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Google offers ‘time travel’ through Street View

time-machine-1_E

Google is claiming that by using its Street View service, you can at least get an idea of how a street or monument looked a few years ago.

Google says that “time travel” is possible. At least partially. You may not yet travel back in time and look at the dinosaurs up close but Google is claiming that by using its Street View service, you can at least get an idea of how a street or monument looked a few years ago.

“Starting today, you can travel to the past to see how a place has changed over the years by exploring Street View imagery in Google Maps for desktop. We’ve gathered historical imagery from past Street View collections dating back to 2007 to create this digital time capsule of the world,” said Vinay Shet, a product manager with Google Street View team.

In some cases, where the area has significantly changed in the last few years, the new Street View feature offers incredible insight. For example you can “see a landmark’s growth from the ground up, like the Freedom Tower in New York City or the 2014 World Cup Stadium in Fortaleza, Brazil”.

Shet added that “this new feature can also serve as a digital timeline of recent history, like the reconstruction after the devastating 2011 earthquake and tsunami in Onagawa, Japan” or users can “experience different seasons and see what it would be like to cruise Italian roadways in both summer and winter”.

The feature, which will be available to Street View users on personal computers from today, can be accessed by clicking a “clock icon” on the top left notification bar in a Street View web page.

While users in India can explore different regions of the world or even some famous India monuments and historical Indian sites using Street View, the feature doesn’t yet covers Indian roads. Google in 2011 started photographing Indian streets in Bangalore but the exercise was stopped after government officials raised security-related reservations. The company is still talking to government officials to resolve the issue.

 

10 Most Expensive Gadgets In The World

msidWhile most of the good gadgets are expensive, there are some that are really expensive. As, ever since smartphones and other gadgets have become a quintessential part of our lives, luxury designers have been launching jazzed up versions of popular devices that suit the rich and famous.

 

 

1. iPhone 5 Black Diamond — $15 million

Made using 135gram solid gold of 24 carat, the $15 million iPhone 5 Black Diamond took nine weeks to build. The chassis was inlaid with 600 white diamonds, while the Apple logo on the back boasts of 53 of these gems. Apart from these precious materials, this phone also utilizes sapphire in the screen.

The highlight of this black-and-gold iPhone 5 is the single, flawless black deep-cut diamond that has replaced the home button. Weighing 26-carat, this black diamond belonged to a Chinese business man who commissioned this phone from luxury product maker Stuart Hughes.
2. iPad 2 Gold History Edition — $7.8 million

Want modern technology embedded with a piece of history? Stuart Hughes has created an iPad 2 that boasts of the shavings of the bone of a 65 million-year-old T-Rex dinosaur. That’s not all. The device’s front frame is made using Ammolite, the oldest rock in the world, dated as many as 75 million years back.

This gadget is also encrusted with 53 flawless diamonds, weighing 12.5-carat. The back panel as well as the Apple logo of this iPad 2 are made using 24-carat gold and weigh 2kg. Priced at a cool $7.8 million, only two units of this iPad 2 Gold History Edition have been made by Stuart Hughes.

3. Hart Audio D&W Aural Pleasure loudspeakers — $4.7 million

The most expensive pair of speakers in the world was made by Hart Audio in 2012 as part of its Aural Pleasure range. Priced at $4.7 million, there is only one pair available in the world, made of 18-carat gold. Five sets of silver speakers were also made, costing $315,000. The solid phosphor bronze speakers are priced at $63,000, with stocks limited to a total of 99 pairs.
4. Camael Diamonds iPad — $1.2 million

Diamonds are a girl’s best friends, goes the saying. How about a diamond-encrusted iPad worth $1.2 million? This gadget is crafted with 18-carat gold and has 300-carat diamonds on the back. The Home button in the front and the Apple logo on the back are made using black diamonds. Made by Camael London, this gadget weighs over 1kg.
5. Macbook Air Supreme Platinum Edition — $500,000

Apple products are among the most expensive in the world and luxury brands are taking it a notch up. Not just iPhones and iPads, but Macbook laptops have also undergone the luxury treatment. The Stuart Hughes Apple MacBook Air Supreme Platinum Edition is made using platinum weighing a massive 7kg, with only five units available across the world. Even without all the diamonds and sapphire, this iteration of Macbook Air costs approximately $500,000.
6. Nintendo Wii Supreme — $497,300

Nintendo Wii is discontinued now, but Stuart Hughes has made sure that it remains relevant for gamers living a luxurious life. With only three units made, the device costs a hefty $497,300. The Nintendo Wii Supreme is made using solid 22-carat gold, weighs over 2.5kg and takes six months to craft. The front buttons are made using 78×0.25-carat flawless diamonds, weighing a total of 19 carat.
7. Sony PlayStation 3 Supreme — $331,500

Sony’s PlayStation 3 may be outdated too, but Stuart Hughes has made the device a memorabilia for gamers. The Sony PlayStation 3 Supreme is a $331,500 gaming console that is made using solid 22-carat gold and weighs 1.6kg, with only three pieces ever made. The luxury gaming console has a diamond-studded disc loading slot, adorned with a total of 58 22-carat diamonds.
8. Steinway Lyngdorf Model LS Concert Speakers — $250,000

Any audiophile worth his/her salt will testify that Steinway Lyngdorf Model LS Concert Speakers are the closest you can come to bringing the concert audio experience into your house. The price of making this happen: $250,000.

Each speaker has glossy piano-black side pieces and 24-carat gold accents around all eight AMT tweeters. The eight-feet-tall and 16-inch-wide speakers use curved drape made of super-thin bungee cords instead of the commonly-used cloth grille.

9. Diamond BlackBerry Amosu Curva — $240,000

British luxury product maker Alexander Amosu offers a limited edition BlackBerry Curve 8900 phone for $240,000. The phone has a total of 4,459 diamonds weighing 28-carat on the front and back. With body crafted using 18-carat gold, this phone will come with free concierge services for a year. The company will only make three units of this device, which took 350 hours to be crafted.
10. Gold iPad Supreme — $190,000

If the million-dollar iPads are out of your budget, you can still get a slice of luxury at a lesser price tag of ‘just’ $190,000. With just 10 units in the market, the Gold iPad Supreme is certainly an exclusive item. The back panel and bezel of this product are made using a single piece of 22-carat gold weighing 2.1kg and features diamonds weighing 25-carat. The Apple logo on the back has 53 diamonds weighing 22-carat as well.

End of Windows XP: Who all are at risk

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Microsoft will end support for the persistently popular Windows XP on Tuesday.

Microsoft will end support for the persistently popular Windows XP on Tuesday, and the move could put everything from the operations of heavy industry to the identities of everyday people in danger.

An estimated 30% of computers being used by businesses and consumers around the world are still running the 12-year-old operating system.

“What once was considered low-hanging fruit by hackers now has a big neon bull’s eye on it,” says Patrick Thomas, a security consultant at the San Jose, California-based firm Neohapsis.

Microsoft has released a handful of Windows operating systems since 2001, but XP’s popularity and the durability of the computers it was installed on kept it around longer than expected. Analysts say that if a PC is more than five years old, chances are it’s running XP.

While users can still run XP after Tuesday, Microsoft says it will no longer provide security updates, issue fixes to non-security related problems or offer online technical content updates. The company is discontinuing XP to focus on maintaining its newer operating systems, the core programs that run personal computers.

The Redmond, Washington-based company says it will provide anti-malware-related updates through July 14, 2015, but warns that the tweaks could be of limited help on an outdated operating system.

Most industry experts say they recognize that the time for Microsoft to end support for such a dated system has come, but the move poses both security and operational risks for the remaining users. In addition to home computers, XP is used to run everything from water treatment facilities and power plants to small businesses like doctor’s offices.

Thomas says XP appealed to a wide variety of people and businesses that saw it as a reliable workhorse and many chose to stick with it instead of upgrading to Windows Vista, Windows 7 or 8.

Thomas notes that companies generally resist change because they don’t like risk. As a result, businesses most likely to still be using XP include banks and financial services companies, along with health care providers. He also pointed to schools from the university level down, saying that they often don’t have enough money to fund equipment upgrades.

Marcin Kleczynski, CEO of Malwarebytes, says that without patches to fix bugs in the software XP PCs will be prone to freezing up and crashing, while the absence of updated security related protections make the computers susceptible to hackers.

He added that future security patches released for Microsoft’s newer systems will serve as a way for hackers to reverse engineer ways to breach now-unprotected Windows XP computers.

“It’s going to be interesting to say the least,” he says. “There are plenty of black hats out there that are looking for the first vulnerability and will be looking at Windows 7 and 8 to find those vulnerabilities. And if you’re able to find a vulnerability in XP, it’s pretty much a silver key.”

Those weaknesses can affect businesses both large and small.

Mark Bernardo, general manager of automation software at General Electric’s Intelligent Platforms division, says moving to a new operating system can be extremely complicated and expensive for industrial companies. Bernardo, whose GE division offers advisory services for upgrading from XP, says many of the unit’s customers fall into the fields of water and waste water, along with oil and gas.

“Even if their sole network is completely sealed off from attack, there are still operational issues to deal with,” he says.

Meanwhile, many small businesses are put off by the hefty cost of upgrading or just aren’t focused on their IT needs. Although a consumer can buy an entry-level PC for a few hundred dollars, a computer powerful enough for business use may run $1,000 or more after adding the necessary software.

Barry Maher, a salesperson trainer and motivational speaker based in Corona, Calif., says his IT consultant warned him about the end of XP support last year. But he was so busy with other things that he didn’t start actively looking for a new computer until a few weeks ago.

“This probably hasn’t been as high a priority as it should have been,” he says.

He got his current PC just before Microsoft released Vista in 2007. He never bought another PC because, “As long as the machine is doing what I want it to do, and running the software I need to run, I would never change it.”

Mark McCreary, a Philadelphia-based attorney with the firm Fox Rothschild LLP, says small businesses could be among the most effected by the end of support, because they don’t have the same kinds of firewalls and in-house IT departments that larger companies possess. And if they don’t upgrade and something bad happens, they could face lawsuits from customers.

But he says he doesn’t expect the wide-spread malware attacks and disasters that others are predicting – at least for a while.

“It’s not that you blow it off and wait another seven years, but it’s not like everything is going to explode on April 8 either,” he says.

McCreary points to Microsoft’s plans to keep providing malware-related updates for well over a year, adding that he doubts hackers are actually saving up their malware attacks for the day support ends.

But Sam Glines, CEO of Norse, a threat-detection firm with major offices in St. Louis and Silicon Valley, disagrees. He believes hackers have been watching potential targets for some time now.

“There’s a gearing up on the part of the dark side to take advantage of this end of support,” Glines says.

He worries most about doctors like his father and others the health care industry, who may be very smart people, but just aren’t focused on technology. He notes that health care-related information is 10 to 20 times more valuable on the black market than financial information, because it can be used to create fraudulent medical claims and illegally obtain prescription drugs, making doctor’s offices tempting targets.

Meanwhile, without updates from Microsoft, regular people who currently use XP at home need to be extra careful.

Mike Eldridge, 39, of Spring Lake, Mich., says that since his computer is currently on its last legs, he’s going to cross his fingers and hope for the best until it finally dies.

“I am worried about security threats, but I’d rather have my identity stolen than put up with Windows 8,” he says.

 

Mozilla is Human

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A few days ago I wrote: Mozilla is messy. For better and for worse, the week’s events showed how true that is.

Looking back at the past week, this also comes to mind: Mozilla is human. In all the best and worst ways. With all the struggle and all the inspiration. Mozilla is very very human.

On the inspiration part, I need to say: Brendan Eich is one of the most inspiring humans that I have ever met. He is a true hero for many of us. He invented a programming language that is the heart and soul of the most open communications system the world has ever known. He led a band of brilliant engineers and activists who freed the internet from the grip of Microsoft. And, one-on-one, in his odd and brilliant ways, he helped and advised so many of us as we put our own hearts and souls into building…

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GadgEts n MobilEs: Nokia announces Lumia 930, 635, 630 smartphones

Nokia announces three new Lumia phones

At Build 2014, Nokia’s former CEO Stephen Elop announced three new Lumia phones — Lumia 630, Lumia 635 and Lumia 930.

Elop will soon join Microsoft as vice president after the Nokia-Microsoft deal completes this month.

Elop said that Nokia was thrilled with the success of Lumia 520, an affordable smartphone, and hence wanted to offer more choices to consumer with Lumia 630 and Lumia 635 in the lower end of the market. He said that Lumia 630 will cost $159, Lumia 630 with dual-SIM option will cost $169 and Lumia 635, which is the 4G version of Lumia 630, will cost $189.

— See more at: GadgEts n MobilEs: Nokia announces Lumia 930, 635, 630 smartphones.

GadgEts n MobilEs: First impressions: Nokia Lumia 630

Nokia Lumia 630

Nokia announced the new Lumia 630 on the sidelines of Microsoft’s BUILD coference.

At its Build 2014 conference, Microsoft unveiled the next iteration of its mobile operating system, Windows Phone 8.1. The event also saw Nokia announce three new mobile phones that will run on the new OS — Lumia 630, Lumia 635 and Lumia 930. Windows Phone 8.1 brings a number of new features in order to catch up with Google’s Android and Apple’s iOS including a centralized notification tray which Microsoft calls Action Centre, voice assistant Cortana, tweaks to the home screen and updated native apps, among others. — See more at: GadgEts n MobilEs: First impressions: Nokia Lumia 630.