Archive | Tech & Gadgets

Samsung urges Galaxy Note 7 phone exchange urgently

Posted on 15 September 2016 by admin

Samsung has urged owners of its Galaxy Note 7 phones to stop using or exchange the devices as they risk exploding.

Samsung recalled 2.5 million phones last week after reports emerged of the device exploding during or after charging.

And airline passengers were warned by US authorities not to switch on or charge the phones while on board.

The South Korean company said it would replace all devices that were handed in from 19 September.

A statement by Samsung, the world’s biggest mobile phone maker, said “our customers’ safety is an absolute priority”.

“Until a replacement device is provided, Samsung asks all customers with a Galaxy Note 7 smartphone to power down your device and return it to its place of purchase at your earliest opportunity,” the statement added.

Earlier on Saturday, aviation authorities in the United Arab Emirates banned use of the devices on the Emirates and Etihad airlines.

What makes lithium batteries catch fire? Similar bans had already been put in place by Singapore Airlines, Qantas and Virgin Australia.

The US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) also advised against packing the phones into any checked-in luggage.

Samsung recalled the phone last week after reports emerged of the device exploding during or after charging.

US TV channel Fox 10 reported claims that a faulty Galaxy Note 7 had set fire to a family’s Jeep.

Samsung has said that battery problems were behind the phones catching fire, but that it was difficult to work out which phones were affected among those sold.

The phone was launched last month and has been otherwise generally well-received by consumers and critics.

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Pokémon Go’s reality is virtual, the consequences not

Posted on 14 July 2016 by admin

When Pokémon Go officially arrives in Canada, we will all see the future and find it hard to remember a time when fellow citizens were not hunting for imaginary creatures in public places.

You think the streets are teeming with distracted texters right now?

Just wait until people are also chasing cartoon characters only they can see.

There are cultural crazes and then there is the next-level hysteria that is Pokémon Go. In less than a week after it was released for iOS and Android devices in the United States, Australia and New Zealand, the mobile game is generating more news than the Kardashians, Rio, Ghostbusters, the UFC and Mr. Trump combined.

Even in countries like Canada, where the official release date is basically set at “any day now,” an early wave of Pokémania is storming towns and cities. Enthusiasts are finding ways to get around the current geo-restrictions and downloading the game. Then they are flocking to landmarks in search of elusive Pokémon.

On Monday night in Toronto, according to Reddit discussion threads, there were two planned Pokémon Go meet-ups, one at the CN Tower and another at Yonge-Dundas Square. Across the country, Canadians are trading tips and building new communities as a wave of ’90s-era nostalgia runs headfirst into augmented reality and people ditch their game consoles for the great outdoors.

Nintendo, which partnered with Niantic Labs and The Pokémon Company, is even riding Pokémon Go into territory it nearly forfeited: the business pages. When the Tokyo Stock Exchange closed on Monday, Nintendo’s share price had surged by 25 per cent. In three days of trading, the free app added $9 billion to the company’s market value. It’s like watching Pikachu turn rubber nickels into gold bullion.

But leaving aside the money and stratospheric popularity — there are reports Pokémon Go already has more Android users than Tinder and Twitter — what we have here is the first real glimpse of augmented reality as a mass phenomenon.

And if nothing else, we should at least consider the implications.

Pokémon Go uses GPS and the cameras on smartphones to blur the line between what is real and what is simulated. Pokémon are superimposed on the real world through your phone screen. They can appear anywhere. Or as the good people at Niantic explained: “We’re excited that Pokémon fans and gamers can now start exploring their very own neighbourhoods and cities to capture Pokémon using the Pokémon GO app. Players can discover and catch more than 100 Pokémon from the original Red and Blue games, take Pokémon into battle against other Pokémon at Gyms, uncover items including a variety of types of Poké Balls and eggs at PokéStops, hatch and train new Pokémon, and more.”

To the uninitiated, this might sound a bit PokéCrazy.

Especially when you realize the “and more” includes the possibility of armed robbery, stumbling upon dead bodies, walking into traffic, bumping into lampposts, falling down holes, meandering in concentric circles or loitering in public places for so long someone eventually calls 911 in a panic.

On Monday, CNN did a great job itemizing recent Pokémon snafus.

Dateline Wyoming: a 19-year-old wanders out looking for Pokémon along the banks of the Big Wind River on Friday and instead discovers a human corpse.

Dateline Massachusetts: a private home is accidentally listed as a Pokémon Gym and is overrun on the weekend by people wanting to “train their fictional characters.”

Dateline Missouri: police arrest four teens on Sunday morning and accuse them of robbery by using the game’s geolocation feature to “anticipate the location and level of seclusion of unwitting victims.”

Dateline Australia: after dozens stroll into the Darwin Police Station with their retinas glued to their phones, authorities issue a plea: “For those budding Pokemon Trainers out there using Pokemon Go — whilst the Darwin Police Station may feature as a Pokestop, please be advised that you don’t actually have to step inside in order to gain the pokeballs. It’s also a good idea to look up, away from your phone and both ways before crossing the street. That Sandshrew isn’t going anywhere fast.”

Does all of this amount to early hiccups as augmented reality — this blending of what’s really there and the illusion of what’s layered in via technology — finally blows up real big? And what might happen when the game rolls out in more countries this month and millions more rush out to capture Pokémon? What happens when every corner of Toronto — from the Distillery District to the CNE — is crawling with players staring at their phones in a state of oblivious concentration?

The upside is simple: this is a video game built upon the idea of real-life exploration. Getting people out and about, getting them active by flinging them off their couches and into their communities, all of this should be encouraged.

Now we just need to make sure nobody gets hurt as the second Pokémon craze in two decades takes cultural flight this summer.

“We encourage all people playing Pokémon GO to be aware of their surroundings and to play with friends when going to new or unfamiliar places,” said Niantic in a statement. “Please remember to be safe and alert at all times.”

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Canada’s major telecoms set to leap in to 5G technology

Posted on 27 May 2016 by admin

Canada’s major telecom operators are taking early steps toward the next great leap in wireless technology.

Bell, Rogers and Telus are all participating in a global effort to develop operating standards for fifth generation wireless networks, with Bell Canada, the nation’s largest telecommunications company, set to begin testing of the emerging architecture.

“Bell [has] built a reputation for broadband network leadership and we plan to be out front on 5G too,” said Mark Langton, a spokesman for Bell Canada parent, Montreal-based BCE Inc.

“We’ll begin 5G trials shortly and are involved in writing the 5G specs as a member of the Next Generation Mobile Networks consortium.”

Telus is partnering with third parties to research and test the evolving standards in a 5G Living Lab at the company’s Vancouver home base, while Toronto-based Rogers Communications is taking part in standards setting through the various industry bodies involved.

Rogers spokesperson Andrew Garas, however, noted that 5G isn’t a technology standard yet and likely won’t be for at least a couple of years adding that “we don’t have any details to share on future plans.” And while 5G remains in a conceptual phase, Canadian operators have a new impetus to act after the Ontario government in March announced a partnership with Chinese networking gear maker Huawei aimed at accelerating the development process in the interest of economic growth.

Participation in 5G development allows operators and equipment manufacturers input on specification requirements being codified for a network technology that aims to meet demand for digital content that is taxing the capacity of existing third-and fourth generation systems.


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Is technology causing us to ‘evolve’ into a new SPECIES?

Posted on 03 February 2016 by admin

Expert believes super humans called Homo optimus will talk to machines and be ‘digitally immortal’ by 2050

If you’re under the age of 40, there is a good chance you will achieve ‘electronic immortality’ during your lifetime.

This is the idea that all of your thoughts and experiences will be uploaded and stored online for future generations.

That’s according to a futurologist who not only believes technology will let humans merge with computers, that this will create an entirely new species called Homo optimus.

And, he claims this could occur as soon as 2050. The predictions were made by Dr Ian Pearson as part of the lead up to The Big Bang Fair 2016.

He believes that within the next 35 years, humans will ‘live’ online, and our pets could even ‘talk’ to us, like real-life Furbies. He also claims transhumanism – the idea we can make people technologically better – will be the norm by 2050.

‘With optimised genomes and bodies enhanced by links to external technology, people could be more beautiful… more intelligent, more emotionally sophisticated, more physically able, more socially connected, generally healthier and happier all round.’

As humans embrace technological advances and gradually become androids, we could gradually see Homo sapiens being replaced by Homo optimus.


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In the Future, Magnets May Track Your Fingers in Virtual Reality

Posted on 24 December 2015 by admin

Oculus and university re-searchers are working on a project that relies on electromagnets to keep an eye on all your fingers in virtual space.

A research project may hint at how Facebook’s Oculus device will let you explore virtual reality someday: by using a bunch of electromagnets and sensors to track the motions of your individual fingers in three dimensions.

Called Finexus, the project employs four magnetic sensors to track fingernail-sized electromagnets placed on each of the user’s fingertips; it has been found to be accurate to within 1.3 mil-limeters. The project was created by a group of researchers from the University of Washington and Oculus Research.

Keyu Chen, a graduate student at the University of Washington’s ubiquitous-computing lab, started the project while he was an intern at Oculus Research in Redmond, Washington, last summer. He imagines Finexus being used for games as well as tasks that require a variety of delicate finger motions, like playing a virtual piano, painting, or writing in the air. (A video of Finexus in action shows an example of the latter.)

“Sometimes you want something where you can actually use your fingers for dedicated motion,” Chen says. Oculus had no comment on the project, which is slated to be presented in a research paper at the ACM CHI 2016 conference on computer-human interaction in San Jose, California, in May.

The interactions Chen imagines could be more detailed than what many of us will experience early on with virtual reality. Oculus’s first consumer headset, Rift, will rely on a plastic controller for input, which may not feel that immersive. (Rift, which is due to be released this winter, will come with a wireless Xbox controller; Oculus will also sell a pair of controllers called Oculus Touch that work with Oculus’s optical-tracking system to give you finer controls, but it’s shipping these a bit later on.)

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FAA taps sensor technology to tackle airport drone threat

Posted on 18 December 2015 by admin

Faced with a growing drone threat to aircraft, the Federal Aviation Administration has teamed up with IT specialist CACI International in an attempt to protect the airspace around airports.

Officials are alarmed by the scale of safety risk posed by drones, also known as Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS). A study released by Bard College Friday noted 921 incidents involving drones and manned aircraft in U.S. airspace between Dec.

17, 2013, and Sept. 12, 2015. In October, as part of the FAA’s Pathfinder program, the agency signed an agreement to evaluate CACI’s technology within a 5-mile radius of airports.

“Safety is always the FAA’s top priority, and we are concerned about the increasing number of instances where pilots have reported seeing unmanned aircraft flying nearby,” said FAA Deputy Administrator Mike Whitaker, in testimony before the House Aviation Subcommittee.

The FAA explained that CACI’s prototype sensorbased detection system will be evaluated at airports selected by the agency. Specific details of how the system will work have not yet been released by the FAA, although it will reportedly use radio signals to detect and tackle drone threats.

Arlington, Va.-based CACI referred a request for comment to the FAA. The company, however, recently launched its SkyTracker system, which creates an electronic boundary around sensitive locations, such as airports.

The system uses UAS radio links to identify and locate drones flying in banned or protected airspace, according to CACI, and can also locate the drone’s operator.

“The CACI system triangulates the position of misused UAS for accurate geolocation and tracking, while differentiating them from other UAS in the same area,” explains CACI, in a statement on its website.

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Schools Can’t Stop Kids From Sexting. More Technology Can.

Posted on 12 November 2015 by admin

“YOUTH is subjected by our civilization to aggressive sex stimuli and suggestiveness oozing from every pore.” So declared the education professor Clark Hetherington in 1914, condemning the proliferation of racy movies and tell-all magazines. Lest adolescents succumb to the “indulgence” on display, he wrote, schools needed to teach “self-control” and “higher standards.”

Sound familiar? For the past century, we’ve been worrying that new forms of media are fostering sexual immorality in the young. And we’ve called upon our schools to stem the evil tide. Witness the recent “sexting” revelations at Cañon City High School in Colorado, where it is reported that 100 students traded naked pictures of themselves and one another. As the story went viral, critics have inevitably asked why the school hadn’t done more to educate students about sexting.

The schools are an easy target, but the wrong one.

Public ambivalence about youth sexuality limits what the schools can do, nor do we have strong evidence that schools can affect teenagers’ behavior, in any event. And it’s hardly certain that youth sexting is the dangerous scourge that most adults imagine.

Let’s be clear: There are serious risks associated with teen sexting, including bullying and exposure to adult sexual predators. And we know that kids who sext are more likely to have sex than those who don’t. But beyond that, nobody has ever shown that the sexting induces kids to engage in riskier behavior. In a 2012 study of seven high schools in Texas, 28 percent of sophomores and juniors admitted that they had sent a naked picture of themselves over text or email. But these teenagers were no more likely than their nonsexting peers to engage in other risky sexual behaviors, like unprotected intercourse, alcohol or drug use before sex, or sex with multiple partners.

Nor do all sexting teenagers experience trauma or bullying, as popular reports suggest. Many teenagers regard

sexting as a normal part of courtship — as necking in the car was for earlier generations. Back then, of course, what happened in the back seat stayed there and wasn’t splayed across the Internet.

What hasn’t changed is our reliance on schools, which have been called upon once again to clean up a perceived sexual crisis. In Texas, the “Before You Text” program warns students that sexting can yield “embarrassment, humiliation, fear, and betrayal.” A curriculum used in the Miami-Dade County public schools declares flatly, “Safe Sexting, No Such Thing.” But our kids already know that sexting can be embarrassing and humiliating, in certain situations. And they also know that it can be perfectly innocuous in others, as when a romantic couple shares intimate photos and deletes them right afterward.


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UK may ban WhatsApp, Snapchat under new anti-terror laws

Posted on 15 January 2015 by admin

LONDON: Online messaging services like WhatsApp and Snapchat may face a ban in Britain as prime

minister David Cameron has vowed to introduce a slew of legislations that would deny terrorists a “safe space” to communicate online in the aftermath of a series of terror attacks in France.

The proposed legislation would provide a new legal framework that will authorize British intelligence agencies to crack the communications of terror suspects if there was specific intelligence of an imminent attack.

Cameron asked, “Are we going to allow a means of communications where it simply is not possible to do

that?” He responded by saying: “no, we must not,” reported The Guardian.”

Several messaging services like, Snapchat, Apple’s iMessage, WhatsApp and others, encrypt messages

sent through their applications. If the legislation comes into effect, all such services will be banned that do not allow any access to the communications. The legislation would only be introduced if Cameron is elected for a second term in Downing Street.

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HTC does not see Xiaomi as a threat in India

Posted on 18 July 2014 by admin

Many smartphone makers in India are rattled by the entry of Chinese smartphone maker Xiaomi, which announced its flagship phone the Mi3 for Rs.14,999. Even Asus earlier in the week modified the pricing of its ZenFones at the last moment. On Friday, when HTC launched its two new devices – the One (E8) and the Desire 616, it remained rather nonchalant and coolly launched both the devices for Rs.34,990 and the Desire 616 forRs.16,900.

With the prices of high-end smartphones tumbling like ninepins, some may argue that this pricing reeked of a company that was not threatened of the impeding competition.

But HTC’s President for South Asia, Jack Yang, belies a similar intent, and does not feel threatened by the new wave of smartphone vendors who solely sell online.

When questioned over the aggressive pricing of the Mi3 in India and its technical superiority to the Desire 616 Yang said, “Well their business model and our business model is very different. So, they do a lot of online and that’s how they do business in China. We know they are here. Even in Singapore they exist, but it’s not that big.”

He claimed that because they were not present on brick and mortar retail units, HTC’s strategy would get more support in a market like India.

“We still believe a lot of the consumers in India are actually going to the stores making a direct transaction and they want to feel the phone. If you ask me, if I order a phone online and pray that it works. Yes. But that’s different people. But people want get their hands on and touch the devices. Probably will get more support from that perspective.” he added.

When asked about the proliferation of high-quality low-cost smartphones like the Moto G and the Moto E he stated that these products too were sold online.

He claimed online retail was not a priority for HTC. Though, without giving out numbers he claimed the Desire 210 was doing well in India. “It’s doing very well, extremely,” he said.

Earlier, an ET report also claimed that HTC was looking to partner with Google for the Android One program along with Micromax, Karbonn and Spice.


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iPhone 6 vs Samsung Galaxy S5 release date, specs, and rumors: iPhone display scratch-resistant and S5 waterproof?

Posted on 20 February 2014 by admin

There are the dedicated iPhone followers who will never compromise no matter what the price. And then there are the practical people who want the substance and the style but would just rather spend their money on other things.

For those in the first category, they probably won’t be put off by the fact that the rumored sapphire crystal display on the iPhone 6 may push the price up.

The plus is that the displays will be scratch-resistant, being second in toughness only to the diamond. In other words they are virtually unbreakable and much more durable, and should allow the iPhone to keep its polished, stylish look for longer.

That will be great for consumers who see the iPhone as an investment purchase to last them a few seasons, as opposed to regular upgraders.

Being much tougher than the current Gorilla Glass, it is highly likely that the cost of the superior display will be borne out in the product’s final price tag – the iPhone 5S retailed at $199 for the 16GB model, $299 for 32GB and $399 for 64GB.

Rumors started surfacing recently that Apple has started production on 100 to 200 million units of the display.

Other rumors point to two new models in the pipeline, both featuring larger displays, to make the iPhone more competitive against rival Samsung, which has held considerable market share with its Samsung Galaxy Note models.

One is rumored to come with a display around 4.7 or 4.8 inch 1920×1080 pixel resolution display, and the other with a 5.5 inch display with a pixel resolution of 2272×1280.

It’s likely to be powered by an A8 processor and a 1,800mAh battery, with 2GB of RAM, and using iOS 7.2 software rather than the initially anticipated iOS 8.

It’s also predicted for a September 2014 release.

Samsung Galaxy fans needn’t wait that long for the S5, which O2 Germany let slip is heading for sale at the end of February.

An update on O2 Germany’s website teased that shoppers could find out more about the device at the end of this month.
It suggested the UK market would be the first to get its hands on the next Samsung smartphone and that it would follow in the footsteps of the Sony Xperia Z1 in being waterproof.

The device is due to be unveiled at the Mobile World Congress on 24 February in Barcelona, so if the assumptions are correct, it would be available to buy just a few days after that.

Similar to the next flagship iPhone, two variants are expected – one with a metal finish and a cheaper variety sticking to the familiar plastic.
The display is predicted to be 5 inches and come with a 2k resolution. On the inside, the more expensive model is expected to feature a quadcore, 2.5GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 805 processor, while the budget version will run on the octa-core Exynos 6 chip and have a lower display resolution.

Android 4.4 Kitkat is expected to be the operating system in both versions, and it is possible that they will have a slightly tweaked interface borrowing elements from Apple’s iOS 7.

The battery is predicted to be 2,900mAH and there may be a built-in fingerprint scanner for extra security.

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