Browsing "Older Posts"

  • Netbot, One Of The Great Apps For iOS, Is Now Free

    By Rubel → Friday, February 26, 2016
    A Microsoft representative shows a smartphone with Windows 10 operating system at the CeBIT trade fair in Hanover in this file photo from March, 2015. REUTERS

    Microsoft's plan to make its new version of Windows a mobile hit by letting it accept tweaked Apple and Android apps has met an obstacle: some of the software developers the company needs to woo just aren't interested.

    Windows phones accounted for just 3 percent of global smartphone sales last year, compared with about 81 percent for devices with Google's Android system and 15 percent for Apple and its iOS system, according to research firm IDC. One reason is that Windows doesn't run as many or as attractive apps as its rivals.

    "Windows phone will have to gain a significant share of the market before this becomes something that saves us time and/or money," said Sean Orelli, a director at app development firm Fuzz Productions in New York, which makes apps related to Citibank, the New York Post, and Conde Nast, among others.

    For Microsoft, the world's biggest software company, there's a lot at stake this summer as it rolls out Windows 10, the first operating system designed to run on PCs, tablets and phones. If developers don't embrace the new platform, it will seriously damage the prospects of the new operating system, which Microsoft hopes will power one billion devices in two or three years.

    Candy crush

    Interviews with more than a dozen developers found just one planning to move an app from Apple or Android to Microsoft. That's, which ported its popular Candy Crush Saga game from iOS to Windows 10 "with very few code modifications" and will be installed automatically with upgrades to Windows 10, according to Microsoft. confirmed the move but declined to comment further.

    Eight developers said they aren't planning to develop for Windows 10 at all. Four who already have Windows apps said they would continue to do so.

    Because Microsoft hasn't actually unveiled its new set of tools to turn apps into a Windows format, developers did not rule out any move, and a Microsoft spokesman said that "it is still early" and many software companies want to explore the tools over the coming months.

    Because of that trend, "it's going to be hard for developers to prioritize building for Microsoft," said John Milinovich, Chief Executive of URX, a mobile ad service that creates links between apps.

    Static business

    Windows, closely tied to the stagnant PC market, is a big but static business for Microsoft. It's likely worth $20 billion in revenue this fiscal year, analysts say, compared with almost $30 billion for its Office business, out of total expected annual revenue of $93 billion. The company's server software and cloud-computing businesses are growing much faster, with cloud-computing revenue forecast to triple to $20 billion by 2018.

    Erik Rucker, head of mobile at Smartsheet, which makes an online tool to manage projects, said he doesn't plan a Windows app version. He doubts tweaking an iPad or iPhone app for Windows would be simple.

    "We'd end up writing a whole bunch more code," to move over an Apple app that was tightly integrated with the device, he said.

    For Jason Thane, general manager at General UI, a mobile app developer based in Seattle, the cost of developing a Windows app from another system would need to fall to about 10 percent to 20 percent of the cost of building it.

    "I'd like to at some point, but we're not working on it yet," he said. "It's a function of resources."

    The best experience was always going to be achieved with tools made for a given software system, said Christopher Kamsler, manager of mobile development at Gannett, and even with those his team had to tweak the app to work for different sized devices.

    It's an uphill battle for Microsoft, said Frank Gillett, an analyst at tech research firm Forrester.

    "Android and iOS are in the zone, the Windows guys just aren't there yet," he said.
  • Yahoo Killing Message Boards Site and Other Products

    By Rubel →
    The board of Yahoo Inc is weighing a sale of its core Internet business when it meets this week, a source familiar with the matter told Reuters.

    The board's meeting comes amid a broader debate about the future of the company and that of high-profile Chief Executive Marissa Mayer.

    The Wall Street Journal first reported the possible sale of the Internet business late on Tuesday.

    People familiar with the matter told the newspaper the board was expected to also discuss during meetings from Wednesdaythrough Friday whether to proceed with a plan to spin off more than $30 billion in shares of Alibaba Holding Group Ltd.

    The company could also pursue both options, the paper said.

    The company's shares were up more than 7 percent in extended trading.

    Yahoo's core business, which includes popular services like Yahoo Mail and its news and sports sites, could attract private equity firms, media and telecom companies or firms like Softbank Group Corp, analysts have said in the past.

    Yahoo declined to comment on the report.

    The news comes as Mayer faces growing pressure over the company's performance. Mayer came to Yahoo after a long stint at Google.

    Her arrival kicked off heightened expectations of a quick turnaround at Yahoo, which had struggled to grow its advertising business to compete with market leaders Google and Facebook.

    Hopes of a comeback crumbled as Yahoo's plan to push mobile, video, native and social media ads - a strategy Mayer introduced in 2014 under the acronym Mavens - failed to increase revenues as desktop search ads continued to decline.

    A $1.1 billion deal in 2013 to acquire social blogging site Tumblr also hit snags, with investors arguing that Mayer overpaid for an unprofitable product.

    The deal lifted Yahoo's user base to about 1 billion but did not bring in advertisers.

    In September, Yahoo's plans for the spinoff of its stake in Alibaba hit a roadblock when the US Internal Revenue Service denied a request to bless the transaction as a tax-free deal.

    Yahoo said it planned to proceed with the spinoff despite the IRS announcement, but has not yet done so.

    In November, activist investor Starboard Value LP asked Yahoo to drop plans to spin off its stake in Alibaba and urged the company to sell its core search and display advertising businesses instead.

    During Mayer's 13-year tenure at Google, she led the Google Earth, Gmail and Google News teams and is credited with helping create the company's celebrated search page.
  • Twitter Outages = Snow Day On The Internet

    By Rubel →
    Colombia has found the wreck of a Spanish galleon that sank off the coast of Cartagena and is thought to be laden with emeralds and gold and silver coins, President Juan Manuel Santos said on Friday.

    More details will be provided at a news conference on Saturday, Santos said from his Twitter account.

    The San Jose sank in 1708 in the Caribbean Sea close to the walled port city of Cartagena. It was part of the fleet of King Philip V as he fought the English during the War of Spanish Succession.

    "Great news! We have found the San Jose galleon. Tomorrow we will provide details at a press conference from Cartagena," Santos tweeted.

    The government's claim on Friday did not shed light on a legal wrangle with Sea Search Armada, a US-based salvage company which had a long-standing suit against Bogota over ownership of the wreck. SSA said in 1981 it had located the area in which the ship sank.

    SSA and the government were partners back then and following international custom, they agreed to split any proceeds. The government later said any treasure would belong to Colombia.

    In 2011 a US court declared the galleon property of the Colombian state.
  • Haters As A Leading Indicator Of Success

    By Rubel →

    President Md Abdul Hamid, saying the government alone cannot ensure all-round progress, has called for local initiative to hasten development.

    “The government has certain constraints, since ours is a developing country. It is not possible for the government to ensure overall development,” he said at the inauguration of the ‘Noakhali Utsab 2015’ at Dhaka’s Suhrawardy Udyan on Friday.

    “Groups of local residents or professionals and other social organisations can play an important role in regional development and social reforms,” he said in his speech.

    The Noakhali Zilla Samity was the programme organiser.

    Road Transport Minister Obaidul Quader, Dhaka North City Corporation Mayor Annisul Huq, Noakhali Sadar MP Ekramul Karim Chowdhury, also spoke on the occasion.

    The president urged the Noakhali businessmen to set up industries in their own areas.

    “You can combine your efforts to set up a specialised economic zone. I believe the government will back the endeavour,” he added.

    He said the district could also take advantage of its topography to promote tourism.

    “I urge everyone to do something for their own localities... With our contribution, the country will surely develop,” the president added.
  • The Taj Mahal is a best Nice Place in India

    By Rubel →
    The Taj Mahal is the India's most famous monument, which is in the running to be voted as one of the seven new Wonders of the World, flanks a stinking, garbage-infested river and is almost always enveloped by dust and smog from belching smokestacks and vehicles.

    India's most famous monument, which is in the running to be voted as one of the seven new Wonders of the World, flanks a stinking, garbage-infested river and is almost always enveloped by dust and smog from belching smokestacks and vehicles.

    Millions of Indians hope the majestic white marble mausoleum, which took 17 years and 20,000 workers to build, will feature on the Wonders list, but conservationists and environmentalists are urging people to pay attention to its darker side.

    "If things continue like this, the Taj Mahal's age will decrease, like that of a diseased man," said K.S. Rana, a leading campaigner for saving the Taj, located in Agra, a four-hour drive from New Delhi.

    "Because of the pollution, there will be a corrosion effect, a deterioration of sorts in the stones."

    Earlier this year, a parliamentary committee said airborne particles were being deposited on the poignant 17th century monument's white marble, giving it a yellow tinge.

    But the committee said while air pollutants such as sulphur dioxide and nitrous oxide gases were generally within permissible limits, "suspended particulate matter" had been recorded at high levels except during the rainy season.

    Environmentalists and historians worry the soot and fumes would eventually dull the gleaming white monument.
  • The New York City Busy Street in USA

    By Rubel →
    When Seema Shrikhande goes to work, she drives. When she takes her son to school, they drive. And when she goes shopping, to the bank or to visit friends, she gets into her car, buckles up and hits the road.

    Driving is a way of life for Americans but researchers say the national habit of driving everywhere is bad for health.

    The more you drive, the less you walk. Walking provides exercise without really trying.

    Ideally, people should take 10,000 steps a day to maintain wellness, according to James Hill, professor of pediatrics at the University of Colorado.

    But for those who only walk from their home to the car and from their car to an office and back again, that figure can sink to only 1,000 steps.

    A car culture forces people to make time to exercise and driving long distances reduces the time available to work out.

    "If it (Atlanta) was a city where I walked more I would automatically get a lot of the exercise I need. Now I have to ... schedule it into my life. Sometimes it's very difficult because I'm busy," said Shrikhande, a professor of communications at Oglethorpe University in Atlanta.

    Obesity and heart disease are two of many problems associated with a sedentary lifestyle.

    Car dependence makes it harder to get the 75 minutes of intense weekly exercise or the 150 minutes of moderate exercise the government recommends, said Dr. Dianna Densmore of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

    Lawrence Frank of the University of British Columbia has even quantified the link between the distance people drive each day and their body weight.

    "Every additional 30 minutes spent in a car each day translates into a 3 percent greater chance of being obese," he said. "People who live in neighborhoods with a mix of shops and businesses within easy walking distance are 7 percent less likely to be obese."
  • Mobile Apps In The Enterprise: 7 Essentials For The New Ecosystem

    By Rubel →
    At some Macy's outlets this holiday season, shoppers who download the retailer’s app will be able to use their smart phones to guide them through the store to products they’re seeking.

    At JCPenney, customers will be able to take a snapshot of, for example, boots worn by a person passing by and quickly find out if the store has similar ones in stock.

    And Staples is testing an app that will allow sales clerks to let customers know how the store’s prices match up against Amazon and other rivals.

    Hoping to claw back market share from online rivals - and tired of watching customers use their phones to find better deals than those offered in stores - brick and mortar retailers are trying to give shoppers different reasons to use their phones while doing holiday shopping.

    The new apps will allow customers to easily order out-of-stock items for home delivery, to check store prices and even to summon a clerk.

    But the retailers’ efforts will face two significant challenges in the looming holiday season: getting customers to embrace the new technology, which is still sometimes glitchy and dependent on in-store systems, and getting them to trust that stores can match the Web’s prices and convenience.

    Retail purchases by mobile phone have increased by 34 percent in the last year, according to IBM, which estimates that more than 40 percent of the online traffic and about 20 percent of sales this Thanksgiving weekend will come from smart phones.

    A Reuters/Ipsos poll of more than 3,000 respondents this month found that about half of those surveyed said they would use their mobile phones while shopping in stores this holiday season, for such things as making price comparisons, taking photos or researching products.

    Last year, only about 42% of respondents said they would use their phones while shopping.

    Companies that don’t make mobile work are playing a "very dangerous" game, said Jay Henderson, head of IBM’s cloud-based marketing platform.

    "Retailers that can’t deliver a more personalized experience on mobile devices will start losing customers to businesses that can," he said.

    In addition to its pilot programme guiding customers to products within stores, and a photo programme similar to JCPenney's, Macy's has taken inspiration from dating app Tinder, recommending products to customers online who swipe one way to like an item and the other to reject it.

    JCPenney's app can be used to scan barcodes to pull up product information or order out of stock items, and it saves digital coupons - two increasingly common offerings in retailer apps.

    “We look at using phones in stores as an enhancement to shopping,” said Kate Coultas, a representative with JCPenney which is heavily focused on mobile this year.

    Service with a tap

    Stores are trying to make customer service easier, too.

    Best Buy's app now lets shoppers call, text or email a representative while in stores.

    Target Corp is testing an in-store "digital service ambassador" in 25 Los Angeles stores to help customers use Target apps.

    Ulta Beauty is testing an app that will allow clerks to access customer information and point them to products they might like.

    Faisal Masud, executive vice president of global e-commerce at Staples, said his company knows that it must satisfy the desires of its customers to find low prices.

    The company, like many others, will match online and in-store prices of competitors, including Amazon, Best Buy and Office Depot.

    Customers “have a phone that is basically a super computer, and they will find it somewhere else” for less if they can, he said.

    Companies offering web apps and in-store technologies will also have to grapple with keeping the new apps and systems working and up to date. That means ensuring that WiFi in stores works, and that terminals function.

    Recent visits to a Staples store in New York City found that a kiosk set up to allow people to order online wasn’t functioning, and at a JCPenney store in the city, the Wifi didn’t work.

    Both companies said the problems encountered were unusual and that they have backup systems in place.

    "Poorly executed plans can be worse than no mobile strategy at all," said Perry Kramer, vice president at Boston Retail Partners. "The dangers are losing those customers for the rest of the year or for a long time."
  • Why Android Takes Forever to Get Cool Apps

    By Rubel →
    Some phonemakers are quietly exploring alternatives to the Android operating system implicated in the Samsung-Apple ruling, industry watchers say, despite their public pronouncements they are sticking with the technology.

    Some phonemakers are quietly exploring alternatives to the Android operating system implicated in the Samsung-Apple ruling, industry watchers say, despite their public pronouncements they are sticking with the technology.

    Last week, a US court ruled Samsung's Android devices were violating Apple patents - a major blow to the leading mobile software platform because it could lead to sales bans and high licensing fees.

    The impact could also hit smaller vendors that use Android like HTC, ZTE, and Sony. Android is used in more than two thirds of smart phones.

    Huawei, Sony, Lenovo and ZTE - which all use Android extensively - told Reuters they were continuing to bet on the Google's platform despite the ruling.

    "(The ruling) is not relevant to what we are doing," said Chris Edwards, chief of ZTE's business development in Europe.

    But as the mobile market matures and more patent cases look likely, some makers are looking at the alternatives.

    Samsung, which has used a number of platforms but now mostly uses Android, announced a new phone running on Microsoft's new Windows Phone 8 software at a consumer technology conference on Wednesday, sneaking ahead of a hotly-anticipated launch of a Nokia-Windows phone due next week.

    Shares in Nokia, which has partnered with Windows and is its main user, jumped after the Samsung ruling on expectations it might be a safer legal bet than Android makers.

    The California jury said Samsung infringed six of seven Apple patents in the case, including technology that recognizes whether one or two fingers are on the screen, the front surface of the phone and the design of screen icons, which is a clear reference to Google's technology.

    After the verdict, Google said that most of the patents involved "don't relate to the core Android operating system."

    Android was used in 68 percent of all smartphones sold last quarter, with Samsung making almost half of them, while Microsoft had 3 percent market share.

    The balance of power is unlikely to shift quickly as this season's new phones were all made before the ruling.

    Sony launched three Android phones this week at IFA, Europe's largest consumer electronics fair. Chinese phone maker Huawei launched four.
  • Internet, Keep Your Damn Hands Off My Rom Coms

    By Rubel →
  • How to Start Investing in Stocks with Only $100 in Your Pocket

    By Rubel →
    As stocks soar, everybody wants in. Bourses are on a roll, indices have hit new highs drawing in new investors. But the price of many issues rising far beyond their fundamentals has led the Securities and Exchange Commission to voice concern recently on the "abnormal" state of the stock market. As economic indicators show signs of sluggishness in countrywide business and investment, the stock market's remarkable buoyancy would appear to oppose rational behaviour. Analysts say the market is behaving in apparent opposition, however, precisely because excess liquidity is being diverted to the stock market. A lack of business and investment opportunities has resulted in idle funds, which have been pouring into stocks.

    But the price of many issues rising far beyond their fundamentals has led the Securities and Exchange Commission to voice concern recently on the "abnormal" state of the stock market.

    As economic indicators show signs of sluggishness in countrywide business and investment, the stock market's remarkable buoyancy would appear to oppose rational behaviour.

    Analysts say the market is behaving in apparent opposition, however, precisely because excess liquidity is being diverted to the stock market.

    A lack of business and investment opportunities has resulted in idle funds, which have been pouring into stocks.

    "The share market usually rises if there are signs of hopes in the economy. [At present] pessimism prevails in the economy while optimism prevails in the stock market. It is contradictory," said Abu Ahmed, who teaches economics at Dhaka University.

    "Bangladesh's share market is proving the existing economic theories wrong simply because the economy is slowing down while the market is getting overheated," he said.

    Official statistics shows that business and industry performances, as evidenced by exports and investments, are not healthy.

    Overall earnings from exports declined 21.08 percent to $902.33 million in July, from the same month a year ago, depressed by a 24 percent fall in export earnings from garment, the main foreign exchange earner.

    Local and foreign investment proposals with the Board of Investment also dropped substantially, although banks are sitting with over Tk 142 billion in excess liquidity.

    By contrast, the stock market except for price corrections—and occasional shocks on fears of anticorruption and anti-tax evasion drives—has been heating up since January as investors regained confidence after fears of a political fallout.

    The market's buoyancy may not bring any positive impact on economic growth in the short-run, say analysts, but could be a future avenue for raising capital for industrialisation after the economy passes a correction phase.
  • 10 Actionable Trends For Mobile Marketers In 2013

    By Rubel →
    Now one of Asia's top 10 mobile phone markets in terms of adding net subscribers, according to the chairman of GSM Asia Pacific, an alliance of GSM mobile operators. Mehboob Chowdhury spoke exclusively to Technology Editor Abu Saeed Khan.

    Besides, the country has added 8.945 million GSM mobile users in a single year -- from July 2005 to June 2006, according to the latest figure of GSM Association.
    "It has put Bangladesh in the top tenth position among the worldwide mobile markets," Chowdhury says.

    In an exclusive interview with the, Chowdhury discloses that Bangladesh now ranks eighth among the top 10 Asian mobile markets in terms of adding net subscribers during January to March, 2006.

    Citing the data of Informa Telecoms & Media, a London-based research firm, he says Bangladesh has had 1.265 million new users during the first quarter of 2006. The figure is slightly lower than the net addition of Thailand and Philippines combined, and marginally lower than seventh-ranked Malaysia's first quarter intake.

    Vietnam, fifth on the list, has added more than two million mobile subscribers during this period, but its total clientele was smaller than what Bangladesh had in the first quarter of 2006.

    The chairman of GSM Asia Pacific credits the cellular mobile operators with this achievement while being critical of the government's "pounding the industry with disruptive policies."

    "When the operators made new connections affordable and started slashing the call charges; the government came up with this disastrous tax last year. It was a bolt from the blue (for the operators) that slowed down the market for a while."

    The operators, however, turned things around by subsidising this "mindless tax" to revive the growth. The new 8.945 million GSM mobile users that have put Bangladesh in the global map is the result of the operators' continuous subsidy, Chowdhury points out.
  • BlackBerry Z10 review: a new life, or life support?

    By Rubel →
    BlackBerry Ltd said on Friday it was entering a handset production deal that lowers the risk it will have to take more massive writedowns on unsold smartphones, and its shares surged even though it posted dismal quarterly results.

    The stock rose as much as 17 percent after the company announced the five-year partnership with FIH Mobile Ltd. The Hong Kong-listed unit of Taiwan's Foxconn will initially build low-end devices for sale in Indonesia and other emerging markets. BlackBerry said it hoped to expand the fledgling relationship to its top-of-the-line smartphones.

    The deal is unconventional in that BlackBerry will no longer pay upfront for components used in the devices made on its behalf in Foxconn's Indonesian and Mexican factories.

    Instead, Foxconn, the trading name of Hon Hai Precision Industry, will take a share of profit on each device in return for taking on inventory management, which can result in writedowns if smartphones go unsold. Foxconn will also help with developing, designing and distributing the handsets.

    Chief Executive John Chen, who took the helm at BlackBerry last month, said he expected the Foxconn deal to help BlackBerry's handset business turn cash-flow positive, and for the company as a whole to post a profit for the fiscal year that begins in early 2015.

    "It's almost like BlackBerry is disposing of its consumer handset business without actually disposing of it," said Jefferies analyst Peter Misek, who likened the deal to what Hewlett-Packard Co and Dell have done with laptops.

    The move, which comes a month after BlackBerry said it was giving up on a plan to sell itself, helped take the sting out of the massive, $4.4 billion loss that it posted for the quarter ended November 30, as smartphone sales shrivelled.

    A new line of devices running on BlackBerry 10 software has failed to gain traction, forcing the company to write off $1.6 billion of inventory and supply commitments for the quarter. The previous quarter it wrote off $934 million for unsold phones.
  • Make Better Presentations With the Instagram for Pitch Decks

    By Rubel →
    Facebook will pay $1 billion in cash and stock for Instagram, a 2-year-old photo-sharing application developer, in its largest-ever acquisition just months before the No. 1 social media website is expected to go public.

    SAN FRANCISCO, Apr 10 ( - Facebook will pay $1 billion in cash and stock for Instagram, a 2-year-old photo-sharing application developer, in its largest-ever acquisition just months before the No. 1 social media website is expected to go public.

    The price was stunning for an apps-maker without any significant revenue, even when measured by the lofty standards of Silicon Valley, where startup valuations have soared in recent years. It highlights the rising stakes in the social networking market in which services such as Facebook need to constantly excite consumers with new features and mobile applications.

    By acquiring Instagram - in a deal announced days after the startup closed a funding round that valued it at $500 million - Facebook may also have sought to absorb a potential rival or at least prevent it from falling into the hands of a major competitor like Twitter or Google Inc.

    "Anytime you see a social platform that's growing that quickly, that's got to be cause to be nervous," said Paul Buchheit, a partner at the start-up incubator program Y Combinator and a co-founder of FriendFeed, which Facebook acquired in 2009.

    "It would be better to have bought Twitter at this stage," he said of Facebook. "So if you're thinking this could be the next Twitter, it could be a smart thing to do."

    The Instagram application, which allows users to add filters and effects to pictures taken on their iPhone and Android devices and to share those photos with their friends, has gained about 30 million users since it launched in January 2011.

    Instagram says that as of the end of 2011, its users had uploaded some 400 million photos or about 60 pix per second, suggesting the sort of activity that Facebook seeks as it tries to wring revenue from mobile devices. Instagram launched its Android app just last week, garnering more than one million downloads already.

    As Instagram's popularity has shot up in recent months, the company's leadership has mulled possible strategies to expand the service into a fully featured social network - much like a photo-driven, stripped-down version of Facebook, Twitter, or even Path, a company insider said.

    Instagram is "a property that would have been amazingly valuable to not just Facebook, certainly Twitter was in the hunt as well," said Lou Kerner, founder of the Social Internet Fund.

    "I'm sure Google was interested as well. So to some degree an acquisition like this is both offensive and defensive. It would be a highly leveragable asset for anybody who wanted to compete against Facebook."
  • Makerbot Digitizer Will Let Anyone Scan and Print Physical Items in 3D

    By Rubel →
    In a world first, a groundbreaking 3D-printed device has helped three toddlers suffering from a life-threatening condition lead a normal life.

    Kaiba, Garrett and Ian in the US had a terminal form of tracheobronchomalacia -- a severe disease which causes the windpipe to collapse periodically and prevents normal breathing.

    There was no cure and life-expectancies were grim. The custom-designed airway splints from University of Michigan's CS Mott Children's Hospital have kept their airways open, restored their breathing and saved their lives.

    "These cases broke new ground for us because we were able to use 3D printing to design a device that successfully restored patients' breathing through a procedure that had never been done before," explained senior author Glenn Green, associate professor of paediatric otolaryngology.

    Kaiba was just a newborn when he turned blue because his little lungs were not getting the oxygen they needed.

    Garrett spent the first year of his life in hospital beds tethered to a ventilator, being fed through his veins because his body was too sick to absorb food.

    Baby Ian's heart stopped before he was even six-months-old.

    Using 3D printing, Green and his colleague Scott Hollister were able to create and implant customised tracheal splints for each patient.

    The device was created directly from CT scans of their tracheas, integrating an image-based computer model with laser-based 3D printing to produce the splint.

    The splint was sewn around their airways to expand the trachea and bronchus and give it a skeleton to aid proper growth.

    The splint is designed to be reabsorbed by the body over time.

    Researchers closely followed their cases to see how well the airway splints implanted in all three patients worked and the results are promising.

    "Today, our first patient Kaiba is an active, healthy three-year-old in preschool with a bright future. The device worked better than we could have ever imagined," Green informed.

    Now an energetic two-and-a-half-year-old with a contagious laugh, Garrett is able to breathe on his own and spend his days ventilator-free.

    Ian, now 17-months-old, is known for his huge grins, enthusiastic high fives and love for playing with his big brother, Owen.

    None of the devices, which were implanted in then three-month-old Kaiba, five-month-old Ian and 16-month-old Garrett have caused any complications.

    The findings also show that the patients were able to come off of ventilators and no longer needed paralytics, narcotics and sedation.

    Researchers noted improvements in multiple organ systems.

    "This treatment continues to prove to be a promising option for children facing this life-threatening condition that has no cure, the authors concluded.

    The results were published in the journal Science Translational Medicine.
  • Does Apple Ever Regret Making The iPad Mini?

    By Rubel →
    Samsung fought until the bitter end to avoid paying Apple, but the company now says it will finally hand over the more than $548 million it owes for infringing the patents and designs of its biggest smartphone rival.

    In papers filed in federal court in San Jose, California on Thursday, Samsung Electronics Co Ltd said it will make the payment by Dec 14 if Apple Inc sends an invoice on Friday.

    Asked if it had done so, Apple declined to comment on Friday.

    The payment comes after a US appeals court last May reduced a $930 million judgment against Samsung by $382 million, stemming from a 2012 verdict for infringing Apple patents and copying the look of the iPhone.

    Another trial over remaining damages relating to some of Samsung's infringing products in the case is set to go ahead next spring.

    Even though the US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit in Washington, DC had authorised damages to Apple in May, Samsung again appealed the final figure to the same court, and was rebuffed twice more.

    Now agreeing to pay, Samsung told the San Jose court that it expects to be reimbursed if it eventually succeeds in a forthcoming appeal to the US Supreme Court over its liability for copying the patented designs of the surface, bezel and user interface of the iPhone, which accounted for $399 million of the total award.

    South Korea-based Samsung also said it reserved the right to be reimbursed in the future if a decision by the US Patent and Trademark Office invalidating one of the Apple patents in the case, related to touchscreen gestures, is upheld.

    Apple intends to appeal that ruling and said in court documents it "disputes Samsung's asserted rights to reimbursement."

    "We are disappointed that the court has agreed to proceed with Apple's grossly exaggerated damages claims regardless of whether the patents are valid," a Samsung spokeswoman said in a statement.
  • The Madness of Guns and the Digital Cure

    By Rubel →
    There is a reason people still buy CDs more than they do digital albums. Actually there are several, but viruses that come along with music via peer-to-peer sites (P2P) and a concern over digital rights management (DRM) aren't the only culprits.

    For the former, iTunes is the most likely candidate.

    Although hardly life-threatening, iTunes is facing new competition from Amazon and a variety of social networking sites. While it has made great advancements with the iPod, iTunes' innovation has been slow. The service looks and operates much like it always has. The only new features are in video.

    In 2008, look for Apple to make nice with its label partners by offering a bit more with each download, such as lyrics and more interactive album art.

    iTunes is the only music service that has a built-in video download feature. The others offer only streaming video. It's also one of the few services that feature a tightly integrated device -- the iPod. Apple is in a great position to roll out new features across its online store and its devices at the same time.

    Microsoft's Zune is another place to watch for this, for the same reasons. It also has the integrated service and device, as well as ownership of the technical building blocks needed (such as Windows Media Player). And since it's still lagging far behind Apple in the digital music game, Microsoft could easily tap digital extras as a battleground for new market share.

    The problem is that the four major music companies rarely work together on anything. So another angle would be for each to go it alone. If digital music services can't or won't incorporate better metadata into their downloaded files, look for third-party applications to emerge that will do so after the fact.

    Early examples of this are two games developed for the iPod -- "Musicka," created by the developers of the original music rhythm game "PaRappa the Rapper," and "Phase," created by "Rock Band" and original "Guitar Hero" developer Harmonix. Both are rhythm-based games that let users "play" along to the songs on their device by pressing buttons at the right time.
  • Some Of The Important Tips Help Relieve Digital Eye Strain

    By Rubel →
    When we talk about technology and crime, or technological crime, we probably refer to crimes using new technologies, that is information and communication technologies (ICTs).

    It is very difficult to define, as new technologies continue to emerge and the examples become redundant. In some cities in some countries, burglary is a forgotten thing, thanks to burglar alarms.

    Closed-circuit TV cameras solve a lot of problems but they create quite a few. Surveillance helps, serving as a powerful deterrent. But all these prying eyes of cameras installed in the name of security become a huge nuisance for some of us; citizens’ groups often raise their voice about invasion into our privacy.

    At times, these surveillance cameras have caught images not authorised by the law. We have one recent example in Bangladesh. Grooming and other personal service provider, Persona, was allegedly, going beyond limits and suddenly found itself in the news headlines.

    Carjacking once became very common even in countries where the car population outstripped the human population. There came the technology – alarms, tracking devices, keys with ability to read its owner’s fingerprints – to supplement all the other existing ways of finding or tracking down a stolen car.

    For someone who is neither a techie, legal professional, nor a law enforcer but merely a newsgatherer and publisher, the perspective is different. In my struggle to put something together in this particular case, I consulted my colleagues and friends who take interest in such matters.

    The first thing that came to mind in most cases was: The tragedy at Ramu.

    My colleagues worked overnight to tell the story to the world – the Prime Minister was then out of the country. In New York, meeting world leaders, the Prime Minister ordered immediate response to support the victims and find out the culprits.
  • Pebble Smartwatch Shipping To 500 Kickstarter Backers, Starting Today

    By Rubel →
    Taiwan's Quanta Computer Inc will start mass production of Apple Inc's first smartwatch in July, a source familiar with the matter said, as the US tech giant tries to prove it can still innovate against rival Samsung Electronics Co Ltd.

    The watch, which remains unnamed but which company followers have dubbed the iWatch, will be Apple's first foray into a niche product category that many remain sceptical about, especially as to whether it can drive profits amid cooling growth in tech gadgets.

    The production will be a boost to Quanta, given that its work for Apple till now has focused on laptops and iPods, product lines that are in decline. Quanta's role though is likely to raise questions about what involvement Hon Hai Precision Industry Co, one of Apple's biggest suppliers, will play in production.

    While the watch is widely expected, the start date of its mass production and the extent of Quanta's involvement were not known until now. Mass production will start in July and the commercial launch will come as early as October, according to the source and another person familiar with the matter.

    Apple will introduce a smartwatch with a display that likely measures 2.5 inches diagonally and is slightly rectangular, one of the sources said. The source added that the watch face will protrude slightly from the band, creating an arched shape, and will feature a touch interface and wireless charging capabilities.

    The source said Apple expects to ship 50 million units within the first year of the product's release, although these types of initial estimates can be subject to change. The watch is currently in trial production at Quanta, which will be the main manufacturer, accounting for at least 70 percent of final assembly, the source said.

    Like many other smartwatches, Apple's watch will be able to perform some functions independently, but tasks like messaging and voice chat will require a paired smartphone, according to the source. The device will only be compatible with gadgets running Apple's iOS, like its flagship iPhone, one of the sources said.

    Most mainstream smartwatches collect data about the user's heart rate and other health-related metrics, in addition to facilitating tasks like checking e-mail and making phone calls.

    A third source said LG Display Co Ltd is the exclusive supplier of the screen for the gadget's initial batch of production. It also contains a sensor that monitors the user's pulse. Singapore-based imaging and sensor maker Heptagon is on the supplier list for the feature, two other sources said.

    Apple declined to comment. Quanta, LG Display and Heptagon also declined to comment.
  • Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs - Trailer Debuts Online

    By Rubel →
    With the summer movie season set to begin with next week's release of comic book movie "Iron Man," Hollywood is holding its breath, hoping for a big start to the lucrative moviegoing period.

    Matching last summer's record $4.1 billion box office haul won't be easy, experts said, in large part because of comparisons with the likes of "Shrek the Third, "Spider-Man 3" and "Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End."

    Still, Hollywood is launching a 2008 salvo that includes "Speed Racer," "The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian" and "Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull," with Harrison Ford reprising his role as the daring adventurer, "Indy" Jones.

    Yes, the pressure is on for a blockbuster summer season, which runs from May through August and can account for nearly 40 percent of the annual box office. But at least one man is reveling in all the hype: "Iron Man" director Jon Favreau.

    "I think it's great. You know, my last movie got sucked into obscurity because there was so much else going around it," Favreau said, speaking of his 2005 special effects-filled "Zathura: A Space Adventure." The movie earned good reviews but failed to catch fire early in a crowded holiday movie season.

    By contrast, "Iron Man" makes its debut on May 2 as summer's first major release, and there is little competition in its way.

    Based on the Marvel Comics series, the movie stars Robert Downey Jr. as a wealthy chief executive and high-tech weapons maker who invents a powerful suit armed with secret technology. His goal: use the armor to kill bad guys and achieve good in the world.

    Paul Dergarabedian of Media by Numbers, a Los Angeles-based box office watcher, said expectations for the movie's ticket sales are "all over the map," but he believed it had a good chance to do well. That would be good news for Hollywood.

    North American ticket sales are down roughly 3.5 percent at $2.47 billion so far this year, compared with $2.56 billion at this time last year. Attendance is off 6.5 percent, Dergarabedian said.

    "We need summer and we need it now because we are definitely in a downturn," he said.
  • Plotter Turns the Map on Your iPhone Into a Social Discovery Tool

    By Rubel →
    The iPhone 5 -- thinner, lighter and with a 4-inch screen – goes on sale in stores across the United States, Europe, Asia and Australia, with mobile carriers reporting record demand that looked likely to stretch Apple's supply capacity.

    The iPhone 5 -- thinner, lighter and with a 4-inch screen -- went on sale in stores across the United States, Europe, Asia and Australia, with mobile carriers reporting record demand that looked likely to stretch Apple's supply capacity.

    "The line for the iPhone 5 was 70 percent greater than the line for the iPhone 4S despite Apple taking two (times) as many online pre-orders," said Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster. He expects Apple to sell 8 million of the new smartphones over the weekend.

    The long lines of excited buyers prompted optimism on Wall Street. Deutsche Bank raised its target on Apple stock to $850 from $775, saying "demand indicators are tracking very strongly."

    The iPhone is Apple's highest-margin product and accounts for half of the company's annual revenue. Apple shares were up 0.5 percent to $702 in afternoon trading in New York.

    JPMorgan estimates the phone could provide a $3.2 billion boost to the US economy in the fourth quarter - a boost almost equal to the whole economy of Fiji.

    Apple's rival and component supplier, Samsung Electronics Co, tried to spoil the party, saying it plans to add the iPhone 5 to its existing patent lawsuits against Apple.

    Apple began taking pre-orders for the iPhone 5 last Friday and booked more than 2 million orders in the first 24 hours - double the first-day sales of the previous iPhone, the 4S. Shipping time for online orders is three to four weeks.

    Prices for the iPhone 5 start at $199 for a 16 GB model and range as high as $399 for a 64 GB model.

    As Apple began delivering the new phone, struggling competitor Research in Motion, which makes the BlackBerry, had to admit that it was once again having service problems in Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

    The iPhone 5 supports faster 4G mobile networks and also comes with a number of software updates, including Apple's new in-house maps feature, which is based on Dutch navigation equipment and digital map maker TomTom's map data.

    But not everyone was impressed. Some users criticized the maps feature for a number of geographical errors, missing information, and a lack of features.

    And not everyone was thrilled with Apple's success.

    Hundreds of French iPhone fans lining up at Apple's main store in Paris got an earful from disgruntled store employees and others protesting against Apple policies.

    Marching in front of the Paris store were about 20 former staffers of independent Apple distributors that closed after struggling to compete with Apple's own stores. Joining them were three Apple store employees striking to protest Apple's refusal to offer staffers meal vouchers and a yearly bonus of an extra month's pay - perks that are standard for many French workers.

    In San Francisco, Apple store worker Cory Moll, who is seeking to start a union and is the founder of the Apple Workers Retail Union initiative, stood outside the main downtown store with a placard showing his support for the French workers and those who assemble Apple products in Asia.

    The line of buyers at the store wound around several blocks.