Recent

September 25, 2012

iPhone 5 is here, 64GB version costs Rs 1 lakh


There’s a lot of buzz around Apple’s iPhone 5 around as most countries are still waiting to get their hands on the device. India is among the third wave of countries where the iPhone 5 will be available. This potentially points to a late October launch of the device. Fans of Apple in India have reason to rejoice though, as some stores have begun selling the iPhone 5.

Some stores in the grey market have announced their pricing for Apple’s latest smartphone, and the prices are as high as Apple’s other devices. The 16 GB version is available in the grey market for approximately Rs 76,000, the 32GB version for Rs 85,000, and the 64GB version of the iPhone 5 is available at Rs 1,00,000.
Unlocked version won't be available for some weeks now
The iPhone 5 can now be bought in India


According to an earlier report, the iPhone 5 is easier to repair than its older siblings – the iPhone 4 and the iPhone 4S. As per a guide published by iFixit, the biggest issues with manually repairing an iPhone 5 are Apple’s proprietary screws used to keep the device together, and many intricate parts located near the dock that make fixing individual parts dicey. All things considered, the iPhone 5’s front-to-back construction makes accessing the insides of the device very easy, as the screen is the first thing to come out when disassembling the phone.

It was recently revealed that the iPhone 5 runs on a triple-core GPU. The device runs on a custom-made dual-core ARM processor that runs at a clock speed of 1GHz. The GPU uses a triple-core with a higher clock speed, so that the phone can achieve double the graphical capabilities of the A5 processor. The processor is most likely a PowerVR SGX 543MP3. The A5 processor that powers the iPhone 4S, iPad 2 and the fifth generation iPod Touch had a PowerVR SGX 543MP2 GPU.

On the software side of things, the iPhone 5 was recently jailbroken by developer Grant Paul, a.k.a., Chpwn. Paul had recently tweeted a screenshot of an iPhone 5 with the Cydia app installed. The Cydia app is its own app store that allows users to buy and download apps. These apps would otherwise not be hosted on Apple's own App Store, as many of the apps require permission to use the root features of the device -- permissions which aren't possible to give with a device that hasn't been jailbroken.

Here is a quick look at the highlighted features of the iPhone 5:
  • 4-inch, 326ppi Retina display at 1136 x 640 pixels
  • GPRS, EDGE, EV-DO, HSPA, HSPA+, DC-HSDPA, LTE and Wi-Fi
  • GPS
  • Bluetooth
  • 8 megapixel camera with 1080p HD recording, 720p front-facing camera
  • 16GB, 32GB and 64GB versions

Made entirely out of aluminium and glass, the iPhone 5 weighs merely 112 grams, is 20 percent lighter than the iPhone 4S, and is the thinnest iPhone yet at 7.6mm thick. Apple has chosen to debut iOS 6 with the iPhone 5 and the new OS includes Apple's own Maps app, an updated version of Siri and lots more. Overall, the new iPhone has been upgraded in almost all respects.

September 24, 2012

The World’s Most Powerful Digital Camera Snaps Its First Photos

 


On a mountaintop in Chile is the most powerful digital camera mankind has ever constructed. Called the Dark Energy Camera, the phone booth-sized device shoots 570-megapixel photographs using an array of 62 separate CCD sensors and a 13-foot light-gathering mirror. Planning and building the thing took 120 scientists from 23 international organizations a whopping 8 years.
This past week, the researchers behind the project announced the first fruits of their labor: massive photographs that show patches of the sky 20 times the size of the moon (as seen from Earth).


The photographs are so big and so sensitive that each one shows over 100,000 separate galaxies that are up to 8 billion light years away.
Over the next five years, scientists plan to create these massive color photos of 1/8th of the night sky, capturing 300 million galaxies, 100,000 galaxy clusters, and even 4,000 supernovae. Although the camera itself shoots in monochrome, color will be obtained using five color filters the size of manhole covers.



A glimpse into the heart of this massive camera that shows its 62 CCD sensors
If you’re wondering why a US-sponsored space camera is located on a mountain in Chile, it’s because the Chilean Andes have atmospheric conditions that make for super-sharp shots of space. The view of the stars from the mountaintops there allow the scientists to achieve some of the sharpest resolution images possible from the surface of our planet (telescope cameras floating around in space don’t have to deal with things like atmosphere, air pollution, and light pollution).
The Dark Energy Camera should enjoy its “largest digital camera” crown while it can, since the camera won’t be holding the title for too much longer. Last year, the US Government gave the green light for an even beastlier digicam. The LSST Project‘s camera will shoot 3.2-gigapixel photos using an array of 189 CCD sensors. (via Phys.Org)

September 14, 2012

Datawind launches 4 tablets in Ubislate range


Makers of the nation’s low-cost computing dream, Datawind, have rolled out a new line of low-cost tablets in the Ubislate range -- Ubislate 7Ri, Ubislate 7R+, Ubislate 7C and Ubislate 7C+.  “The new range of Ubislate Tablets is packed with anytime anywhere low-cost Internet connectivity, UbiSurfer browser based on 18 international patents that can deliver internet access on traditional GPRS networks and a powerful combination of content and applications raising the bar in terms of meeting customers’ mobility needs. These tablets are of the gold standard when it comes to low - cost tablet cum Smart phone space being offered at an exciting price to our customers,” said Suneet Singh Tuli, CEO, Datawind Pvt. Ltd.
Low-cost offerings
Low-cost offerings


The brand new Ubislate range, according to a company statement, comes with a sleek look and enhanced hardware specifications. The lightweight tablets support smartphone communication, Internet access, tablet computing and multimedia entertainment.

The tablets sport a 7-inch screen and run the latest Android v4.0.3 operating system. The tablets are powered by a Cortex A8, 1GHz processor and 512MB RAM. The company adds further that these devices will deliver high speed surfing experience to its users. The embedded HD video co-processor delivers high quality video content making it a perfect multimedia device.

“With the upwardly mobile workforce, hands-free communication has become extremely important. Our tablets are the most durable offerings under the Ubislate umbrella. Features like HD video, great sound quality, touch screen, high speed processor, USB port, camera, G-Sensor with a long battery life are a complete value for money option for our customers,” stated Tuli.
Datawind launches 4 tablets under Ubislate range
Datawind launches 4 tablets under Ubislate range


Here’s a quick look at the specifications of the Ubislate 7Ri:
  • 7-inch resistive touchscreen with a 800 x 480 pixel resolution
  • Wi-Fi
  • Front-facing VGA camera
  • 4GB memory, expandable up to 32GB via microSD

Specifications of the Ubislate 7R+:
  • 7-inch resistive touchscreen with a 800x480 pixel resolution
  • GPRS, Wi-Fi
  • front-facing VGA camera
  • 4GB memory, expandable up to 32GB via microSD

While those of the Ubislate 7Ci are:
  • 7-inch display with 800 x 480 pixel resolution
  • Wi-Fi
  • Bluetooth with A2DP
  • VGA front facing camera
  • 4GB memory expandable up to 32 GB via microSD

Tech specs of the Ubislate 7C+:
  • 7-inch display with 800 x 480 pixel resolution
  • GPRS, Wi-Fi
  • Bluetooth with A2DP
  • VGA front facing camera
  • 4GB memory expandable up to 32 GB via microSD

The Ubislate 7Ri, Ubislate 7R+, Ubislate 7Ci, UbiSlate 7C+ models will be all available at an MRP ranging from Rs 2,999 to Rs 4,499.

As per the other official statement, the tablets have the web browser: Ubisurfer with Compression/ acceleration and IE8 rendering.

Some applications available on Ubislate range of tablets, include:
  • The users of Ubislate can access content available on the Sakshat portal and other educational websites.
  • Yahoo! India for its portal, Yahoo! Mail and Yahoo! Cricket to deliver all the information regarding India’s national passion.
  • The Indian Express Group to bring its users the latest news and analysis on the go.
  • Reverie Language Technologies Pvt. Ltd. to provide over a dozen Indian languages including Hindi, Marathi, Tamil, Punjabi/ Gurmukhi and many others.
  • Mango learning solutions for game based educational modules, interactive smart books and the full CBSE curriculum.
  • TestBag, the most comprehensive solution for testing and e-assessment.
  • Intelligaia finger tracing apps to teach alphabet letter writing for toddlers. [via Tech2]

September 5, 2012

'Live Traffic' on Google Maps comes to India


Check Google Maps on your Android mobile or your desktop and you will notice a new layer, called Traffic. Clearly, Live Traffic layer on Google Maps seems to have come to India now. Enable that and have your location specified, and you will be able to see what the road traffic is like in that city. At the bottom left of the Map, users can see a legend depicting the nature of the traffic at the time - ranging from slow to fast. Again, to view what the traffic conditions are like more keenly, users can zoom in to the location and with the Live Traffic layer on, they even get to know what the traffic is like at that location. The colour-coded legend lines depicted on the map explain the nature of the traffic at that place.
Google Maps Live Traffic
Google Maps Live Traffic


If users do not want Live Traffic updates, but want something more specific as traffic during a particular time on a particular day, then all they got to do is change their preference at the bottom left. Here users can change their preference to “Traffic at day and time” and enter their choice of day and time and click on done. Once that is done, the map depicts the details as per the options picked. Google specifies that the data provided when a user picks the "Traffic at day and time" option is based on past conditions. 

With the update that Google Maps got recently, Google claims to have made transit information that it has been providing by way of Google Maps even more useful. Part of the update list are changes that Google made to the Transit Lines Layer. The update here means that users can now select a specific mode of public transport - then be it train, bus, tram or subway to be displayed on their mobile map. This way, all other modes excluding the chosen mode are hidden on the map. Understandably, a feature like this is helpful, especially in areas where there are several modes of transport available. Also featuring in the update list is the layout of station pages. Users can now open it by tapping on the name of the station on the application on their mobile device.

Google puts in its official blog post that Google Maps for Android offers more than a million transit stops globally, and this is across almost 500 cities. In India, it is at Bangalore (Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation Ltd), Chennai (Chennai MRTS), Delhi (Delhi Metro Rail) and Kolkata (Kolkata Metro). 

A little before Google Maps for Android got its update, the search giant introduced its Live Traffic update layer to Maps across Bogotá, Panama City and San Jose (Costa Rica). In addition, Google was also to bring its real-time traffic data to 130 smaller cities in the U.S., including Kalamazoo (Michigan), Portland (Maine) and Tuscaloosa (Alabama).

Clearly, having Live Traffic updates running on one's phone is precious. Needless to add, users can now plan their commute accordingly, with such data readily available. [via Tech2]

September 1, 2012

New report expects 45 million Internet users in rural India by Dec 2012

 

As per the figures on the latest I-Cube Report on Internet in Rural India by the Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI) and IMRB, rural India is home to 38 million Internet users and 31 million active Internet users. The report further adds that the penetration of claimed Internet users in rural India grew from being 2.6 percent in 2010 to 4.6 percent in 2012, a CAGR of 73 percent. While the stats of active Internet users has grown from 2.13 percent in 2010 to 3.7 percent in 2012. Interestingly, the report expects the number of  claimed Internet users in rural India to reach 45 million by December 2012.
Beginning of good times? (Image credit: Getty Images)
Penetrating to rural India (Image credit: Getty Images)


Dr. Subho Ray, President of IAMAI, commented on the report by adding, "This is just the tip of the iceberg, in the next two years, a combination of affordable smart phones, optic fibre backbone and local language content is likely to change the beat all projections of internet growth in rural areas."

Among other things, the report also found mobile phones to be fast emerging as a crucial point of Internet access in rural India. Going further, it added that as of June 2012, there were 3.6 million mobile Internet users in India, thereby posting a growth of 7.2 times from 0.5 million in 2010. It found Community Service Centres (CSC) and cyber cafes to be the  major point of access for Internet users in rural India. 

Further, entertainment emerged as the primary driver of Internet use in rural India. It found that 75 percent of rural users use internet for entertainment while 56 percent use it for communications. Users were found to access music, videos and photos for entertainment. Going further, it found,"There is a growing interest amongst the rural constituents seeking information on education. 81 percent of claimed internet users seek information pertaining to school / university and exam centres."

As per a recently concluded Google India survey called Students on the Web, India comes second only to the U.S. now, as far as education-related search queries on Google go. The study found that more than 60 percent of the Indian students who had access to the Internet used it as their primary source for research information pertaining to educational courses and institutes. That India is a nation with a buzzing youth population is not an unheard fact. What is an even more interesting bit of detail here is that more than half of the nation's population fall within the age bracket of 18-35 years, quite explaining the term 'Young India'. 

Other findings of the study include the fact that queries pertaining to education in the country are increasing at over 46 percent on a yearly basis. Interestingly, it was found that of all search queries, more than 40 percent pertained to course and institutes for pursuing higher education. The study found that IT/Vocational courses was a popular search category in India with 44 percent searches coming through for it, followed by engineering courses for which there were 40 percent of the searches coming, while institutes and postgraduate courses offering MBA had 16 percent of the searches coming. Narrowing further down, the study found that Sikkim Manipal University was the most searched private institute. IIM-A and IIT-Delhi came out on the top, as far as IIMs and IITs were concerned, between the period January to June 2012.  [via Tech2]

August 31, 2012

5 Things You Should Consider Before Getting A DSLR

 

You have a lot of love and passion for photography, and you are constantly clicking with whatever you have – your iPhone camera, your film camera, your point and shoot, etc. You are browsing the Internet, most probably Flickr, Facebook or deviantART and you notice some sharp, well-executed photographs.


(Image Source: Sam)
On checking the EXIF data of the available image, you come to find out that the image was shot using a DSLR. After this, you start checking the DSLR prices on Amazon, or any other online website, and decide it is time you buy youself a DSLR camera and produce great shots yourself; but the real question is – do you actually need one?
I have been into photography for the last 6-7 years and had only recently bought my own DSLR around a year ago. I noticed that many people start their passion for photography with a DSLR (usually a medium end one). I’m not sure that it’s really something that you should start with, since I believe that getting a DSLR require some pondering.
Here are some of the things you should consider before emptying your pockets for a DSLR.

1. Type Of Photography

One of the first things to consider when buying a DSLR is the type of photography practiced by you. Whether you mostly shoot weddings, or family events, schools events or just at random, the type of photography greatly influences the type of camera to use for the purpose.
For example, using the idea of wedding photography, a photographer may be required to film videos as well. Carrying an extra HD video camera would just increase the bulk and hassle. It would be much wiser to use a DSLR that supports HD video recording – such as the Canon EOS 5D MKII and Nikon alternative D700.


(Image Source: Videomaker)
Another consideration to be taken into account is the weight of the camera, which includes all the accessories. If a person is a wedding photographer or a travel photographer, he or she may have assistants carrying the accessories and thus weight may not be the prime problem.
However, if you are a photojournalist or a war-photojournalist, you would be on the move constantly. Carrying bulky items would not be the most intelligent, let alone safe thing to do.
On the other hand, if you photograph family events and you take thousands of images every day, do you really need an SLR? I would rather spend on a good Point-and-Shoot camera than spend on an expensive DSLR if the only purpose of my camera is to take photographs of family events, and snapshots as I go out with family, friends, relatives, and so on.

2. Professional Or Hobbyist

If you are a professional photographer, do you have to have a DSLR? No.
True, being a professional requires you to have equipment worthy of the task at hand, but just because you are a professional does not mean you must work only on the DSLR. In fact, many professionals still rely on 35mm film cameras, abeit the good ones. How about if you are new to photography, or have just started it, and have caught the photo-bug while indulging in it, do you need the DSLR? The answer is yet again, no.


(Image Source: Crezalyn Nerona Uratsuji)
I would suggest using a Point & Shoot camera for the first 1-2 years and then gradually moving onto a UZ camera (Ultra-Zoom). Once you feel comfortable using a UZ camera and believe that you have learned all the basics of photography and that your photos have reached their maximum level of ‘goodness’ then I’d suggest trying your hands on an entry level DSLR camera.
If you are a professional photographer and want to move into the "digital" age, then get yourself a full-frame sensor DSLR camera. Remember your camera is only as good as you get.

3. Maintenance Of A DSLR

Getting a DSLR is no child’s play. It requires your utmost dedication. You don’t just play with it, you have to always ensure that the camera is always in perfect condition. As with other normal Point & Shoot cameras, your DSLR is not just made to stand "shoot and forget" attitudes. Before each shot, you need to make sure that the lens is clean, the sensor is clean and that there is absolutely no speck on dust on either of the items.


(Image Source: Mumbai Pav)
Owning a DSLR is like owning a car. If you keep it under regular check it would work best, if not, you would encounter some problems later on with the camera that would cost you.
Now, how exactly can you take care of your precious, expensive DSLR? The answer is to buy a sensor cleaning kit. That would help you clean most of the items: sensor, lens, viewfinder lens, etc. Any dust that lands on the lens or sensor would show up on the final image. Thus, it is very important for the specks of dust to be cleaned right away – they could also end up scratching your lens or sensor, rendering them useless unless you like extra decorations in your pictures. If you don’t, this means a dent in your wallet.
Dust in the viewfinder will be visible through your viewfinder scope and even though it is not that dangerous, it is wise to clean the dust to avoid any risks.

4. Price

This is one of the main factors that determines whether you should get a DSLR or not. The very first thing is to chalk out a budget plan for yourself – including the price of camera, lenses, and accessories if any – and see which camera comes in your range.
Once you have a list of potential cameras in your budget range, you should visit a website like dpreviews.com to compare the cameras, and find the best three from your list. Keep in mind that you do not necessarily have to buy the best camera in your budget and you could always compromise a little money on the body itself (as long as they both have the same sensor size) and get an additional lens instead.


(Image Source: Claudio Matsuoka)
If you have a smaller budget of say below $500 then it would be much wise to get a Point & Shoot camera, keeping in mind the type of photography that interests you.
Nevertheless, if you want to get into the wedding photography or similar fields, it would be wiser to save money for a DSLR; P&S cameras do not do the newlyweds justice.
Finally, always remember that once you get a DSLR you are in an "expensive" hobby. Unlike P&S cameras, DSLR require regular cleaning and maintainance to keep them in their best possible condition. Not only that but lenses cost a fortune at times and the type of photography you do would influence the type of lens required, whether it is a wide-angle lens, prime-lense or so on.

5. Funding Your DSLR

This portion is only important if you finally decide to get a DSLR and some good lenses. Now that you have posted a tweet on Twitter saying "Ouch! Photography is an expensive hobby" or something similar, note that you can recover your losses and fund your DSLR with your DSLR, with a bit of hard work and some time, of course. One way to do this is by selling stock images or selling prints.
Stock images are used by advertising agencies and people to complement their projects. These shots are taken mostly in-studio, some out, depicting models doing one action or another that can be used to supplement any written material in the right context, for example, an executive talking on phone, jewellery photographs, etc.
Selling prints gives the user the option to sell their images to people who would want to hang it on their walls at their home or office. Selling prints is far more difficult as it needs the photographer to be passionate about his photograph and come with results that amaze the peer – rendering the impulse in them to hang such a photograph on their wall.
Users can also put their lens up for rent – though it might be a risky business and will require users to use their own judgement when picking the people who want to rent the lens. Finally, the user can always shoot portraits, weddings and commercial photographs, taking money for each shoot. Do it well enough, and you can even earn your livelihood with it. [via hongkiat]

August 30, 2012

Samsung Galaxy Camera announced: 16 megapixels, 21x optical zoom, and Android 4.1

 
What happens when you combine a pocket camera with an Android smartphone? Samsung's answer is the Galaxy Camera. Running Android 4.1 Jelly Bean on a massive 4.8-inch HD LCD display, the Galaxy Camera aims to take the best of Samsung's camera and phone departments and mix them up for something altogether unique. There's a 16-megapixel backside-illuminated sensor within what is otherwise an unmistakably camera-shaped body, equipped with a retractable lens that provides 21x optical zoom.
On the inside, we can look forward to a 1.4GHz quad-core processor, Wi-Fi, 3G, and 4G wireless options, although disappointingly there's no SD card compatibility. If you want removable storage, you'll have to go for microSD cards. The Galaxy Camera will accept Micro SIM cards only. The display is described as using scLCD technology and has a 308ppi pixel density thanks to its 1280 x 720 resolution.

  Samsung has really gone to town with its software automation, giving you 10 so-called Smart Pro modes, designed to ease the process of taking professionally-styled photos. A good example of that is the light trails that you see in long-exposure pictures of moving traffic in low light. Samsung has a mode for that, helpfully dubbed Light Trace. A Smart Content Manager will create folders and tag faces automatically, while also suggesting bad shots for deletion. You'll be able to search by people's faces, time, location and other photo data. A Photo Wizard is included for sprucing up your pictures effortlessly, plus there's a Best Group Shot feature that creates a composite image out of a continuous shot, stitching together the best captures of each person's face.
Completing the S-E-E-S quadriga of software features is Sharing (the other three being Shoot, Enjoy, and Edit), which is facilitated by the wealth of wireless connectivity, a Share Shot option for connecting to other nearby Galaxy devices, and Auto Cloud Backup. That last feature is essentially the same thing you can do with Google's auto-upload to Picasa, though it sends the pics up to Samsung's cloud and not Google's. Samsung wouldn't say whether this is the first step of its previously rumored S Cloud service, but it's there if you want to use.
The Galaxy Camera will be going on sale in the fourth quarter of this year, to be marketed and launched in partnership with mobile operators, much like a smartphone, though Samsung's Ryan Bidan tells us the device is still a camera first and foremost. For Samsung, the Galaxy Camera is just a point-and-shoot enhanced with the goodness of Android. In Ryan's words, we should "stop worrying about Android, it's just tools under the hood. It's what it enables in the devices that's the important part." [via Verge]

August 28, 2012

Samsung may be working on Android-based Galaxy S camera


Samsung already has a good interface for its point-and-shoot compact cameras. However, it appears that the brand is seeking to enhance it to a large extent. If a report by GSMArena is anything to go by, Samsung may be making an Android-based point-and-shoot digital camera expected to feature in the brand’s Galaxy S line-up of devices.

Samsung have recently unveiled its Galaxy Player 5.8 that runs on Android Ice Cream Sandwich OS. If the report by GSMArena holds true, then it will be another device that is not a smartphone or a tablet launched by the brand to run on the Android OS.
May be announced soon (Mock up image)
May be announced soon (Mock up image)


As per the report, an anonymous source has informed GSMArena that it will take design references from the Galaxy S III, and will be called the Galaxy S Camera. Keeping the design of the Galaxy S III in mind, this digital camera will feature a 4.8-inch Super AMOLED display. As for the operating system used here, Samsung will load it with Android v4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich).

The report states, “The Samsung Galaxy S camera is described as a Galaxy S III glued to the back of a point-and-shoot camera, with no physical buttons on the back. It is reportedly 1.5 to 2 times thicker than an S III, but that seems too little given the rumored 10x zoom. The camera will feature a 16MP sensor of unknown size, a pop-out Xenon flash and a curved right side to help with the ergonomics. The Galaxy S Camera will run on Ice Cream Sandwich and will come in Wi-Fi and 3G + Wi-Fi versions (only mobile data, no voice), which is reportedly being pitched to various carriers”.  The post ends by stating that the Samsung Galaxy S camera will be unveiled at this year’s IFA 2012 event scheduled to take place in the next few days.

It is also believed that Samsung will showcase the Galaxy Note 2 at the event and this handset will be the next major smartphone announcement from the brand after the Galaxy S III.

For those not in the know, the Galaxy Note 2 is the successor to the hugely popular Galaxy Note which debuted last year. Samsung has sold over 10 million units of the Galaxy Note and the next generation model is expected to feature much higher end specifications that its predecessor. [via Tech2]

Here is a quick look at some of the features expected to be found on the Galaxy Note 2:
  • 5.5-inch Super AMOLED touchscreen with a 1280 x 720
  • 4G LTE, EDGE, Wi-Fi, Wi-Fi Direct, NFC
  • GPS possibly with GLONASS and A-GPS support
  • Bluetooth possible v4.0 with USB and hopefully USB-on-the-go
  • 8 megapixel AF/ Touchfocus camera with full HD video recording and playback
  • A front facing camera for video calls and chats
  • 16GB and 32GB versions, all with expandable support
  • MHL for AV out

The World’s Most Expensive Camera Lens : Espikes09

 

The Worlds Most Expensive Camera Lens mostexpensivelens mini

A Leica camera from 1923 became the world’s most expensive camera earlier this year when it was auctioned for a staggering $2.79 million. The world’s most expensive lens has a similar price tag… and is also a Leica.

The Leica APO-Telyt-R 1:5.6/1600mm, pictured above, is a massive telephoto lens that dwarfs any Leica camera that you attach to it. It’s the company’s longest, largest, and heaviest lens.
It was produced as a custom order by one of the world’s wealthiest photography-enthusiasts, Qatari prince Saud bin Muhammed Al Thani, who paid a whopping $2,064,500 for the hefty piece of glass.
That’s not all though. Like any good billionaire photographer would do, Al Thani reportedly purchased a customized four wheel drive Mercedes Benz for the sole purpose of transporting the lens from place to place (the world’s most expensive “camera case”?)
There’s actually a second copy of the lens in existence: a prototype that’s on display at a Leica showroom in Solms, Germany.
While the technical specs of the lens are shrouded in mystery, certain things are known: it’s equipped with a Leica R-mount, it’s approximately 4 feet long, and it weighs at least 132 pounds.
Sadly, it doesn’t appear that there are any sample shots taken with the lens available for pixel peepers, but we’re guessing the shots and the functionality of the lens are similar to the magical Sigma 200-500mm.
(via Geek, via Petapixel)

August 24, 2012

Slow Motion Video Captures Light Moving

 

This amazing video from a Ted Talk shows off a new camera that can capture video at 1 trillion frames per second.  As a result, the camera can record the movement of light through space.  There are lots of potential applications for this technology as it develops, including medical imaging and military applications. [via Photographybay]
How do you see this technology being used in the future?

August 23, 2012

Logitech Washable Keyboard K310 Gets Rid of the Goo


It may come as no surprise to many of you out there, but I’m what’s technically referred to as a slob. I keep myself clean, my clothes clean, and my car clean, but outside of those three things, I pretty much don’t care. I’ve been known to eat Cheetos while typing to the point that you can’t read the letters on the key tops because of the thick cheesy coating.
I once did that on my wife’s keyboard she didn’t appreciate it all, she really didn’t like the fact that I simply licked the cheese off when she complained either. If you want a keyboard that you can wash safely without worrying the letters will wipe off when you clean it with water – or stop working altogether, Logitech has a new washable keyboard called the K310. This is perfect for messy people and germophobes.
logitech washable keyboard
The keyboard is designed with programmable function keys, media control keys, and a number pad. The keyboard has drain holes in the back to help water dry and the keyboard can be submerged in water up to 11 inches deep as long as you keep the USB cable dry. The keyboard will hit the US this month for $39.99(USD)
[viaTechnabob]

August 18, 2012

How to Install Free Photoshop Content

There are hundreds of Web sites (including this one) offering free Photoshop brushes, layer style effects, actions, shapes, patterns, gradients, and color swatch sets. Here's what you need to do with these files to get them working in Photoshop, along with links to where you can find these free goodies.

Brushes

Place the *.abr files into:
Program Files\Adobe\Adobe Photoshop X\Presets\Brushes where X is the version number for your version of Photoshop.

Brushes created in Photoshop 7 or later will not work in earlier versions of Photoshop. Any Photoshop brushes should work in Photoshop 7 and later.
From the Brushes Palette in Photoshop, click the small arrow in the upper right corner of the palette, and choose load brushes. The brushes will be added to the current brushes.

Layer Styles

Place the *.asl files into:
Program Files\Adobe\Adobe PhotoshopX\Presets\Styles where X is the version number for your version of Photoshop.

Shapes

Place the *.csh files into:
Program Files\Adobe\Adobe Photoshop X\Presets\Custom Shapes where X is the version number for your version of Photoshop.

To load a file, go to the Styles palette, then click the small arrow in the top right corner and choose one of the layer style collections from the menu.

Patterns

Place the *.pat files into:
Program Files\Adobe\Adobe Photoshop X\Presets\Patterns where X is the version number for your version of Photoshop.

To load a pattern set, go to the Patterns palette (in the fill tool, Pattern overlay style, etc.), then click the small arrow in the top right corner and choose one of the pattern collections from the menu, or choose "Load Patterns" if the set is not listed in the menu. You can also load patterns via the Preset Manager in Photoshop 6 and up.

Gradients

Place the *.grd files into:
Program Files\Adobe\Adobe Photoshop X\Presets\Gradients where X is the version number for your version of Photoshop.

To load a file, go to the Gradients palette, then click the small arrow in the top right corner and choose one of the gradient sets collections from the menu.

Color Swatches

Place the *.aco files into:
Program Files\Adobe\Adobe Photoshop X\Presets\Color Swatches where X is the version number for your version of Photoshop.

To load a file, go to the Swatches palette, then click the small arrow in the top right corner and choose one of the swatch collections from the menu.

Actions

Place the *.atn files into:
Program Files\Adobe\Adobe Photoshop X\Presets\Photoshop Actions where X is the version number for your version of Photoshop.

To load an action set, go to the Actions palette, then click the small arrow in the top right corner and navigate to the location where you saved the action. Select the file you'd like to load and it will be added to the actions palette. 

Zip Files

Most of the free Photoshop content on this site is distributed as Zip files to reduce download time. Before the files can be used, they must first be extracted. Zip file extraction is built into the operating system in Macintosh OS X and Windows XP. Consult your computer help if you're not sure how to extract zip files. For earlier operating system versions, you will need an unzipping tool such as Winzip (Win)Stuffit Expander (Mac), or ZipGenius (Win) to extract the files. After extracting the files, place them in the appropriate folder as indicated above.
Note: Most of these files can actually be saved anywhere on your computer, but to make them available from each tool's menu, they should be located in the appropriate folder under Presets. If you keep the files in another location, you will need to navigate to that location each time you want to use them. [via http://graphicssoft.about.com/]

August 17, 2012

Facebook finally erasing deleted photos from its servers


The latest in a string of good news pertaining to Facebook photos is that Ars Technica, having concluded an independent testing, has revealed that photos deleted from Facebook are quickly moving out of its servers. Facebook had earlier admitted to being unable to erase user-deleted images from its servers, much to the chagrin of its users. Photos cached on the servers now stop being visible within 30 days of deletion.

In a detailed report, Ars Technica affirms that it first began investigating the social networks Facebook, MySpace, Flickr and Twitter in 2009 for the swiftness with which deleted photos became well and truly irretrievable from these websites. One way in which Ars Technica did this was by obtaining and saving direct links to the test photos it had uploaded on Facebook. What Ars Technica found became a cause of worry.
Facebook's office hiring more
No more hoarding of deleted photos


While Twitter and Flickr took a few seconds to remove the photos from their content delivery networks (CDN), MySpace and Facebook were found to take very long to do so. MySpace took several months, Facebook over a year. Ars Technica adds that Facebook only removed the photos that the former deleted as part of its investigation. It was found that, "...numerous Ars readers wrote in with links to their own photos that they tried to delete, and nearly all of those remained online (in direct-linkable form) for three years or more".

Facebook soon admitted that not all photos were deleted "within a reasonable period". Quoting Facebook spokesperson, Frederic Wolens, the Ars Technica report said, "The systems we used for photo storage a few years ago did not always delete images from content delivery networks in a reasonable period of time even though they were immediately removed from the site. We have been working hard to move our photo storage to newer systems which do ensure photos are fully deleted".

The report states that since February this year, photos that users deleted from Facebook took only about two days to move out of the company's servers. Wolens confirmed to Ars Technica that this was the result of the company's new photo deletion policy and change in storage systems. Wolens said, "As a result of work on our policies and infrastructure, we have instituted a 'max-age' of 30 days for our CDN links. However, in some cases the content will expire on the CDN much more quickly, based on a number of factors". 

Wolens added, "As you know, the photos stop being shown to other users on Facebook immediately when the photo is first deleted by the user. The 30-day window only applies to the cached images on the CDN". [via Tech2]

No bulk SMS, MMS for next 15 days


Starting today, for the next 15 days, the Indian government has imposed a nationwide ban on bulk SMSes and MMSes. The decision has been made in order to curtail text messages and MMSes containing rumours or misleading information about the Assam violence. It has been found that these messages contain fabricated videos, and supposed threats to northeasterners living in several cities across the country. This has caused much panic among those of northeastern origin.

During the period that the ban is effective, it will not be possible to send more than five SMSes or more than 20KB of data at a time from a mobile phone number.
No bulk SMSes, MMSes for the next 15 days (Image credit: Getty Images)
No bulk SMSes, MMSes for the next 15 days (Image credit: Getty Images)


As per reports, the Home Ministry has asked the Department of Telecommunications to implement the order through telecom operators in the country. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh stated that rumours spread by miscreants in this way have caused those of northeastern origin to flee their homes across several places in the country.       

The concept of banning bulk messages isn't new. The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) had allowed customers who did not wish to receive unsolicited commercial calls and SMSes to register their preferences under the National Customer Preference Register (NCPR). Little did the regulatory body know that it would get a miffed response from consumers, who were understandably annoyed by an endless stream of unwanted calls and texts for promotional offers, schemes, etc. 

In April last year, the Mumbai Police banned bulk SMSes, especially of the promotional kind, from March 31 to April 2. The order referring to a cricket match read, “…there is a likelihood of creation of discontent in the minds of the general public prior to the final match and after the final match is over, which may create a law and order problem”. Bulk SMS has been identified as one of the possible sources of law and order problems, and has been banned in such situations. [via Tech2]

August 15, 2012

HCL launches ME Y2 tablet for Rs. 14,999

 

HCL Infosystems has launched a new 3G-enabled tablet named HCL ME Y2. It incorporates a 7-inch multi-touch capacitive screen with a 1024x600 display. The tablet offers 3G connectivity with an in-built SIM slot. It is priced at Rs. 14,999. The Y2 runs on Android v4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich). It features a 2MP rear camera and a 0.3MP front camera for video conferencing.

The ME Y2 tablet sports a 1GHz Cortex A9 processor complemented by 1GB RAM and 8GB internal memory. HCL includes a memory card slot that expands the memory to up to 32GB. On the connectivity front, the device packs in mini-USB and mini-HDMI ports. Also included are Bluetooth and Wi-Fi radios for seamless connectivity with accessories and wireless networks respectively. The battery is rated at a capacity of 4000mAH, which HCL claims will deliver extended runtimes even with high definition video playback.
The Android 4.0 tablet is priced at Rs 14,999
The HCL ME Y2 tablet Android 4.0 tablet is priced at Rs. 14,999


"This third generation tablet delivers enhanced experiences to our customers through advanced connectivity and innovative features. With the growth in tablet market and increasing adoption, on-the-go connectivity has become vital and the ME Y2 promises seamless connectivity with great user interface," says Gautam Advani of HCL Infosystems Ltd.

The HCL ME Y2 tablet, touted as a third-generation tablet from HCL's repertoire, comes preloaded with applications tailor-made for the sensibilities of the Indian consumer. The Bollywood Hungama app comes with a special offer for HCL ME Y2 customers. Buyers of the tablet get three months' subscription free for downloading unlimited music, videos, and ringtones. In addition, customers get unlimited streaming of movies for a month from Reliance BIGFlix for a token amount of Re. 1. The bundled ThinkFree Office Mobile lets users create, view, edit, and share MS Office documents.

Other assorted, preinstalled applications include LinkedIn, Twitter, 3D Digital Weather Clock, Games, Sweet’N‘Spicy (a huge collection of Indian recipes), iBrowser (makes downloading and browsing on the tablet easy and smooth), ICS Browser (to view multiple open pages at once), and Saavn (Bollywood and Indian music app). Apart from the pre-loaded apps, the Y2 has exclusive access to the ME App store, which houses over 15,000 tablet applications for the Android platform. [via Tech2]
The tablet sports a 1 Ghz Cortex A9 processor complemented by 1GB RAM and 8GB internal memory.
1GHz Cortex A9 processor complemented by 1GB RAM and 8GB internal memory

August 7, 2012

5 Reasons Why You Should Try Freelancing

 

Editor’s note: Thinking of finally quitting your job and going into freelancing full time but still have burning questions that you want answered? Well, we’re hoping to address that in this week-long"Freelancing for Beginners" series, starting with tonight’s post.
For me, when I started freelancing full-time, it was (somewhat) the case of following others, more than anything else.What struck me most was the ease with which freelancers work, especially, if one could get everything done with the Internet and a computer. But if that’s the only reason you want to become a freelancer then you’re in for a bad time.


(Image Source: Fotolia)
It’s not that we are discouraging you from taking up freelancing (full-time or partime), in fact the point of this article is to give you reasons why you should give it a go.
The first reason why you should try freelancing is…

1. To Satisfy Your Creative Impulse

Many individuals are just born creative and talented. They usually have a great desire to exhibit skills in some form, yet in a normal desk job, it’s rare that they could ever find a platform to showcase their talent.


(Image Source: Fotolia)
For instance, a designer working in a software firm may come across a great design idea, but there isn’t really a chance to try the idea out since he has to work within the confines of his job scope or the project requirements. In most cases, even if he were to suggest that the team tries his new idea, more often than not, it’s just "not the right time to try something so new" – give me a show of hands if you have heard this.

Don’t Get Mad, Get To Work!

In this case, you can put your idea to good use in freelance: produce a good sample and put it in your portfolio, or keep the idea in your "Idea Book" for a chance to try it out in the future, or just go all out and make it, then feature it in design websites or enter it into competitions.

2. To Obtain Added Income

There is no dearth of individuals who spend more than half their life grumbling about low pay in their jobs. No matter what salary you draw every month, it usually runs out way too early. If your job isn’t taking too many hours out of your day, you can use your spare time to work on freelance projects.

Side Income

It’s a win-win situation: you get to keep your job and your benefits, and you can find potential clients for freelance work from your network of acquaintances.
There are many companies that prefer to engage freelancers rather than employ a full time in-house artist, designer, developer or writers. You can take advantage of that and earn yourself some extra pocket money in the process.

3. To Open Up New Career Options

Freelancing prepares you for a professional career ahead. It also harnesses your skills, and for those who catch on fast and who are willing to learn new things, the sky is the limit.
In the beginning, however, you may find that things may advance slower than expected. It’s not easy to convince someone to try something new, let alone pay for a freelancer who has yet to make a name of himself (or herself). But as you build your clientele list and become an expert in your field, things will indefinitely become way easier.
This opens up the opportunity to really do something you love (if you aren’t already doing it) and in this career choice, you can have a part in making the rules.

4. To Work From Home

This is what makes freelancing an attractive option to pursue, and the crucial factor that makes everyone want to fill in ‘freelancer’ as their occupation.
For starters, there are plenty of ways you can save on working from home: transportation expenses, money for gas (or petrol depending on where you come from), the time spent getting to and from work, buying lunch and other work-related expenses.

The Essentials

If you work from home, you’ll only need:
  • a stable Wi-Fi connection
  • a (cell)phone number or video conference tool
  • an email account and possibly a printer (if invoicing on paper is still your thing)
The (probably) best thing to come out of this is that there will be no more meetings, office politics and drama from the workplace. You get to focus on just getting the work done and be paid for just that.

5. To Pick Up Holidays At Will

Those who have worked in the office know how hard it is for them to get their days-off approved from the bosses. It’s different for freelancers. Provided that you have completed your project, simiply don’t accept any new assignment for a self-imposed break from work. Pack your bags and slip to your favourite destination with your family or friends.


(Image Source: Fotolia)
If there comes a need to get back to work – a.k.a. an emergency – just whip out your laptop or smartphone and you can continue as if you have never left. It is up to you to make it your vacation fun, you get to decide where you want to tune in or tune out.

Conclusion

Bear in mind that you need to have self-discipline to pull through, the kind of discipline that was imposed on you at the workplace. You can always be more more lenient with yourself, nonetheless and by having proper time management and knowing where to set your boundaries, there’s no stopping you.
So there you have it, five simple reasons why you should give freelancing a try. Are you all hyped up and going "this is so the life for me", hold your horses. You might want to check out tomorrow’s post. Remember to tune in tomorrow. (via hongkiat)