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Apple to devise iTV that obeys voice commands and gestures!

LONDON: Apple computer company is devising a new television, nicknamed the iTV, that not only hears your shouts and sees your gestures - but can understand them too. 

According to experts, the revolutionary new interactive sets may be available by late next year. 

In a posthumous biography, the late Apple founderSteve Jobs had hinted at the new technology being developed, the Daily Mail reported. 

"I'd like to create an integrated television set that is completely easy to use," Jobs was quoted as saying. 

"It would be seamlessly synched with all of your devices and with iCloud. It will have the simplest user interface you could imagine. I finally cracked it," he said. 

In October it emerged that the US patent office had received details of an Apple device for 'real-time video process control using gestures'. 

These gestures could be used, for example, to edit videos or transfer footage from the TV to a telephone. 

The new TV is also likely to make it easy to access whole films from the Internet and watch them on the big screen, introducing powerful competition to pay TV firms and rival electronics manufacturers like Samsung.

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PayPal lets Facebook friends send cash





Online financial transactions powerhouse PayPal released an application on Thursday that lets friends send one another cash at leading social network Facebook. 

A "Send Money" application tailored for Facebook by PayPal lets members of the online community tie money to occasions such as birthdays or send it in an unadorned online transfer. 

"We are bringing the largest online payments company to the world's largest social network to make it even easier to send money to your friends and family directly from Facebook," PayPal marketing manager JB Coutinho said in a blog post. 

"Our new Send Money application on Facebook allows users to turn those wall posts into actual gifts," she said. 

Gifts of money sent to Facebook members through PayPal can be announced with digital greeting cards, videos, or pictures. Links in e-cards or messages are followed to culminate in cash transfers. 

PayPal charges no fee for people to send money to Facebook members in the United States as long as transactions are done through accounts with banks or the eBay-owned online financial service. 

"PayPal is going to where friends and family connect now," Coutinho said of the reasoning behind the application. "Imagine the smile when someone gets money for a cold beer and a message saying 'This one is on me.'" 

The release of the PayPal application for Facebook came the same day that Skype improved its software to allow Facebook members to engage in video calls with one another using the Internet telephony service. 

Skype, which was recently acquired by Microsoft, began powering video calling at Facebook in July. 

Facebook is the world's largest social network with more than 800 million members.

How safe is your mobile?


Do all mobile phones emit radiation? 

Yes. Radiation emitted by cellphones is measured in terms of specific absorption rate (SAR) - the amount of radio waves absorbed by the body tissue when a mobile phone is in use. 

It is different for different phones. SAR is the highest when a user is talking. All leading handset makers specify the SAR value in their user manual. These figures are also available on their websites.

What is a safe SAR level?

The lower the SAR value, the better. Both the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and EU have stringent safety standards in place on cellphone radiation levels. 

For instance, cellphones can't be sold officially in the US if their SAR level exceeds 1.6 watts per kg (W/kg) while manufacturers in Europe must ensure that the maximum SAR level does not exceed 2W/kg.


Can a higher SAR level cause cancer?

Can't say. SAR limits are based on guidelines issued by the International Commission on Non-Ionising Radiation Protection which are endorsed by the World Health Organisation. 

WHO classifies mobile phone radiation on the International Agency for Research on Cancer scale into "Group 2B" , or possibly carcinogenic. 

That means that there "could be some risk" of carcinogenicity, so additional research needs to be conducted in the long-term, heavy use of mobile phones


How to lower exposure to cellphone radiation?

Cellphones emit maximum radiation in areas where the network signal is weak. So try to use the phone outdoors, or move close to a window. 

Avoid lifts and basements. Use a landline at home or in office. A wired handsfree is also safe. 

A Bluetooth headset too produces less radiation than a cellphone held directly to the ear.

Does India have a SAR limit?

No, India does not have the SAR limit. But the government now plans to cap SAR at 1.6 W/kg, in line with US rules.

What is the SAR of some popular handsets?

The Apple iPhone 4, at 1.17. Samsung Galaxy S2 has a SAR of 0.338, Samsung NexusS with 0.58 and BlackBerry Curve 8310 at 0.72.

Are there radiation norms for towers?

Yes. Currently, the radiation from 650,000 towers nation-wide should be less than f/200 watts per square metre. The government proposes to tighten this parameter further.

In 2008, mobile permits of all companies were amended to include self-certification of tower radiation levels to ensure compliance with WHO-endorsed guidelines.

Each instance of non-compliance carries a penalty of 5 lakh.

What has been the government's reponse?

A government committee report submitted this year has concluded that radiation from mobile phones and towers poses serious health risks.

"People chronically exposed to such radiation have reported unspecific symptoms, ranging from burning and tingling sensation in the scalp, fatigue, sleep disturbances, dizziness, ringing in the ears, headache and palpitation," the report said.

It suggested that children, adolescents and pregnant women should avoid excessive use of cellphones while people with medical implants should keep their cellphone at least 30 cm away while talking.

A Free Stanford Course for Developing Apps for iPhone & iPad

Looking to design apps for the iPhone or iPad? Stanford University now has a course online that will help you do just that.
Simply called Developing Apps for iOS, the course features 20 video lectures (the last installment was uploaded just this week) and, somewhat fittingly, they’re all available on Apple’s iTunesU.
Paul Hegarty teaches the course, and he assumes that you have experience programming in C, and some familiarity with UNIX, object-oriented programming and graphical toolkits.
You can find Developing Apps for iOS in the Computer Science section of our big collection of Free Online Courses, along with two previous Stanford app development courses, both called iPhone Application Development.

World's cheapest tablet 'Aakash' receives 3 lakh pre-launch bookings


NEW DELHI: The world's cheapest tablet, Aakash, costing about Rs 3,000, has received about 3 lakh pre-launch bookings for its commercial version that goes on sale later next month. 

A subsidised model of this tablet, made by UK-based Datawind, is already being distributed free in schools and colleges. Aakash's retail bookings exceed India's estimated 250,000 tablet PC market, dominated by Apple, Samsung and Reliance. 

"The bookings have been done without any money received in advance. We have identified an operator for a data plan at Rs 99 a month," said Datawind CEOSuneet Singh Tuli, who claimed the data streaming technology offered by his company could make internet access costs virtually free. 

"We hope to make internet free on our devices with that technology." Tuli is experimenting with a technology that can stream a 700MB file compressed into a 25MB on a tablet. Aircel could be the likely operator, said executives of the two companies, requesting anonymity. 

Datawind has supplied about 10,000 tablets to the government's National Mission for Education at a price of Rs 2,250. The devices are being used by students from colleges such as the IITs, RECs, BITS Pilani, Teri University and others. 

Aakash, in its next version, will be upgraded with a capacitive touch screen and a processor with double the speed. Datawind plans to supply an attachableRs 400 keyboard, turning the device into PC-lookalike at Rs 3,400. 

The government is also considering a proposal to procure the next lot, called Aakash 2, with a faster 700 MHz processor, albeit at the same price. Tuli says there have been invitations from other nations for their digital inclusion programs, seeing India's success. 

"The governments of Mexico, Sri Lanka, Egypt, Thailand, Brazil, Bangladesh have requested us to participate in programs similar to India. None, though have come out with tenders for supply of low cost devices as of now," Tuli said. KPMG's telecom head Jaideep Ghosh, however, says that the low-cost tablet success might not be as specatcular as that of the mobile handsets. 

"About 185 million new handsets being sold in India this year. But the number of tablets to be sold in a year would be in the range of 250,000 to 500,000 units." The low price is attractive only for students and the youth, who are aspiring to buy new products, he said. 


The tablet market is expected to see a price war as Reliance Industries and Bharti Group are also gearing up to offer cheaper data plans on tablets. RIL may slash the cost of data download to as low as Rs 10 per GB on its upcoming Rs 6,000 tablet. Data downloads cost around Rs 100 per GB for most operators now. 

Delhi-based Bharti Group's Beetel is also gearing up. "We were the first to introduce a tablet (Magiq) at Rs 9,999, this year. From January we will be going fullsteam and launch a third version of the tablet," says Vinod Sawhny, chief executive of Beetel Teletech. Samsung India is also launching a third model of the Galaxy Tab next month. 

As per KPMG, Samsung has about 80% share of the market, followed by Apple with 5% share. Reliance Communications' group head for marketing and branding Sanjay Behl said the tablet market has doubled in a year. "Reliance Tab has become the third largest after Apple and Samsung tablets."

Facebook warns of recent wave of spam


NEW YORK: Facebook said Wednesday that it has stopped most of the spam that has flooded many users' pages with pictures showing graphic sex and violence. 

The social-networking company urged its 800 million-plus users to remain vigilant to keep their accounts from being hijacked. 

That includes reporting suspicious links on friends' pages and not clicking on links that offer deals that are too good to be true. 

Social-networking sites are popular targets for spammers because people are more likely to trust and share content that comes from people they know. This makes spam, scams and viruses easy to spread. 

Still, Facebook says less than 4 percent of content shared on the site is spam. By comparison, about 74 percent of email is spam, according to security firmSymantec, though the bulk gets filtered out before reaching the inbox. 

Over the past couple of days, many users have complained about finding links on their Facebook pages taking them to images depicting jarring violence and graphic pornography. Although the way the latest spam messages spread isn't new, their content is more shocking than the typical scam enticing a free iPod shuffle. 

The latest attack tricked users into clicking on links by offering some sort of promise _ free plane tickets, a fun new video or answers to a quiz, for example, said Vikram Thakur, principal security response manager at Symantec. 

Clicking on the link took users to a page that asked them to copy and paste a line of malicious JavaScript programming code into the address bar of their Web browser. 

``Pasting that little message will pick up a message or picture from whatever website the JavaScript is posting to,'' Thakur said, adding that it doesn't matter what type of browser people use. 

The content is then posted on the users' Facebook page, usually without their knowledge. It spreads further when their friends then click on those links, thinking that it was posted by the user on purpose. 

Facebook said no user data or accounts were compromised during the attack. 

It urged users not to cut and paste unknown code into a browser's address bar. They should always use an up-to-date browser and report any suspicious content on the site. 

While the site scans malicious links against security databases and blocks those known to lead to spam, it can't stop people from copying and pasting text manually into their Web browser. 

That's where user vigilance comes in. 

Thakur said users should be suspicious by the mere fact that someone is asking them to copy and paste something that Facebook is not permitting to be clickable directly. 

Facebook said it built enforcement mechanisms to quickly shut down the malicious pages and accounts that attempt to exploit the vulnerability. 

``Our team responded quickly and we have eliminated most of the spam caused by this attack,'' Facebook said in a statement. ``We are now working to improve our systems to better defend against similar attacks in the future.''

Source : Facebook Blog

Dhoni, Yuvraj and Tollywood actor Nagarjuna in race to own I1 franchises


New Delhi: Big names in the Indian industry, sports and tinsel town, including cricketers Mahendra Singh Dhoni and Yuvraj Singh and Tollywood's Nagarjuna, have shown interest in owning teams in the nine city-based franchisees in the much-touted I1-Super Series motor racing league of which Sachin Tendulkar is the brand ambassador.

Machdar Motorsports, the promoters of the event, on Tuesday said the list of franchisee owners will be finalised within the next couple of weeks, adding that Dhoni and Yuvraj have shown keen interest in owning a franchise each in the series, beginning January 8 at the Yas Marina Circuit in Abu Dhabi - the venue of the 18th and penultimate race of the 2011 Formula One season.

"We have been in touch with Dhoni and Yuvraj for quite some time and their chances of owning a franchise are bright," M. Darshan, CEO of Machdar Motorsports, told IANS.

I1 primarily aims at promoting motorsports in India and has managed to attract attention ever since Sachin got associated with it and Bollywood actor Shah Rukh Khan jumped in to be the owner of the Mumbai franchise. Management expert Arindham Chaudhuri has bought the Delhi team.

Darshan said Telegu actor Nagarjuna and industrialists Burmans of the Dabur Group more or less confirmed their interest in associating with the league. Tennis player Mahesh Bhupathi also wanted to own a franchise in the beginning, but he does not seem to be all that keen now.

"Bhupathi had shown interest earlier but now it looks less likely that he will buy a team," said Darshan.

The cost of one team is $20 million and the nine franchisees will be named after the Indian cities of New Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Pune, Ahmedabad and Chandigarh.

Darshan said the drivers' line-up for the event will be announced by the end of the month and is likely to feature many of the current and former Formula-One drivers, including two-time World Champion Mika Hakkinen and 2007 winner Kimi Raikkonen. The other big names with whom the organisers are in touch are former Force India driver Giancarlo Fisichella, HRT's Vitantonio Liuzzi and Michael Schumacher's younger brother Ralf, who drove in the F1 season from 1997 to 2007.

Each team will have an established foreign and Indian driver in their line-up while the third driver will be picked from talented young Indian drivers.

Darshan said the inaugural F1 race in India last month has given a much needed impetus to Indian motorsports and I1 Super Series will further promote the sport.

"At present, we have drivers racing in the national championships and only a handful of them have made a name at the international level. The I1 Series will provide many Indians an opportunity to share space with the international stars, giving them a great amount of exposure and learning," he said, referring to the the likes of Narain Karthikeyan and Karun Chandhok.

Radical S3 Sportscar having a maximum speed of 250 kmph will be used in the single-make series, which will have 12 races in a season.

Two races will take place in each of the six rounds scheduled in India, Malaysia, Qatar, Abu Dhabi and Bahrain.

The second and the final round of the Championships will be held at the Buddh International Circuit in Greater Noida.

Developers crack Siri open to work on any device

Developers at Applidium claim that they have cracked open Apple’s Siri intelligent voice-controlled assistant feature to work on any device. Siri is restricted to the iPhone 4S, but has been hacked to work to some degree on the iPhone 4 and iPhone 3GS. And now, Applidium says that it has managed to crack Siri open to be inserted into apps on other platform such as Android.
Applidium developers were able to decipher Siri’s security protocol by setting up their own custom SSL certification authority and adding it to their iPhone 4S to find out the commands that Siri sends to Apple’s official servers. They have released the access tools and given a full rundown of their process.
In theory, this hack could allow Siri to be used on an iPad, a Mac, or even an Android device. But the catch is that it still requires the UDID of an iPhone 4S, which lets Apple’s servers believe that the device is authorized. But if Apple decides to block your UDID for suspicious activity, that would also kill your iPhone 4S.
Additionally, Applidium developers discovered that the iPhone 4S sends a lot of raw audio data back to Apple’s servers and compresses them using a VoIP-oriented Speex audio codec. Apple’s servers also send plenty of data back such as confidence scores and timestamps for each word.