Category Archives: Tech News
An Australian team unveils the fundamental building block of a scalable quantum computer that could be embedded in today’s silicon chips
Back in the late 90s, a physicist in Australia put forward a design for a quantum computer. Bruce Kane suggested that phosphorus atoms embedded in silicon would be the ideal way to store and manipulate quantum information.
Australian startup, Airtasker, is keen to expand out of its home country into Southeast Asia, which it says hasn’t been touched by large competitors yet. The year-old startup provides job matching for freelancers and employers, similar to what oDesk and Elance do. For its first steps outside of Australia, its first port of call will be Singapore, where it wants to hire two country managers. Airtasker joins a scene that already has a few huge competitors. oDesk, for example, has been around since 2005. Last year, the company raised $ 15 million, making its total funding $ 45 million to date. The site processes $ 300 million in jobs on an annual basis. Some early oDesk employees also founded Rev.com, which in March announced $ 4.5 million in Series A funding. Another big competitor, Elance, raised $ 16 million in funding early last year as well, as its business has continued to grow in the past two years. 650,000 new job postings were listed on the site in 2011, it said. But big as these sites are, they don’t seem to have made a huge impact on freelancers in Southeast Asia. A quick search for freelancers in Singapore on oDesk showed 248 listings out of 742,113. Hong Kong showed a dismal 84, Kuala Lumpur 7 and Bangkok 31. While it appears indeed untouched by the large sites, it could just mean that the freelancing scene is a lot less vibrant in Asia, with the majority of workers preferring full-time jobs. It could also be that fewer freelancers rely on online matching sites to get their jobs, as well. Airtasker’s founder and CEO, Tim Fung, said temp jobs in the region are less organized into verticals. He said some common jobs in Asia include handing out flyers at a train station, or a one-day PA. These can’t really be categorized by industry, and Airtasker has organized its job ads and job seeker profiles in a broader fashion, so that more matches can be made by both sides. The bulk of Airtasker’s workers, for now, are based in Australia, and its upward trajectory does indicate some sort of pent-up demand on the freelancing scene. Airtasker now processes about $ 120,000 worth of jobs per month. Fung hinted that Airtasker will announce a partnership with a global jobs network soon. “I think that’s an indication that the larger ‘mainstream’ job scene is taking part-time job listings more seriously,” he
Just as we knew it would, MSI has formally announced pricing for its newfangled GX70 and GX60 gaming laptops — the world’s first machines to ship with AMD’s Richland A10-5750M (2.5GHz – 3.5GHz) within. The 17.3-inch GX70 offers up a 1,920 x 1,080 native display resolution, AMD’s Radeon HD 8970M on the graphics front, a 750GB hard drive, 8GB of DDR3 memory, a Blu-ray Disc drive, Bluetooth 4.0 and Killer’s E2200 networking technology. You’ll also get a SDXC card slot, HDMI 1.4 socket, 720p webcam, a 9-cell battery — likely good for about 89 seconds of use — a backlit keyboard and a frame that’s 2.17-inches thick and 8.6 pounds. If none of that frightens you, you can plan on parting ways with $ 1,399.99 to call one your own. The (slightly) more petite GX60 boasts a 15.6-inch panel (still 1080p, though), a 7.7 pound frame and a $ 1,299.99 price tag. Otherwise, the specifications are essentially identical from its big brother, and both should be shipping any moment now.
Filed under: Laptops
TomTom is looking to beef up its location based services portal by joining forces with TrafficLand to bring real time traffic video to its developers. TomTom’s LBS will now incorporate TrafficLand’s network of over 13,000 roadside webcams, enabling developers to integrate live footage into their location-enabled apps via the Traffic Camera API. TrafficLand’s real-time video will join the other cloud-based location services TomTom provides to devs, like map content, routing and geocoding. For right now, TrafficLand covers only the US, UK and Canada, and it’s not clear if the company plans to expand beyond those three countries anytime soon. For more information, you can take a gander at TomTom’s full press release, embedded after the break.
Filed under: GPS
In recent years, Sony’s state of the union report has made for wince-inducing reading, but one year into Kaz Hirai’s “One Sony” strategy we seem to be seeing hints of a turnaround. The company is trumpeting its return to profitability after several loss-making quarters, thanks to boosts in its film and financial services units — not to mention some aggressive asset sales. Unfortunately, Sony still has the weak heart of its consumer electronics business to nurse, but promises that aggressive cost-cutting in its TV department will see it back in the black shortly.
Sony has also announced plans to “significantly expand” its business model around the PlayStation 4 and promises to speed up smartphone development to incorporate the company’s hardware and imaging know-how. With one eye on those dwindling PC market figures, Sony will look to make profitable machines rather than chasing market share. The company has also said that, aside from its successful Mirrorless ILC division, will shift focus on its imaging business from consumer electronics to medical and security. With all of this change, let’s just hope that no-one forgets to buy someone in the PR department a wider camera lens.
Filed under: Sony
Samsung’s Exynos 5-based Chromebook may have been available since last October, but how about one equipped with WiMAX radio? Graced with the presence of Google and Samsung reps in Kuala Lumpur (including a video message from Google SVP Sundar Pichai), today Malaysian carrier Yes 4G unveiled this rather special laptop for the local consumers. In fact, we should have seen this coming as Google’s official blog did hint this last month, but we failed to catch that blurred “Yes 4G” logo on the laptop in the blog’s photo.
As Google mentioned, the ultimate goal here is to help transform Malaysia’s education using the Chromebook. And now we know that this ambition will be backed by Yes 4G’s rapidly growing WiMAX network — from the initial 1,200 base stations in 2010 to today’s 4,000, covering 85 percent of the peninsula; and the carrier will expand into the eastern side with 700 more sites by the end of this year. This is especially important for the rural areas, where many schools still lack access to water and electricity. As a partner of the Malaysian Ministry of Education’s 1BestariNet project, Yes 4G’s parent company YTL Communications has so far ensured that 7,000 local state schools are covered by its WiMAX network, with the remaining 3,000 to be connected over the next six months.
Wired reports on a cluster of mini-satellites that will soon be launched into orbit that will assist U.S. special forces personnel during manhunts. “SOCOM is putting eight miniature communications satellites, each about the size of a water jug, on top of the Minotaur rocket that’s getting ready to launch from Wallops Island, Virginia. They’ll sit more than 300 miles above the earth and provide a new way for the beacons to call back to their masters.” When special forces are able to tag their target, the target can be tracked and located through the use of satellites and cell towers, but coverage is poor in many areas of the world. The satellites going up in September will help to fill in some gaps. “This array of configurable ‘cubesats’ is designed to stay aloft for three years or more. Yes, it will serve as further research project. But ‘operators are going to use it,’ Richardson promised an industry conference in Tampa last week.”
Read more of this story at Slashdot.
Millward Brown Optimor has released its annual BrandZ list of the most valuable global brands for the year, and Apple and Google are in the top slots, with the former coming in at #1 and the latter at #2. On top of that, comparing the numbers, we see that both companies saw an increase in
kkleiner writes “A startup called Matternet is building a network of quadcopter drones to deliver vital goods to remote areas and emergency supplies to disaster-stricken areas. The installation of solar-powered fueling station and an operating system to allow for communications with local aviation authorities will allow the network to be available around the clock and in the farthest reaches of the world. ‘Matternet’s drone network has three key components. First, the drones—custom-built autonomous electric quadcopters with GPS and sensors, capable of carrying a few kilos up to 10 kilometers (and more as the tech advances). Next, the firm will set up a network of solar-powered charging stations where drones autonomously drop off dead batteries and pick up charged ones. A drone battery that can travel 10 km need not limit the drone itself to 10 km — rather, these drones can theoretically travel the whole network by swapping out batteries. The final component will be an operating system to orchestrate the drone web, share information with aviation authorities, and fly missions 24/7/365.’”
Read more of this story at Slashdot.
A survey of U.S. utilities shows many are facing frequent cyberattacks that could threaten a highly interdependent power grid supplying more than 300 million people, according to a congressional report.
HTC seems to be encountering a bit of executive brain drain. Jason Gordon, the firm’s vice president of global communications, revealed on Twitter that he ended his nearly seven-year-long stint with the handset maker last Friday, but didn’t divulge why he left or what his future plans include. Now, The Verge is reporting that Chief Product Officer Kouji Kodera has also flown the coop, following a handful of other execs. According to the outlet’s sources, Chief Marketing Officer Ben Ho could be partly responsible for the changes since he’s said to be moving the outfit’s planning and strategy back to its Taipei HQ. With Peter Chou pinning poor marketing as what held the company back in 2012, it’s certainly possible things are being reeled back to home base — not unlike Nokia’s own centralization in recent years. We’ve reached out to HTC to confirm Kodera’s exit and just what the departures mean for the organization as a whole.
Via: The Verge
Source: Jason Gordon (Twitter)
An anonymous reader writes “Google on Tuesday released Chrome version 27 for Windows, Mac, and Linux. The new version features a big boost to page loads (now 5 percent faster on average) as well as significant updates for developers. The speed improvement is thanks to the introduction of ‘smarter behind-the-scenes resource scheduling,’ according to Google. Starting with this release, the scheduler more aggressively uses an idle connection and demotes the priority of preloaded resources so that they don’t interfere with critical assets.”
Read more of this story at Slashdot.
While Amazon Cloud Drive has been on quite the world tour as of late, Canadians have had to watch as seemingly everyone else gets the storage service first. Thankfully, Canucks can now do more than just twiddle their thumbs now that Cloud Drive has gone live in their country. Pricing is virtually on par with what Americans know, with a 5GB free tier and multiple paid tiers that start at $ 10 per year for 20GB. All the Cloud Drive-focused desktop and mobile apps are now available as well. Cloud Player isn’t an option when Amazon MP3 is still missing, but the expansion should otherwise give Canadians at least a small taste of what they’ve been missing in Amazon’s online world.
Jive Software has eliminated the limit on the number of people who can use its social task management application Producteev for free within a company.
An anonymous reader writes “Despite warnings that a cyberattack could cripple the nation’s power supply, a U.S. Congressional report (PDF) finds that power companies’ efforts to protect the power grid are insufficient. Attacks are apparently commonplace, with one utility claiming they fight off some 10,000 attempted attacks every month. The report also found that while most power companies are complying with mandatory standards for protection, few do much else above and beyond that to protect the grid. ‘For example, NERC has established both mandatory standards and voluntary measures to protect against the computer worm known as Stuxnet. Of those that responded, 91% of IOUs [Investor-Owned Utilities], 83% of municipally- or cooperatively-owned utilities, and 80% of federal entities that own major pieces of the bulk power system reported compliance with the Stuxnet mandatory standards. By contrast, of those that responded to a separate question regarding compliance with voluntary Stuxnet measures, only 21% of IOUs, 44% of municipally- or cooperatively-owned utilities, and 62.5% of federal entities reported compliance.’”
Read more of this story at Slashdot.
Pandora, which is about to face a big competitor when Apple irons out its remaining snags with iRadio, has just announced a new feature – Pandora Premieres. This station is unlike the rest, allowing users to listen to early album releases before they’re available for purchase. While not much is available via it right now,
The Pebble is arguably the most popular smartwatch to come out of Kickstarter, but it certainly isn’t the last, and now it has a competitor. The AGENT smartwatch is a square watch similar in appearance to the aforementioned device, and it has already reached its funding goal of $ 100,000, exceeding it by about 30-percent, with
Upgraded robot vision will be just one of the uses for the new version of Microsoft’s gesture control camera.
Microsoft announced a new version of its Xbox games console today, the Xbox One, and with it an improved and essentially reinvented version of Kinect, the company’s body- and gesture-control sensor. That bodes well for Xbox gamers, but also for the community of hackers that have found so many original uses for the first Kinect, from robot vision to 3-D doodling (see “Hackers Take the Kinect to New Levels”). It seems likely that a new wave of Kinect hacking activity will begin as soon as the new device becomes available.
A Miami man wrangled and killed the longest-ever Burmese python to be captured in Florida, wildlife officials announced Monday, May 20. The 128-lb snake measured 18 feet, 8 inches long.
New network software from Ericsson is designed to make sure mobile users get the best possible connection when there is both a Wi-Fi and a cellular network available.
Some teens are growing tired of the excessive sharing and "drama" on Facebook and more are turning to sites like Twitter and Instagram to express themselves, according to a new study.
A Navy dolphin training to look for mines off the coast of San Diego found a museum-worthy 19th-century torpedo on the seafloor, military officials said.
More that three years after what came to be known as Operation Aurora, it appears that the cyber marauders were after more than just information on activists.
NASA’s Curiosity rover drills again.
New submitter QuantumPion writes “The Environmental Protection Agency released draft guidelines last month that could significantly relax radiation hazard standards in the case of a radiological event in the United States by using risk-based decisions. The goal is to have limits that make sense in an emergency that are different from the limits in day-to-day life. From the article: ‘Currently, the only guidance are the extremely strict standards that apply for EPA Superfund sites and nuclear plant decommissioning, which are as low as 0.010–0.025 rem/year, far below the natural background levels in the U.S. of 0.300 rem/year, and even well below the average amount of radioactive materials that Americans eat each year. And these guidelines aren’t really different from the 1992 PAG, except in the area of long-term cleanup standards and, perhaps, standards for resettlement. What’s the big deal here? As radworkers, we’re allowed to get 5 rem/year. 2 rem/year doesn’t rate a second thought. … No one has ever been harmed by 5 rem/year, so setting emergency levels at 2 rem/year is pretty mild and more than reasonable. … Think of it this way. The situations covered by these new guidelines are similar to someone dying of thirst who has the chance to drink fresh water having 2,000 pCi per gallon of radium in it. While the safe drinking water levels are 20 pCi/gal for Ra, 2,000 pCi/gal is of no threat, especially if you’re going to die from imminent dehydration. Of course, a bag of potato chips has 3,500 picocuries, so go figure.’”
Read more of this story at Slashdot.
Nerval’s Lobster writes “Fresh off purchasing Tumblr for $ 1.1 billion, Yahoo has moved to the next stage of what’s becoming a company-wide reboot: fixing Flickr, the photo-sharing service that it acquired in 2005 and subsequently allowed to languish. Yahoo boosted Flickr accounts’ individual storage capacity to one free terabyte, revamped the Website’s overall look, and launched a new Flickr app for Google Android, among other tweaks. Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer clearly wants her company to fight toe-to-toe on features with Google and Facebook, but she faces a long road ahead of her: not only does she need to streamline Yahoo’s cumbersome corporate structure and product portfolio into something that resembles fighting shape, but she needs to reverse the general perception that Yahoo is teetering on the edge of history’s trash-bin, with an aging customer base and unexciting features. The question is, could anyone actually pull it off? Is Yahoo capable of an Apple-style turnaround, or are its current actions merely delaying the inevitable?”
Read more of this story at Slashdot.
Two endangered sea turtles that are shells of their former selves after getting stranded on Cape Cod during a cold spell are getting some help easing back into the wild — from an acupuncturist.
PopExpert Online Video Education Marketplace Raises $2M In Seed Funding From Learn Capital And Others
As edtech startups continue to challenge the current state of higher education, and various niche startups focus on educating people through digital means, yet another company is getting a boost when it comes to helping people learn.
PopExpert, a learning marketplace that lets students connect with experts in one-on-one video chats, has just raised a $ 2 million seed round led by Learn Capital, with participation by Jeff Skoll, Ken Howery, Michael Chasen, and Expansion VC.
Yahoo again ranks as one of the world's 100 most valuable brands.
How much? When? Where? Who cares? If you aren’t exactly interested in knowing how much the impending Xbox One will cost you — let alone when it’ll actually hit your doorstep — you can sign up to be notified of your opportunity to pre-order the console right now. To be clear, this isn’t a sign-up for a pre-order. It’s just a sign-up to be notified of pre-orders officially opening up. So really, what’s to lose? Hit the source link below in order to share your email address, and you’ll get a $ 10 Microsoft online store credit for your trouble. (Or, you can hit the Amazon link for those needing an excuse to make better use of their Prime subscription.)
For years — and I mean years — consumer electronics and computer companies have been struggling to replace the panoply of boxes hanging off American televisions. Game consoles, DVD players, cable boxes, DVRs — it’s a mess. Can the Xbox One fix all that?
Some key questions that many people have about the new Xbox One weren’t answered in the keynote during today’s unveiling, but Microsoft confirmed afterward some answers to a few issues. First off, the Xbox One will not be backwards compatible with Xbox 360 games, but the new console will support used games and won’t require
Can cultural factors be more important than censorship in shaping Chinese surfing habits? Two researchers argue that a new study of the way global websites cluster together supports this idea
Couldn’t catch the live stream of Microsof’t on-campus, in-tent Xbox One reveal event? And our liveblog simply wasn’t enough to satisfy your hunger for more information, straight from Microsoft executives? We might call you crazy, but we’d rather just provide you a way to relive that experience easily and at your leisure. So here we are, doing just that — take a look below the break for a teaser video of the new console, direct from Redmond to you.
What little boy or girl never wanted a hovercraft? Something loud that could travel over water, pavement, maybe even over a plowed field or through a swamp? Ben King obviously wanted one, so after he grew up and got his PhD in physics and found a good job, he founded Lone Star Hovercraft. Timothy Lord interviewed Ben at the Austin Mini Maker Faire, and we also found some video of Ben flying (is that the right word?) one of his hovercraft on a lake that we spliced into the interview to liven it up a little. Vroom!
Read more of this story at Slashdot.
The Xbox One was just unveiled at Microsoft’s Redmond campus and, true to multiple reports that circulated before the official reveal, the new console will indeed come with a Kinect.
And what a Kinect it is! The rumors of a vastly improved Kinect sensor array were right on the money — this next-generation model is capable of tracking motions as minute as wrist rotations, and Microsoft’s Marc Whitten said the new Kinect would even be able to read users’ heartbeats when they’re exercising or when players shift their weight.
Tornadoes are the most violent storms on Earth, and the U.S. experiences more than any other country. Scientists agree on a few general points on how these deadly forces of nature form.