Top 10 Tech Moments of 2011

The year started with civil revolutions happening in Egypt, where a lot of credit (sometimes unfairly) was heaped on the role played by social media. By the end of the year Facebook had competition, Steve Jobs was no longer around and companies like Skype and Motorola had new owners.

Here are the 10 most interesting moments in technology in 2011.

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#1. Egypt’s Revolution

The year started with Facebook being used to organize protests against the then government in Egypt. The world itself did not pay much attention until Egypt decided to block internet access to all its country.

The internet community started supporting the protests on social media websites and Egyptian protests intensified finally getting rid of its undemocratic government. The best tribute to Facebook came with ordinary Egyptians carrying posters thanking its role in the revolution.

#2. Steve Jobs presents iPad 2

Steve Jobs was ill and was already on leave from regular CEO duties at Apple. Jobs did show up one last time, at a keynote event for Apple and introduced iPad 2 to a rousing reception.

iPad 2 has been a blockbuster hit for Apple in 2011 and rumours are that Apple is scrambling to release iPad 3 on Steve Jobs birth anniversary.

#3. Google has a new CEO

Google founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin decided to hire a professional as a CEO. His name was Eric Schmidt. Schmidt managed to look after Google quite well for over 10 years but 2011 was the year the passing of the torch was done. Larry Page took over as CEO of Google in April 2011.

Larry Page has now presided over shutting down the not so popular Google services and also the introducing Google Plus.

#4. Google’s New Baby: Google+

Google had been working on a new social network for many months. It finally unveiled the new weapon against Facebook. The name was Google+ and it sort of borrowed ideas from Twitter and Facebook.

It did race to 10 million users in 2 weeks, but it has hardly dented Facebook as the undisputed king of social media. But it will be interesting to see how Google keeps tweaking and improving Google+ to match up to Facebook.

#5. Google Buys Motorola

Android OS never had its own hardware for optimal performance. This is what probably prompted Google in buying Motorola for $12.5 Billion. Motorola is an iconic company in the cell phone market but it had been losing out to Nokia, Samsung and Apple over the past few years.

We should expect to see a lot of new great products from Motorola in 2012.

#6. Apple Rise to top

Apple overtook Microsoft in terms of profit. It had defeated its arch-nemesis in terms of profits. Apple rose to become the most valued company in 2011, with stock prices going through the roof. It apparently has more cash reserves than the US does as country. It will be interesting to see how Apple conducts itself now that it is no longer the underdog.

#7. Microsoft Buys Skype

Skype is one of the most used messenger for video chatting. Microsoft bought the company for a cool $8 Billion. This was Microsoft biggest acquisition but even months later, it is unclear how Microsoft will leverage Skype. Maybe with Windows 8 release in 2012, it might bring about something interesting.

#8. Steve Jobs Passes Away

The magician at Apple, finally succumbed to cancer on October 05, 2011. Apple fans across the world were in mourning after Steve Jobs passed away. Tributes showered in from heads of states, politicians and his contemporaries in the technology world.

#9. Facebook’s Reacts to Google+ with Timelines

As Google+ rose to prominence, Facebook felt the heat. Facebook could take its user for granted for a long time but with Google+ around they had to pick up their game.

They introduced a massive re-design change called Timelines. Timelines has be received with mixed reviews and many are unhappy about it being so easy for other to look up their old Facebook updates. Timelines is still being unveiled slowly and the jury is still out on whether Facebook has come up with a winner.

#10. BlackBerry Outage

If you were a blackberry user, you probably were a victim of this outage. Blackberry’s messaging network had a downtime which lasted not for hours but for days. The outage was fixed but it will take some time to repair the damage done to BlackBerry’s reputation.

The year 2011 was full of ups and downs in the tech world. Famous technologists died, big companies and services flopped while newer names came into prominence. The year 2012 will probably be full of stories with its origins in this year.

Hope you enjoyed our coverage over the past year and let me wish all our readers a Happy New Year.

4 Life-Changing Technologies of Present Decade

I was thinking about the time when I had to go to a cyber-cafe to access Internet at a pretty high cost, that too time-based. I even switched to another cyber-cafe as it was using ‘ISDN’ technology. And today if you think about Internet and Netbooks, about iPhone & iPad, everything has changed so much, can be termed as Life-changing.

Now, I am going to discuss 4 similar Life-changing technologies of the present decade.

USB 3.0 (Superspeed USB)

What about USB providing 10 times the speed it provides now? In absolute terms, USB 3.0 will provide a speed upto 4.8 gigabits per second as compared to the present speed of upto 480 megabits per second. Woooah, isn’t that super cool?

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Wireless Power Transmission

Oh! Are you not much impressed with the idea of Power without wires, or are you just nervous about the effects it may cause to your bones! The research for this exciting & ‘life-changing’ technology is going at MIT and Intel. In just about 7-8 years, you may be using this probably to charge your Laptop at the Airport :)

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Image Credits

Mobile ‘Assistant’

With the pace people are buying mobile phones, it is not long when almost everyone will have a Personal assistant. With software sector booming and hardware evolving to provide users the best, things have not really been like the past. People already use their mobile phones as assistants to find their way, locate themselves, just speak instead of talking and lot more.

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128-bit Computing

Are you still using a 32-bit computer but even aware of a 64-bit processor? A 64-bit computer (Windows) allows your system to have upto 192 GB RAM due to its enhanced addressing ability. What’s interesting is the 128-bit processors which are under evolution. Don’t you think these are life-changing?

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Please do comment on what you think about the above concepts as they are just not an imagination, but in fact a reality!

Is addiction to Technology just a myth? [TDIS]

We claim smoking is an addiction but we often forget to tag technology as an addiction. Why would we do that after all? Just like a smoker never wants to talk about his addiction, we all being addicted to Technology would never do the same. We all know, living without technology and “tech products” is like living without cigarette for a smoker, a weird though realistic comparison.

Most of you would comment “don’t you think our lives have been made so easy and fast?”.

What I am going to discuss is a fact chart which is just not about the disadvantages but even the advantages of using technology.

The good effects

  • Creation of new jobs in IT and ITES sector and other affiliated sectors.
  • Cost effectiveness due to increase in technological advancement including use of faster processes due to IT and hence increase in production.
  • It has helped in reducing cultural gap among people due to it’s global reach and since it provides an equal platform for everyone to interact and discuss their views.

The bad effects

  • Creation of new problems like wrist pain and neck pain and other injuries thanks to hours on a computer.
  • Stress related issues because of being online and available 24/7 which has lead to issues like depression and emotional imbalance.
  • Mental stress and tiredness has become a commonly found gift. People actually need to visit a doctor to be told that they need to relax and take time out.

What I am trying to convey here is basically focussing on a balanced use of technology and not just throwing anything off your lives. I would even like to share the source of inspiration behind writing this article, it is a short incident which happened at a food joint in my city commonly visited by me and my friends.

One of my friends started asking me how to de-activate his Messaging (SMS) pack for his Mobile connection and ofcourse I asked him the reason. His reply was – “the regulating authority for Communications in India (TRAI) has reduced the daily SMS limit under the Free Packs to just 100 while earlier it used to be 500”. The confused soul in me questioned him back – “So, what’s the big problem?” to which he replied – “100 is too less for me as I send atleast 250 messages a day”.

What could be my reaction, anybody wants to guess here? I was watching him with astonishment and wondering if my friend who seems perfectly normal was in fact a technology addict.

So what are you thoughts on being addicted to technology? Is it something acceptable or is technology addiction going to be a big problem in the future? Do let me know through your comments.

Show your Creativity using Google products on Demo Slam

Creativity knows no bounds. We saw how Apple’s popular gadgets are being used as instruments for live performances on stage. One of my friend recently shared a nice website with me called “Google Demo Slam”. The website is  a showcase for users to upload their videos using any of the Google Technology in their general lives. The way it has been portrayed is a kind of a challenge as using Technology feels so nice but creating one needs guts!

One of the interesting videos in Google Demo Slam

Watching the above video might have been a real explanation to what all you can watch at Demo Slam! You can even upload your own videos to explain any of the Google technologies to the world in your own style. Isn’t that all are really interesting efforts from Google to make the World more transparent and friendly?

Don’t forget to check out the Do’s and Don’ts for posting your own video.

Post your suggestions and any video links you might have watched at Demo Slam.

LINK: Demo Slam

Text 2.0-Providing Life to Written Word

EBooks has revolutionized the book industry in a way no one would have thought of. So much so that companies like Amazon came up with Kindle for e-books and then Apple joined the competition to provide best electronic book reading experience by launching iBooks for iPad.

If that was not enough, here comes a technology that will take reading to a new level. Welcome Text 2.0- a technology that will provide life to written word.

What is Text 2.0?

Text 2.0 is a reading enhancement technology which is being developed by a collaboration of German Research Center for Artificial Intelligence and a Swedish firm Tobii Technology. With the help of this technology, words will be able to find where on the page you are looking at, whether you are facing any problem understanding a word or if you are just skimming instead of reading the whole page. Based on this information, the e-reader will react accordingly. For instance if a reader is skimming through the pages, non-essential information gets faded; if he reaches a certain word its meaning pops up and if he glances away while reading, a bookmark appears where he left reading.

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Image Credit: Text 2.0

How does Text 2.0 work?

To understand the working of Text 2.0 in a simple way, we can divide it in three steps:

  1. Track reflection from an infrared source in the eyeball with a camera.
  2. Analyze the information collected by eye tracker.
  3. Trigger certain actions based on the analysis, using HTML, CSS and JavaScript.

For example, reading a certain paragraph can start showing related images, encountering a difficult word can display its definition and so on.

Though the technology is still in development stage, some videos have been released to show it in action. See one of such videos below:

When will Text 2.0 be available?

If you are wondering when you can see this technology in action, you’ll have to wait for some time. It is still in its nascent stage and there are many areas it needs to work upon. Some which I can think are:

  1. Cost: Cost is the chief deciding factor. Right now the eye tracker that is being used costs tens of thousands of dollars. However this can be reduced once it gets opened for the market, since then the R&D cost will be spread over widely.
  2. Accuracy: The eye tracker should be accurate enough to track the movement of a fast reader.
  3. Ads: While reading something online when we come across in-text link ads we decide whether to click on it or not. However, while using this technology, we’ll have no such control and ads might pop up when our eyes reaches the keyword.
  4. Nothing can be automated with 100% accuracy. For example how will it know which words are relevant to me when I’m skimming through a page?

However your wait might not last very long. Apple is known to have bought eye-trackers from Tobii Technologies. This might mean that Apple can use this technology in the next version of iPad, though no such official announcement has been made by Apple regarding this.

If the poll conducted by Mashable is something to go by, e-books have a long way to cover before they can overtake the real books in popularity. Will this technology make that difference and provide an edge to e-books over real books? Let us know through your comments.

Link: Text 2.0

Secure Google Search: Now use Https While Searching

Facebook is always in news because of user privacy and another concern which keeps users in dilemma is security. We use lots of anti-viruses, Spywares and tips and tricks to keep ourselves secure. But the shortest way to keep secure is by using encrypted connecting like using https connection.

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This is one of the reason I love Google and this is one of the reason people love Google products, because they come up with things which users are enjoying. Google encrypted search is something which is a new beta feature added by Google. Now you can search Google over https connection. You can use https://Google.com instead of http://Google.com now. So now sniffer software like Cain and Abel won’t be of much use.

According to official announcement from Google:

When you search on https://www.google.com, an encrypted connection is created between your browser and Google. This secured channel helps protect your search terms and your search results pages from being intercepted by a third party on your network. The service includes a modified logo to help indicate that you’re searching using SSL and that you may encounter a somewhat different Google search experience, but as always, remember to check the start of the address bar for “https” and your browser lock indicators.

This feature is enabled for Google web search and not for other features like Google Image search, Google blog search and many more.  Just for the info this feature is in Beta phase.

Do let us know your views about this new feature from Google. Are you going to enjoy encrypted search?

Bluetooth v4 to hit market by end of 2010.

The Bluetooth Special Interest Group has finalized the Bluetooth 4.0 specs. It is expected to reach manufacturers by the end of August 2010, with hardware expected to reach the market in late 2010 or early 2011.

This newer version is based on low energy module and hence, it can be built into products such as watches, wireless keyboards, gaming and sports sensors, health care products, which can then connect and communicate with host devices such as mobile phones and personal computers.

Main features for users like us would be, resistance to interference and range can be optimized as per application demands upto 200 feets or even beyond (Currently it is ~ 30 feets). This would be specifically required for, in-home sensor applications where longer range is a necessity. This all is going to extend Personal Area Network (PAN).

According to latest press release from Bluetooth Special Interest Group, More than 8 new Bluetooth enabled products are qualified every working day and more than 19 million Bluetooth units are shipping per week. There are nearly three billion Bluetooth devices in the market and that number climbs daily, making it the only proven wireless choice for developers, product manufacturers, and consumers worldwide.

Estimate of Bluetooth Integration in Mobile Phones
2007 2012
47% 73%


Features:

  • Ease of implementation both independently and in coexistence with classic Bluetooth technology.
  • Low cost as a standalone device and minimal cost addition when integrated into a Bluetooth dual mode device
  • Extremely low power consumption. Especially low standby currents for applications with long idle times between active radio use.
  • Low peak and average power consumption to enable button cell applications with minimal external componentry such as capacitors and power conditioning circuits
  • Robustness and resistance to interference
  • The ability to provide a variety of range, extending to full home coverage
  • Fast startup and shut down times
  • Physical and operational coexistence with classic Bluetooth technology
  • Similar level of privacy and security that Bluetooth v2.1 has today.

Source

Looks like one more big step to stay wireless.

Google Buzz giving Better Control for Email Notification

Google buzz is in news from some time now and slowly but its getting hype among internet users. Integrating Googlegoogle buzz buzz into Gmail is the best thing Buzz developer did, but this also created problem for lots of email notification. Google buzz announced that they will be rolling out updates soon, in which you can control your email notification for buzz.

For now, when ever any one comment on your post created on Buzz, you receive an email notification, and by any chance if you buzz a lot, your email is full of notification.

When Buzz team will roll out these new updates, you can control following things from settings:

– Comments on your posts
– Comments on posts after you comment on them
– Comments on posts after you are @replied on them

Another interesting feature they going to add is mute button similar to Google wave and you will stop receiving notification for comments made on that buzz.

Do let us know how’s your experience with Google buzz so far?. Meanwhile you can follow me on Google buzz here.

Top 5 How-To Sites That You Must Bookmark

How-To Websites, these are the websites that are making you job quite easier. After the evolution of these Web services, our work became easier by just simply sitting in-front of our computer and simply search for what we want to know without any hesitation, rather than roaming to others for asking about it.

They were providing information on various aspects like Tutorials, Online Education, General Services, Health Care, Fashion, Photography, Hardware Guidance and many more. These services were serving us by providing the information from simple works like “How to Fold a T-Shirt like a Pro” to mighty tutorials.

Thus these Websites are becoming a part of our life, which are helping us to meet our requirements. I have created a list of “Top 5 How-To Site”. Check all of them. They might useful to you at any time in your life.

  1. eHow
  2. How To Do Things.com
  3. WonderHow-To
  4. How Stuff Works
  5. Instructables
  6. Bonus : How-To Geek

eHow : You can know about how-to do everything at eHow which provides step-step instructions. Expert village is another Online tutorial website with over 1,30,000 video tutorials is merged with eHow now. You will find various How-To tips on Arts & Entertainment, Business, Computers, Travel, Child, Health, Education, Internet, Holidays etc. What not it gives you the information about everything and anything.

How-To Do Things.com : You can learn how-to do about almost anything. You will find thousands of how-to helpful articles. To have additional benefits and enjoy those services you should register. This site will provide you various how-to’s on Automotive, Business, Careers, Computers&Internet, Hobbies, Holidays, Travel, Health Care Tips and many more.

Wonder How-To : You can find how-to videos that helps you to meet your requirements. This is one of the best service available. It is not only a simple website, it is a search-engine and directory for how-to websites. You can also share your own How-to videos here. You are always welcome to share. You will find various How-To tips on Arts & Crafts, Alcohol, Beauty&Style, Computer&Programming, Dating Tips, Food, Gambling and lot more.

How Stuff Works : It is a colorful illustration website that which deals with the information related to earth science, engine workshops, many more technology devices workshop. This is the world of heaven for engineers, students etc. This is simply a device workshop. You can find information about Automotive, Engine, Gadgets, Hardware. But this website also provides you the information related to general categories.

Instructables : It is the biggest how-to and DIY community where users make and share inspiring information, tutorials, projects etc. It is a user created and sharing how-to website where you can upload or share various projects.

(Bonus)How-To Geek : This is the ultimate Tech how-to website. You will find many Windows, Linux, Mac, PC troubleshooting, Internet tips and many more.

So share your how to site which you recommend for every one?

Youtube Introduced Safety mode

Youtube has one of the largest video collection and many of the videos have graphic violence, war footage or footage which you don’t wany your family or kids to see.  To ensure your family safety, Youtube introduced a new feature call safety mode.

This new safety mode from youtube will make sure that videos which contains any such graphics which you don’t want your kids and family to see, will not be shown.

YouTube

While announcing this new feature youtube also mentioned that

“While no filter is 100% perfect, Safety Mode is another step in our ongoing desire to give you greater control over the content you see on the site.”

You can watch this video to understand how you can enable or disable  Safety mode in Youtube :

What do you feel about this new feature? Is it useful or it will come out to be just another feature from youtube?