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MIT Labs Develops Kinect-Based Teleconference Interface

By: Trak Lord | Science, Space & Robotics | Posted: Apr 8, 2011 @ 15:59 CDT
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Lining Yao, Anthony DeVincenzi, Ramesh Raskar, and Hiroshi Ishii from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Media Lab have developed a prototypal teleconference interface demonstration using Microsoft's Kinect sensor array.

Featured in their demo video, Lining (Lizzie) and Anthony (Tony) show off some of the features they managed to successfully implement. In their interactive interface, speakers will be given time-bubbles that pop up over their respective heads, tracking the length of time that each is speaking. Amazingly, the clock stops as soon as the person stops speaking, meaning the program is recognizing voices individually. A cool feature (that may need a bit of tweaking, but cool nonetheless) they also included is the automation of focus- when a person is speaking, the focus of the camera changes, ensuring that everything but the speaker is blurry. This wasn't as successfully implemented as the time-tracker, but a very interesting idea, especially for someone like me with rampant ADD.

Speaking of ADD, I have many problems when it comes to not answering or responding to portable phone vibrations, so this next feature made me sigh in relief that someone was actually working on it. The MIT team developed a way that a person in a teleconference can actually freeze an image of themselves, for instance sitting at a table with a rapt...

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Opera Mini Hits 100 Million Users: Sweet!

By: Trak Lord | Mobile Devices | Posted: Apr 8, 2011 @ 15:27 CDT
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The browser war continues, and it just got mobile.

In a press release yesterday, the Norwegian-based browser Opera announced that their mobile browser had reached 100 million monthly users, with 2 billion daily page views. Two months ago, Opera Software had announced 100 million users combined as a combined total for Opera Mini and their other mobile browser, the aptly named Opera Mobile- meaning that Opera Mini's user base has impressively doubled since February this year.

Opera Software boasts "the worlds most used mobile browser" with Opera Mini, a browser that generates faster page views and site loading by compressing as much as 90% of the content prior to loading the page.

Upon hearing the news, CEO Lars Boilesen responded with "Sweeeet!", with 4 E's. Is that a Norweeeegian thing?

Also, the title of the image above when it was sent to me in email format was "100mill.jpg". No reason this can't be fun, right guys?

Opera reaches (another) 100 million users

Oslo, Norway - April 7, 2011

Opera Software today tinkered in its giant statistics machine and found that Opera Mini reached 100 million monthly users in March and two billion daily page views - new peaks for the world's most used mobile browser.

"Sweeeet!" said Lars Boilesen, CEO, Opera Software.

Hold the phone: didn't Opera just announce 100 million mobile users two months ago? They sure did; though that number represented...

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US Department of Justice Approves Google's ITA Bid

By: Trak Lord | Business, Financial & Legal | Posted: Apr 8, 2011 @ 13:36 CDT

In an interesting game of cat and mouse, the United States Department of Justice has approved Silicon Valley's most successful tech company's intent to acquire ITA, a travel information search service based in Cambridge, MA.

The DoJ filed a consent decree with the conditions that Google continue to license ITA"s tech to existing clients such as Kayak and maintain the fairness of its current availability. Also in the decree consent were stipulations that Google erect firewalls to ensure that ITA data is blocked from other areas of Google.

Interestingly enough, the DoJ has evidently filed a civil antitrust lawsuit to block the impending acquisition of ITA if Google did not consent to the conditions. Google really didn't have a choice, especially with the rampant antitrust allegations running around, as recently reported by Bloomberg.

Google was very happy to accept the terms and conditions, and posted the following on their blog today:

It's important to us that ITA continue with business as usual, providing great service to its business partners. We indicated last July that we would honor ITA's existing contracts. Today we've formally committed to let ITA's customers..

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Friday Morning Roundup for April 8, 2011

By: Steve Dougherty | Roundups | Posted: Apr 8, 2011 @ 8:00 CDT

The latest happenings from around the web - April 8th, 2011

Motherboard

- MSI 890FXA-GD65 Motherboard Review: The Hardcore Minimalist @ PC Perspective

- Gigabyte E350N-USB3 @ Neoseeker

- ASUS Sabertooth P67A B3 @ Overclock3D

Memory

- Kingston HyperX T1 12GB DDR3 1600mhz Review (X58) @ Kitguru

- Kingston HyperX DDR3 1800MHz 4GB Dual Channel Kit @ eTeknix

CPU

- AMD Confirms They Will Support Bulldozer on AM3+ @ Overclockers.com

- Round Up 44 CPU, 990X et Core i3 Inside @ Cowcotland

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NBN retail trials to start, Telstra, Optus, iiNet and Internode sign up

By: Anthony Garreffa | Networking | Posted: Apr 8, 2011 @ 5:47 CDT

NBN Co, the company behind the $36 billion Australia-wide high-speed internet network has signed up 12 retail service providers to take part in customer trials. NBN Co's head of product development and sales, Jim Hassell, said in a statement:

This testing phase is a critical step in building the network, working with RSPs and integrating our operating systems as we aim to provide the best possible service when commercial services commence.

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Companies that signed up included Telstra, Optus, iiNet and Internode. I'm with iiNet at home so if iiNet want to hook me up with some uber-fast NBN goodness, my email is available on the TweakTown site ;)

Download of the Day: PeaZip 3.7.0

By: Steve Dougherty | Software | Posted: Apr 8, 2011 @ 4:22 CDT

Our Download of the Day today is PeaZip 3.7.0.

PeaZip is an open source file and archive manager. It's freeware and free of charge for any use.

PeaZip can extract most of archive formats both from Windows and Unix worlds, ranging from mainstream 7Z, RAR, TAR and ZIP to experimental ones like PAQ/LPAQ family, currently the most powerful compressor available.

For archive creation, PeaZip suppors a wide range of compression and encryption standard, from fastes to most powerful ones, and allows to export job definition as scripts to bridge the gap between GUI and console applications, and let the user pick the best of the two worlds.

PeaZip has secure deletion feature, can verify file checksum and hash, and supports multiple strong encryption standards, optionally using two factor authentication (password and keyfile) for increased security:

• 7Z's AES256 encryption

• ZIP WinZip's AE encryption based on AES256 (and ZipCrypto for legacy compatibility); can decrypt PKZip's AES encryption

• FreeARC's ARC: AES256, Blowfish, Twofish256 and Serpent256 - this format is also capable to generate recovery records to protect data against corruption

• PEA: AES256 EAX authenticated encryption

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Apple orders 12 petabytes of video storage to be used for iTunes cloud

By: Anthony Garreffa | Cloud Computing | Posted: Apr 8, 2011 @ 3:56 CDT

EMC unit Isilon Systems have had a decent order from Apple, 12 petabytes worth of data storage to be used for the iTunes cloud. This large order might be made for the construction of Apple's huge data center in Maiden, North Carolina. The new building is expected to be the hub for a new version of iTunes which relies on storing media in the cloud, which is set to replace the old method of the data being stored on customers HDDs.

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The main focus of the cloud will be for storing video content, rather than music which is why so much storage is required. Rumors have been flying around for quite some time that Apple would be following in the footsteps of Google and Amazon with the content they purchased being accessed from a centralized server. This would go hand in hand with that and Apple would have its own digital locker for cloud-based storage of media and content.

Deal of the Day: Lenovo Multimedia Remote with Keyboard for Only $27 with FREE Shipping!

By: Steve Dougherty | Peripherals | Posted: Apr 8, 2011 @ 3:36 CDT

Our Deal of the Day today is the Lenovo US (ThinkPad) - Lenovo Multimedia Remote with Keyboard for Only $27 with FREE Shipping!!.

Offer: It's back at the new low price! One of the all time favorite gadgets for nearly everyone, if you still don't have one, or want to pick up another (or 3) get it today. This handy remote features a keyboard and a trackball for wireless remote connectivity of your media center (or others) from the comfort of your couch.

Engadget's review and a good size reference as well. HERE

Use ecoupon: USPC11A16336 (expires 4/11/11)

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Check our TweakTown Daily Deals page for more tech bargains!

Firefox 5 expected on June 21, Firefox 6 to make its debut on August 18

By: Anthony Garreffa | Software | Posted: Apr 7, 2011 @ 19:39 CDT

Mozilla has a detailed new development model for Firefox, with the current draft saying Firefox 5 will make its way to fans on June 21, 2011 and Firefox 6 not that long after on August 18, 2011. These dates may well change but right now this is what Mozilla is hoping for. All changes to the Firefox source code are initially integrated in the mozilla-central Mercurial repository.

At scheduled intervals (usually 6 weeks) the changes are then imported from mozilla-central to one of three other channels. In addition to mozilla-central there will also be firefox-experimental, firefox-beta and Firefox (release) with each one backed by its own Mercurial repository. The names below are placeholders and Mozilla may still change them:

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The firefox-experimental channel will receive new features at regular intervals, but some of them have the option of being disabled if they look like they require more work. The beta channel will receive new features that are set to be included in the Firefox release. New features are never directly added to the firefox-experimental or firefox-beta channels. Each stage of the process lasts for 6 weeks but because of the development overlap, we should see new versions every 6 to 12 weeks.

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The Internet processed 9.57 zettabytes of information in 2008 alone

By: Anthony Garreffa | Internet & Websites | Posted: Apr 7, 2011 @ 19:23 CDT

We all know that collectively, we must go through an insane amount of data across the globe through the Internet. Now we have some solid numbers to play with, in 2008 alone the world's servers processed an insane 9.57 zettabytes (ZB) of information. This data even underestimates as it does not include exclusive private servers built by Google, Microsoft and others.

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Whichever way you look at it, the number is very difficult to fathom - consider that there are 1000TB's in a Petabyte and then 1000PB's in an Exabyte, with finally, 1000EB's in a single Zettabyte and you'll finally get the picture. I'd like this type of storage at home, thanks.