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Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Airtel opposes net neutrality; asks Google, Facebook to share profits
Net neutrality is one of the growing issues in a number of countries across the globe, especially in the emerging countries where Internet usage via mobile phone is going past the fixed-line web. Net neutrality basically means ISPs are supposed to treat all sorts of Internet access in the same fashion.

Indian telecom giant Bharti Airtel has come out against the net neutrality and asked the Internet companies such as Google, Yahoo! and Facebook to share their revenues for using operators’ expensive infrastructure.

Bharti Airtel's senior official Jagbir Singh recently said the telecom regulator should levy interconnection charges for data services, as it is applied for voice calls. “Today, Google, Yahoo! and others are enjoying at the cost of network operator. We are the ones investing in setting up data pipes and they make the money. There is interconnection for voice then why not for data,” he told Hindu Business Line. 

While pointing out that network is capital intensive, he further said that the telecom operators have to pay huge sums for spectrum and that the voice revenue was dipping. He also highlights that the Internet companies such as Google are enjoying valuations that are ten times of a traditional telecom player.

Airtel in India is the first telecom operator to launch LTE-based 4G services in the country. The operator reveals traffic from Web sites such as Facebook, Twitter and Google account for nearly 40 per cent of its overall data traffic.

It's notable telecom companies across the world have been pressurising the regulators to resolve this issue. The Internet companies such as Google, on the other hand, have been pushing 'network neutrality' on grounds that the Internet should be free and does not need to be controlled by regulation. Telecom operators are finding it tough to keep upgrading network to meet the rising data demands.

It's learnt that carriers in the US and UK are quite vocal against net neutrality rules. European Commission is conducting an EU-wide consultation period to gauge public opinion on net neutrality. To collect responses the EC has created a questionnaire that any European citizen can complete.

Google to replace Gmail video chat with Google+ Hangouts

Google's mailing service, Gmail, has received a series of updates this year. Apart from a neater interface and other important upgrades, Gmail has also been integrated with Google's social networking website Google+. And now the company has taken one more step towards deepening Google+ integration with Gmail – replacing the video chat with Google+ Hangouts.

Google had brought the video chat feature to Gmail in 2008 and has been an important part of the mailing service since then. “Unlike the old video chat, which was based on peer-to-peer technology, Hangouts utilise the power of Google’s network to deliver higher reliability and enhanced quality,” says the Google team in a blog post.

“You’ll be able to chat with all the same people you did before — and, in fact, with Hangouts you’ll now be able to reach them not only when they are using Gmail, but also if they are on Google+ in the browser or on their Android or iOS devices.”

Google has previously made various efforts to push its social network, and is trying to inter-link its products such as Gmail, YouTube Google Maps and other Google services. If you are logged into any of the Google products, the company says, you are automatically logged into Google+.

Incorporation of Google Hangouts will certainly improve video chatting experience on Gmail. The new feature will compete against Apple's Facetime and Microsoft's Skype.

“All Gmail users will benefit from this upgrade, but if you and the person you're chatting with also use Google+, you’ll get even more from the Hangouts experience. You'll be able to video chat with up to nine people at once, watch YouTube videos together, collaborate on Google documents and share your screen,” says the Google team while explaining the advantages of Hangouts.

Twitter rolls out 'Cashtags,' clickable ticker symbols

Twitter, the micro-blogging company recently announced a new feature that would allow users to click on ticker symbols, providing them with tweet search results about stocks and companies.

Twitter rolls out 'Cashtags,' clickable ticker symbols

The new feature essentially turns ticker symbols into clickable hashtags, or in this case, ‘cashtags’. Few hours ago, Twitter officially made the announcement via a tweet on their Twitter profile.
"Now you can click on ticker symbols like $GE on to see search results about stocks and companies".
The new Twitter cashtags will get displayed on search results, just like the @reply and the #hashtag. Generally, it's easy to track or discover the user created hashtags and tweets in the "Discover" tab. Twitter is trying to apply the same strategy for its users’ quest for real-time financial information, replacing some amount of reliance on Google and other services.

Twitter gave the example of General Electric ($GE) in their cashtag announcement tweet, and for now, we have to assume it will work with a variety of stock-exchanges.

With cashtags, if you click on Apple’s $AAPL for example, you will be directed to all of the tweets with a mention of that company. Just take a look at the image below, and you will understand how it works.

Below is the Sample of Cashtags 


Facebook ditches grid view for a mosaic-styled UI for the Photos section

With over 300 million photos being uploaded on Facebook daily, it was only time that the grid-style layout of Facebook photos would be revamped. It would seem unnatural if Facebook did not force new changes down our throats every few months. So keeping with that tradition, Facebook announced an update to its Photos section yesterday promising a mosaic-style UI layout. 

The stress on this new Facebook update is to make photographs fill up your screen space with high quality photographs. On first glance, this new update does look strikingly similar to the Google+ photo viewer.

There are now three new tabs atop the Facebook Photos section called Photos of You, Photos (that you have shared) and Albums (that you have created). If you hover your mouse on top of a photograph, you get options to highlight it, post it to your Timeline, like as well as comment on it. This integrates the photos section quite well with Facebook's Timeline.

The update will start rolling out in the coming weeks according to the Facebook release. There were no details on implementation of the same on its mobile app.

Huawei Ascend P1 smartphone

Huawei's Ascend P1 smartphone could be a true Android competitor

Watch Video of Ascend P1 Smartphone

Huawei Ascend P1 S Specifications

Model Huawei Ascend P1
Form factor Block
Networks 2G - 850/900/1800/1900
3G - 850/900/1900/2100
LTE (4G light) No
WLAN / Wi-Fi Yes
Weight 110 gram
Dimensions (HxWxD) 130 x 65 x 9mm
Battery 1800 mAh
Standby time (h) 450
Talktime (m) 480
Email Yes
Bluetooth Yes
USB Connectivity Yes
Java No
FM Radio Yes
Camera Yes
Camera resolution 8 megapixel, autofocus, dual LED flash
Camera Flash/Light Yes
Second Camera 1.3 megapixel
Video recording Yes
Touchscreen Yes
Colour display Yes
LCD Inch 4.30
Number of colours 16,700,000
Display resolution (WxH) 540 x 960 pixels
Second Display NA
Memory 1 GB RAM. 4 GB storage. Expandable up to 32 GB with microSD card
Ringtones / Music file format MP3, AAC, AMR-NB, AMR-WB, FLAC, Vorbis, HE-AACv1, HE-AACv2
MP3 Yes
Games Yes, downloadable
Calendar Yes
Voicedialing Yes
Predictive text Yes
Browser Android HTML Webkit
RSS reader Yes
Voicememo No
PC Synchronization Yes
SyncML No
CPU 1.5 GHz, dual core TI OMAP 4460 Cortex-A9
Operating System Android 4.0
Dual SIM No
Website Website 
Price historyCurrent price : GBP 369.99


USD 70 million 'organ chips' could recreate the human body 

American scientists are developing computer chips to mimic the human organs to be used for drug development and prevent the death of thousands of laboratory animals. 

Reportedly, the five-year long 'Tissue Chip for Drug Testing' programme, worth 45 million pounds (USD 70 million), is being funded by three giant US agencies. 

Scientists at the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard University will focus on the multi-organ chip device. 

Researchers at Vanderbilt University in Nashville are working on the micro-brain bioreactor, which like the organ chip will contain human cells. 

The brain is an especially difficult target for drug development because it puts up multiple natural barriers to potentially toxic molecules. 

Each 'organ' will be about the size of a computer memory stick. The clear plastic chips contain tiny hollow channels lined with living human cells. 

Japanese scientists create first swimming robot

For a team at the Tokyo University of Technology has created a 'Swumanoid' robot using a 3D scanner to perfectly map a human swimmer's physique, which has perfected the back-stroke and tries freestyle swimming.

Apart from life-saving ambitions, the Swumanoid can be useful in helping research into swimming. 

The team, led by associate professor Motomu Nakashima, hopes that eventually robots like the Swumanoid can act as robot lifeguards, patrolling our shores and helping swimmers in distress, the 'Daily Mail' reported. It is difficult to secure motion-sensing pads to swimmers in the water, and it is also difficult for swimmers to perfectly repeat repetitive actions over and over. 

Swumanoids can do this well, helping researchers measure various elements like the force required to propel swimmers through the water. 

The research team created Swumanoid by using a 3D scanner to perfectly map a human swimmer's physique. These measurements were used to create the robot, with 20 waterproof, computer-controlled motors providing the swimming  motion. 

The robot can currently swim the backstroke and the front crawl, but he will need a new pair of legs before he can tackle the breast-stroke. 

However, with a pace of six metres per second, Swumanoid swims at just a third of the fastest human world record.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Madhya Pradesh to link maximum public service with Information Technology
BHOPAL: Madhya Pradesh government has initiated an exercise to link maximum number of public services with information technology.

State's Public Service Management Department principal secretary Iqbal Singh Bains said an initiative was being taken to use information technology in delivery of maximum number of public services.

However, the biggest challenge is change in the mind-set of officers and employees in adopting new technologies About 350 Public Service Centres will come into existence soon.

Information Technology secretary Hariranjan Rao said that the Union Government has included Madhya Pradesh among the first five states for maximum use of information technology. He said steps were being taken to provide e-service, including digital signatures, to enhance efficiency in public utility services.

China Becomes Latest Nation to Launch Dedicated 3D TV Channel

China has launched its first dedicated 3D TV channel, making it the latest in a line of countries hopping onboard the 3D bandwagon. Sky launched the first ever dedicated 3DTV channel in Europe in 2010, while viewers in Japan, South Korea, India, Australia, America and Latin America can all enjoy dedicated 3D channels at home now too.

Google unveils new ultra-high speed internet

After more than two years of anticipation, Google finally announced on Thursday that the company's ultra-high speed internet service Google Fiber would become available to the residents of its test community Kansas City starting in September.

Offering an internet connectivity speed of one gigabit per second, Google said the service will be about 100 times faster than the speed most Americans have with current broadband connections, reported Xinhua.

Instead of a broadband connection, Google Fiber is composed of thin optical fiber lines that run directly from a person's home to a data centre, which is then in turn connected to the national internet backbone.

According to Google, it is this "direct connection" from a person's home to the national backbone that will allow users to experience such high internet speeds.

Google said it was inspired to develop Google Fiber in line with the Federal Communication Commission's 2010 National Broadband Plan, which calls for making high speed internet more widely available in the US.

Despite the fact that internet was invented in the US, according to content delivery network Akamai's 2011 State of the Internet report, the US ranks only 12th globally in internet connection speed, with an average connection of 5.8 megabits per second. South Korea ranks first, with an average speed of 17.5 megabits per second.

In an interview on telephone, Google Fiber spokesperson Jenna Wandres told Xinhua that Google had already done advocacy work around the development of the National Broadband Plan and improving US internet connectivity, and that it set the stage for the company to do even more once the Plan was released.

Wandres added Google hoped greater internet accessibility and speed could additionally lead to more technological innovation, and set the stage for the future of internet browsing.

"When we think back about the way we used to use the internet when we were still listening to a dial tone, there were all sorts of innovations that we couldn't even imagine - we were sitting waiting for it to dial in," Wandres said, comparing how much the internet had changed since it was first developed

"We're hoping that with Google Fiber and its higher speeds, these things will lead to new and unpredictable innovations that as a whole will move the web forward in the US," she added.

After months of laying the infrastructure and groundwork, Google Fiber will finally start home-installation after the pre-registration deadline Sep 9. The internet service is priced at $70 a month, which is competitive with most US broadband internet providers.

Google also announced the new internet service could be paired with a television component, Google Fiber TV, which Google says will include regular broadcast channels and thousands of TV shows on demand.

Although Google already owns video-sharing site YouTube, it will be the company's first venture into serving as a television provider.

The Google Fiber project first started in February 2010, when Google announced that the company planned to build an ultra-high speed internet network in a select US city that was willing to partner with them.

According to Google, the response was overwhelming. The company received invitations from almost 1,100 US communities and close to 200,000 individuals, all expressing their desire for faster internet service. Some cities even tried doing stunts hoping to attract the Google Fiber project, with one city mayor even jumping into a frozen river and posting the request on YouTube.

Ultimately, the Midwest community of Kansas City was chosen as the Google Fiber launch site in spring 2011. According to Wandres, Kansas City was chosen because of its business-friendly infrastructure, community involvement, and supportive officials.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Hackers develop new ways to attack Android phones
Hacking experts on Wednesday demonstrated ways to attack Android smartphones using methods they said work on virtually all such devices in use today, despite recent efforts by search engine giant Google to boost protection. Experts showed off their prowess at the Black Hat hacking conference in Las Vegas, where some 6,500 corporate and government security technology workers gathered to learn about emerging threats to their networks.
"Google is making progress, but the authors of malicious software are moving forward," said Sean Schulte of Trustwave's SpiderLabs.

Google spokeswoman Gina Scigliano declined to comment on the security concerns or the new research.

Accuvant researcher Charlie Miller demonstrated a method for delivering malicious code to Android phones using a new Android feature known as near field communications.

"I can take over your phone," Miller said.

Near field communications allow users to share photos with friends, make payments or exchange other data by bringing Android phones within a few centimeters of similarly equipped devices such as another phone or a payment terminal.

Miller said he figured out how to create a device the size of a postage stamp that could be stuck in an inconspicuous place such as near a cash register at a restaurant. When an Android user walks by, the phone would get infected, said Miller.

He spent five years as a global network exploit analyst at the U.S. National Security Agency, where his tasks included breaking into foreign computer systems.

Wild west
Miller and another hacking expert, Georg Wicherski of CrowdStrike, have also infected an Android phone with a piece of malicious code that Wicherski unveiled in February.

That piece of software exploits a security flaw in the Android browser that was publicly disclosed by Google's Chrome browser development team, according to Wicherski.

Google has fixed the flaw in Chrome, which is frequently updated, so that most users are now protected, he said.

But Wicherski said Android users are still vulnerable because carriers and device manufacturers have not pushed those fixes or patches out to users.

Marc Maiffret, chief technology officer of the security firm BeyondTrust, said: "Google has added some great security features, but nobody has them."

Experts say iPhones and iPads don't face the same problem because Apple has been able to get carriers to push out security updates fairly quickly after they are released.

Two Trustwave researchers told attendees about a technique they discovered for evading Google's "Bouncer" technology for identifying malicious programs in its Google Play Store.

They created a text-message blocking application that uses a legitimate programming tool known as java script bridge. Java script bridge lets developers remotely add new features to a program without using the normal Android update process.

Companies including Facebook (FB.O) and LinkedIn (LNKD.N) use java script bridge for legitimate purposes, according to Trustwave, but it could also be exploited maliciously.

To prove their point, they loaded malicious code onto one of their phones and remotely gained control of the browser. Once they did that, they could force it to download more code and grant them total control.

"Hopefully Google can solve the problem quickly," said Nicholas Percoco, senior vice president of Trustwave's SpiderLabs. "For now, Android is the Wild West."

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Indian Railways and IIT-Kanpur developed the Real-Time Train Running Information System
A joint team of Indian railways and IIT-Kanpur developed the real-time train running information system, a technology which will help a mobile user to get the information about the exact location of a train. Under the new technology the user will have to type the train number and SMS it to 09415139139 or 09664139139 for getting the exact location of a train on real-time basis.

The satelite-based train tracking system was jointly developed by the Centre For Railway Information Systems (CRIS), the IT arm of Indian railways and Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Kanpur to overcome the limitations of the existing Train Running Information System.

At present the real-time train running information system service covers 36 pairs of premier trains. Some of the trains which have been provided with the new technology include Mumbai Rajdhani, Howrah Rajdhani, Dibrugarh Rajdhani, Sealdah Duronto and Shatabdi trains for Bhopal, Kanpur and Amritsar.

The Indian Railway has allocated 121 crore rupees for the project and the service is likely to be extended to all major trains over the next 18 months. The Indian Railways has received the permission from the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) to operate the system through its satellite. The railways department, however, sought fresh order from ISRO, to extend the facility to other major trains.