Samsung making a 40x slo-motion camera sensor

September 21, 2017 Leave a comment

According to a report this week in etnews, Samsung has designed a new image sensor capable of capturing up to 1,000 frames per second (fps), with mass production due to start in November. 
Such a sensor will allow for 40x slow motion video capture.

Source: Forbes


Google buys parts of HTC’s business

September 21, 2017 Leave a comment

Google is all set to buy part of HTC’s smartphone business.

HTC has confirmed the deal between the two company in a tweet saying ‘agreement with Google is to drive innovation and future product development in consumer hardware’

In a press release the company has said, ‘agreement is a testament to the decade-long strategic relationship between HTC and Google around the development of premium smartphones.’

HTC has clarified that ‘in addition to the talented and experienced team of professionals, Google will continue to have access to HTC’s IP to support the Pixel smartphone family.’

Google has also welcomed HC to its family with a blog post saying ‘we’ve signed an agreement with HTC, a leader in consumer electronics, that will fuel even more product innovation in the years ahead. With this agreement, a team of HTC talent will join Google as part of the hardware organization.’

In the blog post Senior Vice President (Hardware), Rick Osterloh of the company says , ‘we’re focused on building our core capabilities, while creating a portfolio of products that offers people a unique yet delightful experience only made possible by bringing together the best of Google software—like the Google Assistant—with thoughtfully designed hardware.’

He has also announced that Google would unveil its second generation of products on October 4.

HTC has said that the deal is subject to regulatory approvals and customary closing conditions. The deal is expected to close by early 2018.

कैसा हो सकता है ऐपल का नया आईफ़ोन?

September 1, 2017 Leave a comment

1सितंबर की 12 तारीख को ऐपल अपने नए स्मार्टफोन या स्मार्फन्स लॉन्च करने जा रहा है. इस बात की घोषणा ऐपल कर चुका है.

1976 में बनी इस कंपनी ने जून 2007 को अपना पहला आईफ़ोन बाज़ार में उतारा था और इस साल कंपनी आईफ़ोन के 10 साल पूरे करेगी.

ऐसे में कंपनी का नया फ़ोन या फ़ोन्स कैसे होंगे इसकी अटकलें शुरू हो गई हैं और सब जानना चाहते हैं कि कैसा होगा नया आईफ़ोन.

ब्लूमबर्ग के अनुसार कंपनी तीन नए स्मार्टफ़ोन लॉन्च कर सकती है जिसमें से एक प्रीमियम मॉडल होगा.

आईकल्चर का कहना है कि विश्वसनीय सूत्रों ने उन्हें बताया है कि ऐपल के अगले फ्लैगशिप स्मार्टफ़ोन का नाम होगा आईफ़ोन X यानी आईफ़ोन 10. और कंपनी की 10वीं सालगिरह के लिए ख़ास नाम होगा नए फ़ोन का.

वेबसाइट का कहना है कि नए फ़ोन का प्री-ऑर्डर 15 सितंबर से शुरू होगा जबकि शिपिंग 22 से शुरू होगी.

सप्लाई चेन में चल रही अफ़वाहों से आधार पर टाइम ने भी कहा है कि नए फ्लैगशिप फ़ोन का नाम आईफ़ोन X हो सकता है. इस वेबसाइट का फ़ोन का नया और बेहतर प्रोसेसर और इसका डिस्प्ले भी 5.5 इंच ये बड़ा हो सकता है.

दक्षिण कोरिया के ईटीन्यूज़ ने सूत्रों के हवाले से कहा है कि नए फ़ोन में एएलईडी डिस्प्ले हो सकता है. ऐपल सैमसंग के साथ मिल कर 5.85 इंच और 6.46 इंच के साइज़ के डिस्प्ले पर काम कर रहा है.

What’s ‘IN’ Dave Eggers ‘The Circle’?

August 31, 2017 Leave a comment

In his Book The Circle, McSweeney’s founder, novelist  Dave Eggers writes about a very ambitious company that aims to be the catalyst (and the pathway too) through which all the communication that happens both in private space and in government circle could be made to travel.

The company called The Circle is planning to plug all the communication wires to its own servers and centers to be able to help citizen (that’s what they call it) and better their lives – but which essentially means a privately-controlled super-surveillance structure. The ambition is to get everything of one’s life to be on camera 24×7 whether it is about health, personal life or any other aspect. Well, that kind-a means surveillance but with approval from the society.

The Circle (Dave Eggers novel - cover art).jpg

Source: Wikipedia

The book seems placed between movie “The Truman Show”, Orwell’s “1984” and widespread acceptance of social network.

The main character of the novel Mae, in fact, wears a wearable camera throughout the day and remains in touch with the world 24X7. The world could read her emails, look at her letters, her friends, places she visits- in which she is proud of. During the day time (when she is not in sleeping) she is allowed only 3 minutes of privacy, in the bathroom when she can put off the audio of her wearable camera.

When she signs for the health insurance of her father they also have to agree to 24×7 surveillance which finally leads to them leaving everything behind (including cutting communication ties with their only daughter Mae) and run away.

That’s not everything ‘The Circle’ talks about. I am listing out all the tech things that Eggers mentions in the book.

One Person, One Identity

Eggers writes about TruYou which is one identity for your online life, social network and connects to your real life.

According to a 2009 report from Sharon J. Watson, Senior Producer, Security Squared which explores the convergence of physical and logical identities, “once identities converge, it becomes critical to ensure the person holding that physical/logical credential is truly who you think they are.”

As companies are working to make online accounts more secure for you we expect convergence of identities, and in fact also expect biometric passwords to converge person’s real life and online life. Read- No more passwords in near future

If one looks at today the Apple itunes account and Gmail account do seem to progress in this direction.  With Windows

One when there will be one identity across multiple devices, the future does moves in the direction.

A Camera Society

24×7 monitoring via camera to record almost every aspect of one’s life and sending the data to cloud for the whole world to see, is what The Circle aspires to do.

The Circle believes in-

Secrets Are Lies

Sharing is Caring

Privacy is Theft


All that happens must be known

While the argument that supports it is that it helps other people understand more about a health issue, this seriously violates the right to privacy.

This seems to buy from George Orwell’s 1984 which talks about the camera surveillance and its impact on the society. But Eggers adds consent to it. Mae is in fact happy to be the face of this 24×7 camera.

No more private photos

 The Circle is building a photo cloud where one can post any pics and details and they are shared globally for anyone who wants to access them. These can then be used to trace any human in almost any corner of the world.

Mercer, who wanted to run away from the Camera society, met his end when he was discovered using this photo cloud and drones.

Today there are few apps and software that make it possible for one to load pics to the web and they are shared globally. The app Rolapp lets you also hides your whereabouts and lets you post anonymously.

Social network that helps interpreting ‘you’

The social media or, ‘Zing’ reads all the posts and data you enter and helps other interpret you and your interests. Though this sounds good it becomes awkward when few pics of a visit to Lebanon posted by Mae were read as her interest in the country. As a result of this Mae gets invitation to events related to these, which turns weird when she misses to attend one such event and is approached by the person who invited her for her rude behavior.

Reading the behavior of the users has been an area of interest of Facebook. In 2014 the Mark Zuckerberg created social network altered newsfeed of about 7,00,000 users to study how user behaviour changes on seeing emotional content on timeline. The study received criticism in media and came under scanner, as a UK data regulator is looking at the ethics of social network website when it allowed this research. Read Kashmir Hill’s report in Forbes.

Look at the Facebook Data Use Policy from September 23 2011, here and compare it with the Data use policy that is visible on the site today.

Merging boundaries between life on social media and real life

Another aspect The Circle talks about is Social Media transforming into a source of manufacturing opinion and it made the members feel like taking a real-life decision (on a virtual platform) that could impact real lives.

We do know that social media have become an integral part of lives and a platform where people can give opinion on almost everything.

“Social media have flattened hierarchies, and media consumers have become producers” say Patricia Moy and Brandon Bosch in Theories of public opinion.

‘Manufacturing Consent’ Edward S. Herman and Noam Chomsky gives some insights into ways in which dominating interests public opinion and choices can be in a free society. It says , “if the powerful are able to fix the premises of discourse, to decide what the general populace is allowed to see, hear, and think about, and to “manage” public opinion by regular propaganda campaigns, the standard view of how the system works is at serious odds with reality.”

It further talks about virtual communities which are essentially consumers and are actively participating in the real-world politics. It says “The steady advance, and cultural power, of marketing and advertising has caused “the displacement of a political public sphere by a depoliticized consumer culture.” And it has had the effect of creating a world of virtual communities built by advertisers and based on demographics and taste differences of consumers. These consumption- and style-based clusters are at odds with physical communities that share a social life and common concerns and which participate in a democratic order.”

Life of virtual tours only

Eggers mentions about the virtual tours which give one the experience of visiting a far off geographic area. Well, while that sounds pretty okay for many, it might become a problem when one refuses to explore new places just because one has the option of virtual visits.

Use of Drones like paper planes

Eggers writes about use of drones (with camera, mic and speaker built into it) that could be controlled from ground and are capable of sending live feed to the millions in the world.

Drones have become the center of attraction since 2013-14 with Amazon looking to use drones for package delivery (the service being called Prime Air), Domino testing pizza delivery via drones called DomiCopters, and introduction of the first wearable drone camera Nixie.

Latest report suggest that there are new drones that could now stream live feed to YouTube in 720p quality when they are up to one mile (1.6km) away from its controllers with almost no lag.

This inevitable development turns bad when it violates Mercer’s Right to Privacy. Mercer left the city to be away of cameras and wiped of his presence on Internet. Things turn bad when on insistence of Mae who is making a presentation, a bunch of people try to find Mercer’s whereabouts. They unleash drones on him and in a bid to escape cameras Mercer gets killed.

Identity tagging

Eggers writes about Identification of a person based on the photo and identity mark (bracelet, chip embedded in the body). This thing is about a piece of software which can read the identification of a person (match that with the criminal records) and point them on a map as colored bodies.

This way they could be identified before entering any building or neighborhood, via an alarm that automatically goes off when a colored body is spotted.

With smart cities coming up that talk about surveillance cameras placed in streets to catch those with a criminal record with the police, the idea seems to have already kicked off.

Read the transcript of Ted talk of Lawyer and TED fellow Catherine Crump, who talks about the American police collecting data about citizen via cameras installed at public places here.

Finding the origin, PastPerfect

Such photos and a person’s genetic information can be used to trace the family past of a person.

There is a website called Family Search that promises connecting families across generations via images. It actively gathers, preserves, and shares genealogical records worldwide and tries to find the past.

There is another website called The Internet Surname Database, which is a database of surname origins where one can search for her ancestors.

There are other resources too, read Chris Paton Tracing your Family History on the Internet.

Mandatory membership

 The Circle wants every person on the earth to become its member or to have its account. This it wants to utilize in alerting all members during elections and for this it wants to make it mandatory for people to have a The Circle Account.

In January 2012 Google made a move that made new Gmail users to sigh in for a Google+ (Google’s social network) account. This was similar to the mandatory account creation for new YouTube accounts and mandatory facebook mail id when signing for facebook account.

Later in September 2014 Google removed this with a ‘No Thanks’ button.

Read the timeline of events that happened at Google between December 2013 to September 2014.

Facebook also tried to push a mandatory email address as the only contact email address to the existing and new of the social network. This showed up by default on your Facebook page or Timeline publicly.

Later in February 2014 it had to roll back the mail id as “Most people have not been using their email address” according to TheVerge.

Did Dave Eggers miss out something?

When the society is making a progress in every aspect of science and technology and we are seeing the rise of artificial intelligence machines and robots, Eggers misses these man-made machines completely in The Circle.

Eggers writes a lot about tiny and not-so-tiny drones which are indeed robots; he writes about the software that learns from you, reads you, scans you (that’s what we call artificial intelligence is, right?), but does not talk about the heavy machines based on this software, that will work for us in future.

He also forgets the technology that will power future cars and planes. Mae uses her car, Mercer uses a truck and Annie travels using plane but there is no single line of tech driving these vehicles.

Well, he is writing about software that could enslave human (democracies too—might be because the demand of transparency from people justifies the need of making everything public – All that happens must be known), and not about huge pieces of metals that could dominate the world.

Google Play Protect

August 31, 2017 Leave a comment

Google has launched Play Protect that will continuously work to keep the Android device, data and apps safe.

Play Protect will actively scan the device continuously to keep it safe.

Google says, “We vet every app developer in Google Play and suspend those who violate our policies. Play Protect scans billions of apps daily to make sure that everything remains spot on.”


Telcos argue for revenue-share model with content creators

August 31, 2017 Leave a comment

At an open house session called by Trai on the issue of net neutrality on Wednesday, telecom companies demanded commercial arrangements with content creators to further monetise their mobile networks. The telecom players have been pushing for a share of the advertising pie generated by content companies, saying that they have made investments in network and spectrum.

Sarahah app uploads your contacts, finds Security Ananlyst

August 29, 2017 Leave a comment

The messaging app Sarahah that claims that it “gets honest feedback from your co-workers and friends” got a good response from its users. I see a lot of my Facebook Friends using it to post candid anonymous messages on their timeline.

The app also claims that it “doesn’t steal data”.

But a recent report from The Intercept says the app collects “immediately harvests and uploads all phone numbers and email addresses in your address book.” That means it reads your contacts (numbers and email ids).

According to the news report says a senior security analyst at Bishop Fox, Zachary Julian found that the app was uploading his private data.

It says, his Android phone with Android 5.1.1 was outfitted with monitoring software, known as Burp Suite, which intercepts internet traffic entering and leaving the device, allowing the owner to see what data is sent to remote servers. When Julian launched Sarahah on the device, Burp Suite caught the app uploading his private data.

He checked this with iOS and it was true for the iOS version of the app. He posted a video of his testing the app on Internet, watch it here-

When the story was tweeted by The Intercept, the Founder of the app Zain Alabdin Tawfiq responded to the claims. He tweeted

“Sarahah App asked for contacts for a planned “find your friends” feature.”