Friday, May 31, 2013

Windows 8.1 to bring back the 'start' button


Microsoft is bringing back the Windows "start" button, offering a stripped-down version among a slew of improvements aimed at winning over tablet users and PC customers.

The world's largest software company is looking to re-enegize sales of its latest Window's version, which has ot made the splash with computer users it was looking for. Executives say the plan is now to update Windows periodically, rather than waiting three years or so between big releases.

Although MIcrosoft has sold more than 100 Million Windows 8 licenses since October, broadly in line with Windows 7 three years ago, the company must tacckle a dwindling PC user base and its inability to make a mark in the exploding tablet market.

Windows 8 was designed to be used both on touch-screen tablets and traditional PC's. But while touchscreen users tend to like the new "tile"-based interface, many nouse and keyboard users complained that the new design was confusing.

Windows 8.1 previously known by the code name "Blue", will be available for free to all Windows 8 users some time later this year. Microsoft will make a test version available at its annual dveloper conference on June 26.

Windows 8.1 also includes a vastly improved "Search" function, which allows a user to search for documents, apps, or items on the internet from a single search bar, like a souped-up version of Apple's spotlight feature.

Google doodle celebrates 161st birth anniversary Julius Richard Petri


Today Google via their home page doodle celebrates the birth of Julius Richard Petri who invented the petri dish. Julius Richard Petri was born on May 31, 1852 and died on December 20,1921.

Petri studied medicine at the Kaiser-Wilhelm-Academy for Military Physians in Berlin. He then went on to work at the Imperial Health Office with Robert Koch who is considered the father of modern bacteriology.

Google's doodle features six petri dishes which when one clicks on the play button are swabbed by a hand. Images of the bacteria grow and spread in the dishes. These bacteria go on to form the alphabets that spell Google.

It is interestin to note that Petri was not the first to use agar, a substance made from algae to grow bacteria but he invented the standard dish in which it was done.

The Petri dish helps scientists and researchers to better identify bacteria and diseases they caused. Petri dishes later moved from the laboratory to the classrooms where they are used by every student of biology for various experiments.

Sony launches waterproof tablet for Rs. 46,990


Sony on Wednesday launched Xperia Tablet Z with a price of Rs. 46,990. Though the price is rather steep, the company believes that the tablet's slim and waterproof design will it compete with other Android tablets and Apple's iPad.

Xperia Tablet uses a Qualcomm quad-core processor running at 1.5 GHz. It has 2 GB RAM, 16 GB internal memory (extra 16 GB microSD card will be bundled with the device) and a 10-inch screen with Full HD resolution. The Tablet is powered by Android 4.1 (Jelly Bean). Sony is saying that the tablet will be updated to Android 4.2 soon. The device has a 6,000 mAh battery.

Just like the Xperia Z smartphone, Sony's new tablet is water-resistant and dustproof. It packs in an 8 MP primary camera and a 2.2 MP front camera. Another unique feature of the tablet is IR sensor, which would allow users to control their television with it. Incidentally, Samsung Galaxy S 4 and HTC One that were recently launched in India also have this feature.

Despite its large screen, the tablet weights just 495 grams. It is 6.9 m thick.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Hindustan Motors to launch BS-IV diesel Ambassador in India soon


India's oldest passenger car, the legendary Ambassador is all set to be launched with BS-IV diesel-powered engine in a few week and will be sold with a new name. Company officials recently invited taxi association officials from around Kolkata to drive the new Ambassador at Hindustan Motor's Uttarpara plant.

HM dealers as also taxi drivers had a feel of the vehicle on HM's purpose-built track. An official from the taxi association was quoted as saying that "the new vehicle offers higher power and torque, better vehicle control with power steering, improved gradient negotiating capacity, better cooling and overall better driveability with no compromise on fuel consumption."

So far, HM had been selling the BS-III diesel and BS-IV petrol variants in tier-II cities, with sales in tier-I cities banned for the BS-3 variants, which severely crippled HM's diesel car sales. Now with the advent of the BS-IV diesel Ambassador, HM will be able to start sales in 17 major Indian cities.

It is expected that the BS-IV variant of the diesel Ambassador will be more powerful and torquier than the BS-III variant. Improved fuel economy will also be on the cards. However, it remains to be seen if HM will be offering any interior changes or will stick to its bare basic cabin formula. The new BS-IV variant will bring along with it minor changes to the looks of the car.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Turn your laptop into touchscreen device


Portronics Handmate Windows 8 Pen is one of those nifty little devices that seem too good to be true when you first read about them. It promises to turn any Windows 8 laptop into a touchscreen device, letting you experience the joys of owning one of those 'hybrid devices' at fraction of cost.

Setting up the Handmate Windows 8 Pen is simple - just connect it to anu available USB port on your Windows 8 laptop and fix the receiving unit on one of the edges of the screen, about half way from the top. Go to the Control Panel to calibrate the screen and a barely a minute later, you are good to go.

The Handmate Windows 8 Pen comes bundled with spare stylus and batteries that power the stylus. Portronics claims 500 hours of battery life given working/standby ratio of 1:9. The sensors on the Handmate Windows 8 Pen use a combination of infrared and ultrasound technologies and work on screens sized 16-inches and below, which means it is good to use with laptops and even desktop monitors of that sizes. A newer generation product that will work with screen sizes of upto 25-inches is expected soon.

All in all, Handmate Windows 8 Pen offers a decent options for those looking to add a dash to touch to their Windows 8 experience. At, Rs. 4,999  it's a not so expensive option to see if touch fits in your workflow before you take the plunge and buy an expensive native touchscreen device.

New device can detect Cancer, HIV or any disease in 10 minutes: UK Scientist


A UK scientist claims to have developed a cheap, hand-held device that detects almost any disease such as TB, Malaria, HIV infection or Cancer in just 10 minutes.

The Q-POC machine, costing 500 pounds, can micro-analyse tumours and the genetic signatures of the disease before advising on the best type of drugs to use.

Using his garage in Uckfield, East Sussex, as a makeshift laboratory, 37-year-old Jonathan O'Halloran hit on the ground-breaking idea of releasing DNA within a barely visible sample and making multiple copies to allow an accurate diagnosis, whether cancer mutations exist and which oncology drug will work best.

The device is undergoing rigorous clinical trials and be used across the National Health Service(NHS) as early as next year, the 'Daily Express' reported.

The first prototypes are in advanced trials and experts say they have the potential to to prolong the lives of newly-diagnosed cancer sufferers and saves the life of millions with infectious diseases.

"we are using the device to extract, amplify and analyse DNA from tumors or other samples to make sure the patients gets a personalised service as soon as possible," said O'Halloran. 

Ford EcoSport to be launched on June 11


This is a great news for Ford enthusiasts. Ford EcoSport is all set to be launched in the Indian market on June 11 in 3 engine options.

Ford EcoSport is now set to be launched in the country within the next two weeks. The MUV is set to take on the leading and well-entrenched market players and will their life miserable at the top. The launch of the Ford EcoSport is set for June 11 and given its great features and good pricing technique that has always been a plus point for the company.

There crossover has got great response in the country and there is huge enthusiasm among the car enthusiasts who are going wild with excitement.

This is going to come in engine variants including 1.5-litre diesel, 1.5-litre petrol and 1-litre EcoBoost petrol. The top level will come with 6-speed automatic option. But that also means that it will be substantially pricier than the other two versions.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

New International roaming plan for Vodafone customers


Cellular operator giant Vodafone has introduced a new international roaming plan for its customers. The plan is valid for Indian customers who are visiting countries like UK, USA, UAE, Singapore and Thailand.

This pack offers 90% discount on data and 64% on local and international outgoing calls. This is yet another customer-friendly pack from Vodafone to make international roaming hassle free and affordable for customers travelling overseas.

The international roaming pack is available for a rental of Rs. 2,499 and comes with a validity of 30 days. These benefits are offered across 45 countries in partnership with select network operator in each country. Usage on any other international operator's network in these countries will be charged at standard international roaming charges.

This new pack is in addition to the INR 1,499 pack launched last year that offered 60% discount on international roaming on voice, data and SMS in a single pack. The pack was appreciated and accepted immensely by customers as it met their requirements of a hassle-free roaming experience.