Category: Technology


ardusat

This is not a joke; it is for real. Now anyone can own a satellite for a week by paying just $250 as rent, with full authority to access it for various purposes. Space exploration and associated research are the most obvious fields to work for the major space agencies; however, till date none of them have offered such options for public, which allows a normal person to rent their own satellite for a week for their research projects.

Noticing the exploration demand of this particular subject (Space), one of the leading space agencies – NanoSatisfi has announced that they’ll launch their first cube satellite on August 4th, 2013. It’s a nanosatellite sized just 10 cm wide which allow people to own for timely basis. The company has considered various fields for which people could require and rent the satellite for their usage. Top listed categories are: Research scholars, engineers, and school students and those engaged in the field of Science, Engineering, and Entertainment.

The company has named this nanosatellite as ‘ArduSat’. This project is being supported by well known fund raiser’s company – Kickstarter for raising money for this project, and it is all set to launch off the satellite into space. Major goals of this project are to get more people involved in space research program, tracking meteorites by tuning into the radio stations reflected by the meteors’ tails, writing algorithms to make the camera take different kinds of photos based on factors like gamma radiation and exposure to the sun, and even mapping Earth’s magnetic field.

The NanoSatisfi’s CEO – Peter Platzer said in a press conference that “Instead of huge, expensive machines, each of which is different, we have smaller, cheaper craft built on a single standard that allows anyone to create improvements for them. We’re taking Moore’s law, and we’re moving it into space.” He also tells that we could probably control this nanosatellite through our smartphones!

Ah, what else we could expect from new and cutting edge science and its proponents! I would love to see your take on this ultimate revolutionary in the field of science to bring space closer to humans than ever before.

 

Expedition 35 Landing Image

Image credit to NASA

The space journey of three of NASA’s astronauts ended yesterday on May 14th, 2013 at 10:31P.M. EDT, as Expedition 35 Commander Chris Hadfield of the Canadian Space Agency, Soyuz Commander Roman Romanenko of the Russian Federal Space Agency, and Flight Engineer Tom Marshburn of NASA landed their Soyuz TMA-07M Russian spacecraft safely on earth in a remote location outside Dzhezkazgan, Kazakhstan.

Expedition 35 Landing

Image credit to NASA

These three astronauts arrived at the International Space Station last year on Dec 21st, as the Expedition 34/35 team and spent 144 days living and working on a zero gravity orbit in space. Commander Chris Hadfield delightedly handed over the charge of the international science laboratory to Russian cosmonaut Pavel Vinogradov and other flight engineers Chris Cassidy and Alexander Misurkin who are scheduled to live onboard the International Space Station till September 2013. The talented Hadfield also made some interesting videos during his 5-month stay onboard the ISS, the latest one being a cover of Space Oddity by David Bowie. The video has gone viral garnering close to 10 million views in a span of just 2 days!

In a further briefing the NASA has announced that the undocking brought Expedition 35 to an end and marked the start of Expedition 36 under the command of Pavel Vinogradov. Currently onboard the station, Vinogradov, Cassidy and Misurkin will continue working for the time being as three more members will join them shortly with the docking scheduled on May 28th. To know more about Expedition 35’s experiences and to watch its landing video visit www.nasa.gov.

seagate_600_ssdA Solid State Drive is also known as Solid State Disk. It is a storage drive which uses electronic integrated circuits unlike any other hard drive. The “Seagate 600 SSD” which was announced yesterday is geared for general users who want to upgrade from their conventional HDD. The company officials have confirmed that this model has been designed for pro-consumers and enterprise use.

Solid State Drive:

The Seagate 600 is the world’s first consumer-grade SSD drive in the market and is available in two variants – 7mm and 5mm thick. This difference in disk thickness will have no effect on its functioning as each of them will perform same and will be available in three different capacities – 120GB, 240GB, and 480GB. The 240GB and 480GB SSD offer upto 500Mbps and 400Mbps consecutive reading and writing speed respectively. Whereas the 128GB version has a somewhat slower writing speed of 300Mbps for consecutive writing.

Design:

The 600 SSD has been designed in the same standard 2.5inch size which supports the latest SATA 3 (6Gbps) and on-the-fly error-correction algorithms. It uses 19nm Multilevel Cell NAND flash memory. The officials say that the new 600 SSD can be used the same as any other Seagate 2.5 inch HDD and it is also adept to support the Native Command Queuing and Data Set Management with Trim for better performance. One must ensure that it is used with Windows 7 or 8 to ensure apt use of the Trim functionality.

And unlike a traditional HDD, SSD drives do not use any external mechanical components. It is pretty clear that in the future SSDs will be in mass consumption by manufacturers in laptops, desktops and other electronic devices. As far as the prices of Seagate 600 SSD is concerned, then generally SSDs cost 7-8 times more than a traditional hard disk drive although we are yet to hear about the pricing and the product launch date by the company.

Parental control applications and features are already available there in various digital devices at home but the question is does this feature ever let the parents know exactly how much time their children are spending on the internet on a daily basis? Or what your family members are doing on the web in your absence or whether your kids are accessing websites which they are not allowed to? The answer is NO, we do not have such precise control yet. However, if you are looking for some serious control over your home’s Wi-Fi network through which you can manage, monitor and control every single internet activity of your family while on-the-go, you can do it with the help of Skydog, a smartphone application which is required to be connected to your home network.

A Paloalto, California based network company has developed ‘Skydog’, a combination of smartphone application and a Wi-Fi router which uses cloud services to give real-time accessibility report of the internet.

Skydog-Mobile

Functioning

One can setup a network by replacing their existing Wi-Fi router with Skydog’s 802.11n wireless router and then signing up using Skydog account. As soon as you are done with this setup, you can monitor all the activities such as – what all devices are connected, who exactly is online in your home and which websites are being accessed and even the usage of current bandwidth. Skydog provides relatively detailed output which you can easily review on your desktop or on mobiles.

Skydog-on-PC

The administrator can easily set priorities on various websites as per their choice. For example, if you want your kid to access Twitter for around an hour a day, Skydog allows you to set their accessing time limit. And if your child exceeds their time limit you will get a notification message from the system alerting you that your child has crossed his/her usage limit for the day and is still online.

In an interview Jeff Abramowitz, CEO and founder of PowerCloud describes that this application can also be used for positive purposes – “For example, Abramowitz said parents can see how much their child have engaged with a mathematic site. You can see the level of activity and then you know with confidence that your kid is putting forth the effort towards the right things.”

So readers, what is your opinion on Skydog parental control, is it worth considering or not?

google-glass-hd-wallpaper

The much anticipated Google Glass has been finally announced for release. Google has confirmed that without any further delay they will start shipping the first batch of glasses as it seems like the first lot of devices come off the production edge. Google has notified their ‘Glass Explorers’ through a mail stating that the company has decided to ship its first consignment to their 2000 explorers, who signed up for Google’s I/O developer conference in San Francisco last year.

With this terrific announcement, it is an apt time to throw light on some  of the hidden specifications of this device as well –

The device’s display is undoubtedly one of its prime factor and now it’s pretty clear why; it will have a resolution which is equivalent to a 25 inch high-definition screen from eight feet away. Developer’s guide says that it will capture a photo which will have a resolution of 640 x 360p. This could be the device resolution as well however, Google did not mark it in the spec list.

The Glass will also have a 5MP camera that can record your videos at 720p. Initially it will be shipped with 16 GB of flash storage memory, out of which 12GB will be for user access. Another most endearing feature the company has incorporated into this device is a bone conduction transducer which is an advanced audio transmission technology that will transmit sound from glass to the inner ear through the bones of the wearer’s skull.

Selected people for the first slot of deliveries can buy the Explorers edition by paying US$1500 only. Click here for more precise details and to know about usage of Google Glass.

Understanding IGZO displays

One particular technology that really caught my eye at CES 2013 was Sharp’s IGZO display technology. Still relatively new from the consumer aspect and not something you will be aware of if you are not much into consumer technology. Having said that, I hope this post of mine does justice to this cutting-edge display tech. Sharp showcased their IGZO (Indium Gallium Zinc Oxide) displays co-developed with Corning Glass Inc. It is an indigenous high-resolution display which can match a 4K resolution. And judging by its capability to have a pixel density of up to 500-550 ppi, it can give the current existing Retina and AMOLED displays a serious run for their money!

 

sharpigzo4k-1l

 

Let’s converge on the high points of an IGZO display. Here are a select few –

1) Crisp Visuals: Smaller transistors in the circuit mean high electron mobility and pixel density which results in stunningly clear and detailed images i.e. up to 4 times the standard 1080p resolution.

2) Lighter and Slimmer Form Factor: IGZO sheets are relatively slimmer and malleable without losing the robust identity which means the smart devices that incorporate IGZO will be more lightweight than even before.

3) Extended battery life: The top line displays need constant screen refresh to accommodate for continued visual goodness. An IGZO display on the other hand is capable of retaining a static image without losing the display quality; that essentially means your phone’s Home Screen with all the widgets and app links would not need constant refreshing which demands less out of the device battery thus reducing power consumption. Dare I say that the standard Smartphone battery life might increase by almost a day with an IGZO display?!

4) Better Touch Response: The tightly-condensed structure of an IGZO-display enables much more precise touch response, especially in multi-point touch screens which makes it a boon for future Smartphone displays.

 

 

Rather than me saying anything more, a good viewing of the video credibly illustrates the kind of punch that IGZO displays pack. To round it up, IGZO is mesmerizing and eagerly awaited! (At least by me for now!)

The past year or so has passed with expectation for the consumer Display industry with the unveiling of OLED TVs at CES 2012 and IFA 2012. But more than a launch, it was a presser by companies to show the industry what they have in store for the coming years.

CES-2013-LG-Curve-OLED

And just when you would expect that CES 2013 would act as the carrier for finalized launch dates of these OLED TVs, both the Korean giants threw an unexpected but pleasant surprise at the audience in Las Vegas this year. Along with the shipping announcements for OLED TVs, we got to witness prototypes of curved OLED TVs. To be honest, even I looked at the latest entrants with a thorough brow anticipating the whole deal to be a damp squid.

sammy curved oled tv

At first look one might assume these TVs to be malleable considering the curved design. Not so much as they are just flexible OLED displays which have been designed as such and are not bendable at all. The whole idea behind having a curved screen is to make sure that the display is equidistant from the viewer’s eyes and there any visual distortion on the edges.

But with no announcements for plans on commercial production or pricing, these TVs still look far away from the realization of having one at your place. Having said that, there’s no doubt about the fact that these curved OLED TVs with a concave form factor from LG and Samsung are every videophile’s dream!

International-CES

It’s that time of the year again that one of the biggest consumer electronic fair kicks off in the jam-packed Las Vegas Convention Centre. I am pretty sure that all the technology-enthusiasts out there would be waiting with bated breath to see all the new innovations that are supposed to be unveiled. What we generally miss is the lighter side of things. Browsing across YouTube I found this really quirky yet humorous video which has been compiled with the honest intent of some light-hearted humor.

All credits to the maker for this thoroughly enjoyable compilation. In all seriousness, I will be covering the interesting products that are unveiled during this consumer electronics fair. But for now, I will leave you with the giggles you get from watching this video!

the_darkest_hour

So it’s been a strenuous week with loads of work inside the office and chilling cold to battle outside. I was finally glad to be snug in my blanket tasting on some yum talumein soup in the evening yesterday. So while switching through the channels on my TV, I come across this “Premiere of the Month” feature “The Darkest Hour”on Star Movies.

Now as anyone would speculate, I had assumed the movie to be a run-of-the-mill psychopath thriller with the title and the youngsters gathering through the opening sequence. But as it turns out, it was a wildly creative SCI-FI concept which didn’t quite reach the heights I had anticipated it would. Moscow being the centre of focus, Earth is being invaded by alien forces that view our planet as a mineral-rich hub with abundance of substances which are good conductors of electricity. The carnage of humanity is just a collateral by-product of their plan.

The most interesting part of the movie was definitely the way these extra-terrestrials were visualized. Instead of blood-thirsty monsters or gadget-equipped hunters, these were entities that operate on electricity and are made invisible by the force fields around them. Humans are seen as electromagnetic pulses and turned to dust upon contact by them. And the only effective weapon to defeat them is microwave lasers. Yes, you read that right; Microwave Lasers. Now obviously it was interwoven as a survival tale of a group caught in the middle of this annihilation.

alien darkest hour

Now don’t get me wrong, the conceptualization is original and riveting and kudos to the makers for that. But it lacked the taut script and direction which would have made this movie much better than it was. But hey, at least it was unique! So I don’t have much to complain about 🙂

mayans

So another eventful year has passed by and I am sure everybody was in high spirits while welcoming 2013; buoyed by the fact that the Mayans got it wrong and you’re still alive and kicking! And to be honest, I won’t be exaggerating when I say that the jokes were getting stretched beyond imagination so I am glad it has been put to rest with the passing days.

Now that we’re done with that, I thought what better way to start the New Year than highlighting the highs and lows of consumer electronics in 2012. So here we go!

CES 2012: The Las Vegas electronics feature was quite the crowd-puller with several heavyweights unveiling new technologies. Announcement of flagship handsets by the mainstream players emphasized that future Smartphones will be bigger and better. Laptops were shown to getting evolved from compact machines to cutting-edge “Ultrabooks”. And HDTV’s turned over a new leaf of convergence with the unveiling of the world’s first 55-inch OLED TV by LG.

VERDICT: HIGH!

 

APPLE VS SAMSUNG SAGA: This never-ending dispute seems like giving Harry Potter and LOTR a run for their money! If it had been about core technologies, I would have understood the unrest but going through litigation for icons and features which are a standard for any Smartphone these days is just juvenile at best. This whole rundown is a glorified castigation for consumers who crave innovation.

VERDICT: ALL TIME LOW!

 

LAPTOPS: One would be forgiven for not finding it exciting with the amount of options available but look closely and there’s reason to rejoice. From just being laptops, these machines have evolved into sleeker, robust and faster computing units. Intel’s own Ultrabook and Lenovo Ideapad Yoga represents what mobile computing will be capable of in the coming years.

VERDICT: HIGH!

 

SMARTPHONES: With Android being the dominant OS, Samsung became the biggest manufacturer of Smartphones worldwide overtaking Apple. And the whole tussle did result in some funny commercials. With Sony, LG and HTC lining up their flagship handsets for MWC 2013, it’s exciting times ahead for the Android community. Another major highlight of 2012 has been the emergence of Windows OS as a worthy rival to Android. And with most of the manufacturers working on Windows OS based Smartphones you might soon be spoilt for choice as a prospective consumer.

Obligatory mention: The launch of iPhone 5 amidst the controversies. The newest avatar of iPhone failed to live up to its hype.

VERDICT: It’s a pudding of many flavors so I’ll let you pick and choose!

lg-84-inch-tv

IFA 2012: The next one in line, the most important unveilings at this event imo was the launch of Ultra HD TV’s and a few pointers of the impending launch of OLED TV’s. Another gadget that caught the eye was definitely the Samsung Galaxy Camera.

VERDICT: HIGH!

Well that’s about it from my end. And feel absolutely free to share something I might have missed and I’ll be more than happy to update it in here. Coz as they say, you can never know everything yourself!

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