Archive for November, 2013


What We Know, What We Don’t Know, and What We Don’t Know We Don’t Know

"I never think of the future. It comes soon enough." – Albert Einstein

30 November 2013
Loren W
Melbourne, Oz

Technorati Tags: Apple, Prime Sense, Kinect, Microsoft, iPhone,

skynet

What We Know

Interesting Apple Patents – It is known companies including Apple will often introduce hundred that have little no intention of ever being developed, partly to hide the patents they do intend to release. Apple was granted over 220 patents in November 2013, alone.

clip_image003[4]If we simply look at some of the patents Apple has received in the last 4 years, especially recently how they relate to what PrimeSense is already doing themselves or with partners, then some interesting elements appear.

Who Are PrimeSense? – Founded in 2005 by Israeli’s Alexander Shpunt and Aviad Maizels. Both were in Military R&D with Aviad serving as head of a technical R&D section in the Israeli Ministry of Defense.

Previous Apple Patents –In 2010 2 months before Microsoft announced the Kinect, Apple applied for a patent to track information from its users. There was a minor kafuffle over this at the time, in early September 2010, based on personal spying concerns including form the EFF. This technology could;

· View a user’s face & take pictures with no noise. · Record the user’s voice, whether or not a phone call is even being made,’· Determine the users’ heartbeat, take a photograph of the surrounding area, and determine where it is being used. · Bottom Line The patent looks who you are, where you are, and what you are doing and saying and even how fast your heart is beating.

clip_image004[4]October 2012 Patents – Showed us finger print scanning that was released but also Polymer dispersed liquid crystal window, uses technology to hide the camera, and fingerprint lenses on the phone.
May 2013 – Patent offers a technique where a sensor for an iPad or iPhone recognizes movement away from the screen not just touch in a pull gesture (aka Kinect like).
November 2013 – Patent 8,593,534- Offers a mode of taking photographs only when the subject is in proper view, addressing the subject and background images. rove of facial recognition. Patent 8,593,423/5/ – tracking not just touch but hand recognition technique (note: a partner of PrimeSense has also brought that technology to market themselves 3GearSystems. Patent 8,593,426 looks to image identification by differentiating or matching colors in multiple images

My Favorite Patent (application) wording – 20130265378 The method terminates the transmission of images captured by the first camera and transmits images captured by the second camera of the first mobile device to the second device during the video conference.”

As clear as that might be it made by head explode

clip_image005[4]Relevant PrimeSense Timeline

CES 2011 – 2 months after launch of Microsoft Kinect, Multiple companies show off new products and partnership with PrimeSense, the highlight is picked up by many as the potential of using sensors in smartphones. In 2012 – PrimeSense announced the launch of their new Capri 3D sensor their smallest yet (x10 smaller), and due to be launched for OEMs in mid-2013, able to fit into a phone or other small device (e.g. TVs, Watch etc.), offering short and long range detection/ viewing.
Early 2013 – PrimeSense Releases World of Sensing Marketing Video, showing off different technology uses including TV, and PC image sensing
Mid 2013 – PrimeSense releases 3d Sensor SDK, makes it available to developers. Late 2013 – Apple buys PrimeSense
Note: In the recent pre-Apple purchase marketing Video PrimeSense released a PR video showing some potential uses for their tech nology. These included;

· Eye-tracking tech – already in other vendor’s phones. Adjust volume as you move them away from your ear. Face recognition – obvious choice with the tech form the Kinect and all. 3D Mobile – is possible now as the HTC phones have shown us, how that can be used to be more usable is still to be seen

What We Don’t Know, We Don’t Know.

· It is interesting none the less, that many of the patents Apple has obtained or requested are now very similar to product elements that PrimeSense and their partners have already released or has been tried unsuccessfully by others.

clip_image007[4]· We know Apple released their Touch · ID system recently for the iPhone 5S, it improved on the biometric finger reading technology that had been in the marketplace already for some time but not working very well until now.

· Similarly, the Android Galaxy Nexus released in 2011 offered facial recognition that many to this day cannot use as the product is not great.

· Even the Kinect itself from Microsoft and PrimeSense was greatly flawed needing a huge amount of room to work well.

· Technology and software has evolved as has the marketplace, with sensors now small enough for phones, or watches. Much of the technology will be less of surprise when released but welcome as the evolution it is rather than a revolution in technology.

References:
http://blog.freedomsite.orghttps://twitter.com/juliepsamuels , http://www.macworld.co.uk, http://twitter.com/AshleighAllsopp, twitter.com/threegear, http://www.latestpatents.com, http://www.patentlyapple.com


Xbox One At Least Temporarily Kills Cord Cutting Technology

29 November 2013 
loren w
Melbourne Oz

In case you didn’t know Australia is a big place. It is the size of the USA but with the population of Cameroon. Most of the population are in a handful of cities as a result of the area covered the majority of TV is via satellite instead of cable With Foxtel the largest of the satellite TV providers only servicing the largest cities a different company Austar served the rural ones but with substandard customer service and substandard user interface.

So as not to lose to the competition that they could not serve, Foxtel started providing TV shows over the Internet via the Xbox 360 4 years ago 4 is little as 5 dollars a channel with no minimum. They called the service Foxtel play catchy huh? This meant at the time you could buy any station you wanted and only the stations you wanted. Foxtel has not
long ago purchased the competition and as a result has only just now increased the minimum purchase required to buy stations in packs at 25 dollars each via the Internet alone. However the selection of stations is still huge the selection enormous and ability to spend very little with no cable is a blessing as long as you have an Xbox 360.

Unfortunately with the release of the Xbox One Foxtel over Internet service is not available and has not confirmed if it ever will be. This is a real shame as Foxtel was ahead of the curve on the service of offering all stations over the Internet alone. Currently Foxtel says the technology is very different but they are in negotiation with Microsoft

 


 


Good Design Makes a Useful Accessory

Loren W
23 November 2013
Melbourne Australia


Firstly, I have to admit upfront I have always HATED phone power packs. Strong words I know but they are usually cumbersome to use, don’t work, get in the way, too heavy, offer little value the list goes on.

However, if you have a phone, that allows you to take advantage of a bit of good design tech on the phone itself, then a smart design for a battery pack is possible and in this ‘case’ is really good (no pun intended)


I am referring to the 4500mAh Power Jacket for the Sony Xperia Ultra distributed by MobileZap in Australia. The cool bit it of tech I am referring to on the phone is the magnetic connector for power charging or docking. This means the power jacket that also protects the phone very discreetly uses the magnetic charging port to charge the phone.

Specifications
The extra battery is a whopping 4500 mAH, meaning it is about 50% bigger than the huge battery on the phone already. This means it extends standby talk time from 34 days to a crazy 85 days, talk time from 16 to 40 hours and music playing from 120 hours to almost 300 hours that is over 12 days. This will of course vary with real world usage.

There are a couple of other side benefits as well. The case does not cover the micro USB port on the phone as it charges to the magnetic dock as mentioned. This means you can charge the phone at the same time you are charging the power case (especially handy in the car with a 2 port USB adapter) . It also has really functional blue led lights on the back so you know when it is charging, or discharging. Finally there is a little kick stand on the back of the case that is useful as well.

PROS

  • Good Design – (no wires, does not cover any ports, easy to put on and remove)
  • Good Value (4500mAH battery for $56.49)
  • Discreet Useful Case – Some would buy it just for being s case with a stand
  • Not too heavy –
  • Powerful – adds 150% battery use- Great for the traveler

More more information visit the MobileZap website here , their facebook page here or say hello on their new twitter page here


11 October 2013
Melbourne, Australia
Loren W

When cooking BBQ, Stews, Sauces, Dips, etc., liquid smoke is an important ingredient adding a smokiness that is amazing. Hard to find here in Australia, but not impossible. It is actually easy to make as well. If you do find it, Colgin is the best brand and has been made in Texas since 1945. Otherwise, here is an easy way to do it yourself but believe me is not as good as colgin.

bbq

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1. Fill your grill with the wood chips of your choice, Note: the type of wood you use will make a big difference in the taste you get. Do not mix the type of wood you use if you plan to do this again as the mix of woods can often not be duplicated. I prefer Mesquite, then Hickory.  It is always best to soak your wood chips for 30 minutes before you cook so they cook more slowly and will no incinerate (leaving you more wood taste for your liquid smoke). Cook your food as you would Note: Do not use any starter fluid or starter chips coated in starter fluid. If the chips have starter fluid on them, they cannot be used when making liquid smoke, because the chemicals from the starter would become part of the end result and would not be safe to eat. After you have cooked.

2. Go through the grill to collect roughly 1 pound of wood chips that did not completely burn up. Sift through it, and try to avoid getting ash mixed in, as it is hard to filter out later and taints the taste.

3. Fill a pillowcase with the wood chips. Note: Use a pillowcase that you do not want to use again because once this process is complete, you will not be able to use it. Rinse the clean pillow case out.

4. Bring a pot of water to a boil. You will need enough water to completely cover the chips.

5. Place the pillowcase of chips in the boiling water, and allow it to boil for at least 30 to 45 minutes. When the water reaches a dark reddish-brown color, you can stop boiling the chips and pillowcase because you’ve obtained sufficient material from the chips. Note: If possible, boil the water outside. You may want to do this step outside because the smell may become overwhelming inside.

6. Let the pot of boiling water stand until everything has cooled down enough to allow you to touch it.

7. Take the pillowcase and chips out of the water. Drain the water out of the pillowcase, and throw away the wood chips.

8. Bring the reddish-brown liquid back to boil until it has reduced down to 1/3 to 1/4 of the original amount. This will concentrate the smoked flavor.

9. Let the liquid cool down, filter through a tea strainer or old type coffee filter and taste.

10. If it tastes bitter, add a small amount of honey or other sweetener to cut down the bitterness.

11. Put it in the bottle of your choice.

Google Officially Releases Android 4.4

Posted: November 10, 2013 in Misc Tech

The Hunt for Defragmentationism Begins

10 November 2013
Melbourne, Oz
Loren W

First I have to say I was disappointed when Google surprisingly changed the name of their new Android 4.4 operating system at the last minute from ‘Key Lime Pie’ to ‘Kit Kat’. For those that do not know all of their versions have been named after a tasty sweet since 2009 (namely in Cupcake, Donut, Éclair, Froyo, Gingerbread, Honeycomb, Ice Cream Sandwich, and Jellybean)

clip_image002

My simplistic logic was by using the name key lime pie it would bring this amazing dessert more to prominence and if it only meant one more physical key lime pies in the world (and who doesn’t love key lime pie ) then that would be a good thing. Alas I’m over it now.

The news as Google has said is that the new android version Kit Kat will be backwards compatible with older mobile phone hardware than ever due to the requirements of less memory been required to run the operating system. Mainly where many smart android phones have 1-4GB ram memory, the new lower spec means a phone with 512MB of ram will now be compatible, in most cases.

What remains to be answered though is if this will cause new problems. Likely yes, some seen some not.

clip_image004

Fragmentation
Google has a problem in the marketplace to some extent with ‘fragmentation’ and always has had. That is because there are so many new phone models every few weeks or months and google unlike Microsoft and Apple does not manage the hardware, each phone was not necessarily compatible with the latest OS perhaps only the one previously or before. Oddly, this means 3 different phones purchased in the same store on the same today, might have 4 different operating systems, (gingerbread, jellybean, or honeycomb, or even ice cream sandwich).

Operating systems are partly Google, the handset manufacturer and phone carrier’s responsibility. Crazier still, the same exact model phone supporting one carrier can often be on a different version of Android than the other. This makes supporting the device, product clarity for the consumer, and developing new apps for the devices ‘fragmented’ in the marketplace.

Apple or Windows makes updates mandatory on new phones or makes the phones obsolete, to manage this continuity. So, Google is fixing this by making the specification level required for Android 4.4 Kit Kat, lower so 4.4 is compatible with more phones, thus less fragmentation.

The desktop operating system is similar where the new Apple 10.9 Mavericks and Windows 7, required lower specifications or offered more backward compatibility for consumers and business to upgrade.

In the case of Windows 7, whilst its predecessor Windows Vista might not run on a certain Windows XP machine or do so very poorly, Windows 7 in many cases would run and work well.

There you could run Windows 7 on all the machines even windows XP that would not run vista, and not sacrifice anything.

In the case of Apple iPhones some devices that would not be supported with a new mobile operating system iOS, means you would buy have to buy a new iPhone.

With Google lowering the specification for Kit Kat though, the trouble there is many applications make better use of more than 512mb ram, and some phones might suffer with Kit Kat or might not get the update at all, adding another layer of fragmentation to the confusing mix, that is running the new OS but not very well, or with less features.

In most of these cases the OS (Google Android), the hardware manufacturer, and carrier might not release the update. Unfortunately the update is good, so demand will be high internally at Google and by the consumer. Many consumers already use updates bypassing these steps getting their updates (ROMs) online quite easily. It remains to be seen if the attempt to reduce fragmentation causes more problems than it fixes.


With Friends Like that Who Needs Enemas?

 

Untitled

2 November  2013
Melbourne, Oz
Loren W

· When the Provisional IRA bombed the tallest building in London (BT Tower) 42 years ago this week on Halloween 1971, it reaffirmed a resulting chain of events that are very timely today. The re-enforcing and sharing of communication and intelligence across continents between allies, of course the USA and UK. In 1971 it was a time of Nixon, fund raising in America for the IRA that was their main source of funding, as the USA did not recognize the IRA as terrorists (another story there worth reading). This was only 2 years after ARPANET (later DARPA) carried the first packets of Data). ARPANET being The Advanced Research Projects Agency Network a USA endeavor based on a a British design (Donald Davies CBE NPL UK) that later with Vint Cerf created of course elements of what we call the Internet today. London was the first International node of ARPNET, showing the bond digital communication would have from 1971.

arpanet1_small

However it was not till  years later that Margaret Thatcher had buddy Ronald Regan stop the collections to stop the flow of IRA funding. There was of course a multilateral agreement in place already of course since 1946 as part of the until 2012 unknown named, name Project ‘StoneGhost’ a Top Secret Sensitive Compartmented Information Network and part what is known as the 5 eyes alliance. This included Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the UK and USA, but the UK and USA had a special bond

BT-Tower-Star-Wars-Lightsaber

· This was previously known as Intelink-C, Q-Lat and Quad link. Few even knew of the alliance till 2012, when a Canadian Navy officer was sentenced to 20 years for contravening information from Operation ‘StoneGhost’. Part of the alliance was the sharing of data as well. Today all of the fibre in the UK connects via BT Tower, in London with the 34th floor of BT Tower still covered by the Official Secrets Act. The UK still does its information gathering, the building is still closed to the public and you have to have a level clearance so high that clearance to Buckingham Palace and No 10 Downing Street (home of the Queen of England and Prime Minister) are below access levels required.

bucky

As the story continues to unfold that the US Government (wrongly or rightly I am not judging here), had concerns of the closeness Germany’s leader Merkel, had with Putin of Russia, it would not be too farfetched to find another ally had some small or large part in the exercise. to monitor (not spy that is illegal).

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