Thursday, 31 May 2012
Google, which has a history of lobbying for patent law reform, has been the target of many patent litigation suits. Google's relative infancy means that it has a lot less patents in the vault than big-hitters like Microsoft, Oracle and IBM, and buying Nortel's portfolio of 6,000 patents could provide better protection against patent litigation in the future. It's worth noting that both Apple and RIM have showed interested in the portfolio, too.
Mashable speculates that the patents -- which are nearly all telecoms-related -- will be used to defend against Oracle's attacks on Android's use of Java. We reckon that Google is simply looking to cover its future endeavors in the world of networking. In the absence of patent law reform, and continued threats to net neutrality, owning a bunch of telecoms patents sounds like a very sensible move.
It has recently undergone a major overhaul which includes the release of a brand new Windows client. The new client lets you create new "pastes" and manage your existing ones. It joins a host of other tools from Pastebin, such as the Google and Chrome extensions, OS X widget and the mobile apps.
If you're currently using Pastebin, the new client is a great addition. And if you haven't tried it before, next time you have a piece of code you want to share or get some feedback on, you could do worse than try out Pastebin.
As you can see, it's got a similar feel to the good ol' Windows 7 default background, but features a more subdued smattering of cerulean hues. Those of you who want to use the Windows 8 wallpaper on your current desktop can download it from our file dump.
A few other details have been revealed, too. According to ZDNet's source, the Windows 8 Jupiter libraries and Twin UI are starting to take shape -- though all that's been located thus far are "[various files] scattered throughout the OS" and the aptly-named twinui.dll.
If you're in the U.S., you can now score local savings at participating merchants by checking in with Latitude. Google will also be offering "status deals," which users can unlock by visiting a particular merchant on a regular basis. Mashable notes three status levels: regular, VIP, and guru -- though partners can apparently customize those titles if they choose.
Right now deals are available from merchants like American Eagle Outfitters, Arby's, Finish Line, Macy's, Quiznos, and RadioShack.
Scientists will soon have a new tool at their disposal in their search for black holes and a greater understanding of what NASA describes as "the most energetic and exotic objects in space." The space agency announced today that it has begun preparing its Nuclear Spectroscopic Telescope Array -- otherwise known as NuSTAR -- for launch from Kwajalein Atoll in the central Pacific Ocean, with a liftoff planned for no earlier than June 13th. The telescope is by far the most advanced of its type to date, boasting ten times the resolution and more than 100 times the sensitivity of its predecessors, as well as a new design that relies on a complex set of 133 ultra-thin nested mirrors -- a setup NASA compares to a Russian Doll. Those interested can get a brief overview of the mission in the video after the breakPermalink | | Email this | Comments
Need a dozen or so extra reasons to pick up a new Samsung Chromebook? How's about 12 free in-flight WiFi sessions from GoGo? Granted, it's probably not enough reason alone to pick up the browser-based notebook, but it should help sweeten the deal a bit. The deal, which kicks in after May 31st, will have you flying the friendly web on some 1,500 Gogo-sporting planes.Permalink | | Email this | Comments
Wednesday, 30 May 2012
At CES 2012, Lenovo was the first to announce a Medfield-powered smartphone: the K800. And while it was the first to be unveiled, it couldn't beat the Lava Xolo X900 to market. Lenovo's not too worried about that, however, as the K800 has arrived in China right on schedule, having originally aimed for a Q2 launch and later refining the timeframe to the end of May. The fruits of Intel's labor can be had for the grand 'ol retail price of RMB 3,299 ($524), which gets you a 1.6GHz CPU, 1GB of RAM, Android 2.3, a 4.5-inch 720p display, an 8MP rear camera and 16GB of internal storage. We haven't heard any news of the phone reaching across the Pacific, but we're sure that won't stop the most insistent of you from grabbing a unit through alternative methods, right?Permalink | | Email this | Comments
The list is just one part of Mozilla's new efforts to highlight slow add-ons, and to help developers make their add-ons more efficient. Over the next two weeks, 'slow performance warnings' will be introduced in the add-on gallery so that users can see, before installation, which add-ons will slow down their browser. If that isn't enough to spur developers into cleaning up their add-ons, Mozilla has also begun reaching out to developers of slow add-ons with tips on how to improve add-on performance. Finally, add-on developers will soon have the ability to perform 'on-demand performance testing,' so that they can test their add-on before it's deployed publicly.
Mozilla reports that the average Firefox add-on slows down Firefox's start-up time by 10% -- which means, if you install 10 add-ons, you will double your start-up time. On fast desktop PCs that kind of slowdown might be negligible, but on older computers, laptops and smartphones, it could be the difference between a 5 and 10 second startup. Mozilla has obviously realized that while massive performance gains might've been made with Firefox 4, the addition of third-party add-ons can destroy any user-perceived improvements.
In other news, Mozilla says that a future build of Firefox will block the installation of add-ons (such as toolbars) by third-party software. Add-ons and toolbars that are bundled in this way will require explicit approval when you next open up Firefox. Hooray!
Google's official blog post offers some interesting insights into the process of collecting and analyzing the speech data needed to expand support. Thousands of hours were spent gathering voice samples and choosing key regional accents to analyze, and International Program Manager Linne Ha is clearly very appreciative of the Google users who helped the company complete the expansion. Without an enthusiastic base of users to lend a hand, Google Voice Search's polyglot powers would have been nearly impossible to deliver.
Using an iPad to control your music system? Been there, done that. Using an iPad to control a submersible that also records underwater video in 1080p? Oh, the possibilities. Aquabotix is giving Jacques Cousteau wannabes the ability to shoot the watery depths all the way down to 150 feet as its underwater doohickey -- the HydroView -- officially goes on sale. Measuring 14.6 x 19 x 7 inches and weighing nine pounds, the submersible comes with LED lights, a three-hour battery and a top-side box that connects with a cable tether. The box also allows users to communicate with the HydroView via an iPad, Mac or PC. Besides getting video proof of, say, which swimmers ate too many bean burritos for lunch, the submersible can also take pictures and gather data about water conditions. Top speed for the submersible is five knots -- one knot when going in reverse. Just make sure you don't channel your inner SpongeBob while remotely driving the thing. Although it's not in the same league as Rinspeed's submersible Elise, the HydroView still doesn't come cheap at $3,995 a pop. Check out the official PR and, uh, low-def video of the diminutive diver in action after the break.Permalink | | Email this | Comments