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  • 3rdiTEK: Is It The Next Google Glass?

    If Google Glass was not your thing, maybe 3rdi is?

    A company is planning a new device that can be worn across the forehead. It has a camera that will lie in the middle of your forehead and capture anything that you see. It takes on Google Glass with seemingly similar function and hence its share of controversy. Just like a third eye, it is creepy in both looks and function.

    The Montreal based company launched an indiegogo campaign on Tuesday with a very simple concept: a camera strapped to your head with a headband that can shoot in high-definition and have autofocus. You can now take the headband anywhere you want and capture a memory.

    But the other side has already been threaded by Google Glass – the creepy side. When you are recording your life, whether inadvertently or intentionally, other people’s lives are also being recorded without any possible opportunity for consent from them.

    “You can play basketball and capture your game…Going to a concert? Don’t need to hold your smartphone for 2-plus hours to catch everything on video. Just put on your 3RDi and capture away”

    It is no surprise that 3rdiTEK is trying to explain the concern away, but one could question the success they are having. Ask yourself the question and while you do that, the company’s spokesman creates, compares and contrasts with Google Glass: “Google Glass is not the best social or fashionable piece of techwear. It’s geeky. It’s a technology that hampers the user since it needs its constant attention.”

    There are many possible scenarios that they will like you to consider: “You can play basketball and capture your game…Going to a concert? Don’t need to hold your smartphone for 2-plus hours to catch everything on video. Just put on your 3RDi and capture away.”

    To cut them some slack, these are perfectly good uses for such a device. In fact, there is already one device that serves this purpose: the GoPro. We wear it on a strap on the head when we go cycling or experiencing special moments in our lives. This one is no different in that regard. Maybe comparing it to GoPro than Google Glass will make you feel a little less weary.

  • Microsoft Lumia 950: A Flagship That’s A Little Less Flagship

    In their campaign to make affordable smartphones for the masses, Microsoft has been avoiding the flagship fight for quite a while. So Android and iOS based smartphones reigned freely and fought with each other, while Microsoft has been in their attempt to build their base. The last time they brought a high-end smartphone was two long years ago – a Windows Phone 8 OS phone with a Nokia logo.

    Now that Windows 10 is settled in the PC world, Microsoft has long been planning for this time to bring their new flagship. We all knew that Lumia 950 and its larger 950XL counterparts were coming and their biggest selling point will be Windows 10. Sure, hardware is always important on the high end, but, Microsoft’s preference is to sell their phone, at least this time around on software.

    The question is – have they succeeded?

    These Microsoft beasts comes with all the possible high end hardware. The processor is the Qualcomm Snapdragon 808 with six core at 1.8GHz clock speed. There is plenty of memory to do the biggest things, with 3GB RAM in size. There is no want of firepower in there. It comes with built in 32 GB memory space, expandable MicroSD slot, so expand it however you like. A bit battery, with 3000 mAh size, is swappable; also they have wireless and quick charging features. The 5.2 inch screen is 564 dpi (Quad HD resolution), no way a slacker, at least on paper. It is all nice and dandy, but it can look a bit bland, coupled with typical Windows tiles, not very exciting.

    The crux of the phone is, of course, not this. The hardware is fine, but in no way jaw dropping. It’s the software that counts, at this moment, for a Microsoft phone – It’s the Windows 10. Windows 10 is Microsoft’s go-to solution for everything right now. It is the last Windows. No other Windows is to come next and it will span from everything – PC, tablets and smartphones. That is exactly what Microsoft is doing with Lumia 950s, the smartphone instance of their famed Windows 10.

    But no matter what it is, here, Windows 10 is on a phone. So, it is tailored to a phone. With some change here and there, the interface doesn’t look much different that previous Windows Phone 8.1. The revolution that Windows 10 has ushered, supposedly, is starkly absent in the phone. It feels more like an improvement, an evolution, rather minor, over predecessor. The Live Tile grid is still there and the alphabetical list of apps and the animations remain. If you didn’t like Windows Phone 8.1, there’s not much you would find has changed for a reconsideration.

    The things from the desktop comes in are Cortana, Microsoft personable virtual assistant and the new Edge browser. All in all, it is an attempt to channel people’s love for Windows on a desktop into a phone. The phones also have Windows 10’s new Hello feature that enables you to unlock the phone just by looking at it. But reportedly, it is slow. You could type in you PIN code faster before Hello can unlock your phone for you.

    microsoft_display_dock-2

    The best thing about Lumia 950 could be the fun Continuum feature, which lets you run you phone on a computer screen. To do that, you need Microsoft’s $99 Display Dock (or a Miracast dongle), a mouse and keyboard (Bluetooth or USB), and an external display, such as a monitor or TV. Plug your phone to the dock, pair the peripherals and your phone effectively works as a PC, since it can detect the screen size. You can do different things with them if you want – start a movie on big screen while reviewing documents on the phone.

    If these are not things to convince you, give the 20 megapixel camera a try. It’s not that there is anything groundbreaking going on there, but they take good pictures. The 5-megapixel wide-angle front camera is also fine for taking the occasional selfie, but like its rear counterpart, won’t blow anyone away.

    Microsoft’s first attempt at Windows 10 phone left a lot to be desired. There is nothing in hardware that is mind-blowing. The OS looks more like a mere evolution rather anything mind blowing.

    Specifications:
    CPU: Qualcomm MSM8992 Snapdragon 808, Dual-core 1.82 GHz Cortex-A57 & quad-core 1.44 GHz Cortex-A53
    GPU: Adreno 418
    RAM: 3GB
    Storage: 32GB, expandable through MicroSD up to 200GB
    Dimension: 145 x 73.2 x 8.2 mm (5.71 x 2.88 x 0.32 in)
    Weight: 150g
    Camera: 20MP back, 5MP front
    Battery: 3000mAh

  • Facebook Hits Record Number Of Users With 1.55 Billion

    Facebook continues to attract more users and growth as it reached 1.55 billion users in the 3rd quarter of 2015. The social media giant surpassed estimates in earning by racking up $4.5 billion in revenue and $0.57 per share in the same quarter. The number of monthly users on the site increased 4.07% quarter over quarter from the 3.7% growth it experienced in Q2.

    Although Facebook’s user count is highly publicized, the number of daily active users provides a more accurate reflection of how the company is doing. Facebook has excelled in this sector as well, as the company saw the daily active users reach 1.01 billion, surpassing the record 1 billion in late August. This puts to rest of all the claims that the social media giant is becoming less popular with users and notes that most active users go on the platform every day.

    In its 11 years of life, Facebook is not showing any signs of stopping and if anything, the company is getting stronger by the day

    However, the biggest drive of traffic that Facebook sees is from its mobile users – the number which now stands at 1.39 billion. Mobile also makes up of 78% of Facebook’s revenue from advertising, an increase from 76% in Q2. Currently, there are 727 million active mobile Facebook users. The company also saw the introduction of 4 million users on the platform from the US and Canada, which is higher than any time before in the past two years. This exemplifies that a younger generation and perhaps even seniors are getting introduced to Facebook.

    Given Facebook’s investment in artificial intelligence research and its personal Messenger assistant M, the company still managed to obtain more profit than last year at $896 million, up from $719 million.

    Another notable announcement that was made during the earnings call was that Facebook now sees an average of 8 billion daily video views from 500 million users, which is a staggering 100% increase from 4 billion views in April.

    It is analyzed that Facebook’s strategy is to add as much of the internet experience as possible in its app and have users engaged with Messenger. This is made such that users spend the most amount of time in the News Feed which displays ads. Also, it is catering to the young generation and international users with Instagram and WhatsApp respectively.

    In its 11 years of life, Facebook is not showing any signs of stopping and if anything, the company is getting stronger by the day.

  • India To Surpass The Number Of Internet Users In The US

    The number of internet users is increasing every day all over the world. In that respect India is not far behind. By the end of this year, the number of internet users in India will surpass that of the United States. Internet and mobile association of India has recently informed that by the end of December the number of internet users in India will reach 40 crore 20 lakh. As a result, India will have more internet users than the United States.

    According to data from the internet and mobile association of India, up until last month, the number of internet users in India were 37 crore. According to the World Bank, in China almost 65 crore people are using the internet. By the end of December, with 40 crore and 20 lakh internet users, India will be in the second position of most internet users in a country.

    The average price of mobile devices sold in the country came down to $150. And now in India, 94% of the internet users prefer using internet on their mobile devices

    The number of internet users from mobile devices reached 27 crore 60 lakhs. At this same time last year, that number stood at 15 crore 90 lakhs. In the next year, a total of 1 crore 10 lakh new internet users will be introduced in the country. Out of this, two-thirds will be introduced through cell phones.

    The average price of mobile devices sold in the country came down to $150. And now in India, 94% of the internet users prefer using internet on their mobile devices.

    It should be noted that in Bangladesh there are 5 crore internet subscribers, out of which the number of only Facebook users is 1 crore 70 lakhs. In Bangladesh, the percentage of Facebook users between the ages of 13-17 is 17% and that between the ages of 18-22 is 42%. According to data from BTRC, the number of mobile internet subscribers is 5 crore 7 lakh and 43 thousand, the number of ISP and PSTN internet subscribers are 13 lakh 8 thousand and 1 lakh 68 thousand use Wimax internet.

    At the end of last July, the number of mobile phone users was 12 crore 87 lakhs and the number of internet users was 5 crore 7 lakh 7 thousand. Out of this, the number of mobile internet users was 4 crore 92 lakh and 81 thousand.

  • Photo Magic: Facebook’s Latest Move To Ensure You Share Your Photos

    Facebook is known for going the extra mile to connect you with friends, family and those rare acquaintances. I remember a time when you could choose not to even display your profile picture thumbnail, but over the years, Facebook has been aggressively trying to market its users while at the same time making them believe that their privacy is ensured. Along those lines, the social media giant is testing a new feature in its Messenger app, which could be a blessing or a curse, depending on your take on social media.

    The feature I am talking about is called ‘Photo Magic.’ What this essentially does is that it scans your camera roll to identify your Facebook friends. If you didn’t comprehend that fully, let me repeat again that it will scan your camera roll, not photos that you have uploaded already! If you ask me, that is sort of creepy.

    What this essentially does is that it scans your camera roll to identify your Facebook friends

    This is how it works – let’s say you take a picture on an outing with your friends and once you’ve done that, you will be sent a notification asking you whether you would like to send it to your friends through Messenger. The rate at which this scanning takes place varies with the handset you are currently using. If you are an Android user, the scan will take place every time you take a photo, and in case of iOS users, it will be less frequent. Also, only new photos will be scanned.

    At the moment, this feature is being tested in Australia with an aim to make photo sharing easier and more accessible. For those of you who focus more on privacy or aren’t interested in allowing Facebook to access your photos, this feature will not be regarded as a welcome move. However, you will be able to keep the feature on or off depending on your preference. The feature is now available to Android users in Australia and will soon arrive in iOS devices in the country.

  • Scientists Unveil The World’s First ‘Smart’ Plant!

    We are in the era of all things ‘smart’ – starting from your cell phones, to your cars and even your home. But we perhaps didn’t anticipate a living smart plant. Yes, I’m not kidding, this has actually happened! A group of scientists have recently announced that they have successfully transformed living roses into electronic circuits, or in other words, cyborg flowers!

    Now, don’t get all worked up into thinking that these plants will eventually take over you and all of humanity. What these will essentially let you do is that they will be able to sense and display environmental changes, the growth of crops can be regulated with the flick of a switch or plant-based fuel cells will be able to convert photosynthetic sugars into electricity.

    Researchers at the Linkoping University in Sweden have created the world’s first electronic plant and it aims to be a stepping stone towards achieving the mentioned applications.

    In a statement, Magnus Berggren, the study lead author of the research said “As far as we know, there are no previously published research results regarding electronics produced in plants. No one’s done this before.”

    So how does this work? Here’s the science behind it:

    First, the researchers introduce a synthetic polymer called PEDOT-S into the rose through its stem. The plant sucks up the polymer using the same vascular system (xylem) that transports water. Once inside xylem channels, the polymer self-assembles into a ‘wire’ that conducts electrical signals, while still allowing water and nutrients to move around. By connecting these wires with naturally-occurring electrolytes in the plant’s tissue, the researchers are able to create an electrochemical transistor, as well as a digital logic gate, a basic component of computer systems. The researchers also introduced a variant of PEDOT-S into the leaves, where it forms ‘pixels’; groups of electrochemical cells separated by leaf veins. When a voltage is applied, these pixels change color like a display.

    The cyborg plant did not come into being as a product that was just recently thought of. Researchers worked on this project for over two decades but due to a lack of funding, they could not complete their research. However, even till now it seems like only a tiny fraction of what can be attained through this technology has been revealed.

    “Now we can really start talking about ‘power plants’ – we can place sensors in plants and use the energy formed in the chlorophyll, produce green antennas or produce new materials” said Berggren. “Everything occurs naturally and we use the plants’ own very advanced, unique systems.”

    The potential of this initiative seems mind boggling and who knows with further advancements in technology, this could perhaps be something we would see in the mainstream. Until then, you can simply look at the beauty that is in a rose and get enchanted by its mesmerizing smell!

  • Turn Your Traditional Watch Into A Smart Watch With Chronos

    If you are a ‘watch’ person you would perhaps not opt to buy a smartwatch as opposed to your expensive traditional wrist-wear. And that makes perfect sense given how traditional watches are in a whole different league altogether. But for those who don’t want to let go of their ‘dumb’ watch but also do not want to lag behind on technology, the answer is Chronos.

    Now, what is Chronos? It is a small disk that attaches to the underside of any traditional watch and introduces core smartwatch functionality. It works on all platforms so you don’t have to worry about whether you are using an iOS or Android device.

    The device is a miniature one with only 3mm of thickness and 33mm in diameter. It attaches to the underside of almost any watch with the help of micro-suction. Don’t get misconstrued into thinking that it will somehow magically turn the display of your traditional watch into that of a smartwatch – it will mostly be giving you notifications.

    The Chronos is waterproof and uses Bluetooth 4.0. Once paired, the device will buzz slightly to notify you that you have received a new email or text message. A nifty little feature is that it can also light up when providing you with such notifications if you so desire.

    There is also an accelerometer on board that enables light fitness tracking. The company said that the Chronos will last for 36 hours on a single charge and that the disk will be able to fit in and function with 80% of watches that are in the market today.

    The price of the device is a modest $99 (Tk. 8,000) and before you get all excited about purchasing this innovative little device, you can’t do that before Spring 2016. Although by then we will see newer and better smart watches, the fact that the Chronos can work with almost any watch it makes us believe that it will still be relevant a year from now.


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