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Tokyo University of Science shows off their Iron Man-like robotic suit

By: Anthony Garreffa | More News: Science, Space & Robotics | Posted: Oct 3, 2012 10:34 am

Koba Lab out of the Tokyo University of Science have shown off a 9kg robotic suit that is powered by a pair of pneumatic artificial musics on the back, which are made by industrial equipment maker Kanda Tsushin.




The suit is pretty much powered by air, and when pressurized with air using electrical components from KOA Corporation, the lightweight, loosely-woven PET tubes contract, where they then provide support to the user's back, shoulders and elbows. The legs are left out for now, as the second person to don the suit noted his legs felt the weight.


You can really see the pressure being lifted off their bodies when they enable the pressurized air flow. The demonstration used 50kg of rice, in five 10kg bags. All I need now is a pair of Google Glasses, a Wi-Fi connection, and a love of red heads and I'm close to being Iron Man. The scotch part I have down, and I can grow a goatee if I really wanted to - Robert Downey Jr, watch out. Check the source for the video.

Apple's new Lightning connector for the new iPhone 5 will be hard to imitate, thanks to its security chip

By: Anthony Garreffa | More News: Mobile Devices, Tablets & Phones | Posted: Oct 3, 2012 9:25 am

Apple's new iPhone 5 sports a new charging cable, which the company have dubbed "Lightning". Apple's new Lightning cable is an 8-pin charging cable, which has some built-in measures that won't make it easy for cheap imitation cables - something Apple are sure to make millions from.




Apple's former 30-pin cable was a pretty simple design, where it was based on millions upon millions of cables, accessories, docks, and so forth - cheap imitations were created from its simple design, but it looks like the same game won't be played this time around. Apple are currently charging $30 for a new Lightning cable, which is ridiculous considering the cable would cost next to nothing to manufacture.


CNN have an unnamed source "with knowledge of Apple's manufacturing" who has said that the new Lightning cable comes with new measures which will make imitation that much harder - as they contain a new authentication chip. It won't be impossible for Chinese manufacturers to imitate this new $30 cable, with the source stating:


Chinese manufacturers are currently working to clone this new connector, but they cannot do it with the same ease and low cost as before, I don't think.

Continue reading 'Apple's new Lightning connector for the new iPhone 5 will be hard to imitate, thanks to its security chip' (full post)

Google offer 24/7 phone support for Chrome to Google Apps users

By: Anthony Garreffa | More News: Business, Financial & Legal | Posted: Oct 3, 2012 8:32 am

Google have just announced they're looking after Google Apps for Business, Education and Government customers, where those customers can feel safe with the option to call, or e-mail Google with questions about Chrome.




Google haven't been the most friendliest company when it comes to offering support, but wer'e seeing the Mountain View-based company slowly change their ways. Starting today, Google Apps customers can call, or e-mail Google for Support with "Chrome installation, functionality, security, browser policy settings and Google Apps interoperability for Windows, Mac OS X and Linux."


24/7 phone support is a big deal, especially for business customers - these customers don't have the time to fault find themselves, where they can now just pick up a phone and call Google for some answers. Google has promised to respond to "P1 priority support requests" within an hour - this is defined as a "Service Unusable in Production" case. Other requests will be answered within a business day, or less.

Galaxy Note II's 'Smart rotation', is smart, with rotation

By: Anthony Garreffa | More News: Mobile Devices, Tablets & Phones | Posted: Oct 3, 2012 7:31 am

Samsung's Galaxy Note II is looking like a mighty fine device, for those who want a large 5.5-inch smartphone, but it does have a trick up its sleeve when it comes to rotating your screen. Normally when you're reading something on your smartphone and turn the device, and have "Auto rotation" enabled, it will rotate it when the phone detects physical rotation.




Samsung have gone down a different route with the Note II, adding "Smart rotation". Smart rotation has debuted with the Note II, and is a little different to the Galaxy S III's Smart stay. Smart roation will use the front-facing camera to detect what orientation your face is at, and then match the rotation of the screen with it. So if you rotate your phone into landscape to watch a video clip, but keep your face at the same angle, it won't adjust.


But, if you were laying down and looking at your phone sideways, it would detect this and adjust accordingly. Very cool, and something worth bragging about on the Note II. These little things are what make the phones stand out, and while this is not a killer app by any means, it is building Samsung toward something greater - something magical.

Continue reading 'Galaxy Note II's 'Smart rotation', is smart, with rotation' (full post)

Microsoft Australia drops retail pricing on Xbox 360

By: Anthony Garreffa | More News: Gaming | Posted: Oct 3, 2012 6:35 am

If you're based in Australia and haven't bought an Xbox 360 yet, or wouldn't mind grabbing a second, or third, or fourth (hey, I've seen people with four or more Xbox's) then this news is for you. Microsoft Australia have just announced that they're lowering the recommended retail price (RRP) of the Xbox 360 and its Kinect bundles.




This price drop is between AUD$50 and AUD$150, where starting October 4, the new pricing will be:

  • Kinect Sensor, $149 (save $50)
  • 4GB Xbox 360, $199 (save $50)
  • 4GB Xbox 360 with Kinect, $299 (save $100)
  • 250GB Xbox 360, $299 (Save $150)
  • Limited edition consoles (existing consoles only), $399 (save $50)


Microsoft have stated that this is the biggest price drop on record for Australia. Microsoft also took the time to unveil the RRP of Halo 4, which will cost $89.95 for the Standard Edition, and $129.95 for the Limited Edition. Both copies drop on November 6th.

Android and iOS continue to dominate US smartphone market

By: Anthony Garreffa | More News: Operating Systems | Posted: Oct 3, 2012 5:29 am

We know that Android and iOS dominate the market right now, but just how much of the US smartphone market have they consumed in the last three months? Well, since May, Android has gone from 50.1% marketshare, to 52.6%, enjoying over half of the US smartphone market.




iOS has also done well, going from 31.9% in May to 34.3% in August. Apple's numbers are interesting, as this was all pre-iPhone 5, meaning that we should see somewhat of a jump for the iOS numbers in another couple of months.


Microsoft, Research in Motion (RIM) and Symbian are all bleeding out right now, losing customers everywhere. Microsoft dropped from 4.0% to 3.6% of the US smartphone share, RIM went from 11.4% to 8.3%, representing a huge drop in users, and Symbian, the little engine that could, dropped from 1.1% to just 0.7%.

Apple Maps has a positive side - uses up to 80% less data than Google Maps on iOS

By: Anthony Garreffa | More News: Apps | Posted: Oct 3, 2012 4:31 am

We all know that iOS 6's Maps app is pretty craptacular (crAPPtacular?) but there is a benefit to the company's vector graphics-based app. Maps is up to 80% more efficient on data usage than Google's iOS Maps app, which is a raster graphics-based app.




This is all according to a new analysis from Onavo. Because Apple's Maps uses vector graphics, the application doesn't need to re-download map images every time a user adjust the view, which in the end, consumes much less data. Onavo's results are definitely interesting:


On Google Maps, the average data loaded from the cellular network for each step was 1.3MB. Apple Maps came in at 271KB - that's approximately 80% less data! On some actions, such as zooming in to see a particular intersection, Apple Maps' efficiency advantage edged close to 7X.

Lenovo to build PC manufacturing plant in North Carolina

By: Anthony Garreffa | More News: Business, Financial & Legal | Posted: Oct 3, 2012 3:42 am

Lenovo, who is a Chinese computer-maker, are set to start manufacturing PCs in the US next year. The company will build a production line in Whitsett, North Carolina, that will allow the the company to be more responsive to US corporate clients' demand for flexible supplies and product customization.




With the production of PCs in the US, the cost will be higher, but it will improve the image of Lenovo in the US. At the moment, they're fourth in market share in regards to shipment numbers. Lenovo's North American President, David Schmook, has said:


Us having a [production] facility here in a home country is a differentiator that people will value. Being green is not necessarily the lowest-cost option for a lot of companies, but you do it because your customers and partners value you being green.

Continue reading 'Lenovo to build PC manufacturing plant in North Carolina' (full post)

Steve Jobs envisioned the iPad nearly thirty years ago

By: Anthony Garreffa | More News: Mobile Devices, Tablets & Phones | Posted: Oct 3, 2012 2:31 am

We know that Steve Jobs was a visionary, as he is constantly described as such, and nearly a year after the Apple co-founder died, historians have found some information that would confirm he truly was a visionary.




The Next Web writes about a speech Jobs gave nearly thirty years ago in 1983 at the Center for Design innovation. After this speech, Jobs gave a question and answer session that covered a wide variety of topics, where Jobs talked about a "computer in a book", where a user could learn how to use it in just 20 minutes:


Apple's strategy is really simple. What we want to do is we want to put an incredibly great computer in a book that you can carry around with you and learn how to use in 20 minutes. That's what we want to do and we want to do it this decade. And we really want to do it with a radio link in it so you don't have to hook up to anything and you're in communication with all of these larger databases and other computers.


Well, that's quite the statement, isn't it? It took Apple a lot longer than a decade, but hey, look at them now. The iPad dominates the tablet industry.

Swedish web host of WikiLeaks, PQR gets raided by police

By: Anthony Garreffa | More News: Business, Financial & Legal | Posted: Oct 3, 2012 1:36 am

Well, things just got interesting for The Pirate Bay and WikiLeaks, with their Swedish web host PeRiQuito AB being raided by police. Forbes reported that Stockholm police raided the company yesterday, which caused technical issues for PQR, shutting down its website and a bunch of torrent sites such as The Pirate Bay.




The police also seized a bunch of servers, but it's not clear which exact servers were taken. PQR have around 2,000 or so customers, with big names such as WikiLeaks, and the North American May-Boy Love Association, which I only found out existed right now, what the?, the Chechen rebel size Kavkaz Central, and more.


PQR was, funnily enough, founded by Pirate Bay members back in 2004, and has been raised twice before: six years ago in 2006 to gain evidence against The Pirate Bay, and in 2010 during a more general file sharing investigation.

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