Category Archives: Software

Using WiFi as a motion sensor interface

WiSee is a novel interaction interface that leverages ongoing wireless transmissions in the environment (e.g., WiFi) to enable whole-home sensing and recognition of human gestures. Since wireless signals do not require line-of-sight and can traverse through walls, WiSee can enable whole-home gesture recognition using few wireless sources (e.g., a Wi-Fi router and a few mobile devices in the living room).

WiSee is the first wireless system that can identify gestures in line-of-sight, non-line-of-sight, and through-the-wall scenarios. Unlike other gesture recognition systems like Kinect, Leap Motion or MYO, WiSee requires neither an infrastructure of cameras nor user instrumentation of devices. We implement a proof-of-concept prototype of WiSee and evaluate it in both an office environment and a two-bedroom apartment. Our results show that WiSee can identify and classify a set of nine gestures with an average accuracy of 94%…

WiSee takes advantage of the technology trend of MIMO, the fact that wireless devices today carry multiple antennas (which are primarily used to improve capacity). A WiSee/WiSee-enabled receiver would use these multiple antennas in a different way to focus only on the user in control, thus eliminating interference from other people.

Source: WiSee

Yahoo buy Tumblr for $1 Billion. They promise not to screw it up

YahooTumblrMarissa Meyer, CEO of Yahoo, spoke about their acquisition of Tumblr for $1 Billion.

I’m delighted to announce that we’ve reached an agreement to acquire Tumblr!

We promise not to screw it up. Tumblr is incredibly special and has a great thing going. We will operate Tumblr independently. David Karp will remain CEO. The product roadmap, their team, their wit and irreverence will all remain the same as will their mission to empower creators to make their best work and get it in front of the audience they deserve. Yahoo! will help Tumblr get even better, faster.

Tumblr has built an amazing place to follow the world’s creators. From art to architecture, fashion to food, Tumblr hosts 105 million different blogs. With more than 300 million monthly unique visitors and 120,000 signups every day, Tumblr is one of thefastest-growing media networks in the world. Tumblr sees 900 posts per second (!) and 24 billion minutes spent onsite each month. On mobile, more than half of Tumblr’s users are using the mobile app, and those users do an average of 7 sessions per day. Tumblr’s tremendous popularity and engagement among creators, curators and audiences of all ages brings a significant new community of users to the Yahoo! network. The combination of Tumblr+Yahoo! could grow Yahoo!’s audience by 50% to more than a billion monthly visitors, and could grow traffic by approximately 20%.

In terms of working together, Tumblr can deploy Yahoo!’s personalization technology and search infrastructure to help its users discover creators, bloggers, and content they’ll love. In turn, Tumblr brings 50 billion blog posts (and 75 million more arriving each day) to Yahoo!’s media network and search experiences. The two companies will also work together to create advertising opportunities that are seamless and enhance user experience.

As I’ve said before, companies are all about people. Getting to know the Tumblr team has been really amazing. I’ve long held the view that in all things art and design, you can feel the spirit and demeanor of those who create them. That’s why it was no surprise to me that David Karp is one of the nicest, most empathetic people I’ve ever met. He’s also one of the most perceptive, capable entrepreneurs I’ve worked with. His respect for Tumblr’s community of creators is awesome, and I’m absolutely delighted to have him and his entire team join Yahoo!.

Both Tumblr and Yahoo! share a vision to make the Internet the ultimate creative canvas by focusing on users, design — and building experiences that delight and inspire the world every day.

Source: Yahoo

Gran Turismo 6 – News and launch trailer

GT 6GT6 for PlayStation 3 will bring new levels of authenticity to ‘the Real Driving Simulator’ as well as introducing stunning new tracks and cars and a revised user interface. A new compact game engine will improve operation and increase the flexibility to expand it with downloadable content. Meanwhile, the game is also set for expanded connectivity with other devices such as smart phones and tablets and increased social and community functions.

All of the cars and tracks from Gran Turismo 5, which has sold over 10 million copies since launching in 2010, will be retained in GT6. But notable new additions to the already impressive line-up of historic cars, road cars and the latest race cars, brings the total car list to 1,200 at launch, with new cars set to be continually added online. Several thousand aerodynamic parts and custom wheels will be available for almost all cars, and players can personalize their own custom cars in game to the greatest ever level possible.
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International Space Station switches from Windows to Linux

International_Space_StationThe United Space Alliance, which manages the computers aboard the International Space Station (ISS) in association with NASA, has announced that the Windows XP computers aboard the ISS have been switched to Linux. “We migrated key functions from Windows to Linux because we needed an operating system that was stable and reliable.”

This means that “dozens of laptops” will change from running Windows XP to Debian 6. There are already Linux systems aboard the ISS and once the move is completed there will be no more Windows. Keith Chuvala of the United Space Alliance has explained that the move to Linux will provide ”in-house control. So if we needed to patch, adjust or adapt, we could.”

Back in 2008, a Russian cosmonaut brought a laptop aboard with the W32.Gammima.AG worm, which quickly spread to the other laptops on board. Switching to Linux should mean that this could never happen again.

Linux is the scientific community’s operating system of choice according to ExtremeTech. CERN’s Large Hadron Collider is controlled by Linux. NASA and SpaceX ground stations use Linux. DNA-sequencing lab technicians use Linux. Really, for applications that require absolute stability, which most scientific experiments are, Linux is the obvious choice.

Now here is Commander Chris Hadfield, who will be returning to Earth soon, performing David Bowie’s Space Oddity while on the ISS.
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Battlefield 4— New Benchmark in Game Design, Multiplayer Engagement

battlefield-4Only in Battlefield™ can players go through a building instead of around it or eject from a jet and take out the enemy mid-free fall. Those incredible gameplay moments that blur the line between game and glory can only be created by players, and occur only in Battlefield. DICE, a studio of Electronic Arts Inc. (NASDAQ: EA), today announced Battlefield 4™, a genre-defining action blockbuster launching in Fall 2013. Powered by the advanced technology of DICE’s proprietary Frostbite™ 3 engine, Battlefield 4 offers players a glimpse into the future of interactive entertainment — a future that is more human, dramatic and believable than anything before it. With more than 65 million players worldwide, the Battlefield series has consistently been praised by critics for its world-class multiplayer gameplay, and is recognized as the only game that allows players to own land, sea and air.

Battlefield 4 is a seminal moment for the Battlefield series as more award-winning, multiplayer game design elements are incorporated into the single-player campaign. In single-player, gamers will experience huge environments, a playground of destruction, access to an arsenal of vehicles and the ability to direct squad mates. Taking a page from the social aspect of multiplayer gaming, the single-player mode will now track players’ progress, adding an element of persistence and friendly competition to the campaign. Read the rest of this entry

Microsoft Dynamics Reimagines and Unites the Worlds of Business and IT

MS-Dynamics-Logo

Microsoft Corp. today opened a sold-out Microsoft Dynamics Convergence 2013 with a keynote address from Microsoft Business Solutions President Kirill Tatarinov featuring Microsoft Dynamics customers Chobani Inc., Habitat for Humanity International, Revlon Inc., Shock Doctor Inc. and Weight Watchers International Inc.

Speaking to more than 11,000 attendees, the largest in conference history, Tatarinov addressed how business leaders can reimagine the way they engage with customers, build brand relevance and collaborate with employees to stay ahead of the changing roles across all levels in business. Observing the increased influence of marketing and other areas of business over a company’s technology investments and the value of collaboration, Tatarinov reinforced the idea that business functions can work more effectively when they unite with their IT counterparts. Tatarinov noted that Microsoft Dynamics is uniquely positioned to serve as a catalyst for unity, and he announced new advancements in integrated marketing, embedded social capabilities, and new cloud and mobile scenarios enabled through Microsoft Dynamics solutions that will help businesses unite with their customers, unite their organizations, and unite their people and technology.
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What would we do if the Internet stopped working?

In the words of Ron Burgundy, the Internet is “kind of a big deal.” Most of us use it every day. You are only reading these words because of it and we take it for granted.

What would be do if the Internet suddenly crashed?

Scientist Danny Hillis, during a recent TED Talk, said the Internet’s current population exposes a new vulnerability.

Danny Hillis Ted Talk

“The Internet was designed with the assumption that the communications links could not be trusted, but that the people that connected computers to the Internet were smart and trustworthy,” Hillis told Mashable. “Those assumptions no longer apply.”

“We’re setting ourselves up for a kind of disaster like the [one] we had with the financial system, where we take a system that was basically built on trust — was basically built for a smaller scale system — and we’ve kind of expanded it way beyond the limits of how it was meant to operate,” Hillis explained.

“Since this presentation, many people have told me those stories are only the tip of the iceberg,” but he has heard from people working on a backup plan.

“So, while I am concerned to hear that things are already worse than I assumed, I’m also heartened that smart minds are starting to focus on solutions. Like so many other infrastructure problems, this one is likely to eventually get fixed. The question will be just how much pain we will have to accept before we fix it.”

Microsoft have been fined $730M because of their Web Browser

choose

Do you remember when Internet Explorer had a Browser Choice Screen pop-up? Apparently it began March 2010 as part of a settlement following an EU competition investigation.

Then, according to Microsoft, due to a technical error it disappeared after a Windows 7 update in February 2011.

Because of this they have been fined 561 million euros ($731m; £484m) for failing to promote a range of web browsers, rather than just Internet Explorer program, to users in the European Union (EU) according to the BBC.

Microsoft got off lucky as they could have been fined 10% of its global annual revenue, which would have totalled $7.4bn based on its 2012 report.

“We take full responsibility for the technical error that caused this problem and have apologised for it,” a spokesman for Microsoft said following the announcement.

“We provided the Commission with a complete and candid assessment of the situation, and we have taken steps to strengthen our software development and other processes to help avoid this mistake – or anything similar – in the future.”

Microsoft’s chief executive Steve Ballmer and the former head of its Windows division Steven Sinofsky have already had their most recent bonuses docked, in part because of the browser affair.

“While it’s highly likely that it was a technical mistake that broke the browser choice facility the fact that it remained broken for 14 months raises significant questions about Microsoft’s ability and willingness to comply with the voluntary agreement with the EU,” Chris Green, principal analyst at the consultants Davies Murphy Group Europe, told the BBC.

“At the same time the situation also raises concerns over the EU’s ability to actually monitor the outcomes of antitrust agreements.”

PlayStation 4 news and trailer. Still no idea what it looks like

PS4 controller

Last night Sony had a two hour event about the PlayStation 4 (PS4) yet they did not actually show the new console. Lots of developers spoke about the new console. Games were talked about and shown (as seen in the trailer below), but no sign of the PS4.

It was seven years ago that the PS3 was released so lots of time for things to change.

Here are some details on the new PS4 which is due out in “Holiday 2013.”

ps4-specs

  • It has an x86 processor
  • An 8-core combined CPU/GPU
  • 8 GB of RAM (16x More RAM Than PS3 or Xbox 360. The PS3 had 512 MB)
  • It will have a local HDD

Sadly there is no no PS3 backwards compatibility. They announced thePlayStation Cloud which mean you can stream access to old titles without the need for disc. However, they did not say if you would have to buy the game again if you already owned it on disc.

They did show the new controller – the DualShock 4. Looking a lot like the previous controller it has a touchpad in the middle, a share button, a headphone jack, and a light bar to track movement with a PlayStation Move-style controller.

Games will be “instantly” bootable from sleep, and a secondary processor will handle downloading games in the background, giving you the ability to actually play games while they’re being transferred from Sony’s servers to your PS4.

A dedicated video-processing chip will let you stream video from your gaming session without leaving your session, sharable straight from a social-oriented button on your controller.

Watch the launch trailer below. Read the rest of this entry

Bungie’s Destiny. Can they beat Halo?

destinyBungie are the video game creators behind Halo. We all know how successful that game was. Will Destiny reach the same heights?

Everything changed with the arrival of the Traveler. It sparked a Golden Age when our civilization spanned the solar system, but it didn’t last. Something hit us, knocked us down.

The survivors built a city beneath the Traveler, and have begun to explore our old worlds, only to find them filled with deadly foes.

You are a Guardian of the last safe city on Earth, able to wield incredible power. Defend the City. Defeat our enemies. Reclaim all that we have lost.

Be brave.

Activision have said that it hasn’t included the release of the game in its 2013 releases. The first-person shooter is set to be released for the PS3 and Xbox 360 consoles, but may be a little different to other shooters. Bungie have designed it as a kind ofmassively multiplayer sci-fi experience or “shared world shooter” that is fully playable by yourself, but designed to seamlessly connect you with friends.

Sounds intriguing and the video below gives us a good look at the world they have created.