Archive for December 2010

Skype Introduces Video on iPhone

PCWorld (2010-12-30) – Skype on Thursday introduced a new version of its iOS app, which enables free video chatting between iPhones, iPods and iPads over WiFi and 3G connections. Skype users will also be able to make video calls with their friends on Windows computers, as well as with Mac users.

The new Skype iOS app is more flexible solution for video chatting than Apple’s own FaceTime, which isbuilt into the OS. Skype users are able to make video calls to other users of the service via WiFi and 3G, whereas FaceTime is limited to WiFi. Skype users can also video chat with either Windows or Mac users of the service, while FaceTime only has a Mac counterpart (so far).

The biggest advantage the Skype iOS app has over FaceTime is that it enables video chatting on older iPhone models and it’s not limited to iPhone 4 and the latest iPod touch. Skype’s iOS app can use the back camera on the iPhone 3GS, creating interoperability between various iOS devices, including iPads (but there is still no iPad screen optimized version of the app, and you can’t initiate video calls). read more…

iPad 2 Rumors

I liked the Mashable.com article iPad 2 Rumors: The Comprehensive Guide. Based on that, the best 10 rumors are as follows:

1. There will be three versions of the iPad 2

2. iPad 2 will have a front and back-facing cameras

3. iPod 2 will be slimmer, lighter and will have retina display

4. iPod 2 will have a flat back

5. iPod 2 will have a wide-range speakers

6. iPod 2 will have a USB port

7. iPod 2 will have a dual-core CPU

8. iPod will have a gyroscope

9. There will be a 7-inch version of the iPod

10. iPod 2 will be available around March, April time

Skype is Back but What happened to Skype?

I did a really quick search on Google and was not able to find any reasonable explanation nor the conspiracy theory about such a wide outage. I really liked the Tony Bates address on December 24th – “I would like to take a moment to thank each of you for your patience, understanding, and support during Skype’s outage. We know how important your Skype conversations are to you and we take any disruption to our service very seriously.”  Right… I spent the whole day trying to find an alternative way to communicate with some of my staff that only utilizes SKYPE and then installed Google Voice when literally within a few minutes of Google Voice installation my SKYPE has started to work! Amazing timing.

Tony continues “I mentioned that a post-mortem with a root cause analysis about Skype’s outage would be provided soon. We will have that ready to share with you early next week from one of Skype’s engineering team members.” I really look forward to hearing the post-mortem conclusions hopefully in a few days from now.

The Skype Outages have happed before, for instance in August of 2007  massive outages was caused by “a massive restart of our Skype users’ computers across the globe within a very short timeframe as they re-booted after receiving a routine set of patches through Windows Update” as indicated in i4u.com article. And this is how Skype has explained the cause of outages then.

“On Thursday, 16th August 2007, the Skype peer-to-peer network became unstable and suffered a critical disruption. The disruption was triggered by a massive restart of our users’ computers across the globe within a very short timeframe as they re-booted after receiving a routine set of patches through Windows Update.
The high number of restarts affected Skype’s network resources. This caused a flood of log-in requests, which, combined with the lack of peer-to-peer network resources, prompted a chain reaction that had a critical impact. Normally Skype’s peer-to-peer network has an inbuilt ability to self-heal, however, this event revealed a previously unseen software bug within the network resource allocation algorithm which prevented the self-healing function from working quickly. Regrettably, as a result of this disruption, Skype was unavailable to the majority of its users for approximately two days.” read more …

Craigslist discontinues adult services worldwide

Cnet.com (2010-12-22) – Craigslist’s adult services section is no longer in business around the world. Responding to the global takedown, Blumenthal called it “another another important step in the ongoing fight to more effectively screen and stop pernicious prostitution ads,” the AP reported. read more ...

Google Maps 5.0 for Android

New Google Maps 5.0 for Android has two new significant features: 3D interaction and off line reliability, according to Google blog (2010-12-17). Google is using vector graphics to dynamically draw the map on your device as you use it, allowing you to interact with it in new ways: Tilting, Rotating and Compass mode. read more …

Pictures are from Googleblog

Nexus S from Google Available this Thursday

The new Android phone from Google. Nexus S is blazing fast, has a brilliant Contour Display and is the first phone with Gingerbread (Android 2.3) and the latest Google Mobile apps. Nexus S will be available this Thursday, December 16th at Best Buy stores and online

Is Age reversal possible?

Obviously based on what I read in Boston.com today or rather yesterday, it’s quite possible that in a very near future there will be a way to reverse the age with the help of the DNA rebuilding agent.

Harvard scientists have taken prematurely aged mice and reversed the toll of time – increasing the size of their shrunken brains, restoring their diminished sense of smell, and turning their graying fur to a healthy sheen.

The work is among a growing spate of efforts to understand the basic biology that underlies aging. Ultimately, scientists hope to find ways to tap into the body’s natural regenerative capacities to make people healthier and more productive in later life.

“These were animals that were really at the brink of kicking the bucket,” said Dr. Ronald DePinho, director of the Belfer Institute at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and senior author of the paper published in the journal Nature. “We were expecting to slow or perhaps stabilize the aging process. Instead, we saw a dramatic reversal in the symptoms of aging.”

DePinho and colleagues genetically manipulated mice so that an enzyme called telomerase that rebuilds the caps of chromosomes, called telomeres, could be toggled on or off.

The mice aged very quickly without telomerase. Just mid-way through the normal lifespan of a mouse, their organs had atrophied, their brains had shrunk, and they had lost the ability to detect noxious odors. But when scientists used a drug to switch the gene back on for a month, many hallmarks of aging seemed to reverse. The fertility of the mice increased, their sense of smell was restored, and their organs were rejuvenated.

red more …

Email Privacy is Still Protected by Fourth Amendment

Great News! Don’t you agree? I think it’s great that your email is still protected by the Fourth Amendment.

Based on todays decision the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled that the goverment must have a search warrant before it can secretly seize and search emails stored by email service providers.

Eff.org (2010-12-14) – Given the fundamental similarities between email and traditional forms of communication [like postal mail and telephone calls], it would defy common sense to afford emails lesser Fourth Amendment protection…. It follows that email requires strong protection under the Fourth Amendment; otherwise the Fourth Amendment would prove an ineffective guardian of private communication, an essential purpose it has long been recognized to serve…. [T]he police may not storm the post office and intercept a letter, and they are likewise forbidden from using the phone system to make a clandestine recording of a telephone call–unless they get a warrant, that is. It only stands to reason that, if government agents compel an ISP to surrender the contents of a subscriber’s emails, those agents have thereby conducted a Fourth Amendment search, which necessitates compliance with the warrant requirement….

read more …

Facebook Founder Giving Away Half of His Fortune

image

Picture from Forbes.com

Forbes (2010-12-10) – Mark Zuckerberg has announced plans tp give away the majority of his fortune to charity. “People wait until late in their career to give back. But why wait when there is so much to be done?” Mark Zuckerberg, cofounder, CEO and president of Facebook said in a statement. read more ...

Chrome Notebook Does Not Loose Data

The Chrome notebook is the safest notebook ever. Why? Simply because the data are stored online, off the notebook. read more

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