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Rhapsody Adds AT&T And Verizon Carrier Billing To Get A Beat On Spotify And MOG

Well, this is embarrassing. We can’t find the page you asked for. Bad link? Mistyped address? We’re not sure.

Perhaps a search will get you on your way. If you think something’s wrong, contact us.

Now if you’ll just turn around for a moment we’ll be putting our pants back on…

Killing Hiedi Michelle Vieth

Report: Amazon Smartphone One Step Closer to Production




  (Source: technology-digital.com)

Foxconn is allegedly working on the device now

After making a huge (and successful) splash in the tablet space with its Kindle Fire devices, it only makes sense that Amazon would give smartphones a shot – and rumor has it that Foxconn has already manufactured a new model for the e-tailer.

According to a report by CENS.com, Amazon’s first smartphone will launch between the second and third quarter of 2013 and the e-tailer may ship as many as five million units for the year.

Foxconn has allegedly manufactured a new smartphone model for Amazon already, with touch panel makers J Touch Corp. and Young Fast Optoelectronics Co. rumored to be playing a role in the new smartphone’s development.

Back in July of this year, Bloomberg reported that Amazon was looking to release a smartphone of its own as early as November 2012. Clearly that didn’t happen, but other rumors have left the mill as well, such as the size of Amazon’s first phone (4 to 5 inches).

Amazon dipped into the mobile realm last year when it released its first tablet, the Kindle Fire, in November 2011. The 7-inch, $199 tablet was a hit during the holiday season, moving 4.7 million units in Q4 2011. This was nearly one-third of what Apple’s iPad accomplished during that same period (15.4 million units).

In September of this year, Amazon announced the successor to the Kindle Fire: Kindle Fire HD. The HD comes in 7-inch, 8.9-inch or 4G LTE models. The 7-inch model shipped September 14 at $199 while the 8.9-inch model shipped November 20 for $299. For those willing to step up to the 4G LTE Fire HD, it shipped November 20 for $499 — and don’t forget the great data package that offers 250 MB of bandwidth per month, 20 GB of cloud storage space and a $10 Appstore credit all for $49.99 per year. 

Source: CENS.com

Joan Jett Tania Bryer

Report: Amazon Smartphone One Step Closer to Production




  (Source: technology-digital.com)

Foxconn is allegedly working on the device now

After making a huge (and successful) splash in the tablet space with its Kindle Fire devices, it only makes sense that Amazon would give smartphones a shot – and rumor has it that Foxconn has already manufactured a new model for the e-tailer.

According to a report by CENS.com, Amazon’s first smartphone will launch between the second and third quarter of 2013 and the e-tailer may ship as many as five million units for the year.

Foxconn has allegedly manufactured a new smartphone model for Amazon already, with touch panel makers J Touch Corp. and Young Fast Optoelectronics Co. rumored to be playing a role in the new smartphone’s development.

Back in July of this year, Bloomberg reported that Amazon was looking to release a smartphone of its own as early as November 2012. Clearly that didn’t happen, but other rumors have left the mill as well, such as the size of Amazon’s first phone (4 to 5 inches).

Amazon dipped into the mobile realm last year when it released its first tablet, the Kindle Fire, in November 2011. The 7-inch, $199 tablet was a hit during the holiday season, moving 4.7 million units in Q4 2011. This was nearly one-third of what Apple’s iPad accomplished during that same period (15.4 million units).

In September of this year, Amazon announced the successor to the Kindle Fire: Kindle Fire HD. The HD comes in 7-inch, 8.9-inch or 4G LTE models. The 7-inch model shipped September 14 at $199 while the 8.9-inch model shipped November 20 for $299. For those willing to step up to the 4G LTE Fire HD, it shipped November 20 for $499 — and don’t forget the great data package that offers 250 MB of bandwidth per month, 20 GB of cloud storage space and a $10 Appstore credit all for $49.99 per year. 

Source: CENS.com

Nicki Minaj Mia Farrow

Scroll down for the Dead Sea Scrolls: Google and Israel put the ancient religious texts online for anyone to view

  • Digital library has the Book of Deuteronomy and first chapter of Genesis
  • Israel had previously been criticised for restricting access to the scrolls
  • Website allows users to zoom in, read translations and see related maps

By Damien Gayle

|

Google has partnered with the Israeli government to put 5,000 images of the Dead Sea Scrolls online in full colour and high resolution.

More than six decades since the discovery of the scrolls – and thousands of years after they were written – they are now finally available for anyone with an Internet connection to see.

The digital library contains the Book of Deuteronomy, which includes the second listing of the Ten Commandments, and a portion of the first chapter of the Book of Genesis, dated to the first century BC.

Scroll down for video

Online for the first time: The Dead Sea Scrolls are now available to researchers across the globe thanks to Google which worked in partnership with Israel to upload them to an online database

Online for the first time: The Dead Sea Scrolls are now available to researchers across the globe thanks to Google which worked in partnership with Israel to upload them to an online database

Israeli officials said this is part of an attempt by the custodians of the celebrated manuscripts to make them broadly available.

They have been often criticised for allowing the artefacts to be monopolised by small circles of scholars.

‘Only five conservators worldwide are authorised to handle the Dead Sea Scrolls,’ said Shuka Dorfman, director of the Israel Antiquities Authority.

‘Now, everyone can touch the scroll on screen around the globe.’

VIDEO: The Dead Sea Scrolls Online:  

Ancient meets the modern: The scrolls are the work of an ascetic Jewish sect who fled Jerusalem into the desert 2,000 years ago and settled at Qumran, near the shore of the Dead Sea

Ancient meets the modern: The scrolls are the work of an ascetic Jewish sect who fled Jerusalem into the desert 2,000 years ago and settled at Qumran, near the shore of the Dead Sea

Considered one of the most significant archaeological finds of the 20th century, the scrolls are thought to be the work of an ascetic Jewish sect that fled Jerusalem 2,000 years ago and settled at Qumran, near the shore of the Dead Sea.

Google says the new digital library took two years to assemble, using technology first developed by Nasa.

The multimedia website allows users to zoom in on various fragments, with translations and Google maps alongside.

Valuable: The scrolls are considered one of the most important archaeological finds of the 20th Century, and Israel had been criticised for allowing them to be monopolised by a small band of scholars

Valuable: The scrolls are considered one of the most important archaeological finds of the 20th Century, and Israel had been criticised for allowing them to be monopolised by a small band of scholars

Google hopes to further expand its project. Two months ago Google launched a ‘Cultural Institute,’ a digital visual archive of historical events in cooperation with 17 museums and institutes around the world.

‘We’re working to bring important cultural and historical materials online and help preserve them for future generations,’ said Yossi Matias, head of Google’s Research and Development Center in Israel.

‘Our partnership with the Israel Antiquities Authority is another step toward enabling users to enjoy cultural material around the world.’

Anyone interested in the scrolls can visit www.deadseascrolls.org.il for a closer look.

THE MOST SIGNIFICANT ARCHAEOLOGICAL FIND OF THE 20TH CENTURY

Discovered between between 1946 and 1956, the Dead Sea Scrolls are a collection of 972 ancient manuscripts containing parts of what is now known as the Hebrew Bible, as well as a range of extra-biblical documents.

They were first found by shepherd Muhammed Edh-Dhib, as he searched for a stray among the limestone cliffs at Khirbet Qumran on the shores of the Dead Sea in what was then British Mandate Palestine – now the West Bank.

The story goes that, finding a a cave in the dark crevice of a steep rocky hillside, Muhammed hurled a stone into the dark interior and was startled to hear the sound of breaking pots.

Rich archaeological seam: Qumran cave 4, in which 90 per cent of the scrolls were found

Venturing inside, the young Bedouin found a mysterious collection of large clay jars, in some of which he found old scrolls, some wrapped in linen and blackened with age.

The texts are of great historical and religious significance and include the earliest known surviving copies of biblical and extra-biblical documents, as well as preserving evidence of diversity in late Second Temple Judaism.

Dated to various ranges between 408BC and 318AD, they are written in Hebrew, Aramaic, Greek, and Nabataean, mostly on parchment, but with some written on papyrus and bronze.

The scrolls are traditionally divided into three groups. ‘Biblical’ manuscripts, which are copies of texts from the Hebrew Bible comprise 40 per cent of the haul.

Other religious manuscripts, including known documents from the Second Temple period like the books of Enoch, Jubilees, Tobit, and Sirach, that were now included in the Bible comprise 30 per cent of the identified scrolls.

The so-called ‘Sectarian’ manuscripts – previously unknown documents that shed light on the beliefs of Jewish groups of the time – like the Community Rule, War Scroll, Pesher on Habakkuk, and the Rule of the Blessing, make up the remaining 30 per cent.

While some of the writings have survived as nearly intact scrolls, most of the archive consists of thousands of parchment and papyrus fragments.

Arline Hunter Sonya Kraus

For New Lamps, An Unlikely Energy Source: Gravity

As long as you reset a weight every 30 minutes, you can have a continuous, battery-free light source.

GravityLight: lighting for the developing countries from T4 on Vimeo.

Kerosene lamps used in off-grid, rural areas are a major problem. They’re bad for people’s health and the environment’s. One startup’s solution is to tap another, greener resource, something we all have in abundance: gravity.

The invention, GravityLight, does exactly what the name suggests: It keeps a light going through the power of gravity. As an attached weight falls, it pulls a cord through the center of the light, powering a dynamo. That dynamo converts the energy from the falling weight into power for the light. (It’s the same idea as a hand-cranked device, just more vertical.) The weight can be set in a few seconds, and as it slowly reaches Earth, enough energy is generated to keep a light working for 30 minutes. As long as it’s set every 30 minutes, it makes for a green, battery-free, continuous stream of light. Other, similar devices like battery chargers could be used through the same process, too.

The inventors say the gadgets can be sold now for less than $10, which would make a return on investment for owners three months after dumping kerosene lighting. And speaking of investments, the group has already shattered the goal for its Indiegogo campaign, meaning we’ll hopefully see these in action soon.

[Treehugger]

Nathalie Oberman Diamond

Microsoft Stores taking $25 deposit on Nokia Lumia 900

Nokia Lumia 900

AT&T, Microsoft and Nokia haven’t said when the Lumia 900 will hit stores or how much it will cost, but if the flagship Windows Phone is a device you just have to have, you can now pre-order it.

Microsoft’s retail stores are currently taking a $25 deposit for those looking to reserve themselves a Lumia 900 on launch day, whenever that is. The deposit offer was first reported by The Verge and confirmed to The Times on Friday through Microsoft Store employees.

Rumor has it that the Lumia 900 could launch in March at a price of about $99 on a 2-year contract, which would undercut top-of-the-line rivals such as Apple’s iPhone 4S and the Android Ice-Cream-Sandwich-equipped Galaxy Nexus, built by Samsung.

In the U.S., the Lumia 900 will be exclusive to AT&T and feature a 4.3-inch display, a polycarbonate body in cyan or black, a 1.4-gigahertz Qualcomm single-core processor, 512 megabytes of RAM, 16 gigabytes of built-in storage, an 8-megapixel/720p video rear camera and a 1.3-megapixel front-facing camera.

I spent a bit of time with the Lumia 900 at CES in Las Vegas last month, and the phone did look quite impressive and something I thought could sell at $150 or $200 on a 2-year contract. Check out my hands-on look at the Lumia 900 below.

RELATED:

Nokia’s Lumia 900 Windows Phone may launch at $99

Lumia 710, Nokia’s first U.S. Windows Phone — review

CES 2012: Lumia 900, Nokia’s first 4G LTE Windows Phone, debuts [Photos and Video]

– Nathan Olivarez-Giles

Nathan Olivarez-Giles on Google+

Facebook.com/nateog

Twitter.com/nateog

Photo: A Nokia Lumia 800 smartphone sits on display inside a Nokia retail store in Helsinki, Finland. Credit: Ville Mannikko / Bloomberg

Arnold Schwarzenegger Rachel McAdams

NASA probes Ebb and Flow intentionally crash onto moon’s surface in dramatic end to year-long mission

  • Impact was not be visible from Earth, scientists said, as small probes had no fuel to cause explosion on impact
  • Action follows end to a successful year-long mission
  • Landing site named in honor of Sally Ride, the first American woman in space, who died earlier this year

By Nick Mcdermott, Science Reporter

|

They have danced around the moon for almost a year, making detailed maps of its interior.

Flying in formation over the lunar surface, the two NASA probes – named Ebb and Flow – helped further our understanding of the early solar system.

But Monday, in a dramatic climax to their mission, the two spacecraft plunged seconds apart into a mountain near the moon’s North Pole.

Afterward, NASA said it had dedicated the impact site in honor of mission team member, Sally Ride, the first American woman in space who died earlier this year.

Scroll down for video

Ebb and Flow Satellites crash into moon

Projection: The Ebb and Flow Satellites’ trajectory to crash into the moon on December 17

Heavenly bodies: An artist's depiction of the twin spacecraft (Ebb and Flow) that comprise NASA's Gravity Recovery And Interior Laboratory (GRAIL) mission.

Heavenly bodies: An artist’s depiction of the twin spacecraft (Ebb and Flow) that comprise NASA’s Gravity Recovery And Interior Laboratory (GRAIL) mission.

Using a precision formation-flying technique, the twin GRAIL spacecraft -- Ebb and Flow -- have mapped the Moon's gravity field, as depicted in this artist's rendering.

Mapping the moon: Using a precision formation-flying technique, the twin GRAIL spacecraft — Ebb and Flow — have mapped the Moon’s gravity field, as depicted in this artist’s rendering.

By design, the spot was far away from the Apollo landings and other historical sites.

With their fuel running low, NASA was keen to prevent them from crashing near the historically important Apollo landing sites.

Honoring: NASA said it had dedicated the impact site in honor of mission team member, Sally Ride, the first American woman in space who died earlier this year

Honoring: NASA said it had dedicated the impact site in honor of mission team member, Sally Ride, the first American woman in space who died earlier this year

And even the keenest stargazer would not have spotted the two-washing machine sized probes as they impacted at a speed of 3,800mph, as the collisions occurred on the dark side of moon.

But NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter which circles the moon will soon be passing over the site and will attempt to photograph the skid marks after the craft slammed into the surface.

The mission, codenamed Grail – Gravity Recovery and Interior Laboratory – was launched in September 2011 from Cape Canaveral and has been deemed a success.

The twin craft collected data about the moon’s gravity while orbiting at an average altitude of 34 miles, revealing its surface is much thinner than previously thought, gouged out by the impact of thousands of asteroids and comets.

‘It is going to be difficult to say goodbye to our little robotic twins,’ says MIT professor Maria Zuber, Grail principal investigator. ‘Planetary science has advanced in a major way because of their contributions.’ Ebb and Flow conducted one final experiment before their mission ends, firing their main engines until their propellant tanks are empty in a bid to determine precisely the amount of fuel left in their tanks.

NASA engineers hope this information will help improve predictions of fuel needs for future missions.

‘Our lunar twins may be in the twilight of their operational lives, but one thing is for sure, they are going down swinging,’ said Grail project manager David Lehman of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California.

Trajectory: The twin lunar-orbiting NASA spacecrafts went on a controlled crash into a site named after Sally Ride

Trajectory: The twin lunar-orbiting NASA spacecrafts went on a controlled crash into a site named after Sally Ride

Crash landing site: The map shows the region where the twin spacecraft of NASA's Gravity Recovery and Interior Laboratory mission will impact on Monday

Crash landing site: The map shows the region where the twin spacecraft of NASA’s Gravity Recovery and Interior Laboratory mission will impact on Monday

A successful mission: The map created by Ebb and Flow has revealed an incredibly pulverized lunar crust, suggesting the moon, Earth, Mars, Mercury and Venus were pounded by long-ago impacts far more violently than previously thought.

A successful mission: The map created by Ebb and Flow has revealed an incredibly pulverized lunar crust, suggesting the moon, Earth, Mars, Mercury and Venus were pounded by long-ago impacts far more violently than previously thought.

The $496 million Grail mission ¿ short for Gravity Recovery and Interior Laboratory ¿ launched in September 2011, and Ebb and Flow reportedly arrived in lunar orbit about three months later.

Blast Off: The $496 million Grail mission – short for Gravity Recovery and Interior Laboratory – launched in September 2011, and Ebb and Flow reportedly arrived in lunar orbit about three months later.

‘Even during the last half of their last orbit, we are going to do an engineering experiment that could help future missions operate more efficiently.’ The twin craft focused exclusively on measuring the moon’s lumpy gravity field in a bid to learn more about its interior and early history.

‘After flying in formation for months, they produced the most detailed gravity maps of any body in the solar system.

Since the dawn of the Space Age, more than 100 missions have involved the moon, including Nasa’s six Apollo landings that put 12 astronauts on the surface.

The last time the US space agency intentionally fired a man-made object at the moon was in 2009, but it was for the sake of science. Spectators on Earth barely saw the faintest of flashes, but the experiment proved that the moon contained water.

‘Grail has produced the highest-resolution, highest-quality gravity field for any planet in the solar system, including Earth,’ Zuber reportedly said.

The resulting map has revealed an incredibly pulverized lunar crust, Zuber added, suggesting that the moon, Earth, Mars, Mercury and Venus were pounded by long-ago impacts far more violently than previously thought.

Mission managers on Friday turned off Ebb and Flow’s science instruments and ordered a maneuver putting them  on course for the rim of the crater, which reportedly sits at a latitude of 75.62 degrees north and a longitude of 26.63 degrees east.

New moon: This locations on the moon that NASA considers 'lunar heritage sites' and the path GRAIL will take to avoid hitting any of them

New moon: This locations on the moon that NASA considers ‘lunar heritage sites’ and the path GRAIL will take to avoid hitting any of them

Impact: These 3D renderings show the lunar mountain targeted by the GRAIL mission for controlled impact of the Ebb and Flow spacecraft

Impact: These 3D renderings show the lunar mountain targeted by the GRAIL mission for controlled impact of the Ebb and Flow spacecraft

LUNAR GRAVEYARD: HOW THE EBB AND FLOW WILL BE IN GOOD COMPANY

More than 100 missions have been flung to Earth’s nearest neighbor since the dawn of the Space Age including NASA’s six Apollo moon landings that put 12 astronauts on the surface.

The demise of Ebb and Flow comes on the same month as the 40th launch anniversary of Apollo 17, the last manned mission to the moon.

Ebb and Flow focused exclusively on measuring the moon’s lumpy gravity field in a bid to learn more about its interior and early history. After flying in formation for months, they produced the most detailed gravity maps of anybody in the solar system.

Secrets long held by the moon are spilling out. Ebb and Flow discovered that the lunar crust is much thinner than scientists had imagined. And it was severely battered by asteroids and comets in the early years of the solar system – more than previously realized.

Data so far also appeared to quash the theory that Earth once had two moons that collided and melded into the one we see today.

Besides a scientific return, the mission allowed students to take their own pictures of craters and other lunar features as part of collaboration with a science education company founded by Ride, who died in July of pancreatic cancer at age 61.

bout 3,600 classrooms around the world participated, sending back 114,000 photos.

Scientists expect to sift through data and images from the $487 million mission for years.

Robyn Douglas Alessia Marcuzzi

Popular Photography’s Camera Of The Year Is…

Canon EOS 5D Mark III

Canon EOS 5D Mark III Satoshi

It’s that time of year again–the time of year to take incredibly detailed macro shots of pointsettias. And what better camera to do it with than the Canon EOS 5D Mark III, the winner of Popular Photography’s hotly contested “Camera of the Year” contest? The follow-up to one of the most important cameras in the history of photography, the Mark III bests its predecessor in every way, topping strong competitors on its way to the prize. Read more here.

Christy Turlington John Goodman

Facebook’s IPO filing, by the numbers

Facebook's Menlo Park HQ

Facebook’s IPO filing on Wednesday offers investors, bankers, analysts, journalists and anyone willing to read the massive S-1 document a deeper look at the business and financial side of the world’s largest social network than we’ve ever had before.

Our team of tech and business reporters has been digging into the filing, reporting on the Menlo Park, Calif., company’s $3.7-billion revenue, rivalries with Twitter and Google+, perspective on China, social mission and hacker ethos, Zynga accounting for 12% of Facebook’s revenue, Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg’s pay cut from $600,000 in 2012 to $1 in 2013 and even what the IPO could mean for the Winklevoss twins.

But that wasn’t all the S-1 had to say. Here are some other highlights from Facebook’s IPO filing before the company actually goes public in May:

Users: Facebook has an average of 845 million monthly active users, 483 million of whom log into the social network daily.

Workforce: At the end of 2011, Facebook had 3,200 full-time employees, up 50% from 2,127 employees 2010. In 2009, the company had 1,218 employees.

Worldwide: Facebook’s plan, unsurprisingly, is to continue to grow by gaining more users in countries around the world. But the company also said in its S-1 that it plans to grow its workforce worldwide as well. “We plan to continue the international expansion of our business operations and the translation of our products,” Facebook said. Currently, Facebook is offered in more than 70 different languages, and the company has data centers in more than 20 different countries.

Popularity: Facebook said that about 60% of the online population in the U.S. and U.K. is registered on the social network. But Facebook is more popular in Chile, Turkey and Venezuela, where the company has “penetration rates of greater than 80% of Internet users.”

There are more than 2 billion Internet users worldwide and Facebook said its goal is to connect all of them through its social network.

“In countries such as Brazil, Germany, and India we estimate that we have penetration rates of approximately 20-30%; in countries such as Japan, Russia, and South Korea we estimate that we have penetration rates of less than 15%; and in China, where Facebook access is restricted, we have near 0% penetration,” the filing said.

Money in the bank: Facebook said that it had $1.5 billion at its disposal in a mix of “cash and cash equivalents” as of Dec. 31, as well as $2.3 billion in “marketable securities.” In 2010, Facebook had $1.7 billion in cash and cash equivalents and no marketable securities. Total assets on hand amounted to $6.6 billion in 2011, while Facebook had a total of $1.4 billion in liabilities.

R&D: Facebook’s research and development efforts have seen massive growth over the last few years. In 2011, the company spent $388 million, or about 10.5% of its revenue, on R&D. In 2010, Facebook spent less than half that amount, with $144 million going toward R&D. In 2009, the company spend $87 million on R&D, up from $47 million in 2008 and $81 million in 2007.

Patents: Faceook said a major factor in whether or not the company will be able to maintain the huge success it’s had thus far will ride on its ability to “protect our core technology and intellectual property.”

To do that, Facebook will “rely on a combination of patents, patent applications, trademarks, copyrights, trade secrets, including know-how, license agreements, confidentiality procedures, non-disclosure agreements with third parties, employee disclosure and invention assignment agreements, and other contractual rights.” The social media giant ended 2011 with 56 patents and 503 patent applications filed in the U.S., along with 33 corresponding patents and 149 patent applications filed in foreign countries.

RELATED:

Facebook’s S-1 already has a (fake) Twitter account

Facebook IPO: Winklevoss twins could reap big payday

Facebook IPO: Mark Zuckerberg’s salary falling to $1 in 2013

– Nathan Olivarez-Giles

Nathan Olivarez-Giles on Google+

Facebook.com/nateog

Twitter.com/nateog

Photo: Visitors pose in front of a sign at the entrance of Facebook’s new headquarters in Menlo Park, Calif., on Wednesday. Credit: Kimihiro Hoshino / AFP/Getty Images

Sarah Ryan Kristen Wiig

These Terrifying Handcuffs Can Shock And Drug Prisoners

A recently filed patent details the (scary dystopian) handcuffs of the future.

Electric Shock Cuffs USPTO via Patent Bolt

An Arizona-based company recently filed a patent for high-tech futuristic handcuffs that are, in a word, terrifying. In addition to restraining prisoners, the cuffs can also deliver electric shocks and sedatives.

They’re still in the patent phase right now, of course, but when they do exist on a full commercial scale, they could work manually at a guard’s behest or they could be programmed to automatically activate when someone in cuffs starts to act up or steps outside of certain boundaries. Safety mechanisms could–hopefully will–be set to prevent a guard from doping or shocking prisoners to the point where they suffer from major side effects. Death, for example.

As for the drugs: They could include “an irritant, a medication, a sedative, a transdermal medication or transdermal enhancers such as dimethyl sulfoxide, a chemical restraint, a paralytic, a medication prescribed to the detainee, and combinations thereof.”

If the cuffs move past the patent office and into commercial production, it’ll be interesting to see what sort of rules and regulations come attached. From patent photos, it looks like the developers might already have a prototype, which means we might be seeing them sooner rather than later. Note to self: Avoid jail.

[Patent Bolt via Daily Mail]

Ivana Trump Marlee Matlin

Facebook’s IPO filing, by the numbers

Facebook's Menlo Park HQ

Facebook’s IPO filing on Wednesday offers investors, bankers, analysts, journalists and anyone willing to read the massive S-1 document a deeper look at the business and financial side of the world’s largest social network than we’ve ever had before.

Our team of tech and business reporters has been digging into the filing, reporting on the Menlo Park, Calif., company’s $3.7-billion revenue, rivalries with Twitter and Google+, perspective on China, social mission and hacker ethos, Zynga accounting for 12% of Facebook’s revenue, Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg’s pay cut from $600,000 in 2012 to $1 in 2013 and even what the IPO could mean for the Winklevoss twins.

But that wasn’t all the S-1 had to say. Here are some other highlights from Facebook’s IPO filing before the company actually goes public in May:

Users: Facebook has an average of 845 million monthly active users, 483 million of whom log into the social network daily.

Workforce: At the end of 2011, Facebook had 3,200 full-time employees, up 50% from 2,127 employees 2010. In 2009, the company had 1,218 employees.

Worldwide: Facebook’s plan, unsurprisingly, is to continue to grow by gaining more users in countries around the world. But the company also said in its S-1 that it plans to grow its workforce worldwide as well. “We plan to continue the international expansion of our business operations and the translation of our products,” Facebook said. Currently, Facebook is offered in more than 70 different languages, and the company has data centers in more than 20 different countries.

Popularity: Facebook said that about 60% of the online population in the U.S. and U.K. is registered on the social network. But Facebook is more popular in Chile, Turkey and Venezuela, where the company has “penetration rates of greater than 80% of Internet users.”

There are more than 2 billion Internet users worldwide and Facebook said its goal is to connect all of them through its social network.

“In countries such as Brazil, Germany, and India we estimate that we have penetration rates of approximately 20-30%; in countries such as Japan, Russia, and South Korea we estimate that we have penetration rates of less than 15%; and in China, where Facebook access is restricted, we have near 0% penetration,” the filing said.

Money in the bank: Facebook said that it had $1.5 billion at its disposal in a mix of “cash and cash equivalents” as of Dec. 31, as well as $2.3 billion in “marketable securities.” In 2010, Facebook had $1.7 billion in cash and cash equivalents and no marketable securities. Total assets on hand amounted to $6.6 billion in 2011, while Facebook had a total of $1.4 billion in liabilities.

R&D: Facebook’s research and development efforts have seen massive growth over the last few years. In 2011, the company spent $388 million, or about 10.5% of its revenue, on R&D. In 2010, Facebook spent less than half that amount, with $144 million going toward R&D. In 2009, the company spend $87 million on R&D, up from $47 million in 2008 and $81 million in 2007.

Patents: Faceook said a major factor in whether or not the company will be able to maintain the huge success it’s had thus far will ride on its ability to “protect our core technology and intellectual property.”

To do that, Facebook will “rely on a combination of patents, patent applications, trademarks, copyrights, trade secrets, including know-how, license agreements, confidentiality procedures, non-disclosure agreements with third parties, employee disclosure and invention assignment agreements, and other contractual rights.” The social media giant ended 2011 with 56 patents and 503 patent applications filed in the U.S., along with 33 corresponding patents and 149 patent applications filed in foreign countries.

RELATED:

Facebook’s S-1 already has a (fake) Twitter account

Facebook IPO: Winklevoss twins could reap big payday

Facebook IPO: Mark Zuckerberg’s salary falling to $1 in 2013

– Nathan Olivarez-Giles

Nathan Olivarez-Giles on Google+

Facebook.com/nateog

Twitter.com/nateog

Photo: Visitors pose in front of a sign at the entrance of Facebook’s new headquarters in Menlo Park, Calif., on Wednesday. Credit: Kimihiro Hoshino / AFP/Getty Images

Jenny Agutter Victoria Beckham

These Terrifying Handcuffs Can Shock And Drug Prisoners

A recently filed patent details the (scary dystopian) handcuffs of the future.

Electric Shock Cuffs USPTO via Patent Bolt

An Arizona-based company recently filed a patent for high-tech futuristic handcuffs that are, in a word, terrifying. In addition to restraining prisoners, the cuffs can also deliver electric shocks and sedatives.

They’re still in the patent phase right now, of course, but when they do exist on a full commercial scale, they could work manually at a guard’s behest or they could be programmed to automatically activate when someone in cuffs starts to act up or steps outside of certain boundaries. Safety mechanisms could–hopefully will–be set to prevent a guard from doping or shocking prisoners to the point where they suffer from major side effects. Death, for example.

As for the drugs: They could include “an irritant, a medication, a sedative, a transdermal medication or transdermal enhancers such as dimethyl sulfoxide, a chemical restraint, a paralytic, a medication prescribed to the detainee, and combinations thereof.”

If the cuffs move past the patent office and into commercial production, it’ll be interesting to see what sort of rules and regulations come attached. From patent photos, it looks like the developers might already have a prototype, which means we might be seeing them sooner rather than later. Note to self: Avoid jail.

[Patent Bolt via Daily Mail]

Melanie Alexander Rachel Ward

Redesigned Technology blog moves to new address

Tech blog

The L.A. Times Technology blog has been redesigned, and with our new duds we’re rolling out a new URL. So if you’ve been a loyal follower of our work, please update your bookmarks.

Our hope is that you’ll find the new look to be cleaner and easier for reading, viewing photos and watching videos. Please let us know what you think about the new look by leaving us a comment on the Technology blog’s Facebook page or by shooting a tweet to @LATimesTech.

Thanks for reading, watching and clicking.

– Nathan Olivarez-Giles

Nathan Olivarez-Giles on Google+

Facebook.com/nateog

Twitter.com/nateog

Image: A screen shot of the Technology blog’s new look. Credit: Los Angeles Times

Theresa Russel Lisa Snowdon

EU Reportedly in Favor of Amazon in Apple E-Book Investigation




  (Source: businessweek.com)

The European Commission is expected to accept an offer from Apple and four major book publishers in the ongoing e-books investigation

This year (and last) has been littered with Apple-related lawsuits with several tech companies, but it looks like Amazon will come out on top in the EU e-book probe.

According to Reuters, the European Commission is expected to accept an offer from Apple and four major book publishers in the ongoing e-books investigation. The offer was to allow Amazon and other e-tailers to sell e-books at a discount for two years, and to temporarily suspend the “most-favored nation” contract for five years. The latter means that the four book publishers involved cannot allow Apple’s rival retailers sell the same books at a lower price.

Last December, Apple and book publishers Penguin, Harper Collins (News Corp., USA), Simon & Schuster (CBS Corp., USA), Hachette Livre (Lagardère Publishing France) and Verlagsgruppe Georg von Holzbrinck (owner of inter alia Macmillan, Germany) were under the microscope when the EU found out about their selling practices. The EU saw this as anti-competitive against the likes of Amazon, and launched an investigation.

Back in August of this year, Apple and four of the publishers (all but Penguin) submitted the proposal to the EU that the publishers will not restrict or limit an e-book sellers’ ability to set, change or reduce e-book prices for two years. They also won’t interfere with an e-book retailer’s choice to offer discounts, and added the five-year suspension of the “most-favored nation” contract.

While the investigation is technically still ongoing, rumor has it that the EU will accept the offer, which will be a nice win for Amazon. This means Amazon will be able to sell books at more competitive prices than Apple once again.

After the EU launched its investigation in December 2011, the U.S. Department of Justice sued Apple and the same five book publishers involved in the EU case over anticompetitive practices concerning e-book sales in April of this year. More specifically, The book publishers were accused of partaking in an agency sales model with Apple, which meant that publishers were allowed to set the price of a book and Apple would take a 30 percent cut. In addition, the publishers could not let rivals sell the same book at a lower price.

Recently, Harper Collins, Simon & Schuster and Hachette Livre decided to settle the case with the U.S. DOJ. However, Apple, Penguin and Macmillan have decided to fight the antitrust case.

The U.S. bench trial in the Apple e-book case will start June 3, 2012.

Source: Reuters

source Amanda Doherty

Most Facebook users get more from it than they put in, study says

6a00d8341c630a53ef0163008cd22f970d-600wi

The Pew Research Internet Project released a report about Facebook on Friday, providing insights into the company that you won’t find in its IPO filing.

Rather than focusing on the company’s financials, the report “Why Most Facebook Users Get More Than They Give” sheds light on how Facebook’s 845 million users engage with Facebook and what they get out of it.

The findings show that social interactions on Facebook closely mirror social interactions in the real world.

For example, over the course of a one-month period, researchers found that women made an average of 11 updates to their Facebook status, while men averaged only six. Also, women were more likely to comment on other people’s status updates than men.

“There was a general trend in our data that women use Facebook more than men,” said Keith Hampton, a professor at Rutgers and lead author of the report. “This is a phenomenon that is not unique to Facebook. Women are traditionally in charge of social relationships offline, and that seems to be true of the online world as well.”

The report says men are more likely to send friend requests and women are more likely to receive them. That’s something else we see in the real world — especially in bars.

The report also says that most people who use Facebook get more out of it than they put into it, which may explain why they keep coming back.

Researchers found that 40% of Facebook users in a sample group made a friend request, while 63% received at least one friend request. They found that 12% of the sample tagged a friend in a photo, but 35% were themselves tagged in a photo. And each user in the sample clicked the “like” button next to a friend’s content an average of 14 times but had his or her own content ‘liked’ an average of 20 times.

Why the imbalance?

“There is this 20% to 30% who are extremely active who are giving more than they are getting, and they are so active they are making up for feeding everyone extra stuff,” Hampton said. “You might go on Facebook and post something and have time to click ‘like’ on one thing you see in your news feed, but then you get a whole bunch of ‘likes’ on your news feed. That’s because of this very active group.”

He also said extremely active users tend to have a niche: Some are really into friending, others are really into tagging photos, and still others click the ‘like’ button a lot. Rarely is any one user extreme in all those ways.

I asked Hampton what he could tell me about these extremely active people, whom he calls Facebook “power users.” Are they unstoppably social? Unemployed? Lonely?

“It could be people who are always active — whatever they are doing in their life, they are very active. Or it could be that just in the one month we observed them they are active and another month a different group of people would rise up,” he said. “It could be that there is something going on in their life that causes them to be very active, or it could be that some people think of it almost as a job to be active on Facebook.”

ALSO:

Facebook’s IPO filing, by the numbers

Vizio’s 21:9 aspect CinemaWide TV due in March at $3,499

Steve Jobs turning over in his grave? Look-alike touts rival Android

– Deborah Netburn

Photo: A worker at Facebook’s headquarters in Menlo Park. Credit: Paul Sakuma/AP Photo

Alessia Marcuzzi Romane Bohringer

Samsung Galaxy S4 release time is determined and to hold a special conference

According to media reports, the hot-issues Samsung Galaxy S4 release time it determined and they will hold a special press conference.

For Samsung Galaxy S4 release time, there were media reports that it will be released together with the cheap version Galaxy note 2 on CES 2013.

Subsequently, there were media saying that the product released on CES 2013 has nothing to do with the phone, but Samsung televisions and notebook products, Galaxy S4 will not be released.

In this regard, the industry analyses, the Samsung Galaxy S4 is Samsung major products and Samsung will prepare a separate conference for it. The specific time is roughly scheduled for May next year.

Related Posts:

Robyn Douglas Alessia Marcuzzi

NTSB Recommends Ignition Interlock for First-Time DWI Offenders




Ignition Interlock

Study finds drunk drivers of the number one cause for fatal wrong-way driving accidents

A recent study by the National Transportation Safety Board on wrong-way driving crashes cited alcohol-impaired driving as the leading cause of collisions. As a result of the study, the NTSB is now recommending that all first-time offender DWI drivers be required to have an ignition interlock installed on their vehicle. Currently, only 17 states require interlocks to be installed for first-time offenders.
 
These interlocks require the offender to blow into a chamber that is able to detect if they’ve been drinking.

“The first step to address the number one killer on our roadways is to do what is proven to be effective – use interlocks for all DWI offenders,” said NTSB Chairman Deborah A.P. Hersman.

The board has also strongly endorsed the continued development of passive alcohol detection technology to help prevent drunken driving. One such device is the Driver Alcohol Detection System for Safety — it would prevent drunk drivers from operating vehicles by detecting alcohol on the driver’s breath using breath analyzing and touch-based sensors.

In addition to methods designed to weed out drunken drivers, the report also recommends better lighting, enhanced signage and roadway markings, and GPS devices to provide warnings to drivers if they are traveling the wrong way on a road.

The NTSB also says that older drivers are more commonly involved in wrong-way collisions and is asking states to implement comprehensive older driver safety programs.
 
We reported earlier this year that France was requiring all of its citizens to possess a handheld breathalyzer in their vehicles.

Source: NTSB

Rebekah Emily Symons

Nokia Engineer Shares How to Pirate Games From Windows 8 Store



Microsoft is not going to be happy about this

Justin Angel, an engineer working on Finnish phonemaker Nokia Oyj.’s (HEX:NOK1V) Windows Phone team, has made the curious decision of going public with details of security flaws in partner Microsoft Corp.’s (MSFT) Windows 8, which allow users to pirate games.

Windows 8 users can grab games via Windows Store.  Paid titles typically come with a “Trial” option, which allow users to play a level or two of the game, before being prompted to purchase the title if they want to keep playing.  The trial process is controlled by a Microsoft API.

But Mr. Angel reveals a fatal flaw in the scheme: Microsoft stores the key/hash in plaintext and the algorithm to encrypt/decrypt the data next to the app itself.  In other words, while not for the novice, power users can write small programs to decrypt the program’s permissions, write new permissions to make the game look legitimately purchased, and then re-encrypt the permissions.

By exploit the flaws users cannot only get games for free, but they can rid themselves of ads, albeit in a somewhat unethical manner.

But Mr. Angel does not stop there.  He also shows off more security flaws, showing how JavaScript injection attacks can be used to gain access (for free) to in-app purchases.  As an example he uses such an attack to unlock purchasable levels in the popular game Cut The Rope.


The flaws are a big deal as they could rob developers of essentially every way to monetize their content on Windows Store. Microsoft has not yet responded on these issues.

Mr. Angel’s page has been overloaded with traffic (or maybe yanked after Nokia brass realized what he posted) and is now down.  However, a cached version is available here.  Just remember, readers, every time you pirate a game another kitten dies.

On his Twitter account, responding to criticism about the post he writes, “These are fundamental flaws in the app platform, not individual apps. No secure storage, no wrote protection, etc….  Offline activation & execution mandate secure local storage. That’s how apps differ from fully connected web pages.”

The issues echo those of Apple, Inc. (AAPL) who experienced rampant piracy in the early days of the Mac App Store, due to poor rights management implementation.  The take-home message is that it’s a lot harder to manage apps on a personal computer, where users have full access to the files, versus on a smartphone, where user access to the file system is limited.

Source: Justin Angel [Google Cache]

Denise Van Outen Betty White

Samsung’s Galaxy Camera Is The Camera Of The Future [Review]

The Galaxy Camera runs a full version of Android on its full touchscreen, along with a 4G LTE connection. This is how cameras will work in the future–but how about the present?

Samsung Galaxy Camera

Samsung Galaxy Camera Dan Nosowitz

To review the Samsung Galaxy Camera, Popular Photography‘s Dan Bracaglia lends his photographic expertise to talk about the camera from a photog’s perspective, while Popular Science‘s gadget reviewer, Dan Nosowitz, reviews the camera from a gadget-geek’s perspective.

Dan Nosowitz: I wasn’t optimistic about the Samsung Galaxy Camera. The idea of a camera with a big touchscreen and a full version of Android, complete with 4G LTE connection, is enticing, but I do not care much at all for Samsung’s other Galaxy products, which to this point have just been smartphones and tablets. I find their hardware chintzy and their software difficult and confused, as the company insists on mucking up Android (which is really great!) with their slow and bloated skins. Yet to my surprise, the Galaxy Camera is by far my favorite product in the Galaxy line.

The Galaxy Camera is by far my favorite product in the Galaxy line.As an Android device, it’s got pretty much the same guts as a modern Galaxy smartphone. That means a huge 4.8-inch screen, a quad-core processor, a Samsung-ified version of Android 4.1 Jelly Bean, and 4G LTE connectivity. It even has a microphone, intended to be used while taking video, so theoretically you could ditch your phone, make calls with a VoIP service or Google Voice, and use this as your exclusive camera/phone. And of course it has access to the entire Android app store, which has fairly recently been renamed Google Play. But this is not a Galaxy smartphone with an improved camera; this is a high-end Samsung point-and-shoot with Android.

Using the Galaxy: Performance is pretty good; it’s not as fast getting around as the screamingly-fast Nexus 4, but it’s certainly not laggy. Android 4.1 is very nice; the Galaxy Camera has all the benefits of Google Now and all kinds of other great Android stuff. The screen is not the best screen I’ve ever used (not quite as sharp as the iPhone 5 or Nokia Lumia 920), but it is a very good screen, and it is definitely the best screen I’ve ever used on a camera. I think 4.8 inches is too big for a phone, but man is it awesome on a camera. You can actually share photos with a group on this thing!

Samsung’s software is, as always, annoying. It’s not as in-your-face with a million new gestures and pop-ups and buzzword-y features that plague its Galaxy S III and Galaxy Note smartphones. It’s not wildly different from stock Android but aside from the camera interface, there’s not a single thing I like better about the changes Samsung’s made. Even the soft buttons (Menu, Home, Back) work differently on this phone than on other Android devices. Why? And the keyboard I think is pretty poor (autocorrect is unhelpful, word recognition isn’t good), though it’s very easy to download a new keyboard from Google Play.

Samsung Galaxy Camera's Camera App

Samsung Galaxy Camera’s Camera App:  Dan Nosowitz

It’s only a little awkward to use as an Android device; I’m not sure exactly how to hold it, as it’s thicker than a regular Android phone and also has the lens mount protruding. Dan Bracaglia’s solution left his finger sitting on the little door in from of the lens–not good, since that door is notorious on compact cameras for breaking or locking up, rendering the camera useless. But it’s not that hard, and I found it pretty capable for browsing Twitter or the web, checking email, and doing most other things you’d do on a smartphone. And that’s kind of an achievement in itself; this isn’t a skimped, shitty version of Android–it’s high-end, just like on a top-tier phone.

I think the camera interface is great; the new stock camera app on Android is innovative and excellent in its own right, but it doesn’t offer as many manual controls, so I think Samsung’s camera app is a perfect solution for a more capable camera. For someone who’s not an expert photographer, I really loved how Samsung guides the user through the app. And everything is done on the touchscreen; the only buttons are a shutter, a zoom toggle, and a flash trigger. That’s great for novices who are much more comfortable with navigating menus on a smartphone than navigating the airplane-cockpit-like controls of a DSLR. Everything’s right out in the open: you don’t have to guess at what a switch means, because it’s spelled out on the screen.

The sharing options are easy and intuitive; when you look through photos, the top bar gives you sharing options, and it places your most recently used sharing option in its own little spot up there. For me, that means posting to Instagram is a one-tap affair, right from the camera app. Love it.

Image quality for me is kind of an interesting beast. It will take, without question, the best Instagram photos of any device that actually has Instagram on it. (Yes, I know you can take photos with a DSLR and post them to Instagram. But that’s not really what Instagram is about.) It’s no question that the Galaxy Camera takes better shots than any smartphone I’ve ever used.

Samsung Galaxy Camera's Share Options

Samsung Galaxy Camera’s Share Options:  Dan Nosowitz

Size: But the camera is too big. For me, a camera’s physical size is second only to image quality as the most important element, and then only barely second. The Galaxy Camera is not pocketable. (I do wear skinny-ish jeans, but I can’t imagine what kind of pockets could comfortably hold it.) I actually like the hardware design a lot; it’s all plastic, but, unlike Galaxy smartphones, doesn’t feel cheap at all. It feels really well-constructed, sturdily and simply designed without getting too basic. It’s one of the most attractive gadgets Samsung’s ever made, frankly, but I would much rather it had a slightly smaller screen in return for a smaller footprint. Dan Bracaglia noted that the weight also has the benefit of stabilizing the camera; light cameras can sometimes move around too much, and he thinks Samsung “nailed” the weight.

That size means I have the camera in my bag rather than my pocket. When I’m out and about and see something I want to shoot, it’s just faster and easier to snag my phone out of my pocket than fish around in my bag. And unlike a DSLR, which takes photos that are in a completely different league than my phone, the Galaxy Camera is merely “better” than my phone. I found myself not always bothering; if I can get a B- photo with my phone, who cares about a B+ photo from the Galaxy Camera? It’s not like I’m going for an A-level photo from my DSLR.

Price: And that brings us to the most salient point in this whole review: who is the Galaxy Camera for? Its image quality is not wildly improved from a nice $200 point-and-shoot, though it is certainly a superior product, thanks to its connectivity, interface, and bonus access to all of Android. At $500, the camera is right at the very top of the price pyramid for compacts; in fact, for that price, you could snag any of several very nice mirrorless interchangeable-lens cameras from Sony, Olympus, or Panasonic, or even a low-end DSLR like last year’s Nikon D3100. All of those cameras would thoroughly trounce the Galaxy Camera on image quality, but they’re also less capable in a lot of ways.

Samsung Galaxy Camera From Side

Samsung Galaxy Camera From Side:  Dan Nosowitz

The other problem is that to get the full benefit of the Galaxy Camera, you really need to spring for the 4G LTE plan–yeah, yet another monthly bill. So it’s not even just $500–it’ll be several times that over the course of its life.

That puts us in the weird position of having a gadget that’s really cool that we can’t really recommend to anyone. It’s much better than a phone’s camera, but the device as a whole is very similar, so do you really need both, especially at this price?

In Conclusion: What’s most interesting about the Galaxy Camera is how obvious it now is that this is what consumer cameras will look like in the future. A mirrorless camera with interchangeable lenses but with this kind of connectivity and interface? That would be amazing. It’s so much easier and faster to use for non-professionals than the more traditional camera control schemes, and the sharing options are the wave of the present and future. Of course you should be able to instantly upload photos to the cloud, to Facebook and Twitter and Instagram, to email them to your friends and family, to edit them in a mobile version of Photoshop. The Galaxy Camera isn’t quite right for most people, but it’s so close. Someone’s going to do this right, and soon, so let’s just consider the Galaxy Camera a sneak preview.

On page two, read Dan Bracaglia’s take on how the Galaxy Camera is as a camera.

single page

Janice Renney Jacqueline McKenzie

Ford’s C-Max Hybrid, Fusion Hybrid to Get EPA Review Following Fuel Economy Complaints



Consumer Reports Said Ford’s 47 mpg claim is too high for both vehicles

There are questions regarding Ford’s C-Max Hybrid and Fusion Hybrid’s advertised 47 mpg, and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) intends to check it out.

Ford’s C-Max Hybrid and Fusion Hybrid both show an estimated 47 mpg, but Consumer Reports recently pointed out that neither are living up to the automaker’s claims. According to its testing, the C-Max Hybrid received 35/38/37 mpg for city/highway/combined. For the Fusion Hybrid, it found 35/41/39 mpg for city/highway/combined.

“Yes, the disclaimer on EPA fuel-economy labels notes that your results may differ,” said Consumer Reports. “But the overall mpg for these C-Max and Fusion models is off by a whopping 10 and 8 mpg, respectively, or about 20 percent. Our overall-mpg results are usually pretty close to the EPA’s combined-mpg estimate. Among current models, more than 80 percent of the vehicles we’ve tested are within 2 mpg.”


Ford responded to the claims, saying that mileage varies among hybrids.

“Early C-Max Hybrid and Fusion Hybrid customers praise the vehicles and report a range of fuel economy figures, including some reports above 47 mpg,” said Ford spokesman Wes Sherwood. “This reinforces the fact that driving styles, driving conditions and other factors can cause mileage to vary.”

While all vehicles must undergo the EPA test for fuel efficiency, the test isn’t actually administered by the government agency. Instead, automakers perform the test and the EPA reviews it. In many cases, factors like temperature and speed result in gas mileage being lower than the EPA sticker.


Ford’s testing found 47 mpg overall for both vehicles, and while it’s common for the EPA to review such claims and discover a variation in gas mileage, Consumer Reports complained that this is a pretty big gap between Ford’s findings and its own.

The EPA said it will “look at the report and data.”

Back in December 2011, Consumer Watchdog called on the EPA to investigate Hyundai over its fuel economy claims. Hyundai claimed that its Elantra achieved 29 MPG in the city and 40 MPG on highway. However, the organization received a higher-than-usual number of complaints that real-world mileage was in the mid-20 mpg range.

From there, the EPA investigated Hyundai for misleading mileage claims and found that the fuel economy estimates of most of its 2012-2013 models were inflated. The same goes for Kia. Both Kia and Hyundai will be lowering the fuel economy estimates on the majority of their 2012 to 2013 models after EPA testing discovered a gap between its data and what both of the companies are claiming.

Hyundai and Kia admitted to overstating the estimated fuel economy on window stickers of about 900,000 vehicles sold since late 2010. Reports show that Hyundai alone could spend $100 million trying to fix the fiasco.

Source: The Detroit News

Jerri Manthey read more

Samsung’s Galaxy Camera Is The Camera Of The Future [Review]

The Galaxy Camera runs a full version of Android on its full touchscreen, along with a 4G LTE connection. This is how cameras will work in the future–but how about the present?

Samsung Galaxy Camera

Samsung Galaxy Camera Dan Nosowitz

To review the Samsung Galaxy Camera, Popular Photography‘s Dan Bracaglia lends his photographic expertise to talk about the camera from a photog’s perspective, while Popular Science‘s gadget reviewer, Dan Nosowitz, reviews the camera from a gadget-geek’s perspective.

Dan Nosowitz: I wasn’t optimistic about the Samsung Galaxy Camera. The idea of a camera with a big touchscreen and a full version of Android, complete with 4G LTE connection, is enticing, but I do not care much at all for Samsung’s other Galaxy products, which to this point have just been smartphones and tablets. I find their hardware chintzy and their software difficult and confused, as the company insists on mucking up Android (which is really great!) with their slow and bloated skins. Yet to my surprise, the Galaxy Camera is by far my favorite product in the Galaxy line.

The Galaxy Camera is by far my favorite product in the Galaxy line.As an Android device, it’s got pretty much the same guts as a modern Galaxy smartphone. That means a huge 4.8-inch screen, a quad-core processor, a Samsung-ified version of Android 4.1 Jelly Bean, and 4G LTE connectivity. It even has a microphone, intended to be used while taking video, so theoretically you could ditch your phone, make calls with a VoIP service or Google Voice, and use this as your exclusive camera/phone. And of course it has access to the entire Android app store, which has fairly recently been renamed Google Play. But this is not a Galaxy smartphone with an improved camera; this is a high-end Samsung point-and-shoot with Android.

Using the Galaxy: Performance is pretty good; it’s not as fast getting around as the screamingly-fast Nexus 4, but it’s certainly not laggy. Android 4.1 is very nice; the Galaxy Camera has all the benefits of Google Now and all kinds of other great Android stuff. The screen is not the best screen I’ve ever used (not quite as sharp as the iPhone 5 or Nokia Lumia 920), but it is a very good screen, and it is definitely the best screen I’ve ever used on a camera. I think 4.8 inches is too big for a phone, but man is it awesome on a camera. You can actually share photos with a group on this thing!

Samsung’s software is, as always, annoying. It’s not as in-your-face with a million new gestures and pop-ups and buzzword-y features that plague its Galaxy S III and Galaxy Note smartphones. It’s not wildly different from stock Android but aside from the camera interface, there’s not a single thing I like better about the changes Samsung’s made. Even the soft buttons (Menu, Home, Back) work differently on this phone than on other Android devices. Why? And the keyboard I think is pretty poor (autocorrect is unhelpful, word recognition isn’t good), though it’s very easy to download a new keyboard from Google Play.

Samsung Galaxy Camera's Camera App

Samsung Galaxy Camera’s Camera App:  Dan Nosowitz

It’s only a little awkward to use as an Android device; I’m not sure exactly how to hold it, as it’s thicker than a regular Android phone and also has the lens mount protruding. Dan Bracaglia’s solution left his finger sitting on the little door in from of the lens–not good, since that door is notorious on compact cameras for breaking or locking up, rendering the camera useless. But it’s not that hard, and I found it pretty capable for browsing Twitter or the web, checking email, and doing most other things you’d do on a smartphone. And that’s kind of an achievement in itself; this isn’t a skimped, shitty version of Android–it’s high-end, just like on a top-tier phone.

I think the camera interface is great; the new stock camera app on Android is innovative and excellent in its own right, but it doesn’t offer as many manual controls, so I think Samsung’s camera app is a perfect solution for a more capable camera. For someone who’s not an expert photographer, I really loved how Samsung guides the user through the app. And everything is done on the touchscreen; the only buttons are a shutter, a zoom toggle, and a flash trigger. That’s great for novices who are much more comfortable with navigating menus on a smartphone than navigating the airplane-cockpit-like controls of a DSLR. Everything’s right out in the open: you don’t have to guess at what a switch means, because it’s spelled out on the screen.

The sharing options are easy and intuitive; when you look through photos, the top bar gives you sharing options, and it places your most recently used sharing option in its own little spot up there. For me, that means posting to Instagram is a one-tap affair, right from the camera app. Love it.

Image quality for me is kind of an interesting beast. It will take, without question, the best Instagram photos of any device that actually has Instagram on it. (Yes, I know you can take photos with a DSLR and post them to Instagram. But that’s not really what Instagram is about.) It’s no question that the Galaxy Camera takes better shots than any smartphone I’ve ever used.

Samsung Galaxy Camera's Share Options

Samsung Galaxy Camera’s Share Options:  Dan Nosowitz

Size: But the camera is too big. For me, a camera’s physical size is second only to image quality as the most important element, and then only barely second. The Galaxy Camera is not pocketable. (I do wear skinny-ish jeans, but I can’t imagine what kind of pockets could comfortably hold it.) I actually like the hardware design a lot; it’s all plastic, but, unlike Galaxy smartphones, doesn’t feel cheap at all. It feels really well-constructed, sturdily and simply designed without getting too basic. It’s one of the most attractive gadgets Samsung’s ever made, frankly, but I would much rather it had a slightly smaller screen in return for a smaller footprint. Dan Bracaglia noted that the weight also has the benefit of stabilizing the camera; light cameras can sometimes move around too much, and he thinks Samsung “nailed” the weight.

That size means I have the camera in my bag rather than my pocket. When I’m out and about and see something I want to shoot, it’s just faster and easier to snag my phone out of my pocket than fish around in my bag. And unlike a DSLR, which takes photos that are in a completely different league than my phone, the Galaxy Camera is merely “better” than my phone. I found myself not always bothering; if I can get a B- photo with my phone, who cares about a B+ photo from the Galaxy Camera? It’s not like I’m going for an A-level photo from my DSLR.

Price: And that brings us to the most salient point in this whole review: who is the Galaxy Camera for? Its image quality is not wildly improved from a nice $200 point-and-shoot, though it is certainly a superior product, thanks to its connectivity, interface, and bonus access to all of Android. At $500, the camera is right at the very top of the price pyramid for compacts; in fact, for that price, you could snag any of several very nice mirrorless interchangeable-lens cameras from Sony, Olympus, or Panasonic, or even a low-end DSLR like last year’s Nikon D3100. All of those cameras would thoroughly trounce the Galaxy Camera on image quality, but they’re also less capable in a lot of ways.

Samsung Galaxy Camera From Side

Samsung Galaxy Camera From Side:  Dan Nosowitz

The other problem is that to get the full benefit of the Galaxy Camera, you really need to spring for the 4G LTE plan–yeah, yet another monthly bill. So it’s not even just $500–it’ll be several times that over the course of its life.

That puts us in the weird position of having a gadget that’s really cool that we can’t really recommend to anyone. It’s much better than a phone’s camera, but the device as a whole is very similar, so do you really need both, especially at this price?

In Conclusion: What’s most interesting about the Galaxy Camera is how obvious it now is that this is what consumer cameras will look like in the future. A mirrorless camera with interchangeable lenses but with this kind of connectivity and interface? That would be amazing. It’s so much easier and faster to use for non-professionals than the more traditional camera control schemes, and the sharing options are the wave of the present and future. Of course you should be able to instantly upload photos to the cloud, to Facebook and Twitter and Instagram, to email them to your friends and family, to edit them in a mobile version of Photoshop. The Galaxy Camera isn’t quite right for most people, but it’s so close. Someone’s going to do this right, and soon, so let’s just consider the Galaxy Camera a sneak preview.

On page two, read Dan Bracaglia’s take on how the Galaxy Camera is as a camera.

single page

Jerri Manthey read more

12/10/2012 Daily Hardware Reviews



DailyTech’s roundup of hardware reviews from around the web for Monday

Audio
ASUS RoG Orion Headset @ KitGuru
CM Storm Ceres 400 Headset @ Benchmark Reviews
Plantronics GameCom Commander @ Custom PC Review
Sennheiser CX890i Headphones @ t-break
X-Mini 1.1 Capsule Speaker @ The SSD Review
Turtle Beach Ear Force Tango Headset @ t-break

Case
Cooler Master HAF-XM Case @ Technic3D
Cougar Evolution Galaxy Case @ Cowcotland
NZXT Phantom 820 Case @ Legit Reviews

Cooler
Corsair Hydro Series H60 Cooler @ Tweaktown

Display
AOC i2757FM LED IPS Screen @ Rbmods

Peripherals
Cooler Master Storm Recon @ The SSD Review
Enermax Aurora Micro Wireless Keyboard @ eTeknix
Roccat Lua Mouse @ ThinkComputers
Thermaltake eSports Level 10 M Mouse @ Techgage
Tt eSports Theron RTS Mouse @ Tweaktown

Portable
Lenovo THinkPad X12 Ultrabook @ The SSD Review

PSU
Corsair AX760 PSU @ Hardware Secrets
EVGA SuperNOVA NEX750 PSU @ TechPowerUp

Storage
ADATA DashDrive Elite HE720 500GB HDD @ eTeknix
ADATA Premier Pro SP600 128GB SSD @ BCCHardware
Kingston SSDNow V300 SSD @ The SSD Review
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read more Becky Delos Santos

DC Republicans Bow to Big Media “Friends”, Fire Pro-Copyright Reform Staffer




Termination comes after RIAA and MPAA “went ballistic”

While corruption in Congress is nothing new (see: Lincoln), with the rise of modern lobbying things have reached impressive new proportions, as chronicled on OpenSecrets, Maplight, and other well-researched online voter resources.  

I. MPAA, RIAA Get Republican Staffer Fired

One of the most active lobbying influences in Washington D.C. have been media corporations, represented by trade groups like the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) and Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA).  Recent estimates indicate that big media paid 10 percent of members of Congress’s total reelection budget in the previous election cycle — and the payments almost paid off as big media’s Orwellian SOPA (Stop Online Piracy Act) was only struck down in the eleventh hour amid a storm of citizen lashback.

Now comes word that a top traditional conservative (or in some source’s words “Libertarian-leaning”) staffer on the Republican Study Committee (RSC) has been terminated for his stance on copyright reform.

The fired staffer’s name is Derek Khanna, and he turned heads in mid-November when he authored a pro-reform memo [background], which was thoroughly vetted and published by the RSC, a key advisory body to the conservative wing of federal Republican Representatives in Congress.


In the memo (available below), Mr. Khanna argued that punishments of up to $150,000 USD per work for private citizens found guilty of filesharing are grossly out of line with reality.
Republican Study Committee Intellectual Property Brief

Sources: The Washington Examiner, ArsTechnica, TechDirt






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Isla Fisher this link

Steve Jobs turning over in his grave? Look-alike touts rival Android

Fake_steve_jobs

Steve Jobs likeness continues to pop up in the most unlikely places. He’s been immortalized as a bronze statue in an office park in Hungary, his image was painstakingly recreated in what might be the world’s most detailed action figure, and now a Taiwanese commercial making its way around the Internet depicts the recently deceased Apple visionary as a shill for an Android-based tablet called Action Pad.

Oh, the irony!

The man playing Jobs in the commercial is Taiwanese comedian and impersonator Ah-Ken, according to a report in Reuters. The commercial never explicitly uses Jobs name, but Ah-Ken is dressed in Jobs trademark black turtleneck and blue jeans, his hair is a silvery grey, and he’s wearing glasses. He’s standing on a stage meant to mimic those that Jobs paced across during major Apple announcements and speaking excitedly to an applauding audience. One thing he has that Jobs never had: a halo and wings.

At the end of his talk he says, “Thank God I can play another pad.”

Jobs of course hated Android with his whole being. His biographer Walter Isaacson writes that he never saw Jobs as angry as when he was talking about a lawsuit Apple had filed against Android.

After telling Isaacson that he considered Google’s Android to be a wholesale ripoff of the iPhone, he said:

“I will spend my last dying breath if I need to, and I will spend every penny of Apple’s $40 billion in the bank, to right this wrong. I’m going to destroy Android, because it’s a stolen product. I’m willing to go thermonuclear war on this. They are scared to death, because they know they are guilty.”

Maybe things change in the afterlife?

Action Electronics, the company that makes the Action Pad along with other electronic gadgets, sees no problem with the advertisement. “Steve Jobs always promoted things that were good for people, Apple products, so his image can also promote other things that are good,” a spokeswoman told Reuters. “It’s just an impersonator, not Jobs,” she said.

The reaction on YouTube has been mixed with commenters vacillating between disgust and amusement, but the video itself is rapidly racking up views.

ALSO:

Steve Jobs statue unveiled in Budapest office park

Demand for iPhones in China could skyrocket, analyst says

Steve Jobs action figure is advertised; will Apple respond?

– Deborah Netburn

Image: Screen grab from a Taiwanese commercial for Action Pad that depicts Steve Jobs as a shill for the Android-based tablet. Credit: YouTube

Andrea Thompson Jackie Chan

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