Muktware

Syndicate content
The alternate media we all need!
Updated: 3 hours 15 min ago

The first trailer of Christian Bale as Moses in Exodus: Gods and Kings

Wednesday 9th of July 2014 02:53:42 PM

After Noah’s success on the Box-Office there is another ‘biblical’ story coming to the big screen. This time Redley Scott is teaming up with one of the most talented actors of all time Christian Bale to create “Exodus: Gods and Kings”. Bales plays Moses while Breaking Bad’s Aaron “Yo” Paul is his side-kick Joshua. A trailer for the film is already out which shows a ‘Batmanish’ Moses ready to take on the might of an empire.

Bales rises up against Egyptian Pharaoh Ramses, played by Joel Edgerton to set over 600,000 slaves free. We have seen Ridley in Gladiator so expect some nail-biting action sequence, brutality, journey of an epic scale and a lot of plague.

The post The first trailer of Christian Bale as Moses in Exodus: Gods and Kings appeared first on The Mukt.

A paint that changes colour in high temperature

Wednesday 9th of July 2014 01:21:04 PM

Ever happened to you that you touched a burning object kept outside in the heat? What if you were told there is a paint that could warn you about it roaring temperatures? This is exactly what NJIT researchers have developed. They have created a specialised paint that will be used to coat and package handling material or equipment that will change colour when exposed to high heat. It will be like a warning to not touch it, lest it explodes or cause burn.

The project has been initiated and funded by the U.S. Army Armament Research Development and Engineering Center (ARDEC) at Picatinny Arsenal. This was commissioned with the intention of protecting soldiers who are exposed to munitions that sometimes tend to exceed the temperature of its design limits.

Commenting on the invention, Zafar Iqbal, a research professor, Department of Chemistry and Environmental Science said, “It would have been helpful to have had some sort of a calibrated temperature-triggered signal warning, ‘Don’t go near or pick up this shell!’”

Awarded U.S. patent in the month of May this year, the paint is being dubbed as a thermal-indicating composition. It is applied as a coating or a mark, which changes colour from blue to red when the temperature touched about 95 degrees F.

Iqbal further shared, “We essentially modified commercial paints and introduced nanotechnology-based concepts to tailor the trigger temperatures.”

Time-temperature coding is most crucial for munitions that are stored for many years and travel across places. So far there was no single cost-friendly way to identify when they crossed the critical exposure limit. Also the reason that thermal stabilizers that are incorporated inside weapon containers deplete in extended exposure to high temperatures, called for an alternative solution.

Iqbal has been awarded 22 U.S. patents on a variety of technologies and is busy working on his book titled, “Nanomaterials Science and Technology”. The book will be published by Cambridge University Press.

The post A paint that changes colour in high temperature appeared first on The Mukt.

Indian elephant Raju cries after being rescued!

Wednesday 9th of July 2014 01:08:52 PM

Raju was a baby elephant when he was first captured and chained. In the last 50 years, he was tortured and sold several times to cruel owners while being chained. But his ordeal finally ended on July 2 when animal rescue organisation, Wildlife SOS freed him from the spiked shackles that was his constant companion all his living years.

The rescue team, comprising of 10 veterinarians and wildlife experts faced a tough time rescuing Raju from the Uttar Pradesh region of India. The elephant’s captor kept on shouting commands to provoke Raju, tightening his chain, which made the rescuers unsure of his course of action. After Raju was freed, he was taken to the Elephant Conservation and Care Centre at Mathura.

Wildlife SOS members noticed Raju shed some tears (of joy) when he took his first steps unchained.

Pooja Binepal, Wildlife SOS-UK told The Mirror, “Raju was in chains 24 hours a day, an act of ­intolerable cruelty. The team were astounded to see tears roll down his face during the rescue.”

Raju was in a poor shape when the rescue team found him and he is now undergoing proper medical treatment at the rescue center.

You can be a part of Raju’s speedy recovery if you pledge to donate to Wildlife SOS here.

Source: Mashable

The post Indian elephant Raju cries after being rescued! appeared first on The Mukt.

60-year-old Smallpox vials found in U.S. lab storage room: CDC

Wednesday 9th of July 2014 12:49:03 PM

In a startling discovery, stray vials of the deadly smallpox virus from the 1950s have been found by government workers while cleaning out an old lab on the National Institutes of Health campus in Bethesda, Maryland.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said in a statement that workers discovered the vials labeled ”variola” in a cardboard box on July 1.

The laboratory was among those transferred from NIH to FDA in 1972, along with the responsibility for regulating biologic products. The FDA has operated laboratories located on the NIH campus since that time.

The six glass vials contained freeze-dried virus and were sealed with melted glass. The vials appeared intact and there was no indication that lab workers or the general public are at any exposure risk, according to CDC spokesman Tom Skinner.

Late on July 7, the vials were transported safely and securely with the assistance of federal and local law enforcement agencies to CDC’s high-containment facility in Atlanta.

The samples are now being tested to determine if the smallpox is viable. “We don’t yet know if it’s live and infectious. It’s possible it could be inactivated because of long length of storage,” Stephan Monroe, deputy director of the CDC center which handles highly dangerous infectious agents, said.

After completion of this testing (which may take up to two weeks), the samples will be destroyed.

The mishandling of smallpox comes hot on the heels of the CDC’s recent mishap in which the agency is believed to have transferred live anthrax samples to a CDC lab that was not equipped to handle them, according to Reuters.

Smallpox, one of the most lethal diseases in history, was declared eradicated in 1979. Janet Parker, a university photographer, was the last person to die of the disease in 1978 after being accidentally exposed to it.

By international agreement, there are two official World Health Organization (WHO)-designated repositories for smallpox: a CDC lab in Atlanta and a Russian lab in Novosibirsk, Siberia.

CDC has notified the WHO about the discovery, and WHO has been invited to participate in the investigation.

“If viable smallpox is present, WHO will be invited to witness the destruction of these smallpox materials, as has been the precedent for other cases where smallpox samples have been found outside of the two official repositories,” CDC said.

The post 60-year-old Smallpox vials found in U.S. lab storage room: CDC appeared first on The Mukt.

Exclusive interview with Nitrux founder Uri Herrera

Tuesday 8th of July 2014 11:09:17 PM

Nitrux SA. is well known for their themes and icons and recently they also collaborated with the KDE Community for the default icons of Plasma Next. Nitrux does much more than just themes and icons and in this exclusive interview, the founder and main designer of Nitrux, Uri Herrera talks about it.

Swapnil: Nitrux is primarily known for themes and icons, can you tell us more about other software projects that the company is working on?
Uri Herrera: Yes, our current most important project is our OS, Nitrux OS. Nitrux comes pre-loaded on our ARM mini-PC, the NXQ, it’s based on Ubuntu +1 and we intend it to make a it a rolling-release type distribution eventually replacing everything (base system, package availability, application deployment, etc.).

Aside from that we’re working on our own UI, rather than just a desktop environment. Which includes a set of default applications, design guidelines and a renewed desktop experience. During the past months we’ve also worked on Typer.IM. Typer.IM (https://typer.im) is a messaging service with a strict focus on being private, mobile apps are in the plans. And right now we are working on a cloud disk service for Nitrux OS users that will be extended for everyone to use called nDisk.

Uri Herrera, Founder and main Designer of Nitrux.

Swapnil: Nitrux is working with the KDE community to bring some icon themes to Plasma desktops, can you tell us more about the association with the community?
UH: Sure, we’re directly working with KDE for their next icon theme. The replacement for the Oxygen icon theme will be called Breeze. Breeze as a whole has the goal to bring a refreshed experience for the user (hence the name). Besides the icon theme we worked on another secret surprise for the users, a change that quite honestly was needed for Plasma to become the desktop environment.

Swapnil: Since the company is working with KDE community, two ambitious projects were killed recently. What do you think were the reasons behind their failure?
UH: As our involvement with KDE has been recent we can’t comment on the status of the project(s) that were recently announced to be cut, being too that we didn’t have any involvement with KDE. We hope for a lesson to be learned from them for both the KDE members and its community. Personally, it’s difficult to list a set of reasons, we know first hand how hard the hardware game can be, R&D costs and that’s just the beginning for example. We however have high expectations that Nitrux can succeed where these projects may have failed, and so far for us it has been better than we anticipated. We cleared the hardest stage and hope to grow exponentially from now on.

Swapnil: Is there a developer community around Nitrux products or are these developed by the in-house teams.
UH: During the last months we have made calls for developers among our fans through our social media channels to join the team, together they have been working on our current projects such as the OS, the icons and themes.

In terms of community support we have seen that our Flattr icon theme is increasingly popular and has attracted the interest of several people willing to help add icons and even features to it, so much that even the KaOS Linux distribution adopted Flattr as their default theme and due to the open development in it they are able to bring their own changes to fit their needs. With our future UI we expect to see a rise of developers interested in Nitrux. And along with that we have opened a couple of platforms for others to be aware that we want to help Open Source, such as our funding program Backd. Backd (http://backd.nitrux.in) consists of a simple thing, out of the sales of the NXQ we’ll give 25% of the profits to an Open Source project, just like that no strings attached, and the interested projects need to only meet the criteria listed on the site, we’re proud that already 2 projects have joined the program and hope for more to do so.

Myself being a Designer have a special spot for artwork and so we added too a section in the Nitrux Store (http://store.nitrux.in) for other artists to join and benefit from being a part of our community, Artwork+ works as a platform for artists to display their artwork and get rewarded in doing so.

Swapnil: Nitrux site displays 4 hardware unites, can you tells more about the them?
UH: Of course, we have: NXQ, NXT, NXP and the Ozon Steambox. The first one, the NXQ, is the successor to our early QtBox, we have made changes to it and added a fourth model. The NXQ is a mini-PC with an Exynos 4412 SoC, loaded with a desktop OS that is Nitrux OS. It’s primarily intended as a powerful, low-cost, environmentally friendly computer for schools, small businesses and for personal use. The NXQ marks the first of a line of mini-PCs with an ARM SoC. Down the road we will be incorporating features to the OS, extras from what the base system and KDE can offer. The NXT and NXP will be custom Android devices, hardware will be available next year, expect it to be incredibly beautiful. Finally the Ozon Steambox is a Gaming PC that we are doing in collaboration with Numix Project. A premium gaming rig without the cost of it. We also have another device that’s in the oven, not much can be said other than it will be sold in Cuba with a homegrown OS, it’s all good we’ve checked it.

Swapnil: What software runs on these hardware units?
UH: The NXQ runs on Nitrux OS, the NXP and NXT on a custom Android (don’t worry we don’t intend to make a Touchwiz, it will be pretty much vanilla), the steambox will run Ozon OS.

Swapnil: Are these hardware units fully open or do they come with some non-free blobs?
UH: The NXQ is as open as it can get, the only binary blob in it is the ARM Mali driver, needed for HD playback in XBMC. The NXP and NXT will have the binaries need for their respective hardware drivers and the Ozon Steambox will include the AMD Catalyst driver for a better gaming experience. As for the rest everything is open as it is upstream.

Swapnil: Can you tell us a bit about the adoption or deployment of these devices? Who are currently using it?
UH: We have shipped units to the USA and Germany, we are undergoing an idea to directly offer them globally to schools. Locally, we’ll push for the schools to drop their pirated Windows, ages-old PCs in favor of an open and low-cost PC that could potentially save them a lot of trouble and where kids can begin to develop a taste for computers, electronics and related activities.

Swapnil: Do you have plans to expand the availability of the hardware in new markets?
UH: As far as our online store is concerned we ship globally, granted due to our (if I may) stupid tax system shipping is a little on the it-costs-more-than-usually side, but not by much as the shipping process is express and depending on the destination it can arrive as fast as the next day. Whether is a big city or a small village we will send it there, regardless of the country or political situation said country has with our own (Mexico).

The post Exclusive interview with Nitrux founder Uri Herrera appeared first on The Mukt.

A trip to Portugal: Cascais, Sintra, Cabo da Roca (Part Two)

Tuesday 8th of July 2014 09:40:24 PM

It was early morning at the Rossio train station in the center of Lisbon, Portugal. My better half and me, equipped with croissants and takeaway coffee were making our way to the local train huffin’ and puffin’ its way to Sintra. It seems to be a well known tourist route, as also a main commuting line for people working in Lisbon and living in nearby suburbs and towns.

So, what is Sintra exactly? It’s a UNESCO World Heritage Site, a king’s valley of some sort, except it’s not a valley, but a series of magnificent fortresses built on top of different local hilltops. You can visit all of the forts, sporting different architectural influences, ranging from oriental (Arabic) to pretty much everything else in the artistic currents of European history.

The procedure goes like this. When you arrive to the Sintra train station, you have to take a bus. Best course of action is to buy a round trip ticket while in Lisbon, a sort of a Sintra bus pass. With it, you can switch up busses to your liking. The bus’ point of departure is from the train station, and it makes a round trip across the local hills, driving you past every single fortress you may wish to visit. In my personal experience, if you don’t wish for it to become a two day trip, do choose one fortress, and one museum in Sintra. After deliberation, we decided to visit the most renowned of the Sintra mansions, the Pena castle.

14 € each, and we gained access to a humongous park, and the terraces of the castle.  Pena, a castle rebuilt on the ruins of a monastery devastated in the great Lisbon earthquake is world renowned for its beauty and its view. You can see the nearby Atlantic coast, or you can take a stroll in the forest park underneath the building. Take a seat near a serene pond and take a breath. It will calm your unsettling romantic nerve.


Afterwards, we were in quite a hurry, as we had to catch a bus to Cabo da Roca. We barely made it. And what was coming seemed to be one of the most breathtaking commutes on this vacation. The bus takes you from the Sintra train station to Cabo da Roca, or Cape Roca, the westernmost part of continental Europe. What’s special about it is that the bus takes you through some local villages and towns, and the landscape, nature and little houses there are remarkable. I really can’t remember when’s the last time I’ve seen villages of such beauty. It looked more like an impressionist’s painting than a real-life moving picture for me. The driver, well, he’s probably used to the scenery, so that must be the reason why he decided to switch to his stuntman self, and drive what felt like a tiny cardboard bus about 90 mph through the narrow streets, cursing at other ‘reckless’ drives conforming to the speed and safety limitations. So the ambivalence of the experience was really something special. I had to balance the most beautiful landscape I ever visited with a legitimate fear for my life. Schyzophrenic, to say the least.


But, we made it there in one piece. The downside was the wind blowing. Cabo da Roca is a cape, cliffs dropping into the Atlantic (which I was seeing for the first time), and there’s no more European soil from the last stone of those cliffs hitting the salted waves, all the way to what was once known as New Amsterdam (not counting the Azores and Madeira, we are talking about the European continent here). The rocks are spray-painted by various football fans, so I also had an insight who Benfica or Sporting were playing against in a past year or two. Legia, Zenit… take your pick. It seems even hard-core football fans like to do some sightseeing now and then. Some contemplation with soundtrack coming from the waves, and a photograph here and there, and we were running again, trying to catch the bus to the Cascais holiday resort. I felt like I was on springs running through the ice plant fields towards the bus station.

This time, the ride was much more relaxed. And there we were, in Cascais. Now, if I would have to rate all of the sites on this short one day trip, Cascais would probably be last on the list. It’s a holiday resort in the most classic sense of the word. You can see many hotels, a fortress, yachts and German tourists trying to pronounce Azulejo and sounding funny doing so. Palm trees everywhere, signs made out of flowers, restaurants that look expensive, the whole shebang. After an hour spent sitting on the sandy beach, trying to catch a bit of a tan (the water was ice-cold, even though it was the beginning of July), it was time for lunch. And here, we made the most out of Cascais.

We found a small tavern, owned by two brothers, that seemed to offer the most affordable meals. I finally ate some proper sardines, and a whole bottle of wine was ridiculously cheap, like 5 or 6 euros. And once again, I was reminded of a Portuguese friend in disbelief when he bought wine in Slovenia, saying it’s overpriced rubbish. Also, a bottle of famous Mateus rosé wine doesn’t get more expensive than 6-7 euros.

The owners, two testosterone pumped manly men, were obviously Sporting Lisbon fans. Scarves and flags were hanging around all over the restaurant. Also, for the first time I noticed something that seemed like a strange portuguese custom at the time. Namely, people enter the tavern, ordering coffee. They don’t sit down, but stand by the bar. When the espresso is prepared, I could see them exchanging a couple of words with the bartender, and then drinking their coffee in a single sip, like it was a shot of vodka, turning around, and leaving the premises. That’s what I call stopping by for a quick coffee.
After two bus commutes, we were embarking on a train once again. It was already evening, night was falling, and all I could see out the window was the Tejo river sparkling in the night. Back in Lisbon, exhausted, the only thing we could do is take the metro home to bed.

Next time: SL Benfica stadium and Bairro Alto jazz clubs and hashish vendors.

The post A trip to Portugal: Cascais, Sintra, Cabo da Roca (Part Two) appeared first on The Mukt.

Gmail now available in 71 languages

Tuesday 8th of July 2014 09:24:39 PM

Everyone reading this is probably already aware of Gmail. If you are not then where have you been? Gmail is one of the largest email clients available on the internet and actively boasts well over 500 million monthly users. If you are not currently using Gmail you can be sure you know someone who is.

With such a large worldwide user-base it is not surprising that Google are consistently striving to add and integrate as many languages and dialects as possible. Up until now Gmail had been available in 58 languages resulting in an extremely versatile application which constantly grows in newer regions. However Google do not seem happy with the current growth and today announced the inclusion of another 13 languages. This takes Gmail’s overall language capability to 71 which according to Ian Hill (Senior Project Manager for Google localization) “covers 94% of the World’s internet population“.

The new languages made available today include Afrikaans, Armenian, Azerbaijani (Azeri), Chinese (Hong Kong), French (Canada), Galician, Georgian, Khmer, Lao, Mongolian, Nepali, Sinhala, and Zulu.

In the announcement Ian Hill also advised that great effort and work had been implemented to make sure the translations were as accurate as possible.

“…both Hong Kong and Taiwan use traditional Chinese characters. However, you’ll notice that Gmail’s new Chinese (Hong Kong) language uses 收件箱 for “Inbox” instead of 收件匣, which is a word more common in Taiwan”.

The new languages were made available this morning on Gmail and as such can be used now by heading to your Gmail account, clicking on the small tools icon (top right corner and looks like a cog), clicking on ‘settings’ and then using the drop down menu beside ‘Gmail display language’ under ‘Language’.

To read the blog in full click this link. For more detailed instructions on how to change your display language and a complete list of all 71 languages available click here.

The post Gmail now available in 71 languages appeared first on The Mukt.

The switch to turn the brain off and on discovered!

Tuesday 8th of July 2014 09:14:06 PM

What if you could control your brain? What if you could turn it off and then turn it on at will? Impossible, right? You would be happy to know that scientists have found that part of the brain which controls our conscious. And the most interesting part about this finding is that the scientists accidentally happened to find it while studying an epileptic patient.

The scientists at George Washington University used deep brain electrodes to control the brain of the patient. They were trying to figure out the area of the brain that was causing seizures. When they placed the electrodes on the claustrum and sent high frequency electrical signals, the patient gradually lost consciousness. Instant of just turning off instantly, the patient slowly and gradually reached that stage of complete turn off. As soon as the electrical stimulation was switched off, she gained consciousness and had no memory of the turn of events.

It is noteworthy to add that claustrum has never been studied with deep brain electrodes. It is a thin sheet of neurons that run between major areas of the brain.

While this is an early stage to say anything, it has the potential to treat patients with epilepsy or those in semi-conscious states. Just knowing this part of the brain and its capacity will be extremely useful to conduct deeper studies and for understanding the concept further.

Researcher Christof Koch told New Scientist, “Ultimately, if we know how consciousness is created and which parts of the brain are involved then we can understand who has it and who doesn’t. Do robots have it? Do fetuses? Does a cat or dog or worm? This study is incredibly intriguing but it is one brick in a large edifice of consciousness that we’re trying to build.”

Source: New Scientist

The post The switch to turn the brain off and on discovered! appeared first on The Mukt.

Operating System U: a new Linux, Wayland based operating system

Tuesday 8th of July 2014 09:10:38 PM

We all want control in our lives. That’s a lot of what makes us human. We take a lot of measures to customize the elements in our lives. But we have no choice but to surrender far too much power to our computers’ operating systems.

I’m not a big fan of Windows 8 and other big-name OS blasting us with major changes. We don’t get a chance to request changes or approve them, and we end up having to adjust, often to things we don’t want anyway. If they change the makeup of our desktop, they’re going too far.

All I can say is, sometimes when you see a problem and you don’t see a fix, that’s when you start a company. And there’s a long tradition of companies being started to make something the founders wanted to see.

Enter Operating System U, OSu. It’s not Ohio State University with a lower-case “u.” The “u” is for you, the one reading this, and the one wishing to control your operating system. The standout thing about OSu is how much customization it gives to the user. That’s our mission and our statement. (It also happens to be our mission statement, but I’m done with little jokes).

OSu is Linux-based. It boasts a Wayland display server, which I love because it squashes clunky xorg extensions and renders directly. We’re also looking at starlight and customization through GUI’s.

What we’re hoping for is to deliver the system to people pre-loaded in laptops. We’re aspiring to retail partnerships that put us on a level playing field with some of the big boys who have their own agreements with the big box stores.

We have a great team—though I may be a bit biased—and we’ve done the coding and have a lot of the guts in place. But we’re still doing some development and we’re about to launch a Kickstarter campaign—July 22nd to be exact. We’re looking to raise $250,000, ambitious, but doable.

I’m proud of what we’ve done so far, just getting things going. We know a lot of the hard work is still ahead of us, but an OS that puts the user in control is something I deeply believe in, and that commitment is what’s going to get us through.

Authored by Andrew Bernstein

The post Operating System U: a new Linux, Wayland based operating system appeared first on The Mukt.

US military to use Iron Man suits by 2018?

Tuesday 8th of July 2014 07:59:10 PM

Iron Man saving the US President. Iron Man saving the earth from a lethal attack. Iron Man flying off in the air with a passenger bus to protect them from getting crushed. Didn’t you ever wish Iron Man was real and not just a fictional character? The news is that the US military is thinking on the same lines.

On Friday, The Wall Street Journal reported fresh details about the work being done on creating an Iron Man suit for the US military. The suit is being dubbed as TALOS and will reportedly have a weapon, will be bullet-proof, monitor body vitals and give the wearer super powers, both in terms of strength and perception. The report also stated that biggies like Lockheed Martin, General Dynamics are getting involved in the project along with some small companies.

Legacy Effects, which developed the Iron Man suit for the Hollywood flick, will be assisting in designing and printing 3D prototypes.

Reportedly, the suit will weigh approximately 400 pounds, out of which 365 pounds will be for the batteries to power its functions. An amount of $10 million has already been spent on the project, which the military wants erect by 2018.

Source: TheVerge

The post US military to use Iron Man suits by 2018? appeared first on The Mukt.

Apple file Auto-Unlock Patent although already available on Android

Tuesday 8th of July 2014 07:57:34 PM

Last week Apple filed a patent seeking to obtain the rights to recognize a user’s location and adjust the device’s security features accordingly. In short this means when you are at home or another recognized WiFi spot your Apple device would disable its main security (lockscreen) allowing for easier use. Once you leave the recognized WiFi spot the security (lockscreen) would become active again.

The patent was titled ‘LOCATION-SENSITIVE SECURITY LEVELS AND SETTING PROFILES BASED ON DETECTED LOCATION’ and one of its definitions listed were as follows.

Often the security level remains the same regardless of the location of the mobile device. Because some locations may be inherently more secure, such as a user’s home or office, these locations may be considered “safe” and require less stringent security”.

The patent was filed with the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office (USPTO) on July 3rd. Interestingly the week BEFORE a very similar open source modification was made available on xda for Android devices. Coincidence?…

The modification was created by one of the cleaver developers at xda and named “No Lock Home”. Although Apple will look to claim the technology as their own when they implement it, even the ‘No Lock Home developer does not take the credit further recognizing a previous older application, Skiplock.

In terms of the actual functional similarity and according to the dev description

No Lock Home is Xposed module for lockscreen bypass based on network connectivity – when you’re home, connected to your trusted WiFi AP, lock screen will not be shown. Once you disconnect from your AP, your selected lockscreen will be displayed”.

So although Apple users MIGHT see this software appearing on the iPhone6 (yawn) when it is released this is already a working application on Android…And yes Apple, it was before the July 3rd dated patent. The Android application does require rooting, KitKat and installing of the Xposed network to run. If you are unsure of what ‘rooting’ or ‘Xposed’ are then maybe this is not an application for you.

For those who want to read further information on the Apple patent than click on the link to view the Patent. For the Android users who are rooted, running KitKat and have Xposed than you can head over to the developer thread to install the modification by clicking here.

The post Apple file Auto-Unlock Patent although already available on Android appeared first on The Mukt.

Fossil of ‘world’s biggest-ever flying bird’ identified

Tuesday 8th of July 2014 07:53:19 PM

A fossil found three decades ago in South Carolina may belong to the largest flying bird ever found, say researchers. With 20-24-foot wingspan, the prehistoric creature challenges the previous record holder i.e. a long-extinct bird named Argentavis magnificens from South America.

Named Pelagornis sandersi, the (new) extinct giant is also believed to be twice the size of the largest flying bird alive, the royal albatross.

It is worth mentioning here that the 25m-year-old fossil was first unearthed in 1983 near Charleston, South Carolina, when construction workers started excavations for a new airport terminal. But it has taken until now to realise full significance of the fossils.

P sandersi was quite a powerful glider, with long slender wings that helped it stay airborne despite its enormous size. It could have used air currents to soar above the ocean, according to researchers.

“The specimen was so big they had to dig it out with a backhoe. The upper wing bone alone was longer than my arm,” said author Dan Ksepka of the National Evolutionary Synthesis Center in Durham, North Carolina.

“By riding on air currents that rise up from the ocean’s surface, P sandersi was able to soar for miles over the open ocean without flapping its wings, occasionally swooping down to the water to feed on soft-bodied prey like squid and eels,” researchers noted.

Huge birds like P sandersi were not uncommon some three million years ago. However, it is not yet known why these giants of the skies died out.

“This fossil is remarkable both for the size, which we could only speculate on before the discovery, and for the preservation,” Ksepka added.

“The skull in particular is exquisite.

“And given the delicate nature of the bones… it is remarkable that the specimen made it to the bottom of the sea, became buried without being destroyed by scavengers, fossilised, and then was discovered before it was eroded or bulldozed away.”

The post Fossil of ‘world’s biggest-ever flying bird’ identified appeared first on The Mukt.

World’s first temperature-controlled city coming up in Dubai

Tuesday 8th of July 2014 07:51:32 PM

Dubai and extravagance go hand in hand. The economic hub of the Islamic world is all set to become home to the world’s first temperature-controlled city, which will double as the world’s largest mall (with an area of 8 million sq. ft.).

Sheik Mohammed, the ruler of Dubai, recently said in a statement: “Tourism is key driver of our economy and we aim to make the UAE an attractive destination all year long. This is why we will start working on providing pleasant temperature-controlled environments during the summer months.”

Designed by developers Dubai Holding, the Mall of the World project is aimed at producing a city which can be traversed entirely without the need for cars or exposing oneself to Dubai’s harsh desert climate.

Occupying a total area of 48 million sq. ft., the project will comprise the largest indoor theme park in the world, which will be covered by a glass dome that will be open during the winter months.

Additional districts within the project will include a wellness dedicated zone catering to medical tourists, a cultural celebration district as well as a wide range of hospitality options comprising 20,000 hotel rooms catering to all types of tourists.

Once completed, the city is projected to become a year-round destination, welcoming around 180 million visitors the mall hopes to host annually.

Mohammed Abdullah Al Gergawi, chairman of Dubai Holding, had this to say: “Mall of the World presents an innovative concept in the international hospitality sector, further strengthening Dubai’s appeal as a tourism hub with a wide range of options. The project will be developed in phases in alignment with the gradual growth of family tourism in Dubai.”

It’s not yet disclosed how much the project will cost nor when it will be completed, but Mall of the World is likely to be a highlight at the UAE World Expo trade fair in 2020.

The post World’s first temperature-controlled city coming up in Dubai appeared first on The Mukt.

CM11 M8 finally released with Android 4.4.4 and ‘Heads Up’

Tuesday 8th of July 2014 07:50:40 PM

It was only a month ago when we saw the latest CyanogenMod (CM) major update. For those of you who are not familiar with CM they are by far the most downloaded open-source ROM available on the market. For a detailed description you can read our Welcome to CyanogenMod blog.

So last month we saw the release of CM 11 M7 as a Snapshot. Again, those of you who are new to CM a ‘Snapshot’ is a nearly-stable release. This type of release is considered safe-to-use by CM and believed to contain all features and all bugs worked through. It is worth remembering being a Snapshot this does mean it is possible some unknown bugs may still exist although these will be minor. Now already we are seeing the next major release available today. CM 11 M8 was released this morning and offers Android 4.4.4. As the release has only just been made public the devices supported are rather limited although the variance will grow quite quickly knowing CM.

So what’s new?

The most major obvious difference will be the inclusion of the ‘Heads Up’ notification tool which will provide users with a preview of all incoming messages emails and notifications without having to close the currently viewed application. In addition the settings will be reorganized and multiple bug fixes will be included.

The complete change log provided by CM includes

  • Common: Android 4.4.4 (Google)
  • New Devices: Sony Xperia Z2 (sirius); Xiaomi Mi2 (aries); Oppo Find 7a/s (find7); OnePlus One (bacon)
  • Common: Fix VPN issues related to 4.4.3 merge
  • Common: Enable ‘Heads Up’ notification mode (Settings > Notifications)
  • Settings: ‘Interface’ replaced by ‘Status Bar’, ‘Notification Drawer’, and ‘Gestures’
  • Settings: Moved ‘Expanded Desktop’ to ‘Display’
  • Settings: Moved all lock screen related items to ‘Lock Screen’ and removed duplicates from ‘Security’
  • Settings: Moved ‘Navigation Bar’ layout control to ‘Buttons’
  • Trebuchet: Custom Homescreen grid size
  • Trebuchet: Add Protected Apps feature
  • Trebuchet: Add Search Panel (Google Now) option
  • WhisperPush: No longer ignores ‘Blacklist’
  • Futex: Protect against Towelroot
  • Various small bugfixes, global and device-specific

So if you are interesting in checking-out M8 then you first need to check your device capability by heading over to the download page. Remember this will be updated routinely over the next few days so if you are not on the list now then keep checking.

“Happy Flashing”

The post CM11 M8 finally released with Android 4.4.4 and ‘Heads Up’ appeared first on The Mukt.

J.K. Rowling publishes a new Harry Potter story online

Tuesday 8th of July 2014 07:42:49 PM

In celebration of the FIFA football world cup, J.K. Rowling, the acclaimed author of the Harry Potter series has been writing sports columns over at Pottermore. The most recent one that was just published features Harry Potter and the gang, also known as Dumbledore’s Army. This is the first time that a short story featuring Harry Potter has been written by the author after having closed the book series nearly seven years ago.

The short story is in the form of a news column from the gossip writer Rita Skeeter, whom people might remember from the book as the journalist who could do nothing better than to make up false stories about people and profit from them. The column talks about a 34 year old Harry Potter along with his wife and his closest friends and other characters from the Dumbledore’s Army. The entire team meets up on the stands of the Patagonian Desert, where the famed Quidditch World Cup is being held. As a result, Harry runs into many of the series’ recurring characters and Rowling writes, from the perspective of Rita Skeeter, about the celebrities meeting other celebrities, having been silent for more than a decade.

Although this is the first short story that features Harry Potter, Rowling is not moving away from her determination of keeping the story arc of Harry Potter concluded. Thus, this short story is not a direct narrative, but rather, a coverage of Harry from the journalists’ point of view without any direct interaction with him. Hence even though it ends up being just surface stuff, at least it is better than nothing.

Rowling has said, in the past, that she is done with Harry’s story and her spokesperson confirms that there are no plans to write anymore Harry Potter stories. Rather Rowling is more interested in writing stories that are related to the Wizarding Universe. Given that how much popularity the series garnered, Warner Brothers won’t miss such a good opportunity to milk out more revenues from the franchise.

The original story can be found on Pottermore.com, which is an exceptional resource for anything Potter, being officially from Rowling. The site needs you to sign-up, but the bonus of signing up is that you get to be sorted in to your own house and play through all the books and create your own story. It is like living in the wizard world, only through a computer (maybe VR will change that!) The site however is crawling, as you might’ve already guessed. So another alternative would be to head over to Today.com where the entire text has been reproduced.

Source: The Verge

The post J.K. Rowling publishes a new Harry Potter story online appeared first on The Mukt.

Here comes the first release of Plasma 5

Tuesday 8th of July 2014 05:19:57 PM

The KDE Community has announced the first release of Plasma 5. It’s a release candidate so it’s meant for testing and preview purpose, like the developer preview of Android L. The final release will be announced next week so this is the last chance for testers and developers to find issues and get them fixed before the release.

Martin Gräßlin the developer of KWin writes on Google+, “Give some last testing to our release candidate so that we can fix the last issues (I hardly got new bug reports for KWin lately, so either it’s rock solid or people aren’t testing enough ;-)”

How to test?

The best way to test it is via Neon 5 ISO image which is kept updated with the latest builds. But if you want to install it on your system then you can do it very easily on Kubuntu, openSUSE or Arch Linux.

OpenSUSE

Before you test it out on openSUSE, keep in mind that it’s pre-release software so things may break, test it only on your testing machine.

Get KDE Framework 5 & Plasma on openSUE

Kubuntu

Download the built packages from the Next PPA for Kubuntu.

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:kubuntu-ppa/next sudo apt-get update && upgrade

Now log-out and log into Plasma 5 desktops

Arch users

KDE Framework 5 packages are already there in Arch Linux’ unstable repositories. If you want to try it out, then check the blog post of Andrea Scarpino.

The post Here comes the first release of Plasma 5 appeared first on The Mukt.

KDE’s Frameworks 5 released

Tuesday 8th of July 2014 05:01:49 PM

The KDE Community has announced the first stable release of Frameworks 5. It’s a result of three years of hard work to port KDE Platform 4 to Qt 5 which started back in 2011 at Randa Meeting.

“Frameworks 5 is the next generation of KDE libraries, modularized and optimized for easy integration in Qt applications. The Frameworks offer a wide variety of commonly needed functionality in mature, peer reviewed and well tested libraries with friendly licensing terms,” says the announcement page.

What’s KDE Frameworks?

We have heard of ‘Unity or Gnome or Plasma desktop’. But what is KDE Frameworks and how does it matter to a Plasma desktop user? Why should I be excited about it? Most Plasma users may think they don’t even use the Frameworks, it sounds like something developers should be excited about. So what is Frameworks and how does it affect the Plasma users?

KDE’s mascot Konqui chilling out on KDE chair.

KDE software, which also includes the Plasma desktop, uses a lot of common code base which is formed by KDE Libraries. As Jos Poortvliet explained on Linux.com, “They provide high-level functionality such as toolbars and menus, spell checking and file access.” These libraries were developed over time-frame of 15 years. One problem with these libraries was that it was ‘all or none’ which means you can’t pick and choose the ones a developer needs.

KDE Frameworks 5 is a successor of KDELibs and solves one of the major problems, to a great extent. One of the major improvements is that it has spit the libraries. Now developer can choose whatever they need from the collection of Frameworks thus making it easier for them to ‘use’ the KDE code base and save time and effort.

Jonathan Riddell of Kubuntu puts it very well when he says, “Today you can save yourself the time and effort of repeating work that others have done, relying on over 50 Frameworks with mature, well tested code. For a full list and technical details coders can read the API documentation.” It has notable benefits for QT developers as they can ‘select just what they need from the collection of Frameworks’, as pointed out by Jos.

Coming back to the question ‘why should a Plasma user be excited about it’. The way it directly affects a Plasma user is that their desktop also uses these libraries or the Frameworks. Plasma is one of the many frameworks which provides the foundations that can be used to build a primary user interface, from graphical to logical components. Plasma users are just one of the many beneficiaries of the KDE Frameworks as it benefits everyone using Qt, including Canonical.

The Frameworks announcement clearly mentions, “The KDE Frameworks represent an effort to rework the powerful KDE Platform 4 libraries into a set of independent, cross platform modules that will be readily available to all Qt developers to simplify, accelerate and reduce the cost of Qt development.”

It’s a vender neutral neutral contributor process (anyone can contribute) which is governed by open governance and dictated by flexible licensing such a LGPL (lesser GNU General Public License). The release of KDE Frameworks 5 is a major milestone considering Qt is becoming extremely popular across industries.

The post KDE’s Frameworks 5 released appeared first on The Mukt.

Leaked: Microsoft’s Android-powered Lumia in the works

Monday 7th of July 2014 08:19:32 PM

We have already seen the launch of Nokia’s first Android-powered smartphones under the Nokia X brand earlier this year. And now it seems Microsoft is planning to bring a similar experience for its users under the Lumia brand.

New information from the famous tipster @evleaks suggests that Android-powered Lumia smartphones are currently being developed under the ‘Nokia by Microsoft’ brand.

@evleaks states “Big news: Android-powered Lumia incoming, from Nokia by Microsoft” on its website.

We have been hearing much about Microsoft’s plans to change the brand of Windows Phone handsets’ from Nokia to ‘Nokia by Microsoft’ since last month.

Another report also shows the recently leaked Lumia 830 smartphone to come with a ‘Nokia by Microsoft’ brand name.

It’s not yet disclosed when the company plans to release such a device, or whether the Lumia Android handset would embrace Google’s Android complete with Google services. But if the report turns out to be true, it is sure to help boost sales for Microsoft with users also benefiting from a thriving selection of apps.

It is worth mentioning here that Android currently dominates the smartphone operating system market, according to researcher IDC. Samsung leads in the Android camp, while the rest of the pack is quickly being made up of Chinese vendors.

The post Leaked: Microsoft’s Android-powered Lumia in the works appeared first on The Mukt.

YouTube starts shaming ISPs for making its videos slow

Monday 7th of July 2014 08:14:16 PM

If you happen to experience blurring video or excessive buffering, Google-owned YouTube wants you to know that it’s probably because of your Internet service provider’s slow network.

Taking a cue from Netflix, YouTube has started its own Video Quality Report “shaming” ISPs for issues such as slow load-times and long periods of buffering.

The Google-owned company is dropping links to its report into videos in some countries (not globally though).

“Experiencing interruptions?” reads the message in a blue bar at the bottom of the content, as seen in the above screenshot.

Clicking “find out why” takes users to Google’s new website that talks about where, when and how videos can be throttled if ISPs can’t handle all the data pouring in.

“There are many factors that influence your video streaming quality, including your choice of Internet Service Provider (ISP). Learn how your ISP performs and understand your options,” it says.

The Video Quality Report was first rolled out in Canada by Google, which then expanded it to the U.S. and some other countries back in May.

Quartz reports that Google has “a strong interest in deflecting blame for poor video quality. The US government is considering new “net neutrality” regulations that could affect how information, particularly data-heavy streaming video, flows through the internet.”

It seems the company wants users to place more of the responsibility on something other than YouTube and Google for streaming issues.

ISPs, on the other hand, blame video services like YouTube and Netflix, which account for a growing portion of Internet traffic.

Do you think this naming and “shaming” have any impact? Let us know in the comments below.

The post YouTube starts shaming ISPs for making its videos slow appeared first on The Mukt.

Will upcoming Chromebooks have reversible USB ports?

Monday 7th of July 2014 08:12:52 PM

The answer to your USB worries was presented in April this year in the name of the reversible USB dubbed USB Type-C. Unlike the present USB, the new Universal Design Bus design will be smaller and symmetrical. So you no more have to worry about the orientation and can smoothly slip it inside the slot without fumbling. Now the latest news is that Chrome developers are reportedly working on supporting the new USB. So suggests the recent commits to the Chromium source code.

While the cable connector in case of USB Type-C is around the same size as the ones floating in the market right now, it will be a redefined way to hook up peripherals.

According to omgchrome.com, the USB C ports will be boosting its port scalable power charging up to 100 watts. Not only that, the data data transfers speeds will be double to that of the current USB 3.0, up to 10 Gbps.

A Chromium enthusiast on Google+ even referred to the ports references, which talked about the job to update code to “fix type-C ports muxing”.

The HW signals to control the type-C ports muxing have changed between Fruitpie and Samus, update the code to match the HW. Also add the docking mux option and update the board muxing code to prepare for the automatic mode detection:
- the polarity will be determined by the PD code.
- the port muxing will be enable/disable by the common alternate mode PD  code.

Its great to see that Chrome developers are already working on technologies that we see soon in consumer space.

The post Will upcoming Chromebooks have reversible USB ports? appeared first on The Mukt.