Sony Smartwatch 2 vs Samsung Galaxy Gear TechBeat

Sony Smartwatch 2 vs Samsung Galaxy Gear
How Do You Make The Thinnest Pane Of Glass? By Accident!
Posted: 23 Sep 2013 01:20 PM PDT
On face value, it appears to be a scientist's version of a 'knock knock' joke. In actual fact though, graduate student Pinshane Huang and Professor David Muller of Cornell and Germany's University of Ulm were laughing all the way to the Guiness Book of world records with the thinnest pane of glass in the world.
A Happy Accident
The two scientists were originally trying to form graphene, which is a two dimensional form of carbon. While they were at work on the project, they discovered a mark of some kind on the graphene. As they examined the unwanted blemish on their desired graphene, the electron microscope picked up a silicon/oxygen composition which was the same as glass.
How Do You Make The Thinnest Pane Of Glass? By Accident!
It's believed that some kind of air leak was responsible for causing a reaction between the copper foils and the quartz furnace used to make the graphene. This reaction led to the production of the world record breaking glass.
A Proven Point
So how thin is the thinnest pane of glass in the world? Precisely one molecule thick (or thin). What was even more astonishing and rewarding for the scientists was the fact that using the powerful microscope, they were actually able to see something else.
Because the average pane of glass is millions of times thicker than Huang and Muller's discovery, observing it through a microscope simply produces a tangled mess of atoms. The simple two atom thick glass gave Muller another 'first' in the history of science when he was able to see the exact structure of glass first hand.
As if the day wasn't already full of discovery, the image taken by the electron microscope of the structure of the glass bore remarkable resemblance to a sketch that was drawn many years ago. Physicist W.H. Zachariasen had an idea of what the structure of glass would look like and in 1932 he put his money where his mouth was by way of a sketch. The accidental creation of the thinnest pane of glass in the world finally gave support to Zachariasen's theory.
The Future
The ultra thin glass might have various practical uses including use for transistors in smartphones.

Record Your Dreams With ‘Shadow’ App
Posted: 23 Sep 2013 01:03 PM PDT
How many dreams can you remember these days? How familiar is the feeling that you've had an extraordinary dream but the more you focus on it the faster it slips away? The new mobile application titled 'Shadow' aims to change all of that by enabling you to track and record your dreams.
There has always been an interest in finding out just exactly what goes on in our brains when we're not thinking about it. It seems that the 'Shadow' app will help us to find out exactly what sneaky our subconscious mind is trying to tell us, or hide from us during our sleep.
Record Your Dreams With 'Shadow' App
The Vision
The interest in sleep patterns is by no means new to the scientific community. The neurology of sleep has been explored for years but scientists are no closer to discovering how our dreams and their content affects us in day to day life or vice versa. It's known that we are able to access information during our sleep that we can't during our awakened state. Unfortunately, 95% of that information disappears within 5 minutes of waking up. It is the opinion of many people that the benefits of remembering our dreams could range from increased self-awareness to acting as a self-guide through difficult times.
Shadow aims to build a real time data base of people's dreams. By doing so, users are able to learn any patterns to their dreams. They will find out whether their dreams are affected by social, physical or environmental factors.
How It Works
In the basic sense, the Shadow app is an alarm clock. Yet instead of waking the user abruptly like a traditional alarm clock would, the app brings us round from the sleeping state at a reduced rate. On awakening the user will:
  • De-activate the alarm
  • Record their dream via audio recording or by typing the text into the phone
  • Shadow will store the recording in a dream journal which you can keep private or share with other shadow users.
Shadow hopes to enlighten people in self-awareness and explore the possibility of connection through dreams.

Potential Sale For Blackberry
Posted: 23 Sep 2013 12:38 PM PDT
After announcing on Friday that 4,500 jobs will be cut, smartphone maker Blackberry has said that it has agreed in principle to sell to a consortium led by Fairfax Financial for $4.7 billion.
Thorsten Heins
In a statement Blackberry said that Fairfax, its largest shareholder, had offered $9 a share in cash to buy the struggling company.
In New York, trading of Blackberry shares was stopped temporarily pending the announcement.
In the announcement, the company said it had “signed a letter of intent agreement under which a consortium to be led by Fairfax Financial Holdings Limited has offered to acquire the company subject to due diligence”.
The statement continued with: “Diligence is expected to be complete by November 4, 2013. The parties’ intention is to negotiate and execute a definitive transaction agreement by such date.”
Despite these first steps with Fairfax, Blackberry has made it clear that it will still  “actively solicit, receive, evaluate and potentially enter into negotiations” with other potential buyers.
Fairfax’s chairman and chief executive said, “We believe this transaction will open an exciting new private chapter for Blackberry, its customers, carriers and employees.
“We can deliver immediate value to shareholders, while we continue the execution of a long-term strategy in a private company with a focus on delivering superior and secure enterprise solutions to Blackberry customers around the world.”
Analysts think that this could be the best option for Blackberry, being able to re-invent and re-organise itself without the scrutiny from Wall Street investors.
Brian Colello from Morningstar said,  “Based on the company’s disastrous earnings warning on Friday, I think a deal had to happen and the sooner the better. This is probably the only out for investors and the most likely outcome.
“The benefit to this sort of takeover is the ability for Blackberry and the consortium to reinvent the company without public scrutiny. It appears that the end game is going to be whether Blackberry can emerge as a niche supplier of highly-secured phones to enterprise customers and governments.”
Only time will tell if it is possible for Blackberry to re-emerge from this set-back and once again lead the way in the smartphone market.

Sony Smartwatch 2 vs Samsung Galaxy Gear
Posted: 23 Sep 2013 06:26 AM PDT
The smartwatch has been around for some time but the technology of the devices brought to market so far haven't been the Secret Service/James Bond style that everyone pictures when they say the word "smartwatch". Now though, Sony and Samsung seem to have stepped up their game and are going head to head in a considerably more exciting battle of the smartwatches than we've seen to date.
Sony Smartwatch 2 vs Samsung Galaxy Gear
Sony Smartwatch 2 Spec Overview
  • 1.6 inch display 220 x 176 pixels
  • Aluminum body with interchangeable straps
  • Micro USB Charging with 3- 4 day battery life (average use)
  • NFC and Bluetooth connectivity
  • $262 out late September 2013
Samsung Galaxy Gear Spec Overview
  • 1.63 inch display 320 x 320 pixels
  • Stainless steel body
  • Snap-on USB 3,0 charging with 24+ hours heavy use
  • Bluetooth 3.0 connectivity
  • $299 out October
Battling It Out
So what does it all mean? Well for a start, the Samsung Galaxy Gear seems to have a sharper display. In fact Samsung are proud to say that the display is bright enough not to be affected by sunlight. No cupping your hand over the smartwatch's face to tell the time.
Both the Samsung and the Sony are nicely designed although the Sony Smartwatch 2 offers a little more flexibility for its users with interchangeable straps.
Both watches are extremely app friendly (of course), but Samsung have an advantage with this as they've secured partnerships with some of the more popular app developers. Also, when it comes to running apps, the Samsung model might be slightly better as the CPU is faster than its competitors.
Bond, James Bond
For anyone who wants to pretend they're a spy, the Samsung features some brilliant tools. There's a 1.9 megapixel camera contained in the strap of the camera for the photo opportunity that needs instant capture without fiddling around for a camera or smartphone. Users can also make calls directly from the watch which has a built in microphone and speaker, as well as the Samsung 'S Voice' voice recognition tool.
The second version of the Sony Smartwatch doesn't feature these benefits although users can use the watch to call friends and family but only with a Bluetooth headset as there isn't a mic or speakers. But what kind of spy could do without a waterproof watch? Sony's watch allows its user to swim whereas the Samsung will only protect them from a shower.
Which is Best?
The one thing that will undoubtedly let the Samsung watch down is the fact that it is only compatible with the Samsung Galaxy Note 3. A short way down the road there will be updates to make it compatible with the S3, S4 and Note 2. In comparison, the Sony watch is compatible with any android phone that operates Android 4.0. the options are almost endless.
Now though, other companies are hot on the heels of Sony and Samsung trying to push the limits of the smartwatch all the time.

Voyager Officially Leaves Solar System
Posted: 23 Sep 2013 04:42 AM PDT
In 1977, two unmanned space crafts were launched to explore space and report back to NASA with information about the major planets: Voyager 1 and 2. Within the first 12 years of launching, both Voyagers returned information about Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune. Now though, after 36 years of being in space, NASA is extremely proud to announce that Voyager 1 has left the solar system.
Delayed Response
In actual fact, although NASA announced the Voyager's departure from the solar system quite recently on September 12th 2013, it appears the leaving date itself was way back in 2012 – August 25th to be precise. So why the big delay on the celebrations?
Voyager Officially Leaves Solar System
At the moment, Voyager 1 is over 11 billion miles or 17 billion kilometers away from Earth. NASA can't see the spacecraft at all. All that is visible is a radio signal that is being bounced back to Earth from the Voyager which looks like a pale blue light.
Unlike travelling out of town, there are no signs which tell concerned onlookers exactly where the Solar System ends. Instead, scientists must look for clues in the direction and number of cosmic rays as well as a difference in magnetic fields. However, the signs just didn't appear to be there. It wasn't until information from a plasma blast that hit the voyager in April 2013 that NASA had any indication that the Voyager was outside of the solar system.
The Clue Is In The Plasma
In March 2012, the sun emitted a huge blast of plasma which took 13 months to hit the Voyager. When it did hit though and the information was read by NASA experts, they were astonished to see that the density of the plasma was 40 times what they expected it to be. In short, it was the density of plasma they expected to find outside of the solar system.
Following this discovery, NASA quickly began to backtrack and look for any other signs of interstellar activity and found another similar event back in October to November the same year. A rise in tone from the plasma instrument on the voyager indicated that the spacecraft left the solar system on August 25th 2012 which is now known as the day when the first man made object went into interstellar space. Officially.
The post Voyager Officially Leaves Solar System appeared first on TechBeat.
FBI Asked Microsoft For Access To Encryption Software
Posted: 23 Sep 2013 02:01 AM PDT
Sources have revealed that the FBI have a history of asking software companies for backdoors in their encryption software to help them catch criminals. The backdoors would provide government agencies with the ability to wiretap people's computers.
As the news broke out that the NSA had spent millions on malware that can be used to override security software, more information on government hacking schemes have come to light. It now seems that the FBI have also been leaning on tech companies to poke holes in their encryption software to allow the agencies easy access to people's private files on their computers.
Loaded Questions
Peter Biddle was the head engineer of Microsoft's encryption program BitLocker. During a recent interview, Biddle told Mashable that back in 2005 when he was working on BitLocker, he had been approached several times by government agents and asked to put a backdoor in the software. Although the computer software programmer couldn't remember which agency it was that approached him, he could recount the conversations that he had with the agents stating that "at least once the question was more, 'If we were to officially ask you, what would you say?'"
In all of the accounts of government agencies asking tech companies to create these back doors, there is one common theme; the question is always asked in a subtle way, dropped in to the middle of a conversation and quickly brushed over if the answer isn't appealing to the agent. In fact, the agencies are very careful not to be caught on record asking for such things. Nico Sell, the lady responsible for the mobile phone privacy app, Wickr was also approached by the FBI and asked "So are you gonna give us a backdoor?" When Sell pushed back and asked for a written request along with the name of the agent's manager, the agent immediately stopped with his requests.
FBI Deny Allegations
Although the FBI have gone on record as being concerned about encryption software allowing criminals (in particular pedophiles) to hide their activity from agencies, an FBI spokesperson responded to the allegations by saying "The FBI does not ask for backdoors. Period." However, the FBI will continue to push for an expansion on the Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act which tells digital communications companies to build software that can easily be wiretapped by agencies.

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