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Samsung Acknowledges Screen Rotation Issue With Galaxy S6 Edge Phones

April 24, 2015 by mphillips  
Filed under Mobile

Samsung has finally acknowledged there is a screen rotation problem on a “very limited” number of Galaxy S6 Edge devices, which went on sale April 10.

The company said a solution is already available, but didn’t disclose whether it is related to the device’s hardware or software or both.

In a statement issued by email to Computerworld, a Samsung spokeswoman said: “Samsung is aware of an issue affecting screen rotation on a very limited number of Galaxy S6 Edge devices and a solution is already available. Owners who believe their device may be affected should call 1-800-SAMSUNG for support.”

The problem cropped up on the first day that Edge sales began 12 days ago. Dozens of users reported last week and this week on various online forums that photos they had taken with the phone and many apps would not rotate into landscape (horizontal) mode and were stuck in portrait (vertical) mode.

Some users said they returned the faulty Edge devices to the wireless carrier retail stores to get another Edge device, then found the auto-rotate problem cropped up, again, on the new phone.

The issue has also been reported on Edge devices on carriers outside the U.S., including New Zealand and Hong Kong. One user, Leon Chan, claimed on Android Forums on April 17 to have exchanged his Edge device three times due to the auto-rotation issue, but planned to get the cousin device, the regular Galaxy S6, the fourth time around. “I called Hong Kong Samsung and they seem to be unaware,” he wrote several days before Samsung issued its statement acknowledging the problem.

AT&T and Sprint both referred Computerworld to Samsung for comment on the concern. T-Mobile said it hasn’t seen any auto-rotate problems with Edge devices. Verizon didn’t respond to a request for comment.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Google’s Loon Close To Launching

April 21, 2015 by mphillips  
Filed under Around The Net

Google says its Project Loon is nearing the capability to produce and launch thousands of balloons to provide Internet access from the sky.

Such a number would be required to provide reliable Internet access to users in remote areas that are currently unserved by terrestrial networks, said Mike Cassidy, the Google engineer in charge of the project, in a video post.

The ambitious project has been under way for a couple of years and involves beaming down LTE cellular signals to handsets on the ground from balloons thousands of feet in the air, well above the altitude that passenger jets fly.

“At first it would take us 3 or 4 days to tape together a balloon,” Cassidy says in the video. “Today, through our own manufacturing facility, the automated systems can get a balloon produced in just a few hours. We’re getting close to the point where we can roll out thousands of balloons.”

Trials are currently underway with Telstra in Australia, Telefonica in Latin America and with Vodafone in New Zealand, where the video appears to have been largely shot. Maps tracking the path of balloons over the country are seen at several points in the video.

At a European conference in March, a Google executive said the balloons were staying aloft for up to 6 months at a time.

At some point they do come down, and Cassidy says the company has developed a system to predict where they will land and to retrieve them.

It has also worked on a reliable launching system.

Google hasn’t provided any details about what a commercial roll-out of the technology might look like.

 

 

 

Mozilla’s Firefox Coming To iPhone

April 21, 2015 by mphillips  
Filed under Mobile

Mozilla will offer Firefox for Apple’s iPhone “soon,” according to a company announcement of an open marketing position.

As the senior mobile marketing manager, the candidate will “lead marketing for Firefox on both Android and iOS,” the listing stated, adding that “a new Firefox for iOS application [will be] arriving soon.”

Mozilla, which had previously staunchly declined to create a version of its iconic browser for iOS, changed its tune last December, when a company manager said that the open-source developer would “get Firefox on iOS.”

Although Mozilla confirmed that it was working on Firefox for iOS, at the time it gave no hint of a timeline. “We are in the early stages of experimenting with something that allows iOS users to be able to choose a Firefox-like experience,” Mozilla said in a Dec. 2 blog.

The phrase “Firefox-like experience” was crucial: Apple allows only those browsers into the App Store that are built atop its own rendering and JavaScript engines, WebKit and Nitro, which power Safari. Mozilla relies on its own technologies for both. Firefox on iOS, then, will be a user interface (UI) layer atop WebKit and Nitro.

Mozilla’s Github repository for iOS Firefox confirmed that.

The reasons for Mozilla’s renewed interest in iOS likely stemmed from Firefox’s decline in browser user share. Over the last 12 months, Firefox has shed 31% of its desktop user share by metrics vendors’ Net Applications count, and now has less than half the share of Google’s Chrome.

Mozilla has put its shoulder behind other mobile initiatives. But Firefox OS, an open-source mobile operating system based on the browser, has not yet gained significant traction and its Firefox browser for Android hasn’t moved the needle. According to Net Applications, Firefox’s usage share on mobile was just 0.7% last month, or about one sixty-sixth that of Safari.

 

 

 

Microsoft Unveils Office Touch Apps For Windows Phones

April 20, 2015 by mphillips  
Filed under Mobile

Microsoft Corp has finally rolled out a long-awaited suite of touch-friendly Office apps that allow Windows phone users to work on Word, PowerPoint and Excel documents on their phones with touch commands and to transfer them easily between devices.

Test versions of what Microsoft is calling its Office Universal apps are available to download immediately and full versions will be available by the end of the month, Microsoft said.

Many Office users have waited months for Microsoft to introduce the apps, which adapt their look and commands to the device being used, whether Windows Phone or tablet.

Microsoft, in a departure from tradition, has already released similar touch-friendly Office apps for Apple Inc’s  iPad and iPhone, and for tablets running Google Inc’s Android.

The company’s reasoning was that those popular devices, which have dominated mobile computing, represented a bigger and more lucrative market for its Office products than its own Windows mobile devices.

Basic functions are free for everyone, but for advanced editing features, users must pay for a subscription to Office 365, Microsoft’s cloud-based version of Office.

Microsoft is set to release a new version of Office for desktop PCs, and a new version of Windows, later this year.

 

 

IKEA Launches Wireless Charging Furniture Collection

April 17, 2015 by mphillips  
Filed under Consumer Electronics

IKEA has rolled out its Wireless Charging collection of furniture, which has built-in Qi-enabled wireless chargers for compatible mobile phones.

In addition to offering bedside tables, floor- and table lamps, desks and simple charging pads, IKEA is also selling a DIY kit that lets users embed wireless chargers into furniture of their choice.

The furniture, and other items in IKEA’s wireless charging collection, ranges in price from $9.99 to $119.

The Wireless Charging collection will be rolled out globally, with U.S. stores seeing availability beginning in late spring, IKEA said today in a statement.

“With smartphones becoming such a natural part of our lives, we wanted the charging part to become a natural part of our homes,” Holly Harraway, IKEA’s lighting sales leader, said.

The furniture uses the most popular wireless charging specification, Qi, which is supported by brands such as Samsung and Energizer and has gotten an extension to its specification allowing it to charge devices at short distances

Users can check whether their mobile phone is compatible with the Qi standard at the Wireless Power Consortium’s this website.

The WPC with its Qi specification is up against two other industry organizations with their own wireless charging protocols: the Power Matters Alliance (PMA) and the Alliance for Wireless Power (A4WP.

The Qi spec transfers 5 watts of power for enabled mobile devices, such as the Galaxy S4 and S3, Nokia Lumia 1020, LG G2, Motorola Droid Maxx and Mini and the Google Nexus 5 phone and Nexus 7 tablet.

If a smartphone does not have native wireless charging capability, such as an iPhone, users can purchase a VITAHULT charging cover (for Apple iPhone or Samsung Galaxy only), or other Qi-enabled covers for use with the IKEA wireless charging furniture.

 

 

 

 

 

Is Zynga Going Down The Tubes?

April 14, 2015 by Michael  
Filed under Gaming

After less than two years at the helm of Zynga, Don Mattrick is on the move again. He’s picking up the best part of $20 million on his way out the revolving door, so don’t feel too bad for him, but after his catastrophic mis-management of the Xbox One’s development and launch, his failure to lift Zynga out of its post-IPO slump looks like yet another blot on the extremely expensive copybook of the former Microsoft executive.

There will be plenty of I-told-you-so’s over this news, but in truth, it wasn’t so predictable. Mattrick always looked like a better fit for Zynga than he was at Microsoft; the balls-up he made of the Xbox One could be attributed, if we’re feeling charitable, to having sensibilities far more in-tune with a broad mass-market than with the core audience a launching console needs to please. As such, the social- and (latterly) mobile-focused Zynga should have been a more suitable challenge for him; and indeed, while the company’s performance under his tenure hasn’t exactly been good, or even mediocre, there have been some important bright spots, most notably the (clever) acquisition of mobile specialists NaturalMotion, and the (achingly slow, but getting there) transition away from browser-based games to mobile platforms.

That the company’s performance in terms of finances and share price alike failed to pick up under Mattrick’s tenure, though, is something easily presented as an outright failure; and after the mess he made at Microsoft, it would be straightforward to roll our eyes at the spectacle of yet another overpaid exec with bugger all knowledge about games being given an enormous sack full of $100 bills with which to break his falls after a gentle defenestration from his latest failure. That’s not entirely an unfair characterisation, but not entirely fair either, I suspect, because no sooner was Mattrick out of the CEO’s chair than Zynga founder and former CEO Mark Pincus had his backside back in the seat – and that, to me, sets off all sorts of alarm bells.

For a CEO to depart and to be instantly replaced is not entirely unusual, but it does raise some eyebrows; for a CEO to depart after a short and unfruitful period, only to be replaced instantly by the company founder whom they replaced in the role, strongly suggests that the company founder never actually took their fingers out of the pie. The reasons for Pincus leaving the CEO’s role were pretty clear; he was broadly seen by investors as a millstone around the company’s neck, his dictatorial nature, inflexibility and tendency to make stupid, inflammatory statements in public being pretty damaging to a firm struggling to recover from an overheated IPO. That he’s been waiting in the wings for Mattrick to depart raises troubling questions over just who has actually been running Zynga for the past two years; it’s not hard to imagine Mattrick finding his hands tied by the presence of a highly opinionated and influential founder who never actually wanted to let go of the reins in the first place, something which might explain a good deal about the tardy pace of Zynga’s turnaround.

The markets, unsurprisingly, reacted to the news by dumping Zynga stock; the founder who was doing a miserable job of being CEO has stepped back up to replace the new guy who was also doing a poor (but better) job of being CEO? It’s a net negative, not merely because for all his faults Mattrick was broadly considered a better CEO than Pincus, but because it suggests that the upper echelons of Zynga’s management are in absolute disarray.

Still, though; even this latest dump of Zynga’s stock is only going to bring the company back to depths it already plumbed back in February… and in December… oh, and last October, too. Zynga is bumping along the bottom, and has been since mid-2012, in share price terms. It looked like it might climb off the floor around the start of 2014, but since the middle of last year it’s traded at around $3 and under; frankly, the depths to which it can fall off the back of this executive-revolving-door farce are severely limited by the fact that it’s already at rock bottom. That’s because Zynga’s real problems, although they may well start from its dysfunctional management, are much more deeply rooted. The company hasn’t had a hit in years – even more problematically, it has never had a bona fide, honest to god hit on a mobile platform. It bought some smaller developers with mobile hits, and then failed to grow or develop them (in some embarrassing cases, they flopped almost immediately after being purchased). FarmVille, a game franchise whose existence you had entirely forgotten until I just mentioned its name at the start of this sentence, remains the jewel in Zynga’s crown. The “Games” section on Zynga’s website reads embarrassingly like a blow-by-blow account of games everyone seemed to be into for a few months, years ago.

There might – might – be light at the end of the tunnel. It would be easy to dismiss Zynga’s new Great Hope, the action strategy title Dawn of Titans, as absolute folly; the “Clash of Clans” market, so utterly saturated that top games in the category have ended up spending millions on Superbowl commercials to try and soak up the last remaining dregs of the market, is a horrible place to be launching a new product. Dawn of Titans, though, is just branded and presented a little like Clash of Clans; the game itself looks quite different, and most of all, it’s from the genuinely brilliant NaturalMotion. If I were to pick the most likely source of a Zynga renewal, it would be NaturalMotion; one can only hope that, in a similar manner to the Activision / Blizard relationship, Zynga’s management has the good sense to let NaturalMotion do their jobs and keep their paws off to the greatest extent possible.

Still; the fate of a company is a big thing to rest on one development team, no matter how talented. What Zynga needs is a hit, undoubtedly. What it really, really needs is hits – plural. Once upon a time, there was a formula for social gaming success, based on just the right balance of compelling game design (yes, Farmville really was compelling in its own way), pulling the right social levers, monetising intelligently and with a light touch, and spreading through some fairly nakedly unpleasant viral approaches on Facebook. Mark Pincus got that formula down perfectly; that is, thus far, the only thing that Zynga has ever executed perfectly. That formula, of course, is part of the history books now; it doesn’t work any more and never will again.

The new formula that Zynga needs to discover is actually a much trickier one, one which game companies have struggled with for decades; the formula for making great games people actually want to play and actually want to recommend to their friends. The CEO who could potentially turn Zynga into a company where that happens would have to create an environment of intense creativity and freedom, utilising the short development cycles, rapid prototyping and start-up style Minimum Viable Product soft-launching strategies enabled by mobile platforms to let creators exercise their imaginations and try many different ideas in search of the hits; a CEO who truly valued creativity and understood how to let it thrive. Mark Pincus wasn’t that CEO first time around. He’s going to have to work hard to prove that Pincus 2.0 is any better.

Courtesy-GI.biz

Apple Seeking Exclusive Streaming Deals With Musicians

April 13, 2015 by mphillips  
Filed under Consumer Electronics

Apple Inc has reached out to more than a dozen musicians, including British band Florence and the Machine, hoping to sign exclusive deals for some of their music to be streamed on Beats, Bloomberg reported, citing people familiar with the matter.

The company is in talks with Florence and the Machine to give Apple limited streaming rights to a track from their album set to be released in June, Bloomberg said.

Apple has also approached Taylor Swift and others about partnerships, the report said.

Apple declined to comment.

Beats Music will be re-launched in coming months. There will be a $9.99-a-month subscription for individuals and a family plan for $14.99, according to sources, Bloomberg said.

Music streaming service Tidal, launched last month by rapper Jay Z, is also trying to convince artists to sign exclusive deals for their content, to fend off competition from services such as Spotify and Google Inc’s YouTube.

Apple bought audio equipment and music streaming company Beats for about $3 billion in May 2014, hoping to catch up in fast-growing music streaming industry.

 

 

YouTube Planning Subscription Based, Ad-free Service

April 10, 2015 by mphillips  
Filed under Around The Net

YouTube is planning a paid service that will allow viewers to watch select videos without ads, Google has confirmed.

YouTube began laying out the terms of the service in a letter seen by IDG News Service. The letter was sent Wednesday to members of YouTube’s Partner program, which lets YouTube video makers earn money from ads and merchandise.

It’s not clear when the new service will launch, nor the price or what it will be called.

“While we can’t comment on ongoing discussions, giving fans more choice to enjoy the content they love and creators more opportunity to earn revenue are always amongst our top priorities,” a YouTube spokeswoman said.

YouTube will pay video creators using the service 55 percent of the total net revenues from subscription fees, according to changes to the terms of the Partner program. That’s the same percentage partners collect from advertising. The changes go into effect on June 15.

A YouTube spokeswoman declined to comment on how revenue would be divided.

It’s unclear what type of content will be offered through the service, though some of it might be premium or exclusive content that can’t be found elsewhere. YouTube might position it as a premium service with its own programming, perhaps akin to Netflix or HBO’s new streaming service.

Its success is likely to depend on the number and diversity of video partners YouTube gets.

YouTube will have plenty of competition. In addition to Netflix, there’s also Vessel, a new paid video service from the former CEO of Hulu.

 

Samsung Expecting Record Sales Of Galaxy S6, Edge Phones

April 10, 2015 by mphillips  
Filed under Mobile

Samsung Electronics Co Ltd is predicting record shipments for its new Galaxy S6 smartphones and said it will face challenges to meet demand for the curved-edged version due to production constraints, adding to hopes for a turnaround in mobile sales.

The S6 models are widely expected to sell briskly following a string of positive reviews, boosting prospects for an earnings recovery in 2015. This week, the company estimated its January-March operating profit to be its highest in three quarters, which analysts said was partly because Samsung put its own chips in the new phones.

Samsung expects the flat screen S6 to sell more than the higher-margin S6 edge – priced about $120 more in South Korea – but mobile chief J.K. Shin said at a media event on Thursday the firm won’t be able to keep up with demand for the latter model in the near term because the curved screens are harder to manufacture.

“Some carriers are switching existing orders to get more of the S6 edge, and it looks like demand for the model will exceed supply throughout this year,” said HMC Investment analyst Greg Roh. “That means average selling price will fall at a slower rate, which will have a positive impact on Samsung overall.”

Samsung has not disclosed its shipment record for the handset. Analysts regard the Galaxy S3 as its best-selling model overall, though they estimate the Galaxy S4 to have done better in its initial year, when a model is most profitable.

Nomura estimated that Samsung sold 80 million S3s in three years from its 2012 launch, and 43 million S4s from the model’s April 2013 launch to the end of that year. Some analysts say Samsung could ship 50 million or more S6 phones this year.

Samsung’s Shin also said the South Korean electronics maker is preparing a variety of wearable devices, including a new version of its Gear smartwatch, but did not give specifics. Arch-rival Apple Inc is due to roll out its much-anticipated smartwatch on April 24.

 

Chromebooks With Intel’s Braswell Chips Coming Soon

April 8, 2015 by mphillips  
Filed under Computing

A new crop of low-cost Chromebooks will be unveiled, powered by the Intel Braswell chips that are expected to debut later this week.

The new Braswell chips include new Celeron and Pentium processors, which will support both Chrome OS and Windows, said sources familiar with Intel’s product plans. More details on Braswell will be shared at the Intel Developer Forum in Shenzhen this week.

New Chromebooks running Braswell are expected in the coming months from top PC makers, as well as from low-cost manufacturers China who might bring the price point down to less than $200. Braswell will also appear in low-cost Windows laptops, desktops and tablets.

Intel first announced the Braswell chips a year ago, but shipments were delayed due to problems with the company’s 14-nanometer manufacturing process.

Chromebooks, favored by some who do most of their computing on the Internet, are powered by a range of Intel or ARM processors. Most Chromebooks priced starting at $200 to $300 have aging Celeron processors based on the Bay Trail architecture, which Braswell will replace. The fastest and most expensive Chromebooks such as Google’s Chromebook Pixel have Intel’s Core chip, which packs more horsepower than Celeron or Pentium processors.

The new Celeron and Pentium chips could also be Intel’s answer to last week’s release of sub-$200 ARM-based Chromebooks from Haier, HiSense and Asustek. Chromebook shipments are rising in a flat PC market, and have become a new battleground for Intel and ARM, who also compete in servers and mobile devices.

Braswell should deliver better graphics performance, though battery life may not get a boost. The chips may be a good fit for Chromebooks, in which the speed of a wireless connection is most important with the bulk of processing happening not locally but on remote servers hosting applications. That may change as Google is making available more applications that work offline.

 

 

Samsung Dismisses Claims Of Easily Bendable Galaxy S6

April 8, 2015 by mphillips  
Filed under Mobile

Samsung is not happy with recenlty published stress test that showed the Galaxy Edge S6′s frame bending and screen cracking under applied pressure, saying a smartphone wouldn’t experience such force in normal use.

The Galaxy 6S Edge bent and its screen shattered after being exposed to 110 pounds of force, according to a test conducted by SquareTrade, which sells warranties for smartphones, tablets and other electronics. Even with a shattered screen, the phone still worked. SquareTrade posted a video of the test last Thursday.

SquareTrade also tested the iPhone 6 Plus and the HTC One M9. The iPhone bent under 110 pounds of force, but the screen remained intact. The HTC device bent and became inoperable after it suffered 120 pounds of force.

On Monday, Samsung issued a statement that listed the company’s problems with SquareTrade’s test.

Samsung claimed that smartphones are rarely exposed to that much force, and that 66 pounds is the “normal force” generated when a person sits. It maintains that the Galaxy S6 Edge won’t bend at even 79 pounds of force.

Samsung also said that because SquareTrade only tested the front of the phone, the test failed to show the strength of the phone’s back. It wants SquareTrade to conduct the test again, this time subjecting both the front and back of the phone to applied force.

“We are confident that all our smartphones are not bendable under daily usage,” said Samsung, which also included a video of its Galaxy S6 phones undergoing stress tests.

 

 

Stellar Evolution’s Missing Link Found In Young Star

April 8, 2015 by Michael  
Filed under Around The Net

A massive young star may prove to be the missing link between two stages of star formation.

While most stars have winds that pile the gas around them into columns streaming from their poles, some stars expel spherical winds of expanding material. A real-time study over almost two decades reveals for the first time a star in the process of changing from spherical winds of charged particles to streaming columns of them, linking the two structures together.

Describing how scientists understood stars with spherical expanding winds, Carlos Carrasco-González, of the Centre of Radio Astronomy and Astrophysics in Mexico, said, “We were speculating that these stars were in a younger stage, and that they would develop collimated winds in the future. But this has been proposed by theoretical works, and we had not actually obtained proof of this.” Carrasco-González served as lead author on a study that examined the massive young star W75N(B)-VLA2 over 18 years, and a second study that examined the star in 2014.

“With this work, we have obtained a link between the two stages, the spherical and the collimated one,” Carrasco-González said.

Sunlike stars are abundant and easily observable in the galaxy, so formation theories about them are fairly well established. But massive young stars remain more challenging. Because they are rare, these stars tend to lie farther from the sun, making them harder to observe in great detail. Furthermore, they are often embedded in the dusty clouds where they form, making them difficult to observe in the optical wavelengths for telescopes like NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope.

As a result, a number of theoretical problems plague scientists’ understanding of how these stars form.

“The main problem is that the strong light that arises from these massive protostars can push out the material which is falling onto it, and at some point the star stops growing,” Carrasco-González said.

According to theory, this growth ends before the star becomes the kind of behemoth that scientists observe. Yet scientists are observing these stars, so some physical mechanism must allow the objects to continue to gather material before pushing it all away.

In 1996, Carrasco-González and his team used the Karl G. Jansky Very Large Array (JVLA) to observe a massive young star located 4,200 light-years from Earth. At the time, the star had a circular ring of material around it stretching 185 astronomical units in diameter. (An astronomical unit is the distance from the Earth to the sun — 93 million miles or 150 million kilometers). Scientists interpreted the disk as material heated up by the circular winds flowing evenly from the star.

While the scientists continued to study other characteristics of the star with different instruments, it wasn’t until 2014 that the team used the JVLA again, and realized the star had changed significantly. The new image revealed that the material no longer encircled the star; instead, an elongated jet of material stretched outward. The estimated age for the expanding shell is about 25 years.

For a star, with a lifetime of tens of billions of years, a quarter of a century is barely the blink of an eye. So, these observations allowed astronomers the rare opportunity to study star evolution in real time.

“If the changes are due to either the turn-on of a new jet or a blob of gas being ejected in the jet, then these would be very rare events,” Melvin Hoare, of the University of Leeds in the United Kingdom, told Space.com by email. Hoare, who was not part of the research, wrote the Perspectives article that accompanied Carrasco-González’s research.

“The likelihood of catching one is rare,” Hoare wrote.

The research and the Perspectives article were both published online today (Thursday, April 2) in the journal Science.

Most stars tend to emit strong winds, though these winds may originate from a variety of processes. The magnetic field may play a role in extracting material from the stellar atmosphere, as is the case of the sun, or in gathering material from the surrounding disk of material.

Massive young stars are hot and bright; W75N(B)-VLA2 shines about 300 times as brightly as the sun. Because it is a form of energy, the starlight pushes against the cold molecular cloud of material that surrounds it, heating and exciting it to create the signatures Carrasco-González and his team observed over time.

When the jet of wind hits the cold material, it forms a bow shock as it slows down, like a wave breaking off the front of a boat. Slowly, it pushes the material away. Eventually, the cloud of material stretches from its circular physique to create an outflow along its rotation axis, the axis around which the star spins.

The winds themselves may be sporadic, occurring at random times, or they may occur periodically, repeating on a regular schedule. Because VLA2 is part of a three-star system, Carrasco-González suggests that the occurrence is periodic, taking place as the stars draw closer together, allowing the winds to become stronger.

“We think that the behavior observed in this star should also be periodic because, if not, we would be very lucky to catch this moment,” he said.

In other words, because the process lasts for less than two decades, it is very unlikely to be observed if it is a random event. On the other hand, if the episodes are periodic, behaving in the same way at different points in time, “it is more likely to be observed,” Carrasco-González said.

The team cautions that the change may not be as radical as it appears when studying the images. After the hot, young star was observed in 1996, the JVLA underwent an upgrade that allows it to take a more in-depth view of the signature of the ionized winds. Therefore, it is possible that the wind was blowing a column that the instruments simply couldn’t measure 18 years ago. However, if the star had already begun to form a column along its axis, that column would have been weak, the team said in its research.

If the hot, young star is truly evolving, then it has a good chance of helping scientists improve their understanding of how the winds evolve.

“The next step should be to study the behavior of the magnetic field in this star,” Carrasco-González said.

“We know from theoretical models and some observational studies that magnetic fields should play an important role in the formation and collimation of outflows,” he said. “But we still do not have good observational information on how magnetic fields work in these winds.”

Courtesy-Space

 

U.S. Widens Lead In Worldwide Mobile Patents

April 7, 2015 by mphillips  
Filed under Mobile

The U.S. increased its lead in mobile patents last year and IBM took the top spot in new patents granted in that space, according to a report that reviewed data from both the U.S. and Europe.

While the number of mobile patents granted by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) jumped by 17 percent between 2013 and 2014, the total fell by 4 percent at the European Patent Office (EPO), according to the report from Chetan Sharma Consulting release last week. The U.S. continued to gain on Europe as the place where mobile inventions are devised, a trend driven by software development in Silicon Valley and Americans’ heavy use of mobile data, the report said.

The mobile boom is a big part of U.S. innovation right now. Fully 26 percent of all patents issued by the USPTO last year were for mobile technologies, while only about one in 10 patents issued in Europe fell into that category, the report said.

The growing U.S. lead in mobile innovation comes as the cellular industry starts to define its next major set of standards, called 5G. The earlier 2G, 3G and 4G standards took shape when Europe played a stronger role in mobile, but the U.S. started to come into its own in the middle of the last decade, according to Sharma. Now European industry and government are trying to work together to make sure they aren’t left behind in 5G development.

While South Korea’s Samsung has the world’s biggest mobile patent portfolio, IBM is getting more patents granted now: It surpassed Samsung to take the top spot for 2014. Qualcomm came in third place, followed by Microsoft and Google. About half of the top 50 companies winning mobile patents over the past few years are based in the U.S., the report said.

 

 

Is Microsoft Giving Up On ‘Do Not Track’?

April 7, 2015 by mphillips  
Filed under Around The Net

Microsoft is pulling back on its commitment to the fading “Do Not Track” (DNT) standard, saying that it would no longer automatically switch on the signal in its browsers.

“DNT will not be the default state in Windows Express Settings moving forward, but we will provide customers with clear information on how to turn this feature on in the browser settings should they wish to do so,” said Brendon Lynch, the firm’s chief privacy officer, in a blog post Friday.

“Windows Express” is Microsoft’s label for the setup process after first turning on a new PC or after the installation of an upgrade.

Do Not Track signals whether a user wants online advertisers and websites to track his or her movements, and was modeled after the Do Not Call list that telemarketers are supposed to abide by. All five major browsers — Chrome, Firefox, Internet Explorer (IE), Opera and Safari — can send a DNT request.

“This change will apply when customers set up a new PC for the first time, as well as when they upgrade from a previous version of Windows or Internet Explorer,” added Lynch.

His comments implied that when users of Windows 7, 8 and 8.1 upgrade to Windows 10 later this year, the DNT setting in IE11 and Project Spartan — the new browser that will be named the default — will be left as off.

Lynch cited new emphasis in the DNT standard for the change.

The standard’s latest draft states, “The basic principle is that a tracking preference expression is only transmitted when it reflects a deliberate choice by the user. In the absence of user choice, there is no tracking preference expressed.”

“We are updating our approach to DNT to eliminate any misunderstanding about whether our chosen implementation will comply with the W3C [World Wide Web Consortium] standard,” said Lynch.

 

 

 

Mozilla Also Says No To Chinese Internet Certificates

April 7, 2015 by mphillips  
Filed under Around The Net

Mozilla Corp, owner of the popular Firefox web browser, said it would follow Google Inc and discontinue recognizing new certificates of trust issued by a Chinese Internet agency.

Google’s Chrome and Mozilla’s Firefox are some of the world’s most widely used browsers, and the moves could disrupt users accessing a broad range of Chinese web sites.

As a result of Mozilla’s step, users of Firefox may get a warning when attempting to visit sites certified after April 1 by the China Internet Network Information Center (CNNIC), the body that administers China’s Internet by allocating and certifying IP addresses and web domain names.

CNNIC issued a statement last week calling Google’s move “unacceptable and unintelligible” and asked the web giant to consider its users’ interests.

Zhang Jing, a representative of CNNIC’s media relations department, could not immediately provide comment about Mozilla’s move when reached late Friday.

Mozilla and Google have both objected to CNNIC delegating its authority to issue certificates to an Egyptian company called MCS Holdings, which mishandled the matter last week.

MCS Holdings attributed a security lapse that took place on a test network to human error.

Internet authorities around the world issue certificates of trust to websites to verify their authenticity when visited by a web browser. Hackers could in theory impersonate unverified websites and intercept data using a “man-in-the-middle” attack.

Google and Mozilla have said they would allow CNNIC to reapply so its certificates could be recognized again.