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U.S. vows not to produce any more anti-personnel land mines

Monday 30th of June 2014 11:34:28 AM

The United States is on a course to eventually join a 1997 international treaty, championed by Princess Diana, which bans anti-personnel land mines or APLs. During a conference in Maputo, Mozambique, U.S. officials announced that the country’s military would stop producing and buying anti-personnel landmines.

Anti-personnel mines are a form of land mine designed for use against humans, as opposed to anti-tank mines, which are designed for use against vehicles. The mines are often designed to injure, not kill, victims in order to increase the logistical (mostly medical) support required by enemy forces that encounter them.

“Our delegation in Maputo made clear that we are diligently pursuing solutions that would be compliant with and ultimately allow the United States to accede to the Ottawa Convention — the treaty banning the use, stockpiling, production and transfer of APL,” National Security Council spokeswoman Caitlin Hayden said in a statement.

The administration is giving a thought to how to reduce the risks of forgoing land mines, and “other aspects of our land-mine policy remain under consideration,” she said.

“The United States shares the humanitarian goals of the Ottawa Convention and is the world’s single largest financial supporter of humanitarian mine action, providing more than $2.3 billion in aid since 1993 in more than 90 countries for conventional weapons destruction programs,” Hayden said.

Disarmament advocates welcomed the declaration but said that the U.S. statement from Maputo falls short of destroying the existing stockpile of landmines.

“Without a commitment to destroy some or all of the United States existing stockpile of landmines and on a schedule, the pledge not to produce or acquire landmines will have little material effect on existing U.S. stockpiles (which number in the millions) for many, many years to come,” Daryl G. Kimball, executive director of the Washington-based Arms Control Association, said.

“And until and unless the Obama administration changes other aspects of current U.S. policy on landmines, the 2004 George W. Bush administration policy permitting the indefinite use of self-destructing, self-deactivating antipersonnel mines anywhere in the world remains in effect,” Kimball added.

The Mine Ban Treaty, also know as the Ottawa Convention, puts a ban on the use, development, production, acquisition, retention, stockpiling, or transfer of anti-personnel landmines (APLs), which are defined by the treaty as mines “designed to be exploded by the presence, proximity or contact of a person and that will incapacitate, injure or kill one or more persons.”

Activists have long pressured the United States to become one of the treaty’s 161 adherents. The small group of non-signatories includes China, Russia, Syria, Iran and Israel.

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KDE Connect turns your Android phone into a touchpad for your PC

Sunday 29th of June 2014 04:58:36 PM

KDE Connect is a very interesting project which got some serious improvement and better integration with Android as Google Summer of Code project. I don’t really know what came first but we did see both Apple and Google were implementing features like KDE Connect to build better integrating between then mobile and desktop platform. KDE Connect allows Android users to ‘connect’ their devices to their Plasma desktop (KDE Desktop is now called Plasma desktop) over wifi.

KDE connect (back in 2013) allowed Plasma user to see battery status of your phone (a feature Sundar Pichai of Google announced at Google I/O for Chromebook in 2014), get phone notifications on Plasma (again Google is implementing the same feature in Chrome) and you can also share clipboard content between devices.

The project has just announced yet another update which brings more features to this free and open source tool driven by a community. Since it’s an open source project so unlike Android (which is open source but doesn’t take external contributions) or fully closed iOS anyone can add features to it and that’s what Ahmed Ibrahim has done. He has added the capability to use your smartphone or tablet as an input device for your Plasma desktop, which means you can use the screen of your phone as ‘touchpad’ for Plasma desktop. Well, at the moment it doesn’t support multi-touch or gestures, but its a very promising update.

The latest version of KDE Connect turns your smartphone to a touchpad for your Plasma PC.

Another notable feature added to KDE Connect is the ability to ‘send’ files to Android devices via KDE Connet. So now you don’t need apps like AirDroid or to physically connect your phone to send files to the device. The feature is developed by Aleix Pol.

You can now sent files from your Plasma PC to your Android device.

A feature on my wishlist would be to be able to see content of my phone on my Plasma desktop so I can easily create back-up of my files on my PC. The developers are delivering the features they set out for themselves in the to-do list. Some of the exciting features on their to-do list include: Answer SMS from the desktop: maybe integrating it with Telepathy; Reverse media controls: Add remote controls to the plasmoid ;Sync stuff: Contacts, Wifi passwords (will need root access), etc ;File browser: FUSE or KIO slave to access your phone filesystem from the desktop and call answering.

How to install?

Albert is insisting on waiting till your distro provides the updated packages and his is discouraging non-advanced users to testing it out at the moment. All major distros have kdeconnect in the official repository and you can easily install it.

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Nikon D810, an affordable HD SLR for film-makers

Saturday 28th of June 2014 10:39:21 PM

DSLRs have become extremely popular among film-makers, mostly due to the depth-of-field and ability to change lens they offer. Not just amateur, but also Hollywood biggies have been using DSLRs for their projects.

However most DSLRs are ‘not’ focused in video shoots, they are primarily a still photography equipment and a video camera later. Most DSRLs can’t shoot more than 30 frames per second at full HD 1080p resolution. In order to shoot 60fps you have to drop the resolution to 720 and lose everything that these cameras have to offer.

That’s where Nikon is pitching its latest D810 as an HD SLR for film-makers. The camera has a lot of features that a film-maker would desires. First and foremost it allows you to shoot at 1080p for frame rates ranging 60/30/24p – so you can keep the broadcast quality.

Second feature is HDMI output. Nikon says that the camera can relay uncompressed digital video to an external recorder via HDMI, while simultaneously displaying the video on the rear LCD display and external LCD monitor. So now you can record your uncompressed video on an external recorder as well as a compressed video on the internal card.

Nikon has also expanded the ISO sensitivity for video – from an extremely clean ISO 64 to a versatile 12,800. The Auto-ISO function is also available while recording to adapt the exposure as the light changes, which can eliminate the need to adjust the aperture (in manual mode, ISO 200- 51,200).

A camera which will get a film-maker excited about it.

It also supports zebra stripes so a cameraman can see the overexposed areas and adjust accordingly.

The last thing a film-maker wants is to not being able to control any aspect of the camera. D810 is changing that by offering ‘full manual control’ to the cameraman. Nikon says that “with the innovative Power Aperture setting, it is simple to adjust the exposure and depth of field on the fly while recording to an external recorder or SD/CF cards.”

The cameraman can also control shutter speed and ISO while recording. Additionally, white balance and exposure compensation can be adjusted prior to recording.

These are some of the features that would make Nikon D810 a camera to get excited about. Amazon will sell the camera for $3296 without the lens.

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‘Doctor Who’ Season 8 premieres on August 23rd

Saturday 28th of June 2014 06:59:40 PM

Here is some interesting piece of news for Whovians! The much-anticipated eighth series of ‘Doctor Who’ will officially land on August 23rd at 8 p.m., BBC America announced Friday. The series will return to U.S. screens with the feature-length episode entitled “Deep Breath”.

The newly released 15-second teaser shows Peter Capaldi as the Doctor and Jenna Coleman as his confident companion Clara in Season 8 of “Doctor Who.”

The new season, which debuts on BBC America and BBC One, will have quite a few new faces in addition to Capaldi’s. Actor Keeley Hawes (“Line of Duty”) will play Ms. Delphox, and Samuel Anderson (“Emmerdale”) will play school teacher Danny Pink, according to BBC America.

Guest stars include Ben Miller (Primeval, Death In Paradise), Keeley Hawes (Line Of Duty, Upstairs, Downstairs), and Tom Riley (Da Vinci’s Demons).

Interestingly, the 56-year-old Capaldi is about the same age as the first Doctor, William Hartnell. Also, the pairing of the Doctor with schoolteachers brings back into one’s mind the first ‘Doctor Who’ adventures way back in the early 1960s.

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Google L’s ‘HeadsUp’ already (unofficially) available on Google Play

Saturday 28th of June 2014 06:59:18 PM

Google’s I/O event is barely a day old and we have already seen a flurry of Android L’s features already available. For those of you who still don’t know ‘Android L’ is Google’s next version of Android which is expected to be released sometime late in the fall. Android L will be Android 5.0 and the next step up from the already released Android 4.4.

Yesterday we reported the release by xda of a string of L’s features released in apk format including L’s Keyboard, fonts, wallpapers and boot animation. If you missed our report than click here to read it and for download links.

It’s barely a day later and we are already seeing another release of one of L’s main features. As part of L’s new ‘Material Design’ interface Google had announced the use of a ‘Heads Up’ function. In short this is an update to the way in which notifications are received (and viewed) by a user. With Heads Up installed and once a user receives a notification (email, text, service update etc) the user will be able to see a brief image of the notification’s content.

Instead of simply being advised of the incoming message on the notification bar a small floating window will appear over the main screen. This means if a user is using the phone, playing a game or surfing the net and receives a message they will be able to see the notification and its contents briefly without having to stop the initial program (playing game or surfing the net). Instead the message will pop up over the main screen and disappear a few second later. If the message is not important than the user can simply forget about it. Using Heads Up there is no more need to close a program and check the message.

In spite of this feature only just being announced at I/O and due for inclusion in Android L one of the clever boys at xda has already managed to extract the software and make it available for all devices. It was originally expected this would firstly be available to Nexus owners however thanks to the developer you can now download the add-on and start using it. The app is available via the Play Store and costs $0.99. This is a small price to pay to test-run a feature which will almost certainly be available on the upcoming Android update.

The app includes various tweaks so you can choose which notifications are important enough to show over the main screen and which are not. In addition you can also adjust how long the message shows for before automatically disappearing. The only downside is that you do need to be already running at least Android 4.3 for the app to work.

If you are interested in giving this app a go than click the link to visit the Play listing.

Source: xda-developers

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Samsung exec says Apple cannot fool people anymore as they know better

Saturday 28th of June 2014 12:51:04 PM

The war between Samsung and Apple is nothing new. But here comes a fresh attack! According to Jae Shin, Vice President of Samsung’s Knox mobile security group, the situation when people would just go by the looks of something and not give importance to what’s inside is on the brink of being passé. He feels that people have changed and now have something he called know-how.

Speaking at the company’s Business Discovery Day in London, Shin said, “Consumers are a lot smarter these days and there’s a lot of information available to them. I think in the beginning maybe it was just about branding, but I think now consumers have the know-how and the resources to make a smart decision.”

Is Shin trying to imply that earlier consumers were naive and so they preferred Apple and now that they are more knowledgeable, they are opting for Samsung? He claimed that now people are not blindly attracted by the brand ‘Apple’ but are more concerned about the quality of the product.

Samsung’s attempt to grab Apple’s position by its edgy brand advertising (that made Apple users seem silly and Samsung users seem more stylish and classy), doesn’t go well with this statement. It is because Samsung shortly became a brand to crow about.

Shin further added, “At Samsung, we provide a lot of technical support and SDKs to developers so that they actually create innovation solutions and applications and user experiences that provide what the consumer wants: transparent technology. They want to be able to use it for a purpose they’re going to benefit from.”


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Apple ditches Aperture and iPhoto app

Saturday 28th of June 2014 12:47:39 PM

Apple has decided to stop the development of Aperture, its photo management tool aimed at professionals and advanced users, and iPhoto, its consumer photo editing app, in favor of forthcoming Photos application previewed at WWDC 2014.

First released in 2005, Aperture handles a number of tasks common in post-production work such as importing and organizing image files, applying corrective adjustments, displaying slideshows, and printing photographs.

“With the introduction of the new Photos app and iCloud Photo Library, enabling you to safely store all of your photos in iCloud and access them from anywhere, there will be no new development of Aperture,” said Apple in its statement. “When Photos for OS X ships next year, users will be able to migrate their existing Aperture libraries to Photos for OS X.”

Slated for debut next year, the new Photos app will allow you to share edits and organization across all devices with updates and tweaks syncing in real time.

The user-friendly app will debut with OS X Yosemite when it launches this fall.

For current Aperture users, the Cupertino company will provide updates to Aperture to work under OS X Yosemite. However, Apple will cease active development of the app.

“Apple will also provide update paths that help users transition from Aperture and iPhoto to Photos for OS X. This does not, Apple says, signal a move away from servicing pro customers with other apps like Final Cut Pro and Logic, which will stick around,” Tech Crunch said in a report.

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Google to pay for women and minorities interested to learn coding

Saturday 28th of June 2014 12:44:02 PM

Google is known for promoting women in technology. In the latest, Google is extending vouchers to women and minorities who want to learn how to code. They have joined hands with Code School, wherein they will be paying for 3 months of their education. This was first reported by Seth Rosenblatt of CNET.

According to the blog post by Gregg Pollack, CEO, Code School, “Google is giving away thousands of accounts for three free months of Code School.” This offer is part of Google’s “Made With Code” initiative.

Google is also offering these vouchers to women attending its annual I/O developer’s conference. Additionally, it has rolled out an online application form that is available to women across countries.

Google recently shared a report, which revealed that only 30 percent of its employees are women and African Americans and Hispanics form only 1 and 2 percent of its tech employees. It added that it is “miles from where we want to be.”

A clear feat for Google was the fact that this year’s I/O keynote on Wednesday had twice as many women compared to last year.

Megan Smith, VP, Google’s X division, “We shouldn’t feel guilty about our biases. We should wake up and do something about them.”

Source: CNET

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Chicago to host high-tech lamp posts to keep track of people

Friday 27th of June 2014 09:33:37 PM

The streets of Chicago will soon host high-tech lamp posts to track where people are walking. As part of a program called Array of Things, the city will begin collecting data through automated sensors installed on light poles this summer.

The Web-connected sensors will reportedly search out smartphones, laptops, and tablets of people as they walk past by picking up Bluetooth and Wi-Fi signals, using those connections to count pedestrians, according to Charlie Catlett, one of the project’s organizers and the director of the Urban Center for Computation and Data.

In addition, the project will collect information on light, sound, heat, precipitation, and wind to understand the urban environment which, in turn, will help it make Chicago a more pleasant place to live.

It is worth mentioning here that the Windy City already has a wide-reaching video surveillance network.

Meanwhile, privacy advocates are concerned about such projects as they could be considered an intrusion into personal privacy.

“Data-hungry researchers are unabashedly enthusiastic about the project, but some experts said that the system’s flexibility and planned partnerships with industry beg to be closely monitored. Questions include whether the sensors are gathering too much personal information about people who may be passing by without giving a second thought to the amount of data that their movements — and the signals from their smartphones — may be giving off,” according to the Chicago Tribune.

Catlett, on the other hand, contends that “the planners have taken precautions to design their sensors to observe mobile devices and count contact with the signal rather than record the digital address of each device.”

“The city is interested in making Chicago a place where innovation happens,” added Catlett.

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ownCloud 7 beta makes it easier for businesses to deploy cloud

Friday 27th of June 2014 07:32:46 PM

The German government just canceled their contract with Verizon Communication due to concern over NSA’s spying. Many other governments around the globe are moving away from US-based products and services which may pose similar risks. Russia is ditching AMD and Intel chips and South Korea is also moving away from proprietary technologies like Windows.

It’s not just the governments who are concerned about spying, businesses should also be worried – whether small or large as there are indicators that NSA may have been involved with ‘industrial’ espionage which may have given US companies unfair edge over foreign competitors.

So companies as well as government are looking at open source solutions which can be run locally and are free from any NSA back-doors. It’s not just about spying, there are many smaller companies and businesses who are also looking for inexpensive solutions. Solutions that don’t need excessive ‘techknowhow’ (expertise in technology as admins are expensive and most small firms can’t afford to have a dedicated CTO.)

From among different requirements, which range from operating systems to email solutions, cloud is becoming a major component for businesses of every size. Well, cloud is a buzz word which not many understand. What we are talking about here is services like Dropbox, Google Drive, iCloud. These are file storage and sync services.

There are so many file storage, sync and share services out there, but all of them are plagued with the same problem – they are proprietary, US-based services. So, you don’t know if there are back-door which may give NSA direct access to your files. Then from a small business point of view these services can be expensive, as they grow.

These companies need solutions which are scalable without incurring huge costs. At the same time they shouldn’t need an entire IT department to deploy and manage them in-house.

ownCloud is the perfect solution for such organizations. It’s a fully open source project that started off in Germany and has evolved as a well-funded US-based company. They have two editions – one subscription based enterprise edition and fully free of cost community edition which anyone can download and deploy with minimum technological expertise. If you can get a Linux server up and running, you can deploy ownCloud too.

ownCloud has just announced the beta of ownCloud 7 which comes with a lot of features for enterprises. They have made it even simpler to deploy ownCloud. Frank Karlitschek , the co-founder of ownCloud talks about simplicity, “Today, we released the beta of ownCloud 7 Community Edition, which provides even finer grain controls for protecting data while at the same time simplifying deployment, set up and use of ownCloud – not to mention some great new end-user features!”

Though there are many exciting features in version 7, one of the most notable being server to server sharing. Frank opines, “Server to server sharing is potentially a game changer, giving groups of private clouds all the attributes of a public cloud, but without the security and privacy risks, and some of the other public cloud concerns. Watch this space for even more details on this.”

Why should you care about the beta as a small business with limited fund?


The goal of the beta is to allow users to run the pre-released software in test environment and see if there are any bugs that may cause trouble in a production environment. One can easily file bug reports which will be taken care of before the final release so that it doesn’t affect the production. Since it’s Open Source, unlike Dropbox or Google Drive, you can also send patches or make feature request so you can actually get the features you need (something, just not possible with proprietary solutions.)

You can download the beta of ownCloud 7 from this link. If you want to know more about all of the news features in ownCloud 7, check out this page.

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Google withdraws its robots from military contest

Friday 27th of June 2014 06:23:02 PM

Remember Schaft? The dextrous little robot that previously grabbed the top prize at DARPA’s $2 million Robotics Challenge. Google acquired the Japanese robotics firm in 2013, and reports emerged soon after that Mountain View was planning to pull its team from the DARPA robotics competition. The reason being the company is not keen on pursuing military contracts.

According to DARPA program manager Gill Pratt, the team had officially elected to withdraw from the $2 million competition to “focus on the development of its first commercial product.”

Though not completely unexpected, the news has disappointed robotics fans who won’t get to see Schaft’s prowess on display. After all, the team’s chances were good as they topped the ranking in last year’s qualifying event.

DARPA’s Robotics Challenge (DRC), a competition of human-robot systems, takes place next year. While the tasks at the DRC Finals will be similar to the Trials, a number of new elements will challenge the team’s systems:

# Robots will not be connected to power cords, fall arrestors, or wired communications tethers;
# Humans will not be allowed to physically intervene if a robot falls or get stuck—robots that fall will have to do so without breaking and will have to get up without assistance;
# Speed will be more heavily weighted in the scoring, and all tasks must be completed in a total time of approximately one hour (versus four hours in the DRC Trials);
# Communications will be further degraded and intermittent.

“For the first time, teams will be empowered to exploit cloud and crowd-augmented robotics, two highly promising research areas that allow onsite operators to leverage remote data, computing, and human resources,” said Dr. Gill Pratt, DRC program manager. “These research areas are in their infancy, but after the DRC Finals we hope to see significant innovation.”

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Android ‘L’ Keyboard, Wallpapers and Fonts available to download

Friday 27th of June 2014 06:04:42 PM

Over the last few weeks there has been much speculation surrounding Google’s ‘Android L’. The speculation officially ended on Tuesday with Google formally introducing Android L at I/O. The new version of Android (which will be Android 5.0) has not officially received its Christened name yet and instead is still being referred to as simply ‘Project L’. However just to add to the gossip the two main contenders for ‘L’ are ‘Lollipop’ and ‘Lemonhead’ although we do not have any real confirmation it will be either of these at the moment.

During L’s introduction Google provided a number of screenshots and other pre-release images to show off its new UI look and feel. In addition to its public debut Google also yesterday publishes a preview release SDK of ‘L’ for enthusiasts and developers offering a first taste of what is to come. This is only a preview and as such is likely to be quite buggy and probably quite different to the final release which is due to land in late autumn. If you want to check out the new UI and its features then click here to download the SDK directly from Google.

However the bad news is the SDK is primarily for Nexus devices. For the rest of you, do not worry is here to help. Well, to be fair, xda are here to help as the clever boys and girls at xda have released a system dump for a number of ‘L’ features. For those of you who cannot wait and do not have a Nexus by visiting the xda thread you can now download the following features.

Android L Keyboard

This is a new look and feel keyboard which utilizes the new Android Material Design UI. There are two main links to download the keyboard. One for rooted and one for non-rooted devices. If you are rooted and want the keyboard then click here. For non-rooted users click here.

Other features

In addition to the new keyboard the guys at xda have also made available to download Android L wallpapers, fonts, and ringtones. These can also be downloaded via the same xda thread by clicking here. There is also a link on this thread to download the new L bootload animation. To see a quick demonstration of the animation click here.

Lastly, xda have also made available an update to ‘Google Play Services 5.0′ which includes support for Android wear products. If you are lucky enough to have one of the new android wear devices than this is a must. Google Play services 5.0 can be downloaded via the same thread as above or again by clicking here. This also includes updates to Play Games services, Chromecast, Drive and Wallet.

Before you download you must remember these files have all been made available as beta products and as such will not work with all devices. In addition these also maybe highly unstable or buggy and you should not expect a fully working product. In addition some of the features will require root to install so please check and read the thread prior to downloading anything.

Above all, remember the number one rule – backup. Try not to forget the second most important rule either – I said backup!

For those who do download let us know what you think of the new interface, UI, look and feel by posting a comment below.

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China building World Bank rival

Friday 27th of June 2014 02:26:07 PM

Owing to its concerns over western (mainly US) dominance on the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank, China is working towards establishing a global financial institution. According to two sources familiar with the matter, Beijing has proposed to other countries to double the size of the registered capital for the bank to $100bn, FT reported.

The bank, which will be named Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank has so far garnered attention from 22 countries including Middle East. Initially, the model will be focusing on a revised version of the ancient trade route that connected Europe to China- silk road.

The majority of funding will come from China and will be spent on infrastructure projects. This will include a direct rail link connecting Beijing to Baghdad.

For long, Chinese leaders have pushed for a bigger say in financial institutions like World Bank, International Monetary Fund and Asian Development Bank. However, they haven’t really realised the economic importance of the nation so far. The source told FT, “China feels it can’t get anything done in the World Bank or the IMF so it wants to set up its own World Bank that it can control itself. There is a lot of interest from across Asia but China is going to go ahead with this even if nobody else joins it.”

It is being said that establishment of the AIIB will directly threaten Manila-based ADB, which, according to China is under the influence of Japan. And if it is indeed funded with $100bn, AIIB would be outsizing ADB already. Japan and the US are the biggest shareholders in ADB (15.6 percent and 15.7 percent respectively), with China holding only 5.5 percent share.

China has discussed matters with countries in southeast Asia, the Middle East, Europe and Australia. It has also got in touch with India, the US, India and Japan.

About 2 dozen people have been hired for the institution and former chairman of the board of supervisors for China’s sovereign wealth fund, Jin Liqun has been appointed to establish the AIIB.

Source: FT

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First alpha of Kubuntu 14.10 released along with other Ubuntu flavors

Friday 27th of June 2014 01:51:08 PM

That time of the year is arriving when we see major releases of GNU/Linux based systems. Ubuntu flavors have just announced the first alpha of for version 14.10 aka Utopic Unicorn. Only exception being Xubuntu which has not made any alpha’s available.

Ubuntu itself doesn’t make alpa or beta releases anymore. They have moved to a weekly snapshot which allows developers to focus on rigorous testing continuously instead of wasting time on packaging alpas, betas and release candidates. If you are using any of the daily build you are already running the latest packages from Ubuntu.

Stéphane Graber of Ubuntu writes on the mailing list, “While these Alpha 1 images have been tested and work, except as noted in the release notes, Ubuntu developers are continuing to improve the Utopic Unicorn. In particular, once newer daily images are available, system installation bugs identified in the Alpha 1 installer should be verified against the current daily image before being reported in Launchpad. Using an obsolete image to re-report bugs that have already been fixed wastes your time and the time of developers who are busy trying to make 14.10 the best Ubuntu release yet. Always ensure your system is up to date before reporting bugs.”

The alpas are available for Kubuntu, Lubuntu, Ubuntu Kylin, Ubuntu Gnome. Users can download the images by clicking on the following links:

Ubuntu GNOME
Ubuntu daily builds

If you are a Kubuntu user and looking forward to Plasma 5 (the next generating of KDE’s Plasma desktop), then you will be disappointed as it’s not yet ready for the prime time (Kubuntu 14.10 alpha 1 comes with KDE SC 4.13.2). Those of you who do want to test out Plasma 5 should check out this page. If you want to test Kubuntu 14.10 alpha 1, then you can download it from this link.

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Fedora 21 may come with Gnome 3.14, Gnome 3.13.3 released with major improvements

Friday 27th of June 2014 12:58:54 PM

The Gnome team has announced the release of version 3.13.3, which is now available for download and testing. Those who don’t know, these snapshots are released as the team works toward the final release of the next version so 3.13.x branch is actually the development work going towards 3.14 branch.

There are many major enhancements and features in this release. According to Mathias Clasen of Gnome, “Highlights in this release include Adwaita as the default GTK+ theme, network awareness in our sharing infrastructure, a new design for yelp and add-on support in gnome-software.”

Getting networked

Adwaita as been rewritten and improved to become part of GTK+. The sharing infrastructure of Gnome has become network aware, and lets a user change what is shared depending on what network they are on. The sharing goes beyond media sharing and also allows one to share file as well as screen. Now Gnome Accounts are able to set-up access to the media servers in your local network.

There are some other improvements which are subtle but will enhance a use experience. “GNOME shell now remembers which workspace windows where on when you disconnect and reconnect external monitors,” says Mathias.

The developers are aiming to have Gnome 3.14 available in Fedora 21. Fedora users can try out the release by using a repository created by Richard Hughess.

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Google will NOT discontinue its Nexus devices

Friday 27th of June 2014 02:44:27 AM

There have been rumours doing rounds suggesting the end of Google’s Nexus line of Android devices. Well, here’s some piece of ‘real’ news for those who are worried about this. Google will be launching a new Nexus device along with the release of its Android L by the end of this year.

It is also a fact that Google is reforming the way it will be rolling out high-end Android devices. Reportedly, the search giant is progressing on a new program dubbed Android Silver, as part of which, Google will be paying big manufacturers such as Samsung, LG and Motorola to make Android smartphones according to the specifications it offers. They will then be sold via cellular carriers like AT&T and Verizon. This is expected to materialise by next year.

It is the news about Android Silver that led people to believe that Google will end its Nexus line of Android smartphones and tablets. However, those speculations are false. Google has always released a new Nexus device along with the new version of Android. According to Dave Burke, the head of Android engineering and Nexus Program, the company plans to keep doing just that.

Burke told in an interview:

When we are working, there are sort of two outputs. We’re building a Nexus device and we’re building the open source code. There is no way you can build the open source code without the phone or tablet or whatever you are building. You have to live and breathe the code you are developing.

You can’t build a platform in the abstract, you have to build a device (or devices). So, I don’t think can can or will ever go away. And then, I think Nexus is also interesting in that it is a way of us explaining how we think Android should run. It is a statement, almost a statement of purity in some respects. I don’t see why we would ever turn away from that, it wouldn’t make sense.


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How will the US react if someone made a film around a plot to assasinate a real US president?

Friday 27th of June 2014 02:35:06 AM

What is common between The Conspirator, Death of a President, JFK, The Day of the Jackal and Shooter? Full of twisted plots, these movies are based on President Assassination plots. A similar plot is bearing the wrath of the government of North Korea, which has taken serious offense to Seth Rogen’s upcoming film titled The Interview.

The American action-comedy is about two journalists that are given the task of assassinating North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and is now being called as an “act of war” by the government. The movie stars Rogen and James Franco as the two journos who are instructed by the CIA to assassinate the leader. In a statement issued by a local KCNA news agency, a spokesperson from the foreign ministry called Rogen as a “gangster filmmaker” and has asked for the ban of the film, reported AFP.

The spokesman said, “The act of making and screening such a movie that portrays an attack on our top leadership… is a most wanton act of terror and act of war, and is absolutely intolerable.” He added that the US should be geared to face a “resolute and merciless response” if it doesn’t ban the film.

US hypocricy?

This makes me wonder if there are any Hollywood films that show the assassination of a real and not a fictional US President. Or are there films that revolve around the plot of murdering the current US President? However, what I do remember is that the US Army banned the sale of Medal of Honor video game as the game allowed you to play as an Al Qaeda member and attack US troops. Do you think a writer can ever dare to work on a film plot about the assassination of the current US President?

While we are at it, does Quentin Tarantino has the courage to re-write the history and show the murder of John F Kennedy in a satirical way? Feel free to write in to us about what you feel about this…

Source: The Verge

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How to install Android 5 (L) developer preview on Nexus 5 and Nexus 7

Thursday 26th of June 2014 11:03:26 PM

Google has just made available the first developer preview of Android 7 (aka Android L) for download and install. The image is available for Nexus 5 and Nexus 7 (2013 also known as Flo). If you are someone like me who can’t wait to try out the latest software then this article will help you in installing it on your device. Nexus 7 users must bear in mind that the developer preview is available only for Nexus 7 WiFi version 2 released in 2013. Please don’t try it if you have older or 3G Nexus 7.

This guide is for Ubuntu based systems but the commands are same for other distros. Of course the method for installing adb and fastboot will be different for your OS, so install adb and fastboot for your distro accordingly.

Get needed packages

Users who are running any Ubuntu-based system need to add this ppa by running this command:

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:phablet-team/tools

Then update the repository and install the needed tools:

sudo apt-get update sudo apt-get install ubuntu-device-flash Unlock your Nexus device

If your Nexus device is unlocked then you can skip this step and move to next one, if not then continue:
1. First become a developer. Go to Android’s settings and click on the build number 7 times to become a developer. Once you are a developer go to {} Developer Options and check ‘USB debugging.
2. Boot into the bootloader (power off the device and then power it on by holding the power button + volume up + volume down)
2. When you see the bootloader, connect the device to the PC
3. Open the terminal and run

sudo fastboot oem unlock

Now Nexus screen will ask whether you want to unlock or not. It will also tell you which hardware keys (power and volume buttons) to use to select ‘yes’. Use volume key to choose the option you want and power key to ‘click’ on it. Once you have unlocked the device, Nexus will take some time to reboot into unlocked system.

Note: In my case I had to enable the ‘developer’ mode and USB debugging after rebooting the phones, so if that be the case you can check under settings if the USB debugging is still enabled.

Before you install Android 5 on your device, here is feast for your eyes:

 " data-cycle-speed="750" data-cycle-center-horz="true" > <> Install Android L

Download the appropriate image for your device from this link. Once downloaded extract the files and change directory to the extracted folder. Then run the following command:

adb reboot-bootloader

Once your Nexus boots in to the boot loader, run the following command:


Wait for it to complete and once done your Nexus will boot into the brand new Android L. Please keep in mind, don’t disconnect the USB during any of the above operations.

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Google I/O 2014 keynote shows why Android should replace Chrome OS on Chromebooks

Thursday 26th of June 2014 09:07:05 PM

The keynote of Google I/O was only and only about one thing – Android. This Linux-based operating system has become the center of Google’s universe. From cars to smartwatches, it was only about Android. That makes one wonder where was the other Linux-based platform, Chrome OS, Google has been developing for a while!

Chrome was not absent, Google did talk about Chrome OS at the event, but it was more about Android than the Chrome OS. You can see Sundar Pichai talking about Chromebook at the event, but was more about Android than Chrome OS.

Success of Chromebooks

He is working on bringing ‘our’ favourite applications to Chromebooks. Here favorite could be interpreted as selected ones. He demonstrated Evernote, the Android App, being ported to Chrome OS. My question is why? Well Chrome OS apps are nothing more than glorified bookmarks which open a web-page within the Chrome OS window.

As Sundar said they are working hard to make it extremely easy for developers to port their apps to Chrome OS. Android apps do need a bit of tweaking as while Android has touch as input, Chromebooks have mouse and keyboards.

But if you do connect a mouse and keyboard to your Android Tablet, Evernote just works fine. If you are Gnome Shell 3 users then you won’t even mind the lack of ‘traditional’ PC like bottom panel and be happy with menu integrated on top.

I get mixed message from Google. One that Google is not at all convinced that HTML5 is ready for the prime time, or maybe they don’t want to push it the way Mozilla is pushing it through Firefox OS. That’s why you don’t hear Sundar talking about new and cooler ‘native’ Chrome OS apps or features.

Second message that Google seems to be sending to the developers is to invest in bringing their Android apps to Chrome OS? It was not about building better ‘native’ apps (bookmarks) for Chrome OS.

The question remains if we are going to run Android app on Chromebook, does it really matter whether it’s Chrome OS or Android? Users really don’t care about the underneath OS. They never use the OS, the use applications and services. Will it be too hard for Google to replace Chrome OS with Android on these devices?

Chrome OS vs Android: Disadvantages vs Advantages

Android today controls 80% of the market globally whereas iOS is way behind at 14%. Chrome OS market is even smaller and has no potential in the regions where Internet connectivity is still bad, including huge markets like India and China.

There is no question that Chromebooks are among the top selling laptops on and a majority of users are happy with the purchase. However the fact remains that price is the #1 driving force. You can’t imaging a 11-inch Windows PC for $199. Another big advantage in favour of Chromebooks is the familiar interface. It’s just a browser and whoever has ever used Internet Explorer, Safari, Firefox or any other browser can easily use it. The UI is quite similar to that of Window XP/7 so there is no learning curve whatsoever.

Chromebooks are perfect machines for those who live their lives inside a browser and this is a huge user-base. But its puts the Chromebook in an awkward position. Due to its many limitation it can’t become a primary device. We have 3 Chromebooks, but its always a secondary device.

  • Can’t connect external hard drive formatted in exFAT, NTFS or ext4 partitions so you are out of luck to use or created back-ups.
  • Doesn’t have Java so you can’t run applications or services that do need Java. Most notably wifi cameras that can be used via a web-interface.
  • You can’t take local back-ups of the documents that you work on as they are all saved in gdocs format which can be opened only with Google Drive and with associated email account.
  • Your printer and scanner won’t work.
  • You have to be extra careful to enable offline mode for your documents if you do plan to travel.
  • There are no high-end media editors such as Photoshop, Adobe Premiere, or Lightroom.
  • A lot, and I mean millions, of apps are missing.

One of my major concerns with Chromebooks as a primary device is that my data has to be on the cloud in order to be used. Which leaves out creative professionals, users who seek privacy and don’t want every bit of their data to be on 3rd party cloud services, user in regions with not so good internet connectivity and many more.

While Android is arguably a superior OS compared to iOS, Chrome OS is nowhere near Apple’s Mac OSX. It’s far behind. You can ‘run’ Chrome OS from within Mac by installing Chrome browser. The only USP (unique selling point) Chromebooks have here is price. Can Google offer the best of both worlds? Keeping the price low and offer the advantages of Android?

Seems so by simply replacing Chrome OS with Android.

Android is already extremely lean and can run on low-powered devices. So, they will run fine on Chromebooks.

During the introduction of Android Auto, Android TV or Android Wear, Google was touting the availability of ‘Android’ apps across these devices. Which makes Chromebook a second class citizen among Google products and PC is still a huge market segment.

HP is already flirting with Android on the desktop PCs and the overall experience is much better when compared with Chrome OS.

HP has even shown creative people like Cryssy Cheung using Android based PC doing things that they could never do on a Chromebook. Never. These are the kind of users who would pick a Macbook in a blink and won’t even consider the Chromebook.

I have not found a single advantage that Chrome OS has over Android. In addition to those millions of app, that Chrome OS doesn’t have Android can do ‘everything’ that a ChromeOS based devices can do. Then why is Google still sticking to it

So why is Google holding back? Is it Sundar who doesn’t want to sacrifice his baby for Andy’s Android? I don’t really see the point of wasting developer’s time and resources in ‘porting’ their thousands of apps to Chrome OS when Google can bring their apps to Chromebook by simply replacing the underneath OS?

What really is stopping Google from using Android on Chromebooks? Is it technically impossible to ‘flash’ user’s OS and replace it with Android without destroying their data? Will enterprise customers mind using a full-fledged, much more secure OS over a cloud based Chrome OS? Will students running Chromebooks in school mind an OS which has many more educational apps?

Will you mind running an optimized Android OS on your Chromebook instead of Chrome OS?

What do you think about these argument? Do you think Android makes more sense on laptops than Chrome OS? Is there ‘any’ advantage that Chromebooks have and Android lacks? Do you think Google should do it? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

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Indian court summons Sonia, Rahul Gandhi in corruption case

Thursday 26th of June 2014 06:37:28 PM

A local court in India has summoned Congress president Sonia Gandhi, and vice-president Rahul Gandhi as accused in a criminal (private) complaint lodged by BJP leader Subramanian Swamy for allegedly “misappropriating assets” of now-defunct daily National Herald.

The National Herald newspaper was established in September 1938 by India’s first prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru. The paper was shut down in 2008.

The top two leaders of the Congress have been asked to appear in the Patiala House Court on August 7 in the case that accuses them of criminal breach of trust.

Besides Sonia and her son Rahul Gandhi, the court has summoned AICC treasurer Moti Lal Vohra, general secretary Oscar Fernandes, and Suman Dubey and Sam Pitroda, the other directors of Young Indian Ltd (YI).

Metropolitian magistrate Gomati Manocha, while issuing the summons on Thursday, said: “Complainant has established a prima facie case against the accused under section 403 (dishonest misappropriation of property, 406 (criminal breach of trust) and 420 (cheating) read with section 120B (criminal conspiracy) of IPC.

“Hence, let the accused Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi, Moti Lal Vohra, Oscar Fernandes, Suman Dubey and Sam Pitroda be summoned for August 7, 2014. Let the Young Indian be summoned through it’s authorised representative for the same date,” added Manocha.

Swamy also wants the Delhi court to take the passports of Sonia and Rahul Gandhi so that “they do not run away from the country before hearing in the court.”

A Congress spokesman called the accusations levelled against the Gandhis “completely false”.

Reacting to the allegations, Congress spokesman Abhishek Manu Singhvi said: “Dr Swamy is known for his personal, motivated campaign against the Congress and you can take it that as and when we receive the papers and take the full legal advice a very vigorous response will be filed in respect of this completely false and motivated complaint.

“Issuance of process over a stale complaint made a year ago is not something to be excited about. Let’s seek comprehensive legal advice and you will see how all allegations are legally demolished,” Singhvi added.

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