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TweakTown News Posts - Page 2337

Samsung GALAXY Note is now receiving its Ice Cream Sandwich update

By: Anthony Garreffa | More News: Operating Systems | Posted: May 11, 2012 3:19 am

Quick one here, folks! Samsung GALAXY Note owners should love this: Samsung have very quietly begun rolling out the very long-awaited Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich update for their 5.3-inch GALAXY Note smartphone.




The latest OS arrives with a "Premium Suite" full of S-pen-friendly apps such as S Note, Shape Match, My Story, and more. Samsung haven't confirmed the launch, but there are more than a few European users who are already loving ICS on their Note's.


If you've got a GALAXY Note, and upgrade to ICS, be sure to let us know how it is! I'm interested to see how Ice Cream Sandwich is on the 5.3-inch GALAXY Note.

Bing expands, will sport Facebook, Twitter integration

By: Anthony Garreffa | More News: Social Networking | Posted: May 11, 2012 2:18 am

Microsoft is rolling out what they are calling "the most significant update to Bing since we launched three years ago". The new update will roll out over the next few weeks as Microsoft introduce a new way to search that is designed to help you take action and interact with friends and experts "without compromising the core search experience".



Microsoft point out that the search industry is built on keywords, links and labels - static nouns pointing to pages. Whilst this approach is great for finding sites, searching is not just about finding information or data, its about taking action. You might search flights, or accommodation, and usually when doing so, you'd like to take action in the form of placing a booking, etc. Microsoft note that 68-percent of people tell them they expect to get something done when they type into a search box.


Bing ups the ante on this, where you're you'll be able to share virtually everything you do, where you are, who you are, all in real-time. The new updated Bing will include a "brand new information architecture" with three columns: the left will feature familiar algorithmic results, the middle provides a "snapshot" of relevant information and services, such as maps and reviews, whilst the sidebar to the right will include social-orientated results.

Continue reading 'Bing expands, will sport Facebook, Twitter integration' (full post)

Google+ for iPhone reaches 2.0, receives visual refresh

By: Anthony Garreffa | More News: Apps | Posted: May 11, 2012 1:26 am

Google have updated their Google+ for iPhone app, and with it, are headed in a new direction, a "simpler, more beautiful Google" as they put it. Today's update really pushes photos and videos, which is the Google+ experience the Mountain View-based company wants to head toward, some of the new features are:




  • Whether you post photos or articles or text, we're making 'em look gooood
  • We're adding crisper fonts, larger profile pics and a friendlier homescreen
  • We're making the stream easier to scan, and easier on the eyes with overlays, gradients and other visual elements


On top of this, "fun and performance" has played a key role in Google+ for iPhone 2.0, with the following additions:


  • Conversations fall into view as you move forward and backward in time
  • Optical cues (like parallax) help the mind linger on individual posts
  • Important actions like +1 now float atop the stream, making it easy to endorse all your favorites


Google have said that the iPhone update is rolling out to the App Store as we speak and that the Android update is coming in a few weeks, "with a few extra surprises". We'll keep you posted on that one.

AMD accidentally posts PDF file with characteristics and performance of upcoming Trinity APUs

By: Trace Hagan | More News: CPU, APU & Chipsets | Posted: May 10, 2012 11:28 pm

With the Trinity APU launch coming soon, leaks will be coming more frequently and with more credibility. The leak today is from AMD's website itself (the file has since been removed) in the form of a PDF file which had some characteristics such as model numbers and graphics performance of the upcoming APUs.




The part of interest is the graph of the upcoming APUs' graphics performance relative to Intel's Sandy Bridge CPUs. Why not Ivy Bridge? Well, the Trinity APUs shown in the graphic are embedded options and Intel hasn't launched any Ivy Bridge embedded options so this is a more apples-to-apples comparison.


What the graph shows is that the AMD R-464L has 206%, and the R-272F has 145% better performance than Intel i7-2710QE embedded chip in 3DMark 06 and Vantage v1.1.0 applications. However, that Intel chip is using the HD 3000 graphics which is noticeably slower than the HD 4000 graphics of Ivy Bridge.


Other specifications and features of the chips were not given, but with some digging, and educated guessing, it's reasonable to expect that the R-464L is a quad-core APU with HD 7660G graphics. The R-272F is likely a dual-core part featuring HD 7400G or 7500G graphics. The launch of Trinity is supposed to occur May 15, according to one source.

Posting on social networking sites engage same parts of brain as sex, experts say

By: Trace Hagan | More News: Social Networking | Posted: May 10, 2012 10:36 pm

According to a new study done by the Harvard Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience Lab shows that talking about oneself on a social networking site engages portions of the brain that are responsible for love, pleasure, and rewards. Curiously enough, these same sections of the brain are active when having sex.




This good feeling that is associated with posting about oneself explains why 80% of the average user's social networking posts consist of self-disclosure. These social networking posts account for 30-40% of the average user's speech output for each day. To verify this, Diana Tamir and co-author Jason Mitchell hooked participants up to an MRI to monitor brain activity while being asked questions.


The questions were about their own and others' attitudes on various subjects. The point of the two different questions was to discover if there was a difference between talking about oneself or someone else. The findings show that talking about oneself engages the nucleus accumbens (NAcc) and the ventral tegmental area (VTA) which are both associated with rewards. As previously stated, these same regions are active during sex or eating good food.


Tamir told the LA Times, "we didn't know if self-disclosure was rewarding because you get to think about yourself and thinking about yourself is rewarding, or if it is important to have an audience."

Continue reading 'Posting on social networking sites engage same parts of brain as sex, experts say' (full post)

Samsung asserts PenTile AMOLED screens last longer, reason for use in Galaxy S3

By: Trace Hagan | More News: Mobile Devices, Tablets & Phones | Posted: May 10, 2012 9:31 pm

During the announcement of the new Samsung Galaxy S III handset, most people were really excited about all of the features that it sported. Not everyone, however, was fully excited about all aspects of the new handset. The issue that most people had with the new device was the fact that Samsung chose one type of screen over another.




It seems as though most people were disappointed that Samsung went with a PenTile AMOLED screen rather than a traditional RGB AMOLED screen. The difference lies in the arrangement of the subpixels, or pieces that make up a pixel. In a PenTile display, the subpixels are aligned RGBG (red, green, blue, green) and the actual sizes of the subpixels varies.


A traditional screen is arranged RGB (red, green, blue) with each subpixel the same size. Due to the odd arrangement and size differences in a PenTile display, some users have complained of screens not being as crisp as a traditional RGB screen. However, when the resolution is increased, this effect is lessened as the pixels themselves become smaller.


AMOLED screens have a habit of deteriorating. Google had a problem with this exact issue on the original Google Nexus phone. Apparently the blue subpixel deteriorates the quickest, so having fewer blue subpixels lessens the risk of the deterioration affecting screen quality. Since Samsung is building phones to last 18 months or more, they need the reliability of the PenTile display.

Continue reading 'Samsung asserts PenTile AMOLED screens last longer, reason for use in Galaxy S3' (full post)

Twitter sees gay marriage tweets skyrocket after Obama tweets his support

By: Trace Hagan | More News: Social Networking | Posted: May 10, 2012 8:31 pm

When President Obama announced his support for gay marriage yesterday on Twitter, it was pretty obvious it was going to be a historic day. Twitter has now released some data about tweets following his announcement and the data confirms what what was already suspected. The number of tweets sent was double that of the previous record last June when New York legalized gay marriage.




At its peak, the number of #gaymarriage tweets hit 7,347 every minute. At this rate, over 1.6 million #gaymarriage were sent yesterday. This amount, double that of when New York legalized it in June of 2011. The data released also shows that the number of gay marriage tweets has steadily increased since the inauguration of Obama.


However, the percentage of total tweets has stayed basically level except for the occasional spike like yesterday or the day last June. So while there are more, that could be due to the overall increase in users and tweets. However, the spike after Obama's support certainly shows that people agree with the President's sentiments. Twitter is a great way to track people's feelings as the 160 character micro-blog is more conducive to openness.

Microsoft bans Firefox on upcoming ARM-based Windows 8, Mozilla claims

By: Trace Hagan | More News: Internet Browsers | Posted: May 10, 2012 7:33 pm

Microsoft is banning alternative browser on the upcoming ARM-based Windows 8 platform, or so Mozilla is claiming. It seems as though this could be an anti-competitive practice in which Microsoft may end up getting sued. But, let's examine the reasons that Microsoft isn't allowing alternative browsers. Trust me, you'll get quite the laugh.




"They're trying to make a new version of their operating system which denies their users choice, competition, and innovation," said Harvey Anderson, Mozilla's general counsel. "Making IE the only browser on that platform is a complete return to the digital dark ages when there was only one browser on the Windows platform."


Microsoft Deputy General Counsel David Heiner told Mozilla the reasons they wouldn't be able to write a browser for Windows 8 ARM, Anderson said:


  • ARM processors, which power virtually all iOS, Android, and Windows Phone smartphones and tablets today, are different from the x86 chips that power PCs. The chips have new requirements for security and power management, and Microsoft is the only one who can meet those needs.
  • Windows RT -- the version of Windows 8 geared for ARM devices -- "isn't Windows anymore."

Continue reading 'Microsoft bans Firefox on upcoming ARM-based Windows 8, Mozilla claims' (full post)

Another censorship ruling: Dutch court says Pirate Bay must be blocked or face fines

By: Trace Hagan | More News: Business, Financial & Legal | Posted: May 10, 2012 6:32 pm

In another move that threatens the open and free internet, Dutch courts have ruled that the countries ISPs must block access to The Pirate Bay or face fines of 10,000 euros per day. That massive of a fine will likely prevent any dissenters of the ruling, however, there are always ways around the blockade as shown in the UK.




Court rulings demanding ISPs block access to The Pirate Bay are stacking up in countries and one has to ask themselves what are the effects of the blocks? In this case these blocks aren't really going to do anything as they can be bypassed pretty easily. However, the idea that the government can order censorship is the scarier prospect.


These rulings are the first attacks on the site. The Pirate Bay is no stranger to trouble with the law as many companies have sued them for copyright infringement along with governments seizing the servers. It has persevered, but it will probably get tougher to do so as more court rulings come in. I know one thing, if the US government tries to make this ruling, I will be in the masses that protest.


In my opinion, this censorship goes against the heart of the first amendment. The Pirate Bay hosts no infringing material. Instead, they provide a roadmap on where to get it. It's akin to the US block on travel to Cuba. US citizens are prevented from going to Cuba, yet people still sell maps on how to get there and they are blocked.

Continue reading 'Another censorship ruling: Dutch court says Pirate Bay must be blocked or face fines' (full post)

Google's Project Glass shows usefulness of hands-free photography

By: Trace Hagan | More News: Virtual & Augmented Reality | Posted: May 10, 2012 5:35 pm

The augmented reality project that is Google Glass is demonstrating the usefulness of one of its features. While the glasses are nowhere near any sort of public release, Google clearly feels confident in them enough to let senior engineers take them out into the public. The result? Pictures like this which show the point of them.




How else would you be able to take a picture like the one above if not for the hands-free photography capabilities of Google's glasses? Simple answer? You couldn't. Not unless you want your son to go flying off into the distance in the picture. I'm not saying that would be a bad picture, but it certainly wouldn't be the same as the above one.


It's not clear what sort of plans Google has for the project, but I can tell you I can't wait to try them. This would be another great place to use Google's indoor mapping. What about yourself? Would you want to wear a set of these glasses out in public?

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