Meet ARGUS, the 1.8 billion-pixel surveillance camera

January 30, 2013 by  
Filed under News

Soon governments could employ a single surveillance camera that could keep watch on entire cities, and maybe even entire countries. In fact, they might be using them right now, but that’s entirely classified.

Meet ARGUS-IS, a 1.8 billion-pixel surveillance camera that can capture and record a field of view of almost 65 square miles at once. With this field of view, the ARGUS-IS can keep track of every moving object like cars and even people, and do so in extremely high-definition detail (for example, it can zoom in to see a person wave and see what they have wore).

It stores more than 1 trillion of video data every day, and can provide real-time access to history of any particular point on its map.

To keep cost down, the ARGUS-IS uses hundreds of regular cameras (the ones found in smartphones) and stitches images together to create a 1.8 billion-pixel image.

Co-developed by DARPA and the U.S Army, the ARGUS-IS can be installed in UAVs and drones. In fact, the U.S Army is preparing to equip an unmanned aircraft called Hummingbirg with it, to survey and spy Afghanistan from an altitude of 20,000 feet.

Apple releases iOS 6.1 update

January 29, 2013 by  
Filed under News

Update: LTE is now supported by both du and Etisalat in the UAE.

Apple yesterday released iOS 6.1 update for all iPhone, iPad, and iPod users. The update is be available over-the-air in most regions, including the Middle East.

For users in this region, the update carries no special features to be excited about. Most of the changes have been made to Siri, which can now book movie tickets via Fandango. The feature is only limited to the US for now, but we hope that Apple soon ties up with some of the local cinemas here.

Changes have also been made to iTunes Match, which rectifies a long-standing design flaw that prevented users from downloading individual songs from iCloud.

However, the slightly more interesting update is support for additional LTE carriers. Apple hasn’t specified which, but if you know your carrier supports it, your iDevice should indicate an LTE connection with ’4G’ instead of the normal ’3G’.

For jailbreak users, a team of developers confirmed that they will be able to exploit a security oversight with the new update. The devs, collectively called Evad3rs, said they spotted the security flaw on the beta-build, but waited for the final version to make sure Apple would not fix it. There is no release window on when the jailbreak will be available, but our bet is that it will be very soon.

Let NVIDIA optimize your games for you

January 28, 2013 by  
Filed under News

NVIDIA has announced that it’s PC gaming optimization tool, GeForce Experience, is now available to public as an open beta.

The GeForce Experience uses hardware detection and a cloud database to find and set ‘ideal’ performance setting for your games. The software supports a total of 41 games, with the latest release adding support for FarCry 3, Mechwarrior Online, and Hawken. NVIDIA says it will continue adding more games with new releases.

The open beta also expands the range of hardware supported by the app, including Intel Core 2 Duo and Core 2 Quad processors, as well as settings for 2560×1440 resolution.

In my short stay with the app, the GeForce Experience clearly feels and looks a beta app. It detected two games that were not even installed, and it would not give me the option to optimize my game despite running it multiple times and manually trying to detect it from the app.

Still, we are hoping NVIDIA will iron these issues out, we reckon the GeForce Experience is a great app that takes away some of the manual labor of receiving proper performance from users who may not be well-versed with the technicality. Only if SSAO would be called ‘prettier shadows’.

Steve Wozniak criticizes first clip from ‘jOBS’

January 27, 2013 by  
Filed under News

jOBS, the Steve Job biopic has seen a lot of chatter around it these past few months, especially after Ashton Kutcher was hired to play the iconic industry leader. Kutcher does seem to look the part, as seen here, but can he act the part?

At the Sundance film, a short clip from jOBS was showcased, giving us the first glimpse into what the Joshua Stern’ directed biopic has in store for us. In the clip, Kutcher who plays Steve Jobs tries to convince his partner-in-crime Steve Wozniak (played by Josh Gad) about kick starting an “industrial revolution” by  developing  and selling one of the first personal computers. The clip ends with a line that Steve Jobs sternly stood by, “How can somebody know what they want if they haven’t even seen it?”

If you have read Walter Isaacson’s biography ‘Steve Jobs’ released in 2011, you will immediately realize that the clip is full of glaring inaccuracies. In fact, so much so that Steve Wozniak himself has called it out, saying that he and Jobs “never had such interactions” and the personalities shown “are very wrong.”

“Not close…we never had such interaction and roles…I’m not even sure what it’s getting at…personalities are very wrong although mine is closer…don’t forget that my purpose was inspired by the values of the Homebrew Computer Club along with ideas of the value of such machines and Steve J. wasn’t around and didn’t attend the club so he was the one learning about such social impact of the future,” Wozniak told Gizmodo.

“Personalities and where the ideas of computers affecting society did not come from Jobs. They inspired me and were widely spoken at the Homebrew Computer Club. Steve came back from Oregon and came to a club meeting and didn’t start talking about this great social impact. His idea was to make a $20 PC board and sell it for $40 to help people at the club build the computer I’d given away. Steve came from selling surplus parts at HalTed he always saw a way to make a quick buck off my designs (this was the 5th time),” he added.

“The lofty talk came much further down the line. I never looked like a professional. We were both kids. Our relationship was so different than what was portrayed. I’m embarrassed but if the movie is fun and entertaining, all the better. Anyone who reads my book iWoz can get a clearer picture.”

We can see where Wozniak is coming from, but jOBS is a movie after all, and it has be “movie-fied” in order to make it more entertaining and watchable. Wozniak admitted  that it “only one clip”, and how the rest of the movie turns is something to be seen.

Sony is making its own phablet?

January 23, 2013 by  
Filed under News, Smartphones

Digi-wo has posted an image of what appears to be the front of a Sony device. More precisely, it just might be the working model of Sony’s own phablet, a 6.44-inch beast with 1080p resolution.

Details on this device is scarce, but Sony might have something planned for the Mobile World Congress next month. The company is on a roll recently, announcing the very tempting Xperia Z 5-inch smartphone, and then following up with a sleek 10.1 tablet called the Tablet Z (the naming conventions are getting out of hand!).

Phablet is an interesting market that has yet to be explored successfully. Samsung’s Galaxy Note has been the only device that has received any traction, but of course the question always lingers – when is big too big?

Ashton Kutcher will attend next week’s Macworld as Steve Jobs

January 22, 2013 by  
Filed under News

Ashton Kutcher and Josh Gad, who play Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak, resp., in the upcoming biopic jOBS, will attend the Macworld conference in character.

Both will kick off the San Francisco conference in a  session where they will talk about portraying the two Apple co-founders. The conference will also be attended by musician Will.iam and Intel’s Brain David Johnson.

jOBS is one of the two movies based on late Apple co-founder Steve Jobs’ life. The biopic is directed by Joshua Michael Stern and is set to release in theaters this April.


Rumor: Samsung working on its own iPad Mini?

January 21, 2013 by  
Filed under News, Tablets

According to Sammobile, Samsung is perking up on the idea of a small-scale tablet and is looking to go head-to-head with iPad Mini and Kindle Fire HD with its own 8-inch tablet.

The tablet,  apparently named Galaxy Note 8.0, will sport 1280×800 TFT display, 5MP camera on the back and 1.3MP camera in the front, 2GB of RAM, and a microSD slot for additional memory. The tablet will be launched in 2 varieties, 16GB and 32GB, as well as 3G+ WiFi and WiFi only versions. The Note 8.0 will be equipped with a massive 4600 Mah battery and the latest Android 4.2 Jelly Bean operating system.

The Note 8.0 will join Samsung’s already crowded lineup of Galaxy Note and Galaxy Tab tablets, but has that ever stopped anyone from making new hardware? Samsung is expected to debut Galaxy Note 8.0 at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona next month.

Passwords are no longer safe, Google has an alternative solution

January 20, 2013 by  
Filed under News

It’s no secret that the passwords that we know and hate to remember is no longer the perfect defense to save our sensitive information online. Groups like Anonymous makes it look easy, with powerful hacking methods, and equally powerful PCs to power their cyber terror.

Google, who probably has the whole world’s passwords, has realized this and are spearheading an alternative hardware-based log-in system called Yubico. The idea is here is that users will use a small USB which will host a modified version of Chrome and automatically log-in the user on a PC.

Of course, this is not a perfect system. Considering how we, as humans, are great at remembering our keys, wallets and other valuables, the USB will be another thing to worry about keeping safe. If lost, this could pose immediately security risk, and for the user, it would be impossible to log-in without it.

Google also recognizes that and will have in place a “form of screen unlock” which might use traditional passwords.

While the system looks seemingly more secure and might turn out to be quite great when it’s finished, the daunting task for Google is to get sites to accept it and incorporate it into their websites. Google says that “others have tried similar approaches but achieved little success in the consumer world. Although we recognize that our initiative will likewise remain speculative until we’ve proven large scale acceptance, we’re eager to test it with other websites.”

The way I see it, the log-in system cannot be limited to just a USB card. Google needs to work on other, ‘everyday items’ that could also be used as a log-in  authenticator, like a smartphone.

For now, this technology seems like a long-way off from being put into practical use. Till then, we will have to do with our good ol’ passwords.

AMD accuses ex-employees of stealing secret documents

January 17, 2013 by  
Filed under News

AMD has filed lawsuit against four ex-employees, including former VP of business development Bob Feldstein, accusing them of stealing over 100,000 secret documents from the company. All of the four ex-employees now work at NVIDIA.

According to ZDnet, the lawsuit, filed on Monday, alleges that Feldstein plotted with ex-AMD managers Manoo Desai, Nicolas Kociuk and Richard Hagen to steal the electronic documents. AMD claims that the documents contain “obviously confidential, proprietary, and/or trade secret materials relating to developing technology and/or highly confidential business strategy,” and if revealed to a competitor, such as NVIDIA, it would offer them “an unfair advantage.”

Before leaving AMD, Feldstein secured deals with Microsoft and Nintendo to use the company’s Radeon graphics chip in the current-gen consoles Xbox 360 and Wii, and even Nintendo’s new home console, Wii U. If the allegations are true, Feldstein may have stolen sensitive information about the next Xbox and PlayStation hardware, both of which are rumored to sport AMD graphics chip.

AMD is now seeking a temporary restraining order against the four, and has requested a court order to preserve any copies of the stolen documents.

Facebook introduces Graph Search

January 16, 2013 by  
Filed under News

Because stalking wasn’t so easy before, Facebook today introduced Graph Search, a currently in-beta feature that allows a user to search across the site’s billion user library.

Users can search through a set of filters such as gender, relationship, city, or favorite music band, and find not only friend’s friends, but any Facebook user that shares even a loose  affiliation of the search criteria. In a press event, Facebook showed a few practical applications of the feature, like searching for single friends of friends, finding possible job openings, or even searching for friends in a particular location.

The feature does sound useful to easily find information and photos within a friends circle, but its ability to find users across the Facebook database might be slightly worrisome.

Graph Search is in beta. To sign up for it, click here.

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