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Saturday, 18 March 2017

Samsung Galaxy Note 8 Release Date, Price, Specs, Features

An intriguing report this week suggests that Samsung may be imitating the iPhone range when the Galaxy Note 8 hits the stores. With Samsung having been involved in supplying components for the iPhone series, it is suggested that it has gained inspiration from this process and will ape one of the most distinctive iPhone 7 features.

OLED 3D Touch

Korean reports suggest that Samsung is working on a pressure-sensitive OLED touch display, and that this could debut in both the iPhone 8 and Galaxy Note 8. This 3D Touchscreen will incorporate the 3D Touch functionality that has been part of previous LCD generations, updating it for the contemporary marketplace.

Galaxy Note 8Galaxy Note 8
1399156 / Pixabay

Samsung has reportedly already debuted this screen at the Mobile World Congress, although it was obviously not part of the public trade show. Samsung supposedly gave a behind closed doors demonstration of the potential of this device, and it is now believed that it could make its first appearance in the Galaxy Note 8, before being part of the iPhone 8 later this year. “The latest technology boasts higher sensitivity and a wider range of pressure-sensing levels compared to the previous one used in Huawei’s P9 in 2015,” a source close to the Apple supply chain commented.
However, it is not yet clear whether the new components will be ready in time for the Galaxy Note 8. While the technology is not quite in prototype state, it may not be prepared for mass consumption in time for the August and September release dates of the Galaxy Note 8 and iPhone 8 respectively.
But it is obvious that both Apple and Samsung would love to embrace this in the next generation of their devices, as the new feature will effectively replaced the virtual Home button. It has been widely reported that both Apple and Samsung are looking to phase out this frequent feature of mobiles this year, and this new technology could obviously play a major part in this process.
It would undoubtedly be a major filip for Samsung to include some form of pressure-sensitive technology in the Galaxy Note 8, as this was seen as a major innovation and selling point of the iPhone 7. it would also be an obvious way that Samsung could retain all the existing functionality of the Galaxy Note range while also removing the Home button.

Dual-camera coming

Elsewhere, it has been suggested this week that Samsung will include a dual-camera in the Galaxy Note 8. reports have focused on the Korean manufacturer updating its camera capabilities in an attempt to impress consumers ahead of what will effectively be a relaunch of the Galaxy Note series.
It is notable that Samsung recently unveiled its latest high-spec Exynos 8895 chipset, and this features provisions for supporting dual-camera technology. This suggests that the chip will feature in the Galaxy Note 8, and that the chipset will play a part in delivering dual-lens technology.
Leaks from close to the Samsung supply chain also suggest that the dual-camera technology that Samsung will include in the Galaxy Note 8 differs from some of the other examples already present in the marketplace. It is believed that the dual-sensor snapper that Samsung wishes to include in the Galaxy Note 8 features two differing sensors. The first of these is described as high-powered, while the other is low-powered. This suggests a similar setup to devices previously released by HTC.
Considering that the Galaxy Note 8 should also include a significantly more powerful chipset, it is fair to assert that the photographic capabilities of the next generation device will be a big improvement over even the doomed Galaxy Note 7. It is easy to forget now that this particular handset was the recipient of excellent reviews prior to its exploding demise.
Additionally, it is also known that the Exynos 8895 has the potential to support megapixel ratings of up to 28-megapixels for both rear and front sensors. Whether Samsung will take advantage of this remains to be seen, but it has led some pundits to speculate that the megapixel rating of the smartphone could be increased significantly over previous generations. Thus, the Korean corporation could inch up the camera in the Galaxy Note 8 to 16-megapixels, at least according to some reports.
Forbes also suggested this week that a dual-camera had been considered for the Galaxy S8 before Samsung shelved the idea. It is not known why this decision was taken, or whether there were technological or logistical problems. Another possibility is that Samsung wishes to distinguish the Galaxy Note range from the Galaxy S series by including a dual-camera.
But what has emerged from the Galaxy S8 generation is that Samsung has a prototype of a duall-camera module available. This means that adapting it for the Galaxy Note 8 generation should be feasible. And there is no doubt that the Galaxy Note 8 requires as many unique features as possible in order to stay relevant; Samsung already faces a challenge to restore the reputation of the brand after the Galaxy Note 7 disaster.

Third product range expected

Another interesting suggestion this week is that the Galaxy Note 8 may no longer be the most premium Samsung mobile release. Reports have focused on a potential third device release from the Korean manufacturer, featuring a luxurious design and quality beyond anything that Samsung has delivered so far.
Reports suggest that this prototype could be unveiled at some point this year, although it may not actually become available to the public until 2018. It is believed that Samsung also showed off this device at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, with a private demonstration to a number of partners having apparently taken place.
The South Korean giant is attempting to prevent leaks at this time, but there are strong rumors already circulating that this is the foldable device that has been so strongly anticipated. Samsung initially debuted this prototype technology at a trade show in 2008, and one decade later it could finally be ready for the marketplace.
UPDATE 03-10-2017: As Samsung continues its preparation for the range of smartphones that the corporation will release in 2017, rumors this week suggest that the Galaxy Note 8 may be rather similar to the Galaxy S8 Plus. Samsung has yet to confirm either device, but it seems that the two phablet contenders will have a great deal in common.

Trickle down

Samsung is expected to include several new features in the forthcoming Galaxy S8 Plus, with the anticipation being that these will ultimately trickle down into a Galaxy Note 8 release later in 2017. In previous generations, the Galaxy Note has been more powerful than the Galaxy S series, with this contributing to the exalted reputation of the phablet range.

But after the Galaxy Note 7 fiasco, it seems that Samsung is reconsidering the way that it positions its major devices. Murmurings indicate that Samsung may release two phablet devices during its spring launch, with the larger of these two, the Galaxy S8 Plus, featuring a 6.2-inch display. This would make the scale of the handset similar to that of the Galaxy Note 7, which had 153.5 x 73.9 x 7.9 mm dimensions 

Sunday, 5 March 2017

United Airlines CEO explains why the Boeing 747 jumbo jet will soon go away

United Airlines Boeing 747

In January, United Airlines announced that it will expedite the retirement of its fleet of Boeing 747-400 jumbo jets.
United, the last major airline in the US to operate the venerable icon, will retire its fleet by the end of 2017, one year earlier than previously planned.
This year, the Chicago-based airline will replace the 747 with new twin-engined Boeing 777-300ER airliners that, along with the 787 Dreamliner and the Airbus A350, will serve as the future core of United's long-haul fleet.
Recently, United Airlines CEO Oscar Munoz sat down for a one-on-one interview with Business Insider in which he touched upon a broad spectrum of topics including the fate of his fleet of jumbo jets.
In the interview, Munoz spoke about the practical considerations behind the retirement of the iconic plane known affectionately as the Queen of the Skies as well as the future of the airline's fleet.
Here's an excerpt from that interview:
Benjamin Zhang : Recently, United announced that it would be expediting the retirement of its Boeing 747-400s. What was the thinking behind that, and is it the end of the jumbo jet? 

Oscar Munoz : You've got other jumbo jets out there that are being built and that a couple of people are flying. For us, we had dwindled down our fleet of 747s. They were already on a path to becoming obsolete. They have been a grand aircraft for us for a long time, but we have issues with maintenance - parts in particular. If I need a part today, I can't get it. We stripped every airplane in the world of its parts to feed the need, and no one is making new parts for this particular aircraft because there are just not as many out there. 

Zhang : With the 747 on the way out, what does the future hold for United's fleet? 

Munoz : Every time I get accosted with the issue of the "Queen of the Skies," I say, "Have you met Miss Dreamliner over here?" It doesn't have that grand double-decker look, but that's where [the new Polaris business class] comes into play. The service that you get, the seats that we are working with, that was the decision. We were getting new aircraft that we were going to fly, and we are going to make long-term commitments to flying, and we wanted to start those new routes with aircraft that we are going to be flying into the next generation.

Thursday, 21 July 2016

Top 5 Free Screen Recording Softwares For Windows

Screen recording can be useful when you need to record a how-to video to help someone learn how to use a program, record a game walkthrough, or prepare for a presentationRecord here means you can create a video of whatever you are doing on your desktop, save the recording as a video file and send it to a friend or upload it on YouTube.
We’ve featured screen capturing tools before, and you know a few ways to take screenshots on your computer. For something more than just a still image, here are 8 free screen recording programs that will help you record every action you make on your Windows desktop.
Free programs at times come with drawbacks or limitations, and watermarks are common in many free screen recording softwares. However, the following list of programs has been tested to not have any watermarks and can export to a file format recognizable to most video editing softwares.
1. Ezvid
Ezvid is a screen recorder program that comes with an in-built video editor where you can split your recordings and add text in between two clips, creating aslideshow effect. There is no way to export the video you recorded. However, you can upload the video to YouTube through the program itself.

For gamers, there’s an option to enable ‘Gaming mode’ where it records the windowed mode of your game. The program comes with a few music clips. However if you decide to have no music, it will be replaced with a ‘Silent machine’ which sounds like a small fan from a computer. You can add in other pictures and video clips, as well as add in your voice after you’re done editing your clip.
2. BlueBerry FlashBack Express Recorder
BB (short for BlueBerry) FlashBack Express Recorder lets you use your webcam to record yourself while recording the activities that are happening on your desktop. After you have stopped recording, it creates an FBR file which can be edited with its packaged video editor.

If you did not enable your webcam, you can skip the video editor program and export it to the AVI file format right away. Otherwise, you can use the software to position and resize your webcam box before exporting it. Although it requires you to register (for a free account) after 30 days of usage, it still provides you with all of its functions before you register.
3. Screenr
Screenr is an interesting way to share a screencast (recording of your screen) online without installing a program on your computer; it requires Java to work. You select an area on your screen which you want to record (max: 5 minutes). All recordings are saved into your account.

After recording you’ll be given a link which you can share. You can also export your video to MP4 or upload it on YouTube.
Screenr also provides a bookmarklet so you can record without going to the website. Register with your Facebook, Twitter, Google, LinkedIn, Yahoo or Windows Live account in order to use Screenr for free.
4. Rylstim Screen Recorder
Rylstim just records your screen after you hit the ‘Start Record’ button. This will be useful for people who do not want to configure anything and just want a basic recorder. This program does not record sound from input devices like a microphone.

The only options available determine if you want to show your left or right mouse button clicks in the video. If you enable the mouse click options, a red ripple will appear at your cursor when you left click and a green ripple appears for right clicks. This mouse click ripple effect will only be visible when you view your recording.
5. CamStudio
CamStudio comes equipped with many options to tweak the way it records. There are options to enable or disable your mouse cursor, record sounds from programs or a microphone (or have no sound at all) and the option to enable custom screen annotations.

Here’s more!

Webinaria is another easy-to-use screen recording software with basic options for your recording needs. It can record your entire screen, a program window or a custom selection. You can choose from 3 frame rate options; 5, 10 and 15 FPS (frames per second).

Videos are produced in AVI file format. If you were using Google Chrome before running Webinaria, Google Chrome will be detected as the program window for recording.
DVDVideoSoft Free Screen Video Recorder
This program has a simple user interface carrying 9 icons. The first 4 is for screen capturing, the next 4 handles screen recording and the last icon opens the options of the program. It also exports its video to an AVI file format. What’s good about this program is its automatic file naming options.

It gives you options to include the specific date and time in the filename of your recorded video. Users who need to keep track of many screen recordings back to back will find this automatic file naming option useful.
Krut Computer Recorder
Krut does not require installation but uses Java to run. After downloading, you’ll have a folder where you have to run the ‘KRUT.jar’ file to get started. The capture area and recording frames per second can be set by the user.

There is an option called ‘Follow Mouse’ where it captures the area around your mouse, wherever it moves to. When using the ‘Follow Mouse’ feature, you can enable preview mode to see the captured area as you record. This program outputs to three types of files: the WAV file only has the audio recorded, while of the two MOV files; one has no audio and the other has both audio and video of the recording.

You can also choose to record a particular area on your screen or a program window so that the rest of your desktop isn’t showing on the recording. It can record at different frame rate speeds; for example 1 FPS (frames per second)to create a time lapse video effect, or 30 FPS for a smooth video.

Friday, 1 July 2016

Former US Secret Service agent may have stolen bitcoins

Former US Secret Service agent may have stolen bitcoins

A Secret Service agent who stole money seized by the government in the investigation of underground drug bazaar Silk Road is now suspected of stealing money in at least two other cases, according to court filings unsealed on Thursday. In the larger of those cases, he is thought to have been behind the theft of about $700,000 worth of Bitcoin from a Secret Service account three months after the agency was urged to block his access, the documents say.
Former agent Shaun Bridges pleaded guilty last year and was sentenced in December to nearly six years in prison for stealing more than $800,000 of the crypto currency Bitcoin during the Silk Road investigation. According to an affidavit unsealed Thursday, the Justice Department learned in April 2015 that Bridges might have kept a private cryptographic key giving him access to a Bitcoin wallet with the $700,000 in currency that the Silk Road task force had seized in 2014. The department urged the agency to move the funds elsewhere.
“Unfortunately, the U.S. Secret Service did not do so and the funds were thereafter stolen, something the U.S, Secret Service only discovered once it was ordered by a court to pay a portion of the seizure back to affected claimants,” a team of prosecutors wrote in an accompanying motion. The Bitcoin in question was moved in July 2015 but only discovered missing in December, the affidavit said.
The Secret Service and Bridges’ attorney Steven Levin declined to comment. In the previous case, Bridges admitted he stole money from Silk Road accounts and framed someone else for it, leading Silk Road chief Ross Ulbricht to plan a murder. Ulbricht is now serving a life sentence.

Updated, 4K-capable Sony PlayStation Neo to ship this year: Report

Updated, 4K-capable Sony PlayStation Neo to ship this year: Report

Sony confirmed that they were indeed working on the PlayStation Neo, a more powerful, 4K-capable alternative to the PlayStation 4. It’s now come to light that the console will actually ship this year.
Various sources have reportedly informed EuroGamer that the updated console is slated for launch this year.
The current generation consoles are at something of a cross-roads. The Xbox One is flailing about and managing to stay afloat while the PS4 is surging further and further ahead in terms of sales.
However, with AMD’s introduction of a new micro-architecture, they’re going to be phasing out older manufacturing techniques, giving Sony and Microsoft a chance to either revamp their console architecture or stick to their ways, at a higher cost.
Sony and Microsoft decided to go with the revamp option. Sony officially confirmed that the Neo is coming this year and Microsoft’s new console, Project Scorpio, is coming in “Holiday 2017.” Both consoles claim to support 4K gaming, but it’s possible that Microsoft will have the more powerful console. At E3, Microsoft boasted that their console will offer 6 teraflops of performance.
Nobody actually knows for a fact if the PlayStation Neo is going to be more or less powerful than the Xbox One, but it will be the console that’s first to market and will probably ship alongside the PlayStation VR headset.
In the long term, it’ll be interesting to see how this decision will impact Sony and Microsoft, especially as Microsoft will have a very good chance to observe the Neo in action, gauge response and adapt accordingly.
Current owners of the PS4 and Xbox One need not worry for Sony and Microsoft have insisted that the current platforms will not be alienated by the introduction of the new hardware.

Underground DLC: Procedurally generated levels come to The Division

Underground DLC: Procedurally generated levels come to The Division

Tom Clancy’s The Division got its first paid DLC release earlier this week, featuring some much-needed endgame content. Underground is a PC and Xbox One timed exclusive presently, with PS4 players (the bulk of the game’s player base) gaining access to the DLC in a month’s time. As a PC player of The Division, I’ve been able to take full advantage of the hardware at my disposal, and have been lucky enough to play the best looking version of the game. However, the game has seen a shocking fall in the number of active players since the game’s launch. Underground promises a slew of new content and gear, but will it be enough to bring players back to The Division?

You begin with an above-ground transitional mission. Once you’ve returned to your HQ after beating it, a new door opens next to the Rewards Claim Vendor to a new social place called “The Terminal.” From The Terminal, you will be able to access Underground missions; randomly generated urban dungeons with varying backdrops and visual styles. These dungeons are akin to Diablo 3’s Rifts, but I would imagine the algorithms required to generate them (given the game’s visual fidelity), are substantially more complex. It’s a great technical achievement, but there appear to be some downsides.
The Division Underground DLC (1)

The Division never ceases to impress from a graphics standpoint, and while all Underground missions can look great (particularly on PC), the mix of outdoor and indoor environments which broke the monotony of the other is absent. Underground missions are designed to be played co-operatively, be it using the game’s matchmaking system or with pre-made groups. All the missions are no-respawn areas, so a death while playing solo will result in the loss of progress (no XP gained is retained on death). Jump in with a party for those clutch revives and get the most out of grinding for XP and loot in these spaces.
The Division Underground DLC (2)
Missions can be played in varying degrees of difficulty (“cakewalk” to “heroic”), with the ability to add unlocked modifiers such as no radar, ammo restrictions or giving enemies special ammo. While this adds a fair bit of replayability to the content, in the end, it also means revisiting The Division’s core issues of bullet-absorbing enemies, rushing shotgunners and the fundamentally incongruous coming together of RPG and modern day shooter. The rewards? Gear sets and weapons, of course. If you’re not interesting in wasting precious time in the game’s Dark Zone, the variety of Underground’s dungeons could offer an alternative method to acquire the game’s best gear.
The Division Underground DLC (3)
A new “heroic” mode and new challenge mode missions have been added as “free” updates as well, with Incursions and Challenge mode missions sporting this additional difficulty level. Hudson Refugee Camp and Queen’s Tunnel Camp can now be experience as a challenge mode mission with better rewards as well.
The Division Underground DLC (4)
Underground also adds a new Incursion (the game’s take on MMO Raids), called the “Dragon’s Nest.” If the name wasn’t a dead giveaway, you’ll be fighting The Division’s fiery foes, the Cleaners. They’ve got some new toys this time around, one of which is an annoying incendiary RC car of doom, which are driven directly into players, causing an area-of-effect fire explosion. Players will also have to deal with “The Four Horsemen,” the game’s most “formidable foes” according to the marketing material.
So far, The Division has never been mechanically heavy in terms of its fights, with the game peaking in terms of complexity with “defend” sections where you’ll have to hold down a point, turning a valve or two while fighting off waves of enemies. The final fight in Dragon’s Nest changes this for the better by introducing coordinated button-pushing, followed by mandatory repositioning, to The Division.
There was always going to be a dedicated fan base, given both the hype leading up to The Division’s launch as well as those players who simply love the “grind” aspect of games like Destiny, MMORPGs or Diablo. The Division personifies this grind and Underground adds a fair bit of variety to it, thanks to its procedurally generated levels and rewards like gear sets and high-end weapons. For those players who enjoyed the story content, gunplay and immersive visuals of vanilla Division, Underground offers something different—a single playthrough on even lower difficulty with some friends can be a fun, occasionally challenging experience. However, there’s nothing here for players who fundamentally disliked the base game or were uninterested in its premise.

Here’s why the Apple iPhone 8 is a bigger deal than the upcoming iPhone 7

Here’s why the Apple iPhone 8 is a bigger deal than the upcoming iPhone 7

First, let’s clear things up. I own an iPhone 6 Plus, which will soon be two years old at the launch of the upcoming iPhone 7 expected to take place this September. That said, I’m eager to know what’s in store for me, since I also happen to be a victim of Apple’s transition to better hardware. I own a device that sports 1GB RAM, while the current standard (thanks to the iPhone SE) is 2GB. This meant that my iPhone felt a lot slower within a year instead of typical two years for Apple devices. Owners of the Apple iPad Air and the iPad mini (1st gen.) will also feel the same way. I’m also excited about the iPhone 8, but not so much when it comes to the iPhone 7. Here’s why.
Those like me, waiting for a worthy upgrade (along with the fear of not being able to future-proof ourselves) will indeed be looking up to the iPhone 8 because the iPhone 7 will still pack in the same stuff in terms of hardware. We can expect an Apple A10 with a massive processing jump but for now we aren’t really sure if the shift from 14/16nm to 10nm (with multi-threading) is really necessary. The A9 for now seems fast enough to take on those benchmarks and certainly fast enough for iOS. With that said, the iPhone 8 that is expected to pack in some form of VR goodness, will.
The iPhone 7 (along with the 7 Plus or the Pro) is expected to pack in the same old TFT LCD tech for its displays. Frankly, speaking LCD displays are getting a bit too old. OLED seems to be catching up and the S-AMOLED displays on the Samsung S7 edge and the OnePlus 3 are proof of this. They are brighter, more energy efficient (meaning better battery life) and showcase a lot more depth. Like it or not the iPhone 7’s display will look a bit too old and this will be hard for Apple to explain since there won’t be a bump up in the resolution either.
With the iPhone 8, analysts and patents indicate that Apple may go for a flexible OLED display. One that is expected wrap around the corners of the smartphone getting rid of the volume buttons as well. It will certainly be a breathtaking sight to see the smartphone in the flesh. But Samsung with its project valley smartphone is expected to steal the show way before the iPhone 8 gets announced.
Apple is also said to be working on mLED or micro LED technology for its Watch displays. These are said to be a lot more efficient than the ones in its current Apple Watch range. So far the Cupertino Giant is the only one to be working on this technology, so we may see the same appear on Apple devices to come. But there is no ways that it can make it on a smartphone yet, as they are simply too expensive to produce at the moment. What we can expect with the iPhone 7 is a glare-free, anti-reflective screen something on the lines of what Corning displayed back in 2014, but has not gone mainstream yet.
Image: GSMArena
Image: GSMArena
As of today, we all do know that the iPhone 7 series will once again look similar to the iPhone 6 devices. The only expected difference will be missing antenna bands on the back that will be thicker but move towards the edges of the device instead of passing through the top and bottom ends. Add to this the a missing headphone jack at the bottom with the addition of another speaker something that has been common in all the leaks we have seen so far.
Image: USPTO
Image: USPTO image shows an iPhone patent that Apple applied for back in 2011.
The iPhone 8 on the other hand is expected to break the standard two year design refresh that we have seen from the company in the past years. The iPhone 8 is expected to look like a single sheet of glass and is expected to skip on the metal for its external appearance. It will be the much needed design break that should skip on the thick antenna bands that have been plaguing iPhone models since the 6.
And a refresh is needed indeed. This is because Apple’s iPhone will soon be running out of steam. Sales are expected to take a dip with the iPhone 7 itself and one of the reasons for the same will be the same reason you are reading this article, news about the iPhone 8. Apple seems to lagging behind in terms of new designs in the past few years. While the iPhone 6 was not received too well, people eventually adapted to its rounded design.
Add to this the lazy move of launching a very uninspiring product in the form of the iPhone SE, which was basically an iPhone 6 in the body of an iPhone 5 minus 3D Touch. The pricing of the same was not too impressive either, especially in India, where taxes and import duties bloat up the prices by quite a margin. Somehow we wish that Apple brought the iPhone 8 this year instead of the iPhone 7. The iPhone 7 will be another a transition device with little or no innovation (wireless audio really?) that may force Apple to launch another smaller iPhone SE mid-way next year, to make up for lost profits.