Archive for May 12th, 2012

Internet: Hacking-proof Zone Planned @ Domain “.secure”

Posted on May 12, 2012. Filed under: Technology | Tags: |


Internet security specialists have applied for a”.secure” domain that they plan to turn into an online safe zone where bad guys aren’t allowed.
San Francisco-based Artemis was awaiting word Friday from the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) on whether it was approved to host websites with “.secure” addresses.
“We are creating a safe neighborhood where you know people follow the rules and you can rely on them to do things securely,” Artemis chief technical officer Alex Stamos told AFP.
“There is not going to be typo squatting or malware… We are going to make it really air tight so even if you were in Syria the Syrian government couldn’t hijack you.”
Commonly available, but typically unused, technology tools for thwarting online hackers, viruses, snoops, spies and scammers will be mandatory at websites with.secure addresses.
“The idea is to make it effortlessly secure for individuals,” Stamos said.
“In the end, the actual technical security tactics are things (websites) should be doing anyway. We are just making it a requirement.”
Plans for .secure were part of an Internet domain name “revolution” that remained on hold due to a flaw that letsome aspiring applicants peek at unauthorized information at the ICANN registration website.
ICANN intends to resume taking applications on May 22 from those interested in running new generic top-level domains (gTLDs) online, with the window staying open for about five days.
ICANN said that it has so far received 2,091 applications from 1,268 organizations, some of which are vying for the same word as the end toa domain name.
In January, ICANN began taking applications from those interested in operating Internet domains that replace endings such as .com or .org with nearly any acceptable words, including company, organization or city names.
Outgoing ICANN president Rod Beckstrom has championed the change as a”new domain name system revolution.”
Shifty characters are bound to take advantage of the change by “squatting” on website addresses based on popular words or on common misspellings, according to Stamos.
“There are all kinds of shenanigans people pull with domain names,” Stamos said.
“There will be all kinds of people squatting over the domain space and we are just not going to let that happen.”
Businesses registering.secure websites will be required to verify their identity and accurately represent what they do.
“If you use the word ‘bank’ or ‘brokerage,’ you will haveto prove that is what you are,” Stamos said. “You can’tjust grab that domain and siton it.”
Those running .secure websites would need to install safeguards, such as data encryption and guard against viruses that could be passed on to visitors.
“If you launch a website and two days later there is malware on it, we are taking it down and you will have to come to us and explain,” Stamos said.
Artemis did not disclose how much it planned to charge for.secure Web addresses, but expected the amount to be significantly more than the$13 or so typically charged for .com.
Registering a gTLD with ICANN costs $185,000 with a$25,000 annual fee after that.
Artemis, part of Britain-based NCC Group, also had to show ICANN that it could operate .secure for three years without taking in any revenue.
The hope was to have.secure among the first waveof new gTLDs , which are expected to go live on the Internet in the middle of nextyear.
“If companies go through a little bit of pain to run on.secure, in the end they have done themselves and their customers a great service,” Stamos said.
“If you want to be lazy, you should not apply for a .secure domain.”
More information about .secure was available online at artemis.net.
Artemis is also assembling an industry group to develop “domain policy framework” for making websites safer no matter what their addresses.

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Fuel Cell Aims to Charge Your smartphone for Two Weeks

Posted on May 12, 2012. Filed under: Technology | Tags: |


A new portable USB fuel cell has been developed by “Lilliputian Systems” that aims to keep your smartphone powered for close to a fortnight, without the need for you to go to a wall socket to juice your phone up via a charger. This new fuel cell will be able to charge your smartphone close to a dozen times, before it runs out of battery – following which, you need to purchase a replacement cartridge.

With 4G and quad-core madness entering into the arena, the single most important aspect of smartphones that is taking a hit is the battery life. This exact concern is addressed by this new fuel cell. While it cannot keep your phone battery running longer, it definitely can ensure that you can charge it on the go, without the need of finding a power socket. PCWorld reports that this fuel cell is close to the size of your average smartphone, albeit a little thicker, owing to the replaceable cigarette lighter-sized cartridges inside. While smartphones are definitely the biggest battery suckers and this new fuel cell may potentially be a brilliant back-up solution, charging isn’t just restricted to smartphones – it can be a tablet, camera or any other device that can be charged from the USB port.

One important cause of concern that has already been addressed (in the U.S) is about the locations where this battery package will be allowed. Because it’s a fuel cell, there were concerns, if it would be allowed on flights. According to the company, the U.S. Department of Transportation has allowed passengers to take this device along with them in their cabin luggage, which is definitely good news for those requiring charging on the go.

We’re hoping something like this comes soon enough out here. Drawingan estimate, the charger could potentially be closeto approx. Rs.8,000 with each cartridge then costing close to approx. Rs.100 – 300. Official pricing or availability for the Indian sub-continent hasn’t been announced yet, so stay tuned to this space for more details.

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Facebook Changes Hint at Far-reaching Advertising Ambitions

Posted on May 12, 2012. Filed under: Technology | Tags: |


Facebook Inc, just days before it goes public, said it has revamped its privacy policy in a way that could broaden the reach of its advertising business through other websites.
The operator of the world’s biggest online social network has at no point said it plannedto sell advertising on other Internet sites, but the policy changes would further expandits ability to do so.
Facebook’s money-making potential has been spotlightedas the company prepares to raise up to $12 billion in its initial public offering. Some analysts and investors have pointed to Facebook’s slowing revenue growth as an area ofconcern.
Analysts have long speculatedabout whether Facebook would join the likes of Google Inc and Yahoo Inc to create a so-called ad network that distributes the ads it sells to other websites.
Facebook makes the lion’s share of its revenue selling ads on its website. Letting those ads appear on third-party websites would broadentheir reach.
Ads on Facebook itself are aimed at different slices of its audience, based on their personal information, such as age and marital status, as wellas activities on the network such as those indicated by their “likes” for certain items or topics.
The Menlo Park, California-based company said on Fridaythe changes in privacy policy are designed to take account of new features on the service as well as recommendations from Ireland’s privacy regulator, which released an extensive audit on Facebook’s privacy practices last year.
The new privacy policy also provides more details on how Facebook uses consumer datato sell ads on the social network. It included a page devoted to the so-called cookies that Facebook, like many Web companies, places on users’ computers to help target ads to consumers.
Privacy has been a challenging issue for Facebook and other online services in recent years. In November, Facebook settled aprivacy case with the U.S. Federal Trade Commission that subjects the company to 20 years of independent audits.
Under its revised privacy policy, Facebook broadened the types of ads that it could potentially place on third-party websites. Facebook has previously said it could offer”social” ads – which incorporate information from auser’s friends – on third-party websites. The revision states that Facebook can offer any kind of ad on outside websites.
Facebook Chief Privacy OfficerErin Egan noted that the company does not offer ads on outside websites. But the network wanted to ensure that it has the “flexibility” to offer various types of ads should it ever decide to do so, she said.
Facebook also changed the language about how long it willretain user data. Such information from advertisers will now be kept for 180 days,and Facebook will retain all types of data for “as long as necessary.”
Exceptions to the 180-day policy may include, for example, a Facebook page created by an advertiser that showcases certain user information, Egan said. The company will offer a detailed chart of all the types of data itretains about its users at some point “down the road,” she added.
Justin Brookman, director of consumer privacy at the Center for Democracy and Technology, a non-profit advocacy group for Internet user rights, said the change to the data retention languagedid not seem to be an area of concern.
“They’re really just keeping itaround for very narrow reasons,” said Brookman, whose firm receives funding from Facebook and other companies.
Facebook’s policy changes willbe open to a 7-day comment period from users. Any changewhich receives more than 7,000 comments will be put to a vote by Facebook users. If a particular comment receives 30 percent of votes supporting it from Facebook’s “active” users, it will go into effect.

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Samsung Announces The Omnia M

Posted on May 12, 2012. Filed under: Mobile, Technology | Tags: |


Samsung Electronics has announced the launch of the Samsung Omnia M (model: GT-I8350), a Windows Phone based smartphone for social and entertainment multi-taskers. The Omnia M willbe available, starting in Europe and will rolled out to other regions, subsequently. The OmniaM features an ergonomic contoured casing that ensures that the device sits comfortably in your hand. A 4.0 inch Super AMOLED display with reduced glare provides abetter viewing experience and lets you view messaging, multimedia and web content in better colour and clarity – even in daylight conditions, while saving significant battery life. Keeping up with your social life is easier with the Omnia M. Family Story, Samsung’s cloud-based family network, can be downloaded to let users share family messages, videos and photo slide-shows on a virtual bulletin-board with other Samsung devices. Samsung’s ChatON communication service connects you and users from any phone platform into a single community, enabling spontaneous group chatting and messaging—whether with text, animations or images.

Let’s have a quick look at the spec sheet of the Samsung Omnia M: 4-inch Super AMOLED display with a 480 x 800 pixel resolution, 233 ppi 1GHz processor MicrosoftWindows Phone 7.5 Mango 4GB internal storage, 384 MB RAM 3G, EDGE/GPRS, Wi-Fi GPS with A-GPS support, Bing Maps Bluetooth with A2DP, USB 2.0 5 megapixel autofocus camera with LED flash, Secondary video camera 3.5 mm handsfree socket 1500 mAh Lithium – ion battery

The Omnia M allows users to play, share, and access multimedia entertainment. With Samsung AllShare users can play films, games, or any other media direct from their Omnia M to a TV. For music lovers, Music Hub offers a Smart DJ feature, which automatically generates playlists to suit your mood; and for a touch of creativity, Photo Studio lets you edit your photo images for easy sharing. Windows Live SkyDrive offers 25GB of free online storage for anytime access, storage and sharing of photos, videos, Office documents, and OneNote notes.

For added social connectivity, Windows Phone’s People Hub unifies all messaging andcontacts into a single portal to instantly sync with Windows Live, Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. The Omnia M also features Samsung’s integrated video-call feature, allowing instant video chats using the phone’s front-facing camera. The Omnia M also users to access their personal gaming information on Xbox LIVE, including recent games played, Xbox LIVEleaderboards and avatar, Gamerscore and Achievements – all from the phone.

Pricing and availability for the Indian sub-regionhasn’t been announced as of now, but looking at the specs, chances are bright that this could be an affordable budget Windows Phone by Samsung. With the Lumia 610 coming soon and keeping in mind it’s low budget pricing, what price would you buy the Omnia M at?

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Russian Weather Satellite captures Earth Like Never Before

Posted on May 12, 2012. Filed under: Science, Technology | Tags: |


Planet Earth, our home has been captured by Electro-L, Russia’s latest weather satellite in its most splendid avatar, and the image itself is a never-seen before one and the best, yet. Electro-L captured Earth in a mind-boggling 121 megapixels rich image, that too in a single shot, according to a Gizmodo report. Not only has this image of the Earth been captured in the highest resolution (no other image of the planet boasts of this resolution), but also the fact that other images of the planet, captured by NASA and several other agencies are arrived at by stitching several images together, this oneis rare. A Daily Mail reportadds that the satellite, which was launched in January 2011, has been capturing images of such brilliance every 30 minutes, since its launch in a bid to monitor weather conditions. The report adds that during times of strange weather conditions, the satellite can be commanded to capture such images every 10 minutes by Russian operators. See this beautiful imagery for yourself.

The weather satellite, according to reports is currently orbiting Earth on a geostationary orbit 36,000 kilometers above the equator. Reports addthat the satellite’s ability to send such high resolution images every 30 minutes is facilitated by using a 2.56 to 16.36 Mbits per second connection with ground control. The report adds that the images and the video of the Northern Hemisphere includes fourlight wavelengths, three visible and one infrared. The orange in the image above depicts vegetation, instead of the colour green as one may come to expect. Robert Simmon, a scientist at the NASA Earth Observatory, Goddard Space Flight Center, the report states, “Elektro-L is a Russian Satellite similar to GOES (the satellites that provide the cloud image loops shown on the news every night). The images posted by Gizmodo are a combination of visible and near-infrared wavelengths, so they show the Earth in a way not visible to human eyes (vegetation looks red, for example). They’re not any better or worse than NASA images, but they show different things.”

Cover image credit: Gizmodo

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Facebook Groups Introduces File Sharing Feature

Posted on May 12, 2012. Filed under: Technology | Tags: |

Allows uploads up to 25 MB; will not support .EXE and music files.

If you are on Facebook , it is possible that you would be apart of several groups, and you could have felt the need for sharing files with its members. Now, reports suggest that the social network has formally launched this option. Initially,it will available for a few groups, and is expected to be rolled out for across the social network “soon”.
The upload limit is limited to 25MB and you can upload almost any kind of file, with exception of executable and music files. Users will also have the option of reporting malicious file types. The “Upload File” option will appear when users attempt to post content to the group.
In October 2010, Facebook acquired a popular file sharing service, drop.io , so we can assume that is how this new feature has come by. If your group hasn’t received it yet, here is what the new feature looks like:

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Ozone hits a New low: Scientists discover a major thinning in the protective Atmosphere over Arctic

Posted on May 12, 2012. Filed under: Science | Tags: , |

On the right is a view of the North Pole in the spring of 2011. At left is the same view,in 2010. Blue areas show low levels of ozone in the stratosphere.

Credit: NASA
Scientists saw something missing in the skies over the North Pole this spring, and it wasn’t Santa or his reindeer. It was ozone — an invisible gas that protects Earth and everything on it from the sun’s harmful ultraviolet rays.
The ozone’s thickest portion is high up in a section known as the stratosphere. The thickness of the ozone layer changes throughout the year;sometimes there’s more ozone and sometimes less. Scientists say that in the spring of 2011, there was less ozone high above the Arctic than ever before. The envelope had grown thin.
The scientists who measured the loss called their discoveryan “Arctic ozone hole.” Not allscientists like calling it a hole,because some amount of ozone remained. No matter which words are used, the ozone layer was way low. Andless ozone lets more harmful UV rays reach Earth’s surface.
“It was significantly worse than anything we have ever seen,” Geir Braathen told Science News. Braathen, an atmospheric chemist who works at the World Meteorological Organization inGeneva, Switzerland, knows about the new study but did not work on it. Atmospheric chemists study the molecules and chemical reactions that happen in the sky.
Usually, news about the ozone layer concerns the skyover the southern hemisphere. Every year, a hole in the ozone layer opensup over Antarctica. Braathen told Science News that every spring, 70 percent of the ozone above the icy continent goes away, and in some high swatches of the Antarctic’s stratosphere there’s no ozone at all.
Ozone over northern regions doesn’t decrease as much as ozone over Antarctica. In the new study, however, the scientists say that in 2011, the Arctic drop in ozone started to look similar to Antarctica’s.
“The magnitude of the [Arctic]loss is comparable to that in the early Antarctic ozone holes in the mid-1980s,” Michelle Santee told Science News. Santee, who worked onthe new study, is an atmospheric scientist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena,Calif. Right now, Santee says, the conditions in the northern stratosphere are nowhere near as bad as those in the south.
Scientists have learned the recipe for how to make ozone disappear from the atmosphere: Combine sunlight,a long period of cold temperatures and swirling winds that surround a patch of the stratosphere and keep fresh ozone out. Then add special clouds that help other molecules gobble up ozone. This year, all four of those ingredients came together over the Arctic, Nathaniel Livesey told Science News. Livesey, like Santee, worked on the new study and is an atmospheric scientist at JPL.
It might have been a random coincidence. On the other hand, some scientists worry that the situation will get worse as Earth’s surface warms. There’s no reason to suspect it won’t get worse, Ross Salawitch told Science News . Salawitch is an atmospheric scientist at the University of Maryland in College Park.
“I consider this to be a ‘big deal,’” he said.

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Facebook Tests New Feature- ‘Highlighted Posts’

Posted on May 12, 2012. Filed under: Technology | Tags: |


Facebook is testing a new product that is potentially a new source of revenue for the social networking giant. This product, called ‘Highlighted Posts’ potentially also builds a crossover for the company onto an online classifieds platform. As is common knowledge, the currently dominating website in the online classifieds section (variable by country, however) is Craigslist. What Highlighted Posts does is that it lets users make their status updates more prominent for a small fee. According to a New Zealand blog, called Stuff , a Facebook representative said that the feature is being tested with a small percentage of users right now. The fee for using the service to amplify your posts can range anywhere from offering it for free to a couple of bucks.
According to Mashable , the Facebook representative also said that users who would utilize the Highlighted Posts feature, include bands who want to promote an upcoming gig as well as any user who would want to sell their car. Facebook had previously launched a feature where users selling their stuff could advertise and let their friends know what price they were selling at, as well as add pictures of their stuff. However, thissort of paid advertising done by users themselves is new ground for the social network. What exactly happens to the amplified status is currently unknown and how Facebook would guarantee that a large percentage of users would see an amplified status is not clear. It is likely that brands would get on board to purchaseHighlighted Posts as a new form of web advertising. The representative made it clear though, that Highlighted Posts is one of the many products thecompany is testing right now.
Facebook’s IPO is still scheduled for later this month and the company filed an amended S-1 form on Wednesday, which stated that their advertising growth has not kept up with its expanding number of users. If Facebook’s Highlighted Posts featureis successful and gains significant traction, the social network would enter the online classified market which the IAB valued at $2.6 billion in 2011. Would you pay Facebook to amplify your status update?

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Another leaked Image of the HTC Desire C Emerges

Posted on May 12, 2012. Filed under: Mobile, Technology | Tags: |


The adage of ‘when it rains it pours’ appears to be apt for the HTC Desire C aka Wildfire C. In a short span of time, we had seen an official shot of the handset, which then went by the codename HTC Golf, later on the handset was captured in the wild and now the latest bit of information regarding this handset comes courtesy of an image posted on Facebook from Orange Romania. From the image we can see it has been snapped in a drawer alongside a range of other handsets and it appears that the eager employee cannot wait for the official announcement to show off this entry level smartphone.
Besides the image, the post on Facebook does not really have anything else to go by in the way of specifications or information on when it willbe revealed. However, from previous reports we can gather that it will feature a screen size of no larger than 3.5-inchesand will sport a resolution of 480 x 320. As for the processor, there is no concrete information, but it is believed to have a singlecore processor clocked below 1GHz. This handsetwill be featured in HTC’s One series of smartphones and will be the cheapest of the models that have been announced so far.
Here is a quick look at the rumoured specifications of the HTC Desire aka Wildfire C:
Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich with Sense 4.0 UI 3.5-inch display with a resolution of 480 x 320 Single-core CPU clocked at a speed of below 1GHz512MB RAM 4GB Internal memory MicroSD card slot5MP rear camera Front facing camera Bluetooth, Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n BeatsAudio
As of now, details are scarce regarding the availability of this smartphone but since theamount of leaks have skyrocketed; a launch date should be in the near future. With HTC garnering a lot of success with their flagship One X handset, it would be no surprise that this handset would do well too if it was priced attractively. Let us know your reactions about this smartphone in the comments below.

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