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August 25, 2011

Red Hat certifies Telstra’s Cloud along with Ixonos

Telstra has joined the likes of Amazon EC2, Fujitsu and IBM, receiving Red Hat certification for its public Cloud offering.
Telstra is one of seven Red Hat Cloud partners. Along with Ixonos and Savvis, it is recognised as a “certified provider” by Red Hat.
The certification represents Red Hat’s blessing for Red Hat Enterprise Linux deployment in Telstra’s cloud.
“Offering Red Hat Enterprise Linux in our Cloud computing environment offers our customers more choice, more flexibility and the opportunity for them to run more applications out of our Cloud,” Telstra executive director, Philip Jones, said in a statement.
Red Hat launched its Cloud partner program in mid-2009
At the time Mike Evans, Red Hat’s vice-president of corporate development, compared Cloud computing to the “wild West”. “We’re trying to bring some sanity and safety [to the market] and give customers more options,” Evans said.
August 25, 2011

MapChat: The location-based instant messaging app for strangers

 Back in June, we ran a feature called Silicon Roundabout from a New York State of Mind, part of which constituted an interview with Rich Martell, the founder of Floxx Media Group, a company specializing in location-based social networking tools.

Martell was the guy behind FitFinder, a social networking website that was launched last year, causing a fair bit of controversy in the process. The site was ultimately forced offline by University College London (UCL), where he was a student at the time. In a nutshell, FitFinder gave students a platform to publicly (and anonymously) post messages about people they thought were ‘hot’ in specific locations, such as in the UCL library.

Floxx Media Group is a spin-off of that endeavor, and it has secured investment from Doug Richard (formerly of Dragons’ Den) and Silicon Valley money man Kevin Wall. Now, there’s a series of apps on the way, and the first of these is out now.

MapChat is what the company calls “the first location based instant messaging client”. That isn’t strictly true, but as we’ll see it does look like a pretty interesting concept.

August 25, 2011

Steve Jobs: From college dropout to tech visionary

As Steve Jobs ends his career at Apple — perhaps the world’s most valuable and admired company — business and tech pundits are showering him with superlatives: Innovator. Visionary. Genius.

August 19, 2011

Tracking Crime in Real Time

Almost everything we do leaves a digital trace, whether we send an email to a friend or make a purchase online. That includes law-abiding citizens — and criminals. And with digital information multiplying by the second, there are seemingly endless amounts of information for criminal investigators to gather and process.

Sherlock Holmes goes digital
Like digital files, people are always on the move, Prof. Ben-Gal says. It’s not enough to process the information you have and assume the output will remain relevant. “If the object is moving, modelling and eventually catching it is mathematically complex,” he says. Prof. Ben-Gal and his fellow researchers work with leading companies in homeland security on how to establish patterns of terrorist or criminal activity using mostly communication files. New pieces of information are automatically plugged in to existing data, and the algorithm’s analysis of the criminal’s movement or pattern is reformatted.
The algorithm works like a computerized sleuth, taking pieces of information such as phone calls, emails, or credit card interactions and reducing them to a set of random variables for further analysis. All of these communications are actually pieces of one long message waiting to be decoded, explains Prof. Ben-Gal. In a single telephone call, for example, there are several variables to consider — the recipient of the call, its length, the location of the caller himself. Once all this is known, the algorithm not only assesses patterns of crime to predict future movements, but also creates a probability map displaying the possible locations of the person or group of interest.
Like a topographical map, the probability map is divided into zones where the subject (a criminal, a terrorist organization or a drug dealing ring) is likely operating. Each zone is assigned a statistical level of probability that the subject is there. Although refining the programming of the original algorithm could take some hours, each new piece of information afterwards can be processed in a matter of milliseconds, and the analysis can be used instantly.
Our algorithms can help officials to use the available information wisely, Prof. Ben-Gal says. If they have one shot at obtaining a suspect, the location of highest probability is a good bet. Zones of lower probability can be ruled out and attention can be focused in increasingly specific areas. With more time to spare, it’s an adaptive searching game — lower probability zones can sometimes yield more information.
A gathering cloud of big data
According to Prof. Ben-Gal, these algorithms are designed to deal with the phenomenon of “big data,” the ever-growing amount of information available to crime fighters in the technological environment. But beyond tracking the bad guys, they offer solutions for our more legitimate world — from marketing to computer file sharing.
Prof. Ben-Gal points to companies such as Amazon, IBM and Apple, which have effectively put similar algorithms to use. Amazon, for example, generates purchasing suggestions based on books, music or products you have already purchased or browsed. Apple’s forthcoming iCloud, a service that wirelessly stores digital content, will need algorithms to locate moving files when they are needed and deliver them to various devices.
Prof. Ben-Gal says that this research can also lead to near-future consumer enhancements such as location-based marketing, which targets consumers based on their location, notifying them on their mobile devices of deals in their local area

Courtesy ScienceDaily

July 11, 2011

A Mobile Guide for Buses and Trains

 If people had access to a fully-fledged system to help them navigate public transport, it could persuade many drivers to switch to their local trains, buses and trams. Researchers in Germany are busy developing an application that will enable passengers to use a cell phone to navigate their way through the public transport network.
Drivers were freed from their dependence on maps a long time ago — nowadays they rely on their navigation device to get them to destinations in unfamiliar areas. But this luxury has so far remained elusive for users of local public transport systems. A personal guide — similar to a car’s navigation system — designed to show them the way to their destination and help avoid hold-ups and out-of-service lines would be a tremendous help. Commuters and locals could switch to alternative routes if their bus or train was late and tourists would be able to find the quickest route to their hotel or to the main city sights. Now it seems there is a glimmer of hope on the horizon for public transport users: Researchers from the Fraunhofer Institute for Transportation and Infrastructure Systems IVI in Dresden are working with eight partners from industry and the research community on the “SMART-WAY” project, which aims to develop a personal guide which would offer a whole lot more than just timetable information.
This mobile guide is being developed in the form of a navigation application for cell phones and smartphones. The goal is to make the app available from 2012 to help people find their way through the labyrinths of trains, buses and trams that criss-cross Europe’s cities. “All you will need to do is to launch our SMART-WAY app on your cell phone and enter your destination. SMART-WAY will then guide you to the nearest station or bus stop and tell you where you need to change and what lines you need to take to get there,” explains Andreas Küster, the researcher responsible for coordinating the project at the IVI. The application displays multiple alternative routes on a map which shows all the stops, connections, modes of transport, directions, arrival and departure times. Users also have the option of breaking off their journey, switching to different forms of transport or entering a new destination at any point they wish: By constantly tracking the user’s current location, SMART-WAY is able to respond in real-time by simply re-calculating the route. The same applies in the event of traffic jams, delays or early arrivals — whenever new developments affect your chosen route, the app immediately suggests alternatives. A useful touch is the vibration alert that tells you when you have reached your destination or missed a stop.
But how exactly does the SMART-WAY app calculate a user’s current position and respond in real time? “As well as providing support for satellite navigation with GPS and — in the future — Galileo, our navigation system also dovetails with the location-finding systems the public transport companies use to keep track of their vehicles,” says Küster. “These positioning systems are supplemented by inertial sensors which register whether a vehicle is accelerating or braking in order to decide whether it is in motion or waiting at a stop. All the information on timetables, connections and hold-ups in the network are supplied by the transport companies in real time and imported into the app.” A prototype of SMART-WAY has already been completed and the researchers hope to have a final version of the application ready to roll out across Europe by 2012. The first field tests are scheduled to be run in September 2011 in Dresden and Turin in cooperation with the local public transport operators.
To demonstrate how SMART-WAY works, researchers from the Fraunhofer Institute for Industrial Mathematics ITWM in Kaiserslautern developed a software program which simulates a virtual city and a virtual public transport operator including all the timetable information. “The software gives us a real feel for how the application would work in real life. It even lets us play around with situations that only occur sporadically, such as traffic hold-ups and similar problems. And we can also use it to demonstrate our real-time navigation system at trade fairs and conferences and to show public transport operators how the system works,” says Dr. Michael Schröder from the ITWM. SMART-WAY has been developed for Android smartphones. The question of whether versions will also be made available for other mobile platforms depends on the public transport companies who choose to offer users the application. “We hope to see as many public transport operators as possible offering this application to their customers from 2012 onwards,” Küster says.
Courtesy : ScieneDaily
July 11, 2011

Ubuntu Developer Week -Kicks Off

In just five years, Ubuntu has become the most popular Linux distribution in the world with millions of users. Ever wondered how Ubuntu development works? How to get involved yourself? Find out from July 11th 2011 to July 15th 2011!
Ubuntu Developer Week is a series of online workshops where you can: 
  1. learn about different packaging techniques
  2. find out more about different development teams
  3. check out the efforts of the world-wide Development Community
  4. participate in open Q&A sessions with Ubuntu developers

much more…
For more info
July 6, 2011

Important Step in Next Generation of Computing: Vital Insight Into Spintronics

Scientists have taken one step closer to the next generation of computers. Research from the Cavendish Laboratory, the University of Cambridge’s Department of Physics, provides new insight into spintronics, which has been hailed as the successor to the transistor.
Spintronics, which exploits the electron’s tiny magnetic moment, or ‘spin’, could radically change computing due to its potential of high-speed, high-density and low-power consumption. The new research sheds light on how to make ‘spin’ more efficient.
For the past fifty years, progress in electronics has relied heavily on the downsizing of the transistor through the semiconductor industry in order to provide the technology for the small, powerful computers that are the basis of our modern information society. In a 1965 paper, Intel co-founder Gordon E. Moore described how the number of transistors that could be placed inexpensively on an integrated circuit had doubled every year between 1958 and 1965, predicting that the trend would continue for at least ten more years.
That prediction, now known as Moore’s Law, effectively described a trend that has continued ever since, but the end of that trend — the moment when transistors are as small as atoms, and cannot be shrunk any further — is expected as early as 2015. At the moment, researchers are seeking new concepts of electronics that sustain the growth of computing power.
Spintronics research attempts to develop a spin-based electronic technology that will replace the charge-based technology of semiconductors. Scientists have already begun to develop new spin-based electronics, beginning with the discovery in 1988 of giant magnetoresistance (GMR) effect. The discovery of GMR effect brought about a breakthrough in gigabyte hard disk drives and was also key in the development of portable electronic devices such as the iPod.
While conventional technology relies on harnessing the charge of electrons, the field of spintronics depends instead on the manipulation of electrons’ spin. One of the unique properties in spintronics is that spins can be transferred without the flow of electric charge currents. This is called “spin current” and unlike other concepts of harnessing electrons, the spin current can transfer information without generating heat in electric devices. The major remaining obstacle to a viable spin current technology is the difficulty of creating a volume of spin current large enough to support current and future electronic devices.
However, the new Cambridge researchers in close collaboration with Professor Sergej Demokritov group at the University of Muenster, Germany, have, in part, addressed this issue. In order to create enhanced spin currents, the researchers used the collective motion of spins called spin waves (the wave property of spins). By bringing spin waves into interaction, they have demonstrated a new, more efficient way of generating spin current.
Dr Hidekazu Kurebayashi, from the Microelectronics Group at the Cavendish Laboratory, said: “You can find lots of different waves in nature, and one of the fascinating things is that waves often interact with each other. Likewise, there are a number of different interactions in spin waves. Our idea was to use such spin wave interactions for generating efficient spin currents.”
According to their findings, one of the spin wave interactions (called three-magnon splitting) generates spin current ten times more efficiently than using pre-interacting spin-waves. Additionally, the findings link the two major research fields in spintronics, namely the spin current and the spin wave interaction.
June 28, 2011

Smartphone App Helps You Find Friends in a Crowd

The software, called eShadow, makes its debut at the IEEE International Conference on Distributed Computing Systems (ICDCS) on June 23 in Minneapolis.
It uses nearby wireless networks and smartphones’ wireless communication technologies to alert users that a friend who also uses the software is in the area — and gives directions to that friend’s location.
Dong Xuan, associate professor of computer science and engineering at Ohio State University, hopes that his research group’s software will also build bridges between strangers who share personal or professional interests.
At a business meeting such as ICDCS, for example, the software could remind a user of a forgotten acquaintance’s name, or help him or her make new professional contacts in the same area of research.
Since it enables face-to-face meetings, eShadow is a complement to online social networks such as Facebook, which excel at connecting people who are far apart, Xuan said.
“Today, online social networking has advanced dramatically, but our ability to meet people face-to-face hasn’t gotten any easier,” he said. “We want eShadow to close social gaps and connect people in meaningful ways, while keeping the technology non-intrusive and protecting privacy.”
The name eShadow comes from the idea that users input their interests into the software, and their smartphone broadcasts those interests to certain other users of the software — but only within 50 yards of the phone. So as users move, the broadcast follows them around like a shadow.
As to users’ safety, Xuan feels that, at least for some situations, meeting someone in person is safer than meeting them online.
“Online, people can steal others’ identity, or lie easily without detection. It’s much harder to pull off a masquerade in person,” he said.
Plus, users only share information which they want to share, and can observe potential friends at a distance before deciding whether to introduce themselves. Young people, Xuan pointed out, are especially comfortable with putting personal information online, and could readily adapt to using the software.
That said, people can be selective about who they wish to receive their eShadow signals. Users can select individuals from their phone’s contact list, and specifically de-select people as well.
“Say I’m from Ohio State, and someone else is from the University of Michigan, so I don’t want to talk to them. I just tell the software to ignore anyone who says they’re from Michigan,” Xuan laughed.
The researchers’ biggest challenges concerned efficient use of wireless communication, explained doctoral student Jin Teng. He and his colleagues wrote algorithms that let smartphones send and receive eShadow signals quickly, but without overwhelming a network.
In outdoor tests on the Ohio State campus, they measured how fast the software could detect users who were 20, 30, and 50 yards apart. They tested different numbers of users, from two to seven.
In all cases, the software was able to connect people within about half a minute — an average of 25 seconds for two users, and 35 seconds for seven.
Xuan noted that eShadow’s algorithms could be useful beyond socializing. Soldiers could use something akin to eShadow to locate each other on the battlefield.
Presently, the software works best when people move infrequently. Xuan and his research group are enhancing it to better accommodate motion. They are also extending it from Windows Mobile to support multiple smartphone platforms such as Android, and exploring opportunities for publicly releasing the software in the near future.
Other engineers on Xuan’s team include Xiaole Bai, an assistant professor of computer and information science at the University of Massachusetts at Dartmouth, and Boying Zhang, Xinfeng Li, and Adam C. Champion, all doctoral students at Ohio State.
This research was funded by Xuan’s National Science Foundation (NSF) CAREER award, an NSF Computer and Network Systems grant, and an Army Research Office grant.
June 10, 2011

Motorola Unveils The Android Powered Motorola Triumph

Motorola recently announced a new Android powered Motorola Triumph smartphone. This handset runs on the old Android 2.2 (Froyo) Operating System and it will be available exclusively to Virgin Mobile customers in the US. The Motorola Triumph comes with a 4.1 inch WVGA display, 1 GHz processor, 5 megapixel camera with HD (720p) video recording, 32 GB expandable memory and more.

June 9, 2011

>WebOS-Based HP TouchPad Tablet Coming July 1


Thanks to Stan Schroeder of Mashable 
Hoping to try out a tablet that’s not iOS or Android based? A new alternative is hitting the market: HP’s WebOS-based tablet, the TouchPad, will be shipping in the U.S. on July 1.
The Wi-Fi version of the device can be pre-ordered in North America and Europe on June 19. It’s coming to the U.S. on July 1, and will arrive in the UK, Ireland, France and Germany a few days later. Canadians can expect the TouchPad in mid-July.
HP says the TouchPad will reach Australia, Hong Kong, Italy, New Zealand, Singapore and Spain “later this year.”
The HP TouchPad is a 13.7 mm thin, 9.7-inch tablet with a dual-core 1.2 Ghz Snapdragon processor, 16 or 32GB of storage, 1 GB of RAM, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi and a 1.3-megapixel camera for video calls.The 16 GB version of the device costs $499.99, while the 32 GB version costs $599.99.