15 October 2012

Skydiver safely jumps from stratosphere over New Mexico

File photo of Austrian skydiver Felix Baumgartner is seen before the start of his freefall attempt across the English Channel between Dover and Calais, July 31, 2003. REUTERS/Denis Balibouse/Red Bull HIGH RESOLUTION FILE/Files

An Austrian daredevil leapt into the stratosphere from a balloon near the edge of space 24 miles (38 km) above Earth on Sunday and safely landed, setting a record for the highest skydive and breaking the sound barrier in the process.

Cheers broke out as Felix Baumgartner, 43, jumped from a skateboard- sized shelf outside the 11-by-8-foot (3.3-by-2.4 metre) fiberglass and acrylic capsule that was carried higher than 12 8,000 feet (39 ,000 metres) by an enormous balloon.

"We love you Felix!" screamed the crowd gathered in a mission control setting at his launch site in Roswell, New Mexico as more than 8 million people watched his feat online.

Baumgartner's body pierced the atmosphere at 833.9 miles per hour (1, 342.8 kph), according to preliminary numbers released by Brian Utley, the certification official for the Federation Aeronautic International, at a press conference afterward.

Baumgartner's speed clinched one of his goals: to become the first skydiver to break the sound barrier, typically measured at more than 690 mph (1,110 kph). And he did so on the 65th anniversary of legendary American pilot Chuck Yeager's flight shattering the sound barrier on October 14, 1947.

Utley said preliminary figures indicate Baumgartner broke a total of three established world records, including t he highest altitude skydive ( 128,100 feet or 39,045 metres), longest freefall without a parachute (119,846 feet or 36,529 metres) and fastest fall achieved during a skydive (reaching 833.9 mph or 1,342 kph).

Baumgartner landed safely on the ground and raised his arms in a victory salute just 10 minutes after he stepped into the air. Soon he was hugged by his mother and father, who took their first trip outside Europe to see his historic plunge, and his girlfriend jumped up and wrapped her legs around him.

"It was way harder than I expected," Baumgartner said. Recalling his final words before he stepped into the stratosphere, he said, "Sometimes you have to get up really high to know how small you are."

The Austrian has made a career of risky jumps including skydiving across the English Channel and parachuting off the Petronas Towers in Malaysia.


Earlier Baumgartner prepared to jump from the pressurized capsule by going through a checklist of 40 items with project adviser Joe Kittinger, holder of a 19-mile high (30 km) altitude parachute jump record that Baumgartner smashed.

Earlier in the flight, he expressed concern that his astronaut-like helmet was not heating properly.
"This is very serious, Joe," said Baumgartner as the capsule, designed to remain at 55 degrees Fahrenheit ascended in skies where temperatures were expected to plunge below -91.8 F (-67.8 C), according to the project's website. "Sometimes it's getting foggy when I exhale. ... I do not feel heat."

Baumgartner's ascent into the stratosphere took about 2-1/2 hours.
The 30 million-cubic-foot (850,000-cubic-metre) plastic balloon, is about one-tenth the thickness of a plastic bag, or roughly as thin as a dry cleaner bag.

Sony Unveiled Camera, Windows 8 Devices in India

 With release date of Windows 8 operating system getting closer all gadget manufactures have started unveiling their Windows 8 gadgets and this time it’s Sony.

Sony has unveiled a touch screen Windows 8 Vaio E14A laptop and Vaio T series ultrabook. Along with these two gadgets the company has also unveiled two new cameras. The laptop has been priced at 74,990 and the Vaio T series Ultrabook is for 64,990. They will be out in the market towards the end of October after the launch of Windows 8 operating system on October 26, 2012.

Along with these Windows 8 gadgets, Sony also unveiled two new cameras; Alpha 99 and DSC-RX100. The Alpha 99 comes with a Translucent Mirror full frame and Translucent Mirror technology. Alpha 99 is the first camera in the world to come with Dual AutoFcous system and it also comes with 24.4 mega pixels with advanced BIONZ image processing engine.

The second camera from Sony is DSC-RX100 which sports a resolution of 20.2 mega pixels and has a price tag of 34,990. The cameras will be out in the Indian markets by mid November 2102.

Besides these two gadgets Sony has also released a wearable 3D TV and an 84 inch Bravia LED TV.

Nikon's First Android Camera Hits India

Back in August, Nikon announced their first Android powered camera and promised to make it available somewhere in October and now Nikon has kept its promise. The Android powered Nikon Coolpix S800c compact point-and-shoot camera is available in India for 20,950.

The Android powered camera features a 16 mega pixel BSI CMOS sensor with 10x optical zoom and 3.5 inch OLED touch screen display.  The camera also has 18 filter effects including the new Toy Camera effect, Pop and Super Vivid Color filter, Peripheral Darkening filter and lot more.

The camera comes with built-in Wi-Fi and runs on Android 2.3 Gingerbread operating system. The operating system makes the device very unique as it gets access to lots of apps from Google Play. User will be able to access wide variety of photo editing apps like Instagram, Pixlr-O-Matic and Adobe Photoshop Express for editing image in the device and can also share them on social networking sites like Facebook, Google+ or photo sharing services like Flickr directly from the camera itself.

It would be interesting if Nikon would have added calling feature in the camera, but unfortunately there is no calling feature. The only downside in this camera is the presence of the outdated Gingerbread platform when Ice Cream Sandwich and Jelly Bean are out in the market.

Sony's Revolutionary 84-inch 4K TV for 16 Lakh

Along with the ultrabook and cameras Sony has launched their new gigantic television set into the Indian markets. This TV is extra a special device because of its size and secondly this is the first 4K TV to reach the Indian shores.

4K technology in a TV means that that the TV would provide a resolution of close to 4,000 pixels. But unfortunately as of now there are no videos or movies that support such a high resolution.

The Bravia KD-Z9000 TV comes with X-Reality engine which means that the viewing option will be enhanced and enjoyable for the viewer. On the 3D front also Sony has made some changes, the company has decided to use passive 3D instead of Active 3D. This means with Passive 3D the glasses will be thinner, lighter and cheaper.

The TV also has two gigantic speakers which are mounted right next to the TV. The speakers come with 10 drivers, woofers and sub woofers to give the user an amazing sound experience.

Now comes the sad part of the news, this TV isn’t made for the masses as it comes with a ridiculously high price tag of 16,99,990. As of now this TV is available on pre-order at Sony Stores and the TVs are expected to be out by the end of November 2012.

Samsung Launches Galaxy S III Mini

Recently we covered a story on Samsung press invite for Galaxy S III Mini smartphone. Now Samsung has officially announced the compact version of its flagship smartphone Galaxy S III.

The all new Samsung Galaxy S III Mini sports the pebble design that the Galaxy S III and Galaxy Note II have. It features a smaller screen size of 4 inch and runs on Google’s latest Android 4.1 Jelly Bean operating system along with Natures UI.

The Galaxy S III Mini is powered by a 1 GHz dual-core processor which is much slower than the 1.4 GHz quad-core processor of Galaxy S III. The rear camera has also been reduced to 5 mega pixel from the 8 mega pixel of Galaxy S III. The S III Mini is available in two storage variant; 8 GB and 16 GB and also supports microSD card for expanding memory up to 32 GB.

In terms of connectivity Galaxy S III Mini features all the same options as S III such as NFC, 4G, 3G, 2G, S Beam, Bluetooth 4.0, Wi-Fi and also a voice assistant app – S Voice.

There is no word about the price and availability of Galaxy S III Mini globally as well as in India.

12 October 2012

PC Is Dead! Long Live Tablets

PC is the first device which flagged off the electronic era. Be it office or home, it took the crown position. From more than a decade of unprecedented growth, the latest numbers from analyst groups has  a different story- for the first time in 11 years, the PC market is slumping- may be beginning of the fall of a technology, triggered by the enormous growth of Smartphones and tablets and a dip in economy.  

According to the study from HIS, a global information and research company, there will be 1.2 percent fall in PC market in 2012. “The fall is thin in margin and there is hope that by end of 2012, PC market may spring back. The Intel and AMD sales are definitely down. The PC market may eye on 2013 for an immediate rise in PC sales, of course they should learn from mistakes which ran down the market,” said Craig Stice, analyst at HIS  

Another report from Gartner revealed an 8.3 percent fall in Worldwide PC shipments in the third quarter of 2012, when compared with the third quarter of 2011. The Gartner report also said Lenovo, the Chinese electronic company, became the world leaders in PC markets, outrunning HP for the first time.

Jay Chou, senior analyst at IDC said “PCs are going through a severe slump. A weak global economy, PC market saturation and slow replacement cycles are certainly the culprits, the increased role play of Smartphones and tablets may also add to the state of PC market in current times.”

The situation may seem grim to Microsoft and its allies, who are gearing up for October excitement of Windows 8 release, a successor to the family of Microsoft’s OS’ which powers most of the world’s PCs.

Microsoft’s rival, Apple’s CEO Tim Cook seems to be the only man happy about the recent developments in market as he said in a statement: “Mac books may be receiving less interest but iPads are attracting the attention of users. So the company won’t mind if Apple device is taking on to Apple device and winning over it.”

Air India headquarters to shift to Delhi

Air India headquarters, which has been housed in the iconic Air India building at Nariman Point, Mumbai, will now have a new address. It will shift to not so well-known and much smaller place in its registered office, Airlines House in Delhi, sometime next year, to cut down on travel costs of employees moving frequently between the two cities.

The move is to monetise Air India’s assets in India and abroad, beginning with leasing out most of the 23-storey Nariman Point building.

According to a senior ministry official, who declined to be named, “There is no point having two headquarters. More work takes place from Delhi now, and it is only going to increase as time passes. Air India has to be in touch with the government more often now than before.”

The shifting process will take some time. The basic idea is to optimally utilise our resources and manpower to bring more operational efficiency, the officer added.

This shift will give way to stationing most of the staff in Delhi, while whatever strength is required to run Mumbai operations would stay there, the officer added.

Apart from monetising real estate, AI is also looking to evaluate its paintings. AI has paintings by artists like late

M F Hussain, and exotic wood carvings, centuries-old sculptures and other authentic artifacts in its possession.

Almost Half Of Patent Law Suits Are Trolls: Study

The media is abuzz with Patent law suits every other day, where companies are fighting each other out in courts over patents.  

It is thought that the patent suits are fought by companies who are in to product manufacturing based on patents, but a new study brings astonishing findings to light—four out of five biggest patent litigations are turned out to be patent trolls. The patent trolls are entities whose primary motive is to make income from licensing and litigating patents.

The study was conducted by US Hasting professor Robin Feldman and two coauthors Sara Jeruss of Lex Machina and JoshuaWalker of Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP. The published report on “Patent Trolls” or which is re-categorized as “Patent Monetizers”, revealed surprising increase in patent trolls between 2007 and 2011.

Suing others over patents is turning out to be a huge business, as it can be seen that patent suit winner ends up with loads of cash. The recent patent spat, where Apple sued Samsung over patent infringement, San Jose federal court judge, Lusy Koh awarded Apple nearly $1.05 billion. So rise in patent wars are obvious in US.

As part of a research project put on by the Government Accounting Office, the law school teamed up with legal tracking and analytics tool Lex Machina to break out a cross-section of 500 lawsuits filed during  five-year period, pulling out 100 lawsuits a year in random. The research found that, lawsuits have increased from 22 percent to 40 over five years. And majority of these cases were settled out of court, and never went to trail.

Non-practicing entities(NPEs) are the companies which are not in to the business based on their patents, but licenses the patents to other companies, this system is informally called as patent trolls, however the study coins word “Patent Monetizers” because it captures the phenomenon of development in modern patent market.

The study reveals that there is increase in number of patent suits in the wake of “America Invents Act 500″ which added rules that make patent monetizers to file complaints against several defendents at once.

Meanwhile the findings are published, the tech titans, like Apple, Google, and Microsoft, meet in Switzerland on a roundtable discussion about patent law suit reforms at U.N.’s International telecommunication meeting.

The new reforms over the patent litigation may reduce the recent heated up patent wars in US. 

Google Launches Free SMS Service To Gmail Users In India

The Gmail users in the country will now be able to send free direct SMSs to any mobiles from their Google Talk window, as Google has launched its free SMS service to India along with 51other countries.

The search giant grants Gmail users an initial credit of 50 SMS, with each outgoing SMS costing one credit. The replies to these messages will appear on the GTalk window, and will be saved in the chat history. Each reply adds 5 credits to the user’s account. However, the maximum credit is limited to 50. For the mobile phone user, the reply is charged at local SMS rate as per his/ her normal billing plan.

Once a user runs out of credit, Google will add one credit after 24 hours. However, "Users can always send an SMS to their own phone, and then reply to that message multiple times. Every time you send a reply message, your SMS credit is increased by five. Effectively, you're buying more messages by paying your phone company for these outgoing messages," stated the Google help portal.

Google is rolling out this free service in partnership with 8 cellular operators throughout the country. There are also options for users to opt out from the service. According to Google, if a person sends too many messages to a phone number without any response from receiver, he will be blocked from sending more- A good way to avoid spamming.

To block SMSs from a particular Gmail contact, Just reply to the message with ‘BLOCK’ and you will no more be disturbed. However, Google provides an option to ‘UNBLOCK’ later. And if you are a person who do not want anyone to send you messages from GTalk, you can completely opt out from the service by texting ‘STOP’ to a specific number.

The service is currently available only on Gmail and not for people who use GTalk app on their Smartphones and PCs.

HTC Desire X and Asus PadFone Pre-launched on eBay India

The much awaited gadgets HTC Desire X and Asus PadFone are now available exclusively on eBay India (www.eBay.in), at great deals in advance of the launch in the India Market.

Asus PadFone is a totally new concept where three devices are combined in one. This new 3-in-1 device is a combination of a tablet + smartphone + laptop. Asus PadFone sports a 4.3 inch screen and 8 MP rear camera. The 1 GB, ASUS PadFone, is loaded with Android Ice Cream Sandwich and is equipped with Qualcomm 8260A Dual-core (1.5 GHz).The product comes with VAT Paid Bill and Asus India Warranty. The device is available for 64,999 on eBay India.

The 4 GB, 9.3 mm slim HTC Desire X is available in two colours: Blue and White. The Desire X is equipped with 50 percent more RAM, dual core (1 GHz) power and loaded with Jelly Bean (Android 4.1). The product also has the best camera (5 MP) in its class with HTC Image sense. The brilliant 4 inch large display provides an optimal smart phone experience. The phone comes with VAT Paid Bill and HTC India Warranty. The MRP of this high-end smartphone is 23,499, but on eBay Indian it is available for a discounted price of 19,799.

Lenovo Unveils Four Windows 8 Hybrid Laptops

Lenovo launched a new range of convertible hybrid devices running on latest Microsoft Window 8 operating system. The four new models named the IdeaPad Yoga 13, IdeaPad Yoga 11, IdeaTab Lynx and ThinkPad Twist. The company claims all these products are suitable for both consumer and business purpose.

The IdeaPad Yoga was first showcased earlier this year at Consumer Electronic Show 2012. The IdeaPad Yoga made people to think whether it is an Ultrabook or a tablet, actually it’s is a thin & stylish Ultrabook which  features a touchscreen with 360 degree flip screen which make it to be used as tablet too.

Now IdeaPad Yoga has evolved and comes in two more flavors; IdeaPad Yoga 11 with 11.6 inch touchscreen display, powered with NVIDIA Tegra 3 quad-core processor running on Windows RT operating system. And the IdeaPad Yoga 13 sports 13 inch display, powered by 3rd generation Intel Core processors, runs Windows 8 operating system and claims to offer up to 8 hours of battery life. Both the hybrid devices functions as a tablet and a laptop.

Other two devices Lenovo ThinkPad Twist and IdeaTab Lynx are said to be designed for professionals and are called as business ready devices. The ThinkPad Twist can be used as ultrabook and we can twist the screen to switch to a convertible tablet. It is powered with Intel processor, runs on Windows 8 operating system and offers storage up to 500 GB HDD or 128 GB SSD.

The IdeaTab Lynx is an 11.6 inch Windows 8 based tablet, powered with dual core Intel Atom processor and comes with a detachable keyboard dock.

All these products will be available in the U.S. market after the launch of Windows 8 operating system. The company has not yet disclosed the availability and retail price of these devices for the Indian market.

MTS Offering Budget CDMA Smartphone for 5,999

MTS has launched its ninth Android smartphone named Mtag 353 into the Indian market with a price tag of 5,999. Leonid Musatov, chief marketing and sales officer, MTS India, said " Aimed at the on the move, tech savvy youth, Mtag 353 comes bundled with exciting high speed data and voice plans."

The CDMA smartphone comes with a 3.5 inch capacitive touch screen which supports a resolution of 320 X 480 pixels. The handsets functions on Android 2.3 Gingerbread operating system and is powered by an 800 MHz Qualcomm Snapdragon processor. The phone comes with a 3 mega pixel rear camera, 2 GB internal memory along with a slot for a microSD card with expandable memory up to 32 GB and works on a 1500 mAh battery.

According to Leonid Musatov, Chief Marketing & Sales Officer, MTS India, “MTS MTag 353 is yet another class leading and one of the most stylish Smartphone from MTS. The Smartphone is powered by the best in class Qualcomm Snapdragon Processor and runs Android 2.3 Gingerbread platform. Aimed at the on the move, tech savvy youth, it comes bundled with exciting High Speed Data and Voice plans.”

The smartphone MTag 353 is one of the sleekest and slimmest smartphones in the budget category. And for those who love to change their phone colour according to their mood this handset comes with two additional back covers; yellow and white.

10 Nations on India's Visa on Arrival List

This year the ministry of external affairs has considered extending the visa on arrival to over 16 countries adding to the current 11 countries it has offered the VOA. Here are the top ten countries with the maximum number of VOAs availed this year. A visa on arrival is a tourist visa which can be obtained after landing at the airport and seaports. It gives a permit of 30 days since the day of arrival, but can be extended if required. The VOA number is estimated from Jan to July. The nations are listed as per yahoo.com are:


Japan has 1872 visas granted this year on arrival. The fee to process the visa on arrival is $60 which is high compared to the Indian visa acquired from the Embassy in Tokyo which is just $18. The visa is valid only for a single entry and it is available at all International airports. The Japanese did show the discontent they felt about the fee charged for this visa.

New Zealand:

New Zealand is at the second number with 1588 visas on arrival granted this year. It is the only other non-Asian country to obtain this grant. The idea was to promote tourism and 55 percent of the tourists from New Zealand are men. A visa on arrival cannot be changed into any other sort of visa during the stay in India.


Indonesia has 1,514 hits on visa on arrival this year. Last year Indonesia had the maximum number of tourists who got the visa on arrival issued on their visit to India as per Economic times. The visa is issued for the purpose of recreation, sightseeing and for casual visits to visit friends or relatives.


Philippines got the visa on arrival granted in 2011 January by the Government of India. In a year the Filipino tourists have availed 1,442 visas on their visit to India. The visa is strictly for visit, it can’t be used as a work visa.


Singapore is another Asian country which has the permit to get visa on arrival. As many as 1,178 tourists used this facility last year. This year, 1014 number of Singaporeans visited India, where males and females visited were in equal number, which is 23 percent.


Finland tourists were issued a total of 653 visas on arrival in 2011, which took a dip in 2012 to 576. Finland was issued this grant in 2010 when the country was fastening its visa terms. Yet it was done to increase the inbound investments that came from Finland, mostly prompted by Nokia and companies. Finland sees India as a large market for trade and commerce, also a destination for its high end technological industry.


Cambodia was issued the visa on arrival to draw the Buddhism connected tourists and travelers. Last year 73 visas on arrival were issued which decreased to 52 this year. The visa on arrival offer is reciprocated by Cambodia for the same reason to promote the Buddhism travelers as India does.


Vietnam was granted the visa on arrival for economic and trade development purpose and so was added to the countries on the ASEAN group. It showed a number of 66 visas on arrival issued in 2011 which has increased to 97 VOAs this year.


Other then Finland, Luxembourg is another country from Europe which has the permit to get visa on arrival. In 2011 there were 34 of them issued and this year it has hiked to 48. The idea for the Ministry of External Affairs was to double the international tourism by 2016.


After the Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s visit to Myanmar, the decision was taken by India to grant visa on arrival to Indian businessmen and women at $50 for 70days of granted stay. The country has also issued Visa on arrival for tourists and 43 of them were granted last year which spiked to 54 this year.

Laos is the 11th country making it the last country with the permit for visa on arrival list. Among the 16 countries there are three new European countries, which are France, Germany and Russia. The others are Malaysia, Thailand, Sweden, Brunei, Spain, Ukraine, Korea, Kazakhstan, Mexico, Brazil, South Africa, Belgium, Chile, Argentina, and the Netherlands. The VOA is issued to enhance countries travel sector, making it a target for larger number of tourists and to promote the growth of FTAs into the country. And with the proposed plan the GDP is said to increase by 7.3 percent. And we shall say ‘Hail tourist hail!’