Saturday, November 23, 2013


Sunday, June 23, 2013

Apple 1976?

Thursday, June 20, 2013



Monday, March 25, 2013

Samsung's Galaxy S4

I am still unsure what Samsung's real message was given the fact that it put more emphasis on theatrics than product specs and features. In fact, a sign outside the Radio City Music Hall, where the event was held, called this launch "Episode 1." In the end, the Broadway-style show took away from the product's true value and place in the market. Even worse, the company drew criticism for its sexist portrayal of women. If the goal was to stun and stagger us, then in that sense, Samsung did succeed.

Had Samsung done its homework, it would have known that stagecraft and product launches rarely mix. One of the more interesting failures was an early '90s Radio Shack product launch that ended with an NYPD officer riding his Harley onto the stage to illustrate how the mobile device could be used in a "mobile setting." It left the audience members shaking their heads and much of the event's media coverage was adverse.
From time to time, a Sony launch at a Comdex or CES event would bring out all of the stops. The launch would not only introduce new products but also famous actors who were about to star in a Sony-backed movie. One in particular that stands out in my mind is when then-CEO Nobuyuki Idei introduced Spiderman stars Toby Maguire and Kirsten Dunst. At the time, most of the audience hadn't heard of them and their appearance fell flat.
I witnessed another theatrical product launch disaster up close and personal in the mid-90s in Boston. Laplink had wanted Get Smart star Don Adams to endorse the product, however his appearance fee was $100,000—a bit too much for this small company to spend. Instead it opted for old-time comedian "Professor" Irwin Corey, known for his salty language.
Before the event, I was invited to a lunch with Corey and was asked to help emphasize the importance of keeping his jokes clean and relevant. Of course, he had a mind of his own and when he got up on stage, his humor was all over the place. By the end, he had offended many of the media reporters who had attended to hear about the product, not to be upset. To be honest, I came away remembering Corey but not much about the Laplink product itself.
The goal of a tech event should be to showcase products, not talent, which distracts from the intended message. The one time flaunting talent did work was when Sony introduced director George Lucas and took the opportunity to explain how he would shoot all of his future movies in digital format, pushing aside the use of film in the future. In context, someone like Lucas worked perfectly.
It is very important to remember that members of the tech media attend events to cover the product, its virtues, and how it will affect their readers; they are not there to be entertained—or worse, insulted. They have a job to do, and that is not the job of theater critic.
For this reason, Apple's product launches are aimed specifically at a media-rich audience, not to a mainstream audience that needs to be entertained. Apple depends on the press and social media voices to get its message out, which has proven quite effective. Samsung's real mistake here was thinking it needed to cater to a global audience in order to get the product noticed, which inspired its glitzy Galaxy S4 smartphone launch. Now, when people think of the new smartphone, they also think of this embarrassing product launch.
Sure Apple does have a bit of entertainment at some of its launches, but it is always in context of the product launch itself. Tony Bennett, Bono, John Mayer, and the Foo Fighters have all played at the end of events, but those performances were always following music–related announcements. None of the performers has been part of a skit or even asked to endorse the product being launched. Apple's focus is always rightly on the technical details of the product and how it can impact people's lives.
So if Samsung is smart, this "Episode 1" will be the final episode. A truly great product should stand on its own. The razzle-dazzle seems an attempt to shroud the lack of real innovation in the hardware, even if the software shown is interesting. (After all, how can they see with sequins in their eyes?) My advice to companies: Keep it simple and lay out the value proposition to a targeted audience. Let the product sing for itself.

Monday, March 18, 2013

BlackBerry CEO calls Apple's iPhone user interface outdated

The CEO of BlackBerry has criticized Apple for failing to overhaul the user interface of the iPhone to keep up with competing smartphone platforms.
Since the iPhone launched in 2007, it's had largely the same interface with a grid of icons making users' applications accessible. While that was adequate with the first-generation iPhone, BlackBerry's Thorsten Heins believes it's now antiquated, he said in an interview with Australian Financial Review (viaAllThingsD).

"History repeats itself again, I guess," the BlackBerry CEO said. "The rate of innovation is so high in our industry that if you don't innovate at that speed you can be replaced pretty quickly. The user interface on the iPhone, with all due respect for what this invention was all about, is now five years old."

Heins admitted that he must "respect" the iPhone, a device that helped make BlackBerry largely irrelevant in the smartphone market after holding a dominant position for years. His company hopes to mount a comeback off of its new BlackBerry 10 interface and new handsets.

"The point is that you can never stand still," he said. "It is true for us as well. Launching BB10 just put us on the starting grid of the wider mobile computing grand prix, and now we need to win it."

Apple's future direction with iOS and its user interface are now a point of interest for the company, as it parted ways with its previous iOS software chief, Scott Forstall, late last year. That role, along with control of the design of OS X, has been handed to Jonathan Ive, who has overseen development of the company's iconic hardware for years.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Build your business

Check out "Make Money From Anywhere"

Samsung unveils the Galaxy S IV

Samsung unveils the Galaxy S IV

@CNNMoney March 14, 2013: 7:46 PM ET

Samsung's Galaxy S IV is here. As expected, it's built to vie for the position of best smartphone in 2013.

How it will compare with Apple's (AAPLFortune 500) next iPhone or Google's(GOOGFortune 500) future Nexus flagship phone remains to be seen. But after a few minutes playing around with the the Galaxy S IV, it's easy to see how this smartphone could end up in the same conversation.
Here's everything you need to know.
The Guts: The Galaxy S IV sports a five-inch screen with incredibly high resolution. The 1920x1080 pixel display is as good as you're going to find on any smartphone right now (HTC, LG, and Sony (SNE) all have similar displays as well).
But it doesn't feel overly big. The Galaxy S IV's bezel occupies so little space, the smartphone isn't much bigger than its predecessor, the 4.8-inch Galaxy S III.
The quality and design of the Galaxy S IV is definitely a step above its plasticky predecessor. But it's still not on the same level of a phone like the solidly constructed HTC One. One benefit of the Galaxy S IV's plastic shell, however, is that it allows for the phone to be lighter. At 130 grams, Samsung's new device is lighter than many smaller Android phones.
Inside, it has a solid two gigabytes of RAM, a 13-megapixel rear camera (along with a two megapixel front-facing camera), a larger 2600 mAh battery (up from 2100 mAh), and your choice of 16, 32, or 64 GB of storage. It also supports micro-SD removable storage.
The big mystery, however, remains the processor. It's the most important part of any smartphone, and Samsung is keeping mum.
The Software: One big plus is that the Galaxy S IV will ship with the latest version of Android, known as Jelly Bean.
But many of the design benefits that come with Google's excellent Jelly Bean operating system will go unnoticed. Samsung continues to slap its custom "Touch Wiz" user interface on top of it, which has the habit of making Samsung smartphones appear toy-like.
Navigating through the user interface, however, was a brisk and responsive.
And Samsung is banking heavily on software tricks to set itself apart from other smartphones. For example, while watching a video, you can set the phone to detect when you look away from the screen, and it will automatically pause the clip. When you look back at the screen, it will start again. That feature worked surprisingly well.
The Galaxy S IV also borrowed a page from Samsung's Note line of tablets, letting users interact with the phone without even touching it. Using the "Airview" feature, you can hover your finger over various on-screen elements in apps such as messaging, mail, or the media aggregator app Flipboard, and it will allow you to quickly view messages or read a story preview without diving into a new screen.
Samsung also introduced gesture controls, which let you wave left and right, up and down, to navigate and scroll through web pages and other text-based documents. But even in the few minutes I spent with the Galaxy S IV, it felt like a gimmick that was more hassle than resource.
And of course, there's the eye-scrolling feature that has been much-buzzed about. But it's not the eye-tracking, finger-free technology that casual futurists had hoped for. Instead, the phone can detect when you've focused your gaze upon the screen, and then it will allow you to tilt the phone up and down to scroll. It definitely works, but how much more efficient this feature (or any of the other additions) makes navigation remains to be seen.
The Camera: Samsung is also putting a lot of focus into its camera. The company snatched the interface from its Galaxy Smart Camera, adding a host of smart shooting modes that add some fun and functionality to the Galaxy S IV.
Like some other devices, such as the Nokia Lumia 920, the Galaxy S IV has buil in the ability to make cinemagraps, those highly-stylized animated gifs the internet has come to love.
There's also a new mode which allows you to create time-lapse photography and track the motion of an object or person as it moves through the frame.
Maybe the most useful new feature is eraser mode, which snaps five photos at once, and if there's a person moving through the shot that isn't supposed to be there, you 86 'em out with a single tap. When you're on vacation in a busy area, this is the type of feature you can appreciate.
Everything else: The Galaxy S IV also has plenty of features that will appeal to many users.
There's a camera-based translator, which will take text from a printed document, and translate it into a digital format that you can file away on your phone. There's a built in pedometer, and if you're dying to use your phone to control your TV, you can also do that too.
The Galaxy S IV will also auto-calibrate its speakers and display to deliver the best audio and picture in any condition or application. For example, it could have the ability to know that you're watching a movie, and will automatically set itself to make dialogue clear. Or it could know that you're reading a book outdoors, and will adjust brightness and sharpness to save your eyes from retinal armageddon.
Even Samsung's accessories are cool. The S View Cover has a built in display which can display essential notifications, like incoming and missed calls, texts, and e-mail. It's the type of feature that could save battery in the long run, saving you from having to switch the screen on and off.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Talkatone - free phone calls and SMS text with Google Voice

With so many people ditching their landline phones in favor of their smartphone, the minutes can rack up fast, costing you a hefty bill at the end of the billing cycle. Talkatone aims to alleviate sticker shock by offering unlimited free calls and texts without taking up any of your minutes. The app worked as promised for phone calls, but the calls weren't exactly crystal clear, and the recipient may not know who is calling based on the caller ID info provided. Text messages are another story.
Once Talkatone is installed, it will ask for access to your contacts. Also, Talkatone uses Google Voice to make the calls, so you have to be logged into your Google Account. (We have to wonder what Google thinks about the app makers using and profiting from its service, but that's for another time and place.) The interface will look familiar to you, with very similar Keypad, Contacts, Recents, and Favorites menus to select. Talkatone does introduce a Settings menu that includes Network Preferences for adjusting your call quality, though you'll have to pay for an upgrade to make certain changes. To make a call, we had to activate Google Voice or invite our contact to Talkatone. Activating Google Voice involved signing into our Google account through the app, and then clicking on the link that Talkatone sent to our e-mail, which we had to do on our computer. We went to our Contacts list and selected someone to call. The call to our recipient showed up as a mysterious number from Escondido, Calif., which is nowhere near our location. Once our caller picked up, we talked as usual, but couldn't help but notice the noise in the background. We then tried to send a text, but the app went through the same process of having us activate Google Voice, which we had already done.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Google shows Glass apps and audio

Google showed off apps, audio and gesture control for Google Glass at the South by South West (SXSW) conference held in Austin this week.
Timothy Jordan, a senior developer advocate at Google, was at the conference in Austin on Monday to demonstrate how the computerized eye glasses work. He used Glass, which is still in development, to send email, take photos, post to Google+ and hear a translation.
Google Glass
Google co-founder and CEO Sergey Brins dons Google Glass.
He also showed howGlass could use a New York Times app, as well as Skitch, a free app that acts as a collaboration tool that enables users to mark up images with arrows, shapes and texts.
Google had previously noted that Glass uses voice control. Jordan demonstrated that Glass also responds to touch and head gestures.
And after showing how Glass can be used to do a Google search for an English-to-Japanese translation of the phrase "thank you," Jordan said he could hear the translation through the Glass audio feature.
"It also said to me how to pronounce "arigato," Jordan told an audience at SXSW. "You didn't hear it because it was audio just for me. You notice I don't have anything in my ear so I can hear all the ambient audio around me but I can also hear Glass."
Jordan also used Glass to access Gmail, replying to an email by using voice dictation. Glass then showed a transcript of his reply and offered him the choice to edit it or send it. The sent email would then arrive, giving the recipient the message as text and an audio version.
Jordan also showed how the Glass interface can be turned on and off by a simple nod of the head.
"With these input options -- voice, touch on the side, and some basic head gestures -- I can control Glass in about any situation," Jordan said. "
He also showed the audience that he could take a photo with Glass, then share it with the Skitch app. Once in Skitch, a notification is sent to his tabletwhere he is able to mark the image with arrows, shapes and text.
Google's Glass project has created some controversy long before it's even officially released. On Monday, a Seattle cafe announced that anyone wearing Glass will be banned from the establishment.
"If you're one of the few who are planning on going out and spending your savings on Google Glasses -- what will for sure be a new fad for the fanny-pack wearing, never removing your bluetooth headset-wearing crowd -- plan on removing them before you enter The 5 Point," the cafe wrote in a blog post. "The 5 Point is officially a No Google Glass zone."
A few weeks ago, Google put out a call for people to apply to be part of a group of a few thousand who will initially test Glass. Called "explorers," the testers were asked to tell Google what they would do with Glass if they had a pair to use.
If accepted as tester , explorers will be required to shell out $1,500 for their test pair, and will have to pay to attend a special "pick-up experience" in New York, San Francisco or Los Angeles.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Braven, One of Many

Braven Wireless Bluetooth Speaker/Power Bank - White (BZ650SBA)

The Braven Wireless Bluetooth Speaker/Power Bank 650 is the perfect portable wireless audio solution. Its small size and powerful stereo output means you can take room-filling audio with you anywhere. As an added benefit, it acts as a mobile backup battery for your phone or mp3 player, and as a noise-cancelling speakerphone to make hands-free calls. Enhance your mobile life with the Braven 650.
  • Speaker Features: 360-Degree Sound
  • No. of Speakers Included: 1
  • Wired Connectivity: 3.5mm Jack, Wireless
  • Includes: Power Cord, Owner's Manual, Audio Cable, AC Power Adapter, USB Cable, Wireless Transmitter
  • Not Included: MP4 Player, iPod, MP3 Player, iPad, iPhone

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Learn and Earn

I'm really enjoying this new app! I'm
learning all sorts of interesting things, and
I'm making some extra cash, too. Take a
look --

Wednesday, February 27, 2013


LG showed off a few devices at the Mobile World Congress 2013 that is taking place in Barcelona this week. All the devices are great, but the most exciting however is the LG Optimus G Pro. It is the company’s flagship device and is a 5.5 inch phablet that is all set to compete with Samsung’s Galaxy Note II.
Samsung has been ruling the Android sphere for quite a long time now. As far as Galaxy Note 2 goes, no device has seriously threatened its popularity and LG’s Optimus G Pro is designed to do exactly that. If everything goes well, the Optimus G Pro should knock Samsung off its phablet throne.
So what has LG Optimus G Pro got which makes us think that it will make a serious mark in 2013? Well, LG Optimus G Pro is without doubt an impressive device. It’s of the same size as Galaxy Note 2, but it’s faster and it’s lighter. Also, it has a better looking 1080p display, which could be a major selling point for LG Optimus G Pro. The Korean company has been experimenting with several features that will let it take advantage of this particular form factor. One attractive feature is the dual-recording mode which enables the device to shoot video from both, the front as well as rear camera. The feature should be popular among video bloggers.
Apart from the 1080p display advantage, LG’s flagship is powered by the 1.7 GHz quad-core Snapdragon 600 with LTE radio (and that’s the same chip that is anticipated to power the U.S. Galaxy S IV!) and 2GB of RAM. The LG Optimus G Pro includes a 13MP camera on the rear whereas 2 MP makes its way on the front. LG has included a big 3,140mAh battery pack that should be sufficient to power the hardware and 1080p display. The device comes with 32 GB of internal storage, and there is microSD card slot should you need more storage.
In the LG Optimus G Pro vs Samsung Galaxy Note 2 battle, the pricing and availability factor plays a major role. If the Optimus G Pro carries a price tag similar to Note 2, a lot of carriers may show interest in the device. Below is a specs comparison of LG Optimus G Pro vs Galaxy Note 2.
Size150.2 x 76.1 x 9.4 (mm)151.1 x 80.5 x 9.4 (mm)
Screen5.5-inch, Super IPS LCD5.5-inch Super AMOLED
Resolution1920×1080 pixels1280×720 pixels
OSAndroid 4.1.2 with Optimus UIAndroid 4.1 with TouchWiz UI
SD Card SlotYesYes
Processor1.7GHz, quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 6001.6GHz, quad-core Exynos
ConnectivityWi-Fi, 4G LTE, HSPA+Wi-Fi, 4G LTE, HSPA+
CameraFront 2.1MP, Rear 13MPFront 1.9MP, Rear 8MP
BluetoothYes, version 4.0Yes, version 4.0
ChargerMicro USBMicro USB
MarketplaceGoogle Play StoreGoogle Play Store
AvailabilityTBAAT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, Verizon
What are your thoughts on LG Optimus G Pro? Do you think it will be a strong contender for Galaxy Note 2? Let us know using the comment form below.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

iPhone 5S, 5-inch iPhone 6

The much-rumored iPhone 5S and a 5-inch iPhone 6 have shown up at an Apple supplier in China, according to a post on a Chinese microblogging site.
The models could be released this year, according to a post by a Sina Tech user called Old Yao. He reports that a friend of his at a supplier has seen the models and says that the iPhone 5S resembles the iPhone 5, while the iPhone 6 is wider, longer, and thinner.
CNET has contacted Apple for comment and will update this report when we learn more. As Apple gets closer to an anticipated launch of a new smartphone, the speculation and rumor mill go into overdrive, so while Old Yao's comments are food for thought, they should also be consumed with perhaps more than a grain of salt.
Earlier analyst speculation held that Apple would release an iPhone 5S and a revamped version of the iPhone 5 in June or July. KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo predicted last month that the new S model would resemble the current model with a few improvements, including an A7 chip for faster performance and a fingerprint sensor.
A larger screen size for an iPhone 6 might attract consumers smitten with Samsung's 4.8-inch Galaxy S3 and 5.5-inch Galaxy Note 2.

Monday, February 25, 2013

My Questions?

Just pretend: you've decided to buy a new phone. Who will influence you the most in deciding which one you get?

A) Online reviews
B) My family & friends
C) The phone itself - just got to see it in person
D) Other?

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Oscar Pistorius: Did he do it?

Oscar Pistorius told a packed courtroom Tuesday that he shot his girlfriend to death by mistake, thinking she was a robber. The prosecutor called it premeditated murder.

CBS Radio's Sarah Carter reports the judge in the case said he could not rule out the premeditation charge, which lead to the double amputee's lawyer reading out an affidavit at his bail hearing. In it, Pistorius said that he felt vulnerable because he did not have on his prosthetic legs when he heard noises in the bathroom, and that was when he pumped bullets into the locked door. Then, Pistorius said in the sworn statement, he realized that model Reeva Steenkamp was not in his bed.

"It filled me with horror and fear," he said.

He put on his prosthetic legs, tried to kick down the door, then bashed it in with a cricket bat to find Steenkamp, 29, shot inside. He said he ran downstairs with her, but "She died in my arms."

Prosecutor Gerrie Nel on Tuesday charged the 26-year-old athlete and Olympian with premeditated murder, alleging he took the time to put on his legs and walk some seven yards from the bed to the bathroom door before opening fire. If convicted of the crime, correspondent Emma Hurd reports for CBS News that Pistorius could spend the rest of his life in prison.

The Valentine's Day shooting death has shocked South Africans and many around the world who idolized Pistorius for overcoming adversity to become a sports champion, competing in the London Olympics last year in track besides being a Paralympian. Steenkamp was a model and law graduate who made her debut on a South African reality TV program that was broadcast on Saturday, two days after her death.

The magistrate ruled that Pistorius faces the harshest bail requirements available in South African law.

Nel told the court that Pistorius fired into the door of a small bathroom where Steenkamp was cowering after a shouting match. He fired four times and three bullets hit Steenkamp, the prosecutor said.

"She couldn't go anywhere. You can run nowhere," prosecutor Nel argued. "It must have been horrific."

Pistorius sobbed softly as his lawyer, Barry Roux, insisted the shooting was an accident and that there was no evidence to substantiate a murder charge.

"Was it to kill her, or was it to get her out?" he asked about the broken-down door. "We submit it is not even murder. There is no concession this is a murder."

He said the state had provided no evidence that the couple quarreled nor offered a motive.

Nel rebutted: "The motive is `I want to kill."'

As details emerged at the dramatic court hearing in the capital, Steenkamp's body was being cremated Tuesday at a memorial service in the south-coast port city of Port Elizabeth. The family said members had arrived from around the world. Six pallbearers carried her coffin, draped with a white cloth and covered in white flowers, into the church for the private service.

Pistorius was born without fibula bones and had them amputated when he was 11 months old.

The man known as the Blade Runner because of his running prostheses last year became the first double-amputee track athlete to run at the Olympics.

Cell Phone Future

HTC's brand-new flagship smartphone, the HTC One, is a gorgeous piece of all-aluminum smartphone machinery by any standards. CNET's Brian Bennett went hands-on with the Android Jelly Bean phone before today's launch event.
With dual audio speakers, a new Beats Audio feature in BoomSound, and a rebooted version of the HTC Sense interface layer that includes a new element called Blink, and an IR blaster to act as a TV remote, the HTC One certainly packs some interesting extras.
HTC's flagship device should appear in the U.S. in March for T-Mobile, AT&T, and Sprint. It'll cost $199.99 for the 32GB version and $299.99 for the 64GB version.
Compelling? Yes. But how does the HTC One compare to the hottest competition? Check out our chart below for the spec-in-spec lineup against the HTC Droid DNA, the BlackBerry Z10, and the iPhone 5, and be sure to read Brian's hands-on impressions for more.
We'll have photos and video coming up, as soon as we can get them, and will update this chart with more specs as they're announced.

PhoneHTC OneHTC Droid DNARIM BlackBerry Z10Apple iPhone 5
OSAndroid Jelly BeanAndroid 4.1 Jelly BeanBB10iOS 6
Processor1.7GHz quad-core Snapdragon 6001.5GHz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Pro1.5GHZ dual-core Snapdragon S4 PlusProprietary A6 CPU
Screen4.7-inch LCD, 1,920x1,080 pixels, 468ppi5-inch LCD 3; 1,920x1,080 pixels, 440ppi4.2-inch LCD; 1,280x768 pixels, 355ppi4-inch IPS LCD; 1,136x640 pixels, 326ppi
RAM2GB2GB2GBNot listed
Internal storage32GB, 64GB16GB16GB16GB, 32GB, 64GB
Expansion slotNoNoYes, up to 32GBNo
CarrierT-Mobile, AT&T, and SprintVerizonVerizon, AT&T, T-MobileAT&T, Sprint, Verizon
Battery2,300mAh, embedded2,020mAh, embedded1,800mAh, removableNot listed; embedded
Camera4 megapixels (ultrapixels), 2-megapixel front-facing8 megapixels, 2.1-megapixel front-facing8 megapixels, 2-megapixel front-facing8 megapixels, 720p front-facing
Bluetooth version4.
Wireless chargingNoNoYesYes
Dimensions (inches)TBA5.6 x 2.7 x 0.45.1 x 2.6 x 0.354.9 x 2.3 x 0.3
Weight (ounces)TBA54.84

Monday, February 18, 2013

Ubuntu Phone

Canonical says it will be publishing images and open source code for the Touch Developer Preview of Ubuntu for Galaxy Nexus and Nexus 4 on Thursday 21 February. So if you have a spare compatible handset -- or you don’t mind converting your existing phone -- you can try out the fledgling mobile OS in time for the weekend.
The aim is to encourage developers to create apps for the new operating system, but enthusiasts are welcome to take it for a spin too. According to Canonical, tools that manage the flashing of the Galaxy Nexus and Nexus 4 will be available on the same day as the images, along with detailed installation instructions.
Alternatively, if you happen to be visiting the Mobile World Congress (MWC) in Barcelona, 25th -- 28th February, pop along to the Ubuntu stand (booth number 81D30, App Planet Hall 8.1) and team members will happily flash your phone for you.
According to Mark Shuttleworth, founder of Ubuntu: "This release marks the threshold of wider engagement -- both with industry and community. For developers, contributors and partners, there is now a coherent experience that warrants attention. The cleanest, most stylish mobile interface around".
Canonical says a "complete entry-level smartphone experience" will be included in Ubuntu 13.10, due in October, and that when finalized the "same Ubuntu code will deliver a mobile, tablet, desktop or TV experience depending on the device it is installed on, or where it is docked".
However, KDE's Plasma Active team leader Aaron Seigo is skeptical of the unified experience claim, and following Canonical’s announcement, took to Google+ to query it, asking how the firm can merge its current blend of GNOME/GTK3 desktop environments in Ubuntu with the Qt/QML construction of the Ubuntu phone.
"Perhaps if we define 'same Ubuntu code' to mean 'Ubuntu the distribution with all versions of the UI installed' we can cover this with a great amount of fudge factor," he says, adding: "Perhaps Unity will eventually be merged with Ubuntu Phone, and that's what they mean by 'when complete'".
Although Seigo says he supports the Ubuntu Phone -- describing it as a "good thing to see" -- he also admits he thinks "[Canonical] making unfounded claims in this manner is, imho, ethically weak," and that free software developers, users or supporters who buy into Canonical's claims are "being duped".

Monday, February 11, 2013

Pope Benedict XVI's shock resignation breaks '600-year taboo'

Pope Benedict XVI stunned the Roman Catholic church on Monday as he announced his intention to carry out the first papal resignation in almost 600 years, prompting shock from even his closest confidants and acerbic judgment from critics of his eight year-long reign.
In an address read out in Latin before a group of cardinals in the Apostolic Palace, the 85-year-old pontiff said he had decided that, due to his "advanced age" and deteriorating strengths, he would be stepping down as head of the Catholic church on 28 February.
"The pope has just broken a taboo by breaking with several centuries of practice," Cardinal André Vingt-Trois, archbishop of Paris, told journalists, hailing the move as a "liberating act for the future".
The dramatic move – almost entirely unexpected – paves the way for a successor to be chosen by Easter. Whoever is named the next pope by a conclave next month will inherit a church struggling with many of the same controversies that blighted Benedict's papacy, from clerical sex abuse to fears over inadequate money laundering controls.
Benedict said he had taken the decision to resign "with full freedom" and great awareness of the "seriousness of this act". In order to fulfil the role of pope, he said, "both strength of mind and body are necessary, strength which in the last few months has deteriorated in me to the extent that I have had to recognise my incapacity to adequately fulfil the ministry entrusted to me".
A Vatican spokesman, Federico Lombardi, insisted the pope had "no current illness that would influence his decision". The Vatican newspaper, L'Osservatore Romano, said he had made up his mind nearly a year ago after trips to Mexico and Cuba in March left him tired. His 89-year-old brother, Georg Ratzinger, told reporters: "Age is weighing on him. My brother would like more rest at this age."
The German, who in 2005 was the oldest man to be elected pope in almost 300 years, will now become the first pope to resign his position since Gregory XII in 1415 and the first to have done so voluntarily since Celestine V in 1294.
Fears that a papal resignation could cause a schism in the church are generally thought to have deterred previous popes from stepping down, but Lombardi insisted there would be "no risk" of this happening as canon law specifies that a former pope has no right to govern.
Around the world, leaders expressed surprise and sorrow at Benedict's departure. David Cameron said the outgoing pope had "worked tirelessly to strengthen Britain's relations with the Holy See", while Barack Obama said in a statement that he had "appreciated our work together over these last four years".
The leader of England and Wales' Roman Catholics was not given warning of the resignation. "Pope Benedict's announcement today has shocked and surprised everyone," said the Most Rev Vincent Nichols, archbishop of Westminster.
Nichols, who described the pope's decision to stand down as one of "great courage and characteristic clarity of mind and action", said Benedict recognised both the challenges facing the church and the "strength of body and mind" required to deal with them. "I salute his courage and his decision," he said "I ask people of faith to keep Pope Benedict in their prayers."
Glowing tributes, however, were not ubiquitous. Victims of the sex and child abuse scandals that erupted under Benedict's papacy either accused him of being directly complicit in a conspiracy to cover up the thousands of cases that have come to light over the past three years, or of failing to stand up to reactionary elements in the church who were resolved to keep the scandals under wraps.
Norbert Denef, from north Germany, who was abused as a boy by his local priest for six years and was later offered €25,000 (then £17,000) by his diocesan bishop to keep quiet, said: "We won't miss this pope."
In and around the Vatican, the view was unsurprisingly more positive.
Luke Doyle, a seminarian from Kansas studying at the American College in Rome, said he was saddened by the news. But, he added: "This decision by the holy father fills me with admiration for him, and a deeper respect."
Once he stands down, Benedict will be taken to Castel Gandolfo, the papal summer retreat near Rome, and will subsequently live in a cloistered monastery. In his statement he said he wanted to "devotedly serve the holy church of God in the future through a life dedicated to prayer".
His departure will set in chain the process designed to choose his successor from those candidates who are deemed papabile, or suitable for the papacy. Unlike some previous occasions, there are no obvious frontrunners, but Cardinal Angelo Scola, archbishop of Milan, and Cardinal Marc Ouellet, the Canadian prefect of the Congregation for Bishops, are thought to be among the most plausible candidates.
Benedict will not himself vote in the conclave, in which all cardinals under the age of 80 will take part.
But his conservative theological influence is expected to make itself felt through the decisions of those cardinals – a large number of whom were picked by the outgoing pontiff.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Hangover Cures and Myths

After the Times Square ball drops on New Year's Eve and copious amounts of Champagne get toasted and drunk, many might find themselves forgetting more "auld acquaintances" than they intended and waking up to 2013 with a vicious hangover.
A hangover is essentially a build-up of acetaldehyde, a toxin in the liver. When one overdoes it on the booze, the liver can't produce enough glutathione, a compound that contains the amino acid L-cysteine, to combat it. Cysteine breaks down acetaldehyde into water and carbon dioxide, which is then flushed out of the body as urine.
While nothing has been shown scientifically to "cure" a hangover, Dr. Richard Besser, ABC News' chief medical editor, offered these tips to help nurse the pain:
Drink plenty of water. Alcohol is quite dehydrating.
• If you have a headache, take aspirin or ibuprofen the next morning,not acetaminophen (Tylenol). Acetaminophen is processed by your liver that has just taken a hit from your overdrinking.
Go to bed. Most hangovers are over after eight to 24 hours but before you do …
• Pull out your smartphone and record a video message to yourself. Tell yourself how lousy you feel and repeat this phrase: "I won't overdrink again, I won't overdrink again, I won't overdrink again."
Other suggestions from our past contributors include how to avoid a hangover while still slugging back the brewskies, and what to do if the hangover arrives anyway:
While You're Boozing:
1. Sip Slowly
If you drink your alcohol slowly instead of guzzling it down, doctors say it helps give the stomach a fighting chance to absorb the toxins so your body isn't assaulted with booze.
2. Eat Fatty Foods
Food products with a lot of fat in them, such as chips, can help slow down the absorption of alcohol.
3. Avoid Carbonated Drinks
Doctors say carbonation can increase the absorption of alcohol, so put down the rum and Coke.
The Morning After - Happy Hangover:
1. Sleep, Sleep, Sleep
Time will heal all wounds.
2. Flush Your System
When you are dehydrated, your body is depleted of potassium and sodium, which is why you have that achy "hit by a dump truck" feeling the next morning.
Doctors say try to replenish your body with lots of fluids. Drink water or drinks that are heavy in electrolytes, such as sports drinks or coconut water.
3. Be Leery of Caffeine
Caffeine, like alcohol, is a diuretic, which can further dehydrate your body after drinking, making the headache much worse, so doctors recommend extra water if you're going to reach for a cup of coffee, tea or an energy drink.
But people who regularly drink minimal amounts of caffeine might find it helps soothe their headache. While the causes of a hangover aren't completely understood, a leading theory for the pounding headache is that alcohol dilates blood vessels in the brain and caffeine constricts the blood vessels, which might bring relief to some people.
4. Avoid the 'Hair of the Dog'
While that Bloody Mary or extra pint of beer with breakfast the next morning sounds like a rallying move, doctors say more alcohol means more dehydration, meaning more hangover hurting. Even if you don't feel the pain now, you will later.
5. Have a Snack
According to the Mayo Clinic, bland foods, such as toast and crackers, can help boost blood sugar and settle your stomach. Eating chicken noodle or bouillon soups, which are loaded with sodium and potassium, can help make you feel better.
Foods and drinks that contain fructose, such as honey, apples, berries or fruit juice, as well as vitamin C and B can also help burn off alcohol.
Final Thoughts: Not to be a buzz kill, but the bottom line is that the best way to to avoid a hangover is to stay away from the booze. Entirely.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Andrew Fazekas
Published February 7, 2013
Talk about too close for comfort. In a rare cosmic encounter, an asteroid will buzz Earth next week, missing our planet by a mere 17,200 miles (27,700 kilometers).
Designated 2012 DA14, the space rock is approximately 150 feet (45 meters) across, and astronomers are certain it will zip harmlessly past our planet on February 15—but not before making history. It will pass within the orbits of many communications satellites, making it the closest flyby on record. (Read about one of the largest asteroids to fly by Earth.)
"This is indeed a remarkably close approach for an asteroid this size," said Paul Chodas, a research scientist at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory Near Earth Object (NEO) program office in Pasadena, California.
"We estimate that an asteroid of this size passes this close to the Earth only once every few decades."
The giant rock—half a football field wide—was first spotted by observers at the La Sagra Observatory in southern Spain a year ago, soon after it had just finished making a much more distant pass of the Earth at 2.6 million miles (4.3 million kilometers) away.
This time around however, on February 15 at 2:24 p.m. EST, the asteroid will be passing uncomfortably close—ten times closer than the orbit of the moon—flying over the eastern Indian Ocean near Sumatra (map). (Watch: "Moon 101.")
Future Impact?
Chodas and his team have been keeping a close eye on the cosmic intruder, and orbital calculations of its trajectory show that there is no chance for impact.
But the researchers have not yet ruled out future chances of a collision. This is because asteroids of this size are too faint to be detected until they come quite close to the Earth, said Chodas.
The flyby of asteroid 2012 DA14 on Feb. 15, 2013, will be the closest known approach to Earth for an object its size.
Video produced by NASA/JPL-Caltech.
This NASA video explains just how close Asteroid 2012 DA14 will get to Earth, why you probably won't see it fly by, and how they're working on tracking other asteroids. Source: NASA/JPL-Caltech
"There is still a tiny chance that it might hit us on some future passage by the Earth; for example there is [a] 1-in-200,000 chance that it could hit us in the year 2080," he said.
"But even that tiny chance will probably go away within the week, as the asteroid's orbit gets tracked with greater and greater accuracy and we can eliminate that possibility."
Earth collision with an object of this size is expected to occur every 1,200 years on average, said Donald Yeomans, NEO program manager, at a NASA news conference this week.
DA14 has been getting closer and closer to Earth for quite a while—but this is the asteroid's closest approach in the past hundred years. And it probably won't get this close again for at least another century, added Yeomans.
While no Earth impact is possible next week, DA14 will pass 5,000 miles inside the ring of orbiting geosynchronous weather and communications satellites; so all eyes are watching the space rock's exact trajectory. (Learn about the history of satellites.)
"It's highly unlikely they will be threatened, but NASA is working with satellite providers, making them aware of the asteroid's pass," said Yeomans.
Packing a Punch
Experts say an impact from an object this size would have the explosive power of a few megatons of TNT, causing localized destruction—similar to what occurred in Siberia in 1908.
In what's known as the "Tunguska event," an asteroid is thought to have created an airburst explosion which flattened about 750 square miles (1,200 square kilometers) of a remote forested region in what is now northern Russia (map).
In comparison, an impact from an asteroid with a diameter of about half a mile (one kilometer) could temporarily change global climate and kill millions of people if it hit a populated area.
Timothy Spahr, director of the Minor Planet Center at Cambridge, Massachusetts, said that while small objects like DA14 could hit Earth once a millennia or so, the largest and most destructive impacts have already been catalogued.
"Objects of the size that caused the extinction of the dinosaurs have all been discovered," said Spahr. (Learn about what really happened to the dinosaurs.)
A survey of nearly 9,500 near-Earth objects half a mile (one kilometer) in diameter is nearly complete. Asteroid hunters expect to complete nearly half of a survey of asteroids several hundred feet in diameter in the coming years.