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A complete web-magazine for a geek!
Updated: 2 hours 20 min ago

Walmart to sell Facebook only phone

Wednesday 13th of August 2014 01:53:04 PM

Wal-Mart, the US company whose employees are so poor that they live off food stamps while the owners are among the richest in the country, is now offering a new phone plan for $12 that allows users to access only Facebook. They are being offered by Virgin and initially you’re offered 20 minutes and 20 texts, then for $5 each on top you can add Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram.

This plan effectively takes away net neutrality for it’s users as they can only access white-listed services and if more carriers see this they may decide to implement something like this themselves.

Net Neutrality is a term meaning that the traffic on the internet travels at the same speed, I can get data from any servers and receive the content as fast and my connection and the server’s connection allows.

In the US however there has been talk about scrapping net neutrality under the auspice that ISPs can’t cope with the growing amount of traffic and that people should pay more for using services like Netflix which accounts for much of the traffic.

Other concerns around net neutrality have been raised with regards to encrypted communications. There were fears that ISPs may throttle based on the content and because they cannot see the content of encrypted data that they would just throttle it anyway or outright ban it for those without the higher paid packages.

Jayne Wallace, Sprint’s (Virgin parent company in US) director of corporate communications, passed of the new changes as merely being budgeting and parental control, it is too common to see know when children rack up extortionate bills on mobiles for going over data limits and purchasing in-game extras. She said “We started with the four (social-media offers) that we felt were the most popular.”

Source: USA Today

The post Walmart to sell Facebook only phone appeared first on The Mukt.

64-bit mobile processors for Android L is coming

Wednesday 13th of August 2014 01:35:00 PM

Back in 2011, Nvidia announced to the world that they had acquired a license for the latest ARM instruction set, the ARM v8. But the most exciting part of the deal was that the new ARM instruction set is 64-bit. After making 32-bit mobile CPUs, Nvidia was set to take their Tegra K1 platform to the next level with a 64-bit mobile CPU. At the Hot Chips conference this year, Nvidia revealed their little project that they have been quietly working in for all these year. The Tegra K1 ARM v8 64-bit chip from Nvidia is ready for a release later next year. The new chip is codenamed Project Denver.

The upcoming chip is a 192 core Kepler class chip which is the basis of Nvidia’s previous 32

-bit Tegra K1 mobile CPUs. Being from the same class, the newer chip will have the same pin configuration and compatibility with the previous generation of Tegra, thus making the implementations of this chip much more cost effective. The new chip will pair two Denver Chips on one die. According to Nvidia, pairing two processing cores for their upcoming chip provided them with a far higher performance when compared to the quad or octa core mobile processor designs from rival companies.

Each of the Denver chips can attain speeds as high as 2.5 GHz. The newer chips have a 7 way superscalar microarchitecture, in contrast to the 3 way of the previous generation. What this means is that the chips will be able to execute up to 7 concurrent micro operations per clock. The mobile CPU also comes with a 128KB 4-way L1 instruction cache, a 64KB 4-way L1 data cache, and a 2MB 16-way L2 cache.

Nvidia also confirmed that they are indeed working on Android L’s support for 64-bit processors on their Denver chips. According to Nvidia, consumers can expect devices packing the new chip to be available by the year’s end. If they do pull it off, Project Denver will definitely bring mobile CPU at par with desktop processing prowess. That and the fact that with the latest OpenGL 4.5 and Android Expansion Pack, we can expect graphical features like tessellation on Android L, the next version of Android looks better by the day!

Source: The Next Web

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Google+ Update brings support for Chromecast

Tuesday 12th of August 2014 11:21:39 PM

As a rule of thumb Google typically offer updates to its services and products on Wednesdays. However google+ was given a surprise update today with a neat albeit a debatable limited update.

From today the Google+ app has been updated from Android 4.4 to 4.5. With this increment advance comes support for Chromecast. Now users can cast their Google+ circles, images and videos directly on to their big screen. This update came as a bit of a surprise to everyone with no official announcements or heads-up given either publicly or in the Changelog. One would expect Google would be quite happy to announce increased support for Chromecast and as such this was seen as a silent-surprise offering by them.

However whether there is actually any meaningful use to this addition is unclear. Users can use the Google+ app to control and pause the Google+ feed on the TV although navigation and other expected features seem to be a little limited at the moment. Whether this is just an initial crossover period with more functionality to come later is not known. This also maybe the reason there was no official announcement provided.

So if you have (or do) update your Google+ app you should notice a small cast icon is now available. If you don’t see the icon yet then don’t worry. It seems devices and accounts are being constantly updated and it will only be a matter of time before you notice the icon. Of course you need a device that can cast and Chromecast to use the service.

On a side note and for those who care YouTube, Chrome (Beta) and Google Search also received updates. However these are relatively minor in comparison to the Google+ update with no notable features offered and largely consisting of bug and performance fixes.

The post Google+ Update brings support for Chromecast appeared first on The Mukt.

Hurry! Aug 17th next closing date for Project Ara development boards

Tuesday 12th of August 2014 08:57:10 PM

Yesterday we reported on the upcoming and possible game-changing Project Ara. If you missed the post then follow the link to read our report in full.

To quickly recap Google’s Project Ara is a completely new take on what a smartphone is. Google next year will launch a Modular phone which consists of small interchangeable modules (MOD’s). Each MOD will have a different purpose i.e. camera, identity, speakers and users will simply be able to change the modules at will and upgrade only the parts they want to upgrade.


Yesterday we also advised that Google are currently offering developers the chance to build their own Modules for when the Ara platform launches in 2015. To help in understanding and building the MOD’s correctly Google are giving away dev boards for developers to see, inspect and use to design their MOD’s.

We’ve created developer hardware based on the v0.10 MDK to help with prototyping and development of modules for the Ara platform. There are three dev boards: an application processor (AP) board with a strawman TI OMAP 4460 AP and modified Linaro Android; a UniPro switch board representative of the network switching functionality of the Ara endoskeleton; and a general purpose endpoint board for developer-unique functionality that supports the tunneling of legacy DSI, I2C, I2S, SDIO, and GPIO protocols over UniPro”.

However the boards are limited in terms of the numbers they have available and also the dates for which they can be ordered. Currently Google are in the second cycle of dev board distribution and the window to order a board ends on August 17th (this Sunday). So if you did read our report yesterday and want to get hold of a board then you must register your interest this week to be in the current cycle for distribution

As the number of boards is limited Google are asking potential developers to briefly explain what type of MOD they intend to create and design. Priority will be given to “requests based on technical experience and the strength of your module concept”. In addition it is worth noting Google cannot ship the boards to Cuba, Iran, North Korea, and Syria.

You can find out more about the boards in general by clicking here. If you want to go straight to the hardware request form click here.

Anyone out there with any good MOD ideas? Leave a comment with your suggestion and you never know. Someone may actually build it.


The post Hurry! Aug 17th next closing date for Project Ara development boards appeared first on The Mukt.

Japanese researchers develop “world’s fastest camera”

Tuesday 12th of August 2014 08:56:58 PM

It goes without saying that Sony, Nikon and Olympus are big camera manufacturers and they are all Japanese. In fact, the country doesn’t seem to stop making advancements in the field of digital optics, especially if we talk about cameras. A joint group of researchers working at two separate Japanese universities have come out with a camera that’s 1,000 times faster than existing high-speed cameras.

Developed by the University of Tokyo and Keio University, the world’s fastest camera can capture images such as chemical reactions, lattice vibrational waves, plasma dynamics, even heat conduction, in a single shot.

Using a new technology called Sequentially Timed All-optical Mapping Photography (STAMP), the camera’s optical shutter enables it to shoot images consecutively in less than one-trillionth of a second.

Prior to the announcement in Japan, high-speed photography relied on the pump-probe process—where light is “pumped” at an object to be photographed, and then “probed” for absorption.

“The main drawback to such an approach is that it requires repetitive measurements to construct an image. The new camera is motion-based femtophotography, performing single-shot bursts for image acquisition, which means it has no need for repetitive measurements,” according to a report.

Researchers are of the opinion that their camera could make a difference, in both the public and private sectors, in a variety of fields. Some examples would be laser processes used for making big items like car parts, or in tiny applications such as the creation of semiconductros.

The post Japanese researchers develop “world’s fastest camera” appeared first on The Mukt.

Cyanogen unhappy with the Ladies Only invite competition of OnePlus – UPDATE: OnePlus pull competition

Tuesday 12th of August 2014 08:56:09 PM

Has OnePlus One reached a new low in terms of their notorious invite system?

By now, you are probably well aware of OnePlus and their flagship killer phone, the ‘One’. You are probably also aware of the terrible invite system used. If you are not then in short you simply cannot purchase the ‘One’. Instead you have to be given an invite before you can buy. Typically there are only two methods to obtaining an invite. The first is simple, receive an invite from a friend.

The second route is far more controversial and relies on potential customers to ‘win’ an invite. OnePlus have already attracted attention with their previous invite competition attempts. The worse (until now) asking users to film themselves destroying their current phone. Users who destroy their phone in the most novel way will win the invite.

Today it seems OnePlus may have gone a step too far. Literally only hours ago OnePlus launched a ‘Ladies Only‘ competition asking women to post pictures of themselves while displaying the OnePlus logo. The rules suggest the logo should be on either a piece of paper or the user’s hands or face.

The post rules state “no nudity please” which adds to the notion that OnePlus are well aware of where this type of competition could lead. To further add insult the competition begins with an extremely ominous intro

In true gentlemen fashion and because chivalry is not dead, we are giving the lovely ladies of OnePlus a chance to skip the invite line and introduce themselves to us

If you are interested than here are the competition rules.

Ladies (and only ladies, sorry guys, ladies first), the rules are simple:

1. Draw the OnePlus logo on a piece of paper or on your hand/face/wherever (so we know it’s really you)
2. Take a photo of yourself with the OnePlus logo clearly visible
3. Post the photo in this thread

The 50 most well-liked ladies will receive an invite and a Never Settle t-shirt. Additionally, we will be giving out another 100 invites at random to any lady who participates in the contest. The contest begins today and ends on Friday. We will announce the winners on Monday.

Ladies, no nudity please.

So is this going too far? Should companies be using such obvious tactics as a marketing tool to avoid heavy marketing costs. After all, we (and no doubt other news agencies) will all be reporting this. So although the method works should a company who prides itself on a better user experience and products, be relying so heavily on finding new ways for users to degrade and demean themselves.

Cyanogen (the providers of the operating system running on the OnePlus One) seems to think so. Judging by their twitter account it seems they are starting to feel some of the heat. Cyanogen tweeted a brief message highlighting that they “value” their users and do not “support any contest that objectifies people“.

What makes this worse is the completion is for an invite. So winners (which are judged by the number of ‘likes’ their image receives) will only win the opportunity to buy the phone. At present the competition has only been live for a few hours and already has over 67 pages of comments and entries.

What do you think? Have OnePlus gone too far? This obviously generates awareness so do the end results justify the means? Should OnePlus strive for a higher moral compass?

I guess the big question is what would you do for a OnePlus invite?

Let us know your thoughts.


It seems the pressure (and backlash) has become to great for Oneplus as they have now pulled the competition completely. Now when the comp link is clicked on users simply are shown an error page (as shown below). There have so far been no further explanation or announcement as of yet but it is clear this really was one step too far.

Will OnePlus recover from this? What are your thoughts?


The post Cyanogen unhappy with the Ladies Only invite competition of OnePlus – UPDATE: OnePlus pull competition appeared first on The Mukt.

3D Magnetic Logic Gate Helps Give Moore’s Law Extra Life

Tuesday 12th of August 2014 07:46:00 PM

Computers may just get another increase in circuit density and a decrease in power consumption thanks to a collaboration between German and U.S. researchers. The researchers are working on a new way to integrate nanomagnetic logic into circuits by way of a 3D programmable magnetic logic gate.

The Nanotechnology journal that this discovery was published in explains that it works by way of four nanometer-scaled magnets, one output and three inputs. These are arranged in a 3D manner and acts as a traditional logic gate of a computer.

The magnets have a magnetization state that shows whether it’s on or off, and specialized microscopes that detect magnetic fields are used to check if the gates are working properly. This microscope in conjunction with testing using micromagnetic simulations, are key to insuring that the boolean value of the gate does not change without direct input. The 3D part of this gate is due to one of its input pads being located on a plane separate from the others.

According to the stronger magentic effect manages to, “reduce the error rate” and even, “improves the functionality…” which one would assume gives these logic gates a step up from other traditional transistors. The advantages of the magnetic logic gate are being radiation hardened, which is useful for applications in space, and being non-volatile, which increases reliability and the ability to preserve data without power. Other perks of the magnetic transistor include the ability to operate at normal room temperatures as opposed to some other experimental or high powered transistors requiring very low temperatures.

Although Moore’s Law seems to be faltering as of late due to the physical limits of silicon, hopefully researchers at the Technical University of Munich and the University of Notre Dame can use new technologies like the 3D magnetic logic gate to uphold Moore’s Law and benefit humanity at the same time.


The post 3D Magnetic Logic Gate Helps Give Moore’s Law Extra Life appeared first on The Mukt.

OpenGL 4.5 update brings desktop like graphics on Mobile

Tuesday 12th of August 2014 07:43:23 PM

Special Interest Group on GRAPHics and Interactive Techniques or SIGGRAPH is the annual event where graphics industry professional comes together to unveil their tricks that they have been working on for the year. This year at SIGGRAPH 2014, as is customary for them, Khronos Group took the stage to reveal their latest version of OpenGL, OpenGL 4.5. The announcement also included updates on their OpenGL ES as well as WebGL, all offshoots and parts of the OpenGL standard.

To start off, OpenGL 4.5 is the yearly update to the previous OpenGL 4. The new version iterates by adding new features and updating the older ones to solve problems that developers were facing with the old one. This method allows Khronos to actually deploy useful updates for developers quicker and keep bugs limited to a minimum. As such, this update mainly consists of API alignments so that OpenGL is much better aligned to the changes made in the OpenGL ES, WebGL and Direct 11, thus keeping it cross platform still.

Direct 3D emulation has received attention so that games can be easily ported and run without running into too much of a hassle. OpenGL ES is now being maintained as a subset of OpenGL so that OpenGL ES only devices can run effortlessly on OpenGL devices without the need for developers to recode. This has been made possible by the new API alignments. In addition, WebGL has also received an update in the form of enhanced security and isolations.

Khronos says that WebGL will be completing the transition into complete ubiquity pretty soon. WebGL is now supported by most of the browsers and is even being adopted by companies that didn’t at first. Apple’s new iOS 8 will be supporting WebGL in their Safari browser. Along with that IE 11 from Microsoft and Chrome from Google basically means that WebGL will be supported on any internet enabled device.

Speaking of mobile platforms, OpenGL ES has been validated too on ARM Mali Midgard, Imagination PowerVR Rogue, NVIDIA Tegra K1, and Intel HD Graphics for Atom, which is basically all the major mobile hardware, except one. Qualcomm is still to be validated.  But sadly, Ardeno 300 series won’t be supporting the latest version of OpenGL ES 3.1 while the support on Ardeno 400 series is still unknown. But given how Intel is gradually getting into the mobile market, paired with their HD graphics as well as PowerVR chips, low cost devices might not have too much to worry.

But the most exciting feature of the OpenGL ES 3.1 is that along with the Android Extension Pack, or AEP, from Google, OpenGL ES’ features can be extended even further. With the AEP, Google will be enabling tessellation, geometry shaders, compute shaders, and ASTC texture compression on the forthcoming Android L, which are all latest features of desktop GPUs and which can be easily made possible on the mobile devices.

The latest version of OpenGL sure does have a lot for developers to chew on along with a lot of exciting probability for the consumers. Plus, OpenGL ES and AEP just made me get even more excited for the upcoming Android L!

Source: Anandtech

The post OpenGL 4.5 update brings desktop like graphics on Mobile appeared first on The Mukt.

Enjoy Windows games and apps on Linux using PlayOnLinux 4.2.4

Tuesday 12th of August 2014 05:00:00 PM

PlayOnLinux allows you to easily install and play numerous games and apps designed to run with Windows. Some of the noteworthy games are World Of Warplanes, Wolfenstein 3D, The Matrix: Path of Neo Update 2 etc. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

PlayOnLinux also supports various applications in different categories. The list includes some core Microsoft applications like several versions of Microsoft Office and Internet Explorer. What’s more, it can also try to install a non-listed application for you. Get a categorized list of supported games and applications in PlayOnLinux here. The page is also updated whenever a new software is added to the list.

As you might have already guessed, PlayOnLinux is a graphical front-end to Wine. But it’s comes with various scripts and tweaks to install and use Windows software without users having to get their hands dirty with the terminal and scripts. Installation of any supported package via PlayOnLinux is as easy as select and click to install.

The latest version of PlayOnLinux, 4.2.4 is available now to help you run your favourite Windows games and applications on Linux.

You can directly download the deb package for Ubuntu. PlayOnLinux supports several other Linux distributions as well. Find the instructions to install it on other distributions in the Downloads section.

The post Enjoy Windows games and apps on Linux using PlayOnLinux 4.2.4 appeared first on The Mukt.

RHEL 6.6 beta available for testing

Tuesday 12th of August 2014 02:26:36 PM

Red Hat has announced the release of RHEL 6.6 beta which is intended for testers. Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6.6 Beta includes enhancements to both security and stability as well as:

According to the press statement, “Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6 offers a stable, proven and predictable platform, balancing the enterprise need to maintain a reliable and secure platform for mission critical workloads with the flexibility to adapt to changing business needs. Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6.6 Beta answers this need, providing enhanced functionality that allows organizations to easily build and manage large, complex IT infrastructure for deployment across physical, virtual, and cloud environments.”

Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6.6 Beta also provides enhancements to running Red Hat Enterprise Linux as a virtual guest, upholding Red Hat’s commitment to refining the overall virtualization experience. Virtualization updates in Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6.6 Beta include support for a host to feed randomness to a virtual machine, increasing security for cryptographic applications, multi-queue performance improvements for guest network and storage throughput when running Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6.6 Beta on a Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7 host, and more.

You can download RHEL 6.6 beta from this link.

The post RHEL 6.6 beta available for testing appeared first on The Mukt.

Soon you will be able to assemble your phones like PCs, courtesy Google’s Ara

Tuesday 12th of August 2014 01:20:52 AM

Recently we have seen a number of ‘game changer’ moves by smartphone companies all looking to start the new trend. The most recent was the launch of the OnePlus One as the “Flagship Killer” which attempted to offer high spec smartphones at a rock-bottom price. In reality the price was simply half the price you would expect to pay for a Samsung Galaxy S5 or LG G3. So although this did change what users (and probably manufacturers) expect a top of the range smartphone to cost it did not really set the smart world alight.

Also recently we have seen the surge in Android Wear. All the big names are currently competing to offer the best, most attractive and desired new smart watch, bracelet or sports monitor. However again this surge was mainly a surge in interest and largely driven by the media. Whether sales surge in a similar fashion we will soon find out although it is probably doubtful. At the moment they are rather costly and actually not too far away in price from a new smartphone. As both are needed to run Wear this is a rather expensive addition.

So where is the next proper game changer!

Well folks, it actually might already be here. Google’s Ara is a serious contender for the real next big thing. If Ara hits the market as hard as it is expected this won’t just be a game changer but will be an absolute paradigm shift. Ara is looking to change the way we think of smartphones completely. Instead of simply slashing the cost like OnePlus or introducing add-ons like Wear, Ara will revolutionize the phone itself.

MOD’s & Endo’s

Ara is based on the principle of Modules (MOD’s). These MOD’s when used together become a fully functional smart device. Google’s aim is to sell users an endoskeleton (endo) which is basically a skeletal frame of a phone (completely non-functional on its own) and users buy and install the MOD’s they want. In short, your phone becomes an interactive and functional jigsaw with the user simply changing and interchanging MOD’s at will.


So you bought your phone six months ago with the latest 13MP camera and now there is a newer 26 MP camera. Well I guess you will have to go and buy the new phone. Wrong! You simply buy the new 26 MP module, throw the old one way and install the new one. Voila.

Initial indications are the ‘endo’ (bare bones) itself will cost somewhere in the region of $15. Although the endo will not do anything on its own, users ONLY have to buy the MOD’s they want. Don’t need a camera? Then why pay for one. Users will be able to install, configure and allocate the endo in any combination of MOD’s resulting in what is truly a customizable device.

At launch it is expected there will be three endo variants.

  • The first will be classed as the ‘Mini’ and simply consists of a 2×1 MOD formation with a total of 9 MOD slots.
  • The next size up will be the ‘Medium’ and is expected to be much more in line with a typical Android phone offering a total of 10 slots.
  • The last endo will be similar in size and purpose to a Phablet with a total of 11 MOD slots offered.

This way of thinking is a game changer in all respects. Not only will there no longer be such a thing as an ‘old device’ but this will drive the price down of smart phones in a way OnePlus could only of dreamed of. As well as choosing which MOD’s are installed and controlling initial costs, users could swap modules with family members or friends which would further decrease user’s outlay.

Brother going out today, then fine he can take the new camera and I will use it tomorrow.

In addition if a user was to buy both the Mini and Phablet endos there would be no issue with swapping the components between the two. What you use today on your phone you could use tomorrow on the phablet. Not to mention the modules are likely to contain the respective data and by swapping between your phone and phablet you will still have all the data only a click away. Again users will not need to buy the same MOD if they have more than one endo. To make it even more interesting the users ‘identity’ will be contained within its own self-purpose module so again the user could simply remove their identity module and give the device to a friend to use without any privacy concerns or simply worrying about them going through your images. The scenarios are limitless.

It is expected the MOD’s are where users will start paying and racking up the price but as this is dependent on users’ needs the actual cost of a working smartphone (albeit a basic device) will be minimal compared to the typically overly-priced and over functional current devices. For instance it may be possible for users to have a functionally basic smartphone for as cheap as $50. MOD’s will be sold in a similar way to apps via a Play Store alternative and Google have announced that third party companies can produce and sell their MOD’s via the Google ecosystem which again is highly likely to drive costs and offer greater customization.

Excited yet? Well, you should be. Ara is in its very early stages at the moment with an expected release date sometime in 2015. Currently developers have been provided with Ara boards and the MDK to work from and Google showed off a non-functional prototype at this year’s LAUNCH 2014.

The Future

Well, this is completely in an alpha stage at the moment and so we simply don’t know what the future will bring with Google’s Modular phone. What is clear is that anyone can be part of the experience either as a user or as a developer.

If you are a dev and interested in creating your own MOD (if these become as big as apps then now really is the time) then you should note Google are currently hosting a completion for new and novel MOD’s.

The first Project Ara Developer Prize Challenge is aimed at the creation of novel modules, that would be used daily, and for something you can’t do with a smartphone today”.

However time is running out. All MOD’s have to be registered by Oct 1st 2014 and a working prototype needs to be submitted by Oct 31st 2014. For more information visit the competition page. The Module Developer’s Kit (MDK) is also available for download. You can find out more details on the MDK by Clicking here.

Here are themukt we are certainly excited about Ara and will be keeping a very close eye on developments and bringing you all the latest news as and when we receive it.

For now though why not let us know what you think of Ara. Is this something you will be interested in? Is it a game-changer? What are your thoughts?


The post Soon you will be able to assemble your phones like PCs, courtesy Google’s Ara appeared first on The Mukt.

Robin Williams dead at age 63

Tuesday 12th of August 2014 01:17:50 AM

Today August 11th 2014, a great comedian has passed away, Robin Williams age 63 has died in his Northern California home to what police now suspect was suicide due to asphyxia.

Robin Williams was an icon for many children growing up in the 70’s, 80’s, and 90’s for his roles in “Mork & Mindy”, “Good Will Hunting”, “Mrs. Doubtfire”, and other notable works.

Mr. Williams had been depressed on and off since battling with his alcohol and substance abuse since the 70’s, when he became addicted to cocaine and alcohol. After his close friend John Belushi had passed away from a cocaine and heroin overdose he promptly decided to quit drugs and drinking cold turkey.

Later on in 2006, an interview with Good Morning America yielded a surprising confession that he had been battling alcohol abuse after being 20 years sober. The confession came about after his family had staged an intervention and Mr. Williams decided to join Alcoholics Anonymous.

Mr. Williams had also been known to be very prolific in charity organizations, and even creating a foundation of his own. He is also mentioned to have many hobbies such as biking, rugby, and even gaming.

Robin McLaurin Williams leaves behind his three children and wife of three years, may he rest in peace.

Source: Marin County Sheriff’s Office

The post Robin Williams dead at age 63 appeared first on The Mukt.

New Acer Chromebook 13 looks to be the best yet

Monday 11th of August 2014 10:47:16 PM

Acer officially pulled the wraps off their latest Chromebook, which features none other than a Nvidia Tegra K1 processor, and boasts a battery life that blows away any other model on the current line-up of Chromebooks. There are three model options for the new Acer Chromebook 13, starting with the $279 model which has a 13.3 inch 1366 x 768 display.

This base model has 16 GB internal storage (SSD) and 2GB of RAM and comes with the best battery life of the bunch. The $299 model features a stunning 1920 x 1080 full HD display, with the same internals as the base model. A third, $379, option has the 1080p screen, as well as 32 GB of storage and 4 GB of RAM.

All these models have stellar battery life due to the processor choice being the Nvidia Tegra K1. This gives the lower-resolution model a battery life touted at 13 hours, and the others a battery life of 11.5, much higher than the highest of existing Chromebooks, 9.5 hours from HP Chromebook 14. The power-sipping doesn’t have much of a performance trade-off either: the quad core processor clocks 2.1 GHz and the Nvidia Kepler GPU isn’t exactly underpowered.

The choice of processor, usually used in Android tablets, is hyped for its ease of 3-dimensional rendering, as well as being “Google Hangouts optimized”, which should make for a prime Chromebook web experience. It also allows for the Chromebook 13 to go without a cooling fan, leaving the device to measure 0.71 inches and weigh  3.31 lbs. With power rivaling that of the Intel Core i3 processors coming to some Chromebooks, and power consumption even lower than Bay-Trail processors in other Chromebooks, the Tegra processor looks like a good fit for Chromebooks.

The price isn’t bad either. The $299 model, the best deal, has stats that best any of the other Chromebooks, and still costs the same as or less than the Samsung Chromebook 2, HP Chromebook 14, and Acer’s other Chromebook, the C720. The only other similar choice to the Acer Chromebook 13 that features a Tegra processor is the HP Slatebook, which costs $429.99 and runs Android. Acer is really upping their game on Chromebook performance, and this one looks like a killer. Orders are open for the new Chromebook through Amazon, and shipments should arrive in September. Ordering this Chromebook? Tell us in the comments!

Source: AcerAmazon, Google Chrome Blog

The post New Acer Chromebook 13 looks to be the best yet appeared first on The Mukt.

Leaked images of Samsung Galaxy Note 4

Monday 11th of August 2014 10:46:59 PM

Reported images were leaked today to GSM Arena and show what the device could quite possibly look like. From the front the device resembles the Note 3 quite closely. However the back and sides do seem to be notably different from previous models.

If the images are true than the back will retain the customary Samsung plastic textured back while the sides contain what seems to be a metal frame running continuously around the device. The S Pen holder is incorporated into the side of the device while the bottom contains what seems to be a micro USB 3.0 socket along with the speaker grille.

In addition the images show the back of the camera contains the square camera fitting along with the newly added heart rate monitor (similar to the S5 and assumed Galaxy Alpha). It is believed the device will contain a 5.7” screen with a 2560 x 1440 pixel AMOLED display

It is worth noting that these are leaked images from an anonymous source and as such there is no way to verify their legitimacy or accuracy. However with the launch of the Note 4 highly expected in September it does seem likely that leaked images in August of a polished device (and retail box) would be plausible. So it is likely that these very well could be the first images of the new Note 4.

What’s your opinion? Are the images real? Do you like how the device looks? Any Note 3 owners out there? If so, are these differences enough to warrant a new model? Whatever your view let us know by leaving a comment below.

Source: GSM Arena

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OnePlus One launch ‘Clear Image’ with today’s OTA

Monday 11th of August 2014 10:46:42 PM

For those of you who are lucky enough to already own a OnePlus One the most recent over-the-air (OTA) update is bringing with it an interesting new feature today.

On the OnePlus One blog the team today announced the launch of a new camera feature ‘Clear Image’. According to the blog this new feature greatly improves the quality and clarity on all images taken using the One.

Clear Image is your camera on clarity steroids

Once Clear Image mode is selected the One camera stitches together ten individual images to form a “super hi-res photo”. Interlacing and compression algorithms combine to increase the image clarity, reduce noise in low light and add detail.

Heard it before? Already have imaging stitching on your device? Well, according to OnePlus the difference between Clear Image and other stitching software is Clear Image minimizes the file quality while maximizing the clarity. So images taken using this software will not incur any additional storage space producing an image as low as that taken without the software.

So does it work? Well, this is big question. The One already comes with a 13 MP camera and so images will be of a fairly decent quality anyway. To highlight the difference OnePlus have released a small number of images to show what Clear Image can do.

In both images below Clear Image mode is shown on the right.


In addition to Clear Image the OTA update brings a number of bug fixes and performance enhancements. Here is the full list from OnePlus of the changes in the latest CM11S (300) update:

  • Upgraded to Android 4.4.4
  • Updated to new versions of Google apps
  • Added Clear Image
  • Added new (colder) calibration for the screen
  • Proximity sensor prevents activation of off-screen gestures while in your pocket
  • Capacitive touch keys supported in the recovery mode
  • Increased capacitive button illumination
  • Improved overall stability
  • Fixed issues with vibration being disabled during Quiet Hours
  • Fixed lockscreen not updating the track information during music playback
  • Fixed microphone volume for all formats in the Voice Recorder app
  • Fixed “OK, Google” not triggering voice search in Google Now
  • Fixed Viber calls not working
  • Fixed battery percent not updating in custom lock screens
  • Fixed PicasaSync
  • Fixed Camera “O” gesture activating lockscreen instead of triggering camera
  • Fixed wallpapers not applying in full screen, taking the wrong size when cropping, etc

So have you got a OnePlus One? Have you installed the new OTA yet? If so what do you think of this new feature? Does it work?

As always, let us know what you think.

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Move over aliens, NASA created its own UFO aka flying saucer

Monday 11th of August 2014 02:19:00 PM

Do you remember NASA’s flying saucer that was launched in June this year? Well NASA finally released some video footage from the mission.

NASA’s Low-Density Supersonic Decelerator (LDSD) system will be used to get a new rover to the Martian surface in a future mission, this was the first of three tests, the second is taking place in June, 2015.

Below is the newly released video, at around 1:35 you can see the parachute tear, which, I don’t think was supposed to happen but it will help in their next mission.

The first mission was a success, so far, so good. The mission objective on NASA’s site is: “ use atmospheric drag as a solution, saving rocket engines and fuel for final maneuvers and landing procedures. The heavier planetary landers of tomorrow, however, will require much larger drag devices than any now in use to slow them down — and those next-generation drag devices will need to be deployed at higher supersonic speeds to safely land vehicle, crew and cargo. NASA’s Low-Density Supersonic Decelerator (LDSD) Technology Demonstration Mission, led by NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., will conduct full-scale, stratospheric tests of these breakthrough technologies high above Earth to prove their value for future missions to Mars.”

Source: Gizmodo

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Scientists finally create a Human Brain-like Chip, capable of complex problem solving

Monday 11th of August 2014 01:26:03 AM

Remember Spy Kids? That movie where they were putting these tiny brains into robot clones so that they could act like the real kids? The idea seemed incredulous at that time, but a team from IBM seems to have made just that kind of chip. Though the chip looks like a conventional computer chip and not like a tiny human brain, IBM claims that this new chip can mimic the human brain like no other computer.

The new chip, called the neurosynaptic processor, consists of a two-dimensional mesh of 4096 distributed neurosynaptic cores. Each of these cores in turn integrates memory, computation and communication. In effect, each of these cores can run in parallel with the other cores. In fact, multiple chips can be stacked to exponentially increase this feature thus creating a vast network of interconnected and independent neuronsynaptic cores, just like our brains. IBM proved the theory by stacking 16 such chips and created a network of sixteen million programmable neurons and four billion programmable synapses.

The human brain, or any brains of higher order animals, is a complex network of about 100 billion neurons and synapses that join together in order to form one of the most efficient computing device and a learning system. Though it might be beaten by a conventional computer when it comes to brute force computing, present day computers are not able to actually comprehend what they are doing, something that is inherent in a human. This is attributed to the fact that using all those neurons we can easily recognize patterns. And it is due to this innate ability to recognize patterns that we are able to learn new things and comprehend. The IBM chip claims to be capable of just that.

Although the feat is amazing, it still falls short of nature, as it is just comparable to a simple honey bee. But scientists are saying that this technology can be scaled up to create complex systems that are able to comprehend what they are sensing. Even more wondrous is the fact that the chip can be integrated with present computers and super computers and thus can create systems that are good at both solving problems as well as brute force calculations.

But perhaps the most splendid achievement of this chip is the power consumption. The team used the readily available 28 nm fabrication process from Samsung, which packs in a lot of transistor in a very little space. Thus with the combination of cutting-edge process technology, hybrid asynchronous-synchronous design methodology, and new architecture the power consumption has come down to the power density of 20mW/cm2 which is nearly four orders of magnitude less than today’s microprocessors. As a result, the chip with 5.4 billion transistors is the biggest chip ever built and yet it draws power less than a hearing aid, even when under complete utilization.

The chip was developed based on about a decade’s worth of research into a computing architecture that is different from the current Von Neumann architecture, which has been unchanged since 1946. That architecture is basically used in any device that can perform any type of computation. The architecture dictates that a computer should have a memory to store the programs and a processor to process the commands of the program stored in the memory. The research was done by IBM in collaboration with Cornell Tech & iniLabs with funding from DARPA.

Source: IBM

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13 Year Old from India comes up with an ingenious Anti-Trolling & Cyber Bullying system

Monday 11th of August 2014 01:24:36 AM

Let’s be honest, we have been there on both sides of trolling at some point. Though most of us just do it in jest without the intention of hurting others, there are people who push it to the extreme and like to bullies other people. Trisha Prabhu is just a 13 year old girl who has come up with a proposal to fight this ever growing menace of cyber bullying. The proposal propelled her to the finals of Google’s 15 Science Fair.

According to this young scientist’s research, 93.43% of adolescents decide not to post hurtful posts if they are alerted that their post could end up hurting someone. In her proposal, aptly named Rethink, she reasons that the trend of cyber bullying is higher in teens and tweens below the age of 25 years. She says this is because the pre-frontal cortex of the human brain is not developed fully till the age of 25 years. This region of the brain is responsible for the reasoning and decision making. Thus what a person below that age posts might not be always thought out and an alert might be just what needed appeal to their conscience is. This is the basic premise of Prabhu’s research.

In order to prove her theory, she developed two Software packages called Baseline and Rethink. Rethink is a system measured number of mean/hurtful messages adolescents were willing to post after being alerted to rethink, while Baseline measured the same without the alert. The result of the study is that about 93.43% of adolescents were unwilling to post hurtful comments.

Prabhu also adds that her design includes a “sophisticated context-sensitive filtering” system that will detect “mean/hurtful” messages and alert the poster of the nature of their messages. She says that this system is highly scalable and intends to implement the system into different social networks on both web and mobile platforms. “I am looking forward to a future where we have conquered cyber-bullying,” the young scientist was found as saying.

Source: BGR


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The Future of Linux Gaming and Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel

Monday 11th of August 2014 01:24:24 AM

Linux has commonly been known as a platform with a distinct lack of AAA gaming titles, but now, 2K Games fiscal results have leaked that they will make the third game in the series “Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel!” available to Linux users on launch day.

The selection of AAA gaming titles available on Linux started to gain ground when Valve released Steam for Linux in mid-February of 2013. Seven months later, Valve announced SteamOS, a debian-based operating system in conjunction with Valve’s Steam Machine. These recent positive acknowledgements of Linux as a platform for gaming has led many users to believe the Year of Linux is close at hand.

After these announcements Nvidia and AMD promised better graphic driver support, and some members of the Linux gaming community decided to encourage developers by online petition to port their games to Linux. Gamers did this in the hopes that developers porting these titles officially would allow it to run natively instead of using Wine, which is commonly used as Linux’s premiere Windows compatibility layer to play popular Window’s exclusives.

The only caveat to developers exporting their games to Linux is that even if they managed to bring them over in a timely manner, the chances of it being a non-native port, as history has shown, may be high. A non-native port would make the game run slower and have higher system requirements to work than its Windows counterpart.

Twitter users asked Randy Pitchford, President of Gearbox Software and the creator of Borderlands if there was any plans to port the second game in the series Borderlands 2 to Linux, in which he replied, “I talked to some people.” and that, “I wouldn’t get your hopes up too much…” prompting some spats in the replies.

With now over 600 games on Steam supporting Linux, the future of AAA gaming for the platform is looking even brighter than before.

Source: IGN

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Phone number now must for new email ids: Gmail, Yahoo

Sunday 10th of August 2014 11:10:16 PM

In an effort to check spam email senders, Gmail and Yahoo want you to share your telephone number for creation of new email addresses. The popular free email providers require phone numbers for verification.

“Google has also limited number of accounts that a person using one telephone number can create but the website did not specify the maximum number of email accounts it will allow,” a PTI report said.

Here’s why Google asks for your phone number to verify your account. “In an effort to protect our users from abuse, we sometimes ask users to prove they’re not a robot before they’re able to create or sign in to accounts. Having this additional confirmation via phone is an effective way to keep spammers from abusing our systems,” the Gmail website said.

If you wish to create a new email address on Gmail, you can give either your telephone or mobile number. But for a new Yahoo email ID, it is now mandatory to provide a mobile number.

“At Yahoo, we are committed to the security of our users. We ask our users to provide their mobile number at registration as a secondary means of authentication, in addition to their password. We would only use the number if we see any unusual activity on the account,” Yahoo spokesperson told PTI.

Internet Service Providers Association of India (ISPAI), on the other hand, believe the move could conflict with privacy of an individual. Also, there is no regulatory requirement for making phone number must for having an email address.

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