Archive for March, 2012


If you want to get more natural with your pics, Japanese researchers are working on a gesture-based mini camera that lets your hands frame the shot.

The group at the Institute of Advanced Media Arts and Sciences (IAMAS) in Gifu Prefecture recently showed off something they call the Ubi-Camera, a play on “ubiquitous” and “yubi” (“finger” in Japanese).

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As of February 2012, nearly half (or about 49.7 percent) of U.S. mobile subscribers now own a smartphone, according to a new Nielsen report.

That’s a 38 percent increase over last February, when only 36 percent of mobile subscribers owned smartphones.

Two companies are dominating the market — and it’s not Microsoft or BlackBerry-maker RIM, who formerly claimed large shares of the market. Nielsen revealed that the majority of U.S. smartphone subscribers (about 48 percent) are using Google’s Android devices, while 32.1 percent are using Apple’s iPhone. The rest of the market is made up of BlackBerry owners (11.6 percent) and users of “other” smartphones.

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Visa, Mastercard and Discover have warned that credit card holders’ personal information could be at risk after a security breach.

The firms said there had been “no breach” of its own system, instead blaming a third party.

Security blog KrebsOnSecurity, which first reported the story, said industry sources believed more than 10 million cards may have been compromised.

Reports suggested the stolen details had been obtained in New York.

The Wall Street Journal quoted its own industry sources as saying card-processing firm Global Payments was the company that suffered the breach. Shares in the company fell by more than 9% on Friday.

Global Payments has not responded to requests for comment.

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Sony’s 2013-dated new console supposedly code-named Orbis, will boast system that locks games to single PSN account; no backward compatibility for PS3 library planned.

Buckle up, Sony enthusiasts. A tipster has told Kotaku that the PlayStation 4 is named “Orbis” and that it will feature an anti-used-game system, offer no backward compatibility with PlayStation 3 titles, and ship in holiday 2013.

As for the first part of the rumor, multiple sources told the blog that the Orbis will sport some sort of anti-used-game measure. Full Orbis games will be available via Blu-ray disc or as a PlayStation Network download and will be locked to a single PSN account. Players will not be able to circumvent the system by remaining offline, as the source said users will be forced to be connected to the PSN to boot up their games.

Gamers will be free to trade in Orbis games, but the person who purchases a secondhand disc will be restricted to a limited trial mode or “some other form of content restriction.” These gamers will be forced to pay a fee to unlock the full title, according to the source.

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Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos announced todaythat an underwater sea expedition he financed has discovered artifacts from the Apollo 11 mission to the moon at the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean, nearly 43 years after they landed there.

Bezos says that F-1 rocket engines were found 14,000 feet below the surface using deep sea sonar, and he intends to raise at least one, maybe more, above sea level.

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As well as demonstrating that enthusiasm for the raging avians and their bacon-flavoured baddies is definitely not on the wane, those figures make Angry Birds Space more than three times as popular as the new iPad, which Apple was only too chuffed to announce had been purchased three million times during its own first three days on sale.

The Angry Birds Space app sees the Angry Birds leaving orbit, battling the egg-thieving pigs in gravity-bending circumstances. Reviews of the game have been positive, with the Guardian awarding four stars out of five, while our sister site GameSpot gifted Rovio’s latest effort with an 8 out of 10, calling it a “fresh take on a familiar formula.” I’ve embedded the video review below for your viewing pleasure.

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Tricking out a car with Windows sounds, well, sort of lame on its face. But suppose it came with a heads-up display that let passengers play Call of Duty against their buddies?

Or cameras around the car that let you use your smartphones to check out who might be eyeballing your ride? Or turning that phone into a microphone you could use to ask — nicely, of course — lookie loos to step away from the car?

“We believe coding should be fun,” said Jeff Sandquist, senior director of developer relations at Microsoft, who worked with West Coast Customs on the project. “We’re about developer evangelism and telling developers what they can do with the Microsoft platform.”

The car is a vehicle for that. West Coast Customs took a 2012 Ford Mustang and retrofitted it with a 1967 Mustang fastback replica body. They painted the car matte black, and decked it out with neon blue lights in the grill and around the rims.

Then they baked in just about every Microsoft consumer technology they could. The car is Web connected, giving the driver the ability to glance at the heads-up display to check the weather forecast or find the nearest gas station. The heads-up display on the passenger side, which the driver can’t see, lets passengers play games over Xbox Live with their friends.

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Apple announced late Monday that it has sold more than 3 million new iPads since the new version’s March 16 launch, making this the most successful launch yet for Apple’s tablet.

There are few significant differences between the new iPad and the second-generation iPad 2, but that didn’t stop thousands of Apple fans from waiting hours in line to be among the first to get it Friday morning. In New York, the line at the flagship Apple Store on Fifth Avenue spanned more than a city block, and fans filled several corridors at the new Grand Central store.

The new iPad’s flashiest feature is a high-pixel-count “retina display,” previously available only on the iPhone. The new iPad’s screen has 3.1 million pixels, one million more than a 1080p high-definition screen of that size would. It also features a faster processor and a 4G radio.

Apple took in more than $20 billion in sales from the iPad last year, which means the tablet accounted for a fifth of the company’s overall revenue for 2011. The iPad commands nearly 60% of the tablet market, according to NPD Group. Gartner forecasts that overall tablet sales this year will top 100 million.

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Pop singer Lady Gaga recently became the first person in history to amass 20 million Twitter followers.

It should come as little surprise that the Queen of Pop shot to the top: the top seven Twitter users with the most followers are all celebrities. President Barack Obama, with around 12.9 million followers, come in eighth place, just behind Kim Kardashian.

According to TwitterCounter:

Lady Gaga gains an average of almost 40,000 followers per day. Unlike many of the most-followed celebs on Twitter, Lady Gaga actually follows a good number of people herself. The pop star has 150 followers for every account she follows, whereas Oprah Winfrey has over 200,000 followers for every person she follows.

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Mozilla has made the latest version of its Firefox browser available through its website, despite fears that its release could be delayed because of a security issue.

Firefox 11 adds a number of technical improvements as well as some interface changes and expanded synchronisation options.

Mozilla has included a data visualisation tool named Tilt that provides a 3D visualisation of a web page that can be zoomed and rotated. It claims that Tilt highlights the structure of a page better than a flat view so that anyone can immediately be able to understand the relationship of code to the page.

Perhaps the most interesting new feature for most users will be the expansion of the synchronisation features which allows users to sync add-ons. It is now also easer to transfer items such as bookmarks, browsing history and cookies from Google’s Chrome Web browser and Mozilla has also redesigned the media playback controls for HTML5 audio and video content.

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