Thursday, 29 May 2014

Microsoft Smartwatch Will Continuously Measure Heart Rate

Microsoft is planning to launch a new smartwatch that will be compatible with iOS, Android and Windows Phone devices, according to a new report.

The watch will reportedly have heart rate monitoring capabilities and a two-day battery life.

Citing "multiple sources with knowledge of the company's plans," Forbes reports the watch will rely on technology used by Xbox Kinect engineers to enable the watch to track its wearer's heart rate at all times.

A spokesperson for Microsoft declined Mashable's request to comment but a recently granted patent indicates Microsoft could indeed be working on such a device. That patent, first filed in 2012, depicts a smartwatch with heart-rate and fitness tracking capabilities.

The report comes one day after Samsung announced its plans for Simband, a fitness tracking wristband that will also be able to continuously monitor a user's heartbeat.

It's not known when the watch may be released but Forbes reports the company may be eyeing a summer launch date. Though Microsoft has made little mention of its strategy for wearables, the company announced earlier this year it would not be charging developers to use Windows on devices with screens smaller than 9 inches, including wearables. The first software development kit for Windows on Devices, Microsoft's platform for connected devices (i.e. the "Internet of Things"), is planned for late Spring.
Posted by : Gizmeon

Samsung Shows Off Simband, a Futuristic Health Tracker

Samsung Shows Off Simband, a Futuristic Health Tracker

Hoping to take the lead in the race to build the ultimate wearable device, Samsung offered a sneak peak Wednesday at its next-generation health-tracking wristband, known as the Simband.

Using different wavelengths of light beamed at your skin, Simband will track multiple measures of its wearer's health continuously, such as blood pressure, respiration, heart rate, hydration level, and the amount of carbon dioxide in your blood.

The one Simband demonstrated on stage at Samsung's "Voice of the Body" event in San Francisco showed a continuous stream of heartbeat information, seismograph-style, such as one might see on a hospital-grade ECG machine. A "shuttle battery" will allow you to wear the device 24 hours a day, charging it on your wrist while you sleep.

The still-speculative Simband is designed around a new open software platform called SAMI, for Samsung Architecture Multimodal Interactions. The company described it as one health platform to rule them all, bringing in information from non-Samsung health trackers too. Samsung says it will release SAMI APIs for developers by the end of the year.

"We believe that once we’re working from a common platform, sensors will become more accurate, and will be brought to market more quickly," said Ram Fish, president of digital health for Samsung Electronics. He added that SAMI will exist as a "compliment" to Samsung's already existing S Health platform.

No price or release date was offered for what was described as an "investigational device." Given that Apple is said to be announcing a health-tracking platform called HealthBook next week, the timing of Samsung's announcement suggests the company is staking its claim to the next-generation wearable space first.
Posted by : Gizmeon

Tuesday, 27 May 2014

Google Unveils Self-Driving Car Prototype

Google Unveils Self-Driving Car Prototype

RANCHOS PALOS VERDES, Calif. — Google has been building self-driving cars for years, but what we've seen so far has always been retrofits of existing cars — until now. The search giant unveiled on Tuesday a fully autonomous self-driving car, built from the ground up by Google and its partners.

Company co-founder Sergey Brin revealed his plans at Recode's Code Conference in southern California. He told Recode editors Walt Mossberg and Kara Swisher (who has ridden in the car), that there's a safety benefit in a custom-built self-driving car. Because the car doesn't have a steering wheel, accelerator or brakes, it has more sensors in strategic spots than is possible in a regular vehicle. It is also equipped with a big "stop" button. In addition to all this tech, Google's autonomous car includes internal power steering and power brakes.

"It was inspiring to start with a blank sheet of paper and ask, 'What should be different about this kind of vehicle?'" Chris Urmson, director of the Self-Driving Car Project, wrote in a blog post about the new car.

Swisher said riding in the all-electric car was like going on a Disney ride. Considering it currently has a maximum speed of roughly 25 mph, this makes sense. Brin described riding in the car, which in one test was programmed via smartphone, as "relaxing," and similar to catching a chairlift. He added that the car will eventually go up to 100 mph once it's proven to be able to travel safely at that speed.

As for when the cars — which are significantly smaller than traditional cars and include couch-like seating — might actually make it to real highways, Brin said Google will soon test them with drivers. "Within a couple of years, we'll — if we’ve passed the safety metrics we've put in place, which is to be significantly safer than a human driver ... have them on the road," he said.

Posted by : Gizmeon

Microsoft Unveils Real-Time Speech Translation for Skype

Microsoft Unveils Real-Time Speech Translation for Skype

RANCHO PALOS VERDES, California — Microsoft's new CEO, Satya Nadella, just steered the company into exciting and relatively uncharted territory: near real-time speech-to-speech translation.

"It’s been a dream of humanity ever since we started to speak and we wanted to cross the language boundary," said Nadella.

Speaking at Re/Code's inaugural Code Conference (formerly the "D Conference") in Southern California, Nadella and Skype Corporate VP Gurdeep Singh Pall made a Skype call to a non-English-speaking German friend. Then both parties spoke to and understood each other thanks to the live translation capabilities of the Skype Translator pre-beta.

"No one else does this," Pall told me, adding, "It's the first time something like this has been attempted." And it’s probably something we need.

English is not the most commonly spoken language in the world. By some estimates, it's third behind Chinese (and all its variants) and Hindi. However, our increasingly globalized society all but demands that we find a way to communicate across language barriers. Skype already, by Microsoft’s measure, boasts more than 300 million active members and handles roughly one third of international call traffic. Imagine what it could do with built-in voice translation.

Microsoft is not new to the speech recognition game. You'll find the same technology in the recently launched Cortana personal assistant in Windows Phone 8.1 and in the speech recognition that been live on Xbox 360, and now Xbox One, for over a year. Skype Translator, which comes out of Microsoft Research, is actually three technologies: speech recognition, text-to-speech and machine translation.

“The Skype community is big — REALLY big," wrote Peter Lee, Head of Microsoft Research in an email to Mashable."To make Skype Translator a reality, it needed great research to get the science right, and great engineering to make it practical and scalable."

Here's how Skype Translator works: Speaker A starts talking. Skype Translator recognizes the words and actually transcribes them into text. The text transcription of Speaker A is then translated into the language of Speaker B. It's then voice-synthesized into Speaker B's language.

This sounds slow, and Pall told me you do wait a little for the translation to happen. However, he insists that this is not a "tech latency problem." The process can go quite fast, but since there is a video component here, the system works to make it all seem natural.
While Speaker A is talking, Speaker B will actually hear their voice, at a lower volume, even as Skype Translator begins to do its work and starts delivering translated, spoken words. Moreover, the system is looking for natural pauses or, as Pall explained it, "silence detection," in speech to start translating. The length of time it takes to translate is totally dependent on the length of the sentence or phrase. The alternative would have been to have the speaker hold a button while speaking and let it go when they wanted to deliver a sentence or phrase. This approach should be more natural.

As for how Skype Translate knows which languages to use, you'll set your preferred language in preferences. No on-the-fly language detection, for now.

Like other speech systems, Skype Translator will learn over time and its translation and speech may improve. It will, however, be a little while before we're calling our cousins in Italy and saying in their native tongue, "Come stai amico mio?" Skype Translator will appear as a standalone Windows 8.1 app later this year. The goal is to bake it into Skype proper on all platforms, though Microsoft has not set a timetable this full-scale rollout.

 Posted by : Gizmeon

Water your body, the app way

Android apps

This app has been downloaded by about 20,000 people it is currently rated 4.5 out of 5 on Google Play.

Water helps the human body flush out waste, regulate temperature and keep it functioning properly. Through various bodily functions like breathing, sweating and urination, the body loses water and hence needs hydration at regular intervals. An average human being should drink at least 8-10 glasses of water a day. But often we forget to do so. Now, with the Water Your Body app, you can keep track of your intake.
Install this free Android app from the Google Play store. Once installed, the app asks your weight and determines your daily water requirement. It features a customizable cup in Imperial (oz) or Metric (ml) units. It allows you to set a start and end time for drinking water. Once set, it offers you graphs and logs to track your intake.

You can use this as an hourly drinking reminder. Have a cup each time you hear it play the sound of water being poured into a glass. You can also make use of the app by logging in your drinking activity.

How to track

When you open the app, the daily activity area shows your current weight, and below it the amount of water consumed/the amount you are required to consume. For example, if you weigh 65kg, the app suggests you consume 2145ml daily. Choose your default cup size from four options – 300ml, 400ml, 600ml and 700ml (or add your own size). At each intake, tap the plus button to add to the day’s consumption. At the end of the day, check whether you have reached the target.

The second tab provides a detailed graph of your monthly consumption. The third tab shows your log for the day and time of consumption. This data can be deleted by tapping on it. In the settings tab, you can edit display hours, date format and notification sounds.

This app has been downloaded by about 20,000 people it is currently rated 4.5 out of 5 on Google Play. Free on Android, it costs Rs.55 for iOS users. Try out this useful app soon.

Posted by : Gizmeon

10 Programming Languages You Should Learn in 2014


The tech sector is booming. If you've used a smartphone or logged on to a computer at least once in the last few years, you've probably noticed this.

As a result, coding skills are in high demand, with programming jobs paying significantly more than the average position. Even beyond the tech world, an understanding of at least one programming language makes an impressive addition to any resumé.

The in-vogue languages vary by employment sector. Financial and enterprise systems need to perform complicated functions and remain highly organized, requiring languages like Java and C#. Media- and design-related webpages and software will require dynamic, versatile and functional languages with minimal code, such as Ruby, PHP, JavaScript and Objective-C.

We've compiled a list of 10 of the most sought-after programming languages to get you up to speed.

1. Java
What it is: Java is a class-based, object-oriented programming language developed by Sun Microsystems in the 1990s. It's one of the most in-demand programming languages, a standard for enterprise software, web-based content, games and mobile apps, as well as the Android operating system. Java is designed to work across multiple software platforms, meaning a program written on Mac OS X, for example, could also run on Windows.

2. C Language
What it is: A general-purpose, imperative programming language developed in the early '70s, C is the oldest and most widely used language, providing the building blocks for other popular languages, such as C#, Java, JavaScript and Python. C is mostly used for implementing operating systems and embedded applications.
Because it provides the foundation for many other languages, it is advisable to learn C (and C++) before moving on to others.

3. C++
What it is: C++ is an intermediate-level language with object-oriented programming features, originally designed to enhance the C language. C++ powers major software like Firefox, Winamp and Adobe programs. It's used to develop systems software, application software, high-performance server and client applications and video games.

4. C#
What it is: Pronounced "C-sharp," C# is a multi-paradigm language developed by Microsoft as part of its .NET initiative. Combining principles from C and C++, C# is a general-purpose language used to develop software for Microsoft and Windows platforms.
5. Objective-C
What it is: Objective-C is a general-purpose, object-oriented programming language used by the Apple operating system. It powers Apple's OS X and iOS, as well as its APIs, and can be used to create iPhone apps, which has generated a huge demand for this once-outmoded programming language.

6. PHP
What it is: PHP (Hypertext Processor) is a free, server-side scripting language designed for dynamic websites and app development. It can be directly embedded into an HTML source document rather than an external file, which has made it a popular programming language for web developers. PHP powers more than 200 million websites, including Wordpress, Digg and Facebook.

7. Python
What it is: Python is a high-level, server-side scripting language for websites and mobile apps. It's considered a fairly easy language for beginners due to its readability and compact syntax, meaning developers can use fewer lines of code to express a concept than they would in other languages. It powers the web apps for Instagram, Pinterest and Rdio through its associated web framework, Django, and is used by Google, Yahoo! and NASA.

8. Ruby
What it is: A dynamic, object-oriented scripting language for developing websites and mobile apps, Ruby was designed to be simple and easy to write. It powers the Ruby on Rails (or Rails) framework, which is used on Scribd, GitHub, Groupon and Shopify. Like Python, Ruby is considered a fairly user-friendly language for beginners.

9. JavaScript
What it is: JavaScript is a client and server-side scripting language developed by Netscape that derives much of its syntax from C. It can be used across multiple web browsers and is considered essential for developing interactive or animated web functions. It is also used in game development and writing desktop applications. JavaScript interpreters are embedded in Google's Chrome extensions, Apple's Safari extensions, Adobe Acrobat and Reader, and Adobe's Creative Suite.

10. SQL
What it is: Structured Query Language (SQL) is a special-purpose language for managing data in relational database management systems. It is most commonly used for its "Query" function, which searches informational databases. SQL was standardized by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) and the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) in the 1980s.
Posted by : Gizmeon

Monday, 26 May 2014

Samsung Developing Smartwatch That Works Without a Smartphone

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Samsung is reportedly working on a smartwatch that doesn't need to sync with a smartphone in order to work.

The Wall Street Journal reports that the South Korean manufacturer is in talks with various telecommunications carriers that would turn the device into a phone itself. Users will be able to make calls directly on the device and by holding up the wrist to the mouth.

Smartwatches have long been heralded as the next big "it" category in tech, with strong projection growth for 2014 and the years ahead. Although most on the market right now need to be tethered to a smartphone to receive phone calls, send text messages, check email and use other features, Samsung has its sights set on creating a smartwatch that doesn't need a smartphone to work.

The watch-phone will reportedly run on Samsung's own Tizen smartwatch operating system. It remains unclear what the product will be called.

Samsung's first crack at the smartwatch market with its Galaxy Gear device got off to a bumpy start, but its second-generation Gear 2 is lighter, thinner and more powerful — overall, it works better than the previous model.
The watch-phone is said to launch in June or July.

Posted by : Gizmeon

Sunday, 25 May 2014

Report: Google Close to Acquiring Skybox Imaging for $1 Billion

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Google may have its eyes set on yet another billion-dollar acquisition. The search giant is said to be nearing an acquisition of Skybox Imaging, a company that provides high-resolution satellite imager, for around $1 billion, according to a report in TechCrunch. The two companies have reportedly had several rounds of talks.

The Information reported last month that Google was in early talks to acquire Skybox. The potential price tag was not included in that report, though the publication noted that Skybox was in talks to raise a round of funding at a valuation in the "hundreds of millions."

Google and Facebook have both pursued satellite businesses in recent months. Google purchased Titan Aerospace in April to help expand Internet access to new regions and, some speculated, to help with Google Maps.

The Skybox acquisition could be useful for Maps as well. Skybox, founded in 2009, provides near real-time images and videos to businesses to help them make more informed decisions. For example, one might use Skybox to get a clearer sense of crop production or to get a sense of consumer demand based on the number of cars in a parking lot.

Posted by : Gizmeon

Friday, 23 May 2014

EBay Users Still at Risk After Cyberattack, Even If They Change Passwords

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When eBay admitted Wednesday that it had been the victim of a cyberattack, the company asked all of its 145 million active users to change their passwords. But the intruders had access to a customer database that also included other personal information, including names, mailing addresses and dates of birth — data that can't so easily be changed.
The good news is that eBay says that no financial or credit card information was compromised. Financial data was stored on separate systems, and eBay says there's no evidence that any PayPal data was compromised. The bad news is that the data that was compromised was still important.
EBay representatives told Mashable the company had no idea how many of its 145 million active accounts were seen by the intruders. Millions more inactive accounts could also be affected.
The company said that the attack occurred between late February and March, and that the following information was accessible to the hackers:
Customer name
Encrypted password
Email address
Physical address
Phone number
Date of birth
That's a lot of important information. In fact, as the attack against Wired reporter Mat Honan demonstrated, access to just a bit of personal information — like a phone number, email and physical address — paired with good old-fashioned social engineering can lead to massive amounts of damage.
Many password-reset questions involve a birthday, phone number and physical address. At the very least, this sort of data would make it easy for criminals attempting to bypass security settings. It could also be used to aid identity-theft schemes.
Already, as researcher Ashkan Soltani notes, at least one person claims to be selling the alleged user database. The person in question wants 1.453 BTC (about $753) in exchange for access to a supposed 145,312,663 unique records. But it seems to be a fake, based on eBay's response:
Still, it seems more likely than not that at least some of the stolen information will make its way to various underground markets that deal in exchanging personal data.
Be aware of email and phone scams
Security reporter Brian Krebs says it's quite likely that the email addresses on this list will receive more spam. He says that spam will "probably include phishing attacks aimed at stealing login information and/or spreading malware."
Krebs believes this kind of database would be "a gold mine for telephone-based scam artists."
Adds Krebs: "Armed with just bits of information about people, scam artists can often dramatically improve the success of schemes that try to trick people into giving away more personal and financial data."
Not all data encrypted
For me, the most concerning aspect of this attack was that the only information eBay encrypted in its database was the user password. Depending on the type of cryptography scheme used, cracking those passwords may be very difficult or very easy for an attacker. Still, at least the passwords had some form of encryption.
It's shocking that names, phone numbers, dates of birth, email addresses and home addresses were not only not encrypted — but stored in plain text. And keep in mind, this data is not optional. In order to sign up for an eBay account, a user must provide a name, address and phone number. If you want to sell anything on eBay, you must provide a birthdate showing you are over 18.
So for those 145 million active eBay accounts, users had no choice of what information to give the company. It's shocking that eBay would choose not to encrypt that kind of sensitive information.
A call for data security standards?
Cyberattacks are increasing all the time. Nearly every week, we hear about yet another data breach or password reset opportunity. But passwords and credit card data are only one part of the problem.
For privacy advocates, the fact that so many services and companies require access to so much personal information is already disconcerting. But even if you put privacy issues aside, is it time to start forcing companies to store personal information in a secure manner?
There are already industry standards around how payment information can be stored and secured. Maybe it's time we start requiring online services to treat our personal information with similar reverence.
A user can change her password. She might not do it as often as she should, but a password can be changed. Once treasure troves of identifiable information are available — especially when the information linked to an online identity — that's something the user can't control.
Credit cards and banks offer protection against fraud. That same type of protection isn't available for identity theft (and what is available is costly in time and money).
If billion-dollar companies want us to give up our personal information, shouldn't we make sure they are going to protect it?
Have something to add to this story? Share it in the comments.
Posted by : Gizmeon

Thursday, 22 May 2014

Mumbai eatery delivers pizza using a drone

Technology blog

The financial capital, notorious for its traffic snarls, has achieved a first in the country after a city-based pizza outlet used an unmanned drone to execute a delivery by taking the aerial route recently.

"All of us had read about (global e-commerce giant) Amazon's plans of using drones. We successfully carried out a test-delivery by sending a pizza to a customer located 1.5 km away from our outlet on May 11," Francesco's Pizzeria chief executive Mikhel Rajani said on Wednesday.

He stressed that this was only a test-flight but its results confirm that it can be used routinely in a few years.
A four-rotor drone took off with the order from its outlet in central Mumbai's Lower Parel area and delivered it to a high-rise building in adjacent Worli area, Rajani said, claiming that it is for the first time that the ubiquitous drone has been used for such a purpose in the country.

The eatery, which has been in operations for two years, has made a video of the delivery, he said, adding an auto engineer friend helped with making the flight possible.

Rajani, who comes from a family that is into textiles, said the drone saves time and costs for a company like his, which would otherwise depend on a two-wheeler borne agent to deliver the pizzas.

"What we have done now will be common place in the next four-five years," he said, adding every such customised drone costs around USD 2,000.

At present, there are certain restrictions on the regulatory front like the drone not allowed to fly above 400 ft altitude and barred from flying over security establishments, he said, adding the American Federal Aviation Authority's regulations on usage of drones, expected next year, will help.

Apart from that there are technical difficulties like a limited operating radius of 8 km after which the batteries go dry, he said, adding proper infrastructure like having charging stations can help.

Even though the four-rotor version drone had a limited carrying capacity, he said the payload capacity can be increased to up to 8 kg in case of a an eight-rotor drone.

Beyond the strategic applications, the drones are increasingly being used for a cross variety of purposes especially the ones centred around getting aerial imagery like getting videos at weddings, political rallies etc.
At present, Rajani said, the drones are being operated manually but added in future, we can have drones fly by themselves on predetermined flight paths made using GPS data.

During the test-flight, the drone picked up a box containing the pizza but bigger drones will be easily able to lift the special flask box which can protect the pizza from the atmospheric elements, he said.

Posted by : Gizmeon

Wednesday, 21 May 2014

Oracle set to launch in-memory database option

Oracle Development in Bangalore

Oracle could be gearing up to make an anticipated in-memory computing option for its flagship 12c database generally available after hyping it for the better part of a year, judging from an upcoming appearance by CEO Larry Ellison.

On June 10, Ellison will host a webcast titled "The Future of the Database Begins Soon," which will focus on the in-memory option. "It will be possible to perform TRUE real-time, ad-hoc, analytic queries on your organization's business data as it exists at that moment and receive the results immediately," the notice for the webcast states.

"Imagine your sales team being able to know the total sales they have made as of right now -- not last week, or even last night, but right now. "That focus on business scenarios is a shift from some of the messaging Ellison used when discussing the in-memory option at the OpenWorld conference in September.

There, he primarily talked up the "ungodly" performance gains the in-memory technology will provide to existing applications built on Oracle's database. "Flip a switch and all of your applications run much, much faster," he said at the time. "Every application you wrote, every application you bought, runs without a single change."

The in-memory option will speed up both analytic and transaction processing workloads, Oracle has said. In-memory databases place information in RAM, rather than reading it off of slower disk storage, providing those performance gains.

Oracle has had in-memory technology for years, such as TimesTen, but hasn't made the approach a central part of its database strategy until now.

During Oracle's third-quarter earnings call in March, Ellison said the in-memory option could be launched as late as August, but the webcast's timing could indicate the company's development teams are ahead of schedule.

"We encourage you to attend the June 10 event for specifics of the announcement," an Oracle spokeswoman said when asked whether Ellison will announce the general availability of the product.

The in-memory option will give Oracle a primary weapon to fend off defections to SAP's Hana in-memory database. Many SAP customers run the vendor's Business Suite software on Oracle; SAP has ported the Suite to run on Hana and is encouraging customers to make the switch.

The move will also help Oracle keep pace with Microsoft, Teradata, IBM and a number of smaller companies that are also pushing in-memory database technologies.

In addition, the in-memory option could help drive uptake of 12c from customers still running earlier database versions, such as 11g Release 2.Hundreds of customers have been testing the feature, Ellison said during the third-quarter earnings call.

Typically, most Oracle database customers wait until the second major release of a product cycle to upgrade, preferring to let early adopters deal with any lingering bugs.

But between the in-memory option and a previously released multitenancy feature, "we think 12c will be the most rapidly adopted feature in many years," Ellison said on the call.

Posted by : Gizmeon

Tuesday, 20 May 2014

Japan's Uniqlo Lets You Design Your Own T-Shirts via Smartphone

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Japanese apparel maker Uniqlo is no stranger to integrating technology into its unique marketing campaigns. But a new promotion goes several steps further by allowing consumers to design their own clothes, using a smartphone app.

Dubbed UTme!, the app enables users to take a photo, type text or draw a design, then have that design uploaded to the Uniqlo website, and placed on a shirt they can purchase for 1,990 yen (about $20).

But if a simple image or text message is too pedestrian for your tastes, the app has another function that lets the user shake their smartphone to randomly apply additional effects. Rather than offering potentially cheesy visual elements, the effects inject distinct design flourishes that give even the simplest graphics a touch of professional-looking artistry.

However, there is the potential for image-copyright violations, as well as what some might consider inappropriate (read: NSFW) images uploaded to Uniqlo's website.

On the Japanese version of its website, under terms and conditions, the company outlines its rules against using copyrighted material. However, it remains unclear whether or not Uniqlo will directly police user uploads for such material. The company did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Launched on Sunday, the UTme! app is available for both Android and iOS devices.

Posted by : Gizmeon

Box Rolls Out Faster Android App With Free Storage for Some Users

Earlier this year, Box unveiled a series of new tools for developers, including new and faster ways to display documents. Now it looks as though the company is expanding some of those features beyond its enterprise customers.

Box rolled out a major update to its Android app Tuesday, adding improved image galleries and search tools, a new document viewer and free storage for some users.

The latest version of the app sports a completely redesigned user interface with new menus and gesture controls.

"We overhauled menus throughout the app, introduced a swipe menu on every item to get to actions even faster, and added touches like a new user tour and information headers on each folder," Box's product manager of Mobile, Simon Tan said in a blog post.

The new app emphasizes speed with new image galleries that allows users to quickly view all of their saved images without waiting for full-sized versions to load, similar to Dropbox's Carousel app.

The latest version of Box also comes with an improved document viewer that enables users to preview Powerpoint presentations and search within documents directly from their device. Box showed off similar tools at its developer conference earlier this year when it announced its new Box View tool that makes it easier for developers to build customized document viewers.

The company also announced it was expanding its partnership with LG. LG's flagship G-series handsets will now come pre-loaded with the Box Android app and new and existing Box users in the U.S., Western Europe and South Korea, who own a G-series device, will receive 50 GB of free storage for one year.

Box offered a similar promotion earlier this year when the company updated its iOS app and offered up to 50 GB of free storage to new and existing users with the update.

Posted by : Gizmeon

Monday, 19 May 2014

'World's First' Braille Phone Is Now on Sale

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UK-based OwnFone, a company that lets users design their own mobile devices, introduced what it's calling the world's first Braille phone.

OwnFone users can now create a phone with Braille buttons, starting at $100 (60 British pounds), according to the BBC.

Previously, OwnFone users could only include "word buttons" (featuring contacts' names) or "image buttons" (featuring contacts' photos) as part of their keyboard. The Braille option is new to both OwnFone and mobile phones in general: While other companies have designed Braille phones before, OwnFone claims its device is the first one to go on sale, the BBC reported.

As of last week, users can add two or four Braille buttons that are pre-programmed to call family and friends. There is also the option of including a emergency-services button, which must be pressed three times to go through.

The target demographic for OwnFones is typically seniors and children. The device, which comes with a 3D-printed keyboard, is the size of a credit card and is made-to-order. Users can select from a collection of background designs and exterior colors.

The OwnFone also claims to have long battery life, promising that it will last up to a year in standby mode.

Although India-based startup Kriyate came out with a Braille-phone prototype last year, OwnFone's model is the first to hit the market. It's on sale now at
Posted by : Gizmeon

Best Buy Offers $100 Credit on Samsung Galaxy S5

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True to its namesake, Best Buy might actually be the best option when it comes to purchasing the Samsung Galaxy S5.

From May 18 to May 31, shoppers looking to buy the Samsung Galaxy S5 can earn a $100 trade-in gift card for trading in any working smartphone at Best Buy as a part of the store's new promotion.

This promotion is only available in-store and upon purchasing a Samsung Galaxy S5 with a two-year agreement. The deal applies to any Samsung Galaxy S5 from AT&T, Verizon and Sprint. If you purchase a Samsung Galaxy S5 with a two-year agreement online, you will receive a $50 gift card via email.

The trade-in smartphone must be able to power on, free from water damage and show no cracks on the screen.

If you're a Verizon subscriber, you can further reduce the cost of the Samsung Galaxy S5 from $200 (full price) to $50. Verizon is running a $50 trade-in deal in addition to Best Buy's $100 trade-in offer.

However, buying the Samsung Galaxy S5 at all is the real decision you'll have to make. Despite the numerous new features including a heart-rate monitor, fingerprint sensor and an "autofocus" camera, the smartphone didn't stand out much from its competitors, according to our reviewers.

Still, the significantly reduced cost might make a purchase worth it.
Posted by : Gizmeon

Facebook Introduces New Way to Flirt With Relationship 'Ask' Button

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If you've been eyeing someone on Facebook whose profile doesn't list a relationship status, the company is making it easier (or possibly more awkward) to find out if he or she's single.

Facebook has rolled out a new "ask" feature for those profile pages that don't list relationship statuses. The owner of the page doesn't see the button — only the person who is checking out the page.

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By clicking "ask," you must send the user a message related to the status (such as "want to grab a drink sometime?"), as well as a request to list a status as single, engaged, married or in a civil union. Note: users must be friends with the person in order for the "ask" button to appear.

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The owner of the Facebook page then receives a request to list select a status that only the sender can see. This means your status can remain private but visible to only those who "ask" for that information, if you so wish to divulge it.

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It's also possible to update your entire network with this information too, but Facebook is probably guessing — correctly — that you'd simply list your status already if you wanted everyone to know.
The feature introduces a new way to use Facebook as a way to find dates. With the continuing success of online dating sites, and Facebook's massive user base, the only surprise here is that the feature wasn't introduced sooner.

A user's relationship status can also be of use to marketers that target products or services to certain demographics. By answering an "ask" request, a Facebook member is telling the site their status (even if it's not visible to the public) and in turn, giving the company that personal data.

It's also possible to "ask" for other unlisted information too, such as phone numbers, email addresses, current city, hometown and place of employment. That part of the "ask" feature started popping up on mobile and desktop versions of the site a few months ago, but the relationship status component is new.

Posted by : Gizmeon

Sunday, 18 May 2014

Solid Networking Advice for Entrepreneurs

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As most professionals and job seekers know, networking plays a huge role in helping you achieve your career goals. But strong industry connections can be beneficial to entrepreneurs, too: According to a recent survey by Dell and small business community Manta, one in five small business owners made networking their top priority when they first launched their startups.

"The phrase 'knowledge is power' is not a cliché," said John Swanciger, Manta's CEO. "New and aspiring business owners need to network to gather as much information about prospects, competitors and the industries they are targeting in order to make the strategic decisions that will set them up for success."

"Business is about people," added Anna Urban, co-founder and creative director of Aviva Hair Revitalizer. "It starts with an idea, and gets off the ground with networking. Whether you're looking for customers, help or information, it's all much easier to achieve when you start connecting."

Trade shows and industry events are the most common networking opportunities for tracking down potential sales leads and business partners, but they're far from the only ones. Networking events designed specifically for business owners provide a perfect forum to meet other entrepreneurs and peers from different industries, said Erika Kauffman, executive vice president and group director of 5W Public Relations. Attending these meet-ups gives you the chance to learn about running a business firsthand from fellow entrepreneurs.

Whether you're handing out your business card at an event or reaching out via email after a webinar, networking is only effective if you're smart about it. Follow these three expert tips to help you grow your startup through your connections.
1. Have a plan

Most event websites have a list of the speakers or exhibitors attending, and general attendees will often post on social media about their plans to attend these events. Do some research before the event, and identify potential connections. Frans Van Hulle, CEO and co-founder of lead-exchange platform ReviMedia, suggested reaching out to attending companies beforehand to set up meetings. Work on your elevator pitch so you're ready to deliver it when you do meet these contacts.

If you don't know who's going to be there, at least have a goal in mind, Urban said. Make yourself a priority list, but remember that sometimes, the smallest connection can lead to big things.
2. Take advantage of social media

Not all networking has to take place in person. Connect with industry contacts, and even your customers, via social media, to get feedback on your products and services, Swanciger said. This can help encourage word-of-mouth referrals and positive reviews — two great strategies for gaining new business.

Van Hulle recommended networking through great social media content as well. Use platforms like LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook to produce, comment on and engage with relevant industry content to build trust among your followers. You'll also generate inbound networking — contacts will find and reach out to you, so you'll spend less time having to actively seek more contacts.
3. Always follow up

While you may have made a great impression on the person you just met, you may never hear from him or her again if you don't follow up. Send a short email or LinkedIn message recapping what you talked about at the event, and invite the person to continue the conversation. Kauffman noted that this follow-up should occur within two business days of exchanging contact information.

The same rules apply to online networking scenarios like webinars and Twitter chats. If you notice that some participants offered particularly helpful advice, reach out to them afterward, and praise them for their insights, Swanciger said. A simple compliment can go a long way.
Posted by : Gizmeon

Apple and Google agreed to settle existing smartphone-patent lawsuits against each other

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The ongoing legal war between two of tech's leading brands, Apple and Google, has finally come to an end, after they agreed to settle existing smartphone-patent lawsuits against each other.

In a joint statement, Apple and Google outlined a plan to work together on patent reform, an area that has seen the two companies locked in legal warfare for years.

"Apple and Google have agreed to dismiss all the current lawsuits that exist directly between the two companies," according a statement released by both companies on Friday. "Apple and Google have also agreed to work together in some areas of patent reform. The agreement does not include a cross license."

The legal truce specifically relates to litigation between Apple and Google's Motorola business. Although Google recently sold off its Motorola hardware unit to Lenovo, the search giant still holds many Motorola patents.

The motion to dismiss the legal battle, which began in 2010, is detailed in a filing entered with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit on Friday. Posted by AppleInsider, it states, in part:

Plaintiffs-Appellants Apple Inc. and NeXT Software, Inc., together with Defendants-Cross Appellants Motorola, Inc. and Motorola Mobility, Inc., respectfully move the Court to issue the mandate in these consolidated appeals, so that the parties can proceed to the district court to dismiss the litigation without prejudice. The parties further agree that each party will bear its own costs and attorneys' fees.

However, the ceasefire between Apple and Google doesn't end the ongoing legal skirmish between Apple and Samsung, which continue to do battle internationally over a wide array of smartphone patents.

Posted by : Gizmeon

Friday, 16 May 2014

India's New Prime Minister Wants to Remember Every 'Congrats' Forever

India's newest prime minister has set up a a website to collect messages from anyone who has congratulated him on Twitter, Facebook and other forms of social media.

Plenty congratulated Narendra Modi on Friday, when he climbed to the top of India's political ladder. Any tweet with the hashtag #CongratsNaMO will appear on an online "victory wall," which is currently a constantly rotating slideshow of congratulatory text. People can also send a text to a number listed on the site or leave a comment on Modi's Facebook post about the wall (at the time of writing, there were more than 81,000 comments on the Facebook post).

At one point, that hashtag had climbed to at least the No. 2 trending topic worldwide. The huge response on the wall is not surprising; Modi won by a landslide and has a huge social presence. He has more than 4 million followers on Twitter, more than 14 million Likes on Facebook, tweets almost daily and into the campaign selfies.

Modi's victory made a huge statement about the Bharatiya Janata Party. The Indian National Congress has controlled the nation's lower house of parliament for the vast majority of time since India became independent in 1947, but an increasing disdain for political corruption and Modi's record of increasing economic opportunity for the middle class as the chief elected official in the northwestern state of Gujarat have catapulted him to the head of the country.

Despite Modi's resounding victory, many in India and abroad are wary of the nation's new leader. Modi is an unabashed Hindu nationalist in a nation that is 14% Muslim. In 2002, religious riots in the state left 2,500 people dead, most of them Muslim, and charges that Modi did little to prevent the deaths follow him to this day.

For now, the detractors have been swept away by the ease of Modi's victory. During a victory speech in Vadodara, Gujarat, on Friday, he delivered a message that many in India have waited years to hear.
“Brothers and sisters, you have faith in me, and I have faith in you,” Modi said, according to the New York Times.  “We have the capacity to fulfill the common man’s aspirations.”
Posted by : Gizmeon

Thursday, 15 May 2014

Skylock Bike Lock Alerts You When Someone Tries to Steal Your Bike

Even the toughest bike locks won't stand up to the most determined and well-equipped bike thieves. But a new startup is trying to prevent bike thefts altogether with the Skylock, its connected bike lock that can be controlled with a smartphone and sends real-time alerts when a lock is tampered with. Velo Labs, the startup behind the device, launched a crowdfunding campaign on its website on Thursday to raise $50,000 for the production of its app-enabled lock.

"People have these emotional connections with their bikes," Gerardo Barroeta, cofounder of Velo Labs, told Mashable. "We think an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure." The Skylock pairs to a smartphone via bluetooth and will automatically disengage when users get close to their bikes. It works in conjunction with a smartphone app, which will be compatible with iOS and Android handsets.

The lock is equipped with an accelerometer that enables its crash and theft alert systems. If the sensor detect a lot of motion around the bike, like someone tampering with the lock, the app will send a notification alerting the bike's owner.Crash detections also relies on the lock's accelerometer. The sensor communicates with data collected by a user's iPhone to determine when a rider gets in an accident. If the crash or fall is severe, the app will send a push notification asking the user to confirm that he's O.. If he fails to respond, the app will alert emergency responders and users can designate up to three emergency contacts who will also be notified.

The lock is solar powered so users don't have to to worry about recharging. The creators say one hour of sunlight is enough for about a week of regular use. It also has a built-in touchscreen that can be used as a backup locking and unlocking method, should a person not be able to use his phone. Velo Labs is also building bike sharing functionality into the app that will allow cyclists to rent out their bikes to others; prices will be determine based on the demand of each location. The Skylock will ultimately retail for $249, but you can snag one for $159 during the crowdfunding campaign. The founders say they anticipate shipping the first units by early 2015.

Posted by : Gizmeon

Google Apps Users Can Now Get End-to-End Email Encryption

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Google on Thursday announced a new partnership that will bring full scale encryption to Google Apps. Working with email data protection company Zix, Google has launched a new commercial product for Google Apps accounts dubbed Google Apps Message Encryption (GAME). Although Google already supports secure, encrypted messages within its servers, email messages sent to other systems are not encrypted.

Organizations or users can use various workarounds to add PGP (public-key cryptography) to their messages, but those solutions are kludgy and not ideal for an organization with lots of users. With GAME, Google and Zix are hoping to change that. GAME is available for $35 a year per user and allows Google Apps admins to configure encryption settings and routes from the Google Apps dashboard.

In a post-Snowden world, it's easy to think email encryption is primarily useful to keep prying eyes (such as the NSA) from intercepting messages. For regulated industries however, encrypted communications are an important part of doing business. Many of Zix's customers are hospitals, banks and government organizations and its product for compliance with federal regulations such as HIPAA, Sarbanes-Oxley and PCI-DSSS.

This isn't the first time Google has offered a message encryption product for its enterprise customers. GAME is a successor to another Zix-powered product, Google Message Encryption (GME). GME was part of the Postini suite of tools for email and web security. Unlike GAME, however, GME was never directly integrated with Google Apps. Instead, Google Apps admins had to login to the Postini dashboard to set-up policies and rules. Since 2012, Google has been in the process of transitioning its Postini services to the Google Apps platform. GAME is the result of that transition that works natively with the Google Apps.

For organizations that need to send end-to-end encrypted messages, having an option built directly into Google Apps is a great feature. With any luck, we might eventually see this option trickle-down to traditional Gmail users.

Posted by : Gizemon