Category Archives: News

NASA Curiosity Mars Rover – Let me take a Selfie

Curiosity Selfie
NASA released a selfie of the Curiosity Mars rover after combining 57 photos of the space-dwelling vehicle.
The rover typically collects sand and examines particles on Mars – and once a year it stops to sing ‘Happy Birthday’ to itself – but the car-sized rover has also dedicated time to snapping pictures.
And many of them have been of itself.
In August 2015, the rover took a 92-image composite selfie after drilling a rock nicknamed ‘Buckskin’ in the Marias Pass area.In June 2014, it snapped a self-portrait to celebrate being on Mars for exactly one full Martian year, which is the equivalent of 687 Earth days.
The latest selfie was released on Friday and is at least the third that Curiosity has sent back to NASA since the rover first landed on Mars in 2012.The rover took the picture by the Red Planet’s Namib Dune on January 19. NASA scientists used the rover’s Mars Hand Lens Imagers camera, which is at the end of its arm, to take the picture.The arm with the Hand Lens is only partly visible because the image is a composite.

Article Coutesy: Daily Mail UK

Apple Long Distance Wireless Charging

Apple Wireless Charging

#FirstCrush Apple apparently wants to help you charge your iPhone no matter where you are in your home. A new report suggests that it’s building a new wireless charging technology that wouldn’t require direct contact with a power mat.

Bloomberg reports that Apple “is exploring cutting-edge technologies that would allow iPhones and iPads to be powered from further away than the charging mats used with current smartphones.”

The idea is not a new one. Earlier this month, Ossia showed off a system that allows an iPhone to be charged in mid-air. It works by using an antenna that can capture energy held in radio frequency waves floating through the air that are carefully directed from a central hub.

It’s not an easy challenge, for a number of reasons. The technology required to capture enough energy is, for Ossia at least, rather bulky. And as Bloomberg points out, “efficiency of power transfer decreases as the distance between transmitter and receiver grows.” If Apple is trying to build a sleek phone, those two issues create a compounded problem where it’s difficult to charge a battery quickly.

Indeed, Bloomberg claims that Apple “is looking to overcome technical barriers.” No kidding. In fact, it’s likely been working on wireless charging for years by this points. Whether we’ll see in the next iPhone, or the one after that? We’ll have to wait and see.

Article Courtesy: Cult of Mac, Gizmodo

Future of Virtual Reality Gaming

#FirstCrush Future for Virtual reality gaming is becoming more and more realistic day by day. A Virtual Reality (VR) headset allows you to explore an imaginary world & experience full immersion. This will be a game changer once companies develop full 3D immersion in the VR headsets.

A VR headset is the best way to appreciate the truly immersive nature of the game. Two dimensional renderings do little justice to the 3D version – or the hardware used to play it.

That sums up the problem with virtual reality – it’s hard to sell 3D in a 2D world.

“Today we use devices like smartphones and tablets. Tomorrow we want to change the dynamic around immersive, advanced, virtual reality,” said JP Nauseef, the founder of Krush technologies, a company starting to develop virtual reality hardware.

Major advances in virtual reality are starting to take shape. Tech giants like Google, Facebook and Samsung are just some of the players heavily investing in VR. Cheaper, more sophisticated, headsets are coming to market every year.

At the same time, futuristic hardware like Moveo, a concept simulator developed by Krush, are expanding the scope of possibilities for virtual reality.

But according to Halsey Minor, founder of CNET networks and several other tech enterprises, accelerating growth in VR must be content driven.

“I think the biggest opportunities in VR are around the biggest opportunities in television and that requires the ability to do live streaming VR, which today has been a very difficult thing because of the technology involved,” said Minor, who is heading up Reality Lab, a start-up focused on bringing VR into the mainstream.

Minor recently unveiled the Quantum Leap VR system, a device that starts paving the way towards a future where people will be able to experience live sporting events and concerts in virtual reality.

“It’s 16 HD cameras all running at the same time and out of those 50 gigabytes of information, a huge amount of information, we have to craft to perfect 360 degree spheres for each eye and then transport that over the Internet,” Minor added.

He predicts that just like the Internet is supplanting newspapers, VR will have the same effect on television.

“The most interesting thing that we are going to find out in 2016 is how fertile is the market right now. Are we going to sell 10 million of these? Are we going to send a million of these? But I think that is going to tell us what our trajectory is because where you start is going to determine how fast you grow,” he said.

No matter the pace, Minor says immersive technology will increasingly turn the virtual world into our everyday reality.

Article courtesy: Reuters, The Verge

Gigantic Dinosaur skeleton replica unveiled in New York


#FirstCrush

A huge 122ft (37metres) model of a dinosaur skeleton belonging to a group known as titanosaurs was unveiled at the Museum of Natural History in New York. It is too long to fit in the fossil hall and its neck and head poke out toward the elevator banks, offering a surprise greeting when the lift doors open. Paleontologists estimate that titanosaurs weighed about seventy tons which is about as much as ten African elephants.

News Courtesy: Reuters

Timelapse of Mexico’s fire volcano erupting again

Mexico’s Colima or “Fire” volcano spewed a large column of gas and ash high into a blue sky on Saturday. The ash cloud reportedly shot more than 8,200 feet into the air. Located in the southwestern Mexican state of Colima, the Fire Volcano has been bursting to life since July 9 last year including three eruptions on New Year’s Eve. The Fire Volcano, officially known as the Colima Volcano, is part of the Pacific’s Ring of Fire. Mexico contains over 3,000 volcanoes, but only 14 are considered active.

Article Courtesy: Reuters

Netflix in India: All you need to Know

Netflix is the world’s top video streaming service that allows users to watch content on screens ranging from a smartphones to a smart television.
It works with a variety of other devices like PlayStation and Apple TV, letting users stream directly onto larger screen. Netflix is also the creator of a lot of original, made for the web content, much of which is now in high-resolution Ultra HD.

How is the service priced in India?

Netflix India has pricing similar to its primary US market and users will be able to pay as low as Rs 500 to watch shows and movies on a single screen at one time. For Rs 650, they will get access to two simultaneous screens and four for Rs 800 — this also has UHD content. The first month is free for all users and they can pay using PayPal and credit card only at the moment. An initial fee of Rs 70 ($1) is charged during signup to authenticate the card.

Netflix standard subscribers now pay $9.99 per month, not much more than the Rs 500 base price in India. Netflix was launched out of California is 1997 as a DVD rental service and now has over 69 million users globally with 42 million in the US alone.

Is the content censored?
During signup you have to specify if you are above 18 and this means there is not going to be a lot of censored content, while everything will be rated. However, while creating a profile Netflix lets you identify children so that they don’t get access to any adult content.

Is there a lot of local content?
No. For now Netflix has limited Indian content, but they are working on getting more partners on board. An initial recce suggests all the popular Bollywood classics are there from Piku to Hum Aapke Hai Kaun. However, Netflix is going to be a big boost for independent cinema. which does not get much screens to show on in India.

How can I watch the content?
It is best to watch on the television, provided your screen is smart or is yoked to an Android box or Apple TV. Alternatively, you can use Chromecast as the Netflix apps is supported by the streaming dongle. You can watch the shows on a laptop, tablet or smartphone, or use a MHL or HDMI cable to mirror this on your television.

Is bandwidth in India and issue?’
Since this is the first question most people are asking, we decided to test this bit. I used the service on a MacBook Pro using a 1 Mbps wi-fi connection and the streaming was quite smooth after 30 seconds or so of initial buffering. The picture quality does scale down at times, but it restores within seconds. On a iPhone 6S Plus running LTE, the picture quality was great and the streaming seamless. I switched to 3G on the same phone and the experience was more or less the same except for the initial buffering.

Does India have the full catalogue? 
I did find the catalogue limiting and a lot of content is not even showing up on search. For instance, I could not search and find House of Cards, which is a Netflix production. However, all the new titles are there and there is no dearth of titles that India has never had access to.

Are there other Netflix like options in India?
Yes, there are services like Hooq and BoxTV that offer similar services at cheaper price points. But they cannot compete with Netflix that creates a lot of exclusive content that is popular globally. Also, not all services are able to offer seamless play on all four screens (smartphones, tablets, laptops and televisions).

Will the service find takers in India?
Yes, because this gives access to content otherwise not available in India — at least not legally. A lot of users with expensive UHD televisions and will finally have access to high-resolution content that put their TVs to full use. Also, globally Netflix has been responsible for a cultural shift is how video content is consumed. And it is to cater to this binge watching phenomenon that the company released full seasons of its popular series House of Cards exclusively online.

News Courtesy: Indian Express

Apple Ditching the Headphone Jack in iPhone 7

Apple_EarPods

Apple plans to lose the beloved headphone jack for the new iPhone 7. The alleged move, all but confirmed by Cupertino itself, has become a hot topic and a contentious one as consumers now seek to understand whether their previous investments in quality headphones are now redundant.

As Gordon Kelly here on Forbes reports, “Of course in abandoning something so beloved as the 3.5mm headphone jack (part of a standard which has been around since 1878 – yes really, 1878!), Apple has to offer enough bait for the switch – especially given the iPhone is its most important product line.”

While it’s fair to assume that the new iPhone 7 will be bundled with standard EarPods with a Lightning connector, for the majority of users they will now be forced to either buy a different pair of higher end headphones or go with Bluetooth. It also ties in with the current push by Apple and associated OEMs like Beats, Philips and JBL going to market with Lightning enabled cans which will support higher resolution audio, something Apple is looking to implement with its Music streaming service.

But this is not just about music or consumer lock in. This is a revenue generator for Apple. Consider the worldwide sales figures for headphones in 2015 as an example.

Number of Headphones Sold 2015

The above statistics show the global unit sales of headphones/headsets from 2010 to 2015. In 2015, 290.9 million units of headphones & headsets were sold worldwide. Even a small percentage of those sales will equate to an OEM offering a pair of headphones with a Lightning connector, or an adaptor.

In Sept 2015, Apple announced that it had sold more than 13 million units of the iPhone 6S and iPhone 6S Plus in their first weekend on the market. If the iPhone 7 tracks to sell the same, you can assume that a large percentage of buyers will also look to purchase better headphones with a Lightning connector.

Article courtesy Forbes