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H2O in space

We all know about the ongoing various space exploration experiments by multiple space agencies and the world’s most renowned one, which is of course NASA. But have you ever been curious to know about what will happen if we wring out a wet cloth in space?

Recently, Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield conducted an experiment on the demand of two 10th standard students Kendra Lemke and Meredith Faulkner who wanted to know what happens when you wring out a water-soaked washcloth in a zero gravity.

Chris Hadfield, who lives on the International Space Station (ISS) these days, was pleased to entertain the query of these two students and beautifully represented the effect of water in space. For the experiment, he used a tightly circular shaped packed washcloth (which he remarks looks like a hockey puck) on the ISS. Instead of dipping the cloth into a water vessel – which interestingly would not hold water in the space due to zero gravity, he squirted water on the cloth.

Now once he made that cloth watery, he started twisting it out smoothly and later tightly to squeeze out the water as that is usually how the phenomenon works here on Earth. Surprisingly, that did not turn out to be the case in zero gravity. Hadfield kept twisting that cloth but instead of dripping, the water began to roll over his hands and all around the cloth to form a jellylike appearance all over the astronaut’s hand.

Watch this video clip to see the effect of water in space and get a better idea about you have read yet in the above lines.

I loved watching this interesting experimental video by the astronaut! I hope you all liked it and loved reading this article.

 

Twitter has launched its much awaited Music app for iPhone and web users on 18 April. Android phone users would have to wait a little further – Twitter has promised that service will eventually be available on Android devices very soon as well. This music app collects users’ activity information based on their account as to which bands or artist they follow, and will find music they like accordingly.

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The app has an extremely intuitive user interface with a sleek and polished design made up of each artist or song’s page displayed in a grid. As you tap the play button on an image of an artist, it will start playing a clip from one song picked to represent them and an animated CD will spin on the bottom of left corner. It has four swipeable tabs “Popular”, “Emerging”, “Suggested” and “Now Playing” to help users navigate new songs and provides a dedicated page for Artist that the user is following at present.  The “Popular” tab is dedicated to trending songs on Twitter while “Emerging” tab is for up-and-coming artists. “Suggested” tab displays result on the basis of user’s following of bands or artist. “Now Playing “tab lists the songs tweeted by the people whom the user follows.

For web users it is available at https://music.twitter.com. However, for iPhone users, the app will be initially available in the U.S., Canada, the U.K., Ireland, Australia and New Zealand only before it is spread to other countries.

bmw--621x414Luxury car maker BMW India has started assembling its mini models of luxury cars in its Chennai unit in order to meet the progressively rising demand in the Indian market at a competitive price scale.

Considering the import/export duties in mind, BMW (And Audi as well) has now planned to indulge themselves in the local assembly which leads them to save on custom duties. It is quite predictable that very soon their demand on Indian shores will go up because they will be drastically bringing down their manufacturing costs with local assembling.

The local assembly of Countryman Mini will be cheaper by INR 10lakh. Earlier it was sold at INR 34.20-37.50 Lakhs which is now priced at INR 23.50-37.50 Lakhs.

In a conference on Wednesday BMW Group India President Philipp Von Sahr said –

“It would help us to increase the value for our customers and keep our prices competitive. The vehicles manufactured at BMW Chennai will fulfill the same quality standards that apply to production of BMW Group models worldwide”.

BMW has already assembled the 3 Series, 5 Series, X1 and X3 in its Chennai unit and has plans to start making 7 series too in the near future. The industry officials are expecting to see rapid growth which speculatively equates to almost double in sales volume for these luxury models i.e. 50k by 2015 from 25k in 2012.

Touchscreen interface in newspapers and textbooks is no more restricted only in Harry Potter movie series. We have all witnessed moving images and running live videos in the newspaper and other live art effects in textbooks of Hogwarts in this movie franchise. But today I read something which made me go crazy! Japanese manufacturer Fujitsu has developed a technology that turns the paper surface into a touchscreen!

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This technology is capable of detecting our fingers that are pointing on any flat/still surface like paper. We can easily cut, copy, drag and drop images or any other portion of the paper using our fingertips in a same way as we do in our smartphones or tablets for image editing. Or one can even copy or scan the selected portion of any page to save it for future reference, and that too by using his/her fingers.

Taichi Murase, a researcher at Fujitsu’s Media Service System Lab further describes the technology-

“We think paper and many other objects could be manipulated by touching them, as with a touchscreen. This system doesn’t use any special hardware; it consists of just a device like an ordinary webcam, plus a commercial projector. Its capabilities are achieved by image processing technology.”

Fujitsu’s research team claims that beside plane surface this technology can also work on uneven surfaces like rounded book pages, so that one can easily manipulate data from such curved pages as well. In a presentation video researchers demonstrated that this technology will not detect general hand gestures but it can sense the exact pointed finger facing towards any surface. Furthermore, one can use his/her hand gestures to perform actions without touching the board.

Watch this video to know more about what this technology is all about –

Although this technology is still in its initial stage to demonstrate the concept behind it, Fujitsu is planning to commercialize it by 2014. After watching this demo video I was left amazed! What about you all? I would love to hear your take on this upcoming next generation touch interface!

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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.

Stephen Hawking, the world’s most renowned physicist and cosmologist on Tuesday talked about certain horrifying aspects of Earth during his lecture at Cedars-Sinai Regenerative Medicine Institute, Los Angeles. He once again warned his fellow space researchers and others to find out a way to live in space as our extinction is on the horizon.

Stephen-HawkingHawking discussed how he himself and researchers at Cedars-Sinai are getting a closer idea about stem cell to develop treatments for Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, a disease that has jammed Hawking on a wheelchair from the last 50 years. Sources say that Stephen was diagnosed with this disease in 1963 and since then he has been bound to his chair and finding out a way to get this disease fixed.

In an interview with the Los Angeles Times, Stephen Hawking said “We must continue to go into space for humanity; we won’t survive another 1,000 years without escaping our fragile planet.”

Many a time in previous years, Hawking has advised people and scientists who have been involved in a space exploration project to begin the search of a new planet for human kind. In 2006 in one of his official interview he said, “space is the place to live”. In other words, based on the research and scientific experiences Hawking had, he’s confident enough that for long term survival – us Earthlings do not have to remain prowling on this planet only but also to ensure the continued existence of our species by locating other celestial bodies within a space which can possibly be habitable.

Stephen Hawking’s predictions during his distinguished career of scientific research have been pretty plausible. And he has been predicting about Earth’s eventual extinction, however, we are yet to see another planet in the universe with the existence of life on it.

FB Home

The much hyped Facebook Home launcher is now available on Google Play store. At this stage, it is available in USA only, leaving avid Android enthusiasts eager but unable to experience it. Also, even if it available to you, only certain smartphones are compatible with the launcher. But rest easy; there are various options available that can let you enjoy a Facebook home on your smartphone.

How?

If you are a US based user, and stuck with a non compatible smartphone model, the obvious way is to get a new smartphone – a model that works for Facebook Home. But I guess this options is ruled out for most of users – even if they are eager to try out the Facebook home, few users are going to change their smartphones just for that.

The next option involves hacking – rooting your smartphone to install Facebook Home apk. But again, this makes the option a risky one, likely to be practiced by a very few technically savvy users.

The third option is to suck it up, and wait for the Facebook Home to reach your device ad your country.

However, there is still another option that lets you enjoy a Facebook Home like functionality on your Android smartphone, right now, and wherever you are! Just have a look at these three cool Facebook Home alternatives for Android –

1. Quick Launch Social Lockscreen-

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As the name suggests, it is almost a complete mélange of major social networks – Facebook, Twitter and Instagram – accessible right from the lock screen of the phone. Quick launch lock screen contains its own Facebook widget, which shows the latest photos and headlines from the latest posts in your feed and lets you share, like or view the full post.

2. SO.HO [SOHO Social Launcher]-

SOHO

The best thing about this launcher is that you can experience and use Facebook as well as Twitter on your Android phone from a single place, making it easier for you to see what’s happening on all your social networks.

https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.inqmobile.soho&hl=en

3. Android Pro Widgets-

APW

Android is a flexible OS that allows placing dynamic widgets on your home screens so you don’t need to switch between different apps frequently. With APW, you can get all important information at same place – your calendar, bookmarks, a listing of your most recent SMS messages and most importantly, your Facebook feed.

https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.rdr.widgets.core&hl=en

tarotUnless a person completely kills his/her phone’s battery, one doesn’t need a backup. Although many a times it happens that our phone battery gets completely drained which prompts us to look for an alternative in such situations.  We usually prefer to carry two batteries with us but now we have a credit card sized charger that charges our devices in an instant. Yes a charger that’s pretty similar in shape and look to your credit card!

Tarot
POWEROCKS, a US based consumer electronics company has announced Tarot – the world’s thinnest and most portable power bank. The Tarot’s 1500mAh capacity battery has a slim design so that it can easily fit into a wallet, pocket or small purse to provide an emergency power backup for your smartphone, tablet and iPod etc.

Usage
To charge your smartphone with the Tarot, you just need to connect a micro USB cable from Tarot to your smartphone or any other device that you are about to charge to give it an immediate power standby. For iPhone or other devices like camera, Bluetooth headsets etc. which don’t support micro USB; simply attach the device’s USB adapter to the Tarot’s USB cable to charge.

Although, this compact charger looks like a credit card, it’s a bit thicker at 0.28-inches as compared to 0.030 inch thickness of a credit card. Other than that it’s still easy to keep in your wallet while on the go.

The device is available in black, sliver and pink color, priced at US$34.99.

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Before even watching the trailer of the 2012 adaptation, I decided to go with Sly Stallone’s 1995 Judge Dredd. And to put it nicely, it was way below the expectations I had from it. The only reason I did this was to avoid disappointment a second time after toiling through the remake of “Total Recall”. But the consistently good reviews were persuasive enough to buy this one through Amazon.

Got the Bluray, popped it in the BD player and switched on my 3D TV to see if it was worth the bucks I had shelled out or just another damp squid. An hour and a half later, and I was still in the spellbinding mode that the constant adrenaline had cast over me! I gladly admit that this one has been one of my better investments till date.

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Now to the movie, clichéd setup in a survivor city with Hall of Justice being the only entity working to maintain order in the chaos. Car chase and a routine investigation which goes wrong when Dredd along with a rookie gets stuck in a tower complex to survive the assault of unscrupulous narcotics distribution syndicate.  Now without getting into details, the movie scores where the 1995 version failed. Dredd in this is a ruthless, hard-boiled hunter without being mellow in his approach. The action sequences are fresh and very well-shot and the whole environment lends a noir feeling to the story.

And the most pleasant aspects are definitely the way 3D effects have been used. A couple of scenes where characters are shown under the influence of Slo-Mo (which by the way tends to slow down time to 1% in the inhaler’s brain) as well as the savage shooting and blood spilling that brought out the best of 3D elements within the narration. Personal recommendation from my end as this one’s a must watch for action lovers!

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!

 

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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!)

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