they were just simulations.

So while video games have created believable worlds, those bad guys and other characters are just scripted and don’t really exist. Could the next step be imbuing them with some sort of self-awareness, but not giving those characters the ability to know they are in a simulation? And if that is possible, does it then make the theory that we are in a game all the more possible?

“It seems quite unlikely that we exist as virtual beings living within a computer simulation being operated by some future species descendants,” said Glen Hiemstra of Futurist.com. “However, at the same time I do accept the proposition that the day will come when computer/AI entities will be intelligent enough to be self-aware by some definitions.

“If that is true, then of course we might in fact be those computer/AI entities,” Hiemstra told TechNewsWorld.

There are fundamental questions that would remain, even if Savage’s theory is upheld — that is, that preferred direction could suggest the universe is a simulation. However, other questions might be answered.

“Many mysteries become more sensible, such as where our energy goes when we die, or the idea that we may live many lives,” added Hiemstra. “Other mysteries remain, such as why our simulated universe still shows no clear evidence of other intelligent beings, when putting them into a simulation would make the simulation more entertaining.”

From Games to Reality

Whether this universe is a simulation isn’t easily answered, but could technology create a simulation that would be indistinguishable from reality? Today the most immersing experience is staring at a computer screen, but technology is moving quite quickly.

“We haven’t ported emotion and feeling, but that is a cognitive step. That will come,” he said.

“Big data and cloud computing will allow this immersive universe to be created,” Canton predicted. “We didn’t even have the bandwidth until recently. But and now there is more technology that exists in a single laptop than was available throughout the world in 1974.”

Whether that laptop — or world — actually exists is still to be proven.

Coco Sumner Christy Turlington

Read More

Steve Jobs turning over in his grave? Look-alike touts rival Android

Dec 16

Fake_steve_jobs

Steve Jobs likeness continues to pop up in the most unlikely places. He’s been immortalized as a bronze statue in an office park in Hungary, his image was painstakingly recreated in what might be the world’s most detailed action figure, and now a Taiwanese commercial making its way around the Internet depicts the recently deceased Apple visionary as a shill for an Android-based tablet called Action Pad.

Oh, the irony!

The man playing Jobs in the commercial is Taiwanese comedian and impersonator Ah-Ken, according to a report in Reuters. The commercial never explicitly uses Jobs name, but Ah-Ken is dressed in Jobs trademark black turtleneck and blue jeans, his hair is a silvery grey, and he’s wearing glasses. He’s standing on a stage meant to mimic those that Jobs paced across during major Apple announcements and speaking excitedly to an applauding audience. One thing he has that Jobs never had: a halo and wings.

At the end of his talk he says, “Thank God I can play another pad.”

Jobs of course hated Android with his whole being. His biographer Walter Isaacson writes that he never saw Jobs as angry as when he was talking about a lawsuit Apple had filed against Android.

After telling Isaacson that he considered Google’s Android to be a wholesale ripoff of the iPhone, he said:

“I will spend my last dying breath if I need to, and I will spend every penny of Apple’s $40 billion in the bank, to right this wrong. I’m going to destroy Android, because it’s a stolen product. I’m willing to go thermonuclear war on this. They are scared to death, because they know they are guilty.”

Maybe things change in the afterlife?

Action Electronics, the company that makes the Action Pad along with other electronic gadgets, sees no problem with the advertisement. “Steve Jobs always promoted things that were good for people, Apple products, so his image can also promote other things that are good,” a spokeswoman told Reuters. “It’s just an impersonator, not Jobs,” she said.

The reaction on YouTube has been mixed with commenters vacillating between disgust and amusement, but the video itself is rapidly racking up views.

ALSO:

Steve Jobs statue unveiled in Budapest office park

Demand for iPhones in China could skyrocket, analyst says

Steve Jobs action figure is advertised; will Apple respond?

– Deborah Netburn

Image: Screen grab from a Taiwanese commercial for Action Pad that depicts Steve Jobs as a shill for the Android-based tablet. Credit: YouTube

Diamond Tracey Shaw

Read More

U.S. and UK refuse to sign treaty ‘that could lead to greater government control of cyberspace’

Dec 15

  • U.S. led group of 20 nations which walked away from the treaty
  • Rival countries had sought to break the Western grip on the Internet
  • U.S. and allies claimed new rules would harm free-form nature of the net

By Damien Gayle

|

The UK and the U.S. today refused to sign the first UN telecommunications treaty of the Internet age, claiming it would lead to greater government control of cyberspace.

They were among a group of 20 nations which walked away from negotiations in Dubai after an ideological split over the nature of the Internet and who is responsible for its growth and governance.

Rival countries – including Iran, China and African states – insisted governments should have a greater sway over Internet affairs and sought to break the Western grip on information technology.

Summit: Delegates at the ITUtalks in Dubai listen to Hamadoun Toure, the group's secretary-general. The UK and U.S. today led a bloc of 20 nations which refused to sign the accords

Summit: Delegates at the ITUtalks in Dubai listen to Hamadoun Toure, the group’s secretary-general. The UK and U.S. today led a bloc of 20 nations which refused to sign the accords

They also favoured greater international help to bring reliable online links to the world’s least developed regions.

In a testament to the contentious atmosphere at the negotiations of the UN’s International Telecommunications Union, the pages of reservations and comments by various countries involved were longer than the treaty itself.

In the end, it was supported by 89 countries in the 193-member union. Fifty-five did not sign, including the U.S.-led bloc of more than 20 nations, and others needing home country approval.

The remainder did not have high-ranking envoys in Dubai.

The ITU – which dates to the age of the telegraph in the mid-19th century – has no technical powers to change how the Internet operates or force countries to follow its non-binding accords, which also dealt with issues such as mobile phone roaming rates and international emergency numbers.

But the U.S. and its backers nevertheless worried that the new treaty could alter the tone of debates about the Internet.

Instead of viewing it as a free-form network, they claim, it could increasingly been seen as a commodity that needs clear lines of oversight.

Hamadoun Toure, the group’s secretary-general, said he was ‘very much surprised’ by the U.S.-led snub after days of difficult negotiations that dropped or softened wording that troubled the West.

Yet it fell short of American-led demands that all references to the Internet – even indirect or couched in general language – be omitted.

Breakdown in communications: Mr Toure, left, said said he was very much surprised by the snub after days of difficult negotiations had softened or dropped wording that had troubled U.S. delegate Terry Kramer, right

Even apparently clear-cut issues such as unsolicited email ‘spam’ brought division.

Efforts to try to address blanket electronic message barrages was seen by American envoys and others as something governments could use as possible U.N. cover for increased surveillance on email traffic.

‘Fundamental divides were exposed,’ said Lynn St. Amour, CEO and president of the Internet Society, an industry group.

STATES THAT BLOCK THE NET

Internet restrictions and availability at selected countries and regions around the world:

NORTH KOREA

Internet use is extremely restricted with many of North Korea’s 24million people unable to get online. Some North Koreans can access an internal Intranet that connects to state media. Members of the elite, resident foreigners and visitors in certain hotels are allowed full access. 

IRAN

Most Western social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter are blocked in Iran, as well as political opposition and sexually explicit websites. But proxy server sites and other methods are widely used to get around the official restrictions.

CHINA

There are more than 500 million Chinese online but they contend with an extensive Internet filtering and censorship system popularly known as the ‘Great Fire Wall.’ Censors police blogs and domestic social media for content deemed pornographic or politically subversive and delete it.

CUBA

Tight control, slow connections and high costs mean only around 5 percent of Cubans have access to the global Internet, with another 23 percent relying instead on a government intranet with very limited content. Web access is mainly via public facilities where people must first register with identification.

GULF ARAB STATES

Internet censorship is prevalent across former Soviet Central Asian republics, but the strongest restrictions have been recorded in Iran’s authoritarian neighbours to the north, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan.

ERITREA

The government restricts access to the Internet and closely monitors online communications. The U.S. State Department’s latest human rights report said the government monitored email without obtaining warrants as required by law, and that all Internet users were required to use one of three service providers owned directly by the government or controlled by members of the country’s sole party.

Mr Toure framed it as clash of ‘two societies’; a so-called digital divide with citizens of wealthy countries able to access the Net on one side, and 4.5 billion others in poor nations on the other.

‘We are defending here the right to communicate as a basic human right. That’s something very important in the ITU. We so remind our members constantly of that obligation,’ he told reporters.

He also said there was no specific endorsement of ‘Internet control or Internet governance.’

Still the dissident nations said the general acknowledgement of a government stake in 21st century telecommunications was just as troubling as any specific wording.

‘Internet policy should not be determined by member states, but by citizens, communities and broader society … the private sector and civil society,’ Terry Kramer, head of the U.S. delegation, told the gathering late last night. ‘That has not happened here.’

Mr Toure today said it was impossible and illogical to ignore the Net.

‘If the word Internet was used frequently here in Dubai, it is simply a reflection of the reality of the modern world,’ said Mr Toure, a Russian-trained engineer from Mali.

‘Telecommunication networks are not just used for making voice calls, so our two worlds are linked.’

Overshadowed by the Internet showdowns were other details in the pact. They include agreements that could lower mobile phone roaming charges, pledges to invest more communications infrastructure in poorer countries, efforts for greater communication technology for the disabled and a move to create a common emergency number for mobile phones and other devices.

Either the 911 or 112 number will be picked in later talks.

It’s unclear whether countries that rejected the pact could benefit from possible changes such as lower roaming rates when the accord takes effect in 2015.

‘Some really good stuff’ in the accord, said a Twitter post by .nxt, a website following Internet policy. But it said the disputes over possible Internet controls forced the U.S and others ‘to bail’ out on the deal.

Thora Birch Veronika Zemanova

Read More

Peru’s spiral Nazca lines ‘are a path to spiritual enlightenment’

Dec 14

  • Labyrinthine shapes were ‘designed to be walked along, not seen’
  • They were created as a ‘spiritual path’ for Nazca tribe

By Charles Walford

|

Some say they were created as messages to the gods, while slightly more bizarre theories suggest they were traced by aliens.

But now a scientist has claimed he has solved the mystery at least one of the 1,500-year-old Nazca lines.

Professor Clive Ruggles, of the University of Leicester, says the spiral shape traced in the Peruvian desert are likely to have been a labyrinth, created as a spiritual path.

The huge images, which include hundreds of animals and complex mazes in the Nazca desert, can only clearly be seen for the air giving rise to a number of explanations as to who they were intended for.

Scroll down for video

Inspiring spiral: The spiral lies in the centre of the area analysed by Prof Ruggles

Inspiring spiral: The spiral lies in the centre of the area analysed by Prof Ruggles

Focal point: Surrounding the spiral are a series of straight lines, some stretching a mile-long across the sand

Focal point: Surrounding the spiral are a series of straight lines, some stretching a mile-long across the sand

But some have no easily identifiable shape, raising further questions as to what they could be.

And Prof Ruggles believes some of the Nazca Lines were in fact not created to be seen at all, but to be walked in single file as part of a spiritual ritual.

As part of a five-year investigation, the British researchers covered 1,500km of desert in southern Peru – tracing the lines and geometric figures created by the Nazca people between 100 BC and AD 700.

Prof Ruggles, along with Dr Nicholas Saunders, of the University of Bristol, combined the experience and knowledge gained by walking the lines with scientific data obtained from satellite digital mapping.

The result, published in the journal Antiquity is the most detailed such study to date.

Prof Ruggles, who believes they were the first people to walk the 4.4km lines in more than 1,000 years, said: ‘The labyrinth was probably constructed during the middle part of the 800-year-long Nazca period, around AD 500.

‘Unlike some of the famous zoomorphic (animal) figures, its irregular form provides no reason to speculate that it might have been intended to be viewed from the air.

Heron: A number of the patterns are int he shape of birds, with varying theories as to their significance

Heron: A number of the patterns are int he shape of birds, with varying theories as to their significance

Monkey see, monkey do: A size of the animal designs has led many to believe that they were created to be seen by the gods

Monkey see, monkey do: A size of the animal designs has led many to believe that they were created to be seen by the gods

THE DESERT LINES THAT LAY UNSEEN FOR CENTURIES

Contrary to the popular belief that the figures can only be seen from the air, they are actually visible from the surrounding foothills.

They were first spotted by the Peruvian archaeologist Toribio Mejia Xesspe, while hiking through the foothills in 1927.

Paul Kosok, from Long Island University, is credited as the first scholar to seriously study the Nazca Lines.

While in Perus in 1940-41 to study ancient irrigation systems, he flew over the lines – realised that one was in the shape of a bird.

He also discovered that the lines converged at the winter solstice in the Southern Hemisphere.

Along with Maria Reiche, a German mathematician and archaeologist, Kosok proposed the figures were markers on the horizon to show where the sun and other celestial bodies rose.

As for how they were made, archaeological surveys have found wooden stakes in the ground at the end of some lines, which support theory the ancient people used simple tools and surveying equipment to construct the lines.

Most of the lines are formed by a shallow trench with a depth of between 10cm and 15cm, made by removing the reddish-brown iron oxide-coated pebbles that cover the surface of the Nazca desert and exposing the light-colored earth underneath.

This sublayer contains high amounts of lime which has down the years hardened to form a protective layer that shields the lines from winds and prevents erosion.

‘As Nick Saunders and I argue, it was not meant to be ‘seen’ from outside at all, but rather to be experienced from within. It was meant to be walked.

‘This leads on to the question of by whom, and in what circumstances.

‘Our conclusions in the paper are reached by combining the archaeological evidence and interpretations based on the actual experience of walking the figure in its entirety.’

Professor Ruggles first discovered the labyrinth in 1984. He said; ‘I didn’t have the slightest idea of its true nature.

‘Only gradually did I realise that here was a figure set out on a huge scale and still traceable, that it was clearly intended for walking, and that I was almost certainly the first person to have recognised it for what it was, and walked it from end to end, for some 1500 years.

‘The ancient Nasca peoples created the geoglyphs, and used them, by walking on the ground.

‘”Sharing” some of those experiences by walking the lines ourselves is an important source of information that complements the “hard” scientific and archaeological evidence and can really aid our attempts to make anthropological sense of it.’

Although arid conditions have ensured remarkable preservation of Nazca’s fragile geolyphs for over a millenium, segments of nearly all the lines and figures – including the labyrinth – have been washed away by flash floods, the study for journal Antiquity says.

But the researchers say the pristine state and well-preserved edges of the labyrinth suggest it was never walked by more than a few people in single file, which makes it likely to have had a spiritual and ritual purpose.

Road to discovery: New theory suggest the lines - parts of which are cut through by the Panamerican Highway - were a path to spiritual enlightenment

Road to discovery: New theory suggest the lines – parts of which are cut through by the Panamerican Highway – were a path to spiritual enlightenment

Flying high: The hummingbird sits atop a promontory in the Nazca Desert

Flying high: The hummingbird sits atop a promontory in the Nazca Desert

VIDEO: A flyover view of the Nazca Lines:

Natalie Portman Gary Estrada

Read More

Popular Photography’s Camera Of The Year Is…

Dec 14

Canon EOS 5D Mark III

Canon EOS 5D Mark III Satoshi

It’s that time of year again–the time of year to take incredibly detailed macro shots of pointsettias. And what better camera to do it with than the Canon EOS 5D Mark III, the winner of Popular Photography’s hotly contested “Camera of the Year” contest? The follow-up to one of the most important cameras in the history of photography, the Mark III bests its predecessor in every way, topping strong competitors on its way to the prize. Read more here.

Lara Bingle Sophia Bush

Read More

For New Lamps, An Unlikely Energy Source: Gravity

Dec 13

As long as you reset a weight every 30 minutes, you can have a continuous, battery-free light source.

GravityLight: lighting for the developing countries from T4 on Vimeo.

Kerosene lamps used in off-grid, rural areas are a major problem. They’re bad for people’s health and the environment’s. One startup’s solution is to tap another, greener resource, something we all have in abundance: gravity.

The invention, GravityLight, does exactly what the name suggests: It keeps a light going through the power of gravity. As an attached weight falls, it pulls a cord through the center of the light, powering a dynamo. That dynamo converts the energy from the falling weight into power for the light. (It’s the same idea as a hand-cranked device, just more vertical.) The weight can be set in a few seconds, and as it slowly reaches Earth, enough energy is generated to keep a light working for 30 minutes. As long as it’s set every 30 minutes, it makes for a green, battery-free, continuous stream of light. Other, similar devices like battery chargers could be used through the same process, too.

The inventors say the gadgets can be sold now for less than $10, which would make a return on investment for owners three months after dumping kerosene lighting. And speaking of investments, the group has already shattered the goal for its Indiegogo campaign, meaning we’ll hopefully see these in action soon.

[Treehugger]

Pete Travis Annalise Braakensiek

Read More

Redesigned Technology blog moves to new address

Dec 13

Tech blog

The L.A. Times Technology blog has been redesigned, and with our new duds we’re rolling out a new URL. So if you’ve been a loyal follower of our work, please update your bookmarks.

Our hope is that you’ll find the new look to be cleaner and easier for reading, viewing photos and watching videos. Please let us know what you think about the new look by leaving us a comment on the Technology blog’s Facebook page or by shooting a tweet to @LATimesTech.

Thanks for reading, watching and clicking.

– Nathan Olivarez-Giles

Nathan Olivarez-Giles on Google+

Facebook.com/nateog

Twitter.com/nateog

Image: A screen shot of the Technology blog’s new look. Credit: Los Angeles Times

Kim Cooper Nicole Richie

Read More

FreedomPop Dishes Up Free Data in Broadband Offensive

Dec 12

Harking back to the quaint old days of free dial-up, FreedomPop is boldly offering free broadband — and it claims its service is faster than DSL. Customers who want more than 1 GB per month can buy additional bandwidth at a price that’s a trifling, compared to the stiff rates charged by cable and DSL providers. “We’re absolutely looking to be disruptive,” said FreedomPop CEO Stephen Stokols.

FreedomPop is looking to disrupt the cable and DSL business model by offering free wireless Internet service to home users. The startup on Wednesday began taking orders for an US$89 modem that will provide online access to as many as 10 WiFi-enabled devices in the home, at speeds faster than digital subscriber lines.

The device will begin shipping in January. Users will get 1 GB of data per month for free, and heavier data consumers can purchase additional bandwidth by signing up for plans starting at $8.99 a month for 10 GB.

To say that FreedomPop’s goal is to disrupt cable and DSL is a true understatement.

“We’re absolutely looking to be disruptive,” said CEO Stephen Stokols. “We’re coming in with a free offering, and the intent is to disrupt an oligarchy.”

WiFi to the WiMAX

The timing of this announcement could also be somewhat serendipitous as Wednesday, 12.12.2012, is one of the dates associated with the so-called Mayan end of the world — 12.21.2012 being the other. However, if the world doesn’t end, this could still be a game-changing day for those looking for affordable Internet.

“You’re going to see ripples through the Internet,” Stokols told TechNewsWorld. “We’re looking to attract those normal people who could save 80 percent on their bills.”

What FreedomPop is offering is a way to attract those who don’t use a ton of data and are looking to save money. Its system works by leveraging WiMAX, which could provide speeds up to 30-40 percent faster than DSL, Stokols added.

“For some users, it is going to be on par or slight slower than cable,” he noted. “If you are not a heavy user, this could be something that could save real money.”

Disruptive Business

FreedomPop launched back in October with the goal of doing for broadband what Skype did for voice. It isn’t aimed at those who stream video or use services such as Skype — activities that can consume massive data.

The model works by giving away broadband-speed Internet access to light users who go online for basic things such as email and light Web surfing. The concept is that heavy data users pay a bit more, which subsidizes those who use less. The plan could backfire, though.

“It can very disruptive for FreedomPop,” said Roger Entner, principal analyst with Recon Analytics.

“It is really only providing the free service to customers who use less than 1 GB of data. The bill is paid by those who use more than 1 GB,” he emphasized. “The problem is that when adding your friends or participating in promotional offers (that FreedomPop could provide), then there still isn’t more revenue, but there is more cost,” Entner told TechNewsWorld. “What becomes a problem is that they could run out of money, and how reliable is the service if they could go out of business very quickly?”

DSL Killer

FreedomPop is not the first company to try to take on the big carriers. In its case, it is doing so by utilizing Clearwire’s WiMAX service. The promise of WiMAX has for the most part remained just that — a promise to deliver broadband anywhere.

“Clearwire was an interesting idea in the beginning as well,” said telecommunications analyst Jeff Kagan. “FreedomPop still has to spell out what they offer, what they replace, who they compete with, how good the quality and reliability will be, the cost to the customer — and that’s just for starts.”

However, FreedomPop could still have its biggest card to play.

“FreedomPop is an MVNO using the Clearwire WiMAX network,” Kagan told TechNewsWorld. “They will be moving to Sprint on their LTE network during the next year.”

Broad Questions About Broadband Use

Whether this is enough for them to go all out is the remaining question — especially as people are doing so much more, including streaming of video and sharing of photos.

“People can already share Internet access in the home in various ways,” said Roger Kay, principal analyst with Endpoint Technologies Associates. “Broadband still has to be delivered to the home somehow, so this is probably not disruptive to the main broadband suppliers.”

The final equation is simply one of finances.

“As long as they can afford this very challenging business model they might be successful, but when their money runs out they could be run out of business,” said Entner. “That is their biggest challenge.”

Hedy Burress Christina Applegate

Read More

Most Facebook users get more from it than they put in, study says

Dec 12

6a00d8341c630a53ef0163008cd22f970d-600wi

The Pew Research Internet Project released a report about Facebook on Friday, providing insights into the company that you won’t find in its IPO filing.

Rather than focusing on the company’s financials, the report “Why Most Facebook Users Get More Than They Give” sheds light on how Facebook’s 845 million users engage with Facebook and what they get out of it.

The findings show that social interactions on Facebook closely mirror social interactions in the real world.

For example, over the course of a one-month period, researchers found that women made an average of 11 updates to their Facebook status, while men averaged only six. Also, women were more likely to comment on other people’s status updates than men.

“There was a general trend in our data that women use Facebook more than men,” said Keith Hampton, a professor at Rutgers and lead author of the report. “This is a phenomenon that is not unique to Facebook. Women are traditionally in charge of social relationships offline, and that seems to be true of the online world as well.”

The report says men are more likely to send friend requests and women are more likely to receive them. That’s something else we see in the real world — especially in bars.

The report also says that most people who use Facebook get more out of it than they put into it, which may explain why they keep coming back.

Researchers found that 40% of Facebook users in a sample group made a friend request, while 63% received at least one friend request. They found that 12% of the sample tagged a friend in a photo, but 35% were themselves tagged in a photo. And each user in the sample clicked the “like” button next to a friend’s content an average of 14 times but had his or her own content ‘liked’ an average of 20 times.

Why the imbalance?

“There is this 20% to 30% who are extremely active who are giving more than they are getting, and they are so active they are making up for feeding everyone extra stuff,” Hampton said. “You might go on Facebook and post something and have time to click ‘like’ on one thing you see in your news feed, but then you get a whole bunch of ‘likes’ on your news feed. That’s because of this very active group.”

He also said extremely active users tend to have a niche: Some are really into friending, others are really into tagging photos, and still others click the ‘like’ button a lot. Rarely is any one user extreme in all those ways.

I asked Hampton what he could tell me about these extremely active people, whom he calls Facebook “power users.” Are they unstoppably social? Unemployed? Lonely?

“It could be people who are always active — whatever they are doing in their life, they are very active. Or it could be that just in the one month we observed them they are active and another month a different group of people would rise up,” he said. “It could be that there is something going on in their life that causes them to be very active, or it could be that some people think of it almost as a job to be active on Facebook.”

ALSO:

Facebook’s IPO filing, by the numbers

Vizio’s 21:9 aspect CinemaWide TV due in March at $3,499

Steve Jobs turning over in his grave? Look-alike touts rival Android

– Deborah Netburn

Photo: A worker at Facebook’s headquarters in Menlo Park. Credit: Paul Sakuma/AP Photo

read more Becky Delos Santos

Read More

Most Facebook users get more from it than they put in, study says

Dec 12

6a00d8341c630a53ef0163008cd22f970d-600wi

The Pew Research Internet Project released a report about Facebook on Friday, providing insights into the company that you won’t find in its IPO filing.

Rather than focusing on the company’s financials, the report “Why Most Facebook Users Get More Than They Give” sheds light on how Facebook’s 845 million users engage with Facebook and what they get out of it.

The findings show that social interactions on Facebook closely mirror social interactions in the real world.

For example, over the course of a one-month period, researchers found that women made an average of 11 updates to their Facebook status, while men averaged only six. Also, women were more likely to comment on other people’s status updates than men.

“There was a general trend in our data that women use Facebook more than men,” said Keith Hampton, a professor at Rutgers and lead author of the report. “This is a phenomenon that is not unique to Facebook. Women are traditionally in charge of social relationships offline, and that seems to be true of the online world as well.”

The report says men are more likely to send friend requests and women are more likely to receive them. That’s something else we see in the real world — especially in bars.

The report also says that most people who use Facebook get more out of it than they put into it, which may explain why they keep coming back.

Researchers found that 40% of Facebook users in a sample group made a friend request, while 63% received at least one friend request. They found that 12% of the sample tagged a friend in a photo, but 35% were themselves tagged in a photo. And each user in the sample clicked the “like” button next to a friend’s content an average of 14 times but had his or her own content ‘liked’ an average of 20 times.

Why the imbalance?

“There is this 20% to 30% who are extremely active who are giving more than they are getting, and they are so active they are making up for feeding everyone extra stuff,” Hampton said. “You might go on Facebook and post something and have time to click ‘like’ on one thing you see in your news feed, but then you get a whole bunch of ‘likes’ on your news feed. That’s because of this very active group.”

He also said extremely active users tend to have a niche: Some are really into friending, others are really into tagging photos, and still others click the ‘like’ button a lot. Rarely is any one user extreme in all those ways.

I asked Hampton what he could tell me about these extremely active people, whom he calls Facebook “power users.” Are they unstoppably social? Unemployed? Lonely?

“It could be people who are always active — whatever they are doing in their life, they are very active. Or it could be that just in the one month we observed them they are active and another month a different group of people would rise up,” he said. “It could be that there is something going on in their life that causes them to be very active, or it could be that some people think of it almost as a job to be active on Facebook.”

ALSO:

Facebook’s IPO filing, by the numbers

Vizio’s 21:9 aspect CinemaWide TV due in March at $3,499

Steve Jobs turning over in his grave? Look-alike touts rival Android

– Deborah Netburn

Photo: A worker at Facebook’s headquarters in Menlo Park. Credit: Paul Sakuma/AP Photo

Tara Reid Nina Moric

Read More

Steve Jobs turning over in his grave? Look-alike touts rival Android

Dec 11

Fake_steve_jobs

Steve Jobs likeness continues to pop up in the most unlikely places. He’s been immortalized as a bronze statue in an office park in Hungary, his image was painstakingly recreated in what might be the world’s most detailed action figure, and now a Taiwanese commercial making its way around the Internet depicts the recently deceased Apple visionary as a shill for an Android-based tablet called Action Pad.

Oh, the irony!

The man playing Jobs in the commercial is Taiwanese comedian and impersonator Ah-Ken, according to a report in Reuters. The commercial never explicitly uses Jobs name, but Ah-Ken is dressed in Jobs trademark black turtleneck and blue jeans, his hair is a silvery grey, and he’s wearing glasses. He’s standing on a stage meant to mimic those that Jobs paced across during major Apple announcements and speaking excitedly to an applauding audience. One thing he has that Jobs never had: a halo and wings.

At the end of his talk he says, “Thank God I can play another pad.”

Jobs of course hated Android with his whole being. His biographer Walter Isaacson writes that he never saw Jobs as angry as when he was talking about a lawsuit Apple had filed against Android.

After telling Isaacson that he considered Google’s Android to be a wholesale ripoff of the iPhone, he said:

“I will spend my last dying breath if I need to, and I will spend every penny of Apple’s $40 billion in the bank, to right this wrong. I’m going to destroy Android, because it’s a stolen product. I’m willing to go thermonuclear war on this. They are scared to death, because they know they are guilty.”

Maybe things change in the afterlife?

Action Electronics, the company that makes the Action Pad along with other electronic gadgets, sees no problem with the advertisement. “Steve Jobs always promoted things that were good for people, Apple products, so his image can also promote other things that are good,” a spokeswoman told Reuters. “It’s just an impersonator, not Jobs,” she said.

The reaction on YouTube has been mixed with commenters vacillating between disgust and amusement, but the video itself is rapidly racking up views.

ALSO:

Steve Jobs statue unveiled in Budapest office park

Demand for iPhones in China could skyrocket, analyst says

Steve Jobs action figure is advertised; will Apple respond?

– Deborah Netburn

Image: Screen grab from a Taiwanese commercial for Action Pad that depicts Steve Jobs as a shill for the Android-based tablet. Credit: YouTube

Jack Black source

Read More

Most Facebook users get more from it than they put in, study says

Dec 11

6a00d8341c630a53ef0163008cd22f970d-600wi

The Pew Research Internet Project released a report about Facebook on Friday, providing insights into the company that you won’t find in its IPO filing.

Rather than focusing on the company’s financials, the report “Why Most Facebook Users Get More Than They Give” sheds light on how Facebook’s 845 million users engage with Facebook and what they get out of it.

The findings show that social interactions on Facebook closely mirror social interactions in the real world.

For example, over the course of a one-month period, researchers found that women made an average of 11 updates to their Facebook status, while men averaged only six. Also, women were more likely to comment on other people’s status updates than men.

“There was a general trend in our data that women use Facebook more than men,” said Keith Hampton, a professor at Rutgers and lead author of the report. “This is a phenomenon that is not unique to Facebook. Women are traditionally in charge of social relationships offline, and that seems to be true of the online world as well.”

The report says men are more likely to send friend requests and women are more likely to receive them. That’s something else we see in the real world — especially in bars.

The report also says that most people who use Facebook get more out of it than they put into it, which may explain why they keep coming back.

Researchers found that 40% of Facebook users in a sample group made a friend request, while 63% received at least one friend request. They found that 12% of the sample tagged a friend in a photo, but 35% were themselves tagged in a photo. And each user in the sample clicked the “like” button next to a friend’s content an average of 14 times but had his or her own content ‘liked’ an average of 20 times.

Why the imbalance?

“There is this 20% to 30% who are extremely active who are giving more than they are getting, and they are so active they are making up for feeding everyone extra stuff,” Hampton said. “You might go on Facebook and post something and have time to click ‘like’ on one thing you see in your news feed, but then you get a whole bunch of ‘likes’ on your news feed. That’s because of this very active group.”

He also said extremely active users tend to have a niche: Some are really into friending, others are really into tagging photos, and still others click the ‘like’ button a lot. Rarely is any one user extreme in all those ways.

I asked Hampton what he could tell me about these extremely active people, whom he calls Facebook “power users.” Are they unstoppably social? Unemployed? Lonely?

“It could be people who are always active — whatever they are doing in their life, they are very active. Or it could be that just in the one month we observed them they are active and another month a different group of people would rise up,” he said. “It could be that there is something going on in their life that causes them to be very active, or it could be that some people think of it almost as a job to be active on Facebook.”

ALSO:

Facebook’s IPO filing, by the numbers

Vizio’s 21:9 aspect CinemaWide TV due in March at $3,499

Steve Jobs turning over in his grave? Look-alike touts rival Android

– Deborah Netburn

Photo: A worker at Facebook’s headquarters in Menlo Park. Credit: Paul Sakuma/AP Photo

Stephanie Powers Nicki Minaj

Read More

Samsung’s Galaxy Camera Is The Camera Of The Future [Review]

Dec 10

The Galaxy Camera runs a full version of Android on its full touchscreen, along with a 4G LTE connection. This is how cameras will work in the future–but how about the present?

Samsung Galaxy Camera

Samsung Galaxy Camera Dan Nosowitz

To review the Samsung Galaxy Camera, Popular Photography‘s Dan Bracaglia lends his photographic expertise to talk about the camera from a photog’s perspective, while Popular Science‘s gadget reviewer, Dan Nosowitz, reviews the camera from a gadget-geek’s perspective.

Dan Nosowitz: I wasn’t optimistic about the Samsung Galaxy Camera. The idea of a camera with a big touchscreen and a full version of Android, complete with 4G LTE connection, is enticing, but I do not care much at all for Samsung’s other Galaxy products, which to this point have just been smartphones and tablets. I find their hardware chintzy and their software difficult and confused, as the company insists on mucking up Android (which is really great!) with their slow and bloated skins. Yet to my surprise, the Galaxy Camera is by far my favorite product in the Galaxy line.

The Galaxy Camera is by far my favorite product in the Galaxy line.As an Android device, it’s got pretty much the same guts as a modern Galaxy smartphone. That means a huge 4.8-inch screen, a quad-core processor, a Samsung-ified version of Android 4.1 Jelly Bean, and 4G LTE connectivity. It even has a microphone, intended to be used while taking video, so theoretically you could ditch your phone, make calls with a VoIP service or Google Voice, and use this as your exclusive camera/phone. And of course it has access to the entire Android app store, which has fairly recently been renamed Google Play. But this is not a Galaxy smartphone with an improved camera; this is a high-end Samsung point-and-shoot with Android.

Using the Galaxy: Performance is pretty good; it’s not as fast getting around as the screamingly-fast Nexus 4, but it’s certainly not laggy. Android 4.1 is very nice; the Galaxy Camera has all the benefits of Google Now and all kinds of other great Android stuff. The screen is not the best screen I’ve ever used (not quite as sharp as the iPhone 5 or Nokia Lumia 920), but it is a very good screen, and it is definitely the best screen I’ve ever used on a camera. I think 4.8 inches is too big for a phone, but man is it awesome on a camera. You can actually share photos with a group on this thing!

Samsung’s software is, as always, annoying. It’s not as in-your-face with a million new gestures and pop-ups and buzzword-y features that plague its Galaxy S III and Galaxy Note smartphones. It’s not wildly different from stock Android but aside from the camera interface, there’s not a single thing I like better about the changes Samsung’s made. Even the soft buttons (Menu, Home, Back) work differently on this phone than on other Android devices. Why? And the keyboard I think is pretty poor (autocorrect is unhelpful, word recognition isn’t good), though it’s very easy to download a new keyboard from Google Play.

Samsung Galaxy Camera's Camera App

Samsung Galaxy Camera’s Camera App:  Dan Nosowitz

It’s only a little awkward to use as an Android device; I’m not sure exactly how to hold it, as it’s thicker than a regular Android phone and also has the lens mount protruding. Dan Bracaglia’s solution left his finger sitting on the little door in from of the lens–not good, since that door is notorious on compact cameras for breaking or locking up, rendering the camera useless. But it’s not that hard, and I found it pretty capable for browsing Twitter or the web, checking email, and doing most other things you’d do on a smartphone. And that’s kind of an achievement in itself; this isn’t a skimped, shitty version of Android–it’s high-end, just like on a top-tier phone.

I think the camera interface is great; the new stock camera app on Android is innovative and excellent in its own right, but it doesn’t offer as many manual controls, so I think Samsung’s camera app is a perfect solution for a more capable camera. For someone who’s not an expert photographer, I really loved how Samsung guides the user through the app. And everything is done on the touchscreen; the only buttons are a shutter, a zoom toggle, and a flash trigger. That’s great for novices who are much more comfortable with navigating menus on a smartphone than navigating the airplane-cockpit-like controls of a DSLR. Everything’s right out in the open: you don’t have to guess at what a switch means, because it’s spelled out on the screen.

The sharing options are easy and intuitive; when you look through photos, the top bar gives you sharing options, and it places your most recently used sharing option in its own little spot up there. For me, that means posting to Instagram is a one-tap affair, right from the camera app. Love it.

Image quality for me is kind of an interesting beast. It will take, without question, the best Instagram photos of any device that actually has Instagram on it. (Yes, I know you can take photos with a DSLR and post them to Instagram. But that’s not really what Instagram is about.) It’s no question that the Galaxy Camera takes better shots than any smartphone I’ve ever used.

Samsung Galaxy Camera's Share Options

Samsung Galaxy Camera’s Share Options:  Dan Nosowitz

Size: But the camera is too big. For me, a camera’s physical size is second only to image quality as the most important element, and then only barely second. The Galaxy Camera is not pocketable. (I do wear skinny-ish jeans, but I can’t imagine what kind of pockets could comfortably hold it.) I actually like the hardware design a lot; it’s all plastic, but, unlike Galaxy smartphones, doesn’t feel cheap at all. It feels really well-constructed, sturdily and simply designed without getting too basic. It’s one of the most attractive gadgets Samsung’s ever made, frankly, but I would much rather it had a slightly smaller screen in return for a smaller footprint. Dan Bracaglia noted that the weight also has the benefit of stabilizing the camera; light cameras can sometimes move around too much, and he thinks Samsung “nailed” the weight.

That size means I have the camera in my bag rather than my pocket. When I’m out and about and see something I want to shoot, it’s just faster and easier to snag my phone out of my pocket than fish around in my bag. And unlike a DSLR, which takes photos that are in a completely different league than my phone, the Galaxy Camera is merely “better” than my phone. I found myself not always bothering; if I can get a B- photo with my phone, who cares about a B+ photo from the Galaxy Camera? It’s not like I’m going for an A-level photo from my DSLR.

Price: And that brings us to the most salient point in this whole review: who is the Galaxy Camera for? Its image quality is not wildly improved from a nice $200 point-and-shoot, though it is certainly a superior product, thanks to its connectivity, interface, and bonus access to all of Android. At $500, the camera is right at the very top of the price pyramid for compacts; in fact, for that price, you could snag any of several very nice mirrorless interchangeable-lens cameras from Sony, Olympus, or Panasonic, or even a low-end DSLR like last year’s Nikon D3100. All of those cameras would thoroughly trounce the Galaxy Camera on image quality, but they’re also less capable in a lot of ways.

Samsung Galaxy Camera From Side

Samsung Galaxy Camera From Side:  Dan Nosowitz

The other problem is that to get the full benefit of the Galaxy Camera, you really need to spring for the 4G LTE plan–yeah, yet another monthly bill. So it’s not even just $500–it’ll be several times that over the course of its life.

That puts us in the weird position of having a gadget that’s really cool that we can’t really recommend to anyone. It’s much better than a phone’s camera, but the device as a whole is very similar, so do you really need both, especially at this price?

In Conclusion: What’s most interesting about the Galaxy Camera is how obvious it now is that this is what consumer cameras will look like in the future. A mirrorless camera with interchangeable lenses but with this kind of connectivity and interface? That would be amazing. It’s so much easier and faster to use for non-professionals than the more traditional camera control schemes, and the sharing options are the wave of the present and future. Of course you should be able to instantly upload photos to the cloud, to Facebook and Twitter and Instagram, to email them to your friends and family, to edit them in a mobile version of Photoshop. The Galaxy Camera isn’t quite right for most people, but it’s so close. Someone’s going to do this right, and soon, so let’s just consider the Galaxy Camera a sneak preview.

On page two, read Dan Bracaglia’s take on how the Galaxy Camera is as a camera.

single page

Christine Anu Rachael Leigh Cook

Read More

12/10/2012 Daily Hardware Reviews

Dec 10



DailyTech’s roundup of hardware reviews from around the web for Monday

Audio
ASUS RoG Orion Headset @ KitGuru
CM Storm Ceres 400 Headset @ Benchmark Reviews
Plantronics GameCom Commander @ Custom PC Review
Sennheiser CX890i Headphones @ t-break
X-Mini 1.1 Capsule Speaker @ The SSD Review
Turtle Beach Ear Force Tango Headset @ t-break

Case
Cooler Master HAF-XM Case @ Technic3D
Cougar Evolution Galaxy Case @ Cowcotland
NZXT Phantom 820 Case @ Legit Reviews

Cooler
Corsair Hydro Series H60 Cooler @ Tweaktown

Display
AOC i2757FM LED IPS Screen @ Rbmods

Peripherals
Cooler Master Storm Recon @ The SSD Review
Enermax Aurora Micro Wireless Keyboard @ eTeknix
Roccat Lua Mouse @ ThinkComputers
Thermaltake eSports Level 10 M Mouse @ Techgage
Tt eSports Theron RTS Mouse @ Tweaktown

Portable
Lenovo THinkPad X12 Ultrabook @ The SSD Review

PSU
Corsair AX760 PSU @ Hardware Secrets
EVGA SuperNOVA NEX750 PSU @ TechPowerUp

Storage
ADATA DashDrive Elite HE720 500GB HDD @ eTeknix
ADATA Premier Pro SP600 128GB SSD @ BCCHardware
Kingston SSDNow V300 SSD @ The SSD Review
OCZ Agility 4 256GB SSD @ Funky Kit
XFX ProSeries 850w PSU @ HardwareHeaven

Video Cards
ASUS GeForce GTX 660 @ Bjorn3D
Club3D HD 7870 @ TechPowerup
EVGA GeForce GTX 670 @ CircuitREMIX

Andrea Thompson Jackie Chan

Read More
Page 1 of 6212345678910...203040...Last »